With the nation in a long and steep economic decline, few Americans are expected to base their votes this fall on international issues. Issues relating to diplomacy and the intricacies of international trade are, well, foreign to most of us. But one mysterious, far-off land seems to be very much on the minds of candidates and voters this year. A large number of campaign commercials are focusing on our nation's trade with and outsourcing of jobs to China, an emerging superpower that that has amassed a large share of America's wealth and holds huge amounts of America's debt.

A Pledge to AmericaAlthough former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is no longer on Capitol Hill, he still casts a long shadow there. The former Republican Representative from Georgia, once Bill Clinton's most visible foil in Congress, has long since hit the political consultant circuit, but his Republican allies on Capitol Hill are -- 16 years after Gingrich was the face of the dramatic Republican takeover of the House -- still playing in the House that Newt Built, if the newly issued "Pledge to America," transparently modeled on the Republican "Contract with America" of 1994, is any evidence.

The Article 32 hearing in the case of army Major Nidal Hasan, the man accused of killing 13 people at a readiness center on Ft. Hood, Texas, commenced on October 13 as a judge overruled a request by Hasan’s defense team for a continuance.

After congressional efforts to repeal the military’s long-standing policy of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” have failed to clear Congress, a federal court has issued an injunction to suspend the policy. According to Judge Virginia Phillips of Federal District Court for the Central District of California, the policy “infringes the fundamental rights of United States service members and prospective service members.”

The New York Times is worried: Tea Party activists and the candidates they support are openly criticizing that most sacred of quasi-governmental institutions, the Federal Reserve. Worse still, some of these candidates might actually win and join forces with Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), author of End the Fed, who is poised to head the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the Fed, if Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives in November.