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Quite the surprise how that happened, isn't it?


Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is along on Donald Trump's first overseas trip, just in case Trump needs help selling a spare mansion for $95 million, and probably doing some commerce stuff, too, if Jared lets him. We figure Trump just keeps Wilbur Ross around for laughs, because he is so great at humorous observations, like how the Syrian missile attack was such awesome after-dinner entertainment. He's a funny guy (no, we're not saying he amuses us or makes us laugh, like a clown). Consider this latest laugh-fest by Ross: In an interview on CNBC, he explained the Saudi people must love Donald Trump -- maybe more than Americans do -- because there weren't any protests to spoil the experience:

Ross: There’s no question that they’re liberalizing their society. And I think the other thing that was fascinating to me: There was not a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there. Not one guy with a bad placard, instead there was...

Becky Quick: But Secretary Ross, that may be not necessarily because they don’t have those feelings there, but because they control people and don’t allow to them to come and express their feelings quite the same as we do here.

Ross: In theory, that could be true. But, boy, there was certainly no sign of it, there wasn’t a single effort at any incursion. There wasn’t anything. The mood was a genuinely good mood.

Also, the security guards wanted to snap photos with Ross and they gave him two great big bushels of dates as a lovely parting gift, so how could anyone doubt Team Trump is loved the world over?

We get the impression Wilbur Ross is the sort of guy who, during a 19th century colonial rebellion, would be astonished to learn his servants were joining the uprising. "But... But... they love Bwana!"

We particularly liked Ross's dismissive "in theory" when "Squawk Box" host Becky Quick noted the lack of protests didn't necessarily spring from enthusiastic love of the foreign visitors. We also like that whole bit about "liberalizing" a society where last fall an atheist blogger was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for blasphemy -- remind us to leave our "Blasphemy is a victimless crime" shirt at home. Perhaps the "liberalization" is that the blogger wasn't beheaded.

As the Washington Post notes, six years ago the Saudi theocracy, not wanting any of that Arab Spring nonsense welling up, outright banned public protests. They execute dissidents, and have sentenced four young men to death for protesting such executions. Amnesty International says that in 2016/2017,

The authorities severely curtailed the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, detaining and imprisoning critics, human rights defenders and minority rights activists on vaguely worded charges. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained common, particularly during interrogation, and courts continued to accept torture-tainted “confessions” to convict defendants in unfair trials. Women faced discrimination in both law and practice and were inadequately protected against sexual and other violence [...] Courts imposed many death sentences, including for non-violent crimes and against juvenile offenders; scores of executions were carried out.

But other than that, Mr. Ross, they're pretty nice people, and definitely "liberalizing," because you can buy all the Ivanka Trump crap you want. Besides, Ross's boss has stopped talking about "human rights," because only weaklings care about that stuff.

One thing's for sure -- if somebody protested at a Trump rally in Saudi Arabia, they'd be carried out on a stretcher, all right. Not that Trump would have a rally in Saudi Arabia, because there aren't any elections for national leaders. Now that he's a national leader, Trump would probably be OK with that, too.

If you're of a literary bent, there's this thought from Joyce Carol Oates:

We hear Saudi Arabia doesn't recognize the validity of Godwin's Law, either. Which reminds us...

Why didn't Wilbur Ross's face melt when he gazed upon the Saudi Death Orb?

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[CNBC / WaPo / Amnesty International / Independent]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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