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Sat

12

Sep

2009

Van Jones: The Latest in a Long Line of Lily-Livered Leftists
Saturday, 12 September 2009 04:32
by Kellia Ramares

Progressives are crying foul at theresignation, some say firing, of Van Jones, President Obama's erstwhile “GreenJobs” czar. It seems that Jones ran afoul of right-wing media darling GlennBeck, himself no stranger to controversy — he gets paid to create it — for callingRepublicans “assholes” last February before he joined the Administration, andfor signing a petition five years ago asking for a new investigation into the 9-11attacks.

As to the first matter, so what? Yes,Republicans are assholes. They weren't always that way; there may still be afew who aren't, though they're an endangered species. But the RushLimbaugh-Michael Savage-Sean Hannity-Bill O'Reilly-Glenn Beck-Sarah Palinvariety of Republicans, who prey on the fear and ignorance of their followers,are proliferating, and they are worse than assholes, worse than demagogues,though they're that too. They are traitors to this nation. They sow the seedsof class warfare, racism, and imperialism. They would rather see peoplebankrupted by medical costs, or even die early without access to care than toadmit that their precious free market is not designed to provide service toeveryone, regardless of ability to pay, and so we had better design a systemthat does, at least where health care is concerned.

So what if that is socialist? AsShakespeare said, “What's in a name?” We are indeed members of a society aswell as individuals. Sometimes we take actions for ourselves, sometimes we workfor a group cause. And as our first Republican President, the great AbrahamLincoln, once said, we have government of the people, by the people, for thepeople. The people: a group, a society, a nation. He understood that, as did anothergreat Republican, Theodore Roosevelt, who called for universal health care whenhe ran for President in 1912. But then, in Lincoln's day, and in TR's, therewasn't such a high percentage of Republican assholes as there are now.

Calling someone an asshole is notpolite. But Jones' social faux pas was quite tame compared to the epithetscurrently being hurled Obama's way. Compare Jones calling Republicans “assholes” this on the right...

...or this on the left.

The woman at the microphone at Rep.Barney Frank's town hall meeting on health care reform was not the only personin the room with a picture of President Obama wearing a Hitler moustache.Speaking of health care, what about the people bused in from out of district tomany of these meetings to engage in shouting matches and general disruptivebehavior?

Marianne Hoynes, a woman forced to usea wheelchair because of debilitating autoimmune disease, was shouted down asshe read a statement at a health care town hall hosted by Rep. Frank Pallone ofNew Jersey. Between the hecklers andthe people who agreed with Ms. Hoynes making noise, the Congressman could barely hear her.

We have recently seen peoplecarrying firearms to events at which the President was scheduled to speak. This included oneperson with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle. Though the display was legal, it washardly responsible. As Paul Helmke, president ofthe Washington, D.C.-based Brady Campaign toPrevent Gun Violence, said "To me,this is craziness. When you bring a loaded gun,particularly a loaded assault rifle, to anypolitical event, but particularly to one where the president is appearing,you're just making the situation dangerous for everyone."


And just a few days ago, Rep. JoeWilson (R – SC) shouted “You lie” at the President as he was delivering hishealth care address to a joint session of Congress. That kind of interruptionmay be the norm for the British Parliament, but it is a huge breach of protocolhere.

In fact, we can go all the way back toDecember 2000 when people where bused into Florida to disrupt a recount of thevotes in the Presidential election, to point to Republican-led orRepublican-backed incivilities that go far, far beyond calling people“assholes.”

Why should Jones have to resign fromhis job for calling Republicans “assholes” or answer to anyone from “Fox Spews” who vomit out the buzzwords“radical,” “Black Nationalist,” and “Communist” to frighten their “dittohead”constituency into backing the same political and economic elites that arescrewing them over with tax cuts for the ultra rich and bailouts for thebanksters while they (the “dittoheads” - their name for themselves, not mine)cope with record rates of unemployment, uninsurance, and foreclosure?

As news outlets were gobbled up byconglomerates, news departments were turned from public service to profitcenters. Journalism has degraded to“info-tainment.” The left's answers to “Fox Spews” are Jon Stewart and StephenColbert, funny and erudite, in my opinion, but entertainers nonetheless. Goneare the days of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite. Newspapers are dying.Investigative journalism is barely breathing because it is “too expensive.”Would Watergate be investigated today? I doubt it.

So why kow-tow to these clowns? GlennBeck should have no more ability to chase Van Jones out of the ObamaAdministration than he has the ability to go one on one with LeBron James. Whyhas the left allowed the right to dictate the terms of debate, or rather toshout buzzwords like socialism, radical, homosexual agenda, Nazism, etc. untilthere is no debate? The Democrats have been wimps for years, even theirPresidential candidates. The Republicans stole two Presidential elections andGore and especially Kerry, essentially rolled over.

Still, I have no sympathy for Van Jonesbecause he has apologized for signing a petition in 2004 calling for an new investigation into the events of 9-11-01.This is one of those places where I draw a line in the sand, where I brook no tolerancefor alleged Progressives going along with the Republicrat Party line backingthe government's official explanations of that day and the anthrax attacks,which together have led us down the road of endless war, economic collapse,loss of civil rights and trivialization of the news. We need one or more newinvestigations into 9-11, investigations that are not conducted by Washingtoninsiders like Philip Zelikow, who co-authored with Condi Rice. There iscertainly enough data for probable cause to investigate further, compiled from 2001 throughthe present day.

This November, the voters of New York City will likely face the issue of whether they should have a newinvestigation. The organization NYCCAN, which petitioned to put the issue onthe ballot, states on its website that eighty thousand people have signed theirpetitions. Thepetition that Jones signedasked 12 very cogent questions, but now he apologizes for signing it. Why?Because “Fox Spews” spits venom when anyone questions the official story, eventhough that story has more holes than Aunt Minnie's lace doilies? So what? Theyhave a constitutional right to air their gibberish but people of common sense,of which I thought until recently Van Jones was one, will not object to furtherinvestigation.

I don't buy the argument that he didnot want to be a distraction to the Obama Administration at this time of thehealth care debate. Obama has sold out the people on health care, has kept usin Iraq, seeks to escalate in Afghanistan, has continued the bankster bailout,has reappointed Bernanke to the Fed and wants to expand the Fed's powers, hasdragged his feet on LGBTQ rights, and despite what AG Eric Holder says, reallydoes not want to investigate his predecessor's administration on the tortureissue. I say let's keep the Administration distracted because Obama is Bushwith darker skin and better English.

That reluctance to investigate theprevious administration--the “Move On” philosophy--really irks me. Did we notcriticize George W. Bush for not being a reflective man? Did we not hope thatObama, a man of obvious intelligence, would follow the example ofpost-apartheid South Africa in seeking truth and reconciliation? (Notice whichword comes first in that phrase!) After all, as George Santayana said, “Thosewho do not learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.”

But maybe that desire to not look backis at the heart of this whole thing. A serious look at the torture issue willfurther fuel the movement for a new look at 9-11. And if it turns out that thegovernment was actively involved or deliberately indifferent to or ignorant ofthe possibility of attack, Democrats as well as Republicans will have to answerfor the grave losses of life, liberty and treasure this nation has endured forthe last eight years. For Obama, preservation of a bipartisan secret of thatmagnitude may be worth the sacrifice of one young man's White House career.(And I am not suggesting that Obama himself had anything to do with 9-11, buthe and all his successors, Democrats and Republicans alike, can be consideredcontributors to the rising tide of fascism in the name of national security wehave endured since September 11, 2001, if some President does not undertake areal investigation).

What we need most of all fromprogressives these days is courage, not bi-partisanship, not compromise, notso-called pragmatism, but courage. And courage in service to something verymuch higher than “green jobs”. Courage in service to the truth. Van Jones, you could have stuck by theprinciples that prompted you to sign that petition five years ago. You couldhave told Glenn Beck. “Buzz off, asshole!” And many progressives, includingmyself would have cheered. You could have stood up to the right wing media andif Obama didn't like it, you could have left in broad daylight, instead ofskulking away very late on Friday or early Saturday morning of a holidayweekend. You had it in you to do that.

I remember you eloquently standing withus at KPFA in 1999, during our struggles with the Pacifica Foundation. That wasanother political battle under another Democratic administration that wasn'tall it was cracked up to be.

Pacifica was led at that time by MaryFrances Berry, a friend of President Clinton who also chaired the U.S. CivilRights Commission. Pacifica had locked us out of the station since the night ofJuly 13 and then gave us back the keys to the station on July 30 in the hopesof heading off a major demonstration planned for the next day. You exhorted usto march anyway and we did--some 15,000 strong. This is the Van Jones I thoughtthe White House was getting when it was announced that you were joining theAdministration. But it looks like that wasn't who they got.

I'm for the environment too, but greenjobs aren't worth trading away your conscience and your courage. I hope youdidn't let the screen door hit you on the way out.


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