Going To Cut Khashoggi Into Little Pieces

As a terrible week comes to a close, Trump’s supporters, both in Congress and the insane right wing press, are now out pushing scurrilous and scandalous bullshit about Mr. Khashoggi, not to mention now playing up the celebration of Trumpian Congressional asshole like Gianforte physically assaulting innocent reporters like Ben Jacobs.

So, here we are. Here is what “journalists” like Chris Matthews and @MSNBC are propagating. It was just a “fistfight” gone wrong! Yep, that is the ticket. In fairness, Matthews pulled back just a tad after that craven open and display. But not much.

So, why is this where the big media is, much less the so called “liberal” haven of MSNBC?

It is all total bullshit. But, thanks to the cowardice of the “independent media”, it is all a joke. Do not even get me started about the joke and lie that was the visit of Chuck Todd and his show “Meet The Press” that supposedly happened here yesterday. It was a total fraud. I tried to arrive almost three hours ahead of time to what Todd and his bleating PR machine advertised as a chance for people of my neighborhood to “participate”. What a lie, and what a joke.

It was everything but that. But, hey, Todd, @MSNBC and @CNN are going to dissect this story like they ought to while, at the same time, propagating the beyond incredible horseshit coming out of the White House and the KSA in total coordination that is insulting to any human’s intelligence.

Almost like it is a conspiracy.

By the way, where did Jared go???

123 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Thanks for this.  It’s been a long week.

    Noam Chomsky must find this behavior familiar and depressing.  The American press seems to normalize whatever this president and his foreign allies do, regardless of the behavior, regardless of its implications, be they social, political, or criminal.

    A fistfight gone wrong?  Must have been a tag team match, what with a fifteen-person Saudi team against a lone, middle-aged journalist.

    Thankfully, at least one commentator on MSNBC called the latest Saudi “explanation” what it is: a naked lie.  Once in a blue moon the truth comes out.

    The American president cannot control what other world leaders do.  He has some control over how their words and deeds are received: with trust and respect or utter disbelief.

    Mr. Trump seems to look on the Saudi king as he does Putin and Duterte, with jealousy and longing that he cannot yet behave the same here.  But he’s working on it.  Much of the press cheers him on.

    • Eureka says:

      Much of the press cheers him on.

      They are working themselves out of their jobs.  An interesting* case where self-interests conflict at different scales.

      *Well, OK, it’d be merely ‘interesting’ if it wasn’t our democracy at stake.  But whatevs.

    • Webstir says:

      “The American press seems to normalize whatever this president and his foreign allies do … .”

      Here, let me help you with that:

      “The American press seems to normalize whatever [any] president and his foreign allies do … .”

      There. That’s better.

      • J R in WV says:

        “The American press seems to normalize whatever [any] Republican presidents and his their foreign allies do … .”

        Can you even pretend the American Press normalized President Obama, or Secretary Clinton? Because if you attempt to claim that, we will all know that you are a Russian Troll, as your ‘nym indicates. Amazing claim to postulate that the Press normalized anything Obama ever did. His clothes were wrong, let alone his religion, his wife, his daughters, his citizenship, his race, all was perverted and anti-American. Or can you not remember 4 years ago?

        When his Supreme Court nominee, required by the constitution, was rejected without a hearing!?!?!!!

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I think the Carey-Chomsky-Herman thesis concerning the press’s manufacturing of consent is issue-based rather than personality-based.

          The press didn’t object much when Mr. Obama institutionalized the ad hoc power grabs by his predecessor and put them on a more defensible legal footing.  Or when he reinforced the elite consensus by sending more troops into an unwinnable conflict in Afghanistan.  There, the press normalized the power consensus.

          Where it objected, Mr. Obama threatened to upset one of power’s applecarts.  His healthcare legislation was a threat, for example.  He worked round it (at enormous cost to individuals) by protecting drug company profits and prices, and by giving health insurers long lead times that allowed them to lock in profits well ahead of a new class of expenses, such as insuring preexisting conditions.

        • Webstir says:

          Oh for crying out loud. People here know me & you’ll find my handle over at Naked Capitalism, Ian Welsh, Eschaton, etc.

          And yes, they normalized Saint Obama & Hillary. Libya? Drone attacks? Ignoring Yemen. Yes, all that happened on their watch. Get real. Stop being so tribal and use your brains.

          • Vern says:

            “you’ll find my handle over at Naked Capitalism, Ian Welsh, Eschaton, etc.”

            I’ll give you Duncan Black, but you’re not helping your case with NC and Ian Welsh.

            NC was/is infested with trolls touting Trump and Trumpism  and Lambert Strether is apparently bowel challenged (a really, really miserable guy), who might as well be posting @4chan.  The rest is dispirited Stalinist whinging with some MMT thrown in for cover.

            Here, have a pony (you whiny git)!

            • bmaz says:

              Hey now, I don’t always agree with his pessimism, but Ian Welsh is a good friend, and former colleague, to me, Marcy, Ed Walker and Jim White. We like him. And the same can be said for for a couple of people at Naked Capitalism, in fact Ed has posted there numerous times before.

              • Vern says:

                Sure, OK.

                I guess I’ll admit to some trauma as a former regular reader of NC (where Ian is routinely featured in Links) when I read stuff like “Trump is the lesser effective evil”, and “let’s let Trump blow it all up so we we can construct our socialist paradise from the rubble” — to paraphrase.  The commentariat that remains there is detestable.  I’ll also admit that they may not be actual Stalinists, just garden variety disagreeable cranks.

                Susan Webber (aka Yves Smith) hasn’t had an original thought in a decade at least.

                So, I’ll give you Jerri Lynn Scofield when she’s not writing about India, and Gaius is a good guy, but I can read him @ DwT.

          • orionATL says:

            look, webstir, you are an idealogue, a narrow-focused fool. it happens that the world of political concerns is bigger than your small vision of “the right”, bigger than the single issue of killing people by drones orcany kind of war. perhaps you’ve noticed that murderous intraspecies conflict (war) is a special charactetistic of the human species documented from at leastv10000 yrs ago in kenya.

            you clearly belong to that contemptible group of idealogues i call “the righteous progressives”, those who are the precise leftwing analogue of the rightwing tea party – foolish and destuctive fanatics,

        • Webstir says:

          “His clothes were wrong, let alone his religion, his wife, his daughters, his citizenship, his race, all was perverted and anti-American.”

          Oh, well then. You must be right. All those things definitely equate to killing innocent people with drones.

          Good lord …

          • orionATL says:

            see my comment at 6:40pm.

            your noisy righteousness is not at all impressive, webstir. it reeks of argumentative opportunism.

  2. Trip says:

    It’s not just Trump, or especially Trump. He is detestable, no doubt. But it is every.single.person.inside.the GOP who has sold their souls to the devil for money. Watching Pompeo smiling broadly with the Butcher of the Sauds; racing right over there to kiss his murderous ass and take PR photos, while there was no necessity (they don’t have the leverage over the US, well maybe Kushner) but further, it was disgusting. Lindsey Graham and his get tough bullshit is just so..extra. He’ll never stop licking Trump’s boots like an attention-starved lapdog. And where are the rest of them? Where are they condemning the body slam comment right after a Trump sanctioned murder? Psychopaths, all of them.

    NO ONE believes the MbS explanation. It is stupid, wildly implausible and not worth even humoring. They slaughtered the man. And they did it for all the world to see because that is how Trump rolls, in that they knew he’d be okay with it.

    • bmaz says:

      That is exactly right. But it is, at this point, pretty clearly bigger than just the MbS explanation, the pitch was crafted not just by the MbS team, but that in conjunction with Kushner starting many days ago, and Trump WH communications, including Pompeo.

      This is a staged show.

      • Trip says:

        I agree. I hope intelligence on Kushner will one day be revealed, because you know they have him over a barrel. The storyline is so absurd, did they even try? Are they hopelessly dumb? Or is it another level of in-your-face ‘we know this makes no sense, but we’re gonna get away with it anyway’?

        What is also disgraceful are the legions of “legit” (aside from the troll/bots) news orgs, pols, lobbyists (propagandists) muddying up Khashoggi, to try to make it into a justifiable homicide. It’s so deranged and sickening.

    • Webstir says:

      “But it is every.single.person.inside.the GOP who has sold their souls to the devil for money.”

      Here, let me help you with that.

      “But it is every.single.person.inside.the [beltway] who has sold their souls to the devil for money.”

      There. That’s better.

      Please, let’s not excuse the corporate democrats.

      • Trip says:

        Sorry, your general whataboutism is a slogan, not a cogent argument in response to this murder, the cover-up, and the absolute wall of GOP support, regardless of how far this regime moves toward fascism, because it is the goal. Money is the root of all government problems and wars, etc. But no other president has run businesses during office, benefiting personally from whatever fucked up policy he endorses. We are in a completely different realm here and your false equivalency is a tired old device.

          • Trip says:

            bmaz, you’ve read my comments where I’ve had criticisms; one example: Schumer, another Cuomo, et al. But we just had a situation where the GOP came right out and said that they had to vote a certain way or they wouldn’t get campaign money. Yes, all sides are beholden, and none of it to the constituency, except by way of serendipity. But the situation has escalated and is reaching Orwellian proportions, where Trump is positioning himself as puppet autocrat, and there are no checks and balances. In the past, we’ve seen some of the Dems come out against Obama policy.
            None of that is happening now. It’s a wall of support, no matter how drastic, undemocratic or against human/civil rights the path moves. I’m the last person you would call a robotic Dem cheerleader, FFS. I just felt that the standard “the Dems are bad too” line was derailing the reality of where we have arrived. Also, specific to this subject, which Dem, exactly, is making excuses for Khassogi’s slaughter?

            • bmaz says:

              Also, specific to this subject, which Dem, exactly, is making excuses for Khassogi’s slaughter?

              Not sure any have nor was I aware there was such a claim.

              • Trip says:

                I did not assert that you did. My prior comment asked where the GOP was, why none of have come out strongly against this specific incident or Trump hailing body-slams (violence) against journalists. Wherein a little while later, I got the ‘everyone sold their souls’ retort. We are seeing at least some Dems come out very strongly against the murder. The question about the Dems was rhetorical.

        • Webstir says:

          Trip, they’re whimsical. They have NO political coherence except following the corporate cash. If they line up on the right side in this ‘particular’ instance, then it’s not because they are moral. It’s because that’s where they bet the corporations will line up. If we excuse them, the race to the bottom continues.

          • Steve13209 says:

            I agree we should not excuse them, but in a 2-party system, voters have to pick one. Using bothsiderism is not helpful if you want policy changes. I understand the Dems wouldn’t change policy much initially, but there is a choice to be made. Schumer is my Senator…I die a little when I hear him make public statements, but I still vote for him.

            I agree about the lack of morality and lining up for Corporate money. I assume that is why the Dems are not simply running on popular policy issues and spending lavishly on GOTV efforts. The time where either party can convert voters is over. It’s all about turnout now.

            • r helder says:

              steve, you ably articulate what i’ve been unable to for some time:  “in a two party system, voters have to pick one;  “i die a little when i hear him make public statements, but i still vote.” 

              in an imperfect world, the perfect remains the enemy of a step in the right direction

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I agree that Trump, Pompeo and their underlings tried to control the public talking points about this Saudi state murder.  They chewed over how to respond and offered up the least satisfactory explanation that acknowledged the impossible to ignore fact that Khashoggi is dead and the Saudi government killed him.

      This purported explanation has the earmarks of Trump/Mueller/Bannon.  It has the necessary red meat for Trump’s base that wants its leaders Old Testament hard and unforgiving.  It is a grand fuck you to the international community that team Trump hates with a passion.  It is a declaration of impunity and it fits like a glove Trump’s dedication to a fossil fuels-only energy strategy.  If you don’t like it, heat your house in winter with spit.

      That is inverted leadership that needs to be cast out, lest it drag the rest of us into the pit with them.  Given that the GOP has gone all-in for Trump, casting out its members from Congress would be a good start.

      • Ken Muldrew says:

        Kasparov: “Obvious lies serve a purpose for an administration. They watch who challenges them and who loyally repeats them. The people must watch, too.”

        A bit ham-handed with this bunch (changing the story every hour, waiting to see if Fox News will play ball) compared to the Russian Grandmaster, but still taken from the autocrat’s playbook, for all that.

  3. John Forde says:

    I wake up every morning to NPR. One morning I heard “Gianforte is being criminally charged.” I sat straight up in bed. Me? Why —JohnForde

  4. Avattoir says:

    Thankfully SoS Pompeo had the foresight (or hindsight, or both) to (claim) not to have listened to or read anything (he was given) that would directly conflict with this rather mundane report that yesterday (or at least October the 2nd, 2018, the Saudi prince & his many aides & allies realizing, after 16 days of reflection & consultation, all this required the kind of story emptywheel’s new puppy would be ashamed to come out with) – a day that shall live in (credulous) infamy (and hopefully be largely if not completely forgotten over or its significance buried under the news cycles remaining between now and November 6) the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – in the form of innocent KSA civil servants (15 KSA trained security officials, including, by one in a bizarre & untenable pile-on of preposterous supposed coincidences, an expert in autopsies who, in another of them, just happened to be sporting a bone saw, and, by another of them, all under the direct or indirect command of the person who by yet another is effectively the brutal dictator of KSA)  who (by still another such coincidence) happened to be in or in immediate proximity to the public reception area of its consulate in Istanbul, Turkey – was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the navel & other unarmed bodily forces of (a portly 59 year old Indiana State University-educated professional journalist there all by himself to request a marriage document) a (someone who currently is undergoing radical character & reputation transformation into an) violently insane dissident with ties to (in the sense of journalistic history of having interviewed, reported on and written about) international Islamoterrorism (including a suicidal penchant for attacking overwhelming numbers of younger bigger fitter stronger Muslims each of whom happens to be trained to kill) … and then it just (slipped all their minds to file a report with local authorities or actually tell anyone outside of KSA command) was all lost in bureaucratic red tape.

    Good enough for This is Hardball Tweetybird!

    • bmaz says:

      Heh, yes.  Though, I will say, I have not yet personally met June Bug, the canine terrorist yet. I hope to, and hope to, somehow, finagle a meet up with PuppyQ of our household.

      • Eureka says:

        Lol I didn’t even realize it was a single sentence until your comment.  A testament to Avattoir’s wordsmithery, as I was rapt rather than grumbling the whole way through.

    • Michael Schmitt says:

      I read that he was injected with a drug. Maybe he was then paralyzed with this solution, but could still feel pain. His keyboard fingers were amputated, then his arms and legs were cut off. Then he died of blood loss unless they keep him alive with tourniquets so that he could be drawn and decapitated. This is what they do in the “Kingdum”. Can you imagine these folks with atomic bombs?

      • bmaz says:

        “These people”?? This is NOT the kind of asinine and bigoted speculation we do here. That is strike two. Three and you are out.

  5. Eureka says:

    Thanks, bmaz.  These horrible people are trying to drain the daylight out of us.

    I wonder if Erdogan will make a next move, or will go quietly away on this topic, suggesting some form of compensation.

    This whole Turkey/KSA/USA triangle (lopping off a few other sides for a moment) has reminded me of the pre-election deal-makings (and how their outcomes remain at least partially unknown).  What was the KSA/UAE quid-pro-quo?  Just the imprimatur of US approval? What did Turkey want but not get.  Same?

    Turkey has just been very noisy for US attention.  Like when all were getting their irons in the fire pre-/ca-RNC, and Turkey had the (staged) failed coup (7-15-16).  They seemed to be getting somewhere with Flynn and the symbolic rendition of Gulen, then things dropped off when Flynn got canned, as I recall.  Next, they are intermittently hacking US journalists’ twitter accounts with pro-Turkey messaging.  (Skipping some stuff…) then very noisy about their evidence of Saudi butchery.

    I can’t decide if Turkey is acting like they have leverage or trying to get some.   Of course with the rhetorical re-butchery of Khashoggi, KSA-and-friends are pissing off other ME interests, besides anyone with a care for truth.

      • Eureka says:

        Thanks, Trip- this was a good read (thanks for caveats) with the comments a nice sample of how different POVs bend or break simple interpretations.

        I’m trying to remember from back pre-election to now if the Russian Syria quid pro quo takes care of the Kurds in a way that Turkey also wants.  If so, then maybe Turkey is now making noise over other issues, KSA/regional eminence included.

        I also found Fuller’s parallels between KSA and Israel quite apt, though he leaves out the 45 admin-and-affiliates’ roles in their becoming discrete dominant forces in US foreign policy (I mean here he acts like KSA and Israel are just being KSA and Israel, as if 45’s given them no reinforcement).

        I’ll have to elaborate later, but I see that tv programming for the religious right focuses on KSA/UAE as ‘friends we are proselytizing to,’ and Israel as ‘our friend whom the audience must be prepared to support when the world condemns them.’  That’s our ‘foreign policy.’

        • Trip says:

          The Israel lobbying preceded Trump. But no doubt, the Kushner family’s tight bond with Netanyahu (he stayed at their house), their investments in settlements, and staunch Zionism were seen as advantageous for the ever-growing hard right shift there. Obama was seen as an enemy (ask top-lobbyist Dershowitz).



          For me, it is difficult to know who the actual driver is: Is Israel determining US policy in the ME, or is the US driving Israel? Who is the proxy? Billions of US tax dollars go to Israel. And billions of dollars flow into the US for donations and lobbying.

          • Eureka says:

            For me, it is difficult to know who the actual driver is: Is Israel determining US policy in the ME, or is the US driving Israel? Who is the proxy?

            And as indicated above that in your text/links, who is driving policy in the US?  I feel the same way, it is a prism one can turn and see  differently depending on the sun dial, but lately the koan* has landed such that Israel is the driver while we nap in the back seat or run mutually beneficial errands.

            * in this sense:

            The effort to “solve” a koan is intended to exhaust the analytic intellect and the egoistic will, readying the mind to entertain an appropriate response on the intuitive level…

    • Michael Schmitt says:

      Let’s not forget that his thugs beat up protesters in Washington D.C, and got away without much of a peep from W.H.

  6. Burt Berman says:

    Great piece and comments.  Think you meant terrible “week” coming to end, not weekend.  Still much time for the weekend to take us off the cliff.

  7. Burt Berman says:

    Btw…Chuck Todd always disappoints. In every respect; don’t let it get you down: Only castles burning—- Unless one is a sports jock, which I am not. So I have no way to evaluate whether the sports quips are special, or not. I would guess not, but …

    • Rayne says:

      First, ‘concealed carry’ isn’t a partisan or right/left issue. Second, do not go one step further toward advocating violence in this venue or your comment will be ejected.

  8. JKSF says:

    A fistfight or a ham sandwich? What is reality Papa? Gaslight tonight. They know, we know, they know, we know they are lying. The fucking with our heads slowly consciously unhinged.

  9. Webstir says:

    Ok, Rayne. I said my ‘peace.’

    Please do explain though, how concealed carry isn’t a partisan issue. But a partner in my law office holds CC classes. Guess who comes to them?

    • Rayne says:

      There are a lot of variables dictating who comes to a CC class — like where you are located. I live in an area that identifies +75% Republican. Guess who goes to CC classes here?

      Gun ownership including concealed carry isn’t partisan; it’s been distorted into partisanship by the NRA for reasons including power and money. Guns have also been a key component of the disinformation warfare used for the last several years. The partisanship is bullshit. I own guns, for example; this household relies on wild game as part of its regular diet. I also believe in assault weapon and bump stock bans along with personal accountability combined with gun locks and gun safes. And I’m a liberal who votes Democratic Party.

      • Webstir says:

        Our firearm experiences track closely. I don’t; however, describe myself as a liberal. I’m a democratic socialist. Some would call that semantics. I think they’re wrong. The class distinction must be constantly reinforced or else we become liable divide and conquer identity politics.  It has to be about class.

        That said, I do agree with you in principle that the ‘partisanship is bullshit.’ In practice, however, political identity tactics have made gun ownership a partisan issue. That distinction does not exist from a class analysis. Furthermore, it can’t continue to exist if the left wants to coalesce in any meaningful and enduring way. Bernie was right in largely staying quiet on the gun ownership divide. He gets it.

  10. Kevin Hayden says:

    The poor outnumbered Saudi interrogators had no choice but to defend their Prince’s honor after they discovered Khashoggi dumping babies from incubators.

    Seems legit. Let’s run it by the Nazis in flyover country to hear how they discovered that Khashoggi was responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

  11. Rick says:

    Perhaps the Washington Post can keep this on the front page long enough to make a difference. They certainly seem to be trying to do so.

  12. Tommy D Cosmology says:

    Chuck Todd, he’s such a feckless Chuck.

    I’ve been wondering how it would have gone down if Flynn did actually try to kidnap that cleric in Pennsylvania for Erdogan. I mean, I know people have been wrongfully extradited from the US, but these clowns are reckless and stupid and mean.

  13. CroFandango says:


    “I also believe in assault weapon and bump stock bans along with personal accountability combined with gun locks and gun safes.”

    I get how bans and gun locks and gun safes work. How does “personal accountability” work?

  14. Jan says:

    Jared, MBS’s ‘buddy’, who shared a number of late into the night gabfests with Mister Bone Saw, is somehow ‘not to be questioned by press’, as enforced by SS on a plane, or otherwise inconvenienced with queries at this time. While reports dating back a year ago, speak to MBS’s penchant for bragging –  that he had ‘Jared in his pocket’ and even conveyed to his buddy Jared names of Saudis that he considered to be Disloyal. Is Mr. Khashoggi one of those names?

    • renfro says:

      ”even conveyed to his buddy Jared names of Saudis that he considered to be Disloyal. ”

      According to all sources within and without Saudi it was Jared who gave MbS the names of other royals who were criticizing him…..Jared gleaned those names from the presidents daily intel reports.

      The week after the meeting in which Jared is reported to have done that is when MbS stared his round up and detention of numerous other Saudi royals.

      Jared lost his top secret security clearance sometime after that.

      • CJF says:

        I’m new here & Canadian but have followed US politics since I was a kid during the Cold War. I’m not a journalist. I am so glad to see someone mentioning that Jared gave  classified information to MbS, then he did his roundup. I was still teaching ESL with many Saudi students for years, so have kind of a personal interest. Two princes died when the King took over in 2015. (natural causes, etc) I’ve heard stories from both sides-had Sunnis and Shia in my classes but made it work & be productive. Now some of my students who I helped get to university have been ordered home–breaks my heart. Some of my students have applied for Canadian residence. MbS is a monster, like many in Saudi, but he is fooling some young people in Saudi because of his ‘reforms’. You would be amazed what some believe because the education system is terrible. I was shocked at some beliefs some held regarding Jewish people. Students who had private schooling or Aramco schools held different beliefs. My girls really thrived here. Loved it, some have stayed, others had no choice but to go back. KSA is complicated. I remain in contact with my most of my Saudi & other Muslim students because they are like family to me, and the feeling was mutual; however, I have not extended my sympathy for them via social media for their protection.  (There was a reason every Saudi had a Blackberry)  My hope is of course that Donnie & company are put in jail for high treason, but that’s not going to happen. I am terrified with him destroying alliances and forging bonds with dictators. The state of peace is precarious for the Western world.  MSM is NOT covering the important point of just what wormy little entitled Jared did. Oh ya, and he finally got rid of 666! Scumbag!  I guess I am terrified and frustrated to see our world crumbling by means a true coup in the US. GOP & Koch brothers have been working overtime since the Tea Party & now have the Supreme Court, their final frontier. SOMEBODY do something!  So this is my terrified, frustrated vent.  (Wish I smoked weed!)

        • bmaz says:

          Hey there, welcome to Emptywheel! We welcome you joining us and commenting.

          Also, I thought they were legalizing weed up there in the Great White North!

  15. Mitch Neher says:

    It’s not every day that the House of Saud publically confesses that one of their Crown Princes is a coward–let alone that fifteen of their intelligence operatives are also cowards–least of all that one of The Kingdom’s critics so bravely fought back against those cowards.

    I wonder how these confessions of cowardice will be received in the Muslim world.

  16. Just Rob says:

    Just read that Oct. 2, the day Khashoggi went missing, is the International Day of Non-Violence.  My attitude toward leadership has gotten bad enough for me to believe this couldn’t be a coincidence (though it most likely is).

    I’m so sick of all the lies.  It’s hard not to feel desperate.

  17. Pete says:

    I’d totally missed this when it came out: https://theintercept.com/2018/09/12/yemen-pompeo-uae-saudi-certification-human-rights/

    Apparently Pompeo also overruled staffer “recommendations” re: protecting Yemeni civilians.

    The HELL the Saudis, with out full active cooperation, have wrought on Yemeni civilians especially innocent children – death, injury, and starvation – warrants war crime charges.

  18. bmaz says:

    Guess I should have titled this “One Of These Days The Saudi’s Are Going to……”

    The music selection seems to have not registered. Alas.

      • bmaz says:

        This isn’t Trash Talk, but it was kind of a quick tongue in cheek late Friday post……so what the heck.

        The drummer featured in that Pink Floyd video from Pompeii is, of course, Nick Mason. Actually the one member of the band that never changed. Nick is beyond a great and nice guy and a huge motorsports fan. He has long been interested in antique and classic cars, but also in racing himself, even having raced in LeMans multiple times. He really knows his machinery.

        • Greenhouse says:

          That’s fitting though that Nick “I’m just the drummer” Mason is the I Claudius of Floyd. Richard Wright, RIP, would be right up there with him. Gilmour replaced Barrett (RIP). Waters, who left/got sacked, is better off solo and advocating for the palestinians. Still would be nice to see the survivors up there one last time though.

          • bmaz says:

            Mason is pretty awesome. I saw the Division Bell tour with Gilmour, Mason and Wright (without Waters though) back in the mid 90’s and, sadly, do not expect to see Pink Floyd again. Saw Roger Waters and his Wall tour a few years ago, and it was killer. But, yeah, wouldn’t it be great to see them all on one stage again, even without Rick Wright?

  19. Tom says:

    I seem to recall that when this story first broke the early news reports referred to the possible role played by American intelligence services. That is, that U.S. intelligence could have or should have been aware that Mr. Khashoggi was walking into a trap when he made his trip to Istanbul, and that he could have been warned in advance not to go. I haven’t heard anything more on this angle of the story since, but that could very well be because I haven’t been following the news closely enough. So I’m wondering if we know whether U.S. intelligence knew or suspected what the Saudis had in mind for Mr. Khashoggi and whether, if they did, they took any steps to warn him, and if they didn’t take any such steps, why not?

    • hester says:

      Answering Tom,

      So, I heard this also. … way back  when.   I think Malcolm Nance said on teevee that he surmised that our intel knew in advance and would have had a duty to warn… but I also heard that that such an instruction goes through / must be cleared by the Potus.

      If that’s the case and intel knew ahead, then you have your answer.

      • bmaz says:

        Eh, Malcolm Nance is most associated with being full of hyperbolic shit. As to whether there is a “duty to warn”, that strikes me as beyond dubious legally, and the thought that, if there was, every instance must go through the President is absolutely absurd beyond credibility.

        • hester says:

          A U.S. intelligence agency “that collects or acquires credible and specific information indicating an impending threat of intentional killing, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping directed at a person or group of people shall have a duty to warn the intended victim or those responsible for protecting the intended victim, as appropriate,” the new directive states. “This includes threats where the target is an institution, place of business, structure, or location.”

          Remarkably, “the term intended victim includes both U.S. persons… and non-U.S. persons.”

          The “duty to warn” obligation, which in principle dates back at least several decades, was formally established last month by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper in Intelligence Community Directive 191, July 21, 2015.

          • hester says:

            So, I was wrong about the Potus, not about my original point.   Even if Nance is hyperbolic, doesn’t look like he was wrong about that.

            I post rarely, if ever. won’t be doing it again.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Mr. Obama’s government persuaded itself that the USG has the right to kill overseas American citizens without warning and at will by unilaterally proclaiming them “an imminent threat to national security.” 

        Presumably, Mr. Trump thinks the standard is lower for non-national US residents like Mr. Khashoggi. The corollary is that Mr. Trump might feel that Saudi Arabia enjoys a similar right to kill its citizens whenever it deems it necessary.

        So, no, I do not think there is a legal duty to warn, at least not one that isn’t so riddled with exceptions as to be unenforceable.  But there is a standing obligation to protect US citizens and legal residents.

        At a minimum, that would require the USG to argue against a plot like this, if it knew about it ahead of time, and take steps to sanction its perpetrators afterwards, if it didn’t, so as to persuade them to avoid such ill-conceived behavior in future.  Even where, as here, there are overlapping loyalties, owing to Mr. Khashoggi’s SA nationality.

        Human rights and basic ethics would argue for a higher standard of conduct by the USG.  But one would look in vain.  History tells us the USG often misses that low bar.  Or have I seen too many films by Costa-Gavras?

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Lovely little snark by Popehat on Nebraska’s Sen. Ben Sasse, a former professor of history with degrees from both Harvard and Yale:

    Sasse:  The difference between America and most nations across history is that we use persuasion instead of violence.

    SuperDuperHat: Jesus Christ, Ben, you’ve got a doctorate in history from [check] oh…Yale.

    I’m sorry I got angry.  [Calming himself.]  Shhh.  Shhhh.  It’s going to be ok.

    Harvard’s arch-conservative Samuel Huntington [no relation] might agree with Sasse’s comment.  Rational minds are more likely to agree with Chalmers Johnson, Andrew Bacevich and a host of others: the United States, certainly in its post-Second World War persona, has been one of the great threats to world peace.

    It routinely uses violence, violence-induced coups, and violent propaganda to pursue its political and economic interests.  It’s failure to regulate environmental pollution is another form of violence it wreaks on the world.

    Yet, Dr. Sasse continues to promote his fairytale version of history.  Perhaps he’s applying for a seat on the Texas school textbook review subcommittee.

    • Trip says:

      Sasse was bringing up the centrist civility issue again. Something like; we’re not really that polarized, we all like a bit of both parties, yadda yadda. Well, I ain’t got no time for Nazis, racists, greedy kleptocrats, and sadistic sociopaths who hate the poor. So until the time where the GOP doesn’t stand behind all of that, I have no part and want no part.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      There’s also America’s long pursuit of its “Manifest Destiny,” which justified its enduring, consistent, neutral, and disinterested dealings with America’s many indigenous peoples.

      You’d think a Nebraska native who taught at the University of Texas, a Harvadian with a Yale PhD, would know that little bit of local history.

      Perhaps Dr. Sasse does thinks America uses peaceful persuasion, but only with people who count, whom Rumpole of the Bailey would derisively call PLU: people like us.

      • Eureka says:

        Along those lines, Dr. Seuss brought his peaceful persuasion loneliness book tour to PBS’ Firing Line with Margaret Hoover.   He finds Senatorial persuasion more peaceful behind closed doors, wants cameras pulled from Committees so as to avert grandstanding.  Much more _civil_ without the camera around, he repeats.  (No offense to Theodor Geisel.)

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        Here is Harold Pinter’s alternative take, from his brilliant Nobel speech:

        Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America’s favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as ‘low intensity conflict’. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued – or beaten to death – the same thing – and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer [post WWII].

        He goes on to argue that the US no longer bothers with low intensity conflict.  This is one of the great paragraphs describing US imperialism:

        It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

        • Trip says:

          He goes on to argue that the US no longer bothers with low intensity conflict.

          Yemenis and the Palestinian people might argue that point.

          • Doctor My Eyes says:

            Trip, it’s the “low intensity” part they don’t bother with. He was speaking in 2005, back when people still remembered the destruction and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

            The United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It puts its cards on the table without fear or favour. It quite simply doesn’t give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant.

            I keep hoping people will read this speech, which for me pretty much defines the times we live in. The topic is truth, and the urgent necessity of getting to it if we are to maintain our dignity.

            • Trip says:

              You and I may perceive it as out in the open, but the US has a degree of separation in the deeds. In other words, we might not be directly bombing or blockading Yemen, we may not be directly providing sharpshooters at protesting Palestinians, stopping them from getting medical care but we provide funds (in the latter) or arms (in the former).

              The low intensity element is idling by, while people are starved, have epidemic levels of disease and the inability to sustain themselves via lack of food or medical care. So, yeah, we aren’t bombing the shit out of them, aren’t officially at war with them, but we provide for and sanction the conditions which create such circumstances.

              I do think that Trump has taken it to a new level of indifference to suffering, and to some degree, a sadistic joy in the cruelty. Look how he is treating people on his own soil.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Like racism in America, the lynchings during Jim Crow, they never happened.  If they did, talking about them was bad for morale and peaceful coexistence.  If you acknowledge it, it will get worse and make life more violent for everybody.

        The one-sidedness of the benefit is never recognized.  The technique is to act as if the benefits applied to all.  Similar arguments were used regarding theft from and genocide of the Native Americans.

        Trump continues to use the same technique.  He claims that what’s good for him – no regulatory oversight, paltry taxes which he doesn’t pay, immunity from prosecution – equally benefit all.

        He knows it’s not true.  But his snake oil allows those who listen to and believe him to do nothing.  Elmer Gantry Trump.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Republicans are smartly campaigning on a pro-ObamaCare platform.

    That’s not because it reflects their values or actions – they uniformly oppose it.  They are doing it because it muddies the water, confuses the electorate, and undercuts what ought to be a major part of the Democratic platform.  They get away with blatant lying because, fake news!

  22. pseudonymous in nc says:

    This week felt like a preview of the full-on regime that will happen if the Republicans hold onto the House. And may happen even if Dems control the House. And may happen because some elections are rigged by Republican secretaries of state. I’ve wondered for a while what would be necessary to trigger an American Maidan. I think we’ll find out in a month.

  23. GKJames says:

    Media “propagating … horseshit”: For what it’s worth, “Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President” (Kathleen Hall Jamieson) describes how journalists cruise social media sites for what’s “trending” to decide what stories are deemed newsworthy. All it takes is a couple thousand “likes”, which are easy enough to manufacture, for something to trend and for journalists to focus on it. The effect is a closed loop largely devoid of facts. While it may not have much to do with journalism, it does give customers exactly what they asked for, namely, horseshit, with news organizations as product distributors.

  24. Tom says:

    Thanks to Hester, bmaz, and the Earl of Huntingdon for your replies and comments to my question earlier today this Trafalgar Day eve.

  25. renfro says:

    I am a registered unaffiliated voter. I despise both the Liberals and Conservatives because they have both become Too Extreme….there is no Common Sense or Balance in government.

    But I am going to hold my nose and vote for a Dem in November because I cannot stand the filth, greed, stupidity, commonness , lying, deceit, wrecking ball mentality, knuckle dragging , ball less, slime and foul excrement poured out on America by Trump, his Neanderthal sons, his Israeli agent son in law and everyone connected to him.

    Every time I hear or see him I truly want to vomit.  If the Dems can impeach him, fine by me.

  26. oldoilfieldhand says:

    I heard that Khashoggi had been dismembered, possibly while still alive, and then decapitated. I can only hope that this is a vicious rumor. How long ago was Trump railing against the barbarians in Isis for “cutting people’s heads off”?  If the story is true, it appears that there are barbarians in the royal palace in the vaunted Kingdom of Arabia. 

    • robert says:

      Regardless of the details of what happened, two things are clear – it was intended that Khashoggi would disappear, never to be seen or heard from again. Aside from getting rid of a troublesome critic, this action was designed to send an unambiguous warning to Saudi dissidents. In this respect, it was a terror tactic reminiscent of the “Night and Fog” decree.

    • Michael Schmitt says:

      Maybe he was injected with a paralyzing drug that incapacitates yet does not block pain. Ultimate torture. They are people working hand in hand with Diablo. They, however, won’t go to hell, because there is no hell.

      • bmaz says:

        Okay, that is now 2.75. Nearly three. You are doing nothing but injecting abject bigoted and beyond speculative horse manure. We do not sanction that here.

  27. Trip says:

    Related to the growing please use ‘civility/bipartisanship’ narrative, I thoroughly enjoyed this interview. It specifically relates to twitter but, frankly, it should apply to all other forms of media:

    The creator of Godwin’s law interviews David Simon about Nazis on Twitter and so much more.

    Simon… the last thing that Twitter should be doing is policing decorum, or trying to leach hostility from the platform. Why? Because the appropriate response to overt racism, to anti-Semitism, to libel, to organized disinformation campaigns is not to politely reason with such in long threads of fact-sharing. All that does is lend a fundamental credence to the worst kind of speech—

    In 1935, the reply to Streicher or Goebbels quoting The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and asserting that Jews drink the blood of baptized Christian babies is not to begin arguing that “no, Jews do not drink Christian baby blood” and deliver a long explanation of The Protocols as a czarist forgery in chapter and verse. The correct response is to call Julius Streicher a submoronic piece of shit, marking him as such for the rest of the sentient, and move on to some more meaningful exchange of ideas…

    …Twitter and other such platforms are being bashed from all points of the political compass. Same for old media for all of its history. That goes with the job. …they have responded by doing the wrong fucking something. They are responding in such a way that they are, in effect, normalizing the worst kind of organized disinformation and hate speech. They have set up a both-sides construct that is disturbingly reminiscent of the Trumpian reaction to Charlottesville.

    *I think I got it down to fair use, it’s much longer.

    • Eureka says:

      Thanks for the story, Trip.  Simon’s sharp- “the Great Algorando”in twitter’s basement.  He has a special flair for flagging the bs piles.  I agree that human intervention is necessary, but fear that his proposed review process would be near instantly flooded with abuse, false complaints, and both genuine and bs versions of ‘who owns the truth.’  I don’t have any better ideas, though, and he has experience with this as a user, while I just read.

      • Trip says:

        Same here. I have no account on twitter.

        I guess I was thinking more along the lines of Maggie and Mike, reporting verbatim, without context or much in the way of fact checking or reactions like “This is total horseshit!”. Cable news programs are guilty of it too, running Trump stumps on a loop, to the exclusion of anything else, and then they proclaim, “It looks like it’s working”. It’s not news (just because he is POTUS). They are extending the range of his lies from small venues to the national stage, and providing free campaign air-time for his sensational (grossly and intentionally malice-based deeply untrue) slogans. It’s even worse than bothside-isms. It is giving credence to one side only via a Madison Avenue-type repetitive marketing blitz. They, themselves, are driving Trump’s talking points of lies, and then they allow the stupid civility scold from talking heads, after people react in anger to the ubiquitous Trump propaganda. Either they want Trump to win or they don’t care because he gives them ratings, which equals money. Neither option is above board.

        • Eureka says:

          Yes, totally agree.  Someone needs to make a Daniel Dale app to run concurrently with their (M&M et al.) statements and print items.  Quick, get a developer on this, lol (but I am not joking).

  28. Trip says:

    bmaz‏ @bmaz

    Oh look, Ben Sasseclown is moving his lips again and, as always, Tapper and @CNN give the hollow self promoter the airspace to do it in. What a joke.

    bmaz Retweeted State of the Union
    State of the Union‏Verified account @CNNSotu

    .@BenSasse to @jaketapper: “The Saudis got a lot of explaining to do. I think everything should be on the table.”

    Here you go Sasse, full explanation: they tortured, butchered and disappeared a dissident journalist with a state directed hit squad.

    Feel better?

  29. Eureka says:

    I was waiting for Turkey’s next move.  Looks like they want us to know that Erdogan and 45 discussed Syria as well…more at link:

    Yashar Ali 🐘 on Twitter: “According to Turkish state media, Trump and Erdogan spoke by phone. The White House has not sent out a read out of the call, but here’s an account from Turkish state media.…”

  30. Trip says:

    Jamal Khashoggi’s body parts found

    Sources have told Sky News the writer had been “cut up” and his face “disfigured”.
    One source also suggested Mr Khashoggi’s remains were discovered in the garden of the Saudi consul general’s home.

    I can’t imagine the pain, first of the loss of life his fiance is experiencing, but secondly, the disrespect given to his remains.

  31. Trip says:

    Kyle Griffin‏Verified account @kylegriffin1

    Trump on Khashoggi’s killing: “They had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly and the cover-up was one of the worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups. It’s very simple. Bad deal. Should have never been thought of. Somebody really messed up.” (via ABC)

    So a premeditated torture, murder and butchering is a “bad original concept, carried out poorly”? This is beyond a fucked-up thing to say.

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