Archive for the ‘Updates’ Category

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.

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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.

Image result for The Philippines Trade School

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

Image result for Gordon Hayward Injury

 

 

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.

I’m at 7 Blogs. Might be time to make some more   Leave a comment

Right now, I have a blog post for every day of the week ^_^

Even so, I’m thinking of making at least 3 more before my next birthday:

  1. MBTA Points of Interest: As a personal pet project I will write reviews for Bus, Train and Commuter Rail stations and stops in the Greater Boston Area. I will also provide news and updates related to the MBTA.
  2. Helping Those Who Need It: Unfortunately, this will likely be a controversial blog given the political climate in the U.S. I plan to bring attention causes and persons who are in need of support of some kind, usually Financially or Housing. When I say Financially that can be anything from funds (obviously) to Employment. I view it as giving s helping hand, not a handout. This is why I want to make a dedicated blog for this topic.
  3.  Confidence in the Kitchen: Another personal pet project. I am going to share my cooking skills through the blog, mostly using pictures since I move around too much to record video. I will also post reviews for different foods and restaurants where I have eaten. Should be fun!

 

Those are the three I’m thinking of. I made sure I went with topics not already covered in one of my other blogs. For example movie reviews. I do that in this blog already. Same with sports news.

I will roll out all 3 new blogs before my next birthday, which is March 30. I will of course announce here when the new blogs go live. This will be the first time since I made my Fictionpress and Fan Fiction blogs that I will be rollinng out more than one blog at once. I make it look easy but it’s definitely not. LOL.

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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My Fellow Americans: If you don’t have one already, make a blog and use your voice!   Leave a comment

Image result for Blogging Websites

…Here are ten Free Blogging Platforms. Obviously you’re reading this on one of them: WordPress. I have a Tumblr, Live Journal and Xanga account as well. I am challenging my fellow Americans who don’t already to make a blog of their own and use their voice. For this reason, I am offering to help people start their own blog free of charge.

We have reached a point as a society where Mainstream Media has begun to reassert themselves as “The most trustworthy source of information” even when what they report and comment on is not only intentionally inaccurate to create buzz but is oftentimes biased. CNN in particular feels so threatened by Social Media they take every opportunity they can to discredit it. THEY and the Washington Post alone have been pushing hard to make the case Social Media is the source of “Fake News” and that “Only reliable sources can be trusted”. CNN has proven over and over again it can’t be trusted so…yeah.

Ben Franklyn once said “The only people who should have freedom of the press are those who have their own press.” Today, that’s having your own blog.  Mainstream Media doesn’t want anyone outside their industry to share news BECAUSE platforms like WordPress are a threat to them. That’s the reason at the end of the day.

There are two other reasons I am calling on everyone to start blogging: The first is your voice matters. Some of you are dealing with tough times. Some of you are tired of the negativity they see on the evening news every day. Some of you want to make a difference. You can do all of these things if you have your own blog. Some of you know this but Serene Adventure.net was a real website I ran from 2003 to 2011.  A year after I shut down my website for good, I found WordPress purely by accident.

This blog was born.

That was when I realized I had found the type of platform that would be most effective for me to do all the things I wanted to do with my website. I could have my cake and eat it too ^_^

The other reason to start blogging: Anyone can do it. Literally anyone. No experience required.

I want to end this blog on one more point and this is regardless of your politics: America is most knew it has changed dramatically and very quickly since 9/11. That’s a fact. It’s all the more reason today than 2004 for people to express themselves while they are still able to do so. When Bush 43 was in the White House, the Dems expressed concerns about minoritiy groups’ rights in this country but did nothing to help. When Obama was in the White House, the GOP and Conservatives expressed concerns over their way of life being ignored and infringed upon but did nothing meaningful other than voice differences of opinion. With #45, most Dems and Republicans have voiced their displeasure of the current administration.

The thing about America that Americans both love and hate is everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Think about that.

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Eminem FLAYS Donald Trump in 5-minute Freestyle   Leave a comment

Here is the video so many are talking about:

And here are my thoughts on it:

…You can be sure this is FAR from over. LOL.

The video was done last week but its release was delayed so it could be edited for airing during the BET Awards the other day.

…Know what I just realized? Aside from the typical internet trolls and usual Yes-Men, no one is bashing Eminem for this. I mean NO ONE. That should tell you something.

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