I explained that the schema was still in the sketch stage and asked if he would critique its general points. He replied, "I think the direction you're going in makes a lot of sense. Keep at it."
With that encouragement I decided to publish the schema in its rough form. I thought it would help place Diamond's interview with John Batchelor about the Obama-Bill Ayers relationship into a larger context.
However, my problem with refining the schema is that I'm still near the bottom of a steep learning curve about the way things work in Chicago, the American teaching establishment and the New Authoritarian Left.
So I turned to blog friend Mark Safranski for his thoughts on the schema. Mark is a teacher and educational consultant in the Chicago area and has lived in the area for years. His speciality is the history of diplomacy.
His ZenPundit belongs to the blogosphere's rarified intelligentsia tier. Yet Mark's writings, which focus on the intersections of foreign and defense policies, history, military theory -- with an emphasis on fourth generation warfare -- national security, strategic thinking, futurism, and cognition, are never stuffy. He's helping explain important aspects of the 21st century, and in a language that the general public can understand.
All this is another way of saying that Mark is not only knowledgeable about the U.S. education establishment, the Left and Chicago politics, he is also extremely bright.
Before I turn to his reply, a few words about the illustration that accompanies the cross-post of this entry at RezkoWatch.
I stole the picture from Binky, who published it as his editorial comment about news that the dreaded thought police at the Canadian Human Rights Commission were having their annual wing-ding.
The caveat is that Steve Diamond has taken care to distinguish the New Authoritarian Left from communism, and we all must pay attention to his points. However, when you strip it down to the bare bone, they're all a bunch of commies except:
(a) we can't say this because they'll start whining about McCarthyism, and
(b) they know that anyone with half a brain who's read the history of communism's failures doesn't want to be associated with any movement labeled communist.
All right; here are Mark's thoughts on the Obama Schema. I have bolded points that jumped out at me.
Bill Ayers is a malevolent idiot but the real damage would be done if his followers captured the highly obscure regional accreditation boards that certify school districts or the bureaucracies of state-level boards of education that have the last word on teacher licensure. Right now, primarily he's ruining a College of Ed at a decent public university and preaching to the converted at associations of academics.**************************
Ayers has no real creative gestalt on this subject; he's simply cobbled together attitudes and positions that were already floating in the 80's academic Left when he was getting his doctorate. I heard much of his argument in bits and pieces 20 years ago. His contribution amounts to political tactics to try to steer this authoritarian ideology through legislative and bureaucratic channels.
I agree though, that if Obama becomes President, he'll be calling on Bill for names to fill 2nd-5th tier appointments at the Department of Education. It will be very ugly.
The politically active radical Left in Chicago politics are in an unspoken bargain with the [Chicago Mayor] Daley Machine, which itself is not ideological (instead it revolves around personal loyalty and " Ubi Est Mea" or " Where's Mine?").
The Left groups -- like certain street-gang front, Mafia-connected fixers and friendly union locals -- have to:
1. Deliver a regular vote, a campaign election force of volunteers and political contributions.
2. Get their reps on the City Council in line when Daley gives the order.
These are non-negotiable forms of tribute but if a group can do this, the Machine opens doors to city contracts, patronage, consulting and -- eventually, when loyalty is proven -- slotting their candidates for county, state or federal office as Democratic candidates.
The Left groups can indulge in their ideological projects up to the point where the rhetoric causes Daley problems by attracting too much attention. Recall the Mayor cracking the whip on Senator Dick Durbin for comments comparing the U.S. military in Guantanamo to the Nazis. Durbin quickly apologized.
The Leftists are peripheral in Chicago; bringing them along was actually politically inefficient for Obama because he would have risen faster in Illinois politics if he had dived into the corruption instead of dancing around the margins using Rezko as a cutout. You are better off as a young pol being the pal of Alderman Dick Mell than of Bill Ayers. So his radical Left allies must mean quite a bit to Obama.
As for Rezko, who was he laundering money for in Las Vegas when he was kiting checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars? That next trial should be interesting. 
Hopefully, given Rezko's global connections, the IRS, DOJ and FBI will take a look at the money trail.
5:00 PM Update
I realize the distinction is a difficult one to grapple with. My view is that communism in the form that Marx and Engels agitated for was, in fact, a radical form of democracy (as in the Paris Commune, for example) as hard as that is for many after many decades of obfuscation by Stalin and his epigones (including Mao, Che, Ortega, Chavez, Ayers, Davidson, etc.) who have an authoritarian agenda. Thus, I prefer neo-stalinism as opposed to communism.
How about if we split the difference and just call them thugs?
1) The Chicago Tribune reports that the date for Tony Rezko's next trial has been set—it's February 4, 2009. "U.S. District Judge James Zagel set Feb. 4 for Rezko to stand trial on wire fraud charges stemming from accusations that he used false information to obtain loans in the fraudulent sale of his pizza businesses. Rezko is to stand trial with Abdelhamid Chaib, a businessman who worked for him." (H/T RezkoWatch)