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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, piano'n'kazoo version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your loftily genial host John Derbyshire, here with VDARE.com's summary of the week's news.
This week I'm going to try to draw some big general conclusions from the week's events. There's a pattern lurking behind them somewhere, and I'm going to try to tease it out. As concisely as I can put it, the theme is that the modern Western system of government is in some kind of swelling crisis.
I'm going to start with events in Britain, which I think shows some of the fault lines with exceptional clarity. There was the terrorist attack at London Bridge on Saturday last, then Thursday's general election.
I hesitate to do more segments on Britain after having done two last week. I come from there myself, as you can tell from the accent. Listeners might think I have an interest in the place out of proportion to its actual importance.
That's not the case. I've spent three-quarters of my adult life — 37 of those 51 years — out of Britain. I have only tenuous family connections there, and hardly ever go back. I've been a U.S. citizen for fifteen years and I'm proud and happy to be one. I have two American-born and perfectly American kids, one of them currently serving in the U.S. armed forces. I follow British affairs no more attentively, or very little more, than the average educated American.
I do of course nurse some sentimental feelings about the land of my birth. Like any other adult, though, I reserve those feelings for appropriate occasions, and don't let them interfere with my thinking about what the Chinese call "large matters under Heaven." Well, I hope I don't.
So with that disclaimer, let's start with the news from Blighty.
02 — Radical liberalism strikes again. Saturday last week three Muslim terrorists killed eight people and wounded fifty on and near London Bridge.
(Which is not, by the way, to be confused with Tower Bridge, although practically everybody outside Britain — and probably, given the current dire state of British education, a great many inside the country — do so confuse. Pay attention, please! Tower Bridge: two big towers and a drawbridge. London Bridge: no towers, no drawbridge. OK?)
(And while I'm digressing, let's also recall the U.S. Presidential election of 1936, in which Republican candidate Alf Landon briefly considered taking on New Hampshire Governor Styles Bridges as his running mate before settling on Frank Knox, thus averting a Landon-Bridges GOP ticket.)
Where was I? Oh yes, London Bridge, Saturday. The three attackers, who were all killed on the spot by police, were: a naturalized Briton born in Pakistan, a Libyan born in Morocco, and another man born in Morocco who seems to have had Italian nationality.
This was the third Muslim terrorist attack in Britain in three months, the second in two weeks. Fatalities in the other two, the Westminster attack in March and the Manchester bombing two weeks ago were five and 22 respectively. So, total victims of Muslim terrorists in Britain this year: 35. And it's only June!
The London Bridge attack made the uselessness of Britain's security services and the utter ineffectiveness of the country's laws on immigration and nationality even more obvious than usual.
The Libyan chap had applied for asylum in Britain but was turned down in 2009. He shrugged that off and just stayed anyway, marrying an Irish girl to get an EU work permit.
The Moroccan-Italian terrorist had tried to fly from Italy to Syria last year to join ISIS, but had been stopped by Italian police, who say they transmitted the details to British police.
The star exhibit, though — exhibiting, I mean, the total unwillingness of the British authorities to preserve their nation and protect their citizens — was the Pakistan-born British guy, who rejoiced in the name Khuram Shahzad Butt.
Mr Butt and his jihadi inclinations were not well-known just to the security services, they were well-known to several million British TV viewers. He'd made several appearances last year in a TV documentary titled "The Jihadis Next Door." The producers let him explain his philosophy to viewers, and showed him, in company with several like-minded persons, unfurling a jihadist flag in London's Regent's Park. Mr Butt's brother ran a group for young Muslims funded by the local police force.
On Sunday, the day after the attack, British Prime Minister Theresa May put on her angry face and told her countrymen that she was very upset and something or other would be done. The Brits must, quote, "deny safe spaces to the extremists," and, quote, "assert the superiority of British values." She said there needed to be, quote, "some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations."
Can't you just see the jihadis trembling with fear? "Forget about trying to fit that suicide belt, Achmed. The Brits are going to make us have embarrassing conversations. We can't fight against that!"
The defenders of law and order hastened to warn Brits that they would crack down with maximum force on anyone who blamed Islam for the attack. London's Mayor, Muslim-supremacist Sadiq Khan, snarled that, quote:
Just as the police will do everything possible to root out extremism from our city, so we will take a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime. If you witness a hate crime please report it to the police. If you commit a hate crime, you face arrest.
It took an American observer to cut through the b.s. Katie McHugh, a writer for Breitbart.com, tweeted on Saturday that, quote:
There would be no deadly terror attacks in the U.K. if Muslims didn't live there.
That was so obviously true, Ms McHugh had to be silenced. We can't have people saying true things about Muslim terrorism. That would be almost as bad as — perhaps just as bad as, perhaps worse than — saying true things about black crime. Breitbart, which is in process of gentrifying itself to become just another bland, CultMarx-compliant news outlet, fired Ms McHugh on Monday.
The definitive comment on this event, it seems to me, was supplied by one of Steve Sailer's commenters, quote:
The problem is clearly not radical Islam, but radical liberalism.
03 — May Day! May Day! That same Prime Minister, Theresa May, of that same country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was up for re-election on Thursday.
Indirectly, that is. This is a parliamentary system. The only people actually voting for Mrs May are the people of Maidenhead, a mainly upper-middle-class district in the outer-outer western suburbs of London. If they elect her, and she remains leader of her party — that's the Tory Party — and her party wins a majority of the seats in the House of Commons, she is de facto Prime Minister … Ministress, whatever.
As I've been explaining on Radio Derb, Mrs May called the election because (a) she'd moved into the Prime Minister job without an election, when David Cameron resigned after last June's Brexit vote, and (b) because she was high in the polls and thought she could win easily, increasing her parliamentary majority, and (c) with that victory as a boost, she could drive a harder bargain with the Eurocrats in the upcoming Brexit talks on Britain's exit from the European Union.
Ah, the vagaries of politics! As I explained last week, Mrs May turned out to be a terrible campaigner on the national stage, and her poll numbers dropped as election day approached.
As Radio Derb goes to tape here at midday on Friday, results are not quite final but it's clear the Tories no longer hold a majority of seats in Parliament. There are 650 seats in the House, so a party needs 326 for a majority. The Tories are most likely coming out of this week's election with 319, which is not enough. They went into the election with 330, so they've lost eleven seats, and their majority in Parliament.
To get back to a majority it looks like the Tories will form a coalition with the Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party — the union there being of course the union of Northern Ireland with Britain; this is the late Ian Paisley's party.
That's traditional enough: the official name of the Tory Party for the longest time, and still I think today, was the Conservative and Unionist Party, and the Unionists voted with the Tories all through the last parliament.
Even with the ten Unionist seats, though, the Tory majority is only 329 to 321, a majority of just eight. And the Unionists of course have their own agenda, which they can now press forcefully. Most notably, they want a "soft" Brexit, with more concessions to Europe, especially on agricultural topics, and an open border with the Republic of Ireland, which — if Ireland stays in the EU, which it surely will — means a conduit for illegal immigrants from the Third World who can manage to get themselves into Ireland … not insuperably difficult, as that Libyan terrorist knew.
A further downside for the Tories is that Mrs May has lost what little authority she ever had in the party, after the blunder of first calling this election, and then campaigning poorly and very nearly losing it.
Not that Mrs May was ever thought to be charismatic. Medieval kings and queens used to get tagged with an epithet: Richard Lionheart, Charles the Bald, Ivan the Terrible, and so on. My favorites in this line, I can't resist adding, were the parents of Charlemagne: Pippin the Short and Bertha Bigfoot. Well, if we'd kept up that custom, Mrs May would be Theresa the Lackluster. The lady, while I am sure a delightful dinner-table companion, a loving wife, kind to small animals and so on, the lady is a charisma-free zone.
There was more going on in this election, though, some of it of universal interest. Next segment.
04 — The real political divide? The really striking feature of this election was the relative success of the Labour Party under its leader Jeremy Corbyn.
This crazy old lefty, who never saw a commie dictator or an anti-British terrorist he didn't want to kiss up to, and who won the endorsement of the British Communist Party for Thursday's election, somehow got forty percent of Brits to vote for him, five days after anti-British terrorists ran amok in the nation's capital. What's up with that?
To a person of my generation, who grew up in the Cold War, visited European communist countries, and lived for a year in communist China, Corbyn's affection for the twentieth century's greatest political blight is incomprehensible.
Corbyn is, in fact, of my generation — he's four years younger than me — which makes it double incomprehensible. How did he miss noticing what a despotic horror show communism was?
Well, there is such a thing as being blinded by ideological passion, we all know that. Still the question remains: Why did forty percent of Brits vote for this whiskery old fool?
The polls show two big gaps between Tories and Labour in the voting: an enthusiasm gap, and an age gap.
A lot of people who normally wouldn't bother to vote, did so on Thursday; and they voted Labour. Where turnout increased more than five percent, Labour won.
And a lot of people who were not registered to vote, did so. Most of these were young voters registering for the first time, and again they leaned heavily towards Labour.
Enthusiasm and youth. Well, the enthusiasm for Corbyn goes with Mrs May's total lack of charisma and her bungling on the campaign trail. Also perhaps — I hope! — to her feeble, formulaic response to Saturday's atrocity.
As for the youth: What do young Brits know about the Cold War? What do they know about the horrors of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao? The artificial famines and mass killings, the slave-labor camps and torture chambers, the crushing of dissent and the endless official lying?
They don't know anything, of course. Their school history lessons didn't tell them anything about communism. The great evils of history, they were told, were British imperialism and the slave trade. Of twentieth-century totalitarianism, all they know is Hitlery-Hitlery Hitler Hitler Hitlery-Hitler.
There's more than that going on, though — something deeper. Corbyn, like Donald Trump in the U.S.A. and Emmanuel Macron in France, is seen as an outsider — someone not part of the political establishment.
That's perfectly bogus: Corbyn has never had a job outside politics. It's bogus in Macron's case, too: Macron was actually a cabinet officer in French governments. He had done some private-sector work, though, so the degree of bogosity there is less than Corbyn's. Trump is the genuine article, a true outsider.
Appearance counts for everything in politics, though. As political as Corbyn has been all his life, he was a member of the Awkward Squad. He was never a political conformist and he never served in government. A great many Brits must have voted Labour on that basis: for a party led by a sort-of outsider, a person of principle.
The principles Corbyn is actually a person of are crazy, anti-human principles; but at least he's not just a wind-up political bot, quacking out meaningless slogans in a threadbare political diction, like, well, Theresa May.
There is a deep, and I think rising political dissatisfaction all over the Western world. Last November's election here in the U.S. was an expression of it. Sixty-three million Americans told the established political class: We don't want you, we don't trust you, we don't like you. We'll take a gamble on something different.
You've heard many, many times, I'm sure, that the political divide today is not Right versus Left but Nationalist versus Globalist.
That's a part of it; and God knows, I wish it were more of it. The victory of globalist Macron over nationalist Le Pen in France shows, however, that there's more in play.
Sure, Marine Le Pen is an outsider, too. She's been around a while, though, while Macron was new, with a political party he'd invented himself out of whole cloth the year before. He was perceived as more the outsider.
Yes: nationalist v. globalist is part of it. So is age and experience v. youth and a bad haircut. I suspect, though, that a bigger factor than either is the divide between those willing to go on giving power to our established political class and those who would be happy to see them swinging from lamp-posts along Whitehall, the Champs Élysées, or Constitution Avenue.
05 — Comey: Trump lied, I cried. Sir Isaac Newton taught us that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Here in the U.S.A. the reaction to last November's election, to the rejection of our entrenched political class, continues to dominate the news.
The politi-bots have no intention of going gentle into that good night. Now they know how many American voters hate them, they have raised the old Roman banner oderint dum metuant — "let them hate us, so long as they fear us."
"You voted this outsider into power?" they're saying to us. "Watch while we crush him like a bug."
This week's bug-crushing exercise didn't go so well. The fly-swatter brought in for the purpose here was former FBI Director James Comey, who testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
I'll admit I had to make an effort of will to concentrate my attention on this. It's political theater: a show put on by the establishment, driven by rage and fear at their rejection last November. There's nothing of substance here.
Following these pseudo-scandals is like listening to someone else's marital problems. He said, she said. "I swear she told me she wouldn't do that, but she went ahead and did it anyway." "Is that what he told you? He's such a liar …" And on and on and on. It's one of those situations where we used to say, before the citizen and his telephone became fused into a single biological entity: "Here's a dime, call someone who cares."
From private conversations, I don't think I'm alone in my indifference. Do you care, listener? Do you, like me, have trouble remembering who's who among the dramatis personæ? Was it Michael Flynn who met with the Russian Ambassador and said he didn't, or was that Jeff Sessions? Is this Robert Mueller dude the new FBI boss, or what? I can't keep it straight, and I can't see why I should be arsed to do so.
The word "nothingburger" is now in general circulation, thanks originally I think to Mrs Clinton. It's so much in circulation, in fact, it's become an annoying cliché, so I shall avoid it from this segment on. That's what we have here though: a big fat nothingburger, with no pickles and no mayo. In fact it's exactly because millions of us see it that way that you're hearing the word "nothingburger" coming at you from every point of the compass.
From the little I could bring myself to watch of Thursday's hearings, Comey came across as deeply unimpressive. He came across in fact as a bit of a snowflake.
Quote: "I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo." Quote: "I felt free to share that. I thought it very important to get it out." And then, quote:
The administration chose to defame me and more importantly the FBI, by saying the organisation was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. Those were lies, plain and simple
Well, no, actually, they weren't. If I forget to put the garbage out, and my wife asks me if I put the garbage out, and I say, "Yes, Honey, I did," that's a lie, plain and simple. Saying that the FBI was in disarray is not a lie, it's an opinion. It might be false, but it can be honestly held.
I have friends who believe that Abraham Lincoln was a mass murderer and a traitor to the Constitution. They may be wrong, but I don't doubt their sincerity. They may be wrong but they're not lying.
The opinion that the FBI "was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader" was a lot more plausible than that, after the shenanigans last year over Mrs Clinton's emails. It still might have been wrong; but it wasn't unreasonable. It certainly wasn't a lie; and it double certainly wasn't a lie "plain and simple."
To Comey, though, it felt like a lie. That's the realm we're in here, the realm of feelings. [Clip: "Feelings, wo wo wo feelings …"] I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to learn that Comey burst into tears after Trump fired him last month.
Here's a suggestion for whichever publisher takes on Comey's memoirs. Perhaps a suitable title for the book would be: Trump Lied, I Cried. Just a suggestion.
06 — The Empire strikes back. And still with the Russia business.
Someone or other had a meeting with the Russian Ambassador. [Scream.] For goodness' sake, Washington, DC is crawling with ambassadors. You can't avoid them. The drunk who barfed on you in the Metro the other night is an ambassador. The guy who runs the Dupont Circle dry cleaners is an ambassador. There are probably ambassadors working as page boys in Congress.
I've spent as little time in the Imperial Capital as I could get away with — a few dozen hours over the last thirty years — but I've been in the same room with ambassadors many times, I'm sure.
Francis Buckley's column this week puts the Russia nonsense in perspective. The net effect of it all, says Buckley, is to make it harder for the U.S.A. to get on friendlier terms with Russia — a thing that would be good for America, that the administration is known to want, and that Mrs Clinton as Secretary of State claimed to want. Remember her talk of a "reset" with Russia?
Barack Obama was too weak and shallow to follow through on that "reset," and the Russians had too much contempt for him. Trump might pull it off, though, to the general advantage of everybody. He has a huge bargaining chip in NATO. He knows the alliance is obsolete — he said so on the campaign trail — so there is real possibility here. We have no conflict of interest with Russia; and Europe, which is far richer and more populous than Russia, should be able to take care of itself.
In the seething rage of the Washington, DC establishment, though, our national interest counts for nothing. They would take us to war with Russia if it helped them bring down Trump.
Watching those hearings I found myself — somewhat guiltily, let me say, and not for the first time — wishing that a giant sink hole would open up under central Washington, DC and swallow all the congressreptiles and bureaucrats and lobbyists once and for all.
Unless that blessed event happens, I guess these hearings and all the endless, pointless opinionating and commenting on them will just drag on to the crack of doom.
The crack of doom would actually, at this point, be a relief.
07 — Does Trump care about the National Question? So how's Trump doing? It's coming up to five months since the Inauguration, close enough to a college semester, so I don't think it's premature to start grading him. My grade so far would be a B-minus.
Here at VDARE.com the main beat we patrol is of course the National Question, so here are a couple of data points on that: one where the administration is just delinquent, failing to do what they said they'd do, ought to do, and could easily do, and the other where it would just be nice to hear them say something bold and original.
The big delinquency of course concerns DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — Barack Obama's executive amnesty for illegal aliens who were brought here as minors, or can present fake documents to that effect.
Mark Krikorian has a good piece on this over at National Review Online, June 8th. The numbers are shocking, in fact disgraceful. To quote Mark, quote:
Donald Trump has given access to work permits, Social Security numbers, driver's licenses, earned-income tax credits, and more to 13,436 illegal aliens who had not already been amnestied by Obama. That's an average of 192 new illegals a day granted amnesty by Donald Trump.
There are two aspects to this. DACA, through USCIS (that's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which reports to Homeland Security) grants two-year renewable work permits to the so-called "dreamers."
So the two aspects are: one, issuing a work permit to an illegal who claims to have come here as a minor, and two, renewing for a further two years the permit of an illegal who already has one.
As Mark says, you can make a case on political grounds for continuing the work permits of those who've been granted them. There is no case at all, though — not even a cynically political one — for issuing new permits at a rate of 192 per day. Apparently the administration just doesn't care enough to stop doing it.
There's the real delinquency. We thought that Trump and his people did care about the National Question, and about American workers shoved aside so that illegals can take their jobs. Apparently not: not even enough for some Homeland Security flunky to pick up a phone and tell USCIS: "As of today, we're not processing those any more."
What would be the downside? There isn't one. The administration just can't be bothered.
Second data point: Puerto Rico. This Sunday the colony … oh, I beg their pardon: the commonwealth, this Sunday they vote on whether to lobby for statehood in Washington, DC The result is expected to be a big vote in favor of statehood, as it was the last time they voted, five years ago.
Horrifying to report, President Trump seems open to the idea. On the campaign trail last year he said the following thing, quote:
The will of the Puerto Rican people in any status referendum should be considered as Congress follows through on any desired change in status for Puerto Rico, including statehood.
Meanwhile Puerto Rico sinks deeper into destitution. The place actually declared bankruptcy back in May, and a board of overseers sent by Washington is trying to impose Greek-style austerity on the place. Puerto Ricans are responding with protests, demonstrations, and stupendous levels of emigration to the U.S.A.
The place is a millstone round America's neck. If it were to be given statehood, it would be a permanent millstone.
Here's my suggestion to the administration. Let's have a referendum in the U.S.A. on giving Puerto Rico full independence. If there is some legal or constitutional obstacle to a referendum, hire some respectable polling firm to do a really comprehensive poll of U.S. citizens.
President Trump thinks that "the will of the Puerto Rican people … should be considered"? Surely the will of the American people should be considered, too.
Do we want Puerto Rico to continue as a colony? Would we like to bring them in as our 51st state, complete with their $74 billion of debt and their welfare-addicted population? Or would we prefer to see them sail off into the future as an independent nation under their own leaders?
Why not find out? What is wrong with my suggestion? Too democratic?
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Does anyone else think, as I do, that the people of South Korea ought to be a little bit ashamed of themselves for not doing something to rescue their compatriots in the North from the grip of the horrible Kim dictatorship?
They are twice as populous as the North — 51 million to 25 — and fifty times as rich, two trillion dollars to forty billion on the GDP numbers. Don't they feel a twinge of guilt and shame, watching their fellow Koreans starve?
What should they do? I don't know. Koreans are an intelligent and creative people; surely they can come up with something.
I know, I know: Seoul's right up against the North-South border. The Norks could shell the city. I'm not very impressed by this. In WW2 the Germans bombed London with fleets of planes, night after night for months on end. Then they fired the original drone bombs and ballistic missiles at the city for a year, killing thousands. The Brits put up with it because they wanted to win the war and preserve their country.
I seriously doubt the Norks could do anything like as much damage to South Korea.
Again, I don't know what the South could do. That's above my pay grade. To watch them do nothing all these years, though, while thirty thousand of our guys sit there as a tripwire, is annoying.
This week South Korea announced that they were suspending deployment of our THAAD anti-missile system until the South's government has, quote, "completed an environmental assessment."
Well, isn't that special. Maybe we should tell the South Koreans to develop their own damn anti-missile shield and defend their own damn half of Korea.
Item: These are not actually great times to be on the nationalist side of the nationalist-globalist divide. I note with sadness, for example, that UKIP, the U.K. Independence Party, failed to win a single parliamentary seat in Thursday's election.
They got just two percent of the popular vote. The party leader, Peter Nuttall, has resigned.
This is just a year after the Brexit vote, a nationalist triumph. With Marine Le Pen's defeat in the French Presidential election, and the apparent loss of interest in National Question issues in the Trump administration, nationalism may be at a nadir in the Western world.
I'm going to put on my smiley face here and assume that nationalism will recover, once voters have worked through the issues with their political establishments. The underlying issues aren't going away, and the cultural commissars can't keep a lid on them for ever.
With all that in mind, follow the French parliamentary elections this weekend. Yes, the French voted themselves a new President last month, but they have a parliament and it needs populating. The first round of voting is this Sunday, the 11th. There are runoff elections a week later.
The polls show Macron's new party looking strong, with Marine Le Pen's National Front weakened by organizational issues. The best to be hoped for is that the National Front will do better than the dire poll predictions. That would mean that in France at least, they are past the nadir.
Item: Finally, President Trump is scheduled to visit Britain later this year. Anti-Trump forces over there plan to greet him with mass moonings.
"Show your rump to Trump" is the name of the movement. So I'm looking at this news story on the HeatStreet website, and it's illustrated with a photograph of four women — I'm pretty sure they're women, based on the proportions there — exposing their rather large, very unattractive bottoms to the camera, with writing on the eight exposed cheeks spelling out "F U T R U M P !" Nice.
That's the movement: "Show your rump to Trump." I guess I should just be glad we didn't elect a President Frick.
09 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening, and many thanks for your emails. I'm way behind on collecting them up for an airing on the VDARE website, but I hope to get that done next week.
When there will also, of course, be more from Radio Derb.
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]