Pantsuit-wearing suspected oyster-gobbler Hillary Clinton likely sealed the Democratic presidential nomination last Saturday by whipping Bernie Sanders like a slave in South Carolina. Hoisted aloft by a black electorate that gave her 86% of their votes, Clinton smothered Sanders, despite his awkward attempts to reach out and touch black people in real life by persuading them that although he’s a Jewish guy who represents a state that’s only 1% black, he understands their struggle better than the former Madame Secretary does.
Last Wednesday, Clinton awkwardly dodged a big fat black bullet in the form of one Ashley Williams, a “youth activist” for Black Lives Matter who had the moxie to attend a private Clinton fundraiser at a swank Charleston home and confront her about comments she’d made in 1996. While Clinton”apparently clad in green curtain drapes”yabbered on about the Charleston massacre and her record on “racial justice,” the nappy-headed Williams pushed herself in front of the herd and unfurled a banner stating “WE HAVE TO BRING THEM TO HEEL,” which is a direct quote from Clinton regarding what she had described as criminal “super-predators.”
Interrupting Clinton”the BLM peeps are serial interrupters”Williams said:
I’m not a super-predator, Hillary Clinton. Will you apologize to black people for mass incarceration?…You called black people predators.
Clinton said she’d be glad to answer that question, but after a Secret Service agent gingerly escorted Williams out the door, Clinton completely ignored the question and, in her words, went “back to the issues.” The entire hilarious encounter, which lasted less than two minutes, can be viewed here.
Williams had issued this statement prior to the event:
She called our boys “super-predators” in “96, then she race-baited when running against Obama in “08, now she’s a lifelong civil rights activist. I just want to know which Hillary is running for President, the one from “96, “08, or the new Hillary?
Never one to miss a chance to make a huge mistake in public, Shaun King of the New York Daily News“truly the nation’s finest living comedian and a white-skinned male whose owners wisely have shut down all comments on his articles”claimed that Clinton “called young black kids ‘superpredators’” and wondered aloud why she hadn’t openly apologized for making such an unforgivably racist and obviously untrue statement.
A lifetime of having my own statements woefully misquoted and egregiously misrepresented has taught me that whenever someone is accused of making an outrageous statement, it’s usually wise to examine what they actually said. Here are Clinton’s 1996 comments, transcribed word-for-word by Yours Truly based on the video shown here:
We also have to have an organized effort against gangs, just as in a previous generation we had an organized effort against the Mob. We need to take these people on, they are often connected to big drug cartels, they are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called “super-predators””no conscience, no empathy, we can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel, and the president has asked the FBI to launch a very concerted effort against gangs everywhere.
Notice something missing there? Specifically, the word “black”? If one were so inclined, one might be able to more reasonably infer an anti-Italian sentiment (“the Mob”) or even an anti-Mexican animus (“big drug cartels”), but even then one is presuming Clinton was using “dog whistles” and “coded speech,” two weasel phrases used by people who insist that even if there’s no racial content in your comment whatsoever, it is loaded with whatever incorrigible racial subtext they want and need there to be in order to smear you as a “racist.”
If mentally inert “activists” such as Shaun King and Ashley Williams misconstrue a race-neutral comment that is purely about gang criminality as a racial smear against black America, methinks they doth protest too much.
So what do the stats say about American gang membership?
According to a 2009 report by the National Gang Center, “84 percent of gang members are racial or ethnic minorities.” Forty-nine percent of them are “Hispanic” and 35 percent are “African-American.” This means that when it comes to gang membership, blacks and Hispanics are statistically overrepresented by about 300%, while whites are underrepresented by about 400%.
All righty, then, what do the statistics show about the intersection of race and violent crime? Department of Justice stats from 1980 to 2008 show that blacks”13% of the population”committed 52% of all homicides in the USA. FBI stats from 2013 show blacks lagging a bit in the murder department”they “only” committed 38% of that year’s murders but still killed more people than whites did, despite the fact that whites outnumber them by a factor of about five to one. Blacks were severely overrepresented in all areas of crime, but when one looks at the sorts of offenses that may be labeled “predatory””murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault”blacks are typically overrepresented by around 300% or more. No other group comes close to such lopsided overrepresentation.
The Week’s Puniest, Looniest, and Gooniest Headlines
BEN CARSON: BARACK OBAMA WAS “RAISED WHITE”
Narcoleptic presidential candidate Ben Carson suddenly awoke from a thousand-year coma to announce that our current president, Barack Rudy Ray Moore Obama, was “raised white.” Carson grew up in the Stone Age hellhole of Detroit, MI, where he was weaned on the sour milk of rabid female pit bulls, even though we just made up that last part.
After being called everything from Uncle Tom to Uncle Remus, the mild-mannered somnambulist doubled down on his comments:
I don”t think anyone would deny that someone who was raised in Hawaii by his white grandparents and then spent formative years in Indonesia with his white mother does not have the typical black experience.
We suspect that Carson is roundly hated”especially by blacks”because although he grew up under typical black conditions, he didn’t grow up to become a typical black.
PINT-SIZED ZIONIST ENCOURAGES HARASSMENT OF “RACISTS,” THEN GETS HARASSED BY “ANTI-RACISTS”
Ben Shapiro is an exceptionally tiny Zionist with the voice of a chipmunk and the heart of a neoconservative. He is the author of Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America, which might lead a reasonable person to infer that he is repulsed by the Social Justice Warriors who seek to destroy human beings merely for expressing a diverse opinion.
Well, OK, kinda. But his “stance,” if you could call it that, is self-contradictory. Appearing recently on a talk show that just so happened to be hosted by another Jewish man”considering America’s demographics, the statistical odds of that occurring by chance are around one in 10,000″Shapiro fielded questions about attempts by young progressive witch hunters at California State University in Los Angeles to shut down his scheduled appearance on campus last Thursday. Shapiro has correctly claimed that “white privilege” is a myth; however, he draws the line at giving a pass to “legitimate racists”:
Of course there are legitimate racists, and we should target them, and we should find them, and we should hurt their careers, because racism is unacceptable.
Shapiro did not elaborate on who gets to decide what constitutes a “legitimate racist” nor who would be appointed Public Minister of Acceptability, but in both cases we suppose his answer would be “Ben Shapiro.”
On Thursday while Shapiro was delivering a speech at CSULA titled “When Diversity Becomes a Problem,” those rascally campus radicals pulled a fire alarm and raised such a ruckus that the pipsqueak firebrand had campus police form a protective “safe space” bubble around him while escorting him off campus.
Don”t whine, little man. You painted the target on your own back.
IN SEARCH OF HITLER’s PENIS
How much more evidence do we need that those who triumphed in World War II are the sorest winners in world history? Adolf Hitler has been dead for over 70 years, yet they still can’t resist poking his corpse. In addition to dubious attempts to prove via DNA testing that he was Jewish and the never-say-die rumor that he was beset with only one testicle, now comes extraordinarily sketchy innuendos that the Nordic gods had cursed him with a “tiny deformed penis.”
Naturally this was blasted all over the web last week by the haters of All Things White, who chuckled and guffawed and immediately linked the merest murmur of an instinct toward white self-preservation as the undeniable result of micropenis-induced compensatory rage. But an actual reporter who actually thought it actually might be a good idea to do some actual fact-checking contacted Emma Craig, coauthor of Hitler’s Last Day: Minute By Minute, the book whence the rumor originated. In reality, all Craig’s book had stated was that Hitler was “believed” to suffer from an undescended testicle and penile hypospadias. In other words, there was zero evidence to support this allegation. And since penile hypospadias is only rarely associated with micropenis, Craigie stated that any suggestions that the Fuhrer had a teeny weenie based on her book constituted quite a logical “leap.”
COMEDY FESTIVAL IMPOSES STRAIGHT WHILE MALE TAX
Because it’s hilarious to destroy comedy by constantly injecting it with fatal doses of Cultural Marxism, New York’s Cinder Block Comedy Festival is currently holding open auditions for everyone except straight white males. From now until March 15, aspiring non-straight-white-male-cisgender funnypersons have been pushed to the front of the pack in order to encourage “diversity” in what will undoubtedly be a knee-slapping hootenanny of a comedy festival. From March 16 until April 15, what the organizers call “token bearded white dudes” will finally be permitted to audition.
We encourage all token bearded white dudes to claim they are transgender women; if they aren’t permitted to prematurely audition like the rest of the oppressed freaks, they should sue this comedy festival out of existence for discrimination. It’s the only way to achieve social justice.
These days there is a lot of monomania about. But then perhaps there always was. Speaking for myself, I am a serial monomaniac. I become obsessed for a short time by a subject and then drop it and do not return to it. Once I nearly drove my wife mad with Le Corbusier, the abominable Franco-Swiss architect and town planner who wrote as much as he designed buildings and cities. As one would expect from his architecture, he wrote the most appalling, nasty, and stupid drivel, which I read for about two months, and by far the most interesting question about his career is why anyone should ever have taken him seriously. Anyhow, quotations from Le Corbusier (I was writing an article about him) nearly caused my wife a nervous breakdown, and to this day she cannot bear to hear his name mentioned, just as to this day I can”t bear to drink whiskey because when I was nineteen I drank more than half a bottle of it to look old and sophisticated, with the most awful consequences (for me, that is).
As rational beings we should concern ourselves with matters in proportion to their importance. Unfortunately, nothing is important or unimportant, but thinking makes it so, and there is therefore no possibility of us ever being rational beings. It is not surprising that people who consider themselves wholly rational are often subject to the most bizarre passions.
Still (and I don”t mind if people think I”m being sentimental), I can”t help but think that the unnecessary death of between 100,000 and 200,000 people is important and that it is distinctly odd that it has not made headlines more often than it has.
Is there a war somewhere in the world, you ask, that somehow I have missed? No, it is the number of people since the turn of the century in the United States who have died of overdoses of opiate and opioid drugs. This raises the deep philosophical question as to whether there can be a scandal without anybody being scandalized. But that is not my subject now.
Apart from their accelerating number, the interesting thing about these deaths is that a very large proportion of them are caused by perfectly legal and legally prescribed medication. (In order to head off pharmacological pedants, I should say that these deaths are associated with rather than indubitably caused by opiates and opioids, because most people who take overdoses of them have also taken other substances that may have contributed to the fatal outcome. The overdosage of opiates or opioids may thus be a necessary rather than a sufficient cause of death.) The fact that so many people have died of legally prescribed drugs of addiction suggests that not all the harm caused by illicit drugs of addiction arises from their illegality, as has sometimes been suggested.
Anyhow, the question is, as always, who is to blame? Social problems are not much fun to think about unless you can find someone to blame for them, someone upon whom to fix your spite and rancor. And the answer is…well, quite a lot of people, really.
First there are the patients themselves. One should not speak ill of the dead, of course, but truth compels us to admit that sometimes they were not the finest flowers of humanity. And it is they, after all, who took the overdoses, either accidentally or deliberately. They knew what they were doing.
Moreover, some of them had either intimidated or blackmailed their doctors into prescribing the drugs for them, when in a large number of cases they, the drugs, were not indicated in the first place. For doctors dependent on patients” fees, the threat of withdrawal of custom may act as an incentive to prescribe. Patients may become threatening. There are also reliable reports of doctors prescribing for a fee without any medical indication whatever.
But doctors may prescribe wrongly for no ulterior motive. I am sure that I must have done so many times in my career. Research showed that patients prescribed opiates or opioids in hospital to control pain after operations never, or only very rarely, became addicted to those drugs, from which it was concluded, rashly, that there would be no danger of addiction or misuse if they were prescribed outside hospital to people with chronic pain or discomfort. That the two groups of patients”postoperative and those with chronic pain”were dissimilar seems not to have been appreciated. But we live in an age that is ideologically intent upon disregarding relevant differences.
One reason I do not tweet, text, or use Facebook or Instagram, and only wield a mobile when a landline is unavailable, is because all of the above gadgets are free of anything resembling a credible spoken word emanating from a disease-free brain. The mind-numbing gobbledygook that billions send back and forth constitutes a sort of 10th circle of Dante’s Inferno, oxygen-deprived brains with their imaginations up their backsides, strung out on their own solipsism, benighted, boring, and brain-jolting in their braggadocio. Whew, I finally got that off my chest.
When I founded The American Conservative in 2002, and after that when I began Takimag, I realized there’s a vast sea of envious, discontented shitheads who spend their waking hours (about three to four) spouting hate against anyone and everyone they disagree with, be it in politics, sport, or even favorite movies or cartoons. The first editor ran comments that claimed I murdered babies in their cribs, had obviously killed my mother and father, and was an illegitimate son of a one-night stand between Stalin and Hitler. “It’s the sacrosanct right of reply,” said the idiot when I handed him his walking papers. Ditto the second one. I finally had to resort to my own daughter, who filters some of the really bad ones.
What is it that makes nerds the world over go apeshit online, accuse their betters (which they invariably are) of unspeakable crimes and perversions, and use language that would embarrass a lavatory attendant in a gay underground New York nightclub of the ’70s? Well, recently the good guys had a win, and for once I will not be magnanimous in victory but pray that the Harvard nerd who got caught will pay through the nose and then some. Here’s the scoop:
Actor James Woods is someone I know slightly, having lunched with him a couple of times and having quite a few close friends in common. He is a very intelligent and cultured man, with a wonderful sense of humor, and is as likely to be on drugs as I am to be on Diet Coke. An anonymous tweet, however, claimed that Jimmy Woods was a cocaine addict, a charge that had absolutely no basis except that Abe List, a pseudonym, said so. James Woods, however, is a public person and a very popular and respected actor, hence a charge like this one can have consequences. Studios are not anxious to hire coke freaks, something I know Woods is not because drugs have been discussed in his presence and he was adamant in his abhorrence of them.
So Woods sued to unmask the cowardly accuser hiding behind a false name, and a Los Angeles Superior Court judge agreed. Abe List’s true identity might soon be revealed. List conducted a malicious online campaign intended to damage Woods’ reputation for no apparent reason but envy, at least as far as I’m concerned. The star of films like Salvador, Casino, Nixon, and Once Upon a Time in America is such a pleasant man, I can think of no one but an envious freak who has never met him being capable of hating him. And spreading lies about him.
And sure enough a math dork linked to Harvard University’s website turns out to be the prime suspect. As of this writing no names have appeared. But I can see it as clear as anything I’ve seen in this long life of mine: an ugly little man with a very tiny penis lying on an unmade bed eating peanuts and dreaming of being on a large patio next to a Beverly Hills swimming pool with Hedy Lamarr stroking him while guitars play in the background. Well, it ain’t gonna happen, dork, but it has for Jimmy—that’s why you hate him and spread filthy lies about him. Your willy will get even tinier, if that’s possible, and girls will shun you even more, so get used to it. In the meantime, get ready to pay a $10 million fine for damaging a really nice man’s reputation.
“Coming up next we have retired Air Force lieutenant general Tom McInerney, financial analyst Ross Gerber, and a housewife from Nebraska named Pam.” Why don”t we ever see that on the news? I”m serious. Housewives make up almost a third of American moms and that is a massive piece of the voting puzzle. After all, it was the female vote that got Obama elected. I”m not sure why so many of them voted for him. He thinks they”re losers. “Sometimes, someone, usually Mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids,” he said in a Rhode Island speech last year, “and that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.” This isn”t an unusual sentiment. I’ve seen women who answer the “What do you do?” question with “I”m a stay-at-home mom” being met with looks of disappointment as if they had replied, “Nothing.” Top Manager in Charge of Ad Buying is just spending someone else’s money on something that probably doesn”t work, but it garners a helluva lot more respect than Creator of Human Life Who Then Shapes Said Lives. When Mitt Romney cited his stay-at-home spouse as an example of a housewife who cares about politics, a snarky “Democratic strategist“ insisted Ann had “never worked a day in her life.” The implication being, housewives are too stupid to understand economics. On the contrary, they are far more invested than Rachel Maddow.
Modern feminism insists that women giving birth and sticking around is sexist but putting men’s shitty jobs on a pedestal is somehow feminist. I don”t even know what a strategist is, but I”d rather hear strategies from someone who has literally created a future America than some barren spinster with no stakes in the game. Look at any mainstream media source and you will see women who have put career over family. Sometimes they have one kid. Sometimes they spent $30,000 on in vitro and have two. Even in those rare cases, you are looking at someone who has paid a Third World immigrant to look after their children like some sort of maternal security guard. Why are these people telling us what’s best for the country? They don”t even know what’s best for their own family. When I bring this up with professional women, they tell me a housewife’s life is parochial and boring. What these power moms don”t realize is America is made up of millions of tiny “boring” microcosms who shape the economy.
CBS doesn”t make its money from Super Bowl ads. They get rich from hundreds of thousands of regional commercials around the country. Dan Donnelly’s Cincinnati Ford may pay only $650 a pop, but when you combine all those local dealerships and restaurants and water parks, you have a good $14B in your pocket. America is made up of millions of little guys and the best way to make money is to pay them some respect. The same goes for politics.
That’s why we need to include housewives in the equation. I want them in aprons, too. Feminists will say wearing kitchen clothes and being on a first-name basis is demeaning, and that is because they”ve been brainwashed by Notorious RBG to think the kitchen is a jail cell. It’s not. An apron is a badge of honor. You don”t use it to get men fired or censored as childless women in the workforce seem so determined to do. You use it to create sustenance for the people you love. It’s a cape that’s on backwards. To be a “kept woman” means a man is keeping you”as opposed to throwing you away when you start looking old so he can go fuck someone else. Modern feminism is perfect for men because it’s all about getting the milk for free as they go from cow to cow.
Kept women have a lot to say about every issue in this campaign because microcosms matter. When we talk about immigration, Pam notices that teenagers don”t do odd jobs anymore. When she was young she”d see teenagers painting houses and trimming hedges. Now illegals do that and the kids stay at home playing videogames well into their late twenties. How are these kids going to be the next generation of entrepreneurs? We”ve robbed them of their economic libidos.
The “Grim Sleeper” went on trial in L.A. last week. Fifty-seven-year-old Lonnie David Franklin Jr. is accused of murdering at least eleven women (and one man) in a string of serial killings in South Los Angeles in the late 1980s and early 2000s (the name “Grim Sleeper” was derived from the fact that the killer went dormant for many years in between murders). Most of the Sleeper’s victims were drug addicts and hookers, and it’s believed that there were more than eleven of them (some estimates put the overall body count at over a hundred).
Franklin is black. His victims were black. Yet the trial is making international headlines, an anomaly in a world in which stories about nonwhite serial killers are usually buried on the back-page under Marmaduke and Family Circus. As Boise State University professor of criminology Anthony Walsh pointed out in his 2004 book Race and Crime, black Americans, while overrepresented among serial killers, rarely receive as much media attention as white serial killers. Typically, the usual PC alliance of politicians, media lackeys, and “community organizers” is almost always able to ensure that minority serial killers come and go in obscurity, lest the public be disabused of the left’s beloved fable that all serial killers are “angry white males.”
But the Grim Sleeper case has become a media sensation. Why? Because “black leaders” and their lapdogs in the press are bitching about it. Wait, hold on”Lonnie Franklin is a black man on trial for killing black women. Why the outrage? “Black leaders” are up in arms because the LAPD took so long to catch the Sleeper. See, that’s (wait for it…) racism! The LAPD is accused of dragging its feet because these were black victims in black neighborhoods. Lonnie Franklin didn”t kill those women alone…institutional racism was his accomplice!
There’s even a full-length HBO documentary film about how racism (personified by police indifference) killed those women.
If there is one characteristic that, above all else, defines the left, it’s the inability to understand basic cause and effect. Even the average dog can be made to comprehend this simple principle leftists struggle to grasp. The left’s inability to understand that actions have consequences is symbolized by Mao’s “Great Sparrow Campaign” from the late 1950s. The great and wise Communist chairman had determined that every sparrow in China had to be killed in order to save the country’s grain crops. So, like good little unthinking robots, millions of screamin” Chinese took to the streets, killing sparrows in every way possible”shooting them from the sky, burning trees, crushing nests, and making so much noise from the ground by banging pots and pans together, beating drums, and blowing horns for days on end that the little birds were too frightened to land. Eventually, the terrified little creatures would drop to the ground from exhaustion, at which point they”d be crushed by the noisemaking mob. Individuals, schools, and towns were rewarded by the government based on how many sparrows they killed. Some historians believe that at least 2 billion sparrows died during the campaign.
The old film footage is fascinating. Mobs of smiling idiots banging pots, waving flags, and howling at the sky as, one by one, millions of birds drop from fear and fatigue. This is the left personified. All that matters is being part of a loud mob, like, getting out in the street and, like, feeling the moment, man! Banging and howling is confused with progress and results. Of course, there were results of the Great Sparrow Campaign. The locust population, freed from its natural predator, exploded. Famine ensued, and millions of grinning howling morons starved to death.
That’s my favorite historical example of the left doing what it does best. Closer to home, here’s another example that will better relate to the Grim Sleeper case. In the mid-1990s, black activist groups needed a new reason to bark at the moon. So it was decided that the enemy du jour”the “oh, now we”ve discovered it” reason so many black Americans were doing poorly in school and in the job market”was “negative images” of black people on TV. If only Hollywood would portray every black person as SuperJesus, black America’s woes would vanish. The theory was, “negative images” of blacks on TV “made” black people drop out of school and become criminals, “made” black fathers abandon their children, and “made” white employers look for more qualified candidates.
In the words of Othello, “It is the cause, it is the cause!”
So, true to form, black activists began banging pots and howling at the sky. The NAACP and other “civil rights” organizations launched a series of national protests and boycotts against the TV networks. The demands? The networks had to immediately stop casting black people (and all “people of color”) in roles in which the characters were less than perfect. And the networks listened. In one example, NBC pulled an episode of Law & Order (at the time the highest-rated drama on TV) because the bad guys on the show were Puerto Rican. In answer to the protesters” demands, the network pledged to stop casting minorities as criminals. And, since every episode of Law & Order involved catching a criminal, that effectively meant the end of blacks and Latinos as guest stars on the show.
In July 1999, a black actor who”d been repeatedly fired from jobs by nervous network execs who were afraid of being boycotted for casting a black person in a non-SuperJesus role finally spoke up. In a Washington Post op-ed, actor Damon Standifer called out the activists and “community leaders” for depriving black actors of work:
It’s gotten to the point where the networks are wary of hiring black actors for lead roles. Why would a network want to spend millions of dollars to produce and promote a show, only to be confronted with angry protests? Advertisers don”t want their products attached to shows that are the objects of controversy. Unless African-American activists abandon the destructive tactic of trying to ban shows they don”t like, actors like me will continue to suffer the consequences.
After PBS, NBC, and CNN devoted coverage to the op-ed and gave Standifer airtime, the race baiters backed down, with “head niggler in charge” Earl Ofari Hutchinson practically admitting in defeat, “Don”t blame us for our demands; blame the networks for being stupid enough to accede to them.” The upside for people like Hutchinson was that the damage they caused led to an entirely new protest”condemning the TV networks for not having enough black characters on their shows! Yes, the people who had just concluded a five-year campaign to keep black actors off TV were now protesting that there were not enough black actors on TV. There was absolutely no comprehension of cause and effect, no simple, basic understanding of the fact that the activists” actions had consequences. Chants of “don”t cast blacks!” had led to blacks not being cast. The activists were now protesting the direct results of their own actions.
Leftist brain vs. dog brain; I”ll pick the latter every time.
So how does this relate to the Grim Sleeper? In 1988, the killer screwed up, and one of his black female victims survived. She was able to give the police a decent description of the man who attacked her (she described him as a “black preppy,” and she was able to provide basic height, weight, and hair details). Armed with their first real lead, detectives ramped up their search for the murderer. It was a long and arduous process, with many dead ends. No matter, say black activists today. The cops should have been more aggressive! They should have reacted more forcefully. After all, this was a serial killer. This was serious business.
Since 2008 the world has seen a good number of corporate catastrophes. So many, in fact, that a new subgenre of journalism called financial disaster tourism was invented by financial journalist and nonfiction author Michael “The Big Short“ Lewis. We”re talking here about corporate disasters with massive consequences, about commercial failures on the scale of ENRON, AIG, or Lehman Brothers. However, the story of Baha Mar, a gigantic new luxury resort in the Bahamas, brings new meaning to the phrase “financial disaster tourism.”
If you were to drive down the new highway built partly to connect it faster with the airport, you”d find the $3.5 billion mega-resort on Nassau’s Cable Beach closed. Fenced in and deserted, this marvel of construction resembles a cutting-edge theme park recently built and never to open. A ghost city covering 3.3 million square feet of prime real estate, it contains 20 swimming pools, 40 restaurants and bars, a championship golf course, four luxury hotels, a 200,000-square-foot convention center…and the largest casino in the Caribbean region. Despite the proximity of the Atlantis casino and hotel complex whose massive towers dominate Paradise Island a few miles across the azure-colored sea from Baha Mar. Abandoned it has remained for over a year since the original launch date, at a daily cost of $1 million and counting, as estimated last summer. That’s $365 million a year and counting.
It took 4,000 laborers, working 24/7 on shift, for four years in total, to create the skyline of Baha Mar: a record time for a construction of this size. So what happened?
The construction workers didn”t actually finish the project, that’s what happened. They dropped their tools upon reaching 97% completion. And the unfinished 3% the contractor left behind contained crucial items, meaning the resort”including several thousand (reserved) hotel rooms, with partners like Hyatt, Rosewood, and SLS”could not open for Christmas business.
This was when the real trouble began. A second opening in late March 2015 was also missed. The exclusively Chinese construction workers were flown en masse back to their homeland. Spring turned to summer and hot temperatures boiled into tropical storms or occasional hurricanes…and the owner of Baha Mar found himself fighting the battle of his life.
Founder Sarkis Izmirlian is a smoothly presented, unloquacious businessman born in Switzerland to a brilliant billionaire father named Dikran, an entrepreneur whom Bloomberg describes as an “Armenian peanut tycoon.” Both father and son”and family”live in Nassau’s Lyford Cay, of whose elite club Sarkis is a member. These high-net-worth credentials, as the Jan. 4 Bloomberg piece infers, may have helped turn Sarkis”aged 32 when the project began”into the perfect fall guy for a corporate catastrophe whose real cause we may never know. Sarkis” profile as a “rich white” man, as a local politician publicly referred to him, will have curtailed excess sympathy for a man who stood to lose nearly a billion dollars of his own money if things went wrong. Which they did, resulting in the bankruptcy of his company. A bankruptcy so large it has jeopardized the Bahamas” national credit rating, currently in danger of another downgrade to “junk” status, according to Standard & Poors” warnings reported by The New York Times.
How did it go so spectacularly wrong?
After the financial crisis of 2008, Baha Mar’s main investor, Harrah’s, pulled out of the project, leaving development plans to languish and Izmirlian keenly waiting for other backers with deep pockets to materialize. Which they did, in 2009, in the form of the state-owned China Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im). In a “deal with the devil,” as some islanders call it, Ex-Im offered Izmirlian a huge loan amounting to $2.4 billion. Izmirlian accepted the offer as one would a lifeline, and he himself provided an additional $850M investment to cover the rest of the budget. A major debt burden”but then, Baha Mar seemed overambitious from the start. Critics say it should have been built in phases or not at all.
Ex-Im brought in another state-owned company, CSCEC Ltd., a Shanghai-listed construction firm ranked 52nd on Fortune‘s Global 500, with a market cap of $48 billion. Its American subsidiary, China Construction America”or CCA Ltd. and CCA Bahamas Ltd.”provided 4,000 Chinese workers to build the mega-resort at high speed, a feat that workers of no other nation could match in terms of hard work and, presumably, low wages? CCA also invested $150M in the project for its own stake alongside Ex-Im Bank.
Observers familiar with the development’s early stages contend that the Chinese may have wanted to own the real estate beneath Baha Mar from the very start. These sources wish to remain anonymous since individuals who have “spoken up” received threatening telephone calls. Nonetheless, they broadly and controversially suggest that Ex-Im Bank lent $2.4 billion on a $3.5 billion project so that, in the event of default, the Chinese bank would become a 66% shareholder, in dollar terms. The sources allege that by pulling out on the developer just short of the project’s culmination, at a point when the developer still earned, and could expect, no income (due to incomplete construction), a liquidation of the project would certainly ensue. The receivership process would all but guarantee that purchasing the remaining 33% could be achieved with relative ease by the bank, and at a much reduced rate.
CCA Ltd. has aggressively denied such allegations of a “conspiracy,” stating in a press release dated July 7, 2015, that “Baha Mar’s decision to file for bankruptcy is the direct result of its failure to secure adequate funding and its mismanagement of the design of the resort project. This mismanagement includes replacing the principal architect after construction had commenced, late and incomplete delivery of design packages, and over 1,300 Construction Change Directives.” Izmirlian is to blame to the extent that he was in over his head. This and the fact that, unlike Sol Kerzner”who inspected the construction site of his Atlantis project up to three times daily”Sarkis delegated such responsibilities to a team he paid extremely well. Maybe he shouldn”t have remained so remote.
However, sources close to Baha Mar insist construction was running well behind for some time, citing memos written by the CEO “pleading with Shanghai to send more workers as they could not complete in time.” Construction quality was substandard, they claim, and evidence of poor craftsmanship has already been published in the form of CCA email correspondence betraying the use of “fake” materials. Sources privy to construction details allege it became easier for CCA to pull out workers than to remain liable for penalties or claims from the developer due to late completion or substandard workmanship”thereby saving face for China’s largest construction company. Of course, if it were true that Ex-Im’s long-term strategy was always to secure ownership of the real estate via liquidation, then withdrawal of the workers made for an essential tactic.
Either way, the Chinese contractor knew two months ahead of time that the resort was doomed to miss its delayed March opening, Nassau’s Tribune newspaper said this week. “In a confidential memo sent to its Beijing parent company on January 20, 2015, China Construction America (CCA) warned that the Cable Beach project and its stakeholders faced “irreversible and catastrophic loss” unless drastic action was taken.” Their request for 450 more workers was ignored.
Last week, I pointed out that the social sciences were suffering from mirror-image problems: the much-publicized Replication Crisis, in which academics announce trivial findings that turn out to be not reproducible, and the less-discussed Repetition Crisis, in which the only explanations for serious phenomena that researchers are allowed to offer are the same old same old: white racism, male chauvinism, white male racist chauvinism, and so forth and so on.
Calling either problem a “crisis” is, of course, journalistic hyperbole intended to dramatize situations that are likely to bump along deleteriously, but not quite self-destructively, for years.
This week, however, Brian Nosek, a psychologist who as cofounder of the Center for Open Science has been a leader in exposing the Replication Crisis by encouraging 100 attempts to reproduce popular studies (only 36 came up with statistically significant results), has published a report in Social Cognition that grapples productively with both the Replication and Repetition Crises.
The paper by Nosek and two colleagues at the U. of Virginia (Jordan R. Axt and Charles R. Ebersole) is entitled: An Unintentional, Robust, and Replicable Pro-Black Bias in Social Judgment.
Nosek begins with yet another repetition of the scores of social science papers finding that whites discriminate against blacks (versus the tiny number reporting that whites favor blacks).
After all, everybody knows that blacks suffer under the pervasive burden of white racism. But, Nosek admits, “We began the present research sharing this presumption and were surprised to find contrary evidence.”
When Nosek et al. did an initial experiment with white respondents, asking them to judge whether students are worthy of inclusion in a (hypothetical) honor society based on GPA, test scores, and photos:
…we unexpectedly observed a social judgment bias favoring blacks over whites. In 5 subsequent studies, we established that this effect is robust, replicable, and appears to occur partly outside of awareness and control.
The latter part of Nosek’s findings””outside of awareness and control””is important within the academic world because in recent years a party line has developed that white racism works on autopilot outside the conscious willpower. Since few whites will admit these days to believing that blacks and whites tend to behave differently on average, the rationalization has emerged that white racism is such a powerful mind-warping force that it works its evil whiles outside of human control. The academic mainstream assumes that white racism operates much like the CIA mind-control beams that crazy people pick up via their dental fillings.
But Nosek’s original study and his five follow-up studies found the opposite. White people of all political persuasions tend to bestow honors upon blacks even when they are less deserving than whites. In a half-dozen studies, with a total sample size of 4,359 white people, whites consistently rewarded blacks for meeting lower standards.
Nosek’s various studies repeatedly asked whites if they were being biased, and the majority claimed they were trying to treat the races equally. But they still exhibited a systematic pro-black bias:
Participants, regardless of their explicit attitudes or political beliefs, appeared mostly unaware that they may have been comparing black applicants to a subjectively different standard than white applicants.
Strong liberals were the most bigoted against whites. Moderate conservatives were the least antiwhite, but even they were still biased against their own race. And strong conservatives were even more discriminatory against whites than moderate conservatives.
The fact that the pro-Black bias occurred even among those participants who simultaneously opposed affirmative action, wanted to be unbiased, and believed they were so is further evidence that the racial difference in criterion bias [i.e., antiwhite discrimination] can occur without intention or awareness.
Why do whites give blacks more honors than they deserve?
Prudence seems like one good explanation. In Tom Wolfe’s 1987 Great American Novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, the Ed Koch-like mayor of New York City grudgingly admits to himself that much of his workweek is devoted to handing out “plaques for blacks,” as Hizzoner’s obnoxious but insightful aide calls them:
“Whadda we got this morning, Sheldon?”
As soon as the words left his mouth, the Mayor regretted them. He knew what his tiny assistant would say. It was inevitable, and so he braced himself for the vile phrase, and sure enough, here it came.
“Mainly plaques for blacks,” said Sheldon….
In these troubled times, with the surveys going the way they were going, it was wise, and probably good, to single out as many black recipients of these trophies and rhetorical flourishes as possible, but it was not wise and it was not good for Sheldon Lennert, this homunculus with his absurdly tiny head…to call the process “plaques for blacks.”
This doesn”t mean, however, that whites are more likely to hire blacks for routine jobs than they are to hire, say, Mexicans. For example, while the Academy of Motion Pictures nominates lots of blacks, it hasn”t nominated an American-born Latino for an acting Oscar in over 20 years. And yet, Academy members hire far more Latinos than blacks to clean their houses and look after their children.
Nosek and company gave their subjects the celebrated implicit attitude tests, which have become popular for witch-sniffing racism. Subjects are shown pictures of whites and blacks along with positive and negative words, and the number of milliseconds necessary to respond is deemed evidence of racist guilt.
But in Nosek’s studies, the implicit attitude inquisitions failed to predict the pro-black bias of the whites:
Here, the pro-black behavior was in the opposite direction of participants” pro-white attitudes, and most participants (77.3%) did not report any conscious effort of altering their behavior to favor one race over another. From this perspective, the results are enigmatic. Based on existing theories of attitudes, it is difficult to explain how a pro-black behavior emerged that ran contrary to explicit and implicit attitudes, and, for most participants, did not appear to be a result of consciously altering behavior so as to favor blacks.
But should pro-black bias be all that “enigmatic” to social scientists?
This pro-black prejudice is hardly surprising in a culture that treats thinking well of blacks as the highest moral value.
America repeatedly gins up moral panics and two-minutes-hates over individuals who are revealed to privately hold thoughts skeptical of the racial orthodoxy. For example, in 2014 President Obama took time during a ceremonial press conference with a foreign leader to denounce Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, for what the jealous old fool had said to his part-black gold-digging mistress in private.
Sterling was subsequently forced to sell his property against his will.
But there’s evidence that the pro-black biases of Americans whites aren”t simply due to force majeure.
My Taki’s columns have now officially killed twice as many people as Ted Kennedy’s car.
Last April, it was GÃ¼nter Grass, then last week, Harper Lee. I didn”t ask for this extraordinary gift, nor do I control it, otherwise I”d happily expand my deadly powers to reach beyond the confines of “elderly novelists.”
For one thing, if everyone I wrote about promptly dropped dead, the “homeless problem” would”ve been solved ages ago.
Blame those scare quotes on James Taranto. His WSJ Best of the Web column helped lure me rightward, and that’s where I first encountered the now-commonplace observation I”ll call Taranto’s Theorem:
That “homeless” hysteria waxes and wanes depending upon whether or not a conservative or a liberal is currently the mayor, governor, or national leader of a particular city, state, or country. Not, of course, the number of actual homeless, although that’s what’s implied by the sheer volume of “special reports,” fund-raising drives, and public inquiries.
I was still naive and impressionable enough to be saddened and angered by “homelessness” when it was invented. I say “invented” today, of course, but at the time I mostly swallowed received wisdom that stingy, heartless Ronald Reagan (and Canada’s Brian Mulroney) was somehow personally responsible for the outbreak of shabby, smelly gentlemen sleeping on the streets.
While reporters railed in the realm of purported nonfiction, their showbiz counterparts undertook the Disneyfication of the homeless”The Fisher King, Stone Pillow, Samaritan, those Comic Relief specials”to sway any remaining citizens who might be blessedly oblivious to daily papers and the evening news.
Politicians and assorted do-gooders demanded more money to “do something” about this allegedly metastasizing human mess.
True, my own mother’s nickname for me was “Ming the Merciless.” In my defense, that congenital callousness is inescapably coexistent with my chronic bullshit allergy. That’s why something about all this abrupt, encircling, suffocating hype”besides the homeless themselves”reeked indeed.
Along with Taranto, I”m indebted to columnist Mona Charen for substantiating the inklings of my intestines; the chapter “The “Grate” Society: How Liberalism Created Homelessness” in her book Do-Gooders remains the finest explanation of exactly that sinister undertaking.
From the judges and politicians who struck down vagrancy laws to the crusading “crazy is cool“ celebrity shrinks; from Geraldo Rivera’s career-making Willowbrook exposÃ© to the absurd fabrications of sick, self-aggrandizing “homeless” advocate, secular saint, and real-life creep Mitch Snyder“it was liberals all the way down.
Blaming, of course, conservatives. And in many cases, making a nice living in the process. While, naturally, the homeless mostly stayed that way.
Liberals had been protesting this and that all my life”their whining and scolding were the white noise of my Vietnam-era childhood”but this “homeless” cause was the very first time their theories, editorials, TV movies of the week, and calls to action and outrage were all being glaringly contradicted by my own lived experience.
I don”t just mean that the homeless I encountered every time I walked down Yonge Street weren”t anything like the gentle, lovable wise men in rags as advertised by the elites.
Now, you might put in at this juncture: “But surely that’s not their fault.” Yeah, sometimes it is.
Because I”ve also met a lot of ex-homeless guys at AA meetings, including a few Main and Hastings refugees. They hadn”t been homeless because the Vancouver City Council was packed with miserly Tories or because there was a depression or a recession (in many case, there was neither). They were homeless because having a home”and a job and a wife and bills, living the “straight” life”had been leeching precious time, money, and energy away from their addictions, not to mention their criminal enterprises and overall compulsion to be assholes, just cuz.
(And funny thing: None of these men were ever Asians or Jews, who presumably swam in the same economic and political ocean as all these white dudes. I know, right?)
As the returns came in from South Carolina Saturday night, showing Donald Trump winning a decisive victory, a note of nervous desperation crept into the commentary.
Political analysts pointed out repeatedly that if all of the votes for Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson were added up, they far exceeded the Trump vote.
Why this sudden interest in arithmetic?
If the field can be winnowed, we were told, if Carson and Kasich can be persuaded to follow Bush and get out, if Cruz can be sidelined, if we can get a one-on-one Rubio-Trump race, Trump can be stopped.
Behind the thought is the wish. Behind the wish is the hope, the prayer that all the non-Trump voters are anti-Trump voters.
But is this true? Or are the media deluding themselves?
Watching these anchors, commentators, consultants and pundits called to mind the Cleveland Governors Conference of 1964.
Sen. Goldwater had just won the winner-take-all California primary, defeating Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, assuring himself of enough delegates to go over the top on the first ballot at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.
But with polls showing Barry losing massively to LBJ, the panicked governors at Cleveland conspired to block his nomination.
Michigan Gov. George Romney and Pennsylvania Gov. Bill Scranton were prodded to enter the race. Scranton would declare his availability in San Francisco with a letter accusing Goldwater of hostility toward civil rights—Barry had voted against the 1964 bill—and of excessive tolerance toward right-wing extremists such as the John Birch Society.
And what became of them all?
Goldwater won his nomination and went down in a historic defeat, but became a beloved figure and the father of modern conservatism.
Of those who turned their backs on Goldwater that fall, none ever won a presidential nomination. Of those who stood by Barry that fall, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, both would win the GOP nomination twice, and the presidency twice.
And the conservative movement would hold veto power over party nominees and become the dominant philosophy of the GOP.
Folks forget. Not only were there “liberal Republicans” and “moderate Republicans” back then, they dominated the landscape. Yet rare is the Republican today who would describe himself in such terms.
Which brings us back to the anti-Trump cabal.
While their immediate goal is to deny him the nomination, do they really think that if the party nominates Rubio, things can be again as they were before Trump? Do they not see that America and the West are undergoing a series of crises that will change our world forever?
Bernie Sanders is not all wrong. There is a revolution going on.
Late in the last century, when Robert Bartley was editorial editor, The Wall Street Journal championed a constitutional amendment of five words—“There shall be open borders.”
Bartley, who told colleague Peter Brimelow, “I think the nation-state is finished,” wanted U.S. borders thrown open to people and goods from all over the world. To Bartley and his acolytes, what made America one nation and one people was simply an ideology.