I recently discussed the implications of Associated Press story on access given to donors to the Clinton Foundation. However, what is not getting much attention is that the Obama Administration delayed these journalist investigators for THREE YEARS in seeking this information from the State Department. Three years and the AP had to go to court to secure what is clearly public information. The Obama Administration is not unique in its resistance to disclosures, even in what President Obama once pledged would be the “most transparent” government in history. FOIA has long been reduced to a farce by bureaucrats who force public interest, reporters, and legal groups to go to court to secure information. The lack of outrage over what the AP was put through is ample proof that the government has won in harassing efforts to use FOIA. Only the most organized groups tend to persist in such efforts.
Saudi Arabia continues to remind the world of its continued belief in primitive superstitions and its adherence to a medieval Sharia legal system. A Saudi court has reportedly sentenced an Egyptian man to six years on charges of attempting to disturb public order, violating the kingdom’s labor laws and communicating with a sorcerer to bewitch his employer. That’s right, sorcery to bewitch his employer. On top of those charges, the Saudis reportedly charged the Egyptian of acquiring a secret military document listing the movements and names of Saudi troops and of emailing this document to the Iranian Embassy in Lebanon.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbis in the Satmar sect have banned women from going to university as a “dangerous” threat to their faith. A decree has been issued against what is described as what “has lately become the new trend that girls and married women are pursuing degrees in special education. Some attend classes and others online. And so we’d like to let their parents know that it is against the Torah.”
We continue to be served a steady diet of Ryan Lochte stories from his being dropped by sponsors to continued investigations. Given his long history of immature conduct and comments, the exhaustive media attention for Lochte may be much to do about nothing. A far more worthy subject is Polish Olympian Piotr Malachowski who is auctioning silver medal for boy with rare cancer. Malachowski has shown the true character of a Olympian.
Ismail Berdiyev, a leading mufti from Russia’s North Caucasus region, has called for the universal use of clitoridectomy, or female genital mutilation, for “all women to reduce lechery” and “sexuality.” The shocking and disgusting proclamation by Berdiyev is magnified by the the supportive public statement by a senior priest in the Russian Orthodox Church, Vsevolod Chaplin, who wrote on Facebook: “My sympathies for the mufti. I hope he doesn’t retreat from his position because of the howls and hysterics which will start now.”
Nice has added its famous beaches to the list of resort areas where the burkini is banned. Like the ban on the veil, it is hard to see how such bans are not openly discriminatory towards Muslims. I fail to understand the rationale for such a ban, particularly when many people now adopt full covering (especially for child) to protect against the damaging sun rays.
Below is my column in the Washington Post on Donald Trump’s proposal of “extreme vetting” for immigrants to the United States. While some have suggested that the proposal would violate the Constitution, I do not agree. There are ample concerns or objections that can be raised as a matter of policy. However, such vetting is neither unconstitutional nor unprecedented. Particularly if implemented with congressional approval, I believe that such a heightened level of scrutiny would pass constitutional muster. Conversely, this is clearly something that Congress could prevent legislatively.