Why Ayers should be persona non grata

Phillip, whom I respect as a constructive and thoughtful contributor to this blog, raises the issue of academic freedom in connection with Bill Ayers and USC:

Like it or not, for many years now Ayers has been recognized as an
authority in the field of public education, and his academic standing
as professor at the University of Chicago attests to that. That’s the
reality as it exists today. If USC is to be a place where academic
freedom exists, where students are able to be exposed to a wide variety
of competing ideas, the School of Education would be remiss in not at
least including Ayers’ writings as part of their curriculum. You can
see from the website I cited that the conflicting issues raised by
Ayers’ presence or the study of his work were indeed freely "ayred."
(sorry, couldn’t resist that one.)

Anyway, as someone who has a strong record of supporting public
education in this state, it would seem that you would want our USC
students to have the widest knowledge possible in that field, as they
grapple with the challenges they will face in that terrain.

It’s not up to USC to make political/law enforcement judgments above
and beyond what our courts and domestic institutions have arrived at.
The University’s only role is to judge the academic worth of what a
scholar has to offer. There are no outstanding criminal charges against
Ayers; beyond that, if he is good enough to be a tenured professor at U
of C, you can (to borrow another 60’s phrase) bet your sweet bippy that
he’s good enough to give a visiting lecture or two at USC. In those
situations, if a student wants to walk out, or picket, that is also
absolutely appropriate and their right to do so.

Here’s the thing about that: William Ayers has placed himself beyond such bourgeois considerations. Academic piety is insufficient to excuse the man who, in an interview published in The New York Times on Sept. 11, 2001 (yes, that date is correct), said "’I don’t regret setting bombs. ‘I feel we didn’t do enough.” In the same interview, he said he did not recall having said in 1970, explaining the Weatherman philosophy, "Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the
revolution home, kill your parents, that’s where it’s really at." But he acknowledged, "it’s been quoted so many times I’m beginning to think I did.” He further explained that ”It was a joke about the distribution of wealth.”

In my book, that makes him persona non grata. The private sector can do what it will, but NO taxpayer-supported institution should employ him for any reason, even temporarily, even in an arms-length relationship. It should be the duty of a public institution to divest itself of any such involvement, however tenuous.

58 thoughts on “Why Ayers should be persona non grata

  1. bud

    Sorry Brad, I disagree. His past, though regretable, should not prevent him from participating in the ongoing activities of this country. The Vietnam war was so reprehensible I’m willing to cut people some slack if their activities were focused on helping to end that atrocity. Folks that went to Canada should be regarded as heros. Although I don’t regard Ayers as a hero his actions are understandable. Since he is a free man and not currently under investigation for any reason his standing in the community is valid for the stated purpose USC employed him.

  2. Lee Muller

    I absolutely agree.
    There are a bunch more just like Ayers, sharing the same sick communist philosophy, who just never planned or committed any bombings, working on campuses and in foundations and programs funded with tax money. They need to be cut off, too.
    Bill Ayers is not the only communist working in Barack Obama’s campaign. Barack’s entire set of friends and associates are just like Bill Ayers.
    Barack Obama is not the first hard-core socialist to run for President, either.
    Ralph Nader ran his 2004 campaign out the office of the Communist Party USA in New York.
    Lyndon LaRouche, the national socialist, ran in 1984 and spoke at the Democratic National Convention.

  3. Phillip

    Brad, it appears I had Ayers’ school wrong, it it actually University of Illinois at Chicago, not sure if he also teaches at U of Chicago or not. But Illinois at Chicago most certainly is a public, taxpayer-funded institution.
    Your argument is based mostly, it seems, on what Ayers has SAID. If I understand correctly, he was never convicted, and there are not any outstanding criminal charges against him. Ayers has said that that “no regrets” comment has been taken out of context, but let’s assume he meant it as you take it.
    Those are still just words, no matter how outrageous. As far as I know freedom of speech still exists in this country. (Cheney’s still working on that one, he has a few months left.) Ayers has not shown any indication of criminal conduct for many many years now. How far would you be willing to go to say that a taxpayer-supported university should hire or not hire someone on the basis of controversial or outrageous statements they have made? Where do you draw the line?
    For example, USC is chock-full of professors whose political views would be absolutely abhorrent to many of your readers, maybe to you, too. Should they be fired from the university because of the things they might have said at one point or another?
    If you follow your line of thinking all the way to its conclusion, academic freedom at any public university would be severely compromised. Why should students who may, for example, not be able to afford private university tuition be penalized in the variety of ideas and thinking to which they are exposed?
    This is a very slippery slope you are on, in terms of very fundamental American ideas about freedom of words, and academic freedom. These are the very things that make America unique in the world, some of the facets of our society that are the most admired worldwide.
    Remember, too, Brad…university students are adults. They are old enough to fight in wars, old enough to drink, old enough to vote. They are old enough to be exposed to all ideas, no matter how noxious you and I may find them, and to form their own opinions.

  4. Brad Warthen

    bud, when you say, "his past, thought regrettable," you are ignoring the one most salient, unavoidable fact that is staring you in the face: Bill Ayers DOES NOT REGRET IT.

    And I just don’t know what to say to anyone who believes that "the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, the Pentagon in 1972" are "understandable." It’s just beyond me.

    Oh, and by the way: Ayers doesn’t actually claim to have been personally involved in all three of those incidents. He just WANTS to be associated with them.

  5. Brad Warthen

    And Phillip (our comments crossed paths), we’re not talking about objectionable opinions here. We’re talking about his proud association with acts of terrorism. Do you not see the difference? It’s the difference between SDS and Weatherman, between sentiment and action.

  6. Phillip

    Look, some folks would say that the terrorist activities of Menachem Begin and Irgun were “understandable,” I don’t know if I could agree with that but saying so alone cannot disqualify someone from being engaged by a public academic institution if their academic credentials are judged impeccable or compelling.
    And hey, I’m sure a number of faculty members at South Carolina public institutions of higher learning would say our involvement in the Vietnam War itself was “understandable.” That is just as “beyond me” as you and I both find Ayers’ comments to be. But again, it would be wrong of me to expect USC or Clemson to fire or not hire that person on the basis of their (to me) incomprehensible view of the Vietnam War if their academic credentials meet the standards of the university.
    I really don’t get your view of academic freedom being a “bourgeois consideration.”

  7. Brad Warthen

    I used “bourgeois” for ironic effect, but also to dismiss a sentiment that sounds fine in the drawing room amid the teacups and the doilies, but is pretty empty at the site of a bombing.
    And again, we’re touching on that great divide in our political culture — the one that, postpartisan as both may be, obviously divides many supporters of McCain and Obama — you just can’t legitimately equate support for the war that McCain suffered five years of torture in the service of with a violent generalized hatred of America and its institutions. The two things are as different as night and day, and are simply not moral equivalents. To say that “academic freedom” should allow for both without distinguishing between them is to render the concept illegitimate, and subject it to my ironic dismissal of it, under such circumstances, as a “bougeois” nicety.

  8. bud

    Brad, you have enthusiastically support our military opertions in Iraq. You saw it as an important act to rid the world of the tyrrant Sadam Hussein who slaughtered his own people. Well that slaughter was supported by the actions of Ronald Reagan and Donald Rumsfeld. Would you deny Rumsfeld the opportunity to lecture at USC?

  9. bud

    The slaughter of innocent people is the slaughter of innocent people. Rumseld knowingly met with Saddam Hussein in order to sell him weapons to fight the Iranians. Those weapons were used against his own people. Rumsfeld has not indicated any remorse for the sale of those weapons. Both Rumsfeld and Ayers are free citizens and neither is currently under investigation for any crime. Seems like a lot of similarities to me.

  10. just.saying

    “but is pretty empty at the site of a bombing.”
    Only bombings in the US or bombing of Americans, apparently.

    Lest that be taken as endorsing Ayers though, I agree that until he sincerely renounces his past endorsement of terrorist activities that he should be persona non grata.

  11. Lee Muller

    What Bill Ayers SAID was that, yes, he was guilty of helping his co-conspirators build bombs and plan attacks which killed innocent people, that he had no remorse, makes no apologies, and “should have bombed more”.
    He admits his GUILT to being an accessory to murder.
    As I said in my first post, there are, unfortunately for America, a lot of people who share Ayers’ demented socialist views, including envy and hatred of those who succeed under free market capitalism or any other meritocracy. Some of them post in this blog. Some work at USC and other colleges.

  12. Randy E

    Brad, Ayers made the comments BEFORE the the jets were flown into the towers. (The quote was reported in the newspaper on 911.) His activities were atrocious, reckless and dangerous. I am not disputing that. My point is that you are distorting and as a result inflaming the situation.
    I continue to be amazed at your complete unwillingness to address the problems associated with McCain yet you engage in the Ayers and Wright hysteria ad nauseam.
    McCain’s campaign posse confesses their strategy of turning the page on the economy in the midst of our economic 911 in favor of partisan gutter tactics.
    McCain actively seeks the endorsement of a pastor who considers me, my wife and children to be members of a cult. He’s going to be MY president?
    McCain repeatedly claims Obama “wants to lose a war to win an election.” Such rhetorical thuggery is the antithesis of the ideals of your UnParty to stand against such petulance.
    You talk about taking a stand against partisanship but then turn a blind eye to McCain. I find this to be bias and at one time was surprised by this.

  13. just saying

    “He admits his GUILT to being an accessory to murder”
    So why haven’t charges been filed and why aren’t McCain and Palin threatening to lock him up in Gitmo?
    I mean, seriously. Why aren’t the same people who are for re-investigating lynching cases from decades ago (which I think we should if there is a new access to evidence) also for re-investigating home grown terrorism from decades past (which I think we should if we have evidence he is really guilty)?

  14. bud

    Randy, I think we’re beating our heads against a brick wall trying to figure out what makes Brad tick. On the one hand he claims to deplore partisanship. In that he is very strident. Yet, stangely he is silent on the McCain campaign’s EXTREME partisanship during his campaign. As Mr. Spock would say, “illogical”.

  15. Tim

    I see several comments asking why Ayers hasn’t had charges filed against him, but nothing acknowledging the fact that he DID have federal charges filed against him but they were dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct.
    But if his comments on 9/11/01 weren’t enough, he was interviewed in 2004 and asked, “How do you feel about what you did? Would you do it again under similar circumstances?” Ayers responded, “”I’ve thought about this a lot. Being almost 60, it’s impossible to not have lots and lots of regrets about lots and lots of things, but the question of did we do something that was horrendous, awful? … I don’t think so. I think what we did was to respond to a situation that was unconscionable.”

  16. Lee Muller

    ‘just saying’, you really are showing your ignorance of Bill Ayers and the other terrorists involved in the Obama campaign. I detect someone to young to remember their crimes, and whose government education failed to educate them enough to make informed voting decisions.
    Bill Ayers WAS INDICTED, along with his now wife, Bernadine Dorn, and a few others who survived being killed while planting their bombs.
    These people had been on the fugitives list for a decade, aided by sympathizers.
    A liberal judge dropped the charges because of some illegal wiretaps years before and some procedural issues. They probably could have been convicted on the other loads of admissible evidence, but socialist Democrats in Washington were opposed. President Clinton was pardoning other terrorists, friends of Hillary and Leon Panetta. So the prosecutors felt they should drop it.
    PS: Another Weatherman, Michael Klonsky, left Chicago when he learned that Ayers was involved in planning murders. He wentn to Florida and hid out under an assumed name until things cooled off. Then he came back to Chicago, out of the closet during the Clinton years.
    He is still a member of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party. He set up the Obama 2008 campaign web site and ran the official Obama blog site until found out in May.

  17. Brad Warthen

    Uh, YEAH he made those comments before the planes hit the buildings. If I’d said Sept. 12 or 13th, that would indicate it was after. But Sept. 11 just means that it was titanically ironic. One imagines that even he would have felt a little constrained making those comments AFTER 9/11. Maybe not, but let’s give him credit for a LITTLE common sense. Since he didn’t have that constraint, what we got was what he really thinks.

    And no, I’m not seeing extreme partisanship on the part of either Obama or McCain. Palin, now that’s another story. She’s out there catering to the base that despises McCain. And I said what I thought about McCain’s choosing her in my Sunday column.

  18. just saying

    Lee, Thanks for the background. We can’t all be older than dirt and remember it first hand 🙂 Do you have a good link that I could go look up the indictment at? (Google is globbed up with all kinds of crap on the campaign.)
    If they were never found not-guilgy, why can’t Palin/McCain say they promise to reopen the cases?
    On to another question: What’s your view on changing the law so that verified but illegal/misprocedural evidence can still be used in trials, but those obtaining it illegally/misprocedurally should be charged or fined themselves for the obtainment?

  19. p.m.

    Phillip, it disappoints me you would think academic freedom carried any weight whatsoever in comparison to admitted treason.
    And, Brad, persona non grata is not justice for Ayers. Exile would be the least severe treatment appropriate for him.

  20. just saying

    “I’m not seeing extreme partisanship on the part of either Obama or McCain. Palin, now that’s another story.”
    The candidate for the top spot doesn’t carry responsibility for the attacks made by the chosen 2nd on the ticket?

  21. bud

    Brad, you’re just digging a deeper hole. Palin is McCain’s hand-picked running mate. He chose her, no one else. If Palin is making partisan comments, that, by definition, falls on McCain. I haven’t heard McCain condemn any of these partisan comments.

  22. Brad Warthen

    I think y’all know that I would greatly, GREATLY have preferred that McCain choose Joe Lieberman. That would have been HIS choice, truly reflective of who he is — rather than being someone he chose in an apparent fit of pique, which is the big thing that’s wrong with his eventual choice, the thing that truly reflects badly on McCain. I don’t see anything bad in Palin talking about Ayers et al. I do see something bad in the fact that she’s unqualified.
    Of course, if he HAD picked Joe, the GOP base would have wanted to string him up, and the Democratic left would have offered to buy the rope. But for me, it would have been the one, great unassailable choice. Even if it had meant his campaign going down in flames, I would have applauded them all the way to the bitter end.
    Of course, you readers being an argumentative bunch, some of you would be saying to me now, “How can you like Joe when he supports…” Roe v. Wade, or whatever. To which I’d say, I’ve never seen a major candidate I agreed with on everything — not McCain, not Obama, nobody. Just the way the world is.
    But believe me, I’d rather be having that argument than this one…

  23. Lee Muller

    Ayers can’t be tried this late, because there would have to be a direct chain of evidence linking him to a capital offense. Too many years have passed, evidence is lost or could be alleged to be tainted, and witnesses are old or deceased.
    The statute of limitations long ago ran out on Ayers other crimes.
    The issue is not Bill Ayers. The issue is Bill Ayers being typical of the radicals and criminals with whom Barack Obama has chosen as his close associates his entire life.
    Have you noticed that, unlike Biden, Palin and McCain, that Obama has no normal friends coming forth to endorse him?
    * Bill Ayers – communist, terrorist
    * Bernadine Dorn – communist, terrorist
    * Michael Klonsky – communist
    * Michelle Obama – socialist, racist, Jew-hater
    * Tony Rezko – real estate swindler
    * ACORN – socialists organized by Saul Alinsky to tear down democratic institutions
    * Harold Ickes – socialist (Stalinist parents)
    * Laura Tyson – socialist (former communist)
    * Louis Farakan – Nation of Islam, racist
    * Khalid Monsour – Black Panther, Black Muslim, anti-Jew
    * Jeremiah Wright – former Muslim, now evangelical something, socialist, racist
    * Percy Sutton – Black Panthers

  24. zzazzeefrazzee

    I HOPED before reading this that you would have used this as an opportunity to provide a FEW a of these facts rather than simply judge Ayers’ actions and comments from your pulpit.
    If Ayers is a persona non grata, as you say, then it begs the questions as to Chicago Annenberg Challenge was initiated in the first place? Wasn’t this as a result of a proposal that Ayers co-authored, that was submitted for consideration with the urging of the former Republican Governor of Illinois Jim Edgar, by the former US Ambassador Walter Annenberg, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan?
    Perhaps this relationship forged by people from very different political backgrounds would have impressed someone like Obama and influenced him to participate in the activities of the board (during which time he met Ayers, as well as the other board members a whopping 6 times)? Even former state Republican Rep. Diana Nelson said: “It was never a concern by any of us in the Chicago school reform movement that he had led a fugitive life years earlier … It’s ridiculous. There is no reason at all to smear Barack Obama with this association. It’s nonsensical, and it just makes me crazy. It’s so silly.”
    The same connections must also necessarily be made with the Woods fund. Those connections between Ayers and the leaders of civic, private sector, and even Presbyterian theologians, who are of BOTH Republican and Democratic political persuasions, should be fully highlighted.
    Also, the second person mentioned on the list of 100 , though her name is misspelled, is Leonore Annenberg, currently the president and chairman of the Annenberg Foundation and widow of ambassador and philanthropist Walter Annenberg.
    Sadly, the fact that the husband of McCain’s VP pick was a member of the pro-secessionist Alaska Independence Party for YEARS is of no concern whatsoever?
    Of course you’ll never convince extremists like Herr Müller, who continually posts the same old tired conspiracy-laden drivel about how Obama is not only buddies with Ayers, but Farrakhan, the Black Panthers, as well as Hamas and of course, Osama. Then again, he’s probably a member of that kooky, extreme dispensationalist Christian Exodus secessionist organization.

  25. Phillip

    Thank you, zzazzee, for bringing some clarity to this discussion.
    Brad, you say “you just can’t legitimately equate support for the war that McCain suffered five years of torture in the service of with a violent generalized hatred of America and its institutions. The two things are as different as night and day, and are simply not moral equivalents.”
    Well, to use your word, making that distinction is a “bourgeois” privilege you have, one that would not be so obvious to the thousands of innocent Vietnamese civilians we slaughtered who had no quarrel with the United States nor were a threat to us. If you’re an innocent civilian on the receiving end of a US bomb are you likely to think, “well, thank God me and my family are about to get wiped out by a civilized governmental military imperative called War and not by some single terrorist crackpot with a ‘violent generalized hatred of my country and institutions’….gee I feel a lot better now as I’m about to die.” ????
    Ayers to my view is no more or less reprehensible a human being than those in government who bore responsibility for the Vietnam War (not the members of the military themselves by and large, who were following orders). Many, like Robert McNamara, have gone the opposite way from a Bill Ayers and have expressed remorse and contrition. Many still have not.

  26. Lee Muller

    Philip, your attitude is just as un-American as that of Bill Ayers, so it is no surprise that you don’t care about him or about Obama’s lack of character. Socialists don’t value character.
    Anyone how is still in denial about Obama’s close connections to racists, Jew-haters, communists, Black Panthers, and Muslims simply is not operating on any intellectual level.
    The news and Internet is full of photos an articles of Obama praising these people and working with them for YEARS:
    RACISTS – Louis Farakan, Jeremiah Wright, Father Hagee, Cornell West, Obama’s father and uncle, dozens of other Afro-centrists.
    JEW-HATERS – Frank Malley and other Obama advisors who were fired after meeting with Hamas, Jeremiah Wright, Khalid Monsour
    COMMUNISTS – His bather, Frank Marshall Davis, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dorn, ACORN, Michael Klonsky, Angela Davis, and all their communist friends who worked on Obama campaigns.
    BLACK RADICALS – Donald Warden, Percy Sutton, Cornell West, Nation of Islam, ACORN, ACT UP
    MUSLIMS – Khalid Monsour, Jeremiah Wright, Nation of Islam, Prince Alweed of Saudi Arabia, 30 Muslim leaders who endorsed Obama, Hamas, Hezbollah

  27. Michelle

    Okay by the logic being used here by some posters, then the McCain campaign has been endorsed by someone who has financed terrorists. How so? Simple. Walter Annenberg, former U.S. Ambassador and one of Ronald Reagan’s best friends and most trusted advisors founded the Annenberg Foundation. The Annenberg Foundation funded the grant-project which William Ayers was affiliated with and by the terms of that grant project, had to have a “community advisory board” which Sen. Obama served on (along with both Democrats and REPUBLICANS). This week, Annenberg’s widow endorsed Sen. McCain. So McCain’s campaign therefore has just been endorsed by “those associated with financing “domestic terrorists” like Ayers. See how convulted the logic being used here actually is? As someone who has served on community advisory committees for similar grant funded projects, I sure hope that no one on any of those committees ever commits murder-then I’ll be branded as a known associate of a murderer even if I only met with the person a couple of times.
    Honestly people, the economy is tanking. The worldwide economy is tanking. This country, this world are facing a multitude of issues and all that some of you here can think to worry about is the activities of a former 60’s radical who Obama only had a tenuous relationship with? What’s next? He once lived in the same city as a child molestor so therefore he must be one too?

  28. Phillip

    Lee, I generally try not to respond to you but I have to say that being called un-American by you seems to me to be the ultimate confirmation of my patriotism, and makes me feel like a extra-proud American this morning.
    Folks, we’ve been down this road before. It is not un-American to want your country to live up to its ideals, nor is it un-American to oppose enterprises that make a grotesque mockery of those ideals. But you’ll not find one word from me condoning Bill Ayers’ actions in the 60’s one bit, Lee. And what’s un-American, incidentally, is to frame dissent against the government as being un-American. Not exactly what we fought for independence from Great Britain for, the suppression of dissent.
    And I certainly do care about character. McCain and Palin have both demonstrated some alarming character problems in this campaign. I don’t agree with Obama on every single issue, but I’m voting this fall as much on character as on anything else, and Obama has demonstrated greater strength of character in this past year than his opponent. I simply trust him more to lead our country than John McCain. The Palin decision alone seems to cinch that. Looks like most of America is agreeing with this assessment.
    And as my last word on this little USC/Ayers flap, I find it laughable that folks here in SC would get all worked up about the treasonous Ayers getting a few bucks to speak here in 2006, when this state still proudly displays a treasonous flag prominently on its capitol building’s front lawn.

  29. Lee Muller

    I didn’t call you anything, Phillip.
    You SAID you don’t find anything wrong with Obama’s expression of dislike for America, for whites, and for Jews, and you SAID you don’t see anything wrong with Bill Ayers and the other communists and haters of America who love Obama.
    Obama and his supporters despise American ideals of individual effort, honest work, and reward for risks taken. They are Marxists, trying to kill America from the inside while lining their pockets with stolen money.

  30. Michelle

    Well Mr. Muller actually it is your Republican president and his administration who are trying to nationalize banks and insurance companies and Wall Street firms in this country through their infusion of billion dollars of cash and partial ownership in these firms. And most of these Wall Street millionaires and billionaires are Republicans and heavy GOP donors but whatever.
    And shouldn’t we talk about McCain’s campaign manager who up until a month ago was lining his pockets with money from the Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac? Oh right, you don’t believe anything negative about McCain or you can excuse it away. But again, I strongly encourage you to go to Snopes.Com or simply use the Google.com to look up the real sources for information on what Obama has said or hasn’t said, done or not done. I know I’m new in these parts (but a lifelong South Carolinan whose ancestors were among the first in this state in fact) but so far all I’ve seen you present are false claims, repeated lies, and distortions of the truth that fit your world-view.

  31. Lee Muller

    I have always criticized President Bush for going along with the socialist legislation of the Democrats. I think he should have demanded a much tougher deal on the bailout, including
    * The resignation of Schumer, Barney Frank, James Clyburn, Chris Dodd, and others who conspired with the heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lie about there being no problems in 1999 through 2007.
    * The resignation of all the boards of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and refunding of all their $400,000,000 in salaries and bonuses, down to the top grade of civil service pay.
    * Immediate public hearings on the scandal and FBI investigations of the Congressmen and bureaucrats involved.
    * Abolition of the CRA and all low interest loans to minorities. Foreclose and liquidate the properties they bought fraudulently.
    * Deport the 5,000,000 illegal aliens identifed by HUD as having purchased homes under the CRA program, and confiscate their houses sell them off to individuals, not banks or real estate companies.

  32. Brad Warthen

    Phillip, we’re never going to agree on this. We’ve had 33 years since that last helicopter left Saigon, and we’re no closer to agreement.
    But I just gotta say that the whole “civilian casualties” thing is an an appeal to emotion that washes out logically.
    We can probably agree that a just war presupposes every reasonable effort to avoid civilian casualties (and by “reasonable,” which is bound to freak out pacifists, I mean that “never attacking the enemy because there is always a chance of civilian casualties” is not “reasonable,” because not doing so can lead to much greater innocent death and suffering in the long run). That is, if there is any agreement on your part that there is such a thing as a “just war.”
    Here’s why it’s not a logical argument. I don’t have comparative numbers in front of me, but I’m guessing we killed a lot more civilians in WWII, and did so in spite of the fact that on those battlefields, it was much, much easier to distinguish combatants from civilians. The Vietcong, for instance, WERE civilians, although not noncombatants.
    Most of what I’ve seen indicates that in Vietnam, we were much more concerned about civilian deaths than we were 20 years earlier. In the 40s, civilian deaths were a deliberate strategy. Place the firebombing of Dresden in modern ethical terms. After all, the Germans weren’t the ones who attacked us on 12/7, to echo something I seem to have heard lately.
    You make the (to me) outrageous statement that “Ayers to my view is no more or less reprehensible a human being than those in government who bore responsibility for the Vietnam War.” (It’s statements such as that that cause me to despair of our ever agreeing.)
    And yet by the standard you suggest, Eisenhower and Marshal had far, far more to answer for than McNamara or Bill Ayers. But they didn’t express “remorse and contrition.” And as much as we may wring our hands today (as I do) over carpet-bombing in 1945, you won’t find many who will call them monsters.

  33. zzazzeefrazzee

    Did anyone else catch how Herr Müller tried to associate Obama with Pastor HAGEE??? LMAO!!!!!!!!! It’s pretty funny when a blatant bigot can’t keep his bigots straight Then like most bigots, he has to take a jab at immigrants too, by claiming that HUD says that 5 million illegals purchased homes under the CRA program, Sadly, it’s only one talk radio show that made this claim to begin with, not HUD. This guy’s comic antics unilaterally set the threshold for being a nutjob a few notches higher.
    Nutjobs who vote.
    Nutjobs like these:

    It makes one wonder if he think that “laissez faire” refers to a French lesbian street festival?
    Of course, such shenanigans are nothing compared to laying the blame for the current financial crisis at the feet of solely Democratic leaders, when there is clearly plenty of blame to go around. Notice how he never once mentioned the role that excessive DEREGULATION had to play.
    What next? is he going to claim that it’s all the fault of poor black people who should never have been given loans in the first place? Predatory lending practices are perfectly acceptable- even ethical? AAA ratings given to sub-prime mortgage securities- even when they have no track record on which to base that rating- is a perfectly fair market practice?

  34. Lee Muller

    Obama LIE: “Deregulation caused the mortgage crisis”
    Regulations caused the crisis, by forcing banks to write a quota of junk loans to blacks and Latinos with poor credit. Democrats developed this policy during the Clinton administration, when subprime loans increased TENFOLD.

  35. zzazzefrazzee

    Gosh Darn it, there you go pointing backwards again,
    Herr Müller!-
    You better betcha Obama repudiated Pfleger, and his former pastor. Aside from you, who else STILL talks about what Pfleger did? I have also said that I don’t endorse the comments or remarks of Wright or Pfleger before, but you never noticed. Gee boy howdy!!! Gosh darn it!
    More to the point:
    Your accusations of his being a “Jew-hater” is A LIE.
    Your attempts to link him to Farrakhan HOGWASH.
    Your attempt to tie him to the Black panthers is NONSENSE. Your attempt to tie him to “Muslims” is SECTARIAN BIGOTRY.
    Everyone in here knows that you have kept pushing that “Obama is a Muslim” canard for months. Honestly, I may not support McCain for President, but to his credit, he has totally repudiated blatant lies from people like YOU!!!
    Funny enough, Obama’s former ties to Ayers and Wright are nowhere nearly as important as Palin’s CURRENT ties to dispensationalist Messianic Jews for Jesus leader David Brickner, whose views are right in line with Hagees! Or her association with Bishop Thomas Muthee for allowing herself to receive an exorcism at his hands from “witches and demons”. Or the fact that Palin’s own husband belonged to that secessionist Alaska Independence Party for YEARS? Well, you might think that’ last bit’s a terrific thing, but most people who fly an American UNION flag do not.
    Lee, if you posted somethign even moderately believable, people might actually listen to you, but you’re not only preaching, but to a moronic angry mob like the one portrayed in the Youtube video I posted.
    Have a nice life, if you even have one!

  36. zzazzeefrazzee

    You Betcha Lee!!
    Too bad for you that credible economists generally aren’t as extreme as you are in your compulsion to post a blatantly one-sided portrayal. Gosh Darn It!
    You better BETCHA that DEREGULATION allowed for these independent mortgage companies to engage in predatory lending practices (not only adjustable rate mortgages, but payday loans and relaxed credit card oversight) Yes, Clinton and Congress- BOTH Democrats and Republicans- created this situation. Yet you must remember that Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolution helped out in way to push this through too!!
    Together, their deregulation led to a rise in PREDATORY LENDING. Until the 90’s, you couldn’t buy a house on an adjustable rate mortgage. Before you start blaming “liberals” or “poor people” for the problem, you’re going to have to acknowledge that plenty of financial institutions were all too eager to make money by providing just these kinds of loans, because if it had worked, they would have made a lot of money. Many of the independent mortgage companies also extended loans to people who weren’t poor at all! They just wanted the bigger house etc etc. Many people also defaulted not because they were “poor”, but because they lost their jobs! Over 21 million Between 2006 until now according to the Department of Labor!
    You better betcha that your head stuck pretty far up where the sun never shines to twist facts around the way you do. You only post undiluted rhetoric from blogs and talk radio, and can hardly be bothered to back up your claims. Your hysterically comical antics make most other extremists look like modern day quietists.

  37. Ish Beverly

    I think you Obama supporters have been turned down by the American people in so many elections that you have become unstable. I think LEE got to you with his facts. Sometimes I think you beleive what you are saying. But facts prove that Obama is a fraud. Why don’t you find out for yourself?

  38. Phillip

    Brad, I accept too that you and I just come from different sides of the fence among the differing views of our Vietnam war involvement. Simply put, I believe our involvement was immoral and unjustified, and so I believe our leaders were accountable in the same way that we consider other world leaders accountable if they preside over unjust military adventures.
    As far as mention of civilian casualties being “an appeal to emotion,” you bet it is! If we are talking about taking human lives, whether intentionally or as “collateral damage,” I cannot believe that we would not want emotion involved. That is the divine part of our being, you and I can agree on that even though you would say it more theologically-based than I might. How can, or why should we, remove this from our being as we decide such matters? That turns us into cold-blooded killers.
    I do think the carpet bombing in Dresden was monstrous. And I can tell that young civilians today in Germany who would go to any length to denounce and repudiate the Nazi past would still agree. (winners tend to write the history of wars.) I also believe there may have been a different way to end the war in Japan then to drop two nuclear weapons. (Especially the second.) Though I also believe that a major reason—perhaps THE major reason there has been no use of nuclear weaponry since is the first-hand evidence of what it could do.
    It’s so easy for us as Americans to become inured, un-emotional to put it in your terms, to the actual horror of war. War is generally something that happens to other people, we’ve been lucky that it has not happened on our soil since the Civil War. This is why European countries generally have a more resistant attitude towards military action than we do. They know the price, within living memory.
    I don’t find my Ayers statement outrageous at all. Government leaders who send young people to die and also to kill, should not avoid responsibility simply because there are many layers of bureaucracy between them and the point of that gun. Yes, I do believe that in very rare cases, just war exists. Self-defense is legitimate.
    Vietnam was not a major military power bent on conquest of huge swaths of the earth, unlike Germany or imperial Japan. It did not possess nuclear weaponry. They were fighting essentially a civil war, and we were only there because of our attitude that the important struggle of the earth was between two or three superpowers, and we were going fight those battles via proxy wars like Vietnam. We viewed EVERYTHING through that prism. Yes, civilians were hard to distinguish there…but in that sense the Vietcong were not different from our Revolutionary War ancestors. For millions of Vietnamese, fighting us was not a matter of preferring one ideology over another. Fighting us was to get a huge foreign power out of their home country. Isn’t that a feeling we can relate to? Do you think they would EVER have stopped trying to kick us out of their country, no matter how many bombs we dropped or troops we sent in? Would we ever quit, if we were in that situation?

  39. Phillip

    I’ll give the last word on this to Simone Weil:
    “Whether the mask is labeled Fascism, Democracy, or Dictatorship of the Proletariat, our great adversary remains the Apparatus–the bureaucracy, the police, the military…. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this Apparatus, and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.”

  40. Mike Cakora

    Phillip –
    We are a society of law, even the president has to operate within the law, as you and I can agree. Change in our civil society happens through elections, sometimes changing the law, while our rights are guaranteed by our constitution.
    To have their voices heard, some folks have a times engaged in civil disobedience. That’s what opened folks’ eyes to our nation’s great failings in civil rights, citizens of all races and backgrounds engaging in peaceful demonstrations and the peaceful breaking of unjust laws and practices of segregation, in a civil manner.

    – “Excuse me, I believe I’ll sit in the front of the bus.”
    – “Pardon, but I’ll take a seat at this lunch counter.”
    – “I insist on entering this restroom.”

    Even the Alaska Independence Party seeks change through civil means, through the ballot box.
    In contrast, Ayers and hundreds of other spoiled egomaniacs embarked on bombings, kidnappings, robberies, and other quite uncivil acts to intimidate others through force. They committed hundreds of crimes! Looks at their mug shots, listen to their smug proclamations — these self-proclaimed revolutionaries were so right, so good, so in tune with some rather strange notions that they acknowledged no law other than what they wanted. How arrogant, how boorish!
    And you would have us welcome theses unrepentant egomaniacs back into the fold of civil society? What happens when they clean themselves up and get pretend jobs in the academy? They continue their movement within the system, funding “education” projects based on political merit — and the politics are so left-wing that you’d not support them — instead of instructional merit. Read Ayers’ work and tell me what educational merit he espouses. He seeks to inject politics into the curriculum of minority students, subjecting them to an education devoid of instructional substance, one that he did not subject his own kids to.
    Ayers is an authoritarian who’s gotten a little older and likes his creature comforts. He met with Huga Chavez just two years ago:

    With Chavez at his side, Ayers voiced his support for “the political educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chavez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution. . . . I look forward to seeing how . . . all of you continue to overcome the failures of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane.”
    Ayers told the great humanitarian Chavez: “Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions large and small. La educacion es revolucion.”

    By all means, hang around with Ayers if you want to. I try to stay away from lawbreakers, especially those who believe themselves to be above the law. I will do what little I can to keep him away from anything that’s important because I don’t know what he’ll do next. Neither do you.

  41. just saying

    Mike, I might not agree with your politics some of the time, but you’ve had several really nice posts here in the last few days. Thanks!
    As far as this one, I entirely agree with “I try to stay away from lawbreakers, especially those who believe themselves to be above the law.” At the same time, I also disdain those who use the law as a weapon to fulfill their own greedy ends, and for whom the spirit of the law doesn’t matter.

  42. Lee Muller

    Bill Ayers is not a “60s era radical”.
    He is a 2008 radical communist, and a close associate and mentor of Barack Obama.
    And Bill Ayers is only one of dozens of communists, socialists, Muslims and racists who comprise ALL of Obama’s close associates.

  43. Lee Muller

    The Democratic Party created “predatory lending” at all levels.
    Democrats created the junk mortgage loans to blacks and illegal Mexicans, that most of them could not repay. Democrats blocked regulation and oversight.
    Democrats created most of the state lotteries, and they work as lobbyists and in the legislatures to block oversight and accountability.
    Democrats created the payday loan industry and blocks regulation.

  44. just saying

    Good old non-racist Lee… too bad we couldn’t have just given the junk mortgage loans to the poor whites and Asians, they’d repay them!

  45. zzazzeefrazzee

    Apparently, Mike, Ayers past mattered not one whit to Republicans Walter Annenberg, Governor Jim Edgars, and Rep. Diana Nelson.
    Yet THEIR relationship to Ayers is neither worthy of acknowledgment nor comment?
    How utterly hypocritical!

  46. Lee Muller

    The junk loans were racist, a tool of racial politics by Democrats to buy votes from unsophisticated blacks and Latinos.
    Obama is the only one with relationships to Ayers and all these other Marxists, racists and Muslims. Obama = racist socialism.

  47. just saying

    So, apparently, judging from Lee’s posts if we say the same thing over and over again with a few facts sprinkled among our lies it becomes true! Something like if I were to start ending all of my posts with…
    Muller = racist mammon worshiper
    … well, maybe I’ll just think it, and not fill up Brad’s blog with too much repetitive drivel.

  48. Phillip

    I’m glad to hear you say we are a society of laws, and that even the President has to operate within them. Not sure the current Prez and VP would see it that way, but anyway…
    The fact that we are a society of laws is the very reason why Ayers is free to pursue his academic career, for better or for worse. My feelings about USC’s invitation of Ayers have nothing to do with how reprehensible I feel his acts of the 60’s to have been. For better or worse he was not convicted, he had not committed any crimes for many years, he had (whether you or I like it or not) become a leading figure in the public education field.
    Your characterization of his academic work is viewed through the prism of your political beliefs, just as my characterization of the work of John Yoo might be colored somewhat by my fervent belief in what I believe to be fundamental human rights. Nevertheless I support Cal-Berkeley’s right of academic freedom to employ Professor Yoo just as I support USC’s decision to invite Ayers as one of many sources of ideas they have invited over the years in the field of education. If his views are insupportable, let that be decided in open airing and open discussion. Don’t know if Yoo has been here, but I would have no problem with his being invited to lecture at USC. Might be entertaining to make sure those Chinese Uighers are all invited to sit in front row and stare at him, but sure USC has a right to invite him.
    There was no problem with Ayers coming here in 2006, simply because the right-wingers only care about him now because he seems tailor-made for a Rovian-style attack on Obama. Yet as zzazzeefrazee has pointed out, the connections via the Annenberg Project touch Republican officeholders as well as Democratic ones.
    I hope McCain continues to push hard on the Ayers issue. It might just push Obama over the 350 electoral vote count.

  49. Mike Cakora

    Phillip –
    Even if Ayers had something worthwhile to say, I’d shun him.
    As for his contributions to education, he does not support curriculum standards, standardized tests, and grades, nor does he like school boards, teachers who think differently, or conventional administrators. He preaches an open style of discovery wherein teachers are moderators of classroom discussion, but kids do the learning on their own. He has no research — his own or others — to support his methods.
    That’s why he’s dangerous: he’s an idiot who does not know how K12 education works despite his Ed.D from Teachers College, Columbia University in Curriculum and Instruction. He happens to be a far left-wing idiot, but I’d find him noxious were he a far righty too. The inescapable result of applying his methods is stupid kids.
    We see that in dismal results of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC): $160M spent with “little impact on school improvement and student outcomes, with no statistically significant differences between Annenberg and non-Annenberg schools in rates of achievement gain, classroom behavior, student self-efficacy, and social competence.”
    You need to mosey on over to Steve Diamond’s Global Labor and Politics blogfor a fuller appreciation some of the history of Ayers. (Steve is a university professor, left of center, who’s done yeoman’s work in researching Ayers and his efforts at destroying the Chicago Pubic School system.)
    The CAC was in fact the continuation of Ayers’ first assault on the Chicago school system. He was the leader behind the formation of ideologically motivated “Local School Councils,” (LSC’s) the central institution in the “radical” Chicago school reform movement of that 1987-88 period; the LSCs fought the school board, the teachers’ union, school administrators, parents groups, and anyone else who stood in their way of taking over the schools for their own purposed.
    Why is this important?

    It is very important here to see the fundamental mistake being made by right wing critics of the CAC: they want to paint it as a “left wing” enterprise and then people like Klonsky and Ayers will point out, as Klonsky does in his comment, the presence of various prominent Chicagoans on the board of the CAC.
    But if you make clear that the CAC was part of an effort to support the authoritarian and fundamentally undemocratic watchdog LSC’s, then you get to the heart of the problem: Ayers, Klonsky and perhaps Obama have a patronizing and authoritarian approach to politics. On occasion business people side with such authoritarians – they did in Nicaragua and today some of them do in Venezuela, sometimes out of frustration with democratic institutions and some times out of opportunism.
    In 1995 the business community was turning against the “radical” authoritarian LSC’s and backing Daley’s effort to recentralize control over the schools with his CEO model. That put Obama and Ayers and Rolling directly in opposition to the Daley regime. That is what makes the CAC record so important: it is evidence of Obama siding with an authoritarian approach to education reform arm in arm with Bill Ayers and Mike Klonsky, among others.
    Of course, for Klonsky to hide behind the Rove/Swiftboating charge is a way of discouraging open and transparent debate about six of the most important years in Obama’s professional life, the only time he ever held a top level leadership position. The CAC experience deserves a full exploration and discussion by the electorate.

    Why bring up John Yoo? What crime has he committed? Is giving advice a crime? If so, why leave out Jamie Gorelick, the person who erected the wall between the intelligence and criminal portions of the Justice Department. That was an actual act that caused harm.
    I’m merely underscoring my point that one can and should separate politics from criminality. Ayers’ is guilty of much more than politics or even simple incivility.

  50. Lee Muller

    Bill Ayers is no different than Tim McVeigh, except that Tim McVeigh didn’t get a liberal federal court to let him off on a technicality. They are both bombers, and murderers.
    Would you have liked for USC to have invited Tim McVeigh to lecture while he was on death row?

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