Barack Obama - Controversial and Radical Associates
|President Barack Obama|
|44th President of the United States|
|Assumed office: January 20, 2009|
|This article is part of a series about|
|Biography • Political Career • Controversial and Radical Associates • Radical Appointments • Ties to Islam • Presidency|
|Invovlement with: Democratic Socialists of America • New Party/Progressive Chicago • Communist Party • Committees of Correspondence • Labor Movement • ACORN & Project Vote • more...|
- 1 Frank Marshall Davis
- 2 Radical Harvard Mentor, Charles Ogletree
- 3 Reverend Jeremiah Wright
- 4 Quentin Young
- 5 Abner Mikva
- 6 Supporting Alice Palmer
- 7 Tony Rezko
- 8 Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn
- 9 Saul Mendelson
- 10 Backed socialist Bernie Sanders
- 11 Meeting AlQazwini
- 12 David Axelrod
- 13 Helping Blagojevich
- 14 George Soros
- 15 References
Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America. The following are people affiliated with Obama throughout his life.
Frank Marshall Davis
Barack Obama's relationship to communist poet Frank Marshall Davis, first came to light through a March 2007 speech at New York University's Tamiment Library by Communist Party USA supporter and historian Gerald Horne.
Commenting on the alleged leftist sympathies of Hawaiians, Horne said;
- When these sources are explored, I think scholars of the future will be struck by, for example, the response in Honolulu when tens of thousands of workers went on strike when labor and CP leaders were convicted of Smith Act violations in 1953 – a response totally unlike the response on the mainland. Of course 98% of these workers were of Asian-Pacific ancestry, which suggests that scholars have also been derelict in analyzing why these workers were less anti-communist than their Euro-American counterparts.
- In any case, deploring these convictions in Hawaii was an African-American poet and journalist by the name of Frank Marshall Davis, who was certainly in the orbit of the CP – if not a member – and who was born in Kansas and spent a good deal of his adult life in Chicago, before decamping to Honolulu in 1948 at the suggestion of his good friend Paul Robeson.
- Eventually, he befriended another family – a Euro-American family – that had migrated to Honolulu from Kansas and a young woman from this family eventually had a child with a young student from Kenya East Africa who goes by the name of Barack Obama, who retracing the steps of Davis eventually decamped to Chicago.
- In his best selling memoir ‘Dreams of my Father’, the author speaks warmly of an older black poet, he identifies simply as "Frank" as being a decisive influence in helping him to find his present identity as an African-American, a people who have been the least anticommunist and the most left-leaning of any constituency in this nation
- At some point in the future, a teacher will add to her syllabus Barack’s memoir and instruct her students to read it alongside Frank Marshall Davis’ equally affecting memoir, "Living the Blues"...
It was soon revealed that Frank Marshall Davis was not merely in the Communist Party's "orbit"-he was a full fledged party member for many years, both in Chicago and Hawaii.
Obama/Frank Marshall Davis relationship
- Obama’s grandmother (Toot) and Gramps have an argument over whether Gramps should give Toot a ride to work after she had been threatened at a bus stop by a black panhandler. Obama looks to Frank to sort it out in his mind. (p. 89-91)
- When Toot is having difficulty convincing the drug-abusing young Obama to apply for college, it is again Frank who is able to convince Obama that college is necessary. (p. 96-98)
- Frank tells the young Obama “…you may be a well-trained, well-paid nigger, but you’re a nigger just the same.” (p. 97)
Radical Harvard Mentor, Charles Ogletree
Radical Harvard law professor Ogletree claims to have mentored both Michelle Obama and Barack Obama during their respective periods at the Ivy League university. Barack Obama participated in Ogletree's Saturday School Program, which were designed to "expose minority students, in particular, to critical issues in the study of law.." According to Ogletree the Obama's have called on him for advice since that time.
- I met Michelle when she started her legal career here at Harvard in the fall of 1985, and I was able to watch her develop into a very strong and powerful student leader. She was an active member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where she served as a student attorney for indigent clients who had civil cases and needed legal help...
- I met Barack three years later when he arrived at Harvard Law School in fall of 1988. He was quiet and unassuming, but had an incredibly sharp mind and a thirst for knowledge. He was a regular participant in a program that I created called the Saturday School Program, which was a series of workshops and meetings held on Saturday mornings to expose minority students, in particular, to critical issues in the study of law. Even then I saw his ability to quickly grasp the most complicated legal issues and sort them out in a clear, concise fashion.
- I was faculty adviser to the Harvard Black Law Student Association. I routinely gave career advice, and often personal advice, to students who would come in with questions about where they should work, how they should use their legal skills and talent, and was it possible to do well and do good...My advice to people like Barack and Michelle was that they could easily navigate the challenges of a corporate career and find a variety of ways to serve their community—through financial support, through volunteer legal services, and through getting involved in community efforts. So this advice started then, and I guess it must have been useful enough. They have not hesitated to call on me over the past 20-plus years as needed.
Black Advisory Council
Ogletree has advised Obama on reforming the criminal-justice system as well on constitutional issues. He is a member of the Obama campaign's black advisory council, which also includes Cornel West, who teaches African-American studies at Princeton University. The group formed after Obama skipped a conference on African-American issues in Hampton, Va., to announce his presidential candidacy in Illinois.
Reverend Jeremiah Wright
In the video to the right, Obama states that his pastor, Jeremiah Wright is a "wonderful man".
- "It’s a church that would provide you with lots of social connections and prominent parishioners. It’s a good place for a politician to be a member."
Quentin Young is a long time member of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America.
“I can remember being one of a small group of people who came to Bill Ayers’ house to learn that Alice Palmer was stepping down from the senate and running for Congress,” said Dr. Quentin Young, of the informal gathering at the home of Ayers and his wife, Dohrn. “[Palmer] identified [Obama] as her successor.” Barack Obama and Alice Palmer “were both there,” he said.
- Quentin Young, perhaps the most well-known single-payer advocate in America. He was the Rev. Martin Luther King’s doctor when he lived in Chicago and a longtime friend and ally of Barack Obama.
As a state Senator, Obama and another leftist colleague and state representative Willie Delgado presented the The Health Care Justice Act to the Illinois House and Senate.
According to blog Thomas Paine's Corner;
- Barack Obama is quite familiar with the concepts and the specific merits of single payer. Back in the late 1990s, when he was an Illinois State Senator representing a mostly black district on the south side of Chicago, he took pains to consistently identify himself publicly with his neighbor Dr. Quentin Young.
- He signed on as co-sponsor of the Bernardin Amendment, named after Chicago's late Catholic Archbishop, who championed the public policy idea that medical care was a human right, not a commodity. At that time, when it was to his political advantage, Obama didn't mind at all being perceived as an advocate of single payer.
Quentin Young has suported Obama politically for since at least 1995.
- "I knew him before he was political, I supported him when he ran for state Senate. When he was a state Senator he did say that he supported single payer. Now, he hedges. Now he says, if we were starting from scratch, he would support single payer.”
- “Barack’s a smart man, He probably calculated the political cost for being for single payer – the shower of opposition from the big boys – the drug companies and the health insurance companies. And so, like the rest of them, he fashioned a hodge podge of a health insurance plan.”
AMY GOODMAN: You’ve been a longtime friend of Barack Obama.
DR. QUENTIN YOUNG: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: How has he changed over the years?
DR. QUENTIN YOUNG: Well, Barack Obama, as we know, was a community organizer, a very lofty calling, in my book, and he made the decision, when the opportunity came, that he could get more done politically, and he accepted the nomination for the seat in the State Senate. It’s not that long ago, really. It’s about a six, eight years ago.
Barack Obama, in those early days—influenced, I hope, by me and others—categorically said single payer was the best way, and he would inaugurate it if he could get the support, meaning majorities in both houses, which he’s got, and the presidency, which he’s got. And he said that on more than one occasion, and it represented the very high-grade intelligence we all know Barack has....
AMY GOODMAN: This brouhaha over the last week with the White House healthcare summit, 120 people, there were going to be no single-payer advocates. Congressman Conyers asked to go. At first, he was told no. He directly asked President Obama at a Congressional Black Caucus hearing. He asked to bring you and Marcia Angell—
DR. QUENTIN YOUNG: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: —former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. You weren’t allowed to go. Do you have President Obama’s ear anymore? You have been an ally of his for years, for decades.
DR. QUENTIN YOUNG: Well, it’s mixed. I think we’re friends, certainly. At this gala that you mentioned, which was embarrassing, he did send a very complimentary letter. And I appreciate that, but I’d much rather have him enact single payer, to tell the truth. And we did—it’s fair to say, after a good deal of protest, I think we were told there was a—phones rang off the hook. They did allow our national president, Dr. Oliver Fein, to attend with Dr. Conyers—Congressman Conyers. That’s fine, but we need many more people representative of the American people at large to get this thing through the Congress, and Baucus, notwithstanding, be overruled.
On March 5, 2000, Obama was endorsed by former congressman and White House counsel Abner Mikva; former Chicago Alderman Leon Despres; Dr. Quentin Young, an advocate for universal health care; Michael Shakman, an attorney who led the legal fight to eliminate patronage positions in city government, and Eugene Ford, a former aide to late Mayor Harold Washington, in his bid to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush.
Mikva stated of Obama, ""I can't think of any candidate I've had more enthusiasm for." Obama is "bright, thoughtful and articulate." He also stated that he admired Obama's efforts on campaign finance reform.
Supporting Alice Palmer
In 1995, Barack Obama went to see his alderman, Toni Preckwinkle,after South Side Chicago politics was upset by scandal. Local Congressman Mel Reynolds, was facing charges of sexual assault of a sixteen-year-old campaign volunteer-eventually resigning his seat.) The looming vacancy interested several politicians, including state senator Alice Palmer, who prepared to enter the congressional race.
Palmer represented Hyde Park—Obama’s neighborhood—and, if she ran for Congress, she would need a replacement in Springfield, the state capital. The Palmer seat was what Barack Obama had in mind when he visited Alderman Preckwinkle.
- “Barack came to me and said, ‘If Alice decides she wants to run, I want to run for her State Senate seat,’ ”
Barack Obama was an early supporter of Alice Palmer in her 1994 bid for U.S. Congress.
Others listed included at least three activists later proven to be members of Democratic Socialists of America Timuel Black, Danny Davis and Betty Willhoite several DSA associates including David Orr, Miguel del Valle and Toni Preckwinkle and controversial property developer and political donor Tony Rezko.
On n September 19th 1995, Obama invited two hundred supporters to a lakefront Ramada Inn to announce his candidacy for the State Senate, telling the crowd;
- “Politicians are not held to highest esteem these days...They fall somewhere lower than lawyers. . . . I want to inspire a renewal of morality in politics. I will work as hard as I can, as long as I can, on your behalf.”
- “In this room, Harold Washington announced for mayor...Barack Obama carries on the tradition of independence in this district. . . . His candidacy is a passing of the torch.”
Obama had lined up support from Toni Preckwinkle, his alderman, and Ivory Mitchell, the local ward chairman. Alice Palmer’s endorsement brought with it local operators and local activists. The operators helped Obama get on the ballot and handled the mechanics of his election. Two key operators were Alan Dobry and his wife, Lois Dobry, then in their late sixties and leaders of the Independent movement.
Alice Palmer asked several people to hold fund-raising coffees for Obama. At her suggestion, Sam Ackerman and Martha Ackerman, who were leaders of Independent Voters of Illinois, hosted a coffee at their home. Unlike the Dobrys, they insisted on a meeting with Obama before backing him, and their support was important enough for him to spend an hour with them in their dining room, submitting to an interview. Their reaction to him was a common one. “I don’t think he said he wanted to run for President, but he indicated that he was into public service for the long haul,” said Martha Ackerman. “I remember very clearly I said to Sam, ‘If this guy is for real, he could be the first African-American President of the United States.’ ”
Defeating Alice Palmer
In October 1995, Obama traveled to Washington DC for the Million Man March. By December, 1995, his South Side coalition had begun to fall apart. Alice Palmer’s congressional campaign was outshone by her Democratic-primary opponents—Jesse Jackson, Jr, and Emil Jones, a longtime leader in the State Senate.
Several weeks before the primary, a group of her supporters realized that Palmer was destined for defeat and summoned Obama to a meeting. The Chicago Defender reported that Obama was asked “to step aside like other African Americans have done in other races for the sake of unity and to release Palmer from her commitment”—so that she could reclaim her State Senate seat. Obama left the meeting making no commitment.
Palmer was soundly defeated by Jackson and there were more demands that Obama withdraw. He refused, which angered Palmer and her husband, Buzz Palmer. Alice Palmer, announced that she would run against Obama.
- I had given him my word I would support him...Alice didn’t forgive me, and she’s never going to forgive me.”
The Dobrys went to the Chicago board of elections and reviewed her Alice Palmer's electoral petitions. They found them full of irregularities.
- One skill that the Independents had mastered in the years of fighting the first Mayor Daley was the machine’s tactic of challenging ballot petitions, and the Dobrys were experts at this Chicago ritual. Publicly, Obama was conciliatory about the awkward political situation, telling the Hyde Park Herald that he understood that some people were upset about the “conflict between old loyalties and new enthusiasms.” Privately, however, he unleashed his operators. With the help of the Dobrys, he was able to remove not just Palmer’s name from the ballot but the name of every other opponent as well. “
Barack Obama went into his first election unopposed.
- Rezko’s rise in Illinois was intertwined with Obama’s. Like Abner Mikva and Judson Miner, he had tried to recruit Obama to work for him. Chicago had been at the forefront of an urban policy to lure developers into low-income neighborhoods with tax credits, and Rezko was an early beneficiary of the program. Miner’s law firm was eager to do the legal work on the tax-credit deals, which seemed consistent with the firm’s over-all civil-rights mission. A residual benefit was that the new developers became major donors to aldermen, state senators, and other South Side politicians who represented the poor neighborhoods in which Rezko and others operated.
“Our relationship deepened when I started my first political campaign for the State Senate,” Obama said in 2008, in an interview with Chicago reporters.
Rezko was one of the people Obama consulted when he considered running to replace Alice Palmer. Rezko also raised about ten per cent of Obama’s funds for that first campaign.
As a state senator, Obama became an advocate of the tax-credit program. “That’s an example of a smart policy,” he told the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin in 1997. “The developers were thinking in market terms and operating under the rules of the marketplace; but at the same time, we had government supporting and subsidizing those efforts.”
Obama and Rezko’s friendship blossomed.
- They dined together regularly and even, on at least one occasion, retreated to Rezko’s vacation home, in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Deals with Rezko
Several of Obama's official acts while a State Senator in Illinois benefited Rezko, who in turn raised some $250,000 for Obama's campaigns.
Tony Rezko's company claimed that it lacked the funds to heat one of its 11 buildings in Obama's state Senate district from December 1996 to February 1997. But Rezko still managed to write a $1,000 check to Obama's campaign fund on Jan. 14. That month, his tenants shivered as 19 inches of snow fell on northern Illinois.
In 2003, Obama voted for the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act, which required Illinois municipalities to make 10 percent of their housing units "affordable" (by definition, this included subsidized housing). This forced 46 communities just outside of Chicago to create more than 7,000 new "affordable" units - a huge boost in demand for area developers. The bill also provided loopholes for developers to circumvent local ordinances and regulations. After voting for this measure (it passed narrowly), Obama then cosponsored a new bill that moved up its implementation by more than a year.
These and the other Obama-backed bills helped make millionaires of Rezko and other slum developers at taxpayers' expense. The developers - including Allison Davis, his former law boss and an adviser to his current campaign - reciprocated, together giving and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Obama's campaigns.
On June 15, 2005, Barack Obama bought a gorgeous house in Hyde Park for $1.65 million - $300,000 below the list price. Tony Rezko bought the empty but attractive lot next door from the same seller at the same time; Obama would later buy part of Rezko's lot, overpaying him. The transaction was shady, but not obviously corrupt.
Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn
“I can remember being one of a small group of people who came to Bill Ayers’ house to learn that Alice Palmer was stepping down from the senate and running for Congress,” said Dr. Quentin Young, a prominent Chicago physician of the informal gathering at the home of Ayers and his wife, Dohrn. “[Palmer] identified [Obama] as her successor.”
Barack Obama and Alice Palmer “were both there,” he said.
Obama wrote an endorsement for Bill Ayers book "A Kind and Just Parent:Children of Juvenile Court"
Juvenile justice event
On Nov. 20th, 1997, Michelle Obama, who was then Associate Dean of Student Services and Director of the University Community Service Center, invited William Ayers to speak on juvenile justice. Ayers was joined by Barack Obama who also spoke during the event on working to combat legislation that would put more juvenile offenders into the adult system.
Bill Ayers and Barack Obama spoke together at a public gathering sponsored by The Center for Public Intellectuals & the University of Illinois-Chicago, April 19th-20th, 2002, at the Chicago Illini Union;
"Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?
IV. Intellectuals in Times of Crisis
Experiences and applications of intellectual work in urgent situations.
- Bill Ayers, UIC, College of Education; author of Fugitive Days
- Douglass Cassel, Northwestern University, Center for International Human Rights
- Cathy Cohen, University of Chicago, Political Science
- Salim Muwakkil, Chicago Tribune; In These Times
- Barack Obama, Illinois State Senator
- Barbara Ransby, UIC, African-American Studies (moderator).
According to Chicago DSA leader Carl Shier;
- At the memorial service held at the 1st Unitarian Church on South Woodlawn, speaker after speaker recounted Saul's contributions. The service was ably MC'd by a retired colleague, Bob Clark. I spoke first and was followed by Saul's friend Deborah Meier, a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient who is now starting a new school in Boston. Amy Isaacs, National Director of the ADA, spoke of what Saul had meant on foreign affairs to the ADA.
- Other speakers included Senator Carol Moseley Braun, Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, State Senator Barak Obama, Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie and a good friend from New York, Myra Russell. The concluding remarks were made by an old friend, Harriet Lefley, who is now Professor of Psychology at the University of Miami Medical School.
Alderman Toni Preckwinkle and Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, are both leftist Democrats with ties to Chicago's socialist community. Both endorsed Barack Obama in his successful 2004 bid for the United States Senate.
Harriet Lefley was a Trotskyite in the 1940s with Saul Mendelson.
Both Brisben and McReynolds are also members of Democratic Socialists of America.
Obama probably knew Saul Mendelson through their mutual activities in the Independent Voters of Illinois Independent Precinct Organization (IVIIPO), an organization investigated by the FBI for communist infiltration in the 1940s.
- The Democratic Party is not mounting a serious challenge, although a candidate may occupy the Democratic line. A number of prominent Democrats, including Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy and Illinois Senator Barack Obama, already have campaigned with Sanders.
Then Presidential candidate Barack Obama met with Iraq born, Iran educated, Michigan Muslim leader Sayed Hassan AlQazwini in May 2008, reportedly arranged through Qazwini's American Rights at Work colleague and Obama Transition Team memberDavid Bonior.
According to Michigan journalist Debbie Schlussel;
- Imam Hassan Qazwini, head of the Islamic Center of America, said in an email that he met with Obama at Macomb Community College. A mosque spokesman, Eide Alawan, confirmed that the meeting took place. During the meeting, the two discussed the Presidential election, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Iraq war, according to Qazwini.
- At the end of the meeting, Qazwini said he gave Obama a copy of new book, "American Crescent," and invited Obama to visit his center.
- The meeting with Obama came about after Qazwini had asked David Bonior, the former U.S. Rep. from Michigan, if he could meet with Obama during his visit. Qazwini was not selected to be part of a group of 20 people who met with Obama, but Qazwini later got a private meeting with Obama, Alawan said.
- "They gave him an opportunity for a one-on-one," Alawan said. . . .
David Axelrod is an American political consultant based in Chicago, Illinois and is a Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama.
In 2002 Obama helped advise then-victorious gubernatorial candidate Rod Blagojevich. According to Rahm Emanuel, Blagojevich, Obama, David Wilhelm (Blagojevich’s campaign co-chair), and another Blagojevich aide were the top strategists of Blagojevich’s victory. He and Obama "participated in a small group that met weekly when Rod was running for governor,” Emanuel said. “We basically laid out the general election, Barack and I and these two." A spokesman for Blagojevich has confirmed Emanuel’s account, although David Wilhelm, who now works for Obama, said that Emanuel had overstated Obama’s role. “There was an advisory council that was inclusive of Rahm and Barack but not limited to them,” Wilhelm said, and he disputed the notion that Obama was “an architect or one of the principal strategists.”
Shortly after George Soros equated the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Obama joined him for a New York fund-raiser June 7, 2008, while running for the US Senate in Illinois.
The event, held at Soros' home, boosted Obama's campaign at a time he was still facing a challenge from Republican Jack Ryan. After news broke about information in Ryan's divorce records, the candidate was forced to drop out.
Little has been made of his connection to Soros, although it is quite unique. Not only did George Soros donate to Obama's campaign, but four other family members - Jennifer Soros, sons Jonathan Soros and Robert Soros and wife Susan Soros - did as well.
Because of a special provision campaign finance laws, the Soroses were able to give a collective $60,000 to Obama during his primary challenge. Obama faced millionaire Blair Hull, which allowed donors to give more than typically allowed.
Obama is one of only a handful of candidates to get a personal contribution from George Soros. The others include Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Bob Graham (D-Fla.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, and former Vermont governor Howard Dean.
"Why did George support Obama?" his spokesman, Michael Vachon, asked rhetorically. "Because when they met in Chicago a couple of months ago, it was apparent that Barack Obama was an emerging national leader, and he would be an important addition to the Senate."
Vachon said Obama is the only candidate this election cycle Soros has met personally, with the first powwow in March. Asked why Soros hasn't sought out a meeting with Kerry, the man he is pulling for to defeat President Bush on Nov. 2, Vachon said it was just a matter of Soros keeping his distance.
"George is a major funder of an independent 527 group, and it probably makes more sense for him and Kerry to keep each other at arm's length," Vachon said.
- Daily Herald, Monday, March 6, 2000. Section 1, Page 7.
- Undated Friends of Alice Palmer membership list. Harold Washington papers
- NY Post: BARACK'S FAVORS FOR CORRUPT CRONY, August 27, 2008 (accessed on Nov. 22, 2010)
- Michelle Obama Had Ayers Speak In 1997 Sweetness & Light, Oct. 5, 2008, University of Chicago Chronicle, Nov. 6 1997, Vol 17, No. 4
- New Ground 58, May - June, 1998
- Democratic left, Spring 2006
- Unlike Kerry, Barack Obama Covets George Soros' Support, By Robert B. Bluey, July 7, 2008, Boston (CNSNews.com)