Gone from the White House
Who is Van Jones?
Van Jones is a human rights activist, Yale Law school graduate and founder of the Ella Baker Center and Green for All, both Oakland based organizations. Jones’s early morning resignation as Special Advisor to the President on Green Jobs and the Environment on September 6 led the Sunday morning political talk show circuit.
He started his human rights work in San Francisco with an internship at the Lawyer Committee for Civil Rights. Jones graduated from Yale Law School in 1993 then came back to the Bay Area and created the Bay Area Police Watch, a referral service for victims of police misconduct. Leslie Fulbright, a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote in 2008, “Jones quickly earned a reputation for his brash remarks and aggressiveness in fighting against racial bias, high incarceration rates and police brutality.
In 1996 Jones opened the Ella Baker Center and then relocated the police watch center to that location. He was actively involved in defeating Proposition 21 in the 2000 campaign, the law that made it easier to try minors as adults. He also started Books Not Bars, a campaign that promoted education and jobs over jails,” Fulbright said in her article.
Jones was catapulted to the national stage in 2008 with the release of his book, “The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems.” His book was placed on the New York Times best seller’s list. The book included a forward by the late Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who wrote;
“The United States has far greater domestic energy resources than Iceland or Sweden.”
“We sit atop the second largest fund of geothermal resources in the world…”
“We need to create open national markets where individuals who devise new ways to produce or conserve power can quickly profit from their innovations.
“The Green Collar Economy is a step forward.”
On August 24, the internet news search engine Show Tracker reported, “Weeks prior to Jones’ resignation the Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck, in an appearance on the morning show Fox & Friends, accused President Obama of having “a deep seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”
Show Tracker also reported, “Beck used his popular Fox News show to attack the background of Van Jones, who co-founded an African American political advocacy group, Color of Change, in 2005. Color of Change organized an advertising boycott of Beck’s news program after statements he made about Obama.”
Beck’s latest assault on Jones came as Color of Change announced that they had 36 companies, including Sprint and Wal-Mart, that promised not to advertise on Beck’s popular news talk program. A Fox News spokesperson said, “The advertisers referred to have all relocated their spots from Beck to other programs on the network, so there has been no revenue lost.”
Show Tracker continued to report that during Beck’s 2 p.m. (PDT) news show he never mentioned the statement which he made last month on his own show that “he believes President Obama is a racist.” Instead he spent a large share of his program suggesting that “Jones, who co-founded Color of Change, is a radical…”
James Rucker, executive director of Color of Change, said, “Glenn Beck is trying to change the subject.” Rucker noted that Jones had not been actively involved in the group in almost two years. “The issue is baseless fear mongering.”
Jones stated in a quote on Ryan Grim on HuffPost.com Reporting: “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.”
On July 28, Beck called the activist a “self professed communist” and questioned the role he was playing in Obama’s administration, reported Show Tracker.
Grim stated, “Jones has never denied his past affiliation with the radical left.” Grim disclosed that, “In the 90s, Jones was involved with the group Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), which sympathized with the Maoist-inspired peasant movements across the globe and was organized to protest police brutality.” Grim went on to say, “Jones, however, left radical politics and made the decision to work within the system, rather than try to overthrow it.”
“During a six-minute biographical profile set to ominous music, Beck said, “Jones was twice arrested for political protests and has described himself as a ‘rowdy black nationalist,’” reports Show Tracker.
Beck cast the piece as part of a broader examination of the President’s ‘czars,’ special advisors to Obama who ‘don’t answer to anybody.’” Beck asked, “Why is it that such a committed revolutionary has made it so high into the Obama administration as one of his chief advisors?”
“However, Jones wasn’t just some crazy who insinuated himself with the Obama crowd under false pretenses,” reported The Wall Street Journal’s.com/Opinion Journal. “He has been a leading young light of the left wing political movement for many years and was praised across the liberal establishment.”
Ariana Huffington of HuffPost.com stated, “Thank you Glenn Beck. By helping force the resignation of Van Jones, you have done a great service to your country. But in the exact opposite way than what you intended… And the editors of Time who named him one the 100 most influential people in the world and one of the nation’s ‘Heroes of the Environment…”
Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, thanked Jones for his valuable contributions to the Council. Sutley went on to say, “Over the last six months he has been a strong voice for creating 21st century jobs that improve energy efficiency and utilize renewable resources. We appreciate his hard work and wish him the best moving forward.”
Political Hotsheet said, “Jones turned into a political liability for President Obama after statements he made prior to joining the White House came to light. He apologized for a six-year-old petition he signed.”
Grim reported online that, Jones had signed a “Truther” petition back in 2004. Truther insist that there are unanswered questions about what U.S. officials knew about Sept. 11 terrorist attacks before they occurred and want further investigations.”
Huffington said, “I despise 9/11 Truther conspiracies. I’ve spoken to Van. He doesn’t believe that the Bush Administration orchestrated the 9/11 attacks or allowed the attacks to happen in a cold-hearted attempt to gin up support.”
“For Beck, however, Jones’ past statements were evidence that Obama is secretly marshalling a cadre of lieutenants pushing an agenda that is radical, revolutionary and in some cases Marxist,” Grim stated
Jones said in a letter posted on-line on HuffPost.com, “The main thing is to support both President Obama and the Green Jobs movement. Spread the Green Jobs gospel. The ideas and ideals of the Green Jobs movement are grounded in fundamental American values, innovation, entrepreneurship, and equal opportunity.” Of course, some supporters actually think I will be more effective on the ‘outside.’ Those ideas remind me of Winston Churchill. After losing a hard fought election, a friend told him: ‘Winston, this really is a blessing in disguise.’ Churchill replied: ‘Damned good disguise.’ I certainly can relate to that.”