LRC Blog

Michael Avenatti Arrested

The “creepy porn lawyer,” progressive activist, and putative 2020 Dem frontrunner is arrested for felony domestic violence.

…law enforcement sources say Avenatti was arrested Wednesday after a woman filed a felony DV report. We’re told her face was “swollen and bruised” with “red marks” on both cheeks.

Poor Stephanie Ruhle.  The MSNBC anchor gets sweaty and tongue-hanging-on-the-floor orgasmic every time Avenatti comes on the air, anticipating that Avenatti will finally have the goods to take down Trump.  Progressives usually couldn’t care less about consistency, but should this charge stick with hard-to-refute evidence, it may be too much for Stephanie and the rest of Avenatti’s #metoo MSNBC groupies to defend him.  But as usual with progressives, don’t hold your breath on that.

8:33 pm on November 14, 2018

Chaos In Israel: Are Bibi’s Days Numbered?

12:35 pm on November 14, 2018

A Libertarian Analysis of Abortion

On Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 11:26PM T wrote:
Dr. Block,

Your point concerning a libertarian approach to abortion is interesting, but you fail to accurately describe the situation.

A pregnancy where the woman was a willing participant isn’t merely a case of trespass. It is like inviting a disabled person to your home and then deciding you don’t want that person there. Knowing the person to be incapable of leaving on his or her own power, libertarian philosophy would say that the inviter has a responsibility to ensure that the “trespasser” departs safely. Any action to expel the “trespasser” which would result in death or serious injury would constitute an initiation of aggression on the part of the property owner.

In the case of a forced pregnancy, the disabled “trespasser” has been forcibly dropped off by a stranger. It is the stranger who committed the offense, not the “trespasser.” In this case, too, the “trespasser” has committed no willing offense and has no ability to produce a remedy, and I hardly think that libertarian philosophy would consider this “trespass” to be a capital offense.

The true issue in abortion, is whether the fetus is or is not a person. If the answer is yes then how the pregnancy occurred is irrelevant. If the answer is no then the timing of the abortion is irrelevant. Yes or no; that’s where the real battle is. T

Dear T: Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this challenging issue with me. I think I anticipate your objections to my theory in the publications below. If you don’t think so, do, please, get back to me on this matter. Best regards, Walter

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12:17 pm on November 14, 2018

Unusual Responses

I often receive unusual responses to the articles I write for LRC. My most recent article, “Thank You for Your Service,” did not disappoint.

When the subject line reads: “Go f*** yourself, libertarian moron” (with other characters besides the ***), I know I am in for another unusual response. I was told: “Learn something about the real world before you write such bilge. Easy to sit on your fat ass and pontificate when you nothing about how things really are on this planet.” But if you read everything in my article that comes before my criticism of veterans, you will see that I in fact am writing about the real world and how things really are.

In another response, there was nothing in the body of the e-mail, but the subject line read:

And_most_of_all,_we_don’t_like_hypocrites_like_you_who_enjoy_the_benefits_the_military_dies_for,_pay_the_taxes_that_buys_the_military_you_hate_and_profits _from_the_companies_that_feed_the_war_machine…_f***_ you” [with other characters besides the ***]

The benefits the military dies for? What in the world would those be? He didn’t say. They never do. The truth is, U.S. soldiers die for nothing, and have done so for a hundred years, as Jacob Hornberger recently began his article about World War I: “Let’s be blunt: the 117,466 U.S. soldiers who died in World War I died for nothing.”

10:03 pm on November 13, 2018

Do Harvard Admissions Favor Jews?

The claim that Harvard admissions favor Jews is contested at length in this article.

To make such a claim, an essential number that’s needed is the portion of students who are Jewish. The population, whether undergraduate or graduate, has to be spelled out first. This number is not available. The Ron Unz study says it’s 25%. He got that number in 2012 or so from Hillel. Hillel disclaims it, saying it’s based upon a local Hillel estimate. He also used a scale-up method involving Jewish-sounding names.

This question cannot reach firm conclusions without knowing how many Jews are actually being admitted. We also need to know details about the total population from which Harvard draws admissions.

Hillel International has a list of the top 60 schools by Jewish undergraduate population. Harvard is #60, and the percentage is given as 12 percent (803 students). We do not know how this number was obtained. This is a bit less than half of the 25% number used by Unz. However, this number finds support by a different method of assessment that comes up with a 10-11 percent figure. This method replicated Unz’s scale-up method.

Other factors are at work that influence the findings: “First, the geography. Typically over 40% of Harvard College students come from New England and the mid-Atlantic, a group of states that includes 48% of American Jews but only 21% of the white population.” Second “Unz’s estimate of 6% Jewish National Merit Scholar semifinalists is too low…”

I spent 4 years at Harvard College(1958-1962). The student body wasn’t 25% Jewish. Maybe it was 10-12%. It’s very hard to for me to imagine that Harvard in the decades that followed admitted 2.5 times as many Jews for whatever reason, such as pressures upon it. That high a number would place Harvard in a category like some New York schools. This seems to me implausible. Just hearing of a 25% number made me suspicious. A lengthy background in research and statistics is a factor in my skepticism about accepting claims, and it’s why I searched the internet a bit and wrote this blog.

7:16 pm on November 13, 2018

Is Justice Timeless? Yes.

From: A
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 9:44 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Question about death penalty

Dear Mr. Block, I’m a Brazilian student of Austrian Economics and I’ve read your excellent argument about the death penalty using Nozick’s example of the life transfer machine. Some people I’ve spoke with still think that the criminal’s life is only forfeit in the presence of the machine (they think the concept of justice is somehow dependent of the technology of the time). I’d like to humbly ask you some suggestion of arguments or reading material to answer to these claims, proving that the morality/justice of the death penalty does not depend on the actual existence of the machine. Please help, Thank you ! A

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3:04 pm on November 13, 2018

Iran Again Found ‘In Compliance’…Yet Bolton Vows To ‘Squeeze Hard!’

1:46 pm on November 13, 2018

Peaceful European Empire? Don’t Make Me Laugh

President Macron of France wants a European army. France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire wants Europe to become an empire: “Do not get me wrong, I’m talking about a peaceful empire that’s a constitutional state.”

Post-World Wars I and II Europe has already demonstrated its non-peaceful intentions: Yugoslavia, Libya and Ukraine are three examples. A European empire will try to suppress Greece, Italy, Spain, Hungary and Portugal, for starters. It will choose the financial officials, set the taxes and control the debt. A European empire will step up its designs on Africa and Syria.

Macron and Le Maire are speaking against the tide of a crumbling monetary union, against states that prize their individual sovereignty, and against peoples who value their distinctive histories and cultures. Why would Switzerland and Great Britain become components of a United States of Europe? Le Maire says it’s a matter of gaining power so as to be on an equal footing with the other great power empires of the U.S. and China. But a United States of Europe that commands centralized power will surely suppress its component states. The measures taken won’t be peaceful.

Le Maire wants an empire in which the powers of the European Central Bank are undisputed and unchallenged.

The anti-federalists, as they came to be known, were anti-empire and anti-Constitution. They knew that the principles of the American Revolution were being erased by the new government and constitution. Anti-federalist James Winthrop in his letter (Agrippa IV) of December 3, 1787 writes

“We find, then, that after the experience of near two centuries our separate [state] governments are in full vigour. They discover, for all the purposes of internal regulation, every symptom of strength, and none of decay. The new system [U.S. Constitution] is, therefore, for such purposes, useless and burdensome.

“Let us now consider how far it is practicable consistent with the happiness of the people and their freedom. It is the opinion of the ablest writers on the subject, that no extensive empire can be governed upon republican principles, and that such a government will degenerate to a despotism, unless it be made up of a confederacy of smaller states, each having the full powers of internal regulation. This is precisely the principle which has hitherto preserved our freedom. No instance can be found of any free government of considerable extent which has been supported upon any other plan. Large and consolidated empires may indeed dazzle the eyes of a distant spectator with their splendour, but if examined more nearly are always found to be full of misery. The reason is obvious. In large states the same principles of legislation will not apply to all the parts.”

12:40 pm on November 13, 2018

More Disorder Ahead

Trust in government is very low. Trust declines sharply when disorder rises, and wars signal disorder, showing that the government has failed to keep the peace. Most people like and want peace. That’s when they make more money and are safer. Fewer people like and promote wars, but this group includes powerful and influential people who way too often get their way.

A new bout of disorder is at hand. One source is a Democratic Inquisition being born in the House of Representatives. The target is Donald Trump. A long fight may ensue, bringing divided government to the fore. Disorder will rise as the stock market goes bearish and the economy peaks and declines. The FED is tightening, merely by letting its massive bond portfolio mature without re-investing the proceeds. Trump publicly scolded Chairman Powell, adding to the disorder. Sadly, mass murder events are on the rise, creating an uneasy environment of fear. The same goes for mass civil disturbances like those of Antifa. Trump seems anxious to dial down wars in Yemen and Afghanistan, but miscalculations elsewhere are a risk. The Persian Gulf and the Iran-Saudi dissonance create a hot spot. Trump is a complex agent of change as he re-orders America’s world position. The media attack and distort his actions relentlessly, making the media a notable source of current disorder.

Americans could stand a break. More disorder will itself generate disorder from those seeking to take advantage of the confusion. But the main effect will be that voters will seek candidates who promise to put things right and soothe the troubled waters.

8:40 am on November 13, 2018

Don’t Thank This Veteran for His Service

In response to someone who thanked him for his service, a veteran (and LRC reader) wrote the following to him and forwarded it to me:

I am a veteran and thank you for the sincere acknowledgement. Frankly I find much of veteran worshiping in the media today to be over the top. In the case of the NFL games today I found their presentations and “special” veterans tributes to be both patronizing and disingenuous. I am proud of my time served and just having the opportunity to wear the uniform was enough satisfaction for me. I had a job to do and I faithfully and dutifully executed my duties. I’m no hero and just because you wear a uniform does not automatically grant you hero status. Nor do I expect any special favors or discounts for simply doing my duty. I respect and admire all Americans, veterans and non veterans, that have worked hard in their occupations to protect and provide for their families, communities and country.

Posted with permission.

9:21 pm on November 12, 2018

After 18 Years the U.S. Army Calls It Quits

The U.S. Army has finally ended its sponsorship of the dragster of Tony Schumacher and the associate sponsorship of his teammates Antron Brown and Leah Pritchett. Too bad the U.S. Army is not ending its sponsorship of the war in Afghanistan.

8:49 pm on November 12, 2018

World War I

Transcript   World War I book list

6:21 pm on November 12, 2018

Is the Income Tax Slavery? No.

From: C
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 8:31 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Indentured servitude

Dr. Block,

Is income taxation involuntary servitude?

I ask because the first section of the 13th Amendment reads “Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The 16th Amendment reads, simply “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” Are not these two concepts diametric opposites? Isn’t taxation of my labor a form of involuntary servitude? Does the latter Amendment supersede the former? Respectfully, C

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3:05 pm on November 12, 2018

Democrat Ruin

America voted Bush out and Obama in, a vote against the Iraq War and a vote to retrench the empire. Obama badly disappointed America’s hopes, so she refused to vote in his heir and proxy, Hillary Clinton.

Will Democrats win the presidency in 2020 by 4 years of opposition to Trump? Is resistance a program that captures the hopes of voters? Or is resistance a ruinous strategy because it is a nothing-burger?

Democrats promise wall-to-wall investigations of Trump. Can endless charges, each more laughable and superficial, each more fake and false, than its predecessor, inspire voters to vote in a Democrat, be she a tired representative of the Clinton cabal or an empty-headed progressive socialist?

The 2020 election is Trump’s to lose as Democrats ruin themselves with silly investigations that put on display their own empty heads. Trump can win by positive moves, such as well-defined actions toward peace across a global map dotted with U.S. meddling and belligerence. He can’t win by taking Democratic bait. He should not descend to the level of the House Democrats. He shouldn’t become preoccupied with their charges. They are so senseless, vicious and phony that even Trump can look statesmanlike and turn them to his advantage. Humor will help.

Trump is off to a bad start in saying of House investigations of him: “If that happens then we’re going to do the same thing and government comes to a halt and I would blame them”. Retaliation is petty and lacks voter appeal. He should reveal Democratic machinations and corruption because it’s the right thing to do. He shouldn’t be reactive to Democrats by promising “the same thing”. He should rise above them, articulate his program and press for its passage. (The more libertarian, the better.) The House can be blamed for its obstruction, its delay, and its useless focus on his style.

Trump has been seduced by Washington rhetoric. It’s far from being populist to say of the House: “There are many things we can get along on without a lot of trouble, that we agree very much with them and they agree with us. I would like to see bipartisanship. I’d like to see unity.” This emphasizes personalities, politics and deals, the endless Washington machinery.

Trump shouldn’t be speaking about agreement between them and us. He shouldn’t be speaking about bipartisanship or unity, which are Democratic ploys. These were not what he ran on. He needs to stay on point. He should say “The American people elected me to enact a program. My budgets call for making that program happen. I will call upon the House and Senate, whatever their party compositions, to do their part by writing the appropriate legislation and passing the funding bills. There is one guiding and meaningful goal that the 2016 election approved, and that is to ‘Make America Great Again’.”

3:03 pm on November 12, 2018

100 Years After The ‘War To End All Wars,’ Lessons Of History Are Still Unlearned

12:26 pm on November 12, 2018

Empirical Measures of Economic Freedom

From: W
Sent: Saturday
To: Wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Measure of gov manipulation in markets

Hello Dr. Block,

We spoke after your talk to LPMC today.

I was asking how to get a measure of how the government interferes in the markets in ways not generally recognized- the size of the ESF and how it is used, agreements between central banks to purchase stocks etc., and how much this invalidates mainstream financial analysis.

Thanks for your attention! W

(more…)

1:57 pm on November 11, 2018

Trump’s Tariff Wars

From: M
Sent: Friday,
To: walter block (more…)

6:59 pm on November 10, 2018

Dead Republican Defeats Living Democrat in Nevada Election

A dead brothel owner won a seat in the Nevada state assembly, defeating his Democratic challenger by a margin of 68 to 32 percent. Too bad more dead people don’t appear on election ballots. They would be my first choice against either a Democratic or Republican candidate.

6:30 pm on November 10, 2018

Is Trump Racist?

Many celebrity, political and media figures accuse Trump of being racist. A new example: CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said “…there is also a huge racial dimension to this. The fact that the president is always attacking black people.”

Jeff Sessions, James Comey, and Hillary Clinton are not black. Elizabeth Warren isn’t black and neither is CNN’s Jim Acosta, two recent instances of Trump attacks. These counter-examples don’t prove that Toobin’s accusation is wrong. They suggest that more serious inquiry is needed to shed light on the hypothesis that Trump is racist. For one thing, Trump’s insults are legion. In mid-2017, the New York Times wrote of 650 such insults. They form a population to be examined. If 38 percent of Americans are not white, are Trump’s insults directed to non-white people significantly higher than 38 percent of this population? That’s only a start at analysis because racism is only one of many motivations to attack people. Complicating the analysis is the fact that race, religion and ethnicity are correlated with political positions and ideologies. Hence, one must do a multivariate analysis to see if race survives as an independent variable in competition with other variables that measure other motivations.

Let those who are relentlessly attacking Trump on grounds like racism do their homework by referring us to well-constructed studies. If they existed, wouldn’t they be citing them?

9:40 am on November 10, 2018

Trump: Murderer, Robber

Obama the murderer has been replaced by Trump the murderer. Whom has Donald Trump murdered? One example only: He could have ended American bombing raids in Syria. Instead, he made more: “The US-led anti-IS coalition acknowledged carrying out over 100 air strikes in Syria between October 28 and November 3.” These killed numerous Syrian civilians. The latest report says at least 80.

Obama’s robberies have given way to Trump’s. One example only: Trump has robbed Maine lobstermen. Tariffs on Maine lobster exports to China have directly robbed hard-working fishermen. Maine Senator Susan Collins should have extracted a tariff exemption for her vote on Kavanaugh. After all, he can be replaced easily with better candidates. He didn’t own the position, but Maine lobstermen do own their capital and goodwill built up painstakingly over years. Trump robbed them for no good end.

9:06 am on November 10, 2018

Was Woodrow Wilson a War Criminal?

I got into a long, drawn out debate with C over whether or not Wilson’s entry into WWI was (legally, according to libertarian law) responsible for the rise of Hitler, and then WWII. If so, he’s a criminal. I said yes, C said no. C’s main argument is that even if Wilson caused WWII, people are not responsible for what they cause. Hitler’s parents “caused” Hitler, but are not (legally) responsible for his evil deeds. The Chinese invented gunpowder a while back, but are not responsible for gun deaths nowadays. I agreed with this, of course. My main attempt at a refutation is that there is a disanalogy: giving birth to a child, inventing guns or gunpowder, are not per se rights violations; heck, they are not rights violations at all. But, entry into a non-defensive war is indeed a rights violation, and, thus, Wilson is indeed guilty of a crime, at least according to libertarian law. If you are interested in the details of this convoluted debate, keep reading (from the bottom up, so as to follow the discussion). As for the timing, there are no limits. I don’t believe in explicit statutes of limitations. Yes, there are implicit, legitimate statutes of limitations, in that the further you go back into history, the harder it is to prove guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt.

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11:53 am on November 9, 2018

Stop Antifa Lawbreakers

New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik has the right idea: Stop Antifa lawbreakers. The goal is to insure domestic peace.

His proposed measures are sensible and defensible, given our current system of securing the peace. The alternative, which is doing nothing or even praising them, as Matthew Yglesias has, is to encourage their escalation to more violent means. It is also to encourage anti-Antifa groups to form and take to the streets, producing street war.

If Antifa is classified by the Department of Justice or FBI as a domestic terror group, an accurate description, it immediately places state and local police authorities in a position of greater action against Antifa. It treats them as a serious problem that warrants action. Police have to start arresting Antifa members and bringing them to justice.

The anonymity of Antifa participants must end. That’s what enables them to adopt tactics of threat and intimidation.

The financing of Antifa has to be investigated to find out who is behind them.

Steps like these are overdue.

Too many highly-placed Democrats are stirring up trouble with statements that are aimed at direct action against their targets. These Democrats are breaking the domestic peace and tranquility. Their inflammatory remarks are reinforcing the activities of Antifa.

11:34 am on November 9, 2018

Florida’s Stalinist Election Supervisor

One Brenda Snipes, the Broward County election supervisor who was found guilty of destroying ballots two years ago so that Debbie Blabbermouth Schultz could pull out a very shady last-minute election victory by 7,000 votes, is now busy “discovering” thousands of supposedly uncounted votes, days after Governor Scott was declared the winner of the senate election. His margin has gone from more than 70,000 on Wednesday to 15,000 today.  The Democrats have sent the “lawyer” who paid for the phony baloney “Russian dossier” to help out.  Kind of reminds me of something Stalin supposedly said, that it’s not who votes that counts, but who counts the votes.

10:46 am on November 9, 2018

Reconciling Liberating Property From the Unjust Government and Reparations for Stolen Property in the Past

From: Sam Hage [mailto:shage001@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2018 3:28 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Libertarian Scholars’ Conference

Mr. Block,

I meant to email you right after the Libertarian Scholars’ conference in NYC, but it slipped my mind until now. I was hoping to expand on the question I asked about your Ragnar Danneskjöld presentation.

You said that if I can prove your grandfather stole my grandfather’s watch and handed it down to you, you have to give me the watch back. You also said that if the state steals my car, then you steal it from the impound lot, you are not required to give it back to me. Now I’m not sure there’s a contradiction there, but it seemed as though there might be. A clarifying question: if Mr. Salerno steals my watch, then you steal it from him, are you obligated to give it back to me?

I think I understand that once the original theft happens, you’re not really committing violations of the NAP by ‘stealing’ from the thief, but wouldn’t that also be true in the grandfather example? Is that example different because the thief died and you’re merely the unwitting beneficiary of a theft? I hope you can help me understand this idea.

I thought you did a tremendous job at the conference, particularly with your impromptu talk during the Marxism section.

I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,
Sam Hage

On Mon, Nov 5, 2018 at 8:00 PM Walter Block wrote:

Dear Sam:

Yours was just about the best question/challenge, I’ve ever had at any public gathering, such as this one. Please tell me about yourself. I won’t say that yours was the only thing I’ve been thinking about since that conference, but I won’t deny that either. I am very grateful to you for pointing this out.

The way I see matters, I barely escape contradicting myself by the fact that there is a disanalogy in the two cases. In the Ragner case, there is an intermediate person, that is, Ragnar himself. In the other reparations case, there is no intermediary to complicate matters. Does this satisfy you? If not, please let me have your misgivings.

Best regards,

Walter
(more…)

4:40 pm on November 8, 2018

Trump Fires Sessions – A ‘Constitutional Crisis’?

12:51 pm on November 8, 2018

Bolshevik Mob Terrorizes Tucker Carlson’s Family

A mob of American Bolsheviks that calls itself “Smash Racism DC” descended upon Tucker Carlson’s home last night around 7 PM, ringing his doorbell and screaming “Racist Scumbag Leave Town!!” and “We Fight! We Know Where You Sleep at Night!” One thug threw himself against the front door so hard that he cracked the door.  One member of the mob was heard talking about bringing a pipe bomb next time.  Carlson’s wife hid in the pantry and called the police, who showed up within minutes.  The family will no longer be opening packages sent to them in the mail.

This of course is just the latest episode in the Bolshevik Left’s attack on free speech, taking their cue from the late German Marxist Herbert Marcuse (a “celebrated” academic after coming to America, naturally), who popularized the notion in commie/Leftist circles back in the ’60s that only “the oppressed” (i.e., fellow Marxists) deserve tolerance and free speech, and “the oppressors” (people like the evil Tucker Carlson, or Yours Truly) do not.

The tactic of appearing at peoples’ homes to terrorize their families is right out of the Obama “community organizing” handbook, inspired by Obama/Hillary Clinton idol and inspiration Saul Alinsky and originally used by the union goon movement, but now part and parcel of Democrat Party strategy in general.

Meanwhile, Antifa has reportedly posted the addresses of Tucker Carlson’s brother, his business partner, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity online.

5:46 am on November 8, 2018

A Nice Letter

From: T
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2018 9:00 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: A Kind Letter

Mr. Block,

I have been a big fan of yours for years. I sent your “Privatize Everything” video lecture at the Mises Institute from last year to my City Council here in Duckburg, CA. They were not impressed. Ha! There are five members of our town’s (pop. 12,000) city council. One is from Nebraska like me and I’ve had a couple of beers with him. He’s receptive to Libertarian ideas. Another councilman is more conservative/Republican and doesn’t really trust me. The other three council members are women and so liberal that I would call them Communists. XYZ, the most progressive of them, wrote to me that “I wish I could find a way to automatically delete your emails.” She is running for re-election and our town is littered with lawn signs endorsing her. It is somewhat depressing to me.

This is life in liberal ABC County. 80%+ voted for Obama and 65%+ votes for Hillary here.

I do what I can and for argumentative ideas I use many of your ideas in your lectures at Mises. Thank you! I also appreciate your great sense of humor.

T, Duckburg, CA

Dear T: Thanks. This letter made my day. Best regards, Walter

8:59 pm on November 7, 2018

House Goes Blue – Blessing In Disguise For Trump?

12:31 pm on November 7, 2018

Social Justice Left-Libertarians Finally Dropping the Name Libertarian

It’s about time. Now they can focus more on the evils of climate change and recommend a policy response, which they do think is warranted.

8:07 pm on November 6, 2018

What a Colossal Waste of Money

I heard the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee say that the committee raised $186 million to help Republicans hold on to their majority in the House. Giving money to the GOP—what a colossal waste of money. I can’t think of anything more useless to spend money on unless it is giving money to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

8:00 pm on November 6, 2018