Pardon, your liege, may we have egg on our faces?

Updates

  1. Originally published, June 30, 12:17 pm.
  2. June 30, 12:50 pm:
    • Utterly unsurprisingly, the European Union has decided not to open its borders to non-essential travel from the United States.[1]
  3. June 30, 11:14 pm:
    • Senate testimony given by Anthony Fauci and other experts pretty much confirms what we already knew, that the U.S. is going in the wrong direction on the COVID-19 pandemic because people aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do. And the spikes in some states endanger the rest.[2]

In case you missed it, there were more updates last night.


Uyghurs

There is a relatively short new blog post entitled, “Genocide.” I see it’s gotten two hits from China already. Maybe I should start talking about Hong Kong, too.[3]

Associated Press, “China cuts Uighur births with IUDs, abortion, sterilization,” June 29, 2020, copy in possession of author.

Hong Kong

Clare Jim and Yew Lun Tian, “China passes national security law in turning point for Hong Kong,” Reuters, June 30, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-hongkong-security/china-passes-national-security-law-in-turning-point-for-hong-kong-idUSKBN241061


International Criminal Court

The lawyers who want Donald Trump to rescind his sanctions against the International Criminal Court[4] may get to keep their law licenses but not much else. Regarding the Uyghurs and according to John Bolton:

China was also busily repressing ethnic minorities—in Tibet, for example—as it had been doing for decades. Beijing’s repression of the Uighurs also proceeded apace. [Donald] Trump asked me at the 2018 White House Christmas dinner why we were considering sanctioning China because of its treatment of the Uighurs, a non-Han Chinese, largely Muslim people, who lived primarily in China’s northwest Xinjiang Province. Ross had warned me that morning Trump didn’t want sanctions because of the China trade negotiations. The issue of the Uighurs had been wending its way through the NSD process, but it was not yet ready for decision. It only got worse. At the opening dinner of the Osaka G20 meeting, with only interpreters present, Xi [Jinping] explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang. According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which he thought was exactly the right thing to do. Pottinger told me Trump said something very similar during the 2017 trip to China, which meant we could cross repression of the Uighurs off our list of possible reasons to sanction China, at least as long as trade negotiations continued.[5]

Though he denies having given Xi Jinping a green light to build the concentration camps, Trump has pretty much confirmed that his emphasis was on a trade deal.[6]

Asked why he hadn’t yet enacted Treasury sanctions against Chinese Communist Party officials or entities tied to the camps where the Chinese government detains Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, [Donald] Trump replied, “Well, we were in the middle of a major trade deal.”[7]

So um, lawyers, the International Criminal Court has some issues, like colonialism and the fact that it functions under a paradigm of justice reduced to law, but understand I’m more in favor of it than I am against it. Trump, on the other hand, cares about trade and doesn’t give a fuck about your concerns or mine. Which means, because you know and I know you can’t do a damn thing about it, your letter amounts to egg on your faces.

Ellen Nakashima and Carol Morello, “Lawyers urge Trump to rescind sanctions and travel bans for International Criminal Court,” Washington Post, June 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/lawyers-urge-trump-to-rescind-sanctions-and-travel-bans-for-international-criminal-court/2020/06/29/0ef0c476-ba15-11ea-86d5-3b9b3863273b_story.html


Pandemic

Laurence Norman, “EU to Remain Closed to U.S. Travelers as Borders Open Up,” Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-opens-up-to-some-travelers-but-not-americans-11593524652


  1. [1]Laurence Norman, “EU to Remain Closed to U.S. Travelers as Borders Open Up,” Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-opens-up-to-some-travelers-but-not-americans-11593524652
  2. [2]Meg Wagner et al., “Fauci, Redfield testify on Covid-19 reopening as cases rise,” CNN, June 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/webview/politics/live-news/covid-19-school-work-reopening-testimony-06-30-20/h_cc7cf09eae87064e72f75af30984acd3
  3. [3]Clare Jim and Yew Lun Tian, “China passes national security law in turning point for Hong Kong,” Reuters, June 30, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-hongkong-security/china-passes-national-security-law-in-turning-point-for-hong-kong-idUSKBN241061
  4. [4]Ellen Nakashima and Carol Morello, “Lawyers urge Trump to rescind sanctions and travel bans for International Criminal Court,” Washington Post, June 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/lawyers-urge-trump-to-rescind-sanctions-and-travel-bans-for-international-criminal-court/2020/06/29/0ef0c476-ba15-11ea-86d5-3b9b3863273b_story.html
  5. [5]John Bolton, The Room Where It Happened (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2020), 312.
  6. [6]Jonathan Swan, “Exclusive: Trump held off on Xinjiang sanctions for China trade deal,” Axios, June 21, 2020, https://www.axios.com/trump-uighur-muslims-sanctions-d4dc86fc-17f4-42bd-bdbd-c30f4d2ffa21.html
  7. [7]Jonathan Swan, “Exclusive: Trump held off on Xinjiang sanctions for China trade deal,” Axios, June 21, 2020, https://www.axios.com/trump-uighur-muslims-sanctions-d4dc86fc-17f4-42bd-bdbd-c30f4d2ffa21.html

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/