If you think the reason for Van Jones' departure from the White House is attributable to his use of the 'A' word and a five-year-old petition that (quite sensibly) demanded an investigation into the astonishing failure of the U.S. government on 9/11, you are only partially correct.
To gain a deeper understanding of the real reasons behind the departure of the 'Green Jobs Czar' (a term which I regret coining to this day!) you have to watch a little of the Glenn Beck show, with special guest Phil Kerpen of the "grass roots" organization called 'Americans for Prosperity,' published here by Crooks & Liars:
Yes, that is a watermelon. A symbol carefully (one might say masterfully) transposed to hide its original and true meaning as an unspoken racial slur.
Now I'm not saying Glenn Beck is a racist *ahem* but I am saying that we are dealing with a man and an institution that has a profound understanding of American symbology. If you want to learn more about this, I encourage you to take a look at the must-read piece by Adele Stan on Alternet that deciphers the sophisticated use of symbols related to the Confederacy, now widely used by both Beck and the White Supremacist movement.
Here the watermelon symbol succeeds in triggering not one but two of the radical right's greatest fears -- racial equality and socialism. In the eyes of Glenn Beck and Phil Kerpen and the millions of adoring (and largely aging) fans who watch them every night, Green is the new Red.
And no figure in U.S. politics today represents this terrifying double-threat better than Van Jones.
Now let's talk for a second about Phil Kerpen and the pseudo-grassroots organization called Americans for Prosperity (AFP), an organization which, as Rachel Maddow has exposed, is nothing more than a PR front for corporate interests like Koch Industries, the $90 billion oil and gas conglomerate that funds AFP.
AFP is one of the most successful of the "astroturf" organizations, best known for its disruption of town hall meetings across America. But you might be surprised to find out that health care reform is NOT AFP's #1 target. At the top of its hit list is climate change regulation.
In his column on Fox News "How Van Jones Happened and What We Need to Do Next" Kerpen openly takes credit for the Van Jones downfall, detailing a campaign to demonize the man and a movement which seeks to put the nation's poor at the center of what could be largest economic boom in the U.S. history -- renewable energy.
God forbid ... bring a tidal wave of jobs to the urban core while supplanting the domination of the fossil fuel industry? Solar panels, a secure source of unlimited energy, a booming new middle class, urban revitalization ... what a nigthmare!
You can see why there might be plenty of money available to take down a figure who so boldly and coherently lays out a path for REAL economic prosperity (i.e. the kind that benefits the people, not just the corporations).
So here we are. Beck and AFP did win a battle, but I think we will find that the force known as Van Jones is not going anywhere. Now that he's a household name with a book likely to land back on the best seller list, Jones' message and vision will get louder and go farther as he takes his White House cred into the private sector.
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