The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information

 TeasersiSteve Blog

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
🔊 Listen RSS

From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

The Wave That Won’t Break
by Steve Sailer
January 11, 2017

“God damn Christopher Columbus” were the last words my wife’s grandmother spoke before dying at age 88 twenty years ago last week.

Nobody has ever conclusively deciphered the meaning of that memorable sentence. Her descendants couldn’t recall her previously expressing anti-Columbianism.

My guess, however, is that this was one of those random memories that bounce around in the minds of the very old. Perhaps my wife’s grandmother, who was born in Chicago in 1908, was echoing her Italian-born mother’s private view of immigrating to America: If only Christopher Columbus had minded his own business and not discovered America, she never would have left her beloved Italy.

Ellis Island-era immigrants to big cities like Chicago didn’t face the challenges of settling the American frontier. But the psychological costs still must have been high.

Read the whole thing there.

• Tags: Immigration 
🔊 Listen RSS

From Talking Points Memo:

Trump’s Blood Libel & Press Failure


Published SEPTEMBER 2, 2016, 12:07 AM EDT

Even now, after all that’s happened, most political reporters find themselves either unwilling or unable to identify Donald Trump’s tirades as hate speech. … This is hate speech.

We tend to think in over-literal or clumsy ways about ‘hate speech’. Most often we assume that it’s a matter of using particular words … Hate speech is rants meant to inflame, inspire fear or rage or violence against a particular class of people. The precise vocabulary is not the heart of the matter. There’s no question that what Trump’s Wednesday night speech was was hate speech, a tirade filled with yelling, a snarling voice, air chopped to bits with slashing hands and through it all a story of American victims helpless before a looming threat from dangerous, predatory outsiders.

I’ve discussed the matter a few times in these pages. But I’m stunned at how little reaction or discussion we see of how sick and dangerous it is to parade these victimized families around like props.

It’s striking how blatant double-standards are.

Mothers of the Movement at the DNC

It doesn’t seem to occur to Josh Marshall that Hillary trots out her black “Mothers of the Movement” all the time, putting nine on stage at the Democratic convention, even after the Black Lives Matter-inspired murders of eight cops in Dallas and Baton Rouge. And Hillary doesn’t seem to show much judgment in whom she selects to feature, such as the mother of attempted cop killer Michael Brown of Ferguson. From

Michael Brown’s mother appears at Democratic National Convention, prompting police ire

By Chuck Raasch and Christine Byers St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jul 27, 2016 (775)

Lezley McSpadden, the mother of slain Ferguson teen Michael Brown, appeared at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday as part of the group “Mothers of the Movement” — women who have lost their children in encounters with police or to gun violence.

On the other hand, the concept of putting the loved ones of victims of public policy onstage makes sense. The mother of Eric Garner, the fat guy who died of a heart attack after a jerk NYPD cop choked him, for example, is a pretty articulate individual and it’s worthwhile to hear her perspective on an unfortunate incident.

Similarly, it’s useful to put a human face on the toll from immigration policy.

Back to Josh Marshall:

These families have suffered horribly but no more than the families of victims of American murderers and Americans who committed DUI fatalities.

Okay, but with all the world to choose from, why is it acceptable that we get so many low quality immigrants? Shouldn’t our goal be zero defective immigrants? We can’t get all the way to our goal, but we can do a lot better than we’re doing now.

If we went out and found victims who’d suffered grievously at the hands of Jews or blacks and paraded them around the country before angry crowds the wrongness and danger of doing so would be obvious.

In contrast, Hillary puts black victims of whites on stage at her convention, even after eight cops died because of this kind of agitation. But seven of the eight dead cops were white, so that’s okay.

Now, you might say, that’s not fair. American Jews and African-Americans are citizens, with as much right to be here as anyone else. But that’s just a dodge. There’s no evidence that undocumented immigrants commit more crimes than documented or naturalized immigrants.

Actually there is. Legal immigrants who got in because they married a GI or have a graduate degree or whatever don’t commit a lot of homicides and rapes. As they should. Why let in drunk drivers? Does Harvard let in a lot of criminals? Why not have high standards for immigrants?

Indeed, there is solid evidence that immigrants commit fewer crimes than the native born. Simple logic tells us that undocumented immigrants face greater consequences for being apprehended by police and thus likely are more careful to avoid it. They’re likely more apt to avoid contact with authorities than the rest of us.

What drives American crime rates so high is having 40 million African-Americans, who are world famous for their tendencies toward gangsta behavior. According to the Obama Administration, a majority of the homicides in America are committed by the 13% of the population that is black. We could let in just about anybody in the world and do better than that.

Marshall puts up this graph to prove his point:


The first generation of immigrants is somewhat intimidated and/or disappears over the border when wanted for arrest, but the second generation is much worse. And there are more and more of them. Why does anyone think this is a good thing?

Okay, let me explain why some think this is a great idea. If you live in New York City or Washington DC or a similar supercity, letting in a bunch of Hondurans who will grow up to have homicide rate X, but who will push out African-Americans with homicide rate 3X, is good for property values.

On the other hand, if you live in one of the loser cities where the African-Americans will move to, too bad. Moreover, people in the media will call you a racist for not wanting to take their surplus African-Americans off their hands. You do not get a say in this matter. Your betters have decided that you deserve some Diversity, good and hard. They’ve had enough Diversity, so they’ve decided to share the Diversity with you, you racists.

… This is simply a way of whipping up irrational fear and hatred. …It is simply blood libel and incitement.

Indeed, my hypothetical about Jews and African-Americans is no hypothetical. Anyone who is familiar with the history of the Jim Crow South or 1930s Germany and the centuries of anti-Semitism that preceded it will tell you that the celebration and valorization of victims was always a central part of sustaining bigotry, fear and oppression. … The valorization of victims was and is a way of provoking vicarious horror, rage, hate and finally violence whether specific individuals were guilty or not.

You know, “the celebration and valorization of victims” is not wholly a sin of Republicans …

… But there’s no excuse for those who have themselves suffered nothing but exploit this suffering to propagate hate. That fact that we’ve become inured to this, that we now find it normal to see these cattle calls of grief and incitement as part of a political campaign is shocking and sickening. There’s no other word for this but incitement and blood libel.

Another term for it is “Who? Whom?”

Watch Trump’s speeches, with the yelling, the reddened face, the demand for vengeance and you see there’s little to distinguish them from what we see at Aryan Nations or other white hate rallies that we all immediately recognize as reprehensible, wrong and frankly terrifying. This isn’t ‘rough’ language or ‘hard edged’ rhetoric. It’s hate speech. Precisely what policy solution Trump is calling for is almost beside the point. Indeed, it wouldn’t be hate speech any less if Trump specified no policy solution at all.

This isn’t normal. It was normal in the Jim Crow South, as it was in Eastern Europe for centuries.

Nothing has gotten me in more trouble over the years than pointing out that many Jews in the media are not very self-aware of their own prejudices. Josh Marshall, for example, is a 47 year old with a Ph.D. in history who simply doesn’t notice his own bigotry and ethnic animus.

Because we’re the world’s greatest victims, we can denounce anybody else for appealing to victimist thinking with a straight face.

And why should Marshall self-aware? Who would dare point it out to him?

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Immigration 
🔊 Listen RSS

And repurpose the $260 billion being spent on stadium construction in Qatar for shelter for refugee Arabs.

It’s the least the Arabs could do for their fellow Arabs.

Why should these poor Arabs have to live under the oppressive thumb of white racist Europeans when their Arab brothers have plenty of money to put them up in the Arab world?

Even after writing off the bribes to Sepp Blatter and his FIFA pals for assigning the World Cup to Qatar, there’d probably be $258 billion, maybe $259 billion left over

A single small Arab country has over a quarter of a trillion dollars to spend on an absurd vanity project, but Europeans must take in every Arab in the world who wants to move to Europe (and, in time, all their kinsmen)?



🔊 Listen RSS

Is Donald Trump cool?

On the one hand, he’s been around forever, his tastes are cheesy/expensive, and the media has, as you may have noticed, been squealing nonstop for months that he’s Not Cool.

On the other hand, he’s not from Flyoverville. He’s about as New York as you can get.

And yet, he’s an old-fashioned in-your-face New Yorker of the kind celebrated by Colin Quinn. But then that’s also the “problematic” type who make new SWPL New Yorkers uncomfortable: What would our stylistic betters in Europe think of this crass American? How could the very American Trump be sophisticated and urbane, like, say, soccer?

Except, that Trump’s winning issue, what has distinguished him from the pack — immigration — is exactly the issue that obsesses Europeans in 2015. For example, above is a new graph from The Economist showing immigration as an important issue in Britain hitting a new historic high in the latest poll.

So Trump is on the cutting edge of Euro fashion.

It’s complicated …

• Tags: Euro, Immigration, Politics, Trump 
🔊 Listen RSS

From the New York Times:

Migrants Race North as Hungary Builds a Border Fence

TISZASZIGET, Hungary — Roiling everything in its path, a wave of tens of thousands of migrants and refugees — many fleeing wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan — has worked its way up the length of the Balkans in recent days.

Like a movable feast of despair, the mass of people has overwhelmed the authorities in one stop after another, from the tiny Greek island of Kos

I swam to Kos in May 2009. I didn’t swim the full 3 miles from Bodrum, Turkey to Greece, just the last couple of hundred yards. The Mediterranean in May is colder than I had expected and I was quite glad to finally fetch up on the rocky beach.

to impoverished Macedonia, which declared a state of emergency last week, and now the train and bus stations of Serbia, as they head north to their ultimate destinations in the richer nations of the European Union.

The next link on their route, almost inevitably, are towns like this one on the Hungarian frontier with Serbia. But Hungarian officials say they have a firm, if unwelcoming, answer to the slow-motion tide: a fence.

Still under construction, parts of it are already laced across fields and river banks or trace old railway tracks, and it will be as tall as 13 feet in some places, a patchwork intended to send a clear message that the migrants should not expect to move freely.

But the fence also stands as a much criticized and a very physical manifestation of the quandary of the migration crisis and the lack of cooperation among European Union nations as they struggle to deal with it.

As the chaotic flow through the Balkans has demonstrated, absent coordinated policies, each nation along the path of the migrants has every incentive simply to move them on. The migrants are registered or issued temporary transit papers, but not entered as asylum applicants, ultimately passing the problem to someone else.

In a third to a half of cases, that has been Germany, which has received more migrants than any other European Union nation, but where, too, the welcome mat is wearing thin.

After a weekend of demonstrations outside Dresden — both for and against the migrants — Chancellor Angela Merkel and President François Hollande of France met on Monday to discuss the issue yet again, urging a unified European response and underscoring the need to move as swiftly as possible.

Even before Monday, leading ministers in the German government have given rare public voice to complaints about their European colleagues, urging everyone to observe existing agreements guaranteeing humane shelter for all and to help countries like Greece and Italy cope with the influx.

Yet Thomas de Maizière, the German interior minister, notably demurred when invited to criticize Hungary’s fence at a news conference last week. If countries observed existing rules, he said, perhaps Hungary would not need to build one.

Paradoxically, far from deterring the migrants, Hungary’s fence may actually be spurring them on. In a dozen or so fractured interviews this weekend, many Syrians, Afghans and others said that word of the fence had accelerated their race to get north before all of the Hungarian border with Serbia — almost 109 miles — is cordoned off, a goal that the Hungarians have set for Aug. 31.

Experienced analysts say the fence will not stop the migrants, who travel in clumps of just a few to clans of dozens, often guided by Google Maps and Facebook groups on the smartphones that are vital to this modern migration.

“It’s just one more obstacle,” said one volunteer, Tibor Varga, who has been working with migrants in northern Serbia for four years. “They will find out how to get around, above, under it.”

Funny how that Law of the Universe doesn’t apply to Israel’s border fences.

A vast majority entered Macedonia from Greece after several hundred rushed across the border, bypassing a line of police officers and soldiers who used stun grenades and force in trying to keep them back.

After the episode, the authorities in the impoverished country, which has just 2.1 million people and a gross domestic product of around $11 billion a year, appeared to have given up on the idea that they could control the flow.

“They all want to go to Germany,” Mr. Lesmajster said. “Their ‘promised land.’ ” Nothing would prevent it, he said.

“If they can’t get through Hungary, they will go through Croatia,” he added. “The Hungarian fence cannot stop them.”

• Tags: Europe, Immigration 
🔊 Listen RSS

With the federal government working up a new housing ploy, I figured it’s timely to dredge up the 2008 short story I published in The American Conservative:


Unreal Estate

Memorial Day Weekend, 2005

“So, this guy joins a monastery where he’s not allowed to talk.” Travis, your brother-in-law, is telling a joke. He’s told it to you before. “After five years, the head monk tells him he can say two words. ‘Tiny room,’ the guy answers.”

“That reminds me,” Travis continues, “You kids have been engaged, like, what? Two years now? That’s great. No rush to get married, not with the market the way it is in West LA. Who can afford to marry and settle down in LA? I couldn’t. Georgie Cooney can’t afford to get married in LA.”

While you’re trying to figure out whether Travis means actor George Clooney or boxer Gerry Cooney, he’s already onto his favorite topic, “Still, isn’t it time to buy a place of your own? I mean, West LA’s a great place to meet somebody, but, c’mon, are you going to entrust your kids — and I know how much my wife’s little sister wants some (you know how women are, they can’t keep a secret) — to the Los Angeles United School District?”

You have this conversation, if you could call it a conversation, each time you visit your brother-in-law’s house. Travis lives out in the Santa Clarita Valley, an hour or two north of West Los Angeles. You get on the 405 at Pico, head over Sepulveda Pass, down through the Valley, onto the 5 and up through Newhall Pass into LA County’s northern exurbs.

You’re sitting on the edge of the Travis’s deck, overlooking a canyon lined with oaks and sycamores. It’s hotter out here than back in West LA, where your $1900 per month one bedroom apartment doesn’t have air conditioning because it seldom gets over 82. It’s hot out here, but it’s not bad. There’s a breeze blowing with a hint of the far-off ocean.

Travis says, “I’d be all for you staying in LA if you were an entertainment lawyer or something where you need to be working with the stars. But you manage a drug store and Emma’s a nurse. People buy drugs and get sick everywhere.

“I bought this place in 2000 for $255,000,” Travis says, repeating a number you know by heart now. “Here we are, five years later, and the Schmidts next door just sold their’s for $810,000. So I’m up, what, six, seven hundred thousand? The home equity loans have paid for some nice vacations, I’ll tell you. My house is my ATM.

“I know what you’re thinking,” says Travis, who generally does know what you are thinking.

“You’re wondering why I’m the lucky bastard who turned 32 in 2000 and decided it was the right time in my life to get out of an apartment in LA and buy a house back when houses in California were cheap. Meanwhile, you’re 32 in 2005, when they’re expensive. Well, they seemed expensive then, too. But I took the plunge anyway.

“I also know you’re thinking you don’t have $810,000. Who does? That’s what they got mortgages for. And you’re good with numbers so you’ve already figured out what a 20 percent down payment on $810,000 is. It’s, like … a lot.

“Okay, coupla things you need to bear in mind.

“First, Emma’s told me about how your dad always talks about the years saving up for the 20 percent down payment he made when he got that 30 year fixed rate mortgage on his little place in Sherman Oaks. “That’s ancient history. Dude, nobody puts down 20 percent down anymore, no matter how iffy they seem.”

Travis’s voice has gone up a third of an octave. When he’s talking about the Lakers or whatever, he’s laidback. But when he gets going on real estate, which is more and more often over the last couple of years, he lets his inner Dennis Hopper out.

“These days, somebody arrives in California from Gautelombia and wants to buy a house, do you think they make him document his credit history? It’s in Spanish, and who knows how many million pesetas were worth a dollar in 1985, and besides, the courthouse in El Carrumbo collapsed in an earthquake anyway, so he doesn’t have a paper trail. Documents? He’s undocumented. He don’t need no steenking documents! He just pays some extra points on his rate, but that’s all on the backend. Everybody’s happy.

“Don’t you watch the news? The President says down payments are un-American because they keep minorities from buying houses. But you don’t have to be diverse to get a zero down loan. IndyMan is happy to hand them out to everybody.

“Second thing, Santa Clarita seemed like a long way out when I moved from Venice in 2000. So, maybe you got to move a little farther, like out to Palmdale, Lancaster. Antelope Valley’s the new Santa Clarita!”

You’re not quite sure how it happens, but ten minutes later, you’re standing on his driveway admiring the rims on Travis’s Lexus SUV, which are bigger than the tires on your Corolla. Soon, you’re rolling northeast on the 14, past the slanting Vasquez Rocks where, according to Travis, lots of Westerns were filmed, but you only remember them from Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. The highway turns north away from the mountains through the high desert. A sign says you are heading toward “Edwards AFB.”

“Edwards Air Force Base!” exclaims Travis. “T he Right Stuff, man! That’s where Chuck Taylor broke the speed barrier in 1957. This is All-American country out here,” he says, gesturing vaguely at the brownish-gray sagebrush. “Granted, it’s a haul from the jobs in LA, but with Iraq calming down now that they captured Saddam Insane, soon they’ll be pumping like crazy from those Iraqi oilwells and the price of gas will be back down to a $1.00 per gallon.”

You pass another sign. This one reads, “San Andreas Fault.” Travis doesn’t seem to notice.

Once off the highway, you see at least one person standing at every intersection twirling or jiggling a giant arrow pointing to an open house. “Human Signs,” nods Travis. “Like back in the Depression when guys would walk around wearing sandwich boards reading ‘Eat at Joe’s.’ But this is the opposite of a depression. Real estate commissions are six percent, so, on a $400k house, that’s $20k, which pays for a lot of twirling.”

Stretching off to the horizon are half-built houses and recently finished ones. Eventually, you follow one particularly active arrow to the Cypress Creek Estates. “Yeah, I know,” says Travis, “The nearest creek is 20 miles south and the nearest cypress tree is 100 miles west in Santa Barbara. But that’s not the point, the point is that everybody in Guatelombia grew up watching Baywatch and has wanted to move to California ever since. Do you know how many people there are in the world? Well, I don’t either, but, trust me, it’s a big number. There’s an endless supply of people who want to live in California. And their brothers, too! Do you think Bush is going to shut the borders? The President says, “Family values don’t stop at the Rio Loco.’”

Travis’s voice gets intense. “They’re coming, man, and nothing can stop them. It’s the American Dream!”

“Same with the money,” he continues, in a more relaxed tone. “When the Chinese get a check from Wal-Mart for a billion bucks for their latest boatload of plastic crud, they ask the smartest guy in Peking where to invest it. He calls up the smartest lad in London, who tells him, “Lend it to people buying California real estate. It’ll be safe as houses.” Nobody cares where they lend in California, just so long as it’s in California. You should see the prices they’re getting this year for dumps in Hawaiian Gardens, Bakersfield, Pacoima, Compton. Compton.

“See, in Abu Dubai, nobody knows nothing about Hawaiian Gardens, other than it’s in California. Over in Arabia, Sheik Rattleandroll thinks, ‘It’s like “Hawaii” and it’s full of “Gardens,” so how bad could it be?’

“Although, you’d figure,” muses Travis, shaking his head, “That by now, even an Arab would’ve heard of Compton.”

“There’s no stopping them. And the same with normal American people moving to the exurbs. Every year, kids get out of college and move from Mom and Dad’s house in the boring ‘burbs to an apartment in the sexy city. They love hanging out in Hollywood. But after ten years or so, they’ve found somebody. The one. They start looking at the price on those cute little cottages around the corner from their favorite restaurant on San Vicente. The price has seven digits. And it doesn’t start with a “one.” They wonder, “How does anybody buy in the city?” They finally realize: people do it family style. If they’re American and they buy on the Westside, then you know that Mom and Dad gave them a half mil, at least. If they’re Armenian, they have mom and dad move in with them, along with cousin Aram and his uncle-in-law. But Americans can’t live with their relatives. We go nuts. So, it’s out to the exurban frontier for us. It’s a perpetual motion machine.”

You pull up in front of an attractive Mediterranean-style model house. Two stories, 3,150 square feet, the sheet says. It seems enormous — both compared to your apartment and to its lot, with its miniature front yard consisting of a tiny sapling and a tinier sodded lawn. It’s hotter than in Santa Clarita, so the walk from the Lexus to the front door through the grit-laden wind has you sweating. “It’s breezy out here, but that’s good, it lowers the wind-chime factor,” observes Travis.

Then you’re hit by the blast of air conditioning, and you’re standing in the Great Room, with a 20’ ceiling. “Sure, it seems kind of big, but that’s the crucial element,” explains Travis. “What are they asking, $450k? That’s not a cost to you, that’s an investment, like joining a country club. The sticker price keeps out the riff-raff. You don’t want every peon in Guatelombia who grew up dreaming about Baywatch moving in next door to you, do you?

“What you want is like … well, look at Valencia High School near my house. It’s diverse. It’s … What does the LA Times call the neighborhood when there’s a gang shooting in South Central? … It’s vibrant. But Valencia High School is not too vibrant, if you know what I mean. Valencia’s like mostly white, some Asian, the black kids’ parents are all celebrities. The son of what’s his name, Wesley Snipe Dogg, rushed for 2,500 yards last year. The Latino kids are all from solid home-owning families, no accents, everybody’s dad is a contractor or something. You can’t afford to buy in my neighborhood if you aren’t in a cash business.”

One stair creaks loudly as you ascend to the lavish master bedroom suite on the second floor. “The construction’s just settling in,” assures Travis. “This house is only, it says here, nine months old. The owner is flipping it. Probably moving to a 4000 square foot house with the $50k he’s going to make and do it again. With a no down payment mortgage and a low teaser rate for the first two years (which you deduct on your 1040, by the way), that’s about a … a million percent return on investment. Can you get that kind of interest on your CDs?”

“In fact, I think I’m going to pick up one of these babies, too, and sell it in six months. We’ll be neighbors! Sort of. The mortgage company get a little snottier about down payments and interest rates when you tell them it’s an investment, so I’ll just check the “owner occupied” box. The broker doesn’t care. He gets his commission, then Countrywise bundles it up with a thousand other mortgages and sells it to Lemon Brothers. The Wall Street rocket scientists call this “secretization” because nobody can figure out what anything’s worth. It’s a secret.

“Lemon sells shares in the package all around the world. The Sultan of Brunhilde ends up owning a tenth of your mortgage. Do you think the Sultan’s going to drive around Antelope Valley knocking on doors to see if you’re really living there?”

“Maybe you’d like to come in with me on it, buy yourself a one-eighth share?”


Thanksgiving, 2005

The sky over the Antelope Valley is blue, your Marathon Sod minilawn is green, the temperature is 68, and your bride and her sister are cooking the turkey in your new granite counter-topped kitchen. Travis and you are standing in your driveway in Cypress Creek Estates, admiring the house you two own next door. Travis is explaining, “So, after ten years, the head monk, the abbatoir, tells the new guy he can say two more words. And the guy replies, ‘Roommate snores.’” By the way, this couple from Hermosa Beach counteroffered me $477k on our little investment. I told them I’d think about it. Nice people, they’d make good neighbors for you. But, I don’t think I’m going to sell it yet. I’m going to wait for an even $500k. There’ll be no problem getting that next spring. Yeah, it’s a nice neighborhood. Quiet.”

That it is. You don’t have all that many neighbors because about a third of the homes on the street appear to be unoccupied, owned by speculators waiting to flip them. And the people who do live on your street tend to start their commute to LA before dawn and get back after dark. It’s quiet, except on Sunday, when a stream of looky-loos pour through for the open houses.


Voice Mail, April 2006

“Hey, it’s Travis. Look, my accountant was crunching the numbers, and he says I’ve got a slight cash flow problem, what with me paying for 7/8ths of an empty house and the market not quite hitting our target price yet. So, he says that we should rent it out for awhile, just until we sell it. The thing is, what with everybody out there buying with no money down, there aren’t that many people left in the rental market. Most of the local jobs are in construction, building houses. (Well, construction and being a Human Sign.) Now, my accountant keeps the books for this contractor, who tells him he’s got some construction workers from this village down south who need a place to live. Real quiet hardworking types. You hablo un poco Espanol, right? If you need to talk to them, talk to their leader, Juan. He speaks Spanish. The rest of them only speak Mixed-Up. It’s an Indian lingo. But you won’t need to talk to them. They’re very quiet.”


July 2006

It’s Sunday afternoon. Travis peers down as you pry a flattened disk of lead out of the miniature crater in your driveway. “Well, they are real quiet, hardworking types from Monday through Friday,” he says. “You’ve gotta admit that. I guess they just want to relax on Saturday, have a little fiesta, drink some cerveza, shoot their pistolas in the air. It’s their culture. What are you, prejudiced?”

You look at Travis.

“Okay, okay, I’ll go talk to Juan.”

He comes back 20 minutes later. “Juan is gone, man. That’s what they kept telling me: ‘Juan is gone.’ One of the fellows had his stomach bandaged up. He just got back from the emergency room. I couldn’t quite follow what they were saying, but I think Juan had a bottle of tequila on Saturday night and stabbed this dude. Nothing serious. Just a friendly little argument. C’mon, they aren’t gangbangers, they’re working men … Okay, well, then Juan headed for the Border like OJ in his white Bronco. Juan is gone, and with the rent money they all owed us, too. Oh, man…”


Voice Mail, September 2006

“Hey, it’s Travis. I got good news. We’re not going to mess around anymore trying to extract our rent from some mob of illegals. No way, Jose. Instead, we’re going to get paid by check on the first of each month straight from the U.S. Treasury! The Department of Housing and Urban Development. Section 8 rent vouchers. They’re tearing down a housing project in the, uh, LA – Long Beach area, in, uh, Compton, I guess, to be precise, and they’ve got this highly respectable elderly grandmother who needs a place to stay with her family. Really cute grandkids. A few daughters, too. She wants a safe place with good schools to raise them. Actually, she’s not all that elderly. The HUD man said she’s 39. A church lady, you know, pillar of the community, big hat, all that. You’ll like your new neighbors.”


Voice Mail, December 2006

“It’s Travis. Okay, okay, I’ll admit that I hadn’t really thought through the part about the daughters having boyfriends, or grandma having boyfriends either, for that matter. But I think this whole Bloods v. Crips thing is being blown way out of proportion. It’s just graffiti. And lots of kids wear red these days. It’s a very In color. And these days all the young people make those goofy signs with their hands. For that matter, how can anybody know for sure that the Chevy that cruises by every night is full of MS-13 gangbangers planning a drive-by on the Bloods next door as payback for the race riots at the County Jail in Castaic? Are you sure you read the tattoos on their necks right? It’s nighttime, how can you be certain that their neck tattoos say ‘MS-13.’ Maybe they just have, like, ‘Mom’ tattooed on their necks. Did you think about that?”


May 2007

“So, after fifteen years, the abbadabbadoo tells the new monk he can say two more words, and—Whoa!” Travis flinches when the 120-pound Presa Canario lunges at him. The steel chain securing the dog to the front of the house across the street from your house snaps taut and its massive jaws come up short. “Man,” says Travis, shaken, “That’s one of those dogs that the Aryan Nation breeds to guard meth labs, isn’t it? What’s in that house? A meth lab? No, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”

“Look at this neighborhood,” he says, his dismissive gesture taking in the empty malt liquor bottles on the curb, the wheelless car jacked up on a brown front lawn, and the knots of sullen youths playing hip-hop and reggaeton on boomboxes. “All these speculators buy houses, hit a little bump in the road, need some cash, then start renting them out to lowlifes to get by until they can cash in. Property values drop like a rock. It would be no problem if just one investor did that, but when all these speculator jerks do it, the whole ‘hood is hosed.

“Oh, yeah, I came by to mention that in June the mortgage rates reset after two years. Bush put this new guy in at the Fed, Ben Barnacle, and he’s raised interest rates. So that will push up your share of the payment.”


Voice Mail, June 2007

“It’s Travis. Sorry to hear about you having to sell both your cars to make that new monthly nut. Taking the bus to work in that heat, man, that’s rough.

“But, that’s all history. I’ve got great news! I sold the house next door. To the Section 8 grandma. Who else would buy it? I only got what we paid for it, but I figure that was the smart play. She didn’t think she could qualify for the mortgage, but I told her to put down as her household income all the money made by all the people who have ever stayed there. What, is Washington Mutant going to be so racist as to question that a woman like her could have an income of $160,000?

“Don’t thank me for getting you out of that monthly payment. It’s the least I could do for you, bro.”


Phone call, October 2008

You pick up the ringing phone.

“It’s me, Travis. Long time no hear! Hey, I’m sorry about houses in your zip code being down 55 percent versus last year. Bummer.

“Anyway, I’ve been listening to Senator Omama’s speeches about how he is going to invest hundreds of billions to make America energy independent in ten years. So, I wanted to let you in on the next big thing. Alternative energy! When the Democrats get in come November, alternative energy will be bigger than houses. I’ve got great investments lined up with some start-ups in this emerging growth sector. Like biodiesel trolleys. Al Gore is this close to making a big investment. I just need a little help making the minimum required investment. They don’t need chump change. This is just for the big money boys. So, are you in or are you out?

You say nothing.

“Are you going to quit on me? Remember, quitters never prosper.”

You say: “I quit.”

Travis says: “Well, it’s about time. You’ve done nothing but bitch and moan since I met you.”

🔊 Listen RSS

A big change in crime-fighting tactics in California over the last decade has been to stop focusing on arresting just the “kingpins” of street gangs (because, it turns out, it doesn’t actually take some kind of rare Ernst Stavro Blofeld-style malevolent brilliance to run a gang). Instead, all the cop agencies get together and sweep up at once all the low-level “gang-affiliated” usual suspects (e.g., guys with gang tattoos on their heads) and send them to prison on RICO (Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization) charges and/or enhance their sentences for other crimes.

Veteran SoCal crime reporter Sam Quinones explained late last year:

The 2006 case against HLP was the first in Los Angeles to use RICO statutes on foot soldiers as well as gang leadership. Street gangs had previously been seen as small fry, but, by the mid-2000s, “the culture changed in terms of using this great tool,” says Jim Trusty, chief of the U.S. Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Gang section in Washington, D.C.

… Today, federal agents and local police officers routinely work together on cases.

… Prosecuting street gangs has meant abandoning the previous focus on kingpins. “‘Cut off the head and body dies’ just isn’t true” when it comes to Southern California street gangs, says Brunwin. “You have to go after everyone—anyone who had anything to do with, supported, or touched the organization. You have to have an effect on the structure, its daily operation. The only thing that works is adopting a scorched-Earth policy.”

Since 2006, there have been more than two dozen RICO indictments in Southern California, targeting Florencia 13, Hawaiian Gardens (HG-13), Azusa 13, Five-Deuce Broadway Gangster Crips, Pueblo Bishop Bloods, and many more of the region’s most entrenched and violent gangs.

Most of the indictments have dozens of defendants; the Florencia case had 102, while Hawaiian Gardens, in 2009, was one of the largest street-gang indictments in U.S. history, with 147.

Some of these indictments once provided news fodder for days. Now they’re so common that they no longer earn the Los Angeles Times’ front page. A recent RICO indictment against 41 members of the El Monte Flores gang, detailing alleged extortion, drug taxation, and race-hate crimes dating back more than a decade, didn’t even warrant a press conference. …

Most of the Southern California RICO prosecutions have instead swept up large numbers of street gang members. Leaders of prison gangs like the Mexican Mafia usually aren’t even charged in these prosecutions, and are referred to as “unindicted co-conspirators.” “In prosecuting the members, you make [prison-gang leaders] powerless,” Brunwin says. “If no one’s out there on the street doing their work, then they’re just guys in cells.”

Southern California RICO cases have sent large numbers of street-gang soldiers to prisons in places like Arkansas or Indiana, where no girlfriend is coming to visit. In California prisons, inmates usually serve only half their time before getting out on parole, but federal prison sentences are long and provide for no parole.

To my eye, the effects of most RICO prosecutions against Southern California gangs have been dramatic, as if a series of anthills had been not just disturbed but dug up whole. Hawaiian Gardens has seen a 50 percent in drop in violent crime since the prosecutions of 2009. The neighborhoods that spawned Azusa 13 and Florencia 13 seem completely changed. I’ve seen similar post-RICO transformations across Southern California.

Part of this is just high real estate prices driving the families of guys who will grow up to be usual suspects out of Southern California and into the less expensive places like the Central Valley of California.

But still, Quinones may well have a point that these kind of military-style massive raids may be helping.

Of course, rounding up the usual suspects doesn’t sound particularly in line with Anglo-Saxon individualistic principles of jurisprudence.

The good folks in the Central Valley are now trying to reproduce what SoCal law enforcement managed to do with lots of federal help.

The NYT used a more winsome picture

Not surprisingly, the New York Times, with it’s tireless suspicions that flyover folks might be trying to discourage blacks and Hispanics from leaving the big, expensive cities, is alarmed.

In a strange twist, they are defending a white (or whitish) guy named Jesse Sebourn accused in Modesto of belonging to the East Side gang. (He has “ES” visibly tattooed on the back of his head). But, you see, he’s a white guy accused of being in a Hispanic gang:

How Do You Define a Gang Member?

Laws across the country are being used to target young men who fit the description for gang affiliation. But what if they aren’t what they seem?


The trial of Sebourn and eight other defendants was a classic POS case of the kind that left Asst. DA Kramer in Bonfire of the Vanities pensive over his career choice. Sebourn and his sister got caught by a North Side gang tagging over the Northsiders’ graffiti and got beat up. A few hours later a member of the Nortenos was murdered, presumably in retaliation.

The cops rounded up the usual suspects in the Surenos, although at least one had vamoosed back to Mexico. They flipped one woman to testify against the other arrestees. So the defense claimed the prosecution’s witness and the fugitive were the real killers and everybody else was just tangentially involved.

The only thing I can conclude is that I’m glad I don’t live in Modesto.

The point of the NYT article is to get us worked up over the prosecution’s use of “gang-enhancement” to boost the maximum sentence possible from 15 years to 50 years. As usual, nobody is very interested in general principles, just whether or some white guys are being racist.

… In Stanislaus [Modesto] County, as in many counties in California and across the United States, law-enforcement officers keep a database of individuals that they have identified as gang members. From their point of view, these lists are vital and necessary, but activists argue that they can be discriminatory. Researchers have found that white gang membership tends to be underestimated and undercounted, while the opposite is true for black and Latino youth. In 1997, California created a statewide database, called CalGang, and by 2012, according to documents obtained by the Youth Justice Coalition, there were more than 200,000 individuals named in it (roughly the same number as the population of Modesto), including some as young as 10. Statewide, 66 percent were Latino, and one in 10 of all African-Americans in Los Angeles County between the ages of 20 and 24 were on the list. … Black and Latino inmates account for more than 90 percent of inmates with gang enhancements; fewer than 3 percent are white.

The article doesn’t document what evidence, if any, there is that white gang members are underestimated and undercounted.

Indeed, the article’s focus on a white guy accused of being part of a Hispanic gang (a not uncommon phenomenon — there are so few white street gangs left that white guys who like the criminal life often join Latin gangs) undercuts the implication that California is full of white street gangs, a concept that’s easier to derive from SPLC fundraising direct mail than from living here.

One interesting lesson that isn’t brought out in the article is that in the age of everybody having a Social Media Permanent Record, it’s harder to be a criminal:

At the Sebourn trial, Brennan showed the jury and his witness, Robert Gumm, a Modesto Police Department detective, image after image of Sebourn’s extended network of friends, photos of young men and women throwing up signs for the number 13, contorting their fingers into crooked forms of the letters CLS, for Celeste Locos Sureños, Sebourn’s clique from the neighborhood near Celeste Street, on the east side of Modesto. Most of the pictures had been taken from the defendants’ cellphones, as well as from their Facebook pages. The jury saw photos of tattoos, of young men drinking 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor, scowling at the camera. It was a gangbanger’s photo album, or at least that was what this curated selection of images appeared to be. And though Sebourn himself was in only a couple, Brennan argued that he was known to these young people, as they were known to him. It was guilt by association. And it was very convincing. That rainy morning in Modesto, I had two contradictory thoughts at once: This doesn’t seem fair; and These knuckleheads sure look like gang members.

If you were a serious mastermind criminal, yeah, you could probably keep pictures of you kicking it with your homies off Facebook. But most street gang members are dopes and are in it for the feelings of social dominance as much as for the money. So if you can’t boast about your exploits online, what’s the point?

According to the defense, the defendant is a dope:

NYT’s slightly less glowering picture of Sebourn and his sister

Sebourn’s father, Michael, was a former Aryan Brotherhood member who spent much of his son’s childhood in prison. He had just been released a few weeks before the murder, and he was also a defendant in the case. Sebourn was raised by his mother, Sandra, who worked at a hospital, and her boyfriend, a man named Kyle Garcia, who died of cancer just before the trial began.

Beginning when Sebourn was in second grade, his teachers wanted to put him in special-education classes, Sandra told me, but she rejected the idea. “I didn’t want him to deal with that stigma,” she said. An expert hired by the defense estimated that Sebourn’s I.Q. was only 70 and described him as having severe intellectual limitations, unable to remember his own address or phone number. Brian Ford, a clerk for Sebourn’s lawyer, told me that Sebourn was something of a neighborhood mascot, a teenager who had never really grown up: a funny, goofy boy, always smiling. He liked to drink, smoke weed and hang out with his friends, most of whom were Latino.

Having a 70 IQ doesn’t seem to have hurt him with the ladies:

He dropped out of school at 16 and became a father a couple of years later. … As for being a gang member, [his mother] had a hard time believing it: “As far as I know, he had six girlfriends, and then he had his son, and then he had to work, so when did he have time to do this gang stuff?”

The hero of the article, a defense expert witness, gets the author to write:

Like young people anywhere, they could be trying on identities. They might be irresponsible, perhaps unlikable, maybe some were even dangerous, but legally, none of that was relevant.

But getting “ES” tattooed on the back of your head seems like a tad more than Bowiesque trying on of identities. The idea behind head tattoos is to Make a Commitment.

Anyway, the article seems to have been a flop at getting the usual SJW mob worked up online. (The long article only has 105 comments after about a week.) Nobody cares about white guys like Sebourn, even if they have been Hispanically acculturated. Heck, SJWs don’t really care about Hispanics.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Gangs, Hispanic Crime, Immigration 
🔊 Listen RSS

Let’s count the word choices in this huge New York Times feature article:

California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth
The state’s history as a frontier of prosperity and glamour faces an uncertain future as the fourth year of severe shortages prompts Gov. Jerry Brown to mandate a 25 percent reduction in non-agricultural water use.


LOS ANGELES — For more than a century, California has been the state where people flocked for a better life — 164,000 square miles of mountains, farmland and coastline, shimmering with ambition and dreams, money and beauty. It was the cutting-edge symbol of possibility: Hollywood, Silicon Valley, aerospace, agriculture and vineyards.

But now a punishing drought — and the unprecedented measures the state announced last week to compel people to reduce water consumption — is forcing a reconsideration of whether the aspiration of untrammeled growth that has for so long been this state’s driving engine has run against the limits of nature.

The 25 percent cut in water consumption ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown raises fundamental questions about what life in California will be like in the years ahead, and even whether this state faces the prospect of people leaving for wetter climates — assuming, as Mr. Brown and other state leaders do, that this marks a permanent change in the climate, rather than a particularly severe cyclical drought. …

To find out what is to blame for this state of affairs, I hit CTRL-F and looked up how often various words are used in this article:

Lawns – 9 usages

Development / Developers – 7

Golf – 3

Turf – 2

Showers – 2

Gardens – 1

Swimming pool – 1

Burbling fountains – 1

Immigration / Immigrants – 0

Of course, in reality, agriculture uses up 80% of the water in California, including wasting it on absurd monsoon crops like rice. So maybe the 80/20 rule suggests agriculture should be where the bulk of cutbacks should come from. But hiring unskilled illegal aliens to do stoop laborer has traditionally been a major engine of California’s demographic transformation, so Californians must take shorter and fewer showers to ensure that landowners can still haul in enough middle school dropouts from south of the border to ensure that California’s NAEP test scores stay low in future generations.

From the NYT

But never mind all that, the real villains remain Ozzie with his lawn and Harriet with her garden. Of course, non-Hispanic whites in California are down from 15.9 million in 1980 to 15.1 million and 39.0% of the population in 2013, but the liability of white golfers is where attention should be focused. Nonwhites tripled from 7.8 million in 1980 to 23.7 million today, but they are Good so their growth can’t have anything to do with the water shortage. Don’t you understand Science?

• Tags: California, Immigration, NAEP 
🔊 Listen RSS

Here are some more immigration policy phrases that have polled or focus grouped well with voters.

Less future immigration.

What we’re for regarding reduced legal immigration numbers going forward.

One should never forget how revolutionary a concept is the fact that legal immigration is set by government policy.

“Less” is concrete and one syllable.

“Future” is important for two reasons: (a) when one says reduced immigration people often think you want to reduce the number of current legal immigrants–i.e., throw them out; and (b) it avoids the word “legal,” which has a positive association, while still being clear.

• Tags: Immigration 
🔊 Listen RSS

Voluntary exit

“Voluntary exit” tests far better among voters than the grating “self-deportation,” which polls worse than “deportation.”

Commenter Joe H. suggests “Homeward bound,” complete with a theme song:

• Tags: Immigration 
🔊 Listen RSS

More immigration terminology that has polled / focus grouped well with voters:

A definition: “Amnesty is when government grants an illegal alien a work permit (or other right to live America).”

Ideally trotted out in full once in every article that deals with amnesty.

Hammers home the idea of “work permit,” which is at once clear, true, and massively unpopular. It cannot be fudged; it defines away the path-to-something-short-of-citizenship-is-not-an-amnesty con. Every amnesty that has been proposed issues a work permit.

Can substitute “illegal immigrant” for “illegal alien” and “in the U.S.” for “in America.”

• Tags: Immigration 
🔊 Listen RSS

Here’s another phrase that polls well:

Immigration security and enforcement (“immigration security” for short).

Definition: the set of measures to stop and reverse illegal immigration. It’s important to get away from “border security,” which is too narrow a concept.

By crushing margins, the public thinks immigration security and enforcement (when defined to be the set of measures to stop and reverse illegal immigration) is more important than, or is as important as, the security of South Korea, Europe, Israel, or Mid-East oil supplies; the ability to attack Iran; or defeating ISIS. (And by lesser margins head-to-head.)

• Tags: Immigration 
🔊 Listen RSS

Some polling and focus group work has been done to see what immigration sanity phrases work best with voters. I’ll go over them in a series of posts this week.

Testing is very important in marketing. For example, I was a pretty good marketing researcher but, to my initial surprise, I was a terrible marketer. I’m good at generating ideas, but my tendency is to phrase them in ways that make them ironic, uncomfortable, sardonic, and generally off-putting (e.g., the song allusion in the title of this post), none of which is useful in reassuring the mass public.

Here’s the first of five phrases that have tested well:

Controlled immigration for the national interest. (“Controlled immigration” for short)

“Controlled” polls very well. It’s a little vague, however, so it’s best when reinforced by “national interest.”

One should never forget that, for most people, the idea that you can set immigration policy for the benefit of Americans is revolutionary.

Senator Sessions’ sub-committee is now called the committee on Immigration and National Interest. Also, Barbara Jordan used “national interest” in her testimony to Congress as the key metric in the 1990s.

As a phrase, “an immigration policy that cares first about Americans” is somewhat more popular, but has an unfortunate historical allusion.

• Tags: Immigration 
🔊 Listen RSS
From the New York Times:

Give Malta Your Tired and Huddled, and Rich 

By DAN BILEFSKY   JAN. 31, 2014 

PARIS — Having been besieged by the Ottomans, and ruled over the centuries by foreign invaders from the Greeks to the Romans to Napoleon, the tiny Mediterranean island nation of Malta has seen plenty of unwelcome interlopers. 

But now, it seems, these foreigners are quite welcome — if they are willing to hand over 1.15 million euros, or $1.55 million, to buy a Maltese passport. 

Motivated in part by economic stress, and in part by what some call crass opportunism, the idyllic island 50 miles south of Sicily is selling citizenship for $880,000 in cash and $677,000 in property and investments to applicants 18 or older willing to pay the price. …

Being a citizen of Malta, which is part of the European Union’s passport-free zone, will confer the right to travel among the union’s 27 other member states without border formalities. A newly minted Maltese citizen will also be able to live and work in another European Union country, and will gain the right to visa-free travel to 69 non-European Union countries, including the United States. 

Critics accuse the government of pawning the national birthright. So far, those said to be interested in the passports include a former Formula 1 champion, a Chinese billionaire, an international pop star, a member of a prominent Persian Gulf royal family, an American press magnate and a South American soccer player, according to The Times of Malta, a daily newspaper. 

While all European Union countries have the right to peddle citizenship to whomever they want, the practice is relatively rare and the union’s justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, expressed dismay last month, telling the Maltese that European citizenship “must not be up for sale.” 

Others fear that the proud and picturesque island — with 411,277 citizens, one of the world’s most densely populated countries — risks following in the footsteps of fellow European Union member Cyprus, which has come under criticism for attracting tycoons looking for a convenient place, preferably one with sun and sand, to protect their assets from tax collectors. 

Under pressure from European Union officials in Brussels, Malta this week agreed to require foreigners seeking to buy Maltese passports to be residents for at least one year. It has also vowed to carefully vet applicants. Yet initial plans to limit to 1,800 the number of passports granted have been scrapped. 

For all the fuss and red-faced reprimands of Brussels bureaucrats, Malta is just one of several countries seeking to woo rich foreigners by offering residency or citizenship. 

Cyprus recently slashed the amount of investment required to be eligible for citizenship, to $4.06 million from $13.5 million. …

In contrast, the United States hands out EB-5 visas to investors who pay zilch to the government, and just invest $500,000 (in “targeted” areas) or $1,000,000 anywhere in businesses, typically construction projects. While Maltese taxpayers get $880,000, American taxpayers get nothing.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Immigration 
🔊 Listen RSS
For years, the Southern Poverty Law Center has been arguing that the only reason anybody in America has the slightest doubts about immigration is because of the malign influence of one man, a Michigan ophthalmologist named John Tanton. 

Now, Sen. Marco Rubio is spreading the SPLC’s line.

From the Washington Post:

Effort to change immigration law sparks internal battle within GOP 

By Peter Wallsten, Published: February 13 

A new battle has flared inside the Republican Party in recent days as supporters of more-liberal immigration laws wage a behind-the-scenes campaign to discredit the influential advocacy groups that have long powered the GOP’s hard-line stance on the issue. 

The campaign, largely waged in closed-door meetings with lawmakers and privately circulated documents, is another sign of how seriously many establishment Republicans are pursuing an immigration overhaul in the wake of last year’s elections, in which the GOP lost Hispanic voters by an overwhelming margin to President Obama. 

Much of the party’s sharp language on immigration during the election campaign, which Republican strategists blamed for alienating Hispanics, was drawn from the research and rhetoric of the advocacy groups. 

Now, Republicans pushing the party to rethink its approach to the issue are accusing those groups — Numbers USA, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) – of masquerading as conservative. Critics say the groups and some of their supporters are pressing an un­or­tho­dox agenda of strict population control that also has included backing for abortion, sterilization, and other policies at odds with conservative ideology. 

“If these groups can be unmasked, then the bulk of the opposition to immigration reform on the conservative side will wither away,” said Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles and a leading organizer of the effort. 

Officials from the groups say they are the victims of a smear campaign that unfairly characterizes their mission. They acknowledge that some key figures in their past held a wide range of views on population growth and abortion, as do some current members, but the groups accuse their critics of pushing guilt-by-association arguments to distract from the merits of the case for restricting immigration. 

The groups have provided the intellectual framework and grass-roots muscle for opposing legislation that would legalize millions of illegal immigrants. 

Well-funded and politically savvy, the groups produce research papers, testify at congressional hearings and appear frequently in the media to push for reducing immigration. Numbers USA reports that its members have inundated the office of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) with 100,000 faxes this year warning him that his central role in pursuing changes in immigration laws could damage his future political prospects. …

Conservatives who are taking on the groups, including Rubio, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and officials of the Catholic Church, argue that the three organizations are motivated by far different philosophies than many of their Republican allies realize. Among those views: that population growth from increased migration threatens the environment. 

The Republicans orchestrating the campaign against the groups have long rejected their views on immigration, and liberal immigration advocates have long made a practice of attacking the organizations. Now, with such GOP leaders as House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) saying immigration legislation is a priority, some Republicans see an opportunity to loosen what they say has been the groups’ stranglehold on party orthodoxy.

Uh … George W. Bush? Karl Rove? Grover Norquist? John McCain?

I’m fascinated by how impervious the world is to doing simple reality checks on assertions, such as by thinking briefly about the immigration views of recent Republican Presidents/nominees.

How exactly do Roy Beck and Mark Krikorian have a “stranglehold on party orthodoxy” compared to those guys who have all pushed more immigration? We immigration reductionists have managed to block disastrous initiatives by Bush and McCain by having better facts and logic, not by any stranglehold.

Rubio’s aides last week brought one of the organizers of the effort to undermine the groups, Mario H. Lopez, a party strategist on Hispanic politics, to a regular meeting of GOP Senate staffers, where Lopez distributed literature about the groups’ backgrounds and connections. Rubio also raised concerns about the groups’ leanings during a recent conference call on immigration with conservative activists. 

Rubio’s spokesman, Alex Conant, said the senator “has argued that some groups that oppose legal immigration should not be considered part of the conservative coalition,” adding that the “vast majority of Republicans strongly support legal immigration.” 

Kevin Appleby, director of immigration policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in an e-mail to The Post that “pro-life legislators should think twice about working with these groups, as their underlying goals are inconsistent with a pro-life agenda.” …

The critics, however, argue that the three groups have misled conservatives. These critics point to reports on the FAIR and Numbers USA Web sites, for instance, that warn of environmental devastation from unchecked population growth, and they are circulating a 1993 report by CIS researchers sympathetic to contraception and the RU-486 abortion pill. 

In the latest issue of an anti-abortion journal, The Human Life Review, the Hispanic GOP strategist Lopez accuses the groups of “hijacking” the immigration debate for their own purposes. He argues that population-control advocates “have built, operated, and funded much of the anti-immigration movement in the United States.” 

“Those who seek to advance the pro-life cause should not allow themselves to be fooled by those whose work is ultimately diametrically opposed to the right to life,” Lopez writes. 

The article has created a stir in conservative circles. It ascribes the vision behind the groups to John Tanton, a controversial Michigan-based leader in the “zero population growth” movement, who co-founded FAIR in 1979 and later helped start Numbers USA and CIS. 

In a 2001 letter by Tanton being circulated as part of the current campaign, he laid out his idea to “move the battle lines on the immigration question in our favor” by convincing Republican lawmakers that “massive immigration imperils their political future.” The goal, he wrote, was to “change Republicans’ perception of immigration so that when they encounter the word ‘immigrant,’ their reaction is ‘Democrat.’?” Organizers of the campaign against the groups found the letter at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library, which houses Tanton’s papers.

And, boy, was Tanton ever wrong! Oh, wait …

An aide to Tanton, now 78, said Tanton was unable to speak. But the aide, K.C. McAlpin, said Tanton was an “ardent conservationist” who was being targeted in a “sort of McCarthyism game that the far left has been playing and is now being played by some people who call themselves conservatives.” 

I’ve never met the man, but if the SPLC/Rubio line is right about his influence, we ought to add Dr. Tanton’s face to Mount Rushmore.

The dispute has prompted some tense encounters in recent days. 

When word spread, for instance, that Rubio’s staff was bringing Lopez to the Senate aides meeting last week, other Senate offices contacted the three groups, each of which sent a representative. 

“It was awkward,” said one staffer, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private meeting. The staffer described the critics’ tactics as “over the top,” saying the groups have been a “great resource” for data, research and expert testimony. 

Another testy moment occurred recently at the weekly conservative strategy session hosted by Norquist when Lopez stood to present his arguments. Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration who now works at the conservative Heritage Foundation, spoke up to defend the credibility of the Center for Immigration Studies. 

“I haven’t heard folks take on the substantive arguments CIS is making and saying why they’re wrong,” said von Spakovsky, who declined to discuss details of what happened in the off-the-record meeting. “Instead you just get these scurrilous attacks.”

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
🔊 Listen RSS
From The New Republic, an elaborate article that doesn’t seem to notice how literal its titular metaphor actually is:

Blue States are from Scandinavia, Red States are from Guatemala 

A theory of a divided nation. 

Jonathan Cohn October 5, 2012 | 12:00 am 

… We’ve come to think of “blue” and “red” states as political and cultural categories. The rift, though, goes much deeper than partisan differences of opinion. The borders of the United States contain two different forms of government, based on two different visions of the social contract. In blue America, state government costs more—and it spends more to ensure that everybody can pay for basic necessities such as food, housing, and health care. It invests more heavily in the long-term welfare of its population, with better-funded public schools, subsidized day care, and support for people with disabilities. In some cases, in fact, state lawmakers have decided that the social contract provided by the federal government is not generous enough. It was a blue state that first established universal health insurance and, today, it is a handful of blue states that offer paid family and medical leave. 

In the red states, government is cheaper, which means the people who live there pay lower taxes. But they also get a lot less in return. The unemployment checks run out more quickly and the schools generally aren’t as good. 

Assistance with health care, child care, and housing is skimpier, if it exists at all. The result of this divergence is that one half of the country looks more and more like Scandinavia, while the other increasingly resembles a social Darwinist’s paradise. 

Americans have been arguing over which system is morally and economically superior since the beginning of the republic. But every now and then, the worldviews have clashed and forced a reckoning. The 2012 election is one of those moments. …

THE QUINTESSENTIAL blue state is, of course, Massachusetts. There, health care is available to almost everybody, regardless of income or preexisting medical conditions. Welfare benefits are among the most generous in the country, and the state spends hundreds of millions on public housing each year. These programs don’t always lift people out of poverty or protect them from financial catastrophe. Still, Massachusetts’s residents get a lot more help from their state government than people who live elsewhere in the United States. It is reliably at the forefront of efforts at the state level to do what the federal government will not.  

In colonial times, during their fabled town meetings, New Englanders established America’s first public schools and worked to look after those who had fallen on hard times, even though it meant higher taxes. In Albion’s Seed, a history of colonial settlement patterns, David Hackett Fischer writes that efforts to care for the vulnerable “went beyond the minimum.” 

As Fischer pointed out, New England Puritans tended to be, literally, “from Scandinavia:” their English-born ancestors were concentrated in the Danelaw region of a thousand years ago in eastern England. Isaac Newton, for instance, a classic eastern English Puritan, looked rather like Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap.

About a century later, a wave of immigrants from central, southern, and eastern Europe arrived in the Northeast and upper Midwest, grafting Catholic notions of social justice and Jewish notions of social responsibility onto the old Yankee sense of mutual obligation.

… The South was slower to industrialize and slower to take measures to protect the vulnerable. By the time of the Great Depression, most Southern state governments did not provide any form of cash assistance to people in poverty. 

One likely reason was the region’s own equally distinctive colonial ancestry. Appalachia had attracted fiercely individualistic immigrants from the Scottish and Irish woodlands. Virginia’s founders, meanwhile, were a group of well-educated elites who, unlike the Puritans, wanted to recreate the society they left behind, including its class divisions. … 

But something else had soured the South on social welfare: race. Programs to help poor people were, inevitably, programs to help African Americans. Southern whites wanted nothing to do with helping former slaves get an equal footing in society. They did embrace the New Deal, in part because Franklin Roosevelt and his allies went out of their way to accommodate their racial sensibilities: Social Security, for example, initially exempted agricultural and domestic workers. By the 1950s, however, the South was once more under attack for its denial of civil rights to African Americans. Later, it came to see the anti-poverty programs of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society as yet another effort to redistribute money to blacks (even though, like the New Deal, it also helped many whites). 

… The biggest victory for these counterrevolutionaries came in 1996, when Republicans passed a bill, signed by Bill Clinton, to “end welfare as we know it.” The legislation gave states wide leeway over how to manage benefits and, over time, gave them less money to spend.

… This was fitting, because, just as Massachusetts is the model for the blue state, Texas is the model for the red. 

Today, Texas doesn’t even try to provide the kind of protection for its vulnerable residents that Massachusetts does. … 

THIS PATTERN generally holds for the red states and the blue states overall. … “The story is pretty clear,” Meyers says. “If you are poor, you want to live in a blue state.”  

By nearly every measure, people who live in the blue states are healthier, wealthier, and generally better off than people in the red states It’s impossible to prove that this is the direct result of government spending. But the correlation is hard to dismiss. The four states with the highest poverty rates are all red: Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas. (The fifth is New Mexico, which has turned blue.) And the five states with the lowest poverty rates are all blue: New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont, Minnesota, and Hawaii. The numbers on infant mortality, life expectancy, teen pregnancy, and obesity break down in similar ways. A recent study by researchers at the American Institute for Physics evaluated how well-prepared high schoolers were for careers in math and science. Massachusetts was best, followed closely by Minnesota and New Jersey. Mississippi was worst, along with Louisiana and West Virginia. In fact, it is difficult to find any indicator of well-being in which red states consistently do better than blue states.

Or, perhaps, the causality of the correlation works in the opposite direction: that wealthier states, having fewer poor people, can afford to be more generous to their poor?

And what makes states healthier, wealthier, and wiser? As Daniel Patrick Moynihan pointed out: proximity to the Canadian border — i.e., being whiter. For example, Massachusetts is only 18% Non-Asian Minority, while Texas is 51% NAM (which, of course raises the metaphysical question, when Non-Asian Minorities are no longer a minority, what are they?)

So, TNR’s lesson is that if Democrats want the whole country to be more like Massachusetts, Democrats should back an immigration policy of letting in more Scandinavians and fewer Guatemalans, right?

By the way, when speaking about Massachusetts, it’s important to keep in mind that a major reason it doesn’t have many blacks and that its blacks aren’t as big of a problem as elsewhere is because it has an abundance of violent, tribalist, anti-black Irish to keep the blacks down. Boston is the only place I’ve seen in the U.S. where blacks appeared to be afraid of white civilians walking down the street. Having a lot of scary Irish around makes theorizing at Harvard a lot more pleasant.

In contrast, poor Milwaukee, a nice German social-democratic town (as Alice Cooper points out in Wayne’s World, Socialist candidates were elected mayor of Milwaukee three times in the 1920s), had high welfare and a direct rail line from the Mississippi Delta, and it just got the worst of Southern blacks.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Immigration 
🔊 Listen RSS
From the NYT, a column that won’t be terribly novel to iSteve readers, but it’s good to see this kind of sensible analysis getting out there more broadly:

The Mystery of Benghazi 


TWENTY-FOUR hours after the American compound in Benghazi was attacked and our ambassador murdered, the tragedy seemed more likely to help President Obama’s re-election campaign than to damage it. 

… What happened instead was very strange. Having first repudiated the embassy’s apology to Muslims offended by a movie impugning their prophet, the Obama administration decided to embrace that apology’s premise, and insist that the movie was the crucial ingredient in the Sept. 11 anniversary violence. 

For days after the attack, as it became clearer that the Benghazi violence was a Qaeda operation rather than a protest, White House officials continued to stress the importance of the “hateful” and “disgusting” video, and its supposed role as a catalyst for what Susan Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations, insisted was a spontaneous attack. 

This narrative was pushed on Sunday morning programs, on late-night talk shows and at news conferences, by everyone from Rice to Hillary Clinton to the president himself. When Obama spoke at the United Nations shortly after the attacks, the video was referenced six times in the text; Al Qaeda was referenced only once. 

… What explains this self-defeating strategy? … 

Perhaps, then, the real explanation for the White House’s anxiety about calling the embassy attack an act of terror has less to do with the “who” than with the “where.” This wasn’t Al Qaeda striking just anywhere: it was Al Qaeda striking in Libya, a country where the Obama White House launched a not-precisely-constitutional military intervention with a not-precisely-clear connection to the national interest. 

In a long profile of President Obama published last month by Vanity Fair, Michael Lewis suggested that the president feared the consequences of even a single casualty during the Libyan incursion, lest it create a narrative about how “a president elected to extract us from a war in one Arab country got Americans killed in another.” 

How much more, then, might the president fear a narrative about how our Libyan intervention helped create a power vacuum in which terrorists groups can operate with impunity? That’s clearly happened in nearby Mali, where the ripple effects from Muammar el-Qaddafi’s overthrow have helped empower a Qaeda affiliate. In this context, it’s easy to see why the administration would hope that the Benghazi attack were just spontaneous mob violence rather than a sign of Al Qaeda’s growing presence in postintervention Libya as well. The only good news for Obama in this mess is the fact that Romney, always intent on projecting toughness, hasn’t attacked the original decision to go to war in Libya, or tied the intervention itself to Al Qaeda’s North African advances. 

If the Republican nominee were less reflexively hawkish, the White House might be facing the more comprehensive critique that it deserves — and the story wouldn’t be about just the specifics of Benghazi, but also the possibility that Obama’s entire policy in the region has put American interests and lives at risk.

The Grand Strategy of the Obama Administration isn’t much different from that of the Bush Administration: Invite the World, Invade the World, In Hock to the World. But, you won’t hear that from Romney and Ryan.
I would add one more explanation. The Obama Administration is reflexively pro-multicultural and therefore anti-free speech in the advanced European and Canadian fashion. They see the First Amendment as all very fine for pornography, but, to be frank, more substantive free speech is outdated in a multi-ethnic age of empire when the government has to keep hot-under-the-collar newcomers, such as Muslims, and old grievance groups, such as blacks, from burning down cities over perceived slights. 
For example, the guy who posted this video on Youtube is an immigrant career criminal. Making a video is one of the few legal things he’s done in recent years. But you don’t hear anybody saying, “I disagree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it, but not your right to live in my country, you crook.”

So, now he’s back in jail. Nominally, he’s back inside for all the illegal stuff he has been doing, but we’re not supposed to pay that much attention to immigrant conmen as long as they stay nonviolent. But we all know that he’s really in jail for exercising his First Amendment right to wage his homeland’s ethnic struggles on the Internet. 

Of course, nobody is talking about: Why is that crook in the United States? That’s because immigration is increasingly become a sacred civil right for foreigners, which, in turn, means that freedom of speech is increasingly undermined for Americans.

Speaking of supporting free speech, have I mentioned lately that speech isn’t free? It turns out to be expensive to keep your family going. So, if you’d like to help support my work:

First: You can send me money via Amazon (not tax-deductible). Click here and then click on the button for the amount you want to pay. It’s especially quick if you already have an Amazon account, but any major credit card will work fine. (I want to thank all the generous folks who helped me work out the kinks in this method, using their own real money.)

Second: You can make a tax deductible contribution to me via VDARE by clicking here. You can use PayPal for that, or the usual credit cards.

Third: You can mail a non-tax deductible donation to:

Steve Sailer
P.O Box 4142
Valley Village, CA 91617-4142

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
🔊 Listen RSS
From the New York Times:

A Republican Platform Line Friendly to Immigrants 


It was no surprise that the Republicans declared their intention to strictly crack down on illegal immigration in their platform, which was released last week. 

But one line was added to the text that went counter to the calls for strict employee verification and expanded action by states: It called for “a legal and reliable source of foreign labor where needed through a new guest worker program.” 

And Brad Bailey, a Texas Republican who owns two seafood restaurants in suburbs of Houston, was satisfied to see it there.

Obviously, bringing in new guestworkers to hammer down the dishwashing wages of the current set of immigrants washing dishes in this guy’s Houston restaurants isn’t very friendly to immigrants now in the U.S., but who cares about them? The point of being “Friendly to Immigrants” is:

- To line the pockets of the Brad Bailey Republicans in the short run;
- To demographically transform the United States for the benefit of Democrats in the long run.

It’s a win-win proposition!

Also, the old bracero program that was shut down in the early 1960s after Edward R. Murrow’s “Harvest of Shame” documentary was at least close to all-male. Modern coed guest worker programs and the anchor baby interpretation of the 14th Amendment don’t mix, to say the least. But nobody ever thinks about the possibility that guest workers might have sex, which, according to science, has been known to sometimes lead to babies.

No sex, please, we’re the New York Times and the GOP Platform Committee.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Immigration 
🔊 Listen RSS
For many years, the Wall Street Journal editorialized in favor of a five word Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “There shall be open borders.” So, I’ve long been interested in trying to estimate just how many people would move to the U.S. if this highly respectable policy recommendation were ever actually implemented. 

George Borjas pointed out that about 1/4th of all Puerto Ricans moved to the U.S. mainland after open borders started. The flow was only slowed by granting immense tax breaks to American companies who set up shop in Puerto Rico.

Even without open borders, over one-fifth of all Mexicans in the world live in the U.S.

And, as I pointed out in VDARE in 2005, about five billion people live in countries with lower average per capita GDPs than Mexico. 

So, open borders advocates ought to at least provide us with an estimate of what fraction of that five billion they would expect to immigrate here (assuming, for the sake of argument, that the effects of open borders wouldn’t diminish the appeal of the United States to immigrants, which it no doubt would).

An article in the New York Times provides another test case of how many people would leave even a far distant country to move to the U.S. under a system of open borders: the Marshall Islands of the Pacific:

… the number of Marshallese [in the U.S.] is likely to grow. The islands and the United States have been intertwined since World War II. The United States has detonated at least 67 nuclear bombs in its 750,000-square-mile territory. The radioactive fallout rendered some islands uninhabitable. And United States military operations there are powered by American processed food, beloved by locals but blamed for the explosion in diabetes. 

A 1986 compact gave the United States continued military access, while the Marshallese got the right to work and live in the United States indefinitely without visas. More than a third of the Marshallese — about 20,000 — have seized the opportunity. 

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Immigration 
🔊 Listen RSS
From the BBC:

The EU should “do its best to undermine” the “homogeneity” of its member states, the UN’s special representative for migration has said. 

Peter Sutherland told peers the future prosperity of many EU states depended on them becoming multicultural. 

He also suggested the UK government’s immigration policy had no basis in international law. 

He was being quizzed by the Lords EU home affairs sub-committee which is investigating global migration. 

Mr Sutherland, who is non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International and a former chairman of oil giant BP, heads the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which brings together representatives of 160 nations to share policy ideas. 

He told the House of Lords committee migration was a “crucial dynamic for economic growth” in some EU nations “however difficult it may be to explain this to the citizens of those states”.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Immigration 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
The evidence is clear — but often ignored
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?