Category Archives: Congress

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.

Reagan Legacy

reagan legacy

Daniel Henninger, of the WSJ,wrote a column about a column by Nicholas Confessore, of the NYT. The idea is the Republicans have killed the thing the Democrats never could – the Reagan legacy.

 

Ayatollah Banking Behavior

Ayatollah Banking Behavior

IBD had an editorial and the WSJ had an op-ed on Ayatollah banking behavior. Zany authoritarians worth billions who aren’t Donald Trump – I thought it was worth a cartoon.

Now that the mullahs are getting their moola back, possibly 100 billion in frozen assets thanks to the Iran nuclear deal, they want to be able to move it through the U.S. banking system. That’s been a no-no in  the past. Apparently it would make it easier to launder money for terrorism. On the other hand it could make it easier for U.S. intelligence to keep track of Iran’s money.

Ayatollah Banking Behavior

Anyway, last summer Adam Szubin of the Treasury Department told Congress, “Iran will not be able to open bank accounts with U.S. banks, nor will Iran be able to access the U.S. banking sector.” Now Treasury Secretary Jack Lew seems less committal  saying the administration is trying “to make sure Iran gets relief.”

Since the Iran nuclear deal isn’t a signed treaty, Iran could walk away if it doesn’t get what it wants.

 

 

 

Living Breathing Constitution

160224-living-breathing-constitution

Scalia once said, “The constitution is not an organism. It’s a legal text.” He didn’t believe in a living breathing constitution. Obama does.

Alive or dead, the constitution gives Obama the right to appoint a successor to Scalia. It also gives the Senate the right to ignore him or turn him down. Obama agreed with that back when he was opposed to executive overreach. As a senator, he called Alito un-American and filibustered Bush’s appointment of him.

At the time, Obama told ABC News that he supported the filibuster”because I think Judge Alito, in fact, is somebody who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values.” Obama said the court needed to “provide some check on the executive branch, and he has not shown himself willing to do that repeatedly.”

Could be a campaign theme. Here’s Joe Biden with the 2012 campaign theme.

Checks and Balances

160101-checks and balancesLooks like he latest version of federal checks and balances includes the executive branch spying on the legislative branch.

The Wall Street Journal ran a story last week about the US spying on our allies. The main ally in question was Israel as Benjamin Netanyahu prepared to make a speech before a joint session of Congress criticizing the Iran deal. The kicker was that in the process of spying on Bibi the NSA listened in on confidential conversations between him and members of the US Congress.

It seemed a little surprising that Obama cares what the legislative branch has to say, considering his habit of going around  it and ruling by executive order.