“Eric Weinstein LIVE: Trump, Mathematics, and the ‘Thinkuisition'”

From The Rubin Report:

Hadn’t heard of Eric Weinstein (or his brother, Bret Weinstein) before today and only clicked on this video initially to learn what a “Thinkuisition” was about. Very good talk there. Interesting to now listen to self-described liberals and progressives describe feeling abandoned by the Political Left (reminiscent of self-styled conservatives expressing similar disdain with the Republican Party in years past, resulting in them being pushed more toward libertarian positions instead — though, it deserves to be noted that a number of liberals appear to be heading that direction now too). There’s no home for many of us in either of the polarized political camps since they’ve come to very much demand conformity from their adherents and nowadays actively censure all who even slightly step out of line. That trend being most pronounced currently among the Political Left, particularly where it involves racial/social justice agendas.

Sad state of affairs we have going on at present. But then again, perhaps we have to go through this and get to the other side of it in order to appreciate which values matter more as a society. Assuming we make it to the other side and don’t wind up dissolved in the process. Nada es imposible.

Eric Weinstein’s BigThink presentation on “artificial out-telligence”: http://bigthink.com/videos/eric-weinstein-how-even-dumb-ai-could-outsmart-humans

Saudi Arabia is no “ally” worth having

Saudi Arabia, as a country and as a culture, unnerves me. But, that being half of my bloodline (so says my mother), I’m drawn back time and again to learn about it. Unfortunately so much of what I’ve seen and heard over time (including what I was told by a Saudi man who had befriended my former husband many years back) isn’t pretty. The VAST majority of it isn’t actually. Not to mention their royal family appears sadistically nuts, yet still is claimed as an ally by the U.S. and European nations.

Before I begin posting up links tonight, it deserves to be stated that I did attempt a positive information hunt on Saudi Arabia and the Middle East in general that went on for a few years, particularly during my time volunteering within the pro-peace/anti-war movement. Back then I really strove to give peace a chance and to open up my mind, hoping I’d come across information that could contradict what all I’d managed to learn about that nation and its people up until then. But no such luck. Even the liberal peace community couldn’t sweep its human rights abuses under the rug despite sometimes trying. That culture’s atrocious human rights record is undeniable, plentiful, and completely unapologetic.

Tonight I’ll showcase a few examples, beginning with a graphic LiveLeak video of a male servant being whipped, hit, and spit on by his purportedly Saudi (Arab of some sort either way) “sponsor”: https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=850_1382853964

Saudi Arabia requires a “sponsorship” program for its immigrant workers whereby a “sponsor” is granted a great deal of control over the worker, including his or her right to leave the country. This was reported in the Human Rights Watch 2012 report on Saudi Arabia:

ScreenHunter_16 Jul. 26 01.07That was a screen-captured excerpt from the HRW link above. And, as you saw in the LiveLeak video linked above, the abuse isn’t confined to female migrant workers only.

Came across this article from the World Tribune (Sept. 22, 2013) titled “Opposition: Saudi king’s son promotes ‘racist policy’ against nation’s blacks“:

ScreenHunter_17 Jul. 26 01.12Hence why I was mistaken in my most recent video where I assumed there were little to no black people even living in Saudi Arabia these days. Come to find out they’re just being kept off the television and treated like second-class citizens (lower even than the migrant workers apparently in some cases) in what amounts to an apartheid setup. Not that that’s any better…

Here’s an article from The Guardian (Oct. 19, 2010) titled “Saudi prince guilty of servant’s murder“:

ScreenHunter_18 Jul. 26 01.19The House of Saud is showing itself to be the House of Sade (Marquis de Sade, that is). Oh, but it doesn’t stop there. It goes on and on and on with these folks…

Here’s an example from just last week, “Saudi royal arrested over videos purportedly showing abuse” (CBS News; July 20, 2017):

ScreenHunter_19 Jul. 26 01.31A “prison for wayward royals”? They necessitate their own prison?? How many frickin’ royals does that country have? Don’t know much about the new king, but I won’t be holding my breath and expecting any real change to occur. Takes time to evolve, and that goes for people and whole cultures. Won’t happen over the course of a few years, most certainly.

I’ll let Abby Martin of the Empire Files tell us a little more:

Appointed to the human rights panel at the UN. Yep, you heard that right. AND Saudi Arabia’s term on that panel won’t expire until 2019 (assuming they aren’t reappointed). Yet some continue to wonder why the United Nations is (increasingly) viewed as a sick, sad, twisted joke.

Am I uncomfortable with that half of my bloodline? No, not really. Though I am grateful to have not been born there and to not have been directly exposed to that disturbing culture/religion while growing up (spoken as someone raised in Mississippi  tongue_out  Imagine that seeming WAYYY better by comparison. Ha!). Guess it’s a good thing that my biological father wasn’t in my life. Might’ve turned out way worse. I’m willing to bet it probably would have, sad as that may sound to an outsider. Sure, that’s really unfortunate to have to acknowledge and accept, but the truth isn’t always a rose garden. I honestly would rather never know my biological father if he is much like many of the Arab men I’ve either encountered or learned about. Chances are great that he too was/is a Muslim (my mother hasn’t offered much information to shed light on who he was). Did he support Sharia Law? Would he have raised me in accordance with that religion had he known of my existence? If so, that warrants a write-off in my book.

That being of their own doing. Apostasy is a crazy concept. Remaining forever grateful to not have been raised up within a society that kowtows to Sharia Law. Color me biased, that’s fine. (Though, by the same token, I’m also very grateful to not have been raised by Christian Fundamentalists.)

So, what does this do to my own self-perception? Not as much damage as one might expect. Fills me with a sense of gratitude to be born an American and raised within an American family. Truth be told (biased as I can’t help but be). Also grateful to know I can’t be deported no matter what I do or so. Heh  Seriously though (and Guantanamo aside). Not even going to take chances with visiting a country like that since someone like me would probably be stoned while exiting the plane.  not_amused  Or kept there in some weirdo’s bathroom and tortured for my heathen Western ways… (Or lashed by the authorities for what I’ve blogged about.)  Oy.

Happen to like my skin tone. Wonder sometimes if possessing that genetic background is why I can be such an emotional hothead. Otherwise, I tend to find the whole situation a bit funny, ironically so. Am proud to be a “sand honky,” since I’m the only one I’ve ever known (meaning specifically a Southerner/Arab blend). And I feel it gives me all the more license to tell it like I see it when it comes to the Arab world. Not self-hating since my problem is with that CULTURE (along with its peculiar religion, or at least the extremes it tends to be taken to).

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A couple more links I’m perusing and wish to save for future reference. From the Pew Research Center (May 26, 2017): http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/05/26/muslims-and-islam-key-findings-in-the-u-s-and-around-the-world/

From Amnesty International (Saudi Arabia 2016/2017 Annual Report): https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/saudi-arabia/report-saudi-arabia/

“The Vanishing American Adult”

From the Hoover Institution, Nebraska Senator Benjamin Sasse joins Peter Robinson to discuss his book The Vanishing American Adult and the growing crisis in America of “prolonged adolescence,” the necessity of productivity despite now transitioning into a consumption-focused economy, the lagging of virtues in what has become a preeminent first-world society, and the passivity commonly shown by millennials in the face of this unfolding reality and what can be done to instill better habit formation so as to build a work ethic as well as to learn to appreciate the values our nation was founded on.

I can dig much of what Senator Sasse is putting forth here, old-school and traditional as it can’t help but be. Not that all or even most traditions are wholly useless or obsolete to where they deserve to be discarded in the dustbin of history. In fact, we’d better learn more about those traditions and what all they encompass and why they came into being before jumping to the conclusion that they no longer serve a useful purpose or matter. This is me saying this, of all people. Some things can’t be brought back once they’re gone, and we humans have a bad habit, nowadays especially, of assuming we know more than we do. Thinking we have the right answers when we don’t. Getting caught up in modern life and not taking the time to explore in depth what we’ve historically and evolutionarily come up through.

Life is a massive puzzle that we’ll never be able to completely figure out. But now we do tend to act (at all age levels) as though if we can dream it, we can then somehow bring it into fruition and that will necessarily be good. We’re naive in that assessment, IMO. It’s a grand assumption, very often wishful thinking rooted in nothing but hopes and ideals. If we can’t or won’t seriously grapple with who and what we are—as individuals, groups/tribes, cultures, nations, and overall as a species—then how valuable and realistically applicable can we expect our dreams to be?

An untold number of generations have come before us struggling through entire lifetimes while striving to comprehend life and living, to survive and gain wisdom and insights to pass forward so as to give each subsequent generation a little bit more to work with. Yet we like to act nowadays as if all that’s come before is dwindling in relevancy, archaic, impractical in this day and age. I used to feel the same way when I was a younger. Admittedly still do to an extent, especially when faced with religious fundamentalism and the dogmatic extremes exhibited therein. And yet also I more and more feel drawn toward lessons already out there and articulated, wanting to learn from them instead of stubbornly refusing and attempting to reinvent the wheel. I need to focus more of my own time investigating and familiarizing myself with what has come before. Hard not to feel tremendously ignorant and humbled when confronted with so much information and ideas and observations generated and recorded in the past, just waiting for us in the 21st century to conscientiously engage with it and see what springs forth.

Aristotle sounds like a good place to start.

“Sam Harris Vs. Abby Martin”

Interesting to listen to them express their views on Islam, jihadists, and U.S. intervention in the Middle East.

Journaling on a Saturday afternoon in late July

The mother of the kid who batted that rock that busted my car’s windshield just stopped by to tell me goodbye since they have to move out today. Ya know, people have said that she’s probably just being nice now because she wanted my help in dealing with the landlord and whatnot, but today demonstrates that’s not the case. She and her son wouldn’t have stopped by to let me know they were leaving had that been all it was. I honestly do think she’s trying to keep on the up and up. And her son’s not a bad kid despite the property damage occurring.

We exchanged phone numbers and plan to remain in contact so that I can learn of her whereabouts and let the other neighbors know how she and her son are doing eventually. Sad situation. Sucks to witness someone in that position. Don’t know what else I can do at this point though. Out money and still trying to get my own life in order. But if I hear of somebody having a room open up, I’ll let her know.

In the process of uploading a vlog I recorded this morning that goes in on single mothers quite a bit, though I didn’t mean that personally against her. Just sucks to keep seeing women get in a situation like hers, plus it’s tough on the rest of society as a result. Had mixed feelings about sharing those views in a video today considering all that’s gone on this week, and I was wondering at the time if she had just been playing up to me in hopes of us rallying and getting the landlord to permit her to stay on here. But our hands were tied, and I think she knew that deep down.

See, I don’t hate individual mothers in these circumstances, though I do hate how common this trend has become in our society. It sucks to meet so many people dependent on local or state aid and in dire straits financially. The bleeding heart inside of me wants to reach out and help and tolerate our government’s reallocation of funds and resources to help single mothers and their kids, but the tough love side of me also understands that continuing these programs as we are is only encouraging the growth of this trend and obviously in no way disincentivizes it. We have a problem here, folks, and it’s not going to go away on its own. Certainly what’s been tried and even ramped up in recent decades is only exacerbating this mess. So what now?

It’s like we’re in this clusterfuck of a tangled web where there are so many single mothers (not to mention children in poor households in general) already in existence to where we’re in a no-win, deep-shit conundrum. If we cut aid to them we worry that they might suffer—as they likely will—though their visible suffering might also (hopefully) generate a deterrence so that others work harder to not follow in previous women’s footsteps in the these ways. But in the meantime many, if not most, single-mother-headed families would suffer, make no mistake about that. It would become a shit show in a hurry. There’s no doubt that opportunistic or well-intending others claiming to advocate on their behalves would get extremely vocal in an effort to essentially shame us all into reinstating welfare provisions. Don’t doubt that for a second, and we all know how reactive people get when guilted. Guilt does a number on me also, so I’m no exception there.

However, if we can’t find a way to toughen our hearts a good bit, when and how will it all end? When 80-90% of children in this country are being born out of wedlock and raised in single-mother-headed households? That’s not fair to future generations or to the rest of society (for various reasons). Yet this trend does not appear to be losing traction one iota over time. So what then?

There comes a point when we have to accept that a worthwhile outcome won’t always leave us feeling particularly good about ourselves, especially in the short run.  As life likes to teach us: the easiest way isn’t often the best way. If it feels terrific now, you can bet that whatever potential consequences there are are just being delayed. Cynical as that may sound.

Decades back, people let their hearts and minds expand and throughout the process opened the public coffers, only to wind up leaving future generations to deal with the postponed and inevitable consequences (hindsight being 20/20). Like the fact that our society can no longer afford this bloated welfare system, AND that having such a (growing) scheme like this in place only creates an incentive for more and more people to rely on it. Why wouldn’t they? It’s freely available. Up for the taking. Welcome to human nature.

I know that folks like to claim that women don’t go out and have kids with the intention of milking the system. Probably not. HOWEVER, how much do you want to bet that a lot of young mothers-to-be would’ve made different life choices had this system not been in place to provide a safety net to them? If single mothers and their kids were more often than not rendered dependent on private charities or at the mercy of the kindness of strangers or otherwise left destitute on the streets, do you think the single motherhood trend would continue to climb? Really? Outside of the middle class, I seriously doubt it.

But no one wants to be the bad guy and say “NO, that’s enough.” Especially not when there are anti-abortion Christian activists on one side of the aisle screaming about how merciless we are as a society, mirrored by liberals on the other side of the aisle screeching on in nearly the same vein (albeit placing the focus on different demographics) but in a secularized fashion. Weird that it’s turned out this way, considering what bitter enemies those camps profess to be. The rest of us are here, stuck in the middle and being squeezed and pressured and guilted nonstop from both/all sides.. If we outliers to these camps make a case for this not being the right way forward, we’re denounced as heartless by some, as baby-haters/baby-killers by others, as outdated and non-progressive, as sociopathic and lacking empathy and consciences, etc. We’ve heard it plenty of times over by now.

If we make cases for a lack of public financial resources to sustain this setup they’ll then suggest that we should just tax the rich more—voila—problem resolved, right? Wrong. That’s no more of a sustainable solution than what we have already. Want our wealthiest businesspeople to up and leave the U.S. (as if plenty aren’t already planning to relocate to China — a topic for another time)? Beyond that, all the money and assets the rich people possess still isn’t enough to save this nation from its mounting debt. So, for as much appeal as stealing from Paul to pay Peter might hold for some, it’s still not going to get to the root of the matter. AND that approach still in no way creates a disincentive for women to become single mothers.

The problem lies within each of us as individuals ultimately. Nobody else can stop us from making poor decisions. And nobody else can force us (as of yet) to take advantage of the technologies currently available so as to avoid these outcomes. We have options that we’re not taking seriously enough. Plus, we have popular culture that’s beyond toxic in how it actively promotes and defends poor decision-making and those rendered disadvantaged as a result. It’s all backwards, topsy-turvy, and proving fatal in the long run for us as a nation and for western civilization overall.

This is a bigger issue than women’s rights. And it’s a bigger issue than liberalism and knee-jerk sympathizing. I understand that sympathy — really, really do — but look where we’re headed. Some, like Steven Pinker, like to think that crimes rates are declining and will steadily continue to do so indefinitely, but there’s evidence to the contrary to dispute that and there will likely be much more if we continue this trend of bringing in kids who aren’t being raised well due to a lack of energy, time, resources and/or whatever else on the part of single parents (and the government agencies they rely upon). Worse still if these are unwanted children, which plenty of them are. Far too many, if you ask me. What we’re doing currently as a society isn’t helping as intended and instead is only furthering this trend. We see this. Yet no one wants to be one of the jerks to stand up and help cut off the flow to welfare recipients. Makes one look and feel like a major asshole to take it there. Understandably so, considering how much people banked on these policies proving effective. This is a big letdown. The plan did not succeed.

I don’t know. Am super tired today (as well as highly caffeinated) and can’t stay with this topic any longer right now. Just an upsetting state of affairs that I have no idea how to help in making stop. Presumably, however many of my fellows are either afraid to voice (or even further develop) their real opinions on these matters because they wish to avoid being harassed or possibly tarred and feathered, while others actually whole-heartedly believe pouring more and more money into Big Government social programs in the face of this already-skyrocketing trend might somehow eventually win out. The former strike me as cowards and the latter as delusional.

Will resume this topic another day. Today I’m just hoping my neighbor lady and her son are able to find a place to stay very soon. And I’m praying for others to think a whole lot more deeply about these issues and to more seriously consider what they’re getting themselves into BEFORE doing so. Because not all of us are sweethearts willing or able to provide the desired aid and there’s no guarantee how long the public coffers will hold out.

And now I feel like a jerk

Just spoke to the mother of the boy who allegedly accidentally broke my rear windshield. I can’t keep all these kids running around straight and figure which belongs to whom, so just today I’ve finally been shown a photo of her son to see who’s standing accused here. I recognize that boy. He’s actually a pretty nice kid. Not the older one I had in mind and assumed was responsible (that one being the one I caught with his friends spray painting our garbage dumpster). Didn’t know if both of those kids were hers since they look similar, but no, only the younger one is hers, and he’s just 12 years old. Ugh. Actually liked that kid a decent amount and probably wouldn’t have gotten as upset had I realized it was him that everybody was pointing the finger at. The older kid in question is defiant and cruising to wind up in juvenile detention, but not this younger one. I can understand now that it was surely an accident of a young boy who didn’t realize the consequences of his actions.

But, I contacted my landlord yesterday before this conversation had occurred and the ball was already set in motion. The mother received a termination notice instructing her to vacate the premises within 3 days, citing multiple disturbances over time (including noise complaints from other tenants). She showed me the paperwork this afternoon. Ugh. And she had a different demeanor about her today as well, realizing the severity of the situation, saying she had  intended to compensate me (or have her son’s “worker” do so, whatever that means — she stated they receive financial aid from an organization that is separate from and not affiliated with section 8). But I wish she had simply explained that yesterday when I delivered the invoice receipt to her for my damages instead of closing the door on me. I was under the impression that I would not be compensated and so decided to report the incident with our landlord. Other tenants filed complaints to the landlord as well pertaining to this incident and others since they have warned several kids on numerous occasions to stop tossing around rocks in the parking lot. So, the landlord decided to evict her outright as a result.

I told her that when it comes to section 8 at least (being unfamiliar with the organization she’s specifically linked up with), their terms and conditions for renting differ from those of us not receiving aid from such programs. In other words, the rental agreements for those tenants are more strict and evictions tend to be more swift when they are carried out. Not sure why, just something I’ve observed over time.

She began crying a little, asking where she’s supposed to go within 3 days, saying she can’t even get into a shelter in that amount of time. Dammit. And this is why I so rarely report incidents to my landlord or to police or what have you. Makes me nervous to involve the Law where it’s not totally warranted. But in this case I figured I would not be compensated and was hoping she’d at least receive a warning so that she’d tighten the reins on her kid and prevent future property damage from occurring. But there were already complaints filed against her, so the property manager was able to take it to the next step. Didn’t expect it to go quite this far, but here we now are. The mother had on a uniform for a fast-food restaurant and said she’s only making $8.50/hr. at present. Mentioned being in some sort of treatment program and receiving SSI (social security) benefits, meaning she’s classified as at least partially disabled at this time. Not sure what the treatment relates to and didn’t ask.

Ugh. Dammit. I didn’t mean for a family to be tossed out on the streets with nowhere to go. Just was pissed about having to fork out over $300 (part of which was provided by a friend to help me out with these costs) for unforeseen property damages. I really wish she had told me upfront that she would reimburse me instead of arguing over her kid’s innocence since that said to me that I’m going to have to foot this bill without compensation. And that frankly felt frustrating as hell. I do get tired of parents taking up for their kids as though they’re all angels who do no wrong, despite being confronted with evidence to the contrary, accidental or otherwise. Didn’t want to go ’round and ’round with her over this matter, and small claims court was out of the question for this small of a sum (and likely wouldn’t have proven fruitful anyway since they likely can’t garnish wages for earners making under a certain amount).

Not sure what to do now. She said she and her “worker” (I assume she’s referring to a case worker there) and their lawyer will be speaking to our property manager tomorrow, and I told her to let them know that I am fine with her remaining as a tenant so long as we can work out a reimbursement schedule and stick to it. She seemed to want me to call them back, but there’s not much I can say to them. Nor do I really wish to when I’m not yet convinced I actually will be fully reimbursed. This is a tough spot for all involved. I’d like to be a bleeding heart and absorb the costs and tell her it’s all good and for her and her son to go forth and prosper, but life has taught me not to be a sucker who caves when the waterworks turn on or when empty promises are spoken. Been lied to before in the past over being compensated for property damage and always had to foot the bill myself. Always. Trying hard to recall a time (at least where insurance companies weren’t involved on both sides) when I was repaid for damages…can’t think of any.

But, then again, I do feel the punishment meted out in this case is severe. I can’t imagine being evicted and having only 3 days to relocate elsewhere, especially with a kid in tow.

Dammit. It’s no fun being the bad guy most days. Had I realized which kid it was they were all talking about I might’ve been more interested in pursuing the matter informally. But again, I wish she had straight up accepted her son’s responsibility instead of demanding proof that I can’t provide to her. We don’t have video cameras mounted in our parking lot, so we must rely on eye witnesses to tell us what goes on there. She wanted a police report, but the cops took too long, and even there it still would’ve been a he said/she said ordeal just as she’s claiming it is currently.

The lady across the hall (an old bitch with nothing but time on her hands to sit in the yard and watch all of our comings and goings and then to gossip about them) factors into this in a few ways as well since she claims the boy came to her asking whose car his rock accidentally hit. And she also claimed a different timeline for the incident. Plus, I watched her try to get vicious right off the bat toward the mother and boyfriend shortly after I confronted them about the matter. Also just learned about some of the crap she was spewing to them about the time I was leaving Saturday night. She too registered a complaint with the landlord (as she does all the time about everybody) and supposedly has something against the boy. Was she lying outright about what she claimed occurred? I don’t know. So I placed more weight on what the other neighbors said instead.

Ugh…  What was I supposed to do? Just pony up money for repairs and keep my mouth shut and not let our landlord know about the incident? Was I supposed to trust a perfect stranger would come through despite her not declaring she even would? Should I have waited longer before calling in the report? I so rarely call the landlord for anything because I prefer them not to be up in my business either. I just don’t know how I should’ve better handled the situation. I was trying to look out for my own interests since I figured they’d otherwise wind up disregarded. But I wasn’t aiming to render people homeless over the ordeal.

Hooligan kids, shoddy parents, and damaged property

Well, I just got in a little while ago from taking my car to have its rear windshield replaced. They vacuumed up what they could but there’s still glass shards scattered around. The total for this repair, after my discount through Progressive insurance, wound up being $339. Printed off a copy of the receipt and hand-delivered it to the mother of the boy responsible. Apparently I woke her up, and she didn’t have much to say before closing the door. Went ahead and left a message for my property manager to report the incident since these kids have been warned repeatedly by other neighbors to knock off their shenanigan behaviors.

A big problem here is that the mother doesn’t seem to care. I’m out a few hundred dollars and somehow, some way, she doesn’t seem to think she or her son are liable for this expense. And taking her to small claims court for such an amount would prove trifling. So I’m not sure what to do. Her new boyfriend seemed more civil and less ghetto than her in addressing this matter toward me, but he’s not the father of the boy and understandably isn’t liable for the cost either. The mother has lived in our complex for only a few months now, but her oldest boy has proven to be a nuisance when it comes to property damage in our lot. When I called the cops to report the incident, they were too busy at the time to come to our location and didn’t forward me to an automated system to leave a message about the incident, so I doubt it’s on record with them.

Just heard back from my landlord and he says this is one in a string of complaints he’s had against those tenants. About to email him the relevant information and receipts and he said he’ll take action on my behalf. Hope that remedies this ordeal in due time.

“Defending Postmodernism: An Open Letter to Jordan B. Peterson”

Interesting. I’ve long been troubled with all the talk over Marxism and Post-Modernism. Will have to explore these topics in greater depth going forward.