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Warning Signs: Trump and Human Rights

Submitted by David Borden on (Issue #958)
Drug War Issues

The following statement was distributed this morning by Human Rights Watch. One of the issues it touches on is the Philippines drug war killings and the president-elect's troubling conversation with the mass murderer president of the Philippines. (We are doing work related to the Philippines situation that will be announced in the near future. Human Rights Watch was a key partner in our global drug policy sign-on statement prepared for the 2016 UNGASS.)

(Washington, January 20, 2017) -- Donald Trump takes office today having vowed to enact policies that would threaten rights at home and abroad if actually implemented, Human Rights Watch said today. Human rights advocates, elected officials, and members of the public should press the new United States president to abandon those proposals and should call out government actions that violate rights. Congress, the courts, and the people of the United States should demand transparency and hold the administration accountable for policies and actions that threaten rights.

"This inauguration opens up a dangerous and uncertain new era for the United States," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "Even if President Trump acts only on ten percent of the most problematic of his campaign proposals, it will cause a momentous setback for human rights at home and abroad. The onus is now on elected officials and the public to demand respect for rights that the President-elect seems to have put in his crosshairs."

Both during his presidential campaign and since his election, Trump has embraced policies that would harm the rights of millions of people -- from the immigrants he has vowed to deport in vast numbers, to the women whose reproductive rights he has promised to restrict through his judicial appointments. He has at times publicly embraced torture and the illegal targeted killing of civilians abroad. He said he would halt the release of men from Guantanamo Bay detention facility and "load it up with some bad dudes." Trump's pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has a long track record of hostility and disdain towards the very civil rights enforcement tools the US Justice Department is called on to deploy in defense of rights.

Trump's approach to foreign policy appears to embrace close collaboration with repressive governments on a range of issues, without regard for their troubling human rights records. During his confirmation hearing, Rex Tillerson, Trump's nominee for secretary of state, refused to acknowledge human rights violations by Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines, despite extensive documentation of the violations by numerous sources, including the US government.

Greatly compounding all of these concerns, there is every reason to worry that the Trump administration will seek to minimize scrutiny of its actions. Trump and his advisers have regularly and very publicly insulted or smeared his critics. Reports indicate his team is considering restricting media access to the White House. And Trump has famously said that he would like to weaken libel laws to facilitate lawsuits against journalists.

"By trampling on the rights of millions of people in the US and abroad, Trump's proposals if enacted would weaken everybody's rights," Roth said. "Elected officials and the public should call out proposals and policies that would weaken rights, and demand a government that protects them."

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anon (not verified)

Trump's inauguration speech opened my eyes to how dangerous this man truly is.  Trump talks about "forgotten Americans" during an Obama administration that saw huge progress in diversity and acceptance of all Americans, LGBT freedoms, religious freedoms, marijuana freedoms, etc.  So who are these forgotten Americans then if the Obama administration worked hard at not disrespecting a religion, for example, by going to war against any faction of it?  Or an administration that considered all views, religious and nonreligious, when in came to marriage equality.  Some might argue the forgotten Americans are the middle class worker who has had his/her job shipped overseas.  But this is nonsense!  Globalism, like cheap imported goods, are preferred by consumers.  None of these jobs that we shipped overseas was forced upon us.  All we had to do was not go to Wal-mart and mom and pop corner market would still be in your neighborhood.  Plus Trump uses an outdated 20th century and before labor argument in maturing robotic, AI, 3D printing, etc 21st century economies.  The USA has evolved beyond a production based economy, toward financial and service.  We also have a huge technology market share.  So Trump's dire picture of a wasteland America full of closed factories and economic chaos simply is fake news, especially when you consider record US stock index levels and relatively cheap oil.  Perhaps it is the military who have been forgotten?  Yet it seems strange that could be the case when Trump "knows more than the generals."

So who are the forgotten?  The forgotten are really all those who opposed the Obama administration's work toward diversity and acceptance; president Obama haters.  In other words, Trump's forgotten, are the deplorable alt-right.  Together with Trump's new call for nationalism -- to end a non-existent Obama 'admin lack of inclusion for any particular group -- and presumably all those masses of forgotten Americans who could not stand anything other than a conservative republican white Christian view, are about to solve prejudice now? Welcome to the Trumpian rule...

Fri, 01/20/2017 - 11:52pm Permalink
Kizzle (not verified)

Congress has a less than 20% approval rate. No doubt about it, public opinion is consistently ignored. That's what he's talking about when he says "forgotten people", he's playing the populist here. Obamacare in it's current state, not popular. Foreign military interventions, generally not popular. The refugee resettlement program, not popular.You know why he changed his proposal from deporting all illegal immigrants to only deporting criminal immigrants and giving the rest an opportunity for expedited citizenship? Because his original proposal was unpopular, just like his Muslim ban which turned a non-religion based ban from certain countries and then turned into ban which only applied to cases where effective vetting can't occur.

Of course the popular thing to do is not necessarily the right thing to do. However if popular opinion truly matters to him I don't think he'll do any too egregious.

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 10:42am Permalink
Anon (not verified)

In reply to by Kizzle (not verified)

Congress has very little to do with Trump's "forgotten people."  The last eight years saw progress with social issues that matter to people.  The people got healthcare, no one was trying to take planned parenthood away, no one was trying to resurrect a war on marijuana, LGBT got rights, the environment was protected, religion was protected, undocumented folks felt safe, all while the last congress was on the job.  Trump wants to rip healthcare from the people, who want improvements not repeal.  Trump is the ego who wants to tear up President Obama's last 8 years, not improve on it.  The people want peace not war.  There are no forgotten here who don't want war, even the ones waging it.  Everybody is on that page!  The refugee problem is a direct result of US intervention, that nobody wants, but is necessary evil if we want to keep our abused, debt ridden system from collapsing.  There is nothing that Trump wants to do that is popular; he is doing things to erase the legacy of our first black president.  And the majority of the people, DO NOT SUPPORT HIM.  All he has are his "forgotten" few who did not like living under a black president who created social justices for all Americans.  Just look at all the marches across the USA, across the world against Trump.

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 3:41pm Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

In reply to by Mark Mitcham (not verified)

Now that America has been bought by Russia for a few glittering trinkets, you can already see the censorship happening.

Rachel Maddow reported on a power and lights and camera blackout -- literally, the room went dark during the Senate confirmation hearings when Russian influence on American elections was raised; then later the same day, CSPAN was hacked by Russian TV when Rep Maxine Waters was giving a speech about... yep, Russian influence.  What does it mean?  I don't know.  Creepy?  Hell yes!

The way I read it, Sean Spicer's easily disprovable lies about inauguration crowd size means one thing: there will be no more information coming out of this fascist government.  Any "information" voluntarily released by the fascist government will be propaganda, by definition.

Secondly, I expect the internet to go down -- at least for people like you and me.  Why? 1) We live in Russia now (see above.) 2) Progressives rely heavily on the internet for communication and fundraising.  It's a natural fascist attack point. 3) Trump hates free press in general; internet is resistant to censorship by it's nature; thus, it is Trump's enemy, and he knows it. 4) Corporate America already hates the internet, wants to own it.  Trump will seal that deal.

Could I be wrong?  Of course.  I don't claim to be a prophet, or a genius.  Just a very alarmed citizen!  If I'm right, well, it's been nice chatting with all of you!

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 7:34am Permalink
Anon (not verified)

In reply to by Mark Mitcham (not verified)

Dear Mark,

It is much more sinister.  Outgoing VP Biden nailed it in Davos this year when he said that our liberal way of life is under attack.  Russia is a very conservative Christian country, much like conservative religious republicans who do not believe in abortions or climate change or even marijuana.  There is no medical marijuana allowed in Putin's Russia where good people do not consume the devil weed.  Same sex couples have to remain in the closet or underground just like the marijuana trade in Russia, so that they can be marginalized for economic purposes under the hypocrisy of haughty religion that does not accept everybody.  There are no religious freedoms in Russia for anything other than Christians and Muslims.  And much like Spicer's "Alternative facts," the Kremlin's orders for his citizens can go against reality to benefit the leader.   So any Russian interference in our election, real or fake news, has brought on HUGE CONSERVATIVE CHANGES for America.  This is why millions of women marched this week because of the scary uncertainty of Trump's conservative HARD LINE picks.  Putin is smiling right now with the likes of Sessions, DeVos, and other religious nuts who put their faith before science, that Trump is putting in his cabinet.  So it is easy to see that Putin is destroying President Obama's liberal legacy with Donald Trump, whether he was involved in the hack or not.

So what is the deal with Trump?  Why does he seem like a puppet of Putin to turn the USA into a good Christian nation without same sex marriage, occult religions, and open marijuana sales?  There are two possibilities with Trump: (1) The Russian's got something on him that is so bad it will destroy his brand and family name.  He would do anything to protect this.  This seems likely only because Trump, although a republican, ran on libertarian issues -- drain the swamp of politicians.  Trump was all about states rights, and even talked favorably about medical marijuana for example.  NOW this not so democratic, not so republican, one party man Trump is putting conservative republicans in his cabinet, that many are known to take a hard line religious view over reality or science?  If Trump was so libertarian he would be looking for a mix of party members with new and innovative views.  Right?  But instead we are getting folks that will take us back to the good old 1950s.  (2) Trump wants to desperately make peace with Russia to prevent a world war; he believes most of the rhetoric of Alex Jones that Hillary was an evil satanist witch who wanted to start war with Russia.  And of course before the election Russia was moving battleships and preparing their people for war.  So Trump has indeed lowered tensions with Russia with his election, as they celebrated in Russia with champagne.  So if Trump is going for world peace the problem is he going to run into is the same one President Obama ran into when he wanted to stop all the wars and close Gitmo in '09; he got the secret talk that it is national security to keep these wars going in the middle east to keep the oil priced in US dollars to protect US hegemony.  And when Russia took back Ukraine and Crimea from the west, that put yet another crack in the western currency system; so this is why the US and NATO would cooperate under any leadership to prevent the fall to the eastern block of Russia/China.  Now comes Donald Trump who wants to buck this western agenda of survival to cozy up with Russia who is in direct opposition to our western needs?  He will either flip on Russia or he is Putin's puppet, that is the deal.  Either way the USA is losing it's liberal agenda of diversity and acceptance for a hard line conservative approach that Putin is loving.

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 5:01pm Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

In reply to by Anon (not verified)

That is an analysis that goes more in-depth than I am capable of confirming, but I don't disagree with any of that, and I accept it as thoroughly plausible.

In my comments about the internet, I should have made the relationship to human rights more clear; that this was itself a human rights concern, because groups that defend human rights in our society depend heavily on the internet these days, in general.  So, losing the internet would be an indirect, but huge, blow to the cause of human rights, for that reason.

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 9:13am Permalink
Jack (not verified)

Muslim Terrorists have already gone down in history as the most messed up religion in the world. Think about it. They have problems with Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and even kill each other for being wrong kind of Muslims.
They are using the human rights tactic as shield; but, they are definitely creating instability of the  host countries in the world  and committed crime against humanity!
Right groups just highlighted the parts which they want to share to the world instead of expression the whole stories of Muslim Terrorists. They are  turning a blind eye on the whole stories .
“When do you see the Right groups solving problems? They don't. They cause problems.”They are spreading false statement based on Muslim Terrorists fake news.
Thu, 01/26/2017 - 2:59am Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

In reply to by Jack (not verified)

What about your rights, dumbass?  Do you think I have a  right to torture you?  Maybe I will, is that okay with you?

Not some Muslim.  You, motherfucker.  How about if I start cutting off your fingers?

If you're not okay with that, why not?  And if not, what makes you so goddamn special?  Let me guess: you're white.

You chickenshit racists make me want to puke.  On you.


Thu, 01/26/2017 - 7:24am Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

In reply to by Mark Mitcham (not verified)

And before you start accusing me of making death threats, let me remind you that when I say "I" I mean "we" as in "We The People" IN YOUR NAME, AND MINE.  It will be some faceless killer doing it, on behalf of you and me: The American People.  You don't get to apply human rights selectively.  That's why it's your fingers on the chopping block.  And YOUR HAND on the knife.  Courtesy of Trump and his supporters!

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 10:18am Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

In reply to by Mark Mitcham (not verified)

I might really puke on someone, though.

That comment by Jack, and his soulless indifference to human suffering, really does make me nauseous.  So don't push me.  I've done it before!

But that doesn't make me evil.  More of a public nuisance, really...

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 10:37am Permalink
Anon (not verified)

In reply to by Mark Mitcham (not verified)


Bro, you need to calm down and read what Jack is trying to say.  He is calling out an old problem that the right is exploiting for political gain.  This is what this cat is trying to say.  There is no need to curse Jack out.  Keep beating on Drump everyday.  That is the focus.  This guy is gonna be exposed as a sick authoritarian who wants to torture fellow human beings, wants to take away a woman's choice, wants to condemn an entire religion, wants to break up families, is creating huge amounts of anxiety for many groups with his crazy and uncertain policies, on and on and on....

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 12:19pm Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

In reply to by Anon (not verified)

Jack makes it clear he opposes "rights" groups; he says they ONLY create problems.  He sounds like he's casting a wide net -- "rights" groups include not only human rights, but civil rights, women's rights, and more.  That's just more Trump propaganda -- in other words, bullshit.

You say he's "calling out an old problem that the right is trying to exploit for political gain" but what would that be, exactly?  The ACLU?  Planned Parenthood?  BLACKLIVESMATTER?  These the "rights" groups.  These are old problems?  Who else would he be talking about?  Bro, you're not making sense.

No.  Jack is saying that human rights groups like ACLU are the problem, when in fact the problem is Trump and all he represents: human rights abuse.  I can't read Jack's mind; I can only go by what he said.  That's what he said, and I find it repugnant.  That's why I called bullshit.

Me?  I'll calm down just as soon as Trump, Pence, and Sessions all line up and kiss my ass.

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 2:33pm Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

In reply to by Anon (not verified)

He said "human rights" is a "tactic" that "Muslim terrorists" are using as  a "shield."

I've don't know "jack" about Jack, but that sure sounds like White supremacist propaganda!

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 2:48pm Permalink
Anon (not verified)

In reply to by Mark Mitcham (not verified)

English is obviously a second language to the Jack blogger.  I take his use of the word "right" to mean the political right.  They are the ones in charge now and have no solutions and are creating the problems.  This is what I take from this.  But then again, I am always trying to first see the good in people before I look for the darkness.

Even Trump, as much as I think he is an egotistical moron who is destroying the USA, has some good.  Somewhere.

There is a good possibility that Trump will further medical marijuana.  Since his administration is looking for closer ties with Israel, and possibility their advanced MMJ and coming exports, we could see joint cooperation between the two countries concerning MMJ.  And with Canada looking favorable to legalize in the coming years with the recent report, Trump would have to be a complete business moron to keep the USA behind in marijuana just because his attorney general does not think pot smokers are good people.


So not all is bad.

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 9:08pm Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

In reply to by Anon (not verified)

I disagree.  Your manner is reasonable, and some of what you say is true, but what you are saying just doesn't add up.

I can't read Jack's mind; perhaps he would care to clarify what he meant by "Right."  Maybe Jack misspoke when he dismissed the entire topic of human rights as a "Muslim terrorist tactic."  Or maybe he meant what he said, and he would like to see Trump start ramping up torture abroad and here at home.  Who fucking knows?  I'm not Kreskin the mind-reader! But neither of you remarkably similar-minded individuals have addressed the real issue here: Human Rights and the threat Trump poses to Human Rights.

Perhaps you think pot-smokers only care about smoking pot, and don't give a shit about social justice.  Maybe you think we'll give Trump a "pass" if he just doesn't fuck with "us."  But we are diverse.  We are Muslim.  We are women.  We are black.  We are Mexican.  We are gay.  We are Atheist.  We are diverse.  So yeah, many of us take that shit personally.  "We" HELL, white man!

Maybe pot-smoking Tump supporters think they will be spared when the shit comes down, so long as they're wearing their "Trump That Bitch" T-shirt.  We'll see!  Those T-shirts, they're not bullet-proof or anything.  But for others of us stoners, marijuana has been a Teacher, it has opened our eyes to systemic social injustice.

With open eyes, and an honest assessment, it's hard to see how Trump is anything but bad for the larger cause of social justice -- including marijuana policy.

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 10:28pm Permalink

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