Category Archives: banking
The year hasn’t been kind to the global elite.
Curiously, that made many Americans ashamed of their country. They’re resorting to violence because they don’t accept Tuesday’s election results. The same election they feared Donald Trump wouldn’t honor if the results were reversed.
To their credit, President Obama and Hillary Clinton gracefully accepted the voter mandate.
Others, however, are embarrassed because people are laughing at us. Many of whom live under the undemocratic rule of progressive experts. The European Union for example. The EU features strangling regulation, low growth, high unemployment, and negative interest rates.
The Brits had enough of that and voted to exit the E.U. – Brexit. Those voters too were laughed at by their enlightened betters who were embarrassed for their country.
The Obama agenda gave America eight years of increasing regulation, low growth, high unemployment (90 million outside the workforce), and near zero percent interest rates. Hillary Clinton promised to make us even more like France.
So American voters pulled a Brexit and elected Trump. The major media and pollsters missed both the U.K. and U.S.A. revolts entirely.
And that left the global elite shocked and dismayed.
Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf resigned on Wednesday and Elizabeth Warren finally got the scalp she wanted. Bank employees opened about two million unauthorized customer accounts on Chairman Stumpf’s watch. The scam led to bonuses for the employees and extra fees and overdraft charges for the unsuspecting customers.
Stumpf will get no severance package and he has forfeited $41 million in unvested equity. Also, the bank has fired 5,300 employees and agreed to pay a $185 million dollar fine.
Additionally the former CEO will be tied down naked in the desert over a termite hill.
I made up that last one. Stumpf’s not exactly losing the shirt off his back. He earned about $120 million during his career at Wells Fargo.
Wells Fargo Thrived After 2008 Crisis
A WSJ editorial says that, despite the scandal, Stumpf has been “one of the most successful American CEOs of recent times:”
Our colleague Dennis Berman reports that in nine years he produced some $149 billion in profits and saw an increase in market cap of $124 billion. Wells Fargo tried to turn down the government’s rescue funds during the 2008 financial panic because it didn’t need the help, only to be forced by Treasury to take the money.
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was busted for paying hush money by making cash withdrawals that would be difficult to trace. Never mind that he was a perv trying to hide the fact that he had molested a high school wrestler. It was violating the $10,000 cash withdrawal limit that got him busted.
“Hastert was indicted for two alleged felonies: 1) withdrawing cash from his bank accounts in amounts and patterns designed to hide the payments; and 2) lying to the FBI about the purpose of those withdrawals once they detected them and then inquired with him.”
Well, the WSJ reported yesterday that the Obama administration tried to hide a $400 million cash payment to Iran. And it tried to hide the purpose of the payment – ransom of five hostages.
The Justice Department opposed the deal.
Michelle Kosinski of CNN asked White House spokesman Josh Earnest if the hostages would have been released without the payment. He refused to answer. Actually, Earnest’s drawn out unrelated responses were kind of amusing. You can see the exchange at the -41:11 mark of this C-SPAN video.
The ransom was paid in Swiss Francs and Euros delivered by unmarked plane in the middle of the night. Since it’s against the law to trade dollars with Iran Dr. Krauthammer says the administration is guilty of money laundering.
Obviously, it wasn’t a coincidence. The reason that it was objected to by Justice, there is a statute that prohibits us from engaging in Iran dealing with dollars. So, they had to print the money here, ship it over to Switzerland, turn it into Swiss francs and euros and ship it over to Iran. If a private company had done this, this is called money laundering. The CEO would be in jail right now.”
He added, “The reason it was concealed is because it’s illegal. That’s why Congress wasn’t notified, because it’s scandalous for the administration to explicitly defy a law that says you can’t deal in American currency. And the second thing is, it isn’t only that it encourages terrorism in the future, it’s that the money is in cash. Why in cash? Because that you can’t trace it. It’s going to go straight to Hezbollah, straight to Hamas, straight to terrorists in Iraq.”
Andrew McCarthy in National Review maintains Obama committed a felony. He says the law restricts the transfer of value to Iran in any way.
By his own account, President Obama engaged in the complex cash transfer in order to end-run sanctions that prohibit the U.S. from having “a banking relationship with Iran.” The point of the sanctions is not to prevent banking with Iran; it is to prevent Iran from getting value from or through our financial system — the banking prohibition is a corollary. And the point of sanctions, if you happen to be the president of the United States sworn to execute the laws faithfully, is to follow them — not pat yourself on the back for keeping them in place while you willfully evade them. The president’s press conference is better understood as a confession than an explanation.
EU commissions regulate everything from the bend of bananas to the curvature of cucumbers.
British Independence Day
Gerard Baker discussed Brexit in a WSJ front page analysis, Britain Fires a Shot Heard Round the World. He compared it to the populist movement that gave the Republican Party The Donald as presumptive nominee for president of the United States.
Tea Party Nation, a leading umbrella group, congratulated the British on their “Independence Day” and said in a statement “the land that gave us Magna Carta decided they wanted freedom and not a socialist dictatorship.”
Megan McArdle in Bloomberg had this to say about global elites and populist movements:
In many ways, members of the global professional class have started to identify more with each other than they have with the fellow residents of their own countries. Witness the emotional meltdown many American journalists have been having over Brexit.
Journalists aren’t the only one’s melting down over Brexit. The Dow and the British Pound celebrated “the freedom from socialist dictatorship” by plunging 600 points and 11% respectively.
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.”