International Cash Flows

A couple of items caught my attention, all in the vein of money flowing on the global scale: the Palestinian Stash, the Cypriot Cash, and the Brockovich Caper.

The Palestinian Stash

First, it now appears that, late Friday, President Obama defied a Congressional freeze and sent a half-billion dollars winging off to the Palestinian terrorists.  (The same story appears on several sources, from Arab to Israeli to British.) The Palestinians have been for years the subject of the largest amount of world aid per capita of any population on the planet — much of it from the Israelis themselves, perhaps foolishly.  Note that Israel had just transferred funds to the Palestinians weeks ago, according to the NYT.

President Obama apparently did this in defiance of a Congressional freeze, though this is not yet clear.  The story sounds much like last year, in fact, except that this time no one is pretending that the Palestinian leaders are not dedicated to wiping Israel and Jews from the face of the Earth.  Obama finds them simpatico, unlike his feelings for Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Obama’s speech under the picture of Yassir Arafat, the terrorist who made killing school children for political points an art form, was in extremely bad taste.  And his warmth for Mahmoud Abbas, who as I’ve observed before would be just as happy to be killing Jews, is also misplaced.

The Cypriot Cash

Cyprus made the news several days ago when a decision was made to seize all bank accounts and extract some percentage — 6 to 10% — to satisfy the European Union’s demands. The Cyprus government decided (after massive objections) that this was the wrong thing to do.  Here is one Cypriot Nobel Prize laureat economist complaining.

So now they’ve taken from President Obama the clue on how to solve the problem.  “Attack the rich!  There are fewer of them!”  Cyprus has frozen all bank accounts larger than 100,000 for the next month or so, until they decide how much to take.  Current guesses are running up to 40%.

But those with smaller amounts will be left alone.  It’s only those with financial power who are going to get soaked by this island which makes a big part of its revenue from attracting those with financial power.

I suspect this is not going to work out well for them.  Moreover, everyone with money across Europe is taking note: They could be next.  And once someone has done it, it’s no longer “unprecedented.”  It’s now something the governments feel entitled to.

And just as their politicians watch the US administration for clues on what to do, US leaders are watching these events carefully as well.

I suspect this is not going to work out well for us.

The Brockovich Caper

This happened long ago, and I have an odd sort of personal involvement with what has become famous as “the Erin Brockovich case.” At one point many years ago, I boarded the private jet of the big-name attorney involved and pitched him to take a case — successfully.  What happened after that was a long story involving massive research on the PG&E / Hinkley, CA case, and seventeen stanzas of Shakespearean poetry … a story for another day.

But it means that this story, noting that there was no “cancer cluster” in Hinkley, is no surprise; I knew it from my research years ago.  What was involved was corruption, a variant on blackmail, and a $330 million payoff … with the corporation actually being the victims, and the townspeople being harmed by the case more than the chemicals.

Parts of this I can’t tell yet; someday, perhaps.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle