GOOD

Van, Again the Man

How Glenn Beck and Fox News may have just unleashed progressives' greatest hope. The wingnuts won't have Van Jones to kick...



How Glenn Beck and Fox News may have just unleashed progressives' greatest hope.


The wingnuts won't have Van Jones to kick around anymore. Victim of a month-long, flagrantly dishonest smear campaign orchestrated by Glenn Beck at Fox News, Jones resigned last Saturday-as you've surely heard-from his post as the White House's special adviser for green jobs, enterprise, and innovation.

Thank you, Glenn Beck, for giving us Van Jones back.

Like many folks who've long admired Jones's work, upon first hearing that he'd been offered a job in the administration, I was torn. Yes, it was a validation of the "green collar" vision, one that would presumably be delivered by a true progressive visionary within the walls of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. But anyone who'd ever talked to Jones or seen him speak-recognizing him, then, as the most powerful, charismatic, and eloquent communicator in the whole environmental realm-worried about what the movement would be losing when he stepped into the hypersensitive, message-controlled, make-no-waves halls of Washington. Surely he'd have to tone it down, rein in the rhetoric, and play nice for no drama Obama. Many of us knew deep down that this wasn't how he made an impact. As Arianna Huffington so rightly put it, "Van Jones was the best person for the job he just gave up. But the job was not the best use of Van Jones."

Now don't get me wrong, the fringe Right's take down of Jones is sobering and sad, and more than a little bit scary. Lies-loudly repeated lies-brought him down. Beck's screaming points have been debunked again and again, and weren't even taken seriously at first. ("We all blew it," Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope confessed.) Dave Roberts at Grist, one of the very few people who stood up to the scam as it was unleashed, squashed one after the next of Beck's faulty claims: Jones was never a "green jobs czar" ("there is no such thing"), nor was he a "criminal" or an "ex-con" (and he was "never charged with a crime, much less convicted"). Jones's old boss, Eva Paterson, held up more truths about his personal history against the deceptive bile spewing from Fox News. But the lies rang louder.

Thankfully, the silver lining here is quite bright. Jones has been pulled out from behind a desk deep in the shadows of D.C., "a low-level political appointee," as Roberts wrote, "with two Senate-confirmed layers between him and Obama," and is free again to do his best work: speaking the truth about climate, energy, and economy; promoting solutions; and rallying citizens around the cause. For a progressive environmental movement that is desperately short on charisma, an unmuzzled Van Jones is exactly what we need. And now, thanks to Beck, he's more of a household name. More famous. More influential. More powerful.

Jones has the spotlight. He's also got a freshly-motivated network of support from throughout the progressive and environmental community-from his partners, colleagues, and supporters who regret sitting a little too silent as he was chewed up and spat out of Washington. And he's got a vision, a broad comprehensive vision spelled out in his book, The Green Collar Economy, for how America can effectively combat climate change, while reducing our energy dependence and creating millions of jobs for those hungriest for work. The environmental and progressive movement badly needs more powerful, electrifying voices. Jones just got his back. So while the unceremonious exit of Van Jones, politician, should cause us all quite a bit of unease, Van Jones, activist, organizer, leader, has his best work ahead.

--

Beck Backfire Book Buy: The paperback version of Van Jones's book, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, will be released at the end of the month. The hardcover, published a year ago to much acclaim, hit The New York Times Best-Seller list. So should the paperback. In it, Jones provides a blueprint for how we can, as a nation, combat climate change, achieve energy security, and bring millions of new jobs to the Americans who need them most. I rarely ask anyone to buy anything, but we should all stand up and support Jones (better late than never), purchase the paperback, and put The Green Collar Economy back on the best-seller lists. (Guess who's atop the paperback nonfiction list now?)

Van Jones photo (cc) by Flickr user PSD.

Articles
Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
Science
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
test
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less
Health