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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your emolliently genial host John Derbyshire, broadcasting to you from our state-of-the-art recording studio here on Taki's private island in the balmy Aegean.
Balmy indeed it is this spring morning. The sun is shining, the air is warm, the goats are grazing, the olives ripening … My young research assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy have finished their assigned tasks and will be heading off to the beach for a game of volleyball as soon as we're through here. They've already changed into their bikinis, I see. Not very professional around the studio, but I try to put up with it in a spirit of kindly forbearance — try to be the easygoing boss, you know. Er, Brandy, I think your bikini top needs adjusting there … may I? [Brandy: "Forget it!"] Ah … right.
We'd better proceed with the show. Politics, let's concentrate on politics!
02 — Somebody's wife wants to be President. To nobody's surprise at all, Hillary Clinton declared that she's a candidate to be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee in November 2016.
That's a year and a half away, and I'm once again going to express my annoyance — which I think is widely shared — that we're supposed to be interested in this so far ahead of the event.
I've written a few long biographical sketches in my time. My experience has been, that in finding out enough about a person to have a good, fair appreciation of their character, history, and motivations — as you would want to when choosing which presidential candidate to vote for — a dozen or so hours of reading gets you ninety percent of what you need to know. After that the law of diminishing returns takes over. A few more hours in the library will get you another five percent; a few more another two percent, and so on.
The idea that in order to form a judgment I need to be getting daily news bulletins about a person for nineteen months — on top of the twenty-something years this particular person has already been in the public eye — is beyond preposterous.
We're stuck with the system we have, though, so here she comes: a charmless, talentless, veridically-challenged wealthy pensioner whose principal claim to public attention is having been somebody's wife.
Let's look on the bright side, though. For one thing, the Hillary campaign promises to be comedy gold. Thrown table lamps, pant suit jokes, toe-curling attempts to present herself as just a regular American housewife, edgy comedians speculating about her sexuality, and of course a continuing steady drizzle of lies and contradictions for her to respond to with hilariously unconvincing explanations.
We've already learned just this week that Hillary has been telling little pork pies about her ancestors. Speaking in Iowa on Wednesday, Mrs Clinton said the following thing by way of arguing for amnesty for illegal aliens:
[Clip: "And you know, I think if we were to just go around this room, there are a lot of immigrant stories. All my grandparents, you know, came over here …"]
In point of fact, as official records show, both of Hillary's maternal grandparents were born in Illinois, and her paternal grandmother, Hannah Jones, was born in Pennsylvania. Only Hillary's paternal grandfather "came over here" — from England, hey!
Nothing really new there. Nineteen years ago — nineteen blessed years, comrades — the mild-mannered and not very conservative William Safire wrote the following thing in the New York Times, quote:
Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady — a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation — is a congenital liar.
End quote. As is so depressingly often the case outside the spheres of mathematics and science, the truths unearthed by one generation have to be dug up all over again by succeeding generations.
So there I guess is another upside to the coming nineteen months of Hillary news: People who weren't around, or weren't paying attention, in the 1990s, will get to learn all over again what a shallow, dishonest, cynical, scheming, and arrogantly entitled person Mrs Clinton is. "Congenital liar" catches some of the lady, but there's plenty more.
As a footnote here, if you don't mind, and with apologies to dedicated Radio Derb listeners who've heard me say it before, I'll just add my favorite Hillary-applicable quote. This was Dr Johnson, speaking about Alexander Pope, quote: "He could not drink tea without a stratagem." Put that together with "congenital liar" and you already have a good, rounded picture of Mrs Clinton.
03 — Regulate everything … except immigration. There's not much else going on in the Democratic field since we last reported on it back in early March.
Martin O'Malley, former Governor of Maryland, the illegal immigrant's best friend — I mean, if you don't count Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Chuck Schumer, and Barack Obama — O'Malley did a swing through Iowa ahead of Mrs Clinton. It was his twenty-fourth visit to the state since November. Here he was speaking in Des Moines, April 11th, quote:
To make the dream come true again, we must fight for better wages for all workers, so that Americans can support their families on what they earn.
End quote. Yeah, that's great, Governor. Perhaps it would help keep Americans' wages up if we weren't flooding the country with a million immigrants, half a million guest workers, and God knows how many illegal aliens every year. Whaddya say, Governor?
I can't find any record of O'Malley saying anything else worth recording. I did, though, see a reference in the AP report of him, quote, "in a Des Moines tavern this past week, playing guitar and singing Irish folk tunes," end quote. Hm. I wonder what folk tunes he was singing. Given O'Malley's eagerness to hand out American jobs and government benefits to foreigners, I'm betting it wasn't "The Patriot Game."
Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb was also at the event in Des Moines, and in fact addressed the activists before O'Malley. As I've said before, if we must have Democrats, Webb is the sort I least mind having. I can't figure out what he's doing in the modern Party, though, and nobody gives him a hope of getting the nomination.
At the April 11th event Webb called for the Democratic Party to go back to resembling that of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Apparently he doesn't understand that Roosevelt and Truman were shamefully white, male, patriarchal, heteronormative, and transphobic — totally unacceptable in today's enlightened climate. Why, I bet neither of them, if alive today, would support same-sex marriage.
Who else? Elizabeth Warren emerged from her tepee on Wednesday and took a break from curing buffalo hides to give a speech in Washington, D.C. Her topic was the need for more regulation of the financial sector.
Having worked fifteen years in the financial sector, I don't see how it could be any more regulated. At the investment bank I worked for there was a regulator standing in the corner of every office watching us, like a cigar-store Indian … if Senator Warren will pardon the simile. I used to use mine as a coat-hanger.
It's all good eat-the-rich old-time religion for the Democrats, I guess; but in my opinion Senator Warren is making a presentational mistake in offering it under the heading of regulatory reform. The words "regulation," "regulatory," and "regulators" are chloroform to the average voter. You can see their eyes glaze over when a politician talks regulatory issues. I bet half of you fell asleep right there when I mentioned the topic, didn't you? WAKE UP! [Klaxon.]
My good friend Bob Weissberg, who used to teach Political Science at universities for a living, tells me that when he stepped up to the lectern and told his students, "Today we're going to discuss regulation …," his words cleared the room faster than a bomb scare.
Which, as Bob says, is a great shame, as half the national problems Americans grumble about have their roots in some regulatory issue. Unfortunately Amazon.com lists no book titled Regulation for Dummies, so politicians have no help here in enlightening the public (assuming they really want to do that). My advice to them would be to just avoid the "R" words altogether.
Both O'Malley and Warren seem to be pursuing a strategy of working to the left of Mrs Clinton. In that part of the field, they have some new competition.
Given that Iowa's an agricultural state, and that communism and agriculture are in somewhat the same relation to each other as concentrated sulphuric acid and tissue paper, this is a bit odd.
Let's just reprise some history here. Stalin's famine in the early 1930s: six million dead. Mao Tse-tung's famine in the early 1960s: thirty million dead. Kim Jong-il's famine in the early 1990s: five or six hundred thousand dead.
Hey — did you notice the arithmetic progression there? Thirties … sixties … nineties … that's one commie famine every thirty years. So the next one's due in the early 2020s … in the de Blasio presidency, perhaps.
How about Fidel Castro's Cuba, which Comrade de Blasio and his wife admired so much they evaded a State Department travel ban to take their honeymoon there? Was there a Fidel Castro famine?
There certainly was. What kind of commie would Castro be if he didn't manage a single famine? The six years after the Soviet Union suspended food support to Cuba, the years 1990-1995, are referred to delicately by the Cuban authorities, when they have to refer to them, as the "Special Period." Quote from a National Institutes of Health Report, quote:
During this period, Cubans essentially experienced a famine: adults had an average daily protein intake of 15 to 20 grams and lost an average of 5 percent to 25 percent of their body weight … Priority was given to the elite classes and the military … In Cuba the death rate among the elderly increased by 20 percent from 1982 to 1993. Thirty thousand Cubans fled the country, and thousands of these emigrants drowned or were killed by sharks in the Gulf of Mexico …
End quote. I mentioned de Blasio and his Mrs taking their honeymoon in Cuba. When was that? In 1994, according to the New York Post. So … right there at the height of the "Special Period." No doubt the de Blasios reduced their daily protein intake in solidarity with the common people of Cuba. No doubt when the de Blasios met members of the elite classes — Cuba's one percent, as it were — no doubt they scolded them angrily for feeding their faces while ordinary people were going hungry. Of course they did. I'm sure they did.
So anyway, there's de Blasio in Iowa last week, possibly scouting out where the big kulaks live so he'll know where to send the round-up squads in 2021 — who knows? What did he talk to the Iowans about? Income inequality, that's what. Quote from CBS news wire, April 16th, quote:
De Blasio said the daily struggle of hardworking people to keep their heads above water is a national problem that requires a national commitment to solve it.
End quote. That's it: We need to raise the price of labor! Yes, that should help working people to keep their jobs in an age of galloping automation.
Setting aside the opportunity to scope out midwestern kulaks for dispossession, de Blasio was probably glad to be away from New York. The announcement that he'd be in Iowa ahead of Hillary had not been received well by the Clinton people. What was he trying to do, they grumbled, upstage her?
Disgruntlement turned to fury on Sunday, the day Hillary announced the official start of her campaign. That very morning on Meet the Press, de Blasio politely declined to endorse Hillary. He said he couldn't endorse her until he saw a, quote, "actual vision" of where she wants to go.
That sounds somewhat … odd. De Blasio has known the Clintons personally since 1997, when President Bill Clinton tapped him to be a regional director at HUD, the federal housing bureaucracy. De Blasio was the manager of Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign in 2000. When he ran for Mayor of New York in 2013, Hillary campaigned and fund-raised for him; and after he won that race, Bill Clinton swore him in as Mayor.
That's eighteen years of chowing down with the Clintons. And de Blasio doesn't have any idea what Hillary's politics are?
His non-endorsement did not go down well with the party bosses in New York. "It is a moral imperative for people who are leaders of the progressive movement to support her," said bigfoot Democrat Robert Zimmerman.
On top of that, de Blasio was booed by fans when he showed up at the New York Mets season opener on Monday.
So with one thing and another, New York's Mayor was probably glad to be out in the vast wastelands west of the Hudson River, scoping out locations for collective farms.
What's really going on here is that the hard left of the Democratic Party don't much like Mrs Clinton. They fear she'll govern from the squishy center-left, as her husband did after the 1994 Gingrich Revolution, conceding abominations like welfare reform and the Defense of Marriage Act.
Some of these far-left activists believe she's inevitable as the party's nominee, and they just want to push her to the left. Others think she's beatable for the nomination by a candidate further to the left: de Blasio himself, possibly, or more likely Warren or O'Malley with de Blasio as an accelerant.
It'll be interesting to see how nasty the infighting gets. Speaking personally, if open warfare breaks out on the left, I'd put my money on Hillary, mainly because so many people already have put their money on Hillary. Money isn't the only thing in politics, as Eric Cantor could explain to you, but it gives you a big start; and anyone who can persuade people to pay her $200,000 for a speech full of gassy platitudes delivered in a condescending monotone, knows stuff about raising money.
The hard left knows a thing or two also, though, so we shall see. This is shaping up as great political entertainment. I wouldn't venture to call the Democratic nomination at this point; but in the immediately upcoming tussle between Hillary and the ideological purists, I say Hillary can take them easily.
In fact, if Bill de Blasio were to end up in Mexico City with an ice pick in his head, I wouldn't be at all surprised. [Hillary laugh.]
05 — The Boring Party. The Republicans aren't half as much fun so far. The business donors have them under tight ideological control, so they all sound the same. My dream of a Jeff Sessions / Steve King ticket seems not to be going to materialize, and I have a hard time seeing myself flying back from the Aegean to vote for any of the donorist glove puppets so far on offer.
Jeb Bush, for example. Jeb hasn't actually declared yet, but he's been busy lining up donors so a Jeb candidacy for the GOP nomination can be taken as a foregone conclusion.
The latest news on Jeb is that he checked the "Hispanic" box when identifying himself on a 2009 voter registration form, inspiring some wag to start up a parody Twitter account named @YebBush.
No surprised face here. Two years ago I actually read a book about immigration co-written by Jeb Bush, or at any rate with his name on the author page. My review was titled: "Jeb Bush Just Doesn't Like Americans Very Much." He really does give that impression.
I'm not the only person who thinks so. Randall Parker, on his blog ParaPundit, April 11th, suggested that Jeb should run for the presidency of some Latin American country. Quote from Randall:
I see a solution for Jeb: become president of a Latin American country that desperately needs better leadership. Choose a country with much lower quality of government. Lots of examples come to mind. He has 26 Latin American countries to choose from. This idea struck me when reading a rumor that Michael Bloomberg wants to run for mayor of London. Isn't this the next step for the transnational elite that feels less loyalty to individual nations?
End quote. I note in passing, by the way, that ParaPundit deserves some kind of award for longevity. It was one of the first blogs I ever read — oh, fifteen years ago at least. Randall's achievement is even more impressive when you consider that he runs a technology blog, too: FuturePundit, well worth checking out. Keep on blogging, guy.
There's no danger of any real ideological conflict in the Republican field — the donors wouldn't permit that — but Jeb does have a competitor for the Latino vote: Marco Rubio, who declared on Monday.
Rubio said the following thing when announcing his presidential bid — in English, I think, quote:
While our people and economy are pushing the boundaries of the 21st century, too many leaders and their ideas are stuck in the 20th century.
End quote. Yeah, those stupid old 20th-century ideas like, you know, nations and borders and, oh my God, citizenship. There'll be none of that in the bright new transnational future!
I'm going to say about Rubio what ParaPundit said about Jeb Bush: I really don't want him as President of the United States, but he'd be a great President for, say, Venezuela.
06 — Black privilege roundup. We hear a lot about white privilege nowadays. White privilege is supposed to be white people getting away with things that nonwhite people don't get away with.
Frankly I don't see a whole lot of that. What I do see a whole lot of, every time I open my newspaper, is black privilege: blacks getting away with stuff that a nonblack would be nailed for.
Example, from Thursday's New York Post: a fine scathing piece by Jillian Kay Melchior on Al Sharpton. This week was of course tax filing deadline week, and Ms Melchior had things to say about Rev'm Al and his New York State taxes.
Rev'm Al's standard response when interviewers raise the tax issue is to say that he's reached a settlement with the taxman, he's on a payment plan to clear his tax debts, it's all taken care of, and you should be ashamed of yourself for questioning the integrity of a man of God.
It's true that Sharpton reached a settlement with the State; but since he reached it, his tax debt has grown. This is not supposed to happen. The point of these settlements is to pay down what's owed. If you don't do that, you get additional penalties and interest.
Further, New York State has permitted Sharpton to open another for-profit business, RAS Industries. Normally you don't get a license to start a business if you're not paying down your tax debt, which Sharpton is not.
Yet further: Sharpton's TV production company, Sharpton Media Group, registered in Delaware eleven years ago, has been struck off in Delaware for, guess what, tax delinquency. Yet it has not been shut down in New York, as state law requires.
The office of the state Attorney General has not replied to Ms Melchior's inquiries.
On Attorney General Schneiderman's website we are told that, quote, "he believes there has to be one set of rules for everyone, no matter how rich or powerful," end quote. Ri-i-ight.
It's not as if Rev'm Al can plead poverty. He lives large: keeping rooms in a tony hotel in central Manhattan, flying first class, and wearing $5,000 bespoke suits. How does he get away with scoffing at the laws on taxation and corporate registration? Black privilege, that's how.
Second example. Two years ago in March 2013 two black men, Gregory Wallace and Marquis McAfee, broke into a house in Louisville, Kentucky, and robbed the inhabitants at gunpoint. The inhabitants were a couple, Jordan and Tommy Gray, and their 3-year-old daughter, who was watching SpongeBob Squarepants when the invasion happened.
Three weeks later the two men were arrested. McAfee was out on probation when the crime was committed, so he went straight back to jail, where he still is. Wallace was brought to trial and on February 4th this year came up for sentencing.
As part of the trial, Jordan and Tommy Gray were asked to give a victim impact statement. Jordan Gray wrote that since the home invasion, his daughter, who had had a gun pointed at her, was terrified of black men. Quote: "Whenever we are running errands, if we come across a black male, she holds me tight and begs me to leave. It has affected her friendships at school, and our relationships with African-American friends." End quote.
The judge in the case, Olu Stevens, was furious. No, not at the guy who'd pointed a gun at a 3-year-old girl in her own living-room. Judge Stevens, you see, is black, and the only thing he gets furious about is slights to his race.
So Judge Stevens made a long speech from the bench saying how "deeply offended" he was by the victim impact statement. He charitably excused the little girl from his wrath, directing it instead at the parents, for, quote, "accepting that kind of mentality and fostering those type of stereotypes," end quote.
As I have written many times: To a great many black Americans there is nothing in the world interesting, nothing of importance, nothing worth directing one's social emotions at, nothing worth getting angry about, except their own wonderful, absorbing, infinitely fascinating blackety-blackety-blackness.
Is that a stereotype? Well, it's a true one: just as the stereotype the little girl has acquired, the stereotype that blacks are much more likely to break into your home and rob you at gunpoint than nonblacks, is also true. We shall see another instance of it in just a moment.
Oh, the sentence on Gregory Wallace? He got five years' probation. Black privilege, you see.
Is Judge Stevens going to keep his judgeship after this egregious display of racial partisanship? Of course he is: black privilege.
Just one more. I can't be sure this is a case of black privilege, but I strongly suspect it.
Anthony Stokes, a 17 year-old black male of Decatur, Georgia, died March 31st when the car he'd stolen lost an argument with a utility pole. This was in the course of a police chase.
Why were the police chasing Mr Stokes? Because he, like Messrs Wallace and McAfee, had committed an armed home invasion. There were no little girls in this home, only an elderly woman watching TV alone. Stokes shot at her and missed. She fled to a back room. Stokes abandoned his burglary attempt and fled in his stolen car. Police happened to be nearby and gave chase. The engagement with the utility pole followed, though not before Stokes ran down a pedestrian (who survived).
Why is this noteworthy? Well, because two years previously, when he was 15, Stokes had been given a heart transplant. He'd suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy so his heart was unable to pump enough blood. Doctors had given him six months to live.
However, the doctors didn't want to put Stokes on the heart transplant list. He was a juvenile delinquent who, even at 15, had been in trouble with the law. He was disruptive at school. Doctors feared he had too little self-discipline to stay with the strict post-op medication schedule he'd have to follow. There wasn't much question of his mother just buying the operation: heart transplants start at around half a million dollars. None of the news reports mentions a father, and the mother's name is not Stokes.
Well, Civil Rights groups rallied round, they worked up some publicity, and the hospital in Atlanta caved and agreed to do the transplant.
After the transplant, Stokes said he was grateful for a second chance at life; and indeed, as soon as he was up and about he resumed his life of delinquency, with an arrest most recently in January.
Would a nonblack kid with Anthony Stokes' record, but without Civil Rights lobbies to press his case, have been given the transplant? We can't know for sure, but I'm going to guess the answer is no, and file this one too under "black privilege."
07 — Miscellany. And now, here she comes: Miss Ellany, with our closing selection of brief items.
Imprimis: I mentioned Randall Parker's blog ParaPundit back there. Here's another post from that blog, April 15th.
Randall posts a link to a story about an academic research report out of the University of Kansas. Some political scientists at that institution have been studying voters to see what matters to them
What matters to a great many of them, it turns out, is not much to do with issues or personalities. What matters is their party winning and the other one losing. Voters feel about their party the way sports fans feel about their team.
The researchers asked partisan voters if their parties should use any tactics necessary to win elections and debates. Yes, said the partisan voters, they should. Voter suppression? — check: stealing or cheating in elections? — check: physical violence and threats against the other party? — check: lying, personal attacks on opponents, not allowing the other party to speak? — check, check, check.
This moved one of Randall's commenters to say, quote:
The problem isn't democracy. The problem is universal suffrage.
Item: The strange, inexplicable currents of popular fashion seem to have swept away the art of … whistling.
Really: when was the last time you heard someone whistling? Not whistling at another creature: a dog, or a pretty girl … or, of course, perhaps a handsome guy or a comely transsexual … No, just whistling a tune for pleasure.
Snow White urged us to "Whistle While You Work" [Clip], and we did. Craftsmen whistled as they lay bricks or planed wood; errand boys whistled as they brought things to your door; factory workers whistled as they worked the assembly lines. There were even whistling choirs in some workplaces.
No more. Chris Cook, a cultural historian in London, tells us that whistling has all but disappeared over the past few decades.
Some people are fine with this. Two years ago a chap delivering milk in the English Midlands was issued a warning by police after residents on his delivery route complained that his whistling disturbed them.
I'm not one of those people. I like whistling, if it's done well — and it's so easy that it's hard to do it badly.
So what's going on here with the decline of whistling? I think feminism has a lot to do with it. Women can whistle, in fact streetwalkers used to whistle to get the attention of prospective clients, but it's definitely a masculine thing for the most part, and masculinity is seriously de trop nowadays.
And then, who needs to whistle a tune when you can summon one up, produced to professional standards, on your iPod?
As for whistling while you work on the assembly line, well, have you seen an assembly line recently? Check it out. Robots can't whistle.
Item: Headline of the week, from International Business Times, April 14th, Drone delivering asparagus to Dutch restaurant crashes and bursts into flames. Fortunately this happened on a quiet country road between the asparagus farm and the restaurant in the town of Etten-Leur in the Netherlands.
I find I'm getting less and less keen about this drone business. When it first started up I thought it was a good idea. I remember arguing the case for drones with a colleague. I told him: "You could spy on the neighborhood MILF sunbathing topless on her roof deck."
Replied he: "I can see all I want of the neighborhood MILF on YouPorn. What I want to know is whether a parking spot has opened up by my office."
We live in such an unromantic age.
Item: Pursuing that rather regrettable theme, and in lieu of any news this week from the Miss BumBum pageant, I offer you the Ayatollah Hossein Dehnavi, an Iranian cleric celebrated over there for his advice on the intimate relations between men and women.
In public lectures two and three years ago — for which, we are told, men and women lined up around the block to buy tickets — Ayatollah Dehnavi warned that while it is not a sin for a man to think about another woman while he is having sex with his partner, should she become pregnant while he's thinking about the third party, the child will be homosexual.
This opens up all sorts of interesting speculations. What happens if a guy is thinking about another guy while he's having the leg over? What if he's thinking about a nice asparagus supper? How does what the wife's thinking factor in?
And come to think of it, hold on there a minute. Didn't Li'l Squinty tell us just a few years ago that there are no homosexuals in Iran? Somebody's not being straight with us here, sorry for the pun.
The man of God further advised the married women of Iran to wear black underwear and to show off the most attractive parts of their bodies — their armpits and chest — to entice their husbands.
Excuse me, their armpits?
That is one seriously messed-up country. I'm swinging round to the neocon position: let's bomb the place. I mean … their armpits? …
08 — Signoff. There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening.
It was mostly politics this week, I'm afraid; politics, then a frisson of racial indignation, then a smidgeon of salacity at the very end. We do try to touch all bases here at Radio Derb.
That item about the decline of whistling has left me a little depressed. "Change and decay in all around I see," that sort of mood.
In the spirit of standing athwart history crying "Stop!" I'm going to do what I can to keep the noble art of whistling alive. So here to see us out is a whistling classic, from the top of the British pop music charts, if you can believe it, in 1967: Whistling Jack Smith with "I was Kaiser Bill's batman."
I should explain that it's nothing to do with comic book superheroes: in British military parlance, a batman is an enlisted man serving as an officer's valet. Whistle away, Jack!
More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Whistling Jack Smith, "I was Kaiser Bill's batman."]