There are a lot of folks who think that copyright terms are too long, locking up works long past the point when the people who created them can benefit from their sale. But when Congress passed the extension of copyright, it also wrote in the requirement that after 35 years, artists who gave up their copyrights to the companies they were signed with, often when they were in unfavorable negotiating positions, to get them back. And now a federal court has upheld that ability to reclaim copyrights, despite industry objections that producers should be given a share of rights or that individuals can’t reclaim their copyrights on works with multiple authors, which means that Victor Willis can get his copyright to some of the Village People’s most famous songs back. From Eriq Gardner at the Hollywood Reporter:
It’s a ticking time bomb for the music industry, and thus, the lawsuit by Scorpio and Can’t Stop to prevent Willis from making his own termination became one of the industry’s first and most important legal battles on this front.
In the case, the publishers made the argument that Willis’ copyright pullback should be deemed improper because the songs were created by several authors — not just Willis. They argued he couldn’t terminate a share; that he needed all of the co-authors on board.
On Monday, Judge Moskowitz rejected that assessment. “The Court concludes that a joint author who separately transfers his copyright interest may unilaterally terminate the grant,” writes the judge in the opinion.
The judge adds that the law doesn’t require a joint author to enter into a joint grant with one of his co-authors, nor does the statute provide that “where two or more joint authors enter into separate grants, a majority of those authors is needed to terminate any one of those grants.”
This is copyright working as it’s intended, to help non-corporation people benefit from the work they’ve created. I’d imagine the music industry will continue to fight this and do its best to hold on to as much copyright as possible. But I’ll be curious to see how the business model responds. Record companies are already confronting the fact that artists don’t have to rely on them for distribution. It’s not a good look to be the folks who are fighting artists’ attempts to profit off their own work, as if 35 years isn’t enough.
Republicans have made a show of their supposed job creation efforts over the past three years, decrying “job killing” regulations and taxes on “job creators.” They have a web site — 4jobs.gov — devoted to their job creation agenda and have even named legislation the JOBS Act. They have also slammed President Obama, saying that he fails to understand the type of environment the private sector needs to spark job growth.
Despite the GOP’s big talk, historical data shows that private sector job creation is better when a Democrat occupies the White House. Since President John F. Kennedy took office in 1961, in fact, nearly two-thirds of the 66 million private sector jobs added to the economy have come under Democratic presidents, Bloomberg reports:
The BGOV Barometer shows that since Democrat John F. Kennedy took office in January 1961, non-government payrolls in the U.S. swelled by almost 42 million jobs under Democrats, compared with 24 million for Republican presidents, according to Labor Department figures.
Democrats hold the edge though they occupied the Oval Office for 23 years since Kennedy?s inauguration, compared with 28 for the Republicans. Through April, Democratic presidents accounted for an average of 150,000 additional private-sector paychecks per month over that period, more than double the 71,000 average for Republicans.
After the economy added more than 20 million jobs under President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, it fared much worse under his successor, Republican George W. Bush, who added just 1 million jobs in eight years. Bush had the ?worst track record for job creation since the government began keeping records,? according to the Wall Street Journal. The private sector continued to shed jobs in the opening months of the Obama presidency, but as of April, those jobs have all returned.
Republicans, for all of their hatred of government, actually have a slightly better record than Democrats when it comes to creating public sector jobs. Under Obama, local, state, and federal governments have shed more than 600,000 jobs, making the Great Recession the first in modern history in which the public sector lost jobs. Had those jobs been maintained, the unemployment rate would be 7.1 percent, a full point lower than it is now.
On Tuesday, the Republican National Committee?s National Hispanic Outreach Director claimed that Mitt Romney?s ?still deciding what his position on immigration is,? kicking off a firestorm of criticism from reporters and bloggers wondering how the GOP’s presumptive nominee — a man who had been running for office for the last 18 years — had no defined view on immigration. The campaign walked back the remarks minutes later, linking to a page on the Romney campaign site touting his harsh immigration proposals.
But this episode is just the latest in a series of instances in which the candidate and his campaign have been unsure, uncertain, or unwilling to articulate a clear stance on an important policy issue for fear of offending a particular political demographic. It’s a careful dance that many politicians practice, but something in which Romney has engaged in with greater frequency than most:
– VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT: As Congress considers a re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, Romney has claimed that he wasn’t “familiar with” the measure, said that he “supports it” and “hopes it can be reauthorized without turning it into a political football.” Conveniently, he has not specified if he supports House Republicans in their quest to exclude LGBT people, immigrants, and Native Americans from protections.
– PAYCHECK FAIRNESS: Although Romney later promised to preserve the Lilly Ledbetter Paycheck Fairness Act, his campaign was initially unsure if Romney supported the measure, telling Huffington Post journalist Sam Stein, ?Sam, we?ll get back to you on that.? In a follow-up interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Romney refused to say if he would have signed the 2009 law.
– PAYROLL TAX HOLIDAY: In December of 2011, as the two chambers of Congress debated different versions of a bill to extend the payroll tax cut, Romney wouldn?t say if he sided with the House or Senate, dismissing the issue as an ?internal battle.? ?I?d like to see this payroll tax holiday extended,? Romney said, without saying for how long. He downplayed the debate as being ?deep in the weeds” and offered only platitudes about hoping that the House and Senate ?come together? to ?get the job done.? ?I?m not going to throw gasoline on what is already a fire,? he added.
– MISSISSIPPI PERSONHOOD: Romney repeatedly refused to take a position on Mississippi’s proposed personhood amendment, which voters overwhelmingly defeated in November. A campaign spokesperson told the New York Times, ?Mitt Romney is pro-life,? but pointedly “declined to answer questions on personhood specifically, or on his stance toward various forms of birth control.” Only after the measure failed did the campaign claim that Romney “believes these matters should be left up to states to decide.?
– AFGHANISTAN: Romney?s electoral strategy seems to be to pander to those Americans that want to get out of Afghanistan, while also aiming to please those who want to stay — all by washing his hands of the entire decision and leaving it up to U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan. ?I would listen to the generals,? Romney said on Newshour in November, ?then of course I would pursue that course.? As the New York Times recently observed, “Mr. Romney has said repeatedly that he wants to bring troops home as soon as possible, but with the significant caveat that such a drawdown takes place when ‘our generals think it?s O.K.’ or ‘as soon as that mission is complete.’”
We’ll update the list as the situation warrants.
Conservation Hawks: “We condemn the intellectually bankrupt and morally bereft Heartland Institute.”
It is the fifth day of the Heartland Institute’s online offensive comparing people who accept climate science with serial killers and mass murderers. The billboard is down, but the radical climate deniers of Heartland have explicitly refused to apologize for the ad. Worse, they’ve kept the more offensive hate speech on their website.
Unsurprisingly, corporate sponsors have started to flee, senior staff have left, partnerships have started to crumble, and all but the most extreme anti-science deniers have condemned Heartland. But as we’ll see, the origins of this smear go back many years for both Heartland and its long-time partner, Anthony Watts of the blog WattsUpWithThat.
First, Heartland has been quietly dropped from two significant coalitions with top environmental organizations, Climate Progress has learned. Under pressure from Forecast the Facts and Greenpeace, insurers who funded Heartland’s Washington DC vice president, Eli Lehrer, ceased their support and helped to convince Lehrer to leave the organization. With Lehrer’s departure, the Heartland Institute has been excised from the websites of two green coalitions:
The Smarter Safer Coalition, an effort to reform the National Flood Insurance Program by top insurers, environmental organizations including American Rivers, the Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, Ceres, and the Nature Conservancy, alongside conservative groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, American Conservative Union, and Americans for Tax Reform
The Green Scissors Campaign, an initiative to reduce anti-environmental government spending with Friends of the Earth and Taxpayers for Common Sense.
According to leaked documents, Lehrer brought about $700,000 a year into the Heartland Institute for his Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate, including the majority of Heartland’s corporate funding. The insurers who announced their departure from Heartland include the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, XL Group, Renaissance Re, Allied World Assurance, and State Farm Insurance.
Corporate sponsors of the Heartland Institute who have resisted calls to end their financial support include Microsoft, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Comcast, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Heartland’s seventh climate-denier conference will take place in Chicago in two weeks. To add your voice to the petition calling on corporations to end support for the Heartland Institute, click here.
I don’t know what is more amazing, truly, that the Heartland organization collectively ever thought this major messaging campaign was a good idea — or that they refuse to apologize or take down any of the absurd attacks on climate scientists and reporters from their website.
Every day, new groups condemn Heartland. Conservation Hawks, Inc., “a group of hunters and anglers working to defend America?s sporting heritage,” released a powerful statement condemning Heartland, which concluded:
If we accept the Heartland Institute?s premise, every single hunter or angler who believes our planet is warming is in league with a serial killer. In Heartland?s own words, ?the most prominent advocates of global warming aren?t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.?
This kind of warped, twisted rhetoric is an insult to every American who hopes to pass on a healthy natural world to future generations. When the Heartland Institute ran this ad, it not only took direct aim at our hunting and fishing, it also put our children and grandchildren squarely in the cross-hairs. This dishonest attack must not go unchallenged.
Conservation Hawks is working with America’s hunters and anglers to address the single gravest threat on the horizon – climate change. We condemn the intellectually bankrupt and morally bereft Heartland Institute.
It is worth noting that as beyond-the-pale as Heartland has become, the origins of their smear tactics go way back.
Eli Rabett notes in a post, “Billboards are just repeats of garbage on Heartland’s website“:
They’ve done this before:
The Inconvenient Truth About Al Gore
….I have difficulty taking Gore seriously on environmental issues ever since it was reported that Ted Kaczynski, the murderous ?Unabomber,? kept a heavily marked-up copy of Gore?s book, Earth in the Balance, in his tar-paper shack and liberally borrowed from it when writing his anti-humanity treatise. There?s even a Web site (http://www.crm114.com/algore/quiz.html) that offers a quiz to see if you can tell Gore?s words from Kaczynski?s. I bet you can?t.
Was that a cheap shot? Maybe….
The Unabomber also was absolutely sincere in his belief that technological progress was an evil that had to be stopped, with violence if necessary. Fortunately, Kaczynski didn?t have access to the incredible powers of the Presidency of the United States. Unfortunately, Al Gore still aspires to that post.
I’m glad people are taking it seriously, but don’t expect it not to happen again so long as this organization is given the time of day. There’s a lot at stake, so this repetition of history goes beyond a farce.
And then we have long-time Heartland partner Anthony Watts, who runs the most extreme anti-science, anti-scientist website in the blogosphere, WattsUpWithThat.
Watts has also been pushing precisely this kind of hate speech for a long time (see ?Purported eco-terrorist shot and killed by police?). When James J. Lee held people hostage with a gun and bombs strapped to his body at the Discovery Communications way back in 2010, this was Watts? offensive headline:
And the first line of Watts? post is ?Well, you filthy readers, see what happens when we don?t acquiesce?? Remember, Watts is a guy who demanded others ?dial back the rhetoric.?
And he stands by that headline and text to this day, just as Heartland stands by its hate speech.
Of course, this is standard operating procedure for Watts, who has, for instance, directly questioned the patriotism of both Rabett and Tamino (see ?Peak readership for anti-science blogs??) leading Tamino to write, ?This just might be the most loathsome thing Watts has yet done with his blog.?
Watts tried to link Bin Laden with the U.S. environmental movement back back in 2010, also (see here).
Watts also keeps reposting the disinformation of The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, even though TVMOB is the leading purveyor of outright hate speech among the disinformers (see Lord Monckton repeats and expands on his charge that those who embrace climate science are ?Hitler youth? and fascists). Since he reposted TVMOB twice last month alone, one can only assume he fully supports TVMOB?s methods. Indeed, after Prof. John Abraham eviscerated TVMOB in a must-see video, Watts reposted an effort by TVMOB to ?censor? Abraham, as Skeptical Science noted. Deltoid put it this way: ?Monckton, supported by Anthony Watts, is trying to suppress Abraham?s presentation. Over at Watts Up with That? Monckton defames Abraham and asks for help in suppressing Abraham?s speech.?
Perhaps this is why Watts minimized what Heartland has done in the Washington Post, which Forbes couldn’t help but skewer in a column titled, “Unabomber Fiasco Was Tame By Heartland Institute Standards“:
Self-described climate-change ?skeptic? Anthony Watts says he knows why the Heartland Institute shamelessly equated more than 97% of all climate scientists with terrorists on Thursday, when that make-believe ?think tank? erected a billboard with the Unabomber?s mugshot and the caption, ?I still believe in Global Warming. Do you??
?I think Heartland is suffering battle fatigue,? Watts told the Washington Post. ?When you?re suffering battle fatigue, sometimes you make mistakes.?
Ah? so that?s it. They?re victims in all of this. I?d have thought that if anyone is suffering battle fatigue, it?s the scientists and reporters who receive hate-mail and death threats fueled by Heartland?s campaign of distortion and innuendo.
Precisely. Forbes continues:
Far from being an aberration, this is just the latest in a long string of embarrassing acts that Heartland has carried out in public ? and they?ve been at this for more than 25 years. Before they got into the anti-climate-science racket, they were in the anti-lung-science racket, where they helped the tobacco industry assuage our concerns over second-hand smoke. (Don?t you love someone who makes you feel good about doing something bad?)
They?ve also been working arduously for years to destroy the reputation of people like Michael Mann. He?s the climate scientist that Heartland loves to vilify because he had the audacity to publish scientific findings that challenge their fragile ideology. (I covered this a bit last week as well, and here is another piece from the Guardian.)
… But maybe Watts is onto something. Maybe Heartland is beginning to suffer something akin to battle fatigue. After all, it can?t be easy regurgitating all that pseudo-science year after year when people like Mann are out there generating solid research. Then there?s all the psychological dissonance they must be dealing with. That?s got to take a toll on their fake ?think tank? soul.
Think about it: if you were guilty of doing what they are guilty of doing, wouldn?t you feel kind of bad?
Funny stuff, except, of course, that Heartland doesn’t actually feel bad — they have refused to apologize, and their website still asserts, ?the most prominent advocates of global warming aren?t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.?
And, of course, Watts doesn’t feel bad, since he’s never taken down any of his offensive posts or offered anything more than lukewarm criticism of Heartland: “Sometimes you make mistakes.”
A mistake is when you make an error that you correct once it is pointed out — and you apologize if it is a big enough mistake. If you don’t apologize and you stand by your original words, it’s hard to call that a mistake. That’s more like a strategy.
Climate Progress has no difficulty condemning offensive language from environmentalists who get it wrong. We immediately criticized the offensive and disgusting ?No Pressure? video with a post by Bill McKibben (that I added my thoughts on) and then another post by me.
It was also brought to my attention this week that a TP Green post on the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik was put under the Climate Progress banner after TP Green merged with us a few weeks ago. That post had not been on CP post before, and it isn’t any longer (it is now part of TP Security). I apologize for any confusion caused by this switchover.
NOTE: ThinkProgress is among several publications to have published documents attributed to the Heartland Institute and sent to us from an anonymous and then unknown source. The source later revealed himself. The AP worked to independently verify the documents and concluded, ?The federal consultant working on the classroom curriculum, the former TV weatherman, a Chicago elected official who campaigns against hidden local debt and two corporate donors all confirmed to the AP that the sections in the document that pertained to them were accurate. No one the AP contacted said the budget or fundraising documents mentioning them were incorrect.? Heartland Institute has issued several press releases on the documents. See also ?CAPAF General Counsel Responds To Heartland Institute.?
The Family Acceptance Project has extensively documented the severe consequences when parents and other family members condemn a child for being gay or trans. Because of marriage inequality, these rejections can impact an individual’s partner as well, particularly in emergency situations. One year ago, Shane Bitney Crone lost the love of his life, Tom Bridegroom, in an accidental fall. The two had bought a house and started a business together. Bridegroom’s family was not accepting at all, and when he died, they cut Bitney off entirely, with threats of violence if he even tried to attend his partner’s funeral. He has documented the agony of his love’s death and the aftermath in a poignant video, and is calling on everyone to support #EqualLoveEqualRights:
Tonight features important state primary contests in Indiana, where GOP Sen. Lugar faces a challenge,, North Carolina and Wisconsin, where the voters will pick the Democrat to run against Scott Walker in the recall. In addition voters in North Carolina[...]
Read The Full Article:
Fox News contributor Dick Morris told Sean Hannity that "one world government" is "happening." His evidence consists of false statements about a series of treaties, some of which enjoy bipartisan support, are important for U.S. national security, and protect children from exploitation.
Morris Claimed "One World Government" Is "Happening." During the May 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Dick Morris told host Sean Hannity that he believes Obama will "sign a series of treaties that will bind the United States hand and foot for decades and get them ratified by the lame duck Senate":
HANNITY: What's fascinating about this, and I'll let you explain it in your own words, there are people for years who have warned about one world government, world taxation, all of these things, and you're saying, "Yeah, it's happening."
MORRIS: It's happening.
MORRIS: I believe that President Obama, at some level, knows he's not going to get reelected, and Hillary knows it. And they know they're going to lose the Senate. And you remember when they passed the START treaty, Sean? Lame duck session?
MORRIS: I believe that he is going to sign a series of treaties that will bind the United States hand and foot for decades and get them ratified by the lame duck Senate. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/7/12]
Morris Previously Claimed That "Those Crazies In Montana Who Say, 'We're Going To Kill ATF Agents Because The U.N.'s Going To Take Over' -- Well, They're Beginning To Have A Case." In a March 2009 appearance on Fox, Morris expounded on a long conspiracy theory about a "super-national authority" that will oversee U.S. financial institutions, then asserted that President Obama's policies are "internationalist" and that "those crazies in Montana who say, 'We're going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.'s going to take over' -- well, they're beginning to have a case." [Fox News,Your World with Neil Cavuto, 3/31/09, via Media Matters]
Morris: The U.S. Navy, Not The Law Of The Sea Treaty, Should Protect "Freedom Of The Seas." Morris' first example of a dangerous treaty was the Law of the Sea Treaty, a treaty that Obama cannot sign in the lame-duck session since it was already signed by former President Bill Clinton:
MORRIS: One of them is coming up for ratification in June. It's called the Law of the Sea Treaty, L-O-S-T, LOST. It provides that the United States is obliged to share half of its royalties from oil drilling and mineral drilling out to 200 miles with a newly created UN-based Seabed Authority, which will distribute the money as it wishes -- we have 1 vote out of 160 -- to 160 nations.
MORRIS: All of these have a fig leaf. The fig leaf here is oh, freedom of the seas. But the point the conservatives make is the United States Navy does a very good job of guaranteeing --
HANNITY: Exactly. And those are our territorial waters.
MORRIS: And I'll tell you something even worse. In this treaty, it provides that the Seabed Authority may take action to prevent pollution of the ocean. Pollution includes thermal pollution. This Authority could ban carbon emissions in the United States so we don't heat up the ocean. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/7/12]
But The U.S. Navy Says Law Of The Sea Treaty "Supports National Security Interests By Codifying The Right Of U.S. Military Vessels To Navigate Freely" On The High Seas. From 2003 testimony by Admiral Mike Mullen:
General Myers, the services, and the combatant commands strongly support the United States becoming a party to the convention, which DOD and five administrations have consistently supported.
As a comprehensive, multilateral treaty that confirms navigational rights and freedoms for maintaining global mobility and forward presence and readiness, the convention supports national security interests by codifying the right of U.S. military vessels to navigate freely on, under, and over the high seas or within international straits. Furthermore, within traditional choke point areas, a normal mode of operations is permitted, including formation steaming, use of sensors such as radar and sonar, submerged transits, and the launching and recovery of aircraft.
Since 1983, the Joint Chiefs and the combatant commanders have supported the navigational provisions of the convention because of the core belief that a comprehensive, widely accepted, and stable legal basis for the world's oceans is essential to U.S. national security. [Statement by Adm. Mike Mullen before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 10/21/03]
Bush Urged Senate To Ratify Treaty Because It Was "In The National Security Interests" Of The Country And Would "Secure U.S. Sovereign Rights." From a May 15, 2007, statement by former president George W. Bush titled "President's Statement on Advancing U.S. Interests in the World's Oceans":
I urge the Senate to act favorably on U.S. accession to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea during this session of Congress. Joining will serve the national security interests of the United States, including the maritime mobility of our armed forces worldwide. It will secure U.S. sovereign rights over extensive marine areas, including the valuable natural resources they contain. Accession will promote U.S. interests in the environmental health of the oceans. And it will give the United States a seat at the table when the rights that are vital to our interests are debated and interpreted. [White House Archives, 5/15/07]
In 2004, The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Unanimously Recommended Ratification Of Law Of The Sea Treaty. On February 25, 2004, the Republican-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to recommend ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty by a vote of 19-0. [Senate Foreign Relations Committee report on Law of the Sea Treaty, 3/11/04]
Morris Fearmongers About Losing Sovereignty To International Criminal Court, Which Will Charge Americans With "Aggression." Morris said the following about the International Criminal Court, a court created by a treaty Clinton signed, Bush withdrew from, and which remains unsigned:
MORRIS: I'll give you another example. The -- well you alluded to it. The International Criminal Court. We are the only country in the world that's not a member of it. And at some level it's OK. It's got the fig leaf, it goes after war criminals and human rights abusers. But they include in their treaty the definition of a new crime called aggression. And aggression is defined as going to war without UN approval. And the president, vice president, secretary of defense are personally, criminally liable for imprisonment in trial in front of the ICC court. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/7/12]
But The Obama Administration Has Been Actively Working To Ensure "Total Protection For U.S. Armed Forces And Other Nationals" Over The Crime Of Aggression. From a statement by State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh following a 2010 international conference on the International Criminal Court:
The outcome on aggression, though, we think served our core interests. We ensure total protection for U.S. armed forces and other nationals going forward. The court can't exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression without a further decision, which will not take place until after January 2017. The prosecutor cannot charge nationals of non-States Parties, of which we are one, with the crime of aggression. A State Party that ratifies amendment can opt out. So the allegations they committed aggression can't be the basis for an ICC investigation or prosecution, and we secured an outcome that ensured that the U.S. and non-state parties would be treated the same, which was a major point or principle.
Specifically, in no case can jurisdiction be exercised with respect to acts committed until one year after 30 States Parties accepted the amendment, and then there are two channels by which aggression can be prosecuted if and when the crime does come into effect. One channel goes through an exclusive Security Council trigger, which the U.S. had been urging. The second goes through a prior Security Council review with three conditions. If the Security Council doesn't make a determination that aggression occurs, the prosecutor has to offer a reasonable basis for proceeding. That decision would require a majority vote of six judges, and the Security Council would still have the authority to stop the prosecution with a red light, Chapter 7 resolution.
The net result of this was that the crime of aggression was put on the back burner for the next seven years, and we think this accomplished the basic goal that we were focused on, which is giving the breathing room for the court to get stronger and focus on its core crimes. [Statement of Harold Koh to the American Society of International Law, 6/16/10]
The Jurisdiction Of The ICC's Definition Of The Crime Of Aggression Will Not Be Decided On Until After January 1, 2017. From the International Criminal Court's Resolution RC/Res.6 for "[t]he crime of aggression":
The Court shall exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression in accordance with this article, subject to a decision to be taken after 1 January 2017 by the same majority of States Parties as is required for the adoption of an amendment to the Statute. [International Criminal Court Resolutions, accessed 5/8/12]
And A Bush Administration Official Who Oversaw Guantanamo Litigation Says The ICC "Is Consistent With The U.S. Commitment To Enforcing Human Rights." In a July 7, 2010, FoxNews.com opinion piece, Vijay Padmanabhan, former chief counsel for the U.S. State Department on Guantanamo and Iraq detainee litigation during the Bush administration, explained some of the benefits of the ICC for the United States. Padmanabhan explained that the ICC was "consistent with the U.S. commitment to enforcing human rights," and noted the negative implications of the U.S. not joining the ICC, suggesting it allows "states with political agendas contrary to the interests of international justice to divert the Court from work that is also beneficial to the United States." [FoxNews.com, 7/7/10]
Morris Misleads On U.S. Involvement In European Union's "Code Of Conduct In Outer Space" Treaty. From the May 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
MORRIS: You know how liberals have always not wanted us to have a missile defense?
MORRIS: Because they claim we will do a first strike. And so what the Europeans did was they got together and said there's too much debris in outer space, too many things floating around, it's litter, and it could crash into satellites and stuff. And they passed a Code of Conduct in outer space that says no country may launch a missile or a satellite that contributes to debris. That means we can't send up anti-satellite satellites, it means we can't send up missile interceptors. The only way we have of neutralizing North Korea and Iran if they get the bomb is space-based missile interceptors. This treaty would prohibit it. And Hillary -- in January the deputy secretary of state, Ellen Tauscher announced we were not going to pursue negotiations on this. Hillary overruled her and now is negotiating this treaty. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/7/12]
U.S. Department Of State: The EU's "Code Of Conduct For Outer Space Activities" Would Not "Impose Legal Obligations On The United States." During a April 18 speech at the National Space Symposium, Frank Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance division, explained that the European Union's proposed Code of Conduct "will establish a set of non-legally-binding transparency and confidence-building measures." Furthermore, Rose stated that the "Obama Administration would not subscribe to an International Code if it constrained or limited the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense, our intelligence community programs or operations, or our ballistic missile defense systems or capabilities." [U.S. Department Of State, 4/18/12]
Morris And Hannity Fearmonger About A Potential "Small Arms Treaty." From the May 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
MORRIS: The Small Arms Treaty.
HANNITY: Let me just lay out three more things. It would prevent, literally, the American export -- it would force the American export of weapons, our weapons that we develop and our technology to other countries, it would have jurisdiction over firearms in the United States. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/7/12]
But The U.S. Is Actually Working Toward A Small Arms Treaty That Extends U.S. Standards On Arms Trafficking To The International Community. From an October 14, 2009, statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
On a national basis, the United States has in place an extensive and rigorous system of controls that most agree is the "gold standard" of export controls for arms transfers. On a bilateral basis, the United States regularly engages other states to raise their standards and to prohibit the transfer or transshipment of capabilities to rogue states, terrorist groups, and groups seeking to unsettle regions. Multilaterally, we have consistently supported high international standards, and the Arms Trade Treaty initiative presents us with the opportunity to promote the same high standards for the entire international community that the United States and other responsible arms exporters already have in place to ensure that weaponry is transferred for legitimate purposes. [Remarks by Hillary Clinton, 10/14/09]
Without A Treaty, Small Arms Are Flowing From Non-U.S. Markets To Human Rights Abusers. According to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, "[t]he illicit trade in small arms, light weapons and ammunition wreaks havoc everywhere." The U.N. notes that "[s]mall arms facilitate a vast spectrum of human rights violations, including killing, maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, enforced disappearance, torture, and forced recruitment of children by armed groups." [UN.org, Small Arms, accessed 5/8/12]
Thus The UN General Assembly Decided Treaty Conference Was Needed To Prevent "Diversion To The Illicit Market," Which Promotes "Armed Conflict." A resolution adopted by the General Assembly on the Arms Trade Treaty found "the problems relating to the unregulated trade of conventional arms and their diversion to the illicit market is a contributory factor to armed conflict." Therefore a "United Nations conference on the Arms Trade Treaty" should convene "for four consecutive weeks in 2012." [Resolution adopted by the General Assembly 64/48, 12/2/09]
And Small Arms Treaty Talks Aim To Stop Arms From Flowing To Human Rights Abusers, Not Regulate Domestic Arms Sales. From an October 2009 Washington Post article:
"No government is discussing a treaty that would ever impact the right to bear arms, nor require regulation of domestic sales of arms," said Scott Stedjan, a senior policy adviser at the relief group Oxfam America. "This is totally about international transfer of arms so that they don't go to human rights abusers."
The United States is the world's largest supplier of conventional weapons, accounting last year for nearly 70 percent of the global arms sales on contracts valued at $37.8 billion. Italy and Russia were second and third, with $3.7 billion and $3.5 billion in arms sales, according to figures compiled by the Congressional Research Service.
Arms control experts and rights advocates welcomed the U.S. commitment to participate in U.N. talks, saying the negotiations could help impose some basic rules in an industry that operates in the shadows, fuels conflicts and provides arms to terrorist groups and insurgents. [Washington Post, 10/16/09]
Morris Suggests The U.S. Will Lose Sovereignty Under The Convention On The Rights Of The Child. The final treaty Morris discussed was the Convention on the Rights of The Child, a treaty signed by President Clinton, but not yet ratified:
MORRIS: There's something called the Rights of the Child treaty, which Britain for example is a signatory to. When Cameron wanted to cut welfare benefits in Britain, the Rights of the Child advocates sued him, saying he wasn't allowed to do it, because of the child treaty, which obliged him to give children certain basic levels of food, medicine, clothing, and everything. And the treaty provides that rich nations have a legal obligation to provide poor nations with enough aid to satisfy that.
HANNITY: So now we're going to spread wealth around the world as if we're not overtaxed now?
MORRIS: You're going to see lawsuits in the United States enforced by U.S. district courts that require us to increase our foreign aid budget. And let me say this: A foreign treaty under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution is equal to a constitutional amendment. You can't repeal it. You can't override it. You can -- there are only two ways of getting out of it, a constitutional amendment or be let out of it by the other 180 countries. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/7/12]
Amnesty International: Claims That The Treaty Usurps U.S. Sovereignty Are "A Result Of Misconceptions, Erroneous Information, And A Lack Of Understanding." From Amnesty International's frequently asked questions web page on the Convention on the Rights of the Child:
The most common unfounded concerns voiced by the opposition include:
- The Convention usurps national and state sovereignty
- The Convention undermines parental authority
- The Convention would allow and encourage children to sue parents, join gangs, have abortions,
- The United Nations would dictate how we raise and teach our children
These claims and perceptions are a result of misconceptions, erroneous information, and a lack of understanding about how international human rights treaties are implemented in the United States. Notably, in many cases, the Convention's opponents criticize provisions which were added by the Reagan and Bush Administrations during the drafting process in an effort to reflect the rights American children have under the U.S. Constitution.
The Convention contains no controlling language or mandates. Moreover, under the supremacy clause of our Constitution, no treaty can "override" our Constitution. The United States has historically regarded treaties such as this Convention to be non-self-executing, which means the Convention can only be implemented through domestic legislation enacted by Congress or state legislatures, in a manner and time-frame determined by our own legislative process. Moreover, the United States can reject or attach clarifying language to any specific provision of the Convention.
Therefore, neither the United Nations nor the Committee on the Rights of the Child would have dominion, power, or enforcement authority over the United States or its citizens. Ultimately, the Convention obligates the Federal Government to make sure that the provisions of the treaty are fulfilled. [Amnesty International, accessed 5/8/12]
The Senate failed to advance a bill today that would have kept the interest rate on Stafford federal student loans from doubling to 6.8% by this June. The vote was 52-45. Republicans and Democrats now profess to support averting the change, but they[...]
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Today's data underscores a couple of key themes that have been in place for weeks now in the 2012 election cycle: (a) a sharp disparity between the daily tracking polls and other presidential polling; and (b) a disparity between the national presidential polling numbers and polls emanating from key battleground states.
That, and a couple of new polls in coin-flip Senate races, highlight tonight's edition of the Wrap (as more important numbers, quite frankly, are getting crunched in Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin).
Here are those numbers, including a real eye opener in the Heartland:
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Romney d. Obama (47-44)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (49-44)
NATIONAL 3-WAY TABULATION (Rasmussen): Romney d. Obama and Ron Paul (44-39-13)
NATIONAL (Reuters/Ipsos): Obama d. Romney (49-42)
IOWA (PPP): Obama d. Romney (51-41)
OHIO (PPP): Obama d. Romney (50-43)
MA-SEN (Rasmussen): Sen. Scott Brown (R) 45, Elizabeth Warren (D) 45A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump ...
NE-SEN--R (Singularis Group for Fischer): Jon Bruning 30, Deb Fischer 26, Don Stenberg 18
VA-SEN (Washington Post): Tim Kaine (D) 46, George Allen (R) 46
The latest PPP polling in NC (May 5-6) still favors passage of Amendment One (full crosstabs) — the conundrum remains: if voters know the scope of the amendment’s harms, they would vote against it, but many aren’t sure about what the[...]
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