by Ben Barrack
Many have strongly believed – with Rush Limbaugh leading the charge for more than a year now – that Barack Obama has been intentionally destroying the U.S. economy. Now, thanks to Obama’s concession that allowing the current tax rates to expire would harm the middle class, coupled with the words of former Green Jobs czar and current fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP), Van Jones, Limbaugh’s accuracy record is about to gain another fraction of a percentage point.
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On November 30th, conservative blogger Adam Sharp went to Washington University in St. Louis to record video of Van Jones as he spoke there. Sharp persisted when campus police, event coordinators, and others attempted to prohibit him from recording the event by reminding them that it was billed as being open to the public. Ironically, the person who finally conceded to Sharp’s right to record was Jones himself.
That may have been a mistake on the part of Van “The Wizard” because it allowed Toto to pull back the proverbial curtain.
In one of the more shocking videos of late, Jones seemed to predict civil war in the United States because America will continue to become “less and less economically prosperous” while becoming “more and more ethnically diverse.” As he spoke of our nation becoming more ethnically diverse, his body language communicated that Americans would become more divided.
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After saying that increased diversity coupled with a bad economy is “not a recipe for common ground; that’s a recipe for a battleground,” Jones went on to say that “opponents” (presumably capitalists) would “attack” and “fear” diversity as economic conditions deteriorate. He cited “immigrants,” “Muslims,” and homosexuals as targets of those “opponents.” Was Jones laying the groundwork for the excitement of domestic insurrection once economic conditions deteriorate enough?
Barack Obama suffered what Limbaugh identified as his first legislative defeat when he agreed to a two-year extension of the current tax rates. Obama wanted to see earners of more than $250,000 a year return to a higher rate, identifying them as wealthy. That premise is faulty, because such a group includes small business owners whose gross income may put them in such a category but whose bottom line puts them in a much lower one. In short, the Obama plan, ultimately rejected by Republicans emboldened by the recent election results, would lead us closer to the “potential nightmare scenario” Van Jones spoke about because our nation would necessarily become less economically prosperous as a result.
While it’s true that Jones is no longer in the administration, his fellowship with the Center for American Progress allows him to be part of a group that advises the White House on policy. To say that the views of Jones do not reflect those of the Obama administration is ridiculous. CAP is perhaps the most influential think tank in Obama’s Washington. Shortly after Obama’s election in 2008, TIME Magazine called CAP his “Idea Factory;” in 2009, The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent wrote on his Plum Line blog that the CAP had launched a “War Room” to drive the Obama agenda; last summer, the Wall Street Journal reported that the CAP appeared to “have more influence on spill policy than the president’s in-house advisers” during the BP oil spill.
Does that increased influence translate to Jones having more influence on this administration than he did before he resigned in disgrace after Glenn Beck unmasked him in 2009? In fact, to average Americans, Jones was so disgraced that the White House’s refusal to fire him rather than allow him to resign said perhaps as much about the administration as it did about Jones.
As both Jones’ boss and the head of an organization that retains him, does Podesta agree with the former Green Jobs czar? Does Podesta endorse the views Jones expressed at Washington University on November 30th? If he does, is he advising the Obama administration on policies that would help Jones’ “nightmare scenario” come to fruition? If Limbaugh is right about Obama intentionally destroying the economy, can we surmise that the president is doing so at the behest of the Center for American Progress based on the views expressed by one of its leaders in Jones?
Lastly, if the answer to all of those questions is yes, I have one more.
Is exciting domestic insurrection an impeachable offense?
Ben Barrack is a talk show host on KTEM 1400 in Texas and maintains a website at www.benbarrack.com