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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. Radio Derb on the air again, ladies and gents, with a Tory's view on the passing charivari. Let's see what follies and absurdities have been roiling the news pages this past week.
|02 — Michael Jackson acquitted. Michael Jackson was acquitted on all ten
counts of child molestation by a jury who were plainly very skeptical of the principal testimony against him.
Opinion in America seems to be divided between a minority who think that Jackson is a dangerous psychopath who ought to be locked up, another minority — this one includes me — who think he's a harmless freak who ought to be left alone with his strange pleasures, and a majority who have no strong opinion one way or the other about Jackson but who think that Santa Barbara D.A. Tom Sneddon made a pig's ear of the whole prosecution.
As I said, I'm with Jackson on this one. I wouldn't want him around my kids. I try to keep my kids away from weird people; also away from sloppy drunks, people who use bad language, people who break wind in public, and other kinds of law-abiding undesirables. Kids should be raised in an atmosphere of normality, which poor Michael most definitely wasn't.
I don't for a minute believe that Michael would harm a child though, and I'm glad that he was acquitted.
|03 — Dealing with the opposition, African style. Zimbabwe has two main
political parties: President-for-Life Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change, henceforth MDC.
MDC has a hard time getting any votes since Mugabe's people control the media, the polling places, the police and so on. Such votes as MDC do get come from urban areas. ZANU-PF owns the peasants of the countryside.
Well, two political parties is one political party too many for Cap'n Bob. His solution: Identify those urban districts that voted MDC last time round and bulldoze them flat.
What about the people dispossessed by this demolition — around 200,000 so far, according to the U.N. Says the Mugabe-controlled official newspaper, the Herald, urbanites should, quote, "go back to the rural home to reconnect with one's roots and earn an honest living from the soil our government repossessed under the land-reform program," end quote.
Back in the days of apartheid in South Africa the government of that country carried out similar demolitions on shanty townships and the whole world was outraged. Yet these acts by Mugabe, though far more destructive in a much smaller population, are page 26 news. Why is that, I wonder?
|04 — The political road to riches. Harry Truman used to worry about how he
would make a living after leaving the Presidency. Modern Presidents have no such anxieties.
We heard this week that the Clintons are in the black, having paid off all their legal bills from the Whitewater and impeachment investigations. In the black and then some: The Clintons have assets of at least ten million dollars and income last year of at least three million. That's not counting Bill's earnings from sales of his book, a huge best-seller. Not holding any public office, Bill doesn't have to disclose those numbers.
Now I have mixed feelings here. I yield to no one in my loathing of the Clintons, who are a couple of sociopaths. On the other hand, I think it's deplorable that political enemies can oblige public figures to rack up eight-digital legal bills. Naturally we don't mind when it's our political enemies getting the shaft, but it can work against our friends, too. You could, for example, ask Tom DeLay about this. He owes six-digit sums to three different law firms.
And then, on the other other hand, it doesn't seem right that public office in a commercial republic should be so stupendously remunerative. At Lunar New Year Chinese people paste a picture of Cai Shen, the God of Wealth, to their doors. The God of Wealth wears the robes of a government official from the imperial age.
That was how you got rich in old China, by working for the government; and that's the way we're headed.
|05 — Australia, China's new colony. China has lots of people but very few
natural resources. Australia, just across the Pacific a way, has very few people, but lots of natural resources. So, are the Chinese Communists
interested in Australia? You bet they are.
In fact, says recent defector, Yuan Hongbing, Australia is being turned into a, quote, "political colony," end quote, of China.
Mr Yuan — he's a former law professor at Peking University — is the fourth Chinese defector to surface in Australia in the past month. He is supporting allegations made by one of the earlier defectors that the ChiComs have a network of up to a thousand informants, collaborators, and agents in Australia. These legions of spies, he said, were being used to influence Australian politics and to shut down expatriate dissident groups.
The Australian government has been dealing rather harshly with these defectors, and there's a national debate going on about this Down Under.
Well, let's just thank goodness the ChiComs would never attempt such shenanigans here in the U.S. of A.
|06 — Euro-crackup has begun. To the delight of Euroskeptics everywhere,
the great European crackup has now well and truly begun.
After the voters of France and Holland rejected the proposed Euro constitution, the Germans are now backpedaling on the document, sending it to a panel of judges to see if it conforms to Germany's own Constitution. Meanwhile a nasty fight has broken out over the EU budget.
All this is great news for those of us who wanted a free trade area in goods, services and capital, but not a monolithic megastate run by socialistic bureaucrats. With any luck, all the poisonous nonsense about harmonizing taxes and welfare policies across the continent will now go swirling down the Eurotoilet.
As the London Daily Telegraph elegantly put it: "The EU should be dedicated to boosting capitalism abroad, not socialism at home."
|07 — Iran: it's possible we're lying. Iran has been telling the United
Nations, and anyone else who asked, that they stopped experimenting with plutonium — that's the cheap'n'nasty way to make atom
bombs — back in 1993.
Well, that story is no longer operative. In an interview with the BBC, presidential candidate Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said that in fact Iran went on experimenting with plutonium all through the 1990s. Quote: "It's possible that at times Iran has not reported its activities," said Rafsanjani.
Oh. Well, we could wheel on Jimmy Carter at this point to say what he said back in 1980 about Brezhnev: "He lied to me!" Is it possible that Iran is not reporting its nuclear activities now? Who knows?
Not to worry, though. It's all in the cause of developing peaceful nuclear power. No danger here; and if we catch them out in any more untruths, we can always take them to the U.N. That should solve the problem!
|08 — To be under a king … Lucky Nothando Dube. Not only did
she get voted Miss Teen
Swaziland, she has now been taken as a bride
at the age of eighteen by Swaziland's King Mswati III.
On closer reading, this isn't quite the distinction it seems to be. King Mswati, who is an absolute monarch and has banned all political parties, has eleven other wives. He married number eleven just two weeks ago, in fact.
Still, as the late Magda Lupescu of Romania observed when she came to Romania's rescue:
To be under a king is a wonderful thing.
Ms Dube was selected to be royal fiancée after last year's Reed Dance, an event where thousands of maidens dance bare-breasted in honor of the Queen Mother — a bit like the MTV awards — and where king Mswati has chosen his wives in the past.
Swaziland's main distinction is having the world's highest incidents of HIV, with about two out of five adults infected. The place is dirt-poor and the people survive on foreign aid. Sounds like the King's having a ball, though.
Dube dube doo, doo doo doo doo doo …
|09 — Signoff. That's all, folks. Tune in again next week for more news and views from Radio Derb — which next week will come from the Windy City. And if you live in that city but haven't yet signed up for our fundraiser party there next Thursday, get on it. My children are hungry.|
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]