Globalization Means More Deaths for Refugees Who Are Disposable to Neoliberals


Just how much does the mainstream press like to spend days upon days getting sucked into a farcical debate about whether Donald Trump is "officially" a birther or not?

I've written it before and I'll write it again: In 2016, if it's not entertaining, it's not news. Donald Trump is like a bigoted vaudeville comedian resurrected from mothballs, a bombastic bloviator who knows how to dominate the midway at a state fair. He is a cross between a tin-siding salesman, a demagogue and -- as he told Marureen Dowd recently -- a promoter of the frisson (shudder of excitement) of violence.

What passes for US mass media today is -- speaking of violence -- a megaphone for vitriol, scapegoating, and cheap "shock jock" tricks.

Meanwhile, national and global events that shape lives and lead to untimely deaths pass with barely a headline, shoved to the background by the grand carnival known as the 2016 US presidential election.

How many examples of the planet's dire needs -- and potential solutions -- could be covered as part of the daily news if titillation and personality gaffes were not the primary stories driving the news? Occasionally, the reality of our dystopian world receives coverage, like a head bobbing briefly up above the water -- and then sinking back down to drown. That's an analogy that relates directly to one particular reality: As Middle East Eye reported today, at least 39 people were killed this morning when a migrant boat sank off the coast of Egypt. "Over 3,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean on the way to Europe so far this year," according to Middle East Eye.

On December 30, 2015, the UN Refugee Agency stated that "figures show over one million refugees and migrants reach[ed] Europe by sea in 2015, with almost 4,000 feared drowned." Another UN Refugee Agency article this past June found:

Global forced displacement hits record high: UNHCR Global Trends report finds 65.3 million people, or one person in 113, were displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution in 2015.

Wars and persecution have driven more people from their homes than at any time since UNHCR records began, according to a new report released today by the UN Refugee Agency.

The US is witnessing a perfect storm of an election whose only winners will be profits for television executives and shareholders, campaign cash for politicians, bonuses for lobbyists and increased control for the oligarchs, no matter which candidate triumphs in November. Our election process is now a jingoistic claim to democracy unfolding as buffoonery. While the US lives off its economic empire, controlling nations through financial dominance, the nations of the Global South and the non-wealthy in the United States are being fed a diet of hate, vulgarity and Howard Stern in a billionaire's suit.

As for the refugee crisis, the vast majority of refugees and migrants fleeing the Middle East are doing so because of the blowback caused by Western military interventionism aimed at preserving access to oil reserves. How often does this reality come up, in terms of either the refugee crisis or the issue of terrorism? Almost never, except in progressive publications such as Truthout.

How can such massive challenges be resolved when a nation such as the United States -- with 5 percent of the world's population, using 25 percent of the world's resources -- treats a presidential election with all the dignity and thoughtfulness of a World Wrestling Entertainment match?

The International Business Times reported this March:

When protests erupted across Syria as part of a freedom movement that swept several Arab countries in 2011, not many could have foreseen the devastation that would take place in the ensuing five years. Today, between 270,000 and 470,000 people have been killed, and more than half the population of 22 million has been displaced. NASA footage has shown that the country has literally plunged into darkness, as more than 83 percent of Syria’s lights have gone out.

One could argue that Syria is not a big oil producer, but it is part of the great game of determining who will impact oil policy in the Middle East, particularly because of its amiable relationship with Iran. So, what is more important in a presidential election: our impact on the lives of millions and millions of people (including our military role without end in Iraq, Afghanistan and other states) or, as CNN reported the other day, "Ivanka Trump cuts off Cosmo interview after tough questioning"?

Does the future of the world depend on whether Cosmopolitan magazine and Ivanka Trump will reconcile?

Should refugees simply be treated as exploitation and "collateral damage" of the wars that support the lifestyles of the US elite?
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