Migranti
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Mass immigration has lately commanded media attention in both North America and Europe. The issue of separating children from parents in groups of immigrants attempting to illegally enter the US has liberal elites and extreme leftists howling at the sky again, and openly threatening violence on Trump 'and anyone who votes for him'.

Across the Atlantic, Italy's new 'populist' government has begun preventing migrant ships from docking at their ports, provoking an almighty row between Mediterranean leaders, with France's Macron chastising Rome and claiming that 'there is no migrant crisis'. But as the 'populist wave' and Trump's election win clearly indicated, all is certainly not 'fine'...

This week, Joe and Niall go Behind the Headlines on what is - arguably - the most pressing issue of our times


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TRANSCRIPT:

Niall: Hi and welcome to Behind the Headlines on the SoTT Radio Network. I'm Niall Bradley. My co-host as always, Joe Quinn.

Joe: Hi there.

Niall: It's Sunday, the 24th of June, 2018. This week we're discussing mass immigration. Just don't freak out just yet. Take it easy. Everyone just take a breather because a lot of people are freaking out about it. A lot of exceptional people, let's say, are freaking out about it. Most people are alarmed by it but they're probably too busy watching the World Cup to really be freaking out about it. But we're beginning to notice that it really dominated headlines on both sides of the Atlantic, in Europe and in the US last week. Probably a coincidence. There's a coincidence of things going on but ultimately they're going to be the same kinds of reasons, the same sets of reasons for why that's the case.

We read some analysis in the news this week that naturally linked the two together but as usual the mainstream media either leaves stuff out or is heavily slanted in agenda-ridden takes on why things are happening. It's most noticeable in the US I think Joe, with the Trump bashing. It's all Trump's fault for anything that's gone wrong when clearly the reason he got elected was because things were going wrong.

Joe: Right.

Niall: And people wanted some serious change. What was it that kicked it off in the US in the last week or 10 days?

Joe: Well I don't know. I'm automatically suspicious of it in terms of the fact that this kind of thing has been going on for the past 6 or 7 years at least, under Obama, the fact that kids were being taken away from parents. You didn't hear anything about that then. There was no outcry but maybe it's because Trump in April declared a zero tolerance policy for any undocumented illegal immigrants coming across the southern border. I suppose in a misguided humanitarian move as part of that, which I suppose has been the case along, is whenever you get adults with children, the parents are separated and sent back immediately or rather the parents are contained or taken to some place, the same way you wouldn't detain or process an adult in the same way you process a child. Several years ago, way back when, they decided on separating parents from children. It's not very clear why there is all of that formal procedure where you don't process children the same way you process adults.

Niall: Is it a way of stopping some loophole that is being exploited, so that if you have a kid, the kid has more rights to asylum, to stay, to citizenship eventually? Something like that?

Joe: I don't think so. The other problem is that I think that this figured mostly in the current furor is that there are a lot of children under 18 coming across the border on their own. Of course images we're seeing are of small babies because that tugs at the heartstrings the most, but the major problem in terms of officially children under 18 being put into detention cages or cells, or whatever, is that a lot of them are coming across the border on their own, unaccompanied minors.

It was part of the Trump policy and the Obama policy as well, but like I said, Trump announced the zero tolerance, anti-immigration which, like you said is kind of his mandate in a certain sense. And then of course the media's all over it. You have to be suspicious of the fact that for the past 18 months now the "liberal" media, leftist CNN, anti-Trump media have been looking for absolutely anything to demonize him with. So you have to factor that in, in terms of the extent that it's being played up or the extent to which you're seeing it.

It was pretty shocking to see how far and wide it spreads. I see people on Facebook from Ireland, from where I'm from and friends and they're as outraged as any leftist American "bleeding heart liberal" in the US is about this. You have Europeans outraged. It's just perfectly designed to tug at people's heartstrings; the idea of little kids being taken away...

Niall: It works every time.

Joe: ...from their parents and put into cages. It's just presented in the most horrible, horrible way. The reality is probably a lot more nuanced than that. This isn't evil Trump who hates kids, delighting in wrenching them from their parents' embrace and throwing them into cages.

Niall: Right.

Joe: This has been a policy that kids were separated from their parents way back in 2011, 2012 under Obama. So the only thing that's given rise to it I suppose is that Trump said "Alright, let's double down on this. Let's stop them all. We've got to tighten up the policies." Like I said, it's a zero tolerance policy.

Niall: Which was announced this week by Jeff Sessions.

Joe: In April.

Niall: In April.

Joe: So took a few months to really gain some traction I suppose and get into the media.

Niall: Now this week, right off the bat, the images of children used. Time took one of them and then this little girl who's screaming in the middle of the night somewhere in the Badlands in the south of the US looking out, they took her and they put her with Trump looking down at her, just grinning this big, cheesy grin. The story in this case was that this child was wrenched from her parents there and then on the spot but people who were there said in fact that never happened. She was allowed to go with her parents. That's one specific case.

But another egregious example of the manipulation of imagery, children, and getting people all riled up, was the fact that one of the first images put out showing people behind some kind of wired fence, cages they were described it as, was actually an image taken from several years ago when this began under President Obama.

Joe: That's what I was saying. It's cynical. A lot of people like having their emotional chain yanked it seems, or certainly they don't have much of an aversion to that happening. It's some kind of an organ maybe that some people have or that works better for some than others, where something feels off about a situation where you get this impression that you're being toyed with. Maybe it's people who just feel that they're being provoked or encouraged to feel strongly about this and some people just go "Yeah, that doesn't feel right to me".

They want to stop right there and say "Hang on. Let me work this out. Let me try and figure out what's going on here" because that's an alarm bell for them and other people just automatically just go with it. They love it. There's some drama and some outpouring of grief and sympathy to be done and they're fully on board with that. So it just depends on the kind of person I suppose.

Niall: I rather suspect it's the same people very often over and over again. Remember Comey 2012. It turned out to be a CIA PR op, to demonize - correctly probably - a warlord in Uganda. Like people are going to be able to fact check something at the heart of Africa right now.

Joe: Right.

Niall: But it went viral.

Joe: Yeah, and then afterwards "Bring our children home" where there was a bunch of Boko Haram...

Niall: Yeah, 2,000 girls taken by...

Joe: Young girls. And there's a whole backstory to that, that made it not quite so simple as well.

Niall: The facts eventually trickled down. There were a couple of hundred kids and it was debatable as to whether they were kids, not that they were older. A lot of them voluntarily stayed which typically happens, Stockholm Syndrome and all that.

Joe: Right. I suppose once you've been exposed to that kind of thing enough times or if you've had your emotional chain yanked enough times and then you realize afterwards that it wasn't true or you got burned enough times then I suppose you're just more sceptical of that kind of thing. And at the same time you try not to lose your humanity in that respect. You don't become completely cynical. There's an awful lot of that going on. We know there's an awful lot of that going on. We've been talking about it for years, about the appeals to people's sense of humanity, appeals to people's sense of sympathy for the "other", for other people, for poor people around the world and how that is used very often for nefarious purposes, for imperial adventures, to justify wars, to justify invasions. You could quote stuff in Libya or in Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, he's an evil man, Libya, Gaddafi's killing his own people, Syria, Assad is killing his own people and then pictures of young babies, all that kind of stuff. "It's the babies! It's the babies!"

We've seen the babies, babies, babies thing used by the media and governments in the west enough to realize you're being sold a line of BS of one type or another when this happens. At the very least you should just top and go "Listen, I'm not going there again. I'm not doing it again". What was it George W. Bush said once? "Fool me once, shame on you. Won't get fooled again. Whatever." That famous quote. That's where it's at and in the US with the whole immigration thing, people don't really seem to care about immigration in the sense of trying to understand why it's happening, what's happening and even looking at the history of it and understanding the whole concept of the history of immigration to the US, particularly from the south.

Obviously this is a major issue for the US. They don't care to try and understand, but not that even understanding it is going to provide a solution or an easy solution. In fact I think that's what people should do and that's what they don't want to do because they want an easy solution because if you look at a situation in enough depth and look at the history of it, you realize that there's not a lot of black and white. It's much more nuanced than people and the media in particular would like you to think. And it's much more difficult therefore, to come up with a solution. People don't like that.

Niall: There's going to be a lot of structural reasons behind it that will inevitably point you to a whole set of factors that need to be adjusted including ultimately one's own behaviour and participation in a system that is part of it.

Joe: And people don't want to go there. In the US obviously the major immigration flow comes from Mexico with 59% of illegal immigrants into the US on average in recent years. Fifty-nine percent are Mexicans. But the next few on the list would be El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala and the Presidents or Prime Ministers of those three countries who are implicated in this decision by Trump, this zero policy decision that's taking kids away from their parents, they have spoken out against this policy. They welcome Trump's backtracking on it where they wouldn't separate families anymore but they still want him to know "This is inhuman what you're doing here".

That's kind of interesting because the Presidents and politicians, the political class of those countries, including Mexico understand explicitly what the people and the immigrants understand implicitly, which is that the long-term unspoken agreement between in particular Central American countries and the US is that they're neighbours. More importantly the US for decades has been all over those three countries that I mentioned, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala going back to 1954, by the US being all over those countries. Of course I mean generally speaking or specifically. They've been involved in multiple coups in those countries.

Niall: And proxy wars.

Joe: And looting those countries and they do bear a significant responsibility for the economic...

Niall: For the arrested development of all these places.

Joe: Yeah, or under-development of the countries, which is one of the primary factors in people emigrating. These are the "banana republics" which is a reference right back to the beginning of the 20th century for several of the countries. Not just Guatemala but Honduras and El Salvador as well and other Latin American countries where bananas at a certain point in time, among other fruits...

Niall: United Fruit Company.

Joe: ...and they just bought up millions and millions of acres in these countries and used them to produce bananas, as one example, and shipped all of the profits back to the US and created a lot of problems in the countries in the sense of when these big corporations in relatively small countries like El Salvador and Honduras and Guatemala were kicking small farmers off the land. Farmers no longer had access to the land or cheap land. And that's been going on since 1954, for example with the CIA coup in Guatemala.

There have been several "assisted coups" in one way or another in both El Salvador and Guatemala as well by the CIA who had free run of the place for a long time, have been entrenched in those countries for so long they have a lot of influence. And those countries are what they are today as a direct result of CIA and US direct involvement in their economies and their politics.

That's known and understood.

Niall: Yeah.

Joe: I think the name for Honduras at one point was the USS Honduras, the whole country.

Niall: Yeah, it may as well have been a battle carrier.

Joe: Like a ship. It's not so big so it was just like a big ship because there's so many US marines there and obviously and with them a lot of intelligence agencies. In a certain sense there's a cultural exchange or a cultural enmeshment between the US and those countries that has been there for such a long time. In a certain sense America's been their sugar daddy but a really nasty one in a sense, and America owes them. This is understood by a lot of people in those countries, that to a large extent, they're entitled to go to America because they know the history of American involvement and influence in their countries and therefore there should be some reciprocation.

"We should be allowed to go there" and that's why this is smart in a certain sense, particularly in the political class because "Hang on a minute. We let you into our country. You overthrew leftist governments who may have kicked you out and given the land back to the Guatemalan people and kept resources for the Guatemalan, El Salvador or Honduran people, so you're responsible to a certain extent, for the way we live and the way the country operates politically and economically.

So you can't back out of it. It's very similar in a sense to the way...

Niall: Europe.

Joe: ...Europeans have responded to Trump's tariffs, Trump's trade war. It's like "What are you going? This is not how it works! This is not how it works based on the way that you set it up after the Second World War." American rules the world, right? America opens its door to everybody. Like I used the phrase a couple of weeks ago, America's like a big fat sow and all these countries are piglets suckling on its teats. There's a reciprocal relationship there. "For you to suddenly just turn around and unceremoniously boot us out and say we're not friends anymore is like 'what the hell are you doing?!' Not only is it not cool, but how do you expect to change all this? We're globalized. We're all in it together. You can't just suddenly turn around and say we're not friends anymore and it's all going to change! What the hell are you talking about?"

So it took a while and still is taking a while for Europeans to come to terms with that and the same may happen, for different reasons, for immigration reasons, with Central American countries. Trump seems to be making enemies. But we can't say that it's absolutely for the wrong reasons or that it's a bad thing, although it's a difficult and painful thing when you separate, when you have to kick the kids out. That's not actually the way it is. I'm not saying that America is like the benevolent father.

Niall: Bad pun. The issue at hand this week is kicking babies.

Joe: But I'm not even saying that's really the way the relationship is, but that's the kind of animosity and acrimony involved is similar to that, when you kick your kids out of the house.

Niall: Yeah. This answers the question I've thought about for a while know: How in god's name do successive - for example Mexican - governments mind? Just consider the brain drain. I suppose the elites in large part are probably fine in Mexico City, so it's not quite a brain drain. It's more of a reference to what happened to Russia in the '90s, but simply the resource drain of losing so many people. Do they themselves not want a wall as well to get things properly shaped up at home?

We have a Mexican editor of Spanish SOTT and he said "You've got to understand that there is a tacit acceptance on behalf of Mexico City that a lot of people will leave, hook up with people they know in the United States, earn money - those who can find work and they do work - and send it back home and that it's a superb source of cash for Mexico, ultimately for tax coffers. Simply hard cash. And that's probably one of the key planks in what you've just described, of the reciprocal, understood, between-the-lines arrangement that Mexico has had with the United States.

Joe: Yeah. I don't think there's anything wrong necessarily with Trump's isolationist approach because I think it would be good for the world, but at the same time it's a no win situation where in order to change that, to break those bonds, break those ties that have been there for at least 70 or 80 years, it's going to be painful. There's no easy way to change things for the better, i.e., there's no way to do it without there being some amount of pain. But I think change is kind of necessary. At this point it's useful.

We have said it for a long time, the more the world moves towards a multi-polar world, as we've talked about many times previously with China and Russia and other countries asserting themselves and coming online as major powers and you have this balance, it's no longer a monopoly. It's a competitive market and that's good for business and business of governments around the world, of running the world basically, more competition.

So if we have to choose, that's the one we go for but we realize that it's going to be difficult. The separation's going to be an acrimonious and unpleasant one. Mexico's the big issue. When people in America and the US are accused of calling everybody Mexicans, it's for a good reason. Fifty-five percent of the illegal immigrants are Mexicans. So for the average American, when the majority of people coming across the border who are illegal immigrants doing crappy jobs that Americans don't want to do, are saying they're Mexicans, then if the odd one comes along and says "I'm not Mexican. I'm from Honduras" they're going to go "Mexico, whatever."

Niall: That's the joke. Anything south of the border is Mexican.

Joe: Well that's because of immigration. That's the reason.

Niall: It's been their experience. It's Trump being hard nosed. Arguably, in this context, it's an American President being responsible as well because it's actually also Trump's human side because the number one issue with the electorate is immigration in the United States. That's not because all Americans have always been, or suddenly turned racist. It's because of the harsh reality that a lot of people face, especially in the southern states, but not necessarily just in the southern states anymore, with all the attendant problems that come with it.

If in the old days the cash crops that were part of the arrangement were bananas, what's the cash crop today? Drugs. And that brings a whole ton of problems with it too.

Joe: There are various different problems.

Niall: Gang members.

Joe: Gang members. You can't talk in general or across the board, "All Mexicans"...

Niall: It's a minority of course, a tiny minority.

Joe: But it doesn't matter that it's a tiny minority. People can't easily discriminate.

Niall: Unless they've got tattoos all over their face.

Joe: But if even a small percentage of illegal immigrants turn to crime, which isn't strange in a country because they're there illegally, they can't get a job, they turn to crime of some description, then they're going to tarnish everybody else who isn't engaged in criminal activity. And you can't blame the host population for thinking ill or for stereotypes because technically it's true that most of the crime in a certain area in the US is being carried out by illegal Mexican immigrants or Mexican gangs or whatever. It doesn't mean that every Mexican in the world is a criminal, but you have to speak directly to this.

The reason that governments and politicians don't want to talk about this is because they are afraid that the average person is too stupid to differentiate and that you will just spread racism if you tell the truth about racial stereotypes.

Niall: It's rubbish because settled immigrants in the United States - so Mexican Americans - voted in huge numbers that just stunned the people, for Trump.

Joe: Right.

Niall: So they agree. It wouldn't be a majority of course, when the majority would easily have their heartstrings pulled the other way, probably out of a misplaced sense of patriotism or kinship with new arrivals and so on.

Joe: But it's interesting enough. You mentioned at the beginning of the show that this is happening at the same time in Europe as it is in the US, but it's ongoing in the EU for at least three years now. 2015 was a big deal with illegal immigration and stuff, but the immigrant influx into Europe has been happening for three years. It's almost like America just caught up with Trump. The figures for immigration into the US aren't skyrocketing. They tend to ebb and flow. I don't think anybody knows particularly why they go up and down from year to year over a few years.

Trump has been talking about millions of immigrants. He throws out scare figures, but there's doesn't seem to be any evidence that this year, for example, is any worse than previous years, taking into consider that the figures ebb and flow, rise and fall. The same is true in Europe where right now there's a crisis in Europe. They're calling it an immigrant crisis or an immigration crisis but it's not so simple and flies in the face of what's actually happening which is that 2015 was the year with the biggest influx of immigrants into Europe which of course was four years after the destruction of Libya by NATO which caused a lot of immigration and also it was about three years into the Syrian civil war.

So you had a lot of immigrants came in, in 2015. There was a big crisis but apparently Europe dealt with it. And now in 2018, three years later there's an immigration crisis again but the actual figures are nowhere near as high as they were in 2015 so why is this being called an immigration crisis today when it was arguably much, much worse in 2015? Again in a certain sense you have to look at the Trump effect or the Trump factor in Europe. by that I mean the rise of right wing conservative, isolationist, nationalistic type parties. That's what's actually going on in Europe today.

That's why European heads of state are meeting today, Sunday in Brussels to discuss this immigration crisis and it's not so much about the number of immigrants coming into the country, coming into Europe, into the EU, but it's about the fact that recent political events have really precipitated it; most specifically the election of a right wing nationalistic, anti-EU coalition in Italy, the leaders of which have said immigration is stopping now.

You can understand, particularly Italy. There are other more southern European countries who have been screaming and shouting about it over the past few years but haven't had the voice that Italy has because it's a big country. But the fact that this new Italian government has said "No more immigration" and very dramatically I suppose, turned away a ship of immigrants just this past week that tried to dock in the southern Italian port. They sent it back to sea. This is what has brought it to a head because Italy is saying "No more immigrants!"

That's the only thing we can put that down to, the fact that there's been a political change in the country. There's a right wing party, two of them actually, forming a coalition in Italy and they just decided no more immigrants. They're kind of Eurosceptic, but they're drawing the line at immigrants for a start. And it's understandable even though the inflow right now in 2018 isn't as big as it was in 2015, they've had to absorb the flow in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

So they're just calling a halt to it and it's understandable that they would do that. They're quoting figures. They're saying 170,000 immigrants came into Italy over the past few years costing - according to the Italian government - $5 billion every year to house these 170,000 immigrants. They're just saying "It has to stop somewhere so we're going to stop it right here." And central powers in Europe have got their knickers in a twist.

They're afraid in general of the rise of right wing nationalist parties, being anti-immigration is just one symptom of a broader spectrum of policies that these right wing parties in Europe would adhere to and their European central authorities are just afraid if they don't do something about these complaints that these new right wing parties in Europe have and these right wing parties will push it to the point where they'll leave Europe and the whole European Union project will come crashing down.

That's the only reason that Merkel and Macron were happy to accept this influx of immigrants over the past few years. They're now saying "Okay, we have a problem. We need to do something about this." Well why? Why do you think you have a problem now when you obviously had a problem in 2015 and you don't really have such a big one now in terms of numbers. Well the reason they have a problem now is because there's been a public backlash that has manifested in the election of right wing parties or the dramatic increase in support for right wing parties in Europe. The major aspect of the support for those parties amongst the population, is immigration. There's nothing else that explains it.

Niall: Yeah. The EU's dealing with this has been completely ham-fisted. They have done nothing up until now. What they've tried to do is coordinate all countries together under one policy. So they've tried to get everyone to agree on quotas. The eastern countries, particularly Hungary said "No F-ing way!" Then he's re-elected on that basis. Now populism is more entrenched than before, at least in Hungary's case where they've had EU troops. I'm not even sure who they are. I guess they're regular soldiers from some donor countries in Europe.

They've had them in Libya on an ad hoc basis but it's part of an ongoing plan that's still in the works. They've come up with a number of plans but they haven't actually implemented any. They're still trying to get everyone on the same page to do it. But they can't while there are new governments coming in saying "No, we're not having any part of this at all". That's why there's the emergency summit, today as a matter of fact, in Brussels to try and do something.

In the meantime Italy for example, is blocking ships. They're not blocking all ships. They have let one in just today I think and it's producing these crazy spats between the countries because a lot of them are just trying to get through Italy. It's just a transit route like Greece was, to get into the more prosperous northern Europe.

Joe: They want to go to France.

Niall: Well what's happening with the French border with Italy? They're literally kicking them in the head saying "No, get back. Get lost". And then you have the hypocrisy of Macro telling Italy to stop being fascist. "But then you've got people at the border, you won't let them through so we're left to deal with the problem. That's why we're going on our own unilaterally and we're clamping down on letting ships into port" which is why you have that incident with the ship called the Aquarius. They wouldn't let it dock and it ended up going to Spain.

It's completely ad hoc. One of the grand schemes announced last year - it was actually Macron's idea at a summit in Africa. Do you remember the one where Macron went and he made a bit of a tit of himself by embarrassing himself, trying not to be all colonial but coming across as condescending? Well they announced a €44 billion package deal with a number of North African countries where they would tackle the roots of the problem there. That's been the main theme. We obviously need to do something "over there" before they come here.

I don't know how far along that is but I do know one thing that was kicked into place - so it started this program - was that they started paying migrant smugglers in Libya to stop doing it. That's been going on for about a year.

Joe: That wasn't a problem before Libya was destroyed by NATO, by the French basically.

Niall: They're basically trying to rebuild Libya and bring back its function that it had before as a bulwark against Africans coming to Europe.

Joe: Idiots!

Niall: And they're doing it by paying the smugglers to not do it. The smugglers have been upholding their end in some cases by sinking the ships and then it looks bad on Europe and Europe goes "That's really evil. Those poor migrants coming to Europe", publically, but privately they're paying them...

Joe: To sink their own ships.

Niall: Implicitly they're saying "Shoot them in the head if you have to. Do not let them cross" although some are allowed to cross. The idea is that they'll be processed in place in Africa before they come, some of them. But what it's effectively doing is stemming the flow. That's why it has dipped down since 2015. But there are still huge numbers amassing and they still want to come. The UN, just this month put out a reports that while flows into Europe have gone way down since 2015, there are more refugees globally than ever before.

Another layer of the insanity, is that the people they're paying in Libya to stop them crossing, are now millionaire people smugglers who were the terrorists - sorry - rebels that the EU used to overthrow Gaddafi, all of them with ties to ISIS. In fact in the news this week the UN agreed to sanction four individuals in Libya who are now rich apparently; all four of them either ISIS or groups affiliated with ISIS. Terrorists basically. They're paying terrorist. It's insanity upon insanity.

Joe: Well it's not strange that Europeans or Americans would pay terrorists for something, for anything. They've been doing it for a long time.

Niall: So Macron is technically correct when he's lambasting Italy this week. He basically said "What immigration crisis?", insofar as the official numbers are way back down to 2012.

Joe: Yeah, but there's still 170,000 of the ones that came in, in 2012, 2013, 2015 in particular, that are still living in Italy and they're not moving out of Italy because the French won't let them through, the Austrians won't let them through, any border into eastern Europe. They're not going to go east, they want to go west. So out of Italy it's Austria or France and France and Austria are closing their borders and saying "No, keep them in Italy" and Italy then has to spend the money.

What are 170,000 illegal immigrants from Africa, from wherever, going to do in Italy? They don't speak the language. They maybe don't have a lot of skills to do any jobs. A lot of them have to be supported by the state and that's costing Italy money. Just because the immigration flow reduces from a peak in 2015, that it's the end of the problem. Italy still has to house and look after a large number of those immigrants.

Niall: I have an article here. I want to pull it up. It has a bit more detail on what I just said about the UN sanctions this week. Here it is here. So "Unprecedented US sanctions slapped on 'millionaire migrant traffickers'." There are four Libyan nationals and two Eritreans. The incredible thing about this is they know these guys have long standing links with ISIS. Here, look at this. "Longstanding links with ISIS", right?

The Dutch prosecutor's office which I think was involved with drafting the sanctions resolution by the UN, describes these guys and the sheer scale of their business. They have property all over the world. They obviously have connections. You don't just have a worldwide network with financing, without having serious connections. Here's another gem. One of the guys who was sanctioned is officially a commander in the Libya coastguard, tasked with not letting migrants pass. So obviously for the right money he will let you cross.

The Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok this week commenting on the UN sanctions, it says "What this shows, our sanctions, is that we will go to whatever place or organization concerned and punish the people responsible, even if it is an organization that we are working with in other fields."

Joe: Well the level of corruption there is obviously ridiculous. People like Steven Pinker and Jordan Peterson, who are big advocates of this idea that things are only getting better and they have all the statistics to show that so many millions and millions of people have been lifted out of poverty over the past few decades. There's far fewer wars, far fewer deaths from wars, all that kind of stuff, historically. You can go back as long as you want to show that yeah, things are getting better. The living standards of people around the world are getting better all the time, etc., etc.

But there's stuff going on behind the scenes where there's a façade of representative, responsible democracy in the west, but then you just have to scratch the surface a little bit and you see this mixture of corruption and greed which often happens, mixed with fecklessness in the sense of that example you just give, of the EU working with groups that are former terrorists who are working against EU policies but the EU is also working with them in other fields. What could go wrong is the question. Obviously everything not only could go wrong but is going wrong with that situation.

That's something that these people who say that things are only getting better don't seem to take stock of because they just believe the official line. They look at the statistics and the figures but they don't look into the levels of corruption that are spreading or infecting the whole system progressively, where there's a greater and greater distance between politicians, people tasked with responsible governments, and what's actually happening in the country and the lives of ordinary people in the country. There are other aspects to that as well in terms of people living meaningful lives.

You can contrast the rapid increase in technology and the increase in standard of living that that has provided for many people around the world with rapid or an equal decrease in satisfactory lives that people are living, or meaningful lives that people are living. So it's not so simple, just to say that more and more people are not starving or have food and have a house, it's not so simple to say that that means we're facing into a rosy future. There are other factors that are not being taken care of that are much more pernicious or present a much more bleak outlook for our global civilization.

Niall: You made a point before we came on air that actually might rescue the basic point made by someone like Steven Pinker. So Pinker's going through all the basic stats and showing how globally people are better off, they have better access to water, to food, to basic resources, to transport, etc. You asked the question how do people on the move pay for it?

Joe: Yeah, that's one aspect.

Niall: They must have hard cash. Here's the basic stat. In 2015 alone these migrants networks, basically ISIS or whoever, got on first in Libya, made between €4.7 and €5.7 billion from people paying them hard cash to get there. Also cash that went back to the Syrians in Turkey, paying $2,500 a pop just to make that boat hop up to any Greek island and thus into the EU. It's hard cash.

Joe: The point I was making is that in times gone by, people wanting to come from poorer countries to richer countries isn't a new phenomenon. An immigration crisis isn't necessarily a new phenomenon. People have wanted to move or attempted to move throughout history and sometimes successfully, sometimes not successfully but today, because of this "things are only getting better" aspect, where technology is spreading and lifting people out of poverty, that's a function of the west.

The west is spreading it's wonderful technology and its living standards around the world as it spreads itself around the world, particularly as the American empire spreads around the world, businesses enter countries, multinational corporations enter countries and they do provide jobs and wealth for people of those countries and that trickles down to some extent or whatever and it still gives people more money.

The spread of wealth has increased but that is one aspect of the immigration crisis because once the people in those countries who previously were not able to move anywhere because if you've got a 3,000 mile trip to go from say somewhere in Africa to somewhere in Europe, if you're dirt poor, how are you going to finance that? There's boats. You're not going to get on a plane but there's cars, boats. You're not going to walk all the way. How are you going to feed yourself and your family all the way? You and your family?

Niall: You have to have cash to do that. What would happen? In the 1980s, famine. Remember?

Joe: You had famines, yeah.

Niall: So it's feed the world. That was the extent of the western empathy with them because they would all sit there in North Africa and starve to death.

Joe: Right.

Niall: But now they're not only not starving to death, there's hardship for a lot of them...

Joe: But they're able to move. So they're victims. The best you can say about this situation is the west in that respect is a victim of its own largess. The immigration crisis is the downside of western largess to the poorer countries in the world where they have, to some extent facilitated the movement of these people. But there are other factors as well. There's wars, conflict. A big aspect of the Mexican immigration over the years - it hasn't just started this year or last year - is there's a lot of violence in Mexico, a lot of gangs and drugs and in other South American countries. That's one aspect of some people wanting to get the hell out of there.

For central American countries, America is seen as Valhalla. It's the American dream. It's everything. To some extent it is, depending on the person's situation who's leaving. I don't know what the statistics are on returns, of a lot of people coming to the US from Mexico and other central American countries, but I'd say they're higher than most people think. A lot of Mexicans who go to the US decide after a few years that it's not what they thought it would be or it's not all it was presented to be and they might realize that they actually were happier back home.

So it's just a mess. It's a big mess and it's something that happens at particular times in history I think. Obviously the conditions are very different today than they would have been in the past when you had mass movements of people. Back then it was more to do with plagues or mass pandemics or epidemics or some kind of natural disasters or cataclysms. That kind of thing would have moved people around the place. The world is radically different today than it ever was in the past and it's uncharted territory in that respect.

Niall: Probably the same point can be made about the US as well, the economics. There have been a number of statements that suggest an economic motive on behalf of the powers that be in both Europe and North America to open the doors and want a large number of people. The obvious thing would be cheap labour. But a less obvious one and difficult to tease out, but again it's from their own mouths, is that the actual people are needed as a resource. I know Juncker at least, if not also other EU officials have said "The population is aging. Who's going to work for us?" That's not an exact quote but he said it in so many words.

Joe: And it's not just about workers doing the work. It's also about workers doing the work and then paying taxes. From an economist's perspective, there's not a lot of things - depending on the way it goes - with having fresh blood come into the country as long as there are available jobs for them because those people are going to be paying taxes in one form or another, even if it's only sales tax when they have to buy things, consumer demand. It's good for the economy. Especially in Europe, the thing that they look at first and foremost is the economics of it and from an economic point of view there's not a lot of negative aspects to an extra million young, able-bodied men for example, coming into their country who are going to have to work in some way or another and buy things.

I think in the US, I'm not sure, but I think for Trump it's economics as well because there is a downside to a certain extent in southern states. But in the US it's really only the southern states that are concerned or that Trump would be appealing to. It's Texas, Arizona, southern states where immigrants would immediately arrive and then move to most easily. A lot of them try to go to New York obviously because that's where all the immigrants are accepted. Liberal New York. They still take everybody supposedly.

Niall: But they don't because in practice, as we know from plenty of demographics, New York is extremely segregated. Everyone lives in specific areas. It's all "Come on in, come on in!" but it's not really. It's "come on in" in an abstract sense "but I don't want to see you".

Joe: Right. There's competition for jobs. People come in. It's not easy to figure out whether it's positive or negative. There are positives and negatives. Depending on your perspective, depending on your political leanings you'll focus on the negative aspects or you'll focus on the positive aspects. Of course the positive aspects for liberal lefty, people with higher openness traits will be like "It's cultural diversity. It's cultural enrichment". From a humanitarian perspective that's what America's all about, bring them in, house them, give them a place. "We were all immigrants originally", blah, blah, blah.

But that's an interesting question - when America stops being an immigrant country. How long does it have to exist for before it stops being an immigrant country? France isn't an immigrant country nor England. No European country is an immigrant country, has that history that America has, has that self-assigned identity of "bring me your poor", etc. So how long does America have to exist before it stops being that? It's been a couple of hundred years.

Maybe it takes longer. But at some point you would think that the American history would fade away a little bit and America would establish its own history. In theory it might have established itself if it had gone a different way. But it has still established itself as a Caucasian Christian nation, right? Not just an immigration camp. But that's what it was for most of the people that came there. All the whites that came there from Europe were immigrants. I don't know.

That' what conservatives tend to want to push and Trump want to push, the idea of America as America's racial and religious identity. It's not an immigrant camp. America is white Christian, like any other white Christian nation in Europe. It's an offshoot of a European country. That's what they'd like it to be. But then you have the other half or whatever percentage it is that says "We are a nation of immigrants and everybody should be welcome". I don't know.

Niall: I think it's less than half.

Joe: Probably. They're just more vocal.

Niall: Hence the change of regimes in the US and in Europe potentially. I think the US can deal with this but Europe is in a serious predicament because the upward pressure from voters to do that Italy is doing and the complete fecklessness by the EU in response to this crisis is unsustainable. I think this is the single most important issue for people. Whether that should be the case or not, I think it just is because it has gained so much traction. The extreme characterization of it as an immigrant invasion has a lot of traction and I think it has an unspoken traction for a lot of people. Most people will not agree with that or express it that way because they don't want to be...

Joe: Racist.

Niall: ...called racist, whatever.

Joe: We'll have to wait and see. It could just go away or it could get worse. We'll have to wait and see but at this point there's no way to predict that Europe's going to fall apart or America under Trump is going to incarcerate all the immigrants and cart the rest of them out. Obviously that's not going to happen in America. America is a multi-ethnic, multi-racial nation by definition.

You're not going to do that at all. You're not going to change that. So it just looks like the prognosis would be continuing strife until something happens, if something happens or until people just get fed up with it and stop talking about it or it all settles down.Individual humans and humans in groups are so fickle and that may be a good intro for a video that we want to show about fickle people.

Niall: Which one?

Joe: Rachel Maddow.

Niall: Okay, this is the crocodile tears from Rachel Maddow who is of course an MSNBC host in the US. This is her breaking the news that the White House had announced something this week. Okay, here goes:
RM: The AP has just broken some new news. This has just come out from the Associated Press. This is incredible. 'Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other young children to at least three' {sound of tears}... Could we put up the graphic of this? Thank you. Do we have it? No. 'Three tender aid shelters in south Texas. Lawyers and medical providers...' I think I'm going to have to hand this off. Sorry. That does the press tonight. We'll see you again tomorrow. No it is time for the last word with Lawrence O'Donnell where he is live in Brownsville, Texas.
Niall: Yeah. That's Rachel Maddow. She's so choked up she can't even report the news. Is that genuine? I doubt it. It's probably genuine. It probably feels right to her but it's fake in that she has no real experience of what the Americans who do encounter the problems that come with mass immigration. She doesn't see that reality at all so she's living in this complete la-la land and she thinks by crying on air it will strike a chord, maybe with hardcore viewership, but she's completely oblivious to the fact that most people are like "whatever!".

Joe: She's being absolutely immature about it as well and irresponsible really by presenting in that way. "Babies!" She's talking about babies. Anything can be achieved, in theory. With a certain section of the population you can push through any ridiculous policies or get support from people for any ridiculous scheme that you have by appeal to them through the vehicle of "Think about the poor babies. Think about the poor children" and it's totally disingenuous to do that. Even if you feel that yourself you should not do it because it's not responsible and it's an appeal to emotion over actually informing people about the situation. Those people crying over abstract babies or pictures of babies is not going to solve the problem because it's a very complex problem that has been there for quite a long time and that kind of appeal is not going to solve any problems. But some people like that, is the problem, and some people see through it and some people take a more mature stance and a more appropriate stance to it and other people just go with that and then get out in the streets and start screaming about Trump and wanting to impeach him and stuff like that.

Niall: In other cases people are openly threatening to kill Trump or they have been for a while I suppose on Twitter and elsewhere. Peter Fonda is an actor. I know Jane Fonda. Is that related?

Joe: Yeah.

Niall: Brother and sister? He's the guy who was in Easy Rider, right?

Joe: Right.

Niall: He's so unhinged about this. He tweeted this week that he wants to see Trump's son Baron be kidnapped and imprisoned with paedophiles "And then let's see if mother will stand up against the giant {beep} she is married to. He's completely nuts. I think Twitter has since taken that tweet down. That's why I can't show it to you but it's totally unhinged and it's doing it to a lot of people. Sarah Sanders, the press secretary for Trump, was in a restaurant yesterday and the restaurant owner asked her to leave because she works for Trump's government.

Joe: That's kind of unheard of.

Niall: That's kind of like somebody's going to shoot someone maybe and then that will be a whole other level.

Joe: Yeah, it could go there. But like I said, these kind of things. If you look at what else is going on in the world, the dial has been turned down, let's say, on previous stories. Maybe it's because it's summer time in the northern hemisphere and things tend to get a bit quieter. People are preparing for holidays. Politicians slack off and that kind of stuff. So stuff doesn't happen anymore, the stuff that we're all meant to get worked up about just goes away for a while until somebody turns the dial back up in the autumn when everybody comes back online. There's a World Cup going on so a good portion of the world is watching soccer and kicking back. The world seems to have responded in terms of the kind of dynamics that play out.

Syria, for example, is on the back burner. There's still stuff going on in Syria but you don't hear much about it in the western media much anymore. I don't think they've given up on it, but they're taking a break basically. It's taken over here and there but all the attacks on Syria and in the past few weeks we had the North Korea business which has gone quiet as well. That's all done apparently. Now we're all friends with North Korea. Everything's going to work out just fine, so all the people who are crapping their pants about being bombed by North Korea just have to learn that lesson. Don't get so freaked out next time because it all got better. Things can be made to go away very easily. They can be made to appear out of nowhere as a crisis very easily as well and just as easily made to disappear apparently.

Brexit in the UK, shenanigans still going on there, a bit of a joke. It's the longest running gag in the history of politics, Brexit. The Brits are still pretending that they're going to play hardball and the bobblehead Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary said he wants a full British Brexit. That might have been a pun on the full English breakfast, but he wants a full British Brexit which is nonsense because they can't have a full British anything in terms of the EU because they're inextricably tied economically to the EU and they can't just walk away without any kind of a deal and they're totally in a weak position and have been since the vote happened. They're not going to get a no-deal Brexit if the entire UK just leave the EU without any deal whatsoever and all ties are cut.

First of all they can't do that economically because it would seriously harm the British economy. An example of that is that Airbus, which is a big European aircraft manufacturer which has factories and manufacturing plants in various European countries including in England, have said that because of the threat of the Brits just leaving without any kind of a deal, that they would shut down their plants in the UK involving the loss of thousands and thousands of jobs which is one example. There are many other multinational companies would do the same thing. This is one example of the economic doomsday that is beckoning for the UK if they walk away from the situation. So any suggestions by the British government that they're going to play hardball and walk away from it is nonsense. So that's on an economic front.

On the political front the UK can't just leave the EU because they happen to still hold onto a little part of Ireland and they can't just walk away with a little part of Ireland out of the EU because most of the rest of Ireland is in the EU and has no intention of leaving the EU. So they can't just take the northern part of Ireland and leave the EU, take it with them and the UK as part of Brexit because that would cause serious problems for the island of Ireland in terms of its economics because there would have to be a hard economic border there. It implies the possibility of re-igniting a conflict in Ireland because the effective removal of the border between northern and southern Ireland was part of a peace deal after 30 years of conflict. So if they were to re-impose that border as part of a Brexit, you would have the potential re-igniting of some kind of a war.

So on several fronts they're just screwed. And I'm just tired of Brexit because it's obvious what's going to happen. Obviously what's going to happen is there's going to be some kind of another referendum in the UK and they will vote to no longer be even thinking about leaving the EU and then the past three years almost, of BS will be exposed for just that. It will have proved to have been a complete and utter waste of everybody's time and energy.

Niall: So you're calling it here now. Another referendum.

Joe: Either another referendum or some kind of a Brexit deal which is tantamount to...

Niall: Not leaving.

Joe: ...not leaving because there's no other option. But there's not much else going on in the world right now. There's a palpable sense of things just being quiet and ticking over, a period of stasis I suppose you might call it. And that says a lot because if you look at the news there is a lot of crap going on, but that stasis, in the context of the kind of stuff that has been going on over the past 10 or 20 years, the amount of chaos that has been reining on this planet for the past 10 or 20 years, since 911 really, stuff happening in the world in the news today is what 'not much happening' looks like. So that just means you should take the time now to rest up, gather yourself, gather your senses, because no doubt things are going to kick off again in the not-too-distant future and probably get worse. That's my crystal ball gazing for today.

Niall: Get worse from a certain perspective.

Joe: Get worse from everybody's perspective even though it'll be a result of people not really looking at the situation and seeing through it and seeing what's really going on. There'll be lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth and screaming at the moon and gazing at the sky.

Niall: It'll get worse because a large part of people's illusions are dying.

Joe: Right. People's illusions are dying and people trying to hold onto them and people making stuff up, wilfully indulging in hysteria. And of course that's contagious and then everybody else thinks "I'd better be hysterical as well. Let me get really worked up about this as well" when they just have a totally wrong perspective on the situation. You're not going to go out there and change the world. This is a leftist, lefty, progressive mantra or ideology which is that 'We're all activists. We all need to be activists.'

Niall: Well there are a lot of them in the right too.

Joe: As well, but they only out or excuse I would give them is that they are to a large extent, reacting. They're not the initiators of it. But the ones on the right are equally capable of getting hysterical about things.

Niall: Yeah.

Joe: But generally speaking, they're using the fuel that is given to them by leftist, progressives who want to lead us all very quickly into a brave new utopia, a wonderful new utopia where there's no racism, no sexism, no transphobia...

Niall: No Trump.

Joe: No arachnophobia and no Trump, most importantly. That's where they want to push us all and there are people who have heavy shoes, have lead in their feet and don't want to go there, the right-wingers and they are reacting. So it's set up for a good old showdown. But everybody should see it from that perspective, from a detached perspective and realize that a lot of it is manufactured in the sense of it being people's own...

Niall: Imaginations running wild.

Joe: Yeah.

Niall: And therefore emotions.

Joe: And getting hysterical and getting worked up, like I said, almost wilfully, because they enjoy it because it's fun. It's fun to take a really hardcore, strong position and rant about something - and everybody feels this way - that you have the moral high ground, you're being righteous in your condemnation of something and you've got to say it and feel it as much as possible. People feel good when that happens.

Obviously they must feel good, inferring that from the fact that they keep on doing it because people generally don't do things that they don't like to do that are painful for them so they must enjoy getting super worked up about stuff! "Give me some stuff to get worked up about!" Of course there are all sorts of justifications for it but whatever. The sane people who listen to this show need to take it in perspective because there's plenty of people doing that kind of shit. You don't need to be part of it. Let them handle the hysterics. You don't need any more.

Niall: Don't get infected by the hysteria. Stay clear. Stay clean.

Joe: Right. Don't eat the tide pods. So maybe we'll leave it there for this week folks. Like we said, there wasn't much going on apart from the world is collapsing slowly, incrementally, supposedly. So that's the round up for this week. We'll be back again soon, sometime. We can't say exactly when. Might be sooner than you think, maybe not. If not, it'll be next week with another update or analysis of what's actually going on, on the planet, behind the headlines. So until then, thanks for listening and have a good evening.

Niall: See you next week. Bye.