Friday, April 25, 2014

The CRPD and an Idea

 As I mentioned in a previous blog, Senator Tom Harkin from Iowa is asking people to send stories about what the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the CRPD, means to them. If you visit Senator Harkin's website -- -- and look at the CRPD option at the top on the right side, click on it, you can share your story.

Well, I have an idea that would complement and bring power to Senator Harkin's strategy. Let's compile in one place like, all the pictures floating around about the CRPD. The idea came to me after a friend sent me something from YouTube. Details are below.

 Seventeen  year old Joe Bush got a high school assignment to make a video
 reproduction. He  chose history as a theme and tucked it all into two minutes.Take pictures from the internet, add the track Mind Heist by Zack Hemsey
 (from the movie Interception) and then you get --

Joe's collection of photos makes the case for peace, clean air, "we are all this together" mind set, and the CRPD without saying a word.

Maybe we could ask Joe to help us make a video collage for YouTube.

Thank you.
Common Grounder

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The CRPD and Ukraine where I maintain this blog gives me access to a range of statistics on viewers of  my blog. One is "audience", where the hits are coming from. What Blogger gives me is a rolling seven-day number. can tell me how many times I have had a viewer from a particular country in a seven day period. It gives me the hits for the top ten countries. I look at this statistic occasionally, because I assume most hits come from the U.S. and perhaps other English speaking countries. Well, something caught my eye this morning. Number 2, with 35 hits, was Ukraine.

That was a total surprise. Ukraine is not an English speaking country and most Ukrainians must have other things on their minds right now. So why was it that I got 35 hits from Ukraine? The only answer I could come up with is that the U.S. represents a beacon of hope to people who witness the peace they had or yearn for slip away.

Opponents of Senate ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) say we don't need ratification. They are entitled to their opinion. However, what they fail to appreciate is what ratification of the CRPD would mean to so many Americans and others, like those 35 Ukrainians -- the U.S. is willing to join with 145 other countries and stand clearly for liberty, freedom, and human rights for all people. Ukraine ratified the CRPD April 2, 2010.

What we do or don't do affects the hopes and aspirations of people in far away places. Our laws are strong. Our system of government is solid and works. Senate ratification of the CRPD would not undo our laws or weaken our system of government. But such an act would strengthen, perhaps restore, what others think about us and the potential change for the better in their own circumstances.

The Senate has a choice -- ratify the CRPD and relight the candle of hope in Ukraine and elsewhere or not ratify the CRPD and darken the planet. I hope they make the right choice, and soon.

Thank you.
Common Grounder

Monday, April 21, 2014

Senator Paul and the CRPD

We need Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky as a player as we move to ratification of the CRPD. I know what you're thinking. I have gone over the edge. Not quite. I watched his speech to the Berkley Forum (March 20, 2014) on privacy. It's long, about 49 minutes. You can see it on YouTube. He strongly, unequivocally, and clearly supports the Constitution, individual rights, and the rule of law. If you look at his legislative record, he has sponsored and cosponsored a great deal of legislation designed to put limits on government abuses of power.

He spoke to the Berkley Forum on the National Security Agency's unlimited access to the digital records, telephone call, and computer files of every American. His ally in this crusade, of bringing the government to account on its unfettered access to personal information, is Ron Wyden, a very liberal Democrat Senator.

So here's where I am going with these facts. As Senator Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, works with others to draft a resolution on the CRPD, why not ask Senator Paul about text dealing with -- parents rights, U.S. sovereignty, and access to reproductive health care? Senator Paul is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Since Senator Paul supports the idea that the right words in legislation can place limits on government, why not get his advice on the wording on a resolution on the CRPD? Surely, he will know what words will keep the UN from our door step. If we used Senator Paul as our taste tester, we could avoid heart burn at a committee mark up on a resolution. And, perhaps we could ask Senator Wyden to ask Senator Paul to help us. They are partners on privacy issues, remember. Senator Paul just might help us given his political ambitions.

Look, I know this is thinking WAY OUT OF THE BOX. But, at this point we need to explore all kind of ideas. The CRPD is all about freedom, individual rights, privacy, equal opportunity, choices, and empowerment. Senator Rand identifies with these principles. He is a rising Republican star. He has credibility with his party. If he were to say particular wording would work to resolve a concern about how the CRPD would work under U.S. law, opponents of the CRPD would listen.

Thank you.
Common Grounder