Sessions Uses DOJ To Defend Ohio’s Massive Voter Purge

So, it turns out there was a reason the current evangelical attorney general committed felony perjury before the United States Senate and risked being sent to a federal penitentiary for five years. Jeff Sessions desperately wanted to advance his deeply-held religious convictions and use the Justice Department to punish the LGBTQ community nearly as much as he wanted to thwart democracy by restricting voting rights to white Republicans.

This week, the lying evangelical attorney general directed the DOJ to intervene in a “controversial” federal court case and protect a red state’s effort to revoke voters’ registration; an effort that has already purged well over 2 million voters from mostly Democratic-leaning neighborhoods. The case Sessions’ butted in to involves Ohio’s fascist Republican policy that has revoked voting rights for citizens Republicans claim are ineligible to participate in democracy if they haven’t voted for six years.

The DOJ filed an amicus brief on behalf of Ohio Republicans claiming that purging mostly Democratic voters is perfectly legal; the DOJ solicitor general stopped short of claiming the Republican voter purge campaign was inspired by god almighty. This fascist idea that all states are supposed to attack voting rights began in earnest in late June on the same day Trump, Pence, and Kris Kobach demanded personal and confidential voter data from every state in the Union. On that day the Sessions-led DOJ sent a letter to 44 states warning them it was reviewing their “voter list maintenance procedures” and demanded to know exactly how they intended to purge the names of voters the alt-right Trump administration claims were ineligible.

Most Americans are aware that Republicans, their legislative arm ALEC, and the fascist in the White House despise the idea that all citizens have voting rights, but it is stunning that the Justice Department has embraced voter suppression tactics. It is a major departure from what the Department has done in the past according to the DOJ’s mission statement; ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”

According to Vanita Gupta, an Obama Administration voting rights advocate:

Monday’s filing was further confirmation of some of our worst fears about the Trump administration’s crackdown on voting rights. Yesterday, the Justice Department abandoned a longstanding view through numerous court filings across Democratic and Republican administrations that the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 prohibits voter purge practices like the one under litigation in Ohio.”

Ms. Gupta is right, of course, but she stopped short or condemning Sessions’ for abandoning the DOJ’s mandate to protect the people’s rights and enforce the law; including the federal National Voter Registration Act of 1993. Instead, this fascist administration’s Justice Department is violating its longstanding mission to “enforce the laws of the United States … and ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”

This is the second time the Sessions-led Department of Justice has butted in to a court case it has no business being involved in. Less than two weeks ago Sessions’ issued an evangelical “amicus brief” saying that members of the LGBTQ community do not deserve or enjoy anti-discrimination or civil rights’ protections laid out in the 14th Amendment, Civil Rights Act of 1965, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Under the Trump-Sessions fascist administration, the Department of Justice is as opposed to those federal laws as they are the National Voter Registration Act. It is not in the DOJ’s mission statement to defend violations of the federal laws and in fact according to the DOJ motto, its job is prosecuting violations of those laws.

The DOJ’s official motto, “Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur,” is loosely translated from the Latin and means: “Who prosecutes on behalf of justice (or the Lady Justice).” Perhaps Sessions doesn’t speak or read Latin, but that is no excuse for defending a violation of federal law when he should be “prosecuting on behalf of justice.” If Sessions can read English, he can acquaint himself with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and start doing his job by prosecuting Ohio Republicans “on behalf of justice.”

Whether one does a quick perusal, or a comprehensive investigation, of the Department Of Justice’s mission they will never find any “offices, departments, or divisions” devoted to fighting against democracy, opposing longstanding federal laws, or joining evangelical fundamentalists’ efforts to restrict the constitutionally-guaranteed equal and civil rights of all Americans.  However, that is precisely what Trump’s religious alt-right sycophant running the DOJ has made his raison d’être and it was so important a goal to achieve for Jeff Sessions that he risked federal prison by committing felony perjury under oath during his Senate confirmation hearing.

Trump Imperils a Third of the Population’s Clean Drinking Water

By now only someone in a coma is unaware that Republicans will go to great lengths to sate the greed of the fossil fuel industry no matter how detrimental their actions are to human life. As most Americans learned by the sixth grade, the primary component in a human body is water; anywhere from 60 to 75 percent depending on a person’s age. That being the case, it is safe to assume most people comprehend that access to clean drinking water is more than a basic human right, it is fundamental to life. Obviously, not everyone agrees with fundamental biology or has any regard for human life; that is particularly true of America’s “pro-life” Republicans.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly “Explicitly recognized the fundamental human right to safe water and sanitation, and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.”

Republicans, led by the Koch brothers and Donald Trump, completely disagree with the U.N. General Assembly and are continuing the fossil fuel attack on Americans’ “fundamental human right” to clean water; an attack they began early in the new legislative year with a new heartless White House occupant. However, that “first strike” attack only affected areas in and around coal mining regions, so the Trump is expanding the attack on clean drinking water to affect a greater number of Americans; a little over one-in-three Americans.

In early February, Trump signed a law allowing the fossil fuel (primarily coal) industry to dump toxic waste and chemicals into Americans’ clean water supplies. This is in spite of Trump’s campaign pledge to his supporters that “Americans need crystal clear and clean drinking water.” As Jenifer Collins of Earthjustice said at the time:

It is shameful that one of the first bills President Trump signs into law is an attack on clean water protections for communities facing the harmful health and environmental impacts of coal mining operations like mountaintop removal mining. The President said Americans need ‘crystal clear and clean water.’ If he really meant that, he would have vetoed this legislation.”

Of course Trump didn’t mean it – he is a pathological liar. And he will say “I never promised to protect Americans’ crystal clear and clean drinking water, I just said they need it.” Apparently the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel industry needs the authority to pour toxic waste into “crystal clear and clean drinking water” without legal repercussions or punitive damages that Trump and Republicans were happy to provide.

Another advocate for Americans’ access to clean drinking water, Natalie Thompson, representing the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition said:

Voting to overturn the Stream Protection Rule in its entirety with no consideration for the health of our citizens and our ecosystems is completely irresponsible. The people in these coal communities will pay the price by being forced to purchase potable water that they cannot afford or by combating cancer, birth defects, and other invasions of human health by way of toxic water.”

As an aside for Ms. Thompson to ponder; If those people in those coal communities are unable to afford purchasing potable water, they aren’t going to be able to purchase healthcare insurance to battle cancer, birth defects or other human health issues. And, if they are that economically disadvantaged they will just have to die along with any Medicaid or Medicare coverage Trump and Republicans are eliminating to “sate the greed of the rich.”

Now, Trump and his fossil fuel industry EPA director, Scott Pruitt, are readying a vicious attack on the rest of the nation’s “crystal clear and clean water” that will affect a little over a third of the population’s “fundamental human right” to clean water.

Trump’s barbaric administration officially began repealing the “Clean Water Rule” late last week with a solemn pledge to completely “rescind and rewrite the regulation.” Trump’s fossil fuel employee Scott Pruitt will task industry lobbyists to “rewrite the regulation” to conform to the February law allowing the fossil fuel producers, manufacturers, and agribusiness  to legally dump toxic waste into about two million miles of rivers and streams and 20 million acres of wetlands.

To get an idea of how dastardly this Trump cabal really is, the “official repeal proposal” appeared on the same day EPA Administrator and ardent “pro-life” evangelical Scott Pruitt testified in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee that with a fossil fuel advocate like him at the helm, “the EPA would focus on its core mission of ‘protecting clean air and water’ for the American people.”

Pruitt said in a press statement:

We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses. This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.’ and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty, in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”

Republicans, and particularly the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel cohort, complained bitterly in 2015 when President Obama tasked the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers with following an order from the United States Supreme Court to designate “waters of the U.S” that required protection from toxic dumping; solely because they provide “crystal clear and clean drinking water” to over a third of the population.

In February, at about the same time he signed a law authorizing the fossil fuel industry to dump toxic waste into rivers and streams that provide clean water, Trump issued an executive order directing the EPA to “review and reconsider” the Clean Water Rule it previously devised in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers. Trump specifically ordered the EPA to give “special attention and consideration” to how the agency defined “navigable waters.” One can only imagine that “navigable waters” will be reserved for the oceans in and around the United States so the fossil fuel, manufacturing, chemical, and agricultural industry can dump toxic waste into the clean waters anywhere within the continental United States.

There really isn’t much to say about the party in power, or its corrupt leader, that is printable for polite company, but that it takes a special kind of evil to pass laws, issue executive orders and rescind protections just to “sate the greed of the fossil fuel industry.” It was beyond comprehension that Congress and Trump would enact a law allowing the fossil fuel industry to dump toxic waste in and around mining and oil operations, but endangering a third of the population’s “crystal clear and clean water” is beyond comprehension. Sadly, there is nothing whatsoever anyone can do to stop this vicious attack on a “fundamental human right,” but there are environmental groups pledging to continue the fight for “human rights.” The executive director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune said in a statement:

“It goes without saying that the Trump administration doesn’t care about the environment, public health, or its duty to protect our most precious natural resources — and that is why it’s up to us, the American people, to hold them accountable. We will fight this and every other attempt by polluters and the Trump administration to destroy our water resources.”

The Trump administration is out to destroy, or steal, all of America’s resources for his and Republicans’ masters the Koch brothers, and the people can attempt to fight, and resist, their efforts, but they are impotent. That’s what happens when stupid Americans install a government committed to the general welfare of the rich, corporations and fossil fuel industry instead of the American people. First they came for your healthcare, then your schools, then your freedoms and now they’re coming for your most fundamental human right; “crystal clear and clean water.”

Liberal Economists Say Sanders’ Economic Numbers “Don’t Add Up”

 

 

One of the redeeming features of liberal politics, and policies, is standing firm on reality and not fantasy or what one wishes were true; particularly reality in numbers. Some Americans may remember that Democrats typically have an easy time debunking Republican economic proposals like those of so-called “economic policy wonk” Paul Ryan. Liberal economists get to the truth of Republican economic scams by using good old-fashioned arithmetic; something Republicans, conservative belief tanks, and Paul Ryan never take into consideration in creating what real economists call “fantasy economics.”

Now, a group of liberal economists have assessed another economic policy proposal of a real liberal politician, and using math concluded that Senator Bernie Sanders’ “rosy economic projections do not add up.” The economists warned, like they did with Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity,” that “there is no credible economic research to support its (Sanders’) conclusions.”

The group of “leading liberal economists,” Alan Krueger, Austan Goolsbee, Christina Romer, and Laura D’Andrea Tyson sent a letter to Senator Sanders’ campaign and cautioned that;

Making such promises runs against our party’s best traditions of evidence-based policy making and undermines our reputation as the party of responsible arithmetic.”

In fact, the highly respected economists, who are all universally regarded as luminaries in the field, say the Sanders’ economic projections “are as irresponsible as those promoted by Republicans who claim that deep tax cuts will jump start the economy.”

They tell the Sanders’ campaign;

These claims undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda and make it that much more difficult to challenge the unrealistic claims made by Republican candidates.” These liberal economists are just the latest to question not only the Senator’s numbers, but his “grasp on political realism.” It is a recurring concern.

It is noteworthy that these are the same liberal economists who, at different times over seven years, have served in the Obama Administration and were instrumental in “using responsible arithmetic” to debunk every single Republican economic proposal over the past seven years.  They have also advised the President on his economic policies and agenda that lifted the economy out of the Great Recession, created millions of jobs, and all while reducing the deficit; not heaping trillions of dollars on it.

In fact, a prominent health policy economist at Emory University, Kenneth E. Thorpe, contradicted Mr. Sanders’ Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton and said her claims about how much the Sanders’ healthcare agenda would increase the size of the federal government was completely wrong because it is way too conservative.

Mr. Thorpe, whose field of expertise is “economic health policy,” says Mr. Sanders’ health plan will cost $27 trillion over the next ten years. It is not $14 trillion as advertised and will bring the total of all his initiatives well above $30 trillion through 2026. Mrs. Clinton had said the Sanders’ plan will increase the size of the federal government by 40 percent and the liberal economists all say that too, is all wrong; it will increase it by 50 percent. Now there is a fact Republicans would love to ram down Democrats throats in a general election because that increase is in addition to regular government operating expenses.

That increase is a level that “will surpass any American federal government expansion since the buildup in World War II.” It leads one to wonder exactly how any Democrat will convince Koch Republicans who own the nation’s purse to increase the size of federal government by one percent, much less 40 or 50 percent; particularly when the GOP’s only goal is cutting government to a size they can easily “drown in a bathtub.”

The Sanders’ campaign responded to the liberal economists’ facts and arithmetic-based letter and assessment by dismissing their economic expertise as Clinton sympathizers and corrupt industry insiders. The liberal economic experts join a group that is increasing in size every day based on utterances void of praise for Mr. Sanders.

Look, it is not a popular reality for some Americans, but the fact-based reckoning of the left-of-center economists, none of whom work for Hillary Clinton, are as valid assessments of a real liberal politician’s economic plan as they are for a real Republican politicians’. According to President Obama’s former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, now a University of Chicago professor, “the Sanders’ proposal numbers don’t remotely add up;” it is the same conclusion liberal economists reached about Republican Paul Ryan’s economic proposals.

Austan Goolsbee alluded to another progressive economic analysts’ assessment of the Sanders’ single-payer plan as “puppies and rainbows” he said was nonsense.  He asserted that after his liberal economic teams’ assessment,  “the puppies and rainbows evolved into magic flying puppies with winning Lotto tickets tied to their collars.”

It is worth mentioning yet again, that these real liberal economists, like Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, think the concept of a single-payer plan is worthy of consideration. However, like Mr. Krugman, they also note the major difficulty Democrats and President Obama had in winning support for and implementing a less-ambitious healthcare reform law; one Republicans still want abolished as much as they want to wipe out Medicare.

The liberal economists regard putting everything into a “fairy tale a fool’s errand; particularly at the expense of other necessities such as education, infrastructure, climate change, worker benefits and preserving the Affordable Care Act itself.”

A longtime health economist at the Brookings Institute, Henry J. Aaron, said,

The single-payer idea has enormous appeal: coverage for everyone, hopefully use government power to hold down overall costs, and clean out the godawful mess that the U.S. private health care system is and save money there.”

But Mr. Aaron said that, like nearly all liberal economists, in this political climate such a proposal is a “fairy tale.”

The proposal is a fairy tale in this political climate and it is why it is more important to present realistic numbers. The good news is that real liberal economists are honest enough to use the same standards to assess a liberal’s economic proposals as they are a Republicans’. As the economists said in the letter to the Sanders’ campaign, “these claims undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda and make it that much more difficult to challenge the unrealistic claims made by Republican candidates.”

Democrats, no matter who their candidate of choice is, can be assured that Republicans will take great joy in challenging the unrealistic claims made by the Sanders’ campaign. Armed with some honest assessments, hopefully Senator Sanders will revisit his economic proposals and use “responsible arithmetic” to come up with a plan that no liberal or conservative economist can possibly call a fairy tale.