Terrorism and Privilege

Friday, April 5, AD 2013

I live in a small town, Dwight, Illinois, about 35 miles southwest of Joliet.  It is a lovely place, about 4400 people, set in the midst of a sea of corn and soybeans.   My wife and I moved here in 1985 and have been very happy.  Soon after we moved to Dwight I joined the local Rotary Club.  There I met Jim Oughton and his brother Richard Oughton.  Both had served in WW2, Jim as a naval officer, and Dick as a marine fighter pilot.  They were also the two richest men in town, the scions of a family that had been the wealthiest family in town for well over a century.

 

I quickly grew to like Jim and Dick.  They were both intelligent, humorous and unassuming.  I enjoyed bantering with them at the club and working with them on community projects.  One day I was talking to Jim about his kids.  He proudly and fondly recited to me how they were doing, and then a shadow came over his face.  He told me how his daughter Diana had joined the Weather underground and died in an explosion in 1970 while she and two other weathermen were making bombs which they intended to set off at a dance that was to be held at Fort Dix.  Jim attributed Diana’s involvement partially to her radical professors, partially to her own decision to embrace terrorism but mostly to the friend of President Obama, William Ayers, who was the boyfriend of Diana, and who got her involved with the weathermen.  Other than feeling sorrow for the loss of Jim, I didn’t think much about it until years later when I read this story in the New York Times on September 11, 2001.  ”I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers said. ”I feel we didn’t do enough.” Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970′s as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago. “

Since that terrible day I have remembered the name of William Ayers and his connection to Dwight.

Lee Stranahan at Big Government has a brilliant article focusing on one of Diana’s comrades, murderous Katherine Boudin, now an adjunct professor at Columbia:

 

Appallingly, Kathy Boudin and her friend Diana Oughton took to calling themselves “The Fork.” The War Council began using a finger salute with each other, a reference to the fork that the Manson cultists had used on Sharon Tate and her unborn child.

The meeting wasn’t just talk; it was the kick-off for what would become over twenty bombings and other terrorist acts over the next 15 years. From the New York Times:

After the Flint War Council in December, the Weather Bureau, recognizing that their lack of widespread popularity boded ill for building a mass movement, decided to form a secret guerrilla army immediately. They split up into affinity groups of four or five and worked at a manic pitch to assemble and construct bombs. Only about 75 were chosen for this mission, and the rest were purged, or dropped out of their own accord. […]

The New York cell contained two Weather leaders, Kathy Boudin and Cathlyn Wilkerson, as well as Diana, and two other active Weathermen, Terry Robbins and Ted Gold, and was located at the West 11th Street home of Cathlyn Wilkerson’s father, who was away at the time. After firebombing the home of the judge in the conspiracy trial of the Black Panther 21 – a group of militant Black Panthers charged with bombing a long list of targets including department stores and police stations – the Weatherman cell decided more dramatic and damaging action was needed. On March 2, one of the Weathermen purchased two 50-pound cases of dynamite in New Hampshire for a planned random bombing of buildings at Columbia University, the site of student uprisings in the spring of 1968. The 11th Street cell members debated whether to use antipersonnel bombs and the appropriateness of the proposed target. Kathy Boudin reportedly favored it.

Kathy Boudin checked a book out of the library called The Chemistry of Powder and Explosives.

A little before noon on March 6, 1970 one of the bombs was accidentally detonated. Cathy Wilkerson was in an upstairs bathroom and Boudin was in the shower when the explosion ripped through the historic townhouse.

As Cathy Wilkerson wrote later, “The whole townhouse rose up a foot or two, shattering bricks and splintering wooden beams, and then was transformed into dust and rubble, shuddering into a deep pit in which a ruptured gas main burst into flame.”

A fully nude Boudin and half-dressed Wilkerson ran into the street. Stunned next door neighbor Dustin Hoffman surveyed the destruction. Hoffman’s wife covered up Boudin and Henry Fonda’s ex-wife took the girls in.

Three members of the Weather Underground weren’t as lucky as Wilkerson and Boudin. Authorities found the “headless body of a young woman, missing both hands and a foot, and riddled with roofing nails.” That was Diana Oughton, Boudin’s fellow Bryn Mawr alumna. Two other terrorists were killed, Terry Robbins and Ted Gold; Robbins body was so completely demolished that he was only identified when the Weathermen announced his loss weeks later.

The pipe bombs were put together with nails and dynamite. They had been intended to be detonated at a dance at New Jersey’s Fort Dix for non-commissioned officers and their wives or girlfriends. One can only imagine the sickening horror if the bombs had been unleashed on their planned targets–working class NCOs and women–instead of the bomb makers themselves.

In the days leading up to the explosion, there were debates within the group about making bombs to be used against people; Kathy Boudin was one of the strongest advocates for using the nail bombs to injure or kill.

After the explosion, Boudin saw her parents, and she and Wilkerson made the choice to go on the run. Ayers and Dorhn skipped a court date and went into hiding as well. The terrorism continued.

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4 Responses to Terrorism and Privilege

  • I don’t care how long ago their crimes were. These people belong in GITMO along with all the other terrorists.

  • I regret viewing this story while on lunch break.
    I’m nauseated.
    I know its a cliche, but “birds of a feather…”
    Obadmon and his ties to the Chicago Way are to serious to push aside as “conspiracy speak.”
    Who is Obama? Obama’s America 2016 did a stand up job at answering that question.

  • People such as Kathy Boudin and the other murderers of the Weather Underground deserved the death penalty for the murders they were involved in committing. this kind of behavior is what the Catholic bishops so blissfully ignore when they wax idiotic about the death penalty.

  • As I recall, Evangelium Vitae reserves the death penalty for heinous crimes. Is not blasting the bodies of innocent men and women with nail-filled bombs a heinous crime? While I refrain to judge the interior life of another, “Birds of a Feather Flock Together”. Obama associates with communists and seems to share at least some of that world-view. So out of prudence, I do not trust him.

Palling Around With Terrorists-Take Two

Monday, November 17, AD 2008

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Well what do you know? Now that the election is over with unrepentant terrorist William Ayers admits to the New Yorker that his contacts with the “Obama circle”, his words, continued until, once again his words, his name became part of the “campaign maelstrom”. In a reissue this month of his memoirs Fugitive Days Ayers refers to Obama as a “family friend”. Too bad America in the last election had a media that seemed largely unable to do anything other than recycle Obama campaign releases. It will be very interesting to see the role that unrepentant terrorist Ayers plays behind the scenes in an Obama administration.

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13 Responses to Guilt by Participation

  • Keep it up, Mr. McClarey.

    It will be an Obama landslide.

  • I hope you are a poor political prognosticator Mr. DeFrancisis. In any case, if the American people choose not to think it important before the election that Senator Obama had no problem working with an unrepentant terrorist as a politcal ally, I have no doubt that in time they will find that it is very important indeed.

  • “What is that spirit we want to connect to? That spirit of rebellion. The spirit of resistance. The spirit of insurgency.”

    Finally. This is what has been found wanting in all the Ayers talk. McCain, Palin and their supporters have failed to articulate this properly, and have finally done it using Ayers’ own words (contemporary words nonetheless). Much ado has been been made about the association with a terrorist, leaving the opposition to narrowly view this as a guilt by remote association thing. I have a lot of problems with both candidates, but much more so with Obama, and this being one of them. The problem for me isn’t so much that Obama served on boards with a guy who planted bombs 40 years ago, it’s that the guy is still a subversive trying to move the nation to despotism. The tactics have changed, one of which is to support fellow revolutionaries get in office and work from the inside out as well, this is the concern over Obama’s relationship with Ayers.

    Now granted, some people, and apparently a few Catholics, might think an Ayers sort of revolution a good thing, but I think the common man, including some who might currently be supporting Obama, would balk at such a thing. The question is, is Obama part of the Ayers movement, a willful agent of sorts, or are the two just equally opportunist?

  • The problem with the Ayers connection is that his blatant terrorist activities are long in the past. Why else would the pundits on the left keep referring to the fact that Obama was only seven or eight when the bombings occurred? It is because they know that the American populace doesn’t have the attention span to care about something an individual did thirty or more years ago. The fact that he hasn’t bombed anyone else in that time (that we know of) must indicate some amount of reform, right? Who cares about his education policies. Everyone “knows” that the religious nuts on the right are trying to indoctrinate our youth, whereas Ayers is just giving them another viewpoint, as legitimate as any other that doesn’t mention the whole G – O – D word. This point is crucial. While independents may not see it this way, the left certainly sees Ayers as having done nothing wrong in all the time since the bombings.

    In my opinion, Rick, the answer is that both are just opportunists. The association isn’t as deep as I think pundits on the right are trying to make it seem. I think they both thought they could use each other, and perhaps they have to the mutual benefit of each. I could be wrong, though.

    While I do think the Ayers connection casts a stain on Obama’s record, it isn’t something worth pursuing in the campaign setting. McCain’s focus should be on how Obama’s plan will further destroy the economy, and how McCain himself intends to fix it. McCain needs to spell out loud and clear where the problems came from, and he must not spare even his Republican allies who share in the responsibility; he must spell out loud and clear how Obama’s health care plan is the equivalent to shooting ourselves in the foot; he must spell out how his economic plan is the best option. And he’d better be sure it is the best option.

  • Apparently McCain is announcing new economic proposals today:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2008/10/14/mccains-new-economic-plan/

    A good thought experiment in regard to Ayers Obama is to imagine if a person McCain had associated with during the same time period were an unrepentant Klansman who had bombed churches during the Sixties or someone who had bombed an abortion clinic. Imagine then if the bomber were now teaching at some evangelical college and had become an authority on homeschooling and was well thought of within his academic community. Somehow I think the coverage of the mainstream media in regard to that type of connection would not be as blase as their coverage of the Ayers Obama connection has been.

  • The problem for me isn’t so much that Obama served on boards with a guy who planted bombs 40 years ago, it’s that the guy is still a subversive trying to move the nation to despotism. The tactics have changed, one of which is to support fellow revolutionaries get in office and work from the inside out as well, this is the concern over Obama’s relationship with Ayers.

    Sol Stern has a series of articles in City Journal examining Ayer’s “education reform”:`

    Calling Bill Ayers a school reformer is a bit like calling Joseph Stalin an agricultural reformer. (If you find the metaphor strained, consider that Walter Duranty, the infamous New York Times reporter covering the Soviet Union in the 1930s, did, in fact, depict Stalin as a great land reformer who created happy, productive collective farms.) For instance, at a November 2006 education forum in Caracas, Venezuela, with President Hugo Chávez at his side, Ayers proclaimed his support for “the profound educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chávez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution. . . . I look forward to seeing how you continue to overcome the failings of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane.” Ayers concluded his speech by declaring that “Venezuela is poised to offer the world a new model of education—a humanizing and revolutionary model whose twin missions are enlightenment and liberation,” and then, as in days of old, raised his fist and chanted: “Viva Presidente Chávez! Viva la Revolucion Bolivariana! Hasta la Victoria Siempre!”

  • Donald,

    I see you are an alumnus of U of Illinois. Have you attended alumni functions recently or received such newsletters? If so, you are indeed palling around with…

  • “I see you are an alumnus of U of Illinois. Have you attended alumni functions recently or received such newsletters? If so, you are indeed palling around with…”

    Pretty weak Mr. DeFrancisis. I am an alum of the U of I Champaign-Urbana. I of course had no say in the decision of the U of I Chicago in hiring Mr. Ayers. If my opinion of the hiring decision had been requested, it would have been unprintable.

  • Nr. McClary,

    It was a weak joke. 🙂 Sorry.

    BTW, McCain looked today like the man I voted for in the 2000. Relatively impressive!

    Hopefully, BOTH campaigns rise somewhere remotely close to the seriousness that our representative democracy deserves in these trying and important times.

    Unfortunately, I see only glimmers of hope.

  • Sorrry about my butchering your name so badly–someone interrupted me while I was typing…

  • No problem Mr. DeFrancisis. I butchered your name initially so badly when I made my last comment that I deleted it in order to correct the spelling of your name! In regard to the candidates, I have never been a fan of McCain, although I do respect the courage he displayed as a POW, and I think I have made my policy differences plain as to Obama. Whichever of these men is elected, I hope God will grant him grace and wisdom. I am afraid the nation is in for a rough few years no matter who wins come election day.

Dwight and Terrorism

Tuesday, October 7, AD 2008

I live in a small town, Dwight, Illinois, about 35 miles southwest of Joliet.  It is a lovely place, about 4400 people, set in the midst of a sea of corn and soybeans.   My wife and I moved here in 1985 and have been very happy.  Soon after we moved to Dwight I joined the local Rotary Club.  There I met Jim Oughton and his brother Richard Oughton.  Both had served in WW2, Jim as a naval officer, and Dick as a marine fighter pilot.  They were also the two richest men in town, the scions of a family that had been the wealthiest family in town for well over a century.

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17 Responses to Dwight and Terrorism

  • The Obama that welcomed this man’s help is unknown to most voters. Hopefully, they will get to know him as more of his involvement with Ayers comes to light.

  • A couple comments:

    1. The relevant actions of Ayers happened in a decade that began almost 50 years ago. To make an issue of this now is sort of like taking issue with the civil-war actions of a confederate soldier…in 1908. It’s (literally) history. Let’s you were alive in 1908 and overheard some confederate veteran speaking in 1908 of killing yankees, it would not be especially remarkable, or relevant to the present moment – “Oh, that’s just old Mr Smith – he talks like that when he’s in his cups…” or whatever.

    2. Obama is not especially close to Ayers – they both served on the board of some organization whose name escapes me, but my understanding is that Obama has denounced the long-ago actions of Ayers, which took place when Obama was 7 or 8 years old.

  • I am more interested in Obama’s ideological closeness to Mr. Ayers. I’ve just heard passing whiffs of the school project they both worked to implement. The thrust was to use the school setting to enlist students as active participants in their “social/political” movement for radical change in the country’s structure. I’ll like to know more about this aspect but am not a skilled internet researcher. God bless your work on this blog.

  • Matt Talbot,

    I wish you would have presented evidence of this.

    But when you announce your aspirations for higher office in Ayers own home and continually to meet with him AFTER distancing himself from him, what can one believe?

  • Matt Talbot, You missed the statement Ayers made on 9/11 when thousands of Americans were killed iwthout cause (very recent history not decades ago)>>>in the New York Times on September 11, 2001. ”I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers said. ”I feel we didn’t do enough.”. He isn’t young in the picture above where the very flag and those who risk their lives defending that flag and the freedom that allows a bigoted hypocritical traitor, complicit in his girlfriend’s death, to say and do the things he does NOW as well as then. further, Obama’s first presidential eleciton party was thrown by his “not close” friend Ayers. Wake and smell the coffee Mr Talbot. Ayers and Obama are very good friends indeed!

  • This place is liable to turn dangerously close into a lynching site, as are Ms. Palin’s rallies…

    Guilt by association?!!! You better look into Todd Palin’s ties to the AIP, whose founder advocated some “sweet stuff” in regards to the USA.

  • Todd Palin is running for which office again?

  • It’s her husband…and she went to 2 conventions and addressed the group just this year…

    But the point is that this guilt by association should be beneath Catholics of good will…

  • Mark,

    First off, I think you have to be pretty hyperbolic, in a fashion which is neither helpful not wise, to assert that discussing Senator Obama’s ties to left wing radicals is “dangerously close into a lynching”. Lynching is a serious and deeply evil thing, and discussing the fact that Senator Obama chooses to work with some very unsavory people bears no resemblance to lynching at all. It would be the same as saying of a liberal site, “The discussion on this site is dangerously close to the crushing of the skulls of still living newborn children.” It’s just not a reasonable place to go.

    Secondly, there is a real issue here. In addition to his old terrorist ties, Bill Ayers has become a serious force in the left wing educational establishment, and Obama and those in his campaign have generally been supportive of this educational agenda.

    Unfortunately, we don’t get enough into substantive issues in elections such as this, and so there has been very little discussion of the educational philosophy which Ayers is behind, and which the NEA and major organizations have given far too much legitimacy. As someone who cares a lot about education, I find it doubly troubling that Ayers (clearly a seriously misguided individual) is considered “not a big deal” in all this, and that Obama has historically funnelled a lot of money and support to his educational initiatives.

  • You did not get my reference, I guess.

    Peope are yeling “kill him” at Plin rallies, whenever she resorts to such guilt by association,and calling African American reporters “uppity Negroes” and telling them to “sit down, boy.”

  • I had not heard this until you brought it up now — but googling on what you say I find a Huffington Post report that the Secret Service is investigating after this was reported _once_ at _a_ rally by Dana Milbank in one of his columns. The Secret Service had not done so earlier because none of their agents in the crowd had heard the shouting which Milbank claims occurred.

    You make it sound like this is a regular event, which is not what even the Huffington Post suggests.

    Clearly, suggesting that someone kill a presidential candidate is terribly, terribly wrong. (So is suggesting the killing of the current president — though that hasn’t stopped a few people I’ve seen on the roads from sporting “Kill Bush” bumper stickers.)

    I’m sure that you and I agree that suggesting killing a politician is wrong, as is hurling racial epithets.

    Of course, also very wrong (I’m sure you would agree with me) is the open and repeated suggestion of an Obama-supporting commedian that Governor Palin be gang-raped. From which, I think we can conclude, that idiots tend to come out at election time.

  • -the point is that this guilt by association should be beneath Catholics of good will-

    Good grief! What about the guilt by association incurred by supporting a candidate who condones child murder?

  • Mark DeFrancisis,

    Anymore defamatory, ad hominem, or degenerative comments that you post then you will be under moderation and ultimately banned if your behavior persists.

    This is your first and only warning on your unchristian behavior.

  • On Wednesday morning, John McCain’s campaign released a list of 100 former ambassadors endorsing the GOP presidential nominee.

    Second on the list, though her name is misspelled, is Leonore Annenberg, currently the president and chairman of the Annenberg Foundation and widow of ambassador and philanthropist Walter Annenberg. Ms. Annenberg was herself the “chief of protocol” at the State Department under President Reagan.

    If the last name sounds familiar, it’s because it also graces the name of the Chicago education board where Barack Obama and William Ayers sat in the room six times together.

    In recent days, the McCain-Palin ticket (and particularly Palin) has faulted Obama for having served on that board with Ayers, who was a founding member of the radical 60’s Weather Underground group when Obama was in grade school.

  • Has McCain returned this money? By your standards, he’s colluding with terrorists…..

  • Uh, no, Mark. Because Leonore Annenberg did not actively plant bombs the way Ayers did. That’s the thing that some people seem a bit unable to understand: Ayers not only did attempt to murder people via terrorism (and get his girlfriend killed in the process) but still says it was a good idea to have done so.

    And Obama didn’t just sit on the same board as him, he launched his political career at an event in Ayers’ house, worked with him on multiple projects, and funneled money to his groups.

    If tu toque (and a false one at that) is the best argument you can make in favor of your guy, it’s because your guy has a problem.

  • Darwin,

    I am not making tu toque argment. I am just revealing the desperation and vileness of the McCain-Palin campaign.

    I love seeing you contribute to the culture of life. So attractive.