The Say Anything World
Many years ago, I tried a lot line dispute. Soon before the trial I asked my clients a question. The answer, unfortunately, contradicted everything important they’d already told me. “So what,” they said, “everyone else is lying too.” Not, actually! Unfortunately, I paid for their dishonesty by forcing a settlement which resulted in their not paying me. They got a much better outcome than they deserved. Me? Not so much.
Recent stuff brought my old case bubbling up for me. Jamal Khashoggi, specifically. And more.
The evidence suggests very, very strongly that Mr. Khashoggi died on October 2, 2018 in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. (You could describe what happened, with the evidence we have seen and heard about, in Duh magazine, with no defamation worries.) So what, say Wingnut acquaintances. “Prove it.” Our POTUS says I Don’t Know, Feels like Brett Kavanaugh, These are Our Friends, They Said They Were Not Involved, blah, blah, blah.* Which brings us to the Saudis.
For days, they’ve told us Mr. Khashoggi left the Consulate. Recently, they started test marketing “We Intended to Kidnap Him and Things Got Out of Hand.” Mr. Trump seems to be along for the ride, with his references to “rogue killers.”
Umm; excuse me: Mr. Khashoggi left the Consulate and “we intended to kidnap him, and things got out of hand” cannot co-exist. He left or he didn’t and the Saudis have said, repeatedly, “He left.” So, the new message ought to be a non-starter. Right? Nope, not in the Say Anything World.
Then there is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, telling us budget deficits require entitlement cuts. Blah, blah, blah, but for the fact that this man told us, when he passed a huge tax cut for the wealthiest among us, that it would more than pay for itself.
Then there’s Mr. Trump. He likes to call Senator Elizabeth Warren (D – Mass.) Pocahontas, because she has identified Cherokee Nation roots. He told Senator Warren he’d donate $1,000,000 to her favorite charity if she proved Indian roots. She did. His response?
I didn’t say that. Nah, you better read it again.
Many Most of us own our words. Why? I can’t speak for others, but for me it’s about consequences. I don’t label what other lawyers say, because I think the judge will figure it out. Let them talk, and the truth will out. (Others in my profession? Not always.) In my personal, non-working life, BS works not at all.
In the public sphere, unfortunately, the lying class acts with impunity, mostly, because its people know their audience. Tribalism, limited attention spans, and journalism matching up poorly in the Internet era give the bad guys a big head start.
The Saudi issue audience? Donald Trump and American corporations. Full stop.
Will Mr. Trump care about inconsistencies? In a year, will Apple or Google remember Mr. Khashoggi, if money can be made in Saudi Arabia? Can the media change this, even a little? (If even one question generates a “yes” response, I know the Tooth Fairy reads MRW.com.
About Leader McConnell and tax cuts that pay for themselves … not. Since the early 1980s the Rs have sold this claptrap, with nary a bit of success. Still, fools rush in, falling in love with Supply Siders repeatedly, despite no evidence that anyone should buy what they’re selling.
Then there’s the Senator Warren nonsense. The media line, now? She never should have engaged. Probably right, but it ignores the fact that the man owes a charity $1,000,000. He challenged her. She responded and proved him wrong.
I’m 61 years old, happy to be upright, and joyful when I arise every morning … just because I have arisen. Sadly, this Say Anything culture has embedded itself. The mortality tables tell me I have another 20 years or so. That’s nice, but I know Say Anything will outlast me. Sadly!!!
*Finally, on the afternoon of October 18, 16 days after Mr. Khashoggi likely took his last breath, Mr. Trump finally says “it certainly looks like he died.