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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. Greetings, ladies and gentlemen! Radio Derb on the air here, broadcasting from our spacious studio at Buckley Towers in the heart of Manhattan.
This is your inflammatorially genial host John Derbyshire with the news of the hour.
02 — Burn A Koran Day (1): an American original. So we have this pastor in Gainesville, Florida who wanted to stage a public burning of Korans. This is the Rev. Terry Jones, who had declared this Saturday, September 11, as "Burn a Koran Day."
My first gut reaction was pro-Pastor. I nurse a strong romantic affection for the old, weird America, the America of grifters and medicine wagons, freak shows and traveling circuses, blind fiddlers and Mr Bojangles, strange cults and charismatic preachers, sinister goings-on in rustic hollows and dark secrets under the magnolia blossoms. Pastor Jones is right out of that milieu.
In fact when I saw his picture it brought up the mental image I've been carrying around in my head for fifty years of the King in Huckleberry Finn. Remember that?
Huck falls in with these two grifters, a young one and an old one. They tell Huck they are exiled European royalty. Then they cook up a scheme to put on a performance of Romeo and Juliet at some riverside town. The young grifter wants the old one, the King, to play Juliet. The King protests, quote: "If Juliet's such a young gal, Duke, my peeled head and my white whiskers is goin' to look oncommon odd on her, maybe."
The Duke replies: "Don't you worry; these country jakes won't ever think of that." Which, I have often reflected, could be the motto of the Obama administration.
Anyway, here's this Pastor Jones, a real back-country American original. Any time I get to thinking that the old weird America has been killed off for good by the lawyers and accountants and bureaucrats and developers, paved over so we can have more strip malls and big-box stores [Clip: "Welcome to Costco …"] and liberal arts colleges and wind farms, every time I get depressed thinking that, the news turns up some character like Terry Jones to tell me it ain't so. My first gut reaction was therefore to raise a cheer for Pastor Jones.
Then my childhood training kicked in. One of the ground rules for good manners when I was a kid, along with keeping your elbows off the table and not picking your nose in public, was not to insult another person's religion. So then I felt a bit guilty for having cheered on Pastor Jones, who is, in that respect, being ill-mannered.
But then, reflecting further, I remembered how difficult it is ever to get that particular injunction right. Keeping elbows off tables is pretty straightforward; but how do you know when you're insulting someone's religion? It's not easy. You need to have some clue how touchy the religious guy is.
When I tell creationists they've got their biology all wrong, and evolution is about as firmly established as the orbits of the planets, they accuse me of insulting their religion. Seems to me I'm just correcting them on a point of fact, but that's not how it seems to them. People can be more or less touchy about what constitutes their religion.
Muslims, let's face it, are way touchy. I know a lot of Christians, but I'm pretty sure not one of them would be out in the streets of New York protesting if Reuters reported that some mosque in Baluchistan was having a burn-the-Bible day.
The difference undoubtedly arises from the huge inferiority complex nursed by Muslims, none of their civilizations having accomplished anything worthwhile since the ninth century while the Christian world was busy inventing critical philosophy, science, technology, higher mathematics, vaccines, symphonic music, fifteen different styles of architecture and two hundred different styles of dress, the novel, drama, the industrial revolution, representative democracy, constitutional law, team sports that don't involve mutilated goat carcasses, distilled liquor, monogamy, rock'n'roll, gay rights, and a couple of hundred thousand other things of various degrees of amenity.
Not insulting the other guy's religion is hard to stick to when the other guy gets to say what's an insult. For Muslims, pretty much anything short of full submission and conversion seems to be an insult.
So at this point I'm wavering in the middle of the issue: Should I support the Pastor out of old, weird America, just for the personal satisfaction of poking the new, bland America in the eye; or should I strive to live up to the precepts my parents worked so hard to instil in me?
Then the government people started chiming in against Pastor Jones. General Petraeus said the Koran burning would get the ghazis all fired up, fouling our mission in Afghanistan. To which my reaction was: If that's all it takes to foul up our mission, our mission is even more futile than I'd been supposing.
Then on Wednesday we got Eric Holder, who took a break from feeding our Constitution into that shredder he got on loan from the New Black Panther Party to call Pastor Jones' little stunt, quote, "idiotic and dangerous."
Wednesday, Hillary Clinton also stepped up to say, quote:
It's regrettable that a pastor in Gainesville, Fla. with a church of no more than fifty people can make this outrageous and distressful, disgraceful plan and get, you know, the world's attention.
Just savor the condescension there. Would it have been less distressful and disgraceful, Madame Secretary, if the pastor's church had been in Georgetown, Beverly Hills, or the Upper West Side? Would it have been less distressful and disgraceful if his church had a hundred congregants, or a thousand?
Who asked the world to pay attention to Pastor Jones, anyway? Would we pay attention to the aforementioned nutcase in Baluchistan? The Muslim world's paying attention because they greedily seize on any opportunity to take offense, as people with collective inferiority complexes always do. Confident, secure, psychologically well-balanced people don't take violent offense at the drop of a hat.
Then on Thursday the Apologizer-in-Chief spoke up. Said Obama of the pastor, quote:
I hope he understands that what he's proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans, that this country has been built on the notion of freedom and religious tolerance.
So let's see: Here's Pastor Jones with his congregation of fifty, whose religion tells him that Islam is the work of Satan, and that burning its holy book is a righteous act. Total fatalities: 0.
And here's the Muslim world with a congregation in the billions, whose religion tells a sizeable subset of them that flying passenger planes into skyscrapers is a righteous act. Total fatalities: 2,996.
And Pastor Jones is the intolerant one here?
Well, once I knew that Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama were against the Koran burning, I knew I was for it. Burn that book, Pastor!
I'll cut Petraeus some slack, as he's looking out for his guys, which is what I'd want a commander to do; though I'd think better of him if he'd tell his political superiors that if they want a general to direct a mission wasting lives and money to no useful purpose, they should find themselves someone else.
Anyway, bottom line here, By Thursday morning I was ready to stand with Pastor Jones — not to the point of writing him a check, but at least placing the tremendous moral authority of Radio Derb behind his proposed ceremony.
03 — Burn A Koran Day (2): a mean poker player. Then things took an interesting turn. Pastor Jones turns out to play a mean hand of poker.
He set up a meeting with some local Imam, and after the meeting he told the press the Imam would make sure the Ground Zero mosque got moved; and in reciprocation he, Pastor Jones, would call off the Koranicide.
"Whoa, hold on there," said the Imam when he saw the news reports. "I said I'd talk to the New York people and try to get it moved."
Pastor Jones turned up his ace. Speaking of the Imam, he told reporters: "We are just really shocked, He clearly lied to us."
See, you just can't trust those Muslims! Boy, I'd be really careful about riding a raft down the Mississippi with this guy. Unless I was writing a novel, that is.
As Radio Derb goes to tape it's not clear whether the Koran burning will go ahead. The whole episode has been educational, though.
First off, we've seen all the panjandrums of our government telling a private citizen what he may and may not do with his own private property. Now the legal issue there isn't quite trivial. The old principle in Roman law is sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas — "use what is yours in a way that won't injure others." If Muslims in Waziristan, driven crazy by Pastor Jones's Koran burning, massacre local Christians, does Pastor Jones bear some of the responsibility?
I'd say no. If you're talking loudly into your cell phone in a railway carriage and I'm driven so crazy by it I shoot dead anyone I can see with a cell phone, is that your fault? Not in law it isn't. If Muslims go nuts and do atrocious things, they should be punished by the authorities in their jurisdiction. If they go nuts and do atrocious things to us or our national interests, they should be punished by the United States Armed Forces.
And presumably Pastor Jones bought the Korans with his own money. That makes the whole business way more private than the Ground Zero mosque, which will be built with Saudi government money, though the lying hucksters fronting for the mosque of course won't admit it. Who else has 100 million dollars to throw around nowadays? Comparisons between the two situations are therefore highly dubious.
Now the Koran burning idea has caught on. People are announcing Koran burnings all over. Here's a guy named Duncan Philp in Cheyenne, Wyoming, who says he's going to burn a Koran on the steps of the state capitol. If the Capitol police won't let him, he says he'll just rip it up and stuff it in a garbage bin.
Good luck to him! That's the spirit of America! — proud, unruly, contemptuous of authority, and always up for a fight. This country's not dead yet.
We're a tolerant people, but only on fair terms. Islam's entitled to respect, but no more respect than any other religion, and less when they try to use the actions of some lone crank with fifty followers as an excuse for murdering people.
If Muslims want to live in the world with the rest of us, let them acknowledge that their faith is one among many, entitled to no less, but no more, respect than any other. If they can't acknowledge that, let's fence 'em off and keep 'em out.
04 — Phil Davison, Republican hero. Fifty-four days to the midterms, and much speculation from the pundits about how bad this will be for the Democrats. Can't be bad enough, is my opinion; but I'm on the more pessimistic side so far as crushing victory is concerned.
The polls show a lot of disillusionment with Obama and a lot more voter energy on the right than on the left. The Tea Party phenomenon and the widespread support for them testify to that. Try imagining what a leftist Tea Party movement would look like. You can't, because the Tea Partiers are insurgents against an established order, and the established order is leftist.
I'm pessimistic, though, because the fed-upness with Republicans that got us Obama and a Democratic Congress hasn't dissipated. It's still there, and the polls show it. The energy is all anti-administration, not pro-Republican. I'm totally in tune with that — a reluctant Republican voter, with low expectations of a Republican Congress, if we get one.
The idea that there is no energy at all on the Republican side was, however, scotched by Phil Davison of Minerva, Ohio. Phil addressed a hall full of Republican party members the other day in hopes they would select him as their candidate for County Treasurer.
You want energy? Phil's got energy. [Clip: "I have been a Republican in times good, and I have been a Republican in times bad."] Energy is not, alas, the same thing as oratorical skill. [Clip: "Albert Einstein issued one of my most favorite quotes …"] Phil does at least have his metaphors in a row, mind. [Clip: "If nominated tonight …"] He can stir up some audience participation, too. [Clip: "Drastic times call for what? …"] What do you plan to do if you're nominated, Phil? [Clip: "If nominated tonight …"]
Now that's energy! It's almost enough to make you think that the Republican Party in power might be something other than just Democrats Lite. Well, we can always hope.
Unfortunately I have to report that Phil Davison lost his bid to be the candidate for County Treasurer, the Republicans of Stark County apparently preferring someone a little more, well, you know, traditionally Republican. [Snoring sounds.]
I'm going to predict a bright future for Phil, though. If we can get him and Pastor Terry Jones together on the ticket, I'd say we have a sure-fire winner for oh-twelve.
05 — Illegal immigrant kills nun. The more I read about illegal immigration, the angrier I get; and my anger is mostly aimed at our federal government and its shameful dereliction in this matter, across the last three administrations.
Here's the latest outrage: 23-year-old Carlos Montano, an illegal immigrant from Bolivia, was driving drunk August 1st when he collided with a car carrying three elderly nuns. One of the nuns was killed, the other two badly injured.
Not only was Montano drunk, he had no license. His license had been revoked because he had two previous drunk driving convictions. After his second conviction he'd been detained by ICE, the immigration enforcement agency; but they'd let him go pending a deportation hearing.
I have no idea why Montano's case justified a deportation hearing. I do know how he got a drivers license, though: he got it by showing a federally issued work authorization card issued by — wait for it, hold your laughter — the Department of Homeland Security. [Laugh.] Thanks so much for looking out for the security of our homeland, guys.
So here's the drill. You gatecrash our country. The feds shrug and give you a work authorization card. You use that to get a drivers license. You then drive drunk, get arrested and convicted and your license revoked. Nothing deterred, you drive drunk again, get arrested and convicted again. This time you're handed over to ICE. ICE decides that you need a hearing before a judge, maybe in a month or two, possibly a year or two, depending on court schedules.
They release you in the meantime. You get into the car you have no license to drive and head for the nearest shebeen. When comprehensively likkered up, you stagger out, get back in your car, drive off and kill a nun.
Now you're on trial for felony murder. The trial will cost a few hundred thousand. If found guilty, you'll be looking at forty years' porridge, at a cost to Virginia taxpayers north of a million current dollars.
OK, here's my question: HAVE WE GONE RAVING, BARKING MAD? The very instant this guy was known to be illegal, he should have been put on a plane back to Bolivia. Cost to the federal taxpayer: $695, according to CheapFlights.com. Throw in two ICE agents for company, and get them return flights, you're looking at about $2,400. Compared to the previous million and something, I call that a bargain. And look! — no dead nuns!
In the inaugural oath a President swears to, quote, "faithfully execute the office of President of the United States." That should include enforcing federal laws passed by the people's representatives in Congress.
Neither this President nor the previous two has done that in respect of laws concering entry into and settlement in the U.S.A., and that is a shameful disgrace on their names.
Or how about this from the U.S. Supreme Court, quote:
As this Court suggested in Ex parte United States Reports, volume 242, page 27, the power to enforce does not inherently beget a discretion permanently to refuse to enforce.
Translated from lawyer-speak that means: If we the people give the government power to enforce a law, we are not giving them the option not to enforce it.
If the people don't like the immigration laws, let's repeal them. As long as they stand, let's enforce them. And if the authorities won't enforce them, as according to the Supreme Court they are obliged to, let's impeach somebody.
Anyone identified as an illegal resident should be swiftly deported. If he has a case to make, let him make it from his home country, showing up to stand on line and argue his case at the U.S. embassy — just as legal immigrants have to do.
Deport all illegals. Build proper border barriers. Make visa overstay a felony, with a five-year minimum jail sentence, forfeiture of all assets, and permanent exclusion from the U.S.A. thereafter. Let's get serious here.
06 — Afghan corruption. How corrupt is Afghanistan? Well, an outfit named Transparency International, which does a well-respected ranking of countries by level of corruption, rates Afghanistan the most corrupt country in its list except for one. Yes, Afghanistan ranks 179 out of 180, the only country more corrupt than Afghanistan being Somalia.
I got that from a story in the September 4th New York Times. Yep, we're fighting and spending to support a gangster state, than which there is only one more corrupt in the entire world.
Why would we do such a thing? Quote:
The real difficulty, American commanders say, is that taking down the biggest Afghan politicians could open a vacuum of authority. And that could create instability that the Taliban could take advantage of.
On the other hand, it's clear from the Afghans interviewed by this reporter that letting the gangsters stay in power is driving a lot of people to the Taliban in disgust and resentment. If you were an ordinary Afghan, which would be likely to make you anti-American: Some wacky pastor in Florida burning a Koran, or some American-backed mafioso in Kabul looting the bank where you put your life savings?
Somebody please tell me what we think we're doing in that damn country. Somebody tell me why we shouldn't cut a deal with the Taliban and pull out.
07 — Was Ralph Peters right? Here are a couple of immigration stories from Europe.
First one from Italy — or, as we say on Long Island, Iddly. On a 48-hour visit to the nation shaped like a dominatrix's boot, the ineffable Colonel Muammar Gaddafy, President-for-Life of Libya, offered to stop black African illegal immigrants crossing his country to get to Europe.
Said the Colonel at a ceremony in Rome on Monday, with Silvio Berlusconi standing beside him, quote:
Tomorrow Europe might no longer be European, and even black, as there are millions who want to come in. We don't know what will happen, what will be the reaction of the white and Christian Europeans faced with this influx of starving and ignorant Africans.
Gaddafy's offer comes with a price: He wants the Europeans to pay him $6.3 billion to keep the Africans in Africa.
There's an interesting little demographic backstory here. If you look up nation-by-nation total fertility rate figures in the CIA World Factbook, you see that the north African countries — Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya — have low rates by Third World standards. Algeria and Tunisia are actually down at European levels, with total fertility rates 1.79 and 1.72. Morocco's just above replacement at 2.27, and Libya's a healthy 3.08. (Compare the U.S.A. at 2.05, Ireland at 1.85, Norway at 1.78.)
Now look at fertility rates for the layer of black African countries below them, on the other side of the Sahara: Mali 6.62, Chad 5.31, Niger 7.75, Nigeria 4.91. Black Africa is bursting at the seams, and when the seams leak, they leak northwards.
Travelers in Algeria report that towns in the interior of the country that were Arab twenty years ago are now black African. Libya, its slightly healthier fertility rate notwithstanding, is facing the same issue. Earlier this year Gaddafy shut down the offices of the UN High Commission for Refugees in Tripoli, Libya's capital, because he doesn't want the U.N. nagging him about these black African migrants. He wants to deal with them in his own way.
That could mean one of two things: (a) rounding them up and shipping them right back to Chad and Niger, or (b) letting them keep going north to Europe. The Europeans much prefer that Gaddafy take option (a), and if his price is six billion dollars, my guess is they'll pay it.
The second Euro immigration story comes from Germany. Thilo Sarrazin, a board member of Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, has a book out. Name of book: Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab — Germany abschaffts itself. The verb abschafften is translated in my dictionary as "abolish, repeal, abrogate, annul, supersede, disband, do away with" … although I must say I personally prefer abschafften. So this senior banker thinks that Germany is abolishing itself.
How's it doing that? According to Sarrazin, Europe's most energetic economy is being undermined, overwhelmed and, quote, "made more stupid" by poorly educated, fast-breeding, badly integrated and unproductive Muslim immigrants and their offspring.
The German establishment has of course reacted with shock and horror. Chancellor Angela Merkel clutched her skirts, jumped up on the nearest kitchen chair, and screamed Donner und Blitzen! Sarrazin's colleagues at the Bundesbank are pressuring him to resign from the board, and latest reports are that he's agreed to do so.
Sarrazin's had plenty of support among ordinary Germans, though. His book is a best-seller. In a poll published last Sunday Germans were asked whether, if Sarrazin set up a political party, they'd vote for him. One in five said they would. According to a different study from Bielefeld University, one in two Germans thinks there are too many foreigners in their country.
So … Sarkozy in France is banning the burka and expelling gypsies; Berlusconi in Italy is standing there smiling while Gaddafy asks for six billion dollars to prevent Africans crossing the Mediterranean; Geert Wilders' party in the Netherlands is now the third largest in that nation's parliament; and Thilo Sarrazin's got a best-seller on his hands in Germany.
At this point I'm going to ask you to turn to page 216 in your copy of We Are Doomed, which I know is never far from your elbow, where I remind you of the column Ralph Peters wrote in November 2006, predicting that as resentment over immigration rose higher, John Q. European would unleash his inner fascist.
Was Colonel Peters right? This week we're a few yards closer to finding out.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Rodney King — I'm sure we all remember Rodney King — is getting married.
The lucky lady is buxom Los Angelena Cynthia Kelley, who was juror number five in the 1994 civil trial that awarded King 3.8 million dollars damages from the city of Los Angeles. Ms Kelley, the only black juror on the case, claims that it was her vigorous advocacy that got him the award. Quote from her, quote:
During deliberations, the other jurors said, "Let's just award him $100,000, you know he's just gonna blow it anyway."
Now why on earth would anyone have thought that? Well, Rodney seems to have cleaned up his act, and it's a well-known fact that joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons that need no repentance, so here go good wishes to Mr King and Ms Kelley.
Item: Fidel Castro gave an interview to Jeffrey Goldberg of Atlantic magazine in which he seemed to advise other nations not to follow the path of Cuban socialism. Quote:
The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore.
In related news, Robert Mugabe has declared that independence for Zimbabwe was a mistake, the name of the country is to be changed back to Rhodesia, and he hopes Great Britain will send some colonial administrators to govern the place.
Also in related news, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has announced that Mohammed was a deluded schizophrenic who dictated the Koran after a night of heavy drinking.
On hearing of this, Louis Farrakhan announced the disbanding of the Nation of Islam and that he himself has converted to Episcopalianism, changing his name to Lowell J. Prendergast III.
In further related news …
Work may be on its way out, though, at least for a big portion of the populations in advanced countries. The London Daily Mail reports this week that in Britain, one person in five lives in a household where nobody works. Seven point three million children and adults under the age of 65 have no experience of employment.
The British government is mumbling about plans to cut welfare benefits for able-bodies adults not working, but I doubt anything will come of it. The welfare state's too entrenched now, and plainly a nation can get along in fair prosperity while carrying some big portion of its population as useless passengers. The freeloaders make the rest of us mad, but not mad enough to vote in legislators who'd threaten them with hunger and homelessness, which is what it would take to get the freeloaders out working.
It's sad and dispiriting, but that's what we are like now.
Item: Finally, news for bibliophiles: The auctioneer Sotheby's has announced that the world's most expensive book will be going on sale in December.
This is John James Audubon's Birds of America, first published 1827. Last time a copy went on sale it fetched 8.8 million dollars. Audubon traveled across America shooting any birds he saw, then hanging them on bits of wire while he painted pictures of them.
So if you have a few million to spare and would like an original copy of an exceptionally beautiful book, head to Sotheby's before Pastor Jones gets his hands on it.
09 — Signoff. That's it, folks. The weather's cooling here on the right coast, so I'll be heading out to my estates on Long Island to supervise the gardening staff in some end-of-summer tidying up.
My sound engineer Ahmed is already packing up, I see. Where you headed, Ahmed? [Ahmed: "I am going to a barbecue."] Oh, that's nice. Taking a lot of books, though, aren't you? What have you got there? Let me take a look. What's this? … The Book of Mormon … Science and Health … The Holy Bible, hey … Bhagavad Gita … Wow, looks like you're studying up on comparative religion here, Ahmed. Well, enjoy your barbecue.
And listeners, you too enjoy whatever you have planned this first post-summer weekend. Radio Derb will be back with more of the news you need next week.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]