Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Obama Official Crosses Beck, Has to Resign

Late Saturday night Van Jones, the President's top adviser on "green" jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, announced his resignation after a hoo-hah of fake controversy. This is the kind of background noise we have gotten used to hearing, and I'm afraid we have gotten numb, we have stopped thinking about it. The guy's offense was that he signed a petition in 2004 that asked some questions about the 9/11 attacks, and he said out loud that Republicans are "assholes."

We as Americans are supposed to find it abhorrently controversial that the guy endorses an uncertified conspiracy theory and thinks poorly of Republicans. Why do we accept that? Do you know what it would like if every conspiracy theorist was kicked out of government? You can read the petition he signed HERE and see what you think. A hundred prominent people and forty-eight family members of 9/11 victims signed the document calling for answers to a lot of questions about the attacks. You might see some questions there that you would like to know the answers to, as well. If you agree that these questions should be answered, and you have a conscience, you should quit your job.

In a speech last February, an audience member asked Jones why the Republicans were so successful at getting bills passed in the Senate without supermajorities, while the Democrats can't do it, even with 58 votes of their own. Jones' answer was, "Well, they're assholes."

It is so shocking that a Democrat would say this about a Republican that the guy had to resign his position in the administration, where he was seen as a rising star and a powerful force toward improving the quality of the environment.

There's another way to look at it. Glenn Beck is a loudmouth FOX TV guy who is one of the leading voices of the "teabagger" movement, which is an attempt by some ignorant white people to "take their country back." He has said the President is a racist, well he'll say anything. What Van Jones said about Republicans can easily be said about Glenn Beck, or to be nicer you can say he's an unintelligent rabble-rousing miscreant. Glenn Beck has been hammering Jones on his show, day after day ranting about him, criticizing him, focusing anger on him, saying he should be fired, he should resign.

Glenn Beck has been having trouble lately. His advertisers have been pulling out, one by one. As of September 2nd, fifty seven companies had pulled their ads from his show.

Now, see if you can follow the bouncing ball. The advertising boycott was organized and promoted by Color of Change, a group that calls itself the "largest African-American online political organization in the country." The group was originally formed as a reaction to the government's failure to protect a largely African-American population after Hurricane Katrina, and communicates mostly through emails to more than 600,000 members. The boycott has been very successful -- in the long run the FOX network will not be able to carry a show that can't get any advertising.

Color of Change was co-founded in 2005 by James Rucker and Van Jones.

The media have portrayed the situation entirely as if it were a matter of this controversial character saying outrageous things, but we have just had eight years of outrageous things being said without people resigning. A better frame for the situation is this: someone in the Obama administration crossed Glenn Beck and the administration let the person go rather than stand up for them.


Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

"Tuesday, 5 September, 2000, 20:59 GMT 21:59 UK
Bush: No apology for gaffe

The Republican presidential candidate George W Bush has said he regrets the fact that people heard him make an insulting comment about a journalist, but he refused to apologise.

Just before a campaign speech in Illinois, Mr Bush said to his running mate Dick Cheney: "There's Adam Clymer, major league asshole from the New York Times."

Mr Bush later said he did not realise that live microphones were going to pick up the remark, but he stopped short of an actual apology..."

September 08, 2009 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"an audience member asked Jones why the Republicans were so successful at getting bills passed in the Senate without supermajorities, while the Democrats can't do it, even with 58 votes of their own"

It is amazing.

The Democrats have an overwhelming majority and still can't get what they want.

Politics are complicated in the US of A, huh?

"someone in the Obama administration crossed Glenn Beck and the administration let the person go rather than stand up for them"

That's a shame.

You guys thought you were electing a strong leader, didn't you?

"Just before a campaign speech in Illinois, Mr Bush said to his running mate Dick Cheney: "There's Adam Clymer, major league asshole from the New York Times.""

Hmmm...maybe Bush's comment about an individual rather than a whole party, was more factual and actual.

September 08, 2009 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No President is responsible for all of the views of his appointees, but the rise and fall of Mr. Jones is one more warning that Mr. Obama can't succeed on his current course of governing from the left. He is running into political trouble not because his own message is unclear, or because his opposition is better organized. Mr. Obama is falling in the polls because last year he didn't tell the American people that the "change" they were asked to believe in included trillions of dollars in new spending, deferring to the most liberal Members of Congress, a government takeover of health care, and appointees with the views of Van Jones."

September 08, 2009 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeremiah Wright, ACORN, Bill Ayers, Oprah Winfrey, Skip Gates, Van Jones...

the link of our new President to fringe lunatics should be a concern for all Americans

September 08, 2009 4:54 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

It will be very interesting to see how the media responds in the future when, in a future Republican Administration (assuming the Republican Party doesn't totally marginalize itself), some White House advisor is found to have signed various "birther" and "deather" petitions.

I would never have signed the petition Van Jones signed, because some of the "push-poll"-like statements were, what lawyers call things that "assumed facts not in evidence." The premises presented as facts in some of the bullet points did not, as far as I could tell, have any factual basis. For that reason, I would never associate myself with it.

I was told when I first went off to college to look very carefully at any petition that I might think about signing -- both for the content and the source. My parents, who survived the McCarthy era, were very cognizant of how people's reputations can be destroyed because of a casual reading and signing of a petition. Indeed, that was good advice, even in the absence of the kinds of McCarthy-like attacks that could result. When people publicly attacks others, they should have their facts straight first.

But perhaps there is a larger question. What was it that the Bush Administration did that could lead people to suspect the worst? There was plenty. And the worst suspicions were not, I do not think, simply the product of paranoid minds on the Left. In late 2002 and early 2003, it was inconceivable to me that the Bush Administration would really lie us into war. But, in hindsight, it appears that they did. So I am not so quick to condemn the views of those who, in 2002 and 2003, were more prescient about the Bush Administration than I was.

As to the birthers and deathers, nothing the Obama Administration has done (or the so-called Left has done) would even remotely justify the hypothesis that Obama was not a natural born American citizen or that any of the health care proposals would "pull the plug on grandma."

It is instructive that no prominent Democratic political leaders ever got on the bandwagon -- even for an instant -- that the authors of the petition that Van Jones signed tried to create. On the other hand, plenty of Republican political leaders got on the birther and deather bandwagon.

One other point. Even if Van Jones read the petition carefully, would that really disqualify him from continuing, in the context of the White House, what apparently has been excellent work regarding Green Jobs initiatives? I don't think so. But the firestorms created by the media (mostly Fox News) make such balanced assessments impossible. Van Jones, to his credit, acted quickly to try to stop the silliness.

September 08, 2009 5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thne, how do you explain Oprah Winfrey?

like Jones, Wright, Ayers, et al, Obama seems to be drawn to the extreme element

September 08, 2009 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Even if Van Jones read the petition carefully, would that really disqualify him from continuing, in the context of the White House, what apparently has been excellent work regarding Green Jobs initiatives?"

Sadly enough, that's a legitimate question in an administration whose Treasury Secretary is a known tax evader.

September 08, 2009 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As to the birthers and deathers, nothing the Obama Administration has done (or the so-called Left has done) would even remotely justify the hypothesis that Obama was not a natural born American citizen"

I would think the actions of the administration are kind of irrelevant to whether Obama is a natural born citizen.

Ken Starr should be appointed to find out why there is witness of Obama's birth in Kenya and why his home state won't allow public inspection of his original birth certificate.

Also, he needs to make sure Obama is acting appropriately with the interns in the West Wing.

"or that any of the health care proposals would "pull the plug on grandma.""

That's a propaganda phrase that Barry himself has been trying out.

Won't be surprised to hear it again on Monday night.

What some have actually said is that the legislation would lead to "death panels" that would ration care.

That's not in the least far-fethched and the bill, as written, would subtly pressure early death decisions by seniors.

Neither of these examples you cite, David, would have an adverse effect on our country if they were believed to be true.

If Obama had to resign, we would not be greatly harmed. (Indeed, at this point, there's a case to be made that it would be a lucky break for us)

If Van Jones' allegations were widely believed, however, it would tragically harm the interests of our country.

You see that, don't you?

Jones is a dangerous lunatic.

September 08, 2009 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you know you're in for a dull, ineffective speech when:

"The decision to deliver the health care remarks before lawmakers in the House chamber — rather than in a first prime-time address from the Oval Office — was made to give Mr. Obama more time to explain the complicated subject. “This is a topic that probably takes some time to walk through,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said."

Barry, Barry, my man.

The trick was to simplify things, not complicate them.

The old adage "if you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with BS" is not true.

Slim it down to a few concepts:

We're going to reduce health care costs by:

1. reforming the tort process

2. doubling the number of students in medical schools

3. returning the decision-making process on the health insurance purchase to individuals

See how easy it is!

September 08, 2009 9:52 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, that's three in a row where all you do is make unflattering assertions about people. If you have a point to make, if you think this administration is more corrupt than any other or is unusually corrupt or that officials are somehow unqualified or deserving of criticism, or if you think the Obama administration's policies are misguided, please feel free to express yourself. But I am getting tired of this second-grade-level of argumentation: "neener-neener he's a poopy head." And if I get any more tired of it you may start to piss me off, and then you'll have to find something else to do with your free time.

Just letting you know.


September 08, 2009 9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The main problem with Van Jones is that he was a vocal, SELF AVOWED communist, worked for a Marxist group during the 1990s and has never said that he's no longer a communist.

September 08, 2009 10:58 PM  
Anonymous PasserBy said...

A guy doesn't have to resign because he's a communist, we have all kinds of people in America. By all accounts he was very good in the position he held.

September 08, 2009 11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no idea whether Jones was a Marxist but, if so, yes that would disqualify you from a policymaking role in our government, here in America.

Most Americans believe Marxism is inherently evil.

September 09, 2009 12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, he definitely was a communist. He has openly said so, in so many explicit words, and has stated that he became a communist during the days the after the Rodney King riots. He then worked for an organization called STORM, which trained Marxists. Some people claim that he no longer is a communist, based upon some of his writings. However, he has never stated whether he still considers himself to be a communist.

After Van Jones quit, the liberal media was not reporting on his communist background, so maybe Jim didn't even know that. They just kept repeating the same two issues that Jim reported on here -- the 9-11 petition and the insult to Republicans.

The signing of the petition and the insult were of no consequence. However, his communistic and Marxist background are of great consequence.

September 09, 2009 12:31 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Of course I knew he was a communist. The guy is in charge of "green jobs" for minorities, it doesn't matter if he's a communist, any more than it mattered when the Bush administration was infiltrated by hundreds of "born again" Christians from Regent University. People might chafe, but you don't resign over it. By all accounts he was good at his job, until he cross Glenn Beck, and then signing a petition and mentioning out loud that Republicans are assholes was too controversial and he had to resign.


September 09, 2009 7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim --

I'm glad you knew he was a communist. I marvel at the fact, then, that you left it out of your article.

Communism is all about the government's control of jobs. It's the basis of the entire system. And Obama made him the Czar of green jobs. And Obama feels that green jobs are going to be one of the biggest sources of employment in the future.

This is not irrelevant.

September 09, 2009 8:07 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

It had nothing to do with his resignation. He was a communist when he went into the job and nobody cared, it wasn't a secret, it didn't have anything to do with anything about his professional performance. Sometimes you need someone who thinks independently and that means you accept that their beliefs might be idiosyncratic or different from yours, what was needed there was an energetic and intelligent person who could think creatively and solve hard problems. He was doing a good job, and the Obama administration should have backed him up.


September 09, 2009 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama has nationalized the sixth largest corporation in America. The government, under him, has bought major stakes in several other Fortune 500 companies. The government is guaranteeing 80% of mortgages written in America this year. Tonight, he will push for the creation of a government-run health insurance company that experts agree will eventually lead to British-style national health care.

Now, we learn that our socialist President knowingly hired a convinced Communist, an avowed card-carrying Marxist as one of his czars, in a position that would oversee the distribution of billions in stimulus funds, ostensibly to like-minded organizations. Now that he's been forced to resign, the Symbionese Liberation Army will probably have to redo their budget for next year.

This President spent much of his youth in foreign schools. His mother married foreigners, including his father, more than once.

His political career was kicked off with a fundraiser thrown by another admitted Communist and terrorist, who also served on a leftist Foundation Board with the President.

He attended a liberation theology church for twenty years and tithed to it while the preacher there said God Damn America and promoted theories that AIDS was a racist plot by the government among other abhorrent views.

The President's wife, during the campaign, let it slip that she has never been proud to be an American until he began winning primaries.

I know there is more to the guy than this but the scary thing is, except for the joke (we hope) about the SLA, all of the above is true.

How did this happen?

Glenn Beck has been pointing this out for months and the mainstream media has ignored it.

You have to wonder if Angela Lansbury is behind the whole thing.

September 09, 2009 10:04 AM  
Anonymous PasserBy said...

Anon, over at wingnut daily this might really be some terrifying stuff. Here in America though, the great majority of people knew what they were doing when they elected Obama, and are not going to respond to pavlovian stimuli such as these.

September 09, 2009 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, you're wrong about that.

Mr. Obama is falling in the polls because last year he didn't tell the American people that the "change" they were asked to believe in included trillions of dollars in new spending, deferring to the most liberal Members of Congress, a government takeover of health care, and appointees with the views of Van Jones.

September 09, 2009 10:26 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Part one:

Thanks to citations on Wikipedia, I was able to find the source of the statement that Van Jones "is a communist."

Here is the link for the East Bay Express article on Van Jones from 2005, which is based in part on extensive conversations with him. It is worth reading the whole thing.


In 1992, at the age of 24, he was swept up mass arrests that occurred in the wake of the Rodney King verdict:

"The staff [of the group for which Jones worked] hit the streets to monitor the demonstrations that erupted in San Francisco. One week later, while Jones was observing the first large rally since the lifting of the city's state of emergency, he got swept up in mass arrests. It was a turning point in his life.

"Jones had planned to move to Washington, DC, and had already landed a job and an apartment there. But in jail, he said, "I met all these young radical people of color -- I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, "This is what I need to be a part of." Although he already had a plane ticket, he decided to stay in San Francisco. "I spent the next ten years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary." In the months that followed, he let go of any lingering thoughts that he might fit in with the status quo. "I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th," he said. "By August, I was a communist."

Identifying oneself as a communist in those circumstances sounds to me like really loose language, akin to a lot of b.s. I heard in the 1960s. Anyway, by 2000, Jones embarked on a different path, following his experiences opposing one of California's many referenda:

"Jones' fixation on solidarity dates from this experience. He took an objective look at the movement's effectiveness and decided that the changes he was seeking were actually getting farther away. Not only did the left need to be more unified, he decided, it might also benefit from a fundamental shift in tactics. "I realized that there are a lot of people who are capitalists -- shudder, shudder -- who are really committed to fairly significant change in the economy, and were having bigger impacts than me and a lot of my friends with our protest signs," he said.

"First, he discarded the hostility and antagonism with which he had previously greeted the world, which he said was part of the ego-driven romance of being seen as a revolutionary. "Before, we would fight anybody, any time," he said. "No concession was good enough; we never said 'Thank you.' Now, I put the issues and constituencies first. I'll work with anybody, I'll fight anybody if it will push our issues forward. ... I'm willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends."

to be continued.....

September 09, 2009 1:06 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Part Two

"His new philosophy emphasizes effectiveness, which he believes is inextricably tied to unity. He still considers himself a revolutionary, just a more effective one, who has realized that the progressive left's insistence on remaining a counterculture destroys its potential as a political movement. "One of my big heroes is Malcolm X, not because I agree with Malcolm, but because he wasn't afraid to change in public," he said."

If the definition of a "communist" is someone who advocates an egalitarian, non-capitalist society which is mandated from the top of the political order which is not subject to what he/she sees as the phoniness of elections (that is my definition), then there are really very few communists in this world anymore (certainly none in neo-capitalist China, and certainly virtually none in the United States.) It would be interesting to know how, in his off-the-cuff remark, Van Jones would define "communist."

But what is clear from the 2005 article and interview is that Jones grew in his experiences and matured to the point where he realized what works and what does not when you try to develop a fairer society. If he was ever really a communist by my conventional definition, he certainly has not been one for years.

In the 1930s, lots of "intellectuals" flirted with Communism. Most were utterly disillusioned over time, whether by the Stalin Show Trials, the Hitler/Stalin Pact, the crushing of democracy in E. Europe after the War, or the invasions of Hungary and then Czechoslovakia. I suspect that most, who still had their ideals for a just society, drifted into what passes for the Left in this country. Some others, like Whittaker Chambers and Irving Kristol (Bill Kristol's father) flipped to the other extreme and became ardent right-wingers. (Actually, Irving Kristol had identified himself as an anti-Stalinist Trotskyite, although it has never been clear to me what the substantive differences were between the Stalinists and the Trotskyites.)

As a baby-boomer whose parents came from a Democratic Socialist milieu in New York, which correctly saw the Communist Party as just another form of totalitarianism, I was brought up to be wary of communists. And I am glad that I was, for I understood the terrible and tragic defects of of the communist approach early on, from the perspective of the Left, something that served me well in the 1960s.

Still, the United States lost a lot of good talent in the 1950s, because anyone with a connection or identification (real or imagined) with "communists" was marginalized by the McCarthy hysteria. Given the collapse of the American Communist Party in the 1950s, it now would be rather short-sighted to discard anyone who, in their youth, flirted with radical egalitarianism and ever used the word communist to describe themselves.

September 09, 2009 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim --

You said that Van Jones was a communist when he went into the job. Well, he had also signed the 9-11 petition twice, and had also called Republicans assholes at that point. It was all old news to the Obama administration.

So why did he lose his job? Something else is going on here that Obama's administration knows about but we we don't. Maybe there was some other explosive news that had not yet come out. I don't know.

September 09, 2009 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, my gosh, "Anonymous"...do you suppose Mr. Jones is one of those Communists who were so notoriously planted in our government when Joe McCarthy was at his patriotic best hunting down such cads and traitors?
There are those in our current political scene who would actually believe that! Wow!

September 09, 2009 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no, the notorious planting was done a few months ago by our notoriously socialist President

September 09, 2009 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once you understand and grasp the meaning of socialism "Anonymous", you might have something of value to add to this site. Until then, you should do some homework and sort out your lack of knowledge and comprehension. You are "notoriously" ignorant.

The scare tactics and name-calling that you consistently resort to will NOT work on this site, where the majority of readers are not as naive as you would believe.

Using your baseless line of "argument" (otherwise known as "hyperbole") should we then conclude that if President Obama is a socialist you are a fascist?

September 10, 2009 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why don't you help me out and give us a brief definition of socialism, Mr Citizen?

September 10, 2009 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"any of various economic and political theories advocating governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods"

you mean like General Motors and the healthcare industry?

"a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done"

you mean like taxing some people to subsidize the health insurance of other people?

or taxing some people to pay for the purchase of autos for other people?

or taxing some people to increase the refundable tax credits of other people?

Are you sure Obama is not a socialist?

September 10, 2009 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or giving excessive tax benefits to about 3% of the population or allowing corporations to subjugate millions of workers and consumers to their insane desire for wealth? Or, paying CEOs millions in stock options, "golden parachutes", and ludicrous salaries? Or spending billions of taxpayer dollars on an illegal occupation of a foreign country, losing over 4,000 American lives in the process...while the corporations rake in obscene profits from the war? 45,000,000+ citizens without adequate health care (I know, I know...it's their fault; if they would only show some fortitude and desire to work like the rest of us) while we fritter-away hard-earned worker wages to support the plutocrats and Republicans who have worked mightily to control this country.
Jesus Christ was a true socialist!

September 11, 2009 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

any idea what percentage of the total Federal income tax revenue comes from that 3%?

(hint: it's not anywhere close to 3%)

"Jesus Christ was a true socialist!"


Jeremiah Wright thinks that too.

Could you explain what you two are talking about?

September 11, 2009 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truthers like Van Jones don't belong on the taxpayers' payroll.

September 11, 2009 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Liars and cheats like these didn't belong on the taxpayers' payroll either, but Bushleaguers insisted they did.

Philip A. Cooney
Sue Ralston
Lester Mills Crawford
Michael Brown
Francis Harvey
Monica Goodling
Scooter Libby
Alberto Gonzales
Janet Rehnquist
Michael Battle
J. Steven Griles
James Roche
Kyle “Dusty” Foggo
Harvey Pitt
David H. Safavian
Randall Tobias (he only got massages, not sex!)
Roger Stillwell
Kyle Sampson
William Mercer
Sara Taylor
Paul Wolfowitz
Matteo Fontana
Claude Allen
Eric Keroack
Michael Elston
Robert W. Cobb
Julie MacDonald
Paul McNulty
George Deutsch
Alphonso Roy Jackson
William J. Haynes

You can read about the rest of them here

September 13, 2009 12:31 PM  

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