Today, President-elect Donald Trump nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be Attorney General of the United States, and liberty moved one step closer to a horrible death.
Many liberty-minded people believed that a Trump presidency would mean less establishment shenanigans and more freedom for individuals.
But so far, the people the President-elect has chosen to align himself with do not support that belief.
Here’s why Trump’s selection of Sessions as AG is particularly concerning.
Sessions has served as a senator from Alabama for two decades, and previously served as US Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia and Attorney General of Alabama.
In 1986, he was denied a federal judgeship after former colleagues testified before a Senate committee that he was “too racist for the job.”
That rejection came from a Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee. At that time, Sessions was one of only two judicial nominees whose selections were halted by the panel in nearly 50 years.
One of the most controversial things Sessions has said was about the Ku Klux Klan. He said he thought they were “okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.”
That comment was made years ago, but Sessions is still a very vocal opponent of legalizing cannabis – for both recreational and medicinal use.
I guess he’s an opponent of science too, because to date, there are over 22,000 published studies in the scientific literature that reference the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
So far, scientific study of cannabis has identified more than 80 unique, biologically active cannabinoids. A recent meta-analysis of these compounds shows well over a dozen therapeutic properties attributable to cannabinoids, including neuroprotective, anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, and anti-diabetic properties. (source)
Not only is Sessions apparently anti-science and anti-health freedom, he totally digs one of the most dangerous and hated government agencies:
“I’m a big fan of the DEA”, he said during a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee.
At that hearing, Sessions said of marijuana – and I am not making this up – “Lady Gaga says she’s addicted to it and it is not harmless.”
Right, because Lady Gaga’s opinion is far more credible than, oh, decades of scientific research.
In April of this year, the Senate held a drug hearing.
Sessions attended, and said a few more
“We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it’s in fact a very real danger.”
Right, because humans haven’t been using cannabis for, oh – decades – without government permission.
He spoke of the need to 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.”
No, Mr. Sessions – you have that wrong. You see, “good people” do not tell other people what to do with their bodies. “Good people” do not deny people of their right to make their own decisions about what to do in the privacy of their own homes. “Good people” do not use the force of government to deprive people of their access to a plant that shows incredible promise in the treatment and management of chronic health problems and devastating diseases.
“I think one of [Obama’s] great failures, it’s obvious to me, is his lax treatment in comments on marijuana. It reverses 20 years almost of hostility to drugs that began really when Nancy Reagan started ‘Just Say No.’ ”
Everyone (except Sessions, apparently) knows the War on Drugs has been a tremendous (and very expensive) failure. His invocation of Nancy Reagan makes him look even more ignorant than his other comments do.
Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement:
“Jeff Sessions is a drug war dinosaur, which is the last thing the nation needs now. Those who counted on Donald Trump’s reassurance that marijuana reforms ‘should be a state issue’ will be sorely disappointed.”
Even though more and more states are legalizing both recreational and medicinal use of cannabis, it is still illegal at the federal level. The DEA continues to refuse to remove the plant from Schedule I, and the agency does not seem to care about states’ rights:
States that have legalized cannabis for recreational use did not even escape the DEA’s greed. Last year, confiscation continued in Washington and Oregon. Full state breakdowns have not been provided, but a DEA spokesman said that just under 36,000 marijuana plants were destroyed in Washington last year at a cost to federal taxpayers of about $950,000, or roughly $26 per plant.
So, it matters – very much – that we may end up with an AG who is anti-cannabis.
In addition, Sessions has criticized President Barack Obama for commuting hundreds of prison sentences for drug offenders, as well as efforts by the Justice Department and U.S. Sentencing Commission to reduce criminal sentencing guidelines for certain drug offenses. Sessions has opposed bipartisan proposals to cut mandatory minimum prison sentences.
And, speaking of the War on Drugs and the deprivation of civil liberties…
Sessions is a strong supporter of civil asset forfeiture, the government
thug practice of seizing property when it has allegedly been involved in a crime. In April 2015, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on reforming federal civil asset forfeiture laws, Sessions opposed ANY reform. He claimed police groups across the country told him civil asset forfeiture is an important law enforcement tool. Ending the sharing of seized cash with local departments “would be a huge detriment to law enforcement,” Sessions said.
Sessions has also argued that once forfeiture is accomplished, there is “nothing wrong with . . . [having] the money be given to the officers who helped develop the case.”
I wonder if Sessions realizes that police departments have used stolen assets to purchase things like sports cars, jackets, vacations, fancy dinners, and football tickets. I wonder if he knows that police departments have been caught hiding millions in seized cash and assets. I wonder if he heard about the $53,000 in donations for a children’s charity and orphanage that was seized by thugs in Oklahoma during a roadside shakedown earlier this year (thankfully, the money was returned to the charity a few weeks after it was stolen).
Government thugs are now stealing more property from citizens than non-government criminals are. In 2014, the government stole $4.5 billion via federal civil asset forfeiture. In contrast, all 2014 non-government related property offenses totaled approximately $3.9 billion.
I wonder if Sessions knows about all of this. My guess is that he does, but doesn’t care.
Unfortunately, there’s more.
On October 5, 2005, Sessions was one of nine Senators who voted against a Senate amendment to a House bill that prohibited cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment of individuals in the custody or under the physical control of the US government.
Immigration is a controversial topic, but even many conservatives believe that people who have come to the US and are working, paying taxes, and otherwise being productive and law-abiding members of society should have the ability to become legal citizens.
Sessions is not that kind of conservative.
As Shikha Dalmia of Reason explained last week,
Sessions has done more than any human alive to torpedo every sensible immigration reform effort and makes no bones about his wish to basically stop all immigration. He moves the goalposts on reform constantly, recently even calling for the elimination of the H-1B visa program for foreign techies, which sent chills down the IT sector’s spine.
Also from Reason:
It’s not just illegal immigration Sessions opposes, he’s also fond of spreading the canard that all immigrants are a drain on the economy and take the jobs which are the birthright of all native-born Americas, when in fact, the opposite is much closer to the truth.
Conservative Review gave Sessions a “Liberty Score” of C (78%), but I think that was being EXTREMELY generous.
They report that Sessions:
Earlier in this article, I mentioned Sessions’s comment about the KKK being “okay”, but that’s not the only thing he has done that has led many to believe he is a racist. Allegations of racism have appeared throughout his career, beginning as early as 1986.
Someone who edits Wikipedia entries doesn’t like him very much…note the first line of this paragraph:
Note: At the time of this article’s publication, that entry had been corrected.
The Attorney General represents the country in legal matters and gives advice to the president and government agencies. The Justice Department’s duties include prosecution of white-collar crime and enforcement of antitrust and civil rights laws.
As AG, Sessions would oversee all the US attorneys’ offices.
So much for draining that swamp, and so much for hopes that Trump would be a pro-liberty president.
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