Category Archives: Morality

Chill! by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Trump will have to make some big decisions about Saudi Arabia. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

They can’t help themselves even as they hurt themselves. Look guys, chill! I saw someone imply on Twitter that Donald Trump is an accomplice in a murder cover-up. This person knows as well as all the ones who liked the tweet that they all just don’t know. They don’t know exactly what Trump knows about the chilling Khashoggi execution.

Just like they don’t know exactly what happened in the consulate. Information from anonymous Turkish sources is dripping through drop by drop, and it looks terrible -and terribly graphic-, but the conclusion that Trump wants to cover up a murder is multiple tokes over the line.

The Saudi attempt at labeling the execution a kidnapping gone wrong is out the window if only a tenth of the Turkish sources’ claims is true. What emerges is a picture of premeditated torture and murder. And one that was ordered by someone in the royal family. Which can really only be one of two people: the King or his son, MbS, and the latter seems more suspect. But what any of it has to do with Trump remains to be seen,

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The Saudi Collapse, by Justin Raimondo

It is long past time for the US to change, and perhaps end, its “special” relationship with the corrupt, repressive, and criminal Saudi Arabian government. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

The Saudis are doubling down on their denial that they had anything to do with the disappearance of Washington Post journalist and sometime Saudi insider Jamal Khashoggi: “enemies of the Kingdom,” they say are responsible. Nowadays that includes an awful lot of people, as the Washington cognoscenti rush to distance themselves from a regime once hailed as an exemplar of “reform.” It’s a stampede for the door, and soon there will be no on left standing: one rarely sees a collapse like this, at least when it comes to entire countries. One minute they’re on top of the world with Donald Trump, playing with swords and getting away with murder: the next minute they’re international pariahs.

Threatening “major consequences” if it turns out the Turks are right and the Saudis interrogated, tortured, and murdered Khashoggi, Trump may do far more than merely cut off Riyadh’s arms supply. He may decide to stop backing the Saudis entirely, abandoning their role as the anchor of US policy in the region, and subsequently downplaying and eventually abandoning the anti-Iranian obsession that has so far overshadowed our regional policy.

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Saudi Arabia Considers Itself Untouchable Due to Oil and Money, by Michael Krieger

Saudi Arabia’s oil and money may not have run out, but its luck and political influence might have. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

The roots of that lobby’s rise to prominence in Washington lie in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As you may remember, with 15 of those 19 suicidal hijackers being citizens of Saudi Arabia, it was hardly surprising that American public opinion had soured on the Kingdom. In response, the worried Saudi royals spent around $100 million over the next decade to improve such public perceptions and retain their influence in the U.S. capital. That lobbying facelift proved a success until, in 2015, relations soured with the Obama administration over the Iran nuclear deal. Once Donald Trump won the presidency, however, the Saudis saw an unparalleled opportunity and launched the equivalent of a full-court press, an aggressive campaign to woo the newly elected president and the Republican-led Congress, which, of course, cost real money.

As a result, the growth of Saudi lobbying operations would prove extraordinary. In 2016, according to FARA records, they reported spending just under $10 million on lobbying firms; in 2017, that number had nearly tripled to $27.3 million. And that’s just a baseline figure for a far larger operation to buy influence in Washington, since it doesn’t include considerable sums given to elite universities or think tanks like the Arab Gulf States Institute, the Middle East Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (to mention just a few of them).

– From the must read piece: The Saudi Lobby Juggernaut

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How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers, by John Kiriakou

Being a whistleblower can be dangerous, and although you occasionally see stories about whistleblowers receiving big cash awards, it’s usually not remunerative and it can be downright ruinous. From John Kiriakou at consortiumnews.com:

Speaking truth to power has ruined Darin Jones, a former FBI contract specialist who reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties. He should be the last federal whistleblower victimized, writes John Kiriakou.

The idea of “whistleblowing” has been in the news a great deal.

Is the anonymous author of a recent New York Times op-ed eviscerating the president a whistleblower?

Is the victim of an alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a whistleblower?

I’m fortunate to have access to the media to talk about torture after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s program. I think Ed Snowden, Tom Drake and others would say the same thing about the aftermath of their own whistleblowing.

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Journalist’s Disappearance Forces Trump’s Hand on Saudi Arabia, by Jason Ditz

The line out of the Trump administration, the mainstream media, and the well-funded Saudi Arabian public relations machine is that Saudi Arabia is becoming less repressive and is changing in other positive ways. It and Israel are the US’s strongest allies in the Middle East. From Jason Ditz at theantimedia.org:

he disappearance of high-profile Saudi journalist, and regular writer for the Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi has put the Trump Administration into an uncomfortable position, obliging them to raise the questions about the disappearance and presumptive murder of the man by Saudi officials.

Khashoggi’s connections with the Washington Post made this a much bigger story than the disappearances of most dissident journalists in the Middle East. That he was in exile for writings critical to the Saudi Crown Prince, and entered a Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, but never came out, making it very likely he came to a bad end.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling for a “thorough” investigation by the Saudis into Khashoggi’s disappearance as well, which also virtually obliges the US to follow through when such an investigation doesn’t happen.

The Saudis, after all, insist that nothing happened to Khashoggi, and barring the Turkish government coming across his corpse at some point in the near future, that’s a position they’re likely to stick to.

 

Most of Us Are NOT Participating in the Hysterical Rage You See on the News, by Daisy Luther

When was the last time you slugged someone? For most of us the answer is probably years, if not decades. From Daisy Luther at theorganicprepper.com:

If you were to read about the United States of America from someplace else, you’d probably think it was a nation full of people who are gearing up to go to war. Anyone would think the same thing from what they saw in the media. You would see hysterical rage fueling terrible acts. You’d see the intense hatred between people who belong to different political parties. You’d believe this is nationwide.

But it’s not. Sure, there’s some tension if you talk politics, but in most places, it isn’t crazy in a life-threatening kind of way. Mostly, it’s pretty friendly.

But this isn’t the America of the media.

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Americans are Stuck in Abusive Relationships with Power, by Michael Krieger

The American people have been abused too long. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

And we recently discovered, if it was not known before, that no amount of power can withstand the hatred of the many.

– Marcus Tullius Cicero

Americans are brought up to believe all sorts of myths about the country we call home. We’re told our economy is a free market meritocracy governed by the rule of law. We’re told our civil liberties, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, are inviolable and protected by the most powerful military in the world. A fighting force entrusted with the admirable and monumental task of defending freedoms at home, and democracy and human rights abroad. We’re told we exist in a system of self-government, in which our votes matter and our voices heard. In practice, none of this is true.

The fact of the matter is American citizens in 2018 are just a nuisance for the real power players. Useful as consumers, but increasingly problematic as larger numbers start to ask questions about how things really work. For far too long, we’ve been ignorant and willing accomplices in our own bondage. This allowed the concentrated and unaccountable power that really calls the shots to go for broke in recent decades, with unsurprisingly tragic results.

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