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Mark Caserta: We should be wary of lame duck session

Nov. 08, 2012 @ 12:11 AM

With the November election now behind us, America prepares for yet another lame duck session in Washington.

A lame duck session is when members of Congress reconvene following the November general election to consider various items of business. Some lawmakers who return for this session will not be in the 113th Congress, hence the term "lame duck."

Understand, politicians who have been "thrown out of office" by voters may feel justified in disregarding constituents' wishes and voting contemptuously to get a bill passed.

Lame duck sessions have been credited for vexations like gas tax hikes, Congressional pay raises and trillions in wasteful government spending.

My concern for this particular lame duck session stems from the deeply derisive narrative which has plagued the Obama presidency and the expanding "party" over "principle" mindset.

During this unfettered window for lawmakers, "winning" may be more inspiring than "serving."

While there are many issues voters should watch closely, I have particular concern over a piece of legislation which fits the bill for a legislative departing gift of "poetic justice" to the United States called "The Law of the Sea Treaty" (LOST).

LOST first emerged in a U.N. conference in 1982 during the Reagan administration, which refused to sign it. In 1994, after some revisions, President Clinton sent it to the Senate, which has never successfully brought it to a vote.

Recent information suggests it may be reintroduced during the 2012 lame duck session by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

LOST fundamentally calls for technology and wealth transfers from developed to undeveloped nations. This "balancing" of the assets by creating an international economic system of favor has been described as "redistributionist."

Sound familiar?

In addition to the economic impact, it also requires parties to the treaty to adopt regulations and laws to control pollution of the marine environment and establishes specific jurisdictional restrictions on the ocean area that countries claim. It then requires signatories to "take all measures necessary to ensure that activities under their jurisdiction or control are so conducted as not to cause damage by pollution to other States and their environment."

Carbon emissions are considered "pollution," according to most sources of international law.

Can you say "cap and trade"?

If the Senate approves LOST, any country who believes it is being harmed by global warming could force the U.S. into binding arbitration, which could not be appealed, and effectively force cap and trade policies on the United States.

A May 2012 commentary published by Fox News by Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and John Cornyn, R-Texas, stated that LOST would obligate the United States to share information and technology in what amounts to global taxes and technology transfer requirements that are really nothing more than an attempt to redistribute U.S. wealth to Third World countries.

So President Obama's redistribution philosophy and green energy initiative could both move a step forward during this unpredictable time in Washington.

I recommend paying particularly close attention to Congress the next few weeks.

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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