Of Course: Conservatives Smear Khashoggi

[Content Note: Violence; Islamophobia.]

Robert Costa and Karoun Demirjian at the Washington Post: Conservatives Mount a Whisper Campaign Smearing Khashoggi in Defense of Trump.
Hard-line Republicans and conservative commentators are mounting a whispering campaign against Jamal Khashoggi that is designed to protect [Donald] Trump from criticism of his handling of the dissident journalist's alleged murder by operatives of Saudi Arabia — and support Trump's continued aversion to a forceful response to the oil-rich desert kingdom.

In recent days, a cadre of conservative House Republicans allied with Trump has been privately exchanging articles from right-wing outlets that fuel suspicion of Khashoggi, highlighting his association with the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth and raising conspiratorial questions about his work decades ago as an embedded reporter covering Osama bin Laden, according to four GOP officials involved in the discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Those aspersions — which many lawmakers have been wary of stating publicly because of the political risks of doing so — have begun to flare into public view as conservative media outlets have amplified the claims, which are aimed in part at protecting Trump as he works to preserve the U.S.-Saudi relationship and avoid confronting the Saudis on human rights.
Something I've been thinking a lot about lately is how there is no bottom to the Trump cultists' indecency.

A common talking point, long favored by politicians and the press alike, is that there was always a 30% (give or take) that would vote Republican no matter what, but built into that assertion was an assumption that some things would still be off-limits; some things would still stand on the other side of a line that could not be crossed.

But now we are seeing that it is not the case. There is no depth that Trump and the GOP cannot plumb that their hardcore cultists won't defend — and, indeed, the more malicious they get, the more the cultists cheer, and feel empowered.

This, of course, has long been apparent to anyone who has been at the blunt end of conservatives' seething hatred. Which is why a zero tolerance approach was necessary.

But instead the press has insisted on playing the sinister Both Sides game, and the Democratic opposition has mainly been led by folks who keep insisting on bipartisanship and urging good faith, long after it was apparent that the former wasn't possible and the latter wasn't warranted.

We have to get real about the fact that a huge portion of this country is fascist.

And we have to be honest about the fact that the issue has never been whether there were people who would go there (again). The issue has been that there people who exist there, so how do we keep them from running the country?

Lots of people have tried to bury that reality under bullshit about American Exceptionalism and various other lies — like the ludicrous emergent myth care of the dirtbag left that hardcore rightwingers are really secret socialists (nope) — and all they've accomplished is abetting the fascists.

So here we are. And now we have to get blunt about the fact that all the appeals to decency in the world don't matter when your opponent lacks decency altogether.

They are smearing a man who was killed as a terrorist so that their sadistic skipper can avoid having to do the work expected of a democratic president who gives a fuck about human rights.

That is a real thing that's happening.

There will never be a bottom to this unless and until we build a floor.

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