Gabriel turns Two: Happy Birthday Sweet Boy

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Bad News and the Good News

Apparently the US government is more interested in protecting its arse than safeguarding actual American values like freedom of speech and human rights. According to Generous Orthodoxy Think Tank, our government prevented Oxford scholar, and critic of US foreign policy, Tariq Ramadan from accepting a position at Notre Dame, invoking the Patriot Act's provision for "ideological exclusion," a provision that applies to those who endorse or espouse terrorism. After failing to produce evidence of any support for terrorism, they have now denied him a visa for contributing 600 euros to French and Swiss humanitarian agencies that provide aid to Palestinians. C'mon, Ramadan, didn't you know it's bad U.S. policy to um help people? Or at least it's naughty to help people who have a beef against the people we helped get nukes!


And Tariq Ramadan's lawyer says, "Although the U.S. government has found a new pretext for denying Professor Ramadan's visa, the history of this case makes clear that the government's real concern is not with Professor Ramadan but with his ideas," said ACLU attorney Jameel Jaffer, who is lead counsel in this case. "The government is using the immigration laws to silence an articulate critic and to censor political debate inside the United States."


And if you're salivating for more news to make you wish you were Canadian, this from Generous Orthodoxy Think Tank:

Jonathan Turley (Law, George Washington University), in a brief but passionate cable TV interview last night, first, on the President's new power under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (unless the courts strike the Act down) to imprison without trial anyone whom a tribunal appointed by the President himself or the Secretary of Defense declares an enemy combatant:

It's a huge sea change for our democracy. The framers created a system where we did not have to rely on the good graces or good mood of the president. In fact, Madison said that he created a system essentially to be run by devils, where they could not do harm, because we didn't rely on their good motivations. Now we must. And people have no idea how significant this is. What, really, a time of shame this is for the American system. What the Congress did and what the president signed today essentially revokes over 200 years of American principles and values. It couldn't be more significant. And the strange thing is, we've become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. I mean, the Congress just gave the president despotic powers, and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to, you know, "Dancing with the Stars."

So what's the good news? There is good news...or at least hopeful news. But it will have to wait til tomorrow, because Gray's Anatomy is about to come on.

Unintended irony, really. I promise good news tomorrow. And I'm not a politician, so I may even be telling the truth!

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