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Commentary by Howard Phillips, Chairman of The Conservative Caucus


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 Home | June 2009 Archives

  Law of the Sea Treaty | June 29, 2009 | Digg This


President Obama is imposing provisions of the U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty (UNLOST) on U.S. policy, even though the Senate has not ratified that treaty.

According to a "Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies" issued on June 12 with the subtitle, "National Policy for the Oceans, Our Coasts, And the Great Lakes", Obama says the following:

"To succeed in protecting the oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes, the United States needs to act within a unifying framework under a clear national policy, including a comprehensive, ecosystem-based framework for the longterm conservation and use of our resources.

"In order to better meet our Nation’s stewardship responsibilities for the oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes, there is established an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force (Task Force), to be led by the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. The Task Force shall be composed of senior policy-level officials from the executive departments, agencies, and offices represented on the Committee on Ocean Policy established by section 3 of Executive Order 13366 of December 17, 2004. This Task Force is not meant to duplicate that structure, but rather is intended to be a temporary entity with the following responsibilities:

"1. Within 90 days from the date of this memorandum, the Task Force shall develop recommendations that include:

"a. A national policy that ensures the protection, maintenance, and restoration of the health of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems and resources, enhances the sustainability of ocean and coastal economies, preserves our maritime heritage, provides for adaptive management to enhance our understanding of and capacity to respond to climate change, and is coordinated with our national security and foreign policy interests. The recommendations should prioritize upholding our stewardship responsibilities and ensuring accountability for all of our actions affecting ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources, and be consistent with international law, including customary international law as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. …

"2. Within 180 days from the date of this memorandum, the Task Force shall develop, with appropriate public input, a recommended framework for effective coastal and marine spatial planning. This framework should be a comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem-based approach that addresses conservation, economic activity, user conflict, and sustainable use of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources consistent with international law, including customary international law as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea."

(Read the full document)

  David Rockefeller | June 25, 2009 | Digg This


"June 15: At the annual awards gala of the Americas Society, the 350 guests toasted David Rockefeller, the society’s founder, in celebration of his 94th birthday." Source: Bill Cunningham, The New York Times, 6/21/09, p. 10

  Illegals Staying Home | June 9, 2009 | Digg This


"What is NORPASS?

"The North American Preclearance and Safety System, or NORPASS, is a partnership of state and provincial agencies and trucking industry representatives who are committed to promoting safe and efficient trucking throughout North America. The NORPASS partners work together to deploy mainline screening systems at weigh stations, thus allowing safe and legal trucks to proceed unimpeded while enforcement resources are focused on high-risk motor carriers.

"How does it work?

"Each trucker who registers his/her vehicle to participate in NORPASS receives a small transponder to mount on the windshield (or if the trucker already has a compatible transponder, he/she may enroll it at no cost). As the truck approaches a NORPASS weigh station, a roadside reader detects the transponder and a computer in the scale house checks the credentials. Some stations are also equipped with weigh-in-motion equipment. If everything passes, a signal is sent back to the truck and the transponder gives a green light indicating that the driver may bypass the weigh station. If a problem is detected with the truck, the transponder returns a red signal, indicating that the driver must pull in. The system also samples randomly so any participating trucker can expect to receive an occasional red light.

"Where does NORPASS work?

"There are currently nine member states/provinces (Alaska, British Columbia, Connecticut, Idaho, Kentucky, New York, Quebec, South Dakota, Washington) and two partner states (North Carolina, Oregon), all offering open/interoperable weigh station bypassing. In addition, NORPASS transponders can be registered for use with tolling on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington. To view the latest information regarding coverage, see the coverage page.

"How much does it cost?

"There are no fees for participating in NORPASS member states. This means no annual fees; no fees for green lights; no fees ever! However, the truck must have a transponder which will work in the system. These cost roughly US$45 and can be purchased directly through NORPASS.

"Who sees the information collected at the weigh station and how is it used?

"NORPASS member states designed their systems to improve the efficiency and safety of motor carrier operations. NORPASS member states agree to use the information collected by the state solely for the purposes of statistical evaluation of the system and determining each truck’s bypass status.

"Can I use a NORPASS transponder in other states or bypass systems?

"Yes. Your NORPASS transponder will work in all NORPASS states, and is fully compatible with the North Carolina TransExpress Program and PrePass.

"How can I save on tolling also?

"For customers interested in toll discounts, we recommend the BestPass ( transponder which is compatible with several toll collection systems (including E-ZPass), as well as NORPASS, for weigh station bypassing. If you already have a BestPass transponder, you can simply apply to have NORPASS added to it so you do not have to purchase a new transponder.

"I'm ready. How can I join?

"You can apply online, by mail, or by fax. For more information, see the apply page.

"Parlez-vous français?

"Cliquez ici pour plus d’informations en français.

"¿Hablas español?

"Haga clic aquí para obtener información en español." Source:, 5/15/09

  Your Tax Dollars at Work--In China | June 4, 2009 | Digg This


"The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will pay $2.6 million in U.S. tax dollars to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly on the job.

"Dr. Xiaoming Li, the researcher conducting the program, is director of the Prevention Research Center at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.

"The grant, made last November, refers to prostitutes as ‘female sex workers’ – or FSW – and their handlers as ‘gatekeepers.’

" ‘Previous studies in Asia and Africa and our own data from FSWs [female sex workers] in China suggest that the social norms and institutional policy within commercial sex venues as well as agents overseeing the FSWs (i.e., the "gatekeepers", defined as persons who manage the establishments and/or sex workers) are potentially of great importance in influencing alcohol use and sexual behavior among establishment-based FSWs,’ says the NIH grant abstract submitted by Dr. Li.

" ‘Therefore, in this application, we propose to develop, implement, and evaluate a venue-based alcohol use and HIV risk reduction intervention focusing on both environmental and individual factors among venue-based FSWs in China,’ says the abstract.

"The research will take place in the southern Chinese province of Guangxi. …

" ‘(1) gatekeeper training with a focus on changing or enhancing the protective social norms and policy/practice at the establishment level; (2) FSW (female sex workers) training with a focus on the acquisition of communication skills (negotiating, limit setting) and behavioral skills (e.g., condom use skills, consistent condom use); and (3) semi-annual boosters to reinforce both social norms within establishments and individual skills,’ wrote Li.

"The doctor said the heart of the study involves ‘a community-based cluster randomized controlled trial among 100 commercial sex venues in Beihai, a costal tourist city in Guangxi.’ …

" ‘Li said his study is being done in China rather than the U.S. because prostitution occurs with alcohol use in the United States like it does in China, Americans will be able to benefit from the project’s findings.

" ‘We want to get some understanding of the fundamental role of alcohol use and HIV risk,’ he said. ‘We use the population in China as our targeted population to look at the basic issues. I think the findings will benefit the American people, too.’ …

"According to Li, there may be as many as 10 million female prostitutes in China with the majority raging from teenagers to those in their 20s." Source: Edwin Mora,, 5/12/09

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