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, 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’ve even been 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 is sadistically nuts, yet still 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 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. 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: https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2012/country-chapters/saudi-arabia

ScreenHunter_16 Jul. 26 01.07That was a screen-captured excerpt from the HRW link above. And 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 “Saudi king’s son promotes ‘racist policy’ against nation’s blacks”: http://www.worldtribune.com/archives/opposition-saudi-kings-son-promotes-racist-policy-against-nations-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”: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/oct/19/saudi-prince-servant-murder-guilty?CMP=share_btn_tw

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): http://www.cbsnews.com/news/saudi-prince-arrested-videos-purported-abuse-threat-gun-alcohol-sharia-law/

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 head 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 wonder why the United Nations is increasingly viewed as a sick, 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 while growing up (spoken as someone raised in Mississippi for Christ’s sake  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 can hurt. I honestly would rather never know my biological father if he might possibly be like so many other Arab men I’ve either encountered or learned about. And that’s their own doing.

So, what does that do 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. Also grateful to know I can’t be exported. Heh  Seriously though. Not even going to take chances in visiting a country like that since I’d probably be stoned while exiting the plane. Or kept there in some weirdo’s bathroom and tortured for all my heathen 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).

“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.

“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.

“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.

Serves us right

Just got back in from heading to the “beach” with my buddy, soaking in some rays until the wind got so bad that after only 45 minutes we decided to retreat. Had sand blasted everywhere! Especially in my scalp. Took two washings to get it all off me.

Anyway, while we were driving back I got to thinking about modern life, as I’m prone to do, and where it’s headed and how we got to this point. He and I had been chatting about automated/self-driving cars during lunch (which the news now refers to as “autonomous cars” — ugh, so much for driver autonomy — nearly everything these days looks to be blatant propaganda). This is all part of a larger ongoing conversation between us. And it dawned on me today that, despite so many claiming America’s fall began around the time of the World Wars, I actually believe it stems further back in time. Perhaps at the Civil War. Allow me to explain.

The Civil War was a major display of power by the (Northern) United States government in refusing to allow the Confederacy to secede from the Union. Now—without getting into details about the Civil War specifically since that’s not the issue here today—what right did the North have to refuse to allow Southern states to go their own way on their own volition? Well, it wasn’t about Right, it was about MIGHT. The North prevailed and the South was kept against its citizens’ collective will. Why? Likely economic reasons primarily. And for purposes of furthering power.

What’s most interesting are the consequences that resulted from that move. Southern states, generally speaking, remain among the poorest states in the Union with two states (Arkansas and Mississippi) boasting the poorest education systems, to boot. And consider this — had the South been allowed to secede, along with the black slaves who lived there, nowadays it would be Southerners primarily blamed for racism, slavery, and likely all other perceived wrongs in U.S. history. It’s highly possible the South would’ve eventually abolished slavery on its own (but how they might’ve gone about it probably would’ve differed from how it actually wound up being done). Slavery was quickly becoming an outdated mode of economics within what were rising to become First World nations. But either way, because the South wasn’t allowed to go its own way and figure out its race relations situation on its own, now the entire country winds up blamed for that historic era. Even the Germans who settled in the Midwest in the 1870s and later, AFTER slavery was already abolished. They too commonly wind up lumped into the generic category of “White People” and are disdained equally as if they too somehow benefited from the black slave’s historic plight.

The ironic point I’m driving at here is that had the power of the (Northern) government left the South to secede, ya’ll wouldn’t be dealing with some of the societal problems cropping up in terms of race relations since the 1960s. The freed blacks (approximately 10% of all blacks brought to the U.S., according to Thomas Sowell) tended to live in the northeast where they were assimilating and doing quite well educationally and financially. The onslaught of Southern blacks with a whole different background of experiences migrating to the North caused all kinds of chaos people were unprepared to deal with, which in turn did lead to a rise in racial hostility (of course, in all fairness, the North wasn’t too pleased when Southern white folks moved up that way either and clearly stated so at the time). Different cultures, as Dr. Sowell laid out so well in his books Intellectuals and Race and Black Rednecks and White Liberals. Didn’t turn out to mesh well. Most black folks had more in common with white southerners than they did with northerners of either race. Different European ethnic groups populated separate regions, as we know. Not a lot of Italians roaming around Alabama talking about how their great-great-grandpas were born on that land.  Heh

Anyway, the major problem of resolving racial tensions could’ve been left for the South to iron out on its own since it had the largest population of black people (and still does). But no. The North meddled and now the whole country is in a tizzy since it’s assumed that all white folks automatically possess an advantage over all black folks (cue the racism diatribe). The North could’ve handled their own affairs and enjoyed the black folks who were successfully assimilating into their New England culture and left the South to handle their population in accordance with their own culture and values (and as these have been evolving in the time since). But no. Oh no. That didn’t happen. And now we see how many Southerners, of both/all races, are dependent on government welfare, both as individuals and as whole states. Mississippi would go bankrupt immediately if it attempted to secede today — too dependent on Federal aid.

When the South lost the war, its culture also took a blow. Southerners were then expected to assimilate and accept Northern values. Never happened. Resistance and rebellion turned more passive aggressive, yet it didn’t go away. Just simmered and stewed ever since. AND the black folks with generational ties to the Southland spread out throughout the nation and contributed what we now know of as the ghetto mentality. Why? Because ghettoism is a spin-off from Southern culture. Sounds strange, I know, but if you look closely enough you can see the similarities (once again, Dr. Thomas Sowell did a superb job of explaining this — way better than I can attempt here). So, in a real sense, had the Civil War not gone as it did and had this nation been broken in two, far-flung places like Minneapolis and Los Angeles might not be home to so many black ghettos today. Why would they be? The Northern blacks were highly educated and rising in power and prestige. They weren’t facing the same obstacles as the Southern blacks were, quite obviously. Jim Crow likely wouldn’t have arisen outside of the South either.

It might’ve been nice to have two social experiments operating simultaneously while influenced by differing cultures and values. I wonder what solutions and/or compromises might otherwise have been reached. But instead people were forced to be hodge-podged together, brewing deepening resentment that became a hallmark of the U.S. South that has since spread to infect the rest of the nation.

And I say all this as someone originally from the South. Through trying to force people’s hand, more trouble was caused for everybody in the long run. Go figure. But that’s the way life tends to go. Problems usually are best solved locally, not from some top-down dictates coming from officials living far away (like in New York or D.C.) who are directly unfamiliar with the culture and peoples in question. But history has already been decided, so there’s not much point in pondering what might’ve been, I guess. Too late now.

Been thinking a lot on racial issues again lately, obviously. Seems to increasingly be a hot button topic, especially within universities (myself also having been a Social Sciences major). I do contest the popular narrative being floated around these days. But I don’t write any of this in malice or intending disrespect. Just pondering is all. Wondering where this story may lead from here on out. Lots of blame being tossed around. Lots of talk of inherent “privilege.” Judging people by skin tone instead of as individuals in their own right. That is unsettling to watch ramp up.

We can’t change the past. None of us can.

Was thinking the other day about how few Southerners owned plantations or slaves. People like to say all of society benefited from slavery, but they forget about the poor laborers who were forced to contend with slave labor in order to survive. Plus the immigrants who moved here after slavery was abolished, as already mentioned above. Yet we’re all just lumped together under the same heading and categorically dismissed (unless one happens to be Hispanic, then a separate category is permitted for their Caucasians). Ralph Nader, to take one example, is actually a Lebanese-American. I am a Southern-born half-Arab. Most people I know up here in this part of the Midwest are of German descent. Or that plus Swedish descent. Yet we’re all chastised equally. Basically, we’re White so we suck. Inherently. Automatically. According to some people, that is.

Just been thinking is all. Now off to do something else.

“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.

“Psychology of Redemption in Christianity”

A lot of truth spoken there…