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In my continuing coverage of how the Gulf Arabs want to help out with the current Muslim Migrant Crisis but pesky, unexpected bills in Beverly Hills have left them totally tapped out until the end of the month, here’s an informative article from The Hollywood Reporter:

THE NEW BEVERLY HILLS: RIYADH OVERRUNS RODEO DRIVE

One Saudi bought a $27 million estate by helicopter without walking inside, while the Peninsula hotel offers Muslim prayer rugs; those are just two examples of how the super-rich Saudis and Chinese are changing the culture and consumer habits of the Golden Triangle, with 63 percent of spending now coming from international travelers

DECEMBER 5, 2014 CHRIS GARDNER, MERLE GINSBERG

“I’ll take that one,” said a Saudi Arabian royal, pointing down from a helicopter while with his realtor on an aerial tour over Beverly Hills’ tony Trousdale Estates. He was picking out a massive 11,000-square-foot estate (complete with pool, picturesque views and two acres of property) — before stepping one foot inside the off-market listing, which was then home to Mary Hart and Burt Sugarman. Instead, according to property records, he paid north of $27 million from the sky to get the couple, who had lived there 25 years, to move out in three weeks so he and his family could celebrate Ramadan in their new digs (once owned by Elizabeth Taylor), says a source close to the owners.

… Welcome to the new Beverly Hills, where an influx of chopper-chartering, cash-flashing, uber-monied visitors from Saudi Arabia and China are making a huge splash while stuffing the coffers of real estate agents, restaurants, hotels and luxury retail outposts. These MMTs (Major Moneyed Tourists) are the new wave of Golden Triangle VIPs, supplanting the Japanese and Russians who had been pervasive spenders in the 90210 for years. …

Foreign cash is pocketed in all corners of Los Angeles, but perhaps no industry is counting its blessings more than the real estate business. And those who toil in the mega-mansions trenches confirm that they’ve seen a sharp rise in buyers from China and Saudi Arabia. … Realtors say the majority — if not all — of these types of deals are cash transactions, because of the extreme wealth of buyers and the difficulty foreigners have in obtaining loans from local lending institutions.

Madison Hildebrand of the Malibu office of Partners Trust Brokerage says the largest sale of his career came courtesy of a Saudi buyer who snapped up a Beverly Hills estate for $20 million. “Most often, they are looking for a compound where they can maintain their culture by having their family live in the ancillary houses on the property so that everyone can have enough space,” he says, adding that they even use their own butlers. …

… “When the Chinese travel, almost 60 percent of their activity is around shopping, a purely emotionally based decision,” he says. “Rodeo Drive represents that emotional connection to the American Dream.” Saudi Arabians “watch movies and TV all the time and love the life and style of California, from Malibu surfers to casual clothing to Hollywood. It’s very intriguing to them,” adds Sama Eyewear designer/honcho Sheila Vance.

… Speaking of the city, says Nissenbaum: “Beverly Hills has done a great job of creating a safe environment — safety is at the forefront of your mind if you’re a sheikh from Saudi or a tycoon from China.” Retailer Cameron Silver notes the resulting influx and laughs: “My Saudi friends complain that there were too many other Saudis in town.”

After years of young Middle Easterners summering in Knightsbridge with their Ferraris, Bugatis and Aventadors (amassing $30,000 in parking fines in 2013 alone), Arab supercar owners now are bringing their drives to Beverly Hills. Videographer and exotic car enthusiast Drake Mumford, who tracks their movements on his YouTube channel, explains that “until a couple of years ago, the main destinations were London, Paris, Cannes and Monaco. But over time, residents started getting annoyed with their driving habits, which caused police to check for paperwork and impound cars that are missing insurance or registration documents.” The hassles, says Mumford, made L.A., despite the logistics — it can cost $35,000 each way to ship a car by air from the Middle East — an attractive alternative.

The summer of 2012, Mumford says, was L.A.’s first “Arab supercar summer — most of the cool cars in Beverly Hills had Arab plates.” …

But not everybody is loading freight-sized shipping containers packed with high-end cars. Some visitors rent upon arrival, says a local luxury-car dealer. “Have we had as many as 25 cars out to one individual family and the entourage with them? Yeah,” the source tells THR, adding that the tab for such a fleet can run in the six figures. “There are a lot of things associated with that price — you add on drivers and security and bulletproof cars and armored plating.” Summarizes the source: “They come here and they spend like drunken sailors, God bless them.”

In other Hollywood Hills news, The Vineyard Beverly Hills, a 157-acre piece of undeveloped property just south of Mulholland Drive and just west of the nice little Franklin Canyon lake where I go hiking, is available for a billion dollars.

The sister of the Shah of Iran bought the ridgetop in 1977 to build a getaway palace for the Shah. Then Merv Griffin owned it and wanted to build a house on it bigger than Aaron Spelling’s 56,000 sq ft manse using the money he made, in part, by being chintzy with Jeopardy! contestants (like me). But Merv got outsmarted by Donald Trump in a deal and sold the land to the HerbalLife multilevel marketing supersalesman guy Mark R. Hughes. But in 2000 at age 44, Hughes suffered Non-HerbalDeath, leaving the land in trust to his small child. The head trustee and some random hustler from Georgia (the state, not the country, surprisingly enough) have been trying to, more or less, steal it from Hughes’ heir for most of the century. Lately it appears to be nominally in the hands of a Cuban racketeer who did three years in prison for ripping off H.U.D. by getting $60 million in fraudulent affordable housing mortgage loans for minorities like in that Sopranos episode. But the Cuban ex-con claims to be representing undisclosed Big Money in the Middle East, so I guess it’s legit.

Screenshot 2015-10-04 15.37.42Now, the Cuban conman says he’s not going to sell the land for a billion dollars, he’s just going to continue to rent it out to Rihanna and Charlize Theron to hold parties on it.

Granted, there are no vineyards on The Vineyard Beverly Hills (that’s just grass), and it’s not actually in Beverly Hills. And only about 60 acres are level enough to be traversed without you being roped up and on belay. And it’s surrounded by dense greaswood brush that hasn’t burned since maybe 1961, so it’s due.

But it’s only minutes from all major helipads in the area, so if you are, say, constantly being sued at the Van Nuys courthouse, it’s conveniently located. (By car, it’s kind of a slog to get to and from, and as to walking to the corner market — huh, you didn’t fleece all those suckers back in the Old Country to walk anywhere, did you?)

And it has nice views. Of course, you can get pretty much the same views by going for a hike in the area for free. And the views in Los Angeles are kind of pedestrian, but billionaires these days seem to be crazy for views (e.g., all the high rise construction near Central Park in Manhattan). But that’s not really the point, the point is that Big Money in the Middle East would really like to help with the Syrian Refugee Crisis, but keeping the good people of Beverly Hills solvent has to come first.

 
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  1. A lot of these transactions are just dirty money laundering schemes, as you have pointed out.

    The realtors know this, which is one reason the realtors are the third highest Washington lobbyists, after the chamber of commerce and health insurance companies.

  2. One of the odder changes to Beverly Hills occurred with the building that had John Wayne’s statue.

    http://tinyurl.com/njw5d58

    This was bought by Larry Flynt and had Flynt’s signage:

    I suppose “Hustler” on top of building was going too far.

    The moral of the story- Beverly Hills goes to the highest bidder. Always has, always will.

    • Replies: @Berlitz
    Driving in via Wilshire Blvd. the Hustler building used to be the first thing you saw at the city limits.

    I never saw it in the 60s but by gentility metrics I never perceived Beverly Hills in the same league as Knightsbridge* or Mayfair or the Upper East Side or certain exclusive suburbs of Washington, D.C. It's not as tacky in the libertarian-parvenu sense as Las Vegas, but close. People in Hancock Park or Brentwood who might be comparable lucre-wise could always look down on Beverly Hills, because the yokels had heard of it, from TV/movies, etc. (same with Palm Springs now). I sensed the fact that it's incorporated and has to raise its own tax money is a significant undercurrent to this social distinction.

    Also the coarse publicity functions as a good diversion from the true elitist enclaves, e.g. Rolling Hills which is about 25 miles to the south.

    *(Actually, probably like the BH of London at this time. Substitute "Kensington")

  3. I would like to hear your story about being on Jeopardy!

    • Replies: @Clyde
    https://www.unz.com/?s=jeopardy&searchsubmit=Search&postid=66120&authors=steve-sailer&ptype=isteve
  4. See this kind of thing in Vancouver all the time… they sound a lot more ostentatious down in LA tho…

  5. Conspiracy theory: Why can’t I find the Saturday Night Live Skit, The Bel-Airabs? I can’t even find the lyrics (based on the Beverly Hillbillies theme).

    See it’s not my imagination it really existed:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recurring_Saturday_Night_Live_characters_and_sketches_introduced_1979%E2%80%931980#The_Bel-Airabs

    • Replies: @Lot

    Conspiracy theory: Why can’t I find the Saturday Night Live Skit, The Bel-Airabs? I can’t even find the lyrics (based on the Beverly Hillbillies theme).

     

    Here you go:

    http://gorillavid.in/o0vpuzgeibzb

    Link is to the whole episode from Feb 1980. This site is a questionable source that I only use with Firefox + adblock, but I have never got a virus from it and it has been around for at least 5 years.
    , @rustbeltreader
    Local library ditched the Chernobyl material. There's a method to control. If we don't have the book, all these people didn't get cancer from the Russians. Irony is the funds for the library are like those for public TV...GONE and they need volunteers. Oil is headed for $20/bbl and real estate is going for a song. The law is one their side. Be an outlaw and stay free.

    “I am wholly devoid of public spirit or moral purpose. This is incomprehensible to many men, and they seek to remedy the defect by crediting me with purposes of their own. The only thing I respect is intellectual honesty, of which, of course, intellectual courage is a necessary part. A Socialist who goes to jail for his opinions seems to me a much finer man than the judge who sends him there, though I disagree with all the ideas of the Socialist and agree with some of those of the judge. But though he is fine, the Socialist is nevertheless foolish, for he suffers for what is untrue. If I knew what was true, I'd probably be willing to sweat and strive for it, and maybe even to die for it to the tune of bugle-blasts. But so far I have not found it.”
    ― H.L. Mencken, In Defense Of Women

    I'd die for it, I wouldn't kill for any cause. Now they have Americans willing to die for the Arab cause. There's a sucker born a minute. Russians are going to die for Syria. Go at it!
  6. OT: This Danish ad campaign reeks of white nationalism and ought to be shut down:

  7. I was going to write a screed about how they stole all that money and a self respecting country would prevent them from entering and buying anything, but after consulting Wikipedia’s Oil Nationalization Article it turns out the Saudis never nationalized significant amounts of American property. They negotiated deals with ARAMCO, which seem pretty fair to me (50/50 split).

    So while they certainly should be doing more to help their fellow middle easterners, and maybe instead of skimming all the natural resource wealth to spend on luxuries, they might have invested some of the money in (i) grants to every citizen to school their children, (ii) seed capital to develop business, (iii) a negative income tax for citizens, or at least zero tax, (iv) rule of law, private property protected, free speech.

    • Agree: AndrewR
    • Replies: @Ed
    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia tried hard to take their oil revenues and try to start other industries other than oil. They realized that eventually the stuff will run out and they would be left high and dry. There is an Arab saying "my grandfather drove a camel, I drive a Mercedes, and my grandson will drive a camel."

    They could never really do it because of the geography of Saudi Arabia, which is also what got them the oil windfall in the first place. There is just so much you can do with a wasteland, which is what Saudi Arabia is. They have one big economic asset other than oil, the Islamic holy sites and the annual pilgrimage to them. Despite paying alot of attention to this part of their kingdom, they arguably badly screwed this up, since the Wahhabist version of Islam views preserving old buildings as idolatry, and the Saudis eventually destroyed most of the historic buildings in Mecca and Medina.

    In past years, when the Arabian desert got overpopulated, young men would migrate to other parts of the Middle East and sometimes come armed and take them over. The seventh century AD was a really, really big instance of this.

    The Gulf emirates had a similar problem, but they had some trade income pre-oil, and have been pragmatic enough to turn some of the emirates into tourist attractions, mainly by not being as crazy as other parts of the region.
    , @An Dee
    (v) arable land

    Hell, they have enough money to buy some decent islands or even some provinces somewhere in west Asia or Africa.
  8. I was totally going to link to the Vineyard article when I read it in The Hollywood Reporter a month ago as it touches on so many subjects (Beverly Hills Iranians (BHI), General LA Weirdness (GLAW)) that you find so interesting. How the Player from Georgia got in the mix is still the real mystery to me.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/beverly-hills-1-billion-vineyard-819299

    I held back on posting the article because it felt vaguely like “native advertising” to support the property. Other than the outlandish evaluation and the Shah of Iran connection, there kind of is “no there, there” to the alleged story, but I bet it attracts interest in the property.

    My immediate take was that it could make for an interesting round of golf.

    If you like hiking in the LA region, I highly recommend exploring “Murphy Ranch” in the Pacific Palisades. Just park on Amalfi Drive in the lovely Pacific Palisades and walk up the old Boy Scouts road to the various stairwells down to “The Ranch”.

    http://www.hikespeak.com/trails/rustic-canyon-murphy-ranch-nazi-ruins/

    The “Murphy Ranch” was set up by the “Silver Shirts” (you can’t make this shit up) Hollywood sympathizers of the Third Reich. There is a whole ruined encampment down there and frankly, it’s pretty cool. You won’t find any Nazi sympathizers down there thankfully, but I have met several British, Swedish and East Berlin graffiti artists exercising their craft.

    Like most things that are quasi-interesting in our ever increasingly homogenized World, Murphy Ranch exists because it is stuck in an awkward position among various government jurisdictions, so no particular government bureaucracy can lay claim to it and make it uninteresting.

    Granted, the loner graffiti artists you meet in “Murphy Ranch” are not the aspiring starlets you see in skin tight, yoga pants in Runyon Canyon, but I think its still worth the hike.

  9. I think the Med gets the bulk of the oil sheik playboy spending money. St. Tropez, Marbella.

  10. But Merv got outsmarted by Donald Trump in a deal and sold the land to the HerbalLife multilevel marketing supersalesman guy Mark R. Hughes.

    HerbalLife …which was later about 15% owned by Carl Ichan…….who has agreed to be the future Treasury secretary for his friend…..Donald Trump.

  11. You were on Jeopardy??

  12. What a stupid I am! I mistook Burt Sugarman, married to Mary Hart of Entertainment Tonight fame, with Bert Sugar, the dead boxing writer.

  13. Today you all who are represented by Republican congressmen can do something big to fight amnesty. Call his office and send him an email to say you want him to come out and publicly support Jason Chaffetz’s run for speaker.

    Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield is the favorite to become the next House speaker. He is an amnesty advocate. This is important, because right now, today, the majority in the House, 60+ votes in the Senate, and the President all support amnesty. The only reason that it didn’t pass is the “Hastert Rule” that says the Speaker does not bring to vote bills that don’t have a majority of Republicans in support, even if it has the support of the majority of the whole House.

    It isn’t a hard and fast rule though. Boehner several times violated it to stop some of the dumber things the GOP House Caucus favored (like let the US Gov default), allowing votes that were basically 200 Dems + 50 GOP voters to pass the House.

    Importantly, however, he DID NOT do this with amnesty.

    A few days ago Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who beat an amnesty supporter in a Republican primary (Chris Cannon) is running against McCarthy.

    Here are their records from NumbersUSA:

    McCarthy:
    https://www.numbersusa.com/content/my/congress/1215/reportcard/

    Chaffetz:
    https://www.numbersusa.com/content/my/congress/1328/reportcard

    McCarthy is quite near the single worst House Republican on immigration. In fact, he scores worse than many California Democrat congressmen.

    Chaffetz, by contrast, has a good record on every issue but work visas. Even then, short-term, not-citizen-track ag visas and high-skilled tech workers are the most defensible deviations. And he’s in Utah, where a lot of LDS support amnesty and which has had some of the worst Republicans in the USA on the issue (Hatch, Bennett, Cannon, Cook).

    And there is reason to think McCarthy will get even worse. He’s in a 37% hispanic district as of 2010, and it will only get more so. There are a few other Republicans in such precarious situations in California, and they need to rely on hispanic turnout staying very low. And there are so many because they get ag jobs, and California farm owners are probably the single biggest supporters of amnesty. They are probably the only industry where more than 90% of employees are illegal immigrants.

    His California district is 37% Hispanic. It is dominated by big farms that rely on immigrant labor. Mr. McCarthy has strong ties to Silicon Valley, where companies are eager for more high-tech visas. His perch as No. 3 House Republican gives him a voice in leadership and sway over what legislation comes to the floor.

    • Replies: @Ed
    Lot's discussion of Kevin McCarthy is really interesting and I picked up things that I never knew before. And I'm a politics junky.

    But it says something about the depressing state of American politics. Immigration is an issue where the bulk of the population, and the elites, are particularly starkly opposed. The House of Representative caucuses of both parties are relatively more populist and more in tune with public opinion than the general leadership of both parties, due mainly to the lower amount of money it takes to run a campaign for the House compared to the Senate, let alone the presidency. And the Republicans are less welcoming of increased immigration than the Democrats.

    But the Majority Leader in both caucasuses is always the odds-one favorite to become Speaker, once the Speaker leaves. If the House Republican Caucus picks such a strong supporter of immigration as Speaker, then the political elites have really closed ranks on this issue.
  14. @George
    Conspiracy theory: Why can't I find the Saturday Night Live Skit, The Bel-Airabs? I can't even find the lyrics (based on the Beverly Hillbillies theme).

    See it's not my imagination it really existed:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recurring_Saturday_Night_Live_characters_and_sketches_introduced_1979%E2%80%931980#The_Bel-Airabs

    Conspiracy theory: Why can’t I find the Saturday Night Live Skit, The Bel-Airabs? I can’t even find the lyrics (based on the Beverly Hillbillies theme).

    Here you go:

    http://gorillavid.in/o0vpuzgeibzb

    Link is to the whole episode from Feb 1980. This site is a questionable source that I only use with Firefox + adblock, but I have never got a virus from it and it has been around for at least 5 years.

    • Replies: @Lot
    Your skit is 12 minutes in.

    Listen to a story about a man named Abdul
    A poor Bedouin barely kept his family full
    Then one day he was shootin' at some Jews
    And up from the ground came a bubblin' crude
    Oil that is
    Persian Perrier, Kuwait Kool-Aid, Saudi Soda
    Well the first thing you know Abdul's a billionaire
    Kinfolk say move away from there
    They said California is the place they got to go
    So the loaded up the Rolls and moved to Bel Air
    Next to Beverly Hills that is
    Swimming polls, movie stars, Jews!

    They then do a parody of the AbScam sting.

  15. I don’t blame the oligarchs so much as American citizens who let their homeland be desecrated for the sake of filthy lucre.

    Less than three generations back the American civil ideal was represented by “Its a wonderful life”. Now it’s come to this, turning LA into a full service bolt hole for foreign oligarchs – Arab oil sheiks and Chi-Com apparatchiks no less.

    Poor Frank Capra must be rolling in his grave.

  16. @Lot

    Conspiracy theory: Why can’t I find the Saturday Night Live Skit, The Bel-Airabs? I can’t even find the lyrics (based on the Beverly Hillbillies theme).

     

    Here you go:

    http://gorillavid.in/o0vpuzgeibzb

    Link is to the whole episode from Feb 1980. This site is a questionable source that I only use with Firefox + adblock, but I have never got a virus from it and it has been around for at least 5 years.

    Your skit is 12 minutes in.

    Listen to a story about a man named Abdul
    A poor Bedouin barely kept his family full
    Then one day he was shootin’ at some Jews
    And up from the ground came a bubblin’ crude
    Oil that is
    Persian Perrier, Kuwait Kool-Aid, Saudi Soda
    Well the first thing you know Abdul’s a billionaire
    Kinfolk say move away from there
    They said California is the place they got to go
    So the loaded up the Rolls and moved to Bel Air
    Next to Beverly Hills that is
    Swimming polls, movie stars, Jews!

    They then do a parody of the AbScam sting.

    • Replies: @george
    There may have been multiple skits. The one I am thinking of involved Sheik Mohammed al-Fassi

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_al_Fassi

    Why aren't they on youtube, being classics of American arts and letters?
  17. Laudi Daudi Saudi likes to paudi ain’t go–na hurt no baudi. They sure stuck to air-time schedule with military precision when they trotted out that intrepid reporter whats her name on O’Reilly, right before the anniversary last month, cause its not like no one would ever watch a follow up of that appearance, talkin bout 28 pages of pointing fingers at all the money bag guys from the Kingdom, who either did or did not finance an act of war against our country, not a few of whom apparently still are here, kickin it I guess, time slots stay on schedule I suppose. She said no one in Congress who read it knows why Obama won’t release it, and Saudi Arabia’s official position is: we want to know who they are most of all so please tell us. Wherever you go that’s where you are fo sho, only ever in the dark and well that’s everywhere you can be. Maybe its good we let them purchase Beverly Hills, keep em here with skin in the game. bizarro world.

  18. @scrivener3
    I was going to write a screed about how they stole all that money and a self respecting country would prevent them from entering and buying anything, but after consulting Wikipedia's Oil Nationalization Article it turns out the Saudis never nationalized significant amounts of American property. They negotiated deals with ARAMCO, which seem pretty fair to me (50/50 split).

    So while they certainly should be doing more to help their fellow middle easterners, and maybe instead of skimming all the natural resource wealth to spend on luxuries, they might have invested some of the money in (i) grants to every citizen to school their children, (ii) seed capital to develop business, (iii) a negative income tax for citizens, or at least zero tax, (iv) rule of law, private property protected, free speech.

    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia tried hard to take their oil revenues and try to start other industries other than oil. They realized that eventually the stuff will run out and they would be left high and dry. There is an Arab saying “my grandfather drove a camel, I drive a Mercedes, and my grandson will drive a camel.”

    They could never really do it because of the geography of Saudi Arabia, which is also what got them the oil windfall in the first place. There is just so much you can do with a wasteland, which is what Saudi Arabia is. They have one big economic asset other than oil, the Islamic holy sites and the annual pilgrimage to them. Despite paying alot of attention to this part of their kingdom, they arguably badly screwed this up, since the Wahhabist version of Islam views preserving old buildings as idolatry, and the Saudis eventually destroyed most of the historic buildings in Mecca and Medina.

    In past years, when the Arabian desert got overpopulated, young men would migrate to other parts of the Middle East and sometimes come armed and take them over. The seventh century AD was a really, really big instance of this.

    The Gulf emirates had a similar problem, but they had some trade income pre-oil, and have been pragmatic enough to turn some of the emirates into tourist attractions, mainly by not being as crazy as other parts of the region.

    • Replies: @scrivener3

    They could never really do it because of the geography of Saudi Arabia, which is also what got them the oil windfall in the first place. There is just so much you can do with a wasteland,
     
    It seems to me that Hong Kong is a resourceless state, as is Singapore, Japan is natural resource poor and was in an economic backwater neighborhood of the world for years, South Africa has perhaps less going for it than the rest of Africa, North America has no better geography than south America.

    I think people create wealth. The Saudis probably wanted their people to create an economy while they kept the real tools out of their people's hands - freedom, rule of law, real property rights.

    Do you really think that if we exchanged the population and government/institutions of Holland or Great Briton with that of Saudi Arabia the new Holland would remain equally rich and the new Saudi Arabia would get equally poor?

    , @scrivener3

    They could never really do it because of the geography of Saudi Arabia, which is also what got them the oil windfall in the first place. There is just so much you can do with a wasteland,
     
    It seems to me that Hong Kong is a resourceless state, as is Singapore, Japan is natural resource poor and was in an economic backwater neighborhood of the world for years, South Africa has perhaps less going for it than the rest of Africa, North America has no better geography than south America.

    I think people create wealth. The Saudis probably wanted their people to create an economy while they kept the real tools out of their people's hands - freedom, rule of law, property rights.

    Do you think that if we exchanged the population and government/institutions of Holland or Great Briton with that of Saudi Arabia the new Holland would remain equally rich and the new Saudi Arabia would get equally poor?

  19. @Lot
    Today you all who are represented by Republican congressmen can do something big to fight amnesty. Call his office and send him an email to say you want him to come out and publicly support Jason Chaffetz's run for speaker.

    Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield is the favorite to become the next House speaker. He is an amnesty advocate. This is important, because right now, today, the majority in the House, 60+ votes in the Senate, and the President all support amnesty. The only reason that it didn't pass is the "Hastert Rule" that says the Speaker does not bring to vote bills that don't have a majority of Republicans in support, even if it has the support of the majority of the whole House.

    It isn't a hard and fast rule though. Boehner several times violated it to stop some of the dumber things the GOP House Caucus favored (like let the US Gov default), allowing votes that were basically 200 Dems + 50 GOP voters to pass the House.

    Importantly, however, he DID NOT do this with amnesty.

    A few days ago Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who beat an amnesty supporter in a Republican primary (Chris Cannon) is running against McCarthy.

    Here are their records from NumbersUSA:

    McCarthy:
    https://www.numbersusa.com/content/my/congress/1215/reportcard/

    Chaffetz:
    https://www.numbersusa.com/content/my/congress/1328/reportcard

    McCarthy is quite near the single worst House Republican on immigration. In fact, he scores worse than many California Democrat congressmen.

    Chaffetz, by contrast, has a good record on every issue but work visas. Even then, short-term, not-citizen-track ag visas and high-skilled tech workers are the most defensible deviations. And he's in Utah, where a lot of LDS support amnesty and which has had some of the worst Republicans in the USA on the issue (Hatch, Bennett, Cannon, Cook).

    And there is reason to think McCarthy will get even worse. He's in a 37% hispanic district as of 2010, and it will only get more so. There are a few other Republicans in such precarious situations in California, and they need to rely on hispanic turnout staying very low. And there are so many because they get ag jobs, and California farm owners are probably the single biggest supporters of amnesty. They are probably the only industry where more than 90% of employees are illegal immigrants.

    His California district is 37% Hispanic. It is dominated by big farms that rely on immigrant labor. Mr. McCarthy has strong ties to Silicon Valley, where companies are eager for more high-tech visas. His perch as No. 3 House Republican gives him a voice in leadership and sway over what legislation comes to the floor.
     

    Lot’s discussion of Kevin McCarthy is really interesting and I picked up things that I never knew before. And I’m a politics junky.

    But it says something about the depressing state of American politics. Immigration is an issue where the bulk of the population, and the elites, are particularly starkly opposed. The House of Representative caucuses of both parties are relatively more populist and more in tune with public opinion than the general leadership of both parties, due mainly to the lower amount of money it takes to run a campaign for the House compared to the Senate, let alone the presidency. And the Republicans are less welcoming of increased immigration than the Democrats.

    But the Majority Leader in both caucasuses is always the odds-one favorite to become Speaker, once the Speaker leaves. If the House Republican Caucus picks such a strong supporter of immigration as Speaker, then the political elites have really closed ranks on this issue.

  20. Priss Factor [AKA "skiapolemistis"] says:

    Good to know not all immigrants and visitors are poor Mexicans.

    Bring your cash!!!!!

    When Tony was poor, he was just a hassle wearing cruddy Russian shoes.

    But when he began to roll in dough, even the fancy folks began to welcome him.

    If you got money, lots of doors open.

  21. Oil Arabs are not Christian. Therefore the subject of “refugees” has zero emotional pull.

    There’s no Christianity in Japan either. Not a good place to wash up on the shore and claim “refugee” status.

    • Replies: @Anonymous Nephew
    "There’s no Christianity in Japan either"

    There used to be a largeish Christian community in Japan. They were all killed.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Japan#Persecution_under_the_Shogunate

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimabara_Rebellion
    , @Mr. Anon
    "There’s no Christianity in Japan either."

    Not much, but not none. About 0.5% of the population of Japan are Christians.
  22. @Lot
    Your skit is 12 minutes in.

    Listen to a story about a man named Abdul
    A poor Bedouin barely kept his family full
    Then one day he was shootin' at some Jews
    And up from the ground came a bubblin' crude
    Oil that is
    Persian Perrier, Kuwait Kool-Aid, Saudi Soda
    Well the first thing you know Abdul's a billionaire
    Kinfolk say move away from there
    They said California is the place they got to go
    So the loaded up the Rolls and moved to Bel Air
    Next to Beverly Hills that is
    Swimming polls, movie stars, Jews!

    They then do a parody of the AbScam sting.

    There may have been multiple skits. The one I am thinking of involved Sheik Mohammed al-Fassi

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_al_Fassi

    Why aren’t they on youtube, being classics of American arts and letters?

    • Replies: @Lot
    "There may have been multiple skits. The one I am thinking of involved Sheik Mohammed al-Fassi"

    Wiki says there were only two skits. Here is the other one:

    http://gorillavid.in/q9626wnezoe8

    Why aren’t they on youtube, being classics of American arts and letters?
     

    Copyright infringement? Nobody wants to bother?

    All of these services will take down copyrighted content if you send them a nasty letter. Google/YouTube are more diligent and have introduced some machine searches for copyright content that takes them down automatically.

    If you want to do it, it would be fairly easy.

    1. Set up a new youtube account. Don't use your current one or gmail account, make a new one.
    2. Get the VideoDownloadHelper plugin for Firefox
    3. Download the video using the plugin.
    4. Cut out the part of the video you want to upload to youtube. If you have Windows, use this free program from Microsoft, which you may already have.
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-live/movie-maker
    If it doesn't work for some reason, there are a lot of other free programs.
    5. Upload to Youtube. Don't use "SNL," "NBC," or "Saturday Night Live" as key words, as the infringement software will likely tag it and take it down. A better choice would be something like:
    1979 - Chevy Chase - the Bel Airabs Beverly Hillbilly Arab Parody Comedy.

  23. The Vineyard saga doesn’t have any Arab royalty angle at all really, from the Shahpping Spree to today. It could be real estate’s first case of a white elephant property, with no property. Oddest part may be the goy smooth talker from Atlanta. It’s hard to believe he planned it out this way. Except as a British-style multi-era society epic the history of the land itself is intricate yet pointless; at the same time, harking back to those good old foundational SoCal myths of the 20s and 30s that frequently centered around the contested ownership of some apparently mundane patch of dirt.

  24. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Highly recommend the Mary Cummins real estate blog linked by Steve here. She has a huge write-up on Victor and accuses him of evil deeds.

    I can’t remember ever reading (from a licensed professional) murder accusations like this from a disinterested third party. Also roofy rape stuff. People should choose words more carefully in print especially on your business blog.

    He’s a convict on the fraud charges only. He probably did the other stuff too but sheesh.

  25. @scrivener3
    I was going to write a screed about how they stole all that money and a self respecting country would prevent them from entering and buying anything, but after consulting Wikipedia's Oil Nationalization Article it turns out the Saudis never nationalized significant amounts of American property. They negotiated deals with ARAMCO, which seem pretty fair to me (50/50 split).

    So while they certainly should be doing more to help their fellow middle easterners, and maybe instead of skimming all the natural resource wealth to spend on luxuries, they might have invested some of the money in (i) grants to every citizen to school their children, (ii) seed capital to develop business, (iii) a negative income tax for citizens, or at least zero tax, (iv) rule of law, private property protected, free speech.

    (v) arable land

    Hell, they have enough money to buy some decent islands or even some provinces somewhere in west Asia or Africa.

  26. @Ed
    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia tried hard to take their oil revenues and try to start other industries other than oil. They realized that eventually the stuff will run out and they would be left high and dry. There is an Arab saying "my grandfather drove a camel, I drive a Mercedes, and my grandson will drive a camel."

    They could never really do it because of the geography of Saudi Arabia, which is also what got them the oil windfall in the first place. There is just so much you can do with a wasteland, which is what Saudi Arabia is. They have one big economic asset other than oil, the Islamic holy sites and the annual pilgrimage to them. Despite paying alot of attention to this part of their kingdom, they arguably badly screwed this up, since the Wahhabist version of Islam views preserving old buildings as idolatry, and the Saudis eventually destroyed most of the historic buildings in Mecca and Medina.

    In past years, when the Arabian desert got overpopulated, young men would migrate to other parts of the Middle East and sometimes come armed and take them over. The seventh century AD was a really, really big instance of this.

    The Gulf emirates had a similar problem, but they had some trade income pre-oil, and have been pragmatic enough to turn some of the emirates into tourist attractions, mainly by not being as crazy as other parts of the region.

    They could never really do it because of the geography of Saudi Arabia, which is also what got them the oil windfall in the first place. There is just so much you can do with a wasteland,

    It seems to me that Hong Kong is a resourceless state, as is Singapore, Japan is natural resource poor and was in an economic backwater neighborhood of the world for years, South Africa has perhaps less going for it than the rest of Africa, North America has no better geography than south America.

    I think people create wealth. The Saudis probably wanted their people to create an economy while they kept the real tools out of their people’s hands – freedom, rule of law, real property rights.

    Do you really think that if we exchanged the population and government/institutions of Holland or Great Briton with that of Saudi Arabia the new Holland would remain equally rich and the new Saudi Arabia would get equally poor?

    • Replies: @Ed
    "t seems to me that Hong Kong is a resourceless state, as is Singapore, Japan is natural resource poor and was in an economic backwater neighborhood of the world for years, South Africa has perhaps less going for it than the rest of Africa, North America has no better geography than south America."

    You hear these arguments alot. I will respond to this, even though the thread is buried, because in this case the particular examples given are incorrect.

    The only examples appropriate to comparison with a country the size and population of Saudi Arabia are the other countries of South Africa and Japan, not the continents and the cities.

    Hong Kong sits in the Pearl River estuary and the main harbor for South China. The area has always been important, but that part of China was colonized and developed by the Han Chinese relatively late compared to the other areas. With Hong Kong you had the political accidents that the Chinese government first preferred to trade with other countries via special enclaves, and then the place became a natural destination for refugees when the rest of China had a century of anarchy and warlords, foreign invasions, then rule by an insane government, and these refugees had more on the ball going on than those who stayed.

    Singapore sits on one of the greatest trade routes in the world, and is a large tropical island that could probably be agriculturally productive itself if it needed to, which it doesn't, given its location.

    Japan is mostly mountainous, but has one highly agriculturally productive plain, and lots of coal. You seem to be grossly underestimating the importance of agriculture. The Japan example does show the importance of keeping your population under control so it scales with the resources available.

    The South Africa vs the rest of Africa, and the North America vs South America examples are so wrong that I don't even know how to address them (for South Africa, get out one of those maps which show where key minerals come from, while for the two American continents any map will do).
    , @Twinkie

    It seems to me that Hong Kong is a resourceless state, as is Singapore, Japan is natural resource poor and was in an economic backwater neighborhood of the world for years, South Africa has perhaps less going for it than the rest of Africa, North America has no better geography than south America.
     
    Both South Korea and Japan are not only poorly endowed with natural resources, they were also nearly completely flattened by war (1953 and 1945, respectively) that destroyed almost all the previously-built infrastructure. Natural resources can be very nice indeed*, but people are the ultimate resource of a nation.

    *Sometimes natural resources are a curse; as with public assistance/welfare, they can create an addiction and can derail people from a virtuous cycle.
  27. @Hacienda
    One of the odder changes to Beverly Hills occurred with the building that had John Wayne's statue.

    http://tinyurl.com/njw5d58

    This was bought by Larry Flynt and had Flynt's signage:

    http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3204/2665344540_0657cb6c0b_z.jpg

    I suppose "Hustler" on top of building was going too far.

    The moral of the story- Beverly Hills goes to the highest bidder. Always has, always will.

    Driving in via Wilshire Blvd. the Hustler building used to be the first thing you saw at the city limits.

    I never saw it in the 60s but by gentility metrics I never perceived Beverly Hills in the same league as Knightsbridge* or Mayfair or the Upper East Side or certain exclusive suburbs of Washington, D.C. It’s not as tacky in the libertarian-parvenu sense as Las Vegas, but close. People in Hancock Park or Brentwood who might be comparable lucre-wise could always look down on Beverly Hills, because the yokels had heard of it, from TV/movies, etc. (same with Palm Springs now). I sensed the fact that it’s incorporated and has to raise its own tax money is a significant undercurrent to this social distinction.

    Also the coarse publicity functions as a good diversion from the true elitist enclaves, e.g. Rolling Hills which is about 25 miles to the south.

    *(Actually, probably like the BH of London at this time. Substitute “Kensington”)

  28. @Ed
    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia tried hard to take their oil revenues and try to start other industries other than oil. They realized that eventually the stuff will run out and they would be left high and dry. There is an Arab saying "my grandfather drove a camel, I drive a Mercedes, and my grandson will drive a camel."

    They could never really do it because of the geography of Saudi Arabia, which is also what got them the oil windfall in the first place. There is just so much you can do with a wasteland, which is what Saudi Arabia is. They have one big economic asset other than oil, the Islamic holy sites and the annual pilgrimage to them. Despite paying alot of attention to this part of their kingdom, they arguably badly screwed this up, since the Wahhabist version of Islam views preserving old buildings as idolatry, and the Saudis eventually destroyed most of the historic buildings in Mecca and Medina.

    In past years, when the Arabian desert got overpopulated, young men would migrate to other parts of the Middle East and sometimes come armed and take them over. The seventh century AD was a really, really big instance of this.

    The Gulf emirates had a similar problem, but they had some trade income pre-oil, and have been pragmatic enough to turn some of the emirates into tourist attractions, mainly by not being as crazy as other parts of the region.

    They could never really do it because of the geography of Saudi Arabia, which is also what got them the oil windfall in the first place. There is just so much you can do with a wasteland,

    It seems to me that Hong Kong is a resourceless state, as is Singapore, Japan is natural resource poor and was in an economic backwater neighborhood of the world for years, South Africa has perhaps less going for it than the rest of Africa, North America has no better geography than south America.

    I think people create wealth. The Saudis probably wanted their people to create an economy while they kept the real tools out of their people’s hands – freedom, rule of law, property rights.

    Do you think that if we exchanged the population and government/institutions of Holland or Great Briton with that of Saudi Arabia the new Holland would remain equally rich and the new Saudi Arabia would get equally poor?

    • Replies: @rustbeltreader
    They can strong arm the Swiss into importing refugees and bribe each other with toilet paper euros. That'll create more state jobs deciding who belongs where! Germans can expand work camp concept and have them working to be made free and getting state stipend to send back to middle east to support relatives left behind. US refugees can build camps on flat mountain tops and we can have hillbilly refugees sitting around waiting for checks from state and DC bankrupts.

    "You have put your finger on the dilemma of all government — and the reason I am an anarchist. The power to tax, once conceded, has no limits; it contains until it destroys. I was not joking when I told them to dig into their own pouches. It may not be possible to do away with government — sometimes I think that government is an inescapable disease of human beings. But it may be possible to keep it small and starved and inoffensive — and can you think of a better way than by requiring the governors themselves to pay the costs of their antisocial hobby?"

    Government is bigger than Cancer, with more victims!
    , @Bill B.
    Saudi Arabia is the test case of what arabs do left to themselves.

    Sykes-Picot is almost universally panned as a perversion of geo-political nature that has blighted the Middle East ever since. Yet it was essentially a response to the collapse of the centuries old Ottoman empire and the power vacuum that left. (This is not to defend the arrangement, merely to put it in perspective.)

    The Saudis, living in a desert nobody bothered with, had the time and space to carve out a huge kingdom using a religious cult that, thanks to oil, now bedevils the world.
  29. Was going to talk about how wall-to-wall realtor-servicing hype of the west side is something you can never escape in L.A., while the sudden foreign acquisition of old-timey WASP redoubts like San Marino never nabs the same kind of media attention — because that would involve traversing downtown traffic — but then I saw THR had put this up for their unofficial “International Moneybags 2 Watch” series:

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/why-china-is-an-la-827975

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    They should do a series on all the International NonMoneybags who have been moving into North Hollywood: "Who Are All These Slavic-Looking People Shopping at the Jon's Supermarket on Magnolia and What Do They Do For a Living?"

    I'd read that because I'd like to find out.

    Maybe these ominous-looking guys in North Hollywood are off-duty bodyguards for Eastern European oligarchs living in Beverly Hills?

  30. “Now it’s come to this, turning LA into a full service bolt hole for foreign oligarchs – Arab oil sheiks and Chi-Com apparatchiks no less.”

    Well, capitalism has its perks. If you’re wealthy, why not live in the fast lane. They made the money, now they get to spend it. We may be in utter disbelief when Middle Eastern oil magnates chose not to help out their fellow citizens in need, but it’s not surprising behavior. Some wealthy people have complete disdain for anyone who has lower status.

    “So while they certainly should be doing more to help their fellow middle easterners, and maybe instead of skimming all the natural resource wealth to spend on luxuries, they might have invested some of the money in (i) grants to every citizen to school their children, (ii) seed capital to develop business, (iii) a negative income tax for citizens, or at least zero tax, (iv) rule of law, private property protected, free speech.”

    And lose the benefits of a patriarchal society, with all the TRIMmings? Unlikely.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    "We may be in utter disbelief when Middle Eastern oil magnates chose not to help out their fellow citizens in need, but it’s not surprising behavior. Some wealthy people have complete disdain for anyone who has lower status."

    Yeah, but these aren't the kind of people we want in our country, especially since we seem to have too many of them already. It's kind of sad that we're catering to them.
  31. @Berlitz
    Was going to talk about how wall-to-wall realtor-servicing hype of the west side is something you can never escape in L.A., while the sudden foreign acquisition of old-timey WASP redoubts like San Marino never nabs the same kind of media attention -- because that would involve traversing downtown traffic -- but then I saw THR had put this up for their unofficial "International Moneybags 2 Watch" series:

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/why-china-is-an-la-827975

    They should do a series on all the International NonMoneybags who have been moving into North Hollywood: “Who Are All These Slavic-Looking People Shopping at the Jon’s Supermarket on Magnolia and What Do They Do For a Living?”

    I’d read that because I’d like to find out.

    Maybe these ominous-looking guys in North Hollywood are off-duty bodyguards for Eastern European oligarchs living in Beverly Hills?

  32. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Corvinus
    "Now it’s come to this, turning LA into a full service bolt hole for foreign oligarchs – Arab oil sheiks and Chi-Com apparatchiks no less."

    Well, capitalism has its perks. If you're wealthy, why not live in the fast lane. They made the money, now they get to spend it. We may be in utter disbelief when Middle Eastern oil magnates chose not to help out their fellow citizens in need, but it's not surprising behavior. Some wealthy people have complete disdain for anyone who has lower status.

    "So while they certainly should be doing more to help their fellow middle easterners, and maybe instead of skimming all the natural resource wealth to spend on luxuries, they might have invested some of the money in (i) grants to every citizen to school their children, (ii) seed capital to develop business, (iii) a negative income tax for citizens, or at least zero tax, (iv) rule of law, private property protected, free speech."

    And lose the benefits of a patriarchal society, with all the TRIMmings? Unlikely.

    “We may be in utter disbelief when Middle Eastern oil magnates chose not to help out their fellow citizens in need, but it’s not surprising behavior. Some wealthy people have complete disdain for anyone who has lower status.”

    Yeah, but these aren’t the kind of people we want in our country, especially since we seem to have too many of them already. It’s kind of sad that we’re catering to them.

    • Replies: @rustbeltreader
    Avoid the public. It's a mix. You have the knockout games, the shooting gallery and the protest nuts. Next we'll have a church massacre, which we are due for because we just had the school shooting. Now toss in the rich kid rapes plus pub ed. teacher rapes and drug epidemic and outside it's America. You wonder why more cops don't quit because the pay sucks and the towns are broke along with the states. Now with these new rich folks buying up the place, they can afford private thugs. Hire the deranged and give them rifles. They'll work cheap. Camp at the bank and demand cheap loans because you voted for some crook or liar or both. This county is finished.
  33. @george
    There may have been multiple skits. The one I am thinking of involved Sheik Mohammed al-Fassi

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_al_Fassi

    Why aren't they on youtube, being classics of American arts and letters?

    “There may have been multiple skits. The one I am thinking of involved Sheik Mohammed al-Fassi”

    Wiki says there were only two skits. Here is the other one:

    http://gorillavid.in/q9626wnezoe8

    Why aren’t they on youtube, being classics of American arts and letters?

    Copyright infringement? Nobody wants to bother?

    All of these services will take down copyrighted content if you send them a nasty letter. Google/YouTube are more diligent and have introduced some machine searches for copyright content that takes them down automatically.

    If you want to do it, it would be fairly easy.

    1. Set up a new youtube account. Don’t use your current one or gmail account, make a new one.
    2. Get the VideoDownloadHelper plugin for Firefox
    3. Download the video using the plugin.
    4. Cut out the part of the video you want to upload to youtube. If you have Windows, use this free program from Microsoft, which you may already have.
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-live/movie-maker
    If it doesn’t work for some reason, there are a lot of other free programs.
    5. Upload to Youtube. Don’t use “SNL,” “NBC,” or “Saturday Night Live” as key words, as the infringement software will likely tag it and take it down. A better choice would be something like:
    1979 – Chevy Chase – the Bel Airabs Beverly Hillbilly Arab Parody Comedy.

  34. They donated to the party! They have connections in Washington DC. Sell them Detroit at a discount. Get back to building land yacht gas guzzlers. Bureacrats can offer everybody a bad government check and a free cell or cell phone compliment the criminal state. With new investors and more donations we can be like Europe with camps and lots of work.

    “In past history popularly elected governments have been no better and sometimes far worse than overt tyrannies.” USA: We the worst of both and the debt to prove it!

    Expect more stuff to close. More people working the corner.

  35. @scrivener3

    They could never really do it because of the geography of Saudi Arabia, which is also what got them the oil windfall in the first place. There is just so much you can do with a wasteland,
     
    It seems to me that Hong Kong is a resourceless state, as is Singapore, Japan is natural resource poor and was in an economic backwater neighborhood of the world for years, South Africa has perhaps less going for it than the rest of Africa, North America has no better geography than south America.

    I think people create wealth. The Saudis probably wanted their people to create an economy while they kept the real tools out of their people's hands - freedom, rule of law, property rights.

    Do you think that if we exchanged the population and government/institutions of Holland or Great Briton with that of Saudi Arabia the new Holland would remain equally rich and the new Saudi Arabia would get equally poor?

    They can strong arm the Swiss into importing refugees and bribe each other with toilet paper euros. That’ll create more state jobs deciding who belongs where! Germans can expand work camp concept and have them working to be made free and getting state stipend to send back to middle east to support relatives left behind. US refugees can build camps on flat mountain tops and we can have hillbilly refugees sitting around waiting for checks from state and DC bankrupts.

    “You have put your finger on the dilemma of all government — and the reason I am an anarchist. The power to tax, once conceded, has no limits; it contains until it destroys. I was not joking when I told them to dig into their own pouches. It may not be possible to do away with government — sometimes I think that government is an inescapable disease of human beings. But it may be possible to keep it small and starved and inoffensive — and can you think of a better way than by requiring the governors themselves to pay the costs of their antisocial hobby?”

    Government is bigger than Cancer, with more victims!

  36. @Anonymous
    Oil Arabs are not Christian. Therefore the subject of "refugees" has zero emotional pull.

    There's no Christianity in Japan either. Not a good place to wash up on the shore and claim "refugee" status.

    “There’s no Christianity in Japan either”

    There used to be a largeish Christian community in Japan. They were all killed.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Japan#Persecution_under_the_Shogunate

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimabara_Rebellion

    • Replies: @Twinkie

    There used to be a largeish Christian community in Japan. They were all killed.
     
    During the Sengoku Jidai, there were many Christians in Japan and even Christian daimyos. Unfortunately they were mercilessly persecuted subsequently. But there remains, to this day, the Hidden Christians of Japan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidden_Christians_of_Japan

    It is, at least to me, quite interesting that Christianity fared very differently in the three East Asian countries of China, Japan, and Korea. In Japan, arguably the most Western of the three, it was nearly extirpated and today is treated with indifference.. In Korea, it has blossomed and enjoys a plurality as well as elite status. Korea to this day remains the most Protestant Asian country in the world (and perhaps the only Asian country in which widespread Christianity is not a product of Western colonialism). In China, it continues to be prosecuted, but is experiencing a tremendous growth.
  37. @George
    Conspiracy theory: Why can't I find the Saturday Night Live Skit, The Bel-Airabs? I can't even find the lyrics (based on the Beverly Hillbillies theme).

    See it's not my imagination it really existed:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recurring_Saturday_Night_Live_characters_and_sketches_introduced_1979%E2%80%931980#The_Bel-Airabs

    Local library ditched the Chernobyl material. There’s a method to control. If we don’t have the book, all these people didn’t get cancer from the Russians. Irony is the funds for the library are like those for public TV…GONE and they need volunteers. Oil is headed for $20/bbl and real estate is going for a song. The law is one their side. Be an outlaw and stay free.

    “I am wholly devoid of public spirit or moral purpose. This is incomprehensible to many men, and they seek to remedy the defect by crediting me with purposes of their own. The only thing I respect is intellectual honesty, of which, of course, intellectual courage is a necessary part. A Socialist who goes to jail for his opinions seems to me a much finer man than the judge who sends him there, though I disagree with all the ideas of the Socialist and agree with some of those of the judge. But though he is fine, the Socialist is nevertheless foolish, for he suffers for what is untrue. If I knew what was true, I’d probably be willing to sweat and strive for it, and maybe even to die for it to the tune of bugle-blasts. But so far I have not found it.”
    ― H.L. Mencken, In Defense Of Women

    I’d die for it, I wouldn’t kill for any cause. Now they have Americans willing to die for the Arab cause. There’s a sucker born a minute. Russians are going to die for Syria. Go at it!

  38. @Anonymous
    "We may be in utter disbelief when Middle Eastern oil magnates chose not to help out their fellow citizens in need, but it’s not surprising behavior. Some wealthy people have complete disdain for anyone who has lower status."

    Yeah, but these aren't the kind of people we want in our country, especially since we seem to have too many of them already. It's kind of sad that we're catering to them.

    Avoid the public. It’s a mix. You have the knockout games, the shooting gallery and the protest nuts. Next we’ll have a church massacre, which we are due for because we just had the school shooting. Now toss in the rich kid rapes plus pub ed. teacher rapes and drug epidemic and outside it’s America. You wonder why more cops don’t quit because the pay sucks and the towns are broke along with the states. Now with these new rich folks buying up the place, they can afford private thugs. Hire the deranged and give them rifles. They’ll work cheap. Camp at the bank and demand cheap loans because you voted for some crook or liar or both. This county is finished.

  39. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The Saudi Arabs don’t really see the others as being real Arabs like themselves no more than Spaniards see Mexicans as kin. The Arabs out of the Arabian peninsula are the real original Arabs and the rest are just people who were Arabized during the conquests. There’s no real emotional attachment except when it’s convenient.

    • Replies: @Mithera
    I read a theory somewhere that the House of Saud was a Zion sleeper cell. Sounds pretty far out there but sometimes seems to fit. Any thoughts Gents.
  40. MERLE GINSBERG sounds more like the kind of name you’d expect for a Jew who ran the Confederacy than Judah Benjamin.

  41. A lot of countries don’t even permit foreigners to buy property. Crazy, I know; the idea that a country’s laws should be arranged for the long-term benefit of it’s citizens. One could never expect such a thing in America, whose fundamental ideal, and central unifying principal, is greed.

  42. @Anonymous
    Oil Arabs are not Christian. Therefore the subject of "refugees" has zero emotional pull.

    There's no Christianity in Japan either. Not a good place to wash up on the shore and claim "refugee" status.

    “There’s no Christianity in Japan either.”

    Not much, but not none. About 0.5% of the population of Japan are Christians.

  43. @scrivener3

    They could never really do it because of the geography of Saudi Arabia, which is also what got them the oil windfall in the first place. There is just so much you can do with a wasteland,
     
    It seems to me that Hong Kong is a resourceless state, as is Singapore, Japan is natural resource poor and was in an economic backwater neighborhood of the world for years, South Africa has perhaps less going for it than the rest of Africa, North America has no better geography than south America.

    I think people create wealth. The Saudis probably wanted their people to create an economy while they kept the real tools out of their people's hands - freedom, rule of law, real property rights.

    Do you really think that if we exchanged the population and government/institutions of Holland or Great Briton with that of Saudi Arabia the new Holland would remain equally rich and the new Saudi Arabia would get equally poor?

    “t seems to me that Hong Kong is a resourceless state, as is Singapore, Japan is natural resource poor and was in an economic backwater neighborhood of the world for years, South Africa has perhaps less going for it than the rest of Africa, North America has no better geography than south America.”

    You hear these arguments alot. I will respond to this, even though the thread is buried, because in this case the particular examples given are incorrect.

    The only examples appropriate to comparison with a country the size and population of Saudi Arabia are the other countries of South Africa and Japan, not the continents and the cities.

    Hong Kong sits in the Pearl River estuary and the main harbor for South China. The area has always been important, but that part of China was colonized and developed by the Han Chinese relatively late compared to the other areas. With Hong Kong you had the political accidents that the Chinese government first preferred to trade with other countries via special enclaves, and then the place became a natural destination for refugees when the rest of China had a century of anarchy and warlords, foreign invasions, then rule by an insane government, and these refugees had more on the ball going on than those who stayed.

    Singapore sits on one of the greatest trade routes in the world, and is a large tropical island that could probably be agriculturally productive itself if it needed to, which it doesn’t, given its location.

    Japan is mostly mountainous, but has one highly agriculturally productive plain, and lots of coal. You seem to be grossly underestimating the importance of agriculture. The Japan example does show the importance of keeping your population under control so it scales with the resources available.

    The South Africa vs the rest of Africa, and the North America vs South America examples are so wrong that I don’t even know how to address them (for South Africa, get out one of those maps which show where key minerals come from, while for the two American continents any map will do).

  44. @scrivener3

    They could never really do it because of the geography of Saudi Arabia, which is also what got them the oil windfall in the first place. There is just so much you can do with a wasteland,
     
    It seems to me that Hong Kong is a resourceless state, as is Singapore, Japan is natural resource poor and was in an economic backwater neighborhood of the world for years, South Africa has perhaps less going for it than the rest of Africa, North America has no better geography than south America.

    I think people create wealth. The Saudis probably wanted their people to create an economy while they kept the real tools out of their people's hands - freedom, rule of law, property rights.

    Do you think that if we exchanged the population and government/institutions of Holland or Great Briton with that of Saudi Arabia the new Holland would remain equally rich and the new Saudi Arabia would get equally poor?

    Saudi Arabia is the test case of what arabs do left to themselves.

    Sykes-Picot is almost universally panned as a perversion of geo-political nature that has blighted the Middle East ever since. Yet it was essentially a response to the collapse of the centuries old Ottoman empire and the power vacuum that left. (This is not to defend the arrangement, merely to put it in perspective.)

    The Saudis, living in a desert nobody bothered with, had the time and space to carve out a huge kingdom using a religious cult that, thanks to oil, now bedevils the world.

  45. @Anonymous Nephew
    "There’s no Christianity in Japan either"

    There used to be a largeish Christian community in Japan. They were all killed.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Japan#Persecution_under_the_Shogunate

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimabara_Rebellion

    There used to be a largeish Christian community in Japan. They were all killed.

    During the Sengoku Jidai, there were many Christians in Japan and even Christian daimyos. Unfortunately they were mercilessly persecuted subsequently. But there remains, to this day, the Hidden Christians of Japan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidden_Christians_of_Japan

    It is, at least to me, quite interesting that Christianity fared very differently in the three East Asian countries of China, Japan, and Korea. In Japan, arguably the most Western of the three, it was nearly extirpated and today is treated with indifference.. In Korea, it has blossomed and enjoys a plurality as well as elite status. Korea to this day remains the most Protestant Asian country in the world (and perhaps the only Asian country in which widespread Christianity is not a product of Western colonialism). In China, it continues to be prosecuted, but is experiencing a tremendous growth.

  46. @scrivener3

    They could never really do it because of the geography of Saudi Arabia, which is also what got them the oil windfall in the first place. There is just so much you can do with a wasteland,
     
    It seems to me that Hong Kong is a resourceless state, as is Singapore, Japan is natural resource poor and was in an economic backwater neighborhood of the world for years, South Africa has perhaps less going for it than the rest of Africa, North America has no better geography than south America.

    I think people create wealth. The Saudis probably wanted their people to create an economy while they kept the real tools out of their people's hands - freedom, rule of law, real property rights.

    Do you really think that if we exchanged the population and government/institutions of Holland or Great Briton with that of Saudi Arabia the new Holland would remain equally rich and the new Saudi Arabia would get equally poor?

    It seems to me that Hong Kong is a resourceless state, as is Singapore, Japan is natural resource poor and was in an economic backwater neighborhood of the world for years, South Africa has perhaps less going for it than the rest of Africa, North America has no better geography than south America.

    Both South Korea and Japan are not only poorly endowed with natural resources, they were also nearly completely flattened by war (1953 and 1945, respectively) that destroyed almost all the previously-built infrastructure. Natural resources can be very nice indeed*, but people are the ultimate resource of a nation.

    *Sometimes natural resources are a curse; as with public assistance/welfare, they can create an addiction and can derail people from a virtuous cycle.

  47. @anonymous
    The Saudi Arabs don't really see the others as being real Arabs like themselves no more than Spaniards see Mexicans as kin. The Arabs out of the Arabian peninsula are the real original Arabs and the rest are just people who were Arabized during the conquests. There's no real emotional attachment except when it's convenient.

    I read a theory somewhere that the House of Saud was a Zion sleeper cell. Sounds pretty far out there but sometimes seems to fit. Any thoughts Gents.

  48. Speaking of Jeopardy!, I encourage you to check out Matt Jackson on KABC tonight at 7:00 (or tomorrow – I’m sure he’ll still be there). The 23-year-old son of a black Christian conservative and a white Jewish liberal has racked up nearly $250,000 over nine games, and shows no signs of slowing down. An interesting player both from an HBD perspective and from that of a regular viewer of the program.

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