Pretty quiet today, since it’s a holiday, so a good chance to catch up with global going-ons .Dollar steady as Fed rate cut calms market, the news says today, continuing a story, Fed moves to restore balance, that began last week.
How turbulence turned to calamity on Wall Street. makes for a good read, as does The first cut is the deepest. The world of markets can provoke peppery blogging, too! See Market Ticker for a sample: the blogger is really, really upset:
My prediction: Bernanke just insured a market crash. Not today, probably not Monday, perhaps not for a couple of weeks or a month. But he insured that it will happen because he pulled the rug out from under the market’s view of the Fed being an instrument of ORDERLY markets. Now when the jitters over the next dislocation in the credit markets occur (which will be in the next days or weeks, not months or years) nobody will know what he’s going do or when and they will expect DISORDER.
Nouriel Roubini, in more academic language, says The Forthcoming Fed Rate Cuts May Not Prevent a US Hard Landing (the peppery blog above came from a comment in this economist’s blog).
How’s this for an ironic pairing of news items? All news must be good news, says Chinese government and China bridge death toll rises to 64 .
In the blogosphere, Howie Severino takes a look at a recent Dan Rather report on problems touch-screen voting machines. His blog entry and Rather’s report can be connected with the departure of Carl Rove, who supposedly engineered the Bush victories. As History Unfolding points out,
The flaw in this picture was pointed out by Sidney Blumenthal in Salon. Rove did not mastermind a George W. Bush victory in 2000; he masterminded a defeat. Bush lost the popular vote by a substantial margin. In Florida a very measurable majority of voters went to the polls intending to vote against him, but four things went wrong. First, hundreds were prevented from voting by a pre-election purge of the rolls that relied on the broadly similar names of Florida voters and felons from other states. Second, the misleading ballot in Palm Beach cost Al Gore at least a few hundred votes. Thirdly, the votes (as we learned many months later) were miscounted in Republican areas, giving Bush a crucial couple of hundred votes. And fourthly, Al Gore asked for only a partial, not a full recount, and five Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices stopped even that, (Congratulations are in order for Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune and Peter Canellos of the Boston Globe, both of whom managed to write their analyses without referring to a 2000 “victory.”
And it kept going on past 2000:
Rove spent the last six years and a half years securing President Bush’s power with a mixture of fear, hatred, and corruption. 9/11 enabled the President to step into the role of protector of America’s safety, while portraying the Democrats as too soft, both because they wanted to preserve American civil liberties and to fight only those wars that would actually help, rather than hinder, the war on terror. The gay marriage issue helped mobilize the hatred of those who fear sexual difference, especially, I suspect, within themselves. And the whole federal government was largely reshaped to serve the political purposes of the Republican Administration. The rush to privatize government services continued apace, creating more and richer contractors who could make more and bigger campaign contributions. We are now learning how various agencies received political briefings during campaign seasons and apparently targeted programs to key Republican districts. And last year, Rove apparently helped orchestrate a plan to force U.S. Attorneys to bring spurious vote fraud claims against Democrats by firing some of those who refused to do so. Not since the 1870s, when the federal government was much smaller, has it been so brazenly used for purely political purposes.
Also in the same blog, is this splendid entry on the concept of “Executive Privilege”, a discussion extremely relevant to Filipinos confronted with a very similar set of issues.
First, this passage:
Berger’s premise, as in his early book Impeachment: The Constitutional Problems (which I believe I discussed in an earlier post), was historically unassailable: that the Framers, while writing the Constitution, were building upon British legal traditions. Not only had they been trained in those traditions, but they had always believed that they offered the world’s best guarantees of liberty. Because George III had, as they saw it, managed to subvert even the guarantees offered by the British Constitution, they were unusually sensitive to the inevitable dangers of abuse of power, especially executive power, and they therefore provided themselves and their descendants with the best tools to fight them that anyone ever has. Unfortunately, as Berger showed very conclusively, they did not bother even to codify some of the most basic powers (just as they did not codify the right of habeas corpus, even while declaring that it could only be suspended by the Congress in time of invasion or rebellion), because they assumed them.
They did, of course, give Congress the right to impeach and try the President, Vice President, and other civil officers, and to remove them from office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” In Impeachment, Berger drew on English precedents and constitutional debates to show that to them, that clause included not only criminal acts, but acts tending to corrupt the body politic (Madison, in this connection, even referred to abuse of the pardon power as an impeachable offense), or even, critically, the pursuit of disastrous policies – a frequent grounds for impeachment in early modern Britain. And as Berger argued, and as Parliamentary history showed, the power of inquiry – to compel testimony and documents from ministers about their conduct – was, obviously, an essential concomitant of the power to impeach, since the Congress could hardly try to punish behavior that it could not find out about.
Regarding the question currently before us – whether the Congress can compel executive officers to testify – Berger found no unequivocal precedents. He did, however, find that the Supreme Court, as early as 1838 (in Kendall vs. United States) had explicitly rejected the claim that executive officers were subject only to the direction of the President and could disregard orders (even in the form of laws) from other branches of government. Berger would explain the lack of distant precedents by the general recognition that the power of inquiry went along with the power of impeachment – and surely, if the executive had ever gotten away with a refusal to allow its officers to testify before Congress, he would have known about it.
Berger has been dead for many years, and alas, the chances of the legal academic community producing another like him have fallen considerably. Our debts to our British forbears have become unfashionable, as “critical legal theory” transforms Anglo-American jurisprudence into a conspiracy to preserve the supremacy of white males. In fact, we enjoy liberty today because British aristocrats originally wrested it from their monarchs, allowing the lower orders to contend for the same rights. Because law rests on precedent, the past is actually more alive in the law than in my own historical profession, but this, too, could pass.
Then, jam sessions on Manny Pacquiao.