In Defense of Van Jones (Sort of)

You know, if I were Van Jones, I’d be pretty upset right about now, but for different reasons than the ones he is citing.

Don’t get me wrong. Jones had to go, for reasons somewhat known and others hardly known. At this point the somewhat-knowns are his consistent communism, his documented 9/11 truther beliefs (with a totally unconvincing “I never read it” denial), and his inability or perhaps unwillingness to specifically define what a “green job” is.


Okay, Jones tried to define a “green job” for the Washington Post, saying that “a green job and especially a green-collar job is a blue-collar job that has been upgraded and up-skilled to better respect the environment.” Under that definition, it seems that if a guy or gal on the assembly line in the most stinking, rotten, polluting factory in America starts putting empty pop cans into the recycle container instead of the general trash, their job might count as “green.” Actually, I think Jones and other enviros touting “green jobs” are reluctant to define the term because “the green” involved relates to something, or I should say $omething, that has little to do with the environment.

The most important hardly known item in Jones’ resume is his truly disturbing deserver statement roughly 40 hours after the 9/11 attacks. At a gathering on the night of September 12, 2001, at Oakland’s Snow Park, Jones said, “It’s the bombs that the government has been dropping around the world that are now blowing up inside the U.S. borders.” So we deserved 9/11. Move over, Jeremiah Wright. I’d say that if you’re looking for a reason why Jones resigned so suddenly in the dead of night Sunday morning, you need look no further than the fact that a link to a similar statement Jones allegedly made at the same event was posted at Powerline early Saturday evening.

All of that said, the fact remains that Van Jones has from all appearances not recently committed a crime, has apparently paid his societal penance for his past crimes, and has not committed an error of commission or omission during his brief tenure that would have justified a forced “resignation.” Shoot, if you look around at others in the administration like John Holdren, Zeke the Bleak Emanuel, Carol Browner, Eric Holder, and others, you could probably make a good argument that Jones’ beliefs are in the mainstream of Obama administration and Democratic congressional political thought.


So why is Jones gone, while the likes of Tim Geithner, Nancy Pelosi, and Charlie Rangel, to name just a few, are still footloose, fancy-free, and federally employed?

Treasury Secretary Geithner, whose purview includes the Internal Revenue Service, committed enough errors of omission and commission on his tax returns — errors way beyond “only” failure to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on his income while he was at the World Bank — that they could not possibly all have been innocent errors. Geithner didn’t merely avoid taxes; he evaded them. Last time I checked, tax evasion is a crime.

Geithner also lied to Congress about bonus payouts to those eeeeevil AIG executives. It’s on the record that he knew about them on March 3 (“Geithner was directly questioned about the specific bonuses”). But he later said through a spokesman that he “was not aware of the timing or full extent of the contractual retention payments or the other bonus programs until his staff brought them to his attention on March 10.” Horse manure. Geithner lied to Congress. Last time I checked, thats still a crime.

Unlike Jones’ whopper about his truther past, Nancy Pelosi has lied about events that have taken place while carrying out her official duties as congressperson, House minority leader, and House majority leader. Specifically, she claims not to have been briefed by the CIA about enhanced interrogation techniques employed in the years following the 9/11 attacks. Even the left-leaning calls Pelosi’s various and changing claims made over the first half of this year “tortured denials.” To this day, she stands by her smear and the accommodating media establishment in Washington has let it go. That doesn’t make it right and it doesnt make it legal.


Then there’s Harlem Congressman Rangel, whose January 1971 arrival in office followed the baseball season of New Yorks Amazin Mets by only 15 months. Rangel has so many problems it would probably take a full column just to enumerate them. The biggies are:

  • Taking “a ‘homestead’ tax break on a Washington, DC, house for years while simultaneously occupying multiple rent-stabilized apartments in New York City, possibly violating laws and regulations in both cases.”
  • Earning “more than $75,000 in rental income from a villa he has owned in the Dominican Republic since 1988, but never report[ing] it on his federal or state tax returns.”
  • Failing to disclose a credit union account “worth at least $250,000 … a retirement account worth at least $250,000, property in New Jersey, and shares in two publicly traded companies” on required financial disclosure forms.

In case you didn’t know, Rangel is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the House’s chief tax-writing committee. The irony overflows.

Rangel’s responses thus far have been to play dumb, spread money around to other congressmen who may at some point be called on to evaluate his fitness to serve (that’s apparently not bribery inside the Beltway; instead, it’s known as “standard operating procedure”), and play the racism-distraction card over the moral clunker known as ObamaCare.

None of this changes the fact that gaming the rent-control system and tax evasion are crimes and that incomplete financial disclosure is an illegal act.


But unlike Van Jones, Tim Geithner, Nancy Pelosi, and Charlie Rangel remain firmly ensconced in their positions of federal power, with most if not all of their accumulated wealth and power intact, and little if any prospect that they will ever have to face the music for their crimes or misdeeds.

On that basis, Van Jones has every right to be upset.


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