Saudi Arabia

Obama: Tomorrow Tell Saudis to Stop Beating Journalists and to Let Dissidents Go

A one thousand lash insult to free speech.



Tomorrow President Obama will meet with the new hereditary tyrant, uh, King of Saudia Arabia, Salman. Recently the world was treated to a video of liberal blogger Raif Badawi receiving the first 50 lashes of the 1,000 lashes to which he was sentenced for "insulting Islam." Badawi's only crime was running a liberal discussion website. President Obama should clearly and firmly explain American displeasure with this kind of oppression and tell our Saudi "allies" that it would be an expression of "good will" to let Badawi and other dissidents go free immediately.

Last week, several prominent American Christians, Jews, and Muslims sent a letter to the Saudi ambassdador to the United States offering to take 100 lashes each in Badawi's stead. From the letter:

We are persons of different faiths, yet we are united in a sense of obligation to condemn and resist injustice and to suffer with its victims, if need be. We therefore make the following request. If your government will not remit the punishment of Raif Badawi, we respectfully ask that you permit each of us to take 100 of the lashes that would be given to him. We would rather share in his victimization than stand by and watch him being cruelly tortured. If your government does not see fit to stop this from happening,we are prepared to present ourselves to receive our share of Mr. Badawi's unjust punishment.

Hooray for them! In the unlikely event that the Saudis take them on their offer, count me in, too. Flogging video below.

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  1. At least it wasn’t a British Navy-style lashing.

    1. Yeah, it was nice of the lasher to go up and down his back and legs instead of concentrating one small area. Lets it heal faster so he can get another 950 soon. Very professional job.

      1. Look, in this f’d up world, you have to scrounge hard to get the good news.

  2. I wouldn’t mind if the entire House of Saud were captured by ISIS.

    1. Imagine the floggings then!

  3. “Last week, several prominent American Christians, Jews, and Muslims sent a letter to the Saudi ambassdador to the United States offering to take 100 lashes each in Badawi’s stead.”

    Wait, there’s seven signatories, so that’s…a total of 700 lashes. Who gets the remaining 300?

    1. Ah, good old Robert George, his signature is first.

    2. I think Ron just volunteered to take all of those, didn’t he? 😉

      1. Only if we all agree to believe in global warming too.

    3. You gotta leave something for Badawi.

  4. 1,000 lashes to which he was sentenced for “insulting Islam.” Badawi’s only crime was running a liberal discussion website.

    So, what does commenting on a libertarian site equate to?

    1. Ooh, you in fo’ a heap o’floggins, boy.

    2. If it’s this site, probably blasphemy calling for a beheading.

      1. I’ve surfed Reason and commented while in Saudi.

      1. Oh, I believe it.

    3. “So, what does commenting on a libertarian site equate to?”

      I believe that is its own punishment.


    4. Google Image Search “humbler”.

  5. Why are we always speculating on what Obama should do, knowing full well that he’s going to do no such thing?

    Obama will bow to the new king and embarrass us all, as usual, and nothing else will happen.

    1. How can Obama embarrass us all? He doesn’t represent me in any way, shape, or form, nor do I give a shit what some puffed up jackass does with some other puffed up jackasses.

      1. I guess yours is more concise.

        1. It’s the thought that counts, Zeb. Or something like that.

      2. Obama doesn’t represent me anymore than any other criminal who steals my life, liberty or property. Which is to say not at all.

        Personally, I love it when national leaders embarrass themselves and the atrocious system of government they actually do represent.

        1. Yeah, Obama should look like a joke because he is. I don’t want any kind of leader to claim to represent me.

          1. Certainly not one for whom my consent is considered irrelevent. Basically if he is the leader of a tax funded institution, he is only the leader of thugs.

            1. And what other kind of national leader is there?

              I suppose I could see myself following a leader in some contexts, but it would be a leader that I know and trust personally, not some fuckstick that expects me to follow (and pay up) because of where I happened to be born.

      3. I just checked–I didn’t give him my proxy. I did give Warty my proxy in a thread once, but it was just that one thread. Currently, I remain self-representing.

        1. “Bender, if this is some kind of scam, I don’t get it. You already have my power of attorney.”

      4. I was a bit embarrassed when we deservedly won the Nobel Peace Prize for his hard-won accomplishments.

        1. *he

          Hmm… interesting typo.

        2. I was embarrassed on behalf of the Nobel Prize people, but not as an American.

    2. I’m not a big fan of formality so I don’t think anyone should bow to anyone. But is it really shocking or unprecedented for heads of state to show each other the traditional, stupid ritual respect that they think they deserve?

      I don’t consider Obama my leader or representative in any way, so I don’t really give a crap who he bows to and I’m not embarrassed when he does. The president is essentially an elected king, so I’m not surprised if he wants to ingratiate himself with other kings around the world.

      1. I can’t muster the same level of outrage that conservatives displayed over Obama’s obeisance to HRH King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, but I’m pretty sure no other US President ever bowed to a monarch.

        Of course, the official White House denied that Obama’s obeisance was really a bow.…..85281.html

        1. Maybe it is unprecedented, I don’t know and don’t really care. Doesn’t seem any worse than the Bushes holding hands and kissing with them.

          I don’t think that anyone who doesn’t already think that Obama is a secret Muslim born on the moon thinks that a bow means that he is now a devoted servant of the Saudi monarchy.

          There is so much real stuff to hate Obama for, I don’t know why people get all worked up about pointless stuff like this. A good president could bow to the king of Saudi, then let him mount him and vigorously sodomize him for an hour for all I care as long as he moves us toward a smaller and more properly directed government.

      2. It’s surprising to me that they don’t work out the etiquette questions firmly beforehand. Americans don’t bow to foreign sovereigns, and heads of state shouldn’t bow to other heads of state anyway. In, say, Japan, where bowing is more of a greeting than a signal of submission, it’s more complicated, but as you must master Japanese bowing etiquette before you can do it without embarrassing yourself, it’s best to avoid it there too.

        1. Most Japanese recognize that Americans shake hands and set their expectation accordingly. Obama was stupid to bow to another head of state.

      3. A friend in England once said he could have “presented me to the Queen” if I’d been in town a week earlier. And another friend knows a top priest in the Vatican who could get me an “audience” with the Pope. I’ve often wondered how I would greet them:
        “How do you do, Mrs. Windsor” or “Nice to meet you Rev. Francis.”???

        1. Smile and shake hands.

        2. For the pope that would probably be fine. He’s sort of used to meeting random nobodies who don’t know squat about how to do formal greetings.

        3. I’ve thought the same (though I haven’t been offered the actual opportunity). No friggin’ way I’d address QE2 as “your highness” or “mum” or whatever protocol calls for.

        4. Greet with “Your Majesty” first and thereafter “Ma’am.” Do not bow or curtsy. Don’t touch her until she extends her hand for a light handshake. Let her guide the conversation. That’s about it.

        5. Hody, bud, how’s it going?

          1. Howdy, howdy. Damn that W. BOOOOOSH!

      4. Obama bowing to a Saudi King is not reciprocated. It is not a greeting, it is a sign of obsequiousness and servility to the bowee. No American president should ever put himself in that situation.

        1. No American citizen should. We earned the right not to bow to monarchs by having a revolution about it.

          1. Who’s this new Tony?

  6. After the tongue bath he gave to “moderate” King Abdullah? Yeah right.

  7. Maybe if he changes his name to Toby?

    1. I laughed. Of course I’m a bourbon deep w the prospect of the young ins being off for two days due to snow.

    2. oh, thats bad.

  8. Obama: Tomorrow Tell Saudis to Stop Beating Journalists and to Let Dissidents Go

    .. and Saudi’s laughed into their tea.

    1. Correction =

      …and Obama laughed into his Starbucks”

      Why would he start demanding Saudis stop punishing citizens for “speech crimes” when he’s shown a strong interest in exploring ways to do just that in the US?

      Also = are James Rosen and James Risen *actually* siamese twins separated at birth?

    2. Or simply reply “OK, you first.”

  9. Are we allowed to reach conclusions about cultures that we do not share?

    1. Yes.

  10. Does anyone who signed that have any idea what 100 lashes is like? Cause I would wager 100 in a row may even be fatal to 1/4 of the population. I could probably make it but smaller folk not so much. Historically, 100 lashes was a death sentence.

    1. It seems like they do make sure that it isn’t too life threatening. I guess there is a video if we want to find out for sure. And probably records of the outcomes of Saudi lashings.
      Not that that makes it not barbaric and cruel.

    2. You should watch the video. The guy administering the lashes is clearly not leaning into them.

      1. IIRC, the whip makes a lot of difference too. (Not counting the ‘barbed’ whips designed to actually pull chunks of flesh from the victim.)

    3. They stretch the lashings out over a period of time so as not to accidentally kill the prisoner.

      1. How very 21st century of them!

  11. I find what the Saudis are up to repulsive.

    But, they are a sovereign state. So, while I have nothing but support and respect for the letter writers, I think Mr. Obama shouldn’t really do much about it. Really, America has no vital national interest at stake.

    1. Agreed. And the Saudis could very easily respond with something like “we’ll stop whipping bloggers when you stop killing guys for selling loose cigarettes.”

    2. Agreed, which is why he shouldn’t even be going over there in the first place. When’s the last time he visited Antarctica as President?

  12. You know what would make it easier for American presidents to be less deferential to liberty killing factories like Saudi? Next time one of you morons advocates for the energy status quo to the point of denying scientific fact, because oil equals freedom or some shit, think of what kind of brutality you’re tacitly encouraging.

    1. That is stunning lack of self awareness you have there.

      1. Pro-tip: Do not engage, just scroll down.

      2. Double pro-tip: it’s a fucking sockpuppet designed solely to get people to respond to it. Don’t be its porn.

    2. Go eat a pussy, Lil’ bitch.

    3. D-

    4. I agree: let’s become more energy independent.

      Drill baby, drill.

      1. I’d be sad for you for being such suckers for an international cartel if it didn’t appear that you’re blissfully ignorant of being such.

        1. Energy independence and fracking for all.

    5. Lolz, you are so goddamn stupid.

    6. Therefore you vigorously support expansion of natural gas/oil operations in the United States, the approval of the Keystone Pipeline and getting oil from trusted Western democracies like Canada rather than corrupt Islamic kleptocracies?

      1. You do know that oil goes on a global market, yes? That the mere fact of maintaining reliance on fossil fuels empowers the brutal petrostates?

        Since none of you are actually being paid to lobby for big oil, I can only chalk this up to conservative machismo. Solar power is for fags. In real America, we burn shit.

        1. Good thing nobody here is opposed to solar power.

          1. Just so long as oil’s subsidies are sufficient to keep it uncompetitive.

            1. What subsidies?

              1. Estimates are hard to make but globally oil is subsidized in one way or another to the tune of about a trillion dollars, not even talking about the fact that it gets to ruin the environment for free.

                1. Libertarians don’t support government subsidies of any kind.

                2. Citation on the subsidies please.

                  Also, I’m pretty sure BP and Exxon paid a pretty penny for their transgressions. Spills in soocialist utopias such as China, Russia, Venezuela – not so much.

                  Here’s a thought – how about you cut all subsidies?

        2. So, unicorns, then?

        3. And those low oil prices are clearly doing wonders for petrostates.

          Also, even though I don’t expect you to maintain any kind of consistency, but it’s not like solar panels and wind turbines aren’t constructed in China. Perhaps you should stop tacitly supporting brutally authoritarian regimes before you start mouthing off at others.

          1. I’m sure you weren’t one who threw a shitstorm tantrum over Solyndra.

            1. That’s disgraceful waste of taxpayer funds, that has little to do with the actual goal of Solyndra. I think I speak for most libertarians who if they could get reliable solar or alternative power that would remove us from the government sponsored monopoly of local municipal energy service would do so in a heartbeat.

              Sadly, we all don’t live in the sunny San Fernando Valley.

              1. To deny climate change is to service the fossil fuel industries. That is the only purpose of climate change denial propaganda and its distribution to the sea of idiots who perpetuate it. It is anti-capitalism (actors in capitalism should respond to environmental reality if they are to succeed); and it is anti-libertarian (there is nothing free-market about the fossil fuel industries–which are state-owned interests in many cases).

                Just stop standing in the way. Even if it takes some government subsidy to transition to clean energy, learn to be OK with it as a matter of fairness, because oil has been getting the tit for decades and decades.

                1. And to deny that ‘renewable energy resouces’ ultimately fail to provide the necessary reliability coupled with the cost is to deny reality. Yes Tony, if we want a constantly unreliable and unstable power grid, we should subsidize wind and solar.

                  Just stop standing in the way.

                  Make me. Please explain how.

                  1. What’s funny is how Tony couches solar subsidies as the moral position, while you have poor people in Germany subsidizing solar corporations by paying the highest electricity rates in Europe.

                  2. Whereas an energy source reliant on autocracies and the destruction of the planetary environment is the very definition of stability.

                    The only way this gets addressed in a significant way is a massive global investment. Throw whatever you want, solar, wind, nuclear, fusion. If it costs taxpayers a few bucks, it is worth it. Americans need to get over their ridiculous sense of entitlement that they are owed everything for free.

                2. Stop standing in the way of nuclear energy.

              2. My favourite is Tony declaring that our position is because ‘solar power is for fags’. I live on a farm, a third of my power is generated by solar in the summer and most of the spring. And it gives me a hell of a lot more insight into solar’s positives and negatives than most.

            2. Glad to see you’ve kept your dishonest, constant-attempts-at-changing-the-subject style of debate. And have no problem with cronies and cartels as long as it fits into your fantasies.

        4. Alternatives to fossil fuels are not yet (and may never be) ready to supply all the energy needs of the developed and developing world. You can dream all you want, but fossil fuels will not be replaced anytime soon. In the meantime, energy independence through fracking and drilling on FEDGOV lands, etc., will go a long way toward reducing the influence that ME, and other countries, wield over us.

  13. Obama will probably congratulate the Saudis. Hasn’t he spouted the standard Proggie tripe about hate speech himself? He is probably jealous. The proggies would be doing the same here if they could.

    1. Nah…proggies would just re-educate us.

    2. “As I have, uh, said, Your Highness, the future must not belong to, uh, ….”

  14. I’m pretty sure questioning the punishment is also punishable as an insult to islam, so, it’s lashes all the way down.

    1. Paddling the school canoe…ooh, you better believe that’s a paddlin’.

    2. “But all I asked was ‘Why isn’t it *ten* thousand lashes?’! OUCH! OUCH!”


    1. But then the camera points towards the floor…

      1. No it doesn’t.

      1. That was flipping awesome.

        I didn’t realize there was a foundation dedicated to stopping this menace. Where do I donate?

        1. You can send your checks to me; I’ll make sure they arrive at their intended destination.

  16. Can you confirm it will be Obama telling the Saudis to jump?

  17. Not to trivialize the evil of Saudi Arabia, but that lashing wasn’t what I expected. I thought it was going to be bloody.

  18. Badawi’s only crime was running a liberal discussion website.

    I know I say I don’t listen to NPR anymore, but on occasion, I’ll pass by it as I’m tapping all the presets on my car stereo, and some words will escape the speakers– even if only for eight or nine seconds.

    The words which escaped my speakers yesterday when the station was briefly tuned was a discussion offering up the notion that people voluntarily joining together in groups larger than one shouldn’t have freedom of speech. And that if they did, this unheralded increase in speech was “risky” to the American political system.

    Thanks NPR, keep being you.

    1. Unless, of course, people want to join up to create a “serious news organization”. Then free speech is sacrosanct.

    2. What really shocks me on that issue is not that some people on NPR and the usual cultural progressives talk about it that way. I’ve encountered a shocking number of otherwise pretty sensible, dick in the dirt sort of people who seem to think that free speech and press should only apply to individuals all on their own. How many times can I explain that corporate personhood has absolutely nothing to do with why corporate organizations also have free speech rights. It’s depresssing to watch so many people completely miss the point.

  19. The offer to take up some of the lashing instead is a nice gesture, but he still has 10 years of prison ahead of him.

    What would be better is if they fund some mercs to rescue him. I’ll chip in too. Probably should to establish a base in Antarctica before though.

  20. Obama: Tomorrow Tell Saudis to Stop Beating Journalists and to Let Dissidents Go…

    Why is it any of our business? Why is defending them any of our business? Why is… well you know. NOT OUR BUSINESS.

  21. They made it sound like he was beaten to within an inch of his life. My mom spanked me harder than that with the switches she got from the Willow tree from the back yard many times. I think I survived with out any deformities.

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