Question: Why am I not “livin’ the dream”? Answer: Your “dream” isn’t yours and it sucks.

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How many of us have dreams? I’m confident that all of us do. But how many of us actually go for them? Not very many I’d assume. Otherwise we’d live in a completely different world. Why don’t we chase our dreams? It seems like a simple enough question but as you know it is one of the most difficult and more frustrating questions you will ever be asked. This article is about two, and only two simple questions:

1. What do you want?

How many can truly answer that question without saying something completely superficial or extremely sad and vague? “I want money. I want a new car. I want to be happy.”  Most of us have no idea what it is we want because we are constantly being told by someone else. We are bombarded by media of all sorts literally 24/7 and it’s slowly killing us. It taking away our dreams and replacing them with someone else’s. Do you want to know the easiest way to find out what you want? Ask yourself, “What did I want to be when I was a child?”, and your answer will be clear. Even if it sounds completely ridiculous, it is the truth. When I was a little boy the first real dream I had (“real” as in not The Red Power Ranger or Peter Pan) was to be an archaeologist like Indiana Jones. I was obsessed with all things archaeology and even made my Mom design my room to look like an archaeological dig site. I wanted to learn everything about everything and definitely kill some Nazis along the way.

Still not sure? Read This: 22 Secrets to Discovering Your Dream and Living It

We won’t get into why I’m not an archaeologist today. But did you sit and think about it? What did you want to be when you were a child? Do you even remember? I know it’s hard to sit and think about what you wanted, and then look at what you have, but it is worth it. Try and remember all the good things about your dream and how it made you feel when you were pretending to be that person of your dreams. It fells good doesn’t it? Just the mere thought of being whatever you wanted with the world at your fingertips. Well I got news for you. You can still have all of it. It is all still possible. You are still young. You are still that same little child with a head full of dreams. Just say what it is you want and it will come. In big pieces or in small, it’s all up to you. That leads us to question number two.

2. Why aren’t you trying to achieve it?

Dream is just a fancy word for want. I dream of being a polyglot (a speaker of many languages) or I want to be a polyglot, are essentially the same thing. A conscious dream is nothing more than what you want out of your life. But of course, someone will always find excuses on how this all not true. Most people put down their own dreams because they are “impossible” or “unrealistic”, that’s nonsense, you’re just scared to dig down deep. You afraid of what you might find. I know this because I’ve done it. It’s hard and It’s painful. But once you find it and you realize that you are already making small steps towards your dream, all that pain goes away. Maybe you wanted to be an astronaut and always read books about space on your lunch breaks. Maybe you wanted to be an artist for a major studio, but took the safe job and now draw in your free time. What you do in your free time is usually what you’ve been dreaming of doing for a living. A hobby can turn into a career, you just have to know how to do it. Small steps can lead to big dreams.

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Assuming you made it this far, I congratulation you. Most people see the world “dream” and an image of Cinderella or Mickey Mouse pop up in their heads, and they get frustrated and turn on the TV. Your dreams don’t have to upset you, you don’t have to stop believing that they will come true. But unfortunately this isn’t Cinderella and most of us don’t have Mickey’s insatiable drive to succeed. This is the real world and we have a real problem, we hate our lives. You’ve taken the first step by asking yourself, “What did I want to be when I was a child?”, and that first step is the big one. Don’t be afraid to do what you want. If it makes you happy, go out and get it. Fight for what is yours. It’s your dream and no one else’s. Only you can make it come true.

Keep moving forward,

JPS

The Lesser of Two Evils: Coke (Republican) or Pepsi (Democratic)

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When going to the polls on election day one generally always knows what they are going to see; one position, two colors, two names below. You probably just vote for your party right? Or maybe you actually looked up these poor saps on Google and found out the Republican candidate is a real scumbag, or worst they both are! Oh well. Just stick with the party your grandfather liked and things will be just fine. You pick the lesser of two evils. Leave the election box, get your “I just voted sticker” and feel the sense of bliss roll over your whole body.
“Yeah Yeah Yeah I know there are only two parties and they both suck, but it is what it is.”
 -Every Lazy American
How many times have you turned on the news only to see two old geezers, one with a red tie and one with blue, battling it our over whether it’s hot outside or pleasant outside? Republican or Democrat, that’s the way it’s always been right? Wrong! The fact is that over our 238 years as a country we have seen many political parties rise and fall: from John Adams and The Federalists in 1797 to Millard Fillmore and The Whigs in 1850. George Washington had no party affiliations and even warned against them in his farewell address. Even though we cite our founding father on every other major political issue, why not for political parties? Why since 1850 has every president either been blue or red? Why is it that the menu at McDonald’s can have 1000 options and we are not satisfied but when we pick our leaders, we are content with picking Pepsi (Democratic) or Coke (Republican)?
George Washington’s views on political parties:
We have seen what picking the lesser of two evils has done to our country. It’s done absolutely nothing more than give us a bunch of five year-olds pointing blame at one another. Obama can’t play nice with congress because they like red and he prefers blue and a congressman has to follow his party instead of his gut for fear of being ostracized like a “dirty independent”. And then when someone has the audacity to run as an independent, Green, Libertarian or Constitution, the big two cry that they stole votes and they are the reason the losers lost. It is time that we as Americans took the elections back for ourselves once and for all.
Here are some other political parties to research
American-Political-Parties
How can you bring down the big two? Follow your gut and use Google. The world is out there waiting to be discovered. You don’t have to follow the party of your great-great grand pappy any more. If it doesn’t suit you, fine, there are plenty of other welcoming parties who will accept you for who you are and want what you want. We choose what parties are in power. It is up to us to say we want 2 or 4 or  even 6 candidates for president. If you don’t agree with any party that’s even better. Everyone should vote for a person, not a party. We want our elections to be as diverse as our country. We want more parties to choose from and not to be laughed at for going against the grain. We want our representatives to do more than bicker, we want them to push for change. Our country deserves more than the lesser of two evils. Go see for yourself. There are plenty of parties just waiting for you to join and plenty more waiting to get started.
The Libertarian Party: http://www.lp.org/ 
The Green Party: http://www.gp.org/
The Constitution Party: http://constitutionparty.com/
The Pirate Party: https://uspirates.org/ YES A party for PIRATES (technically)
The Prohibition Party: http://www.prohibitionparty.org// Yeah they still exist! Bring back the speakeasy!
The Modern Whig Party: http://www.modernwhig.org/ Who knows? Ya’ never know.
Keep moving forward,
JPS

This documentary about elections in small town NJ is an eerily similar microcosm to our current federal government.

A Whisper to a roar: Why this country is great.

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In yesterday’s post we talked about how in this country we are fortunate that we do not face any opposition when trying to make our voice be heard. The documentary posted above shows how much we take for granted during the voting process and how relatively civilized our election processes are. There are people all over the world still fighting for democracy and for the government to allow them to speak. These are country in which our government has chosen to publicly intervene: Egypt, Venezuela and Ukraine. And also in countries where the US has decided not to give its two cents: Malaysia and Zimbabwe. This is happening all over the world, whether Mass Media decides to report it or not. How fortunate we are to have the election processes we have, but as always there is room for improvement.

Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.

We as a country need to remember all that was sacrificed so that we could go out and vote peacefully. I’m not talking specifically about the post-9/11 “support our troops” and “never forgot” type of remember, which always puts us on the defensive. I’m simply talking about reflecting upon everything that has happened up until now to get your vote into the that booth. I’m talking about the Boston Tea Party all the way down to, and including, the current administration. We have a long history and it’s worth remembering all of it, and not just 2001-present.

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Think about what you want as a individual. Do you want to smoke weed? Do you want to own a gun? Do you want better schools? Do you want to have a nudist colony out in the woods? It doesn’t matter. In this country you can support whatever it is you desire, as long as it doesn’t impose on the liberty of others. Choose your candidate based on what you want. If you can’t find a party or a candidate that wants what you want, you have the ability to change that. It is your right to defend what you want. If the two party system doesn’t work for you, write in your candidate. It is your choice

.American-Political-Parties

This is more of a reflective piece than anything else. I would like to know what others think of our election process. I want to know if others think we are as civilized and democratic as I’d like to believe. Is the two party system working for most Americans? Am I alone in thinking that two candidates is not enough? There are many questions that I have, but I’d like to hear yours. What about tomorrow is good? What about it is bad? How much change is needed? We have the right to ask these questions freely thanks to those who have fought before us. Let’s not put that to waste.

Question: Why don’t you vote? Answer: You’re American.

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How many of us really vote? Why do we even bother? Why should we bother? These are questions many of us millennials, and I am sure many seasoned beings on this planet, ask themselves every time elections come about. Some of us feel like our voice doesn’t matter or that we are insignificant in the big dealings of Washington or the Illuminati or whatever other big force you use as an excuse to feel insignificant. You keep repeating to yourself that you are no one and your voice doesn’t matter. You then type into Google, “Why don’t I matter?”, and then cry because the search engine did its job. I’m here to tell you that there is a connection between your thoughts and your voting habits. Your inner turmoils and what goes on on all levels of government are all related. When you live in a constitutional republic like The United States, everyone has a voice. You are important and your voice will be heard.

Voter Turnout

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.

Elections are coming up on Tuesday and it really is amusing at how little is covered on the news compared to the presidential primaries and elections. Soon that time will come when the primaries start and it seems the rest of the world is suddenly unimportant and the sole focus is on the two machines, Pepsi (Democrats) and Coke (Republicans), battling it out on stage. Before that time comes however we are met with the task at hand; who will essentially be the president (governor) and vice president (lieutenant governor) of our respective states? Who will represent our home state in congress in Washington? Who will represent our home town in The state senate? Who will run your town or municipal boards? All of these questions will be answered depending on your state in the midterm elections. You have a voice in every single election, from the biggest to the smallest, and its about time you started to get involved instead of sitting on your couch crying about who got elected as you watch some draft of professional sports.

Voting is a right best exercised by people who have taken time to learn about the issues.

If you keep telling yourself that you have no voice and then don’t vote, surprise…NO Voice. Admit it, you know the name of every player on your local team but can not name your governor. You know every statistic of your favorite player, but can’t say how your congressmen voted on the deficit, healthcare, war, immigration and other top issues facing our country. This is the problem with our country, we have forgotten what it was like to truly need a voice and to need to be heard. We have become as lazy as our foreign critics say. Yeah, you have to do some research to find out who is up for election and you actually have to read the campaign websites of your favorite campaigners, but it is worth it. In the end your vote will not be put to the torch. You do not have to worry about being beaten by the police or a local religious group for voting. It doesn’t matter if you are: white, black, rainbow, male, female, gay, straight, religious or secular. You have a voice and it should be heard. If you are registered to vote, please do. It is your voice and it is your right to make it matter, in this election and in your own life.

This video really helped me to understand how important my voice is.

The Network: Afghanistan’s strive towards modernization

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“The Network” Directed by Eva Orner

The documentary “The Network” deals with Afghanistan’s largest TV network Tolo TV, their beginnings and their work as they strive to modernized Kabul and the rest of the country. It showed the humble beginnings of 5 men who started a radio station and how it has turned into the media giant it is today. The documentary was evenly balanced between the pros and cons of every situation they addressed. What it lacked were more stories of the effects of the station from the people’s perspective in their own language. Afghanistan is a place very few can point to on a map, and yet after 13 years of United States intervention, it remains a place shrouded in mystery and intrigue. The similarities between the station and the government are eerie yet eye opening. It is highly recommended to anyone looking learn more of Afghanistan and even those interested in journalism and TV production.

Children watching TV

The first act is dedicated to the profiling of three brothers who come back to Afghanistan after living as refugees in Australia until the early 00s. After the 5 year reign of the Taliban there was a necessity for new forms of mass entertainment. We then go into the humble beginnings of the small radio station that would become Tolo TV. The biographical portion of essentially the elite of Afghanistan is reminiscent of The Kite Runner. The main character of the book seeming unaware of the real Afghanistan and his struggle to reconnect. After a boring history lesson, the true purpose comes in the form of programming and its impact on the country.

The programming of the second act shows how international Tolo TV has become. Whether they be Australian female producers or German execs, all expats are initially portrayed as heartless business people only focused on the bottom line. After going over the content of the programming that shell peels away and a true love for the country and its people is uncovered. This segment shows how television can united a country and change socio-cultural perspectives through choice programming. Though some of the programming may be viewed as western propaganda, the reaction of the citizens as whole can show how presumptuous that can be. Finally you get to hear from the masses in the third act (sort of).

The real undertones of the whole movie come out in the third act. Both citizens and expats show their true colors when talking about the country and its future without foreign aide. Tolo TV is a microcosm of the country. Expats lead the teams of untrained Afghans in TV broadcasting and have become attached to the people. They are fearful that they have not taught their Afghan staff enough to survive without them. They are afraid for the future of not only the station but of the country. It truly is the story of US intervention but on a smaller scale. It was filmed in 2011, which means that since then many troops have left and also many of the expats at Tolo TV. It will be interesting to see if Tolo TV continues to inspire as they had hoped, and move the country together as a whole as both foreign troops and their own expat teams leave the country in the hands of its own people.

Keep moving forward,

JPS

The here and the now

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A lot can happen when you resign from a job. Especially when that job is in a family business and you’ve given them a decade of your life. There is a lot to learn from the experience, and now looking back on all of it, I know things are going to be okay. In the year since I’ve been home in the United States I’ve seen and done so many things and am happy to say that even though I’m not right where I want to be, I’m close.

In this world, or at least first world middle class America, you have to keep going for the gold. Sometimes it just plain sucks and you won’t get there when you want, or worse, it wasn’t what you thought it was. That’s just fine. Keep moving forward and improve yourself every day so that you, and not others, will feel whole at the end of the day. Read a book, learn a new language, apply to that insanely outlandish job, because in the end you just never know. I’m going to keep applying myself to insanely high standards, because that’s what I’m good at. And even though my resume can’t reflect the hours of language study, the hours dedicated to self improvement books and videos, the love and attention that I give to my family, I will keep doing what I’m good at and makes me feel successful.

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Since my last post I’ve been caught up in what others expected of me and not focused on the here and now. Things are looking up from today on. I’m applying to crazy jobs, I’m studying for the GRE, I’m applying to outlandish grad schools and I’m learning four new languages. My cover letters and resume can’t show all this hard work, effort and fun, but that’s okay. This is for me and if others like what they see or are inspired, I’m thankful for all of it.

If you think learning a new language is impossible, think again:

Mass Media and the Real Problem

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It’s a fact. If you want depression, all you have to do is turn on the TV and BOOM you have all the main stream depression you need to feel like a real asshole. My next post was supposed to be on education and I will continue to work on it but I feel that I need to point out a couple of problems with the recent “Russia problem”. Let’s see if I can explain myself clearly.

It is not “World War 3”. Don’t be an idiot. Russia has to much technological labor, foreign direct investment at steak that will throw them back twenty years if they start a war. The youth in Russia today want these technologies jobs that flooded in to the former soviet union after the iron wall came down and want to keep them. If their government restricts those jobs or worse puts them under government control, Russian youth will revolt. They’ve been given a taste of honey and they love it. Unfortunately just because Russia does not want a war doesn’t mean that they won’t defend themselves. Every single mass media outlet neglects to show that Russia doesn’t want a war they just don’t want to be told what to do. If we continue to threaten them they will  trade their oil on national currency and not the dollar. According to US war history, those are fighting words.

As far as I’m concerned Russia and Crimea were pretty democratic despite the main stream media calling it an invasion. Yes Russia is pretty corrupt and they probably shouldn’t have declared it a landslide 97% victory but what can you do? I’ve never seen an invasion come to a vote. Putin is just like Hitler says Hilary Clinton. Did Hitler set up his troops along only one providence of Poland and then meet with their leaders and ask them to join by vote? I’ve heard history is written by the winners so maybe that slipped by me in my Catholic History book. Crimea is one providence or state that has heavy Russian influence and has wanted to join the federation for quite some time. It’s like the separationists in Alaska talking with Canada to join their country. It’s kind of off topic but Alaska would probably say “yes” and be better off. Actually because of their proximity to Russia the US government would send in the military and crush such a rebellion against our ‘voluntary’ Union.

Speaking of hypocrisy why is that the US thinks that we have any right to tell anyone what to do outside of our own borders? Oh yeah because we created the UN after WWI to prevent another world war from happening but the sanctions we enforced on the losers actually helped spark WWII. That worked out well. Oh wait according to us it did, and we became an even bigger super power and thus created the war machine that Eisenhower warned us against (see video). After WWII we became a war machine and have occupied some country in one way or another since then. We also have yet to win a war since WWII, except Grenada, we  really crushed those bullies.

Before this turns into a bigger rant than it already has please I beg you to do your research and reclaim the country you love. We are heading down a path that our children will be ashamed to read about. We are not focusing on the real problem, we have become the terrorists we set out to destroy. We have given all our money to defense and have taken it away from what is important. Our children will suffer because of this. They already are. They are dumber, fatter, more drugged and more mentally unstable then ever before. Why? Because mass media told them to be. Reevaluate who is giving you your news and you’ll most certainly be better of because of it.