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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Logan Amendment and the 47 Traitors

When Boehner invited Netanyahu without consulting the President, he was violating the Logan Act then, and I wrote about it and how he was violating it. And said so:

McCain also violated the Logan act a few years ago when he went to Syria and put pressure on Prince Bandar to fund radical Islamicists to fight Syria's Hafez Assad. I said so then, and wondered why he wasn't prosecuted. He was subverting and undermining USA efforts to both bring about positive change in Syria and stop Al Qaeda and ISIL, and here was McCain praising the leadership of Al Qaeda. McCain would rather forget that now, but it's pretty obvious that his primary target has been Shia Muslims over Sunna Muslims. One wonders why that? The answer is with Saudi Arabia and it's unconstitutional purchases of US politicians, but that is another story. The point is that the GOP has been regularly subverting and sabotaging US foreign policy since Obama was elected. It turns out they were doing so in secret going back to when Nixon subverted the Paris Peace talks with North Vietnam in 1968 so he could get elected, and Reagan's backers did the same thing with Jimmy Carter's hostage negotiations. Subversion and sabotage are part of the GOP repertoire of dirty tricks.

So this "#47Traitors letter" is really only the latest in a long history of sabotage, sedition and subversion. It's text goes as follows:

"It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system. Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution—the power to make binding international agreements and the different character of federal offices—which you should seriously consider as negotiations progress." Letter: [http://www.cotton.senate.gov/content/cotton-and-46-fellow-senators-send-open-letter-leaders-islamic-republic-iran]

Now the Constitution gives the President the power to make treaties and execute executive power:

"He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties"

Clearly the Senate has the right to make input into this process, though from even a strict reading of the text this is the President's job not theirs. The Senate has created laws that the President operates under. And in this case the President is acting under the UN Charter. Indeed these negotiations were started by France, Germany and the United Kingdom, and China, Russia, and the United States, joined in later. So the negotiations are under the UN Charter which we ratified as a Treaty years ago. The President and the United States are one party to that discussion. [http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Iran_Nuclear_Proposals]

And the President along with the other leaders negotiating with the Iranians are carrying out their Article 24 mission of the security council:

"In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf." [http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter5.shtml]

Under our security council obligations war is supposed to be a last resort not the method of choice as Tom Cotton or John McCain would have us "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" and have wanted that since 2008. So in this case, we already have a law governing the negotiations with Iran, and the President already has treaty obligations under which he is negotiating. If the Security council ratifies the results then the only way the Senate makes any sense in torpedoing the treaty is if it is ready to abrogate it's membership in the Security Council and the UN. So while, any negotiation here might be wise to be presented to Congress. It's a Security Council matter.So while;

"First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them. In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote. A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate). Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement." [Cotton's letter cont...]

In reality under our constitution the following also holds true:

"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." [Constitution: Article 6]

So the President, under the UN treaty, already has the authority to negotiate Arms agreements as part of his UN Role. At least until we withdraw from the UN. Which is why I suppose John Bolton long ago wanted to blow up the building in New York.

But the subversive characteristic of this letter is obvious in the next paragraph:

"Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics. For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms. As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then—perhaps decades." [Cotton's letter continued]

Maybe the USA could back out of any agreement with the UN in the future, but that would be a world disaster and the end of our country as a functional republic. Besides, the other 5 countries and the UN have a say in this matter too. I suppose Cotton is thinking of his future as Fuehrer of the United States here, but really, do we want to back out of the UN that we created and use naked aggression against the Iranians? What the Right has been saying about Iran is not only exaggerated but much of it is untrue. The Iranians, in fact, are currently helping Iraq deal with ISIL, while the Saudis are still playing both sides with Islamic extremism [See Further reading Iraqi's intercept supplies].

"What these two constitutional provisions mean is that we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time." [Cotton's letter cont...]

Cotton is not only demonstrating that he doesn't give a rats pettuty about Separation of Powers, but also that he's in the John Bolton School of International Agreements and wants the American Empire to Conquer Iran. A future congress could "with a stroke of a pen" abrogate the Constitution too. And these jokers are likely to do so to "save the constitution". Then he finishes with a Cynical flourish:

"We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as nuclear negotiations progress." Cottons Letter: [http://www.cotton.senate.gov/content/cotton-and-46-fellow-senators-send-open-letter-leaders-islamic-republic-iran]
Sincerely,
Senator Tom Cotton, R-AR, etc...

Sadly unenforceable

I've been quoting the Logan Act because it's on the books, and clearly the GOP minority is violating it's letter and spirit with this letter to the Iranians. It's also violating the letter and spirit of our Geneva Conventions and the UN treaty.

But sadly because of the wording of the Constitution, Senators are probably the only non-executive officers who can get away with violating the Logan act. The Constitution says this about treason:

"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."

Criteria for Prosecution don't fit

To be clearly a traitor under the above definition, we'd have to be in a declared war with Iran. This Senate hasn't declared war so they can't easily be arrested as traitors. On the other hand they have passed laws declaring Iran an enemy for reasons of trade, etc... and that hasn't always stopped the government before. US Citizens have been tried under laws based on "treason" before. But it does means they can claim in court that they aren't working for Israel or that we aren't at war against Iran, and that therefore they can't be arrested. So while they clearly are traitors under the ordinary, political meaning of the word. as well as "just" demagogues, figurative seditionist, subversives and saboteurs, scoundrels and louts. It would cause a constitutional crisis if we tried to arrest them, also because:

"They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place."

Which means the case would have to be awfully clear before we'd dare to even try to arrest them. Unless the charge was obviously true, the Police would have no warrant to arrest them while Congress is in session. And it almost never is out of session. Maybe that is the reason.

But I doubt any of these seditionist traitors, subversives, scoundrels and saboteurs will ever go to jail. Though I hope the American people learn to see through this nonsense and throw them out of office in proximate elections.

Best Congressman Money can buy

Ironically the name "47 Traitors" makes me think of the 47 Ronin, who at least really had been wronged in Japan. Their example has been invoked in other melees as folks willing to go down for a faulty cause.

And of course Tom Cotton seems to be giving his quid pro quo return to Bill Kristol's donation in November 2014

[http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/02/16/boehner-confesses-i-invited-netanyahu-secretly-to-stab-president-obama-in-the-back-and-sabotage-peace-talks-video/]

So they also are guilty of other unconstitutional behaviors. By accepting money, essentially from the State of Israel, Cotton appears to be violating the spirit, if not the letter, of this provision:

..."no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State."

This provision of the constitution pretty much says that "campaign contributions" that come from Israel are unconstitutional.

Further reading

Next blog in Series:
http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/03/what-is-one-voice-who-is-tom-cotton-and.html
Why these negotiations are important:
http://journal.georgetown.edu/irans-nuclear-negotiations-assessing-the-anomaly-of-success/
Senate Authority
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/mar/11/tom-cotton/letter-iran-47-republican-senators-correct-about-c/
Tom Cotton:

Updating 3/16/2015. It turns out that Tom Cotton got $960,250 in supportive campaign advertising in the last monh of his Senate Campaign (November 2014) (See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/03/israel-fingerprints-republican)

Eli Clifton: http://www.lobelog.com/exclusive-emergency-committee-for-israel-spends-big-on-rep-tom-cotton/
Open Secrets Article on him [https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00033363]
Open Secrets Top 5 Donors 2013-2014
Contributor Total Indivs PACs
Club for Growth $507,174 $507,174 $0
Elliott Management $143,100 $143,100 $0
Stephens Group $105,550 $95,550 $10,000
Senate Conservatives Fund $97,427 $92,427 $5,000
Goldman Sachs $50,549 $40,549 $10,000
When we talk about Elliott Management we are really talking about Paul Singer.
https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00033363
http://mondoweiss.net/2015/03/israel-fingerprints-republican
Iraqis intercept supplies headed to ISIL
http://www.wnd.com/2015/03/iraqis-find-saudi-supplies-weapons-destined-for-isis/

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