The Italian deputy prime minister has blamed France for the European migrant crisis, accusing it of impoverishing African nations with “colonialist” policies. He promised to take the issue to the EU and other international bodies.
The Italian deputy prime minister has blamed France for the European migrant crisis, accusing it of impoverishing African nations with “colonialist” policies. He promised to take the issue to the EU and other international bodies.
Luigi Di Maio, leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and Italy’s Deputy PM, launched a scathing attack on France, which he argued is to blame for the inherent causes of the ongoing migrant crisis at EU borders.
Di Maio was speaking at a rally on Sunday, when he touched on recent mass migrant drownings in the Mediterranean. It is believed that up to 170 migrants who left Libya and Morocco on ramshackle dinghies may have drowned in the sea last week. Three migrants were saved by the Italian Navy on Friday off the cost of Lampedusa. The survivors said they were a part of a group of 120 people that sailed from Libya on Thursday. Their boat started to sink after they were at sea for about 10 hours. The victims, according to migrant organizations, include a two-month-old child and at least 10 women. Separately, another boat carrying 53 migrants capsized in the western Mediterranean, according to sole survivor of the incident.
The tragedies have reignited the debate on the hardline migration policy championed by Italy’s right-wing government.
“We would be hypocrites if we just continued to talk about the effects without looking for the causes. If today we have people coming from Africa it’s because some European countries like France never stopped colonizing Africa in their heads,” Di Maio told the crowd.
The politician, who also serves as the minister of economic development, referred to the CFA franc, a currency which is used in 14 former French colonies in West and Central Africa. The currency is guaranteed by the French Treasury and has a fixed rate of exchange with the euro. While it is credited for providing African countries with financial stability, it has often been criticized as a relic of colonial times by proponents of Africa’s full independence from France. They argue that the CFA franc, created in 1945, impedes their economic development as they have no say in French or European monetary policy.
“There are dozens of African states in which France prints its own currency, the franc of the colonies, and with that, it finances the French public debt,” Di Maio said, adding that France should be subjected to sanctions by the EU, and potentially the UN, for “impoverishing those states and triggering those people.”
“The place of Africans is in Africa and not at the bottom of the sea,” he stated. Di Maio further argued that France would fall far back in the international economic rankings if not for its leverage over its former colonies.
“If France did not have the African colonies, which it is impoverishing, it would be the 15th international economic power and instead it is among the first for what it is doing in Africa,” he said. France is currently the world’s seventh-largest economy, according to World Bank data for 2017, and the third-biggest economy in Europe after Germany and the UK.
Di Maio said that his party would submit a proposal to parliament to punish France in the coming weeks.
In a swipe at French President Emmanuel Macron, Di Maio said that he should stop lecturing Italy on morals while his government continue to exploit African nations. Last summer, Macron chastized the Italian government for its refusal to pick up migrants stranded at sea, with his spokesman calling the policy “sickening” and “unacceptable.”
Italy brushed off the criticism, accusing the French government of hypocrisy. Relations between the French and Italian governments were already strained, with Di Maio – along with anti-immigrant Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini – voicing their support for Yellow Vest protests that have plagued Macron’s government since November.
How is getting rid of Trump supposed to be a return to “normal democracy” when that “normal democracy” is a myth, a fantasy belied by massive poverty, inequality and oppression?
“The obscenity of American capitalism and its grotesque exploitation of millions of American citizens – creating islands of super wealth among a sea of poverty – is a repudiation of any notion of a functioning democracy.”
The anti-Trump so-called “liberal” American politicians and media suffer from a cozy big delusion. The Democrats and their supportive media, such as CNN and New York Times, as well as the foreign policy establishment, including the CIA, promote the belief that all of America’s ills and problems will be solved if only President Trump could be impeached.
The so-called “liberal-left” in the US – which has nothing to do with left wing or socialist politics as most of the world would define it – is increasingly warning that Trump is taking America into a dark place of authoritarianism.
Take a recent op-ed in the New York Times by columnist Roger Cohen with the headline: ‘Donald Trump Just Cannot Help It’. It’s a scathing piece which lambasts Trump in very personal terms as a “malignant” conman.
The key line perhaps is when Cohen writes: “The Reichstag Fire was at least a fire. Here, there is smoke and mirrors.” He is referring to what many historians contend was a false-flag arson attack on the German parliament in 1933, which allowed newly elected Chancellor Adolf Hitler to install his Nazi dictatorship by claiming the sabotage was a communist plot.
Many critics of Trump, including Cohen, are concerned that the president is “manufacturing a crisis” over his border wall proposal. They accuse him of using the US government shutdown and the political impasse with Democrats on the proposed border wall funding as a pretext to introduce a state of emergency. Cohen’s mention of the infamous Reichstag Fire has therefore a seemingly radical inference. He, and many others in the American liberal-left, are warning that Trump is a crypto-fascist.
There is some merit to that argument. Certainly, Trump seems to be whipping up a crisis about immigration which is not justified in terms of numbers and conditions on the border with Mexico. The influx of migrants and refugees is widely reported to be at an all-time low going back over the past 40 years. Most of the present migrants are families, fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries. Trump’s scary depiction of “drug dealers” and “terrorists” seems to be unabashed fabulation to incite fear.
His threats of invoking a state of emergency in which he will use executive powers to instruct the compulsory building of a security barriers on the southern border are therefore disproportionate and uncalled for. Trump’s would-be arrogation of emergency powers has disturbing implications of overriding US constitutional law, and sidelining other branches of government. There are genuine concerns that the direction is one of authoritarianism, even fascism.
But here is where too many Americans are deluded about Trump. They think he is the singular problem, an aberrant president. Get rid of him, they say, and we can all return to “normal democracy”.
The reality is that the US has been sliding into authoritarianism, plutocracy and oligarchy, or dare we say fascism, for decades. The political figure of Trump – obnoxious as he is – is merely the culmination of this degenerative process in American politics.
The obscenity of American capitalism and its grotesque exploitation of millions of American citizens – creating islands of super wealth among a sea of poverty – is a repudiation of any notion of a functioning democracy. The two-party pimping for big business, Wall Street and the military-industrial racket that has been going on for decades makes a travesty of any claims about “we the people” and elections. This backdrop of actual functioning oligarchy is why many voters – among the half, that is, who bothered to even vote – reached out to “an outsider” like Trump and his conman promises of change.
However, the inherent problem isn’t Trump. It is the system that produces the conditions and precursors for someone like Trump to end up getting elected.
It should be noted that people like Roger Cohen and other American “liberals” who are wringing their hands about Trump never seemed to express concern about the dominance of big business and banks in running America’s corporatocracy. Cohen and his ilk were also big supporters of US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – wars that were illegal, resulted in millions of innocent casualties, destroyed societies and spread the scourge of terrorism.
How is getting rid of Trump supposed to be a return to “normal democracy”? When that purported “normal democracy” is a myth, a fantasy belied by massive poverty, inequality and oppression of ordinary American workers and their families, alongside criminal imperialist wars of genocide.
Cohen’s reference to the Reichstag Fire false flag and Trump’s propensity for authoritarianism may sound like radical criticism. But it is only radical schtick. It is worse than Trump’s con artistry because it propagates the delusion that America has an underlying democracy. The reality is American democracy stopped functioning a long time ago. When exactly it stopped is debatable.
The 9/11 “terror attacks” in 2001 were certainly a candidate for comparison to the Reichstag Fire false flag event. They ushered in executive powers in Washington to wage criminal wars “against terrorism” anywhere on the planet, and for far-reaching police state surveillance of US citizens.
Or we could go back to the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 when the US created a pretext for the Vietnam War.
Or the assassination of President John F Kennedy in Dallas in November 1963 by his Deep State enemies, which was a coup d’état against American democracy, violating the nation forever.
Or the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 which gave private banks and plutocrats the ultimate power over the creation of money in the US and thus a veto on economic policy.
Many other instances (extermination of native Americans, African slavery) could be cited which testify to the fraud of “American democracy”. The seeds of authoritarianism, militarism and fascism were sown decades ago. To blame this putrefaction of democracy on Donald Trump is the delusion of American apologists for the system’s long-time corruption.
A Kuwaiti beauty blogger is facing fierce criticism over her condemnation of new laws which improve the working conditions of her Filipino maid.
Makeup artist Sondos Alqattan revealed her anger in a video shared with her 2.3 million followers on Instagram. In it, she bemoaned the fact that her “servants” will now be allowed to keep their passports, take breaks every five hours and have one day off per week.
@sondosalqattan I used to like you because i think u are an amazing woman, but what you said about Filipino domestic helper is below the belt, you are nothing but a pretty face, rotten from the inside..
6:33 PM – 18 Jul 2018
“How can one keep a maid at home and not keep her passport? If she takes off or leaves one day, who will compensate me?,” she asked, referencing the money some employers pay to fly workers to Kuwait. “Honestly I disagree with this law. I don’t want a Filipino maid any more.”
Sondos remained unapologetic for the remarks on Monday, posting a statement to the social media platform claiming that she treats her employees fairly and and doesn’t “impose long working hours.” However, she reiterated her belief that workers should not be allowed keep their passports.
The comments sparked a furious backlash online and among the blogger’s fans in the Middle East and Philippines, with many likening her treatment of employees to modern-day slavery.
Several beauty brands have now cut ties with with the Instagram ‘influencer’ with Max Factor Arabia announcing that it would suspend all future work with the make-up artist.
Critics are still reaching out to several other beauty brands on social media and urging them to dissociate themselves from the beauty blogger, including MAC, Shishido, Anastasia Beverly Hills and Etudes House.
Reforms to protect the rights of Filipino domestic workers in Kuwait were introduced in May after months of tense negotiations between the two countries. More than 250,000 Filipinos live in the Gulf country, of which at least 60 percent are domestic workers who live and work in their employers’ homes.
The push to improve domestic workers rights turned a corner when the Philippines issued a temporary ban on workers travelling to Kuwait after 29-year-old Joanna Demafelis was found stuffed inside the fridge of her Lebanese employers. The perpetrators have since been sentenced to death.
In a piece for the Atlantic (6/20/18), former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum countered statements by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, in which Hayes described a harrowing first-person account of a mother forcibly separated from her child at the US/Mexico border as reading like “the literature of a totalitarian government”:
“As Hayes elaborates his horror at the separation of mother from child, he seems to arrive at a conclusion that there is something inherently oppressive about any kind of immigration rule at all….The border crosser goes to them. She is not just ‘living her life … and then all of a sudden, the state can come in and wrench your life apart.’ She, of her own volition, traveled hundreds of miles to challenge the authority of a foreign state to police its frontiers. When her challenge failed—when she was apprehended and detained—what happened next must have felt harsh and frightening. But dictatorial? Totalitarian? In democracies, too, the wrong side of the law is an inescapably uncomfortable place to find yourself.”
Frum’s argument presents the US as unimplicated in the surge in Central American migration except as its victim, a “sovereign state” that must “police its frontiers.” His concluding worry about “the surges that will soon follow from the rest of the planet if the present surge is not checked” suggests he’s given little thought to the particular forces driving people from that region, much less how those relate to US foreign and economic policy.
Why those countries?
The immigrants that Frum is speaking of come largely from the Central American countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, an area known as the Northern Triangle. According to the Pew Research Center, there are 3 million total immigrants from these countries in the US, and about half of those immigrants are undocumented. While Mexican immigration has been falling in recent years, Central American immigration has increased: from 2007 through 2015, the total number of Northern Triangle immigrants rose by 25 percent.
Yet much media coverage of immigration misses out on why large numbers of people from the Northern Triangle are migrating to the US in the first place.
Over the past three generations, the Northern Triangle countries, long marked by profound levels of inequality, have each experienced horribly destructive civil wars and military coups. Unsurprisingly, the United States has been intimately involved in each of these, supporting anti-Communist regimes during the Cold War and protecting US business interests with truly disastrous results.
In 1954, the CIA orchestrated a coup to remove President Jacobo Arbenz, the democratically elected leader of Guatemala, at the behest of United Fruit Company (now Chiquita), the country’s largest landowner. During the subsequent civil war that lasted until 1996, the US gave military and financial support to a succession of right-wing governments that committed large-scale human rights abuses that killed hundreds of thousands.
In Honduras in the 1980s, the CIA trained right-wing death squads like Battalion 316 that tortured and assassinated the government’s left-wing political opponents. In 2009, the US State Department under Hillary Clinton supported the overthrow of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya by graduates of the School of the Americas, a notorious US military training academy. The coup created waves of protests and escalated murders of hundreds of activists, including indigenous leader Berta Cáceres.
In El Salvador, when a military coup in 1979 sparked the formation of a leftist guerilla movement known as the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), first the Carter and then the Reagan administration backed the anti-Communist junta in the ensuing civil war by supplying training, military equipment, arms and financial support totalling $6 billion. Much of the aid and arms ended up supporting the junta’s paramilitary death squads. In 1980, these death squads assassinated Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero during a sermon, and later that year raped and murdered four American nuns. In 1981, junta forces massacred over a thousand people, mostly women, children and the elderly, in the village of El Mozote. The perpetrators, the Atlacatl Battalion, had recently completed training with the U.S. military at Fort Bragg prior to the massacre.
The CIA also funded presidential candidate and junta leader Napoleon Duarte prior to his election in 1984 in order to throw a wrench in peace talks, a move that dragged the war on for another eight years.
The Salvadoran civil war, which ultimately ended along with the Cold War in 1992, is estimated to have claimed the lives of up to 75,000 Salvadorans, including over 50,000 civilians, with 85 percent of deaths at the hands of the Salvadoran government and its paramilitary allies. Top US officials like Secretary of State Alexander Haig, Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams and UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick each denied or obscured the human rights abuses and massacres in El Salvador order to maintain congressional funding for the Salvadoran military junta and other anti-Communist authoritarian regimes throughout Central America. Abrams later called the Reagan administration’s record in El Salvador “one of fabulous achievement.”
MS-13 a Policy Backfire
El Salvador provides perhaps the most striking case of how US responsibility is obscured in the current immigration debate, based on the notoriety of Mara Salvatrucha, a predominantly Salvadoran street gang better known as MS-13.
MS-13 has become a majorscapegoat for Donald Trump and right-wing media in rationalizing harsh immigration policies. The Trump administration has referred to MS-13 gang members as “animals” who “infest” the United States—rhetoric that, as the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent (5/25/18) noted, “slaps the dehumanizing slur on the least sympathetic subgroup and then conflates that subgroup with the larger group that is the real target.”
This scapegoating seems to have worked: According to a recent HuffPost/YouGov survey, over 85 percent of Trump voters believe that MS-13 is a major threat to the United States as a whole. This level of anxiety seems misplaced, considering that even the Justice Department claims MS-13 has only about 10,000 members in the US.
For Salvadorans, though, the fear is very real: In 2017, El Salvador had the most murders per capita on the entire planet (109 per 100,000), followed by Honduras (64 per 100,000), with Guatemala coming in at number nine (31 per 100,000). And with stories like “In El Salvador, the Murder Capital of the World, Gang Violence Becomes a Way of Life” (ABC News, 5/17/16) and “Organised Violence Is Ravaging Central America and Displacing Thousands” (Guardian,6/29/17), media have used that violence to fan fears of MS-13 making inroads into US cities and suburbs.
But what Trump’s racist rhetoric and fear mongering media alike ignore is that MS-13 is partially a product of US policy. The gang was actually founded in the Pico Union neighborhood of Los Angeles in the early 1980s, by Salvadoran immigrants and refugees from its civil war. Its subsequent growth from a small street gang in the US to a transnational criminal organization based out of the Northern Triangle provides an illuminating case study of how US foreign policy choices can backfire spectacularly.
Deportation’s Boomerang Effect
The violence of the Salvadoran civil war sparked a mass exodus of Salvadorans to the United States. In 1970, there were only 15,717 Salvadoran born immigrants living in the US. By 1980, there were 94,447 Salvadoran-born immigrants in the US, shooting up to 465,433 by 1990. Undocumented Salvadorans were granted Temporary Protected Status from 1990 through 1994; TPS was extended following a catastrophic earthquake in 2001, and has been periodically renewed since. However, the Trump administration recently revoked TPS for El Salvador, effective September 2019.
During and after the civil war, a majority of Salvadoran-born immigrants ended up in Southern California, particularly in ethnically segregated neighborhoods in Los Angeles, which was at the time in the midst of violence gang turf wars stemming from the crack cocaine epidemic—itself partially the product of plummeting cocaine prices as the result of drug-smuggling by the CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contra rebels. In this atmosphere, young, impoverished Salvadoran immigrants formed small street gangs like MS-13 and the Eighteenth Street Gang (also known as Barrio 18) for protection from local African-American and Mexican gangs.
Following the end of the civil war in the ’90s and continued gang violence in Southern California and the Washington, DC, metro area—the other major destination for Salvadoran immigrants—the Clinton administration engaged in a policy of mass deportation of immigrants with criminal records, beginning with the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. This was a continuation of policies of the Reagan administration, who deported thousands of Salvadorans seeking asylum from the civil war. An estimate by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime counted almost 46,000 deportations of immigrants with criminal records (undocumented or not) to El Salvador from the US between 1998 and 2005.
El Salvador, just off its decade-plus-long civil war, was hardly equipped with the institutions necessary to deal with a massive influx of gang members from the United States. Gangs like MS-13 quickly integrated with already established street gangs within the country, bringing back elements of US gang culture such as symbols, identities and norms like tattoos or graffiti that helped bring local gang sets under the MS-13 umbrella.
The response of the Salvadoran government (and other Northern Triangle countries) was to crack down and lock up large numbers of suspected gang members in the early 2000s, a policy known as mano dura, or “firm hand.” Over 30,000 arrests were made under the policy in El Salvador, although many cases were thrown out due to illegal arrests and lack of evidence. Despite this, the arrests concentrated large numbers of gang members in one place: Jails and prisons served as effective locations for centralizing the organization of gangs that were previously only loosely affiliated.
While these newly integrated gangs in El Salvador are still less centralized than Mexican drug cartels, the mano dura policies nonetheless allowed gangs to better coordinate across varied gang sets, and expand extortion rackets to tax neighbors and businesses on their turf, using threats of violence. These extortion rackets, along with continued violence between gangs over turf, have created an atmosphere of fear that Salvadoran families quite reasonably want to get away from.
Pouring Fuel on the Fire
Increased deportations of Salvadoran gang members during the Trump administration will likely have the effect of further swelling gang membership numbers in El Salvador, which will in turn lead to more migration as Salvadorans flee gang extortion rackets and violence. Even police have reservations about the harsh immigration policies, and MS-13 gang members have acknowledged that deportation policies help expand their numbers.
Continued gang crackdowns by the Salvadoran government over the past few years are also an issue that the US has a hand in: Salvadoran security forces accused by the UN of extrajudicial killings of gang members have received millions in US aid and training from the FBI and DEA. Ongoing violent confrontations between Salvadoran law enforcement and gangs also contribute to a climate of fear and resentment among Salvadorans as well. Just as tough-on-crime policies have generally failed to reduce crime in the US, in El Salvador and the other Northern Triangle countries they have just as bad a track record, as shown by the failure of the mano dura policies.
The end of Temporary Protected Status for over 200,000 Salvadorans, and their likely subsequent deportation, will also have a major effect on the Salvadoran economy by decreasing remittances from the United States, which account for over about a sixth of the country’s GDP. The end of TPS, combined with high levels of unemployment and underemployment that are partially attributable to US neoliberal economic policies like the 2006 Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), will likely increase the poverty that feeds youth gang membership and immigration. As Mark Tseng-Putterman noted in Medium (6/20/18),“There are few connections being drawn between the weakening of Central American rural agricultural economies at the hands of CAFTA and the rise in migration from the region in the years since.” Indeed, the destructive impact of US trade policy in Latin America over the years has been actively obscured by the devotion of corporate media to “free trade” nostrums. As New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman explained when he endorsed CAFTA in a 2006 CNBC interview: “I didn’t even know what was in it. I just knew two words: free trade.”
While the United States does not necessarily deserve 100 percent of the blame for the conflicts and economic policies that have led to increases in Northern Triangle violence or immigration, it is certainly a major culprit, and has poured fuel on the fire every time it has had the opportunity to do otherwise.
Ignoring the Context
Yet media ignore this crucial context when discussing current American immigration policies. The Washington Post’s pieces on immigration or MS-13 have seldom mentioned the Salvadoran civil war when discussing immigration, let alone the outsized US involvement in the conflict. Out of hundreds of Post articles on Latin American immigration in the past six months, only a few even mention the Salvadoran civil war (1/11/18, 1/31/18, 2/12/18, 3/12/18, 5/30/18, 6/29/18, 7/2/18). One article in the DC Metro Weekend section (6/14/18) did mention immigration in relation to the civil war, but only in the context of where to get some tasty Salvadoran food in Maryland, while another article (3/2/18) on Venezuelan immigration mentioned the Salvadoran civil war in passing. Only Jose Miguel Cruz’s January 31 article and Micaela Sviatschi’s February 12 article mentioned any US involvement in the Salvadoran civil war. While the Post has explored the connection in greater detail in the past, one would think that the current child migrant separation policy and continuing high levels of Northern Triangle immigration would warrant nuanced and detailed coverage now.
The New York Times fared little better, only mentioning the Salvadoran civil war in the context of immigration or MS-13 a handful times in the past six months (1/13/18, 1/18/18, 1/31/18, 2/8/18, 2/17/18, 3/1/18, 4/30/18, 5/23/18, 5/26/18, 6/12/18), including a book review roundup (1/27/18) and a factchecking article on Trump’s claims about MS-13 (7/1/18). Yet of these articles, only three contained any mention of US involvement in the civil war: the January 13 op-ed by Lauren Markham, the January 18 op-ed by Linda Greenhouse and the May 26 article by Elizabeth Malkin. (Malkin’s piece was less focused on current immigration issues, centering on the El Mozote Massacre.) The rest of the articles only briefly mentioned the Salvadoran civil war.
The corporate press has done a generally good job of covering the staggeringnumber of humanrightsabuses of ICE, including the presence of immigrant detainment camps and the separation of over 2,000 child migrants and asylum seekers from their parents at the US/Mexico border. Other outlets have been better on connecting the imperialist history of US foreign policy with the current immigration issues, like Current Affairs (8/1/16), Vox (5/21/18), The Conversation (5/8/17), Vice (6/28/18) and the Philadelphia Inquirer (6/21/18). Even the Atlantic has published pieces (1/20/18, 3/4/18) that explore the web of US policies that have contributed to the current immigration crisis in Central America.
The fact that neoconservatives like David Frum continually obscure the blowback of imperialist US foreign policy is unsurprising. Perhaps more outrageous is the failure of the establishment press, especially the Washington Post and the New York Times, to grapple with how current immigration issues are connected to US intervention in Central America, and the subsequent gang violence it helped trigger. As Mark Tseng-Putterman (Medium, 6/20/18) aptly put it, the US empire thrives on amnesia. It is the job of the media to inform the public with the nuance and context necessary to understand America’s role in the current Central American immigration crisis.
U.S. President Donald Trump and the Russian President Vladimir Putin (not pictured) hold a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, on June 16. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)
Less than 1 percent of Americans consider the situation with Russia a top problem for the United States, according to a Gallup poll released on July 18.
The number of Americans who consider Russia to be the biggest problem facing the country has not surpassed 1 percent in any of the past seven months, the pollster found. While major news outlets have relentlessly pushed the Russian interference narrative for nearly two years, Americans remain overwhelmingly more concerned about domestic issues, with concerns about immigration and the government topping the list of the biggest problems.
Stories surrounding the allegation that Trump campaign associates colluded with Russia have saturated media coverage since the president was elected. To date, no evidence or indictments substantiating that allegation have surfaced.
The lack of proof and the negligible concern from Americans on the Russia issue may be contributing to President Donald Trump’s resilience in presidential approval polls. In 2018, Trump’s approval rating has tracked closely to that of President Barack Obama during his first term, according to Rasmussen Reports, the pollster that was most accurate in predicting the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
The Gallup poll was released on the heels of Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16 and the July 13 indictment of a dozen Russian intelligence officers for allegedly attempting to interfere in the 2016 election by hacking Democratic computer systems. Gallup conducted the survey from July 1 to 11, before either event took place.
More than 1 in 5 Americans consider immigration to be the biggest problem facing the country, Gallup’s survey of 1,033 adults found. Twenty-two percent of respondents said “immigration” or “illegal aliens” when asked to name America’s biggest problem.
According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who rated immigration as the top issue in July reached the highest level in the poll’s 17-year history. The previous peak of 19 percent occurred in April 2006, when Congress was considering a comprehensive immigration bill. The percentage spiked again in the summer of 2014, when large waves of illegal aliens flooded into the United States from Central America, according to Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor in chief. Over the survey’s history, an average of 5 percent of respondents have said immigration is the No. 1 problem.
“When Americans’ naming of immigration as the top problem has exceeded that average by a significant margin, it has reflected real-world events, political attention being paid to the topic, fluctuating salience of other issues, and news coverage,” Newport wrote on July 18.
Americans’ concern over immigration spiked three times during Trump’s first term, reflecting his focus on the issue. The president is pushing to build a wall on the southern border and for comprehensive immigration reform. Trump wants to end the visa lottery program, place limits on chain migration, and institute a merit-based system.
Europe is rethinking its permissive attitude toward immigrants and refugees, but Pope Francis is doubling down on his calls for all countries to welcome them with open arms, even as Italy, which surrounds Vatican City, recently embraced a government that has begun turning away migrants arriving by boat.
During an appearance at a Vatican conference marking the third anniversary of his famous environmental encyclical “Praise Be”, Francis urged the world (i.e. the US) to honor the commitments made in the Paris Accord, and also praised aid groups who rescue and care for migrants.
In a speech with suspiciously political overtones, the Pope said the IMF and World Bank would have an important tole in encouraging sustainable development. If countries don’t abide by their commitments, future generations will inherit a ruined environment.
“There is a real danger that we will leave future generations only rubble, deserts and refuse,” he warned.
While celebrating a mass at St Peter’s Basilica for migrants and people who offer them aid, Francis warned of the “sterile hypocrisy” of those who choose not to help the poor and insecure live a “dignified life”, and lamented how Europe and the US were attempting to close their borders to immigrants and refugees, according to the Hill.
“It grieves us to see the lands of indigenous peoples expropriated and their cultures trampled on by predatory schemes and by new forms of colonialism, fueled by the culture of waste and consumerism,” Francis said.
Indeed, the Guardian described Friday’s conference as “the latest in a series of Vatican initiatives meant to impress a sense of urgency about global warming and the threat it poses…to the world’s poorest and most marginalized people.”
As Francis has continued to sound more like an activist and less like God’s highest authority on Earth, he is set to hold a three-week synod, or conference of bishops, specifically to address the ecological crisis in the Amazon. Francis has said that deforestation threatens to destroy the “lung” of the Earth, as well as the indigenous tribes who live in the rainforest
The pope even went so far as to recently invite oil executives and investors to the Vatican for a closed-door meeting where he reportedly asked them to find alternatives to fossil fuels and warned that they were helping to ruin the environment.
Since becoming Pope in 2013, Francis has shown a willingness to speak on many topics that are unusual for a Pope. These include financial instruments like credit default swaps, which the Holy See singled out as “a ticking time bomb” in a sweeping critique of the global financial system.
To be sure, Francis’s decision to speak in support of several liberal causes – from universal health care to immigration – has angered some conservative Catholics.Steve Bannon recently criticized Francis, saying the Catholic Church is “one of the worst instigators of this open borders policy,” adding that “the Pope – more than anybody else – has driven the migrant crisis in Europe.” Those criticisms arrived after an ally of Francis published an article blasting Catholic voters who voted for Trump while specifically attacking former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon in the shocking singling out of an individual Catholic.
“I want to tell you about Omar, a 5-year-old Syrian refugee boy who arrived to the shore on Lesbos on a crowded rubber boat. Crying, frightened, unable to understand what’s happening to him, he was right on the verge of developing a new trauma. I knew right away that this was a golden hour, a short period of time in which I could change his story, the story that he would tell himself for the rest of his life.
Omar looked at me with scared, tearful eyes and said, “What is this?” as he pointed out to the police helicopter hovering above us. I said: “It’s a helicopter! It’s here to photograph you with big cameras, because only the great and the powerful heroes, like you, Omar, can cross the sea.”
Omar looked at me, stopped crying and asked me, “I’m a hero?”
Now, to Omar, the smell of the sea will not just remind him of his traumatic journey from Syria. Because to Omar, this story is now a story of bravery.”
The global refugee crisis is a mental health catastrophe, leaving millions in need of psychological support to overcome the traumas of dislocation and conflict. To undo the damage, child psychiatrist and TED Fellow Essam Daod has been working in camps, rescue boats and the shorelines of Greece and the Mediterranean Sea to help refugees (a quarter of which are children) reframe their experiences through short, powerful psychological interventions. “We can all do something to prevent this mental health catastrophe,” Daod says. “We need to acknowledge that first aid is not just needed for the body, but it has also to include the mind, the soul.”
This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.
When citizens began to ask questions about why Walmart stores were suddenly closing in in southern states in 2015, the mainstream media insisted that the closures were due to plumbing problems and that any suggestion of government involvement was a crazy conspiracy theory. Three years later, the MSM is finally admitting that several of those Walmart stores were converted into detention centers, which now house immigrant children who have been separated from their parents.
At least 1,500 boys are currently being detained in Brownsville, Texas, where NBC News reported that they “spend 22 hours per day during the week (21 hours on weekends) locked inside a converted former Walmart,” where at least five boys are packed into rooms built for four. Many of those in prisons across the United States get more yard time than these children.
The boys range in age from 10 to 17 years old, and the average stay at the center is around 52 days. If the idea of imprisoning young boys as if they are felons for two months straight sounds agonizing and cruel, that is because it is. A small group of reporters was allowed inside the facility, and the report from NBC claimed that guard asked them to “smile at the hundreds of detained migrant kids in line for a meal because ‘they feel like animals in a cage being looked at.’”
A report from ABC News also noted that the detention center in Brownsville “was once a Walmart,” and while it claimed that the facility was “clean and well-staffed, with activities to keep the kids busy and their minds off their unfortunate situation,” it also noted that this was “a media tour, and journalists weren’t allowed to interview any of the children.”
“Where there were once racks of clothes and aisles of appliances, there were now spotless dorm-style bedrooms with neatly made beds and Pokémon posters on the walls,” The New York Timesreport noted that the converted Walmart store is now the largest licensed migrant children’s shelter in the country, but failed to point out that it was one of many stores that mysteriously went out of business when President Obama was still in office.
At the time, citizens became concerned when a number of Walmart stores mysteriously went out of business in Texas, Oklahoma, California, and Florida starting in April 2015. The mainstream media and its “trustworthy fact-checker” Snopes.com were adamant that the closures were due to plumbing problems, as Walmart claimed, and that there was no government involvement.
However, the reality that the former stores are, in fact, being used by the government, and that they are being used to imprison migrant children who have been separated from their parents, made headlines recently when Senator Jeff Merkley attempted to enter the converted Walmart in Brownsville, and he was denied entry by police.
“When I was at the center at McAllen Border Station, this is the processing center, earlier and I was admitted there and I did see the people, hundreds of children locked up in cages there at that facility,” Merkley said in an interview with CNN. “They have big cages made out of fencing and then wire and nets stretched across the top of them so people can’t climb out of them.”
While it is not clear whether any of the children in the detention center in Brownsville are being kept in cages, it is clear that the government worked diligently to keep facts from the public.
The young children who are forcefully separated from their parents are treated like prisoners and taken to detention centers where they are forced to live among hundreds of other children they have never met. The lifelong consequences can be detrimental; and, in some cases, these children will never see their parents again.
The individual cases are horrific, and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal recently shed light on her experience visiting a facility near Seattle where she met with more than 170 women who were taken into custody near the southern U.S. border.
“Thirty to 40 percent of these women came with children who had been forcibly taken away from them. None got a chance to say goodbye to their children—they were forcibly taken away,” Jayapal toldThe Nation. “One said she was deceived because they were in detention together. Then the CBP officers told her she was going out to get her photograph taken. When she came back, she was put in a different room, and she never got to see the child again. Some of them said they could hear their children screaming for them in the next room.”
A father from Honduras, who came to the United States with his family to seek asylum, was so distraught after he was separated from his wife and child that he killed himself while he was left alone in a jail cell last month.
In another case, a mother from Honduras who came to the U.S. seeking asylum with her family said she was breastfeeding her infant at a detention center when her baby was suddenly taken from her with no warning and no explanation.
A former employee of one of the detention centers is now speaking out after he said he quit in protest after he saw how horrific the process was for the children. Antar Davidson said he watched young children being “ripped from their parents” and sent to a detention center, where in some cases, no one spoke the same language they did.
Davidson claimed the facility was understaffed, the employees lacked the proper training, and as a result, the children were “extremely traumatized.” He also said the workers were underpaid, while “the CEO and his wife clear more than a million dollars a year in mostly federal tax money and undercut the services we need.”
“It’s a basic private prison deal in the guise of this shelter,” Davidson said. “So the people at the end of the day, when they have to put the kids to sleep have already worked an eight-hour shift and are often times asked to stay overtime. On top of that, these kids are running up and down the halls screaming, crying for their mom, throwing chairs. Everyone is tired. The under-trained staff is dealing with an increasingly traumatized population of minors.”
As The Free Thought Project has reported, while there have always been people seeking asylum in the U.S. from other countries, it should be noted that the “War on Drugs” in the United States has contributed both to violence in the countries immigrants are seeking asylum from, and an increase in drug trafficking over the border that has resulted in all migrants being treated like criminals.
Former Congressman Ron Paul noted last year that the War on Drugs has “produced no benefit to the American people at a great cost,” and “just as with the welfare magnet, there is an enormous incentive to smuggle drugs into the United States.”
There is also the troubling concern over what is happening to the immigrant children who are separated from their parents. While the idea of an innocent child being locked in a cage is troubling, it is not the worst fate many of the children are subjected to. The Health and Human Services Department recently admitted that nearly 1,500 immigrant children have gone missing, and many of them are suspected to have been kidnapped by human traffickers.
US officials say 1,995 minors separated from parents or legal guardians over six weeks under sharply criticised policy.
Almost 2,000 children have been separated from their parents or legal guardians at the US-Mexico border since a highly criticised “zero tolerance” immigration policy came into place, according to US officials.
A Department of Homeland Security spokesman told reporters on Friday that 1,995 minors were separated from 1,940 adults who crossed the US border without documents between April 19 and May 31.
The adults were held in preparation of prosecution for undocumented entry into the United States, immigration violations, or possible criminal conduct.
All cases of undocumented entry are being referred for criminal prosecution under the “zero tolerance” policy announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in May.
The separations are a consequence of this prosecution, as minors cannot be held with their parents or legal guardians.
The policy has come under fire from politicians, immigration advocates and human rights groups.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights last week said the practice “amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child”.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the policy “shameful” and said there’s no policy justification for it.
Reacting to the separations of nearly 2,000 children from their families, California Senator also urged the Trump administration to end “the immoral policy”.
On Thursday, Sessions cited Christian scripture to justify detaining children separately from their fathers and said that, “Consistent, fair application of law is in itself a good and moral thing, and it protects the weak”.
A day later, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders drew further anger and ridicule from many online after seemingly invoking the Bible to justify the Trump administration’s policy.
Shortly after taking office, Trump signed an executive order, expanding the powers of the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to focus on detaining most undocumented immigrants, including those with no criminal record.
The number of interior removals – or deportations of those already in the US – grew by 37 percent during Trump’s first year in office when compared with the same period in 2016, according to government data.
Sessions has also recently come under fire for issuing a ruling that may make it nearly impossible for domestic abuse and gang violence survivors to seek asylum in the US.
In 2015, Snopes attempted to fact-check “rumors” that “began to swirl in April 2015 when several Walmart stores around the U.S. were abruptly closed due what Walmart claimed were “plumbing problems.“ Walmarts in Pico Rivera, CA, Livingston, TX, Midland, TX, Brandon, FL, and Tulsa, OK, all suddenly closed their doors, with Walmart corporate announcing that some of those outlets would be shuttered for six months or more. We now know, even though Snopes has not updated its web page, that at least one of those Walmarts is a detention center to house children of immigrant families.
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) attempted to enter the converted Walmart in Brownsville, TX to inspect the living conditions of immigrant children who had reportedly been separated from their parents and were rumored to be kept in cages and concrete floors of the converted Walmart. Merkley streamed live on social media his attempt to enter the facility but was denied entry by Homeland Security.
All the windows and doors to the facility—which is a shuttered Walmart—have been blacked out with window tinting. Merkley arrived and was immediately asked to leave by a female government worker.
One of the country’s most powerful lawmakers then demanded to speak with a supervisor. Instead of complying with his wishes in the name of transparency, the shadowy government workers called Brownsville police on the U.S. Senator. After 10 minutes of waiting and being confronted by local police, he was denied entry and forced to leave.
Later, in a Facebook live video, Merkley remarked:
When an organization has something to hide, not allowing members of congress to see it, in a democracy, is completely unacceptable…What’s going on is an effort to prevent the press from being able to report to the American people what is happening. And that’s simply unacceptable.
Later on in the video he added:
So far, as far as we know, no member of Congress has actually been allowed to see what’s going on with this program.
The detention facility is run by Southwest Key Programs, who promptly issued an apology to the Senator from Oregon on Wednesday for disallowing Merkley entry to its converted Walmart on Padre Island Highway in Brownsville. The statement reads:
We regret having to turn away Senator Merkley at our Casa Padre shelter. The U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) prohibits any facility from allowing visits that have not been approved by them, even if it is a U.S. Senator. With ORR approval, Southwest Key shelters have welcomed elected and other public officials at our facilities in the past, and will continue to do so, because we are proud of the caring environment we provide these children. We have reached out to the Senator and connected with his staff because we would like to see this happen.
After the video began gaining traction, the White House lashed out at the senator, claiming that he is “spreading blatant lies” about the reality of the situation.
“Senator Merkley is irresponsibly spreading blatant lies about routine immigration enforcement while smearing hardworking, dedicated law enforcement officials at ICE and CBP,” deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News.
“He voted against closing the ‘catch-and-release’ loopholes used by child smugglers, and his reckless open borders policies are responsible for the permanent separation of thousands of American families who have been forced to bury their loved ones,” Gidley added. “No one is taking a public safety lecture from Sen. Merkley, whose own policies endanger children, empower human smugglers and drug cartels, and allow violent criminal aliens to flood into American communities.”
What’s more, DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton said Merkley was actually able to visit the facility—in spite of the video showing otherwise.
“At 2pm on a Friday, the Senator asked to visit a secure DHS facility over the weekend where children are present and we worked with him to provide him access,” Houlton said. “This presented obvious and serious privacy concerns – not to mention disrupting operations. He was able to visit the facility on Sunday.”
That never happened.
According to Merkley, however, he says that he’s actually been inside another one of these facilities in which he witnessed hundreds of children being kept inside cages.
“When I was at the center at McAllen Border Station, this is the processing center, earlier and I was admitted there and I did see the people, hundreds of children locked up in cages there at that facility,” Merkley said in an interview with CNN. “They have big cages made out of fencing and then wire and nets stretched across the top of them so people can’t climb out of them.”
After the White House issued the statement on Merkley allegedly spreading lies, Merkley Communications Director Ray Zaccaro fired back and insisted the White House be more transparent on what’s going on with these children.
“The White House is smearing Senator Merkley because they can’t defend their indefensible policy of snatching children from their parents,” Zaccaro said. “Senator Merkley and his staff saw children in cages yesterday at the DHS processing center. We still have no idea what’s happening in the detention center where reportedly up to a thousand children are being held, since they refused the Senator’s request to go inside.”
Even if Merkley is doing all this as a means to smear Trump or garner political support, the reality of the situation is that children have been documented by politicians and local news crews during the Obama administration being kept in cages.
Photo: McAllen, TX, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-02) tour of processing center.
Sadly, these children are being used as pawns in a political game as rivals bicker over how to handle them while ignoring real factors that would curb criminal immigration.
As the Free Thought Projectreported, Ron Paul provides penetrating wisdom on truly effective ways to deal with the situation, while providing a financial benefit and removing a giant injustice being perpetrated by the U.S. government.
Likewise, the 40 year war on drugs has produced no benefit to the American people at a great cost. It is estimated that since President Nixon declared a war on drugs, the US has spent more than a trillion dollars to fight what is a losing battle. That is because just as with the welfare magnet, there is an enormous incentive to smuggle drugs into the United States.
We already know the effect that ending the war on drugs has on illegal smuggling: as more and more US states decriminalize marijuana for medical and recreational uses, marijuana smuggling from Mexico to the US has dropped by 50 percent from 2010.
This view is backed by data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission. In fiscal year 2015, illegal immigrants were responsible for 75 percent of federal drug possession charges.
Amusingly, both Sean Hannity and PolitiFact confirmed this. Data show that the ‘illegal alien” category accounted for “1,640 of 2,181 total convictions (75 percent) in which the primary charge was simple drug possession.”
It is important to note that a rise in gang violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala has caused a massive influx of immigrants seeking refuge lately. They are coming in by the thousands in an attempt to escape this violence. Instead of looking at the cause of this violence, however, US policy is to separate immigrant children from their parents while prosecuting the adults—and this is supposed to somehow be a solution.
Paul also points out the burden of free medical benefits, food assistance, and education given to illegal immigrants which amounts to about $100 billion a year. Granted, many of them are part of the workforce in sectors such as agriculture, but not paying taxes and sending money back to Mexico creates a significant imbalance.
Instead of wearing the badge of the “largest prison population in the world” and continuing to convert Walmarts into detention centers, the United States could begin eliminating the national debt, reduce crime, foster personal liberty, and drastically decrease criminal gangs that flourish from prohibition—and all it would have to do would be end the war on drugs.
Sadly, at least for now, it appears that these dinosaurs in DC think that caging children, ripping them out of their parents arms, and repeatedly deporting them at the expense of the taxpayer, is the only solution. Thanks government.
The number of migrant children held without their parents by the US government has surged 21% since last month to 10,773 children, the Washington Post reported.
The uptick comes after the Trump administration imposed a new “zero tolerance” policy to prosecute migrants who cross the US border illegally.
The policy means that migrant parents who cross the border with their children are forcibly separated while they await criminal prosecution.
The Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy toward migrants who cross the US border illegally has driven up the number of migrant children held in government custody without their parents, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The US Health and Human Services Department said it was holding 10,773 migrant children in custody as of Tuesday — up 21% from the 8,886 it was holding a month earlier.
The surge comes in the wake of the Trump administration’s new tactic to criminally prosecute every person who crosses into the US illegally, which requires them to be separated from any children they brought with them while they’re detained.
But it’s unclear exactly how many of the 10,773 children being held in government custody were actually forcibly separated from their parents — a Customs and Border Protection official told lawmakers at a hearing last week that 658 children had been separated from 638 adults between May 6 and May 19 under the new zero tolerance policy.
Technocrats like Eric Schmidt, the former executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, are brimming with glee over the continued advancements being made in the field of artificial intelligence, or AI. But how will these changes affect the social landscape, and what types of threats does this technology pose to humans?
Not many at the current time, insists Schmidt, who recently told the media that worries about AI robots turning into killer machines like something out of the Terminator movies shouldn’t be a problem for at least the next 10 to 20 years.
In the meantime, he says, humans can rest easy about the global race towards transhumanism because the technology has the potential to advance “health care” and “energy,” which outweighs any concerns about AI robots taking over the planet and subjecting humans as their slaves. We can deal with that when the time comes, he basically stated.
“Everyone immediately then wants to talk about all the movie-inspired death scenarios, and I can confidently predict to you that they are one to two decades away,” Schmidt stated, insisting that it’s all good for now. “So let’s worry about them, but let’s worry about them in a while.”
Despite the fact that the stated purpose of AI is to create machines that are smarter than humans, but that don’t have to be paid to do the exact same work, Schmidt also claims that people shouldn’t worry that AI technology will ever be outside the control of human masters.
“You’ve been watching too many movies. Let me be clear: Humans will remain in charge of [AI] for the rest of time,” he asserted.
Immigration should be limitless to push forward with AI development, says Schmidt
Much of the chatter surrounding AI is being fueled by China’s determination to outpace the United States in developing the “best” forms of the technology. China’s “whole-of-nation” AI program is on track to overtake the U.S. by the year 2030, which has U.S.-based AI developers in a tizzy to make sure this doesn’t happen.
For Schmidt, this means continuing to import immigrants from all over the world to come to the U.S. to sit inside cubicles and program AI robots with their own intelligence. Because this isn’t happening as much due to President Trump’s H-1B visa limitations and travel bans, Schmidt is now lamenting the fact that the human slave labor pool for building the AI hive mind is starting to run dry.
“We want the best people in the world, regardless of any form of sex, race, country, what-have-you. We want them to work for us and not our competitors,” he added, noting that our entire immigration policy should center around bringing in the “best” people to push forward with AI development programs. Conveniently, Schmidt seems to ignore the deeper truth that the majority of “undocumented immigrants” entering the USA aren’t exactly software geniuses to begin with, and most of them pose a strong financial burden on U.S. states like California and Arizona.
Even if this immigration effort requires bringing people in from Iran, which is not necessarily on the best terms with the U.S. as far as national security is concerned, Schmidt wants to see it happen. And why wouldn’t he, considering Google itself is quickly becoming a runaway AI technology of its own that actively censors information deemed a threat to the globalist agenda.
“We should organize our country to be the most attractive place for those people,” says Schmidt. “Stupid government policies that restrict us from [having] a fair chance of getting those people are antithetical to our mission [and] the things we serve.”
Chemical-dosing experiment to force friendship toward migrants: not science fiction
I really hope you understand this.
It is not a fantasy. It isn’t science fiction. It isn’t satire.
It is Brave New World, but not the Huxley novel. It’s happening now.
It’s a published study that appears on the website of the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
The title of the study is, “Oxytocin-enforced norm compliance reduces xenophobic outgroup rejection.” (Reference: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Aug 29;114(35):9314-9319.)
Xenophobia is defined as: “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers.” (Dictionary.com)
Oxytocin, the chemical used in this study, is described by Medical News Today: “Widely referred to as the love hormone, oxytocin has also been dubbed the hug hormone, cuddle chemical, moral molecule, and the bliss hormone due to its effects on behavior, including its role in love and in female reproductive biological functions in reproduction.”
“Oxytocin is a hormone that is made in the brain, in the hypothalamus. It is transported to, and secreted by, the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain.”
The published study details a successful attempt at chemical mind control. The goal is making people more “happy and friendly” about mass migration, by changing their hormonal response toward migrants.
Nothing in the study cites inherent migration problems, such as increased violent crime, back-breaking financial pressure on government budgets, and the eroding of local cultures. It’s all about shifting feeling and reaction toward waves of immigrants.
Here are extensive quotes from the new study:
“Here we report the results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment showing that enhanced activity of the oxytocin system paired with charitable social cues [programming] can help counter the effects of xenophobia by fostering altruism toward refugees. These findings suggest that the combination of oxytocin and peer-derived altruistic norms [social cues] reduces outgroup rejection [toward migrants] even in the most selfish and xenophobic individuals, and thereby would be expected to increase the ease by which people adapt to rapidly changing social ecosystems [mass immigration].”
“…we tested the propensity of 183 Caucasian participants to make donations to people in need, half of whom were refugees (outgroup) and half of whom were natives (ingroup). Participants scoring low on xenophobic attitudes [showing they already accept mass immigration] exhibited an altruistic preference for the outgroup, which further increased after nasal delivery of the neuropeptide oxytocin. In contrast, participants with higher levels of xenophobia generally failed to exhibit enhanced altruism toward the outgroup. This tendency was only countered by pairing oxytocin with peer-derived altruistic norms [social-programming cues], resulting in a 74% increase in refugee-directed donations. Collectively, these findings reveal the underlying sociobiological conditions associated with outgroup-directed altruism by showing that charitable social cues co-occurring with enhanced activity of the oxytocin system reduce the effects of xenophobia by facilitating prosocial behavior toward refugees.”
The truly disturbing and mind-boggling aspect of this study is: many people would accept it as a reasonable way to “solve” the migrant crisis.
Forget about the actual effects of immigration. They’re irrelevant. Instead, focus on re-shaping people’s minds, through chemical intervention combined with social programming.
The authors of the mind-control study are basically saying, “If you have a problem with mass immigration, the problem has nothing to do with facts. It only has to do with your hormone system. Basically, you have a deficit of oxytocin.”
I have written many articles about the effects of philosophic materialism, including its conclusion that humans are merely biological machines and, therefore, can be manipulated at will by “those in charge.”
Free will? A delusion. Individual choice? Unacceptable. Humans are inherently programmed in every respect, and badly programmed at that. The central flaws must be fixed. Humans must be reconfigured so they automatically respond to stimuli in new ways. ‘More humane ways.’
Lost in this study, as well, are the effects of dosing with oxytocin on a person’s overall hormone system. You don’t suddenly ramp up one hormone without changing levels of others—testosterone, for example. But who cares, when the social and political goal must be attained? If men become more passive in the process, why not?
Perhaps that notion will be the formation of the next study. “Let’s cut testosterone and see what happens. How much of it do we need to reduce before men just lie around and play with toys and dolls?”
Interestingly enough, the authors of the study never considered dosing male immigrants of military age with the oxytocin “love hormone.” Heaven forbid. That would be “interfering in their culture.”
That’s called a clue.
In Brave New World, Huxley included every kind of programming he could imagine: genetically controlled, synthetic, motherless, incubator pregnancy and birth, during which extensive mind control was applied; consequent separation of classes of humans, relative to their assigned work and social relations; elimination of the traditional family; erasure of all hostile impulses; societal norms constructed to encourage physical pleasure as the highest ideal; and a “miracle drug,” Soma, ready at hand to dispel the depression and doubt that might somehow creep through and survive the massive programming. The “inevitable outcome?” EVERYONE WILL BE HAPPY.
In one stage or another, all these strategies are now being pushed forward toward a Technocratic future.
With Utopian justice for all.
Again, the proposition on which this lunacy is based is: freedom does not exist. It was always an illusion. Humans have never been anything more than programmed bio-machines. Therefore, ANY level and degree of re-programming is justified.
Objections to this crusade are merely part of the illusion that freedom is real.
However, freedom IS real. How individuals view it and what they do with it is an entirely different matter. If they see it as nothing more than choosing between a vacation in Disney World and Las Vegas, choosing between reruns of CSI and Matlock, then Brave New World will seem like a minor change.
Conceiving, realizing, and experiencing freedom as a vast space and a vast platform for individual action—creative action, meaningful action—THAT is a prerequisite for the survival of life as we know it.
The life we hold dear.
Who defines “meaningful action?”
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.
I believe that this is the most racist statement Trump has uttered so far. How do you feel Africa? Apparently you are a collection of ‘shit hole’ countries. The Trumpster just alienated a whole continent.
White House not denying U.S. president used profanity in Oval Office meeting
U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the White House, on Tuesday. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)
In an extraordinary Oval Office exchange, U.S. President Donald Trump used profane language to disparage African nations in a meeting with lawmakers about a proposed bipartisan deal on immigration.
That’s according to three people briefed on the meeting held Thursday.
Trump reportedly questioned why the U.S. would want to admit more people from “shithole countries.” The comment came during a discussion on a deal to protect hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation. Trump rejected the deal.
Yes you will Donald, and keep all Americans within it.
US President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration measures are aimed at “making America white again,” says an analyst in California, referring to the president’s infamous campaign slogan: “Making America Great Again.”
Beau Grosscup, a professor emeritus of political science, told Press TV on Wednesday that the Republican president had no idea what he was doing by insisting on ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for immigrant children.
The analyst noted that Trump was not behind such decisions in the White House.
“People ask whether or not President Trump has made this decision, and I would argue he has no knowledge of any of these decisions,” Grosscup argued. “He has basically given carte blanche to his Homeland Security Department as well as [Homeland Security Secretary] John Kelly,” he said.
“They are very xenophobic in this administration, they have a fear of foreigners. They are attempting basically to make America white again,” the academic said.
The remarks came after a US federal judge in California temporarily blocked Trump’s administration from ending the DACA program that protects young immigrants from deportation.
Judge William Alsup said on Tuesday that the immigration policy established by the administration of former President Barack Obama must remain in place while litigation over Trump’s decision to end the program plays out.
As a result, DACA recipients who failed to renew their status by last year’s deadline will have a chance to submit renewal applications.
The Trump administration announced in September that it would end the program that has provided protection from deportation and the right to work legally to nearly 800,000 young people since it was authorized by Obama in 2012.
The news comes amid intense negotiations in Congress between Democrats and Republicans about an immigration package that may include granting legal status to about 800,000 immigrant children who have received temporary protection from deportation under DACA.
Trump has made it clear that any immigration package that concerns DACA recipients must also include funding for his controversial plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico.
The US Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that it is terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than a quarter-million immigrants from El Salvador. The immigrants, a large majority of them poorer workers, have 18 months, until September 9, 2019, to leave the US or be arrested and deported.
Including the roughly 190,000 children of the 262,000 Salvadoran TPS recipients, the total population immediately affected is larger than the population of a city the size of Toledo, Ohio or New Orleans, Louisiana. Rounding up the TPS recipients for deportation will require Gestapo-type operations in the Washington DC metropolitan area, where 50,000 Salvadoran TPS recipients live; Los Angeles, where 40,000 live; and Houston and New York City, where a combined 50,000 reside.
The Salvadorans are the largest single group covered by the TPS program, under which the DHS secretary may allow people fleeing natural disasters or civil wars to stay in the United States for more extended periods of time than under traditional refugee status.
The Salvadoran TPS recipients constitute a significant section of the working class in the US, where most have put down deep roots. The average Salvadoran covered by TPS has been living in the US for 21 years. Those now facing deportation are primarily of middle age and have lived here for most of their adult lives. By one estimate, removing these workers will slash the US gross domestic product by nearly $110 billion over the next 10 years.
Some 190,000 were admitted before 1994 and all 262,000 entered the country before 2001, when several major earthquakes devastated El Salvador. Tens of thousands escaped the civil war that ravaged the country from 1980 to 1992, during which US-backed death squads razed villages and massacred the population, including the estimated 1,200 peasants murdered in the village of El Mozote 37 years ago last month in what is known as El Salvador’s My Lai.
The move is a death sentence for hundreds or even thousands of those who will be sent back to a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world, dominated by criminal drug gangs that operate with impunity, protected by a corrupt military that rakes in money from both narcotics trafficking and US military aid. According to a 2015 report in the Guardian, dozens of deported Salvadorans were murdered after being deported by Obama in 2014-2015 alone.
The decision to terminate TPS for Salvadorans signals the Trump administration’s determination to put an end to the program entirely. Previously, DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke terminated TPS for 2,500 immigrants from Nicaragua, giving them until January 5, 2019 to leave the United States, and for 57,000 immigrants from Haiti, whose TPS status is set to expire July 22, 2019.
But equal responsibility for the move lies with the Democratic Party, which paved the way for Trump’s mass deportation program during the Obama administration. President Obama deported 2.7 million immigrants, including hundreds of thousands when the Democratic Party controlled Congress in the first years of his administration.
This makes the phony statements of support for immigrants by leading Democrats all the more cynical. Barack Obama jailed tens of thousands of Salvadoran children and their mothers who crossed into the US during a flare-up of Central American violence in 2014.
As for Trump’s request for $15 billion more in funding for border “security,” the Democratic Party has long embraced the militarization of the border and has made clear it will back the allocation of additional billions to increase what is already a small army of border police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
The Democrats’ opposition to Trump’s demand for $18 billion to build a physical wall along the US-Mexico border is a political maneuver to divert attention from their basic agreement on stepping up the war against undocumented workers.
When the precursor to Trump’s wall was first proposed in the 2006 Secure Fence Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush, top Senate Democrats backed it, including then-senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joseph Biden, as well as Charles Schumer, now the Senate Democratic leader. As a result of this and other bipartisan border militarization measures, up to 27,000 immigrants have died crossing the desert in the last 20 years.
In 2013, the Democrats agreed to spend $40 billion on border security, doubling the number of Border Patrol agents to 40,000 and expanding the use of high-tech surveillance equipment, including sensors and drones. The Democrats also agreed to eliminate the visa lottery, exclude siblings of US citizens from family reunification visas, and expand visa offerings based on education levels and work expertise, along the lines demanded by US corporations seeking highly skilled labor. The bill was voted down by the Republicans.
Today, they are proposing to go above and beyond their previous anti-immigrant pledges. The move to deport TPS recipients comes as the Democratic Party and Trump are engaged in Kabuki theater negotiations over the fate of 800,000 young people brought to the US as children who are enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program enacted during the Obama administration. Trump rescinded the DACA order, effective March 5, at which point mass roundups of former DACA recipients could begin, using the information they supplied to the government as part of their applications for DACA.
The White House is also demanding cuts in legal immigration as part of a “compromise” on DACA, including the elimination of the visa lottery program and so-called “chain migration,” which allows US citizens and legal residents to sponsor family relations for entry.
Last week, Senator Schumer made clear in advance of talks on DACA that he supported further measures to militarize the US-Mexican border. Senator Bernie Sanders reiterated his support for stepped-up attacks on undocumented workers in an appearance Sunday on the ABC program “This Week.” Sanders declared that while he opposed Trump’s border wall, “I don’t think there’s anybody who disagrees that we need strong border security. If the president wants to work with us to make sure we have strong border security, let’s do that.”
Sanders, in line with the trade union bureaucracy, echoes Trump’s economic nationalism and pseudo-populist attempts to pit American workers against their class brothers and sisters in other countries.
The vast majority of Americans disagree with the anti-immigrant nationalism of Trump, with nine in 10 believing the government should give citizenship to immigrants who have lived in the US for a number of years. Mass protests broke out at airports across the country in January and February 2017 after Trump announced his initial travel ban. Since then, the Democratic Party has worked systematically to divert and suppress popular opposition to Trump’s anti-immigrant, pro-corporate and pro-war program. It has instead promoted reactionary, anti-democratic campaigns.
These include the so-called “Me Too” movement, which rejects basic democratic principles such as the presumption of innocence and due process in order to promote the feminism of privileged layers of the middle class; the anti-Russia campaign, which seeks to shift American foreign policy to an even more aggressive military posture against Russia; and the campaign against “fake news,” which is being used to justify censorship of the Internet and social media.
In December, the Supreme Court allowed a revised version of Trump’s travel ban to take effect shortly after House Democrats voted two-to-one against a move by a Democratic congressman to introduce articles of impeachment citing Trump’s mass deportation program.
Socialists reject the entire reactionary framework of the so-called “debate” over immigration “reform.” The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) rejects the position of Democrats and Republicans alike that undocumented workers are guilty of a crime and must be made to “pay” in one fashion or another for their supposed misdeeds.
The SEP upholds the right of workers from every corner of the globe to live and work in whatever country they choose with full citizenship rights, including the right to return to their home countries without the threat of being barred from re-entry to the US and being separated from their families.
The total number of people who work in the same factories, construction sites and other industries alongside the 262,000 Salvadoran TPS recipients number in the millions or tens of millions. The attack on them is an attack on the entire working class.
Only the power of the working class—united across race and nationality—can block the drive to destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran workers living in the US.
Rosa Maria Hernandez was arrested after an emergency surgery in Texas. Defying doctor’s orders, the government refuses to release her to family.
Federal agents followed 10-year-old Rosa Maria Hernandez, who has cerebral palsy and is undocumented, to a Texas children’s hospital, where she had emergency surgery before being taken into federal custody. (Photo: Washington Post/Courtesy of Austina Arroyo)
The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the federal government for refusing to release 10-year-old Rosa Maria Hernandez—who has cerebral palsy and is recovering from surgery—to her family, in defiance of her doctor’s recommendations. Outrage over her case has made national headlines and produced a viral social media campaign featuring the hashtag #FreeRosa.
“All of us should be outraged and alarmed that the federal government would chase a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy to a hospital, arrest her after surgery, and rip her from her loving home.”
—Andre Segura, ACLU of Texas
“The government’s actions are unlawful, cruel, and threaten to keep parents with sick children from seeking care,” said Michael Tan, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “It is also unconstitutional to deprive a child of the love and care her parents have provided her entire life.”
Hernandez, who is undocumented, was being transported by ambulance from Laredo, Texas to a children’s hospital 150 miles away for emergency gallbladder surgery when the vehicle was stopped by federal agents. After the girl’s adult cousin, who is a U.S. citizen, produced her own papers but was not able to provide proof of citizenship for Hernandez, agents accompanied them to the hospital.
Following Hernandez’s surgery, Customs and Border Protection arrested the child in her hospital bed, as soon as she was discharged, and transferred her into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) as an “unaccompanied minor,” despite the fact that her parents, who are also undocumented, reside in the United States, and she has several family members who are U.S. citizens.
Hernandez is being held in government custody, 150 miles away from her home. According to the ACLU and several reports, she “has never been separated from her parents, and her medical condition requires constant attention; she is completely dependent on her mother.”
“It is unconscionable to target a little girl in a children’s hospital,” said Tan. “Hospitals are considered sensitive locations under Homeland Security’s own policy, and Border Patrol should not be arresting people there—especially children.”
The ACLU claims in the lawsuit, filed Tuesday, that the government is violating several laws, as outlined in a blog post on the organization’s website:
Border Patrol had no authority to put Rosa Maria into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which has no authority to detain her.
Border Patrol made an illegal, warrantless arrest.
Border Patrol’s action discriminate based on disability.
ORR is violating federal protections for minors.
Rosa Maria and her family have due process rights and ORR is violating them.
“All of us should be outraged and alarmed that the federal government would chase a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy to a hospital, arrest her after surgery, and rip her from her loving home,” said Andre Segura, legal director of the ACLU of Texas. “This is not only unconstitutional, but heartless.”
People have long blamed those unlike themselves. Are immigrants and minorities more criminal than locals, or just more likely to get caught – or even just more likely to be blamed? An example of Irish living in London at the beginning of the professional police era shows that who ends up in front of the judge is more dependent on how the crime is policed than on who is responsible. If police tactics unduly target minority groups, then this inflation of the criminal statistics can, and has, been used to paint minority groups in a negative light.
Bank notes not worth the paper
London experienced a massive crime wave between 1797 and 1821, linked almost entirely to counterfeiting and forgery. The problem got so bad that people began to worry if the cash in their pocket was real – aware that they could be executed for knowingly spending bad money. Bank notes had only recently been introduced in England and, as historian Randall McGowen has remarked, they were “scarcely more than a printed form with a number, a date and a clerk’s signature”. Forgers even had the gall to produce the fake bank notes in prison, selling them onward for a fraction of their face value to anyone brave enough to attempt to pass them off in the city’s shops.
Even coinage, then comprised of actual silver and gold, was at risk. Talented button makers and engravers turned their attention to the technically similar processes of making false coins, which would be made with a cheaper metal and rubbed with aqua fortis (nitric acid) or aqua regis (a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids) to make the fake appear either silver or gold respectively.
Soon the city was crawling with fake money, including more than 250,000 forged banknotes. Patrick Colquhoun, a magistrate of the era, estimated 120 sellers were each distributing hundreds of false coins onto the city’s streets. He singled out the Irish as one of the problem groups behind the crime wave.
Peter King’s previous research on Irish crime claimed the justice system did not show an anti-Irish prejudice and that the Irish criminals got what was coming to them. Certainly there are records from London’s courtrooms to support this.
For example, Irishmen John Fennell and James Gillington were arrested in 1799 after having allegedly forged more than 600 bank notes with a home-made printing press. But at the other end of the spectrum the records are filled with Irish such as John Brown, who tried to pay for his glass of gin at the pub with a false coin. Looking at the numbers alone the Irish do seem to have been a problem – but these numbers hide the extent to which policing strategy affected who got arrested in the first place.
Initially, the authorities relied almost exclusively on tips from shopkeepers who had been offered false money. It fell to them to detain suspects and call for the watchman who would make the arrest. This meant people spending false money had a far greater chance of getting arrested than those involved in the more profitable aspects of manufacture and wholesale.
The Irish were more involved in the petty but very public act of spending the money – those aspects of the crime most associated with poverty. As new arrivals, the Irish were at a further disadvantage, and cunning locals were only too happy to trick their new “friends” into buying a round at the bar with the false coins they supplied. With the system of policing set up to almost exclusively target these minor players, the courtrooms filled with poor Irish which led to their reputation for criminality.
Enter the detectives
Despite these arrests the problem of forgery worsened. So, in 1812, the Bank of England changed its strategy, encouraging specialist detectives to hunt for the real counterfeiters. With generous rewards as incentives, these detectives soon managed to infiltrate the criminal networks. This often involved using accomplices in the crime to trick the counterfeiters and wholesalers into selling to an undercover agent, in exchange for a reduction in their own sentence.
For the first time the Bank was encouraging local criminals to “out” other local criminals and, as they did so, the ethnic makeup of defendants appearing in the court began to change: the number of English defendants rose 27-fold in the years immediately after the change in policing strategy.
This research highlights what gets missed when policing focuses on crime perpetrated by ethnic minorities. No one at the time noticed the dramatic reduction in Irish defendants but, by the 1810s, the claim that the Irish were behind the forged currency crime wave was unsupportable. This wasn’t because the situation had changed for the criminals, but because the police had changed where they were looking for them – and discovered that the real culprits behind the crime wave were the local English, and probably always had been.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone