Why Is the Department of Justice Suing Google?

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice filed a suit against Google, accusing the company of creating a monopoly on internet searching which suppresses competition and harms consumers.

…this process won’t be easy. But the likelihood of the government achieving effective restraints on Google’s anticompetitive abuses shouldn’t be underestimated.

We’ve got nothing against Google as a search engine; its ever-efficient brain may even have brought you to this editorial. But in an America that must remain eternally on guard against the illegal use of monopoly power to crush competitors and restrict consumer choice, we welcome the Justice Department’s complaint against the tech titan for allegedly rigging what should be a dynamic marketplace to cement its dominance.

You have to do something extraordinary to unite Elizabeth Warren and Bill Barr.

But that’s what Google has done. President Trump’s attorney general and personal fixer has filed an antitrust suit against the trillion-dollar internet titan. And the Massachusetts senator, who despises everything about the Trump administration and has called on Barr to resign, is cheering him on. Sort of.

Is It a Good Idea to Have a Mute Button for the Next Debate?

After the first presidential debate was widely panned as chaotic, the debate commission has changed its rules and is planning to mute candidates who interrupt at the second debate on Thursday. Will this be an improvement? More at CNN.

Although as a debate professional, I hate seeing a conversation devolve into chaos, “electronically mediating” Trump or any candidate isn’t the solution. If a candidate thinks he or she is above the rules, we should let the voters see it.

The whole country has one. Chris Wallace needed one Tuesday in Ohio… the interruptions Tuesday evening made the entire proceedings seem like political roller derby, or an episode of “Survivor.” We didn’t learn one new thing about either man, their approaches to governing, their visions, their way of looking at the world.

The flailing attempts by the dying Commission on Presidential Debates to salvage their corrupt partisan process with a mute button is a helluva way to go out.

Is It Useless to Vote for a Third Party?

Despite what it may look like, there are more than two candidates running for president in 2020. In addition to Trump and Biden, there’s the libertarian Jo Jorgensen; the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins, wildcard Kanye West and several more. Considering that nearly all voters will go Republican or Democrat, is a Third Party vote a wasted vote?

While the U.S has had one independent party candidate win the election, with the 2020 Presidential election, casting your vote for the long shot is not going to work this year. So, instead of throwing away your vote with the Third Party — yes, you are throwing it away — cast your vote with either the Republican or Democratic position.

If you live in a state that is sure to go Republican or Democrat, and you find voting for either President Trump or Vice President Joe Biden unappealing, a third-party candidate like Jorgensen is the way to make your vote count… The difference between voting for the lesser of two evils and voting on principle is that the latter can affect the range of our choices in the future.

Is it really such a bad thing that the press has decided to give virtually zero attention to candidates who have no chance of being elected president? I think so, if only because third parties are a reminder of something quixotic and essentially decent in the American character. A country that has no time for someone like Brian Carroll, the pro-life, pro-universal health care, pro-gun, pro-environment nominee of the American Solidarity Party who is a dead ringer for the Coca-Cola Santa, is one in which I would prefer not live.

Is It Always Antisemitic to Criticize George Soros?

Hungarian billionaire and philanthropist George Soros is the subject of countless antisemitic conspiracy theories. Thus, when someone goes after Soros, it is generally regarded as an antisemitic dog whistle. So what do we make of it when the person attacking Soros is a Jew? This is a question being asked in the wake of Jewish Republican Congressional candidate Eric Early‘s assertion that Soros is a “Nazi sympathizer.”

The fact that Early is himself Jewish does not give him a moral license to engage in classical antisemitic tropes against Schiff and Soros. But the danger is that Early’s Jewish identity might give non-Jews a “kosher seal of approval” to spread this kind of pernicious antisemitism against Soros, Schiff, or others in our community.

The billionaire has every right to spend as much of his money on advocacy or radical projects as he likes. But it’s also true that those who do not unreasonably think his over-the-top spending is hurting rather than helping both the United States and Israel have an equal right to criticize what he’s done.

The false accusation that Soros aided Nazis is not uncommon among criticism of him, which has become unrelenting in this election cycle and frequently veers into antisemitism. In reality, Soros was hidden as a child by a Hungarian bureaucrat and once accompanied him to survey the property of a Jewish household.

What Does Judaism Have to Say About “Victimhood Culture?”

Some say that in America, there is a pervasive “victimhood culture” in which grievances and offense are worn as identity signifiers and medals of honor. What does Judaism have to say about these trends?

The fallout from this thriving grievance/victimhood industry is that we are eroding two pillars of the American dream: Hope and optimism. Victimhood engenders the very opposite of the “can-do” spirit that built America through impossible challenges.

The Master Story of our existence must always be meeting God at Mt. Sinai (whether metaphorically or in reality, take your pick) which reflects our relationship to a personal God or our striving for the ultimate meaning of existence (take your pick). Striving for ethics and optimism, not negativity and victim mentality, is our salvation.

I’m not suggesting we forget history, or assuming that people today have better attitudes or intentions towards Jews than in previous generations. We need to be educated about our past and aware of our present. But we shouldn’t default into the position that the world is out to get us. We cannot move on from a victim’s mentality until our lived experiences no longer supports the narrative of being a victim.

Is Toobin to Blame for His Zoom Scandal?

Journalist Jeffrey Toobin has been suspended from the New Yorker and placed on leave from CNN after accidentally exposing himself to co-workers during a Zoom call in which he mistakenly thought his camera was off. Is Toobin to blame? Is Zoom to blame? Or was it just a horrible side-effect of our transition to life online during the pandemic?

If a lawsuit comes of the Toobin incident, he will be liable for the behavior, and Zoom will not. Let’s keep each responsible for their own junk.

With the caveat that I know nothing other than what’s been reported, this truly seems like a horrifically embarrassing honest mistake, not an act of harassment (I mean, he said he thought he had “muted the video,” I don’t think we’re talking about a tech wiz).

I guess I believe him. I mean, no one in his right mind would do such a thing on camera during a work meeting. Everyone knows you only do that with the camera off. Kidding. No one should do at work what Toobin has seemingly apologized for ever. It is disrespectful in the extreme, dangerous and has about it the whiff of wanton self-destruction.

Today’s Hot Issues

Why Is the Department of Justice Suing Google? Is It a Good Idea to Have a Mute Button for the Next Debate? Is It Useless to Vote for a Third Party? Is It Always Antisemitic to Criticize George Soros? What Does Judaism Have to Say About “Victimhood Culture?” Is Toobin to Blame for His Zoom Scandal?