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EDITORIAL: The president’s crackpot

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Barack Obama promised to usher in a new post-partisan utopia if elected president. But since taking office, Mr. Obama has surrounded himself with some of the most extreme radicals from the far-left fringe.

One of these radicals is Van Jones, the administration's "green jobs czar," who helped write much of the stimulus package. Mr. Jones has made delusional accusations that the George W. Bush administration "may have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen" and that oil companies were killing blacks in Nigeria. He has given credence to a bizarre theory called "ecological apartheid" in which "white polluters and the white environmentalists" are "steering poison" to minority communities.

ABC News reports that administration sources are defending Mr. Jones by saying he signed the statement about Sept. 11 without carefully reading the text. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. For a decade or more, starting in 1993, Mr. Jones identified himself as a committed communist.

In a 2005 profile in the East Bay Express of Oakland, Calif., he said, "[I] spent the next 10 years of my life [from 1994 on] working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary." Mr. Jones was in prison in 1993 for participating in the Rodney King riots. In 2005, he described his time in prison this way: "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.' "

In 1994, Mr. Jones founded a group called Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, or STORM. Using Marxist and Leninist policies as a model, STORM engaged in "mobilizing young people of color into militant direct action and combin[ing] it with more deeply rooted organizing in our communities," according to the East Bay Express. As recently as 2005, he still labeled himself a "revolutionary," and until 2003 he called himself a "black nationalist."

The White House doesn't deny that it knew about Mr. Jones' radical recent history when he was hired. Instead, Obama administration flacks sidestep the scandal and stick to the vague talking point that the former communist is now focused on "building green energy incentives." The White House has refused to respond to our attempts to confirm media reports that the president has known Mr. Jones for many years. Either way, it says a lot about Mr. Obama that he would want this man to serve in his administration.

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