Credit Rating Agency Warns Recession Could Trigger Property Tax Hikes

Fitch Ratings said Friday that the outlook for state and local governments was “deteriorating” and an expected recession could put pressure on state and local governments to raise property taxes.

“Local governments may face slowed growth or possibly contraction in tax revenues associated with real property valuations, which may trigger expenditure controls or revenue-raising measures to preserve budgetary stability,” Fitch Ratings Senior Director Michael Rinaldi said.

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Chinese Solar Giants Snuck Around U.S. Trade Barriers, Investigation Finds

The Commerce Department found on Friday that four large Chinese solar panel manufacturers are avoiding longstanding U.S. tariffs by assembling their products in Southeast Asia before importing them to the country.

BYD Co., Canadian Solar International, Trina Solar Science & Technology and Vina Solar Technology violated U.S. trade laws by finishing their products in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia, according to a department press release. The probe was launched in March after California-based solar company Auxin Solar alleged that some solar firms were circumventing tariffs on China by completing manufacturing in Southeast Asia.

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EPA Quietly Quadruples Regulatory Cost of Carbon Emissions in New War on Fossil Fuels

With the price of everything from gasoline to food soaring in America, nobody is surprised by inflated price tags these days. But even by Washington standards, an action taken earlier this month by the Environmental Protection Agency is creating sticker shock: a nearly fourfold increase in the government calculation of damages from carbon emissions.

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Commentary: The New England Journal of Medicine Joins the Ranks of Science-Deniers to Promote Transgender Ideology

The New England Journal of Medicine has published an article called “Protecting Transgender Health and Challenging Science Denialism in Policy.” It is the latest example of using denialism to denigrate any opinion contrary to that of the latest set of experts to claim sovereignty over a controversial subject. The technique is to stifle debate and force discussion from the subject to defense of an unrelated issue. This is what the NEJM paper does to perfection.

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Commentary: Don’t Give an Inch on the Debt Ceiling

The dust has barely settled from the contentious midterms, and the battle lines are already being drawn for the next legislative fight in Washington: the debt ceiling. With the nation at unprecedented levels of indebtedness, the choice in this fight is a stark one: a path toward stability or fiscal Armageddon.

If that sounds hyperbolic, consider the following facts about America’s finances.

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Commentary: ‘Reasonable’ Concessions to Climate Hysteria Lack Any Reason at All

First, there is no climate emergency. Claims to the contrary are based on exaggerations of carbon dioxide’s warming effect and computer models that have proven unreliable.

As Republicans settle into the leadership of the new House of Representatives, we are hoping for clearer congressional thinking about the climate issue. However, there is work to do on the Conservative Climate Caucus.

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Vermont Backs Down on Religion-Free School Choice after SCOTUS Knocks Down Maine Policy

Vermont families that want to send their children to religious schools will no longer be excluded from the state’s tuition benefit program, as a result of legal settlements in two cases brought by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

The plaintiffs who were denied funding under the Town Tuition Program, which provides tuition for students who live in areas without local public schools, will get reimbursement for money spent out of pocket on tuition. Other families denied funding can apply as well.

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Commentary: The Promise of Habit-Based Learning

Something has gone awry in American education. For example, over the past decades, the U.S. has dropped to the bottom of international rankings for developed countries in math. This decline has coincided with education reform, a shift that has emphasized understanding and downplayed practice. Could something that sounds so sensible have possibly been responsible for the drop?

The brain has two major learning systems. One is based on practice, and leads to fast, automatic behavior. This system is not accessible by conscious thought and is the source of intuition. The second system is based on deliberate thought—it is slow but flexible. You are consciously aware and can verbalize what you have learned. These two systems are roughly analogous to Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman’s “thinking, fast and slow.”

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Chinese Operatives Ran a Massive TikTok Campaign to Help Dems in the Midterm Elections: Report

TikTok accounts operating as voices of Chinese state media promoted messages that appeared to denigrate Republican candidates and favor Democratic ones ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, according to a Forbes investigation.

While the Chinese-owned social media app has verbally affirmed the need to crack down on election disinformation and foreign interference, several news-oriented accounts failed to disclose their affiliation with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) state-owned media on the platform, Forbes found. The accounts racked up tens of millions views on posts that covered divisive topics, such as abortion and race, as well as critical clips that mostly targeted Republican candidates ahead of the 2022 midterms.

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Trump Calls for ‘Termination’ of Election rules in Constitution after Release of the Twitter Files

Former President Donald Trump called for the termination of the Constitution’s rules regarding elections after the release of information about the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020.

“So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION?” Trump wrote on TRUTH Social.

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FBI Official Admits Agency Colluded Weekly with Facebook to Flag, Take Down Posts

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) met weekly with large social media platforms to collaborate on moderating content, according to a deposition this week from FBI Supervisory Special Agent Elvis Chan.

Chan, who was one of the two FBI agents who contacted Facebook ahead of its censoring of the Hunter Biden laptop warning of potential Russian disinformation operations, said that the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) officials met weekly with social media companies to remove specific accounts ahead of the 2020 presidential election, according to his deposition cited by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. The deposition was part of a lawsuit filed against the Biden administration for allegedly censoring Americans’ speech in the name of “misinformation” led by Schmitt and Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry of Louisiana.

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House GOP Working on Bill to Ban TikTok Across Federal Government

The House Republican Conference is currently working on legislation that may ban the use of TikTok by federal government employees, the Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

“We’re working on something right now,” said a Republican aide familiar with the matter. The proposal is said to be proceeding through the Judiciary Committee, which is set to be led by Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio in the next Congress when the GOP gains a majority.

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New England Governors Face Push Back from Maritime Groups

Maritime groups are criticizing New England governors for urging the Biden administration to lift federal restrictions banning foreign vessels in domestic waters in response to a regional energy crunch. 

In a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in July, the chief executives called for a blanket waiver from the Jones Act, which requires cargo shipped between U.S. ports to be transported on American owned and operated ships.

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Commentary: Musk’s ‘Twitter Files’ Confirm Everything We Already Knew

Late Friday, Matt Taibbi used the Twitter platform to publish numerous tweets devoted to the site’s internal deliberations regarding the Hunter Biden laptop story that most major media suppressed during the 2020 election.

The story, which is what it was, is based on documents obtained from the platform’s new owner and is a marketing coup that will drive traffic to the site. It confirms just how savvy Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, is.

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Commentary: A Republic if You Can Teach It

President Biden has a civics lesson that he is fond of and regularly repeats. It is about how the United States is unique in the world because of the founding ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.

“Unlike every other nation on Earth, we were founded based on an idea,” he notes before adding that “while we’ve never fully lived up” to those principles, “we have never given up on them.”

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Commentary: Getting Young People Back in the Pews

Only 54 percent of Christians aged 18–35 attend church once a month or more. Meanwhile, Christianity is rapidly declining in the American population, especially in the younger generations.

The secularization of society is evident wherever we turn, and it will only worsen as young people continue to turn away from Christianity. To survive, the church needs to continue through the generations and get young people back in the pews.

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Music Spotlight: Ashley Cooke

NASHVILLE, Tennessee- After hearing her on Sirius XM the Highway and seeing her fun and vibrant social media posts, I was instantly drawn to Ashley Cooke. I was excited to feature her in my column.

After winning the coveted Country Showcase at Belmont College, the communications major was just starting her new career path when the pandemic hit and forced the recent college graduate to temporarily move back home.

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Wyoming Governor Sues Biden Administration over Oil and Gas Contract Cancellations

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon is again taking the Department of Interior to court. The governor has filed a second federal lawsuit against the department relating to a Bureau of Land Management decision to pause oil and gas lease sales. In a statement, the governor called the litigation timely and vital to the interests of people living in his state. 

“Wyoming’s energy resources can help power the nation and bring down costs at the pump,” said the governor. “BLM’s decision to cancel lease sales sure seems to be a violation of both the letter and the spirit of the law, (and) I firmly believe the pause in lease sales was politically driven and not based in law or fact.”

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Elise Stefanik Alleges USPS Workers Stole Her Campaign Mail, up to $20,000 in Donations

New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik on Friday alleged that United States Postal Service workers stole up to $20,000 in campaign contributions and illegally opened her mail to do so.

“On four separate occasions between June 2022 and November 2022, packages sent by Elise for Congress containing campaign contributions were ripped open and the contents stolen while in the custody of USPS or its contractors,” her lawyers wrote to Postmaster General Louis Dejoy in a letter the Daily Wire obtained. “Three of these incidents occurred in a single week.”

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Rigorous International Study of N95 Masks Upends Federal COVID Narrative

The CDC took nearly two years to formally recognize distinctions between masks for mitigating COVID-19 spread, finally saying in January that cloth masks offer “the least” protection and N95 respirators, which meet strict federal standards, “the highest.”

The agency’s slight nod to the largely symbolic value of cloth masks, predominantly worn in school settings, followed months of calls by onetime White House COVID advisers, among others, to promote masks actually designed to stop aerosolized transmission. It also spurred a run on N95s, sending prices skyward.

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DNC Committee Approves Making South Carolina First State in Its Primary Calendar

A panel of the Democratic National Committee on Friday backed a proposal that would make South Carolina the first state to hold a primary contest in the party’s primary nominating process.

Under the Rules and Bylaws Committee proposal, Nevada, New Hampshire, Georgia, and Michigan, would follow soon after South Carolina and precede Super Tuesday, according to CNN. The changes still require confirmation at a full DNC meeting, set to take place next year.

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ICE Is Underreporting Illegals It Releases into the Country Without Tracking Equipment by over 18,000 Percent

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is underreporting the number of illegal aliens released into the country without any tracking technology by more than 18,000%, according to an internal document exclusively obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

ICE disseminated the document to participants, including ICE Director Tae Johnson and other top agency officials as well as leaders from nonprofit organizations, of a Thursday event about ICE’s “Alternatives to Detention” program, which the agency put in place in 2004 to monitor illegal aliens released into the U.S. interior with ankle bracelets and cell phones. ICE disclosed to the attendees that there are 49,459 illegal aliens that aren’t monitored with any tracking equipment as of Nov. 14, while its own website says there are 266 as of Nov. 19.

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Teacher Posts That Confusing Students About Gender Identity Is Enjoyable

A Louisiana elementary music teacher posted to social media that confusing young students about gender identity and “ignoring” their questions is enjoyable.

Blaine Banghart, a teacher at University Elementary School in Shreveport, part of the Caddo Parish Public Schools, explained in a Facebook post that it has been enjoyable to purposefully confuse young students about gender identity, Fox News reported.

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Biden Signs Rail Deal to Avert ‘Catastrophe’

President Joe Biden signed a bill forcing a deal between several rail companies and a dozen rail unions to avert a Dec. 9 strike.

“With the signing of the Railway Labor Agreement, we not only spared this country a catastrophe,” Biden said after the signing. “We ensured rail workers will get a historic 24% wage increase, better conditions, and a cap on health care costs. And I won’t stop fighting for paid sick leave for all workers.”

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Connecticut Lawmakers Approve Gas Tax Holiday Extension

Connecticut motorists will continue to see relief at the pumps after the state Legislature approved an extension of the gas tax holiday until next year.

Meeting in a special session on Monday, the Democrat controlled House and Senate approved a proposal to waive the 25 cents per gallon retail tax on gasoline until Dec. 31. The gas tax holiday, which was initially approved in April, was set to expire Nov. 30. 

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VoterGA Reports Proof of Herschel Walker’s 20,000 Vote Loss in the General Election

VoterGA reported further evidence Friday that the organization said substantiates the more than 20,000-vote decline in Herschel Walker’s U.S. Senate election vote count at 10 p.m. on the night of Election Day last month.

According to a press release from the nonprofit coalition of citizens working to restore election integrity in Georgia, “before and after” screenshots of interim election results reported by Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) for the 2022 General Election “show the inexplicable decrease for Herschel Walker.”

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Commentary: Biden Burns Taxpayer Dollars While American Wages Continue to Plummet

Today’s jobs report shows that Americans’ real wages declined for the 20th consecutive month, and labor force participation fell for the third straight month. The numbers indicate Americans continue to suffer from falling living standards under the Biden administration.

Boosting real wages and restoring the labor force is the job of the new Congress. Unfortunately, the old Congress wants to make this task as hard as possible by doing damage on its way out.

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Commentary: Oath Keepers Verdict Is a Dangerous Escalation in Criminalizing Dissent

One year after the events of January 6—despite their best efforts—federal prosecutors still hadn’t filed a single criminal charge that came anything close to resembling “insurrection” or domestic terrorism. Democrats and regime media were agitated: How could they continue promoting the four-hour disturbance as an attempted coup if the most prevalent offense charged by the Department of Justice a year later was the petty misdemeanor of “parading” in the Capitol? Even the chief judge for the D.C. district court overseeing each January 6 case had publicly expressed her frustration that the government wasn’t producing harsher indictments against Trump supporters.

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Analysis: Interrogated by Cruz, Diplomat Gives False Testimony About Biden’s Billion Dollar Bribe

During a November 30th hearing of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a senior State Department official gave false testimony about a billion dollar bribery scandal involving Joe Biden. The official, George Kent, is Joe Biden’s appointee to be the next U.S. ambassador to Estonia.

At Kent’s nomination hearing, Senator Ted Cruz (R–TX) questioned him about Biden’s actions in Ukraine that occurred while Kent was overseeing anti-corruption efforts in Europe and working in Ukraine. At the time, Biden was the vice president and serving as President Obama’s point man for Ukraine.

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Report: New Jersey High School Hosts Secret Student Drag Show for Adult Staff During School Hours

Parents are outraged after high school kids in New Jersey performed in drag for their adult teachers in a secret, student-led drag show on school property during school hours.

The performance, which took place on October 27th at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, NJ, was put on by the Student club P.U.L.S.E. (People Understanding Love Serves Everyone), and led by faculty advisor Heather Baldwin, Libs of TikTok reported on Thursday.

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California Could Give over $200K in Reparations to Each Black Resident

Black residents of California could receive $223,200 each in reparations payments, according to an estimate by the state’s reparations task force reported by The New York Times.

The nine-member task force, authorized by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, recommended $569 billion total in reparations for black residents due to the effects of housing discrimination, though the number could increase before the final recommendations are due June 2023, according to the NYT. Currently, 6.5% of California’s population, or 2.5 million people, identify as black or African-American.

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Minneapolis to Award $600,000 to Rioters Who Sustained Injuries During 2020 Riots

On Wednesday, a federal court gave approval to a plan by the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota to reward 12 Black Lives Matter rioters with a collective total of $600,000 over injuries they sustained during said riots.

The Daily Caller reports that the court’s decision settled a lawsuit originally filed by the far-left American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN) on behalf of the rioters, and subsequently forbids the city of Minneapolis from using force to suppress violent riots. The injunction by the Minnesota U.S. District Court also forces all Minneapolis police officers who are deployed to riots to wear body-cameras, and limits the police force’s use of chemical agents for dispelling riots.

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Former Business Partner Alleges Crypto Executive Offered Them Hush Money for Alameda, FTX Counterfeit Scheme

An apparent former business partner of the now-bankrupt trading house Alameda Research alleged that the trading house’s former CEO, Caroline Ellison, offered them $600,000 in hush money to stop investigating whether Alameda and now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX had counterfeited the partner’s proprietary cryptocurrency, on a Tuesday evening episode of The Crypto Roundtable Show, organized by prominent members of the crypto community.

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Twitter Docs Released by Musk and Journalist Suggest Democrats Could Manipulate Speech on Platform

Twitter owner Elon Musk, through alternative journalist Matt Taibbi, released a series of internal documents on Friday suggesting that the Biden campaign and Democratic National Committee were able to manipulate speech on the platform through tools that Twitter made available.

That manipulation included the censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story first reported by the New York Post. The emails appear to cite requests from “the Biden team” and “DNC” and include confirmations that Twitter “handled” their requests to delete posts.

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U.S. Senate Joins House in Enacting Rail Contracts to Avert Strike

The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed legislation to avert a nationwide railroad workers’ strike, but an Illinois congressman says the government should not be negotiating private sector labor deals.  

The legislation, which was approved by the U.S. House on Wednesday, enacts new contracts providing railroad workers with 24% pay increases over five years, immediate payouts averaging $11,000, and an extra day off.  

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Sens. Ron Johnson, Rand Paul Lead Demand for Senate Vote on Ending Military COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) are leading their Republican colleagues in an effort to demand Senate Republican leaders insist on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would end the military COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

In a letter Wednesday to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senators John Thune (R-SD), John Barrasso (RWY), and Roy Blunt (R-MO), Johnson and Paul joined 11 of their Senate GOP colleagues in voicing their opposition to forging ahead with the NDAA for the Fiscal Year 2023 without a Senate vote on an amendment that would ban discharges from the armed services due to failure to take the COVID shot.

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Yale Allegedly Pressured Students with ‘Mental Health’ Issues to Quit Class, Leave School, Lawsuit Claims

Yale University allegedly discriminated against students hospitalized for a mental illness by threatening to unenroll them from courses, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by Yale students and alumni.

The lawsuit, filed by Yale’s mental health advocacy group Elis for Rachel and two current students, claims that university officials visited students who were hospitalized for attempted suicide and pressured them to withdraw from classes. The plaintiffs also allege the administrators threatened to forcibly unenroll them if they refused to withdraw voluntarily.

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Victor Davis Hanson Commentary: If You Really Wanted to Destroy the United States, Then . . .

First, you would surrender our prior energy independence. 

Reduce new gas and oil leases on federal lands to the lowest levels of any president in history. Cut back production at precisely the time the world is emerging from a two-year lockdown with pent-up consumer demand. 

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Supreme Court Keeps Biden Student Loan Forgiveness Plan on Hold, Will Hear Case in February

The Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it will hear a lawsuit challenging President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program in February, while the plan currently remains blocked.

The court released a miscellaneous order late Thursday afternoon from Justice Brett Kavanaugh granting the six states involved in the lawsuit the opportunity to present oral arguments. Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan remains blocked by an injunction, pending a further ruling from the court, who will hear arguments in February 2023.

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U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Colorado Case Pitting Speech Rights Against Minority Groups’ Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments starting next week in what could be a landmark case centered on a Colorado small business owner’s free speech rights.

Lorie Smith, owner of graphic design company 303 Creative in Littleton, Colo., is challenging the state’s public-accommodation law, which she argues is compelling her speech. Smith wishes to create wedding websites only for straight couples, citing her religious beliefs.

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Appeals Court Shuts Down Special Master Review of Mar-a-Lago Documents

A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that a Trump-appointed judge erred in appointing a special master to independently review the documents the FBI seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate in August.

An 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously determined that U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon was incorrect both to appoint a special master to independently assess Trump’s executive privilege claims and to bar the Department of Justice from conducting its own review, Politico reported.

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JPMorgan Strategists Predict Stock Plunge, Recession as Early as First Half of 2023

Strategists at JPMorgan Chase predicted a recession as soon as the first half of 2023, coupled with a major stock market slide, in a research note Thursday, according to Bloomberg.

The strategists expected the S&P 500 stock index to decline roughly 12% in the first half of next year, before rebounding to end 2023 up 3% as inflation cools and the Federal Reserve slows or reverses its aggressive campaign of interest rate hikes, Bloomberg reported. Despite the expectation that the stock market will rebound by the end of next year, the analysts anticipated that U.S. corporate earnings would fall roughly 9% as demand slumps and economic conditions limit companies’ ability to set higher prices.

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Commentary: Europe Shows a Clear Link Between Immigration and Crime

Violent crime is becoming common in Sweden, shocking residents of the famously placid Scandinavian nation, where horrific acts of violence have become “all too familiar,” according to Common Sense Media, part of a Swedish nonprofit organization.   

Since 2018, Swedish authorities have recorded an estimated 500 bombings, while what they describe as gang shootings have become increasingly common. The country reported a record 124 homicides in 2020 and many residents were shocked in April when violent riots injured more than 100 police officers.  

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Half of Americans Believe Wokeism Is Undermining the Military

Half of Americans believe “so-called ‘woke’ policies” cause the military to be less effective, according to a poll published Thursday by the conservative Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.

The National Defense Survey, which was conducted in November, found that overall, perceived politicization among the military’s top brass continues to drive historically low levels of trust in the institution among Americans. Half of respondents, mostly Republicans, identified “woke” policies, such as a focus on race and gender diversity in the U.S. service branches and training academies, as one of the greatest threats to the military’s overall effectiveness and the greatest contributor to decreased trust.

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Commentary: A GOP Majority Will Pushback on Corporate America

The results of the 2022 midterms will be dissected endlessly. But among the political ramifications is a very important question for American business executives: With Big Business increasingly involved in political debates (and usually taking sides against Republicans), how will the relationship between the two change under a new GOP House majority?

One answer is that companies should be ready for a wake-up call. This Republican majority will be more populist and less deferential to massive corporations than any that has come to power in the past. Never has the disconnect between executives, employees, and customers been so apparent.

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House Democrat Blasts Biden over ‘Fancy Dinner’ that Includes Maine Lobster

A U.S. House Democrat blasted President Joe Biden for his planned ritzy dinner with France’s leader Emmanuel Macron.

Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, called out Biden on Twitter, suggesting the president is a hypocrite for crushing the lobster industry with strict regulations while purchasing 200 lobsters from Maine for the state dinner with Macron.

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