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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, electronic piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your plenteously genial host John Derbyshire, here with the post-Christmas edition of Radio Derb.
This Christmas seems to have just zoomed by. Probably that's just because Christmas Day fell on a Wednesday. If it's closer to one end or other of the working week, you can generally get a long weekend out of it; but right in the middle of the week like that the long weekend would be too long.
Going to tape here on Friday evening, though, after having been considerably over-served Wednesday and Thursday — being British by birth, I of course observe Boxing Day — I am not yet back up to full working speed. So forgive me if today's Radio Derb is a tad shorter than usual.
You ready, Ethel?
[Clip: Ethel Merman, "Let's go on with the show."]
02 — The mystery of federal spending. Dark matter and dark energy are the great cosmic mysteries. Dark matter can't be seen; but it seems to be holding galaxies together when they ought to fly apart. Dark energy is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate, we don't know exactly how.
Of all the stuff that makes up the universe, dark matter and dark energy together comprise 95 percent by quantity. What we think of as normal matter — mountains, oceans, the planet Jupiter, my desk, your christmas presents, Kim Kardashian's butt — is only five percent, a kind of grit in the wheels.
Weird, huh? Here's something even weirder: federal spending.
Last week, before Congress went into the Christmas recess, they passed a 2,313-page package of spending measures, total outlays 1.4 trillion dollars. There were actually two bills in the package, one mainly defense and security, the other mostly civilian issues.
A few days before that, Congress had passed a different measure with a tab of three-quarters of a trillion, with a bunch of stuff in it both military and civilian: funding for a Space Force, to be the sixth branch of the military; twelve weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers, etc., etc.
The congresscritters dutifully read through all those thousands of pages and passed the bills by respectable majorities. President Trump signed off on them. Now there'll be a pause for a month or so, then in February the President will present his wish list for fiscal 2021, the year that starts next October. More trillions — trillions upon trillions upon trillions.
There's some good stuff in those bills our President signed, of course. There are funds to continue the creeping progress on building a southern border wall, as Radio Derb has been reporting.
There's a lot of kapok too, though: for example, a 550 million dollar increase in funding for Head Start, a federal program which, in its fifty-five years of operation and currently costing eight and a half billion dollars a year, has never been proved to accomplish anything at all.
How do we pay for all this? Well, by the federal government taking in revenues, mainly taxes. Does that cover all the spending? You kidding? There's a nifty wee word we use for the difference, spending minus revenues: deficit. The deficit for the fiscal year just passed, fiscal 2019, was just short of a trillion dollars. From a low in 2015 — less than half a trillion — it went up in Obama's last year and has gone up in every one of Trump's three years.
So … if we're a trillion short of revenue to pay for all that spending, how do we pay for it? Why, by issuing debt. We print up these bits of paper called "bonds" with a face amount printed on them, a maturity date when you can finally cash the thing in for the face amount, and a strip of coupons down the side. People buy those bits of paper, those bonds.
If you bought one, every six months you can tear off a coupon, take it to the feds, and they give you a teeny percentage of the face amount. That's called "servicing the debt" and it is of course a federal expense, currently north of half a trillion dollars a year.
I'm simplifying some, of course. Just remember your finance basics: stocks — dividends, you hope; bonds — coupons, you're guaranteed. Right? And there are secondary markets where you can sell hot bonds at a profit, and derivatives, all that good stuff.
Okay; but as the deficit goes on swelling, won't investors get wary of buying those bonds? Won't there come a day when the Treasury holds a bond auction and no-one shows up?
You'd think so, wouldn't you? I've been wondering for years how the whole thing stays afloat. In fact that last question I just posed — What if the Treasury held a bond auction and nobody showed up? — was asked right here on Radio Derb in May of 2009, over ten years ago.
Five years before that, well over fifteen years ago, in my 2004 pre-Christmas podcast, I posed the question in song.
[Clip: Get out those little wooden tops, kiddies, and start spinning. If you can learn to spin really well, there'll be a job as an election campaign consultant in your future somewhere.
Yes, I've been worrying about federal spending for as long as Radio Derb has been on the airwaves. Surely the whole rickety house of cards will collapse at some point, won't it? And there'll be a financial catastrophe?
It never does, though. The feds go on spending and spending. Geezers get their Social Security and Medicare, Momma gets her EBT card, the Head Start racketeers hire in a thousand more Special Assistants to the Executive Assistant, farmers get their price supports, the Third World despot gets his foreign aid to put another wing on his palace, the military gets another pointless war, defense industries get the contracts. Meanwhile Joe Taxpayer writes a check with a sigh and a shrug, and investors — both domestic and foreign — line up to buy those bonds.
Sure, we do get a financial catastrophe once in a while. We got one in 2008-9, a real doozy. It wasn't caused by profligate federal spending, though, but by the destruction of rational credit standards in the name of racial justice. In fact, not only was it not caused by the feds over-spending; it was cured by it. Great gushers of federal money put out the fire — nearly a trillion and a half dollars in fiscal 2009.
Dark matter? Dark energy? I'll have those figured out long before I understand how the U.S. economy stays afloat.
03 — If voting made a difference, they wouldn't allow it. Browsing around the news websites the other day, I turned up this story from back in June. This is Associated Press, a report from Salem, Oregon. Headline: Licenses for undocumented immigrants passes Oregon Senate, heads to governor's desk.
"Undocumented immigrants" is of course the way our ruling class says "illegal aliens." That report is, as I said, from June. August 9th Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the bill. Illegal aliens won't actually get drivers' licenses until January 1st 2021 because the computer systems are being overhauled. The new law is pretty much baked in, though. There's been a valiant rearguard action by citizens' groups opposing the measure, but the Oregon political and judicial establishments are systematically crushing them.
That story from a few months ago stirred a distant memory. Scanning my Radio Derb archives, I soon found it. This was November 2014, five years ago. Clip from Radio Derb:
[Clip: The blue state of Oregon has two Democratic Senators and four out of five Democratic Congressmen, with grades on immigration reduction from NumbersUSA down in the D's and F's. It also has a Democratic Governor and a Democratic legislature (both houses). Yet Oregon voters struck down Ballot Measure 88, to give driver licenses to illegals, by a thumping 66 percent to 34. Only one of Oregon's 36 counties voted in favor — the one containing metropolitan Portland, naturally.]
So five years ago Oregonians voted on a ballot measure to give driver licenses to illegals. They voted it down by two to one, with only the yuppies, bath-house regulars, and cat ladies of Portland voting aye. Yet now, five years later, all resistance has been stifled and the foreign scofflaws will get their drivers' licenses.
Moral of the story: ballot measures and referendums get you nothing. Decisions are made by our ruling class in the side rooms of our legislatures and judges' chambers. They don't care what you want, and they have a hundred different ways to kick you off the sidewalk. If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it.
The Oregon reversal was indeed a reprise of what happened in California twenty-five years ago. That was California Proposition 187, to bar illegal aliens from access to public services like education and welfare benefits. The proposition passed by 59 percent of voters to 41 percent, with only San Francisco and a handful of nearby counties voting majority nay.
The Establishment swung into action. A slew of lawsuits were filed, injunctions were granted, the media propagandized, and the people's decision was stomped into the dust. California commenced its transition into Venezuela North.
Quote from California native David Cole, writing at Taki's Magazine ten days ago, quote:
More Americans leave California each year than move here (a net loss of almost 200,000 American residents a year). I stress Americans because even with that loss, our state population continues to grow, due to immigrants and their big ol' pregnant mamacitas. And indeed, we are the nation's "most diverse" state. Most diverse, worst quality of life, worst schools and test scores, worst retirement, worst for business, worst pollution, worst poverty.
Although, on the bright side, property prices in San Francisco are sensational. Quote from Business Insider, June 6th this year, quote:
According to Zillow, the median asking price for a home in San Francisco is 1.3 million dollars.
What's that? You think you'd better rent? Further quote, same source.
The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco hit almost $3,700. You'll need to earn at least $172,000 a year to afford a home in San Francisco.
So for the ruling class it's all good. Never think these people don't know what they're doing. You peasants: Eat crap and die.
Ballot initiatives, referendums — fuhgeddaboutit. I bet this applies to Brexit, too. That was a referendum. The Brits made their preference known … three and a half years ago. They want to be a sovereign nation, living under laws passed by their own representatives in parliament, with full control over which foreigners get to settle in their country.
Will that preference be implemented? I doubt it. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is a life-long, fully paid up member of the ruling class. He'll fudge up some half-hearted agreement that doesn't vex the Eurocrats in any serious way, and declare victory.
Initiative, shminitiative. Referendum, shmeferendum. If voting made a difference, they wouldn't allow it.
04 — The Central Park Five template. Two weeks ago I reported on Tessa Majors, the young woman student at Barnard College in New York City, stabbed to death December 11th while crossing a small park near the college. I said that a 13-year-old boy had been arrested and charged with the murder. The boy was later named as Zyairr Davis. That's Z-Y-A-I-R-R; and given that Barnard College is in Harlem, you don't get a prize for guessing his race.
This lad Zyairr Davis told the police that he and two other boys — youths, teens, whatever — had tried to rob the girl. When she resisted, one of the other two stabbed her.
Under New York state law, a single accomplice's testimony isn't sufficient to secure a conviction. Police need to get the boy who, according to Zyairr Davis, delivered the fatal wound. This second boy absconded when news of the killing came out, apparently with adult assistance. He is black, of course — newspapers have published his picture — and 14 years old, but we don't know his name. I'll call him Abscondious, just for convenience.
Thursday this week the police tracked down Abscondious, took him into custody, and got a DNA sample from him. They need to do forensics on that sample: Ms Majors bit him, and there is genetic material on her teeth that might match his. It takes a couple of weeks to do those kinds of DNA tests, though. Meanwhile the cops have let Abscondious go, without charges or bail.
I'll let today's New York Post pick up the story. Quote from them:
"Of course I'm outraged, and I feel sorry for Tessa's family because after losing such a beautiful person, they have to now watch New York City politics victimize her a second time," one Manhattan cop said.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that Zyairr, Abscondious, and their playmate will win the ghetto lottery on this. The whole thing is being shaped to match the Central Park Jogger template.
Something horrible happens to a young white woman. Vicious racist white cops pull in a couple of black bodies at random and try to squeeze confessions out of them, perhaps planting evidence.
A heroic young Social Justice Warrior makes an award-winning TV special out of the case. New York's communist mayor Bill de Blasio pays several million dollars out of city funds to Zyairr, Abscondious, and their pal, to compensate for the persecution they have undergone and to soothe the mental anguish they must be enduring.
Or possibly something else. The senior brass at the New York Police Department don't need all this agida. See how they tossed officer Daniel Pantaleo under the bus in the Eric Garner case. Officer Pantaleo had wrestled Garner to the ground when Garner resisted arrest. A grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo for using an illegal choke hold. The NYPD fired Pantaleo anyway.
If I were one of the officers who questioned Zyairr Davis or tracked down Abscondious, I'd be seriously worried about my future employment prospects at this point.
05 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Some interesting results here from the exit polls for Britain's general election the other day.
Executive summary: Age is the new class. I've been hammering away at how the big political divide is no longer traditional left/right, socialist/capitalist, workers/toffs. It's cultural, I've been saying: globalist/nationalist, blues/reds, anywheres/somewheres, cloud people/dirt people, and the rest.
Well, forget about that. According to Ipsos MORI, a highly respectable polling organization, 18- to 24-year-olds went 62 percent for Labour, the old British left-wing party, versus just 19 percent for Conservatives. At the other end of the age range, voters 65 and older, the numbers were almost precisely reversed: 64 percent for the Conservatives, 17 percent for Labour. For intermediate ages the numbers go down and up in regular proportion. For the 34-44 age group they're close to equal.
There are a number of things going on there. A big one, I'd guess, is that older voters have clearer memories of the country when it was a country; younger ones have never known it as anything but a multicultural slum.
Another is the idealism of youth. Young voters are more receptive to love-the-world universalism. They haven't yet found out how little of the world loves them back.
And then, young people have good cause to resent their elders even more than has historically been the case. People my age have had charmed lives. I bought my first house at age 25 … on a trainee computer programmer's salary … in London! When I got bored with a job I quit and took a year or so off for traveling. There were plenty of jobs.
Twentysomethings can't live like that now. Just to get into the job market they have to endure years of dull college courses stuffed with social-science gibberish, larded up with Cultural-Marxist guilt-mongering and victimization narrative. The ordinary rituals of courting have all been shamed out of existence by feminists and their trial-lawyer enablers: males and females eye each other warily — preferably by iPhone — across a gulf of mutual suspicion.
Buy a house at age 25? Yeah: If your Dad's an investment banker, maybe. (My Dad was a repo man for a furniture store.)
And we're going to enjoy forty-year retirements paid for from the taxes of working youngsters. Is it any wonder they hate us, and the party we disproportionately vote for?
Item: In the town of Ames, Iowa, a chap named Adolfo Martinez, aged 30, who doesn't like homosexuals, stole the rainbow banner from a local church and burned it outside a homosexual bar a few blocks away.
Martinez isn't someone you'd want as a neighbor. He comes across as slightly crazy, and has a rap sheet of minor offenses.
December 18th he was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment. For taking and burning a homosexual banner.
It was a hate crime, the county attorney told us. Mr Martinez didn't just take the thing and burn it, he did so while thinking bad thoughts — thoughts, that is, that go against the ruling class ideology.
You can file this story along with the sentencing of James Fields, the young man charged with driving into a crowd of anarchist protestors in Charlottesville two years ago and causing the death of a protestor. Fields got life plus 419 years on state charges, on top of a sentence of life imprisonment he'd already received on federal "hate crime" charges. He had bad thoughts too, you see.
I'd be astonished if anyone were to get a sentence like that for killing Tessa Majors. Heck, I'd be astonished if anyone got 16 years.
I'll say this for our ruling class: They defend their ideology vigorously and ruthlessly, without apology or mercy. If you cleave to an ideology, however anti-human and irrational, that's the way to cleave.
Item: I note with regret the passing of Baba Ram Dass, formerly Richard Alpert.
Alpert was a Harvard psychology professor back in the early 60s: a nice Jewish boy — his father was president of the New Haven Railroad. Alpert fell in with Timothy Leary, another Harvard psychologist. He and Leary both experimented liberally with hallucinogenic drugs, for which they were both fired by Harvard in 1963.
In 1967, after a lot more experimenting, and some psychoanalysis, Alpert went to India and got religion — Indian religion. He came back to the states as Baba Ram Dass. I can't resist a quote from Adam Smith's 1975 book Powers of Mind, from which I am cribbing these details. Quote:
His father the railroad president was much relieved, he called him Rum Dum but it was better than the drug trip, his elder brother the stockbroker called him Rammed Ass …
He became a guru, with a big following among college kids. Back in those days, college kids didn't have intersectionality to exercise their wits on. Ah, the 60s!
Adam Smith suggests that where Indian religion is concerned, Alpert was missing a key point. Further quote from his book:
Kids followed him to India, around India. The Indians were a bit bewildered. "The young Americans," they said, "dance and sing kirtan all day." Kirtan are religious chants and songs. "But they're so young. Don't they know the stages? First you're a student. Then you go into a profession or a business, then you become a householder, then your household grows up and doesn't need you any more, and then you go do kirtan all day."
That sounds right to me. Fact, I feel like going outside and doing some kirtan on my own account, so I'll end the show here.
06 — Signoff. And that's it, ladies and gents, as another decade slips off into the night. Thanks for listening; and special thanks if you've been listening since January 8th 2010 — our first podcast of that departing decade. Topics included: Obama's healthcare bill, the underwear bomber, terrorism in Afghanistan and Britain, and of course immigration, from several different angles.
Well, well, the wheel turns. Our next podcast will be recorded in the Twenties. The Twenties! As a kid in England I remember adults talking about the Twenties — that was the nineteen-twenties, of course.
And then there was that silly TV series, The Roaring Twenties. Well, silly it may have been, but I think it was trying to tell us something. What, after all, was the Twenties all about? And what will these coming Twenties be all about? What's it all all about?
If you are of what Hazlitt called "the reflective portion of humanity," there are surely times when you think Dorothy Provine nailed it. What's it all about? Vo-do-de-o dododo-de-o do … that's what.
More from Radio dododo-de-o Derb next week.
[Music clip: Dorothy Provine, "Crazy Words, Crazy Tune."]