Ron Paul is apparently introducing some legislation called The American Freedom Agenda Act. After reading all about it, I have concluded that I am an idiot. I mean seriously, I don't know what a lot of words mean. Which is kind of sad considering that writing is the only aspect of academia in which I ever earned accolades. Whatever. Let's try to figure this out together.

The American Freedom Agenda Act is hoping to achieve the bold-lettered following:

Repeal the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

According to Wikipedia, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 has been used to detain enemy combatants in military prisons without access to a lawyer. Also, according to, “repeal” means to revoke or rescind, especially by an official or formal act. So basically, Paul thinks that no one should be allowed to sit in a jail indefinitely without legal representation. Seems reasonable.

Another goal of TAFAA (abbreviations save us all time) is to prohibit the admittance of evidence obtained under torture or coercion in both civilian courts and military tribunals.

If I had a nickel for every time I tried to admit evidence I learned from torture, I'd have exactly as much money as I have now. So I guess this seems reasonable, too.

TAFAA also aims to prohibit acquisition of intelligence that contravenes the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

I literally spent nine long minutes trying to figure out what the hell all this means (and ten seconds trying to figure out how long it took me to try to figure out what all this means). And basically, all I learned is that “contravene” means to contradict, which means to go against. As such. Also, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, according to Wikipedia, allows that:

“The President may authorize, through the Attorney General, electronic surveillance without a court order for the period of one year provided it is only for foreign intelligence information; targeting foreign powers as defined by 50 U.S.C. §1801(a)(1),(2),(3) or their agents; and there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.”

So really, Paul's suggestion here (from what my feeble brain can grasp) is that it be made illegal to wiretap without a warrant. Maybe? Was I close? Fuck if I know (they should really write these laws in English).

Also in the TAFAA plan: to grant standing to Congress “to file a declaratory judgment action in an appropriate Federal district court to challenge the constitutionality of a presidential signing statement that declares the President's intent to disregard provisions of a bill he has signed into law because he believes they are unconstitutional.”

This one I actually dumbed down without looking up anything. The idea is that the president shouldn't be allowed to pass a law and then ignore its provisions. I guess that means he has to read all the laws he passes. Being President is not an easy job.

TAFAA also aims to prohibit all officers and agents of the United States from engaging in kidnapping, imprisonment, and torture abroad based solely on the president's judgment that the person is an enemy combatant.

So what you are proposing here is that I ain't allowed to kill people just because George Bush told me to? I guess I could live in a world where George Bush doesn't get to decide who lives and dies. But it'll take some getting used to.

Also suggested in TAFAA: to protect journalists' rights to publish information acquired from the executive branch, with the only exception being when there is a “direct, immediate, and irreparable harm to the national security of the United States.”

The idea here is, near as I can tell, to protect the First Amendment. That kooky Ron Paul and his crazy ideas.

And finally, TAFAA aims to prohibit the use of secret evidence to designate a foreign individual or organization as a terrorist or terrorist organization.

What the hell is secret evidence? If you use it, doesn't it automatically just turn into regular evidence? I mean, someone has to know something about someone to designate them as a terrorist, don't they? Jesus. Do I understand this right? Is this saying that we can just designate people as terrorists and not tell them why we are doing so? Will someone out there tell me that is not the case?


Okay, so from what I can grasp here, the entire idea behind TAFAA is to keep the President from being the most powerful dictator in the world. That seems reasonable.

So there's no way in hell it'll become law. Bush'll veto that shit before it hits his desk.


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