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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. First we learned about David Letterman frolicking with staffers at CBS. Now here's ESPN's Steve Phillips fessing up to a three-day sex affair with a gal half his age … though around twice his weight, to judge from the pictures. Along the way it was revealed that senior ESPN marketing exec Kate Lacey has been playing Kiss the Lizard with senior programming exec David Berson.
What people want to know is, how far does this rot spread? Are other big names in the world of broadcasting helping themselves to the help?
Well, of course I can't speak for my entire profession, but I want Radio Derb listeners to know that here on the 95th floor of Buckley Towers we maintain the highest standards of decency and propriety. My research assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy were selected from a large pool of applicants — it was actually the pool out back of Jonah's place — strictly for their academic qualifications and professional demeanors. Isn't that right, girls? [Bimbo sounds.]
My own deep respect for the modesty and purity of American womanhood is well known throughout the length and breadth of this land. This is not CBS! This is not ESPN! This is Radio Derb, holding aloft the spotless banner of chastity, integrity, and moral earnestness as an inspiration to all!
I want to take this opportunity to assure you that any scurrilous rumors you may have heard about our behavior here at Buckley Towers are completely unfounded, base slanders put about by our enemies … Er, Candy, don't do that, honey, not while I'm on the air, it's very distracting …
02 — Bankers' bonuses. Ah, those Wall Street bonuses — how I miss them! No, I wasn't a senior banker, nor even a hot-shot trader, just a back-office worker bee, but the bonuses percolated all the way down.
I remember one year when one of the desks did particularly well, a girl I was friendly with who did administrative chores for the desk — I'm pretty sure she didn't even have a college degree — found a check for 750 thousand dollars in her Christmas stocking.
Now here's Kenneth Feinberg, President Obama's pay czar, drawing the line at two hundred thousand dollars a year in the firms still living on bailout money. Two hundred thousand! — that's dinner and a movie for big names on Wall Street — or even, as my example illustrates, for administrative assistants on a hot trading desk in a really good year.
I'm going to point out what everybody else is pointing out: that the best talent will just decamp from these government-owned firms for greener pastures, leaving the firms even less able than before to pay back the taxpayers what they've been given.
The populist shtick that, quote, "Wall Street greed" caused last year's financial catastrophe is nonsense. The catastrophe was caused by stupid government policies, the diversity-driven collapse of lending standards, the eagerness of government-controlled entities like Fannie Mae to buy worthless paper for political reasons, free-spending congresscritters driving up public obligations.
In any case, finance is now the career of choice for any bright American. What else is there? Our manufacturing industry's all gone abroad. Lou Dobbs reports that the swine flu vaccine we need is manufactured abroad; so are the syringes and needles to administer it with. So is pretty much everything else.
The financial sector is our economy, and we should thank those Wall Street fat cats for staying in Wall Street to prop up the nation, instead of going off to Hong Kong, London, Sydney, or Frankfurt, as of course they could easily do.
If we lose finance, there's nothing left. We'll have to survive by taking in each other's washing. Give the guys their bonuses!
03 — Government workers take a hit. Every time I go on my rant about how you should tell your kids to get a government job — the only kind of job that will exist twenty years from now, according to me — I get emails from people working in government jobs telling me they're quaking in their boots because of cutbacks in public employment.
Maybe there's something in it. Here's a report from Pennsylvania: Governor Ed Rendell signed a state budget on Oct. 9 that cuts overall state spending by nearly two percent. They've laid off 300 state workers since July, and there are more layoffs to come.
Here's a headline from Chicago, quote: "City Managers To Take Nearly Five Weeks Off: Thousands Of City Workers To Take 24 Unpaid Days In 2010." End quote.
Over in Hawaii, they're cutting seventeen days from the school year to save the state money. Massachusetts, quote:
Governor Deval Patrick is asking state unions to accept furlough days and other concessions to avoid layoffs of up to 2,000 state workers before the end of the year.
A ten percent budget cut will force at least 1,000 layoffs of state workers — a figure that'll likely grow.
Meanwhile, old pals from my Wall Street days at the bond brokerage are looking at the projected numbers for federal and state obligations and telling me, in the precise words of one of them, quote, "There is no way this money will ever be paid." So even after our federal and state governments have sucked all the blood out of the private sector to fund their armies of paper-shufflers and diversity enforcers, they still won't be able to meet their obligations.
Private sector, public sector, things look pretty hopeless all over. What's a citizen to do? The only thing I can think of is just to keep speaking up for limited government practicing fiscal restraint, for private enterprise and self-support, for the interests of American citizens over the interests of foreigners, for the ideals of conservatism.
It doesn't seem to do much good, but what else is there?
04 — Nick Griffin's BNP. Over on the other side of the pond in the land of my birth, there's been a media kerfuffle concerning the BBC.
The Beeb is a sort of New York Times of the British airwaves — relentlessly liberal, cheerleading for multiculturalism, homosexuality, open borders, more rights for criminals, historical guilt about the British Empire, and all the rest. It's run by people who hate their country, hate their ancestors, and hate themselves. Its slogan is: Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go!
Well, the Beeb has a weekly program called Question Time, in which a panel of faces from the worlds of politics and entertainment field questions about current affairs from a studio audience.
The Beeb is supposed, by its charter, to give air time to any political party that has got itself elected to anything significant. That now includes the BNP, the British National Party, led by a bloke named Nick Griffin.
The BNP is a nationalist party out on the electoral fringe. They got 0.7 percent of the vote in the last British general election, and won no seats. If that's not fringe, I don't know what is. In elections to the European parliament this June, however, they got two seats. Griffin himself won in his region with eight percent of the vote, and another BNP candidate got ten percent in his.
If you're wondering how you win a seat in the Euro parliament with just eight percent of the vote, the answer is proportional representation, the stupidest electoral system yet devised by the mind of man.
Well, now they have seats, the BNP are entitled to be heard on TV, so there was Griffin on Question Time facing a hostile audience hand-picked, of course, by the execs at the Beeb. He handled himself pretty well, all things considered. He had to do a bit of shucking and jiving when confronted with the fact that he's on record as having denied the Holocaust, but that was his worst moment, and he smiled his way through it.
The British media of course describe the BNP as "far right," though their economic program is well to the left of the Labour Party, possibly even to the left of our current administration in Washington, and it's hard to detect much love of personal liberty in their utterances. Still, it's hard to detect much among the multi-culti elites who run Britain nowadays, and who have already taken a chain saw to freedom of speech and freedom of association. So that's pretty much a wash.
That aside, though,the BNP doesn't bear very close inspection. There are a lot of cleaned-up street bullies and antisemites in the ranks, as Griffin's Holocaust denial tells you.
So why are they winning votes from the British public, who on the whole are a decent and fair-minded lot? Well, because the BNP is proudly patriotic, and wants an end to mass immigration. For those two things alone, thousands of Britons are willing to overlook the murky stuff.
No serious, respectable political party in Britain is robustly patriotic; none will utter a word against mass immigration, though there is widespread public favor for both points of view. The BNP is what you get when serious, responsible politicians shirk important issues.
Shall we get something similar? I hope not, but I wouldn't rule it out, American mainstream politicians being almost as craven as British ones when it comes to immigration and multiculturalism.
05 — Geert Wilders goes to Parliament. For a further clue as to why mild-mannered middle-class British people are voting for a party right out of the pages of Jonah Goldberg's book, consider the case of Geert Wilders.
Wilders, you'll recall, is the leader of the currently most popular political party in the Netherlands, the Freedom Party, and a member of the Dutch House of Representatives. A libertarian who wants less government, more freedom, lower taxes, and a complete ban on immigration from non-Western countries, Welders is best known for his opposition to Islam. He has called the Koran a "fascist book," and last year he commissioned and scripted a film titled Fitna, arguing that Islam is inherently violent, backward, and inimical to Western values.
Earlier this year some British parliamentarians invited Wilders to London for a showing of Fitna in the Palace of Westminster. The British government and elites, however, are terrified of the Muslim mobs who come out on British streets in force any time they feel they are not getting their way. Britain's Home Secretary issued an order banning Wilders from the country. When he arrived at Heathrow airport in February he was grabbed by police and hustled on a plane back to the Netherlands.
Wilders appealed the exclusion order, and last week finally got to visit the Houses of Parliament in London. He is now on a lecture tour of the United States.
British Muslims were of course furious, and came out in force on the streets screaming for Wilders to be killed. You can see the demonstrations and hear the calls for murder by going to YouTube and searching on "Muslim protestors insult Geert Wilders."
Here's the money quote, from Nazir Ahmed, a Muslim member of the British parliament, and the guy who had originally called for his government to deny entry to Wilders. Mr Ahmed said he was, quote from the Christian Science Monitor here, quote: "disappointed Wilders was being allowed in at a time when the far right, anti-Muslim, British National Party was making unprecedented political gains."
The matter of why libertarian Wilders is being yoked together with the statist BNP as both being, quote, "far right," I'll leave for Jonah to deal with. On the point about Wilders and the BNP both winning votes when Islamic mobs rampage through the streets — do you think there might be a connection? Ya think?
06 — Afghan prospects. Another week has gone by without any decision on whether to poop or get off the pot in Afghanistan.
I've made it plain that I'm all for getting off the pot, on a simple cost-effectiveness basis. It would certainly be an improvement to the world at large if Afghanistan were to be pacified; but the value-added so far as our own national interests are concerned, is not commensurate with what it would take us to pacify the place.
In any case, unless the Pakistan border areas are dealt with, a pacified Afghanistan means little. Yet only Pakistan can deal with those border areas. They are putting up a good show right now, assaulting one of the main Taliban strongholds, but given the track record of the Pakistan security forces, I wouldn't bet on long-term success, and we can't do much to help anyway, other than send over the occasional Predator drone.
I just saw a video clip of John McCain telling us that a surge will work in Afghanistan just as it did in Iraq. Why would it? They are two different theaters, with different conditions. Iraq is towns on a plain; Afghanistan is villages in mountains. Iraq had decades of secular education; Afghanistan has been a de facto theocracy for twenty years. Iraq's divisions are sectarian; Afghanistan's are tribal.
What would be the Afghan equivalent of the Sunni awakening, which is what really put the kibosh on al-Qaeda in Iraq? (And which, by the way, preceded the surge.)
How permanent is the Iraqi peace anyway? If Shias, Sunnis, and Kurds start blowing each other up in major quantity after we withdraw, will anyone be surprised?
Senator McCain, sounding uncannily like George W. Bush circa 2004, told us that, quote, "It's gonna be long, and it's gonna be hard, and it's gonna be tough there, very tough."
And will the final result, assuming anyone can predict it within a very wide margin of error, given the uncertainties of the region, will the final result be worth that long slog, those thousands of dead, those trillions of dollars? I don't see it.
07 — Afghan opium. There's still terrorism to deal with of course, so let's talk about that.
Those lawless border regions with Pakistan are not only a hospitality zone for Islamic terrorists, though, they are also a drug highway. Here's a new report from UNODC, that's the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. It says that Afghanistan produces 92 percent of the world's opium, with 3,500 tonnes leaving the country each year. That's a major national crop, and pretty close to a world monopoly.
From opium you get heroin, which kills 100 thousand people a year worldwide, 30 thousand a year just in Russia. That figure for Russia is higher than the number of soldiers killed in the U.S.S.R.'s entire ten-year occupation of Afghanistan.
The opium trade is worth something like 65 billion dollars annually. A lot of that money ends up funding jihadism, of course. Quote from the UNODC report:
The Taliban's direct involvement in the opium trade allows them to fund a war machine that is becoming technologically more complex.
The border areas with Pakistan are the main conduit for opium to get out from Afghanistan to the rest of the world. Biggest customers for the stuff: Europe, 90 tons a year, Russia 70 tons, China 40 something, Africa and North America 20 or so each. As you can see, we are in the second rank of customers for Afghan opium.
That's not the whole story, though. Quote from Tim Geraghty, writing in today's New York Post, quote:
Recent reports, confirmed by the Drug Enforcement Administration's former chief of operations, say that Hezbollah operatives have formed a partnership with the Mexican drug cartels, using smuggling routes to get people and contraband into the United States.
Meanwhile, this week's news brought the usual crop of stories about terrorist suspects arrested here in the U.S.A., on our sovereign territory.
Tarek Mehanna, a U.S. citizen living in a Boston suburb, has been charged with planning an atrocity in a shopping mall. A co-conspirator in the case, Ahmad Abousamra, has fled to Syria.
Another terrorist suspect is now in custody in Minnesota. I don't have a name here, but Radio station KXNT Las Vegas says he's one of four Somalis stopped earlier this month by Nevada highway patrol, but then released. The FBI says he was a driver for the other men, who were headed to Mexico and flew from there to join an al-Qaeda network in Somalia.
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera — just go to Google News, keywords "terror suspect," any day of the week.
Our country's riddled with them. The Mexican border is a big conduit, leading all the way back to the drugs'n'terror zone on the Af-Pak border.
Do you get the suspicion, as I do, that our leaders keep those armies thrashing about futilely in the Hindu Kush because they don't have the will, or the cojones, to do what should be done with immigration and border security? We are doomed.
08 — We Are Doomed: religion. That of course was a segue into this week's reading from that great classic of modern polemic, We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism. Here is a passage from Chapter 8, whose topic is religion.
If we lose our religious exceptionalism, American conservatism will have had a key prop knocked out from under it. Can this really happen? Can a nation as "God-soaked" as ours really turn religiously indifferent? It certainly can. I have myself watched it happen in my own lifetime to two Christian nations, one Catholic and one Protestant, both as "God-soaked" as you please.
09 — Miscellany. Right, here's, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Item: Handsome and smooth Mikhail Prokhorov, the richest man in Russia, came over to the Big Apple to advance his plans for buying the New York Nets basketball team.
After a morning of negotiations with the current owners, Mike took his party — there were half a dozen of them — to lunch at Nello's on the Upper East Side. Total tab for the lunch: 19 thousand dollars. That included 600 dollars for four orders of truffle carpaccio and three thousand six hundred dollars for two bottles of the 2002 Montrachet Latour.
I dunno, I guess capitalism is a good thing, but I'll confess I sometimes get a twinge of nostalgia for those fat old Soviet rulers with their shiny suits and cubic wives.
Item: I feel a bit the same about our leaders, actually.
Here's Michelle Obama playing jump rope with some invited kids on the White House lawn, and showing off her mastery of the hula hoop. All harmless fun, I guess; but why do our top politicians have to be such paragons of health and fitness? They could do their jobs just as well if they were overweight nicotine addicts. Better, probably, since nicotine sharpens your thinking. Sure, you die sooner, but what's that matter? The President's only in office eight years max.
Item: Do you get this thing liberals have about Fox News? I really don't.
I've been hearing for years from liberal friends what a sink of reactionary propaganda the station is. "'Fair and balanced,'" they snigger into their lattes, "more like 'take care we're biased,' yuk yuk yuk."
The only program I watch much on Fox is Bill O'Reilly's. The Factor is frankly populist, a muddle of neoconservative cheerleading, classic-conservative arguments for free enterprise and lower taxes, interspersed with demands that the federal government do something or other about something or other.
Bill sometimes has conservatives on, including our own esteemed editor, but the overall balance of guests is slightly left of center, it seems to me. Yet liberals think Bill is General Franco come back to life. I don't get it.
If Obama and his boys really want something to yell at, why not go after Radio Derb? Perhaps they're scared of us.
Item: My admiration for the state of Israel increased by leaps and bounds this week after reading a report from Arutz Sheva, Israel National news, dated Cheshvan 5 of the year 5770, which would be this Friday. Quote:
The special police unit "Oz" has begun a large-scale operation aimed at cracking down on illegal entry to Israel. Over the past three weeks, members of the unit have checked the documents of more than 4,000 workers. Of those 4,000, 600 were detained for questioning … Over 120 people have been expelled from the country … Another 90 foreign workers will be expelled from the country once travel arrangements can be made …
That's the ticket! Perhaps we could have some Israeli immigration officers come over here and train our guys.
Item: Here's another side of Russian life: Ice-skating bears.
An ice-skating bear with a touring Russian circus in Central Asia killed one trainer and injured another, it says here. The bear was shot by police, and died with his skates on.
Quote from the news report, quote:
Bears on ice are common in Russian circuses. Some are equipped with helmets and sticks and trained to play hockey.
I doubt it was hockey that made the bear lose control. They were probably trying to get him to do one of those gay showcase routines.
Item: People are getting on my case for making light of the situation in Honduras, which is really, really important, they tell me. Okay, I'll do my best with it, in a spirit of true journalistic professionalism. Whadda we got?
Here's the latest headline: "Honduras discussions break down." It seems that the guy who was kicked out and the other guy are talking about stuff, but can't agree on anything.
There was a deadline, but one guy said he'd ignore it, and the other guy said you can't … zzzz … sorry, what? yes, the guy said you can't, and then some foreign lefties spoke up and said the Honduranians have to do something or other, and the Honduristians said they won't … zzz … sorry! sorry! and then Barack Obama issued a statement, and somebody else did too, and … zzzzzzzzzz
Item: If you're looking to buy a second-hand car, here's a snip: a 2001 black Mercedes E320, only 42,000 miles on the clock. It's in excellent condition, book value 15 thousand dollars.
The only negative is, it belonged to Bernie Madoff. It's being auctioned off to raise funds for his victims.
I dunno about this. Buying a second-hand car is a lottery at the best of times — you know how it goes: You drive it out of the lot, down the road, round the corner, and the muffler falls off. That's without the Bernie Madoff factor.
I'm definitely going to pass on this one.
Never fear, though; as the world bounces from rock to rock, Radio Derb will be here to soothe and inspire. Tune in again next week for more of the sweet wine of truth from Radio Derb!
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]