The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 30, 2013: Is the U.N. Really Coming to Take Our Guns?

To hear some people on the Right tell it, the United Nations is going to be sending troops with light blue helmets door to door to confiscate your guns. But is that even remotely true? Well, I did start this post with “To hear some people on the Right tell it…” so that should be a clue. The answer is a simple “No,” but if you want something more complicated than that, then “No, and can I have some of what you’re on?” The United Nations is not about to do anything of the sort. In fact, it would be just as accurate to say that the Wicked Witch of the West is sending her flying monkeys to everyone’s house to confiscate the guns of law-abiding citizens and to fling poo at them. Let me be as clear as I can be: The United Nations is NOT going to take your guns, nor are they going to fling poo at you. Period. Anyone who tells you differently is either deliberately lying or sadly misinformed. Speaking of deliberately lying or sadly misinformed, Fox News Channel is helping to spread the fear that the U.N. is coming for your guns. And they are joined by, who else, the National Rifle Association (which, contrary to what any of their leadership says, actually lobbies on behalf of gun manufacturers, not gun owners.) But more on that later.

Back in July of last year, the United Nations met to discuss the international arms trade and how they could help keep guns from getting into the hands of bad people (like, you know, terrorists.) Contrary to early reports from the right, flinging poo was not on the agenda for these meetings. From that meeting emerged the Arms Trade Treaty, “to elaborate a legally binding instrument on the highest possible common international standards for the transfer of conventional arms.” And it makes sense. If you want to stop guns from getting into the hands of bad governments and international terrorists, you need the cooperation of everybody involved, otherwise the bad guys could just go to the country that didn’t sign the treaty and get their guns from them. This negotiation would have started sooner if not for the Bush Administration, which opposed the treaty on the illogical and unsubstantiated claim that “national controls are better.” Fortunately, the Obama Administration reversed that position. So the U.N. did meet but were unable to come up with an agreement. So they agreed to meet again this past week to conclude the work done in July. It’s important that the United States be a part of any such treaty because we are, by far, the largest exporter of arms in the world.

Much of the opposition to the treaty (and it didn’t all come from the U.S.) was over the issue of national sovereignty. There are some countries that have constitutions guaranteeing their citizens certain rights. (Quick quiz: Name one such country.) The fear was that an international treaty would override those rights. Well, I can’t speak with any authority on what other countries’ constitutions say, but I can promise you that no international treaty can ever supersede the United States Constitution. If it did, it would be struck down by our own Supreme Court (and then be forced to gay marry a treaty from another country.) But, to make sure that wasn’t an issue, our own State Department issued, what they call, “red lines.” According to the dictionary, red lines are “lines that are colored red” (well, that was no help), but they are also what you could call “deal breakers.” To allay the fears (real or imagined) that this treaty would empower the U.N. to send their famed “blueberries” to your door, the United States State Department issued these key red lines:

KEY U.S. REDLINES
——————————————————————————–
The Second Amendment to the Constitution must be upheld. There will be no restrictions on civilian possession or trade of firearms otherwise permitted by law or protected by the U.S. Constitution. There will be no dilution or diminishing of sovereign control over issues involving the private acquisition, ownership, or possession of firearms, which must remain matters of domestic law.

The U.S. will oppose provisions inconsistent with existing U.S. law or that would unduly interfere with our ability to import, export, or transfer arms in support of our national security and foreign policy interests.

The international arms trade is a legitimate commercial activity, and otherwise lawful commercial trade in arms must not be unduly hindered.

There will be no requirement for reporting on or marking and tracing of ammunition or explosives.

There will be no lowering of current international standards.

Existing nonproliferation and export control regimes must not be undermined.

The ATT negotiations must have consensus decision making to allow us to protect U.S. equities.

There will be no mandate for an international body to enforce an ATT.

So you’d think that would satisfy those “gun enthusiasts” (a/k/a “gun nuts”) who fear the U.N. is going to be coming for your guns. But, sadly, no. You see, removing the controversy by explicitly stating that the United States will not be party to any treaty that takes away your Second Amendment rights is too inconvenient for a network that wants you to live in fear. And that’s why the folks at Fox News Channel conveniently ignored that statement and pretended it didn’t exist. Instead, they reported the opposition to the treaty as if its rationale was based in facts. They reported the lies that the treaty could be interpreted as giving the U.N. the right to come to your home and take your guns as if they were old, settled issues (which is a common tactic of theirs.) That the industry that stands to lose a lot of money is opposed to the treaty should come as no surprise, nor should the fact that you’re not hearing their chief lobbyists, the NRA, explain it that way. Instead we get the lies. But we also get surprises.

For example, the National Rifle Association and Fox News Channel are vehemently (dare I say “violently”?) opposed to the Arms Trade Treaty. You know who else is, to the point of possibly thwarting the whole effort? Iran, North Korea, and Syria. Yes, you read that right. Fox News is on the same side as Iran, North Korea, and Syria. And they say we’re the ones who are un-American. And that we fling poo.

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss the Arms Trade Treaty, Fox News, the NRA, poo-flinging, or anything else you wish to discuss.

26 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 30, 2013: Is the U.N. Really Coming to Take Our Guns?

  1. http://www.taxanalysts.com/www/features.nsf/Articles/C52956572546624F85257B1D004DE3FC?OpenDocument

    The average increase in real income reported by the bottom 90 percent of earners in 2011, compared with 1966, if measured at one inch, would extend almost five miles for the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent.

    ——–

    In 2011 entry into the top 10 percent, where all the gains took place, required an adjusted gross income of at least $110,651. The top 1 percent started at $366,623.

    The top 1 percent enjoyed 81 percent of all the increased income since 2009. Just over half of the gains went to the top one-tenth of 1 percent, and 39 percent of the gains went to the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent.

    Ponder that last fact for a moment — the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent, those making at least $7.97 million in 2011, enjoyed 39 percent of all the income gains in America. In a nation of 158.4 million households, just 15,837 of them received 39 cents out of every dollar of increased income.

  2. Is the U.N. Really Coming to Take Our Guns?

    We can hope. UN, anyone at all, really, but please, SOMEBODY come and take the goddam things!

    If I could ever find an online (or other) petition demanding Repeal of the Second Amendment, I’d sign it in a heartbeat. Or if I had the vaguest clue as to how/where to set up such a petition for others to sign, I’d probably do it.

    Guns are worthless for any purpose other than killing something, including some 30,000 Americans each and every year. What the hell’s the sense in that? Answer: there ain’t none.

  3. Exxon’s Pegasus Tar Sands Pipeline Ruptures in Central Arkansas

    Yet the spin we’re expected to believe:

    …”The expansion of the Pegasus Pipeline is another example of how ExxonMobil Pipeline Company is continuing to develop new projects that provide valued services and enhance supply security,” said Gary Pruessing, president, ExxonMobil Pipeline Company.

    • Reminds me of a video a guy I used to work with showed me some 15 years ago. He went with his entire family, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, to the Milwaukee County Zoo. They videoed the entire excursion including a visit to the hippo exhibit. Well laid out with a big tank that abuts the 10′ wide trench that keeps the people back. You could hear everyone getting excited when a hippo surfaced right at the edge of the tank. They thought it was great seeing one so close up until they realized it was a posterior view.

      It was kind of like watching a horizontal Polaris launch.

      • I saw the same thing once at some kind of animal safari land where you drive along and view from your car.
        The car in front stopped next to a hippo and it did its thing.
        Talk about real live manure spreader.

  4. Doctor Who slammed Twitter tonight:

    “”Imagine that, human souls trapped like flies in the world wide web, stuck for ever, crying out for help.”

    “Isn’t that Twitter?”

    • ‘The internet is a series of tubes…’ Ted Stevens was partially correct.
      Inside each tube is thousands of straws. Inside one of those straws is thousands of those little coffee-stirrer straws. That’s Twitter.

      Pretty good Doctor Who for a return premiere. It’s much harder to follow the stories with Clara as a companion. When she’s onscreen I tend to miss the dialogue.

      I watched the show first on BBC One. Had the stream up trouble-free for over two hours, then five minutes before the show started it dropped out. I was lucky and managed to connect on an alternate channel that hadn’t worked when I first tried it. Got in just in time to see it start, and only had a couple of brief bufferings then it settled down and worked all the way through.

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