Respectable dedication?

Yesterday's post about Ayers became so long with updates that it's looking cluttered. When I started it, I had not seen the video about Ayers and his buddies' plans to murder 25 million Americans, nor had I had a chance to examine his book Prairie Fire in much detail, although I did note that Ayers still lists it proudly on his curriculum vitae (as if further proof was needed that he's unrepentant).

What I missed was a small item. Just a guy on the dedication page:

Interestingly, the book lists Sirhan Sirhan, Robert F. Kennedy's assassin, on the dedication page.
Interestingly is a kind way of putting it. Horrifyingly might be better. But in any event, I thought this deserved something more than another update to a post that grew too long.

The problem with Ayers is his respectability, and that is a larger issue than his connection with Obama.

The argument that dedicating a book to Sirhan is no big deal because Ayers managed to hang out with Republicans is specious. This man should be considered totally beyond the pale. That he became respectable is, I think, a terrible mistake.

We have a candidate for president who has the opportunity to take issue with the propriety of that respectability, but who instead is helping to perpetuate it.

posted by Eric on 10.24.08 at 12:23 PM










Comments

Analogous story. When the Pame Smart murder trial was big news here in NH years ago, several people commented that the high school boy who slept with her and was in love with her, who went on to kill her husband was less responsible because he was young and besotted with lust. I recalled that when I was 15, I was also besotted with lust for my English teacher. I might have done any number of stupid things to impress her.

But before that gets to killing someone, a little light goes off in normal people's heads that says "Wait, I can't like murder someone! No way!"

So too with Bill Ayers. Yes, many young people were angry, radical, and excited and even committed acts of vandalism, public disturbance, etc. But in normal people, that little light is supposed to go off and say "Whoa! Blowing up buildings? And some of these people are talking about killing folks? I'm outa here."

The light didn't go on for Ayers. Okay, he may be smart and have some good qualities. Maybe he was good to his Mum and great at Scrabble or something. But this is a qualitative moral difference, not just a little excess. For Obama not to regard this as important...

For Obama not to regard this as important enough to keep his distance is chilling.

Assistant Village Idiot   ·  October 24, 2008 1:04 PM

The reason why Ayers smear doesn't stick is because majority of Americans see it for what it is: a desperate attempt by McCain to stay alive in the race.

Not to mention, McCain himself pals around with the Republicans (Annenberg) who funded Bill Ayers and served on boards with Ayers. McCain has accepted campaign money from Ayers pals such as Republican Weber and Mrs. Annenberg.

But pointing out this McCain's blatant hypocrisy is specious?

And what McCain's direct ties to G Gordon Liddy, a convicted felon, and domestic terrorist:

G Gordon Liddy served four and a half years in prison in connection with his conviction for his role in the Watergate break-in and the break-in at the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers.

Liddy has acknowledged preparing to kill someone during the Ellsberg break-in ¡°if necessary¡±; plotting to murder journalist Jack Anderson; plotting with a ¡°gangland figure¡± to murder Howard Hunt to stop him from cooperating with investigators; plotting to firebomb the Brookings Institution; and plotting to kidnap ¡°leftist guerillas¡± at the 1972 Republican National Convention ¡ª a plan he outlined to the Nixon administration using terminology borrowed from the Nazis. (The murder, firebombing, and kidnapping plots were never carried out; the break-ins were.)

During the 1990s, Liddy reportedly instructed his radio audience on multiple occasions on how to shoot Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents and also reportedly said he had named his shooting targets after Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Liddy has donated $5,000 to McCain¡¯s campaigns since 1998, including $1,000 in February 2008. In addition, McCain has appeared on Liddy¡¯s radio show during the presidential campaign, including as recently as May. An online video labeled ¡°John McCain On The G. Gordon Liddy Show 11/8/07¡å includes a discussion between Liddy and McCain, whom Liddy described as an ¡°old friend.¡± During the segment, McCain praised Liddy¡¯s ¡°adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great,¡± said he was ¡°proud¡± of Liddy, and said that ¡°it¡¯s always a pleasure for me to come on your program.¡±

How about them apples?

Meyrav

Meyrav Levine   ·  October 24, 2008 1:19 PM

Just one question Meyrav, are you voting for McCain because his ties matter as little to you as Obama's ties? Or is it that you think Obama is every bit as disreputable as McCain?

Just wondering where you're going with this rather strained and dishonest moral equivalency.

tim maguire   ·  October 24, 2008 1:54 PM

In her interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said that Bill Ayers is “no question” a terrorist because he sought to destroy the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon. Palin, however, refused to apply the same label to abortion clinic bombers:

Q: Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist, under this definition, governor?

PALIN: (Sigh). There’s no question that Bill Ayers via his own admittance was one who sought to destroy our U.S. Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist. There’s no question there. Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that uh, it would be unacceptable. I don’t know if you’re going to use the word terrorist there.

Attorney General John Ashcroft called Rudolph "the most notorious American fugitive on the FBI's 'Most Wanted' list," a stature Ayers never even came close to. As to whether abortion clinic bomber Rudolph was a terrorist, I'll leave that characterization to Alberto Gonzalez:
"The many victims of Eric Rudolph's terrorist attacks in Atlanta and Birmingham can rest assured that Rudolph will spend the rest of his life behind bars," said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. "The best interests of justice are served by resolution of this case and by the skillful operation that secured the dangerous explosives buried in North Carolina."

Meyrav Levine   ·  October 24, 2008 1:56 PM

Tim,

I'm voting for Obama.

Obama isn't making any issue of McCain's far more serious associations with convicted felons like G. Gordon Liddy.

Obama also isn't making any issue of Todd Palin's past membership in the anti-american secessionist Alaska Independence Party (AIP). Or the fact that Sarah Palin has spoken at AIP's convention multiple times.

You are rigth though; there isn't any moral equivalency between Obama's association with Ayers and McCain's association with Ayers, Liddy, and AIP.

But a majority of Americans have seen through McCain's blatant hypocrisy and for this reason his campaign is sinking.

Meyrav

Meyrav Levine   ·  October 24, 2008 2:11 PM

Comparing Ayers to Liddy is absurd.

http://www.classicalvalues.com/archives/2008/10/the_terrorist_a.html

So is comparing the AIP to the Weather Underground.

Killing abortion doctors is murder, and is not the same as detonating a bomb which kills at random. I think a better analogy than Rudolph would be Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

http://www.classicalvalues.com/archives/2008/10/post_911.html

If Ayers were being accorded a similar level of respect as Kaczyski or Rudolph, though, I wouldn't be complaining.

Again, this post was not about Ayers' association with Obama, but about Ayers' respectability, which as I said was a larger issue than his connection with Obama.

Eric Scheie   ·  October 24, 2008 2:49 PM

Of course it is absurd to compare a convicted felon like Liddy to Ayers.

Liddy, was working to undermine the US Constitution in the service of a paranoid President. He wasn't serving the interest of America. He was serving the illegal interests of a Republican administration.

Liddy has acknowledged preparing to kill someone during the Ellsberg break-in “if necessary”; plotting to murder journalist Jack Anderson; plotting with a “gangland figure” to murder Howard Hunt to stop him from cooperating with investigators; plotting to firebomb the Brookings Institution;

During the 1990s, Liddy reportedly instructed his radio audience on multiple occasions on how to shoot Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents and also reportedly said he had named his shooting targets after Bill and Hillary Clinton.

So you are right, it is absurd to compare Liddy to Ayers.

Liddy is an unrepentent, convicted criminal.

On the other hand, Ayers work has been good enough for Republicans like Reagan's pal Annenberg to give him millions of dollars.

So is comparing the AIP to the Weather Underground

Secsssionist AIP wants to break up this country. You do know that it is against the Constitution to secede from the Union?

Killing abortion doctors is murder, and is not the same as detonating a bomb which kills at random. I think a better analogy than Rudolph would be Unabomber Ted Kaczynski

When two former Republican AG call Rudolph a terrorist, why should I disagree?

It only exposes conservative hypocrisy and shows why Ayers smear has backfired.

Meyrav


Meyrav Levine   ·  October 24, 2008 3:40 PM

I'm sorry Meyrav, remind me again, what did Ayers do?

tim maguire   ·  October 24, 2008 3:43 PM

Apparently Tim, whatever Ayers did, wasn't a big deal for Reagan's pal Annenberg, among other Republicans like Weber who has donated to McCain's campiagn and pals around with Ayers :)

Why else would Annenberg give almost $50 millions to Ayers for an education reform program?

If Ayers past was such a big deal then Mrs. Annenberg (you know the wife of Reagan's pal who bankrolled Ayers) wouldn't have sent her daughter to deliver the check to Ayers program?

This is the same Mrs. Annenberg who has endorsed McCain.

May be you conservatives should check with McCain why he is accepting donations and endorsements from people who not only pal around with Ayers but also bankroll him.

Meyrav Levine   ·  October 24, 2008 4:05 PM

ML you are completely avoiding my point by bringing up other people. There's no evidence that Annenberg even met Ayers, or knew that he had been with the Weather Underground.

My point is a simple one: someone with Ayers' horrendous background should not be made respectable. Say what you will about Liddy (and you've got some of the facts wrong there), but he was fighting against the Communists like Ayers, and Ayers was and is a Communist. That's the problem you're avoiding. Communism is the most murderous and evil ideology known to man, and has killed more people than any other ideology in history. Ayers wanted to continue in that tradition, and regrets he didn't do more.

He should be roundly condemned (as one would an unrepentant Nazi supporter) and he should not be made respectable.

Why not at least treat him with the same amount of respect accorded Rudolph? (The latter I agree is a terrorist, by any definition; I had him confused with James Kopp in my last comment.)

His "friendship" with Republicans no more exonerates him than Nixon's friendship exonerates Mao.

Eric Scheie   ·  October 24, 2008 4:56 PM

It's Kevin Bacon's fault!

http://www.perspectives.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=189571&forum_id=91

* Kevin Bacon is married to actress Kyra Sedgwick.
* Kyra Sedgwick is from the socially prominent Sedgwick family of Stockbridge Massachusetts and first cousin of former Andy Warhol protege, Edie Sedgwick.
* Edie Sedgwick's father, Francis "Duke" Sedgwick, who once served on the Board of Directors of Commonwealth Edison when Thomas G. Ayers was the CEO.
* Thomas G. Ayers is William Ayer's father.

Look it up. All of those facts were uncovered in a 15 minute web search.

M. Carver   ·  October 24, 2008 8:02 PM

Ayers and friends discussed how to, After The Revolution, establish a Soviet-style Gulag in which they estimated that 25 million people would be interned and who-knows-how-many millions executed.

pst314   ·  October 24, 2008 8:42 PM

Meyrav, if you wish to debate those familiar points rather than simply listing them, you will find us able. None of them is new to us and each can be dispatched readily. Making an accusation isn't the same as proving your point.

I'm really liking that whenever something sticks, it's called "a desperate attempt" by McCain.

Assistant Village Idiot   ·  October 24, 2008 11:05 PM

Eric:

You admire Liddy, a convicted felon, who has advised his listeners to kill federal agents from ATF. Liddy has admitted to plotting to kill journalists, bomb Brookings Institute etc etc.

Liddy has admitted that he admires Hitler: "When he listened to Hitler on the radio, it "made me feel a strength inside I had never known before," he explains. "Hitler's sheer animal confidence and power of will [entranced me]. He sent an electric current through my body." He describes seeing the Nazis' doomed technological marvel the Hindenberg flying over New Jersey as an almost religious experience. "Ecstatic, I drank in its colossal power and felt myself grow. Fear evaporated and in its place came a sense of personal might and power."

And Ayers background is horrendous? Really?

Liddy has given thousands of dollars to McCain over the years, including a $1000 donation in 2008.

McCain claims that Liddy has paid the price for his crimes. However, Liddy's exhortation to his listeners to kill federal agents is ample evidence that this low-life is an unrepentent terrorist.

And you have problems with Ayers?

ML you are completely avoiding my point by bringing up other people. There's no evidence that Annenberg even met Ayers, or knew that he had been with the Weather Underground.

Wasn't Ayers this real bad-ass terrorist during the 60s? Obama was only 8 years old, but Annenberg was a grown man and in publishing business, well connected in government circle and friends with both Nixon and Reagan.

It is illogical to claim that on one hand, Ayers was this grave threat and a big time domestic terrorist while simultaneously claiming that Annenberg wouldn't have known about this big time terrorist.

Annenberg sent his daughter to give almost $50 million dollars based on a grant co-writen by Ayers.

Mayor Richard M. Daley, a Democrat, and Gov. Jim Edgar, a Republican, took part in a ceremony announcing the grant. Annenberg's daughter presented the symbolic check!

FactCheck proves that Ayers-Obama association is hardly a cause of concern and that McCain and his minions are making up fantasies:

Meyrav

Meyrav Levine   ·  October 24, 2008 11:16 PM

"Communism is the most murderous and evil ideology known to man, and has killed more people than any other ideology in history."

Thank you, Eric.

Just... thank you. It is not said often enough. It should be in school books.

P.

Portia   ·  October 25, 2008 12:40 AM

Meyrav -

The answer to your stupid infatuation with Liddy is simple.

How many people died at G. Gordon Liddy's hands?

Ayers built the bombs that killed at least three.

Do you really want to continue the equivalence game here?

There is no valid reason for any thinking person to support Barack Obama. His association with Ayers doesn't even make the top ten list of reasons.

brian   ·  October 25, 2008 9:29 AM

I just wonder, what the 2008 Democrat Party Presidential Candidate thinks about his good, good friend Bill Ayers dedicating his book to the assassin of a 1968 Democrat Party Presidential Candidate.

Especially in light of the fact, the this year's candidate's wife publicly expressed concern that her husband would be assassinated, since any black man could get murdered going to the gas station.

Would someone ask Obama thsi question: Sen. Obama, your friend Bill Ayers dedicated his book to Sirhan Sirhan, Robert Kennedy's assassin. What's your comment?

Wouldn't like to hear the answer to that question? Even Meyrav Levine might like an answer.

Jabba the Tutt   ·  October 25, 2008 10:21 AM

What fascinates me the most about this frenzied argumentum ad Liddy is the appalling lack of logic involved. Like, Liddy was thrilled to listen to Hitler, therefore Ayers should be respectable? If you go on reading the rest of the what is being quoted (from Liddy's biography "Will"), you'd know that when Liddy was a child (he was born in 1930), the family had a German maid who loved Hitler, and he'd listen with her on a shortwave radio. His father put a stop to it, replaced the pro-Nazi maid with a German Jewish maid, and disabused his son of any idea that Nazism was a good thing.

But even if we assume Liddy is a Nazi (which he isn't -- although as he freely admits "i've got Nazis on my hard drive"), how on earth does that become an argument in favor of Ayers? Unless Hitler and Stalin exonerate each other, the logic makes no sense.

Furthermore, how is my argument against Ayers' respectability a desperate McCain tactic? I don't think McCain has even raised it, nor do I think he will. Nor do I care whether this would be a politically advantageous tactic. I support McCain but my thoughts are not his tactics. It's one thing to disagree with me, but attempting to characterize what I think as part of some program is pathetic. I've objected to Ayers and the Weather Underground long before McCain was the nominee, and I will continue to object no matter who wins.

Eric Scheie   ·  October 25, 2008 11:06 AM

how is my argument against Ayers' respectability...

Your argument about Ayers' respectability is a red herring.

Ayers "respectability" stems from the fact that Annenberg made Ayers a shining star in Illinois and beyond by accepting Ayers grant for almost $50 millions for an education reform program.

Governor Jim Edgar (Republican) and many prominent members of Chicago establishment, jumped on Ayers bandwagon, enhancing his respectability!

Ayers was given Chicago's Citizen of the Year award after securing the city a $49.2 million Annenberg Award for school reform.

Ayers owes his respectability directly to Republican Annenberg.

You simply can't accept this fact.


Meyrav Levine   ·  October 25, 2008 11:01 PM

Meyrav, you haven't answered the objections raised. You are just taking the bits you like. This may not be the major leagues here, but it's good Double-A ball, and you have yet to show you can do more that foul them off.

If Ayers respectability derives from an award, then Arafat's Nobel Peace Prize should work, too. If it derives from Annenberg, that's too far removed. Rich folks give money to foundations for what they think are good works all the time. Over time, those groups become liberal, even if they started conservative. How does this tell us anything about Ayers' moral acceptability (which is different from social acceptability, BTW)

Assistant Village Idiot   ·  October 26, 2008 9:49 AM

Meyrav, you haven't answered the objections raised

What objections? You guys are making up strawman and expect answers to a non-existent issue.

If Ayers respectability derives from an award...

The "if" is only in the head of the right-wing whackjobs that can't get facts in the way of their dogma.

Did Annenberg accept Ayers grant? Yes, and awarded him almost $50 millions.

Did Annenberg sent his daughter to personally deliver the symbolic check to mark Ayers at a ceremony attended by Republicans and Democrats? Yes

Did leading Republicans like Gov. Edgar supported Ayers? Yes.

Did the securing of the grant was the reason for Ayers citizen of the year award?
Yes, Annenberg's award was the direct reason for this award to Ayers.

But why get some facts come in the way of your transparent smear, right?

Over time, those groups become liberal, even if they started conservative

Annenberg's wife has endorsed McSame.

But keeping running the discredited smear. And see how your side is kicked out of office come November :)


Meyrav Levine   ·  October 26, 2008 1:51 PM
Ayers and friends discussed how to, After The Revolution, establish a Soviet-style Gulag in which they estimated that 25 million people would be interned and who-knows-how-many millions executed.

No, the reeducation camps in the Southwest would have handled far more people; the 25 million was the estimate of how many "die-hard capitalists" would have to be eliminated.

GaryC   ·  October 26, 2008 6:44 PM

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