Human Rights Watch Boards The Ethics Train Wreck

human-rights-watch

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.

 

76 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics

76 responses to “Human Rights Watch Boards The Ethics Train Wreck

  1. Chris

    Xenophobia means an irrational fear or hatred of immigrants, foreigners and other cultures.

    There is no planet on which this:

    “When Mexico sends it people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” he said.

    does not qualify. His attempts to paint Obama as a scary foreigner by lying that he had secret information about his birth certificate, his attempts to demonize Muslims with his blood libel about “thousands” cheering 9/11 in New Jersey, and using ethnic stereotypes against Ghazala Khan are also clear, unambiguous examples of xenophobia.

    • Chris

      I should add that one can of course oppose open borders without saying things like this:

      “When Mexico sends it people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” he said.

      It’s actually really, really easy to oppose open borders and still not say things like this. Politicians have been doing it for decades.

      That makes statements such as this one, by Jack:

      …Once more, “xenophobia ” is used to mean “doesn’t think the United States should have open borders.”

      Incredibly misleading. No one calls Trump xenophobic because he opposes open borders. They call him xenophobic because his statements on immigration are hysterical, fearmongering, divisive and often untrue.

      Saying that people call Trump xenophobic because he opposes open borders is dishonest.

    • It does not qualify. “I do not like illegal immigrants who rape and murder” is not xenophobia.

      • Chris

        But “the majority of illegal immigrants rape and murder” is, and that is a more accurate summary of his statement than what you just wrote.

        I see you didn’t address the birtherism, or the ethnic stereotypes, or the blood libel.

        The pattern is clear, Jack. What more could Trump do to promote fear and hatred against Mexicans and Muslims for you to conclude that he was xenophobic?

        • Easy: he could oppose immigrants who are legal and whose religion and culture don’t pose a genuine risk to American lives. Islamaphobic is not xenophobic.

          The birtherism was political trolling–I don’t see it as xenophobia. How? Ethnic stereotypes are not xenophobia, and alluding to the most anti-woman religion in the world as sexist isn’t a stereotype. His crime with the Gold Star family is not treating them as Americans.

          • Chris

            alluding to the most anti-woman religion in the world as sexist isn’t a stereotype.

            That’s not what he did. He leaped to the assumption that an *individual* woman “wasn’t allowed to speak” because of her religion. That is literally what the word “stereotype” means–judging an individual based on their group identification.

            Your idiosyncratic definitions, hair-splitting of words and soft-pedaling of Trump’s statements really do make conversation difficult at times, Jack.

            If you really need help understanding why it was xenophobic to accuse the first black president of being a secret foreigner after he had already produced his legal birth certificate, I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to help you.

            • “That’s not what he did. He leaped to the assumption that an *individual* woman “wasn’t allowed to speak” because of her religion. That is literally what the word “stereotype” means–judging an individual based on their group identification.”

              As I said: he stereotyped them as Muslims, rather than an American family, which they were. Stereotyping isn’t xenophobia. You like to expand definitions of words like racism and xenophobic beyond all reasonable boundaries—easier to tar people with.

              If you really need help understanding why it was xenophobic to accuse the first black president of being a secret foreigner after he had already produced his legal birth certificate, I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to help you.

              So the Constitution is xenophobic, then? The birther issue was about natural citizenship, a Constitutional requirement. If the requirement allowed foreign born individuals to be President, and Trump said that we shouldn’t trust them, that’s xenophobic. Arguing that the President isn’t natural born is just being a dick.

              • Chris

                As I said: he stereotyped them as Muslims, rather than an American family, which they were.

                And characterizing an American family as a foreign “other” is xenophobic. Obviously.

                Stereotyping isn’t xenophobia.

                This is a ridiculous sentence. There are sexist stereotypes, racist stereotypes, religious stereotypes, and, yes, xenophobic stereotypes. Trump’s “maybe she wasn’t allowed to speak” was three out of the four–it was designed to put down a woman based on ignorance and prejudice, and it was designed to spread fear and hatred toward her religion, and to distance them from everyday Americans. Same as with the birther issue.

                You have still not addressed the blood libel about “thousands” celebrating in NJ.

                • I’ve addressed this frequently, at the time he made the statement. We know Muslims celebrated the attacks. We do not know that any in America did. Trump somehow believes he saw such celebrations on TV. How is that “blood libel,’ unless you know he was lying? I know he was wrong. It was an irresponsible thing to say. And again, Islamophobia isn’t xenophobia.

                  • Chris

                    He continued to make this claim after the allegation was proven false. That is called lying, Jack, even if first he had to lie to himself. Trump supporters also spread the lie afterward; there are still people who argue that this happened, when it did not.

                • This is the other thing: Insulting an individual of a group using a slur or a stereotype does not prove xenophobia (or racism, or sexism.). Trump is mean, and lashes out. A Muslim man attacked him, so he attacked back, as nastily as he could. That doesn’t prove or even indicate a general problem with immigrants, or even Muslims.

                  • Chris

                    If Trump had called Obama the N word, would you have said he was just “lashing out” because he is “mean,” and that it didn’t indicate any real racism on his part?

                    Come on, Jack–this is the “look what’s in his heart” standard, where bigoted actions and statements don’t prove bigotry because we don’t have a psychic link to the person making them.

            • Small aside. In December the results of a forensic analysis of the released certificate suggested strongly that it was a forged document. I watched the presentation and it seemed to have merit. It appears to have been a composite and electronically pieced together. Does not prove where Obama was born just that the document is fraudulent. Perhaps it is all political vendetta?

              • Spartan

                Are you trolling us?

                • Question or conclusion? Would you like me to defend/explain why I mentioned that bit if news to Chris?

                    • So, it was not really a question then. Perhaps more a statement? Insinuation? The definition is interestin:

                      Latin īnsinuāre, īnsinuāt- : in-, in; see in-2 + sinuāre, to curve (from sinus, curve).

                      It is a lawyer-like tactic is it not? Is it not precisely mirrored in the worst of our politics? What is going on snakily around us?

                      Be direct. It is better for all concerned.

                • Why didn’t you just ask her to link to the presentation?

                  • Chris

                    Why should she have? This is a closed issue. I’ve seen the presentation. It’s made for stupid, gullible people and Alizia fell for it because she is stupid and gullible.

                    • Links can often refute themselves.

                      You made the exact same argument in a discussion last week regarding the source of an anti-Islamic aggregation of Koranic verses.

                      Though much of the list had validity, the compilers had gone above and beyond by adding specious verses to their list to “pile on”. The site had a clear agenda and essentially undermined its own credibility.

                      You have a penchant for sharpshooting tactics you yourself engage in…

                    • Except that I can’t be said that I fell for it. I notice it comes from a strange angle, a rather odd sherrif from some old, weird Texas dream.

                      But the presentation and the reference to 2 different entities that examined it forensically may mean it has merit.

                      But it illustrates a point that tortures me: how difficult it is to verify truth. Especially when something is contested. Good luck getting to the bottom of it.

                      In the present bizarre climate the whole question might come up again.

  2. tgt

    Oh. My. God. Why did I come back to this? Giving Trump a pass because his statements weren’t a plan? Ignoring his words because they aren’t actions?

    This really says it all: “This group really thinks Trumps’ words constitute the threat of human rights violations.”

    Well, his words are threats of human rights violations. That has what he has done so far. He has stated a desire to do all sorts of things that are awful. He hasn’t done them yet, but his statements are that he wants to do them. That’s what threats are. Whether he makes good on his threats (fulfills his campaign promises) determines whether he violates human rights, but he has still threatened them.

    What once was a proud site about ethics is now home to this kind of hack apologetics. I’m sorry, Jack, but this isn’t right. You’re better than this. Don’t normalize Trump.

    • For God’s sake: arguing that a leader shouldn’t be on a watch list before he has done a single act to justify it is Ethics 101. Trump is the President-Elect of the United States, and the “don’t normalize him” line is another way of saying “Otherizing” him is just fine. Just don’t you dare otherize OUR leaders.

      He’s as normal as any other President, duly elected. You are grabbing at the New York Times Rule: Trump suspends all obligations for his critics to be fair to be ethical. No. He doesn’t. That’s part of the despicable narrative to undo the election, but its beyond justification.

      Go ahead: show me a clear statement of something he said that he wants to do that is “awful,” actually doable, that he hasn’t contradicted, denied, blurred, or walked back, besides the “wall,’ which isn’t awful, just stupid.

      • Chris

        I think it’s fair for an organization called “Human Rights Watch” to put someone who threatens to commit human rights abuses on a list of people who threaten to commit human rights abuses.

        Yes, even if that someone later contradicts, denies, blurs, or walks back their threats to commit human rights abuses.

        If a woman is with a man that sometimes threatens to beat her, but then often qualifies that by later saying “I would never hurt you,” that man has still threatened that woman, he is still an abuser, and she should leave him.

        • That is not the way the organization has placed groups, countries and people on the list before. The report calls wanting to repeal Obamacare a human rights violation!

          Pre-crime. A man who has never laid a hand on a women is not a physical abuser, nor should he be labelled a “threat.” The McCarthy analogy looks better and better.

          • Chris

            The report calls wanting to repeal Obamacare a human rights violation!

            Can you quote that part of the report?

            A man who has never laid a hand on a women is not a physical abuser, nor should he be labelled a “threat.”

            A man who threatens to hit a woman is a potential physical abuser, and should of course be labelled a threat. Is there no word you will not try to redefine out of existence in order to win an argument?

            • “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.”

              Smoking gun, Chris. Using a policy choice that is a legitimate debate as proof of a human rights threat mans this is a political screed, no more, no less.

              • Chris

                Did they specifically say those were examples of human rights violations?

                • I just revised the post, in part due to your observations and questions.

                • I’m confused at the inference here. If a group that has a sole purpose of watching out for and listing human rights abuses mentions the repeal of a law as part of a report on the actions of a particular person…. What are they doing if not inferring that the repeal of the law would be a human rights violation? What else possibly makes sense?

                  • It’s standard activist fare. Word something in just the right way, especially from an authoritative source, that it does the necessary damage; but word it well enough to be denied on a literal basis that that was the purpose.

                    • Other Bill

                      It’s a game. I call it pedantry or nitpicking. I guess the word for the day for Chris is “connotation.”

                      con·no·ta·tion
                      ˌkänəˈtāSH(ə)n/
                      noun
                      an idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its literal or primary meaning.
                      “the word “discipline” has unhappy connotations of punishment and repression”
                      synonyms: overtone, undertone, undercurrent, implication, hidden meaning, nuance, hint, echo, vibrations, association, intimation, suggestion, suspicion, insinuation
                      “there was a connotation of distrust in his voice”

                      Chris’s standard tactic is to deny the fact that words have connotations (when he’s not outright saying “black is white” when everything is clearly black). He accomplishes his objective of gumming up the works here. I hate to see Jack constantly wasting his valuable time responding to this tactic.

                    • Chris

                      These are fair points, and I agree that HRW should have either made clear whether they were saying wanting to repeal the ACA is a human rights violation, or simply left it out of the report. I still believe it is fair to name Trump as a human rights threat due to his other positions.

                    • Other Bill

                      This is in response to Chris’s “these are fair points” comment below: I salute your candor. Thanks.

                      And I might add that I find it ironic that the left tends to find all sorts of dire connotations in the things Trump says when his statements are generally fairly straight forward and don’t have such connotations. But the whole thing can be a bit of a double edged sword when it’s weaponized.

        • Please list the verbatim threats Trump has made that you so aptly analogize to a man beating a woman…

          It’s key that they are verbatim and not your own spin.

          • No?

            I didn’t think so.

            Nah…you’ll just stick to bringing up your own spin that Jack has addressed in a handful of other discussions you two have had in the past.

            Repeating your spin doesn’t make them true…

    • List the “threats”. Verbatim. And not your own spin on them.

    • Which fallacy is this, tgt? The feigned and intellectually dishonest expression of amazement and contempt for an obviously correct and fair position, to pretend that a biased and absurd one is valid? An honestly and legally elected President is normal. The peaceful acceptance of the results is normal. The gracious transfer of power is normal. What isn’t normal is the transparent effort to avoid responsibility and the conseque3nces of defeat by the startegy of claiming, “Oh, no! None of this applies in THIS case! This case is special! We’ve so decreed.”

      It’s an embarrassing position, so partisan and corrupt that it makes my teeth hurt. Concocting dubious rumors, conspiracy theories and wild legal arguments to justify doing what is unprecedented and destructive is unethical, and using mob psychology to argue that wrong is right to persuade the weak-willed and easily confused is horrible. Donald Trump is an awful person, but a sufficient number of voters made him the next President. Until he breaks laws or engages in official outrages so universally rejected that he can be legally removed from the job, and he hasn’t, he is normal. He doesn’t have to be “normalized.” The election normalized him, like it did every other controversial President, from Jackson to Lincoln to Nixon to Reagan to Obama.

      You return to Ethics Alarms to make THIS ridiculous argument, indignantly yet—assuming your legacy of smart and well-reasoned positions give you a pass? How John Lewis of you! And how disappointing. You are supposed to be capable of objectivity.

      • Wish we could call the fallacy “No True Election”…

        But either it’s just Special Pleading or it’s just primarily rationalization “Not Ordinary Times” supported by several others.

    • Oh. My. God. Why did I come back to this? Giving Trump a pass because his statements weren’t a plan? Ignoring his words because they aren’t actions?

      What I notice is what I would describe as the ‘psychological amplification factor’. Unquestionably, Trump is a bizarre figure and he says things undisciplinedly. He is responsible for the confusion in many regards.

      It is also true that he strikes a cord within the generality because his imago Is hyper-white if I will be permitted to say that. I do not think there is any doubt that his image and his position ‘bird-whistles’ to the white community. And I have no doubt that the white community is doubtful and concerned about ‘what is happening to America’. (It must be said: if they have concerns they cannot be expressed openly. There are things you are not allowed to think and express in America. I suggest this is a psychological problem all to itself. Because it causes a division to arise in people. They believe and feel one thing, but they cannot say and act in relation to it.)

      Like with Obama (who as Jack recently pointed out was elected as an ‘abstraction’ and you could simply attach your own feeling as to what ‘Hope’ was supposed to be) Trump communicated certain ‘abstractions’ (‘Greatness’) and gave people the opportunity of filling in the blanks. And it was, indeed it was, his rhetoric and his rhetorical position that land him in the White House. As some have said: it likely was a surprise to him.

      But one has to take many back steps and try to view the ‘progressive’ left, the Democrat Party, and quite literally the ‘masses of the population’ who by virtue of new social media tools can make their feelings and ideas known much more easily than ever before. The Mass is brought into the political arena but this mass is (it is fair to say) quite undisciplined, opinionated, emotionally-driven.

      And this ‘mass’, prompted along by certain forms of fallaciousness, by paranoia mixed even with a certain malicious bias as well as *dripping contempt and hatred* of Trump (NY it appears has years and years of developing this contempt for The Donald I have learned), sees itself as being justified in saying and doing whatever it will or can to create obstacles to a functional presidency. Obviously, this corresponds to the Republican thwarting of Obama, both what he represented as ‘imago’ and then to his desired policies. “Well, they did it to us, now we will do it to them!”

      But the main thing I notice is that the Left (to use a broad generalization to describe a large segment of the ‘mass’ of America drawn to the imago of Obama) is projecting a great deal of imaginary content onto Trump, his picks, and what they imagine will be his policies and actions. This is where it gets strange. What I notice is something very ‘American’: the branding of a chosen enemy and the assigning of all manner of ‘evil’ to him, and a riling up of feelings and emotions and the communication of that to the Population. It doesn’t really matter if these things are *true* or not. A fight and a battle is wanted and it is set out to be got.

      I suppose that I think that the Progressive Left wants civil conflict. If you follow the Gramscian idea and the idea of Marxian ‘praxis’ it is through instigating troubles that you then create the conditions which politicize people. And when it is understood that chaos-production and political activism that takes to the street is a way to manifest righteousness and highminded social goodness (if Trump is evil then the good must oppose him), well, it all works as part of a system. I watch Democracy Now! ffrom time to time and I really get the sense that they are trying to instigate ‘action’. It is what they live for!

      Factually, and honestly, there is no resolution to this issue that is apparent in any immediate sense. There is nothing that will abate it. Within itself it contains a ‘presagio’ (sign) as to what will come.

      • I was wondering if this day would ever arrive.

        This could be cosmic in proportion.

      • Chris

        It is also true that he strikes a cord within the generality because his imago Is hyper-white if I will be permitted to say that. I do not think there is any doubt that his image and his position ‘bird-whistles’ to the white community. And I have no doubt that the white community is doubtful and concerned about ‘what is happening to America’. (It must be said: if they have concerns they cannot be expressed openly. There are things you are not allowed to think and express in America. I suggest this is a psychological problem all to itself. Because it causes a division to arise in people. They believe and feel one thing, but they cannot say and act in relation to it.)

        I think this is an important comment in that it shows–not for the first time–that while Jack and other conservatives here aren’t hearing Trump’s racism, actual racists are hearing it, and they like what they’re hearing.

        • It’s telling that you think Alizia mentioning something as appealing to white-people is equivalent to appealing to racists.

          Telling. You should really take a step back and reevaluate your biases.

        • “aren’t hearing Trump’s racism, actual racists are hearing it, and they like what they’re hearing.”

          No doubt true to a degree.

          But what *effective* component of society is that?

          2%? 4%? 8%? (probably less)

          I would *confidently* submit that it’s a percent lesser by double digits that the effective component of society that appeal to the hyper-socialist and communist dog-whistles that leaders of the Left drop all the time, that no one bats an eye about because those ideals, antithetical to American values and liberty, have become mind-numbingly normalized in society, but are just as destructive to a healthy society as racism is.

        • I wrote a post which would have been my response, but then erased it. I have resolved not to talk anymore about these things, not here on this blog. This is not the place. I have already said what I think.

          But I do wish to acknowledge that you certainly have a good point Chris. But so does Tex. Perhaps — this is likely — the minority that advocates for what are essentially un-American things will just disappear from the scene?

    • Pennagain

      tgt: pax

      The way I see it is that whatever Jack is trying to do and however the personal biases may color his writing (as they do with all but the most boring, secretive and deceptive of writers), the result is, as he’s said, to seek a normalization of the situation in spite ofthe man at the center of the furor … or perhaps the normalization of the role and the office, or even the government itself which is made up of individuals who, whether elected or selected or hired, are being coerced to act in opposition to their chief executive. Whether deliberate and rational or hysterically fearful, the generalizing attacks on Trump, added to the defensive denial of the Left of any responsibility for their loss of power, are acting to destabilize … (ab-normalize) … the functions of government: the Presidency, the Supreme Court, the FBI, the legislators who are being pushed to act out these Left-fulfilling prophecies.

      It’s a worthy objective on Jack’s part, I think. I live among people whose world is imploding, who imagine — they are great imaginers and they do much good when they are not believing everything they imagine is real — that their (individual and group) selves are in imminent danger, danger that is so far undefined or unproven or which has, in legal terms, already existed and been deferred. Ethics Alarms gives me both useful pointers for deflecting some of their anger, and reality checks I can use with the younger Undecided I can reach who will be inheriting this country — blue and red — in the coming generation.

      Oh, and I for one, have missed your posts… well, not all the way down to the inch-wide columns, but in the main.

  3. Inquiring Mind

    When they decided they were with al-Qaeda terrorists, I pretty much figured they had no credibility.

    This is just Exhibit B.

    • Chris

      When did Human Rights Watch decide that they were “with al-Qaeda terrorists?”

      I mean, I know that they think we shouldn’t torture them, but they don’t think we should torture anybody.

      Is it your assertion that being against torture means that Human Rights Watch is “with al-Qaeda terrorists?”

      If that is not your assertion, will you retract your absurd claim that HRW is “with al-Qaeda terrorists?”

  4. Alex

    “Human Rights”… Let me tell you how that phrase ticks me off as currently used in a political context.
    Granted: Human Rights as a concept are valid and worthy of respect.
    Granted: Human Rights can be explicitly enumerated and properly evaluated. Let’s assume the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html) is such a valid enumeration.
    Now let’s see how this applies to Trump:
    Article 7 can be stretched beyond recognition to grant the world all the rights of U.S. citizens. Yes, Trump opposes that, but such reading of Article 7 is clearly contradicted by articles 13-15.
    Article 9 if you consider arrest of suspected criminals to be arbitrary.
    Article 12. I’d be worried about Trump ordering the NSA to eavesdrop on all our conversations, but that’s already happening under Obama (and started under Bush).
    Article 21. The bureaucracy would love to hold onto this one if he starts firing off the incompetents, but I also consider that this purge would be required to allow new blood access to public service.
    Article 26. Since Trump has not stated that he’s ending Affirmative Action, I’m worried he’s not defending the equal access to higher education point.
    So, there we have it: five potential places where Trump might go against the UNDHR. Three of them dubious and two of them already enshrined in US law.
    I could tell you stories of the Human Rights ombudsman in Mexico City. His office pretty much destroyed a friend’s family business for daring to turn in an employee committing fraud to the authorities. All in the name of Human Rights, but a bizarro world highly politicized version where criminals have rights, but victims don’t. Pardon me if I’m skeptical of any and all these organizations.

    • Speaking of HRW’s standards, I couldn’t find any written systematic approach to how they determine “human rights” violations or how they even determine what a “human right” is…

      They have a series of videos where they self-admittedly only “try” to explain their views, which with that resounding self-non-endorsement, I’m not going to watch.

      But I suppose if they can’t be bothered to compose a standard and explain their methodology that it is safe to assume they make it up as they go to fit their agenda.

  5. Spartan

    I’m starting to think that I am the only rational one here. Of course Trump is a threat. It is completely rational to believe in the things he says. To think otherwise requires an absurd amount of faith — or heavy drugs. However, if we keep clear heads and band together, we might just survive the next four years. And I believe Trump will quit far before then. Pence is horrible on social policy, but he will be a more stable actor on the international stage. The bigger danger here is the potential destruction of our form of government. Liberals need to stop their hysteria right now. I am hoping that we recapture the Presidency in four years, and the only way to have a peaceful transition of power then is if we have one now.

    • “It is completely rational to believe in the things he says.”

      No. No it is not. You have to suffer from multiple personality disorder, tourets and ADD to even think he only has one poition on any given issue. There was an interview where he gave something like five positions on the minimum wage in less than a minute… Let me see if I can dig this up.

      Got it!

      So which position do we believe, do we believe them all, is this Schrodinger’s policy?

      • Spartan

        If you are asking me to say whether or not he can be inconsistent on EVERY single issue, then I agree. That makes him a liar or an idiot or potentially a racist asshole or potentially an angel masquerading as an asshole. But any of these answers leads to the inevitable conclusion that he is potentially dangerous. Again, however, peaceful transitions of power are required.

    • Same challenge posed to Chris and tgt above.

      List verbatim his “threats” to “human rights”, please list the exact “human right” he threatens. Then we can discuss.

      It’s key you list these things verbatim.

      • Spartan

        I don’t have to — Jack has written dozens of essays on the subject.

        Why don’t you catalog all the things he has said that will show that he is capable leader who can be trusted?

        • I didn’t make an assertion that he was…

          Nice dodge.

          And you’re right, you don’t have to, because Jack HAS debunked most of the accusations ad nauseum.

          Which is why I find it odd-pushing-dishonest that you or Chris, and highly expected that tgt would AGAIN push the claims.

          • Spartan

            I like TGT and Chris a lot, but if you can’t distinguish what they have been saying and what I have been saying on this blog, then we really should stop wasting our time trying to discuss important issues.

            • Let’s see, you said Trump is a threat… in the context of a post on Trump’s alleged threats to “human rights”. Which is precisely what Chris AND tgt alleged as well.

              Not sure my challenge to you is off the mark.

    • Alex

      Agreed. I may disagree with many liberal positions, but I want them to be solid strategists so we avoid disasters like the Trump election (I mean the full ethics train wreck, as Jack calls it). Democrats and their friends are just being stupid and damaging their own cause, and I’m worried that may lead to some future where we yearn for the days of Trumpian centrism.

      • Spartan

        Thank you Alex. I’ve been feeling like the lone voice in the woods lately. Not just here, but I haven’t been getting much support from either my Democratic or my Republican friends.

        • How do you think you’re the only lone voice on this? I too believe the Democrats and their friends are being stupid and damaging their cause…

          • Spartan

            As I have said many times now, my position is that Trump is dangerous, but I do think we have to work with him because we need to preserve our form of government. Such reasoning doesn’t fit nicely into either camp right now.

  6. Captain Obvious

    I hate to ask without checking first myself but have they ever put President PeacePrize McDroneStrike on this list at any time?

    • Obama is mentioned in the report.

      • Captain Obvious

        Scanned for mentions of Obama… This was my favorite “we aren’t going to mention his failures” part…

        The US continued to carry out targeted killings, often with the use of aerial drones, against alleged militants outside conventional war zones, including in Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, and Somalia. In July 2016, the director of national intelligence released figures claiming that the US had killed between 64 and 116 “non-combatants” in such strikes since 2009, a figure that advocacy groups―including Human Rights Watch, which investigated several of the strikes―said appeared to significantly undercount the civilian lives lost. When the government released its figures, Obama issued an executive order promising to offer voluntary payments to survivors and families of civilians killed, without regard to the lawfulness of the strike. It is unclear whether the order has been implemented.

        I love how they mention the droning, and how Obama wants to give money to the victims but manages to completely neglect that Obama is the guy that ordered the drone strikes to start with.

        I won’t even begin to address their treatment of Obama’s lack of any actual progress (besides his usual “saying things” approach) on reforms to sentencing. “Fellating” would be… Well, perhaps too on the nose.

        HRW is useless.

    • “PeacePrize McDroneStrike”

      *snerk* I love it.

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