Your morning jolt: Johnny Isakson’s opposition kills Law of Sea treaty

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson on Monday was one of three Republicans to add their names to the list of opponents to the controversial Law of the Sea treaty backed by President Barack Obama, depriving Senate Democrats of the super-majority needed to move the maritime pact toward ratification.

Read Isakson’s brief explanation here. He opposed it in 2007 as well.

The other two senators, Rob Portman of Ohio and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, have both been mentioned as running mates for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. In a joint letter, Portment and Ayotte expressed serious concerns about the breadth and ambiguity of the Law of the Sea treaty, according to the Associated Press:

The development was a blow to the Obama administration, military leaders and the business community led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who had argued that the treaty would improve national security and enhance U.S. standing in the world. They had pressed for ratification of the treaty, which was concluded in 1982 and has been in force since 1994. The United States is the only major nation that has refused to sign the pact.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and other conservatives have led the campaign against the treaty, contending that it would undermine U.S. sovereignty. DeMint heralded the latest development on Twitter, saying, “34 Senators now oppose LOST, sinking the misguided treaty.”

***
Voters in his home state of New Jersey say Gov. Chris Christie, who is in Atlanta today to host a Mitt Romney fundraiser with Gov. Nathan Deal, is doing fine as governor, but would make a lousy vice president. Fifty-three percent of registered voters in a Quinnipiac University poll released today say Christie would be a bad choice as Romney’s running mate. On the other hand, 54 percent approve of the job he’s doing as governor.

***
Ashley Fielding over at the Gainesville Times reports that state Rep. Doug Collins has edged out former radio talk show host Martha Zoller in the Republican money race for the new 9th District:

In the three-month period between April and June 30, it was Collins who led the race to raise money, pulling in some $81,685 in contributions.

Collins also had the most cash left over at the end of the quarter.

Following behind him in the fundraising race, Zoller, a former conservative radio talk show host, raised more than $73,510; Fitzpatrick, a former White County school principal, pulled in some $11,811.

***
Enemies of the transportation sales tax have set their opposition to music. Listen to the bluegrass tune here. A “smooth country” version, sans banjo, can be found here. Apparently, no one thought to produce a hip-hop cover.

The hook: “Heads up, Georgia, don’t get on the train. If it leaves the station, it won’t come back again. No one can control it. Everyone will pay.”

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At 10 a.m. today, a group out to remove the toll on Ga. 400 will hold a press conference in the state Capitol.

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The group behind the push to restore the state’s authority to create charter schools – even where local systems don’t want them – has set up its Internet presence here. Families for Better Public Schools, which will have the backing of Gov. Nathan Deal, already has hired campaign manager Mark Peevy for the November vote.

Opponents of the measure, a coalition of PTA groups, the Georgia School Board Association, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and other groups called Vote Smart Georgia, recently started up their website as well. Compare the two sites, and you’ll know where the money is in this contest.

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The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at House Speaker David Ralston’s statement that new federal regulations are largely to blame for long lines at the state Department of Driver Services.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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87 comments Add your comment

Deanna

July 17th, 2012
9:38 am

Can someone explain to me why there are questions on the Republican ballot about abortion and gambling that aren’t on the Democratic ballot for the July 31st election? What’s that all about?

jgalloway

July 17th, 2012
9:44 am

Deanna:

Because these are primary ballots, each political party has a degree of control over the content. They’re permitted to load up these questions as they like, but none are binding.

JacketFanMarcus

July 17th, 2012
9:44 am

How can David Ralston blame the Feds for 4 hour waits at a state office???

I’m OK with the requirements. People need to prove who they are. But the Dept of Driver Services had 5 years to prepare.

I don’t think the feds are managing and training the staff.

As someone that’s managed before – this is just plain poor management and planning. It’s no one’s fault but the state!

GaBlue

July 17th, 2012
9:47 am

Deanna,

Good question! What on Earth would their “personhood” nonsense accomplish other than wasting MORE of our legislature’s time — and taxpayer money — on debating issues that solve absolutely NONE of the problems we elect/pay these jerks to solve?

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you live in Fulton County, and you’d like to vote in the Sheriff’s race or Tax Commissioner, then you MUST pick up a Democratic primary ballot between now and July 31st. These important races will be decided then. (Personal note: The incumbents REALLY REALLY need to go! Thank you.)

Sideline Dude

July 17th, 2012
9:48 am

I haven’t listened to the TSPLOST song but it will be music to my ears when it fails to pass. The DOT is already the fourth branch of state government & if it could get its hands on the kind of money the TSPLOST will generate, watch out. I have already voted against this boondoggle as I hope most Georgians will also do. No more taxes.

Greg

July 17th, 2012
9:52 am

Jim your link to the Kock brothers and Gov Baddeals site does not work.

Drago

July 17th, 2012
9:53 am

So, Isakson is in China’s back pocket now.

Marlboro Man

July 17th, 2012
9:53 am

Is your mom tied up in traffic again ? Sitting in a car is no way to live.

Rich

July 17th, 2012
9:56 am

And which state would that be? (I know. Do all your readers?)

Voters in his home state say Gov. Chris Christie, who is in Atlanta today to host a Mitt Romney fundraiser with Gov. Nathan Deal, is doing fine as governor, but would make a lousy vice president. Fifty-three percent of registered voters in a Quinnipiac University poll released today say Christie would be a bad choice as Romney’s running mate. On the other hand, 54 percent approve of the job he’s doing as governor.

Dirty Dawg

July 17th, 2012
10:03 am

I can’t tell you how fundamentally disappointed I’ve become with Jounny Isakson. There was a time when he was as fine a Statesman, in the truest sense of the word, as Georgia had ever produced. He would serve the people of Georgia with pride and dedication regardless of which Party was in power… then he went to Washington. It’s been clear for some time that he ’sold out’ to the money, but increasingly it appears that he very well have, now, sold his soul to the Devil. Shame on ya Johnny, I thought you were a better man than this.

LA Hays

July 17th, 2012
10:08 am

Thanks, Isakson, for taking us another step down the road toward isolationism. Maybe we should just withdraw from ALL treaties just in case they affect what you perceive as loss of American sovereignty. Is American really that weak?

brian

July 17th, 2012
10:18 am

Really so you think we should. Then give our tax money to the UN.. Sea treaty research
it.. China signed it..

brian

July 17th, 2012
10:20 am

Enter your comments here Does most people understand that our company’s in USA would pay a tax to UN if any of there product came across sea?

dc

July 17th, 2012
10:27 am

Wondering when the idiot in chief’s comment about how small business owners didn’t build their business, but rather they owe their success to “others who built it for them” will make it as a topic of this blog…..suspect it doesn’t fit the narrative.

Pedro

July 17th, 2012
10:32 am

Can Drago or LA Hays please explain their positions? I am of the belief that LOST is yet another compromise for the U.S. Perhaps we are to shrink into a corner and apologize to the world again? How is Johnny in the pocket of China? How is rejection of LOST a move toward isolationism? I don’t get your points.

po

July 17th, 2012
10:34 am

dc, you apparently find it difficult to see the wonders that 1st world public infrastructure and stability provide to most businesses (even illegal ones) who chose to do business in the US. Could they do what they do without roads, the internet, the courts, regulation, etc., etc., etc.

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

July 17th, 2012
10:35 am

Jim -

Given Deanna’s confusion above (and your prompt reply) it might be nice to have a column on why the separate Dem and Repub primary ballots even exist.

It’s the ultimate example of incumbent protection insurance, in my mind.

ncgreybr

July 17th, 2012
10:36 am

Brian. Is English your second language?

ragnar danneskjold

July 17th, 2012
10:37 am

Glad to see Mr. Isakson come to the side of goodness and light, even if it is only a temporary visit for a RINO.

ragnar danneskjold

July 17th, 2012
10:38 am

It would be cheaper to fully fund the Navy than to pay the royalties to the UN under the Law of Sea.

Deanna

July 17th, 2012
10:39 am

Thanks all for your answers about the questions that only appear on the Republican ballot! What will the Repubs do with the results from these questions if they are non-binding? What’s the point?

Rafe Hollister

July 17th, 2012
10:41 am

Thanks Johnny, for once, he voted as his constituents wished.

The DMV fiasco, is as usual a government tradition. Gov always uses the shotgun approach, they never single out the offenders, that would be profiling, they always choose to make every citizen suffer. People with licenses, had to provide all these documents to get their license in the first place, so renewal should be easy. Why do they not put the emphasis on border control and first time licenses and not on making every Georgian suffer.

Why so much government emphasis on who is driving and no interest in who is voting?

mumm

July 17th, 2012
10:41 am

@dc, if you listened to the speech in context, there’s nothing to discuss. His statement was “essentially that no man is an island unto himself”. If I’m not mistaken, the speech was about infrastructure and how every single taxpayer funds it.

Tea Party Hobbit

July 17th, 2012
10:46 am

rangar…a pirate would know! ;)
I agree that we do not need to cede any sovereignty to the UN. There has been a long standing proposal to modify Part XI (on the Exclusive Economic Zones) that is the only hangup that our country really has. But that is likely the part that has the rest of the UN salivating (along with our own enemies of capitalism). Good job, Senator Isakson!

aposter

July 17th, 2012
10:50 am

I hope you all realize that many more states decided NOT to go forward with the REAL Id Act (the Homeland security measure that the state is citing) since they thought it was an unfair intrusion on our civil liberties. The act itself has already been watered down and in legal limbo.
Funny how a state like Georgia and many of its politicians that claim to be against all things Federal has no problem hassling its citizens and eroding their freedoms when it comes to this.
Will the AJC or someone bother calling them out on the fact that many more states did away with the requirement via their legislature than those that are enforcing it?

biscuit

July 17th, 2012
10:50 am

We need to get out of the UN altogether. Cabal of international gangsters and globalists. And tell them to take their business elsewhere. Voting this horse manure down is always the right thing to do. Thank you, Congress. Now if you could just get busy with the other matters at hand that are in America’s interest.

jd

July 17th, 2012
10:52 am

Era of Reconstruction – 1868 – 1882
Era of Deconstruction – 2001 – 2016

Which party was in charge of Georgia for each of those periods of history?

yuzeyurbrane

July 17th, 2012
10:56 am

re charter schools issue, just follow the money. The charter school contracting industry has already become huge and sees potential for multi-billion dollars in profits from charter schools. Combine this with venal politicians and you have a potent mix.

dc

July 17th, 2012
11:04 am

If only there was in fact nothing to the speech. It captures perfectly the reason we have so few jobs being created. People who take the risk of putting their finances at risk of bankruptcy, work incredibly long hours, to create the small businesses that create the jobs in America shouldn’t be held up as positive examples. But rather told (exact quote) “”If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” Obama said. “Somebody else made that happen.” Which of course positions the govt to then take more of the proceeds from the business, as payback for what the small business entrepreneur “didn’t do”…

There is a clear and obvious result to this rhetoric, and the govt acts that are a natural outgrowth of such talk. People would be crazy to start businesses and employ people with this mentality running the govt

And guess what……we’ve had no job creation. The people running the fed govt either don’t know how jobs are created or don’t care. Either way, it’s a scary situation for the country.

Baron Dekalb

July 17th, 2012
11:23 am

Score one for the black helicopter crowd.

Keith

July 17th, 2012
11:23 am

Say what you want to about Bush (and I could say several bad things), but I always appreciated his view on U.S. sovereignty and the United Nations.

Going with Johnny on this one

July 17th, 2012
11:25 am

@Tea Party Hobbit. You are correct that Part XI poses some real concerns, especially after the Feb. 2011 advisory opinion by the International Tribunal. However, in my opinion, that concern is not “the only hang up.” I believe that the concerns regarding the inability to board a foreign vessel that may have terrorists or terrorist materials and the language that would require unmanned underwater drones to surface in another country’s territorial waters are also “hang ups.” It seems to me that these concerns represent the case where a treaty negotiated in the late 70s and early 80s did not envision new technology or new global threats and, as such, fails to fully protect the US’s interests.

Clewis564

July 17th, 2012
11:37 am

What’s wrong with opposing a treaty that would give the United Nations or other entity control over what the United States does or how it explores our deep sea mineral deposits. Guess if you’re for a loss of sovereignty and world gov’t the Isakson’s decision might upset you.

Clewis564

July 17th, 2012
11:41 am

Most leaders and representatIves at the UN are dictators, socialists and strong men. They’re goal is to not have any nation free but all answer to a world gov’t. it has been said the only obstacle to a world gov’t is the United States, it’s constitution and the religious state of its people. Marginalize religion, walk over the constitution and destroy the nation economically and they get what they want.

Tea Party Hobbit

July 17th, 2012
11:48 am

Dick Morris on Boortz discussing Law of Sea. Gist of his point – Hillary could sign, Obama gets reelected, does not move to have it come up for vote in Senate and it still goes into effect by 2016! Scary ceding of American sovereignty…reason # – um – oh what the heck – 999,999,999 not to re-elect President Obama!

Don McAdam

July 17th, 2012
11:51 am

I’m much more concerned with Isakson’s and Chambliss’ vote against campaign finance disclosure. Yesterday, they voted to allow corporations and wealthy individuals the ability to provide secret campaign contributions.

In other words, they don’t think the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling went far enough. Not only should corporations be allowed to give unlimited campaign contributions, they should be allowed to do so in secret!

Please call our senators and voice your sentiments.
Isakson…202-224-3643
Chambliss…202-224-3521

DannyX

July 17th, 2012
12:03 pm

“Yesterday, they voted to allow corporations and wealthy individuals the ability to provide secret campaign contributions.”

Excellent point Don. Its funny how a few posts claim things like “Scary ceding of American sovereignty” when it comes to the UN only to remain silent at the thought of foreigners flooding our political campaigns with secret donations.

Abe Lincoln

July 17th, 2012
12:05 pm

Typical political coverage. One side opposes it, the other supports it. No need to mention any of the substance of the bills/treaties in question, because most people refuse to think for themselves anyway.

md

July 17th, 2012
12:14 pm

Good for him……..now, pull out of the worthless UN and end NATO. The UN is a toothless organization that adds nothing for us and it is quite obvious that NATO means the US, as the other countries involved contribute inadequate percentages to the effort.

Europe is swimming in social programs for 2 reasons……they have high taxes and they piggy back our military spending. Time for that to stop………….

maximum

July 17th, 2012
12:21 pm

Interesting that Republicans refuse to support national security and business interests represented in the Law of the Sea treaty. Inaction in this matter will help deliver resources beneath the Arctic ice cap to the Russians, who are already working to establish their claim. It’s not surprising to see 18th century throwback Jim DeMint oppose anything related to keeping USA competitive in 21st century, but I had thought Johnny Isakson was more forward thinking.

WDWJ

July 17th, 2012
12:25 pm

Thanks Johnny for standing up for America. We don’t need the UN telling us what we can and can’t do.

We don’t need the DOT getting our Taxes and then turn around and vote another splost money (tax)for them. Thats two tax deals going to DOT. Vote No! they will still get the taxes they already get. Plus it a region deal, your tax will play for someone else’s problems. Let each County do it own taxes.

Hillbilly D

July 17th, 2012
12:31 pm

The link to the bluegrass version of the song takes you to a blank page.

Tea Party Hobbit

July 17th, 2012
12:31 pm

maximum…wow…so because some provisions of a proposal may be good, it should just be passed without concern? geez I’d like to have you on the other side at a negotiating table! the problem with the UN is that many of the members want to see a greatly diminished US, and will attempt to build measures to tax and limit us wherever they can, as evidenced in the Law of the Sea treaty. The UN simply cannot be trusted to do what is good for the US

richard

July 17th, 2012
12:48 pm

dc read the whole quote in context and then please apologize for your misstatement

Must be Embarassing to Have You People as Constituents

July 17th, 2012
12:48 pm

Rock the boat. Rock the boat, Johnny. Rock the boat. Rock the boat, Johnny.

Dan

July 17th, 2012
12:50 pm

Good to see Isakson not voting to cede more U.S. sovereignty over to the clowns at the U.N.

Typical GA GOP Voter

July 17th, 2012
12:51 pm

OMG! What are we gonna do? The UN is gonna take away our sovren’tee!
We gotta stop this thing.
I’m soooo scared of the UN.
Hang on; I forgot what else I was gonna say. Let me turn on Fox News. BRB.

NO TSPLOST !!!

July 17th, 2012
12:53 pm

VOTE NO FOR TSPLOST!! What they have done in Gwinnett County is horrible. Traffic is much, much worse than before the state’s so-called “vision for Gwinnett Interstates!” Also, MARTA cannot control their own budget and have been unable to do so for years – why should we have to suffer those consequences yet again??? No – I don’t wish my $ to go to these same people who have mis-managed and hoarded our money. And remember, long since by now, there were to be no further tolls for 400 – yeah, right!! Our state government has not proven they can manage these funds, and KEEP committments – so VOTE NO ON JULY 31st to TSPLOST !!!!!!!

Leather Goods

July 17th, 2012
12:53 pm

My aunt told me she knew Johnny Isakson when he was just a pup, and his grandaddy was actually a Chinese Sharpei. Guess we better keep a close eye on him.

Vote Yes T-SPLOST!!

July 17th, 2012
12:56 pm

1. Metro Atlanta has a traffic crisis.

Depending on which study you read, Atlanta traffic is anywhere from 9th to 15th worst in the nation. We have seven of the 50 worst freeway bottlenecks in the country and that doesn’t even include I-285 at Ga. 400 because 400 is not a freeway. Our average commute times are over 60 minutes which is also one of the worst in the country.

Many may wonder what Atlanta traffic has to do with Fayette County. The answer is that, according to Census Bureau data, 73.8 percent of Fayette County workers leave the county to work and about three-fourths of them work in the five core urban counties of Metro Atlanta. That’s over 50,000 trips by Fayette County residents to and from Atlanta each day. Add to that all of the trips we make to Atlanta for ball games, concerts, shopping and dining and we see that Fayette County is very much impacted by traffic congestion in Atlanta.

2. Fayette County gets a significant return on its tax contribution.

Fayette County is projected to contribute $190.2 million over the 10 years of the tax. In return, we will receive $129.9 million for 10 projects in our county from the list of 157 regional projects, plus $43.6 million of the 15 percent mentioned above for local discretion, for a combined total of $173.5 million.

Not included in that number but of significant benefit to Fayette County is another $22.5 million to reconstruct the I-85/Ga. Highway 74 interchange, $40.2 million to widen Ga. Highway 54 in Fayette and Clayton County, and significant improvements on almost all of the major I-285 interchanges. You can see a list of all the projects at http://transformmetroatlanta.com/regional-projects/.

3. Economic development and jobs.

An economic cost/benefit study of the impact of the referendum indicates that there will be more than a 4 to 1 return on our investment. By spending about $8 billion, the region receives more than $34 billion back in Gross Regional Product by 2040.

If the referendum passes, transportation investments in the metro Atlanta region over the next 10 years will be almost double the investments made in metro Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics.

Econometric modeling shows that tens of thousands of additional jobs will be created and supported and two-thirds of those will be in mid to high-paying sectors.

Finally, because of the congestion relief the transportation investments will bring, the region will save $18 billion from reduced fuel costs and time.

4. Businesses throughout metro Atlanta are supporting the referendum.

Over 200 businesses have already contributed nearly $8 million to help educate and advertise for this referendum. These include some of the biggest economic engines in our state like Cox Enterprises, Georgia Power and Coca-Cola who have each donated at least $250,000; AT&T, Delta Airlines, Home Depot, Newell Rubbermaid and UPS who have each donated at least $100,000.

Some opponents of the referendum have said that raising taxes will drive business out of the state but clearly the business community is clamoring for the state to solve some of our pressing transportation issues and believes the regional TSPLOST should be supported.

5. Existing transportation funding is not meeting our transportation needs.

The overwhelming majority of transportation funding comes from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which is funded primarily by the federal portion of fuel taxes, and the Ga. State Motor Fuel Tax. The problem is that neither is able to keep up with our transportation maintenance and new capacity needs.

This is primarily because fuel economy of cars and trucks has improved dramatically over the last few decades while the fuel tax rate has risen little to none. On the federal side, the gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon (24.4 cents per gallon for diesel) and hasn’t been increased since 1993. On the state side, the motor fuel excise tax of 7.5 cents per gallon hasn’t increased since 1971.

In contrast, fuel efficiency for the average passenger car has increased 40 percent since 1980. That has created a steadily declining revenue source for transportation infrastructure needs at both the state and federal levels while at the same time maintenance and capacity costs have increased.

After years of debate on multiple options, the Georgia legislature has decided that the best way to bridge this widening gap is with a one cent sales tax to be used for transportation.