Friday Reads: “Something wicked this way comes …”

rosaparksWelcome to the start of an Orwellian Dystopia.   Will the Vichy Democrats enable the demise of Civil Rights?  How many of us will stand up to defend our Bill of Rights?

A man deemed “too racist” to be a Federal judge by a judiciary committee led by Senate Republicans during the Reagan years has just been nominated to the be the nation’s head enforcer of Civil Rights law.  Jeff Sessions “once joked that he only took issue with the KKK’s drug use and referred to civil rights groups as “un-American.”

The man who President-elect Donald Trump will nominate as the 84th attorney general of the United States was once rejected as a federal judge over allegations he called a black attorney “boy,” suggested a white lawyer working for black clients was a race traitor, joked that the only issue he had with the Ku Klux Klan was their drug use, and referred to civil rights groups as “un-American” organizations trying to “force civil rights down the throats of people who were trying to put problems behind them.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), an early Trump supporter who has been playing a major role on the Trump transition team, met with the president-elect in New York on Thursday. In a statement, the Trump team said the president-elect was “unbelievably impressed” with Sessions.

On Friday morning, Trump and Sessions confirmed that Sessions had been offered the attorney general position.

J. Gerald Hebert remembers Sessions’ time as the top federal prosecutor in Mobile, Alabama, well. Speaking to The Huffington Post earlier this month, Hebert said he was stunned that an Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a possibility.

More than three decades ago, Hebert was in his 30s and working on voting rights cases for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. He was based in D.C. but spent time in Alabama working with Sessions, who was a U.S. attorney in Ronald Reagan’s administration.

“He was very affable, always wanting to have a conversation, a cup of coffee,” Hebert said. “Over the course of those months, I had a number of conversations with him, and in a number of those conversations he made remarks that were deeply concerning.”

After Sessions was nominated to be a federal judge in 1986, Hebert appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about these remarks. It was unusual for a career DOJ lawyer to testify about a judicial nominee’s character, and Hebert said at the time that he did so with “very mixed feelings,” telling senators he considered Sessions “a friend.” Hebert told them Sessions had “a tendency to pop off” and that he was “not a very sensitive person when it comes to race relations.”

HuffPost reviewed a transcript of the Sessions’ 1986 confirmation hearings. In this selection, Hebert testified that he had once relayed comments about a white lawyer being described as a race traitor, and that Sessions had responded by saying “he probably is” …

The ADL CEO has announced he will register as Muslim if such a registry–as promised by the future Trump Administration–is enacted. Many Jewish Americans are concerned with the threat of laws that remind them of Europe’s awful past.

The head of an organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism says he will register as a Muslim should President-elect Donald Trump create a national database for the religion’s followers.

“The new administration plans to force Muslims to register on some master list,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), told listeners at the group’s Never is Now Conference in New York Thursday, according to Haaretz. “As Jews we know what it means to be forced to register.

“I pledge to you that because I am committed to the fight against anti-Semitism that if one day Muslim-Americans are forced to register their identities, that is the day this proud Jew will register as Muslim. Making powerful enemies is the price one must pay, at times, for speaking truth to power.”

Trump supporters have floated a registry of Muslim immigrants as part of efforts to combat radical Islamic terrorism, but officials with his transition team have denied any such plans.

Greenblatt added Americans must reject all forms of discrimination regardless of which minority group it targets.

“No one has an excuse for excusing intolerance. We must stand with our fellow Americans who may be singled out for how they look, where they’re from, who they love or how they pray,” he said

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), an immigration hard-liner who has been advising Trump, said Wednesday that transition policy advisers were debating the merits of such a database.

54b9cf2c2d491021bcd18545c350d236Many Holocaust survivors are as traumatized by this election as sexual assault survivors and victims of abuse.

The dramatic increase in anti-Semitism and hate crimes since Election Day is a horrifying flashback for veteran Jewish Americans.

“It’s a very traumatic time for survivors and their families,” said Eva Fogelman, PhD, a New York-based, licensed psychologist and a pioneer in the field of Holocaust survivor post-traumatic stress disorder.
“There’s been a definite spike in anxiety among survivors in the past week,” Fogelman added. “They witness hate speech and anti-Semitic symbols from their childhood follow them here, and it triggers a relapse in their trauma. One of my patients said, ‘I lived through one Hitler, I don’t want to live through another.’”

Though sleeplessness and nightmares about their wartime experiences are the most common symptoms, intense fear of leaving and losing one’s home is another.

Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo, an Army veteran, will become Trump’s CIA director if confirmed by the Senate. He is a Tea Partier. f684ad067c151f22742c0315c1fbaa09

He’s a supporter of the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk data collection program and sought to restore the agency’s access to the data it had already collected under the Patriot Act from its inception through late last year.

Pompeo is also one of the most vocal critics of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Pompeo, who grew up in the traditionally Republican enclave of Orange County, California, founded Thayer Aerospace, a company that made parts for commercial and military aircraft. After selling Thayer, he became president of Sentry International, a company that manufactures and sells equipment used in oil fields.

He was elected to Congress in 2010 on a wave of tea party support and with backing from the Koch Industries political action committee. The Wichita-based conglomerate’s PAC is well known for its support of conservative candidates.

Though Pompeo is generally known for his opposition to Obama administration policies, he’s occasionally given heat to some fellow Republicans. Last year, his name was floated as a potential rival to Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to become House speaker.

Trump’s choice for NSA is a horrifying pick also. He’s got contacts with US enemy states.

But Flynn has also shown an erratic streak since leaving government that is likely to make his elevation disconcerting even to the flag officers and senior intelligence officials who once considered him a peer.

Flynn stunned former colleagues when he traveled to Moscow last year to appear alongside Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at a lavish gala for the Kremlin-run propaganda channel RT, a trip Flynn admitted he was paid to make and defended by saying he saw no distinction between RT and U.S. news channels such as CNN.

Flynn said he used the trip to press Putin’s government to behave more responsibly in international affairs. Former U.S. officials said Flynn, seen dining next to Putin in photos published by Russian propaganda outlets, was used as a prop by the autocratic leader.

Flynn was forced out of his job as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014 over concerns about his leadership style. After the ouster, he frequently lashed out in public against President Obama and blamed his removal on the administration’s discomfort with his hard-line views on radical Islam.

Spurning the decorum traditionally expected of retired U.S. flag officers, Flynn became a fervent campaigner for Trump and was given a high-profile role speaking before the GOP convention, an appearance in which he led the crowd in “lock her up” chants against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Flynn’s behavior drew the ire of former colleagues and superiors, including retired Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who made Flynn his top intelligence officer during critical stretches of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I’m trying to regain my nerve to fight all this but I feel like I’m getting way too old to do 7f65ea6e2fa9400b39db2d99dccf2557-1much good.  However, if Paul Ryan has his way, I will likely be on the ice floes.

Here’s some advice from Sarah Kendzior who has:

…. studied authoritarian states for over a decade, I would never exaggerate the severity of the threat we now face. But an American kleptocracy is exactly where president-elect Trump and his backers are taking us. That’s why I have a favor to ask you, my fellow Americans.

We’re heading into dark times. This is how to be your own light in the Age of Trump.

She has many suggestions but this was the most poignant. I think we must hold on to our values and be prepared to defend them.

That voice is your conscience, your morals, your individuality. No one can take that from you unless you let them. They can take everything from you in material terms – your house, your job, your ability to speak and move freely. They cannot take away who you truly are. They can never truly know you, and that is your power.

But to protect and wield this power, you need to know yourself – right now, before their methods permeate, before you accept the obscene and unthinkable as normal.

My heart breaks for the United States of America. It breaks for those who think they are my enemies as much as it does for my friends. You still have your freedom, so use it. There are many groups organizing for both resistance and subsistence, but we are heading into dark times, and you need to be your own light. Do not accept brutality and cruelty as normal even if it is sanctioned. Protect the vulnerable and encourage the afraid. If you are brave, stand up for others. If you cannot be brave – and it is often hard to be brave – be kind.

But most of all, never lose sight of who you are and what you value.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

29 Comments on “Friday Reads: “Something wicked this way comes …””

    • dakinikat says:

      Yea. He’s spot on.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I would argue in addition to his other points about the press – they obsessively covered Trump’s every move and every rally – giving him billions in dollars of free press. Day after each day of our ridiculously long campaign season he was given end-to-end coverage with pretty much zero investigative reporting on anything until the eleventh hour. And of course we know how they treated Clinton – except for her emails she might as well have not been running.

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    During the mid term election in 2010 only 38% of the electorate bothered to vote which ushered in the Tea Party fruitcakes that we have been stuck with ever since. Meet Pompeo!

    In 2016 only 50% of the eligible electorate bothered to get off their ass’s to vote because they “hated Hillary”, saw no difference in either party, or went third party out of spite.

    For this lack of attention to the basics of democracy and the lack or knowledge – or interest – in how the government actually works we get this. An ignorant moron with a case of bigotry a mile wide who will – now that he has the power – gut every stride made on behalf of civil rights which will effect every American like it or not.

    The social safety nets will be gone. The safety of our food, water and air will be eliminated. Voting rights promise to be more restrictive. Our standing abroad – now that we are cozying up to a like minded dictator out to destroy the free world – will totally diminish. And the environment will slowly go to hell.

    All because some stupid, irrational, intellectually challenged idiots chose a reality show host who serially lies each time he opens his big mouth while disrespecting everyone in sight, to “lead”.

    We knew who Trump was all along. It was barely hidden. Now we pay the unimaginable price. Aren’t we “exceptional” after all? You bet we are.

    I am getting too old to keep fighting anymore. To those Bernie sulkers and party purists, have at it.

    • gregoryp says:

      Well said. Agree with everything. Will add that I guess some people have to learn and relearn things the hard way. We know pure capitalism doesn’t work. There has to be regulations, controls and inputs from the Government into the system. Eliminate SS and/or Medicare and the whole economic structure will break down. Not sure how these fools think that Hospitals and EMS services are going to survive. Just drive through Oklahoma and that will pretty much be our future. The Indian Nation turnpike is in such disrepair that it is difficult to drive. Hospitals and schools are fixing to start closing. They already only go to school 4 days a week as it is. Then if we pull out of our Carbon offsetting agreements with Europe they’ll probably impose tariffs meaning that our exports will be reduced. Knock out the migrant farm workers and what will we eat? This has the makings of a serious disaster. Probably the worst disaster since 1929. Oh, and lets not even talk about Nukes, the Military and the Fascist tendency to always be at war much like we’ve been since Clinton left office.

    • janicen says:

      Not being contrarian because I do agree that I wish more people voted, but we can’t lose sight of the extraordinary lengths to which the Republicans go to suppress people’s right to vote. Here in Virginia, McAuliffe tried to restore the right to vote to all people who had been convicted of a felony but had fully served their time and you would have thought it was the end of the world here. Of course the courts reversed the Governor’s initiative using the iron clad legal justification of “this has never been done before in Virginia, so there is no precedent for it…”. Therefore, McAuliffe had to return to restoring rights one person at a time.

      And now many polling places were closed across the south? I don’t know of very many working people who would actually vote if they had to stand in line up to 4 hours just to do so. I’m just not buying into that “voter apathy” BS the press keeps feeding us. There’s a lot more to it.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Agree…….There’s a lot more to it.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        People voted for Trump because they wanted to vote for Trump. They chose to disregard the
        fact that he offered zero solutions on the issues outside of “believe me”. He offered nothing of substance and showed time and time again of what little knowledge he had in the first place.

        His refusal to release his taxes did not deter them.
        The fact he did not pay taxes since 1998 did not deter them.
        His 6 bankruptcies did not deter them.
        His 65 pending lawsuits against him did not deter them.
        His bragging about himself did not deter them.
        His sexual exploits did not deter them.
        Trump University did not deter them.
        His approval of Vladimir Putin did not deter them.
        His closeness to the Alt-Right did not deter them.
        His constant and proven lies did not deter them.
        His middle of the night “tweeting” did not deter them.
        His vulgarity did not deter them.
        His pocketing of political donation money did not deter them.
        His refusal to pay business partners did not deter them.
        His maliciousness toward a Gold Star family and a former POW did not deter them.

        There is no other way to define this other than those who vote for him wanted to vote for him regardless of how stupid, ill prepared, tempermentally unfit, and intellectually challenged this man is.

        We will all soon pay for that celebrity worship one way or another.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      WTH did people expect?

      Now the Dems in the Congress have to work their asses off to stop whatever unjust, undemocratic efforts Trump shoves our way. We MUST believe that our Democratic Congress is up to the task. Our future is in their hands an we must keep their feet to the fire with Peaceful Civil Disobedience.

      My wife and I are ready to do our part protesting. We are Seniors, lesbians and non-christian. We have 4 huge targets on our backs, Old-gay,non-christian, women, but we’re not afraid to fight because we’ve been fighting our entire lives.

      Today a family member called me, we haven’t spoken in months and said she was afraid and wanted my opinion. I agreed to give her my honest opinion and she asked, “what do you think about the rioters”, I said “what rioters? do you mean the handful of people arrested on the west coast” and she said “no, the people marching” I said “I support them 100%”. She paused for a second and said “even if they block the interstate” and I said “YES”. She said “what if you had your grandson with you who needed medical attention and you were stopped on the interstate by rioters” I said “They’re not rioters, they are protesters and they’re blocking the interstate because their families are on the precipice of losing their healthcare, their food stamps, their marriages, their parents, their livelihoods. Why would my grandson be more important than their children, parents, grandparents, mother, father, brother, sister?” I told her if this is how our conversations are going to be, then we shouldn’t talk to each other any longer. She said “I just want to know the truth”, I emailed her the GOP 2016 Party Platform. The Truth about Benghazi, The truth about how the GOP lied about the Clinton Foundation, the racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic movement that supports Trump and I also sent her a letter telling her that the ball is in her court and “if you don’t stand with me, you stand against me”, that I and many others had spent too many years on the margins and that WE’RE NEVER GOING BACK. If we never speak again, SO BE IT!! I am at total peace because this isn’t new territory for me.

  2. janicen says:

    In their continuing efforts to redefine the word, “asshole”, Trump supporters are giving the name “Trump” to baristas at Starbucks so that they have to shout out the name “Trump”.

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    I’m so impressed with Sarah KENDZIOR. I know that when the resistance movement forms it will be like she says, and not like a occupy club of sorts with Sanders followers and no organization. How can we find these true resist group. I want to reach out to Kendzior but I don’t know if that is the way or reach out to the movement but I don’t know how. That is the dilemma.

    • NW Luna says:

      Am thinking we need to make resistance groups ourselves wherever we can. Talk to others. Make connections. Communicate and ask what we can do to help. Anything we can do to help others and especially those most at risk is a form of resistance. Getting up in the morning and stubbornly keeping on is part of resistance. Try contacting Kendzior. Write, call your congresscritters; at the very least you can annoy them and I think anything that annoys or obfuscates Rethugs is worth doing. Remind everyone that Drumpf lost the popular vote and is not the people’s president. See what’s going on locally, and talk to people at community clinics, non-Xian places of worship, women’s shelters.

  4. bostonboomer says:


    Mike Pence’s Hateful Laws Almost Kept Me From My Dying Wife

    • janicen says:

      bb, hope it’s not out of line to ask you to post on something, but I’m fascinated by Trump’s behavior with having to have someone from his family at his side at all times. My husband read something a couple of weeks ago about Trump, that he’s one of those people who cannot be alone at least during awake hours. He always has to have people around to feed his ego or listen to him.

      I’m fascinated because my mom was like that. She was also narcissistic as well as, I suspect, an undiagnosed sufferer of bipolar disorder. She could not do anything by herself. She could be home by herself but as far as going anywhere or doing anything outside of the home, she had to have someone with her. Not just my dad, she wanted as many of us kids around as possible even once we were adults. As you can imagine, it was very difficult to understand and deal with. She was alternatively admiring and threatened by my independent streak because she related most closely with me since I was her only daughter.

      Anyway, back to Trump. I’m seeing the same sort of insecurity in him in that he has to have one of his kids or Kushner at his side at all times. Not Melania, only his kids. I reminds me so much of my mom in that one perspective that I’d love to know more.

  5. William says:

    I think we want the economy to collapse, even though I do realize that this will cause much hardship. And my own savings would be at risk as well. But the fastest way to break this up is if things get so bad that even a decent percentage of the right-wing voters turn against this. Now, it could well be true that things will become so fascistic that there will be no vote, or a very suppressed vote; that we will turn into a dictatorship. But my hope is that there are a few Republicans in the Senate who do not want that kind of country, and will vote with Democrats for some oversight. I could be wrong, of course, but that’s my hope.

    I would never suggest to people what they should do, because everyone must take care of themselves and their family. But some thoughts might be to curb discretionary spending, particularly involving companies with right-wing ownership. I do hope many people leave Facebook, which might have cost us the election, by running fake news stories that were widely believed. I’ll never watch CNN again. Those are small things; but I will also take few trips ,and none to Red states. I will hold onto my car, even though it is 15 years old. I will not buy any stocks. If there are corporate layoffs, lack of buying power will have a typical domino effect. I don’t expect the economy to collapse in the first year of this administration, but it will happen at some point. GregoryP makes good points above. So much of the economy is interconnected and fragile. Look at what has happened to Kansas. Apparently Democrats made major gains in the state legislature, after Brownback wrecked their economy. This is not something I would revel in, at all. But it might be the most effective way to defeat these people, because even ignorant and biased individuals at some point have to vote their pocketbooks. I think that some of the resistance has to be at least loosely organized, so that many can know how to participate.

  6. Sweet Sue says:

    From V for Vendetta:
    “Every inch of me will perish. Every inch but one. An inch…it is small and it is fragile, but it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. I hope that, whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns, and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you”

    The last inch is our integrity and within that tiny space, we are forever free.

  7. NW Luna says:

    How Those Fighting for Bodily Autonomy Can Prepare for the Next Four Years and Beyond.

    Electing Donald Trump and Mike Pence to the White House is a singularly devastating moment for reproductive rights, health, and justice. As those defending bodily autonomy prepare for the next four years, we must equip ourselves with knowledge and remember that this fight needs to be about protecting our fellow human beings in the face of state-led repression and violence. ….
    From the abortion funds helping to raise money for people who need abortion care today, to the Jane Collective that helped to provide abortions before Roe, to the Women on Waves boat bringing abortion pills to the waters outside countries where abortion is illegal, to Women on Web and other legitimate online services doing the same, there is a long history of women helping each other to obtain the abortion care they need even when the law stands in the way. I know this drives you wild, Donald and Mike, but all the handcuffs in the United States won’t stop smart women from solving their problems.