“The tragedy at Charlottesville” and other videos by Vee

Learned of that guy’s channel in the past but hadn’t looked much into his content until last night.

Don’t know the dude but agree with him in these videos. This shit is cancer on both extremes.

Ten Jewish authors I appreciate

Since I keep hearing and reading online so much negativity blaming Jewish folks for everything under the sun, I figure now would be a good time to post up something positive and share a few of the notable Jewish authors in my book collection. In no particular order:

1.) Erich Fromm — Might as well begin with the most obvious since I’ve mentioned his works time and time again on here and my YT channel. Thus far I’ve read 12 books by this man (excerpts are linked where available):Escape_From_Freedom_Fromm

Not all are personal favorites, but as a collection unto themselves they’ve certainly served as interesting food for thought over time.

2.) Richard L. Rubenstein — His book The Cunning of History: The Holocaust and the American Future provided a lot to seriously consider when I first came across it about 8-9 years ago. Shared copies with friends, though I can’t say for sure if any of them actually read him.

choose-yourself_Altucher3.) James Altucher — His audiobook Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Makes Millions, Live the Dream actually proved useful during a very depressing spell a couple years back. His promotion of what he refers to as the “Four Daily Practices” (basically caring for our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health) are what I needed to hear at the time and helped improve my mindset and outlook. Happen to be re-listening to it this week for kicks and giggles — he’s a pretty funny guy. Originally came across him accidentally by way of his blog, as so many people do. He encourages people to routinely itemize ideas in lists of 10 or more (on any subject we fancy) so as to flex and expand our “idea muscle.” Good idea, James.  wink

4.) Steven Pinker — Earlier this year I completed the audio version (after initially receiving a print copy as a gift) of his book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, which I did quibble over quite a bit and still am not sold on the data and arguments presented therein. But its content was worth considering. Still chewing it over. Perhaps it deserves to be mentioned that several years back I received a copy of his book The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature as a gift as well, though I have yet to read that one (planning to listen to the audio version eventually instead, having recently loaned out my print copy).

5.) Yuval Noah Harari — Came across this author by random chance earlier this year and listened to his audiobook Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

6.) Richard P. Feynman — Originally I received as a gift a few years back a copy of his book Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!, following that with listening to The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman and What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character. He offered up some very thought-provoking essays (along with quirky personal stories).

What_Is_Life_Margulis_Sagan7.) Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan — After first learning of their book What Is Life? on Dr. Corey Anton’s YT channel, I ordered a used copy online. Loved it and share it with others (especially young people — makes a great gift). Followed that with the audio version of their book Dazzle Gradually: Reflections on the Nature of Nature, which contains a couple stories that particularly stick in my mind and inform my imagination. So far I’m very impressed with what I’ve come across from this mother/son authoring duo.

8.) Dan Ariely — A family member first introduced me to his book Predictably Irrational. Later, I picked up a copy of The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone–Especially Ourselves. Both are worth reading.

9.) Leonard Mlodinow — His audiobook Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior remains among my favorites. Following that, I purchased a print copy of his and Deepak Chopra’s book War of the Worldviews: Science vs. Spirituality, which I happened to find fascinating. Wasn’t a fan of Deepak Chopra prior to reading that book but came to see their viewpoints as not necessarily diametrically opposed to one another, despite initial outward appearances (even after watching footage of them debating). Can’t make a clear case for why I see it that way — it’s just how their written back-and-forth arguments resonated with me. I personally found both books valuable.

Deathbird-Stories-Ellison10.) Harlan Ellison — Can’t recall how I first came across his books, not being a regular reader of fiction, but somehow his collections of short stories crossed my radar. The two books I have read by him thus far are Strange Wine and Deathbird Stories. His writing skills are undeniably impressive, and it’s a pleasure to occasionally take time out to retreat into the products of his imagination.

Surely I could locate several more Jewish authors within my book collection (Elie Wiesel, Sigmund Freud, Otto Rank, Karl Polanyi, Karl Popper, Viktor Frankl, Isaac Asimov, Michael Pollan, Stanley Milgram, Jonathan Haidt, Robert Heilbroner, Steven Levitt, Ayn Rand, Thomas Szasz, Jared Diamond, etc. — come to find out enough to populate another list or two), but my goal today was simply to list the first ten that came to mind.

And perhaps presenting this list will serve as a deterrent to those online who might otherwise feel the desire to ask me, as someone did just yesterday, if I’ve considered “the Jewish question.”  ??  To which I flippantly responded about my appreciation for several Jewish authors (hence what motivated me to create this list in the first place) and for Mel Brooks’ films, on top of being an enthusiastic lifelong fan of Weird Al Yankovich who just so happened to marry a Jewish woman. So…there’s your answer, in a nutshell. And if being anti-Semitic is expected or required of those who align themselves with the so-called Alt-Right, well then, that’s just one more movement/political camp I need not concern myself too much with. Not a fan of movements of any kind anyway. Nor of categorically demonizing and scapegoating whole groups/classes/races of people based on arbitrary criteria so as to suit ideological ends. That’s not my bag.

“LIVE with Bret Weinstein: Evergreen State College Racism Controversy”

From The Rubin Report:

“Unrest at Evergreen State | Glenn Loury & Bret Weinstein”

Now watching:

“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

“Reza Aslan Cannot Be Trusted”

“Reza Aslan Cannot Be Trusted” by David Pakman:

“Reza Aslan’s Lies and Media Bias (David Pakman Interview)” on The Rubin Report:

Sam Harris vs. Reza Aslan on BookTV (C-Span2; Jan. 25, 2007):

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).

_________________________________________

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.

Alice Cooper quit alcohol too

Didn’t know much about the man other than enjoying a few of his songs (a couple of which were showcased in the “Dazed and Confused” and “Wayne’s World” movie soundtracks in the ’90s).

Alice Cooper’s real name is Vincent Damon Furnier (for those of us who didn’t know). Currently age 69. And he’s been off alcohol since the ’80s.

Reportedly considers himself to be a born-again Christian. Interesting. An excerpt from that linked article (published Tuesday, 28 March 2006):

Though some have questioned combining his faith in God with his rock-and-roll background, Cooper doesn’t see a conflict. “I’m the first one to rock as loud as I can, but when it comes to what I believe, I’m the first one to defend it too,” he said. “It has also gotten me in trouble with the staunch Christians who believe that in order to be a Christian you have to be on your knees 24 hours a day in a closet somewhere. Hey, maybe some people can live like that, but I don’t think that’s the way God expected us to live. When Christ came back, He hung out with the whores, the drunks and miscreants because they were people that needed Him. Christ never spent His time with the Pharisees.”

[…]

“I used to celebrate moral decay, the decadence of it,” he admitted in the KNAC.com interview. “I can look back on what I did then and what I’m doing now and they’re two different things. But at the time I was the poster boy for moral decay, you know. So yeah, I’ve got a lot to be forgiven for…out of ignorance, I thought I was doing the right thing. I was totally in agreement that every guy should sleep with every girl and drink as much as they can. I don’t believe that now. I don’t believe in it, because I see how destructive it is.”

Spiritual awakening is happening around the world, Cooper believes. “It’s obvious humanity is craving for answers directly born of awareness,” he said. “That’s the healthiest thing I’ve seen in a long time because there is something better and everybody’s gotta find it in their own way. People aren’t feeling fulfilled by how many cars they own or the size of their stock portfolio. Even the addicts are saying, ‘It doesn’t matter how many drugs I take, I’m not fulfilled. This isn’t satisfying.’ There’s a spiritual hunger going on. Everybody feels it. If you don’t feel it now, you will. Trust me. You will.”

Worth reading in full.

Far less interesting, though, is he’s now into golf.  But to each their own…

Learn something new everyday. Finding out more about this man has given me greater appreciation for him.

But I never forget his cameo appearance in the movie “Wayne’s World”:

Hehe   bow   cool