The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

“A Single Death Is a Tragedy…”; Saudi Edition

“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic. — Joseph Stalin”

So, one man, Jamal Khashoggi, gets tortured and killed, but he happens to be a man elites know and like, and suddenly…

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is engaged in a genocide in Yemen. Of course, the US has been aiding that genocide…

It’s not that Kashoggi’s death isn’t a crime, but that any number of nameless people can be killed, raped, and tortured, and elites don’t care. It’s only when it’s one of them that they care.

Normal people are nothing–less than nothing–to our elites.

But they take care of their own.

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The Closing of the Saudi Elite


Open Thread


  1. Webstir

    A million deaths is a comedy, as long as the hero survives.
    In regard to Yemen, one must ask: Who will the hero be?

  2. V

    While Usian’s fail to act is the true tragedy; they’ve forgotten they have the power to shut down the Saudi butchers and U.S.’s foreign, military interventions and war crimes; they won’t, because deep down they’re afraid.
    And they should be; to act on the scale to be effective will result in many lives lost.
    Not to act in the face of this abomination, is the behavior of slaves…
    Feel the fear, and do it anyway.

  3. The gates of those golf communities … swing both ways.

  4. Hugh

    Agree. It’s called elite validation. No matter how obvious or urgent something is, it remains without substance and unreal until the elite consensus says it is. Trump has been a crook all his life. He has clinical narcissism with onset of dementia. Bits and pieces of this have kept coming out, but it wasn’t until Woodward’s book Fear came out that an Establishment imprimatur was put on the fact that Trump is evil and nuts. So now it’s OK to say that Trump is these things, but there is still no will to act on them.

    The IPCC, for once, came out with a Special Report on climate change that was akin to a nuclear alert: Act or die. But while some parts of the Establishment will talk about climate change, if not overpopulation, there is even now no inclination to act because they remain wedded to oil companies, Big Coal, and of course cars, especially SUVs.

    So we come to Saudi Arabia. Some of us have been pointing out for years now that the Saudis are the biggest supporters and funders of terrorism on the planet. But even after Khobar Towers, even after 9/11, even after it came out that Saudis constituted the majority of foreign-born suicide bombers in Iraq, Saudi links to terrorism, let alone its leading role in terrorism, were taboo. Oil and America’s failure to confront the KSA over these actions created a culture of impunity which MBS has been exploiting. That Trump is weak, stupid, and easily manipulable is just icing on the cake for him. So the Saudis conducting a brutal, terroristic war in Yemen? The Establishment has no problem with that. But kill a member of their club? That’s a red line. And suddenly we get initially awkward, but increasingly less so, criticism of MBS after his blatant and hamfisted assassination of Kashoggi. Indeed the Establishment has even begun to notice and criticize, only 3 years on, the Saudi war in Yemen.

  5. highrpm

    except only members have the keys to the locked gates.

  6. highrpm

    Some of us have been pointing out for years now that the Saudis are the biggest supporters and funders of terrorism on the planet. wait…i thought iran was.

  7. bob mcmanus

    Just a thought crossed my mind that there is maybe tenuous connections among current spectacles:

    1) MBS, the oligarchs he imprisoned and shook down, the murder of the journalist
    2) The Kavanaugh affair
    3) The Chinese arrests of actress Bing and the Interpol chief.

    These can be seen as battles internal to the oligarchies, as attempts to discipline and control the ultra-elites. The Kavanaugh battle was between men and women, all uber-elite Beltway functionaries from the same class and schools. Maybe generational. The Chinese and MBS are saying no we’re not all that globalist and cosmopolitan yet, states still have projectible and irresistible power.

    MBS is crazy enough to be implying a threat to that entire class, just as Putin projects a threat.

  8. A1

    Is he confirmed dead?

  9. It’s only typical Social Rank Fascism.
    What’s the big deal?

  10. Lulymay

    @ Hugh

    An excellent summary of what is REALLY at play here! Despite what many Americans believe, the Bush Administration whitewashed the evidence that is was the Saudi’s that engineered 9/11.
    Doesn’t anyone remember that even though the skies were shut down to all airlines, the only flight out of New York on that fateful day was to take a Saudi contingent that had been meeting with Bush, the elder, back to the KSA?

  11. Willy

    My sister is a staunch worshiper of the Prince of Peace. I doubt she’s ever considered Stalin’s comment or even knows where Yemen is. But her popular Bible studies line her street with SUVs. And her kids have to get to practice in a sporty ride (unless it’s canceled due to inclement weather). Something tells me the focus of her popular Bible studies is more about Trumps heroic battles with the antiChristmasarians, than it is Jesus giving everything he had to the poor.

    It was so much easier back in the day when gathered nuts were good and cave bears were bad. I’m guessing those tribal elites learned quickly that telling tales of bear-taken child-spirits overseeing the nut gatherers would help maintain the tribes nut gathering production. And the cave collapsing onto that other sleeping tribe happened because they were being metaphysically bad, somehow. But I digress.

    My point is that for every one of us in here, there are dozens of my-sisters out there. I don’t want her worrying about cave bears or cave collapses. She needs her spiritual and tribal ‘protections’. Being shunned with nobody to pray to can be a bitch. But at the same time, her kind is helping sociopathic elites destroy most things I value. It’s quite a pickle.

  12. Ibod Catooga

    Oh yeah, bomb them all to Freedom and Liberty! That’ll teach them ragheads to fut with US! USA! USA! USA! We aren’t poofters and we will bomb the shiznit out you all!

  13. Willy

    At some level my sister knows she’s in the wrong. I’ve observed the physical tells. But at that level, she knows her quality of life depends on her various tribal virtue signals. These people are well-networked and take care of each other. It’s probably why evangelicals turn on a dime, en-masse. One day the ‘bad people’ hate us for our Christian democratic freedoms, the next they cheer on an obviously fake and dysfunctional “outsider” who stomps on democratic institutions and christian teachings. I don’t think they care about either, past the surface. They care about their position within the tribe, and for pragmatic reasons. What’s coming down the road, well… blind faith rationalization works.

  14. Hugh

    highrpm, if you listened to Trump, you might think the Iranians were behind everything. But Iran is Shia. It backs Shia groups, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, the Alawite regime of Assad in Syria, and the Shia government in Iraq. None of these groups have a stellar reputation. In fact, most of them are fairly dreadful, but none of them is any more terrorist than any other group or government in the Middle East. The main difference is that these groups and governments tend to be anti-US or anti-Israel, or anti-KSA.

    Now if we look at what usually passes for international terrorism virtually all the groups are Sunni: al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban, al-Shabab, Boku Haram, etc. There have been hundreds of major terrorist attacks over the years and again virtually all of them have been sourced to one of these groups. Saudis, and the Emirates, have funded many of these groups privately and the Saudi government has turned a blind eye to this. The Saudis have also been infamous for their funding of radical madrassas which have served as recruiting and training centers for future terrorists. Finally, if any have forgotten, Osama bin Laden.

    Lulymay, US airspace was closed for about two days after 9/11. It was largely re-opened under new rules by September 14. Special flights for Saudis, including members of the bin Laden family, left between the 14th and the 24th. Now special treatment was given to many of those leaving. And while the FBI did conduct some interviews of them, it isn’t real clear just how informed those interviews were or could have been, given how soon after the attacks they occurred.

  15. Sid Finster

    Oh, very well then….

    “A wolf, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf’s right to eat him. He thus addressed him:

    “Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me.”

    “Indeed,” bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, “I was not then born.”

    Then said the Wolf, “You feed in my pasture.”

    “No, good sir,” replied the Lamb, “I have not yet tasted grass.”

    Again said the Wolf, “You drink of my well.”

    “No,” exclaimed the Lamb, “I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother’s milk is both food and
    drink to me.”

    Upon which the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, “Well! I won’t remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations.”

    Moral: The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny.”


    For a few more years, the US will have absolute power over other people and we will use that power in an absolutely corrupt way at the behest of our overlords in Riyadh and Jerusalem. When retribution finally comes our way, no one will shed a tear for us.

    Nor should they, for we do evil.

  16. J. Bookly

    Ordinarily I’m all in favor of pointing out the hypocrisy and tone deafness that characterizes our ruling elite. But where Saudi Arabia is concerned, it seems that some of our “leaders” may have finally started questioning their support of that awful regime. If so, I think we should do whatever we can to encourage this change of attitude. Yes, of course, it’s morally and intellectually absurd to be outraged at the killing of one individual while ignoring the deaths of millions of Yemenis. But Saudi Arabia needs more negative feedback, and so does our cozy relationship with them. Bring it on.

  17. Tom W Harris

    “It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours.” — Harry S Truman.

  18. bruce wilder

    Credit where credit is due: Trump says outloud that it is all about a $110 billion sale.


  19. The mob outside the gates will give a flying fig about “keys”.

  20. semiconscious

    ‘Credit where credit is due: Trump says outloud that it is all about a $110 billion sale.


    amen! both he, & mike pompeo earlier. no weasel-words, or fabrications, just straight-out truth. it is refreshing 🙂 …

  21. Willy

    He could’ve added that a few of the items will be delivered defective unless Khashoggi appears. No? Too much to ask?

  22. Tricia Becker

    “any number of nameless people can be killed, raped and tortured and elites don’t care.”

    And starved, denied medicines too, men, woman, and children…

    The pursuit of profits. Let’s remember this:

    Television interview, “60 Minutes”, May 12, 1996:

    Lesley Stahl, speaking of US sanctions against Iraq: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And – and you know, is the price worth it?”

    Madeleine Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”

  23. different clue

    What if some of those sanctions-mass-murdered Iraqi children were baby women? Will there be a special place in Hell for Madeleine Albright?

  24. Hugh

    By the way, Trump’s $110 billion in arms sales to the Saudis is, and I know this will come as a surprise, a made up number.

    Also the Congress can and may block arm sales to the KSA.

  25. highrpm

    when our supply chains break here in the unbreakable USofA and our streets and roads start looking like bolshevik russia, littered w/ corpses, well, may cbs replay leslie stahl’s conversation w/ madeleine. (and wrt the resiliency of our supply chains, old humpty trumpty came close to blowing it during his chaotic transition of power. had it not been for state professionals.)

  26. Webstir

    Anyone got the inside scoop on this quote from Stephanie Kelton featured in Barrons?

    “Kelton, 48, explained to the room in Kansas City that the government budget is not like a household budget because the government prints its own money. “But the problem is that Washington always wants to know how to pay for new programs. That’s a problem for you,” she says she told her listeners [‘an all-male breakfast club of the Kansas City rich and powerful”], because the conventional wisdom in the capital is that money “grows on rich people” and you pay for nice things by taking it from them.

    “Don’t look at me,” she instructed her audience [of the rich & powerful] to tell lawmakers. “That’s where the money comes from. And you point at the Treasury. You point at Congress.” And she won the room over.”

  27. Heliopause

    Nixon’s big mistake wasn’t the dirty tricks and the coverup, his mistake was who he attacked, i.e. high ranking Dem politicians and well-known media people. Elites didn’t have a big problem with him when he was murdering Indochinese by the millions and Black Panthers in their beds. Maybe MBS has made a similar miscalculation by going after someone who is a country club buddy with elite media people. We’ll see, but I’m not holding my breath.

  28. different clue

    Here is an article claiming to describe Mr. Khashoggi’s long-running part in power-policy struggles within the ruling Saudi family. It makes him look like not “just” a journalist, but rather an intelligence operative and second-tier power-player within the Saudi royal family ruling system, attached to a family faction which lost a power struggle over aspects of Kingdom policy.
    It is perhaps at least worth considering.

  29. different clue

    Here is another article semi in that vein, with more emphasis on his growing distaste for the Mohammed bin Sultan direction of repressionary policy and practice in the Kingdom.

  30. steeleweed

    “The tragedy of the Holocaust was not that six million people were murdered. It is that murder was committed six million times.”

  31. hmm…. How different is what MbS did to Khashoggi and what Obama did to Anwar al-Awlaki (and to his son Abdulrahman)? Someone please expalin the difference to me.

    Are not both cases of an authoritarian tyrant deciding, without ANY due process, who is considered an “enemy”, and thus may be killed?

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