Attorney General Sessions Commends Sheriffs for Upholding “Anglo-American Heritage” of Policing

Wait, what???

So we’ve all heard the phrase “assuming the worst” of a person or of a situation.  Given his history of documented, overt racism, it was certainly easy to assume the worst of our nation’s current Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.  After openly using racist slurs, and demonstrating that he cares little for communities of color, Americans would be right to not expect much progress under the law enforcement arm of the Trump Administration.

But then, there are days like today, when Jeff Sessions just gives us a new low all on his own, unprompted.

Here’s what he actually said…

Since our founding, the independent, elected Sheriff has been the People’s Protector who keeps law enforcement close to and accountable to the people through the elective process.  The office of Sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American Heritage of Law Enforcement.  We must never eroode this historic office.

And here’s coverage of the same clip via C-SPAN for any doubters.

Please feel free to play the clip again, and seek out multiple networks.  He did indeed say it.  And the sad part about all of this?  He’s completely correct.  Though you don’t have to tell that to communities of color in this country.  Here’s more on that sordid history from Time magazine..

…the U.S. police force is a relatively modern invention, sparked by changing notions of public order, driven in turn by economics and politics, according to Gary Potter, a crime historian at Eastern Kentucky University.

Policing in Colonial America had been very informal, based on a for-profit, privately funded system that employed people part-time. Towns also commonly relied on a “night watch” in which volunteers signed up for a certain day and time, mostly to look out for fellow colonists engaging in prostitution or gambling.


In the South, however, the economics that drove the creation of police forces were centered not on the protection of shipping interests but on the preservation of the slavery system. Some of the primary policing institutions there were the slave patrols tasked with chasing down runaways and preventing slave revolts, Potter says; the first formal slave patrol had been created in the Carolina colonies in 1704. During the Civil War, the military became the primary form of law enforcement in the South, but during Reconstruction, many local sheriffs functioned in a way analogous to the earlier slave patrols, enforcing segregation and the disenfranchisement of freed slaves.

So when Langston Hughes writes in his famous poem “America was never America to me”, that’s a major part of what he’s trying to capture.  Even in the 21st century, communities of color still have many well-documented reasons to harbor fear against law enforcement agencies, despite the incredibly diligent work of some police to change and evolve this terrible history, and allow all Americans to feel safe in their communities.  The very difficulties and old wounds which Attorney General Sessions seem to be blissfully unaware are the reasons so many American citizens have taken to protest their government in movements like Black Lives Matter, and will continue to do so until citizens are treated equally under the law.

Which clearly ain’t gonna happen as long as Trump and Sessions occupy our nation’s highest law enforcement positions.  Instead, we have to suffer with an Attorney General whom uses his platform to perpetuate our nation’s torrid history of racism and violence, and can’t possibly be of help to the real work of policing in today’s complex society.

Will these folks ever learn??

Sorry Students: US Department of Education Officially REJECTS Transgender Complaints On Restrooms

Oh, how much has changed over the last 13 months.

After historic progress for the LGBT community under the Obama Administration, it seems that our nation’s 45th President, and our Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, are determined to put America’s  students and their real educational concerns on the back burner.

UGH.  Here’s the scoop, from Dominic Holden of BuzzFeed News

The Education Department has told BuzzFeed News it won’t investigate or take action on any complaints filed by transgender students who are banned from restrooms that match their gender identity, charting new ground in the Trump administration’s year-long broadside against LGBT rights.

It’s the first time officials have asserted this position publicly as an interpretation of law. No formal announcement has been made.

For nearly a year, the Trump administration took a less clear stance, with officials saying they were studying the issue. When the Education Department and Justice Department withdrew Obama-era guidance on transgender restroom access in February 2017, Trump’s officials said in a memo and court filings that they would “consider the legal issues involved.” Then last June, the Education Department issued another memo saying it was “permissible” for its civil rights division to dismiss a trans student’s restroom case. However, in those statements, officials never cemented their intent to reject all restroom complaints issued by trans students.

For the past three weeks, BuzzFeed News called and emailed Education Department officials attempting to pinpoint the agency’s position.

Finally on Thursday, Liz Hill, a spokesperson for the agency, responded “yes, that’s what the law says” when asked again if the Education Department holds a current position that restroom complaints from transgender students are not covered by a 1972 federal civil rights law called Title IX.

Asked for further explanation on the department’s position, Hill said Friday, “Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity.”

This represents a complete and total about face from policies of the Obama Administration, which sought to protect the rights and safety of all students, including the Transgender community.  Here’s an excerpt of a joint memo from the Departments of Justice and Education, dated May 16th, 2016…

Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, schools receiving federal money may not discriminate based on a student’s sex, including a student’s transgender status.  The guidance makes clear that both federal agencies treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of enforcing Title IX.

“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.  “This guidance gives administrators, teachers and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies.  I look forward to continuing our work with the Department of Education – and with schools across the country – to create classroom environments that are safe, nurturing, and inclusive for all of our young people.”

“No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.  “This guidance further clarifies what we’ve said repeatedly – that gender identity is protected under Title IX.  Educators want to do the right thing for students, and many have reached out to us for guidance on how to follow the law.  We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence.”

“Every child deserves to attend school in a safe, supportive environment that allows them to thrive and grow.  And we know that teachers and administrators care deeply about all of their students and want them to succeed in school and life,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “Our guidance sends a clear message to transgender students across the country: here in America, you are safe, you are protected and you belong – just as you are.  We look forward to working with school officials to make the promise of equal opportunity a reality for all of our children.”

“Our federal civil rights law guarantees all students, including transgender students, the opportunity to participate equally in school programs and activities without sex discrimination as a core civil right,” said Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon.  “This guidance answers questions schools have been asking, with a goal to ensure that all students are treated equally consistent with their gender identity.  We look forward to continuing to work with schools and school communities to satisfy Congress’ promise of equality for all.”

Yet more confirmation that the Trump Administration is not only out of step with America’s school system, but that they seem to only care about the needs of certain American students.  Of course, given how much of our tax money is being given out the door to the 1 percent via the massive Tax Cut and Jobs Act, I guess sweeping Transgender Americans under the rug isn’t much of a surprise.

Elections have consequences folks.  And in this case, they are quite shameful.

So PLEASE don’t forget to VOTE in the upcoming March 6th Primary Election, and the November 6th General Election.  The only way to protect our students is to send lawmakers to Washington that care about them, which doesn’t seem to be getting done with the Republican majority.  Texans have a say on decisions like this one in November, as one of the Senators that not only supported Trump, but voted to confirm Betsy Devos, Ted Cruz, is up for reelection.

The first step in reversing tragedies like this one is to LOOSE CRUZ THIS NOVEMBER.

TLCQ 2018: Tami Walker

In the Eleventh installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Tami Walker,  candidate for the U.S. House, Texas’ 10th Congressional District.

Please note: Responses have been received directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but will be considered during the endorsement process.


TL:  What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?

TW:  Tami Walker

TL:  Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?

TW:  No

TL:  As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?

TW:  Government should serve the people.  Government should work to improve the lives of its constituents and provide needed services and order.  The Constitution states that the functions are to form a more perfect union, to establish justice, to insure domestic tranquility, to provide for a common defense, to promote the general welfare and to secure the blessings of liberty.  Our current government seems to have lost sight of all of this and seems only motivated to serve corporate donors and special interest. I would like to give the power back to the people.

TL:  If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for the upcoming legislative session. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.


(1)Affordable and accessible for all–I believe we should adopt a single payer Medicare System.  If that has to be phased in, we should stabilize the ACA and then work toward a single payer system. I would support negotiated prices on imported prescription drugs to reduce costs.  We should protect Medicaid programs serving vulnerable children, adults with special needs and the elderly and we should fund Planned Parenthood to make reproductive care more accessible.  Mental health and addiction should be treated as any other health problem and we should fund mental health and addiction treatment facilities. I would support legislation to save rural hospitals and emergency services.

(2) Bringing power back to the people with voting rights reform and campaign finance reform–I would enact campaign finance reform to prevent corporations and special interests from buying elections and influencing the votes of lawmakers. I support federal legislation to prevent the disenfranchisement of minority voters. I support automatic voter registration when obtaining a state issued ID, adequate polling locations, expansion of early voting and the prevention of the purging of voter rolls immediately prior to elections. I support non-partisan redistricting commissions in all states and measures to prevent cyber interference in elections.

(3) Climate Change.  The Clean Power Plan should be implemented. The plan is focused on reducing emissions from coal burning power plants, and increasing the use of renewable energy and conservation. We should rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. Congress should provide tax incentivizes for carbon capture, use, and storage.   Infrastructure investments can reduce emissions and improve resilience to climate impacts. Congress should fund international programs to help other countries reduce carbon emissions.  The U.S. should also implement a carbon fee and dividend program, with an international trade component to incentivize climate friendly consumer choices.

TL:  In the coming years, the state of Texas is on course to have an unprecedented boom in the state’s population. But with more people and more opportunities comes an ever-increasing strain on Texas roads and infrastructure. Describe your thoughts on what needs to be done to improve Texas infrastructure now so we can plan for a bright future for the state.

TW:  We should implement a comprehensive infrastructure plan to invest in clean energy, rebuild crumbling roads, bridges and dams, upgrade airports, build flood control and sea walls, add light rail in cities to address traffic issues, and build internet to rural areas.  We should create tax incentives to encourage companies to: manufacture in America; develop products and jobs of the future through research and technology; lessen their carbon footprint; and develop and utilize more clean energy, such as wind and solar.  There is currently too much emphasis on privatization, which limits projects that are not big “money makers” like rural bridges.  This should be done for public safety and for job growth.

TL:  Even as impressive growth continues in around the state’s urban centers, rural Texans are faced with a healthcare crisis.  According to Laura Garcia of the Victoria Advocate, rural communities across the state have lost 18 hospitals in less than five years, and this was before any additional challenges worsened by natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey.  Without hospital services in or near their local communities, the medical and emergency care is at an increasing risk our citizens.  As a legislator, how would you plan to address this issue and help Texas’ vital rural healthcare facilities stay open?  

TW:  I would support the Save Rural Hospitals Act HR 2957, make federal grants available to rural hospitals and extend loan forgiveness programs to health care workers willing to serve for a period of time in rural hospitals.

HR 2957 increases payments to, and modifies various requirements regarding, rural health care providers under the Medicare program. Among other provisions, the bill: (1) reverses cuts to reimbursement of bad debt for critical access hospitals and rural hospitals and extends payment levels for low-volume hospitals and Medicare-dependent hospitals.

TL:  In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to overturn an Obama-era rule which classifies internet service providers as public utilities, and thereby governed under the 1934 Communications Act.  This decision essentially erases the principle that Internet Service Providers should treat all online content equally without giving preference to particular sources, otherwise known as Net Neutrality.  Please describe your views on this decision, and whether or not you would support legislation at the State or Federal level to uphold the principle of Net Neutrality.

TW:  It was a terrible decision that will allow internet service providers to charge more for certain content or block certain content.  I would absolutely support legislation to preserve net neutrality.  We need a free and open internet.

TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

TW:  I have 28 years of legal experience in different industries related to energy and infrastructure, including gas transmission, telecommunications, transportation, wind farm development and engineering. I’ve worked in a lot of different regulatory frameworks with state and federal agencies. This will enable me to work across the aisle for practical solutions.  I have been a working mother and understand the needs of working families.  I understand the inequalities that still exist in the workplace.  This district has three distinct segments (Austin, Houston and rural Texas).  I grew up in another area of rural Texas; I lived in Austin for 18 years and the Houston area for 14 years. I can relate to all three populations.  I am passionate about change and I’m willing to do the work implement policies that transform Texas and Congress for the better.

TL:  When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?

TW:  I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, entertaining in my home, and reading books.  I am also very active with some political groups in the Katy area and enjoy spending time with those friends.


Thanks to Ms.  Walker for the responses.


Texas Primary Election Day is Tuesday March 6th, and Early Voting begins February 20th.  For the Primary, you must register to vote no later than February 5th (if you’re unsure of your voting status, here’s where you can check your registration).  Early voting procedures can differ depending on your county, but here are helpful links to some: Harris CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery County, and Galveston County

For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)