The Khashoggi Affair: A View From 40,000 Feet

In this post, I’m going to take a 40,000-foot view of the Khashoggi affair, to clarify some things as the Trump propaganda machine swings into action.

Jamal Khashoggi was a citizen of Saudi Arabia and resident of the United States. He was a critic of the Saudi regime and a columnist for the Washington Post. On October 2, he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and has not been seen since. A 15-man Saudi group, including a forensic pathologist with a bone saw, entered Turkey just before Khashoggi disappeared and left just afterwards. The Saudi consul has left Turkey and has not been available to the press. Evidence is available that suggests that Khashoggi was tortured, killed, and dismembered.

Official statements from the Saudi government have denied that they had anything to do with Khashoggi’s probable murder. Government statements have also threatened economic and political retaliation.

The Turkish government has some information about what happened in the Saudi consulate. They have been dribbling it out with the apparent intention of embarrassing the Saudis.

The United States might be expected to be a mediator between Turkey and Saudi Arabia and to press for information about Khashoggi’s fate. President Donald Trump has now almost admitted that it is probable that Khashoggi is dead, but he has vacillated about how that might have happened, bringing in the implausible idea that “rogue killers” might have been responsible. He has said he accepts the Saudi denials.

Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Riyadh to speak to King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who runs the country. Pompeo has said that he did not see Turkey’s evidence, but media reports are that he did and brought copies back to the United States. Trump has now tweeted that this is “FAKE NEWS.” Other media reports conflict with Pompeo’s words and each other as to what was said in the meeting with MBS. Pompeo’s jolly smiles and exuberant handshakes in the official photos seem out of place.

Conservatives have started a whispering campaign to the effect that Khashoggi was a bad guy. Whispering campaigns of this type have been precursors to justifying otherwise unjustifiable Trump stands.


That’s what has happened so far. A few qualifications and reservations.

Much of the information we have about what happened to Khashoggi comes from the Turkish government. They have their own agenda and no great love for the Saudis. Their stories have changed in detail. But the overall story remains the same.

The media and apparently the intelligence community do not have enough evidence to state that MBS ordered Khashoggi’s murder. The structure of Saudi Arabia suggests that he must have been involved.

Mike Pompeo has been widely criticized for his genial manner in the official pictures. I wonder if it isn’t that Pompeo has developed reflexes as a gladhanding politician that are serving him poorly. He reaches out to shake a hand, and the smile comes automatically. In any case, not good optics.

Trump, despite his recent denials, has long had connections to Saudi Arabia. He made Jared Kushner his primary connection to MBS. Recent revelations connected to the Mueller investigation show a multitude of Saudi ties to events around the 2016 election.


Where do we go from here? There is no good outcome for either Trump or MBS in admitting to the truth. They are fuzzing the message, hoping that attention to Khashoggi’s murder wanes. Trump’s love of a bigger crisis to mask the current crisis is a danger.

A complete denial from MBS seems impossible. The Saudis and the Trump administration have been floating trial balloons relating to blaming someone else. The very public way in which these balloons have been floated seems to be an admission that they are trying to cover something up and are willing to let us know they’re doing that. It’s consistent with Trump’s mode of operation or that of an absolute monarch. “We can do this because we can.” It’s an assertion of power.

But even the balloons are damning. They admit that Khashoggi was tortured, murdered, and dismembered. They merely try to cut the connection to MBS or soften it. They are likely to be met with popular and media skepticism. (Aaaannnnddd…it looks like a story is being released, so I’ll post this now!)

If Trump were to face up to the enormity of the attack on Khashoggi, he would have to make a statement about freedom of the press and Saudi responsibility for this act. He would have to invoke some kind of punishment – ending arms sales or sanctions, for example. He clearly does not want to do this.

A few senators have made strong statements calling for consequences against Saudi Arabia. On the Republican side, they are the usual suspects who get in line once Trump states a position. The Democrats have no power to force anything on Trump.

The longer Trump and MBS go without addressing the situation, the more culpable they are. But Trump may be right that the longer he can string this out, the less likely the public will insist on action. The Republican slime machine will make Khashoggi into a dubious character, and the press will go along.

That will leave us with a president who is an accessory to a particularly gruesome murder, likely because of his personal financial connections to the perpetrators. On campaign, he said he could kill someone on Fifth Avenue in New York City, and he would still have support. That would seem to be the next step.


Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner.


216 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    Or, they could just admit it. Now what, Trumpov?

  3. 3
  4. 4

    @zhena gogolia: Never get into a fight with a guy with a bone saw!

  5. 5
    Corner Stone says:

    @zhena gogolia: A desperate man can do just about anything. But a middle aged journalist can’t be subdued by over a dozen security professionals without killing him?

  6. 6
    zhena gogolia says:

    This whole story is just nauseating.

  7. 7
    eemom says:

    Supposedly the king is taking charge, and MSM or whatever his name is is grounded.

  8. 8
    Mike in DC says:

    I would like things like Magnitsky to apply nearly automatically to situations like this.

  9. 9
    debbie says:

    I thought I heard Trump wanted the tapes to be released. What a sick fuck.

  10. 10
    feebog says:

    News reports now that 18 Saudis have been detained in connection with Khashoggk’s murder.

  11. 11
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    I like to think that I’d put up a fight if someone started cutting off my fingers.

  12. 12
    geg6 says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Yeah, a transparently ridiculous story. And they cut him up into little pieces for why?

  13. 13
    debbie says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    I’ve had enough of this special treatment for diplomats and their embassies, consulates, etc. I remember some Middle Eastern prince getting whisked out of the country to avoid rape charges in the 1980s. Not to mention all the traffic and parking violations!

    If we’re supposed to abide by the laws of the country we’re visiting, they need to do the same, be they diplomat or schlub.

  14. 14

    @Mike in DC: A number of senators have written a letter to Trump that puts a Magnitsky 120-day deadline on him for a response.

  15. 15
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    “I’m sure that Khashoggi believes that he was seized, tortured, and beheaded, but…” – Susan Collins, tomorrow probably.

  16. 16
    debbie says:


    It was reported early this morning that one of them died in a traffic accident.

  17. 17
    Jay C says:


    News reports now that 18 Saudis have been detained in connection with Khashoggi’s murder.

    Probably now 17, as one of the suspected assassination team has been “reported” as “dying in a car crash”…

  18. 18
    debbie says:


    That would be good news. Other than allowing women to drive, MBS has been a horrorshow.

  19. 19
    Yutsano says:

    @debbie: Rather convenient eh?

  20. 20
    trollhattan says:

    “Let’s you and them fifteen guys fight.”
    “Sounds good.”

  21. 21
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Will Susan Collins spend 45 minutes reciting position papers by MBS before she lets us know that she is against any sanctions?

  22. 22
    debbie says:


    Right! I was kind of worried about repeated announcements all day long of someone meeting a most unfortunate end in an unfortunate way.

  23. 23
    Nettoyeur says:

    @zhena gogolia: A fight between a single unarmed man against 15 security agents, most of them military officers, with a power saw. They will next claim he sawed his own head off. As for the hit squad, they are now dead men walking.

  24. 24
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Corner Stone: I think that’s Thomas Friedman’s department, but this time, maybe!

  25. 25
    JPL says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: The fact that they brought fifteen guys with one having a bone saw to a fist fight does add a certain element of torture and murder.

    It’s possible that team trump decides just to travel around the states campaigning for the next few weeks.

  26. 26
    Gvg says:

    @debbie: uh no. Hundreds of years of negotiations between countries have shown embassy’s have to be left alone. Also our citizens have broken laws and we have protected them too. Both when our citizens did something bad and when the other countries laws or leaders were bad.
    However sanctions on their countries is quite acceptable. I’d also target Trumps personal profits that are corrupting him. Not sure how, but penalties on anybody American who condones murder for money ought to trigger confiscation along the lines of not allowing murders to sell their stories for profit.

  27. 27
    Mary G says:

    Looks like a number of peons and a couple of very high level officials have been ordered to take the fall. Doubt it will work that well. The forensic guy with a bone saw who landed in Turkey and took off later the same day can’t be spun as an innocent tourist.

  28. 28
    geg6 says:


    Actually, apparently MBS is going to head up the investigation into it, not be sidelined in any way. This is fucking ridiculous. Arrrrrrgh! Infuriating.

  29. 29
    Mai Naem mobile says:

    I was talking to a guy who lived in Saudi Arabia till relatively recently and still has family living there. He said MBS has cut out some group decision making and narrowed it to only him making decisions. Not unlike what Trumpov(obviously at a lesser level) is trying to do here. I just wonder if Khashoggi was on the enemies list Jared Kushner handed over to MBS. I think Nikki Haley going to regret the Kushner is a secret genius comment.

  30. 30
    Yutsano says:

    @debbie: @Nettoyeur: I wonder if the remaining 14 knew they were going to be sacrificed for their new crown prince. I can’t imagine that sitting well in the remainders of the Saudi secret service.

  31. 31
    debbie says:


    That is fucking ridiculous.

  32. 32
    debbie says:

    @Mai Naem mobile:

    I think Nikki Haley going to regret the Kushner is a secret genius comment.

    Here’s hoping her opponent in 2020 is filling that away as we speak.

  33. 33

    @debbie: But the women who led that agitation are in prison.

  34. 34
    eemom says:


    I remember some Middle Eastern prince getting whisked out of the country to avoid rape charges in the 1980s.

    And the Saudi gazillionaires who were whisked out after 9/11.

  35. 35
    Steeplejack says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim, @Corner Stone:

    Eh, I tried this the other night and got crickets. Tough room.

  36. 36
    geg6 says:


    Heard Nick Kristof say it on Ari Melber’s show. They are just trolling us all with this. Richard Engel is also throwing a bunch of shade.

  37. 37
    ruemara says:

    I want to know what information Kushner gave to MBS and what was said in their WhatsApp conversations. And don’t say there aren’t any records, because it’s a fucking computer. There’s always a record. Somewhere.

  38. 38
    Steeplejack says:


    Here’s the kicker: he was run over by a female driver! [rim shot]

  39. 39
    JPL says:

    The Saudi’s are now saying that it was some type of choke hold. They didn’t say whether or not he was body slammed.
    I don’t mean to take light of the situation, but they do seem to be taking trump’s lead.

  40. 40
    Jeffro says:

    Folks please don’t even waste time talking here or with others (especially wingnuts) about the possibility or even the extreme lack thereof of this fight story. It is utterly pointless.

    The point is that the Saudis have been lying for three weeks now about what happened to JK. The point is that Trumpov ran cover for them until they realized that they had to come up with some story, however lame. And the point is, The entire right wing Wurlitzer spun into action trying to smear JK, with never a second thought.

  41. 41
    scottinnj says:

    I thought it was all Squi’s fault

  42. 42
    Aziz, light! says:

    Some Saudis paid Trump millions for some pricy condos. A grateful nation thanks them.

  43. 43
    Matthew says:

    He ran in to my knife! He ran in to my knife….ten times!

  44. 44
    dmsilev says:


    “Let’s you and them fifteen guys fight.”
    “Sounds good.”

    That would work if the fifteen guys were all ninjas. As everyone knows, the first law of ninjadynamics is that the fighting strength of N ninjas is exactly equal to 1/N * the fighting strength of one ninja. One ninja alone: Badass. Fifty ninjas together: cannon fodder that your average four year old child could defeat.

  45. 45
    trollhattan says:

    Bone saw to neck/choke hold, potato/potatah.

  46. 46
    debbie says:


    Ah, the irony of the universe!

  47. 47
  48. 48
    charon says:


    The comments came after Donald Trump said he presumed Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was dead and that the consequences for Saudi Arabia would be “very severe” if its leaders were found to have ordered the dissident journalist’s killing.

    Sawers, who was head of the British secret intelligence service until 2014, also claimed that the crown prince would only have acted if he believed he had licence from the White House to behave as he wished.

  49. 49
    Corner Stone says:

    @dmsilev: Could you take one ninja? How about one ninja with a friend that had a bone saw?

  50. 50

    A Russian is indicted for interfering in the 2018 election.
    Trump plans to pull out of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty
    The Saudis come up with their lie

    I hate this timeline.

  51. 51
    Mary G says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Haven’t read it, and no link, but the execrable Mark Thiessen has a new piece up in the WaPo: Khashoggi’s disappearance is a betrayal of Trump. Hey, the benevolent white man tried to give the ignorant savage brown man a boost, and he acts like a savage! Sad! God, how do these guys look at themselves in the mirror every morning?

  52. 52

    “All right you guys, let’s try it again. Everybody, now…………….1…………2…………….


  53. 53
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Trump plans to pull out of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty

    Is this some lame-ass attempt to sound tough on the Russians?

  54. 54
    Jeffro says:

    @Mary G: thiessen is quite the piece of work…I wish him nothing but the worst. Fortunately, just associating with Trumpov in any way should take care of that all by itself.

  55. 55

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: It’s a fairly long story. The Russians seem to have been violating the treaty with one type of missile. Instead of trying to work out the issue through the Treaty’s mechanisms for such things, there’s a bunch of boys in the DOD who would like some new toys, and John Bolton hates all arms control treaties.

    For those of us who remember the 1980s, the biggest destabilizers were the intermediate-range missiles. That’s because they have practically no warning time. What stabilized the situation was the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, which banned them all for the United States and the Soviet Union.

  56. 56
    Darkrose says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Never bring a fist to a bone saw fight.

    (And yes, I know, it’s horrible. Dark humor is the only thing keeping me from screaming out loud.)

  57. 57
    The Dangerman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I hate this timeline.

    Oh, just wait for Bolton to convince Trump to get it on with Iran. I’ve been expecting an October Surprise on that Front (turns out, the October Surprise was this Caravan, which is awfully convenient timing … and some on the Right are blaming Soros, while it was probably Koch or similar money behind that thing).

  58. 58
    Chyron HR says:


    And they cut him up into little pieces for why?



  59. 59
    HinTN says:


    The UK foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, told LBC there would be “very, very serious consequences” for UK-Saudi relations if reports of Khashoggi’s murder were true, but appeared to steer away from ending arms sales, pointing out that Saudi Arabia was a strategic partner in the battle to constrain Iran.

    When will we realize that Iran ought to be our strongest ally in that region?

  60. 60
    Aleta says:

    A competent government that was aggressive about human rights could use this moment to demand the Saudis release their political prisoners and end penalties for nonviolent dissent. Even if financial corporations and investors won’t put force into those words, it’s still the perfect time for world leaders to say them. There’s a RW argument going around that it’s hypocritical for anyone to denounce Saudis because of everyone’s past tolerance. But actually this moment gives leaders cover. Too bad ours are choosing to cower and lie like maggot-eaten souls.

  61. 61
  62. 62
    rikyrah says:

    Brynna Quillin (@brynnaquillin) Tweeted:
    “I’m looking for Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, I don’t see them on this stage. I did see, however…your boss, come and sit down right next to you to give you a pat on the back for your deciding vote to rip healthcare away from millions.”

    Amazing burn by @DelgadoforNY19 #NY19

  63. 63

    @The Dangerman: It may be that, as I pointed out the other night (last night? Time dilates.) Saudi Arabia’s bad behavior makes an Iran war much, much more difficult, maybe impossible. So it may be that Bolton wants to get his jollies by poking the Bear, hence the withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

  64. 64
    rikyrah says:

    A fight?
    Phuck Outta Here 😒😒

  65. 65

    The Saudi excuses, in chronological order. I’m not posting the whole thing, just too bummed.

  66. 66
    The Dangerman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    So it may be that Bolton wants to get his jollies by poking the Bear, hence the withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

    I don’t think Bolton is behind that one; I’m calling Trump. Same reason as NAFTA, Korea, et al, anything not done by Trump is suspect. Here he comes to save the day

  67. 67
    Mary G says:

    @The Dangerman: The comments on that are vile.

  68. 68
    Viva BrisVegas says:


    It was reported early this morning that one of them died in a traffic accident.

    By an amazing co-incidence that just happens to be the guy who, in a fit of rage, killed Khashoggi while all the others were out of the room having a coffee.

    Fortunately that guy’s surviving family were left a substantial sum of money from a mysterious but charitable benefactor to help assuage their grief.

  69. 69
    Ken Shabby says:

    The Sudententland Journalists are savaging my people.

    Why would Trump care what Barzini does in his own area of Economic Prosperity

  70. 70
    GregB says:

    Mohammed bin Shitheel had two weeks to craft a cover story and that is what he settled on? What an inept putz.

  71. 71
    West of the Rockies says:

    @John Revolta:

    “He was comin’ right at us!”

  72. 72
    Mike in NC says:

    Team Trump is definitely going to create a bogus border crisis to fool his low information voters.

  73. 73
    Mary G says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I love how the tune has changed to “Saudi Arabia is our no. 1 ally in the region against Iran and ISIS.” The Saudis have said that they’ll send me and money to Syria, but haven’t. And won’t Bibi Netanyehu be asking “Wait, I thought we were the pre-eminent ally.”

  74. 74
    Bnad says:

    Why would MBS do anything to his hit squad? He’ll just pick 15 troublesome people and call them the suspects.

  75. 75
    dmsilev says:

    @GregB: There’s a strong element of “fuck you, I don’t have to come up with a believable fig leaf” at work here.

  76. 76
    Mandalay says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    After waiting 3hours fiancé asks consulate staff about his whereabouts who tells her Khashoggi already left the building through the backdoor

    Someone accidentally told her the gruesome truth there.

  77. 77
    The Dangerman says:

    @Mary G:

    The comments on that are vile.

    I never read comments on untrusted sites (which, I guess, means I trust this site; hmmm, I need a beer … ballgame in a few minutes).

  78. 78
  79. 79
    zhena gogolia says:


    It’s good. Missed it the first time.

  80. 80

    @The Dangerman: No, it’s Bolton and his henchman.

    Over the summer he brought into the White House another hardliner on arms control, Tim Morrison, the former Republican policy director on the House armed services committee, and between them they have taken the lead on arms control issues away from the state department. [Guardian]

    I don’t know much about Morrison. When he came on, a friend who knows him told me to watch the treaties go down now.

    It may be fine with Trump, but Bolton and Morrison took the initiative.

  81. 81
    A Ghost To Most says:

    How Shit Hitler and the GOP play this should give us a pretty good idea how far they are willing to go here in America.

    My guess: way farther than people will allow themselves to admit.

  82. 82
    sgrAstar says:

    @geg6: The Guardian sez the WH came up with this pathetic story. I KNEW Jared was involved…the breathtaking stupidity is his trademark.

  83. 83
    Bill E Pilgrim says:


    Beat me to it.

    I was responding specifically to the “fist fight” claim that had just been released before I wrote that, it just gets more and more ridiculous.

  84. 84
    FelonyGovt says:

    This is why we have an Emoluments Clause. If Shitgibbon and Prince Jared didn’t have so many continuing financial entanglements with Saudi Arabia, maybe the US would actually be taking the appropriate stance here.

    One saving grace- as Khashoggi was a journalist, I don’t think the media will let this go as easily as all the previous scandals.

  85. 85
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Sorry if this has been asked/answered:

    Is a consulate sovereign ground like an embassy?

  86. 86
    Tehanu says:


    … this moment gives leaders cover. Too bad ours are choosing to cower and lie like maggot-eaten souls.

    “Like” maggot-eaten souls? Those maggots have been full to bursting with their souls for years now.

  87. 87
    Mike in DC says:

    Apparently that portly bespectacled 59 year old journalist stepped into the consulate and turned into the Immortal Iron Fist, Defender of K’un Lun and Destroyer of the Hand.

  88. 88
  89. 89

    @zhena gogolia: They brought a fucking bone saw!

    How stupid do they think we are?

  90. 90
    Judge Crater says:

    Sure, Khashoggi got in a fight with 17 Saudi thugs and they body slammed him and his head came off.
    Nice try.

  91. 91

  92. 92
    Chip Daniels says:

    Is this something a Democratic Congress can investigate?

  93. 93
    Mary G says:

    Official KSA story attached to this tweet from their Foreign Ministry:

    #STATEMENT | On the case of the disappearance of the Saudi citizen Jamal bin Ahmed Khashoggi— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) October 19, 2018

    Unbelievable in every sense of the word.

  94. 94
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    So the interesting questions are jurisdiction and extradition. What if Turkey demands the 18 plus MBS (Mohammed Bone Saw)?

  95. 95

    @A Ghost To Most: Turkey has a lot of leverage, and the game they’re playing is not at all clear.

  96. 96
    Mary G says:

    What’s the matter with Kansas? Brown people not allowed to vote:

    No polling place exists in Dodge City, Kansas, a majority Hispanic city of 27,000. Voting takes place at just one location. Not only is it outside of town, it’s a mile walk from the nearest bus stop. To vote you have to get the hell out of Dodge.— David Cay Johnston (@DavidCayJ) October 19, 2018

  97. 97
    ed_finnerty says:

    Reminds me of Peter Lorrie in the Maltese Falcon trying to defend some ridiculous story

  98. 98
    Chetan Murthy says:


    and MSM or whatever his name is is grounded.

    I insist upon proper nomenclature. If we don’t know how to name a thing, name persons, we’re barbarians. It’s “Mr. Bone Saw” (MBS). [h/t the peerless Colbert]


  99. 99
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @The Dangerman:
    I don’t think this Caravan thing is going to work as some kind of October Surprise. Voters care about health care, education, and GOP corruption, not this stupid shit.

    And I’ll harangue, harass, and shout down any right-winger disagrees. :)

  100. 100
    Honus says:

    I love it. Over at Wonkette they’re calling it “Bonesaw Week”

  101. 101
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Mary G:

    Forget it, Jake. It’s Kansass.

  102. 102
    MomSense says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    This timeline is the worst.

  103. 103
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    I like to think that I’d put up a fight if someone started cutting off my fingers.

    There’s a thing, a THING about being civilized, about spending your youth, your training years, learning how to do detailed and not-at-all-brutish things: you end up being FOR SHIT in a fight. I know that if I were in such a situation, I’d only pray that I’d had a poison tooth, and I’d be biting down as hard as I could.

    There’s a great schism in the world, between those who believe that force rules, and those who realize that force can only destroy the edifice of generations of careful building … of civilization.

    These fuckers, and Shitmidas their protector, are the downfall of us all.

  104. 104
    Chetan Murthy says:


    If we’re supposed to abide by the laws of the country we’re visiting, they need to do the same, be they diplomat or schlub.

    While I’d like to subscribe to that, the truth is, our country does shitty things too. Or, heck, things we don’t think are shitty, but the country with whom we have diplomatic relations, thinks is shitty. Remember that case of the CIA contractor who was running a couple of agents in Pakistan? And when things went pear-shaped, some people got killed in a cray-cray chase, and the guy was finally exfiltrated b/c we somehow finagled a diplomatic passport for him?

    I’m not saying that we’re all wine and roses. Just that …. well, it’s pretty murky when great powers (or even not-so-great powers) engage in clandestine fistfights, and there’s a reason for these (diplomatic immunity, etc) rules.

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

    Is it just me, or is the quality of the voice recordings on It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown noticeably worse than its contemporaries?

  106. 106
    Steeplejack says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Ta, missus.

  107. 107
    Aleta says:

    Saudi Arabian state television announced on Friday that Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi is dead, CNN reports. The state TV report claimed that an “argument and physical altercation” led to Khashoggi’s death inside the consulate. Eighteen Saudis have reportedly been arrested and are being investigated in connection with the case. BBC News reports deputy intelligence chief Gen. Ahmed al-Asiri and Saud al-Qahtani, senior aide to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, were dismissed. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has also reportedly ordered a “ministerial committee” to form to “restructure the intelligence services” under the leadership of Prince Mohammed.

  108. 108
    El Caganer says:

    This is truly important. I mean, we’re talking about the murder of a RESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, a WASHINGTON POST JOURNALIST. OK, yeah, we’re helping the Saudis commit genocide in Yemen, but those people are just a bunch of raggedy-ass towelheads, right? Right? Priorities, people….

  109. 109
    Mary G says:


    Rare event of self-sacrifice: Gov. Bill Walker (Ind-AK) drops out, endorses Democrat and ex-Sen. Mark Begich for Governor. GOP's Mike Dunleavy is still favored, but Crystal Ball is lowering AK GOV rating from Likely R to Leans R.— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) October 19, 2018

  110. 110
    Mary G says:

    @El Caganer: Yeah, it’s really pissing me off that most Americans ignored what MBS has been doing in Yemen for three and a half years (war crimes), but one journalist gets his fingers and hands chopped off, and everyone’s complaining. Hell, better late than never.

  111. 111
    Mary G says:

    Also weird:

    News avalanche: Nevada's GOP governor essentially tells a reporter that the Republican running to succeed him has no idea what he is talking about. I kid you not.— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) October 20, 2018

    Trump fever starting to break among some Republicans?

  112. 112
    Mary G says:

    Right on time:

    BREAKING: Trump says Saudi explanation for Jamal Khashoggi's killing is credible and a 'good first step'— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) October 20, 2018

    Move along, nothing to see here!

  113. 113
  114. 114
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    A really rich guy once managed to convince a Texas jury that he had accidentally killed a guy and then dismembered and disposed of the body in the Gulf of Mexico while in a panic. So Americans are demonstrably pretty stupid.

  115. 115
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Chetan Murthy:

    I’m not saying that we’re all wine and roses. Just that …. well, it’s pretty murky when great powers (or even not-so-great powers) engage in clandestine fistfights, and there’s a reason for these (diplomatic immunity, etc) rules.

    It’s the curse of power. To meddle in the affairs of other places and peoples because it’s in your interests to do so. It’s affected every civilization in history, from the Romans to the British to us. It’ll happen to the PRC too no matter how much they like to play the long-game. They will inevitably overreach, get bogged down in the Middle East, and decline. Imperialism is a drug nobody can resist.

  116. 116
    Jay says:

    @Chetan Murthy:

    Depends where you grew up.

    I learned art, literature, poetry, music as a kid. First Aid and how to listen and comfort some one. How to teach others and be kind to animals.

    I also learned Kung Fu fighting on my front lawn in a neighborhood where a witty repartee to an insult used a two by four.

    I learned how to fight because until early middle age, I had to know how to fight.

  117. 117
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Mary G:
    Yeah, somehow I don’t think that’s going to make this all go away…

  118. 118
    Dev Null says:

    @El Caganer: Paleocon Larison at TAC has been writing about this forever, for peeps interested in background.

  119. 119
    lamh36 says:

    Good question.

    He was in a fight…ok…then produce his body

    Where’s the body?

  120. 120
    Dev Null says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: Might be true, but lacking in prescriptive power.

  121. 121
    Jay says:

    @Mary G:

    There’s lots of Americans who cared and care about what’s happening in Yemen.

    As far as I know however, none of them own Media or Politicians.

  122. 122
  123. 123
    Mary G says:

    @Dev Null: Larison has been a lonely voice. Senator Chris Murphy of CT has been on it, and Bernie got on the bandwagon lately.

  124. 124
    Dev Null says:

    @Mnemosyne: Durst?

  125. 125
    El Caganer says:

    @Mary G: He sure as shit didn’t deserve what happened to him (why did he go in the embassy in the first place?), but I have a very bad feeling that he will get thoughts, prayers, and expressions of concern while the people of Yemen get bupkis. IOW, business as usual. Most Americans are treated like shit, but non-Americans are treated worse. If I weren’t a broke old man, I’d go back to the Old Country and live the rest of my life in ignorance. At this point, I’d better shut up – I don’t think I’m helping create a Friday night party mood.

  126. 126
    Mike in DC says:

    @Honus: It will be the House of Sawed forever after now.

  127. 127
    Kay says:

    States ranked on ease of voting- Oregon and California-good job.

    Many of the rest need improvement. Laggards.

    Thank you for this post, Cheryl. I don’t know anything about Saudi Arabia and had only the vaguest idea what this was all about.

  128. 128
    Dev Null says:

    @Jay: I do not understand this.

    Then again I am on my 4+ glass of wine.

  129. 129
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @El Caganer:


    [to agree with you vehemently, but maybe with a soupcon of snark]

    Hannah Arendt famously said that fascism is the application of the methods of imperialism [perfected in the colonies like Yemen and Afghanistan] to the home country. When we start allowing persons recognized as such by the Constitution like permanent resident Jamal Khashoggi to be treated like “furriners”, that’s a step down towards letting that happen to American citizens. And even to “that evangelical pastor who didn’t agree with the entire Talibangelical agenda”.

  130. 130

    @lamh36: Or at least the parts*.

    *Being the MBS(Mr. Bone Saw) was involved.

  131. 131
    Martin says:

    @Kay: We’re not done in CA. Posted paid mail in ballots are new this year. You can also register on election day with a few caveats.

  132. 132
    Chetan Murthy says:


    I learned how to fight because until early middle age, I had to know how to fight.

    But notwithstanding, surely you’d agree that a world in which people need to learn how to fight, is a world in which less civilization-building happens? That’s all I’m saying. Because some number of those who “learn how to fight” will fight because they have a propensity. Or because they’re not good at getting ahead any other way. And that’s bad for civilization.

  133. 133
    Jay says:

    @El Caganer:

    In the column published after his death, Kashoggi noted the “activists” he worked with in his last years, and the issues they were working on. We wouldn’t call them “activists” here. Their “reforms” we take for granted here, because in Western Societies, they were “reforms” that we won during The Enlightenment”. Kashoggi also noted, like himself, the “activists” believed they were “immune” from attacks by the State, because their actions/crtiques were so mild and minor, who would bother. Of course, they are all gone now, including Kashoggi.

    Kashoggi needed copies of documents from Sawdi Arabia in order to get married in America. He made arrangements to have them sent to the Consolate in Turkey to pick them up. ( Some counties only allow for the pick up of official copies of official documents, in person, at a Government Office).

    One of the Big Questions, is that the US Intelligence Community had advance notice that the Sawdi’s were going to at least, kidnap him. Under US Law’s, they had a “duty to warn” him of this. They did not.

  134. 134
    Brickley Paiste says:

    Do we have any “evidence” that there is “evidence” of the torture and killing?

    I’ve seen scores of news stories stating that Turkey has video/audio, but I have never seen anything supporting this – other than statement from various Turkish officials.

    [I don’t doubt for a second that the Saudi’s did this and and I would not lose any sleep if the entire arabian peninsula was turned to glass tomorrow, but I would like to know what the facts actually are.]

  135. 135
    Dev Null says:

    @Chetan Murthy: I don’t think that’s what Jay was saying.

    Then again, I have no idea what point Jay was intending to make.

  136. 136
    geg6 says:


    Exactly. I’ve been saying that since 2001.

  137. 137
    Kay says:


    Everyone should do election day registration. So many of the laws are just archaic. It’s just ridiculous to think that individuals are sitting around plotting to add one illegal vote somewhere it doesn’t belong. We can barely get them to vote at all let alone hatching an elaborate scheme to vote out of their area.

  138. 138
    geg6 says:


    Makes total sense. He’s a fucking idiot.

  139. 139
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Dev Null: I’ll let Jay respond. But: I spent my entire youth learning more math, science, biology, physics, logic, and mathematical logic, than I could possibly remember today. I wasn’t weak or physically disadvantaged; just …. it was clear what was prized in my family, and I responded to that. Physical prowess was not.

    A world in which people like me were taught by our fathers to be fighters, would be a world in which people like me spent less time learning all that science. Or in the case of others, the humanities.

    There -is- a limit to how much children can learn, and we can’t pretend that their spending massive amounts of time learning how to kill each other, will have no effect on their learning the many other skills required to navigate and *maintain* this enormously complicated world in which we all live.

  140. 140
    Jay says:

    @Dev Null:

    I grew up in a neighborhood with good schools, semi-good parents, in a rough neigborhood. Gang fights were common. Criminality was common. The Chicago Way long before the movie was ever made.

    Somebody insulted you or dissed you, you beat the crap out of them, otherwise, you would have a target pinned to your back for ever.

    One day, playing ball hockey on the street, Tommy Morton’s older brother, a notorious thug and bully, thought it would be funny to run us off the street with his 750 Norton. As he ran at us, one of the Trenholm brothers stuck his hockey stick into the front wheel of his motorcycle and when he flipped over and crashed, we beat him bloody with our sticks and feet.

    We were barely teens and he was in his early 20’s with already 3 prison stints behind him. When he crawled away, the threatened us, and we reminded him we knew exactly where he lived.

    That ended the Morton Gang threatening us or attacking us.

  141. 141
    A Ghost To Most says:


    Bullies need to be Scut Farkus’ed.

  142. 142
    Dev Null says:

    @Brickley Paiste: I have been told by various and sundry that evolution explains how we got to the present world.

    But who’s to say?

    Perhaps Dawg created the world, and all the fossil evidence therein, eh? (Heinlein’s Job makes this argument.)

    Were you there?

    I stopped reading the Vichy Times when they posted a both-siders essay in the Science Times arguing that (ahem) both sides of the evolution (ahem) debate … have arguments.

    Sometimes judgment matters.

  143. 143
  144. 144
    Mainmata says:

    @zhena gogolia: Right, 59 year old genial intellectual decides to take on 18 trained killers including a forensic pathologist with a bonesaw in a fist fight. The Saudis don’t even try to concoct a plausible story. Still, Trump will run with it.

  145. 145
    Ruviana says:

    @Chetan Murthy: Bear in mind that the U.S. has always had a strong streak of anti-intellectualism where all kinds of learning and skills are derided and “common sense” is considered prized and more valuable than “book-larnin’.” In the 50s it was “eggheads,” in the late 60s, “pointed-headed intellectuals” and now we have the deplorables howling “lock her up” over and over again. In some sense it’s the same as it ever was.

  146. 146
    Brickley Paiste says:

    @Dev Null:

    Speaking of anti-intellectualism, does anything personify it better than an outright hostility toward the very idea of truth and facts? That people get angry at the very idea of people trying to figure out what the facts are?

    By the way, the cool thing about evolution is that there are facts and evidence to support it – you don’t have to take somebody’s word for it.

  147. 147
    Keith P. says:

    FYI, here’s what happened, in case Captain Obvious got transferred to Space Force – Daddy Trump told Jared to go to Saudi Arabia and get some big wins. Jared puts on his shades and his flak jacket, heads to the Middle East, and tells MBS (probably verbatim): “I don’t care what the fuck you do as long as you bring us some photo ops. Jets and dollar signs – all that good shit – on a poster that the president can hold up for the cameras. Get that done, and you’ve got carte blanche” Now that the shit hit the fan, “Oh, fuuuuu-UUUCK!”s start tricking around the WH.

  148. 148
    Mainmata says:

    @Mai Naem mobile: For all we know, the reason Kashoggi was offed was because he was investigating a MBS-Kushner deal tthat was very ifffy.

  149. 149
    kindness says:

    Trump doesn’t seem to care that other foreign leaders/business execs won’t ever trust him now. Mafia Capos can order hits and it doesn’t hurt them. Nation’s leaders can’t do so like the Saudi Crown Prince has done. With Trump condoning it and acting like a Don himself….damn dude. You just done shot yourself in your foot…Maybe both.

  150. 150
    Dev Null says:

    @Chetan Murthy: Agreed.

    And I am not your sock puppet. /snark

  151. 151
    Adrift says:

    In my mind the official story will wind up close to this:

    Mr. Kashoggi came to an appointment at the embassy regarding official marriage paperwork. At that time, he was advised that his marriage request had been denied on religious grounds. Mr. Kashoggi became enraged, defamed the prophet and drew a sword, threatening embassy staff.

    Fortunately there were 15 Special Forces in the embassy during a layover. They heard the attack and proceeded to engage the attacker. During the fog of the melee, the attacker’s sword was wildly thrashing about, with The attacker chopped into pieces. The actions of our special forces are to be commended.

    The next day, the embassy underwent it’s annual cleaning, and casual conversations with the cleaning staff indicate that the remains of the attacker were removed with the rest of the rubbish and hauled to a local incinerator.

    We are extremely grateful no innocents were harmed.

  152. 152
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    i hope this question isn’t too frivolous or petty, but is there an agreed-upon pronunciation of “Khashoggi”? I’ve heard the second vowel pronounced both long O and short O, and have heard the double GG pronounced hard G, soft G, hard G followed by soft, and a tortured thing ending in “zhee.” Between the vowel and consonant combinations, there are about 10-12 ways to say the poor man’s name, and there seems to be no consensus. Anyone here who can be definitive?

  153. 153
    Martin says:

    @Mainmata: You must not be familiar with the old Saudi saying “Never bring an Apple Watch to a bone saw fight”. Happens all the time over there.

  154. 154
    oatler. says:

    For some odd reason the local Fox affiliate is broadcasting Trump’s rally for McSally.

  155. 155
    Chetan Murthy says:


    the U.S. has always had a strong streak of anti-intellectualism

    Oh, inDEED. In my description of the “incentives” for my being a book-learnin’ kind of kid, I nowhere mentioned my schools. B/c 6th grade-onwards, they were *worse than useless*. I could wax dithyrambic about those fuckers, and how much I’d NOT shed any tears if a nuclear bomb dropped on that fucking town. But I won’t. Yeah, small-town Texas was …. anti-intellectual down to the roots. 100%.

    Set all that aside: civilization progresses because children decide to focus their formative years on things that are “higher-up” on the learning scale, rather than on basic survival skills. We can either decide that that’s right, or wrong. It’s that simple.

  156. 156
    Dev Null says:

    @Jay: uh, look. I am not questioning your formative experiences. I have my own.

    But I am missing the connective tissue. Granted that my failure to understand is more likely to be my fault than yours, how is your post responsive to Murthy’s post?

    And yes, I Am A Idiot™, to paraphrase Wonkette. What is your point?

  157. 157
  158. 158
    Amir Khalid says:

    The main troublemaker here seems to be the Crown Prince. He’s made a shitload of enemies within the House of Saud. Now he’s dragged the country into the shit, foreign relations-wise. Saudi Arabia’s one Western ally still on good terms with it is the increasingly discredited and isolated Scheißgibbonsreich. He’s become a clear liability. I wonder what will have to happen to make Daddy take the T-Bird away.

  159. 159
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    I understand where you’re coming from, Jay.

  160. 160
    raven says:

    @Chetan Murthy: What the fuck are you babbling about?

  161. 161
    Ruviana says:

    @Dev Null: Absolutely and published in 1963–55 years ago!

  162. 162
    Dev Null says:

    @Brickley Paiste: As a story comes out, inevitably the details are contradictory and confused.

    In this case, rather unusually, the early details all point in the same direction.

    Only a troll would insist on absolute truth while the facts are still coming in.

    Mildly surprised you haven’t been banned as a troll, but I subsample jackal commentary, so perhaps have missed your previous comments that are not as abysmally stupid as your current entry. /dryly

  163. 163
    Dev Null says:

    @Ruviana: Yowser! Assigned in my senior AP high school history course …

  164. 164
    Amir Khalid says:

    His Wikipedia entry offers this pronunciation guide:

    Arabic: جمال خاشقجي‎ Jamāl Khāshuqjī, Hejazi: [ʒaˈmaːl χaːˈʃoɡʒi]

  165. 165
    eemom says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I wonder what will have to happen to make Daddy take the T-Bird away.

    I’ve repeatedly seen him referred to as the king’s “favorite son”, which itself strikes me as a little odd. Also, they say he has a sane brother.

    Finally, it’s been reported that the real reason M-whatever offed Khashoggi wasn’t his writing; rather that his (wealthy) Saudi family is one of M’s perceived enemies.

  166. 166
    Amir Khalid says:

    His Wikipedia entry lists some interesting family connections.

  167. 167
    Steeplejack says:


    What the fuck are you barking about?! Go to bed, crabby.

  168. 168
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    So, is anybody playing Mega Millions tonight? 1 billion dollar jackpot. I don’t gamble often but you can’t pass up that opportunity no matter how slim the odds

  169. 169
    Dev Null says:

    @Steeplejack: I was wondering that myself.

  170. 170
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    It also memtions that.

    Kashoggi criticized the Saudi war on Yemen, writing “The longer this cruel war lasts in Yemen, the more permanent the damage will be. The people of Yemen will be busy fighting poverty, cholera and water scarcity and rebuilding their country. The crown prince [Mohammed bin Salman] must bring an end to the violence,” and “Saudi Arabia’s crown prince must restore dignity to his country — by ending Yemen’s cruel war.”[45]

    According to The Spectator, “With almost two million Twitter followers, he was the most famous political pundit in the Arab world and a regular guest on the major TV news networks in Britain and the United States.”[31] In 2018, Khashoggi established a new political party called Democracy for the Arab World Now, posing a political threat to Crown Prince Mohammed.[31] He wrote in a Post column on 3 April 2018 that Saudi Arabia “should return to its pre-1979 climate, when the government restricted hard-line Wahhabi traditions. Women today should have the same rights as men. And all citizens should have the right to speak their minds without fear of imprisonment.”[41]

  171. 171
    Dev Null says:

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

    you can’t pass up that opportunity

    Are you sure?

  172. 172
    Amir Khalid says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:
    Lotteries and suchlike are often described, accurately in my view, as a tax on the stupid.

  173. 173
    Aleta says:

    BBC: Police in Turkey investigating the alleged killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have expanded their search.

    Unnamed Turkish officials say his body may have been disposed of in the nearby Belgrad forest or on farmland.
    Mr Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, where Turkish officials allege he was murdered.
    Saudi Arabia denies any knowledge of what happened to him.

    Samples taken from the Saudi consulate and the consul’s residence during searches this week are being tested for a match with Mr Khashoggi’s DNA.

    The BBC understands the police are searching the Belgrade forest because it is believed at least two vehicles from the Saudi consulate headed in that direction on the day of the suspected killing.

    Meanwhile, 15 Turkish nationals employed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul have been questioned by prosecutors, state news agency Anadolu reports. Those giving witness statements included the consulate driver, receptionists, technicians and accountants, Anadolu said.

  174. 174
    Brickley Paiste says:

    @Dev Null:

    Try to read what I write instead of what that little voice inside your said says you should respond to.

    I asked if anyone had seen actual “evidence” yet. I’ve seen lots of stories quoting people talking about audio/video/etc..

    That’s pretty far from “insist[ing] on absolute truth while the facts are still coming in.”

  175. 175
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Brickley Paiste:

    Are you a fucking retard?

    Lovely. Somebody please ban this asshole

  176. 176
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    as a tax on the stupid

    Gee, thanks….

  177. 177
    Brickley Paiste says:

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

    I edited that comment before you commented because I realized the poster might actually be developmentally disabled.

    I apologize for any offense.

  178. 178
    Dev Null says:

    @Brickley Paiste: I’ll defer to Goku on this one. /snark

  179. 179
    Mainmata says:

    @Amir Khalid: Daddy hass demntia and no longer makes any real decisions, except maybe what tto have fo breakfast, if that.

  180. 180
    Mainmata says:

    @Amir Khalid: Daddy has demntia and no longer makes any real decisions, except maybe what tto have fo breakfast, if that.

  181. 181
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Brickley Paiste:

    I apologize for any offense.

    Is not compatible with this:

    might actually be developmentally disabled.

    You’re a douchebag and that was still a not-so subtle dig. I see through you

  182. 182
    Dev Null says:

    @Brickley Paiste: hahahaha.

    I will still defer to Goku.

    Feeding trolls is pointless.

    How is the weather in St. Petersburg, Comrade?

  183. 183
    sukabi says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: that may be technically true. He may have left in several pieces of luggage with the killing crew.

  184. 184
    Dev Null says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: So … many many years ago, the director of my state’s lottery visited my then-employer’s research labs.

    I don’t know the low-level details – I wasn’t in the audience – but it got out afterwards that not a single researcher had bought a lottery ticket from the state.

    Guessing that no one who organized the visit anticipated this a priori.

  185. 185
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @raven: I shoulda probably stopped after a few. Basically:

    Look, it’s all fine and good to -joke- about defending yourself [in a situation like Mr. Khashoggi’s, but also any other]. But the idea that we should expect people to be able to do so is not just ridiculous, but also counterproductive. Modern civilization is about people learning other things, with the time they would have otherwise spent training with weapons, etc.

    There’s a lot of evidence that even “average” men 200 years ago were much stronger than “strong” men today. Shouldn’t surprise us. Doesn’t mean that we’re decaying as a species — 200 years ago, there wasn’t an entire caste of “symbolic analysts” and most people worked as farmers. Yeah, I wanna go back to that time (not). The only way we can keep our incredibly sophisticated civilization going (Charlie Stross has estimated that to replicate our current level of tech would require at a minimum 100m people, given all the various jobs, division-of-labor, enormous investment in education, etc) is by NOT investing in “learning how to fight off your adversaries”.

  186. 186
    eemom says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Tax on the poor is how I’ve always heard it. 😢

  187. 187
  188. 188
    eemom says:


    Again, the reports are conflicting on that.

  189. 189
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    You indirectly called me stupid. I want an apology.

  190. 190
    Amir Khalid says:

    Not all the poor are stupid enough to throw money away on a lottery ticket.

  191. 191
  192. 192
    Jay says:

    @Chetan Murthy:

    Everbody in my neighborhood built communities.

    They just built different communities with different goals.

    The community I belonged to knew when to fight, when not to, how to fight, words, rules, laws, moral codes, physically. Who, what, when, where and why to fight. We learned when to fight to protect, when to fight to advance. Some of the kids I grew up with became pretty famous Nationally, some regionally, and some used their upbringing to build sucessful lives after ruin.

    There were kids in my group who couldn’t physically fight, and others in “positive” groups, who couldn’t physically fight either. We fought for them.

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

    @Amir Khalid:
    I’m serious. Did you mean to call me stupid or not? If you didn’t I’ll let it go. If not then you should apologize. I’ve been nothing but courteous to you in our interactions.

  194. 194
    Dev Null says:


    I get the sentiment, and it’s laudable as far as it goes. But it doesn’t seem to me to go far.

    It’s all well and fine at a local level to say “We fought for them.”

    Isn’t that what Trump says at his rallies? And if that’s so, why is “we fought for them” dispositive?

    And there’s a second issue: scaling.

    I’m an engineer. Scaling is a critical issue for engineers.

    How does “we fought for them” scale?

    No doubt I’m still misunderstanding your point, but the scaling of “we fought for them” to the nation is, well, scary. Trumpist, if you will forgive me for saying …

    My two pesos, anyway.

  195. 195
    Dev Null says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: My opinion, which is free and worth everything you paid for it (to wit: nothing)… I’d let this go. I can’t see how you can possibly come out ahead in this back-and-forth.

  196. 196
    Kay says:

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

    They’re fun if you don’t buy them a lot. You have to join with other people and then plan to spend the money. My daughter in law bought me one the last time I was in Chicago for mega millions. She bought three- me, her and my son. So it’s 3 numbers on one ticket. Dilemma. We have to plan for when we win! Which number is whose? So we agreed that any win was 3 way.. My son was saying “you’re both ridiculous, I’m not planning this” but we sucked him in and by the end he was refreshing the results page telling us about the helicopter he “needs” so he doesn’t have to talk to people on airplanes.

  197. 197
    Jay says:

    @Chetan Murthy:

    In a situation like Mr. Kashoggi’s, the only skills that would have helped is a finely tuned sence of situational awareness and a skill for running.

    Growing up in bad neighborhoods can teach you that, there are courses that can teach you the basics and then, practice, practice,

    But an upbringing of power and prestige will probably leave you blind to that in many regards.

  198. 198
    Viva BrisVegas says:

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

    I’m serious.

    Buying lottery tickets is stupid because it defies the Law of Probability. The odds are stacked in favour of the house. Always.

    If you are doing it as entertainment, then OK. If you are doing it expecting a return on investment, then that is stupid.

  199. 199
    Steeplejack says:


    Aw, give it a rest. Your “motorcycle justice” story was implausible. Now you seem to be spraying gold paint on the already gilded lilies of your mythic childhood. Are you by any chance an alumnus of the Adam Carolla Internet School of Heroic Bullshitting?

  200. 200
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Jay: [please read to the “so far” part before replying]

    There were kids in my group who couldn’t physically fight, and others in “positive” groups, who couldn’t physically fight either. We fought for them.

    With all due respect, there’s a term for what you describe, when scaled-up. it’s called “government”. Or, y’know, “civilization”. Minus the mass-outsourced fistfighting.

    Also, what obtains for children, isn’t guaranteed to work for adults. Let me give you one simple example. In college, there were these things called “jacks”. For instance, “penny in” somebody’s dorm room door, so they have to climb out the window, etc, etc, etc. Now, you might say “harmless”. Or you might say “if I find out who did it, I’ll tip a quart of gasoline under their door,seal it with a few towels, see how they like that shit.” And of course, from there to a firestorm is a simple match.

    I remember when that shit was talked-about back in college. And it fucking infuriated me back then. Of course, it never happened to me. And if it had, I wouldn’t have done as I describe above.

    Let me explain to you why. It’s well-understood that there are two ways to win a fistfight: (1) be *better* than your opponent, and (2) be *crazier* than your opponent.

    Jay, your thesis [so far] is that its OK for life to be about violence, because hey, we’re*better* than them. Consider that that’s not only not guaranteed, but also, they might be crazier than you.

    I appreciate that you were strong and skilled and all when you were young. Hell, maybe you have an AR-15 in your basement today. Notwithstanding, I would hope that you appreciate that your personal history is not a template for building a large-scale and durable society.

    The argument that a violent society is OK because we have all the weapons is ….. well, many, many, many philosophers, historians, legal scholars, etc, etc, etc, have explained why it’s insane.

  201. 201
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @eemom: You’re both wrong. It’s a tax on people who are bad at math.

  202. 202
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Kay: @Viva BrisVegas:
    It was for fun. I thought I’d take a chance on it since it was such a huge jackpot.

    @Dev Null:
    It pissed me off. If Amir didn’t mean it that way then he should have just said so. I’ve never once insulted him. I’m not asking for much.

  203. 203
    Steeplejack says:

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

    Don’t let the bluenoses get to you. Buying a lotto ticket is not a “bad investment,” it’s just taking a chance on lightning striking. Whether the odds are a million to one or a billion to one, you only need the lightning to strike once. And you cain’t win if you ain’t in!

  204. 204
    Jay says:

    @Dev Null:

    So two examples.

    In behind my house, down the hill and thru the woods, was what we called the Rehab Center. The long way was to walk down the long curving street. The Rehab Center was a Provincal Care Center for the Elderly and Disabled, on welfare or Provincial disability. ( Not Workers Comp, or Pensions, they paid for private care). The Rehab Center sat on 3 acres of untended grass, a small birch and poplar sapling forest, with a large frog pond. It was a “neutral zone” between three different areas for the “good people”, a no-mans zone between the gangs.

    Keep in mind, by gangs, I don’t mean groups of rowdy youths, but criminal gangs.

    Every 3rd Wednesday of the Month, the disability checks and welfare checks would arrive at the Provincial Services Office about 10 blocks away from the Rehab Center, where the recipients could, with 2 pieces of ID, could pick them up. Across the street was a check cashing operation. The nearest Bank was downtown, not like any of the people on Welfare or Disability had bank accounts.

    On the Third Wednesday of every month, my group, along with a group from Woodbridge Hights, would skip school, and gather in twos and threes, about every half block on the route from the Rehab Center, to the Provincial Services Office. Starting at about 8am, the Rehab residents that could walk, no matter what the weather, would walk to the Office, claim their check, walk across the street to cash it, then walk back. Those who could not walk were escorted in groups on the one “short bus” the Center had, by Staff. For the bedridden, other arrangements had been made.

    A steady stream of elderly and infirm people walking back to the Center, with a months worth of hard cash, naturally attracted flocks of vultures, (not to malign vultures).

    We were there to keep the vultures away, or chase them down and get the money back. Being robbed was no excuse as far as the Province was concerned, for getting another check. Petty street was not a priority for the Cops when every Wednesday was prime armed Bank robbery day.

    Second example, my schools hockey team, wound up one year playing the Nashwaksis Tribal School team for the Provincial Championships at the Center. A bunch of racists from across the Province took exception to that.

    As was ususal at the time, Parents, families and communities eould sit as close behind their teams bench as they could get. As the Naswaksis team and supporters had to travel by bus several hours, our supporters outnumbered them 4:1. The corners and goal areas were taken up by people who had come to just watch the game, and in this case, a bunch of racists. During the last halfof the 3rd period, with the score tied at 1:1, a Nashwaksis player accidentally tripped my brother, the Center, on a breakaway, just past blue line faceoff centers.

    The racists used this as an excuse to attack the Naswaksis supporters and a riot broke out. The Nashwaksis players cleared their bench, dropped gloves and sticks and skated towards us, we clear our bench, dropped gloves and sticks, skated past the Naswaksis team, cllmbed the boards, waded through their supporters politely, and started whaling on the racists, our parents and supporters did the same. Every summer since, the two teams gather in the summer for a hockey/camping/canoeing camp, each hosting on alternate years with the kids sharing homes and customs.

  205. 205
    eemom says:

    Fun fact: compulsive gamblers in recovery are not allowed to buy lottery tickets.

  206. 206
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    Thank you! Tonight reminded me why I hate gambling. I hate losing money. It’s fun when you win, no so much when you lose. I remember winning $100 playing a slot machine and that felt amazing. But subsequent losing weaned me off that.

  207. 207
    Jay says:

    @Chetan Murthy:

    Yup, you need to read what I wrote.

    It would be nice to have civilization. How does that work out in Chicago? Finally, after 50 years of cops running torture chambers, drug gangs, robbery crews, protection rackets, and executing people, they will get a new Mayor, hopefully not from the Chicago Machine, but maybe not, they got a new DA who’s actually focused on the issues, a new Police Chief, who may or may not clean out the rot in the CPD. Hasn’t changed anything on the South Side yet, but it may.

    Waiting on Civilization on the South Side is not an option. Fight or flight for many is the option, and if you can build a small community with a similar moral compass.

    Waiting for Civilization didn’t help Heather Hayer, did it?

    Mr. Kashoggi’s never going to see Civilization arrive.

    There are places in this world where your choices are fight or flight. There are situations in this world you may find yourself in, where waiting for Civilization is not an option.

    In neigborhood I grew up in, the options were try to run and hide, fight for yourself and others, or let others fight for you.

    When the Nazi’s come to your neighborhood, will you run? Will you hide? Will you pretend it isn’t happening? Will you protest? Keep in mind that’s a form of fighting?

  208. 208
    Bjacques says:

    @Chetan Murthy: You are a Rice Owl and I claim my $5. In the early 1980s, we definitely did “jacks” there, and, yes, some escalated, sometimes by me. Nobody got hurt, but I’m really glad there’s a statute of limitations (one involved low explosives). And that was *after* the glory days of jacking. Ah, well, life in an all-male residential college…

  209. 209
    J R in WV says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Yes, certainly. But someone wake me if a winning ticket was sold in WV… I’ll need to inspect my retirement enhancement investments, which I left in the car…

    If I win Balloon-Juice will suddenly have a philanthropic budget for some members not pied as of yesterday.

  210. 210
    catclub says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    The odds are stacked in favour of the house. Always.

    If you are doing it as entertainment, then OK. If you are doing it expecting a return on investment, then that is stupid.

    That is USUALLY the case. However, you can find the article on the guy who studied some of the state lotteries and found that under certain conditions
    (when there was a roll-over of the main prize, I think), the expectation value was positive, so the more tickets you bought, the more you made.
    They made a nice living doing this, but it was work. They had to drive to the right state, then convince some small store owner to let them print out a LOT of tickets – you could not do it by a computer generating all the ticket requests – then going through all the tickets to find the winning cards.
    Eventually the State lotteries figured this out, but it took years.

  211. 211
    catclub says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    He wrote in a Post column on 3 April 2018 that Saudi Arabia “should return to its pre-1979 climate, when the government restricted hard-line Wahhabi traditions.

    1979… hmmm – Response to the Iranian Shia revolution?

  212. 212
    Cheap Jim says:

    I would point out that the Saudi Arabian state is not one where a person can be properly described as a citizen. One is a subject.

  213. 213
    Dev Null says:


    You are a Rice Owl

    Wait, wut?

    Where did that come from?!?

    (Not in this comment thread, if my browser’s search function is, uh, functioning.)

  214. 214
    Dev Null says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: Sometimes it’s better just to let things go. In this case you and Amir Kalid are not on the same page. You see a one-time flyer (sp?) on a lottery ticket as a lark, Amir sees a lottery ticket as a crime against the austere god Mathematics. (I apologize for putting words in both your mouths, just paraphrasing to make the point.)

    IMO (again, free and worth what you paid for it) laughing off the comment would be a better bet.

  215. 215
    Bjacques says:

    @Dev Null: @Dev Null: whoops! I was replying to Chetan Murthy. The college hijinks he described sounded a lot like those at my alma mater, Rice U, oh, those many years ago… :-)

  216. 216
    Dev Null says:


    whoops! I was replying to Chetan Murthy.

    Right, I got that. I just wondered where it came from.

    I’ve been at SWC football games where the MOB performed at halftime – which dates me, or would if I hadn’t already outed my age – which is the other reason I was curious.

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