Three Things You Need to Know – February 9, 2018

The Senate Circus Show

Last night might have been one of the weirdest and silliest nights our government has seen in quite a while. You easily could have watched CSPAN last night and actually been entertained. If last night’s theatrics had a musical score it would have been somewhere in between circus music and the Benny Hill theme.

The Senate agreed two days ago on a long-term bipartisan budget deal that is the equivalent of a massive raging dumpster fire. This set the tone for last night’s silliness when Rand Paul stood up in front of Senate Republicans and called them out on their hypocrisy. Paul didn’t pull any punches. He - straight up - called them all hypocrites and warned that quote “a day of reckoning is coming.”

Rand Paul’s right and every Republican in that very room agreed with him back in 2011 when they all fought Democrats to install debt caps. This new budget obliterates those debt caps AND sets the precedent for this to get even worse in the years to come. Did Republicans suddenly have a change of heart or did they never really believe in fiscal responsibility to begin with. Spoiler alert… it’s the latter. The truth is that they just wanted to win in 2011 by imposing debt caps, and they just want to win now by erasing them.

So BRAVO to Rand Paul for actually saying out loud what some on the Senate floor were probably thinking and feeling. Paul kept his criticism going long enough to delay the vote which actually caused the government to shut down a little after midnight. In the end, it was a valiant but losing effort. The Senate voted 71-28 to pass the deal. It then shot over to the House for a quick vote to try and avoid the shutdown extending into Friday.

Over at the House, Nancy Pelosi urged her colleagues not to show their hand until they knew how many Republicans would vote YES. As the pressure mounted she finally declared that she wouldn’t vote, because of DACA of course, but that she wouldn’t hold anyone else back from voting. One by one Democrat YES votes started flooding in. Is Pelosi auditioning for an acting gig? Neither her theatrics last night nor her 8 plus hour long DACA speech, had any value beyond pure theater.

I’m telling you, last night was kind of entertaining. If you were bored and nerdy enough to watch CSPAN at 2 am (don’t judge) you were either laughing, crying or downright pissed off. What else beyond a good movie or a BAD ineffective government can deliver on all that in one night?

The Dow Drop Part Deux

After nine years of stock market growth, the smooth sailing is finally getting choppy.

Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped another 1,032 points. It’s the second day this week that the Dow has lost over a thousand points. Monday’s point loss was the largest single-day drop on record. Yesterday’s was the second-largest.

The next two biggest single-day point drops on record happened in 2008.

The Dow has now dropped into “correction” territory, which means it is down 10% from its highest point of over 26,000 on January 26. The Dow hasn’t been in a Correction since February 2016. It would have to drop another 10% to be considered a Bear market.

When the market is in a “Correction,” it often indicates that investors are turning pessimistic about the markets. However, a Correction doesn’t mean the market is unraveling. Since 1998, there have only been 10 Corrections (including yesterday’s). Only two of those corrections continued the decline into Bear markets.

Everyone is scrambling for an explanation for this week’s shaky market. No one knows whether this volatility will last days or weeks. Investors seem to be nervous about inflation, and that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates faster than originally thought. The fear about inflation is driven by the increase in wages, which are rising at the fastest rate since 2009.

While the market is definitely acting weird this week, it seems more out of place than usual, simply because the Dow has risen to unprecedented levels in the last year. We’re not used to volatility, so any shakiness at all seems more disconcerting than it might in a more average year. Many analysts think this volatility is long overdue and nothing more than a healthy correction.

If nothing else, this week has been an interesting test case in the psychology of investors. The market has been doing so well for so long, people are in panic mode that it can’t possibly continue.

Racially Motivated Olympic Coin Toss?

A coin toss is causing controversy today.

You heard me. A coin toss.

Here’s what happened.

Two athletes were nominated by the United States Olympic team to be the flag bearer at the opening ceremony.

Shani Davis, an African American male five-time Olympian and Erin Hamlin, a white female four-time Olympian were tied for the position.

Both received the same number of votes from the representatives.

So, how do you handle a tie like this in the most objective and pragmatic way possible?

You flip a coin.

Erin Hamlin won and Shani Davis played the race card on Twitter writing:

“TeamUSA dishonorably tossed a coin to decide its 2018 flag bearer. No problem. I can wait until 2022. #BlackHistoryMonth2018”

Excuse me?

How can Davis possibly think that a coin toss was racially motivated?

What is the answer here? Should the Team USA have given Davis the position just because he is black? No. Did they give it to Erin just because she is a white female? No.

Should we start banning coin tosses in sports?

It’s the luck of the draw. It is the most non-biased and objective way you can pick something.

Davis was obviously still upset about not being flag bearer because he skipped the Opening Ceremony this morning.

What a sore loser. I’m glad he didn’t represent America at the Olympics today. He’s got a bad attitude—something even four shiny Olympic medals can’t hide.

MORE 3 THINGS

Christmas has arrived early for mainstream media. They have their first sentencing of a major player in President Trump's inner circle. Yesterday, Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced by a federal judge in Manhattan. How did it come to this and how did Cohen explain himself to the judge? We start there next…

President Trump's former attorney, 52-year-old Michael Cohen, is going to jail. Well, it will probably be one of those federal prison camps with a dorm that's more like a college campus. But he's going to be locked up. A federal judge sentenced him to three years in prison for financial crimes, and two months for lying to Congress. He also ordered Cohen to pay $2 million in financial penalties. The judge called Cohen's misdeeds a "veritable smorgasbord of criminal conduct."

RELATED: Michael Cohen's plea deal won't lessen Trump's support. Here's why.

The judge said:

As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better. While Mr. Cohen is taking steps to mitigate his criminal conduct by pleading guilty and volunteering useful information to prosecutors, that does not wipe the slate clean.

Cohen pled guilty in August to eight criminal charges in two different cases. One brought by special counsel Robert Muller for Cohen's lying to Congress about a potential Trump Tower project in Moscow. The second was for bank-fraud, tax, and campaign finance violations brought by federal prosecutors in New York.

President Trump said recently that Cohen has simply been lying to get a reduced sentence for crimes that have nothing to do with him. Cohen was very emotional as he apologized to the judge, saying:

It was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light. Time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds rather than to listen to my own inner voice and my moral compass.

The left thinks that Cohen's sentencing marks the beginning of the end for Trump's presidency. They may be ultimately disappointed in that regard. But this does intensify the long national nightmare of the Muller investigation that seems to have no end in sight.

How long until we follow in Europe's footsteps?

JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE/AFP/Getty Images

Christmas should be a time of happiness and celebration the world over. But in Europe, it is now the season of terror. The sounds at Europe's famous Christmas Markets of "Merry Christmas!" and laughter are rapidly being replaced with the sounds of "Allahu Ackbar!" and gunfire. Two years ago ISIS attacked a Christmas Market in Berlin, killing twelve and injuring another forty-eight. And tragically, the sound of automatic gunfire and the chant of "Allahu Ackbar!" was heard at another Christmas Market in Europe yesterday afternoon… this time in France.

Two people are dead and thirteen are battling for their lives right now in Strasbourg, France. The attacker walked into the city's Christmas Market shortly after 8pm, shouted "Allahu Ackbar" and began shooting indiscriminately. He then proceeded to battle the police in four separate locations while he fled the scene. As of this moment, he still hasn't been caught. The city of Strasbourg is on full lockdown, and France's terror level has been elevated.

RELATED: Paris pandemonium: Here's what happens when people feel ignored

A man of Middle Eastern descent has been identified as the suspect. He was already on a terror watchlist and had been deported from Germany recently with twenty criminal convictions. He's well known in Islamist circles and was reportedly radicalized after spending time in prison. Apparently he was too radical for the Germans… but not for France.

What is it going to take for progressive governments like France to wake up to their failed policies? Nearly 300 people have been killed in terror attacks in France over the past three years. 300 in three years! But despite that, the French government refuses to address immigration, they continue their open border policy and - more importantly - they refuse to listen to their people when they try and tell them that they're scared to death over this issue. Instead they get a lecture on Islamophobia… "that's the real problem."

Outrage has replaced baseball as our national pastime.

This is one of the reasons why the Yellow Vests are tearing the country apart. The government refuses to listen to their fears on terrorism, unchecked immigration, open borders, the failing economy, high taxes and out of control spending. Wow... do these issues sound at all familiar? How many years behind France are we? Just listen to ourselves.

Outrage has replaced baseball as our national pastime. People have lost the ability to engage in peaceful protest. Street demonstrations have turned into street brawls. Have you seen the images from places like Portland lately? European governments are losing the social contract with their people. After years of broken promises and outright lies from Washington, how long before that happens here?