November 3, 2005

More thoughts on the five-year silence on Scooter Libby's long connection to Marc Rich

In response to my posts on why Scooter Libby avoided criticism for being Marc Rich's mob lawyer, a Jewish reader writes:

I'm especially saddened and angered that perfectly legitimate Jewish charities and purportedly pious Orthodox rabbis are so willing to take dirty money. Corruption is a serious problem in the Jewish community, and one the community is very reluctant to face - even when the cameras are not rolling.

On Gideon's Blog, Noah Millman wrote awhile ago:

I am particularly ashamed of the whole business because [Republican lobbyist Jack] Abramoff appears to have been involved with (a) legitimate Jewish charities; (b) a number of Orthodox rabbis; (c) the Israeli settlers' movement.

Abramoff not only fleeced his clients and corrupted his government, but he seems to have thought this was OK in part because he was stealing money (partly) to finance Jewish charitable and political/religious/nationalist activities.

This is deeply wrong on a variety of levels. Not only because violating the law of the land is, where that law itself is not unjust, a religious transgression (the rabbinic dictum is: dina di malkhuta dina - the law of the land is law). Not only because these kinds of games are "bad for the Jews" in that they may lead people to think that all Jews are similarly corrupt, or that Jewish involvement in politics is potentially corrupting. But because it is categorically wrong to fulfill a mitzvah - a commandment - by means of an avera - a transgression. You get no points in heaven for behaving like the Bad Baronet of Ruddygore.

It is one thing to say, such-and-such law is unjust, so breaking it to do good is not a transgression. But theft is wrong, corruption is wrong - the laws against such behavior are not unjust, and breaking them in order to do "good" - leaving aside whether the particular activities he supported were indeed good - is sinful on a number of levels.

And yet, for some reason, over and over again I read about rabbinic authorities who have failed to comprehend this basic principle, and accept dirty money and corrupt relationships for their charities or other activities.

This kind of behavior has got to be anathematized in the Jewish community, and especially in the more insular parts of the Orthodox world - not for my sake, but for theirs, and for the sake of Heaven.

Being allowed to destroy outside critics' careers by calling them "anti-Semites" is not good for the soul.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Update on Scooter trial

timeline and jury demographics: A reader writes:

Jeff Toobin just said on CNN that due to lawyers needing security clearances, Scooter’s trial may not start until 2007. With pre-trial motions, continuances, and possible appeals, that could stretch easily past Pardon Day 2008 (12/24/08). BTW, are you surprised that he hired a distinguished senior black attorney Ted Wells who had previously represented Clinton Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy? Espy admitted upfront that he had accepted the gifts of Super Bowl tickets and a Jeep from agri-business executives, but was still acquitted of all felony charges by a mostly black DC jury.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Blond sumo wrestlers

Back in 1999, I wrote a spec screenplay for the HBO comedy Arliss: The Art of the Sports Superagent.

was perhaps the least popular sit-com ever to survive a half dozen years. The lead actor, Robert Wuhl, mugged too much and the pro athletes who did cameos were almost all wooden. But it had a small but intense fan base among prominent men because it was the most politically incorrect comedy ever and the intelligence level of the writing was about two standard deviations above that of the much more popular Sex in the City. Each time HBO was about to cancel it (which was just about after every season), guys like Tom Brokaw would complain and the producers would get another order for 13 shows.

The main plot of my spec script was about a black quarterback who plans to start a black-only country club. But the subplot was about an aging client, a white basketball center from Tulane named Devereaux Blanc, who is such a gourmet that he has eaten his way out of the NBA and has now lost his job playing for Milan. To find him another Italian league team, Arliss had handed him off to his sharp secretary Rita (played by Sandra Oh of "Sideways) and his concussion-addled assistant Kirby, a washed-up NFL quarterback:


(trying to imitate Arliss)

Dev, the Ragin' Cajun, the Man Who Took Tu-lane to the Final Four-Lane.

Dev stares at him blankly.


Bad news, big guy. Every Italian team told us that during your year in Milan you put on thirty-five kilograms.


Do you know how much that is?


Well, neither do I, but apparently it's too goddam much.


So, I'll play in Greece. … If only goat cheese had a subtler flavor …

RITA [Sandra Oh]


We called the Greek teams, too.


Spain? … Turkey???


Luckily, there is an expansion team that's not worried about you putting on pounds: the Glasgow Neap-Eaters. … What are neaps?


Mashed turnips.


Well, there you go: the Scotch like food, too.

Arliss then thinks of peddling Dev to the WWF as the Gargantuan Gourmet, but Rita won't make the call because pro wrestling is too chicken-fried steakish for a man of Dev's exquisite taste. Fortunately, there's a happy ending:

Rita and Dev burst in, smiling.


Knock knock! Dev has a contract!

Kirby struggles in man-handling a huge stand-up cardboard cut-out, of which we can only see its blank backside.


Rita found me a wrestling job with a fascinating cuisine to explore.


Here's what Dev'll look like once he gets in shape.

While Rita speaks, Kirby turns the stand-up cut-out around. It's a LIFE-SIZED, but headless, 2-d version of 600 POUND Samoan sumo wrestler Konishiki in traditional garb.
Kirby places the cut-out in front of Dev, so Dev's head appears to be attached to Konishiki's BLOATED BODY.


Mr. Saito, Dev's new stable manager, says he'd assumed Japanese fans wouldn't support sumo wrestlers from, uh …


Bigger races. But the fans love Konishiki, who's a 600 pound Samoan.


So, Dev will be the first white.


The Ragin' Caucasian.


A pioneer of diversity.


Jackie Robinson in a g-string.

Well, the Arliss producers hated my spec script, but another show's producers liked it enough to have me pitch them ideas and paid (nicely) for a script. (It's a rule of thumb that the show you write your spec script for will hate it, but you can still use it to get work on other shows.)

I was reminded of all this ancient history by this new Washington Post story:

Blonds Enter the Sumo Ring: Fleshy Foreigners Crack Japan's Sacred Sport
By Anthony Faiola Washington Post Foreign Service

TOKYO -- Flesh struck flesh with a thunderous smack, and rolls of fat and muscle rippled down the alabaster-skinned frame of the blond sumo Baruto [see picture], a rising star in Japan's national sport. Clad only in a traditional loincloth, the sweaty Estonian towered over his stouter Japanese opponents during a morning practice, knocking them to the dirt floor one after the other, like so many oversized bowling pins.

"I came to Japan to be a sumo champion," said Baruto, 20, the professional name of Kaido Hoovelson. After only 19 months in Japan, the 6-foot-6, 360-pound Baruto -- which means Baltic in Japanese -- is soaring in the rankings. "I still feel like a foreigner, and I don't understand many of the customs of sumo. But I don't care. I plan on making it to the top anyway."

Baruto's ruddy complexion and hungry, outsider's spirit make up the new face of sumo wrestling in Japan, where foreigners are now dominating what once was among the purest and most sacred cultural bastions. The change has become a metaphor, many here say, for a reluctantly globalizing Japan. Foreigners are making unprecedented inroads in this nation long considered to be highly xenophobic, breaking into the top levels of fields as diverse as sports, finance and the arts.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Who Could Have Imagined? (Part 538)

The NYT reports:

Malfeasance Might Have Hurt Levees, Engineers Say

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 - The head of a team of engineering experts told a Senate committee on Wednesday that malfeasance during construction might have been one reason for the catastrophic failure of the levees that were supposed to protect New Orleans from hurricanes.

"These levees should have been expected to perform adequately at these levels if they had been designed and constructed properly," said the expert, Raymond Seed, a professor of civil engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

"Not just human error was involved," Professor Seed said. "There may have been malfeasance."

Professor Seed, whose team was financed by the National Science Foundation, did not offer hard evidence to back up his accusation. But he said after the hearing that the team had been contacted by levee workers, contractors and, in some cases, widows of contractors who told stories of protective sheet pile being driven less deeply than plans called for and corners cut in choosing soils for construction, among other problems.

His group is trying to confirm the accounts, he said, and he cautioned that even if proved, they might not be a major contributing factor in the disaster, which killed 1,000 people and left 100,000 without homes.

Corruption and feckless negligence in New Orleans? I'm sh-- ... ehhhh, forget it ...

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

November 2, 2005

The Brief Rise and Sudden Fall of the Italian-American Civil Rights League

The Brief Rise and Sudden Fall of the Italian-American Civil Rights League: From Wikipedia:

The Italian-American Civil Rights League was a short-lived grass-roots political organization which existed in and around New York City in the early 1970s. Its stated goal was to combat pejorative stereotypes about Italian-Americans, specifically their association with the Mafia.

A precise, fixed date can be assigned to denote the group's founding: April 30, 1970, when approximately 30 Italian-Americans, led by reputed mobster Joseph Colombo, picketed the Manhattan headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They were there to protest the recent arrest of Colombo's son... Prior to this, the senior Colombo had complained of unfair harassment of him and his family by various federal law-enforcement authorities, who alleged that Colombo was the boss of one of New York City's five Mafia families — a charge he repeatedly denied.

The 30 demonstrators who appeared at the FBI building were joined by others in successive days, and ultimately their number grew to more than 5,000. The group then adopted the name "Italian-American Civil Rights League" after Colombo's attorney, Barry Slotnick, had suggested it...

Within two months, the organization claimed 45,000 dues-paying members, and held a large rally in Columbus Circle on June 28, 1970. The league gained further momentum when Frank Sinatra held a benefit concert in its honor at Madison Square Garden in November of that year.

The group then turned its attention to what it perceived as cultural slights against Italian-Americans, using boycott threats to force Alka-Seltzer and General Motors to withdraw television commercials the league objected to, and also got United States Attorney General John Mitchell to order the United States Justice Department to stop using the word "Mafia" in official documents and press releases. The league also secured an agreement from Al Ruddy, the producer of The Godfather, to omit the terms "Mafia" and "Cosa Nostra" from the film's dialogue, and succeeded in having Macy's stop selling a board game called The Godfather Game....

On June 28, 1971, the league held another rally in Columbus Circle — but this time tragedy would result, as Colombo was shot three times in the head by an African-American named Jerome Johnson (who was then immediately shot and killed himself); the blast left Colombo in a coma from which he would never recover (he died on May 22, 1978). Theories abounded as to the motive for the shooting; the most commonly-held belief was that other Mafia bosses in New York ordered the hit because they did not like the media attention Colombo and the group were receiving. The organization, at that time believed to number more than 100,000, had effectively disappeared within a year after the shooting.

Honest Italian-Americans ended up greatly benefiting from the collapse of the Italian American Civil Rights League. With the danger of being accused of racism removed, the federal government during the Reagan Administration hammered the Mafia and left it a shell of what it once was. Since the Mafia preyed most of all on their co-ethnics, that was a huge win for Italian-Americans.

This issue is not whether or not one group is more prone to organized nefariousness than any other. The issue is that if any group is exempted from criticism, as Mr. Colombo attempted to get Italian-Americans exempted, so that anyone who publicly notes anything bad about its behavior is excoriated as a racist or worse, the temptation for members of the group to do bat things increases. We all have urges that are worthy of criticism, but if we can arrange matters so nobody is allowed to criticize us, then the temptation to give in to those urges can be overpowering.

A reader writes:

It is interesting how crushing the Mafia removed all the hypersensitivity about naming it. Rudolph Giuliani, the Italian son of a father who reportedly had early and minor Mafia ties and the prosecutor who did so much to break the organization's power in the 1980s, now does a very funny Mafia skit as part of his corporate speech act. I saw him at a conference in Atlanta, and Rudy begins by talking about how mind-numbingly boring it was to listen to tapes of idiotic Mafiosi conversations, then launches into imitations of the dialogue, complete with the heavy garlic accents.

In contrast, Mario Cuomo could never joke about the mob.

The collapse of the Italian-American Civil Rights League was a huge boost for the careers of Italian-American actors like De Niro, Pacino, and Gandolfini who were freed to play mafioso. In contrast, although Hollywood has made dozens of movies over the last decade and a half with "Russian mafia" bad guys, they have typically employed Slavic-looking actors rather than the co-ethnics of the actual higher-ups among the most successful organized criminals in Russia.

Yet, Hollywood has been better about bringing us at least a distorted picture of one of the vast stories of the last 15 years, the looting of Russia, than has the "serious media."

By refusing to view Russian politics from a realist (i.e., conspiratorial) perspective during the 1990s, the respectable press largely failed to accurately report what was happening in Russia after the break-up of the Soviet Union. For years, the establishment media insisted on portraying Russian politicians as ideologically motivated public servants clashing over whether to emphasize the free market or the social safety net.

Instead, these idealistic-sounding labels were mostly masks for the conspiracies of various criminal gangs struggling over who got the biggest share of the loot. In contrast to the serious press, Hollywood, which quickly added the Russian Mafia to its inventory of stock bad guys, may well have provided a more realistic sense of what power in Boris Yeltsin's Russia was really all about.

A major reason why the press refused to tell you about what was really happening in Russia was because of the ethnic identity of the initial winners (since Putin's advent, ethnic Russian big shots have been clawing back assets, such as by imprisoning the Yukos Oil company leadership). Yale Law School Professor Amy Chua, author of World on Fire on the rise of "market dominant minorities," explained the sensitivity of the facts to an interviewer:

Q. One case that intrigued me was the case of the oligarchs in post-communist Russia. In that case, six of the seven oligarchs turn out to be Jewish [to be precise, five and a half of seven]. But in a way, it's a product of their having been excluded before, under the communist system.

Chua: Absolutely.

Q. Talk a little about that.

Chua: Well, that's one of the more controversial cases to write about. There are so many invidious ethnic stereotypes, and so much anti-Semitism, so it's a hard topic to discuss. You hear things like "Jews controlling the United States economy." I actually researched that and documented that that's false. The U.S. economy is not controlled by any ethnic minority, whether it's the Koreans or the Jews. It's just not true, if you look at the ten wealthiest Americans. Not so in the former Soviet Union. In the anarchic shift to capitalism in the early nineties, which, by the way, I think was ill-advised -- it was just a fast transition to cowboy capitalism; there were no anti-monopoly laws, no anti-insider trading laws -- but the result of that was that seven men, known as the oligarchs, came to control roughly 60 percent of Russia's incredible natural resource wealth: oil, nickel, the minerals.

I wasn't the first to document this. It came out in The New York Times magazine and a book called Sale of the Century, by Chrystia Freeland. But it was well known in the former Soviet Union. Six out of these seven men were Jewish, or at least of Jewish background. I did have a lot of research assistants who delved into this question of why; they were all students from Russia, many of them Jewish. The explanations are partly a result of exclusion. Many of these men, the oligarchs, wanted to go into the Soviet Academy of Sciences, but were excluded because of anti-Semitic reasons and ended up doing other things. Lots of them ended up being very active in the black markets during the Soviet era. Now, black market sounds negative, but, in fact, everybody loved the black markets during the communist era. It was the only place that officials and others could get shoes and consumer products. There were shortages everywhere. The black market during the Soviet era was essentially the only capitalism there was.

In fact, all of the oligarchs had practice in a private economy, in markets. Many of them translated those skills very successfully when suddenly, with perestroika, there was market liberalization. Before everybody even knew it was going on, they were privatizing, and it was a complicated process. But for whatever reasons, these men came to the fore, bought up a lot of the things that were for sale, got in touch with the foreign investors, and came to control a disproportionate amount of the economy.

That case fits sadly, very neatly into my thesis because you have this enormous transfer to markets -- not the kind of markets I think we should be promoting -- leading to these seven men controlling 60 percent of the natural resources.

But what does democracy do? Sadly, [democracy] and free speech led to the emergence of anti-Semitic political parties, politicians that were openly campaigning on, "Let's expel the Jews. Let's take back their property. The Jews are milking us dry." And that's a pattern that we saw in Indonesia around the same time; it's very interesting. Free market policies in the 1980s and 90s in Indonesia led to a situation where the country's tiny 3 percent Chinese minority controlled an astounding 70 percent of the private economy.

Democratization in 1998 [in Indonesia], which was hailed with euphoria in the United States -- I still remember everybody was so excited about democracy in Indonesia -- well, tragically, democracy produced a violent backlash against both the Chinese and against markets. Politicians in Indonesia fell over themselves campaigning on anti-Chinese platforms. You know, "Let's take back the economy." And right now, the Indonesian government has nationalized about $58 billion worth of ethnic Chinese assets. That's part of the reason that country is in such an economic crises.

Q. Before this democratization occurs in many places, what you get is an alliance between the economically dominant minority and the ruling autocrat. You used the common term "crony capitalism."

Right. It's an interesting challenge: if you think of the worst cases of crony capitalism, you'll be surprised to find that almost every one involved a market-dominant ethnic minority. It's a very typical pattern for an indigenous dictator, say, Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. Ferdinand and Imelda were Filipinos, they were supposed to represent the majority, but instead, they went into a crony capitalist situation with their country's best entrepreneurs, who are Chinese. It was this little symbiotic relationship. The Marcoses said, "We'll let you make money as long as you kick back bribes and profit to us, and we won't have majority rule." That's what Suharto did in Indonesia. He had a tiny handful of Chinese cronies, who made a huge amount of money, and then kicked it back to him. That's what President Daniel Arap Moi did in Kenya. He had a very authoritarian little regime propped by a very small handful of Lebanese businessmen.

Now, it's crucial to note that there isn't a closely organized Russia-Israel-U.S. Jewish Mafia-with-a-capital-M. There are merely a number of opportunists who tend -- for reasons of family ties, educational connections, personal style, ethnic solidarity (we all hang together or we all hang separately), and personal comfort level -- to do illegal business with each other rather than with people from other ethnic groups.

These crooks have often proved more successful than rival crooks on a per capita basis, for a variety of reasons -- brains, experience, the existence of Israel as a refuge from arrest, and ties to the business, media and think tank worlds in America generating financial and political capital.

But one huge advantage they've enjoyed is that they've possessed what the Italian-American Civil Rights League attempted and failed at: freedom from collective criticism. The mere existence of Jewish crime organizations with operations in Russia, Israel, and the U.S. has been treated by the serious media as one of those taboo topics that you can't talk about. And it's not just a social faux pas, but a taboo enforced by ostracism and career-wrecking.

Thus, we finally arrive at the answer to how Scooter Libby could move from being the mob lawyer for international racketeer Marc Rich to being chief of staff to the Vice President of the United States without raising eyebrows: because the very concept of international Jewish organized crime is off-limits.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The demographics of Scooter Libby's upcoming jury in Washington D.C.

The odds are that, like the grand jury that indicted him, it will be dominated by black women. According to the 2004 exit poll, only 5% of black women in DC voted for Bush.

So, since he is highly likely to be convicted, Libby has a choice to make:

- Does he try to run out the clock by going to trial and then appealing his conviction over and over in the hopes that he won't have to serve any prison time before Pardon Day, December 24, 2008, or

- Does he make a deal now and avoid prison by rolling over on a big enchilada like Dick Cheney?

If I were Libby, I would be building a very detailed calendar to estimate just how long it would take Patrick Fitzgerald to put me in prison.

Any readers with knowledge of the courts have any estimates on how likely it would be that Fitzgerald could hustle Libby into prison in less than 37 months?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Kaus notes a Marc Rich angle in Libby's perjury:

Pardon My Perjury
The secret of Scooter's confidence?
By Mickey Kaus
Updated Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005, at 2:11 AM ET

Q--If He's So Dumb, Why Isn't He Rich? A--Maybe He Is: A week ago the question of the day, after the NYT reported that Libby's notes show him learning the secret of Mrs. Wilson from Vice-President Cheney, was

Would Libby really have been dumb enough to contradict his own notes (which the prosecutor has had from the start) under oath?

We now think we know the answer to that question, which is that Libby wasn't dumb enough to contradict his own notes. Instead he was dumb enough to avoid contradicting his notes by concocting a wildly implausible story about how he forgot what was in his notes! The story is non-believable on its face, whether Tim Russert testifies or not. ... Who would take such an idiotic risk before a much-feared special prosecutor? One answer: Someone who knows he'll be protected in the end. Someone who knows, for example, that he'll be pardoned. Maybe even someone who had represented a client who'd been pardoned in similarly controversial circumstances. It's easier to be a highwire daredevil when you know you have a safety net.

There were always been two key dates for I. Lewis Libby as he attempted to run out the clock on Patrick Fitzgerald.

- For the team, don't spill the beans or get indicted until after November 2, 2004 (Election Day)

- For himself, don't go to prison until after December 24, 2008 (Pardon Day)

Christmas Eve 2008 is the best date for Bush to pardon the Iraq Attaq plotters, just as his father pardoned Iran-Contra figures, such as current Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams, on Christmas Eve 1992. Bill Clinton, in contrast, procrastinated until practically Bush II's inauguration, when the attention of the country was already focused on Washington, and was roasted for it. Christmas Eve is a much better day than Inaugural Day for unpopular pardons, because the populace is bored with politics and is in a benign mood.

Pardon Day is just over three years away, so the clock is ticking on Fitzgerald. In Illinois, he indicted 65 people and convicted 59 before unveiling his final indictment in his bribery probe: former Gov. George Ryan. In this investigation, he's starting much higher up, with the right hand men of both the Veep (Libby) and the President (Rove). But Pardon Day is coming.

Fitzgerald can impose a lot financial hardship on Libby over the next three years and seven weeks until Pardon Day, but Libby no doubt has rich and powerful friends who will surely make it up to him if he protect the rest of the cabal by keeping his mouth shut and simply dragging out the proceedings until then. And the remarkable example of Abrams, John Podhoretz's brother-in-law, shows that a pardoned criminal can still come back to get his dream job.

But, is Libby a Liddy? This amateur novelist doesn't strike me as the G. Gordon Liddy-type who laughs at prison. So, can Fitzgerald speed the wheels of justice enough to put a plausible fear of doing serious prison time before Pardon Day into Libby, and thus get him to squeal?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

November 1, 2005

The Italian Connection

Nur al-Cubicle has posted quick and dirty translations of two brand new articles by Carlo Bonini and Giuseppi d'Avanzo in La Repubblica on Italy's SISMi's role in the Iraq Attaq.

So, once more we venture into the Funhouse of Italians, Iraqis, Iranians, Michael Ledeen, Larry Franklin, Ahmed Chalabi, and Manucher Ghorbanifar! God alone knows how much of these articles is truthful, but, compared to the average veracity of Ledeen's efforts for National Review Onloan, well, I know who I'd bet on.

The first article revolves around yet another meeting in Rome, this time not long before the invasion. It raises the old question of whether or not the neocons' Iraq Attaq agitation was in part a false-flag operation run by the ayatollahs' spy agency in Tehran (what I call the Manchumpian Candidate scenario):

The story of Italian military intervention in Iraq begins when the resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Michael Ledeen, sponsored by Defense Minister Antonio Martino, debarks in Rome with Pentagon men in tow to meet a handful of “Iranian exiles.” The meeting is organized by SISMI. In an Agency “safe house” near Piazza di Spagna (however, other sources have told us it was a reserved room in the Parco dei Principi Hotel).

Twenty men are gathered around a large table, covered by maps of Iraq, Iran and Syria. The big cheese are Lawrence Franklin and Harold Rhode of the Office of Special Plans, Michael Ledeen of the AIE, a SISMI chief accompanied by his assistant (the former is a balding man between 46 and 48 years of age; the latter is younger, around 38, with braces on his teeth) and some mysterious Iranians.

Pollari confirms the meeting to La Repubblica: When [Defense Minister Martino] asked me to organize the meeting, I became curious. But it was my job and I wasn’t born yesterday. It’s true—my men were also present at the meeting. I wanted to know what was cooking. It’s also true that there were maps of Iraq and Iran on the table. I can tell you those Iranians were not exactly “exiles”. The came and went from Tehran with their passports with no difficulty whatsoever as if they were transparent to the eyes of the Pasdaran.

So the Iranians were not exiles. They were not opponents of the regime of the ayatollahs. These men are members of the regime, sent by Tehran. If someone in Washington is wondering what the devil they were doing there on the eve of the invasion, in Rome, elbow-to-elbow with people from the Pentagon, we can supply some elucidation. But to make some sense out of the confusion, you have to listen to an American intelligence source, who has requested anonymity. He tells us: You Italians have always underestimated the work of conversion carried out Ahmed Chalabi, the chairman of Iraqi National Congress. You tend to omit this chapter from your side of the story because you think Ahmed concerns only the Americans. But that’s not the way it is: he is also your business, far beyond anything you currently believe or imagine.

So what do we know about Ahmed Chelabi? The darling of the Neocons, Chalabi has been charged by the hawks in the Pentagon to pass intel on WMD proliferation to European intelligence agencies supposedly garnered from presumed scientists, who have defected from Baghdad. The person charged with “intelligence gathering” and story invention is Aras Habib Karim, Chalabi’s personal intelligence man.

Aras is a key player. He coordinates the Intelligence Collection Programme. He supervises and fabricates the “output” of the dissidents. He is a Shi’ite Kurd just under 50, extremely clever, consumately evil and a magician of double-cross and document forgery. But there is something peculiar about him. The CIA has long considered him an “Iranian agent.” A second key player is an American, Francis Brooke.

The bogus Italian dossier on the Niger uranium turns up [at the meeting] also—and we don’t know exactly why--because Chalabi is in possession of it.

The second article concerns SISMI's self-congratulation in helping subvert the Iraqi army before the invasion. The background is that the Italians had lots of links to the Iraqi military going back decades. Back in the old days, Iraqi officers would go to get their advanced military training in ... Italy! (That may explain a lot about the Iraqi army's performance in the wars of 1980-1988, 1991, and 2003). So, SISMI apparently infiltrated 20 men into Iraq a few months before the American invasion to report on the status of the Iraqi war machine and bribe Iraqi officers to surrender in return for money, American residency, and the like.

But, that effort produced an unwelcome side effect that had to be hushed up: it quickly emerged that no invasion was needed. Iraq had not WMDs and was utterly contained as a convention power.

What this [Italian] cabinet official [the reporters' source] does not say—what he cannot say— is that our military intelligence service--and therefore the Italian Government (similar to, Iraqi National Congress—and therefore the Pentagon), knows for certain as early as the month of January 2003 (and probably in December 2002) that there are no WMDs in the arsenals of Saddam Hussein. There is no nuclear weapon. There are no long-range missiles. There is no possibility of arming missile warheads with chemical or biological agents. There is only a military which does not want to engage the enemy and a General Staff waiting to surrender at the highest possible price.

And this is the most valuable information which the SISMI agents, integrated into SCIRI’s Shi’ite underground intelligence network led by Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Akim and Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress web of spies given to Coalition Unified Command in Doha. The Iraqi army is made out of paper- mâché and poorly armed—even for a small-scale conventional war, the consequences of the drawn-out war with Iran, the invasion of Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War, the long-lasting imposed no-fly zones, the embargo and the sanctions. In conversations between Italian agents and the Iraqi officers trained in Italian military academies, at Finmeccanica [Italian defense industry] and at Selenia [a defense communications company] who eventually became generals, demolishes any hypothesis of Saddam’s WMD with a sneer and a dismissive wave of the hand.

The Iraqi officers explain how their tanks and armored carriers are relics of the 1980-88 war with Tehran and lack spare parts. They are basically unusable pieces of junk. They reveal to our agents that Saddam’s Armed Forces, from the lowliest regiment to the General Staff, are completely demoralized, inadequately equipped and shoeless.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Italy since 1943

With Italy much in the news again (see below) because of its role in Libbygate and the Yellowcake Forgeries, it's worth reviewing in more detail the contemporary history of that country.

In the 20th Century, Italy seemed like a misfit. In an age of mass ideologies and mass armies, the Italian tastes for luxury, family, personal connections, bribery, and stealth (see Shakespeare's many plays set in Italy for the traditional English view of Italy) -- and consequent incompetence at large-scale organization -- made the country seem outmoded. Italy's attempt at mass-scale modernity, Fascism, seemed more like the exception that proved the rule that Italy wasn't cut out for the age of ideology. You'd have to live in a country where the trains didn't run on time to see an obvious popinjay like Mussolini as the wave of the future.

Fortunately, the era of mass ideologies and mass warfare is over (knock on wood), and our political vices are returning to the more human scale that the Italians have always found more congenial.

Most Americans feel a deep aversion toward conspiracy theories. To label something as a "conspiracy theory" is to dismiss it out of hand. Americans believe they believe in high-minded principles and believe their enemies believe in evil ideologies. Thus, when members of our government decided to respond to 9/11 by invading Iraq, lots of educated Americans suddenly decided that Osama and Saddam were united by their ideology of Islamofascism, thus justifying the Iraq Attaq. Nobody, including all the alleged Islamofascists, had ever heard of "Islamfofascism" before, but the term quickly became popular among certain classes of Americans. Suggestions that the various players in the Bush Administration were motivated by less principled reasons were denounced as conspiracy theories.

In Italy, in contrast, conspiracy theories are most people's preferred explanation for how the world works, for the simple reason that, in their part of the world, conspiracies are the main mechanism for actually getting anything done. The notion that political operators would favor something on principle seems laughable. The political is personal, in the sense that if you want to understand historical events, you need to understand the connections among the players.

We often heard before the Iraq Attaq that because the U.S. did such a good job reforming Germany and Japan after WWII, we were bound to do the same for Iraq. Strikingly, though, we never heard much about the long-term impact of the 1943 American invasion of western Sicily, which Patton rolled through so easily while Montgomery's British army struggled up the east coast.

The U.S. government long refused to release documents that could confirm or disprove the story that the military made a deal with the Sicilian-born mobster Lucky Luciano to ease the invasion, but Italian experts on the Sicilian mafia date that organization's comeback to 1943. When the Fascist state evaporated in Sicily, we needed to keep civil order without tying down scores of thousands of our troops. (Sound familiar?) So, we turned local control over to patriarchs of families not contaminated by ties to Fascism, men of respect within their own communities, friends who had friends who could keep things quiet and keep out the Communists: i.e., mafioso who had been lying low during Mussolini's crackdown on the mob. Some of this was naiveté on our part, some of it was rigged by well-connected individuals among the 15% of our invasion force that was of Sicilian descent, and some of it was realpolitik.

It worked, but the blowback lasted for at least 50 years. In recent decades, a few heroic Italian prosecutors and cops have made progress against the Sicilian mafia, but Italy remains a country where nothing is what it seems. It's not hard to get Italians to connive and conspire, but the U.S. also funded a lot of these Italian predilections during the Cold War.

he overwhelming importance of defeating our subsequent ideological foe during the Cold War caused the U.S. to tolerate, even subsidize, a lot of conspiratorial criminality in Italy, where the chance of a Communist takeover, by invasion, coup, or election was always fairly high. The Mafia's get-out-the-vote abilities in southern Italy made it a bulwark of the anti-Communist Christian Democrats, which we heavily subsidized. Our main man in Cold War Italy, Giulio Andreotti, seven times Prime Minister of Italy, has spent most of his retirement being tried for connections to the Mafia and murdering a scandal-mongering journalist.

In the north of Italy, NATO established a network of potential sleeper cells of armed, trained "stay-behind" resistance fighters who would sabotage any Soviet takeover (Operation Gladio). Very patriotic, but of course, being Italians, some of the conspirators weren't content to wait around until their country needed them and began to freelance on their own.

The late 1970s and early 1980s were the fever years in Italy, when the chance of a Communist takeover at the ballot box and leftwing kidnappings were at their peak. Bizarre events were common, such as the horrendous bombing of the Genoa train station, apparently by rightwingers, the hanging death of "the Pope's banker" Roberto Calvi, and the discovery, most ridiculous sounding of all, of the secret and sinister P2 Lodge of Free Masons to which much of the right of center Italian establishment apparently belonged.

All this seems very alien to most Americans. Yet a few Americans positively love to conspire, most notoriously Lee Harvey Oswald. Another inveterate plotter is NRO Contributing Editor and International Man of Mystery Michael Ledeen. Separating truth from fiction about Ledeen is hard, but a few things are agreed-upon, such as his role in initiating the Iran-Contra scandal that almost destroyed the Reagan Presidency and his central role in setting up the recent meetings in Europe, including Rome, between the Neocongate suspect Larry Franklin, fellow Feith operative Harold Rhode, Italian Intelligence agents (SISMI), and Ledeen's old collaborator from Iran-Contra, the notoriously unreliable Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar.

Ledeen spent most of his formative years in the late 1970s and very early 1980s in Italy, moving in CIA-related journalistic / intelligence circles. He was apparently a consultant for SISMI, the Italian Intelligence service, during those years. For an anti-Ledeen report on what he was supposedly up to during those years, see this, the accuracy of which I absolutely cannot vouch for.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

October 31, 2005

How along until the first Freakonomics argument against Alito?

It's only a matter of time until we start hearing that putting Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court would unleash a vast crime wave in 20 years by making abortion illegal.

By the way, if Samuel Alito of Trenton, NJ had been a lawyer for a notorious organized crime figure off-and-on during 1985-2000, do you think he would have been nominated for the Supreme Court? So, why didn't anybody object to Scooter Libby, longtime lawyer for notorious traitor and sanctions-buster Marc Rich, filling three positions simultaneously in the White House?

ABC News reported:

Dec. 1, 2004 — Former American fugitive Marc Rich was a middleman for several of Iraq's suspect oil deals in February 2001, just one month after his pardon from President Clinton, according to oil industry shipping records obtained by ABC News.

And a U.S. criminal investigation is looking into whether Rich, as well as several other prominent oil traders, made illegal payments to Iraq in order to obtain the lucrative oil contracts.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Rushton on ethnic nepotism

One of the great nonfiction books of the 20th Century is Pierre L. van den Berghe's The Ethnic Phenomenon of 1981, which showed how much of the conflict in the world is explainable in terms of "ethnic nepotism," a concept based on W.D. Hamilton's theory of kin selection.

Why do people care so much about who is related to whom? Because, as Hamilton's logic showed, that's toward whom they are more nepotistic (i.e., altruistic). In turn, ethnocentrism, nationalism, and racism are essentially the inevitable flip side of nepotism. If people discriminate in favor of their relatives, they are going to discriminate against their non-relatives.

As a sociologist, van den Berghe was not particularly concerned about whether co-ethnics were actually related to each other or whether they simply believed they are and thus behaved like they would expect relatives to behave toward each other.

With many nature-nurture questions like this, agnosticism about ultimate causes is often wisest. Without in-depth adoption and twin studies, it is very, very hard to disentangle whether a trait is inherited racially from your biological parents or ethnically from your social parents (since both kinds of parents are typically the same). For many practical and political questions, the more relevant issue is whether this racial and/or ethnic tendency is likely to stay roughly the same for a considerable number of years into the future.

Nonetheless, it's interesting to see if genetic relatedness among members of a racial group is strong enough to trigger the kin altruism that we see in smaller extended families. Frank Salter took the lead in researching this back in the 1990s.

Now, J.P. Rushton writes:

A paper showing a strong genetic contribution to patriotism and in-group loyalty was published in the October issue of Nations and Nationalism, entitled "Ethnic nationalism, evolutionary psychology, and genetic similarity theory."

[Based on Salter's analysis of Cavalli-Sforza's genetic data,] co-ethnics are as similar to each other as half-siblings when compared to all the genetic variation in the world. Two-random English people are the equivalent of 1/32 cousin by comparison with Germans; 3/8 cousin by comparison with people from the Near East; ½ cousin by comparison with people from India; half-siblings by comparison with people from China; and like full-sibs compared with people from Africa.

This is driven by in-breeding, which is routinely overlooked when discussing Hamilton's famous theory. Hamilton agreed with van den Berghe, but Hamilton's more outspoken colleagues such as Richard Dawkins have frequently pooh-poohed the idea of ethnic nepotism without coming to grips with the implications of in-breeding. Rushton writes:

In The Selfish Gene, Dawkins (1976) argued that the mathematics of kin selection soon made coefficients of relatedness, even between kin, vanishingly small. One example he offered was that Queen Elizabeth II, while a direct descendant of William the Conqueror (1066), is unlikely to share a single one of her ancestor’s genes... [In reality, however,] Elizabeth II is considerably more genetically similar to William the Conqueror than she is to an average person alive today.

Rushton continues in his summary:

The pull of genetic similarity was also found to be fine-tuned, operating within marriages, within friendships, and among acquaintances--and even within families following bereavement.

Studies of adoptees and also of identical and fraternal twins show the preferences for similarity is substantially heritable.

"Likeness leads to liking," said the study's author, J. Philippe Rushton, professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario. "People have a need to identify and be with others like themselves ('their own kind'). It is a powerful force in human affairs."

Rushton anchored the human preference for similarity in the evolutionary psychology of altruism, which suggests that favoritism toward kin and similar others evolved to help replicate shared genes. In-group loyalty is almost always seen as a virtue and extension of family loyalty. This explains why ethnic remarks are so easily taken as "fighting words."

The paper described the group-identification processes as innate--part of the evolved machinery of the human mind. Even very young children make in-group/out-group distinctions about race and ethnicity in the absence of social learning.

"Other than through evolution it is difficult to explain why people group themselves and others using social categories and why these categories assume such powerful emotional and evaluative overtones (including guilt, empathy, self-esteem, relief at securing a group identity, and distress at losing it)."

The politics of ethnic identity are increasingly replacing the politics of class as the major threat to the stability of nations.

Although social scientists and historians have been quick to condemn the extent to which political leaders or would-be leaders have been able to manipulate ethnic identity, the question they never ask, let alone attempt to answer is, "Why is it always so easy?"

The answer lies in the fact that the aggregate of genes people share with their fellow ethnics dwarfs those they share with their extended families. Rather than being a mere poor relation of family nepotism, ethnic nepotism is virtually a proxy for it.

Now, I haven't seen the paper. So, here are a few ill-informed caveats:

- Enthusiasts for this idea, such as mathematical geneticist Henry Harpending (whose conversion to the idea of ethnic nepotism being a genetically driven phenomenon a few years ago provided some of the recent impetus), have a tendency to slightly over-estimate the relatedness levels for a technical reason I'll skip over here.

- Another issue is how genes for this kind of racial altruism could evolve. While not simple, I don't think this is an insuperable problem. It's easy to imagine tendencies evolving like "Feel more altruistic and trusting toward people who speak the same language as you." Or "Be more trusting of people you grew up around, and of people who grew up around the people you grew up around, and so forth." This can create a long chain of cousins and other relatives.

- As the success of infant adoption shows, humans don't seem to have built-in fool-proof mechanisms for identifying genetic kin. What we seem to have built-in are rules of thumb like, if you grew up in the same home as her, don't be attracted to her because she's probably your sister. Or if you grew up with him, feel altruistic toward him because he's probably your brother. It's hardly impossible to hypothesize broader built in rules of thumb, like trust people you can talk to more than people you can't talk to because you don't share a common language.

- Finally, it's crucial to keep in mind that nepotism has its flip side. You can call it "sibling rivalry" or, as one of my readers suggested: "neposchism." While we feel more altruistically toward people more related to us genetically, they also are often our greatest rivals for resources, such as inheritances. Thus, we are more likely to go to war with our racial neighbors, but we are also more likely to team up with them.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The Scooter Libby-Marc Rich connection

As I pointed out on Friday, you can make a lot of money being a mob lawyer, but in return you normally have to sacrifice your ambitions for positions of power and trust in the government. Nobody would allow John Gotti's lawyer to become "Dick Cheney's Dick Cheney," but, until very recently, there were few vocal objections to I. Lewis Libby, the long-time lawyer for world-class mobster Marc Rich, being a key player in the White House for the last half decade. Why the double standard?

Jim Pinkerton writes in Newsday:

... Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York flailed at Libby, declaring the alleged actions of Vice President Dick Cheney's now-former chief of staff to be "reprehensible."

Clinton must be careful, however, because Libby's past legal career is closely intertwined with her husband's presidency. During the 1980s and 1990s, Libby was a lawyer for Marc Rich.

And if you don't remember Marc Rich, you will be reminded of him soon enough. He's the American financier who skipped out of the United States in 1983, one step ahead of a $48-million tax bill and a 51-count indictment for various skullduggeries, including trading with Iran amidst the American hostage crisis. As Rich's lawyer over the next two decades, Libby collected, by his own estimate, some $2 million in fees.

Wait, there's more. In January 2001, outgoing President Bill Clinton gave Rich a pardon. Interestingly, Rich's ex-wife, Denise, donated more than a million dollars to Democratic causes around then, including $70,000 to Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign and $450,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

Libby denied having anything to do with the pardon effort, but admitted he had called Rich on January 22, 2001 - which is to say, after he started working for Cheney - to congratulate him on his getting off. And Libby's powerful presence inside the White House - his title was assistant to George W. Bush as well chief of staff to Cheney - might help explain why the incoming Bush administration failed to pursue obvious threads of corruption trailing out of President Clinton's pardon of Rich and other dubious figures.

For his part, Rich shows no signs of behaving better. Still wheeling and dealing out of Switzerland, he is a featured nogoodnik in the new UN report on Saddam Hussein and the UN's corrupt Oil for Food program. Which is to say, investigators might wish to look into any continuing Libby-Rich links.

Back in 2001, Clinton wrote in the NYT to explain his pardon of Rich:

7) the case for the pardons was reviewed and advocated not only by my former White House counsel Jack Quinn but also by three distinguished Republican attorneys: Leonard Garment, a former Nixon White House official; William Bradford Reynolds, a former high-ranking official in the Reagan Justice Department; and Lewis Libby, now Vice President Cheney's chief of staff;

After first scoffing at Clinton's citation of Libby's involvement, Byron York changed his tune in National Review Online after he listened to Libby's testimony:

Bad Night for the GOP: Lewis Libby comes to Marc Rich’s defense.

March 2, 2001 8:55 a.m.

Lewis Libby, a top Republican lawyer who is now vice president Dick Cheney's chief of staff, told the House Government Reform Committee last night that he agreed with much of Bill Clinton's widely discredited op-ed article outlining the former president's reasons for pardoning fugitive tax evader Marc Rich.

In a session that stretched late into the evening, Libby, who represented Rich for several years ending in the spring of 2000, told the committee he believes Rich is not guilty of the tax and racketeering charges filed by federal prosecutors in 1983. Libby also said he "quite possibly" would have considered applying for a pardon for Rich had Rich asked him to do so.

Libby, who said his law firms collected as much as $2 million for representing Rich, testified he had nothing to do with the application that led to clemency for Rich. He declined to say whether he approved of the decision to pardon Rich, but he conceded that he called Rich on January 22, two days after the pardon, to "congratulate him on having reached a result that he had sought for a long time." Libby testified he made the call from his home to make clear that he was calling in a personal capacity, and not as a representative of the Bush administration.

In a particularly damaging exchange with Pennsylvania Democrat Paul Kanjorski , Libby agreed that Rich might be characterized as a traitor for fleeing the country and renouncing his American citizenship. Kanjorski asked Libby why he would call a traitor to congratulate him on his good fortune in winning a pardon. Visibly uncomfortable, Libby had no answer.

For Republicans, Libby's testimony was a sour endnote to what had been a long day of revelations that made President Clinton's decision to pardon Rich seem even more inexplicable than previously thought.

Pinkerton served in the Reagan and first Bush White Houses, but I think he's being naive to think that the Libby-Rich connection will be given much of an airing in the press. They've had close to five years to discuss it and it's never gotten any traction.

Why not?

Clinton argued in defense of his pardon for Rich:

(8) finally, and importantly, many present and former high-ranking Israeli officials of both major political parties and leaders of Jewish communities in America and Europe urged the pardon of Mr. Rich because of his contributions and services to Israeli charitable causes, to the Mossad's efforts to rescue and evacuate Jews from hostile countries, and to the peace process through sponsorship of education and health programs in Gaza and the West Bank.

That appears to be plausible. Newsweek's Michael Isikoff broke a story in August 2001 based on transcripts of phone conversations between Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak:

Barak first raised the issue with Clinton on Dec. 11, 2000, the same day Jack Quinn, Rich's newly hired lawyer (and former Clinton White House counsel) submitted a thick pardon application that included a personal letter from Rich's ex-wife Denise requesting the pardon be granted.

In that first conversation, Barak described Rich as a "Jewish American businessman" who was "making a lot of philanthropic contributions to Israeli institutions and activities like education."

Barak acknowledged that Rich had "violated certain rules of the game in the United States." But "I just wanted to let you know that here he is highly appreciated," the Israeli leader said. Clinton was not caught off guard by the information. "I know about the case because I know his ex-wife. She wants to help him, too. If your ex-wife wants to help you, that's good."

Barak raised the issue of a Rich pardon a second time on Jan. 8, 2001, with less than two weeks left in Clinton's presidency. "I believe it could be important (gap) not just financially, but he helped Mossad [the Israeli intelligence agency] on more than one case." [The word "gap" is typically used when note-takers cannot make out a garbled word or sentence.]

Clinton, who described the case as "bizarre," warned Barak: "It's best that we not say much about that." "Okay, I'm not mentioning it anyplace," Barak said.

In their third conversation, on Jan. 19, transcripts show the two leaders spoke by phone for 22 minutes, between 2:47 p.m. and 3:09 p.m., and that it was Clinton and not Barak who raised the Rich matter that afternoon.

"I'm trying to do something on clemency for Rich, but it is very difficult," Clinton said. "Might it move forward?" Barak asked. The president ruminated about the problems he was facing.

"I'm working on that, but I'm not sure. There's nothing illegal about it, but there's no precedent. He was overseas when he was indicted and never came home."

Clinton concluded that the question "is not whether he should get it or not, but whether he should get it without coming back here. That's the dilemma I'm working through."

The Forward newspaper of New York (formerly the Jewish Daily Forward), which provides better coverage of this kind of issue than the mainstream media, reported in 2003:

Marc Rich, the pardoned tax fugitive, has given away more than $100 million in the last two decades, according to an elegant, hard-bound history of his philanthropic work issued recently by his foundation.

It turns out, though, that even if recipients returned every penny, it still might not be enough to settle his tax bill. New York state tax authorities told the Forward that a two-year-old warrant seeking $137 million from Rich in unpaid state taxes and fines remains outstanding.

The billionaire financier is best known as the recipient of a controversial January 2001 pardon from then-president Bill Clinton. Rich had fled the United States for Europe in 1983 shortly before a grand jury indicted him on charges that he and his associates plotted to evade $48 million in federal taxes and violated sanctions against Iran while Americans were being held hostage there.

But the Switzerland-based Rich Foundation for Education, Culture and Welfare is highlighting another side of Rich's activities during the last two decades. In recent months, it has mailed out approximately 1,000 copies of a hard-bound, 105-page commemorative book detailing 20 years of Rich's charitable work. The book has been sent to other foundations, non-profit organizations and journalists around the world, said Avner Azulay, the Rich Foundation's Israel-based managing director, in an e-mail to the Forward.

Between 1981 and 2001, Rich's foundations gave approximately $115 million to nearly 1,200 organizations in more than 50 countries, according to the book. The majority of Rich's giving — $60.2 million — has been in Israel, where he has funded a diverse array of cultural, educational, social welfare and Jewish-Arab coexistence projects. Rich has also given widely to both Jewish and non-Jewish causes in Latin America and Europe, and he donated $395,000 to fund projects, such as public-health efforts, in the Palestinian territories....

Azulay, a former Mossad agent, said that questions about Rich's legal issues and personal matters are "irrelevant to the Rich Foundation's activity, before or after the pardon." Rich did not reply to an e-mail seeking comment.

One of Rich's most prominent gifts was to Birthright Israel, the $210 million Jerusalem-based partnership between Jewish communities around the world, the Israeli government and Diaspora Jewish philanthropists that has brought 40,000 young Jews on trips to Israel since 2000. As one of its philanthropic partners, Rich pledged $5 million to the program.

Rich, who has renounced his American citizenship, has been more modest in his giving to programs in the United States — such gifts total only $3.7 million...

Only 17 American Jewish groups and institutions are listed in the commemorative book as having received funding for American-based projects, including, among others, several yeshivas, the Center for Jewish History in New York and the Anti-Defamation League.

Rich's giving, and the suspicion that it contributed to the willingness of prominent American Jews and Israeli officials to support his clemency effort, sparked an uproar in some segments of the American Jewish community.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, blasted those who had supported Rich's pardon appeal after accepting his money. Writing in a February 2001 opinion article, the Reform leader argued that the fugitive's supporters "were bought" by his philanthropy.

Prominent individuals associated with Birthright Israel wrote to the president urging him to pardon Rich. So did the ADL's national director, Abraham Foxman, whose organization received $250,000 from Rich. Foxman later declared at a press conference that it had "probably" been a mistake to lobby Clinton for the pardon...

A new round of publicity regarding the pardon appeared to be avoided late last month, when U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler upheld the right of the Bush administration to deny public access to records on the 177 pardons and commutations Clinton approved on his last day in office.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Spittle-emitting Iranian President screeches:

Muslim states' armies stand behind the Palestinians in their struggle with the Israeli Defense Force to eradicate the Zionist Entity!!!! (Or words to that the effect.)

Well, to be precise, the armies of the Muslim world stand behind the front lines with Israel, hundreds and hundreds of miles behind the front lines. And "stand" might be not be quite the mot juste . Perhaps, a more descriptive term than "stand" would be "recline," "stretch out," "get comfy," or "snooze in their barracks."

I mean, be honest, if you were some Muslim general, would you want to tangle with the IDF? Getting your butt kicked gets olds really fast. Been there, done that in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982. And then the Soviets collapsed so all thier old Red Army equipment is rusting. Israeli regional military supremacy is only getting more overwhelming.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Nominate Patrick Fitzgerald for the Supreme Court?

Columnist Jim Pinkerton wonders if Bush might not try to kill two birds with one stone by nominating his Administration's nemesis, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, to the Supreme Court.

One of the more likely possibilities, Michael Luttig, is interesting because his father was murdered by a 17-year-old black carjacker in 1994. It would be fun to see the Democrats bring up that case to use against him!

The NYT wrote about the murderer, the middle-class son of a local politician:

"He said that as a light-skinned black teenager with lots of white friends he felt that stepping into the drug world helped him fit in with some black teenagers in town." "When I started selling crack," Beazley says, "it was like 'I'm cool, I can fit in.' I didn't want to be shunned by the black community, I guess you could say. That's a sad thing to say."


My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The Slow Suicide (a.k.a. Bushicide) of the GOP

The Slow Suicide (a.k.a. Bushicide) of the GOP: My new VDARE column is up. An excerpt:

In states where young white couples make enough money to buy a house with a yard in a neighborhood with a decent public school, they are more likely to get married and more likely to have more children. And where you find lots of white married couples with lots of children, you'll find lots of Republican voters.

So you might think that the Bush Administration would promote policies making family formation more affordable for its political base. But the latest government data suggest that it is accomplishing the opposite...

Now the National Center for Health Statistics has released its "Preliminary Births for 2004" report. And it's more apparent than ever that the demographic trend is not the GOP's friend.

For example, illegitimate births grew 3.8 percent in just one year to a new record of 1,470,000 in 2004. That's 35.7 percent of all births, up from 34.6 percent in 2003.

Among non-Hispanic whites, the illegitimacy rate rose to 24.5 percent...

The President has repeatedly assured us, "Family values don't stop at the Rio Grande River." Yet the U.S. Hispanic illegitimacy rate rose from 45.0 percent to 46.4 percent.

Sure, Latinos are assimilating—but they are assimilating toward African-American norms. The illegitimacy rate is actually higher for American-born Hispanics than for immigrant Hispanics. (Which doesn't bode well for the future crime rate.)

The GOP won 58 percent of the white vote in 2004. It gets about nine out of every ten of its votes from whites.

So it's not good news for Republicans that the number of babies born to white women dropped by 18,000 last year to 2.303 million, because:

- Having babies (legitimately) encourages whites to vote Republican.

- Judging from past elections, white babies are about twice as likely to grow up to vote Republican as are nonwhite babies.

White women accounted for only 56.0 percent of all births in the U.S. last year, down from 56.7 percent in 2003.

The total fertility rate, or expected lifetime number of babies, among white women in their childbearing years fell from 1.87 to 1.85.

That's about 1/8th below the replacement rate at which a demographic group can maintain a stable size.

In contrast, the number of babies born to Hispanic women grew by 33,000 (or 3.6 percent in one year) to 945,000, or 23.0% of all births. (Latinos make up only about 14 percent of all residents, and 6.0 percent of all voters.)

The Hispanic total fertility rate rose from 2.79 to 2.82.


My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Brent Staples gazes at his genetic navel

The NYT editorial writer who is obsessed with his genealogy has ponied up for the DNAPrint Genomics racial admixture test (AncestryByDNA) and tells us about the results in "Why Race Isn't as 'Black' and 'White' as We Think:"

I've known all this for a long time, and was not surprised by the results of a genetic screening performed by DNAPrint Genomics, a company that traces ancestral origins to far-flung parts of the globe. A little more than half of my genetic material came from sub-Saharan Africa - common for people who regard themselves as black - with slightly more than a quarter from Europe.

The result that knocked me off my chair showed that one-fifth of my ancestry is Asian. Poring over the charts and statistics, I said out loud, "This has got to be a mistake."

That's a common response among people who are tested.

There's a reason for that: at the individual level, there are a lot of dubious results, as DNAPrint's own FAQ admits. Staples goes on:

Ostensibly white people who always thought of themselves as 100 percent European find they have substantial African ancestry. People who regard themselves as black sometimes discover that the African ancestry is a minority portion of their DNA. These results are forcing people to re-examine the arbitrary calculations our culture uses to decide who is "white" and who is "black."

Actually, although individuals with anomalous results get a lot of publicity (for example, back in 2002 I gullibly wrote up DNAPrint technical advisor Mark D. Shriver's claim to be 22% black even though he'd always though he was all white-- he has since retracted that), when you look at a large number of people, the vast majority turn out to be what they think they are. About 90% of people who call themselves African-American are at least half black by ancestry and practically nobody who calls himself white is over 10% African.

Staples daydreams:

Which brings me back to my Asian ancestry. It comes as a surprise, given that my family's oral histories contain not a single person who is described as Asian. More testing on other family members should clarify the issue, but for now, I can only guess. This ancestry could well have come through a 19th-century ancestor who was incorrectly described as Indian, often a catchall category at the time.

But, to be close to 20% Asian, Staples would need at least three of his 16 great-great-grandparents to have been full-blooded Asians passing, for inexplicable reasons, as American Indians (that would put him at 18.75% Asian). If the Asian genes came from just one part of his family tree, then one of his grandparents would have to be over 3/4th Asian, which would likely be noticeable..Considering how much he studies his family tree, the odds of this being true are remote.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The new American Conservative issue of Nov. 7th

Here's what's online at

Superpower Showdown
By James P. Pinkerton
America needs a new strategy for dealing with China, a country we can’t contain and can’t afford to fight.

Bad For You Too?
By Leon Hadar
Israel expected the Iraq War to disarm one enemy. Instead it has created others.

Border Bait and Switch
By W. James Antle III
Open-borders advocates hide their true colors.

Forging the Case for War
By Philip Giraldi
The Plame case may go beyond the outing of a CIA agent to the fabrication of the documents that led us to invade Iraq.

Broken Homes,
Broken Children
By Mary Eberstadt
Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce by Elizabeth Marquardt

Burn What You Worshipped
By Patrick J. Buchanan
The Battle for Trafalgar Square

Statesman and Swordsman
By Taki
Duff Cooper in love and war

Try 5 FREE Issues of
The American Conservative Today

And what's not online includes:

How I Became A Conservative
By Roger Scruton
During the Paris unrest of ’68, a young man discovers himself—and Edmund Burke—on the other side of the barricades.

The Miller’s Tale
By Justin Raimondo
Judith Miller didn’t go to jail on principle but to protect Chalabi.

The Bullets Are Working
By R.J. Stove
The Awful End of Prince William the Silent: The First Assassination of a Head of State With a Handgun
by Lisa Jardine

Family Man in Babylon
By Clark Stooksbury
Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer
by Scott Eyman

Fourteen Days: O’Connor’s Successor; Bush’s First Veto: Torture Restrictions; Boy Meets Girl Meets Girl

Deep Background: Yelling Terrorism in a Crowded Subway; Syria’s Reprieve

A Woman’s Place Is in the Mine
By Steve Sailer
Charlize Theron in “North Country”

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer