When will We Bottom Out?

Pompeo MSB

Richard Silverstein

One of the many great tragedies of the Trump presidency is, just when you thought he couldn’t go any lower, he somehow figures out a way to do just that.  Every day brings another insult to decency, democracy, the rule of law, and just plain sanity.  But today marks a special new low.

After concocting a plan with the Saudis to paper over their brutal murder of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, Trump has now doubled down on his whitewash of this horrible crime.  According to Middle East Eye managing editor, David Hearst, Trump sent Mike Pompeo, the former CIA director, to Saudi Arabia.  He offered Mohammed bin Salman and his father, the King a “roadmap” for insulating MBS from blame and “managing” the fallout from the crime.  Hearst summarizes the points of the plan:

When Pompeo declared on 18 October that Saudi Arabia should be given “a few more days” to complete its investigation into the case, he was giving them time to begin implementing his plan, the source said.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Mike Pompeo to royal palace, where U.S. laid out elements of roadmap-coverup for Khashoggi murder

“They [the Saudi leadership] have done everything he wanted to execute,” the source said.

Since Pompeo’s visit to Riyadh, the Saudis have allowed Turkish investigators into their Istanbul consulate, offered to coordinate a joint Saudi-Turkish investigation, sent a team to Istanbul to pursue the probe and arrested at least 21 suspects.

The remaining step – pinning the crime on a member of the royal family – may be taken if the arrests of those Saudi suspects don’t work to ease the pressure on Riyadh, the source said.

So far, the Saudis have accused five individuals of the murder and they face the death penalty.  But none of the five are members of the royal family.  Presumably, if conditions fail to improve and, for example, western nations unite to place an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia (Germany has already done so), the royal family might be forced to implement that drastic element of the plan.

Of course it is ludicrous to pin sole blame for the murder on any of those who actually committed it.  That would be like the U.S. arresting the Navy SEALs who assassinated Osama bin Laden.  Why would you blame them when they carried out explicit orders given to them by their commanders and presumably the President of the United States?  They are the ones who are the authors of the crime and should face judgment for it, not those who shot him dead.

MBS is solely responsible for this murder.  All the others were henchmen carrying out orders he gave them.  To claim that you are doing justice by executing the hired underlings is a perversion of truth.  It is a legal charade.

Trump’s statement is also morally corrupt.  He knows who killed Khashoggi.  But he doesn’t care.  Khashoggi was the equivalent of a peon.  Someone serving his meal or sweeping the floors at Mar a Lago.  A lowly guest worker who could be disposed of at will.  Trump thinks he has bigger fish to fry: selling billions in weapons to the Saudis; selling a peace deal to benefit his Israeli pals and the billion-dollar donor, Sheldon Adelson.

Trump apparently believes that just as he can pardon any of his friends and admirers for their felonious behavior, he can pardon MBS as well.  We’ll have to see whether his pardoning power extends as far as the Middle East.

Trump Debases Medal of Honor with Award to Miriam Adelson

Trump bestowed America’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Adelson’s wife, Miriam, last week.  The purported claims for her meriting the award were her humanitarian medical relief work.  But there was only one real reason she was honored: she is the wife of the billion-dollar man.  In this way, Trump has perverted the highest honor an American president can bestow.  He’s sold it for a few hundred million in GOP campaign donations.

Where Adelson goes the Lobby is sure to follow.  Bibi Netanyahu has already weighed in on the Saudis’ behalf.  As Clayton Swisher notes in this tweet, the Israel Lobby and he and the Lobby will go into full battle-mode lobbying Congress not to impose sanctions on the Saudis.  Because that’s what good friends do for each other…

We’ve become almost anesthetized to Trump’s litany of lies and this statement is more of the same. It is filled with prevarication and distortions about Iran.  But even worse is glossing over Saudi Arabia’s war crimes in Yemen.  Trump lies when he claims that the Saudis would immediately withdraw military forces if Iran did the same.  In fact, Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen well before the Iranians became involved, and the latter only did so after the Saudis threatened to liquidate the Shiite Houthis there.  The Saudis have never made the offer Trump made on their behalf in this statement.

Trump continues by claiming the Saudis have offered humanitarian aid in Yemen.  That too is a lie.  In fact, it has brought 15-million to brink of starvation.  It has strangled hundreds of thousands of young children, causing them to die of malnutrition.  Only yesterday did a Saudi foundation named, naturally, after the king himself. offer $500-million in humanitarian relief for Yemen.  That most certainly was tied directly to the Trump announcement.  Though the offer was made the day before so it wouldn’t appear to have been coordinated.

Trump Dares Congress to Face Him Down Over Saudi Sanctions

What the Saudis have done in Yemen is an abomination.  MBS should be brought to the Hague for war crimes.  Not protected and honored by the President of the United States. Trump, in his statement, threw down the gauntlet to Congress.  He practically dared them to oppose him.  He knows they plan to impose sanctions on the Saudis.  But he knows he can veto such bills.  That would require bipartisan support to override his veto.

So far Lindsay-the-Timid, who folded like a deck of cards when Trump fired Sessions, has tweeted his strong support for Saudi sanctions.  But my bet is that the enfeebled GOP will not withstand Trump’s scorn if they threaten to buck his lead.  As they have so many times before, they will fall into line like good little children who strayed from the path, and needed a bit of discipline before returning to the straight and narrow.  Remember how many GOP candidates went down to defeat in the midterms after distancing themselves from him?

This will leave the Democratic minority in the Senate with little to show.  They will need at least 20 Republican votes to override a Trump veto.  My bet is that they can’t get them.  But I’d like to be proven wrong.

Republicans are making a very bad bet by continuing to align themselves with Trump.  He may be king of the heap today.  But he will be on the political dung-heap tomorrow.  Then, anyone in any way associated with his vein of criminality will pay a steep price.  Anyone who now bucks the king will be able to say he faced him down, and will reap the reward.  Everyone else in the Party will become so much waste to be flushed down the toilet.  My bet is that 2020 will be the Day of Reckoning.

This post first appeared on Richard’s blog.

5 thoughts on “When will We Bottom Out?

  1. My bet is that he is America’s last President! Almost every American would scorn that, thinking they deserve another day. If Trump doesn’t make it, you can be sure America won’t either which means many reading this will be on the same heap.
    Mr. Trump is the USA’s last Trump! So, he’ll go out with a flare along with the rest of the country!

    • “Clem”–I sincerely believe the human race has sealed its fate via global climate chaos. Not sure if I should laugh or cry about that! But not content to wait for Climate Apocalypse, Trump has adopted policies intended to actually accelerate the process. He is not a rational man. He is not a mentally healthy man. And a nation of 300+ million that permits him to remain in the White House probably deserves to perish!! Forty percent, give or take, are cheering his idiocy on. Because it makes them feel like they’re poking their fingers in the eyes of Evil Latte-swilling Northeast Elitist Liberals. What a way to go! The late Phil Ochs wrote these lyrics: “Find a flag, so you can wave goodbye/But just before the end, even treason might be worth a try/This country is too young to die…” Well, that was about a half-century ago. I think we’re no longer too young.

  2. Richard–You didn’t go quite far enough here. I will stake my life on the fact that the concept of blaming the Khasoggi assassination on a gang of “rogue operatives” to try to get MBS off the hook came directly from Trump, publicly, almost immediately after the first reports of the event!! Pompeo’s very cheery visit to the Royals soon thereafter wasn’t to convey that advice, for they’d already received it in Riyadh via public media. Pompeo was likely there to simply convey Trump’s solidarity in person, and help The Kingdom try to concoct a more plausible cover story (they failed miserably). Regarding Yemen, it’s been known since the outset of the Saudi campaign that it’s being carried out with weaponry provided by USA, with direct guidance provided on what targets to hit. Certainly, with each passing day, Trump brings our nation’s reputation in the world’s eyes lower still. Quite an achievement!!

  3. One ot the most important points made was the way the public has been anesthetized. This is part of the propaganda process, at least in this country. Americans have too many goodies-the broad middle class that is. That was their big buy off eons ago and it is now totally institutionalized. It is what keeps this country under control while the ruling elite destroy democratic principles and institutions. Trump, please remember, did not invent his processes or program.

    As for the US ability to keep on going? That is its hubris. On this count lets think about all the underground bunkers created for the super wealthy for their protection in case of an armageddon. It used to be fear of nuclear explosion. Now we add total environmental collapse. Moving forward and using high end technology, we can see these few very white people planning on settling outer space which is a big piece of their expectation.

    What Americans need to think about is the horrific stuff done under other regimes and know full and well that this is what the US is also capable of doing to its own. Trump has stripped the blinders on this country’s racism and sexism and classism. He has stated clearly the neo-con value of money and power over everything else, people be damned. The Khashoggi assassination, in all its brutality is supported by Trump and the neo-cons of this country. There are no human values that lead in this country as if there ever were. Obama receiving a Nobel Peace Prize was declaration enough but, not to be one-upped by a Black man, Trump has given prize to Adelson’s wife for a few million. Other countries might have taken to the streets over any of these things but not in the US. We are anesthetized. We are trained in civility that simply leaves us begging in the wind. We talk about voting in a system that is so rigged that, again, people, white people, nice middle class white people cannot/do not/will not believe how rigged the system is. Jim Crow is with us still/yet/again. And as per the PBS documentary, so is Slavery By Another Name (prison industry).

    Bottoming out? Think about how low an addict needs to go before bottoming out. Too many people still have too many toys before we see this on a mass level.

    • Absolutely. As I’ve been pointing out for years, most of the US working class believes it’s “Middle Class” and that’s to whom politicians pitch their appeals. Far too many of our fellow citizens have swallowed this colossal deception. It’s the coming food, gasoline and drinking water riots the uber-rich will seek shelter from in their bunkers, i.e. the social aftermath of environmental collapse more so than the actual effects on the environment. Trump is pooh-poohing the new climate report because it was mostly assembled on Obama’s watch, and represents “extreme outlier possibilities.” I firmly predict that things will be far worse, and far sooner, than the “worst case” scenarios in the report. Because I respect Mother Nature. And I know the climate change genie CANNOT be stuffed back into the bottle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s