For readers who are just joining the discussion: on April 23, a professor who is unknown outside a small academic circle and the labor union movement broke stunning news on his Global Labor blog:
Contrary to what the general public knew, the relationship between Barack Obama and former Weatherman William Ayers went back many years. What's more, Obama had in effect worked for Ayers for years via his chairmanship of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge program.
Yet despite his efforts Dr Stephen F. Diamond was unable to interest the mainstream media in his findings. (See his May 11 NY Times School of Falsification? Is the National Paper of Record Helping the Obama Campaign Rewrite History?
So if Larry Johnson at No Quarter blog hadn't learned about Diamond's investigative report in April and promoted it, and if RezkoWatch hadn't picked up Larry's post, I wouldn't have written a number of posts on the topic.
Diamond did not stop with his examination of the true relationship between Ayers and Obama; he began posting on another story that was also unknown outside certain academic circles and the intelligentsia: William Ayers had become an influential educator and was promoting the indoctrination of American public schoolchildren with a virulently anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-white agenda.
So if you want to catch up on all the background to today's post, I suggest that you start by reading Diamond's May 11 When Did Barack Obama meet Bill Ayers? which summarizes key information he first brought forward on April 23 in his lengthy Who "sent" Obama? Then work forward through the posts at his blog. Along the way you'll also find the writings of Sol Stern, which Diamond links to, and which support several of Diamond's points.
(With regard to Diamond's latest (May 25) post, Believe me, Barack is no Communist, But.... -- I have a few questions to put to the good professor about how he arrived at his conclusion, which I'll discuss tomorrow.)
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the information Diamond has published is how greatly it's been suppressed -- not only by the news media, but also by the Clinton campaign and the famous Republican Attack Machine.
If the latter operatives thought they could hold all this information back for use in the general election, I believe they greatly underestimated the highly coordinated mainstream media campaign to suppress bad news about Barack Obama.
We've already seen that it can take months for the bad news to build to such a crescendo in the alternate media that the MSM can't ignore it. And even then, the MSM have become expert at downplaying and 'shaping' the bad news about Obama, so that the general public still only has a vague idea of the story.
The questions are whether Diamond's information is coming too late to save the Democrat party from cracking in two, and whether the information can stop Obama from taking the White House.
I have no answer to either question. All I know is that Steve Diamond has emerged as an Eleventh Hour figure for American public education. The academic issues he breaks down for the general public transcend even a presidential campaign and partisan politics in importance.
History might record that the biggest story about Barack Obama's presidential run was that it revealed a plan to destroy the American nation from the inside, and using the American public education system as the WMDs.
I also want to mention that a professor of a politically conservative viewpoint wrote to express that he was upset with my post about Sol Stern's discussion. He believed Stern's claims were overblown, scare mongering, and "anti-educator." Yet it was clear from the professor's criticism that he was unaware of many developments and didn't realize the extent of William Ayers's influence. I suspect that many American educators are in the professor's position.
And before starting on today's post, I want to emphasize that my references to Dr Diamond's writings reflect my own interpretations of his views.
Inching our way toward grasping what Obama means by "change"
Monday night Steve Diamond, whose name is a household word by now among Pundita readers, sent along a column written by Sean Wilentz for Friday's Huffington Post. Diamond's comment about the column, which is titled, Barack Obama and the unmaking of the Democrat Party was that it deserves a close read and a wide audience.
After taking in the first few paragraphs I thought I could see why Diamond considered the piece important. Yet unless you're familiar with the ideas of the William Ayers faction of the "new authoritarian left," as Diamond terms it, and which "views racism, whiteness, and white supremacy as the heart and soul of their politics," much of what Wilentz writes goes over the reader's head -- or at best strikes the reader as nonsensical. Indeed, I don't think Wilentz has grasped the full import of the situation he describes:
After sardonically observing, "Talk about transformative post-racial politics," Wilentz asserts that all evidence points to the fact that white racism has not been "a principal or even secondary motivation in any of this year's Democratic primaries." But now we arrive at what is the mind-bending part for the uninitiated:
"... the Barack Obama campaign and its sympathizers have begun to articulate much more clearly what they mean by their vague slogan of "change" - nothing less than usurping the historic Democratic Party, dating back to the age of Andrew Jackson, by rejecting its historic electoral core: white workers and rural dwellers in the Middle Atlantic and border states.
Without a majority of those voters, the Democrats have, since the party's inception in the 1820s, been incapable of winning the presidency. The Obama advocates declare, though, that we have entered an entirely new political era. It is not only possible but also desirable, they say, for Democrats to win by turning away from those whom "progressive" pundits and bloggers disdain variously as "Nascar man," "uneducated," "low information" whites, "rubes, fools, and hate-mongers" who live in the nation's "shitholes."
Having attempted, with the aid of a complicit news media, to brand Hillary Clinton as a racist -- by flinging charges that, as the historian Michael Lind has shown, belong "in black helicopter/grassy knoll territory," Obama's supporters now fiercely claim that Clinton's white working class following is also essentially racist.
Favoring the buzzword language of the academic left, tinged by persistent, discredited New Left and black nationalist theories about working-class "white skin privilege," a vote against Obama has become, according to his fervent followers, "a vote for whiteness."
The effort to taint anyone who does not support Obama as motivated by racism has now become a major factor in alienating core Democrats from Obama's campaign. Out with the Democratic Party of Jefferson, Jackson, F.D.R., Truman, Kennedy and Johnson, and in with the bright, shiny party of Obama -- or what the formally "undeclared" Donna Brazile, a member of the Democratic National Committee and of the party's rules committee, has hailed as a "new Democratic coalition" swelled by affluent white leftists and liberals, college students, and African-Americans.Here the confused might ask, "B-b-but aren't affluent white leftists and liberals also the 'whiteness vote'?"
Crash course on William Ayers's world view
To resolve the seeming contradiction we must follow Professor Diamond's -- er White Rabbit back down the hole to Leftland and explore Ayers's piece of it:
Since the days of the Weather Underground Ayers has advocated a viewpoint that argues that the fundamental issue in American life is "white skin privilege" -- that white Americans benefit from being white at the expense of blacks. As Ayers' wife Bernardine Dohrn wrote in the introduction to a 2002 book she co-authored with Ayers and their fellow Weather Underground member Jeff Jones:Got all that? As to how the revolution will work out in practice, that's an interesting question. I suppose that after "affluent white leftists and liberals" have led the black minority to install a black supremacy government in the USA, the white leaders will march themselves to the ovens and turn on the gas, thereby eliminating the last of the nation's people of white skin privilege.
"One cannot talk separately about class, gender, culture, immigration, ethnicity, or biology without being intertwined with race, as Katrina and the systematic destruction of a major black U.S. city reinforms us. We were waking up [in the late 1960s]. What to do once we had knowledge of the dimensions of white skin privilege? How to destroy white supremacy? Well, that is another matter. And as burning today as it was then."
The authoritarian left's Trojan Horse
Here's the part I don't think Sean Wilentz understands, and which Professor Diamond has been warning about: the "white skin privilege" rap of the "New Left" and black nationalists has not been discredited in places where it does the worst damage, which is in America's public education system.
The profoundly racist message has been subsumed under the benevolent-sounding 'social justice" studies programs being pushed by the Ayers faction and used as a means to indoctrinate public schoolchildren. For some idea of how that works out in practice, here is Sol Stern lecturing eduwonkette and her readers:
[...] You also minimize the problem by suggesting that even if it could be shown that social justice teaching was a significant part of the Ed schools’ agenda, “they largely have been unsuccessful.”That isn't education, it's indoctrination, as Stern points out. Yet the education establishment has been sticking its head in the sand for years about the situation; they've been able to do this because the authoritarian left's social justice agenda has flown completely under the radar of the mainstream media -- and even the alternative media, with the exception of niche readerships on the blogosphere.
I don’t know how we might measure success or failure in this regard. I do note that just two months ago, The Nation, always on the alert for signs of resurgent leftism in our civic institutions, celebrated the growth of the social justice education movement.
In my City Journal articles I have cited numerous examples of New York City schools devoting their curriculums to social justice themes and have described specific units taught to children (including in elementary schools) that clearly fall under the rubric of political indoctrination.
For example, the radical education group NYCoRE created a “Katrina curriculum” that has been piloted by one of the group’s leaders in the fourth grade of a Manhattan elementary school. The curriculum leaves nothing to chance, providing teachers with classroom prompts designed to illustrate the evils of American capitalism and imperialism.
One section, called “Two Gulf Wars,” suggests posing such questions to the kids as: “Was the government unable to respond quickly to the crisis on the Gulf Coast because the money and personnel were all being used in Iraq?” [...]
Now, in the current Democrat presidential primary, we are seeing the result of many years of willful blindness. I note that the recent writings by Sol Stern and Steve Diamond about the authoritarian's left's moves on education barely scratch the surface:
Dispositions and return of the Grand Inquisitor
On Friday ZenPundit sent me a report by a history professor at Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center that came close to ruining my Memorial Day weekend. I had no idea before reading KC Johnson that a Grand Inquisitor had been let loose in America:
[...] Traditionally, prospective teachers needed to demonstrate knowledge of their subject field and mastery of essential educational skills. In recent years, however, an amorphous third criterion called “dispositions” has emerged.So do not ask why a young generation of Liberal white Americans finds nothing strange in voting for a man who rationalizes virulent anti-white racism by terming his grandmother a "typical white person."
As one conference devoted to the concept explained, using this standard would produce “teachers who possess knowledge and discernment of what is good or virtuous.” Advocates leave ideologically one-sided education departments to determine “what is good or virtuous” in the world.
In 2002, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education explicitly linked dispositions theory to ensuring ideological conformity among education students. Rather than asking why teachers’ political beliefs are in any way relevant to their ability to perform well in the classroom, NCATE issued new guidelines requiring education departments that listed social justice as a goal to “include some measure of a candidate’s commitment to social justice” when evaluating the “dispositions” of their students.
As neither traditional morality nor social justice commitment in any way guarantee high-quality teachers, this strategy only deflects attention away from the all-important goal of training educators who have command of content and the ability to instruct.
The program at my own institution, Brooklyn College, exemplifies how application of NCATE’s new approach can easily be used to screen out potential public school teachers who hold undesirable political beliefs. Brooklyn’s education faculty, which assumes as fact that “an education centered on social justice prepares the highest quality of future teachers,” recently launched a pilot initiative to assess all education students on whether they are “knowledgeable about, sensitive to and responsive to issues of diversity and social justice as these influence curriculum and pedagogy, school culture, relationships with colleagues and members of the school community, and candidates’ analysis of student work and behavior.”
At the undergraduate level, these high-sounding principles have been translated into practice through a required class called “Language and Literacy Development in Secondary Education.” According to numerous students, the course’s instructor demanded that they recognize “white English” as the “oppressors’ language.”
Without explanation, the class spent its session before Election Day screening Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. When several students complained to the professor about the course’s politicized content, they were informed that their previous education had left them “brainwashed” on matters relating to race and social justice.
Troubled by this response, at least five students filed written complaints with the department chair last December. They received no formal reply, but soon discovered that their coming forward had negative consequences. One senior was told to leave Brooklyn and take an equivalent course at a community college. Two other students were accused of violating the college’s “academic integrity” policy and refused permission to bring a witness, a tape recorder, or an attorney to a meeting with the dean of undergraduate studies to discuss the allegation.
Despite the unseemly nature of retaliating against student whistleblowers, Brooklyn’s overall manner of assessing commitment to “social justice” conforms to NCATE’s recommendations, previewing what we can expect as other education programs more aggressively scrutinize their students’ “dispositions” on the matter.
Must prospective public school teachers accept a professor’s argument that “white English” is the “oppressors’ language” in order to enter the profession? In our ideologically imbalanced academic climate, the combination of dispositions theory and the new NCATE guidelines risk producing a new generation of educators certified not because they mastered their subject but because they expressed fealty to the professoriate’s conception of “social justice.”
And you thought Rev. Wright was the worst of the hate mongers in Obama's circle
Readers who cling to the hope that Barack Obama will somehow clear up the 'misunderstanding' that has arisen between his faction and the rest of the Democrat party should consider Steve Diamond's observations in The Monster in the Room ...
Integration, for example, is not one of the four top priorities the Forum for Education and Democracy advocates for the federal government to pursue in a report it published that was co-authored by Obama's education advisor, Linda Darling-Hammond. Paying off the "education debt," another word for reparations, is the top priority of that group. Of course, one reason (though, of course, not the only reason) integration has ceased to be a broader national policy goal is because people with political views like Bill Ayers and Gloria Ladson-Billings (the originator of the concept of "educational debt") think white American are the inevitably, inherently and irretrievably racist beneficiaries of their "whiteness." Has Senator Obama thought through the potentially destructive implications of this world view? It would appear that he has not.I venture the good professor is being generous. Money says that Barack Obama thought through the implications a long time ago, after he got cozy with William Ayers.
October 9, 2008; 9:30 AM Eastern Time UPDATE
I'm updating this post because of intense media/public attention to the William Ayers-Barack Obama relationship.
Much more has come to light about the relationship since I posted the above report. One of the people who have been driving this story is Steve Diamond.
You might want to proceed to Diamond's October 6, 2008 post, Ayers/Obama Update: The David Blaine Award Goes to The New York Times Magic Act. The post, published at Diamond's Global Labor blog, has the best summary he's provided so far of Ayers' educational theories and how Obama has served to promote them.
The catch is that the summary is presented as part of Diamond's ongoing discussion of how The New York Times has continued to suppress and distort his investigation -- even though three reporters from the paper have recently interviewed him several times.
(I note with sarcasm that Diamond watchers know that this state of affairs represents an improvement since May, when the Times ignored his letter to them about his research on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and the work that Ayers and Obama did for it.)
The negligence of the U.S. press in reporting on Ayers' theories and Obama's relationship with him is a story unto itself; it's perhaps the strongest indictment to date of the present state of American journalism. But if you want to go straight to the summary, scroll down to the 14th paragraph of the October 6 report:
So what is the evidence of the influence of Ayers' world view on Obama and his presidential candidacy?And read from there.
If you want to delve further into the story, you can start with Diamond's April 22, 2008 post, Who "Sent" Obama? and read forward from there. Not all his posts since that time are about the Ayers-Obama relationship and related matters, but the majority are.
If you get stuck at the discussion in the summary about reparations on account of refusing to believe your eyes, Diamond's May 24, 2008 post Apparently Obama does, indeed, support reparations will assure you that you read right the first time. See also The Monster in the Room, linked above.
The posts at Global Labor are the very best background on all the issues touching upon the Ayers-Obama relationship. As far as I know only one other person, Sol Stern, is both knowledgeable enough to discuss Ayers' ideas in authoritative fashion and willing to speak up very frankly in public about them. (See my May 20 post, The William Ayers plan to turn America's schoolchildren into Maoists and how Barack Obama helped him, for more on Stern and links to his writings on Ayers' education ideas.)
Stanley Kurtz, the Conservative commentator who has studied Diamond's research and undertaken his own research on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and the Obama-Ayers relationship, has provided a helpful introduction in a September 23, 2008 report for the Wall Street Journal.
Yet Kurtz (who holds a PhD from Harvard in social anthropology) started his journey of discovery from outside the teaching profession and without a thorough background in the education ideas promoted by Ayer's and his colleagues.
One glance through Diamond's summary tells that Kurtz is still on a learning curve. He is not alone. The news media are so far behind Diamond that at this rate it will be 2015 before they catch up.
Barack Obama has banked on this great Cloud of Unknowing. And yet a reading of Diamond's summary reveals that this is not rocket science he's talking about; it's just that for years the mainstream media have avoided examining the education topics that Diamond and Stern discuss.
Those who have read Dr Diamond's October 6 summary might ask whether I have considered changing "Maoist" to "neo-Stalinist" in the title of the May 20 post as I have progressed on my own learning curve. The answer is no.
I will let political scientists such as Diamond parse the differences between neo-Stalinism and Maoism. In the end what does it matter if you refer to a death camp by a number, or name it the 'Bluebird School of Reeducation?' Stalinists, Maoists, Fidelistas, etc. -- they all boil down to a military-backed gang of thugs.
And my view is that William Ayers and Barack Obama are not ideologues of any stripe; I see them as totalitarians behind their word screens. They want unquestioning obedience to their commands; they want everyone to think and act in unison, and they know this can only be achieved through indoctrinating children.
Any doubts I had that Obama is a totalitarian were resolved a few days ago when I studied the “Positive Behavior for Effective Schools Act,” otherwise known as education bill S.2111, which was introduced by Obama.
The bill has not passed, as yet, but the wording is a clear indication that Obama's idea of child education is using the public school system to effect massive state intervention in every area of a child's life.
As to what exactly Obama means by "positive behavior" -- the bill does not spell it out. But study Steve Diamond's writings, and Sol Stern's, if you want to see behind Obama's screen of words about making American public school graduates better candidates for higher education and leveling the playing field for the nation's poorest children.
Finally, Obama's relationship with William Ayers is just one of many he developed with the far left/authoritarian stream of American politics. If you are just coming to a study of Obama's involvement with such Americans, the best place for an orientation is the blog The Real Barack Obama (RBO), formerly RezkoWatch. (No Quarter is also a good source.)
The blog has amassed a thick dossier on Obama's web of political alliances, including those branching from his involvement with the convicted criminal Tony Rezko.
There are few puff pieces at RBO, and those are to leaven the grim revelations. Many of the posts are original reports, which are meticulously researched and cross-referenced. The blog also acts as a relay station for daily media reports and opinion pieces on Obama's relationships.
I warn that once you start digging through RBO's archives you will be stunned at how much information the mainstream media has left unreported about Obama's relationships. Yet RBO is closely followed by mainstream news outlets working on Obama stories, so there is no question that the information has been ignored.
The Real Barack Obama, and Steve Diamond's Global Labor blog, are examples of citizen journalism at its finest.
The question, however, is how much longer the American democracy can survive if its citizens cannot depend on professional journalists for accurate news on vital issues.