August 18, 2006

GOP Presidential Hopeful Parental Trivia

Virginia Sen. George Allen and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are the sons of famous men (a great NFL coach and the governor of Michigan, respectively), but there is more to their parentage than that. According to Wikipedia, Sen. Allen's

mother, Henrietta Lumbroso, was a Jewish immigrant of Tunisian/Italian/French background... Allen's mother immigrated from French Tunisia, and was "Italian, French and a little Spanish" and according to Allen, was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. According to Allen's sister Jennifer, their mother "prided herself for being un-American. ... She was ashamed that she had given up her French citizenship to become a citizen of a country she deemed infantile."

Also, according to the ever reliable Wikipedia, Gov. Mitt Romney's father, a frontrunner in the early-going for the GOP Presidential nomination in 1968 and former head of American Motors, had an interesting family background:

Romney, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was born in an expatriate colony in the Mexican state of Chihuahua comprised of exiles from Utah who rejected the Mormon Church's decrees against polygamy. His family was forced to flee to the United States in 1912 because of the Mexican Revolution, lived for a time in Oakley, Idaho and finally ending up in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Time reported in 1959:

From his birth, Romney had little choice but to become a missionary of one kind or another. The grandson of a Mormon who sired 30 children by four wives, he was born into a monogamous family in Colonia Dublan, Mexico, where Mormons from the Southwest had settled 20 years earlier. When George was five, Pancho Villa drove the U.S.-born Mormons out of Mexico, and the family went to Los Angeles.

His Mexican birth has raised some questions about Romney’s constitutional qualifications for the presidency. Article Two of the Constitution specifies that only a “natural-born citizen” is eligible. Some legal authorities say that this means only those born on U.S. soil. But a law enacted by the first Congress in 1790 stipulated that children born of U.S. citizens beyond the boundaries of the country “shall be considered as natural-born citizens of the U.S.”

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Is Doug Feith consulting for Israel these days?

With the shooting apparently over in Lebanon, it looks safe to say that the Israeli government's decision to turn Hezbollah's latest border provocation stunt into a small to medium sized war was, in Talleyrand's words, "worse than a crime -- a mistake!"

With the exception of the 1973 war, Israel has typically chosen the time and place when endemic threats and skirmishes turn into full-scale war, rather than let its opponents choose the beginning of the war at their own convenience. Up until now, Israel has generally chosen intelligently when to start its wars, so intelligently in fact that in the wake of its many triumphs, many American pundits have come to believe that Israel has never been the one to first escalate to full-scale war, but was instead always the victim of Pearl Harbor-style sneak attacks -- a popular romantic delusion among Americans. When you win, you don't get asked hard questions because, as Gen. Patton said, "Americans love a winner."

This time, however, Israel has mostly succeeded in pounding heck out of a hornet's nest, an outcome that should have been predictable from the similar problems the American military, despite enjoying similar air supremacy, has had in putting down a more poorly organized guerilla insurgency in Iraq, but which the Israelis were too arrogant to learn from.

I've sometimes joked that we would be better off simply outsourcing our foreign policy to Israel rather than to hand it over to pseudo-Sabra wannabe neocons who lack the seriousness and competence of the actual Israelis. Yet, the conduct of this latest war suggests that the Israelis are succumbing to the same lack of realism as the neocons. Israel's key strategic psychological assumption -- that bombing non-Hezbollah targets in Lebanon would make the non-Hezbollah Lebanese unite against Hezbollah, rather than unite behind Hezbollah against Israel -- was particularly far-fetched, more worthy of Doug let's-bomb-Paraguay-to-catch-the-terrorists-off-guard Feith.

A more sensible Israeli long-term strategy for dealing with Hezbollah would have been carrot and stick-based. Israel could have used its vastly wealthy friends in New York and Moscow to build up the strength and amiability of the government of Lebanon and its army by quietly cutting in on profitable business deals the various ruling clans of Lebanon, including non-homicidal Shi'ite power brokers, all on the requirement of continuing good behavior.

The annual Iranian subsidy to Hezbollah is typically estimated at around $100 million per year, which is a pittance compared to what Israel's friends just on the Forbes 400 alone could muster. The net worth of the Forbes 400 is about one trillion, and somewhere around one-fifth to one-quarter of that is in the hands of Jewish billionaires. So, one-tenth of one percent of their net worth annually would be equal to twice the Iranian subsidy to Hezbollah.

Israel has typically preferred instead for America to bribe its neighbors, such as Egypt and Jordan, for it, while dunning Diaspora Jews for the direct benefit of Israel. Yet, as libertarian theory suggests, I suspect motivated private money would do a more effective job than the largesse of the American taxpayer.

But all this is just academic theorizing today because Israel has blown its chance for a decade or so to build up constructive relationships with the more responsible Lebanese elements.
My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 17, 2006

Great Moments in Paraguayan History

From the NYT:

Paraguay was an underpopulated backwater the size of California, with a penchant for wars that would swallow its male population in battles of dubious, if operatic, purpose. Among the worst was a disastrous war Paraguay waged simultaneously against Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil from 1865 to 1870, which shrank its population from 525,000 to 221,000 and left the nation with only 28,000 men.

But, looking on the bright side, as Jan and Dean would have sung if they were 19th Century Paraguayans (and weren't dead):

193,000 girls for every 28,000 boys

The obituary continues:

The 1930’s and 40’s were a period of turmoil for Paraguay, which suffered 100,000 dead between 1932 and 1935 in a war with Bolivia over the desolate Chaco region, a swampland that ultimately had none of the mineral resources the two sides imagined were there.

Perhaps the last time Paraguay was in the news was when it was revealed that Doug Feith's initial response to 9/11 was proposing that instead of bombing Afghanistan, we should bomb Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil instead to catch the terrorists off guard. MSNBC reported;

Days after 9/11, a senior Pentagon official lamented the lack of good targets in Afghanistan and proposed instead U.S. military attacks in South America or Southeast Asia as "a surprise to the terrorists," according to a footnote in the recent 9/11 Commission Report. The unsigned top-secret memo, which the panel's report said appears to have been written by Defense Under Secretary Douglas Feith, is one of several Pentagon documents uncovered by the commission which advance unorthodox ideas for the war on terror. The memo suggested "hitting targets outside the Middle East in the initial offensive" or a "non-Al Qaeda target like Iraq," the panel's report states. U.S. attacks in Latin America and Southeast Asia were portrayed as a way to catch the terrorists off guard when they were expecting an assault on Afghanistan.

The memo's content, NEWSWEEK has learned, was in part the product of ideas from a two-man secret Pentagon intelligence unit appointed by Feith after 9/11: veteran defense analyst Michael Maloof and Mideast expert David Wurmser, now a top foreign-policy aide to Dick Cheney. Maloof and Wurmser saw links between international terror groups that the CIA and other intelligence agencies dismissed. They argued that an attack on terrorists in South America—for example, a remote region on the border of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil where intelligence reports said Iranian-backed Hizbullah had a presence—would have ripple effects on other terrorist operations. The proposals were floated to top foreign-policy advisers. But White House officials stress they were regarded warily and never adopted.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Management Techniques of the Generalissimos

From the NYT's obituary for Alfredo Stroessner, dictator of Paraguay from 1954 to 1989, who just died at 93:

One former American ambassador to Paraguay, Robert E. White, remembered General Stroessner as darkly brilliant at profiting from others’ mistakes. Once, Mr. White recalled, the Paraguayan ambassador to Argentina had gambled away the embassy’s entire budget. The ambassador was immediately summoned to Asunción and was handed a confession to sign. General Stroessner then promoted him to foreign minister. “He could never have an independent thought or deed after that,” Mr. White explained.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 16, 2006

Why the American government wants to elect a new people

One of the more extraordinary documents relating to immigration is an essay for the Center for Immigration Studies by the unusual figure Fredo Arias-King, a Harvard MBA, a Sovietologist, and an advisor to Vicente Fox during his 2000 Presidential campaign. He was the first to point out to me that the mother of Fox's first Foreign Secretary, Jorge G. Castaneda, and wife to a previous Mexican Foreign Secretary, was a Soviet woman working a the UN and might have been a Soviet spy.

Working for Fox, Arias-King met with 80 members of the U.S. Congress , and discussed immigration in detail with 50. Of those, 90% were enthusiastic about boosting immigration from Mexico.

Immigration and Usurpation: Elites, Power, and the People’s Will

Fredo Arias-King

The familiar reasons usually discussed by the critics were there: Democrats wanted increased immigration because Latin American immigrants tend to vote Democrat once naturalized (we did not meet a single Democrat that was openly against mass immigration); and Republicans like immigration because their sponsors (businesses and churches) do. But there were other, more nuanced reasons that we came upon, usually not discussed by the critics, and probably more difficult to detect without the type of access that we, as a Mexican delegation, had.

Their "Natural Progress" Of a handful of motivations, one of the main ones (even if unconscious) of many of these legislators can be found in what the U.S. Founding Fathers called "usurpation." Madison, Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and others devised a system and embedded the Constitution with mechanisms to thwart the "natural" tendency of the political class to usurp power—to become a permanent elite lording over pauperized subjects, as was the norm in Europe at the time. However, the Founding Fathers seem to have based the logic of their entire model on the independent character of the American folk. After reviewing the different mechanisms and how they would work in theory, they wrote in the Federalist Papers that in the end, "If it be asked, what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America …"4 With all his emphasis on reason and civic virtue as the basis of a functioning and decentralized democratic polity, Jefferson speculated whether Latin American societies could be governed thus.5

While Democratic legislators we spoke with welcomed the Latino vote, they seemed more interested in those immigrants and their offspring as a tool to increase the role of the government in society and the economy. Several of them tended to see Latin American immigrants and even Latino constituents as both more dependent on and accepting of active government programs and the political class guaranteeing those programs, a point they emphasized more than the voting per se. Moreover, they saw Latinos as more loyal and "dependable" in supporting a patron-client system and in building reliable patronage networks to circumvent the exigencies of political life as devised by the Founding Fathers and expected daily by the average American.

Republican lawmakers we spoke with knew that naturalized Latin American immigrants and their offspring vote mostly for the Democratic Party, but still most of them (all except five) were unambiguously in favor of amnesty and of continued mass immigration (at least from Mexico). This seemed paradoxical, and explaining their motivations was more challenging. However, while acknowledging that they may not now receive their votes, they believed that these immigrants are more malleable than the existing American: That with enough care, convincing, and "teaching," they could be converted, be grateful, and become dependent on them. Republicans seemed to idealize the patron-client relation with Hispanics as much as their Democratic competitors did. Curiously, three out of the five lawmakers that declared their opposition to amnesty and increased immigration (all Republicans), were from border states.

Also curiously, the Republican enthusiasm for increased immigration also was not so much about voting in the end, even with "converted" Latinos. Instead, these legislators seemingly believed that they could weaken the restraining and frustrating straightjacket devised by the Founding Fathers and abetted by American norms. In that idealized "new" United States, political uncertainty, demanding constituents, difficult elections, and accountability in general would "go away" after tinkering with the People, who have given lawmakers their privileges but who, like a Sword of Damocles, can also "unfairly" take them away. Hispanics would acquiesce and assist in the "natural progress" of these legislators to remain in power and increase the scope of that power. In this sense, Republicans and Democrats were similar.

While I can recall many accolades for the Mexican immigrants and for Mexican-Americans (one white congressman even gave me a "high five" when recalling that Californian Hispanics were headed for majority status), I remember few instances when a legislator spoke well of his or her white constituents. One even called them "rednecks," and apologized to us on their behalf for their incorrect attitude on immigration. Most of them seemed to advocate changing the ethnic composition of the United States as an end in itself. Jefferson and Madison would have perhaps understood why this is so—enthusiasm for mass immigration seems to be correlated with examples of undermining the "just and constitutional laws" they devised.

What could be motivating U.S. legislators to do the opposite, that is, to see their constituents—already politically mature and proven as responsible and civic-minded—as an obstacle needing replacement? In other words, why would they want to replace a nation that works remarkably well (that Sarmiento was hoping to emulate), with another that has trouble forming stable, normal countries? Mexicans are kind and hardworking, with a legendary hospitality, and unlike some European nations, harbor little popular ambitions to impose models or ideologies on others. However, Mexicans are seemingly unable to produce anything but corrupt and tyrannical rulers, oftentimes even accepting them as the norm, unaffected by allegations of graft or abuse.8 Mexico, and Latin American societies in general, seem to suffer from what an observer called "moral relativism," accepting the "natural progress" of the political class rather than challenging it, and also appearing more susceptible to "miracle solutions" and demagogic political appeals. Mexican intellectuals speak of the corrosive effects of Mexican culture on the institutions needed to make democracy work, and surveys reveal that most of the population accepts and expects corruption from the political class.9

A sociological study conducted throughout the region found that Latin Americans are indeed highly susceptible to clientelismo, or partaking in patron-client relations, and that Mexico was high even by regional standards.10 In a Latin environment, there are fewer costs to behaving "like a knave," which explains the relative failure of most Spanish-speaking countries in the Hemisphere: Pauperized populations with rich and entrenched knaves. Montesquieu’s separation-of-powers model breaks down in Latin America (though essentially all constitutions are based on it) since elites do not take their responsibilities seriously and easily reach extra-legal "understandings" with their colleagues across the branches of government, oftentimes willingly making the judicial and legislative powers subservient to a generous executive, and giving the population little recourse and little choice but to challenge the system in its entirety....

During the 18 months when I aided Fox’s foreign relations, in those meetings with what became the new Mexican elite I do not recall so many discussions about "what can we do to make tough decisions to reform Mexico," but rather more "how can we get more concessions from the United States." Indeed, Fox largely continued governing the country as his predecessors did, even appointing as head of the federal police agency an Echeverría loyalist who was allegedly involved in a deadly extortion attempt against a museum owner in 1972. According to several leading world rankings on corruption, quality of government, development, and competitiveness, Mexico actually worsened during Fox’s presidency.14 Lacking internal or external pressure, the Mexican elites have taken the path of least resistance, which is not the best outcome for the country. Paradoxically, as happens in co-dependent relations, a firm but polite defense of American interests by Washington would force the Mexican elites to act and in the end (surely after a brief period of acrimonious recriminations) would be beneficial for Mexico, much as the European Union’s tough accession laws force elites in lesser-developed aspiring members (Spain in the 1980s and Central European countries in the 1990s) to adopt painful and otherwise politically unfeasible reforms that affect special interests but that benefit average citizens. After all, the gap between elite and popular aspirations in these countries is wider than in the United States, and on a broader range of issues.

...This co-dependence is perhaps nowhere more evident than the personal relations of the political classes of Mexico and the United States. When speaking to these congressmen, we noticed an affinity toward the corrupt party we were attempting to overthrow in Mexico. Several had visited Mexico and apparently enjoyed lavish treatment from their hosts, even mentioning how some of the things they enjoyed in Mexico would not be possible at home.

Even though the Mexican political class is notoriously corrupt, they can often count on stronger support in Washington than can several more worthy world leaders who are genuinely attempting to reform and improve their countries. The history of the Bush family is symptomatic.

While snubbing pro-American reformers in the newly liberated Eastern Europe, George H.W. Bush did go out of his way to accommodate Mexico and its leader Carlos Salinas. Then-vice president and presidential candidate Bush openly endorsed Salinas after the latter’s fraudulent election in 1988, a favor that Salinas returned four years later when he met only with Bush and snubbed his Democratic rival, Bill Clinton.

In April 2000, candidate George W. Bush followed in his father’s footsteps when he tacitly but unambiguously endorsed the candidate of Salinas’s ruling party against a then little-known opposition figure named Vicente Fox, perhaps believing that the official-party candidate, the former secret-police chief Francisco Labastida, would engage in a quid pro quo as president. Labastida himself could not receive the honor in person on April 7, 2000, since he had been fingered by the U.S. press as a possible target of the Drug Enforcement Administration because of his record as governor. Instead, he sent his wife to meet with Bush. Florida governor Jeb Bush knew for many years and apparently also received lavish treatment from Salinas’s brother Raúl, before Raúl was arrested on corruption and murder charges and spent the next decade in a Mexican high-security prison. Bush Sr. had a long friendship and business relations with Jorge Díaz Serrano, then director of the Mexican oil monopoly pemex, before he was also arrested in a power struggle and accused of embezzling over $50 million. The long-time politicos of the Hank Rhon family, who were suspected of laundering drug money and who continue to win elections in Mexico, were also reported to have contributed money to the gubernatorial campaigns of George W. Bush from a Texas bank they own.15 To their credit, no overtly illegal practice has been proven against the Bush family in their dealings with Mexico, but the appearance of admiration toward its ruling classes cannot be easily discounted. [See my 2001 UPI article on the Bush family's ties to the Mexican ruling class.]

Though similar stories involving lesser politicians do not make headlines, several lawmakers we met also had a special, giddy mystique of Mexico as a place where moneyed leaders coexist with tame, grateful citizens. It would seem that the American political class has a special affinity for their colleagues south of the border. The appeal of their lavishness and impunity seems to strike a positive chord in the American politicians, who perhaps resent being held accountable by their citizens, who cannot become wealthy from politics, and who may be removed from power "unfairly" and without warning.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 15, 2006

The black-white IQ gap -- has it narrowed?

Over at GNXP, Darth Quixote has a good graph responding to the claim in the Flynn - Dickens paper arguing for a recent 4 to 7 point closure of the notorious 15 point white-black IQ gap. His graph shows that all the closure has been in tests of children rather than of adults, as I suggested earlier on iSteve. This leaves unanswered the question of whether adult black IQ can be expected to rise as these children go up, or does black IQ tend to fall during adulthood?

I asked them to create another plot with average birth year of the sample along the horizontal axis. The blue line tracks average scores of black children, which are now up around 89. The red line for teens, now at 87, the green line for young adults, now at 85, down a few points from earlier, and the pink adult line flat at 85.

The black-white IQ gap -- has it narrowed? Over at GNXP, Darth Quixote has a good graph responding to the claim in the Flynn - Dickens paper arguing for a recent 4 to 7 point closure of the notorious 15 point white-black IQ gap. His graph shows that all the closure has been in tests of children rather than of adults, as I suggested earlier on iSteve. This leaves unanswered the question of whether adult black IQ can be expected to rise as these children go up, or does black IQ tend to fall during adulthood?

I asked them to create another plot with average birth year of the sample along the horizontal axis. The blue line tracks average scores of black children, which are now up around 89. The red line for teens, now at 87, the green line for young adults, now at 85, down a few points from earlier, and the pink adult line flat at 85.

This seems to show that blacks born in the years roughly 1955 to 1975 saw rising IQ scores. That's not too surprising. Those were prosperous years with black life improving in many ways. I would guess that a shortage of calories for pregnant black women stopped being a problem for them. I wouldn't be surprised if average height grew quickly during those years too. Since then, the results are more ambiguous.

This seems to show that blacks born in the years roughly 1955 to 1975 saw rising IQ scores. That's not too surprising. Those were prosperous years with black life improving in many ways. I would guess that a shortage of calories for pregnant black women stopped being a problem for them. I wouldn't be surprised if average height grew quickly during those years too. Since then, the results are more ambiguous.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Our (very, very high-pitched) vibrant culture

I don't like linking to videos because it always seems as if you're required to first download the new Release 17 or whatever of the player to see them, but this short segment from an Oakland news station starring Mr. Bubb Rubb and Ms. Roxanne Bruns is worth it. Lots of themes are on display, along with bad driving.

The good news is that this is a few years old and the "whistle tip" fad has apparently been stomped out.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Five years after 9/11, a hint of sanity in Britain

From the Times of London on Tuesday:

Muslims face extra checks in new travel crackdown
By Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent

THE Government is discussing with airport operators plans to introduce a screening system that allows security staff to focus on those passengers who pose the greatest risk.

The passenger-profiling technique involves selecting people who are behaving suspiciously, have an unusual travel pattern or, most controversially, have a certain ethnic or religious background.

The system would be much more sophisticated than simply picking out young men of Asian appearance. But it would cause outrage in the Muslim community because its members would be far more likely to be selected for extra checks.

Officials at the Department for Transport (DfT) have discussed the practicalities of introducing such a system with airport operators, including BAA. They believe that it would be more effective at identifying potential terrorists than the existing random searches.

They also say that it would greatly reduce queues at secur-ity gates, which caused lengthy delays at London airports yesterday for the fifth day running. Heathrow and Gatwick were worst affected, cancelling 69 and 27 flights respectively. BAA gave warning yesterday that the disruption would continue for the rest of the week.

Passengers are now allowed to take one small piece of hand luggage on board but security staff are still having to search 50 per cent of travellers. Airports have also been ordered to search twice as many hand luggage items as a week ago...

The new measures, which include a ban on taking any liquids through checkpoints, are expected to remain in place for months. A DfT source said it was difficult to see how the restrictions could be relaxed if terrorists now had the capabil-ity to make liquid bombs.

The DfT has been considering passenger profiling for a year but, until last week, the disadvantages were thought to outweigh the advantages. A senior aviation industry source said: “The DfT is ultra-sensitive about this and won’t say anything publicly because of political concerns about being accused of racial stereotyping.”

Three days before last week’s arrests, the highest-ranking Muslim police officer in Britain gave warning that profiling techniques based on physical appearance were already causing anger and mistrust among young Muslims. Tarique Ghaffur, an assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: “We must think long and hard about the causal factors of anger and resentment.

“There is a very real danger that the counter-terrorism label is also being used by other law-enforcement agencies to the effect that there is a real risk of criminalising minority communities.”

Sir Rod Eddington, former chief executive of British Airways, criticised the random nature of security searches. He said that it was irrational to subject a 75-year-old grandmother to the same checks as a 25-year-old man who had just paid for his ticket with cash.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


From my review in the upcoming edition of The American Conservative:

The massive May Day marches by illegal immigrants appear to have made film critics finally notice that the American entertainment industry has largely ignored the 28 million people of Mexican origin in this country. In compensation, reviewers are now praising extravagantly "Quinceañera," a modest but lively and fairly likeable $400,000 drama about an American-born Mexican girl's bumpy ride to her traditionally lavish 15th birthday party, or quinceañera....

Young Magdalena lives in Los Angeles's Echo Park, which the press gingerly describes as "vibrant." That euphemism means shopkeepers, fearful of local gangs, lower the metal bars over their store windows at 6pm, leaving the commercial streets desolate after dark.

Still, Echo Park is superbly located in hills overlooking the skyscrapers of downtown LA. So, an influx from trendy Silver Lake of white homosexual men, the standard shock troops of gentrification because they are less vulnerable to crime than male-female couples, has begun slowly economically cleansing Chicanos from Echo Park's quaint but dilapidated clapboard cottages.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer