Patterico's Pontifications

1/23/2020

Tulsi Gabbard Sues Hillary Clinton For Defamation (Update Added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:29 am



[guest post by Dana and JVW]

Note from JVW – Dana began drafting this post yesterday but then transferred it over to the Little Aloha Sweetie desk at Patterico’s Pontifications for me to complete.

But of course:

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sued former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday for allegedly defaming her by suggesting the Hawaii congresswoman is a “Russian asset.”

“Clinton’s false assertions were made in a deliberate attempt to derail Tulsi’s campaign,” says the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The suit claims that Gabbard has suffered “actual damages” of ”$50 million — and counting” from Clinton’s comments.

During the interview to which Gabbard’s suit refers, Clinton’s spokesman Nick Merrill confirmed that Clinton was specifically referring to Tulsi Gabbard:

Hillary Clinton says she believes that the Republicans have “got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.”

In a recent interview, Clinton didn’t mention Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii by name, but said she believes one candidate is “the favorite of the Russians.” Asked if the former secretary of state was referring to Gabbard, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said, “If the nesting doll fits…” He later tweeted that Clinton was referring to the GOP grooming Gabbard, not Russians.

Public figures don’t enjoy the same degree of legal protection against libel and slander that us ordinary private figures do. This creates a pretty high hurdle for a Congresswoman and Presidential candidate who wants to perhaps settle a political score with an opponent. And indeed, Rep. Gabbard’s lawsuit sounds more like an earnest op-ed piece than a legitimate tort action [bold emphasis added]:

Plaintiffs Tulsi Gabbard and Tulsi Now, Inc (collectively, “Tulsi”) bring this lawsuit against Defendant Hillary Rodham Clinton (“Clinton”) for defamation. Tulsi Gabbard is running for President of the United States, a position Clinton has long coveted, but has not been able to attain. In October 2019—whether out of personal animus, political enmity, or fear of real change within a political party Clinton and her allies have long dominated —Clinton lied about her perceived rival Tulsi Gabbard. She did so publicly, unambiguously, and with obvious malicious intent. Tulsi has been harmed by Clinton’s lies—and American democracy has suffered as well. With this action, Tulsi seeks to hold Clinton, and the political elites who enable her, accountable for distorting the truth in the middle of a critical Presidential election.

In the Nature of the Case section of the suit, the Gabbard team cites her endorsement of Bernard Sanders four years ago as creating enmity between herself and the First Lady-turned-Senator-turned-Secretary, then accurately characterizes Mrs. Clinton as “a cutthroat politician by any account” (no, no, get it straight: Jeffery Epstein was hanged in his cell). They argue that Mrs. Clinton purposefully and maliciously defamed Rep. Gabbard in order to harm the Hawaiian Congresswoman’s reputation during her Presidential run as payback for four years ago when Rep. Gabbard’s resigned from her DNC post in protest of the advantages being given to the Clinton campaign during the primary at the expense of the Sanders campaign. The suit seeks unspecified compensatory damages along with costs and an injunction prohibiting further publication or republication of Mrs. Clinton’s statements.

Again, the lawsuit would seem like something of a long-shot, but Little Aloha Sweetie does have her allies. While conceding that her demand for relief “is not likely to succeed,” NRO’s Jim Geraghty points to a section of the suit which argues that Mrs. Clinton’s words carry an implied credibility far beyond that of the average journalist or blogger. He explains:

But Hillary Clinton isn’t just anybody. She was Secretary of State for four years, had the highest security clearance, and had access to all kinds of extremely secret classified information. (And if the 2016 cycle taught us anything, it’s that Clinton is always careful with classified information!) When Hillary Clinton accuses someone of being a Russian agent, it comes with the implication that this isn’t run-of-the-mill fuming or paranoia but a suspicion or accusation based upon something Clinton saw or learned from the U.S. intelligence community.

It is worth considering whether those in high places such as Mrs. Clinton have an extra-special obligation not to make wild accusations about the rest of us. (And yes, Mr. Geraghty does mention those ex-CIA folks who accuse President Trump of treason.) Hillary Clinton is an awful person, and her petty vindictiveness and disregard for any and all norms of propriety will be a major part of her ugly legacy. I (JVW) think that Rep. Gabbard’s lawsuit against Google is far more meritorious than this lawsuit, though both of them deal with the same idea of a fetid and corrupt Democrat establishment (including friendly business allies) tipping the scales for the candidates they favor and decidedly against those whom they oppose. The message here should be that if you want to play in the Democrat pigsty, you had better expect to get covered in excrement.

UPDATE:

Cross-posted at the Jury Talks Back.

– Dana and JVW

8/14/2019

Tulsi Gabbard Leaves Campaign Trail For National Guard Training

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:00 am



[guest post by Dana]

[Ed. I thought JVW might post about his Little Aloha Sweetie but maybe the thoughts of her going to such a far away place makes him too sad to post…]

Tulsi Gabbard announced that she was leaving the campaign trail for two weeks to participate in National Guard training in Indonesia:

“While some people are telling me, ‘Gosh, this is a terrible time to leave the campaign. Can’t you find a way out of it?’ That’s not what this is about,” the Hawaii Democrat said in a news release. “I look forward to joining my fellow soldiers for a joint-training exercise with the Indonesian military, focused on counterterrorism and disaster response.”

“I love our country,” Gabbard said Monday. “I am grateful to be able to serve our country and the American people in many ways, including as a soldier.”

Gabbard has demonstrated her love of country and a willingness to serve wherever, whenever. While politics certainly played a part in her decision-making, I think ultimately she is honoring a commitment that she takes very seriously, in spite of her political campaign. And yet, a huge part of what draws supporters to her is her military service and experience. And she makes no bones that it is what anchors her in the quest for the presidency:

…her military experience has become a central selling point to her campaign. During the second night of July’s debates — wherein Gabbard finished the night as Google’s most-searched candidate — she wielded her credentials as an Iraq War veteran to speak about foreign policy decisions with a personal tone.

“For too long, we had leaders who have been arbitrating foreign policy from ivory towers in Washington without any idea about the cost and the consequence, the toll it takes on our service members, on their families,” Gabbard said. “We have to do the right thing. End the wasteful regime change wars and bring our troops home.

“The leadership I will bring to do the right thing, to bring our troops home within the first year in office, because they shouldn’t have been there this long.”

Moreover:

“It’s impossible to separate the experience that I have serving on the Foreign Affairs Committee, on the Armed Services Committee, as we’re going through these exercises and I think it’s an added value in bringing these two different perspectives together — those of the policymakers in Washington and that of a soldier.”

Gabbard is clearly in an uphill battle on the campaign trail. While she has met the threshold of 130,000 contributions from individual donors, she still hovers at 1% support in the polls, which makes her short of the “two percent in four surveys” polling criteria. She is also rightfully facing scrutiny for her meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Here she is being interviewed by (ironically) Chris Cuomo on CNN, where he demanded she denounce Assad (at the 1:23 mark):

Anyway, Assad aside, Gabbard clearly loves America, and I’m grateful for her willingness to serve our country.

Untitled

–Dana

7/25/2019

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.

– JVW

6/24/2022

Biden Admin Seeks to Undermine Title IX; Little Aloha Sweetie to the Rescue

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:52 am



[guest post by JVW]

In “celebrating” the anniversary of Title IX earlier this week, the Biden Administration quietly undermined it by insisting that transgender females be given expansive rights to participate in women and girls sports, despite the biological advantages they may have accrued while male. Appearing with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, President Biden put the full weight of the federal government behind the transgender agenda:

One proposed change “would make clear that preventing any person from participating in an education program or activity consistent with their gender identity would subject them to more than de minimis harm on the basis of sex and therefore be prohibited, unless otherwise permitted by Title IX or the regulations.”

If adopted, the rule change would bar universities and any other federally funded institutions from maintaining men’s and women’s sports and sex-segregated spaces like locker rooms and dormitories.

And there you have it: further proof of the leftward lurch of Joe Biden, who won his party’s nomination largely because he seemed to be immune to the loudest voices in his coalition who were demanding radical social change. In retrospect, it would seem that perhaps the confused old codger was simply unaware of this stuff, and now that it is in front of him he lacks the intellectual wherewithal and the common sense to reject it. This ill-conceived decision hearkens back to the Obama Administration’s notorious 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter sent to university administrators instructing them to take a harsher stance against allegations of sexual abuse, which critics claim led to agenda-driven campus disciplinary proceedings against young men which were administered via kangaroo courts. The idea in both cases being to placate a loud and media-savvy group, collateral damage be dammed.

At a time when FINA, international swimming’s governing body, has tightened their rules with respect to under what circumstances a former male can compete as a female — rules which were expected to be adopted by the NCAA in the wake of the Lia Thomas controversy this past spring — the Biden Administration is seeking to circumvent the international sport regulations by apparently proposing the loosest possible rules imaginable and demanding that schools who participate in NCAA-sanctioned athletics adopt them. Instead of trying to navigate the shoals between all-or-nothing transgender activists and supporters of women athletics (including many feminist Democrats) who want to see a biologically-level playing field, Joe Biden sided with the radicals, as has been his wont lately.

And you know who is not having any of this nonsense? Sure you do. Former Hawai’i Congresswoman and Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard has little use for woke posturing and she appeared yesterday at a pro-woman sports rally in Washington DC and spoke with Maddy Kearns of NRO, who is doing absolutely fantastic work to expose the dishonesty and underhandedness of the transgender lobby. Read the entire interview, presented in transcript format, to understand what draws our Warrior Princess to this cause. Here she is discussing the bravery of the young women who dare to question left-wing transgender orthodoxy:

Kearns: Why don’t you fear this [ostracism from progressive Democrats], then? Given that a lot of Democratic politicians —

Gabbard: Because I choose not to be driven by fear. You know, my actions are driven by my desire to do what I can to be of service to make a positive impact to serve the best interests of the people of this country, men and women alike, for all Americans. And I don’t care what the backlash may be. Just as women for generations fought for the rights of women, fought for Title IX to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, they faced backlash, and they were ostracized, and they were criticized. It’s that kind of courage that we need to see from our leaders today. And it’s that kind of courage that we’re seeing from these young women, these athletes here today who are choosing to use their voice to represent the many who are being directly impacted by this today, and to represent those who will come after and whose future in many ways will be impacted based on what we choose to do or not do at this moment.

[. . .]

Kearns: What would you like to see with regard to policy to push back on some of this stuff? Today, the Biden administration came out with regulations redefining “sex” to include gender identity. What can be done about that?

Gabbard: Congress needs to pass legislation. I mean, that’s the check and balance of the executive and the legislative branch. Congress needs to pass legislation in order to stop that action, [the] Biden administration’s action from moving forward because it will directly undermine Title IX and erase the progress that women have made.

I wanted her to be the Democrats’ nominee for President, and when it became obvious that wasn’t going to happen, I urged Joe Biden to name her as his running mate, but he instead went for the vacuous and annoying lady who used to — uh — “keep company” with Willie Brown. But the Little Aloha Sweetie is correct: it’s high-time for Congress to get off of its duff and push legislation to protect women athletes and keep the playing fields fair.

– JVW

1/14/2022

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:38 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s get started!

First news item

What a time to be alive:

TikTok stars are dancing their way to the bank. Some are making more than America’s top chief executives.

Charli D’Amelio, who started posting videos of herself dancing on TikTok in 2019, brought in $17.5 million last year, according to Forbes, which recently ranked the highest-earning TikTok stars of 2021. With 133 million followers on TikTok, she makes her money from a clothing line and promoting products in TikTok videos and other ads…Ms. D’Amelio’s compensation was higher than several CEOs of big publicly traded companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp. ’s Darren Woods ($15.6 million in 2020), Starbucks Corp.’s Kevin Johnson ($14.7 million), Delta Air Lines Inc. ’s Ed Bastian ($13.1 million) and McDonald’s Corp. ’s Chris Kempczinski ($10.8 million), according to the Journal’s analysis of their recent compensation figures.

Second news item

Here it is:

Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group, and 10 other members or associates have been charged with seditious conspiracy in the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, authorities said Thursday…The indictment alleges Oath Keepers for weeks discussed trying to overturn the election results and preparing for a siege by purchasing weapons and setting up battle plans. They repeatedly wrote in chats about the prospect of violence and the need, as Rhodes allegedly wrote in one text, “to scare the s—-out of” Congress. And on Jan. 6, the indictment alleges, they entered the Capitol building with the large crowds of rioters who stormed past police barriers and smashed windows, injuring dozens of officers and sending lawmakers running…Authorities have said the Oath Keepers and their associates worked as if they were going to war, discussing weapons and training. Days before the attack, one defendant suggested in a text message getting a boat to ferry weapons across the Potomac River to their “waiting arms,” prosecutors say.

Rhodes’ attorney, John Mosely, said the group was under the “fanciful idea that Trump was going to activate them as a militia under the insurrection act.”

Third news item

President Biden’s strategery in action: attacking the Senators whose votes he desperate needs:

“Will you stand against election subversion? Yes or no? . . . Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace ? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor ? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?”

Observation:

When national Democrats talk to the country they always seem to be talking to themselves. They are of the left, as is their constituency, which wins the popular vote in presidential elections; the mainstream media through which they send their messages is of the left; the academics, historians and professionals they consult are of the left. They get in the habit of talking to themselves, in their language, in a single, looped conversation. They have no idea how they sound to the non-left, so they have no idea when they are damaging themselves. But this week in Georgia Mr. Biden damaged himself. And strengthened, and may even have taken a step in unifying, the non-Democrats who are among their countrymen, and who are in fact the majority of them.

Biden’s polling has certainly taken a hit, and his latest attack hasn’t helped matters:

It’s hard to know how this all factors into Biden’s job approval rating, but broadly speaking, the public is dissatisfied. And it has been for a while now, too, as Biden’s approval rating has hovered in the low 40s for nearly three months, with roughly 42 percent of Americans currently approving of his job performance and 51 percent disapproving, according to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker.

Looking back at recent presidents, this development is particularly troubling for Biden, as he has the second-lowest approval rating of any president one-year in. Only Donald Trump, whose approval rating was in the high 30s, had a lower rating.1

Also:

[A] new Quinnipiac poll showed the usual low Biden numbers, but, most pertinently, that 49% of respondents say he is doing more to divide the country, and only 42% see him as unifying it.

You can read the White House’s pushback against the Quinnipiac poll here.

But clearly, no matter what nonsense President Biden spouts, Sens. Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema aren’t playing:

Also, thinking of JVW – here is his Little Aloha Sweetie’s response to Biden’s divisive speech as well:

Fourth news item

Cyberattack in Ukraine:

A massive cyberattack warning Ukrainians to “be afraid and expect the worst” hit government websites late on Thursday, leaving some websites inaccessible on Friday morning and prompting Kyiv to open an investigation.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson told Reuters it was too early to say who could be behind the attack but said Russia had been behind similar strikes in the past.

The cyberattack, which hit the foreign ministry, the cabinet of ministers and the security and defence council among others, comes as Kyiv and its allies have sounded the alarm about a possible new Russian military offensive against Ukraine.

Related:

The US has information that indicates Russia has prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine, a US official told CNN on Friday, in an attempt to create a pretext for an invasion.

The official said the US has evidence that the operatives are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces.
The allegation echoes a statement released by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense on Friday, which said that Russian special services are preparing provocations against Russian forces in an attempt to frame Ukraine. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan hinted at the intelligence during a briefing with reporters on Thursday.

Fifth news item

California sees big exodus from state:

California, however, bled outbound citizens so badly, it broke U-Haul’s ability to measure — because the company ran out of trucks to rent:

“California is 50th and Illinois 49th on the list for the second consecutive year, indicating those states once again witnessed the largest net losses of one-way U-Haul trucks. . . . California remained the top state for out-migration, but its net loss of U-Haul trucks wasn’t as severe as in 2020. That can be partially attributed to the fact that U-Haul simply ran out of inventory to meet customer demand for outbound equipment.”

The Democratic supermajority continues to give a lot of Californians reasons to leave. On top of unspeakable levels of traffic congestion, outrageous home prices, exorbitant taxes, crumbling infrastructure, etc., etc., moves like this certainly don’t help encourage a large segment of the population to remain in state:

California Governor Gavin Newsom proposed Monday providing health care coverage to all immigrants, legal and illegal.

This move is part of a statewide effort to reduce its number of uninsured residents, which has shown success. The largest group of people that remains insured by the state’s Medicaid program is people of lower incomes in the United States illegally.

According to a legislative analysis, filling this gap would cost the state $2.4 billion annually. Newsom plans to use a surplus in the state’s $286.4 billion budget to cover this.

And I’ll just leave this here too:

Sixth news item

Better plan ahead if you get Covid-19:

The federal website where Americans can request free COVID-19 tests will begin accepting orders on Wednesday as the White House looks to address nationwide shortages, but supplies will be limited to just four free tests per home.

Starting on Jan. 19, the website COVIDTests.gov will provide tests at no cost, including no shipping fee, the White House announced Friday.

But Americans shouldn’t expect a rapid turn-around on the orders and they will have to plan ahead and request the tests well before they meet federal guidelines for when to use a test.

The White House said “tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering” through the U.S. Postal Service, which reports shipping times of 1-3 days for its first-class package service in the continental United States.

Of course, most people with mild-moderate symptoms typically recover within a few weeks, so… On a side note, I went through a drive-thru PCR/rapid testing site last week. I was there 30 mins before they opened, 8th in line. (When I left, the line was three blocks long). It was well organized and easy to get through. From when I swabbed to when I received a text with my results (Neg.) was about 30 minutes. 24 hours later, I received PCR results.

Seventh news item

What??:

As crews cleaned the US Capitol on January 7, 2021, the phone lines in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office began to ring.

Rioters were calling “asking whether there was a lost and found because they forgot their phone there, or they left their purse or what have you,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told Insider on Friday.

Police officers quickly took down information from the callers, Raskin said.

“The officers quickly got on the phone and said, yeah, just give us your name, your address, your social, you know, and we’ll tie up these loose ends,” Raskin said. “But what’s so fascinating to me about that there really were people who felt as if they had been summoned to Washington by the president.”

Eighth news item

Beware the Kraken:

…people close to BILL and HILLARY CLINTON said the former first couple sees it as an opportunity to insert themselves back into political life.

The intra-party divisions have given them a chance to flex their centrist, dealmaking brand of politics as a way to move the party forward.

Bill Clinton has relished the opportunity to whip on behalf of the White House. In addition to pressing Manchin on the filibuster, Clinton suggested that he should salvage Build Back Better by zeroing in on the few elements the West Virginia senator really wants.

“I told Joe, ‘Break it up, pick one or two [pieces] you can swallow and then run on the rest,’” Clinton recalled of their phone call… The idea is drawing interest among party leadership.

Clinton also spoke with Sinema recently, according to one of the people familiar with the call, and said afterward, “I don’t know her, but I like her.”

Another factor that motivated Bill Clinton to get more engaged: the low ratings and muted public reaction to “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” the FX show produced by MONICA LEWINSKY, according to a long-time bundler for the couple.

“It’s a perpetual itch that will never go away,” a person close to the couple said of the draw to public life. “They know how to slowly reenter. The Clintons want to reset the board in their favor and then move the pieces.”

As for Hillary Clinton…Even though the people said there’s no chance she runs for president again, the attention allows her to gauge public reaction as she sets her sights on reemerging in lower-profile ways, like campaigning during the midterms or taking on policy fights.

“She’s bored,” the longtime Clinton bundler said of the former secretary of State, senator and first lady, who’s now hosting a MasterClass on “the power of resilience.”

Ninth news item

Mitt doesn’t mince words:

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah on Thursday blasted the Republican National Committee’s plans to prohibit future GOP presidential candidates from participating in debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Romney, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee and the uncle of the current RNC chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, said the decision would deprive the American people of the opportunity to hear candidates “duke it out.”

“Well, that would be nuts,” Romney told Insider at the Capitol. “The American people want to see candidates for president debating issues of consequence to them, and it provides a service to the country and to the people, to hear the prospective candidates of the two major parties duke it out.”

Hey, have a great weekend.

–Dana

8/4/2020

My Little Aloha Sweetie for Vice-President

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:58 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Don’t pretend like you didn’t see this one coming.

With putative Democrat Presidential nominee Joe Biden zeroing in on his Vice-Presidential pick — and believe me, the leaked names under consideration are indeed a bunch of zeros — it’s time to make the argument for a bold, refreshing, unconventional pick that would establish Slow Joe as something other than a dinosaur who has spent a half-century mucking around Washington, DC and who is in complete thrall to the power players and elite opinion makers which sadly dominate his party. Various names have been bandied about over the past few months: Stacey Abrams, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Tammy Duckworth, and now Karen Bass. They each have something to offer the elderly white male Establishment figure around whom party pooh-bahs rallied during that harrowing point last winter when a nutty old socialist nearly stormed the gates and threw out everyone who wore a tailored suit.

But none of them offer the advantages that Mr. Biden stands to reap if he takes the bold step of naming the fourth-term Congresswoman from the islands of Hawai’i to his ticket. She matches and/or surpasses any of the strengths of the other potential candidates, and at worst her liabilities are no more troublesome than those of the rest of the field. Don’t believe me? Let’s consider:

Stacey Abrams
Pros: Almost managed to get herself elected governor of Georgia.
Cons: Garden variety leftist of the Sanders stripe. It’s hard to see her winning over voters in the Rust Belt.

Karen Bass
Pros: Apparently she and Biden get along well together, though Biden might have mistaken her for his nurse.
Cons: As late as 2016 still thought Fidel Castro had done a bang-up job in Cuba. Her only major accomplishment as Speaker of the California Assembly, a budget deal with Governor Schwarzenegger, was overwhelmingly rejected by the state’s voters, hardly an endorsement of her ability to sell her fellow Democrats on compromise.

Keisha Lance Bottoms
Pros: Executive experience in government, I suppose.
Cons: Atlanta has hardly been a model for how to deal with civic unrest, and her dithering ended up in the senseless death of a young girl.

Tammy Duckworth
Pros: Inspiring life story about her service to our country and how she overcame devastating war wounds. Her politics generally align with those of one of her seat’s previous occupants, Barack Obama.
Cons: I consider Sen. Duckworth, whose mother was Thai-Chinese, to be a person of color, but will African-Americans? The recent prominence of BPIOC (Black & Indigenous People of Color) in woke leftist usage seems particularly designed to omit Asians from the intersectionality grievance matrix.

Kamala Harris
Pros: I pass.
Cons: Mr. Biden would look weak by choosing a woman who relentlessly demagogued him at the first Democrat debate. Her accomplishments in offices she has held have been scant, but the controversies she has stirred up have been formidable and will at last get full airing should she be chosen.

Susan Rice
Pros: I don’t know; maybe having worked with her in the past there will be a flicker of recognition in Mr. Biden’s mind when she walks into a meeting room.
Cons: It makes more sense to pick an elected official who is notable for brazenly lying to us than an appointed official who is notable for brazenly lying to us. And I don’t think the Biden team wants to give strong hints that they will merely be reassembling the Obama squad.

Elizabeth Warren
Pros: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
Cons: Where do I begin? Let’s just leave it at the fact that a party which fetishizes youth and diversity would have 150 years’ worth of white folks on their ticket.

Here’s a helpful tool I created so that you can all see how My Little Aloha Sweetie stacks up against all of these mediocrities:

Dem VP chart

By naming Tulsi Gabbard to the Vice-Presidential slot, Joe Biden could improve his candidacy in several ways. First, he keeps his promise to appoint a woman, and he gets a woman of color to boot (though, like Sen. Duckworth, Rep. Gabbard would have her BPIOC credentials challenged). Second, he gets an ally of Bernard Sanders to join him, and one who is far more personable and charming than the cranky old Marxist bastard. Third, he flanks the Trump/Pence ticket by appointing a generation other than the Baby Boomers who have ruled the roost for the past twenty-eight years. (Fun note: Joe Biden would be the first representative of the Silent Generation to be elected President; Dick Cheney is the only one to serve as VP.) Fourth, in our heavily divisive times he would be choosing someone who doesn’t seem to have much interest in scoring cheap partisan points, and who generally treats her ideological opponents as serious people with whom she should discuss ideas rather than as irascible racists who need to be silenced. Her weaknesses — impractical economics, a tolerance of murderous dictators, lack of high-level leadership — aren’t any different than the weaknesses of any of the other candidates, or for that matter her potential boss. And we have seen the Warrior Princess on the debate stage and we know that she has a toughness and a resiliency that are quite admirable.

Joe Biden could do a whole hell of a lot worse. And he probably will.

– JVW

5/20/2020

National Guard Deployments To End One Day Before Members Qualify for Education and Retirement Benefits

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:44 pm



[guest post by Dana]

This is not good news:

More than 40,000 National Guard members currently helping states test residents for the coronavirus and trace the spread of infections will face a “hard stop” on their deployments on June 24 — just one day shy of many members becoming eligible for key federal benefits, according to a senior FEMA official.

The official outlined the Trump administration’s plans on an interagency call on May 12, an audio version of which was obtained by POLITICO. The official also acknowledged during the call that the June 24 deadline means that thousands of members who first deployed in late March will find themselves with only 89 days of duty credit, one short of the 90-day threshold for qualifying for early retirement and education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI bill.

The looming loss of crucial frontline workers, along with questions about whether the administration is shortchanging first responders, would require a delicate messaging strategy, the official — representing FEMA’s New England region — told dozens of colleagues on the interagency call.

“We would greatly benefit from unified messaging regarding the conclusion of their services prior to hitting the 90-day mark and the retirement benefit implications associated with it,” the official said.

The decision has compelled both sides of the aisle to seek an extension from the White House:

Governors and lawmakers in both parties have been pleading with the White House to extend the federal order for several more months or until the end of the year, warning in a letter to Trump that terminating federal deployments early in the summer just as states are reopening “could contribute to a possible second wave of infection.”

Here are the numbers:

More than 40,000 Guard members are currently serving under federal orders known as Title 32, which grants them federal pay and benefits but puts them under local command, in 44 states, three territories and the District of Columbia — the largest domestic deployment since Hurricane Katrina.

Tens of thousands of them have been working full-time since early March on a wide range of sensitive and dangerous tasks, such as decontaminating nursing homes and setting up field hospitals, along with performing tests for the virus. They’ve provided a crucial backup for understaffed and underfunded state public health agencies trying to contain the pandemic.

The cost of the deployment is as much as $9 million per month for every 1,000 troops, according to the National Council of State Legislatures — an expense that states would have to shoulder should Title 32 expire. In addition, state deployments do not count toward federal education and retirement benefits.

It’s possible for National Guard members who have extra deployments within the same fiscal year to qualify for GI Bill benefits or early retirement.

So far, “more than 1,100 guardsmen had been diagnosed with coronavirus, many of whom were deployed for pandemic response missions.”

FEMA is the federal agency responsible for the final determination of how long National Guard members are activated.

I checked out FEMA’s Coronavirus Rumor Control page (yes, they have one), and found this:

On March 22, President Trump directed the Secretary of Defense to permit full federal reimbursement, by FEMA, for some states’ use of their National Guard forces. The President’s action provides Governors continued command of their National Guard forces, while being federally funded under Title 32. Each state’s National Guard is still under the authority of the Governor and is working in concert with the Department of Defense.

I perused President Trump’s Twitter feed, and given the incredible array of tweets covering any number of subjects, I was only able to find this mentioning the National Guard (it is in response to the recent flooding in Michigan):

My team is closely monitoring the flooding in Central Michigan – Stay SAFE and listen to local officials. Our brave First Responders are once again stepping up to serve their fellow citizens, THANK YOU!

We have sent our best Military & @FEMA Teams, already there. Governor must now “set you free” to help. Will be with you soon!

One National Guard member has publicly voiced her disapproval of the decision by the Trump administration:

According to reports, the White House has declined to respond to any inquiries about the matter. But of course…

–Dana

3/19/2020

Aloha ‘Oe, Warrior Princess

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:22 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, forever and always My Little Aloha Sweetie, announced earlier today that she is ending her campaign to be the next President of the United States.

Listen to her announcement; it’s worth the five minutes of your time. Sure, I joked a great deal about my crush on the Congresswoman and I would be Fauxcahontas-level lying to you if I tried to claim that I don’t find Congresswoman Gabbard to be quite attractive, from her rich Island beauty invoking the Goddess Pele; to the dulcet tones of her voice, as pleasing to the ear as the soft song of the Puaiohi heard over gently rolling ocean waves; to her graceful and elegant bearing, appropriate for an athlete and soldier. When she stares into the camera it’s as if she is looking deep into my soul, healing all of my pain and exciting in me such an overwhelming feeling of–

Uh, what point was I trying to make?

Oh yeah.

Anyway, I know that her affection for big government runs counter to pretty much everything I have ever written on this blog, and while I greatly respect her pacifist and non-interventionist foreign policy as being heartfelt and authentic, I do have to grit my teeth at her rather blasé reaction to some of the world’s worst tyrants. I’m sure that if we were to sit down to discuss domestic and international policy I would find myself disagreeing with much of what she had to say as I stared deeply into those coconut brown eyes which haunt my dreams with desires of such longing–

[Dammit, man. Focus!]

The point of this being that even though I would disagree with much of what she says, I don’t think that she would readily dismiss me as some sort of neanderthal right-wing nutjob, in the way that the rest of her fellow candidates — with perhaps Andrew Yang exempted — would. Though she has pretty much garden-variety progressive left opinions, she distinguished herself on the campaign trail by not venturing out to the far fringes of social policy where her party’s center seems to have gravitated. Alone among the candidates — again, with perhaps the exception of Andrew Yang — Congresswoman Gabbard expressed some trepidation with late-term abortion, and suggested that the entire practice was not something to be “celebrated” or “shouted,” but should be considered a necessary evil. When Rush Limbaugh announced his cancer diagnosis, Tulsi Gabbard put aside the ideological warring to wish him well. Unlike a Nancy Pelosi or a Chuck Schumer or a Gavin Newsom, to name but a few, she was one Democrat who didn’t have contempt for those who had different beliefs from her own.

And of course I will be forever grateful that she ended the candidacy of the obnoxious Kamala Harris, realizing that unlike her friend Bernard Sanders she had the guts to go toe-to-toe with Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren and call both of them out on their mendacious bullstuff. It’s no wonder the Democrat Party hated her so.

As I said three-plus years ago, it would be a great idea for President Trump to bring her into his cabinet, should he win reelection later this year. She was allegedly considered for Donald Trump’s first cabinet, even perhaps for Secretary of State. I think I would offer her something more along the lines of Secretary of Veterans Affairs, but if President Trump needs a token Democrat for his cabinet he couldn’t do any better. Of course the President would have to swallow his pride and accept a woman who has harshly criticized him, although he can take heart that she refused to vote in favor of his impeachment. She would support President Trump’s reluctance to intervene in overseas affairs, though she would almost certainly try to move him to the big government left in domestic affairs. He would have to be strong to resist her island charms lest he start going all Green Mountain Gramsci on us. Speaking of Comrade Candidate, I would be interested in seeing if the foolish old Marxist would vote in favor of her nomination.

I’m glad that Tulsi Gabbard ran for President. She was a welcome break from the Ivy League overachievers, the mediocre lifelong “public servants,” and the riff-raff from the financial and dot-com worlds. I hope we see her reemerge in a leadership position in the next administration, no matter who the chief executive is, and I hope that both of our major parties can attract interesting, even unconventional, candidates such as My Little Aloha Sweetie.

– JVW

3/5/2020

Nancy Pelosi Blames Misogynistic Democrats For Elizabeth Warren’s Loss

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:34 pm



[guest post by Dana]

After Elizabeth Warren anounced that she was dropping out of the Democratic presidential race, Nancy Pelosi weighed in on the “misogyny” factor that contributed to her demise:

“Every time I get introduced as the most powerful woman, I almost cry, because I wish that were not true,” Pelosi told reporters, just hours after Warren ended her presidential run and extinguished the possibility of the first woman president being elected in 2020.

“I so wish that we had a woman president of the United States, and we came so close to doing that,” said Pelosi, the highest-ranking woman in government, at her weekly news conference. “I do think there’s a certain element of misogyny.”

It’s funny because Pelosi never endorsed any of the female candidates that were running. Funnier yet, she acts as if there is no longer a female Democratic candidate in the race. And there is: Tulsi Gabbard. Which brings me to my other point: While Gabbard has virtually no chance of becoming the nominee, it remains a fact that Democratic women wo claim that having a woman in the White House is of the utmost imporantance, they belie that claim with their ever-present abortion litmus test. Pelosi can’t support Gabbard, and it’s not because of her contrarian nature or squishy Democratic views. At the end of the day, she can’t support Gabbard because Gabbard, not unreasonably, believes that there should be some limitations on abortion, and that disqualifies her from any serious consideration from Pelosi or other Democratic woman in power:

“I do, however, think that there should be some restrictions in place. I support codifying Roe v. Wade while making sure that, during the third trimester, abortion is not an option unless the life or severe health consequences of a woman are at risk.”

That’s simply unacceptable to Pelosi and her ilk.

Further, it’s interesting that while Pelosi blames the problem on misogyny, she seems to pretend to not know that Democratic women are endorsing and voting for the male contenders – even as their first choice before Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Marianne Williamson, Amy Klobuchar or Elizabeth Warren. Consider the female officials who have endorsed Bernie Sanders: five female Representatives, one female representative, 25 female State legislators, and five female DNC officials. Joe Biden has been endorsed by four sitting female Senators, 22 female Representatives, 4 female Cabinet-level officials, 4 female State Dept. officials, two female State governors, etc. So really, misogyny is the reason for Warren’s poor showing?? How about the thousands upon thousands of women who voted for the male candidates over her? Because they actually exist, you know.

Which brings me to this:

Whoever the nominee is, their campaign is going to have to come to terms with the intense misogyny so many female voters have dealt with — and understand that it’s an issue we care deeply about. And their supporters are going to have to let us be sad — depressed, even — that once again we’re going to watch a race to leadership between old white men.

So ignoring the fact that Democratic and progressive women happily support two old white men, one wonders how the Democratic Party, the party of inclusivity and girl power, reconciles the fact that both female voters and female candidates on the Democratic side of the aisle, are, once again, victims of “misogyny” from their fellow travellers?

–Dana

3/3/2020

Super Tuesday Takes

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:15 am



[guest post by Dana]

Without comment:

FiveThirtyEight weighs in:

Biden is now about twice as likely as Sanders to win a plurality of pledged delegates, according to our primary model, which gives him a 65 percent chance of doing so compared with a 34 percent chance for Sanders. This represents the culmination of a trend that has been underway in the model for about a week; it started to shift toward Biden once polls showed the potential for him to win big in South Carolina — and it anticipated a polling bounce in the Super Tuesday states if he did win big there. Still, even after South Carolina, Biden’s plurality chances had risen only to 32 percent, compared with 64 percent for Sanders. That means the polling bounce from the events of the past few days has been bigger than the model anticipated.

To be clear, however, there is still a lot of uncertainty. We’ve been talking about delegate pluralities, which obscures the fact that the most likely outcome in the model is still that no one wins a majority of pledged delegates. And we should note that the lack of a majority does not necessarily imply a contested convention. For instance, if Biden enters the convention with 46 percent of delegates and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg with 10 percent, they could strike a deal where Bloomberg delegates vote for Biden on the first ballot.

Michael Bloomberg goes after Joe Biden:

Mike Bloomberg started the most important day of his 2020 campaign scolding a sea of reporters about rival Joe Biden’s momentum and refusing to drop out of the Democratic primary.

“Joe’s taking votes away from me,” Bloomberg said at his campaign’s Little Havana field office when asked by a reporter about moderates dropping out to support Biden in the last 24 hours.

“Have you asked Joe whether he’s going to drop out?” Bloomberg then challenged. “When you ask him that then you can call me.”

When a reporter asked a follow up, Bloomberg scolded that it was the same question that had just been asked.

“I have no intention of dropping out,” Bloomberg said. “We’re in it to win it.”

Early post-mortem for Elizabeth Warren’s campaign (which, of course, includes putting the blame on sexist double standards and media bias):

In interviews with Democratic strategists, top progressive activists, allies and critics, nearly everyone agrees that Warren’s campaign faltered not through scandal or dysfunction, but because of a series of miscalculations and circumstances that conspired against her. She positioned herself just off Bernie’s right shoulder, which both failed to win his hardcore progressive base and alienated moderates who think she’s too far left. Her campaign hit a series of speedbumps in the last months of 2019 and early 2020 that slowed her down just as her opponents were taking off, and failed to correct course quickly enough to regain momentum. Her online defenders are quick to point out sexist double standards between the candidates, and the stench of bias that pervades some media coverage, but the fact remains: heading into Super Tuesday, Warren has not won a single state.

PS:

Warren’s campaign aides have publicly suggested their most viable path to the nomination is by prevailing in a contested Democratic convention, which would be a historical rarity if it happens.

And from Joe Biden’s rapid response team to James Comey: Uh, no thanks:

Let us know how things are looking in your districts.

–Dana

[UDPATE by JVW] – I apologize profusely for infringing upon Dana’s post, but My Little Aloha Sweetie just aimed the ihe ‘ō ‘ia nalohia pua right into Fauxcahontas’s spleen, so this must be one of the happiest days of my life.

– JVW

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