Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

The Korean War to officially end 65 years later   Leave a comment

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The Korean War (1950-1953) will always be remembered as the first modern proxy war. Although a ceasefire was signed in 1953, no peace treaty had ever been signed so technically the war never officially ended. The outcome of the war had lasting consequences not just for the region but the balance of power over the last 65 years. North Korea would have 3 leaders–Kim il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un–all from the same family since the Korean War ended in 1953. South Korea would have 8 presidents in the same span of time.

Think about that.

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History will record the 2018 Winter Olympics as the watershed moment that led the formal signing of the Peace Treaty on Thursday, officially ending the Korean War. In December, South Korea invited North Korean athletes to compete with them as one unified Korean Team in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Peong Chang, South Korea. After the Olympics ended, the door was opened for dialogue between the leaders of North and South Korea.

That was the opportunity for common ground former NBA Superstar Dennie Rodman, who is a friend of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un said would one day come a few years ago. Rodman was vilified in the media for not using his friendship with North Korea’s dictator to advocate for the release of westerners being held prisoner in North Korea. He made it clear he was no diplomat and was no negotiator. These were not the purpose of his visits to North Korea, which can only be entered via China and only with written permission from the North Korean government. It’s no fair to say he has been vindicated for what he said at the time.

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…This is history.

This is North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-In. This is the first time the leaders of both countries have met ever and they have only been talking for a few months now. The two leaders met at the DMZ Boarder where Kim Jong Un crossed into South Korea to a throng of excited international journalists and soldiers from both countries. The two formally signed a peace treaty as the world watched in amazement. In the span of about 8 months, what was long considered the most hostile country in the world had taken its first steps to lasting peace in the region.

Contrary to what #45’s fans said at an event Saturday afternoon–they chanted “Nobel!” at him–#45 and the U.S. had NOTHING to do with the peace talks between North and South Korea. In fact, he said he plans to walk out of a planned summit that will involve all three leaders (Trump, Moon and Un) “If he feels like it.” So, yeah. Let’s not give credit to a person or country that not only doesn’t deserve it but had a hand in the war that split the Korean Penninsula in two in the first place. Plus it will be a very bad look for the U.S. should #45 walk out as he has threatened to do.

South Korea became Democratic and like Japan after World War II, fell under the military protection of the U.S. Unlike Japan, South Korea was not only allowed to keep their military but they received a blank check from the U.S. to bolster their military along the boarder with North Korea. On that note. Every year since the end of the Korean War, the U.S. would do joint military exercises with South Korea as a “show of force” to North Korea (and by extension China). South Korea requested the planned exercise for this year be postponed as formal talks between the North and South began.

North Korea became Communist with the guidance of the Soviet Union and later China. It would come to be known as the most secretive country on the planet and hasn’t changed much since the end of the Korean War. Foreigm Journalists who are allowed into the country from time to time are followed by “Government Minders”, government officials who “escort” them from within the country. Not only does one need permission to enter North Korea but one also needs permission to leave the country. It’s death to those who are caught trying to illegally cross into South Korea, China or Russia (which all boarder North Korea) as well as their families in many cases. Foreign nationals arrested at the boarder are usually given harsh sentences for the purposes of propaganda.

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…This picture of the Korean Peninsula highlights the disparaties between the two countries. The South is modern while the North has little to no infratructure to speak of. Such is to be expected of a country that has closed its boarders to the world and is wary of who or what it lets in or out.

This is to speak nothing of the recent problems that have started to trickle out of North and is likely why Kim Jong Un has taken steps to shut down the country’s Nuclear Weapons research:

 

  • There has been a sharp increase in North Korean soldiers deserting and crossing into South Korea from North Korea in the last year.
  • There have been increased instances of North Korean soldiers allowing North Korean nationals to cross into South Korea. North Korean soldiers have orders to shoot on sight anyone trying to cross into South Korea.
  • Reports of famines and food shortages in North Korea are nothing new but things have reached crisis-level that even North Korean officials are not immune from.
  • Medical examinations and autopsies performed North Korean defectors and the bodies of those who died shortly after crossing into South Korea have revealed digestive diseases and illnesses are rampant. Cholera, Dysentery and tapeworms to name a few.
  • Rumors have been rampant for years that North Korea’s First Lady Ri Sol-Ju–formerly a government cheerleader–may be sterile and has failed multiple times to produce an heir since their marriage. Her sudden disappearance from the public eye until recently fueled speculation she had join the members of the Kim family who were executed. She joined her husband for the Inter-Korean Summit held in South Korea.

Things have reached the point it where would be fair to now say North Korea is a failed state. Unlike Afghanistan at the end of 2001 however, the transition will obviously be different. Other dictatorships would dig in deeper in this kind of situation but Kim Jong Un has instead begun moving to open the country to the world. These are interesting times not just for the region but the world and most importantly, the Korean Peninsula.

My guess is North Korea will likely go the same as Cuba in some regards and China in others in regards to human rights. Kim Jong Un is clearly preparing the country for life without him running it. Of the 3 possible successors after his father passed away, he was chosen simply because he was still in the country and was of age. He was the youngest of Kim Jong Il’s three sons and one of who who was in North Korea when their father passed away about 10 years ago. One brother, who was living in Malaysia had little interest in politics while the other, who was in the country was deemed unfit for rule.

So, the youngest son became the new leader of North Korea by default. It seemed he would continue where his father left off but Kim Jong Un has made many efforts to counter and even conflict with those who supported his father’s regime. A few years back, he personally executed his uncle, who was his top advisor along with other senior staff to head off a rumored coup being planned.

Having secured absolute power, the Nuclear Weapons program he developed deep underground appears to have been his way of heading off further dissent within the military. It would seem he never actually intended to make a nuke as his father did even though he did progress much further than the world thought he would. And now he’s shutting down said Nuclear Weapons program. More than likely Kim Jong Un is preparing to open North Korea to the world for the first time since the end of the Korean War.

The needs of the North Korean people are many to say the least. We’re talking about a whole nation that was isolated from the outside world for 65 years. If and only if the world comes together, the current generation of North Koreans might be able to chart their own desitinies.

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Marvel’s Black Panther (2018) masterfully tells several stories at once   Leave a comment

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The Black Panther (Played by Chadwick Bosewin) was first introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) during the events of Captain America: Civil War. Then crown prince T’Challa accompanied his father the late King T’Chaka on a diplomatic trip, who was killed when the building they were in was bombed. T’Challa sided with Team Iron Man because The Winter Soldier Bucky Barnes was implicated as his father’s killer. In the aftermath of the fight between Team Iron Man and Team Captain America, T’Challa arranged for both Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes to be hidden in Wakanda, the latter man crygenically frozen until the mind control he was under could be safely removed.

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Unlike Thor, The Black Panther is not based on a specific mythological being. This gave the director–who also happens to be African American–a TON of freedom to bring Wakanda and its Superhero King to the big screen for the first time. For those who are unfamiliar with the character, the Black Panther is not only a Superhero but is also an actual King of a sovereign nation. T’Challa is not only the Black Panther but is also the King of Wakanda. Above is the main cast of the film and as you can see, all but two of them are Black American or African. I’ll pause for a moment there and say this: Only in the U.S. is the term “African American” used to describe people of African descent who were born and raised in the U.S. Africans refer to them as Black Americans for reference. They only apply the term “African American” if an African immigrates to the U.S.

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…Getting back to Wakanda. Although it projects itself as a third-world country,  in truth it is the most technologically advanced nation on earth. This is because Wakanda controls 90% of the world’s supply of Vibranium, a rare mineral that is also the hardest in the universe. Concerned they could be targeted by other nations, Wakanda elected to hide in plain sight. They present themselves as a third world country while using cloaking technology to hide their vast technology from the world. They rarely allow outsiders entry into their boarders and the rest of the world is none the wiser. At the same time, Wakanda has spies and operatives in every other country on the planet to keep tabs on the rest of the world.

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By the time of the events of the movie, the newly crowed King T’Challa considers Wakanda’s centuries-old isolationist policy. On the one hand, keeping Vibranium from getting into the hands of those who would misuse it is priority #1. On the other hand, Wakanda’s vast resources could be used to help those in need outside their boarders. T’Challa is forced to deal with the matter head-on with the arrival of his cousin Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan), whose father was killed by T’Chaka 34 years earlier.

Having grown up in the U.S., Killmonger and his father had a viewpoint and a worldview T’Challa and T’Chaka didn’t have. Clearly much was cut for time in the theatrical version but it would be fair to say Killmonger represented the modern Black American: A people whose ancestors were taken from their homelands (Slave Trade), enslaved (American Slavery), Segregated (Jim Crow), Marginalized (Mass Incarceration) and Suppressed (The Present). Too much didn’t need to be said for most who paid attention to understand who and what Killmonger portrayed. The restorative justice he sought wasn’t for himself but for the over 2 billion people of African descent worldwide who as a people had been exploited and victimized for centuries while Wakanda did nothing. That brings to mind this old saying: Evil prevails when good people do nothing.

Even though Killmonger was T’Challa’s main nemesis, you can’t help but feel for him on so many levels. Like many African American youth of the 80s and 90s, he lost his father at a young age. He grew up right when Clinton’s Mass Incarceration Policy would see Blacks imprisoned at a disproportionately higher rate than whites who committed the same or worse crimes. He would see attempts by black community activists undermined and outplayed by the establishment and others. He would see America’s first Black American president deadlocked by a Congress that would rather see him fail than do what they were elected to do. Let’s not also forget it’s stated he fought in the middle east first as a soldier and then around the world as a mercenary. He’s seen more than most so…yeah.

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Killmonger’s story was the deciding factor in T’Challa’s decision to open Wakanda’s boarders to the world for the first time in its history. As he said, one can’t help but wonder how Killmonger would have turned out if T’Chaka had taken him with him back to Wakanda. The sins of the father had been passed on to the son. Killmonger rejected the Wakandan way of life so thoroughly, he hid his face from T’Challa during their first encounter with a mask. He identifies with the masses worldwide who live in an oppressed society. A world T’Challa and Wakanda have never known.

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Moving on, T’Challa being surrounded by and supported by several strong, independent black women in positions of power sends a powerful message not just for black youth but women and girls in general. We live in a time where “Old Values” and “Traditions” feel under threat by the modern Women’s Revolution and the #MeToo Movement. Ideologies and beliefs that see women and girls as good for nothing but sex, having kids and minding the home and that’s how things should always be. They view displays of equality between the sexes as nothing more than “Make Believe” and calls for Women’s Rights worldwide “A good joke”.

…My point is the world is changing. It is all the more important that how things should be is represented in movies and tv. Regardless of one’s race or gender, everyone should decide on their own to be who and what they want to be. Not who or what others think or want them to be. Unlike most who have seen this movie regardless of weather they like it or not, that’s my thought on the matter. You will have those who will just see The Black Panther as nothing more than “The Black Superhero”. No one calls Captain America the White Superhero, no one calls Wonder Woman the female superhero and no one calls Daredevil the Blind Superhero. Captain America is a Superhero who happens to be white. Wonder Woman is a Superhero who happens to be a woman. Daredevil is a Superhero who happens to be blind.

Never mind the overt and subtle politics people see in the Black Panther. The fact of the matter is the premise is no less “offensive” than Superman, Batman, The Hulk/Bruce Banner or Thor. Yet is bothers some people none the less. The question I would ask those persons is why?

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Anyone who knows their history probably noticed this striking similarity and yes, it was intentional. On the left is the founder of The Black Panther Part, Huey P. Newton. He sits with a rifle in his right hand and a spear in his left. The tagline “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is in referenced to this song:

Gill Scott-Heron was an musician and poet who wrote and performed a variety of songs that scared that crap out of The Establishment in the 60s and 70s. Why? Because he spoke truth and encouraged people to think for themselves and be self-empowered. The song was used by The Black Panther Party to promote their movement–not that he minded–and that’s how it became both famous and imfamous.

He explains why he did this song in an interview 30 years later:

…He died in 2011 in case you’re wondering.

Getting back to this movie, the very idea of Black Power terrifies the world. I’ll just put it like that. I don’t mean military power but REAL power. The power to realize your full potential. Equality. Respect. Prosperity. There is a reason The Slave Trade is still referred to as America’s Original Sin and it’s because Reparations haven’t happened. Despite the UN again saying the U.S. owes Black Americans Reparations for the Slave Trade, Jim Crow and everything that’s happened since. Still, nothing.  As the saying goes, the longest rope has an end.

Those who dare to watch this movie may learn something from it. There are no hidden messages calling for Black Americans to arm themselves and kill white people. That’s just some paraoid foolishness White Supremacists are telling people. There are a ton of both suble and obvious references to what’s going on in the world today in the movie. This much is true.

…It’s also true that a Black Panther 2 WILL happen and has been confirmed.

CraigsList shuts down Personals Section in response to Congressional Bill   Leave a comment

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I can confirm only the U.S. CraigsList sites are impacted. The CraigsList sites outside the U.S. are mostly uneffected. The only change is the Missed Connections and Rant & Rave categories were moved to the Community section. Those who access one of the U.S. CraigsList sites will see the following message:

US Congress just passed HR 1865, “FOSTA”, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.

Any tool or service can be misused. We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.

To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!

Click here for more info courtesy of CNN.

The bill, which was actually passed two days ago and will be signed into law by #45 amends the 1996 Communications Decency Act. The Act, which protects websites and online services from being liable for user-generated content will add an exception and that’s what the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (HR 1865) does. It removes a portion of the protection in the case of sex trafficking, sexual harassment and rape by allowing victims to sue websites.

What does that mean, you might ask?

CraigsList just shut down their Personals section because they don’t want to be sued. For those who don’t know, by design CraigsList is a site for arranging meetups with complete strangers. I forgot to say this before but ONLY the U.S. CraigsList sites were impacted. The Personals Sections in Canada and elsewhere are still active. The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act only effects CraigsList directly and THAT’S why they removed their Personals section in the U.S.

Why?

Because unlike other sites that do similar things, there are no dedicated staff who moderate what’s posted. The site relies on its flawed Flagging system and Community Policing to moderate the site. The obvious problem is it assumes people both take the time to flag ads and know what types of ads to flag as well. CraigsList was basically a haven for criminal elements due to the lack of direct oversight.

The site has been around for 20 years and fell into notariety 10 years ago because of the CraigsList Killer Incidents. The incidents, which gained international headlines permanently destroyed the site’s repuation. To make matters worse, botters and scammers moved in and took over the Personals section a few years ago. Nevermind there have been instances in which crimes were committed using CraigsList. Not that many but they have happened.

What does this mean for the vast majority who didn’t misuse the site? I see one of three things happening:

  1. Internet Forums make a comeback: Social Media killed the model but they are still around. One can still make a free message board through InvisionFree on that note.
  2. Facebook groups: Most who use CraigsList are also on Facebook. It would then make sense for folks to migrate there and set up Facebook groups for the same purpose.
  3. Mobile Apps: Goes without saying.

It is unfortunate for those who didn’t misuse the site but personally, I think this was a long time coming because of the scammers and criminal elements who frequent CraigsList alone. Many people are already looking to CraigsList Personals in other countries so…yeah. Will CraigsList Personals in the U.S. ever come back? Yes, but I think it should be a separate website entirely AND should have moderation.

It is true that some tech companies voiced concerns over the bill but the only site that is really effected by it is CraigsList. You saw what they did in response to it. This was 100% avoidable but they stupidly used the CDA as a shield for too long and brought this on themselves. It’s Lose-Lose for CraigsList now as any other sites that are effected can just blame CraigsList and would be right to do so, too. This bill WAS passed specifically FOR CraigsList so…yeah.

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Here’s the difference between Conspiracy Theory and Conspiracy Fact   Leave a comment

Believe it or not, Conspiracy theories predate the internet. Who ordered the assassination of JFK is near the top in American Conpsiracy theories if not at the top.

A conspiracy is a premeditated and pre-planned action done by a person or persons that will negatively impact someone else or several people for personal or political gain. A Conspiracy Theory is the belief that a conspiracy was comitted, usually on a large scale based on circumstantial evidence but no definitive proof of fact. A Conspiracy Fact is a Conspiracy Theory that has been definitely proven to be true beyond reasonable doubt.

Let’s look at 5 Conspiracy Theories and 5 Conspiracy Facts to give you a better idea.

First, some Conspiracy Theories:

  1.  It’s former President Obama’s fault the Trump Administration has had so many problems: Let’s get the new big one out the way now. Now, let’s be real: Trump is an egolomaniac. That’s a fact. While Conservatives and Republicans are quick to say “Obama blamed Bush 43 for everything!”, that’s not true at all. Obama–and John Kerry before him–factually pointed out The Bush Administration destabilized the Middle East, encouraged widespread Islamophobia and laid the groundwork for the Authoritorian policies both Obama and Trump are guilty of continuing. That said, Obama is not to blame for anything other than endorsing a candidate he knew had no real chance of winning, blaming Bernie Sanders for dividing the Dems (which is untrue) and not acting on the whispers of Russia’s possible involvement in the outcome of the 2016 election. That’s about it in regards to #45.
  2. President Obama was born in Kenya: It’s a 10-year old conspiracy theory spread by the current president ironically. The funny thing is Obama produced his birth certificate to prove he was born in Hawaii back in 2007 to prove he was in fact born a U.S. Citizen. Still to this day, some in this country are convinced he was born in Kenya even though there is zero evidence to back that up.
  3. The government wants to take guns away from Gun Owners: It comes up after every mass shooting, usually spread by the NRA and Right-Wing talking heads I will not name here. The simple fact is unless a crime was committed or it’s evidence in a crime, the government will make no effort to take weapons/ammo from a licensed gun owner. There have been proposals to keep guns from getting into the hands of people who should not have them as well as proposals to increase mental healthcare but they never go anywhere. The fearmongering is big business so…yeah.
  4. Vaccines cause Autism or are a Hoax to experiment on the public: As of today, almost 200 children have died from the Flu in the U.S. since the Flu Season began. We are currently at the height and the number is expected the climb. Most of those deaths have come from children who were either unvaccinated for a variety of reasons. Those who are allergic to ingredients in certain vaccines aside, most of these deaths were 100% preventable. Alternative Medicine is practiced in developing countries and is nothing new. The problem in the U.S. especially is it’s usually not backed by medical fact or medical knowledge. It’s instead driven by long disproven superstitions and beliefs or a way of life that worked for a different population and lifestyle. When the rate of Autism exploded 15 years ago, people needed a something to blame and Vaccines were picked. Mercury, a compound used in some vaccines is pointed to as what causes Autism to develop in children. The problem with that arguement is Mercury is no longer used to make Vaccines ans hasn’t for decades now because of how expensive it was. Same with dental fillings (They now use Silver or a synthetic compound). The self-described Anti-Vaxx Community has seen a drop in their number in recent years as their own kids have either died or become gravely ill due to illnesses they were never vaccinated against. So, the government conspiracy arguement doesn’t hold water either.
  5. 9/11 Was an Inside Job: …Whew. We have Michael Moore’s Farenheit 9/11 to thank for fueling this one. The Docudrama came out during the height of the so-called “War on Terrorism” when support for it was at an all-time high. Moore makes the case the 19 men who carried out the 9/11 attacks on The World Trade Center in New York, The Pentagon as well as the fourth plane that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania (The White House or The Capital Building were believed to be possible targets) had been manipulated by the U.S. Government. Moore argues the 19 men had been manipulated into carrying out the 9/11 attacks to unite the country under the banner of war (which it did), have a false pretense to invade Afghanistan (which it did) and boost Bush 43’s Approval Rating (again, it did). The reason this is untrue is with any conspiracy, the larger the amount of people involved with the conspiracy, the more likely the truth will be leaked. There is absolutely no way something on the scale of 9/11 could be staged by the government without the truth being found out eventually. Think about it: Coverups will only work for so long and even the U.S. Government knows that. While yes, the government has no problem killing their own for political gain I can say without question 9/11 is not one such case. It simply took advantage of the opportunity and ran with it.

 

…So to recap, all 5 of these are 100% untrue.

Now, here are some Conspiracy Facts:

 

  1. Most Ads on TV use Hypnosis to Brainwash Viewers: I’m gonn open with this because it’s the main reason I rarely watch Broadcast TV anymore outside sports. Advertisers and Companies spend billions convincing viewers to buy their products and/or services. Nothing is off the table as far as they care and that includes a form of Hypnosis called The Power of Suggestion. The point is to convince you that you need what is being advertised to be happy. Even if it’s a product you have zero interest in, the repetitions, gingles and music employed are designed to plant the seed of desire for what’s being advertised in your mind. Nowhere is this most heavily employed than the United States of America. It’s exactly why so many people have such an obsession with material wealth. People love things and use people when it should be the other way around. It’s why Apple gets away with selling phones for $1,000. So…yeah. I look at it this way: If they’re gonna spend billions just to get me to buy their product or service which I have no interest in, why should I have to see it? So, I mostly watch on-demand subscription programming like Netflix and WWE Network, which don’t run ads. Problem solved.
  2. Cures for ALL Cancers exist and have for some time: How would you react if I told you Pharmaceutical Companies and Medical Insurers know 100% how to cure ALL cancers, have known for decades and won’t share that knowledge because it’s more profitable for you to be treated over time with chemotherapy? Well, it’s true and the evidence does exist. Remember when I mentioned Alternative Medicine above in the Vaccine Conspiracy Theory? In India, China, Japan and a few other countries, Modern Medicine and Alternative Medicine–also known as Natural Remedies, Herbal Medicine and Alchemy–have coexisted for decades. In countries in which both are commonplace, Cancer is virtually non-existent. Cancer is most rampant in developed nations in which Modern Medicine is the only means of healthcare. That is no coincidence or oversight. It’s been known by the medical community from the beginning that Chemotherapy does as much harm as the cancer itself yet it was introduced as an “Effective” Treatment option. Know why? Money. It’s that simple. Just look at how other countries treat cancer in comparison.
  3. In America, Presidents are Selected and not Elected: The Election Process in the U.S. is nothing more than a dog and pony show. Nowhere is this more apparent than the Election to decide the next president. All one has to do is talk to a Statictician. That’s someone who does Statistics for a living for those who don’t know. Anyway, this has been the case for some time. If you ever wondered how Reagan, Bush 43, Obama and Trump were elected, now you know. It had nothing to do with what they said who how many people voted. It had everything to do with the Electoral College, which decides who the next president will be. Their votes are the only ones that matter. So, you and I don’t need to vote in Presidential Elections technically. All out vote does is show who voted for which presidential candidate. Of course, this is just in regards to federal elections. Our vote matters a whole lot more on the state and local levels.
  4. The U.S. and Europe are ignoring the mess it made in the Middle East on purpose: Goes without saying. The West did to the Middle East during the last decade what Europe did the Africa furing 400 years’ worth of the slave trade: Tore it up, left it in ruins and now refuses all responsability. Then folks here wonder why people like ISIS and Al Qaeda hate us. It would be more accurate to say they rightfully despite the Imperialistic Policies that leave a people worse off than they were. What the U.S. did between 2001 and 2011 completely destabilized the Middle East, making the world a more dangerous place. Yes, there were dictators who killed off their own people and had it coming (Gaddafi and Hussein) but when they were deposed, a power vaccum was created that the U.S. had no interest in filling. See The Philippines.
  5. U.S.-based Companies are (Still) Outsourcing Jobs Overseas for “Reasons”: Yes, this is still true. Every few years they have a new excuse for why they feel they are justified in outsourcing jobs to countries where they can get away with barely paying for labor. The simple fact is they don’t want to pay employees a living wage. They don’t want to reward non-management/executives for their hard work with pay increases. They don’t want to guarantee them sick or vacation time as needed. They don’t want to train new employees or provide existing employees promotion opportunities. Their only concerns are maximizing profit while minimizing costs by any means they can get away with prettymuch.  That’s the real truth and only since The Recession from 10 years ago have they stopped pretending otherwise. That’s because they run America now is why and they want you to know it. It’s only been made crystal clear with the current White House Administration.

 

I think those are enough examples to make my points. And I used these specific examples because even if you don’t live in he U.S., it’s likely you’ve at least heard of some of these. I could have made five more for each one but then this would be even longer than it is. LOL. I hope this makes it clear to folks the difference between a Conspiracy Theory and a Conspiracy Fact.

…You’re welcome ^_^

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50 years after MLK’s assassination, America needs a new MLK   Leave a comment

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…These are some dangerous times in which we now live. Every third January, America takes a moment to acknowledge just some of the work of the late Dr. Martin Luther King. As noted in FAIR’s 1995 article on him, King’s unpopular stances on the Vietnam War, Poverty and other social justice issues after 1965 were why he was killed just like JFK preparing to expose some conspirators are why he was killed.

Three questions are often asked each year in regards to MLK every year:

  1. What would he think of America today?
  2. What would he think of race relations today?
  3. What would he think of the current president?

My thoughts on those three questions are as follows and I will keep it short:

 

  1. He would consider America to be on the wrong side of history both Domestically and Internationally but at the same time happy to see it is being refreshingly honest compared to his own time.
  2. He would consider things to be better in some areas but much worse in others, more so given racism is no longer hidden like it was in the 3 decades after he died.
  3. He would point to #45 as having reminded or educated the rest of the world that America still has a race problem and more so than #44 did because of the things he says on a daily basis.

I don’t want to say anything further than that on all three points. I will say all the efforts by both Democrats and Republicans to claim him as one of them is laughable given he would have a problem with both parties. That’s some serious irony. Let’s not forget who King REALLY was to the establishment. He was an “agitator”. He was a “problem”. He was a “Communist”. He was a “Soviet Symapthizer”. And he was monitored bt the FBI up until the day he was killed.

Let’s not get it twisted.

The Establishment likes to focus on his work up to 1965, skip the next 3 years and then go to his death in Memphis in 1968 BECAUSE of his “extremist” views between 1965 and 1968. That’s how it works. The national day of honor has some conditions attached to it. Specifically, “Let’s just not talk about all the other stuff he said after Selma”. And it shows in history books that talk about him. Some teachers of color as well as those who met him in person have noted illustrations of him in textbooks and elsewhere have portrayed Dr. King as lighter than he really was. The point is the powers that be are distorting the truth and facts about him because the reality is inconvenient.

The irony, of course is most of his family is still alive today. The sad reality is since his wife’s death 10 years ago, the family has been divided. There were problems before she died but she held the family together. The causes Dr. King championed were left without a clear successor or successors after his death. Exactly as The Establishment intended.

It’s been too long.

The new spirit of dissent and protest in recent years was borne out of necessity. Black Lives Matter as an organization will eventually split into different groups. Same thing happened in King’s time. There is an important lesson from years’ past that needs to be applied yoday: In order to make change happen, you need to force it. You need to be willing to put yourself on the line. You need to be willing to sacrifice all including your life for the cause. There are many among the current generation who are both ready and willing. One was killed by a Nazi last summer after all.

That is exactly what The Establishment fears the most: The people self-organizing and protesting en masse. A people who have no problem going to jail to protest unjust laws, policies and norms. A people who will move as one and will keep pushing until change happens.

Any time is a good time for that. That’s why I blog, after all.

One thing that is missing the Corporate Media and Politicians have been working together to discredit as they become known are charismatic figures to champion and lead the cause. Everyone knows Colin Kaepernick and most know Shaun King (No relation to MLK). Not many people know who Khury Peterson-Smith is but you should.

“What country is like America?”   Leave a comment

None, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing ^_^

This message is to those who don’t live in the U.S., Canada or Mexico and want to move here: America is not the Utopia you think it is. I will admit I decided to actually write this after talking to a few new friends I made via Facebook but I meant to write this back in 2012. I also want to make it clear in all of these there is no sarcasm or humor. AT ALL.

Ok let’s get started with the Politics first:

 

  • You are expected to be fluent in English AND know the American culture when you arrive. The problem with the latter is the American culture depends on what part of America you are in.
  • Coming from the African continent and have brown skin? Avoid Milwaukee, St. Louis and the states of Florida, Missouri, Mississippi and possibly Tennessee. If you don’t want to get killed by Law Enforcement, that is. Avoid Chicago as well since it is the Homicide Capital of America. Yes, the same Chicago former President Barack Obama is from.
  • If you are a Muslim woman, don’t travel in public places alone if you don’t have to. You may be harassed by a biggot.
  • Going with the above: Just like 100 years ago with European immigrants, if you are Muslim you’ll need to hide it if you want to get by. And don’t even think about speaking anything other than English in public. Not if you don’t want to be harassed.
  • America is big on Hypocrisy: Say one thing and do another. Do what I say, not what I do. Pot calling the kettle black. And so on. Yet most Americans still have no idea this is exactly why there are people who hate America: They hate the hypocrisy and the majority who bought into it and even defend it with force.
  • You have rights but they can be violated at the drop of a hat when it’s convenient. Not just because you’re not White.
  • During elections, most people go by what they see and hear on TV. They don’t research candidates on their own before they vote. That’s how Donald Trump was elected prettymuch. Now we’re dealing with the consequences.
  • Protesting injustice in America is considered controversial. Why? Good question. The short answer: The truth hurts.
  • Most Americans actually ARE NOT racist. Many ARE igorant of other cultures though.
  • Just like everywhere else, there ARE people who will do you and yours harm without a second thought.
  • Contrary to how its (S)elected “Officials” like to present the country as a whole to the rest of the world, America does not speak with one voice but many. This is not a disclaimer. It is a fact and that it is. The good and bad thing is it ALWAYS has to be like this. It’s good when the government decides to do the right thing and bad when it doesn’t.
  • On that last note: Yes, there are alot of Americans who don’t want “everyone” to have free healthcare out of spite but could care less about their taxpayer dollars being spent to kill people who hold no ill will toward them or the U.S. elsewhere.

I could go on but I have other categories to go through. Again, this is reality in the U.S. right now and HAS BEEN FOR DECADES.

Let’s go on to the American Lifestyle next:

  • First and foremost, America in general is obsessed with materialism and wasteful spending. Not everyone but as a country, this is the reality. It’s obvious as soon as you leave the plane. You will immediately see posters and advertisements everywhere telling you things like “You need this” and “You want this”.
  • The “typical” American diet presented on TV and the Internet should be ignored unless you want to die early or eventually from heart disease and/or cancer. The Fast Food industry–McDonalds, Taco Bell, KFC, Popeyes, Subway and Burger King to name a few–spends millions each year in advertisements to lure people in to eat their high-sodium and high-sugar foods. A burger, fries and a soda is NOT a balanced meal. Three tacos and a soda is NOT a balanced meal. A footlong sub, a bag of Doritos and a soda is NOT a balanced meal.
  • Going with the above: For some reason, Organic Foods cost more than processed foodstuffs in a grocery store or supermarket. No, really: If you walk into a Supermarket, you will notice foods that are actually good for you actually cost more than unhealthhy options. A frozen Macaroni & Cheese dinner will cost you $1 in most chain supermarkets. A Macaroni and Cheese dinner with liquid cheese (just boil the pasta then add the cheese) costs $4 on average. If you want to make Macaroni and Cheese from scratch, be prepared to spend at least $7. Yes, it actually costs more to eat healthy in the U.S.
  • The introduction of the internet 20 years ago changed how people interact with each other. Even though it has made it far easier for people to connect with each other, it has also made it far easier for people to isolate themselves. Get on a bus or train and more often than not, most of the people are looking at their phones.
  • For some reason, it makes sense for someone to have to work two or three jobs just to keep a roof over their head. No, really.
  • The general expectation for high school graduates is for them to go to college. That’s assuming they can afford it. Most college students end up in debt weather they finish or not. Those who don’t are either very well off or have a full scholarship. To add injury to insult, there are many college graduates who end up working retail because no one wants to hire someone fresh out of college without any experience.
  • The introduction of Social Media can make dating more confusing than it has to be. Yet, for some reason this is what many people want even though they don’t like it personally.
  • It far easier for relationships to fall apart due to the threat of affairs, internet porn, domestic abuse, distrust and insecurity. This is also why over half of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce: Relationships are not usually built over time as was the norm years ago and as a result, marriages are rushed into. Most couples do not seek marriage counseling in advance and as a result, they do not realize they actually have little reason on their own to make the relationship work long-term. Not until after it’s collapsed beyond repair.
  • Americans like to complain and voice grievences against government officials and policies but are often slow to either hold them accountable or or vote them out of office.
  • People will complain about how absurd it is to pay $1000 for a cellphone but many of those same folks will be lining up to but one or in the days leading up to its release.

 

While most Americans DO agree Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty ARE problems that need to be solved AND easily can be, there is a catch: Not everyone agrees on HOW it should be solved. Think about this. Americans want all these problems to be solved but the overwhelming majority don’t want to have to lift a finger or pay a cent to make it happen. Rather, most feel “someone else” should pay for it as long as it isn’t them either directly or via taxes. No, really.

Let’s go on to Primary and Secondary Education now:

 

  • First and foremost, if you want your child to have a proper education be prepared to pay for it and I mean BEFORE college. America is not in the top 10 in Education for obvious reasons. The biggest one: Education is not considered a right in America.
  • In most large school districts, students are not taught to learn but are instead taught memorization geared around testing from an early age, usually on material they never learned or weren’t given enough time to learn well. Frequent cuts to federal, state and local funding has led to Art, Music, Social Studies, History, Geography and more recently P.E. being eliminated from most school curriculums. This has also led to an overcrowding problem in some schools and half-empty classrooms in others as parents move their kids to or from schools.
  • Thinking of college? Do you have a 5 or 6-figure income? No? Then, you’re better off enrolling in either a Community College or a Vocational School. Most who go to a major college or university leave with debt they will spend up to 20 to 30 years trying to pay off.
  • For those whose first language is not English, it is advised that you take a year just learning how to read, write and speak American English: In most school districts, ESL (English as a Seconf Language) students are only given a year even though for most that is far from sufficient time to become proficient in English.
  • Going with the above: If you have a heavy or thick accent, it is also reccommended you take English Language Arts courses to reduce your accent.
  • Also: English is the official language of the United States BUT just like everywhere else, it is NOT against the law to speak another language. Anyone who angrily tells you “Speak English!” or “We only speak English here!” is probably a racist and a biggot. As long as you know enough to get by, that’s fine. For years some lawmakers have been trying to get Spanish and Mandarin (Chinese) added as secondary languages due to the large numbers of Immigrants who come to the U.S. from China and Latin America every year respectively.

 

I could go on but in short, there is a heavy emphasis on knowledge you’re expected to know even though you clearly haven’t learned it yet. Again, there is a reson the U.S. is ranked 47th in Education: The system wants you smart enough to pay taxes and keep them in office but dumb enough not to threaten the system. You want a quality education for you and yours? Look to Community Colleges and Vocational Schools.

 

Finally, let’s talk about Religion and Morality:

  • Contrary to popular belief by most Americans, the United States does NOT have a state religion and never has. Not officially, that is. Calls by (S)elected “Officials” for reccommending prayer or suggesting people pray at certain times is in itself controversial BECAUSE it promotes and endorses a particular belief held by both the speaker and many in the country and THAT can easily be seen as violating someone else’s Freedom of Religion.
  • Going with the above: It would not be accurate to call the United States a “Christian Nation” because there are many different Christian denominations. I’m a Seventh Day Adventist for example.
  • As noted, America wrestles with the fact although there is no official state religion, conservatives and The Vatican have been pressuring government “officials” to establish one “because of tradition and patriotism”. The obvious problem is this would nullify Freedom of Religion. I mean both ways. As a reminder, there are dozens of Christian denominations.
  • The interesting and ironic hypocrisy of Christian Missionary work based out of the U.S.: There is much work to be done but the problem is a lack of funding. Many missionary projects and sites have been either abandoned or shut down due to lack of funds to keep running. Why? Because not enough money is going out from the U.S. to properly fund and maintain them. This is for ALL Christian denominations across the board.
  • To some American Christians, the ACLU and the government suing or stopping them from using their beliefs to violate the civil rights of others is “Persecution”. I’m specifically referring to the significant number of American Christians who feel it is their job, calling and right to infringe upon the Civil Liberties of the LGBT Community*.
  • Going with the above: Some American Christians feel it is far more productive to picket and shut down Abortion Clinics than to protest the NEED for them to exist. In a country where unprotected sex, infidelity, sexual assault and teen pregnancy are both encouraged and glorified via mass media and the internet, unwanted pregnancies** should come as no surprise. On top of it, it has already been proven beyond reasonable doubt in several countries that an abstinence-only policy (No sex before marriage) without Sex Ed (including education about condoms to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and the spread of STDs) on top of it ensures unwanted pregnancies will continue to happen.

    * The Bible DOES speak against the practice of Homesexuality–almost 80 separate times, in fact–but it DOES NOT encourage violence or discrimination against those who are. Those who do either and/or both are taking matters into their own hands, which is ironic given the Bible also clearly states “Judge not lest ye be judged”.

    ** Rather than bully a woman for going to get an abortion clinic, a far more effective alternative would be to offer to adopt her unborn child and cover all medical appointments as well. What’s that? That would mean actually valuing the life of an unborn child? Well, it’s better than an unwanted pregnancy being secretly carried to term, the baby dellivered in a bathroom and then being put in a dumpster or toilet like trash.

 

As I mentioned in another category, America is morally bankrupt and has been for DECADES:

  • As I mentioned in a separate blog post, the gun debate in the U.S. was decided after the Sandy Hook mass shooting: When we decided as a society that two classrooms full of 6 and 7 year olds being gunned down was bearable, that ended the debate right there.
  • As I mentioned in a video blog, Murders and Homicides are glorified in American TV Shows and Movies: It comes as no surprise given although the U.S. is only 241 years old, it has been at war in all but 8 of them. Just look at the national anthem, which glorifies and promotes war. Before the Call of Duty and Medal of Honor video games were even thought of, movies and documentaries glorifying World War II were mega popular in the U.S.
  • The biggest highlight of American Hypocrisy is how much it glorifies sex: Movies, TV Shows, Billboards. Yet, you have many people wondering why the Teen Pregnancy rate in the U.S. spiked 10 years ago. The movie Juno and TV shows like The Secret Life of the American Teenager, 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom had alot to do with that.
  • The American society reveres celebrities, athletes, TV Personalities, politicians and even fictional characters as if they were gods or royalty. In no other country can a person become famous just for being famous.
  • Going with the above: America has an obsession with being entertained at the expense of others. In games of sport, it’s not enough for someone to “lose”. No, the one who doesn’t win or is eliminated from competition deserves to be teased and bullied into submission by both the winner and spectators. The term that comes to mind is “Sore Winner” and it is reminicient of Roman coliseums.
  • Overall, America’s motto really should be “Do as I say, not as I do”: Politicians like to tell the rest of the world what they should or shouldn’t be doing as if they are in ANY position to do so with the blatant human and civil rights violations that take place daily within the country.

 

I think that’s enough to make my point. I’d keep going but then this would go really, really long. My point is America should not be looked to as model for good morals. It’s morally bankrupt and has been for DECADES. No country is perfect but at least they don’t go as far as America feels is it’s right to pretend it’s “The greatest country in the world”.

…Yes, I am a U.S. Citizen and no, I am not an Anarchist. This post took me a month to write because of how difficult it was for me to write this about the country I was born and raised in. All that said…it should be faitly obvious by now that the United States as it is currently known is about to come to an end. This country has gone to a very dark place and things are going to get worse, not better.  I am sure many of my fellow Americans don’t like hearing that but it’s the truth and an unescapable reality. Just look how the Ancient Roman Empire ended. It didn’t happen overnight. It took years to reach that point but it eventually fell.

 

Getting back to the American Christian experience. Something an American Adventist Missionary in Cambodia said in a program I recently watched sums it up rather well: American Christians are complacent and lack a purpose. There is not enough incentive or motivation to Evangelize and spread The Gospel. Most are content to go to church, talk to friends, family, calssmates or colleagues and stop there. It’s too…comfortable.

Speaking of too comfortable, Harriet Tubman said it best: More could be saved if they only knew they were slaves. To say many Americans are slaves in some way, shape or form would be accurate. Slaves to Debt. Slaves to Addiction. Slaves to Paaions. Slaves to Material  Things. Slaves to Lust. Slaves to Money. And so on.

I some other thoughts on the state of the U.S, but I will save it for a separate post. This has gone on long enough.

 

If you’re in the U.S. and don’t have a passport, you should get one and here’s why   Leave a comment

Image result for U.S. Passport

 

…Fair warning: This does have to do with politics.

A recent straw poll done revealed less than half of Americans have a Passport. I myself am one of those who don’t have an active Passport but I plan to change that as soon as I can. For the first time, the United Nations issued a travel advisory earlier this year for people to avoid certain parts of the U.S. due to politics mostly.

I won’t mince words: The political climate in Boston is volatile. It is simply because to many, “things aren’t that bad” or ” things don’t have to be” as far as they care. By “doesn’t have to be” they mean “Just shut up, stop whining, keep your head down and follow the rules. You have no idea how lucky you are to live in The greatest country in the world”.

I say this because ever since last year’s election, the biggots and racists who hid in the shadows have come out in force. They’re not just saying “Go back to Africa/Mexico!” to Blacks and Hispanics. They’re now saying “If you don’t like it here, go somewhere else!” to other Whites. Madness, I know.

Which brings me to this video I recorded yesterday:

…It really is something else.

The funny thing about the whole “Go back to Africa!” thing: They keep saying it to blacks WHO WERE BORN IN THE U.S. LOL. So, yeah. Of course, the comment is racially intended. There are many Black Americans who don’t even know most of Africa isn’t as “backwater” as they might think it is and definitely not with all the American money being poured into it over the last 30 years alone.

Anywho my point is it might not be such a bad idea to at least open yourself to the idea of living abroad. You can live outside the U.S. and retain your citizenship. There are lots of countries in which you can have a fairly smooth transition. Obviously some planning would still be necessary. This is something I have been thinking about since 2009 personally believe it or not.

If I were to pick a country to live in either short-term or long-term–or even permanently–here’s my Top 5:

 

  1. The Philippines: A former U.S. Territory, English is one of the official languages. The country has alot of untapped potential for anyone willing to invest in it. This is my top choice simply because I would be able to make a new life for myself here and not think about what I leave behind in the U.S. I would also have a fairly easy time getting settled and national politics can be safely ignored the further away from the capital you are.
  2. Kenya: Based on what I am hearing, there is ALOT of promise and of reasons to invest in this country’s future. It has fast become a powerhouse in the region and another light on The Dark Continent. I considered South Africa but the comparisons to the U.S. are a bit too strong.
  3. Canada: Goes without saying I technically don’t need a passport to go here. Toronto is 500 miles from Boston. There is already a mass migration of Americans crossing into Canada, after all. The political climate is certainly more stable than the U.S.
  4. Japan: Ah, the Anime Capital of the World. Probably not live permanently but I definitely would love to spend some time here. If not mainland Japan then one of islands far to the south.
  5. American Samoa: It has the same status as Puerto Rico but is in the Pacific Ocean. There wouldn’t be a language barrier either.

…Those are it. All of them are democratic countries or territories as well.

The way I see it, there are too many Americans who are ignorant of what is going on outside the U.S. They simply go by what they see on the evening news and assume that’s it. My point is there’s no harm in traveling. I certainly plan to once I am able to afford it. LOL.

On a more serious note, if you wait until things are dangerous for  you to try to travel then you waited too long.

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