We're Off to See the Wizard (and the Children of Mussolini)

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions and the Munchkins. Separated at birth? I think so.

I don't really have much to say about Trump's Friday dump of radical right cabinet picks. They are to be expected. It just shows the futility of Democrats' efforts to "reach out" to him in hopes he'll exercise some moderation. He's too far gone. He thinks he's the Wizard of Oz, controlling the country from behind the iron curtains of Trump Tower. If you're not one of his billionaire bundlers or an extremist right wing politician, you won't get as far as the elevator.

The New York Times calls Session's nomination for Attorney General "an insult to justice." (It calls Michael Flynn's nomination for National Security Advisor "an alarming pick."

Here's an article from McClatchy on Sessions hard-core anti-immigration views. [More...]

Yesterday, I read the transcripts of Session's 1986 Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings (when he was nominated by Reagan to serve on the U.S. District Court.) They are more than 500 pages and are available on Lexis, but because of the embedded security used in the document, you can't cut and paste from it.

At the final hearing, Sessions denied making the racist remarks others claimed he made, and said his comment that groups like the NAACP were Un-American were taken out of context. He insisted that his private comment, quoted by others, that he was OK with the KKK until he found out some of them smoked pot, was a joke. Kennedy and Joe Biden said very nasty things about him at the hearing. The vote against him was 10 to 2. Here's an account from The Guardian. "He was only the second man in 50 years to be rejected by the Senate judiciary committee."

I have no idea what his views on race are. I know his views on the war on drugs and penalties are abysmal. I know he has introduced terrible legislation (at least he'll be out of the Senate and won't be able to vote for the tougher sentencing bills Republicans will undoubtedly introduce, knowing that Trump is in their corner.)

I wrote about his views here in 2009. And his demeaning questioning of Justice Kagan at her confirmation hearing in 2010.

Moving on, I didn't read anything about Jared Kushner in the news yesterday. A lawyer I know suggested he remember what happened to Dictator Benito Mussolini's son-in-law, Count Ciano.

Mussolini's daughter Edda was one of his close advisors. Mussolini appointed her husband, Count Ciano, to be his Foreign Minister. When Ciano began to question Mussolini’s conduct of the war he was tried for treason and executed. Edda broke off contact with the fascist dictator for the rest of their lives. She died in 1995, here's the New York Times obituary:

Countess Edda Mussolini Ciano, the eldest daughter and a close adviser of Italy's Fascist dictator, whose husband was executed after he opposed her father's rule, died Saturday in a Rome hospital, doctors said today. She was 84.

... She was a close adviser to Mussolini during the 1930's and was known for her independence at a time when Italian women had few rights.

Her husband, Count Galeazzo Ciano, was Mussolini's Foreign Minister from 1936 to 1943. In July 1943, however, he voted against Mussolini at a Cabinet meeting that led to the dictator's arrest and the fall of Fascism.

Under orders from Hitler, occupying German troops freed Mussolini and installed him as head of a puppet government. It found Count Ciano guilty of treason and ordered him executed. Countess Ciano's pleas to her father and to Hitler were ignored, and her husband was executed by a firing squad in 1944.

... "You are no longer my father for me," she wrote to him. "I renounce the name Mussolini."

Just sayin', history has a tendency to repeat itself. If I were Jared, I'd think twice about rearranging all my finances into some illusory blind trust and moving to Washington. He should keep his day job.

On a somewhat related and ironic note, Bernie Kerik has an article in Kushner's publication The Observer today, about the need for sentencing reform and better opportunities for inmates. He refers to the BOP and DOJ as part of the swamp that needs to be drained. (Ironic because Jared's father-in-law, who is being advised by Jared, has just picked an attorney general who believes in neither.)

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    The problem (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by smott on Sat Nov 19, 2016 at 03:11:28 PM EST
    I think is that the press now has zero credibility with at least half the country. Probably more.

    Trump can do whatever the hell he wants. Literally.
    We could find out tomorrow that Trump is in hock to his eyeballs to the Russian mob, or that he's being bribed by foreign officials to get discounts on Trump Tower condos (both highly probable, actually), and it would. Not. Matter.

    The press has lost its credibility. And deservedly so.

    But the NYT could come out with these stories tomorrow (OK maybe not NYT, they're too busy being offended that Pence got booed last night , but maybe WaPo...) and it would. Not. Matter. More than half the country would not believe it.

    We have no truth anymore because we have no viable media.

    They did it to themselves because they became an infotainment revenue-stream, and chose money over informing the public.

    But the public knows they won't get truth from media anymore.

    This is a page right out of Putin's "eliminate truth" playbook.

    And we did it to ourselves.

    With no truth, everybody makes up what they want to believe. And Trump can do anything. This is how autocracies work.

    It's over.

    You (none / 0) (#3)
    by FlJoe on Sat Nov 19, 2016 at 04:22:12 PM EST
    nailed it.

    What's so surreal (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by smott on Sat Nov 19, 2016 at 04:31:42 PM EST
    Is to watch NYT rail against it.
    David Itzkoff last night....so "bummed" Pence got booed?  He's Jewish for cripe's sake.

    Then haven't even realized they dug their own grave.

    And ours.


    Yes, and Maggie Haberman (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by KeysDan on Sat Nov 19, 2016 at 06:07:37 PM EST
    of the NYTimes, thought it was disrespectful, too. However, when Alito mouthed, NOT TRUE, at President Obama during his SOTU that was not disrespectful or when Rep. Joe Wilson (R. SC) shouted out "YOU LIE," during President Obama's speech on health care, that was different.

    Although, there was some humor to emerge from Pencegate.  Suggested shows Pence could attend and have "safe space."  "Les Deplorables,"  "Annie Keep your Gun,"  "Thoroughly Modern Misogyny," "Ly'n King," "Maim," "Rent, But not to "those people," "Annie Get Your Gun Without a Background Check," "Hairpiece," "KKKing and I,"  "Hitler on the Roof," "pussy Cats," "Guys grab Dolls," and Sunday in the Park with Benito."  


    Tsk,Tsk (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by FlJoe on Sat Nov 19, 2016 at 06:20:01 PM EST
    after the genteel campaign we just had, the dirty hippies just can't control themselves.

    It's interesting, but terrifying to watch history and reality being airbrushed in real time. Kafka meets Orwell meets P. K. Dick with a dash of Python.


    It gets scarier (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by KeysDan on Sun Nov 20, 2016 at 10:49:32 AM EST
    with each passing minute.  Trump's tweeting of SNL continues.  The President-elect, with apparently nothing to do, says: "I watched part of SNL last night, It is a totally one-sided, biased show.  nothing funny at all.  Equal time for us?"

    Of course, if Trump does not want to be satirized on comedy shows, he should give this presidenting thing up and focus (if he can) on his hotels and golf courses.  He wants equal time to satirize others?  Surely, some of the comedy skits have, over the years, pierced the skins of presidents, but they, at least publicly, laugh it off and consider that it goes with the democratic territory.


    yeah (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by FlJoe on Sun Nov 20, 2016 at 11:11:10 AM EST
    to bad Hillary's camp did not take the time to point out this would happen.

    The "equal time" (none / 0) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 09:47:13 AM EST
    bit was thrown out years ago but the Left has been crying for years that it should be used to make stations provide equal time for them to put shows on the air that can't pay.

    Thus shutting down both Limbaugh and whatever the Left wants behind the mike/camera.

    Donald needs to "Be careful what you ask for."


    The surest sign you're talking (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by jondee on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 02:27:39 PM EST
    to a talk radio head is when they start whining about the people who want to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.

    Did you ever consider cracking a book, Jim?

    People who get educated about politics from talk radio are like people who learn theology from Ernest Angley.


    I don't think the media has been discredited (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 19, 2016 at 09:15:27 PM EST
    I think people are beginning to realize they are responsible for seeking real journalism

    What they're responsible for, MT, (none / 0) (#19)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Nov 20, 2016 at 01:27:34 PM EST
    is paying for it.

    The internet is free but the internet is bull$hit.

    Wall to wall, credulous stenography.


    Agree (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 08:51:01 AM EST
    The election is over. (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by itscookin on Sun Nov 20, 2016 at 10:41:32 AM EST
    Trump won. He has a large majority in the House and a small one in the Senate. While some gracious concessions to the left might be nice, as Obama said elections have consequences. If you cheered when Obama told the Republicans "I won", or when the Democrats pushed ObamaCare through using reconciliation, then you understand how the right feels as Trump makes his choices and plans his first 100 days. He doesn't need to pay attention to what the left prefers. Obama built that. The only thing to do is to work hard and take control back. Recovery from defeat usually starts with a good post mortem of why you lost. I don't see any signs that's happening yet. The Democrats are still in hissy fit mode. If you really believe the Democrats lost because half the country are racist, homophobic, misogynists, then getting control back is going to take awhile.  

    Until the right (none / 0) (#13)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Nov 20, 2016 at 10:51:13 AM EST
    recognizes that what they did by pushing homophobia etc. the country is not going to move forward. Reaching out to the center and the left is about healing the country however I don't expect it to happen. The saddest thing is the people that voted for Trump really think he's going to be able to bring jobs back. They think Apple is all of a sudden going to start making iPhones here in the US even though the CEO said it was not going to happen.

    However Trump is going in with the lowest approval of any president ever. The GOP yes, will push to eliminate Medicare and a lot of stuff. They always overreach, have done so for 25 years and will continue. This whole election has been a failure of many of our institutions.


    Disaster (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Coral on Sun Nov 20, 2016 at 01:50:07 PM EST
    I'd like to see some leadership from Democrats on creating coalition of resistance to the far-right policies being pushed by Trump, his cabinet, and Congress.

    Without that, we are lost.

    The GOP seems hell bent on destroying our democratic institutions, our economy, and probably the fragile international system that has already been severely hit by GW Bush's wars in the Middle East.

    Obama managed, somehow, to fend them off for 8 years. I admire the man tremendously.

    However, we need leadership to create an effective opposition force.

    It is my fervent hope that Democrats from Bernie wing to the more centrist wings of the party would put together some kind of strategy to protect the common good.

    The two wings of the party had a chance (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by chezmadame on Sun Nov 20, 2016 at 02:25:37 PM EST
    to come together on election day. Enough of the people who could have voted for the common good chose not to or stayed home. Weaponized votes, like elections, have consequences.

    I've long admired President Obama, but he made  major blunders by allowing that Supreme Court seat stay vacant, by not acting on advice given to him in 2014 to remove DSW from party leadership, and by rehiring Comey.

    I find it shameful that we're not hearing more about the outrageous abuses of power and privacy that Hillary faced during the campaign and the degree of privilege that was extended to her male opponents.


    Bernie (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Nov 20, 2016 at 03:11:45 PM EST
    is about as useful as teats on a boar hog as we say down here in the south. This fight is going to have be taken on by Hillary supporters and Bernie supporters can come along if they want. Warren at least seems to be moving away from Bernie.

    ... to provide leadership? Please join the Democratic Party and become a card-carrying member, and then step up and provide some leadership of your own in your community.

    The type of change you seek isn't going to trickle down from Washington. Rather, it begins at home. If we want to cauterize the batschitt crazies, then we need to take them on in our own respective municipalities and states. We need to strangle it in the cradle where we live, and not wait until it moves on to D.C. and metastasizes there.



    The "Bernie wing" is useless (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Towanda on Sun Nov 20, 2016 at 07:41:17 PM EST
    as I have seen no outcry about the Sainted Sanders being so agreeable this week to a $10 minimum wage.

    I'm so old that I remember when he and his bros relentlessly attacked Clinton for suggesting a $12-$15 range, adapting to local economies.

    They attacked her for being "pragmatic" rather than "principled."  But now he is being pragmatic, and it's fine with them.  Cult worshippers are not what is needed now -- and, frankly, attempting to work with/appease them would be the worst thing now, when the need is for, as you say, solid strategy.


    Yes, and (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by KeysDan on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 10:00:03 AM EST
    Bernie's exuberance for common ground with Trump's "infrastructure" scheme before he knows more about it.  Paul Krugman worries that, in keeping with the self dealing and crony oligarchy shaping up as central to the Trump Administration, it may be another Trump con.

    I thought Bernie said (none / 0) (#108)
    by MKS on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 12:53:22 PM EST
    the infrastructure plan was a fraud, no?

    Yes, he seems (none / 0) (#109)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 01:04:29 PM EST
    to be backing down now. After falling down in front of Trump he seems to be getting the message to stay on message.

    We need to all (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by CST on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 02:10:01 PM EST
    Stop fighting each other on the left.

    It's not going to help fix this.

    That applies to Bernie lovers and haters.  He's one of the few ones we have who is still in a position to help.


    The problem (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 03:18:01 PM EST
    is he's not helping running around and kneeling in front of Trump. He actually is part of the problem right now. He's coming off as bitter and entitled and he's insulting women and POC.

    Bernie said: (none / 0) (#60)
    by KeysDan on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 05:52:45 PM EST
    its not enough to say "I'm a woman vote for me."  Seems Bernie feels that there are other qualifications.  Wish he would have declared this sooner, many women would not have voted for Michelle Bachman in the past, and Fiorina, this year.  

    He really knows (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 06:30:07 PM EST
    how to tick people off for sure. Armando has been trashing him all over twitter for this BS and also makes a great point. If you want to get WWC voters you need to talk to Bill Clinton not Bernie Sanders.

    yeah that was terrible (none / 0) (#152)
    by pitachips on Wed Nov 23, 2016 at 02:37:39 PM EST
    Speaking as someone who thought he brought an important voice/viewpoint to the primaries - he deserves to be punched in the nose for that one.

    New Yorker article (none / 0) (#154)
    by TrevorBolder on Wed Nov 23, 2016 at 04:45:53 PM EST
    Long, in depth, pre and post campaign , David Remnick and President Obama.


    Here was the hopeful vision of diversity and dignity that Obama had made his own, and hearing these words I couldn't help remembering how he began his victory speech eight years ago. "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible," he said, "tonight is your answer." A very different answer arrived this Election Day. America is indeed a place where all things are possible: that is its greatest promise and, perhaps, its gravest peril. ♦

    Speak for yourself (none / 0) (#72)
    by Towanda on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 08:30:19 PM EST
    but as for me:  Accepting sexism, racism, and Neville Chamberlainism in the face of fascism s not helping to fix what most needs fixing in this country.

    I'm not willing to be quiet about all of the above as a tradeoff for fixing potholes.

    Your mileage may differ, if your mileage matters more to you.


    I certainly am (none / 0) (#101)
    by CST on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 11:35:09 AM EST
    Speaking for myself, thanks.

    It's called picking your battles.

    Neville Chamberlain needed opposing because he was the Prime Minister who had actual power to determine the direction of the country.

    Fighting Bernie is a waste of time and effort and will just further divide the left at a time when we desperately need allies.  In my opinion.


    Allies (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by vicndabx on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 03:39:10 PM EST
    the right kind seems important.  I can certainly understand picking your battles.  However, aligning w/those that would so easily sell you out because they didn't get their way seems, IMO, to only trade one type of oppression for another.

    It's the natural course of things (none / 0) (#102)
    by jondee on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 12:10:38 PM EST
    it took some folks here a good couple of years to get their post-08 rage at Obama out of their systems.

    Though, making Sanders one's personal bete noire seems like a huge waste of energy.


    For your consideration (none / 0) (#112)
    by vicndabx on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 03:54:36 PM EST
    Disaffected by choice, too selfish to share

    I would submit we need to ensure we have actual allies.


    I would submit (none / 0) (#114)
    by CST on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 04:30:32 PM EST
    That if we disqualify all grumpy old men with resting b*tch face - and those who supported him in the primary - we're going to become our own version of the purity trolls you decry.

    That's a shame that's all you got from that (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by vicndabx on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 05:16:34 PM EST
    Where would you suggest we compromise on matters that affect people's ability to get an equal shot at a job or housing?

    To compare a desire for lack of compromise on issues like equality and civil rights with purity over legislation on things like bank regulations seriously misses the point IMO. There should be certain things Dems do not compromise on.


    Please direct me (none / 0) (#120)
    by CST on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 05:20:13 PM EST
    To the place where Bernie Sanders has suggested compromising any of these things.

    I don't care about Bernie Sanders (none / 0) (#124)
    by vicndabx on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 05:37:23 PM EST
    He is not the issue here. The issue for the party is how to bring in poor whites while not also alienating the dem base, POC.

    My posts have not been about Bernie Sanders. They have been about the voters we need to rebuild the Dem party coalition.

    Included should be those of all races who've been left behind. First however is ending denial about where we are w/r/t race relations and specifically why some feel like they are better than others and how that impacts their voting choices.


    Well fwiw (none / 0) (#148)
    by CST on Wed Nov 23, 2016 at 01:16:20 PM EST
    I was talking about him when you responded to my comment.

    I hate to be a stickler (none / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Nov 20, 2016 at 05:32:18 PM EST
    for facts...but Obama has been President for 8 years.

    I think that at some point they became his...Perhaps when he left Iraq against the advice of the military.


    (Sigh!) I don't know why it needs to be ... (none / 0) (#41)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 02:20:34 PM EST
    ... pointed out to you repeatedly that there was already in place a binding status of forces agreement between Iraq and the United States that was previously negotiated by the Bush administration,, and one which required our military withdrawal from that country by no later than the summer of 2011.

    Yes, we could have stayed in Iraq in perpetuity if we so desired, either by unilaterally disregarding that SOFA, or with our acceptance of the of the Iraqi government's caveat that any American military personnel remaining in the country would henceforth be fully subject to the full force and Iraqi law, such as it is. Neither option was or is acceptable.

    You rote repetition of right-wing faerie tales and other such bullschitt doesn't render any of it true by default. With negotiations regarding the extension of our stay at an impasse, we had a binding agreement with Iraq which norms and dictates of international diplomacy required us to honor and fulfill. Period.

    But more to the pint, you don't just unilaterally flout such agreements at your whim without incurring some potentially very serious repercussions -- the foremost being that the rest of the world would find our country to be an inherently untrustworthy and unpredictable partner, and a bad actor that does not necessarily negotiate with others in good faith except at its own short-term convenience.

    And given that diplomatic and historical memories in this world tend to long transcend our own respective lifetimes, that's one helluva dubious reputation and legacy which you're apparently willing to saddle upon your own children and grandchildren.

    Suffice to say that we've been trying with limited success to live that reputation down since our similar behavior during the 19th and early 20th centuries, which has continued to adversely color and affect our country's relationships with Latin America and our own native peoples to this very day.



    You mean ... (none / 0) (#125)
    by Yman on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 05:38:28 PM EST
    ... when he followed the terms of the GW Bush SOFA agreement?


    But you claiming to be a "stickler for facts" was seriously funny.  Right up there with Trump claiming that "no one has more respect for women than me".  Did you keep  straight face?


    You should (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 01:14:32 PM EST
    have been talking about Trump and his disrespect for about 18 months now. You can't all of a sudden do a 180 and ask people to forget everything Trump has said and you can't undo all the disrespect Pence has put forth in legislation. So the resistance is going to be huge and it's going to be loud while Trump supporters celebrate Trump with Sieg Heil.

    Yes, and then (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by KeysDan on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 02:30:04 PM EST
    there is that matter of disrespect to the electorate and Mr. Obama in the Republicans deciding that President Obama was elected to a three-year term in 2012.

    Officially (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by CST on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 02:07:05 PM EST
    Heading to DC for the million woman March with my mother, my cousin, and her kids.  I have an uncle who lives in the city so we won't have to scrounge for a hotel.

    This will be my first inauguration.  I wish I had gone 8 years ago.

    Elections have consequences. But so does pissing off a majority of Americans.

    We're organizing a march in my state (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Towanda on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 03:48:43 PM EST
    for those of us who cannot go to D.C.

    I hope that we see marches organized in every state.


    My cousin from MN (4.50 / 2) (#48)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 03:19:22 PM EST
    is going and picking up friends in Ohio on the way. Glad to see so many people going.

    That's awesome. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 03:02:51 PM EST
    I wish we could also go, but it's too long a trip from out here to spend just a few days. I've had to do that occasionally for work, and it does take a lot out of you, because the round trip between Hawaii and the east coast requires at least 22-24 hours' flight time at a minimum. My firm has a contract with the U.S. Census Bureau which requires our presence once a quarter in New York City for meetings, and even with nonstop flights between EWR/JFK and HNL, my partner has come to loathe the trip. (She gets to go, because she's the lead and the one who wanted to pursue the contract in the first place.)

    So we'll be with you in spirit.


    We will probably either (none / 0) (#49)
    by CST on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 03:32:20 PM EST
    Drive or take the bus.  Flights and trains at this stage are already 2-4 times as expensive as they'd be for a regular weekend.

    I haven't been to DC since high school, I'm looking forward to some solidarity at the least.

    I wish my sisters were coming but one is too busy and the other (Muslim, wears a hijab) is losing her mind and afraid to leave the house.  Honestly I think this would be good for her but I get it.  Right now she needs the rest of us to stand up for her.


    I understand (none / 0) (#50)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 03:48:06 PM EST
    your sister. Here I wonder how many of my neighbors are secret Klansmen or Neo Nazis. Even when you probably don't have to worry about your own self you start to wonder what evil your neighbors are capable of doing.

    I studied the former "equal time" rule (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by Peter G on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 07:45:40 PM EST
    and its cousin the "fairness doctrine" in law school. (The latter was repealed in 1987, by Pres. Reagan's FCC.) The equal time rule applies to time provided by regulated broadcasters to appearances by announced candidates for public office. It had nothing to do with balancing the broadcasting of opinions. I have never heard of "the Left" (with which I believe I am quite familiar) trying to use the "equal time rule" against Limbaugh, nor can I imagine how the rule would even arguably apply. Can you provide a link or source, Jim? I really doubt it.

    I'm hopelessly in love with your sweat (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 11:37:49 PM EST
    And tears Peter.

    Your sweat smells like cinnamon (movie quote)


    The word "actually" is used (5.00 / 4) (#69)
    by Peter G on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 07:49:57 PM EST
    in the header of your post, Jim, in its ironic sense, I imagine. Your assertion about man-made global warming and the scientific method is unsupportable by facts. Virtually the funhouse mirror opposite of the truth.

    Spin is not truth. (5.00 / 2) (#168)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Nov 23, 2016 at 06:46:08 PM EST
    First of all, Sen. Sessions didn't prosecute the case personally. In fact, he had nothing at all to do with it, other than the fact that it happened on his watch while he was U.S. Attorney in Alabama. Given his temperament, he was probably ready to agree with the initial findings of local law enforcement in Mobile, AL, who had tried to peg Michael Donald's killing as a drug deal gone awry.

    But Michael's mother Beulah Mae Donald would hear none of it, and further insisted that her son -- who lived at home at the time of his death -- had nothing whatsoever to do with drugs She retained an attorney, Michael A. Figures, who was also an Alabama state senator, to represent her in this matter.

    When the FBI appeared ready to close its books on the case after what amounted to a cursory investigation, Sen. Figures then spoke to his brother, Asst. U.S. Attorney Thomas Figures, who was in charge of the Mobile, AL office, and convinced him that a second investigation into Michael's death was necessary.

    Thomas Figures -- and NOT U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions -- then requested in the strongest possible terms that officials at the U.S. Dept. of Justice in Washington authorize that second investigation of Michael's death by his office. Much to his surprise, his request was approved:

    "As an act of appeasement to me -- or to convince me that a second investigation would come to the same conclusion -- I was allowed to work with a second F.B.I. agent, James Bodman. I'll never forget the first thing Bodman said. He asked me, 'Why the hell do you want to reopen this can of worms?' But then he got interested in it, and we worked on it every day. We had lunch together, we talked at night - people started calling us 'the odd couple.'"
    - Thomas H. Figures, Asst. U.S. Attorney, Mobile, AL. New York Times, "The Woman Who Beat the Klan," (Nov. 1, 1987)

    Figures, who is African-American, then worked closely with Bodman, who is white, for the next 30 months as they painstakingly put together a case which eventually resulted in the 1983 arrest of Henry Hays and his friend James Knowles for the first-degree murder of Michael Donald. When Knowles confessed his role in the crime to Special Agent Bodman, he further implicated United Klans of America leader Bennie Jack Hays, Henry Hays' father, who was also arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

    Knowles was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He avoided the death penalty by testifying against Henry Hays and his father. The jury deadlocked in the elder Hays' trial and a mistrial was declared, but he died of a heart attack before he could be retried.

    Henry Hays was convicted of first degree murder and condemned to death by a Mobile jury, and that sentence was carried out by electric chair on June 6, 1997. He remains the only member of the Ku Klux Klan in the U.S. to ever be executed for the lynching of an African American during the entire 20th century.

    When you don't know, Trevor, you shouldn't assume. And when you prove yourself all too willing to be played for a fool, it really doesn't surprise me -- or likely anyone else here -- when Rush Limbaugh and other white-wing gasbags repeatedly oblige you.


    Session is a (none / 0) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Nov 19, 2016 at 12:04:07 PM EST
    deplorable for sure. Even the GOP controlled senate shot him down in the 1980's.

    i need to read (none / 0) (#5)
    by linea on Sat Nov 19, 2016 at 05:12:30 PM EST
    all the links and references to understand this better.

    my immediate reaction to the munchkins photo, before i could even read what was written, was to google his height: 1.70 m or 5 foot 7 inches. i hope i completely miscomprehended^ the munchkin reference because it feels petty.

    ^ to get a wrong idea of or about.

    Look at the facial expression, linea (none / 0) (#6)
    by Peter G on Sat Nov 19, 2016 at 05:57:50 PM EST
    That's all there is to it. No research required.

    i feel people (none / 0) (#10)
    by linea on Sat Nov 19, 2016 at 11:28:37 PM EST
    may misunderstand that specific graphic. i feel it doesnt add to the diskusion. im sorry.

    It's a joke, nothing else (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by Peter G on Sun Nov 20, 2016 at 11:09:32 AM EST
    J is entitled to use her site as she wishes. I'm glad that sometimes she helps (some of) us lighten up. Please try to understand, Linea, that as an immigrant you may not fully "get" American culture or politics, at least not for a long time. It is sometimes a mistake to generalize your own reactions to things.

    Ah, that's the explanation (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Towanda on Sun Nov 20, 2016 at 12:00:19 PM EST
    for the odd reactions to cultural references, the language, and the like.  Thanks.

    I had asked linea a few months ago ... (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 02:44:55 PM EST
    ... in all seriousness whether English was her first language, because it seemed at the time as though something was being missed by her in the translation. She replied that her English is fine.

    Well for that matter, so is my Spanish and to a lesser extent, my French. But being generally fluent / conversant in a language other than one's own native tongue doesn't necessarily ensure that one will also understand and grasp local idioms and colloquialisms. How does one translate into another language the underlying meaning of the phrase, e.g., "Go take a long walk off a short pier"?



    Though, there are quite a few near universal (none / 0) (#145)
    by jondee on Wed Nov 23, 2016 at 12:07:39 PM EST
    colloquial expressions..

    For instance, I've heard of some variation on "if sh*t became valuable, the poor would be born without as*holes" from at least four or five countries..

    Languages, particularly English, are like a moving train anyway..I can't even keep up with up what my own language and it's practitioners is doing on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.


    The Cabinet of Dr Caligari... (none / 0) (#73)
    by desertswine on Mon Nov 21, 2016 at 08:45:19 PM EST
    Falwell Jr. is under consideration for Sec of Education.

    Oy. (none / 0) (#78)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 05:03:51 AM EST
    Forget Fellini. We're trapped in a Sergio Leone film.

    Jefferson Beauregard Sessions? (none / 0) (#83)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 09:42:15 AM EST

    What a great election. In the bad old days it used to be racist to use an unusual middle name of a politician. Not anymore. Civility returns. Amen.

    You must (none / 0) (#85)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 09:48:02 AM EST
    not know anything about Sessions to make such an ignorant comment or know the history of the name. Wow civility in your definition is stripping citizens of their rights and bringing Neo Nazis to power.  

    However Trump has raised the great sleeping giant of America who are all going to join the resistance.


    You can pick your friends.
    You can pick your nose.
    But, you can't pick your parents.

    As to his history, bankrupting the KKK is a nice piece of public service.


    He did not bankrupt (5.00 / 4) (#104)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 12:38:22 PM EST
    the KKK. He thought they were the good guys until he found out they smoked pot. You know there was a reason why the Republicans in the 80's turned the guy down for a judgeship. The only people he's harassed are African Americans trying to hand in voter registration. He wanted to put them in jail for legally voting. That's apparently the kind of country sadly you seem to want. I guess we all need to start learning to say the phrase Seig Heil since the GOP is not going to do anything about it.

    Read all about Sessions atrocious history here. He has a history of denying rights to people.


    Yea (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by TrevorBolder on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 04:10:08 PM EST
    These are awful indictments of the man

    As a U.S. Attorney he filed several cases to desegregate schools in Alabama. And he also prosecuted Klansman Henry Francis Hays, son of Alabama Klan leader Bennie Hays, for abducting and killing Michael Donald, a black teenager selected at random. Sessions insisted on the death penalty for Hays. When he was later elected the state Attorney General, Sessions followed through and made sure Hays was executed. The successful prosecution of Hays also led to a $7 million civil judgment against the Klan, effectively breaking the back of the KKK in Alabama.

    No, he did (none / 0) (#122)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 05:21:11 PM EST
    not fight to desegregate schools in Alabama. What he did was to take money away from African American schools.

    Look the guy has a very bad history but I'm not surprised that you and other Republicans are apologists for a Neo Confederate. I've already seen the apologia for Neo Nazis. I guess the next group to actually get apologia for from the GOP is the KKK.


    Is Beauregard a Muslim name? (none / 0) (#172)
    by Yman on Thu Nov 24, 2016 at 10:15:20 PM EST
    Is someone falsely claiming that he's a Muslim born in Africa?

    Awwwwwwe... swing and a miss.


    Automation (none / 0) (#107)
    by MKS on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 12:50:00 PM EST
    and modern technology and robots are what cost manufacturing jobs.

    Used to be a job of driving the assembled car off the line to the parking lot 100 yards away.  Used to be a job of putting the left front hubcap on.  Used to be a lot of jobs like that.

    Next problem?  Driver-less trucks.   How many truck drivers will we need in 30 years?  

    Identity Politics Must Be Stopped (none / 0) (#133)
    by vicndabx on Tue Nov 22, 2016 at 10:09:55 PM EST
    Twitter Thread

    They reserve the "#identitypolitics that must be stopped" bit for women, minorities & other marginalized groups

    Oh (none / 0) (#144)
    by FlJoe on Wed Nov 23, 2016 at 11:51:26 AM EST
    I get it now, the GOP are not racist, they just act like it to piss off liberals, silly KKK got punked by some play acting.

    What does the media call it? (none / 0) (#170)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Nov 23, 2016 at 07:58:28 PM EST
    The describe it as "right-wing populism." There is a good reason why I use the term "white-wing" here and elsewhere on specific occasions, as opposed to catch-all conservative term "right-wing." And that's because as odious and uncaring as their economic policies can be, not all conservatives are necessarily motivated by racism, xenophobia and bigotry.

    If you listen closely, it's fairly easy to differentiate between the two, especially when you hear them talk about people of color respectively. White-wingers tend to casually fling about loaded terms like "thug," "inner city," "ghetto," "uppity," "drug dealer" and my personal favorite, "you people."

    In fact, coldhearted conservative policies adversely impact poor whites just as hard as they do poor people of color. And to a great extent, that's what Sen. Bernie Sanders has been trying to say over the last few days to us, even though it's sometimes turned into a word salad.

    When the Rev. Jesse Jackson ran for president in 1988, his core message of seeking common ground in the face of economic dislocation and stratification initially resonated strongly with poor white people in rural America, as well as with African Americans. Jackson urged people to look beyond their petty differences prompted by race and ethnicity. In fact, most of our current problems are rooted in class and economics, not race. A child with an empty belly is going to be hungry, regardless of whether he or she is black, white, Latino or Native American.  


    Thread cleaned (none / 0) (#171)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Nov 24, 2016 at 01:36:36 PM EST
    of off topic and insults. Jim and Jondee are in time out. Most of Jim's blogclogging off topic comments from the past few days have been deleted. I'm not spending my holiday searching through the trash he writes to delete them one by one so he's going to be spending longer in timeout than usual.

    Jondee, I'll get around to deleting your insults back to him soon. Yman and Trevor need to watch it.

    I'm just going to hit the ban button rather than have to wade through your repetitive off topic comments. If it's not an open thread, your comment must relate to the topic of the post.