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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your kaleidoscopically genial host John Derbyshire, here with a selection from the week's news.
A somewhat narrow selection this week, I'm afraid. I had notes jotted down for a good comprehensive set of segments covering China, real estate, education, the Miss America pageant, Mormon cuckery, and other tempting topics guaranteed to offend, infuriate, and outrage.
I started off with immigration, though; and by the time I'd said all I wanted to say about it, my time was pretty much filled up. This is a thing that happens occasionally, as perhaps you have noticed.
This is VDARE.com, though, and our primary focus is the National Question, so perhaps I don't need to apologize. Since I already have sort-of apologized, I'll put that one in the bank for next time.
Take it away, Ethel. [Clip: Let's go on with the show …]
The amending process normally does not allow for amendments that would amend text that has already been amended. As a result, once a substitute for the full text of a measure has been adopted, no further amendments are in order, since any would constitute attempts to re-amend amended text.
End quote. Did you get that? Like me to go over it again? [Scream.] All right, all right.
That quote is from a paper put out three years ago by the Congressional Research Service. Who they? They a government agency, actually within the Library of Congress, that records, clarifies, and explains Congressional procedures.
The reason I inflicted those 49 words of insomnia-curing Congressperanto on you so early in the morning was mainly, I confess, in hopes of eliciting your sympathy.
The United States Congress makes laws for our entire nation, laws that affect all our lives. We ink-stained wretches of the press, as part of our commission to explain large matters of state to the public, have to follow the proceedings in Congress.
Now, Congress has been active for 230 years, and in the natural way of things has developed its own way of doing things: its own jargon, rules, and customs. There's nothing wrong with that, and I'm not complaining about it. Having had some fairly wide experience of human beings acting in groups, I must say, I think it's a small miracle that 535 opinionated adults gathered in one place can get anything accomplished at all.
To do our reporting, though, we poor wretches sometimes have to get to grips with congressional jargon, so that we can form an opinion about which way legislation is going. That's what I was doing just now, digging around in hopes of estimating the prospects for new immigration laws. I ended up in that Congressional Research Service report, wishing I had followed my earliest career inclination and become the driver of a steam locomotive.
The occasion for my wading into these thickets was a meeting yesterday (Thursday) morning of the congressional Republican Party in a basement room deep below the Capitol — no, seriously — at which House Speaker Paul Ryan presented his plan to legislate changes in our nation's immigration laws.
The point of this was to get Republican legislation through the House. There is a deadline looming: next Monday, June 11th. Twenty-three of the most RINO-ish Republican representatives have been pushing for a discharge petition. OK, what's a discharge petition?
You've heard I'm sure about legislation being "bottled up in committee." Some congressfolk propose legislation; it goes to a congressional committee for discussion; the committee just sits on it till the end of the congressional session, when it dies. Not only is this not unusual, it is usual — it's the common fate of proposed legislation. The congressional committee system is an elephants' graveyard. It's where ideas for new legislation go to die.
Well, the idea of a discharge petition is to break the logjam — to force Congress to debate proposed legislation that's been languishing in committee.
The House rules — I tell ya, I've been reading up this stuff, and God! do I need a drink — the House rules say that a discharge petition can only be brought up on the second and fourth Monday of each month. Hence the deadline. Why those particular days? Beats me. I told you this stuff is arcane.
Back in my Wall Street days, when derivative securities were getting more and more abstruse — options on futures on currency swaps, that sort of thing — we back-office worker bees used to joke about a raining-in-Ecuador option. That's an option to buy or sell some security that could only be exercised on days when it's raining in Ecuador. Congressional rules aren't quite that convoluted yet, but they sure are trying.
So anyway the 23 RINOs pushed this discharge petition. If they can get a majority of House members to sign on to it by next Monday, the House will have to consider — to actually vote on — four proposals for immigration legislation that have been stuck in committee. By House rules one of those proposals — the one that gets most votes — will pass and go to the Senate.
As Radio Derb goes to tape, the RINOs are three votes short.
Supposing this discharge petition is voted up next week, what would that mean for immigration?
For a clue about that, look at which House members have actually signed the petition. There are of course the 23 RINOs who've been pushing the thing. Who else? All but one House Democrats — 192 of the blighters. So if the discharge petition goes through, the House will end up passing Democrat-approved legislation, which of course means a huge mass amnesty in return for nothing at all. That's what Democrats want.
It's also of course what the RINOs want. Indeed, it's what a great many other House Republicans want — including Paul Ryan. So why aren't they all joining the 23 RINOs and signing the discharge petition?
Here you come to the nub of the matter. Most House Republicans are pulled two ways. Pulling them to the left are their big-money donors, who want cheap labor. Pulling them to their right are their voters, who want restrictions on immigration. For a GOP congresscritter to sign that discharge petition would be to stick a big fat finger in the eye of his voter base. Few of them — 23 is the actual number — are shameless enough to do that.
Hence that basement meeting on Thursday morning. Speaker Ryan, who is of course a Republican, is looking at the prospect of the House passing Democrat legislation on a key issue five months before midterm elections. Eeeek! So he called the meeting to assure the House GOP that their leadership will have an immigration bill of their own any day now — so don't sign that petition! Wait for us to come out with our own Republican legislation! Please!
What will Ryan's legislation look like? Next segment.
03 — The Four Pillars of Wisdom. Before proceeding, I just need to add a brief last-minute Friday update to that previous segment.
Update: The GOP House-critters are even more stuck than I allowed for. Friday they deadlocked again. Speaker Ryan was away at a fundraiser — way more important than making laws, of course — so Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy chaired this meeting.
It ended, as I said, in deadlock; but now the RINOs are claiming they have enough votes to move the discharge petition, or at any rate will have by next Tuesday. That means that on the fourth Monday of the month, the 25th, the discharge petition can be voted through, if the GOP leaders haven't come up with some alternative palatable to the RINOs.
And I should have added a word of recognition to the GOP House Freedom Caucus for taking some kind of a stand against the RINOs. Consider it added.
OK: With a Republican President in the White House, congressional Republicans feel they have to make a show of deferring to the President's proposals when cooking up legislation.
In the case of immigration, our President's proposals were spelled out for the nation back in late January. We here at VDARE.com of course passed comments on them at the time.
Now, four months later, the President's proposals have, for purposes of reference, been collapsed down Chinese-style into a handy numerical slogan: the Four Pillars of Immigration Reform. The four pillars are:
Those are Trump's Four Pillars. From our point of view — the point of view of patriotic conservatives who want sane, rational policies on settlement and citizenship to the benefit of current U.S. citizens — they fall considerably short. They don't, for example, mention birthright citizenship, or compulsory E-Verify, or the refugee resettlement rackets, or the rain forest of guest-worker programs keeping American wages down.
On the principle that the best is the enemy of the good, though, we'll gladly take the Four Pillars if we can get them. The President's proposals, if implemented in law and properly enforced, would be a huge improvement on the present regime of inadequate laws lackadaisically enforced. We'll take 'em!
What is the chance we shall actually get them from Paul Ryan and the GOP congressional leadership? Not good.
A major problem is Paul Ryan himself. In the psychic tug-of-war for the Republican soul between wealthy donors seeking cheap labor and Republican voters looking for some demographic stability, Ryan has been clearly and consistently on the side of the Chamber of Commerce, the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and the rest. That's not mere empty abuse on my part, either. There's a long paper trail in evidence here: VDARE.com has been tracking Ryan for years.
In fairness to the House Speaker, I think some application of the Napoleon Principle is appropriate here. It's not clear that the Napoleon Principle actually was stated by Napoleon; but it's such an important rule, so well worth remembering, that sticking someone's name on it as an aid to memory is essential, and Napoleon's name is as good as any other. The Napoleon Principle is, in its commonest formulation, quote:
Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.
End quote. So the issue I'm getting at here is: How much of Speaker Ryan's cucky RINOtude is cynical calculation for his own advancement, and how much is just native stupidity?
Given that Ryan has announced he will not be running for re-election this fall, with the corresponding assumption that he will, after leaving the House, sink into the soft downy cushions of an extravagantly-remunerated career as a congressional lobbyist; and that, aged as he is only 48, that career will last at least a couple of decades, bringing him in many tens of millions — quite possibly hundreds of millions — of dollars, you have to suspect an element of careerist ambition.
On the other hand, my impression has always been that on the subject of immigration, the stupidity factor in Ryan's case is at least as important as the careerist one. His recorded statements on immigration issues reflect the stalest, corniest tropes of immigration sentimentality: Nation of immigrants! Who we are! Ellis Island! Famine ships! Statue of Liberty!
My best guess on the careerism-stupidity ratio in Ryan's motivations is that for most of his career it hovered around one part careerism to three parts stupidity. Now, with retirement from the House coming up, and the lobbying firms hammering on his door, it's probably swung round to something like the reverse: three parts careerism to one part stupidity.
That's my take on Paul Ryan. If it's right, or even roughly-approximately right, there's not much hope for Trumpian policies — policies, I mean, that stick close to the President's Four Pillars — there's not much hope of that from the GOP House leadership.
What they will most likely propose to forestall this discharge petition is mass amnesty garnished with some vague, easily-evaded promises about a technological solution to border security — cameras, drones, and so on — together possibly with some equally vague, equally easily-avoidable noise about stricter interior enforcement.
What about the other players, though? What about the Senate? And what about the President himself? Next segment.
04 — The Senate, the President, and the National Question. Supposing something-or-other gets passed by the House, what can we say about its subsequent fortunes — in the Senate, and on the President's desk?
Where the Senate is concerned, it's hard to be optimistic. In the nature of things, serving those six-year terms as they do, Senators in general are less bothered about pleasing their voters than House members are.
Republican senators are also cuckier than representatives. I just went through the score cards at NumbersUSA, counting up House and Senate Republicans by grade on recent immigration votes. Down in the really bad grades — C, D, and F — the numbers are not that different: 34 percent of House Republicans versus 26 percent of Senators. Up in the As and Bs there's a much bigger difference. Thirty-two percent of House Republicans scored As, against only ten percent of Senators. GOP Senators bunch up in the cucky Bs, 63 percent of them.
The Senate is naturally, constitutionally more small-"c" conservative than the House, more inclined to leave things be, to stick with the status quo. They see themselves in their own minds as a constitutional counterweight, their dignified gravity restraining the wild excesses of those hairy, smelly, crowd-pleasing, rabble-rousing Yahoos in the lower chamber.
So it's hard to see much hope for real reform from the Senate, even if the House were to pass it out. If the Senators saw enough of a wind getting up among the voters, they would of course trim their sails accordingly. It would take a startling result in the midterms to get their attention, though — too late for this current round of legislative proposals, whatever comes out of the GOP House leadership this month.
What about the President? Presumably any legislation that landed on his desk would be signed, or not, according to whether it came close enough to January's Four Pillars.
OK, but how close would be close enough? A mass amnesty and border wall but nothing on chain migration or the diversity-visa lottery? Eh, maybe.
What about my guess in the previous segment: Mass amnesty garnished with a lot of fluffy, insincere, disposable promises about surveillance drones on the border and increased funding for ICE? Would Trump veto that?
I'm not at all sure that he would. I hope he would, of course, but my faith is not strong.
For one thing, the President has been feeble on immigration. This was surely the one issue more than any other that won him the presidency; yet he seems strangely oblivious of the fact.
We hear from the President time and again that he'd love to do something about immigration but his hands are constitutionally tied, he can only keep urging Congress to pass legislation.
That's not true, as commenters keep pointing out. Sample:
According to the Congressional Research Service [Hey!] under expedited removal, both administrative and judicial review are limited to cases in which the alien claims to be a U.S. citizen or to have been previously admitted as a legal immigrant. Nobody else has an entitlement to demand entry into our country and access to the courts. It would be nice to tighten up the statute, but there is nothing stopping Trump from interpreting it properly today. [How Trump can protect the border without Congress by Daniel Horowitz; Conservative Review, April 4th 2018.]
End quote. It's true the President can't do a whole lot, especially in the zone of legal immigration. There are some things he can do, though, and he's mostly not doing them.
The impression I've been getting is that the National Question isn't often at the front of Trump's mind. It does get dragged to the front now and then, when some advisor — Stephen Miller, perhaps — holds Trump's attention for a few minutes; or when, as now, the forthcoming electoral consequences of ignoring the National Question are unavoidably obvious. It's not a heart issue with him, though, as it is with those of us who've been badgering on about it for years.
It surely takes second place in Trump's mind to personal grievances and antagonisms. Every immigration patriot's favorite government employee today is Jeff Sessions, who actually has been trying to do some of the things the Executive can do without the need for new laws.
The case against Attorney General Sessions is that he's too punctilious about the letter of the law. Did he really need to recuse himself from the Russiagate investigation? Legally knowledgeable people have argued pro and con, but the key fact is that Sessions believed he should, so he did. Trump has never forgiven him, although it can't have come as that much of a surprise; Sessions made it clear well beforehand he was going to do the right thing regardless.
And given the general lawlessness that prevails in the immigration zone, an A-G who is too punctilious about the letter of the law is way, way down my personal list of worries.
The President begs to differ. He has continued to express his unhappiness with Sessions loud and long, most recently on Tuesday this week when Trump tweeted that if Sessions had told him before recusing himself, quote, "I would have quickly picked someone else." This was a year and a quarter after the event. Talk about bearing a grudge! Meanwhile Jeff Sessions' dogged efforts to improve immigration law enforcement have apparently gone un-noticed by the President.
Heather Mac Donald captured this shameful situation brilliantly in a June 5th op-ed, longish quote:
If Trump is reelected, it will be because Sessions has been tireless in his focus on immigration reform, even as Trump has taken his eye off the ball. In the last few months alone, Sessions has started prosecuting illegal border crossers for the crime of illegal entry, ending the corrosive practice of catch and release, and has sued California for its sanctuary policies, which protect convicted criminals from deportation.
There are other personnel issues that leave one wondering how much we can hope for from this President in the way of patriotic immigration reform.
Here is perhaps the biggest of those personnel issues: Marc Short, Trump's Director of Legislative Affairs.
The meaning of that job title is, this guy is the President's main liaison to Congress. For example he sat in, representing the President, on that Thursday morning meeting in the Capitol basement, the meeting where Cucky Ryan promised to forestall next week's discharge petition with immigration legislation of his own.
So what do we know about Marc Short? Well, he came in with Trump on January 20th last year. Marc Short had been a consultant for the Marco Rubio campaign. Not just out of nominative solidarity with Marco, either: He was a strong Never Trumper. He also consulted for Mike Pence, though; that was apparently his foot in the door of the Trump administration.
Before becoming a Never Trumper, Short had spent four years as President of Freedom Partners, a lobbying group run by and financed by the fanatically open-borders Koch brothers.
The Koch brothers; Never Trumpers; Marco Rubio; that's some weird résumé for a senior political position on the staff of a President aiming at patriotic immigration reform.
An elected U.S. President is of course entitled to his own personnel choices. You'd have to think, though, that if a President had the National Question at the front of his mind more than one percent of the time, when making up lists of candidates to be his chief congressional liaison, a Koch bothers shill turned Never Trumper turned Rubio advisor would rank around number 92,000 on the list.
And Marc Short is just the tip of the personnel iceberg that could sink Trump's presidency. Why is Kirstjen Nielsen still in charge at Homeland Security? She's obviously clueless; although to be fair to the President, this fact seems to be dawning on him, to judge by his May 9th rage against her in a cabinet meeting. So fire her, Mr President.
Bottom line here: Nothing to hope for from Congress; some encouraging signs of wakening awareness from the President; God preserve Jeff Sessions!
05 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Here's a headline that got my attention, from Associated Press. Headline: Austria to close 7 mosques, expel imams in crackdown.
Yes: Young Sebastian Kurz, Austria's Chancellor (which is to say, Chief Executive), 31 years old, is taking a firm line against political Islam. His party, which is center-right in the European style — pro-business & Catholic — is in coalition with the National-Conservative Freedom Party. Kurz's Vice-Chancellor, name of Strache, is Freedom Party.
In other European news, Denmark's Social Democratic Party, which is center-left, has broken off its alliance with the Social Liberals because they're too soft on immigration. Instead, the Social Democrats are palling up to the Danish People's Party, which is nationalist.
Center-left, center-right, … wha? The big picture here is that mass Third World immigration is giving the kaleidoscope of European politics a good shake. All the old categories — socialism, conservatism, localism, nationalism, globalism — they're all in play, all re-arranging themselves in new configurations.
Take environmentalism. A pet issue of the political left, right? No more: Italy's Five Star Movement, now the biggest party in that country's parliament, and a coalition partner in Italy's populist, nationalist government, is proudly environmentalist.
Or take antisemitism. A characteristic of the political right, right? Not necessarily. As Britain's Labour Party is increasingly dependent on the Muslim vote, the temptation to go antisemitic is ever stronger. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn keeps trying to explain that he's not antisemitic, merely anti-Zionist, but his explanations get more and more confused and plaintive.
It's all in flux over there; and the reason is rising public opposition to the mass immigration of people who can't or won't assimilate.
Item: Is Gaia angry? I'm a little biased here. At the urging of friends, I am making an audiobook of my much-too-long novel about China, Tibet, Wall Street, mathematics, Buddhism, and Italian opera. Well, I just recently got through recording the part where Mao Tse-tung dies.
His death was preceded, six weeks earlier, by a horrendous earthquake that killed more than a quarter of a million people. I know some Chinese people who lived through those events. For a surprising number of them, the two things are linked: the earth sending a warning that some great event was bound to happen. It's superstitious, sure, but it has a long pedigree in the Chinese popular imagination.
So I'm reading those chapters into my microphone; and in breaks from reading, I'm following these news stories about great lava flows in Hawaii and piles of ash 20,000 feet deep in Guatemala, with more than a hundred people dead.
So, is Gaia angry? If so, how do we appease her?
Item: Following on from that: One traditional way to appease angry Gaia, if memory serves, is to throw some virgins into the volcano.
If we want to give that a try, one place to got looking for virgins is Harvard University. So at any rate says the Harvard Crimson, which has been surveying this year's graduates for their attitudes on politics, sex and technology.
What else do we learn about the overclass of 2030? Well, they drink a lot, which is encouraging, and will make them more flammable when we throw them into the crater. They're liberal, quelle surprise. They all have smartphones, duh.
And don't be looking for them in flyover country. Quote: "They're planning careers that will see them clustering in three areas: New York, Massachusetts and California," end quote. Paging Charles Murray, paging Mr Murray.
Item: A reader sent me this story from American Thinker.
A bakery in Portland, Oregon fired two employees, a young white woman and a young white man, for refusing to serve a black woman, name of Lillian, who came in six minutes after closing time, the OPEN sign on the door already turned round.
There were some white customers inside who had entered and placed orders before closing time. Two white women who showed up four minutes after closing — that is, two minutes earlier than Lillian — were turned away.
Lillian, we're told, "is well known in the area as a 'professional equity activist'." You don't say!
I read that story late evening, after a couple of trips to the liquor cabinet, and it got fuddled in my mind with the Starbucks fuss and this week's Supreme Court ruling on the Christian baker who wouldn't bake a cake for two homosexuals getting married.
So I ended up fantasizing about a portmanteau story in which two black homosexuals got arrested for loitering in a bakery after hours while arguing with the baker who wouldn't bake them a wedding cake. Or something.
In the world of today, though, imagination is no match for reality — certainly not an imagination as tired and drink-sodden as mine. I confidently expect to see exactly that story in some news outlet soon.
06 — Signoff. That's all I have for you, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening: and Gaia, if you are listening, please spare my poor little sixth of an acre from your wrath. We always recycle; our carbon footprint is tiny; and we have never engaged in strip-mining. We are your friends, Gaia; be gentle with us!
OK, some sign-off music. Since I've been personalizing the landscape, here's a song on that theme. The landscape feature here is a river, the River Thames — Old Father Thames.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week, Gaia permitting.
[Music clip: Peter Dawson, "Old Father Thames."]