J. D. Heyes
Sept 4, 2012
Constitutionalism is certainly in danger in America, but at least it’s not completely dead yet. Chalk one up for our founding document.
Case in point. Remember our recent story regarding the impending defeat of the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST)? 34 U.S. senators, we reported, have agreed to oppose it, effectively killing it for the time being.
Treaties, you may know, require the approval of more than two-thirds of the Senate – 67 members – to pass. You may also know that treaties carry the force of law; a treaty has the same authority as any bill passed by Congress and signed by the president (or passed over a president’s veto).
The LOST agreement is a particularly bad treaty for the United States, for it would subject the most free nation on earth (for the time being) to the will of unelected global bureaucrats at the United Nations.
Thugs like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and a hundred other tyrants and petty tyrants would suddenly control much of our country’s foreign policy. The agreement would also “require American businesses to pay royalties for resource exploitation and subject the U.S. to unwieldy environmental regulations as defined,” theWashington Times reported, citing critics of the treaty.
“With 34 senators against the misguided treaty, LOST will not be ratified by the Senate this year,” Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said after the magic number was reached in mid-July.
The agreement that won’t go away
Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had said he planned to bring ratification of the treaty to a vote, thus sparking the opposition.
For his part, Kerry is downplaying DeMint’s declaration that the number of opponents is a deal-breaker for LOST.
“No letter or whip count changes the fact that rock-ribbed Republican businesses and the military and every living Republican secretary of state say that this needs to happen, and that’s why it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ for the Law of the Sea,” Kerry’s spokeswoman, Jodi Seth, told the Times.
She added that Kerry had already decided to postpone a vote this year because “right now we’re in the middle of a white-hot political campaign season where ideology is running in overdrive.”
“That’s why Sen. Kerry made it clear from day one that there wouldn’t be a vote before the election and until everyone’s had the chance to evaluate the treaty on the facts and the merits away from the politics of the moment,” she said.
The “facts” are this treaty has been around for about three decades, and it is still languishing in the Senate. That suggests only enemies of liberty remain interested in getting it passed.
But there are more “international” threats to American sovereignty looming out there, giving credence to a phrase attributed to Thomas Jefferson that “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
At the moment, our State Department is negotiating with UN-member states over an agreement known as the Arms Trade Treaty, or ATT, an agreement that would likely expose records of American gun owners to foreign governments and, say critics, put the Second Amendment on trial (surprisingly, one of the main players in these “negotiations” is Iran, which has been accused of heaping weapons on Syria’s rebel opposition and feeding the civil war there).
According to reports, ATT supporters say the aim of the treaty is to reign in unregulated guns that killed an estimated 1,500 people daily. But before you nod approvingly at the utopian intent of this effort, think about the free-fire zone that is Chicago – and recall that is a city with some of the toughest gun laws in the country.
George W. Bush, as president, opposed a 2006 UN General Assembly resolution launching the treaty process; President Obama decided the U.S. would participate but only if the agreement was reached by consensus, giving any of the 193 member states an effective veto.
Assault on your liberties will continue
While that may seem like a sure-fire way to ensure the treaty never passes, it is not as strong as Bush’s non-participation because it still opens the door to future passage, say critics.
Most Americans – and, thankfully, most U.S. senators – are rightfully wary.
American citizens “don’t want the UN to be acting as a global nanny with a global permission slip stating whether they can own a gun or not,” says National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre.
“It cheapens our rights as American citizens, and weakens our sovereignty,” he told Fox News.
That message seems to be resonating in Washington. In an election year especially, few want to be seen as being on the wrong side of such a hot-button constitutional issue.
“Democratic senators who face close re-election bids in conservative states are reluctant to go on the record supporting such a treaty, which gun rights activists say is an attempt by the Obama administration to bypass Congress to implement highly unpopular gun control measures,” said a report in Examiner.com.
“58 senators, including 13 Democrats, have signed a letter stating they are opposed to the small arms treaty,” the report said.
As it should be. But like the LOST treaty, don’t expect this additional assault on your liberties to just fade away.
This article was posted: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 2:32 am