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Van Jones resigns

Van Jones

Van Jones


We haven’t been following the saga of Van Jones here at The Confluence because we try to ignore the VRWC Noise Machine and we have been focusing on health care reform.  Here’s the latest news from the Washington Post:

Van Jones, special adviser for green jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, resigned Saturday, following weeks of pressure from the right and a flurry of revelations about his past statements.

“I am resigning my post at the Council on Environmental Quality, effective today,” Jones said in a statement dated Sept 5 released around midnight on Sept 6.

“On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me.They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide,” he continued. “I have been inundated with calls — from across the political spectrum — urging me to ‘stay and fight.’ But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future.”

White House officials had offered tepid support last week Jones after he issued two public apologies in recent days, one for signing a petition that questioned whether Bush administration officials “may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.”

Earlier, Jones said he was “clearly inappropriate” in using a crude term to describe Republicans in a speech he gave before joining the administration.

Who is Van Jones? From Gawker:

The story of how the President’s Special Advisor for Green Jobs became the biggest, scariest villain of the right wing (this week, anyway) is also the story of how the right wing information delivery process works now.

Here’s the biography of Van Jones: he was a bookish black kid from Tennessee who went to Yale Law and moved to San Francisco and became a radical. Then he decided to use his law degree and smarts to clean up and make things better from inside the establishment.

He was, he openly acknowledges, a “full-on Marxist” in early ’90s California. He joined a revolutionary Marxist group and protested police brutality. Then he founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which combats over-incarceration, police brutality, and urban poverty and violence.

Running a civil rights group dedicated to producing real and immediate improvements in urban life will make a revolutionary Marxist a bit more pragmatic. Jones began focusing on job creation, and, with a bit of prognostic intuition that ought to put Thomas Friedman to shame, he decided, in the late-’90s, to focus on “Green Jobs.” This is, you know, capitalism—he wants to create wealth, and use market forces to make the world and black communities better places!

And in 2008 he wrote a book called The Green Collar Economy, and it made the Times best-seller list, making him as much of a figure of the mainstream as Sean Hannity or Malcolm Gladwell.

So here we have a radical youth turned respectable liberal. Respectable enough to be on Time magazine listicles and win World Economic Forum prizes and everything. Respectable enough for Tom Friedman to profile him. And The New Yorker. Respectable enough for Meg Whitman, as in former eBay CEO and wealthy Republican California gubernatorial candidate and John McCain advisor Meg Whitman, to proclaim herself “a huge fan of Van Jones.”

And for both his activism and his charm he was rewarded with a White House job with the Council on Environmental Quality. He was tasked with making sure stimulus money for green jobs actually went to green jobs. And he’s a great person to have in this administration—he is a genuine environmentalist and the only special interest he’s beholden to is poor people. He is the sort of person we were all praying Obama would bring with him to DC, instead of Larry Summers.

I am no fan of Barack Obama. I rate him as somewhat better than George W. Bush only because he hasn’t launched an unprovoked war on false pretenses. But I have said before and I’ll say again that I would love to be proven wrong about him.  If he fails we all suffer.

I am not going to oppose people and/or policies just because of their connection to Obama, nor am I going to think less of anyone (like Hillary Clinton) because they choose to serve our nation by working for him.  I want Obama to appoint good liberals and progressives to positions in the federal bureaucracy and judiciary.

Van Jones seems to have been a good pick for the position he held. None of the crap thrown at him by the wingnuts had anything to do with his qualifications or job performance.  Obama should have given Jones his full support.


obamasbus


From the Washington Post:

Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck all but declared war on Jones after a group the adviser founded in 2005, ColorofChange.org, led an advertising boycott against Beck’s show to protest his claim that Obama is a racist.

Glenn Beck is not on our side, he is a member of the right-wing lunatic fringe. The idea that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is bullshit. The attacks on Jones are not based on any alleged incompetence or corruption.  As Digby said:

Murdoch and Ailes have made it quite clear that if you mess with Fox they will unleash the crazies. They’re taking Van Jones’ scalp to send that message.

I have no interest in watching the VRWC destroy a bad Democratic POTUS so they can replace him with someone even worse. Nor will I cheer when real liberals and progressives are driven from an administration that is already overloaded with conservatives and centrists.


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261 Responses

  1. The wingnuts are dancing with glee over this news.

    That’s not a good thing.

    • If it’s crazy to think that we need a more thorough investigation of 9/11, I guess I’m crazy too. The Bush administration had literally hundreds of warnings that an attack was coming. Quite a few wealthy individuals were even warned not to fly. So I’m not going to stop asking questions just because a bunch of moran say I’m crazy.

      I was right not to trust Obama, I think I’m probably right to be suspicious of Bush (Cheney) too. They certainly did use 9/11 to get us into two wars that have now been going on longer than Vietnam. I didn’t imagine that, did I?

      • Cannonfire debunks the “truther” issue

        (Joseph Cannon despises truthers)

        • Define truthers. Again, I think we need a more thorough investigation of 9/11. That doesn’t mean I think the buildings were taken down by bombs, etc. I think the Bush administration ignored the warnings, and I’d like to know more about what happened that day. If that makes Joseph Cannon despise me (along with lots of 9/11 families), then I guess I’ll have to live with it. But I thought Cannon’s objections were to people who believe all the theories about bombs in buildings.

      • I think we know enough now to know that the Bush administration had sufficient information about the incipient attacks to have stopped them. The question is whether Bushco failed to stop them out of a deliberate intent to set up a situation that would give cover to the invasion of Iraq–soemething Bush clearly intended to from the beginning–or whether sheer ineptitude and stupidity resulted in a failure to sythesize the information they had.

        I think we need to know which and that heads need to roll, even if it’s ten years after the fact.

        • Yes, that’s all I’m saying. I see Cannon agrees. I wouldn’t want him to despise me…

    • Have you ever noticed that highly Christianized people on the right aren’t so big on the idea of redemption even though I think really the entire New Testament is based on that theme?

    • i am disturbed at the wingnut-pleasing factor of this too, particularly that fox news took to race-baiting in their coverage of it, instead of just calling him out for being a radical leftist dem. they are also pissed off that jones called attention to “white crime” but jones is hardly a threat to the establishment on that issue is he? he didnt even mention that these school shootings have all been white BOYS, not white “kids.” its hardly a unique perspective to gloss over issues of gender. he is a man with male privilege, just how the foxies like their men, afterall. ugh.

      http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/the-van-jones-debacle/

  2. I agree wit’cha, Myiq. But we seem to have forgotten how to examine and evaluate on our own, and just accept any partisan Anti-Anything Obama hysterics attacks the Republicans launch. You can’t just concentrate on avoiding one cow’s bullshit when you’re negotiating a path through a herd’s field.

  3. I have no interest in watching the VRWC destroy a bad Democratic POTUS so they can replace him with someone even worse. Nor will I cheer when real liberals and progressives are driven from an administration that is already overloaded with conservatives and centrists.
    A-M-E-N!!!

    The lesson to learn here: If you want to say crazy stuff, be a Right-winger.

    Republicans in Congress accused the Clintons of murdering Vince Foster (Remember Dan Burton?), they accuse the POTUS of trying to euthanize old people, some are part of the Birther Movement,…

    Be a Liberal and something “crazy” is found in your background, you’re gone.

    • What about all the HRC word wars from the liberal left? What about the Palin attacks? Saying this stuff is totally right wing is to not look at the facts.

  4. “I have been inundated with calls — from across the political spectrum — urging me to ’stay and fight.’ But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future.”
    Was anyone else reminded of Sarah Palin by this comment?

    • I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past.

      Sounds like the reply he got from Axelrod/Rahm when he asked if they would support him.

      The real problem is that he’s probably too active/radical in what he wants for the environment. And that is something the WH is just not interested in.

    • oh yeah! She’s the 1st person I thought of. And she was labelled a quitter for it. How much you wanna bet this dude gets a pass?

  5. A White House that dances to Fox Noise’s lead. That’s change I suppose, before Fox Noise used to dance to the White House’s lead.

  6. This is unrelated, but anyone who voted for Hillary in the primaries should love it. Watch from 2:39-4:30 No one says it quite like Kathy Griffin!

  7. do yourselves a favor and google this idiot and listen to his statements.i for one do not want someone that wants to destroy capitalisem by his own words anywhere near the whitehouse.again listen to his statements.

    • Last time you were here you were promoting torture as good government policy.

      last I checked, communism wasn’t a war crime.

      • no stalin and pol pot were members of the aclu.

        • Run along now.

          • what im good enough when i max my contributions out for hillary and expendend my time trying to get her the nomination and now that i want nothing to do with a avowed racist and communist you tell me to run along,well maybee i should and take the dollars i spend to help hillary and spend them on my kids as certain of you here only want one opinion.too bad riverdaughters not around,

    • Gee, if this is capitalism we’re living under now, I’d love to see it destroyed.

    • I agree with you. This should not be about left or right, it should be about this great country of ours.I have listened to, and read his statements and I find them to be comletely offensive to my way of thinking(and no, I am not a Republican, I am a proud Independant Puma). A lot of my Dem friends feel that Obama made a big mistake in appointing a self proclaimed communist to this, or any position. What we need to ask is, does Obama share his views on things? I can’t help but think of something my Grandma used to say, birds of a feather flock together. If this is true, we are all in trouble, left and right, IMHO)

      • Did you read about his expertise in the environmental field? The book he wrote? That’s why he was hired-to advise on green jobs. He was not hired to advise on political ideology. If he doesn’t have a right to his his beliefs, then you don’t have a right to yours and I don’t have a right to mine and we are all in more trouble than you imagine.

      • I just can’t agree with you that free speech should be abridged for public officials–or anyone.

        • It is fine to be able to speak freely, but when it is going to change our country into something we may not recognize, then there is a problem. We do not like that in Republicans, and we should not overlook it in Dems. Just my opinion, which I am also entitled to.

      • I heard some of his speeches on YouTube. He is just another black racist. His rants against whites are reminiscent of Rev. Wright’s and Michelle O’s. This whole administration is sowing seeds of violence with their acceptance of this type of rhetoric. Good riddance. I for one am sick of it.

  8. I do not have an opinion, one way or other, on Van Jones. I am deliberately staying away from him as a subject …. because I don’t really care.

    But I will say this….. this resignation is yet another symptom of an imploding Obama administration, under the tremendous RW pressure we always knew was coming.

    We (PUMAs) tried to warn them. They were clearly going to need us die hard Dems when the shit began to hit the fan.

    They knew better. We were all hillbilly racists. They “youth” alone would carry this movement for “change.” (With African Americans.) According to Obotian logic, the only reason the RW machine took Bill down as they did was…. cuz he deserved it! And Hillary was “devisive” like Bill.

    At this point…. I’ll leave them on their own to fight the battles I’ve fought for 30 years+. Using their own, know it all, strategies. After four years of Obama the nation will elect Palin. Then, in 2016 we can see what a Palin/Clinton race gets us.

    Sometimes adults have to stand back and let the kiddos FAIL. It is the only way they can learn.

  9. It’s a power struggle and the wingnuts scored one. Today Poland, tomorrow the world. They expect healthcare reform to fall next – but pharma & insurers won’t let that happen.

  10. Could care less about people like Beck who appears to have completely lost it. For all of Van Jones’ qualifications for the job, if it’s clear that he was an active Truther (how America planned and staged its own 9/11 attacks), there is no discussion, he needs to go. His parting words are,”as a result of the vicious smear campaign against me.” An indignant Truther? Please, just go.

    Conspiracy theorists have full rights under the law to write, blog, speak, protest about their suspicions and paranoia. But they don’t belong in government posts with titles of Czar. Why not let Bill Ayers be our ambassador to Venezuela. We already have more than enough self righteous extremists with narrow personal agendas in the nation’s political debate.

  11. Where does obama meet all the wonderful people in his life? I have been around for many years and have yet to meet anyone close to these people.

  12. Bit OT, in case you haven’t seen, this controversy has dominated the advertising world this past week.

    http://adage.com/globalnews/article?article_id=138775

  13. Steve Benen:

    Right-wing critics have railed against Jones for months, but the campaign against him took a sharp turn in late July. Color of Change launched an effort targeting Glenn Beck’s advertisers, so Beck targeted Van Jones, who helped create the group. At that point, Jones went from being an obscure administration official in an office few have heard of (the Council on Environmental Quality) to the most hated man on Fox News.

    A few things to keep in mind going forward. First, we haven’t heard the last of Van Jones, and that’s a good thing. He’s one of the nation’s great visionaries on energy and environmental issues, and as Kate Sheppard noted, “[P]erhaps the even bigger irony here is that he’s always been more effective and influential as an outside activist than as an administration official…. In all honesty, Glenn Beck may have more to worry about with Jones outside the White House than in it.”

    Second, Beck and other extremists will obviously be thrilled by forcing Jones’ ouster, and will no doubt feel emboldened by last night’s developments. Expect to see even more aggressive smear campaigns launched against other officials they hate.

    And finally, Mark Kleiman reminds us of a key point that shouldn’t be overlooked: “There’s an important general lesson here: If you want to say batsh*t-crazy stuff and still be treated as a respectable participant in the national debate, you’d better be a Republican.”

  14. How can you listen to Jones, read his comments, or look at his background and not believe he should never have stepped foot in the White House? Obama and the radicals he has always associated with should all be called out.

    • The more I learn about him the more impressed I am with him.

    • I like radicals if they are on the left. We need more of them if we are ever going to pull the national agenda back to something resembling democracy.

      I dislike sellouts like Obama.

    • I’d rather have Jones as are president than Obama. Jones seems like an actual liberal and a threat to the right which is why they needed him out before he could do anything to shake up the establishment.

  15. You liberal flakes seem perfectly capabe of ignoring the truth about the white-bater racist, foul-mouthed, communist-collectivist Van Jones. If it makes you feel better blaming Fox’s Glenn Beck for uncovering this sad, pathetic worm…well, go ahead; I’m sure Beck can handle it.

    Regardless, facts are facts: Jones had too big a chip on his shoulder to command the respect and credibility the Green Czar position entails. In the end, America is better off without this goof.

    • I agree and I’m no “wing nut”. The folks at RBO have been covering Mr. Jones, complete with sources/video clips, since April–the month after he was appointed. This czar program and the people in it need to be investigated by congress.

    • Your “facts” aren’t facts.There is no Green Czar position. Since it doesn’t exist, it can’t entail anything at all. Mr. Jones was actually an Advisor at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. His specialty was green jobs. He was not the chairperson of the Council so he was not even the “czar” there. He, in fact, stated that he wasn’t a “czar”. It’s foamers like Beck that insist on calling him that so I guess that’s where you got it from. You really should consider getting your “facts” from a more reliable source.

      • Thank you Joan, for the facts…amazing how Beck’s rants were on the Czars, but it was directed at a non Czar. Talk about killing two birds with one stone

      • I propose “The Biggest Liar” contest. A weekly winner to be taken from the media. I know who I’m betting on to be the top three winners each week.

    • We’re liberal flakes?

      *jumps for joy*

      • Yay

      • I had the same reaction, LI! Finally, someone recognizes us for what we really are. I’ll wear the “liberal flake” badge proudly, thank you very much.

        • David Sirota called us Lib Freaks yesterday. One of the respondents inkled we were Bolsheviks. It’s odd how we’ve gone from Republican Racist Ratfuckers to Bolsheviks in a matter of months, isn’t it?

  16. It looks like we will be having strange visitors today.

    • lol! Yes and it’s kind of refreshing to be called a liberal flake instead of a closet Repug lol!!

  17. Yes, sod.

    I am not familiar with Jones, so I am not going to defend him or attack him But, I don’t think we should have any czars anyway.

    I also think that the comment that got him into trouble was as ignorant as Obama calling me a hillbilly. That type of thing just does not move the discussion forward.

  18. Obama ‘green jobs’ adviser quits amid controversy

    If Obama does not hire another ‘green jobs’ adviser
    and in a timely fashion ( funny, I know) than I would have to say Obama Inc wanted Jones and the job he’s doing gone as much as Beck appeared to.

    Jones might have been trying to do the job he was hired to do….that can make big trouble for you in DC . The green job thing was big in Obama stump speech ( taken from Hill natch) . It’s still surprising how many of Obama ‘s words were “just words”

    Either way, Obama inc has told the world it will not fight for its people. Expect lots of plank walking in the future

    • Yes, that’s a good point. There are many dedicated environmentalists out there who are much less controversial. Obama’s judgement is suspect on many levels.

    • I would not be surprised if Obama appoints a moderate or conservative to the post to placate the right. The kind of Dem in name only who could give two shits about the environment and will follow in Obama’s footsteps and make deals with big business while giving us half-assed promises. Jones wasn’t bought the way Obama was and that probably irked him as much as it bothered the right and the corporations hoping to profit by further destroying our environment.

  19. Not since Joe McCarthy shuffled off this mortal coil in 1957 has anyone made a career by accusing people of being communists. Glenn Beck has resurrected the practice. Not only has he found a cabal of secret communists, he has uncovered an entire communist corporation chock full of commies. The name of this company, you may ask?

    THE NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY!

    You heard me right, boys and girls. The network that gave us Uncle Miltie and Ma Perkins has apparently been secretly sending subliminal messages endorsing Marxist doctrine since it was formed in 1926. This would make perfect sense to me. Every time I watched the Rockford Files I had an unexplainable desire to read Das Kapital. But seriously, folks. Twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, red baiting not only seems silly, it’s also kind of nuts. It’s not-at-all surprising that an organization would give this idiot a forum (after all, he’s on FOX Noise). What’s really stunning is the fact that his ratings are relatively high and that so many Americans take his word as gospel.

    All kidding aside, half-witted ideologues are a dime a dozen. What separates Glenn Beck from his peers is the fact that he is doing some serious damage to the country he professes to love so much. For all of the comparisons to the Nazis he likes to make with regard to Liberals, Beck’s program has much in common with Adolf Hitler’s 1923 screed, Mein Kampf. Eighty-six years ago, Hitler attempted to arouse the anger of his fellow Germans by spouting half truths and utter nonsense – exactly what Glenn Beck is doing in 2009. So much of the insane dialogue that has been spewed forth at these Town Hall meetings across the country in recent weeks might have been lifted straight from a transcript of any of Beck’s programs.

    Beck and his twisted ilk have done the seemingly impossible. They have deflected the blame for America’s current economic distress toward Barack Obama. An incredible feat when you take into consideration the fact that the President is one of the few people in government today whose guilt in the matter is almost nil. They have also let loose with a vengeance the very worst angels of the American nature. Opening this Pandora’s box was relatively easy. Closing it might prove to be a bit of a problem.

    Deep in their hearts
    They do believe
    That they shall undermine someday….

    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

    • first i am a proud puma,second i guess it is alright to claim that white people purposly poison minorities and that we purposly poison immagrants and that our farming sector needs to be overturned.thanks but no thanks i want nothing to do with people that have radical agendas like his,pol pot geting the people back to the land worked out well didnt it.as far as glen is concerned i dont agree with everything he says but as far as jones ,lloyd,sunstrom and serveral other czars especially ezekial emmanual they have to be exposed and driven out.and mr degan obama does not have a clue about the economy and at this point he owns it.

    • Glenn Beck and his dim-witted followers seem to me to embody what’s truly, and ironically, anti-Americanism; they seek to cripple and destroy any move in the right (and humane) direction for a healthy, 21st century democracy.

      Welcome, Tom; I like the cut of your jib.

    • Richard Nixon made a pretty good career for a long while by accusing people of being Communists.

      As for it being “impossible” to deflect blame for the economic crisis on Obama–how was it impossible. Obama turned the treasury over to the banks and the government over to Goldman Sachs. He has to shoulder the responsibility for that.

    • Beck is one voice. You are giving him way more power and credit (or ignominy) than he deserves. You have opposing voices on every other channel and even on Fox news itself. That is as nutty as Beck himself.

      As for damage to this country, the left wing take down of HRC damaged this country with a thousand, million cuts and we are only now seeing how desperate that damage is.

      • Teh Precious and his misogynistic ranting doofi (like cactus–one doofus, two doofi) are leftists?

        “Howls of derisive laughter, Bruce!” :mrgreen:

  20. Here some more wackiness. Front page lead in the Sunday Times about Wall Street planning to buy discounted life insurance policies from elderly people strapped for cash, then turn around and sell securitized bundles of these policies to investors in the secondary market. Somewhat like vulture investors cashing in on reverse mortgages, but worse. People pass away sooner, the investors make more money. We need regulators looking at stuff like this. It’s a disgrace.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/business/06insurance.html?_r=1&hp

    • I saw that this morning and thought to myself – can’t these people find something productive to do?

    • jesus, that’s unbelievable. They are recreating the housing bubble. A few years from now we’ll be treated to a sew of “who could have known ??” articles when it goes boom.

      • It isn’t going to take years for the next bubble to burst, I’m afraid. The mess is still there and nothing real is being done about it.

    • Imagine health care execs/lobbyists buying these investments.
      Better ROI than soylent green.

  21. Another point is , there is growing anger in the country. If the Left and the Dem congress does not put down the Barry ‘s backers bong and soon, then the Right will co-opt that growing anger and use it to make a triumphal return….they are co-oping it more every week

    Whoever seems angry will be followed regards of their polices .

    • I think that intellectual snobbery is worse, and more insidious, than social snobbery. The latter says, “I have more money than you.”; the former says, “I am a better/smarter person than you”.

      There certainly seems to be enough hatred going around on both sides.

      The Democrats seem to be falling all over themselves. Maybe it is their own arrogance.

      • It’s the sort of malignant arrogance that allows them to call those who disagree un-American, Nazis, or crazy thugs. It will be their downfall unless it’s curtailed quickly.

        • And yet it never occurs to us to call them Authoritarian Facists. It never occurs to us to make soundbites out of their despicable behaviors.

        • Isn’t it the other way around?

          That exactly what those who disgreed with Bush were called.

  22. The lesson here is that the right wing is getting organized once again. This is the kind of stuff we expected to see during the GE campaign and it never materialized. I wish Obama had not accepted Jones’ resignation. I wish Obama had a spine. I don’t have a good feeling about this seeing the far right get it’s groove back.

    • I think even the right wing is surprised at how little it took to make this guy disappear. One is just wetting their appetite for other scalps with this quick fold.
      I keep saying Obama is there in part to wreck the Dems and the left , but when events prove that , it still shocks me. If Obama Inc wasn’t on board with this firing ….they give a good impression of being so, or are they that scared of Beck and co….I can’t tell .

    • janicen, why do you think he should have been there in the 1st place

  23. hold up one sec . this guy was a czar that was is unconstitutional in the 1st place . and after at the messed uo stuff that happened during the elect . that one reason to get rid of him right there

  24. The REAL story is being ignored.

  25. & why do we need a green czar anyway . why do we need any czar its not like that job had to be there anyway. i think all these czars need to go i.i don’t care what thier qualification’s are

    • Yes, but Joan informs us that Jones is not a Czar

      Joan, on September 6th, 2009 at 9:49 am Said:
      …..There is no Green Czar position. Since it doesn’t exist, it can’t entail anything at all. Mr. Jones was actually an Advisor at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. His specialty was green jobs. He was not the chairperson of the Council so he was not even the “czar” there

      So the issues of Czars and Van Jones are not the same issue. One can’t use Jones to club the crazy Czars culture if he’s not one himself . Can’t Beck find an actual Czar? …seems there are plenty around

  26. So let me get this straight… batshit insane kooks like Pat Robertson and James Dobson and Jerry Falwell are allowed to advise the President and no one says “Boo” but people are screaming about this guy?

    Okay, I get it.

    …er

    • http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0909/26779.html
      i
      By POLITICO STAFF | 9/4/09 11:42 PM EDT Text Size-+reset.Afghanistan Czar: Richard Holbrooke

      AIDS Czar: Jeffrey Crowley

      Auto recovery Czar: Ed Montgomery

      Border Czar: Alan Bersin

      California Water Czar: David J. Hayes

      Car Czar: Ron Bloom

      Central Region Czar: Dennis Ross

      Domestic Violence Czar: Lynn Rosenthal

      Drug Czar: Gil Kerlikowske

      Economic Czar: Paul Volcker

      Energy and Environment Czar: Carol Brower

      Faith-Based Czar: Joshua DuBois

      Great Lakes Czar: Cameron Davis

      Green Jobs Czar: Van Jones

      Guantanamo Closure Czar: Daniel Fried

      Health Czar: Nancy-Ann DeParle

      Information Czar: Vivek Kundra

      International Climate Czar: Todd Stern

      Intelligence Czar: Dennis Blair

      Mideast Peace Czar: George Mitchell

      Pay Czar: Kenneth Feinberg

      Regulatory Czar: Cass Sunstein

      Science Czar: John Holdren

      Stimulus Accountability Czar: Earl Devaney

      Sudan Czar: J. Scott Gration

      TARP Czar: Herb Allison

      Terrorism Czar: John Brennan

      Technology Czar: Aneesh Chopra

      Urban Affairs Czar: Adolfo Carrion Jr.

      Weapons Czar: Ashton Carter

      WMD Policy Czar: Gary Samore

    • littleisis, I was thinking that. There was no being too crazy for Bush 2 advisers. If fact you had a problem if you weren’t crazy enough .

      • The double standard is pretty jarring. Someone said in a post above that Jones statements offended them, and that he should have resigned.
        I have to respectfully raise my eyebrow. I found Jerry Falwell’s statement blaming 9/11 on Gays, Pagans, the ACLU, and Feminists to be a little offensive, and then we found out that psychos like him were advising Bush on Foreign Policy, and I don’t recall a firestorm like this occurring.
        I personally don’t care about this Jones person either, and have nothing positive or negative to say about him, but if Obama had a backbone, he wouldn’t allow him to be smeared, if that happens to be the case.

        • well said.

        • Falwell was not appointed to anything by Bush. He was just a religious nutjob. How is that equivalent to someone who was appointed to a job in the federal government like Van Jones?

          I don’t care a whit about Jones but if we’re going to defend him, the defense should make sense.

        • Yeah, and quasi fascist loons like Elliot Abrams can be crafting our Latin American policy and leaving a trail of destruction, but we’re supposed to be running around like Joe McCarthy ferreting out 8th department undersecretary communists. Is there something wrong with his job performance?

    • For me, it isn’t okay no matter who does it.

    • Like I said before, if you want to say and do crazy things be a Rightwinger.

      As a Leftwinger, even having said crazy things will get you driven out of town.

    • Wait a minute. I do not think it is accurate to say no one said “boo” about the religious presidential advisors of Bush. I was watching msm media at that time and I certainly heard negative comments and more. Certainly, their demeaning was on the blogger boyz. I think the difference is that Obama apparently folded like a paper napkin and Bush thumbed his nose. Or maybe Jones just quit on principle like Palin did.

      • It wasn’t the equivalent of what is being done to this Van Jones character, and that is the real point. To me, there is a difference between “negative comments” and an actual controversy.

  27. I don’t have an opinion on Jones yet, but why are the wingers calling Van Jones a convincted felon? I am searching for that and not finding it except in wingnut claims.

  28. Great picture, but isn’t the bike helmet on backwards?

  29. so what next would you be ok with rev wright some working for bambi in the gov somewhere

  30. If Jones was the” give away the store to insurance compaines” czar, he’s still have a job no matter what he did or said back in the day . Not surprisingly Beck went after the green jobs guy. The Wall st czar is given a fully pillow.

  31. “On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me.They are using lies and distortions…”

    BS, he’s on video tape speaking words out of his own mouth. Opponents have not used lies and distortions, they have stated facts. Van Jones doesn’t want to take responsibility for his words, so instead he blames Republicans.

    Obama allegedly vetted this guy, so he is Obama’s responsibility. The president either made a mistake in his vetting process or he is a weasel who won’t stand by his man.

    • “Round and round the mulberry bush . . . “

    • I vote weasel.

    • that right he is on tape

    • “Obama allegedly vetted this guy, so he is Obama’s responsibility. The president either made a mistake in his vetting process or he is a weasel who won’t stand by his man.”

      Both. Obama has made mistakes in his vetting process since he was inaugurated. And we all know he’s a weasel who will back down whenever the right wing noise machine goes into action.

    • Opponents have not used lies and distortions, they have stated facts.

      Opponents are calling him Jones an ex-con. Where is the proof for that? Regardless of whatever else they have to say, they are padding their charges with untruths.

  32. Not a Mysterious ‘Czar”

    Beck has said repeatedly that Van is some kind of a mysterious “czar,” accountable to no one but the President. A simple Internet search shows that this claim is false. A March 10, 2009, press release announced that Van was hired by the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality – to work on her staff as a “special advisor.”

    In other words, Van is within the normal White House chain of command, reporting to an office confirmed by the United States Senate, just like most White House staffers. Media outlets sometimes use the “czar” shorthand. But the facts show that Van has no mysterious role or extra-constitutional powers.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eva-paterson/glenn-becks-attack-on-van_b_271518.html

    • This is good to know. Are the other czars all czars or are there more instances of this shorthand??

    • Exactly… if this is the case, then Jones and the czars are two different issues. And again I say, even if he was a czar…if he was the Wall St czar and ran though DC buck naked , he’s still have a job . Being the green job guy in the Barry Adminastion is having zero job security

    • how’s that go?…

      looks like a duck, walks like a duck, acts like a duck??

      reframing doesn’t erase what’s going on. REAL positions go unfilled.

      why? (rhetorical of course)

      • There is a lot of semantics to it. I figured czar was shorthand most if not all cases anyway, but still I find it useful to know the technical chain of command and that at leaste there is another layer of government being reported to not just Obama. I think we can still criticize Obama on the czar issue and the issue of unfilled positions while shooting down rightwing hysterics.

        • yes, they’re trying to make the quantum leap from the use of the word “czar” to “russian czar” (tsar) to “communism.” Too bad they leap off the 11th dimensional chessboard to do it.

  33. wo the huff po if there is suck up paper . to BO they are it .

  34. […] myiq2xu at The Confluence weighs in, beginning by quoting Gawker: The story of how the President’s Special Advisor for Green Jobs became the biggest, scariest villain of the right wing (this week, anyway) is also the story of how the right wing information delivery process works now. […]

  35. What this incident proves is that the slime ball tactics of the wingnuts thrives. Beck’s ratings will go up even more than they have been. Jones will probably be able to write another NYT best seller. It also proves that the O machine will not be exempt from the noise machines. This is a 230 year American tale told so well in “The Scadalmongers” and newly equipped with electronic toys. As Gore Vidal wrote, we are one political party with two right wings. And I might add that both of those right wings believe in personal destruction smears.

  36. Is there no Sunday read today?

  37. No tears in my eyes for Jones.
    Does he want to advise the president or be a comedian?

    This, and his “evil white people” schtick were enough for me:

    http://www.breitbart.tv/van-jones-uses-ebonics-to-do-lively-imitation-of-george-bush-on-crack/

    Let’s see who gets away with ridiculing Obama this way.

    • Let’s face it; Jones had a lot of dirty linen in his closet. He was an easy target. If you live by the sword you may just die by the sword. Nothing ricochets quite like the cheap shot.

    • Please!

      Many official Rightwingers have called the Clintons all kinds of name.

    • This clip doesn’t seem controversial to me, it seems like regular old partisanship to me.

      where was the evil white people schtick?

      • poison is poison, no?
        now it’s a race issue?
        for f*ck’s sake.

        • It’s about Oil and Soros. See vbonnaire a little bit down.

          The American Government is planning to lend at least $2 billion dollars to Soros’ Brazilian oil company so they can drill.

          (Maybe they were afraid of Van Jones making crack jokes about Obama.)

  38. Interesting that Dashle is speaking about this topic of FTN with Gibbs. Is our HHS Sec. under the bus?

    The Dems bailed on this issue big time followed by Dear Leader.

  39. After watching the video at the end of this piece, well?

    Does this define what politics look like now?

    It’s ridiculous.

    Get something done and stop bs-ing around. It’s like poseurs in the 40 something set — ? — that audience…

    Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame.

    • ps: just caught this one — of concern to Dems, no?

      especially that oil deal — hmmm…..

      http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,540865,00.html

      • Good catch vb. Just at the bottom of the article what do we find:

        And the Obama administration is going to lend at least $2 billion to a Brazilian state-owned oil company to finance drilling off that country’s shores. The Wall Street Journal reports National Security Adviser Jim Jones met with Brazilian officials this month to talk about the loan to Rio de Janeiro-based oil producer, Petrobras.

        The editorial board writes: “Americans are right to wonder why Mister Obama is underwriting in Brazil what he won’t allow at home.”

        The deal is also good news for billionaire investor and major Democratic donor George Soros. According to Bloomberg, Soros bought an $811 million stake in Petrobras earlier this year, making that company his investment fund’s largest holding, about 22 percent of its portfolio.

        Was there a fall out between Jones and Soros? (note the video Catarina posted on Jones and oil drilling)

        Was the right wing stunt all Kabuki theater?

        • meaning Van Jones-not Jim Jones

        • Whichever doofus wrote that should be fired. S/He doesn’t even know how the EXIM Bank works.

          • Take a look at the video Catarina posted-Van Jones and drilling oil / Bush was on crack.

          • What does that have to do with this?

            And the Obama administration is going to lend at least $2 billion to a Brazilian state-owned oil company to finance drilling off that country’s shores.

          • Are you guys trying to suggest that they got rid of Van Jones because they wanted to lend to a Brazilian oil co?

          • Take a look at the video. Van Jones was totally against off-shore drilling!

            I doubt if he can bring himself to countenance the Soros/Brazil/ US loan connivance.

          • That $2 Billion deal is with the EXIM Bank and it’s always a good deal for US companies.

            People are mixing all kinds of things here.

            This is looking like conspiracy stories out of a nuthouse.

          • Take a look at this video too:

            http://www.breitbart.tv/flashback-what-does-nancy-pelosi-think-of-van-jones/

            He’s a green environmentalist.

          • I still don’t see what that has to do with the $2 B Brazil deal.

          • Anyway what I’m saying is that Van Jones was definitely an awkward person to have around the WH, for more than one reason.

          • Environmentalists disapprove of off-shore drilling anywhere in the world. They doubly disapprove if their government lends $2billion dollars t to enable that drilling by companies owned by WH enablers and cronies.

          • The EXIM Bank is not led by environmentalists and it doesn’t lend money per se. The whole thing was distorted from the get go in part by people who don’t even understand the basics of some institutions but are quick to see something nefarious.

          • laurie, I watched the video already, but I’m confused. This deal seems outside Jones’ purview as far as green jobs czar goes. Why would the WH need to get rid of him?

          • No the EXIM bank is definitely not environmentalist. From wikipedia.

            In February 2009, the Ex-Im Bank settled a 7-year long legal proceeding brought by Friends of the Earth, other NGOs, and various American cities. The plaintiffs claimed that the Ex-Im Bank and the Oversees Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) provided financial assistance to oil and other fossil fuel projects without first evaluating the projects’ global warming impacts. In 2005, the plaintiffs were granted legal standing to sue these federal bodies. The landmark decision is the first time that a federal court has specifically granted legal standing for a lawsuit exclusively challenging the Federal government’s failure to evaluate the impacts of its actions on the earth’s climate and U.S. citizens.[7] In its settlement agreement, the Ex-Im Bank agrees to evaluate the carbon dioxide emissions as part of its determination for qualification for a project.[8]

          • Also-The Bank has come under criticism for allegedly favoring special interests ahead of that of the U.S. taxpayer. These interests include that of heavily subsidized corporations such as Boeing or Enron as well as those of well-connected foreign governments and nationals (such as a 1996 $120 million low-interest loan to the China National Nuclear Power Corporation (CNNP).

            If Van Jones is a sincere environmentalist, I doubt he was too happy with the Soros/Brazil deal.

            What I mean is it’s always more useful to follow the money, than to follow Kabuki theater.

          • Whatever Van Jones thinks about that deal doesn’t matter a hill of beans and it shouldn’t.

      • thanks laurie — on the environmental no drilling part you said — I find the loaning of money overseas in these tough times?

        hmm…..

        ps: there is that Soros name again…

  40. This guy should have never been hired. Seems like he was just another crony slash kindred spirit of the one, who he could give a cushy fake position to. But the second his sliminess threatened to spill over onto Obama he had to go.

    I don’t care how qualified he is or was, there has to be consideration for the type of person you are and what image the WH is trying to project. I mean c’mon that Favaru or however it’s spelled guy, may be the greatest speech writer ever, but didn’t most people here want him gone for his off the job behavior towards Hillary?

    Frankly, I’mnot sure it was his admittance to being a communist, or signing that 9/11 thing that did him in. But when he called all Rebubs a-holes, and made unfounded claims that white polluters were dumping poisons into inner-cities to kill of black people, I knew he was gone. Just too bad several others aren’t going with him!

    • Favreau. It was sneering snotty frat-rat misogynists inside the Obama campaign, like Favreau, and outside the campaign, like Matt Taibbi, that made me angry enough to vote Green in 2008. If the Oborg had just shown some class, I could have held my nose and voted with them.

  41. (Written also in the previous thread where people mentioned Democratic birthers)

    I’m not a birther.

    I listened to MTC because of TT and because it’s an informative show about Democratic politics. TT has his own reasons for listening to the show. Neither of us EVER cared about the issue or ever mentioned it in the chats, believe me! =) I never cared to see the BC. I brought it up to absolve the few Democratic birthers out there. It might have to do with Matt, Phillip and MommaE being Southerners who tend to be more interested in it. They are all solid Democrats and obviously not racist. Phillip is not really a birther, he’s just interested in Democratic politics. Matt and Phillip are also very young, 19 and 20.

    The only document I want to see is his Columbia transcript. There are many documents he has not shown other Presidents have. He’s trying to protect the Brand when more and more people want to know the Man. He’s very mysterious in this sense. The desire to see all these documents is about transparency. That’s not to say many Republicans aren’t racist in their motivations with many of their issues like birtherism, Tea Parties, opposing health care and opposing Obama.

    • I like My Two Cents too. It’s been a while since I listened to them (the economy took over) but they’re definitely fun.

  42. Van Jones is fallout from Rev. Wright. Without Wright, Jones could have stood up and made comments about white industries unfairly polluting communities of people of color, and we might have let him make his case, which would not be that hard to make, But because Obama sat in Wright’s church and listened to sermons where Wright accused white people of all sorts of things in a very over-the-top way, and thanks to all forms of media, amost all of America got to see it, it’s easy for people like Beck to showcaseJones as another case of “poor judgment” by Obama. Obama’s associaton with Wright has just begun to come home to roost,

  43. Oh the hypocrisy…

    • The RW nut jobs seem to have the courage of their convictions such as they are….I wouldn’t want to be in the position where I depended on Barry having my back…. that must be a lonely feeling . I would say this guy was hired to be fired as a another “message” to the Left.

      The Jones treatment reminds me of Palin’s…( the Dems caved before it got to that level of course) I am often defending Palin, yet I haven’t a clue what her beliefs are…I don’t get that far. I’m focusing on the uneven treatment she received. So with Jones. I never heard of him until last night…I got little idea who he is or what he said…I’m looking at the uneven treatment.

  44. There are “loonies on the right and loonies on the left” and I don’t support either one. Neither need to be holding high position in government. It makes no sense to defend this person because you like his position on this one issue and give him an excuse for all of his prior (its possible they still exist) wrong headed and outlandish positions .This person should have never been hired in the first place. Texas Governor Perry was elected in the last general election with a plurality vote of 39%and this was as a result of a so called independent and, who is now going to run this time as a Democrat in the next general election. I was a long time and I mean a long time Democrat and in the past, if it dad a “D” after its name, I would have voted for a jackass. I live in an urban area and I went through two caucuses and was a Hillary delegate at the senatorial and I can not tell you how bad we were treated. I have not changed my registration because I want to punish some of them in the primaries.

  45. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Jones

    This seems to be a good history of Van Jones.

    It seems like he did a lot of good things but again there is the underlying theme of the whole backtrack bunch ” hate Whitey”
    It does not seem as if he puts people in his regime that really want a ” post racial” country.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  46. And they called us the traitors.

    • what next, Obama’s public option is going to trigger co-ops.

    • Gibbs and Daschle were on Steponallofus this morning “reframing” the definition of a public option

      barf . What will the re-frame be next week?

      without even committing the president to his firm backing on it.

      Barf two

      Old public option = medicare-like, new public option = cooperatives

      that is , HMO’s! …it’s 1973 again!

    • Naw..Olivia Snowe may be vote #60 however to close debate if the “trigger” thing is added.

      • Oh…and Gibbs assured us all that we’d know exactly where Obama stands on healthcare after his speech Wednesday.

  47. RBO’s “The Van Jones Reader”
    http://therealbarackobama.wordpress.com/2009/09/05/the-van-jones-reader/

    Consider the sources, but at least know what the other side is talking about.

  48. Karen, on September 6th, 2009 at 8:25 am Said:
    How can you listen to Jones, read his comments, or look at his background and not believe he should never have stepped foot in the White House? Obama and the radicals he has always associated with should all be called out.

    Reply
    myiq2xu, on September 6th, 2009 at 8:33 am Said:
    The more I learn about him the more impressed I am with him.

  49. this is from Cannonfire.
    The more things change the more they remain the same.

    Update: We’ve seen how the CD nuts have reacted to Van Jones. Now let’s see what the CDS nuts — that is, the Kossacks — have to say. Guess who they’re blaming? Hint: Not the Republicans. And certainly not Obama.

    As many times as Obama disappoints me, I remain unwavering on one point: Clinton would have been worse. The Democratic Party is in its current pro-corporate spineless state thanks to the first Clinton we elected President.

    Whatever happens: Blame Bill! Lost your dog? Blame Bill! Can’t find your uncle’s old chili recipe? Blame Bill! Big meteor a-comin’? Blame Bill!

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS, BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

    • Thanks to CDS we have Bush and Obama.

    • Yeah, you’ll never see them type the words “Thanks to Bill Clinton we enjoyed the 8 greatest years of peace and prosperity in a generation.”

    • “Blame Bill” is the new “Blame Canada”. :mrgreen:

    • OU star quarterback Sam Bradford got his throwing shoulder hurt last night and will be out for several weeks? Blame Bill! :mrgreen:

      Your hemorrhoids are acting up? Blame Bill! :mrgreen:

      The Chimperial Assministration screwed up–or worse–and let the 9/11 attacks happen? Blame Bill! :mrgreen:

      Oh wait, the wingnuts actually did that. 🙄

  50. The issue here is not Mr. Jones’ abilities to do a job..but his openly filmed disrespect for “whites who poison blacks and immigrant laborers”, “asshole” repubs and all of the other ranting he did against others..while trying to make his points. It was awful and hateful. So..my belief is and always has been..use facts and you don’t need to lose your cool-if your argument has merit.
    Mr. Jones doesn’t seem to communicate any idea without hurtling insults. The Columbine comparison was dreadful and just over the top..who even knew what he was trying to say? His message was lost in his shock rhetoric..Frankly his attitude and actions do not make for a civil discourse on any topic-they are inflammatory and ineffective.

    • MMiller’s views on the VJ matter are totally appropriate.

      I would also add that the one thing that is more disturbing than the Administration retaining Van Jones in the first instance is the disappointing ineffectiveness of the President of the United States of America; instead of waiting for his wretched crony to quit, Obama should have immediately stepped up to the plate and dismissed Jones out of hand.

      It’s sad but it’s true: Obama is weak and inneffective.

    • Oh c’mon, that’s just plain silly. Tons of white house appointees on all sides of the fences have said ridiculous offensive things and no one has made a national issue. Beck took this guy on because his organization effectively got some of beck’s advertisers to not advertise.

      • How about this one?

        Remember Bill Bennett’s controversial September 28, 2005, comment on his radio show, when he said that “it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime … you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”

        He still got to advise the second Bush even after that!!!

        • A former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia resigned Tuesday from his new post as chairman of the National Intelligence Council following congressional criticism for comments about the Israeli government and alleged ties to foreign governments.

          Charles Freeman’s resignation came just hours after National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said at a Senate hearing that he was standing behind his appointment of Freeman as chairman of the council, which analyzes national security issues. Freeman had not yet begun his work as chairman, and Blair said he accepted the resignation “with regret.”

          http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/03/11/politics/100days/newteam/main4858700.shtml

        • Bush appointed Tracy A. Henke as executive director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness. She had been accused in her politically appointed post at the Justice Department of demanding that information about racial disparities in police treatment of blacks in traffic cases be deleted from a news release.

          The president avoided an abortion rights battle with the recess appointment of former Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey as assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration. Sauerbrey is an opponent of abortion rights.

          For the Federal Election Commission, Bush picked Justice Department employee and former Fulton County, Ga., Republican chairman Hans von Spakovsky for one of three openings. Von Spakovsky is widely viewed as a key player in two disputed Justice Department decisions to overrule career staff in voting rights cases.

          http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/04/AR2006010401953.html

        • I think Bill Bennett was relying on published US crime statistics. I agree with his proscription in that it is based on empirical evidence.

          If you want be picky, it might be fair to suggest that Bennett is not an adherent to today’s popular affliction, viz. political correctness doctrine.

          Seriously, now…how do you square Bennett’s singular comment with the vitriolic stream of VJ’s diatribe?

          • Vitriolic is in the eye of the beholder. All you have to do is come down here to Louisiana and see where they put the chemical plants and how the last republican governor basically made it illegal for poor people (mostly black) to get access to the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic to be paid for the damages to their properties and lives. I get vitriolic about that too when I read about it!!!

            Really, last time I check the first amendment says you have a right to free speech. It should be about how you do your job, not the few times in your life you fly off at the mouth.

          • You agree with Gamblin’ Bill that aborting black babies is a good idea?

            Are you sure you’re not a member of the Oborg Collective pretending to be a PUMA, in order to continue the Failbot smear that we’re a bunch of r@ci$ts here?

          • There is also plenty of statistical evidence to show that environmental racism exists, which is what Van Jones was talking about, so your point about Bennett’s statement being more acceptable than Jones’s because it was based “on empirical evidence” is particularly moot.

          • Sorry–I messed up yet another link–I haven’t had my morning coffee yet. Here is the Wikipedia entry on environmental racism, as a starting point.

  51. Dakinkat, I think you’ve been viewing too many Michael Moore documentaries; perhaps reading too many books by Noam Chomsky. In their world – yours too, it would seem – it’s always the corporations.

    But you hit on sometyhing legitimate when you referred to the last republican governor in Louisiana. And I’ll bet there are plenty of other states where republican – and democrat – governors have been derelict in their duties to the electorate. The list is endless, so I won’t bother providing a compilation.

    Why not read Friedrich Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom” and then join in the chorus to hold all government officials and representatives – presidents, governors, senators, congressmen – and, yes, even czars – accountable to the citizens.

    • Please take your Libertoonian Randroid bull$#!+ and go.

    • I’ve never seen a Michael Moore documentary nor have i read a book by Noam Chomsky and I have read Hayek’s book. You’re mistaken on those three things also.

      Elected Officials are responsible to the people. You don’t like them you vote them out. You like them, you vote them in. There were consequences to winning this election. Tossing the first amendment rights of a government bureaucrat wasn’t one of them.

  52. The Sierra Club’s Carl Pope says liberals blew it.

    http://sierraclub.typepad.com/carlpope/2009/09/we-all-blew-it.html

    Thursday evening I got worried. Friday I put in a call to ask Van Jones how to help. Saturday I started writing a blog post, which would have appeared this morning. (I’ve attached it below because it goes into more detail on the history of the “Bush as addict” meme.) But on Saturday night, Van resigned, and this morning I was sick at heart. Collectively we — the environmental community, progressives, and the Obama administration — blew this, and we let our cause, our president, and Van Jones down.

    This was a lynch mob and, when it started forming a month ago, we didn’t take it seriously enough. When I saw the first Glenn Beck piece on Van Jones and the Apollo Alliance as the new vast left-wing conspiracy, I could not take it seriously. Silence enabled Fox to keep pushing. The statements for which Jones apologized — the reference to the right as “assholes” and saying that Bush was talking “like a crack-head” were such ordinary political discourse — think Rahm Emmanuel, think Dick Cheney saying “fuck yourself” to Senator Leahy, think Tom Friedman dubbing Bush “the addict-in-chief” — that I didn’t understand why an apology was necessary; I assumed it would blow over.

    Well, that was a mistake. So was the decision by the White House to treat the initial attacks not as part of an assault on the president but, instead, to allow them to be viewed as being about Van Jones. What we underestimated was the power of the fact that both Jones and the Barack Obama are black. Yes, the hysteria was about politics — I don’t think Fox News really cares about Jones’s ethnicity — but it was enabled by race. Calling Bush a “crack-head” is seen by a large part of America as worse than calling him “addict-in-chief” because crack is not just a drug — it is a drug used largely by black people. It reminds those Americans who are still uncomfortable with Barack Obama that we have a black president.

    What was the reactionary right up to on Friday? They sent operatives out to San Quentin prison to obtain videotapes of workshops that Van Jones conducted there while he was working to help prisoners transition back to society. (The inmates wouldn’t let them get their hands on them — they knew, before I did, how serious this was.) They were cuing up video clips from teenagers that Jones taught in the Oakland ghetto in 2000. If you watch the infamous “assholes” video carefully, it’s clear that what Jones was saying was that Republicans play hardball better than Democrats, and that we need to start playing by their rules. He said it, though, in the language of his own community — and that, at the end of the day, was his crime. He spoke to and was of a part of an America that Fox and the reactionary right would like to put back on the plantation or pretend is not part of our nation.

    Anyone who has been an effective advocate for these communities has said things that will sound shocking to people in some other parts of America — just as anyone who genuinely represents certain evangelical communities will have beliefs about morality that more-secular Americans might have a hard time with.

    So lynch mobs can form up from all perspectives. This one, though, was clearly not spontaneous. It was organized by the Republicans as part of a conscious strategy, and it is only the first. We should be critical of ourselves for having blown this one. But we shouldn’t forgive either ourselves or the Administration if the next time we sense this happening we don’t fight back harder, faster, and in a way that calls a mob a mob, racism racism, and an attack on the president an attack on America.

    • I think this is just going to be one more “oh woe is us, we tried, the big bad conservatives got us again”.
      IMHO ~ this was blown on purpose, and just like health care, environmental issues are going to be filed under the “oh well we tried” category while the plundering continues.

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