Sessions Expands the Trump Administration’s Theocratic War on Gays

 

Many Americans familiar with Attorney General Jeff Sessions were befuddled at claims by other Republicans that the religious right sycophant was an acclaimed civil rights champion when he was tapped to lead the Justice Department. Those same Americans were well aware that Sessions is a harsh critic of civil or equal rights and complained that since it is the DOJ that is tasked with guaranteeing that all Americans enjoy the same rights, Sessions was not qualified to lead the department or protect Americans’ civil rights.

Late Wednesday, Sessions proved those skeptics right and waded into a private employment dispute litigation on the side of a bigot who believes it is legal to discriminate based on an employees’ sexual orientation. The bigot employer fired a worker on the grounds that he was gay.

The evangelical bigot Sessions used his position at the the Justice Department to file official federal government  court papers arguing that a major 53 year-old federal civil rights law does not protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. As Scotusblog reported; the evangelical running the DOJ butted in on a case now being considered by a New York appeals court in what is regarded as “a rare example of top Washington officials weighing in on gay rights in a private dispute.” It is a portent of things to come with an administration rife with theocrats that demand god is given a supreme voice in public policy.

That is precisely what Sessions didn’t say, and something the media is woefully missing in reporting; Sessions’ official DOJ amicus brief in defense of discrimination is founded on a nasty archaic religious edict, and nothing else. Of course Sessions is attacking LGBT people’s civil rights, it is a hard and fast rule among the religious right that non-heterosexual Americans are not entitled to the same rights or protections as white evangelicals.

The case the theocrats running the federal government are interfering with involves a private labor dispute regarding a homophobic employer who summarily fired an employee simply because he is gay. That is contrary to the meaning of civil rights and “contradicts a federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which says that the 1965 Civil Rights Act does indeed protect gay and bisexual workers” from bigots in the evangelical movement. That position was upheld just three months ago in a major ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that supported the concept that LGBTQ Americans, as American citizens, are entitled to civil rights and employment discrimination protections.

In April, US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit made a very important ruling in an 8-3 decision concluding that federal civil rights law — specifically, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — does protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. The court ruled that it is illegal in the United States for any employer to discriminate against gay workers because it offends their evangelical religion. It was the first federal court to conclude that gay people are real American citizens and therefore entitled to employment protections under existing civil rights law. The Trump administration, run by a theocratic cabal including Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions, disagrees and says gays are not real (white Christian) Americans and therefore not worthy of federal civil rights or employment discrimination protections.

The American Civil Liberties Union called the DOJ’s brief a “gratuitous and extraordinary attack on L.G.B.T. people’s civil rights.” The director of the organization’s L.G.B.T. and H.I.V. Project, James Esseks, issued a statement adding, “The Sessions-led Justice Department and the Trump administration are actively working to expose people to discrimination.” Although that is the case, it would be beneficial if the ACLU cited the real source of the administration’s push to legalize discrimination – the evangelical theocrats running the government.

It is noteworthy to remind Americans that less than two weeks ago Sessions gave a speech to an acknowledged evangelical hate group, the Alliance Defending Freedom, which claims “being gay is as sinful as bestiality.” That speech prompted U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay person to be elected to the Senate, to warn that Sessions’ speech  “sends a very troubling message that our Attorney General, America’s top law enforcement official, is not committed to standing up to anti-LGBT hate,”  

Based on Sessions’ interference in a private employment discrimination case on the side of the bigoted employer, Ms. Baldwin’s comment about Sessions’ lack of commitment to doing his job was prophetic. Not that any sane American expected anything different from an evangelical fanatic in charge of a powerful federal agency.

This latest attempt to “rule” according to theocracy was not unexpected and in great part it is down to the media, Democrats, and all manner of equal, civil, and human rights organizations gross failure to identify the source of every affront to humanity and American citizens’ freedoms – establishment of the evangelical religion as the rule of law. No doubt if these attacks on American citizens’ constitutionally-guaranteed rights to equality were reported as unconstitutional imposition of religion, it is highly likely that people like Sessions, and preacher Pence would never be in a position of authority. Sadly, now the theocrats are the authority and just as sadly LGBTQ people are not going to be the only victims because as history proves, religious regimes will get around to attacking everyone sooner or later.

 

 

 

DeVos Embraces Anti-Gay Extremists At Education Department

 

It is probably true that normal people who are thrust into a high-level position requiring a specialized knowledge of a subject will gather as many preeminent experts in the field for advice as possible. That would be particularly true if the person in that high-level position has absolutely no experience in the field to avoid being a total and complete failure. Betsy DeVos, the filthy rich Republican contributor and avowed enemy of public education is not a normal person for myriad reasons, but primarily for her lack of even a rudimentary comprehension of the public education system she wants to transform into privatized evangelical madrassas. Besides her sworn intent to use public schools and public money to “advance god’s kingdom,” DeVos has refused, under oath no less, to commit to protect the civil rights of all Americans involved in the education system; whether students, teachers, administrators or college professors.

On Thursday last, a day before the Commission on Civil Rights announced it was initiating a comprehensive two-year investigation into the Trump administration, Betsy DeVos was convening a policy-planning meeting of the most radical religious right anti-LGBT extremist groups in the United States of America. If there were any lingering doubts as to why DeVos “refused repeatedly” to commit to protecting the Constitutional civil rights of anyone associated with education, especially students and teachers, DeVos huddling with notorious evangelical hate groups should clear up her “lack of commitment” to civil rights.

Two days prior to meeting with luminaries of evangelical hate such as Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, DeVos held a “very private meeting” with a Missouri millionaire and renowned conspiracy theorist because he is openly committed to spending whatever it takes to aid DeVos in eliminating public education. And, it cannot possibly be overstated that besides contributing millions of dollars to Republican candidates, the only reason DeVos was nominated, and then confirmed, as Education Secretary is because she is committed to destroying America’s public education system.

First, DeVos deliberated with the Family Research Council, a bonafide hate group according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), because it and the extremist evangelical group Focus on the Family ardently promote hate-driven anti-gay propaganda more than they promote the Christian bible. FRC president, radical fake Christian Tony Perkins, spent no small amount of time, and donor money, lobbying against anti-bullying initiatives in schools, and the effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He also claims that the LGBTQ community is “disgusting” and exists solely to “recruit children” into the lifestyle – especially in public schools with anti-bullying programs. Perkins, a real pile of feces, heavily promotes programs that abuse LGBTQ children under the guise of “gay conversion therapy,” and appeals to white supremacists for support. Perkins did spend someone else’s hard earned money to purchase the mailing list of white supremacist and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

Perkins, the president of a hate group and a truly hateful evangelical, claims that Americans that support LGBTQ rights are:

Very aggressive, they’re intolerant, they’re hateful, vile, they’re spiteful. …. To me, it is the height of hatred to be silent when we know there are individuals that are engaged in activity, behavior, and an agenda that will …destroy our nation.

This is the mindset that the evangelical freak-of-nature DeVos, Secretary of Education, is intent on installing as education policy “to advance the kingdom of god” in the education system. However, “education system” under DeVos’ plans is a monumental misnomer; she promotes for-profit private and religious schools that can hardly be considered “an education system.” It is  a religious indoctrination system,  not an education system.  It is why she held a private counseling session with “Missouri-based” millionaire and heavy Trump supporter Rex Sinquefield.

Sinquefield is a noted conspiracy theorists who “despises public schools” and regards himself, like DeVos, as a major “school reform expert and advocate.” Like everything related to conservative use of the word “reform,” in Sinquefield’s mind reform means eliminate.

According to Sinquefield, the American public education system was a Ku Klux Klan plot created specifically to hurt African American children and claims it’s what drives his “personal mission” to rescue education from those teachers; especially those teachers represented by unions. He also donates heavily to the extremist right-wing Show-Me Institute, a really right wing “belief tank.” The Show-Me outfit “creates studies” to assail the public education system and promote policies that use taxpayer money to subsidize private and religious schools for the very rich who want taxpayers to fund their kids religious indoctrination.

DeVos claims she believes that “Discrimination in any form is wrong,” and that she “doesn’t support discrimination in any form,” but of course she said that at the same time she repeatedly refused to commit to deny funding to schools that do discriminate. DeVos is a dirty liar; and not just because she committed perjury under oath before the Senate during her confirmation hearing. But because she does not believe discriminationin any form is wrong” or that she doesn’t “support discrimination in any form.”

Her invitation to the extremely discriminatory Family Research Council and Focus on the Family at the Federal Department of Education belies her filthy lie that she opposes discrimination. And, her private meeting with another anti-public education extremist with an eye toward aiding her destruction of public schools, and creation of nationwide evangelical madrassas, belies her filthy lie that she cares one iota about America, its children, or its Constitution.

Civil Rights Watchdog Launches Two-year Probe of Trump Administration

 

At this juncture in American politics it is safe to say that there are a great majority of the population that considers Donald Trump, his closest associates, and his family as the epitome of corruption. It would be impossible for all but the Trump family or the Donald himself to dispute that the television celebrity in the Oval Office “acts dishonestly in return for personal or financial gain” as a natural inclination. It is that corruption that has the Trump at the center of a veritable plethora of special counsel, F.B.I., and federal watchdog agency investigations. Now that the Trump has finally admitted he is under investigation for obstruction of justice by a special counsel, among other things, he can add a two-year investigation into “federal civil rights enforcement,” or lack thereof, within the Trump administration.

Trump likely learned of the bipartisan United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) investigation at about the same time he took to Twitter to admit that he is the subject of a special counsel internal investigation. The Commission on Civil Rights operates under the authority of Congress and as a bipartisan agency it is charged with advising the White House and Congress on civil rights matters.

On Friday the Commission announced it had “unanimously approved a comprehensive two-year probe” into the “degree to which current budgets and staffing levels allow civil rights offices to perform” their important functions; especially in an administration that is openly hostile towards the civil rights of an ever-growing number of Americans in nearly every demographic save the filthy rich and white evangelicals.

What prompted the USCCR, a “federal watchdog agency” to launch an investigation into the entire Trump administration was several agencies that oversee civil rights gleefully announcing severe budget and personnel cuts to critical departments tasked with enforcing civil rights. According to a statement justifying a “two-year probe” into the Trump:

The proposed cuts would result in a dangerous reduction of civil rights enforcement across the country, leaving communities of color, LGBT people, older people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups exposed to greater risk of discrimination.”

The commission, created under the Civil Rights Act and funded by Congress, expressed specific worry about seven federal agencies under Trump’s oversight. Of course the Department of Education and Department of Justice are going to get a very special investigation over the next two years; Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions are notoriously hostile to civil rights of every demographic save white evangelical Christians. The “Commission” will also take a long, hard look into the departments of Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency and the Legal Services Corporation. They are all agencies Trump promises to slash funding from because they closely monitor civil rights and Republicans want that funding sent to the wealthy in the form of tax cuts.

Although the Commission’s statement cited several agencies and departments for a close investigation, it was particularly interested in the Department of Justice under anti-civil rights crusader Jeff Sessions; an agency the Commission said has “completely changed its priorities.” The Commission said in its statement:

Actions by the Department [of Justice] indicate it is minimizing its civil rights efforts. For example, a majority of the Commission criticized DOJ’s decision to site [install] Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers in courthouses as a dangerous impediment to access to justice for all Americans.”

The Commission also singled out Education Secretary Betsy DeVos who has “repeatedly refused” to commit to enforcing federal civil rights. The Commission also  found that, coupled with DeVos’ apparent intent to blow off civil rights for various demographics, the deep budget cuts within the Education Department’s ‘Office of Civil Rights’ is “particularly troubling.”

The statement announcing the two-year probe in the Trump administration actually cited DeVos’ Senate subcommittee  testimony earlier this month where she refused to answer a query whether discrimination against LGBTQ students in private schools would be allowed on her watch. It is highly likely that members of the Commission are acutely aware that DeVos is no more a friend to the gay community than she is the disabled or minority communities.

It is really unfortunate that the Commission on Civil Rights lacks the the ability or authority to enforce its investigation’s findings, but it will at least get to present the results in a “final report to Congress at the end of 2019.” Once the report is presented to Congress, the Commission’s task is completed and it will be left to legislators to take action. The current chairwoman of the Commission, Catherine E. Lhamon, said:

For 60 years, Congress has charged the Commission to monitor Federal civil rights enforcement and recommend necessary change. We take this charge seriously, and we look forward to reporting our findings to Congress, the President, and the American people.”

It is unlikely that regardless how damning the Commission on Civil Rights report is in the final analysis, a Republican controlled Congress and Trump will not take any corrective action any more than they regard civil rights for all Americans as a serious issue. Trump will declare it “fake news,” a “witch hunt,” and then summarily fire or disband the Commission. And Republicans in Congress will claim it was a partisan attack on white evangelical Christians and the Sessions-led Department of Justice will declare civil rights, like the Separation Clause, is unhistorical and unconstitutional overreach.

It is getting to be a chore to keep abreast of all the investigations into Trump, his family, and his administration, but at least with a two-year long investigation into seven different federal agencies in the Trump administration, there will be nothing to report on or opine about until the end of 2019.