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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your diffidently genial host John Derbyshire with a round-up of the week's news, courtesy of Taki's Magazine.
We are broadcasting to you as usual from our island outpost here in the sun-bathed Aegean, where Taki Theodoracopulos has very generously equipped a state-of-the-art recording studio overlooking the beach.
Listeners have expressed some surprise that I did not bring Mrs Derbyshire out here to join me on the island. Well, my dear wife has her own social circle back in Long Island, and was reluctant to leave her friends and activities for these comparatively backward and tranquil parts. Taki flies me home once or twice a month, so we are not entirely separated; and when I'm away and Mrs Derbyshire is not socializing, I have instructed Miguel the pool boy to keep a protective eye on her. These arrangements seem to be working pretty well, so listeners should set your hearts at rest so far as my personal circumstances are concerned.
Now, I just need my notes on the week's news, and we'll be under way. Ah, here's my research assistant Brandy, all flushed and glowing in her bikini. I should explain that the girls have been inspired by watching the London Olympics to take up beach volleyball. So that's what they've been doing all day long, playing with some lads from the village — with breaks, I hope, to research some news items for me to report on.
Er, Brandy, do you have this week's script for me? [Brandy: "Yep, here you go."] Thank you, my dear. Now you'd better get back to the beach, or the air conditioning in here might give you a chill, what with you being so sweaty and all … [Brandy: "Okey dokey."] They are so professional, my girls.
OK, here we go.
02 — Paul Ryan: The economy? The National Question? One out of two ain't bad. Well, well; the Romney campaign totally outfoxed us there. You'll recall my Vice Presidential speculations last week, centering on David Petraeus, Tim Pawlenty, and Rob Portman.
Well, it turns out that Petraeus was a brilliant fake by the Romney people to distract us from the guy Romney had already settled on as a running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
What does Radio Derb have to say about that? A "hmm," followed by an "oh, well," followed by a "hey."
To get cosmetic matters out of the way first: I watched Paul Ryan speak at a CPAC dinner back in February. He spoke well and vigorously, and got the CPAC crowd stirred up. As an orator, I'll score Ryan seven out of ten. Since Mitt Romney's no better than a four, Ryan raises the oratorical standard of the Republican campaign considerably.
Issue-wise, Ryan's a mixed bag. I thought Dan Poole's essay at Examiner.com caught the mixture very nicely. The essay's titled "The Positives and Negatives of Paul Ryan." It's on www.examiner.com, dated August 11; if you google that title it'll come right up.
As Dan says, there are two great problems facing the U.S.A., an economic question and a national question.
The economic question is: What can we do about the coming tsunami of entitlements spending, which, if we don't do anything, will swallow up the entire federal budget before 2030?
The national question is: What can we do about the continuing tsunami of immigrants, in numbers far greater than we can assimilate or have economic need for, selected in no rational way at all (mostly just by being the relative of someone already settled here), often bearing religions or ideologies deeply hostile to our nation's founding principles; which, if we don't do anything, will turn us into a northern version of Brazil, or a transatlantic version of Yugoslavia, before 2030?
On the economic question, Ryan is as good as it gets. Economists tell me that his budget plans are timid by comparison with what needs to be done; but they're still breathtakingly bold by the standards of current political discourse, which mainly revolves around how to shovel ever more money to ever more interest groups.
On the national question, Ryan is clueless. The immigration-analysis group NumbersUSA, which monitors all the congresscritters, gives him a career grade of C. Ryan has shown some flashes of sense, on border control and the so-called "refugee" rackets, for example; but he's nowhere on chain migration, amnesty, or the H-1B scam.
As Dan Poole says, one out of two ain't bad. At least Ryan isn't a neocon shill like Rob Portman — a career F-minus on immigration — or an ethnic huckster like Marco Rubio.
It could have been better. Rand Paul would have been better; Michele Bachmann would have been better; Kris Kobach would have been way better.
Given Romney's own general position, though — the position my witty colleague Peter Brimelow calls "the extreme center," it wasn't realistic to hope for a Bachmann, a Paul, or a Kobach. Willard just doesn't have that much imagination.
Yes, it could have been better; but it could have been way worse. And this is only the Vice Presidential slot, after all — the position that one previous holder of it is usually quoted as having described as "a bucket of warm spit," although those weren't his precise words.
And carp as we may at his positions, Ryan is at least a serious man who has serious thoughts. He's not just a buffoon, a clown, a joke. He's not just a walking embarrassment even to his own party.
That's what in show business they call a segue …
03 — Joe Biden's gaffe-o-rama. Yes, the topic here is the other half of the Vice Presidential equation, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.
I've heard various theories about why Biden got picked as Barack Obama's running mate in '08. The most popular is, that he happened to be walking past David Axelrod's office door just as that gentleman decided that the ticket needed an old white guy who knew his way round Congress to balance off the young-looking half-black guy who hadn't yet located the Senate men's room.
That's the most popular theory. The most scurrilous theory is, that Obama's people wanted cast-iron insurance against assassination attempts. You be the judge.
Biden first came to my attention during his Presidential run in 1988, when he plagiarized some lines from Neil Kinnock, a left-wing British politician. Kinnock himself was a bit of a buffoon, not taken seriously by anyone much in the Mother Country; so plagiarizing from him was like stealing lunch money from a ten-year-old. I was not impressed.
Neither was America: Biden's 1988 campaign crashed and burned, with an assist from some little pork pies he was found to have told about his academic record.
Biden ran for President again in 2008 with a comparatively more polished performance, and ended up Vice President, in which post he has spent three and a half years doing what left-liberal politicians do: Making speeches about how middle-class he is, how his party stands up for the little guy, and how humble his origins were, while in between speeches retiring to his 2.9 million dollar house in Wilmington to attend to his multi-million-dollar investment portfolio.
Yeah, yeah, I know, Paul Ryan's worth a bundle, too — reported assets somewhere between two and seven million. He's a Republican, though; they're supposed to be rich.
Democrats are the party of the little guy. It's amazing how many of them manage to parlay their concern for the little guy into sensational wealth. Nancy Pelosi's worth 26 million; Hillary Clinton 85 million. It's no crime to be rich; it's just a bit odd when you're out there as a spokesperson for the huddled masses.
Well, this week Biden got himself into a spot of bother. Talking to a mostly-black crowd of Obama supporters in the South Tuesday, he put on his best Uncle Remus black voice and told them that Mitt Romney wants to, quote, "put y'all back in chains, yo." (I'm not certain about that terminal "yo," but it was along those lines.) Then he assured the crowd that, quote, "With your help, we can win North Carolina again." That was a bit unfortunate, too, as the meeting was actually taking place in Virginia.
That was Tuesday. Wednesday Biden had figured out what state he was in, but forgotten which century. He asked a different crowd rhetorically, quote: "Where is it written that we cannot lead the world in the 20th Century in making automobiles?"
So by week end the nation was abuzz with speculation that Obama might drop Biden from the ticket, with Hillary Clinton as most-favored replacement. How realistic that is, I couldn't say: but if Biden gets dropped, there'll be a lot of heartbroken Republicans out there — Republicans, I mean, who've been looking forward with much glee to the prospect of Biden debating Paul Ryan on TV this fall.
04 — Election: polls & prospects. So where are we going with this election in November?
Depressing to report, Barack Obama's looking good for re-election. He's polling ahead of Romney in several key states: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Colorado.
Romney still has a slight edge in Florida, though, in spite of predictions that Paul Ryan's record of pushing Medicare reform might turn off all the geezers down there. Pollsters tell us that geezers nationwide had already discounted Romney as much as they were going to on the Medicare issue, so the Ryan pick made no difference.
And speaking as a geezer myself, I think you'll find that geezers in the generality are more willing than younger voters to make some modest sacrifices for the nation their children and grandchildren will inherit, provided the sacrifices are fair and competently managed. Sure Medicare's a big issue; but the people it's a big issue for are more thoughtful and patriotic than the average.
The good news is that Obama's poll numbers are trending downwards, while Romney's are trending upwards. I still think this is Romney's to lose. You look at Romney-Ryan, you think: serious, competent. You look at Obama-Biden, you think: well, they'll keep the handouts coming.
For a lot of people, of course, the handouts are all that matters. That's why percentages in the mid-forties are still polling for Obama. There are enough of the rest of us, though, to swing this election, unless events intervene.
That may be the crucial qualifier. If the Euro collapses, if Israel gets into a shooting war, if North Korea does something bonkers, if China hits the economic wall, who knows where we might be in November? Fingers crossed.
05 — Southern Poverty Law Center whips up hate against "hate.". When is a shooting by a left-wing nutcase newsworthy? Hardly ever; or if it is unavoidably newsworthy, the fact of its being a leftist pulling the trigger has to be played down as much as possible.
That's why less than five percent of Americans know that John F. Kennedy was murdered by a communist.
Well, the shooting at the Family Research Council in Washington on Wednesday was not unavoidably newsworthy, so it's being stuffed down the memory hole as fast as the mainstream media can stuff. Reason being, the shooter was a leftist.
The Family Research Council is a conservative organization promoting traditional biological mating and opposing the normalization of homosexuality. The shooter on Wednesday, 28-year-old Floyd Lee Corkins II, is known to have volunteered recently at a Washington, D.C. community center for homosexuals.
On Wednesday Corkins showed up in the lobby of the Family Research Council offices in Washington, said "I don't like your politics," pulled a 9mm handgun from his backpack, and opened fire, wounding a security guard in the arm.
An odd little sidebar here is that Corkins was holding a Chick-fil-A takeout bag when he entered the building, presumably so that the FRC people would figure he was of the same mind as themselves on homosexual marriage.
A secondary villain in this little drama is the so-called Southern Poverty Law Center, a leftist money racket based in Montgomery, Alabama that has made its principals rich beyond the dreams of avarice by flooding Jewish retirement communities in Florida with mailers telling Uncle Max and Aunt Bertha that if they don't get their checkbooks out right now, the Cossacks will be kicking down their doors before nightfall.
That the Southern Poverty Law Center is a shameless money racket is not just my opinion, and not even just the opinion of conservatives. The American Institute of Philanthropy, for instance, publishes a Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report, rating charities by how much of their donations they actually spend on their stated mission, as opposed to executive salaries and benefits. The last rating I can find for Southern Poverty Law Center, for 2009, is an F.
And here's a piece by Ken Silverstein in the liberal Harper's magazine, March 2007, longish quote:
Back in 2000, I wrote a story in Harper's about the Southern Poverty Law Center of Montgomery, Alabama, whose stated mission is to combat disgusting yet mostly impotent groups like the Nazis and the KKK. What it does best, though, is to raise obscene amounts of money by hyping fears about the power of those groups; hence the SPLC has become the nation's richest "civil rights" organization. The Center earns more from its vast investment portfolio than it spends on its core mission, which has led Millard Farmer, a death-penalty lawyer in Georgia, to once describe Morris Dees, the SPLC's head, as "the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement" (adding, "I don't mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye").
End longish quote.
I once had lunch with some lawyers in Montgomery, guys who worked for the state Attorney General in a cramped little building next to the SPLC's extravagant multi-storey headquarters. Their joke was, that they worked in the shadow of poverty.
And as my friend Steve Sailer has written:
The Southern Poverty Law Center has worked tirelessly to eradicate the last vestiges of poverty, Southern or otherwise, in the lifestyle of founder Morris Dees.
Indeed: back in March 2010 the Montgomery Advertiser ran a 60-photograph feature on the home Morris Dees shares with his wife Susan Starr. If you'd like to see that feature for yourself, go to the transcript of this broadcast on my personal website www.johnderbyshire.com, the "Opinions" section, subsection "Radio Derb," and there's a link in the transcript. Check it out. Poverty has been very, very good to Morris Dees and his pals at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Well, what the Southern Poverty Law Center does, one of the things it does, is publish lists of "hate groups." These lists are quite carefully constructed. They contain a thin scattering of black radical outfits like the New Black Panther Party, for instance. That's just camouflage, though. If you browse through SPLC literature, you very quickly see that their real targets are anyone at odds with the left-liberal consensus, whether there's evidence of actual hate or not.
The Family Research Council, for instance. The FRC is staffed by a mild-mannered bunch of middle-aged, middle-class types, devout Christians for the most part, who want to preserve the traditional family. I seriously doubt that any of them hate anybody. There they are in Morris Dees' lists of "hate groups," though, jumbled in there with Aryan Nation and the New Black Panthers, with tattooed skinheads and jackbooted dope dealers.
The presumption is that that's where Floyd Lee Corkins found them, and that SPLC propaganda may have played some part in inciting him to his armed attack. The SPLC is denying this for all they're worth, but it's not implausible and they don't really know.
If you go around tagging people you disagree with as intolerant "haters," you really shouldn't be too surprised when people on your side take you literally.
06 — Janet Napolitano's DHS — No Guys Need Apply. Janet Napolitano, our extremely feminine Secretary for Homeland Security, is having a spot of personnel bother in her department.
James Hayes, a senior investigator for ICE — that's Immigration and Customs Enforcement, one of the agencies within DHS — James Hayes filed a discrimination lawsuit back in May against our winsome DHS Secretary, charging that she pushed him aside to make way for a much less qualified person, name of Dora Schriro, a person of the female persuasion with whom, Mr. Hayes claims, Napolitano has, quote, "enjoyed a long-standing relationship." Mr. Hayes wants three million dollars in damages.
That's just the beginning of the story. A few weeks after Mr Hayes filed his papers, another ICE employee, Jason Mount, filed suit against the blushing Ms Napolitano for passing him over for promotion in favor of a less well-qualified candidate: Linda Hunt, another Gyno-American. Mr Mount's suit charges, quote, "severe and pervasive retaliation and discrimination" against males in the Department.
James Hayes' lawsuit further charges that the Secretary's chief of staff, Suzanne Barr — yet another person whose jacket has buttons down the left and buttonholes down the right — Ms Barr, he says, committed numerous acts of, quote, "sexually offensive behavior" intended to, quote, "humiliate and intimidate male employees."
Reporters tracked Ms Napolitano down to a softball game in Fairfax County, but she would only say: [gruff voice] "It's all hogwash! If that Hayes weenie comes near me, I'll knock his goddam teeth out." Then she climbed on her motorcycle and roared away down Arlington Boulevard.
07 — Bloomberg, Murdoch want cheaper help. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been talking immigration. This was at a forum in Boston organized by an outfit called The Partnership for a New American Economy.
If you google that name, you'll quickly get the idea. The Partnership is a coalition of ethnic lobbies, pandering politicians, and seekers of cheap labor.
Just look at the list of principals on that website. Steve Ballmer of Microsoft and Bill Marriott of Marriott hotels — there's two cheap-labor heavyweights right there. Microsoft is notorious for never paying an American wage rate when they can get an immigrant from Bangalore at half the price.
Then a bunch of mayors: Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Julian Castro of San Antonio, Antonio Villaraigosa of L.A. You could hardly find a bunch of people more hostile to white American-born workers.
Well, what do they have to tell us? Bloomberg told the forum that America's economic future depends on, quote, "immigration reform" — which in Bloombergspeak means open borders. Quote from Mike, who probably thinks he's paying too much for domestic help, quote:
People don't come here to put up their feet and collect welfare.
Immigrant households' use of the welfare system remains higher than that of natives for most programs … Mexican and Dominican households have welfare use rates that are much higher than natives — even higher than for refugee-sending countries like Russia and Cuba.
And then Rupert Murdoch, who was also present. Quote from him:
It takes a little courage but it can be done. Just tear up the spreadsheets and just do it.
Translation: Never mind the boring old data and statistics on which immigrants, with which skill sets, from which countries, are likely to benefit this country. Just open the damn borders.
Further quote from Murdoch, quote:
An immigrant is more likely to start a small business than a non-immigrant.
Flat wrong, Mr Murdoch. Quote from a different CIS report, quote:
If one removed immigrants from the data, the overall rate of self-employment in the United States would be about the same.
This is not 1910. We have a welfare state and 8.3 percent unemployment. My healthy, capable, 17-year-old son could not find a summer job.
The U.S.A. is a nation, and the leaders of this nation owe their first responsibility to the people of this nation. We have all the talent we need and all the entrepreneurship we need.
If Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch want domestic help, let them hire Americans. If Steve Ballmer wants programmers and Bill Marriott wants room service waiters, let them cast down their buckets where they are. If Michael Nutter, Julian Castro, and Antonio Villaraigosa want more headcount in their cities to boost federal aid, let them strive to make their cities more liveable for Americans.
The hell with these self-serving scam artists. Immigration reform? I'm for it. Let's reform our immigration laws to look like Japan's, or Israel's. Now that would be immigration reform!
08 — Out of the shadows, up to the head of the line. It's hard to see what Bloomberg and Murdoch are grumbling about anyway, even from their point of view. Actual current U.S. immigration policy is already wellnigh Bloombergian. We have open borders. We have amnesty. Enforcement of the people's laws on immigration has been gutted by the Obama administration.
This stark fact was on open and blatant display in major cities on Wednesday, as hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens came — what's the expression? — oh yes: "out of the shadows" to claim their new set of privileges under Barack Obama's program of deportation deferrals and work permits for illegals.
This is the program Obama couldn't get through Congress, so he just implemented it by executive order. We don't need no steenkin' legislation!
I wish I could tell you that the Republican opposition in Congress, and the presumptive Republican candidates for President and Vice President, were outraged by this Presidential usurpation, and moved to impeach the President. Of course, I can't tell you any such thing. Neither Romney nor Ryan uttered a peep, and congressional Republicans were hiding under their desks.
And of course, the first thought of any respecter of our laws, looking at the news pictures of those massive crowds of illegals in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York, and elsewhere, must have been: Where is ICE? The job of law enforcement is to arrest, detain, and humanely deport illegal aliens back to their home countries. Why were they not doing this? If the laws on entry to our nation don't mean anything, may we please see a list of which other federal laws don't mean anything? It would be nice to know.
And the estimates of the numbers eligible for this amnesty keep going up. When Obama announced it in June, the supposed number was 800 thousand. The latest I've seen is 1.7 million. Next stop two million, three million, who knows?
And that's before the news gets out among illegals — and Mexicans in Mexico too — that verification leaks like a sieve. I've dealt with the immigration authorities. I know how understaffed, slow and inefficient they are.
These hundreds of thousands in our news photographs: they are all going to be properly processed? Their backgrounds and supporting documentation properly checked? "Yes, Señor, my mother carried me across the border on her back when I was just three years old. Evidence? Well, no. I mean, there wasn't anyone taking a video of it, ha ha ha."
And then, since the deferrals are temporary and have to be reviewed after two years, we're supposed to believe that after this two, three million, whatever, have all been thoroughly vetted and processed, it's all going to be done again two years down the road? Who believes this nonsense? Who on earth believes it?
And what are we getting here? The New York Post interviewed three out of the crowd. Yenny Yanaylle, 20 years old, an illegal alien from Peru, says, quote, "I want to be a psychologist and a social worker. I want to help my people." So she hopes to end up on the public payroll, then.
Juan Fernandios, 30, an illegal from Chile, hopes to become an EMT or a nurse. In our mostly-socialized healthcare system, most of his wages will come from Medicare and Medicaid.
Antonio Alarcon, 18, a Mexican, wants to become a journalist. He already has an internship at the Spanish-language TV network Univision, who are of course breaking the law by hiring him.
A social worker who wants to help "her people" — who are they, I wonder? — a nurse, and a Spanish-language journalist. Very enriching. Where are those entrepreneurs Bloomberg promised us?
09 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: During WW2 British towns and cities all had what was called "the blackout" — nobody was allowed to show any lights at night-time, for fear of giving guidance clues to German bombing planes. My mother was working as a nurse in an eye hospital. Most of her work involved dealing with people who'd injured their eyes by walking into lamp-posts and utility poles in the dark.
Well, if dear old Mum were still alive, she could set up shop in Jerusalem. A sect of ultra-orthodox Jews in that city has taken to wearing special glasses that blur one's sight, so that orthodox men won't be distracted by sexy women when out walking in the street.
Possibly our own President and Attorney General are wearing something similar, so that they won't be distracted by inconvenient laws.
Item: In military jargon, "friendly fire" casualties are called "blue on blue." When you're gaming a strategy or setting up a training exercise, the enemy is always red, your own forces are blue, so "blue on blue" means your own forces attacked themselves by mistake.
Now we're hearing a related bit of jargon: "green on blue." That's when foreign forces supposed to be friendly to you, attack you. It's been happening a lot in Afghanistan.
Just last week, an Afghan security commander invited four U.S. special forces guys to a Ramadan dinner. Once they were seated and at ease, he opened fire, killing three.
Then, four days after that, the Taliban released a video of an Afghan Army soldier returning to his village after murdering American troops. He got a rapturous reception. "The Americans have occupied our country," he explained. "They are enemies of our religion." Clear enough.
Once again, for the umpteenth time in several years of asking: Will someone please tell me what the hell we are doing in that godforsaken place?
Item: Radio Derb has been covering the strange stories of former congressman Anthony Weiner, who tweeted images of his intimate equipment to female admirers, and his wife Huma Abedin, who somehow became the closest adviser and confidant of our nation's Secretary of State without any of the normal security vetting.
Well, it gets stranger. Only one of this pair is in paid employment, remember. That would be Mrs Weiner, whose salary is $155,000 per annum. Now we learn that the couple are living in a $3.3 million luxury apartment on New York City's Park Avenue, market-rate rent at least $12,000 a month.
So if they're paying rent, that would consume their entire family income. They're not, of course. The apartment is owned by Jack Rosen, friend of the Clintons and mega-donor to the Democratic Party. You know, the party of the little guy.
Ah, politics. As a salaried federal official, Huma Abedin is of course highly restricted on receiving gifts … but in these lawless times, who's going to call her on that? Mitt Romney? [Laughter.] He's got his special glasses on, can't see a thing.
Item: Cornell University has a new visiting scholar: Hip-hop DJ Afrika Bambaataa, originally Kevin Donovan of the South Bronx.
Mr Bambaataa — it's a double "a" then another double "a" — Mr Bambaataa will, we are told, "visit Cornell several days each year to talk to classes and perform the music he helped create."
Undergraduate tuition at Cornell runs $43,185 a year.
Item: Do you have friends? I hope so. I have a few that I love and cherish.
Well, here's a guy we should all wish to have as a friend, a guy who's setting a high bar: Richard Hudspith of the little town of Haverhill in southern England.
Mr Hudspith is partner with his best friend Adrian Bayford in a little business in that town — a music shop. Well, this week Mr Bayford won the European lottery: £148 million, which is close to a quarter of a billion — "billion" with a "b" — dollars.
In a spirit of friendship and generosity, Mr Bayford offered one million to his buddy, Mr Hudspith. Mr Hudspith said: "Nah, you're all right. I have all I need. You and your wife just enjoy yourselves. I'll take care of the shop."
I call that real strength of character — and the kind of friendship no amount of money can buy.
10 — Signoff. There you have it, folks: another week trudging through this fallen world, with no relief from the encircling gloom except for endless warm sunshine, scented breezes, warm blue waters, and frolics on the beach with my bikini-clad young research assistants. Yep, this is a vale of tears all right.
And with an extra faint cast of sadness this week. You know what I'm talking about — well, if you're my generation, you know. Yes: Thursday was the 35th anniversary of the passing of Elvis Presley.
Who that was alive and sentient can forget where he was and what he was doing when he heard the news? I was sitting drinking a bottle of red wine in a rented room in Westchester County with a lady named Randy. Hi Randy, wherever you are: I hope life turned out OK for you.
Not much doubt whose voice will be seeing us out this week, then. Here he is: the one, the only, the King, at the height of his powers, singing the very best of the Jerry Leiber / Mike Stoller ballads, recording date September 1957: and if you want to gainsay any of the judgments I just made, my advice would be … "Don't."
[Music clip: Elvis, "Don't."]