April 5, 2008

Mushroom Cloud over Tirana

Now that Albania is joining NATO, we can rest easy because the crack Albanian army is pledged to come to America's military defense in case we're invaded by, uh, Venezuela. So, let's check in on the latest from our latest ally ...

Oddly enough, the news from Tirana sounds a lot like the news from Miami Beach: old Albanian ammunition.

From BalkanInsight.com:

Thousands of Albanians have protested demanding Prime Minister Sali Berisha quit over an alleged cover-up of last month’s army depot blasts. ...

Berisha is accused of a cover-up into what was really going on at an army depot hit by a series of blasts on March 15, in the village of Gerdec, just 10 kilometers outside Tirana. 26 people were killed and more than 300 wounded...

The government finds itself also in a row involving arms trafficking allegations.

Last week, the New York Times alleged that senior Albanian politicians, including Prime Minister Sali Berisha and former Defence Minster Fatmir Mediu, were involved in the international trade of weapons.

Both Berisha and Mediu have denied the accusations.

The article accuses Albanian officials of murky deals with United States-based AEY Company, which had its contract with the U.S. military revoked last week amid claims by the paper it was supplying decades-old ammunition to the Afghan army.

Now, being a suspicious old bastard, my first assumption was that somebody blew up the Albanian government ammo dump to cover up how little weaponry was left after the politicians had looted it to sell to AEY and others. Here's a Youtube concoction somebody has created by combining footage of the aftermath of the explosion with what is allegedly cell phone calls between Efraim Diveroli and an Albanian businessman, implying that the explosion was a cover-up of the ammunition deal.

But now that I've seen the amazing video of the tactical nuke-sized mushroom cloud unleashed by this March 15 explosion, I recall Napoleon's purported maxim, "Never blame conspiracy for what is attributable to incompetence."

Generally, I hate videos, but, trust me, you'll want to watch this one. This 29 second video starts off with a telephoto shot of two fireballs about ten times the diameter of trees in the foreground. But at 0:05 into the video, an explosion orders of magnitude larger happens to the left of the original explosions, immediately vaporizing three multistory buildings at the bottom of the screen. The videographer zooms out to catch the mushroom cloud as it rises thousands of feet into the air. At 0:14, he's buffeted by the shock wave as it arrives, suggesting he's about a mile and a half away. (And, from a similar angle, here's the footage of another cameraman who got blasted even harder by the shock wave.)

Apparently, Albania has insane amounts of ammo left over from the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha, who also built 700,000 bunkers across the countryside to repel attack. These pillboxes used three times as much concrete as the Maginot Line. Hoxha started out as a Stalinist, then broke with the Soviets over-deStalinification, allied with Red China, then broke with them as insufficiently Marxist, and went it alone, ready to fight the world if necessary.

Interestingly, at least until quite recently, the American company that had a contract to help Albanians dispose of their munitions was Science Applications International Corporation, which is sort of the military-industrial complex personified. SAIC is the anti-AEY, in that it has 44,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue, most of it from the federal government. And, yet, I'd never heard of it until this week. In contrast, AEY had only two employees, but both of them had MySpace pages.

(SAIC can be viewed more as a consultant's co-op than as a giant corporate powerhouse. Of course, that's how they want you to view it.)

Update: This is really confusing, but the shadowy American supercompany SAIC had the contract to dispose of Albanian naval munitions back in January, 2008. The American company that was working at the Gerdec ammunition dump when it turned into Nagasaki West was not SAIC, it was SACI -- Southern Ammunition Co., Inc. Got it?

Anyway, the video leads me to suspect the Gerdec catastrophe wasn't intentional. It's just too immense. And there was clearly lots and lots (and lots) of ammunition left over after all the thefts, enough to plausibly argue with auditors that they were just overlooking stuff in the vast (and terrifying) heaps laying around. So, maybe the AEY scandal didn't cause the Gerdec explosion. Maybe the causality was the opposite way around -- this colossal explosion happens, so observers start poking around more seriously about what the heck is going on with Albanian ammunition anyway.

But, then again, maybe somebody did blow it up to cover up thefts. Or maybe just to hear the bang...

(By the way, listening to the alleged conversations, I don't hear Diveroli making any threats of violence, just suggestions of paying bribes with money and/or prostitutes. From this, he sounds more like a crooked businessman willing to do business with violent mobsters than a violent mobster himself.)

My published articl are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

April 4, 2008

Can't get much more white American than that!

My friend was looking at a photo of UCLA's freshman All-American center Kevin Love, who will be playing in the basketball Final Four this weekend. I explained that Love may have the potential to be the first American white basketball star since John Stockton retired. He replied, "Are you sure he's all white?"

So, I looked into his background a little and discovered that Kevin Love is the nephew of Mike Love, lead singer of the Beach Boys, so Kevin Love's cousin-once-removed is all-American tragic genius Brian Wilson.

Kurt Streeter writes in the LA Times:

For generations, the Loves and their extended family have been at the center of much that makes Los Angeles what it is, for better or worse.

This is a clan that was part of the vast, Depression-era migration that helped give the culture here a Midwestern flavor, witnessing first hand the waves of racial change that roiled South L.A. in the '50s and '60s.

It's the family -- Stan's brother, Mike, and three of their first cousins -- that formed the nucleus of the Beach Boys: the band that helped convince the world every Los Angeles neighborhood was bordered by a sandy beach stuffed with surfboards and bikinis. It's a family, with Stan Love stuck in the middle, that struggled against something deep in the fabric of this place -- excess, indulgence and the madness that can come with fame in L.A.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Murray Rothbard is to Lew Rockwell is to Ron Paul as ...

James H. Cone, creator of "black liberation theology," is to Jeremiah A. Wright is to Barack Obama. The analogy isn't perfect, but it's not at all bad.

But nobody in the white media takes black intellectuals seriously, so you are not supposed to care, either.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

"Under the Same Moon"

An excerpt from my latest movie review in The American Conservative (to figure out what the last line of the excerpt means, you'll just have to get the magazine):

The once-lively Mexican film industry stagnated after it was nationalized in the late 1950s, but revived in 1990s with the loosening of the government's velvet stranglehold on the arts. Last year, three art house films by Mexican directors, "Babel," "Pan's Labyrinth," and "Children of Men," garnered a total of 16 Oscar nominations.

Meanwhile, the number of Mexicans in the United States continues to soar, eliciting the interest of movie moguls hoping somehow to woo the enormous, but opaque, illegal immigrant market away from the Univision television network. (Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" was a huge hit among undocumented filmgoers, but Hollywood would rather not remember that missed opportunity.)

Expecting synergy, the Weinstein Company and Fox Searchlight paid $5 million at the 2007 Sundance film festival for "Under the Same Moon," a sentimental family film about an illegal immigrant mother in East LA and the little boy she left behind in Sonora. It was made by Patricia Riggen, daughter of a Guadalajara surgeon. (Part of its $2 million budget was provided by the Mexican government.)

Theorizing that "Under the Same Moon" could be, in the words of the old Saturday Night Live parody ad, both a floor wax and a dessert topping, the studios released it simultaneously in both downscale theaters in Latino neighborhoods and in upscale cinemas for Anglos who like socially conscious foreign films with subtitles.

Through inept planning, I managed to check out both prongs of its novel marketing strategy. By the time I arrived at The Plant in heavily Latino Van Nuys (the curious title of this power mall built on the site of an old Chevy factory commemorates the days when cars and planes, not just movies, were manufactured in the San Fernando Valley), the 9:40 pm Saturday night show had sold out.

So, I drove south to the cinephiles' latest venue, the Arclight on tony Ventura Blvd. for the 10:30 show, which turned out to be almost empty. Apparently, if the residents of the Hollywood Hills were really all that interested in hearing about the lives of illegal aliens, they wouldn't pay $12.75 to see "Under the Same Moon" at the Arclight, they'd just strike up a conversation with their servants. Judging from the film's maid's-eye view of Los Angeles's Anglo elite as stuck-up and cold-blooded, however, they aren't.

Not surprisingly, "Under the Same Moon" works better as a floor wax than as a dessert topping.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

New American Conservative magazine group blog

The American Conservative magazine now has a group blog. I count 17 contributors so far just in its first week.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

April 3, 2008

Trade Press getting interested in AEY "small disadvantaged" story

Robert Brodsky and Elizabeth Newell write in Government Executive magazine:

No record of arms dealer's certification as disadvantaged business

A Miami-based defense contractor under investigation for delivering faulty munitions to Afghan security forces saw his business boom after being incorrectly labeled as a small disadvantaged business. [More]

And the news article has lots of the fun human interest details that my readers will be familiar with (like the grandfather's palimony suit and the family connection to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach), the facts that the MSM have been prissily avoiding reporting for fear of getting readers interested in the story.

According to Google News, this is the first time that the celebrity rabbi has been mentioned in a news report about the scandal since it flared up in the NYT a week ago. So far, however, nobody that Google News considers a new outlet has mentioned that main player Efraim Diveroli's mom was treasurer of a dubious Michael Jackson charity for ... children!

Pure comedy gold laying untouched on the sidewalk.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Why is NATO expanding?

The last line of an LA Times article about something else mentions:

The [NATO] alliance meanwhile is poised to offer membership to Croatia, Albania and Macedonia, though Greece has threatened to block Macedonia's bid.

Theoretically, at least, NATO is a serious thing -- it's a defense alliance. Article Five of the NATO treaty kind of sort of commits us to go to war for Croatia, Albania, or Macedonia if they get attacked by any of their numerous neighbors:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

I guess it's just a personal moral failing of mine, but for some reason, I can't really see Macedonia as being all that crucial to vital American national interests. Albania, sure, it's at least as important to us as the Panama Canal. And Croatia's practically Canada in terms of strategic value to the U.S. What true American wouldn't gladly sacrifice his sons' lives for Croatia?

But Macedonia? I'd bet that 95% of Americans don't know Macedonia exists, and the other 5% are Greeks who hate it for stealing the name of Alexander the Great's homeland.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

April 2, 2008

Obama's eloquence deserts him

Obama-worshipper Chris Matthews briefly pressed his idol tonight on the matter of Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Without 5,000 prepackaged words of patented Baroque O'Blarney nuanced thoughtfulness, Obama sounded like a Time-Life Records two-for-the-price-of-one deal on the Greatest Hits of George W. Bush and Dan Quayle:

OBAMA: I think that what has happened is we took a loop out of — and compressed the most offensive things that a pastor said over the course of 30 years, and just ran it over and over and over again. There is that other 30 years. I never heard him say those things that were in those clips.

MATTHEWS: But you did say you heard him say controversial things.

OBAMA: But I’ve heard you say controversial things.

MATTHEWS: You didn’t give me $27,000 dollars either.

OBAMA: The point is this is a church that is active in AIDS. It’s active on all kind of thing. And so this is a wonderful church. But as I said, look at the amount of time that’s been spent on this today, Chris. At a time when we haven’t talked about a whole host of issues.

The LA Times reports:

And while insisting -- as he has previously -- that he was not present when Wright made the pronouncements that fueled the recent furor, he steered clear of specifying the "controversial" statements he has said he did hear from the preacher.

What did the Presidential candidate know and when did he know it?

Look, that's a stupid question, but only because the answer is clear from Obama's own autobiography. Before Obama ever met Wright in the 1980s, he had heard from other South Side black pastors that Wright was a radical. That's the main reason Obama was attracted to Wright rather than all the other pastors he had met as a community organizer: Wright was the optimal combination of leftism and successfulness.

Isn't anybody else getting tired of Obama repeatedly yanking our chains about his relationship with Rev. Wright? Unlike his protege, Wright has made sure to leave a paper (and DVD) trail decades long, and it's not thoughtfully nuanced to the verge of utter incomprehensibility, either. The Rev. says what's on his mind, and in no uncertain terms.

C'mon, Obama, be a man. Stand up and admit to one of two logical possibilities:

- Yes, I used to be about as leftist as Rev. Wright, but I changed my mind for the following reasons ...


- Yes, I still am about as leftist as Rev. Wright, and here's why ...

What Obama is counting on is that white Americans don't take blacks' ideological views seriously. Obama is betting on everybody treating his relationship with Wright as a racial matter rather than as an ideological matter, and since all nice people shy away from thinking about racial matters, they'll just let it drop.

In contrast, if Wright were a white minister who was an outspoken advocate of Sandinista-style "liberation theology," a white Obama would, at a minimum, be spending a lot of time answering searching questions about his ideological evolution. But, because Obama and Wright are black, nobody takes the disagreeable Wright's ideology seriously, and everybody assumes that the personable Obama must share their ideology.

It must be driving Wright crazy. Here he goes on Fox News a year ago and tells Sean Hannity a half dozen times that he is a follower of black liberation theologian James H. Cone, and that if you want to have an argument with him about where he stands, you should first read a stack of academic books by Cone and by Dwight Hopkins. And nobody paid any attention.

Wright doesn't seem to consider himself a creative intellectual in the class of Cone, but he does view himself as a man who has thought hard for decades about subjects like the immorality of corporate capitalism.

And yet, Obama is getting away with going around the country on national television implying that the 66-year-old Wright is some kind of elderly uncle who has, tragically, gone crazy in his dotage. In reality, Wright holds the same political views today as he had when he first reeled in Obama two decades ago.

And the white media believe Obama's lies about Wright because nobody takes a black man seriously as an intellectual!

So, I don't expect we've heard the last from Rev. Wright. All summer, he's going to be sitting in his new mansion on the golf course in the gated community in 93% white suburban Tinley Park brooding on how Obama has betrayed him, and what he's going to do about it.

He'll think of something.

For example, last November 2, he invented the Jeremiah Wright Trumpeter Lifetime Achievement Award and gave it to Louis Farrakhan at a big bash at the Chicago Hyatt Regency, but it took the white media ten weeks to even notice what a black man had done. This year, there are all sorts of people he could give his award to on, say, Saturday night November 1st. And I bet this year it won't take ten weeks before the white press talks about it!

Or maybe somebody else will think of something for Wright to do. If you were a literary agent, say, wouldn't you want to sign Wright up for a quickie bestseller, with a release date targeted at, say, 10/1/08? Hustle your best ghostwriter out to Tinley Park and get Wright's memoirs and views on current issues slapped together by the Fourth of July. Make that deadline and you could have it on the bookshelves five weeks before Election Day!

No, I don't think we've heard the last from Rev. Wright.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

AEY's Packouz: We're not Hasidic

Not surprisingly, the MainStream Media have pretty much dropped the AEY Afghan Ammunition scandal now that certain awkward facts have emerged. As usual, the Jewish press is much better at following up on such things.

As I've suggested before, this isn't the worst scandal in history. It's pretty much just Business As Usual for a type of hustling businessman who deals in stuff that, uh, fell off the back of a truck. The public, however, is supposed to remain oblivious to the obvious.

The New York Jewish Week reports:

Arms Dealing Company Was Listed As ‘Minority-Owned’

Questions grow about how a tiny Miami Beach firm became major supplier to Afghan army and police.

by Stewart Ain

When a congressional committee examines how nearly $300 million in government contracts for an arms deal to Afghanistan’s army and police was given to a tiny Miami Beach-based company led by 22-year-old Efraim Diveroli, it is expected to question how the company, AEY Inc., qualifies as minority-owned, as was listed on the application.

Minority-owned companies, also classified as “disadvantaged,” receive preferential treatment in the awarding of contracts.

Those close to the case, which made front-page headlines last week in The New York Times, note that since 1984, chasidim have qualified under that category, along with Hispanics, African Americans, Indians and others. (Jews are not otherwise categorized as a minority.)

David Packouz, a 25-year-old licensed masseur, who is listed as vice president of the company, told The Jewish Week that neither he nor Diveroli are chasidic, that he was only a consultant to the company, and that he was unaware of the minority-owned designation on the application.

Diveroli declined to comment. But attention into the workings of AEY Inc., and how it managed to procure such a major, lucrative government contract, is growing in the wake of the lengthy investigative article in the Times, which suggested that the company may have been involved in illegal arms trafficking and that the arms may have been substandard.

Packouz’s father, Kalman, a rabbi who is executive director of the Aish HaTorah Jerusalem Fund, said his son had not been involved in the company for the last 10 months and “is not involved in all this.”

“I know that Efraim Diveroli has been doing this [arms dealing] since he was 17, and that he has been successful at being able to fulfill contracts,” Rabbi Packouz said.

Diveroli’s grandfather, Angelo Diveroli, 73, of North Miami Beach, said his grandson has records to prove that all of his transactions were legal. “The military checked him out” before awarding him the contracts, he said. “They came to Miami Beach. No one gets $300 million in contracts for nothing. They checked. He was awarded the contracts because he had a good price. He didn’t steal the contract. He made a bid and they checked his credentials.”

He said his grandson started his business from scratch with only a computer in a “tiny apartment in Miami Beach.”

Young Diveroli started his company after both he and his father learned the business from Diveroli’s uncle, Bar-Kochba Botach, the owner of Botach Tactical in Los Angeles, a military and police supply company. Botach told The Times, “They just left me and took my customer base with them. They basically said, ‘Why should we work for Botach? Let’s do it on our own.’”

The senior Diveroli said his grandson is “now living in a rented apartment. People think he lives in a mansion. Not true. He is a hard-working person. He works with Asia, which is a 16-hour time difference, so he works day and night.”

He called his grandson a “genius who knows everything about weaponry. He could tell a weapon a mile away. He is a very religious boy. He’s not chasidic, but my grandson studied in yeshivas all over the world, [including in] Baltimore and Jerusalem.”

The elder Diveroli disclosed that his grandson is more than an arms dealer because he has contracts for a variety of products with countries in South America and Central America.

“Whatever they need he supplies,” he said. “And it’s not just weapons. There are things like machinery, agricultural products and tractors. ... Whatever is on the Internet he supplies. He finds a good price. He is a businessman in his blood.”

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Obama's most sophisticated defender

is a Canadian lawyer who calls himself Pithlord. He's read Obama's autobiography very closely (we mostly disagree over whether there's anything humorous in Obama's irony -- he finds it funny, I find it self-pitying and lugubrious). He sums Obama up:

At bottom, I think Obama's basic theoretical framework is in dispute resolution. The worldview is sometimes attributed to his experience as an organizer, but it could also be that of a corporate litigator. He thinks of the world as filled with non-zero-sum games, in which the win-win alternative of making a deal and dividing the surplus isn't taken because each side is gripped with a narrative that makes rationally self-interested compromise difficult or impossible. The intellectual problem is to look at the interests coolly and dispassionately and see where the surplus-maximizing position lies. But the harder problem is to be sensitive enough to how the identity-constituting stories keep both sides from doing that. It's Harvard Negotiation project stuff, but it also works with who he thinks he is.

Obama doesn't particularly claim to come from nowhere or have no loyalties. He is instinctively cosmopolitan, on-the-left and tied to his adopted black American Protestant identity. But I think he recognizes that to advance the interests he is loyal to requires figuring out what other people's loyalties are, "recognize" them and then figure out how to get to the best possible resolution of the bargaining problem they represent.

Obama loves to put things dialectically. In this, the successful politician he most resembles is Tony Blair. His central rhetorical trick is restating positions he is arguing attractively and strongly, but in such a way that they obviously have limitations he hints at transcending. Dreams From My Father is hardly a black nationalist book -- but it engages very sympathetically with black nationalism, not unlike the way in which Audacity of Hope engages sympathetically but critically with fusionist conservatism. In Dreams, black nationalism is twinned not with white racism, but with the white romantic liberalism of the family he grew up with. The good thing about that liberalism is that it tries to transcend tribalism -- the bad part is that tribalism is too central to the human condition to be transcended. [More]

I find much to agree with here, and, indeed, I would be all in favor of electing Barack Obama to succeed Jesse Jackson as black America's unelected tribal leader. But, it's an unelected job and I'm not black so I wouldn't get a vote if there was one, and that's not what he's running for. Instead, Obama wants to get elected President of the United States, which is a rather different office altogether.

The key phrase in Pithlord's analysis is "He recognizes that to advance the interests he is loyal to requires figuring out what other people's loyalties are ..." Conversely, by the same logic, we the people of the United States need to figure out what this Presidential candidate's loyalties are. Exactly whose interests is Obama loyal to? (Besides his own career's interests, of course).

The reporters covering him haven't managed (or even tried) to get him to speak frankly about this crucial question. That's what shocked so many naive people when they finally learned about Obama's 20-year-relationship with Rev. Wright -- that while on the campaign trail he says one thing, but at home for two decades he acted in a very different fashion.

When Colin Powell thought about running for President, he published an autobiography that stressed his success in taking command of a demoralized Army unit in South Korea that was sharply divided along racial lines during the Army's drugged-up post-Vietnam malaise, and rebuilt espirit de corps by emphasizing that there's no black or white in this man's Army, just G.I. green, and the like. From that, I surmised that Powell's loyalty lay less with his racial group and more with the U.S. Army (and by extension, with the United States of America). Now, that sounded to me like Powell had met a minimum requirement in who I would want as President: he's shown in the past that he's on the side of the United States of America.

In contrast, I'm still waiting for evidence that Obama has taken stands against black interests. What I see his supporters boasting is that he's either pushed black interests more deftly than less sophisticated black politicians, or that he has (perhaps temporarily) eased off on pushing black interests when they could have gotten in the way of his personal ascent to supreme power. But does he have a record of taking stands against powerful black interests in the interest of the greater good of the citizens of the United States?

Perhaps somebody should ask him.

Pithlord replies here.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

April 1, 2008

WSJ's Jenkins: Knock down surplus new homes

The Wall Street Journal's Holman Jenkins argues that:

"Knocking down surplus homes would be the most efficient and equitable way to spend taxpayer dollars. It can proceed experimentally. It can be turned off quickly when the need evaporates. It would not be a lesson to Americans that housing debt is not real debt and need not be repaid. It wouldn't benefit the most irresponsible lenders and borrowers at the expense of responsible ones. The housing market would still have to hit bottom, but the bottom would be higher (and sooner).

"Have no illusions about the alternative being fashioned in Congress. Behind the fig leaves that will be frantically waving, a lending bailout would be effective in stemming foreclosures and propping up home prices only if taxpayer money were used to put speculators' housing bets back "in the money.""

He may be right. But, after the government pays to knock down all those surplus homes built with illegal immigrant labor, shouldn't the Wall Street Journal be ordered to publicly burn all its old editorials about how crucial illegal immigrant labor was to the economy?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Oliver Stone's upcoming Bush movie

Oliver Stone appears to have finished his screenplay for his upcoming biopic about George W. Bush. ABC News has a summary. Evidently, it focuses on the Iraq War as motivated primarily by his complicated relationship with his father, which sounds about right to me.

Barbra Streisand's stepson Josh Brolin is set to play Bush. Brolin was wonderful as the ornery hero in "No Country for Old Men," so he'll likely make Bush fairly sympathetic.

I suspect the movie won't be all that good because

A. Stone is past his prime;

B. He may rush to get it out before the election. He rushed to get "Alexander" out before competing Alexander the Great projects by Martin Scorsese, Mel Gibson, and Baz Lurhman could get off the ground, and it was a dud.

Overall, my impression is that although Stone made some amazing movies in his 1986-1995 prime, he isn't that great a filmmaker himself. He's more of an alpha male who can persuade terrific talent to work for him. Thus, he used pretty much the same below-the-line crew on his best films, but he didn't get them back for "Alexander," so five minutes into the movie you could tell it was no good.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

March 31, 2008

Basra: Not exactly the Battle of Stalingrad II

The human race really just isn't into this whole war thing anymore. Here we were, all gearing up for a re-enactment of the Battle of Stalingrad in Basra, center of trillions of dollars of oil reserves, and they go and decide to call the whole thing off after a few days.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Alleged transcript of Diveroli conversations

Via American Goy, here's a transcript that's supposedly of a secretly recorded conversation between young AEY arms dealer Efraim Diveroli and some Albanian who is involved in the Afghan ammunition deal for which the American taxpayers anted up $300 million.

I have no idea if it's authentic, but it sounds like what I surmised -- the inside of a bait-and-switch scam. Diveroli sounds like a New York camera shop proprietor who has baited online customers with a lowball advertised price and is now hustling to find somebody who can sell to him wholesale the product he's already sold to his retail customers (or at least he's charged their credit cards), or can sell him at least something the customers can be badgered into accepting instead of what they thought they were getting a great deal on.

Except, instead of dealing with some guy in Hong Kong who claims to know some other guy who has a pallet of Nikons that got left out in the rain, Diveroli's dealing, on one hand, with a bunch of Albanian politicians and insiders who have their hands out, and, on the other hand, with a bunch of fairly clueless U.S. Federal bureaucrats, who, unlike the camera store customers, can eventually put you in jail if you stiff them too much.

As one of my readers pointed out, Afghan government soldiers probably don't need high quality ammo. (Here are a couple of hilarious Youtube videos of American military trainers trying to teach Afghan government soldiers to do jumping jacks and push-ups). They just need a huge quantity of ammo so they can spray their AK-47s around like a garden hose so the Taliban keep their heads down and can't take careful aim at them either. That's what 3rd World Wars are like these days -- most soldiers aren't all that enthusiastic about risking their lives for the cause, whatever it is, so nobody is going to expose themselves enough to take careful aim or try to sneak up closer. They just spray bullets in the general direction of the other guys to keep them from taking careful aim or sneaking up closer.

This kind of war can go on for years and years if somebody supplies enough bullets. It's fun. You pull the trigger on your AK-47 and BA-RAP-BAP-BAP-BAP! A million bullets come flying out with an excitingly loud noise and go flying off in the general direction of somebody you're theoretically trying to kill. It's kind of like playing paintball, but it's even better because Uncle Sam is picking up your ammo tab.

There's some Soviet-style ammo sitting around in various national armories, which I imagine can be had cheap if some man with gold chains can grease the right palms. Apparently, an ammo dump in Albania recently exploded, killing 16 and damaging 2000 homes, which would be convenient if an auditor was coming to make sure the inventory was still there.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

March 30, 2008

Barack Hussein Obama: More deterrable Hussein than fanatical Osama

From my new VDARE.com column:

The good news about Obama and his radical past: he can probably be deterred. Barack Hussein Obama is more Hussein than Osama, an opportunist rather than a fanatic.

While his heart may be black, his head is quite white, the epitome of the small-town Midwest where his maternal grandparents originated. He's conflict-averse, cautious, polite, eager-to-please, sensitive, and insecure, with a Sally Field-style need to be liked.

So, Obama's radical principles have repeatedly pushed him left … right up to the point where he starts worrying that if he goes any farther to the left, not everybody will like him anymore, and that could endanger his amazing rise to power. Thus, he compromises and accepts promotion to the next level in return for selling out.

Up through now, Obama has been focused on attaining more power for himself rather than on actually using the power he already has to benefit the people in whose name he has promoted himself. He's kept his eyes on the prize: the White House.

For example, … Obama got a lot more out of the Harvard Law Review than the Harvard Law Review got out of Obama.

Once he makes the White House, though, it will be put up or shut up time for Obama. All those compromises he has made to maintain his political viability within the system will have paid off. Now it will be time for him to redeem some of those promises he made to himself, to his wife Michelle, and to his Rev. Wright.

That's a frightening picture … especially when you realize that Obama is not some run-of-the-mill political talent like Jimmy Carter or even Bill Clinton. He might well be a once-in-a-generation superstar, like Huey Long.

The good news, though, is that politics never ends. Much to the disappointment of Obama cultists, January 20, 2009 would not mark Day One of the Year Zero. Obama's inauguration would merely be a brief lull before mundane struggles over seeming minutia such as appointments to federal agencies, struggles in which Obama can be tied up … if enough of the public understands who he really is.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

A question about Tibet

I have a questioned I've never seen asked about the basic biological feasibility of China's ongoing occupation and settlement of Tibet. The Chinese see Tibet as underpopulated, and have been sending lots of Han Chinese to live there, which has finally caused a violent reaction by the Buddhist Tibetans.

But, can Han Chinese women reproduce enough at those altitudes?

We know that white women suffer a very large number of miscarriages on the Altiplano of Bolivia and Peru, so that the population of the highlands is still overwhelmingly Indian almost 500 years after Pizarro. La Paz, Bolivia is in a deep canyon, with the richest (whitest) neighborhoods at the lowest point, below 10,000 feet.

Lhasa is at about 12,000 feet and much of the rest of Tibet is higher, making it even higher than the Altiplano on average.

Do Han Chinese women have lots of miscarriages in Tibet? Or are they better biologically adapted to extreme altitude? We know the famous Tibetan Sherpas of Nepal have a biological adaptation to high altitude, but do the lowland Chinese?

This question would seem to have significant implications for whether Chinese colonization of Tibet makes sense. If the Chinese are just letting themselves in for a lot of personal heartbreak by trying to form families at 12,000 feet, maybe their government could be persuaded to just give up on their settlement plan and let the Tibetans have Tibet.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer