Category — transformative travel

Exit Strategies: Anti-Kraak In The Netherlands

I REMEMBER THE TRUTH ABOUT THE REAGAN YEARS

I was in high school during the reign of Pres. Reagan. I remember the ugly realities behind his idiotic grins and statements. I watched local steel mills close their doors while their mostly White and Latino employees voted as “Reagan Democrats.” I saw his destruction of the air traffic controllers’ union. Most of the kids (of all races) I knew at my magnet high school hated him with a passion.

The closed steel mills never reopened. Those jobs went overseas, never to return. Reagan Democrats continued to vote for Pres. Reagan each step of the way as they were increasingly impoverished by his policies. Apparently, the emotional gratification they felt while fervently supporting him outweighed the reality of their diminished life circumstances. Most of all, I remember reading interviews with senior citizens who supplemented their diet with dog food because they couldn’t afford an entire month’s worth of real food plus their medications. I remember.

WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN

Many of the same dynamics are in operation during the Obama Administration. See the Black Agenda Report post, The New Black Politics: All We Want Is A Black Royal Family, Not Jobs, Peace, or Justice.

The once expansive horizons of black America’s political universe have shrunk and withered. Our class of black political misleaders abandoned long ago the internationalism and Pan-Africanism of Robeson and DuBois. Black America’s self-proclaimed best and brightest have traded the “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” refrain of the King era away. For themselves, they reap perceived access to power, or possible contracts or appointments, or just the thrill of basking in reflected glory. For the black masses they offer hollow excuses and the uncritical worship of a black royal family.

It’s no exaggeration. Black political discussions in this age of Obama have assumed an almost feudal tone. Scarcely any black political discussion can be heard over mainstream airwaves or print that is not ended, begun and punctuated with avowals of love for the handsome brown president and his beautiful family. Once the vigilant advocates of fairness, decent wages and peace, our political talking heads fill hours of air time and reams of print obsessing over perceived and real slights to the dignity of the first family, while ignoring the president’s vicious assaults on public workers, his unwillingness to halt the wave of foreclosures, his continued prosecution of unjust wars, and his vacuous prescriptions of “competition” and tax cuts for the rich as answers to record black joblessness.

I often think about the dog food-eating seniors from the Reagan era, and wonder how many modern day African-Americans are setting themselves up for similar futures. If you’re planning on relying solely on a company- or government-backed pension plan to get you through your senior years in the U.S., I respectfully suggest that you think again. Whether public or private, employee pension plans are increasingly under attack. The odds are that these various strained and underfunded pension plans won’t pay out enough for you to live a decent lifestyle in the U.S.

EVEN ON A SMALL, FIXED INCOME IT’S STILL POSSIBLE TO LIVE WELL―THAT IS, IF YOU’RE WILLING TO LOOK BEYOND THE UNITED STATES

Once I became an adult, I realized that it didn’t have to end that way for the impoverished seniors from the Reagan era. Even on their small, fixed pensions they could have lived much better than that. That is, if they had the knowledge and willingness to look beyond the United States. There are places in the world―decent places―where you can retire in style and have excellent medical care, a maid, and frequent dinners out while living on a Social Security-type of budget.

THERE’S A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITIES IF YOU’RE WILLING TO LOOK

I see the various problems that I’ve warned about over the past few years. I see The Gathering Storm. At the same time, I also see a world that is still alive with possibilities if you’re willing to seek them out. Of course, it’s best to create multiple income streams and have as much money coming in as possible. It’s best to be affluent.

Nevertheless, it’s still possible to live well with much less money if you’re willing to create overseas options for yourself. However, you can’t wait until the storm hits to make preparations. You can’t wait until you fall ill or reach retirement age to start wondering what you can do for yourself. If you want to have options, you have to start doing the groundwork to create these options as soon as possible.

The first step is to open your heart and eyes to the possibilities that exist. Too many African-Americans have the mindset of condemning themselves to a No Options At All Lifestyle. I’ve talked about this before:

The delusion that somebody else is going to rescue us is why we do very little to rescue ourselves. It’s also the reason we are so quick to give up on self-rescue efforts.

FROGS IN A GRADUALLY BOILING POT TELLING OTHER FROGS THAT IT’S “UNREALISTIC” TO JUMP OUT

Intertwined with the rescue delusion is the frequent refusal to accept responsibility for our own choices. This includes most African-Americans’ free and voluntary choice of refusing to even try to upgrade their life circumstances. Instead of taking action in support lifestyle optimization, we proclaim all such strategies to be “unrealistic.” Meanwhile, we watch people from other ethnic and racial groups use these same strategies that we’ve labeled “unrealistic” to get ahead. In fact, for almost a century, we’ve watched several waves of immigrants (including some Black-skinned ones) come to this country and do all sorts of “unrealistic” things.

I’m reminded of this because I recently ran across a comment by a detractor over at The Black Snob Blog. My frequent discussion of strategies for developing additional income streams and international relocation options seems to frighten and upset this individual. According to her, this sort of conversation is “unrealistic.” I upset her even more when I spoke of sitting out this recent election, and researching third party candidates that I could wholeheartedly support in future elections.

This concerned individual proclaimed that, “. . . The truth is that MOST Americans of any race do not (and will never) have the resources or wealth to thrive even when the economy is not doing well and most Americans CANNOT run to a foreign country at will. We have to try to fix things here. If we throw our hands up in the air and do nothing, then we are GUARANTEED to fail. I hope that most black women will go out there and vote tomorrow, even though they may currently feel discouraged or disappointed.” See the comments to this post at The Black Snob Blog for the entire comment.

I wonder if this concerned individual believes that it’s more “realistic” for African-American women to continue hoping for new programs in the midst of a failing economy. Thereby putting their fates in the hands of the American voting public—roughly half of whom have repeatedly shown themselves to be insane.

Here’s the thing: While various Black “frogs in a gradually boiling pot” are busy telling each other that various strategies are not feasible, other people—who are much poorer than even the poorest African-Americans—are busy using these same strategies to upgrade their lives.

The November 6, 2010, issue of the New York Times featured a story titled “In Venezuela, A New Wave of Foreigners.” Among other people, the story mentioned a gentleman named Etienne Dieu-Seul, a street vendor who arrived in Venezuela from Haiti a month before the earthquake.

At the other end of the economic spectrum, many new immigrants continue to arrive on tourist visas and overstay their visits, drawn by incomes that are still higher than those in some of Venezuela’s neighbors and by a broad array of social welfare programs for the poor championed by Mr. Chávez’s government.

“One can live with a little bit of dignity here, at least enough to send money home now and again,” said Etienne Dieu-Seul, 35, a Haitian street vendor, who moved here a month before the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January. After the disaster, officials here said they would grant residence visas to the 15,000 Haitians believed to have been here illegally.

I would bet that Mr. Dieu-Seul the street vendor is very thankful he did something as “unrealistic” and “not feasible” as leaving desperately poor Haiti to go to Venezuela. The people in Haiti that he’s sending money to are probably also very thankful.

I won’t even get into the steady stream of American retirees on fixed incomes who relocate overseas each year in order to live much better for much less money. There’s nothing “unrealistic” about taking the minimal action steps of getting a passport and researching your options. Ladies, keep in mind there are a lot of nervous crabs in a barrel out there who are deeply frightened by the idea that you might make the leap into abundant life. It’s one thing to discuss the hurdles and difficulties involved with an undertaking. I’ve never pretended that making any of these moves is easy. All the things I talk about involve putting in effort and work. Some of us don’t want to put in that sort of effort, so we proclaim various things to be impossible or unrealistic.

As I asked during that post, which voices do you listen to? The crabs in a barrel who tell you that abundant life is “unrealistic” for you? Or the voice of your own hopes and dreams? Either way, it’s your choice.

THE EXIT STRATEGIES SERIES

I’ve decided to do a new, ongoing Exit Strategies series of posts for those audience members who choose abundant life and maximizing their options. I’ve been running across all sorts of interesting information while researching and creating my own options. From time to time, I’ll share the information I find about issues affecting potential expatriates (from residency requirements and health care, to employment opportunities, to travel). The more general Exit Strategies posts will be open to the public. The more detailed posts will be part of the Sojourner’s Passport Confidential dispatches sent to regular commenters.

Like an earlier post, How To Work On A Cruise Ship, the point of today’s post is to emphasize that there are all sorts of surprising opportunities available. Opportunities that don’t necessarily exist in the United States, due to the differences between various countries’ laws. Opportunities that you only find out about because you’re actively looking for them. Because many of you have expressed an interest in Northern European countries, today I’ll mention something that I recently learned concerning the Netherlands: anti-kraak.

ANTI-KRAAK IN THE NETHERLANDS

Apparently, in the Netherlands it’s legal to squat in a building or house that has been unoccupied for over a certain period of time. Here’s a basic explanation of how antikraak (“anti-squatting”) works from an American expatriate named Sam Coleman:

The Anti-Kraak means you’re basically living there to stop a flat from being squatted. A property agency will contract you for extremely cheap rent to put you into a place where the property owner doesn’t have a plan yet for leasing it but want to prevent squatters from moving in. I’ve done it. You can pay like €150 (Khadija speaking: this = $205.14 USD at the moment) with your utilities. It’s really great. You have to sign up with a company, but you have to have a residency permit, so it’s a bit of a Catch-22 because you’re not getting a residency permit without a flat. So you have to have a residency first, get your residency permit, then search for an anti-kraak. If you’re lucky to get one, it’s a great way to live there.

Getting Out: Your Guide to Leaving America, pg. 185. See here and here for more information about anti-kraak. It seems to me that once a person has found a way to get some sort of residency permit, this anti-kraak arrangement is a good way to save money while exploring what it’s like to live in different parts of the Netherlands.

BOTTOM LINE: YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT OPTIONS MIGHT EXIST UNLESS YOU ACTIVELY LOOK FOR THEM

February 20, 2011   120 Comments

Retire Early Lifestyle

As explained by their website, Retire Early Lifestyle,

In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 20th year of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

They are the authors of the ebook, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement, 3rd Edition: A Common Sense Approach. I haven’t finished reading their book, but I’ve been impressed with what I’ve read so far. It’s practical, thorough, and inspiring. My only caveat would be that their experiences are those of a former high-income couple. Most people don’t have the sort of savings and investment portfolio they had at the point when they cashed in and got out of the rat race. Nevertheless, it IS possible for people starting out with less money to combine:

  • the creation of multiple passive income streams, and
  • the reduction of expenses (in other words, living below one’s means), and
  • the tips and strategies described in great detail in their book

to create a lifestyle for themselves in which they DON’T have to trade their life for money with the daily grind of a 9-to-5 job. At minimum, it’s possible to significantly reduce one’s dependence on a job.

As Sojourners, we already know we can create our own “luck.” And make our daily lives more about what we want to do, as opposed to what we have to do. Check out the resources at their site, and their recent interview with the Wall Street Journal.

January 4, 2011   51 Comments

“How To Work On A Cruise Ship”

Along with another cruise ship veteran, the blog host of Wandering Earl has written a comprehensive guide to finding employment on a cruise ship. It’s called How To Work On A Cruise Ship. This blog post from Live Richly gives a review of the ebook. Be sure to check out the following posts from Wandering Earl:

There’s a world of opportunities for those who seek them out!

December 17, 2010   40 Comments

The Language Adventurers, Part 2

Stuart Jay Raj On “Mistakes People Make When Learning A Language”


Even though this is a sales pitch, polyglot Stuart Jay Raj makes some interesting points, including about the importance of motivation when learning a language. Here’s hoping he creates programs for learning some other languages besides Thai.

THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE MASTERY BLOG

Also check out the Foreign Language Mastery website, which is a blog and podcast “dedicated to helping adult language learners master foreign languages as quickly, cheaply and painlessly as possible.” The site has an article about The Polyglot Project book which was recently published. [Ahh . . . my polyglot daydreams still live. Hmmm, now would be a good time to get back to studying my Spanish materials. I let myself fall off the bandwagon about a month ago.]

December 6, 2010   38 Comments

Semester At Sea

The Semester at Sea program is a wonderful opportunity for college-aged African-American women to complete a semester of coursework while traveling the world, and positioning themselves to enjoy everything the global village has to offer. There’s also a program for lifelong learners.

I greatly appreciate it when readers send me information about programs such as Semester at Sea. However, I wanted to make some things clear before I started publicly passing along this sort of information. Too many African-Americans automatically assume that having any and every other African-American go abroad is a good thing. It’s not. Not if that African-American person is making enemies for us, or otherwise damaging our collective image. I discussed these concerns during a post at the previous blog where I mentioned,

Stop Assuming that Black Men Ascending into Prominent Overseas Positions is a Good Thing

As a people, African-Americans just loooove to see a Black man get a prominent job. It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. Our chests poke out, we raise our heads a little higher, and acquire a new bounce in our steps at such news.

We assume that having Black men in prominent positions is a good thing. We assume that more Black men having the ability to travel and live overseas is a good thing.

Sometimes Black men going overseas is not a good thing. In fact, in many cases it’s a VERY BAD thing. It’s very bad for our international image as Black people. It’s also very bad for this country’s national security.

DBRBM are busy making enemies overseas for the rest of us as African-Americans. They are busy making enemies for ALL Americans. We don’t realize this because, like most Americans, we don’t pay attention to international news stories.

But the foreigners that DBRBM harm remember. As well as their families, friends, and entire societies. The same way we remember atrocities committed by foreigners here.

Andrew Warren: Former CIA Station Chief in Algeria, Muslim Convert, Alleged Rapist

Consider the case of a Negro named Andrew Warren. As the Los Angeles Times story notes, until he was removed from his post, this individual served as the CIA’s top official in Algeria until late 2008. He had previously held high-level positions in Afghanistan and Egypt. Los Angeles Times, January 29, 2009, “CIA chief in Algeria recalled amid investigation”:

“Warren was described as a highly gifted officer, a convert to Islam who demonstrated a rare ability to blend in among Muslim communities across several countries.

‘He’s exactly the guy we need out in the field,’ said a senior U.S. government official who had met with the accused officer in Algiers last summer before the scandal emerged. ‘He’s African-American. He’s Muslim. He speaks the language. He seemed well put together, sharp and experienced.'”

[Yes, exactly the type of Black man that we get very excited about due his surface attributes. He is probably also yet another example of a DBRBM Sunni Muslim.]

The LA Times story notes that “Algeria is considered a top priority in the intelligence community because it has been a haven for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a group that has pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network. The North African group was blamed for an August bombing outside Algiers that killed more than 40 people.”

It seems that this Negro was allegedly putting date rape drugs in women’s drinks, and then sexually assaulting them. [Shades of Dr. William H. Cosby, Ph.D.]

This story has also been covered by Al Jazeera: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2009/01/200912922550433383.html [Raised fist salute to our outstanding researcher, Lorraine, for bringing the Andrew Warren news story to my attention!]

This type of mess is at the high end. Pause for a moment to consider what the droves of low level DBRBM in the U.S. military are doing all over the planet. {shudder}

The Sorrows of Okinawa: U.S. Military Base = DBRBM Rapists’ Fraternity House

The list of rapes committed by U.S. servicemen in Okinawa is endless, and continues up to this day. I’ll focus on one incident that caused U.S. President Bill Clinton to have an emergency meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister.

From Wikipedia:

“The 1995 Okinawan rape incident refers to a rape that took place on September 4, 1995, when three U.S. servicemen, U.S. Navy Seaman Marcus Gill and U.S. Marines Rodrico Harp and Kendrick Ledet, all from Camp Hansen on Okinawa, rented a van and kidnapped a 12-year-old 6th-grade Japanese girl.

They beat her, duct-taped her eyes and mouth shut, and bound her hands. Gill and Harp then proceeded to rape her, while Ledet claims he only pretended to do so out of fear of Gill. The incident led to further debate over the continued presence of U.S. forces in Japan. ”

Of course, their relatives whined that there was racism involved in their prosecution.

From the November 6, 1995, New York Times story, “Accused Marines’ Kin Incredulous”: “‘It’s very disappointing and frustrating,’ said Kim Cannon, Private Ledet’s sister, who is a deputy sheriff in Fulton County, Ga. ‘It’s political and it’s racial. We’re all black and we all come from small towns. I’m looking at three young black men who may face life in prison, and I just don’t think this would be happening if they were white.'”

[Again, our familiar mantra: “young Black men.” Doesn’t your heart just bleed for them?]

Hmmm . . . Let’s see what happened after they all served their time in Japanese prisons (foreign prisons usually don’t play with inmates, by the way!):

From Wikipedia:

“The three men served prison terms in Japanese prisons and were released in 2003 and then given dishonorable discharges from the military. After release, Rodrico Harp decried prison conditions in Japan and said that the electronics assembly prison labor he was forced to do amounted to slave labor.” [Mournful sounds of violins playing in the background.]

“Ledet, who had claimed he did not rape the girl, died in 2006 in an apparent murder-suicide in the United States. He was found in the third-floor apartment of Lauren Cooper, a junior Kennesaw State University student and acquaintance whom he had apparently sexually assaulted and then murdered (by strangulation). It appears that he then took his own life by slashing his wrists.”

[Gee, I wonder what Ledet’s sister had to say after this final incident. Was this “political and racial” too? Yep. They all sure sound like innocent men who were convicted on trumped up charges. Right.]

We Must Make Ourselves Distinct From DBRBM and The “Acting Black” Crew

All of the above is yet another example of why we must make every effort to establish ourselves as separate and distinct from DBRBM and the negative “Acting Black” Crew. Often, we have no idea of the overall negative impression of Blacks that has already been established by these Black miscreants while they were overseas. You DON’T want to reap what these creatures have sown for ALL of us in foreign countries!

*Addendum*At minimum, we must STOP doing our traditional, knee-jerk “Let’s Rally Around Scum” dance. Including scum like the DBRBM (mentioned in the blog cited below) who raped several women while on duty and in uniform as a Los Angeles police officer. http://problemchylde.wordpress.com/2009/01/31/prison-reform-recidivism-and-reintegration/

*Update* For the curious, our intrepid researcher Lorraine has found a link with a picture of Ledet and his final victim. [Yes, she was White.] Here is the link :

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1689815/posts

The comments in the link point to another disturbing aspect of all of this: There might not be any mechanism in place to ensure that these creatures are automatically registered as sexual predators once they return to the United States. Lord have mercy.

Similar concerns apply to random African-American women

Please screen every young woman before you mention the Semester at Sea program to her. It’s NOT helpful to future Sojourners to recommend these programs to young African-American women like former Harvard students Brittany Smith (who was indicted earlier this year) or Chanequa Campbell. Or young African-American women like Kemba Smith.

Here’s what’s going to happen if we continue sending young African-American women like the above into other settings: Eventually, White universities and programs will complete the process of replacing African-American students with foreign-origin Blacks. Which was discussed at the previous blog during the post Charity Should Begin At Home, Part 1-Study: Universities Prefer Foreign Black Students. Quiet as it’s kept, universities know the average African young woman is not going to move men into her dorm room, or bring drug dealers onto a campus, or allegedly hide drug dealers’ guns on campus.

So, please . . . don’t squander these precious opportunities by blindly recommending them to African-American women who believe the world owes them something. Or who are unable to listen with humility.

July 21, 2010   33 Comments