As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, September 04, 2009

Truthers, Birthers, And Their Proper Side Of The Fence

I've seen Van Jones speak and had the opportunity to talk to him at the DNC last year. I'm going to rerun a bit of that discussion and have you tell me if these are the words of a Communist:

On green jobs, which is Jones' real focus area, he stressed that we need to move the environmental conversation from a cultural one to a political one. The green-collar economy "can be a place for people to earn money, not spend money. We need collective action for green citizenship, to create the jobs of the future in a Green New Deal. As long as carbon is free we're never going to move forward." He was pleased by the recent efforts by municipalities and states (green jobs bills have been passed in Massachusetts and Washington state, and the US Conference of Mayors is on board as well), but recognizes that the federal government must be involved as well. "This is about laws, not gizmos. Technology cannot be the savior. This has to be a bottom-up, inside-outside AND a top-down strategy. If the Feds are MIA, human life will be MIA in the future."

We talked about the offshore drilling debate, where Jones clearly stated that the Republicans won the day by lying to the American people. He had three major points:

• There is no such thing as American oil. There is oil drilled by multinationals that is sent overseas to China and India. American offshore driling will do nothing to solve any American oil problems.

• We banned drilling in offshore areas not to save birds and fish, but because of coastal families and coastal communities, because kids were walking into the water and coming out with oil on them, because property values were plunging. Democrats should not be willing to throw away America's beauty for a 2-cent solution in 10 years.

• We've seen the new phenomenon of the "dirty greens," who want to have an "all of the above strategy" on energy, with solar and wind, but also clean coal and drilling offshore and shale and all these dirty polluters. "All of the above" is not a strategy. It's not a wise choice, but a stupid swipe at a persistent problem.

That sounds like pretty mainstream liberal conceptions on energy and the environment. Jones was an activist who went into the government because he saw the need for a federal strategy to deal with green jobs.

But because he was previously involved with Color of Change, who has engineered a successful boycott of Glenn Beck, the Foc News crew has wanted to collect Jones' scalp. So they point to comments and replay them over and over. Not really anything he did, but things he said (ooh, he called Republicans assholes! What delicate sensibilities these chaps have), things he's signed. Although, I have to agree, this was certainly a mistake.

President Obama’s “green jobs czar” Van Jones has been targeted again and again by conservatives for his controversial views and now they’ll have another item to use as fodder.

Mr. Jones signed a statement for in 2004 demanding an investigation into what the Bush Administration may have done that “deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.”

Jones has thus far apologized for prior statements and said he didn't agree "now or ever" with the 911 Truth letter. But if he has to leave his job at the White House, that will be the reason. And he absolutely made a mistake

But it brings up something interesting. There are now around a dozen Republican members of Congress who have co-sponsored legislation, essentially asking the President to reveal his birth certificate. The Birther phenomenon is at least as crazy and irresponsible as the Truther phenomenon. Why would it be OK to have 12 members of Congress who are conspiracy theorists, and not one in the White House? Now, the members of Congress would tell you they're not conspiracy theorists. So would Van Jones.

The range of debate that's acceptable and unacceptable keeps changing, somebody send me a scorecard.

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