Accuracy in Media

When he left the Obama Administration in disgrace, the expectation was that “former” communist Van Jones would return to Oakland, California, and resume his duties as an anti-police street activist. Instead, Jones, a former activist with the group, Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), was hired as a “liberal” co-host of a new version of CNN’s debate show “Crossfire.” Now, Jones has emerged as a point man for Koch Industries in a multi-million dollar campaign for “criminal justice reform.”

The spectacle of Jones appearing at a podium emblazoned with the company name “Koch Industries” became a reality last Thursday when the ACLU and the billionaire Koch brothers joined forces to sponsor an all-day “Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform.” Jones orchestrated most of the conference, serving as a moderator and speaker.

While the conference included a few Republicans, there was clear evidence that the new “bipartisan” campaign is being directed from the Obama White House. Attorney General Eric Holder and senior White House officials had met with several prominent leaders of the effort on March 2.

In addition to Jones, who was forced to resign as White House “Green Jobs Czar” after his extremist background came to light, Holder was a featured speaker, calling for “a fundamental shift in our criminal justice system,” and “historic change.”

Known for his lawless actions, such as refusing to enforce federal anti-drug laws, Holder was held in contempt by Congress for withholding documents from them about Fast and Furious, the scandal involving a gun-running operation that put deadly weapons in the hands of narcotics traffickers from Mexico. He is also known for the “open borders” policy that has prevented a vigorous enforcement of immigration laws on the federal and state level.

Addressing an audience of about 500 people, Holder spoke of a “rare consensus emerging across the country,” adding, “Recently, we have seen conservative stakeholders like Koch Industries and Americans for Tax Reform join with progressive voices like the Center for American Progress to form a new coalition dedicated to this cause.”

The “cause,” based on what we witnessed at the all-day event, is to reduce prison populations in the name of fiscal restraint and liberal compassion.

The financial support from the Koch brothers gives this left-wing campaign a bipartisan appearance and may be intended to buy some goodwill from the “progressives” who normally target these billionaires.

But knowing of Holder’s involvement in the event and the evidence that he, in fact, helped orchestrate this conference, it was troubling to some conservative observers that members of Congress, such as Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Republican governors such as Nathan Deal of Georgia, participated in this event.

Holder argued that the criminal justice system was racist against minorities, while Deal said the system was too costly and that many criminals can be re-educated, rehabilitated and released.

Although Americans for Tax Reform was indeed listed as a sponsor, its head, Grover Norquist, was in the news for another reason. He is embroiled in a controversy over his alleged ties to Islamists, and gave an interview to Glenn Beck defending himself against the charges.

The Center for American Progress, another major player in the new “criminal justice reform” effort, is funded by the Open Society Foundations of billionaire hedge-fund operator George Soros.

The new group Holder spoke about is called the Coalition for Public Safety, financed by $5 million from the Koch brothers and other “core supporters,” such as the liberal Ford Foundation.  The group is run by Christine Leonard, a former Ted Kennedy Senate staffer once affiliated with the left-wing Vera Institute for Justice.

The Vera Institute is so extreme that its Project Concern had a National Advisory Board on Adolescent Development, Safety and Justice that included the former communist terrorist Bernardine Dohrn as an adviser from 1998 to 2003. Dohrn was accused of bombing a police station and killing a San Francisco police sergeant. However, she has never been brought to justice for her alleged role in this crime.

Though it tilted heavily toward the left, the new coalition and the conference had a sprinkling of conservatives, most notably former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich. His firm, “Gingrich Productions,” was an official sponsor. Gingrich apparently became a friend of Van Jones when they appeared together on CNN’s “Crossfire.” Other conservatives or libertarians in attendance included Matt Kibbe, President/CEO of FreedomWorks, and Tim Head, Executive Director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition.

In a joint statement, Gingrich and Jones declared, “Our over-reliance on prisons has failed America. It is past time for both political parties to come together and fix a bad system of their own making. We believe this moment offers a once-in-a generation opportunity for reforms that will save entire communities and transform the lives of millions of Americans. We must not let it pass.”

However, the well-documented book, Why Crime Rates Fell, by John E. Conklin, argues persuasively that crime reduction is due in large measure to putting more criminals in prison.

On one panel at the event, John Malcolm of The Heritage Foundation disputed the liberal notion advanced by Nicole Austin-Hillery of the Brennan Center for Justice that increased incarceration had no role in the drop in crime. He noted that economist Steven Levitt has estimated that approximately 25 percent of the decline in violent crime can be attributed to increased incarceration, and that Professor William Spelman has estimated that increased incarceration may be responsible for as much as 35 percent of the reduction in violent crime.

Following Governor Nathan Deal as a speaker was Piper Kerman, a convicted drug-money launderer who wrote, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, a book made into a television series by Netflix.

Dr. Tina Trent, an advocate for victims of crime, is watching this campaign go forward with a lot of questions and suspicion. She was writing about the campaign for “criminal justice reform” when it was primarily underwritten by Soros. She discovered that the group, Critical Resistance, a Soros-funded activist group founded by long-time communist Angela Davis, had invented the “cop-watch concept” that would be popularized by Jones in Oakland through a group called Bay Area Police Watch. Davis wrote, Are Prisons Obsolete?, a book arguing that criminals are victims of capitalist society.

Trent says the campaign is well underway and aims to eliminate the death penalty, life without parole sentences, “three strikes” laws, mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and other changes that states have passed over the last 20 years to reduce violent crime. Another goal is to expand voting rights for felons, who are expected to show their gratitude by voting Democratic.

She says the movement also aims to “ban the box”—a reference to removing the criminal record question from job applications—and legalize dangerous mind-altering drugs. In this context, the Soros-funded Drug Policy Alliance was another “partner” in the “bipartisan summit.”

Trent has also highlighted the Soros-funded effort to “radicalize” prisoners while they are incarcerated.

The campaign to target the prisons for revolutionary purposes is actually an old one. The House Internal Security Committee in 1973 published a report, “Revolutionary Target: The American Penal System,” which examined how “groups committed to Marxist revolutionary theories and tactics were exploiting the popular issue of prison reform and had become a source of the unrest then afflicting many of the nation’s prisons.”

A different approach and analysis of what has to be done about the crime problem is being taken by veteran journalist Colin Flaherty, in his new book, Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry. Flaherty argues that the Obama/Holder narrative of the alleged “racial victimization” of blacks by whites ignores the black-on-white violence that has become an epidemic across the country.

Rather than empty the prisons, he argues, more criminals need to be apprehended and punished.

Black crime rates are “astronomically out of proportion” to their presence in the population, he points out. But the media “ignore, condone and deny it.” Obama, he adds, is a “willing partner” in the deception.




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Comments

  • Colorado Conservative

    Thanks for reporting on this Cliff, otherwise I would have had no idea about it.
    George Soros with anything = evil. Shame on the conservatives and libertarians who participated in it. When will enough people see that libertarians have more in common with Democrats than they have conservatives?

  • Maria-Erlinda Martinez

    You got it right; as a grassroots-conservative friend of mine from California has been warning for decades, the libertarians, yes, stand with the one foot on grassroots-conservatism (e.g., individual freedom, strict-constructionism constitutionalism, frugal government spending, low taxation, balanced budgeting, zero government debt or not larger than just a small fraction of GDP, small and-non intrusive government, etc.). However, with the other foot, they stand on the hardcore-Left (i.e., e.g., support for abortion on demand, support for influx of illegal aliens, support for amnesty to illegal aliens already in our country, against a strong military, support for isolationism, opposition to preemptive military action, support for national defense policies based on military action only when attacked and on our territory, support for weak international relations policies, opposition to spreading effective democracy, the latter being second only to military might to prevent physical aggression on America by other countries, support for homosexual “marriage”, etc.)

    Libertarians are a minuscule minority, but well organized, financed and positioned, and very active, thus becoming another threat to America.

    The Left considers libertarians as “tactical allies”; and that is so much a fact that Obama has not unleashed the IRS or any other federal executive government agency against one single libertarian (or against one single elitist-conservative), while unleashing all his fury against grassroots-conservatives.

  • stringman

    Dear God, when all of these groups start agreeing with each other, you know it is the end of times. Dogs and cats living together in sin, etc. What the devil is wrong with these people. Be afraid! Very afraid!

  • GerryC

    AIM really dropped the ball on this one. The Koch brothers are not conservatives like the media and Harry Reid keep insisting. They are LIbertarians. But this is not the main point. This campaign is not some leftist idea. Several month ago the House Judiciary Committe had a discussion on this very subject. And it was universal every member of the committe Democrat / Repulican / Conservative / Liberal, all every one of them, that there were serous problems with the justice system. They listened to many speaker on the subject from across the political spectrum. The Koch Brothers have finally decided to join up. This is a true bi-partisan/multipartisan/non-partisan effort.

    Please Kliff go back and watch the hearings and tallk to the members of the committee. The US has more people in prison for “political” crimes than any country except China. There are hundreds of thousands of people who could not afford to defend themselves thoroughly against shot gun prosecutions, that no one’s defense team can possibly defend against.

    Look at Scooter Libby, gone to jail when he had absolutely nothing to do with leaking Valerie Plames name to the press and the prosecuter knew who really did from the beginning but didn’t prosecute him.

    Or look at the Prosecution of Oliver North, or Attoney General Meese Gov’t spent $20,000,000 going after him, and he spend even more defending himself, and his quote after being acquitted, “Where do I go to get my good name back.”

    What poor or middle class person could afford that.

    What about George Zimmerman (without a doubt a politically motivated prosecution), he tried to create a defense fund and the government wanted to seize it and every cent he had so he could defend himself, or provide for his family while being prosecuted.

    Libertarian are right on this one and conservatives better STOP siding with the Statist Left and remember what REAL conservatives believe. “The sole function of a Monarch is the preservation of the Liberties of his Subjects” – Marcus Aurelius,

    “…man is endowed by his Creator with inalienable rights … That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” – Declaration of Independence

    The federal prison system is full of innocent poor people as well as people whose committed no crime any American would 200 years ago think was valid.

    Ask this go down the list of powers congress has and ask what percentage of Federal Prisoners are in for that. Then ask how many are in for things that are not in the constitution. You will probably find 90% to 99% are crimes that the US Founders wouldn’t consider criminal.

    When any Law is produced or any Action of Agent or Officer is contemplated there is just one question that should be asked – How does this protect the God given Rights of the Citizens. If it does not then those actions should not be taken and those laws rejected as “Arbitrary and Capricious, contrary to the Moral Law and repugnant to the Supreme Law of this Land.

    One last ting to add. Mandatory minimums and “three strikes laws were” good intentions but instead of going after murderes and rapist most of these turned into “anti-drug Laws” which Federal Judges dealing with prison overcrowding find themselves ordering murderers and rapist free so that non-violent minor drug offenders can take up those $30,000 a year cost to the taxpayers “three strikers” and “mandatory minimum”.

  • Erudite Mavin

    Koch Bros. support Amnesty, Gay marriage, Legalize Marijuana, Criminal Justice Reform, and other agendas that tie into the Soros agendas.
    This is no surprise.
    Koch Bros. are Libertarians who share more with the radical left than not.

  • halevi

    This is really bad. If they think that only 35% of the drop in crime was due to prisons, what do they think caused the other 65% drop in crime?