Jeff Sessions confirmed to be the next attorney general

By Ashley Killough, Tom LoBianco and Ted Barrett, CNN

Updated 10:25 PM ET, Wed February 8, 2017

Washington (CNN)The Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama as the next attorney general, surviving a vocal push by Democrats to derail his nomination.

The 52-47 vote was mostly along party lines, though one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, joined the Republicans to back their Alabama colleague.

Who voted for and against Sessions

    The final vote for Sessions — one of Trump’s closest advisers and his earliest supporter in the Senate — came after 30 hours of debate from Democrats and a stunning fight between liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Senate Republicans which ended in her being forced to sit down after she was accused of impugning Sessions.

    Sessions said he would resign from his office 11:59 p.m. Wednesday and the White House is scheduled to swear him in Thursday morning.

    “It was a special night,” Sessions told reporters on Capitol Hill after his confirmation. “I appreciate the friendship from my colleagues — even those who, many of them who didn’t feel able to vote for me. They were cordial, and so we continue to have good relations and will continue to do the best I can.”

    The fight over Sessions nomination spurred some of the most jarring, and at times personal attacks, rooted in allegations that Sessions was a racist — claims the Alabama senator and his supporters have fiercely denied. Even early in the nomination process, one of Sessions’ colleagues, Cory Booker, became the first sitting senator to testify against another sitting senator during his confirmation hearing.

    Shortly before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to sing the praises of Sessions, after Democrats spent hours criticizing him.

    “He’s just a likable guy, one of the most humble and most considerate people you’ll ever meet,” McConnell said. “He’s a true Southern gentleman.”

    While some left-leaning groups issued statements promising to stand up and continue raising awareness about their disagreements with Sessions, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe questioned how effective they could be in trying to keep up the fight.

    “What are they going to do? He’s the attorney general. Where does the fight start? Where’s the ammunition?” He said to reporters.

    In the debate Tuesday evening, after Republicans already blocked a Senate filibuster, Warren reignited that debate by reading from a 1986 letter Coretta Scott King sent opposing Sessions for a federal judgeship.

    “‘Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts,'” Warren read from King’s letter. McConnell accused Warren of impugning Sessions on the Senate floor — a violation of Senate rules — and after a series of procedural votes, she was forced to sit down and stop debating.

    Warren’s censure and subsequent reaction continued to largely overshadow the Sessions fight in the hours before his vote, but the Massachusetts Democrat told CNN’s Manu Raju said Sessions, whom she served with in the chamber, is just the latest example of a poor Cabinet choice.

    “We may not have the votes to stop him,” she said, “but we sure as hell need to make it clear to the Republicans and to the American people exactly who Donald Trump is putting in charge of our government.”

    Sessions was ultimately blocked from a federal judgeship and carried that battle scar into Wednesday’s final confirmation battle.

    Democrats not done yet on nominees

    Democrats are expected to repeat the same 30-hour debate plan for Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Tom Price and could easily drag the fight over Treasury pick Steven Mnuchin into the weekend.

    Tuesday, Betsy DeVos was confirmed, 51-50, in a battle that sparked impassioned protests and the flooding of Senate switchboards by angry Democrats and liberal activists.

    The tactics have yet to work in actually defeating any of Trump’s Cabinet picks, but they have fired up a base of Democratic and liberal activists irate over a series of Trump actions, not least of which was picking a Republican mega-donor in DeVos to run the Department of Education.

    “When you get millions of calls and demonstrations and a nominee is exposed for being who they are, it’s going to have a profound and positive effect, even if she gains office. So we’re very happy with the results and we’re going to continue them,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday.

    But Republicans have chafed at what they call “historic obstruction” and have argued that Trump needs his team in place.

    “This is the slowest time for a new Cabinet to be up and running since George Washington. This level of obstruction at the beginning of an administration is really record-setting in a very unfortunate way. It’s really time for our friends on the other side to get over the election, let this administration get up and get running,” McConnell said Tuesday.

    The only nominee who appears to be in any trouble at this point is Labor secretary pick Andrew Puzder, who is embroiled in controversy following news that he hired an undocumented worker to clean his house and was forced to pay back taxes. A series of Republicans on the Senate panel tasked with vetting him declined to say Tuesday whether they still supported Puzder.

    CONTINUE READING…

    The New Peaceful Pot Head Revolution: Or, Why I’m Going To Infiltrate The Democrats & Run As One Of Them

    Cris Ericson

     

     

    By CrisEricson2016 | Fri, February 26 2016

    S.241 Vermont marijuana Bill does NOT make marijuana legal like alcoholic beverages: (1) because you can brew your own alcoholic beverage at home in Vermont, and this bill does NOT allow you to plant a seed in the ground and grow your own marijuana at home; (2) because the state government does not raid your home and count your cans of beer, but in the new Bill, S. 241, the state will raid your home and count every single seed you have, or have planted, and send you to prison if you are not one of the chosen few to pay a high price for and receive a license to commercially grow and sell marijuana.
    S.241 was written for the express purpose of making the rich even richer, and sending the poor to prison for the benefit of the private-for-profit prison industry.

    PUBLIC NOTICE to DEMOCRATIC PARTY in VERMONT

    I live in the area of Windsor County just north of Windham County, and there are a lot of low income people who will be devastated by S. 241 proposed marijuana bill because when marijuana is legal, they will be tempted, but they can NOT afford to pay for it.

    Until marijuana is legal to grow your own at home for your own personal use, without the government prying on your private property to count your plants, I will continue to campaign for legalization.
    Because the Democratic Party has taken over the issue of marijuana legalization, whereas I started it in 2002, the first time I was on the ballot for Governor, I will run in the Democratic Primary this election season to off-set the injustice being brought down on low income Vermonters.

    The whole current marijuana bill is intended to make a few farmers and Lounge merchants vastly wealthy, while the tax dollars will be spent hounding and stalking poor people and threatening them if they so much as plant one seed.

    Did you know this is how the American Revolution began?

    The King decided that one company could sell Tea, he made one company a monopoly.
    So, the Settlers dressed up as Indians and dumped the Tea into Boston Harbor.
    If Peter Shumlin gets his way and does the equivalent of allowing monopolies, allowing only a few businesses to farm marijuana and sell marijuana, then you are inciting a riot, you may be inciting the next Boston Tea Party, only it might be tons of marijuana dumped into Lake Champlain off the Ferry.

    If I lose the Democratic Primary, I will be on the ballot for the General Election for the Marijuana Party, of course.

    This is a battle of the rich against the poor, and the Democratic Party is in conspiracy with Governor Peter Shumlin to extort money from people for marijuana, rather than allowing them to plant a seed in the ground and grow their own.

    Also, of course, your conspiracy with Peter Shumlin includes violating federal marijuana laws; and I might start a group to file an action directly with the Supreme Court of the United States which is allowed when a State law violates the U.S. Constitution – and I think we might have a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution guarantee of equal rights under the law: how can you possibly think it is alright for one man to profit growing marijuana, while another man may be imprisoned for the same thing?

    And, in keeping with the Spirit of the American Revolution, you must know you are violating the U.S. Constitution in conspiracy with Peter Shumlin for making laws that require someone else, other than an elected official, to make rules and regulations to use the tax dollars collected;  that is clearly taxation without representation.

    Cris Ericson

    http://democracy.com/vermont
    SOURCE LINK:  http://ibrattleboro.com/sections/politics/new-peaceful-pot-head-revolution-or-why-im-going-infiltrate-democrats-run-one-them
    SB 241 VT LINK:  http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2016/S.241

    U.S.: Congressman Blumenauer Writes Open Letter To President About Marijuana

    Tue, 01/12/2016 – 22:24 – steveelliott

    EarlBlumenauer(Congressman-D-OR)[LadyBud]

    By Steve Elliott
    Hemp News

    Congressman Earl Blumenauer on Tuesday wrote an open letter advocating marijuana legalization to President Obama in advance of the President’s State of the Union speech.

    "As you begin your last year in office, I hope there is one more step you take to bring about fundamental change — ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances," Rep. Blumenauer wrote to the President.

    The language chosen by Rep. Blumenauer is very significant, politically speaking. "Removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances" is, of course, the only way forward that avoids cannabis being immediately co-opted and controlled by Big Pharma, which is assuredly what will happen if it is moved from Schedule I to Schedule II or III on the Uniformed Controlled Substances Act.

    Following is Rep. Blumenauer’s letter in its entirety.

    An Open Letter to the President

    Dear Mr. President:

    A State of the Union speech is a unique opportunity to address Congress and the nation about priorities and accomplishments, as well as to highlight critical issues.

    I remember another speech in May 2008 when you spoke to over 70,000 Portlanders. The overwhelming feeling of hope coming from the crowd was palpable.

    Tonight, you will undoubtedly reflect on the last seven years. During this time, you fulfilled your promise of systematic change while dealing with the largest economic disaster the United States has seen since the Great Depression and almost unanimous Republican obstruction in Congress. Your actions jumpstarting the economy, reforming health care and Wall Street, and providing critical leadership on climate change will be felt for generations to come.

    As you begin your last year in office, I hope there is one more step you take to bring about fundamental change — ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances.

    We both know the prohibition of marijuana has not and will not work. Recent surveys find that 18 million adults used marijuana in the past month — and well over a million use it legally under state laws for medicinal purposes. Despite dire hyperbolic warnings and the threat of citation, arrest, or even prison, all evidence indicates Americans will continue to use marijuana, especially since younger Americans feel even stronger that it ought to be legal. They understand that, while not without risk, marijuana is certainly less dangerous than tobacco — which is legal in every state despite its highly addictive nature and proven deadly consequences. Indeed, if we were scheduling drugs today, tobacco would probably be classified as Schedule I and marijuana would be left off.

    I suspect that both your heart and your head tell you ending prohibition is the right thing to do, especially from a civil rights and criminal justice perspective. We’ve undercut respect for the law, wasted law enforcement resources, and more important, wasted lives.

    A shocking 620,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in 2014. No area is more stark and unfair than the treatment of African Americans — particularly young men. Research shows they are no more likely to use marijuana, yet the heavy hand of the law descends upon them with a vengeance. Depending on where they live, African Americans are two to eight times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana, according to a study by the ACLU. Unlike white middle class Americans, for young men of color — especially if poor — even a minor infraction can have devastating consequences. They can be forced from their family home if they are living in public housing, or have difficulty obtaining federal student loans to make it nearly impossible to attend college.

    This is wrong.

    Current federal policy declares marijuana has no medicinal value and implies it is more dangerous than methamphetamine or cocaine. I don’t believe that any member of your Administration believes this is true. Yet inaction creates another serious consequence — an inability to focus on real threats to public health. Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, and opioids are all far more dangerous than marijuana. In 2013 alone, over 20,000 people died of prescription drug overdoses — while there have never been any reported marijuana overdose fatalities.

    This is also wrong. By telling Americans something demonstrably false, the case and credibility of drug enforcement authorities at all levels is weakened.

    Not only that, federal policy has placed a stranglehold on effective marijuana research — even as evidence continues to mount about its medicinal benefits. Medical marijuana patients receive relief of pain, suppression of nausea, and the control of symptoms of neurological disorders. Recognizing this, 23 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam have legalized medical marijuana, and 17 other states have authorized some form of medical marijuana. Removing federal barriers to research will help eliminate the guess work about both its benefits and potential problems.

    For all the talk about gateway drugs, having millions of Americans relying on the black market for marijuana only opens the way for thugs to directly market to young people and those desperate to deal with depression and pain. No drug dealer checks for ID on the street corner or schoolyard. They have no license to lose and every incentive to sell other more dangerous, addictive and profitable drugs.

    The vast underground network supplying millions of Americans can and should be transformed into a legal industry that is regulated and taxed. We continue to enrich Mexican drug cartels that use marijuana as one of the pillars of their financial model. We should instead be taxing and regulating marijuana to help balance the budget and fund important services. If we approach marijuana the same way as alcohol, we could take the billions of dollars we save in enforcement and additional billions that will be generated in tax revenue to deal with education, the protection of our children, and the treatment for people with addiction problems.

    Mr. President, you’ve already had the most profound effect on marijuana law reform than any President in history. You’ve declined to interfere with states that have legalized adult use of marijuana and others states that allow medical marijuana, and you’ve provided breathing room for state-legal marijuana businesses.

    It is time, Mr. President, for you to take the next logical step, cementing your legacy in history on drug reform and a fairer criminal justice system. Call for an end to marijuana prohibition and de-schedule marijuana. The House and Senate are reluctant to take bold action to legalize marijuana at the federal level, but you don’t have to wait. Under your leadership by de-scheduling marijuana, you will trigger monumental reform, allowing states to continue their pioneering efforts and putting pressure on Congress to take additional actions to tax and regulate. We can start by ending the lunacy of forcing legal marijuana companies to operate as cash-only. Seldom has such a small step, supported by a majority of Americans, had such potential transformational power.

    Please seize the moment. We can’t wait.

    The time is now. The country is ready.

    In 2008, I joined with tens of thousands of Oregonians who cheered you on chanting, “Yes, we can!”

    Today, I speak on behalf of millions of Americans across the country and ask you to support ending the prohibition of marijuana.

    We hope you will respond, “Yes, I will.”

    Earl Blumenauer
    Member of Congress

    – See more at: http://crrh.org/news/node/6521#sthash.TEB7vmh3.dpuf