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FISA Court Rebukes FBI's Surveillance of Trump Official

During and after the 2016 presidential election, the FBI obtained several surveillance warrants against Carter Page, an official on the Trump campaign. As substantiation for these surveillance warrants, the FBI used a document produced by Christopher Steele with financing from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The premises of this document, known as the "Steele dossier," have been disproven by the media and the investigative services.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who investigated the FBI's conduct in the surveillance matter, found significant cause for concern. He observed "at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications and many errors in the Woods Procedures" that regulate the FISA process, according to the Washington Examiner.

On Tuesday, the court that approved the Page surveillance warrants -- the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court -- pointedly chastised the FBI in an order publ…
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Essay: America is a Beacon of Stability for a World in Crisis

In a recent New York Times editorial, Timothy Egan opined that America, a "bad-tempered country," is "a hot mess." Egan's sentiments are par for the course, but they miss the forest for the trees: Thanks to the Constitution endowed to us by our Founding Fathers, America is one of the few countries in today's world not engulfed by the flames of chaos.

Granted, the U.S. Congress is about to impeach President Donald Trump because he solicited politically-charged investigations from the Ukrainian government. However, the process actually demonstrates the efficacy of America's constitutional order, which has perpetuated a constancy of government unseen by any other civilization. In few other countries could one branch of government attempt to remove the head of another branch while maintaining a relatively cool, civil, and strangely-productive atmosphere. In nearly any other locale, coup-plotters would be sharpening their knives instead of wasting their time…

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There was a firestorm of outrage in January 2018 when it was revealed that Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million for reshooting his scenes in All the Money in the World while Michelle Williams was paid less than $1,000.1 Kevin Spacey originally starred in the film as well, but after sexual misconduct allegations were made public against him, he was removed from it and his scenes were reshot with Christopher Plummer in his place.2

Many people saw this as another example of the gender pay gap in Hollywood, and that became the angle that most media outlets focused on when discussing the story; however, a USA Today article by Andrea Mandell that was published on January 9, 2018, said the following: “The Washington Post first reported Wahlberg's reshoot fee, noting that the actor ‘along with manager Stephen Levinson and agency WME, have a reputation in Hollywood for driving a tough bargain.’”3

Mandell also had an article published in USA Today two days later saying that “Wahlberg had co-…

Michigan Senate Race Tightening

John James, the 2018 Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Michigan, is running again this cycle. This time, he is up against little-known incumbent Democratic Sen. Gary Peters.

James' entry into the race has caused the Cook Political Report to shift their rating of the Michigan Senate race from "Likely Democratic" to "Lean Democratic." They observe,

James was the GOP’s U.S. Senate nominee in 2018. He got very little attention last cycle, and yet managed to raise $12.7 million, and take 46 percent to 52 percent for Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. According to GOP strategists, Peters begins the cycle in a considerably weaker position than Stabenow was last cycle.
From a numbers standpoint, James is crushing it. Cook notes, "If fundraising is any indication of how competitive a race will become, Democrats have to be a bit disheartened by the 3Q FEC reports. James outraised Peters, taking in nearly $3.1 million to $2.5 million."

Regarding the po…

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On Friday, the U.S. federal deficit hit a seven-year high. The New York Times responded to the news with an editorial from Alan Rappeport, who says that President Donald Trump "has allowed deficits to balloon by enacting sweeping tax cuts and increasing government spending." Rappeport expounds on this claim by writing,

The deficit is growing in large part because tax receipts are falling, as Mr. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts continue to siphon revenue from the Treasury. The numbers reflect the fact that Mr. Trump’s most significant legislative achievement is not paying for itself, as Republicans have said it would. In fact, tax revenue for the last two years has fallen more than $400 billion short of what the Congressional Budget Office projected in June 2017, six months before the tax law was passed.
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Between the September 27, 2018 rate hike and the aftermath of the December 20, 2018 increase, the Dow Jones industrial average shed a total of 4,648 points.

Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond plunged from 3.06% (September 27th) to 2.74% (December 24th) while the 1-month yield surged from 2.1% to 2.42%. The indication is that as the Fed continuously hiked their rates, investors became more and more frightened: The Treasury had to pay more to service short-term debt because creditors, unsure about short-term economic conditions, flocked to long-ter…