Oct. 19 Open Thread: Can I Still Get a Saudi Assassin Costume for Halloween?

Filed in National, Open Thread by on October 19, 2018

It’s well documented that more people respond to stories of one person’s misfortune than to stories about mass suffering; that’s why those late-night TV ads talk about a single starving child rather than millions. Maybe that explains why, after decades of running one of the planet’s most repressive dictatorships, Saudi Arabia is now finally feeling some heat over the murder of a single journalist. But there’s another factor at play, too, best summed up by two words: bone saw. The grisly manner of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder makes it catnip for a country addicted to true-crime drama.

The apparent involvement of that country’s new murderous dictator, Mohammed bin Salman, is causing some frantic ass-covering among the foreign-policy punditocracy, many of whom rhapsodized over the despot because he opened a movie theater and allowed women to drive cars.

This historian of Nazi Germany thinks people are wrong to compare Trump to Hitler, because Trump represents…

…a new kind of authoritarianism, what I call “illiberal democracy,” where the whole system does not need to be changed entirely. You don’t need a vast army of secret police. You don’t need concentration camps. You don’t need to lock up all your opponents. Now, in America or other liberal democracies, if … a would-be authoritarian manages to tweak the electoral system, infiltrate and stop the judiciary, control information and pollute the public discourse against truth — using language such as “fake news” — people basically lose faith…. If the standard threshold for an assault on democracy and authoritarianism is set at Adolf Hitler then we are all failing to see how much damage can be done to democracy without getting anywhere near that level.

The lawsuit by advertisers claiming fraud by Facebook regarding its bogus stats on video viewership has unleashed a torrent of rage from journalists, who saw thousands of their colleagues lose their jobs as media outlets swallowed the “pivot to video” lie that Mark Zuckerberg fed them. The truth is that the majority of consumers would rather read their news than have it read to them, and always has been.

Joe Biden continues to grab headlines as he stumps for Democrats around the country, most recently for saying Democrats should not rush to impeach Trump if they win control of the House. Biden argues that Democrats shouldn’t act until Robert Mueller’s investigation is complete.

Delaware politics might strike you as a disgusting mud pit, but it looks like a cleanroom compared with just about any other state. Consider Florida, where multimillionaire fraudster Gov. Rick Scott set up a “blind trust” that was anything but blind. Or consider Wisconsin, where a member of Gov. Scott Walker’s administration quit a $208,000-a-year job specifically so he could trash Walker in an open letter. The letter was also signed by two other former cabinet members; all said they will vote for Walker’s Democratic challenger.

Mother Jones has an excerpt from historian Joseph Ellis’ new book “American Dialogue,” and stuffy old John Adams comes out looking like a soothsayer.

Adams never used the word “capitalism,” but he did describe the emerging nation as a “commercial republic” in which the quest for material rewards would dominate and define what subsequent generations meant by “pursuit of happiness.” (Jefferson had intended something different.) It followed that wealth would become the defining characteristic of the American aristocracy, which would then use its powers to wrest control over political institutions to serve its own interests and agenda. That is precisely what happened during the first Gilded Age, and it is happening again in this one.

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  1. puck says:

    More news from the House of Sawed: One of the 15-man hit team was reportedy killed in a “traffic accident.”


  2. mouse says:

    It seems that much of our foreign policy is and has been dictated by the Saudis. I wonder what percentage of Fix News devotees know that 15 of 19 terrorists from 9/11 were Saudis? And and how many of them can make the connection to today’s events?

    • RE Vanella says:

      The Saudis and Israel are our “best friends” in the region. Brutal tyrannical monarchy and an apartheid state.

      Is this a coincidence?

      That decision to over throw the Shah really paid dividends, I think.

  3. Beach Comer says:

    Delaware’s connection to the Saudi issue:

    And what happened to Drinking Liberally? I wish I could share with y’all my times in Saudi Arabia over a barley-pop.

  4. Dave says:

    The House of Saud gives new meaning the word “brazen.” Who does international travel with a bone saw?

    Must have figured no one would care because they certainly did not use any subterfuge. What I can’t comprehend is why Khashoggi would even go the consulate for anything in the first place.

  5. RE Vanella says:

    Ha! Who could have guessed another LLC sheltered secretly in our little shire is implicated.


    If John Carney didn’t launder money for foreign hit squads how could we pay for schools!

  6. RSE says:

    Why would MBS put his estimated 500 billion dollar 100% renewable energy tech city in jeopardy by killing some journalist with strong ties to America? He needs big tech companies like Apple and Amazon to make the city happen and now it looks like these companies are “in doubt ” because of the current situation.

    • RE Vanella says:

      Hahahahahahaha! Holy shit.

      Fucking frame this shit. Stupidest comment from a very stupid commenter!

      It a petrol monarchy, brah. They behead people in public. “Morality” police cane woman on the street if they show ankle skin. They’re running a genocide in Yemen…

      Hahahahaha…. Because capital cares about morality.. holy shit that’s funny.

      You dumb fucking bootlicking strooge.

      • RSE says:

        You do know that the Saudis are looking to divert their focus away from just fossil fuels, and that the new mega city is a huge part of that plan, right?

        • RE Vanella says:

          Hahahahaha. You’re a dimplomat!

          You read too much Tom Friedman.

          Piss off, dumb fuck.

          • bamboozer says:

            Well said sir! Well said!

          • RSE says:

            Nice temperament. You should be with the Antifa if you aren’t already. And you can’t even answer the question.

            ‘It [sic] a petrol monarchy, brah. They behead people in public. “Morality” police cane woman on the street if they show ankle skin. They’re running a genocide in Yemen…’

            Thanks for telling me about Sharia, but why would they risk trashing a world changing project and business deal like the mega city over one journalist again?

            • Alby says:

              It’s not “what they do in Muslim countries,” it’s what they do in Saudi Arabia. There are many Muslim countries that do not. They set a record for beheadings last year and are on pace to break it this year.

              As for the “mega-city,” it’s a complete bullshit story. Here’s a link:


              There’s no demand for this at all. This “city” would be 33 times the size of New York City, and there’s nobody at all who would want to live in it. It’s a pipe dream, and it’s specifically intended to give suckers something to divert attention from the world’s most repressive dictatorship.

              “This place is not for conventional people or conventional companies, this will be a place for the dreamers for the world,” bin Salman said on a panel at the conference. “The strong political will and the desire of a nation. All the success factors are there to create something big in Saudi Arabia.”

              Those are the words of a clumsy bullshitter. But then, you follow one who’s currently president, so you’re obviously a sap.

  7. puck says:

    “Why would MBS put his estimated 500 billion dollar 100% renewable energy tech city in jeopardy by killing some journalist with strong ties to America? ”

    Because MBS knows Trump is President and figures there will be no serious consequences. the tech companies will make some noise but will continue their Saudi investments.

    • RE Vanella says:

      They had hundreds of royals and courtiers locked in a hotel for a month. One prince “died”…

      Mnunchin is still going to the conference next week. Hahahahaha.

      • RE Vanella says:

        They incinerate school bus loads of children… But never this!

        Hahahahahaha. Dude, I can’t stop laughing.

        The invisible hand of the market will deter him! Hahaha.

  8. RE Vanella says:

    It’s like that line at the end of Fletch.

    Chevy Chase says to Tim Matheson, as Matheson’s character pulls a gun on him…

    “You know, if you shoot me, you’ll probably lose all these humanitarian awards…”

  9. Alby says:

    It should go to show you how brainwashed they are.