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These songs helped me get through the last 12 months   Leave a comment

…For those who didn’t know, today is my birthday. I would’ve posted this sooner but I was at Anime Boston until about 2 hours ago. That’ll be my whole weekend. LOL.

Anywho, here are 15 songs I have listened to quite alot since my last birthday. No doubt most of these will surprise you:

15. Despacito by Luis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee
14. Team Skull Theme from Pokemon Sun/Moon and Pokemon UltraSun/UltraMoon
13. Lost in Thoughts All Alone by Reina Strober (Fire Emblem Fates)
12. Some Bodies Gonna Get It (WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry’s Entrance Music)
11. The Future (WWE Superstar Asuka’s Entrance Music)
10. The Rising Sun (WWE Superstar Shinsuke Nakamura’s Entrance Music)
9. Champion by The Roots
8. River in the Desert by Lyn (Persona 5)
7. Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There by Lyn (Persona 5 OP)
6. Beneath the Mask by Lyn (from Persona 5)
5. The Hero!! by The JAM Project (One Punch Man Season 1 OP)
4. History Maker by Dean Fujioka (Yuri!!! On Ice OP)
3. Mother Africa by The African Children’s Choir
2. N’kosi Siekele Afrika (God Bless Africa) – South Africa’s National Anthem
1. Unto Us (Isaiah 9) by Sandi Patti

…I believe this is the first time I have put together a list that didn’t include anything Michael Jackson. All of these songs are on my iPod as well. My playlist is very…international to say the least. Feel free to look up all of these if you’d like. My reasons for putting all of these songs on the list has a story and I will update this post to explain after the weekend.

For now, here’s 3 of the songs courtesy of YouTube:

 

…Update to this post to come sometime next week.

Also, please donate via PayPal if you are able. I’m mostly saying that because it’s my birthday but really, it would be appreciated ^_^

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

Image result for Craigslist Personals
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.

If you have enjoyed this post or other posts I have made on this blog, please consider making a montary donation via PayPal. Whatever amount you provide would be greatly appreciated.

This Snopes Story Had me Shaking with Rage   Leave a comment

silvabom / Shutterstock.com

This one.

Some Conspiracy Theorists–calling themselves “Hoaxers” in some parts of the US–have taken things to an all new low t0 in their minds prove mass shootings are staged by the U.S. Government. As some of you are aware, there are those who are convinced beyond reasonable doubt the mass shootings that have become routine in the U.S.–and I hate to use that word to describe it but it’s the most appropriate word to use–are all hoaxes.

It all started after Sandy Hook six years ago. Take a look at this picture:

Image result for sandy hook victims still alive

This famous picture shows President Obama meeting with the families of children who were killed. I want to direct your attention to the girl in the middle wearing the black and red dress. Her name is Madeline Parker. Her sister Emelie was one of the children who was killed.

Here’s a family photo:

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Emelie is the girl on the far right. The girl on the far left is her sister Madeline, who is pictured with president Obama above wearing the same dress her deceased sister is wearing in the family photo. The family photo was taken two years before. Believe it or not, Conspiracy Theorists have used these two photos as proof Emelie never died and is in fact alive. The obvious truth is Emilie and her sister Madeline look like each other. They argue the girl pictured with Obama is in fact Emelie and not her sister Madeline. They view the first picture as confirmation Sandy Hook was staged by the U.S. Government so Obama could force Gun Control Legislation according to them, the talking heads they listen to and the NRA.

Image result for sandy hook victims still alive

This is Noah Pozner, who was also killed at Sandy Hook. That night, Noah’s mother gave an on-air interview to CNN’s Anderson Cooper about her son and the mass shooting that rocked the country and shocked the world. Because she was calm and did not appear to be emotionally devastated or crying on camera, Conspiracy Theorists believe she lied about her son dying at Sandy Hook and was in fact a crisis actor hired by the media or the government.

Her husband Lenny has been fighting a nearly 6-year battle–and counting–with persistent Conspiracy Theorists who have nothing better to do than to doggedly harass him online, accuse him of being a paid actor and insist that he never had a son. No, really. He even shared copies of not only copies of Noah’s birth and Death Certificates but a copy of Noah’s autopsy report from the medical examiner’s office. Their response? “They’re counterfeit”. Note one line in this article: “…Exhume Noah’s body and prove to the world you lost your son.”

…Take a moment and think how you would react if your young child was murdered and someone told you they want you to exhume their body to prove they were really killed. Now imagine that alone wouldn’t be enough for them. Now you know the Pozner family’s pain. He has even offered to meet with some of these Hoaxers in person. Unsurprisingly, they have no interest in meeting with him face to face.

Now, Mr. Pozner is one of the rare few who actually confronts the Conspiracy Theorists head-on and he should be applauded for it. While not giving these losers that attention is important–which is their main goal of course–it’s even more important for those personally impacted to speak out against these Hoaxers who have literally nothing better to do than to harass victim’s families and even worse, tell them their dead family member never existed. He is not just joining with others fighting back against the Hoaxers online. He’s filing police reports and sharing them online, which is enough to get some of the Hoaxers to back off.

More recently, he founded an organization dedicated to combating Hoaxers online who target the families of victims of high-profile tragedies. It’s called the HONR Network. I urge you to check it out for yourself. Mr. Ponzer’s goal is for nationwide legislation for families of the victims of high-profile tragedies to get protected status and for attempts to harass them to treated as a hate crime. Given the current political climate, we will likely have to wait until there is a change in both Congress and the White House at least.

As noted in the Snopes article I linked you to above, some of these Conspiracy Theorists are actually calling or personally confronting victims and victims’ families and accusing them of being crisis actors or lying about their family member(s) dying or being injured. Their main arguement: The victims never existed at all. The mass shooting never happened and was in fact a drill orchestrated by the government.

No, really. Even worse is they record themselves harassing victims and victims’ families. Why? Because they get off on it. In their minds, anything other than what they believe is a lie or a hoax. They laugh at victims families crying in grief and anger, accusing them of “fake crying” over the phone and “they’re not gonna fall for it”.  They targeted the government first but when they failed to get a reaction, they turned their focus to victims and victims’ families instead.

I’m sure most of you have seen this picture:

Related image

…To answer the question, no they are not. They are clearly three different people. How it works is Hoaxers grab pictures of people who look similar from media publications and photoshop them together. That’s the case here. Most of you remember my coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing’s aftermath 5 years ago on this blog. So…yeah.

Now, it is worth pointing out most of these Hoaxers have one thing in common: They are either gun owners, gun enthusiasts or are anti-government themselves. Often a combination of all three. Most of you remember the polarizing reactions to the NRA Spokewoman’s comments after the recent mass shooting in Florida. Back in 2012, the NRA helped fuel the Conspiracy Theory I outlined in my previous post on what they viewed as government conspiracies to “erase the Second Amendment”.  They made the case “Sandy Hook was a drill and no one really died.” THAT’S where this REALLY comes from and it’s also why the NRA Spokeswoman I will not name said “It’s not the NRA’s job to be a part of the solution.” Their only concern is fearmongering and it has been working since 2012.

I am calling on the admins of WordPress to shut down blogs and sites that have and continue to spread these clearly untrue conspiracy theories. They need to be denied a platform to promote and spread their confusion and hate. These people are sick in the head but it’s extremely important that their conspiracy theories are confronted head on.

If you have enjoyed this post or other posts I have made on this blog, please consider making a montary donation via PayPal. Whatever amount you provide would be greatly appreciated.

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 ^_^

Something I’m adding to the end of every post I make starting with this one is an invitation to personally show your support for what I do on all of my blogs. If you have enjoyed this post or other posts I have made on this blog, please consider making a montary donation via PayPal. Whatever amount you provide would be greatly appreciated.

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

Image result for Martin Luther King Day 2018

…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.

I’ve been thinking about my future alot lately   Leave a comment

Image result for Houses in The Philippines

…Until recently, I never seriously considered leaving the U.S. Then, I made that list of countries I wouldn’t mind moving to if I did. For those who didn’t read that blog post, my top choice was The Philippines. Then I decided to do some research on The Philippines in recent months. I know 10 people who live in The Philippines as well and they provided additional information I couldn’t easily find online.

The more I learned about The Philippines, the more drawn to it I became. Then…I realized something: I could make a fresh start over there.

From an economical point of view, it makes sense: Rent starts at 3500 Philippine Pesos (PHP), which is about $67 USD (rounding to the nearest USD). You can also buy a house starting at 1,516,050 PHP, which is about $30,000 USD. There is a BIG catch, however: Foreigners can’t buy property or land in The Philippines BUT they can own land signed over to them. What this means is you would have to have a local you trust buy property on your behalf and then transfer ownership over to you.

Moving on, my tradeskills in education and Writing abilities should ensure I don’t have too much trouble finding a job very quickly either as a tutor, a consultant or an advisor with a decient salary. I am already seeing several jobs I can do remotely so…yeah. Ensuring I can jump into a job now given I am still currently Unemployed is big.

The climate in The Philippines is fairly easy to predict: There is no snow. So, I would need to plan for heavy rain and hot weather instead. The region does have Typhoons (Hurricanes in the Atlantic) and but the areas I am looking at are high enough for me to not have to worry about flooding.

The Philippines is a former U.S. Territory so almost everyone knows English  as well a Tagalong (Filipino) as a result. So, unless you’re looking to be a translator you shouldn’t have too much difficulty talking to folks. In fact students from other Asian countries in the region including Korea, Japan and China move to The Philippines to learn English while taking advantage of the country’s low cost of living.

Speaking of the cost of living: $1.00 USD = 50.27 PHP. $100 USD = 5027.40 PHP. $500 = 25,137 PHP. $1,000 = 50, 274.

So, yeah.

It makes a whole lot of sense why Western Retirees–mostly from the U.S.–choose to live out their retirement in The Philippines. The most you will likely pay to buy a house in The Philippines is just $20,000 USD (19,891 PHP) or rent to own starting at rent pricing over 20 to 30 years. Probably shorter if you work something out with a local.

It’s a good investment longterm, especially if you know someone living in The Philippines already: You can arrange to buy a house and have someone you know in the Philippines maintain the property for you when you’re not there. That way, you don’t have to worry about the property falling into disrepair when you’re not there. It’s become an opportunity for some Filipino natives living in poverty over the years and also a way to stay off the streets and out of trouble. In exchange for taking care of the house, they can be paid to maintain the property while the owner is abroad.

As it happens, I know at least 10 people who live in The Philippines and have for some time now. I recently talked to one about the idea and they are open to helping me maintain a house over there. I’m now helping them plan a trip to Boston hopefully sometime early next year where we will talk in more detail on the matter, among other things.

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…All that said, The Philippines does have its share of problems. It IS considered a third-world country after all.

Of note:

  • The Philippines became a U.S. Territory at the close of World War II (liberated from Japan) and remained one until it regained its independence in 1987. In the 30 years since becoming independent The Philippine government has had one corrupt, authoritorian government after the next even today. There is widespread poverty and a lack of opportunities for many Filipinos as a result.
  • The Philippines has two official languages: Tagalong (Filipino) and English. There is open discrimination among Filipinos against those who do not know English and those who have dark or tan skin. Knowing English is viewed as a sign you are an educated person. Having lighter skin means you will be able to blend in should you go to China, Japan or South Korea for work or school. Otherwise you’re likely to go to Hawaii, California, Samoa or The Middle East if they’re Muslim.
  • In an effort to promote national pride, anyone born to a Filipino parent is now considered a citizen of The Philippines. This policy was recently done to help encourage those who left for better opportunities to return and those who were born to a Filipino parent to visit the county of their family’s birth. Most but not all who leave for work or school overseas never return and eventually go on to become citizens of the country they move to. Rather than invest in their homeland, many choose to remain overseas where they will have a much higher quality of life.
  • Until about 10 years ago, The Philippines was the #1 destination for retirees from the U.S. That changed after the Recession. Some were even forced to move back to the U.S. to help their families. The timing was bad as The Philippines has undergone an explosion of construction for new housing opportunities since then. Housing set aside for foreigners to rent that the government is now trying to repurpose.
  • Due to the strong influences of the Roman Catholic Church which until recently prettymuch ran the country,  Sex Education is lacking and contraceptives are a taboo. The teen pregnancy rate in The Philippines is one of the highest in the world and in fact, some girls have had sex starting as young as 11 in some cases and will have had their third child by the time they’re 18. The situation is so bad, non-profits and relief organizations that come in to teach Sex Ed hand out condoms in an effort to curb the out of control birthrate. The Philippines is a textbook example of why an Abstinence-Only Policy (No Sex before marriage for those who don’t know) does not work.
  • Going with the above: Once a woman gets pregnant, she is not allowed to work most jobs for safety reasons. If she is single and pregnant–and this is also a widespread issue–she is often disowned by her family. Some women are driven to undergo an abortion at one of the many underground abortion clinics in a country where abortion is illegal. Some turn to prostitution or the rapidly growing Live Cam industry to make money off foreigners.
  • For those who don’t know, there are no government assistence programs in The Philippines like Food Stamps and Social Seecurity in the U.S. for those in need: Becoming pregnant at a young age or having several children in a few years when you’re not financially stable is exasperated by the fact good paying jobs are hard to come by without a good education. Getting pregnant young means dropping out of school.
  • Although Cambodia is more known for this, The Philippines is the #1 destination for sex tourism in the South Asia Region. I mentioned earlier dark-skinned Filipinos are often discriminated against by lighter-skinned Filipinos. Filipinas with darker skin out of work and knowing little to no English often find themselves the victims of Sex Tourism and Sex Trafficking. Even worse, some end up pregnant and never even know the identity of their child’s father. Some even contract STDs from their clients from overseas and unknowingly spread it to others. It’s at the point foreigners are offered condoms at the airport.
  • The Philippines is the #2 destination behind Cambodia in the world for Pedophiles from the U.S. and Europe looking to openly prey on children since it’s far easier to find victims to prey on without anyone knowing. Really, this is a thing and has been for a some time. Pedos going overseas “to get their fix” is nothing new but over the last 10 years, they’ve been going in much larger numbers (credit to MSNBC Journalist Chris Hansen and his To Catch a Predator show). They go there because they can molest or worse and be completely invisible. Only in recent years has the practice become more known to the public and the UN is offering assistence in identifying and arresting those who travel to The Philippines for Pedophilia. Local authorities in The Philippines are also warning the public about the problem as well.

…I’m sure that last one jumped out on you.

In short, The Philippines has many of the problems one would expect from a country with rampant poverty, lack of education and a lack of opportunities for most of the population. I’m sure this is a surprise to many given it’s a former U.S. territory but shouldn’t given it was prettymuch cut loose by the Reagan Administration “to save money” though it was presented to the world as giving Filipinos control of their homeland. The economy is almost non-existent and most of the revenue is funneled directly into the coffers of the government. Little is actually invested into the country. Non-profits, missionaries and relief organizations are a lifeline to those who would die otherwise.

Despite all the challenges, I maintain what I said earlier about the country having much potential. After all, there are many foreign companies who have set up shop over there. To say The Philippines relies on those jobs would be an understatement. Much more needs to be done on the ground over there to put a dent in the widespread poverty.

Vocational Schools will go a long way in training people of different age groups with the skills they’ll need to help lift the economy in The Philippines, which is virtually non-existent: In fact, the country is most known for exporting Filippinos to other countries to work. Those working overseas in turn send money back home to support their families.

  • Unfortunately, some end up becoming victims of Debt Human Trafficking: They’re tricked into accepting a pile of money and legally becoming slaves until they can pay off a debt their debtors know they can never pay off on their own. Most don’t even realize they signed themselves over to become slaves until it’s too late.
  • Some end up being caught up in Sex Trafficking rings, mostly in South Asia: They’re recruited by a Filippino ring member they befriend not knowing what they’re getting themselves into. Not until after their passport, visa and cellphone are all taken from them. Most are immediately forced into prostitution but some are forced to pose in front of a camera for live cam shows, usually under the threat of violence, calling the police or deportation.

The above points aside, those with the means to leave tend not to return home though they will visit. They will either just finance their family’s immigration or send money to keep their family going back home. Hong Kong is now the #1 destination for Filippinos looking to work overseas. The demand for overseas workers exploded after Hong Kong officially came under the juristiction of the Chinese government a few years ago.

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Due to America’s anti-immigration policies since 9/11, it’s now much harder for overseas workers to apply for a visa to work in the U.S. Overseas workers are now looking elsewhere to more immigration-friendly countries to work. Most Filippinos who immigrate to the U.S. now do it for one of two reasons: They either have family already here or they are in a relationship with a U.S. Citizen, usually the second reason. 9 out of 10 times it’s a Filippino woman and a Male American Citizen so…yeah.

For those who may be wondering yes, the U.S. Citizen will be on the hook to sponor their new wife’s Marriage Visa. Costs to file the paperwork while she’s home is $850 excluding the required Medical Exam which starts around $300. If she’s already here when you file, it will cost an extra $985 to change her Tourist Visa into a green card. This is in addition to the $850 for the other paperwork plus the Medical Exam, which are both also required get the her status legally changed. Oh and you also need to get a Marriage License in the U.S., which proves you and her are legally married. Reverse the gender if it’s a Female U.S. Citizen and Male Filippino but everything else is the same.

…Mind you, this is separate from retirees moving to The Philippines. Sometimes the Filippino woman will have a child (one or two on average) from a previous relationship and the child’s father is either dead or out of the picture completely. Of course, any guy who decides to be with her knows they’re getting a package deal. So, when you marry her and she becomes a U.S. Citizen via a Marriage Visa, her kids under 18 become one also. As it happens, both The Philippines and The U.S. allow dual citizenship between them. Anyone born to a Filippino parent overseas is also automatically eligable for dual citizenship. Want to become a Filippino Citizen? It will take 10 years but that time is cut in half if you marry a Filippino citizen.

Goes without saying the reason I know all this stuff is because I have been doing alot of research in recent years. I meant to post this last month but I’m glad I waited since I kept updating this post over time. I will revisit this topic throughout 2018 as well ^_^

Gordon Hayward’s devastating leg injury shocks the Sports World   Leave a comment

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Dwayne Wade’s expression perfectly describes the shock and horror everyone unfortunate enough to see it felt and probably still feels almost 24 hours later. It was NASTY.  For that reason, I won’t embed the footage. If you want see it, here is the link. The injury happens at the very beginning of the video. That sound you hear when Hayward lands is his left Tibia breaking. In the next moment, everyone is shocked into silence at what they are looking at.

I’ve seen footage of basketball injuries. I always look at the reactions to it by those witnessed it. Paul George’s was pretty shocking even though it technically happened during the offseason. Kevin Ware’s was GRAPHIC and even caused some of the opposing players to vomit or cry in horror at the sight of the injury. Hayward, on the other hand…you could tell everyone FELT it and that’s what made it so devastating. I am pretty sure that if the game was cancelled right there, most would have been relieved. That’s how bad it was.

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This brings me to the obvious question I have seen get asked on ESPN all day: Does the injury deny them a return to the Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland?

Not necessarily.

Make no mistake Hayward WILL be missed. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Celtics have no chance of making it back to the ECF this year. It will just be more of a challenge. We all saw what happened when Isaiah Thomas got hurt last year: Next Man Up. Marcus Smart will start for Hayward from now on as well.

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…As the Celtics have their home opener tonight, there is talk Gordon Hayward could recover in time to play as soon as after the All Star Game. It obviously wasn’t a life-threatening or career-ending injury. Just a horrible freak accident. Even so, you can’t help but feel for him and his family.

He will be back. Of that you can be certain.

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