»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, November 3rd, 2006


•  Play the sound file


[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]

01 — Intro.     Welcome once again, listeners. That was one of Haydn's Derbyshire Marches and this is John Derbyshire bringing you news you need and views on the passing scene, here on Radio Derb.

I'm taping this on Thursday, just five days before the midterm elections. That means we are at the point where pretty much any news item about anything is being ferociously spun by commentators in the hope of eking out a few more voters for the party of their choice.

As witness, for example … well, let's see


02 — John Kerry mis-speaks.     The flap over John Kerry's remarks the other day is a good illustration of what I just said.

In the first place this is John Kerry we're talking about. All right, he's a U.S. Senator and he ran for President once, but he is not otherwise of any importance. He isn't even up for re-election this year. So who gives a flying falafel what he says about anything?

In the second place, what he said was an off-the-cuff cheap dig, made while addressing a room full of college students. Listen. Quote:

You know, education … if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.

End quote.

But who was it a dig at? It seemed pretty clear to me both on textual and general grounds that it was an attempt at a Bush-is-a-moron joke. Bush-is-a-moron jokes slip from the tongues of lefty politicians with the ease and frequency of Pez pellets popping out from that well-known dispenser.

Other people took it as a slander against our troops: not a Bush-is-a-moron quip, but a G.I.-Joe-is-a-moron quip. I can't see that myself.

John Kerry is a crashing snob and I'm certainly ready to believe that he thinks something like that. Watching him through the '04 campaign, though, I didn't get the impression of a guy who is loose with words in the way that a politician would have to be to say something so resoundingly dumb.

That's how a lot of people took it, though. I put it down to the heated political atmosphere this week before an election; and most especially to the spasm of joy excited in my Republican colleagues by the fact that while things may not be going very well on the electoral front, at least we still have John Kerry to kick around for a day or two.


03 — Vietnam Nostalgia Club does Iraq.     If you're really the kind of person who wants to hear about U.S. soldiers eating babies for breakfast, John Kerry is actually pretty tame stuff.

Your main man here is Seymour Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran reporter, the guy who exposed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam back in 1969, and in fact honorary president of the lefty journalists' Vietnam Nostalgia Club.

Quote from Sy addressing a McGill University audience in Montreal the other day, quote:

If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct, they would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam veterans. In Vietnam soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby-killers in shame and humiliation. It isn't happening now; but I will tell you, there has never been an American army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.

End quote.

Well, looking at Muqtada al-Sadr and the hordes of ululating fanatics who come out onto the streets of Baghdad every time Mooky blows his whistle, I must say my own impression is we haven't been violent and murderous enough. But what do I know? I'm just a foam-flecked reactionary racist.

Listen to the wisdom of Sy. He knows how to deal with the rising tide of jihadist terror. Why, he'll do … this, and then he'll do … that, and then he'll do … some of the other thing. And none of it will require putting any of those beastly American military goons into action. Right, Sy?


04 — Is Barack Obama black enough?     Well, you knew it was going to happen sooner or later, and here it is: an African American commentator grumbling that Barack Obama isn't black enough.

The commentator here is Stanley Crouch. In his column in the New York Daily News, Mr Crouch said this, quote:

When black Americans refer to Obama as one of us, I do not know what they are talking about. In his new book The Audacity of Hope Obama makes it clear that while he has experienced some light versions of typical racial stereotypes, he cannot claim those problems as his own, nor has he lived the life of a black American.

If he throws his hat in the ring he will have to run as the son of a white woman and an African immigrant. If we then end up with him as our first black President, he will have come into the White House through a side door, which might at this point be the only one that's open.

End quote.

You'd better get ready to hear more of this stuff. It will be one point of focus if Obama really does rise into the Presidential candidates zone.

Never mind what he thinks about the economy, or the Supreme Court, or the War on Terror, or living standards, or healthcare, or nuclear proliferation or taxes. Never mind any of that. Is he black enough? That will be the great question facing the nation — or part of the nation, anyway.

Do you get the same Oh dear God, no! sinking feeling that I get when you read this stuff? You do? Thank goodness, I thought it was just me.


05 — Signs of German vitality.     Germany — you might not have known this — Germany has 2,800 soldiers on duty in Afghanistan.

After that unfortunate business of 1939 to '45 it's still a bit alarming to a lot of us to think of Germany deploying soldiers anywhere, or even just having soldiers. There they are though, in Afghanistan, and it seems that our alarm may be not entirely without foundation.

Item:  Some photographs have come to light, though they are apparently three years old, showing German troops posing with human skulls and other body parts.

Item:  A German newsmagazine has just published some new pictures thought to date from 2001 of the vehicle belonging to an elite German army unit in Afghanistan. The vehicle is decorated with a palm tree and an iron cross. Those symbols recall General Rommel's Afrika Korps, although back then the iron cross would have been a swastika.

Now I'll confess to being a bit conflicted about this. I have just read Mark Steyn's new book about how Christian Europe is so sapped by decades of welfare statism and the U.S. military umbrella that it's no longer able to defend itself and it's going to be taken over by fanatical Muslims.

In that context, these stories about the German army can be read as welcome signs of vitality. Rommel, in any case, was a good Nazi and may even have tried to kill Hitler; at any rate, Hitler himself thought so. The Afrika Korps is a unit the Germans can be proud of, surely.

I wouldn't want these things to get out of hand, mind you. If I get any stories about the Boche being overheard singing lustily along to the "Horst Wessel Lied" or the "Wacht am Rhein" in the bars and restaurants of Kabul, I shall report them in a very stern tone of voice.

One enemy at a time, please.


06 — China's Bronze Age justice.     A little bit of good news from China: An appeals court has thrown out the guilty verdict on activist Chen Guangcheng.

The topic here is forced abortions and sterilizations. You might be surprised to know that these are illegal in China.

True, the country has a One Child Policy; but the thing is supposed to work by incentives, or rather disincentives. That is, if you have a second child you have to pay huge fines.

Everyone knows that forced abortions and sterilizations go on though. Mr Chen exposed these practices in his district down in Shandong province and that's how he ended up in trouble.

That's right: Exposing illegal practices will get you into legal trouble in China. It's a funny country that way.

Mr Chen ended up with a four-year sentence on fabricated charges. That's the sentence that has now been quashed on appeal.

The news isn't that good, though. The sentence on Mr Chen was quashed mainly because Mr Chen became an international cause célèbre, even getting a story in Time magazine. Few Chinese dissidents are that lucky and you can be sure that there are thousands of Chen Guangchengs rotting away unknown in Chinese prisons.

Here is one of the tragedies of the modern age: a great civilization with a wonderful culture stretching back all the way to the Bronze Age that has not yet got itself a fair system of justice for its citizens.


07 — ACLU opposes law enforcement.     The town of Hazleton in Pennsylvania is the eye of the storm over illegal pouring into our country.

Last month the city council of Hazleton, fed up with the crime, disorder, and squalor brought in by the illegals, and fed up also with the burdens that illegals impose on local services, approved measures to fine landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and to deny business permits to companies that give jobs to illegals.

What happened next was utterly predictable. Apologists for the illegal aliens tracked down a lefty federal judge who has now issued a restraining order to block enforcement of Hazleton's laws.

In other words, how dare a municipality act to regulate its own affairs when the federal government should by rights control every aspect of our lives?

A main driving force behind this judicial activism is of course the ACLU, whose local legal director extruded the following words about the Hazleton decision, quote:

I think what's important is that the judge recognized that this ordinance has the potential to cause real harm by costing people their jobs, their houses, and requiring children to leave schools.

End Quote.

Now, if that is actually the criterion for blocking action, then tell me this.

Suppose by some miracle the federal government began to enforce federal immigration law by rounding up illegal aliens and deporting them. Wouldn't that, quote, "cause real harm by costing people their jobs, their houses, and requiring children to leave schools"? End Quote. So presumably the ACLU would be against that, too.

Let me say it again: The ACLU is opposed on principle to the enforcement of federal immigration law by anyone.

Perhaps someone at the ACLU should tell us what other federal laws they oppose the enforcement of on the grounds that enforcement would, quote, "cause real harm."

Doesn't the enforcement of any law "cause real harm" to the people who are breaking that law? Isn't that sort of the main point of law enforcement?

Hello, ACLU. Anybody there? … Hello? … Hello, ACLU … Hello …


08 — Too much government spending too much money, say Americans.     Those of us who have spent the George W. Bush administration grumbling about Big Government Republicanism may not be as lonely as we've been feeling.

A poll on CNN, of all places, turned up 54 percent of the population saying that the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Only 37 percent of respondents said they thought the government should do more to solve the country's problems.

Asked if the size of the federal government has increased in the past four years, 72 percent said it had, and 86 percent said they thought federal spending had gone up during the same period.

They are of course absolutely correct. George W. Bush has added nearly 80,000 new names to the non-defense — the non-defense — federal payrolls. The Clinton administration, by contrast, decreased those payrolls by an amazing 200,000.

In the matter of spending; yes, discretionary spending increased more than 50 percent from 2001 to 2005 — nearly a third of a trillion dollars.

When we small-government types raise these issues administration stooges say: "Aah, nobody cares about that stuff." Well, according to this poll, people do care about the size of our government and the number of federal bureaucrats hired to boss us around … though whether they care enough is a separate question.


09 — The Senator from Bray.     Having started this week's broadcast with John Kerry, I may as well finish with him. Here is a little anti-Kerry song I wrote for the 2004 Presidential campaign.

It's modeled on an 18th century English song, "The Vicar of Bray," which is about a country clergyman who boasts of having trimmed his sails to follow religious fashions all through the turbulent years from the late Stuart monarchs to the early Hanoverians. I called my song "The Senator from Bray."

In Lyndon Johnson's second term,
When patriotism no harm meant
Some résumé points I had to earn
So off to Vietnam went.
That country did its sights contrive
Onto my heart to sear;
In just four months I'd medals five,
Kick-starting my career.
[Chorus]  And this is true, depend on me —
Don't bother to compete, Sir! —
No matter who the POTUS be
I'll keep my Senate seat, Sir!
When Richard Nixon came along,
And war was out of fashion,
I testified to grievous wrong,
With most indignant passion.
To medals five goodbye I kissed;
A book (try finding it!) I wrote.
And now would be a pacifist
But for the VFW vote.
[Chorus]  And this is true …
While Ford and Carter struggled o'er
Our post-Vietnam confusion,
I kept low profile as a lawyer,
In public prosecution.
For in those times the public mood
Was harsh on politicians.
(While, to relieve my solitude
I sought out girls — just rich ones.)
[Chorus]  And this is true …
In Reagan's time I saw the chance
To further my ambition.
So to the Senate did advance —
A liberal patrician.
My Senatorial chores were few —
No need for much attendance.
Just raise some funds and kiss up to
Joe Kennedy's descendants!
[Chorus]  And this is true …
When George the First came to the fore,
With policies much sounder,
I stood out firm against his war
Believing it would founder.
It didn't; but his previous vow
All taxes new to spare us
Soon got me off the hook: Who now
Remembers judgment errors?
[Chorus]  And this is true …
Then dear Bill Clinton's fortunes soared
And liberal men were thriving.
I got myself a loaded broad
And lots of cars for driving.
No military issues rose
Past follies to unbury:
What happy, golden days were those
For lefties like John Kerry!
[Chorus]  And this is true …
For George the Second's Iraq War
I voted my approval;
And cheered until my throat was sore
At S. Hussein's removal.
But liberal friends soon whispered that
A quagmire was a-brewing.
And in the ring I threw my hat,
To seek George Two's undoing.
[Chorus]  And this is true …
Imagine this: A noble vet —
One with a sharp salute. He
Stands up in wartime to upset
A man who shirked his duty.
Alas, it's going all awry —
Just look at my position!
The Swifties say my past's a lie —
And Rather's blown his mission!
[Chorus]  Ah, well. What matters it to me
My buggy's in the ditch, Sir?
No matter who the POTUS be
I'll still be stinking rich, Sir!


10 — Signoff.     Okay, NRO fans, that's your news roundup for this week. I'm off to watch the Borat movie, which, having a weakness for really, really bad taste humor, I expect I shall very much like.

Tune in again next week for news of the bad, the sad, and the mad from Radio Derb.


[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]