Thursday, August 23, 2007

Economic Geneva

The New York Times has details of this interesting story. The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled the US violated Antigua's rights by prohibiting Americans from gambling over Internet sites based in Antigua. Now the lawyer for Antigua is asking the WTO to compensate the island nation by allowing it to set aside US intellectual property laws and to distribute copies of American music, movie and software products, among others with impunity.



For the W.T.O. itself, the decision is equally fraught with peril. It cannot back down because that would undermine its credibility with the rest of the world. But if it actually carries out the penalties, it risks a political backlash in the United States, the most powerful force for free-flowing global trade and the W.T.O.’s biggest backer.

“Think of this from the W.T.O.’s point of view,” said Charles R. Nesson, a professor at Harvard Law School. “They’re this fledgling organization dominated by a huge monster in the United States. People there must be scared out of their wits at the prospects of enforcing a ruling that would instantly galvanize public opinion in the United States against the W.T.O.” ...

The W.T.O. allowed that Washington probably had not intended to include online gambling when it agreed to the inclusion of “recreational services” and other similar language in agreements reached during the early 1990s, when the W.T.O. was first established. But the organization says it has no choice but to enforce the plain language of the pacts. “Geneva is certainly buzzing about this case,” said Lode Van Den Hende, an international trade lawyer with the firm of Herbert Smith in Brussels. ...

“Compensation is not a check in the mail,” Professor Jackson of Georgetown said. “It’s the right to raise trade barriers against the country in violation.” Whatever trade barriers Antigua imposed, he said, “would feel like a pin prick.”

To get around that limitation, Antigua is seeking the right under international law to violate American intellectual property laws.

Dani Rodrik thinks the WTO Antigua decision goes to heart of who gets to regulate property rights within a national space. Rodrik argues that because trade evolves, "unforseen" contingencies arise over which international bodies like the WTO, not the national states, acquire jurisdiction. In other words, as the scope of trade regulation grows organically, it grows in favor of the WTO.

Now suppose you enter into a contract with the WTO to open up one of your markets. Suppose further that due to changes over time in technology or other conditions which no-one could have foreseen at the time of the initial contract, the substantive implications of the agreement changes. That is, the agreement generates new market access benefits to other countries, and begins to impinge on rights you had not thought (or wished) to have granted away. Who then has residual control rights over these additional benefit flows generated by the exogenous and unforeseen change in circumstances? The WTO or the domestic polity?

This in essence is the question increasingly raised by the "new" trade issues in the WTO. When countries first signed into GATT/WTO, GMOs, currency manipulation, child labor, environmental concerns and a range of other issues did not loom large, either because trade and outsourcing remained small or because the technology was not yet on the horizon. If we now insist on folding these new areas under a literal reading of pre-existing agreements, we risk giving undue property rights to the WTO over domestic policies.

Trade Diversion doesn't buy Rodrik's argument. It says that once America agreed to the provisions, it should not renege. If matters changed in ways unforeseen, then too bad. They should have been foreseen. And since Antigua was "clever" enough to find a way to extract it's pound of flesh, there is no recourse but to pay it. Because those are the rules America agreed to and America plays by the rules.

Professor I. Nelson Rose of the Whittier Law School writes:

The United States had indeed (accidentally) agreed to let in all forms of gambling when, in 1994, it signed the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). It did this by agreeing to let in all “Recreational, Cultural & Sporting Services” . . . “except sporting.” Other countries put “gambling” on their lists of excluded services; the United States did not.

Perhaps it was an accidental inclusion, but then this is the fault of the USTR for being asleep at the wheel, not the WTO for enforcing its agreement. Other countries were apparently more competent. ...

Rodrik's post makes it appear that Americans are so fond of sovereign "policy space" that they will be quite upset by the WTO's infringement upon it, but Professor Nesson was explaining that the WTO must be reluctant to enforce its decision because Antigua, aware that, absent transferrable retaliatory rights, a few tariffs upon US exports would provide it negligible leverage, requested an awesome penalty:

Mr. Mendel, who is claiming $3.4 billion in damages on behalf of Antigua, has asked the trade organization to grant a rare form of compensation if the American government refuses to accept the ruling: permission for Antiguans to violate intellectual property laws by allowing them to distribute copies of American music, movie and software products, among others.

Dean Baker rightfully highlighted this clever tactic, but Rodrik omitted it. Whether it is pragmatically wise for Antigua and the WTO to entangle themselves in such a high-stakes showdown is a completely valid question, but I don't think the ruling lacks economic or legal merits. So why is Dani Rodrik so skeptical of the decision?

The Antigua story underscores how asymmetries operate in international trade and political relations. A regulatory regime is created, but that fact does not guarantee "fairness". The huge disparity in the size between Antigua and the United States makes the island's trade retaliatory power weak. And in a straight trade dispute the odds would weigh overwhelmingly in favor of the US. But lawyers are clever and the loophole cited by the New York Times makes it possible for Antigua to demand the right to pirate US intellectually property -- under the rules -- and "morally" too because a mechanism which allowed the US to use is preponderant economic power would be "unfair". Where have we seen this before? Pretty much everywhere. While not exactly the same, the Antigua decision has structural similarities to the way some international lawyers think about the Geneva Convention and human rights legislation. The US is "bound" by the letter of the law, and if a terrorist mass murderer can find a legal loophole to escape then he is "entitled" to use it. But the Convention is not obeyed by weaker parties because it is impractical to enforce it. Just as pirated DVDs can be found being openly sold in many street corners in Asia without being similarly available in places like Australia, countries with well-functioning legal systems find themselves at a disadvantage compared to countries with no enforcement. In the area of human rights, for example, America has courts before which lawyers can appear. Al-Qaeda has a cave in Pakistan where accommodations are notoriously poor. The US will obey a legal judgment. Legal judgments against al-Qaeda are an exercise in futility. Who will lawyers sue? Under these conditions the full weight of international law will always come down hardest on the most law-abiding. It's ironic that WTO may be reluctant to enforce its own judgment because it has such an appearance of unfairness that it may create a backlash against itself. But give them time and they will become as stone faced as the human-rights advocates.

The condition is so pervasive it almost seems natural. For example, illegal immigrants are allowed to use every US statute on the books to plead their case, as they should be. But others parties technically bound by the same obligation are under no de facto compulsion to behave similarly. "A Mexican Senate committee passed a measure Wednesday urging President Felipe Calderon to send a diplomatic note to the United States protesting the deportation of an illegal migrant who took refuge in a Chicago church for a year," even though Mexico itself summarily deports thousands of Central Americans who cross into it. The power disparity between countries like the United States and other countries is offset by the disparity in expectations of compliance. It would be considered natural for Khalid Sheik Mohammed to ask for his "rights" under international law, but an American soldier captured by al-Qaeda can hardly make the same request -- unless he wants to kill his captors with laughter -- which might be a violation of the Geneva Conventions itself. The application of "international law" to heterogeneous world often results in a split-level regulatory environment in practice. And that, sad to say, is probably how it is intended.

What's the alternative? An abolition of treaties? A return to the law of the jungle? Agreements between states are often advantageous. Some form of international law benefits everyone. But the worst excesses should be curbed. Maybe some of the logic behind tort reform can be applied to international law regime in order to improve it. Some way must be found to dampen the economic incentives which direct lawsuits not at those most liable for an offense but against those most able to pay for one. Some means must be discovered to enforce agreements in countries where they are least likely to be obeyed rather than to concentrate on ever-stricter enforcement in the only places willing to abide by the letter of the regulation. Otherwise the whole system will resemble that of the proverbial drunk who sought his lost keys under a lamppost, though he didn't misplace them there simply because that was only place where there was light to search by.

59 Comments:

Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard --

The dynamic you cite won't go away. It will only get worse. End result: Law of the Jungle.

That is, only bilateral treaties enforced by the threat, credible in and of itself, of War.

It's the only way things happen.

Antigua WILL get the right to pirate ANYTHING of the US, including drugs, movies, songs, tv, etc.

What THAT will do is align powerful corporate interests along with the populist mood.

Fact: ONLY Nationalism, in a populist mode, preserves and protects the people against a rapacious set of international thieves.

We are seeing the death rattles of the old international order. Americans are just supposed to "take it" from AQ, or Antigua? I don't think so.

Faith in the Holy Roman Empire, Santa Claus, and International Law are all dead.

8/23/2007 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

Well, it would be a step in the right direction if the chattering classes were not so forgiving of the asymmetries you identify. If the press in its coverage and diplomats in their salons actually applied the same standard to the United States and al Qaeda, we might have a system that effectively adjusted de facto, even if not de jure. If the world were actually to recognize that when a uniformed soldier accidentally kills a civilian that is held as camouflage by an non-uniformed guerrilla, the guerrilla, not the lawful soldier, is culpable, we would gain some redress without having to abandon our treaties or live with injustice.

8/23/2007 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Fascinating commentary and analysis. What would you like to bet Mexico is, at this very moment, combing through the NAFTA treaty looking for a similar Trojan horse with which to bludgeon the US due to their displeasure at the enforcement of our immigration laws?

8/23/2007 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Antigua should put in for control of the internet, get its bid in along with the EU and UN. Whoever can manage to tax interet traffic will have it made financially and politically for ever and ever.

What I always wonder when these daft rulings come down is: who's gonna enforce it? Who's going to make Bill Gates give Antigua his software for free, or make Disney ship them Pirates of the Caribbean for free, or make Gene Simmons ship them KISS albums for free. Yeah. Right.

8/23/2007 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

In fairness to Antigua, the whole thing was the idea of a US-based lawyer, Mark E. Mendel, a man "with long blond hair reaching his shoulders and dozens of cloth bracelets peeking out from under his sleeves". He came up
with the lawsuit to get his partner out of a jam.

In 2002, Mr. Mendel — who does not gamble and knew little about
international trade — was little more than a corporate lawyer in El Paso specializing in securities law. His law partner, though, was friends with Jay Cohen, an operator of an offshore sports betting operation in Antigua who had
been sentenced to 21 months in prison for taking bets over the Internet from
Americans. Mr. Cohen asked his friend to see if there was anything his firm could do. ... “I had not done any trade law whatsoever, but for whatever reason this issue really struck my curiosity,” Mr. Mendel said. Beyond the intellectual challenge, the case also offered the prospect of a set of deep-pocketed clients — the online casinos doing business out of Antigua. So Mr. Mendel, 51, who recently moved his family and his practice to Ireland to be
closer to Geneva, jumped in enthusiastically."


I can only marvel at the literary ability of the writer to cast Mr. Mendel in the attractive role of David versus Goliath.

8/23/2007 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Ferris said...

By similar reasoning, cocaine smuggling is a "recreational service"...

8/23/2007 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

Very illuminating as usual.

"Some way must be found to dampen the economic incentives which direct lawsuits not at those most liable for an offense but against those most able to pay for one."

For the socialists who over time, via 'tribal' hiring practices, come to dominate the staffs of all of these intergovernmental and 'human rights' organizations, this of course is a feature rather than a bug.

The attraction of socialism for a certain kind of personality is always the access it offers to levers of power and control (always exercised of course for the greater good, ha ha). You illustrate very well how international organizations typically get subverted to this end.

This is an inherent problem the very smart supporters of international law have no interest in identifying. Consequently it is rarely discussed.

The impulse to take certain governance issues and give them to an 'impartial' arbitration body is basically utopian. Every utopian project granted access to real resources has always produced the same result: a swarm of eager parasites.

8/23/2007 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

dr. ferris:

By similar reasoning, cocaine smuggling is a "recreational service"...

Yes. I think cocaine export has an even better case than gambling dens. After all, the United States subsidizes its tobacco for export to places like Bolivia that are expected to use weed killer on their coca crop. Try telling an Afghan farmer he can't make a living on opium when farmers in Kentucky and France get subsidized to grow tobacco.

Now, if this could be applied to alcohol, Saudi Arabia could be forced to allow the sale of alcohol under WTO rules! If WTO becomes a means to force alcohol, gambling, and smut onto Islamic states, this may very well mean the end to Muslim participation in the WTO.

8/23/2007 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

The World Trade Organization, the WTO, is not a state actor in all of this. The WTO is not a nation. The WTO is really just the rented location where sovereign nations forged some agreements between themselves. The WTO is free to give advice to those nations or remind those nations of the language of those agreements and they are also free to do the dishes.

If you look in the Christian Bible, Acts 17: 26, it plainly states that God has determined the appointed times and the boundaries of the habitations of the nations.

The first time men attempted to form a world government at the tower of Babel God confused their language and that stopped them. It would turn the world into a prison if it happened.

Since then every lost dog and his brother has had a plan to form a world government. After spending the lives and treasure of millions and actually billions of people it has all come to nothing. The Russians were the last ones to try and from the sounds of Putin they are getting ready to try again.

All the United States has to do is announce that because a new technological development, namely the internet has come along, we are amending our agreement with the other members of the WTO to restrict American citizens from gambling on the internet from the United States to wherever. If any "NATION" has a problem with that then come and negotiate with us about it.

Some people as usual are trying to use the WTO as the nexus of another world government. Don't let that tree grow. It gives poisonous fruit.

Nations are in our interest.

8/24/2007 12:05:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Looking down the road 5 or 10 years, I predict that we'll treat the WTO with the same amount of respect as we do the UN.

8/24/2007 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

There is no broad solution to the asymmetries issue.

One partial solution is to recognize where the rule of law does not reach. E.g., declare aQ outlaw.

The chattering classes are forgiving of the asymmetries because they are anti-American. We have to hammer them on this, and keep it up.

As for the WTO, obviously, we need to amend our list of excluded services in the pact. There is a mechanism for that, right?

8/24/2007 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

A key aspect to free trade and a key component to the Antigua argument is (from that NY Times article):

"The general rule in the world of international trade agreements is that a country must treat foreign goods and services in the same manner as it treats domestic ones. The United States, the trade body found, permits online wagering through sites like Youbet.com, a publicly traded company that allows visitors to place bets at horse racing tracks around the globe."

If you make a free trade arrangement it makes sense if you allow your domestic companies to sell a widget that you can not discriminate against a foreign company that sells a widget. The US has aggressively pushed such a concept in order to get other countries to not discriminate against US products and it has been very beneficial to the US. The issue in the Antigua case is that the US allows online gambling, and gambling in general. They are arguing that the US is simply not allowing gambling outfits from other countries to offer gambling to Americans. This would be a clear violation of the agreement. Where the US has room to argue is the role of regulation but it seems the court is rejecting those arguments. As to the remedy requested by Antigua, well, that is just a request and there is no reason to expect that they will be granted such broad rights to compensation but the request itself does raise some interesting issues.

Canada is wrestling with a similar issue with regard to water. If Canada allows domestic companies to move large volumes of water out of its watershed they are obliged, under NFTA and WTO to allow foreign companies to do the same. The thirsty US scares many in Canada hence Canada does not allow the sale of large volumes of water - BY ANYBODY!

8/24/2007 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Skip said...

The interesting thing here, to me, is the reasoning behind the WTO decision. Essentially, the WTO ruled that regardless of our intent, we still lost because we allow local gambling. 30 states have some form of casino gambling, and even more have state-run gambling in lotteries.

So at its heart, this was an anti-protectionism ruling. And as a free market guy, I have to approve of that. This is really no different than any other protectionism case.

And honestly, I don't know how this will play in the chattering classes, because this IS a David vs. Goliath case. And it's obvious that people like to gamble.

8/24/2007 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Get a grip on eality, nahncee, do not project yoour own opinions upon the Government of the United States.
The US has hugh amounts of respect for the UN. Just look to how much cash we supply to those YOU disrespect:

On February 6, 2006, the President requested $1,268,523,000 for payment of U.S. assessed contributions to international organizations (CIO account) of which $922,970,000 was for assessed U.N. system organizations, including $422,761,000 for the U.N. regular budget. He requested $1,135,327,000 for U.S. assessed contributions to U.N. peacekeeping activities (CIPA account), and $289 million for U.S. voluntary contributions to the international organizations and programs (IO&P account). An additional $50 million was requested for a U.S. contribution to voluntary IAEA programs. The House, on June 9, 2006, passed H.R. 5522, the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, providing $327,570,000 to the IO&P account. On June 29, the House passed H.R. 5672, including State Department appropriations that provided $1,151,318,000 for the CIO account and the requested amount for the CIPA account. On July 10, 2006, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported H.R. 5522, providing $1,151,318,000 for the CIO account,
$1,135,327,000 for the CIPA account, and $306,125,000 for the IO&P account.
Current Funding Information Introduction
The United States has been, and remains, the single largest financial contributor
to the United Nations (U.N.) system.

For calendar year (CY) 2003, U.S. contributions to the U.N. system totaled $3.9 billion.1

This included $571,910,675
in assessed contributions to the regular budgets of the United Nations and its specialized agencies and $57,043,423 in assessed contributions to the two war crimes tribunals. In CY2003, the United States contributed $633,239,487 in assessed contributions to U.N. peacekeeping operations. Finally, U.S. voluntary contributions to U.N. system special programs and funds totaled $2,695,019,000.


This CRS Report dated 10 Aug 06 the most current documentation from a US government source available.

8/24/2007 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

whiskey_199 said...

What THAT will do is align powerful corporate interests along with the populist mood
//////////
I agree with this. I would add that those powerful corporate interests won't be in just the USA because a WTO ruling in favor of Antigua would lower the value of copyrights as a currency worldwide. For this reason I don't think that its a forgone conclusion that the WTO will jump the shark and allow Antigua the right to break american law.

That said, the WTO could rule in favor of Antigua. But then the USA would treat the WTO like the USA treats with the world court--as a rogue leftist institution. And justifiably.

8/24/2007 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

While the penalty is a clever interpretation of a loophole, the WTO can't give Antigua that result. Well they may try, but good luck trying to enforce it. The simple fact is that the copyrights of American citizens are owned by individuals (or biz) NOT the U.S. government. The WTO is going to punish the US gov by stealing property from American citizens. First, US gov couldn't do that even if they wanted to. There is a constitutional amendment that says the government can't seize private property. Second, is just plain common sense i.e. A does something wrong so I punish A by seizing B's property. Of course, B is totally innocent and had nothing to do with A's action, but we will take B's property anyway. While this may make sense to the EU commies and tyrannical thugs, it would create a U.S. backlash. More imporantly, it will unleash a tsunami of lawsuits against Antigua and my money is on the lawyers.

8/24/2007 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Lisa said...
There is a constitutional amendment that says the government can't seize private property.
................
Just before bush put in two conservative judges on the supreme court -- the US supreme court voted to allow US municipalities the right to force the sale of property for economic reasons. typically these economic reasons would be that the municipality would want to resell a property to someone who would give them a higher tax base.

This has caused a big stink across the land and likely the law will be repealed.

8/24/2007 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Kelso v New London, lisa, invalidates your thinking. The US governmet can sieze any property for the "public good". Even if that "good" is purely the economic improvement of the government position.

You are behind the times, legally speaking.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing in dissent, said cities shouldn't be allowed to uproot a family in order to accommodate wealthy developers.

"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," O'Connor wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."
...
Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said, "... has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including -- but by no means limited to -- new jobs and increased tax revenue."

Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party,


So, the Government, at any level, can sieze your property, for the economic benefit of the government.

Enjoy.

8/24/2007 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

I think Kelso had a provision saying that it wasn't binding on the states. Our legislature here, Idaho, immediately passed a bill saying Kelso was inoperative here. This actually strengthened our property rights. Bless the Idaho legislature, and curse the Supreme Court for the idiotic decision they came up with.

8/24/2007 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/24/2007 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

True enough, bob, but the Federals have passed no such Law respecting property rights.
So the Congress retains ultimate title to all property, real and personal, in the US, per Kelso.

Unless, of course, they decide otherwise. Which has yet to occur.

The Federals grant whatever property rights the "owners" retain, they can withdraw those rights, as well.

8/24/2007 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

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A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

8/24/2007 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Promethea said...

Let's see....

Antigua, population 72,000

44th Ward, Chicago, population 59,000

Maybe it's time we rethink the idea of "nations" in international organizations. Some of these flea-sized countries need to understand that they're lucky to get their names on a world map.

8/24/2007 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Charles --

The reason I think Antigua will get it's way is that the WTO members will overall, benefit from destruction of US copyright laws.

China can purchase (and resell) as much pirated content as it wants. Various developing and developed nations can pirate drugs with impunity. Various patents can be violated with impunity.

For non-US corporations, the benefit is enormous and the loss fairly low (the US is the global leader by far in Intellectual Property). Japan loses if Intellectual Property is essentially abolished but India, China, Russia, most of the EU, etc. loses very little.

Of course Disney, Merck, Time-Warner, Sony, Viacom, News Corp etc. will suffer and fund efforts to simply "dump" the WTO and GATT agreements and the ingredients of trade wars are there.

Already consumers know that Chinese products are deadly, unsafe, poisonous, and otherwise junk. Resentment of outsourcing to India is the stuff of late night talk show skits. Add the drug companies, entertainment companies, and perhaps Boeing or other IP patent holders to the mix and you have powerful forces to encourage a trade war.

Meanwhile I think it's naive to assume that Antigua "winning" this issue has anything to do with Antigua's case on the merits and instead EVERYTHING to do with the EU's desire to exploit drug patents / IP, and China/Russia/other nation's desires to exploit other IP particularly software and entertainment.

Ultimately this conflict cannot be avoided and must be fought out. There can be only one winner and the rest "losers."

8/24/2007 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Panama Ed said...

HONG KONG (Associated Press) -- A Beijing-based software company has filed a lawsuit against the creator of the "World of Warcraft" and the game's local operator for allegedly using its Chinese character fonts illegally.

Founder Group's lawsuit seeks $13.2 million in damages, company spokesman Song Zhenying said Friday.

The Chinese version of "World of Warcraft," run by Shanghai-based The9 Ltd., uses five Chinese character fonts developed by Founder without authorization, Song said. Founder employees discovered the alleged violations while playing the game.

A court date hasn't been set.

8/24/2007 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

desert rat - that must be why on at least two different occasions when Kofi Annan went to Bush and begged for US troops to use to go adventuring, our tremendous amounts of respect for the UN enabled Bush to tell him to go away and leave us alone.

Or why when a UN representative calls Americans tightwads, there is an immediate outpouring of financial support for the crisis du jour (not).

And why last time I looked more than 70% of American respondents favored us leaving the United Nations.

But doubtless you are right and I am wrong. Because you are always right ... in all ways.

8/24/2007 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Re: Kelso, I don't think so, d-rat. The states are passing laws specifically aimed at defanging the Kelso law. I don't think the Feds can over-rule specific state laws.

8/24/2007 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

States, nahncee, have no say in inntellectual property rights.
Copyrights and patents are all Federal jurisdiction.

If the Federal Government wanted to sieze your property for their use, the State Law would not over rule the Federal.

The State can regulate within their State, but cannot supercede the Federal Law.
New Mexico and California medical marijuana laws are the perfect example of the Federal superceding State or Local laws and regulations

The Supreme Court ruled in 2005 in Raich v. Gonzales that the federal government can prosecute medical marijuana patients, even in states with compassionate use laws,

So the State of Idaho can deny the "benefits" of Kelso to lesser jurisdictions, in Idaho, but could not stop the Federals from siezing property in Idaho under Kelso.

8/24/2007 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Antigua has a USAF tracking station, and the US rents the land required from the government there. The rent money represents a substantial portion of the government's income and virtually all of it goes to service the country's large foreign debt.

In the early 90's the USAF undertook an effort to reduce the amount of land required by consolidating the facilities into a smaller area. I would not be surprised if that effort prompted a search for other sources of revenue.....

8/24/2007 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

It's Kelo not Kelso, we should all know that. Wiki has one municipality seizing property from Wal-Mart, saying Wal-Mart depresses a community by running competitors out, etc. :)

What the feds can do I am uncertain. Seize your land for an Air Force Base, I quess.

8/24/2007 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Thank you for the Helo correction, bob.
Not just for a Air Force Base, bob, nor just sieze your real property. The can take intellectual or real, to satisfy the economic demands of the WTO or the UN.

As Justice Stevens wrote:

... has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including -- but by no means limited to -- new jobs and increased tax revenue."

Because as Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote in dissent:
"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party

ANY PROPERTY, not just Real Property.

8/24/2007 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Kelo, not Helo nor Kelso.

8/24/2007 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

My understanding of that ruling is that the State can expropriate property for any reason it sees fit. Up until that ruling it was assumed that it was only for the 'public good' but that 'public good' seems to have been deemed as whatever the government deems to be the 'public good'. In that case it was in the 'public good' to up the real estate values.

In a way I can see the supremes point. If you accept limits to private ownership - say to expropriate property for a highway or an air force base well, why stop there, you are on the slippery slope once you allow expropriation so, 'tis up to the gov to decide the extent of the slope.

8/24/2007 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

p.s. The gov is YOU right?

8/24/2007 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Some of the smaller merchants in the town Wiki mentioned evidently got the council to fight back against Wal-Mart for them, by expropriating Wal-Marts property.:) I'd like to know how that case turned out. Hugo Chavez, are you listening? It turns the whole damned government into a circus, much more so than it already was. The government that governs least is best? The government that doesn't govern at all is best, I am tempted to say. It was better when the Native Americans had it, I think in my darker moods.

8/24/2007 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

babal wrote:

"The government that governs least is best? "

It is with that sentiment in mind that I am puzzled when you cling to the fence on the Iraq issue - why for God's sake do you feel it necessary for America to govern Iraq?

8/24/2007 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Ash, in Kelo states, there exists great fields of opportunity for young up and coming politicians on the city councils, etc. Get elected, then your vote is really worth something. The whole thing is rich in opportunities for those with devious minds.

8/24/2007 07:47:00 PM  
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bobal, you are sounding like a cynic -- a fallen idealist.

8/24/2007 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Sandra Day O'Connor was as blithering an idiot as in her previous rulings on hidden language in the Constitution allowing gay anal sex, her 25-more years out of my ass sounds nice for affirmative action and her "Oh, I felt better siding with abortion" decision in Casey.

Good riddance to that vapid airhead.

IN Kelo, the lead and 5 other millionaire speculators in multiple properties tried to hold out for triple what others got to move out of a blighted neighborhood infested with rats, located by the Town septic system.

The usual Libertarian morons that believe the Constitution is a Sacred Parchment and it's words came from Jesus and the Dred Scott decision was wrong and slavery must go on BECAUSE of scared property rights had a cow when SCOTUS decided.

Hard to argue with people that think Dred Scott and other slaves were sacrosanct private property completely protected by "absolute" Rights.

The beauty is the property rights zealots were able to convince several states to pass laws that cities were barred from renewing their tax bases if millionaire slumlords objected - so the muttonheads that are the most fervid "libertarians" - clueless suburbanite conservatives - now get taxed extra to pay for the services cities denied renewal require. The muttonheads deserve it.

And the WTO is wrong. Every nation has a right to erect firewalls on the Internet to keep what THEY determine is objectionable out, and in trade in "sin goods."

8/25/2007 12:00:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Sure Cedarford, they have that right, but they must exercise it against their domestic companies as well and that is the issue in the Antiqua case.

8/25/2007 06:44:00 AM  
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I'm thinking under what reasons and parameters, online gambling comes under “recreational services”. It is crystal clear fact that WTO can't impose any barriers on US, since it is having huge contribution in WTO. But whether it'll be the case if its done by any developing countries.
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8/25/2007 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger chuckR said...

Would some kind soul explain to me how it is we have any truck with an organization that sanctions piracy as a redress of a trade issue? This is criminal activity no matter how you disguise it.
Still, we are hoist by our own petard in terms of the trade violation itself, thanks to the blundering of the trade reps of the smartest President (and co-President) we've ever had......
The NYT article doesn't go very far in describing what the Antiguans can get away with. Can they crack license keys, etc. and distribute worldwide, for example?

8/25/2007 12:47:00 PM  
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What I always wonder when these daft rulings come down is: who's gonna enforce it? Who's going to make Bill Gates give Antigua his software for free, or make Disney ship them Pirates of the Caribbean for free, or make Gene Simmons ship them KISS albums for free. Yeah. Right. - nahncee

No one will give them to Antiqua. No one has to.

I guarantee you there are people there already making copies of these items. What Antiqua's lawyer is hoping to accomplish, is to eliminate the filing of charges against them by the victim corporations if they take the step from small scale, to big scale.

From my point of view, we're in the final days of intellectual property rights. This is another small step. In a day when anyone can log into limewire, and download whatever they want, where anyone can pick up a DVD burner for $50 and "backup" rented or purchased DVD's onto blanks for all their friends, a day where copy protection is overcome by free software the day after said copy protection is introduced, well. . .the long run impact is pretty obvious.

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I wouldn't mind if the US let Antigua take property rights for say copyrighted material that was 20 years old or older, thus putting our IP back to a more reasonable time frame.

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Blogger tom said...

化粧品 通販「毎日使う スキンケアで自然治癒力を引き出せないか」・・・。 アンチエイジングにもっとも効果ある成分は何なのか・・・。
そしてついに、 化粧品業界に30年以上従事して美のメカニズムを追求し、全世界の機能性 化粧品の窓口でもある研究家に出会いました。どんな肌の状態でも皮膚再生を可能にするノウハウと、不要物だけを確実に取り除くことを可能にする。「何の助けも受けず、どんな苛酷な環境下でも絶滅せずに生き抜く『シルククモ』の生命力の驚くべき秘密」韓国の朴(パク)博士開発の? アラザイム?を含め、あらゆる角度から見つめられた機能する 化粧品作り『強くなった肌だけが皮膚のメカニズムを正常に保つ事が出来る』・・・の考え方に共感し、 リュースパンドゥルスキンケアシリーズが開発され、完成いたしました。 リュースパンドゥルスキンケアシリーズの目的は『凛とした強い肌』、本来の美しい肌作りが目的です。

5/05/2008 06:40:00 PM  

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