May I just say I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of PinocchiObama? I’ve been writing about this Liar of Liars since sometime in 2006 and blogging and writing books about him since January 2008. Honestly, there cannot be too many more lies to be exposed — can there?
Mona Charen reminds us today of PinocchiObama’s legendary tale, now memorialized beginning with his 2008 campaign trail speeches, about his mother’s terrible, horrible, losing battle with her health insurance company about her alleged “pre-existing condition” while she was dying from cancer. Except that that was all a Big Lie to push for his “signature achievement” — aka the soon-to-be Endless American Nighmare — ObamaCare.
The tell-tale signs of just how far PinocchiObama would take his prevarications are legion. It would take volumes to relate them all, and even then it’s unlikely that we would have all the details. (Forget about all those missing official documents nobody will admit to having ever seen. Campaign hacks don’t count.)
It’s those PinocchiObama details that I have been documenting for far too long. It’s exhausting.
That said, I want to share something I had come across a number of years ago, a confirmation about one of my favorite topics, the Barack Obama-Bill Ayers connection. It specifically addresses how early on their paths would have crossed.
While doing a bit of background research this weekend, I stumbled upon School Reform, Chicago Style. How Citizens Organized to Change Public Policy, a pamphlet published in 1991 by Catalyst Chicago, and authored by Mary O’Connell, during the city’s education reform blitz.
In 1987, Secretary of Education William J. Bennett had publicly announced that Chicago’s schools were “the worst in the nation” and “close to an educational meltdown.” Local activists went into full panic mode and got into a flurry of organizing. The 1991 pamphlet relates part of that activity.
We find the following on page 40. Note that June 1988 is the date given for the members of the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools (ABC’s) Coalition. Note at the top of the second column we find Developing Communities Project, the Alinskyite community organization headed since 1985 by Barack Obama. Finally, note that the contact person for the ABC’s Coalition is none other than unrepentant domestic terrorist, Prof. William Ayers of the University of Chicago.
Recall that Presidential Candidate Obama (aka PrezCanO) claimed that Bill Ayers was just some guy who lived in his exclusive Hyde Park neighborhood.
Guilt by association? Absolutely! As VP Biden would say, it’s a ‘Big F**king Deal’. Follow along.
In June 2010, I wrote “Is It Really Credible That Obama and Ayers Did Not Meet in 1987 or 1988?” at RBO. It is worthy of a repost here:
Behind the RBO curtains there has been an on-again, off-again dispute regarding claims Aaron Klein and I make in our New York Times Bestselling book, The Manchurian President, about when it was Barack Obama and Weather Underground terrorist, Bill Ayers, first met.
No, we do not have photos or meeting sign-in sheets or meeting notes or first-person accounts pinning down the exact date and time.
However, what we do have are some pretty neat pieces of circumstantial evidence. As most should know, circumstantial evidence has convicted more than a felon or two.
But first, let’s look at what one of our main detractors, Steve Diamond, political science and law professor and blogger, says about Aaron and I — “[we] made up the idea that [we] had proof that Ayers met Obama in 1988.”
For the record, we did not make anything up, let alone an “idea” that we have “proof.” FYI, we cited seven different sources in support of our claim in Manchurian President. However, as some people are never satisfied, here we go to pile on some more small bits of information.
Let’s examine, in chronological order, what Diamond himself has written about the Obama-Ayers-Alliance for Better Chicago Schools (ABCs) coalition. All emphasis has been added.
Beginning with his June 5, 2008, post, “Obama’s retreat from Bill Ayers begins – is there room under that bus?”, at his Global Labor and Politics blog, Diamond wrote (cache link will not post; search title, click on cache): (Also see Diamond’s April 22, 2008, Who Sent Obama?.)
Tom Ayers’ founded Chicago United, Obama-led Developing Communities Project and Bill Ayers all worked on the same side in the Chicago school wars of the 1987-1988 time period.
Chicago United was “the most powerful and influencial organization in Chicago addressing local socioeconomic conditions,” PRNewswire reported in June 2004.
Chicago United was founded in 1968, “following the riots that came in the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination which disrupted Chicago and much of the nation.” The late Tom Ayers, former CEO of Commonwealth Edison, and father of Bill Ayers, was one of the “handful of Chicago’s top white business leaders and key representatives from the black community [who] began meeting to address the socioeconomic problems that led to the riots.”
On July 5, 2008, in comments back and forth with Leo Casey, United Federation of Teachers’ VP of High Schools, Diamond wrote at the DemocraticLeft Yahoo Group:
… Given the importance and depth of the [Chicago] Annenberg Challenge project it would be useful to know more about Obama’s views of it, yet everyone ignores it. The New York Times, for example, stated that Obama first met Ayers (and Dorhn) at a November 1995 meet and greet when Obama announced his candidacy for state senate. But by then Obama had already been working closely with Ayers on the Annenberg Challenge for at least a year. And, of course, both Ayers and Obama had both been active in lobbying for the local school councils system – in order to curb teachers’ union power, by the way – in 1987-88 in the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools.
This was followed by two separate related posts on Diamond’s blog. (Note access to Diamond’s blog is now blocked to the public. Thanks to Google cache files, we have the links and the quotes from the posts.)
In his August 20, 2008, Global Labor and Politics blog post, “Behind the Chicago Annenberg Challenge: Politics and Ideology,” Diamond wrote that Obama and Ayers were “active together” in the same effort led by ABCs:
The selection of Barack Obama as Chairman of the Board of the Bill Ayers-designed and founded Chicago Annenberg Challenge in early 1995 did not happen in a vacuum.
It happened within the context of a “radical” (Ayers’ word) school reform effort begun in Chicago in the late 1980s. Both Ayers and Obama were active together in that effort which was led by the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools (ABCs). Ayers would later chair the ABCs.
Barack Obama left Chicago to go to Harvard sometime around June 1988, and did not return to work in Chicago again until after he graduated from Law School, well after the 1980s. This leads to only a single timeframe that would include the 1980s — late 1987 when ABCs was formed, and late spring 1988, when Obama left Chicago.
Next, Diamond talks about the Obama-Ayers’ “shared history together in school reform”. Simply put, Ayers was active in ABCs, Obama headed DCP and DCP was a member of ABCs.
In his September 10, 2008, Global Labor and Politics blog post, “Obama/Ayers/Annenberg Update: The NY Times finally mentions the A-word,” Diamond wrote (cache file), criticizing a New York Times article:
… The Times avoids discussing just exactly what might have brought Ayers and Obama together in the Challenge, which I believe was, in part, their shared history together in school reform going back to 1987-1988 when Ayers was an activist in school reform efforts that were led by the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools, which Ayers later chaired. Obama’s Developing Communities Project was a member of that Alliance.
On September 29, 2008, Diamond’s voice on the Ayers-Obama ABCs’ relationship was heard. Using Diamond’s information, Joshua Muravchik, in the Wall Street Journal article, “Obama’s Leftism,” arrived at a logical conclusion: (Emphasis added.)
After escaping punishment for his crimes, Ayers received degrees in education and became an advocate of school reform in Chicago. In particular, he propounded a “radical” project in the late 1980s that was inspired by New York City’s disastrous experiment decades earlier in “community control.” Ayers’s project was championed by a coalition called the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools, or ABC’s; according to Mr. Diamond, one member of the “alliance” was the Developing Communities Project, the group for which Mr. Obama worked as an organizer. If so, then it is likely that the two met back then, since the DCP was a tiny organization and Mr. Obama was most likely its representative.
Digging deeper, I found the following from a Diamond article crossposted August 12, 2008, at Larry Johnson’s No Quarter blog. Under the heading “Know your ABCs,” Diamond credits Bill Ayers with having “helped organize the ABCs group” — a clear statement with no supporting link.
In 1987 in the wake of a controversial strike by the Chicago Teachers’ Union, the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools, or ABCs, was formed to lobby for a new Illinois law that would mandate the establishment of a new power center in Chicago public schools. Local school councils would be established to watchdog union teachers and their principals and they would have the power to fire principals at will.
Bill Ayers helped organize the ABCs group, was its contact person and later its chair. Barack Obama worked on school reform efforts for the DCP at that time, the DCP played a leading role in the school reform effort and the DCP was a member of the ABCs. Chicago United, a business group established by Tom Ayers, Bill’s father, was also a member of the ABCs.
Got all that? Carry on.
Now comes my circumstantial evidence to support that Bill Ayers was, in fact, not only deeply involved with ABCs from its beginning, in 1987, but was also apparently very much involved with other Chicago school reform organizations around the same time, as well. This possibly includes CURE, which was subsequently part of ABCs. (Emphasis has been added.)
The actual date that ABCs launched is unclear. Michael Katz writes in his book, Improving Poor People (Princeton University, 1997, page 118; available on Google books) that ABCs succeeded CURE in early 1988. Barack Obama was the leader of Developing Communities Project, and still in Chicago, at that time.
In the July/August 2001 edition of Shelterforce Online, Donald R. Moore, then executive director of the community activism group, Designs for Change, wrote:
In 1981, Chicago United, a business group concerned about social issues in the city, carried out a massive study of the city’s school system and made 253 recommendations for change, addressing everything from audio-visual repairs to student absenteeism. Although the Chicago Board of Education agreed to carry out the recommended changes, six years later a consultant reported to business leaders that all of the group’s major recommendations for improving student learning had been ignored. The consultant recommended a radical decentralization of the school system, an idea that resonated with the business community at a time when many large Chicago corporations were moving more authority in their own firms to the local store or plant.
Decentralization was also on the minds of a small coalition of school reform groups and educators who met in the summer of 1986 to draft a plan to restructure the Chicago schools. Some advocated breaking the school system into 20 subdistricts with elected school boards, following the example of New York City. Designs for Change, an educational research and advocacy group, argued for an even more dramatic approach: bringing decision making and the focus for improvement all the way down to the individual school. The coalition swung around to support this idea.
Calling themselves Chicagoans United to Reform Education (or CURE), the group drafted and circulated a manifesto, “Needed: A New School System for Chicago,” spelling out the key elements of their proposal. The plan garnered little serious attention at first, but the opportunity for action soon arose: A bitter month-long school strike disrupted the opening of school in fall 1987, spurring parent and community groups to demand not only an end to the school strike, but also radical change in how the school system operated. After the strike was settled, Mayor Harold Washington convened an Education Summit that included many CURE supporters, along with business leaders sympathetic to radical decentralization.
The Education Summit spawned the broader Alliance for Better Chicago Schools (known as the ABC’S Coalition) and brought together parent, community, and business leaders around a common reform agenda. The reform movement now comprised Chicago grassroots activists from every racial and ethnic background and virtually every Chicago neighborhood, including both multi-issue community organizations and groups that focused solely on school reform. The coalition also included Chicago’s two most influential business organizations: Chicago United and the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club.
In a circa 2000 version of his 2001 Shelterforce Online article, Don Moore writes in “The System Matters. Chicago Activists Win District-Wide Change”:
Calling themselves Chicagoans United to Reform Education (or CURE), the group drafted and circulated a manifesto called ‘Needed: A New School System for Chicago’ in fall 1986, which spelled out all the key elements of the Chicago School Reform Act that was passed two years later.
The release date of CURE’s “first position paper, ‘Needed: A New School System for Chicago’,” was confirmed by Marilyn Gittell in Strategies for School Equity: Creating Productive Schools in a Just Society (Yale University Press, 1998, page 213; available on Google books).
Ben Joravsky writes in his November 1990 Chicago Reader article, “The Long, Strange Trip of Bill Ayers”:
Few members of the school reform movement can say for certain when it was that they first met Ayers. It was as though one day they looked and he was there.
That would have been late 1987, in the aftermath of a debilitating 21-day teacher strike that enraged parents and inspired them to demand immediate change.
By then Ayers had moved to Hyde Park and was working at UIC.
“I arrived just as the movement was picking up,” says Ayers. “I was immediately intrigued. I started attending different meetings. I couldn’t stay away.” [...]
In terms of his educational philosophy, he picked up where he had left off back in 1968 [...] He called for abolishing the central office bureaucracy and redistributing its funds to the classroom.
Joravsky writes that Ayers “preached [his message] to appreciative audiences throughout” Chicago. At some point, Ayers spoke at “Sabin Elementary School, a predominantly Hispanic school on the near west side” of Chicago, where he met Lourdes Monteagudo, “then the school’s principal. On the south side he met Coretta McFerren, leader of a group called the People’s Coalition for Educational Reform.”
Aaron and I quoted from the following by Joravsky in Manchurian President:
McFerren and others invited Ayers to meetings of the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools, a coalition that includes members of Hispanic, business, black, and civic organizations. He started attending the group’s monthly meetings, held over breakfasts of eggs, sausage, rolls, fruit, and coffee in a conference room on the 57th floor of First National Bank’s downtown headquarters.
In many ways, Ayers’s philosophy was ideal for ABCs. The targets of his criticism–central office bureaucrats and ineffective classroom teachers–were not members of the coalition. For ABCs’ members he had almost nothing but praise.
Within a few weeks, the group named Ayers convener, which means he runs their meetings.
We know Don Moore was accurate in his report of a “manifesto” being written in summer 1986 by CURE, a “small coalition of school reform groups and educators” with decentralization on its mind. Marilyn Gittell writes that it was released in fall 1986.
Ben Joravsky writes “Under Ayers, ABCs released a manifesto calling for the abolishment of the central school office.”
Each group could have authored a similar manifesto. It is equally possible that a second manifesto, ABCs’ written in 1987, was based on the former, CURE’s, written in summer 1986. The emphasis on decentralization certainly does not make the concept unique to Bill Ayers or either group.
What is most interesting here is the fact that Bill Ayers had the opportunity to write both. While he admittedly circulated among various school reform groups, no source has identified when he first appeared.
Now I will add another circumstantial layer. The Chicago Sun-Times‘ Linda Lenz reported April 8, 1988, that the mayor’s “education summit had a family blowup … over proposals to make substantial changes in the Chicago school reform package it approved three weeks ago.”
Lenz wrote that the leaders of a number of groups had endorsed the proposals, including the leader of the Developing Communities Project, which in April 1988 would most likely have been Barack Obama.
Adding all this up, is it credible that Bill Ayers and Barack Obama did not cross paths sometime in 1986, 1987 or 1988? By his own admission, Bill Ayers visited “different meetings” on school reform throughout Chicago. Ayers “couldn’t stay away.”
With two men — Bill Ayers and Barack Obama — working within the same school reform circles, is it believeable that they never met before 1995 when Ayers pulled Obama’s name out of a hat to head the Chicago Annenberg Challenge?
Yes. We know. Some people will never be satisified. So it goes.
Update 6/26/10: In his March 1990 Voice and Choice in Chicago (Draft) (published as Chapter 4 in Choice and Control in American Education: The Practice of Choice, Decentralization & School Restructuring by John F. Witte and William H. Clune, 1990, available at Google books), Donald R. Moore provides a few more details on the CURE-ABCs school reform history.
In fall 1986 Design for Change and Save Our Neighborhoods/Save Our City Coalition (SON/SOC) formed Chicagoans United to Reform Education (CURE) Coalition and CURE released its position paper, ‘Needed: A New School System for Chicago’.
In April 1987 CURE held a city-wide conference at Loyola University attended by “400 parents, citizens, and educators from 80 schools,” at which time it was decided to continue building support through summer and fall 1987 and to draft legislation for spring 1988, with serious consideration for the bill expected in spring 1989.
Following the month-long September 1987 teachers’ strike, Mayor Harold Washington held an Education Summit on October 11, 1987, which was attended by more than 1,000 people. The mayor expanded the Summit group, adding a Parent Community Council. By March 1988 a working coalition — which eventually emerged as the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools (ABCs) — formed with members from the Summit group, CURE, parents, neighbors, and business representatives who began to meet regularly. The ABCs coalition continued to press its “specific reform proposals” within the Summit; by April 1988 the final position paper included nearly all proposals for “restructuring the school system” put forth by ABCs. The ABCs continued to meet in May and June and carried out its legislative strategy [Illinois School Reform Act] via community activism — grassroots lobbying, weekly bus caravans to Springfield, a petition drive, and phone calling.
Throughout this phase Barack Obama, the head of Developing Communities Project, a member of ABCs, was still in Chicago. If Bill Ayers had been involved, as has been reported, as the convener for ABCs’ meetings, it seems this would have been a key time for his involvement.
BUT … there’s more.
About a year ago, in October 2012, I wrote about the 1987 political collaboration between PinocchiObama and his hateful pastor, Rev. Jeremiah “God-Damn-AmeriKKKa” Wright. From that post comes the following key observation posted in the comments section of an October 2008 RBO article made by commenter Mel:
The most important find is Obama’s DCP Director, June 1985 – June 1988 part of his resume where he states: “parent initiatives to reform public schools”.
This part of his resume places him in complete contact by Obama’s own admissions with Bill Ayers and the ABC Coalition that began in the fall of 1987 and finished its program after railroading every other coalition (likely visa vie ACORN) in the spring of 1988.
The find solidifies Obama and Ayers timeline to that date and time and is far more important than the [Chicago Annenberg Challenge date] because it give[s] [creedence] to everything that has been theorized about Obama and Ayers and the CAC appointment of Obama by Ayers as chairman of it!
As I pointed out then, Obama’s involvement with the Ayers’ family dating to 1987, or perhaps earlier, is old news. My co-author, Aaron Klein, and I have been writing about it in great detail since February 2008 in blog posts and in two of our books, The Manchurian President and Red Army.