Archive for Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Letter: Say no

December 11, 2012


To the editor:

Recent letters to the editor have been critical of senators voting against the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Neither I, nor the senators who voted against the Convention, would argue against fair treatment of disabled persons.

However, our senators were right to reject this and other UN Conventions. These conventions are not resolutions, but they are treaties. Article VI of our Constitution makes such treaties made part of “the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

We do not need another layer of law and bureaucracy to address the needs of those with disabilities (or women or children in the case of other UN Conventions).

To the extent that current laws are insufficient, our Congress should work to strengthen American law for Americans, leading by example, not by subjecting ourselves to unelected UN bureaucrats and its well-intentioned but problematic Convention (see for example the statement the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute,


Gandalf 5 years, 6 months ago

In other words, you were afraid this treaty would interfere with GOP plans to cut programs for the poor and disabled?

John Hamm 5 years, 6 months ago

No. Simply said "The UN has no business dictating our laws." But Liberals seem to forget some silly thing known as "The Constitution."

Alyosha 5 years, 6 months ago

The UN is not dictating our laws, and nothing in a treaty that conflicts with our Constitution controls in a legal sense.

Your overgeneralization of "liberals" (which I assert you could not accurately describe if you tried) reveals your comment to be less reasoned analysis than unthinking emotional partisan reaction — and hence your comment is useless to reasonable serious adults.

Lastly, if you'll recall human history, treaties are a way to regularize and normalize international law, which has the effect of lessening conflict between states and incrementally bettering the lives of people everywhere.

In short, you let your emotion-driven reactions prevent you from seeing the good that can come from creating an international legal environment that codifies United States interests and values — something that's quite important to our overall national security.

But don't let history, or thinking, or U.S. interests get in the way of your emotional reactions.

rtwngr 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes, the UN can dictate to us if we ratify a treaty. I becomes the law of the land.

"Our constitution declares a treaty to be the law of the land. It is, consequently, to be regarded in courts of justice as equivalent to an act of the legislature, whenever it operates of itself, without the aid of any legislative provision." - Bloomberg Law website

Katara 5 years, 6 months ago

Oh, well that solves the whole religion thing going on.

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

Right there on paper in the Treaty of Tripoli- the U.S. was not founded as a Christian nation, and according to you and your quote, a treaty is the law of the land, so all these folks that want to legislate Christianity into our laws are going again the law of the land.

Thanks for clearing things up for everyone!

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

Regardless of the GOP and poor and disabled, we need too crawl out of bed with the UN. America can deal with it's own problems. We should sign no treaties ever regarding domestic issues.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 6 months ago

This is a sad example of ignorance and paranoia overriding saner minds within the Republican party--where will it stop? The treaty would have no power to alter or overrule United States law, and any recommendations that emerge from it would not be binding on state or federal governments or in any state or federal court. To listen to Sen. Santorum and his ilk spread misinformation about what this ratification would do is akin to listening to their lies about the earth being 10,000 year old and the like.

As a result, we have shot down one of the home grown historic highlights in the history of Human Rights for the world to emulate. What a shame.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

DGCounty -so, if it has no power then what is the point of it? If it has power and cannot be enforced then why go with a treaty? Why not go with a resolution that makes a similar statement?

I've not read the treaty so I am interested in hearing your answer.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 6 months ago

Look it up on Wikipedia, which in this case has a nice summary, non-biased, facts based. Bottom line: it extends the rights of folks with disabilities from places like the US, which has the ADA, to the rest of the world. As such, it would be advantageous to our country in that the rest of the world would be considering the same access issues that our businesses have had to accommodate, leveling the playing field a bit. If for no other reason, we should support this treaty.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

I had previously looked at wiki, but that is not the same as reading the treaty itself. My question to you is if it I doesn't have any power then what good is it? If it doesn't have power to overrule US law then it must not have power to overrule law in other countries - right? So, again, what good is a treaty that has no power and thus is only symbolic?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

Turn the question around. If it's only symbolic, what harm would have been done with a positive vote?

deec 5 years, 6 months ago

Treaty text if you'd like to read it:

"States Parties shall, in accordance with THEIR (emphasis mine) legal and administrative systems, maintain, strengthen, designate or establish within the State Party, a framework, including one or more independent mechanisms, as appropriate, to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the present Convention."

rtwngr 5 years, 6 months ago

@DougCounty - Wikipedia? Seriously? Do some real research and get back with us.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 6 months ago

Well excuse me for providing a nice summary that is much easier to read than the actual text of the Convention. Furthermore, both the Wikipedia article and deec right above your snide comment provides direct links to the text of the convention.

Next time do your own research before criticizing others.

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

This is a good example of slamming the door shut in the UN's face. They are worse than Mormons.

cowboy 5 years, 6 months ago

Get out of your basement once in awhile Mr. Barfield.

You / we take for granted the access that is a part of the US physical structure. Those would not be present without the ADA act. Much of the rest of the world is not like us. My sister this past summer , took a young man with CP to Europe on a trip he earned thru academic prowess. The trip was brutal with little access , little help from tour staff , and seemingly little understanding from the other kids on the tour. It was a nightmare and tour operators actually stated " he should not have come". He simply was wheelchair bound. In the US that is not a big deal. Your ignorant portrayal of this treaty as some challenge to your personal constitutional tower of pettiness is a sad comment on your awareness of anything past the Fox News TV screen.

beatrice 5 years, 6 months ago

"Neither I, nor the senators who voted against the Convention, would argue against fair treatment of disabled persons."

Who needs to argue against fair treatment of disabled persons when you can just vote against fair treatment of disabled persons?

Lynn Mockry 5 years, 6 months ago

Mr. Barfield is quoting the Supremacy Clause which merely says that Federal law trumps state and local law. It lacks relevance to the issue.

Lately the Neocons have been attempting to claim that a treaty is a de facto Constitutional Amendment. It's not. Mr. Barfield seems to be making the same silly mistake.

I invite Mr. Barfield to come join the world in affirming the value of all people.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

Jhawkinsf and others have said it doesn't compel the US or other countries to do anything - it is just a symbolic affirmation of the rights of the disabled.

So if that is true why not pass a resolution and avoid the controversy?

Ken Lassman 5 years, 6 months ago

Once again, this is not an attempt to impose UN law over US law, it's setting signatory country expectations up to a level that the US has already enshrined in its own laws with the ADA. Right now most countries do not have to think about providing universal access and universal design in their public spaces, but we do. Raising the bar internationally with a treaty will do nothing but help other countries actually pass their own ADA type legislation and join the US in its recognition of persons with disabilities.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

Are you as paranoid about the UN world government as you are about being disappeared again? Oh, sorry, you will be disappeared before the day is out, so that's not really paranoia, is it?

But that'll give you more time to obsess about all those evil windmills you need to tilt against.

Alyosha 5 years, 6 months ago

It's not surprising that you admit to being not so swift and regressive, since there is nothing that involves handing over sovereignty to the world.

You begin with an irrational and fantasy assertion, which you then say you are against.


Alyosha 5 years, 6 months ago

Given your history on I think you're just stuck being as you are, because you seem to like it and get a kick out of inanity.

Whatever floats your boat.

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

"Are there some college courses I can take or something to get up to speed with progressives?"

I don't think they teach third grade in college, but that's as much as you need. As long as you can say "me want, you buy!" you'll be good to go!

msezdsit 5 years, 6 months ago

At first, I read this as disappeared regressive. and then I realized that was then and this is now.

deec 5 years, 6 months ago

The world's nations have already surrendered their sovereign status to the banks and other multinational corporations. Individual national governments are just window dressing.

verity 5 years, 6 months ago

Ssssh! Don't say that in front of the children (or the rest of us). It's just too damn depressing.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 6 months ago

I think this is an excellent letter. Let each country make its own laws and rules and enforce them. If you are disabled and traveling abroad then it is up to you to do some research and find out what the conditions will be, so you know what to expect before you get there.

asixbury 5 years, 6 months ago

You obviously don't know anyone with a disability. Shouldn't people every where deserve the same protection as far as the ADA goes? Your comment seems pretty heartless.

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

"Shouldn't people every where deserve the same protection as far as the ADA goes?"

If their country has a similar law.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 6 months ago

while ADA has furthered physical and other access for disabled people in the US there's good evidence that it's actually hampering hiring of the same people because of litigation fears, and regulation overload.

just because we have the ADA here, must we force it on other countries? let the democratic processes of their countries develop their own responses.

since May, questioable language was added to this, when one of our Senators did support this, BTW.

people talk about this as if it had no unintended consequences..

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

Thanks to Deec for providing a link to the treaty. I generally agree with much in it, but my concern is it requires the states to do a lot of things that go beyond what we do now. For example they require data collection and campaigns to raise awareness.

What is the cost estimate on complying with all the provisions of the treaty? And yes this is relevant unless we would sign it without the intent to comply with it.

Also it provides rights to the disabled especially children. The vagueness doesn't matter if we aren't planning on complying it but then what is the point in signing it? So assuming we intend to comply if we sign it then who interprets all these new provisions?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

"For example they require data collection and campaigns to raise awareness."

Yea, and with draconian requirements like that, it's just a slippery slope to death camps for the able-bodied.

Bob Forer 5 years, 6 months ago

Basically, the treaty has very little bite and no enforcement provisions. Essentially, it is a symbolic gesture supporting the rights of disabled folks throughout the world. And what is wrong with that? Nothing, nothing at all.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

If it is as Sycho says intended only to symbolic and not enforced then why is it a treaty and not a resolution?

Are our other treaties only symbolic or are we expected to abide by them? I think when we sign a treaty there is an expectation that we will comply with the terms of it.

So even if no one forces us to comply with this treaty, our own honor and integrity demands that we do and it does go beyond current US law.

deec 5 years, 6 months ago

I imagine indigenous people would beg to differ about the expectation that treaties with the U.S. government will be honored.

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

So let's see if I have this right.

There was no way to enforce the treaty, it was merely symbolic and even if it had been signed, the US had no intent to comply with it.

I guess under those circumstances the Sentators were right not to vote for it because to do so would have been perpetrating a lie.

Tanks for clearing things up for me.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 6 months ago

The US DOES comply--we have the ADA. The intent is to get other countries to pick up the ball and run with it so folks in their countries can benefit from universal access and design like folks in our country do.

Dan Eyler 5 years, 6 months ago

Thank you for voting no. More UN treaties only validates a dysfunctional organization ran by majority nations that are corrupt, non democratic and certainly not paying their fare share of the UN cost. I cant think of a single benefit the UN provides the United States. Just another feel good organization. The UN is meaningless.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

"I cant think"

One of the truer statements you've ever uttered. Good thing there's Fox, eh?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.