Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights Watch’

China never fails to appall. The spectacle of the Chinese bullying countries into skipping the Nobel ceremony, never mind allowing Liu Xiaobo to pick up his Peace Prize, seems so distant. I only bring it up again to remind you that the Chinese decided one of the best ways to fight the Liu Xiaobo controversy was by creating their own separate peace prize, the Confucius Peace Prize. They didn’t do a bang-up job of stage managing the whole thing, given that the first “recipient” wasn’t informed of his win and didn’t show up to get the prize. Here’s hoping it ages as well as the Stalin Peace Prize did.

In other news, the Mongolian cultural advocate and dissident Hada was released from prison and seemed to have disappeared. Hada had just completed his 15-year sentence for organizing a rally in Inner Mongolia. Luckily, he was later discovered held under house arrest at a hotel in Inner Mongolia. At least he is not dead or in a prison camp again, but the idea that house arrest is a sufficient amount of freedom after serving 15 years just for organizing some people is crazy.

More news came in from another one of the outlying, ethnically non-Han provinces, Xinjiang province, home to the Muslim Uyghurs. There, the Chinese still have not accounted for the whereabouts of 20 Uyghur refugee claimants who were deported to China from Cambodia last year. I do not mean to say that all of the Uyghurs are saints, because some of them are in fact nationalists, terrorists, and/or religious fanatics. But the reality is that the Beijing government has committed far more crimes against the people of Xinjiang than they could ever even dream of committing in response.

Enjoy abusing the dissidents for now, Chinese politicos. I don’t like violence, but I will not shed a tear some day when all of you end up blindfolded against a wall for the crimes you have committed in your country.


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  • Via Tyler Cowen, CNBC: British tax authorities would now like to have employers send paychecks to the government, let Caesar take his tribute and then transfer the remaining sum to employees’ bank accounts. It’s just like direct deposit, except with massive concerns about privacy and Big Brother! Yay! And I thought U.S. withholding taxes were a gross violation of my rights…
  • The Globe & Mail: fascinating rundown of an American soldier-refugee who has invoked the right of sanctuary and taken up residence in a Canadian church rather than get deported home to a military prison. I know ours is now a volunteer military and the case isn’t as clear-cut as it was in the Vietnam era, but many of the ex-soldiers who have absconded to Canada did it for reasons of conscience or ridiculous policies like stop-loss. It’s sad to see Canada cooperating with the bullies in Washington. If you want to help these refugees out, check out the War Resisters Support Campaign.
  • Free Keene: hilarious video that shows exactly how to exercise your rights as a free, law-abiding, camera-bearing citizen in the presence of the police. I haven’t laughed this hard in weeks. It’s amazing to watch just how maddening it is for these cops that people will only answer the questions they are required to answer and want nothing more than to observe them.
  • Andrew Sullivan: responding a (not-worth-linking-to) piece from a dead soldier’s sister about how network news coverage of graphic war scenes is insulting and wrong. Andrew hits exactly the right note here–if you really care about our soldiers and their safety, you should hope for graphic war coverage of the sort that will not allow Americans to forget the deaths going on in our name.
  • Via Andrew Sullivan, Wired: calling for the U.S. to rub out the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Congo. Wh-what? You want more wars in our name? There’s not enough death and destruction and bills we can’t afford already? Go hug a cactus, you dithering little “humanitarian interventionist,” you.
  • LewRockwell.com: covering the inexplicable case of an 84-year-old man slammed headfirst on the ground by a 26-year-old cop. He was drunk and he did raise a hand against the cop, but talk about disproportionate force! Witnesses confirm that he was not a physical threat and now, because of what was originally a towing call, the man clings to life with broken vertebrae.
  • National Review: bemoaning the Atlantic Yards development project in New York…not primarily because of their gross use of eminent domain, but because it will be financed largely through investments from foreigners interested in acquiring residency permits under the EB-5 visa program. The EB-5 program lets you get a green card if you agree to invest $500k in the U.S., so it’s basically a cute little way for the government to tell foreigners “Well, we don’t really like you or respect your rights as a free individual, but if you pay us enough money, we’ll look the other way.” And somehow these people coming to the U.S. is a bad thing? People who will pay outrageous sums to help prop up our failing economy? Sweet Jesus, National Review.
  • Damon Root at Reason: reporting on WaPo and Institute for Justice coverage of one of the nation’s dumbest licensure laws, the D.C. license for sightseeing tour guides. The usual nonsense line trotted out by happy cartel members is that licenses are needed to protect public safety–“Why, of course we need a barber’s license. There’s scissors involved!” But with tour guides, there’s not even that flimsy argument. Living in Seattle has exposed me to another colossally stupid licensing scheme–the Washington food handlers’ permit. Yes, many restaurants looking for unskilled labor in the kitchen actually want you to have a state permit to do it.
  • National Post: fresh off their successful signature drive and the provincial government’s disappointing announcement of a referendum in only a year’s time, the anti-harmonized sales tax (HST) folks in B.C. prepare to initiate recalls against 18 provincial legislators. They’re even making a Survivor-style contest out of who they go after first.  Good for them. They just have to be careful not to forget that all politicians are sick people who love power and force, not just the HST liars.
  • Der Spiegel: at least 100,000 Germans have asked Google to blur out their homes on Google StreetView. It’s interesting because I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a building blurred out in an American street search. And they say Americans value privacy!
  • The Globe & Mail: the Conservatives spent a record-breaking $130 million on advertising last year. Ugh. You’ve seen the same stuff in the U.S., too–all of those “Paid for with stimulus funds” signs hovering around any highway project. Must they constantly remind us of how much they are doing to for us?
  • Via National Review, the (ugh) Weekly Standard: Koch Industries’ legal team wants to know if the White House might have gotten a little bit too excited about killing the Kochtopus and leaked too much tax information to the press. I don’t really like the Kochs’ brand of libertarianism, but this reminds me to mention that Jane Meyer’s anti-Koch hit piece in The New Yorker was a revolting exercise in conflation and deception, and the normally-stellar Terri Gross’s interview of Meyer on Fresh Air was beyond the Fox News-does-Sarah-Palin level of softballing.
  • Center for a Stateless Society: holding the state to the same standards to which they hold us. Oh, Bradley Manning is a murderer for leaking documents that include information about informants in Afghanistan? Does that mean that all the war-supporting politicians in Washington are murderers for supporting two endless, bloody wars? Cat got your tongue?
  • National Post: people in Nunavut learn how to cope with their territory’s ban on alcohol imports from Europe. The ban was initiated because the EU is boycotting Canadian seal products, upon which the Nunavut economy is heavily dependent. Isn’t it cute how people in the EU and Canada can both lose out on products they want and maybe even need because their governments can’t get along? How delightful!
  • NYT: not for the faint of heart–trying to reform India’s rape laws. For a flavor of what you’ll get, Human Rights Watch “called for an end to the [finger] test, which as the name suggests, involves inserting fingers into the woman to measure ‘vaginal laxity’ and thereby ascertain whether she was ‘habituated to sex’ before the alleged assault.” Sweet Jesus. Let’s use a test that has a spurious physiological basis to suggest that sexually active women deserve to be raped. Come on, India.
  • The Economist: putting the Afghanistan murder-squad case in the context of a genre of surprisingly similar tales going back to WWII, My Lai, etc. It’s an interesting analysis. And the final commentary is one with which I agree: most Americans would just rather not know this stuff.
  • The Globe & Mail: a former Conservative campaign manager calls for both sides in Canada to get consistent on personal freedoms. Liberals, stop trying to restrict gun rights whilst respecting drug rights. Conservatives, stop trying to restrict drug rights whilst respecting gun rights. Amen!

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