Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

On May 1st, I stood on trial for having “greeted” Jeff Sessions in Congress before the start of his confirmation hearing in January. I was convicted along with my fellow activists, Lenny Bianchi and Desiree Fairooz. We each face up to $2,000 in fines,12 months in prison, or both. The sentencing will take place on June 21st.

On the day of the confirmation hearing, my colleague, Lenny, and I were dressed up as Ku Klux Klan members, with our white hoods and robes designed to highlight Sessions’ racist history. My performance at the hearing was a parody, but the real joke has become the U.S. Justice Department.

To say that I was appalled that Jeff Sessions was about to become the highest legal authority in our country is an understatement. As an American who loves the constitution and the rule of law, I felt compelled to protest the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions, a man whose history of racist rulings and rhetoric has been well documented and exposed to public scrutiny. His nomination and confirmation as Attorney General make a mockery of our judicial system and our constitution in general. Even though Sessions was only confirmed on February 8th of this year, he is already setting back the progress this country has made in the areas of civil rights and race relations. In three short months, our concerns have been resoundingly validated.

On April 18, Sessions dismissed the entire State of Hawai’i as “an island in the Pacific” in an effort to discredit a federal judge’s ruling against the administration’s second so-called Muslim travel ban.

On April 21, he sent letters to nine “sanctuary cities” threatening to cut federal funding unless they complied with federal immigration laws.

On April 22, Attorney General Sessions asserted that the U.S. could pay for the egregious and, by most accounts, ineffective border wall by clawing back over $4 billion in refundable tax credits paid to “mostly Mexicans,” without any factual evidence of the recipients’ ethnicity.

First of all, Hawai’i is our 50th state, co-equal with the other 49 states, and flourishes from its cultural diversity and immigrant populations. It is much more than “an island in the Pacific.” Second, a federal judge ruled that the executive order threatening to pull funding from sanctuary jurisdictions is unconstitutional. And the less said about the ridiculous proposed border wall the better.

 

An independent judiciary exists as a check on the other branches of government. Jeff Sessions does not appear to comprehend the basic processes of the federal government as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Rather than paying heed to the protections guaranteed to all citizens, Jeff Sessions is an oligarch of the first order stuck in a colonial and racist mindset in which people of color are less worthy than those of European descent.

These outrageously ignorant statements and actions are just the latest examples of the Attorney General’s disrespect for the racial and cultural diversity of America that he is charged to protect.

My CODEPINK colleague Desiree Fairooz was also on trial. She was accused of disrupting the confirmation hearing by laughing when Senator Richard Shelby asserted that Sessions treats “all Americans equally under the law.” This claim in and of itself is certainly laughable, but the focus should not be on a spontaneous chortle Desiree let out. Instead, it should be on the abominable ways the Trump administration is suffocating our right to dissent.

In the recent past, frivolous charges like these would have been thrown out of court. But, Trump and his cronies in the Justice Department are going out of their way to crack down on dissent, especially in the form of nonviolent protest. Republican officials are jumping on Trump’s bigoted bandwagon to restrict liberties at the local, state and national level. We see laws being passed in over a dozen states to make protesting a crime, while at the same time, North Dakota has passed a law where running over a protester is not a crime. We see state laws being passed to criminalize campaigns that support Palestinian rights. We see that over 200 people who protested Trump’s inauguration have been prosecuted and charged with ridiculous offenses, such as felony rioting charges. We should see our Justice Department prosecuting real criminals, like those responsible for war, not convicting people for laughing in Congress.

Unless we rise up and demand our first amendment right to dissent, then the joke will be on the American people. And that is no laughing matter.

Tighe Barry is a member of the peace group CodePink.org.

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.

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28 responses to “I May Go To Prison For A Year Because I Mocked Jeff Sessions”

  1. bojimbo26 says:

    `The Little Tart` can`t handle it , he has a tantrum .

    • Kimberlygbenton says:

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      • Mooster75 says:

        I hate to say it, Kimberly, but you seem to have the only comment on the page that I can understand…

        • ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

          be it as it may im still trying to learn how to block them like kimberry any help ? please

          • Mooster75 says:

            Well, all I know to do is click the “block user” thing. I don’t think there is a way to block them beforehand unfortunately.

          • ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

            ok that sound’s good but where is the block user thing ? and how is one to bring up that option ? I thank you Mooster75 for your response and if be it you know what im seeking and enlighten my ill be even more thankful lol

          • Mooster75 says:

            If you hover your mouse on the line with your name, the time and such all the way to the right, there’s a little triangle pointing down. Click on that and you’ll see it. Wipes ’em right out.

          • ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

            ok ill try that thanks again . do you think if I do that to DONNY DUMPS name when I see it it could block him from all the white house doings ? lol

          • Mooster75 says:

            I don’t think so, but the idea sure brings a smile to my face…

          • ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

            then again to block THE DONNY DUMP CLOWN SHOW would be blocking the biggest joke book history on the internet ! lol

  2. itsfun says:

    Have a good time when you meet Bubba.

  3. Patrick says:

    ridiculous offenses? There is VIDEO EVIDENCE of rioters at trump’s inauguration smashing in Windows of businesses like Starbucks and a bank and setting cars on fire! I saw it live on TV!

    • Independent1 says:

      And exactly what does that have to do with someone simply dressing up in a costume to mock Sessions?? Sessions actions are a clear violation of the 1st Amendment.

      • celiayounger says:

        AGREE. WHO Does he thinks he is?! just an old man with little brain. It seems.

      • Lonesome Whistle says:

        really, when did he use the power of the GOVT to silence speech?

        These two idiots were provoking a RIOT. BTW, the KKK was founded by DEMOCRATS.

        • Independent1 says:

          Total hogwash!! And the KKK was founded by Dixiecrats which were once called Democrats but which are now the foundation of the Republican party!!!

          All you have to do clueless is see who runs around waving the Confederate flag!! And it sure ain’t today’s Democrats!!!

        • Salem Saberhagen says:

          When the KKK was founded, the Republicans were Democrats, and Democrats were the Republicans. They changed parties later on.

  4. ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

    whats next the government want to tell one how thy have to dress ?

  5. celiayounger says:

    I didn’t know we were in Russia. THEY SPECIALLY TRUMP, HAVE MADE JOKES, LAUGHT AND INSULTED EVERYONE IN AMERICA (EXCEPT HIS FRIENDS AND FAMILY) THE WHOLE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, and they are trying to put an old lady in jail? I HOPE SHE SUE THEM! who the hell this stupid man think he is? I dont’ think any one had to get out of a plance just for laughing. That is NOT reason to remove her. I HOPE MANY PEOPLE PROTEST THIS IN HER TWON.

  6. celiayounger says:

    AND WHAT ABOUT TRUMP (in a rally) INCITING ALL HIS FOLLOWERS TO KILL HILLARY AND MR. OBAMA, that too was on TV. Did anyone do anything about it?

  7. celiayounger says:

    we all should go to laugh at him … I dont’ think he will put all of us in jail.????????????????????????????

  8. Anna Southworth says:

    Fantastic writing , I Appreciate the points ! Does anyone know if I might get a fillable CA CDPH 0929 version to work with ???

  9. Sand_Cat says:

    Where is the troll who said Trump is not a Fascist because he was elected and has not forcibly restricted dissent?

    • Lonesome Whistle says:

      I’ll stand up! Where’s the fascist appdeatio for OBAMA AND HILLARY, who took in MILLIONS in “speeches” and “donations” for bailing out companies that screwed up.

      THATS FASCISM, govt collusion with business.

      And don’t forget hoe Obama spied on MILLIONS OF AMERICANS and used the iRS to prosecute dissenters.

      THATS FASCIST.

      • Sand_Cat says:

        You’d be better staying down rather than making a fool of yourself with your lies and delusions, plus you essentially announced that you voted for Trump (perhaps the dumbest of all). All your exaggerations and fantasies don’t amount to a hill of beans compared to the FACT here: people are threatened with prison for doing far less than what you just did: using your right to free speech to express your opinions, no matter how idiotic. You haven’t a thing to stand on, so crawl back under your rock into the slime where you belong.

  10. Lonesome Whistle says:

    “On the day of the confirmation hearing, my colleague, Lenny, and I were dressed up as Ku Klux Klan members, with our white hoods and robes designed to highlight the ’ racist history of DEMOCRAT Robert Byrd, REAL DECADES LONG KKK MEMBER and longest Democrat to serve in the Senate”

    /fixed it for you!

    Secretary Clinton Comments on the Passing of Robert Byrd

    http://static.snopes.com/app/uploads/2016/03/Screenshot-2016-03-02-at-12.03.25-PM.png

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