Posts Tagged ‘slavery’

The whales are so smart they know that even if they hear the cranes coming up the pathway [to lift them out of the pool] or certainly if they see them, they won’t separate, they won’t allow it to happen because they know the possibility … that one of the members of their family or their social group could be taken away from them. … You’ll [hear] extremely upset vocalizations from whales that are … being taken away, and then the whales that they’re being taken away from.

— Former Orca Trainer for SeaWorld

This reminds me of the practice in human slavery, when female slaves were forced to “breed” children so they could be sold off as quickly as possible for profit.

SeaWorld has never really recovered after its drop in stock price and popularity resulting from the movie Blackfish. Recently I have seen prime-time TV advertisement by SeaWorld defending its practices.

Here is another, somewhat older website about the Miami Seaquarium – called in parody Seaprison.

We consumers can help by not patronizing businesses that enslave animals to make human profits.

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Korean Concentration Camps

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea estimates that North Korea holds as many as 120,000 people in its system of concentration and detention camps, and that 400,000 people have died in these camps from torture, starvation, disease, and execution.

Some reports indicate that they also practice generational imprisonment:

Many prisoners of the camp were born there under North Korea’s “three generations of punishment”. This means anyone found guilty of committing a crime, which could be as simple as trying to escape North Korea, would be sent to the camp along with that person’s entire family. The subsequent two generations of family members would be born in the camp and must also live their entire lives and die there.

Source Wikipidia

See this Wikipedia article for more details and links.

If you are unlucky enough to be born the grandchild of a person who tried to escape the country, you will serve slave labor for your entire life. Imagine the world-view you would have under those circumstances?

And we, in 2014, allow this to go on, while the baby face dictator gets media coverage.

Bees are Dying

In North America alone, the National Agriculture Statistics Service reported that there were 2.44 million honey-producing hives in the United States in February 2008, down from 4.5 million in 1980, and 5.9 million in 1947. This is also happening in similar proportions in Europe and the rest of the world. We don’t exactly know what is causing it, but we suspect pesticides. Our agriculture depends on bees to a large degree, and entire crops are in peril without sufficient numbers of bees available.

Overfishing the Oceans

Faced with the collapse of large-fish populations, commercial fleets are going deeper in the ocean and father down the food chain for viable catches. This so-called “fishing down” is triggering a chain reaction that is upsetting the ancient and delicate balance of the sea’s biologic system.

A study of catch data published in 2006 in the journal Science grimly predicted that if fishing rates continue apace, all the world’s fisheries will have collapsed by the year 2048.

National Geographic

Anthropogenic Climate Change

97% of climate scientists agree that human activity is causing climate change.  We are pumping CO2 into the atmosphere at rates that will result in global warming to a degree that the ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica will melt, causing a rise of sea levels and overall changed in weather, resulting in droughts and many other climate related disasters, all within the next 100 years.

Most of the educated world agrees with this assessment. In the United States, however, there is a strong movement of “climate deniers” particularly in the conservative population that is well-funded by the oil and coal industries, putting the general consensus in question. Since the U.S. is by far the largest polluter in the world, this strong anti-climate-change sentiment has global implications. One of the arguments of deniers is that since China and India are just starting to pump pollution into the air, whatever we do will not offset that, so we might as well not even try. A significant percentage of the U.S. population seems to have bought into this philosophy.

We didn’t want to face that smoking was dangerous to our health, until the first generations of smokers started dying early in the millions in the 1960s and 1970, so the inevitable evidence eventually came and changed our attitude. This will happen with climate change, but the nature of the problem is much more calamitous in the event that climate scientists are right. We could ruin the planet for centuries or millennia – before it can recover again.

We are playing a big-stakes game of dice. Our conservatives are not even willing to hedge their bets – they’re betting the planet in exchange of jobs and profits.

Mass Extinction

Human beings are currently causing the greatest mass extinction of species since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. If present trends continue, one half of all species of life on earth will be extinct in less than 100 years, as a result of habitat destruction, pollution, invasive species,
and climate change.

Source Link Here

Depletion of Fossil Fuels

Oil companies are making record profits, and did so during the hard years of 2007, 2008 and 2009. Right now, the United States has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the largest oil producer in the world. Oil companies are raking it in while they can, because they know the gravy train is coming to an end. The International Energy Agency announced in 2006 that the world had hit “Peak Oil” meaning that oil production worldwide had hit the maximum. Going forward from Peak Oil, it will be harder and more expensive to extract and deliver oil, and new supplies will lag behind new demand.

The evidence for is, of course, is the price we are now paying at the pump, which is more than twice what it was just five years ago. The free market speaks the ultimate truth here. Oil is in more demand than can be fulfilled.

There is a lot of controversy about the Peak Oil theory. People argue that the Peak Oil crowd does not know what they are talking about. So, for a moment, let’s put aside all studies and all science, and especially all American politics.

It took about 450 million years to make all the oil in the world. Oil is basically the end-result of millions of years of sunshine (solar energy) being trapped in organic material, mostly plants. The earth is not making any more of the stuff at an appreciable rate. About a hundred years ago we started using it up by burning it and as ingredients for manufacturing, and we have made a measurable dent in our supply. If you trust the doom-sayers, we have about 20 years of oil left at the current consumption. Some say 20 to 50 years. Wild and crazy optimists say 100 years. But it’s limited, very limited, and we will run out.

The question is not if Peak Oil is real. The only question we may ask is if it really happened in 2006, or if it’s still off in the future, perhaps in 2016 or 2026.

I once calculated [see formula here] that roughly every day we are using up as much fuel as it took nature 5,000 years to create.

We. Will. Run. Out. Of. Oil.

When the time finally comes, perhaps centuries hence, our descendants will have figured out how to make do without it. But there are legitimate uses of fossil fuels in reasonable amounts, and they will wish we had not squandered it to make plastic grocery bags or plastic forks for one time use; or for teenagers to drive to the mall. Fossil fuels are a limited resource, and when they are all gone, we’ll have to wait another 450 million years to get more, and haul them here from another planet with life on it.

Our strategy is pretty weird, isn’t it?


There are more people in slavery today than any time in previous history. Slavery has many faces. Keeping people trapped in sweatshops in Bangladesh so we can buy cheap shirts at the mall in the United States is a form of slavery. Holding young girls as sex objects is a form of slavery. Bringing laborers from Pakistan to work in construction in Dubai and taking away their passports is a form of slavery.

We are making it possible and we let it happen by our willingness to consume the products of the various forms of slavery – at Wal-Mart and all the other retail stores in our neighborhoods. Go to the mall and try to find a shirt made in the United States, and you will recognize what I mean.

Wars over Religion

It’s 2014 and we are still bickering and shooting each other over whose god is right and whose is wrong. It’s been going on for thousands of years, and we’re still willing to die for stuff written in books in the bronze age or in medieval times. I know people in and from Israel, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. They are all good human beings, people who only want to make their lives and the lives of their children better. That’s what everybody wants. If we just stopped bringing gods into the picture, we’d all get along just fine.

The gods are propped up by those that get fat off of them. The religious leaders wearing Rolexes and driving Bentleys. The politicians who build palaces. The kings who tax the rest of their countrymen. And the whole religious food chain below them, all the way down to the basket that’s passed down the rows of pews on Sunday morning.

I say we just abolish religion and save humanity in the process. But I am naïve.



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In China, soccer ball manufacturers make their employees work 20 hour days, for a month without interruption. Have you bought a soccer ball lately? If you did, you have slaves working for you. How many leather shoes are in your closet? How many gadgets do you own? Do you use coffee? Do you have jewels? Silver or gold?

In Pakistan, boys get placed in servitude at age 13 and don’t get released until age 30. You know how long ago 17 years was? Clinton was dilly-dallying with Monica 17 years ago. That’s how long.

Take the Slavery Footprint Survey and be amazed how much your actions and your purchases contribute to slavery all around the world.

I found out that 29 slaves work for me. I think my score is low.


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Be Careful What You Post

Like saying in a comment that “slavery is not all that immoral” could end up getting you on the cover on the New York Times – or into my blog….

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DjangoDjango Unchained is a masterpiece. It is the best movie I have seen in five years, and I knew it within the first half hour of watching.

Django (Jamie Foxx) is a slave in chains in 1858, a few years before the outbreak of the Civil War. During a chance encounter on a trail somewhere in Texas, a German-born dentist turned bounty hunter by the name of Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) buys Django to help him find a few wanted men.

The odd couple soon start trusting each other. Django helps the Doctor find and kill bad guys for money. Eventually, the Doctor decides to help Django find his wife, Brunhilde, a slave that was sold away from him in Mississippi.

They find her at a large southern plantation named Candieland, owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), who is a renowned and feared slave owner, and, as we find out, a sadist.

Candieland is run by Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), a slave himself, who, as southern irony would have it, loves his young master like a father, or – like a slave driver of the worst kind himself. He will do anything to keep the system intact, and he runs the estate with an iron fist.

This is the most brutal film ever made by Quentin Tarantino. The violence is staggering. People are constantly getting killed. Guns blast huge holes into people, who all seem to be gushing blood. I didn’t know people could bleed that violently, and I will never know if they really do. But it works in this film. Django Unchained is an unmitigated, uncompromising, offensive and repulsive blood bath from beginning to end.

The film portrays the institution of slavery in America in the south unlike anything I have experienced reading Gone with the Wind or Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Tarantino throws the abuse of human beings by society as a whole at us with relentless ferocity. We witness dogs tearing apart a slave who tried to run away. We see a woman thrown naked in a cage in the ground to stew for ten days. We see men running after horses in chains, barefoot, all night. We see other men killing each other with hammers in the living room in front of the fire-place to the amusement of the white overlords who own them. We see stupidity and human degeneration in the white trash that feeds off this system like rats off a corpse.

To tell this horrific story and to make it possible that we can bear sitting there for 2 hours and 43 minutes of non-stop killing, torture and injustice, Tarantino dishes out humor in just the right proportions, at just the right times. The humor is never base, ugly, stupid or slapsticky. It works like a perfect machine, keeping the viewer engaged, almost like passing out rewards of candy after particularly atrocious scenes. “It’s okay, viewer, I know this was hard. Hang in there with me. This story is worth telling.”

Good and evil are grotesquely contrasted. The good guys are brutal gunfighters and cold-blooded murderers who think nothing of blowing the head off an innocent woman just to make their case. But the evil is so deep, fed and institutionalized by the system of slavery, that we root for these murderers and feel good for all their little successes against all odds.

The work by all the major actors is superb. I was there in the woods, or on the plantation with them. It was all real. The musical score perfectly engaged and accentuated the violence.

Critics might accuse this film of glorified gun violence, especially at this time when guns and related violence are on the forefront of the national debate. There are a lot of guns in this movie, yes, but there is nothing glorifying about them. Guns, whips and brutality are what the oppressors, who were in the minority, used in the south of slavery to keep their victims in chains.

I walked out of Django Unchained completely convinced I had just watched an absolute masterpiece. A story that needs telling, packaged perfectly and engaging all the senses and emotions.

My rating system stops at four stars.

**** 1/2

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