Don't Congratulate Me for Van Jones' Resignation




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In case your only source of news is ABC, CBS, NBC and/or The New York Times or, as the White House was hoping, you were out doing things with your family this long weekend and didn't check the news (which was released after midnight Sunday so it wouldn't be in any papers) the green jobs "czar," special adviser to the president, Van Jones has resigned.

But here's The One Thing: My phone, e-mail and Twitter were hammered all weekend with people offering congratulations. First, let me say I'm not the one to congratulate. I can go on and on about this stuff, but if you don't care and it doesn't connect with the American people, what I say doesn't matter.

So let me start with the good news: You still have power and clout in Washington. In many cases, your representatives in Washington knew nothing about Van Jones. You were educating them and it wasn't until late last week that a few brave political people began to speak out.

But here's the bad news: When this came out and people started to say congratulations, my first response was: You still don't get it. This was a victory of sorts, but only for those playing political games. I'm not doing that and I don't think you are either.

You are trying to protect and defend the Constitution. President Obama was hoping that this would go away. One of the headlines from the Politico this weekend was: "Beck Up, Left Down."

I read the article a couple of times. Van Jones said this was a vicious smear campaign. Van Jones was able to resign, not be fired. And, during his resignation, he placed the blame on others, not himself.

What Van Jones doesn't understand is that I didn't bring down Van Jones; you didn't bring down Van Jones; Van Jones brought down Van Jones.

Is it a smear campaign to quote Van Jones' own words?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

VAN JONES, FORMER SPECIAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: This movement is deeper than a solar panel! Deeper than a solar panel! Don't stop there! Don't stop there! We're going to change the whole system! We're going to change the whole thing. We want a new system. We want a new system!

JONES: And our Native American sisters and brothers who were pushed and bullied and mistreated and shoved into all the land we didn't want, where it was all hot and windy. Well, guess what? Renewable energy? Guess what, solar industry? Guess what wind industry? They now own and control 80 percent of the renewable energy resources. No more broken treaties. No more broken treaties. Give them the wealth! Give them the wealth! Give them the dignity. Give them the respect that they deserve. No justice on stolen land. We owe them a debt.

JONES: The white polluters and the white environmentalists are essentially steering poison into the people of color communities.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

The media got all worked up because Van Jones called Republicans a rude name:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: How were the Republicans able to push things through when they had less than 60 senators, but somehow we can't?

JONES: Well, the answer to that is they're a—holes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

But listen to the rest of that quote — this is what makes him in many ways more dangerous; he is no longer restricted in what he can say or do:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: And Barack Obama is not an a—hole. So, um, now I will say this: I can be an a—hole. And some of us who are not Barack Hussein Obama are going to have to start getting a little bit ugly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

This isn't about Van Jones. This is about the president and his policies:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BARACK OBAMA: Let me tell you who I associate with. On economic policy, I associate with Warren Buffett and former Fed chairman, Paul Volcker. If I'm interested in figuring out my foreign policy, I associate myself with my running mate, Joe Biden, or with Dick Lugar, the Republican-ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, or General Jim Jones, the former supreme allied commander of NATO. Those are the people, Democrats and Republicans, who have shaped my ideas and who will be surrounding me in the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Let's go back and look the Politico article. They say in the article that they didn't scrub Van Jones. What does that mean? That the White House should have cleansed the Internet of his prior positions?

The other thing the media didn't report was that Michelle Obama has a big fan of Van Jones. More importantly, if you look at the language of Robert Gibbs, the White House doesn't endorse these things:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What Van Jones decided was that the agenda of this president was bigger than any one individual. The president thanks Van Jones for his service in the first eight months in helping coordinate renewable energy jobs that are going to lay the foundation for our future economic growth...

(CROSSTALK)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, 'THIS WEEK' HOST: Did the president want him to go?

GIBBS: Well, the president and the CEQ ultimately accepted his resignation, because Van Jones, as he says in his statement, understood that he was going to get in the way of the president, and ultimately this country, moving forward on something as important as creating jobs in a clean-energy economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

That's is a far cry from rejecting Van Jones' beliefs.

Communism, radicalism, black nationalism, racism is not something you just tolerate or don't endorse. Those are the things that this administration must reject.

This isn't a victory, this is a diversion. I'm not going to play their game. This isn't about me and Van Jones, even if that's what they want to make it. This is about taking Obama at his word when he said to judge him by the people he surrounds himself with.

Would you want Van Jones anywhere near American policy? A man who says things like this:

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JONES: Human rights has [sic] no borders. Wherever there are human beings, it's important for human rights activists to show support, show solidarity. What we want to see, at this point, is the rights of the Palestinian people being respected. And, at this point, the end of the occupation, the right of return for Palestinian people. These are the critical dividing lines — global dividing lines — questions of human rights. We have to be here.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

Where did that audio come from? Let me play you the introduction to that clip:

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MUMIA-ABU JAMAL: This is Mumia Abu-Jamal, voice of the voiceless. And you're listening to "War Times: Reports From the Opposition," presented by Freedom Fighter Music and Hard Knock Radio.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

That was Mumia Abu Jamal, who murdered a police officer — with some witnesses claiming he murdered Daniel Faulkner execution-style.

You must remain focused. You are fighting for the Constitution of the United States and we're not even finished with round one of this fight.

As I told you, this fight is not going to be fought with guns; this fight is going to be fought with questions and answers. I didn't ask for Van Jones to resign. If Americans want the version of America as Van Jones sees it, OK, but I think we at least need a discussion. This can't be done under the cover of darkness. There need to be questions and answers.

Without publicly rejecting Van Jones, do you want me to believe that he has no influence or access to you? Van Jones is a community organizer of the worst kind.

What have we learned about community organizations like ACORN? A year ago, nobody knew what a "community organization" was. Now, we've gotten a pretty good look at what some of these organizations, like ACORN, do. What we've found is that ACORN is a terrible organization. They are nearly — if not a full-fledged — criminal organization.

Now comes Van Jones building an army of community organizers: disenfranchised, communists, anarchists, prisoners. The worst of the worst are attracted to him. Where does he go now? Will he be selling clothes at JC Penny? Filling up slurpees for you at 7/11?

I don't think so.

Does the influence of Van Jones and people like him have any bearing on the Cambridge incident — where Obama concedes he doesn't have all the facts, but appears to make statements that presuppose the police were wrong?

Like Van Jones, this president didn't reject, but merely commented that he didn't endorse his views. I am confused because the people Obama surrounds himself with seem to help me make sense of his policies, but only if I look at those policies as nefarious to our founders' Constitution.

The people that the radical left has been embracing should shock 95 percent of Americans. Michael Moore's new movie calls capitalism "evil." Is that how you feel about our system? One of the books that Michael Moore just told an interviewer he recently read was the book I've been warning you about for months: "The Coming Insurrection," a radical, communist how-to manual.

Let me go back to the beginning where I shared the good news with you: It wasn't me that did this, it was you. And here's why that's even better news than what you thought: If it were just me, through back channels, blogs and articles, the left and uber-left — not Democrats, but the radical left — has decided that they will try to destroy me any way they can.

That's OK.

I'm a recovering alcoholic and I did some pretty bad things in my life. But I've owned up to them. Read my books; watch my videos. I fired a guy who brought me the wrong pen once. But I had a "pivot point" — a place in my life where I reached bottom and realized I couldn't go any lower: Sitting at the table with my kids and having them ask me to share the story I had just told them the night before when I was drunk. I couldn't remember the story, so I had to pretend. I had to lie to my kids. That hit me hard.

That was in 1995. It took me four years to really make the changes in my life that I needed and wanted to make. In November 1999, I began to change my life. I still make mistakes, but I try my hardest not to make the same mistakes and things that would bring dishonor to me and my family.

The left has doctored photos, documents and Web sites which frankly only dishonor them and hurt my children. But as I said to my kids this week, there is more to come. Because some people want to make it about politics and money and not the truth.

I will always tell you the truth, even when it hurts me personally. You do the same thing. It was just over 225 years ago that 56 men said with firm reliance on divine providence we mutually pledge our lives, our fortune and our sacred honor.

They won't even give honest answers to honest questions. I will give up everything. While we're waiting for those honest answers, perhaps we should have a debate about what kind of change America wants — out in the open, not under the cover of darkness.

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The themes of healing and redemption appear throughout the Bible.

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. — 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17.

So, for many Christians, it's no surprise to hear that people of faith live longer lives.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. — Jeremiah 17:14.

But it is certainly lovely to hear, and a recent study by a doctoral student at Ohio State University is just one more example of empirical evidence confirming the healing benefits of faith and religious belief.

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Moreover, the study finds that religious belief can lengthen a person's life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! — Isaiah 38:16

The study analyzed over 1,000 obituaries nationwide and found that people of faith lived longer than people who were not religious. Laura Wallace, lead author of the study, noted that "religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life."

The study notes that, "people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered."

And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

"The researchers found that part of the reason for the boost in longevity came from the fact that many religiously affiliated people also volunteered and belonged to social organizations, which previous research has linked to living longer. The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives," said Baldwin Way, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

In addition, the study showed how the effects of religion on longevity might depend in part on the personality and average religiosity of the cities where people live, Way said.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. — Luke 5:17
Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. — Luke 10:9.

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

RELATED: Time to reverse course: America is being corrupted by its own power

Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Glenn was joined by Alanna Sarabia from "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios on Thursday for an exclusive look at Mercury Museum's new "Rights & Responsibilities" exhibit. Open through Father's Day, the temporary museum features artifacts from pop culture, America's founding, World Ward II and more, focusing on the rights and responsibilities America's citizens.

Get tickets and more information here.

Watch as Glenn gives a sneak peek at some of the unique artifacts on display below.

History at the Mercury Museum

Alanna Sarabia interviews Glenn Beck for "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios.

Several months ago, at the Miss Universe competition, two women took a selfie, then posted it on Instagram. The caption read, "Peace and love." As a result of that selfie, both women faced death threats, and one of the women, along with her entire family, had to flee her home country. The occasion was the 2017 Miss Universe competition, and the women were Miss Iraq and Miss Israel. Miss Iraq is no longer welcome in her own country. The government threatened to strip her of her crown. Of course, she was also badgered for wearing a bikini during the competition.

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In an interview, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said:

When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they're getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.

Yesterday, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, posted another selfie with Miss Israel, during a visit to Jerusalem.

In an interview, she said that:

I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis.

This is, of course, quite an understatement: Iraq, home to roughly 15,000 Palestinians, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate country, as it is technically at war with Israel. The adages says that a picture is worth a thousand words. What are we to do when many of those words are hateful or deadly? And how can we find the goodness in such bad situations?