Van Jones : Prey of the Radical Right

Alex Pareen at Gawker documents the Van Jones resignation story, with some facts. One of his many achievements: He founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which combats over-incarceration, police brutality, and urban poverty and violence. 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. And that is one of the reasons he is now being ritually and savagely demonized.

How did the radical right force him out? Read the rest of Alex' post for "...how a smear becomes a meme. Schoolhouse Rock, 2009 style." [More...]

Think Progress has part of his resignation letter:

I am resigning my post at the Council on Environmental Quality, effective today.

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.

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.

It has been a great honor to serve my country and my President in this capacity. I thank everyone who has offered support and encouragement. I am proud to have been able to make a contribution to the clean energy future. I will continue to do so, in the months and years ahead.

Here's my book review of The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems.

We lost a great one with Van Jones.

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    I couldn't believe that this took him out (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:14:10 PM EST
    I knew the attack was underway but I didn't take it that seriously.  Glenn Beck twittered today that now he's going after Cass Sustein.  Couldn't he have done that first?

    The way it looks (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by cal1942 on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:33:14 PM EST
    he probably saw Van Jones as low hanging fruit.

    No kidding (none / 0) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:36:05 PM EST
    I wonder if he can shoot Cass Sustein out of the saddle with one shot :)?  Something tells me Cass can trick ride.

    I totally missed they were attacking him (none / 0) (#2)
    by nycstray on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:32:16 PM EST
    I started seeing some mentions on blogs, but nothing in the MSM I watch/read. Granted, that has been a tad limited and focused lately due to 'life', but still, I was surprised to see this go down. What a shame.

    I had heard about this from (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:37:04 PM EST
    the winger that works with my husband, therefore I did not take it that seriously.  Van Jones just doesn't even want to deal with the crazy people though and I'm not sure that I blame him because he seems very results oriented and not interested in titles.

    I don't blame him (none / 0) (#10)
    by nycstray on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:54:57 PM EST
    I think he'll continue on and get results. And that is what he seems to be about.

    It's just getting so ugly out there.


    And it will only get uglier (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by ErnestoDelMundo on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:35:51 PM EST
    Now that ugliness has gotten results.

    You think this ugliness is something new? (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by shoephone on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:24:08 PM EST
    Were you alive during the Clinton presidency?

    same here (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:38:34 PM EST
    I see the name GB and tune out. I've never seen his show and have no intention of watching in the future.

    I've never seen it either (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by nycstray on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:49:22 PM EST
    Fox is just fine for sports and American Idol, but that's my line in the sand, so to speak ;) The right is so far over the top on some of this sh*t right now, I find my jaw hitting the ground often.

    Such a shame though. I really liked he was part of the admin. I'm guessing he'll keep on keepin' on despite this Bullcr*p.


    Attraction may work (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by ErnestoDelMundo on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:11:33 PM EST
    But repulsion is kicking its ass right now. Maybe people are sick of the tea baggers, but their tactics work. They just got rid of one of their targets because of actions that were certainly no more reprehensible than their own. And none of the lunatic right wing reps will resign. On the contrary, they will become more emboldened by this.

    Why it bothers me. (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by caseyOR on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:43:56 PM EST
    Giving in to the likes of Glenn Beck and Mike Pence just adds fuel to their crazy fire. Now Beck has put a bulls-eye on Sunstein and Carol Browner. Why? Because he can. Because it is so easy to roll Obama. They smell blood in the water that is this WH. My god, these are the original death panel screamers. They insist on their right to know whether or not Obama is circumcised. These people are whackjobs. There is no good reason to give them the time of day, much less a say on WH staff. Surrendering on Van Jones reinforces the perception that Barack Obama is a spineless political coward.

    I'll stipulate that the truther petition is way out there. That said, how many people here haven't thought and said that Republicans are a**holes? I wish more people were expressing that kind of opinion. Maybe Jones should not have been brought into the WH. I don't know. Once he was there, though, the president should have backed him up and responded to Beck with the disdain Glenn Beck so richly deserves.

    Oh, and the thing that got Beck all hot about Jones in the first place was the rather successful Color of Change led boycott of Beck's show. Apparently, Jones was once affiliated with Color of Change although he had nothing to do with the boycott.

    Thank you! (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by ErnestoDelMundo on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:53:03 PM EST
    The only way to respond to this is to step up the pressure on any remaining sponsors of Beck's program, and on Fox.

    And to tell Obama to grow a pair and stop giving in to domestic terrorists.


    But it was not the a**holkes comment (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:30:15 PM EST
    It was the 911 Truthers petition.

    People, please stop pretending it was anything but that.


    So if I sign a petition (none / 0) (#70)
    by cawaltz on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 10:36:59 PM EST
    that some of the electorate disagrees with or considers non maintream I should have to resign?

    I thought we still lived in a free country.

    I fail to see how his signature on a petition has anything to do with his ability to do his job?

    Explain it to me s-l-o-w-l-y.


    We do not live (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:51:35 AM EST
    in a country where you're guaranteed your job no matter what skeletons are in your closet.

    If Jones had been prosecuted for his speech, then you'd have a speech argument.

    However, people are fired all of the time and even denied employment for things they say in public (e.g. college grads had better have a clean facebook page  before going job hunting).  Jones is just another example of that.

    I'm sure Jones was a visionary, however, he isn't the only environmental visionary in this country.  Jones had a past that made him controversial in politics.  I don't know which was worse, giving in to the Republicans who wanted his head or hiring such a controversial figure in the first place....personally, I think it was a little like hiring Reverend Wright for Obama's faith based office.  


    I live in a right to work state (none / 0) (#74)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 01:19:46 AM EST
    I'm well aware that any moron can find a bs reason to fire someone and that it has been done on more than one occasion.

    I think it is positively retarded that someone could be fired because they have a Kerry/ Edwards sticker on their car, or a F*ck the war bumper sticker, an Air America bumber sticker or even a pro marriage bumper sticker(and yes these are all examples).

    I think it is BS.

    Also where is the line drawn? Should it be perfectly fine for my boss to fire me because I believe in a woman's right to choose but he doesn't? Should he be allowed to fire me because he doesn't have the same taste in music?

    We should not have to check our personal opinions at the door as long it does not interfere with our professional behavior in our workspace.


    The White House (5.00 / 3) (#79)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:31:13 AM EST
    is not your run-of-the-mill workspace.  It is politically unsupportable to have somebody working for the White House who signed onto the "truther" deal. (And in my mind, at least, it seriously calls into question the quality of his overall judgment.)

    No it isn't your run of the mill (none / 0) (#95)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 05:12:32 PM EST
    workspace. Considering Obama went on record as stating that he is, was and will be open to different ideas and opinions I don't see how this was that big of a deal. Particualarly as one of my PUMA friends has pointed out today he had a guy who cheated on his taxes and another who seems to have some real conflicts of interest with Goldman Sachs running his Treasury and economic policy.

    Geez, this guy's opinions didn't even have anything to do with his title. It might have been different if we were talking a national security job, but we are talking about a "green" task force. Who cares if he was suspicious of a defunct administration? Not me(and if it isn't as if firing this guy is going to mollify the Glenn Beck's or followers of extremists like him).


    Although you are (none / 0) (#83)
    by maddog on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 10:18:48 AM EST
    free to have beliefs different from your boss if he thinks your beliefs effect his ability to be profitable you are out of luck.  If a customer won't come into the business because of a bumper sticker on an employee's car then that business has lost a sale.  So I don't have a problem with firing that employee.

    Like my dad always said, don't talk about religion and politics at work.  


    Heh (none / 0) (#93)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 05:06:22 PM EST
    This is going into my most ironic post EVER file.

    It isn't like the energy companies aren't attempting to write energy policy, or health care policy, or determining banking policy for the rest of us. THAT'S Hunky dory and FREE SPEECH(at least so sayeth the Supreme Court)

    But lo and be absolutely darned if any of us dare to take a stand about what we believe. We're just supposed to be quiet little cogs.

    Thank God people like you weren't around during the industrial age. All sorts of advantages have been made because people took stands. Safety issues, wages and every other thing under the sun never would have been addressed because the only one, according to you, who would be entitled to an opinion would be the 10% of the country who actually own business. Let's hear it for an oligarchy.


    You totally missed the point (none / 0) (#102)
    by maddog on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:48:25 PM EST
    Where in my post did I say you couldn't speak your mind?  I can't find it.  You can say anything you want but there are always consequences to your actions. If you can live with the consequences go for it.

    WH staffer (none / 0) (#84)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 10:30:19 AM EST
    what part of that do you not get?

    Again, so what? (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 02:17:34 PM EST
    Particularly since this particular WH says its all about welcoming all sorts of ideas and positions contrary to their own. In the big scheme of things I don't think that he happened to be overly suspicious about the behavior of a WH that outed a CIA and cherry picked intel. Basically what you seem to be saying is that people that go into government shouldn't believe in activism because at one point or another everyone is going to be allowed to sit judgement on that activism. Oh and God forbid you have the audacity of being human and actually having that error in judgement. No wonder we have a President that doesn't have an apparent core value system. Doing so would have meant being pilloried.

    At the end of the day the fact the WH let Jones go IMO is going to bite them. It's going to encourage a witch hunt(which the GOP is already very happy to particpate in anyway) and stymie progress on issues such as energy(having an unanticipated loss, particularly higher up, is going to impact mission).

    I would have let him stay unless I saw a problem with his performance. That's just me though I guess.


    Different WH (none / 0) (#87)
    by Lora on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 01:52:26 PM EST
    No more free speech (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by Lora on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:13:49 PM EST
    I guess we'd all better censor ourselves and not speak directly and with humor, clearly making fun of any group that has money.

    Also we'd better NEVER participate in any lawful activity like signing a well-written petition that calls for a thorough independent investigation into the worst crime in recent memory.  (Whether you are a "truther" or not, do you all feel completely satisfied with the official investigation and explanation of 9/11?  Yahhh....).

    Because who knows, you might get picked for some public office, and then the Republicans might take some offense at something you said or did, and use it as an excuse to run you out of town so you can't further an agenda that's not Republican-friendly.

    So G*d knows, we can't offend the Republicans, now can we?  They will stop us cold, even though we have a majority.


    If you want to work in politics (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:29:23 PM EST
    This is silly. Some of you pretend that what people say has no political effect.

    Who is in this comment thread defending Pat Buchanan;s right to say what he wants without having people protest about it?

    Who is defending Glenn Beck's "free speech?"

    silly hypocrisy.


    If you're a Dem and want to work in politics (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Lora on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:44:31 PM EST
    Seems to me Republicans have had free license for years to say any insulting thing they want about Democrats without any consequences.

    I have always defended free speech.  No hypocrisy from me.


    You are not defending free speech (5.00 / 4) (#63)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:50:20 PM EST
    You are defending consequence free speech.

    Unless you oppose all boycotts and all protests aof ALL speech, including Glenn Beck, then explain to me again how you are not a hypocrite.

    Me, I think people have the right to protest speech they do not like.

    And other people get to protest the protesting of speech they do not like.

    And then everyone makes their own judgments.

    The White House decided Van Jones was not worth the trouble.

    I do not know what Jones' contributions are, but I for one am not going to pretend he is the first WH staffer of BOTH parties to resign to avoid political negatives.

    All this talk of free speech is pish tosh.


    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by BernieO on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:55:37 AM EST
    and love the phrase "consequence free speech". The bizarre thing is that from what I know it is the Republicans who started using this bogus free speech argument to imply that any criticism of what they say is unconstitutional. The media seems to have bought into the idea and now, apparently, so have a lot of Democrats.

    The whole idea of guaranteeing free speech was to further intense debate, not squelch criticism. It was to prevent government from censoring the opposition, not to stifle opposition. To assert that people should be able to say what they want without any consequences is to say that fanatics like Hitler should be allowed to spew their venom with no consequences.

    As for boycotts, I think that is a legitimate tactic. The right has been using it for years with great success. That is why Phil Donahue's show was taken off MSNBC during the run-up to the war even though it was the highest rated show they had? Sponsors were spooked by right wing protests - something that happened all the time. By then, the right didn't even have to boycott because the media was so afraid of the right. sadly the media also knew they had nothing to fear from the left.

    Had liberals been using the same tactics, the sponsors of Rush Limbaugh would have dried up years ago just like the are now for Glen Beck. Since sponsors use advertising to enhance their image with the public, I think protesting their associating with lying hate mongers like Beck and Limbaugh is perfectly legitimate. My opinion of Snapple was definitely soured when I realized they sponsored Rush a few years back. That kind of negative association does not quickly go away and is the opposite of what sponsors are paying for. It is up to us to repeatedly point that out instead of unilaterally disarming over some bogus free speech argument. People are free to say what they want but we are under no obligation to pay for their platform or to tolerate what they say.


    That's pretty funny (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by shoephone on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:54:59 PM EST
    because that comment completely contradicts itself.

    Either you're all for "free speech", or Republicans should be held accountable for every insulting thing they've said about Democrats.

    Which is it?

    Note: If one wants to succeed in politics, one doesn't say things that are politically stupid.


    You're missing the point (none / 0) (#65)
    by Lora on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 10:09:45 PM EST
    Allow me to spell it out for you:

    It appears that "free speech" is (mostly) all well and good for Republicans but not so good for Democrats.

    Now, either the Democrats aren't protesting the insults they receive as vociferously as the Republicans, OR the Republican protests receive media coverage and backing, AND their protests are not really about the insults they receive but are simply an excuse to go after those Democrats they don't like.

    I'm for ALL free speech, personally.  I'm just pointing out that some speeches are freer than others.


    Atrios has the point (5.00 / 3) (#66)
    by kidneystones on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 10:23:15 PM EST

    It's The Economy, Stupid

    I think that was not quite as true as sometimes claimed in the 1992 election, but if the Republicans ever get marginally coherent enough to strike a fake populist that has the slimmest non-crackpot veneer then all bets are off, at least in the House, in '10. Our "side" needs to make the case that doing more of what they're doing is the right idea

    Defending a 9/11 Truther and whining about Glen Beck used up valuable political capital. Young people trend Dem. Problem is, the youngest don't have jobs. As I noted downthread, Dems won't have any excuses in 2010 if the economy isn't on the right track. Sure enough, Duncan Black, who knows as much as anyone here agrees.

    But go ahead defend the Truther, take it to the public forum and find out what the voters think.

    Folks are worried about war, deficits, jobs, and healthcare. Dems have no coherent platform on these issues. The only reason Dems aren't getting hammered worse in the polls is the fact that Republicans are still trying to shake off Bush. They won't stay down forever. Time to wake-up.


    I'm not missing that point at all (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by shoephone on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 10:29:54 PM EST
    Democrats behave like terrified little school girls when it comes to taking on Republican b.s. They are mostly pathetic and it's been that way for years. And the media is mostly owned and run by Republicans. That's also been the reality for years. (Hillary Clinton -- one of the few courageous Dems -- was vilified in the 90's for daring to take on the right-wing attack machine. Remember?)

    Neither of those realities has anything to do with public figures behaving and speaking in ways that are either politically smart or politically stupid. Political careers are made, or ruined, by those behaviors and speeches.


    Depends (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Lora on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 10:38:04 PM EST
    Political careers are made, or ruined, by those behaviors and speeches.

    When you are young you do stupid things.  Or not politically savvy things.  Like taking cocaine, for instance.  Or signing a petition that questions the government (oh horror!).

    If you're Bush, your less-than-savvy actions have no relevance to your political career.  This is not because the public doesn't care.  It is media-controlled.


    Jones wasn't "young" (none / 0) (#80)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:38:41 AM EST
    when he signed the truther petition, it was in 2004.

    He's a truther like Bush is a cokehead (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by Lora on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 10:30:07 PM EST
    But we don't go around calling Bush a cokehead, do we?

    It's about speech and how speech is manipulated by those with the bucks.


    I'll go on record (none / 0) (#100)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:23:24 PM EST
    as supporting Glenn's right to act and speak like a moron. I'll also go on record as someone supporting my right to call him one because of it.

    Now (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by cawaltz on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:33:38 PM EST
    this is where we can agree. Obama should have NEVER accepted this guy's resignation. It sets a bad precedent and they'll be whining routinely on crap like this now that he has set that bad precedent.

    Can't stand Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh or Oreilly. Of course, following this cycle I also can't stand the for lack of a better term "radical left" like Olbermann or Maddow either.

    Best decision ever was turning off all the pundits as far as I'm concerned.

    Gibbs: Obama did not order (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 02:59:19 AM EST
    Van Jones to resign.

    My question (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 06:44:29 AM EST
    is: Who did the vetting for the WH? Either someone didnt do a thorough enough check or the actual checker has a political tin ear and probably should be gotten rid of along with Jones.

    WH counsel Greg Craig (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:41:24 AM EST
    supervises the vetting, and I've heard he may be on the way out because he already botched Daschle and a couple of other things.  I suspect there'll be a discrete interval and then he'll decide to spend more time with his family.

    The 911 Truthers craziness (4.55 / 9) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:45:50 PM EST
    is what did him in.

    I sympathize with his plight but his judgment was poor in signing up with people who would undermine his credibility.

    This event in many ways explains why I joined and agreed with Markos' decision to ban crazy conspiracy theory diaries at daily kos (back in the day.)

    In short (4.33 / 6) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:46:49 PM EST
    I do not really agree with this post.

    I agree with you entirely (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:10:45 PM EST
    Van Jones had, apparently, extremely poor judgment about a whole lot of things.  I accept without having personally looked into it that he is a visionary in terms of the environment and the economy, but until he got deeply into that subject, he was wayyyyy out there, and I cannot in good conscience defend him.

    He's the kind of guy who does his best work pushing loudly from the outside anyway, and I sure hope he will keep that up.

    But somebody who as late as 2004 could sign onto a "truther" petition is beyond the pale even for me. (I don't believe for a single second he didn't understand what it was, as he says.  The wording he signed onto isn't ambiguous.)


    I can defend him (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:11:46 PM EST
    But not as a WH staffer.

    To be clear, I can't defend me as a WH staffer either.


    I suspect (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:09:32 PM EST
    that many of us wondered for a second if 9/11 could have been an "inside job".  But when we sat with our thinking caps on, we realized that if 9/11 was an inside job with not one whistle blower, not one person who grew a conscience and confessed to such a monumentally unprecedented nasty act, it was the most, unbelievably competent, clean inside job ever.  

    And then we say, um, but George Bush was president.  And Cheney was Vice President...and

    And we laugh and put our tin foil on the roast instead of on our heads.

    A Yale educated lawyer should have been capable of making that kind of reasoned assessment too, if his efforts were about truth, rather than about riling people.

    In other words.  I agree.  Indefensible.


    It took 56 years... (none / 0) (#35)
    by ErnestoDelMundo on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:25:46 PM EST
    before anyone in the U.S. government admitted we overthrew the prime minister of Iran in 1953.

    that (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:31:50 PM EST
    was a whole lot easier to do than 9/11

    Degree of difficulty isn't the issue you raised (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by ErnestoDelMundo on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:41:20 PM EST
    Secrecy is.

    Operation Northwoods wasn't declassified for 40 years. No one spilled the beans for those 40 years. Indeed, people still don't want to believe it was drawn up by our government.



    Well (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:25:33 PM EST
    Van Jones could not be in the WH associating with the 911 Truthers. It was that simple.

    You do not like it but there it is.


    What I meant (none / 0) (#62)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:48:54 PM EST
    was that was a relatively small operation compared with 9/11 and would be much easier to keep secret.

    Not even remotely (none / 0) (#76)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 06:17:17 AM EST
    comparable, are you kidding?

    Engineering the overthrow of a foreign government the U.S. has done a lot more than once (Vietnam, Chile and Congo come immediately to mind besides Iran, and I'm sure there are more), knowingly allowing 9/11 to happen is a whole other thing.


    It's nere to impossible (none / 0) (#115)
    by jondee on Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 05:45:12 PM EST
    to prove that someone who effed up, or a few someones who effed up, effed up intentionally.

    The PNAC signatories did say that it would require "a Pearl Harbor-like event" to wake the American people out of their isolationist stupor and get then on board for regime change.


    That was seven years ago (none / 0) (#31)
    by ErnestoDelMundo on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:13:56 PM EST
    Would you or any of us be able to keep a job in an Obama administration if we had to worry about our internet activity from 2002? Quit defending the slime machine.

    "Truthers" are knuckleheads (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by shoephone on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:22:17 PM EST
    and that's the most charitable thing I can say about them.

    And signing that knuckleheaded petition should have disqualified Jones for a job in the WH, to begin with..


    Me? (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:22:22 PM EST

    Nor could Van Jones.


    Hopefully (2.00 / 1) (#12)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:04:38 PM EST
    the left won't defend Cass Sunstein, Beck's next target.

    It would be extraordinarily damaging if liberal outrage toward Beck helps drive Sunstein into the Supreme Court without serious objection.

    We'll see what happens (4.57 / 7) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:10:49 PM EST
    The funny thing is Cass Sunstein would be the first to smear the Left.

    Olbermann is too stupid to know this of course.


    Ha! I read what Olberman wrote today too (none / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:14:36 PM EST
    To use his (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:54:49 PM EST
    own words against him, Olbermann is a card carrying member of the:

    Oligarhy of The Stupid

    Walk softly and carry a big popcicle...sir... ;-)


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:03:01 PM EST
    And I'm not President or a member or a fan or the regular audience.  I'm just a bystander trying to stay out of the splatter zone :)

    or at least a big schtick (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Dadler on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:05:37 PM EST
    I think going out and asking for opposition (none / 0) (#17)
    by tigercourse on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:16:11 PM EST
    reasearch on other "broadcasters" is a little weird. "Help me start a ratings war with this other schmuck!"

    Not weird at all (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:20:03 PM EST
    Good ratings.

    I wonder if Olbermann understands that Cass Sunstein is no liberal hero.

    That he would be the first to smear a Van Jones. Hell, that he does all the time.

    That is the dumb part to me.

    But who knows? Daily Kos has a pretty stupid crowd these days.

    Maybe Olbermann knows his audience.


    He's carrying (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:56:48 PM EST
    a third of O'Reilly's ratings these days....wonder what they'd be like if he hadn't turned the um more analytical viewers off a long time ago.

    Yeah, I don't know if a guy whose two (none / 0) (#22)
    by tigercourse on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:28:21 PM EST
    claims to fame are "he put the biscuit in the basket" and screaming every night for one hour has the most nuanced view of politics.

    Somebody's paying him (none / 0) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:42:56 PM EST
    Works for Keith :) (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:21:17 PM EST
    He gets on Orange and he gets em worked up :)  I wouldn't have had the knowledge to gain some insight on Cass Sustein if BTD didn't write about him from time to time.  When I read that poor Cass is being threatened by Glenn, well I just wish that Glenn would have come out swinging hard fresh for the charge on the man who plans on doing the most long term damage to my personhood, and that wasn't Van Jones.

    His position on LA Riots of 92 was odd (2.00 / 1) (#60)
    by jerry on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:37:06 PM EST
    I haven't followed this at all, I don't watch Glenn Beck, I don't care that he signed a Truther Petition (esp. after LGF of all websites, "debunked" that.), but I did find the claim that he was radicalized by the 92 LA Riots very puzzling.

    I don't know the truth of that statement, or how he fleshes that out, but I can understand a person being "radicalized" by the Rodney King beating, but I can't understand anyone (and a law student esp.) being radicalized by the LA Riot aftermath.

    That was pure stupidity and it wreaked havoc on all corners and all kinds of people in Los Angeles, from Reginal Denny, to the Koreans, to the Black neighborhoods.

    I worked in downtown LA at the time for the LAFD and saw them getting threatened and shot at for trying to put out fires.  I worked in downtown LA and saw the California National Guard, a good percentage of whom were minority, come in and try to put a stop to the riots, the riots were stupid, ignorant, expressions of hatred.

    If he was in fact radicalized by the riots, I can't say a whole lot for his judgement.

    I heard his little snippet about black (none / 0) (#8)
    by tigercourse on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:49:05 PM EST
    children never committing a Columbine. That was a stupid thing to say. And joining Moore and his group in these conspiracy theories was also quite dumb.

    Unaware? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:03:02 PM EST

    He must be unaware of what goes on at Detroit public schools.  The body count per incident may be lower, but the repetition rate seems higher.

    funny (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by english teacher on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:37:54 PM EST
    i googled "homicide detroit public schools" and came up with exactly zero matches.  care to elaborate on recent homicides actually committed in the schools there?

    you might want to (none / 0) (#78)
    by ding7777 on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 06:56:19 AM EST
    substitute the word "shooting(s)" or "violence" for "homicide" in your search


    at least five shootings, resulting in two student deaths and eight wounded, within the past year.

    "homicide" is not a good search (none / 0) (#97)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 06:00:05 PM EST
    Sure (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:24:45 PM EST
    But they really do not have to litigate the Van Jones case now so they can do that.

    Is it dishonest? Well, yes. But you are not surprised by that are you?

    Should I be surprised... (none / 0) (#32)
    by ErnestoDelMundo on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:16:19 PM EST
    that you are enabling dishonest behavior?

    To Clarify (none / 0) (#33)
    by ErnestoDelMundo on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:21:05 PM EST
    That you are enabling dishonesty on the part of the right wing attack machine. Is Van Jones a communist? Is he disqualified for the job for having unpopular views?

    None of that was the problem (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:23:42 PM EST
    It was the 911 Truthers stuff.

    But believe what you want.


    Did he not go on the record saying (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:23:33 PM EST
    he was a Marxist? Of which I don't care one iota, but just saying. And if the questioning of certain things he said and did is no problem at all then why didn't he stay and fight?

    So... (none / 0) (#36)
    by ErnestoDelMundo on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:27:53 PM EST
    that disqualifies him for having a government job. Good to see the wingnuts have you believing it's 1959 instead of 2009.

    He quit (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:29:45 PM EST
    This is a democracy and people are allowed to question.  Questions came up and he quit.  He was not disqualified. I feel that he was very qualified for the position that he held, and he wasn't disqualified.  He quit

    The WH pushed him out. (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by caseyOR on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:48:47 PM EST
    Van Jones didn't quit because he's not a fighter. Just look at his body of work. He is hardly someone who gives up easily. His "resignation" lacked only the usual claim that he wanted to "spend more time with his family."

    He's out because Obama wouldn't back him up. This is Obama's fault, not Jones'.


    Why did he quit? (none / 0) (#45)
    by ErnestoDelMundo on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:48:32 PM EST
    So you can be qualified, but if "questions come up", it's time to quit?

    Cuz the 911 Truthers stuff (5.00 / 5) (#56)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:26:56 PM EST
    was indefensible for a WH staffer.

    Why ? (none / 0) (#86)
    by Andreas on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:14:42 PM EST

    Because the WaPo, NYT, Newsweek (none / 0) (#114)
    by jondee on Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 05:18:46 PM EST
    recieved wisdom decrees that if you publicly question any aspect of the official version, you're a craaaazy conspiracy theorist.

    And all the events Ernesto enumerates below never happened.


    Actually, disappointed, better (none / 0) (#53)
    by kidneystones on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:24:08 PM EST
    sums it up.

    The fact Thinkprogress elided the facts simply confirms that with the facts, there's no defense.

    Who was it who said 'if you're going to say crazy stuff, you better be Republican?'.

    That certainly was the case. The really, really worrying part of the Jones debacle is that it points to the general paucity of talent at the top, the confusion, and the scope of the challenge.

    Jones may have been a competent administrator. If that's the case, he'll be missed.

    He may well be more effective outside government. Either way, by next week there will be a war to avoid thinking about, a deficit we can pretend is going to get better, and crippling un-employment.

    Healthcare is going under the bus next.

    Say bye. Dems will be very lucky to hold on the seats they have. It isn't even worth pointing fingers at this stage. If the administration can't get a handle on the economy quick, there's going to be a bloodbath in 2010.


    So according to the majority of posters... (none / 0) (#40)
    by ErnestoDelMundo on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 08:33:37 PM EST
    Ari Fleischer was right. Sorry but I am siding with Jeralyn on this one.

    Right about what? (none / 0) (#49)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:21:02 PM EST
    when he said... (none / 0) (#72)
    by Dadler on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 11:26:53 PM EST
    ...we all better watch what we say in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.  of course, he didn't mean all of us, he only meant those who would say something that actually required a free country to say.

    I agree with her too (none / 0) (#69)
    by cawaltz on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 10:34:18 PM EST
    The guy may have opinions I don't like, I don't agree with, or that are not mainstream. So what? I fail to understand how that would have anything to do with his ability to do his job as a "green" cabinet member. As far as calling Republicans names which is why the the GOP was throwing a hissy fit "too freakin bad." Considering they call him "socialist" and "racist" and all manner of things I'd tell them to suck it up.

    Now that they've done it once they'll target someone else next. Give them an inch they take a mile every single time.


    WSWS: The dismissal of Van Jones (none / 0) (#85)
    by Andreas on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:11:09 PM EST
    The WSWS writes:

    There is nothing particularly extraordinary about the statement signed by Jones, which begins by citing a Zogby International poll finding that about half of New York City residents, and 41 percent of residents in New York state, believe that sections of the US government had foreknowledge of the attacks and "consciously failed" to act. Sixty-six percent supported a new investigation into these questions. Other polls have found that more than a third of the population and more than 40 percent of self-described Democrats throughout the country reject the official explanation of September 11.

    Calling into question the foundation of the "war on terror," however, is completely proscribed within the political establishment and mass media. Indeed, the broad-based skepticism over 9/11, the event that became the central rationale for the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the massive attack on democratic rights in the US, is remarkable given the complete silence on such matters within "official" circles.

    Jones's association with such conceptions is particularly problematic for the Obama administration as it carries out a massive escalation of the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the pretext that this is necessary to go after the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.

    The dismissal of Van Jones
    By Joe Kishore, 7 September 2009

    Why didn't this hurt Cheney & Wolfowitz? (none / 0) (#89)
    by Lora on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 02:44:46 PM EST
    Check out this piece of propaganda from the New American Century which boasts members such as Cheney and Wolfowitz.

    This is by any stretch a very shady organization.  None of the Bushies resigned because of their judgment being called into question by being members, not just signing some petition.

    I object to this entire organization and I objected that my government was riddled with members of it.  I bet I was far from being alone on this issue.

    I also would bet money that the reason the Bush administration received absolutely no fallout was NOT because no one objected.  I bet that any objections were smoothed over or ignored.  To check my suspicion, I ran a Newsbank search for "New American Century," "PNAC," "Project for a New American Century," or "Project for the New American Century" in the lead/first paragraph.  In the entire lexicon of major newspapers through the years, I got exactly 42 hits.  Of the 42 hits, only one was not a letter or opinion piece (NYT, 12/3/2001, quoting from a letter sent to Clinton in 1998 by the New American Century advising regime change in Iraq).

    Now if I, who am relatively uninformed, read about this organization and learned something about it, clearly there were plenty of voices making noise.  But the majority of the American public would have read --- essentially nothing.

    If free speech falls in a media desert and no one is around to witness it, does it really exist?

    Even less on 911truth.org (none / 0) (#90)
    by Lora on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 02:59:27 PM EST
    I just did a Newsbank search on "truther," "9/11 truth movement," or "911truth.org" in the lead/first paragraph, and I came up with... exactly .... 3 .... hits.

    How do we know these folks are wingnuts, exactly?

    Not from America's newspapers, that's for sure.

    There was no defense for Van Jones (none / 0) (#91)
    by Slado on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 04:52:56 PM EST

    He signed a 9/11 truth petition.  That is political poison.  Period.

    One can choose to ignore this simple fact and pretend that he was a doctor or a police officer but the facts are he took political office and did so knowing that he was a political liablility.

    He was stupid, Obama's team was stupid for not vetting him and all this make belive that he was some sort of victim is amazing.

    If Bush had hired a Klansman to be head of the EPA would the left had sat on their hands?

    Of course not and nor should they.

    He was political dynamite and for the left to waste one second defending him is a waste of whatever credibility they have.

    The other amazing part of this (none / 0) (#92)
    by Slado on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 04:57:53 PM EST
    is the left holds him up on some pedastal because he wrote a book about "green jobs"

    Remember for a moment that 1/2 the country doesn't believe in "green jobs" so they looked right past that to the fact that he was a 9/11 truther.


    I don't hold him up on a pedestal (none / 0) (#101)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:34:00 PM EST
    and actually I'd like a look at where you got the impression that half the country isn't concerned about issues like global warming and how we address it.

    Here's a 2006 poll that contradicts your assertion.

    Here's another from 2007


    oh and the jobs portion of the job title is something an overwhelming majority are concerned about



    How about a 2009 Poll (none / 0) (#103)
    by Slado on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 09:22:44 PM EST
    You won't find one.

    It was easy to be fore "green jobs" when the economy was going gangbusters.

    Not so much now.

    Either way we're bickering over a non issue.  

    The real issue is he was political poison and if he did anything less then find the cure for cancer he was gone.

    Obama has tossed many more deserving people under the bus on his way to Pennsylvania Ave and Jones probably didn't get 5 minutes of his time.


    The last poll I posted was 2009 (none / 0) (#105)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 09:26:15 PM EST
    What part of JOBS(as in any kind that would pay decently including the green kind) did you not get?

    It was second on the list.


    Half the country (none / 0) (#113)
    by jondee on Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 05:06:12 PM EST
    dosnt know what "green jobs" means -- until someone like Beck or their pastor explains it to them.

    PNAC is more like the KKK (none / 0) (#94)
    by Lora on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 05:10:21 PM EST
    Being a member of PNAC should have been political poison for Cheney et. al.  It wasn't.

    Not even close (none / 0) (#104)
    by Slado on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 09:23:53 PM EST
    9/11 truther is not even in the same league.

    give it a break.

    Jones had to go.  If the right was simply crazy obama wouldn't have tossed him.


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 09:27:55 PM EST
    Yeah, cuz a guy who reveres Reagan and spends all his time trying to placate Republicans on health care wouldn't be the least bit concerned with what the right thinks of him.

    Yeah, thanks for the belly laugh.


    uh huh. (none / 0) (#107)
    by Lora on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 10:49:37 PM EST
    Yep -- he just HAD to go.  Let's see, the truthers petition called for a bona fide, thorough, independent investigation of 9/11 -- something this country did not get but should have had -- and the PNAC spread disinformation about Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, and openly pressed for regime change years before the invasion.  It's clear to me who should have been called on the carpet for past activities.  Do Democrats really care that Van Jones signed the petition?  If they do, it's because they're being told to. And we know Obama caves to the Republicans as a matter of course.

    Thank you, BTD (none / 0) (#96)
    by Upstart Crow on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 05:42:31 PM EST
    For your common sense.

    Can someone unravel the story for me? (none / 0) (#98)
    by abdiel on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 06:14:47 PM EST
    A non-partisan way would be nice.  

    As I'm seeing it in the comments and various stories, Van Jones somehow attracted the wrong attention from Glenn Beck.  Digging deeper, Beck discovered that Jones had signed onto a 9/11 truth petition and put that to his audience's attention, among other things such as his Marxist leanings in the 1990s.  Jones promptly resigned, knowing he was a liability and/or that the WH didn't want to defend him.  Is that about right?

    I guess I'm confused about why this is coming up now, eight months into the administration.  It's a stark contrast from, say, Dick Cheney, whose ties to Halliburton were an issue before he ever stepped into office.

    Color of Change connection (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by caseyOR on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:14:48 PM EST
    Color of Change is the group that started the boycott of Glenn Beck's show which resulted in Beck losing corporate advertiser. In trying to get Color of Change, Beck discovered that Van Jones had been associated with that group at one time. Jones, by the way, had nothing to do with the Beck boycott.

    Jones was a WH staffer, so Beck started to look into Jones' past and found the "Republicans are a**holes" speech and the truther petition. So, Beck took aim at Jones; got his listeners all riled up (probably didn't hurt that Jones is AA); and, predictably, the WH caved.

    Jones will be fine. He was in great demand before he took the WH job. Do a little googling and you will find a number of honors bestowed on Jones by various business and political and social action groups.


    Much good political sense on this thread (none / 0) (#108)
    by Jack Okie on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:02:53 PM EST
    Full disclosure:  I'm a conservative Republican who thinks the whole czar thing is pretty fishy, so I'm not sorry to see one of them bite the dust.

    BTD is absolutely correct.  Forget what people "ought" to do; in politics one has to deal with how people actually think.

    Obama's problems are multiplying because he mistook his election as a coronation.  The MSM's sycophantic "tingle up the leg" hagiography is partly to blame.  Here's what he's up against (and remember, "fair" has nothing to do with it):

    1. When he pushed the stimulus, he said it would cap unemployment at 8% or under.  It is now 9.7% on its way to double digits, and would be worse if they counted people who have been unemployed so long they're considered to be no longer looking for work.  Result:  Loss of credibility.

    2.  The Skip Gates, cops acting "stupidly" affair.  The beer get-together was a good idea, and I think Dr. Gates and Officer Crowley actually got to know one another.  But the picture of Obama walking ahead, with Crowley helping Dr. Gates down the stairs, was seen by a LOT of independents.  Result:  Loss of trust, damage to claim of being "post-racial".

    3.  Health care:  When illegal immigrants and those with enough money to pay for their own care are removed from the equation, only about 5-9 million people are without health care.  That is insignificant in a population of over 300 million.  Despite the Democrats' agitation over the subject, people do not believe there is any health care crisis.  They are happy with what they have, and favor tort reform, portable policies and policies sold across state lines if any changes are to be made.  The public option is perceived as socialism, and Americans want no truck with it.  People might go for a government program to cover those 5-9 million - maybe just extend Medicare to cover them.  But the wholesale restructuring is DOA.  Result:  Damage to Obama's campaign stance as a "moderate", reinforcement of the perception he's a leftist / socialist.  (Having a self-proclaimed marxist as his Green Jobs Czar doesn't hone those "moderate" credentials).

    The bruhaha over the speech to the students, and especially the study guide, shows how much trust he has lost from folks in the middle.  Add in the various things coming from his administration that make it sound like he's going to finance health care at the expense of Grandma and Grandpa and you've got a perfect storm developing for 2010.  People are scared for their jobs and their future, and they don't see why Obama is messing with health care in the middle of the worst downturn since the Depression.  Blame Bush all you want, but Obama took the job and people expect him to deliver and will turn on him if he doesn't.  All the rationalizations in the world don't substitute for results.  My own take is that this "death of a thousand cuts" he's inflicting on himself is the inevitable result of electing someone with zero executive experience to the most important executive job in the world.  Clinton tacked back to the center after the Republican landslide in '94, and saved his presidency.  But Clinton is a very smart pol; I think Obama will have difficulty climbing down.

    Correction: (none / 0) (#109)
    by Jack Okie on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:05:13 PM EST
    5-9 million people are without health insurance.

    We have totally different perspectives (none / 0) (#110)
    by cawaltz on Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 12:15:07 AM EST
    Obama's biggest problem is he HASN'T pursued the mandate he was given.

    With the stimulus he put in tax cuts and took out infrastructure to placate Republicans like Collins and Snowe and is pursuing the exact same strategy for health care.

    I'm glad you think 5-9 million people is a big "only. I also think its great how you gloss over the fact that people with insurance constitute a large portion of people who end up filing bankruptcy for medical reasons.

    I suspect people would be fine with him "messing with health care" particularly if he could connect the dots for them that it is such a large budget problem, not just for Americans but also for the government. Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP are a large portion of our federal budget. Medicare is already taking in less than it receives and has been for a year(which means it is increasing our deficit).

    I don't think the right's talking point that we have the best health care system resonates with anyone. It is common knowledge that we spend more money and have a shorter life expectancy and infant mortality rate than other developed world counterparts who have nationalized their health care. Furthermore, in other countries you don't have to worry about working your whole life and then losing everything because you are unfortunate enough to have a family member fall ill with a disease.


    The Democrats control the federal government. (none / 0) (#111)
    by Jack Okie on Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 06:46:02 AM EST
    Until Kennedy's death they had a fillibuster proof majority, so if Obama thought Collins and Snowe needed placating, that was his political calculation and you should hold him accountable for it.

    Polls show that most (anywhere from 70 to 80%) are happy with their current situation, so Obama is swimming upstream with regard to health care.

    Here is an analysis of U.S. infant mortality and life expectancy:


    It shows significant differences based on racial and ethnic background;  African-Americans fare worse in both infant mortality and life expectancy.  This tells me we need to focus on providing that segment of the population with better opportunities for success rather than just focusing narrowly on health care.

    Here is an analysis of medical bankruptcies:


    The authors suggest something like the Canadian system as a solution, but that means rationing through access like Oregon.  I would rather see a buffer that keeps medical providers from turning to collection agencies or small claims courts so quickly.  This article shows how ridiculously small the amounts can be to tip one over into bankruptcy: