Once again, I chose a title with a double meaning — and maybe even a third or fourth meaning I haven’t yet discovered. One meaning concerns immigration and I chose those words to represent it because I’m a Neil Diamond fan. Okay, not really. Truth be told (but never is), I’m not a fan of anything, but I do like some of Neil Diamond’s material. I don’t know why, so don’t ask. It’s weird, I know. We all have weird little fetishes like this — one of mine just so happens to be an affinity for Neil Diamond, and no, I’m not gay. Not that being gay or not being gay matters, I just thought I’d point that out.
Anyway, Neil Diamond wrote a song about immigration titled America. Here’s a YouTube video of it. Enjoy.
What a voice!! Neil really knows how to jerk the tears out of you as he twists and wrenches your heart with his words and melody, doesn’t he? Come on, admit it. Drop your male ego and confess that this video gave you prideful chills up and down your patriotic spine.
Of course, Neil was referring to the massive European immigration to America at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries, but he’s right, they are “coming to America today,” so his lyrics are as relevant today as they were forty years ago when he wrote the song about something that happened forty or more years prior to when he wrote it. See, they just keep coming. To all the anti-American critics out there, America can’t be all that bad if so many keep coming. Can you at least concede that? Sure, the majority of immigration to America these days is illegal and the immigrants emanate mainly from Mexico, Latin America and South America, but still, they come — much to the chagrin of those on both the far “Left” and the far “Right.” The far “Left” despises it because they can’t for the life of them understand why anyone would choose to immigrate to America. To them, America is an evil pariah that should be avoided at all costs, even though these anti-American critics spend every waking hour of every day thinking and typing about nothing but America — and they never sleep, so that means America is all they think about. The far “Right” has always been in the habit of looking for scapegoats for their obvious inadequacies, and immigrants have always been easy targets — and the darker the immigrant the better the target.
There’s also émigrés versus immigrants, the distinction being a matter of class. Immigrants are the poor, unwashed masses, whereas émigrés are noble aristocrats often seeking safe harbor and refuge after being chased out of their country of origin by those who want to disembowel and/or behead them. Sometimes émigrés are referred to as expats when their expulsion is voluntary even though they wished it was forced — a self-applied label for the Bohemian patriciate wannabees and poseurs. I laugh whenever I see anyone referring to themselves as expats or émigrés. I feel a need to slap them like Vito slapped Johnny Fontane with his olive oil voice and guinea charm — and try effectively slapping someone with those two attributes — it’s like slapping them with a wet noodle, even worse.
There are not a few transnational elite who have made homes in America. Yes, of course, they’re just one of many residences around the world these country-jumping, jet-setting, grifting gentry call home, but still, they Come To America nonetheless so that conscious choice on their part is in the sentiment of the title of this blog post. The bevy of Russian Oligarchs who own homes in America comes to mind, especially on the southeastern coast of Florida where these saturnine sleazebags like to spend a lot of their time laundering their ill-gotten gains with lavish and gaudy spectacle. As an example let’s take the Russian mining oligarch, Oleg Baybakov.
Land prices for new condo development sites in the Edgewater neighborhood of Greater Downtown Miami have surged over the last 45 days.
Russian mining oligarch and developer Oleg Baybakov single-handedly drove up prices for developable land in the Edgewater neighborhood by spending more than $30 million for less than 1.7 acres in a trio of deals that closed between February 21 and March 28, according to Miami-Dade County records.
All told, Baybakov paid a combined 218 percent premium for the properties over the 2013 assessed market value of less than $9.5 million, according to the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser’s Office.
Baybakov’s 700 Edgewater Development LLC completed its third transaction on March 28, paying $6.5 million for a nearly 30,000-square-foot lot on Northeast 26th Terrace that has a 2013 assessed market value of less than $1 million. His newly acquired site was only purchased nine months ago in June 2013 by Gonzalo Chueca-managed Bay Lofts Development LLC at a price of $3.5 million.
Before last week’s land deal, Baybakov paid $2.2 million on March 5 for an 87-year-old house standing on a 5,000-square-foot lot on Northeast 26th Street. The house, which was purchased for $35,000 back in May 1979, has a 2013 assessed market value of less than $184,500, according to government records.
Baybakov’s first investment in the Edgewater area under the 700 Edgewater Development entity occurred on Feb. 21, when he paid $21.5 million for a 32-year-old rental building standing 12-stories tall on a 37,500-square-foot lot on Northeast 26th Terrace that fronts Biscayne Bay. The previous ownership group, which paid $9.9 million for the site in August 2012, was pursuing government approval to develop a 39-story condo tower – dubbed MBay – on the site, according to the city of Miami records.
The waterfront site of the proposed MBay condo tower has a 2013 assessed market value of less than $8.3 million.
With the three purchases, Baybakov now owns more 60 percent of the entire block that stretches from Biscayne Bay west to Northeast Fifth Avenue and from Northeast 26th Terrace south to Northeast 26th Street. It is unclear if Baybakov is pursuing the remaining properties on the block that his ownership entity does not yet own.
What is clear is developers are flocking to the Edgewater area that roughly stretches from Northeast 17th Terrace north to Northeast 36th Street and from Biscayne Bay west to Biscayne Boulevard. Developers have already proposed, completed or are constructing at least 10 new condo and condo-hotel towers with a combined 2,400 units in a 19-block stretch located just east of the up-and-coming Design District, Midtown Miami and Wynwood neighborhoods.
Overall, the Edgewater area represents 17 percent of the nearly 13,850 condo units proposed for the Greater Downtown Miami market during this latest building boom, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com. (For disclosure purposes, my firm operates the proposed condo projects website.)
The question going forward is how much higher will land prices rise as developers from around the world compete for sites in one of Greater Downtown Miami’s most popular neighborhoods of this condo boom?
Oleg loves America — he and his pals are really putting down some roots. They’re immersing themselves in every manner and nuance of American high culture, including the art scene as is witnessed by this sunset cocktail gathering Oleg assembled at his private residence in Miami Beach. Here’s a link to photos of the festivities:
Click the link and look at all those beautiful people and tell me America isn’t great. This is what Coming To America is all about. These are the beautiful people, you can’t deny it. For those who are sheepish about clicking links, I’ll show a few photos of Oleg’s friends. One has to wonder, does Putin have a private residence in America and we’re just not told about it? I bet he does. Secretly, he loves America — who doesn’t? Even the anti-Americans love America — why else would they spend so much time criticizing it?
Doesn’t it just warm your heart looking at these photos and make you proud to be an American? If you’re not an American, don’t you want to make like Oleg & Partners In Crime and head on over to America to self-actualize? Come on, admit it. Don’t be shy. This is the Good Life. This is what it’s all about. I was playing Neil Diamond’s America while viewing these photos of the beautiful people and it choked me up.
There have been a number of motivations for this blog post, not the least of which is a recent Kunstler blog post here at Clusterfuck Nation. Unca Jimma knows he can rile his audience with choice topics, and immigration is at the top of that list. His latest blog post is no exception, generating nearly 500 comments from a handful of commentators, the majority of them socks, who’ve devoured the subject like hungry hyenas eating the ass out of a dead rhino. Most of the comments are a waste of time — the same old bullshit reformulated in a myriad of increasingly unimaginative ways by the same old cast of noxious and odious screen names, but believe it or not, there were some exceptions this time around. I imagine these exceptions will be ridden hard and out if they’re not part of the game being played in the comment section of Kunstler’s blog. Time will tell, but for now, it was refreshing to see some positive light at that space as opposed to the human refuse that’s squatted there and claimed it as its own all these years. Even a handheld bidet can’t properly clean those shit stains from the ass of Clusterfuck Nation. Janos is a permanent presence like the infected and festering open wound from the prolonged needle use of a hopeless heroin addict.
Kunstler’s post is, of course, not about immigration generally, but rather illegal immigration. James Howard has long been overly concerned with the flood of humanity (or is it inhumanity?) pouring across America’s southwestern border — and so too is his audience who pines for collapse as it preemptively sets up its scapegoats to blame for said collapse when it manifests. But this post isn’t about rehashing all the stale and road-worn arguments surrounding this tendentious issue. We’ve all seen it, heard it, been there, done that. The talk is now cheap, and perhaps it always was. Besides, the horse is out of the barn, so it’s silly and rather a moot gesture to close the barn door now. What’s done is done. Illegal immigration is on the decline and “illegals” are actually returning to their countries of origins and/or are being involuntarily deported. The following chart says it all:
That chart tells the whole story if you perceive it properly. Illegal immigration to America boomed the last two decades before reversing course because of economic prosperity driven by the advent of deregulation bubbles. Illegals came in droves because there was opportunity for everyone, including the undocumented. It was fueled by the construction boom in America greased by easy credit. Take that away, and illegal immigration isn’t even on the radar, just as it wasn’t prior to 1990. The opportunities in America were more plentiful and lucrative than they were in the immigrants’ countries of origin (and we could have a whole discussion of why that is, but contrary to anti-American sentiment, America isn’t solely to blame, only partially). In fact, so lucrative, they had enough left over to send remittances back home to their families. The immigrants are just smart business people seeking to maximize their investment, except in their case, their investment is their life since it’s a dangerous proposition crossing the border these days thanks to folks like James Howard Kunstler and the Fascist audience he attracts (the Border Guard attracts Robert Hansen types who like to hunt humans — watch The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada for an example).
The chart also reveals that spending on this budding War On Illegal Immigration really has no effect on illegal immigration except to make the journey more fraught with peril and risk, and when you do that, you invite the criminal element to partake in ferrying these arbitraging immigrants across the border for a sizable fee — often being used as drug mules in recompense. How nice. The War On Illegal Immigration now has a nexus with The War On Drugs, both of which result in bloated budgets for the bureaucracy that forms around these issues. Per that chart it is clear illegal immigration is dropping as opportunities dry up due to the ongoing 2008 recession and yet spending on The War on Illegal Immigration continues to rise despite its obvious ineffectiveness. Perhaps a more effective way to deal with this issue that’s really a non-issue is to remove the arbitrage. The 2008 recession has somewhat serendipitously done this, but what I’m really talking about is the difference in values between the currency of the U.S. and the currencies of these other Hispanic countries that comprise the bulk of illegal immigrants. Without that difference in currency value, the opportunities they seek in America are no longer as lucrative in comparison and more than likely not worth the risk. As an example, imagine an American-born individual with hardly any education immigrating to Norway for a job cleaning bathrooms that pays $200,000/yr. This person can live modestly in Norway and send 50% or more of what he/she makes back home to help support family and friends or to tuck away for early retirement back home after working in Norway for ten to twenty years. That’s arbitrage and it has nothing to do with productive value. The following paper sums it up adequately.
This paper analyzes the labor migration that arises due to geographic real price differences. A migrant’s consumption mix is optimized across borders via remittances. To the extent that the real price level is lower in the source country, migration is triggered by a lower cut-ff wage in the host country. Empirical results show that as the purchasing power of the US dollar in Mexico goes up, a skilled Mexican worker is more likely to migrate to the US and a Mexican migrant in the US is more likely to be working in a low-paying job.
So long as this arbitrage arrangement perdures, so too will the issue of immigrants seeking to exploit the disparity and maximize their return. Immigration policy that doesn’t take this into account and/or marginalizes it is doomed to failure, hence all immigration policy up to this point has been a miserable failure, and yes, I realize the majority of immigration legislation is not enforced, but even if it was, it would still be a failure, and perhaps that’s why it’s not enforced — because it was always the result of political grandstanding and never intended for serious enforcement.
But that’s illegal immigration and illegal is what gets the most attention in the immigration debate. Legal is, well, it’s legal so there’s no need to question it, right? I’m not so sure. Legal immigration, since it involves immigration by groups of people from countries far distances from America is distinct and markedly different than immigration from Mexico, Latin America and South America, but not in the sense that the latter is illegitimate and the former legitimate due to its legal status, but rather why the former is considered legal and the latter is illegal. Who makes these rules? Why do they make these rules and in doing so, how do these rules socially-engineer the demographics of America? These are pertinent questions because clearly from the chart below, legal immigration from Asia is preferred and I would say solicited.
But why is Asia preferred? Because Asians are more intelligent, haven’t you heard? Look how they excel in academics when they immigrate to America and how successful they become within their own generation. This isn’t your Grandma’s and Grandpa’s immigration where they came over on the slow boat in steerage and after having all their orifices thoroughly inspected at Ellis Island were shuffled to the nearest tenement and deposited there for unsafe keeping where they labored and struggled and perhaps, if they were lucky, the next generation or the generation thereafter would reap the economic rewards of their harrowing sacrifice. See, it’s not like that anymore. Now we have planes that jet immigrants to America in hours versus days and weeks in the hulls of disease-ridden ships. Now immigrants, from Asia especially, are welcomed with open arms into every facet of American society especially academia and the professions, but corporations (tech companies soak Asians up like sponges) and Wall Street.
This new wave of immigration from Asia began with the passage of a little known, at the time, law in 1965 called the Hart-Celler Act also referred to as the The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. I say little known because it wasn’t much heralded or even discussed outside of the Beltway, but its demographic impact has been considerable. This blog does an adequate job of describing the history of American immigration law and the demographic impact of the aforementioned immigration legislation passed in 1965 but before I quote from it, I want to quote what Wikipedia conveys about the reasoning behind the legislation and what the proponents of the legislation said its impact would be. Per the Wikipedia link:
The 1965 act marked a radical break from the immigration policies of the past. The law as it stood then excluded Asians and Africans and preferred northern and western Europeans over southern and eastern ones. At the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s the law was seen as an embarrassment by, among others, President John F. Kennedy, who called the then-quota-system “nearly intolerable”. After Kennedy’s assassination, President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill at the foot of the Statue of Liberty as a symbolic gesture.
In order to convince the American people of the legislation’s merits, its proponents assured that passage would not influence America’s culture significantly. President Johnson called the bill “not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions”, while Secretary of State Dean Rusk estimated only a few thousand Indian immigrants over the next five years, and other politicians, including Senator Ted Kennedy, hastened to reassure the populace that the demographic mix would not be affected; these assertions would later prove grossly inaccurate.
In line with earlier immigration law, the bill also prohibited the entry into the country of “sexual deviants”, including homosexuals. By doing so it crystallized the policy of the INS that had previously been rejecting homosexual immigrants on the grounds that they were “mentally defective” or had a “constitutional psychopathic inferiority”.
Interesting. So, the heretofore legislation (The Immigration Act of 1924 or the Johnson–Reed Act) was a “racist” embarrassment but referring to homosexuals as “mentally defective” and “psychopathic” and prohibiting their immigration is not embarrassing. Got it. Alrighty then. My oh my how far we’ve come in fifty short years where we’re quickly approaching an era where heterosexuality will be viewed in very much the same manner homosexuality once was and heteros will be labeled deviant and psychopathic. Perhaps this contradiction belies the true intentions of the legislation. As always, behind any such legislation you’ll find a Rockefeller as the representative of the Anglo-Protestant Aristocracy. One thing this act was sure to do, in combination with other policies both national and local meant to fracture and fragment already well-established European immigrant urban communities, would be to smash any progress the Roman Catholic church had made in gaining a foothold in the Land of Opportunity.
Since the passage of this unheralded landmark legislation, the demographic face of America has slowly but surely changed, so despite the mythology to the contrary, America is no longer a country by and for restless Europeans , but rather, it’s more likened to a country by and for a small contingent of Anglo-Protestants who pit the rest of humanity against one another as that humanity scrambles for the scraps thrown their way by these malevolent and benevolent connivers and struggle amongst each other to dutifully serve their gracious Anglo-Protestant masters.
Of course, those who come from meager means, whether it be South of the American border or from halfway across the world, certainly don’t and won’t see it that way, because for them this is quite literally Shangri-La. For them, they’ve hit the lottery. Sure, sure, not all immigration stories have happy endings, but if you look at it in its entirety, immigration to America has been a godsend for the majority of people who have found their way to the United States since 1965 whether legally or illegally. That’s why this website, Asian Nation, that chronicles Asian migration to America speaks so fondly of it, and why not? Their fortunes are rising while the fortunes of others they’re categorically displacing are falling. The website has the following to say about the 1965 legislation that made it all happen:
This momentum eventually led to the passage of the 1965 Immigration & Nationality Act. The Act abolished the restrictive national origins system originally passed in 1924 in favor of a quota and preference system. Priority was now given to “family reunification” so that U.S. citizens and permanent residents could sponsor the following types of immigrants in this order of preference:
- Unmarried children under 21 years of age of U.S. citizens
- Spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents
- Professionals, scientists, and artists “of exceptional ability”
- Married children over 21 years of age and their spouses and children of U.S. citizens
- Siblings and their spouses and children of U.S. citizens
- Workers in occupations with labor shortages
- Political refugees
Each country in the eastern hemisphere was given a quota of 20,000 but children under 21, spouses, and parents of U.S. citizens were exempt from this quota. Also, countries in the western hemisphere would not be subject to any quotas. Seventy-four percent of the eastern hemisphere’s quota was allotted to the four family reunification preferences, 20% of the quota was given to meeting the two occupational preferences, and six percent was allotted to political refugees. Immigrants admitted using the second preference could also petition to bring over their parents (who would not be subject to numerical quotas).
The third and sixth preferences would have to be verified and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor. There was also a non-preference category for immigrants who would invest at least $40,000 in a business once they came to the U.S. Also, in 1980, the seventh preference for refugees was replaced by more comprehensive legislation that expanded the quotas for refugees, in response to mass refugee migrations for Viet Nam and other countries around the world.
These preferences were structured to encourage U.S. citizens already in the U.S. to sponsor their other family members as new immigrants. At first, the architects and supporters of this Act did not expect a large increase in Asian immigrants because since Asian countries had very low rates of immigration prior to 1965, the expectation was that there were not large enough numbers of Asians in the U.S. to matter. At the time, Asian Americans were only 0.5% of total U.S. population. Therefore, U.S. officials expected immigration from Europe to account for the vast majority of these new immigrants.
However, as it turned out, because most European immigrants had come to the U.S. much earlier than Asians, there weren’t many immediate family left in Europe to reunite. Also, Europe was experiencing its own post-war economic boom, so there was little incentive for Europeans to immigrate elsewhere. On the other hand, Asian Americans and Asian immigrants saw this as a great opportunity to bring over family members, if they were U.S. citizens.
Many Asian war brides who married U.S. servicemen after World War II began using the family reunification preferences to bring over their siblings. However, the first Asians to immigrate to the U.S. under the provisions of this Act were mainly professionals and political refugees. Once they arrived in the U.S., they applied for permanent resident status and eventually for U.S. citizenship. Then many took full advantage of the family reunification preferences of the 1965 Act to bring over spouses, children, siblings, and parents.
Thus began the cycle of chain immigration and sponsorship — initial Asian immigrants (many of whom came as professionals or refugees) would attain permanent resident and later citizenship status and would sponsor family members and relatives. After these family member and relatives arrived in the U.S. and became permanent residents and citizens, they in turn would sponsor their family members and relatives, and so on.
Note that it doesn’t mention the prohibition of homosexuals but it’s tacitly understood that men who like to “bang cocktail waitresses two at a time” (Moe Green about Fredo) are not only welcome but highly encouraged to “come on down (or over)” as the next contestant on The Price Is Right. As for the Asian Nation website, I’d like to know who or what is really behind it, because something about it raises red flags. It looks like intelligence services have their hands all over it. Why, is an exercise in speculation but it sure has the look and feel.
Before I proceed any further, I need to clarify that all of this is observation, investigation, discussion and some speculation. To navigate this topic with a critically-evaluating perspective doesn’t mean I resent recent immigrants and recent immigration or that I think they are any less worthy of their achievements than any other immigrant groups to America, but we should be able to plumb the depths of American immigration and immigration policy without whitewashing the topic with sugar-coated, jingoistic propaganda. There have always been forces in America that have sought to demographically and socially engineer the Nation. To pretend that doesn’t exist and hasn’t existed is absurdly naive. America is a story of immigration, so in a sense, everyone’s an immigrant — it’s just that some immigrants, or the descendants of those immigrants, have been here longer than others and some of the old ones have a vested interest in ensuring successive waves of immigration don’t disturb their place at the top of the heap so a threat assessment is made of each successive wave and actionable plans are drawn up to counter and neutralize any potential threat to the power structure. That process is called assimilation and it is presented as something positive, and it is in some respects, but it’s also insidiously fracturing in other ways. This is a subtopic worthy of its own blog post, so I won’t indulge it any further here. Perhaps I will delve further into it at a later date, but now let’s return to “legal” immigration and Asians.
Of all the Asian ethnic groups, Indians are by far and away immigrating at the highest rate, especially in the past couple of decades. Per this link, they are now the third largest immigrant group in America behind Mexicans and Filipinos. It’s noteworthy to juxtapose Indians with Mexicans because the former is considered legal immigration, although quotas per the 1965 legislation are habitually exceeded without reproach, whereas the latter is considered illegal. The majority of the illegal immigration from Mexico provides America with an unlimited supply of unskilled cheap labor whereas the legal immigration from Asia, especially from India, provides an unlimited supply of dutifully non-threatening technocrats to handle the technical business of the Oligarchs so they can be free to strategize further and otherwise self-actualize in ways most can’t even imagine. While Mexicans slave away in the most menial jobs with a smile on their gracious faces, Indians, also with smiles on their faces, increasingly fill technocratic positions in what anti-Americans like to call the Empire. Don’t believe me, take a look at this (Immigrants from India thriving in U.S.) and this (Indian Americans: The New Model Minority). There are many more links like that if you do an effective Google search. From the first link we have the following from the New York Times:
While Indians arriving in years past often encountered ignorance and misunderstanding, and sometimes discrimination, people like Chirravuri and Seethepalli represent a new wave of extremely well-educated and ambitious young professionals who seem to have little trouble fitting in.
Chirravuri, 32, is a software engineer with two master’s degrees from Villanova University, in suburban Philadelphia, and ambitions for a third. Seethepalli, 31, finished a doctorate in economics at George Washington University in Washington last year and now works at the World Bank.
The Indian population has mushroomed in areas like Fairfax County, Virginia, in the suburbs of Washington, where people like Chirravuri and Seethepalli live, drawn by jobs in technology companies and international organizations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
The area’s Indian population has grown 50 percent in five years, from 70,000 to about 107,000, and a high level of education sets this local group apart. In the 2000 census, 72 percent of Indians in the Washington area aged 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 24 percent of the overall U.S. population.
What is more, Indian Americans are now the country’s richest ethnic group.
Median household income for all Asians in the United States was $57,518 in 2004, the highest among all racial groups, including whites, the U.S. Census Bureau reported in March. And for Indians, it was even higher: $68,771. The overall median household income, nationwide, was $46,326.
And this from the second Forbes link:
Most Americans know only one thing about Indians–they are really good at spelling bees. When Sameer Mishra correctly spelled guerdon last May to win the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee, he became the sixth Indian-American winner in the past 10 years. Finishing second was Sidharth Chand. Kavya Shivashankar took fourth place, and Janhnavi Iyer grabbed the eighth spot. And this was not even the banner year for Indian Americans–in 2005, the top four finishers were all of Indian descent.
It’s tempting to dismiss Indian-American dominance of the spelling bee as just a cultural idiosyncrasy. But Indian success in more important fields is just as eye-catching. Despite constituting less than 1% of the U.S. population, Indian-Americans are 3% of the nation’s engineers, 7% of its IT workers and 8% of its physicians and surgeons. The overrepresentation of Indians in these fields is striking–in practical terms, your doctor is nine times more likely to be an Indian-American than is a random passerby on the street.
Indian Americans are in fact a new “model minority.” This term dates back to the 1960s, when East Asians–Americans of Chinese, Japanese and Korean descent–were noted for their advanced educations and high earnings.
East Asians continue to excel in the U.S, but among minority groups, Indians are clearly the latest and greatest “model.” In 2007, the median income of households headed by an Indian American was approximately $83,000, compared with $61,000 for East Asians and $55,000 for whites.
About 69% of Indian Americans age 25 and over have four-year college degrees, which dwarfs the rates of 51% and 30% achieved by East Asians and whites, respectively. Indian Americans are also less likely to be poor or in prison, compared with whites.
That Forbes article asks why and then proceeds to attempt to answer the why, and while everything it mentions as a reason certainly plays a part in the success of Indian immigrants, it doesn’t explain it in its entirety. Perhaps this book, The Billionaire’s Apprentice: The Rise of The Indian-American Elite and The Fall of The Galleon Hedge Fund, gets a little closer to the heart of the matter. Per the link:
Just as WASPs, Irish-Catholics and Our Crowd Jews once made the ascent from immigrants to powerbrokers, it is now the Indian-American’s turn. Citigroup, PepsiCo and Mastercard are just a handful of the Fortune 500 companies led by a group known as the “Twice Blessed.” Yet little is known about how these Indian emigres (and children of emigres) rose through the ranks. Until now…
The collapse of the Galleon Group–a hedge fund that managed more than $7 billion in assets–from criminal charges of insider trading was a sensational case that pitted prosecutor Preet Bharara, himself the son of Indian immigrants, against the best and brightest of the South Asian business community. At the center of the case was self-described King of Kings, Galleon’s founder Raj Rajaratnam, a Sri-Lankan-born, Wharton-educated billionaire. But the most shocking allegation was that the éminence grise of Indian business, Rajat Gupta, was Rajaratnam’s accomplice and mole. If not for Gupta’s nose-to-the-grindstone rise to head up McKinsey & Co and a position on the Goldman Sachs board, men like Rajaratnam would have never made it to the top of America’s moneyed elite.
Author Anita Raghavan criss-crosses the globe from Wall Street boardrooms to Delhi’s Indian Institute of Technology as she uncovers the secrets of this subculture–an incredible tale of triumph, temptation and tragedy.
Impressive. The rise to Billionaire status for Indian immgrants has been meteoric and the WWON (World Wide Oligarch Network) always has room for a few more, so long as they abide. If not, well, then they’ll sic their otherwise feckless regulatory agencies on the uncooperative and/or unwanted and raid their fortunes and ruin their reputations. But yes, the Indians have arrived. They’re no longer only handmaidens to the Oligarchs, but they can also be Oligarchs — on a limited basis, of course.
Not that handmaiden is an inferior status in this caste system by any means. Handmaidens are rewarded quite handsomely. Take the case of The Streetwise Professor‘s boss. Craig Pierogi (Pirrong), the author of this (http://streetwiseprofessor.com/) blog, has banned me. It’s not surprising. My message stands in direct contrast and defiance to his implication that unregulated markets are free markets. We all know, or should know, that is most certainly not the case. When markets are unfettered by regulation they become fettered by a few who dominate and ultimately rig the market. When those few increasingly control the government, the government covers their losses by making them Too Big To Fail which uses the force of law to coerce taxpayers to bail-out these few when they lose thus ensuring that these few have no risk or downside whatsoever. Isn’t it a great gig if you’re one of the few? You’re damn straight it is, and it’s great when you’re one of the few to have sycophants like Craig Pierogi, The Streetwalking Professor, shilling for you as cover whilst you rob the world blind. And if you’re one of the few, it’s good to have institutions of higher learning that are willing to take your donations in return for influence in what gets covered academically — especially when it comes to market economics — Craig Pierogi’s specialty.
So, what do Craig Peirogi and market economics have to do with Indian immigration? Well, The Streetwalking Professor works for the University of Houston — the institution that graciously accepts generous donations from the energy industry in return for not only looking the other way but providing convincing, or not so convincing, academic cover for the greatest rip-off of all time. The president of the University of Houston just so happens to be an Indian woman by the name of Renu Khator. Per this University of Houston link, here’s her bio:
Renu Khator holds the dual titles of chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of UH. The UH System’s first woman Chancellor and the first Indian immigrant to head a comprehensive research university in the United States, she assumed her post in January 2008.
As chancellor of the UH System, Khator oversees an organization that serves more than 66,000 students, has a budget that exceeds $1.3 billion, and has a $3.5 billion-plus economic impact on the Greater Houston area each year. The UH System includes UH, UH-Clear Lake, UH-Downtown, UH-Victoria and branch campuses in Pearland and NW Houston; teaching centers in Cinco Ranch and Sugar Land; as well as KUHT, the nation’s first educational television station, and two radio stations — KUHF, Houston’s National Public Radio affiliate, and the classical station KUHA.
As president of the University of Houston, she is the chief executive officer of the largest and oldest of the four UH System universities. UH enrolls 40,000-plus students, offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs and awards 7,000 degrees each year.
During her tenure, UH has experienced record-breaking research funding, enrollment and private support. Recently, UH launched its 75-acre Energy Research Park, part of her $400-million campus construction program, and became a member of the Texas Medical Center.
In 2011, UH became a Tier One university, with the Carnegie Foundation elevating it into the top category of research universities. The university was also recognized by the Princeton Review for excellence in undergraduate education and by the Chronicle for Higher Education as an exceptional workplace.
Khator was born in Uttar Pradesh, India, earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kanpur. She received her master’s degree and her Ph.D. in political science from Purdue University. A noted scholar in the field of global environmental policy, she has published numerous books and articles on the subject. Prior to her appointment, she was provost and senior vice president at the University of South Florida, capping a 22-year career at that institution.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has included her among its Outstanding Americans by Choice awardees, recognizing her achievements as a naturalized citizen. She and her husband Suresh Khator, associate dean in the UH Cullen College of Engineering, were honored with the prestigious Hind Rattan (Jewel of India) award, given to nonresident Indians for making outstanding contributions in their field. Purdue University awarded her its Doctor of Social Sciences degree, honoris causa. She is featured in the American Council on Education’s video “The Joys of the Presidency.”
Khator recently joined some of the world’s most respected leaders when she was named to the Indian Prime Minister’s Global Advisory Council. She serves on several boards, including the American Council on Education, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Greater Houston Partnership, the Houston Technology Center, the Texas Medical Center Policy Council, the Methodist Hospital Research Institute Board, and the Business Higher Education Forum. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Khator’s husband, Dr. Suresh Khator, is associate dean of the UH Cullen College of Engineering. The Khators have two daughters, both of whom are ophthalmologists, and a grandson.
Jesus, this woman is Superlady, is she not? Talk about leaping tall buildings, this woman has leaped tall nations in a single bound. How on Earth does she do it all? She puts her subordinates, to include her hubby and Craig Pierogi, to shame. And Pierogi’s not even a Dean or Associate Dean — he’s just a lowly little professor and he hasn’t had nearly the obstacles to overcome as Renu has. Think about it, she had to overcome not only the language and cultural barrier but also the gender barrier. It’s astonishing that she’s whipped Pierogi’s ass to the top and yet the dope still has the temerity to show one shred of arrogance. He has nothing to be arrogant about, he’s a chump and a shill, and his boss is an even better one despite being a first generation immigrant. Notice Renu’s a member of the the notorious Council on Foreign Relations. Indian immigrants make great Fascist collaborators, don’t you think? And as I’ve said, these hand-chosen handmaidens are generously rewarded. Sure, the rewards pale in comparison to the lifestyles of the rich and infamous WWON (World Wide Oligarch Network) whom these handmaidens serve, but it’s nothing to sneeze at either. This guy, who’s takes a beating in the comment section at the link, calls out some of these over-the-top rewards provided to Renu Khator as President and Chancellor of UH. Per the link:
The University of Houston said it will ban the use of student tuition money to pay for bar tabs, food, entertainment, and business class travel. After weeks of silence, the school chancellor now admits the spending 13 Undercover found is inappropriate. There are many perks of being the chancellor at the University of Houston, from opera tickets and a private club membership, to a driver who washes a $50,000, university-provided car.
Wouldn’t you love to have your own driver? Someone to wash your car, fill it up with gas? A full-time housekeeper? Well, UH Chancellor Renu Khator has it all.
Wouldn’t you just hate to have to live in a $6 million mansion, one in the exclusive Broad Acres neighborhood? The one with the topiary cougar in the front and the red and white flowers adorning the driveway? There’s a big pool and manicured grounds. It’s the burden Chancellor Khator has to live with.
“This isn’t a gift. She’s required by contract to live in that house,” said Chairman of the UH Board of Regents Welcome Wilson.
Chancellor Khator is paid $425,000 a year. She gets to use donor money for a $14,000 membership to the Houstonian, season tickets to the rodeo and the opera, but she has to live here, mortgage free, of course.
“It’s so that people can be invited to the house for events and develop a more personal relationship with the president and so forth,” said Wilson.
So how many events are held there?
The schedule since Chancellor Khator took over is an average of four events a month. In September there was only one meeting held there.
“Why does the University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech all furnish houses for the president?” asked Wilson.
In fact of those schools only Texas A&M told us they provide a house. The Wortham House was originally donated to UH for the president to live in, but it’s an expensive piece of real estate, costing at least $200,000 a year just to maintain.
Since January 1, 2008, the figure is even higher: $397,000, including $13,000 in holiday decorations.
“Every university, every public university, has come and asked for more money. It’s never about, ‘Can we cut?'” said Texas Senator Dan Patrick of Houston.
UH has a grounds crew but pays an outside landscaping firm to take care of Wortham House. That bill is $3,600 a month.
UH has a maintenance department but used interior designers even to paint rooms in the house. They paid design time to pick out and set up four new HD TVs, including two in the master bedroom suite and to buy a $500 clock radio with i-Pod docking. The sheets for the master bedroom were $500 a piece.
All were ordered before Chancellor Khator got there, but the chancellor still doesn’t have to pay her own cable bill, with all the movie channels from HBO to Bollywood.
“There’s no cook there that’s cooking for the chancellor. There is no hand maidens,” said Wilson.
But there is a full-time housekeeper as well as a second housekeeper who works one week a month.
“You need someone to clean up. The chancellor has more important things to be doing than clean the house,” said Wilson.
Unlike Chancellor Khator, the president of UH-Downtown has to live in his own house, but Max Castillo’s contract gives him a full-time housekeeper to help with all the events at his private house.
“There was one even there since September,” we said to education watchdog Tom Wilson.
“To have a housekeeper for one event for an entire year, that’s outrageous,” said Wilson.
Wilson defended the contract, saying, “Max as you know is retiring in a few months so he may have slowed down in the entertainment in the last year. I don’t know.”
President Castillo does have to drive himself around, but UH provides a driver for Chancellor Khator. Job duties for the $53,000 full-time job include washing the $50,000 Cadillac the chancellor gets to drive, filling it up with gas, and sometimes chauffeuring her, like the trip to a regents’ meeting in Clear Lake.
“Why is she so important that she needs to have someone drive her?” asked Smith.
Wilson disagrees, saying, “You act as if this some kind of benefit. I don’t consider it a benefit to the chancellor at all.”
In fact, Chairman Wilson said it’s about efficiency.
“If she’s driving for thirty minutes, then she cannot be working for thirty minutes, so that’s a very fruitful opportunity for the university to get more work out of her,” said Wilson.
Welcome Wilson? Huh? Someone is actually named Welcome and they’re not Black? Well I’ll be. Welcome, as Chairman of the UH Board of Regents, sure has made Renu welcome, hasn’t he? Do you think any of this has gone to her head? Nah. That would or could never happen. She’s as down to Earth as she always was. Nothing’s changed, I’m sure.
Further research shows Renu is one of the highest paid University Presidents in the country at well over a million dollars a year ($1.3 million/year to be exact) compensation above and beyond all those nice perks like a driver and a mansion to live in. In fact, per this Forbes article, one could argue she is the highest paid ongoing University President because the three before her on the list are outgoing presidents who were forced to resign and sent packing with a pot of gold for their troubles, or the trouble they made. This is impressive, isn’t it? It’s as though she has a guardian angel — as though someone’s been grooming her and mentoring her along. But I’m sure she’s done it all by herself without much help from anyone. The momentum of prejudice can work in many directions, and in this case it’s provided considerable leverage in Renu’s extraordinarily stellar career. And then there’s poor Pierogi — the lowly White professor — having to whore himself to Wall Street for crumbs. The horror. The horror.
Many will argue that Renu has accomplished some incredible feats since she’s taken the helm at the University of Houston, and they’re right, she has. She’s turned UH into a Tier One Research University in a few short years, but what’s more impressive is the amiable relationship between academia and business that’s flourished during her tenure. For example, there’s this article from Bill Moyers.com that details how commodity speculators have underwritten the Global Energy Management Institute at the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. Craig Pirrong just so happens to be the energy markets director for that institute as well as being a lowly professor. Per the article:
How much of a difference can one academic make? Last September, a federal court knocked down a proposed regulation concerning “position limits,” a provision of Dodd-Frank designed to limit the role of speculators in inflating the price of commodities like oil, wheat and aluminum. To understand how this came about, follow the path of the University of Houston’s Craig Pirrong, who plays a Zelig-like role in the story of how this rule — hated by both the big speculators and the private exchanges in which commodities are traded — came to face delays, legal setbacks and now an uncertain future.
While numerous studies have demonstrated, and even Goldman Sachs has conceded, that excessive speculation on crude oil has boosted the price of gasoline at the pump by billions of dollars for consumers, the impetus for reform can be traced to the record spike in gas prices in June of 2008. The following month, a congressional hearing was called on the role of speculators. That’s when Professor Pirrong’s assault began on what would later become part of Dodd-Frank.
In his testimony, Pirrong said that “speculation is not the cause of high prices for energy products” and that there is “no evidence” to the contrary. In fact, there is an abundance of research, including a 2006 report from the Senate Homeland Security Committee, about the role of speculators in driving up the price of energy products like crude oil. Nevertheless, Pirrong pressed on, advocating against action on speculation in a report for the libertarian Cato Institute, in an opinion column for CNN Money, and in comments to major media outlets like the Financial Times.
As Congress continued to debate a response to the speculation problem, Terry Duffy, executive chairman of the CME Group, the for-profit company that operates the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and other private commodity exchanges, implored lawmakers to ignore the calls for reform and instead listen to Pirrong, who, he said, was among the “community of responsible scholars of energy markets.”
Pressure from consumer groups and commercial end-users of commodities mounted, and Dodd-Frank ultimately included a provision calling for a position-limits rule to curb how many futures contracts a speculator can hold at one time. The law required the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the government watchdog on commodity trading, to devise a regulation.
As with any major regulation, when the CFTC announced the rule in 2011, the agency said it would welcome public comments to help inform the process. Pirrong then submitted comments, which were similar to the remarks he made in his 2008 congressional hearing. Lobbyists weighed in as well. Trade groups for hedge funds and investment banks submitted comments citing Pirrong’s writing in opposition to the regulation. Ultimately, the rule became riddled with loopholes before being released by the agency.
However, before the rule could take effect, two industry groups, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, filed a lawsuit in US District Court. They retained Eugene Scalia and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, the law firm that argued the proxy access case. Scalia and his colleague Miguel Estrada’s evidence? They cited Pirrong seven times in their brief, according to court documents. And last fall, the court handed Dodd-Frank one of its most visible defeats by siding with the financial industry to bat down the proposed rule.
In every instance of Pirrong’s involvement with the position-limits rule, he identified himself as a professor of finance and as the energy markets director for the Global Energy Management Institute at the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. While Pirrong has disclosed at times that he has contracted with private exchanges in the past, including work on soybean futures in 1997, what he has not revealed is that the institute that employs him is underwritten by the largest speculation-industry players in the country.
Pirrong’s Global Energy Management Institute has been funded by Citigroup, Merrill Lynch Global Commodities (a unit of Bank of America) and the New York Mercantile Exchange (owned by the CME Group), among others. Charles River Associates is also a sponsor. In a now-deleted portion of the University of Houston website, corporate sponsors of the Global Energy Management Institute are invited to enjoy “access to [its] activities” and “an opportunity to influence its policies and direction.” Pirrong did not respond to a request for comment for this article.
In addition, Cornerstone Research and the Global Economics Group — two more consulting businesses that help financial companies hire academics for expert testimony and regulatory work — list Pirrong as one of their affiliate professors. In the span of time that Pirrong has helped fight the position-limits rule, he has also given a speech at the Futures Industry Association’s annual expo, an industry event for speculators. How much Pirrong may have been compensated for these activities is not disclosed.
Michael Greenberger, a law professor at the University of Maryland who is in favor of greater regulation of commodity speculation, testified before Congress alongside Pirrong but says he had no idea of the latter’s financial ties to speculators. Pirrong “presents himself as an independent academic, and he’s not,” Greenberger says. If Pirrong’s funding had been disclosed during the course of his advocacy over the position-limits rule, “his influence would have been a tenth of what it is.”
That’s what I call The Melting Pot, don’t you? Business melting into government and academia to the point where the latter two become divisions of business and at the helms of these divisions, increasingly, are the likes of Renu Khator — immigrants (especially Indians) who will dutifully serve the whims and fancies of their sponsors/masters not only without any lip, but with a giant smile on their faces.
America is great. America is beautiful. So many people want to come to America and do exactly what Renu has done. She’s the proverbial carrot that keeps them coming, so despite an ongoing recession that commenced in 2008, chain migration from India, despite the brain-drain it creates there, continues not only unabated but it’s been picking up pace within the last decade if that’s even possible, and apparently it is. So what we have is former immigrants, or I should say the grandchildren and great grandchildren of former immigrants from a former wave of immigration, losing their mid-level jobs in droves and as such their middle class standard of living only to be replaced by much more, at least this is the perception, motivated immigrants who will work tirelessly to do what it takes with, and this is the most important part, no lip (constructive feedback is lip) and smiles on their faces. From the chain migration link above, and keep in mind chain migration is very much a factor in illegal immigration as well as arbitrage. Those children at the border will eventually have to send for their parents if they become citizens of America — that is the nature of chain migration and the 1965 legislation not only has enabled it but also encourages it.
“The United States has been engulfed by what seems likely to be the greatest wave of immigration it has ever faced….The extraordinary truth is that, in almost all cases, Americans will have little…to say over the arrival of these new claimants on their national community[.] U.S. law in effect treats immigration as a sort of imitation civil right, extended to an indefinite group of foreigners who have been selected arbitrarily and with no regard to American interests.”
-Peter Brimelow, Alien Nation, 1995.
In 2001, the United States admitted 1,064,318 immigrants–enough people to create a major city the size of Chicago. Why is immigration so high? One of the reasons is chain migration. In chain migration, one immigrant sponsors several other immigrants for admission, who then sponsor several others themselves, and so on. Naturally, chain migration drives immigration numbers up; annual immigration has tripled since chain migration began in the mid-1960s and has led to additional millions consigned to visa waiting lists.
Chain migration happens because present U.S. immigration policy is based on the principle of broadly defined family reunification; immigrants are able to sponsor their relatives back home to be admitted as immigrants here.1 In other words, most immigrants are admitted simply because they have a relative here who sponsors them, not because of what they might be able to contribute to our society.
Because of the chain reaction described above, immigration numbers continue to rise. Under the “immediate relatives” category, the parents, spouse, and children of a U.S. citizen are admitted without limit. Therefore, once the law was changed in 1965 to create the so-called family reunification system, chain migration caused the numbers in this category to steadily rise. Five years after chain migration began, the number of immediate relative admissions had nearly doubled (from 32,714 in 1965 to 79,213 in 1970); ten years after, it had almost tripled (to 91,504 in 1975); 15 years after, it was nearly five times higher (151,131 in 1980); 20 years after, it was nearly six times higher (204,368 in 1985); 25 years after, it was seven times higher (231,680 in 1990); less than 30 years after, it was eight times higher (249,764 in 1994); and in 2001, 36 years later, the number of immediate relatives admitted 443,964-over 13 times higher.
Since most immigration categories have a limit to the number of people who can be admitted each year, immigrants’ relatives back home must often wait for years to be admitted. Because of chain migration, over three million aliens have been told they are eligible to immigrate but have to wait. Many of them do not, figuring that, since they are eligible anyway, they should not have to wait for the U.S. government to get around to doing the paperwork. In this way, chain migration-and the expectations and long lines it produces-increases illegal immigration.
The problem will get worse. The illegal aliens given amnesty by Congress in 1986 are now fueling naturalization in record numbers. As these former illegal aliens become citizens, all of their immediate relatives qualify to come immediately to the United States, and start new migration chains of their own.
The U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform (USCIR) studied the issue of chain migration and proposed limiting family-sponsored immigration to only the spouse and minor children of a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident (LPR) and the parents of a U.S. citizen (as long as they are supported by the sponsor)-with a ceiling of 400,000 per year. This compares with family-sponsored immigration in 2001 of 676,107 people. What would be cut would be visas for siblings of U.S. citizens and adult sons and daughters of both U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents (LPRs).
Unfortunately, Congress has not yet acted to eliminate either the immigrant backlog, nor, more importantly, the system of chain migration that causes it. Ignoring the recommendations by the bipartisan USCIR that would have begun to rationalize the system, Congress has failed to fix the soaring levels of immigration which it created (inadvertently, according to some of its sponsors).
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge Renu and other Indian immigrants. Afterall, they’re just taking advantage of what’s on offer. Anyone would do the same, right? You can’t blame them for that and even if you are inclined to, as Uncle Ellis tells his nephew Sheriff Ed in No Country For Old Men, “you can’t stop what’s coming. It ain’t all waiting on you. That’s vanity.” But I will say, can we at least get an updated version of this famous scene — a Bollywood rendition, perhaps:
Since Uncle Ellis mentioned vanity, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fabulous job Renu did in planning her youngest daughter’s wedding. Renu and Suresh (who also is employed by UH as an Associate Dean of Engineering) have two daughters, Pooja and Parul, who are both ophthalmologists. Imagine that! And, both are married to White men — no arranged marriages to Indian men for these two like not a few first generation Indian immigrants insist on. So proud are Parul and her new husband Greg about their union, they graciously created a website for everyone’s viewing pleasure here.
Tell me that’s not The Melting Pot. It’s the kind of thing that brings tears of joy. You look at this success story, and you have to scratch your head when you read all the anti-American commentary at places like Moon of Alabama, Clusterfuck Nation, The Vineyard of the Saker and even Ian Welsh‘s hang. Why are they so down on America when so many are so up on it and clamoring to get in as they always have been? Renu and Suresh, Greg and Parul — this is what America is all about, and yet Lisa Simeone with this comment at Ian Welsh’s blog wants to rain on their parade and tell these success stories that they’re responsible for the mess the world is in.
July 6, 2014
Spot on, Ian. But looking into a mirror is an activity too many Americans — and others in the West — aren’t interested in doing.
As I keep saying, someday, there will be a reckoning. And when it happens, millions of Americans will turn to each other with that familiar wail born of denial and willful ignorance, “Oh, why do they hate us?!”
Do you hear that Renu, Suresh, Parul and Greg — and Riley — don’t forget Riley? There will be a reckoning, and according to Lisa, and the majority of Ian’s readership, since all of you are so devoutly American you will not be immune and will in fact be bewildered when that reckoning finally comes. Or maybe she, and they, didn’t mean you guys. Perhaps naturalized immigrants and immigrants of all stripes, legal and illegal, get a pass since they’re not really True Americans. No, the only really True Americans are White people regardless of their station in life. If you’re a White American, you are slated for genocide. Your socio-economic status doesn’t matter, only your skin color, and no you silly, that’s not “racist.” In case you didn’t know, it’s only “racist” when it’s criticism leveled by those with white skin against anyone that doesn’t have white skin. The Left/left is funny that way.
In conclusion, despite all the foreboding by both the hard “Left” and the hard “Right” about Collapse and reckonings, people are clamoring to get on this sinking ship, especially Indians who aren’t so pessimistic and are glad to take your place as the Middle and Upper Class in America. The rest of you, if you want a job, can clean their houses but not if you charge too much. Your future status is that of an Untouchable. That’s the ultimate price of an i-phone, don’t you know? From the earlier New York Times link, Varna had this to say about domestic help in America. Behold your future, dispossessed White folks — cheap domestic help for enterprising Indian immigrants if you’re not fortunate enough to marry one of them. All the while, the WWON (World Wide Oligarch Network) laughs their asses off — as well they should.
As for Varna, she has three complaints about the United States: Domestic help is too expensive, the transit system is inferior and support for older people is not what it is in India.
“If America could improve those things,” she said, “it is a heaven.”
Heaven’s just around the corner, and by providing your domestic services cheaply, you can make America a heaven on Earth for Indians. Chop Chop.