April 12, 2008


Few of the press accounts of Obama getting caught telling San Francisco supporters what they wanted to hear about why those Pennsylvanians have such retrograde values, like religion, mention where exactly in San Francisco he was. It appears most likely that he was at a fundraiser in Gordon Getty's mansion on Billionaire's Row, a street where Larry Ellison and a number of other Forbes 400 folks live. Getty is the chief heir of the J. Paul Getty's vast oil fortune. (On a side note, the name "Gordon Getty" was the inspiration for the name of Michael Douglas's "Greed is good" character in "Wall Street:" "Gordon Gekko," although Gekko's personality is closer to J. Paul's than Gordon's, a dilettante symphony composer.)

Here are a lot of pictures of Obama arriving at Getty's mansion from Zombie Times.

Obama was taped saying:

"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

This is a perfect summary of Stuff White People Hate.

P.S. Other sources suggest the "cling to guns" remark was made at a fundraiser in Marin County, which is probably even worse from a P.R. standpoint.

By the way, if Obama wants to know why guys who "cling to guns" like guns, it's because they really, really, really like guns and/or hunting.

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

April 11, 2008

Badder or Sadder?

As a pundit, I'm supposed to act like I know this kind of stuff, but I have to admit I'm pretty baffled why it's terribly important to the United States of America that the Badr Shiites who control the Baghdad government crush the Sadr Shiites who control much of Southern Iraq and parts of Baghdad as well.

After all, from a strategic Game of Nations point of view, the Badr Boys (they keep changing their names, but I'll stick with that) are very closely linked to Iran, where they spent the Saddam years. And Iran, we are told, is the Great Satan. In contrast, Mookie al-Sadr is less tied to Iran, having holed up in the slums of Iraq after Saddam murdered his dad.

So, why are we against Mookie and for Maliki? Possible answers include:

- Mookie wants us to leave Iraq, which makes him anti-American. But the majority of Americans wants America to leave Iraq, so I guess that just means the American people are anti-American, too. It's simple logic.

- The Badr Boys are more middle class, while Sadr's guys are more slummy.

- More Badr Boys than Sadr Slumsters speak English, so that's why we're on their side: we can understand what they're telling us, while Sadr keeps rambling on in that moon man gibberish that people in Iraq seem to speak.

- Badr is weaker than Sadr, so we support them because they need us more, and thus tolerate us more. And, the whole point of our being in Iraq has become our being in Iraq -- we can never leave until we prove that we don't have to leave, because that would show weakness; but we can only prove that we don't have to leave by not leaving. So we are going to be there, roughly, forever. It's simple logic, but Mookie doesn't seem to get it.

- Mookie's Men fought pitched battles with U.S. troops in 2004, so they are our enemy forever and ever. (Meanwhile, the Sunnis spent 2003-2007 trying to kill us, and now we're supplying them with high-powered weapons, and that's considered a brilliant triumph.)

- We need an enemy, or otherwise we'd have have to go home, and now that we've declared both the pro-Iranian Shiites and the Sunnis to be on our side, that basically leaves the Mookster to fill the role of enemy.

- Sadr has terrible halitosis.

- Or what?

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

Updated: Interracial Marriage as the Path to Interracial Harmony and AK-47 Bling

Singer Alicia Keys, who was raised by her white mom after her black dad split, provides another example of how interracial mating automatically creates transracial harmony among the mixed race offspring:

NEW YORK (AP) - There's another side to Alicia Keys: conspiracy theorist. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter tells Blender magazine: "'Gangsta rap' was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. 'Gangsta rap' didn't exist."

Keys, 27, said she's read several Black Panther autobiographies and wears a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck "to symbolize strength, power and killing 'em dead," according to an interview in the magazine's May issue, on newsstands Tuesday.

Another of her theories: That the bicoastal feud between slain rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. was fueled "by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing."

Keys' AK-47 jewelry came as a surprise to her [white] mother, who is quoted as telling Blender: "She wears what? That doesn't sound like Alicia."

Despite careful inspection of the pendant in the picture above, I can't quite tell if that's an AK-47. As they say at the end of every scientific paper ever published: More research is necessary!

Update: An indefatigable iSteve reader has done the more research necessary and found this photo of Alicia wearing her Huey Newton leather coat, Eldridge Cleaver shades, and her own AK-47 pendant.

He points out:

There's a cutesy girl thing going on, I think--Automat Kalashnikov and Alicia Keys, same initials: "AK."

Oh, now I get it! AK ...

Isn't she adorable!

And yet, if Alicia Keys were 47-years-old, making the whole "AK-47" thing even more appropriate, theoretically-speaking, it would somehow be less cute.

Funny how that works.

In the meantime, AK, enjoy it while you've still got it.

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

McCain's strategy

John Dickerson in Slate sums up what the GOP strategy will be against Obama:

"The GOP's attack will boil down to the accusation that Obama is a big phony."

I presume I was the first person to point out in detail that Obama's campaign themes, which are based on common assumptions about the political implications of his life story, are contradicted by his actual life story. And two months ago I explained how McCain could use this.

So, does that make it my fault if McCain gets elected and blows up the world?


But, it's not as if nobody in the GOP would have noticed if I hadn't been hollering about it for so long. I just hastened the process.

It's actually to Obama's advantage that the GOP has figured out their strategy so early. It gives him seven months to figure out a counter-strategy, such as, to pick an unlikely example, to stop being a big phony.

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

"Obama's Mr. Wright"

From my "Obama's Mr. Wright" article in the April 7, 2008 issue of The American Conservative on why the press overlooked for so long the obvious fact that Barack Obama wasn't actually Tiger Woods:

"That Barack Obama is black offers the country a potential advantage: it makes his intellectual sophistication and verbal adeptness more acceptable to the bulk of voters, many of whom found Al Gore and his 1330 SAT score too inhumanly cerebral to trust. If Obama, a superb prose stylist, were white, he’d be written off as an effete intellectual. But white voters are hungry for a well-educated role model for blacks. And blacks see the preppie from paradise’s membership in Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ as evidence that he’s keepin’ it real."


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

April 10, 2008

Obama studied under Edward Said

Edward Said, the late Episcopalian Palestinian intellectual, whose 1978 book "Orientalism" launched "post-colonial studies" and did so much damage to scholarship by teaching a generation of students that studying non-Western cultures was racist and that the only acceptable activity was to interrogate what earlier Western scholars had said about non-Western cultures for proof of their racism, taught Barack Obama at Columbia in the early 1980s, according to the LA Times.

There's nothing about Edward Said in Obama's memoirs because of Obama's relentless refusal to include anecdotes about famous people he had met just because readers might find them -- horrors -- interesting.

I mean, in the unlikely event that I ever write my life story, I'd include the time I was interrogated by a Maryland chief of police on suspicion of attempting to assassinate former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with a letter bomb.

Their robot bomb disposal unit was ready to hurl into the Chesapeake Bay the small dense package I had mailed to myself at a hotel where both Mrs. Thatcher and I would be staying for a conference when I finally convinced the police the package just contained some new business cards I had had printed up.

Granted, this story doesn't reveal anything about my inner soul, but it's more entertaining than any single anecdote in Obama's boring book.

Obama left out random stories about famous people he had met because they don't have anything to do with his own personal all-absorbing "story of race and inheritance." And, besides, who knew whether potential Jewish donors in some future campaign would be pleased to hear about the impact Said had on Obama? Why leave a paper trail?

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

April 9, 2008

The Truth about Hillary

Have you noticed that most of the things you've been told over and over again about Hillary Clinton -- how crafty, organized, and ruthless she is -- have turned out not to be true?

- Although they are pretty much tied in the primaries, Obama has beaten her like a drum in the caucuses, where organization and technical mastery of arcane rules matters most.

- On her staff, the loyalists like former campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, are incompetent. But her mercenaries, leakers, and backstabbers are also incompetent.

- Yet, she hasn't been ruthless at all in running against Obama. For example, the Rev. Wright DVDs were available for the whole world to buy from Rev. Wright's church, but Hillary didn't use them.

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

Obama's skewed experience of the 3rd World

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, among many others, is always gushing about how Sen. Barack Obama's life story gives him an exceptionally sophisticated understanding of foreign affairs.

Indeed, Obama himself might even be starting to believe all the adulatory press about how his four years as a small child in Indonesia and his handful of weeks in Kenya have given him a deep understanding of global affairs. Obama claimed yesterday that he had more relevant foreign affairs experience than Hillary or McAmnesty. Jake Tapper writes:

"Foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain," Obama said, according to the Huffington Post.

"It's ironic because this is supposedly the place where experience is most needed to be Commander-in-Chief. Experience in Washington is not knowledge of the world. This I know. When Senator Clinton brags 'I've met leaders from eighty countries' -- I know what those trips are like! I've been on them. You go from the airport to the embassy. There's a group of children who do native dance. You meet with the CIA station chief and the embassy and they give you a briefing. You go take a tour of a plant that [with] the assistance of USAID has started something. And then -- you go."

"You do that in eighty countries," Obama said, "You don't know those eighty countries. So when I speak about having lived in Indonesia for four years, having family that is impoverished in small villages in Africa --knowing the leaders is not important -- what I know is the people...I traveled to Pakistan when I was in college -- I knew what Sunni and Shia was [sic] before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."

This last part -- a college trip to Pakistan -- was news to many of us who have been following the race closely. And it was odd that we hadn't hear about it before, given all the talk of Pakistan during this campaign.

So, he went to Pakistan and India after visiting his half-sister in Indonesia, which qualifies him to be President, although it apparently didn't make much of an impression on him because he never seems to have mentioned it before. It didn't fit into his "Story of Race and Inheritance" because he doesn't have any relatives from there and, besides, the people there don't fit in well with his black and white worldview. (The people in Hawaii didn't either, but the South Side of Chicago is more like what he wanted.)

Yet, despite Obama's incredibly sophisticated awareness of the rest of the world, in the climax of the Chicago section of his autobiography, he approvingly quoted his spiritual mentor Jeremiah A. Wright's incredibly unsophisticated worldview: "where white folks' greed runs a world in need ..."

Wouldn't some experience with the Third World raise severe doubts about such an apportionment of guilt? After all, during Obama's formative years, there were plenty of anti-American leftist Third World countries that only become needier the more they separated themselves from white folks' greed.

So, why didn't Obama get it?

First, as far as I can tell, despite his image as a world-spanning figure, Obama doesn't actually have that much foreign experience. Obama's overseas travel before becoming a U.S. Senator four years ago (since which he has taken a few junkets) was quite limited, consisting largely of living Indonesia as a child and two visits to Kenya. During his years in Chicago, he typically spent his winter vacations (not irrationally!) in his native Hawaii.

The truth is that Obama hasn't exhibited all that much interest in foreign countries not directly connected to his own life story. In his autobiography, Obama is subtly contemptuous of his wandering, exotiphilic mother whose centrifugal tendencies took her from Kansas to Indonesia. In contrast, Obama has concocted for himself a life trajectory from the exotic margins to the heart of African-America, the South Side of Chicago, where he methodically made himself a Chicago politician. (And, as Churchill said about the Pathans, for a Chicago politician, "life is full of interest" right at home, so curiosity about foreign affairs is a distraction.)

I imagine Obama took other trips abroad, but clearly Kenya and Indonesia were the two that had a major emotional impact upon this self-absorbed artiste. The common denominator of Indonesia and Kenya for understanding where Obama is coming from is that while these were two typically cruddy Third World countries, they were typically cruddy Third World countries that happened to be Cold War allies of the U.S.A. and were officially lined up on the side of "capitalism." In contrast, Obama had very little experience or interest in all the cruddy Third World countries that were nonaligned or were Soviet allies and espoused socialism as their reigning ideology.

Obama's naive mom appears to have assumed when she moved to Indonesia in 1966 that it was still as leftist as it had been under Sukarno, who had been overthrown the year before. She was horrified to learn it wasn't the non-aligned utopia she had imagined. Indonesia had been a leftwing anti-American dictatorship when she had met her second husband Lolo in Hawaii, but by the time she and little Barack arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia was a rightwing pro-American dictatorship. When easygoing Lolo (who is just about the only character in Obama's memoirs that I'd like to have a beer with) got a nice job working in government relations for an American oil company so he could support his wife and kid (some other guy's kid, let me point out), they would argue:
"...about her refusal to attend his company dinner parties, where American businessmen from Texas and Louisiana would slap Lolo's back and boast about the palms they had greased to obtain the new offshore drilling rights, while their wives complained to my mother about the quality of Indonesian help. He would ask her how it would look for him to go alone, and remind her that these were her own people, and my mother's voice would rise to almost a shout.

"They are not my people."
[p. 47 of Dreams from My Father]
Such tensions paved the way for their divorce.

Similarly, Kenya's leader Jomo Kenyatta, who persecuted Obama's father for being a member of the Luo tribe, allowed an American naval base at Mombassa and encouraged capitalism -- among his Kikuyu tribesman.

Thus, Obama's beloved Luo relatives were, increasingly, enemies of Kenyatta's pro-Western policies. The Luo, under the leadership of Obama's kinsman Oginga Odinga, thus were leftist and friendly toward the Soviets. For example, Oginga Odinga sent his son Raila Odinga, the current Luo warlord and Prime Minister-designate (who claims to be Obama's cousin), to study in East Germany in 1965.

Time magazine reported in 1969:
President Jomo Kenyatta, who with his fellow Kikuyu has ruled the country since independence in 1963, threw Opposition Leader Oginga Odinga in prison and banned his Luo-dominated party.

Kikuyu and Luo, first and second largest of Kenya's 46 main tribes, have long controlled the country's politics. Initially, neither Kenyatta's Kenya African National Union (KANU) nor Odinga's Kenya People's Union (KPU) were organized along strictly tribal lines. ... In recent years, however, both party memberships have become increasingly polarized. ...

As Kenyatta's convoy began to move away after the speech, spectators stoned the lead car. Panicky police fired point-blank into the crowd, leaving at least nine dead and 70 wounded. Two days later, Kenya police arrested Odinga, and most of the other KPU leadership, including all eight of the party's MPs. A day later, KPU was banned for allegedly seeking "to overthrow the lawful and constitutional government of the Republic of Kenya." It seemed a clear reference to Communist intrigues. Though apparently no Communist, Odinga is a leftist who has accepted funds from Soviet and Chinese Communist agents; "Double O" was also instrumental in persuading the Russians to build the new hospital in Kisumu.

So, in Indonesia, Obama absorbed his mother's anti-Americanism, and from Keyna, he was exposed to his relatives' opposition to the pro-American tribes.

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

April 8, 2008

Barack Obama Sr.'s Mugabeist plan for Kenya

Kenya was a Cold War ally of the U.S. For example, Kenya boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games at President Jimmy Carter's request, a bigger sacrifice for Kenya than most of other 28 countries that boycotted, since the Olympic running events provide Kenya with its main shot at glory on the international stage. The international prestige of Kenya's first President, Jomo Kenyatta and Kenya's relatively successful evolution, meant that Kenya's "pro-capitalist" (in truth, crony capitalist) policies were a valuable counterexample during the Cold War struggle for hearts and minds of Third World countries.

No thanks, however, to Harvard-trained economist Barack Obama Sr., who consistently argued within Kenya's elite for socialism and ditching the pro-American orientation. In an important piece of original research, Greg Ransom of PrestoPundit shows that leftism was the Dream from My Father:
There's a big mystery at the heart of Barack Obama's Dreams For My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. What was Barack Obama doing seeking out Marxist professors in college? Why did Obama choose a Communist Party USA member as his socio- political counselor in high school? Why was he spending his time studying neocolonialism and the writings of Frantz Fanon, the pro-violence author of "the Communist Manifesto of neocolonialsm", in college? Why did he take time out from his studies at Columbia to attend socialist conferences at Cooper Union?

And there is more mystery in the book. Why does Obama consider working in a consulting house for international business like being "a spy behind enemy lines?" Why does he repeatedly find it so hard to explain his political views to others? Why was he driven to become a left-aligned political organizer? It's a question Obama again and again can't seem to answer to the satisfaction of the interlocutors in his own memoir.

If there is a mystery at the heart of Barack Obama's Dreams For My Father, one thing is not left a mystery, the fact that Barack Obama organized his life on the ideals given to him by his Kenyan father. Obama tells us, "All of my life, I carried a single image of my father, one that I .. tried to take as my own." (p. 220) And what was that image? It was "the father of my dreams, the man in my mother's stories, full of high-blown ideals .." (p. 278) What is more, Obama tells us that, "It was into my father's image .. that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself." And also that, "I did feel that there was something to prove .. to my father" in his efforts at political organizing. (p. 230)

So we know that his father's ideals were a driving force in his life, but the one thing that Obama does not give us are the contents of those ideals. ...

A bit of research at the library reveals the answers about Barack Obama's father and his father's convictions which Obama withholds from his readers. A first hint comes from authors E. S. Atieno Odhiambo and David William Cohen in their book The Risks of Knowledge (Ohio U. Press, 2004). On page 182 of their book they describe how Barack Obama's father, a Harvard trained economist, attacked the economic proposals of pro-Western 'third way" leader Tom Mboya from the socialist left, siding with communist-allied leader Oginga Odinga [father of current Luo leader Raila Odinga, who recently claimed to be Sen. Obama's cousin], in a paper Barack Obama's father for the for the East Africa Journal. As Odhiambo and Cohen write:

"The debates [over economic policy] pitted .. Mboya against .. Oginga Odinga and radical economists Dharam Ghai and Barrack Obama, who critiqued the document for being neither African nor socialist enough."

Ransom dug up from the stacks at UCLA the 1965 paper "Problems Facing Our Socialism" by Barack H. Obama in the East Africa Journal.

... The paper is as describe by Odhiambo and Cohen, a cutting attack from the left on Tom Mboya's historically important policy paper "African Socialism and Its Applicability to Planning in Kenya." The author is given as "Barak H. Obama" and his paper is titled "Problems Facing Our Socialism," published July, 1965 in the East African Journal, pp. 26-33.

Obama stakes out the following positions in his attacks on the white paper produced by Mboya's Ministry of Economic Planning and Development:

1. Obama advocated the communal ownership of land and the forced confiscation of privately controlled land, as part of a forced "development plan", an important element of his attack on the government's advocacy of private ownership, land titles, and property registration. (p. 29)

2. Obama advocated the nationalization of "European" and "Asian" owned enterprises, including hotels, with the control of these operations handed over to the "indigenous" black population. (pp. 32 -33)

3. Obama advocated dramatically increasing taxation on "the rich" even up to the 100% level, ...

4. Obama contrasts the ill-defined and weak-tea notion of "African Socialism" negatively with the well-defined ideology of "scientific socialism", i.e. communism. Obama views "African Socialism" pioneers like Nkrumah, Nyerere, and Toure as having diverted only "a little" from the capitalist system. (p. 26)

5. Obama advocates an "active" rather than a "passive" program to achieve a classless society through the removal of economic disparities between black Africans and Asian and Europeans. (p. 28) "While we welcome the idea of a prevention [of class problems], we should try to cure what has slipped in .. we .. need to eliminate power structures that have been built through excessive accumulation so that not only a few individuals shall control a vast magnitude of resources as is the case now .. so long as we maintain free enterprise one cannot deny that some will accumulate more than others .. " (pp. 29-30) ...

8. Obama strongly supports the governments assertion of a "non-aligned" status in the contest between Western nations and communist nations aligned with the Soviet Union and China. (p. 26)

In short, the Presidential frontrunner's father's policy views were similar to Robert Mugabe's.

In Obama's memoirs, he plays up his father's failure to achieve the brilliant career seemingly open to him in the mid-1960s as due to ethnic politics (he was a Luo, Kenyatta a Kikuyu), and, later, due to his father's drinking. But the Presidential candidate skips over the more politically relevant ideological clash between his father and Kenyatta. As Mona Charen noted, leftism is more assumed than articulated in Obama's slippery autobiography.

Although, Barack Obama Jr. spent only one month of his life with his father, when he came to visit Hawaii when his son was a schoolboy at Punahou prep, the young man heard plenty about his father's brilliance and high ideals from his leftist mother, who remained a lifelong defender of her ex-husband, and leftist paternal grandfather.

Obviously, Obama is not going to impose his father's Mugabeist ideals on America. He's clearly evolved ideologically. Still, Ransom's important work raises the essential question: How far has he evolved? And has his heart kept up with head? The nominating process is practically over and we're only now beginning to understand just how far to the left Obama started out, and we really don't have a clue what the future trajectory of his personal ideology would look like.

Perhaps one of our thousands of political reporters should ask him?

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

April 7, 2008

"I and My Brother against My Cousin"

Anthropologist Stanley Kurtz has a long, useful article in The Weekly Standard about Middle Eastern tribalism, "I and My Brother against My Cousin." He argues that we've overstated the importance of Islam in our recent troubles and understated the importance of tribal behaviors, rooted in nomadism, that are older than the Koran. (Indeed, Islam can be seen as both assuming but also criticizing the low-level feuding that was endemic to that difficult-to-police part of the world.) Fans of "The Man Who Would Be King" and "Lawrence of Arabia" won't be terribly surprised, but will still find the essay provides a solid framework for understanding.

I agree with Kurtz's article on just about everything other than the scale of the threat posed to the U.S. by Middle Eastern tribal tendencies. My view is that the danger, while not negligible (obviously), tends to be self-limiting due to the fractiousness exemplified in the title of the article. These guys aren't the Russians with 10,000 nuclear warheads mounted on ICBMs. It's not like Al-Qaeda is going to build its own fleet of jetliners to fly into our skyscrapers. They're only a danger to us to the extent that we let them be a danger to us. To stop the Russians, we had to build a fleet of Poseidon subs. What we needed to stop Mohamed Atta and Co., in contrast, was a memo to Customs agents telling them to not let terroristy-looking guys through the gates at JFK.

Late last summer, with no decent new movies out, I wrote a retrospective review for The American Conservative of "Lawrence of Arabia" that discussed how we get a glimpse in the second half of the movie of the end of the ancient struggle between the regular armies of settled nations and the irregular warriors of tribal nations:
Among its numerous virtues, "Lawrence" provides insight into America's quandary in Iraq by offering a vivid primer on what William S. Lind calls "asymmetrical" war.

In "Lawrence," regular warfare, with its drilling and decisive battles, is exemplified by the stolid Turkish infantry, while irregular warfare, with its interminable raids and retreats, is embodied in the mercurial Arab camel cavalry.

In the famous screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson, the British high command wants Lawrence to trick the Bedouin Arabs into enlisting as cannon fodder in the grinding British attack on the Ottomans at Gaza. Lawrence insubordinately devises a more culturally appropriate strategy for the nomads: "'The desert is an ocean in which no oar is dipped' and on this ocean the Bedu go where they please and strike where they please." They will harass the Turkish railway to Medina with hit-and-run attacks, avoiding the pitched battles, for which the tribesmen, no fools, wouldn't even show up.

In 1917, in the first two-thirds of the movie, Lawrence's insight works wonderfully. In the 1918 conclusion, however, although the British and Arabs win, the failures of irregularity become clearer. The victorious but still fractious clans can't competently manage the hospitals and waterworks of Damascus. Even before then, there are hints that irregular desert warfare is doomed by the new age of mechanized mobility. When the Turks can get their hands on enough German armored cars and airplanes, they negate the traditional Bedouin advantage in mobility and elusiveness.

Subsequently, it turned out that cultures that were good at regular warfare, like the Israelis and Americans, were also better at building and maintaining the tanks and planes that gave regular militaries the mobility of irregular warriors.

But history never ends; losers adapt. As Lawrence tells Omar Sharif's Sherif Ali, "Nothing is written." Now, after two easy victories in open country over Iraq's derisible regular army, America has bogged down in Iraq's urban jungles fighting countless irregular units that disappear into the alleys as Lawrence's mounted warriors vanished into the dunes.

In other words, while irregular warriors from the Middle East long harassed Christendom due to their often superior mobility (such as that provided by the camel), the mechanization of military mobility in the 20th Century meant that the cultures that fostered cooperation and discipline were much better at building and maintaining the tanks and planes that have determined victory since WWI. Now, though, tactics have evolved, and we're bogged down in places like Basra ... but only because we're in places like Basra.

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

April 6, 2008

It's not about you, it's about me

From the NYT:

That’s What I Like About Me

A recent poll [of white Democrats] suggests that Barack Obama’s biggest draw is his ability to make voters feel good about themselves.

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

You heard it here first

William Kristol writes in the NY Times in his column "The Shape of the Race to Come:"

More fundamental will be the question of the discrepancy between the image of Obama the uniter and the reality of Obama the liberal. That hasn’t been much of a problem for Obama in the Democratic contest, since Clinton hasn’t attacked from the right or even the center.

But Republicans will. Last week, over drinks, one Republican strategist not affiliated with the McCain campaign mused about how an independent advertising effort against Obama might work. “Barack Obama: He’s not who you think he is” would be the theme. The supporting evidence would come from his left-wing voting record in Illinois and Washington, spiced up with fun video clips of Reverend Wright.

The essential misjudgment that countless people have made about Obama is assuming that being half-white makes him more ideologically moderate. It's an easy assumption to make: if 88% of blacks voted Democratic in 2004 vs. only 41% of whites, then somebody who is half-black and half-white should fall in-between, right? It's simple arithmetic!

In reality, the opposite is true. Somebody who is as white as Obama in upbringing and personality, but as black by avocation and profession, has to constantly prove he's "black enough." Since Obama's a Primarily Political Person, as Michael Blowhard might say, he has to repeatedly prove he's black enough politically.

Obama's basic political psychology isn't at all complicated -- it doesn't take a high degree of empathy or psychological acuity to figure out the basic theme of Obama's life -- but it's remarkable how he got to the point of almost having the Democratic nomination for the White House wrapped up before the press starts to figure it out.

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

It's all relative

Here's the opening of my new VDARE.com column:

Back in 2006, I wrote in VDARE.com:

Sam Quinones' July 28 article—6 + 4 = 1 Tenuous Existence: An illegal immigrant couple with six children were already living in poverty. Then the quadruplets arrived. They're still in a daze—just might be the best in the rather dull history of the Los Angeles Times.”

Now, Quinones has a new article in the L.A. Times—A familial mean street: Networks of relatives have bred crime on once-peaceful Drew Street, police say—that's worthy of comparison. Once again, Quinones demonstrates that you can't understand immigration, crime, poverty, or the world in general without thinking hard about extended family ties. Who is related to whom?

In Southern California, wealthy people live in or near the hills, while poor people live on the endless flat lands. So it was a matter of some surprise to many Angelenos last February 21 when a running gun battle between cops and gangbangers armed in a style worthy of a big budget action movie broke out just north of Downtown LA between Dodger Stadium and the beautiful Forest Lawn cemetery.

Quinones explains the extended family relations that have made Glassell Park, despite its seemingly prime location, one of the smallest but nastiest slums in America. He focuses on "Mama" Leon, the mother of a gang-banger who was killed by cops in February for firing his AK-47 automatic rifle at them:

"An illegal immigrant and mother of 13, [Maria] Leon has a lengthy arrest record and three convictions for drug-related crimes—for which she's served no prison time, according to court documents. …

"Police said Leon, 44, and her extended family were deeply involved in the drug trade that has made Drew Street among L.A.'s most notorious."

As I've long argued, the most overlooked factor in better understanding a host of hot-button issues, such as race, crime, immigration, even the chaos in Iraq, are family ties. Who one's relatives are turns out to have endless ramifications that are mostly ignored by the media.

Those of us who come from law-abiding backgrounds in which nuclear families get together with their extended family relatives mostly just on holidays have a hard time imagining ourselves in situations where we can't call 911, where we've done something so wrong that the only people we can turn to are our mafia of relatives.

Still, people in those situations create most of the news in this world. Quinones is one of the few reporters who gets it:

"The Leons—and members of several other immigrant families on Drew Street whom authorities have charged with criminal acts—hail from the town of Tlalchapa in the state of Guerrero, which has a reputation as one of Mexico's most violent regions. Police estimate that dozens of members of these extended families belong to the Avenues gang."


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