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…  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).

_________________________________________

One more link 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/

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.

“Joe Rogan Talks About the Biggest Unsolved Mystery Of All Time”

And then youtube went and removed the video clip in question, so in its place I’ll have to post the entire 3-hour podcast. Dammit.

The portion in question (which I’ll have to find on there later) was an excellent conversation between those three.

“Charles Murray on populism, globalization, ‘The Bell Curve,’ and American politics today”

His conversation with Bill Kristol:

Very interesting discussion, after already being familiar with a couple of Dr. Charles Murray’s books and several speeches and interviews.

Pausing at 40:41: It’s taken me a while to come around to the idea, but I can appreciate what he’s suggesting there about a universal basic income. It would replace all other forms of social welfare, including social security payments. His position taken there explains how single mothers would no longer receive any financial incentives from the government for birthing children out of wedlock, which is unarguably a major issue in our country at present. Now, his scheme also requires securing our borders and no longer allowing in low-skill immigrant workers to compete in our workforce, which I would also be on board with. Ideally, it’s not what many of us would envision as a way forward, but we are facing dire straits due to the policies implemented in recent decades, spanning back to the 1960s or before that to FDR’s era. What we do know already is the direction we’re headed for currently is bound to end in national bankruptcy and mass immigration undermining our Western civilizations. So we must start there in considering this matter seriously. Wishful thinking of re-embracing frontier life and simply moving “off the grid” is not a sustainable solution, not for the vast majority of citizens at least.

I am willing to hear the man out and feel his proposal makes a good deal of sense, especially when he is open and willing to critique the globalization scheme we’re all being perpetually threatened by now. Bill Kristol isn’t someone for whom I’ve ever been a fan, but he too claims to be a reformer who’s seen the danger in the G.W. Bush administration and is looking for other alternatives. I will suspend judgment against him if that is truly the case.

My only concern standing would be that people might group up into collectives and then pool their money to afford living expenses while choosing to waste their lives with drugs and whatever else. Which they basically are doing already, so I can’t see why under his proposal it would be any different. But we as a society would have to remain steadfast and disallow these individuals to take advantage of us just because they squandered their own benefits. This is where guns and self-defense tools would remain vital, and we’d have to learn to take them more seriously. Because some people will always seek to take from others rather than earn for themselves, regardless of what they wind up entitled to. That’s just a sad fact of life that we’d be better off coming to grips with sooner vs. later.

But his talk about the advancements in artificial intelligence and driver-less cars is a real concern and certainly will displace thousands, if not millions, of American workers in the decades to come. The mechanics and automotive professionals I’m currently in contact with assure me of this reality. The sooner we prepare, the better off we might be. Might be.

I also appreciate Dr. Murray bringing up the importance of conscientiousness in our jobs. That’s something always worth keeping in mind, especially for those of us who work in unobserved environments. He’s right there, and there’s always somebody else waiting around the corner who can do better what we’re not taking seriously enough.

“Marxism 101: How Capitalism is Killing Itself with Dr. Richard Wolff”

A very interesting explanation of Karl Marx’s analysis of Capitalism:

Yes, I very much understand these critiques about modern life. Marx was a Luddite of sorts, which I can relate to (to an extent). Let me pause to state this. THIS is why I get defensive when people categorically dismiss “Marxist teachings” and lay all blame for the Leftist political ideologies we’re experiencing/witnessing now squarely on his shoulders. As if he’d likely be in full support of what’s become of the so-called Left. And as if other thinkers haven’t contributed plenty of their own to the modern “Leftism” mix.

People like to say they’ve read his “teachings.” Yeah? How much really? Most of us haven’t directly read a whole lot from the man, especially considering how incredibly much he wrote. Letter after letter between Engels and him, on top of his books on these topics. Not easy reads, hence why many aren’t directly acquainted with what Karl Marx actually said. Including plenty who claim to be fans of him. The information and ideas bandied about since his death and in his name can drift straight off the plantation of whatever he actually seemed to have in mind.

The man wasn’t terribly pro-technology, but either way he still couldn’t be expected (in the late 1800s) to foresee the industrial explosion of unprecedented proportions that the next century would usher in. People didn’t even have an imagination for what all was in store on this level or in detail. How could they? UNPRECEDENTED times we now live in in terms of technological innovations and the evolution, so far, of global economics.

This is truly an interesting time to be alive.

The man merely added to the mix his own views and analysis. So be it. I have no problem with him doing so. Though I do take issue with what’s being done in his name, as if his teachings alone are ultimately responsible, big of a contributive factor as they apparently are. Leftism =/= “Marxism.” The political Left is puppetry, “neo-liberalism,” just as the political Right is as well with its “neo-conservatism.” Somewhat different teams competing for global jockeying positions. We see this. We know political systems are rigged all around the globe. Money does obviously factor into how it’s carried out as well.

Many of us don’t want to be slaves to a new kind of slave-owner. And this is precisely why I say that slavery never truly ended, it just changed shapes. More inclusive now. Welcome to Corporatism.

The threat of Communism proved similar in certain aspects. Different strategy employed, yes, but in the end you still wind up in both cases with a ruling class with a bunch of “serfs” under their thumbs, only to a more extreme degree in the case of Corporatism since developing nations are in the running jockeying for positions since they’ll take what they can get, out of necessity.Which can and does lead to fucked up results in several notable cases. This is no longer a secret. People have good reason to express consternation over such an economic setup. Irritates me that Capitalism all unto itself winds up blamed, though I also recognize the importance of anti-trust laws, which largely haven’t been enforced in many decades, quite obviously. Which has allowed oligopoly rule across numerous sectors, though technological innovations unto themselves have also altered and created plenty of these sectors especially within the last 60 years alone.

Personally, I find Communism as it’s ever been practiced detestable. BUT, I don’t conflate Communism with socialism. Based off the same original notions, yes, but then taken to crazy extremes, particularly when the concept wound up applied to a huge society (Soviet Union) and was carried out in a top-down manner. Socialism doesn’t quite work that way, in essence. It’s a bottom-up approach, by and large, though wider federations may prove possible. Though it doesn’t translate (apparently) when applied to a massive nation-state setup. Turns into totalitarianism when attempted, as history has demonstrated thus far.

Rulers everywhere we look. And perhaps that would be okay if they were benevolent and were actually committed to protecting our wider interests. But that won’t ever happen if the people can’t hold them accountable, which we obviously can’t (or aren’t) currently. We’re rendered at the mercy of what’s unfolding, and we may see it and feel the earth shifting beneath us. Life has gone into hyper-drive over this last century, and now we’re embarking on a new one. One where likely middle classes will begin blooming in China and India and elsewhere outside of the West where we have been abandoned by a good amount of our manufacturing base, shortly followed by experiencing record national and individual debts, all while printing paper money nonstop backed by virtually nothing. We can see this. What will become of the U.S.? We don’t know, but it doesn’t look very good at present. And the politicians running have succumbed to being caught up in a game that’s beyond most of us in terms of making much of a lasting impact and improving and preserving our society in a sustainable fashion.

While I can understand the shift in people’s hearts, I wish we’d use our minds all the more. Exercise them. Explore ideas, particularly those we may have a knee-jerk reaction away from.

I don’t see socialism and libertarianism as necessarily incompatible. Perhaps they are the new political “right” and “left” down here on the ground. Reckoning with the philosophical conundrums arising between individual vs. collective or so-called “societal” interests. So many buzzwords make it to where discussing these matters feels cheap, like people’s eyes glaze over when they happen to peruse them. I get it. Really do. But we have to somehow come to terms with the fact that we are both social beings and individuals in our own right. There’s a balancing act quite obviously called for here, yet different people will likely opt to attempt it in varying ways. Hence why I like to talk about my dream of 10,000 communities going their own ways. Let the social experiments begin…

Pipe dreams, I know. Because now we appear locked into this trajectory, whether we like it or not. Jumping into a political “camp” or movement won’t likely improve a thing. Especially not when so many have become so divided. Few of us can agree on hardly any one thing anymore it seems. If ever people did. But some of us must find a way to interact with and/or group up with those we’re capable of living and working with to the best of our ability, if only to find solace and cooperation in whatever lies in times to come.

I don’t have any answers. But I do understand the various concerns. Can also understand our Western concerns and how it may look to those most well-adapted and proven successful in our current setup. But times are a-changin’ whether we like it or not. And whether we try to prepare for it or not.

Crime will likely increase. We’re a very materialistic culture. Entertaining ourselves to death also. I’ve heard Yugoslavians basically fell prey to the same lure.

After listening to the audiobook for Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature, and appreciating it to an extent (final chapter aside), I’d argue that he spoke (and wrote) prematurely. Comforting as it would be to agree with his analysis.

Lately this eerie feeling has been coming over me. Listening to all the propaganda and watching how race relations are being ramped up in our society, I get to wondering if it’s possible if an economic breakdown occurs in the U.S. if we may go the way of South Africa. At least in essence, though in our case it’s not simply two or three races/ethnic backgrounds against one another. We’re the biggest melting pot on the planet — the great human experiment in civilized living.

It’s become fashionable to talk shit about “white people” today, yet the reverse is deemed intolerable. Hmm. If we’re honest with ourselves and set aside our excuses and rationales and just pay attention — observe — we see this going on. It started with jokes and has grown noticeably more vicious with time.

Increasingly not a secret.

We should be able to examine these matters without being pigeon-holed as belonging to the political Left or Right as a result. Screw all of that nonsense. And to hell with devoting ourselves to ideologies of any sort. Better to keep an open mind since not a one of us has it all figured out. Explore. These ideological cages are just that — utopian traps sold to us by people who don’t give a damn about us, who simply rely on us and the money we spend, pandering to our psychologies so that we don’t revolt and remove them from power. Even then, another of a similar caliber would surely take their places since we don’t understand the process of power and how it can accumulate. Forming hierarchies is in our nature, but what we’ve constructed are so BIG that they’re guaranteed to fail us. We can’t reach those people anymore. Just have to accept their dictates sent down the ladder in the form of laws. Can fight them through the courts and sometimes win (still, just wait 20 years and see if the court decisions wind up reversed…), but eventually they plow on through while claiming to have enough popular support. Pandering and pretending — that’s American politics at present.

It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of all of this. But we each only have one life to live, so far as we know, so we might as well make it interesting and do something with ourselves that isn’t a complete waste. Was watching another talk with Dr. Jordan Peterson earlier today (see last post) where he goes into all that and I highly recommend others hear the man out. Aligning with ideologies is a way to shirk individual responsibility and hide within a crowd. Best to opt to do something more courageous than that at least. That is too easy.

There are plenty of thought-provoking thinkers on any and all possible “sides” who are worthy of hearing out even if we wind up disagreeing. Suspend judgment for a while and just let it in and ponder. Helps in better fleshing out our own beliefs and ideas, to challenge them and thereby alter, deepen, and expand them. No shame in exploring far and wide.

Admittedly kinda surprised me initially to stumble across Abby Martin conducting that interview. Proved to be worth taking in as more food for thought. The professor explained his position very articulately, though I still don’t see a top-down approach winding up ultimately resolving this dilemma, at least not how the globally-minded may envision it. We shall see.

“Soros Hacked, A New Major Leak: How We Should Respond to Cultural Malaise”

By Styxhexenhammer666.