Friday, September 4, 2015

Humanity, Globalized

In the eyes of government leaders, the much-vaunted free flow of capital across borders does not extend to human capital. They didn't count on globalization resulting in people desperately fleeing the effects of globalization.

The spoils of war know no boundaries as they spread to, and bloat to bursting the too-big-to-jail and fail global banking cartel. The left-over spoils of war trickle down in tiny toxic drops to human traffickers who suck up the collateral damage of war and foist it into airless trucks and trains and let it drown as its rudderless crafts capsize.

The lucky survivors get thrown into concentration camps and "family detention centers."

The tens of millions of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East and Africa are stateless people. As such, they have none of the human rights occasionally and gratuitously bestowed upon human beings by individual nations. 

The Jews, long the prototype of stateless people, from the Inquisition all the way to the second World War and beyond, have now been replaced by Muslims fleeing from the ravages of drought and climate change, civil wars from within and  invasions from without. Images of them desperately clawing their way onto trains in Hungary are reminiscent of displaced Jews clawing their way onto trains bound for the gas chambers.

The photograph of a drowned three-year-old washed up on a Turkish beach has momentarily shocked the world into paying attention. There has been a sudden public pivot away from viewing the refugees as festering sores and swarming tunnel rats into a pretense of caring. Even such xenophobes as British Prime Minister David Cameron have become willing to let in a lucky, token few. Is it perhaps because that iconic drowned toddler was wearing the same kind of adorable Croc shoes as little Prince George on his little feet?  Collateral damage suddenly gets a name and a face and some long-overdue humanity.

It seems that even neoliberal austerians can develop a conscience and a heart when public opinion shames them into it. Even cold-hearted Germany, punisher of the Greeks, is bending over backward to let the refugees in, some of its officials taking the moral lead and welcoming the human detritus of war into their own private homes. Germany, of course, is still reeling from the blow to its global reputation due to its complicity with the Nazis and the extermination of the Jews.

So far, we await American leaders developing this same sense of shame. So far, we wait in vain. Our own president is too busy taking selfies in front of melting glaciers to suddenly develop a melting heart. His idea of reparations to native Americans, most of whom were exterminated both directly and indirectly by American colonialists, is to benevolently restore the aboriginal name "Denali" to an Alaskan mountain. His administration still imprisons Central American refugees in border gulags euphemized as Family Detention Centers. Women and children are still labeled "national security risks" if they have the nerve to flee violence, rape and murder from south of our sacrosanct border. The American government, in thrall to the xenophobic rantings of Donald Trump and his reactionary followers, is not about to allow any more Others across our precious borders, despite the fact that American foreign policy created this epic Diaspora of Others in the first place.

It's NIMBY writ large.

I suggest that we build massive affordable housing complexes for refugees in the same gated Dallas luxury community currently housing George W. Bush, as well as throughout the wide open Wyoming plains that his unindicted co-conspirator Dick Cheney currently calls home. I suggest that the New York Times stop restricting its moralistic finger-wagging to the generic "West" and put the United States at the very top of the list of countries which are morally bound to rescue the human casualties of the wars this country's military-industrial complex has started and so richly profited from. After all, "We're Number One!" is the mantra being shouted by politicians from both major political parties. Let them put their money where their mealy, moralistic mouths are for a change.

If the xenophobes and the billionaires don't like it, maybe we can get the Corrections Corporation of America to build them some brand new luxury housing, with lots of gates and guards and barbed wire and high tech security systems to keep the Other out, and themselves blessedly hidden from the rest of us. 


Pearl said...

"Saudi delegation reportedly buys out Four Seasons for DC visit |"

The above article from Fox News shows what is wrong with the world. The smell of money and corruption from this Kingly visit to meet with Obama is sickening.

Wonderful column Karen - I think Truthout would appreciate your sending it in.

At least the migration crisis is hitting all the news finally, even the NYTimes.
And Jay, I read it to mostly find some worthwhile articles, by using google to reprint them and avoid getting a subscription as a matter of principle. It is also a very good source for learning from readers which way the wind is blowing in answer to columnists and editorials. It also feels good to find readers becoming highly critical of the paper's choice and slant of topics on various issues. At least they are finally recognizing that Bernie Sanders is running for office.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Humanity Globalized? Sounds like a job for an exceptional nation or the United Nations.

Following the Vietnam War, which for some reason the Vietnamese call the American War, the US took in thousands of Vietnamese refugees. That was nice.

American military meddling in Central America under Reagan made for more death elsewhere followed once again by waves of refugees. Currently, the drug trade, fueled by increasing US demand for coke and weed, contributes additionally to the rate of deaths and disappearances south of the border, but the US has been much more reluctant about taking in refugees from that direction. As presidential candidates not restrained by PC like to remind us, the US has endured quite enough Latino fatigue. That is not nice.

Now the focus is on refugees from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. It's said that the US and sundry NATO allies had a hand in the bombing of Libya, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the first-class supply of our proxy warriors in Israel, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Refugees, predictably, keep running to the nearest border or large body of water. That scene is getting more ugly for Western Europe.

Hello, United Nations? Geneva? You bureaucrats around the green table? Maybe you should incorporate into international law for warrior nations the obligation of taking in refugees in proportion to a warrior nation's expenditure of money and munitions on foreign soil. Just one more little treaty to append to the rules of a very, very model war as incorporated into the Geneva Conventions.

Such a rule squares with Newton's Third Law of Motion: For every [military] action, there is an equal and opposite [refugee] reaction.

Pearl said...

I sent in a comment a little while ago which I thought was printed but don't see it so am repeating the gist of it again.

'Saudi delegation reportedly buys out Four Seasons for DC visit | ‘

The above report from Fox News shows what is wrong with the world. The smell of money and corruption of the Saudi Kingly visit to Washingon and Obama is sickening.

Karen, wonderful column. I think Truthout would be happy to receive it.

And Jay, I read the NYtimes by transferring their better articles via google to avoid getting a subscription as a matter of principle. It is also an interesting experience to read comments of columnists and articles which have become antagonistic to the paper about the slant presented of various issues and gauge the changing reactions these days. They have finally recognized that Bernie Sanders is running for Presidential office.

Meredith NYC said...

News Flash:

Looking Ahead: Evaluating Bernie Sanders Coverage in The Times

Updated, 11:40 a.m.

Many Times readers have been asking me, over months now, to examine the paper’s coverage of Bernie Sanders’s presidential run. It’s even reached the point where, in comments to my blog posts, on completely unrelated topics, readers are complaining about what they see as dismissive coverage and asking that the matter get my attention. (See the top reader-recommended comment by Robert Roth here.)

“Stop the media blackout on candidates who are not Donald Trump or Secretary Hillary Clinton,” Roswell Colt Deutscher wrote in an email to me. And Chris Switzer, in an email criticizing Sanders coverage earlier in the summer, wrote: “I’ve enjoyed my subscription to the Times but I would like to see better coverage of the issues, less coverage of the personalities, and a little bit of parity among the candidates.”

This post is just to say that I’ve heard your requests and over the next few days, with the help of my assistant, Joumana Khatib, I will be doing a content analysis of the coverage. I hope to publish a post soon, letting readers know what I’ve found in terms of quantity, placement and tone.

(I've unloaded several comments to this)

Pearl said...

Meredith: If you hadn't alerted us to Margaret Sullivan's article about coverage of Bernie Sullivan with more to come about this I never would have known about it. Where do her articles appear? I never see any of them when I pull up the NYtimes to glance over the day's offerings. When her name is googled, only past articles pop up.
The article you mentioned only came to light when I gave the title of it that you listed. What section does she appear in?

Pearl said...

O.K. I've figured it out. I press Opinion and then Public Editor to find her articles. I wonder how many readers miss this opportunity to see her contributions.

Pearl said...

'Many Obstacles Are Seen to U.S. Taking in Large Number of Syrian Refugees'

Interesting article in NYtimes with comments about U.S.cause of the migration crisis.

Karen Garcia said...

Meredith and Pearl,

Someone alerted me to Sullivan's column late last night. The reader responses were so good that I didn't bother putting in my two cents: all the bases were already covered. I get the impression that Sullivan has been putting off addressing this topic for months, but no longer can. Her promised "analysis" should be interesting.

It's not just Bernie Sanders getting "the treatment," of course. This has been the Times' M.O. since practically its inception. Edward Bernays, the father of propaganda himself, mentioned way back in the Roaring Twenties that on average, fully half their front page articles are pure government/corporate propaganda. Today it's probably closer to three-quarters. They temper it by the occasional blockbuster series exposing this or that outrage and of course, allowing mere readers to chime in, in order to give the whole fraud the patina of democracy and inclusiveness.

It is of course no accident that a lot of people missed Sullivan's post. She is sequestered way at the bottom of the opinion page in hopes that nobody will notice her.

Bernie is getting the corporate media propaganda treatment via both commission (denigrating him) and omission (ignoring him.)

Good to see that the Times can no longer fool most of the people even some of the time.

Meredith NYC said...

I'd love to read a comment from you to Sullivan re Sanders coverage. We all need to say something....the more the merrier on this, even brief--they need push from us.....I sent a few (using my past comments with edits). I may send more replies to comments.

Last week I sent this to Sullivan, plus Rosenthal, the Upshot, and National:

With all the news on Jimmy Carter, plus an op ed on him, what was uncovered, but cited by Bernie Sanders was this ---Carter recently called the US "an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting nominated for president".

Please relate this to the recent op ed by Laurence Lessig on campaign finance reform, and also to the Princeton study by Martin Gilens.

See TPM Interview: “Scholar Behind Viral 'Oligarchy' Study Tells You What It Means” The study authors shy away from the term, but they ask “who really rules?....Researchers Gilen and Page argue that wealthy elites wield most power, and steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters, based on data on 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002.”

And relate that to the dozens of other democracies with some kind of public election financing. That’s just waiting to be written---with reader comments.

I happened to notice the Sullivan headline just scrolling down the op ed page last night. Was happy to see it. They never put her at the top of the op ed page. But her headline is now at the top banner, with other headlines, when you scroll down.

Don't know what she'll do with this....Sanders negative coverage has been scandalous. How far will she go in criticism, and what excuses will the Times dream up to defend itself? Did Dean Baquet put out, or imply an order, or does everyone automatically fall into line to stay "mainstream and not left wing"? I'm still waiting something on the pros/cons of Sanders’ proposals---that majorities happen to agree with and were once US mainstream.

Karen Garcia said...

Meredith, you talked me into it. Here's the link to my comment to Margaret Sullivan:

Read several of yours. Great responses and research!

Meredith NYC said...

Thanks for great comment to Sullivan, Karen. Here's my reply.

Karen, the Swiftboating metaphor is so apt--- same turning reality upside down. Gop political hitmen, now the NYT.

Gail Collins, who never talks policy, had knee jerk jokes all ready for Bernie.

So Jason Horowitz came from the W. Post style section? Maybe that accounts for his surreal sentence on Sanders in NYT Page A1:

“For someone who has always had a sweepingly macro, if not entirely Marxist, critique of America, having the largest crowds of the election cheering each description of income inequality, and each proposal to eradicate it, amounts to the validation of a career spent in relative obscurity.”

Horowitz needs some training in writing shorter, clear sentences, and in what Marxist means.

Also the NYT transferred Patrick Healy from Theater Section to political reporting. His op ed piece said that if a long shot Broadway play about gays could end up winning the Tony award, even Sanders might have a chance at winning the nomination, who knows? Very cute insight, Patrick!

And of course Frank Bruni was the Times restaurant critic before his op ed column. He made sure we knew he’d dined with Donald Trump.

But, wait--- there was 1 Times op ed that actually cited a Sanders’ policy and did so positively. “The Case for a Tax on Financial Transactions”, by Jared Bernstein. Unfortunately, the title hid that Sanders was mentioned in it! Thus it got very few readers, missing a chance to inform readers of this important proposal by a candidate.