There is, if you will, an arresting scene in A Man for All Seasons, Robert Bolt’s magnificent play about Sir Thomas More. The scene concerns an arrest that does not take place at the home of More, the Lord Chancellor of England. An acquaintance named Richard Rich is acting suspiciously and members of the More household, and no doubt More himself, suspect he is spying on the Lord Chancellor and is prepared to betray him to his enemies — a suspicion borne out all too well by later events. Rich has no sooner left than More’s wife, daughter, and son-in-law all clamor for his arrest, a request More might grant but for the inconvenient fact that the man had broken no law.
Investors will be anxiously watching when the New York Stock Exchange market opens Monday morning to see what effect Standard and Poor's downgrade of the U.S. credit rating will have on trading. The stock market fell by 7.1 percent last week, before S&P issued its report of the downgrade at the end of the day on Friday. The market fell despite the bill signed into law last Tuesday that allowed the raising of the debt limit to prevent the government from defaulting on its financial obligations, accompanied by a deficit reduction package aimed at trimming $2.1 trillion of deficit spending over the next 10 years.
As the nation continues to struggle with a prolonged economic slump and an unemployment rate that remains stubbornly above nine percent, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker has warned the Fed against the temptation to jeopardize price stability in an effort to jumpstart the economy. Even "a little inflation" can be dangerous, Volcker warned in an op-ed piece in Monday's New York Times. Volcker noted "a sense of desperation" abroad in the land, since "both monetary and fiscal policy have almost exhausted their potential, given the size of the fiscal deficits and the already extremely low level of interests rates.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is scheduled to brief members of Congress on Thursday, January 6, on his drive to find $100 billion in savings in the defense budget over the next five years. But the White House and the Pentagon are at odds over how much needs to be cut and where to direct the money saved, according to a report from Reuters news service.
If it were not already clear by now, there is fresh evidence of why the members of Congress we elect forget, once they are in office, those principles of limited constitutional government they espoused on the way to Election Day. It can be found on the website of Joe Miller, the Palin-endorsed Tea Party candidate who won the Republican U.S. Senate nomination from Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who then launched an independent write-in campaign.
America is sliding into tyranny, and few Americans seem to recognize it. Before you dismiss this as alarmist propaganda, consider the following:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, considered a rising star and possible presidential contender in the Republican Party, is advising Republicans to back away from their heated opposition to a Muslim center two blocks from New York's "Ground Zero." Christie has called on both parties to stop making the issue a "political football."
Former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, known for his hot temper and deep barrels of pork for his rural state, died Monday night in a plane crash. Stevens, 86, was the longest-serving Republican ever in the U.S. Senate, maintaining his membership in the upper house of Congress for an even 40 years. He was finally defeated in 2008 after a federal jury in the District of Columbia found he had concealed more than $250,000 in gifts and convicted him on seven felony counts. The verdict came just eight days before Stevens lost his bid for a seventh term to Democrat Mark Begich, then the mayor of Anchorage.
Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) is the latest Republican Senator to announce he will vote against confirmation of Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the next associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. In a strongly worded op-ed piece published in USA Today for July 8, McCain said his criteria for Supreme Court nominees are "integrity, character, legal competence and ability, experience, and philosophy and judicial temperament. On that test, Elena Kagan fails," he wrote.
U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky said he supports the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and would “unequivocally” oppose any effort to repeal it. The Republican nominee issued his statement after a news cycle dominated to a large extent by close questioning about his previous statements on the subject and whether he believed the principle of property rights should allow the owner of a business establishment to refuse service to racial minorities.