Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III: Unfit For A Federal Judgeship, Unfit To Be Attorney General Of The United States

Next week, Senate Republicans will begin their process to fast-track nominees for various positions in Donald Trump’s cabinet. One of the most controversial figures in this process that begins on January 10 will be Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III of Alabama, and nominee for Attorney General of the United States. This nomination is extremely disturbing and distressing. In essence, it represents a throwback to the bygone days of the old South.

In an unprecedented move, The Senate Judiciary Committee is allowing the hearings, now limited to two days, to bypass their usual vetting process. It is unquestionable that Senator Sessions’ record must be carefully scrutinized, given his checkered and extremist views that continue to be expressed even today.

It is inconceivable that a man who was denied a lifetime tenured Federal Judgeship in 1986, a seat on the U. S. Court for the Southern District of Alabama, by his own republican colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, would now be considered and allowed to proceed through the process with minimal to no vetting. Most of us are aware of Senator Sessions’ history of racial insensitivity during his tenure as a U. S. Attorney. As the U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, Sessions went out of his way to prosecute civil rights workers in the Alabama “Black Belt” for voter fraud in Black communities, while overlooking the same perceived violations in white communities. One of the workers was an aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The focus of these workers was on voter registration and it took a jury only 4 hours to render an acquittal. This is the same Jeff Sessions who labeled the NAACP, the National Council of Churches, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the American Civil Liberties Union as “un-American” and “communist inspired”. As if those denunciations were not enough, Sessions casted a white civil rights lawyer as a “disgrace to his race” for litigating civil rights cases.

Fast-tracking of Sessions’ nomination lay at the feet of his republican colleagues in the Senate, the integrity of his nomination lies in his hands. To date, Sessions continues to withhold from the Judiciary Committee, information surrounding decades of his career. As with any other such nomination, the committee requires complete documentation of employment history, published writings, interviews and speeches. The questionnaire that Sessions has submitted to the committee omits major details from his years as U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama from 1981 to 1993, his tenure as Attorney General of Alabama from 1995 to 1997, and his first term as a U. S. Senator from 1997 to 2002.

More recently, there have been several interviews during which he has once again made controversial statements. He is on record giving Donald Trump a pass for making sexist comments stating “everybody knows Trump likes women and uses this kind of talk”. In another interview he stated “the predictions aren’t coming true” about the deleterious effects of climate change. None of these interviews were identified in his questionnaire that he submitted to the Judiciary Committee. Sessions maintains an extreme bias against immigrants, a bias so right wing that it has even alienated many of his republican colleagues.

The irony is that as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions chided Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor for what he perceived as incomplete answers in her judiciary committee questionnaire. He went even further during the hearings for Goodwin Liu, nominee for the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, warning that Liu “might be breaking the law” by leaving information out of his questionnaire, punishable by two years in jail. It seems hypocritical that Sessions feels so high minded to slam past nominees for incomplete documents, only to blatantly do even worse himself today.

Cowardice is the greatest vice. A man’s vanity tells him what is honor; his conscience tells him what justice is. The truth is tough and Sessions must face up to this fact. In his attempt to mislead and erase his hateful and willful past and present misdeeds, Sessions continues to thumb his nose at the American people, placing himself above the law.

The U. S. Attorney General is supposed to be the lawyer for the people. He should be above the fray. The U. S. Justice Department has a duty and a responsibility to uphold the laws of the country, protecting all Americans, no matter race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. These responsibilities must apply equally to all, in an even-handed manner. This office has jurisdiction over such vital areas as enforcing civil rights, voting rights protections, prosecution of hate crimes, protecting women’s health clinics and upholding the constitutional right to marry. The Attorney General’s personal views must be set aside.

For republicans to shorten this confirmation process in a burst of self-will may get Sessions through the committee, but this tactic only sends a reverberating message that the cause of equal justice is not on their radar screen. It means that the fortunate and especially the unfortunate, in the end will suffer. The position of U. S. Attorney General is much too important to be rubber-stamped. As noted by Martin Luther King, Jr., “When civil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice”.  The nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions, extreme and unrepentant, is surely not a good sign for the future of justice and equality in America.

The 30 year record of racial insensitivity, bias against immigrants, disregard for the rule of law and hostility to the protection of civil rights make Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III totally unfit to be granted the privilege of serving as the Attorney General of The United States of America.

An Unprincipled Mind: Trump Trying To Adapt The World To Himself

History has proven time and again that good people who stand for what is right and solidly resist what is wrong, have the power to advance the cause of justice. There is goodness in this world, but there is also a measure of evil that continues to branch and multiply with breathtaking speed. But the movement of progress keeps us fresh. As we head into 2017, we cannot afford nor must we allow our nation to be taken back to the days of damming stagnation that plagued us for much of the last fifty years. For those who believe otherwise, there is no place for rule by cabal in these United States of America.

As we forge into the New Year and for the next four years in particular, “We the People” and those in the media, can no longer allow one individual who has been granted such trusted responsibility to continue to get away with what he absolutely knows not to be true, inhumane or not in the best interests of the people of the United States. There can be no retreat from the progress made on behalf of women’s rights, civil rights, voting rights, inequality and pay equity, health care or the promises we have made to our seniors and our veterans. We must not allow the burning inner flame of these accomplishments to be extinguished by an egotistical, self-aggrandizing, uncivil and insecure Commander in Chief, or his factually challenged and often unhinged supporters, most who will soon also realize that they too have been lied to and used simply for personal political gain.

Good judgment is the product of experience. This immediately raises serious questions about Donald Trump, the majority of his cabinet nominees and most of those projected to be a part of his senior management team. Despite his continued proclamations, Trump’s self-praise provides no credible recommendation for his qualifications, his ability to reasonably provide domestic tranquility, his ability and willingness to ensure common sense international relationships, or even his general overall conscience and stability. His zeal to compare, to compete and to have more has been a life-long intentional process with the goal of creating “have-nots” and “others”, a process that he continues to refuse to change even today. This has been an obvious and consistent pattern manifest by Mr. Trump’s business dealings, his refusal to release his tax returns, and his multiple risk taking schemes designed to line his pockets, no matter the effects or consequences laid at the feet of others. This style however will certainly crumble under its own weight once he takes the oath of office. Thereafter, he must quickly learn that it is a mistake to continue to confuse words with knowledge. And he must dissuade himself from making noise for noise’s sake. “Statesman like” decisions can no longer be provided to the gullible in 140 characters.

It is absolutely imperative that Mr. Trump come to grips with the fact that he must now deal with the practical considerations of reality, not just for his sake, but for the sake of all Americans and for the sake of stability throughout the world. His inflammatory rhetoric must cease, as we cannot reach our full potential as Americans living as separate nations within our own nation.

Donald Trump must reassess his principles if he expects to have any semblance of success as a person, and more importantly, as President of the United States. Principled people are comfortable with who they are. Their values are not ideas that flow from their mind, but rather a part of an inclusive mindset that benefits all Americans.

If and until that time occurs, the rest of us must keep our guard up and demand action and accountability from both Mr. Trump and a wayward republican Congress. Our voices must be loud, constant and unafraid of any threats or consequences. We owe nothing less to ourselves or to the future of an already Great America.

Trump Just Doesn’t Get It: Escalation of Mutual Destruction is Completely Irrational

After nearly 40 years of diplomacy to promote nuclear disarmament around the world, Donald Trump announces his national security policy regarding a new arms race via Twitter, espousing a reversal of policies for which so many have worked so hard and for so long to prevent. Trump’s proposed policy reversal is so serious and so perilous that it would almost certainly encourage participation of officially recognized nations, not to mention rogue pseudo nations and other unstable organizations. According to Trump, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes mutually assured destruction”. Unfortunately Mr. Trump has not been paying attention over these past many years.

Recognized mutually assured destruction was the reason for worldwide nuclear disarmament agreements. A restart of an arms race is not in any countries best interest and certainly not in the best interest of The United States or our world. Trump, the puppet and willing minion, knowingly or not, has given Vladimir Putin the opportunity for which he has been waiting. This is Trump’s “Reagan” Moment where Reagan joked that the “Bombing of Russia will begin in 5 minutes” during a mike check in 1984. Reagan’s off the cuff comment immediately created a potential nuclear crisis between Russia and The United States. Loose lips sink ships and loose ill advised, self-serving, ego- centric statements endanger not only the U. S., but the entire world. Whether he realizes it or not, Trump has just given the green light to India, Pakistan, North Korea and any other unstable regime just waiting in the wings to participate in an arms race.

Donald Trump may physically be a man, but his brain has yet to catch-up.

By His Deeds: Donald Trump Is Flying On A Wing And A Prayer

Based on the undeniable fact that our universe is only knowledgeable through the human minds ability to perceive reality, I’m afraid we may be in trouble. Our national government, in just a few short weeks, will be in the hands of unconscious agents who are creating reality in their own image. Our future is heading for a dead end. We are being inundated and surrounded by dark energy based on the irrational and random acts of the selective unconsciousness of a President-Elect who is “winging” it at every opportunity.

With the nomination of Jeff Sessions as U. S. Attorney General and Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, I thought we had stabilized at DEFCON 3. Now we learn that Donald Trump has nominated Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, a former orthopedic surgeon as the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. He also announced that Seema Verma, a founder of a health policy consulting company, will be in charge of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that oversees government health programs for the poor and elderly and health insurance standards. To add insult to injury, Dr. Ben Carson, yes that Ben Carson, has been selected to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Ideologically, as a Congressman, Dr. Price has been one of the most fierce opponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), supports plans to slash Medicare and Medicaid, is against a woman’s right to choose and backed legislation to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding. In 2015, he introduced legislation that would essentially destroy the ACA which is a pretty good indication of his philosophy. His bill would also roll back Medicaid Expansion that already exists in 31 states and the District of Columbia, would cut federal subsidies, convert Medicaid to block grants and turn Medicare into a voucher program with his “premium support” concept. On the issue of pre-existing conditions, his bill would offer protection only to those who maintained continuous health coverage with any insurer for the previous 18 months. So if someone did not have coverage for a month or were between jobs, insurers would not be required to sell an affordable plan to those who fall into this category. Tom Price is a danger to your health!

Donald Trump has surrounded himself with a known racist who would be responsible for ensuring civil rights and equal justice for all Americans, a billionaire activist who has zero experience in education to ensure that our children are properly educated, two physicians one of whom has made it perfectly clear that he intends to gut the Affordable Care Act leaving millions without health care and end Medicare and Medicaid, and the other who believes the pyramids were built to store grain and has no idea of how the government works.

Now Trump has named Rex Tillerson as his nominee for Secretary of State, another in a series of many nominees with no governmental experience, unless you are not willing to exclude his active campaign opposing U. S. sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. I suppose his Russian Order of Friendship Award in 2013 could be considered a governmental job well done…..for the Russian Government.

And the beat goes on. We have Mike Pompeo as the nominee for CIA Director, a tea party true believer; Scott Pruitt, Trump’s nominee to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a climate change denier and an existential threat to the planet; Mike Flynn, nominee as the next National Security Adviser, a man who borders on being demented, is a picture of paranoia and an avowed conspiracy theorist, and Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist, a troubled man who has difficulty walking upright and being awake or even aware of his surroundings. Bannon lives in an “alt-right” parallel universe where blacks only commit crimes and immigrants rape native born daughters.

I for one am not encouraged about the future of our country or that of my fellow citizens. Despite these outrageous nominations and appointments, there still remains the potential for things to get worse. We have yet to learn exactly what business or other ties Trump himself has with foreign governments, what promises he has made or even who or what foreign government is on the receiving end of those promises.

On Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, Donald Trump will assume the role of chief executive of the United States. At noon on that day, Trump will recite the following 35 words: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” At the end of that oath, the United States of America will officially revert back to injustice, more inequality, loss of health care for the poor, the under-served and the elderly, more overt racism, bigotry and nativism, enhanced protection for the 1%, and suspension of women’s rights, voting rights and civil rights.

That day will be a dark day in America’s history. Oh, and lest we forget, our nation will revert to the edge of DEFCON 1.

Lights, Camera, Action: Trump Auditioning Candidates For A New Reality Show

There are times when the spirit has the upper hand. There are also times when ignoring the facts places us all at risk. Worse than evil is indifference to evil. With the recent election of Donald “Judas” Trump, our nation is on the cusps of returning to those dark days of yesteryear. Many a person today has a reason to despair. Prepare yourselves as the fortunate and the unfortunate are about to suffer. So cry out if you will, for crying out to something is not crying into nothing. Those small observations that go neglected, translates into matters of greater consequences. So remember, it is always the little things, when compounded together over time, are the things that really matter and will have enduring consequences.

Mr. Trump is in the process of auditioning contestants for his new reality show, “Let’s Make America Unhinged Again”. Several names for cabinet positions keep popping up, but none are more disturbing than those of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions and Betsy DeVos. Also among the mix are Newt Gingrich, Ben Carson, and the incomparable Rudolph William Louis “Rudy” Giuliani. I place these last 3 in the category of intelligent fools who are basically “hangers on”, seeking positions to elevate their own self- importance. This is not to say that they are any less dangerous, for they too have proven themselves to be intolerant, devious and deceptive. Mitt Romney is a story unto himself, and I won’t waste your time or mine as he exposed himself so eloquently in the 2012 Election.

So, let me focus on the two other contestants. The selection of Jeff Sessions for any cabinet position would be totally unacceptable by any standard. His record is too divisive, too extreme and too racist to serve in any role. He has overtly expressed his racist views, slammed civil rights organizations and derided the Voting Rights Act as a piece of “intrusive legislation”. In the last several years, he opposed the Violence Against Women Act, impeded efforts to remove the Confederate flag from display on public property and opposed the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. Not only did he repeatedly vote against defense authorization bills, he did so because he disagreed with hate crime riders and the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law associated with these authorizations.

Jeff Sessions is only the 2nd nominee in 50 years to be rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee for a federal judgeship because of his racist comments. He continues to this day to embrace draconian policies that would hurt communities of color, especially including the gutting of the Voting Rights Act. He remains a stanch and virulent opponent of the immigration bill passed by the Senate in 2013 which included a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in this country. He went so far as to attempt to pass a bill that would prevent the Justice Department from filing civil rights lawsuits against anti-immigration laws passed by several states. Alabama had such an anti-immigration law however 7 provisions of that law were struck down by the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama as unconstitutional. It should come as no surprise that the Senator is an avid opponent of anti-war protesters, especially anti-Iraq war protesters, as in his opinion, “they do not represent the American ideals of freedom, liberty and spreading that around the world”. In this context, one could assume that Jeff Sessions is the only true patriotic citizen in America.

The thought of him being appointed to Trump’s cabinet as Attorney General is abhorrent. He is beyond the ideological fringe and the Senate should reject him for any position that requires confirmation. His appointment would only reinforce Trump’s appointment of white nationalist Steve Bannon to the top strategist’s role at the White House. It is eminently clear that Sessions is unfit to be Attorney General, a position where non-whites would have good reason to fear that he would actively and passively defang the enforcement of federal civil rights laws. No Senator should vote for a man who we all know will not render justice impartially to all Americans.

Equally troubling is Trump’s recent announcement of Betsy DeVos as the next Secretary of Education. A billionaire Michigan Republican activist and philanthropist, she has limited experience in public education. The DeVos family has been compared to the Koch family in terms of their influence on the modern conservative movement and the Christian right, pouring money into anti-abortion, anti-LGBT rights causes, and supporting and donating to Focus on the Family which supports conversion therapy. Her appointment represents a scary marriage of corporate cronyism, the Christian far-right, and Trumpism.

In 2000, Betsy DeVos helped get a ballot measure before Michigan voters that would have enshrined a right to vouchers in the state’s constitution. After the measure failed, she and her husband formed a political action committee to support pro-voucher candidates nationally. It’s pretty clear what is going on here. Ms. DeVos’ plan is to undermine public education by pushing a consistent corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cooker-cutter solutions to public education. She has helped to make Michigan’s charter schools among the least regulated in the nation. Some 80% of the state’s charter schools are run by private companies.

In Michigan, a for profit charter school insurgency in Detroit has led to a public education fiasco that is unparalleled in the United States, with only 10% of rising seniors scoring “college ready” on reading tests. If Michigan is a center of school choice, it is also among the worst places to argue that choice has made schools better. As the state embraced and then expanded charter schools over the past two decades, its rank has fallen on national reading and math tests. Most charter schools perform below the state average. In fact, a federal review in 2015 found “an unreasonably high” percentage of charter schools on the list of the state’s lowest performing schools. Charter schools also have fewer special education students than traditional public schools, with the difference between the two most dramatic in the state’s urban areas.  Even many Michigan republican supporters of charter schools say the Michigan agenda has allowed failing charter schools to expand and replicate.

It appears that DeVos’ agenda is to break the public education system, not educate kids, and replace it with a for-profit model. This model is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse and handfeeding it school children. The Trump-DeVos agenda for education has the potential to undermine progress by diverting resources from the young people who most need them, or by failing to uphold the federal government’s responsibility to protect the needs and interests of all students, especially the most vulnerable.

In the final analysis, we now have an unqualified and unfit President Elect surrounding himself with unqualified and unfit surrogates. Let the ratings begin for this new reality show!