March 28, 2006

Am. Gov't - IR Current Events

This is required reading!

March 24, 2006

Iraq Article - Required Reading

 This article is homework - consider it part of your participation grade. It's too important for us to ignore!

IR - Israeli Election on Tuesday

 Please read this and comment via email at my Hawkeye address (good way to increase your participation) -
 Thanks -

March 22, 2006

Afghanistan Legal Issue

 Please respond to this article -- click here. You can send a note to my email at Hawkeye by clicking on this link. This is timely, and raises issues about the US' role in the world, given what we are talking about in the Am. Gov't course and in the International Relations course. Thanks -

March 20, 2006


 We are getting into the home stretch. In the next days, you will be assigned a second assignment (IR - this will be a bit later). Please realize that under no circumstances will late assignments be accepted. If you miss a class, you must write/call me or a colleague, to see if one's been assigned.
 During the time in between an assignment being handed out and the time it's due, I am happy to send you a copy of it. Please be aware, however, sometimes it is an entire day before I will access my email/phone, so it is in your best interest to keep your eyes open.
 Missing an assignment will not mean that you fail the course; however, missed/late assignments are routinely a result of absences; taken together, that means that students who are in that position will need to spend these next eight weeks in weekly attendance, and readying themselves by reading and taking excellent notes. Please trust that I will not leave you hanging for the final - but please also take the notes and speak up in class.
 Thanks much - I hope you've had a good spring break, and we will see each other on Tuesday.

March 13, 2006

Am. Gov't

Claude Allen & His Enemies
Understanding the judge fights.

By C. Boyden Gray

In April 2003, President Bush announced his intention to nominate Claude Alexander Allen to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which reaches from Virginia to South Carolina. Sixteen months later, as with so many of the president's other nominees — courtesy of Senate Democrats — Allen is still waiting.

The opposition to Allen is directed by left-wing interest groups, from where Senate Democrats increasingly take their marching orders. The National Organization for Women, for instance, has hit upon a most remarkable basis for opposing Allen: "Allen's three children are home-schooled." Never mind the fact that centuries of American children have been so educated; never mind the fact that our Founding Fathers mostly learned at the knees of their parents. In this day and age, apparently, children not educated in state-run, union staffed, federally subsidized schools are a basis for suspicion.

Or, take the self-proclaimed Alliance for Justice, whose mission is to keep the federal bench safe from Republican appointees. Their great criticism of Allen is that he has worked to advance an "abstinence-only-until-marriage agenda." Therefore, in their words: "Everything about Allen's record suggests that...he would be unable to separate his personal extremist views from what the law requires."

Extremist views? Educating his children and promoting sexual responsibility? One might think these are the marks of an excellent judicial selection — yet these are the bases for strident liberal opposition to Claude Allen's nomination. Why would NOW, the Alliance, or any of their ideological ilk take such a stand? The answer is an instructive window into their elitist and anti-democratic manifesto for America.

The dispute flows from a fundamental disconnect over the proper role of judges in our system of government. Liberals did not invent judicial activism. Conservatives, unfortunately, claim that dubious honor. Liberals, however, have perfected it. Judicial activism, in short, is an attempt to impose through the courts what has already been rejected by the democratic process. While the nation may debate the wisdom of a particular course, weighing its effect on custom and tradition, balancing progress and upheaval, the activist judge by sweeping fiat enforces his personal predilections with nary a ballot cast.

The Framers understood, and conservatives by and large maintain, that judges should faithfully apply the law as crafted by the legislature and enforced by the executive. This includes dutifully applying "liberal" statutes that judges might not have supported had they been legislators. This contrasts markedly with the liberal view of the judge whose role is to write into the law those very beliefs that they would enact had they the authority of the legislature and the backing of the people. This includes refusing to enforce "conservative" laws, best exemplified by the recent federal judge in California who struck down the federal partial-birth-abortion act before it was ever signed into law.

Given their understanding of what a judge should do, the radical Left's criticisms of Allen are more understandable. He is conservative and unapologetically pro-family. Were he to follow their judicial model, he might well implement his own "agenda," favoring life and responsibility, just as liberal judges have happily imposed theirs.

Liberals, of course, claim that he would do so — recall the Alliance for Justice. Yet, recall also that every federal judge takes an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Despite their bluster to the contrary, no liberal critic has produced a single shred of evidence that were he confirmed, Allen would so cavalierly ignore that duty.

Given their paucity of evidence, the Left's objection cannot really be that Allen's record suggests he would write his own views into law. The true basis for their opposition is not that he will act to implement his own agenda, but rather — given his traditional values, belief in family, and ideals of personal conservatism — that he might not warmly and enthusiastically embrace theirs. It is their political agenda that drives their animus against not only Claude Allen's jurisprudence, but against his person — for them there is no difference.

President Bush and his nominees, thus, stand athwart the great debate of the last half century: Should the United States return to being the republic it was founded or should it resign itself to oligarchy, ruled not by the will of its people but by an elite and unaccountable few? While the president has stood up for democracy and selected his nominees accordingly, a minority of the Senate has opted for the latter. Having failed to win out through the democratic process (even when they controlled the entire federal government), the Senate minority's last great hope is to enthrone a federal judiciary who will discover democratically insurmountable mandates in the Constitution mandating their worldview.

This debate is not about substantive outcome. There yet exist principled Democrats who understand that their beliefs are properly advanced through the democratic process, and not by judicial decree. Indeed, they understand that the latter approach can be, and has been, used to similarly impose conservative tyranny. Yet, unfortunately, most liberals in their maniacal pursuit of substantive victory have cast the procedural protections of checks, balances, and a limited judiciary to the wind.

Claude Allen promises not to advance a political agenda from the federal bench he has been nominated to, but to be the type of judge who buttresses the foundation of American government — by applying the rule of law however he finds it. President Bush, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, could do much worse than Allen. By the grace of democratic principles overriding a minority in the Senate, let us hope they do not have to.

— Former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray is chairman of the Committee for Justice.

March 09, 2006

IR - Harold Wilson

Oh, this is something else.

March 07, 2006


March 06, 2006

More Nuanced International Politics

Read this.


 This is going to be a big one -

March 04, 2006

A friend recommends a page from The Onion recommends a page from The Onion.

The recommended page is:

Children’s Hospital Charity Dependent On Teri Hatcher’s Knowledge Of British Parliament included the following message:
For IR - Class, this comment on "Celebrity Jeopardy" is precisely, precisely why we spend so much time on European politics. Read on! Next week - the House of Lords!

You are receiving this email because your friend at sent it to you. If you do not wish to receive emails like this, please contact your friend.

March 01, 2006

Weimar - IR

 I'm going to wait until next Tues. to give your Weimar Republic suggestions; I've not spent the requisite amount of time this week to give you the pointers you should have. So - you're free for the time being! Please realize, that although this assignment will be graded, as it's one of your two, this is intended to supplement your book chapter. I do want to see you reading, looking up your own questions, and using them. There are many right ways to respond to this.
 Thank you,

Peter McRoberts
PO Box 182
Independence, IA, 50644
(h) 319/334-3335
(w) 319/334-3131, Ex. 107