No Freedom, No Peace!

 

Freedom has so many dimensions that it is easy to lose some in one area while retaining it in others such that the incremental loss goes virtually unnoticed. For example, property rights: As long as theft is illegal and courts enforce contracts, the people tend to let zoning law decisions slide and are understanding when police and prosecutors have higher priority crimes to deal with. 

And then you get the pandemic. All of a sudden wholesale rights are disturbed for the law abiding. Then various criminals are favored as their conduct is let to pass while you are threatened for going to church, going to a restaurant, going to a gym, or not wearing you mask between bites.

And then you have an odd election. One candidate promotes maximum personal liberty and draws crowds. The other candidate hides in the basement, doesn’t take questions, and promotes collective “safety” over individual liberty. The latter guy “wins”?

2021 is going to be a challenge to the notion of freedom either way things play out. If Biden is inaugurated whole swaths of the country will be relying on states’ rights as never before. If President Trump somehow prevails and stays in office, the furies that have attacked him seemingly forever will be unleashed at levels not yet seen.

Either way, our individual wills will be tested in ways as never before.

But for me, No Freedom, No Peace! 

Quote of the Day: Nettling the Humorless and Pricking the Pompous

 

“What is satire if not a marriage of civil disobedience to a laugh track, a potent brew … that acts as a nettle sting on the thin skin of the humorless.” — Mona Eltahawy

Satire is a nettle sting on the thin skin of the humorless. I like the sound of that. I like it so much that I think that we on the Right ought to adopt that as our slogan for the next four years.

So Ricochetti, if your talent runs toward satire, the mating of criticism and wit, your time has come. Fortunately, the Democratic establishment for the next four years will be target rich with humorless scolds just ripe for satire. Think of just the more visible members of the Democratic establishment: Nadler, Schiff, Pelosi, Schumer, Maxine Waters, AOC, Omar, et al. Has there ever been a gallery more crowded with flawed humans outside of Rikers Island?

We’ll expose Pelosi’s testiness, Omar’s next marriage to a brother, and almost every word that drips from Schiff’s crooked little mouth.

Flaying the Left’s foibles, vices, and hypocrisies should be as easy as shooting at sitting ducks, whether it’s Pelosi getting her hair cut at a shuttered San Francisco hair salon, or Newsom attending a large dinner when he’s been telling Californians for weeks that they ought not to gather in large groups.

We’ll expand our satiric targets to the brown-nosing sycophants of late-night television and every biased writer of the mainstream media. They’ve been attacking Trump and the Right for four years. It’s our turn now that their chosen one is in power.

Jose Pluma got us off to a good start with his brilliant satire on the Left’s proposal to erase up to $50,000 of college loan debts. Pluma shows just how harebrained the idea is.

Sometimes it’s enough just to quote the Left. In Freeven’s recent post, he quotes the mayor of Wauwatosa, WI, after a gunman shot up a shopping mall in his town, wounding eight. Have you ever heard greater nonsense than the Mayor’s reaction to the shooting? “The Mayfair Mall has a strict no-gun policy…. If the shooter had complied with that policy, no one would have been hurt yesterday.” Think about that.

We wish Biden and company the best. We’re the loyal opposition, after all, a concept I heartily approve of. We hope the Biden administration will expand freedom and promote the general welfare, and we’ll applaud when those things happen. But history tells us that the Left will overplay its hand and fall back on what they’re comfortable with: to restrict freedom and expand the state.

Any movement in that direction and we pounce.

All Debt is bad and sad and ergo should go away

 

Doc B – like our old long-lost friend Doc Jay, but probably less likely to look at your chart, say “screw it,” rip out your tubes and drive you to Vegas – wrote about a patient thrilled by the promise of college debt elimination. The patient did not have a firm grip on things like “economics” or “reality,” but she’s not alone. 

As long as we’re talking about college debt relief, why not all debt? The New Yorker is here to tell you what it means in terms of PHILOSOPHY and also justice.

In Congress, the freshman representatives known as the Squad have lifted up grassroots demands to cancel student loans, back rent, and mortgage payments. 

But probably not your mortgage payment, because you can pay it. 

Debt relief, Representative Ayanna Pressley, of Massachusetts, told me, makes sound economic sense, given that working families would put freed-up money “right back into communities, right back into the economy.” Pressley added, “We have to bail out the American people.”

Hold on. Wait a gol-durned minute. You mean if people have relief from mandated financial obligations, they use the money in other ways that stimulates economic activity? It’s trickle-out economics! 

Though it would help struggling households make ends meet, debt relief isn’t just about money. There are also deeper moral questions to consider—and this is where David Graeber’s work is indispensable.

This is where you sigh with satisfaction and settle into the warm bath of moral questions the New Yorker writers permit you to entertain, and you smile to yourself: I have no idea who David Graeber is, but I will soon, and then I will know something indispensable. 

In “Debt,” he sought to challenge his readers to rethink the very notion of owing: Who owes what to whom?

“Stop paying and find out” seems the easy answer to that one

Do all debts need to be repaid?

“Stop paying and find out” seems the easy answer to that one

Can our real obligations ever be quantified?

Dude have you ever looked at your hand? I mean really looked at it

As an anthropologist who had studied gift exchange,

Oh, a financial expert, is what you’re saying. “At E. F. Hutton, we make money the old fashioned way – by anthropological inquiry into the folkways involving gift exchange.”

and an anarchist determined to envision a world beyond capitalism,

Oh, a nutwad. Well, you have to admire his determination; the man sets his clock for 5 AM every day, goes into the study, and spends the fresh hours of the day fiercely envisioning.

“Are you coming down for breakfast?” the wife calls.

“Not yet! I am so close! A few more minutes and I’ll have the post-capitalist world fully envisioned!” Then he frowns and rests his chin on his fists. Okay where was I. No debt, no money, no rent, no banks, no societal heirarchies, no scarcity . . . then what? I’m almost there! I’m so close!

David wanted to help build a world unconstrained by the constant and petty accounting of debits and credits, one where value and worth were not denominated in dollars.

Because no one has any metrics for quantifying anything in life besides dollars, of course. But let’s go with that. We abandon a commonly-accepted medium of exchange to facilitate our daily exchanges of goods and services, and something without any of the characteristics of value and obligation will arise. WHAT IF THERE WAS LIKE, NO MONEY AND WE JUST DID COOL STUFF AND EVERYONE WAS COOL

Debt, he wrote, is “a promise corrupted by both math and violence.” 

Well, if you borrow from Tony the Shark down at the social club, yeah

What other types of promises might we make to one another and strive to honor? And, in order to do that, what promises might we have to renegotiate or refuse?

“You make some interesting points sir but you ordered a ham sandwich and you ate it and here’s the bill. You can pay here, or at the cash register. And we don’t take checks.”

Debt cancellation is an essential component of any sensible response to this worsening disaster, especially one attuned to questions of racial justice.

Racism before: minority communities do not have access to credit, and that’s a problem. Racism today: minority communities have access to credit, and that’s a problem. Solution: upend the Etch-a-Sketch. As always, Year Zero beckons, with its boundless justice and limitless potential. 

Biden, The Movie-Coming Attractions

 

Although this essay is written for all the residents in the United States, it is written specifically for the residents of Georgia. Georgians have the opportunity to maintain Republican control of the Senate.

Some may see me as a defeatist, but I prefer to salvage what we can from what a Biden-Harris administration will bring to all 50 states. Georgians are going to be inundated with misinformation in the weeks before the Senate runoff election; it’s already begun with Leftists encouraging non-residents to move to Georgia and become temporary residents, to then vote in the runoff.

I urge Georgians to not take the advice of pro-Trump attorney L.Lin Wood about voting in the Georgia runoff. According to Newsmax:

In a series of weekend tweets, Wood asked Georgians not to vote for Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue unless they help overturn the election results in the state.

“Let’s speak truth about @SenLoeffler & @sendavidperdue. Why are they doing little or nothing to support efforts by GA citizens to address unlawful election & need for @BrianKempGA to order special session of legislature?” Wood tweeted. “If not fixed, I will NOT vote in GA runoff,” he continued. “Will you?”

This type of advice reminds me of the old joke about the husband who comes from work and finds his wife in bed with another man. The betrayed husband takes a pistol from the dresser and puts up to his head. The wife and her lover start laughing. The husband says; “Why are you laughing? You two are next.”

John Kerry has now been appointed as Biden’s Climate Czar, and this does not require a Senate confirmation hearing. From National Review:

“America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is,” Kerry wrote in a Twitter post. “I’m proud to partner with the President-elect, our allies, and the young leaders of the climate movement to take on this crisis as the President’s Climate Envoy.”

The Biden-Harris team noted that Kerry “was a key architect of the Paris Climate Accord” of 2015. President Trump later pulled out of the treaty, saying its criterion for reducing emissions harmed American manufacturing and energy jobs.

Although John Kerry is not subject to confirmation from the Senate, I’m sure that he would love to help write legislation to try and kill fossil fuel generation in the United States.

The average price per gallon of gasoline in the US is $2.110 according to AAA (here’s a link to the averages for each state). The average in France is $5.996 per gallon.

The price of goods that are delivered by trucks and trains, as well as travel will rise in the U.S. John Kerry can afford that increase; he earned his money the old-fashioned way: he married into it. Tech oligarchs and hedge fund oligarchs can afford these increases as well.

I will probably write another essay on the “Biden Movie” in the days to come, until that time I urge Georgians to take away the Kamala Harris deciding vote in the Senate.

Those Are My Principles

 

But if you don’t like them, well, I have others.

During my twelve-and-half years as a member of this body, I have never believed that additional gun control or federal registration of guns would reduce crime. I am convinced that a criminal who wants a firearm can get one through illegal, untraceable, unregistered sources, with or without gun control.

– Joe Biden, 1985

Hat tip: Steven Hayward at PowerLine.

An Inspiring Message of Virtue and Hope from a Brilliant Leftist…

 

A friend of mine from high school (“Betsy”) went to a near-Ivy League level college.  And she deserved to; she’s extremely hard-working and an absolute genius. I admire her.  She’s brilliant, she’s beautiful, and she apparently married well because she is now an assistant teachers’ aide at an elementary school library at her daughter’s school, and she lives very comfortably.  She lives in Tracy, California (about an hour east of San Francisco), and is an extremely politically active Democrat.  She posted the following on her Facebook page today (emphasis mine):

The City Council of Tracy will be discussing whether to become a “Sanctuary City,” meaning the city will not enforce state and county rules that have been established to limit business activities during covid. I encourage people to read the Council’s agenda item to understand the implications of taking this action. I encourage people to read the report. My understanding is that the county and state can still do their own enforcement of business restrictions. The City of Tracy is really doing more education than enforcement already and is not really interested in punishing businesses. And, the City stands to lose a lot of state Covid-related money that has already been committed if the City Council declares we are a sanctuary city. I absolutely understand that businesses are suffering during this time. I’m just not sure that making a Tracy a sanctuary city will actually improve conditions for businesses. I’m happy to hear other perspectives if people want to share specific ways in which this declaration could help businesses and be worth losing the state Covid-related money the City is getting.

This is so wonderful, on so many levels.  If I were to attempt to convince Betsy of the absurd structural defects of leftism, I would read this very passage to her.  Very slowly.  Which is silly, because she’s much more intelligent than I am.

But let’s break this down.

So her hometown, Tracy, California, is attempting to become a “sanctuary city.”

Over the past few years, a ‘sanctuary city’ was one that did not enforce immigration law against illegal immigrants.  But in this particular case, ‘sanctuary city’ means one that does not enforce COVID-19 executive actions against small businesses run by American citizens that are attempting to survive against the destructive efforts of their own governor.  Whoever came up with the name for this current bill is a genius.

Next, Betsy says that the state and county governments are doing most of the enforcement of these diktats anyway, while the government of Tracy was helpfully engaged in the smiling happy joyfulness of education, and is not as interested the mean-spirited unpleasantness of ‘punishing businesses’ as the state and county governments are.  That’s nice.

And lastly, it is important to vote against this, because Betsy’s hometown of Tracy ‘stands to lose a lot of COVID-related money‘ if they don’t go along with the tyrannical impulses of the state government.  After all, this doesn’t really have anything to do with principles or viruses.  Come on, little people – don’t get all hung up on distractions like ethics or illnesses.  This is simply about getting as much money from other people as possible.

Don’t get caught up in the COVID-related stuff about diseases and sick people and stuff – this is only about money and power.  So relax, and feel free to vote against this.

Betsy makes no effort to defend the state’s COVID policies.  She simply argues that this is just about money.  And you should vote in favor of taking away more money from other people.  Simple.  I mean, come on.

Remember that money and power are virtuous when held by the proper people.  Just let us worry about the details, and do as we say.  And sleep well tonight.  As Betsy helpfully explains, good leftists like herself think only of money and power.  Don’t get distracted by principles or ethics.

So an extremely intelligent, well-meaning leftist writes on Facebook that her neighbors should vote against becoming a sanctuary city and allow the state and county governments to punish businesses, so she and her neighbors can continue to steal money and power from their fellow Californians.

What an inspiring message of virtue and hope!

Betsy has ten times the brains of Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, AOC, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and all the rest of them.  I have enormous respect for her.

And this is the very best she could come up with.  To her, this is a positive message of hope.

In the next presidential election, about half the American voters will vote Democrat.  Almost all of whom are not nearly as intelligent or well-meaning as Betsy.  And still, they’ll vote Democrat.  Think about that for a minute.

No, really.  Think about that for a minute.  Their view of leftism is likely to be less intelligent and less virtuous than Betsy’s description above.

And still, they’ll vote Democrat.

My God…

Chumps for Trump vs. Thugs for Plugs

 

I write this out of a sense of some of the most acute and severe frustration I have ever felt in my (very, very long) life,  a life which has had its fair share of many of the same frustrations we all get hit with in this old life. I must say, looking at some of the posts on Ricochet, it would appear I am hardly alone in the way I am feeling, although my sense of helplessness, for want of a better word, might come from a slightly different place.

I write this as a veteran of many years as a practicing trial lawyer, the kind of a lawyer you rarely see on the billboards or on the TV ads aimed primarily at the hospital wards in the morning hours (what a sordid way to make a living, if that’s living!), but the kind, not to get all virtue signaling about it, who actually got down in the dirty work of depositions, Motions, briefing, more Motions, and actual trials– in actual courtrooms, not movie-like sets.

I write this from that background, as well as one in which I was taught by my parents, my mentors, Law Professors, Judges, Senior Lawyers, Military Officers I looked up to for guidance and teaching, to love the Good Ol’ US of A with everything I had and to despise deep in my bones anyone who would wish it harm — in other words, “enemies foreign and domestic.” One source of my frustration tonight is that I feel, in the true sense of the word,  surrounded by scores of people who not only seem to wish our Beloved Nation harm, which means they wish us harm, but who are saying it out loud — and acting on that statement.

As a lawyer of “the old school” (how could I pretend to be of any other?) a major source of my frustration is with the howling mobs of the mainstream media (who we have permitted to “call” the election for Biden, to our shame), academia, the execrable “leadership” of the Democrat Party as well as a few of our own, and even some of our own colleagues here on Ricochet who never saw a corrupt old politician or member of The Lincoln Project or The Bulwark they wouldn’t support and send money to, who profess great urgency in convincing the Trump campaign to “give up the ghost” as there is no way he can develop a path to victory.

As one who spent decades in the vineyards of the practice of trial law, I find these complaints to be, to use the most polite term possible, divorced from the real world of what it takes to develop any case, and especially a case of this monumental complexity which must be investigated, drafted, filed (in numerous jurisdictions), argued, tried in the instances where the Court sets an evidentiary hearing, appealed (especially here where there does not seem to be a Judge in the entire county willing to let these cases go forward) on an excruciatingly tiny timeframe.

But, my disdain is heightened tenfold when these complaints come from those I will refer to in a shorthand manner as “The Lincoln Project” geniuses who are wallowing in their gloating revelry at the prospect of a Harris Administration… how about we try a little realism here… who hold themselves out to be practicing, working, licensed, lawyers, who must, if, indeed, they are what they claim to be, know a little about what is involved in putting these cases together and would be presumed to know that everyone is entitled, as an American citizen, to make whatever legal claims he or she can, in good faith, and this is what causes the break apparently, President Donald J. Trump!

“Unity!” They say. It is only because I honor the C of C here that I restrain myself from saying what I really feel about people who display what may be a whole new level of hypocrisy rarely seen even in the cesspool which our National Capital has become. Fortunately, our friend Dr. Bastiat has kindly provided us with a remarkable summary by an unusually well-suited observer to help us understand what we are experiencing in “Fighting Words.” There, he set forth a recent essay by David Horowitz, CEO of the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Editor of its publication, FrontPage and himself a former far-left radical, which every one of us should read, study, review, re-read, and study again, as it is one of the most perceptive pieces I have seen and may be likened to Mr. Jefferson’s “fire bell in the night.” @drbastiat did all of us a great service in bringing this chilling commentary to our attention, and it bears at least a cursory review here.

Here is his description of the person the Never Trumpers and the Lincoln Project groupies so proudly supported and the “party” he “leads”:

“This is not “playing” people. It is war. They are trying to kill us politically, and we need to respond accordingly, to fight fire with fire. Today’s Democrat Party is a party of character assassins and racists. Republicans know this but are reluctant to say it. That is how a pathological liar and corrupt political whore like Joe Biden can accuse the choice of 73 million Americans of being a white supremacist and also murdering 220,000 corona virus patients. That’s why Biden and his gunslingers can do so with no consequences – without so much as a wrist slap – from “moderates” and independents, who know better. The Democrats’ ability to intimidate well-meaning Americans is that great.

“Is this too blanket a condemnation? Where, then, is the Democrat who was outraged by the four-year Russia collusion hoax and the failed coup and impeachment attempts – all of which accused the president, without a shred of evidence, of treason? Where was the Democrat who dissented from the public lynching of an exemplary public servant, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, over an incident that never happened 37 years ago at a time when he was a high school kid? Where is the Democrat who has condemned the violent street criminals of Antifa and Black Lives Matter who got away with conducting the most destructive civic insurrection in American history, orchestrating mayhem and disrespect for the law that led to the murders of scores of people who happen to have been mainly black?”  (Emphasis added)

But, the centerpiece of the Horowitz essay was, in my opinion, at least, his “brief vocabulary for understanding the political war that has engulfed us”:

” … When it is used by enough Americans who love their country, it will cancel the surreal universe that Democrats’ lies have imposed on us, and the war will be on its way to being won.

“Democrats are not democrats; they are totalitarians. They have declared war on the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the Electoral College, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the election system, and the idea of civil order. They have called for the Republican President of the United States to be de-platformed and jailed. Their obvious goal is a one-party state that criminalizes dissent. To them, support for such basic necessities as borders and law enforcement are racist. If you oppose their efforts to legalize infanticide, they will condemn you as enemies of women, and if you make videos of their confessions to selling body parts of murdered infants, they will – like Kamala Harris – throw you in jail.

“Progressives are not progressive; they are reactionaries. They are out to abolish liberal value systems and create a status hierarchy where race, gender, and sexual orientation define and confine you to an unalterable place in their new social order. If you are white or male or heterosexual or religious – Justice Kavanaugh was all four – you are guilty before the fact.”

In conclusion, he gives one of the best short rebuttals to the incessant accusations of “systemic racism” I have seen, and finishes with a sad commentary on the squishy composition of Republican backbones and what we, as individual patriotic Americans need to do to combat this horde of barbarians:

“Systemic racism” is an assertion made reflexively by Democrats that is never accompanied by evidence. For good reason. Systemic racism has been outlawed in America since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If there were actual instances of systemic racism in 2020, there would be lawsuits – plenty of them. Even making the racist assumption, which the Identity Politics crowd does make, that all white people are white supremacists by dint of their skin color, there are tens of thousands of black lawyers, prosecutors, district attorneys, attorneys general, and elected officials who would be filing lawsuits over a practice that is illegal. You never hear of massive lawsuits over systemic racism, because “systemic racism” is a myth. The myth lives because it is an indispensable weapon wielded by Democrats to advance their anti-democratic agendas and quests for power.

But the only reason Democrats are able to do this so successfully – even going so far as to justify the arson, looting and general destruction in more than 600 American cities this summer – is because Republicans, and conservatives generally, are too cowardly to confront them. This war will continue until patriotic Americans summon the courage to call Democrats the racists, liars, character assassins and aspiring totalitarians that they actually are. And to do so in so many words. Blowback works.

A similar recommendation as to what we, as individual Patriots may well be called upon to do, is found in the most recent issue of the Claremont Review of Books (very highly recommended) in which the brilliant scholar and novelist, Mark Helprin, in an essay entitled The Revolution of 2020, issued this stirring clarion call to action:

“No”is one of the most difficult yet liberating words in any language. Though it often comes at a steep price—of peace, tranquility, livelihood, and even life—it is the master key to independence and freedom. Were every American made aware of this inherent power, we would then see how much courage and character we have left. For the simplest declaration is the most potent, and sometimes it moves like wildfire.

How difficult would it be to say, when the demand comes, when the threat comes, when the command comes: No, I do not agree with your redefinitions. No, I will not do as you tell me. No, I will not say what you order me to say. No, I will not surrender my freedom of speech and expression. No, I will not accept your revolution. And I will not stand against my country.

To shamelessly “borrow” from Mr. Horowitz’ questions: where are the lawyers who care deeply about the Rule of Law who will admit that President Trump has exactly the same right to pursue every single, possible, valid, good faith claim under the law that I have or you have or your neighbor has or, yes, even Messrs Kristol and Conway and French and Goldberg and their esteemed Never Trumper colleagues have as American citizens? Where are the lawyers, other than, Thank God, such warriors as Guliani, Powell, Ellis, Wood, etc., who will stand with this American citizen until the last claim is adjudicated and the last appeal is rejected, as they would with any client they represent? Where are the citizens who will say, with Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Helprin, NO! This will not stand; and I will NOT stand against my country?

No!

[Author’s note: the title assumes the reader is familiar with the nickname Rush has given to Joseph Robinette Biden for many years as a result of his hair transplant (plural?) years ago. ]

Member Post

 

Here is a statistical analysis of the infamous late night data dumps, which occurred only in battleground states that just happened to stop counting—claim to stop counting—at the same time.  Here And here is a link to Matt Braynard’s 40-minute video in which he presents his findings. Some points from Matt: The dead voter issue […]

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Member Post

 

Let’s consider a scenario.  A major corporation goes bankrupt rapidly, and lots of people lose jobs or money in stocks.  Even other companies are left holding the bag from purchase orders.  It turns out that a major executive was actively embezzling from the company and defrauding the investors while lying to the SEC.  However, the […]

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Is it Time for Our Own Lawn Signs?

 

For the first time, I am seriously considering doing lawn signs that express my political views. (Inspired by @gregstrange).

I am going for pithy and defendable – something that starts a conversation. What do you think of:

All Human Lives Matter

Souls are on Loan from G-d

Science is a Process

Earth is not my Mother

We are all Responsible for our Choices

Love is as Love Does

I think this gets the main points across, and does it in a way that makes it harder for the reader to discount as being something they already know they disagree with.

Suggestions? Changes?

Quote of the Day: Enslaved Once Again

 

“Miraculously, just as soon as we were given personal responsibility, it was taken away. In the darkest of ironies, after 345 years of having our personal responsibility stripped from us by governing white society, we allowed that same white society to take it right back. Their method for taking it had certainly changed. Rather than callously telling us we couldn’t be responsible for ourselves, by outwardly barring and banning us from various institutions, this time, they began telling us we shouldn’t be responsible for ourselves because it was unimaginable that blacks would suddenly be expected to perform at their level. This ushered in a period of black victimization, which our community readily embraces to this day.” –Candace Owen, Blackout

In part of her book, Candace Owen shined a light on the true purpose of the Great Society agenda. People close to Lyndon Johnson knew that he despised black people, and he made sure that they would see themselves as dependent on the government forever. By “enslaving” them once again, he guaranteed their political support of the Democrats into the foreseeable future.

Even though many of us on the Right realize that the Democrats often acted against the wellbeing of the black community (as in fighting the Civil Rights Act and participating in the Ku Klux Klan), they managed to hide their true identity. As time went on, blacks became convinced that in spite of evidence to the contrary, their lives should be entrusted to the Left. Although programs of the Left have repeatedly crippled blacks in America, they have remained loyal.

President Trump was the first and only one to offer blacks meaningful hope for a better future, and they began to rally to his call. Yet we have the rise of Black Lives Matter demanding everyone’s obeisance to their cause. They aren’t fighting for blacks; they are fighting to change our country to Marxism. They continue to garner the appearance of support of the Left, which continues to view them secretly with disdain.

Let’s hope somehow the strategy that President Trump began will lead to a hopeful and prosperous future for blacks in this country.

Member Post

 

I performed my own empirical analysis today of the Pennsylvania election results, on a county-by-county basis, by comparing the 2020 and 2016 election results. I do not think that this analysis conclusively rebuts any allegations of voter fraud, but I did not find empirical evidence that would significantly support such an allegation. This is an […]

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Signs of the Times

 

I’ve grown to hate walking through my suburban Atlanta neighborhood. The unease has been building for years, but in the insane year of 2020, the tipping point has been reached. The misguidedness of too many of my neighbors can no longer be tolerated. The only thing that gives me comfort now is the knowledge that very soon I’ll be leaving for “redder” pastures.

Who knew that beneath the leafy, idyllic exterior of my suburban redoubt lurked so many hearts – or rather, minds – of darkness. I won’t say “hearts” because, after all, they mean well.

Down every street, around every corner, are the signs (literally) of the decimation of traditional American values and the precipitous rise of human foolishness. Posted in front yards so all who pass by can see the supposed virtue of the residents, are the signs proclaiming their leftist, if not outright Marxist, viewpoints. Would it be too much to ask for them to just keep it to themselves? Yes, it would! They are fully in line with the zeitgeist of the times and that means putting it in your face whether you like it or not.

So, let’s start with one of the most popular signs of 2020: Black Lives Matter. My neighbors, like millions of other white people, don’t seem to comprehend that they are promoting a Marxist terrorist group that hates them, wants to overthrow the US government, wants to replace capitalism with communism, and wants to get rid of the traditional nuclear family. In other words, BLM wants to totally destroy the way of life of these clueless white suburbanites who are promoting them. But my neighbors apparently think that BLM is simply about racial equality and the ending of “systemic racism,” which in actuality was essentially dismantled decades ago. This all begs a very profound question: How do otherwise intelligent people get this hoodwinked?

The same could be asked of the numerous residents who have signs bearing an artistic portrait of … George Floyd! That’s right, the martyred thug who was used as an excuse to unleash violent anarchy in almost every major city in the country. Remember that? The burning buildings, the looting, the assault, the murder, the chaos, the nihilism? Because of the death of this career thug, the most colossally insane and self-destructive idea ever hatched by sentient human beings became a thing: abolish – or at the very least, defund – the police. That’ll show those racist cops! But will virtue-signaling white suburbanites still be down with that when the perpetually aggrieved hordes come to pillage and burn their neighborhoods and there’s no police to stop it?

Since long before the madness of 2020, there has been a particularly obnoxious sign dotting the neighborhood that catalogs the secular beliefs of the residents. There are numerous variations, but they’re always something like this:

IN THIS HOUSE WE BELIEVE

BLACK LIVES MATTER

SCIENCE IS REAL

NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL

LOVE IS LOVE

This sign, in all its vapid variations, is what a half-century or more of leftist brainwashing and dismantling of Judeo-Christian values has done to our people. Rendered incapable of rational analysis, too many people are now just spiritually empty bundles of emotions and impulses that are then assuaged with leftist tropes and childish gibberish.

We’ve covered Black Lives Matter. Let’s move on to “science is real.” Volumes could be written on this, but just to put it in a nutshell: that realness only applies when it coincides with leftist ideology. Otherwise, it is utterly ignored, if not demonized. For instance, there’s this science called “biology” and it doesn’t square with the current transgender mania. Biology says that male and female are not interchangeable, but are hardwired and immutable. But anyone who dares say that in public will be censored by Big Tech and branded a transphobic bigot.

And then there’s Covid. Just follow the science, they tell us, because “science is real.” Problem is, until the science got infected with leftist tyranny, it had never proclaimed that civilization had to be shut down over a virus. Problem is, the science isn’t exactly “settled.” Back in March, Fauci told us that wearing masks is pointless. Soon thereafter, they practically became mandatory. Many months ago it was “two weeks to flatten the curve.” Now, we all may be wearing masks and enduring various degrees of shutdown through 2021, if not forever.

“Science is real,” huh? Like the science of climate change. You can’t count on your local weather forecast for the day after tomorrow, but the science of climate change is “settled,” nothing left to debate, case closed. Therefore, the entire planet has to undergo a fundamental transformation of its energy use, economy, and governance, which will leave us all in poverty (and maybe in the dark). Yep, science doesn’t get much more real than that.

Moving on from science, “no human is illegal.” You know, like an “illegal” alien? This is just an idiotic slogan designed to condone the illegal overrunning of our country by limitless hordes from the failed states of Latin America. And only because they are deemed “people of color.” If they were white, nobody – at least on the left – would want them.

Ah, here’s a sweet one: “love is love.” Is that like saying, “It doesn’t matter who you love?” So there are no natural boundaries? No such thing as sexual perversions? No taboos? Anything goes? Anybody or anything can “love” anybody or anything else? Just let your freak flag fly and follow any impulse that happens to tickle your fancy? It’s all so tolerant and liberating – and just look at how much better off we are after a half-century of this!

Well, that was a brief tour of the worldview and belief system of most of my neighbors as reflected by their yard signs. It seems pretty obvious that the “long march through the institutions” has been terrifyingly successful, both in this neighborhood and in the country at large. That “long march” was a cultural Marxist strategy first proposed by Italian communist Antonio Gramsci. The purpose of cultural Marxism was to overthrow Western countries that are based on Judeo-Christian values and capitalism, not through violent revolution, but through what amounts to the subversion of their institutions, which then trickles down through everything else. My own subverted neighborhood, as well as so many others, now lies in spiritual and intellectual ruins.

What I wouldn’t give to see yard signs with the following:

IN THIS HOUSE WE BELIEVE

IN THE JUDEO-CHRISTIAN GOD

IN THE U.S. CONSTITUTION

LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION

SCIENCE IS A TOOL, NOT SOMETHING TO “BELIEVE IN”

BORDERS MATTER

But that won’t be happening around here anytime soon. Over many decades my neighborhood has devolved from traditional, common-sense American values into a la-la-land of vapid leftist tropes which, if seriously followed, can only eventually end in self-destruction. So I’m gettin’ the hell outta Dodge, and soon.

Where am I going? Without being specific, I’ll relate something said by a relative in a conversation we had months ago about the ongoing George Floyd riots: “If they come here, they’ll be taking gunfire from every house.”

That’s where I’m going. To a place where I’ll be surrounded by people like that, rather than the useful idiots in this neighborhood who would be rolling out the red carpet for those who would actually destroy them.

Member Post

 

I am feeling betrayed – betrayed by everyone on the Right who insists there either was no voter fraud, or it could hardly have made the difference. I am entirely gobsmacked by the senseless insistence that the people who engaged in fraud had no expectation that it could change the outcome. Of course it could. […]

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Walter Wenck at Stalingrad

 

Colonel Walter Wenck was in command of no one and nothing. There was nothing to command. Technically, he’d just been appointed chief of staff of the Romanian 3rd Army, part of German Army Group B. Again, technically, the 150,000 men of the Romanian 3rd Army held an 85-mile section of the Eastern Front just north and west of Stalingrad. Actually, the Romanian 3rd Army had ceased to exist over the past 48 hours. On 20 November 1942, a huge Soviet counteroffensive had smashed into the shoulders of the German salient at Stalingrad and pulverized the Romanian, Hungarian and Italian formations in their way. Soviet armored units poured through the gaps and roamed freely across the snowy steppe in the rear of the 300,000 Germans at Stalingrad. What was left of the Romanian 3rd Army was in headlong retreat, its path marked by columns of acrid black smoke spewing from ruined vehicles. Scattered units tried to turn and fight, but there was no front, no line of resistance. Just the maelstrom and sudden death as Soviet tanks appeared out of the snow.

Right now, there was nothing between the Soviets and Rostov-on-Don but air … and the remnants of broken units wandering in the steppe. Somehow, Wenck knew, he had to impose order on the chaos. At this moment, the Russians were concentrating on closing the trap on Stalingrad. But that wouldn’t last. If they reached Rostov, not only would Stalingrad be lost, but anyone south of the river Don between Stalingrad and Rostov would be doomed. That included the 1,000,000 men of Army Group A in the Caucuses. So Wenck went to work.

Out on the wind-swept steppe west of Stalingrad, each little village between Stalingrad and the Chir River housed some sort of repair shop, supply facility, replacement center, or transport depot. Mechanics, bakers, clerks, photographers, and drivers had been cast adrift by the Soviet onslaught. Men going on leave, men returning from leave, officers just passing through all suddenly found themselves on their own. There were some oddments of units cobbled together under names like Group General Spang or Group Colonel Schmidt or Group Colonel Abraham trying to dig in and resist. They weren’t much. But they were German and willing.

Wenck started recruiting whomever and wherever he could. He had a group of experienced non-commissioned officers, who in the traditions of NCOs everywhere set about finding their commander the tools he needed. His security team found some fuel trucks “belonging to no one.” Wenck had them put up ‘fueling point’ signs. Every vehicle that stopped became part of Wenck’s little army. They came across an entertainment company and had them set up their movie screens at several crossroads. Again, anyone who stopped to watch was rearmed and dragooned. Tank carriers transporting other unit’s armor were relieved of their cargo. They cleaned out repair shops and supply depots. Anything that rolled or shot, anyone with a weapon or without was collected and sent into Wenck’s ranks.

And unbelievably, these scratch units began to hold. They could give some ground, but they could not break. Makeshift armored units counterattacked into the flanks of the Soviet advance again and again in the cold and snow. In days they were down to six tanks and a self-propelled gun, but they grimly held on.

Finally, at the beginning of December, organized help began to arrive. The first to arrive was the 17th Army Corps commanded by General Karl Hollidt. Hollidt took command of all units in the area and Wenck’s odd little army passed into history.

Josey Wales, Politics, and the Price of Apples

 

Too much politics corrupts both the mind and the soul. So, for a moment, I will step back into the past and reflect on a favorite subject and reference, The Outlaw Josey Wales.

As many of you may already know, the Clint Eastwood film is based on a novel that began life as The Rebel Outlaw Josey Wales and was republished as Gone to Texas. The author was listed as Forrest Carter or Bedford Forrest Carter.

Carter also wrote The Education of Little Tree which supposedly was based on the author’s childhood as a Cherokee learning the white man’s ways while facing racism and clinging to his love of nature. But as it turns out the author’s real name was probably Asa Earl Carter, a former KKK member who at one time had an Alabama radio show in the 50s and later wrote speeches for George Wallace (maybe) and ran for governor against Wallace in 1970 under the flag of the Segregation Party. He is one of two men who occasionally get “credited” with writing the Wallace line: “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”. Carter had moved to Texas and then to Florida to begin a writing career and always tried to disclaim his past.

But Carter was no less a shadowy figure than this first fictional subject, Josey Wales. Many contend that the Wales character was based in part on the real-life bushwhacker Bill Wilson of Phelp County, Missouri. There was a short 1939 book written about Wilson which was mostly a collection of Ozark stories about him. Some indications are that Wilson didn’t actually ride with Quantrill or Bloody Bill but did kill several Union soldiers and sympathizers and sold their horses to the raiders. He was certainly within their circle.

The records put Wilson’s birth as 1830 and the stories put his adult size as a handsome 6’2”, 185 pounds. He was said to be a dead shot and a fine violin player. 1861 saw him married with a family when Union soldiers questioned him about some stolen horses. The Union men later returned when Wilson was not at home, looted his house, and burned all of the buildings. As in any good story of revenge, he moved his family into a single room cabin on his mother’s farm and began to take a toll on those who had wronged him.

If the Ozark stories are to be believed (and who am I to dispute a sincere, well-armed mountaineer) Wilson’s ability to drop Yankee soldiers with a brace of handguns could only be approached by Clint Eastwood himself. There are multiple tales of at least four falling before his pistols. He once laid a false trail for three that led them into the quicksand of Little Piney River. I will admit, however, that often a little serious research into such frontier fighting will show ambush to be the preferred method when facing several opponents at once, just sayin’.

The end of the Civil War saw a $300 reward on the head of Wilson and several others of the bushwhacker trade. Before 1865 was over, he had resettled near Sherman, Texas.

Sherman sat just south of the Red River along the beginnings of the Blackland prairies and during two different winters had served as a cold-weather refuse for Quantrill’s boys and other Missouri raider bands during the War. They would normally be strung out between three or four different camps between Sherman and Bonham to the east. In 1864, state militia under James Throckmorton converged on the camps and “encouraged” them to return to their home state “at once”.

After the war, several of the former “Partisan Rangers”, as they were often called back home, collected around the Sherman area since it was familiar ground. The likes of Dave Poole, Arch Clement, and Jim Anderson made Sherman their home for a couple of years. Alan Palmer and his bride Susan, sister to Frank and Jesse James, lived there for five years. Frank was a guest of the Collin County jail for a night 30 miles to the south in McKinney. Some reports claim that as many as 144 former Missouri bushwhackers lived in the area at one time. How that exact number was arrived at is unclear.

In any case, Wilson married Mary Ann Noaks, a member of the Choctaw Nation, in late 1865 in Sherman. In early 1869, he was in McKinney with a wagon of apples to sell. As he completed his business there were two other ex-bushwhackers close by (is anyone ever an EX-bushwhacker?), William Blackmore and John Thompson. The two men saw the exchange of money and took note.

Wilson spent that night in the home of J.B. Wilmeth which was only about two miles north of McKinney square. The next morning, he struck out for Sherman with both wagon and money. Along the way, he was ambushed, shot, robbed, and buried in a shallow grave by Blackmore and Thompson.

An area collector of tales records that Wilson was ambushed just north of the “pioneer town of Van Alstyne”. This is the same source as the 144 number. The only problem with that information is that Van Alstyne didn’t exist at the time. It would be four years later before the railroad came through the area and created that town. However, about a mile and a half from the future home of Van Alstyne sat a reasonable-sized settlement known as Mantu which dried up when the rails came through.

The two killers were caught and confessed but the grave holding Bill Wilson’s last remains was never found. They said it was along “Prong Creek” which the Missouri men probably didn’t know the proper name for. By the description given it was probably the West Fork of Sister Grove Creek. That would mean if you headed due east from our family cattle pens you would probably strike Wilson’s path to Sherman in about 4 ½ miles and be within a few hundred yards of the “grave”. In any case, on March 26, 1869, Blackmore and Thompson were taken to the stand of oak trees three blocks north of the Sherman courthouse and hanged.

In 1979 Asa Earl Carter died in Florida from a heart attack supposedly caused by a fistfight with his son. His body was returned to Alabama for burial with still many details of his life missing or at least cloudy. And it appears to some that “the real Josey Wales” didn’t really find a Texas paradise to comfort him into old age. But he did find a shorted-lived haven among his own kind and in the end, it was his own kind who left him short of his 40th birthday, for the price of a few apples.

A Week of Gratitude: Day 2 – Hereditary Angioedema

 

I promise that these posts won’t all be about rare diseases, but somehow I’ve managed to roll the genetic dice and have them come up snake-eyes twice.  As I mentioned yesterday, I contracted a rare (1 in 100,000 to 1 in 1 million people per year) but, fortunately, curable form for cancer.  Several years ago, I was diagnosed with a different but also rare disease (1 in 50,000) called Hereditary Angioedema (HAE).  What’s that? I had to ask as well.  A genetic deficiency causes me to not produce a protein that is needed to keep part of my immune system in check.  A cascade of protein reactions that would normally be checked by this missing protein results in fluid leaking out of my cells into the surrounding tissue causing major swelling.  It’s like my body is trying to heal from a wound by sending fluids, but there is no wound.  My swelling occurs internally in my gut and causes three days of intense vomiting and cramping (imagine having your intestines pinched closed for a couple of days).  Others with this condition will have their throat swell closed which is life-threatening.  I seem to be the originator of HAE in my family and unfortunately, I passed it on to one of my sons.

Why am I grateful?

The doctors took six years to diagnose the disease.  When I’m not swelling, everything looks normal.  It was my hernia surgeon and a radiologist who made the discovery.  I was referred to him to check for a twisted bowel.  After looking over my charts with the radiologist he came back to me with a list of questions.  I was yes to seven of ten.  He sent me to an allergist who knows about the disease and I was given the tests to confirm the diagnosis.  It was a long process, but since being diagnosed and interacting with a lot of people with this disease I realize how lucky I had it.  Most had multiple surgeries hunting around for a solution to their swelling. I didn’t have any.

There are a lot of medicines to treat the disease.  I often marvel that anyone, as rare as it is, ever went looking for one.  I am so grateful for curious and dedicated professionals who are inspired to find solutions to so many of our challenges.

As I said yesterday, I’m grateful for a health system that encourages research and financing to make these treatments available.

My son and I have formed a unique bond as we both deal with the challenges this disease presents and we encourage each other through the difficult times.

I’m hesitant to share this last reason for gratitude because it is very personal. But I will include it because it may benefit someone else and I would be ungrateful not to share.  Before my diagnosis, I was lying on the bathroom floor late at night in agony.  I had prayed for years to be healed or to find a solution for my pain but I still didn’t know what was wrong.  In that moment I changed my prayer and told my Heavenly Father that if this was a burden He wanted me to carry then I would carry it and I asked him to please help me bear it.  Instantly the oppression of the pain eased and I could feel God’s love pour into my heart.  The pain didn’t go away, but the comfort I was feeling made it bearable.  I know that my prayer was heard and answered. Shortly after this episode, my surgeon was inspired to know what to look for and I received my diagnosis.

Day 1

I Wonder If She Wonders?

 

One of my patients today mentioned how excited she was that Joe Biden was going to be our next president.  That caught my ear, as you might imagine.  Most of my Democrat friends are understandably thrilled that Trump seems to be leaving the White House.  But she is the first to express actual enthusiasm for Joe Biden.  I asked her what she hoped Mr. Biden would do with his time in office.

She immediately responded, “He’s forgiving student loans!  That’s just a brilliant economic move!  I mean, these people are trying to improve themselves.  And once they get their diploma, they can earn more money, so they pay more taxes!  It’s a win-win!  How on earth can Republicans so short-sighted?”  I nodded sagely, thinking to myself, ‘Don’t respond to this.  Get back to medicine.  Do not respond, you moron.  Shut up and do your job.  Don’t respond…’  So naturally, I responded:

“That’s a brilliant point!  And I completely agree.  For example, I wasn’t making any money in my previous practice, so I bought this one.  It cost a lot of money to buy it, of course, and I didn’t have that kind of cash.  So I took out a business loan.  Now I’m making more money, and I’m paying a lot more taxes.”

She just stared at me, at tilted her head a bit, signaling that she didn’t understand my point.  So I continued:

“So I presume Mr. Biden will be forgiving business loans, just like he is student loans.  I mean, we’re trying to improve ourselves, we’re earning more money, and then we’re paying more taxes.  It’s a win-win!  Obviously, he should forgive business loans, as well.  If he can get it past the darn Republicans, at least.  You’re right.  Republicans are so short-sighted.  They just don’t understand basic economics.”

She sat there for a second, and said, “Um, I don’t know about business loans…”

I plaintively asked, “Why not?”

She looked sort of uncertain, and then stammered, “Um…would that even be Constitutional?…”

Realizing that I had an opportunity to get out sort of unscathed, I responded, “Ah.  Good point.  I know a lot about medicine, but I don’t know as much about our Constitution as you do.  I don’t really follow this stuff.  Now, about your carotid disease…”

I wonder if she wondered about that.

I was amazed by our pleasant, although surreal, conversation for a few reasons.  First, she’s the first person I’ve heard sound excited about Joe Biden.  Second, it sounded strange to hear a Democrat attempting to explain the benefits of their preferred policies using reason and logic.  It sounded sort of odd.  Not their style.  For good reason.

Third, I wonder if she went home and wondered why having taxpayers pay off other people’s student loans is Constitutional, but having taxpayers pay off other people’s business loans is not Constitutional?  That’s a head-scratcher.

And if she wondered about that, where does she stop?  That type of logical thinking could lead her down a dangerous road.  It might even lead her to read the Constitution, just out of curiosity.  Which then might lead her to wonder how much government spending actually is Constitutional.  A third, maybe?  Gosh, perhaps a quarter?  How many Democrat policies are actually Constitutional?  Lordy…

Scary stuff for a leftist.  She’s nearly 75 years old.  She’s managed to avoid curiosity and independent thought for this long.  I wonder how many close calls she’s had.  Surely this was not her first.

I’m sure she’ll be fine.  Just another close call.

But when I have a conversation with someone in which I think they might have a point, that can lead me to days and weeks of reading a wider and wider range of sources.  Partially to see if I was right, or if they were.  And partially just out of curiosity.  “Gosh.  I hadn’t thought of it that way before.  Maybe I should check this out a bit.  Am I missing something here?

Leftists appear to be remarkably resistant to such impulses.  While conservatives struggle to control their curiosity and desire to understand things.

And leftists consider conservatives to be closed-minded.

I wonder if she wonders about that?

Nah, probably not.  She’ll be fine.

QOTD: Governor Cuomo Wants A Venezuelan Thanksgiving

 

“I don’t believe as a law enforcement officer you have a right to pick and choose what laws you will enforce,” Cuomo told reporters Wednesday during an Albany-based press conference.

Mommy there’s an angry man outside looking at us through the window.

Defunding the police will make enforcing his edicts on officers counting cars in driveways, peering in windows, monitoring grocery stores to make sure that someone isn’t buying a 2o-pound turkey, and all the trimmings for a family dinner.

But a slew of upstate sheriffs have already declared they won’t be checking up on gatherings come Turkey Day, arguing limited resources and other public safety priorities trump “counting cars” in driveways and “investigating” how much turkey and dressing a household may purchase.

Hopefully, your neighbors in New York and other states aren’t STASI wannabes.

The 57th Anniversary of the Assassination of President Kennedy

 

I was in third grade when President Kennedy was murdered. They let us out of school early but didn’t tell us why. I walked home with my sister Joan, who was in fifth grade. My mom was watching the TV and told us what happened. I now have an apartment just over a mile from Dealey Plaza where it happened. We walked there yesterday and took pictures.

One of the first things you notice is how small of a space the plaza is. The pictures make it look much bigger. The man in the road is next to the X marking where the third fatal shot hit. In the picture below I’m next to where Zapruder was when he filmed the assassination.

I attended a discussion about it three years ago by Zapruder’s granddaughter.

At the base of the Texas Book Depository, there is a sign which reflects the controversy over the assassination; note the word alleged in it.

.

Member Post

 

If there is an award for Stoopidest Statement of the Year, this would have to be one of the finalists: A Wauwatosa, Wisconsin shopping mall was the scene of a shooting in which eight people were wounded on Friday. Naturally the local media sought out the Milwaukee suburb’s mayor for a little insight into the incident. Fortunately, […]

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  On Friday, November 27, 2020, attorney Powell is going to file her case. She will produce the sworn affidavits then. The reason she would not give these to Maria Bartiromo or Tucker Carleson is that her sworn testimony witnesses will be subjected to threats against them and their family as soon as their names […]

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I propose a new strategy:“Put up or shut up,” they say with respect to evidence of election fraud. Well, how about we consolidate it all in one place, for future generations, GOP bosses who have already moved on in the laughable belief that having capitulated on this that they will ever have another free and […]

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Current Status of the House Elections

 

In the Land of Confusion podcast that we taped Friday night, I gave a brief update on the election results in the House of Representatives. At that time, five races remained undetermined, according to RealClearPolitics. Two of those have now been called, one for each party. Here is the current status of the House as detailed by RCP (here):

The Democrats lead 222-210, with three races undecided. Thus far, this is a gain of 10 for the Republicans and a loss of 9 for the Democrats. Of the three undecided races, two were previously held by a Democrat and one was previously held by a Republican.

Republicans have a majority of the state delegations in 26 states, Democrats have a majority in 20, and 3 are tied. One remains to be determined — Iowa — which will either result in a Republican majority or a tie.

The three open races are:

1. California District 25: Republican incumbent Mike Garcia leads Democratic challenger Christy Smith, 50.1%-49.9%. The current vote totals per RCP are Garcia 169,060, Smith 168,660, a margin of just 400 votes. This is a rematch of a special election on May 12, 2020, which Garcia won pretty handily (54.9%-45.1%).

2. Iowa District 2: Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks leads Democrat Rita Hart, 196,862-196,815, a margin of just 47 votes. In rounded percentage terms, this is 50.0%-50.0%. The incumbent is a Democrat who did not seek re-election.

3. New York District 22: Republican challenger Claudia Tenney leads Democratic incumbent Anthony Brindisi 49.0%-48.9%, with a margin of 300 votes, 154,730-154,430.

If the current vote count holds, Republicans will win all three seats and end with an overall gain of 13 House seats. The Democrats will have a House majority of 15 at the most, 9 at the least.