Via Al-Jazeera Europe and the New York Times…

In a referendum vote Sunday, Swiss citizens supported a ban on new minaret construction, voting against the protests of the Swiss government and liberal parties:

Pre-referendum polls had indicated a comfortable, if slowly shrinking, majority against the proposal, but official results Sunday showed that the S.V.P. and its allies had won 57 percent of the vote. The result came after a controversial campaign that played aggressively on the same fears of Muslim immigration and the spread of Islamic values that already resonate in other European countries.

“That Switzerland, a country with a long tradition of religious tolerance and the provision of refuge to the persecuted, should have accepted such a grotesquely discriminatory proposal is shocking indeed,” David Diaz-Jogeix, Amnesty International’s deputy program director for Europe and Central Asia, said in a statement. (From the New York Times story)

A surprising development, to say the least. Switzerland is a strange country, institutionally – the legislature is generally constrained by the need to create supermajorities in order to enact any law, and altering the constitution is harder still. But, as is the case in California, the “rule by ballot initiative” throws things off considerably, giving fringe groups within the populace a lot more clout than minority parties in the legislative houses possess.

So far, I have yet to read any statements from the right-wing supporters of this proposal that clearly explain how banning minarets will do anything to prevent the spread of radical Islam.

It seems there’s a bill in the Texas legislature that seeks to opt the state out of any federal bargains they may be subject to.

It starts off in seemingly-common-sense water…

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution and no more; and

Okay. That’s true. It’s about all the Tenth Amendment says. In fact, here’s the whole thing:

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Okay. But here’s where we start getting into Weirdoland:

WHEREAS, the scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states; and

WHEREAS, today, in 2009, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government; and

WHEREAS, many federal laws are directly in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; […]

See where they’re going with this? More after the break…

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