2009/09/15

Teabagger demonstration

I just saw a reference to this video. It shows us a fellow who carried a big pro-health care reform sign through the Washington DC right-wing teabagger demonstration on Saturday. The fellow had a police escort and, naturally, as the crowd they were travelling through got more and more hostile, the escort was increased to several more police officers.
This bothers me because I can very easily see the shoe being on the other foot. I can very easily see an anti-abortionist carrying a doll dressed up as a bloody, dead fetus through a crowd of pro-choice people, a pro-military adventurism guy carrying an American flag through a crowd of anti-war people, etc.
I think for the guy to carry a pro-health care reform sign through a crowd that was clearly hostile to his message was cool, but I find it very disturbing that he received official sanction to do so, that he received police protection for doing that.
Oh, and just how big was the Glenn Beck/Fox News-inspired crowd to begin with? No, it was nowhere near the Michelle Malkin-reported two million (That would have been a larger crowd than was at the Obama inaugural). Many commenters here talked about on the crowd size and the commenters include many people who have been to many protests and other events over many years and they very credibly assert that the crowd was 30,000 to 50,000, but the left blogosphere as a whole has settled on the figure of 70,000, which they substantiate in a reasonable fashion. So yes, the October 2002 anti-Iraq War demonstration was a good deal larger at 100,000.

2009/09/06

Very disturbing to see Van Jones retire under pressure

Van Jones has resigned as Special Advisor for Green Jobs at the Council on Environmental Quality, he claims that "opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me." Glenn Beck, who has very fortunately lost 57 advertisers due to his hysterical on-camera campaigns that have begun to enter very dangerous territory by using "analysis" that the fascists of mid-century Europe would have been comfortable with, has been the primary reason that Van Jones was under attack.

Thankfully, the Obama Administration does not appear to be giving way on the President's televised speech to schoolchildren scheduled for the first day of school, despite screeching and hollering by the right wing over it.

Then there was Michael Savage, the third most listened to radio host in America, who put it this way: "Hitler had the Hitler Youth, and Obama would like to have the Obama Youth."

Seems one of the "problems" that has caused the Obama Administration to pull back on defending Van Jones is that he also signed a "911Truth" statement.

Jones recently issued two apologies. One was for calling Republicans "assholes." The other was for signing a statement in 2004 supporting a call for further investigation of 911, which suggested that the Government might have had a role in the 911 attack. The original document can be found here, with Van Jones the 46th signatory (and this writer [Rob Kall of OpEd News] was the 47th.) Ironically, one of the most vocal "birthers, who question the validity of Obama's birth certificate, Phillip J. Berg, was also a signatory of the same statement, 8th on the list.

As there are significant numbers of American citizens who feel that there are numerous unanswered questions concerning 9/11 (A above-cited poll puts the percentage at 40%), this placed the Obama Administration in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" type of situation. On the one hand, they appear to be surrendering to a TV personality who really seems to have gone off the deep end, on the other hand, throwing a staffer under the bus at a time when people are questioning Obama's commitment to really pushing for a health care bill that will serve something other than wealthy financial interests makes the timing very poor.


Update: Jane Hamsher's view - The proprietress of the progressive website FireDogLake.com weighs in on the Van Jones case with a piece that urges liberals, progressives and leftists and their associated watchdog institutions to remain at an arm's distance from Democratic administrations.
Being too close to the Obama Administration has penned in those who need to maintain a skeptical view.
Oh, and she cites a poll that says that those members of the Democratic Party who believe 9/11 was an inside job constitute about 30% of the party as of 2007. Yes, Van Jones is in a minority, but it's a pretty big chunk of the party's base. The statement that Van Jones signed.