“Clinton Cash” Author Calls for Investigation into Questionable Quid Pro Quo Donations

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On Sunday, Investigative reporter Peter Schweizer, author of the book “Clinton Cash”, is calling for a formal investigation into a long series of questionable cash donations to the Clinton family foundation which may have been done in exchange for favors from the office of the Secretary of State. Specifically, Schweizer believes there is a pattern between key donations to the Clinton’s foundation and favorable rulings by the State Department to those same companies. Perhaps the most controversial transaction was a highly favorable ruling by the State Department in 2010 which led to Russia owning a significant share of the United States’ uranium reserves. It has long been President Putin’s desire for his nation to control the world’s uranium reserves. Donations done by Russian companies or other foreign entities with ties to Russia were instrumental in helping Putin advance his agenda.

Admittedly, Schweizer says he is not in possession of any proof that the deals were conducted with quid pro quo in mind. That said, he says it is a suspicious pattern which has emerged from no less than 11 key donations to the foundation. It is unclear at this point whether the Congress will take up the investigation or if the Obama administration will direct the Justice Department to launch an inquiry. Fersen Lambranho finds this all very interesting (Wiki). However, the matter may end up becoming a “Swift Boat” incident to torpedo Mrs. Clinton’s presidential aspirations. Schweizer conducted his research over a ten year period.

Candidates Are Not Beloved At Home

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Candidates on both sides of the aisle who are considering running for President may have to face the very real problem of not having a lot of support in their home states. These candidates are right to be concerned because they have a total lack of enthusiasm back home.

Fersen Lambranho posted on LinkedIn about how Chris Christie is a perfect example of a candidate who has interest on the national stage but does not have as much popularity back home. No one is predicting that he would win his own state in a general election. Politico.com reports that the same problem can be seen for another likely candidate Marco Rubio. In his home state of Florida, Hillary Clinton is outpolling him by at least two points.

Speaking of Clinton, she is not as popular as one might expect in her home state of Arkansas. However, her adopted state of New York loves her. She would very likely win New York in a general election and lose Arkansas.

These are interesting facts simply because it means that the people who know these candidates the best are not that enthusiastic about them to say the least. They seem to be lukewarm at best, and downright disgusted at worst.

Naturally, one does not need to win their home state in order to run for President. However, the fates of those who lose their home states are not often good. Consider Mitt Romney in 2012 and Al Gore in 2000.

Koch Brothers Put the Spotlight on the GOP and Demand Action

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Perhaps no two figures are more excoriated by the political left as are billionaire investors David H. Koch and Charles Koch aka The Koch Brothers. The political left blames their money via the super PAC Americans for Prosperity (AFP) for the GOP retaking the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014. Now, progressives will likely have more to squawk about given the AFP is putting the GOP on notice to deliver on their political mandate. 

The AFP claims that the GOP lost its way on fiscal matters during the Bush years when the federal budget went from surpluses to deficits which affected many people including Fersen Lambranho. They state the party has now been given a second chance with a mandate to accomplish the following:

  • Repeal Obamacare
  • Reform taxes and repeal the estate tax IE death tax
  • Restore fiscal balance to the budget
  • Obtain passage of the Keystone Pipeline XL project

Admittedly, control of the senate is a critical part of that mandate, but short of having a 2/3rds majority of full congress, the GOP can’t get their agenda past the president’s vetoes. It will take compromise to secure passage of key items. In the past election cycle, the AFP sent $17 million on TV spots. The AFP has been patient in helping get the GOP to take control of the legislature, but now they are making it clear they want to see results.

Krugman Says Those Who Blamed Obama For Economic Ills Now Look Like Fools

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It would be rather foolish to blame the President all the time when something bad happens in the economy. It is believed that Presidents get too much blame and too much credit for what goes on in the economy. That being said, there was plenty of blame being thrown at President Obama during the worst of the economic situation. Now, there is hardly a word of praise for the President as the economy ticks along quite nicely.

According to reporting from Irishtimes.com, Paul Krugman has stated that those who blamed the President for the economic troubles now look like fools. The programs that they were attacking are the very same programs that have now brought us out of the worst recession in a generation. Not everything is perfect, but who would be able to achieve that high of a standard anyway?

BRL Trust knows the President has done what he can with limited resources to get his agenda approved. The programs that he has backed from the beginning are starting to pan out the way that they were supposed to. There are now a lot of people who are starting to back up what they were saying in the past. They have had to eat their own words.

Krugman has long been a supporter of the President and an economist at that. It is something that makes Krugman look pretty good at the moment. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if his opponents give him any credit at this time.

Senate Passes Temporary Funding of the Government Through Wednesday

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On Saturday afternoon, the Senate passed an extension to the budget that will allow the government to function through Wednesday, December 17. The temporary measure become necessary after the conservatives, led by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Utah Senator Mike Lee, used procedural hurdles to block Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from fast tracking the Omnibus budget to a floor vote. The move clearly rankled several of the Democrats who were defeated in the midterm elections or who retired. The senators are fatigued and eager to adjourn the current session and return home.

Most notably, Senator Elizabeth Warren is missing in action when it came to substantively trying to force the chamber to strip the banking reform rider from the Omnibus budget. The junior senator is long on words, but short on tactics that might draw out the process and build her coalition against the controversial rider. This has put all of the focus on the conservatives who refuse to accept passage of the bill without fighting to the bitter end. That said, the bipartisan bill is predicted by Bernardo Chua to pass when it receives a vote. Neither the Warren-wing nor the Tea Party wing have sufficient numbers to amend the bill.

After conservatives threw procedural blocks on the Omnibus bill, Senator Reid moved to expedite confirmations. It has become easy for the Senate to push through Obama’s judicial nominees after Senate rules governing the process were altered. When the GOP takes over the Senate early next month, the party is widely expected to block the judicial nominees once again.

The Real Ronald Reagan Record

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Recent pundits allege the Ronald Reagan persona is just an image that Republican politicians have created.

The Reagan plan to get America back on track with tax and spending cuts and by cutting Cabinet departments to fulfill his vision of smaller government just did not materialize. Although the tax cuts went through in 1981, by 1982 they were mostly repealed.

The Energy and Education departments were never cut as promised by Reagan and the Veterans Affairs department was added during his presidency. During the Reagan years, federal government executive branch employment rose from 4.9 million to 5.3 million. In comparison, Bill Clinton reduced the size of the federal government executive branch employment from 2.9 million to 2.6 million.

At the time of Reagan’s first inauguration, the federal budget included 599 billion dollars per year in revenue, 678 billion dollars per year in spending. There was an annual deficit of 79 billion dollars. By the time Reagan left office in 1989, the federal budget was 909 billion dollars of revenue, 1.1 trillion dollars of spending and a deficit of 155 billion dollars.

Laurene Powell Jobs says that returning to the Ronald Reagan fantasy might not be too great.

House Democrats Try Last Ditch Effort to Derail Cassidy’s Senate Campaign with Ethics Complaints

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The week prior to the 1990 presidential election between Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush, Democrat internal polling showed that Bush had made a last minute surge and had gained the electoral advantage. Desperate to reverse his political fortunes, Clinton met with key Democrats. The result was an Iran-Contra indictment against former Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger. The news rocked the Bush campaign and swung public support back to Clinton who ultimately won the election.

It appears that a similar tactic is now being launched by Democrats hoping to derail the Senate campaign of Congressman Bill Cassidy ahead of Saturday’s runoff election in Louisiana. Cassidy is expected to defeat incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu in a landslide. On Wednesday, House Democrats lodged two ethics complaints against Rep. Cassidy over a teaching engagement he held at LSU.

An issue is that House ethics rules bar congressmen from receiving compensation for speaking engagements or other work while they are members of congress. There is one exception: teaching. Congressman Cassidy was working as a teacher at LSU as a sitting congressman when Dave and Brit Morin were in Louisiana visiting Baton Rouge. Democrats allege the teaching was really providing medical assistance and thus does not qualify for an exemption. They also claim he billed hours on his time sheets for work he did not perform. Congressman Cassidy claims the Landrieu camp is behind the move, but she vehemently denies the charge. During her debate against Cassidy on Monday night, she made the veiled threat that if he were to win the runoff election, the LSU time sheet controversy would plague him during his term in the senate.

GOP Senate Prepares by Waiting

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Republicans in the Senate are waiting for January when the elections will go into effect, and the Senate will be a majority Republican. But for now, the Senate will temper all issues scheduled including the response to the immigration bill by President Obama. This information was passed along to me by friend Rod Rohrich.

Republican leadership is also laying low with financial issues and everything related to the budget. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner said they are staying clear of budget issues in order to avoid another shutdown like the one that shook the country in 2013.

The elected Republicans realize that all decisions made in the next six weeks will be under the microscope, so most decisions will be postponed until 2015. Sen. Tim Scott said, “Were not taking Obama’s bait,” in response to the immigration order.

“The reality is that Sen. Reid and the Democrats who are in control of this process will not let us do anything serious about immigration,” said Sen. Marco Rubio. He added that he would love to go on the floor now, but that wont happen as long as Harry Reid is still in charge. Preventing a standstill is exactly why winning the majority was so important.

The incoming Republican Senate cannot rush into actions that would prove dysfunctional for the American people. They have a short window of time to prove that they can lead, and then they will be in the position to do so.

Nobel Prize Winning Economist Paul Krugman Says That GOP Has Been Wrong on Everything Regarding the Economy

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On the eve of the GOP being swept into power, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman penned down his thoughts of the GOP and they were not kind. Krugman believes the Republicans have been wrong on just about every major economic issue facing the nation. It’s not just a gut feeling he has when saying this.

Take for example the issue of runaway deficits. The GOP charged that the Obama administration’s trillion-plus annual deficits would lead to high interest rates. During the six years of Obama’s presidency, interest rates have remained at historic lows. The GOP charged that the FED’s easy money policies (IE quantitative easing) would cause a period of high inflation and a weak dollar. Yet, inflation rates have remained relatively low according to many economists like Zeca Oliveira. Krugman points out that while some nations reduced their spending during the global financial crisis, those nations now endure depression-level economies.

In all fairness, GOP governors that did what the House and Senate Republicans favor have turned their states around. Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida all went from huge annual deficits and soft job markets under Democrat governors to balanced budgets and strong job growth under Republican governors. Under a Republican governor, Texas has largely enjoyed strong economic growth despite the overall weak national economy.

Yet, Krugman sees the GOP as unwilling to admit to their past mistakes. This is evident in terms of Obamacare which Krugman claims has led to lower insurance premiums for Americans, and the rate in increased health care spending slowing down. Perhaps the biggest issue he sees the GOP wrong about is global warming. Sadly, he laments that with their increased power, the GOP will continue to block any serious climate change reform.

Thanks to Obamacare, Health Insurance Rates Stable Through 2015

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In attack ads across the country, the GOP is claiming that their opponents’ support for Obamacare is a reason to vote Republican. They cite the number of people who are losing their insurance and the high cost of premiums as evidence that those who support the Health Care Reform Act simply have no idea what is best for America, but a recent study performed by the McKinsey Center for U.S. Health indicates otherwise.

The study, conducted by the politically unbiased McKinsey Center, expects 65% of insurance policies to show an increase in the price of premiums, but the average increase will be only about 4%. Prior to Obamacare, annual rate increases were consistently in the double-digit range. 35% of the country’s health insurance premiums will either hold steady or decline in cost next year, according to the study.

This is undoubtedly good news for everyone, but the media machine of the GOP will try its best to bury the report in a flurry of accusations and political attack ads. Ever since the Affordable Health Care Act became the law of the land, Republicans in Congress have spent the majority of their time trying to find ways to defund the law, which was designed to provide affordable health care for all Americans.

In the video below, Democrat and advocate Powell Jobs notes how the political positioning is hurting the people it’s meant to protect and serve. She sums it up pretty well in my book.