Thoughts on Khashoggi

What’s the life of one man or one journalist worth, anyway?

1. Even if, cynically, you don’t want the occasional murders to get in the way of a big sale, why would Trump even raise the possibility publically?

2. Mike Pompeo.

There was nothing Mike Pompeo did that couldn’t have been done over the phone, behind closed doors (I think what Pompeo did should always be done behind closed doors). Instead, the world was “treated” to a kissy-kissy submission to MBS, a symbolic grovel, a clear message that Trump’s USA is okay with murdering journalists if they criticize you so long as they are personal business partners and have your son in law in their pocket.

***

Finally getting to the question I started with:

I was asked by my elementary school principal how much a human life was worth. I don’t know what I said, but I think it was the biggest dollar number I could think of. He said, “Wrong. There is no amount of money that is worth a human beings life.” I remember thinking….wow…!

But clearly it isn’t true. The price varies depending on the perspective of the ones who benefit. Would you commit…or condone a murder for $100? $1,000? $25,000? $50,000?

What about $500,000?

Still here? Good. What about $5,000,000?

Want my answer? Well, I wouldn’t assault anybody, let alone kill them, for any amount of money. Condone a murder? Hmmmm. I’m not a wealthy man, I’d have to consider it, rationalize it. All I can say is that if I wouldn’t do it for a million bucks, no larger amount would make any difference to me (need an emoji here that says I’m half kidding while studying your reaction).

Anyway, Trump sent an indication of some sort out last night, approving of Greg Gianforte’s assault on a reporter last year.

***

Semi-wild speculation now…I think the message of “The Press is the Enemy of the People” is clearly being amplified here. Erdogan / Turkey’s role was to reveal the gruesome details. The MBS / Trump role is to make sure journalists understand that the USA does not have their back. When a journalist is assaulted, Trump approves. When a journalist is murdered, he and other authoritarians shed crocodile tears and say, “Hmm, gee, that’s too bad.”

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on Khashoggi

  1. It’s always tricky to gage intent with Trump. Effect and intent aren’t always in lockstep; in Trump’s case, they are often not in the same room. He just blunders and blusters along, mostly being his selfish, me-me-me self, and the rest of us have to figure out how much of it is intentional, and how much of it is inadvertent.

    In this case, I think it’s more instinctual than deliberate. Trump distrusts anyone who doesn’t lick his boots, so he distrusts everyone in this scenario. He reacted the way you would expect him to react, not so much defending the Saudis as not attacking them. Kiss up, shit down. Saudi oil, in Trump’s world, meant that he couldn’t just shit on the brown killers. So he hesitated, hoping a solution would present itself.

    Unfortunately, the situation won’t be the right one. Since the loudest wails in the media are always the controversial ones – controversy sells papers – Trump will find out that defending the Saudis will (1) please his base of assholes, (2) appease the rich people who he kisses up to, and (3) piss off a whole bunch of people who nobody is listening to.

    Who to blame for this weird thing, where decency is actually being mocked? The people who turned being decent into a coercive, tyannical movement for enforced uniformity.

    Yep. The left. Do I sould like a conspiracy theorist? I hope not, because there is no conspiracy here. Just a complete and utter lack of self-awareness from the tyrannical left who refused to temper their PC movement until it blew up in their faces.

    I care very little about any of that stuff, but I care about the first amendment. I’d just as soon both sides stopped demonizing the other and started looking for some way to get back in balance. That means the left needs to realize it lost, it screwed up, and most importantly, that it needs to fixitself, too.

    There are too many people demonizing Trump. When they do that, they are just making him stronger, because they are conceding him the home turf. Pissing contests are his stock in trade.

    Khashoggi is lost in the mix, a willing victim in that he chose his profession, but a pointless waste in that his murder may actually damage the first amendment he died to protect.

    1. One of the Bob Dylan lines that has had the greatest influence on me was from “Stuck Inside of Mobile…” The line was,

      “…everybody still talks about how
      Badly they were shocked…”

      You see, isolated, removed from the context of the rest of the song, just standing there by itself, is a simple truth: almost nobody is ever really shocked. How can you be shocked by something you expect, no matter how awful? And how often can you be shocked, anyway?

      Instead of being shocked…well, I like stories. Many years ago in a sales meeting, our sales manager said something quite cynical about customer complaints. One of our sales people jumped right in and said, “That’s a pretty shitty attitude, Art.” I’d rather we took that tack with Trump, instead of gasping in horror.

      I don’t know if I made myself clear in the first post. Maybe I’m not clear on it, period. But there is nothing wrong with considering the economic consequences of our actions, regardless of our moral repugnance.

      1. I don’t see shock the way you see it, but that’s mostly because I come at it from a different angle.

        There is a “meaning of life” piece on here somewhere that I wrote as a response to someone who said the meaning of life was impossible to determine. The upshot is that the meaning of life is everywhere, but we tend to expect to hear angels sing and have it given to us in a neat package. We don’t see it lying around, because we are looking for the package, not the ingredients.

        Shock, to me, has a similar disconnect with people who don’t deal in the sorts of things I deal in. I can shock anyone a little, some a lot, and a few almost accidentally, because they are incredibly sensitive to shocks. There is no such thing as an unshockable person, but some people think there is, because they think every shock has to be equivalent to the biggest shocks the’ve ever experienced.

        It would be like saying sex sucks because your orgasms aren’t as intense as the first one you ever had, or that you aren’t as into ice cream anymore because you ate it one time when you weren’t hungry or hot and it was just ok.

        How to apply that? Go back to Kavanaugh. I wasn’t shocked at the allegations from Ford, or the eventual confirmation, anywhere near as much as I was shocked by the attacks on September 11, 2001. But it was front page news for several day and I wrote about it several times. We had some ripping discussions about it, and you — the guy who claims we can’t be shocked anymore — got pretty animated about it at times, by your sanguine standards.

        Shock, like anything else, varies by individual. It’s all relative. And it’s everywhere — just not in packaged form.

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