Archive for Wish I'd said that

Oklahoma City is not that far from Hérouxville, or Toronto for that Matter

Some time ago, I found myself in a discussion over ‘creeping Shariah law’ in Canada that ended up with some heat in it.  I felt a little guilty about this, for one, because the less-than-able Tucker Carlson to my much-more-liberal Paul Begala was the kid who worked parttime in the library for whom English was his second language to his native French, and that discussion, actually in the library, made the eyes of the library clerk go wide.

I really don’t remember how I ended up in such a conversation – so obviously hotbutton and likely to end in acrimony if not tears – but I can’t exclude the possibility I goaded buddy into it.

What I do remember is that the kid conveyed that the issue had been the topic of discussion in one of his Law and Justice classes and, as I recall, he indicated that more students’ knickers were in a twist than not.

I barked, in the end, to the effect, that the fear of the creep of Shariah was not only misplaced but profoundly stoopid: one more form of mediation to join a whole bunch of others, religious or otherwise, which do not have the power to override existing provincial or federal law, is nobuddy’s concern but that of the victims of a domestic apocalypse.  Where it does intersect with the public interest, it seemed mostly positive to me, shifting more of the grunt work of divorce and custody, for instance, out of Family court, again, without being binding.

Still, pros and amateurs across the country have been losing their shit over this and the like for years.  Premier Dalton McGuinty, lukewarm Roman Catholic, has had the good fortune to be able to swing at softballs, like the plank of John Tory’s 2007 campaign to extend funding to all religious schools (so obviously pandering that I reckoned it made Tory unfit for office and which McGuinty could so easily reject while throwing up his hands on the division of public and seperate education, the Constitution and all that), but more importantly here, like the movement to introduce Islamic arbitration in family law in Ontario to which DM responded with a move to ban all religious-law-based arbitrations which had been permitted under the law – on a voluntary basis – since 1991.  (Did he follow through? I can’t seem to find out.)

No matter … regarding any of the above.

What makes me want to throw heat at hitters of any level in a contest over such things is the obvious focus on Islam that’s entailed.  McGuinty didn’t give a rat’s patootie about extra-judicial arbitration til the Muslims wanted in, nor did my library interlocutor argue in favour of an entirely secular law in general.  The former, well, he’d sell out his kids to be on the right side of any issue; the latter, I’m willing to say, is a garden-variety Islamophobe.

Anyway, an implicit or explicit appeal to secular liberal democratic values here would be laughable if not for the fact of its Islam-baiting/anti-Islam subtext which remains alive and well, and the substance of so much public discourse.

I don’t need to do the litany here, do I?  In any case, don’t worry, I’ll come back to all of it in time.  But for the present, I’m shaking my head by this American manifestation of the phenomenon, Oklahoma’s Measure 755 on which voters will have their say on Tuesday:

 The ballot title that voters will see on their ballot reads:

 This measure amends the State Constitution. It changes a section that deals with the courts of this state. It would amend Article 7, Section 1. It makes courts rely on federal and state law when deciding cases. It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Sharia Law.
International law is also known as the law of nations. It deals with the conduct of international organizations and independent nations, such as countries, states and tribes. It deals with their relationship with each other. It also deals with some of their relationships with persons.

The law of nations is formed by the general assent of civilized nations. Sources of international law also include international agreements, as well as treaties.

Sharia Law is Islamic law. It is based on two principal sources, the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed.

Shall the proposal be approved?

For the proposal

Yes: __________

Against the proposal

No: __________

Jeebus, why not throw in that the 9/11 hijackers were Muslims?

Not a Potted Plant, a lawyer, takes apart this measure with respect to its Constitutionality and existing law in Oklahoma to conclude:

But none of that is important. The facts don’t matter and they are, indeed, inconvenient. The point is to make people scared of the toothless shibboleth that is Sharia law and thus drive them to the polls to vote for meaningless-at-best and Constitution-subverting-at-worst wedge issues like Measure 755. Don’t fall for it — keep it in perspective, folks.

 NPP follows up a few days later, looking into the scant evidence of the application of Shariah in arbitrations across the US, and while it’s a bit of a mixed bag so far as the results go (the negatives stemming from American judical error), NPP’s conclusion is:

yes, there are some significant differences between Sharia and U.S. law. But again, there is little here that seems so awful it can’t be tolerated in a private arbitration agreement. And as a practical matter, the only way a U.S. court is going to deal with Sharia is by way of looking for substantial due process violations when it is asked to compel arbitration or confirm an arbitration award, or when it is asked to confirm and enforce a previous award of a foreign court pursuant to a treaty obligation or the Full Faith and Credit clause.

Regardless, let’s stamp out any hint of Shariah, Oklahoma and Ontario, cuz the next thing you know the Muslims will be flocking to small town Quebec, constitutionally guaranteed Shariah in hand, to stone adulteresses and ban Christmas and drinking.

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I Dare Anyone to Call Her a Moore Award Nominee …

… but of course the mostly unidentified commentariat – even at the Star – are willing to say basically that.

Still, Chantal Hébert reminds us of part of the complexion of majority governments in this country:

Under a majority Conservative government, former diplomat Richard Colvin’s assertion that Canada knowingly allowed scores of Afghan civilian detainees to fall into the hands of torturers would likely have remained the stuff of informed behind-the-scenes speculation.

I’m reminded a lot these days of “Yes, Minister” and “Yes, Prime Minister.”  There’s a lot of people in more than one sector who are forced into an MO of waiting out their taskmasters who rule under fixed or variable but inevitably limited terms.  I myself am, to my surprise, bearing witness to this these days, and am reminded that it’s the other longtimers who really need watching.  Qualified always by the Kissinger wisdom that ‘University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.”

I’d absolutely love to know what Colvin’s REAL game is.  But I’m content with things as they appear, and the conclusion that reasonable people have to draw: the mission in Afghanistan has nothing to do with the rights, values or hopes we might want to share with the people of Central Asia.  Alarming to me is the fact that, Canadian public opinion – gleaned as it is from several anecdotal sources – reacts vociferously to the idea that we just might be Abu Ghraibing by proxy in Afghanistan.

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Where Can I Buy a Bowler Hat?

I just started reading The League of Ordinary Gentlemen and while they often write stuff that makes me suck in breath between my teeth, I like them for they know right wing batshit crazy when they see it.  A taste from the last few days.

Frummaging Through Foreign Policy

by Chris Dierkes

David Frum is Dickensian: the best and worst of Republican thinkers.  Assuming there are any left.  His work on a domestic reform based conservatism is I think excellent.  His foreign policy views, eh, not as much.

Averaging out Best and Worst you get Mediocre.  The Mighty Douche.

Race and the Right

by Mark Thompson


On the other hand, I think we’ve reached a point where the American Right is as or more obsessed with racial victim politics than the American Left.  [Read more →]

I ♥ this shit – it reminds me of every bilious rant I heard from the boys back in the day about how unfair it be that female candidates would get some kind of leg up in the process of filling academic positions.  You know, a girlfriend-smackin’ fascist with short-guy syndrome among those fellas has got himself a nice gig with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Theological (Glenn) Beckism

by Chris Dierkes

Not that I/you should expect much in the way of logical rigor from Glenn Beck, but is anyone else a little confused by Principles 2 & 4 in the 9/12 Project: 

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

Of course according to principle #2, God is (or rather should be) the ultimate authority, not the government nor you and your wife (sorry honey).

Plus, why is God #2 when God is the center of life (supposedly) and principle #1 is:

1. America Is Good.

Meaning actually America is God , I mean, good.

If God were the center of one’s life, wouldn’t God come before America being good?

I realize this isn’t exactly The Summa Theologica, but still.

I really don’t know what to say about Beck.  I shudder at all jingoistic appeals (specially ‘merican ones) even when they’re made so obviously just for the sake of fame and filty lucre.  But this jab at the carelessness and emptiness of the latest incarnation of Lonesome Rhodes really is TFF.

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Best Postsecret Ever


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“Butter burns; cream can be cloying”

Ok, I got my two new Madhur Jaffreys this week: neither is beyond the intermediate book I already have.  Anybuddy know what the bible of Indian cooking is?

Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking has finally hit the top of the best-seller list, almost 48 years after it was first published. Unfortunately, that will probably send even more Meryl Streep wannabes straight to bookstores looking for food porn. And they will be sold bibles, Regina Schrambling.

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My Version of QOTD

“Dick Cheney has now accused the Obama Administration of politicizing the Justice Department…after his Administration criminalized the Justice Department,” Joe Klein via*** The Dish.

***I don’t know why but I find “h/t” a stoopid piece of blog-cant.  Still, I feel obliged to give credit where it be due.

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