CHALLENGE
THE PREMISE

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NEIL GORSUCH
JOINS SCOTUS




Gorsuch
Sworn In
April 10, 2017




A Tremendous Day for
sound jurisprudence and
our Constitution!



Watch the swearing-in
and savor the prospect of
a Supreme Court Justice
who will defend our
Constitution:




Below is our rating of
Supreme Court justices
based upon judgement of
their fidelity to the
Constitution:


As the chart illustrates,
there are too many rogue
justices on the Supreme
Court. These appointed,
life-term judges take it
upon themselves to
arbitrarily unilaterally and
autocratically over-rule the
will of the people. They are
the equivalent of tyrants.

It is crucial to our
Democracy to fill all open
seats on all Courts, as
they arise, with true-to-
the-law judges. With
originalist, textualist
judges who apply the law
as passed by the
representatives of the
people.

It is NOT the role of judges
to over-rule laws they just
happen to dislike. As
Gorsuch said at the
ceremony:

"A judge who likes every
outcome he reaches is
very likely a bad judge..."



Gorsuch
Confirmed
April 07, 2017






A Supreme Court seat
opened with the passing of
Antonin Scalia just months
before the 2016 election.

President Obama
nominated Merrick Garland
as a replacement, but
Senate Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
blocked the nomination,
claiming that the voters
should decide.

Elections have
consequences. Democrats
were certain they would
hold the White House and
regain the Senate in 2016,
thereby giving them full
control of the nomination
process.

But the GOP held the
Senate, and won the
White House, against
all predictions.
Republicans campaigned
on the Supreme Court
issue, and won.

And that's why Democrats
lost the Supreme Court
nomination: because they
didn't win the election. The
people spoke. As it should
be.



Gorsuch
Nominated
January 31, 2017




President Trump has
nominated Neil Gorsuch to
the United States Supreme
Court. View the
proceedings at the White
House:


As the President so
appropriately remarked at
the nomination ceremony:

"I have always felt that
after the defense of our
nation, the most important
decision a president of the
United States can make is
the appointment of a
Supreme Court justice.
Depending on their age, a
justice can be active for 50
years and his or her
decisions can last a
century or more and can
often be permanent."


We anticipate that Neil
Gorsuch will be an
outstanding Supreme
Court Justice, just like
Antonin Scalia, the great
man he will replace.

Neil Gorsuch: a judge who
understands both what a
judge's role is; and what a
judge's role is not.

ELECTION OUTLOOK: THE SENATE: WAVE, OR SAVE?

2018/10/16 - With the Election Day just a few week away let's take a look at how things look right now, make a few guesses as to what might happen, and next month assess how badly wrong every prediction was. Our first, overall prediction, is that things will not go nearly so bad for Republicans at Trump’s first midterm as they went for Democrats at Obama's first mid-term.

The House is of course volatile, and we do expect the Democrats to wrest control from the GOP. But not by much. Through the last two election cycles the Republican standing in the House has been at historic highs with almost no chances for a pick up anywhere, so some drawdown should be expected - they have nowhere to go but down.

But the GOP still has enough of a buffer that they could endure substantial losses and still have a chance to hold the House. Currently the standings are 240-195 including vacancies. With 218 seats needed for a majority, the Democrats need a net pick-up of 23 seats, and that’s pretty close to what they will probably achieve.

Still, we are inclined to be less generous to the Democrats then we were a month ago. In October we were looking at a 10-ish seat majority for the Democrats, now we think it could be closer, perhaps in the 5-seat range: a 220 (D) to 215 (R) Democrat-controlled House.

Things have been looking better for the GOP in the Senate, and there seems to be a continued advance in their prospects. A few months ago a Democrat takeover seemed remotely possible but that seems highly unlikely at this point. The Kavanaugh nomination process for the Supreme Court seems to have moved the needle in favor of Republicans. Currently the Republicans hold a slim 51-49 margin but a net gain seems most likely. Let’s look at the competitive Senate races more closely.

DEMS HOPES DASHED – ND, TN, TX

North Dakota (D)
The most likely turnover this year, this red state Senate seat looks lost for the Democrats. Kevin Cramer (R) has held 10+ point leads in polls taken since the summer, and recent gaffes made in apparent desperation by incumbent Heidi Heitkamp (D) has probably nailed her coffin shut. Cramer is a solid conservative in a conservative state, but is a relatively unspectacular career politician. Not a lot of "Wow!" factor (see Michigan) but as the outgoing 3-time At-Large Congressman, there is little risk of surprises either.

Texas (R)
Should we even need to talk about Texas? If elections were purely about policy and substance, the answer would be no. But Ted Cruz is a bit light on style, and that's where the media stepped in to make a national craze of Cruz' opponent Robert ("Beto") O'Rourke. Or, as Donald Trump called him, O'Verated O'Rourke. He might remind you of Justin Trudeau: very, very nice looking fella with beautiful hair, and wrong about just about everything. But the good looks, and the 1964 Beatles mania created by the media, have convinced $80,000,000 worth of imbeciles to contribute to his campaign. Okay Texas, stop your dalliance and vote for Cruz. Dilly! Dilly!

Tennessee (R)
A reliably red state, the Supreme Court nomination process seems to have galvanized GOP support for outgoing Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN07). Her Democrat opponent popular former Governor Phil Bredesen (2003-2011), who was posing as a moderate, had had solid leads in polls during the summer. But the Kavanaugh debacle unmuddied the waters - the man behind the green curtain was revealed. It's Chuck Schumer. A vote for Bredesen is a vote for Schumer's far left New York agenda. Not in Tennessee, not this year, anyhow. Turn out the lights, the party's over.

TOSS-UPS IN ORDER OF LIKELIHOOD OF A FLIP – MO, NV, AZ, FL, IN, MT

Missouri (D)
After a long 6-year wait, this seat is slowly drifting into the Republican column and looking like their 2nd pickup. This would be a GOP seat except for the Todd Aiken (remember him?) fiasco six years ago. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is still on the precipice. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has at least an even chance of defeating her, but McCaskill’s chances were not helped by revelation of her scheme to promise 2A support and then vote against 2A and use patriotism as an excuse to justify her supposed change of heart. Even if you couldn’t care about 2A, you have to hate that kind of subterfuge and manipulation. Josh Hawley, on the other hand, is telegenic and articulate, like O'Verated O'Rourke, but also talented and qualified - a Stanford and Yale graduate, and currently Missouri's Attorney General. Still, the leftist mainstream media prefers to keep Hawley a secret, because he's... Republican.

Indiana (D)
Even a month ago we would have guessed that incumbent Joe Donnelly (D-IN) might reprise his 2012 performance, but that expectation is slowly receding. Another state with a good chance of a GOP pickup, polls showing Donnelly inconsistent leads over businessman Mike Braun (R) have given way to polls with Braun edging ahead. As a non-officeholder, Braun has had a lot of ground to make up in name recognition, but this may be masking an upcoming surge in his eventual support. One larger-sample poll from the summer showed Donnelly with a large lead, but that's long gone now. A third party candidate has also muddied the waters, but this could be a well of support for newcomer Braun. As Hoosiers become more engaged, they seem to be taking a liking to Braun. Six years ago Donnelly was able to slip through by making the voter's about the candidate rather than the party, but this one is looking more like a party-line win for the Republicans.

Nevada (R)
Probably still the Dem’s best chance of picking up a Senate seat from Republicans, incumbent Dean Heller (R-NV) appears to be inching away from Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-NV03). Again, this seems to be the trend throughout the competitive Senate races, that possibly the Blue Wave has already crested and is staring to recede? At this point the big concern for Heller is what remains of Harry Reid's once vaunted turnout machine. Republicans seem to be doing remarkably well in early voting in most states with close senate races, save one - this one. Nevada.

Florida (D)
Incumbent and former Space Shuttle astronaut Bill Nelson (D-FL) is locked in a Battle Royale with current termed-out Governor Rick Scott (R-FL). That astronauts are popular in Florida should come as no surprise, while Scott enjoyed a surge in popularity last year for his handling of Hurricane Irma. Whether Scott is helped or hurt by his handling Monster Michael remains to be seen, this hurricane was so nightmarish that maybe no governor can come out of it looking good. Recent polling has tended to show a slight edge for Nelson, but Republicans are doing very well in early voting, reflecting an unexpectedly high enthusiasm among GOP voters that could push Scott first over the finish line.

Arizona (R)
With Jeff Flake’s retirement this razor-close race has turned into a nasty battle between two Congresswomen, former Air Force combat aircraft (A-10) pilot Martha McSally (R-NV02) and LGBTQ activist Kirsten Sinema (D-NV09). McSally is a woman of accomplishment, the first female squadron leader in the history of the US Air Force; while tapes have recently emerged of Sinema trash-talking her state, while expressing indifference with Americans who join the Taliban to fight our nation's heroes like Martha McSally - no wonder it's personal. Again, we see polls drifting slowly toward McSally, but that is from the starting point of a Sinema lead.

Montana (D)
Incumbent Jon Tester (D-MO) is again being tested, this time by rancher, state legislator, and State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R). The few publicly-released polls have consistently shown Tester ahead by the narrowest of margins, but there have been no polls in the past month, not since the start of the Kavanaugh hearings and Tester’s eventual “No” vote. It will be interesting to see how that vote holds up in this red state in November. Tester is a wily critter, managing to use big money to convince voters he is not as far-left liberal as his pro-Schumer voting record would indicate. This race is close, but Tester has continued to show consistent albeit small leads in polls.

OUTLYERS – NJ, MI, MN, WV

New Jersey (D)
We saw Phil Hugin (R-NJ) last night and he changed our perspective - New Jersey might be the biggest surprise of election night. You could probably get really good odds to pick underdog Bob Hugin (R) against incumbent Bob Menendez (D-NJ). But Hugin, a Princeton grad, Marine, and former Celgene CEO, is a formidable and outstanding candidate, while Menendez is… well, a crook. He was accused by no less than the Holder/Obama DOJ of various misuses of public office, though eventually let off by a hung jury, presumably by sycophants hoping to capture a few favors of their own from Menendez. Polls continue to show the unknown Hugin within striking distance of Creepy Menendez. Semper Fi!

Michigan (D)
It would be great to see John James (R) knock off incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Stabenow is a waste of space, an inexperienced nobody whose only qualification for public office is that she’s held public office. For the last 43 years. She's never really done anything that normal people would relate to - just play politics. John James, on the other hand is a West Point grad who has served in Iraq flying Apache AH-64 helicopters. And now runs his family business. Stabenow will probably win, but like Braun (IN) and Hugin (NJ), James is a successful businessman with growing name recognition who is making inroads on Democrat the incumbent. Like Hugin in New Jersey, this race could be a shocker.

Minnesota (D)
Governor Mark Dayton (D-MN) appointed Tina Smith (D-MN) to the Senate as his replacement, and the winner of this election will finish the term of this Class-2 seat that comes up for reelection in 2020. She is being challenged by Karin Housley (R). Although a successful businesswoman and state senator, she is at least as well known for being the wife of NHL Hall-of-Famer Phil Housley, and hockey is kind of important in Minnesota. Actually, it’s very important. If you’ve ever played, you’d know why. Housley trails Smith in the high single-digits. On the surface a Housley win is unlikely, but there are shockers every election night. Plenty of them. Could Housley rally in the 3rd period for a come-from-behind victory?

West Virginia (D)
This is about the man Joe Manchin (D-WV) and nothing else. West Virginians will probably never break the habit of voting for him until he is no longer on the ballot. And even then they may still write him in. Even after he is dead. This one is barely close to being close. But not that close. We’ll mention that Pat Morrissey (R) trails in the high single-digits, but if Manchin lost it would be the shocker to end all shockers.

Wisconsin (D)
An upset in the making? Not likely. The GOP was unable to recruit a top-tier candidate. Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) could have given incumbent Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) a run for her money but instead he will probably go down in defeat seeking a third term (fourth term if you include the recall) as Wisconsinites grow weary of the partisan acrimony, notwithstanding the success the state has enjoyed under Walker's leadership. Time for a change? Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

FINAL SCORE

Probably the most overused word on election night is... "Shocked! - Shocked to find that" some unsuspecting politician was summarily dispensed with. One thing about election night, is that there are always shockers. That shouldn't have to be repeated, but, just in case you have been in a coma the past 2 years and the last thing you remember is Nate Silver at Fivethirtyeight telling us that Hillary Clinton had an 85% chance of winning... well, she didn't. So don't be shocked by "shockers", you should only be shocked if nothing shocking happens. So, here are a couple of potential election night shockers-in-waiting: Phil Hugin upsets Bob Menendez in New Jersey; and John James stuns Debbie Stabenow in Michigan. Not saying it will happen, just don't be "shocked" if it does.

ChalPrem's prediction is... drum roll please... Plus+Three for the GOP. And more likely +4 than +2 since there just aren't that many targets for the Democrats. Count on 54-46 when the night is through.



ELECTION OUTLOOK: HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: WAVE OR SAVE?

2018/09/21 - As we head into the elections of 2018 the big question in electionland is a 2-parter: Will the Democrats take control of the House, and if so, by how much? Our best guess is “Probably / Not by much.”

Historically, the odds are in the Dem's favor. The last President to hold the House after a mid-term was Bush 43 in 2002, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Obama lost the House in his first mid-term and never recaptured it. Bush lost the House in his second mid-term. Clinton, like Obama lost the House in his first mid-term and never got it back. Bush 41 and Reagan were never blessed to have the House at all in their twelve year stretch, and neither did Nixon/Ford during their eight-year run. Jimmy Carter held the House in 1978, as did Johnson in '66 and Kennedy in '62. Add Eisenhower to the list with Obama and Clinton of two-term Presidents who lost the House in their first mid-term and never got it back.

You get the idea. Trump would hardly be the first President to find his party in the Out House, so to speak, after the mid-terms. The current streak is 0 for 3, 1 for 9, and 2 for 12.

It probably isn't possible for either party to win more than about 250 seats, but after the 2016 elections the GOP stood at 245, pretty close to the High Water mark for either party. They have already picked all the low-hanging fruit and just about all the high hanging fruit too, so realistically, they have nowhere to go but down, and add the anti-President mid-term pattern to the mix, it is only to be expected that losses will occur.

So without even looking at individual races, you can expect Republican losses of at least twenty seats. That would still give the GOP a slim 220-215 lead. Note that the Pubs have lost a net of 5 seats to the Dems since 2016, so the current standing is 240-195. That means the Democrats will need a net pick-up of at least 23 seats to give them a minimal but potentially ungovernable 218-217 edge and take over the House. Obviously, a 1-seat win for the Democrats would be tenuous at best, given the five seats the current House ruling party has lost since the last election.

At this point our guess is that the Democrats will pick up a net of 27 seats to take a 222-213 lead into 2019's Congress. It's far too early to get into the weeds of individual races - we know which races to watch, but trying to pick actual winners and losers six weeks out is getting a bit ahead of our skis. So our guess - and that is all anybody can do at this point - is based on the probability and the law of large numbers.

There are about 65 close races this year that could go either way. That number includes five that are so far gone in the opposite direction that they are almost certainly lost. Pennsylvania's Democrat-controlled Supreme Court has ordered a re-redistricting that takes 2 seats from the GOP and hands them to the Dems, while taking 1 seat from the Dems and handing it to the GOP. New Jersey's 2nd District seems lost to the GOP, while the retirement of Rick Nolan (D-MN08) seems certain to hand the district to former NHL player Pete Stauber (R).

So take the 60 remaining close races, subtract the four of which are Democrat against the 56 of which are Republican, split the net 52 GOP seats down the middle and count 26 pick-ups for the Dems. Add the net +1 of certain pickups for the Democrats and you get your Democrat gain of 27 seats.

Don't try to get more complicated than that. There are so many close races, in different parts of the country with different nuances, and we can't honestly know how each one is going to turn out. It's a crap-shoot, but, a very exciting, competitive and important election-night crap-shoot that will influence the future course of our nation. Like a game 7 of the World Series that goes about 30 innings. And unlike the Super Bowl or Stanley Cup, exciting suspenseful television, that's actually meaningful. Very meaningful!

Ah, television, you ask? Television? How do you make sense of all the action? Well, fortunately, we have created an election night TV Guide for the House races (Senate guide to come next month). What we've done is listed all the closest races, and ordered them by poll closing, so you know what to watch as the results initially trickle in and spool up into a raging torrent.

The first thing to know is that the earliest poll closings are in Indiana and Kentucky, 6pm local. Note that both of these states are split between Eastern and Central time, so the polls in the smaller western ends of the states close at 7pm Eastern time .

The most important House race in these states - Kentucky's 6th District comprised of Lexington and its surrounds - is wholly contained within the Eastern time zone. This district is widely seen as the first clue of how the whole night could go - a Democrat pick up could point to a wave election in favor of the Democrats capturing the House, while a GOP hold in KY06 could indicate a save by the Republicans.

Two other races to watch early are Indiana's 2nd and 9th Districts. These districts are marginally competitive and we fully expect the Republican incumbents (Walorski and Hollingsworth) to hold them. A hyper-competitive Senate race ensures voter engagement on both sides, so there shouldn't be any flukes in Indiana where one side or another forgets to show up. Margins outside of the 10-15% range for Walorski or 5-10% for Hollingsworth should indicate a good night for the GOP (above the range) or a good night for the Democrats (below the range).

At 7pm the polls close in five more states (FL, VA, GA, as well as VT and SC) bringing the total to seven states reporting. We don't expect surprises in Vermont or South Carolina, and the only marginally competitive seats we see in Georgia are GA07 and GA06. If the GOP loses GA07 it will be a long night; if they lose GA06 it will seem like an eternity.

Florida has two incredibly tantalizing races in the southernmost part of the state, the 26th (the Keys) and 27th (South Beach and South Miami) districts.

You would think that the Keys would be easy for the Republicans, but don't forget “the Keys” includes the end of the line, the Mecca of the Misfits, Key West. If you figuratively pick up America and give it a good shake, those without a firm grip would break free, fall to the bottom, and finally come to a rest in Key West. These aren't your prototypical GOP voters, but overall the Pubs should hold FL26.

The 27th is a different story. Home to liberals from South Beach and “The U” (University of Miami), it should be a layup for the Dems, though it was held forever by the retiring Cuban Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL27). The Democrats nominated tired low-energy 77-year-old Clinton HHS Secretary and later U of M President Donna Shalala, but the Republicans have countered with the energetic telegenic Telemundo TV anchor Maria Elvira Salazar. Keep an eye on this one, but some advice first - turn down the brightness on your device before pulling up an image of Salazar, she's that brilliant; and don't even bother bringing up a mug of Shalala, your screen might crack.

Also of interest in Florida are FL15 and FL16 - these two districts wind from the gulf around the south end of Tampa Bay up the I-4 corridor most of the way toward Orlando. These should be safe for the GOP, but if they flip, that again would presage a disaster with the Dems picking up 50 seats or even more.

And then there's Virginia. Virginia has four districts that together will provide some indicator of where the night is going.

The 10th District in the furthest northern reaches of the state, and its incumbent Barbara Comstock (R-VA10), is considered probably lost, one of those affluent districts dominated by materialistic superficial white people of the sort that loathe Donald Trump. A loss here means little, but even a close race (closer than, say, 55-45) could brighten the moods of Republicans.

The 7th District that includes Richmond is too close to call. This is the district that former Minority Leader Eric Cantor lost in a primary to Professor David Brat. Brat won by 15 pts in 2016, but is seen to be at risk of defeat by Abigail Spanberger. A loss of this district should be worrisome to the Republicans.

Finally, VA02 and VA05. The 2nd District is the easternmost district in the state and it includes the state's entire Atlantic coast, while the 5th runs right down the middle. VA02 Incumbent Scott Taylor won by 20pts in 2016, while VA05's retiring Thomas Garrett won by 15. A defeat served to either one would be devastating for Republicans. Even a close victory would be a bad omen.

AT 7:30 EST the polls close in North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia (bringing the total to ten), and all three states contribute competitive races that will add even more excitement as the suspense builds through the night - and hey, these are just the House races. But don't take your eyes off KY06, FL27/26, or VA07!

In North Carolina the Republican “must-win” district is NC13, a district encompassing Greensboro and most of the territory heading southwest towards Charlotte. NC09, running east from Charlotte along the South Carolina state line to I-95, is considered the GOP's most vulnerable district in the state but they could lose it and still end up holding the House at the end of the night. Two less likely pickup opportunities for the Democrats are offered with NC02 and NC08. The Democrats need at least one pickup in North Carolina to get them close, but to win a workable majority they need to think in terms of two pickups.

Republicans need to hold the status quo in Ohio. No seat is in particular danger at this time, but there are six that are in a position of at least some risk: OH01 (Steve Chabot, Cincinnati suburbs), OH07 (Bob Gibbs, central/northeast rural), OH10 (Michael Turner, Dayton urban-suburban-rural), OH12 (Troy Balderson, northeast Columbus suburban-rural), OH14 (David Joyce, northeast suburban-rural), and OH15 (Steve Stivers, south Columbus suburban-rural). Ideally Republicans should hope to run the table in these six districts; a loss of one would be a survivable wound, but a loss of two or more would be indicative of a greater disaster looming and probably fatal.

Democrats have an outside chance of winning West Virginia's 3rd District. WV03 is presently vacant, the outgoing Congressman Evan Jenkins having been appointed to a judgeship on his state's Supreme Court of Appeals. Polls have been erratic, with Richard Ojeda (D) leading in some with statistically significant margins, while Carrol Miller (R) has lead by even larger margins but in fewer polls. This is a coal country district the Republicans can ill-afford to lose.

At 8:00 pm EST the polls close in 12 state/timezones bringing the total to 22. This is when things get busy for election watchers, and this is when the Democrats are poised to bring the pain. Republicans face serious threats in 4 New Jersey districts (NJ02, NJ03, NJ07, NJ11) and a potential net loss of six Pennsylvania districts.

New Jersey, as we mentioned earlier, NJ02 is as good as lost already, but NJ11 is also on the brink of defeat as well. Keep an eye on the 3rd and 7th districts, if either party claims both races they will be well positioned to take or hold the House. But don't let the Senate race of former biotech CEO Bob Hugin (R-NJ) escape your gaze, if he surges against the very corrupt incumbent Bob Menendez (D-NJ) it may rally GOP turnout and stifle GOP losses in the House.

Pennsylvania has been almost completely re-redistricted by the Democrat controlled Supreme Court, so, not surprisingly, the revised map helps the Dems. A lot! While the new map hands PA14 to The Party of Jobs, it also hands PA05 and PA06 to The Party of Mobs. Dems +1. PA17 is a probable flip (Dems +2), and the mobs can lay a credible claim to PA07 as well (Dems +3). The GOP must hold the line and stem their losses at PA01 or it's Dems +4. But PA10 (Dems +5) is at risk as well and to a lesser extent PA16 (Dems +6). Six flips in one state. The entire evening could all come down to just Pennsylvania.

In other states that close at 8pm Eastern, look for…

Illinois: Dem pick up in IL06, but GOP Holds in IL12, IL13 and IL14.

Kansas: (Really? Kansas?) Coin flip in KS02, a GOP must-win; KS03 is a probable Dem pick up. KS03 is an affluent Kansas City suburb on the west side of the state line, with too many gullible white materialist superficial semi-rich people with less character than money who are perfect targets for the propaganda of Democrat Trump-hating. Like VA10 discussed earlier.

Maine: The wilderness aka the rest of the state (ME02) is up for grabs.

Michigan: If it's a good night for the GOP they hold MI08; on a great night they hold MI11. Tip: the underdog Senate campaign of John James (R) could produce just such a great night in Michigan for the Republicans, 2016 all over again.

Texas: TX07 (west Houston suburbs) and TX32 (northwest Dallas suburbs) are potential Democrat pickups, and to a lesser extent perhaps TX23 (most of the Mexico border).

At 8:30 pm EST the polls close in Arkansas. The Democrats have a slim chance for a pickup in the 2nd District.

At 9:00 pm EST the polls close in 14 state/timezones, most notably Minnesota and New York.

Minnesota: Minnesota is an interesting place, practically the last state where Republicans have not been able - heretofore - to wrest control of rural/farm country from the Democrats, or more correctly, the DFL (aka Democratic-Farmer-Labor). The last two cycles have seen Wisconsin and Iowa fall, and now the Republicans have a chance to pick up MN01 (incumbent Walz is running for governor) and MN08 (incumbent Nolan is retiring), leaving only the ageing Collin Peterson (D-MN07) as the lone relic of a bygone era. Still the Republicans are in danger of simultaneously losing the Minneapolis suburbs of MN02 (south and east) and MN03 (west and northwest).

New York: The GOP holds 9 of New York's 27 districts. While no district is a probable Democrat pick-up, only two of the nine are actually safe for the incumbents, Peter Kings's NY02 (Long Island) and Elise Stefanik's NY21 (the Adirondacks). Most at risk are NY19 (Hudson Valley and the Catskills) and NY22 (Mohawk Valley and the east side of I-81). On a good night for the Dems they pick up at least 2 seats, the GOP will be content if they lose no more than 1 seat

Elsewhere….

Arizona: The Jobs Party is likely to lose Senate candidate Marth McSally's Tucson area AZ02 to the Mobs Party.

Colorado: Ever see the South Park SoDoSoPa episode? Add the Whole Foods junkies of CO06 to the gullible pathetic materialistic superficial semi-wealthy character-deprived white people of VA10 and KS02 and MN03 who have bought in to the propaganda of the Trump-hating fake news media.

New Mexico: With the retirement of Steve Pearce who is running for Governor, NM02 (southern half of the state) is up for grabs.

At 10:00 EST eight states have poll closings, the most significant of which is Iowa. The Democrats have a better than even shot at picking off Rod Blum's IA01 (northeast including Dubuque and Cedar Rapids), an even shot at David Young's IA03 (southwest including Des Moines), and a longshot at Steven King's IA04 (the northwest including… well… mostly nothing).

At 11:00 EST the polls close in eight states, most notably California. The Democrats have a chance for as many as nine pickups. If they haven't sealed the deal already, it may well be in California where the last remaining hopes of the good ship GOP are dashed upon the rocks. Or for the Dems it might be too late. It's hard to anticipate what might or might not matter at this point, depending on what's already happened.

The districts most vulnerable to a flip are CA39 (Yorba Linda west of LA), CA45 (Orange County) and CA49 (coast from San Clemente and SD). If the Dems are still short by the time the polls close in California, and they don't capture any of those three districts then the GOP may well hold on. The next tier of close races consists of CA10 (Modesto central), CA25 (mountains/interior north of LA), and CA48 (coast between LA and San Clemente). And if the Dems are still short then perhaps CA04 (Yosemite and the Sierra's), CA22 (Visalia central valley) and CA50 (really great cycling) can offer some opportunity but don't bet on it, if it gets to this point for the Democrats then it's too late.




Analysis


November 15, 2018 - The EIA has released its weekly petroleum report and again it shows expansion of production and inventories.

Daily crude production hit a new all-time record high of 10.7 million barrels per day, while inventories increased for the eighth consecutive week, this time by about 10 million barrels.

Still, prices seem to be rising just a bit through the mid-50's after yesterday's small increase broke off a record 11 consecutive day decline in prices.

The plunge in prices has been attributed to the Iranian oil sanctions - Russia and Saudi Arabia had increased production to meet expected demand, but the sanctions - and supply restrictions - have been much softer than expected.

The run-up in production by the big-three appears to have overshot the Iranian pullback, leading to a temporary supply glut, a glut that could become more permanent if global demand continues to soften.




November 07, 2018 - The price of oil continues to plummet, now at about $62/bbl, down nearly 20% from the early October highs around $77/bbl.

The EIA once again reported rising US Production and inventories, with daily crude production now hitting a new all-time record high of 11.6 million barrels per day.

Meanwhile, after hitting a 3-year low in mid-September, inventories have now increased for seven straight weeks.

Seemingly, the increasing production is going straight into storage, seemingly creating a glut.

Will the US economy continue to grow and absorb that production and inventory, or will prices continue to plunge? We'll see...



November 07, 2018 - Election results continue to come in during the small hours of this morning from yesterday's mid-term elections.

By and large the results have so far come in more or less as expected with surprisingly few surprises.

The Democrats will gain control of the House of Representatives, which though expected, still dashes the faint hopes Republicans had of hanging on; while the underwhelming though workable margin will disappoint Democrats.

On the Senate side, the Republicans will keep control and perhaps even gain a seat or two, which will disappoint both sides who at various times had hoped to make far greater inroads.

So there you have it, in a nutshell - something for everyone to be even more pissed off at each other about.


November 06, 2018 - The Monthly JOLTS report (Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey) for September was released this morning and the numbers continue to be strong, though a bit weakened.

The current number of job openings in the United States remained above 7 million for the 2nd straight month, and the excess of job openings over job seekers remained above 1,000,000, also for the 2nd straight month.

Both of these numbers - total openings and net openings - were down, but just slightly, from the previous month's all-time record high.

It's a good time to be a job seeker in Trump's America. These are "the good old days".



November 02, 2018 - Team Trump delivers on jobs yet again: today's Employment Report for October shows an increase of 250,000 jobs. Think about it - a quarter of a million new jobs, in just one month. MAGA!

The report also featured an increase in the labor force participation rate from 62.7% to 62.9%.

The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, the work week remained stable at 34.5 hours/week, and wage growth clocked in at +0.2% for the month, and +3.1% over the past 12 months. The year-over-year increase from 2.8% last month could potentially touch off further inflation and interest rate fears, though initial market response has been somewhat positive.



October 31, 2018 - The Energy Information Administration has released its report for last week: US daily crude production regains the 11,200,000 barrels per day mark that it hit for the first time ever 3 weeks ago.

And crude inventories continue to climb, for the sixth consecutive week, after hitting a multi-year low in mid-September.

And if once again you used your understanding of supply and demand to surmise that prices should be dropping, you'd be right: prices have fallen nearly 15% from their early October highs.

Many factors are being cited for the changes, including geopolitical machinations, as well as domestic issues.

Volatility in prices is not a great thing for anyone, for neither producers nor consumers, except maybe traders. But with all the cross-currents we can expect to see vol to stay with us for a while.



October 16, 2018 - The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its JOLTS report today and no surprise the news keeps getting better and better for job seekers.

The BLS reported that there were over 7 million job openings in America in August, 7.136 million to be exact. Meanwhile, in their Employment Situation report they reported that there were only 6.234 million unemployed people looking for work at that same time. So, updating our table from last month:
  • 2018/02: -628,000 (more job seekers than jobs)
  • 2018/03: + 48,000 (more jobs than job seekers)
  • 2018/04: +494,000 (more jobs than job seekers)
  • 2018/05: +594,000 (more jobs than job seekers)
  • 2018/06: +258,000 (more jobs than job seekers)
  • 2018/07: +797,000 (more jobs than job seekers)
  • 2018/08: +902,000 (more jobs than job seekers)

  • President Trump and the Republicans truly are Making America Great Again - MAGA! Hopefully the voters don't screw it up in November, or we may well look back fondly upon the summer of 2018 as "the good old days".



    October 15, 2018 - The US Treasury released its Treasury Budget today and as usual it is ugly, our spendoholic politicians just can't help themselves.

    The deficit over the past 12 months ending September 2018 is $779 million, 17% higher than the $666 million deficit from the preceding 12 months ending September 2017.

    Revenues were up 0.42%, but spending was 3.19%.

    With a strong economy our spending should be going down, since fewer people should require social assistance, and fewer government bureaucraps would be needed to administer those programs.

    But politicians keep spending, bribing us with our own money, borrowing from tomorrow to secure elected office today.



    October 10, 2018 - The Energy Information Administration has released its report for last week: US daily crude production hit 11,200,000 barrels per day, a new high.

    In addition, crude inventories have risen for the second consecutive week.

    If you guessed that rising production and rising inventories ought to be bearish for prices, you would be correct: after flirting with the $77 price level early last week, prices are now cropping close to $72.

    The point at which high oil prices become recessionary is not obvious, and because we are now arguably the world's largest oil producer, it is without a doubt much higher than it was ten years ago.

    When prices skyrocket in the mid-2000's and we imported so much oil, it was called "The Largest Transfer of Wealth in Human History", and that was from us, to the creepy crooked terror states of OPEC.

    Times have changed. Now, thanks to fracking, that wealth is staying in America, and being used to invest in energy infrastructure, and creating high-paying jobs for American workers.

    Fracking is a win-win for both American consumers and American workers. It's a win-win for America. And a lose-lose for the terror states of OPEC.



    October 05, 2018 - The #1 most important thing a government can do is jobs, and Team Trump does it again: today's Employment Report for September shows an increase of 134,000 jobs.

    But it gets better - August's figure was revised upward by 69,000 so the new jobs not previously reported is over 200,000.

    And it gets better still - the unemployment rate declined to 3.7% from 3.8%.

    Wage growth was also respectable clocking in at +0.3% for the month and +2.8% over the past 12 months.

    Chalprem's lone gripe would be that the labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 62.7% - we want to see more Americans engaged and contributing to national prosperity.



    September 26, 2018 - The Federal Reserves has announced an increase in its target Fed Funds rate midpoint from 1.875% to 2.125%.

    Further, Chairman Jerome Powell has indicated that the end of further increases is not yet in sight.

    This current increase was anticipated, but the prospect of further hikes increases the likelihood that we will see more volatility in the stock market. An increase in interest rates tends to reduce the multiples that investors are willing to pay for companies' future earnings, causing prices of stocks to fall.

    One of the most significant problems facing the US economy is the size scope and scale of government, and the cost, spending and debt that goes along with it.

    President Trump's successful deregulation efforts have been expansionary for the economy, as also have been his tax cuts. These are very good policies. But with excessive government spending, whick is also expansionary, the Fed has seen no choice but to slam the brakes on the economy by raising rates.

    We strongly recommend that the White House work with the Fed to improve coordination of macro policy, and work with each other instead of at cross-currents against each other. The Federal Government should agree with the Fed to immediately reduce spending in exchange for an immediate cessation of further rate hikes.

    We strongly recommend that Congress work with the White House to cut the size and spending of the Federal Government. A lot. Now.

    We cannot afford more rate hikes. We cannot afford more debt. And we most certainly cannot afford ever higher rates on ever increasing debt.



    September 25, 2018 - Crude oil prices pushed through $72 today even as President Trump was at the UN lambasting OPEC for high prices. But it's not really OPEC's fault.

    The fact is that we have had sustained global economic growth for years, and the world's largest economy - ours - is growing as fast as anyone's not called "China". Ironically, President Trump's yuge economic success is partly responsible for creating the demand that's pushing prices up.

    Now, you could blame OPEC if you wanted to, but it is not clear they could increase production even if they wanted to, and at current prices they probably wish they could.

    Or you could blame us - our production is restrained by distribution bottlenecks. We don't have enough railways and pipelines to ship the oil even if we could produce more.

    You could also blame Obama for the Iran deal - it was a terrible deal, but the world now needs their oil as badly as Iran needs the money they get from selling it. Undoing the lousy Obama/Iran deal now will push up oil prices and inflict pain on us even as Trump seeks to inflict pain on Iran - just so you know.

    Or you could blame the Venezuela of Chavez and Maduro - maybe Brazil, Columbia, Spain and the United States need to launch a military engagement to overthrow the Chavez/Maduro regime, to restore democracy and bring oil production back on line.

    Or we could get a global recession to reset the global energy supply and demand curves.

    That's what a recession is - it is the resetting process after a supply/demand bubble bursts. Keep an eye on oil.



    September 21, 2018 - Crude oil prices finished the week on the rise with the West Texas front month futures contract closing near $72 per barrel.

    Weekly statistics released by the federal Energy Information Administration contributed in part to the rise: U.S. daily production is at an all-time high of 11 million barrels per day, but hasn't grown beyond that level for three months. In addition, the EIA reported declining inventories to 3+ year lows.

    And then there's the dollar - a weaker dollar means higher commodity prices, and the dollar index has declined from about 95.5 to 93.5 over the past few weeks,

    And then there's oilfield servicer Baker-Hughes' weekly rig count - the numbe of US rigs actually dropped by 2 over the past week, while the Canadian counted dropped by over 10% from 226 to 197. What's up with that, shouldn't higher prices bring more production on line?
    We hold to our conviction that high energy prices are the single most consistent cause of recessions. How high is too high is the big question, but oil in the $70's is unlikely to sustain strong economic growth.

    That doesn't mean recession - we are not predicting recession, at least not yet by any means. But higher energy prices mean slower economic growth.

    Think of it like driving your car - slowing down to save fuel to make sure you can get to the next gas station, that's what we're talking about. We are not talking about running out of gas and being left high and dry waiting for AAA.



    September 11, 2018 - This morning the BLS released its monthly JOLTS report and the trend we have highlighted recently continues, and even stronger.

    They reported that there were nearly 7 million job openings in America in July, 6.939 million to be exact. Meanwhile, in their August Employment Situation report last Friday they reported that there were only 6.234 million unemployed people. Consider the monthly progression:
  • 2018/02: -628,000 (more job seekers than jobs)
  • 2018/03: + 48,000 (more jobs than job seekers)
  • 2018/04: +494,000 (more jobs than job seekers)
  • 2018/05: +594,000 (more jobs than job seekers)
  • 2018/06: +258,000 (more jobs than job seekers)
  • 2018/07: +659,000 (more jobs than job seekers)

  • Bottom line is that the job market continues strong, very good news for all Americans.



    September 07, 2018 - The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Employment Situation report today and the numbers continue to come in strong.

    The BLS reports that 201,000 new jobs were created in August and that the unemployment rate has held steady at 3.9%. One of the few negatives was that the participation rate ticked down a bit from 62.9% to 62.7%.

    The workforce participation rate points to a structural shortcoming in the US economy. Other thigns being equal we want to see more people entering the work, getting jobs, earning wages, paying taxes, and being self-sufficient.

    The reasons for not participating in the workforce are many, but might be syptomatic of deeper social ills. Government policy should always be oriented toward incentivizing healthy working-age people to work, and discouraging such people from not working.

    Still, this is a strong report. The fact is that in 2018 America, if you want a job you can get a job.



    September 06, 2018 - Historic. And Good. That's the only way to describe the weekly jobless claims data released this morning.

    If the 1960's truly were the "good old days" then welcome back, Kotter! Last week only 203,000 new jobless claims were filed - if that seems like a lot, well, it's not. It's the lowest number since 1969. Almost 50 years ago.

    America's population in 1969 was 203 million, now it's 328 million - an increase of over 60%. So on a per capita basis, the current figure would translate to about only 125,000 in 1969 size.

    Donald Trump truly is making America great again. Please don't ruin it by voting Democrat in November.



    August 16, 2018 - The Philadelphia Fed released its business outlook survey this morning and the report came out much weaker than expected.

    New orders were down substantially - is this just a random variation and nothing more, or the canary in the coal mine that presages a slowing in the economy?

    Granted, most of the economic data - productivity, leading indicators, jobless claims, etc. - have been solid to strong. But the "synchronized global growth" story withered on the vine quite a while ago, and more and more, the US is an island of economic growth unto itself.

    Keep an eye on commodities - oil and copper are sliding, while the dollar rises. This is what you expect to see in a slowing global economy where the US is seen as a safe haven. For now.



    August 10, 2018 - The Treasury Departments released its Monthly Treasury Statement this afternoon and is it ugly.

    Our - yes, you and me - our 12-month spending deficit increased from $749.9 billion at the end of June to $783.8 billion at the end of July, a deterioration of $33.9 billion.

    Disingenuous dishonest Democrats will blame the tax cuts, but the revenue decline contributed only $6.8 billion to the deterioration, the increase in spending contributed $27.1 billion.

    You can blame the $1.3 trillion spending package passed by Congress earlier this year. You can blame the RINO Republicans who claim to be fiscally responsible but spend worse than drunken sailors.

    Blame RINO Congressmen like John Faso (R-NY19) who voted in favor of the obscene spending package. Oh, and against the tax cuts. Votes for spending increases, and against tax cuts. A true Democrat, with an "R" behind his name.



    August 09, 2018 - A few years ago New York Governor Andrew Cuomo railed against conservatives, saying that pro-life/pro-2A people had no place in New York.

    Now upstate Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY18), running to replace the humiliated former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, has decided to take that page out of Cuomo's playbook - that you win statewide office in New York by saying the meanest, stupidest things.

    In a rant yesterday he used the "f-word", the "a-word", and threatened to use a baseball bat against some ambiguously defined Trump supporters that he could conveniently define as broadly or narrowly as circumstances demand.

    The diatribe was clearly intended to excite the far left nut jobs that he needs to rally to his side, and he made clear there is a wide swath of the state's population he abhors, namely, Hilary's deplorables. Yet with plausible deniability.

    And this is a guy running for Attorney General. Nice to know we have such a level-headed fair-minded person looking to take the job. Looks like we can add this sleazy guy to our Attorney General Hall of Shame.



    August 07, 2018 - The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Status (JOLTS) report this morning, and the results were much the same as recent months.

    Basically, there are far more job openings in America than there are job seekers by over a million. The BLS says there are 6.662 million openings, versus 5.651 million job seekers.

    Things that make you say, "Hmmm...". Anyone who wants a job should be able to get one. So why do we still have people wandering the sidewalks and subways shaking folks down for money? Why do we have so many people on food stamps?

    Why can't people just stay in school, graduate, and get a job? It's not supposed to be difficult or complicated, just something any responsible citizen can and should do.

    Why are people so needy and dependent, when there is so much opportunity? Hmmm...



    August 02, 2018 - Is job creation slowing? Maybe just a bit, and given some of the scorching hot reports recently, maybe that's not a bad thing.

    The federal government's Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 157,000 jobs were created in July, down from recent prints well above 200K.

    On the plus side, private payrolls were up by 170,000 which means that non-private - that is, government - payrolls were down by the difference, 13,000. Now that is a cause to celebrate!

    Pretty well every metric was flat - the unemployment rate dropped a tick to 3.9%, while the participation rate was unchanged at 62.9%, year-on-year wages remained unchanged at +2.7%, and the average workweek was unchanged at 34.5 hours.

    So basically kind of an unmotivated ho-hum shoulder-shrugger of a report, maybe just about right for a lazy Friday afternoon in August...



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