Give Sanctuary Or Get Sanctioned
March 23, 2021
- Michigan is offering free college for essential workers. The rest of the country should follow suit (Business Insider)
- They’re back for a second chance: The return of “extinct” species (CBS News)
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” — Henry David Thoreau
Give Sanctuary Or Get Sanctioned
(Ng Han Guan via Getty Images)
Last Friday the Biden administration’s first high-level talks between the US and China collapsed over Beijing’s human rights record. “There are a number of areas where we are fundamentally at odds,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “including China’s actions in Xinjiang, with regard to Hong Kong, Tibet, increasingly Taiwan, as well as actions that it is taking in cyberspace. And … when we raised those issues clearly and directly we got a defensive response.”
Both sides then turned to their allies for support. China prepared to receive Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, while Blinken went to Brussels to discuss China with European allies.
On Monday it was announced that the UK and the EU will join the US and Canada in imposing parallel sanctions on four senior Chinese officials involved in the mass internment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province. The move — which includes travel bans and asset freezes — marks the first such western action against Beijing since President Biden took office, and the first time in 30 years that Britain or the EU has punished China for human rights abuses. China reciprocated immediately by blacklisting 10 EU diplomats and members of the European parliament (MEP), and four think tanks.
The EU was anticipating signing a major investment deal with China ever since reaching an agreement in principle at the end of 2020. The EU-China Investment Agreement was supposed to rebalance the levels of market access and investment, open up Chinese markets and provide some protection against forced labor. The pact has yet to be ratified by the European parliament, and now might not be. After talks ended Friday, the MEP chair of the conference on the future of Europe said: “China just killed [the agreement] by sanctioning the people criticizing slave labor [and] genocide in Xinjiang. How could we ever trust them to improve the human rights situation of the Uighurs if they simply call it ‘fake news.’”
Britain had declined to impose its own sanctions on China, but came onboard hours after the EU went forward. Labor party opposition accused UK’s foreign secretary of waiting for the EU to take action to avoid being singled out for punishment by China. The shadow foreign secretary described the announcement as “a grubby, cynical, last-ditch attempt to buy votes ahead of a backbench rebellion later today. The foreign secretary has repeatedly refused to sanction Chinese officials for more than two years and only now, after the US and EU have done so and he is facing defeat in the Commons, is he reluctantly forced to take action,” she said.
“If anything sums up just how utterly inconsistent the government’s approach to China is, today the foreign secretary will apply sanctions to officials responsible for human rights abuses and in the same breath insist on the right to sign trade deals with countries that commit genocide.” (Politico, Guardian, Reuters)
An Inconvenient Thunder Down Under
(Saeed Khan via Getty Images)
- One year ago Australia suffered its worst wildfires in its history. Now two massive storms have converged over the eastern part of the country, dumping more than three feet of rain in five days.
- The deluge is another record breaker, with the worst flooding in either 50 years, or 100 years, depending on what happens with downpours expected to continue through Tuesday night. So far almost 20,000 Australians have been evacuated and more than 150 schools have been closed.
- Roads are drowned out from Sydney up into the state of Queensland 500 miles north. At least 500 people have been rescued. Scientists say that both forms of catastrophic events are the result of a planet being warmed by greenhouse gasses. The pattern of intensification — more extreme hot days and heat waves, and more intense rainfalls over short periods — will represent Australia’s new normal. (NYT, $)
Additional World News
- China Makes It A Crime To Question Military Casualties On The Internet (NPR)
- Think Covid’s Messed Up Your Travel Plans? Try Getting Into China. (NYT, $)
- The U.S. and China Finally Get Real With Each Other (Atlantic, $)
- A Violent End to a Desperate Dream Leaves a Guatemalan Town Grieving (NYT, $)
- Rohingya Refugees Forced To Flee Massive Fire At Camp In Bangladesh (NPR)
- Lebanon’s Financial Collapse Hits Where It Hurts: The Grocery Store (NYT, $)
- Unmasked: man behind cult set to replace QAnon (Guardian)
- Arrests Shake Up a Soccer Scene in Serbia Ruled by Gangsters and ‘Gravediggers’ (NYT, $)
- “You’re not leaving”: For a third time, judge rejects bail for Ghislaine Maxwell (ABC News)
- No vaccines, no leadership, no end in sight. How Brazil became a global threat (CNN)
- Welcome to the age of vaccine diplomacy (Verge)
- Covid-19 Is Surging in India, but Vaccinations Are Slow (NYT, $)
- Grandma’s ready to hit the town: The 65+ Crowd Is Vaccinated and Ready to Party (NYT, $)
Old McDonald Has A Problem With This EIEI-O
- Supreme Court justices heard arguments on Monday in a case pitting California’s agricultural growers against the United Farm Workers union (UFW). The case revolves around nearly 50-year-old legislation stemming from the work of famed union organizer Cesar Chavez. The 1975 law allows organizers limited access to farms so they can seek support from workers in forming a union.
- Growers challenging the law contend that California, by giving union organizers a limited right of access to farms, is authorizing a mass trespass on the growers’ private property, which amounts to an unconstitutional taking. They argue that growers either have the right to exclude whomever they want — i.e. bar organizers from their private property — or the state should pay them “just compensation.”
- In 1976 the California Supreme Court ruled against a similar challenge from the growers, and the Supreme Court declined to take up the case. With a more conservative majority on the court, and support from the Trump administration, growers tried again. Last month the Biden administration withdrew the Trump administration’s brief and filed one arguing California’s regulation “does not constitute a per se taking of private property.” (NPR)
What’s The Unhappy Ending To This Unhappy Story?
- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was tried and sentenced to death for the 2013 Boston marathon bombings that killed three people and injured 260 others. His older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had died in a police shootout shortly after the bombings.
- In 2020, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston upheld Tsarnaev’s conviction on 27 counts, but overturned his death penalty, in part because the trial judge had excluded evidence that the older brother might have dominated and intimidated his younger brother.
- On Monday, the Supreme Court said it would review the appeal court’s decision. Nancy Gertner, a retired federal judge who now teaches at Harvard Law School, noted that the Trump administration had sought Supreme Court review. Since Tsarnaev will never leave prison, Gertner queried whether the Biden administration should consider not pursuing an appeal that could be “unnecessarily traumatizing for the victims’ families and the City of Boston.” (NYT $)
Additional USA News
- Police: 10 people killed in Colorado supermarket shooting (AP)
- How Senator Ron Johnson Helps Erode Confidence in Government (NYT, $)
- Conservative contrarians: How ‘Owning the Libs’ Became the GOP’s Core Belief (Politico)
- Evidence in Capitol Attack Most Likely Supports Sedition Charges, Prosecutor Says (NYT, $)
- Access, Influence and Pardons: How a Set of Allies Shaped Trump’s Choices (NYT, $)
- How to Collect $1.4 Trillion in Unpaid Taxes (NYT, $)
- George Bush’s moment of blinding clarity (CNN)
- GOP warns HR 1 could be ‘absolutely devastating for Republicans’ (ABC News)
- Garland Is the Last, Best Chance to Uncover Trump’s Role on January 6th (New Yorker, $)
- Your Home’s Value Is Based on Racism (NYT, $)
- Police Mishandled Black Lives Matter Protests, Reports Say (NYT, $)
The American Dream VS The Snooze Button
- Every society has a few important life milestones, and those achievements are often tied to a specific timeline. For example, Western societies prioritize moments like graduating from college at 22, getting married by 30, having kids and buying a house before 35. Success is marked by ticking off the boxes. But if we miss a deadline, does that mean we’re failing in our lives or careers. And where did those notions come from anyway?
- How these mysterious societal norms get set is a combination of social, economic and technological factors. Parents and families play a huge role, especially around expectations for the timing of getting married and having kids. Most baby boomers in Western societies generally married in their 20s, bought a house and had kids soon after. Subsequently, they transferred those expectations and that timeline to their millennial children.
- Changes in technology and the economy, advances in science and even the political climate from generation to generation can turn what once seemed like a social necessity into an antiquated expectation. And millennials in the US and the UK aren’t hitting the milestones their parents thought important — they were born into a very different world than the one their parents knew, and are navigating it in a very different way.
- Millennials are marrying later than their parents, seven years on average, or they’re not getting married at all. Women are having children later than their baby boomer parents, waiting until age 29 or older. On average millennials are better educated than previous generations — nearly 40% in the US have a bachelor’s degree compared to only a quarter of baby boomers. It’s much more common now for women to pursue education and careers. In 1966, for instance, only 40% of women aged 22 to 37 were employed, but by 2020 that number had shot up to 72%.
- Similarly, the homeownership rate for millennials is 8% lower than it was for the preceding two generations. They’re entering the workforce later, and starting to save to buy a home later too. And for many millennials, debt from financing college, along with the costs of home ownership, means that fewer millennials can even afford to buy a home.
- There’s lots of pressure to live up to certain life achievements on a strict timeline. But it should be understood that those timelines are often arbitrary and antiquated. Bottom Line: It’s more important to make personal milestones that are meaningful, instead of clinging to outdated expectations. (BBC)
- An interview with FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, one of the biggest donors to Joe Biden. (Vox)
- NFT mania is here, and so are the scammers (Verge)
- I Don’t Want My Role Models Erased (NYT, $)
- The Nazi-Fighting Women of the Jewish Resistance (NYT, $)
- SF poop-testing startup, once compared to Theranos, charged in $60M fraud scheme (SFGate)
- Elon Musk declared himself ‘technoking’. He’s just a hyper-capitalist clown (Guardian)
- How Stimulus Checks Are Driving a Stock Buying Spree (NYT, $)
- $325,000 Settlement for Teacher Over Trump References Removed From Yearbook (NYT, $)
- How to relax after a stressful workday: The 3 types of rest you need (Fast Company)
- Our research shows working from home works, in moderation (Guardian). Maybe not every day for a whole year, though.
- Why Retro-Looking Games Get So Much Love (Wired, $)
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU