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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. Welcome, listeners! This is Radio Derb, back on the air after last week's unfortunate mishap.
It was of course entirely wrong of me to suggest that Ahmed, our new diversity hire, had anything to do with the exploding package. I was engaging in crude profiling there, and I apologize. Ahmed's attorney, Mr Muhammed Muhammed al-Muhammed, has explained to us the importance of respecting Ahmed's deep religious sensibilities, and we shall strive to do so in future.
In fact, Mr al-Muhammed, in order to be able to forestall any future profiling incidents, has insisted on being given an office of his own here at Buckley Towers, so that he can monitor our treatment of Ahmed in real time. I see him moving stuff into his office right now. Looks like a lot of really heavy, bulky equipment, but no doubt it's necessary for his legal work.
Well, I think we're all square now, aren't we, Ahmed? [Ahmed: How did you like the taste of death, eater of pig's flesh?] Right. And we've cleaned up the studio, so we're all ready to go.
02 — Climategate. Ah, global warming. Or, as it is now considered more polite to say, "climate change" — just in case we change our minds and decide the world is cooling after all.
I've done my best to keep the whole darn issue at arm's length. I don't think I've ever written a column about it, or even done a Radio Derb segment. It's seemed to me the data simply doesn't bear the political weight that's been put on it. Measuring the mean temperature of the entire atmosphere to a tenth of a degree, seems to me like a pretty dubious undertaking. Performing the same stunt for the atmosphere as it was five hundred years ago is an order of magnitude even more dubious.
We know from history and paleontology that the earth's climate is unstable at quite large scales, with or without human activity. The phrase "ice ages" mean anything? Best just ride with the punches as best we can, trusting to science and ingenuity to help us adapt.
Politicians of course saw opportunities in the Global Warming flap; and once they were involved, grant-seeking researchers and self-hating ideologues grabbed on to their coattails. That's the context for the email scandal at the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit.
Some political opportunism; some herd mentality; some personal animosities; and we're off to the races. I don't support spending a dime of public money to "combat climate change," and I never have. If this scandal helps kill the whole silly business and sink the upcoming Copenhagen conference, I'll be cheering.
03 — Illegals bankrupt hospitals. Here's a trend developing: American hospitals being bankrupted by having to serve illegal immigrants.
Back in August we heard about the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, struggling with a 70-million dollar deficit, 24 million of which was caused by kidney dialysis treatments for illegal immigrants. These dialysis services doubled from last year, the hospital told us.
Well, here's another case: Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Grady has actually cut off these services to avoid bankruptcy. Quote from the New York Times story:
Some of the Grady dialysis patients have chosen to return to their countries, encouraged by the hospital's offer of free airfare, cash payments, three months of paid dialysis and assistance in seeking insurance or other long-term remedies. Others are trying their luck in states where Medicaid policies may be less restrictive.
There is of course a lawsuit under way, funded by one of the innumerable illegal-immigration lobbies, to force Grady to go on treating these patients.
Anyone think this situation will improve under Obamacare? Last month the administration lifted the longstanding ban on HIV-positive foreigners immigrating to the U.S.A.
You getting the picture here? The good old U.S.A. is the hospital for the world. If you have some horrid disease and you can't afford to get it treated, hey, come on in! The U.S. taxpayer will pick up the tab. Send us your poor, your huddled masses, your HIV and TB patients, your kidney failure and diabetic sufferers, send them all!
We Americans are so rich, we won't even noticed the expense! We Americans are so healthy, our doctors have plenty of time on their hands to heal all the sick people of the world! Come one, come all — free healthcare from Uncle Sam.
Of course, this doesn't apply if you're a working U.S. citizen. You will have to pay through the nose, sucker.
04 — Healthcare bankruptcies. In fact, while foreign scofflaws and the indigent poor are getting treated free of charge, working and middle-class Americans are being bankrupted by unreimbursed medical expenses.
There were one million and 74 thousand personal bankruptcy filings last year. That includes joint husband-wife filings; the actual number of people involved in the filings was over 1.4 million. That's a 43 percent increase on the previous year.
What contribution medical expenses made to those bankruptcies is a matter of dispute. A 2005 Harvard study came up with half of bankruptcies triggered by medical bills. It also came up with the fact that most bankrupts, including most with big medical debts, did have health insurance coverage at the start of the illness that drove them into debt. Either they subsequently lost their jobs and healthcare, or else they had only partial coverage — 80 percent seems to be common, as do big deductibles.
The conclusions I come to, reading through this data, are as follows.
One: Yoking health insurance to employment may be the stupidest idea we have yet come up with — stupider than the pet rock, stupider than The Gong Show, stupider than No Child Left Behind. Get employers out of this and let's have a free market.
Two: Medical treatment is far more expensive than it needs to be. That's because there is no free market. Doctors and hospitals can charge what they like, knowing a big swathe of the customer base doesn't have to pay. Medicare or Medicaid pays, or some employer group insurance plan with a big tax break pays.
A lot of the actual bills you read about in this material are ridiculous. A hundred and eighty thousand dollars for a knee operation? If I was looking at that, I'd be on the next plane to China, where I could have the thing done by a qualified physician and recuperate in a nice hotel near the beach for a few weeks, and still come home only ten thousand dollars lighter. My Chinese friends already do this.
But if you're rich, or poor, or illegally resident, you don't need to worry about those bills. It's the working middle classes that are getting the shaft here. That's the pattern of our politics: the top and the bottom against the middle.
That's how our parties break too: Democrats are the party of the rich and the poor, Republicans are the party of the middle. Guess who's getting hammered under a Democrat Congress and administration?
05 — "Hunger" in America. Meanwhile, you have to wonder why we have any immigrants at all, legal or otherwise, since the U.S.A. is such a hell-hole of cruelty, poverty, and desperation.
Here are the opening three sentences of an editorial in a respectable newspaper, the Idaho Mountain Express, November 18. First sentence, quote: "An estimated 122 Americans die each day because they lack health insurance and adequate care." Seond and third sentences, quote: "Another estimated 49 million Americans endure hunger. That's one in seven Americans, according to the Agriculture Department."
Good grief! Never mind China, it sounds like I'd be better off in Ethiopia.
The Idaho paper isn't an outlier either; this stuff is all over. Here's Bernd Debusmann reporting for Reuters, a respectable wire service last time I looked, quote:
In the world's wealthiest country, home to more obese people than anywhere else on earth, almost 50 million Americans struggled to feed themselves and their children in 2008. That's one in six of the population. Millions went hungry, at least some of the time. Things are bound to get worse.
And they call me a pessimist!
All this hunger talk has been inspired by a survey on, quote, "household food security," compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and released last week. Ever since this survey came out, the airwaves and public prints have been thick with talk about 49 million Americans going hungry.
Is the Obama administration on the case? You betcha. The ink was barely dry on the USDA report before administration hot shots were holding a conference to, what's the phrase?, oh yes — "address the issue." Address it with what? With — hold on, thumbing through my political phrasebook here — oh yes, a "targeted initiative."
Speaking at the news conference that launched the initiative, we got Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Special Assistant to the President Joshua DuBois, who is a sort of Community Organizer Czar — and who, I can aver with perfect certitude having looked him up and seen his picture, is no relation whatsoever to Blanche DuBois — and Nicola Goren, who basks in the glory of being Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
This grisly pirate crew, whose aggregate lifetime contribution to the productive economy has been, let's see, well, zero — these Three Musqueteers of community activism want to tell us … what?
From the press release, quote:
They made clear the need for immediate action to address hunger and discussed how the administration's new initiative would engage Americans in combating the problem.
So get down to it, Americans, get engaged! One in six of your fellow-countrymen is hungry! Get out of that Barcalounger, go out into the streets of your town — stepping carefully over the scattered corpses of those who have died for lack of medical care — and make your way to the poor part of town. You will soon see that poor neighborhoods are filled with gaunt, skeletal people, moaning for a crust of bread.
Take one of these people into the nearest bodega and buy him a box of Cheezits. It's what your government wants. They may even pay you for your efforts: reports say this new Presidential initiative will cost ten billion dollars from the public fisc.
It would of course be shamelessly cynical of me, and probably racist too, to suggest that the people enriched by those ten billion dollars will not be private charity donors, still less the poor [laugh], but people with job titles like "Community Organizer," "Neighborhood Activist," "Volunteer Services Director," and, well, "Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service."
Ah, what mighty oaks from little acorns grow! … if you catch my drift.
06 — Obama's popularity slides. In the matter of President Obama's popularity, it looks as though the bloom is off the rose. Last week Gallup reported his overall job approval rating as below 50 percent for the first time.
The Gallup numbers also showed a nasty demographic split, with approval at 90 percent among black Americans, 73 percent among nonwhites overall, and a dismal 39 percent among white Americans. I am at a loss to account for the differences there, since, with the great healer and uniter for hope and change in charge, these archaic demographic divisions should be melting away like dew in the morn.
Meanwhile Sarah Palin's approval numbers keep going up. She has a favorability rating of 43 percent in the Gallup poll. It's not fair to compare that directly with Obama's job approval rating, since Sarah doesn't have a job for people to approve of, but it tells you something about the national mood none the less.
Obama's ratings sure prove one thing: that you can't buy popularity, not with other people's money at any rate. Obama's first-year spending dwarfs that of any other President. In inflation-adjusted dollars, it's five times what Eisenhower spent in his first year, with the Cold War at its hottest, and already one-fifth of what Bill Clinton spent in all eight years of his Presidency.
Add to that the total failure of the Obama stimulus to create any significant number of jobs, the endless succession of pictures of Obama genuflecting to foreign monarchs and dictators, the decision to fight the War on Terror with a battalion of ACORN attorneys in the courtrooms of New York, and the multi-trillion-dollar attempt to make our healthcare system even more hospitable to foreign freeloaders and even more of a burden on the middle class, and it's amazing Gallup could find any approval at all.
Well, America, if you will elect a Wonder Boy, this is what happens. Remember which President first got tagged as Wonder Boy? That's right, it was Herbert Hoover. How'd that work out for us?
All is not lost, though. The spot price for gold is nipping at twelve hundred dollars an ounce, forty percent up on when Obama took office, and nearly three times what it was at the 2005 inauguration. So, those of you not too weak from malnutrition to wield a shovel, get yourself some gold bullion and start burying it in the back yard. And if it's cold out there, just set up a brazier, stuff it with dollar bills, and set 'em alight. That'll keep you warm for a while.
07 — Dithering on Afghanistan. Yesterday President Obama had his umpteenth meeting on General McChrystal's request for 40 thousand new troops in Afghanistan. Or was it the 40 thousandth meeting on a request for umpteen troops? I'm losing track.
The Russians had a hundred thousand troops in the place at the height of their effort, and were not operating under the handicap of each military unit having five civil rights lawyers imbedded to make sure terrorists were read their Miranda rights. The Russians were, in fact, operating under no constraints at all. If they thought there were hostiles in a village, they flattened the place and killed all the inhabitants, after first raping all the serviceable females, and such males and livestock as took their fancy.
They had the support of a similarly ruthless Afghan government and some capable local troops, and their effort went on for a decade. What are the odds that our careful, compassionate, non-destructive, over-lawyered operation will work out better than theirs did? I'll give you a hundred to one.
But our political masters tell us there is no alternative. By chasing goat-herds around the Hindu Kush, they say, we ensure that the jihadi terrorists of Hamburg, London, Madrid, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Minneapolis, Fort Hood, Brooklyn, Denver, and other places, will eventually lose heart and stop killing us. We also ensure that the people of Afghanistan will love us more and more, and eventually join in our project to remake their country along lines dictated by the U.S. State Department.
Why wouldn't they? Who could doubt the wisdom of this policy?
08 — We Are Doomed: Foreigners. Now the eighth in Radio Derb's series of readings from the greatest, most literate and incisive conservative book of the decade, We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism.
This is from Chapter 11, where I survey the world from China to Peru and put all those pesky foreigners in their place. This particular passage is from the section on Latin America, where I note the rising tide of activism and political success among indigenous peoples down there. Here we go.
Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela since 1998, got the ball rolling, and [Evo] Morales [of Bolivia] is following in his footsteps — has actually proposed an "Axis of Good" with Venezuela to oppose [quote] "neoliberalism and U.S. imperialism."
09 — Signoff. Short measure this week, folks, as the suits want this tape in the can by midday Wednesday. I hope there was sufficient there to keep optimism at bay over the long holiday weekend. I hope also that those of you not too debilitated by the hunger raging through our land will enjoy a splendid Thanksgiving feast with family and friends.
Now I and my staff are heading up to the grotto for Jonah's Thanksgiving party. Is everyone ready to party? You ready, girls? [Bimbo sounds.] Ready, Pepe? [Pepe sounds.] Ready, Ahmed? [Ahmed: Yes. I am ready to watch the infidels and Jews debase themselves with worldly pleasures.]
Right, whatever. But Ahmed, I'm afraid I must insist you leave the goat behind. Remember what happened last time we had the goat with us in the grotto? They had to take out all the water pumps and disinfect them. We don't want any repetition of that, OK? … Ahmed? … Where's he going? Oh no, he's headed for Mr al-Muhammed's office. Someone go after him, please. They'll be in conference for an hour in there, then we'll get a call from CAIR, and there will go another couple of days' work.
All right, Ahmed, you can bring the goat. It's OK, really. Ahmed, we're fine with the goat … Ahmed …
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]