Trump and Sessions should be in prison according to their bible

It is almost certain, at least to this author, that there are no greater hypocrites and liars in America than Republicans claiming Christianity as the one overriding force informing their actions and their lives. It was no surprise to learn upon returning from a wilderness hiatus that a man who regularly touts his Christian bona fides had no qualms gleefully announcing the Trump administration’s intent to continue ripping children from their families according to his decision to use the Christian bible to justify violating the number one rule of the “family values” cult – breaking families apart.

First, it was a prime example of Republican hypocrisy for an administration representing the evangelical Party of “family values” to take pleasure in separating families as a deterrent in Trump’s campaign to make America whiter. That is the overriding goal of the xenophobes, white supremacists, and nationalists propping up the corrupt dictator in the Oval Office.

It was also telling that part and parcel of J. Beauregard Sessions’ recent claims centering around the idea that mostly Brown women facing abuse have no right to appeal to America for sanctuary, and a little humanity. It reveals that Sessions is as true a representation of a patriarchal Christian male as most people will ever see in public during their lifetime. An abused woman seeking asylum to avoid being tortured by a man is obviously an atrocity to Sessions; it is a mindset likely based on the biblical commandment that women must subject themselves to whatever “a man” forces on them.

Now, as no small number of pundits, including Christians,  have noted; there is nothing whatsoever in the Christian bible supporting “ripping families” apart, or throwing thousands of young children, including infants, into concentration camps. There are Old Testament passages where the Israelites’ god ordered his people to rip women’s stomachs open and kill the fetuses, but there is nothing authorizing tearing what are surely Christian families apart because they are not white and speak a language other than English.

However, as Beauregard Sessions did rightly claim, his Christian bible does indeed command the religion’s adherents to obey the government authorities and submit to the law of the land; but it is noteworthy that the law of the land does not advocate or support the malice being displayed by Trump’s administration towards immigrants. Furthermore, the Constitution does not support using the Christian Bible to justify any law or any government action, much less the barbarism of separating children from their parents. Parents, by the way, who are only being charged with a misdemeanor for “improper entry” and may face up to six months in jail – apparently even if they are adhering to the law in seeking asylum as political or abused refugees.

Setting aside Beauregard Session’s savagery and inherent Republican brutality for a minute, it was bad enough that he cited his Christian bible as justification for abusing children, but his use of that particular scripture about obeying the law of the land was beyond hypocritical.

It is true that the bible passage Sessions cited does command Christians to obey the government authorities and adhere faithfully to the laws of the land, but if Sessions was not a raging evangelical hypocrite he would have already turned himself in to federal law enforcement authorities for immediate prosecution. He did, in fact, deliberately, and with malice aforethought, commit perjury under a “so help me god” oath before the United States Senate – at least twice.

Sessions made a big deal about everyone having to abide by the law in responding to other Christians’ condemning the Trump callousness against families and children. Sessions said:

“Many of the criticisms raised in recent days are not fair or logical and some are contrary to law. Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the law of the government because god has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

Over the weekend, that Trump administration devotion to “law and order” was parroted, sans scriptural justification, by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during an appearance in New Orleans. Ms. Nielsen told the National Sheriffs’ Association:

Illegal actions have and must have consequences. No more free passes, no more get out of jail free cards.”

Of course there is no god ordaining any government leaders of any nation, but the idea that Sessions insists that “persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution” is patently hypocritical.

Sessions, and at least four other Trump cabinet nominees violated 18 U.S. Code § 1621 during their Senate confirmation hearings by committing perjury under a “so help me god” oath. And it is noteworthy that four of those nominees are self-confessed devout Christians who, like their criminal leader Trump, violate Number Nine of the BIG Ten Commandments regularly and with impunity.

If Sessions assertion about prosecuting federal law violations was sincere, Trump would be facing prosecution for violating the Emoluments Clause, the Constitution’s “take care” clause, the U.S. Code’s anti-nepotism law and for violating his own “so help me god” oath to support and defend the Constitution during his poorly-attended inauguration. It is highly likely that Trump has violated myriad other laws that, according to evangelical malcontents Sessions and Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, make him “subject to prosecution to the fullest extent of the nation’s laws.”

Of course the lying Attorney General Sessions is never going to consider subjecting the lyin’ kings Trump and ‘preacher’ Pence, or any of Trump’s filthy lying Cabinet membersto prosecution to the fullest extent of the nation’s laws;” they are white Republicans and claim Christianity as their reason for living.

It was curious there was such an outrage over Sessions using his Christian bible as justification for tearing children from their mothers arms, and in one reported case from the infant’s mother’s breast. Religious right acolytes, and many Republicans, have used their Christian bible to justify slavery, racism, rape, starving the poor, pedophilia, persecuting the LGBTQ community, and subjecting women to the will of other religious Republicans.

No-one in their right mind should be surprised Sessions used his bible to justify tearing non-white immigrant families apart any more than they should be offended at the typically inherent evangelical Republican cruelty. Sadly, it is exactly the kind of cruelty documented in the Christian bible and at the rate Republicans are crusading to make the Christian bible the law of the land, Americans should be terrified if they weren’t so laser focused on Trump’s latest “tweets” or how often he goes golfing.

Image: Evan Vucci/Associated Press

Death penalty for drug dealers when there is one for gun dealers

Throughout history religion and tyrannical dictators have experimented with various means of controlling human nature with varying degrees of failure. There are universal truths regarding the way humanity has behaved down through the ages which is why that behavior is attributed to “human nature,” and it is why even the most strident religion is incapable of reversing or retarding human behavior. There are just some actions, especially those borne of emotions, that are impossible to regulate no matter the deterrent or reward system to promote what society regards as acceptable behavior.

Although it is inherently evil for one group, or one individual, to attempt to control anyone, there is no doubt that civilized societies need some kind of deterrent or reward system to contain dangerous human behavior to protect people. Human traits like greed, religious passion, and unrestrained anger are the underpinning of all manner of “crimes against society” making punitive measures a necessary element of any cultural construct. As antiquity has shown, despite severe punishment for many bad behaviors, human nature can never be completely controlled or deterred. If that were the case there would be no crime and the entirety of humankind would serve the most severe religion under pain of “holygruesome methods of execution.

In another instance of the Trump administration enacting policies that are historical failures, the Reagan-era “just say no” drug policy is being value-added with a call to “just kill drug dealers.” The death penalty for dealing drugs is allegedly Trump and Sessions’ primary tool of choice to address the legal prescription drug (opioid) epidemic.

That “just kill them” plan typifies stupid and blood-lust, and it is likely a result of Trump’s adoration of Philippines’ murderous president Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte is notorious for his boasts of personally committing extra-judicial executions for suspected drug dealers. Those boasts excited and incited Trump to tell Duterte what a great job he’s doing by killing citizens he suspects of dealing or using drugs. Still, despite the thousands of executions, drug users and dealers are thriving in the Philippines.

It is not clear on what official grounds Sessions and Trump are basing their decision to execute drug dealers, but if it is as a deterrent, it  has shown to be a monumental failure around the globe and domestically. In some extremely harsh nations the death penalty has not stopped the use or trade of ‘illicit’ drugs, so expecting it to stop the use and trade of legal prescription drugs is folly. Let’s get one thing clear right now; the death penalty is not going to do anything to address a public health issue like the  “opioid epidemic;” the stated reason Sessions and Trump want the death penalty. For dog’s sake, many American states have the death penalty for homicide and execute convicts regularly, and yet those states still have homicides like states lacking capital punishment.

The threat of death is not going to change human nature whether it is a greedy off-the-books gun dealer selling legal battlefield weapons, a desperate addict, or greedy drug dealer selling legal prescription pain killers like opioids. There is another inconvenient truth that neither Sessions nor Trump comprehend; drug dealing in America is not a capital crime at the federal or state level. Of the 41 federal laws calling for the death penalty, only two have a direct connection to drugs and both require the commission of murder to earn the death penalty.

One is under 18 U.S. Code § 924 calling for the death penalty for “Murder committed by the use of a firearm during a crime of violence or a drug-trafficking crime.” And 18 U.S. Code § 36 includes capital punishment for “Murder committed during a drug-related drive-by shooting.” (author bold)

In both “drug-related” cases a murder has to have been committed in order to qualify for the death penalty. And that little fact is noteworthy because the Supreme Court has ruled that “the death penalty is unconstitutional for crimes against individuals in which no one is killed.” That opinion put to rest a 1994 “drug kingpin” idea calling for the death penalty for crime bosses connected to criminal enterprises dealing in large quantities of illicit drugs, even if no-one was killed.

Sessions announcing the death penalty for drug dealers as an means of dealing with what experts say is a bonafide public-health issue, besides not fixing the problem; “is proven unwise, costly, ineffective and often counterproductive.” Experts and half-sane human beings comprehend that it also does nothing to address the real problem plaguing America; the epidemic of legal prescription drug addiction. As the co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University, Dr. Andrew Kolodny said:

We can’t execute our way out of this epidemic. The reality is, most people who are selling drugs are suffering from opioid addiction, and they sell drugs to support their own habit.”

Dr. Guohua Li is professor of epidemiology and anesthesiology at Columbia University and he concurred with Dr. Kolodny:

When I start hearing about the death penalty, it just seems to me we’re going in the wrong direction.

Criminal justice can play a complementary role in addressing the opioid crisis, but relying on criminal justice system to address public health problems has proven unwise, costly, ineffective and often counterproductive.”

A recent Pew Charitable Trust study released just two weeks ago supports both experts’ arguments; and it reveals that harsher penalties for drug dealers or addicts will not fix the problem. The study revealed that:

Harsher penal sanctions had no measurable impact on drug use, drug overdose deaths, and drug arrests. The data reinforce a large body of prior research that cast doubt on the theory that stiffer prison terms deter drug misuse, distribution, and other drug-law violations. The evidence strongly suggests that policymakers should pursue alternative strategies that research shows work better and cost less.”

If Sessions and Trump need to see some capital punishment to try addressing Americans dying unnecessarily, they should call for the death penalty for gun dealers. Particularly those “off-the-book” types who sell assault weapons that exist for one reason and one reason only; to assault and kill human beings.  AR15s and AK47s were not created to assault ducks, pheasant, rabbits, deer, baby seals, bear cubs or any other alleged game animal; they exist to assault and kill human beings. But no-one is suggesting the death penalty for gun dealers because they are selling as legal a product as any dealer or addict selling FDA-approved prescription drugs containing opioids. Opioids, by the way, that have been studied and developed to serve a useful medical purpose; relieving pain and suffering.

The idea of executing people over a public health issue like an epidemic is barbaric, but so is Trump and his Old Testament, mean-god acolyte Jeff Sessions. However, barbaric or not, it is a fairly good sign that there will be no legitimate policies enacted to address an epidemic the medical profession and big pharmaceutical companies are culpable of creating and perpetuating.

Remember, whether Sessions or Trump admit or like it or not, addiction is a human medical affliction that is not going to be deterred with the threat of death any more than capital punishment deters the greed driving “big” drug dealers; or the administration traitors adhering to a hostile foreign power undermining America’s democracy. Treason, by the way, is one of the 41 federal capital crimes that DOES NOT require an unwarranted death (murder) to impose the death penalty.

Trump was enamored with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s boasts that he personally “executed” people “suspected” of being involved with drugs and he wants to show Duterte that he too is a tough guy. Something Trump and Sessions may not be aware of is that there are 33 foreign nations with the death penalty for trafficking (smuggling) illicit drugs, but “very, very few” actually impose the penalty because it is ineffective. And it is noteworthy that each one of those 33 foreign nations all have one thing in common, even the very, very few that are actually killing drug dealers and users; they still have plenty of people selling, smuggling and using “illicit drugs.”

No matter how harsh laws are, they will never alter human nature and the people selling legal prescription drugs to sate their greed or an addiction are behaving like humans. Threatening to kill the people selling drugs is not going to solve “a medical condition or an addiction epidemic,” it just won’t now or ever.

It is now more apparent than ever that Trump or Sessions have no will or intent to solve a legitimate public health issue, but if they really want to kill purveyors of death and destruction, they can call for the death penalty for gun dealers.

Another Republican Theocrat Rejects Church State Separation

The U.S. Constitution demands that there is no religious test to serve in any government capacity as an elected office holder or employee and for good reason; America is not a theocracy. Despite clear language in the Constitution, and historical evidence from the Constitution’s Framers and Founding Fathers, no small number of Republicans still  insist that the Christian god rejected the Founders’ concept of “separation of church and state” when he created America. As forward thinking as the Founding Fathers and Framers were, they were remiss to envision a Christian political party that rejects the law of the land  out of hand and with veritable impunity.

If the Constitution’s Framers had as much foresight into the threat of elected officials flouting the law of the land as they did theocrats taking over government, they would have included a Constitutional literacy test in Article VI, Section 3. If they had required every candidate for office pass a constitutional literacy test,  the “no religious test clause” would have been unnecessary. Of course, Republicans are not yet demanding a religious test to run for office or work for the government, but there is an increasing number of them denying the validity of the 1st Amendment’s “separation clause” in their crusade to create an America governed by an evangelical theocracy.

The latest Republican theocrat, Steve Scalise, is claiming that he is horrified that some people believe the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers were serious about keeping evangelicals from dictating policy and running the government.  Scalise joins all manner of evangelical leaders and historical revisionists who not only claim there is no such thing as separation of church and state, but that no politician is capable of separating church and state. It is an integral part of the Dominionist crusade to put religion, the evangelical religion, in government as the nation’s guiding force and the only barrier to their success is the 1st Amendment’s Establishment and Separation Clause.

It is true that Scalise is an evangelical freak of nature, but he is far from being an outlier in Republican ranks. For dog’s sake, the nation’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions, has argued that the Establishment Claus and separation of church and state are “extra-constitutional doctrine” and a “recent thing that is unhistorical and unconstitutional.” (Author bold) According to “sermon” Sessions, and likely Steve Scalise, the Constitution’s prohibition on Congress legislating any religion was a devious machination of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to evict god, the Christian bible, the Ten Commandments and Jesus Christ out of government.

However, Thomas Jefferson explained precisely what the meaning of the Establishment Clause was in 1802, at least a century before the ACLU was even created. An honest-to-dog historical figure, Founding Father, and third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson wrote explicitly what the Establish Clause in the First Amendment actually means.

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

Nevertheless, a sitting United States congressman, like the current attorney general, claim that no politician can possibly separate church and state despite swearing a “so help me god” oath to support and defend the Constitution – including the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment. It is noteworthy to remind Scalise that if not for the Establish Clause he claims is invalid, he would be prohibited from exercising his particular brand of Christianity. It is only because America is a secular nation and only because the Constitution forbids the government establishment of a religion that Scalise can be a practicing Catholic.

Remember, America was actually settled and founded by Puritans who vehemently forbade any other religions or religious celebrations such as Christmas and Easter. Their religion also strictly adhered to the Old Testament that demanded punishment for other “neo-Americans” if they displayed graven images such as the cross, “Christmas trees,” the nativity scene, or images of Jesus. Without a secular Constitution, all Americans would be Puritans by law and anything those Puritans considered “pagan” would be strictly verboten. It is precisely why Thomas Jefferson explained to Danbury “Baptists” that they were protected under the secular Constitution and were allowed to worship as they pleased; in the same manner Scalise can worship according to Vatican dictates.

There have always been religious fanatics like Scalise, Sessions and preacher Pence and they were generally regarded as harmless freakoids. They are still fanatical religious freaks, but they are no longer harmless now that evangelical extremists control the government lock, stock and barrel. Of course the religious right and their fundamentalist malcontents are in the minority and everything they advocate for is highly unpopular with the majority, but they wield enormous influence over the majority party running all three branches of government.

It is important to note that these religious fanatics are unafraid of saying out loud exactly what their intent is now that they own power over the government. Remember that Trump’s ridiculously unqualified Education Secretary announced that she would use her Cabinet level position to “advance god’s kingdom” and there was no outrage whatsoever. Remember too, that the Department of Health and Human Services designated a single-celled organism a “person” worthy of full government protection and no-one as much as blinked. There has also been relative silence, and acquiescence from most Americans, at the outrage of Trump and House Republicans giving the religious right preferential treatment including authority to ignore the conditions necessary to be tax exempt as well as equal rights protections in the 14th Amendment.

Americans have enjoyed a Constitution that prevents religious imposition for so long  that they actually believe that protection cannot be abridged. And yet it seems like every couple of weeks since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration  there is another violation of the Separation and Establishment Clause.  Now another Republican is claiming that evangelicals cannot possibly, and will not, adhere to the Constitution and keep their church dogma out of government policy. That being the case they are disqualifying themselves from serving and it is damned high time the people evict them from government with extreme prejudice.

It is a sad fact of life, but Republicans are on the brink of imposing a theocratic government on the American people because there is a fear of confronting evangelicals in public or ever citing the preponderance of attacks on women, the U.S. Constitution, and the LGBTQ community are borne of religion. That cowardice in the face of a bloodless theocratic coup d’état will be the death of the nation the Founding Fathers created and put an ugly end to the Constitution they purposefully left god and religion out of.

Inherent Cruelty Drives Sessions’ Reefer Madness Obsession

Any American who still believes Republicans are not inherently cruel after the past 12 months is either brain dead or a savage. In case anyone needs an example of just how fiendish Republicans are according to their political nature, Trump’s lying attorney general is the poster child for what any decent person considers unusually cruel.

Sessions more than meets the definition of cruel because he is not only the kind of sub-human that “willfully causes pain or suffering to others and feels no concern about it,” he embraces it with religious fervor as his personal cause célèbre. British authorGeorge Eliot once explained that for people like Sessions and his Republican cohorts, cruelty for the sake of being cruel is its own reward and motivation. He said:

Cruelty requires no motive outside itself; it only requires opportunity.”

As attorney general, Sessions has a stellar opportunity to exercise a particularly nasty form of cruelty; cause pain and suffering to other American citizens for no apparent reason other than causing pain and suffering.

It is true that Republicans are cruel in taking healthcare, food and housing from the poor, the elderly and children, but at least they attempt to justify that barbarism with fake regard for the national debt and deficit. Of course, that justification is sheer bunk and does not excuse the Republicans’ cruelty, but they are being cruel for a reason; an expectation of recompense from their wealthy donors.

However, this Jeff Sessions character is a different breed of cruel and barbaric. He is on an obsessive religious crusade to punish Americans suffering myriad infirmities, deadly diseases, injuries and disabilities because he is in a position of authority. Sessions intends to punish sick Americans for no other reason than satisfying his unhealthy obsession by restricting access to a medicine that provides relief to millions of suffering Americans.

Even though there is no profit to him in advancing the “reefer madness” crusade, there are Republican donors in big pharma and the private prison industry that see dollar signs if Sessions succeeds in shutting down legalized medicinal and recreational cannabis in the states. Nevertheless, even that motivation appears to play little role in Sessions’ personal religious crusade against weed.

Sessions has had an unhealthy obsession about marijuana for ages and last week he turned that obsession into a seriously cruel action. As expected, Sessions rescinded the “Cole Memo” that protected states with legal cannabis and sent warning letters with “factual errors to the leaders of four states with legal cannabis markets.” He also asked Congress to give him permission to act on his obsession to prosecute medical marijuana companies because they provide relief for suffering Americans.

That Sessions again asked Congress for permission to pursue legal cannabis sales is further proof he suffers an honest-to-dog religious fanaticism about reefer. He even told Congress that legal weed is responsible for what he said was “the current historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.”

The DOJ must be in a position to use all laws available to combat  drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

Sessions was referring to states that have legal and regulated medicinal and recreational cannabis that have no connection to “drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers.”  Legal cannabis also has no connection to “the current historic [opioid] drug epidemic” much less “a potential long-term uptick in violent crime.” This lying freak of nature Sessions is obsessed to a level that precludes him from serving in any government capacity, much less as attorney general.

Sessions has already spent no small amount of time this year pressuring Congress not to reauthorize the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment that prohibits the federal government from interfering with states that decriminalized medicinal or recreational pot use. The House told Sessions no, and for good measure Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a Senate amendment identical to the House version that easily passed over Sessions’ objections. Congress does not believe Sessions is in line with the will of the people or medical science of the past 40 years or so; he certainly has no compassion for the suffering of others.

These actions are not new for the reefer-obsessed Sessions. If he would exercise a fraction of regard for Americans’ civil and voting rights as he does people using a medicine he does not like, then he may not be a complete waste of oxygen. It is not just that Sessions lusts to restrict Americans from gaining relief from cannabis, he wants to eliminate what is being reported everywhere as “an effective tool for opioid users to break addiction cycles.”

This is particularly telling after Trump made a big deal about addressing the opioid crisis and epidemic, and after a House Democrat schooled and scolded Sessions for spreading lies about cannabis. He still maintains that the weed has no medicinal value for anything despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In fact, in a speech at the Heritage Foundation recently he blamed the opioid crisis and epidemic on states that legalized medicinal or recreational cannabis use.

Sessions is as big a liar as he is a racist religious fanatic and he is stuck in a long-gone era when another maniac created “reefer madness” to scare the life out of Americans.  Sessions actually told a group that his plan to strike down state cannabis laws is by utilizing more “reefer madness” propaganda; what he calls “education.” He told the group:

I do believe … that the public is not properly educated on some of the issues related to marijuana.”

Sessions does not have any “issues related to marijuana” to educate the public with; he has 1936-era government created “Reefer Madness” propaganda, but there are no issues to support Sessions’ religious belief that cannabis has no medicinal properties or value whatsoever. If Sessions is a predictably deceitful liar, and he is nothing if not a predictably deceitful liar, he will repeat what he said at the Heritage Foundation and launch a taxpayer-funded campaign blaming the opioid epidemic on states with legal cannabis.

Seriously, even as study after study after state-level data demonstrates that cannabis is an effective means of reducing opioid use, Sessions blames the epidemic on reefer. Sessions has no excuse for not knowing cannabis is effective in reducing opioid use because in late October House Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) informed him about the data and benefits of cannabis. Mr. Cohen told Sessions:

“Twenty-eight states or 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized it [marijuana] for medical purposes; eight states and the District of Columbia for recreational purposes. In states where they’ve got medical marijuana, they have 25 percent less opioid use. It gives people a way to relieve pain without using opioids, which inevitably leads to death and crime. So I’d hope you’d take a look at that.”

Sessions promised Representative Cohen under oath in the House that:

“I will take a look at it. We will be looking at some rigorous analysis of the marijuana usage and how it plays out. I am not as optimistic as you.”

Sessions did not look at anything or he would not launch his fanatical religious crusade to stop Americans from using cannabis as medicine or for recreation. The research about the benefits of cannabis for a rash of ailments is beyond dispute and easily accessible to everyone. If Sessions really wants to “properly educate the public on some of the issues related to marijuana,” he can send them over to the NIH’s federal government website page titled “Cancer and Cannabis,” or refer them to a fairly technical medical study describing in great detail exactly how the THC in cannabis kills cancer cells.

Sessions has what appears to be a certifiable obsessive disorder about cannabis that no amount of empirical data or pathological proof will alter whatsoever. If Sessions were not certifiably batshit about weed, he would believe the mounds of research disproving his unfounded faith. However, losing his faith about cannabis would impact his intrinsic need to willfully cause pain and suffering to others by eliminating their access to a safe medicine.

Look, there is no reason for Sessions to pursue the states that decriminalized weed except to punish the people who get relief from cannabis. Medicinal or recreational cannabis does not cost the government any money and in fact is a revenue-generatingbit of commerce for states. That revenue stream is helping fund law enforcement, drug treatment programs, education and other social programs. Legalization has also eliminated the need for anything resembling “black market transactions.

Of course, Sessions is getting push-back from Republicans and Democrats alike, especially from the states. However, the issue is much more than about states’ rights or the will of the people or the benefit to state budgets with regulated cannabis sales. Although those are all valid reasons to rail against Sessions’ religious crusade against cannabis, there is the issue of him openly campaigning to deliberately inflict pain and suffering on the people he is supposed to protect.

Sessions deserves to be figuratively crucified as a cruel savage for making moves to “willfully cause pain and suffering to others without an ounce of remorse.” One would call Sessions a savage beast, but there are no “beasts” in the animal kingdom that inflict pain and suffering for the sake of inflicting pain and suffering; that is unique to human beings and wholly embraced by Jeff Sessions because he is a uniquely cruel Republican.

Image: Cannabis Culture

Democrat Schools and Scolds Jeff Sessions About Medicinal Weed Lies

During Jeff Sessions testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee this week he was caught off guard by a line of questioning he didn’t have lies prepared for. Of course Sessions’ preparation focused on pretending to “forget” about the Trump campaign’s intimate relationship with Russia, so he was not ready for queries from a Republican from Ohio and a Democrat from Tennessee about “his department’s policy” on legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana.

Ohio Republican, Steve Chabot, wanted Sessions to clarify his position on legal marijuana while it is still illegal under antiquated federal law. Chabot’s state, Ohio, is beginning to implement its own medical marijuana program, so he pressed Sessions to clarify what Ohio has to look forward to with an attorney general’s “reefer madness” mindset about the medicine. “What is your department’s policy on that, relative to enforcing the law?”

Sessions replied that thus far, nothing has changed from the previous compassionate administration’s policy.

Our policy is the same really, fundamentally, as the Holder-Lynch policy, which is that the federal law remains in effect and a state can legalize marijuana for its law enforcement purposes, but it still remains illegal with regard to federal purposes.”

Although he wasn’t technically “lying,” Sessions “forgot” to say that he has been pressuring Congress not to reauthorize the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment that prohibits the federal government from interfering with states that have decriminalized medicinal or recreational pot use. The House told Sessions no and for good measure Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced an amendment identical to the House version that passed over Sessions’ objections. Congress doesn’t believe Session’s is in line with the will of the people or medical science of the past 40 years or so.

The real fun began when Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) seized on the subject of marijuana and took Sessions, “a notorious pot hater,” to task over a remark he made about the kind of people “that would smoke marijuana:” suffice it to say the “forgetful” evangelical and avowed “pot enemy” doesn’t think much of anyone who uses cannabis. In fact, he categorically stated last year that “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Mr. Cohen was prepared for Sessions and noted:

You said at one time that good people don’t smoke marijuana. Which of these people would you say are not good people?” Referring to a prepared list of prominent Republicans, Mr. Cohen named GOP stalwarts “John Kasich, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, George Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; all of those listed have at some point said they used marijuana. Which of those are not good people?”

Sessions was clearly flummoxed and had little wriggle room to say “he couldn’t remember” making such an absurd statement. So he  resorted to the  typical Trump administration kind of response; he lied. He said:

Let me tell you how that came about. The question was what do you do about drug use, the epidemic we’re seeing in the country, and how you reverse it. Part of that is a cultural thing. I explained how when I became United States Attorney in 1981, and drugs were being used widely, over a period of years, it became unfashionable, unpopular, and… it was seen as such that good people didn’t use marijuana. That was the context of that statement.”

Sessions’ statement was made in 2016 when he was lobbying for congressional support to put a stop to states’ cannabis decriminalization programs and portrayed the weed as a clear and present danger on par with heroin and the opioid epidemic. The “context” of Sessions’ statement was around convincing Congress to get on board his “reefer madness” bandwagon and help him “foster knowledge that this drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about . . . and to send that message with clarity that good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Apparently Representative Cohen recalled some of Sessions’ statements earlier this year when he compared weed to heroin and mocked the scientific research revealing that cannabis has been successful in treating heroin and opioid addiction. Cohen was brilliant to get Sessions on the congressional record admitting that “Marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin — do you agree with that?” Sessions replied “I think that’s correct.”

Mr. Cohen thanked Sessions for being truthful as it must have been an extremely painful experience, and then schooled the pot-hating Attorney General instructing him to wise up.

Look at the [budget] limitations you’ve got… Put your enforcement on crack, on cocaine, on meth, on opioids, and on heroin. Marijuana is the least bothersome of all.

 Twenty-eight states or 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized it for medical purposes; eight states and the District of Columbia for recreational purposes. In states where they’ve got medical marijuana, they have 25 percent less opioid use. It gives people a way to relieve pain without using opioids, which inevitably leads to death and crime. So I’d hope you’d take a look at that.”

Sessions said,

We will take a look at it. We will be looking at some rigorous analysis of the marijuana usage and how it plays out. I am not as optimistic as you.”

It doesn’t matter whether Sessions is optimistic or not, there are more “rigorous analyses,” studies and research available than Sessions has years left among the living to “take a look at.” The research and studies, including the weed’s efficacy at halting many forms of cancer, are numerous and easily accessible; including on the United States government National Institute of Health (NIH) website.

There is also a preliminary release of a brand new study revealing that two-thirds of patients “stop opioid painkillers after using medical marijuana.” The full, final report will be released in 2018 and it isn’t clear if Jeff Sessions will “be looking at that rigorous analysis” because it contradicts his assertion that cannabis has no medicinal or therapeutic value whatsoever.

If nothing else, Sessions can no longer claim “he believes” marijuana is dangerous like heroin and opioids or that he is unaware the weed has proven medicinal value and is one therapy worth investigating to stop the opioid epidemic.

Obviously, marijuana is not a miracle cure and it isn’t for everybody. Although with the severe memory problems plaguing Jeff Sessions when he testifies before Congress, he should take a look at a study released earlier this year reporting that chronic weed use “can help reverse memory problems related to brain aging in senior citizens.” Regular reefer use may help Sessions memory problems, but it won’t help his inclination to lie the next time he states that “weed is as dangerous as heroin and opioids;” a claim he is now on the congressional record refuting.

Trump Isn’t Serious About Opioids If He Won’t Legalize Marijuana

Trump’s dog and pony show declaration that the opioid epidemic is a public health emergency worthy of the government’s full resolve, is nothing short of laughable. It’s laughable because Trump is all talk or he would have demanded that Congress appropriate whatever funding necessary to tackle the problem.

It is unfortunate that Trump and his attorney general are so religiously opposed to an existing means of significantly reducing opioid deaths, opioid hospitalizations, opioid use, and fewer opioid-related drug treatment admissions. The good news is that although legalized cannabis will not “cure” or “solve” the opioid epidemic on its own, it will not cost the government a stinking penny and there are reams of data and current empirical evidence proving that legal weed is doing more to stem the opioid crisis than just making a White House announcement. To make matters that much worse, Trump’s attorney general is threatening to “crack down” on cannabis legalization whether it is for medicinal or recreational use.

According to data published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine, “changes in the legal status of cannabis is closely associated with significant reductions in opioid related mortality.” The data show that no matter which state, medical cannabis regulation has contributed to “year-over-year” declines in overall opioid-related deaths; it also is responsible for a decline in heroin overdose fatalities.

In what are called “medicalization states,” the data show that within one year opioid deaths decreased by 20 percent compared to “non-medicalized” states; by the sixth year deaths declined by 33 percent. That data agrees with several other studies linking establishment of both medicinal marijuana dispensaries and “adult use retailers” with reductions in opioid fatalities; including a sharp decrease in traffic fatalities involving drivers testing positive for opioids.

In a more recent 2017 study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, “cannabis medicalization” helped reduce opioid-related hospitalizations.   The study revealed that in states with legal medical marijuana, there was a 23 percent “drop in hospitalizations due to opioid dependence and a 13 percent decline in hospitalizations due to opioid overdose.” According to the study, “medical marijuana policies [are] significantly associated with reduced opioid pain reliever-related hospitalizations.”

According to a just-published research paper by an economics professor at the University of Georgia, the opening of medical cannabis dispensaries is “correlated with an immediate decrease in narcotic-related admissions to drug treatment facilities.” Specifically,  “dispensary openings experience a 20 percentage point decrease in painkiller treatment admissions over the first two years of dispensary operations.” And according to a Castlight Health study published in 2016 following of over one-million subjects, access to medical cannabis was associated with “far lower prevalence of opioid abuse and doctor shopping.”

In what should be considered the best evidence that marijuana legalization, whether for recreation or medicinal use, as an immediate aid in the fight against the opioid crisis, in states where marijuana is legal patients us “far fewer prescription drugs than do those in jurisdictions where cannabis use remains prohibited.” In fact, two recent studies published in the journal Health Affairs reported that, “passing medical cannabis regulation resulted in a significant drop in Medicare and Medicaid-related prescription drug spending.”

In a 2017 study by the University of New Mexico, researchers reported that “state registrants” often greatly reduced and even eliminated prescription drug intake over time as opposed to non-registrants with similar medical conditions who maintained  and had to increase their opioid use.

An Illinois study assessing state-qualified patients concluded that many subject used cannabis “intentionally to taper off prescription medications.” A similar  2017 analysis of Canadian-registered cannabis patients reported that most subjects self-reported substituting marijuana for prescription drugs, particularly opioids. And in a separate review of over 1,500 New England state-qualified patients, researchers reported that  patients typically used medical cannabis as a replacement for opioids. That is noteworthy because unlike opioids, marijuana is not physically addictive.

If Trump was serious about addressing the so-called “opioid epidemic” and serious in saying it warrants the government’s full resolve, he would embrace any means of actually addressing the issue. The issue is not new and in great part the work of the pharmaceutical industry; the same industry waging a war against cannabis legalization, even for medicinal purposes. Let’s face it, the drug companies do not want the issue to go away and they certainly don’t want people having a relatively “free” prophylactic against an addictive drug big pharma is getting rich off of. The idea that grandma can grow a weed in the backyard that prevents her from buying prescription pain killers is not one the pharmaceutical companies will countenance.

Is cannabis a miracle drug? Of course not, there is no such thing. However, it has been used “medicinally” for 10,000 years as a remedy for everything from inflammation to infection to memory loss to nervous disorders to being a stunningly effective cure for some forms of cancer. One of the primary reasons it is still illegal is because anyone with some dirt, a seed, and a little water can grow their own “medicine” depriving big pharma from making money.

It is also noteworthy to mention that because Congress or Trump are not screaming for appropriations to help combat the “epidemic,” likely to save money to pay for tax cuts for the rich, decriminalizing reefer will cost the federal or state governments nothing whatsoever. And as the states that have decriminalized the weed have demonstrated, regulating the sales and dispensation of cannabis is an incredible source of revenue for law enforcement, drug treatment, healthcare and education.

Like reducing opioid deaths, marijuana legalization will not end not the epidemic by any means and to claim it would is wrong. However, the substantial reduction in deaths, addiction, traffic deaths and hospitalizations is very significant and is already doing monumentally more than just making meaningless pronouncements or throwing people in jail.

Marijuana isn’t for everyone, that is a fact. But for at least thirty years the “weed” has been studied extensively and demonstrated to be effective at reducing what Trump claims is a national emergency. Instead of making ineffective pronouncements, Trump and his Republican Congress could easily decriminalize weed nationwide and actually see results within a year according to the empirical data that has been so widely available it is curious the medical community is not screaming for legalization. But apparently like Trump, Sessions and Republicans in Congress, even the medical community is opposed to cutting into the pharmaceutical and private prison industry profits.

DOJ Issues Religious License To Discriminate Against Women and Gays

The corrupt and radical religious cesspool known as the Trump-Pence administration ushered America one step closer to an extremist evangelical theocracy and assaulted the secular U.S. Constitution and federal laws in the process on Friday. The good news for evangelical fascists panting to punish Americans who fail to hew to the religious right’s nasty worldview came courtesy of Trump’s racist attorney general, Jeff “sermonizer” Sessions.

As a man who claims the religious “separation clause” in the U.S. Constitution’s is patently unconstitutional and unhistorical, Sessions laid down the evangelical law that going forward, no government employee, agency, or contractor has to adhere to anti-discrimination laws or the 14th Amendment if they claim doing so offends their religious beliefs.

This ultimate “license to discriminate” has been pushed in red religious Republican states since 2010, but prior to the last election there was a firewall at the federal level protecting equal rights. And no, the firewall was not the U.S. Constitution or federal anti-discrimination laws; they still exist but religious Republicans ignore them. The firewall was an administration that hewed closely to the Constitution replete with a Justice Department defending all Americans’ right to protections outlined in the 14th Amendment. It should be obvious by now that the Trump administration players have as much respect for the Constitution as they do veracity, or tolerance for Americans unwilling to subject themselves to radical evangelicals’ nasty form of “Christianity.”

According to the Trump administration’s latest theocratic edict, all it takes is a claim of “violating religious freedom” to “override any anti-discrimination protection for LGBT people, women, and many, many other Americans.” In fact, as the Associated Press noted:

The guidelines are so sweeping that experts on religious liberty are calling them a legal powder-keg that could prompt wide-ranging lawsuits against the government.”

The reality is that with a theocratic administration, Justice Department, Congress and Supreme Court, those “wide-ranging” lawsuits will be shut down with extreme prejudice. The DOJ under Sessions and Trump has already inserted itself into employment lawsuits on behalf of radical evangelicals who claim their religious liberty makes them immune to the Constitution’s equal rights provisions, employment laws, and anti-discrimination laws.

The humanitarian folks over at LGBT Weekly performed a preliminary analysis of this newest Trump-Pence theocratic assault on Americans and although they focused on the LGBTQ community and women, every demographic and American citizen are at risk. After all, the concept behind an overarching evangelical “license to discriminate” is providing radicalized Christians uncontested federal government authority to punish any American they believe violates their “religious freedom.”

Just a sampling of the horrors of the latest evangelical edict may provide a preview of what American citizens can expect with a federally-enforced “license to discriminate” declaration from Trump’s justice department. For example:

A Social Security Administration employee could refuse to accept or process spousal or survivor benefits paperwork for a surviving same-sex spouse. Government contractors will no longer be legally bound to  provide emergency services to unmarried women or members of the LGBT community because the risk of losing federal, state or city contracts no longer exists.

Organizations that receive federal tax dollars, like every church in America, that was at one time prohibited from demanding that all of their employees adhere to the tenets of the organization’s religion could now legally discriminate against LGBTQ, single women, and the non-religious by not providing employment benefits or employment.

Any agency, including churches and tax-exempt non-profits that receive federal aid in any form, and even those organizations’ individual staff members could refuse services for LGBTQ children in crisis. And they now have something they have fought tooth and nail to see implemented; unilateral authority stop  “placing adoptive or foster children with a same-sex couple or transgender couple;” or non-Christians and people of color if they claim doing so offends their religious sensibilities.

Women will face as much discrimination as LGBTQ people and that is part and parcel of the evangelical edict. The religious right Republicans have attempted to pass legislation forcing women to reveal if they use contraception, and organizations that receive federal funding have, in fact, attempted to require women, not men, to sign employment documents pledging to adhere to the organization’s owners religious standards on pain of employment termination.

This new theocratic edict will affect more than just “federal” agencies and contractors. There are very, very few state and local entities serving the public that do not receive federal funds whether they are public utilities,  public schools, police and fire departments, churches, hospitals and clinics, and emergency service providers. And it is noteworthy that this theocratic expansion of “conscience laws” now has the full weight and authority of the federal government based on religion. This is the new “religious liberty” radical evangelicals have lusted for and if any American thinks they are immune because they aren’t gay, aren’t women, or aren’t people of color, they are phenomenally stupid.

Of course the Trump administration’s latest theocratic edict elicited outrage from advocates for equal rights, but it is probably far too little far too late.

The president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) commented thus:

Today’s guidance by Jeff Sessions proves this [theocratic] Administration will do anything possible to categorize LGBTQ Americans as second-class citizens who are not equal under the law. Freedom of religion does not give people the right to impose their beliefs on others, to harm others, or to discriminate. Nothing could be more un-American and unholy than using religion to justify harm and discrimination to others.”

The president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Chad Griffin said:

Today the Trump-Pence administration launched an all-out assault on LGBTQ people, women, and other minority communities by unleashing a sweeping license to discriminate. This blatant attempt to further Donald Trump’s cynical and hateful [theocratic] agenda will enable systematic, government-wide discrimination that will have a devastating impact on LGBTQ people and their families. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have proven they will stop at nothing to target the LGBTQ community and drag our nation backwards.

It is noteworthy to remind the naysayers that religious freedom in 21st Century America is the freedom to impose the radical evangelical worldview on all Americans and punish those unwilling to comply with the bastardized version of Christianity. And yes, it is bastardized because the religion’s namesake, Jesus Christ, preached against everything the religious right stands for and promotes.

This latest theocratic assault on America and its Constitution will affect more than just the LGBTQ community and women; although they will bear the brunt of the attacks first. Like previous state-level “license to discriminate laws,” anyone remotely connected to an organization or agency receiving federal taxpayer dollars, can refuse to provide a service or assistance to anyone they claim violates their deeply held religious beliefs, even if they aren’t religious or affiliated with a religion. Bigotry is now a religious faith in America so everyone is a target.

This is not, as was once apt to say, ‘the way theocratic tyranny begins.” Theocracy is here in 2017 in the form of a federally-enacted “license to discriminate” and is not simply an invitation to discriminate, it is a signal to the extremist evangelical right that their “religious freedom” now includes federal protection to flout the equal rights of all Americans and the U.S. Constitution.

Tragically, with radical evangelical extremists running all three branches of the federal government, no American is safe. And there is no longer any freedom from imposition of religion by government fiat; something the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers thought was so important they included it in the First Amendment.

Image: Gage Skidmore

Misogynist Betsy DeVos To Use Title IX For Republicans’ War On Women

The religious Republican war on women was, although relentless, somewhat diminished during President Barack Obama’s 8-year tenure in the White House, but that firewall came to a screeching halt on January 21, 2017. It is an understatement to say Donald Trump is a misogynist of the first order, but no more so than the evangelicals he installed in his Cabinet.

Two of Trump’s evangelical department heads are mounting an attack on women in the form of assisting perpetrators of sexual assault to rape with impunity. In fact, it was announced recently that Trump’s unqualified evangelical Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is poised to do as she promised and roll back Title IX protections to better conform to what evangelical men believe is right and proper; free reign over women.

At issue for DeVos is “repealing and replacing” Title IX protections to make it more difficult for victims of rape get a semblance of justice on college campuses. Even before DeVos took aim at Title IX, a “leaked” Department of Justice (DOJ) memo issued exactly six days after evangelical misogynist Jeff Sessions was sworn in as attorney general sought to change policy to favor male sexual abusers.

The DOJ memo’s authors “expressed concern” over the inequities faced by male students accused of sexual assault; one particular “policy shift” should please every misogynist alive and women should be absolutely terrified. The disconcerting recommended changes is that going forward during rape and sexual assault cases:

Every complainant’s sexual history may be introduced at the hearing. Currently, questions about the complainant’s (victim’s) sexual history with anyone other than the accused perpetrator are not permitted.”

That memo by Sessions is old-school misogyny when no matter the circumstances, it was always a woman’s fault that she was raped and men were always victims. The DOJ memo to the Education Department states its purpose is to rectify Title IX’s “disparate and unfair treatment and impact on male students accused of sexual assault.” That so-called “disparate and unfair treatment of male students is an oft-cited complaint of men’s groups renowned for harassing rape victims; the same groups DeVos appealed to for guidance and direction in her effort to “repeal and replace” Title IX’s protection for women.

It is noteworthy, but typical of this administration, that the DOJ’s policy shift violates every state’s rape shield law going back to the 1970s. Those laws were enacted specifically to prevent a male defendant’s attorney from airing a rape victim’s entire sexual history to portray her as a “slut” that deserved what she got. The DOJ’s recommendation also violates the federal version of a rape shield law known as the Violence Against Women Act (1994). The DOJ memo’s purpose is clear: shame rape survivors or shut them up to protect male assailants.

The concept of protecting men accused of sexual assault is most likely high on DeVos’s to-do list in unilaterally “repealing and replacing” Title IX to conform to an evangelical misogynist’s worldview. She has complained, often bitterly, that Obama-era directives gave the Civil Rights office at the education department intrusive and overreaching authority; likely because it enforces civil rights and women’s protections on college campuses.

DeVos gave an indication of how she will “replace” Title IX civil right protections early in her tenure when she met first with anti-LGBTQ activists for advice and recommendations. A month later she reached out and met with several “men’s rights groups” that harass rape survivors for advice on how best to change Title IX to stop them from being treated unfairly when they were accused of sexual violence. That “advice” is likely why DeVos says she wants to “rescind Title IX protections for women survivors of sexual assault.

During a speech Thursday at George Mason University’s Law School, DeVos proudly announced that “the era of rule by letter is over.” The “letter” reference is to a “Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) that was an Obama-era directive focusing on “how sexual harassment creates a hostile educational environment” that was officially part of “the 2011 Title IX Guidance.” According to the directive, for the purpose of a Department of Education (DOE) investigation, “one single instance of sexual violence is sufficient to qualify as creating a hostile sexual environment” that warranted an investigation.

DeVos laid out three reasons she is “repealing and replacing” sections of Title IX and they obviously came directly from the “counsel and advice” the men’s rights groups offered when DeVos “reached out” for their direction and guidance. She said that going forward “The accused must know that guilt is not predetermined;” school administrators can no longer be judge, jury and executioner when determining “whether or not” sexual abuse “really happened.” And she intends on putting the brakes on the “Office for Civil Rights” division practice of what she claimed was “terrifying schools and overreaching.”

Although DeVos has not yet issued her “repeal and replacement” of Title IX, it is almost certain to be as great a gift to misogynists as it will be a vile curse against women; particularly those who are victims of sexual harassment and rape. Coupled with the Sessions’ DOJ memo reversing course on “rape shield laws” and the Violence Against Women Act, and DeVos’ stated reasons for abolishing sexual abuse protections for women, her “replacement” will be devastating for women.

It is probably true that some Americans feared a Trump administration would wage a ferocious war on women, and not solely because there is no longer a woman’s rights advocate in the Oval Office. For dog’s sake, Trump is a serial misogynist and an admitted “pussy-grabbing” sexual predator, and his appointment of evangelicals with a misogynist bent to run the Education and Justice Departments almost ensured that misogyny would be rewarded and women would be in serious trouble.

DeVos’ announcement and the leaked Sessions’ memo nearly guarantee that the religious Republican war on women is escalating into a full-scale assault on women. Sadly, President Obama isn’t around to stop the dirty misogynists. This is not going to turn out well for whatever progress women have made over decades of struggle and as usual it is all down to religious Republicans’ who revel in waging war on women.

Jeff Sessions’ Task Force On Marijuana Tells Him to Back Off

Anyone remotely familiar with the appeal to men with low self-esteem of religion as a means to control other humans should recognize what drives a nasty lying piece of work like Trump’s “beleaguered” attorney general J. Beauregard Sessions. It seems that except for the criminals and perjury-prone cretins in the Trump administration, Sessions has been desperate to send people to jail. But instead of pursuing the easy targets like the Trump’s, Kushner, Pence, and himself, Sessions wants to prosecute and imprison journalists for doing their jobs, protestors exercising their Constitutional rights, and Americans who legally use marijuana; whether for the weed’s well-documented medicinal properties or recreational enjoyment.

For a person who has invested a fair amount of time researching the benefits of cannabis as an alternative to enriching the pharmaceutical industry, it is beyond comprehension that any half-intelligent human being wants to imprison marijuana users, no matter their reason for partaking. Sessions has been on a crusade since he lied to the Senate to earn confirmation as attorney general to find some connection between a non-existent rise in extreme violent crime and marijuana use, whether for medicine or recreation.

Sessions, a perjurer who has zero comprehension of what he’s talking about, has assailed marijuana as dangerous as heroin and regularly blames its use for spikes in extreme violence. Those patently false assertions are what he’s used in promising to change existing pot policy to throw a lot of innocent people in prison since he took office six months ago. This is a curious departure from “state’s rights” Sessions who has bristled at the idea of federal courts striking down Republican state’s laws that violate various Constitutional amendments guaranteeing equality to all Americans. State’s rights are only valid, in Sessions’ mind, if they foster discrimination or subvert Americans’ right to vote.

Early in his tenure at the Department of Justice, Session hand-picked a task force consisting of law enforcement, prosecutors, and religious conservatives to develop a reason to attack legal marijuana use and throw some Americans in prison and stomp on the 10th Amendment in the process. The big problem for Sessions was revealed accidentally late this week when the Associated Press got access to portions of a recommendation report from his “Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.” In February when he convened the public safety task force, Sessions lied and said “We’re seeing real violence around that [decriminalization]. Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana decriminalization than anyone knows.”

Sessions didn’t want the report released for public consumption and he didn’t have any comment when the non-recommendation report was revealed, and there is a damn good reason. Beauregard “bible” Sessions didn’t want the results of the “task force” released because the cops and prosecutors fundamentally said there are no recommendations; or reasons to follow through on any of Sessions’ anti-pot plans.  The short conclusion was the cops and prosecutors “don’t think anything should change.”

According to the task force’s report, the cops and prosecutors believe that the federal government’s Justice Department has more important work to do than hunt down pot-users and throw them in jail. They argued that Sessions should leave the Obama-era “hands-off” approach to states with legalized weed in place whether legalization is for recreational or medicinal use.  Of course Sessions doesn’t have to heed the task force’s recommendation, but at least now he can’t lie and claim his “hand-picked” task force pushed him to pursue pot to stop violent crime; a claim that is absurd on its face and not factual whatsoever.

As noted in the AP report, the nature of the “wait and see” of the task force’s recommendations signals just how difficult it would be to change course on decriminalized marijuana. Although there are some in law enforcement that might support a tougher approach, in March there was a bipartisan group of senators who “urged” Sessions to uphold the existing marijuana policy and leave the states alone. There is also a group of congressional representatives and senators who are actively seeking ways to not only protect legalized marijuana use, but to help promote the industry and help it succeed and prosper.

According to a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies marijuana law and was interviewed by members of the task force, the “vague recommendations were likely intentional to reflect the understanding that shutting down the entire pot industry is neither palatable nor possible.”  John Hudak said:

If they come out with a more progressive, liberal policy, the attorney general is just going to reject it. They need to convince the attorney general that the recommendations are the best they can do without embarrassing the entire department by implementing a policy that fails.”

Sessions’ threats to embark on a federal crackdown crusade have united liberals and conservatives to oppose his plan to attack pot use and legalization. Humanitarians oppose the Sessions’ war on pot because of the “human costs of a failed war on drugs,” and conservatives see it as a states’ rights issue and none of the federal government’s business. In fact, many members of Congress and decriminalization advocates were fearful that the task force would give Sessions the green light to dismantle what has become a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar industry that is helping fund schools, healthcare, educational programs and particularly law enforcement.

The director of conservative outreach at the Marijuana Policy Project, Don Murphy, joined decriminalization advocates in celebrating the task force’s recommendation to “butt out.” Mr. Murphy said in a statement:

The task force’s recommendations reflect the fact that the Dept. of Justice has more important priorities than harassing legitimate, taxpaying businesses. In states that have approved marijuana for medical or adult use, these businesses are creating jobs, generating revenue, protecting consumers, and making their communities safer. The vast majority of Americans want the federal government to let states determine their own marijuana policies. We hope the attorney general is paying attention and maintains the current policy of non-interference.

It remains to be seen if Sessions is paying attention, but if that is a problem he has, there was just a long-term study released that revealed that cannabis use is a means of controlling people’s problems paying attention if they suffer from ADHD or HDD. And, since Sessions has a severe memory problem and couldn’t remember how many secret meetings he had with Russian agents helping Trump’s campaign, a different study revealed that chronic pot use does, in fact, help people with memory loss issues. Beauregard should smoke a couple of bowls a day, lose that stupid bible, regain his memory and increase his attention span; America would be better served and he might stop being such a monumental evangelical dick.

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.