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America/The End/Our Hope

Club 14 Fitness

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Edited by Michael Hernandez, 11-11-22

(Editor’s Note: this is part of a compendium of recent significant events, culled from U.S. news and curated by Michael Hernandez.)

Republicans have won 6 million more votes than Democrats in House races, but gained relatively few seats

JOEL B. POLLAK (Nov 10) Breitbart News

Republicans have won nearly six million more votes nationwide in races for the House of Representatives, but have flipped relatively few seats, suggesting talk of a “red wave” may have anticipated the overall mood of the country but not the final result of the election.

According to the Cook Political Report, as of Thursday morning, November 10, Republicans have won 50,113,534 votes, or 52.3% of the vote, compared to 44,251,768, or 46.2% of the vote. Republicans lead by 6.1%, which is better than their average in “generic congressional ballot” polls, in which the party led by 2.5% in the final RealClearPolitics average before the election. But Republicans have only managed to flip nine seats thus far — likely enough to control the House, but far short of a “wave” result many anticipated.

The mismatch between overall votes cast for Republicans and the actual result reflects the polarized nature of congressional maps. It also reflects the fact that Republican losses against many Democratic incumbents were very narrow. However, it could also suggest that Democrats ran a more effective campaign, concentrating resources where they were needed to defend their vulnerable positions.

In comparison, during the Tea Party “wave” election of 2010, in which Republicans won 63 seats, Republicans won 44,593,666 votes out of 86,784,957 cast, or 51.3%. Democrats won 38,854,459 votes, or 44.8%, meaning that the Republican margin of victory was 6.5%, similar to the margin thus far in 2022. However, the Republicans failed to win the Senate in that race, losing several key races.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2022/11/10/republicans-have-won-6-million-more-votes-than-democrats-in-house-races-but-relatively-few-seats/

Why we shouldn’t be surprised by the election result

By Richard D. Land (Nov. 11) Christian Post Opinion

America has voted. Things worked better than in 2020, at least in most places. Unfortunately, Arizona and Nevada cannot seem to run timely, efficient, glitch-free elections. Perhaps the states of Georgia and Florida should host a tutorial on how to run fair and fast elections for Arizona and Nevada.

The most astounding result across the land from last Tuesday’s election was this — 98% of incumbents from both parties who ran for re-election were victorious. Almost every incumbent senator and governor of either party won with the possible exception of Arizona and Nevada (where the incumbent governor left casinos open during Covid, but closed churches).

Yet exit polls revealed that 75% of voters think the country “was headed in the wrong direction.” Why such an entrenched political class in a society with such high levels of dissatisfaction? This degree of incumbency entitlement is not healthy in a representative democracy. How did this happen?

The first answer is increased “gerrymandering,” the process by which congressional districts in various states are manipulated for maximum benefit for one party or the other by their respective state legislatures.

It is now reported by political pundits that the 63 House seat loss suffered by President Obama in 2010 is now almost impossible as a result of gerrymandering. Some analysts believe that as of today, gerrymandering has been so successfully employed by both parties that in the 435-member House of Representatives only about 50 seats are realistically open to being flipped from one party to the other in a specific election.

In the election last Tuesday, Americans cast 52 million votes for Republican congressional candidates as opposed to 46 million for Democrat candidates. And yet, the Republicans will probably only gain somewhere between 20 and 25 new seats.

The supposed swing state of New Jersey is a classic example of the destructive impact of gerrymandering. In the wake of the 2020 Census, New Jersey aggressively gerrymandered the state so that “New Jersey’s blue seats got bluer…red seats got redder,” reports Tracey Tully in The New York Times article “In New Jersey, Redistricting Helped Most Incumbents Win Big.”  

The baleful effect of this fact is that it thwarts the will of the people. Our forefathers designed the House of Representatives as “the people’s house.”  Every member of the House is up for re-election every two years. Consequently, if the people are very unhappy or concerned about an issue, at the very least they can make their pleasure or displeasure known very quickly.

Conversely, our forefathers designed a Senate where only one-third of its members are elected every two years and each Senator is elected to a six-year term to place a check on whether the voters acted too hastily. The House has been described as a hot cup of coffee and the Senate as a saucer into which the hot coffee is poured, allowed to cool down, and examined as to whether it should be consumed.

Clearly, the excessive, bipartisan gerrymandering of the House of Representatives has compromised its purpose as the “people’s house.” Consequently, the gerrymandering must be done away with. One way to accomplish this would be to put in term limits. As the late Secretary of the Treasury John Connally once said, “let members serve for a maximum of 12 years and then go home and make a living under the laws they have passed.”

The “gerrymandering effect” also emphasizes and enhances the admittedly strong political divisions existing presently in American society. How? When you have created a congressional district that is “safely” Democrat or Republican, the real election takes place in the primary, not the general election.

So, if a Republican or a Democrat Congressman tries to reach a compromise with other lawmakers on the other side of the aisle on legislation, assuming that if he or she can achieve at least half of his desired goal, it is better than achieving nothing, his more radical fellow Republicans or Democrats in his home district threaten him with “being primaried.” So, the country ends up electing the less moderate congressional candidates in the primaries. So, in the general election voters are faced with a stark contrast between a very conservative or a very liberal candidate to be their congressman.

This phenomenon leads to the current situation where in the Congress elected in 2020 the most conservative Democrat had a more liberal voting record than his or her most liberal Republican colleague. This complete lack of “overlap” between the two parties in the House makes the traditional compromise and horse-trading that results in legislation getting passed almost impossible. (Remember that Upton Sinclair observed at the beginning of the 20th century that the two things you should never witness being made were sausages and legislations.)

Some of us who have worked with Congress over the years have witnessed this accelerating bifurcation of Congress into two warring camps with a “no-man’s land” in the middle ground where compromise used to take place.

I have often lamented that in this congressional situation the perfect is the enemy of the good, and the good is the enemy of the imperfect “doable,” and gridlock ensues with the country being ill-served because relatively little gets done.

A very good example is immigration reform. There is probably nothing for which the federal government has jurisdiction which is as broken as immigration policy.  A good, constructive compromise on this volatile issue is achievable if the moderate conservatives and the moderate liberals formed a coalition of the middle and broke from those to the left of them in the Democrat Party and those to the right of them in the Republican Party (I will be fleshing out that “achievable” immigration compromise in a future CP column).

Given the fact that for the vast majority of congressional districts the threat of being defeated in the primary is greater than the threat of losing a general election, the coalition of the middle fades into oblivion and nothing constructive gets done. As a consequence, the country as a whole suffers destructive legislative gridlock.

We can and must do better.

https://www.christianpost.com/news/why-we-shouldnt-be-surprised-by-the-election-result.html

Nevada’s Clark County has more than 50,000 ballots left to count

By Brie Stimson (Nov. 11)| Fox News

A little more than 50,000 mail ballots still need to be counted in Clark County, Nevada’s most populated center, Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said during Friday’s daily press conference, as Republican Adam Laxalt and incumbent Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto remain in a tight Senate race.  “We’re getting to the tail-end of what we need to do,” Garcia said, adding that the bulk of ballots would likely be counted by Saturday. He said that more than 9,000 ballots can still be cured by Monday, meaning there was an issue with the ballot the voter can fix, and he said that mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day can still be received by Saturday. 

Some ballots are expected to be counted by Friday evening, Garcia said, adding that there are more than 5,000 provisional ballots as well. 

Laxalt maintained an 8,988 vote lead by Friday afternoon, one that has been steadily shrinking since Tuesday as more votes from heavily Democratic Clark County are counted. 

In the race for governor, Republican Joe Lombardo had a more comfortable 28,543 vote lead over Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, on Friday. 

Votes are still outstanding in other counties as well, including rural ones that would likely favor Laxalt. The results are expected to be close. Nevada’s second-largest county, Washoe, has about 23,000 ballots left to count, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The race is one of three still uncalled for the Senate, including Arizona and Georgia, which is headed to a December runoff, that will determine if Democrats or Republicans take control of the Senate. 

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/nevada-clark-county-has-more-50000-ballots-left-count-expecting-bulk-tallied-saturday

Majority of student loan forgiveness recipients spending money on dining, travel

PAM KEY (Nov 10) Breitbart News

Wednesday, the anchors of CNBC’s “Money Minute,” a segment on “NBC Now” streaming news platform, discussed a recent survey from Intelligent.com. that found 73% of President Biden’s student debt forgiveness anticipated recipients say they will spend the extra income on non-essential items including dining out and travel.

Anchor Deirdre Bosa said, “It could be easy as well for some people to enjoy travel and eating out rather than worrying about the future. One financial coach tells CNBC.com that you should not use the loan forgiveness only for long-term goals because your short-term self might get frustrated.”

She added, “Try to achieve a balance that lets you also invest in your future.”

https://www.breitbart.com/clips/2022/11/10/cnbc-73-of-bidens-student-loan-forgiveness-recipients-plan-to-spend-more-on-dining-out-travel/

Consumer prices rose 7.7 percent from a year ago

JOHN CARNEY (Nov 10) Breitbart News

Consumer prices continued to climb in October as the pace of overall inflation held at the level hit a month earlier and underlying inflation excluding food and fuel slowed. The Labor Department’s consumer price index rose by 0.4 percent compared with a month earlier. Compared with 12 months ago, the CPI is up 7.7 percent.

Core consumer prices, a key measure of inflation that excludes food and energy, rose 0.3 percent compared with September and are up 6.3 percent from a year earlier. Economists had expected a 0.7 percent month-to-month rise in CPI. Prices were expected to be up 7.9 percent compared with a year ago. Core prices were seen as rising 0.5 percent for the month and 6.6 percent for the year.

Stock futures rallied after the October inflation figures were released. Prior to the release, the futures were indicating the Dow Jones Industrial Average was expected to rise by around 50 points. After the release, the futures implied the Dow would climb nearly 800 points.

Inflation cooled dramatically in July, with the CPI unchanged compared with June its smallest increase since 2020. This prompted many to declare that inflation had peaked and inspired hopes that the rapid price increases that have beset the economy since last year might be in the rearview mirror. Inflation accelerated in August and September, however, dashing those hopes. In September, the CPI was up 0.4 percent for the month and 8.2 percent compared with a year earlier.

Core prices were up 0.6 percent in September from August and 6.6 percent year over year. So, the pace of core inflation decelerated in October. The pace of food inflation also slowed down. The index of food for consumption at home rose 0.4 percent in October and is up 12.4 percent from a year ago. The index tracking the price of eating out rose 0.9 percent for the third consecutive month. Compared with a year ago, food away from home prices are up 8.6 percent.

The index for shelter rose 0.8 percent compared with the prior month and contributed over half of the monthly increase in the broad index.  The energy index increased 1.8 percent over the month as the gasoline index and the electricity index rose, but the natural gas index decreased.

Used car prices fell 2.4 percent, the fourth month of declining prices. Compared with a year ago, used car prices are up two percent. New car prices rose 0.4 percent and are up 8.4 percent from a year ago. Clothing prices fell 0.7 percent after falling 0.3 percent in September. Compared with a year ago, apparel prices are up 4.1 percent. Prices in the services sector excluding energy rose 0.5 percent and are up 6.7 percent from a year ago.

The Federal Reserve officials has been raising interest rates since March, including four straight hikes of an unusually large 75 basis points. This has taken the Fed’s benchmark rate from near zero to just below four percent.

Prior to the CPI release, the Fed Fund futures market indicated that investors were almost evenly divided about whether the Fed will announce a smaller hike of 50 basis points at the December meeting or keep up the pace with another 75 basis point hike, with each having close to a 50 percent chance of occurring. After the CPI release, the odds shifted to significantly favor the smaller hike. At nine a.m., the Fed Funds futures market implied an 80 chance of a 50 basis point hike.

The Fed targets the overnight rate banks pay to each other to borrow reserves and also pays banks interest on reserves they hold. Because longer-term yields reflect the expected path of short-term rates, the Fed’s tightening has pushed those up, raising the costs of borrowing for the government, home buyers and consumers, and businesses. The yield on 10-year Treasuries has jumped from around 1.5 percent at the close of last year to around 4.1 percent now. The average 30-year fixed rate on home loans has more than doubled, rising from 3.2 percent to 7.5 percent. The yield on riskier corporate “junk” bonds has marched upward from 4.35 percent at the end of last year to 9.15 percent today, according to an index maintained by Bank of America.

Yields move in the opposite direction of bond prices, meaning bondholders have faced large losses from these rapid changes. Stocks are down sharply as well, in part because investors discount future cash flows more when interest rates are higher. As well, investors fear that the Fed’s tightening campaign will push the U.S. economy into a recession that will hurt corporate earnings. With bond and stock prices both falling together, traditionally diversified investor portfolios have suffered unusually large losses this year.

https://www.breitbart.com/economy/2022/11/10/consumer-prices-up-7-7-in-october/

Our Hope

Faith Leaders offer prayer for America ahead of Election Day: ‘This will be a moment of awakening’

ANNAH BLEAU (Nov 7) Breitbart News

National faith leaders joined with former President Donald Trump in participating in a call on Monday, where they offered prayers for the country the day before Election Day.

National faith leaders joined with former President Donald Trump in participating in a call Monday, where they offered prayers for the country the day before Election Day. The National Faith and Values Prayer call, hosted by the American Cornerstone Institute, included participants — from Dr. Ben Carson to Family Research Council President Tony Perkins — many of whom called for revival and awakening in America.

“Our faith has been forced out of the public square. Our liberty has been stripped away piece by piece. Our communities are disintegrating into lawlessness and violence, and radical anti-life policies are being pushed right down our throats around the nation,” Carson began, kicking off the call by referencing scripture from Proverbs.

“Where there is no vision the people perish. In other words, when we have leaders that don’t have their eyes set on eternal truths, the nation suffers as a result, and we’re seeing this playing up in front of us right now,” he said, explaining that Americans have the chance to vote for their values.

Former President Donald Trump spoke after Carson, expressing honor for participating on the call and describing the faith community as the “very backbone of what makes our country great.” Trump also said the Almighty’s fingerprint is evident in all of the nation’s great triumphs. 

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins was one of the guests on the call, who said a Christian’s responsibility goes beyond voting. He spoke of Elijah’s “epic confrontation” with the prophets of Baal, explaining that he confronted the people of Israel, in 1 Kings 18:21, which reads:

And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.
“I really believe that …  this is the message,” he said, contending that America needs to make a decision.

“If the Lord is God, we need to follow in our whole heart. … It’s time to stop living with one foot in the kingdom of God and one foot in the world,” he said before praying that the country returns to Biblical truth. 

“And so, I pray that your people who are called by your name will humble themselves will seek Your face will turn from their wicked ways,” he said, asking the Lord to help His people seek Him with their whole heart. And I pray Father, that as a result, even those who don’t, would be blessed in this nation, because of your blessings that would flow from the obedience of your people. And we pray this in Jesus name, amen,” he said, as other faith leaders offered similar prayers and messages. 

Paula White, founder of the National Faith Advisory Board, urged Americans to vote “according to our convictions. So, we as your people who are called by Your name, thank you for hearing our prayers and leading by Your Spirit in our land Lord,” she said, adding that His followers are “watching and praying” and “discerning the signs of the times.”

Dr. Ed Young, the senior pastor of Second Baptist Church, also spoke, adding that the election will determine, “which way America?” And I am just praying that some how, some way, that we will move against the woke agenda,” he said, which he described as “contrary to Biblical truth.”

“Heavenly Father, we stand for truth. Teach us when to speak and when to be silent. May we be wise as serpents and innocent as doves and Lord let us not shout but let us speak. We pray that you will bring renewal in government,” he said, thanking God for the “privilege of voting and making our voices heard.”

Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life spoke, identifying the right to life as the foundation of every issue and asking God to teach His people that they are called to renew the world — not to follow it. “We rejoice today that we are citizens of your kingdom. May that make us all the more committed to being faithful citizens on Earth,” he said, adding that voters do not cease to be Christians when they enter the voting booth.

Other participants offered prayers as Carson closed, reminding Christians to “encourage all those around us to vote” and remind each other that faith should not be hidden from the world. This election “gives us a chance to stand for our beliefs and make our voices heard,” he said.

“Tomorrow, we as Christians, who take our value seriously, have the opportunity to vote, and we can offer our nation the blessings of the upright mentioned in Proverbs, and by God’s grace, we will continue to be that shining city upon a hill,” he added.


(Michael Hernandez, co-founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted at [email protected] and is editor of “America: The End and Our Hope”.)

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