One encouraging sign is seeing highly ethnocentric Jewish intellectuals such as Charles Krauthammer, Paul Krugman, and Stanley Kurtz losing their traditional etnic nostalgic commitment to open borders over the last year or so. There have long been Jewish writers who have been immigration skeptics, such as the late Theodore White (of "Making of the President") and, more recently, Mickey Kaus and Robert Samuelson, but they've tended to be the less ethnocentric, more citizenist. So, something new may be happening.
June 2, 2007
A reader writes regarding the news that the former Florida governor Jeb Bush's politically ambitious son George P. Bush (whom George W. Bush has nicknamed "44" to go along with his being "43" and his father "41") has joined the Naval Reserve as an Intelligence officer:
As The Simpsons put it: "The Naval Reserve:
Gotta give Bush 44 (ugh) credit for cleverness. There is not an easier way to get "military service" on your resume then as a Naval reserve intelligence officer. I know at least one congressman (Mark Kirk of Illinois) has already taken this path. And of course Jack Kennedy would have spent World War II in Georgetown as an intelligence officer but for the FBI discovering he was having an affair with a suspected Nazi spy. Instead of being bounced from the Navy, his father arranged that he be sent to a war zone (but for his reckless libido, he never would have been a war hero)
What's curious is that George P. Bush is an attorney, so the best use of his skills in the reserves would be as an Army National Guard (or Army Reserve) JAG )Judge Advocate General) officer-- the Army is the only service that lets lawyers serve as JAG officers without already having served active duty. But the Army has a disconcerting habit of sending its reservists to Iraq and, after Jessica Lynch's captain screwed up a convoy and got people killed, the Army has required every officer (excluding chaplains and doctors) to go through at least several weeks of infantry training. That can't possibly be fun.
The Navy Reserve, that's the life. I was thinking of joining the reserves as a JAG officer a few years ago and I learned about NRIP--- the Naval Reserve Intelligence Program. On a continuum of difficulty of military training--- if Navy Seal training is the toughest, NRIP is clearly the easiest. High school football players train harder. In your first year, active duty training is two weeks of Direct Commission Officer School. A knife and fork school that basically teaches you the difference between the uniforms you must salute and the ones you should expect a salute from. Oh and the two weeks is business weeks, its 10 days of training.
After that rigorous ordeal, you'll need to take a breather. You go home and attend drills once a month, study at home for a year and then do two more two weeks of intelligence training. The home study course is hardly top secret-- its online.
That's it for your active duty training. At that point you serve two weeks a year at a Navy base or an aircraft carrier. The unit closest to me sent people to the NATO European naval headquarters--- two weeks a year on Uncle Sam's dime in a backwater English town called London. 8 years later, after you've had your fill of the West End nightlife, you get an honorable discharge and run for office on your military record.
If I hadn't gotten that sleep apnea diagnosis (at the time, it meant an automatic fail in the Navy physical), I probably would have joined. Of course, the military gives medical waivers all the time now and since the Navy Reserve take people up to 42, I still have a few years to decide if I ever want to go into politics.
The noblesse just aren't as obligeing as they used to be.
June 1, 2007
In the WSJ, the former Florida Governor, along with discredited ex-RNC head Ken Mehlman, drags out the Pete Wilson myth to explain why the Republican Party needs the Kennedy-Bush bill. No mention of Jeb's highly ambitious half-Mexican son George P. Bush, whom George W. Bush calls "44", needing a new improved electorate to better his chances of carrying on the Bush dynasty.
By the way, George P. has finally shown a little noblesse oblige and joined the military. Well, kind of sort of. He signed up for the Naval Reserve.
To show how a real hereditary royal family works, Mayor Daley of Chicago's son Patrick, who is about the same age as George P., enlisted as private in the Army back in 2004 after getting his U. of Chicago MBA. He's now with the 82nd Airborne.
Fortunately, most of the [Kennedy-Bush] reform proposals represent a very good deal for
There are three Mexican objections to the bill as it stands.
First, it has unduly harsh enforcement provisions at the border and the workplace, which will undoubtedly generate abuses and mistreatment. Still, if every Mexican in the
A second objectionable feature is the steep fines and fees in the Senate bill: up to $5,000. While this is not cheap, it’s also not much more than the “coyote” charges to smuggle a migrant across the border.
The last objection is more substantive; it is, in fact, a potential deal breaker.
Uh, Mr. Castaneda, I was under the impression that the bill was under consideration by the United States Senate. Under the Constitution,
The Senate voted last week to cut the number of guest worker slots to 200,000 from 400,000. The earlier figure would have allowed roughly the same number of workers who now cross illegally to obtain guest status. But if the final law has too few slots, it will not end illegal immigration, but simply perpetuate the status quo.
What’s good for
What's good for
By the way, here are three more interesting things about Castañeda that I only learned last year from Fredo Arias-King even though I read almost everything about Castaneda published in English back in 2000-2001, when he became Vicente Fox's foreign minister.
1. He is known in Mexican newspapers "as 'El Guero' ('the Blond One') for his fair complexion."
2. His Soviet mother was an employee of Stalin's government when his father met her.
In 2002, Bianca Vazquez Toness wrote in the
"His father, PRI member Jorge Castañeda de la Rosa, was once foreign minister. His mother, a Russian Jew and naturalized Mexican, met her husband while working as a translator at the U.N. in
His doctorate gave him clout upon returning to
3. Castaneda's chief advisor while he was Foreign Minister was his Soviet-born older half-brother, Ambassador-at-Large Andres Rozental, who is his mother's son by a previous marriage. Rozental personally advised
Isn't it remarkable how little the American press tells us about the men who have run
May 31, 2007
One of the few positive surprises in the Kennedy-Bush immigration bill is the slow phasing in of a Canadian-style points system intended to bring in more skilled legal immigrants by cutting back on nepotistic chain migration. Reunification bonus points for Of course, that's exactly the part of the bill that Democrats such as Barack Obama have zeroed in on to criticize. As Your Lying Eyes pointed out, Obama proclaimed:
But the most disturbing aspect of this bill is the point system for future immigrants. As currently drafted, it does not reflect how much Americans value the family ties that bind people to their brothers and sisters or to their parents.”
“As I understand it, a similar point system is used in Australia and Canada and is intended to attract immigrants who can help produce more goods. But we need to consider more than economics; we also need to consider our nation's unique history and values and what family-based preferences are designed to accomplish. As currently structured, the points system gives no preference to an immigrant with a brother or sister or even a parent who is a United States citizen unless the immigrant meets some minimum and arbitrary threshold on education and skills.”
“That’s wrong and fails to recognize the fundamental morality of uniting Americans with their family members. It also places a person’s job skills over his character and work ethic. How many of our forefathers would have measured up under this point system? How many would have been turned back at Ellis Island?”
“I have cosponsored an amendment with Senator Menendez to remove that arbitrary minimum threshold of points before family starts to count and to bump up the points for family ties.”
“And at the appropriate time, I will be offering another amendment with Senator Menendez, to sunset the points system in the bill. The proposed point system constitutes, at a minimum, a radical experiment in social engineering and a departure from our tradition of having family and employers invite immigrants to come.
Let's not try to make the current immigration system more rational because that would constitute "a radical experiment in social engineering"!!! Whereas the effects of the current free-for-all are downright Burkean.
The thing that makes Obama so dangerous is his mastery of conservative rhetoric -- "a radical experiement in social engineering" -- that he deploys shamelessly to advance his own leftist and/or idiosyncratically personal obsessions, combined with how his charisma interacts with white American fantasies about racial transcendence to inspire the He Understands Us! response that De Gaulle mastered to get enormous power put in his hands. Well, yeah, sure, Obama understands us. Foxes understand hens, too.
One obvious distinction that is lost in this kind of demagoguery is that the proposed changes would retain "nuclear family reunification" (spouses and minor children) while cutting back on "extended family reunification" (siblings, parents, and adult children). Although Hillary and Barack have been rattling on about how America is built on family values, the reality is that traditional American culture values nuclear families (e.g., Ozzie and Harriet) and is suspicious of extended families (e.g., the Corleones).
Extended family reunification has been bad for low-skilled Americans, especially African-Americans, who have very little chance to get hired by by nepotistic immigrant entrepreneurs, who would rather import their low-skilled relatives. As you travel about the country, notice how few American blacks work in immigrant-owned businesses versus how many African-Americans work in big national chains (e..g, Hertz, Marriot, Ruby Tuesday, etc.)
Of course, driving African Americans out of New York City and replacing them with more docile immigrants has been long one of the covert reasons for the media enthusiasm for the current immigration arrangement.
However, with Obama, everything is personal. His biggest motivator is his enormous personal ambition. He chose ethnic politics as his career, so helping African-Americans get ahead in the market place isn't all that interesting to him because he is a politician and is rewarded for delivering tax money and favors.
Second, his unknown African extended family has always played a much more idealized role in his emotional life than his white semi-nuclear family that actually raised him.
The son of a bigamous marriage between an 18-year-old Kansas girl and a Kenyan who quickly abandoned her, grew up, as he details at vast length in his 1995 autobiography Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, fantasizing about the love of his African extended family and resenting his white mother. He has approximately a half dozen half-siblings by his father. Some of them, such as his beloved alcoholic half-brother Roy (who now calls himself Abongo after converting to Islam and Afrocentrism) might have trouble qualifying for immigration under a rational system designed to benefit American citizens. In contrast, Obama's half-brother Mark, a physicist whom Obama cut off all contact with because he rejects Obama's Afrocentrism, is exactly the kind of skilled individual who would be chosen under the rational Canadian-style immigration system that Obama opposes.
Scott Rasmussen gets it. This pollster can really write, too.
Just 16% Believe Senate Bill Will Reduce Illegal Immigration
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
There’s a simple reason the immigration bill being debated by the U.S. Senate is unpopular with voters—the general public doesn’t believe it will reduce illegal immigration. And, in the minds of most voters, that’s what immigration reform is all about.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 16% of American voters believe illegal immigration will decline if the Senate bill is passed. Seventy-four percent (74%) disagree. That figure includes 41% who believe the Senate bill will actually lead to an increase in illegal immigration.
If voters had a chance to improve the legislation, 75% would “make changes to increase border security measures and reduce illegal immigration.” Just 29% would” make it easier for illegal immigrants to stay in the country and eventually become citizens.”
Voters who believe that the current bill will succeed in reducing illegal immigration favor its passage by a 51% to 31% margin. Those who believe the bill will lead to even more illegal immigration oppose its passage by a 70% to 12% margin.
Overall, despite a major push by the President and others over the past week, support for the Senate bill has not increased at all. In polling conducted last night (Tuesday, May 29), 26% of voters favor passage of the bill. That’s unchanged from the 26% support found in polling conducted the previous Monday and Tuesday. Forty-eight percent (48%) of voters remain opposed.
Eighty-one percent (81%) of American voters are closely following news stories about the issue, including 37% who are following it Very Closely. Those with the highest interest in the issue oppose the legislation by a 3-to-1 margin (69% to 23%). By a 55% to 15% margin, those following the story Very Closely believe the bill will lead to increased levels of illegal immigration.
Unaffiliated voters are now more opposed to the bill than either Republicans or Democrats. Among those who don’t identify with either of the major parties, 22% support the Senate bill while 57% are opposed.
Some supporters of the bill have tried to suggest it is politically popular by citing polling data for selected features of the bill. However, President Bush yesterday implicitly acknowledged the strong public opposition to the bill by stating that elected officials will need political “courage” to pass the measure. Senator Jon Kyl (R), a major supporter of the legislation, acknowledged in interviews that the lack of support measured by Rasmussen Reports is an accurate reflection of the public mood.
Rasmussen Reports polling, like that of other firms, has found that Americans may be willing to accept a compromise proposal that includes legalizing the status of the 12 million illegal aliens already living in the United States. Sixty-five percent (65%) said they would accept such a compromise provided that it accomplished the primary goal of reducing illegal immigration. However, arguing about the nuances of amnesty, guest-worker programs and other provisions will do nothing to build popular support without proof that the government is serious about controlling the border.
Seventy-two percent (72%) of voters believe it is Very Important for “the government to improve its enforcement of the borders and reduce illegal immigration.”
Many times, voters doubt that reasonable alternatives exist. But, 68% of Americans believe it is possible to reduce illegal immigration while just 20% disagree. A New York Times/CBS News poll found a similar result--82% believe the federal government could do more to reduce illegal immigration.
The belief that the issue could be addressed adds to the frustration of those who oppose the Senate bill. Sixty-six percent (66%) believe it doesn't make sense to debate new immigration laws until we can first control our borders and enforce existing laws.
Other recent surveys have found that Senator John McCain (R), a strong proponent of the Senate bill, has slipped to third place in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination. President Bush’s Job Approval ratings have fallen to the lowest levels of his Administration since the immigration debate began dominating the news.
Presumably, his career has been helped along by being a twofer -- he's one of these new-fangled Mexican-Americans and he's a traditional preppie WASP Old Boy at the same time!
On paper, he sounds like a plausible Democratic nominee in 2008. To win, the Democrats don't seem to need to gamble on a high-risk candidate like the irascible Hillary or the sometimes brilliant but moody and self-absorbed Obama. They just need a guy who won't blow it for them. And yet,
Obama, who wrote a 442 page thematic autobiography about his being psychologically tortured by his lifelong resentment of his mother's race, is praised by people who obviously haven't read his book for being the "post-racial" man "comfortable in his own skin" who "transcends race." Ironically, all those phrases would seem to fit the sunny, glad-handing
Running for President,
Other times, Richardson sounds like the Washington insider he is.
He ends up seeming phony, which, combined with some veracity problems (e.g., he always claimed he was drafted by a big league baseball team, but he wasn't) and New Mexico's reputation as the Louisiana of the desert when it comes to crooked politicos, isn't helping his campaign.
The only other prominent American I can think of who was high WASP and Mexican (assuming the President's nephew George P. Bush is not a prominent American yet) was the CIA's paranoid genius spymaster James Jesus Angleton. (Matt Damon played him as a dull WASP in last year's oddly intentionally-less-interesting-than reality Robert De Niro movie "The Good Shepherd.") Angleton's father was a cavalry officer in Pershing's 1917 punitive expedition into Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa and his mother was a 17-year-old Mexican society beauty. Angleton was raised mostly in Italy where his father was an NCR executive and attended prep school in England.
Michael Barone and friends like to argue that Hispanics are the new Italians, that Latinos will follow the path into the middle class blazed by Italians Real Soon Now. This might be a more persuasive argument if there hadn't been sizable Hispanic populations in
In an early VDARE.com column, I wrote in 2000:
The seldom-remarked links between economic equality (Liberals Like) and ethnic homogeneity (Liberals No Like) are made clear by the data displayed in a recent study by two left-of-center think tanks, the Economic Policy Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. For all 50 states, they divided the average household income of the top 20% of the population to that of the bottom 20%.
but to just consider the income of the lowest 20%. Personally, it's fine with me if the rich get richer, but it's the poor getting poorer part I'm not crazy about.
Now, it's important to note that the Hispanics of New Mexico are by no means all recent immigrants: the conquistadors founded
Nonetheless, the Hispanics of New Mexico have yet to assimilate well. An
May 30, 2007
The results of 159 years of Hispanic assimilation in
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to immigration. Last week this is what all the newspapers said. “The Senate’s compromise immigration bill is forcing the presidential candidates to confront a divisive issue. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson praised the bill. ‘This legislation makes a good start” towards “re-securing our Southern border.’” A few days later this headline appeared. “Hispanic presidential hopeful confronts immigration debate. On Wednesday
GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, no, this is what happened. I was announcing for president, and the day before, I saw a summary of a bill that had been proposed in the Senate. ... The bill is then presented, and I read it the next day, and it contained some problems.
He realized after reading the the 300+ page bill that his initial reaction had been wrong? What a flip-flopper!
(Of course, I don't actually believe
MR. RUSSERT: But let’s go through the resume a little bit. First, there’s governor of
GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, Tim, let me just say that we’ve made enormous progress in all of those areas. [More]
He's been governor for five whole years and he hasn't yet turned turn New Mexicans into Minnesotans? What a loser!
The press is obsessed with political horse races and bored with long-term realities. Yet, the pervasive, unchanging mediocrity of
Despite being one of the four
Jim Pinkerton writes in Newsday:
'Those who are looking to find fault with this bill will always be able to find something." That was George W. Bush at his press conference Thursday, defending his proposed immigration legislation. He didn't quite say to critics, "Bring 'em on" - but was close enough to get this critic going.
Of course, the president immediately went on to laud the "comprehensive" virtues of his bill, urging its congressional enactment. But if we examine the legislation, we will indeed see plenty of faults - such that "comprehensive" becomes a catalog of costly flaws. As the old business joke goes, "We lose money on each sale - but that's OK, because we make it up on volume!" [More]
From my upcoming review in The American Conservative:
Musicals won six Best Picture Oscars in the 1950s and 1960s, but only one since ("
Common as this criticism is, it's a rather unpersuasive explanation because we remain perfectly happy with many other implausible artistic conventions. We seldom scoff that a novel's omniscient third person narrator presumes a point of view that only God enjoys; that stage plays are ridiculous because normal people don't converse in complete sentences while all facing toward an invisible fourth wall; or that, unlike in sitcoms, families don't actually sit around in vast living rooms cracking wise.
If lack of realism truly is the cause of the musical's decline, then "Once," a tiny Irish musical written and directed by John Carney, should win box office success comparable to the enthusiasm it has inspired in critics. "Once" overcomes this common objection by giving its hero (played by an oversized red-headed teddy bear named Glen Hansard, the guitarist in the last Irish musical, 1991's "The Commitments") a practical reason to break into song on the sidewalk: he's a street musician who does indeed routinely pour out his heart, as battered as his old acoustic guitar, to the passing multitudes. So, the musical interludes in the film are perfectly plausible.
"Once" is set among the marginally employed in prosperous contemporary
The beginning of my upcoming article in The American Conservative (not yet online):
Despite its tradition of editorializing in favor of openness and public participation, the prestige press offered virtually no complaints when the Senate recently voted to skip holding hearings on the convoluted "comprehensive immigration reform" package worked out behind closed doors by Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kyl with Bush Administration support. Nor did the mainstream media object when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced his intention to ram this vast concoction of highly debatable effect through the Senate in one week, a ploy that even Reid soon admitted was wrong.
This high-level disdain for open debate over immigration was not an anomaly. You might think that our nation's elites -- political leaders, public intellectuals, and the press -- would find immigration the single most fascinating domestic policy issue to explore. After all, besides ourselves, nothing is more interesting to us than other human beings. And few political questions would seem more compelling than which of the six billion foreigners we would want to become our fellow citizens, neighbors, workmates, and, eventually, the ancestors of our descendents. Immigration policy directly affects nearly every other question of our day, from education and crime to economic inequality and health care costs.
Yet, the national newspapers cover immigration with no more enthusiasm than they muster for local zoning board meetings. When they deign to discuss immigration at all, their approach is superficial and sentimental. Actual debate over immigration legislation is routinely denounced as "divisive," as if democracy is the opposite of "division" (which is the English term for a legislative vote). The palpable contempt the mainstream media radiates toward anyone well-informed about immigration contributes to the vapidity of its coverage.
An insightful economist, writing under the protection of anonymity, recently pointed out:
"Power today very largely consists of being able to define what criticisms are off the wall, over the top, and out to lunch… Those who wield it do not 'run the world.' Rather they can block significant changes that reduce their power."
There may be no better example of this than how the powerful treat informed analysis of illegal immigration.
For example, recall the Amnesty Baby Boom. What, you haven't heard of it?
According to a 2002 study by demographers Laura E. Hill and Hans P. Johnson of the Public Policy Institute of California, due to the 1986 amnesty (another "comprehensive" compromise, combining legalization with enforcement provisions that were never enforced), "Between 1987 and 1991, total fertility rates for foreign-born Hispanics [in California] increased from 3.2 to 4.4" expected babies per woman over her lifetime. Why? "Many of those granted amnesty were joined later by spouses and relatives in the United States." This fertility explosion among former illegal aliens choked California's public schools, leading to the expenditure of over $20 billion for construction of new school buildings by the Los Angeles school district alone.
Now, this bit of recent history might strike you or me as relevant to assessing the wisdom of the current amnesty before the Senate, but a Google search shows that we are off the wall and out to lunch according to those in positions of power. It's not quite accurate to say that the PPIC study was tossed down the memory hole because it was never allowed out in the first place.
Why is respectable immigration reporting so one-sided, inane, and downright dull? Just as immigration is tied into every domestic issue, the failure to examine immigration intelligently illuminates much that is wrong with American intellectual discourse in general.
Here are some reasons for this sorry state of affairs ...
May 29, 2007
May 28, 2007
After that cool article last week on roller pigeon fanciers slaughtering thousands of hawks each year in LA (and the print version included a great picture of an eight foot long shotgun, with five foot silencer, that a roller pigeon enthusiast used to covertly assassinate the raptors that feast on his mutant pigeons), the LA Times is back to its old ways, trying to act like LA isn't LA, home to the most luridly stupid news stories in America.
Mickey Kaus points to an article in the Times finally reporting two weeks after it happened that a Beverly Hills boy at West LA's most exclusive high school, Harvard-Westlake ($27k tuition, 1385 average SAT score), had, attempted to murder a girl student with a hammer, hitting her 40 times, then sped off in his Jaguar. So, what headline did the LAT geniuses choose: "Preppie Hammer Bloodbath Nightmare"? Nah, too lively. Instead:
May 27, 2007
Christopher Hayes writes in the Nation:
Mafia is probably a tad hyperbolic, but there is undoubtedly something of a code of omertà within the discipline. Just ask ... David Card. ... Card, a highly esteemed economist at the
Of course, Card's other famous study, the one of Miami in 1980-85 claiming that immigration doesn't lower wages, is wildly popular with many of the same free market economists and open borders pundits who hate the conclusion of his minimum wage study.
The problem with economics these days is not so much the various models as that economists believe that having models lets them get away without knowing much about the real world.
For example, Card's comparison of wage trends in Miami in 1980-85 relative to four other cities is pretty useless because that was the peak of the Scarface - Miami Vice cocaine boom in that city, so ceteris wasn't at all paribus. Now, anybody who watched TV in the 1980s should know that, but economists never seemed to notice it when discussing Card's study.
Worse, economists seldom seem to care that they are often ignorant about the realities that they so confidently pronounce upon.
Chris Caldwell has a good article in the NY Times Magazine, "Where Every Generation Is First-Generation," on how Turks in
The Contribution Editor to the American Conservative has an essay in the Washington Post for Memorial Day weekend:
An anthropologist emails:
Steve Sailer has recently posted on isteve on trying to come up with a definition of class. Here are a few thoughts.
I don't think we can get too far from the standard sociological notion that "class" has to do with inequalities in power, wealth and status in stratified societies, without completely changing the meaning of the word. But we can add the idea that class is not only a matter of social stratification, but involves assortative mating based on Power, Wealth, and Status. I take it this is what Steve is getting at. This would mean that a rich powerful celibate priesthood would not be a class.
Why bother? On reason is that over time classes may differentiate genetically if different genes help people get into different classes. This is part of the argument of The Bell Curve. The genetic consequences of a pure class society will be different from those of a caste or ethnically stratified society. In the former situation, only genes relating to class (or linked genes) will differ between classes, in the latter, where descent not assortative mating is driving things, all sorts of other genes may differ between strata.
Even without genetics, marriage practices can make a difference to class. The anthropologist Jack Goody has spent a lot of time looking at broad differences between African and Eurasian societies. He says that by and large, African societies, even when stratified, don't form Eurasian style classes, because African polygyny means that high status groups incorporate low status females in large numbers. So you don't, Goody claims, get the distinctions between "high cuisine" and "low cuisine," and other high/low culture distinctions in traditional Africa as much as in traditional
I don't have any well-worked definition to offer, but the basic idea seems to be that we have to take into account that people are more than just isolated monads floating around (as in a lot of classical economics) but have families and kin and (most of us hope) descendants, and our definitions of social aggregates ought to reflect this.
I had never thought about class (or its relative absence) in traditional African societies before. It's one of those dog-that-didn't-bark phenomena that are so hard to notice, but are often very illuminating when you finally realizing they are missing.
I have a book by Goody sitting around, but the prose style is awfully academic so I haven't gotten very far.