The New Slavery

The goal of the plutocrats now running U.S. society, including our governments, is now abundantly clear: they endeavor to institute a new age of slavery. This was made evident in an editorial in today’s N.Y. Times with the compelling title of “A Rising Call to Promote STEM Education and Cut Liberal Arts Funding” By Patricia Cohen (Feb. 21, 2016).

Wait, that doesn’t sound so radical, does it? It does if you know a few facts. For one there is no reason to favor STEM education over any other. There is no shortage of qualified applicants for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) jobs. The unemployment statistics show this in the numbers of recent graduates who cannot get jobs in their fields as does the basic fact of economics that if there is a shortage of workers of a particular type, their wages increase (to attract the few that are available). Wages in this field are changing no faster than the others. The “shortage” of STEM job candidates and STEM college graduates was cooked up by plutocrats to support their demands for more visas to allow STEM foreign workers into the U.S. Recently Disney was caught laying off 20 of its I.T. employees to be replaced by foreigners on work visas, for example. There was no “shortage” other than the one created by the firing of the current workers who, by the way, were earning performance bonuses so it is hard to argue they were substandard.

The plutocrats really like these workers on visas, as they work for less, which drives down wages for all of the other workers in their category and they don’t complain, because if they lose their job they lose their visa and “bye-bye U.S.”

“Welcome to the new slavery. The chains are invisible but real. Sit down and shut the fuck up.”

What is telling are the arguments being used, basically “STEM good, humanities bad.” They argue that public money shouldn’t be spent on students who would be working at the lower paying jobs that a humanities education affords. (I hear echoes of “effing hippies” from the 60’s.) This argument is, of course, bogus. Currently humanities college graduates in the U.S. have starting salaries that are roughly equal to the median salary of all Americans. This means those humanities grads, all things being roughly the same as they have been in the past, will be earning above average wages for the rest of their lives, which means they will pay above average taxes and the taxes in excess of the average amount repay the public for the education expenditure several times over. So, guarding the public coffers is a bogus argument.

Also, the plutocrats are basically saying that we should use data regarding what people are making now to focus our attention regarding what is important in an education. This makes no sense in an economy in which people’s jobs are changing so fast that the average worker can expect to have seven different jobs in their working life, many of which have not yet been invented. (If you used the job description “social media consultant” ten years ago, what would people have thought?)

It is clear the kind of future the plutocrats plan. They expect citizens to “sit down and shut the fuck up” while they run the country however they wish. If citizens are to have choices of political candidates it is only ever between candidates that offer no threat to the status quo. If a candidate does offer a threat, say recommending free education and higher taxes on the rich (Go, Bernie!), he is to be quashed as strongly as possible by a candidate propped up by the plutocrats.

To enforce this vision of the future, the plutocrats are using chains of debt. For example, many political upheavals in this country have been supported by college students. A few changes in the tax code and voilà now total college student debt exceeds total credit card debt (think about that). A student looking at a mountain of debt that needs to be paid off cannot afford to blemish his ability to get a good paying job with an arrest record, etc. so, college students have been defanged.

Additionally, teachers and teachers unions have opposed plutocrats (even to the point of voting for Democrats), so now they are demonized and beleaguered on all sides and are no longer a political force.

Welcome to the new slavery. The chains are invisible but real. Sit down and shut the fuck up.


On 10 December 1948, the adoption by the General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights launched a new era. Lebanese scholar Charles Habib Malik described it to the assembled delegates as follows:

Every member of the United Nations has solemnly pledged itself to achieve respect for and observance of human rights. But, precisely what these rights are we were never told before, either in the Charter or in any other national instrument. This is the first time the principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms are spelled out authoritatively and in precise detail. I now know what my government pledged itself to promote, achieve, and observe. … I can agitate against my government, and if she does not fulfill her pledge, I shall have and feel the moral support of the entire world.

One of the fundamental rights the Universal Declaration described, in Article 19, was the right to freedom of speech:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

When those words were written sixty years ago, no one imagined how the global phenomenon of the Internet would expand people’s ability to “seek, receive and impart information”, not only across borders but at amazing speeds and in forms that can be copied, edited, manipulated, recombined and shared with small or large audiences in ways fundamentally different than the communications media available in 1948.

More information in more places than ever imagined

The unbelievable growth in the past several years of what is on the Internet and where it is available has the effect of making an unimaginably vast portion of human knowledge and activity suddenly present in unexpected places: a hospital in a remote mountain village, your 12-year-old’s bedroom, the conference room where you are showing your closest colleagues the new product design that will put you ahead of the competition, your grandmother’s house.

In all of these places, the possibility of connecting to the world opens up many wonderful opportunities for improving people’s lives. When you contract a rare disease on vacation, the remote village hospital may save your life by sending your test results to a medical specialist in the capital, or even in another country; your 12-year-old can research her school project or make friends with kids in other countries; you can present your new product design simultaneously to top managers in offices around the world, who can help you improve it; your grandmother can send you her special apple pie recipe by e-mail in time for you to bake it for dessert tonight.

But the Internet does not contain only relevant and helpful educational information, friendship and apple pie. Like the world itself, it is vast, complex and often scary. It is just as available to people who are malicious, greedy, unscrupulous, dishonest or merely rude as it is to you and your 12-year-old child and your grandmother.

Not everyone wants to let the whole world in

With all of the best and worst of human nature reflected on the Internet and certain kinds of deception and harassment made much easier by the technology, it should not surprise anyone that the growth of the Internet has been paralleled by attempts to control how people use it. There are many different motivations for these attempts. The goals include:

  • Protecting children from material perceived as inappropriate, or limiting their contact with people who may harm them.
  • Reducing the barrage of unwanted commercial offers by e-mail or on the Web.
  • Controlling the size of the flow of data any one user is able to access at one time.
  • Preventing employees from sharing information that is viewed as the property of their employer, or from using their work time or an employer’s technical resources for personal activities.
  • Restricting access to materials or online activities that are banned or regulated in a specific jurisdiction (for example a country or an organization like a school) such as explicit sexual or violent materials, drugs or alcohol, gambling and prostitution, and information about religious, political or other groups or ideas that are deemed to be dangerous.

Some of these concerns involve allowing people to control their own experience of the Internet (for instance, letting people use spam-filtering tools to prevent spam from being delivered to their own e-mail accounts), but others involve restricting how other people can use the Internet and what those other people can and can’t access. The latter case causes significant conflicts and disagreements when the people whose access is restricted don’t agree that the blocking is appropriate or in their interest.

Who is filtering or blocking the Internet?

The kinds of people and institutions who try to restrict the Internet use of specific people are as varied as their goals. They include parents, schools, commercial companies, operators of Internet cafés or Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and governments at different levels.

The extreme end of the spectrum of Internet control is when a national government attempts to restrict the ability of its entire population to use the Internet to access whole categories of information or to share information freely with the outside world. Research by the OpenNet Initiative ( has documented the many ways that countries filter and block Internet access for their citizens. These include countries with pervasive filtering policies, who have been found to routinely block access to human rights organizations, news, blogs, and Web services that challenge the status quo or are deemed threatening or undesirable. Others block access to single categories of Internet content, or intermittently to specific websites or network services to coincide with strategic events, such as elections or public demonstrations. Even countries with generally strong protections for free speech sometimes try to limit or monitor Internet use in connection with suppressing pornography, so-called “hate speech”, terrorism and other criminal activities, leaked military or diplomatic communications, or the infringement of copyright laws.

Filtering leads to monitoring

Any of these official or private groups may also use various techniques to monitor the Internet activity of people they are concerned about, to make sure that their attempts at restriction are working. This ranges from parents looking over their child’s shoulder or looking at what sites were visited on the child’s computer, to companies monitoring employees’ e-mail, to law enforcement agencies demanding information from ISPs or even seizing the computer in your home looking for evidence that you have engaged in “undesirable” activities.

When is it censorship?

Depending on who is restricting access to the Internet and/or monitoring its use, and the perspective of the person whose access is being restricted, nearly any of these goals and any of the methods used to achieve them may be seen as legitimate and necessary or as unacceptable censorship and a violation of fundamental human rights. A teenage boy whose school blocks access to his favorite online games or to social networking sites such as Facebook feels his personal freedom to be abridged just as much as someone whose government prevents him from reading an online newspaper about the political opposition.

Who exactly is blocking my access to the Internet?

Who is able to restrict access to the Internet on any given computer in any given country depends on who has the ability to control specific parts of the technical infrastructure. This control may be based on legally established relationships or requirements, or on the ability of governmental or other bodies to pressure those who have legal control over the technical infrastructure to comply with requests to block, filter or collect information. Many parts of the international infrastructure that supports the Internet are under the control of governments or government-controlled agencies, any of which may assert control, in accordance with local law or not.

Filtering or blocking of parts of the Internet may be heavy-handed or very light, clearly defined or nearly invisible. Some countries openly admit to blocking and publish blocking criteria, as well as replacing blocked sites with explanatory messages. Other countries have no clear standards and sometimes rely on informal understandings and uncertainty to pressure ISPs to filter. In some places, filtering comes disguised as technical failures and governments don’t openly take responsibility or confirm when blocking is deliberate. Different network operators even in the same country and subject to the same regulations may execute filtering in quite different ways out of caution, technical ignorance, or commercial competition.

At all levels of possible filtering, from individual to national, the technical difficulties of blocking precisely what is viewed as undesirable may have unexpected and often ridiculous consequences. “Family-friendly” filters meant to block sexual materials prevent access to useful health information. Attempts to block spam may filter out important business correspondence. Attempts to block access to specific news sites may also cut off educational resources.

What methods exist to bypass filtering?

Just as many individuals, corporations and governments see the Internet as a source of dangerous information that must be controlled, there are many individuals and groups who are working hard to ensure that the Internet, and the information on it, is freely available to everyone who wants it. These people have as many different motivations as those seeking to control the Internet. However, for someone whose Internet access is restricted and who wants to do something about it, it may not matter whether the tools were developed by someone who wanted to chat with a girlfriend, write a political manifesto, or send spam.

There is a vast amount of energy, from commercial, non-profit and volunteer groups, devoted to creating tools and techniques to bypass Internet censorship, resulting in a number of methods to bypass Internet filters. Collectively, these are called circumvention methods, and can range from simple work-arounds, protected pathways, to complex computer programs. However, they nearly all work in approximately the same manner. They instruct your Web browser to take a detour through an intermediary computer, called a proxy, that:

  • is located somewhere that is not subject to Internet censorship
  • has not been blocked from your location
  • knows how to fetch and return content for users like you.

What are the risks of using circumvention tools?

Only you, the person who hopes to bypass restrictions on your Internet access, can decide whether there are significant risks involved in accessing the information you want; and only you can decide whether the benefits outweigh the risks. There may be no law specifically banning the information you want or the act of accessing it. On the other hand, the lack of legal sanctions does not mean you are not risking other consequences, such as harassment, losing your job, or worse.

The following chapters discuss how the Internet works, describe various forms of online censorship, and elaborate on a number of tools and techniques that might help you circumvent these barriers to free expression. The overarching issue of digital privacy and security is considered throughout the book, which begins by covering the basics, then addresses a few advanced topics before closing with a brief section intended for webmasters and computer specialists who want to help others bypass Internet censorship.


Amnesty calls for legal prostitution

Laws that ban people from buying or selling sex should be scrapped because they breach their human rights, according to Amnesty International.

A policy document drawn up by the charity claims that prostitutes, pimps and men who buy sex are simply ‘exercising their autonomy’ and should be allowed to do so ‘free from government interference’.

The proposal, which also bizarrely compares prostitutes to coal miners and domestic servants, was uncovered by writer Julie Bindel.

It has now sparked a major row within the organisation, which is best known for its attempts to free political prisoners and campaigns against torture.

Last night critics said Amnesty was ‘losing the plot’ with one former member accusing the organisation of ‘betraying women’s rights’. They told the Mail: ‘We do not solve the problems for women in the developing world by encouraging them to be prostitutes. Who benefits from that? The men. Prostitution is a form of exploitation and abuse – not a choice.’

The paper, which is titled Decriminalisation of Sex Work: Policy Background Document, states: ‘Amnesty International is opposed to the criminalisation or punishment of activities related to the buying or selling of consensual sex between adults.

‘The criminalisation of voluntary sex between adults, whether for direct monetary gain or otherwise, threatens the rights to health, non-discrimination, equality, privacy, and security of person.’

Laws against prostitution undermine the right to ‘freely chosen gainful work’ and any legislation that targets men who pay for sex will leave prostitutes particularly vulnerable to ‘violence and abuse’, the document claims.

It also says countries should support the right of prostitutes to ‘freedom of association’ – thought to refer to groups of prostitutes setting up brothels.

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Christians start to understand things…


To pick on Christians actually is against their rights to express their views. To fire someone because they are a Christian and as a result have a culture they want to live by, is discriminatory and illegal. Imagine you are an atheist and you are fired because you say “there is no God” – you would feel the same way.

Alternative views in individuals should be able to stand the tests of discussion or debate and the right of a person to be able to express their belief without fear of repercussions should be paramount.
Just try it with the Muslims and see how you get on. There will be such a fast backlash you would not even see it coming. Christians are tolerant to their own disadvantage and are picked on because they turn the other cheek instead of retaliating.
So just stop picking on us.
What are you afraid of? Its not going to lead to a positive society if you do, If society is ruled by people who don’t believe in God then it will become totalitarian.
There is a Spirit of the world at work in all of this….!
And it is evil.
We need to get Christians into Parliament and get the rules changed back to normal, with greater protections for individuals who are unfairly dismissed.

Comment: Actually, it is the very habit of Christians of turning the other cheek that allows many forms of evil to flourish. Nevertheless, as long as Muslims consider Christianity to be a Religion of the Book, unlike e.g. Aztec Paganism, they are morally bound to consider turning the other cheek as well. And as long as Christians support many religious interests of Jews, like shekhita and brit milah, Jews cannot dismiss Christianity as nonsensical lies either. In a piece discussing religion it is fully apropriate to point out the eternity of hell.

Honor killing is dharmic

If a person of lower varna (caste) has sexual intercourse with a woman of higher varna, with or without her consent, he is to be killed. (Manusmriti, VIII: 366)

Comment: The fact that honor killing is justified in many religions and ideologies just proves that honor killing is not ONLY Islamic.


You Were Right, I Was Wrong; Danios’s Mea Culpa

by Danios


Recently, I published another part of the Understanding Jihad Series.  In the series itself, I tackle the Islamophobic claim that Islam is somehow a uniquely violent religion.  I point out that all religious traditions, not just the Islamic one, have their violent aspects to them.  To drill this point home, I explored the violent aspects of other religions, including Judaism and Christianity, the two religions many of the Islamophobes follow.  The intent was to: (1) disprove their thesis, and (2) bare their rancid hypocrisy.

The articles on Christianity were well-received.  On the other hand, the ones on Judaism were not.  My most recent article on Jewish law received especially critical reviews by some of our readers.  Given the backdrop of a long history of Anti-Semitism in the world, I realize there is a certain sensitivity when it comes to such issues (which I think is reasonable).

Because I had become obsessed with disproving the anti-Muslim thesis–that Islam is a uniquely violent faith (which I believe is the Mother of all Islamophobic Myths)–I was bulldozing through, without realizing the harm that I was putting forth at the same time.  Initially, I was resistant to hearing any criticism and pushing through it.  Yet, after reading through some of the well-written comments by our readers, I decided to pause and reflect.  Criticism is not something easy to take, but I decided to really think about what was being said to me and consider if there was an element of truth to it.

After reflecting on the matter, I realize that I was wrong.  It’s as simple as that.  Although it’s intellectually valid to note the violent aspects in various religious traditions in order to prove that Islam is not somehow uniquely violent, the style and tone I had adopted to do so were completely inappropriate.  This is a very touchy matter, and it requires the calm and detached voice of the scholar, not the belligerent mannerisms of the pugilistic polemicist.

The book I am writing employs a much more softer, inoffensive tone.  I think there is something about the internet that encourages an exaggerated, even bombastic style.  It begins with the choice of title.  The intention when forming a title is to goad readers to click.  My recent title choices were designed to shock.  Although an asterisk did clarify my real viewpoint, what is a tiny asterisk and fine print compared to a blaring headline?  The title then set a negative tone for the rest of the article.  Beyond just the tone, I should make sure to realize that these are very sensitive matters, and require finesse.

In any case, I have heard your criticisms, reflected on them, and have conceded.  Therefore, going forward, I will make sure to be more responsible.  It can be said that I was fighting fire with fire.  But, as someone pointed out, the only proper way to fight fire is with water.  I apologize to you and seek your forgiveness