CNN Monday at 8:30am ET: Talking About Van Jones & Progressives' Relationship w/Obama White House

by: David Sirota

Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 20:30

Just a quick note to let you know I am scheduled to be on CNN at 8:30am ET on Monday morning talking about my OpenLeft post from earlier today - specifically, about Van Jones and progressives' relationship with the Obama White House. Tune in if you are as pissed off as I am about what's been going on.

I'll preview my appearance by leaving you with two thoughts:

1. Teddy Roosevelt said: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Those who think otherwise are the definition of sycophants.

2. If you can't acknowledge that the right specifically targeted Van Jones, in part, because he was black and fit their racist narrative, then you need to think long and hard about your own views - and ignorance - on race.

See you tomorrow morning.

David Sirota :: CNN Monday at 8:30am ET: Talking About Van Jones & Progressives' Relationship w/Obama White House

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Who is the host? ... (4.00 / 4)
I hope you let them have it .. I really do

John Roberts, I believe (4.00 / 2)
And if so, he's pretty fair.

[ Parent ]
Just watch out for those predictable traps (4.00 / 4)
and faulty premises, that are intended to get you to defend things you shouldn't have to defend, or become combative and defensive and lose points on style. They've got these things down to a science, and appear to enjoy it.

Good luck!

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
My guess (4.00 / 1)
is that you will wind up having to explain why a 9/11 truther is different from a birther.

Not that I see much difference.

[ Parent ]
The difference is this: (0.00 / 0)
The "birthers" are liars, or insane enough to believe the lies told them.  Either way, they spew a lie that is demonstrably false.  There is no credible evidence to suggest that Obama is anything but a natural-born American citizen.

Those who disbelieve the official story of what led to 9/11/2001 are, even if many of them be misguided in their thinking, trying to find the truth of what really happened.  I don't buy into the hypotheses floating about regarding planted explosives or other active participations by the Bush-Cheney regime, but there is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that it was deliberately negligent.  Now, given those animals' criminal negligence in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, it isn't so far fetched to think that they had no problem letting an attack happen.  Their motivations we can only speculate on, but the pattern of criminal negligence is there and we have seen evidence of it in other preventable disasters.

[ Parent ]
Why? u r feeding the media frenzy. (0.00 / 0)

Because someone (4.00 / 11)
has to stick up for Jones? Seriously, why is solidarity such a hard concept for some people?

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Just saw the interview....he did a BAD job (0.00 / 0)
he said he went on there to defend Van Jones BUT what normally happens with left wing pundits HE ENDED UP ATTACKING OBAMA and competely giving CREDIT to the rightwing FOX NEWS and GLENN BECK for successfully getting rid of Van Jones there by encouraging more attacks from the right.  GOOD JOB....NOT

[ Parent ]
That's exactly what happened, you friggin' fool (4.00 / 4)
That's exactly what happened - the Obama administration gave into a right-wing lynch mob. And if you are expecting me to go on and defend the administration for doing that, then you are at the wrong website - and are reading the wrong writer.

[ Parent ]
"you friggin' fool" ? (4.00 / 2)
... maybe you should have deleted that before you hit (post). It's OK to apologize for that ;-)

By the way, I read your terrific column in the HuffPost about Van Jones. Nice job of defending him and pointing out the hypocrisies of cutting him loose. Jones is truly an inspiring person and the type of guy we really do need in government.

Jones will land on his feet. The same can't be said for the Obama administration and the mainstream media.

Losing Van Jones is our loss too -- a loss for progressives.

[ Parent ]
I haven't seen it, (4.00 / 3)
but color me skeptical.

Obama chose to embolden the crazies by giving them what they want, Jone's scalp is only the latest of their trophies to date. Why are you blaming Sirota?

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
I think you need to chance your tag to: (0.00 / 0)
"If you liked Bush, you'll love Obama."

[ Parent ]
Then you would do well to not read (4.00 / 3)
this POS rec'd DKos diary that basically asserts that there's this large number of Obama haters on the left who claim that he's exactly like Bush and want to destroy him, without citing or linking to the allegedly many comments and diaries that have been posted to this effect (despite my repeated demands for such evidence), and ignoring the fact that the overwhelming majority of Obama critics on the left have been substantive and more or less respectful, and in no way saying that he's Bush (plus, to the extent that he HAS been just like Bush on some issues, like torture investigations and civil liberties, I don't see why such comparisons are "anti-Obama" if they're true--are we to STFU just because he's "our" guy?).

Basically, the diary is a McCarthyite attempt to demonize legitimate (i.e. the vast majority of) Obama critics on the left, with a predictable "Oh, I agree that SOME criticism is ok" thrown in to make it seem fair and balanced, and "Oh look at all the good things he's done" to prove what an awesome president he's been (as opposed to, at best, a mixed bag so far). It's got around 1000 comments at this point. It's quite a piece of work, and I don't know if the diarist is sincere or not (some Obama supporters, i.e. the bots, really do believe such crap), but the thesis is insulting and dishonest and quite creepy. Which goes to your first point above.

I can only hope that these people simply don't know any better, so desperate they are for a savior, and so frightened they are of finding out that it's just not that simple, and not that they truly do believe that "half a loaf" (at best) will do--or is more or less a full loaf.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

They know better. (0.00 / 0)
Believe me, they know better.  This is what happens when a political movement becomes subservient to a single political party or politician.  It's exactly the sort of fascist behavior displayed by the McCarthyites, the Reaganites, and the Bushites.  It's also the fanatical mindset displayed by the Palinites and other right-wing crazies.

The scum who defend Obama and his inner circle beyond all reason hate genuine progressives because we represent something they either sold out, or never were to begin with.  We're the real thing, and they're frauds, and as long as we're around they can't fool everyone - including themselves - all the time as they would like to.

[ Parent ]
There are large numbers of PAID RIGHT WING TROLLS (0.00 / 0)
Who are POSING as LIBERALS on these sites. Don't trust everything you read.  I am a former Obama supporter who now writes anti-Obama blogs, because I am EXTREMELY ANGRY with him for being a WIMP!!!!!!!

[ Parent ]
I have long suspected this (4.00 / 2)
Not just RW plants, though, but from any source that had a vested (or perceived) interest in defeating genuine progressive reform, be it industry, Blue Dogs, radical libertarians, DLC hacks, or the GOP. The "arguments" that they engage in just don't "feel" right. Thing is, it's nearly impossible to prove it, especially in specific cases, so one is left to either ignore them, or engage them at face value. The former leaves the field to them to do with as they please, which makes the latter necessary. But the latter ends up being a huge and frustrating waste of time and energy, leaving one drained and angry. Either way, they achieve their goal of dividing and confusing the left, and redirecting its energy towards unproductive efforts.

My biggest gripe about DKos (which thankfully is not a problem here due to a more active member and owner engagement in site moderation) is how they have free reign over there, and neither the members nor management seem to want to do much about it. I often find myself waging these battles with these trolls alone, perhaps helped by a handful of "allies", and it just feels futile. Their comments are vapid, but there are so many of them, and they often win through sheer numbers. They've driven a number of former active members away from the site, and they appear to be determined to do that with others, or at least make it impossible to form a united front for genuine progressive reform there.

Note that I'm neither pro nor anti-Obama. He himself means nothing to me, except as he helps advance, or hold back, genuine progressive reform. I neither hate nor love him. He's just a politician, a single person holding a very important job, and I don't need to be inspired by him, nor am I trying to tear him down. I'm just trying to get him to do what he said he'd do as a candidate, and why we helped elect him. He is a vehicle for reform, not an idol or god.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
Another thing: (0.00 / 0)
Notice how in virtually each and every instance of a supposed break with Bush policy that the writer listed, it turns out to be a lie - by Obama and his inner circle.  The "desire" to repeal DADT was quickly reversed as Obama refused to do so; the alleged opposition to DOMA was expressed by a defense of that horrible legislation in which Obama's DoJ effectively called gay people pedophiles; The so-called "withdrawal" from Iraq turns out, like so much else Obama has done, to be a shell game - giving the most superficial appearance of reform while doing absolutely nothing in reality but continue what was going on before.

[ Parent ]
My suggestion (4.00 / 3)
If I may, I would suggest dropping the possibility that, by rolling over Obama may develop a "wimp factor" -- please use that phrase -- perception, a la Bush pere.

This is a WH that seems mired in the early 90s.  If so, scare them with something they care about (becoming a one-and-done President like G.H.W.B.), rather than something they either don't fear or invite (ruffling the feathers of the liberal wing of the party).

First Jeremiah Wright, (4.00 / 1)
now Van Jones. It's getting to be a habit.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Chas Freeman was also cut loose. (4.00 / 2)
AIPAC and Glen Beck each have one scalp, if you're keeping score at home.

[ Parent ]
to be fair (0.00 / 0)
Wright went nutso at that Press Club thing. He has to be cut loose. The guy turned into a clown. And I was ready to defend him after his Bill Moyers interview.

Van Jones is similar to Samantha Powers, another good progressive who got in trouble for saying the wrong thing and was cut loose. Rahm has said worse things but his job is secure. Jones is low-profile enough to where the bus can run over him without too much of a disturbance.

[ Parent ]
Not fair at all. (0.00 / 0)
I saw the video of his appearance.  He wasn't nuts at all.  You obviously weren't watching the same event I was.

[ Parent ]
Wright was as "nuts" as MLK, Jr -- (4.00 / 2)
"...I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government."

MLK Jr, 4 April 1967, when that government had the "great liberal" LBJ in the WH, surrounded by "great liberal" JFK's best and brightest, with D majorities in both houses of Congress.

In partial context (the whole speech is brilliant, and worth re-reading regularly):

"My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years -- especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent."

[ Parent ]
Jones should go on the Alex Jones show (0.00 / 0)
and split his viewers from Beck.

I'll set the alarm... (0.00 / 0)
so that I can call in with a softball question, but I have only gotten a busy signal in the past. I think the right-wingers block all the lines.

The attacks on ACORN are proof of what you're talking about (4.00 / 7)
 Jeebus! Who would attack ACORN, an organization that helps the poor and disenfrancised and that most had not heard of until the wingnuts started demonizing them? I wish ACORN had the power that Beck claims they do.  

TR quote (4.00 / 2)
It saddens me that a quote I once used to defend criticism of Bush must now be used to defend criticism of Obama.

It blows my frickin mind. Are we living in Bizarro world?

Bizarro? Not at all. (4.00 / 2)
Despite his racist-imperialist tendencies (his support for the Spanish-American War and brutal suppression of the insurgency in the Philippines), TR was a true progressive on economic matters -- not a phony "business progressive" like Hoover, or worse, like the hardcore neoliberals at the DLC's "Progressive (gag) Policy Institute."

TR (the progressive) was opposed to Wilson (the liberal) and his proto-neocon foreign policy, particulary on the war and police state which (inevitably) accompanied it. That was the context of the quote.

On the extensions of the PATRIOT Act, FISA, and other CheneyBush police-state goodies that Obama supports and has  extended; on the neocon nation-building fantasy in Iraq and Afghanistan and the escalation in AfPak; on most of the anti-progressive, neoliberal, DLC-favored bullshit that spews out of the Obama WH; a progressive like TR would surely stand in opposition.

[ Parent ]
Bizarro World (0.00 / 0)
My comment had nothing to do with TR other than him being the source of the quote.

I'm merely perturbed by people putting Obama beyond reproach similar to the way the GOP did with Bush.

"If you don't support the President, you're not a true 'merican."

[ Parent ]
"must now be used" is just BS (0.00 / 0)
There are 19 comments on the previous diary and 21 here and while some disagree with David and some say he is wrong, not one says he can't criticize.  

Really, get a grip.  

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

[ Parent ]
On which planet do you spend most of your time? (0.00 / 0)
The universe exists beyond this blog, and I was certainly speaking in the general sense of the political discourse in this country. When I have seen fit to criticize this President on his personnel choices (Cabinet, staff, etc), abrogated campaign promises (DADT, et al), or bad politics (pulling Sebelius and Napolitano out of their states) I am very often castigated for doing so.

I don't do it on blogs, for I have no desire to get into a flame war, but on my own Facebook, in person, what have you.

I certainly feel more comfortable expressing my displeasure now, rather than when I did in January, when Obama was God's anointed. It seems as if his aura of infallibility has been punctured.

All that said, I really, very and truly want him to succeed. If he only stopped being as timid as most of the Democratic Party has become in the last few decades, he might actually come close to being the epic game-changing ideal he aspires to become, rather than the epic fail of a wasted one-term Presidency and Democratic majority we are currently in danger of becoming.

[ Parent ]
There's the matter of Glenn Beck's livelihood (4.00 / 4)
ColorOfChange, Van Jones' old organization, was kicking Beck's butt, driving away advertisers by the dozens.  But Beck still has a job, and Jones doesn't.

Now, maybe we can turn this around by insisting that the Jones standard be universal.  Apparently he's out because he called Republicans bad names and signed a truther petition.  Fine, then Republicans lose their jobs if they call Democrats bad names and sign a birther or a deather statement.

I f they use the truther petition to question Jones' judgment... (4.00 / 2)
Compare it to the judgment of Geithner on tax and appearance of impropriety issues, or -- MUCH more importantly -- Geithner's (and Summers', Bernanke's, Wolf's, and the rest of the host of neoliberal deregulators Obama selected) judgment on economic matters.

Or you can compare it to the judgment of sitting Senators and Cabinet appointees and the VP in their support for the demise of Glass-Steagall -- the vote was 90-8, with only 7 Dems opposed.

Here we go again (0.00 / 0)
with the "You can't criticize the President" sillyness. So If I defend the President I am a sycophant by the black and white syllogism you try and set up.

In alternating posts you talk about the lack of civility in debate, and subsequently explain how if I disagree with you I am either a racist or a sycophant.

Here is the fundemental question about this affair: Did the White House know that Jones had signed that petition.  If they didn't then my guess is the White is furious, and they have a right to be furious.  If they did know and cut him loose, then the White House has acted like swine.

The facts actually matter here: but I doubt that will matter to either side in this discussion.

A sign of narcissistic personality disorder (0.00 / 0)
Let me suggest you may have a case of narcissistic personality disorder. I say that because you seem to be taking everything I write personally - as if it is directed individually at you. That may suggest you have a narcissistic problem...or, perhaps, that what I'm writing rings so true in your own heart, but you are ashamed to admit it.

Either way - do yourself a favor and A) realize that when I write, I am writing for a big audience, and not just writing for or about you, fladem and B) try to argue back on the merits/substance of what I've written. Otherwise, again, you end up looking like you are afflicted with a bad case of narcissistic personality disorder.

[ Parent ]
I find you completely on target!

[ Parent ]
Read this first (4.00 / 3)

If even LGF is saying that this Truther stuff is all b.s., then you'd better believe it was b.s.

Van Jones was swiftboated, plain and simple. I didn't even know about this controversy until today, it's been a Fox News thing with very little leakage into the mainstream. Van Jones could have held on and the media would have moved onto other things.

[ Parent ]
I doubt the White House people didn't know about Jones. (0.00 / 0)
I mean, really, why wouldn't the bozos have known about his past activities, which in the greater scheme of things is minor and not at all extreme?

[ Parent ]
I love how the blogsphere (0.00 / 0)
automatically assumed Jones was fired.

He was not.

Axlerod made a point to say he was not...and it would be politically more safe to stand up and say he was.  

Is this a joke? (4.00 / 10)
Nobody cares whether Jones was "fired" or not.  Everyone serves at the pleasure of the President.  If Obama wanted Van Jones to remain, he would still be there.  It is irrelevant whether Jones was asked to go or volunteered to depart without opposition.

I hope the Obama administration was not naive enough to believe that if Jones voluntarily stepped down that it would be perceived as anything other than further evidence of Obama's refusal to fight.

[ Parent ]
And his complete lack of SPINE! (4.00 / 2)
And therefore continued loss of his base!!!!!!

[ Parent ]
David! (4.00 / 3)
I'm glad you are back on TV... You're voice has been sorely missed!  Thanks for returning to the fight!  I am very grateful to you!

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

David (0.00 / 0)
That's 6:30AM Denver time on a holiday. I'll try to make it but I might be asleep.

I only wish I had heard about this earlier than 1:15 PM Sunday afternoon. (0.00 / 0)
It seems that I receive these newsletters later than others.

[ Parent ]
Jones was swiftboated (4.00 / 2)
The whole 9/11-Truther thing he signed was misleading. I think Noam Chomsky also signed it, and denied that he was signing something to investigate Bush for knowing about the attacks beforehand.

The Truthers are nuts and its not a stretch to believe they lied about their little petition. And as far as calling Republicans assholes, Van Jones was just speaking the truth.

I'm still wondering why GOP crooks can retain their posts (Gonzales, Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld) but Dems always give up and resign, making themselves look guilty. It's shameful and weak.

How do you lie about a petition? (4.00 / 1)
Play peek-a-boo with the petition's statement of purpose?

As for truthers being "nuts", don't get me started about all the different scientific and political efforts that have been made to get at the truth, and how the US government basically doesn't cooperate, at all. The US government is manifestly incapable of investigating even in-your-face crimes like the Bushies' Iraq war mongering. The idea that you are going to rely on the US government to tell the full truth about it's 911-related 'incompetence' (or whatever) is laughable.

From wikipedia page on the 911 Commission:

In addition, commissioners believed that key agencies of the U.S. government, including The Pentagon, the FAA and NORAD were deliberately deceiving them,[12] and that the CIA was deliberately impeding the work of the commission.[13] On the whole, the chairmen of the commission believed the commission was set up to fail.[14].

Just gives you a warm fuzzy feeling all over, doesn't it? Methinks Thomas Kean should have just followed Max Cleland's example:

Former 9/11 Commissioner Max Cleland resigned from the Commission, stating: "It is a national scandal"; "This investigation is now compromised"; and "One of these days we will have to get the full story because the 9-11 issue is so important to America. But this White House wants to cover it up".

435 Dem Primaries 2012
Coffee Party Usa

[ Parent ]
More "nuts," in addition to Cleland, DLCer and current Cabinet official -- (0.00 / 0)
-- "nuts" as in, on record as not believing what the gov't was saying:

Thomas Kean, Lee Hamilton, Tim Roemer, John Farmer, John Lehman, Peter Rundlet, Bob Woodward...all fringers, I suppose; unSerious, marginal "truthers," wackjobs.

[ Parent ]
Someone help me out here... (4.00 / 4)
The Bush/Cheney Administration lies the country into a disastrous war, violates the law of the land by eavesdropping on citizens on a vast scale, and tortures terrorist suspects in flagrant violation of international treaties and the law of the land.

But we are all supposed to put this behind us in the name of post-partisanship and coming together as a nation.

Van Jones signs a truther petition in the heat of anti-Bush anti-war sentiment.  Admittedly a stupid act for anyone with political ambition, but he later repudiates it and claims he didn't know what he was signing (weak, but at least he's trying to wriggle out).

For this, Jones must be fired, and the nation loses his leadership and vision for a post-carbon economy.

Is this a great country, or what?

I agree with you 100%. (0.00 / 0)
No coming together.  We must start a new party, if Obama doesn't come throught!

[ Parent ]
David Sirota (0.00 / 0)
David...David...DAVID!  My god man, your positions would be much more effective if you took yourself, not your opinion but the me, me, me aspect, out of the equation.  I agree with most of your premises, however, it's hard to take you for more than a 'progressive liberal' version of Glenn Beck.  It's all about you, which obscures the sometimes-valid points you are attempting to make.

Exhibit A.  I just listened to the radio interview with Mike Brown and your incessant use of calling the man Brownie was appalling.  It was not humorous just juvenile.  The man gave you the benefit of the doubt by sitting in on your show and you pesteringly called him Brownie.

Exhibit B.  This article.  You labeled someone who disagreed with you a 'friggin fool'.  Again, juvenile.  He may be, but use your intellect and choose another phrase or choice of words.

As I said above, I agree with most of what you are trying to say, however, it's hard when you come off as a progressive liberal version of Glenn Beck.

I don't say these things for you to respond with an attack on me for pointing this out.  I only say it as an objective liberal who would rather agree with someone who can make his point without coming off as the same as those whom he opposes just on the other side of the political spectrum.  It's called hypocrisy.

Yes, the sins of Glenn Beck are (4.00 / 1)
inappropriate use of nicknames and occasional pestering and / or juvenile behavior.  (And here I thought it was paranoia, incitement to violence, ridiculous accusations racism....)

That is not objective, it's false equivalency.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

[ Parent ]
Many's the time I have heard (4.00 / 1)
David Sirota making racist jokes, and calling for assassinations . . . oh wait, what?

If you can't tell the difference between David Sirota and Glenn Beck then you really need to get out of that gated community once in a while. Or at least turn on your tv, maybe look out the window?

In the real world people sometimes use bad words.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]

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