January 19, 2008

Brown versus Black

From Politico's report on the Nevada primary, which Clinton apparently won narrowly:

"The results reflected the key demographic realities that are coming to define the primary contest, according to early exit polls and observations. Exit polls showed 65 percent of Hispanic voters supported Clinton, while 83 percent of the state’s smaller number of African American voters largely backed Obama."

That reminds me of a classroom dialog sent me by a high school teacher in a lower Midwest high school where almost all the students are Hispanic. He swears it is true:

Teacher: "Now I'm going to teach you how to remember how to multiply positive and negative numbers. Think of it like this. Imagine that positive numbers are good and negative numbers are bad. So, when good things happen to good people that's ..."

Students: [Blank stares and silence]

Teacher [Encouragingly]: --"That's good! [Pausing to regroup] So, good things happening to good people is good is like a positive number multiplied by a positive number is a" -- shorter pause this time, not waiting for any response -- "a positive number!"

Students: [Blank stares]

Teacher: "And when bad things happen to good people, that's … bad. So, that's like a negative number times a positive number is a negative number."

Teacher: "And when good things happen to bad people, that's … Anybody?"

Several Students: "That's good!"

Teacher [Puzzled]: "Well ... if a criminal gets away, is that good?"

Student: "Sure."

Teacher: "Okay, I mean if a terrorist drives over a little kid with his car and doesn't stop and drags him screaming down the street until he falls off dead, and the next day he wins the Lottery, is that good?"

Various Students: "Yes." "Of course." "Sure" "Well, duh."

Teacher: "Huh?"

Student: "I mean, it's The Lottery."

Student Named Yesenia: ""Mr. X, Mr. X! I have a question."

Teacher: "Yes, what is it?"

Yesenia: "Who is Son of Aladdin? Why are they always looking for him in a cave?"

Teacher: "Huh?"

Yesenia: "What's so bad about Son of Aladdin? Why are they trying to catch him?

Teacher: "Oh, you mean … Osama bin Laden?"

Yesenia: "Yeah, Son of Aladdin."

Teacher: "He's a terrorist."

Yesenia: "Oh."

Teacher: "But don't confuse Osama with Obama."

Yesenia: "Who's that?"

Teacher: "Barack Obama. He's running for President. The African-American candidate."


Teacher: "You know, the black guy?"

Yesenia [Eyes widening]: "He's black?"

Teacher: "Yes."

Yesenia: "And he's running for President?"

Teacher: "Yes."

Yesenia: [With wide-eyed alarm:] "That's bad."

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

Reason Magazine's New Slogan: "Free Markets, Frightened Minds"

Across Difficult Country observes:

"Some outré opinions printed years ago in a few of Ron Paul’s newsletters have precipitated a widespread libertarian moral panic. For believers in an inalienable right to necrophilia the Libertarianoids are surprisingly delicate about certain things, aren’t they?"

One test of how politically correct libertarians have become is to examine their flagship publication's coverage of James Watson. Before the recent contretemps, Reason loved Watson, as these examples show:

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > James Watson--Genetic Libertarian
The current issue of Discover has a fascinating interview with biologist James Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA. For example: ...

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > "I'm Basically a Libertarian."
That's James Watson, Nobel Prize winner and co-discoverer of DNA, talking in the January 2007 issue of Esquire. More of that here (full disclosure: the ...

But, when the chips were down, and Watson needed defenders, all Reason provided was this hemming and hawing, without a defense of "free minds" anywhere to be found:

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Is Nobelist James Watson, Co ...
Is Nobelist James Watson, Co-Discoverer of the Structure of DNA, a Racist? Ronald Bailey | October 16, 2007, 10:21pm. According to the Independent, James ...

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Race and I.Q. Debate Blanks Slate*
Race and I.Q. Debate Blanks Slate*. Ronald Bailey | December 3, 2007, 11:55am. Slate's science and technology columnist, Will Saletan, is now stumbling back ...

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

January 17, 2008

Christopher Hitchens dispenses the conventional wisdom

In the Wall Street Journal, the Hitch asserts:

"The enormous advances in genome studies have effectively discredited the whole idea of "race" as a means of categorizing humans. And however ethnicity may be defined or subdivided, it is utterly unscientific and retrograde to confuse it with color. The number of subjective definitions of "racist" is almost infinite but the only objective definition of the word is "one who believes that there are human races.""

Obviously, Hitchens is an ignoramus about genome studies. It's fascinating how Hitch, America's most famous atheist, has made a tenet of religious faith out of a scientific theory -- and a wrong scientific theory, at that! As a G.K. Chesterton scholar summarized, when a man stops believing in God, he doesn't believe in nothing, he believes in anything.

Moreover, this is revealing for the lack of self-awareness that political correctness induces. Hitchens is America's most famous atheist and used to call himself, in his cups, "the world's biggest anti-Semite," yet his entire life was turned inside out -- to the point that he now drops by synagogues -- when he discovered his mother was part-Jewish. Hitchens' own life betrays the falsity of Hitchens' theory.

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

The Derb unloads on the Ron Paul Thought Crime judges

In a tremendous essay in VDARE.com, "Flashman, Ron Paul, James Kirchick," John Derbyshire eloquently examines the whoop-te-doo over all those horrible, horrible things Ron Paul's ghostwriters wrote.

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

Is this the next president of Mexico?

Mexican president Felipe Calderon just appointed his little-known 36-year-old chief-of-staff, Juan Camilo Mouriño Terrazo, "the quiet power behind the throne," to be Minister of the Interior, the traditional jumping off point for the Presidency, although now in Mexico there is a primary system, unlike in the good old days when the reigning president with his godlike (but term-limited) powers just picked whomever he felt like to be the next president.

In the U.S., Secretary of the Interior is a vaguely comic job, but in Mexico, like most Third World countries, it's the Big One. Traditionally, Mexico isn't as scary a country when it comes to disappearances and torture as some other Latin American countries ("Hey, at least we're not Guatemala!" could be the Mexican national slogan), nor is its Interior Ministry as formidable as the old Soviet Ministry of the Interior, which had a 200,000-man private army for overawing the Red Army in case it didn't feel like obeying Politburo orders. Still, it's definitely the coolest job in the Mexican government besides being President (although being Mexico City's police chief was a lot of fun in the 1970s for Arturo Durazo, a boyhood friend of President Lopez Portillo turned gangster's chauffeur turned civil servant, who parlayed his $1,000 monthly salary into an estate with 1,200 servants).

Still, you might be wondering why, 489 years after Cortez arrived and began turning Spaniards and Indians into La Raza, this bit of presidential timber looks so Spanish? Well, he is Spanish. Mouriño was born in Spain to a Spanish father and a mother who was a Mexican citizen. His zillionaire father moved the family to Mexico when he was seven, but he remained a Spanish citizen until 18. Nobody seems to know whether the Mexican constitution says a man of his birth and background can or can't be President. To paraphrase Johnny Tightlips on The Simpsons, "The Mexican constitution says a lot of stuff."

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

January 16, 2008

Owwww, my aching head ...

Can the article in the New York Times live up to the stupidity of its sub-headline?

Urban Schools Aiming Higher Than Diploma

There’s a growing sense of urgency among educators that every student should be on a college track.

I'm too depressed to click and see.

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

The New Face of LA

I've been having a hard time getting across the idea that the Hispanic surge of immigration into Los Angeles is so 20th Century. It's just too expensive now, so the Mexicans are heading to places like Kentucky. Here in LA, the new guys in town are ... well, it's hard to describe exactly who they are since we don't have any generic terms for them: they're East European / West Asian and ready to deal. One way to get an idea is too look at this picture of the two men in Britney Spears's life these days, boyfriend / papparazi Adnan Ghalib (in white shirt) and vaguely-defined hanger-on Sam Lufti (in blue shirt), riding an outdoor escalator on Ventura Blvd. with Britney, who is wearing what appears to be her wedding dress.

Apparently, Adnan was born in Afghanistan, while Sam was born in LA. I have no idea what each one's ethnicity is, but they are pretty representative of who you see on Ventura Blvd.

In LA, the New People aren't generally generic Muslims -- I seldom see women in burkhas or similar. Instead, they are often from exotic mercantile minorities in Muslim lands so they are culturally prepared to hit the ground hustling.

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

Why Obama's church matters

Obama has made a big deal over the years out of his being a churchgoer rather than the ultra-educated agnostic he looks like -- it's crucial to his viability as a candidate for President. But that naturally raises questions about what kind of church he picked out for himself 21 years ago.

After all, an enormous amount of talk has been devoted to, say, Mitt Romney and his church, even though Romney was born into being a Mormon. In contrast, Obama knew dozens of Chicago pastors through his ethnic organizing job, but, when he figured out that he had to belong to a church to have an effective political future on the South Side, he shopped around and chose Rev. Wright's church.

It's not exactly a secret that Obama's Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. is a radical leftist black racialist. After all, Rev. Wright went with Louis Farrakhan to Libya to meet Col. Gadaffi in 1984, and just last November Wright gave his Lifetime Achievement award to Farrakhan at a big gala at the Chicago Hyatt Regency.

Wright calls his stance "black liberation theology" and relates it to Nicaraguan Marxist liberation theology. But I doubt if 2% of the voters know that. The media haven't been in any hurry to alert the voters, perhaps because Obama's supporters have tried to brand the Scarlet R on anyone who mentions anything about Obama other than that he will bring us together to bring about change. (Just as there has been more coverage of Romney's great-grandfather's polygamy than of Obama's father's polygamy, even though Obama has emphasized his family background so heavily to get nice white people to make nice assumptions about how nice it must have been for Obama to come from a nice mixed race home, even though, in fact, his parents' bigamous marriage was a short-lived disaster that traumatized him psychologically for decades.)

Furthermore, reading Obama's account in his autobiography (for an overall analysis of Obama's 1995 memoir Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, see my American Conservative article "Obama's Identity Crisis"), it's evident that Obama's concern was not whether Wright was, say, the far left blowhard that he appears to be, but whether Wright's church was leftist enough for Obama. Or was it too bourgeois for Obama? (Not that the preppie from paradise has a non-bourgeois bone in his body, but he was against the bourgeoisie in theory.)

Obama's early relationship with Wright is the main theme of pages 274-295 of Obama's memoirs. Obama recounts his first encounter with Wright's Trinity Church's "Black Value System:"

"A sensible, heartfelt list ... There was one particular passage in Trinity's brochure that stood out, though, a commandment more self-conscious in its tone, requiring greater elaboration. 'A Disavowal of the Pursuit of Middleclassness,' the heading read. 'While it is permissible to chase 'middleincomeness' will all our might,' the text stated, those blessed with the talent or good fortunes to achieve success in the American mainstream must avoid the 'psychological entrapment of Black "middleclassness" that hypnotizes the successful brother or sister into believing they are better than the rest and teaches them to think in terms of "we" and "they" instead of "US."'"

"My thoughts would often return to that declaration in the weeks that followed ..."

When the Ivy Leaguer meets Wright, he interrogates Wright about whether his church isn't secretly too middle class for him:

"'Some people say,' I interrupted, 'that the church is too upwardly mobile.'

"The reverend's smile faded. 'That's a lot of bull,' he said sharply...

"Still, I couldn't help wondering ... Would the interest in maintaining such unity [between the black classes] allow Reverend Wright to take a forceful stand on the latest proposals to reform public housing. And if men like Reverend Wright failed to take a stand, if churches like Trinity refused to engage with real power and risk genuine conflict, then what chance would there be of holding the larger community intact."

In other words, Obama is wondering, in effect, whether Wright can help him reconcile his black racialism with his vaguely Marxist class-strife ideology. See, the "problem," as Obama saw it in 1987 (and in 1995 when he wrote his autobiography) is that some blacks are getting ahead in the America, which lessens racial solidarity among blacks, and raises contradictions between racialism and socialism, both of which the young Obama wants to believe in. Fortunately, Wright's powerful sermon "The Audacity of Hope" --
"It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks' greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere ...

-- overcomes Obama's doubts about covert middleclassness and he is accepted into the bosom of this authentically anti-middleclassness racialist church.

Now, it's possible that if anybody were to ask Obama about all this, he might say,
"Yeah, I was young and stupid back then, and maybe not quite right in the head. These days, I'm not into black racialism and anti-middleclassness. After black voters broke my heart by rejecting me in 2000, I came to accept that I'm half white and all middle class. And I'm not lonely anymore, so I'm not so hung up on why Daddy and Mommy didn't want to be around me, which means I'm no longer such a sucker for father figures like Rev. Wright.

I just stick with his church because, while it's embarrassing to be associated with it, it would be politically even more embarrassing to leave it. I just hope it all blows over. But if that bastard keeps trying to stab me in the back for dumping him from speaking at my Springfield kickoff rally by giving the "Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award" to maniacs like Farrakhan -- Who's he going to give the next one to? The Beltway Snipers? -- I will have to do a Sister Souljah on his ass."

Or, then again, maybe not.

But, the crucial point is, nobody has dared press Obama on it. Because, as everybody knows, wanting to understand the man who would be President would be racist. We must just take his faith on faith.

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

January 15, 2008

The Anthrax Case

The wave of bioterrorism that killed five people shortly after 9/11 is unsolved and largely forgotten, but it played a role in sending us off to war in Iraq, so it is of considerable historical importance in understanding how we got to where we are.

Feeling cocky after my recent run of investigative successes, I sat down last week to solve the anthrax case. A quick scan identified a character who many on the Internet had wondered why he, rather than the hapless Stephen Hatfill, hadn't been put through the ringer. He's a microbiologist, retired Army officer, worked at the Army base where they keep lots of anthrax, had been mean to an Arab colleague, was involved in lots of unseemly stuff, etc etc. The more I Googled, the more the pieces fell into place ... until, pffft, I looked at the evidence again from a different angle and it all blew away.

Sure, I could make the bits and pieces fit into the notion that he was the anthrax mailer, but then a simpler explanation occurred to me: He was just a jerk who had done some jerky things over the last 15 years. I'm not going to mention his name, but if you know who I'm talking about and think he did it, try to force yourself into a gestalt where you assume he didn't do it and see if you can think of less sinister explanations for the facts known about him.

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

The Memory Hole

Is there something I'm totally missing about the utter lack of coverage in the U.S. of the big article in The Times of London ten days ago detailing former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds' explosive charges, "For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets."

If check Google News, you see a fair amount of coverage in India, Turkey, Iran, Israel, and other places, but not much at all in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Is there some kind of law against mentioning this case? (That's a serious question.)

Blogger Steve Clemons writes:

I have received a few dozen emails asking my thoughts on the Sibel Edmonds case. My response won't please many of the readers advocating on her behalf or asking if there are ways in which I can help her get more mainstream press attention.

I am not going to parse the details of her first story or her latest revelations. I will say that if she was doing what she was doing -- and I don't contest that -- she worked in a highly compartmentalized operation. She could have had access to what her colleagues were doing and the quality or alleged crimes in their translated work product. But the other materials she was dealing with were "raw intel", unprocessed, or coordinated, or fit into the equation with other material or American objectives.

I am not in a place to judge the veracity of her claims, but I do find it odd that the Senators and investigators involved were vigorously seeking to know the back story to her narrative until a certain point. And then, it's like someone pushed an off button, cease and desist.

Again, I won't argue details of the case with her or others about this -- but the thought has occurred to me that she may have been unaware of a larger operation in which she was in a compartmentalized piece of the game. I think that much of the effort to get A.Q. Khan involved aggressive, comprehensive, globally deployed intelligence efforts to penetrate networks and to quickly animate action through the attempted sale of bogus nuclear equipment and blueprints.

Well, that's definitely a possibility -- that the high official who appeared to be on the take in the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation case might have just been pretending. Or maybe he was just pretending to be pretending. Or maybe he was pretending to be pretending to be pretending. As James Jesus Angleton used to say, it all turns into a wilderness of mirrors pretty quickly.

But isn't this at least potentially interesting to some American readers?

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

"There Will Be Blood"

I have a review coming out over the weekend in The American Conservative of "There Will Be Blood." Daniel Day-Lewis won the Best Actor Golden Globe for his portrayal of an early 20th Century oilman based on Edward L. Doheny. This tycoon is almost forgotten, but he had far-reaching influence on Southern California and thus on American life, which I outline in my review.

One thing that I left out is that Doheny is the maternal grandfather of science-fiction writer Larry Niven, who co-wrote with Jerry Pournelle the ultimate example of the "LA Apocalypse" genre, Lucifer's Hammer.

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

Obama misspeaks (to put it mildly)

Here's the official Obama response:

"I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan," Obama said in the statement. "I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree."

Obama is being more than a tad disingenuous. You can watch the three minute video tribute to Farrakhan that the Wrights posted on Youtube on 11/4/07 and see that they are praising Farrakhan to the high heavens for his stance on race in general. The smarmy lady narrator (who I would guess is Rev. Wright's daughter Jeri L. Wright, the publisher of his magazine Trumpet, who does a radio talk show with Al Sharpton) says:

"Louis X, later renamed Louis Farrakhan, chose to dedicate his life to the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He has been called one of the most misunderstood and misdefined leaders of our day. The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. infers that 'When Louis Farrakhan speaks, Black America listens.' His depth on analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is both astounding and eye-opening. His tremendous success is evidenced by his mosques and study groups in over 120 cities in America, Europe, the Caribbean, and missions in West Africa and South Africa devoted to the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. His success is solidified in his ability to compel one million men to take publicly take charge of their own fate. In the words of Father Michael Pfleger, 'His leadership has evolved, and I believe the coming days will see him as a unifying force, calling real Christians, real Jews and real Muslims to come together on principles of truth and justice.'"

I don't hear the world "prisoners" or any reference to prisoner rehabilitation in the video.

Of course, the real issue is not that Obama is a follower of Farrakhan (which he isn't), it's that Obama is a follower of Wright, who thinks that Farrakhan is a great guy. And Obama doesn't address that.

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

Nobody Knows Nothing, Part CCLVII

From Politico, a reminder that voters are ignoramuses, and the media like to keep them that way:

McCain faces little incoming fire
By: Jonathan Martin
January 15, 2008 08:56 AM EST

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — His opponents aren’t going after him. … In short, McCain is getting a free pass, and it’s beginning to show. In campaign events across western Michigan, voters are once again being reminded of the qualities of character that have made him an admired figure on the national political scene, without the distraction of ads designed to muddy that image.

… Even those who mentioned immigration — or “the illegal aliens,” as Wolfis put it — seemed unaware that McCain was an outspoken Republican advocate for providing illegal immigrants with a pathway to citizenship last spring.

Sharon Hoogendoorn, who works at Hope College in Holland, Mich., where McCain also had a town hall meeting Monday, said she was a border hawk and felt strongly about the issue. Asked how that squared with McCain’s stance on immigration, Hoogendoorn, who is leaning toward the Arizona senator, said, “I think that’s how he feels — we didn’t bridge that issue today. But I’m pretty sure that’s how he feels, as well.”

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

Is Rev. Wright trying to sabotage Obama?

The more I think about it, the more the following speculation makes sense: that Obama's spiritual advisor, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., is trying to sabotage Obama's campaign.

Rev. Wright has multiple reasons to do it:

1. Spite: Obama dumped him at the last moment from his big spot on national TV giving the invocation at Obama's kickoff rally in Springfield last winter.

2. Glory: Wright craves attention the way Britney Spears does.

3. Ideology: Wright despises the idea that whites would give a black man like Obama an even break. As he told Obama when they first met (p. 283 of Obama's Dreams from My Father):
"Cops don't check my bank account when they pull me over and make me spread-eagle against the car. These miseducated brothers, like that sociologist at the University of Chicago [William Julius Wilson], talking about 'the declining significance of race.' Now, what country is he living in?"

Here's the timeline:

Reverend Wright's amour propre was wounded by Obama dumping him at the last moment from giving the invocation at Obama's nationally televised campaign kickoff last winter in Springfield.

He soon after boasted to the NYT about how when word got out about his trip with Farrakhan to Libya in 1984 was going to eventually cost Obama all his Jewish support.

But, word didn't much get out. The whole Wright story pretty much got shoved down the media memory hole as too hot to handle in these sensitive times.

So, Wright posted on the web a long open letter to the NYT denouncing the NYT for, well, for quoting him correctly.

That didn't make much of a ripple either, so then the Wrights went back to the Farrakhan Well again by giving him their grand prize at a big bash at the Chicago Hyatt Regency on November 2, 2007. Two days later they posted their video tribute to Farrakhan on Youtube.

The media still wouldn't touch that either for two months, but eventually it came out and Wright is now getting the attention he feels he deserves.

If this story gets buried again, Wright is going to keep pulling stunts like this. If he keeps to the same schedule for his annual fund-raising gala, it will be the Friday night before Election Day 2008. Who will he give his lifetime achievement award to this time? Col. Gadaffi? Ahmadinejad? O.J. Simpson? Willie Horton?

Perhaps he wants to turn himself into the Willie Horton of 2008, and his name goes down in history associated with the conventional wisdom about how white racism kept the Democrats from winning in 2008.

I bet that Wright doesn't want Obama to win -- that would disprove his whole world view that whites will never give a black man an even break. He wants Obama to go down in flames to prove he was right, and he wants to be the torch. Just as the conventional wisdom has become that white racism cost Michael Dukakis the Presidency in 1988 over Willie Horton, he wants to go down in history in conjunction with the next myth -- that white racism cost Obama the Presidency or Vice-Presidency over Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.

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

The ominous logic of the Obama-Wright-Farrakhan fiasco

What’s worrisome about the publicity finally being directed toward Obama's spiritual advisor Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. for his long ties with Minister Louis Farrakhan is this:

Farrakhan is radioactive not because he hates whites in general (which he does), but because he hates Jews in particular (which he also does).

So, how can Obama wash off the taint of Farrakhanism-by-Association?

I bet that, as I write this, a lot of our neocon / neolib friends are busy thinking up ways for Obama to prove he’s not an anti-Semite ... such as by hiring them as advisors and letting them take over his foreign policy. (All those Giuliani advisors who aren't getting paid right now might well like another horse to ride at this point.)

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

January 14, 2008

Obama's spiritual advisor gives Farrakhan his "lifetime achievement" award

Here's the Youtube video created last November to celebrate the awarding by Sen. Barack Obama's spiritual advisor since 1987, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., of his

Lifetime Achievement

Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Trumpeter Award


The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

Last March in VDARE.com, I pointed out that Rev. Wright, whose sermon "The Audacity of Hope" provided the title of Obama's bestselling book, posed a massive headache for Obama's candidacy. It's not just Wright's radicalism and racialism, but his attention-aholic personality:

Obama now realizes he has to keep the Rev. Wright covered up, which is why the day before his nationally televised campaign kickoff in Springfield, Illinois, Obama rescinded his invitation to Wright to give the invocation. Wright, however, is a loose cannon. He explained to the New York Times why he was "disinvited":

"When [Obama's] enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli [in Libya]" to visit Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, Mr. Wright recalled, "with [Black Muslim leader Louis] Farrakhan, a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell." [March 6, 2007 Disinvitation by Obama Is Criticized By Jodi Kantor]


Obama's "spiritual mentor" just won't shut up because the man of God is also a man of wrath. The New York Times article about his disinviting had largely disappeared down the memory hole. But then the Rev. Wright released a long, angry letter denouncing the Times for, well, for quoting him correctly.

Kind of puts the Ron Paul - Marty Peretz brouhaha in perspective, doesn't it?

What a jerk Rev. Wright is to do this to Obama just two months before primary season started! Perhaps it's Rev. Wright's revenge on Obama for dumping him from Obama's campaign kickoff last year.

It's also striking that this gala, which took place at the Chicago Hyatt Regency, never surfaced in the mainstream media until today! Great job the press is doing covering Obama, huh? You might almost think they were a bit trepidatious about covering him?

Richard Cohen in the Washington Post relays Obama's excuse:

The Obama camp takes the view that its candidate, now that he has been told about the award, is under no obligation to speak out on the Farrakhan matter. It was not Obama's church that made the award but a magazine.

Trumpet Newsmagazine, "A Lifestyle Magazine for the Socially Conscious," is published by Jeri L. Wright, who happens to be the daughter of Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.

And are we really supposed to believe that Obama didn't hear about this award until now, more than two months after his spiritual advisor handed it out at the Chicago Hyatt Regency? I thought Obama was supposed to be this great man of faith, so how come he claims he doesn't know what must have been the talk of his church for the last several months?

I wrote in "Obama's Identity Crisis" in The American Conservative (3/36/2007):

Even [Obama's] celebrated acceptance of Christianity in his mid-20s turns out to be an affirmation of African-American emotional separatism. As I was reading Dreams, I assumed that his ending would be adapted from the favorite book of his youth, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which climaxes with Malcolm’s visit to Mecca and heartwarming conversion from the racism of the Black Muslims to the universalism of orthodox Islam. I expected that Obama would analogously forgive whites and ask forgiveness for his own racial antagonism as he accepts Jesus.

Instead, Obama falls under the spell of a leftist black nationalist preacher, Jeremiah A. Wright, who preaches African-American unity through antipathy toward whites. Reverend Wright remains a major influence on the presidential candidate. (The title of Obama’s second book, The Audacity of Hope, is borrowed from one of Wright’s sermons.) Ben Wallace-Wells notes in Rolling Stone: “This is as openly radical a background as any significant American political figure has ever emerged from, as much Malcolm X as Martin Luther King Jr.”

As I wrote in VDARE.com last March:

Why has Obama tied his fate to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a tactless race man who is the living opposite of the myth Obama is trying to project about himself?

It's not exactly a secret that Obama, like George W. Bush, has Daddy Issues. The great curse of our current President's life is that his father was an all-around pretty good guy whose biggest failure was not winning a second term as President. The President's awareness that he is palpably inferior to his dad has transformed the younger Bush from a mere mediocrity into a twisted mediocrity.

In contrast, Obama entitled his autobiography Dreams from My Father after the man he worshipped from afar because he had abandoned little Barack Jr. at age 2. When Obama went to Kenya to in the late 1980s to learn more about his late father, the brilliant scholar and national leader turned out to be an egomaniacal alcoholic impoverished bigamist. One might surmise that Obama's father's abandonment of him and this disappointment of his fantasies about his heritage have left a hole in his soul that he hopes to fill by becoming President of the United States.

The closest Obama has come to finding a surrogate for the father he desperately missed is his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah T. Wright Jr., longtime leader of the Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street on the South Side of Chicago. The title of Obama's second book, the current bestseller The Audacity of Hope is lifted from one of Wright's sermons.

That Obama is a "devout Christian" is a big part of his political appeal. But Wright's black church, which Obama joined in the mid-1980s, turns out to be almost as racialist and political in its own way as the Boers' old Dutch Reformed Church was in apartheid South Africa.

I don't spend much time talking about individuals' religions, but, in the case of Obama, I appear to be just about the only pundit other than Shelby Steele who has read the Presidential candidate's first autobiography and made a serious effort to understand where Obama is coming from. Pages 274-295 are mostly devoted to Obama's decision to attend Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ in the winter of 1987, after several years of Chicago blacks telling the Hawaiian via New York that he needed to join a church if he wanted to be politically effective on the South Side.

Let me present the key passages from Obama's 1995 memoir. Obama writes of the first Sunday he attended Wright's church in 1987:
"The title of Reverend Wright's sermon that morning was 'The Audacity of Hope.' He began with a passage from the Book of Samuel ... As I watched and listened from my seat, I began to hear all the notes from the past three years swirl about me. The courage and fear of Ruby and Will. The race pride and anger of men like Rafiq [a Black Muslim]. The desire to let go, the desire to escape, the desire to give oneself up to a God that could somehow put a floor on despair."

That's a significant indefinite article in front of "God."
And in that single note -- hope! -- I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. These stories -- of survival, and freedom, and hope -- became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black... And if a part of me continued to feel that this Sunday communion sometimes simplified our condition, that it could sometimes disguise or suppress the very real conflicts among us [Obama is referring to an earlier discussion of class conflicts among blacks within black churches here -- the "us" does not include nonblack human beings, such as, say, his mother, sister, and maternal grandparents] and would fulfill its promise only through action [i.e., politics], I also felt for the first time how that spirit carried within it, nascent, incomplete, the possibility of moving beyond our narrow dreams.

Soon, Obama breaks into tears.

To be crass about it, this strikes me not as a religious conversion but as the moment when Obama finally feels Black Enough.

Like his mentor Rev. Wright, Obama's religion appears to be essentially racial and political rather than universal or spiritual or behavioral, although they appropriate traditional Biblical vocabulary for expressing it. The Old Testament expresses a primarily racial religion as well, so it's better suited to Wright and Obama's wants than the universalist New Testament. Similarly, the Afrikaaners' Dutch Reformed Church found much inspiration in the Old Testament.

In summary, Reverend Wright went with Minister Farrakhan to visit Col. Gadaffi in 1984, three years before Obama decided to join his church out of all the churches he had visited as part of his ethnic organizing. And in November 2007, Reverend Wright gives Minister Farrakhan a lifetime achievement award named after himself. There seems to be a pattern here, one that somebody as astute as Sen. Obama would have noticed long before. The Farrakhan connection is not an anomaly, it's a window into the now-historically important question of who Obama ... well, not into who Obama is (that's a complicated question), but into who he has long wanted to be.

As I wrote last November:
"If Obama gets on the Democratic ticket, the GOP operatives will make the Rev. Wright famous, and fast. If Obama wants to be taken seriously as Presidential or Vice-Presidential timber, he needs to do a public Sister Souljah on his spiritual adviser, and soon."

Liberals doing what liberals do best

Namely, listening for the silent dog whistle sounds of racism and getting offended.

Is Hillary a racist? After years of the Clintons sticking the knife in other people, it's fun to watch them getting carved up over very little.

Liberal blogger Steven Benen is keeping a list:

Here’s a closer look at the most notable recent incidents, with my patented Willie Horton Rating System — 5 Hortons for the most offensive use of ugly, divisive rhetoric, 1 Horton for the most innocuous.

* Bill Clinton referred to Obama’s movement as a “fairly tale” — 1 Horton

This one has been misconstrued, repeatedly. Looking at the full context, the former president described Obama’s reputation as an opponent of the war in Iraq as a “fairly tale.” That, in and of itself, is a debatable point, but there was no racial subtext.

* Hillary Clinton downplayed the significance of Martin Luther King, Jr. — 4 Hortons

I realize the original quote has been taken from context in a variety of instances, but even in its full context, I think Clinton tried to make a point with some poorly-chosen words.

* Andrew Cuomo’s “shuck and jive” comments — 3 Hortons

It’s questionable, and the context helps make Cuomo look a little better, but he probably should have realized how comments like that could be construed.

* Bob Kerrey’s “Muslim” and “madrassa” comments — 5 Hortons

It’s hard to defend Kerrey on this.

* Billy Shaheen’s drug dealer comments — 5 Hortons

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

* Bob Johnson’s drug dealer comments — 5 Hortons

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

* Sergio Bendixen, a top Clinton pollster, on Latino and Black communities — 2 Hortons

Bendixen conceded the other day, “The Hispanic voter — and I want to say this very carefully — has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates.” He’s playing with fire, given the environment.

* Hillary referred to “spadework” on the Today show — 1 Horton

It’s a real stretch.

* Clinton aide on Obama as an “imaginary hip black friend” — Incomplete

An anonymous Clinton adviser explained what he/she sees as the difference between Hillary supporters and Obama supporters: “If you have a social need, you’re with Hillary,” the aide said. “If you want Obama to be your imaginary hip black friend and you’re young and you have no social needs, then he’s cool.” I’d give it the full 5 Hortons, but I have no idea whether the person is a close aide or a tangential “adviser.”

* Bill Clinton referred to Obama as a “kid” — 1 Horton

Donna Brazille was emphasizing this one last week, but I think the subtext dealt with youth and inexperience, not race. (Still, given that Obama is older now than Bill Clinton was in 1992, it’s an odd comment, but that’s another story for another day.)

By the way, I predict that somebody will get in serious trouble within the next ten years for using the word "linchpin" (also frequently spelled "lynchpin").

Also, by the way, did you know that Sir Francis Galton invented the silent dogwhistle? And you know what that means! So, within 20 years, the term "silent dogwhistle" will be considered racist.

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

Survival of the Hottest

In "The Theory of Dyevolution" in the eXile, Richard Bickerstaff riffs on the Cochranian theory of accelerating evolution to suggest that the horrific shortage of men in Russia after WWII led to sexual selection for good looks in women.

Is Natural Selection really over? I thought so, But show me a really attractive woman from a photograph before 1910. Being unable to find first-rate hotness in history always perplexed me. The only solution I could conceive was one of those pitiful sophomore "social-constructionist" arguments, which never comfortably rested with my libido. But research recently published in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences asserts human evolution has sped up since the invention of agriculture. The authors claim human genetic change has been happening at 100 times the rate of any other period over the last 5,000 years. Since eXile-readers share an interest in hot Soviet-bloc girls and war, I'd like to present a related theory that the two are inextricably linked.

The estimate for Soviet War dead in World War 2 is 24 million (plus five million, if you count Poland). The Soviet casualties are split pretty evenly between military and civilian. The military casualties were men--young men, most without children. Civilian casualties are likely stacked 2-1, men to women. The battle-plan on the Eastern Front was basically Gary Brecher's genocidal "primitive warfare"; men were most worth butchering, whatever the situation, and the nearer to fighting (marrying) age, the better. While the Nazis wanted to exterminate whole Slavic populations for "living space," women were killed less promiscuously. Stalinist purges, likewise, focusing mainly on party-members, also targeted men.

This left Eastern Europe, postwar, with a serious demographic shortage of men of marrying age. [More]

I like this article, and I like Bickerstaff's style. Still, my impression is that the numbers generally don't work out on these kind of single-generation selection event theories. This reminds me of the old theory that Steve Levitt's Harvard economist buddy Roland Fryer is trying to revive that African-Americans have high blood pressure on average because of the high death rate on slave ships selected for salt retention.

Via email, Greg Cochran pointed out to Fryer:

The reason it wouldn't have an important effect is that you don't get a lot of genetic change in one generation unless you try _really_ hard. If they lost the bottom 15% of the people (in terms of salt retention) during the Middle Passage, a cutoff of about one std below average, the increase in salt retention would be about a tenth or so of a standard deviation, assuming a narrow-sense heritability of 50%. You'd never notice the difference. [And, of course, genetic differences in salt retention didn't cause all the deaths in the Middle Passage, so this estimate is optimistic.]

But Fryer wasn't interested in listening to Cochran. After all, what does Cochran know about evolution and genetics compared to a Harvard economist?

Still, the Soviet sex-ratio skew after WWII is a fascinating event that must have had a lot of impact on society, but I've seldom read much about it.

By the way, in Old Master paintings, most girls are a little funny-looking. One partial exception is Botticelli. For example, at Venice Beach in LA around 1980, somebody painted a large-scale mural version of Botticelli's Venus as a roller-skater girl.

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

January 13, 2008

Sailer in VDARE: "Marty Peretz v. Ron Paul"

Here's an extract from my latest column, which includes lots of juicy gossip:

Martin Peretz, veteran editor-in-chief of the neoliberal New Republic magazine, has cultivated a long line of youthful protégés stretching back through Andrew Sullivan all the way to the 17-year-old Al Gore. Peretz's latest bright young man, James Kirchick, his new assistant and winner of the 2006 National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Excellence in Student Journalism award, published last week in TNR a furious 4000 word article bitterly denouncing Congressman Ron Paul as an "Angry White Man."

After laborious research in the dusty archives of two Midwestern university libraries, Kirchick proves that some old newsletters once sent out by the GOP Presidential candidate…well, I'm not quite sure exactly what Kirchick proves, other than that Dr. Paul's newsletters weren't as boring as the MainStream Media.

Sadly, it appears likely that Dr. Paul, being a busy Congressman, didn't actually write most of his newsletters. Whoever wrote them (and I have my guess) wasn't as politically prissy as Peretz and Kirchick demand.

For example, Kirchick is shocked, shocked to discover that Dr. Paul's ghostwriter dared to make fun of the looters in the vast 1992 Los Angeles race riot:

"Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began."

The newsletter also printed this insensitive dialogue about the rioters:

“Robin: ‘I was going to bring you a VCR, but the stores had none.’

“Johnny: ‘A little low are they?’

“Robin: ‘Somebody, I guess, had done a little “political shopping.” [Suddenly imitating an angry black male] “Yo, man, this [giving the clenched-fist Black Power salute] is for Rodney King … and the five TVs are for me.”’”"

Oh, sorry—that wasn't actually in Ron Paul's newsletter at all! That was an exchange from perhaps the most fondly remembered talk show episode in American television show history, the penultimate broadcast of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show on May 21, 1992, with Carson's favorite guests, Bette Midler and Robin Williams. (You can watch Williams' classic routine on Youtube here)

Darn. It's so hard to keep straight what you are supposed to be amused by and what you are supposed to be offended by.

Similarly, Kirchick implies that Congressman Paul is an anti-Semite who nurses "deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays" After all, as Kirchick thoroughly documents, Dr. Paul has close ties to the paleolibertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute, founded by his former aide Lew Rockwell, who was profoundly inspired by the late Murray Rothbard.

And we all know that von Mises and Rothbard were notorious anti-Sem—…

Oh, wait! It appears that von Mises and Rothbard were Jewish.

Never mind.

The New Republic is also alarmed that:

"The newsletters display an obsession with Israel; no other country is mentioned more often in the editions I saw …"

That's in complete contrast to Marty Peretz's magazine, where Israel, being a small, distant foreign country, is almost never mentioned, and the only test applied to our foreign policy is whether it advances the general welfare of the American people.

Oh, sorry…that's the Bizarro World version of The New Republic. In our space-time continuum, Israel is the most important country in the galaxy, at least according to Peretz's priorities.

In the liberal American Prospect, Eric Alterman mused in his article My Marty Peretz Problem—And Ours, [June 19, 2007] on the 34 years of Peretz's stewardship of The New Republic:

"It would be theoretically possible, I imagine, to overstate the centrality of Peretz's obsession with the Arab-Israeli conflict to the magazine's politics and to its editorial voice. But … it is really not too much to say that almost all of Peretz's political beliefs are subordinate to his commitment to Israel's best interests, and these interests as Peretz defines them almost always involve more war."

Kirchick, enraged by what he has dug up in the antiwar candidate's newsletters, concludes that the libertarian surgeon is "a man filled with hate."

In sharp contrast, Kirchick's boss, Marty Peretz, is the reincarnation of St. Francis of Assisi.

Oh, oops, check that … As Alterman points out, Peretz is in thrall to an "obsessive and unapologetic hatred of Arabs". [More, lots more, including Al Gore and Stephen Glass]

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

A question that should be asked of all the candidates

"Have you ever been depressed?

It's time to drop two bad ideas that have dominated thinking about Presidential and VP candidates and depression:

1. That depression should automatically disqualify you (as with McGovern dropping Eagleton in 1972).

2. That if you've never been hospitalized or given electroshock treatment for emotional problems, nobody should pay any attention to them (as with the almost complete press silence in 1992 while Ross Perot was riding one of the most spectacular manic-depressive cycles in American history, going from nowhere to leading the polls to going into crazed seclusion to coming back strong and getting the highest 3rd Party percentage of the vote since Teddy Roosevelt).

To take the example of the candidate I'm most familiar with, Barack Obama, it sounds from his two books like he had at least two fairly strong depressive episodes: in New York City in the early 1980s and after his defeat in the Democratic primary for Congress in 2000. (I might also speculate that his first book, which has all the hallmarks of the depressive artist, was written not long after another depression, while his Up-With-People second book reflects an up phase.) That's hardly unusual, but it's worth understanding more about his (and all the other candidates') psychological history. After all, we're choosing a President here.

Obama could conveniently be the first to break the code of silence on this topic -- he could just go on his pal Oprah's show and talk about his feelings. I'm sure it would help him at the polls with the female-dominated Democratic electorate.

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