Posts Tagged ‘Bad Dudes’
Center for American Progress
- Think tank run by Hillary Clinton and former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta
- Helped launch Media Matters For America in 2004
The Center for American Progress (CAP) describes itself as “a nonpartisan research and educational institute” aimed at “developing a long-term vision of a progressive America” and “providing a forum to generate new progressive ideas and policy proposals.”
Robert Dreyfuss reports in the March 1, 2004 edition of The Nation: “The idea for the Center began with discussions in 2002 between [Morton] Halperin and George Soros, the billionaire investor. … Halperin, who heads the office of Soros’ Open Society Institute, brought [former Clinton chief of staff John] Podesta into the discussion, and beginning in late 2002 Halperin and Podesta circulated a series of papers to funders.”
Soros and Halperin recruited Harold Ickes — chief fundraiser and former deputy chief of staff for the Clinton White House — to help organize the Center. It was launched on July 7, 2003 as the American Majority Institute. The name was changed to Center for American Progress (CAP) on September 1, 2003. The official purpose of the Center was to provide the left with something it supposedly lacked — a think tank of its own.
Regarding the new think tank proposed by Soros and Halperin, Hillary Clinton told Matt Bai of The New York Times Magazine on October 12, 2003, “We need some new intellectual capital. There has to be some thought given as to how we build the 21st-century policies that reflect the Democrat Party‘s values.” She later told The Nation‘s Robert Dreyfuss, “We’ve had the challenge of filling a void on our side of the ledger for a long time, while the other side created an infrastructure that has come to dominate political discourse. The Center is a welcome effort to fill that void.”
Persistent press leaks confirm that Hillary Clinton, and not Podesta, is ultimately in charge of CAP. “It’s the official Hillary Clinton think tank,” an inside source confided to Christian Bourge of United Press International. Robert Dreyfuss notes in The Nation, “In looking at Podesta’s center, there’s no escaping the imprint of the Clintons. It’s not completely wrong to see it as a shadow government, a kind of Clinton White-House-in-exile — or a White House staff in readiness for President Hillary Clinton.” Dreyfuss notes the abundance of Clintonites on the Center’s staff, among them Clinton’s national security speechwriter Robert Boorstin; Democratic Leadership Council staffer and former head of Clinton’s National Economic Council Gene Sperling; former senior advisor to Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget Matt Miller; and others.
In addition to the aforementioned individuals, CAP’s key personnel also includes Director of Media Strategy Debbie Berger, daughter of Clinton national security chief Sandy Berger; Sarah Rosen Wartell, who serves as Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and General Counsel; Mark David Agrast, Senior Vice President for Domestic Policy; and Robert O. Boorstin, Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy.
One of CAP’s primary missions is to carry out “rapid response” to what it calls conservative “attacks” in the media. To this end, CAP maintains more than a dozen spokespeople ready to appear on short notice on national talk shows to debate or respond to conservative commentators. Among CAP’s expert commentators are its own President, John Podesta; Eric Alterman, who claims expertise on the subject of media; and CAP Senior Vice President Morton Halperin, who offers to speak on national security.
On May 3, 2004, CAP helped to launch David Brock‘s Media Matters for America – which claims to serve as a “watchdog” organization monitoring ”rightwing” media for ethics and accuracy. According to The New York Times, Brock conferred with Hillary Clinton, Senator Tom Daschle, and former Vice President Al Gore about Media Matters before embarking on the project. “Mr. Brock’s project was developed with help from the newly formed Center for American Progress,” notes the Times, and John Podesta “introduced [Brock] to potential donors.”
CAP posts daily “Talking Points” to guide the likeminded in their disputes with conservatives. The organization has also established an American Progress Action Fund as a “sister advocacy organization” that “transforms progressive ideas into policy through rapid response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing and advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders throughout the country and the world.”
The March 2004 Foundation Watch newsletter of the Capital Research Center reports that CAP raised $13 million in 2003. Part of that money came from George Soros, who had pledged $3 million, to be paid in $1 million increments over three years. Part came from Herbert and Marion Sandler, co-CEOs of the Oakland, California savings and loan holding company Golden West Financial Corporation (S&L).
Other donors to CAP include the Rockefeller Family Fund; the Irving Harris Foundation, the Philip Murphy Foundation, the New York Community Trust, the Overbrook Foundation, the Peninsula Foundation, the Robert E. Rubin Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, the Bauman Family Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Open Society Institute, and the Robert and Irene Schwartz Foundation.
After Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, CAP served as perhaps the most influential organization advising the new administration. Among Obama’s leading advisers were John Podesta and at least ten additional CAP experts.
An April 2009 CAP report stated that the United States had a moral obligation to spend massive amounts of money to help poorer nations deal with the effects of the “global warming” that allegedly was being caused by industrialized nations like the U.S.
In May 2009 CAP alleged that Americans’ “insatiable demand for electronics products such as cell phones and laptops” was at least partially responsible for fomenting the deadly war raging in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Said CAP:
“The violence in Congo is being fueled by a multi-million dollar trade in minerals — the 3 T’s (tin, tantalum, and tungsten) – that make our cell phones and other electronics function…. Congo’s mineral wealth should be a source of prosperity and stability for the Congolese people, not a source of exploitation and violence. As the primary end-users of the 3 T’s, electronics companies bear a responsibility for cleaning up their supply chains. Our cell phones should not be fueling violent conflict…. As consumers of cell phones and other electronics, we can change the equation for Congo. Demand that the biggest end-users of the 3 T’s – consumer electronics companies - COME CLEAN 4 CONGO and pledge to make their products conflict-free.”
CAP’s solution, in other words, was to have cell-phone manufacturers “stop using conflict minerals from the Congo.”
- Was a member of Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s
- Co-founder of the Weather Underground Organization
- Owns consulting firm that helps grassroots leftist organizations promote their agendas and fundraise successfully
- Director of New York State’s chapter of the Apollo Alliance
Jeffrey Carl Jones was born into a Quaker family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in February 1947. In September 1965 he enrolled at Antioch College in Ohio. A month later he joined the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and became active as an anti-war speaker on college campuses. In April 1967 Jones quit school to become the regional office coordinator of New York City’s SDS chapter, a position he held until December 1968.
During his tenure with SDS, Jones became a sworn enemy of the United States government. Believing that America’s military involvement in Southeast Asia was immoral, he sided with the North Vietnamese communists. Formally renouncing the conscientious-objector status that had been conferred on him as a result of his Quaker lineage, he began referring to himself and his ideological comrades as ”communist revolutionaries.”
In November 1967 Jones and fellow anti-war radical Cathlyn Platt Wilkerson went on a fact-finding mission to Cambodia, where they had a friendly meeting with representatives from the North Vietnamese embassy and members of the National Liberation Front, the communist army of the Vietcong.
In August 1968 Jones participated in a large-scale protest at the site of the Democratic National Convention, a protest that escalated into rioting on the streets of Chicago. At one point, Jones shouted to his fellow rioters:
“The power belongs to the young people and the black people in this country. We’re going to remake this country in the streets. Don’t get hung up on this fourth party bullsh**. Don’t get hung up on peace candidates. Come on! We gotta fight it out where the only power we can build is. That’s at the base. We gotta build a strong base and someday we gotta knock those motherfu**ers who control this thing right on their ass.”
By mid-June of 1969, Jones, along with Bill Ayers and Mark Rudd, became a leader of SDS’s most militant wing and formed a new radical organization, Weatherman. They issued a Weatherman “manifesto” eschewing nonviolence and calling for armed opposition to U.S. policies; advocating the overthrow of capitalism; exhorting white radicals to trigger a worldwide revolution by fighting in the streets of the “mother country”; and proclaiming that the time had come to launch a race war against the “white” United States on behalf of the non-white Third World.
Jones helped to promote and organize an October 1969 demonstration in Chicago, timed to coincide with two significant events: (a) the trial of the “Chicago Seven” defendants who stood accused of having incited the aforementioned riots of 1968; and (b) the second anniversary of the death of Che Guevara.
“Bring the War Home” was the slogan for this latest Chicago rally. Addressing those in attendance, Jones claimed to be the embodiment of Marion Delgado, a five-year-old Chicano boy who had placed a slab of concrete on a railroad track and derailed a passenger train in California 22 years earlier – a symbol of the immense amount of damage that the small were capable of inflicting on the mighty.
At the end of his talk, Jones exhorted his listeners to take violently to the streets, thereby unleashing the so-called “Days of Rage” which featured rioters (many of them affiliated with Weatherman) smashing windows, damaging cars, and clashing with police. In the 1980s, Jones would reminisce about the Days of Rage:
“The point of [the action] was that if they’re going to continue to attack the Vietnamese and to kill the [Black] Panthers, then we as young white people are going to attack them behind the lines…. That’s why we … smashed up people’s private property … and fought the cops…. The situation was so grave, what the U.S. was doing — this of course was true — that we had to take extreme measures.”
Jones was arrested for his role in the Days of Rage, along with approximately 100 others. He was charged with “crossing state lines to foment a riot and conspiring to do so.” When he he failed to appear for his March 1970 court date, the FBI launched a manhunt to track him down.
Also in March 1970, Jones and Weatherman issued a “Declaration of a State of War” against the United States government. For the first time, they used a new name, the “Weather Underground Organization,” adopting fake identities and restricting themselves exclusively to covert activities.
Jones would manage to elude law-enforcement authorities for a decade. After living for more than a year in San Francisco with fellow fugitive Bernardine Dohrn, Jones and Weather Underground comrade Eleanor Raskin relocated to New York’s Catskill Mountain region in 1971; during the years that followed, they would reside variously in New Jersey and the Bronx, New York.
In 1974 Jones co-authored — along with Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and Celia Sojourn – the book Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, whose title was an allusion to Mao Zedong‘s observation that “a single spark can start a prairie fire.” This publication contained the following statements:
- “We are a guerrilla organization. We are communist women and men … deeply affected by the historic events of our time in the struggle against U.S. imperialism.”
- “Our intention is to disrupt the empire, to incapacitate it, to put pressure on the cracks, to make it hard to carry out its bloody functioning against the people of the world, to join the world struggle, to attack from the inside.”
- “The only path to the final defeat of imperialism and the building of socialism is revolutionary war.”
- “Revolutionary war will be complicated and protracted. It includes mass struggle and clandestine struggle, peaceful and violent, political and economic, cultural and military, where all forms are developed in harmony with the armed struggle.”
- “Without mass struggle there can be no revolution. Without armed struggle there can be no victory.”
- “We need a revolutionary communist party in order to lead the struggle, give coherence and direction to the fight, seize power and build the new society.”
- “Our job is to tap the discontent seething in many sectors of the population, to find allies everywhere people are hungry or angry, to mobilize poor and working people against imperialism.”
- “Socialism is the total opposite of capitalism / imperialism. It is the rejection of empire and white supremacy. Socialism is the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the eradication of the social system based on profit.”
In late October 1981, Jones and Raskin were caught in a police sweep of individuals suspected of having participated in the deadly robbery of an armored truck in Nyack, New York three days earlier. A week before their sentencing in December 1981, Jones and Raskin were married. At sentencing, Jones received probation and community service, while the charges against Raskin were dropped.
Jones thereafter spent ten years as a communications director for Environmental Advocates of New York. He currently heads Jeff Jones Strategies, a consulting firm that specializes in helping grassroots leftist organizations promote their agendas and fundraise successfully. His clients include, among others, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Workforce Development Institute, New Partners for Community Revitalization, the Land Trust Alliance, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, the Healthy Schools Network, and the League of Conservation Voters.
Jones also serves as director of New York State’s chapter of the Apollo Alliance, which helped craft portions of the $787 billion “stimulus” legislation that President Barack Obama signed into law in early 2009.
In addition, Jones is a board member of West Harlem Environmental Action; the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy; the Healthy Schools Network; the Capital District Chapter of the League of Conservation Voters; and the financial arm of Movement for a Democratic Society, a group that works closely with the newly reconstituted SDS.
A resident of Albany, New York, Jones is a member of Governor David Paterson’s Energy and Environment Transition Commission. He is also affiliated with New York’s Workforce Development Institute, which advises state and local governments and universities on how to write their grants in a manner that is likely to successfully secure funds from the aforementioned stimulus bill.
Jones identifies “climate change and global warming” as his chief environmental concern. He says”
“What bothers me about it is the impact that it will have on people, and the people who are least able to deal with it. We saw this with [Hurricane] Katrina. We know that sea-level rise is going to affect island nations, poor nations like Bangladesh. These are human-rights, social-justice issues that really impact me personally a lot.”
Jeff Jones an ex-member of the Weather Underground terrorist group is a co-founder of the Apollo Alliance, an influential left-wing environmentalist group that helped write President Obama’s stimulus legislation. The $60 billion in funding which the legislation provides for “green jobs,” a utopian fantasy not taken seriously by economists, was inserted at the request of the Apollo Alliance, which began as a project of Campaign for America’s Future.
The domestic terrorist turned eco-terrorist-in-a-business-suit is named Jeff Jones. Jones used to work as communications director for the Environmental Advocates of New York and promoted his son’s memoir about growing up in a radical family in a 2004 “Democracy Now” interview.
“Jeff has been involved not just in those terrorist activities with the Weather Underground,” said Phil Kerpen of Americans for Prosperity. Added Kerpen:
He was actually part of the Weather-buro modeled on the politburo which was the high leadership where he was with Bill Ayers. But Jones was on the run, hiding from the law for about a decade before he was finally caught in a dramatic raid where his 4-year-old saw him arrested in 1981. He then became an adviser to environmental groups, to labor organizations and to the New York state government where he sits on a commission for Governor [David] Paterson.
Kerpen explained that Jones is also an advisor to the Workforce Development Institute in New York, “which is advising state and local governments and universities on how to write their grants to get stimulus funds from the stimulus bill that he and his friends at Apollo wrote.”
Kerpen said radicals run the Apollo Alliance but its public face is less scary:
They’ve got the mainstream guys. Carl Pope, the president of the Sierra Club, is on the board of the Apollo Alliance. They’ve got [...] Leo Gerard from the International Steelworkers Union on the board of the Apollo Alliance. John Podesta, from the [Center for American Progress] — all of the mainstream elements of the Obama administration and the liberal and progressive movement are tied in with these people.
The person associated with the Apollo Alliance to receive the most media attention lately, however, is Van Jones, President Obama’s green jobs czar. Jones used to be a member of the board of the Apollo Alliance and is a self-identified “communist.”
- Became a Communist in the aftermath of the 1992 “Rodney King riots” in Los Angeles
- Founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in 1996
- Was active in the anti-Iraq War demonstrations organized by International ANSWER
- Served as a board member of the Rainforest Action Network and Free Press
- In March 2009, President Barack Obama named Jones to be his so-called “Green Jobs Czar.”
- Resigned in early September 2009
Born in 1968 in rural West Tennessee, Van Jones (whose birth name was Anthony Jones) attended the University of Tennessee at Martin. As an undergraduate aspiring to a career in journalism, he founded an underground campus newspaper as well as a statewide African American newspaper. After earning his BA degree, Jones abandoned his plan to become a journalist and instead enrolled at Yale Law School, where, as an angry black separatist, he first arrived wearing combat boots and carrying a Black Panther bookbag. “If I’d been in another country, I probably would have joined some underground guerrilla sect,” he reflects. “But as it was, I went on to an Ivy League law school…. I wasn’t ready for Yale, and they weren’t ready for me.”
Failing to develop a passion for legal studies, Jones contemplated dropping out of Yale. Realizing, however, that a law degree would furnish him with perceived credibility as a critic of the criminal-justice system — which he believed was thoroughly infested with racism — he persevered and earned his Juris Doctorate.
During his years at Yale, Jones served as an intern with the San Francisco-based Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR), which views the United States as an irredeemably racist nation and “champions the legal rights of people of color, poor people, immigrants and refugees, with a special commitment to African-Americans.”
Jones says he became politically radicalized in the aftermath of the deadly April 1992 Los Angeles riots which erupted shortly after four L.A. police officers who had beaten the now-infamous Rodney King were exonerated in court. “I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th,” says Jones, “and then the verdicts came down on April 29th. By August, I was a communist.”
In early May 1992, after the L.A. riots had ended, Jones was dispatched by LCCR Executive Director Eva Patterson to serve as a legal monitor at a nonviolent protest (against the Rodney King verdicts) in San Francisco. Local police, fearful that the event would devolve into violence, stopped the proceedings and arrested many of the participants, including all the legal monitors. Jones spent a short time in jail, and all charges against him were subsequently dropped.
Recalling his brief incarceration, Jones says: “I met all these young radical people of color. I mean really radical: communists and anarchists. And it was, like, ‘This is what I need to be a part of.’ I spent the next ten years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary.”
After leaving Yale in 1993, Jones relocated to San Francisco, where he helped establish Bay Area Police Watch, a hotline and lawyer-referral service that began as a project of LCCR and specialized in demonizing local police. In 1996 he founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which, claiming that the American criminal-justice system was infested with racism, sought to promote alternatives to incarceration. According to the Baker Center:
“Decades of disinvestment in our cities have led to despair and hopelessness. For poor communities and communities of color it’s even worse, as excessive, racist policing and over-incarceration have left people even further behind.”
By the late 1990s, Jones was a committed Marxist-Leninist-Maoist who viewed police officers as the arch-enemies of black people, and who loathed capitalism for allegedly exploiting nonwhite minorities worldwide. He became a leading member of Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), a Bay-Area Marxist-Maoist collective that was staffed by members of various local nonprofits, a number of whom had ties to the Ella Baker Center. STORM would grow in influence until 2002, when it disbanded due to internal squabbles.
Jones helped organize an October 1999 rally in Oakland, California, calling for a retrial on behalf of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal. Around 2002, Jones, who had experience as a record producer, produced (for the Ella Baker Center) an album that starred Abu Jamal. Among the lyrics on this album were the following:
“The American way manufactured by white folk in office, by these rich men here to mock us. The United States; a piece of stolen land led by right-wing, war-hungry, oil thirsty … And when it’s all said and done, still can’t [garbled] the wrong place cause they got people of color playing servant to do that sh** for them; mother f***ers ready to wipe out soft targets on territories harboring terrorists? Tragedy. The true terrorists are made in the U.S.”
In 2000 Jones campaigned aggressively against California Proposition 21, a ballot initiative that established harsher penalties for a variety of violent crimes and called for more juvenile offenders to be tried as adults. Jones’ efforts incorporated a hip-hop soundtrack that aimed to attract young black men clad in such gang-style garb as puffy jackets and baggy pants, who would call attention to the alleged injustices of the so-called ”prison-industrial complex.” But infighting and jealousies between various factions of Jones’ movement caused it ultimately to fall apart. ”I saw our little movement destroyed over a lot of sh**-talking and bullsh**,” said Jones.
After the demise of his anti-Prop 21 movement, Jones decided to change his political tactics. Specifically, he toned down the overt hostility and defiant rage that he previously had worn as badges of honor. “Before, we would fight anybody, any time,” he said in 2005. “No concession was good enough; we never said ‘Thank you.’ Now, I put the issues and constituencies first. I’ll work with anybody, I’ll fight anybody if it will push our issues forward…. I’m willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends.”‘
Added Jones: “I realized that there are a lot of people who are capitalists — shudder, shudder — who are really committed to fairly significant change in the economy, and were having bigger impacts than me and a lot of my friends with our protest signs.”
Jones’ new approach was modeled on the tactics outlined by the famed radical organizer Saul Alinsky, who stressed the need for revolutionaries to mask the extremism of their objectives and to present themselves as moderates until they could gain some control over the machinery of political power. In a 2005 interview, Jones stated that he still considered himself a revolutionary, but a more effective one thanks to his revised tactics.
Just hours after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Jones stood in the streets of Oakland, California with his fellow STORM members to denounce the United States for having brought the disaster on itself. In October 2004 he joined a host of notable leftists in signing the 9/11 Truth Statement (signature #46), which called for a federal investigation into whether President Bush had been privy to advance knowledge of – or perhaps had colluded in – the destruction of the World Trade Center.
In the early 2000s, Jones and STORM were active in the anti-Iraq War demonstrations organized by International ANSWER, a front group for the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party. STORM also had ties to the South African Communist Party and it revered Amilcar Cabral, the late Marxist revolutionary leader (of Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde Islands) who lauded Lenin as “the greatest champion of the national liberation of the peoples.” (In 2006 Van Jones would name his own newborn son “Cabral” – in Amilcar Cabral’s honor.)
During his tenure with STORM, Jones collaborated on numerous projects (including antiwar demonstrations) with local activist Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez, who served as a “mentor” for members of the Ella Baker Center. Martinez was a longtime Maoist who went on to join the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS), a Communist Party USA splinter group, in the early 1990s. To this day, Martinez continues to sit on the CCDS advisory board alongside such luminaries as Angela Davis, Timuel Black (who served on Barack Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign committee), and musician Pete Seeger. Martinez is also a board member of the Movement for a Democratic Society, the parent organization of Progressives for Obama. Martinez and Van Jones together attended a “Challenging White Supremacy” workshop which advanced the theme that “all too often, the unconscious racism of white activists stands in the way of any effective, worthwhile collaboration” with blacks.
In 2005 Jones and the Ella Baker Center produced the “Social Equity Track” for the United Nations’ World Environment Day celebration, a project that eventually would evolve into the Baker Center’s Green-Collar Jobs Campaign – “a job-training and employment pipeline providing ‘green pathways out of poverty’ for low-income adults in Oakland.”
During the George W. Bush administration, Jones ridiculed the President for advocating an increase in domestic oil-driling:
“We began to drill more, to drill off shore, to drill here, to drill there, to liquify coal … to do whatever you can to get more petroleum into the system. And we heard our president saying just that. That’s what he wants to do. And I hate to say this and I hope I don’t offend anybody, but the president of the United States sounded like a crackhead when he said that. [Mimicking a crack addict:] Just, a little bit mo,’ just a litlle bit mo,’ a little mo’, a little mo’, a little mo’ … Like a crackhead trying to lick the crack pipe for a fix…. I’m sorry, I’m gonna speak some ebonics up here. Good luck with the translation.”
Soon after attending the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2007, Jones launched “Green For All,” a non-governmental organization “dedicated to building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty … advocating for local, state and federal commitment to job creation, job training, and entrepreneurial opportunities in the emerging green economy – especially for people from disadvantaged communities.” A major funder of Green for All was George Soros’s Open Society Institute.
“There is a green wave coming, with renewable energy, organic agriculture, cleaner production. Our question is, will the green wave lift all boats? That’s the moral challenge to the people who are the architects of this new, ecologically sound economy. Will we have eco-equity, or will we have eco-apartheid? Right now we have eco-apartheid. Look at Marin; they’ve got solar this, and bio this, and organic the other, and fifteen minutes away by car, you’re in Oakland with cancer clusters, asthma, and pollution.”
In a January 2008 speech, Jones said: “The white polluters and the white environmentalists are essentially steering poison into the people-of-color communities because they don’t have a racial justice framework.”
In 2008 Jones published his first book, The Green Collar Economy, which focused on environmental and economic issues. The book received favorable reviews from such notables as Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, Laurie David, Winona LaDuke, environmentalist Paul Hawken, and NAACP President/CEO Ben Jealous.
After the Bush administration had drawn to a close, Jones reflected:
“[A]n authoritarian sentiment seized control of the reins of power in our country, burned the Constitution, enshrined torture, launched an unjust war under false premises … somebody had taken the American flag and turned it into a war flag, and used it to beat and whip and lynch anybody who didn’t agree that we should be bombing people and torturing people.”
Jones has served as a board member of numerous environmental and nonprofit organizations, including the Rainforest Action Network; Free Press; the Apollo Alliance; Bioneers (which accepts the United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Report’s warning that “[h]uman activity is putting such strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet’s ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted”); the Social Venture Network (which aims “to build a just economy and sustainable planet”); and Julia Butterfly Hill’s “Circle of Life” environmental foundation.
Jones also co-founded Color of Change (COC), an organization that views the United States as a profoundly racist country, and whose mission is “to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone.” In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in late August of 2005, COC waged a campaign to censure President Bush, claiming: “He knew about the levees, and he knew about the Superdome. But he did nothing.” In 2006, COC collaborated with MoveOn.org Civic Action to screen Spike Lee’s film When the Levees Broke, which features allegations that the federal government dynamited the levees — a view popularized most famously by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. In a 2005 blog on the Huffington Post, Jones asserted that the hurricane had been exacerbated by Bush’s environmental policies and “deep contempt for poor African-Americans.”
At a February 11, 2009 speaking engagement, Jones was asked by an audience member to theorize as to why the Bush administration had been so effective at passing legislation even though Republicans (under Bush) had not held anything even remotely resembling the types of majorities that Democrats eventually (in 2006 and 2008) would establish in both Houses of Congress. “How were the Republicans able to push things through when they had less than 60 senators,” asked the questioner, “but [now] somehow [President Obama] can’t?” To loud applause, Jones replied:
“Well, the answer to that is, they’re assholes. That’s a technical political [inaudible] term. And [President] Barack Obama‘s not an asshole. Um, now, I will say this: I can be an asshole. And some of us who are not Barack Hussein Obama are going to have to start getting a little bit uppity.”
Later that same month in Berkeley, California, Jones made clear his desire to incrementally socialize, by stealth, the U.S. economy:
“Right now we say we want to move from suicidal gray capitalism to something eco-capitalism where at least we’re not fast-tracking the destruction of the whole planet. Will that be enough? No, it won’t be enough. We want to go beyond the systems of exploitation and oppression altogether. But, that’s a process and I think that’s what’s great about the movement that is beginning to emerge is that the crisis is so severe in terms of joblessness, violence and now ecological threats that people are willing to be both pragmatic and visionary. So the green economy will start off as a small subset and we are going to push it and push it and push it until it becomes the engine for transforming the whole society.”
In late February 2009, Jones spoke at a Washington, DC event called Power Shift ’09, which was billed as the largest-ever youth summit (attended by 12,000 young adults) on climate change. There, Jones advocated what WorldNetDaily reporter Aaron Klein said “can easily be interpreted as a communist or socialist agenda.” Among Jones’ comments were the following:
- “Now I’m gonna tell you this: All that clean coal stuff … We could have clean coal. I’m for clean coal. But I’ll tell you what. If we’re gonna have clean coal, let’s have a couple other things…. We could power the country with clean coal, or we could have unicorns pull our cars for us … Equally fictitious, equally fantastical, equally ludicrous. You know, so, we could have the tooth fairy bring us our energy at night. I mean, equally ludicrous. There is no such thing as a tooth fairy. There is no such thing as unicorns. And there is no such thing as clean coal, so let’s be clear about that.”
- “When we talk about ‘Green for All,’ ‘Green for Everybody,’ where was it written that only men could put up solar panels? Where was it written that only men could manufacture wind turbines? If the green economy has the same sorry track record of sexism; if women in the green economy are making 70 cents to the dollar, just like they’re doing in the pollution-based economy, something’s wrong with our movement…. We need to have gender equity in this movement.”
- “What about our Native American sisters and brothers?… They told us a long time ago that this was sacred land…. [They] 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 then wealth! Give them the dignity! Give them the respect that they deserve! No justice on stolen land! We owe them a debt!”
- “What about our immigrant sisters and brothers? What about people who’ve come here from all around the world, who we’re willing to have out in the fields with poison being sprayed on them, poison being sprayed on them because we have the wrong agricultural system. And we’re willing to poison them and poison the earth to put food on our table, but we don’t want to give them rights, and we don’t want to give them dignity, and we don’t want to give them respect. We need to get down on our knees and thank these Native American communities. But also the Latino community, Asian community, and every otherr community that’s willing to come here and help us out, ’cause we obviously need some help. We need some wisdom from someplace else. ‘Cause what we’ve come up with here don’t make no sense at all.”
- [W]hat about our sisters and brothers that are in prison right now? What about the formerly incarcerated? We need to have a green economy that doesn’t have any throw-away species,… resources,… [or] any throw-away people either.”
- “If all you do is have a clean energy revolution, you won’t have done anything…. If all we do is take out the dirty power system, the dirty power generation in a system, and just replace it with some clean stuff, put a solar panel on top of this system, but we don’t deal with how we are consuming water, we don’t deal with how we are treating our other sister and brother species, we don’t deal with toxins, we don’t deal with the way we treat each other; If that’s not a part of this movement,… this is all you’ll have: You’ll have solar-powered bulldozers, solar-powered buzz saws, and bio-fueled bombers, and we’ll be fighting wars over lithium for the batteries instead of oil for the engines, and we’ll still have a dead planet. This movement is deeper than a solar panel! Deeper than a solar panel! Don’t stop there! Don’t stop there! No, we gonna change the whole system! We gonna change the whole thing! We not gonna put a new battery in a broken system, We want a new system. We want a new system.”
During a February 26, 2009 lecture on energy issues in Berkeley, California, Jones, referring to the economic crisis in which the U.S. was mired at the time, sarcastically asked a questioner: “How’s that capitalism working for ya this year?”
On March 10, 2009, President Obama named Jones to be his so-called “Green Jobs Czar”; the formal title for the position was “Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation” for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. At the time, Jones was a Senior Fellow with John Podesta‘s Center for American Progress and a Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. He described his new role with the Obama administration as that of “a community organizer inside the federal family.”
In a July 2009 interview with Newsweek magazine, Jones said he could not explain exactly what a “green job” is:
“Well, we still don’t have a unified definition, and that’s not unusual in a democracy. It takes a while for all the states and the federal government to come to some agreement. But the Department of Labor is working on it very diligently. Fundamentally, it’s getting there, but we haven’t crossed the finish line yet.”
Amid mounting controversy, Jones resigned his post as the Obama administration’s Green Jobs Czar on Labor Day weekend 2009. In his statement, he claimed that he had been “inundated with calls — from across the political spectrum — urging me to ‘stay and fight.’” But “opponents of reform,” he said, “have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me. They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.”
Jones was later asked whether Barack Obama had been aware of Jones’ controversial history before the President appointed him as Green Jobs Czar. Jones replied: “I was fully candid, I mean, about my past, about the ideas that I explored. I was a mid-level White House staffer. I reported to a Senate-confirmed nominee — Mid-level White House staffers go through a vetting process that’s very — a process that’s very, very rigorous. But I wasn’t a cabinet secretary. I was a worker in the White House.”
After stepping down from his administration post, Jones was offered office work space by the Washington, DC-based Center for American Progress (CAP), known for its extensive influence on the Obama administration. Jones had previously served as a senior fellow at CAP.
In February 2010, Jones officially rejoined CAP. That same month, he received the NAACP‘s President’s Award, for achievement in public service. He also announced that he had secured a one-year assignment to teach a seminar on environmental and economic policy at Princeton University, beginning in June 2010.
In April 2010, Jones said the following about the nature of the Obama administration:
“You look at the New Party, which is now the Working Families Party, the idea of a new politics – that you could actually in this country bring together labor and civil rights and feminists, etc., and actually make a difference … is the basic framework for what just took over the White House.”
Jones has been praised for his environmental work by such notable leftists as Thomas Friedman, Tom Daschle, Nancy Pelosi, Arianna Huffington, Ben Jealous, Laurie David, Gavin Newsom, Carl Pope, Tavis Smiley, Fred Krupp, and John Podesta.
- Leftist activist and Democratic Party fundraiser
- Co-founded Code Pink for Peace
- Board member of the Rainforest Action Network
Jodie Evans is a radical activist and Democratic fundraiser best known as the co-founder — along with Global Exchange’s Medea Benjamin — of Code Pink for Peace. Evans also works closely with Leslie Cagan, the pro-Castro leader of United For Peace and Justice. Over the years, Evans has supported such activist groups as Citizen Action, the Earth Island Institute, and the California subsidiary of NARAL Pro-Choice America. She is currently a Board of Directors member for the Rainforest Action Network.
Evans rose to public prominence via her leadership role with Code Pink for Peace, a self-described “grassroots peace and social justice movement” formed in 2002 to organize public protests against America’s impending war in Iraq. For four months, from late 2002 through early 2003 (shortly prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq), Evans led Code Pink members in staging all-day antiwar vigils outside the White House. She initiated a campaign where activists literally gave pink slips (women’s lingerie) to President Bush and other pro-war officials — a metaphor for pink slips of the paper variety, which are traditionally given to employees whose jobs are being terminated. These unique tactics brought Evans and her group considerable national news coverage and many talk-show invitations.
After the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Evans led a delegation of fifteen Code Pink women to Baghdad, where they met with Iraqi women for the purpose of “creat[ing] the understanding that the people of Iraq are no different than you and me.” While in Baghdad, Evans repeatedly and publicly painted America as an unprovoked aggressor, and Iraqis as noble defenders of their invaded homeland. “Iraqis continue to resist the occupation in their own way,” said Evans and Code Pink.
In addition to her Code Pink duties, Evans also sits on the Advisory Board of Iraq Occupation Watch (IOW). Her fellow IOW officials include Leslie Cagan; Medea Benjamin; Rania Masri of the Iraq Action Coalition, Peace Action, United for Peace and Justice, and the American Civil Liberties Union; Maria Luisa Mendonca of the World Social Forum; Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation; Milan Rai of Voices in the Wilderness; Pratap Chatterjee of Berkeley’s Pacifica radio station KPFA; and Stanford University professor Joel Beinin.
In August 2006, Evans was one of a dozen activists (among whom were also Medea Benjamin, Cindy Sheehan, and Tom Hayden) who participated in a Code Pink-sponsored trip to meet Iraqi “political leaders” in Baghdad. Team member Geoffrey Millard referred to this trip as a “diplomatic communication.” As such, it may have violated the legal prohibition against private U.S. citizens conducting their own foreign policy. Among the Iraqi parliamentarians with whom Evans and her cadre met were:
- Sheikh Ahmad al-Kubaysi, who once declared that foreign-born jihadists killing U.S. soldiers were “very brave” heroes who were “guaranteed Paradise”; Al-Kubaysi also is said to have given militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr $50 million.
- Saleh al-Mutlaq, the trip’s prime sponsor, who chided Americans for trying “to brand as terrorists the honorable national resistance movements.”
Shortly after that 2006 trip, Evans spoke highly of the conditions that had existed in Iraq under Saddam Hussein: “Let’s go back to the Iraq before we invaded, there was a good education and health care system, food for everyone. That system didn’t belong to Saddam it belonged to the Iraqi, it belonged to years of creating what a civilization needed. If your parents didn’t send you to school they could be put in jail.”
In January 2007, Evans traveled to Cuba as a guest of that nation’s Communist regime.
In early September 2008, Evans perpetrated identity theft that enabled her to gain admittance to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota; she was detained by the Secret Service when she attempted to rush the stage during the acceptance speech of vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
In a June 2008 radio interview, Evans expressed sympathy for the grievances that had prompted Osama bin Laden to order the 9/11 attacks: “We were attacked because we were in Saudi Arabia, that was the message of Osama, was that because we had our bases in the Middle East, he attacked the United States.” When the interviewer subsequently asked Evans whether she considered that “a valid argument,” she replied: “Sure. Why do we have bases in the Middle East? We totally violated the rights of that country. Why do we get to have bases in the Middle East?”
In 2009 Evans and Code Pink led several trips to Gaza, Egypt and Israel to deliver cargoes of “humanitarian aid” to Gaza’s Hamas-led government, and to publicly denounce Israel. During one trip to Gaza in early June of that year, Hamas gave Code Pink a letter to be hand-delivered to President Barack Obama.
In December 2009, Evans and Code Pink led more than 1,000 leftists, among whom were Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, to Cairo in order to deliver “humanitarian aid” to the Hamas-led government of Gaza. To lend credibility to her mission, Evans carried with her a letter of support from Senator John Kerry. Prior to the trip, Hamas had guaranteed the safety of the Code Pink retinue in Gaza.
In January 2010, Evans and Code Pink asked the Muslim Brotherhood to “join us in cleansing our country!” — and implied that an appropriate means of doing that would be to kidnap former President Bush and his wife, as well as Karl Rove and other members of the former Bush administration.
Evans’ ties to Barack Obama are extensive:
- In February 2007, Evans co-hosted (along with her now-deceased husband Max Palevsky and Dreamworks executives Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg) a key Obama fundraiser just weeks after Obama had announced his presidential candidacy. Evans herself donated the maximum $2,300 to Obama’s campaign.
- In April 2007, the Obama presidential campaign announced that Evans was one of its early fundraising bundlers.
- In June 2008, Evans met with Obama at a high-priced fundraiser.
- In late August 2008, Evans attended the Democratic National Convention and, because of her status as a bundler, was invited to two private receptions with Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden.
- In September 2008, Evans attended two exclusive Hollywood fundraisers with Obama. Two weeks later, she met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York City.
- In October 2008, Evans worked with Code Pink’s Los Angeles chapter on a get-out-the-vote campaign in Obama’s behalf.
- After Obama’s election as President in November 2008, Evans and some fellow Code Pink representatives traveled to Iran at the personal invitation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
- On June 19, 2009, Evans visited the White House and met with Buffy Wicks, the deputy of Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. That same month, Evans visited the White House residence.
- In the fall of 2009, Evans, at a San Francisco fundraiser for Obama, personally gave the President a propaganda package compiled from her recent trip to Afghanistan, where she had met with the Taliban. The next day, Evans was given a briefing by Obama’s deputy chief of staff.
- In November 2009, when Obama announced his plan to send additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, his staff coordinated with Evans on the matter of how the anti-war left’s dissent against that policy should be expressed.
Andrew L. “Andy” Stern (born November 22, 1950), is the former president [of the 2.2 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the fastest-growing union in the Americas. SEIU is the second largest union in the United States and Canada after the National Education Association. Stern was elected in 1996 to succeed John Sweeney. Stern is intent upon influencing federal legislation that helps revitalize the labor movement through universal health care, expanding union ranks via the Employee Free Choice Act , stronger regulations on business, profit sharing for employees, and higher taxes, efforts consistent with a effort to improve the lives of workers.
For his talent at recruiting new members, Stern has been described as the "most important labor boss in America". Stern is unapologetic about targeting private equity firms, shaming business leaders, and competing to build SEIU's membership: “We like to say: We use the power of persuasion first. If it doesn't work, we try the persuasion of power”. The share of workers belonging to a union in 2008 showed the largest annual growth rate since the first report in 1983.Growth in SEIU in 2008—88,926 members--accounted for nearly 21 percent of the national union membership growth.
Former New Leftist Andrew Stern is the current President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the second largest labor union in North America. The economic model championed by Stern and SEIU includes universal health care, increased taxation, an expansion of social welfare programs, and further opportunities for workers to unionize. According to Ryan Lizza, Associate Editor of The New Republic, SEIU leaders such as Stern "tend to be radical, even socialist."
Stern was trained in the tactics of radical activism at the Midwest Academy, which was formed by former Students for a Democratic Society members Paul and Heather Booth. This Academy was created to teach leftist community organizers how to promote social change and infiltrate the labor movement.
Stern also has steered SEIU toward partisan politics. "We're going to build the strongest grassroots political voice in North America," he told more than 3,000 SEIU delegates in his June 2004 national convention address in San Francisco.
Under Stern's leadership, SEIU commonly bullies and pressures companies into signing agreements to make SEIU the representative of their employees. If a company resists joining the union, Stern and his political, media and activist allies conspire to launch "corporate campaigns" aimed at breaking down that resistance through what they term the "death of a thousand cuts." In such campaigns, the cabal of attackers harasses and disrupts company activities, sends vicious emails and letters to stockholders, intimidates customers, stalks and frightens employees, files baseless lawsuits, and plants false stories with media allies to smear the company's reputation.
These pressure tactics are often successful in bringing companies into SEIU's fold. When this occurs, all of their employees are required to join the union. SEIU prefers this arrangement (which Stern calls "Union Democracy") because, in times past, a large percentage of workers who were given a choice voted against joining the union.
n 2005 the New Unity Partnership was dissolved and re-formed as the Stern-founded Change To Win (CTW) federation, which seeks to raise the minimum wage and/or enact living wage ordinances; eliminate free trade agreements; and pass "a sensible immigration policy" recognizing that "undocumented workers contribute much to America" and "should be ... provided with a path to citizenship." CTW consists of seven unions whose combined membership exceeds 6 million. These include the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Laborers' International Union of North America, SEIU, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, the United Farm Workers of America, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and UNITE HERE.
Stern is a leading figure in the so-called Shadow Party, a nationwide network of more than five-dozen unions, non-profit activist groups, and think tanks whose agendas are ideologically leftist, and who are engaged in campaigning for the Democrat Party. In July 2003, Stern -- along with fellow Shadow Party leaders Harold Ickes, Steve Rosenthal, Ellen Malcolm, and Jim Jordan -- formed America Votes, a national coalition of grassroots, get-out-the-vote organizations.
Stern also sits on the Executive Committee of yet another Shadow Party constituent group, America Coming Together.
In a 2006 interview, CBS newswoman Leslie Stahl told Stern: "You like to say, 'Workers of the world unite.' Which sounds, it is Karl Marx. But that's your, that's your kind of slogan now." Stern replied, "Well, the good news is, Communism is dead. But the truth is the phrase means a lot because all of a sudden workers in London and workers in the United States are working for the same employer and the same owners"; i.e., multinational corporations.
In 2007 Stern helped organize Working For Us (WFU), a political action committee that seeks to "elect lawmakers who support a progressive political agenda." Aiming to move the Democratic Party ever further to the political left, Stern and WFU work to prevent conservative and moderate Democrats from gaining too much influence in government. The Executive Director of WFU is Steve Rosenthal, co-founder of America Coming Together.
In September 2008 Stern was a signatory to a statement demanding that a portion of the $700 billion "bailout bill," enacted by the federal government to preserve the solvency of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, be used instead to fund various social and economic "justice" provisions. Said this document:
"Major public investment in new energy and conservation, rebuilding schools and infrastructure, extending unemployment and food stamps, helping states avoid crippling cuts in police and health services -- is vital to get the real economy moving and put people back to work. No bailout should proceed without being linked to support for a major public investment plan to get the economy going."
In 2008 Stern supported Barack Obama's presidential candidacy. His SEIU spent approximately $60.7 million to help elect Obama to the White House, deploying some 100,000 pro-Obama volunteers during the campaign (including 3,000 who worked on the election full time). Stern went on to become an immensely influential advisor to President Obama. As of October 30, 2009, Stern had visited the White House 22 times since Obama's inauguration -- more than any other individual.
In 2009, Stern said the following about the American economic system:
"We evolved into a more market-worshiping, privatizing, deregulating, trickle-down, union-busting, I've got mine so long sucker economy which was a perfectly acceptable theory. There was nothing wrong with that theory if that was how people thought we could maintain and expand wealth or we could retain the American dream. It had one, only one, significant problem. Actually it was a fatal flaw. It didn't work. It has not worked, it did not work, and now America is in peril because of that."
In an April 2, 2009 speech at the Kennedy School of Government, Stern said the following about his socialist vision for "the new American economy":
"We are at the historic crossroad, I think, economically, in my lifetime -- in terms of what a new president is trying to do, and the different way we are goiing to try to evaluate the economy. And so all of a sudden we are witnessing the new American economic plan, led by the government, not necessarily led by the private sector."
In the same speech, he spoke about his desire to facilitate a massive redistribution of wealth in the United States:
"We now have a new metric. You know, the president says he wants to judge the new economy [by] whether it increases the number of people in the middle class, [by] whether we have shared prosperity, not just [by] whether we have growth which is a fundamental different philosophy than we have seen in our country up to date. And clearly government has has a major opportunity to distribute wealth through the EITC [Earned Income Tax Credit], through tax policies, through minimum wages, through living wages. The government has a role in distributing wealth or social benefits like Medicare, Medicaid, children’s health insurance.”
Stern added the following words advocating a form of global government that would transcend national boundaries:
“We created global trade. We created global finance. We created global companies. But we forgot to create a global government, or a global organizatio, or global regulators … [W]e let global capitalism run amuck, and we need global regulation.” In the same speech, he said that he and President Obama were more concerned with “whether we have shared prosperity, not just wheher we have growth — which is a fundamental[ly] different philosophy than we’ve seen in our country up (sic) to date.”
In February 2010, President Obama appointed Stern to sit on a National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
At a June 7, 1010 conference of the Campaign for America’s Future in Washington, DC, Stern said: ”America needs a 21st century economic plan because we now know the market-worshipping, privatizing, de-regulating, dehumanizing American financial plan has failed and should never be revived, worshipping the market again.” He added that the progressive movement must help transform the U.S. economy “from a manufacturing base, to a service, finance, knowledge, green, Internet, and bio-science economy.”
Cass R. Sunstein (born September 21, 1954) is an American legal scholar, particularly in the fields of constitutional law, administrative law, environmental law, and law and behavioral economics, who currently is the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration. For 27 years, Sunstein taught at the University of Chicago Law School, where he continues to teach as the Harry Kalven Visiting Professor. Sunstein is currently Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where he is on leave while working in the Obama administration.
On January 7, 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that Professor Sunstein will be named to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). That news generated controversy among progressive legal scholars and environmentalists.
In his research on risk regulation, Professor Sunstein is known for developing, together with Timur Kuran, the concept of availability cascades, wherein popular discussion of an idea is self-feeding and causes individuals to overweight its importance. Professor Sunstein’s books include After the Rights Revolution (1990), The Partial Constitution (1993), Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech (1995), Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict (1996), Free Markets and Social Justice (1997), One Case at a Time (1999), Risk and Reason (2002), Why Societies Need Dissent (2003), Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle (2005), Radicals in Robes: Why Extreme Right-Wing Courts Are Wrong for America (2005), Are Judges Political? An Empirical Analysis of the Federal Judiciary (2005), Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge (2006), and, co-authored with Richard Thaler, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (2008).
Sunstein’s 2006 book, Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge, explores methods for aggregating information; it contains discussions of prediction markets, open-source software, and wikis. Sunstein’s 2004 book, The Second Bill of Rights: FDR’s Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More than Ever, advocates the Second Bill of Rights proposed by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Among these rights are a right to an education, a right to a home, a right to health care, and a right to protection against monopolies; Sunstein argues that the Second Bill of Rights has had a large international impact and should be revived in the United States. His 2001 book, Republic.com, argued that the Internet may weaken democracy because it allows citizens to isolate themselves within groups that share their own views and experiences, and thus cut themselves off from any information that might challenge their beliefs, a phenomenon known as cyberbalkanization.
Sunstein co-authored Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Yale University Press, 2008) with economist Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago. Nudge discusses how public and private organizations can help people make better choices in their daily lives. Thaler and Sunstein argue that
People often make poor choices – and look back at them with bafflement! We do this because as human beings, we all are susceptible to a wide array of routine biases that can lead to an equally wide array of embarrassing blunders in education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, happiness, and even the planet itself.
The ideas in the book proved popular with politicians such as U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and the British Conservative Party in general. The “Nudge” idea has not been without criticism. Dr Tammy Boyce of public health foundation The King’s Fund has said:
We need to move away from short-term, politically motivated initiatives such as the ‘nudging people’ idea, which are not based on any good evidence and don’t help people make long-term behaviour changes.