President Obama is counting on two Marxists who blame America for the 9/11 terrorist attacks to help turn Sept. 11 from a day of solemn remembrance into an unseemly celebration of radical environmentalism and Big Government.
The two men charged with this politically correct exercise in desecration and icon-smashing are the boorish, self-absorbed Rev. Lennox Yearwood and the comparatively suave, articulate Van Jones. Jones is adept at concealing his radicalism; Yearwood is incapable of doing so.
Yearwood is apparently an ordained minister of the Church of God in Christ. He uses a megaphone and 1960s style protests to get his message out. Jones, the more urbane and media-savvy of the two, is the president's green jobs czar at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Jones uses Web 2.0 and the language of capitalism --non-threatening words like investment -- to sell socialism. But more on their Marxism in a moment.
As I wrote last week, about 60 groups including those associated with Yearwood and Jones, are planning to help the Obama administration greenwash the meaning of 9/11. They want to turn each Sept. 11 into a National Day of Service focused on the importance of bicycle paths, ethanol, carbon emission controls, putting solar panels on your roof, and radical community organizing. It has nothing to do with healing the nation and everything to do with easing the nation along in the ongoing radical transformation of America that President Obama promised during last year's election campaign.
Somehow after President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act into law on April 21, the "National Day of Service and Remembrance" referred to in the legislation started being called the "National Day of Service" by the White House. No doubt there are many sincere people who've signed up to volunteer and who plan to do good works on this day, unaware that the administration is trying to hijack the meaning of 9/11.
In an Aug. 4 video on the official White House blog, Jones discussed the administration's plan to flush 9/11 down the memory hole just as it has tried to rechristen the Global War on Terror the "Overseas Contingency Operations." Jones said the National Day of Service will be a great opportunity "for people to connect, to find other people in your peer group who are also passionate about repowering America but also greening up America and cleaning up America."
At a White House press availability the same day, Yearwood was joined by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and Department of Energy Under Secretary Kristina Johnson. Yearwood said that the National Day of Service will be "the first milestone" of a larger effort called Green the Block. That campaign attempts to convince Americans that the utopian fantasy of an oil-free so-called green economy is possible without turning the U.S. into a Third World country.
Sixty or so groups participated in the White House-sponsored teleconference call on Aug. 11 led by Yearwood. Yearwood and other leaders said on the call that they wanted 9/11 to be used for something "positive," "forward-leaning," and "productive," said a source with knowledge of the teleconference. Groups on the call included run-of-the-mill interest groups, environmentalists, labor groups, and extreme-left groups including ACORN, Apollo Alliance, Color of Change, Friends of the Earth, and Yearwood's Hip Hop Caucus.
My source told me over the weekend that members of the coalition are "still in shock" that their plans got out. The groups haven't come up with a crisis management strategy yet, the source said. "So far it looks like they're planning to ride out the controversy."
The source previously said these people view Sept. 11 as a "Republican" day because it focuses the public on supposedly "Republican" issues like patriotism, national security, and terrorism. According to liberals, 9/11 was long ago hijacked by Republicans and their enablers and unfairly used to bludgeon helpless Democrats at election time.
MSNBC's foremost left-wing bloviator, Keith Olbermann, summed up this ugly perspective the week after the Republican Party convention last year by accusing the GOP of turning 9/11 into "a brand name" and "a Republican campaign slogan."
Olbermann is hardly the only progressive to take this view.
Similar accusations have been hurled at the GOP by MoveOn.org and by one of its major donors, liberal über-philanthropist George Soros who accused the Bush administration of exploiting the "politics of fear." Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore said President George W. Bush "use[d] the deaths of Sept. 11…as a cover for his right-wing agenda." Vice President Joe Biden, former President Jimmy Carter, former Vice President Al Gore, former Sens. John Edwards (D-NC) and Tom Daschle (D-SD), former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, and a parade of left-leaning public figures all leveled the same charge.
But Yearwood and Jones go much further than the conventional liberal Bush-bashing. They have both made it clear that they believe the attacks of 9/11 were America's fault.
Yearwood, a younger version of Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- without his racism but with his lung capacity -- blamed the world's problems on America in a 2007 interview. "Our country as a superpower was literally causing hell on earth," said "The Rev" (as he often refers to himself).
The same year, he denounced the United States at a meeting organized by the Revolutionary Communist Party spinoff group "World Can't Wait," which aimed at driving the Bush administration out of power. "It is clear to me the United States is a warrior nation," Yearwood said. "It has been addicted to war from the start of its creation and it is able to sustain its warfare habit only by mugging American taxpayers and believing in its mission as God's chosen. This is wrong and we must stop that now."
Like Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Yearwood, a former Air Force chaplain, enjoys telling false atrocity stories about his own side. He said the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq constituted a decision "to kill 600,000-plus Iraqis." A similar number for Iraqi dead was quoted in a discredited, politically motivated study funded by George Soros.
Earlier this month Yearwood, the hip-hop enthusiast, offered his best Marxist rap. He embraced internationalism and seemed to tell a church audience that he regrets serving his country in the military:
As a former officer in the U.S. Air Force, I know many of you, like me, decided for whatever reason to serve this country and I can now personally tell you that there are times when that decision hurts. It might have hurt when I was told I'm now a threat to national security. I began speaking out. It might have hurt when I began to meet with mothers and fathers whose children are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan and here in our country and it might have hurt when I began to now understand how this whole military-industrial complex works. But now more than ever as veterans we are needed. We are needed now more than ever to serve not only this country but the world. Our voices are needed in the halls of Congress and the schoolyards. We can now tell people we don't need a department of war anymore. We need a department of peace.
The "threat to national security" incident he refers to in his soliloquy of Bolshevik boilerplate was in 2007 when the Air Force tried to rid itself of this turbulent priest. Yearwood had begun speaking out against the Iraq war before it began, calling a pre-emptive attack "immoral." He said he had received a letter from the Air Force announcing it was trying to honorably discharge him for "behavior clearly inconsistent with the interest of national security." Yearwood hired a lawyer and reportedly the Air Force backed down, providing him an honorable discharge that did not describe him as a national security threat.
The day after Sept. 11, 2001, as Americans were coming together, self-described "communist" Van Jones was trying to drive them apart.
His group, Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), held a vigil in Oakland, California, "mourning the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world" on Sept. 12, 2001. The vigil was reported by World Net Daily which excerpted parts of a history of the now-disbanded group. The 2004 document, called "Reclaiming Revolution: history, summation & lessons from the work of Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM)," may be found on an archival site here.
The related Soros-funded Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (Soros's Open Society Institute has given it $1,026,800 since 1999), joined in the vigil according to an Ella Baker Center press release from 2001. The press release contained this passage that quoted Jones:
"Anti-Arab hostility is already reaching a fever pitch as pundits and common people alike rush to judgment that an Arab group is responsible for this tragedy," said Van Jones, national executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. "We fear that an atmosphere is being created that will result in official and street violence against Arab men, women and children."
"Reclaiming Revolution," which Michelle Malkin discussed on the "Glenn Beck Program" on Aug. 25, also blamed the U.S. for 9/11. A passage described the vigil on Sept. 12, 2001:
"That night, STORM and the other movement leaders expressed sadness and anger at the deaths of innocent working class people. We were angry, first and foremost, with the U.S. government, whose worldwide aggression had engendered such hate across the globe that working class people were not safe at home. We honored those who had lost their lives in the attack -- and those who would surely lose their lives in subsequent U.S. attacks overseas.
It's unclear if STORM cared about any of the non-working class people who perished in the terrorist attacks. Perhaps like Ward Churchill, Jones and his STORMtroopers thought the attacks were an instance of "chickens coming home to roost," and that those who died in the World Trade Center got what they deserved because they were "little Eichmanns."
Similarly, evidence of Yearwood's Marxist beliefs is easy to find.
Yearwood told the American Prospect magazine that he admired the Black Panthers. He called them "freedom fighters." He also told the magazine he was going to try to change what it called the "consumerist" culture of hip hop. (Good luck with bringing political correctness to hip hop, Rev.)
Yearwood was slated to speak at a 2007 rally aimed at pressing the government to free the "Cuban Five." The five men are convicted Communist spies sent to the U.S. by Fidel Castro.
After Damu Smith, an anti-war activist, died in 2006, Yearwood described him as one of his mentors. Around President Bush's second inauguration in 2005, Smith gave a speech denouncing Bush's policies and said that the Palestinian people were living "under the boot of Israel's brutal and barbaric and racist occupation." Smith, in turn, claimed to have been inspired in his youth by Amiri Baraka. Baraka is the activist and conspiracy theorist who composed a poem that said this: "Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed/Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers/To stay home that day."
Yearwood has also worked with the delusional former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia). Among her many adventures in radical paranoia, last year McKinney accused the Pentagon of executing 5,000 prisoners with a bullet to the head in 2005 and dumping their bodies in a Louisiana swamp. After 9/11 she suggested President George W. Bush both knew about and allowed the attacks to happen in order to boost the value of the business investments of his father's friends. When the anti-Israel lawmaker's radicalism led to her astonishing defeat by Georgia voters in 2002, her father went on TV to blame "Jews" who "bought everybody."
Yearwood, who urges a "war on greed," seems to believe it is unfair that some people have more money than others and that they choose to donate it to politicians he doesn't agree with. He seems to have embraced the ultimate in radical so-called campaign finance reform -- full public financing of campaigns -- perhaps as a way to further the Marxist agenda. "What does it matter if millions vote but the election is not fair to begin with?" In congressional testimony he seemed to say that the American system is systemically racist and discriminates against the poor. Young people "still face incredible disparities across race, class, gender and sexual orientation," Yearwood said.
For his part, Van Jones has decided it's best to just burrow in and try to change the system from the inside. Earlier this year, Jones said, "I'm basically just a community organizer within the federal family." According to a 2005 profile of Jones, "He still considers himself a revolutionary, just a more effective one, who has realized that the progressive left's insistence on remaining a counterculture destroys its potential as a political movement…"
Mysteriously, Yearwood has jettisoned his anti-war activism in recent months even though the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan rage on.
In 2005, Yearwood described Cindy Sheehan as "the Rosa Parks of the anti-war movement." Nowadays Sheehan is continuing with her anti-war activism, but Yearwood isn't standing with her.
After Democrats won control of Congress in 2006, Yearwood campaigned against the wars. In early 2007 he said, "This is the Democrats' war now. Since January 4th of this year, close to 200 troops have died." He also blamed Democrats for failing to end the wars, complaining that the "Democratic Congress continues to fund the occupation" of Iraq.
In 2008, Yearwood stood outside the Bush White House with his megaphone. "We are not complicit in your madness," he said. "And this is wrong. This war is illegal and those 4,000 [U.S. soldiers] have not died in vain. We stand with them at this time."
But it took Barack Obama's ascension to the highest office in the land for Yearwood to sell his soul.
Now that there is a president with a radical left-wing agenda living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Yearwood is quite happy to be complicit in this so-called madness.