• Play the sound file
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. Radio Derb is on the air, and this is your incommensurably genial host John Derbyshire with the news of the hour.
First, just a very brief diversion. My research assistant Brandy has brought her best friend in to the studio today, and in return for helping me resolve a couple of tricky problems in tensor calculus, I promised to let her address the nation. The young lady's name is Sandy, and here she is. Just talk into the mike here, honey, just put your mouth close to the mike here … no, no, not there, here, this is the mike. That's right.
[Sandy: "I love your show …"]
Well, I guess we have another fan there. Thank you, Ma'am. Er Brandy, why don't you go up to Jonah's suite and see if he's free? You could show Sandy round the grotto. You told her to bring a bathing suit, right? Excellent. Off you go, I'll be up there in half an hour …
Right, on with the show!
02 — Jim Bunning: Hero of the week. Not much doubt about the hero of the week this week. It is of course Jim Bunning, junior U.S. Senator from the state of Kentucky.
Jim Bunning is the congressional lone wolf who stood firm, at least until his congressional colleagues clubbed him into submission, against an unfunded $10 billion spending proposal to extend unemployment benefits, make payments to doctors under Medicare and subsidize satellite TV in rural districts.
The key word there is "unfunded." You have to understand that in the minds of our national legislators, this is 1955. The U.S.A. bestrides the world like a colossus, our roaring productive economy generating such overflowing surpluses of wealth that we can dispatch mighty armies and carrier battle groups to any trouble spot, underwrite any level of guarantees to the old, the poor, and the sick, throw open the nation's doors to illiterate welfare-seekers from Somalia to El Salvador, shower foreign aid on Third World sinkholes, and wave through $10 billion appropriations so that Uncle Ned and Aunt Ellie Mae in the Ozarks can have a satellite dish.
Well, Jim Bunning was actually around in 1955. That was in fact the first year of his career as a pitcher in baseball's major leagues. He knows that now is not then. He knows that today we are a fiscal wreck of a nation, selling food out of our grandchildren's mouths to the Chinese Communist Party in order to keep funding our public-sector pensions, subsidies to favored companies, and futile wars.
Democrats played Bunning's stubbornness as a heartless Republican grinding the faces of the helpless poor. Yet as Senator Bunning is now weary of explaining, he wasn't against the extension of unemployment relief, he was against it being charged on Uncle Sam's way-overextended credit card, a.k.a. the deficit.
In the Senator's own words:
[Clip of Bunning on Neil Cavuto's show: "It wasn't about all the nine different short extenders that were in the bill, because I have voted for them continuously It was about, when I went to the last Budget Committee meeting, and they showed me what the projections were on the deficit, and the Obama budget would add $1.5 trillion to that deficit just next year. And I looked at that, and I looked at my 40 grandkids, and I said, Jim, it's not fair for you to pass that to your children and that to your grandkids, because it's your generation that is spending that money. So, it wasn't about unemployment benefits. It wasn't about a doc fix. It wasn't about satellite television. It was about paying for what we do on the floor of the U.S. Senate."]
Congress paying for what they do! What a concept! Well, as it happens, Jim Bunning declared back in July last year that he won't be running for re-election to his Senate seat this fall.
As it also happens, Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, is running in the May Republican primary for the chance to take Bunning's seat. To his great credit, Paul came out firmly in support of Bunning's stand. So, to his credit, did Mitt Romney, who pointed out that instead of just borrowing another 10 billion from the usual creditors, i.e. our grandchildren, and nations who hate us, we could just use some of the surplus TARP and stimulus money that's sloshing around the basements in Washington D.C.
Much less creditable was the behavior of Jim Bunning's Republican colleagues in the Senate. They put out a lot of squid ink about bad timing and the minutiae of Senate procedural rules and how Bunning wasn't being a good team player. Then they put the full nelson on old Jim.
I'm tempted to make a joke along the lines: What's the difference between a Senate Republican and a weasel? … but perhaps that actual difference here is between a Senate Republican who isn't looking for re-election and a bunch who are.
Meanwhile, did you get that reference to 40 grandchildren? That's even more impressive than taking a stand on government spending. Did the Senator mis-speak? Forty grandchildren? Well, he's been married for 58 years, according to Wikipedia, has five daughters and four sons, so 40 grandchildren is certainly plausible.
Congratulations, Senator, on your efforts to populate 21st-century America. Thanks for taking a stand against the congressional culture of borrow-and-spend. Good luck to Rand Paul in the May primary down there in the Bluegrass State, and an appreciative nod to Mitt Romney for talking good sense about the matter.
Our national politics hasn't totally been taken over by pod people, though it sometimes feels like that.
03 — Perry defeats Hutchison. Speaking of Senators and primaries, we just had a rather unusual primary this week. Not for a Senate race; this was a primary to see who will be Republican candidate for Governor of Texas.
Current governor Rick Perry is going to try for a third term, but he got a primary challenge from Kay Bailey Hutchison, the senior U.S. Senator for the state. Well, they had the primary Tuesday this week, and Perry pulled it off.
That leaves Senator Hutchison in a bit of a quandary. Her current Senate term runs to 2012, and she's declared she won't run for re-election. So she has a range of options, from quitting right now to serving out her full term.
No indication what she will do, as we go to tape here. The main feature of the race was Perry hammering on the Senator as a go-along Washington insider — pretty sound tactics right now, when Washington D.C. ranks a couple of ticks below Pyongyang popularity-wise in the perceptions of American voters.
04 — Healthcare kamikaze. The other big domestic political news is of course the progress of the wretched healthcare bill. It looks as though the administration is going to push it through in defiance of the torpedoes, and of solid public sentiment against it.
Why would Obama do that? Well, he's the President, and he wants two terms. Fast forward a couple of years to the Spring of 2012. We have a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress. The country's looking at a fifth year of stagnation, with out-of-control deficits and debt all the way to the horizon. Not good, Obama-wise.
OK, rewind, now fast-forward again to the same point, but this time imagine a Democratic President and a Republican Congress. The country's looking at a fifth year of stagnation, with out-of-control deficits and debt all the way to the horizon … Still not great Obama-wise, but look! — now he has someone to point the finger at. It's all the fault of those Republicans who control Congress, see?
Obama-wise, this is a much better scenario. But then, why would Democrats in Congress go along with this? Why would they go along with a strategy that means them losing their seats?
Well, let's remember that the Presidency is a patronage machine — now more than ever, with all the Czars and semi-governmental agencies. Taking a bullet for Obama won't hurt so much if you get a nice job offer at FNMA, or a government post as Czar for Bovine Encephalitis Awareness on Native American reservations.
See, it's not really true what you learned in middle school about there being three branches in the federal government. In actual fact there is just the government — an amorphous blob in which it's easy to move from one part to another, and whose boundaries are fuzzy, fading off into the culture of lobbying and government consulting that keeps all those fancy Washington restaurants in business.
So while Obama's frontal assault on his party's popularity may look suicidal, from the point of view of the people concerned, it really isn't. Some of them will have to get new business cards printed up, that's all.
05 — Geert Wilders' preliminary triumph. Overseas, we got some very cheering news from Holland, a.k.a. the Netherlands — news so good, in fact, it stirred to life tiny green shoots in my parched breast, sent a flicker of light through the inspissated gloom of the Derbosphere, sounded a faint cavalry bugle-note from the far distance to watchers on the walls of the beseiged city.
I am of course speaking of the victory of Geert Wilders' Freedom Party in the Netherlands local elections. For that scattered few of you listeners who are not close watchers of Dutch politics, it's dominated, like most north-European politics, by a big center-right party with the word "Christian" in its name and a big center-left party with either "Labor" or "Social" in its name. Voting's by proportional representation, though, so a lot of second-rank and third-rank parties clutter up the political landscape, and the big parties have to cut deals and form coalitions to get anything done.
Well, the latest coalition fell apart two weeks ago over keeping Dutch troops in Afghanistan. There's to be a general election in June. Meanwhile, it happens that local elections were scheduled to be held this week. Geert Wilder's Freedom Party, which is conservative-libertarian but strongly, in fact vituperatively, anti-Islamic, ran candidates in two cities.
One of those cities is The Hague, Holland's political capital; the other is Almere, Holland's eighth-largest city. Freedom Party didn't run candidates elsewhere because, in the first place, it is a new party with a shortage of seasoned candidates, and in the second place, if you become a Freedom Party candidate, you can kiss goodbye to any kind of normal life, and reconcile yourself to 24-hour police protection, spending the night in safe houses, not being able to buy a life insurance policy for any amount of money, and all the other inconveniences attendant upon patriotism in a nation crawling with crazy Islamists regarded with fond paternalistic indulgence by the nation's multi-cultural elites.
Well, here's the good news: following Tuesday's local elections, Freedom is now the biggest party in Almere, and the second biggest in The Hague. Furthermore, polls suggest that in the general election in June, Freedom may emerge as the biggest party in parliament, with 20 percent of the seats. This is a real poke in the eye for the multi-cultis, not just in Holland but everywhere.
The story is still in its early chapters, mind. As I said, nothing much gets done in Dutch politics without deal-cutting compromises and coalitions. It remains to be seen whether Geert Wilders can cut those deals, and whether the multi-culturalist parties will be willing to join with Freedom Party in shutting down Islamic immigration.
Also, Wilders is being prosecuted by the Dutch state on charges that he, to quote from the actual indictment, "in public, orally, in writing or through images, intentionally offended a group of people, i.e. Muslims, based on their religion," end quote. That trial will get going in the summer, after the June 9th general election.
So the leader of what by that time will be a major political party, perhaps even his nation's biggest, will be defending himself in court, charged with offenses against multi-culturalism.
It's going to be an interesting few months in the Netherlands — assuming, of course, that Mr Wilders survives the hit-men from the Religion of Peace. Good luck to him, and congratulations on this victory for sanity in the fields of multiculturalism and immigration policy.
06 — Israel deports illegal immigrants. In those same fields, there have been some modest protests in Israel against the Netanyahu government's policy on non-Jewish guest workers.
Israel is of course a Jewish state, founded by Zionists after centuries of exile and persecution — founded, that is, by Jews who believed that their people were just as entitled to a self-governing homeland as French, Irish, Polish, or Japanese people.
Until recently it was routine for Palestinian Arabs to come into Israel as temporary workers, but that all ended with the Intifada of five to ten years ago, for security reasons. To fill the gap, Israel has been taking in temporary workers from East and Southeast Asia, and has closed its eyes to some illegal immigration from those same places by people overstaying visas.
These visas are issued under strict conditions. It is, for example, technically illegal for migrant workers to have children. Of course you can't enforce a rule like that, so there are now hundreds of children of migrants from countries like Thailand and the Philippines, born and educated in Israel.
The government's saying that they and their families have to leave at the end of this school year. That's the focus of the protests. Netanyahu intends to have all illegal immigrants deported by 2013, and to drastically reduce the number of foreign workers in Israel.
You can see his point. Israel's a prosperous country with a lovely climate. If she opened up to Third World immigration, in a generation or two she'd no longer be a Jewish state, just another rancorous, multi-cultural mish-mash with ethnic groups at one another's throats over state spoils, like … well, I can't think of an example just now. That's not what five generations of Zionists fought and died for.
At the same time, it's hard to see how the few hundred foreign kids currently there could make much difference. As I always say at this point, quoting the late great Enoch Powell: "Numbers are of the essence."
If Prime Minister Netanyahu was inclined to take advice from me, which of course he isn't, I'd say tighten up all you like on any more foreign settlement, Prime Minister, and good luck to you; but let these kids stay.
07 — Europeans want burka bans. More news from the multicultural front abroad, concerning … broads.
French president Nicholas Sarkozy wants a burka ban. The people of France are pretty solidly behind him: Seventy percent of them also want a burka ban.
How do other Europeans feel? The Financial Times commissioned a survey. In Italy, 63 percent favor a ban; in Spain, 65 percent. When you get out of the Latin zone the numbers drop, but not by much: Britain 57 percent, Germany 50 percent. In the United States only 33 percent want a ban; in China, which for some reason was the other country polled, it's 27 percent.
Where does Radio Derb stand on this? Totally opposed. Let people wear what they like, within the wide bounds imposed by customary modesty. Lifestyle-wise, Radio Derb trends libertarian.
However, for the full subtlety of our view, I refer you to my December 2006 column titled "Libertarianism in One Country." Bottom line: You can practice a wide degree of liberty only within secure borders. The stronger the nation's borders, the lower the numbers of foreigners admitted for settlement, the freer we can be inside our borders.
If, on the other hand, you permit mass immigration from wildly different cultures, you will be introducing many new frictions into your society, and you will need new laws, restraints, and controls to keep those frictions manageable.
So here's Radio Derb's position: Severely restrict immigration from places where women wear burkas, and ask burka-ed non-citizens to leave. Then let everyone dress as they please. Libertarianism stops at the border.
08 — Student strike in California. The state of California sank to its knees Thursday this week as a state-wide strike by students brought economic activity to a halt. Stores and offices were shuttered, production lines stood still and silent, ships drifted listlessly at anchor in the harbors, and the only thing moving along those majestic California freeways was tumbleweed.
Yes, this was the Strike and Day of Action in Defense of Public Education. To quote from the New York Lefty Times, quote:
Angered by increases in tuition and budget-related cuts in government financing, students and faculty members at California public schools and colleges planned protests across the state on Thursday.
The protests duly took place, shutting down those courses in media studies, post-colonialist discourse, educational sociology, feminist jurisprudence, poetry of the Nicaraguan Revolution, and Queer Legal Studies that are the economic and cultural lifeblood of the nation.
Attempting to forestall the catastrophic work [laugh] stoppage, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenwuss met with strike leaders on Wednesday. Quailing in terror at the prospect of California's industrial might being crippled by the student walkout, the girly governor whimpered that, actual quote, "The layoffs and increased class sizes at state schools are terrible." The bottom line, squeaked Governor Milquetoast, was that, quote again, "they need much more money."
Of course they do! But then, so does California itself. The Golden State is looking at a $20 billion deficit this year. After decades of ever-expanding public employment and openness to unskilled, unschooled Mexican immigrants who need public services in health, education, policing, and corrections but who don't earn enough to pay taxes, California is in a deep fiscal hole.
The rest of the nation, for reasons Californians cannot understand, is unwilling to bail them out via federal taxes. Californians face the appalling prospect of having to live within their means, which may even mean that the spoiled brats of the Golden State may have to pay more for their B.A. in Chicano studies.
What a disaster! Or, as they say in California, ¡Qué horor!
I know that your heart bleeds for these struggling students, gentle listener, just as much as mine does. If not more!
09 — Miscellany. And now, Radio Derb's traditional closing miscellany of brief items.
Item: Here in New York State, every time we think nothing could possibly get worse in the state government, another floor joist gives way.
It's not quite two years since the resignation of our state Governor, Eliot Spitzer, following revelations about his addiction to high-priced whores. Governor Dave Paterson took over.
Paterson seems not to share Spitzer's fascination with fishnet stockings and hourly rates, but he has managed to get himself under investigation by, latest count, six different agencies, to wit, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan, the state Inspector General's Office, a state Commission on Public Integrity, the Albany County District Attorney, and the state Attorney General.
That's five, what's the other one? Oh yes — the Bronx D.A. The main charges are: corrupt awarding of contracts, using state law enforcement to cover up for criminal friends and staffers, and soliciting free World Series tickets then lying under oath about it.
It looks as though Paterson will step down any day now. The rate we're getting through governors here, pretty soon New York State could run out of politicians. Wouldn't that be a terrible thing! It really doesn't bear thinking about.
Item: Also in New York, in New York City in fact, Ahmad Wais Afzali, Imam of a radical mosque — pardon my pleonasm — here in the city, has pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI.
This concerns one of Mr Afzali's congregants, Najibullah Zazi, who pleaded guilty last month to plotting bomb attacks on city subways. The Imam told Zazi the feds were on to him; then, when interrogated by the feds, denied having done so.
Afzali comes from Afghanistan, and now faces deportation, a prospect that he says terrifies him, quote: "I just signed my death sentence. I grew up here. I barely speak my own language."
Yeah, well, you'll soon get the hang of it, pal. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
Item: Spot quiz: Who said the following thing, quote:
At some point there has to be parity between what's happening in the real world, and what's happening in the public-sector world. The money doesn't grow on trees outside government buildings. It comes from the hard-working people of our communities, who are hurting right now.
So which figure from the far-out political fringe said that? Ron Paul? Michael Savage? Ludwig von Mises? Me? No, that was the Governor of New Jersey, recently-elected Chris Christie. He was commenting on a recent settlement between Marlboro Township in central New Jersey and the local teachers' union, where the teachers got a five-year contract with four and a half percent annual raises and of course zero contribution to their extravagant health benefits, while the parents of their students are losing their jobs and houses.
Chris Christie sounds like a [shriek] conservative. I can't resist quoting a bit more from him — this was actually a speech he gave to a gathering of New Jersey mayors. Quote:
All of you know in your heart that what I am saying is true. You know that we can't afford these raises that are being given to public employees of all stripes. You know the state can't continue to spend money it doesn't have. And you know that the appetite for tax increases among our constituents has come to an end.
Wow. Can you really talk like that in public in America? Better watch out, Chris, Eric Holder might be listening.
Item: Iraq is having a parliamentary election this Sunday, and good luck to them.
Personally I'd rather we'd just replaced the hostile dictator with a friendly dictator and saved the trillion dollars and 4,380 dead Americans it took to coax the Iraqis to this point, but hey, what's done is done. Iraq's still a mess, and five'll get you eight it'll be a way bigger mess after we pull our last guys out, assuming we ever do.
It's a cliché but it's true: The age of world politics being dominated by rivalry between big, civilized nations is over. The world politics of this century will be dominated by failed barbarous states making a nuisance of themselves to civilized peoples, and by the responses of civilized states to that.
The civilized world has a learning curve to climb, and the best face I can put on the Iraq War is that we maybe advanced a few steps up the curve.
"Experience is a dear teacher," said Benjamin Franklin, "but fools will learn at no other." Iraq made fools of a lot of us. Let's hope we learned something.
Item: Who's this smiling out at me from my New York Post? Why, it's the Reverend Doctor Jeremiah Wright, Jr.
You remember him: that radical Chicago pastor who believes that "white folks' greed runs a world in need," and with whom Barack Obama, in his own Chicago days, was only very, very slightly acquainted, and most certainly never paid the slightest attention to any of the pastor's inflammatory sermons.
Well, what's Rev'm Wright been up to? Seducing another parishioner's wife? Calling on the Almighty to damn America some more? Using church funds to build himself another twelve-bedroom mansion in a white part of town? Partying with Muammar Gaddafi again?
None of the above. Rev'm Wright has a new book coming out, title A Sankofa Moment. What's a sankofa moment? Ah, well, you'll have to buy the book to find out. It's what in the book trade is called a teaser title, see?
Anyway, Rev'm Wright is being honored at a super-duper book event in Chicago this evening, Friday March 5th, as one of three, quote, "living legends." The other two are those giants of America's spiritual life, Louis Farrakhan and Michael Pfleger. The venue is the Regal Theater, 1645 East 79th Street in Chicago, and the reception begins at 6 pm. General admission is $40, VIP admission $100.
Among the VIPs who will not be attending, I confidently predict, will be the President of the United States, who barely knew Rev'm Wright, donated only some spare change to Rev'm Wright's church, probably in error, and certainly never took a phrase from one of Rev'm Wright's sermons as a title for one of his own books.
Item: Some numbers here from a Rasmussen poll just published, in which people were asked about their attitudes to illegal immigration.
To the question: "Are illegal immigrants a significant strain on the U.S. budget?" 67 percent of respondents said yes, only 23 percent said no. "Does the availability of government money and services draw illegal immigrants to the United States?" A similar 66 percent said yes, only 19 percent no. "Is gaining control of the border more important than legalizing the status of illegals already living here?" 68 percent yes, 26 percent no.
And yet, when respondents were asked if they thought Congress will take action to control the border this year, 71 percent said no. In other words, people overwhelmingly believe that Congress will not do what the people want done.
That 71 percent, by the way, is the same as the number saying that Congress is doing a bad job overall. November promises to be very interesting.
10 — Signoff. That's it, listeners — another week, another step closer to the promised land of Cuban-standard healthcare.
Speaking of healthcare: Many listeners have emailed in to express concern for Pépé, our mixed-race, transgendered, strabismus-afflicted, undocumented immigrant diversity four-fer, who as I previously reported has undergone an unspecified operation at an upstate clinic.
We still don't know the exact nature of the operation, but I'm assured that Pépé is recovering well and will soon resume his duties here at Radio Derb.
Meanwhile Ahmed, our token Muslim, has things well in hand, and is taking over more and more of the sound production for the show. [Ahmed in background chanting the Islamic call to prayer.] So … this is your multi-culturally genial host John Derbyshire signing off for another week.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]