Muhammad bin Salman’s Khashoggi Gambit: The Trump Doctrine in Action

The actual Trump Doctrine, which we’ve covered here at Balloon Juice extensively since the President gave his first campaign speech about national-security and foreign policy back in April 2016, is:

America’s allies are taking advantage of our treaty and other obligations in the national security space; America’s allies and peer competitors are ripping the US off through our trade agreements; the US should go it alone if it can’t renegotiate better deals; and only a President Trump could guarantee that the US would be treated fairly – or else. That only a President Trump could guarantee that the US would be treated fairly, whether in national security arrangements or global trade, was simply an extension of one of the major, if not the major theme of his campaign: Donald Trump would be treated fairly or else and only Donald Trump could guarantee that Americans, especially the forgotten men and women as he phrased it, would be treated fairly or else.

That the US will be treated fairly or else, and that only a President Trump could guarantee that happening became the central, unifying theme of his national security and foreign policy approach was actually a stroke of strategic communication genius. A significant amount of the President’s initial strategic communication approach was through tying his primary opponents, the Republican National Committee, and the broadcast and cable news networks in knots about treating him fairly. This included trying to get Megyn Kelly removed from debate moderation after he felt she treated him badly, as well as actually dropping out of a GOP primary debate on Fox News and holding a competing charity event for veterans because he did not like that Fox wouldn’t comply with his demands. And if they failed to do so he’d deal with them harshly. Then candidate Trump threatened his fellow primary opponents and the RNC by making it clear that if he didn’t feel he was being treated fairly by them, then the “or else” would be his running as an independent candidate, thereby splitting the Republican vote for president, and handing the election to the then presumed Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton.

By making this the dominant theme of his national security and foreign policy approach, he was able to make a singular through line for his campaign – “I, Donald Trump, will be treated fairly or else by the GOP, the RNC, and the news media; only I, Donald Trump, can guarantee that you the forgotten men and women of America are treated fairly in regards to both domestic politics and foreign policy; and only I, Donald Trump, can guarantee that the US will be treated fairly or else there will be serious and severe repercussions for the GOP, the RNC, the news media, elected and appointed officials, and America’s allies, partners, and peer competitors”. Here was the simple through line to connect Make America Great Again both domestically and internationally by placing America first. It is also the essence of the real Trump Doctrine: President Trump and by extension the forgotten men and women of America, as well as America itself, will be treated fairly or else.

Muhammad bin Salman’s strategy for the wetwork operation against Jamal Khashoggi is to leverage the Trump Doctrine in order to allow him to get away with having Khashoggi to be vanished by rendition, or as is now reported and most likely to have happened, extra-judicially executed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The Crown Prince, who is popularly known as MBS, like so many other authoritarian and autocratic foreign leaders, has figured out that the President makes his decisions on whether he feels he is being treated fairly. If he feels that he is, then one can pretty much do whatever they want. If he feels that he isn’t, then the President goes on the offensive to deliver the “or else”. MBS believes he can get away with this because the President has publicly made it clear that as long as the Saudis spend money purchasing his properties or at his properties, then he likes them because they are treating him fairly.

At one of his 2015 campaign rallies the President said:

Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.

The Permanent Saudi Mission to the UN is housed in Trump World Tower across the street from the UN. The Kingdom owns the entire 45th floor. The Trump Tower in Chicago is running a profit, as is the Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York, largely because of bookings from the Saudis. Even as almost all the other Trump branded properties posted significant losses, especially his beloved Scottish golf courses. Jared Kushner has also been seeking financing from the Saudis for his personal business interests. At this time it appears that funding stream did not come through. The lack of funding, however, has not kept the Crown Prince from bragging that he has Jared in his pocket, which, once reported, MBS denied.

Muhammad bin Salman is gambling that because the Saudis spend lavishly on the President’s private business interests, and that because the President doesn’t understand the terms of what the Saudis have negotiated in regard to their potential purchases of US military equipment, which are really just a bunch of letters of intent that have yet to be finalized., that the President will provide him with the plausible deniability he needs to get away with having Khashoggi vanished and mist likely extra-judicially executed. Despite the fact that MBS negotiated a huge discount from Jared “The Hidden Genius” Kushner and guarantees that approximately 50% of the weapons would be built in Saudi Arabia, which means that the sale, if it were actually finalized, would not significantly increase US manufacturing or jobs.

Right on schedule this morning the President announced that Saudi King Salman, who is actually just an infirm figure head, stated the Saudis didn’t do anything to Khashoggi, but it could have been rogue killers.

You know, rogue killers who just happened to be traveling on Saudi Arabian diplomatic passports, on Saudi Arabian government jets, one of whom was an autopsy specialist who happened to pack his bone saw, who just happened to be hanging out at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul when Jamal Khashoggi walked in to get his official Saudi marriage documents signed, and who just so happened decided that Khashoggi looked like a good guy to practice a little recreational wetwork and improvisational autopsying on. Which would, I suppose, explain, why the Saudi Arabians had a professional cleaning team in their Istanbul consulate this morning, which left shortly before the Turkish police were allowed to enter the building.

As long as the President places being treated fairly, and specifically his subjective understanding of being personally treated fairly, as the central consideration of US policy, we will see more of this type of behavior from the authoritarians, autocrats, despots, tyrants, neo-nationalists, and neo-fascists that the President finds so admirable. During his 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl, he all but gave Putin a green light, and anyone else who was paying attention and might have similar interests, to keep assassinating people – from political rivals to opposition figures to journalists to defectors from Russia’s intelligence services – as long as they’re not American citizens and the wet work doesn’t take place in the US.

While there is an old political science/international relations axiom that state’s don’t have friends, they have interests, the Trump Doctrine has turned the US into a transactional state. A transactional state being run by the head of an ongoing white collar criminal and organized criminal enterprise. It is no surprise that authoritarians and aspiring authoritarians like Muhammad bin Salman are developing strategies that leverage the treat the President fairly part of the Trump Doctrine to get away with whatever they want in order to avoid the “or else” response.

We are off the looking glass and through the map.

Open thread!

269 replies
  1. 1
    Ryan says:

    “as well as actually dropping out of a GOP primary debate on Fox News and holding a competing charity event for veterans because he did not like that Fox wouldn’t comply with his demands”

    Are we actually sure this event was held for veterans? I seem to recall some money raised and not getting to its stated destination, I just can’t remember if this was one of those events.

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    A few random thoughts. Trump hates conflict that could get personal. He blusters a bunch but if it may get to him or too close to home he wants nothing to do with it. Trump is also setting up the consistent “they denied it” defense for when whatever Mueller has found comes out. He will “very strongly” deny it and that will be good enough. And also:

    Which would, I suppose, explain, why the Saudi Arabians had a professional cleaning team in their Istanbul consulate this morning, which left shortly before the Turkish police were allowed to enter the building.

    They don’t have a damn back door or side entrance for shit like this?

  3. 3
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    fairly by them, then the “or else” would be his running as an independent candidate, thereby splitting the Republican vote for president, and handing the election to the then presumed Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton.

    Why couldn’t this have happened? Sure, Clinton wouldn’t have gotten to appoint anyone to the bench, but neither would the Republicans at least until 2020 at the earliest. Not to mention no concentration camps for asylum seekers and children or the piss poor response to Hurricane Maria’s destruction in Puerto Rico.

    You know, rogue killers who just happened to be traveling on Saudi Arabian diplomatic passports, on Saudi Arabian government jets, one of whom was an autopsy specialist who happened to pack his bone saw, who just happened to be hanging out at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul when Jamal Khashoggi walked in to get his official Saudi marriage documents signed, and who just so happened decided that Khashoggi looked like a good guy to practice a little recreational wetwork and improvisational autopsying on. Which would, I suppose, explain, why the Saudi Arabians had a professional cleaning team in their Istanbul consulate this morning, which left shortly before the Turkish police were allowed to enter the building

    How do such people who aren’t sociopaths live with themselves?

  4. 4
    Butter Emails!!! says:

    Shorter Article:

    The actual Trump Doctrine is:

    President Trump will be treated fairly.

  5. 5
    Corner Stone says:

    It’s not like the US has given much of a damn about human rights over the last oh I don’t know, ever. But now there’s an explicit price tag on our leadership not giving a damn. I guess that makes it easier? Dare say more transactional?

  6. 6
    MattF says:

    I like your summary of the ‘rogue killers’ hypothesis. A group of 15 rogue killers who stay in Istanbul for a day and happens to include a forensic surgeon. How roguish.

  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ryan: After a lot of negative reporting, money was eventually dispersed. Not all of it to legitimate veteran’s charities/groups.

  8. 8
    BGinCHI says:

    Money laundering & corruption.

    Cut taxes to the wealthy who then fund campaigns.

    Appeal to culture war fears.

    That’s it. That’s America’s political system in 2018.

    We break that cycle or it’s the new normal.

  9. 9
    debit says:

    I feel like throwing up. The president of the United States said, “Yeah, they probably assassinate people, but what are you gonna do?”

  10. 10
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: They do. This was to rub the Turks noses in it. Especially Erdogan’s.

  11. 11
    Corner Stone says:

    @Butter Emails!!!:

    The actual Trump Doctrine is:

    President Trump will be treated fairly flattered, bribed or both.

  12. 12
    NotMax says:

    There’s nothing to add, nothing more to comment upon.

    One doesn’t fiddle with perfection.

  13. 13
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Appeal to culture war fears.

    But I was told liberals won the culture wars by and large

  14. 14
    Marcopolo says:

    Slightly OT but Charles Pierce has a new piece up warning folks to start thinking about what happens on Nov 7th when the D’s win control of the House:

    I’m not sure if the Democratic Party is ready for what could be coming, and I’m very sure neither the elite political press nor the country is ready for it. I’d like to believe everything is going to be most chill at the polling places, but I’m not betting on that either way. I’d like to believe that the results, whatever they are, at least will be treated as legitimate decisions made by a democratic polity. But you’d have to be crazy to bet on that.

    I wholeheartedly agree with his thinking here.

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: To answer your first question, it is because the GOP, especially at a national and party organizational level, was hollow then and is hollow now. Priebus, Ryan, McConnell, and a number of others could have stopped the President from running as a Republican. They didn’t. They didn’t because they 1) couldn’t imagine he’d beat their “deep bench” of sixteen and 2) were afraid of what he’d do. The President, whether through actually recognizing it, or just from some gut impulse, recognized that the real effect of Citizens United was that it had completed hollowed out the Republican Party. That the party itself was a shell that was used to provide cover to the Koch Party, the DeVos Party, the Mercer Party, the Adelson Party, the Friess Party, and a host of other equally wealthy patrons nationally, and somewhat less wealthy patrons at the state level. And because the party, as an organization, was hollow, he was able to walk right in and take it. Which he did.

    The answer to your second question is a combination of self selection by people with significant tendencies and traits to psychopathy, compartmentalization, or both.

  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MattF: Like the GRU assassins are just a pair of sport supplement selling cathedral aficionados.

  17. 17
    Mike in NC says:

    Putin denies having assassins operating outside of Russia, so they must be free-lance rogue murderers. And free-lance hackers were trying to meddle in our elections. Next, North Korea will deny working to build nuclear weapons, so there must be a group of free-lance scientists somewhere over there doing that in defiance of Trump’s new best friend.

    There’s nothing that can be done by anybody to prevent this stuff from happening!

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: Thank you.

    Please make checks payable to…//

  19. 19
    WaterGirl says:

    They are doing this in plain sight and Trump still refuses to see! ::banging my head against the wall::

    ou know, rogue killers who just happened to be traveling on Saudi Arabian diplomatic passports, on Saudi Arabian government jets, one of whom was an autopsy specialist who happened to pack his bone saw, who just happened to be hanging out at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul when Jamal Khashoggi walked in to get his official Saudi marriage documents signed, and who just so happened decided that Khashoggi looked like a good guy to practice a little recreational wetwork and improvisational autopsying on. Which would, I suppose, explain, why the Saudi Arabians had a professional cleaning team in their Istanbul consulate this morning, which left shortly before the Turkish police were allowed to enter the building.

  20. 20
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Marcopolo: We’ll be rolling out the Balloon Juice Bunker Prepper’s guide over the next week or so. Just as soon as I finish covering all the labels on these survival food buckets and survival seed boxes with the Balloon Juice Bunker logo…//

  21. 21
    BGinCHI says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Excellent assessment.

    And the GOP was so easy to take over because it had quit focusing on governing and started betting on resentment and fear, with plenty of money & tech to turn that raw material into votes. Plus Fox News.

    It’s harder to run, or take over, a party that has policy positions and makes arguments about issues.

  22. 22
    WaterGirl says:

    @Corner Stone: That’s just it. They are flaunting it. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

  23. 23
    ruemara says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: Because hating Hillary became a left, right & center popular sport.

  24. 24
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Next, North Korea will deny working to build nuclear weapons, so there must be a group of free-lance scientists somewhere over there doing that in defiance of Trump’s new best friend.

    If you were wondering why Cheryl seems to know what is going on in the DPRK with their nuclear program, now you know why. She and her non-proliferation buddies are over their building nukes even though Kim keeps telling them not to.//

  25. 25
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @BGinCHI: Thank you and you are exactly right.

  26. 26
    bluehill says:

    Which faltering democracy is the U.S. most like? Poland? Turkey? Ukraine? What’s going here seems to be a slow-rolling, but systematic seizure of power by the repubs. It’s been going on for some time, but obviously picked up speed with Trump.

  27. 27
    BGinCHI says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Jesus, finally I’m right about something.

    Taking the rest of the day off.

  28. 28
    WaterGirl says:

    @debit:

    “But I rely on them, it’s not in our country.”

    I cannot think of a single swear word that my catholic upbringing would allow me to say.

    Jesus, nope, can’t say that.
    Christ, nope, can’t say that.
    Jesus Christ, nope can’t say that.
    Jesus Fucking Christ, nope can’t say that.

    I am not catholic now, but the nuns have a long reach over space and time.

  29. 29
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Which led to the shelving of concepts such as the common good and advancement of the human condition, substituting the almighty dollar – specifically, monetary gain/profit – as the yardstick against which everything is measured.

  30. 30
    feebog says:

    At some point Putin is going to assassinate a target on American soil. What then, will Trumpov just continue to piss his pants and make idle threats? Hmmm, magic 8 ball says yes.

  31. 31
    Adam L Silverman says:

  32. 32
    WaterGirl says:

    @BGinCHI: Or principles, even. Well, principles that aren’t related to money or power.

  33. 33
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @BGinCHI: You deserve it. Pamper yourself!

  34. 34
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: The ruler of punishment is long, but ultimately bends painfully towards your knuckles.

  35. 35
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: If they are admitting to that, they must have seen a tape that proves they did it, and they are trying to get ahead of the ball.

  36. 36
    MattF says:

    My current hypothesis is that our new best pal, the Saudi Crown Prince, has figured out that Trump really likes fabulously wealthy, homicidal thugs. Putin, Kim Jong Un, Duerte. Buying Trump condos helps, but it’s just insurance.

  37. 37
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Not to mention my two aunts who were nuns.

  38. 38
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: Yep. Though in some ways that’s a carryover from the Confederacy brought when southern conservatives emerged as the base of the GOP. The one part of the US constitution that wasn’t just copied into the Confederate constitution, but was instead abandoned was the part about the general welfare. They didn’t believe in it then and they don’t believe in it now.

  39. 39
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @feebog:

    At some point Putin is going to assassinate a target on American soil.

    Already been done.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    BGinCHI says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Going to get the John Cole Special at my neighborhood spa.

    Any guesses what services that includes?

  42. 42
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: They’re running with the cover the President gave them.

  43. 43
    ruemara says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Lol at the lies. “Unauthorized” my sweet ass.

    @WaterGirl: My thought exactly.

  44. 44
    debit says:

    @WaterGirl: You know what kills me? I know, deep in my heart, that every day he screams “SEE?! EVERYONE IS DOING IT!! WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME I CAN’T?” at the people who try to contain him.

  45. 45
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @bluehill:
    I’d say none of them at the moment. The Republicans certainly resemble the ruling parties in Poland and Turkey in their destruction of norms and limitations on their power as an elected majority. However, I believe the the ruling parties at least in Poland and Hungary legitimately received a majority of the votes, unlike our own authoritarians. The GOP doesn’t have majority support and is looking increasingly likely to lose at least the House this fall. The main difference is that there’s still a good chance to turn this around without violence.

    Ukraine, on the other hand, is special because the legitimate government is very pro-western and was put in place due to the popular revolution there in 2014.

  46. 46
    debit says:

    @BGinCHI: Invisible mustard plaster applied with a mop on your naked body?

    ETA: While you’re stranded on the roof. In a field. Too close to the willow tree.

  47. 47
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: That too.

  48. 48
    MattF says:

    @BGinCHI: Probably involves cat hair. But in a good way.

  49. 49
    JPL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The republicans will not act even if they admit it. They’ll say it was an accident and the King did not know about it.

  50. 50
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @BGinCHI: I believe they fluff and fold your overalls, frost the tips of your beard, and topple you over a dog on a leash while you’re standing on ice.

  51. 51
    Yutsano says:

    @Marcopolo: To Hades with that. If the wingnuts want to riot because their side gets their asses handed to them so be it.

  52. 52
    BGinCHI says:

    @debit: I’ll get this one if they have it.

    @MattF: This one…..no.

  53. 53
    BGinCHI says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Half off if you let them tell you some examples of how your used Subaru let you down in the clutch.

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JPL: It’ll be curious to see if Corker is willing to push his Magnitsky Act demands of the President.

  55. 55
    debit says:

    @BGinCHI: I hear you get a free mildly overweight and cranky JRT with each treatment!

  56. 56
    dmsilev says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Let me guess, it’ll be blamed on “rogue interrogators”.

  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @BGinCHI: I’m not sure that discount’s worth it.

  58. 58
    trollhattan says:

    @MattF:
    They were Rouge Killers wearing entirely too much foundation and makeup.

    Has OJ weighed in?

  59. 59
    gene108 says:

    Despite the fact that MBS negotiated a huge discount from Jared “The Hidden Genius” Kushner and guarantees that approximately 50% of the weapons would be built in Saudi Arabia,

    I thought we had export controls and shit on our military technology that would keep other countries from being able to build our stuff…

    Why on Earth would we allow the Saudis to build our weapons in their country…that’s just giving away the farm…

  60. 60
    Gravenstone says:

    @Mike in NC: Quite the weak government ol’ Vlad has going there, if he can’t control anything his citizens do. Maybe they need to install a competent strongman next time around. //

  61. 61
    BGinCHI says:

    @debit: You might be right.

    It says “Cruelty Free” right on the front door.

  62. 62
    trollhattan says:

    @BGinCHI:
    Soothing banjo music, for starters.

  63. 63
    Dan B says:

    @Marcopolo: Imagine a murder mystery. The criminals have been shielded by a corrupt mayor. A reformer wins the election but it will be almost two months until the new mayor is sworn in and many more months until the reformer can ferret out the resistance.

    In the murder mystery bodies would accumulate, at least in a British murder mystery.

    And whst would Inspector Mueller be doing? Where would the trials stop? What happens when the criminals panic?

  64. 64
    bluehill says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: What’s voter turnout like in those countries? If it’s as low as it is here, then I’m not encouraged. It seems like an apathetic electorate only gets woke after it’s too late.

  65. 65
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Once again Ted Cruz’s gastronomic choices have become a political liability.

  66. 66

    @Marcopolo: He should have thought about that in 2016 when he was a Bernie fluffer.

  67. 67
    NotMax says:

    @BGinCHI

    The mind boggles.

    Gaggle of fraternity boys descend upon your house and clean out your fridge and pantry while you’re lolling at the spa?

    :)

  68. 68
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @dmsilev: And a rogue bone saw.

  69. 69
  70. 70
    WaterGirl says:

    @debit: I agree. He wants to be a member of that exclusive club.

  71. 71
    JPL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’d be willing to say you won’t put money on that bet.

  72. 72
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @gene108: We do. Jared has no idea what the laws are pertaining to this stuff, nor what the regs and Department of State, Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce, and in some cases Energy policies and guidelines are. This is why these things are normally negotiated by the Senior Defense Official (SDO) and the other military attaches on the country teams at the US embassies.

  73. 73
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Dibs on The Rogue Diplomats as a band name.

  74. 74
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @bluehill: Most of these countries have mandatory automatic voter registration and mandatory voting requirements.

  75. 75
    Gravenstone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I was going to blame AIM, myself. But then again, simple nukes are kind of passe’ for the aspiring supervillain organization.

  76. 76
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JPL: I’m curious, not stupid.

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    I am not at all an expert, but TV shows have led me to believe that you can never truly clean up bloodstains and blood spatters. Once they’re on there, the best you can do is mess them up so it’s harder to tell whose blood it was and what direction the spatters are in. Is that correct?

    And the whole “oh we accidentally killed him but just happened to have a pathologist on hand to cut up the corpse for convenient disposal” — yeah, right. I assume someone’s suitcase marked as “diplomatic” was getting pretty stinky before they shoved it into a cremation bay. People always seem to underestimate how quickly a corpse gets smelly.

  78. 78
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: That’s fine, I’m going with Rogue Bone Saw.

  79. 79
    J R in WV says:

    Mani pedi with foot massage, back massage with shoulder work. At least what he should be doing.

  80. 80
    Gravenstone says:

    @WaterGirl: Just cut out the middle man. “Fuckity fucking fuckers fucking fuck fuck’emall”.

  81. 81
    NotMax says:

    @Mnemosyne

    Economy size jug of liquid nitrogen.

    ;)

  82. 82
    Gravenstone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I actually thought that might be something akin to reality when this first broke, an interrogation taken too far. Then they panicked and decided to do get rid of the body in the clumsiest and most obviously self incriminating manner possible.

    Or it could just be their least bad option for a cover story, with some poor junior officer about the be thrown onto his sword – literally.

  83. 83
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also — geez, can you imagine what it was like to be a worker at that embassy knowing that someone was being tortured to death a few rooms or floors away? Because I doubt that building has the kind of soundproofing that serial killers have to include in their murder rooms to avoid alerting the neighbors.

  84. 84
    gene108 says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: @BGinCHI:

    Appeal to culture war fears.

    But I was told liberals won the culture wars by and large

    Liberals did win the culture wars, for the most part. Clarence Thomas is married to a white woman, and he is still in good standing with conservatives. Emmett Till looked allegedly looked at a white woman funny and was brutally murdered. That’s progress.

    Anyway, I don’t think Republicans are running on the old culture war stuff. Dan Quayle complained about “Murphy Brown” getting knocked up and being a single parent on T.V. as destroying out cultural values. T.V. has gotten a lot racier, even the network prime time stuff, and no one is mentioning it. It is different than the culture wars of old, which focused on how rap music was corrupting out youth, single mothers were a bane to society, etc. The gay marriage/gay rights stuff still something conservatives can get some mileage out of, but it sure doesn’t go as far as it did in 2004.

    What is keeping Republicans in the game is white racial resentment. Obama caused whites to lose their shit, because a black man was President and Trump funneled the crap into being so openly racist, none of the other Republicans could keep up.

    It isn’t the traditional stuff that was the Culture Wars of the 1980’s and 1990’s. It is going back to an older era of racial animosity, not seen so openly on display since the 1940’s and 1950’s.

  85. 85
    MattF says:

    @Mnemosyne: The other thing people underestimate is how much blood there is in a body. Cleaning it all up is hard. The Saudi Embassy (Counsulate?) will smell of bleach for a long time.

  86. 86
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: The reporting is that his corpse was divided into fifteen pieces, which were then divvied up and taken out of the embassy – one per member of the hit team. The team split up and departed Turkey on two different Saudi government jets – the same ones they arrived on. They each then disposed of the pieces at different places the planes landed along their flight plan back to Saudi.

  87. 87
    Gravenstone says:

    @NotMax: Pro tip, don’t screw the cap on. Ever.

  88. 88
    Tehanu says:

    @debit:

    I know, deep in my heart, that every day he screams “SEE?! EVERYONE IS DOING IT!! WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME I CAN’T?” at the people who try to contain him.

    Dump is the man who, when shown how a drone attack on some people was held until the targets left their house which was inhabited by women and children, asked “Why did you wait”?

  89. 89
    Bobby Thomson says:

    “Being treated fairly” is a weird way of describing “bribed.”

  90. 90
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Butter Emails!!!:
    No, the Trump Doctrine is that Donald Trump will be treated preferentially.

  91. 91
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gravenstone: I find it highly unlikely they would have interrogated him at the consulate. The smart play would have been to basically black bag him: disable him with sedation, then remove him from the consulate out of one of the side or back entrances into a diplomatic vehicle and then take him right to the Saudi government jets, and fly him back to the Kingdom. Where they could have interrogated him to their hearts’ content without worrying about discovery. That would have also allowed them to spin the whole thing as he was lawfully arrested on X, Y, and Z charges upon entering the consulate, was immediately taken to Saudi for interrogation and to stand trial, and is safely under arrest (house or otherwise), and here’s the pictures of him and here’s the video from the official Saudi news agency, etc.

  92. 92
    WaterGirl says:

    @Gravenstone: Fuck is my go-to swear word, and frequency of use is perfectly correlated with my level of frustration. But sometimes fuck is just not enough, no matter how many times i say it.

    Although I did enjoy the business plate I saw last week: Fucker in charge of you fucking fucks.

  93. 93
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: All the Turkish nationals working at the consulate were sent home that morning/given the day off. My guess is that they quickly sequestered Khashoggi well away from anyone among the Saudi diplomatic staff who might have been curious and/or concerned.

  94. 94
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mnemosyne: I read that all non-Saudi workers at the embassy were sent home. Nothing suspicious there.

  95. 95
    sheila in nc says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The reporting is that his corpse was divided into fifteen pieces, which were then divvied up and taken out of the embassy – one per member of the hit team. The team split up and departed Turkey on two different Saudi government jets – the same ones they arrived on. They each then disposed of the pieces at different places the planes landed along their flight plan back to Saudi.

    What I want to know is, who on earth would both 1) know all this, and 2) think it would be safe to tell a reporter about it?

  96. 96
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Tehanu: Even the Israeli rules of engagement require them to wait.

  97. 97
    JPL says:

    If we had a competent president, I’d be on the way to gas station and fill up the tank.

  98. 98
    MattF says:

    @WaterGirl: Wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the Saudi workers all go back to SA in the next few weeks. And then, y’know, just disappear.

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    And yet it does appear that they just straight-up murdered him by torture right there at the consulate. Or do you think everything else is misdirection and they really did smuggle him to a second location?

  100. 100
    dmsilev says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The reporting is that his corpse was divided into fifteen pieces, which were then divvied up and taken out of the embassy – one per member of the hit team. The team split up and departed Turkey on two different Saudi government jets

    Even Saudi government jets limit how much baggage you can put in the overhead bins.

    (sorry)

  101. 101
    WaterGirl says:

    @MattF: Nope, that wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  102. 102
    Gravenstone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Logical, but in that case who lacked the foresight to remove him from the premises before going straight to “is it safe?” territory, fully expecting things to culminate in his death?

  103. 103
    WaterGirl says:

    @dmsilev: TOO SOON.

  104. 104
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    My guess is that they quickly sequestered Khashoggi well away from anyone among the Saudi diplomatic staff who might have been curious and/or concerned.

    Murderers often underestimate how loud their victim is going to be while being tortured to death. I guarantee you that the workers in that building knew what was going on even if they were physically separated from it.

  105. 105
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @bluehill:
    According to ElectionGuide.org, these are the averages for voter turnout in each nation listed below:

    Hungary: 61.71% with 16 elections in database

    Poland: 48.05% with 18 elections in database

    Turkey: 82.57% with 11 elections in database

    Ukraine: 68.03% with 16 elections in database

    United States: 51.46% with 26 elections in database

  106. 106
    Leto says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Speaking of Lying Ted, he and Beto are set to have a CNN televised debate this Thursday at 1900 (7pm for people who can’t math). Will probably tune in for that.

  107. 107
    WaterGirl says:

    I just received my millionth “we want to reduce your credit card debt” call. After pressing #2 (to be taken off their list) for 999,999 times with no success, I pressed #1 to talk to a person.

    I said “take me off your list”.
    Take me off your list.
    Take me off your list.
    Repeated about 7 more times.
    The guys said “give me a reason”.
    I said FUCK YOU that’s why and hung up.

    So they win again, but it felt pretty good to tell him to fuck off.

  108. 108
    Kelly says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Hmm, 2 arms, 2 legs, the head easy enough. Then you’ve left with the torso and all the innards. Innards are messy. It used to be my job to bury the guts after my dad butchered a steer. Takes a big hole to bury a steer’s guts and our place was river rock under 6 inches of beautiful black silt. The pieces could fit in 15 Pelican cases which should keep it all tidy long enough.

    Enough current events I’m off for a nice walk in the fall sunshine.

  109. 109
    GxB says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Going to get the John Cole Special at my neighborhood spa.

    Any guesses what services that includes?

    Not sure, but it probably ends in a minor injury. Whether it is the masseuse or the client that is injured, well, keep us informed.

  110. 110
    JPL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: As you mentioned the rogue bone saw offers a clue of their intent.

  111. 111
    WaterGirl says:

    @Leto: I thought Cruz refused to be at the debate.

    Also, 7pm what time zone? Eastern?

  112. 112
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @dmsilev: I’m trying to imagine that little beagle they have at JFK international arrivals, running around sniffing everything coming off the baggage carousel.

  113. 113
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Not my fault. It’s phrased that way in the Federalist Papers.//

    More seriously, I’m using the President’s own formulation. He’s constantly stating fair treatment of being treated fairly. Whether in regards to military alliances, trade agreements, international treaties, how other elected and appointed officials at all levels of US government act, etc.

  114. 114
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mnemosyne: You, uhm, seem to know quite a bit about this subject.

  115. 115
    MattF says:

    @WaterGirl: I never answer the phone if there’s no message. I also use Nomorobo, which is free for most VOIP landlines.

  116. 116
    WaterGirl says:

    @MattF: This is on my cell phone! They are calling me on my fucking cell phone. That’s a bridge too far.

  117. 117
    Jay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Naw, Saudi Embassy’s probably have detention and torture levels built in as standard,

    Remember 9/11?

  118. 118
    Gravenstone says:

    @Leto: Unless he’s had a change of heart, Ted has publicly stated that he has no intention of participating.

  119. 119
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Murderers often underestimate how loud their victim is going to be while being tortured to death.

    I am afraid to ask how you know this.

  120. 120
    Amir Khalid says:

    @dmsilev:
    I have no idea what the victim weighed on one piece. Let’s say he weighed 70kg — about 155lbs., around the average for a man. I think that as long as it was in a leakproof container, you could probably hide a 10lb chunk of dead guy in your luggage.

  121. 121
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sheila in nc: Turkish intelligence. Erdogan, after being briefed, doesn’t want any of this being smeared on him. He doesn’t want the Saudis turning around and claiming that Khashoggi left the consulate through the side door (ignore the fact that his fiance was waiting for him outside the front of the consulate) and was therefore alive when he left and clearly some Turks who hate Saudis kidnapped him and/or murdered him and disposed of the body.

  122. 122
    NotMax says:

    FYI.

    Saudi Arabia expressed on Sunday its rejection to any threats and attempts to undermine the Kingdom vowing to respond to any actions taken against it. “The Kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and bids to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressure, or repeating false accusations that will not [sic] jeopardize the Kingdom,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said in a statement.
    [snip]
    The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has condemned what it described as a “media campaign” targeting Saudi Arabia, against the backdrop of the disappearance of a Saudi journalist in Turkey. “What is being circulated in some Arab and international media is false accusations against Saudi Arabia,” staterun Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted GCC Secretary General Dr Abdullatif Al-Zayani as saying.
    [snip]
    …Saudi-owned Al Arabiya channel’s General Manager Turki Aldakhil warned that imposing sanctions on the world’s largest oil exporter could spark global economic disaster. “It would lead to Saudi Arabia’s failure to commit to producing 7.5 million barrels. If the price of oil reaching $80 angered President Trump, no one should rule out the price jumping to $100, or $200, or even double that figure,” he wrote. Source

  123. 123
    trollhattan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I’d make a comment on the laborious task my spouse tackled distributing her mom’s remains around the West, but I’m not gonna.

    The House of Saud and the Russians seem to be sharing playbooks.

  124. 124
    debit says:

    @WaterGirl: Block the number?

  125. 125
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I used to read true crime and I wrote some really bad serial killer screenplays. I even took a whole class in crime scene investigation for writers at UCLA Extension that was taught by a forensic investigator who ended up as one of the co-creators of the original “CSI.”

    We even got to tour the crime lab for LA County for the class. Interesting, but occasionally gruesome.

  126. 126
    JPL says:

    Kyle Griffin
    If reports are true about the Saudis’ report acknowledging Khashoggi’s death, it’s hard to square that with what Trump said this AM.
    Me
    Trump will simply deny it.

  127. 127
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: No, I think they killed him. If they had scarfed him up and rendered him back to Saudi, they wouldn’t have had to have the cleaners come in ahead of Turkish law enforcement.

  128. 128
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @dmsilev: They gate checked the bags…//

  129. 129
    p.a. says:

    It’s pretty obvious liberal criticism of the Saudi regime made them kill Kashoggi.

  130. 130
    trollhattan says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    Good quality vacuum sealer would ease the distribution and transportation, although that skull….

  131. 131
    WaterGirl says:

    From a link on LGM. WE DIDN’T MEAN TO MURDER HIM (PINKY PROMISE), WE ONLY MEANT TO TORTURE HIM AS PART OF HIS KIDNAPPING

    One source says the report will likely conclude that the operation was carried out without clearance and transparency and that those involved will be held responsible.

    Would not want to be the fall guy on this. But seriously, when you are the guy torturing and murdering someone, how can you not draw the dotted line to realizing that you could be on the other end of that on some other day?

    One of the sources acknowledged that the report is still being prepared and cautioned that things could change.

    We haven’t decided on the final story yet. Stay tuned.

  132. 132
    Leto says:

    @WaterGirl: Sorry, 7pm EST. Saw it on CNN today (I was trapped on a treadmill but was listening to a podcast).

    @Gravenstone: Well then it’ll just be Beto for an hour. I’m sure an hour of free tv time/exposure won’t hurt.

  133. 133
    Immanentize says:

    Jared “The Hidden Genius” Kushner

    My working theory is that Haley quit because of the Khashoggi assassination. That she knows Jared green lighted the kidnapping, if not exactly the murder. That is why she had to go kiss the ring on national TV and effuse about what a great leader Trump is and what amazing children he has. It was the only way she could get out with getting totally tooled by Trump. Often the more people use adjectives, the less they mean something. Hidden Genius was just Haley trying to get away from the murderous dangerous band that Jared has enabled.

  134. 134
    LeeM says:

    @Mnemosyne: Not much of a “Dexter” or “Snatch” fan? Plastic sheeting all around an empty room would make cleanup easier. Not that I advocate that behavior.

  135. 135
    Mnemosyne says:

    @WaterGirl:

    We’ve been getting those calls on our office phones. There is no fucking was to stop them, because they know there’s no enforcement.

    Someone needs to do a commercial about that in 2020 — Donald Trump gave scammers your cell phone number. The Democratic Candidate pledges to stop cell phone scammers and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law!

  136. 136
    Wapiti says:

    @MattF: When I was in Panama, a sneak thief trying to break into a barracks fell through an awning down about 15′-25′ to the ground; suffered compound fractures in both legs. He crawled to the headquarters to beg for help, and the MPs/Medics got to him, but he still left roughly a square yard of blood. The stuff spreads.

  137. 137
    WaterGirl says:

    @debit: It’s never the same number twice. They constantly spoof it to a number similar to my own.

  138. 138
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gravenstone: I think that the order that came down from “the palace” was to have him extra-judicially executed. The only factor they didn’t control for is he brought his fiance with him. Had she not been waiting for him out front, they could have plausibly argued he left through the front door, but the CC TV system had broken, or through a side door and whatever happened to him happened after he left the consulate.

  139. 139

    Reports now coming in that the Saudis are preparing a report that says that Khashoggi was accidentally killed during interrogation, which was to precede abduction to Saudi Arabia.

    This doesn’t sound compelling to me, but I suppose it will allow Trump to say, “Oh they’re good guys – they told us exactly what happened.”

    Also, too, it looks like they will try to shift the blame away from MBS, but that seems unconvincing as well.

  140. 140
    NotMax says:

    @Leto

    a) It’s a town hall forum, not a debate.
    b) Cruz rescinded his earlier acceptance to appear, so O’Rourke gets a full hour of airtime solo.

  141. 141
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: How many people exactly have you murdered?

  142. 142
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Amir Khalid: Judging by the photos I’ve seen, he was over 200lb. And as was said upthread, even with a saw, there are about 10 logical pieces. Dividing him into 15 seems like it would be a lot more work, and a lot messier.

  143. 143
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Leto: Is that the townhall that Cruz has said he won’t attend?

  144. 144
    trollhattan says:

    @WaterGirl:
    At this point 80%+ of calls received on my cell are phone spam. The most annoying mimic my area code plus first three digits of my number. I have at least a hundred combinations blocked but that leaves freaking 9900 to go! The phone as a useful spoken communications device will cease to function, sooner than we’d like to admit.

  145. 145
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Kelly: I didn’t plan it for them, I’m just recounting what was reported.

  146. 146
    Rudi says:

    The cleaning crew are amateurs. Should send in The Wolf.

  147. 147
    NotMax says:

    @NotMax

    Also too,

    c) FSM alone knows what kind of plants the Cruz campaign will have seated in the audience to ask ‘provocative’ questions.

  148. 148
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: It’s simple. They ARE sociopaths.

  149. 149

    We report, you decide.

  150. 150
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: That makes as much sense as anything else I have read.

  151. 151
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LeeM:

    As Adam said, if they had done that, they wouldn’t have needed the outside cleaners to come in ahead of the police.

    And I’m now wondering if having the Saudi staff inside the building hear and/or know what was going on was part of the message. Think you want to be a critic of your government? You could be next.

  152. 152
    trollhattan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    We’re among friends so an approximation will be fine.

  153. 153
    Gravenstone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: There’s a meme popular with writers that says, “Ignore my browser history, I’m a writer not a serial killer”. That may be germane here.

  154. 154
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman: You know the rules. If she tells you, she has to kill you, too.

  155. 155
    Aleta says:

    The twitter feed of the Arab human rights activist and dissident İyad el-Baghdadi | إياد البغدادي @iyad_elbaghdadi (Ahmed) is good. From one thread of his that’s being retweeted today:
    https://twitter.com/iyad_elbaghdadi/status/1051466444590985216

    I feel immense rage. Not at Saudi Arabia but at the so-called “free world”. We have been fucking warning you for 7 years and you have nothing but fucking ignored us while shaking hands with our persecutors.

    You know how we got here? You know how we got to the point where a freaking 33 year old nutjob is blackmailing the world? It’s your fucking hypocrisy. If you weren’t so fucking hypocritical about your values, they wouldn’t be at risk now.


    He sometimes writes at Medium (as Ahmed), as a co-founder of the @Kawaakibi Foundation. https://medium.com/kawaakibi-foundation/justiceforjamal-233a813b746c

    When we spoke to Jamal at the Oslo Freedom Forum in May, he explained for the Arab Tyrant Manual podcast what’s happening in the country, and what prompted him — a former insider and royal adviser — to have to flee the country and live in exile. Listen to get a more nuanced view of the man, and to get a glimpse into what threatened the Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman so much he had him killed.

    https://soundcloud.com/arabtyrantmanual/episode-017
    (28 minutes long. It’s from the podcast Arab Tyrant Manual @ArabTyrantMan)
    https://twitter.com/ArabTyrantMan/status/1050219513478823936

  156. 156
    trollhattan says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    “an interrogation that went wrong.”

    I’ll say. “We had his leg half sawn off when, shockingly, he died!”

  157. 157
    WaterGirl says:

    @NotMax: Good luck with that. Beto seems to be able to turn those “gotcha” questions around in the same way that Barack Obama did.

  158. 158
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: MBS will blame it on one or more of his cousins as a way to further crackdown and consolidate power. The window is closing for the more senior princes to do something about their 33 year old problem child.

  159. 159
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    In reality, or in fiction? In reality, I can’t even stand to debone a chicken that someone else already killed, decapitated, and defeathered for me.

    In fiction … dozens, at least.

  160. 160
    trollhattan says:

    @NotMax:
    what kind of plants the Cruz campaign will have seated in the audience to ask ‘provocative’ questions.

    The ficus remains a perennial favorite.

  161. 161
    Leto says:

    @NotMax:
    a) ah!
    2) I’m good with giving Dems free air time.
    h) he’s shown he’s pretty adapt at handling supposedly “tough” questions. Thinking of the person who asked about kneeling and the response he gave to that.

    @Adam L Silverman: See #2

  162. 162

    The longer this story rots in the sun, the worse it looks. Trump is horrifyingly amoral. The fact that this was a journalist is an added stab at democracy. There are layers and layers of evil here.

  163. 163
    NotMax says:

    @Gin & Tonic

    Nobody goes home empty handed.

    Worst. Participation trophies. Ever.

    Is there a protocol to designate the pieces halal?

    //

  164. 164
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Truly evil. No wonder Trump is drawn to him.

  165. 165
    Gravenstone says:

    @LeeM: Who knew all that “plastic sheeting and duct tape” post 9/11 could be so versatile?

  166. 166
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Leto: Your numbering scheme intrigues me.

  167. 167
    WaterGirl says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: A journalist in our own country. With a green card.

  168. 168
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Yep, as I just wrote in comment 158:

    MBS will blame it on one or more of his cousins as a way to further crackdown and consolidate power. The window is closing for the more senior princes to do something about their 33 year old problem child.

    My guess is he blames this on Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, who MBS deposed as Crown Prince, who is the former head of Saudi Intelligence, and who has been under house arrest since MBS’s crackdown last year.

  169. 169
    Mnemosyne says:

    @trollhattan:

    In Teresa Neilsen Hayden’s book of essays about editing, she includes a review of American Psycho where she points out that one of the many reasons it was a crap book was that the staging of the murders was totally implausible. It was the factual errors that really annoyed her about the book.

  170. 170
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @NotMax: If pig is haram, I’d suppose long pig is also, but you’d have to consult someone more versed in Islam than I am.

  171. 171
    Gravenstone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Today on the Galloping Ghoulmet, we teach you how to spatchcock your interrogation victims for easy disposal…

    /apologies to Graham Kerr

  172. 172
    Mary G says:

    I asked you about this the day it happened and you said something like “if he doesn’t turn up in 24 hours, he’s dead.” I wanted to believe that MBS was too smart to pull a blatant act of flouting the rules of law like this, but I was wrong. Trump has given autocrats around the world permission to kill any journalist who reports about them whenever they feel like it.

    Scary. David Fahrenthold better watch his ass. Some MAGAt might be heading his way.

  173. 173
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @ruemara: Well, you know, he just said “Will no one rid me of this turbulent reporter?” And never expected anyone to take it literally.

  174. 174
  175. 175
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    One cannot help but wonder how many different ideas for blaming it on the Mossad were thrown at the wall to see if they’d stick.

  176. 176
    But her emails!!! says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    I’d agree, but I haven’t seen much evidence that Trump requires any more pomp, circumstance or cash from his bribers than the average tinpot dictator.

  177. 177
    Jay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    “Fiction”, got it, nudge nudge, wink wink,

    We won’t tell.

  178. 178
    dmsilev says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The window is closing for the more senior princes to do something about their 33 year old problem child.

    Are we talking about Saudi Arabia or the US?

  179. 179
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Here’s how you get close:
    1) Head
    2) Left foot
    3) Right foot
    4) Right lower leg
    5) Left lower leg
    6) Right thigh
    7) Left thigh
    8) Right hand
    9) Left hand
    10) Left forearm
    11) Right forearm
    12) Right upper arm
    13) Left upper arm
    14) Torso

    So that’s 14 pieces. If you subdivide the torso at the pelvic girdle/waist/hips, then you’ve got 15 pieces.

  180. 180
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Another Scott:

    “And the guy who brought it just happened to be a top pathologist who is inured to cutting up dead bodies — who knew?”

  181. 181
    dmsilev says:

    @Gelfling 545:

    Well, you know, he just said “Will no one rid me of this turbulent reporter?” And never expected anyone to take it literally.

    Well, of course not. Everyone knows that blood circulation is in the low Reynolds number limit.

    (I will _not_ be out-nerded)

  182. 182
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Hope the guy who got stuck transporting the torso wasn’t expecting to bring any of his actual belongings back with him.

  183. 183
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: I guarantee there’s a soundproof secure room in the consulate.

  184. 184
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Mary G:
    Speaking of which, given the Proud Boys curbstomping some protesters in NYC (who may or may not have tried stealing some guy’s backpack), I wonder if these guys at some point are going to get ventilated by a victim with a gun trying to defend themselves?

  185. 185
    Aleta says:

    @debit: I remember when Tr was asked about Putin killing people. He said: “We’ve got a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?” His role models were mafia heads and a lawyer who worked for them. He’s accused of cooperating with mobsters in NY, NJ and Russia in order to succeed. He admires murderous dictators. He uses threats and fear to shut people up. Apparently he doesn’t have a problem with having people killed if they are in the way.

  186. 186
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’m actually a member on the Homicide Research Working Group, or was when I was paying professional association dues.

  187. 187
    misterpuff says:

    I’m sorry. The Drumpf Doctrine has a sell by date. Any smart state is going to pat him on the head and wait for the grownups to return.
    All the authoritarian wannabe actors are going to push the envelope until i’ts inside out and then 2020 will come and their asses will be hanging out.
    Self identification of bad actors will make it easy for us to clean up our foreign policy post-Drumpf.The Saudis, the Isrealis, the Syrians are all gonna lose status with the reclaimed democratic USA. Only Putin (due to his stash of nuclear weapons) will survive this housecleaning.
    A Housecleaning that will remove fascists in our foriegn relations and the internal threat from home grown fascisti.
    Or so I hope. But we will “Look Forward” and not back….hopefully not this time.

  188. 188
    debit says:

    @Adam L Silverman: At first read I thought you were doing some new version of the Hokey Pokey.

  189. 189
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @WaterGirl: I only get those by mail. Fortunately my recycle bin is close to the mail box.

  190. 190
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: Sure, sure…

  191. 191
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Clearly not so secure that Turkish intelligence was unable to get recordings of the murder (though I assume the recording devices were inside the room). And soundproofing for normal or even angry conversation doesn’t always cut the mustard when it comes to torture and murder.

    Like I said, I suspect that terrorizing the Saudi staff was part of the point of the whole exercise.

  192. 192
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It’s that last step that gets awfully messy.

  193. 193
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Aleta:

    Apparently he doesn’t have a problem with having people killed if they are in the way.

    Which is terrifying because if he could get away with it, I absolutely believe he would have his domestic poltical opponents killed, going so far as to have left-leaning grassroots organizers assassinated.

  194. 194
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: The post I wrote in response to you asking, as well as a couple of others’ questions, got eaten by WordPress on Friday night. We apologize for the delay.

  195. 195
    trollhattan says:

    Apparently Trump has new art hanging at the White House. (Not by who you’d first think of.)

    Folks are already hard at work improving the art.

  196. 196
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dmsilev:

    I’m assuming that’s also part of the demonstration here — Saudi Arabia is showing that it can murder its dissidents in other countries and the US won’t say shit, even though the US has a LEGAL DUTY to protest one of their green card holders being murdered by their government.

  197. 197

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: Are you advocating for murder in a public forum? That’s not cool.

  198. 198
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debit: It is, you just use other people’s parts when you put them in and take them out.

  199. 199
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’m aware.

  200. 200
  201. 201
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Must not exceed size requirements in order to qualify as carrion baggage.

    @Mnemsoyne

    “Any luggage?”

    “Just a chest.”

  202. 202
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    I think he’s predicting more than advocating.

  203. 203
    catclub says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Cut taxes to the wealthy who then fund campaigns.

    it is ALWAYS projection. Romney and all the GOP are always worried that if you let a majority vote, they will vote to send money to themselves.
    Because that is what the GOP does whenever it gets in power.

  204. 204
    Aleta says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Arab Tyrant Manual @ArabTyrantMan
    Jamal Khashoggi is being described as an “Islamist” and as “Muslim Brotherhood”. In this talk we had with him in May, we asked him about that. Listen to him in his own words.

    In this episode, we replay a conversation we had with Jamal at the @OsloFFearlier this year.
    https://twitter.com/ArabTyrantMan/status/1050219513478823936

    (Same podcast as in the link above.)

  205. 205

    @NotMax: “Awwwww, Ahmed always gets to carry the head! I’m tired of carryin’ the feet every time!”

  206. 206
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodingers_cat: No, he’s basically stating what I’ve stated here repeatedly. Eventually these knuckleheads are going to try to intimidate, if not outright attack, someone – whether someone who is white and opposes them or more likely a person of color and/or religious minority – who conceal carries and does so in a stand your ground state. And that potential victim is going to stand their ground. And at that point they will learn that the old maxim* that “God made man, Samuel Colt made men equal” doesn’t only apply to white people. And then all hell will break lose.

    * Yes, yes, I know that Hiram Maxim was a gun designer and manufacturer. I’m named for my great-grandfather Louis Silverman. That’s what the “L” in my name is for.
    https://www.forgottenweapons.com/maxim-silverman-1896-pistol/

  207. 207
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: Handbag. Shoulder bag. Trunk.

  208. 208
    dmsilev says:

    @NotMax: Also some hand luggage.

  209. 209
  210. 210
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @schrodingers_cat:
    I’m not. I’m just afraid that’s going to happen. These guys are eventually going to fuck with the wrong person or kill someone.

  211. 211
    Immanentize says:

    @NotMax: Who says the Mossad was not involved?

  212. 212
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: @Immanentize: They won’t. When the Mossad fucks up, they don’t do it like this. Also, there was no reason for the Israelis to kill Khashoggi.

  213. 213
    jl says:

    Embassies and consulates have to keep their doors open to their own citizens. So, you’ll always find a motley crew of tourists, journalists, refugees, 15 member squads of rogue killers doing a hit job, up and down the corridors and in the quiet back rooms. The more authoritarian the government, the more likely they are to have an open door policy to the whole compound.

    I forget where I read that. Maybe it was in one of QAnon’s news items.

  214. 214
    chopper says:

    from what i understand cutting up a body isn’t super hard, but that’s cause i grew up listening to a lot of cannibal corpse.

  215. 215
    Immanentize says:

    @Adam L Silverman: But if we knew about it, and the Turks knew about, Mossad probably knew about it two or three days before.

  216. 216
    Jay says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    So far, the Nazi’s have been very careful in picking venues and setting up their Reichfests, to avoid places where they would “run into” that sort of situation.

    And the Cops have been very helpful in ensuring that only the Nazi’s are allowed to have weapons in a 12 block radius.

    In Portland they made sure that counterprotestors had nothing more dangerous than nerf toys, while the Nazi’s were allowed backpacks full of guns.

  217. 217
    catclub says:

    @trollhattan:

    Has OJ weighed in?

    I was pretty sure when the Saudis agreed to a joint investigation with Turkey that they had lined up OJ as a consultant.

  218. 218
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Mnemosyne: @Adam L Silverman:
    Basically this. It’s not that I want to see it come to pass but if it did happen I would be like, “That’s terrible, but you were asking for it by acting like violent fascist thugs. What did you think was going to happen?”

    Would police (if they were attacked) doing the shooting alter the calculus for the fallout?

  219. 219
    Immanentize says:

    @catclub: If the torso does not fit, you must acquit.

  220. 220
    Jay says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    American Nazi’s have killed more American’s than any other terrorists.

  221. 221
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Immanentize: No. Israeli Military Intelligence (AMAN), which runs their SIGINT collection program may have known about it. They may not have. If they did there is no guarantee they would have told us.

  222. 222
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Didn’t say it had to make sense. Somewhat surprised that Dolt 45 hasn’t already pinned this on MS-13 or Chicago Democrats. Or a 400 pound guy with a bone saw on his bed.

  223. 223
    trollhattan says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:
    If it comes to pass the likelihood of crossfire–lots–would seem pretty high.

  224. 224
    Jay says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    Given the opportunity, the Cops will kill in defence of the Nazi’s, everytime.

  225. 225
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: Conservatives, Republicans, and the various groups under the alt-right label had no real issues with the Bundy standoff at Bunkerville when a variety of these guys threatened to shoot and/or kill law enforcement and a number of these guys actually had drawn and were aimed at law enforcement from sniper perches. So I’m going with no.

  226. 226
    NotMax says:

    @Catclub

    Upshot will be straight out of Casablanca. “Round up the usual suspects.”

  227. 227
    NotMax says:

    @Jay

    Seems to be a pressing need to gently pull the apostrophe key from your keyboard to give it a rest.

  228. 228
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    What about the “Stand Your Ground” law getting someone off after they shot Proud Boys in self-defense? Would that alter conservative opinion on such laws? If the shooter was white? I won’t bother asking if they were non-white.

  229. 229
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jay:

    As you said, the Nazis are being careful about where they protest. They haven’t tried to do a protest here in Los Angeles, because they know that LAPD is not going to allow them to riot or bring weapons. That’s why they go to other cities where the cops will let those things slide. 😡

    Oregon — including Portland — has an unfortunate history of white supremacy since it was explicitly founded to exclude African-Americans. It’s blue now, but that history remains and a lot of Nazis and assorted white supremacists still congregate in the PNW.

  230. 230
    lurker dean says:

    "Emperor Hirohito assures me he didn't do it."— Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dec 7, 1941— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) October 15, 2018

  231. 231
    ruemara says:

    @Adam L Silverman: If you count snark, 100s

  232. 232
    hitless says:

    @Aleta: I’ve been surprised that I haven’t seen more “Khashoggi was no angel…” reporting. I can only assume that is yet to come.

  233. 233
  234. 234
    debit says:

    @hitless: Oh, I am sure someone is tossing his home right now to “find” something.

  235. 235
    Mike in DC says:

    @hitless: It’s been trotted out here and there. This cover story is essentially a means to justify a toothless punishment for KSA. The sad thing is, with a real hard push by the public and private sector, we could effectively end our dependence upon foreign oil and natural gas by the end of next decade, and liberate ourselves from these faustian bargains with execrable regimes.

  236. 236
    Jay says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    A sucessful “Stand Your Ground” defence requires a compliant Police, DA and Jury. As trial after trial in the US has shown, does not apply in the case of certain Races, Genders or Politics.

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yup. Nazi’s love them some Oregon. They know where to “come out and play”, because many LEO’s and DA’s are Nazi’s.

  237. 237
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @hitless: Been out since Friday. Basically the allegation is that he was a buddy of bin Laden and was a proto al Qaeda member.

  238. 238
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Jay:
    In the right city with the right DA I could see it happening. Chicago recently convicted a cop who shot a POC to death of murder. The trouble is, would a “Stand Your Ground” state have the right combination of a decent DA or jury pool? Maybe, maybe not. Sufficiently large enough cities in red states tend to be liberal bastions.

  239. 239
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mike in DC: We need to call their bluff or they own us forever.

  240. 240
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’d be surprised if they’d tell us the local weather after Trump’s shenanigans.

  241. 241
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Immanentize:

    My working theory is that Haley quit because of the Khashoggi assassination. That she knows Jared green lighted the kidnapping, if not exactly the murder.

    Which country’s security service will leak the recording of THAT?

  242. 242
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    So begins another Dinfrastructure Week.

    ;)

  243. 243
    JPL says:

    @Immanentize: Wouldn’t it have been nice for our government to warn him.

  244. 244
    divF says:

    @Immanentize: There’s a Borscht-belt joke along these lines that ends with “…and tells it better”. I won’t try to repeat it here because (a) I’m not Jewish, and (b) it doesn’t work nearly as well in writing.

  245. 245
    Jay says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    And it’s getting the Ususal Traction. The Authotarian’s are running with it, and people who believe in Democracy know it’s a steaming pile of horseshit.

    Unfortunately, there won’t be a pony.

    The moral fight over Aparthaid South Africa was bitter and long, but eventually most of the West grew a spine,

    We are all spineless jellyfish now.

  246. 246
    Mike in NC says:

    We first saw those paintings of the ex-presidents yukking it up at some so-called art gallery in Charleston a few years ago. They rank right up there with the ones with the poker playing dogs. Trump will have one purchased for every one of his tacky properties.

  247. 247

    Somebody shoots one of these Nazi assholes and we are truly fucked. Can you imagine if, e.g. Rosa Parks shoots a cop on that bus?

  248. 248
    Ken Shabby says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    And, Stephens and Calhoun were on record explicit about it, justifying in great detail. Infrastructure Week, 1861. Those traitors were remarkably like GOP. Lincoln pointed it out, too; gracefully, thoroughly, repeatedly. He basically threw it in a dark hole and rolled a boulder over their entrance/exit. But, casually, as was his wont to do.

    It hit me last year that, by 1864, the South couldn’t even get along with itself. A congressional convention in some sweaty building had various state idiots clamoring to secede from the Confederacy.

    Mention of hollow shell…

    As always, thank you, Adam. One of the reasons I come here is to read your articles. If I’m looking for real news and not bullshit, I start hunting here. Been waiting for this one and, this context.

  249. 249
    Original Lee says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Good gravy. The Saudis have managed to raise the bar on spy novel plausibility in one fell swoop.

  250. 250
    Jay says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    I’ve seen as many attacks on “antifia” from the left, as from the right.

    Apparently, the “only” proper way to deal with violent Nazi’s is to stick to debating their “ideals” according to Robert’s Rules of Order in a moderate voice.

    And when the Nazi’s violently attack and kill people like Heather Hayer, the “proper” thing to do is clear the streets and let them take over.

  251. 251
    Ken Shabby says:

    @WaterGirl:

    My favorite comment today found on another blog:

    “I hate to break it you Charlie Brown, but…you’re never going to get to kick that football unless you punch Lucy in the mouth and take it from her.”

    Yep.
    (not aimed at you)

    It’s not a gender slam either and, anyway, Pumpkin Pschopath is a spoiled leeetle gurrrrl.

  252. 252
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Ken Shabby:
    When they go low, we kick em in the business. Too many progressives have yet to learn that. Civility moved to Canada a long time ago.

  253. 253
    debit says:

    @Ken Shabby:

    It’s not a gender slam either and, anyway, Pumpkin Pschopath is a spoiled leeetle gurrrrl.

  254. 254
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ken Shabby: You’re quite welcome. And thank you for the kind words.

  255. 255
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @John Revolta:
    With these Nazi assholes, I’m afraid they will recreate the Reichstag Fire using the White House.

  256. 256
    joel hanes says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I said “take me off your list”.

    The effective formulation is:

    “Please put this number on the don’t-call list which you are required by law to maintain.”

    Note that you are asking them to put you on a list, not remove you from one.
    Other incantations often do not work because you haven’t actually asked to be put on the special don’t call list.
    IIRC they are not legally obligated to obey a request to be removed from a contact list;
    they ARE legally obligated to put your number on the don’t call list if you so request.

  257. 257
    Elizabelle says:

    Where is Tengu Phule? Mind you, I don’t miss him. But his absence is noticeable. What’s up there?

  258. 258
    debit says:

    @joel hanes: If they are spoofing numbers they aren’t legit anyway and really won’t give a crap about laws.

    My guess is that by answering and responding in anyway just proves the number is a good one and off it goes onto another list to be sold.

  259. 259
    zhena gogolia says:

    @misterpuff:

    wow, you are an optimist.

  260. 260
    Marcopolo says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Had to do real world stuff after my post so pardon the late reply. While I enjoy the snark, I can foresee a situation where due to mail-in ballots that can take a while to come in & be counted that control of the House of Reps might not be decided by Wed morning and/or there are one or more other races that have razor thin margins. At which point I would not put it past Republican operatives to pull some kind of 2018 version of the 2000 Brooks Bros protests in FL. It is against that kind of eventuality (not the idea of red America deciding to secede en masse or the Trump feds doing something undemocratic (really?) in the aftermath of the elections) I think we need to be prepared.

  261. 261
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    The oddest thing that seemed to have taken a lot of wind out of the NeoNazis sail; Castle Falkenstien – some video had the protagonist saying “Nazis in America? HELL NO!” and him shoot / stabbing/ burning/ punching Nazis. They all had a long sob over that.

    So we really live in stupid times.

    But I think with Adam’s point, these guy are only there for the fun of punching pacifists. It won’t be so much fun when their victims shoot back.

  262. 262
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Speaking of “We’re stuck with stupid”, Trump now says he has to “personally” test Warren’s DNA. What a dead beat.

    ‘Fess up Donny, you don’t have the million to cover your own beat. Loser.

  263. 263
    WaterGirl says:

    @joel hanes:

    “Please put this number on the don’t-call list which you are required by law to maintain.”

    Copied and saved. Thank you!

    P.S. Can I still say fuck you, or not?

  264. 264
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Marcopolo: I’m tracking. I think a lot of the specific campaigns are prepared for this. If you’ve noticed the candidates that have run and made it through the primaries for the Democrats tend to be much younger, a lot of them are either combat vets or from the intelligence community or were appointees in the Obama administration, and seem to be much savvier and much more prepared for what is likely to happen. We know the GOP and their enablers are going to throw a tantrum no matter what happens. If they win it will only further entrench their victimization identity and if they lose it will do the same thing.

  265. 265
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Black Dahlia style.

  266. 266
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Something along those lines.

  267. 267
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    To my knowledge, consuming human meat is haram. I doubt any imam would say otherwise.

  268. 268
    Ruckus says:

    @WaterGirl:
    I find that swearing causes much nashing of teeth when aimed towards refuckingpublicans. Making it very worth while. It’s the least we can do for them, considering what they want and are doing to us.
    BTW, just got back from the VA.
    CNN was on in the waiting room and a commercial came on with a black man speaking, supporting shitgibbon and lamenting how shitty democrats are treating his loyalty. I got up walked out and said to the guy sitting next to me, “I can’t take this shit.” Out in the hall a man stuck his head in and made some small talk about what was on, this was after the commercial was off. I told him I had to get out of that room, it’s not nice to destroy other people’s TVs.

  269. 269
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’m tracking. I think a lot of the specific campaigns are prepared for this.

    I’m a bit worried about the possibility of a totally ginned-up The-Chinese-Rigged-the-Election narrative, with faked or cherry-picked evidence. There will be a lot more internet traffic sniffing (especially recording) than usual, some of it independent and mutually independent, election day and night and days earlier. Probably a lot of false positives (amateur), too. But any election hackers using the internet should expect more general scrutiny than usual.
    (I’m primitive, and still personally use tcpdump, but here’s a sample non-exhaustive list)

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