Patterico's Pontifications


Tulsi Gabbard Campaign Sues Google

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:28 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Hawaii Congresswoman and Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard (be still my heart!) has filed a $50 million lawsuit against Google, alleging that the tech giant has interfered in the election against her interests. Here is the explanation posted on her campaign site:

On June 28th, 2019 in the immediate hours following the first Democratic Presidential debate, millions of Americans were searching online for information about Tulsi Gabbard. In fact, according to multiple news reports, Tulsi was the most searched candidate on Google. Then, without any explanation, Google suspended Tulsi’s Google Ads account.

For hours, Tulsi’s campaign advertising account remained offline while Americans everywhere were searching for information about her. During this time, Google obfuscated and dissembled with a series of inconsistent and incoherent reasons for its actions. In the end, Google never explained to us why Tulsi’s account was suspended.

The Gabbard campaign understandably believes that the lack of Google Ads starting at roughly 9:30 pm on June 27 and lasting until roughly 3:30 am on June 28 led to fewer visits to her campaign site and thus to fewer donations than she otherwise would have received. They also allege that their campaign emails were being redirected into the spam folders of Gmail users at a much higher rate than other Democrat candidates’ campaign emails. In addition to the $50 million, the campaign is seeking an injunction against Google to prevent them from favoring or disfavoring any other campaign sites during the primary.

This of course comes on the heels of Google’s appearance at Senate hearings regarding claims of censorship over the past month, as well as similar scrutiny being applied to Facebook and Twitter, among others. This site has had posts time and again about sketchy practices in which opinions that exist outside of the officially acceptable shibboleths of the progressive gentry-techie crowd are purposely suppressed. Thus far the criticism of Google has largely (but not exclusively) come from the right, but perhaps given the fractured nature of the Democrat Party there are more and more elements of the left that are left wondering if their views a now deemed problematic as well.

This could be an innocent mistake, though the amazing timing of it is certainly notable, or it could be the actions of a rogue engineer like we saw at Twitter, or it really could be a coordinated campaign to favor certain Google-approved candidates (Biden? Harris? Buttigieg?) over others. I don’t expect Rep. Gabbard’s lawsuit to go very far, but at least the it might help put the tech giants on notice that their behavior this election cycle will not escape scrutiny.


Therapy, Service and Support Animals

Filed under: Air Security,Government — DRJ @ 4:15 pm

[Headlines from DRJ]

Therapy animals, often trained dogs, are used to help people in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, schools, and in the special needs community. In the US, service dogs are trained to help the disabled and police dogs or K9s help law enforcement. But there is another growing use for animals as emotional support animals:

Every dog owner knows there are benefits to having a dog, from getting out for exercise to loyal companionship. However, for some people with disabilities, the presence of a dog is critical to their daily functioning. The emotional support and comfort provided by their pet allows them to deal with challenges that might otherwise compromise their quality of life. These pets are known as emotional support animals (ESAs).

Although all dogs offer an emotional connection with their owner, to legally be considered an emotional support dog, the pet needs to be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional to a person with a disabling mental illness. A therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, for example, must decide that the presence of the animal is needed for the mental health of the patient. For example, owning a pet might ease a person’s anxiety or give him a focus in life.

People are taking emotional support animals everywhere, and some states are cracking down:

More Americans are saying they need a variety of animals — dogs, ducks, even insects — for their mental health. But critics say many are really just pets that do not merit special status.

Examples of support animals that people are using include pigs, snakes, monkeys, iguanas, kangaroos, and an alligator. Now a flight attendants’ union is calling for national regulation:

A flight attendant received five stitches after he was bitten by an emotional support dog on a flight from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Greensboro, N.C.

The bite happened on a flight Monday on Envoy Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group
A flight attendants union issued a statement Tuesday calling the incident “completely unacceptable and inexcusable.”

“For years, AFA has supported the role trained animals can provide to passengers in the cabin, but we have also called for action in regards to setting standards for emotional support animals,” read the statement from The Association of Flight Attendants. “We need the Department of Transportation to take action now, so events like the one that happened yesterday do not continue to occur on our planes.”

Earlier this year, American Airlines revised its service and emotional support and animal policy, limiting animals to dogs and cats only. Trained miniature horses are also permitted as service animals.


Arizona Democrat Works To Hasten Removal Of Migrants Without Valid Claim For Asylum

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:58 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Immigration advocates are strongly opposing this effort by Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz), as expected:

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is pushing for the implementation of a pilot program along the U.S.-Mexico border that aims to more quickly screen and remove migrant families without valid legal claims for asylum in the United States.

Sinema, D-Ariz., joined a bipartisan group with eight other senators who sent a letter Wednesday to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan describing their proposed program, dubbed “Operation Safe Return.”

How the program would work:

The program would allow the Department of Homeland Security to deport certain migrants within 15 days, according to the letter, and would help alleviate overcrowding at border facilities, Sinema said.

“This pilot program would apply to families who aren’t claiming ‘credible fear,’ which of course is the first threshold in seeking asylum,” Sinema told The Arizona Republic. “If someone says ‘I left my country because I can’t make a living,’ (or) ‘it’s hard to take care of my family’ — that’s what we call an economic migrant.”

Sinema, who is one of the creators of the program, explained how the program came about:

Sinema said she came up with the idea for the pilot program in response to a meeting with White House and Trump administration officials who she said were focused on changing asylum laws and challenging court rulings like the Flores Settlement Agreement, dictating how the government treats certain migrants.

“I just felt those weren’t the right answers,” Sinema added. “We wanted to solve the problem. We wanted to protect the asylum process for valid applicants … and we want to respect the Flores decision.”

And speaking of Arizona Democrats bucking their Party on immigration, U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly flashed his own independent streak when he voiced opposition to making Tuscon a sanctuary city:

Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Mark Kelly blasted an initiative to make Tucson a “sanctuary city,” saying that he will not vote for the measure.

“(I’m) strongly against this, I’m not going to vote for it,” Kelly said Tuesday, “I think it’s a mistake.”

In November, voters will decide whether Tucson declares itself Arizona’s first “sanctuary city,” which limits local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration agents.

Kelly… said cities and states should follow federal laws.

“This is contrary to that so I’m not in favor of that. I think it’s also detrimental to the City of Tucson in that it could impact some federal funding it receives,” he said.

Ironically, this stand puts him on the same page as his Republican opponent, Sen. Martha McSally.

But Kelly didn’t just buck Democrats on sanctuary city policies: He also said “no” to extending health care to illegal immigrants, a position all of the Democratic presidential candidates support:

‘We’re having a hard time providing good healthcare for all Americans,” Kelly said, “providing free healthcare coverage for folks who are here illegally, I’m just against that.”

Moreover, the Democratic candidate also said he was not in favor of decriminalizing illegal border crossings:

Kelly disagreed with the more progressive candidates in the presidential field who want to decriminalize unauthorized border crossings.

“I am not in favor of decriminalizing that it makes border security more difficult,” he said.

I’m liking these Arizona Democrats.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


UN Recognizes Israel As Only Country To Violate Women’s Rights

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:39 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The hell:

Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan were among members of the UN’s 54-nation economic and social council, a principal organ of the world body, who voted to single out and condemn Israel yesterday as the only country in the world that violates women’s rights.

The Jewish state was harshly and repeatedly condemned in a resolution, adopted 40 to 2 with 9 abstentions and 3 absent (see breakdown below), for allegedly being the “major obstacle” for Palestinian women “with regard to their advancement, self-reliance, and integration in the development of their society.”

Out of 20 items on the UN Economic and Social Council’s 2018-2019 agenda, only one — Item No. 16 against Israel — focuses on condemning a specific country. All the other focus areas concern global topics such as disaster relief assistance and the use of science and technology for development.

The resolution completely ignores how Palestinian women’s rights are impacted by their own governing authorities—the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and Hamas in Gaza—nor does it mention how women are discriminated against within patriarchal Palestinian society.

Moreover, ECOSOC concluded its annual session by ignoring the world’s worst abusers of women’s rights, refusing to pass a single resolution on the situation of women in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, or DR Congo, all of which ranked in the top ten worst countries in last year’s Global Gender Gap Report, produced by the World Economic Forum.

Here is the breakdown of the vote on condemning Israel for violating women’s rights:

YES: Andorra, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Benin, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, India, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Mali, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, South Korea, Russia, St. Vincent, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Yemen.

NO: United States and Canada

ABSTAIN: Brazil, Cameroon, Germany, Jamaica, Mexico, Romania, Togo, Ukraine, and United Kingdom

Tell me this organization isn’t just one festering cesspool of unabashed hypocrisy. Some things never change. They just get worse.


(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Federal Government to resume Executions

Filed under: Crime,General,Law — DRJ @ 10:25 am

[Headline from DRJ]

Trump Justice Department to resume federal executions:

Attorney General William Barr has directed that executions for five death-row inmates be scheduled. If carried out, they will be the first federal executions since 2003.

Only three federal executions have taken place since 1988, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. All five of the death-row inmates named in Thursday’s release were convicted for the murders of children.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has adopted a regulation that will require federal authorities to use a single drug, pentobarbital, in federal executions, according to the DOJ release. That drug is used by several states for lethal injections.

The names of the five inmates are in the DOJ Press Release, and I think this is a list of federal inmates on death row.


About This Ridiculous Argument that Mueller Inverted the Burden of Proof

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

I watched some of the Mueller hearings yesterday and realized I have nothing in common with the Republicans any more. They were all up there trying to pretend that this was a giant witch hunt and waxing indignant about how poor Trump was the most oppressed guy ever. Example:

“Mr. Mueller, I want to focus on one word in your report. It’s the second to the last word. It’s “exonerate.”… What I’m putting up here is the United States code. This is where the attorney general gets his power, and the Constitution, and the annotated cases of these, which we’ve searched. We even went to your law school.… I thought maybe your law school teaches it differently. Mr. Mueller, nowhere in these is there a process or description on “exonerate.”… You don’t have the power or authority to exonerate Trump. You have no more power to declare him exonerated than you have the power to declare him Anderson Cooper.” Congressman Michael Turner, R-Ohio

Thanks to Bugg for the quote.

“Let’s pretend different rules don’t apply to the President and then feign indignation” Congressyapping is my favorite Congressyapping. Mueller twisted himself into a pretzel applying the rule that says Presidents can’t be indicted. He took that rule so seriously that when he had a provable obstruction case — one that would get anyone else on Earth indicted — he not only didn’t indict, but he won’t even say the obvious: that he would have indicted absent that rule. But, not wanting to send the false suggestion that he failed to indict because he lacked the evidence, he said that he could not exonerate the president.

Then people like Michael Turner (consistent with his surname) turned that perhaps overly careful example of rule-following on its head, and converted it into an example of Mueller supposedly being unfair to Trump.

And the people who love conservative talk radio applauded.

If you can’t see that Mueller is bending over backwards to be fair to Trump here, you might be a redneck hopeless partisan.

Don’t fret. You have plenty of company.

Let me put it a different way: if you really think Mueller is being unfair because he’s not applying all the standard rules to Trump regarding the burden of proof, then I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say: let’s apply all the standard rules to Trump — including the one that says that guilty people get prosecuted. How about we apply the rule when a prosecutor builds a mountain of evidence against you showing your obstruction of justice, you get indicted. Let’s see how well that works out for poor oppressed Mr. Victim of a Witchhunt then.

Until then, save your complaints. They don’t convince anyone whose judgment has not been clouded by partisan politics.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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