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Obama Can’t Force His Iran Deal on the Country without Congress’s Consent

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Having the U.N. Security Council bless a deal

wouldn’t make it binding under our Constitution. 

by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY March 14, 2015 4:00 AM

So, as we warned earlier this week, the international-law game it is. 

It is no secret that Barack Obama does not have much use for the United States Constitution. It is a governing plan for a free, self-determining people. Hence, it is littered with roadblocks against schemes to rule the people against their will. When it comes to our imperious president’s scheme to enable our enemy, Iran, to become a nuclear-weapons power — a scheme that falls somewhere between delusional and despicable, depending on your sense of Obama’s good faith — the salient barrier is that only Congress can make real law.

Most lawmakers think it would be a catastrophe to forge a clear path to the world’s most destructive weapons for the world’s worst regime — a regime that brays “Death to America” as its motto; that has killed thousands of Americans since 1979; that remains the world’s leading state sponsor of jihadist terrorism; that pledges to wipe our ally Israel off the map; and that just three weeks ago, in the midst of negotiations with Obama, conducted a drill in which its armed forces fired ballistic missiles at a replica U.S. aircraft carrier.

This week, 47 perspicuous Republican senators suspected that the subject of congressional power just might have gotten short shrift in Team Obama’s negotiations with the mullahs. So they penned a letter on the subject to the regime in Tehran. The effort was led by Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), who, after Harvard Law School, passed up community organizing for the life of a Bronze Star–awarded combat commander. As one might imagine, Cotton and Obama don’t see this Iran thing quite the same way.

There followed, as night does day, risible howls from top Democrats and their media that these 47 patriots were “traitors” for undermining the president’s empowerment of our enemies. Evidently, writing the letter was not as noble as, say, Ted Kennedy’s canoodling with the Soviets, Nancy Pelosi’s dalliance with Assad, the Democratic party’s Bush-deranged jihad against the war in Iraq, or Senator Barack Obama’s own back-channel outreach to Iran during the 2008 campaign. Gone, like a deleted e-mail, were the good old days when dissent was patriotic.

Yet, as John Yoo observes, the Cotton letter was more akin to mailing Ayatollah Khamenei a copy of the Constitution. The senators explained that our Constitution requires congressional assent for international agreements to be legally binding. Thus, any “executive agreement” on nukes that they manage to strike with the appeaser-in-chief is unenforceable and likely to be revoked when he leaves office in 22 months.

For Obama and other global-governance grandees, this is quaint thinking, elevating outmoded notions like national interest over “sustainable” international “stability” — like the way Hitler stabilized the Sudetenland. These “international community” devotees see the Tea Party as the rogue and the mullahs as rational actors.

So, you see, lasting peace — like they have, for example, in Ukraine — is achieved when the world’s sole superpower exhibits endless restraint and forfeits some sovereignty to the United Nations Security Council, where the enlightened altruists from Moscow, Beijing, and Brussels will figure out what’s best for Senator Cotton’s constituents in Arkansas. This will set a luminous example of refinement that Iran will find irresistible when it grows up ten years from now — the time when Obama, who came to office promising the mullahs would not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons, would have Iran stamped with the international community seal of approval as a nuclear-weapons state.

Down here on Planet Earth, though, most Americans think this is a bad idea. That, along with an injection of grit from the Arkansas freshman, emboldened the normally supine Senate GOP caucus to read Tehran in on the constitutional fact that the president is powerless to bind the United States unless the people’s representatives cement the arrangement.

Obama, naturally, reacted with his trusty weapon against opposition, demagoguery: hilariously suggesting that while the Alinskyite-in-chief had our country’s best interests at heart, the American war hero and his 46 allies were in league with Iran’s “hardliners.” (Yes, having found Muslim Brotherhood secularists, al-Qaeda moderates, and Hezbollah moderates, rest assured that Obama is courting only the evolved ayatollahs.) When that went about as you’d expect, the administration shifted to a strategy with which it is equally comfortable, lying.

Obama’s minions claimed that, of course, the president understands that any agreement he makes with Iran would merely be his “political commitment,” not “legally binding” on the nation. It’s just that Obama figures it would be nice to have the Security Council “endorse” the deal in a resolution because, well, that would “encourage its full implementation.” Uh-huh.

Inconveniently, the administration’s negotiating counterpart is the chattiest of academics, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Afflicted by the Western-educated Islamist’s incorrigible need to prove he’s the smartest kid in the class — especially a class full of American politicians — Zarif let the cat out of the bag. The senators, he smarmed, “may not fully understand . . . international law.”

According to Zarif, the deal under negotiation “will not be a bilateral agreement between Iran and the U.S., but rather one that will be concluded with the participation of five other countries, including all permanent members of the Security Council, and will also be endorsed by a Security Council resolution.” He hoped it would “enrich the knowledge” of the 47 senators to learn that “according to international law, Congress may not modify the terms of the agreement.” To do so would be “a material breach of U.S. obligations,” rendering America a global outlaw.

This, mind you, from the lead representative of a terrorist regime that is currently, and brazenly, in violation of Security Council resolutions that prohibit its enrichment of uranium.

Clearly, Obama and the mullahs figure they can run the following stunt: We do not need another treaty approved by Congress because the United States has already ratified the U.N. charter and thus agreed to honor Security Council resolutions. We do not need new statutes because the Congress, in enacting Iran-sanctions legislation, explicitly gave the president the power to waive those sanctions. All we need is to have the Security Council issue a resolution that codifies Congress’s existing sanctions laws with Obama’s waiver. Other countries involved in the negotiations — including Germany, Russia, and China, which have increasingly lucrative trade with Iran — will then very publicly rely on the completed deal. The U.N. and its army of transnational-progressive bureaucrats and lawyers will deduce from this reliance a level of global consensus that incorporates the agreement into the hocus-pocus corpus of customary law. Maybe they’ll even get Justice Ginsburg to cite it glowingly in a Supreme Court ruling. Voila, we have a binding agreement — without any congressional input — that the United States is powerless to alter under international law.

Well, it makes for good theater . . . because that is what international law is. It is a game more of lawyers than of thrones. In essence, it is politics masquerading as a system governed by rules rather than power, as if hanging a sign that says “law” on that system makes it so.  

At most, international law creates understandings between and among states. Those understandings, however, are only relevant as diplomatic debating points. When, in defiance of international law, Obama decides to overthrow the Qaddafi regime, Clinton decides to bomb Kosovo, or the ayatollahs decide to enrich uranium, the debating points end up not counting for much.

Even when international understandings are validly created by treaty (which requires approval by two-thirds of the Senate), they are not “self-executing,” as the legal lexicon puts it — meaning they are not judicially enforceable and carry no domestic weight. Whether bilateral or multilateral, treaties do not supersede existing federal law unless implemented by new congressional statutes. And they are powerless to amend the Constitution.

The Supreme Court reaffirmed these principles in its 2008 Medellin decision (a case I described here, leading to a ruling Ed Whelan outlined here). The justices held that the president cannot usurp the constitutional authority of other government components under the guise of his power to conduct foreign affairs. Moreover, even a properly ratified treaty can be converted into domestic law only by congressional lawmaking, not by unilateral presidential action.

Obama, therefore, has no power to impose an international agreement by fiat — he has to come to Congress. He can make whatever deal he wants to make with Iran, but the Constitution still gives Congress exclusive authority over foreign commerce. Lawmakers can enact sanctions legislation that does not permit a presidential waiver. Obama would not sign it, but the next president will — especially if the Republicans raise it into a major 2016 campaign issue.

Will the Security Council howl? Sure . . . but so what? It has been said that Senator Cotton should have CC’d the Obama administration on his letter since it, too, seems unfamiliar with the Constitution’s division of authority. A less useless exercise might have been to CC the five other countries involved in the talks (the remaining Security Council members, plus Germany). Even better, as I argued earlier this week, would be a sense-of-the-Senate resolution: Any nation that relies on an executive agreement that is not approved by the United States Congress under the procedures outlined in the Constitution does so at its peril because this agreement is likely to lapse as early as January 20, 2017. International law is a game that two can play, and there is no point in allowing Germany, Russia, and China to pretend that they relied in good faith on Obama’s word being America’s word.

It is otherworldly to find an American administration conspiring against the Constitution and the Congress in cahoots with a terror-sponsoring enemy regime, with which we do not even have formal diplomatic relations, in order to pave the enemy’s way to nuclear weapons, of all things. Nevertheless, Republicans and all Americans who want to preserve our constitutional order, must stop telling themselves that we have hit a bottom beneath which Obama will not go. This week, 47 senators seemed ready, finally, to fight back. It’s a start.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.


Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/415401/obama-cant-force-his-iran-deal-country-without-congresss-consent-andrew-c-mccarthy 

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 March 2015 14:03

PCTEA to Host Fund Raising Seminar

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FOR RELEASE - Sunday, March 1 , 2015
Portage County TEA Party to Host Fund Raising Seminar
For Ohio Nonprofits on March 21st
Mogadore, Ohio - The Portage County TEA Party today announced that it would be bringing trainers from the Leadership Institute in Washington, DC to put on a full day Fund Raising Training Seminar on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at the Comfort Inn in Brimfield.  The Seminar is open to any nonprofit organization that would like to improve their fund raising operations and will be taught by Chris Doss from the Leadership Institute and one or two other staff members. The event will start at 8:30 AM on March 21, 2015 and end at 4:30 PM.  Lunch will be provided along with class materials. The cost is only $25 per person and checks, made out to the Portage County TEA Party, can be mailed to: P.O. Box 253, Mogadore, OH 44260.  Seating is limited to the first 50 reservations received. For more information, call the Portage County TEA Party office at 330-474-3878.
The TEA Party is not a political party but a grassroots cultural movement. The movement is educating American citizens about the Constitution and the uniquely American form of self-governance that has made our country so successful.  Through this education, the movement is attempting to re-define what it means to be an American citizen, by encouraging individual to vote, to run for office and to attend government meetings in their area so that they can participate in their self-governance.  The acronym TEA stands for Totally Engaged Americans.
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Last Updated on Thursday, 05 March 2015 12:51

Letter to Senator Portman concerning DHS Funding

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Dear Senator Portman,

I am writing on behalf of the Officers and the 2,600 members of the Portage County TEA Party to ask you to use your influence to convince Senator McConnell to change the Senate rules in order to pass the House version of the Department of Homeland Security funding bill.  In our opinion, it is your duty Senator, and Senator McConnell's and all the Republicans that TEA Party groups around the nation elected, so that Republicans could have control of the Senate, to honor your oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. All credible legal experts, even those on the left, agree that the President's actions are an over-reach of the Executive Branch and are in fact Un-Constitutional and should not be allowed. 
The bill passed by the US House fully funds the DHS but explicitly does not fund the amnesty for illegal immigrants that is being unlawfully implemented by the Executive Branch under direct orders of the President.  For Senator McConnell to suggest that following Senate rules, which former Senate Leader Harry Reid had no problem changing to achieve the goals of the left, is somehow more important than your Oath of Office and defending the very essence of the US Constitution is beyond contemptible. Not to mention the fact that during his campaign in Kentucky, and during most of the Senate campaigns around the nation, he and the Republican Party promised the voters that they would take the "necessary action" to stop the President.
We hereby demand that you and the rest of the Republicans in the Senate keep your oath and take whatever action is necessary to defend our Constitution and the rule of law.  To protect the millions of low income Americans, particularly blacks and legal hispanics, who will face unfair competition from these illegals if you do not take action to protect them. Not to mention the middle class tax payers who's hard earned tax dollars will be used to subsidize this illegal action against our will.
The time for excuses is over, we will not accept your or anyone else's excuses. The people spoke loudly in November and they said "Stop Obama's destruction of our nation."  They did not say loudly "protect the senate rules!" We trust that you will pass our message on to Senator McConnell and to your fellow Republican Senators and that you will all do your jobs as the House has done.

If the President want's to veto funding for the Department of Homeland Security than let him put the safety of the American people in jepardy for his own crass political ambitions.  Remember, your job is not to serve the Washington, DC based media or to serve the defenders of the President's actions. Your job is to serve the people in your states who elected you to office.

Tom Zawistowski
Executive Director
Portage County TEA Party
P.O. Box 253
Mogadore, OH  44260
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Last Updated on Monday, 16 February 2015 17:53

Husted raises concerns about Illegals voting in Ohio

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Dear Friends,

Recently, I delivered a letter to President Obama concerning his executive actions on immigration, which dramatically expand the potential for illegal voter registrations in Ohio. Today in Washington, D.C., I testified during a congressional hearing to further voice those concerns.

As the chief elections official for the state of Ohio, I simply cannot allow this expanding loophole to go unaddressed. Anyone who doubts the impact of this risk should consider this: 72 Ohio counties conducted recounts in the last three statewide elections alone. Of those cases, 51 officials and 19 issues were decided by just one vote or tied

I take my responsibility to safeguard Ohio's elections system very seriously. The recent executive actions could jeopardize the integrity of our voter rolls. I hope you will join me in demanding that only eligible voters be able to vote in our federal, state and local elections.

I promise to remain committed to my responsibility to all Ohioans: Making it easy to vote and hard to cheat.
Jon Husted

P.S. You can read my letter to President Obama by clicking here and you can read my testimony by clicking here.

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 February 2015 12:19

PCTEA to Show Support for Police and Firefighters in wake of Ferguson and NYC

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Thursday, December 18, 2014
Portage County TEA Party Announces Effort
to Support our Local Safety Forces
Mogadore, Ohio - The Portage County TEA Party announced today that it's members would be taking cookies, cakes and pies to local police and fire departments over the next week to thank them for their service to our communities.  The effort is partially in reaction to the statements that have been made attacking police officers in particular after the events in Ferguson, MO and New York City.  
Tom Zawistowski, Executive Director of the Portage County TEA Party said, "In light of the attacks by the left on the integrity of our police officers across the nation, after the shooting in Ferguson and the choking death in New York, we felt we that we needed to speak out and take action. It is important that we as citizens, stand with our law enforcement and emergency services personnel against these over-reaching attacks because we all know that the vast majority of police and firefighters do an excellent job in protecting our families and our property. To degrade all police officers because of the actions of a few is just wrong. While there are clearly issues that these incidents, and the ones in Cleveland, have exposed and that need to be addressed, and we support any honest efforts to do so, the vast majority of public servants deserve our thanks and appreciation, not our scorn. We want them to know that they have our support and appreciation."
Zawistowski concluded by saying "Actions speak louder than words, so our members will be visiting their local police and fire departments over the next week to personally thank them for their service to our communities. It is a small gesture, but an important one, particularly at Christmas time and during Hanukkah, which should be a time of peace and love, not hate. We thank all of those who keep us safe for their service."
The TEA Party is not a political party but a grassroots cultural movement.  The movement is educating American citizens about the Constitution and the uniquely American form of self-governance that has made our country so successful.  Through this education, the movement is attempting to re-define what it means to be an American citizen, by encouraging individuals to vote, to run for office and to attend government meetings in their areas so that they can participate in their self-governance.  The acronym TEA stands for Totally Engaged Americans.

PCTEA Fund Raising Dinner and Auction December 5th

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2014 Dinner Flyer

Last Updated on Sunday, 23 November 2014 12:03

TEA Party Patriots Ad Hit Joyce on Obamacare

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Dave Joyce just can't defend his position on Obamacare.

We need Matt Lynch in Congress to fight Obamacare until it is gone!

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FreedomWorks for America and Activists Rally to Un-Seat Rep. David Joyce in OH-14

FWFA Executive VP Adam Brandon will make a special announcement about the OH-14 race

WHAT: FreedomWorks for America Executive Vice President Adam Brandon will join a coalition of conservative groups across the state of Ohio at a rally in Chagrin Falls to make a special announcement in the OH-14 race.

The rally will include the distribution of 1,000 yard signs and other voter education materials. Other group representatives will include: Tom Zawistowski (Portage County TEA Party), Chuck Laughlin (Lake County Liberty Coalition), Dana Adams (Summit County TEA Party), Ralph Spampanato (Stark-Tusc 9/12 Group), Pastor Ernie Sanders (Geauga County TEA Party), and Dom Sciria (Cuyahoga Valley Republicans).

WHEN: Thursday, March 20, 2014 beginning at 11:30am ET.

WHERE: Clubhouse in the Tanglewood Club, 8745 Tanglewood Trail, Bainbridge, OH 44023

WHY: Ohioans are ready to take their government back from unions and special interests. Rep. David Joyce is a bought-and-paid-for politician who is financially backed by Washington insider PACs, including thousands of dollars from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Speaker John Boehner and Republican Main Street PAC run by lobbyist and former Rep. Steve LaTourette. Rep. Joyce has also received tens of thousands of dollars from building trade and transportation unions.

ABOUT FREEDOMWORKS FOR AMERICA: FreedomWorks for America is a grassroots service center to a community of over 6 million activists supporting candidates who believe in individual liberty and constitutionally-limited government. For more information, please visit www.FreedomWorksforAmerica.org or contact Jackie Bodnar at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 08:17

Monthly Meeting TONIGHT!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sunday, March 16, 2014
Candidates to Speak at PCTEA Monthly Meeting
Kent, OH - The Portage County TEA Party announced today that three of the four candidates for County Commissioner will speak at the groups Monthly Meeting on Tuesday, March 18th as well as one of the Ohio House Candidates. Republican Primary candidates Sabrina Christian-Bennett and Kristen Kline-Morris and Democratic Primary Candidate Angelo Battaglia will all speak. Vicki Kline, also a Democratic candidate for County Commissioner, had a scheduling conflict and will attend a future meeting.  Linda O'Brien, the Republican candidate for Ohio House in the 76th District will also speak at the event. The event will be held at 7:00 PM at the Maplewood Career Center, at 7075 State Route 88, Ravenna, OH 44266. The meeting is open to the public and refreshments will be served.
The TEA Party is not a political party but a grassroots cultural movement.  The movement is educating American citizens about the Constitution and the uniquely American form of self-governance that has made our country so successful.  Through this education, the movement is attempting to re-define what it means to be an American citizen, by encouraging individual to vote, to run for office and to attend government meeting in their area so that they can participate in their self governance.  The acronym TEA stands for Totally Engaged Americans.



Monthly Meeting Monday June 17th

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Monthly Meeting Open to the Public - Monday, June 17th


Our Government is Targeting TEA Party Groups and individuals through the IRS, capturing your Verizon Phone Records, recording every email and web site you visit through the PRISM program. What does it all mean to the ordinary American and how will this affect you personally?  Come to the Portage County TEA Party meeting this Monday, night June 17th and find out.  The meeting is open to the public and will be held at 7:00 PM at the Maplewood Career Center at 7075 State Route 88, just North of Ravenna in Portage County.  
Distinguished Law Professor David Forte from Cleveland State University will be the opening speaker followed by a presentation on the IRS Targeting by Portage County TEA Party Executive Director Tom Zawistowski.  Admission is free and refreshments will be served. Join your fellow citizens Monday, June 17th in Ravenna for this informative presentation, and learn what we as citizens can do to stop this abuse of power and restore Constitutionally limited Government.
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