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Ed Driscoll

Totally, you guys:

Left-wing radical Bill Ayers, a longtime friend of President Barack Obama, recently defended the series of bombings that he carried out as a member of the Weather Underground, saying that his bombings were not like the Boston Marathon attack and that America is the most violent country that has ever been created.

Ayers — who participated in a series of anti-Vietnam War bombings in the early 1970s including an attack on New York City police department headquarters and the Pentagon — answered an Akron Beacon Journal reporter’s questions after giving a keynote speech at an event commemorating the anniversary of the 1970 Kent State National Guard shootings.

Ayers said that there is no equivalence between his bombings and the deadly bombings that rocked the Boston Marathon.

“What I did was some destruction of property to issue a scream and cry against an illegal war in which 6,000 people a week are being killed,” Ayers said.

Ayers reportedly said that the United States is the most violent country that has ever been created, and said that Republican Senator and Vietnam War hero John McCain committed daily war crimes.

“Six thousand a week being killed and I destroyed some property. Show me the equivalence. You should ask John McCain that question … I’m against violence,” Ayers said.

Well, the Weathermen certainly had a funny way of expressing their pacifism back then.  These days, we tend to remember the Weathermen solely for the Pentagon incident (particularly after the New York Times’ fawning profile of Ayers that ran, with horrible synchronicity, on September 11th, 2001), and the botched Fort Dix bomb, but according to Jonah Goldberg in Liberal Fascism, they were remarkably active in the late ’60s and early ’70s:

Many of us forget that the Weather Underground bombing campaign was not a matter of a few isolated incidents. From September 1969 to May 1970, Rudd and his co-revolutionaries on the white radical left committed about 250 attacks, or almost one terrorist bombing a day (government estimates put that number much higher). During the summer of 1970, there were twenty bombings a week in California. The bombings were the backbeat to the symphony of violence, much of it rhetorical, that set the score for the New Left in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Rudd captured the tone perfectly: “It’s a wonderful feeling to hit a pig. It must be a really wonderful feeling to kill a pig or blow up a building.” [Mark Rudd is now is now "a math teacher at a community college in Albuquerque, New Mexico," Jonah adds elsewhere -- Ed] “The real division is not between people who support bombings and people who don’t,” explained a secret member of a “bombing collective,” but “between people who will do them and people who are too hung up on their own privileges and security to take those risks.”

Wikipedia has a page titled “List of Weatherman Actions.” It’s certainly extensive; it may even be accurate.

At Hot Air today, Allahpundit adds, “Good news from Bill Ayers: My terrorism was nothing like the terrorism in Boston:”

The Tsarnaevs wanted to kill people, whereas the Weather Underground mostly wanted to blow up property except for that time they built nail bombs to kill soldiers at a dance at Fort Dix but ended up blowing themselves up instead. Oh, and the time they probably killed a cop in San Francisco and wounded nine others. There’s the big distinction.

Two mild surprises here. One: Ayers doesn’t attempt to defend the Tsarnaevs’ motive, even though it was anti-war of a sort. This is a prime opportunity to lecture about “blowback” by the oppressed people of the Muslim world who object to U.S. imperialism, etc etc etc, even while condemning the tactics, but he doesn’t take it. Maybe the politics of defending the Tsarnaevs, however mildly, are too toxic even for him. Two: Almost 50 years later, he’s still looking for ways to defend the Weathermen’s tactics even though he loses more than he gains by it. You would think he’d regret setting bombs, even “just” to destroy property, if only because it made it easier for hawks at the time to discredit the wider left as radicals and terrorists. Nope.

Regarding those who would lionize such tactics, Jason Mattera asks the questions the MSM refused to when they gave Robert Redford’s new film an extensive tongue bath:

In his review of Redford’s pro-Weathermen movie (which he grades as a “B” — insert your own jokes here), Burlington (NJ) County Times film critic Lou Gaul writes:

Redford, who earned an Oscar as best director for “Ordinary People” (1980), obviously wanted to tell this cautionary story, and his limited production budget of $2 million caused the film to look more like a cable movie than a major motion picture.

Thanks to his filmmaking status, Redford was able to attract top talents willing to work for much less than their usual salaries to be part of the ensemble. They include Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Anna Kendrick, Terrence Howard, Chris Cooper, Brit Marling, Richard Jenkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Christie and Nick Nolte.

A throwback film, “The Company You Keep” provides a welcome twist at the end and enough political ideas to generate post-screening discussions.

Funny though, as Ed Morrissey writes, linking to Mattera’s new video, “Hey, didn’t Redford make The Company You Keep to start a ‘conversation’? Looks like Redford isn’t interested in conversing these days.” Well, it depends on who he’s conversing with. Compare the inconvenient truths Mattera asks with this “interview:”

Though to be fair, fellow leftist George Stephanopoulos was at least able to get this moment on record:

Reminiscing on his own past, the liberal Hollywood star recounted, “When I was younger, I was very much aware of the movement. I was more than sympathetic, I was probably empathetic because I believed it was time for a change.”

After Stephanopoulos wondered, “Even when you read about bombings,” Redford responded, “All of it. I knew that it was extreme and I guess movements have to be extreme to some degree.

If the budget of The Company You Keep was indeed two million dollars, as Gaul wrote in his review, then it’s turned a profit at the box office; though a very small one. I don’t think Redford’s going to keep up the payments on his environmentally correct estate on its royalties, however:

Oh, and speaking of “the company you keep,” at the end of a lengthy round-up of Ayers’ recent appearance in the news, Jim Geraghty adds the Obama connection:

Ayers recently elaborated on his relationship with Barack Obama and his political allies earlier in life:

David Axelrod said we were friendly, that was true; we served on a couple of boards together, that was true; he held a fundraiser in our living room, that was true; Michelle [Obama] and Bernardine were at the law firm together, that was true. Hyde Park in Chicago is a tiny neighborhood, so when he said I was “a guy around the neighborhood,” that was true.

As Ben Smith summarized:

Ayers and Dohrn, who have been semi-officially rehabilitated in Chicago but still inspire a wide range of feelings, played a modest but real part in launching Obama’s political career.

Fancy that: Even Obama flack Ben Smith can airbrush Ayers’ Obama connection away through sufficient Bensmithing.

Finally, some food for thought as an exit quote:

Great minds, indeed.

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"...saying that his bombings were not like the Boston Marathon attack and that America is the most violent country that has ever been created."

The Weathermen have been going on like this for years, covering up their behavior and motives with accusations. Trying to start a race war isn't as publicly acceptable as it used to be.

Pretty similar to the way Berhardine Dohrn famously praised the Manson murders back then, but now that she's upper middle class her praise of the Manson murders was ironic.
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