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A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
March 23, 2018 • 27 Comments

From Vox on Chetty’s latest paper:

The massive new study on race and economic mobility in America, explained

Even black men born to wealthy families are less economically successful than white men.
By Dylan Matthews @dylanmattdylan Mar 21, 2018, 7:30am EDT

… The study brings to mind, for some, the Moynihan Report of 1965. That report, issued by policy analyst and future senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and widely decried as racist by many sociologists for its characterization of the black family as pathological and dysfunctional, was also, in the words of Ta-Nehisi Coates, “a fundamentally sexist document that promotes the importance not just of family but of patriarchy, arguing that black men should be empowered at the expense of black women.”…

“I am super super super super super super super tired of the way sociological data is used to reify the myth that Black women are superhuman,” the historian and philosopher of science Chanda Prescod-Weinstein wrote. …

This seems to be a Thing among female SJWs lately: announcing how exhausted you are by people not automatically submitting to your arguments.

At the same time, the gender asymmetry found in the paper serves to rebut a remarkably persistent racist trope: that the black-white income gap is due to an innate gap in ability, rather than discrimination or other environmental factors.

This theory, spread most successfully in recent decades by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray in their infamous book The Bell Curve, contends that black Americans are on average less intelligent than white Americans, and that this gap is most likely genetic in origin. That, Herrnstein and Murray argued, largely explains the persistence of the black-white income gap in the US, and implies that policies aimed at closing it, like increased government investments in black neighborhoods or affirmative action or even reparations, would be ineffective. It’s a clearly racist idea, but one with remarkable...

March 23, 2018 • 47 Comments

In America, American white men are now widely known to be the essence of evil, but in much of the world, they seem pretty cool.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Demand for American Sperm Is Skyrocketing in Brazil

Explosive growth spurred by more wealthy single women and lesbian couples turning to U.S. donors

By Samantha Pearson
Updated March 22, 2018 11:14 a.m. ET

SÃO PAULO—With “jewel-tone eyes,” blond hair and a “smattering of light freckles,” Othello looks nothing like most Brazilians, the majority of whom are black or mixed-race. Yet the “Caucasian” American cashier, described in those terms by the Seattle Sperm Bank and known as Donor 9601, is one of the sperm providers most often requested by wealthy Brazilian women importing the DNA of young U.S. men at unprecedented rates.

The U.S. had a color line while Brazil had a color continuum, so most American individuals who self-identify as (non-Hispanic) white are extremely white. In a 2014 23 and Me study, the average self-identified white American was only 1/385th as black as the average self-identified black American. In contrast, in Brazil, a lot of people who self-identify as white have some black ancestors and thus their descendants might turn out a little blacker looking than expected.

Denmark has long been the leading exporter of sperm for fertility clinics.

March 22, 2018 • 48 Comments

From the New York Times:

Capturing Photos of Corporate Office Life in 1970s America

A photographer set out to portray the cookie-cutter culture of corporate America’s bygone days.

By Remy Tumin

March 21, 2018

A lady photographer has a book coming out of 40 year old pictures she took in Century City highrise corporate offices in West L.A. in the late 1970s. But how to whip up interest in such a dusty topic? Lay on the Hate Whitey rhetoric thick: her photography book, you see, is a contribution to documenting how Evil White Men were:

But these sleek towers also represented “the rise of the economic order,” Ms. Ressler said, where class, race and gender roles came into play. …

Even years after the project wrapped, she sees even more clearly the social dynamics still at play.

“It’s much more apparent to me now,” Ms. Ressler said. “When I think on it, I never met a single high-level female executive.”

She thinks about how subservient some of the women appear, the “level of resistance that underlies” a few of her subjects, she said. In one image titled “Olympia,” a woman holds a letter opener while sitting at a desk with a large “X” behind her.

“There’s a sense of frustration and resentment underneath the surface,” Ms. Ressler said.

Another shows a black receptionist looking at white executive, who is looking at the camera.

“She’s in that box, and he can’t see the way she’s looking at him,” Ms. Ressler said. “Back then, that’s just the way it was.”

For one white man’s view of Century City in 1979:

March 22, 2018 • 67 Comments

From the Washington Post:

At Yale, we conducted an experiment to turn conservatives into liberals. The results say a lot about our political divisions.

By John Bargh November 22, 2017

John Bargh is a professor of social psychology at Yale University and the author of “Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do”

… In a new study to appear in a forthcoming issue of the European Journal of Social Psychology, my colleagues Jaime Napier, Julie Huang and Andy Vonasch and I asked 300 U.S. residents in an online survey their opinions on several contemporary issues such as gay rights, abortion, feminism and immigration, as well as social change in general. The group was two-thirds female, about three-quarters white, with an average age of 35. Thirty-percent of the participants self-identified as Republican, and the rest as Democrat.

But before they answered the survey questions, we had them engage in an intense imagination exercise. They were asked to close their eyes and richly imagine being visited by a genie who granted them a superpower. For half of our participants, this superpower was to be able to fly, under one’s own power. For the other half, it was to be completely physically safe, invulnerable to any harm.

If they had just imagined being able to fly, their responses to the social attitude survey showed the usual clear difference between Republicans and Democrats — the former endorsed more conservative positions on social issues and were also more resistant to social change in general.

But if they had instead just imagined being completely physically safe, the Republicans became significantly more liberal — their positions on social attitudes were much more like the Democratic respondents. And on the issue of social change in general, the Republicans’ attitudes were now indistinguishable from the Democrats. Imagining being completely safe from physical harm had done what no experiment had done before — it had turned conservatives...

March 22, 2018 • 14 Comments

Back in 2013, the New York Times gave huge publicity to a new research project on income mobility over the generations headed by then-Harvard economist Raj Chetty. The goal, a worthy one, was to find the places that were doing things right that help children move up the income ladder. Chetty’s map of high income mobility and low income mobility metropolises for working class families at the 25th percentile of income was splashed heavily in the New York Times (with pale being good upward income mobility and red being bad).

This led to much clucking about how the legacy of Jim Crow and Slavery must be holding down the children of Atlanta and Charlotte and much of the rest of the south. For example, the New York Times devoted a feature story to the low upward income mobility prospects of Atlanta and Charlotte:

In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters

A study finds the odds of rising to another income level are notably low in certain cities, like Atlanta and Charlotte, and much higher in New York and Boston.


There was much cluck-clucking over how the poisonous legacy of Jim Crow and Nixon’s Southern Strategy was holding down both whites and blacks in the South to this day.

I pointed out, however, that I really doubt that West Virginia is such an island of upward mobility. Instead, it’s mostly an island of white people (probably the worst off white people on average in any state, but white people, nonetheless). And whites raised at the 25th percentile of income, even West Virginia whites, tend to regress toward a higher mean income as adults than do blacks raised at the 25th percentile.

Thus, Chetty’s 2013 map of areas in red with low income mobility mostly looked to me like a map of heavily black regions plus Indian reservations.

Now in 2018, Chetty has managed to link his income data from the IRS to race data from the Census Bureau, so he can break out a map of income mobility by race from 25th...

March 21, 2018 • 182 Comments

In Vox, there’s an article about the Amy Wax Brouhaha at Penn Law School that is amusing even by 2018 standards for Guilt-by-Association:

National Review’s weak attack on affirmative action

The magazine is defending a professor who suggested black law students are inferior.

By Jane Coaston Mar 21, 2018,

And, after a slow start, we’re off to the races: Amy Wax ~ Jason Richwine ~ Richard Spencer ~ Charles Murray ~ John Derbyshire.

March 21, 2018 • 93 Comments

Stanford economist Raj Chetty (pictured above lower right) has assembled at his Equality of Opportunity Project an expert team of crack data analysts to figure out why there isn’t enough social mobility in America. Above is Chetty and his team at their 2016 Sonoma retreat.

They’ve been doing outstanding Big Data work at assembling vast multigenerational databases never before seen in the social sciences. Why, for instance, they ask, do blacks and Indians (American, not Asian) tend to be stuck in the lower income percentiles generation after generation?

But the answers they are finding only seem to be more baffling. Why aren’t blacks getting rich in Silicon Valley with their computer skills? Why does race matter, as Chetty’s new paper admits?

It’s a puzzlement.

One thing Chetty knows for sure … it couldn’t have anything to do with the links between IQ and ancestry!

March 21, 2018 • 7 Comments

So the income of black women fulltime workers as a percentage of white women full time workers peaked in the 1970s at close to 95%, but is now down below 80%.

Among men, the income of fulltime black male workers got up over 70% of the income of fulltime white male workers in both the late 1970s and in 2016, the most recent year.

On the other hand, this is not adjusted for age.

So it looks like the apples-to-apples gender gap that Raj Chetty chose to emphasize in his new paper was pretty small in 2016, but was pretty big in the past.

March 22, 2018 • 24 Comments

Putin did poorly in 2012 against Prokhorov in the Far Abroad, with the billionaire liberal candidate level outright beating Putin in the US, Canada, Britain, and France [full list in Russian].

Russian Presidential elections abroad in 2012: Blue = Putin; Green = Prokhorov.

However, while Putin failed to get an absolute majority even in Germany in 2012 – a country where most Russian dual citizens are ordinary Volga German, not the SWPLs and bobos who populate London – this time round, there was not a single country where he got less than 50%.

Here is the full list of results courtesy of Oleg Lisowski:

Putin got 80% in Germany, 78% in Italy, 74% in Canada, 63% in the US, and 52% in Great Britain.

Even the Washington Post noticed this, with Anton Troianovski and Matthew Brodner noting that not only Putin’s share of the vote, but Russian diaspora turnout, were all up.

A Washington Post analysis of precinct-level data from Russia’s Central Election Commission shows support for Putin surged in Sunday’s election among Russians voting in the West. Russian embassies and consulates in the 29 countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization reported a total of 129,231 votes cast for Putin at their ballot boxes, according to the Post analysis. In the last presidential election, in 2012, Putin got just two-thirds that amount of votes in those countries.

In Germany, the number of votes for Putin nearly tripled from 2012 to more than 27,000 in Sunday’s election. In the voting precinct run by the Russian Embassy in Washington, votes for Putin roughly doubled to 1,531. The overall rise in Putin votes in NATO countries is about double the rate in the Russian election as a whole, in which Putin’s vote tally increased by about 24 percent from 2012.

In all fairness – and as they themselves note – this doesn’t necessarily equate to a major turnaround...

March 22, 2018 • 1 Comment

Israel Shamir argues that Pavel Grudinin doing relatively well east of the Urals – then declining in the (much more populated) European Russia – constitutes evidence of fraud.

The first true results coming from the Russian Far East gave over 20% to the Communist, and about 60% to Putin. It seems that the administration overseers who reportedly had backdoor access to the results decided to ‘improve’ them forcefully. The results received after that were already adjusted for desired numbers.

In the far-away Yakut province, with its mind-boggling frost of minus 35 ° below zero, the Communist contender has got almost 30% of the vote. In the Vladivostok province, in the region facing Japan, Grudinin has got over 20%, likewise in the Siberian university city of Omsk. On the other side, in the notoriously dishonest and despotic Muslim republic of Chechnya the contender was given less than 5%.

My guess is that true uncooked results would be between 18% and 25% for the Communist, and correspondingly, around 60-65% for the incumbent, still good enough for Putin’s outright win, but not good enough for his zealous aides.

This is unlikely to be true, since all the statisticians who regularly analyze Russian electoral fraud – needless to say, virtually all of them anti-Putin – agree that this election has been the cleanest one since 2004.

Still, this electoral pattern still needs to be explained, especially since it constitutes a break with the old pattern of Communists doing relatively best in the Russian South, the so-called Red Belt.

Map by Artem Dudin of the change between votes for Kharitonov in 2004 [Russia = 13.8%] and for Grudinin in 2018 [Russia = 11.8%]. Red = Grudinin lost votes, Blue = Grudinin gained votes.

Alexander Kireev has three explanations:

1. Putin’s rating has significantly increased amongst the elderly, which is the core of the Communists’ demographic base.

This is very plausible, e.g. as I pointed out via VCIOM...

March 20, 2018 • 94 Comments

One of the more significant results of the election was that Putin got 92.2% in Crimea and 90.2% in Sevastopol.

Moreover, these results were entirely fair.

Here are the relevant graphs from Sergey Shpilkin, who approximates electoral fraud by the extent to which the vote for Putin becomes disproportional relative to the rest of the candidates as turnout increases.



This doesn’t happen at all in the Crimea; in fact, Putin’s share of the vote marginally decreases with higher turnout there.

Here is the same data in 3D format, via Dmitry Kobak.

The big cluster is the (non-falsified) mass of Russian results, the “comet tail” to the 100/100 point reflects falsified results, while the small, distinct at 65% turnout/90% Putin results represent the Crimea.

Consequently, we can consider the numerous opinion polls that have consistently shown 90%+ of Crimea supporting joining Russia to be electorally certified.

One curious thing about the Crimean vote is that Sobchak [1.6%] did unusually well there, much better than in the rest of the Russian South – no mean achievement, that, considering how the overwhelming vote for Putin pushed down everyone else. Moreover, she almost did as well as Zhirinovsky [1.8%], a pattern only observed in liberal Moscow and Saint-Petersburg amongst the ethnic Russian regions.

What explains this? Crimean Tatars.

Sobchak’s share of the vote.

Crimean Tatars as percentage of the population.

Based on results from Crimean Tatar settlements, it seems that Crimean Tatars tended to have low turnout (around 30%-35%, or half the Russian rate), with those that did turn up, voting 75%-90% for Putin, 5%-15% for Sobchak, and giving everyone else low single digits.

Assuming similar levels of general political apathy as in Russians, it would seem that approximately half of Crimean Tatars are for Russia, as proxied by Putin, while the other half does not want to engage in “his”/Russia’s...

March 20, 2018 • 18 Comments

Russia blogger Seva Bashirov made a map of the incidence of “suspicious votes” as per Sergey Shpilkin’s method (not necessarily all fraudulent, but there’s certainly a correlation) during these elections.

Here is a similar map for the 2011 Duma elections (methodology is different, so scale isn’t comparable).

And in finer resolution:

One of the previous threads raised the question of fraud in the second tour of the 1996 elections, so I might as well address that now that we’re on this topic.

The reality is that Yeltsin won, regardless of the falsifications.

Even the most falsified Russian elections ever, the Duma elections of 2011 [see the two maps above], only bumped up United Russia by no more than 11% (probably 8-9%).

In 1996, the difference between Yeltsin and Zyuganov was almost 14% points – while the fraud map looked something like this (Yeltsin did far better than he “should have” in Tatarstan and the South Caucasus based on his results in the first round), but there was no significant fraud in the vast majority of ethnic Russian regions:

Clearly bumped Yeltsin up by 2-3% points, but certainly not by enough to make a difference to the outcome.

Other evidence: The polls immediately before the second round all had Yeltsin out in front.

Alexander Kireev has a comprehensive explanation (in Russian) of why the falsifications in 1996 could not have stolen victory from Zyuganov.

And just for fun, a map of the incidence of reported bribery in Russia:

Clear correlations with the pattern of Putin-era electoral fraud, which is why I have always maintained it is a local phenomenon as opposed to centrally managed.

March 19, 2018 • 29 Comments

This is the startling hypothesis advanced by elections observer Alexander Kireev.

Here’s the thing. Elections in Chechnya have been completely falsified since 2003, reaching “totalitarian” levels of 99% turnout/99% pro-Kremlin vote by 2011-12 (versus the merely “authoritarian” 90/90 levels of the other Caucasus republics).

In line with the reduction of fraud levels in the 2018 elections, I suspect that the Central Electoral Commission told Kadyrov to tone things down a bit on the tinpot dictatorship aesthetic, maybe invite a few observers, preferably don’t harass said observers, etc.

Consequently, the turnout/pro-Kremlin figures in Chechnya went from something like this in 2011:

… to something a bit less incredible:

For the first time in at least a decade, Chechnya has an actual cluster of polling stations with presumably unfalsified results.

Putin gets around 65% [Russia = 77%, real ≈75%; traditionally oppositionist Moscow = 70%]; turnout at is just 50% [Russia = 68%, real ≈ 62%]; the communist Grudinin is getting 20% [Russia & Moscow both = 12%]; and Sobchak (!) gets around 4% [Russia = 1.6%; Moscow = 4%].

This picture is confirmed by Shpilkin’s regional graph of Chechnya, on which Putin seems to be around the 65% mark in the polling stations with plausible turnout numbers.

It’s a safe bet that Chechens aren’t voting for Sobchak at Moscow’s rates because of her support for LGBT marriage.

It does however make sense in the context of the results of the 2000 Presidential elections, the last ones to be fully free of significant fraud in Russia. Even though there were Russian soldiers voting from Chechnya, not only was it one of the few regions where Zyuganov (37%) beat Putin (30%), but the gap between them was the largest of any Russian region. Not exactly surprising, considering that this was the tail end of a decade of grueling war and chaos that had culminated in what many Chechens saw...

March 19, 2018 • 41 Comments

Meddling in the Russian elections.

I voted for Zhirinovsky on March 18, 2018.

Have said all there is to say on that in these articles:

With that out of the way, let’s move on to the bigger picture.

PS. Note that I will also have separate posts on the results in Crimea and Chechnya, which were particularly interesting and important as pertains to understanding Russia.

Election Results

Main sources:

Results as of: 99.94% of ballots processed (17:15 19.03.2018 MSK)

Not to particularly brag, but my predictions [see others] were pretty good, and considerably better than both the average [Putin = 68.7%] and the VCIOM predictions market [Putin = 71.8%].

So perhaps I do know a few things about Russia after all.

Who Won?

Well, Putin did, overwhelmingly so, with 76.7% of the vote versus 63.6% in 2012.

Moreover, thanks in part to a state-sponsored rock the vote campaign, turnout exceeded 2012 levels by a few percentage points, exceeding both pessimistic expectations and dealing a heavy reputational blow to Navalny, who staked his bets on an elections boycott.

Critically, Putin managed all this with much less electoral fraud than in 2012 [more details below].

This is very important not just from a moral/ethical viewpoint, but from a cynical game theoretical one as well:

Why does the Kremlin still bother to falsify when it could enjoy greater legitimacy by keeping them clean? There are academic theories that electoral fraud, even when victory is assured, is still “rational” from the POV of an authoritarian ruler. Falsification helps you signal such overwhelming dominance that it effectively demoralizes the opposition {Simpser 2013}. But this can backfire (see the Moscow protests in 2011), and besides, there are...

March 17, 2018 • 220 Comments

Putin Pepe. Once rare, now the market’s flooded with them.

I suppose this post can also double up as the Russian Elections 2018 thread. See archive:

My final prediction:

  • Turnout: 68.0%
  • Baburin: 0.8%
  • Grudinin: 9.7%
  • Zhirinovsky: 7.8%
  • Putin: 76.2%
  • Sobchak: 2.0%
  • Suraykin: 0.5%
  • Titov: 0.5%
  • Yavlinsky: 1.3%
  • Spoiled ballots: 1.2%


Putin needs to get his dues for arresting the centrifugal tendencies tearing apart the Russian state in the late 1990s, taming the oligarchs, and reversing federalization.

Also his post-Crimea 80% approval rating speaks for itself; he has become a “charismatic” leader on the level of Charles de Gaulle or Park Chung-hee. Will Russians Come Out to Defend Putin?

But he has become increasingly senile in recent years, and allowed himself to be surrounded by venal rent-seekers.

In these latest elections, couldn’t even be bothered compiling a program, or campaigning; his “Putin Team” was instead reusing old videos of his speeches.

Importance: 10
Rating: 4/5

Nation Building

Recovery of pride and self-confidence is a good thing, along with suppressing Western poz.

Downside: The dour Great Patriotic War cult on which the Russian state bases its legitimacy is just not that cool, interesting, or attractive.

Importance: 20
Rating: 3/5


Russian GDP per capita recovered and exceeded peak Soviet levels, and living standards improved greatly; although some improvement, due to the post-Soviet output gap and high oil prices, was inevitable under almost any kind of regime.

Restored domestic manufacturing – Russia now produces 70% of its own cars, and is the world’s largest grain exporter.

Defended economic liberals, balanced the budget, and prevented the likes of Glazyev from turning Russia into a second Venezuela. He seriously needs to be credited for this.

Improved the business climate, from ~120th in the early 2010s to 35th...

March 17, 2018 • 229 Comments

Since the Russian election is taking place on the anniversary of Crimea’s incorporation into Russia – an intentional play to increase turnout – now is as good a time as any to reflect on the complete failure of the Kremlin’s Ukraine policy.

All 12 of Past Zero Collapses

The Adepts of Putin’s “Clever Plan” have predicted all twelve of the Ukraine’s past zero disintegrations since Euromaidan

I do not think this is a controversial observation, as those of you who have followed the Russophile Alt Media in the past few years will agree.

For instance, here is The Saker, probably the most prominent pro-Russian advocate for Putin’s mnogokhodovka (lit. chess combination, an approximate Russian equivalent of Trumpian 4D chess), writing about Ukraine’s imminent collapse in 2015:

The Ukrainian economy is basically dead. There is nothing left to salvage, nevermind turn the tide and overcome the crushing economic crisis… Folks in the western Ukraine are already seriously considering demanding their own special autonomy status. As for Odessa with Saakashvili in charge and the daughter of Egor Gaidar as Deputy Governor, it will inevitably explode, especially since the USA officially pays their salaries.

Back then, he might have had a point.

Only problem, it was still collapsing in 2016:

Remember Dmitri Orlov’s five stages of collapse? They are:

Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in “business as usual” is lost.
Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost.
Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost.
Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost.
Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in “the goodness of humanity” is lost.

Even a cursory look at what is happening in the Ukraine clearly shows that Stage 5 has already been reached, quite a while ago, really. What comes next is basically...