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Author Topic: Van Jones
G2
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Van Jones, Special Advisor for Green Jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, advisor to the President. What's up with this guy? First:
quote:
... during an energy lecture in Berkeley, Calif., after a woman in the audience asked him why President Obama and congressional Democrats were having trouble moving legislation -- even though Republicans, with a smaller majority, didn't have as much trouble earlier in the Bush administration.

"Well, the answer to that is, they're assholes," Jones said, to uproarious laughter. "That's a technical, political science term."

I understand this is what passes for deep intellectual thought and bipartisan outreach in many liberal circles but it does show where Jones is coming from and the outlook he has.

Then there's this from January 2008 speech by Van Jones on “Green Jobs Not Jails — The Third Wave of Environmentalism” from the EON Deep Democracy Interview Series:
quote:
The white polluters and the white environmentalists are essentially steering poison into the people of color communities because they don’t have a racial justice frame.

... there’s a problem .. left to itself this new third wave of environmentalism could become eco-apartheid … the ecological ‘haves’ could just get more and the ecological ‘have nots’ could just get less and less ...

So white environmentalists are poisoning black people. I know we have some white environmentalists here, how do you like the president's advisor pointing out how you poison black people? Shame on you guys for doing that. Did you know when he exposed your poisonous plot to destroy black communities the background was a painting that shows a Jimmy Carter looking white man on the left pointing a gun into the back of the head of what appears to be a Hispanic woman. On the right is an Orin Hatch looking white man holding a piece of paper that says “War on Youth” as he handcuffs a young black male. In the middle are young minority youths just trying to have a good time if only the evil white men would let them. Yeah, you white environmentalists got a lot to answer on your eco-apartheid ways. [Razz]

Finally, ol' Van is a Truther. He signed the petition for it but now claims he had no idea what he was signing. However, according to Jake Tapper, in March 2002, a march in San Francisco was called to demand a congressional inquiry into 9/11. Jones was on the "organizing committee" where they were going to demand answers to:
quote:
"What is the relationship between Bin Laden, his family and the Bush family and the Carlyle Group?

"Why were no fighter planes dispatched to intercept the four hijacked planes on September 11th, in violation of standard procedures?

"Who actually was in control of the 'hijacked planes'? …

"Did the CIA have foreknowledge of the attack, who tried to profit with put options on American, United, Merrill Lynch stock just before the attack?...

"What are Bush's and Cheney's connections to the drug industry?

"Why is the evidence being destroyed when an investigation of the World Trade Center collapse is needed?"

Maybe Van just had no idea what he was really organizing? Who's wackier, the birthers or the truthers? Tough call. Would you want either one advising the president?

The over-under has him out by Monday. Long holiday weekend, it's a good time to fire someone.

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RickyB
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Maybe his name was added to the letterhead like in the case of GOP "physicians against ObamaCare"?
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TomDavidson
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I know Van Jones personally. He's a decent person. He is not a Truther. And, yes, he is concerned that wealthy environmentalists will keep pushing pollution to the fringes, where it will disproportionately affect the poor. That seems like a perfectly valid concern, even if he misframes it as a racial consideration.
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JoshCrow
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... I kinda thought the "assholes" remark was funny... [Razz]
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
He is not a Truther.

How do you explain his signing the petition and organizing a march for the truthers? If he's not a truther, what was he doing so deeply involved with them? He didn't know what he was signing? That's weak. Did he not know what he was organizing? He's not commented on that yet as far as I know but what can he say?

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
And, yes, he is concerned that wealthy environmentalists will keep pushing pollution to the fringes, where it will disproportionately affect the poor. That seems like a perfectly valid concern, even if he misframes it as a racial consideration.

He specifically went after white environmentalists, not wealthy environmentalists. Using terms like "eco-apartheid" pretty much cements his racism in environmentalism shtick. I don't think he "misframed" it at all. I think he means exactly what he says.

I'm sure he's a decent guy but he clearly holds some pretty questionable beliefs.

[ September 04, 2009, 12:41 PM: Message edited by: G2 ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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" a)He is not a Truther.

b) How do you explain his signing the petition and organizing a march for the truthers?"

Tom may have to correct me but it seems to me, G2, that what he'[s saying is that the info you read associating him with Truthers is all or mostly false.

You might have to work on digesting that concept.

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kenmeer livermaile
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" a) And, yes, he is concerned that wealthy environmentalists will keep pushing pollution to the fringes, where it will disproportionately affect the poor. That seems like a perfectly valid concern, even if he misframes it as a racial consideration.

b) He specifically went after white environmentalists, not wealthy environmentalists. Using terms like "eco-apartheid" pretty much cements his racism in environmentalism shtick. I don't think he "misframed" it at all. I think he means exactly what he says."

Um, G2, that's what Tom said, except the part where you imply that racial considerations 1) don't apply or 2) are what drives this guy.

Being most concerned about a group you see most affected by a problem is not the same as defining the problem by the group.

You might consider that black people have an inherently racist bias to overcome because they have lives lives so inherently biased against them by virtue of race.

Or, to make it simple: were these "white environmentalists" not wealthy? Were they poor whites living in regions polluted exceptionally more than regions where more affluent persons lived?

Is it possible there really is a lack of awareness among many white environmentalists that their forms of environmentalism could be, in effect, dumping more pollution on persons of minority race than on whites? Is it possible that this may be so?

Also, did you notice the world "could" in: "left to itself this new third wave of environmentalism could become eco-apartheid"?

Finally, last I knew most white people had more money than most black people, so the white/wealthy dichotomy is false.


I'm sure he's a decent guy but he clearly holds some pretty questionable beliefs.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Wiki says:

Involvement with 9/11 truth movement

Jones was on the organizing committee of a 2002 protest march in San Francisco that demanded inquiries into the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.[18] In 2004, Jones was one of "100 notable Americans" who signed a "911 Truth Statement" from 911Truth.org. The petition demanded an investigation of "unanswered questions that suggest that people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war."[19] Jones' name appears as "Van Jones, executive director, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights", signer number 46 to the document.[20] [21] In September of 2009, Jones issued a statement regarding the 9/11 truth letter saying "the petition that was circulated today, I do not agree with this statement and it certainly does not reflect my views now or ever."[22] However, 911Truth.org spokesman Mike Berger was quoted by The Washington Times as saying organization board members "spoke with each person on the list by phone or through email to individually confirm they had added their name to that list. I think in most cases they spoke to them personally. No one’s name was put on that list without them knowing it.”[20] A White House official explained Jones' signature by saying that he did not review the document carefully before signing it.[23]

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kmbboots
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I think they misread it. It was Van Johnson that signed the statement.
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I think they misread it. It was Van Johnson that signed the statement.

No, it was Jones:
quote:
Mike Berger, a spokesman for 911Truth.org, told the Washington Times over the phone that all of the signers had been verified by their group. He said 9/11Truth.org board members “spoke with each person on the list by phone or through email to individually confirm they had added their name to that list.”
So Van signed and then confirmed it personally.
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kenmeer livermaile
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You messin' w/ us kmmboots? (I can't access the truthout site. Must be heavy traffic.)
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G2
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quote:
Asked if controversial White House official Van Jones continues to enjoy the confidence of President Obama given recent revelations about his involvement with those who suggest the Bush administration knew about the 9/11 attacks and allowed them to happen in order to justify a war for oil, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs Friday morning would only say "he continues to work in this administration."
Uh oh, Van may not make it to Monday. We should get a betting pool going ...
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kenmeer livermaile
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Anyway, Van renounced his signing. He ****ed up, yeah. But that ****up does not mean he endorses Truthout, any more than his subsequent denouncement proves he didn't endorse Truthout when he signed.

So we'll have to seek conclusive judgment on this matter by Van's actions vis a vis 911 overall. If we're interested in objective truth, that is.

Try it, G2. Goes down a bit harsh sometimes but makes a fine glow in the tummy.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by kenmeer livermaile:
You messin' w/ us kmmboots? (I can't access the truthout site. Must be heavy traffic.)

Yes. Yes, I am. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Johnson
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G2
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Just keeps getting worse for Van:
quote:
More than 150 demonstrators marched from 14th Street and Broadway to the Oakland Federal Building to demand that the Justice Department re-open its corruption investigation of the Philadelphia Police Department.

Supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a death row inmate convicted for the 1981 shooting death of a Philadelphia police officer, said the protest was called after the Supreme Court on Monday rejected claims that Abu-Jamal, a former radio journalist and Black Panther, did not receive a fair trial.

“We knew there was another event going on, but the timing of the court decision is what dictated when the protest was held,” said Van Jones, a San Francisco civil rights lawyer who helped coordinate the protest march.

Van, Van, Van ... who vetted this guy?
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kenmeer livermaile
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Can't have human rights activists marching down the streets of America as if that's a good thing, agitating for, um, human rights.

That's BAD.

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TomDavidson
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Yeah, no kidding. You might actually get the idea that Van has, y'know, principles or something.
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Sauurman
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This guy is scum. He is obviously obsessed about race and believes in communistic ideas.

What fanatical ideology has killed more people in the 20th century then any other? It wasn't the NAZI movement it was communism.

Obama can pick who he wants for these positions, they act only on the authority of the president. But what this says about Obama is very telling. We keep having crazy left racially motivated nut jobs like Wright and these fellow coming out of the woodwork. If Obama wants to repudiate this impression he should denounce this man for his insane views. Now if his views are not in line with what those organizations he has been a part of then he should still be gone for the being so stupid as to associate with those fools.

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Greg Davidson
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Actually, this whole thing reminds me of a winning question for any trivia competition you happen to enter:

Question: What lifetime member of the American Communist Party is featured on a United States coin currently in circulation?


Answer: Helen Keller, currently featured on the Alabama "state" quarter.

They take this out of the high school textbooks, but after ten years lecturing to groups of the deaf and/or blind, she noticed that a disproportionate amount of these people were from the bottom of the economic ladder. She became a fervent communist until her death in 1965.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
This guy is scum. He is obviously obsessed about race and believes in communistic ideas.
Let me reiterate: I know Van Jones personally. He is about as far from "scum" as you can imagine. He does indeed believe in "communistic" ideas, if by "communistic" you mean "communitarian" -- but he is actually considerably to the right of many Democrats in his fiscal policy, having decided about six years ago that the best way to effect social change was to allow market forces to demonstrate the inherent superiority of those changes through an increase in efficiency. (Seriously.)

The more you research Van Jones, the more you will learn that he is a principled, intelligent, and above all reasonable person. This sort of demonization is ludicrous.

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TomDavidson
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The idea that Van Jones is a communist nowadays is something that I find hysterically funny. The reason he is where he is today, instead of being just another random political activist, is that he came up with some very interesting ideas about reconciling a free market with social justice -- and using one to achieve the other.
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kmbboots
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pssst, Tom, social justice is communist. Didn't you hear?
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hobsen
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This is getting into a gray area of the Ornery rules. Those forbid making personal attacks on other Ornery members. But KnightEnder complained about personal attacks on his wife, which would seem reasonable to me if any had been made, and attacking someone's brother or close friend would fall in the same category.

Just the same, when Van Jones is being discussed on 351 news articles, he has become a public figure. Whether he is a friend or not, TomDavidson, I think he can be discussed on Ornery just as freely as anyone else in the news. And the same would apply I think to any actual Ornery member who became famous or notorious. When millions of people are discussing someone, and putting forth opinions good and bad, it is too much to expect the 5000 official Ornery members not to get caught up in the hysteria. So if you find such comments too distressing, and think they will poison your attitude toward other members here later, perhaps you should avoid those threads. Or mount a spirited defense as you are doing, and recognize that people on Ornery tend to disagree. After all people attack OSC quite frequently, and he is not only in many ways a good egg but owns this forum.

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Gina
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quote:
Originally posted by G2:
Van, Van, Van ... who vetted this guy?

Who vetted Obama? If Jones gets dumped, it just goes to show the hypocrisy of hiring a President with radical associations and beliefs but not liking the baggage he carries with him.
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Sauurman
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Greg - You would have to be blind not see how terrible communism is... oh wait. I'm ashamed of myself but that was too easy to pass up. [Smile]

Tom - The declared himself a communist. If he's changed his mind... well thats one thing but thats a pretty black mark on the record. That would be like a senator once being part of the KKK... oh wait Democrats really don't have any standards.

Furthermore calling Republicans "assholes" because they aren't on board with Obama's agenda shows how petty he can be. Sorry if you know the person but I'm going to have to take more then a random person on a forum's word to see that he's not a left wing commie.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"ust the same, when Van Jones is being discussed on 351 news articles, he has become a public figure. Whether he is a friend or not, TomDavidson, I think he can be discussed on Ornery just as freely as anyone else in the news."

Crap. Either Tom D is lying or not.

Well, hobbs?

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Michelle
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
This guy is scum. He is obviously obsessed about race and believes in communistic ideas.
Let me reiterate: I know Van Jones personally. He is about as far from "scum" as you can imagine. He does indeed believe in "communistic" ideas, if by "communistic" you mean "communitarian" -- but he is actually considerably to the right of many Democrats in his fiscal policy, having decided about six years ago that the best way to effect social change was to allow market forces to demonstrate the inherent superiority of those changes through an increase in efficiency. (Seriously.)

The more you research Van Jones, the more you will learn that he is a principled, intelligent, and above all reasonable person. This sort of demonization is ludicrous.

Link, please. [Smile]

Seriously, I would like to read something positive about him. I certainly can't rely on information coming from Gina, G2 or Glenn Beck. (There on the other team, you know)

Is it just me, or does there seem to be quite a few rebel-rousing demonstrators hired by this administration? That's cool. I can dig it.
I realize they are older, and probably wiser now, but what happens if they go through middle-age crisis or something?

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hobsen
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Kenmeer, your remark does not make sense to me. Unless TomDavidson has supernatural powers, he cannot read Van Jones' thoughts to see whether he truly wants to install a communist dictatorship in the United States. And Sauurman only said Van Jones had once declared himself a communist, he admitted he did not know Van Jones' present views. So as far as I can see, no one has accused anyone else of lying except you. And considering Van Jones' probable importance among Obama's advisers, I do not care if he believes leprechauns are out to steal all the gold in Fort Knox - does the United States still have gold there? - as nothing he believes or intends will make any difference until he gets some real power. I did not think Dick Cheney was a menace because some of his ideas were crazy, but because George W. Bush in the beginning sometimes followed his advice. If he had been like most Vice Presidents, and stood in a corner of the Oval Office like a potted plant, I should not have cared what he believed.

Edited to add: You may be right, Michelle. My impression is that Chicago politics is more polarized than is common in most of the United States, and Obama has brought some such people to Washington with him. Partly they are extremists, but partly I think they just talk more like extremists - or more candidly - than is common elsewhere. This creates what is sometimes called culture shock.

[ September 05, 2009, 08:10 PM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

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Greg Davidson
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quote:
You would have to be blind not see how terrible communism is
Soviet communists - horrific (same with Chinese, North Korean, etc.) - I read my Solzhenitsyn in the 1970's and aware of what the Soviet Union was. American Communist Party - pathetic nutjobs. Helen Keller, not so much. As for Americans accused of being communist from the 1950's onward, that's a pretty mixed bag (because, as with detainees held in our military prisons, to be accused of membership in a terrorist organization is different from being in a terrorist organization).

The point of my remark was that there was a strong correlation between poverty and the incidence of physical handicaps.

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Sauurman
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The point of my remark was to make a lame joke regarding "blind" and Helen Keller.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Tom - The declared himself a communist. If he's changed his mind... well thats one thing but thats a pretty black mark on the record.
Look, do some research on this, okay? If you're determined to blacklist anybody who's ever held a foolish opinion in college, I'm not sure who's left for you to respect.

quote:
Furthermore calling Republicans "assholes" because they aren't on board with Obama's agenda shows how petty he can be.
Not to spend too much time defending what was obviously meant as a quip and an aside, but it's worth pointing out that he wasn't complaining that they weren't on board with the agenda, but rather that they were, in the manner of their opposition (which was the question at hand), being assholes.

quote:
Is it just me, or does there seem to be quite a few rebel-rousing demonstrators hired by this administration?
One of the few surprisingly positive things about this administration is that it's been fairly good at identifying community leaders, activists, and people genuinely involved in the causes they've been picked to lead. Such people tend to be passionate, and tend to put politics -- by which I mean the whole greasing-the-wheel-of-bureaucracy crap that has come to be modern politics -- well behind principle. (There are a few notable exceptions in Obama's cabinet. Don't get me started on them.) But, by and large, Obama and his people have done a good job of basically going down a list and saying, "Okay, next up, the Spingle Committee. If I called a bunch of Spingle researchers and asked them who they respected, whose names would come up?" Inevitably, these people are going to have pasts -- because people with principles are also inevitably people with pasts.

Unfortunately, people with pasts cannot also be politicians.

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yossarian22c
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Furthermore calling Republicans "assholes" because they aren't on board with Obama's agenda shows how petty he can be.
Not to spend too much time defending what was obviously meant as a quip and an aside, but it's worth pointing out that he wasn't complaining that they weren't on board with the agenda, but rather that they were, in the manner of their opposition (which was the question at hand), being assholes.

[/QB]

The first time I head this I thought it was a backhanded compliment to republican party discipline. In that the republican leadership was better at forcing ("being assholes") their members to vote with the party.

I also think this falls under the bad/failed joke category but thought I would add my two cents anyway.

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yossarian22c
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Tom, do you have any links to some of his more recent statements and works that would help explain some of the things he's said. Some of his statements do make me a little uncomfortable. A lot of his statements even about the environment and other issues seem to be viewed through a racial lens. There could be many fairly innocent reasons for his using that language if I had a greater understanding of his positions and thought processes. Or if he has great ideas in other areas and ultimately pursues good policies its a flaw I could overlook.
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TomDavidson
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Which things do you think need explanation?

He absolutely does view the environment through a racial lens. He views a lot of things through a racial lens; it's one of the issues most important to him, and so he often approaches any given topic with the mindset, "How would this affect black people?"

It's important to keep in mind, however, that it is precisely because he realized the problematic nature of this worldview that he started getting interested in the environment. He did not start out as an environmentalist; he started out as a social justice activist, and only later resolved that social justice was best addressed through market forces. It was even later that he identified environmentalism as the specific sector of the market he felt required the most attention.

Here, in a nutshell, is the path his life has taken:

Weird, nerdy black kid grows up bitter. Does well in college and becomes interested in racial issues, and while dabbling in activist politics is exposed to the some of the darker parts of the establishment. This further isolates him, and he resolves that a Marxist movement might be the only way to address issues of classism he believes have encrusted American politics. He continues his social justice work, earns a few more degrees, and starts a number of political and charitable organizations. In the process, he begins to question some of his earlier beliefs; in particular, he is exposed to some interesting market theories that, when he examines them, seem to have a better chance of achieving his goals peacefully than some of the more radical ideas he'd previously considered.

So he basically does a 180, throws himself full-bore into that approach, and discovers that they really do seem more effective. He becomes convinced of the value of cooperation and coordination, and gains a reputation for reaching out to people on the other "side" of issues (something that I've seen, myself). He earns a lot of national distinction for his research and his leadership qualities, and his name winds up on a short list of people who know a lot about free-market environmentalism. So when Obama, a black guy with a lot of very similar history, needed to pick somebody for a job that perfectly fitted his skill set, I can't imagine Van was a difficult choice.

Sure, he wanted to see the government replaced wholesale from 1992 to about 2001. I know a lot of Republicans who felt the same way. [Smile] But to say that he's somehow more dangerous because what he wanted to replace the government with was something inherently more horrible, I think, reveals a misunderstanding of the causes he supported in the first place.

But I don't know Van that well. He's not a personal friend. I've worked with him on a couple projects. Here's a piece from someone who knows him better:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-van-gelder/stand-with-van-jones-a-re_b_278218.html

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TomDavidson
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And I've got to say, this sort of transparent crap really pisses me off:
http://www.rightsidenews.com/200909056325/editorial/van-jones-scandal-threatens-obama-presidency.html

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threads
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That doesn't even make any sense. Even if I granted all but the last two sentences of that article, I still don't see how firing Jones would threaten Obama's presidency.

Plus
quote:
Do we want adherents of this foreign ideology of mass murder holding high government positions
This is such a tiresome canard. I know a member of a socialist club and she is also, for all intents and purposes, a communist. She also doesn't support mass murder.

I also love the blatant smear by association
quote:
The Obama Administration is pursuing the destruction of anti-communist Honduras, in order to please Hugo Chavez, the Marxist ruler of Venezuela currently on a friendly visit to terrorist Iran.
Who cares if he's visiting Iran? The author clearly just wanted to get Obama, Chavez, terrorist, and Iran in the same sentence.

quote:
Look who else was on the "Arctic Expedition for Climate Action 2008" cruise with Jones:

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Larry Brilliant, Director, Google.org
President Jimmy Carter & Rosalynn Carter
Senator Tom Daschle & Linda Daschle
John Fahey, President, National Geographic
Mike Finley, President of the Turner Foundation
Walter Isaacson, President, the Aspen Institute
Andy Stern, President, Service Employees International Union
R.E. "Ted" Turner, Chairman, Turner Foundation, Inc.
Governor Bill Ritter, Jr., Governor, Colorado

Again, who cares? Are we supposed to be suspicious of every single person who went on a cruise with Van Jones?
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yossarian22c
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Thanks for the info Tom. I'm never ecstatic when people talk about race in such a us vs. them language. I generally think it does more to continue to drive animosity and resentment on both sides but I can understand why people develop those speaking habits. Generally his environmental policies seem rational and a step in the right direction which is the most important thing for me. Since he is in power on environmental issues as long as he pursues intelligent policies in that area I'm happy.
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Michelle
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"because people with principles are also inevitably people with pasts"
I would have used the word passions instead of principles.

"He absolutely does view the environment through a racial lens. He views a lot of things through a racial lens; it's one of the issues most important to him, and so he often approaches any given topic with the mindset, "How would this affect black people?"

And for that...he has some explaining to do. If he can't come to terms with his racial-baiting, and admit that black men can be just as greedy and hurtful to minorities then, he is wasting everybody's time being a public servant.

I didn't like the way he claimed that eighty-percent of green businessess are owned by african-americans. Has he lost his mind? Shouting out: "Give us the money. Give us the money."

Um...How could I as a middle-aged white woman, possibly feel empowered by that kind of message?

Hello? I'm an american too.

For all the rhetoric flying around about being called to serve a more nobler purpose, his actions fall flat. He has devalued me because of my color.

He needs to step up and fight for me as well. That's his job.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"He absolutely does view the environment through a racial lens. He views a lot of things through a racial lens; it's one of the issues most important to him, and so he often approaches any given topic with the mindset, "How would this affect black people?""

I invite us to think of minorites as canaries in our coal mine. Or, as JC said, "Inasmuch as ye do it to the least of us us, ye do it to me."

With the environment, what is first primarily placed upon the disenfranchised, be they black whatevers or, say, white Appalchian coal miners, environmental degradation cumulatively adds up to affect us all.

So there's some across the board egalutarian wisdom in such a racial lens.

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0rnery
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Van Jones Resigns as White House Advisor

"...the White House did not go out of its way to defend Jones..."

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