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The Chicago Three: Obama, Ayers & Rezko

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Overview: This is a story of big-city behind-the-scenes politics — of scratch-my-back and I’ll-scratch-yours backroom dealings. It is a story of how Bill Ayers and Barack Obama — sitting on a charitable board (for which they were paid) — aided and abetted the lucrative real estate development projects of Obama’s former law firm associate Allison Davis and Davis’s development partner Antoin “Tony” Rezko.

The Woods board on which Ayers and Obama sat ended up giving those two development partners the sum of one million dollars, from which both Davis and Rezko reaped considerable financial gain. And Obama did not recuse himself from the board’s vote on this large real estate transaction despite a clear conflict of interest from his past associations. Obama then became the beneficiary of large — very large — campaign contributions from Rezko and many of his wealthy associates. It all worked out very well for Sen. Obama.
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Bill Ayers, Obama’s friend and benefactor, was introduced to the public during Wednesday’s Democratic debate, much to the chagrin of the Obama campaign and his supporters.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Ayers was not a radical; he is a domestic terrorist (Ayers once suggested that young people should “Bring the war home. Kill your parents.”). There’s a big distinction between having radical ideas and violent plans. Gloria Steinem, Tom Hayden, and Todd Gitlin were radicals. The desire to kill innocent Americans makes Ayers a terrorist.

Larry Johnson makes the point that:

William Ayers is not just some guy who lives in Barack’s congressional district. He helped Barack organize his run against State Senator Alice Palmer. Ayers raised money for Barack. Ayers contributed money to Barack. And Bill Ayers and Barack Obama sat side-by-side as paid board members of the Woods Fund.

Contrary to Obama’s claim that who your friends are shouldn’t matter, the fact that his benefactor is an unrepentant terrorist calls into question Obama’s judgment. If Obama were applying for a job with the FBI or any American intelligence agency, his relationship with Ayers would receive the utmost scrutiny and would likely result in him receiving a rejection letter:

The CIA employment Web site says:

Friends, family, individuals, or organizations may be interested to learn that you are an applicant for or an employee of the CIA. Their interest, however, may not be benign or in your best interest.

This is a warning for an entry level analyst position. Obama is applying to be Commander-in-Chief. Obama’s friends have included an American terrorist and Obama wants us to be believe that this relationship was benign? Not only are we entitled to ask about this relationship, it’s our fiduciary duty as voters to demand more information about this relationship.

As the National Review Online asks about Obama’s association with Ayers, only slightly tongue-in-cheek: “Do you, personally, know anyone who has ever tried to blow up the Pentagon?”

Obama’s poor judgment in picking his friends–from Wright, to Rezko, to Ayers–becomes glaringly obvious when you realize that many of Obama’s friends knew each other and were all working for each others’ benefit. Like the Teamster’s Pension Fund, the non-profit Woods Fund was place where Chicago’s powerful could mingle and dispense funds to their friends:

In Obama’s case, a whole gang of slumlords in Illinois made their “voices heard” by writing campaign checks to fund his rise to fame. But as long as the focus of the slumlord allegations remains solely on a crook named Rezko, the other members of the gang will not get the credit they deserve.

Until now…

In the mid-1990s, Ayers and Dohrn [Ayers' wife] hosted a meet-and-greet at their house to introduce Obama to their neighbors during his first run for the Illinois Senate. In 2001, Ayers contributed $200 to Obama’s campaign. Ayers also served alongside Obama between December 1999 and December 2002 on the board of the not-for-profit Woods Fund of Chicago. That board met four times a year, and members would see each other at occasional dinners the group hosted.

Writing for the Chicago Sun Times, Tim Novak reports that Obama’s “charity” work may have equally benefited Obama and his friends. Obama and Ayers were sitting board members when their friends came looking for money:

Seven years ago, Sen. Barack Obama was on the board of a Chicago charity when his former boss, Allison S. Davis, came looking for money. At the time, Davis was a developer represented by the law firm where Obama worked, as well as a small contributor to Obama’s political campaign funds. He wanted the charity to help fund his plans to build housing for low-income Chicagoans. Obama agreed. He voted with other directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago to invest $1 million with Neighborhood Rejuvenation Partners L.P., a $17 million partnership that Davis still operates.

It’s not clear whether Obama told other board members of his ties to Davis, whose family would go on to donate more than $25,000 to Obama’s political campaigns, including his bid to be president of the United States.

“Let me get back to you on that,” Obama presidential campaign spokesman Bill Burton said when asked about that two weeks ago. He never did.

In a painful contortion, the Obama campaign defended Obama’s “magnanimous” vote by claiming that

“It was a worthwhile project,” Burton said. “It’s not a conflict of interest to do what’s right for your community.”

City records show Davis used some of the money to build a 72-unit apartment building for senior citizens at 87th and Ashland. The $10 million project — built with a $5.7 million loan from the city — netted Davis nearly $700,000 in development fees, city records show.

Perhaps the biggest revelation is that Obama’s buddy Rezko was a business partner with Davis.

As a developer, Davis’ partners have included Tony Rezko, the now-indicted political fund-raiser who has been among Obama’s biggest political supporters. A few months after Davis left the law firm, Obama won his first political office — a seat in the Illinois Senate. His campaign contributors included Rezko and Davis.

Two years later, Obama wrote to city and state officials, urging them to give money to New Kenwood LLC, a company that Davis and Rezko formed to build an apartment building for low-income seniors at 48th and Cottage Grove.
Davis and Rezko were building that project in 2000 when Davis approached the Woods Fund, seeking its investment in future projects.

In summary, Obama was at the intersection of money and power in Chicago politics. He voted to fund his boss’s projects who in turn donated huge sums of money to his campaigns. His boss was in business with Tony Rezko, another Obama friend and fundraiser. And all of this was done while sitting across the table from an American terrorist, Bill Ayers, who also gave money to Obama’s campaigns and to the business ventures of Rezko and Davis. It’s now painfully obvious why Obama doesn’t want us to examine his friendships.

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  • http://web.mac.com/writecoast/iWeb/Site/Blog/Blog.html Peggy McGilligan

    We’ve listened to politicians lie about corruption, deny corruption, and justify corruption until corruption seems not only second nature, but also quite the thing to do. Politicians never get punished. They argue that everybody does it. Why single them out? Crime pays for elected officials. What’s a few billion beans among friends? Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the criminal circus (and it is criminal) is that it’s so interrelated, so endemic, so inbred. According to Slate Magazine: over the last 30 years, at least three governors, a mayor, and a few dozen local government officials in Chicago have been convicted of criminal offences. From 1994 to 2004, 469 Illinois politicians were found guilty of corruption – more than any other region except Central California. And, that brings us to Fort Ord. Fort Ord is located on California’s Central Coast. During World War II, Fort Ord was a staging ground for American forces in the South Pacific; places like the Gilbert Islands and bloody Tarawa. But during the 1990s, something unheard of happened to the venerable fort. It fell without a shot being fired: http://theseedsof9-11.com

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  • humm…

    The only growing business in Chicago is political corruption… it’s “The Jungle’s” meat grinder.

    Don’t eat the hamburger…

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  • Pingback: The Independent View » Blog Archive » Selected Readings on Barack and Michelle Obama, William Ayers, and Bernadine Dohrn

  • truthseeker

    September 11, 2001 “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” Ayers is quoted in NYT article

    Obama sits in a known racists church for 20 years, gets married by him, calls him his spiritual advisor and puts him on his board. Rev(that title should be made loosely) Wright preaches James Cone’s racist Black Liberation theology-”kill whitey and his white God”.He is good friends with Cone and Ferrakhan.

    Then Obamas dares claim he didn’t know what Wright believes. Every person in Chicago knows what Wright believes because he is on the tv news and in the paper all the time. Also with Fr Phlegher.

    Ayers connection – Ayers was not just a radical; he is a domestic terrorist Ayers violence along with his violent terrorist friends blew up a police headquarters in New York.

    (Ayers once suggested that young people should “Bring the war home. Kill your parents.”). There’s a big distinction between having radical ideas and violent plans. Gloria Steinem, Tom Hayden, and Todd Gitlin were radicals. The desire to kill innocent Americans makes Ayers a terrorist.

    dave52 wrote:
    For those who have forgotten or weren’t born yet here is a list of a few of the activities. Just think if this were happening today:

    7 October 1969 – Bombing of Haymarket Police Statue in Chicago, apparently as a “kickoff” for the “Days of Rage” riots in the city October 8-11, 1969. The Weathermen later claim credit for the bombing in their book, “Prairie Fire.”

    8 October-11, 1969 – The “Days of Rage” riots occur in Chicago in which 287 Weatherman members from throughout the country were arrested and a large amount of property damage was done.

    6 December 1969 – Bombing of several Chicago Police cars parked in a precinct parking lot at 3600 North Halsted Street, Chicago. The WUO stated in their book “Prairie Fire” that they had did the explosion.

    27 December-31, 1969 – Weathermen hold a “War Council” meeting in Flint, MI, where they finalize their plans to submerge into an underground status from which they plan to commit strategic acts of sabotage against the government. Thereafter they are called the “Weather Underground Organization” (WUO).

    13 February 1970 – Bombing of several police vehicles of the Berkeley, California, Police Department .

    16 February 1970 – Bombing of Golden Gate Park branch of the San Francisco Police Department, killing one officer and injuring a number of other policemen.

    6 March 1970 – Bombing in the 13th Police District of the Detroit, Michigan. 34 sticks of dynamite are discovered. During February and early March, 1970, members of the WUO, led by Bill Ayers, are reported to be in Detroit, during that period, for the purpose of bombing a police facility.

    6 March 1970 – “bomb factory” located in New York’s Greenwich Village accidentally explodes. WUO members Theodore die in t. The bomb was intended to be planted at a non-commissioned officer’s dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The bomb was packed with nails TO INFILICT MAXIMUM CASUALTIES UPON DETONATION.

    30 March 1970 – Chicago Police discover a WUO “bomb factory” on Chicago’s north side. A subsequent discovery of a WUO “weapons cache” in a south side Chicago apartment several days later ends WUO activity in the city.

    10 May 1970 – Bombing of The National Guard Association building in Washington, D.C..

    21 May 1970 – The WUO under Bernardine Dohrn’s name releases its “Declaration of a State of War” communique.

    6 June 1970 – The WUO sends a letter claiming credit for bombing of the San Francisco Hall of Justice; however, no explosion actually took place. Months later, workmen in this building located an unexploded device which had apparently been dormant for some time.

    9 June 1970 – Bombing of The New York City Police Headquarters .

    27 July 1970 – Bombing of The Presidio army base in San Francisco. [NYT, 7/27/70]

    12 September 1970 – The WUO helps Dr. Timothy Leary, break out and escape from the California Men’s Colony prison.

    8 October 1970 – Bombing of Marin County courthouse. [NYT, 8/10/70]

    10 October 1970 – Bombing of Queens traffic-court building . [NYT, 10/10/70, p. 12]

    14 October 1970 – Bombing of The Harvard Center for International Affairs [NYT, 10/14/70, p. 30]

    1 March 1971 – Bombing of The United States Capitol . ” [NYT, 3/2/71]

    April, 1971 – abandoned WUO “bomb factory” discovered in San Francisco, California.

    29 August, 1971 – Bombing of the Office of California Prisons . [LAT, 8/29/71]

    17 September 1971 – Bombing of The New York Department of Corrections in Albany, NY [NYT, 9/18/71]

    15 October 1971 – Bombing of William Bundy’s office in the MIT research center. [NYT, 10/16/71]

    19 May 1972 – Bombing of The Pentagon . [NYT, 5/19/72]

    18 May 1973 – Bombing of the 103rd Police Precinct in New York

    28 September 1973 – Bombing of ITT headquarters in New York and Rome, Italy . [NYT, 9/28/73]

    6 March 1974 – Bombing of the Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare offices in San Francisco

    31 May 1974 – Bombing of The Office of the California Attorney General.

    17 June 1974 – Bombing of Gulf Oil’s Pittsburgh headquarters .

    11 September 1974 – Bombing of Anaconda Corporation (part of the Rockefeller Corporation).

    29 January 1975 – Bombing of the State Department in (AP. “State Department Rattled by Blast,” The Daily Times-News, January 29 1975, p.1)

    16 June 1975 – Bombing of Banco de Ponce (a Puerto Rican bank) in New York .

    September, 1975 – Bombing of the Kennecott Corporation .

    October 20, 1981 – Brinks robbery in which several members of the Weather Underground stole over $1 million from a Brinks armored car near Nyack, New York. The robbers murdered 2 police officers and 1 Brinks guard. Several others were wounded.
    1981 “Guilty as hel*. Free as a bird. America is a great country,”
    Ayers said when interviewed by David Horowitz.

    September 11, 2001 “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” Ayers is quoted in NYT article