Smile for your oppressors

BraveheartsSpeech
Fig. 1. Existential Comics, undated, but well-timed in my Facebook feed, fair use.


Hong Kong

U.S. Congressional concern for human rights in Hong Kong[1] is, of course, laudable. Its silence on the same for Uyghurs is contemptible.

David J. Lynch, “Trump says he might veto legislation that aims to protect human rights in Hong Kong because bill could affect China trade talks,” Washington Post, November 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/11/22/trump-says-he-might-veto-legislation-that-aims-protect-human-rights-hong-kong-because-bill-would-impact-china-trade-talks/

Verna Yu, “‘Turning point’: ball in Beijing’s court after Hong Kong’s decisive vote,” Guardian, November 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/25/turning-point-ball-in-beijings-court-after-hong-kongs-decisive-vote


Uyghurs


Figs. 2 and 3. Get a load of this “vocational skills education centre.” Undated photographs by Thomas Peter of Reuters, via the Guardian,[2] fair use.

Emma Graham-Harrison and Juliette Garside, “‘Allow no escapes’: leak exposes reality of China’s vast prison camp network,” Guardian, November 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/24/china-cables-leak-no-escapes-reality-china-uighur-prison-camp


Gig economy

I’ve always found it curious that Uber, but not Lyft, occasionally requires me to take a “selfie” to verify my identity. It utterly mismanaged the camera on one of my previous phones, making the selfie very nearly impossible to take. It also seems to require these selfies be taken at the most inopportune moments, especially when lighting conditions are poor, which effectively put me out of business until I could satisfy its demands.

Apparently this still isn’t good enough for London authorities (where Lyft doesn’t operate) and Uber, in an attempt to placate them, says it will “require drivers to look at their smartphone camera and blink, smile and turn their head to verify their identity.”[3]

So it’s not enough I’m having to work seven days a week, trying and failing to keep my head above water. I’ll have to smile for these mother fuckers too? Why not require a cartwheel as well?

Parmy Olson, “Uber Loses License to Operate in London,” Wall Street Journal, November 25, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-loses-license-to-operate-in-london-11574677664


Israel

Benny Gantz’ concern for avoiding violence at a demonstration for and against Binyamin Netanyahu is touching,[4] in light of the entire Israeli establishment’s lack of such concern for avoiding it against Palestinians.

Raoul Wootliff, “Seemingly killing PM’s immunity hopes, Liberman says cases must go to court,” Times of Israel, November 25, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/seemingly-killing-pms-immunity-hopes-liberman-says-cases-must-go-to-court/


Donald Trump

Spencer S. Hsu and Ann E. Marimow, “Former White House counsel Donald McGahn must comply with House subpoena, judge rules,” Washington Post, November 25, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/former-white-house-counsel-donald-mcgahn-must-comply-with-house-subpoena-judge-rules/2019/11/25/6de26cc8-018d-11ea-8bab-0fc209e065a8_story.html


  1. [1]David J. Lynch, “Trump says he might veto legislation that aims to protect human rights in Hong Kong because bill could affect China trade talks,” Washington Post, November 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/11/22/trump-says-he-might-veto-legislation-that-aims-protect-human-rights-hong-kong-because-bill-would-impact-china-trade-talks/
  2. [2]Emma Graham-Harrison and Juliette Garside, “‘Allow no escapes’: leak exposes reality of China’s vast prison camp network,” Guardian, November 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/24/china-cables-leak-no-escapes-reality-china-uighur-prison-camp
  3. [3]Parmy Olson, “Uber Loses License to Operate in London,” Wall Street Journal, November 25, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-loses-license-to-operate-in-london-11574677664
  4. [4]Raoul Wootliff, “Seemingly killing PM’s immunity hopes, Liberman says cases must go to court,” Times of Israel, November 25, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/seemingly-killing-pms-immunity-hopes-liberman-says-cases-must-go-to-court/

If you vote for the lesser of two evils, do not be surprised when you get evil

Donald Trump

I honestly don’t understand how it is that people can vote, election after election, for “the lesser of two evils” and be surprised or outraged when they get evil. They voted for evil, they got evil, and then they complain about evil. There’s some kind of insanity here, as if you can support evil, and yet, as if by pulling a rabbit from a hat, get virtue.

The 2016 election gave us a meaningful choice between just two candidates, neither of whom I could endorse: Hillary Clinton, who can’t keep her nose clean, and Donald Trump, who has no bottom: He’s a black hole. When you think he’s already sunk as low as he can get, you’re missing the meaning of a black hole.

Yes, I saw his latest offering to the already outraged,[1] guaranteed to further outrage them. This isn’t even, by a long shot, the lowest he’s sunk (for that, I’d suggest family separation and putting children in cages[2]). So I don’t care. It’s not sane to care.

But oh, say the wannabe impeachers, what about “democracy?” First, it’s a republic not a democracy.[3] Second, a system that gives us a choice between Clinton and Trump is dubious at best.

Third, you who like this fucking system so much, you supported a race of the alleged “lessers of evil” to the deepest depths of Hell, you’ve gotten what you deserve. Because this is what it produces. You asked for it. You got it. Quit complaining about it. (And no, I have not forgotten that you also blamed me for not voting and told me I had no right to complain.[4] So fuck off.)


Uighurs

(This is the first time I have seen the word ‘Uighur’ spelled with a ‘y’ rather than an ‘i.’ I continue here to use the variation I have seen in the past.)

Asia News, “Many Muslim countries ‘silent’ on Uyghur persecution,” June 6, 2019, http://asianews.it/news-en/Many-Muslim-countries-silent-on-Uyghur-persecution-47211.html


O. J. Simpson

13_09:24:28-13
There’s a great story behind this photograph, by Allen J. Schaben, for the Los Angeles Times, of O. J. Simpson leading the California Highway Patrol on a slow-motion chase on June 17, 1994, and you can read it here. With Donald Trump deadening souls, this’ll do you good. (Fair use.)


  1. [1]Colby Itkowitz and Tom Hamburger, “Trump says he’d consider accepting information from foreign governments on his opponents,” Washington Post, June 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-says-hed-consider-accepting-dirt-from-foreign-governments-on-his-opponents/2019/06/12/b84ba860-8d5c-11e9-8f69-a2795fca3343_story.html; Alex Leary, “Trump Says He’d Consider Accepting Information on His Rivals From Foreign Governments,” Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-hed-consider-accepting-information-on-his-rivals-from-foreign-governments-11560387251; Anna Palmer, Jake Sherman, and Daniel Lippman, “Trump gives the impeachment crowd a gift,” Politico, June 13, 2019, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2019/06/13/trump-gives-the-impeachment-crowd-a-gift-446663
  2. [2]British Broadcasting Corporation, “Trump migrant separation policy: Children ‘in cages’ in Texas,” June 18, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44518942; Nancy Cook, “Trump aides plan fresh immigration crackdowns before midterms,” Politico, June 18, 2018, https://www.politico.com/amp/story/2018/06/18/trump-aides-plan-fresh-immigration-crackdowns-before-midterms-652246; Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins, Jeff Zeleny, and Sarah Westwood, “White House scrambles to contain immigration fallout,” CNN, June 18, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/18/politics/immigration-white-house-pressure/index.html; Nesrine Malik, “Trump is creating his American caliphate, and democracy has no defence,” Guardian, June 18, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/18/trump-american-caliphate-democracy-arab-world; Reuters, “Tent city for immigrant children in Texas,” June 19, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/pictures-report-idUSRTX69U2N; Brianna Rennix, “Understanding The Administration’s Monstrous Immigration Policies,” Current Affairs, June 17, 2018, https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/06/understanding-the-administrations-monstrous-immigration-policies
  3. [3]James Madison, "Federalist No. 10," in The Federalist Papers, ed. Garry Wills (1982; repr., New York: Bantam, 2003).
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Why I do not vote,” Not Housebroken, February 23, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2016/02/23/why-i-do-not-vote/