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Big Business's Hidden Hand in the Smear Job on Van Jones

How Americans for Prosperity, the astroturf group that organized town-hall thuggery, teamed up with Fox News to force out Van Jones.

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Americans for Prosperity, as AlterNet has reported, works closely with the personalities of Fox News, and has long received substantial funding by the oil money of David Koch, who serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

But even that fun fact offers too narrow a view of the agenda advanced by AFP with the mighty assistance of Beck's uber-boss, Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox and the Wall Street Journal , and chairman of the colossal News Corp. Together, these entities oppose any form of regulation that would disturb the status quo for Very Big Business -- conglomerates that range in sector from nuclear power to the prison industry.

To these entrenched interests, Jones is a very dangerous man, indeed -- even as a midlevel White House aide. (Now that he is "liberated" by his White House resignation, AlterNet Executive Editor Don Hazen writes, they may soon rue the day they sought to turn Jones out of the government.)

As inspirational speakers go, it's hard to find an equal to Jones, who has already helped to broaden the clean-energy and environmental movements far beyond their white, crunchy, granola base. Adept at building coalitions and finding interdisciplinary approaches, Jones is just the person to sell an abstract concept like cap-and-trade to regular, cash-strapped Americans.

Jones' approach includes the greening of American cities, the development of green jobs for inner-city citizens -- and especially for repatriating ex-convicts into civil society -- as well as wonky remedies like cap-and-trade.

It's a fully integrated vision. As Jones told me in an interview last year, "If you ... have to break up with oil and coal, you may as well break up with poverty and a bunch of other stuff."

In his Fox News column, Kerpen actually gets the Jones agenda pretty well:

He urged adoption of a carbon cap-and-trade program, renewable electricity mandates, including Al Gore's outlandish and impossible goal of eliminating fossil fuel use by 2018, large taxpayer-funded green jobs programs, a so-called smart grid for electricity, more mass-transit subsidies, higher fuel efficiency standards for automobiles, federal funding for organic farms, a ban on new coal plants, expanded ethanol mandates, and even a spirited, multiple-page pitch for a cash-for-clunkers program -- he called it "Hoopties for Hybrids."

Kerpen's problem with this agenda?

As I explained previously on the Fox Forum, the push for "green jobs" has everything to do with funding the far-left political activities that Van Jones so adamantly believed in. Green jobs are not economic jobs but political jobs, designed to funnel vast sums of taxpayer money to left-wing labor unions, environmental groups and social justice community organizers.

Kerpen goes on to complain that "cap-and-trade … could send these green groups trillions …" And they stand to gain "billions," he writes, from "the unspent portion of the stimulus bill," which he wants to see repealed.

In essence, Kerpen's modus operandi is the latter-day equivalent of the "Defund the Left" campaign embarked on by Howard Phillips, a founder of the religious right, during his short stint in the Nixon administration.

In addition to Beck and AFP, a less-noticed player in the health care drama is Grassfire, another astroturfing outfit, which, as AlterNet has reported, organized town-hall disrupters through its ResisNet site. Grassfire is endosed by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., who on Sept. 4, called upon Jones to resign, citing Jones' "extremist views."

ResistNet is a social-networking hub for the armed patriot movement, as well as racists and paranoids of all stripes. (On the day we visited, we found one video comparing Obama to Hitler, and another featuring a preacher who called him "a half-breed MacDaddy" and called upon "white folks"; to "riot in the streets.") Grassfire is also organizing its members for a ground assault on cap-and-trade.