September 30, 2005

Am. Gov't - Media and Politics

The Fitzgerald investigation:Judith Miller is out of jail due a deal she struck with her source, Scooter Libby, and prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
"Mr. Fitzgerald has said that obtaining Ms. Miller's testimony was one of the last remaining objectives of his inquiry, and the deal with her suggests that the prosecutor may soon end the long-running investigation. It is unknown whether prosecutors will charge anyone in the Bush administration with wrongdoing," write David Johnston and Douglas Jehl of the New York Times. LINK
More: "As part of the agreement, Mr. Bennett gave Mr. Fitzgerald edited versions of notes (sic) taken by Ms. Miller about her conversations with Mr. Libby."
The breathless Timesmen also have a description of the Miller/Libby July 2003 from the perspective of the Libby camp:
"According to someone who has been briefed on Mr. Libby's testimony and who believes that his statements show he did nothing wrong, Ms. Miller asked Mr. Libby during their conversations in July 2003 whether he knew Joseph C. Wilson IV, the former ambassador who wrote an Op-Ed article in The Times on July 6, 2003, criticizing the Bush administration. Ms. Miller's lawyers declined to discuss the conversations."
"Mr. Libby said that he did not know Mr. Wilson but that he had heard from the C.I.A. that the former ambassador's wife, an agency employee, might have had a role in arranging a trip that Mr. Wilson took to Africa on behalf of the agency to investigate reports of Iraq's efforts to obtain nuclear material. Mr. Wilson's wife is Ms. Wilson."
"Mr. Libby did not know her name or her position at the agency and therefore did not discuss these matters with Ms. Miller, the person who had been briefed on the matter said."
The Washington Post's Schmidt and VandeHei contrast Bill Keller's statement that Miller only recently was released from her obligation with an assertion from Libby's attorney, Joseph Tate, that he told Miller attorney Floyd Abrams a year ago that Libby's waiver was voluntary and that Miller was free to testify.
He said last night that he was contacted by Bennett several weeks ago, and was surprised to learn that Miller had not accepted that representation as authorization to speak with prosecutors. 'We told her lawyers it was not coerced,' Tate said. 'We are surprised to learn we had anything to do with her incarceration.'" LINK
If you are confused about the circumstances of Miller's release from jail yesterday, you are not alone.
While participating in a C-SPAN power house roundtable this morning with the Washington Post's Dan Balz and the Houston Chronicle's Cragg Hines, Time Magazine's Matthew Cooper was asked by Brian Lamb why Judy Miller went to jail.
"She didn't feel the same level of comfort from her sources that I did," Cooper said.
Cooper said he is hoping that the New York Times will have some "transparency" and explain "what changed."
I find it "quite confusing," he said.
We could write more here about our theories about Ms. Miller and related matters, but The Note would be 45 pages long if we did.
Miller's statement suggested she might have more to say after her grand jury appearance. What form that might take is anyone's guess. (Note to cable bookers: hold your fire.)

September 18, 2005

IR -German Election Report

German Election Report, from Deutsche Welle English Language Service, 9/18/05

Returns show that the conservatives, widely tipped to sweep into the chancellery, don't have a majority. But neither do Schröder's Social Democrats. One projection gives the two parties the same number of seats.
For several minutes, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder stood at the podium, unable to quiet the wild cheers and applause of the party faithful gathered at the Social Democrats' Berlin headquarters.
He clutched his hands above his head in a victory gesture and, after finally calming his supporters made a claim for four further years as chancellor.
"I am certain that there will be a government under my leadership in the next four years," Schröder said.
He faces serious hurdles, however. The coalition government his SPD formed with the Green party for seven years is no longer mathematically possible.
The SPD, however, has played a powerful game of catch-up from the early days of the campaign, when it trailed the CDU by close to 20 percentage points.
The latest election night projections by the Forsa polling group gave the Social Democrats 34 percent of the vote, a drop of around 4.5 percent from the 2002. However, it was only one percentage point behind the CDU/CSU. The Greens claimed 8.1 percent.
Traffic-light coalition?
Experts say the only possibility would be a so-called "traffic light" coalition with the SPD, Greens and the free-market liberal FDP, which surprised everyone by garnering 10.1 percent of the vote.

FDP leaders, however, said they would rather stay in opposition than join a government with Schröder and the Greens.
"We don't have the majority for the innovative, necessary reforms needed to change our country," said FDP deputy leader Wolfgang Gerhardt. "That holds us up and it holds the country up."
For weeks, the CDU and FDP had been planning a coalition government that would take an aggressive approach to trimming Germany's bloated welfare system and reforming the labor market to encourage investment and growth. With the CDU only winning 35.5 percent of the vote, such a coalition is now impossible.
"While Germans understand that they need fundamental economic reform, if they want to tackle unemployment, they don't want radical economic reform and don't want to give up their benefits," said Karen Donfried, senior director of the German Marshall Fund in Washington D.C. in an interview with DW-WORLD. "I think Schröder was able to play very well off of that."
Options limited

CDU leader Angela Merkel said her party, after claiming the majority share of the vote, has been given the job of forming a government. But her options are just as limited after an election night that surprised many Germans.
"I was astonished," said Oliver Suchy, at the SPD headquarters. "I never thought the CDU would have done so badly. I think in the last two weeks, people started realizing what the CDU program really meant and it was too radical for them."
The Social Democrats had slashed the CDU's early lead in half by last week. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder put in extra campaign speeches in a bid to sway undecided voters, reportedly about a quarter of the electorate, just days before the poll.
"Grand Coalition" possibility unfavorable

The big question remained whether Merkel would secure her preferred alliance or be forced into an awkward "grand coalition" with the Social Democrats. Experts and industry heads have warned that such a coalition could halt necessary reforms through political infighting.

Merkel said she was willing to talk with "any democratic party" about coalition possibilities, no longer ruling out liaising with the SPD. The grand coalition would put her in the chancellery and likely mean the end of Schröder's political career.

Voter turnout slightly down on 2002
Tens of millions of Germans voted on Sunday but despite sunny weather across the country, voter turnout was slightly lower, at 78 percent of eligible voters, than in 2002, when 79.1 percent of the 62 million Germans eligible to vote turned out.

Am. Gov't - Exam Prep. and Position Paper #2-#3


Please notice the following points as you get your position papers back. For your convenience, here is a brief list of concepts that I am looking for; these are prime targets for test material. All are either listed in your textbook, or they are part of what we discussed in class. This is not an exhaustive list, rather a sample of several issues you read about, that directly addresses the three questions I posed. These position papers are 30 points each; meaning, that each question requires about ten separate points of fact or analysis. These concepts are overflowing with potential for your own independent thought, and our brief analysis does not do them justice. But, these papers are a good way to get accustomed to the sort of study that will serve you well in preparing for the exam.

For Position Paper #2, we are going carefully the examine protection of rights; so take a look at the Jefferson/Locke relationship again, and be prepared to spend time looking at the Court and its protection of rights, as well as its role as ‘definer’ of rights. We are going to start with the history of Judicial Review and end with the nomination of John Roberts onto the court; in short, we are going to connect the theories and history in your textbook, with the very current events in the country today.

Please feel free to email me privately with any questions, and thank you.


Question 1:
How would the Founders’ view of equality, as addressed in Constitution in 1789 differ with our view of equality today? Specifically, please address equality among individuals compared to equality among states.

  • Equality among states at issue

  • Virginia Plan v. New Jersey Plan

  • Connecticut Compromise

  • Electoral College

  • Decl. of Independence and equality of people

  • Contradictions of ‘real world’ – like slavery – vs. ideal of Decl.

  • Voting rights today v. voting rights in 1789

  • Eligibility for voting in federal elections

  • How does the electoral college work today

  • How does the US Senate work today

Question 2:
Where does Jefferson find his own views of equality, as addressed in the Declaration of Independence? What role does “Natural Law” play, and how does the Declaration change these natural rights? Where do the Founders – where does Jefferson, in the Declaration – find these rights? How does he avoid controversy about the source of these rights?

  • Jefferson bases his ideas on Locke

  • Natural law is what governments are created to protect

  • Inherent rights according to Locke are ‘Life, Liberty, and Property”

  • Jefferson changes this to “Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness”

  • Says these rights are ‘self evident’ and avoids controversy as to have to explain where he gets these ideas

  • Not just Jefferson wrote Declaration; Franklin, Adams et al. Five person committee assigned to draft document

  • Contradiction – Jefferson the slaveowner vs. Jefferson the democrat

Question 3:
Explain the impact of the 3/5th Clause and political controversy that surrounded it at the time of the ratification of the Constitution. Having done that, please briefly detail the lingering controversy of this very anti-Democratic detail to the Constitution. Then, answer the question – in terms of the North/South relationship – is it possible that the 3/5 clause was indeed part of the Founders’ recipe for good government?

  • 3/5 clause formalized the ‘worth’ of slaves for the purposes of the census

  • On one hand, the 3/5th clause ‘proves’ founders’ “anti-democratic” views

  • Southern delegates wanted slaves to be counted as one full person because representation in Congress was based upon the census, and to count the slaves would have given the South much political power

  • Northern delegation wanted slaves to be not counted at all in order to prevent the South and the slaveholders a super-majority in Congress

  • 3/5 was a compromise to satisfy south but also to weaken the hand of the slaveholding interests

  • 3/5 clause avoided directly confronting the issue of slavery and put off the north/south conflict

  • Resolution of the issue allowed northern economy to grow and allow the non-slave holding interests in the country to gain power

  • Notice that Slavery is never explicitly mentioned in the Constitution

Am. Gov.- Announcements and Position Paper #2 Information

"Gov't to fight pledge of allegiance ruling" - read it here and be ready to tell me your opinion, and also the process by which the case gets from the court in California to the Supreme Court
 "Constitution Day" - read about it here . Do you believe we are spending enough time on the Constitution in our course?
 Also, please read this and be prepared to talk about it in class this week; specifically, we have talked about how governments work to solve problems. Soon, we will be moving into the role of private enterprise, lobbyists, and interest groups in the formation of government policy and public policy. This brief article is a good place to start.
 Second, it is time to think about your next round of position papers. I am going focus heavily on a continuation of the second question on your first position paper; namely, rights. We must look carefully at rights that the government is to protect, whether those rights are spelled out in the Constitution specifically, or, implied/directed through the many court decisions since 1789.
 So please re-read chapter four, and be prepared to give deeper analysis than you did on your first position paper based upon the protection of rights illustrated in that chapter. We are going to get very in-depth here, and your analysis will reflect that.
Thank you,

September 16, 2005

IR - Hitchens v. Galloway

This is a highlight of a recent debate in New York between Christopher Hitchens and George Galloway; please be prepared in class to briefly  analyze their opinions in light of the Iraq war - consider it homework! (By this - I mean play around on Google. In doing so, you'll find links like this one and this one ). Don't spend too much time on it, just please read the articles and see where someone like Galloway exists in British politics (and US politics, too).

September 15, 2005

Welcome to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund Official Web Site

This is the site of the Bush/Clinton non-profit organization, to raise money for evacuees and disaster relief. As Hawkeye students, you will soon see new faces, of young men and and women who will soon be joining us, displaced from their home schools in the affected areas, to come to ours. Over the course of the rest of our class time together, please let us do what we can as a group of concerned citizens, to help make their landing a little softer, and to introduce to them, the best of Iowa.

Hawkeye's student services center will soon be taking over our local response to the disaster, and to the needs of the incoming students. I will keep you all posted as to how this progresses.

Thank you,


IR - German Election

-Links for the German National Election-
Make-up of the Current German Parliament
Ten facts about the German Election

September 13, 2005

IR/Am. Gov't - Urgent! Friedman

 I was told that the Friedman lecture has been sold out for several weeks, but Hawkeye Students are welcome at the Question and Answer at 4:30 PM, on Wed., in the Great Hall of the Gall./Bluedorn center at UNI. I apologize for the short notice, but certainly encourage attending. Thanks -

September 12, 2005

IR - UN Decision on "Cybersquatting"

Please tell me what you think of this, from Thanks. Pete

September 11, 2005

Am. Gov't

 Please read this and bring an opinion about it with you this week!

IR/Am. Gov't -NY Times Article from Thomas Friedman

The meaning of a skull

By Thomas L. Friedman
Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times
Sunday, April 27, 2003 Posted: 8:11 AM EDT (1211 GMT)
Friday's Times carried a front-page picture of a skull, with a group of Iraqis gathered around it. The skull was of a political prisoner from Saddam Hussein's regime, and the grieving Iraqis were relatives who had exhumed it from a graveyard filled with other victims of Saddam's torture. Just under the picture was an article about President Bush vowing that weapons of mass destruction will be found in Iraq, as he promised.

As far as I'm concerned, we do not need to find any weapons of mass destruction to justify this war. That skull, and the thousands more that will be unearthed, are enough for me. Mr. Bush doesn't owe the world any explanation for missing chemical weapons (even if it turns out that the White House hyped this issue). It is clear that in ending Saddam's tyranny, a huge human engine for mass destruction has been broken. The thing about Saddam's reign is that when you look at that skull, you don't even know what period it came from his suppression of the Kurds or the Shiites, his insane wars with Iran and Kuwait, or just his daily brutality.

Whether you were for or against this war, whether you preferred that the war be done with the U.N.'s approval or without it, you have to feel good that right has triumphed over wrong. America did the right thing here. It toppled one of the most evil regimes on the face of the earth, and I don't think we know even a fraction of how deep that evil went. Fair-minded people have to acknowledge that. Who cares if we now find some buried barrels of poison? Do they carry more moral weight than those buried skulls? No way.

So why isn't everyone celebrating this triumph? Why is there still an undertow out there, a holding back of jubilation? There are several explanations. For me, it has to do with the nature of Iraq and the Middle East. You always have this worry that in the Middle East, fighting evil is like holding back the desert. The minute you fight off one evil, three others blow in to take its place.

You always worry that maybe these countries are not real states, but are simply collections of tribes that can be controlled only with a fist, and the only options are an evil iron fist or a softer, more benign one. No sooner is Saddam gone than up pops a group of Shiite clerics demanding that Iraq be turned into another Iran. So as much as I believe we did good and right in toppling Saddam, I will whoop it up only when the Iraqi people are really free not free just to loot or to protest against us, but free to praise us out loud, free to speak their minds in any direction, because they have built a government and rule of law that can accommodate pluralism and stand in the way of evil returning.

I also think many Democrats are reluctant to celebrate because they fear with good reason that President Bush will be empowered by this war victory, that he and Karl Rove will use that power to drive through a radical conservative agenda that Democrats fear is erasing separations between church and state, depriving government of the tax funds it needs to maintain decent social and educational programs, and despoiling the environment. Sure, Democrats argue, we did right in Iraq, but if it will only lead to more wrong at home, how good can you feel?

And when you look at the way war critics from the Dixie Chicks to Tom Daschle have been savaged by conservatives, it feels as if some people want to use this war to create a multiparty democracy in Iraq and a one-party state in America.

France and Russia refuse to acknowledge that any good was done in Iraq because if America's war ends justify its unilateral means, their power will be further diminished.

The Arab world refuses to acknowledge any good from this war, because many Arab regimes have features in common with Saddam's, and if getting rid of him was good, so would be getting rid of them. And Arab intellectuals and the Arab League won't acknowledge any good having been done in Iraq by America, because it only reminds them that they should have taken care of this problem themselves and didn't.

Bottom line: We can get rid of the sculptures of Saddam with one tug, but our job is to build a regime in Iraq that won't produce any more battered human skulls. That will be a huge task, which will need many helpers. The challenge for the Arabs, France and Russia is to get over the fact that Mr. Bush did something good, and roll up their sleeves to help make it last. And the challenge for Mr. Bush is to not take the good thing he has done and cast it in an ideological framework that will make people resent it at home and abroad.

Thomas L. Friedman is an op-ed columnist for the New York Times.

September 09, 2005

Am. Gov't - Katrina and VP Gore

Gore airlifts Katrina victims out of New Orleans
Former vice president chartered 2 private aircraft

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -- Al Gore helped airlift some 270 Katrina evacuees on two private charters from New Orleans, acting at the urging of a doctor who saved the life of the former vice president's son.
Gore criticized the Bush administration's slow response to Katrina in a speech Friday in San Francisco, but refused to be interviewed about the mercy missions he financed and flew on Sept. 3 and 4.
However, Dr. Anderson Spickard, who is Gore's personal physician and accompanied him on the flights, said: "Gore told me he wanted to do this because like all of us he wanted to seize the opportunity to do what one guy can do, given the assets that he has."
An account of the flights was posted this week on a Democratic Party Web page. It was written by Greg Simon, president of the Washington-based activist group FasterCures. Simon, who helped put together the mission, also declined an interview.
On Sept. 1, three days after Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, Simon learned that Dr. David Kline, a neurosurgeon who operated on Gore's son, Albert, after a life-threatening auto accident in 1989, was trying to get in touch with Gore. Kline was stranded with patients at Charity Hospital in New Orleans.
"The situation was dire and becoming worse by the minute -- food and water running out, no power, 4 feet of water surrounding the hospital and ... corpses outside," Simon wrote.
Gore responded immediately, telephoning Kline and agreeing to underwrite the $50,000 each for the two flights, although Larry Flax, founder of California Pizza Kitchens, later pledged to pay for one of them.
"None of the airlines involved required a contract or any written guarantee of payment before sending their planes and volunteer crews," Simon wrote of the American Airlines flights. "One official said if Gore promised to pay, that was good enough for them."
He also recruited two doctors, Spickard and Gore's cousin, retired Col. Dar LaFon, a specialist in internal medicine who once ran the military hospital in Baghdad.
Most critically, Gore worked to cut through government red tape, personally calling Gov. Phil Bredesen to get Tennessee's support and U.S. Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta to secure landing rights in New Orleans.
About 140 people, many of them sick, landed in Knoxville on Sept. 3. The second flight, with 130 evacuees, landed the next day in Chattanooga.

September 07, 2005

IR - Links for Ch. 3

See if this works - very helpful for our reading this week.

Marbury v. Madison

Here is a great link for you.

September 06, 2005

IR - Bretton Woods

Here is a great, brief article for you about the Bretton Woods system.

September 05, 2005

Fw: Breaking News Mon., September 5, 2005

Well, I'll be! Guess we're going to spend a little more time on this.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Breaking News" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 6:54 AM
Subject: Breaking News Mon., September 5, 2005

> Breaking News from

September 04, 2005

Am. Gov't -Sup. Ct. Article from the New York Times

 If you wouldn't mind, please briefly read this article as well as this one regarding the vacancies on the court. I can't emphasize enough, how important it is, that we're able to witness these events as they unfold as we study the US Government. We are beginning our studies at just the right time.
 None of these notes of the past few days are really 'heavy lifting', but when taken in with the other coverage, I hope they provide a little more 'personal' understanding of the balance of power/checks and balances questions, than simply reading our textbook would.

Am. Gov't - more Rehnquist

Here's an interesting take from the BBC about the appointments process.

Am. Gov't - Rehnquist

What a full week this is becoming. Here's an article from the Washington Post.

A few things to think about:

1) Does Rehnquist's passing change the politics behind the Roberts confirmation?
2) What role does the Chief Justice play on the court?
3) Consider again the formal process of the appointment - i.e., President>Senate>Judiciary Committee>Full Senate. What again are the options a Senator has, and how do those options relate to "Checks and Balances"?
4) I can't emphasize enough the importance of Marbury v. Madison! It is that which makes these appointments so important.

Also; to be sure we're all on the same page - let's spell out the President's options.

-The President could look outside the Court for a new Chief Justice
-The President could 'promote' from within.

Procedurally, the President has the potential for three appointments - promoting from within will create an additional vacancy.

In short - here are the possibilities:
Two sets of hearings - one for the O'Connor seat, and one for the Rehnquist seat - assuming the President appoints from outside the court.
Three sets of hearings - one for the O'Connor seat, one for the Rehnquist seat, and one for the seat that would be vacated.

I'll post more on this and the second week's class discussion here in the next few days - but this is a place to start.

Thanks --


September 03, 2005

IR Current Events - German National Elections

As we discussed in class, there are German elections coming up in just a few weeks. You can read a bit about the personalities and the upcoming debate by clicking here. This article from the Financial Times dips just a bit into the current affairs in that country.
Some background on post WWII German world politics from the US State Department can be read here.

September 02, 2005

Am. Gov't, Week One - Ch. One

Week One, Chapter One, Edwards Brief Eighth Edition
(Note – Take notes. Exam and assignments will come directly from what we talk about. If I say it, or it a class member brings it up, it’s fair game for the exam.
  1. What does Government invoke to you? Is Government different than politics? And if so, what is the difference?

  2. Which comes first, then – Government or Politics? Can you even separate the two?

Your text calls politics and governing, the question of “who gets what” – that is simple, and it is true. We will come to see that governing is much more complex – after all, government, in our system, reflects people. Regardless of any cynicism, our government is designed, to “reflect the preferences of the people”. This is how your book defines “Democracy”.

To the question of politics, and the “who gets what” description of the system, an Italian politician wrote, in 1516, about the political world. Niccolo Macchiavelli suggested that the central tenet of man is, ‘the desire to acquire’. Whether we are so simple, who would know. But our political system will be viewed through those eyes as we ‘break the ice’ in this course.


Your text starts by complaining about Youth Participation. I want you to take that to heart. The 2004 or 2008 elections may be your first. As we get further along, ask yourself what led you to vote, or not vote on election day. Do you agree with the book’s critique of your generation?

  1. Governing and politics is not easy

  2. “You can’t always get what you want”

But, “Hate it or love it, it’s the system we’ve got”.

This very basic description – “who gets what” – is common to every political system that has ever been. From dictatorship to Democracy, this is precisely the first duty. Without a system in place to answer this question, the leader is left with nothing to lead.

On our first lesson, let’s ask a few questions – what do you think of this American Democracy? Can anyone tell me what “federalism” means? How is it that there are certain “state” laws, and certain “federal” laws? What happens when these laws conflict with each other (clue – feds. win. Anyone want to tell me how come that is so?).
Everyone in Group A – give me one or two ways your lives, or the lives of someone you care about is affected by government (clue – student loan – pell grant – JTPA –anyone remember Dan Quayle!?).
Our point to remember, is that when we consider government and governing, the issues we address, we address, because someone decided that we should. Perhaps it is the Mayor who wanted to put coin meters in downtown Waterloo, or it is the President. It may be, that your first example of how you are affected by government is a result of your friends and family’s service in the Iowa National Guard.
This book is to examine, how government should work, and it tacitly suggests, that the government doesn’t work the way it should (which is true), and that government works exactly as it should (which is equally true) – you see the contradictions!
So to begin with, what does government do? Very nuts and bolts. Go to pg 10 and head down the list.
What does the government do?
  1. Defense

  2. Public Service

  3. Preserve Order

  4. “Socialize the Young” – (this is an odd phrase for your authors to use).

  5. Collect Taxes

Most people can agree on most items of that list, regardless of political ideology. So this raises another central question of politics – the allocation question.
As we’ve said, government is more than simply distribution of money, but in a great way, these are all questions of allocation of scarce resources. So tell me, the entire class, where should government fit in? What do you think? What do you believe the Republicans and Democrats would say? Do we all agree that this above list is what the government should do? Is there anything we should add to this list?
When you, an interest group, a political party, seeks to shape what those in government do, you are attempting to shift the “policy agenda” of the political body you are working with. Turn to p 12 and focus briefly on these terms - “policy agenda” – “policymaking institutions” – these terms are in plain English – people who make policy are influenced by those who…seek to influence policy. Tell me – who or what can you think of that wants to shape policy?
Religious Groups
See, these do not have to be organizations, these actors can come about as a result of a specific issue and then disband (such as the groups –opposed- to the Health Care legis in 1993, the 2005 social security overhaul). There are also permanent organizations – give me examples.
Turn to page 15 for “Democracy”. The book give several criteria for a legitimate Democracy; read these, and give me examples of where this exists in our government, and where these may be questioned. For instance, do you believe the electoral college fits in w/ the first criterion? Explain why.
Moving onto the Three Contemporary Views of American Democracy, you should be ready to discuss the views listed here.
For the 2d class period, Group A is responsible for leading the discussion based upon Chapter One. I will use the book as our template, and each member of the group should be prepared with one or two “Current Events” to have ready – from here on out, every student will be expected to talk about what’s going on in America and the world, and talk about it. Whether it’s your group or not, I will appreciate LOTS of discussion – the less I talk, the better your grades are!!