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1201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What's Keeping Romney From Sharing His Taxpaying History? on: July 19, 2012, 11:26:09 AM
http://www.nationaljournal.com/2012-presidential-campaign/what-s-keeping-romney-from-sharing-his-taxpaying-history--20120719
1202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fort Hood report shows FBI worried about political correctness on: July 19, 2012, 11:23:15 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/lawmaker-new-fort-hood-report-faults-fbi-for-sitting-on-intelligence-about-known-terrorist/2012/07/18/gJQAJDvbuW_story.html
1203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bill Frist To GOP Governors: Adopt ‘Obamacare’ Insurance Exchanges on: July 18, 2012, 01:47:00 PM
http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entries/bill-frist-to-gop-governors-adopt-obamacare-insurance

In an editorial for The Week published Tuesday, the former majority leader of the Senate writes that both parties should support the insurance exchanges, noting that they were originally a “Republican idea.”  A doctor, Frist says that he “sees little advantage” for Republican governors to refuse to set up exchanges in their own states and “default to the federally designed, one-size-fits-all exchange when they can design and run their own.”

1204  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Capitol Police Issue New Tattoo Rules on: July 18, 2012, 07:02:56 AM
http://nationaljournal.com/daily/capitol-police-issue-new-tattoo-rules-20120717
1205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Revolution 2: A Post Post-American Post on: July 18, 2012, 06:48:15 AM
http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/07/15/energy-revolution-2-a-post-post-american-post/
1206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / House votes to strengthen ties with Israel on: July 18, 2012, 06:32:47 AM
http://thehill.com/video/house/238505-house-votes-to-strengthen-ties-with-israel-sends-bill-to-obama
1207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Great Green Fleet on: July 18, 2012, 06:30:56 AM
http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/238487-the-not-so-great-green-fleet-president-obamas-skewed-national-defense-priorities

An interesting view of the greening of the military from Senator Inhofe.
1208  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Brian Shaw, world's strongest man? on: July 17, 2012, 06:53:52 PM
1209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / no LOST vote until after election on: July 16, 2012, 03:21:28 PM
http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/238151-senate-republicans-sink-law-of-the-sea-treaty
1210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) & the 4th Amendment on: July 15, 2012, 06:46:10 AM
It was an interesting and informative read.
1211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dark Soldiers of the New Order on: July 14, 2012, 07:47:18 PM
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/07/13/dark_soldiers_of_the_new_order
1212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Where You'll Want to Live in 2032 on: July 13, 2012, 08:10:49 AM
http://businessjournal.gallup.com/content/155510/Live-2032.aspx?utm_source=email&utm_medium=072012&utm_content=morelink&utm_campaign=newsletter

1213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / House Judiciary Chairman Launches Investigation Into National Security Leaks on: July 13, 2012, 08:07:17 AM
http://www.rollcall.com/news/house_judiciary_chairman_launches_investigation_into_national_security-216104-1.html?ET=rollcall:e13631:80133681a:&st=email&pos=eam
1214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mitt + Condi??? on: July 13, 2012, 08:06:17 AM
http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/237701-report-condoleezza-rice-emerges-as-frontrunner-for-romney-vp
1215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Spoiled Rotten on: July 12, 2012, 09:04:23 PM
With the exception of the imperial offspring of the Ming dynasty and the dauphins of pre-Revolutionary France, contemporary American kids may represent the most indulged young people in the history of the world. It’s not just that they’ve been given unprecedented amounts of stuff—clothes, toys, cameras, skis, computers, televisions, cell phones, PlayStations, iPods. (The market for Burberry Baby and other forms of kiddie “couture” has reportedly been growing by ten per cent a year.) They’ve also been granted unprecedented authority. “Parents want their kids’ approval, a reversal of the past ideal of children striving for their parents’ approval,” Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell, both professors of psychology, have written. In many middle-class families, children have one, two, sometimes three adults at their beck and call. This is a social experiment on a grand scale, and a growing number of adults fear that it isn’t working out so well: according to one poll, commissioned by Time and CNN, two-thirds of American parents think that their children are spoiled.

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2012/07/02/120702crbo_books_kolbert#ixzz20Spj4FxY
1216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / List of constitutional rights on: July 12, 2012, 06:36:09 PM
http://constitutionalism.blogspot.com/2012/07/list-of-constitutional-rights.html
1217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Homeland Security’s New Molecular Scanner on: July 12, 2012, 04:55:31 PM
Truth???

 shocked shocked shocked shocked


http://www.neatorama.com/2012/07/11/homeland-securitys-new-molecular-scanner/
1218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Plebe Summer Gets Physical on: July 12, 2012, 04:49:25 PM


A friend's boy is here.
1219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Mystery of John Roberts on: July 12, 2012, 04:47:14 PM
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/11/the-mystery-of-john-roberts/?hp

Ramesh Ponnuru, a senior editor of National Review and leading conservative blogger, wrote that Chief Justice Roberts “acted less like a judge than like a politician, and a slippery one.” Randy Barnett, a Georgetown University law professor and intellectual father of the Commerce Clause argument against the statute, predicted on the Volokh Conspiracy blog that “it’s hard to imagine Republican politicians citing John Roberts as the type of justice they favor nominating in the future” (odd, because the Roberts opinion, actually accepting Professor Barnett’s Commerce Clause analysis, has left liberals seriously alarmed about the court’s future direction on congressional power). Clint Bolick, a leading libertarian who advocates aggressive activism — sorry, “engagement” — by the court to shrink government power, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that “the upshot is that Chief Justice Roberts has become a ‘swing’ justice on the Supreme Court” and is no longer a “solid conservative.”
1220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: U.S. Lawmakers Must Fix Pentagon’s China Report on: July 11, 2012, 07:24:54 PM

This http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78409.html should be read in tandem with the above article.
1221  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Butler v. Collier on: July 11, 2012, 07:21:19 PM
http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/201113933.pdf

The first four pages of this opinion are the most entertaining I've ever read. The rest is interesting and may inform in the dicussion of this thread.
1222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, & "discrimination" on: July 11, 2012, 07:02:01 AM
You don't think that culture and law are related? For example, as law afforded protection to those who "out" themselves, it becomes easier to be "out." This, in turn, increases the likelihood that more people know someone who is gay (or admitting to be gay), which in turn makes them more likely to be part of that cultural shift... and vote, and least in part, on the politicans' willingess to protect gay right, by passing laws.
1223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Confidence in TV news at all-time low on: July 10, 2012, 08:42:18 PM
http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/07/confidence-in-tv-media-at-alltime-low-128567.html#.T_yLFcLgr-E.twitter
1224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, & "discrimination" on: July 10, 2012, 07:54:33 PM
Congress doesn't tell people who they must employ. Congress tells employers who they can't exclude from employment based on characteristics that have nothing to do with merit.

1225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Teaching 'Taco Bell's Canon' on: July 10, 2012, 04:27:39 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303561504577496863632059058.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Is it true that college students today are unprepared and unmotivated? That generalization does injustice to the numerous bright exceptions I saw in my 25 years of teaching composition to university freshmen. But in other cases the characterization is all too accurate.

One big problem is that so few students are readers. As an unfortunate result, they have erroneous, and sometimes hilarious, notions of how the written language represents what they hear. What emerged in their papers and emails was a sort of literary subgenre that I've come to think of as stream of unconsciousness.

Some of their most creative thinking was devoted to fashioning excuses for tardiness, skipping class entirely, and failure to complete assignments. One guy admitted that he had trouble getting into "the proper frame of mime" for an 8 a.m. class.

Then there were the two young men who missed class for having gotten on the wrong side of the law. They both emailed me, one to say that he had been charged with a "mister meaner," the other with a "misdeminor."
1226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 10, 2012, 04:25:43 PM
Ummm , , , Obama has led the efforts for massive deficit spending so it seems fair to me that he get credit for it-- especially in that it originated in a Congress where both houses were Democrat controlled.  Yes?

I remember BO claiming "creating or saving" (a wondrously impossible to measure metric this new category of "saved" jobs) 3 million jobs with $600,000,000,000 TARP/Stimulus 1 or 2 or whatever money.   A simple mathematical calculation reveals that even if we accept the President utterly disingenuous numbers this comes out to $200,000 per job claimed!!!  It seems quite obvious to me that the $600B taken from the private economy must have heavy costs

It is not as if the party is a single unit. And, by constitutional design, the president, senators and representatives have different interests. So, "maybe" or "on occassion" but not always, necessarily "yes."

And, as Sowell (correctly) notes, just because Obama (or another president or politican) claims credit, it does not make it so, whether or not the policy in question "worked."
1227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, & "discrimination" on: July 10, 2012, 12:37:16 PM
I would suggest that Freedom of Association is to be found in the Ninth and that the question presented here is exactly what enumerated power is being exercised by the Congress to impose association?

To tax?Huh Oh, I crack me up!

A possible list, all taken from those powers enumerated in Article I, section 8:

The Congress shall have Power To:

provide for the ... general Welfare;

regulate Commerce ... among the several States (see my post above);

make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
1228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Kim Jong Un's mystery woman on: July 10, 2012, 12:29:25 PM
Kim Jong Un and a mystery woman clap as they watch a performance by North Korea's new Moranbong band, July 6, 2012. …
Who is she?
That's what people around the world want to know about a mysterious young woman who appeared with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a pair of events over the weekend.
The woman first appeared with Kim on North Korean state television on Sunday at a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of his grandfather and North Korea founder Kim Il Sung's death. She is believed to be the same woman shown in a photograph released by the Korea News Service on Monday showing Kim and others clapping during a July 6 performance by new Moranbong band in Pyongyang. (The unusual performance included appearances by Disney characters—including Mickie Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Winnie the Pooh—not often seen in North Korea, which traditionally shuns entertainment of the West.)
The mystery woman sparked a crush of media coverage in South Korea, where some speculate that she could be Kim's younger sister or wife. No official details about her identity have been released.
According to London's Telegraph, "South Korean intelligence sources" say the woman is Hyon Song Wol, a singer "who used to front the Bochonbo Electronic Music Band" and "responsible for a string of hits that included 'Footsteps of Soldiers,' 'I Love Pyongyang,' 'She is a Discharged Soldier' and 'We are Troops of the Party.'"
Her popularity "peaked in 2005 with the song 'Excellent Horse-Like Lady,'" the Telegraph said, adding:
Hyon subsequently disappeared from public view at the time that Kim emerged as the heir-apparent to his father, Kim Jong Il.
There are reports that 28-year-old Kim Jong Un was ordered to break off his relationship with Hyon by his father and that she later married an officer in the North Korean army with whom she has a baby.
The North Korean government is notoriously secretive when it comes to its leaders. It took more than a day to announce the death of Kim Jong Il in December. And as the Associated Press points out, little personal information is known about Kim himself, though he is thought to be in his late 20s. Kim's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, was born in 1987, the AP said.
 
 
1229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 10, 2012, 12:27:24 PM
DMG: "I think you either missed or disagree with his point." You are quite right.

DMG: "of course it is never the case that all other factors are held constant." True, but there is correlation and causation, and for Sowell to seem to understand that is problematic.

Moreover, Sowell in an effort to blame Obama (it is an election year, after all), ignores Congress. Why? Convenience, but that convenience is sloppy. Obama, or any other president, can't "meddle" (or "rescue" depending on the point of view) in economic policy without explicit and implicit assistance from Congress.
1230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: July 10, 2012, 12:21:04 PM
I don't think it is an urban myth; I think you misremember  wink. According to the UNL website, for example, in describing an on campus event in April, "UNLPD will be hosting a look at what a Husker Game Day is like for police. This program will give you a behind-the-scenes look at Memorial Stadium, the 3rd largest city in Nebraska on game day."

I love that you described it as an "urban myth" and then said the Nebraska is drive through country. Crack me up!
1231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 10, 2012, 10:18:54 AM
It is a good thing 5,000 jobs were saved. Otherwise there would have been a net loss of 31,000 jobs.
1232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: July 10, 2012, 10:03:58 AM
"Probably doesn't know that the largest city in Nebraska in Cornhusker Stadium on an October Saturday afternoon."

Third largest.

Official census data:

Omaha, 408,958 (2010)

Lincoln, 258,379 (2010)

Memorial Stadium, with Tom Osbourne field, minimum of 81,067 every home game Saturday (317 consecutive home sellouts)
1233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: July 10, 2012, 09:01:28 AM
Good stuff. Two quick things, though. A new justice wouldn't necessarily mean the Court shifts ideologically. First, if Justice RBG or Breyer were to retire, a new Obama appointee wouldn't shift the makeup of the USSC all that much. Moreover, the new justice might not be the justice Obama thought he was getting. Two quick examples, though there are more: legend has it that when asked about mistakes made as president, Ike replied that he had made two, "and they were both on the Supreme Court." And, remember all the cries of "not another Souter"? GHWB didn't get the conservative he thought he had on the bench.

Second, despite all of the media wanks talking about Roberts possible switch, it is very common that justices swith views between the conference vote and the final opinion being released.
1234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, & "discrimination" on: July 09, 2012, 05:19:48 PM
"While your point is technically accurate, my intuitive sense of things is that it is less likely than her expressing that she was with the Bible on the subject and getting slapped down by the progressive thought police."

BD: "I also agree that there is a free choice with whom to associate. Nothing I said should be read as contrary to that view. But, that is also different that merely allowing people to act as they will, without limits."

So you oppose discrimination laws?

And subject to the limits of the rights of others, what is wrong with people acting as they will?


We are moving beyond the specific discussion that flowed from a specific example, and I don't want to extend my vantage point from that example too far.

I oppose some "discrimination" laws, yes. For example, as I have noted previously, I do not understand the legitmacy, purpose or usefulness of a designated "hate" crime. The very purpose of allowing judges to have some sentencing judgement is to allow for all the particulars of a case (age; brutality; number of previous convictions; etc.). One of the particulars could be reason for the crime, based on race, gender, sexuality, and the like. No need for an automatic +10 years.

I disagree that blacks are underperforming. There is a disadvantage that comes with skin color. On a socio-economic scale, almost everything was legally skewed against blacks until the late 1960's. People talk about 40 years (or 150 if they like to pretend that the Civil War ended legal inservitude) like it was a long time ago. It wasn't. It was two generations. It takes time to accumulate wealth. It takes time for blacks to climb corporate ladders. It takes time for them to build on careers of their parents. 3 generations of Bush's have been active politically. Mitt Romney's father was governor before a formal end to segregation. It takes time to build social capital. We can talk all we want about a post-racial America, but until 6 years ago I lived in a city in which the most popular pizza delivery store wouldn't deliver to the black neighborhoods.

As for Guro's point about the Commerece Clause, I think it is (mostly) interpreted in the manner in which the Founders, in particular Madison, intended. The difference isn't the interpretation, it is the commerce. In 1790, commerce was much more local. Family farms, local industry, etc. was much more common. In a world in which Anheuser Busch is owned by a European Company, but the headquarters is in St. Louis, but it is bottled and distributed throughout the country and sold in stores like Walmart (which is headquarted in Arkansas and has stores nation and world wide), where does local commerce begin and end? In 1790, there was no interstate highways, no nationwide train, trucking and airline industry, no FedEx, Amazon or....

As for association, there is no constitutional guarantee to it. Take a look. It does not appear in the first amendment. That it is a recognized right is thanks to a judicial construct. Who is to say that the judicial construct of freedom of association is any more or less legitimate than the protections afforded a traditionally legally disadvantaged group (especially one that was the subject of three constitutional amendments in the hopes of equalizing the playing field)?

And, I am not sure that any freedom to "association" recognized by the courts relates to employment or renting. I AM sure that laws passed by Congress, and signed by presidents, and upheld by courts do prevent employment discrimination based on gender, race, religion, creed and the like.
1235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Temple of Silence on: July 09, 2012, 12:57:22 PM
http://www.tnr.com/print/article/politics/magazine/104219/jack-goldsmith-SCOTUS-Leaks-CIA

WHEN SUPREME COURT Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg rose to speak to the American Constitution Society on June 15, many in the audience hoped she would hint at the fate of the Affordable Care Act. The justices had voted on Obamacare on March 30, and by mid-June the Court’s opinion, as well as any concurrences or dissents, had been drafted and circulated internally. But despite palpable panting by journalists, no one outside the Court knew what it had decided. And Ginsburg gave no clue. “Those who know don’t talk,” she said. “And those who talk don’t know.”

In the national security bureaucracy, the opposite rule has prevailed: Those who know talk quite a lot. In recent weeks, the press has reported on U.S. cyber-attacks on Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities, a double agent inside the Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, and internal deliberations about drone operations. And by all accounts, the primary sources for these revelations were executive branch officials. “The accelerating pace of such disclosures, the sensitivity of the matters in question, and the harm caused to our national security interests is alarming and unacceptable,” charged congressional intelligence committee leaders in rare bipartisan unison. Why is the Court so much better at stopping leaks than the government agencies entrusted with the country’s most critical secrets?

1236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, & "discrimination" on: July 09, 2012, 12:48:54 PM
Well, as best as I can tell neither of us know what she "did".

That said, I stick with my POV.  I think people should be allowed to choose with whom they associate.

Agreed. but only one of us has decided the merits of the decision.

I also agree that there is a free choice with whom to associate. Nothing I said should be read as contrary to that view. But, that is also different that merely allowing people to act as they will, without limits.
1237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / U.S. Lawmakers Must Fix Pentagon’s China Report on: July 08, 2012, 09:45:56 PM
http://www.defensenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012307080006
1238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, & "discrimination" on: July 08, 2012, 09:30:09 PM
I read the whole thing, but it still isn't true. People have the right to have their opinions, but they don't have the unlimited right to act on them (which I think you mean since you say "make", which implies, I think, an action toward the gay person, especially with the addition of "of it what they will"). The point is, she didn't just have the opinion, she acted on it. And, without knowing what was said, you can't know that her removal from the program was unwarranted.
1239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: July 08, 2012, 09:19:05 PM
I think in some ways you are conflating two issues. The idea of the soldier reading Miranda rights is different from the role that Congress plays.

As I said, the review is not good throughout, but the discussion (or rather questions raised) surrounding drones was worthwhile to spend a moment contemplating.

And, it served as a good opportunity to recommend the good book by Goldsmith, although I think Cole misunderstands, or misrepresents, the book.
1240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: July 08, 2012, 12:36:24 PM
It's a long piece and I have not read all of it yet, but this caught my attention:

"The primary blame, however, is Congress’s. Playing shortsighted domestic politics, Congress has refused to allow any Guantánamo detainees to be brought to the United States".

No, the Congress has correctly stood for preventing turning the overseas war with Islamic Fascism into a series of criminal acts whose actors are entitled to US Constitutional protections.



That WAS interesting. The surrounding discussion about the Chinese Ulghars is interesting too.
1241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama and Terror on: July 08, 2012, 09:46:45 AM
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/jul/12/obama-and-terror-hovering-questions/?pagination=false

This is a book review, by David Cole, of two recent books about the presidency during the war on terror. While I think he gets the Goldsmith book wrong (and I HIGHLY recommend it), there are interesting parts in the review.
1242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, & "discrimination" on: July 08, 2012, 07:21:56 AM
I don't have the time right now, but I will get back this in a day or three.

Just a reminder...
1243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / SCOTUS Oct. 2011 term in review on: July 08, 2012, 07:21:02 AM
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-court-term-20120708,0,2123711.story
1244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Discussion of UN Small Arms Treaty on: July 07, 2012, 09:07:55 PM
http://opiniojuris.org/2012/07/02/july-is-arms-trade-treaty-month/

July is Arms Trade Treaty Month

by Duncan Hollis


At one time in the mid-1990s, it seemed like a week couldn’t go by without some large gathering of States seeking to hammer out the terms of a new multilateral treaty with aspirations for universal membership.  Such treaty negotiations have become a rarer phenomenon today with most meetings now emphasizing implementation of, and compliance with, existing treaties.  And where new norms are called for, treaties are no longer the default vehicle — many States now favor using political commitments (e.g., the Copenhagen Accord) as an alternative to the more traditional treaty form.
 
Still, from time to time, treaty negotiations and all the diplomatic machinations accompanying them return to center stage. July appears to be one of those times.  Starting today and running through July 27, the UN is launching a new treaty negotiation in New York for an Arms Trade Treaty.  The UN General Assembly first proposed such a treaty in December 2006 in its Resolution 61/89.  You can review a summary of the work of the preparatory committee since then here, including the Chair’s 2011 non-paper that outlines what an Arms Trade Treaty might look like.  A compilation of State reactions to the Chair’s non-paper is also available.
 
The pitch for an arms trade treaty is a simple one — there are treaties regulating almost every other good as it is traded across borders; as one pro-treaty NGO representative put it, “It is an absurd and deadly reality that there are currently global rules governing the trade of fruit and dinosaur bones, but not ones for the trade of guns and tanks”.  The argument goes on to suggest that this absence of regulations means that weapons can be traded to and misused by government forces or end up in the wrong hands of criminals, pirates, terrorists, etc., who then perpetuate death and destruction.
 
On the other hand, there are significant obstacles that may limit or obstruct any arms trade treaty. For starters, under the current rules of procedure, the treaty’s adoption will require consensus, meaning one State (think the US or Russia) could block it (it is possible though that a text supported by a sufficient number of States might be put before the UN General Assembly itself, which requires only a super-majority vote).  Second, as the UN’s Register of Global Reported Arms Trade indicates, there’s a lot of arms traffic (and thus money) at stake.  Thus, there is a wide array of stakeholders out there whose interests may not coincide with the sort of trade regulation that NGOs like Amnesty International envision.  Third, there’s a looming fight over whether to include ammunition within the treaty, which will obviously have a fairly significant impact on the proposed treaty’s scope.  And to the extent the treaty tries to regulate trade with specific actors (e.g., terrorists), there will undoubtedly be definitional and labeling issues that may make the treaty difficult to implement (for example, there is still no UN-accepted definition for terrorism).
 
As for the United States, the Obama Administration shifted course in 2009 and agreed not to oppose the current negotiations (which the Bush Administration had opposed in favor of better national controls).  Still, the US faces a few daunting issues in any arms trade treaty, most obviously, that any focus on arms, even one limited to regulating trade in arms, engenders 2nd Amendment concerns and domestic opposition from those who resist federal laws or regulations relating to guns (and this will be true I suspect even if the Obama Administration negotiates a text that it believes steers clear of any U.S. Second Amendment jurisprudence).  There’s also a question of continued US trade in arms to Taiwan and how the treaty would address whose law regulates the importation of weapons into Taiwan (with the possibility that the government of the People’s Republic of China might use any treaty to advance its position on Taiwan’s status).
 
In other words, there’s a lot on the table in New York this month.  And I’m sure this post has only scratched the surface.  So, I’d welcome reader input on other issues or views about the negotiations’ chances for success (or failure).  I’d also welcome any pointers to a daily digest of the negotiation’s progress along the lines of the invaluable IISD reporting service that serves such a wonderful updating and reporting role in the international environmental context.  I expect I’m not the only one interested in seeing how things progress.
1245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How Anonymous Picks Targets, Launches Attacks, and Takes Powerful Organizations on: July 07, 2012, 08:10:19 PM
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/07/ff_anonymous/all/
1246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Short History of Money on: July 07, 2012, 07:50:24 PM
I found this exceptionally interesting.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/innovation/a-brief-history-of-money/0
1247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel sharing on: July 07, 2012, 09:11:43 AM
Pasting BD's post here as well

http://www.lawfareblog.com/

To insure that the story stays, here is the proper link: http://www.lawfareblog.com/2012/07/us-mexican-intelligence-cooperation-against-cartels-an-interesting-section-in-the-draft-intel-authorization-act/

The lawfareblog site is an interesting discussion of the role of law (and lawyers) in warfare. I posted it originally in the legal issues and islamic war thread because that was the basis of the creation of the blog. The material posted on the site, as the story above illustrates, often goes beyond the exact subject.
1248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Lawfare Blog on: July 06, 2012, 08:35:46 PM
http://www.lawfareblog.com/

Run by some heavy hitters in the field.
1249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Fatal Flaw in John Roberts' Analysis of the Commerce Clause on: July 05, 2012, 02:09:46 PM
http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/104554/the-fatal-flaw-in-john-roberts-analysis-the-commerce-clause

But Roberts' tax argument actually undermines his argument about the inapplicability of the Commerce Clause. Roberts reasoned that Obamacare really imposes a mandate only on those subject to its tax penalty—which is limited to those who have thousands (probably tens of thousands) of dollars in earned income. What Roberts seems to have missed is that you cannot have earned income without engaging in commerce. (Gift income does not count as earned income subject to this tax).
1250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Obama Won by Losing on: July 05, 2012, 02:07:40 PM
http://schultzstake.blogspot.com/2012/06/obama-won-by-losing-thoughts-on-health.html

President Obama won by losing on Thursday.  Yes his health care legislation was upheld but it came at the expense of federal power and perhaps further losses down the line in terms of civil rights and other forms of federal power. The media will report that by a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court affirmed the individual mandate and upheld the Obama Health Care Act.  But a tighter and more thorough reading demonstrates this to be a very conservative decision and Obama lost big legally.
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