Yet Another Poor Choice …

Last week, while we were intently focused on the bombing of an alleged Daesh hideout in Afghanistan, the increasing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, and Trump’s various incoherent tweets ‘n twits, there was other news, largely unnoticed.  This one crossed my radar yesterday ……

On Wednesday, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, formally announced Candice Jackson as deputy assistant secretary in the Office for Civil Rights, a position that does not require Senate confirmation. Ms. Jackson will act as assistant secretary in charge of the office until the position of secretary is filled. By law, she can serve in the position for only 210 days, however we have seen how Trump reverses laws with a swipe of his pen. DeVos has not yet selected a nominee, who would require confirmation by the Senate.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is a sub-agency of the U.S. Department of Education that is primarily focused on protecting civil rights in federally assisted education programs and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, handicap, age, or membership in patriotic youth organizations.

In the 2016 fiscal year, the office processed almost 17,000 civil rights complaints, and opened 4,000 investigations. In the days after the Trump administration rescinded the guidelines allowing transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, representing 60 organizations, sent a letter to Ms. DeVos asking for the next head of the civil rights office to have a track record of upholding student rights, and fighting systemic and individual cases of discrimination. The coalition, which includes organizations like the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. and the National Women’s Law Center, called it “one of the most significant decisions you and the president will make with regard to the civil rights of the nation’s students.”

Jackson has very little to qualify her for this position, as she has scant experience in the field of civil rights law. She is a longtime anti-Clinton activist and an outspoken conservative-turned-libertarian, who has denounced feminism and race-based preferences. She’s also written favorably about, and helped edit a book by an economist, Murray N. Rothbard (in line for a future Idiot of the Week award), who is strongly against both compulsory education and the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

During her senior year at Stanford, Jackson complained that she was discriminated against because she was Caucasian, and said that “giving special assistance to minority students is a band-aid solution to a deep problem.”  Around the same time, she also condemned feminism, saying, “In today’s society, women have the same opportunities as men to advance their careers, raise families, and pursue their personal goals. College women who insist on banding together by gender to fight for their rights are moving backwards, not forwards. I think many women are instinctively conservative, but are guided into the folds of feminism before discovering the conservative community.”

While everyone is certainly entitled to their personal opinion, Ms. Jackson’s opinions appear to be the direct antithesis to the ideology and responsibility of the office she has been tasked to oversee, in a manner similar to other Trump advisory selections.

In 2005, Jackson wrote a book, titled Their Lives: The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine, in which she criticized liberals for placing too much emphasis on helping women and people of color. She also wrote that sexual harassment laws and policies ignore “the reality that unwanted sexual advances are difficult to define.”  Hard to define? Interestingly, when a number of women accused Donald Trump of sexual assault and harassment during the presidential campaign, Jackson referred to the women as “fake victims” who were lying “for political gain,”

There is nothing in Jackson’s past to indicate that she would aggressively protect civil rights in schools and college campuses.  In fact, quite the opposite, since she appears to find sexual harassment “difficult to define”.

So, just as we asked why Scott Pruitt was selected to lead the very department (EPA) he had sued thirteen times, we must ask why a woman who does not appear to support civil rights was tapped to lead the Office of Civil Rights?  The answer, I believe, is two-fold.  First, Trump appears determined to undermine certain offices and administrative agencies by selecting people whose beliefs are 180° different from the purpose of the office.  Second, there is Ms. Jackson’s contribution to Trump’s campaign last year.  What did she contribute?

Jackson helped the Trump campaign connect with three of former president Bill Clinton’s accusers in order to invite them to the second presidential debate before which Trump held a press conference with them highlighting President Clinton’s ‘victimization’ of them. Also of benefit to the Trump campaign, Jackson highlighted Hillary Clinton’s former role as a public defender, during which she represented a man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl.  I firmly believe this position is a reward for the role she played in helping Trump in his smear campaign against Hillary Clinton.

Betsy DeVos’s first official policy act was to support the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Obama administration’s federal guidance protecting the rights of transgender students. News organizations reported that DeVos was personally opposed to the action but went along with it. She went along … with a policy to which she was opposed.  What does this say about her willingness to fight for the rights of others?

The current administration has shown disdain for the enforcement of civil rights in the U.S. by the appointment of Jeff Sessions, a proven racist, to the office of Attorney General.  The selection of Jackson to lead, albeit temporarily, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is yet another slap in the face to the rights, of women, minorities, and the LGBT community.

42 thoughts on “Yet Another Poor Choice …

  1. This is a Standard Operating Procedure for an administration intent on as they see it ‘reforming’ the process of government into a ‘simpler’ style; by placing people in charge of agencies with whom they have strong disagreement. Thus the theory goes they will ensure the ‘reforms’ will be carried through. (Like in the UK putting me in charge of reforming the various energy suppliers- my solution, here’s the news guys…you’re to be taken over by the government- one supplier-simple….yeh good luck to me with that one!)
    This however pre-supposes that the administration has an obviously numerically strong following within the population to conduct these changes. Where there are a number of communities who are in strong disagreement and who have recourses through the Constitution (ie The Courts) and the media to voice their opposition the ‘reforms’ then frictions arise which cause distractions, delays and general dislocation.
    Overall, then it can be argued therefore that the US constitution will be the main problem for these reformers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed … at least to an extent. If Trump remains in office for the full four years (God forbid!!!) he could potentially nominate 2-3 more Supreme Court justices and at that point, I question whether the Constitution would be upheld by the interpretations of the SC. While I am typically an optimist (somewhat) and believe that at the end of the day, all will be put to rights, I find myself feeling less secure about that outcome these days. One concern I have is a trend that I am seeing, especially among those who oppose Trump’s more radical ideas, the tendency to pull the blankets over their heads. “I am so tired of the lies, the hate … I think I will stop even thinking about it and just listen to music and look at pretty flowers.” While I understand that ostrich attitude, it is not helpful … when we fail to use our voice, we are destined to lose it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sometimes chipping away, or refusing to buy into the ideas of Hate, Ignorance and Intolerance and supporting those who are Fighting The Good Fight can be a good option for the individual.
        ‘They’ love Apathy and ‘Fashionable Cynicism’ as neither offers opposition to ‘Them’.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hmmmm … you have a point. Not everybody is cut out to be a fighter. I guess I was born to be. My first memorable fight was in kindergarten when I beat a boy … Gardiner Jett was his name … bloodied his nose and all … because he called me “four-eyes”! I got kicked out of kindergarten. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

            • 😀 Fortunately, I learned, somewhere along the line, that speaking with fists was generally not the best way to be heard, and these days my weapon is my voice. I think I use my blog to vent much of my angst, making me a bit nicer to friends and family (mostly). 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

                    • Thank you! Nah, I doubt he learned his lesson … I think that once a bully, always a bully. Look, for example, at Trump who reputedly bullied children in school, and even tried to push a fellow-cadet out of a 2nd story window when in military academy. :O

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Would have been … would have scared the Viet-Cong off in a heartbeat. Only he decided he was too good to actually serve in the military. Remember his comments when a WWII veteran actually gave him his Purple Heart? He said he “always wanted to get the Purple Heart” and this was “much easier” than serving in combat. 😦

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I started to dislike him greatly after his comment about John McCain being shot down over Vietnam, that “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured? I like people who weren’t captured.”
                      So Trump was an expert on field craft in avoidance, escape from military compounds, and survival in hostile terrain?…What a load of…..manure

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                    • Exactly! I was so stunned when I heard the comment about McCain … I had to confirm on several sources that he said it, because I thought that even Trump, in all his egotistical, narcissistic ignorance, couldn’t have said that. But yep, he did, and like you, that lowered him even further in my eyes. And yes, it is a load of manure, as is he. It was probably, in the long run, a positive thing for McCain, however … I felt a new empathy toward him after that, and I suspect many others did also.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • And now this guy sends people off to war to die.
                      Those who have not experienced seem happy to wave a flag (Q: Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son”).
                      Pres. George W Bush’s group of non-combatants were eager to go into Iraq……..All except the thoughtful analytical Colin Luther Powell, who oddly enough had served in the military……

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yes, I always rather choke when people refer to war as ‘glorious’ and ‘noble’. Those who have been there say it is anything but. I wonder if Trump would be so eager to send his own children to war?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Depends on moral fortitude I guess:
                      Consider President ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt (charging off in all directions) and the career of his son ‘Teddy’ Jnr, who fought in WWI then had a political career then volunteered for service in WWII was criticised by the higher ups for being ‘too close to his men’; made a important tactical decision during the D-Day landings, only to die on a heart attack about a month later, while on active service (he kept his medical conditions secret from his commanders).
                      And our Royal Family send its sons off to war (or at least military) as a matter of part of their training (and in some cases keep them out of mischief!).
                      Just a few examples…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I have said it before, and I say it again … You, my friend, are a walking encyclopedia! Only much better, as you always put a humorous spin on things! I always learn from you and I love that! I certainly learned some things about Teddy Jr. that I did not know.

                      As to moral fortitude … it is not synonymous with the person residing in the White House today, so it is rather a moot point. A part of me thinks that one of the qualifications for a president … or any leader, really … should be prior military service. But that would have excluded some of our better presidents, including Obama, and it really isn’t feasible. And can you imagine the hue and cry if anybody even suggested it over here? 😀

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Thanks I Jill for your kind words.
                      When ‘The Longest Day’ came out in the cinema, naturally all us 13/14 year olds scampered off to see it. Henry Fonda played ‘Teddy’ jnr and his performance sort of stuck with me.
                      I’d go for a leader having long and proven public service before they could stand.
                      It would be fun if someone mentioned it over here….Ooooh the huffin’ n’ puffin’ 😉

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yes, long and proven public service would satisfy me too … quite the opposite of what Trump brought to the table. Business experience is about 180 degrees from government experience. And li’l Donnie never did learn to play well with others … dinna much like to share …still doesn’t, I hear. 😀

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yes, I did get that … 🙂 And I, too, have no sympathy, but would be happy to let him out of his employment contract at any time! I read part of an interview he did with Reuters where he said the job of being president is much harder than he thought it would be, and he whined because he said he likes to drive and now he isn’t allowed. Awwwwww … pobrecito!!!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Nononono, Roger … do not damage that walking encyclopedia, that treasure trove of knowledge! But yeah, I had a similar reaction … poor li’l Donnie is not having fun!!!!! He cannot drive his own car! Le Gasp!!! 😩

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Just the phrase for his ‘problem’
                      Back in the 1970s/80s there was a British Comedy series set in late WWII in Burma; this revolved around a bunch of misfits as an army entertainment unit, trying to avoid combat, two hopeless officers and one exasperated Sgt Major who dreams of getting them into combat. There were lots of jokes and situations which might be considered offensive(though the Indian and Burmese were portrayed as the most sensible folk)…
                      Anyway the Sgt Major had this lovely catch phrase in response to anything happened to the unit…..said in a very heavy welsh accent, sarcastically
                      “Oh dear. How sad. Never mind,”
                      Series: It An’t ‘Alf Hot Mum…. just type in the phrase on You Tube

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • That’s funny! I saw a couple of clips … and now I know what a Welsh accent sounds like! We have a similar saying over here, that I always think is a bit rude, but sometimes deservedly so … “Too bad, so sad”. Said with an air of obvious boredom and uncaring. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Some folk deserve it.
                      From somewhere and we can’t remember where, a novel I think, we’ve picked up saying;
                      “All God’s Children Got Problems” only said in a more fatalistic way.
                      (There must be millions of these across the world.) 🙂

                      Like

                    • Yes, I imagine there are millions of different ways of expressing it. The teenagers in the U.S. have it down to a science, as they have just the right amount of rolling eyes and shrugging shoulders with it. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. When president Obama was in office and put into action his sweeping illegal immigration, before he had done so, he said on numerous occasions that he didn’t have the power to just overturn the law. Yet with his pen and phone, he did just that but there was no outcry from the liberals on this point.

    What specific legislation has the current president passed that hinders the rights of anyone? None of his domestic policies have gotten anywhere, look at the silly healthcare bill he wanted to pass that didn’t get traction.

    Though I am not particularly a fan of the current president, bombing ISIS was a great idea and these bastards need to be sent back to the stone age. We had no business at all going into Syria, a platform that he reversed himself on after he criticized the former president for even considering such a move.

    The liberals are so outraged that Hillary didn’t win that they will criticize the fact that Trump is even alive not to say anything about any accomplishment that he might actually perform, meaning that the bar for disdain and fury is set so low among the regressive left that he could create a million jobs, cut healthcare costs, enact true tort reform and you guys will find something to complain about. Now I’m not suggesting that he’ll do any of these things but if you’re going to criticize a president that’s fine, but isn’t it fair to also find something positive to acknowledge?

    Okay, I’ll do it for you.

    President trump has addressed the lack of people getting exercise in this country because so many of them are actually getting out and marching. Michelle obama couldn’t do that in the 8 years that she was first lady.

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  3. Dear Jill,
    The one thing we can never ask with the DDT administration is, can it possibly get worse? The easy answer is yes!! This means that to curt-tail the likes of Betsy DeVos and Ms. Jackson, we have to challenge their actions in the courtrooms like the republicans did with President Obama.

    There are three major issues to fight back hard to mitigate the harm being done by DDT. The 1st priority is to protect the environment by dealing with climate change; the 2nd is to promote quality education for all; the third is to protect those living in the USA from discrimination in all its forms including access to the ballot box.

    Lawyers and legal groups are already targeting the travel / Muslim bans and DDT’s conflict of interests issues.
    This is going to mean full employment for attorneys.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There will have to be a clean sweep of the boards soon.Impeachment for Trump is a necessity but that would still leave the VP and all the other dross in position carrying out his and their wishes. The longer this all carries on, the more right wing nutters think they deserve their day in the sun. It could be the turn of France soon and Putin could split the EU up nicely.
    xxx Cwtch xxx

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    • Yes, the term Trump so liked during his campaign, “Drain the swamp”, takes on new meaning with each of his appointees. Once he is impeached (notice my positive attitude?) we will not just need to drain the swamp, but I’m thinking burn pour gasoline on it and burn it! I hope the French exhibit good sense on the 23rd, or I am very much afraid for what may become of the EU. I just briefly scanned an article today that I plan to go back to … PM May is planning a special election in June? Do you see that as a good thing or a bad one? I shall have to read more about it … was in a time crunch when I saw it. Anyway … Cwtch Mawr, dear friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The early election doesn’t faze me.The Conservatives under May are supposed to be the right wing party but in the main I have supported them. The Labour party (The Left Wing) are in disarray and I dislike their periods of power when things seem to get steadily worse and yet they borrow money to throw at it just increasing the national debt. They also tend to give too much power to the unions who vote them in. I’ve worked within a closed shop a few times and hated the lack of choice. The Liberal Democrats are our third party and mainly inconsequential these days. If they got in they’d do all they can to stop Brexit even though it was a majority choice.
        xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for that clarification! I have often been a bit confused by the ideologies of the parties … probably because I inadvertently try to fit them into the platforms of our own two parties. While Brexit was indeed a majority choice, what I have read leads me to believe that some who supported it are having regrets. But alas … a day late and a dollar short. Cwtch Mawr!

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  5. Jill, thanks for bringing this to our attention. It would have slipped through the cracks. There seems to be a trend for the domestic appointments – department heads that hate their departments. Keith

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    • Yes, there has been so much of concern that we miss things that appear only as a small blip. There is another, also … Roger Severino who is now the Director of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights. There are great concerns about him and he appears poised to change HIPPA rules. In addition, he was once the Director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society … yes the Betsy DeVos family. Sigh. So many balls in the air to keep our eyes on!

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