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Van Jones Scandal Threatens Obama Presidency

Reporting from near the home turf of embattled Green Jobs Czar Van Jones, Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle says [1] it’s clearly a bad sign when White House flak Robert Gibbs is asked if Jones still enjoys the confidence of the President and merely replies that Jones “continues to work in this administration.”

But the White House has to know that, if Jones goes, the questions won’t end. Who appointed him? Who looked into his background? Who knew what and when?

Gibbs knows that the Jones controversy undermines confidence in the President, who bears ultimate responsibility for the appointment. Gibbs also has to know that, if Jones’ background can sink Jones, the President himself is in trouble. Obama has decades of friendly associations with communists and terrorists, ranging from Communist Party USA member Frank Marshall Davis in his youth in Hawaii to communist terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn in Chicago when he was doing community organizing and running for political office.

By comparison to Obama, when it comes to nefarious connections, Jones is a piker.

Curiously, it’s not Jones’ communist background which has proven to be the most controversial. Rather, it’s his two apologies in a week for statements calling Republicans “assholes” and having signed a 9/11 truth statement blaming the terrorist attacks on U.S. officials.

It’s the communism, stupid.

As Professor Paul Kengor points out, “We now know that even the most authoritative sources, such as the seminal Harvard University Press work, The Black Book of Communism, were conservative when estimating only 100 million deaths at the hands of communist governments. The latest research, for instance, claims that Mao Zedong alone was responsible for the deaths of at least 60-70 million in China, and Joseph Stalin alone may well have killed 60 million in the USSR-those are just two communist countries that managed to far surpass the entire combined death toll of World War I and II, the two worst wars in the history of humanity.”

Do we want adherents of this foreign ideology of mass murder holding high government positions?

Van Jones, of course, is only a symbol of the problem. And communists are not required to promote communist policies. The Obama Administration is pursuing the destruction of anti-communist Honduras, in order to please Hugo Chavez, the Marxist ruler of Venezuela currently on a friendly visit to terrorist Iran. This is a scandal that deserves at least as much attention as Van Jones’ communist connections. 

Our media have been slow to grasp the significance of the Van Jones story. Some news outlets have only reluctantly covered it because of the Jones statements about Republicans and 9/11.

But Jones’ communist background has been known since April 6, when New Zealand blogger Trevor Loudon revealed [2] it in striking detail. This was only a few weeks after the appointment was announced. Joseph Farah’s World Net Daily [3] then picked up the story and ran several important follow-ups.

While the Jones appointment has now become both a White House and Democratic Party scandal, one prominent Republican has already gotten burned as a result of her association with the identified communist.

Meg Whitman, the former president and CEO of eBay who is running for Governor of California, has been forced by the controversy to disavow her previous comments in support of Jones. She says, “My husband and I met him and many others on a cruise sponsored by National Geographic and The Aspen Institute. He talked about supporting job growth in California, but of course I did not do a background check of his past over dinner.”

Look who else was on the “Arctic Expedition for Climate Action 2008” cruise with Jones:

You can find the complete list of participants here [4].

On March 27, 2009, the Aspen Institute gave its Energy and Environment Award [5] in the category of “Individual Thought Leadership” to Van Jones.

Although Whitman now says that she wasn’t able to do a background check on Jones over dinner, she had previously said that she “got to know him very well.”

Here’s what she said, in comments captured on You Tube [6]: “There’s a guy over in Oakland, I think his name is Van… Jones. And he and I were on a cruise last summer in the Arctic for climate change. And I got to know him very well. And a lot of the work he’s doing to enfranchise broader communities I’m a big fan of. He’s done a marvelous job… I’m a huge fan of his. He is very bright, very articulate, very passionate. I think he is exactly right.”

For someone who “got to know him very well,” she seemed to have some trouble remembering his name. In any event, while Whitman endorsed Jones and his work, at least she didn’t hire him. The White House did.

According to the Van Jones website [7], “In March 2009 Van went to work as the special adviser for green jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.” What does this phrase “went to work” really mean?

As we have previously reported, the Obama Transition Project developed a 7-page questionnaire [8] of 63 questions for people seeking top administration jobs. Here are some of the questions:

The final question 63 was all-encompassing: “Please provide any other information, including information about other members of your family, that could suggest a conflict of interest or be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the president-elect.”

But it’s not known if Jones ever filled out the questionnaire. It seems doubtful.

The New York Times said that for those who managed to fill out the questionnaire and clear those hurdles, “the reward could be the job they wanted. But first there will be more forms, for security and ethics clearances from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Government Ethics.”

So was Jones subjected to a security investigation by the FBI? No one seems to know. It seems doubtful.

I went to the website [9] of the Office of Government Ethics, which collects and posts “Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Reports or Other Covered Records.” I put the name “Van Jones” into the search engine and “0 records” turned up.

It turns out that this data base only includes individuals “nominated or appointed by President Obama with the advice and consent of the Senate.” Since Jones didn’t have to go through a Senate confirmation hearing, he didn’t have to complete any of these forms.

The President, of course, didn’t have to fill out those forms, either. He didn’t have to go through an FBI background check. So the same questions being asked about Van Jones can be asked about Obama. Van Jones and his supporters know it. They probably know more about the President than we do. And that gives them political leverage and potential blackmail material.

As we argued in a previous column [10], it appears that a Communist Party spin-off, the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS), was instrumental in some way in getting Jones his job. A one-time secret member of this network, Rep. Barbara Lee, is a close friend of both Jones and Obama. Jones comes from Oakland, California, and Lee represents Oakland. They worked together on the “green jobs” issue before Jones “went to work” at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Lee hailed the Jones appointment.

Another key CCDS official is Carl Davidson, a Marxist and former SDS activist described [11] by blogger Trevor Loudon as “a big fan and promoter of Van Jones’ work.” Indeed, the latest edition of the “CCDS Mobilizer [12]” notes that Davidson participated in New York City’s annual “Left Forum” in April of this year where he “presented Van Jones’ program for Green Jobs for inner city youth, but framing it as a larger structural reform project that could, if done right, unite a progressive majority and help get us out of the current crisis.”

In other words, the “Green Jobs” project is a disguised form of socialism.

Loudon reports that Davidson has pushed Van Jones and his agenda at every opportunity-just as he was pushing Obama as a political candidate in the 1990s. “Davidson was an ardent supporter of Obama for several years and helped organize the famous peace rally in Chicago in where Obama pinned his colors to the anti-Iraq war cause,” Loudon explains.

If you go to the CCDS website, [13] you’ll see that one of the speakers at the recent CCDS convention was Angela Davis, former CPUSA candidate for vice president. I saw a picture of Davis on the first floor of the Ella Baker Center in Oakland when I was there in April looking into the Van Jones controversy. Jones founded the Ella Baker Center.

Rep. Lee, in her book, Renegade for Peace & Justice, talks about her work as “Comrade Barbara” in the Black Panther organization with Angela Davis, “the noted African American member of the Communist Party.” Davis was a key endorser of the July 17-19, 1992, national CCDS conference [14], “Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the ’90s.” One of the topics was, “Toward a Socialist United States?” Jones spoke to a CCDS fundraiser in 2006.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the scandal threatens not only the job of Van Jones but the Obama presidency.

The evidence suggests that a communist network has a direct pipeline into the White House. It is a network that includes the President himself. 

So how can Obama fire Jones without putting his own presidency in jeopardy? This is the dilemma that grips the White House.