Posts tagged ‘Jeff Sessions’

Playing with Real Fire

No, not the child in the Bronx that burned down his building, the Republicans.  But the result could be the same, with damage, destruction, and death all around. With the further release of data showing the President obstructed justice by trying to use the Justice Department as a shield to any investigations, in this case little Jeffey Sessions, the letters from Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsay Graham to investigate the author of the famous dossier on Trump and Russia (A British citizen who will never be investigated, nor is there any basis for the investigation), new investigations into Hillary and the Clinton Foundation that nobody cares about and has been investigated to the ninth degree, and Congressman Nunes attempts to gain access (apparently successful) to Mueller investigations to try to thwart it, it is quite apparent that Republicans are now fully engaged is trying to thwart finding the truth.

Right now President DFF is having a meeting with senior staff and his Cabinet at Camp David and guess who did not get an invitation?  Little Jeffey Sessions.  Fire him and put some in place who can seriously damage the Mueller investigation or fire Mueller?  As the NYT opined this morning:

All of these specifics make sense within the constructed world of the Trump presidency. But we shouldn’t miss the forest for the trees. Trump’s view of his power and the power of the Department of Justice he leads is that this power can justifiably be leveled against his political opponents. This is in part because Trump fails to understand that the allegations he’s embracing are often specious (a diet heavy in Sean Hannity will do that to you). But it’s also in part because Trump came to office with the idea that he would wield influence at the White House as he did at Trump Tower: by fiat and without question.

It was expected that the delicate-if-uneven balance of power in Washington would help guide and temper Trump’s inclinations to target his political detractors, and it has, for the most part. This week, though, we saw a number of ways in which that balance is testing — and wavering.

Said in another way, are the institutions that we believe in finally being totally corrupted by the Republicans to serve political ends that undermine our faith and adherence to out government and the rule of law?  As one reader commented, “…after a year of sustained assaults, federal law enforcement is crumbling as an independent institution and is morphing into more of an authoritarian model, in which the FBI pursues the political enemies of the ruling party.”  I think we have entered various dangerous times.  If this perception becomes widespread, and remember the majority of our nation neither voted for or supports this President, what happens to the rule of law?

Trump and the Republicans are making an assault on states with the tax bill which penalizes those who voted against him, his ruling to ignore states’ ban on off shore drilling (this has even angered some Republicans), his attack on the legalization of marijuana, and his disregard for global warming. The Republicans have now joined in, afraid their hold on power is slipping.  The very people who are supposed to be the firewall against this kind of tyranny are aiding and abetting it.  Are we now lighting the fuse for mass demonstrations and violence? The Republicans are laying the ground work for violent protests and revolution.

My own feelings are one of extreme anger and I am an old may with not a lot of time left on this planet.  I cannot imagine what young people are feeling when they see the ignorant of our political spectrum take over and destroy this country.  Democracy depends on institutions that are insulated from the political whims of politicians, and seek justice and fairness, not political gain. When that is lost, and make no mistake, the Republicans and Right Wing media are doing their best to destroy it, revolution will result.  Who could have thought this could happen in America?  And no, both sides don’t do it, Republicans are in charge.

One reader of the article cited above said this: “We are in uncharted territory, in which the greatest national security threat we face is the President of the United States.” I would add, and what makes this now so dangerous, the greatest national security threat we face is the President of the United States and the Republican Party.  If you have not figured it out, the days of working together died in 2008.  They have been at war with us since.  It is time to return the favor.

Obstruction of Justice

I have said this a million times before, it is about the money.  It is always about the money.  When, according to Michael Wolfe in his new book, Steve Bannon verified that, he was just saying the obvious.  Money is power in Trump world, well in our world too sadly, so colluding with the Russians, which of course they did and as Steve Bannon also got right, was treasonous, was all about money laundering. Trump never expected to win the election, but the Russians wanted to cripple a Hillary Clinton Presidency, and President DFF was indebted up to the hilt with money laundered loans.  That has always been the giant Trump fear that his illegal loans would get exposed

Up till now Republicans could throw cold water on all of that because there was still no real smoking gun, just circumstantial evidence that would even convict Jesus in a court of law.  But the gullible, the fools who voted for him and watch Fox News could delude themselves.  No more.  We have the damning book by Michael Wolfe that points out (and there may be tapes which is why those quoted have not denied they said what is quoted) that everyone who works with him understands he is dangerous and incompetent.  But more important was this little tidbit in a NYT story about how President DFF tried to get little Jeffey Sessions to not recuse himself:

The special counsel has received handwritten notes from Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, showing that Mr. Trump talked to Mr. Priebus about how he had called Mr. Comey to urge him to say publicly that he was not under investigation. The president’s determination to fire Mr. Comey even led one White House lawyer to take the extraordinary step of misleading Mr. Trump about whether he had the authority to remove him.

This should terrify the White House because the Special Counsel has written evidence corroborating the Comey notes.  What else does he have?  The obstruction of justice “fake news” is quickly moving into a sure thing.  The collusion will come later and what is important about the money laundering is the motive for the collusion.  So it is panick time in the White House. Since it is clear he cannot be controlled, what will he do next?

But what should really concern us is those that know he is incompetent, ignorant, immoral, and dangerous and enable him.  Michelle Goldberb in a NYT op-ed today said this:

And yet these people continue to either prop up or defend this sick travesty of a presidency. Wolff takes a few stabs at the motives of Trump insiders. Ivanka Trump apparently nurtured the ghastly dream of following her father into the presidency. Others, Wolff writes, told themselves that they could help protect America from the president they serve: The “mess that might do serious damage to the nation, and, by association, to your own brand, might be transcended if you were seen as the person, by dint of competence and professional behavior, taking control of it.”

Then she points out this is wild fantasy and they are maybe irreparably damaging the country.  But one misses the real enablers, Republicans in the House and Senate.  This is the real travesty here.  The Founders knew that a president like our DFF might be elected and they gave us tools to deal with it.  Instead of dealing with an incompetent and dangerous president, they have tried to thwart the investigation into him, using smoke and mirrors of the appearance of an investigation without any meat.  Their need for implementing their unpopular ideology (most of the nation is against the tax cut, killing Obamacare, etc.) trumps (pun intended) our basic values and the Constitution.

Failure to subpoena witnesses, and provide their swore testimony or evasions to the American people is treasonous.  Their attempts to smear and defame the Special Counsel and his investigation as some partisan witch hunt is paranoid delusional, kind of like the email thing and Benghazi they pursued to against Hillary. They have proven themselves unfit for office.  In fact what they have done may itself be treasonous.

We will know when the tide has changed when Republicans. like the low life rats they are, start to abandon the sinking Trump ship.  But I can only hope Americans will remember, and Democrats will remind them, of how they enabled this travesty of a President, and if fact showed they are the problem in America.  Government is not the problem, Republicans in government is the problem. If you want to run against Trump in 2018, use this to show your Republican opponent is unfit for office.

While We Sleep


I was driving to my golf round yesterday (better titled, ball search round) and I caught some of the Sessions’ hearing before the Judiciary Committee yesterday. It is interesting that without asserting executive privilege (which only the President can do), the Republicans who control the committee allowed Little Jeffy (little in the brain, little in the heart) Sessions, the Attorney General (yeah that is how far we have fallen) to hide behind confidentiality with the President, which does not exist. That basically destroys the whole purpose of the Judiciary Committee which among other things is supposed to oversee the Justice Department. I wonder if this had been a Democrat claiming a non-existent asserted confidentiality, how that would have gone down? But I get distracted.

I think it was Orrin Hatch of Idaho pushing little Jeffy’s religious freedom memorandum which the Justice Department issued to the rest of the government about “respecting religious freedom”. I put that in quotes because what it really is, is a license to discriminate based upon religion:

In a memorandum titled “Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty,” Sessions articulated 20 sweeping principles about religious freedom and what that means for the U.S. government — among them that freedom of religion extends to people and organizations; that religious employers are allowed to hire only those whose conduct is consistent with their beliefs; and that grants can’t require religious organizations to change their character.

Now in my little brain, I thought, “Hmm, did the Founders want us to have religious freedom or freedom from religion and its prejudices? I think mostly the latter having seen the religious wars that had roiled through Europe for hundreds of years*. And of course if you pay attention to history and the framing of the Constitution, because at that time there were state churches and smaller religious sects did not want to be bullied by the big guys, they wanted religion out of government. Note that in the Constitution itself, God is not mentioned, and religion is mentioned only twice, in the original Constitution in Article 6:

“No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States**, and later added as the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Now the intent here is clear and in fact made clear by James Madison in the debates establishing the Constitution when he said, “Religion itself may become a motive to persecution and oppression,” And that is precisely what Little Jeffy Sessions and his Justice Department are about, using religion as a basis to persecute and oppress. Does this say organizations can decide what healthcare you get (if you work for them) based upon their religious beliefs? Hobby Lobby gave us just that decision. Does that say someone can set up discriminatory hiring practices because of their religious beliefs? Can they refuse service because of those beliefs? Yes it does. If you are a religious institution and you discriminate based on that religion, can you still get federal funds? Yes you can.

So we are sliding backwards and forgetting the history of “religious freedom” or as I like to call it, freedom from religion. The Fat F*ck (FF) is into this big time as he made it easier for organizations to deny women access to birth control, but men can get Viagra. Really? Shouldn’t our medical decisions and health care plans be based on good medicine, not religious beliefs? Time for a single payer healthcare system so corporations don’t control our lives? Once you establish the right to discriminate based upon religion, does that not say that White Arians who believe black people are not God’s chosen have every right to discriminate? Where does it stop?

And that was the whole point of getting religion out of government, that you should have a right to believe what you want, but not use that belief to deny other’s their beliefs, and yet that is exactly what we are setting up. This is not a slippery slope, it is a greased cliff. So while you were sleeping, civilization took another step toward the abyss. Isn’t it time we take back our government and reestablish the principle of freedom from religion?

*They also wanted to remove religious absolutism from debate, and allow free and rational debate instead of religious dogma.

**This having been said, it should be noted that several state constitutions do have a religious test — specifically, they deny office to anyone unwilling to acknowledge God or a Supreme Being.)

The State of Man/Sunday Morning

We have been overrun by the crass.  The President is the shinning example, but his whole Administration reeks of mediocrity and driven by corporations and the profit motive.  Ah, the great god, Money.  We even look now at universities to be the training ground  of corporate innovative life.  If it doesn’t have a perceived marketable skill, why take the course is the prevalent attitude.  David Brooks wrote to some extent about the mindless crassness of our present decline of civilization and actually blamed it on the universities.  Many of his readers took him to task on that one*.  David does a great job of sensing society’s ills, but when it comes to cause and effect, he has a real problem with cause as he cannot see that the Great Republican take over was a long road of worshiping acquisition and dumbing us all down.

But I came across this little article about the Cassini spacecraft that has been out there circling Saturn and expanding our knowledge of the cosmos:

Cassini spacecraft is about to begin its great cosmic swan dive.

On Saturday morning, the spacecraft, which has been circling Saturn and its environs for the last 13 years, will skim over the hazes of Titan, the ringed planet’s biggest moon. Like a heavy hand, Titan’s gravity will reach out and pull Cassini onto a new path, downward into the narrow gap between Saturn and its innermost ring, where no human artifact has ever gone.

Cassini will penetrate that formerly inviolate space not once but 22 times, about once a week until Sept. 15, when it will crash into Saturn and be incinerated. This summer then is the last hurrah of sorts for Cassini and the team that has guided it all these years.Now we have extended our reach.

…Nothing Cassini has done or found so far has moved the markets back here on Earth. It moved only our souls, our minds and our imaginations. It made us freer and bigger by showing how little we know and how much more room there is to expand our thoughts and dreams. How little of nature’s repertoire we have even guessed at.

And the last part, that last paragraph really does define the human soul.  We are a society based upon acquisition and measure accomplishment in $.  And it is such a hollow existence when we were given these marvelous minds to think critically and find our place in the cosmos.  Instead we dumb ourselves down fighting for slices of the pie and cutting budgets of the things that are really important to us to fund tax cuts for “the job creators”.  After all, the market loves tax cuts, right?

We, as a human society, could do so much more and yet we elected a man and a party who eschews science and rational thought.  They have solutions to all our problems that are “Great!” and really, really “Big!” Yet they have nothing to do with cause and effect.  Watch sadly as religious freedom gets redefined as the right to impose one’s views on another.  Almost all of our problems are easily solvable, or at least we know the solution, but we are so frightened by change that we imagine the “good old days” and try to create a world where learning stopped.  In order to embrace the solutions of the Trump administration one has to kill about half of his/her brain cells.

Classic example was Jeff Sessions decrying that, “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power,”  Hmm.  First that island in the Pacific is a state with a Federal District Court.  Second, you would not think you would have to explain to an Attorney General about the three branches of government and how the courts have a role in adjudicating Constitutionality.  Third, Sessions voted for the judge’s confirmation and he was confirmed 94-0.  Sessions is just an example of a little piss-ant racist tyrant that is part of the whole Trump phenomenon.  Remember that Sessions coud not be confirmed as a federal judge because of his racism.  Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii called Attorney General Sessions comments “dangerous and ignorant.”  I would up her one and call Jeff Sessions himself dangerous and ignorant.  But that goes to the whole Trump Administration.

Voting is going on today in France and we will see if fear, ignorance, and stupidity will rule Europe too.  It is like we lost our brains or our understanding of the human condition or the advance of human civilization.  We won’t know the outcome until after the runoff elections, but the French mercifully do this in an eleven-day period, including the runoffs.  Hopefully they will put a stop to our right-wing slide back into the dark ages.  If they don’t, I fear for our future.  Well actually I already fear for our future as the damage Cheeto-Head has already done may not be repairable.

One last thing in the interest of rational thought. President Cheeto-Head has signed another meaningless executive order on H-1B  visas that allow us to bring in foreign, well-educated workers.  He wants us to hire Americans first, but there are claims that it is those very H-1B visas that fuel our innovative tech world and this could be devastating.  There is truth on both sides but don’t expect the Cheeto-Heads to do the right thing.  The Economic Policy Institute has put together a good paper on what reforms are really needed so that Americans do not lose their jobs to lower waged H-1B applicants, and that were there are really hard to fill jobs, the H-1Bs can fill those jobs at competitive salaries.  It is common sense, but expect the Tech Industry to fight it because they want lower salaries.  It is always about the money, not what is right. And that is what we have become.  Protecting the powerful and wealthy.  Nothing else matters.  Not quite how I would choose to describe Americanism.

*One response to David’s analysis of our slipping Western civilization:  “So let me get this straight. Millions of Americans worship at the altar of Trump because of how they were taught western civilization? The premise is absurd. First – I doubt most trump voters could identify the “cradle of civilization” let alone tell you the two rivers that form it. Critical inquiry and a more broad historical analysis of western civilization are hardly to blame. The blames lies with decades of your fellow republicans gutting education so that most Americans have never taken a western civ class let alone a good old civics class. These same Americans love to shout how they are the true patriots without having a clue about how our democracy works. Just look no further than the current fool of a president. No – you own this Mr Brooks. Trump is in office due to the willful ignorance of the American populace. It’s precisely the outcome the GOP created from their decades long smear campaign against education, secularism, scientific inquiry and rational thinking.”