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Old Dec 5, 2012, 09:47 AM   #1
mcrain
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GOP blocks disability treaty

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(Reuters) - Republican lawmakers on Tuesday blocked a treaty to protect people with disabilities from discrimination despite a passionate plea from former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, who was severely wounded in World War Two.

The Senate voted 61-38 to pass the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, falling short of the 66 votes needed to ratify the treaty.

The former Republican presidential nominee and Senate majority leader from Kansas tried to persuade Republicans to ratify the treaty and sat in a wheelchair on the sidelines of the Senate floor as lawmakers voted.

Only eight Republicans, including Vietnam War veteran Senator John McCain of Arizona, voted with the Democratic majority in the Senate.

"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," said top Democratic Senator Harry Reid of Nevada.

The treaty was modeled on a U.S. law that is designed to ensure that people with disabilities have equal opportunities in employment as well as state and local government services.

Ultra-conservatives associated with the Tea Party, including former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, had opposed the treaty saying it threatened U.S. sovereignty and parental rights.

Santorum, who has a daughter with special needs, had argued that the treaty would effectively put the United States under international law and give the U.N. discretion over decisions about how special needs children are educated.
Reuters
From what I have heard on the POTUS channel, there was a concerted effort to demonstrate that the treaty did not interfere with US sovereign power at all. The key group that opposed this can be gleaned from the last two paragraphs.

The right-wing, usually fundmentalist Christian, home-schoolers did not want to have any requirements on how they take care of or educate their disabled children, and basically threatened the GOP lawmakers that any support for this bill would risk a tea party primary challenge. I haven't found much support for that claim, but it sounds valid.

Reagan was disabled. Dole was disabled. McCain was wounded and probably qualified for disability status. They couldn't get 5 more Republicans to vote for this?

(edit) This is the closest thing I was able to find supporting the home-school backlash against this treaty. Link (I'm also not looking very hard).

Last edited by mcrain; Dec 5, 2012 at 10:05 AM.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 10:14 AM   #2
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I personally don't want an international commitee deciding on domestic issues. This could be a treaty with good intentions, but we can decide what is best for our own people and should pass a bill if deemed necessary.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 10:34 AM   #3
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I personally don't want an international commitee deciding on domestic issues. This could be a treaty with good intentions, but we can decide what is best for our own people and should pass a bill if deemed necessary.
But this treaty was modeled after OUR laws, and our ratification encourages other countries to also treat disabled people properly. There is NO reason not to ratify a treaty like this.

This is an embarrassment for the GOP. They should be ashamed.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:03 AM   #4
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I personally don't want an international commitee deciding on domestic issues. This could be a treaty with good intentions, but we can decide what is best for our own people and should pass a bill if deemed necessary.
We did, it's called the Americans with Disabilities Act, on which the UN treaty is based on. All this does is bring other countries up to our standards, a move which happens to give US companies that must follow the ADA a more even-playing field internationally.

The law doesn't "decide on domestic issues" rather it's an agreement to expand the rights of the disabled in other countries.


...


It's been fascinating to see the wingnut parade make an otherwise procedural bill into a clarion call because the UN (made of "strangers from foreign countries...[like] ...China, India, or even Afghanistan) wants to the rest of the world to follow US law.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:06 AM   #5
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There's no reason to ratify it, if we already have sufficient legislation.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:08 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by mcrain View Post
But this treaty was modeled after OUR laws, and our ratification encourages other countries to also treat disabled people properly. There is NO reason not to ratify a treaty like this.

This is an embarrassment for the GOP. They should be ashamed.
Don't you see?

It's perfectly OK for us to police the world, but heaven forbid we act as 'equals' on the world stage.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:10 AM   #7
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There's no reason to ratify it, if we already have sufficient legislation.
That's not how international law works.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:19 AM   #8
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That's not how international law works.
Why do we need a new international law to tell us to do what we already do sufficiently?
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:25 AM   #9
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Why do we need a new international law to tell us to do what we already do sufficiently?
Maybe we just need to ratify it so that its in effect for foreign companies that operate here and elsewhere. Maybe it doesn't hurt us, so why would the GOP oppose it?
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:30 AM   #10
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Maybe we just need to ratify it so that its in effect for foreign companies that operate here and elsewhere. Maybe it doesn't hurt us, so why would the GOP oppose it?
It's already in effect for foreign companies that operate here. They have to abide by our regulations and rules.

If other countries want to do it, why don't they just implement the legislation? Why do we need to have a UN treaty here in the US?
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:31 AM   #11
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Why do we need a new international law to tell us to do what we already do sufficiently?
Like the Budapest Convention, we'd be signing this into law in order to encourage other countries to do the same thing and follow our structures to synchronize international law.

It's become clear of late, with the failure of the US to sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child (along with Somalia!), that the wingnut crowd can be ginned up at the mere mention of the UN.

We'll sign arms treaties and cybercrime treaties (which arguably dented our rights more than either the CROC or the disability treaty ever would) and the wingnut crowd takes a nap. But, limit the ability to sell children into slavery or deny disability care and all of the sudden they care.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:34 AM   #12
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It's already in effect for foreign companies that operate here. They have to abide by our regulations and rules.

If other countries want to do it, why don't they just implement the legislation? Why do we need to have a UN treaty here in the US?
We have tons of UN treaties that we have ratified. Seriouisly, what part of a treaty is so scary for right-wingers? What part of having the UN involved in something is so terrifying?

This is good for US companies who have to abide by our laws. It gives them a more fair and even playing field. This doesn't take away us sovereignity at all, and for gods sake, it helps disabled people.

Last edited by annk; Dec 6, 2012 at 09:25 AM. Reason: Removed slur
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:37 AM   #13
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Like the Budapest Convention, we'd be signing this into law in order to encourage other countries to do the same thing
how is this any different than just having the legislation we already have? We don't need the UN to approve what we do, as they already do if they are modeling the law off the US law, so why can't countries just look at the US and do the same?

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and follow our structures to synchronize international law.
Why should international law be synchronized?

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Originally Posted by hulugu View Post
It's become clear of late, with the failure of the US to sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child (along with Somalia!), that the wingnut crowd can be ginned up at the mere mention of the UN.
The fact that another country votes along with the US doesn't mean anything. It certainly doesn't corrupt the legitimacy of any vote.

And what were the problems with the Rights of Child treaty? I bet there is more here than meets the eye.

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We'll sign arms treaties and cybercrime treaties (which arguably dented our rights more than either the CROC or the disability treaty ever would) and the wingnut crowd takes a nap. But, limit the ability to sell children into slavery or deny disability care and all of the sudden they care.
I don't think those treaties are necessary either.

----------

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Originally Posted by mcrain View Post
We have tons of UN treaties that we have ratified. Seriouisly, what part of a treaty is so scary for right-wingers?
We already have the law, what benefit do we gain from ratifying it?

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Originally Posted by hulugu View Post
What part of having the UN involved in something is so terrifying?
Why should we subject ourselves to international law, especially if that law is based off what we already practice?

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Originally Posted by hulugu View Post
This is good for US companies who have to abide by our laws. It gives them a more fair and even playing field.
How?
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This doesn't take away us sovereignity at all, and for gods sake, it helps disabled people.
How does the law change to help disabled people more?
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:50 AM   #14
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how is this any different than just having the legislation we already have? We don't need the UN to approve what we do, as they already do if they are modeling the law off the US law, so why can't countries just look at the US and do the same?
Essentially, you're arguing against the UN treaty system.

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...Why should international law be synchronized?
It makes enforcement of some of these laws, specifically trade laws, possible. Without an agreed upon treaty, you end up with a mishmash of agreements and memos of understanding that don't have the force necessary to pursue a case under international law.

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...The fact that another country votes along with the US doesn't mean anything. It certainly doesn't corrupt the legitimacy of any vote.
It's the company you keep. Our reasons could be different (Somalia wants the right to sell children into sex slavery, we just think the UN is scary), but the result is the same. International court cases against child sex slavery cannot build cases that involve US or Somalia.

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...And what were the problems with the Rights of Child treaty? I bet there is more here than meets the eye.
Conservatives believed, wrongly, that the UN treaty would give the UN the force to take their children.

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...Why should we subject ourselves to international law, especially if that law is based off what we already practice?
To encourage others to sign it and give it the legal weight it needs.


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How does the law change to help disabled people more?
Go read the treaty. I'm not carrying your water.

It's clear from your posts that you either don't understand or don't believe in the UN treaty system. This is a growing sentiment in the United States (the Birchers finally found a purchase apparently) and it will increasingly marginalize the US role in the UN and our ability to pursue treaties that operate in our best interests. It allows other countries to easily opt-out and that will hurt us.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:58 AM   #15
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Essentially, you're arguing against the UN treaty system.
No.


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Originally Posted by hulugu View Post
It makes enforcement of some of these laws, specifically trade laws, possible. Without an agreed upon treaty, you end up with a mishmash of agreements and memos of understanding that don't have the force necessary to pursue a case under international law.



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It's the company you keep.
No it's not. You can't control how other countries vote.
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Our reasons could be different (Somalia wants the right to sell children into sex slavery, we just think the UN is scary), but the result is the same. International court cases against child sex slavery cannot build cases that involve US or Somalia.
The US doesn't need (nor want) international court for such cases.


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Conservatives believed, wrongly, that the UN treaty would give the UN the force to take their children.
Of course the conservatives or want to hurt old people and children believed that.


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Originally Posted by hulugu View Post
To encourage others to sign it
Why should that be a priority for the US, if it doesn't make a difference in the US if we sign it or not?

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Originally Posted by hulugu View Post
and give it the legal weight it needs.
So are you saying international law requires the US to be legitimate?



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Originally Posted by hulugu View Post
Go read the treaty. I'm not carrying your water.
If you can't provide specifics, I'll assume there are none.

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Originally Posted by hulugu View Post
It's clear from your posts that you either don't understand or don't believe in the UN treaty system.
It's clear you misunderstand my posts, then.

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Originally Posted by hulugu View Post
This is a growing sentiment in the United States (the Birchers finally found a purchase apparently) and it will increasingly marginalize the US role in the UN and our ability to pursue treaties that operate in our best interests.
Why? If we don't get our way in the UN, we do it anyway.

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It allows other countries to easily opt-out and that will hurt us.
Without US intervention, countries can easily opt out anyway.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 12:23 PM   #16
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That's not how international law works.
That's not how sovereignty works.

We can, and do, handle the issue just fine without submitting to outside control.
The issue had nothing to do with international relations; it's a purely domestic concern. Other countries have the same concern...doesn't mean we have to compel each other to address it the same way.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 12:34 PM   #17
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we'd be signing this into law in order to encourage other countries to do the same thing and follow our structures to synchronize international law.
Why would a country which likes its abusive conditions want to agree to anti-abuse legislation just because another country they don't like agreed to it?

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the wingnut crowd
Funny how you advocate compulsion to respectful behavior, yet are quick to insult your reasonable opponents.

How about some of us sign an agreement to not insult our political opposition, in order to encourage Mr. Hulugu to do the same thing and follow our standards of respectful discourse? Oh, you say he won't because he likes being rude - but we'll still be bound to the agreement anyway?
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 12:34 PM   #18
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No it's not. You can't control how other countries vote.
Of course not, but if all your allies have signed it and a belligerent war-torn country has not, you should question why that's so.

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...The US doesn't need (nor want) international court for such cases.
You're wrong.

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Of course the conservatives or want to hurt old people and children believed that.
I never said that. Conservatives who fought against this treaty are wrong and they could hurt children (and apparently old people), but they didn't do so because they "want to hurt old people and children."


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It's clear you misunderstand my posts, then.
Then explain your thinking.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 12:38 PM   #19
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Why do we need a new international law to tell us to do what we already do sufficiently?
Because it raises the standard of living for those with disabilities around the world. Thats why.

There is literally no downside to this, just pure insane obstructionism.

THIS behavior is why the world has a love/hate relationship with us. We are the ultimate in hypocrisy.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 12:40 PM   #20
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International diplomacy has more to do with creating the world we want to live in than does sabre rattling:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helsinki_Accords

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The document was seen both as a significant step toward reducing Cold War tensions and as a major diplomatic boost for the Soviet Union at the time, due to its clauses on the inviolability of national frontiers and respect for territorial integrity, which were seen to consolidate the USSR's territorial gains in Eastern Europe following the Second World War. Considering objections from Canada, Spain, Ireland and other states, the Final Act simply stated that "frontiers" in Europe should be stable but could change by peaceful internal means.[2]:65 U.S. President Gerald Ford also reaffirmed that US non-recognition policy of the Baltic states' (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) forced incorporation into the Soviet Union had not changed.[3] Leaders of other NATO member states made similar statements.[2]:65

However, the civil rights portion of the agreement provided the basis for the work of the Moscow Helsinki Group, an independent non-governmental organization created to monitor compliance to the Helsinki Accords (which evolved into several regional committees, eventually forming the International Helsinki Federation and Human Rights Watch). While these provisions applied to all signatories, the focus of attention was on their application to the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies, including Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Poland, and Romania. Soviet propaganda presented the Final Act as a great triumph for Soviet diplomacy and for Brezhnev personally.[2]:65

According to the Cold War scholar John Lewis Gaddis in his book "The Cold War: A New History" (2005), "Leonid Brezhnev had looked forward, Anatoly Dobrynin recalls, to the 'publicity he would gain... when the Soviet public learned of the final settlement of the postwar boundaries for which they had sacrificed so much'... '[Instead, the Helsinki Accords] gradually became a manifesto of the dissident and liberal movement'... What this meant was that the people who lived under these systems — at least the more courageous — could claim official permission to say what they thought."
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 12:40 PM   #21
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Why would a country which likes its abusive conditions want to agree to anti-abuse legislation just because another country they don't like agreed to it?



Funny how you advocate compulsion to respectful behavior, yet are quick to insult your reasonable opponents.

How about some of us sign an agreement to not insult our political opposition, in order to encourage Mr. Hulugu to do the same thing and follow our standards of respectful discourse? Oh, you say he won't because he likes being rude - but we'll still be bound to the agreement anyway?
Wow. Way to boil down international relations to the kindergarten level.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 12:59 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by ctdonath View Post
...Funny how you advocate compulsion to respectful behavior, yet are quick to insult your reasonable opponents.

How about some of us sign an agreement to not insult our political opposition, in order to encourage Mr. Hulugu to do the same thing and follow our standards of respectful discourse? Oh, you say he won't because he likes being rude - but we'll still be bound to the agreement anyway?
The people who fought against this treaty because they believe that the UN is going to force their disabled children out of homeschooling don't understand the law and are reacting out of an atavistic fear of "strangers" from foreign countries. They're wingnuts.

If you are making an argument that state sovereignty is more important than the UN treaty system (regardless of its benefits or drawbacks) you are not a wingnut.

I thought the implication was clear.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 01:06 PM   #23
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Because it raises the standard of living for those with disabilities around the world. Thats why.
But why do we need to have a treaty in the US, when we already practice this?

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There is literally no downside to this, just pure insane obstructionism.
The downside would be unnecessary legislation, and increased UN oversight of the US.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 01:19 PM   #24
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Of course not, but if all your allies have signed it and a belligerent war-torn country has not, you should question why that's so.
You can question it, but it doesn't signify anything.


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You're wrong.
No you're wrong.


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Originally Posted by hulugu View Post
I never said that. Conservatives who fought against this treaty are wrong and they could hurt children (and apparently old people), but they didn't do so because they "want to hurt old people and children."
So what do Conservatives believe then?


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Then explain your thinking.
What has confused you? I'll happily explain.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 01:35 PM   #25
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So, we take the Americans With Disabilities Act, and codify it as a treaty, keeping in mind that the Americans With Disabilities Act has been changed and amended during the years as necessary. Do we assume it is now perfect? Or do we acknowledge that it will likely need future changes but simply assume all international treaties are so very easily amended by all interested parties in the future?

Or is that just a "wingnut" question to ask?
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