Thursday, February 23, 2017

Jeff Sessions in Lesterland

Apparently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a member of Ashland Place United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama. I wonder which gospel they're teaching their kids at Ashland Place.  It's not the gospel of Jesus, the gospel liberating the poor and protecting the vulnerable, that's for sure.  It's not the gospel my good Methodist friends are preaching week by week in their faithful Methodist congregations.  That's for sure.  In the last week, Jeff Sessions has dedicated his workdays to frightening transgender teens, justifying intimidation of immigrants and greasing the system for for-profit prison companies.  Not much of the gospel in all this, Jeff.

Lawrence Lessig, on the other hand, makes a compelling case that the root of so many issues these days is corruption: the corrupting influence of money in congress and decision-making bodies.  He points to food policy and child obesity (money, lobbyists, access).  He points to environmental madness (money, lobbyists, access).  He points to the military industrial complex and on and on and on.  Democracy is at risk.

But that doesn't seem to keep Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions up at night.  Not at all.  Everything's for sale. 

Check out this turn-around: 

8/18/16: "The Justice Department is Going to Stop Using Private Prisons" (Huffington Post)
Subtitle: "The announcement follows a damning report on the safety conditions in contracted facilities."

2/23/17: "Jeff Sessions Reverses Obama-Era Policy That Curtailed DOJ's Private Prison Use" (Huffington Post)
Subtitle: "For-profit prisons were found to be more dangerous, but the attorney general said they're needed to 'meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.'" 

This is Trump's America.  And it has absolutely nothing to do with populism or the will of the people.  It's about money and access.  Always money and access.  Just like "Lesterland."

What we know is that private prisons are about profits for the same tycoons playing golf with Donald Trump on the weekends and hobnobbing with congresspeople at fancy restaurants the rest of the time.  What we know is that private prisons are more dangerous than any other kind of prisons (the Obama Administration figured that out).  Naturally, then, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is excited about throwing money, inmates and immigrants their way.  Because he lives in Lesterland.  Because Jeff Sessions is a Lester.  

And this is corruption of the saddest, cruelest kind.  Money and access.  If you're out there at Ashland Place or the Justice Department, you might want to read the bit about Jesus and the moneychangers in the gospel.  Jesus had a lot to say about money and access.  And it wasn't flattering.