How To Get FREE TV

40854025_239718670047988_5278440134482591744_n.pngIn the US free television no longer really exists. You can get PBS and some channels, but only if you have a satellite or an antenna. And you know what I mean by antenna, the two metal rods that sit on top of your TV and you point them in a certain direction to better reception.

Well, in the UK there is so much free TV! Honestly, I don’t think people need to pay for cable in the UK because the free channels have so much to offer. Channel 5 plays drama, movies, cooking shows. Channel 4 has reality tv, documentaries, and soap opera. BBC has movies, documentaries and obviously some of the worlds best news. All 3 of these channels (and several more) are all free! Once a year you do have to pay for a tv license, which is basically to have access to anything on your tv. But the cost is minimal, I don’t know any household that doesn’t have it. Stations like Channel 4 or ITV are able to keep the cost to consumers so low by charging for commercials and some brand endorsements. Certain shows will say they are sponsored by a toilet paper brand or beer.

Why is it that the UK can offer so much free entertainment, but the USA can’t? America is supposedly a very wealthy country, we can afford to have the world’s largest military. But simple thing like health care or TV can’t be free? I can’t find any  logic for why the UK offer’s its residents so much and the US offers so little.

So, do you want to find a way to get these free channels? Most of them offer their shows online with streaming. You can gain access to all of them (except BBC) by creating an online account with your social media like Facebook. They might have a lock for people watching from outside the UK, but you can easily get around that by using a VPN. A VPN is basically a work around where it tricks a website into thinking you are in the UK or a certain country, when you really are not.

I’ve included a list of the free channels you can check out below, and some of the shows I like on them.

BBC: I love the docuseries on here! The Sex in Britain one is very compelling.

ITV: It is terrible, but I love to watch Bridezilla’s.

Channel 4: You have to watch the Great British Bake Off! It is homely cooking with friendly competition.

Channel 5: Rich House Poor House is such an interesting show! It forces two families to swap lives for a week so the rich can see how it feels to live on the bread line.

Are You a Racist and You Don’t Realize It?

RacismI was recently visiting some family, they are an elderly British couple. At one point, the husbands brother came to visit. We were all gathered around a sitting room, discussing my visa situation. I can’t renew my visa because I don’t earn enough money and this upsets the family. The brother said “I’m not racist but…” It is always the “but” that means something bad is coming.
“I’m not racist but… if you were Pakistani, you would be able to get a visa no problem. One neighbour I know brought 5 of them over, and the NHS get them a car to drive to appointments. If you were from any other country you wouldn’t have a problem staying in the UK”
I struggled to maintain my composure. I HATE when people are racist, especially when they have zero understanding of the incredibly difficult and complicated process ANYONE goes through to live in the UK, regardless of skin color. Additionally, I took affront to this words because my best friend’s family originally came from Pakistan and they have done nothing but add to the UK.  I don’t understand why native British assume that any foreigner is detracting from the country rather than giving to it.  Most foreigners fill jobs that would otherwise sit empty. The worst part for me however, was them attempting to negate their negative comments by saying “I’m not racist”.
No. There is no way to be kind of racist, or semi-racist, or make racist comments and not be racist. Racism is a black and white issue. Either, you are racist (which this brother definitely was) or you aren’t. You can’t pick and choose how to define yourself when it comes to being insulting towards other races.
I also found it disrespectful that they attempted to minimize my situation by putting it down to the fact that I am American and/or white. My skin color has nothing to do with my visa.. The country and skin you are born in DOES NOT MATTER. We all have the same DNA design, the same body parts, the same ancestors. Race isn’t important to what country you should be allowed to live. Racism is simple not ok in 2018.

 

Is Having a Good Work Ethic Connected to Having a Good Work Environment?

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Research has demonstrated that employee’s who have a good working environment with proper benefits improve their productivity and get better results. However, what about research into working environments that are made a little too good? I know this will probably sound insane, but I think that if the working environment is too comfortable, productivity and work ethic can go down. I have one clear example of this.

In the UK, contracted employee’s get 25-26 days of mandatory leave plus holidays. They are allowed to call in sick and not lose pay or holiday days. They work decent regulated hours, and have huge levels of safety standards built in. All British residents get free health care, and if they lose their job they get government support. Maternity leave is usually about 6 months, father’s also get a bit of time off. Lastly, it isn’t easy to fire someone in the UK. You have to have a really good reason.
In the US employee’s aren’t so lucky. Maternity leave is 3 months, maximum. There are no paid sick days. If you are fortunate, you get a total of 10 days off work, plus holidays. Employers offer health insurance, but it will usually cost the employee an arm and a leg. Getting fired is easy, and if you want to claim unemployment, you can only do so for a maximum of 6 months and that is with a lot of paperwork involved. You are frequently expected to work a lot of overtime, without compensation.
Overall, the US work system isn’t the best. Especially with regards to time off and health benefits. However, I see a huge discrepancy between British work ethics and Americans. In America, people work hard at their job because they have no choice. If you slack, you are fired. And you have no government benefits to fall back on. Many people must work multiple jobs to make ends meet and cover all their expenses. In the UK, the government lends more of a helping hand. Rarely do people work multiple jobs in the UK. This is all fine until it leads to poor ethics in the workplace.
By being allowed to call in sick with no repercussion, I think it causes people to take advantage. I only call in ill if I am going to spread illness to others, or if I have a doctors note. I would say I take less than 5 sick days a year (usually). However, in Britain, I’ve seen people have more than a month off (with a doc note) and still keep their job and their pay! I truly believe this causes people to make every cold seem like a deadly virus. Furthermore, when you know your job is very protected, people get comfortable. They work slower, they don’t try as hard. Often it is in their benefit to work slower because they can get paid overtime.
In many ways as an American I am grateful for the good working environment in the UK. However, I treat my job as if it was in the US, which means I respect it. I believe American’s have been forced to have good work ethics. . Working in the UK is nice, but I think that the British have a poor work ethic because of it. There are other countries that have achieved a happier balance. In Japan, employee’s are expected to work upwards of 50 or 60 hours a week. But, they get extremely good salaries and built in company benefits. In Turkey they also work around 45 to 50 hours a week, but they get 20-30 days off and public health care. America needs a better work environment, and the UK needs to develop a way to keep employee’s incentivized to continue to maintain good work ethics.

Red Tape Connects You, Me, and Everybody

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If there is one thing I have learned from travelling the world, it is that somethings are the same in every country. A McDonald’s burger always tastes the same amount of greasy and wonderful. People universally dislike the average American tourist. Lastly, bureaucracy is a impossibly difficult no matter where you go. I speak from experience, I have dealt with governments agencies on 3 different continents.

In the UK, it is challenging because they want multiple documents for one thing. Proof of address for example, they want you to have at least 4 items, from different sources! This is especially challenging when most bills and mail are sent via email rather than physical post.
In China, they expect you to wait in massive, huge lines (queue’s). Upon reaching the front, the believe you should already know the paperwork, documents and information you need. There is no room or error or leeway. Everything must be perfectly in order to get what you need.
I think America is one of the worst locations of this. Trying to simply prove your identity is a chore. They want your birth certificate, passport, drivers license, social security care, and your left arm. This is just to prove you exist, to prove your address/residency is a whole other matter. Today, I attempted to get a driver’s license. As I have residency in two countries, having snail mail isn’t easy. But, I managed to round up several pieces of mail with my name and address, along with a title to the house I was in that also had my name on it. Yet, none of this was enough! Proving that I had a partial ownership of a piece of property in the state wasn’t enough evidence that I was a resident. My mother had to sign a legal form stating that I was a resident at the address. Then, they attempted to say our physical address wasn’t correct. Oh, the drama!! Then they charged me $70.
I shouldn’t complain. I recently discovered that in Turkey to obtain a driver’s license, you need to have a health examination to assure the government you have no health conditions that might impede your driving abilities.
I take comfort in the fact that bureaucracies are the same world wide. We might all live in different lands, but we can all unite in our loathing of the red tape.

How Buying Local Could Be Changing Your Political Views Without You Realizing It

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Around 2010, a “buy local” trend started to emerge in America. Suddenly, it was considered wasteful and un-environmentally friendly to buy products that were grown or made abroad. Initially, this trend has solid logic. Local businesses like farmers directly contribute to their local economy. By buying your vegetables solely from them, you are ensuring that your money is going directly back into your own nearby economy. This ensures that your area continues to thrive and doesn’t face unemployment or poor living conditions.

But, eight years later, and the “buy local” trend has really taken hold. Some people will only buy products that are made within 100 miles of where they live. And they shun products that were made abroad. I’m aware that this might seem like a stretch, but has the encouraged people to lean more towards nationalism and less towards being international participants?
If you aren’t buying goods from other countries, then you aren’t supporting international trade agreements that the US has made. Those agreements provide millions of jobs world wide. By not purchasing a toy made in China, you could be putting someone out of work. Furthermore, by focusing only on your local economy/area, you are forgetting that there other people and places out there. These people/places deserve income and money just as much as you do. The “buy local” trend is pushing the idea that American products are more important and worth more money than international sourced ones (because “buy local” always costs more money). A belief that American goods are better pushes people to believe more in that American’s are better.
Nationalism is at an all time high under the regime of Trump. He holds a lot of responsibility for this with this “Make America Great Again” and “America First” propaganda. But, he is feeding on sentiments that people were already growing. I think that “buy local” has caused people to put too high a value on what American’s do. And it causes them to ignore the importance of being part of a global economy. America could never survive if everyone lived the “buy local” lifestyle. As much as Trump hates to admit it, America needs other nations to feed it’s people. The US simply can’t produce enough foods and goods for its citizens on its own. “Buy local” is a good, but only in small doses. Taking it too far can lead to extremism that I believe harms foreign policy.

Is Your British Neighbourhood About To Change in a BIG Way?

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Gentrification is the process that occurs when a geographical area goes from being predominantly lower class or impoverished to being an area dominated by upper middle class individuals, stores, and businesses. A common sign of gentrification is the introduction of Starbucks, Co-op’s and boutique cafes to an area. This is then followed by increased living costs and housing costs, which pushes the poor out and lets the rich in.

I recently had an experience with the NHS (National Health Service in the UK) that has made me question whether the UK is attempting a large scale gentrification process. I needed a prescription filled, which the pharmacy was unable to get renewed by my doctor. After a week of confusion, I spent an entire morning driving all over town, calling five different doctors in an attempt to find someone who would print me off a new prescription. I was refused by every single person, despite the fact that medication is something that I depend on to stay alive. Eventually, after crying in the middle of a crowded waiting room, I was given my medication.
Initially, I just attributed this clerical paperwork error to the under-funding that the NHS is currently experiencing. However, upon further thought, I realised that this under-funding to health services only effects one specific group of people, the lower class. It’s lower class individuals who go to the emergency room, and are being left untreated by the lack of staff. Frequently lower class individuals avoid going to the doctor due to work or other conflicts, so they end up in hospital because their illnesses have worsened to the point of an emergency. It is the poor who are stuck in overcrowded waiting rooms, and who are dying in the hallways of hospitals. The middle class and rich are able to either afford private health care, or live a higher quality of life that prevents illness or allows it to be immediately treated.
So, the government is under-funding the NHS, and it mainly effects the lower class of the UK. This doesn’t equate to a removal of these people, does it? No, but then I read that the government is also making huge changed to their car MOT process (this is when a car is tested to be road safe and environmentally legal). The changes will mean that diesel vehicles and older cars are almost guaranteed to fail their MOT’s (and they can no longer be driven). Who drives old cars? The lower class citizens who can’t afford to constantly upgrade or get new leases. When their cars fail, they won’t be able to work, or function.
If you combine the new MOT regulations and the under-funding in health care with the ramifications of Brexit, all signs point to the fact that the UK government is attempted to gentrify the entire nation. They are removing any working class immigrants, and refusing entry to new ones. They are causing the poor to suffer medically. Brexit is only causing housing to increase in price and get worse in upkeep. I used to believe that the UK had great social services, but I can now see that people who take advantages of these services are constantly discriminated against. More so than in the US and many other countries. The UK is trying to cut their social services as well, which only further supports my belief that the UK wants to be a country of only the well off.
Unfortunately, this aspiration is costing the lives of the lower class. They are being forced to live on the streets, die without medical care, or suffer in poverty. The UK is supposed to be a first world country, but I see that it is going down a path that makes the first world benefits only accessible to some. All are not equal in Britain.