And Professors are the Problem? Cotton Civics

On 9 March 2015 Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas drafted a letter cosigned by 46 additional United States Senators to the Leaders of the Islamic State of Iran. Supposedly this letter’s intent was a brief civics lesson.

First, the Constitutional lesson being “taught” by these 47 United States Senators is technically incorrect. The apparently misunderstood Constitutional aspects are stated succinctly by Professor Jack Goldsmith of Harvard Law School.

If one wonders about Professor Goldsmith’s qualifications, here is a link to what I would guess is an abridged curriculum vitae which lists his education and professional experience.

Second, do these United States Senators understand that differences exist between United States Law and International Law?  Negotiations are not between the United States and Iran, but between Iran and P5 + 1.  That equation looking name represents United Kingdom, United States, Russia, China, and France, who are the 5 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany.

Oversimplifying on my part by not addressing situations such as an UNSC resolution and the veto power held by the countries with permanent seats and the obvious of any agreement may or may not be an official UN proposal, the other countries may reach an agreement without the support of the United States.

One historical example is that technically the United States remained in a state of war following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles which ended the First World War. The United States Senate for a number of reasons including a voting bloc of Senators often labeled as Irreconcilables in our history books did not approve the Treaty. We would sign individual peace agreements with the individual countries during the 1920s.

Other countries are not bound by the United States Constitution just as we are not bound by the laws of other countries. If you doubt me, please recheck your gun safes and cabinets because the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty passed and has been in force since Christmas. Despite the press reports stating the opposite would happen, I suspect that your guns and my guns have not been confiscated by UN agents.

Now whether or not these 47 United States Senators violated the Logan Act, 18 U.S. Code § 953, is something that I’ll leave for any readers to determine for themselves.

              “Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.”  (

I also find disturbing that any discussions about term limits for US Senators at least are apparently off the table.

As Senator Cotton wrote:

“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.”

Also, regardless of if you feel the assertion is correct or incorrect, if Senator Cotton and these other 46 United States Senators believe that,

“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”

in regard to international agreements, please tell me why in the freakin’ heck the Honorable Members of Congress are in such an uproar about President Barack Obama?

Constitutionally the President of the United States has more specifically stated and implied powers in international affairs than domestic affairs. So why doesn’t Congress simply pass legislation making any or all of the Executive Orders which are legally bounding and Executive Actions which are not legally bounding null and void?

I’ll argue that Barack Obama is more or less an average President. In my opinion he has strong points and weak points just like his predecessors.

One final thought, however, is that Barack Obama is either the worst and least powerful dictator or tyrant in the history of the world or that his political opponents criticizing him must be among the weakest and most incapable individuals in the history of the human race.

I write that simply based upon a short letter signed by 47 United States Senators who may remain in office for decades because apparently they believe that Congress can modify terms of agreement at any time but have decided not to do so on the issues they assert that Barack Obama has exceeded his authority as President.


One thought on “And Professors are the Problem? Cotton Civics

  1. My comment policy is simply to not use what I refer to as curse words. While some disagreements about what constitutes a “curse” word are understandable, essentially I’m referring to language that often resulted in a movie receiving an R rating in the late 1980s and early 90s, words which most reading would not enjoy being directed at their mother, wife, or daughter, or terms which in Livingston Parish back when I went to school during the 1980s resulted in being sent to the principal’s office, having your mouth washed with soap at home, or running till you puked on any court or ball field or the vicinity of my Dad, maternal Grandfather, or any of the men I respected.

    That stated “bob” even though you chose not to edit your remarks, I’ll offer a little information since I’m “full of it” and you have not heard of the involvement of other countries because of the “bottom of the barrel president” of the United States.

    “bob,” the Arms Control Association has an elementary outline of the history of proposals on the Iranian nuclear issue which predates P5 + 1.

    Here is a transcript from an event conducted by the Brookings Institution entitled IRAN-P5+1 NUCLEAR NEGOTIATIONS: THE ROAD AHEAD, which took place here in Washington, D.C.. Tuesday, November 25, 2014.

    There are more sources out there concerning these ongoing negotiations than “Carter has liver pills” to use a Southern expression for emphasis instead of a “curse word.”

    Barack Obama being President of the United States of America today does not void what took place before his first inauguration. Barack Obama is one of many leaders who have played roles in the negotiations since 2009. He’s not the sole voice.

    “bob” despite what you argue is the ideal solution, such one sided negotiations do not have as great a chance of taking place as you might want to believe.

    No I am not an authority on Iran, international relations, US foreign policy, or European history although I do have a minor field in one area of European history along with probably half of my courses at the MA level actually being in European and not US history. In my primary areas of US Southern and US Political History I describe my expertise and authority as I know enough to really understand how little I know. Still in regard to what I wrote about Senator Cotton and the other signers, it is basic international law, US Constitution, and US Code with Logan. It should not necessitate any academic degrees or formal training to at least have an idea about the basic principles involved.

    To close, I’ll discuss anything, but I ask of you or anyone else who chooses to communicate via public comments that we all keep the language suitable for minors and when necessary conclude by agreeing to disagree which does not always mean that someone is right and the other is wrong. It means a difference of opinion, and a mutual respect for the reasons why the other has that differing opinion.

    Have a good day sir…

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