The mainstream media made no mention of the controversy surrounding Van Jones until AFTER he resigned. The usual suspects, who have shaped the news for years, — CBS, NBC, the Washington Post, and the New York Times — carried no news at all until the Jones affair was over.
Then they reported, briefly (trying to minimize the damage to Obama), that Jones had resigned as the result of a vicious right-wing smear campaign. That is a very biased way to characterize an exposé consisting entirely of video clips of the man’s own speeches. How do you smear someone by quoting his very words?
The bloggers, the radio and cable television talk shows, and the social networks were the only sources of information. Yet it was sufficient to inform the public, who raised an outcry that brought results.
It would seem that the mainstream media is no longer necessary. More than that, it is pretty obvious that they are not doing their jobs. So we will not feel sorry for them when they whine about declining subscription numbers.
Certainly there’s bias involved. Given what we know from the formal and informal polling of journalists at mainstream organizations, most of the people involved in political reporting are liberals, and likely Democrats. They want the Obama administration to succeed….
There was a day, not too long ago, when … influential news organizations could kill a story … simply by ignoring it. Sometimes they still try. But it just won’t work anymore.
With the resignation of green czar Van Jones despite their efforts to protect him, the mainstream media have finally been reduced to sputtering incoherence, as they’ve observed the un-deification of their anointed messiah and experienced firsthand their own diminishing relevance.
The MSM are engaging in a colossal temper tantrum over their lost news monopoly — a monopoly they forfeited through their bias, arrogance and self-imposed insulation….
This is an especially hard pill for them to swallow considering that during the past year, they’ve been stewing in the intoxicating delusion that they were again supreme, as they appeared to be getting away with their conspiratorial enthroning of King Barack Obama. And they’re not handling rejection well.
If you have time, read the rest of Limbaugh’s piece. He details the arrogant and self-serving remarks made by the media dinosaurs in the aftermath — a sorry lot they are and it is so heartwarming to see them squirm. It puts one in mind of that famous remark:
“You couldn’t have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances [in the mainstream media] and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.”
It is a stark contrast indeed. Just not the way that he meant it.
Early this morning, the White House announced the resignation of Obama’s “green jobs czar” Van Jones, a self-avowed communist.
Jones’ problems began when talk show host Glenn Beck (Fox News Channel, 5PM weekdays) began exposing his past activities and associations as Marxism. And Jones himself had provided ample material, in a plethora of written commentary and videotaped fiery speeches. He was, as pundits put it, the gift that keeps on giving.
Nevertheless, that history alone would probably not have been enough to derail his government participation. He is gone, not because of Glenn Beck’s exposé, but because of his own attitude and the way that he reacted.
Van Jones, like Barack and Michelle Obama, sees a starkly black and white world in which blacks have historically been disadvantaged by whites. His papers and speeches reek of bitterness. He thinks, not in terms of bringing present balance, but in terms of blacks now having the upper hand with Obama’s incumbency and getting even with whites by redistributing their wealth.
Even with his reverse racism so blatantly displayed, Jones might have survived. But instead of rising above Beck’s criticism like a statesman, and concentrating on doing his job well, he fought back with dirty Chicago-style politics. His advocacy organization, ColorOfChange, tried to force Glenn Beck off the air by persuading advertisers to pull their support from the Glenn Beck Program.
That was too much for the American public. They were expecting him to spend his time creating green jobs, not organizing a boycott. And so he is gone.
By last Thursday, it was pretty clear to everyone that Van Jones would have to go. The hot topic on Twitter was #FireVanJones. But in a clever political ploy, the White House released the news via email in the wee morning hours on Sunday on a holiday weekend. That sort of timing is standard operating procedure for damage control — to release the news on a weekend or holiday when nobody is reading the papers. Obama certainly got a break here, a weekend and a holiday!
What nomination process did this guy go through? He didn’t because “czars” are not confirmed by the US Senate. I guess that the Founding Fathers were right after all. This is why the Constitution calls on the president to get his appointments confirmed by the US Senate!
My question is the same: What is BO doing hanging around with people like Van Jones? According to news reports, Van Jones was one of those “headcases” promoting the idea that 9-11 was an internal job:
In the statement, Van Jones also apologized again for several inflammatory remarks he made prior to joining the Obama administration. It was his second apology in two days.
“In recent days some in the news media have reported on past statements I made before I joined the administration — some of which were made years ago. If I have offended anyone with statements I made in the past, I apologize. As for the petition [9/11 statement] that was circulated today, I do not agree with this statement and it certainly does not reflect my views now or ever.”
Whether he agrees with the views expressed, Jones was a signatory on a 2004 statement calling on then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and others to launch an investigation into evidence that suggests “people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.
Once again, Pres BO will have to take time from his busy schedule to explain a relationship with a radical. How many more times can BO say that he was not familiar or did not hear what these radical friends were saying for years?
P.S. Like always, there is no one like Charles Krauthammer:
Obama’s crew pressured advertisers to dump The Glenn Beck Program. Beck’s ratings soared, over three million viewers in non-prime-time by Wednesday. An appetite for truth has been rekindled in America. To put this in perspective, Beck left Anderson Cooper and Larry King in the dust, and they both air in prime time when the pool of TV viewers is much larger. (Big Beck)
The current flap began when Beck did a program exposing the communist affiliations of Van Jones, Obama’s “green jobs czar.” In 2005, Jones co-founded ColorOfChange, an African American political advocacy group. ColorOfChange sent a petition signed by some of their members to all of Beck’s advertisers, urging them to withdraw support from Beck’s cable television program.
According to news sources, some companies did pull their ads — Allergan (maker of Restasis), Ally Bank (a unit of GMAC Financial Services), Best Buy, Broadview Security (formerly Brinks), CVS, GEICO Insurance, Healthy Choice (a division of ConAgra Foods), the advertising service Lawyers.com (run by LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. and misspelled Nexus Lexis in news reports), Men’s Wearhouse, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance, RadioShack, Re-Bath, Roche, Sanofi-Aventis (Plavix), Sargento Foods, SC Johnson, State Farm Insurance, Travelocity, Wal-Mart.
In response, Beck’s viewers organized a boycott of those companies. Websites supporting Beck sprang up. Two really good ones are:
Defend Glenn, which got 850,000 page views during its first day online, and
Support Glenn Beck, which includes a pro-Glenn-Beck petition to advertisers and great contact information.
There is just one problem for those companies that bowed to the pressure to suppress free speech. ColorOfChange claims that they have over 600,000 members, and that 75,000 of those signed their petition in response to an email request sent to all the members. Beck has over three million viewers, most passionately loyal. On top of that, ColorOfChange draws membership from a demographic that is on average less affluent than Beck’s largely middle class viewership. So advertisers who withdraw are shooting themselves in the foot.
And cost them it has. In the first three days of the DefendGlenn movement:
9,000 GEICO accounts gone
297 Ally Bank accounts closed
7,200 boycotting CVS
14,700 boycotting Sargento
10,000 Travelocity accounts cancelled
And now it appears that claims made by ColorOfChange about the success of their effort to silence Glenn Beck were somewhat exaggerated (I’m being kind here). Several of the companies they claimed to have influenced did not advertise on the Beck program in the first place. It appears that the mainstream media just accepted the list of companies in the ColorOfChange press release and reported them without checking.
BOND Action, Inc., a national cultural action organization, has come out in support of FOX News Channel broadcaster Glenn Beck. Beck has been under attack from the radical left-wing group ColorOfChange.org after he said last month that he believes President Obama is “a racist.” ColorOfChange.org was founded by Van Jones; a self-described “rowdy black nationalist.” Jones now serves as White House environmental advisor (czar). So far advertisers including Geico, Ally Bank, and Sargento Cheese have been intimidated into pulling ads off The Glenn Beck Show. “BOND Action, Inc.,will be working to expose the source behind the boycott and counter it,” said Founder and President, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson.
“Glenn Beck is right, Obama is a racist!” added Rev. Peterson. “Where were the boycotts and outraged activists when President George W. Bush was being falsely maligned as a ‘racist’? This is a blatant double standard. This boycott is an attempt to silence Beck from continuing his expose’ of Barack Obama’s socialist agenda and his radical ‘green jobs czar’ Van Jones.”
ColorOfChange.org claims some 33 advertisers have pulled their ads off The Glenn Beck Show, but that number is reportedly exaggerated. ColorOfChange.org has a checkered past. The group reportedly endorsed outrageous statements by rapper Kanye West that former President Bush gave troops permission to go to New Orleans and shoot black people during Hurricane Katrina. Beck’s television program draws more than 2 million viewers and BOND Action, Inc., is calling on advertisers not to cave in to pressure.
Rev. Peterson said, “ColorOfChange.org claims that it exists to ‘strengthen Black America’s political voice’ — but it’s clear that they are a left-wing, racist political group that deal in lies. This attempt to silence Beck is an attack on free speech and must be countered.”
The U.S. government can legally take over your computer, and access every piece of data on it. This would include all your personal financial records, your family memorabilia, and any email correspondence to and from your friends. If you have an Internet phone service, such as Vonage, Skype, or Magic Jack, it would also include all your phone conversations. And once the government has tapped into your system, they can continue to track you forever.
There’s a trick to this. In order for this to be legal, you have to give your consent. But most of us are already conditioned to do this without being aware of it. When you buy software applications, like Turbotax or Photoshop, they come with a licensing agreement. As you are installing them on your computer, you come to a box filled with pages of legalese that includes all the restrictions on your use of the software. You have just spent big bucks for the app, and in order to use it you have to click the button that says “I agree.” Most folk do this without reading all the fine print.
And what is Big Brother’s ploy for luring you into this irreversible headlock? Here’s where it gets really interesting. It’s the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) program, aka “Cash For Clunkers.” If you log on to the website CARS-dot-gov the thought police will own you. The program was conceived by Obama’s new Green Jobs Czar Van Jones, who has a communist background:
Speaking to the East Bay Express, Jones said he first became radicalized in the wake of the 1992 Rodney King riots.
“I met all these young radical people of color — I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, ‘This is what I need to be a part of.’ I spent the next ten years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary. I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th. By August, I was a communist.”
Do you see a pattern here? Originally, there was a notice on the CARS website that read:
“When logged on to the CARS system, your computer is considered a Federal computer system and is the property of the U.S. Government. Any or all uses of this system and all files on this system may be intercepted, monitored, recorded, copied, audited, inspected and disclosed to authorized CARS, [Department of Transportation] and law enforcement personnel, as well as authorized officials of other agencies, both domestic and foreign.”
Fox News cable TV host Glenn Beck alerted the American public to this outrage, and the original notice was replaced. The Washington Timesreports:
When asked if similarly intrusive warnings were posted in the past, NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] spokesman Debbie Boykin told us: “I haven’t heard of that happening before at all.” It was only at the close of business yesterday that Sasha Johnson, press secretary for the Department of Transportation, informed us that the warning had been replaced with a note saying, “We are working to revise the language.” Despite repeated requests, no explanation was ever offered for why the original warning was used or why it was taken down.
We’re curious why civil rights advocates aren’t up in arms over this invasion of privacy. …. In this clunkers deal, the government was claiming access to files on private computers in return for being part of the $1 billion (and counting) program to get cash for trading in an old car for a voucher to buy a new one.
The American Civil Liberties Union showed no interest in investigating the invasion of privacy and would only comment to us that “it is hard to believe that [the Obama administration] would do something like this.” Big Brother can get away with a lot when the watch dogs aren’t watching what’s going on.
Here’s video from the aforementioned Glenn Beck program:
Bypassing the authority of Congress, Barack Obama rules through czars — the beginnings of dictatorship. (Most recent update — Sept. 9.)
[The spelling of the title is a literary allusion to The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton, circa 1653, a staple of English literature. The variant spelling "compleat" signifies "quintessential," the be all and end all, the last word.
This is an updated list. The original post is below the fold. Normally, we write about something and move on, but so many people have been using this list for reference that we feel an obligation to keep it current. We cannot do this as a new post without being unfair to the many fellow bloggers who have linked to the URL of this post. Also, we have a policy of never erasing something that we have posted, because it confuses readers who come back looking for something they remember reading, and we put courtesy to our readers ahead of everything. To accomodate these two constraints, we will keep a current list above the fold continually updated, and leave the original post unchanged below the fold.
The 8/06/09 update reflects the impending departure of the cybersecurity czar, Melissa Hathaway, adds the new "disinformation czar" and clarifies the media caused ambiguity between the "auto recovery czar" and the "car czar" -- see full discussion of this in update following the original post.]
Car czar, Ron Bloom [Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury , under Senate oversight]
UPDATE, 9/07/09: Obama announced his appointment of Ron Bloom as “senior counselor for manufacturing policy,” a move that will eliminate Senate oversight. This position has been dubbed “manufacturing czar” and so this listing moves to a different alphabetical location.
UPDATE, 9/08/09: My bad. Ron Bloom continues as car czar and takes the appointment as manufacturing czar. He will be double dipping.
Intelligence czar, Dennis Blair [Director of National Intelligence, a Senate confirmed position. He is a retired United States Navy four-star admiral]
Latin-American czar, Arturo Valenzuela (nominee) [although this post is referred to as a czar, he is nominatied to be Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and so is subject to Senate confirmation. Voting on his confirmation was delayed to clarify his position on Honduras. Watch WaPo's Head Count to track status of confirmation.]
Manufacturing czar, Ron Bloom, formerly a “car czar” under Senate oversight, now reporting directly to the President.
UPDATE from Labor Day.
Safe schools czar, Kevin Jennings [appointed to be Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, a newly created post (that does not require Senate confirmation); openly gay founder of an organization dedicated to promoting pro-homosexual clubs and curricula in public schools]
Radio-internet fairness czar
UPDATE, 7/29/09: Mark Lloyd was appointed FCC diversity czar.
Student loan czar, to oversee a program of mandatory service in return for college money (source)
Voter list czar
Obama has moved swiftly to concentrate power in the White House, bypassing the review of our elected representatives in Congress in most of the posts listed above. Even though cabinet positions are part of the executive branch, the cabinet secretaries must be approved by Congress, they are funded by Congress, and they can be called before Congress to testify. Most of these czars, on the other hand, are appointed by Obama at his sole discretion, and are answerable only to him. If subpoenaed by Congress, they can claim executive privilege.
On July 15, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) introduced H.R.3226, the Czar Accountability and Reform (CZAR) Act of 2009, with 34 co-sponsors. There is some comfort in knowing that there are still a few folk in the House of Representatives who are fighting for constitutional government.
This new list is alphabetized by the czar positions, to facilitate comparison with the excellent research on the duties of each office done by Terresa Monroe-Hamilton at Noisy Room. Below the fold is the earlier list sorted by the last names of the appointees.
Obama will rule the country through a group of czars. He is moving swiftly to concentrate power in the White House, bypassing the review of our elected representatives in Congress. Even though the cabinet positions are part of the executive branch, the cabinet secretaries must be approved by Congress, they are funded by Congress, and they can be called before Congress to testify. The czars, on the other hand, are appointed by Obama at his sole discretion, and are answerable only to him. If subpoenaed by Congress, they can claim executive privilege.
[Editor's note, 8/3/09: We have left this list intact as a courtesy to all those who have linked to it from other blogs and in forums. A current list, greatly expanded, is being maintained at a newer post -- The Compleat List of Czars. The spelling of the title is a literary allusion to The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton, circa 1653, a staple of English literature. The variant spelling "compleat" signifies "quintessential," the be all and end all, the last word.]
Some observers are beginning to worry. Back in February constitutional scholar Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) expressed concern:
Byrd Calls Obama’s Czars Dangerous
February 25, 2009
Robert Byrd, the longest serving senator in history, criticized President Obama’s appointment of numerous White House advisors, also called “czars,” saying the presence of the czars gives the president too much power.
These czars report directly to Mr. Obama and have the power to shape national policy on their subject area. So far, Mr. Obama has recruited czars on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Unlike Cabinet secretaries, they do not have to be approved by Congress.
In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Byrd, a Democrat, said that the czar system “can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances,” … Byrd added that oversight of federal agencies is the responsibility of officials approved by the Senate.
“As presidential assistants and advisers, these White House staffers are not accountable for their actions to the Congress, to cabinet officials, or to virtually anyone but the president,” Byrd wrote. “They rarely testify before congressional committees, and often shield the information and decision-making process behind the assertion of executive privilege. In too many instances, White House staff have been allowed to inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability.”
American citizens should take note — the words czar and kaiser come from the Latin root caesar — so we can know what to expect.
As President Obama names more policy czars to his White House team — high-level staff members who will help oversee the administration’s top initiatives — some lawmakers and Washington interest groups are raising concerns that he may be subverting the authority of Congress and concentrating too much power in the presidency….
It’s far too early to tell whether Obama’s quest for efficiency will lead to overstepping the bounds of presidential authority….
It has finally happened. With yesterday’s naming of Border Czar Alan Bersin, the Obama administration has by any reasonable reckoning passed the Romanov Dynasty in the production of czars. The Romanovs ruled Russia from 1613 with the ascension of Michael I through the abdication of Czar Nicholas II in 1917. During that time, they produced 18 czars. While it is harder to exactly count the number of Obama administration czars, with yesterday’s appointment it seems fair to say it is now certainly in excess of 18….
Personally, I think from a purely process standpoint all this czarism is a risky business that ends up producing bureaucratic bottlenecks, tensions and inefficiency when not managed extremely carefully. For now we will give them the benefit of the doubt that they will manage it well. Though please, please guys, stop now that you are ahead, now that you are officially the most prolific czarist dynasty in history.
President Barack Obama is taking far-reaching steps to centralize decision-making inside the White House, surrounding himself with influential counselors, overseas envoys and policy “czars” that shift power from traditional Cabinet posts.
Not even a week has passed since he was sworn in, but already Obama is moving to create perhaps the most powerful staff in modern history – a sort of West Wing on steroids that places no less than a half-dozen of his top initiatives into the hands of advisers outside the Cabinet….
Pulling power close is something all recent presidents have done – and on the campaign trail, Obama spoke out against George W. Bush’s attempt to expand his executive authority.
But when it comes to building his own team, Obama is taking the notion of a powerful White House staff to new heights, leaving little doubt who will set policy and guide the politics of the his newborn administration….
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