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Sessions & Shelby Join GOP Anti-UN Conspiracists To Kill UN Disabled Rights Treaty

by: countrycat

Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 08:14:59 AM CST


Even the presence of a frail, wheelchair-bound Bob Dole couldn't override the overwrought  black-helicopter-conspiracists  in the US Senate today.  By a vote of 61-38, the Senate failed to ratify the  UN Convention on the Rights of the Disabled.  Both Sessions & Shelby voted  no .  Big surprise, eh?CRPD

What issues drove the GOP grinches out of their lairs in the middle of the holiday season?  Oh, the usual suspects: abortion, euthanasia, God, and national sovereignty.  Oh, and because describing our efforts to the rest of the would would be, in the words of the National Review, self-abasement:

And we haven’t even started on how self-abasing it would be for the U.S. to comply with the treaty. Every four years, we would be required to put together an interagency report on our disability-rights record (a project that would cost millions), and also to send a delegation (usually of at least 20 people) to Geneva to appear before a panel of international disability-rights experts. Panels of this sort often vilify our country’s human-rights record, according to Groves. “I’ve attended these sessions,” he says. “They’re absolutely insulting.”

Holy Buckets Of Bunk Batman!

But the scary thing is that this "anti" screed is the sane one.  At Wing Nut Daily (no link, y'all - use "the Google" if you're that curious), none other than GOP 2nd place finisher (and winner of the 2012 AL GOP presidential primary) Rick Santorum, was spreading the cockamamie conspiracy theory that the treaty would require medical personnel to let his 4 year old daughter, Bella, die because she's battling a rare genetic disorder.

Senator Mike Lee declared on the floor of the Senate that because the treaty says that those with disabilities should have "equal access to reproductive health care," then it will inexorably lead to .... abortion!  Because every road on the GOP legislative map leads straight to our magic ladyparts, I guess.

Ahem... what is actually in the treaty?

  • Article 16: Protection from exploitation, violence, & abuse.
  • Article 19: Right to live independently and be included in the life of the community.
  • Article 21: Freedom of expression, opinion, and access to information.
  • Article 23: Respect for home and family.

Well.  No wonder the GOP is opposed..... snark.....

The treaty was supported by a group of GOP stalwarts.  Former Senator Bob Dole (who led the fight for the Americans with Disabilities Act) was on hand for the vote.  Other supporters included Senator John McCain and the both Presidents Bush.  

Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid issued this statement after the vote:

“It is a sad day when we cannot pass a treaty that simply brings the world up to the American standard for protecting people with disabilities because the Republican party is in thrall to extremists and ideologues. The United States is seen as a leader around the world. Today, we had a chance to lead, and we failed because a small group of Republican senators fear the Tea Party more than they care about equality for people with disabilities.

“Today’s vote wasn’t about Republicans or Democrats. It was about standing up for our heroes – men and women who risked their lives on the battlefield for the United States of America. This treaty was about 57 million Americans who live with a disability.

Republicans such as former President George H.W. Bush, Senator McCain and former Senator Bob Dole called on their Republican colleagues to support these Americans. I am saddened those Senators did not listen. Their arguments against the treaty had no basis in fact – the treaty does not change United States law. That is why I plan to bring this treaty up for a vote again in the next Congress. Our wounded veterans and millions more around the world deserve better.”

We all deserve better than the current GOP.

countrycat :: Sessions & Shelby Join GOP Anti-UN Conspiracists To Kill UN Disabled Rights Treaty
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Further evidence that the GOP of today (4.00 / 2)
has moved far, far right of the Republicans of even 15 years ago. As countrycat notes, the Senate declined ratification by a vote of 61-38 - this after delaying the vote as long as possible (the President sent the treaty to the Senate back in May of this year)

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was originally negotiated under President Bush SENIOR and even the US Chamber of Commerce supported ratification of the treaty. Sen. John Kerry pointed out that the treaty

just says that you can't discriminate against the disabled. It says that other countries have to do what we did 22 years ago when we set the example for the world and passed the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Let me say that again - this treaty DOES NOT and WILL NOT require anything of the US that isn't already required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (originally passed in 1980). In fact, when we ratify it, we will then sit back and wait for the other signatory nations to catch up with us.

Santorum routinely trots out the fact that he has a daughter with a disability to make political hay but equally as routinely refuses to stand up for rights that would make like better for her and other folks who live with disabilities. That type of hypocrisy doesn't surprise me but it offends me profoundly.

I also find it somewhat offensive that this was couched so much in terms of wounded veterans, perhaps as an appeal to the Right's much-vaunted patriotism. Yes, we as a country owe them so much - but disability affects ALL Americans, if we live long enough. Sen. Dole's visit to the Senate chambers in a wheelchair should be a reminder - ALL of us are temporarily able-bodied, some of us just lose our able-bodied status sooner than others.

Senator Kerry's promise to submit this to the next Congress takes a bit of the sting out of yesterday's actions. I sure will be glad when Congress starts acting in a way that makes me proud.

I've got three tools in my arsenal: my voice, my wallet and my vote.


Minor correction (0.00 / 0)

The ADA was passed in 1990 (not 1980).  More impressively, the Senate vote was 76-8 with 30 of those "Yea" votes coming from GOP Senators (and our very own dick, Sen Shelby, actaully voted FOR the ADA when he was a Dem).



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