March 22, 2008

Obama needs some jokewriters, fast

Obama's humorlessness about race is starting to cause him real problems. For example, on an AM radio sports talk show, of all places, he got asked about his Throw Grandma from the Train speech ("a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street "), and bumbled:

The point I was making was not that grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn’t.

But she is a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know, you know, there’s a reaction that’s been bred in our experiences that don’t go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way, and that’s just the nature of race in our society.

We have to break through it, and what makes me optimistic is you see each generation feeling a little less like that, and that’s powerful stuff.

When you find yourself in a hole, Barack, stop digging.

Race is one of those topics that's more hopeless than serious, but Obama's supporters like him being pompous and getting all furrow-browed.

Another problem for Obama is that his personal identity is all tied up with "race and inheritance," and he's too serious about himself to not be serious about race.

He needs to get some jokewriters, then go on the Jay Leno show and laugh it off. Make fun of himself, call himself "Barry Half-White" and "H. Rap Beige."

(By the way, Gerald Ford's head speechwriter when he was President was Bob Orben, whose previous experience was being one of the top gagwriters in the comedy business -- he wrote for Dick Gregory, Red Skelton, and Jack Paar and published a long line of joke books sold in magic shops that were used by many stand-ups. That's why Ford had some good one-liners, like, "If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, he'd be spinning in his grave.")

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Obama on the Jena 6

From his speech at Howard U.:
What's truly risky is to let the same injustice remain year after year. What's truly risky is to walk away and pretend it never happened. What's truly risky is to accept things as they are instead of working for what could be.

In a media-driven culture that's more obsessed with who's beating who in Washington and how long Paris Hilton is going to jail, these moments are harder to spot today. But every so often, they do appear. Sometimes it takes a hurricane. And sometimes it takes a travesty of justice like the one we've seen in Jena, Louisiana.

There are some who will make Jena about the fight itself. And it's true that we have to do more as parents to instill in our children that violence is always wrong. It's wrong when it happens on the streets of Chicago and it's wrong when it happens at a schoolyard in Louisiana. Violence is not the answer. Non-violence was the soul of the Civil Rights Movement, and we have to do a better job of teaching our children that virtue.

But we also know that to truly understand Jena, you have to look at what happened both before and after that fight. You have to listen to the hateful slurs that flew through the halls of a school. You have to know the full measure of the damage done by that arson. You have to look at those nooses hanging on that schoolyard tree. And you have to understand how badly our system of justice failed those six boys in the days after that fight - the outrageous charges; the unreasonable and excessive sentences; the public defender who did not call a single witness.

Like Katrina did with poverty, Jena exposed glaring inequities in our justice system that were around long before that schoolyard fight broke out. It reminds us of the fact that we have a system that locks away too many young, first-time, non-violent offenders for the better part of their lives - a decision that's made not by a judge in a courtroom, but by politicians in Washington. It reminds us that we have certain sentences that are based less on the kind of crime you commit than on what you look like and where you come from. It reminds us that we have a Justice Department whose idea of prosecuting civil rights violations is trying to rollback affirmative action programs at our college and universities; a Justice Department whose idea of prosecuting voting rights violations is to look for voting fraud in black and Latino communities where it doesn't exist. ...

I don't want to be standing here and talking about another Jena four years from now because we didn't have the courage to act today. I don't want this to be another issue that ends up being ignored once the cameras are turned off and the headlines disappear. It's time to seek a new dawn of justice in America.

From the day I take office as President, America will have a Justice Department that is truly dedicated to the work it began in the days after Little Rock. I will rid the department of ideologues and political cronies, and for the first time in eight years, the Civil Rights Division will actually be staffed with civil rights lawyers who prosecute civil rights violations, and employment discrimination, and hate crimes. And we'll have a Voting Rights Section that actually defends the right of every American to vote without deception or intimidation. When flyers are placed in our neighborhoods telling people to vote on the wrong day, that won't only be an injustice, it will be a crime.

As President, I will also work every day to ensure that this country has a criminal justice system that inspires trust and confidence in every American, regardless of age, or race, or background. There's no reason that every single person accused of a crime shouldn't have a qualified public attorney to defend them. We'll recruit more public defenders to the profession by forgiving college and law school loans - and I will ask some of the brilliant minds here at Howard to take advantage of that offer. There's also no reason we can't pass a racial profiling law like I did in Illinois, or encourage state to reform the death penalty so that innocent people do not end up on death row.

What really happened:

Similarly, in September, when Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton led thousands of demonstrators in a march on the small town of Jena, Louisiana to protest supposed racism in the treatment of six black high-school students accused of beating unconscious then stomping the body of a white schoolmate, the assembled national media got the story almost 180 degrees backward. We weren’t witnessing a revival of the Emmett Till Era of lynchings, as the pundits insisted, but another example of the O.J. Simpson Age of stars athletes whose off-field misdeeds are excused until they finally go too far.

The Jena Six hadn’t been despised outcasts: they were the best football players in a gridiron-obsessed small town. Mychal Bell, the only one of the Six tried so far, was an All-State junior who scored 18 touchdowns in the 2006 season. A local minister, Eddie Thompson, explained, “For the most part, coaches and other adults have prevented them from being held accountable for the reign of terror they have presided over in Jena.” As Abbey Brown wrote in the Alexandria-Pineville Town Talk: “Bell was adjudicated—the juvenile equivalent to a conviction—of battery Sept. 2 [2006] and criminal damage to property Sept. 3. … A few days later, on Sept. 8, Bell rushed 12 times for 108 yards and scored three touchdowns.”

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 21, 2008

The botched solution to Obama's Rev. Wright Problem

Obama had to know all along that his Rev. Wright was a potential millstone around his neck. Last fall, though, fate handed him a potential solution when Don Imus made a vulgar off-hand comment on the radio about black lady basketball players. This set off one of our routine national moral panics over race where the usual suspects rushed to call for the white guy's head.

My vague recollection is that Obama was a little slow off the mark to demand Imus's firing, but with Jesse Jackson taking the lead, Obama, always worried about being black enough, soon fell into line and denounced Imus. And Imus got fired. (But now he's back on the air on a different network, because it was all pretty stupid).

What Obama should have done with the silly Imus brouhaha was to take a stand for Imus in order to pre-emptively laugh off the Wright controversy before it (inevitably) started. Obama should have said, "Imus apologized, so let's give it a rest. Come on, lots of people say something outrageous now and then. Hey, at my church, we'd have to fire our pastor about once a month -- he's alway saying something over the top to get a reaction out of the congregation. Yeah, Rev. Wright's kind of a shock jock of the pulpit. So, let's not get so huffy about every little thing somebody says."

Would this have worked?

Maybe. It certainly would have reframed Rev. Wright as a less serious figure, while letting Obama look even-handed and even-tempered.

But there would have been problems:

- It would have been out of sync with the High Pompousness of the rest of the Obama's campaign.

- Obama was trailing Hillary among blacks at that point, and without a majority of blacks, he had no chance in the primaries, so breaking ranks with Jesse and Co. would have been dangerous.

- Wright might have gone ballistic. Keep in mind that Wright is not necessarily on Obama's side. He just might prefer to go down in history as the Willie Horton of 2008. It's not implausible that he's been passively-aggressively sabotaging Obama for some time -- his November 2007 lifetime achievement award for Farrakhan was clearly a bid for attention at Obama's expense. Who knows what damage Wright could do to Obama if his amour propre was seriously offended? Perhaps he taped a few private conversations with Obama?

So, the Obama-Axelrod calculation that it was best to rely on media political correctness to bulldoze over their Rev. Wright problem may well still be proven correct.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 20, 2008

Obama once confessed his fear of black men on the street

"I can no more disown [Rev. Dr. Wright] than I can my white grandmother ... a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street..." -- Barack Obama, 3/18/08.

More and more, I am being accused of threatening America with disaster by being responsible for Hillary or McCain getting elected in November. Of course, my ongoing plot to make Hillary and/or McCain President consists of me sitting here in my underwear typing into my blog passages from Presidential candidate Barack Obama's bestselling 1995 autobiography Dreams from My Father.

Why am I doing this? Mostly because it's ridiculously easy to come up with relevant posts on the Presidential race by looking up what Sen. Obama had to say about his own life and transcribing it ... but virtually nobody else is doing it.

Here's a topical excerpt from pp. 269-271, which concerns Obama's life in Chicago when he was in his mid-20s. In it, Obama expresses the same supposed anti-black "racism" which he recently attributed to his 85-year-old grandma.

"That night, well past midnight, a car pulls up in front of my apartment building, carrying a troop of teenage boys and a set of stereo speakers so loud that the floor of my apartment begins to shake. I've learned to ignore such disturbances -- where else do they have to go? I say to myself. But on this particular evening I have someone staying over ...

"'Listen, people, are trying to sleep around here. Why don't y'all take it someplace else?'

"The four boys inside say nothing, don't even move. The wind wipes away my drowsiness, and I feel suddenly exposed, standing in a pair of shorts on the sidewalk in the middle of the night.... One of them could be Kyle. One of them could be Roy. One of them could be Johnnie."

Kyle, Roy, and Johnnie are all black male characters in Dreams from My Father -- in other words, as Obama's grandfather might say, the fellas in the car are black. Obama then proceeds to make stereotypical assumptions about young black males:

"I start picturing myself through the eyes of these boys, a figure of random authority, and know the calculations they might now be making, that if one of them can't take me out, the four of them certainly can."

The chapter ends:

"The engine starts, and the car screeches away. I turn back toward my apartment knowing that I've been both stupid and lucky, knowing that I am afraid after all."

Shocking, isn't it?

Most of the effort that goes into my Obama posts consists of my editing out the excess verbiage with which Obama padded his endless autobiography. To make this incident readable, for example, I left out hundreds of intervening words of vintage Obama posturing about what a bad-ass he had been when he was the same age:
"One of them could be me. Standing there, I try to remember days when I would have been sitting in a car like that, full of inarticulate resentments and desperate to prove my place in the world. ... The blood rush of a high school brawl. The swagger that carries me into a classroom drunk or high ... That knotted, howling assertion of self ..."
For the last two Februaries, political reporters from mainland newspapers have been taking expense account trips to Hawaii to research the accuracy of Obama's memories of himself as a high school desperado. The consensus of his prep school classmates' recollections has been that Obama was actually a very nice, cheerful, well-liked schoolboy.

And I also had to leave out most of the trademark Baroque O'Blarney philosophizing about the meaning of it all. Let me quote one sentence to show you why so few people ever finish reading Dreams from My Father:
"As I stand there, I find myself thinking that somewhere down the line both guilt and empathy speak to our own buried sense that an order of some sort is required, not the social order that exists, necessarily, but something more fundamental and more demanding; a sense, further, that one has a stake in this order, a wish that, no matter how fluid this order sometimes appears, it will not drain out of the universe."

I think this means that the Ivy Leaguer has just now realized he's on the side of the cops, not on the side of the crooks.

But getting his point across is not the point of most of Sen. Obama's verbal efforts. (In this respect, Obama is the exact opposite of Rev. Dr. God Damn America, who is a master at distilling his meaning down to an agitating phrase, such as "U.S. of K.K.K.") The candidate's goal is more typically to induce in the reader or listener a trance-like state of admiration of Obama's thoughtfulness. He's expert at implanting the idea, "Surely, such an intelligent person must agree with me. All we need to do to end these wearying partisan disputes is to turn power over to a reasonable man, a man much like, say, Barack Obama!"

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Obama Paper Trail Sighting!

Slate digs up a 1990 interview with Barack Obama:

"It's a great time to be a young black law school graduate -- if you're from Harvard and in the top quarter of your class," said Obama. "But the point is that there are a lot of talented young minorities who may not have been able to go to the top schools.

"For example, a lot of minorities go to state schools due to financial constraints. Until the minorities who are going to the good but not the most prestigious schools, those who are doing a good job, who are highly competent and have the intelligence and the energy to do terrific work -- until those people are looked at and hired in significant numbers -- I think you are going to continue to have serious recruitment and retention problems."

"Certainly, a lot of large firms are interested in hiring more minorities," he said. "The issue you confront is: What kind of minorities are the firms looking for? I certainly wouldn't have a hard time finding a job in Chicago. I have all the right credentials."

Even firms that are making an effort to recruit -- and there are still not many of them, Obama said -- are reluctant to take a chance on students who do not have the top credentials. It has been said, Obama noted, that it may be time to ask if minorities are getting the same right to be "mediocre" as white males.

For some reason, I'm reminded of the classic Jon Lovitz commentary on Saturday Night Live, where he cites a study about how hard it is for women to find men with all the qualifications they demand, and, then, with a huge smile on his face, points out the statistical moral: "Ladies, LOWER YOUR STANDARDS!"

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 19, 2008

When was the last good battle?

Last year I visited the Gettysburg Battlefield for the first time. The only other famous battlefield I've been to is Waterloo.

This got me to thinking how few classic battles have been fought around the world in recent decades, with two armies engaging bravely and competently at a fairly defined location. Much recent warfare has either been a one-sided fiasco, like the first Gulf War, or something, such as in the Balkans in the 1990s, more similar to gang warfare carried out by bullies who like preying on civilians but make themselves scarce when confronted by disciplined troops.

So, when was the last battle in the Gettysburg / Waterloo mode where both armies fought well and the decision hung in the balance until near the end?

It seems like it has become ever more difficult to get two roughly equal armies to show up on a battlefield with both of them primed to fight.

The Egyptian - Israeli fighting in 1973 of 35 years ago probably qualifies as a battle where both sides could look back with some pride, although the Egyptians didn't really have a plan for winning the war. They just wanted to get across the Suez Canal to prove they could do it. But they did it so well that the Israelis, with the exception of Ariel Sharon, were psychologically traumatized. Sharon improvised furiously and turned the tide.

But what would compare since then? Any suggestions?

Some aspects of the Falklands War might compare, but the Argentinean performance (outside of the Air Force) was mediocre at best.

The War Nerd enthuses over Eritrean-Ethiopian battles in the 1990s. The Chechen defeat of the Russian tanks in 1994 was impressive, but this seems like another example of fiasco on one side.

A commenter once suggested that the Rwandan Tutsi army's adventures in the Congo in the 1990s deserved to go down in legend. They sounded kind of like the great escape pulled off by Greek mercenaries trapped deep inside the Persian Empire, as described in Xenophon's book. But I don't know if they ever ran into a worthy opponent.

John Mueller argues that the human race is becoming less warlike. He may have a point.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 18, 2008

So, what was the bottom line of Obama's speech?

Lots of eloquent words, but what was the action?

No, he's not ending his membership in Trinity church.

And here's the policy implications he takes from the controversy:

"In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper."

In other words, let's just do everything that LBJ did, only more so.

Am I missing something in his speech? Or is that it?

P.S. Man Sized Target has some excellent reflections upon Obama, if I do say so myself.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The wit and wisdom of Ralph Nader's dad

I don't know how authentic this quote is, but it seems apropos:

"Capitalism will never fail because Socialism will always bail it out"

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Obama throws his own 85-year-old grandmother under the wheels of the BS Express

From Obama's Wright speech:

I can no more disown [Rev. Dr. Wright] than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

A careful look at this incident as Obama described it on pp. 88-91 of Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (which I reviewed in 2007) shows that Obama is slandering his elderly grandmother to make Rev. Dr. Wright look better. Obama's white grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who was raising him and earning most of the money in the family while his own mother was off in Indonesia working on her 1067 page dissertation on peasant blacksmithing, rode the bus each morning to her job as a bank executive. One day, the 16-18 year old Obama wakes up to an argument between his grandmother and grandfather. She didn't want to ride the bus because she had been hassled by a bum at the bus stop. She tells him:

"Her lips pursed with irritation. 'He was very aggressive, Barry. Very aggressive. I gave him a dollar and he kept asking. If the bus hadn't come, I think he might have hit me over the head."

So why didn't Obama's lefty grandfather want to drive his own wife to work? Because to help his wife avoid the hostile, dangerous panhandler would be morally wrong, because the potential mugger was ... Well, I'll let Sen. Obama tell the story:

"He turned around and I saw that he was shaking. 'It is a big deal. It's a big deal to me. She's been bothered by men before. You know why she's so scared this time. I'll tell you why. Before you came in, she told me the fella was black.' He whispered the word. 'That's the real reason why she's bothered. And I just don't think that right.'

"The words were like a fist in my stomach, and I wobbled to regain my composure. In my steadiest voice, I told him that such an attitude bothered me, too, but reassured him that Toot's fears would pass and that we should give her a ride in the meantime. Gramps slumped into a chair in the living room and said he was sorry he had told me. Before my eyes, he grew small and old and very sad. I put my hand on his shoulder and told him that it was all right, I understood.

"We remained like that for several minutes, in painful silence. Finally he insisted that he drive Toot after all, and I thought about my grandparents. They had sacrificed again and again for me. They had poured all their lingering hopes into my success. Never had they given me reason to doubt their love; I doubted if they ever would. And yet I knew that men who might easily have been my brothers could still inspire their rawest fear."

Then Obama drives over for counseling to the house of his grandfather's friend Frank, an old black Communist Party USA member, who tells him:

"What I'm trying to tell you is, your grandma's right to be scared. She's at least as right as Stanley is. She understands that black people have a reason to hate. That's just how it is. For your sake, I wish it were otherwise. But it's not. So you might as well get used to it."

"Frank closed his eyes. His breathing slowed until he seemed to be asleep. I thought about waking him, then decided against it and walked back to the car. The earth shook under my feet, ready to crack open at any moment. I stopped, trying to steady myself, and knew for the first time that I was utterly alone."

Man, what a family full of drama queens! And now Obama is equating his own grandma, who was the main breadwinner in this dysfunctional family circus (and who is still alive, living in the Honolulu highrise where this scene took place), with Rev. Dr. God Damn America.


The Washington Monthly's liberal blogger Kevin Drum, who voted for Obama, commented about this scene and others:

"Obama routinely describes himself feeling the deepest, most painful emotions imaginable (one event is like a "fist in my stomach," for example, and he "still burned with the memory" a full year after a minor incident in college), but these feelings seem to be all out of proportion to the actual events of his life, which are generally pretty pedestrian."

So, in summary, let's look at how Obama smeared his own elderly but very much alive grandmother, calling her:

"a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."

Well, no, according to Obama's 1995 book, it is not at all true that she "once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street." Instead, she once confessed her fear of one aggressive black beggar who didn't pass by her but instead confronted her, demanded money, and then gave her -- an intelligent, level-headed woman who had worked her way up to a mid-level corporate management position -- good reason to believe he would have violently mugged her if her bus hadn't pulled up.

If this was some doofus politician like Bush or Biden who retold the story in a misleading fashion, you might view it as just their usual struggle with using the English language to get across what they really kind of, sort of mean. But Obama is so superb with words that it's perfectly reasonable to hold him accountable for choosing to slander his own living grandmother for his political advantage.

[Thanks to a reader for the Photoshopped poster.]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

"Is Brown the New Black?"

My full length article comparing Hispanics to blacks is now up at American Conservative:

Is Brown the New Black:
Assimilating Hispanics into the Politics of Victimhood

One reason the black-Hispanic relationship is poorly understood is that class intersects with ethnicity in complex ways. At the bottom of society, among prison and street gangs, race rules. In the Los Angeles County jail, which is 60 percent Hispanic and 30 percent black, the two groups fought murderous battles in 2006. Last October, federal prosecutors accused the Florencia 13 street gang of trying to ethnically cleanse blacks from its unincorporated neighborhood in LA County. (The political impact of this violence shouldn’t be exaggerated, though. The respectable folk who do most of the voting don’t approve of gangbangers feuding.)

In poorer neighborhoods, black residents feel uneasy about men speaking Spanish around them. Not being able to understand what is being said robs them of their street smarts. Are the two men next to you at the bus stop talking in Spanish about soccer or are they plotting to mug you? Who knows?

At the top of the power structure, in the House of Representatives and state legislatures, blacks and Latinos get along quite well, united by party (92 percent of elected Hispanics are Democrats) and a mutual desire to keep the affirmative action gravy train chugging along. Ward Connerly, a black opponent of ethnic quotas, has noted that when he was a regent of the University of California, the heaviest pressure on the regents to cheat on the anti-preference language written into the state constitution by Prop. 209 came not from the Black Caucus in the legislature but from the larger Latino Caucus. They threatened to cut UC’s budget unless more Hispanic applicants were admitted.

Black politicians tend to view Hispanics today much as Irish politicos once saw their fellow Catholic Poles: silent partners in their coalition who should be grateful for their natural leaders’ experience and charm. Not surprisingly, Hispanics don’t agree. In some of the formerly all-black slum municipalities just south of Los Angeles, where Hispanics now make up the great majority of residents but only half of voters, ethnic politics has gotten nasty. But overall, Hispanic politicians know that time is on their side, so they can be patient about the arrogance of black colleagues.

In the middle levels of society, blacks and Latinos do compete. Relations aren’t warm, but African-American men have tended to cede blue-collar jobs to immigrants without putting up massive resistance. Moreover, the swelling numbers and various dysfunctions of illegal immigrants generate numerous jobs for civil servants (who are typically required to be citizens). Therefore, many blacks are paid by taxpayers to teach, police, guard, administer, and otherwise deal with illegal aliens. It doesn’t make for trans-ethnic amity, but it’s a living. [More]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Obama's speech

Here's the text.

As always, very eloquent.

I'm sure it will be taken as the Sister Souljah moment I've long urged Obama to carry out on Rev. Dr. Wright. Amidst all the high sounding phrases, however, it's not clear whether Obama is confessing that he blatantly lied last week when he asserted:

"The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation."

Nor does it appear that he's withdrawing from Wright's church, to which he donated $27,500 on his two most recent available tax returns.

Obama is trying to leave the impression that this is kind of a recent senile crack-up on the part of Wright (who is 66):
And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.
No, this is just Wright being the same Wright who went with Farrakhan to see Gadaffi when he was 42. The only difference is that it's Wright being Wright on Youtube.

When he was told he needed a church to be politically successful, Obama searched out Wright out of all black pastors on the South Side. He got what he was looking for.

And, no, not all black pastors are like Wright. Here's the website of the biggest black megachurch in LA, West Angeles Cathedral, with almost three times as many members as Wright's Trinity. It's a Christian church, not an excuse for far left politics in dashiki vestments.

In summary, unless I'm missing something, Obama's speech is a lot nice words and zero action.

We'll see if he ever holds a press conference on this topic.

McCain Untethered

Dennis Dale explains John McCain's Media Magic:

I'll give [McCain] this much: he's figured it out. To get the press on your side, humor the bastards night and day. Flatter them. Give them 'access' and they'll love you for it so much they won't ask you any tough questions. Give 'em access and they'll do nothing with it, lest they lose it. Brilliant.

That's the trick Tom Cruise's old PR agent, Pat Kingsley, figured out as well. Tom's just about the hardest-working man in show biz, so she gave the media outlets a deal: they could have tons of Tom's time, as long as they didn't ask him any interesting questions ("So, Tom, what's the deal with this moon man religion of yours? Has the space monkey cult figured out some secret way to keep you from going gay?") If press did ask him something besides whether he does all his own stunts or just 99% of them, they'd not only lose all access to Tom, but to the rest of Kingsley's stable of clients. It worked for years, and then he fired her and put his sister in charge. You've seen the results.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Dept. of "Don't Go There"

While thinking about how we could improve the state of the American economy, the thought just popped into my head: "We've got the world's best military. What can we steal with it?"

Jesus ... I've been up too long.

Fortunately, the answer to that question is: "Nothing worth the trouble."

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

"Oh, the World Owes Us a Livin'"

Eamonn Fingleton has a new book coming out entitled In the Jaws of the Dragon: America's Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony.

That reminded me that about a dozen years ago, I saw Walt Disney's 1934 Silly Symphony musical cartoon short "The Grasshopper and the Ants." Even though Disney came up with a happy ending for Aesop's fable -- when winter comes, the hardworking ants take in the profligate fiddle-playing grasshopper and let him be their Musician-in-Residence -- it's stuck in my head ever since as a dismaying allegory for the mid-21st Century economy.

The 8-minute cartoon is now on Youtube and it's only gotten more relevant for Americans this month: What are all us grasshoppers who aren't star entertainers going to do for a living in the coming globalized world?

P.S., Ziel has some sharp thinking on the economy at Your Lying Eyes.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 17, 2008

Obama to give speech -- not press conference -- about Wright

Sen. Obama has scheduled a major address on race for Tuesday in Philadelphia:

“This is why I’m giving a speech about this tomorrow, that will be a lot more wholesome than a press conference. Does that make sense?” Obama asked.

Yeah, sure it makes sense -- you don't want to have to answer tough questions.

It ought to be a good speech. Obama has had years to prepare for this moment that inevitably had to arrive.

It might even be a great speech, if Obama can summon up the courage to overcome his fear that he's not "black enough." If he explains to blacks that he used to subscribe to what Wright says, but he's learned over the years that blaming everything on the white man is just self-defeating for blacks, that it's been a generation-and-a-half since the Civil Rights years, that blacks have to grow up.

But, I expect it will instead just be more of the soft soap he's been ladling out for years.

Keep in mind that the Wright-Obama connection has two interrelated but distinguishable aspects: the black racial angle and leftist ideological angle. My guess is that Obama will play up the black angle of his past (as being both more understandable -- seeing as how Obama, kind of like Jesus, was a poor black child raised by a single mother in the ghetto of Honolulu -- and more untouchable by the press) and totally ignore the leftist angle.

It would be more fun if Obama reversed the polarity and snarled, "Yeah, yeah, for the last 12 years, I forced myself to nod in seeming agreement when all those smug Friedmanite economists at my University of Chicago would ramble on about the magic of the market. But, in my heart, I knew this glorious day would someday come when the capitalist system crumbles in ruins! Nyah-hah-hah-hah!"

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

So, are we still going to have our 401ks by April Fools Day?

Just asking ...

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 16, 2008

Obama flew to D.C. to attend Farrakhan's Million Man March

In a long article on the young Barack Obama in the Chicago Reader, December 8, 1995, as he was launching his political career, I found something I had not known before:

"Obama took time off from attending campaign coffees to attend October's Million Man March in Washington, D.C."

But that doesn't mean Obama agreed with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who organized the Million Man March and gave the climactic numerology-laced tw0 hour oration. As Obama pointed out in Dreams from my Father (p. 200), Farrakhan's black separatist capitalism just isn't practical:
"If [black] nationalism could create a strong and effective insularity, deliver on its promise of self-respect, then the hurt it might cause well-meaning whites, or the inner turmoil it caused people like me, would be of little consequence."

What Obama wants instead is multicultural collective action. He told the Reader in 1995:

"In America," Obama says, "we have this strong bias toward individual action. You know, we idolize the John Wayne hero who comes in to correct things with both guns blazing. But individual actions, individual dreams, are not sufficient. We must unite in collective action, build collective institutions and organizations." ...

"But what was lacking among march organizers was a positive agenda, a coherent agenda for change. Without this agenda a lot of this energy is going to dissipate. Just as holding hands and singing 'We shall overcome' is not going to do it, exhorting youth to have pride in their race, give up drugs and crime, is not going to do it if we can't find jobs and futures for the 50 percent of black youth who are unemployed, underemployed, and full of bitterness and rage. ...

"Exhortations are not enough, nor are the notions that we can create a black economy within America that is hermetically sealed from the rest of the economy and seriously tackle the major issues confronting us," Obama said.

"Any solution to our unemployment catastrophe must arise from us working creatively within a multicultural, interdependent, and international economy. Any African-Americans who are only talking about racism as a barrier to our success are seriously misled if they don't also come to grips with the larger economic forces that are creating economic insecurity for all workers--whites, Latinos, and Asians.

And don't forget, it takes a village to raise a child!

"The right wing, the Christian right, has done a good job of building these organizations of accountability, much better than the left or progressive forces have. But it's always easier to organize around intolerance, narrow-mindedness, and false nostalgia. And they also have hijacked the higher moral ground with this language of family values and moral responsibility.

"Now we have to take this same language--these same values that are encouraged within our families--of looking out for one another, of sharing, of sacrificing for each other--and apply them to a larger society. Let's talk about creating a society, not just individual families, based on these values. Right now we have a society that talks about the irresponsibility of teens getting pregnant, not the irresponsibility of a society that fails to educate them to aspire for more."

Interestingly, while Obama is for the workers of the world uniting politically like in a Benneton ad, he's not crazy about blacks deciding for themselves to live among whites:

"The right wing talks about this but they keep appealing to that old individualistic bootstrap myth: get a job, get rich, and get out. Instead of investing in our neighborhoods, that's what has always happened. Our goal must be to help people get a sense of building something larger. ...

Obama's 1995 dismissal of getting a job, getting rich, and getting out of the ghetto was a reflection of his first conversation with Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. in the 1980s, as recounted in Dreams from My Father. One of Wright's own secretaries at Trinity tells Obama she wants to move to an integrated suburb so her son will be safe. Obama then asks Wright (pp. 283-284):

"But wasn't there a reality to the class divisions, I wondered? I mentioned the conversation I had with his assistant, the tendency of those with means to move out of the line of fire. ...

"'I've given Tracy my opinion about moving out of the city, [Rev. Dr. Wright]
said quietly. 'That boy of hers is gonna get out there and won't have a clue about where, or who, he is."

"'It's tough to take chances with your child's safety.'

"'Life's not safe for a black man in this country, Barack. Never has been. Probably never will be.'"

The economic subtext is that the jobs of both Wright as a South Side black preacher and Obama as a South Side black community organizer and proto-politician are imperiled by the right of blacks who can afford it to move out of the black slums and find a less dangerous place to raise their children. It's less fun being a "community leader" if your putative followers keep moving to Schaumburg. So, Wright and Obama implore their followers to stay put, even at the risk that their children will join gangs and go to prison or the grave.

So these two hyper-glib men's guilty consciences over their policy of self-interestedly persuading black parents to continue to expose their children to the dangers of gang-infested neighborhoods helps explain some of the anti-white paranoia that runs through Wright's and Michelle Obama's statements. For example, on 60 Minutes, Michelle explained: "... as a black man, you know, Barack can get shot going to the gas station ..." as if KKK snipers were cruising past the South Kenwood Amoco. (South Kenwood, where the Obama's mansion is, is only 1/3rd black, but North Kenwood's a dicey neighborhood).

Obviously, the main danger faced by black men is being shot by other black men, but that's too unspeakable to mention, so free rein is given to paranoid fantasies about The Man being behind black-on-black violence, as in Wright's Trinity church "Black Value System." Keep in mind that this quote isn't from Farrakhan, it's from the church that the Obama family donated $22,500 to in 2006:

Classic methodology on control of captives teaches that captors must be able to identify the “talented tenth” of those subjugated, especially those who show promise of providing the kind of leadership that might threaten the captor’s control.

Those so identified are separated from the rest of the people by:

1. Killing them off directly, and/or fostering a social system that encourages them to kill off one another.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

New York Times blows Obama's half-brother Mark's cover

In an asinine op-ed in the New York Times, "Obama's Brother in China," Roger Cohen reveals the location of Barack Obama's half-brother Mark, bragging:

So there I was, a couple of weeks back, sitting under a mango tree in western Kenya, when Senator Barack Obama’s half-sister Auma says to me:

“My daughter’s father is British. My mom’s brother is married to a Russian. I have a brother in China engaged to a Chinese woman.”

My understanding is that this half brother living in China is Mark. He’s the son of Obama’s father and an American woman named Ruth, whom Obama Sr. met while at Harvard in the 1960s and brought back to Kenya.

As you'll recall, I announced here on January 8, 2008 "I've discovered Obama's estranged half-brother Mark," but I refused to say where Mark lived, mentioning only: "He lives and works abroad, neither in America nor in Africa." My reason for not violating Mark's privacy was simple:
"There's no evidence on the Internet that Mark has ever attempted to boost his career by calling attention to the fact that he's the half-brother of a potential President of the United States. This is in sharp contrast to Billy Carter (Billy Beer and a dubious loan from Col. Gadaffi) and Donald Nixon (Nixonburger and a dubious loan from Howard Hughes). So, I'm not going to drag him into the madness of the campaign."

I guess Cohen would claim that he hasn't violated the man's privacy because China is practically full of half-black guys named Mark with Stanford physics degrees, so he can just blend in with the crowd...

Cohen burbles on:

If nominated, Obama’s family baggage will get pored over. Four years ago, Bush’s people cast Kerry as un-American for speaking French. A Republican camp campaigning at the sorry nadir of Bush’s handiwork will try to portray the war hero John McCain as more American and patriotic than his opponent.

But things are different. Less fearful, Americans are less willing to be manipulated. They’ve backed Obama this far in part because they’re sick of the narrow American exceptionalism of Bush’s divisive rule.

Never before have U.S. fortunes been so tied to the world’s. ... Isolationism is not merely wrong, it’s impossible.

If elected, Obama would be the first genuinely 21st-century leader. The China-Indonesia-Kenya-Britain-Hawaii web mirrors a world in flux. In Kenya, his uncle Sayid, a Muslim, told me: “My Islam is a hybrid, a mix of elements, including my Christian schooling and even some African ways. Many values have dissolved in me.”

Obama’s bridge-building instincts come from somewhere. They are rooted and proven. For an expectant and often alienated world, they are of central significance.

Swell, but Cohen completely misses the point of Obama's poignant passage about his 1988 meeting with Mark, who is also half-Luo and half-white. I apologize to longtime readers, but since almost nobody in the press seems to have paid serious attention to the Democratic frontrunner's 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, I'll have to quote from it at length again.

Unlike Obama, who long dreamed of Kenya but knew little about it, Mark spent his summers off from his American studies in Kenya at his mother and step-father's pleasant Nairobi home, where Obama met him on his first trip to Africa in 1988, when Obama was 27. Here's what Obama wrote about him (pp. 341-345):

"'So, Mark,' I said, turning to my brother, 'I hear you're at Berkeley.'

"'Stanford,' he corrected. His voice was deep, his accent perfectly American. 'I'm in my last year of the physics program there.'"

They meet once more, for lunch:

"I asked him how it felt being back for the summer.

"'Fine,' he said. 'It's nice to see my mom and dad, of course. … As for the rest of Kenya, I don't feel much of an attachment. Just another poor African country.'

"'You don't ever think about settling here?'

"Mark took a sip from his Coke. 'No,' he said. 'I mean, there's not much work for a physicist, is there, in a country where the average person doesn't have a telephone.'

"I should have stopped then, but something -- the certainty in this brother's voice, maybe, or our rough resemblance, like looking into a foggy mirror -- made me want to push harder. I asked, "Don't you ever feel like you might be losing something?'

"Mark put down his knife and fork, and for the first time that afternoon his eyes looked straight into mine.

"'I understand what you're getting at,' he said flatly. 'You think that somehow I'm cut off from my roots, that sort of thing.' He wiped his mouth and dropped the napkin onto his plate. 'Well, you're right. At a certain point, I made a decision not think about who my real father was. He was dead to me even when he was still alive. I knew that he was a drunk and showed no concern for his wife or children. That was enough.'

"'It made you mad.'

"'Not mad. Just numb.'

"'And that doesn't bother you? Being numb, I mean?'

"'Towards him, no. Other things move me. Beethoven's symphonies. Shakespeare's sonnets. I know -- it's not what an African is supposed to care about. But who's to tell me what I should and shouldn't care about? Understand, I'm not ashamed of being half Kenyan. I just don't ask myself a lot of questions about what it all means. About who I really am.' He shrugged. 'I don't know. Maybe I should. I can acknowledge the possibility that if I looked more carefully at myself, I would …'

"For the briefest moment I sensed Mark hesitate, like a rock climber losing his footing. Then, almost immediately, he regained his composure and waved for the check.

"'Who knows?' he said. 'What's certain is that I don't need the stress. Life's hard enough without all that excess baggage.'

"… Outside we exchanged addresses and promised to write, with a dishonesty that made my heart ache."

Notice that it's Obama's own dishonesty that is (supposedly) making his heart ache -- he can't know what's in Mark's heart as they exchange addresses, but Obama knows that he will not write to his own half-brother. The physics student is Obama's intellectual equal, but his realism about Kenya, his lack of an identity crisis, lack of black ethnocentrism, and lack of illusions about their mutual father leave Obama so uncomfortable that he doesn't want to hear from Mark anymore.

I hope the two half-brothers have patched up their relationship in the years since 1995, as the Presidential candidate has matured. (He has matured, hasn't he?)

By the way, if Cohen has actually read Dreams with any care, he would have known that Obama's half-sister Auma, Barack Sr.'s daughter by his first wife, Keiza, isn't entitled to speak for Mark's side of the family.

Obama Sr. and his third wife Ruth, a white American, had two sons, Mark and David, before their bitter divorce. Ruth then married an affluent and genial man who had moved to Kenya from a different African country. They had sons of their own, and all the boys were educated at a prestigious international school in Nairobi.

Mark absorbed his mother's values, but the younger boy, David, rebelled as a teenager against his mother's Western ways. Obama wrote: "He told her he was an African, and started calling himself Obama." David, who was Mark's full brother, ran away from home. Months later, the Senator's hard-drinking half-brother Roy (Auma's brother and Obama Sr.'s first son by Keiza -- Roy later took up the name Abongo when he became an Afrocentric teetotaling Muslim) happened to see David begging on the streets. Roy took him in.

One night, not long before Obama's 1987 visit to Kenya, Roy and young David went out drinking on Roy's motorcycle. Roy got into a drunken brawl and was jailed, so he lent the boy the key to his motorcycle. David crashed it and died.

Roy/Abongo's complicity in the death of Mark's full brother David left relations between Keiza's family and Ruth's family even frostier than before. Upon his visit in 1987, Obama spent almost all his time with Keiza's relations, such as his half-siblings Roy/Obongo and Auma.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Rezko, Wright, and Alinsky: Three Aspects of Obama's Chicago

From my new column:

Meanwhile, a very different side of Obama is also finally surfacing in the press due to the federal corruption trial of Obama's political patron Tony Rezko. As I wrote in April 2007:

"Does this mean that the idea of all that is pure and holy being embodied in a Chicago politician was ridiculous from the beginning?

"Why, yes, it does mean that."

On Friday, the Chicago Tribune reported that Obama was even deeper in Fat Tony's debt than he had previously revealed:

"But in a 90-minute interview with Tribune reporters and editors, Obama disclosed that Rezko had raised more for Obama's earlier political campaigns than previously known, gathering as much as $250,000 for the first three offices he sought." [Obama: I Trusted Rezko, By David Jackson, March 15, 2008]

Hilariously, Obama told the Tribune that he never dreamt that Rezko would ever ask him for a favor in return for all the favors Rezko had done for him:

"Trying to put his past with Antoin "Tony" Rezko behind him, presidential candidate Barack Obama on Friday said he never thought the now-indicted Chicago businessman would try to take advantage of him because his old friend had never asked for a political favor."

That reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer has the local mob boss, who, coincidentally enough, is named Fat Tony, drive out Marge Simpson's competition in the pretzel business. Inevitably, Fat Tony (whose voice is provided by Chicago actor Joe Mantegna) later asks Homer for a favor in return:

Fat Tony: Now, Homer, as you no doubt recall, you were done a favor by our, uh, how shall I say...Mafia Crime Syndicate.

Homer: Oh yeah.

Fat Tony: Now the time has come for you to do us a favor.

Homer [Self-righteously appalled]: You mean the mob only did me a favor to get something in return? … [Heartbroken] Oh, Fat Tony! … [Sternly] I will say good day to you, sir!

Fat Tony [Meekly]: OK. I will go.

[Fat Tony walks away in shame]

Fat Tony: [Realizing what just happened] Wait a minute!

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

2012: Over-Under Line

Imagine that the Democrats self-destruct over Obama's past, letting John McCain slip into the White House, where he continues Bush's invade-invite-in hock policies? What should be the Over-Under line for how many electoral votes (out of the 538 available) the 76-year-old Republican would get running for re-election in 2012? Eight? Twelve?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Mama Obama: A "Stuff White People Like" Hall of Famer

Here's a link to that NYT article on Obama's mom, Stanley: "Obama's mother - an unconventional life: Anthropologist disliked ethnic barriers, sought to aid world's poor." Funny how they can write thousands of words about a politician's mom without ever getting around to mentioning the currently most relevant thing about her, her politics.

I don't think anybody on the left will have trouble figuring her ideology out, though. As Mona Charen would say, her politics aren't articulated, they're presumed. The rest of the electorate, however, doesn't need to be clued in, now do they? It might just confuse the poor saps.

Mama Obama should be in the Stuff White People Like Hall of Fame (Dangerously Naive Wing).

It took her a long time to figure out that if you are a White People (female variety), you are supposed to act like you've gotten into the Third World, not let Third Worlders get into you.

Having a boyfriend from Africa at the U. of Hawaii in the early 1960s was very fashion forward. Letting the already-married bastard get you pregnant and then wedding him bigamously, and then having him abandon you and your two-year-old because his scholarship offer from the New School of Social Research that would have paid for the three of you to live in Manhattan wasn't as prestigious as his scholarship offer from Harvard that would pay only for him, well, that's just kind of tacky and sad.

And then marrying a laid-back nice-guy Indonesian student in Hawaii, and following him back to Indonesia, where, surrounded by your new in-laws he starts acting -- what do you know? --more like a traditional Indonesian paterfamilias who won't take any guff from his feminist wife. I guess majoring in anthropology didn't prepare you to see that one coming?

One sign that Obama never succeeded in becoming the fully authentic African-American that he spent all those hours in Honolulu watching "Soul Train" to achieve is that his attitude toward his mom for much of his life was straight out of Stuff White People Like: "#17 Hating Their Parents." He ended up apologizing to his late mother in the 2004 Preface for what he had written in his 1995 autobiography. Real black guys do not diss their mamas. (Also, to digress, as one commenter pointed out, a real black guy named "Barack" would not call himself "Barry" or "Barack," he would call himself "Rock." Rock Obama.)

As a child, he deeply resented her dumping him twice on her grandparents in Hawaii so she could be in Indonesia working on the 1,067 page Ph.D. dissertation on peasant blacksmithing that she completed in 1992.

So, it's a mistake to assume that Obama's leftism is of his mom's Kumbaya variety. He later imbibed a much more cynical, pragmatic radicalism, which I will describe in my article tonight.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Race and the race

The New York Times Magazine has an article by Matt Bai on race and the race:

The assumption has always been that a black candidate should perform worse among white voters in states with less racial diversity because those voters are supposedly less enlightened. In fact, the reverse has been true for Obama: in the overwhelmingly white states of Wisconsin and Vermont, for instance, he carried 54 and 60 percent of the white voters respectively, according to exit polls, while in New Jersey he won 31 percent and in Tennessee he won 26 percent. As some bloggers have shrewdly pointed out, Obama does best in areas that have either a large concentration of African-American voters or hardly any at all, but he struggles in places where the population is decidedly mixed.

What this suggests, perhaps, is that living in close proximity to other races — sharing industries and schools and sports arenas — actually makes Americans less sanguine about racial harmony rather than more so.

Half Sigma responds:

Steve Sailer was the first shrewd blogger that I know of to point this out.

Perhaps, although I think it's more likely that one or more of my commenters and emailers, or some of the bloggers I regularly read suggested the idea to me first. Here, for example, is Audacious Epigone's statistical analysis of this question from Feb. 6, 2008.

Collectively, however, the NYT's designation of us as "shrewd" is something I think we can live with.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer