Thursday, October 22, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club
"Two dramas and a third"

Habu, Knight1, DennisC and Subotai Bahadur,

It is not so clear cut as to say it would be a bright line of usurpation if BHO issues Executive Orders to conform to an agreement that has not been ratified by the Senate. The State Department series listing agreements the US is bound to is titled T.I.A.S. for Treaties and International Agreement Series. The fact is that any Minister Plenipotentiary has the power to enter a binding agreement on behalf of their country. In fact every time that an army captain signed a purchase agreement for fuel in Germany they were acting as such an officer and entering upon a binding international agreement on behalf of the United States.

For decades efforts have been made to define the distinctions between: 1) administrative agreements, enterable upon Ministerial or agency authority, 2) treaties governing a purely international relationship that would be effective upon Senate ratification, and 3) conventions that would change domestic law and which should demand enabling legislation or additional assent by the House of Representatives. All such efforts have failed.

Just as the Interstate Commerce clause gives the Congress almost unlimited power to regulate domestic activity the power to enter into binding International Agreements gives the Executive almost unlimited authority to regulate domestic conditions. The only firm controls that Congress has had that prevented wild abuse of the treaty making power by the President has been custom and the power of the purse. The first means nothing to Obama and the second was ceded by Congress with the Tarp bill a year ago. If Obama orders the EPA to issue regulations in accordance with Kyoto or the Copenhagen Treaty then the only hope to overturn that would be legislation to the contrary and an appeal to the Judiciary. That is not going to happen with this Congress and may not in the next. If a repudiation did get through Congress and survived a veto there is no guarantee how the Courts would rule.

Matt Beck et al,
The discussion of the Nestorian roots of Islam is fascinating. Many of the early converts to Islam, in Syria, North Africa and Bosnia especially, were from oppressed Christian minorities who preferred Islam to the rule of the Byzantines.

The realization among some of Pakistan's urban elites that they lost in the partition by being chained to the rural Pashtun reactionaries and steppe culture has parallels. Sophisticated Greeks regret the loss of their position of influence in the Ottoman Empire. Many Jews resisted Zionism on similar grounds until the Holocaust convinced them that there was no alternative. Elitists like the Sulzbergers of the NY Times remained and remain skeptical of the idea of a Jewish National Home. Small nation nationalism was a product of the Romantic Movement, championed first by Lord Byron in Greece and a century later by Woodrow Wilson. League of Nations, UN, Wilsonian Self Determination is not the same as Democracy. The two concepts have completely different origins, allegiances and consequences.

Good catch with the draft climate change framework convention. Remember that that collection of proposed amendments is at 180 pages less than 20% of the length of the unread Stimulus, Health Care and Cap and Trade bills that the Democrats attempt, in the first case successfully, to ram through Congress. They have fun referring to the Conference of Parties (COP) that will establish a government. Perhaps they can establish a headquarters in Munich for the new regulatory entity and call it the Bavarian Administrative Department. We can all take our orders from the Bad Cop.

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