The destination is in the distance. From here to there--and between then and now--is only a matter of time.
On October 13, 1307--Friday the thirteenth--a sovereign tried to destroy those to whom he was indebted, the Special Forces of his time--the Knights Templar. King Philip the Fair of France was anything but. And because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the same applies.
Mischief began with a missive composed by Mr. Cotton. His compost attracted forty-six other gadflies, and they made a field schemes.
"If you build it, he will come."
On October 13, 2017--Friday the thirteenth--the gentleman from New York tried to benefit those to whom he is indebted. The man who claimed bone spurs in a heel, yet could not remember which one made it impossible for him to answer his country's call, stood in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on the Unknown Foot--entombed in a Ferragamo, known but to God--before a portrait of George Washington, the Commander in Chief of the Continental Forces who made the United States of America and the Presidency possible, and had no problem taking steps that may put the lives of other people's children at risk. After all, he uses other people's money with reckless abandon.
When the gentleman from New York made his statement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it was as if Jason Voorhees had come to life. But he was only a character in a movie.
"The Iran regime has committed multiple violations of the agreement. For example, on two separate occasions, they have exceeded the limit of 130 metric tons of heavy water. Until recently, the Iranian regime has also failed to meet our expectations in its operation of advanced centrifuges."
Yukiya Amano, Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says Iran is in compliance.
"The JCPOA is a substantial gain for verification, because the combination of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, Additional Protocol and additional transparency measures represents the most robust verification system in existence anywhere in the world. The JCPOA has led to a significant reduction in Iran's nuclear activities....
"As far as nuclear activities are concerned, Iran accepted many restrictions. For example, its stockpile of low enriched uranium hexafluoride must not exceed 300 kilos and the number of centrifuges used for producing low enriched uranium must not go above 5,060. The Agency verifies and monitors that Iran is abiding by these restrictions....
"Before the JCPOA, Iran carried out activities which were in contravention of UN resolutions valid at that time, so more detailed reporting was required. That is not the case today." (IAEA, November 14, 2017)
..."(W)hile the United States adheres to our commitment under the deal, the Iranian regime continues to fuel conflict, terror, and turmoil throughout the Middle East and beyond."
"You could say it's a terrible deal because it doesn't cover Hezbollah, and Syria, and Yemen, and missiles, and human rights. That's not what the agreement is," said Ernest Moniz, a nuclear physicist and former Secretary of Energy intimately involved in the negotiations.
"The ballistic missile tests are inconsistent with UN Security Council resolutions, but this is separate from the nuclear deal," said Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association.
The UN Security Council resolution which supports the agreement is a recommendation, not a requirement, regarding other matters:
"Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology, until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day."
Nevertheless, the agreement has caused Iran to get rid of 98% of its highly-enriched uranium and 13,000 centrifuges, and destroy the core of the reactor at Arak that was capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium. (Vox, August 7, 2017)
"Iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal."
"...(T)he IAEA has verified, I believe seven times now since the implement day that Iran has implemented the deal faithfully, fully, and complete. Unfortunately," said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, "we cannot make the same statement about the United States...."
"Specifically what?" asked Fareed Zakaria.
"For instance, when the White House made an announcement a couple of days ago that President Trump used his presence in Hamburg during the G20 meeting in order to dissuade leaders other--from other countries. To engage in business with Iran. That is a violation of not the spirit but of the letter of JCPOA, of the nuclear deal. And I believe the United States needs to bring itself into compliance with its part of the obligation under the deal, Iran has been complying, it has been verified by the IAEA." (CNN, July 16, 2017)
Zarif was referring to a statement by then Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders regarding the conduct of the gentleman from New York at the G20 summit.
"In his discussions with more than a dozen foreign leaders, he underscored the need for nations to join together to strip terrorists of their funding, territory and ideological support--and to stop doing business with nations that sponsor terrorism, especially Iran." (White House Press Briefing, July 10, 2017)
"If he truly did wander around the G20 and said, 'Don't do business with Iran,' I think that's a pretty reasonable argument for the Iranians to make," according Richard Nephew, the former Principal Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the State Department. "It's easily a violation of the spirit of the deal. Based on a plain-text reading of the (nuclear deal), I would characterize that to be a breach of our obligation." (Vox, August 8, 2017)
"...(I)n recognition of the increasing menace posed by Iran, and after extensive consultations with our allies, I am announcing a new strategy to address the full range of destructive actions." (Emphasis added)
"Renegotiating part of the agreement or the entire agreement is not an option," according to Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. "If you reopen one part of it, the entire agreement is reopened and you will probably enter into another12 years of renegotiations." (The New York Times, November 8, 2017)
"...(I)n the event we are not able to reach a solution working with the Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated. It is under continuous review, and our participation can be cancelled by me...at any time."
"The President of the United has many powers, but not this one," said Mogherini. (The Guardian, October 13, 2017)
Ya got trouble, my friend, right here,
I say, trouble right here in River City.
The Mischief Man began with An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Thus, the gentleman from Arkansas played a part in producing the pretext which makes some wish he had stayed
in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten;
Look away! Look away! Look away!--r'ality.
"...Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Review Act to ensure that Congress's voice would be heard on the deal. Among other conditions, this law requires the President, or his designee, to certify that the suspension of sanctions under the deal is 'appropriate and proportionate' to measure--and other measures taken by Iran to terminate its illicit nuclear program. Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification." (Emphasis added)
The IAEA, which is acknowledged in the Act, says that Iran is in compliance, and the other parties concur.
The spoiled child who was spared the rod needs a public spanking. Words have meaning, and they matter. Policymaking by temper tantrum of one with a case of the terrible twos is inexcusable. Sound policy depends upon clarity, and the truth, which helps us to see clearly, is best glimpsed from various angles and put together like the pieces of a puzzle.
"Congress's voice" was never in danger of being ignored, as Professor Woodrow Wilson noted long ago in an observation too often overlooked or undervalued.
"Quite as important as legislation is vigilant oversight of administration; and even more important than legislation is the instruction and guidance in political affairs which the people might receive from a body which kept all national concerns suffused in a broad daylight of discussion."
Thus, even before the Case Act of 1972, the Legislature could be engaged.
"It is the proper duty of a representative body to look diligently into every affair of government and to talk much about what it sees. It is meant to be the eyes and the voice, and to embody the wisdom and will of its constituents." (Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics by Woodrow Wilson, 297 & 303, Fifteenth Edition)
Two questions can be posed to the officers of the national security establishment--the Armed Forces, the Intelligence Community, and the Diplomatic Corps: Do you agree or disagree with the assertion of the gentleman from New York? Or would you be satisfied with certification of Iran's compliance? If the latter, a veto proof joint resolution would serve as a dictionary for the uninformed and provide a definition left out of the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015, perhaps because such a thing had heretofore been thought unnecessary, to wit, certify--to confirm, assure, to attest as being true or accurate, an acknowledgement of reality.
Unlike the Mischief Man--and INRA--which The New York Times called "A Reckless Act" and said "there is no constitutional imperative requiring Congress to insert itself into the negotiations," simply stating that the purpose of the agreement is being met is not an encroachment on executive power. (The New York Times, April 14, 2015) Instead, it is a reminder to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." (Article II, Section 3, Clause 5)
III. Chanel No. 5
The fantasy of "Forty-seven Shades of Nay" has given way to Rod Serling's Night Gallery. The artist is Salvador Dali. The subject is surreality, which leaves one wishing that described a squire whose shoulders were tapped by the sword of a monarch. But some assume the position for another reason.
Comrade Putin's kneepads are keeping the gentleman from New York comfortable as he squanders America's soft power.
"We have made it clear that the European Union and its member states will protect European interests," said Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. (The New York Times, November 8, 2017)
Unnecessary divisions create openings at home as well as abroad. And speaking of the gift that keeps on giving, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III left no doubt as to where he stands--or sits on his hands--and with whom.
On October 18, 2017, Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) addressed the gentleman from Alabama.
"I would like to continue talking about the Russians but in the context of the long-term objectives that Vladimir Putin has to undermine American institutions and the public trust.... We face a sophisticated long-term effort by a foreign adversary to undermine our foreign policy and our ability to lead in the world by trying to undermine confidence in American institutions."
After pointing out the dangers ahead in 2018 and 2020, he continued.
"We live at a time where info ops and propaganda and misinformation are a far more cost-effective way for people to try to weaken the United States of America than by thinking they can outspend us at a military level.... So as the nation's chief law enforcement officer and as a supervisor of multiple components of our Intelligence Community...do you think we're doing enough to prepare for future interference by Russia and other foreign adversaries in the information space?"
"Probably not," Sessions replied. "We're not. And the matter is so complex that for most of us, we are not able to fully grasp the technical dangers that are out there."
As Sessions continued, another question came to mind: "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?" (Job 38:2, KJV)
"So what steps has the Department taken," Sasse asked, "or should the Department take to learn the lessons of 2016...in fighting foreign interference?"
Sessions reply was non-responsive, so Sasse picked up where he left off.
"Do you think the Department of Justice has a proactive role in looking at hardening our democratic process against foreign interference?"
Sessions acknowledged what the Senator said and eventually got around to answering his question.
"I am not sure we have a specific review underway at this point in time." (Foreign Policy, October 20, 2017)
On November 14, 2017, Representative Bradley Schneider (D-IL) addressed the gentleman from Alabama.
"With the 2018 elections less than one year away and given your acknowledgement this is a serious, complex matter that's deserving a real review, specifically what steps have you taken to protect our elections next year?"
"You've raised a good point. I have not followed through to see where we are on that. And I will personally take action to do so," Sessions said. "A lot of things been happening. We are working on a lot of great agenda items. But this one is important and I acknowledge that. And I should be able to give you better information today than I am." (Talking Points Memo, November 14, 2017)
When elections in Europe and America are disrupted, who benefits? Well, at least NFL players are not kneeling to service a foreign power. But, instead, we are watching the sequel where the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action becomes the Chief Traitor's Junk Claptrap Pot of Absurd--"Forty-seven Shades Freed."
(c)2017 Marvin D. Jones. All rights reserved.
1) http://www.history.com/topics/friday-the-13th [Friday the thirteenth]
2) http://www.marvinjones.blogspot.com/2015/06/forty-seven-shades-of-nay.html [The Mischief Man]
3) https://www.npr.org/2017/10/13/557622096/transcript-trump-s-remarks-on-iran-nuclear-deal [GFNY’s Remarks]
4) https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/statements/director-generals-remarks-on-iran-the-jcpoa-and-the-iaea [IAEA]
6) http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1707/16/fzgps.01.html [CNN, July 16, 2017]
7) https://youtu.be/eoXICZ4QfvQ [Above interview]
8) https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/07/10/press-briefing-principal-deputy-press-secretary-sarah-sanders-and [GFNY violating the Iran Nuclear Agreement at G-20]
10) https://youtu.be/LI_Oe-jtgdI [The Music Man, "Ya Got Trouble"]
11) http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-trump-iran-deal-mess-20171016-story.html [squanders America’s soft power]
https://youtu.be/G9z6WlwN8C0 [youtube, 3:09-3:22, "in fighting foreign interference?"]