By David Dayen
Donald Trump is not making any effort to sway people away from the notion that his election represents a new era for white supremacy. Jeff Sessions, our new Attorney General nominee, is a terrifying prospect for black and brown people, not just because of things he said 30 years ago but because of the policies he supports, from stopping criminal justice reform in its tracks to punitive steps against voting rights, civil rights, and immigration. We’ll be lucky to get out of Sessions tenure with a civil rights division at DoJ at all.
Lest you think there’s something compensatory here, that Sessions is the type of right-wing populist who would also be tough on corporate offenders, allow me to provide a couple data points. In 2008, as the banks were melting down, Sessions tucked a provision into a patent reform bill that would have exempted the entire banking industry from an active lawsuit. A company that invented the digital scanning of checks into electronic images wanted to be paid by the industry for their work, and Sessions’ amendment blocked that, instead having the government pay for the taking of intellectual property, literally having taxpayers pay for something banks use. At the time, he and his wife held shares worth $350,000 in banks that would have benefited from the change.
In the 1990s, Sessions chaired the Antitrust subcommittee in the Senate, and he pressured the late Attorney General Janet Reno to back off Microsoft, in the middle of the government’s case against them. Lately he’s been more interested in demonizing Microsoft for using H1-B visas (aka immigrant labor), but the initial instinct was to defend corporate monopolies.
Oh, and get ready for federal intervention into states that have legalized marijuana, becauseLady Gaga is addicted to pot so something must be wrong.
So there’s no mitigating factor here, and it wouldn’t be much solace if there were.