Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Law of the Sea Treaty Dead Again

We’ve spoken before about Big Business not being conservative. Here’s more proof, along with some very good news. The Law of the Sea Treaty is dead. Good for America.
Why This Is A Dangerous Treaty
I first became aware of the Law of the Sea Treaty when it was conceived during the Reagan years in 1982, and it seemed like a horrible idea at the time. The idea was that the world’s oceans contain a vast amount of mineral wealth, but because only the rich world has the resources to exploit it, a treaty should be passed to divide this wealth equally among all countries.

The way the treaty works is it divides the ocean floor into zones. Internal waters (like a bay) and up to 12 miles from shore are considered territorial water and are treated as if they are dry land. A country’s sovereignty is complete within that zone (the old zone was three miles). The next 12 miles are considered a continuous zone. Within that zone, countries may impose laws related to customs, taxation, immigration and pollution, but cannot stop navigation. The next 200 miles are considered an exclusive economic zone. Here the state has some rights, but foreign countries may lay pipe or cable and navigate freely. Beyond that are international waters.

This may sound harmless, but that’s not all the treaty does. The treaty includes 320 articles and is over 200 pages long. It establishes a complex regulatory regime that applies to almost every commercial and government activity related to the oceans. This includes the regulation of shipping, the regulation of drug interdiction, and even the regulation of manufacturing conducted in coastal waterways. Moreover, it gives the U.N. unprecedented taxing and permitting authority over international waters. Essentially, this is a U.N. takeover of oceans.

Through these regulatory schemes, the U.N. could impose things like the Kyoto Protocol (on global warming) through the back door, could forced U.S. citizens to pay energy taxes to other nations, and the U.N. could claim the power to regulate U.S. military actions.

Ronald Reagan refused to sign this treaty for similar reasons. The extension of the territorial limit from 3 miles to 12 miles meant U.S. submarines and intelligence ships could be put in danger. He felt the regulatory scheme would stop undersea mining as permits to mine require an application fee of $250,000 ($500,000 at the time), plus the corporation must pay an annual fee of $1 millions to the U.N.’s International Seabed Authority, plus they would need to pay up to 7% of profits, plus they would need to share mining and navigational technology. Moreover, the decision on whether or not to grant such a license would belong to the Seabed Authority, which is controlled by Third World countries. This would give them veto power over all such activities. Reagan believed this was set up to discourage deep sea mining to protect the mining industries on land, which tend to operate in Third World countries. He also objected that the mandatory dispute resolution procedures bound Americans to the decisions of foreign judges and harmed American sovereignty.

Clinton tried to pass this treaty and essentially failed, as did Bush II and Obama. John Kerry has been pushing this in the Senate.
Why It’s Dead
Since two-thirds of the Senate must support a treaty before it can become law, it only takes 24 Senators to stop a treaty. Thirty-four Republicans have now come out in opposition to the Law of the Sea Treaty, which means it’s effectively dead. The charge was led by Tea Party conservative Jim DeMint, who was joined by GOP liberal Rob Portman of Ohio, conservative Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, cow-tipper Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, and 29 other Republicans. John “my friends” McCain was on the wrong side, as always. Since the treaty cannot get the two-thirds vote it needs, it’s dead, Jim. . . for now.
Who Supports It And Why
Naturally, only Democrats (and McCain) supported this thing, right? Actually, no. The American Petroleum Institute and the US Chamber of Commerce both supported it. API is Big Oil’s lobbying arm and the Chamber of Commerce is Big Business’s lobbying arm. How could they possibly support this, you ask? Doesn’t the loss of sovereignty, the risk to the US Military, the imposition of international taxes mean anything them?

Well. . . no. Their only concern is profit. And by getting all these minerals safely regulated by an international tribunal, they can then go about making money by extracting them. What about the taxes and fees? Well, that’s really your problem, not theirs, because corporations don’t pay taxes. . . their customers pay taxes.

If you ever needed a more clear example of how little the United States of America and you mean to these companies, this is it. They will happily sell you and your rights to a United Nations tribunal dominated by corrupt Third-World governments just so they can make sure they get the monopoly rights on these minerals. Think about that the next time some oil company or some mineral company or any other multinational company comes to you and says they need some law to help them.

These people are not our friends.


P.S. Don't forget, it's Star Trek Tuesday at the film site.


99 comments:

ellenB said...

Andrew, Thanks for the excellent explanation of this treaty! I've heard several people talk about it, but no one really explained the problems are. This sounds like a treaty aimed directly at us!

ellenB said...

Also, I've never trusted the Fortune 500. My whole life they've been pushing ideas that would help their bottom line but hurt our country. I wish more Republicans would recognize that.

AndrewPrice said...

You're welcome Ellen. I've been following this since the 1980s and it was bad then and it's bad now. The only difference is that people like the Chamber of Commerce switched sides because they decided they could make more money by selling out our country. I am particularly galled by the idea that the United States Navy could be regulated by a UN Panel! Or that submarines could be required to surface if they pass near certain straits. I think that's obscene.

DUQ said...

Well done as always Andrew. There is a lot of good information in this, like the fact that business would support a organization with the ability to tax them. That's the kind of information which should forever end the idea that businesses care about taxes. They just pass those on to consumers.

AndrewPrice said...

Ellen, On your second point, I'm not sure when it happened, but Big Business lost its loyalty some time ago. These days they stand against national sovereignty every chance they get -- open borders, international taxation, international regulation, united currencies, etc. Their goal is to make it cheap and easy for themselves to deal with every country and they don't care at all how this affects local conditions.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, Thanks! This was worth celebrating. I've been tracking this thing since the 1980s and it keeps coming back year after year. Clinton wanted it (and got part of it for a few years until it expired). Bush Jr. wanted it. Obama wants it. The only people standing against it are people like Jim DeMint who think being America means something more than handing monopolies to large, well-connected companies.

ellenB said...

Reagan was a smart man. We need more like him. I would happily have supported Jim DeMint as president too. :D

AndrewPrice said...

Ellen, Reagan was great. He was easily my favorite President. And DeMint would have been an interesting choice. I definitely could have supported him.

Doc Whoa said...

Can you explain in great detail how this would have allowed them to regulate our navy? I don't think I've seen that explained anywhere, though I've seen it mentioned.

AndrewPrice said...

Sure Doc. Two ways actually. First, a huge percentage of the navigable waterways fall within the exclusion zones mentioned. This means that submarines and spy vessels which travel within those lanes would be subject to local regulation. The last I knew, the navy still used the old 3 mile zone, though I haven't checked to see if there have been any changes.

Secondly, the UN Seabed Authority would have the power to impose things like environmental regulations and regulate usage of international waters. Thus, they could, for example, pass regulations banning things American ships use in their defensive systems on the grounds that they are polluters.

Since these rules would have the force and effect of law, the Navy would be required to follow those rules.

Does that answer your question?

DUQ said...

You know, I find it fascinating that our businesses would be on the side of UN regulation dominated by Third World countries. I can't say I'm surprised, but I would hope that people start to understand how this works.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I'm glad to see that my hopes about the Republican opposition to LOST have played out. When I wrote my article about LOST back on May 15, the rebellion against the treaty was still in its infancy. I think a special thanks is owed to Sen. Jim DeMint for his early direct confrontation with Obama and the entire administration. The treaty would have been a complete disaster. Now all we have to worry about is Emperor Obama attempting to implement terms of the treaty by executive order, once again circumventing the Senate and ignoring the Constitution. As it stands, it means we don't have to pay royalties to the authorities in the UN's Jamaican redistribution center or ask the permission of UN authorities to take naval action against an attacking enemy. I couldn't be happier.

I'm including the link to that article for those who may not have been following the ins and outs of the debate: LOST.

Ed said...

Andrew, I saw the link at Drudge, but didn't know this was such a big deal. Thanks! This is why I come here, because you always cover the things we need to know. That should be your slogan, like Action News Commentarama. ;)

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, You would be amazed how often Big Business sides with the world over the US or sides with socialists. The Business Roundtable has been a tireless advocate for socialized medicine for decades because they want to unload their healthcare costs onto taxpayers.

LawHawkRFD said...

Doc Whoa: Andrew has it right on. I would add the following from my May 15 article: "The treaty also includes UN control of all naval activities on the high seas. Though the treaty does not specifically say so, that would easily mean that the US Navy would not be free even to defend its own ships and crews from attack without the permission of the UN. In other words, in order to take any action on the high seas, our navy would need the permission of Russia and China. Of course they would need ours were the situation reversed, but that’s very small comfort. And we know from painful experience that the UN could simply create a “High Seas Commission” which would then regulate and control all naval activities without further action by the General Assembly or Security Council. The Commission would likely be populated with nations such as Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and a few other peace-loving democracies."

AndrewPrice said...

Hawk, This has been going on for decades and will continue for decades. Like I said, the first time I heard about this was in 1982 and it's been debated ever since.

I don't really see any way Obama could impose any of this by executive order because it's not really that kind of law. He might be able to do some minor things around the edges, but he can't subject Americans or American companies to these tribunals or impose their regulatory scheme. So I wouldn't worry about that.

The bigger worry is that this thing never dies.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I saw at Drudge today too, but it wasn't exactly an enticing headline: Sea Treaty Dead. Yawn.

This stuff is kind of esoteric, but it's in the esoteric laws where seriously bad changes can be made to our countries. Those are the ones people need to pay attention to.

Action News? No way, then we'd need to do weather reports and put up a casualty counter for any passing storm. Bah.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I agree with your worry about this damned thing never dying. But the question remains as to whether the treaty would be self-actuating, thereby avoiding Congress and superseding the Constitution. If we're lucky, we'll never get to that point. You're right, this thing is like Dracula. It keeps rising from a watery grave.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I'm not sure that's correct. For one thing, the Security Counsel could always impose a veto. But I'm not sure this treaty gives the power to regulate combat. I'd have to look, but I don't recall that ever being mentioned. The real threat is in the exclusion zone where countries could demand subs surface or in things like environmental regulations which could influence the types of things ships could do. But I'm not aware of anything that allows the UN to dictate the terms of combat.

Do you have a link?

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I think it's not self-actuating because Clinton already tried to get it through and only managed to get a few parts for a few years. And it hasn't kicked in yet and it's had since 1982. I think the bigger danger is that you get a bad Senate and a willing Congress and then it gets through. And since people like the Chamber of Congress own both sides, that's always a high possibility.

AndrewPrice said...

By the way, here are the 34:

Sens. Inhofe, Jon Kyl, Roy Blunt, Pat Roberts, David Vitter, Ron Johnson, John Cornyn, Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, John Boozman, Rand Paul, Jim Risch, Mike Lee, Jeff Sessions, Mike Crapo Orrin Hatch, John Barrasso, Richard Shelby, Dean Heller, John Thune, Richard Burr, Saxby Chambliss, Dan Coats, John Hoeven, Roger Wicker, Jerry Moran, Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, Mike Johanns, Rob Portman, Kelly Ayotte.

By and large, that's a pretty good group. Of course, some of the usual suspects -- Graham, McCain, Snowe, Collins are all missing.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I'd have to go back to my original research for links, but I am largely talking about the UN's overreach. The treaty doesn't specifically mention such control (as I mentioned in the quote). Such a specific provision in the proposed treaty would have made the fight against it much easier, so it was avoided at all costs. The internationalists and one-worlders don't accept American concepts such as ex post facto laws or the prohibition against bills of attainder.

It's the history of the UN simply interpreting treaties the way it chooses that leads me to that possible result. The US tends to defer to UN decisions while other members ignore them. That brings me back to whether the treaty would be self-actuating or not. If it is, then the UN would essentially be free to impose naval standards without consulting America and we would be bound by their decision. Fortunately, we have once again dodged the bullet that would lead to that Constitutional and/or international confrontation--for now.

Individualist said...

Andrew

I completely agree with you regarding Big Business. The idea that they are "Republican" becuase the have "money" is such nonsense.

The GOP is the middle class or the "bourgeoisie" for our friends at Berkely that would have a problem relating to that term. The corporations gain security from competitive threats through these regulations. The downside is that innovation and the overall performance of the economy suffer in comparison.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I can't rule out the possibility they could try something like that, but I don't see it in the Treaty at the moment and I haven't really seen that discussed anymore. Heritage Foundation has followed this pretty closely for decades and their biggest issues seem to be the pollution and related laws interfering with operations.

If you find something like that, let us know however.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I'm in agreement with you about 99 44/100% of the way. I think we're just nibbling at the edges. To be self-actuating, the treaty would actually have to be confirmed in toto by the Senate. That hasn't happened, and I pray it never will. On the other hand, I think that Barack Obama uses executive orders in a way that would make Bill Clinton blush.

But you bring up a very good point. If they can't slip it past the Senate as is, they'll try to do so in small packages. The Senate never approved Kyoto, but isn't it amazing how many of its provisions Congress and its foolish supporters in the private sector have brought in piecemeal?

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, It drives me nuts that Big Business is considered "Republican" when so many of their ideas are clearly further left than even the Democratic Party. They have been lobbying, for example, for socialized medicine for decades. They are almost always pro-regulation unless the regulation would actually help investors or consumers.

I wish the Republicans would wake up on this. Too often I heard conservatives jump to the defense of Big Business no matter what the issue is, and they end up promoting things which run directly counter to what conservatism stands for.

And I agree, they benefit from the monopoly power given to them by the government regulations, but it's at the expense of innovation and overall performance, which means consumers get hurt.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That's the way the Democrats work -- by hook or by crook or by camel's nose. And too many Republicans don't grasp that.

ScyFyterry said...

I too find it frustrating that people equate big business with conservatism. They've never advcated conservatism. Small business does, but not big business.

This treaty sounds like a real monster and I'm glad it's dead, though it sounds like you can't kill this thing. Isn't there a way to permanently kill these things dead? Maybe a Treaty Roach Motel?

Chicken of the Sea Treaty said...

You can vote against me any time you like, but I can never die!

Jessica Simpson said...

Buffalos with wings, chickens of the sea....I guess I just don't understand the environment stuff.

T-Rav said...

Romney/DeMint 2012, I say! Or Romney/Zombie Reagan 2012! (Actually, make that Zombie Reagan/Romney 2012...)

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, It is frustrating and too many in the leadership don't realize this frustrates us, so they continue to assume the rest of us want them doing the bidding of big business. I certainly don't and none of the conservatives I know do. Small business is the friend of conservatism, but not big business.

In terms of killing it forever, the answer is no. Since this treaty doesn't expire without approval, it will always sit out there. I would suppose an actual no vote would be different, but a clever president wouldn't need do to much to get around that and resubmit it.

And I'm not sure it would work to slip something into the law which invalidates the treaty in advance?

I fear we just need to keep going year by year with this thing.

AndrewPrice said...

Hmmm.... undead tuna.

AndrewPrice said...

Where the heck does Jessica Simpson fit into this? (And no, that's not a fat joke.)

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Zombie Reagan/Romney 2012 would have my vote in a brainbeat. :)

ScyFyterry said...

T-Rav, I'm all for Zombie Reagan! :D

ScyFyterry said...

Andrew, You seemed to have something in mind when you talked about environment regulations and chemicals?

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, Who wouldn't be for Zombie Reagan?!

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, In terms of chemicals and things, a good example would be depleted uranium. That gets used in armor and armor piercing shells and environmentalists have decried its use because they think the uranium part means it's still radioactive. Similarly, they've opposed phosphorous, which gets used in flairs and certain explosives on the basis it's bad for the environment. So a ban on either item in ocean going vessels would cause our navy problems.

I supposed they could find similar reasons to attack nuclear power or jet fuel if they wanted. The problem is that their rules don't need to make sense, they just need to be legal.

ScyFyterry said...

Ok, now I get it! I see the problem.

AndrewPrice said...

Glad I could help!

obiwan2009 said...

Andrew, regarding Uranium, there are far more intensely radioactive materials than any given isotope of Uranium (not undergoing fission in a bomb or reactor), a common example is Cobalt-60.

Frankly, do not ban Uranium, especially considering all the fuel that aircraft carriers and submarines save us by running on nuclear, think of how much they would consume if they ran on diesel engines instead. A nightmare if you ask me.

Jen said...

Boy, I am really out of the loop, because I never heard of this at all (blame my blue city upbringing). This also gives me one more reason to dislike Big Farms as well--especially when it comes to regulations for example. It affects me greatly, and I don't like it at all.

AndrewPrice said...

obiwan, You know that and I know that, but environmentalists (who also happen to be anti-US military) either don't know that or don't care. They have accused depleted uranium shells of being responsible for everything from Gulf War Syndrome to millions of cases of cancer. There's just no evidence to support any of it.

And the point to banning it wouldn't be to help us, it would be to hurt the US Navy by taking away the tools they need to do their jobs. That's the danger, that the UN would try to control the US in that manner.

AndrewPrice said...

Jen, Farms are becoming some of the most heavily regulated industries in America, only Big Farms get a pass through self-certification programs. That's another instance where regulation is not meant to help consumers, it's meant to protect large companies who fund political campaigns.

This treaty is similar. The point here wouldn't be to help consumers or America or the materials markets, it would be to allow an easy route to create monopolies.

T-Rav said...

I read something once (on a website, so, you know) saying that actually, if you held in your hand a lump of plutonium wrapped in a sheet of paper, the paper alone would probably be sufficient to absorb all the radiation it gave off. I have no idea if that's true, before any nuclear physicists jump on me, and I'm certainly not about to test it out. But it's just something I read.

And obiwan, I think I've heard before that as far as radioactive materials go, Cobalt-60 is something you don't @#$% around with.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I have no idea if that's true or not, but they use it in so many things that I can't imagine it's all that radioactive or we would all be glowing. And if you read it on a website, then it must be true! ;)

What's even worse than Cobalt 60 is Colt 45.

ellenB said...

T-Rav, If you put plutonium into the microwave, it will spark and blow up your house. :D

ellenB said...

Jen, I'd never heard of it either until Andrew mentioned it.

Jen said...

Andrew, My co-op is very large, and I don't think it would be a stretch to say they are in bed with the gov't. They have their own monopoly issue to deal with.

After I read your response to me, I wanted to read my member update news that comes with my check. They have a farm bill update, and only lists the Senators that voted in opposition to the bill, and it contains most, if not all (haven't done a comparison yet, but 35 in total) of the names you listed here.

AndrewPrice said...

Ellen, That's true about it blowing up your house. It happened to a friend of a friend. ;)

AndrewPrice said...

Jen, It wouldn't surprise me in the least. Farm bills, unfortunately, are truly bipartisan corruption. Both sides love to give money and protection to farmers, even conservatives.

It wouldn't surprise me either if your coop is in bed with the government. Farming is highly regulated and the best way to work with regulations is to get in bed with the regulators.

Jen said...

Ellen, that's what we have Andrew for.

AndrewPrice said...

Jen and Ellen, :)

Jen said...

Andrew, I don't feel they give me protection, they just get in my way, and don't let me do my job.

AndrewPrice said...

Jen, That could well be, but if you were a maker of say a wind turbine which can't compete with other forms of energy production and you could get your legislature to require every power plant to use at least one of your turbines, then you would quickly see the benefit of sleeping with regulators.

Jen said...

Andrew, I understand that idea, but if your product sucks, and nobody wants it, why force it on everyone? My feeling is, if you can't compete, get out of the race. I could apply that theory to myself, but in all actuality, I can compete, I'm just at a disadvantage because of the size of my operation. This doesn't mean I don't try though.

I can't help but think that ego is behind a lot of the people who sleep with the regulators just to get their way. They can't stand to lose.

AndrewPrice said...

Jen, The problem is that you're thinking like an average person. If you can't compete, you try something else. When people have invested millions of dollars and the product turns out to be a dud, but they see a chance to still make profit by forcing people to buy their crappy product rather than losing their investment, they will turn to the government to make that happen.

And companies like GE and Goldman Sachs have been doing it so long that they don't even see this as abnormal. To the contrary, they count on being able to use their government contacts for all sorts of favors. And they don't really care about the negative consequences on everyone else... they just know they found a great way to make money.

Jen said...

Andrew, so tell me, is my thinking good or bad? Sometimes I can't tell the difference, and it frustrates me. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, and I guess that's what happens when you take a gamble involving lots of money.

This kind of reminds me of MadTV's skit on "Spishak" products. They sucked, and the consumer said so in the taste tests/trial reviews, but that didn't stop the company from continuing to make it's crappy products.

I'm David vs. Goliath.

We once had a neighbor across the road who had no business milking cows, and for some reason, he always thought he was above the law in his practices. He was always on warning from the inspector, and she threatened to shut him down on numerous occasions. It got so bad, that the milk hauler was instructed from the co-op to not pick up his milk. The guy threw a fit because of it. We moved out of the area a couple of years later, so I don't know what happened.

AndrewPrice said...

Jen, I can't answer you if you're right or wrong. In a perfect world, you'd be right. But we don't live in a perfect world so why not take advantage of our corrupt and crappy government?

Jen said...

Andrew, I know what you're getting at ;) I still hold back though.

If you can believe it, I got this in a fortune cookie years ago: "Your principles mean more to you than any money or success".

It was so totally me, that I put clear tape on it, attached a magnet, and it is now on my refrigerator.

Jen said...

I have another angle on the issue of legalization of raw milk, which has become a hot topic in my state, but, I'm not gonna go there.

I'd be interested in others weighing in.

AndrewPrice said...

Jen, I think the last fortune cookie I had said something like don't vote for Hope and Change.

AndrewPrice said...

I understand raw milk has become a topic in several states.

Jen said...

Andrew, You should really pay attention to what those fortune cookies say. The one you had was a good one too. Lots of wisdom in them.

Jen said...

Andrew, I don't know what other states have this issue as a topic right now. I'm going to include something from the newsletter I got from the state board of animal health: "Die-hard consumers would like to buy it. Some farmers see it as another source of income, while others view it as a threat to their industry; and government agencies are most interested in protecting public health.

T-Rav said...

Jen, when you say raw milk, are you talking milk that hasn't been pasteurized or anything? Because no way in heck I'm drinking that.

T-Rav said...

You know what they should totally legalize, come to think of it? Milk with plutonium in it. That'd be awesome.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks for the informative LOST post, Andrew.
Both you and LawHawk (in his May post) cover this attempted, UN bureaucratic takeover of our sovereignity to keep the sea lanes open and free (among many other things) quite well.

If this were to ever pass it would give the UN an EU type of power (central control), and every evil third world, totalitarian govt. power to steal our stuff, and gather intelligence of our Navy as well as disrupt our operations.

It would also give these rat bastards, conceivably, jurisdiction over our Navy's actions in and international court, or at least that's my understanding.

For example, when our Navy shot down the Iranian commercial jet that was decreasing altitude and heading towards our ships, wasn't squaking IFF and wasn't communicating or responding to our warnings, under the LOST treaty it would be a distinct possibility that the UN could bring up charges against those sailors in an intl. court (even though they were not at fault).

The LOST treaty would wreak havoc on our Navy and commercial operations.
The big businesses and COC that support this power grab (and outright thievery and taxation without representation) don't realize this treaty would hurt their bottom line in the long run.

A pox on these unpatriotic businesses and organizations!

BTW, not all big businesses are for this or for more regulations. I don't believe Walmart is.
It would be interesting to see a list of the businesses that do support this piece of sh*t.
I know the anti-American GE is.

IRT farmers, sadly, republicans who are against the idiotic regs and big farm welfare have an almost impossible task explaining why it's bad to continue those practices.

Regardless, we need more conservatives speaking out against corporate welfare in a clear and concise manner, and in a way that explains why this is bad for consumers and honest businesses.

"What's even worse than Cobalt 60 is Colt 45."

I concur, LOL! However, I strongly recommend the Colt .45 (without Colt 45)! Great weapon!

Jen said...

T-Rav, Yes, I mean unpasteurized milk. It has come up again in my state, and there are people who insist that it's healthier. I don't drink mine raw--I know too much of what can happen even in the most careful situations. I'm going to be honest--I STRIVE to get quality, but I'm still cautious. I work very hard to achieve this, and get quality premiums because of it, but, I'm starting to think that if these people are stupid enough to drink it when they know the risks, then let them. I'm not going to be liable for their stupidity.

USArtguy said...

Hi Andrew, thanks for bringing others up to speed with this article and explanation. I knew about several of the things you mentioned. I did not know this thing will never really go away. I don't know the workings of treaties other than even if a president signs one, the Senate still must approve by 2/3 before the US can be obligated to follow it. I did not know treaties had or didn't have expiration dates.

So I have two questions:

why can't we kill it, at least for the US, by some legislation or other legal proclamation saying the US will 'never' be a part of this particular treaty in its current or any future form? (Even the SCOTUS reverses itself on occasion. Probably easier said than done considering it should have been 100 senators opposed, but still…)?

and

Even though it has failed to pass muster in the US, it has still been signed and ratified by 161 other nations. Does that affect the US in any way?

AndrewPrice said...

Jen and T-Rav, I have no dog in the raw milk fight, but I would certainly support legalization of plutonium milk. ;)

T-Rav said...

Jen, this is why I can't stand the whole "natural foods" craze. For one thing, about 75% of them are probably ripoffs, and for another, the hard-core fans just do not know when to stop. That's why they support things like unpasteurized milk and eating all their meat and vegetables raw; "It's that way in nature, so it has to be all right!" Well, no, that's not the way it works.

As for legalization of this kind of milk, I would say I'm against it, mainly because of all the idiots who won't pay attention, assume this is a good thing, and then make themselves really sick.

Future 12-Fingered T-Rav said...

Don't do it! You have no idea what will happen! The consequences will be disast

T-Rav's Future Kittens said...

*meow* Seems your future self changed his tune about us once we started shooting laser bolts from our eyes *meow*

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I'm not aware of anything in THIS treaty which would allow sailors to be hauled before international tribunals for war-time actions. There is a binding mandatory dispute provision which would allow civil type disputes to be settled by international judges, but nothing that would allow the UN to haul soldier in for war crimes.

That said, what you're talking about is a serious concern under other treaties we've refused to join. And there have been attempts in several European countries to simply claim the right to try anyone for a war crime.

True that not all big businesses are disloyal and WalMart is the perfect example of a company that acts consistently with pro-American values. But few multinationals fall into that category. Most are simply concerned with maximizing profit and they don't care how it gets done or what happens to our rights as Americans.

On the Republicans, unfortunately, too many buy into the idea that these regulatory schemes are good things, or they accept them cynically as ways to buy votes. And even those who don't accept this often, as you note, have a hard time explaining why the regulations are bad. That's something that needs to be fixed really.

AndrewPrice said...

USArtguy, You're welcome! :)

Treaties are often written to expire -- "if X is not ratified by all parties within Y years, this treaty shall be void." That prevents countries from gaming the system by letting everyone else sign up and then pretending they aren't part of it when it suits them. But LOST isn't that type of treaty. LOST has taken effect and will continue whether everybody signs it or not.

That brings me to your second question -- can it still apply? This is an area of real dispute. The left says there is a body of international law, which is premised on "customary" behavior. So if most countries follow a particular rule, such that the rule becomes a widely recognized custom, then that rule becomes the law and everyone is bound. The right says, bull, we are only bound if we sign up to a rule.

American courts certainly follow the right on this and would not impose rules based on an unratified treaty. But that doesn't mean we won't face problems as other countries seek to retaliate when we violate the rules they think bind us. Due to our strength and importance, we've historically gotten away with ignoring the idea of customary laws. But the more countries who subscribe to something and the longer it is considered customary, the harder it becomes even for us to ignore it.

On why we can't kill it, the answer is that one Congress cannot bind a future Congress. So even though we could pass a law saying this will never be allowed, the next Congress can override that just by passing the treaty.

I'm not sure there is any will to permanently kill it in the US.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

The only reason I would be against raw milk is when these idiot adults give it to their kids.
It can kill children or anyone with a low immune system such as the elderly and those with cancer, etc..

The same thing happens with raw "organic" veggies.
Listeria, e-coli, salmonella, just to name the more common diseases.

If adults wanna take the chance than I think it should be legal for them but children usually don't get a choice, much less know the dangers.

OTOH, I don't think we'll ever get 100%, foolproof, uncooked food that is safe.
Relatively speaking, the US food supply is among the safest in the world and is always getting safer.

Also, too much regulation will continually increase the price of food for consumers.

Education is the cheapesat way to prevent illnesses. Cook your damn burger and veggies. Why some people insist on rare burgers is beyond me. And insisting that burgers are 100% free of contaminents is a pipe dream (unless folks wanna pay 5 times the cost or more. IMO, it's doubtful a rancher or farmer would stay in business long if they charged more than most folkls are willing to pay. There may be a small niche for guaranteed safe, raw foods though. If someone is willing to take the risk of nothing slipping through).

As for raw veggies such as lettuce, I prefer buying from farmers that use chemicals rather than manure.

You can wash veggies but you can't always be sure all the diseases from manure is off the veggies (particularly veggies that contact the ground a lot).

AndrewPrice said...

"Future 12-Fingered T-Rav"... that's brilliant! Bravo!!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I have no cow in this fight as I really don't care if people are stupid enough to poison themselves. But I agree with you that people always push these things too far. There seems to be a tendency to take any issue and run it so far out into insanity land that a backlash will always develop.

I find the vaccine people particularly frustrating on this point. Arg.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I agree 100%. The real question is who will get hurt and the answer seems to be that idiots are likely to kill their kids. Is that enough to ban it? Probably not in my book.

The real solution is education. Although, people in these fringes have shown that they are immune to contrary facts or logic. Still, I am a firm believer that with rare exceptions, the job of the government should be the dissemination of accurate information rather than banning unsafe products.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Ben, I'm not aware of anything in THIS treaty which would allow sailors to be hauled before international tribunals for war-time actions."

Oh, I agree, Andrew. However, the example I gave happened when we were not at war with Iran (Iraq was but we weren't).

Another example could be when we fired on that small Indian vessel yesterday.
It appears they weren't terrorists, but, they did ignore all the warnings.

Under LOST would they be required to heed US Navy warnings in intl. waters where they can claim they have a right to be even within 1,000 yds of a Navy vessel?

Those may be gray areas some countries would take advantage of (Iran isn't above sacrificing civilians to make us look bad, although I'm not saying this is what happened in this case).

Or am I wrong?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"I don't have a cow in this fight..." LOL! Good one, Andrew!

I concur with you and do have a beef with the anti-immunization folks because it endangers other people.
Their ignorance and paranoia can kill people.

We shouldn't hafta be dealing with whooping cough and other diseases again.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, LOST doesn't have any provision of which I'm aware which allows the UN to take anyone to an international CRIMINAL tribunal.

It does have a mandatory dispute resolution provision which is where you could sue for damages, but that would not include criminal charges to my knowledge. It's possible I've simply missed it, but I haven't seen it and no one's really mentioned that as a problem with THIS treaty.

I am also not aware of any part of LOST which deals with the issue of the use of force or self-defense in a military context. And if it doesn't regulate that, then those things cannot form the basis of a dispute under the treaty.

In other words, I'm not aware of any part of the treaty which says how close two ships can get. Thus, if we sank an Indian boat, they couldn't sue us under LOST.

To my knowledge, LOST really is just about the division of wealth, not an attempt to criminalize military action.

But again, there are other treaties which threaten to handicap our military in numerous ways (like banning landmines) and which try to expose US troops to criminal sanction in international courts.


Where LOST really becomes a problem for us is the 24 mile territorial waters compared to the 3 the US recognizes. That would allow countries to force subs to surface, where they could be tracked, and warships to disarm as they pass through. But in international waters, the controls would be indirect.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, My thoughts exactly. If you want be stupid and kill yourself, have at it, the world is better off. BUT when your weapon of choice becomes something that could unleash a plague on the rest of us, that's where we need to draw the line.

The risk of harm to the individual from a vaccines is infinitesimally small, but the risk to society of letting people bring these diseases back is huge. They need to be vaccinated.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks for clarifying my misunderstanding Andrew.
I'm glad that isn't true of LOST, but even gladder LOST got shot down. :^)

On not taking immunizations, that's one area where the fringe left and fringe right overlap.
Lunatics like Jenny McCarthy sure are doing a lot of damage in that regard by spreading lies about immunizations.

One would think that she (and other celebrities that believe the anti-vaccination BS) would feel at least a little bit guilty about all the preventable deaths resulting in her misinformation campaign, but I guess not.

Jen said...

Ben, I've tried to educate people when they insist that raw milk is better. It happens a lot, and I point out all the diseases they can pick up from it which you mentioned, and it also includes Tuberculosis.

rlaWTX said...

Jen: "I'm not going to be liable for their stupidity." The problem is, even if it is legal to be stupid, the stupid people still sue for being allowed to be stupid. Then you might be liable after all...

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, No problem. And remember, just because this isn't a problem within LOST itself doesn't mean it's not a problem. They are trying to make that the law in a half dozen other ways.

Yeah, the immunization thing seems to be a fringe left and fringe right phenomenon. And I don't think guilt ever enters into it for these people.

AndrewPrice said...

Jen, Education is wasted on those who will not hear.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, That's true. It's amazing how many times our legal system allows stupid people to sue others for their own stupidity. That really needs to be curtailed.

Jen said...

rlaWTX, In my state right now, there was passage of House Bill 1129, and the board of animal health is to conduct a study of the issues of farmers selling unpasteurized milk to consumers, and they have been developing a plan of action. If the lawmakers decide to change the law, they are asking us what parameters should be established in the interest of public health. They also listed raw milk laws in some states.

One of the questions in the survey asks if the sale of raw milk is legalized, would we sell it to consumers. There is another question that says if you answered "no" to selling, they want to know the reason. 'Liability issues' is on the list.

They are also asking for suggestions or thoughts on the legalization which includes labeling, licensing, packaging, etc.

If they legalize it, I don't have to sell it, therefore I won't be liable for their stupidity because I can just refuse.

Andrew, I understand that about education, but they ask me why I don't drink it raw, and that's when I tell them. I would like for the legal system to curtail the ability to sue for one's own stupidity as well.

AndrewPrice said...

Jen, It would be nice, but I doubt it will ever change. Our government is determined to save as many people from themselves as possible.

rlaWTX said...

Jen: "I would like for the legal system to curtail the ability to sue for one's own stupidity as well."

Ditto

Patti said...

dang it. since i couldn't stop looking at the pirate pic (and because my maturity hasn't come in yet), i read this entire entry with a pirate's accent.

ARGHHH!

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, That would make the article more interesting! LOL!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Jen:
We definitely need more businhess owners like you! :^)

I find it odd that businesses that sell unpasteurized milk fail to see that, in the long term it's in their best interest and their customer's best interest to ensure their product is as safe as possible.
It's a win/win situation.

It seems to me that businesses that do sell harmful or likely harmful products would eventually go out of business from all the lawsuits, so I don't understand why some persist in selling a product that has been proven to be unsafe.

Doesn't make good business sense.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, A lot of people never look at the long term. They see something they want in the here and now and they never think about what it could mean in the bigger picture.

Jen said...

Hi Ben, thanks! I think that if these people want to drink their milk raw, they should buy themselves a cow. I have friends who bought a few milk cows from me to have milk for themselves. They don't drink it raw either, and they are not even dairy farmers. I was talking to my friend today, and she had someone ask her for milk. She doesn't want to do that because she knows what can happen. She has enough sense on her own, and has gotten additional info from me, because of what I know.

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