Category Archives: Economy

Hastert Hush Money

hastert hush money

I was wondering how it was possible that I was watching Donald Trump, the Republican “presumptive nominee” for president of the United States, giving a foreign policy speech yesterday afternoon.

Then news broke that former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert had been sentenced to fifteen months in prison and fined $250,000. He was guilty of  structuring bank withdrawals to hide the fact that he was taking out millions in cash.

How is it possible that a former politician and high school wrestling coach was able to withdraw $3.5 million in cash? The former Speaker had parlayed his status as an elite Washington insider into a job as a high paid Washington lobbyist.

Hastert Hush Money

The cash was hush money Hastert paid to a former high school wrestler whom he had molested when he was his coach. The judge called him a “serial child molester.”

Here’s the story in the NY Times. Here’s a National Review story about Hastert’s rise from suburban Chicago high school teacher to Washington insider.

Obama Bashes Brexit

brexitPresident Obama threatened Britons who favor a Brexit. A Brexit would be a British exit from the European Union in a referendum coming up June 23. Obama said if the UK leaves the EU it would have to move the back of the queue if it wants to do a trade deal with the US.

Obama prefers to deal with undemocratic bureaucrats in Brussels rather than Britons who prefer to retain their sovereignty in London. He claims it could take 10 years to reach a trade deal with an independent UK.

Obama’s intervention enraged London Mayor Boris Johnson who claimed Obama’s Kenyan background makes him hostile to the British Empire. That remark hi-lighted the special relationship between American and British students. Johnson was disinvited from a debate on the Brexit. British students also favor “safe spaces” to protect them from unpleasant ideas.

The Wall Street Journal points out that what Obama thinks may not matter since he’s a short termer.

Pope Prop

pope

In the heat of the New York Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders hopped on a charter Boing 767-300 and burned a carbon footprint to the Vatican.

The Week has a good account of Sanders’ “awkward” campaign detour.

He claimed he was invited by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences to give a speech on morality in the world economy. The president of that group, Margaret Archer, says, “Sanders invited himself.”

A Vatican spokesman said Sanders would not meet the pope. But meet he did.

Bernie managed to bump into the Holy Father’s as he was leaving for Greece. He gushed:

 “It was a real honor for me, for my wife and I to spend some time with him. I think he is one of the extraordinary figures not only in the world today but in modern world history.”

Here’s the pope’s description of the encounter:

“This morning when I was leaving, Sen. Sanders was there, he had come to the convention,” the pope said. “He knew I was leaving at that time and he had the courtesy to greet me. I greeted him, his wife, and another couple who were there and were sleeping in Santa Martha,” the hostel where Francis also lives. “When I came down, I greeted him, I shook his hand, and nothing more. This is called good manners and it is not getting involved in politics…. If anyone thinks that greeting someone is getting involved in politics, I recommend that he look for a psychiatrist.”

End of Coal

coal

Two stories lured me off from the campaign trail for today.

Peabody Energy, the world’s biggest coal company, filed for bankruptcy. President Obama promised to drive the coal industry into bankruptcy. As it happens, the fracking industry is driving coal into bankruptcy. Natural gas is cheaper and cleaner than coal. Obama hoped to replace coal with renewable energy.

The other story is that,  SunEdison, world’s biggest renewable energy company, is also preparing to file for bankruptcy.

Ford Plant in Mexico

ford plant in mexico

There’s a new Ford plant in Mexico. Presumably Mexicans will stay in Mexico to work there instead of sneaking into this country to steal jobs here.

Donald Trump calls that an “absolute disgrace”.