Written on Monday, December 10, 2012 by Ralph Barker
It’s the Holiday Season again. Most of us will engage in the usual seasonal things like buying presents, going to parties, eating too much, joining Weight Watchers, and spending time with family. But, there’s something else that happens this time of year. The multitude of Holiday parties, special events, and travel tend to distract people. Our elected officials know this well and they often use this disengagement to their advantage.
The Holiday Season is an opportune time to sneak unpopular bills through Congress, for the President to make some quiet appointments or sign some spooky executive orders. It can also be a time to ratify unpopular treaties. This is why we should not ignore Capitol Hill even as we enjoy the Holiday Season. So celebrate as you will but keep an eye on Washington.
One thing we should watch is the political aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The usual suspects are crying global warming (a la Al Gore and Mayor Bloomberg) and want legislation to help address the problem. This translates to tax the people to raise revenue, reduce freedoms, and increase governmental regulatory power while doing nothing to address the real problem. This is just SOP of Big Brother. But, this season of distraction may just provide a good time for Congress to sneak something through.
This year there is a possibility that a certain treaty will be submitted to the Senate for ratification. Article II, Section 2 of The U.S. Constitution requires that in order for a treaty to become the law of the land, two thirds of the Senate must concur. The President can make any treaty he desires, but the Senate has to agree in order for it to become law. So, watch the Senate closely.
This particular treaty, the Law of the Sea Treaty, aka LOST, has been languishing off the radar for many years. In fact it was in 1982 when LOST was first considered. As recently as this past summer this treaty was considered dead, but no more. It is now showing some signs of new life. It could be fully resurrected if some powerful people get their way.
There is currently a lot of pressure from the military establishment, business concerns, and various special interests groups to get this treaty ratified. In addition, there is a list of other powerful people who support ratification. Generally, conservatives believe the treaty would diminish our national sovereignty. So far 162 countries have signed on to the treaty, but not the United States. However, chances have improved that it will.
Barrack Obama will be the next President of the United States and he wants this treaty passed. There are already a number of Republican Senators, 13 at last count, who are willing to sign off on LOST. At this point though, most Republican Senators are still not in favor of the treaty.
According to the United States Justice Foundation, this treaty, if passed would:
*Mean the loss of control of our own natural resources off our coasts. It is another dilution of our sovereignty. It could also mean having to pay royalties to UN agencies.
*It would make the United States accountable to the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea that is located in Germany. This would mean that U.S. citizens could be brought before this body and charged with international crimes.
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton also believes the treaty is not in our best interests. He said that LOST would encourage SINO-American strife, constrain our Navy’s operations, and not address China’s large maritime territorial claims. Dan Blumenthal who is a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission also joined Ambassador Bolton in voicing similar concerns.
Some notables who are in favor of the treaty are John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. There is also a list of some former Republican Secretaries of State and military generals who support making the treaty the law of the land.
It is no surprise that there are strong forces on each side of this treaty debate. The question remains will it pass and if so, what will it mean for us? From my research it appears that under the treaty US businesses would have to pay some type of royalties to use maritime resources. We need to know who gets the money and where does it go? Are we going to be left holding the bag and the major portion of the expenses? And, most important, what do we get from it? Does the good outweigh the bad?
The other major concerns are how much power foreign courts would have and what impact environmental regulations would have on Americans. The devil, as usual, is in the details and we never seem to understand these until it is too late.
In my opinion, LOST is just another way to implement parts of Agenda 21. The result of passage of this treaty is a deceptive way to redistribute wealth from the US to poorer nations, and increase environmental regulations and control. We need to be vigilant and know ahead of time exactly what happens to us if it is passed.
At this point all we can do is to be aware of this treaty and keep our eyes on Washington during the Holidays. Be vigilant. Be alert. Whether it is a treaty, a law, appointments, or executive orders, we must keep pressure on our leaders to do the right thing. Let them know that Little Brother is watching!