The Right Claims A Big One

In a victory for Republicans and the Obama administration’s conservative critics, Van Jones resigned as the White House’s environmental jobs “czar” on Saturday.

Controversy over Mr. Jones’s past comments and affiliations has slowly escalated over several weeks, erupting on Friday with calls for his resignation.


  1. I think if LBJ came back, much against his will, to today's White House he wouldn't recognize the Congress. All his "reasonable" friends on the Republican side would be gone and his masterful manner of dealing with the Congress would suddenly be ineffective. He wouldn't recognize the Christian rightwing lock over on the Republican side. (Well, he might, but at least in his day they were a minority and pretty much considered "crazies.")

    Obama has made his point. He tried to be cooperative, reasonable, open to the ideas of Republicans. Instead (witness the "gang of six") they have merely played politics to pander to the Christian right, admitting they never had any intent to seriously change anything. Look at Grassly and Enzi

    Time to get tough and to calmly stand up, speak through all the hysterical shouting because the nation’s needs are more important than the infantile fits of a half crazed minority. Here’s a sign from one of their rallies which caught my eye: “There’s a village in Kenya which has lost its idiot.”

    Here’s Matt Taibbi with some interesting observations.

  2. Over the weekend I made an attempt to watch some television. One of my first jobs, through high school and college, was gathering and writing local news for radio. At 3 stations I worked for in those years, we updated local news 3 or 4 times a day. I learned how difficult it is over a few slow days to stretch out a story that easily could have been dropped after a couple of broadcasts. I also learned the principle responsibility of American freedom of the press: never editorialize...unless you are a designated commentator. All of the 24/7 television news channels, including the hosted portions of C-Span, have spun that responsibility into oblivion. I understand the problem: they have to fill all those hours with SOMEthing.

    I also know what it feels like to receive a phone call from the station manager telling me the owner wants a story scrubbed. An accident has occured that deserves reporting. Someone is injured, there is severe property damage, but the son of a prominent businessman is involved and charges have been filed. The businessman does not want the story on the air. What do you do? With whom do you argue? Hopefully budding journalists have the opportunity while still in school to confront everyday realities like this and to prepare to confront them.

    What is a newsanchor? An anchor provides some stability for a boat in rough waters. It allows assurance that you can find the boat again, should you go about other business, and that it won't drift away. On Labor Day morning, I heard the 2 "anchors" on FoxNews refer to Van Jones as a "hatemonger," a man not fit to be appointed the town dogcatcher. Would you call that editorializing in some way? Is Glenn Beck a commentator? Apparently he referred to Mr. Jones as a "black nationalist" and an "avowed communist." Beck repeats and repeats these opinions as facts. And this: "This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture." At least that remark about President Obama appears to be an opinion, but Mr. Beck was out to prove his thinking as fact by citing evidence, and environmental adviser to the President, Van Jones, was it.

    Yesterday Amy Goodman, of Democracy Now!---which also calls itself a news program---investigated in more detail the resignation of Mr. Jones. You can watch and read it here~~~ .

    Another aspect of Mr. Jones activities that has bothered FoxNews (and probably prompted the "hatemonger" remark) is that he signed a petition. I signed it too some 5 years ago, and maybe so did you. It called for an investigation of the failure of the Bush administration to prevent the 9/11 attack, given the information available to it well in advance. I was interested to see the petition again this morning, and to review who else signed it. Take a look~~~

    I know that healthcare is in the spotlight today and not so much legislation about environmental change. Healthcare is a matter of life and death. The deaths of my own parents are directly attributable to what conditions are covered by private insurance. Like most elderly, they faced the dilemma of financial ruin or death. But taking out Van Jones, one of the most knowledgeable people about confronting environmental devastation in our world, is a matter of life and death too. Scorpions surrounded by fire---or free elections apparently---go crazy and sting anything, including themselves. I hate to see America in the hands of a "news" organization like that.

  3. The problem is there is a great deal of news our MSM doesn’t cover, such as what’s happening in the Congress. For one reason or another - it’s not entertaining enough (CNN becomes more idiotic every day) - they let a lot of important highly current stories to pass. And prefer to go into week long orgies such as the death of Michael Jackson.

    I suppose they think by “editorializing” their stories they make them more human, and therefore more appealing. It’s all Cyalis (sp?) and Viagra folks! You know, in Europe it is against the law for pharmaceuticals to hawk their wares. That has something to do with the public good, don’t ya know?

    But in the US the MSM is merely the stage on which the “American family saga” is presented. They want a warm and cuddly feeling where you know you won’t be disappointed.

    If you really want to see someone dance in order to please his corporate masters watch Chris Matthews. Well, he gets paid several millions a year, so I suppose it’s worth it. But at times he comes across as if he regrets his tongue isn’t wide enough to lap up the behind of some far-righter to prove how impartial he is. That, of course, has nothing to do with the truth, nor should it be confused with the truth. It’s all show biz folks.

    FOX is truly loony land. I look sometimes over there just to see what is going on. They may be the most entertaining of all the networks which may be why their ratings are so high. Heck, if you don’t need to conform to reality or any semblance of truth you can always allow your imagination to run wild. And that, we know, is a lot more entertaining than any dry truth or reality. It also conforms with today’s Conservative Gospel as related by Saint Sara Palin and the like. You think you were joking, Jazzo, with your seniors sitting on an ice flow cartoon? Watch FOX. That is what they come up with there.

    In Obama the far right sees its world slipping away. That’s why they hate him so. He’s “foreign,” perhaps not even a citizen. Some kind of Commie who wants to put all red blooded gun toting individualists into jail. (A bit of projection there?) He belongs, they think, with the illegal immigrants. They want to crush him.

    When this whole thing about Van Jones blew up CSPAN - which often does a magnificent job - ran an old video of Jones addressing some school kids. He was, to put it mildly, terrific. Displaying, with his humorous antics, a very subtle and deep intelligence. Of course, the far right, which will never be satisfied until they dominate everything, has to protect the honor of George W. Bush. Who would never lie, or raise any suspicions about his basic integrity and good intentions, would he? Not with such character references as Dick Cheney, William Rumsfeld, and Karl Rove.

    I admire and envy your good taste, Jazzo, if you don’t watch TV. I’m afraid I’m addicted..... Though I do find the Senate debates on CSPAN often fascinating. Too bad they can’t sell Viagra. Reality actually often enough hovers about those debates.

  4. I happened to see the CSpan Jones rerun, a talk before high schoolers deemed future national leaders. I thought it was terrific of that network to put the mess in context.

    We've had only an antenna on the roof for the past dozen years. No one misses it...and I can record extraordinary features at school. I just happened to be in a situation to watch the tube...and I must say the downfall of the culture over the past same number of years is nauseatingly reflected. Hope I ain't bein' too elite.

    This comment to my Fox as Scorpion Nest this morning from Guido Stempel, Professor Emeritus of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University:

    > As you probably recall, we did a survey with the Scripps Howard News
    >Service three years ago that found that 36% of national sample believed
    >the Bush administration either aided or did not take steps to stop 9/11.
    >So Jones has a lot of company.

  5. Just one lonely antenna up on the roof in the middle of nowhere. Sounds like Paradise. Yes, I suppose you can see the "downfall of the culture" by comparing random samples, like geologic slices from the side of a mountain. It ain't elite to say our culture has gone downhill. Not, at least, in my opinion. With an increasingly heightened electronic technology, longer commutes (it's hard to find affordable housing in desirable center cities now) and more time spent at work (etc., etc.) we as a culture are increasingly defined by our electronic media, which is nearly all corporate and profit motivated. This does not lead to either a high or an intense grass roots culture, with a powerful humanity and inventive creativity. it leads to cheapening, vulgarity, and the safe and shoddy.

    Yes, how can anyone disagree with the conclusion of your professor friend? A whole line up of expert witnesses testified before Congress several years ago, making the same point. How can anyone forget Richard Clark turning around during his own hearing to apologize to the 9/11 victims sitting behind him?

  6. 9/11 victimes in that they were the families of 9/11 victims. To be fair, though, Clarke also testified the Clinton White House wasn't as vigilant, though better than Bush's, as it could have been.

    There's an element of "gotcha" in all this too, I think. Starting with Nixon, major scandals have been common in Republican administrations. If the Demos, the Repubs reason, go after them, they themselves should go after the Dems too. Even if the charges are cooked up, exploited, or over enlarged. Would the sanctimonious Christain right have gone after Clinton with the same ferocity had there been no Iran/Contyra? No Watergate? Now Bush junior has pulled off, in term, some truly major scandals - torture, lying to the country about Iraq, cronyism, corruption, politicizing the Justice Department, etc. If someone in the Obama administration gets caught smoking in the stall of a Capital restroom they will go after him tooth and nail.

  7. Sorry for the bloopers.

  8. Oy vey! Oy vey!

  9. Yep, no doubt about it: Obama people like art. Leftist art always outstrips whatever it is those righties come up with. Think Crystal Cathedral and stuff like that. We even win elections with cool buttons and posters. That must prove we're nazi propagandists, brainwashing everybody. Never mind that righties love all that 3rd Reich architecture. Here's the LA Times profile of Yosi Sargent~~~

    Hmmm, now about that art on Wulfshead walls...

  10. it's suspect. Definitely suspect.