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Logan's Run
Author: BobR    Date: 01/28/2015 14:53:52

The Republican "leadership" in Congress continues it's approach to governing as a 3-yr old child automatically saying "NO" to anything requested. This has been their modus operandi ever since President Obama was elected; did anyone expect anything different after the last election? In this particular case, the president asked for Congress not to derail the delicate negotiations with Iran over nuclear development by going all bull-in-a-china-shop and enacting further sanctions.

Congress didn't just say NO, they said HELL NO!

It's really blatant on all sides. Congress is poking a stick in the eye of the administration. Netanyahu is timing this to coincide with elections in his country, although he claims it to be a coincidence. Traditionally, the office of the president has always been the one to engage leaders of foreign states. Congress doing an end-around breaks decades of precedence. It's beyond rude.

Even the more moderate voices at FOX "News" are shocked:
The White House, State Department, and many foreign policy observers, including prominent former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, expressed outrage over the move. And, in a sign of just how many lines Boehner and Netanyahu crossed, so did the two Fox News hosts.

"I agree 100 percent," Wallace said when Smith read a quote from Indyk criticizing the Boehner-Netanyahu maneuver. Wallace went on:

And to make you get a sense of really how, forgive me, wicked, this whole thing is, the Secretary of State John Kerry met with the Israeli Ambassador to the United States for two hours on Tuesday, Ron Dermer. The ambassador, never mentioned the fact that Netanyahu was in negotiations and finally agreed to come to Washington, not to see the president, but to go to Capitol Hill, speak to a joint session of congress and criticize the president's policy. I have to say I'm shocked.

Smith said, "it seems like [Netanyahu's government] thinks we don't pay attention and that we're just a bunch of complete morons, the United States citizens, as if we wouldn't pick up on what's happening here."

There have been claims that it's unconstitutional, but the Constitution is a little murky on issues like this. Nonetheless, it may be against the law, per the Logan Act:
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.

In general, the Act is intended to prohibit American citizens without authority from interfering in relations between the United States and foreign governments. Although attempts have been made to repeal the Act, it remains law and at least a potential sanction to be used against anyone who without authority interferes in the foreign relations of the United States.

Allowing a foreign leader to make the case in front of a joint session of Congress in an effort to scuttle the pending deal with Iran seems to be exactly the type of behavior this Act is intended to prevent. The question is: does the language "Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States..." apply to members of Congress? Are they considered the "authority", or are they considered the "citizens"?

Seems like a good test case for the Department of Justice. That might help grease the skids for the confirmation of AG nominee Loretta Lynch.

43 comments (Latest Comment: 01/29/2015 01:18:42 by TriSec)
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