Friday September 19, 2014
September 11th, 2014
In the run-up to this week's North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit, much has been made of the fact that the United States is one of just a handful of the 28 member states that spends more than 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense - along with Britain, Estonia and Greece, and the latter qualifies only because its GDP has collapsed even faster than its military budget.
What is it that makes a powerful faction in our body politic demand tight money even in a depressed, low-inflation economy?
Reading companies' annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission is a reliable cure for insomnia. Every so often, though, there is a significant revelation in the paperwork. This year, one of the most important revelations came from Microsoft's filings, which spotlighted how the tax code allows corporations to enjoy the benefits of American citizenship yet avoid paying U.S. taxes.
In 1937, Franklin Roosevelt went to Chicago to give one of the most celebrated speeches of his presidency. Pushing against isolationist sentiment, he condemned the "unjustified interference in the internal affairs of other nations" and "the invasion of alien territory in violation of treaties."
Give President Obama credit for one thing. He's accomplished something nobody else could do. In a city long frozen in partisan gridlock, he's done the impossible. He's succeeded in getting Democrats and Republicans to agree on something. Unfortunately for him, what they all agree on is that he's too weak in his response to the growing threat of ISIS.
Today, fast-food workers in more than 100 cities will stage another in a series of one-day strikes, in some places engaging in civil disobedience. The workers' "Fight for 15" campaign, an effort to win $15 hourly wages and contracts from some of the nation's largest employers, most particularly McDonald's, has been building steadily since a small band of employees first walked off the job two years ago in New York.
Maureen McDonnell, having uttered not a single word in court for five weeks, stepped into a car and rode away from the crowd a newly convicted felon, still silent.
Her husband, who made history as the first Virginia governor to stand trial and to be convicted, stopped to thank the news media after the verdict Thursday afternoon. Still working the crowd, that guy.
The gap between the European Union's pretensions and capacities has never looked so wide. Its stagnant economy and the crisis in Ukraine point to gross failures of leadership. In both cases, Europe's de facto leader - Germany - is especially to blame.
The FBI is looking into what millions of people are looking at: hacked photos of naked celebrities. Pictures from the formerly private collections of Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera and others are being posted for the world to see.
Just about everyone has an opinion of what President Obama should do about the ISIS threat in Iraq. Many of the suggestions have come from the architects of America’s latest invasion of Iraq who claimed the nine year war that led to more than 25,000 deaths and 110,000 injuries among American and coalition troops would last not more than six months.