Trump Sides With Saudis In Murder Of Jamal Khashoggi

In what has to qualify as one of the most horrifying displays of moral depravity on the international stage, the Trump Administration is saying it doesn't really care if the Saudi Crown Prince is a murderer or not.

Ignoring the conclusions of his own intelligence agencies and the evidence that is plain as day, Donald Trump issued a statement today on his way out the door for the Thanksgiving holiday that essentially sides with the Saudi Royal Family and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who stands credibly accused of being the person who ordered the murder of Washington Post journalist and Saudi dissident Jama Khashoggi:

President Trump issued an exclamation-mark packed statement Tuesday that defended Saudi Arabia, continued to question the CIA’s conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and effectively declared the issue closed.

“King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” the statement read.

The statement came after Trump said he would be receiving a full report on the killing in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last month, and after The Washington Post reported that the CIA had assessed with high confidence that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s death.

No intelligence from the CIA was presented in the report, and Trump said the agency was still looking into the issue.

In the eight-paragraph statement, the president lauded Saudi Arabia’s economic ties with the United States and emphasized the country’s opposition to Iran. He noted that Saudi Arabia considered Khashoggi an ”enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood but insisted that ”my decision was in no way based on that.”

He dismissed suggestions that he slash arms deals with Saudi Arabia, saying Russia and China would benefit instead.

The president seemed to preempt likely criticism from Congress, where a number of pending bills seek to punish Saudi Arabia. Some of Trump’s allies, including Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), have said Mohammed has no credibility and they will not deal with him in the future.

“I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction — and they are free to do so. I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America,” Trump said.

Here’s the full statement from the White House:

America First!

The world is a very dangerous place!

The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” Iran is considered “the world’s leading sponsor of terror.”

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism.

After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!

The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone. Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body.

Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!

That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!

I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction – and they are free to do so. I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America. After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels – so important for the world. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!

The Administration’s refusal to hold the Saudi Government in general and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman specifically responsible for Khashoggi’s death flies in the face of all the available evidence, of common sense, and of the evaluation of America’s intelligence agencies. It was just yesterday, for example, that it was reported that the Central Intelligence Agency had concluded that “M.B,S.” as he is known in various parts of the world was the one who authorized the mission that resulted in the detention and murder of the Saudi dissident on October 2nd when he came to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a document he needed in order to get married in Turkey. Though there was photographic evidence, as well as the statement of Khashoggi’s fiance, showing him walking into the evidence shortly after 1:00 p.m. on that fateful day, there is no record of Khashoggi ever leaving. Despite that, the Saudis initially took the position that this is exactly what happened at the same time they made the absurd claim that they could not provide evidence to support that claim because they did not keep recordings from their security cameras. In the weeks that followed, the evidence against teh Sauids continued to mount, and the Saudi denials became even more ridiculous.

Once it became clear that the Saudi lies and evasions were not holding up to scrutiny, the government in Riyadh became scrambling to put forward a new serious of explanations for what may have happened to Khashoggi, all of them obviously designed to shield the Crown Prince from culpability in the matter. First, the government put forward the theory that Khashoggi’s disappearance was due to an operation by what President Trump described as ‘rogue killers’ who acted without the knowledge or consent of their superiors. This hard-to-believe explanation was being circulated at the same time that evidence was being released, including the fact that Khashoggi had died inside the consulate and revealed certain facts surrounding his death, including the details surrounding the arrival and departure of a team of fifteen Saudis linked to the Crown Prince, military, and intelligence services who allegedly were involved in whatever happened to the Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident. Among these revelations was the fact that nearly all of the members of the aforementioned fifteen person team, including the alleged leaders, were linked in some way to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,  Despite all of this, the Saudis continued to assert that bin Salman knew nothing about what had happened to Khashoggi. This was an entirely implausible explanation that required one to forget everything we know about how things actually operate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Finally, after it was that they were looking to pin responsibility for Khashoggi’s fate on a fall guy, the Saudis put forward an explanation claiming that Khashoggi’s death was the result of an operation that was carried out by people close to the Crown Prince but done entirely without his knowledge or authorization. They also claimed that the original intent of the operation had been to question Khashoggi and/or return him surreptitiously to the KSA. This story was no more credible than previous explanations, of course, but that is precisely the position that the Saudis took when they finally released an official “explanation” for Khashoggi’s disappearance and death that acknowledged that he was, in fact, dead and that his death had occurred when he was inside the consulate. This explanation, though, maintained the hard to believe a claim that the operation that led to Khashoggi’s death, which Riyadh maintained at the time was due to a rendition (a/k/a kidnapping) operation gone awry. Now, finally, the Saudis have acknowledged that it was the intention of the fifteen man team that arrived in Istanbul the morning of the day Khashoggi was scheduled to visit the consulate and left before sundown the same day to kill Khashoggi, although they continue to maintain the increasingly implausible claim that the Crown Prince knew nothing about what was being carried out in the name of the country he leads.

Throughout all of this, the Trump Administration let the Saudi government quite literally get away with cold-blooded murder. While there have been some bland statements of concern about what happened to Khashoggi, it has been obvious from the start that the President and the White House are not interested in putting pressure on Riyadh to come clean about Khashoggi’s fate and even less interest in putting pressure on King Salman regarding the fate of his favorite son In no small part, of course, this is because M.B.S, has managed to ingratiate himself with both Trump and with Jared Kushner, with whom he apparently communicates on a regular basis a relationship that the Saudis have been more than willing to exploit to their advantage. Finally, the Trump Administration has already made clear that it is willing to look the other way while the Saudis commit nothing less than genocide in Yemen, so it’s not surprising that they’d be okay with the murder of a single journalist.

The cynicism and moral depravity of what this President has done here cannot be exaggerated. To put this into perspective, this is basically as if President Reagan had excused the Soviets for the murder of hundreds of people on board Korean Airlines Flight 007 in 1983 despite the fact that we had radio intercepts making their guilt clear, or if George W. Bush had absolved al Qaeda for the September 11th attacks despite all the available evidence of their guilt. Yes, Jamal Khashoggi was just one man, but that hardly excuses the fact that this President is excusing murder notwithstanding the fact that the blood on the hands of the Crown Prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia is as clear as day. Some will argue that the difference here is that Saudi Arabia is an “ally,” but incidents like this make clear that Saudi Arabia is no ally.

Dave Schuler gets it exactly right in a post that was published this morning before the President issued his statement:

[T}he Saudis are not our allies; they are our enemies. They financed Osama Bin Laden; they financed Al Qaeda’s attack against us; the Saudis have continued to support Al Qaeda in Syria.

There is an old proverb that covers our relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pretty well: he who sups with the devil should use a long spoon. Ultimately, U. S. and Saudi interests cannot be reconciled. The best we can do is manage them and so far we have refused to do that.

Daniel Larison has similar thoughts:

Perhaps Trump thinks that if he keeps repeating the lie that Saudi Arabia has been a “great ally” to the U.S. that it will magically become true. The odd thing about Trump’s attachment to the Saudis is that the kingdom is not an especially important trading partner and it isn’t a very effective security partner, either. There is almost no other foreign government that consistently receives so much unwarranted praise from Trump. Saudi Arabia isn’t an ally, great or otherwise, and everything it has done over the last few years has backfired and worked to the benefit of Iran. If I were as obsessively hostile to Iran as the president seems to be, I would consider the Saudis to be worse than useless, but that doesn’t stop him from defending the relationship as often as he can. It may be that Trump is such a destructive wrecking ball in his own conduct of foreign policy that he thinks that similar recklessness from the Saudis is a good thing. Then again, Iran hawks have an exceptionally poor understanding of the region, so Trump may just be reciting the talking points he is given by Bolton and others.

The president also said that the “United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region,” but there is no reason to think that having the U.S. as a “steadfast partner” to the Saudis serves the interests of any of these countries. Unconditional support for the Saudis has encouraged them to act as a regional menace, and on numerous occasions they have acted directly against U.S. interests and the interests of other clients in the region. Partnering with Riyadh’s inept and cruel war criminals hasn’t made the U.S. the least bit more secure, but it has implicated the U.S. in their crimes against the civilian population of Yemen. Being aligned with one of the cruelest and most despotic regimes on earth isn’t doing any other states in the region any favors, either.

Donald Trump isn’t the first American President to look the other way while the Saudis violated human rights and acted against our national interests. This is something that has been true virtually from the time the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in the 1930s through today. The obsequiousness with which we have treated Riyadh has been justified based on a number of factors ranging from their control over a large segment of the world’s oil supply, the Cold War, the so-called “War On Terror,” and the American obsession with undermining the regime in Iran. As a result, we have repeatedly looked the other way as the Saud family has committed human rights violations against its own people, used its oil wealth to fund the expansion of radical Jihadi thought around the globe, and used American weapons to commit what amounts to nothing less than genocide in Yemen. Not only is it morally depraved that e continue to back this regime it is clearly something that is not in our long-term interests. The Saudis cannot be trusted, and even if we must work together with them at times, we should always remember that. Instead, we are coddling them, absolving their crimes, and helping them commit genocide against the people of Yemen. It’s a damn embarressment.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Middle East, National Security, Politicians, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Bnut says:

    He knows nobody will give a rip in a few weeks. He will take the money and run. I wish my life was worth $450 billion. I think my SGLI was like $400K.

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  2. Teve says:

    The obsequiousness with which we have treated Riyadh has been justified based on a number of factors ranging from their control over a large segment of the world’s oil supply, the Cold War, the so-called “War On Terror,” and the American obsession with undermining the regime in Iran.

    This is what’s worrisome. Bolton & co may be trying to maneuver Trump into invading Iran. Can he possibly start such a horrific war in the 2 years he has left?

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  3. Franklin says:

    Whataboutism (*) has now made its official introduction as an argument form used by the White House. Leading off with “but what about Iran, amirite?” is almost painfully embarrassing.

    * – a term I don’t really like that much, it’s really just a variant of the Tu quoque fallacy.

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  4. Teve says:

    Max Boot

    Verified account

    @MaxBoot
    2h2 hours ago
    More

    Falsehood inflation: Trump has gone from claiming that the Saudis will buy $110 billion in US arms (false) to claiming they will invest $450 billion in the US (false). If you’re going to make up a number, why not just make it a round trillion?

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  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Is that statement from the White House cray-cray or what?

    One question…If Dennison is such a terrific deal-maker…why is he letting the Saudi’s hold all the cards in this (largely fictional) transaction?

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  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    This moral depravity should mark the end of Dennison.
    It won’t.

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  7. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: 8 exclamation marks!

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  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve:

    Bolton & co may be trying to maneuver Trump into invading Iran. Can he possibly start such a horrific war in the 2 years he has left?

    Depends. Not on national interest, don’t be silly. It depends on how much the Saudis and Emiratis pay Trump. They funnel bribes through his hotel and through Jared’s and Trump’s real estate deals. For the right price Trump will absolutely start a war. For the right price he’d nuke Kansas.

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  9. Teve says:

    3 hours ago, 10 tweets, 2 min read
    Profile picture
    Embed
    Thomas Juneau
    @thomasjuneau

    Given how weird, even by Trumpian standards, today’s White House statement on Saudi Arabia is, here is a line by line comment; pardon the long-ish thread:
    1. “Iran is responsible for the bloody proxy war in Yemen”: no, by no objective measure is that true. The war was local..
    …, then Saudi intervened, and subsequently only did Iran increase its low support to the Houthis.
    2. “Assad has killed millions of his own citizens”: Inacurate. Assad is responsible for far more deaths in Syria than any other actor but hundreds of thousands, not millions.
    3. “Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to do the same”: nonsense. Saudi will not withdraw from Yemen, gladly or otherwise. And if it were ready to, this trade would be very strange, since Saudi has a massive investment in Yemen, unlike Iran.
    4. Saudi “agreed to spend and invest $450 billion” in the US. Man, Trump drinks that kool-aid. There is no evidence this is true. 100Ks of jobs and “tremendous economic development”? Have I ever got a server in a basement in Chappaqua to sell you.
    5. “$110 billion will be spent” by Saudi on buying US weapons. This has long been debunked. Some of these deals are Obama-era; most have not materialized yet. In practice, the real number is far lower.
    6. “If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries”: nonsense again. Saudi is so dependent on US (and western) military kit (and training, spare parts, etc) that shifting to Russian/Chinese procurement would take decades…
    …and entail massive costs. Trump simply does not understand that this gives the US tremendous leverage, not the other way around.
    7. “Saudi Arabia says Khashoggi was an enemy of the state”: to be clear, the President of the United States endorses a brutal dictatorship’s…
    labeling a dissident (and a mild one at that) an “enemy of the state”.
    8. “King Salman and MbS deny any knowledge… maybe he did, maybe he didn’t”: bullshit. Dynamics in Saudi Arabia in the past three years very, very strongly point towards MbS’s direct responsibility.
    9. Saudi Arabia is not an ally; the US does not have an alliance with it. It is a partner.
    Conclusion: I could add many other rebuttals. Bottomline, a pile of lies, BS, and nonsense; don’t expect this Administration to move to pressure Saudi or to change things.

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  10. Kathy says:

    Coincidentally I’m in the midst of reading a book by Ronan Farrow on the decline of US diplomacy (he worked in the State Dept. for some time).

    In the first few chapters, he details US dealings with Pakistan. It’s amazing how much the Pakistanis were working against American interests while they took American aid money. Notably they were the major supporters of the Taliban (even while Bhutto was PM), before and even after 9/11. Remember where Osama bin Laden was caught and killed? Well inside a Pakistani government compound.

    So just because the Saudis say they are your allies, and maybe they even believe it, doesn’t mean they’re not against you as well.

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  11. Moosebreath says:

    Trump is an honest politician — once he’s bought, he stays bought.

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  12. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: Somewhere, there is a mid level staffer who wrote this statement, who thought that the exclamation marks would be what sold it as an official Donald Trump statement.

    Or he/she has a dark sense of humor and was making a joke, and is now slightly horrified that it went out like that.

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  13. Robert C says:

    #Trump=MBS’s b!tch.

    Nuff said.

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  14. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Teve:

    Trump simply does not understand that this gives the US tremendous leverage, not the other way around.

    Exactly. See my comment.
    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    You would think a big time deal maker would get that. I mean…I think even Gaurneri might understand that much.

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  15. CSK says:

    Trump, that sack of blubbering cowardice that he is, refuses to listen to the Khashoggi murder tape. Why? Because it would ruin his appetite for that sack of Big Macs he devours nightly?

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  16. Teve says:
  17. Tlaloc says:

    I damn near did a spit take when I saw the statement due to the god awful writing. Actually spent a while checking the certificates and such to be sure it wasn’t an elaborate hoax. I know it is awful to be commenting on the diction and grammar when the substance is so repugnant, but damn that is some embarrassing writing to be officially published by the whitehouse.

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  18. gVOR08 says:

    First, I hope no one is surprised by this.

    Second, I also hope that when it comes to money from the Saudis, everybody realizes that Trump cares about money from KSA to Trump, and maybe Javanka. 110 billion, or 450 billion, or a trillion from KSA to to Boeing et al, not really. Even if it were real.

    Third, I hope everyone remembers that while this is way worse, it’s not totally unprecedented. (Google “Bandar Bush”.)

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  19. de stijl says:

    @Franklin:

    Whataboutism – a term I don’t really like that much, it’s really just a variant of the Tu quoque fallacy. (edited)

    “Begging the question” when I learned it used to mean a form of argument where the conclusion is assumed in one of the premises. Now it means something entirely different to 95% of the people who use that phrase. Language changes.

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  20. Jen says:

    @Tlaloc: I had the same response to reading through the written statement. It’s insane, and the writing is gawd-awful. I cannot believe that we are at a place where a statement *like that*–both in structure AND content–is coming out of the White House.

    It is embarrassing. He clearly had a hand in writing it, it’s as clear as that idiotic doctor’s statement that had his hyperbole-laden language all over it.

    On to the content: he is not fit for office if he thinks any part of this is a good idea. Good God.

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  21. de stijl says:

    Trump internalized this behavior by being the son of a Queens real estate developer. Don’t mess with mafia.

    “You, alright?! I learned it by watching you!”

    We used to have realpolitik as a rather ethically questionable US foreign policy choice. Now we have Transaktionspolitik.

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  22. de stijl says:

    If I were Erdogan, I would release the audio they claim to have.

    The House of Saud spent wisely these last few decades. They’ve thoroughly co-opted the Republicans.

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  23. Mister Bluster says:

    Rand Paul breaks with Trump over Saudi support
    Not really, It’s Bolton’s fault:
    “It came out sounding like Bolton’s voice to me,” Paul, in an interview Tuesday, said of the president’s hawkish national security adviser. “The problem is the president’s instincts on these things very often are good, but he’s often surrounded by people from the foreign policy swamp. And Bolton is the king of the swamp.”

    Of course what this means is that President Puke can’t think for himself and besides:
    “I don’t think he takes things personally, to tell you the truth, unless they’re personal. I’ve been a big defender of the president if there are any partisan attacks,” Paul said. “On issues, we’ve had lots of disagreements. … I don’t think this will bother him at all.”

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  24. Hal_10000 says:

    The US has frequently allied itself with repulsive regimes when necessary. We allied ourselves with the awful Soviet Union because the Nazis were worse. We allied ourselves with a terrible China regime because the Soviets were worse. We allied ourselves with numerous dictators and thugs around the world because defeating the Soviets was the most important goal. And we’ve done with the War on Terror. And are, rather stupidly, doing that in the brewing Sunni-Shia Saudi-Iran conflict.

    Buuuut ….

    In the past, we never lost sight of the fact that these awful regimes were awful. We would criticize them when we could and occasionally let monsters fall when there were better options (e.g., Marcos in the Philippines). It’s important that we be realistic about our alliances. But Trump is such a moral coward he can’t even do the “We obviously condemn this behavior wink wink nudge nudge we live in the real world” dance that every President since Washington has done.

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  25. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    OMG, that was depressing.

    Quick lesson. In the 80s mexico went through relatively mild hyperinflation (compared to cases such as Brazil or Argentina). I don’t recall the rates, but the currency only went as high as 50,000 peso note.

    There were all kinds of schemes to solve the problem. One was to dollarize the economy, effectively using the US dollar as currency and/or issuing new currency pegged to the dollar. It was understood that if such a thing were done, current notes in pesos would be exchange for dollars or new currency at the going exchange rate (around 3,000 pesos per dollar if memory serves, maybe 3,500).

    In the end the currency stabilized, and the currency changed to the New Peso, which had three fewer zeroes. Later on, the New Peso was renamed simply Peso.

    So, yeah, no currency with such a low value will appreciate to parity with a hard(er) currency. Consider the lower a currency’s value, the more there is of it (or viceversa). During the hyperinflation era here, I made millions of pesos per week, and so did everyone else. Imagine achieving parity with the dollar overnight. the money’s just not there.

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  26. de stijl says:

    @Doug Mataconis

    Re your headline:

    Trump Sides With Saudis In Murder Of Jamal Khashoggi

    I would have gone with:

    Trump Sides With Saudis Over CIA In Murder Of Jamal Khashoggi

    I know you addressed this in your post. I RTFA’d. But isn’t this version waaay truer with only two words added?

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  27. PJ says:

    OT: Democrats flipped Utah’s 4th. 🙂

    Love finished about 20 votes short of being able to request a recount in a race where about 269,000 votes were cast.

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  28. de stijl says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I would love a Nate Silver-type to do a breakdown on when and how often post-war realpolitik actually ending up as productive and helping the US in the long-term, and how and when it burned us.

    Obviously, 1953 Iran meddling / coup d-etat bit us in the butt later.

    And Bush 43’s Iraqi grand adventure was an own-goal that massively benefited Tehran.

    When has realpolitik worked for us and when has it failed?

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  29. Timothy Watson says:

    At this point, American citizens overseas are open game if the the local tinpot dictator has cut a big enough check to the traitors occupying the White House.

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  30. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    a Nate Silver-type to do a breakdown

    But you’d need like a Kylopod type and a taxonomy and a consensus of what is and isn’t in bounds. It would be messy, and very hard, but very worthwhile.

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  31. Hal_10000 says:

    @de stijl:

    I think the successful use of it in World War II would kind of dwarf everything else. Remember, in the early days, some British politicians wanted to immediately go to war … against the Russians.

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  32. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    See, we need a taxonomy! The first thing I brought up isn’t definitionally realpolitik!

    Obviously, 1953 Iran meddling / coup d-etat bit us in the butt later.

    It was an interventionist action designed to create a follow-on realpolitik situation. We and the Brits installed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi over Mosaddegh because we could, and because we wanted to, and because we feared what Mosaddegh might do in the future that would harm our future near- and mid-term interests in Iran and the region.

    We intervened to create a future puppet.

    Assigning that to a category is very difficult until we’ve defined the categories and established consensus boundaries.

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  33. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    When has realpolitik worked for us and when has it failed?

    Remember, there are downsides to everything.

    Take WWII. The Anglo-American alliance with the USSR succeeded in defeating the Nazis (never mind that the USSR alliance with the Nazis in 1939 succeeded in helping Germany launch WWII). In fact, the bulk of the fighting and the bulk of deaths was borne by the Soviets.

    But it also resulted in Soviet hegemony over Eastern Europe for almost 50 years. The misery bill paid by the countries the Soviets “liberated” was high. And then there was also the Cold War (along with its own misery bill, as for example in Vietnam).

    History shows us success in the international scene doesn’t last forever.

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  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: 2 years? Sure, plenty of time to destroy the world–in wars with BOTH Iran and North Korea.

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  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    It’s all about the definitions, isn’t it? We stayed out of WW1 which probably contributed to the Bolshevik Revolution and the hollowing out of France, which led to French collapse against the Nazis. We stayed out for high-minded reasons, and even more for knee-jerk isolationism, and tens of millions may have died as a result.

    Alternate history’s a bitch. And this, inevitably, becomes an exercise in speculation.

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  36. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    Take WWII. The Anglo-American alliance with the USSR succeeded in defeating the Nazis (never mind that the USSR alliance with the Nazis in 1939 succeeded in helping Germany launch WWII). In fact, the bulk of the fighting and the bulk of deaths was borne by the Soviets.

    @Hal_10000:

    I think the successful use of it in World War II would kind of dwarf everything else. Remember, in the early days, some British politicians wanted to immediately go to war … against the Russians.

    I would argue, in realpolitik terms, that in WW2, we (the West – US + UK) were the victims of realpolitik, not the doers. In Europe, the Soviet Union used us mainly as harassers of the rear flank. After Stalingrad, the conclusion was clear, and our efforts were helpful, but not really necessary. We bombed the crap out of Germany which Russia couldn’t because of distance, and later took Italy, France, Holland, and Belgium off the board – basically we mopped up the rear after Normandy which is super awesome, but the Red Army beat the Nazis, and we were the sideshow sucking valuable German resources from the way more important Eastern front. Occupying territory that the Soviets couldn’t occupy after Nazi surrender as a side benefit.

    The Soviet Union hated us and yet they induced us to help them – they realpolitik’ed us, not the reverse.

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  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Just to be clear on one point, Trump is unfit for the office of President irrespective of his thinking (or, more likely, lack thereof) on this issue. This only makes the sad case sadder and even more pathetic (as if that were possible). This is just an extension of putting children in cages, declaring the US as no longer in the asylum offering business, broken DACA promises, and all the other crap that has been going on for 20 months.

    To the extent that there may be an outrage here, it is in the fact that tomorrow polls will show that 40-some% of the nation agrees with him–including 80+% of Republicans. Our nation is broken. It no longer functions and I don’t know if it ever will again.

    ETA: “Rand Paul breaks with Trump over Saudi support,” AKA Version 21.36.433

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  38. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    First thoughts

    We’ll pick a scenario:

    Pinochet in Chile

    We supported him because he was an anti-communistic which was the style at the the time kinda like wearing an onion on your belt.

    Was actively supporting Pinochet realpolitik? Yes, I reckon that true in my world (I could be wrong)

    How did this positively help us (USA) in the long term? Almost zero. It gave the Randian Chicago Boys income and influence that haunts us to this day.

    How did this potentially help us? No idea. (I guess if you consider potential future socialism and egalitarianism in South American neighbors an airborne virus that was flummoxed, then maybe?)

    How did this potentially harm us? Enormously on ethical grounds. As to practical harm, it is hard to discern the whole.

    Backing Pinochet was a bad ethical choice that did not provide any measurable immediate or long-term value to the US national interest, or to regional interest.

    So, why?

    Not being a dick, and not supporting or enabling dickish behavior strikes me as a decent life strategy.

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  39. Hal_10000 says:

    Been thinking about this some more and I’m working up a good mad over it. Seeing a lot of chin-wagging about how “well, this has always been our Saudi Arabia policy”. But that’s … not quite true. In this letter Trump:

    1) declares open season on dissidents (and it’s dubious if they would have done this under anyone other than Trump).

    2) declares our support for the ongoing genocide in Yemen.

    3) moves us one more step toward war with Iran.

    It does by repeating Saudi propaganda verbatim, as though we were taking order from the Saudis, not the other way around. It’s the statement of a weak, incompetent President being led by the nose by smarter, wilier people. As with everything else, Trump is taking a bad policy and making it far far worse. And it’s going to bite us in the butt very hard.

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  40. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The flip-side is actively encouraging non-dickish behavior. What good thing can push forward today?

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  41. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    I would argue, in realpolitik terms, that in WW2, we (the West – US + UK) were the victims of realpolitik, not the doers.

    Mind blown.

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  42. de stijl says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Trump does not give one crap over the situation in Yemen except how it motivates his base and possibly benefits him. Trump is a moral and ethical black hole.

    Trump decided that SA / MSB was not to blamed for the murder of Khashoggi because of dollars they’d are already put in his pocket and the likelihood of future Saudi dollars. Trump echoed the Saudis is his statement and basically declared Khashoggi an enemy of the House of Saud / Saudi state.

    Imagine if Khashoggi had worked for Fox News or Breitbart?

    (Ha! Like Breitbart or Fox News employ actual shoe-leather reporters!)

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  43. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    Mind blown.

    For realz, or sarcastic? I can’t discern.

    ReplyReply
  44. One American says:

    Please alert when he sends a pallet of cash. By the way, Barry says we all have Mommy issues. Embarrassing that one ruled us for 8 years. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  45. de stijl says:

    @One American:

    Were you trying to dis Obama with that? 95% of folks here who read this:

    Barry says we all have Mommy issues. Embarrassing that one ruled us for 8 years.

    had zero idea what you were trying to communicate. They barely recognize this as an Obama dis. That your media folks made a big friggin’ deal out of this does not mean that ours did. You and your ref whiffed.

    You need to tailor your message to the audience.

    People here do not and will not not get your hyper-temporal, hyper-partisan “Barry kinda implied that Trump and R voters all have Mommy issues” ref as a general rule.

    That “Mommy issues” thing was a really big deal today for you and your guys, but we didn’t even see it, hear about it, know about it, unless we looked hard. I knew what you ref’d barely because I read Memeorandum, but most folks don’t.

    Know your audience!

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  46. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Re-reading that, I realize that I now routinely use “ref” as if it means reference (noun form).

    And also as a verb.

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  47. de stijl says:

    @One American:

    Please alert when he sends a pallet of cash.

    Heads up. “Pallet of cash” is a Bush 43 / Iraq War signifier. As in literal pallets of US cash dollars were airlifted to Iraq on C-17s. They were supposedly transferred to the provisional Iraqi government, and then thereafter we have no idea how those dollars were actually spent or used , if spent they were at all, and not outright stolen by actual bad guys.

    And I literally have no idea what “Please alert when he sends a pallet of cash.” is supposed to mean.

    Are you aphasic? Is this code?

    Is this like the “free helicopter rides” you dudes are always offering?

    Is this like when you guys re-purposed the “Okay”sign as “White Power” phalangic iconography
    kinda, only just foolin’, okay, you caught us not foolin’, sorta, well, we kinda mean it. Sometimes. It’s mostly to pwn the libs until we use amongst ourselves to mean “White Power”…

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  48. One American says:

    @de stijl: WOW! I don’t need to do anything but maybe you should look outside the beltway for some news. Relax it will be OK.
    Audience included, yes dissing Obama. Like y’all dis the current President every single day. By the way I watch ZERO media.

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  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @One American: Thank you for reinforcing what I said upthread. I wouldn’t be able to sell the theory without people like you.

    On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t be saying things like “the nation is broken and I don’t know if we can fix it” either. But still, thanks!

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  50. de stijl says:

    @One American:

    By the way I watch ZERO media.

    Then please explain the “Mommy issues” comment you made. You are clearly lying.

    I am quite deliberately putting you in a indefensible box. Inoculation, then quarantine, then mocking.

    So, so much mocking.

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  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Actually, I think the “pallet of cash” is a reference to the repatriated Iranian bank accounts seized as part of the sanctions against Iran that were returned in cash, literally a pallet load IIRC. The funds were returned as a first action related to the JCPOA(?).

    That is commonly how the reference works, but I could be wrong and OA is just incoherent, as you hinted. No dog in THAT fight here, either way works fine for me.

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  52. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    How does this@One American‘s

    Please alert when he sends a pallet of cash.

    have to do with

    By the way, Barry says we all have Mommy issues.

    ?

    Those are utterly disconnected.

    I’m utterly missing any logical flow between the first and the second sentences.

    I know what “pallet of cash” likely references a la the second Iraq war as I mentioned earlier, but see no meaningful hook, here. And I tend to get obscure references.

    Aphasia is much more likely reason.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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  53. de stijl says:

    @One American:

    By the way I watch ZERO media.

    This is very demonstrably untrue because this has only been a trending topic on RW sites today 11/20/18 because of when Obama gave his speech. So you’re obviously flat-out just lying.

    @One American, Say something else! There is 100% chance you will fuck it up again. I enjoy mocking you.

    Frente! did a short, sharp acoustic bad-ass version of Bizarre Love Triangle that I love
    https://youtu.be/IJ1c9ErCn7w

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  54. de stijl says:

    @One American:

    Audience included, yes dissing Obama. Like y’all dis the current President every single day. By the way I watch ZERO media.

    BTW, I’ll give you big ups on the first sentence – that has some brutal elegance. You transferred meaning from you to me which is the damn purpose and did it in a quirky manner. So job well done, you constructed one clever sentence. And then you immediately descend into whiny victimhood in the next. And wrap it up in a easily falsifiable lie.

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  55. de stijl says:

    14 SA goons flew to Istanbul. On camera. That we know of. Some of them strangled Jamal Khashoggi to death in the Embassy he had been lured to until he died and stopped breathing and then stopped having a heartbeat. One dude brought a bone saw in his luggage from Riyadh and broke down Khashoggi’s corpse as if he were a spring lamb.

    So, a murder squad – fourteen guys – was dispatched from Riyadh and a cleaner a la Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction with his own personal bone saw arrives a day before Khashoggi’s appointment at the embassy.

    These folks need to understand narrative and audience! If you send the the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, the Crazy 88s, and The Cleaner in his tux, mind you, on site to the Instanbul SA embassy, someones gettin’ the bone saw!

    You can’t just hand-wave that away. Well, Trump thinks you can, but he’s wrong.

    The allegation is that they hauled out Khashoggi’s body out piecemeal the next day in who knows how many pieces of separate luggage

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  56. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    For realz, or sarcastic? I can’t discern.

    For real.

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  57. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @One American:
    If you are really American, shouldn’t you be able to use the english language?

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  58. mattbernius says:

    @Hal_10000:

    The US has frequently allied itself with repulsive regimes when necessary. We allied ourselves with the awful Soviet Union because the Nazis were worse. We allied ourselves with a terrible China regime because the Soviets were worse.

    The one problem with this thesis is the underlying suggestion that the Iranians are “worse” than the Saudis.

    I’m not sure that’s the case — though if we accept that Israel is essentially a 51st State, then perhaps this is true.

    Ironically we most likely had more direct diplomatic leverage over the Iranians… until the current administration jettisoned it.

    (At a minimum, the Iranian government definitely had less direct leverage over our current head of state).

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  59. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Plenty of Trumpers don’t english bigly good.

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  60. @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    If Dennison is such a terrific deal-maker…why is he letting the Saudi’s hold all the cards in this (largely fictional) transaction?

    Indeed, Mr. Art of the Deal appears not to understand that we have the leverage in those arms contracts. The Saudis need us more than we need them, but instead he publicly asserts it is the opposite. MBS must really be enjoying this.

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  61. Teve says:

    seen on the internet:

    If Trump were president in 2001 Bin Laden would still be alive if he’d simply paid for a Mar-a-Lago membership or laundered his millions through a Trump Org property.

    “He says he didn’t have anything to do with those Towers. He said it a number of times, very strongly. Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t! It is what it is.”

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  62. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    as I said, for real, but I want to expound a bit.

    The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between the Soviets and Nazis is described as a “non-aggression treaty,” but IMO it was more a temporary alliance. With it, Stalin and Hitler divided Poland, and Stalin invaded the Baltic republics. Prior to this, he’d attempted to invade Finland. He paid a huge butcher’s bill for comparatively little territorial gains (and pushed the Finns into the arms of the Nazis).

    When Hitler turned on Stalin, you’d expect the latter to be desperate to survive, not to look for opportunities to expand. and yet he did pretty much that. I’d always thought the delay by Churchill and Roosevelt in opening a second front in Europe was a case of “let the Soviets and Nazis kill each other.” And perhaps it was. But Stalin made pretty good use of the lack of a second front, and said second front when it finally came.

    I’m seeing the whole of WWII in Europe in a different way.

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  63. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Among Trump’s many failures, perhaps the funniest one is that he has absolutely no skill at negotiation. His big claim to greatness and he’s just pitiful at it.

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  64. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy:
    We didn’t open a second front because we couldn’t, we lacked the men and materiel and the experience. Had we tried Normandy a year earlier, little French school kids would be singing the Horst Wessel song.

    Instead we went to North Africa to be blooded and promptly got our asses kicked by the staggering, hollowed-out remnants of the Afrika Corps. We were in no shape to invade Europe. We took Sicily next and so mishandled that mess (regularly shooting down our own planes, for example) that virtually the entire Wehrmacht force on the island escaped – despite our virtual control of sea and air. Then we took on Italy in the dumbest, most self-destructive way possible. We tried to climb a boot made entirely of mountains.

    We did however open one hell of an air war over Germany, along with the RAF. This is where we learned to use bombs to create firestorms.

    So, in fact, we opened all the ‘second front’ we were capable of mounting: the air war, the North Africa front, Italy, and the war at sea. The Russians might have suffered less and needed a second front less were they not ruled by a paranoid head-case who spent half his energy murdering his own people.

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  65. Michael Reynolds says:

    @mattbernius:
    I agree. Just what exactly have the Ayatollahs done that is worse than what the Saudis have done and are doing? Given a choice between life as an Iranian citizen and life as a Saudi subject there is not a single informed American who would choose the KSA.

    Who created and supported the ideology of radical Islam? The Saudis. Who bankrolled Al Qaeda? The Saudis. Not the Iranians, the Saudis. You know what Iran has that Saudi Arabia does not? Christians and Jews, and their bibles – possession of which is a crime in the KSA. Saudi Arabia is one of the nastiest regimes on Earth, barely behind North Korea. One of the least free, most misogynistic, most bigoted, cruel, vicious and corrupt regimes around today. Compared with Saudi Arabia, Cuba is Vermont. Putin’s Russia is Burning Man compared to the KSA. These are very, very bad people. This isn’t Stalin over Hitler, it’s Hitler over Mussolini.

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  66. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Saudi Arabia is no gem, but comparing them to NK is heperbolic. They are more like Cuba with money.

    And when we wean the world economy off oil they will be like Cuba but with Myanmar’s economy.

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  67. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Indeed. Christians (and other non-muslims) aren’t even allowed to enter the city of Mecca.

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  68. Teve says:

    All presidents have had to put up with more BS from Saudi Arabia than they’d like because SA is the world’s #2 oil producer, and it’s pretty solidly established that an oil shock causes a global recession ~18 mos later like clockwork.

    In fact, uninformed people who complain about Jimmy Carter usually blame him for 2 such recessions in the mid-late 70’s which were entirely out of his control.

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  69. mattbernius says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Among Trump’s many failures, perhaps the funniest one is that he has absolutely no skill at negotiation. His big claim to greatness and he’s just pitiful at it.

    Likewise, despite building his brand by saying “you’re fired!”, his absolute and well-documented inability to personally handle a firing people is also up there.

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  70. Franklin says:

    @de stijl:

    “Begging the question” when I learned it used to mean a form of argument where the conclusion is assumed in one of the premises. Now it means something entirely different to 95% of the people who use that phrase. Language changes.

    I don’t think I’m objecting to language changing, but rather the lazy way it’s done. (I’m still being stuffy, but in a different way I swear!) “Whataboutism” is just slapping -ism on any random combination of words one feels like, and is ripe for misinterpretation. I have similar objections to most cases of verbing nouns (see what I did there?).

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  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: As I noted, no dog in this fight and I see your point about the lack of coherence. Loon it is, then.

    ETA: But in defense of OA on “ZERO media,” technically, people don’t watch RWNJ websites as much as they read them. I don’t happen to do RWNJ media, so I may be unaware of sites dedicated to airing animated presentations of the news for the people in Yorba Linda (or in this case, probably Maui) so that such media may, indeed, be “watched.” If there are such sites please feel free to ignore this comment.

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  72. de stijl says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Cuban women can drive cars and both de jure and in practice leave their house unaccompanied by a male relative. Within the home, Cuban women are not virtual slaves by law.

    Cuba is by no means anyone’s version of paradise let alone a feminist paradise, but in comparison to Saudi Arabia under the House of Saud, Cuban laws and practices are much more in line with Western attitudes and mores about what women can and cannot do without dire legal and familial consequences.

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  73. Teve says:

    Tulsi Gabbard

    Verified account

    @TulsiGabbard
    Follow Follow @TulsiGabbard
    More

    Hey @realdonaldtrump: being Saudi Arabia’s bitch is not “America First.”

    9:01 AM – 21 Nov 2018

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  74. mattbernius says:

    There is not enough salve in the world for this particular burn:

    “Crucifixion is a terrible, terrible thing. Should never happen. And we may never know whether Jesus was guilty of crimes against Rome. Who can say? But thirty pieces IS a lot of silver, and it would be very foolish to turn it down.”

    [source: Julian Sanchez – https://twitter.com/normative/status/1064982821779980291%5D

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  75. MarkedMan says:

    @de stijl: Look, I’m not going to get into a “Which is worse: Cuba or Saudi Arabia” argument. “Saudi Arabia brutally restricts women while Cuba is egalitarian! Cuba puts you in jail for wanting to leave the country while Saudi Arabia will pay for your tuition if you get admitted to a foreign university!” They are both repressive regimes that jail and torture dissidents and foment revolution around the world. But NK is a whole different level. NK is Cambodia under Pol Pot. It’s Uganda under Idi Amin.

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  76. de stijl says:

    @Franklin:

    Think about how “begging the question” initially entered the lexicon.

    I don’t think I’m objecting to language changing, but rather the lazy way it’s done.

    Old school version of “begging the question” entered usage as a lazy-ass version of some Latin or Greek predecessor because some students or monks couldn’t instantly recall the predecessor phrase and just made “begging the question” up on the spot and then that phraseology stuck in that social circle. And later one of those folks got published and he used that phrase.

    A bigly portion of SAE seeped into England English because of how and who translated what became known as the King James version of the Bible and what linguistic choices those translators made. English was utterly undone / re-done with the release and dissemination of the KJ Bible.

    People aren’t lazy in language usage; they are extraordinarily inventive! Just think about the massive expansion and sheer artistry absorbed by Standard American English and AAVE since the advent of rap and hip-hop. It’s staggering, and that’s just in our lifetimes (well, mine anyway – I’m an old). And it will only accelerate from now on.

    BTW, “I’m an old” is a new usage, as is BTW. Upthread, I unconsciously used “ref” as both a noun and a verb. Because internet. Which is another neologism which would have made no sense to the 12 yo version of past me. As is “upthread”.

    I’ve started and stayed with a new convention of punctuation where I put period (or ? or !) outside and after the quotation marks when I’m reffing an idea rather than what someone literally said. There is no logical reason the period has to be inside the closing quotation mark, and in some instances it hurt my brain to do so, so I changed the convention for me. If others pick that up, it might eventually enter standard usage.

    “Whataboutism” is a perfectly cromulent neologism that captures the concept well enough that others immediately understand what you’re referring to. That’s the point. Language exists to move meaning from Person A to Person B. Words only have meaning when we both understand them.

    I think that when The Simpsons‘ writers just flat-out invented “cromulent” as a synonym for “perfectly acceptable” and it memetically was just absorbed into SAE seemingly instantaneously was just astonishing and true.

    Language is a nonsensical construct. Grammar is a nonsensical construct that is a symbiotic parasite on the nonsensical construct that is language. There is no “proper”. It either moves an idea from one brain to another with minimal signal loss, or it doesn’t.

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  77. de stijl says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Look, I’m not going to get into a “Which is worse: Cuba or Saudi Arabia” argument.

    Sorry. It sounds like you took my take as hostile to you. That was not my intent. I apologize.

    But NK is a whole different level. NK is Cambodia under Pol Pot. It’s Uganda under Idi Amin.

    Still, dude, NK women can walk to the market unchaperoned. KSA does not get a pass – it’s a freakishly fucked up place, as is North Korea.

    And why? It’s because one tightly-knit group / family unit ruled by a patriarch controls what everyone else can and cannot do.

    We need a signifier that differentiates between

    “I’m blockquoting you because I hate your statement and want to slag you”

    and

    I was intrigued by that thing you brought up I will now riff on that starting now

    39% of internet disagreements would be preemptively solved by that signifyer. (BTW, why is “signifyer” not a cromulent word for my dumb-ass browser’s spell-check?

    @MarkedMan, I was riffing on what you brought up and not criticizing. I was commenting on what you said, not against what you said.

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  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Prescriptive Grammar is a nonsensical construct that is a symbiotic parasite on the nonsensical construct that is language.

    Thought I would fix that for you. On the other hand descriptive grammar is the study of what I thought I wrote or said relative to what you heard or read. It is something that you often practice in your comments to people like One American–although I would note that your tone is a little strident and preachy in the same ways that you object to when prescriptive grammarians do it. YMMV. I think that the motives and procedures that we use in establishing what we call “conventions” in descriptive grammar (as opposed to the “rules” of prescriptive) is best summed up by the following adage.

    I realize that you think you understood what I said, but I’m afraid that the problem centers in the fact that what you heard is not what I meant.

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  79. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    ETA: But in defense of OA on “ZERO media,” technically, people don’t watch RWNJ websites as much as they read them.

    Can we both agree that your above take is technically over-technical?

    You just gave that dude an out! You gave him the key to escape my inescapable rhetorical box of shame and mockery!

    Well. technically, disengagement would also get him out of my box, but, still, you thwarted my will!

    No soup for you! 😉

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  80. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @mattbernius: Bingo. If the US wanted a reliable partner to work with in the middle east that is smart, reliable, and low maintenance… the Persians would be the horse to bet on. It’s a 5000 yea old culture.
    Unfortunately, history makes that impossible…leaving us stuck with the Saudis.

    Working high level geopolitical objectives with Arabs will remain challenging because of their cultural norms which are rooted in tribalism. The dirty little secret about the “Middle East” problem is that it’s more aptly named as Arab problem.

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  81. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    It is something that you often practice in your comments to people like One American–although I would note that your tone is a little strident and preachy in the same ways that you object to when prescriptive grammarians do it. YMMV

    I am sure that I am guilty of what you alluded to here above. I have a tendency to present as superior.

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  82. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Prescriptive Grammar is a nonsensical construct that is a symbiotic parasite on the nonsensical construct that is language.

    Think about your statement. All grammar is a construct: prescriptive, descriptive, whatever.

    Scrub that thought, Hold on! I just got your point now. Descriptive grammar cannot be an artificial construct because it denotes actual usage, True description can never be a construct.

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  83. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    And you were so right in calling me out like this:

    It is something that you often practice in your comments to people like One American–although I would note that your tone is a little strident and preachy in the same ways that you object to when prescriptive grammarians do it. YMMV

    My brain does this thing which nigh requires me to stifle foolishness. It works well for two, three comments – I’m on point, coherent, and logical. And then I have to continue on and be a goddamned jackass until my initial correct point is utterly lost.

    I don’t want to a goddamned jackass nor thought of as a habitual goddamned jackass. I need to correct my behavior. This is clear.

    Stifling foolishness is a good thing. Battering the scattered remains of what was once a dead horse is a bad thing. I have the tendency to batter scattered remains too often.

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  84. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: If an ignint cracker like me can craft a key for your “inescapable rhetorical box of shame and mockery!” how tough can it be to escape it?

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  85. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: ” Descriptive grammar cannot be an artificial construct because it denotes actual usage.” Yes, exactly; and also why the approach doesn’t talk about “rules.” There are no rules–only clarity and lack thereof. And while I am boring people out of their skulls with all this pedantry, I’ll also note that “Standard Formal Written English” is “the standard” (if you will) because it offers the least ambiguity and opportunity to be misunderstood. Ironically, it also is the most off-putting because of the formality and restrictive conventions. Always choices to make… because grammar is both linguistic and sociocultural.

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  86. dazedandconfused says:

    Iran being responsible for the war in Yemen is utter BS t0o.

    Saw a lot of Republican congress critters quoting the ex-Israeli ambassador on the need to maintain the KSA as an ally against Iran, seems AIPAC has spoken, done deal.

    Sad to say, but I would bet all recent POTUSes would wind up right about where Trump is now, just would have been exponentially slicker about it, or would have used it as leverage to get the KSA to stop that foolish war. I think Kashhogi would have liked that. Are we up for regime change in the KSA? I think not, and anything less is but scolding. Revolution in the KSA could easily result in a major disruption in the world’s supply of oil. Would what replaced the current batch of royals be any better? Unlikely. The Wahhabi grip is still to the bone, it will take many generations if it is to loosen much, if at all.

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  87. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    If an ignint cracker like me can craft a key for your “inescapable rhetorical box of shame and mockery!” how tough can it be to escape it?

    You seem capable of understanding hyperbole, figure it out your own damn self. I lead you idjits to water, but you won’t Goddamn drink!

    ReplyReply
  88. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    This is what I get for working with amateurs.

    ReplyReply
  89. de stijl says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    Sad to say, but I would bet all recent POTUSes would wind up right about where Trump is now, just would have been exponentially slicker about it, or would have used it as leverage to get the KSA to stop that foolish war. I think Kashhogi would have liked that. Are we up for regime change in the KSA? I think not, and anything less is but scolding.

    Yeah, but Trump can’t just skip the first 27 steps and move directly to absolution and forgiveness. They literally butchered a guy. Like, in pieces. His remains were removed in 14 different carry-ons. That’s hardcore.

    And we just weeeeeee! accelerated through two years of diplomacy in two weeks. Concessions we got from KSA – 0, concessions we *could* have got from KSA – 5 or 6.

    I am shocked that I am still capable of being shocked by Trump. What Trump did and said today was stunningly horrific.

    ReplyReply
  90. de stijl says:

    Skip Steps 1 & 3 by Superchunk on No Pocky For Kitty
    https://youtu.be/ha7x9d2yPro?list=RDha7x9d2yPro

    Superchunk is fantastic. This is the shittiest song they have and this song fucking rocks hard.

    Seed Toss is a much easier entry to Superchunk.

    https://youtu.be/MAP6FmOoniQ?list=RDha7x9d2yPro

    ReplyReply
  91. One American says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: if you are really American would not your brother have a different name than you?

    ReplyReply
  92. One American says:

    @de stijl: I read…. try it sometime. And quit harassing me with your vile comments. Happy Thanksgiving!

    ReplyReply
  93. @One American: Ask Larry. He should know the answer.

    ReplyReply
  94. @One American:

    “Barry,”

    “Pallets of Cash”

    Hmmm,

    If I can get “Benghzai,” “her e-mails,” or “Fast and Furious” I get Bingo!

    ReplyReply
  95. Teve says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Considering Ivanka, you’re probly not going to get Butter Emails! for a little while 😛

    ReplyReply
  96. Teve says:

    Anyway, I’m gonna win. All my card needs is 57 States and If You Like Your Doctor You Can Keep Your Doctor.

    ReplyReply
  97. One American says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: bingo! Have a nice Weekend:)

    ReplyReply
  98. de stijl says:

    @One American:

    How did I harass you and when was I vile?

    ReplyReply

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