Sunday, July 21, 2019

Advancing Time: Modern Slavery And The Ugly Tale Of Human Traffick...

Advancing Time: Modern Slavery And The Ugly Tale Of Human Traffick...:

Slavery continues in many forms and even flourishes in many parts of the
world. Modern slavery is an ugly topic that includes not only forced labor but enters into such things as sex trafficking.

The term, "human trafficking" is the modern polite replacement for the
word slavery. It involves the trade of humans for forced labor, sexual
slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation.

This all ties into the Jeffrey Epstein child molestation case which has
made big headlines because it is expected to link many rich and powerful politicians and
Washington insiders to this unsavory activity. This article delves into this huge and very ugly business that lurks just under the radar.

Modern Slavery And The Ugly Tale Of Human Trafficking


Modern slavery is an ugly topic that includes not only forced labor but enters into such things as sex trafficking. Unfortunately, slavery continues in many forms and even flourishes in many parts of the world. When a person is owned by another and considered by law as property or chattel they are deprived of the rights ordinarily free people have come to expect. This highly profitable enterprise still exist and most likely will expand as inequality grows because in many ways, whether society wants to admit it or not, the ultra-rich are often above the law.

The term, "human trafficking" is the modern polite replacement for the word slavery. It involves the trade of humans for forced labor, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation. This market is the trade of selling people, especially women and children but does not necessarily involve the movement of the person from one place to another. Human trafficking can occur within a country or across borders. It may encompass many things such as providing a spouse in the context of forced marriage or even the extraction of organs or tissues.  Human trafficking is a crime against humanity in that it violates the victim's rights of movement and centers on exploitation.

This all ties into the Jeffrey Epstein child molestation case which has made big headlines because it is expected to link many rich and powerful politicians and Washington insiders to this unsavory activity. The fact that years ago Epstein was busted and possibly used his connections to stay out of jail certainly adds to the drama. Although many people can get photographed with celebrities who claim to be “friends” with them in this case, Epstein is, at the very least, a known associate and maybe even actual friend of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump as well as others in their circle. When someone who has abused large numbers of underage girls at his home is connected with US Presidents this raises eyebrows and shocks the public.

Click here to enlarge!
The trade of men, women, and children is occurring all over the globe and governments failing to enforce laws and victims unwilling or afraid to come forward adds to their plight. The subject is often blurred because at times these victims seem to have the freedom to move about within certain limits. Still, the sub-conscience effort to deny the existence of slavery allows the trade of human beings to continue. This activity had lurked in the shadows but is now being reinforced by new high-tech forms of tracking the whereabouts of people. The use of GPS chips and small identification tags which can be placed inside the body and hidden from sight increase the control the powerful and corrupt have over the oppressed.



Sadly, the public should not be shocked as there is a crisis of child abuse and rape throughout the halls of power in nations across the Western World. In Britain, Operation Hydrant a police investigation into cases of non-recent child sex abuse has over 2,200 open investigations unites together by the fact that the suspects, like Mr. Epstein, are all people of “public prominence.” This large scale operation formed to search for perverts and rapists in the UK elite appears not to be a unique phenomenon. The Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has been able to shed a lot of light onto numerous suspected pedophiles within Parliament and evaluate how the nation’s political parties have dealt with or refused to deal with accusations of this crime being thrown at their members. This investigation is one of many into different areas of British society including religious organizations as well as governmental bodies and delves into recent cases involving those currently active.

Men And Children Are Also Sold Into Slavery
Slavery and human trafficking is a problem that plagues the world. In Brazil JBS, the world’s biggest meat producer, and other enterprises that can be found on Brazil’s ‘dirty list’ for slave labor donate money to top politicians.  Statista.com states that over 41 percent of all recipients receiving such money are part of the influential ruralist caucus, a congressional faction keen on revoking land rights of indigenous communities and limiting efforts to combat slavery. The leftist Workers’ Party of former presidents Dilma Roussef and Lula da Silva, who is currently facing imprisonment due to corruption, has received a stunning 20 percent of donations from companies on the dirty list. While such donations are not illegal in Brazil when the money received is from such dubious origin we have to question who the politicians are working for.

Few Americans feel women are treated well in Middle Eastern cultures where men are often held in higher esteem. Still, it is important to realize the degree and severity of oppression varies greatly in different situations. While some Americans are appalled at the treatment of women in the Middle East we should not forget varieties of this ugliness is on full display in many poor countries. In Asia, tens of thousands of North Korean women and girls are being actively trafficked into the Chinese sex trade by criminal organizations. Once there they and are often forced to endure "systematic rape, sex trafficking, sexual slavery, sexual abuse, prostitution, cybersex trafficking, forced marriage, and forced pregnancy." According to a report from The Korea Future Initiative, the victims commonly between 12-29 years old are often sold more than once and forced into at least one form of sexual slavery within a year of leaving their homeland.

As they are pushed from their homeland by a patriarchal regime built on the imposition of tyranny, poverty, and oppression, North Korean women and girls are passed through the hands of traffickers, brokers, and criminal organizations" according to the London-based Korea watchdog group. According to the report's author, victims are mostly aged between 15-25 and are habitually subjected to penetrative vaginal and anal rape, forced masturbation, and groping. Girls as young as nine are forced to perform graphic cybersex acts and are sexually assaulted in front of webcams which are streamed to a global audience. This means the prospects for North Korean women and girls trapped in China’s multi-million-dollar sex trade are bleak and many have perished.

With China so large in the news today it very important to key in on the abuses happening there. According to the report, sex trafficking and exploitation is a $105,000,000 per year business for the Chinese underworld. Once in China the victims are prostituted for as little as $4 United States Dollars, sold as wives for just $146 United States Dollars, and trafficked into cybersex dens for exploitation by a global online audience. A shortage of marriageable Chinese women has created a market for foreign brides and sex workers. This demand is being filled in China's southern provinces by trafficking in victims from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia as well. Girls and women driven by desperation and fear unwittingly are sucked into this nightmare.

Returning to the situation here in America, it could be that we dramatically understate the magnitude of human trafficking taking place within our borders. The covert nature of these operations and our lack of awareness means statistics under-represent the scale of this problem. Adding to this is the opioid crisis because people suffering from drug addiction are particularly susceptible to being trafficked. The top five cities in America for human trafficking reports are Washington DC, Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, and Las Vegas. This is often driven by the prostitution industry.  While some prostitutes may work entirely on their own a significant number of them are working against their will. It should be noted that each of these locations are major tourist destinations with international airports. On a per-capita basis, Washington DC and Nevada have the most reports of human trafficking in the nation with rates as much as five times greater than in other areas.

The second major category of human trafficking is coerced labor. In heavy agricultural states trafficking reports are also very high. In America, a great deal about the history of slavery is centered upon the oppression of blacks but most people forget or never knew many of the Irish that came to America arrived as indentured servants. A case could be made that slavery is color blind and simply hones in on the most vulnerable of society with something the rich and powerful desire. When all the above is considered, it is not surprising that slavery often resides at the intersection of power and taboo. Cultural taboos whether social or religious prohibiting or forbidding a particular practice often have a strange allure. With this in mind, it seems those in power seem to get a real kick out of suppressing and dominating others. Allowing and accepting this diminishes all of us.
 
                                                                                  This blog is not written for money
                                                                                  or profit but as a way to share ideas
                                                                                  and thoughts. If you liked this post
                                                                                  feel free  to E-mail it to a friend
                                                                                  using  this link. E-mail to a friend


Footnote; A topic not addressed in this article is that of "state imposed forced labor." The link below delves into how China treats its millions of citizens that do not make an effort to march in step. The ruling Communist Party has built "re-education camps" in an attempt to bring these people into the “modern, civilized” world promote what the government calls “ethnic unity” but in simpler terms the apparent goal is to force detainees to embrace the Chinese communist party.
https://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2018/12/chinas-human-rights-abuse-ignored.html

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Advancing Time: Amazon Quietly Exploits Everyone And Everything

 Amazon exploits its workers and its vendors. It also negotiates special
deals with the government and even electric companies that shift costs
to its other customers. Utilizing the "power of the web" it slips and
sneaks its messages into places uninvited. These all have been a big
factor in thousands of retailers being forced to close and in the
destruction of small businesses across America. The article below delves
into whether there is anyone or anything that Amazon doesn't exploit? Advancing Time: Amazon Quietly Exploits Everyone And Everything:

Amazon Quietly Exploits Everyone And Everything

The Backlash Is Rapidly Growing
When doing a "Bing search" of Target today Amazon dominated the page that came up on the screen. It was only when you scrolled down to the bottom of the page that you found Target's sales specials. Walmart, on the other hand defended itself much better. This is an example of the "power of the web" and proof it helps to control a big chunk of it which allows companies to sneak in and slip their messages into places uninvited. Much like the robocalls that interrupt our day despite being on the no-call list. Still, with so many people ties to the internet, these pop-up messages are stamping an influence on how we live. Having noted this, Amazon.com, Inc.’s Web Services (AWS) unit has been the engine behind the company’s spectacular recent performance, AWS generated operating income of $7.2 billion last year, up 68% year-over-year and accounting for 59% of Amazon’s total operating income.

Amazon's decision to invest in, expand, and develop its own cloud because of its huge computer and data needs has taken the company down a path few of us expected. Amazon's power in computing has greatly multiplied the ways it can exert pressure and exploit us. We should never underestimate how having total control of its own "cloud" has given Amazon power that few companies have ever held. Amazon's on-demand cloud computing platforms provide individuals, companies, and governments, on a metered pay-as-you-go basis. By entering into super low-cost agreements that no other cloud company wants to compete with Amazon has been able to rapidly expand and weasel into companies simply to log up growth. 

According to an article on Bloomberg, Amazon has also negotiated an unknown rate discount with American Electric Power in Ohio. This has happened in other places also and shifts the cost to other customers without them even knowing. Much in the same way it has worked out an agreement with the United States Parcel Service to deliver its packages at a lower rate and with better terms than competitors get Amazon uses these tactics to move forward. Generally, the company doesn't get caught or it spins and buries the bad press but allegation of unethical conduct do occasionally get out. Sadly, because of the ties Amazon has within government it usually results in talk of a crackdown or investigation without the follow-through.

A while back Bloomberg reported that Amazon is set to purge many of its small suppliers over the next few months. This could shatter the relationship between Amazon and many of its long-time vendors. This comes on the heels of reports that Amazon was "crushing" its merchants by undercutting the vendors by introducing in house versions of their own. Purging vendors is aimed at cutting costs and focusing wholesale purchasing on large brands like Procter & Gamble, Sony, and Lego. Amazon claims this is about ensuring it has adequate supplies of "must-have" merchandise that will help it compete with companies like Target and Walmart.  

This could leave a lot of companies scrambling to replace lost business since Amazon tends not to give much lead time when it makes such changes. This marks one of the large shifts in Amazon strategy since it opened the site up to independent sellers nearly twenty years ago. Now, many smaller retailers that have relied on Amazon for a steady stream of orders will have to win sales one shopper at a time on the platform's marketplace. Amazon normally secures inventory in two ways: it buys items directly from wholesale vendors and resells them or by allowing independent merchants to post their own products on the site.

Amazon has been in full speed ahead mode to expand product selection without spending more to oversee it. The initiative includes automating tasks that were previously done by human employees, like forecasting demand and negotiating prices. It also involves pushing more Amazon suppliers to sell goods on their own so that Amazon doesn’t have to pay people to do it for them. For Amazon, it means holding less inventory and reducing the risk that it gets stuck with it. this translates into collecting a commission on each sale a vendor makes while charging them fees to store, pack and deliver their goods. This is a sweet deal for Amazon.

Senator Warren Has Spoken Against Amazon
Senator Elizabeth Warren states, “Amazon crushes small companies by copying the goods they sell on the Amazon Marketplace and then selling its own branded version,” One vendor, Jason Boyce, has been wary of regulation as small business owner but despite this, he was willing to consider proposed regulations by Senator Elizabeth Warren that would prevent Amazon from competing against its merchants. Boyce said: “If you’re going to have a marketplace, you shouldn’t be able to piggyback off the hard work and labor of your sellers to beat them.” Among its offerings, Amazon has started selling bocce ball sets that cost $15 less than Boyce’s and giving them ideal page space to win the shopper looking for the lowest price.

Many vendors are increasingly dependent on for their livelihood on Amazon. This allows the company to make whatever impromptu changes it wants with no consequences. because of this Amazon merchants are increasingly finding they are on the wrong end of a lopsided deal with the company. Amazon share has "almost tripled to more than 40 percent in the past few years," according to merchants quoted by Bloomberg.this is significantly higher than peers like eBay, who take just 6 cents per dollar. This near-monopolistic dominance of the $600 billion online retail market that's growing at triple the pace of retail spending has put Amazon in a position where they can continue to increase control over vendors.

Until now merchants have gravitated toward Amazon despite these higher rates and even as the company has raised how much it takes from each sale. Still, it is logical to think that at some point the backlash that is quietly building will make itself heard. Its message being, enough is enough. The most disturbing part of all this is that after sucking all it can out of both vendors and consumers Amazon is rushing to replace its workers with robots. This leaves the question, is their anyone or anything that Amazon doesn't exploit?
                                                                                  This blog is not written for money
                                                                                  or profit but as a way to share ideas
                                                                                  and thoughts. If you liked this post
                                                                                  feel free  to E-mail it to a friend
                                                                                  using  this link. E-mail to a friend

Footnote; This is the second part of a three-part series. Part one explored how Amazon is a destructive force that is bad for society. Part three will delve into the Jeff Bezos "empire" and why antitrust laws and other ideas should be looked into to halt its advance.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Amazon Is Bad For America - Boycott Anything Amazo...



Advancing Time: Amazon Is Bad For America - Boycott Anything Amazo...: An All Too common Sight All Across America Amazon's coming Prime Day global shopping event is the perfect time for consumers to just say no to the company. Prime day is part of Amazon's engulf and
devour strategy to weasel its way into our lives. It is difficult to
quantify all the damage Amazon has done to America as it has burrowed
its way into the fabric of society. 


This article explores some of the many ways Amazon has exploited communities by continually telling consumers it is the answer to a "better America" while it feeds at the government teat. It also urges people to consider what kind of
community and society they want in the coming years before jumping on the
Amazon bandwagon. Again I say, Boycott Amazon!

Amazon Is Bad For America - Boycott Anything Amazon

An All Too common Sight All Across America
Amazon's coming Prime Day global shopping event is the perfect time for consumers to just say no to the company that employs an engulf and devour strategy to weasel its way into our lives. It is difficult to quantify all the damage Amazon has done to America as it has burrowed its way into the fabric of society. This company has exploited communities by continually telling consumers it is the answer to a "better America" while it feeds at the government teat. Only after it has wrecked communities leaving many Americans jobless and retail stores sitting as giant empty shells might short-sighted consumers finally see the airs of their way. Amazon is bad for America - it is that simple!

An example of this surfaced a while back when it was reported that Amazon would be allowed a two year trial in New York state to ship food to customers and be paid with their EBT cards. This would in effect hammer Amazon's competitors that were not allowed to do the same. While nobody seemed to care this translates into grocery stores willing to locate in poorer areas losing business to a company unwilling to locate in these less desirable markets. This is a rather self-defeating in that it rewards those unwilling to commit to making the community better and damages the brick and mortar stores that will. Not only do these stores pay local real estate taxes and provide jobs for those in the community they also are forced to deal with a huge number of shoplifters.

As A Taxpayer I Find This Not Acceptable!
It galls me to no end to see retailers in our communities going out of business as the US Postal Service bends over backward to give Amazon a special edge. This is very wrong! Considering that the USPS has had to purchase special equipment such as larger trucks to deliver packages for Amazon it is not difficult to reach the conclusion the USPS is simply in cahoots with Amazon or willing to sell out rest of American businesses for a few dollars in revenue.  On Memorial Day I saw the USPS delivering a package for Amazon. Please name another company that gets this type of special treatment and service from the post office. This is a time when most stores are closed so their employees can be with their family, ironically, in the past, many retailers have reaped public outrage for staying open and trying to profit during major holidays.

Fred's valuable tip was a "Hallmark moment"
People often claim to expound old-time values such as cherishing personal relationships with the people in their neighborhoods that they do business with. Sadly, without much thought, these "Hallmark moments" are often thrown under the bus. While consumers may cherish the help and advice supplied by Fred at the local hardware store they can rapidly become disloyal when seduced by a good ad appearing online. It seems some consumers become almost giddy at the thought of receiving a package from an online seller mistaking it for a gift. The truth is these packages are not free. Even if they are paying the same price such goods come with a hidden cost levied against their community. That cost is lost jobs, local sales, and a lower tax base. This is why if prices are anywhere near the same it is wise to "do the right thing" and support your local merchants.

On another note, when things get tough that is when you find out who your friends are. I remember the eyes of the nation turned towards Florida when Hurricane Irma was bearing down with category 5 winds and companies like Walmart and Target queued up to give back to the communities that supported their stores. In one heartwarming commercial, we saw Walmart paints a picture of America coming together supporting those who saw their lives washed away by Hurricane Harvey just days before. Meanwhile, Amazon.com increased prices on basic supplies ahead of the hurricane’s landfall in Florida. The fact Amazon jumped the cost of water drew the most ire. Kate Taylor of Business Insider reports, customers took to Twitter to share screenshots of water from various brands — for example, Aquafina and NestlĂ© — priced roughly between $20 and $25 per case. Usually, the same cases of water sell for between $4 and $8. The bottom line is Amazon gouged customers for about 500 to 625 percent.

Over the years Amazon has employed an "engulf and devour" strategy that takes no prisoners. It even crushes merchants working on its platform by stealing their product ideas and undercutting them on prices. This is done by giving their own Amazon-branded products premium real estate on their website. Amazon has also been stepping up efforts to recruit Chinese suppliers and manufacturers directly which cuts small American merchants out of the picture. As these new Chinese players have entered the picture "an explosion" of counterfeit products and fake reviews have hit the site. This is an issue prominent in Chinese e-commerce. With US shoppers estimated to spend $317 billion on Amazon this year or about 52.4% of all online sales. profits have increased for seven quarters in a row Amazon has become a formidable force.

I ask all consumers to see Amazon for what it is, a self-promoting hype machine. This company is far from transparent and while politicians fall over themselves to be in its shadow it is not our friend. Because of its massive advertising budget and other ties to Amazon, we find the media often seems to be in bed with Amazon and fall all over themselves to portray the company as both the flavor of the day and the future of commerce. This means you seldom hear anything bad about the retail behemoth that has the power to turn most news articles about Amazon into nothing more than free advertising that is spun to place the company in a flattering light.  

Current tax laws at the local, state and federal level have changed little over the decades and lag far behind how business is conducted in our modern age. This feeds directly into creating an unfair advantage for Amazon which has used them as a foundation to fuel its growth. Still, even more troubling is how the company has created an environment that draws in other sellers of goods then in a predatory manner undercut their ability to compete. When you add these actions with Amazons growing influence in Washington due to its strong relationship and contracts with the CIA and deep state and its CEO's ability to drive public opinion through the Washington Post we have every reason for grave concern. Remember the proverbial saying 'power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely'.

I strongly urge people to consider what kind of community and society they want in the coming years before jumping on the Amazon bandwagon. Amazon excels in creating illusions that fail to hold up under scrutiny. For all the praise many people and politicians heap upon small business they are often quick to cut the very throat of the creator of much of our wealth and jobs. India recently tightened the noose on E-retailers and America should too. America also needs to investigate ways to level the playing field and protect brick and mortar retailers that provide jobs and are so important to the fabric of communities. Since Washington has become tangled up in its own feet and unable to get anything done it is time we the people take action, that is why I again state, "Amazon is bad for America" I urge you to boycott anything Amazon.

                                                                                  This blog is not written for money
                                                                                  or profit but as a way to share ideas
                                                                                  and thoughts. If you liked this post
                                                                                  feel free  to E-mail it to a friend
                                                                                  using  this link. E-mail to a friend

Footnote; This is the first part of a three-part series. Part two will explore how Amazon exploits businesses that sell on its marketing platform and part three will delve into the Jeff Bezos "empire" and why antitrust laws and other ideas should be looked into to halt its advance.

Monday, July 8, 2019