Tracker Pixel for Entry

​The Trump/Sessions “Department of Injustice”

by Charlie Barber | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Last Word | May 17th, 2017

“Whatever the learning or acuteness of a great lawyer, our chief respect for him depends on our belief that, set in a judge’s seat, he will strive to judge justly, come of it what may. Could we suppose that he would take bribes, and use his acuteness and legal knowledge to give plausibility to iniquitous decisions, no degree of intellect would win for him our respect. Nothing will win it, short of our tacit conviction, that in all important acts of his life justice is first with him; his own interest, second.” -John Ruskin

“I confess that the only fear I have in regard to republican institutions is whether, in our day, any adequate remedy will be found for this incoming flood of the power of incorporated wealth.” -Wendell Phillips

“Because you’re a nobleman you think you’re a great genius. Nobility, fortune, rank, status: so much to glory in. But what did you do to get where you are? You took the trouble to be born, and that’s all.” -Pierre Beaumarchais

“In [Shakespeare’s] England…Long before they found that some men were black, Englishmen found in the idea of blackness a way of expressing some of their most ingrained values…White and black connoted purity and filthiness, virginity and sin, virtue and baseness, beauty and ugliness, beneficence and evil, God and the devil.”

-Winthrop Jordan

"I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power.”

-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, April 20, 2017

"I think every American should be concerned about what the Russians did. From my point of view, there’s no doubt in my mind it was the Russians involved in all the things I just described -- not some 400-pound guy sitting on a bed, or any other country. Russia is up to no good when it comes to democracies all over the world."

–Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), May 08, 2017

The Republican Party’s worship of corporate power, and the CEOs who wield it, has borne bitter fruit in the first 100-plus days of the Donald Trump presidency, but none so bitter as the fate of the United States’ Justice Department under his hand-picked, racist-in-chief, Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“Motive” and “Opportunity” are two of most operative terms in determining the commission of a felony, whether it be murder or obstruction of justice.

The opportunities for a President or an Attorney General, of course, are always at hand, but our system of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence and American democracy has depended upon selecting and electing men and women whose ethical standards make them loathe to abuse such power. In May, 2017, that would no longer seem to be the case.

In the case of President Donald Trump, only the motives of a monstrous ego are required. Our country has raised to power a “malignant narcissist,” (Erich Fromm) who combines a belief in “the divine right of money bags” (Aldous Huxley) with a contempt for the rule of law more common to common criminals than to respected rulers.

His specific motives don’t really matter anymore, for, as Shakespeare wrote: “Action is eloquence.”

It now remains to be seen whether key Republican leaders in Congress will step away from their disastrous embrace of the nihilism of the Tea Party and join Democrats in using the opportunities and power granted to them by our Founding Fathers. Waiting until 2018 could be a mistake.

As for the current “to recuse or not to recuse” Attorney General, motivation can be found in his devotion to a white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant, male supremacy that can only be enforced in 21st century America by a resort to overt or covert totalitarianism.

There is a direct line from former Alabama Senator Sessions’ disparaging of Hawaii (and -- HINT, HINT -- all those brown and yellow people) in 2017 that goes back to May 12, 1944 and Mississippi Senator [D] Theodore Bilbo’s disparaging of black Americans, by suggesting to Senator William Langer [R] of North Dakota that Abraham Lincoln advocated sending them all back to Africa (Liberia) [See HPR, April 19, 2017].

Along that disgraceful color line we can trace the career of Alabama Governor George Wallace and his demonstration in the Democratic Presidential Primary of 1968 that racism was an “equal opportunity employer” in northern States like Wisconsin as well as in the South, East and the West.

Current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and his executive, legislative, and judicial minions have apparently taken the Wallace message to heart, by disenfranchising thousands of black voters in Wisconsin in the 2016 elections, under the fraudulent [and patently un-American] Republican Party policy of systematic voter suppression throughout this country.

Now that it is clear that Governor Walker’s domestic efforts to interfere in the American electoral process in one state have been emulated by a foreign superpower, President Putin’s Russia, across our entire nation, and we face a challenge every bit as daunting as that of the Cold War.

Putin’s motives include contempt for any form of democratic process, at home or abroad, and he took his opportunities where he could find them, most notably in short-term memories of the American people. How soon we forget about the motivations of Russian rulers, from tsars and commissars to the present combination of American-style robber barons and European-style dictators!

I am heartened by the opening statement by Senator Lindsey Graham to his Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, that acknowledged once and future Republicans as well as past Democrats as targets in the war against American democratic institutions by Russia’s Putin, a former secret police (KGB) warrior for the Soviet Union.

Several more Republican Senatorial backbones will have to evolve quickly from the jellyfish they have been over the past few decades, but an aroused and truly angry electorate (“Why don’t you behave more like an American, instead of a politician?”) should be all the motive they need.

I am also heartened by the participation of some of America’s most potent corporations, the national media, in defense of an American Constitution that benefits them as much or more than the rest of us. Their opportunities have always been there, as long as they had the guts to take them. President Trump’s attacks on them as “fake news,” are all the motive they need, and they are responding.

If Senator Graham’s and other Republican’s deeds match his words, the Republican Party can begin to restore a bit of the honor they have thrown away in the past thirty-plus years by worshipping power “not wisely but too well.”

Democracies move slowly. So does the rule of law. But we have impeached tyrants before. It is one of those American sports that bewilders and fascinates the rest of the world as much as our brand of football.

Recently in:

BISMARCK – When Kyle Thompson decided to speak out against tactics used along the Dakota Access Pipeline, it wasn’t because of a change of heart.“I’ve always tried to look out for the best interests of everyone,” said…

Photos by Raul GomezLast Sunday we had our annual Best of the Best awards ceremony at The Plains Art Museum. we don’t mean to brag but we’re the area’s longest­-running media poll, meaning we’ve been relying on you -- our…

July 24-27, 1pmMake Room, 806½ Main Ave, Fargo4-day arts-intensive camp! Water has qualities of impermanence, imperfection, and fluidity, all fantastic areas of practice for growing artists. Art Camp will include a wide variety of…

"No, not rich. I am a poor man with money, which is not the same thing."-Gabriel Garcia MarquezThis idea is something that has been gnawing at me for awhile, but I don't know where to express these thoughts or how to communicate…

Three “great leaders” who might really screw up the worldIf you have had a chance to watch documentaries based on North Korean culture you had to notice that all citizens referred to 33-year-old Kim Jong Un as their “Great…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

On a sultry Thursday night, I sauntered into Luna. Situated on South University next to Bernie’s Beer and Wine, it isn’t exactly a hole in the wall, but it is certainly off the beaten path, and as described by their motto it is…

The High Plains Reader had the opportunity to chat with Goo Goo Dolls Bassist Robby Takac about their origins, their ever evolving sound, and the impact of “Iris.”High Plains Reader: You grew up in Buffalo New York. What was…

Fourteen years ago this month, entertainment icon Bob Hope died at age 100. Born in 1903, Hope performed in vaudeville and theatre in the 1920s and 30s, moved into radio and films in the 1930s, and by the 1940s was a major movie…

Shane Balkowitsch was nervous. He squatted under an inky shroud, gazing ahead above the rim of his eyeglasses. In front of him, hoisted on a modern tripod, was his accordion camera with its intense red bellows. Only steps away…

Summer Arts Intensive performs main stage musicalUnder the summer sun, something’s begun, taking over those summer nights. The 1978 movie and musical hit Grease is taking stage as part of the Summer Arts Intensive in West Fargo.…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

The Red River Zoo is inviting adults to gather their friends and tap into your wild side for one special night of fundraising. Zoo Brew is back again at 7pm on Thursday evening, July 27th, and with even more beer to sample than…

Wellness

​Natural sleep aids

by Erin Oberlander

As I interact with clients and friends and family alike, one of the issues that comes up commonly is that of sleep. It seems that in our modern world, getting deep, nourishing sleep has become a challenge for some and a complete…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

“…the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” – Milan Kundera“It may seem kind of bleak to say that the future of our planet rests in large part on the consciences of Republican…