Good government, bad government


Sometimes there is reason to be hopeful that our Nation can self-correct and return to the principles it has finely tuned over the generations, of liberty, social responsibility and good citizenship.  The decision of the US Department of State to overturn the ban on academics Tariq Ramadan and Adam Habib are examples of hope and perhaps light at the end of the tunnel of darkness we have surrounded ourselves in over the last decade.  We’ve written extensively about Ramadan in the pages of Miscellany101 in what can only be termed an act of revenge against him and his family to keep him out of the mainstream of political, social and contemporary  dialogue.  When given the full weight of a judicial system, albeit imperfect, but still forming and trying to correct itself while being universally applicable, Ramadan’s visa revocation was first overturned by the judicial system in 2009  and then by the US Department of State just last week.  Initially he had been hired for  the Henry R. Luce Chair at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, but extremists who managed to infiltrate policy making positions in government were able to get the US government to revoke a visa they had originally granted him.  The reasons for it were spurious at best, lies at worse and so transparent that when given the light of day were thrown out post haste.  You can read one of Ramadan’s more recent musings here.  Good government.

Along with Ramadan’s decision the State Department overturned the revocation imposed on Adam Habib, a South African academic who is Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation & Advancement at the University of Johannesburg. It goes without saying the case against him was as empty and irrational as the one made against Ramadan. In fact, it seemed the only people afraid of Habib, besides American Islamophobes, were South African communists, which should have made Habib a significantly important figure with a right wing conservative administration the likes of George  Bush’s.  Habib’s case, like that of Ramadan, was wrapped up in the Islamophobic notions of Campus Watch, the Daniel Pipes led organization. You can read about them here and here.   It didn’t take a Clinton led State Department very long to overturn her predecessor’s revocation for either of these two men; in fact less than a year after being in office.  Says alot about a fanatically led Bush administration and even more about “good government”.

Euphoria however is quickly dashed when one reads about the US Justice Department’s quick reaction to the story of the three “suicides” at Guantanamo Bay and especially the reporting of that story by MSNBC’s  Keith Olbermann.  Olbermann reported on his show how Justice was upset with his coverage of the story that was reported extensively by Scott Horton of Harper’s magazine and picked up by a lot of people on the blogosphere, including here at Miscellany101.  It seems the Justice Department is only willing to comment negatively about the story, that is, to say Olbermann did a sloppy job of reporting it, but doesn’t see the need to comment on the essence of the charges made by US military men who have gone on record to say the series of events are not consistent with what they observed or were told later when promised an investigation.  This is the worse case scenario for bad government.  The leader of the free world, a designation we have heaped upon ourselves and which we wear proudly,  and which is acknowledged by others the world over, doesn’t need to engage in this type of intimidation and stonewalling with a free press.  Transparency, something promised by the Obama administration, means making all the facts available of  investigations and going on record to actively and judiciously clear the name of government when tarnished by accusations the likes of which are in the Harper’s story.  To do anything less than that is bad government….something  we’ve been used to for the last decade.

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The bastardization of American justice


The depths with which people with political agendas go through to promote that agenda even at the expense of the rule of law never ceases to amaze me.  One would think after the last 8 years of such criminalization of law to infringe upon the rights of American and other citizens of the world, some sort of self correction in the American legal system, as well as in the psyche of Americans, would take place and rights would be respected and recognized.  Guess again.

Local Muslim leaders and advocates on Tuesday demanded that U.S. immigration officials release Youssef Megahed, who was detained just three days after a jury acquitted him of federal explosives charges.

“This seems to be a double jeopardy. What kind of message are they sending to the jury and the honorable Judge (Steven) Merryday?” Ramzy Kilic, executive director for the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said of Megahed’s Monday arrest.

Dozens of immigration attorneys have offered free legal representation to the former University of South Florida student, his father said. But the Megahed family has yet to retain a lawyer to fight their son’s latest battle.

Immigration officials have charged Megahed with possessing items that could be assembled into a destructive device.

He was found not guilty on a similar charge in federal court, where public defenders represented him. Jurors acquitted him of illegal transportation of explosive materials and illegal possession of a destructive device, charges that could have each carried 10 years in prison.

Even the jurors who acquitted the defendant are up in arms of the government’s handling of this case.  Megahed is a permanent legal resident of the US, but that status allows him to be tried in immigration court if charges brought out in federal court aren’t able to stick.  The government has therefore found a way around all the acquittals many Muslim immigrants to America have received because of faulty federal prosecutions to arrest, detain and deport people who are innocent.  The burden of proof in immigration court is also not as restrictive and easier for the prosecution of such cases, so it is possible for the government to continue its WOM, read war on Muslims.  At the moment Megahed’s family doesn’t know where he is, nor have they talked to him.  Welcome to America.

The stuff of “urban legend” that’s not an urban legend


Sometimes I wonder if people are really this dumb! An employee noted on a receipt the reason why a customer returned a product as being a “dumb nigger”. First of all the employee entered a racially charged and offensive term on a piece of paper and then gave that paper to a customer,which had identifying information of the employee  for all to see.  Is that professional suicide or what!?  Perhaps this was termination by idiocy, the poor clerk no longer wanted a job but couldn’t quit because doing so would mean they couldn’t qualify for  unemployment.  I don’t really know why anyone would be so stupid, but it happened, and the customer has the paper to prove it.

Moving beyond that however, it appears the offended party is handling this better than the general public.  Talk of boycotts are in this observer’s opinion completely unnecessary and inflammatory.  The store has fired the employee and issued an apology, and even the idiotic employee gave the customer what he went there for, albeit more than he wanted, so the Justice Department’s weighing in (just like big government, trolling for an excuse to be intrusive in everyday life) and “community activists” calling for boycotts of the store are more examples of how issues of race are used and exploited sometimes for less than the public good.

I salute the Slater family who seem to be handling themselves well and I salute the store owners who have dealt with the matter at hand judiciously.  Now everyone else should leave them all alone.

Check out the local news’ take on this from Youtube.