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Morning Musings

  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is one of the most senior members of the United States Senate. He’s also a very senior member of one of the most important oversight committees of the Congress, the tax-writing Finance Committee. Yesterday, we learn that senior officials of the IRS may have been politically targeting the gentleman from Iowa. Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) should, as he frequently likes to say, “throw open the doors” of the IRS and start to put an end to the senior-level chicanery, before this matter really gets out of hand. These folks are beyond Watergate.  And, if you’re OK with all of this, I fear for future of this country.
  • Justice Department and BNP Paribas officials are inching closer to inking a deal to settle various criminal allegations that the French banking giant violated U.S. economic sanctions laws. Reuters, whose reporters have been on the cutting edge of this story since the very beginning, reports today that in addition to fines in the billions, BNP would also be temporarily banned from ‘dollar clearing.’ Generally, dollar clearing is when a bank converts a foreign currency into another for a customer, in this case into dollars. This may be the first time that such a penalty has been imposed on a financial institution for violating any U.S. sanctions programs. If these reports hold, the BNP case a solid of example of what we’ve been saying in prior posts, access to the U.S. financial system is a privilege, not a right. Stop complaining about sanctions, just deal with them.
  • Taxi cabs drivers engaged in some ‘civil disobedience’ on Capitol Hill yesterday. That’s one way to shut down this city. Does not really take much. Let’s hope the bad guys are not watching.
  • The President and national security team who lost Iraq to radical Islamists are starting to pepper the DC landscape with the traditional political scapegoats. First stop, blame the intelligence community.  It will not work this time. The failure is too big and easily understood by a majority of Americans. Blaming someone else is not going to work. The Obama Administration choked; and they’ve set back for decades U.S. policy goals in the Greater Middle East. That is their legacy.
  • Be thankful that a majority of the executives at major U.S. corporations during World War II had a different mindset about their role in battling the evil of their day. Had today’s mindset prevailed, Europe would look a whole lot different these days. And, yes, news organizations such as Russian national television, RT, continues to have a field day with all this.
  • Unconfirmed reports in the media say that Edward Snowden wants out of Russia. There is always Ecuador, Cuba, or Venezuela. Better yet, Seal Team Six can arrange transport to the prison of his choosing right here in the US of A.
  • Republicans are starting to politically cave on abolishing the Export-Import bank. It is an election year after all.
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