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Morning Musings

  • Yesterday I had an interesting phone conversation with someone very knowledgeable about recent happenings at one of Europe’s most politically powerful banks, BNP Paribas. If even half of what this person told me is true, the economic sanctions and Nazi video cases are the least of their problems. I’ve posted an item or two on the blog about BNP Paribas. Follow this link to learn more. French lawmakers, and reform-minded bank insiders, rather than accuse the United States of unfairly targeting the French banking giant, should seize on this opportunity to improve the institution and create a real compliance culture before it leads to systemic risks. Their clients deserve at least that much; and if they want to do business in the United States, or in dollars, so do U.S. taxpayers. According to Reuters and several other news outlets this morning, at least one senior adviser may be on the chopping block over the economic sanctions violations case. I also spoke with one senior Congressional investigator yesterday who told me that they are watching this case with “interest” and she would not rule out a Congressional inquiry or two in the near future.
  • The House Republican Conference is a bit shaken up. Understandably so, but time to move on. The soon-to-be former Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), suffered a devastating loss at the polls because Cantor’s political advisors flunked political campaigning 101; and the candidate was way out of touch with his district (there were enough signs in May that there was trouble in the offing that his team, arrogantly, ignored). This election reinforced a long-held bias I’ve, probably unfairly, harbored against using polling data to make important political decisions. Polls tend to be as reliable as medicinal cures from a voodoo priest. Even the entrenched media called it wrong. Way wrong. As for resulting DC intrigue, there is way too much drama and whispering from the GOP loggia. In the larger scheme of things for the GOP, and the Congress, this is not a big deal. Find the political spines and control your emotions. Regroup. Replace. And move on. Fast. There are a lot more important things to do than fuel DC media cycles or fuel the Left. The GOP – this includes the RNC and K Street crowd – should also start to take the Tea Party movement a little more seriously. It is here to stay. Wake up amigos. Change is good.
  • In much more important news, Iraq appears to be headed for troubled waters. Mass beheadings, on the rise. A refugee crisis is brewing. Key cities are under attack by radical Islamist jihadists.  If this is an early test of Obama’s misguided withdrawal strategy, the government of Iraq is demonstrating it is far from ready for prime time. U.S. taxpayers have invested a billions in this project, not to mention the thousands of Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The Obama Administration needs to do better.
  • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the Congress yesterday during a hearing probing Bergdahl’s release from Taliban captivity that “wars are messy, and they’re full of imperfect choices.” Sounds a lot like the Obama Administration these days.
  • Congress needs to hold field hearings at the U.S.-Mexico border to highlight the importance of border security, as well as to call national intention to a simmering humanitarian crisis caused by Latin American governments and the media in the region. I’ve read more than a handful of Spanish newspapers from throughout Central America that, essentially, are telling people to head North, amnesty is on the way. Spanish-language news outlets in the United States also share some of the blame. And while there is no evidence that the governments of Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, or El Salvador are behind the unusual rush of folks heading north, none of these government are doing a thing to protect their borders either. Holding a Congressional field hearing that focuses on border security, and the lack of cooperation from our so-called allies in the region, will help focus on a key and central issue lacking from the immigration reform debate.
  • Want to know how the Left operates? Look at what immigration “reform” advocates did yesterday evening at Rep. Eric Cantor’s campaign headquarters (video below). This is not an isolated incident. They’ve been intimidating moderate Republicans in the House for at least a year at offices, homes, and at public gatherings such as town hall meetings. The goal? To force a vote, and cooperation, with the Obama Administration’s targeted amnesty “putcsh”:

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