FROM John Carney
GOP Debate Roundup Last night's GOP debate was a more raucous affair than the first two. Sometimes the moderators seemed barely in control of the proceedings. And as early voting gets closer, there were a few more testy exchanges among candidates trying to raise their profile and damage their opponents.
High Finance and White-Collar Crime Raj Rajaratnam's Galleon Group hedge fund was once worth $7 billion, and he paid ten high-powered lawyers to defend him on charges of insider trading. But a working-class jury found him guilty on all 14 counts , based in large part on telephone conversations with tipsters recorded by federal investigators. After his conviction, the billionaire rolled away from New York's federal courthouse in a silver Mercedes. He's facing prison and fines, but it's not clear what the broader consequences might be. Prosecutors promise an ongoing crackdown on insider trading. Skeptics see Rajaratnam's trial as a road map for how to get away with it. Others ask, what about the bankers accused of causing the Great Recession? Polls show that most Americans think Wall Street is rigged. Will taking down a major player restore the confidence of ordinary investors?
The American Dream and Extended Credit Despite the recession and unemployment near 10 percent, Americans are still accumulating more debt. Solicitations for credit cards doubled last year. Lenders and retailers say the American Dream -- a big home, a big car and college — makes consumers willing to go into hock. They also see signs of "frugality fatigue." Others contend the law itself is rigged to favor indebtedness, with incentives that reward debt and discourage saving. Why are people spending money they don't have? Is it good for the economy? Is the government setting the right example?
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.