ABOUT THIS BLOG

I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.


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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Foreign Policy, Intel, Courage

From the Department of "Holy Crap!"




Federalist 70

Intelligence and Oversight: Hearings in the 1970s:
Treaties and International Agreements

JFK on the complexity of courage:
  • The pressure to "go along" -- but we "should not be too hasty in condemning all compromise as bad morals."
  • The pressure to seek reelection -- but lawmakers "who go down to defeat in a vain defense of a single principle will not be on hand to fight for that or any other principle in the future."
  • The pressure to serve interest groups -- but "they are the articulate few whose views cannot be ignored and who constitute the greater part of our contacts with the public at large, whose opinions we cannot know..."


Final Essay, Spring 2018

Answer one of the following:
  1. Take any of JFK’s “profiles in courage.” How might a critic disagree with the analysis? How does this story illustrate differences and similarities between the Congress of its time and the Congress of today?
  2. Describe and analyze an act of political courage by a House member or senator that has taken place since 2000. Include an analysis of the relevant obstacles, risks, and consequences.  How does this profile illustrate changes in Congress since the mid-1950s?
  3. It is January 2019. Suppose Democrats have won a narrow (230-205) majority in the House and the GOP has a tenuous (50-50, with Pence breaking the tie) grip on the Senate. Choose an issue on which there could be a constitutional conflict between Congress and President Trump.  Examples include:  assertions of executive privilege, allegations of misconduct, the power of the purse,  executive agreements, and war powers -- among others.  Drawing on Trump's statements and activities, explain what he might do create a conflict.  What specific constitutional questions would arise?  In light of the composition of Congress, what would be the likely outcome?
  • Essays should be typed (12-point), double-spaced, and no more than four pages long. I will not read past the fourth page. 
  • Submit papers as Word documents, not pdfs.
  • Cite your sources. Use Turabian/Chicago endnotes. 
  • Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you. Return essays to the Sakai dropbox by 11:59 PM, Tuesday, May 1. Papers will drop one gradepoint for one day’s lateness, a full letter grade after that.

Greitens

From Talha:

This is an nterestingi read in the Washington Post about evidence of a “probable felony related donor list for a charity founded by Gov. of Missouri Eric Greitens. The investigation was conducted by the Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley who turned in the evidence to the St. Louis circuit attorney. This allegation comes just a few days after reports of Greitens involvement in sexual contact with a woman who worked as his hairdresser. Democrats on Tuesday insisted that the chamber should not debate legislation until addressing impeachment proceeding; Republicans on the other hand dismissed the charges as a distraction from considering a tax-bill that they brought before the House.

Greitens released a statement saying he was the target of a “which hunt”.

[Hawley is running against McCaskill.]

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Rules of the Senate are about to change

According to POLITICO, it appears that the Senate is about to make a rare change in the rules to accommodate my Senator, Tammy Duckworth, who just had a baby. The Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee have both expressed support for a change that would allow children under the age of 1 to be brought onto the Senate floor by Senators during votes. This is to allow Senator Duckworth to take care of her newborn while still serving in her role as a Senator. Sen. Duckworth is a tough woman, and while she said she is taking an unofficial maternity leave, she will still be around to take any major votes if needed.

This change is indicative of how archaic the Senate still is in many ways, that this is the first Senator to ever have a baby while serving and necessitate this rule change. While it is getting better, the body is still dominated by old, white men and that is reflected in how these kind of policies are not already in place, something that has been in place in most other workplaces for a long time. Hopefully this is a start of a larger process to modernize the Senate a bit more and make it easier for more different people to serve.

Congress, War, Intelligence

On January 12, 1991, House Speaker Tom Foley (D-WA) and Republican Leader Bob Michel (R-IL) spoke about the impending Gulf War. Click for video of their remarks, so you can see what grownups look like:

Miles's Law and the Syria Airstrikes

Legal Issues Surrounding Syria: AUMF after 9/11 and analysis of the 4/13/18 airstrikes

Prologue:  Steps in launching a nuclear war

Hamilton in Federalist 8: "It is of the nature of war to increase the executive at the expense of the legislative authority."

Tocqueville, p. 126: "If the Union’s existence were constantly menaced, and if its great interests were continually interwoven with those of other powerful nations, one would see the prestige of the executive growing, because of what was expected from it and of what it did."

The Constitution:

To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
 To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
To provide and maintain a navy;
To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Article II, section 2:
The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States;
CRS explains that a declaration of war has enormous legal consequences
[A] declaration of war automatically brings into effect a number of statutes that confer special powers on the President and the Executive Branch, especially concerning measures that have domestic effect. A declaration, for instance, activates statutes that empower the President to interdict all trade with the enemy, order manufacturing plants to produce armaments and seize them if they refuse, control transportation systems in order to give the military priority use, and command communications systems to give priority to the military. A declaration triggers the Alien Enemy Act, which gives the President substantial discretionary authority over nationals of an enemy state who are in the United States. It activates special authorities to use electronic surveillance for purposes of gathering foreign intelligence information without a court order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It automatically extends enlistments in the armed forces until the end of the war, can make the Coast Guard part of the Navy, gives the President substantial discretion over the appointment and reappointment of commanders, and allows the military priority use of the natural resources on the public lands and the continental shelf. 
There have been 11 declarations of war.

Use of military force abroad (usually without a declaration of war)

The War Powers Resolution






The Iraq War Resolution

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Congress, the Power of the Purse, and Domestic Policy

Yes, really, no kidding, the federal tax system is more progressive than most people think. 

CBO Slide Deck

From the Full Report:





Rescission?  Eh!

Balanced Budget Amendment -- CMC alum David Dreier at 1:25









Image result for cost access quality health care

Role of Money in Congressional Races

The Orange County Register posted an article about the role of big money in congressional races. They say that "the sky-high stakes of several congressional races that touch Orange County soon could attract big money and political gamesmanship on a scale rarely seen locally." Four longtime Republican seats won by Hillary Clinton are on the line, and after California's June primary, it is likely that big money will start pouring in. Professor Pitney was also quoted in the article, saying that TV ads can also make a huge difference in this type of an election. In addition, PACs and other interest groups are expected to pour money into these toss-up races soon, likely in the form of mailers, TV ads, and other resources.

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