The National Geographic Society and other recognized scientific organizations have called swamps among the most valuable ecosystems on earth. Swamps are unique in the delicate balance between land and water. They are strongholds of flora and fauna, full of biodiversity and growth. Millions of years ago, swamps served as catalysts in the creation of coal and other fossil fuels that drive modern technology.
As he returns from the Middle East this weekend (or did he return from the Middle East when he arrived in Israel…we haven’t figured that one out yet), President Trump, with his real estate developer’s appreciation of swamps probably learned nothing about the mother of all swamps. The Fertile Crescent lowlands that lay between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers are considered the birthplace of civilization where modern life as we know it emerged.
American values, rights, and 250 years of constitutional history that comprise modern life in the United States are endangered species under the Trump administration. The rest of the world should be paying close attention to what happens in America’s favorite Swamp for the next three years.
It has been five months since the swamp-rat arrived in Washington, D.C. amid pledges and chants to “Drain the swamp!” However, draining the proverbial wetland of corporate lobbyists and special interests groups must have an “alternative” meaning in the new capital of Trumpington. Instead of keeping his promise to supporters, the president simply moved the money closer.
In January, Forbes published a list of Trump’s cabinet appointees accompanied by their estimated net worth. From Betsy DeVos’ (Education) $1.25 billion to Steven Mnuchin’s (Treasury) $300 million, one must wonder how lowly Jeff Sessions, arriving at the Swamp in the family jalopy, warranted an invite to head the Justice Department. With a net worth in the meagre seven figures, Sessions is either willing to serve or hoping to earn, or both.
Sessions has already made his mark with the new administration by viciously attacking progressive criminal justice policies that America wants. When as many Americans have criminal records as college degrees, how could the public not want reform? Between instructing his deputies to pursue the harshest charges and punishments and vowing to crackdown on marijuana legalization efforts, Sessions has offended a majority of the country. Additionally, the Justice Department’s immigration roundups and Sessions’ stance on sanctuary cities have incited protests across the nation. Apparently, Sessions has no problem serving Trump’s interests and not the American public’s.
This week, Esquire published a scathing assessment of the Sessions’ Justice Department’s involvement in a mortgage foreclosure case in Oregon. According to Esquire’s article, Sessions and Justice backed corrupt mortgage lenders over a military veteran with 80% disability. When Jacob McGreevey returned from a third tour of duty to find his home foreclosed, he took on the mortgage company that allegedly violated the law. He did not expect to be fighting Sessions and the Justice Department, too. McGreevey should have been protected under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, and Sessions should have upheld the federal law.
At least that’s how things should have worked before Trump invited his fellow swamp rats to his table.
The DOJ website features a Supreme Court opinion excerpt states that the SCRA “must be read with an eye friendly to those who dropped their affairs to answer their country’s call.” Additionally, Section 4041 of the SCRA outlines enforcement by the attorney general. The text of the law authorizes the attorney general to act “against” the party who violates the act, not the servicemember. In defending the indefensible, Sessions appears to be acting on behalf of special interests — perhaps to earn a crumb and break into the $10 million club to impress his boss.
Forty years ago, recognizing their unique value, America began protecting wetlands and swamps. The Swamp is in greater peril than ever under Trump. He, and the other rats that greedily followed, descended on Washington like the real estate developer salivating over marshland. The problem with real estate and wetlands, however, is the lack of solid foundation. Trump is building an empire at the public’s expense. It will eventually sink and then he will do what he has always done — cry bankruptcy and ask for a bailout.