Compared to John McCain, we know very little about Barack Obama’s past. (For example, how many know that Obama has smoked cigarettes this year on the campaign trail? Watch his own admission.) He seems to have simply burst upon the scene with a well-branded, well-funded and carefully honed message of change. It seems highly strange, though, that somebody could make it past the massive Clinton Machine and to the Democratic nomination without some kind of backing. Who is really behind Barack Obama and why do we know so little about him?
This collective ignorance is partly because he has refused to release his medical records, college transcripts, birth certificate and many other basic details that could clue us in on his character, experience and judgment. This collective ignorance is also because the mainstream media has been incredibly uninterested in Barack Obama’s past and has simply not investigated or even seemed interested. (They are very interested in Sarah Palin and ‘Joe the Plumber’ though and have dug and dug — in some cases perhaps illegally.)
Here are a few things we know about Barack Obama. I’m quoting from a report by Maxim Lott entitled “Obama’s Education Groups Funded Controversial Organizations in the ’90s, Tax Returns Show“:
The Annenberg Challenge and the Woods Fund of Chicago funded numerous controversial groups while Barack Obama served on their boards between 1995 and 2002, an analysis of their tax returns shows.
In 2001, when Obama was a part-time director of The Woods Fund of Chicago, it gave $75,000 to ACORN, the voter registration group now under investigation for voter fraud in 12 states.
The Woods Fund also gave $6,000 to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ, which Obama attended. The reason for the donation to the church is unclear — it is simply listed as “for special purposes” in the group’s IRS tax form.
It gave a further $60,000 to the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University, which was founded and run by Bernardine Dohrn, the wife of domestic terrorist William Ayers and, with her husband, a former member of the 1960s radical group the Weather Underground.
Other controversial donations that year included $50,000 to the Small Schools Network — which was founded by Ayers and run by Michael Klonsky, a friend of Ayers’ and the former chairman of the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist), an offshoot of the 1960s radical group Students for a Democratic Society — and $40,000 to the Arab American Action Network, which critics have accused of being anti-Semitic.
When Obama co-chaired the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which calls itself “a public-private partnership improving education for 1.5 million urban and rural public school students,” it gave to some of the same groups — partnering with ACORN to manage funding for schools and giving over $1 million to the Small Schools Network.
It also gave nearly $1 million to a group called the South Shore African Village Collaborative, whose goals, according to Annenberg’s archived Web site, are “to develop more collegial relationships between teachers and principals. Professional development topics include school leadership, team building, parent and community involvement, developing thematic units, instructional strategies, strategic planning, and distance learning and teleconferencing.”
But the group mentions other goals in its grant application to the Annenberg Challenge:
“Our children need to understand the historical context of our struggles for liberation from those forces that seek to destroy us,” one page of the application reads.
You can read that application here (pdf document).
There’s more to the article quoted above but I highlighted the money trail. Remember, follow the money and you’ll find out who is behind something and why — people put money where their priorities are. I’m only scratching the surface but it doesn’t take long before some really ugly associations start to show up.
In short, the Barack Obama we don’t know seems to have lots of friends who fit into one or more of these categories: radicals, racists, anti-semites, communists, terrorists, and/or purveyors of election fraud. Will voters wake up and realize that Obama really is about change? I doubt Obama’s version of change is the kind of change most voters really want, though.
Recommended resources for learning more about the “real Obama”: