When a supposedly non-partisan organization behaves like Human Rights Watch has, placing a President Elect on its “human rights watch” before the individual has spent a day in office or even remotely violated any human’s rights, we should be grateful. It is a confession of bias and political motivation for all to see and remember for the future.
Yes, incredibly, the Washington, D.C-based organization prepared a 687-page World Report including a U.S. section substantially aimed at stoking the fear-mongering of the Left as a presumptive strike against the incoming executive branch of the U.S. Government.
Beginning by calling Trump’s campaign a “vivid illustration of the politics of intolerance,” the organization made hyperbolic characterizations of the campaign, which is, of course, all it has to go on. As Ethics Alarms has pointed out before, this is the equivalent of pre-crime. The group is calling Trump a human rights threat because it is looking into the future.
“Donald Trump’s election as US president after a campaign fomenting hatred and intolerance, and the rising influence of political parties in Europe that reject universal rights, have put the postwar human rights system at risk,” the group said in its statement announcing the report. No, political campaigns, as Americans observe ruefully every election cycle, have disturbingly little to do with what the politicians elected actually do. I’m sure Human Rights Watch knows that, but why should reality dissuade a political hit job?
What does Donald Trump have to do with political parties in Europe? He’s barely conversant regarding his own party. Never mind, never mind: the Left’s theory is that Trump is to blame for anything and everything they don’t like, and if he hasn’t done some horrible thing yet, they know he will. And since they know he will, why wait before condemning him for it?
The US section of the report is primarily worried about Trump’s words. I am too, but mostly because they are vague, incoherent, and seldom consistent from day to day, even hour to hour. Is Human Rights Watch aware that talk is cheap, that the U.S. is founded on the principle that people, even candidates, should be able to blather at will without being put on an ominous sounding “list,” like the ones Joe McCarthy claimed to have?
This group really thinks Trumps’ words constitute the threat of human rights violations. To be fair, the definition of “human rights violation” appears to include “whatever the progressive agenda opposes.” The group’s director wrote, “Trump and various politicians in Europe seek power through appeals to racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and nativism. They all claim that the public accepts violations of human rights as supposedly necessary to secure jobs, avoid cultural change, or prevent terrorist attacks. In fact, disregard for human rights offers the likeliest route to tyranny.”
How much is dishonest about this statement?
…Lumping Trump in with diverse political movements in Europe, as if they are one and the same, a classic dishonest argument cheat;
…Repeating the false “appeal to racism” canard (There are no published or recorded statements by Trump that are racist: the position of Democrats is that anyone who doesn’t support their policies must be racist.)
…Once more, “xenophobia ” is used to mean “doesn’t think the United States should have open borders.”
…Defining “human rights” to mean whatever vague, ideological cant the organization wants to advnce by demonizing opposition to it.
…Tarring those who oppose globalization as “nativist.”
The report absurdly alleges that “(Trump’s) campaign floated proposals that would harm millions of people, including plans to engage in massive deportations of immigrants, to curtail women’s rights and media freedoms, and to use torture.” Trump, however, announced no plans. “Maybe we should think about this” isn’t a plan. “I want to do this” isn’t even a plan. Trump has no “plan” or proposal to “curtail women’s rights.” Opposing Roe v.Wade is not a plan. Why doesn’t Human Rights Watch consider the termination of millions of human lives through abortion a “human rights violation”? Is “We’re going to build a wall” a “plan”? Sort of, I guess. That “plan” is specifically cited as a “human rights violation.” 1) I doubt any wall will ever be built, but 2) even if it is, a nation controlling its borders is not a “human rights violation.”
Pre-emptively placing Trump on a human rights watch list is partisan political propaganda.
By jumping on the 2016 Post-Election Ethics Train Wreck with such a foolish and unfair attack based 100% on supposition, Human Rights Watch by rights should forfeit any credibility, for it places the group solely in the category of partisan hackery. The only remaining question is whether designating Donald Trump as a threat to human rights before he has spent one second in government job is more or less biased and embarrassing than the Nobel committee giving Barack Obama the Peace Prize in 2009 for just being peachy. Tough one!
I had a perfect line that I thought up last night, and this morning discovered that Glenn Reynold had already published it almost word for word:
“If this works out like Obama’s Nobel, Trump will wind up doing more for human rights than any previous President!”
UPDATE: Upon re-reading the report, I have concluded that it is an exaggeration and misleading to say that the group has placed Donald Trump on a Human Rights Watch List. That is how it is being described in the conservative news media, and it can be justified: the World Report is a list, it is about human rights threats, and Donald Trump is in it. However, the statements of the leadership regarding the report are more critical of Trump (and unfair) than the report itself.
Here is the entire segment of the report that references Trump. The bolding is mine:
The election of Donald Trump as president in November 2016 capped a campaign marked by misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist rhetoric and Trump’s embrace of policies that would cause tremendous harm to vulnerable communities, contravene the United States’ core human rights obligations, or both. Trump’s campaign proposals included deporting millions of unauthorized immigrants, changing US law to allow torture of terrorism suspects, and “load[ing] up” the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
President-elect Trump also pledged to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act, which has helped 20 million previously uninsured Americans access health insurance and to nominate “pro-life” Supreme Court justices who would “automatically” overturn Roe v. Wade, which would allow individual states to criminalize abortion.…
The US Justice Department announced in August that the Bureau of Prisons would begin phasing out its use of private contract prisons. The Department of Homeland Security, responsible for housing immigration detainees, announced a review of its own use of private facilities, the findings of which were not yet available at time of writing. President-elect Trump’s proposal to detain and deport millions of immigrants would make it difficult for the Department of Homeland Security to close any facilities, whether private or public.
In November 2016, President-elect Trump reiterated his campaign promises to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, and to quickly detain or deport 2 to 3 million immigrants with criminal records. The Obama administration, which also focused on deporting immigrants with convictions, deported a record 2.5 million people, with and without criminal records, over its two terms. Any push to rapidly deport millions of undocumented immigrants would almost certainly exacerbate abusive conditions of detention in a sprawling system with poor oversight, and further undermine already weak due process protections….
The finalized Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which includes side agreements on labor issues in Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei, was signed in February by the United States but did not move forward in Congress before the election. Donald Trump’s election victory and his campaign rhetoric against the agreement make it highly unlikely that implementing legislation needed for the agreement will be passed, meaning that the agreement is either dead or will have to be significantly renegotiated.
Some final comments:
1. Again, the report itself is far less inflammatory than the statements framing it.
2. The group should not be highlighting silly stuff, like “Supreme Court justices who would “automatically” overturn Roe v. Wade.” There is no “automatic” way to over-turn a prior SCOTUS decision, and there are real doubts that Roe can be or will be.
3. Stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and repealing Obamacare are looming “human rights violations”? Could the group more clearly broadcast its political bias?
4. Donald Trump is not going to deport “millions” of illegal immigrants: whatever he has said, that’s nonsense, hence fear-mongering. And I will keep correcting this as long as unethical writers keep trying the obfuscation: nobody wants to deport immigrants. The problem is illegal ones, and confounding the two is dishonest.
5. I apologize for the confusion. I wanted to get this post up after being busy all day, and I wasn’t as clear or thorough as I should have been.