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[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, fife'n'drum version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your relatively genial host John Derbyshire, here to pass some comments on the week's news.
In my last podcast I promised that I wouldn't give you any more lengthy pieces about Calvin Coolidge after my two weeks' Cal-o-palooza. I shall be true to my promise; but I'm just going to start off this week with one passing reference … and that's it, I swear.
Engaging with the thirtieth President again these few days, I've been particularly impressed by his thrift. Public thrift, that is: every year Coolidge was in office the federal budget shrank, so that when he left the White House in 1929 it was lower by almost a third than when he'd taken office — a very unusual thing with American Presidents.
Contrast that with today, when the federal government is hosing money around as if it could just print as much as it wants to — which of course it can.
Is it money well spent? I wish I could think so. Washington Post, Thursday this week, headline: Biden asks for $20.6 billion for Ukraine as counteroffensive sputters.
Will that money be well spent in what, when hostilities started, I referred to as "the war between the world's two most corrupt white nations"?
In reference to that I should say that Ukraine is looking a tad better corruption-wise than it was a year and a half ago. I just checked the latest rankings on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. On the 2022 figures, Ukraine ranks 116 out of 180, in between The Philippines and Zambia. Russia meanwhile is still stuck down at 137, between Paraguay and Kyrgystan. (The U.S.A., people always want to know? We ranked 24, between the Seychelles and Bhutan.)
That's not the most bizarre thing I've read this week on federal spending, though — not by a long way. Here is the easy winner.
By way of preface, let me remind you about SIGAR, S-I-G-A-R. That stands for Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, an agency of the federal government created in 2008 by George W. Bush to oversee our reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.
So … after we cut and ran from Afghanistan two years ago, SIGAR was disbanded, right? Saving the feds a lot of unnecessary expenditure, right?
Wrong! SIGAR is still with us; its website is still up and running; and it's still issuing reports.
Matter of fact it issued a report on Tuesday this week. Executive summary from the actual report, quote:
This report summarizes SIGAR's oversight work and updates developments in U.S. assistance and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan from April 1st to June 30, 2023.
The report tells us that since our undignified exit from Afghanistan in 2021 the federal government, through Congress of course, has appropriated over $2.35 billion in funds for Afghanistan reconstruction and humanitarian efforts.
The Biden administration has in fact been, according to the Daily Caller, the single largest donor of taxpayer money to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan since the U.S. evacuated forces.
And these lavish public spending policies have of course an immigration dimension. That is true even down at the state level, although immigration is supposed to be a federal responsibility. Boston Herald, August 8th, headline: Massachusetts spending $45M a month on programs for migrants, displaced families, Healey says.
Governor Healey is of course begging the feds for financial assistance, so chances are this will come out of our federal taxes eventually, one way or another.
What happened to the principle that foreigners coming into the U.S.A. for settlement have to prove they are self-supporting? Oh for goodness' sake, Derb, don't be so old-fashioned. That kind of thinking went out with buttoned boots.
And the Massachusetts number is peanuts compared to what New York City is begging for. Just the city, mind; not much awareness has yet seeped up to the state government in Albany.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams told us on Wednesday that the cost of housing and caring for illegal aliens in the city will be twelve billion dollars over the next three years.
Twelve billion! That's more than we'll spend supporting the Taliban! Although not as much as we'll give to Ukraine.
That sound you hear in the background, like rrrrrrr? That's the U.S. Treasury printing presses working 24/7 at full speed.
03 — Bibby Stockholm syndrome. As an American ex-Brit, I don't know which depresses me more in the sphere of immigration policy: the brazen lawlessness of our federal government, or the limp ineffectuality of Britain's so-called "Conservative Party" government.
As I've been reporting, the Brits have taken to heart my urging to deal with illegal entrants the way their 18th- and 19th-century ancestors dealt with common criminals, including my own Great-Great-Grandpa George: by accommodating them in hulks — disused or decommissioned old ships moored offshore.
The first of these hulks, a hideous great barge named the Bibby Stockholm, has at last been put into service. Earlier this week the first fifteen wetbacks were boarded there.
Hideous it may be, but the Bibby Stockholm is a pretty nice place to live. The occupants, who will number 500 when the barge is full, get three cooked meals a day, clean spacious rooms with TV, desk, and wardrobe, a gym, a pool room, and one-gigabyte-a-second wi-fi. They can leave the barge at will, with free bus and taxi passes so they can explore the neighboring town.
To open-borders activists, however, Bibby Stockholm is the Bastille. One of their groups, name of Care4Calais, has been working the human-rights law firms at full stretch to prevent any illegals from being put on the barge. Quote from the CEO of that outfit:
To house any human being in a "quasi floating prison" like the Bibby Stockholm is inhumane. To try and do so with this group of people is unbelievably cruel. Even just receiving the notices is causing them a great deal of anxiety.
At week's end I read that the labors of these activists and law firms has borne fruit. As I mentioned, the first fifteen illegal aliens were shipped to the Bibby Stockholm earlier this week. Well, now they've been un-shipped, and further boardings are on hold.
How did the activists pull this off? We're told that pathogens causing legionnaire's disease were found in the hulk's water system. Yeah, right: like it's really really difficult to bribe a health inspector.
Whatever. The Bibby Stockholm's out of commission until the water supply's fixed … by which points the activists and their legions of lawyers will have come up with something else to make boarding impossible.
The politicians huff and puff and flap their arms; the activists are totally in charge of the situation there … just as they are here, where most of the politicians keep their mouths shut and pretend nothing's happening.
Government of the people, by the people, for the people? Sure, so long as the people are foreign scofflaws looking for free room and board and three free meals a day.
04 — What about the workers? The political left in advanced Western countries is now firmly in the hands of world-saver anti-nationalists. The smart ones have law degrees, the midwits have degrees in Grievance Studies, but they all agree that the nation-state is a shamefully white-supremacist idea and unlimited immigration is a blessing.
Does anything remain of the older leftist sensibility, the one that says that bringing in foreign workers is just a transfer of wealth from labor to capital? The view expressed by Bernie Sanders just eight years ago?
[Clip Ezra Klein: Something that is in what you said about being a Democratic Socialist is a more international view. But I think if you take global poverty that seriously it leads you to conclusions that in the U.S. are considered out of political bounds. Things like sharply raising the level of immigration we permit, even up to the … up to a level of open borders; about sharply increasing …
That was, I repeat, just eight years ago, before the total capture of the left by cat ladies and tech billionaires.
As I'm sure Bernie was heard to say before they captured him, too: "What about the workers?"
On the other side of the Atlantic there are signs that the immigration-restrictionist left is stirring.
A few weeks ago in Britain's House of Commons the leader of the Labour Party accused the government of having, quote, "lost control of immigration," end quote. A Labour government, he said, would tighten up the rules. He asked rhetorically, quote, "How many work visas were issued to foreign nationals last year?" End quote.
It'll be a year and a half before the Labour Party has a chance at power; and personally I wouldn't trust them to boil an egg, well-infiltrated as they are with college-educated spinsters and resentful blacks. That the Party leader is saying such things, though, tells us that the spirit of Bernie Sanders in his 2015 manifestation may be stirring back to life on the left.
Here's further reinforcement from Germany, the nation that Angela Merkel was throwing open to millions of Middle Eastern and African invaders even as Bernie was speaking. This is from europeanconservative.com, headline: Germany: Momentum Builds for Left-Wing Anti-Immigration Party.
Much of the article concerns a German political party named Die Linke, which means "the Left." The article describes Die Linke thus, quote:
An avowed Marxist-Leninist party formed after the collapse of communism, Die Linke has struggled in recent years, placing sixth in opinion polls, as right-wing populists in the AfD corral populist momentum.
Wow. "An avowed Marxist-Leninist party" doesn't have much "populist momentum." Go figure.
Anyway, key paragraph, quote:
Five to ten MPs from the German Die Linke party have quietly pledged support for a left-wing, anti-mass immigration party rumoured to be formed by disgruntled former party leader Sahra Wagenknecht in a move that could split the German left down the middle.
So the political left, all the way out to "avowed Marxist-Leninists," may be turning against open borders. Hey, maybe we can get Angela Davis writing for VDARE.com!
I'm going to keep my segment as written, though. The theme is the same: Will Japan lighten up on its sensible, strictly-enforced immigration laws? Like Federale, I hope not. Here's the segment as I wrote it.
Here is some news from a nation that prizes demographic stability and rigorously enforces its laws on immigration and settlement.
That nation is of course Japan. I've taken the story from Kyodo News, August 4th. Headline: Over 140 Japan-born foreign minors to get special permission to stay.
Even Japan's immigration system is somewhat leaky, it seems. There are people living there with no proper residence status. Quote:
According to data from the Immigration Services Agency as of the end of last year, a total of 4,233 foreign nationals have refused to leave Japan even though they were given deportation orders due to illegal overstays and other reasons. Of them, 201 were born in Japan and aged below 18.
This whole Kyodo News article is a bit ambiguous. It brought to mind Arthur Koestler's quip that you can negate the main verb in an average Japanese sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence.
What, for example, will happen to those four thousand aliens not born in Japan who have defied deportation orders? We are not told. Presumably the 140 children in the headline are taken from the 201 in that quote. OK, but what about adults? Further quote.
During the five years through 2020, the [special residence] permission was granted annually to about 1,400 people on average, according to the agency.
So apparently around one-third of illegal aliens get to stay. That's more generous than I would have thought for Japan. And yet, still further quote:
While noting that the swift repatriation of foreign nationals who resist deportation is necessary, Saito also said the government has been considering measures to help children living in Japan [inner quote] "who have done no wrong themselves" [end inner quote] but face hurdles in their lives.
I give up. I shall not leave the Kyodo News report, though, without noting the smallness of the numbers here. Whatever is going on immigration-wise in that nation of 125 million people, it's going on in dozens, hundreds, and low thousands.
Even scaling up two and a half times to allow for the U.S.A.'s bigger population, that's picayune stuff. In just the one city of New York the conversation is conducted in terms of tens of thousands — high tens of thousands.
If Japan is softening up on illegal aliens, she has far, far to go to reach our levels of idiocy.
06 — News from the courts. The ideological capture of our justice system was in plain view this week in Minneapolis and Portland.
That we now have a Soviet style of justice will be no news to Radio Derb listeners. I would have spared you further news of it except that this week's illustrations have a neat symmetry: one is a criminal case, the other is civil.
Defendant in the criminal case was former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao, one of the four police officers on scene when junkie hoodlum George Floyd died under police restraint in May 2020.
This week's event on Monday was the sentencing phase of his state trial. The sentence handed down was four years and nine months for aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. That is nine months more than the state sentencing guideline for that offense. Plainly we have a dangerous criminal here.
Thao is not just dangerous to the inhabitants of Minnesota, either. Under the double-jeopardy rule always applied when a black is killed by a nonblack, Thao is already serving a 3½-year sentence on a federal civil rights charge for being beastly to a poor helpless negro. He's a danger to the whole nation!
In fact Thao didn't do anything, only held back a mob while he and the other officers waited for an ambulance. But then, Roddie Bryan didn't do anything either when the Brunswick Three tried to carry out a lawful citizen's arrest on Ahmaud Arbery. You don't have to do anything, just be on the scene when a black criminal dies from an overdose or while trying to grab a loaded gun.
The gods of racial vengeance must be appeased, and the proper way to appease them is to throw a few nonblacks into the volcano now and then.
The judge in Thao's case was the reptilian Peter Cahill. After Thao had told the court at some length about his Christian faith, he concluded by saying, quote: "I did not commit these crimes. My conscience is clear. I will not be a Judas nor join a mob in self-preservation or betray my God." End quote.
Judge Cahill hissed back that, quote: "After three years of reflection, I was hoping for a little more remorse, regret, acknowledgment of some responsibility, and less preaching." End hiss.
On Tuesday we got a verdict in the civil case brought by freelance journalist Andy Ngo against Antifa rioters who beat him up on various occasions from 2019 to 2021. Ngo had originally named three rioters, but one settled with him out of court. Tuesday's verdict concerned the other two: Elizabeth Renee Richter and John Colin Hacker. The jury found both defendants not liable.
In her closing statements, defense lawyer Michelle Burrows told the jurors that not only does she self-identify as both a progressive and an "anti-fascist," she strongly declared, quote, "I am Antifa," end quote, and insisted upon making herself an "I am Antifa" t-shirt, which she said she would wear after the trial.
After announcing her retirement and that this would be her last trial, Burrows then told the jurors that she, quote, "will remember each one of their faces." End quote.
The trial judge, Chanpone Sinlapasai, seemed happy with all this. She is Laotian-American. I'd tell you more about her except that I'm not sure which of those names is her surname. All the regular sources like Ballotpedia use Sinlapasai.
The English-language Laotian Times, however, which presumably knows a thing or two about Laotian naming protocols, calls her Ms Chanpone. That newspaper also tells us that, quote:
Before becoming a judge, Ms. Chanpone devoted 20 years of her legal career to serving refugees, immigrants, and diverse communities in crisis.
You getting a lefty vibe there? Me, too. And Laos, which has a sub-population of Hmongs. Hm; I wonder if she knows Tou Thao?
On the onomastic point, I'm afraid you're going to have to do your own research. My own acquaintances in Laos have long since decayed away to nothing; and in any case they were mostly Australian and British hippies. How time flies!
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: It's been a great week for schadenfreude: for taking pleasure in the misfortunes — in this week's cases, the humiliation — of people I dislike.
First humiliation: the U.S.A. women's soccer team. Our ladies won their first game in the tournament, then tied the next two. That got them to the knockout stages, where they faced a team from Sweden.
Preparatory to all four of those games, the competing teams had their national anthems played. The Vietnamese, Portuguese, Dutch, and Swedish teams all sang their anthems lustily along with the band. Our girls mostly didn't. Five of them sang, six stayed silent. Prior to the game against Portugal, only three American players put their hands over their hearts while the anthem played.
Then, when the match against Sweden was played, our team choked. The game went into extra time; then non-singer and longtime progressive activist Megan Rapinoe made a really poor penalty kick, the game was lost, and the U.S.A. were out of the tournament.
I'd like to tell you I stood up and cheered at our team's humiliation, but I don't watch women's soccer. Does anyone? I contented myself with a chuckle and a happy grin when I read about it in my morning newspaper.
Item: Second humiliation: Mitch McConnell, who last Saturday attempted to make a speech at the Fancy Farm picnic, a big political event in Kentucky. Boos, jeers, and shouts of "Retire!" drowned out whatever he was trying to say.
That's not likely any kind of loss to the national corpus of political oratory. McConnell hasn't said anything worth remembering for a couple of decades. He's 81 years old, has spent 39 years as a Senator, and has a net worth of $35 million. He is, in short, a poster boy for the corrupt, useless gerontocracy that has somehow gotten a grip on our nation's windpipe.
I'll give McConnell credit for just one thing: He scotched Barack Obama's attempt to put Comrade Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court. Thanks for that, Mitch. Now get the hell out of public life, you senile old fart.
Item: If I hear someone described as a "transgender woman," what does that mean? Is the person a biological male who wants to live as a female, or vice versa?
I don't know; and this week I learned that I have plenty of company in my ignorance. Daily Mail, August 7th, quote:
More than a third of Britons do not know that transgender women were born men and are biologically male, a new poll revealed today …
Having read that, I think I shall now probably remember that trans women are guys, and I guess trans men are women. The prefix "trans" just flips you to the opposite thing, see?
I'd have been perfectly happy to remain in my ignorance, though. Of course I don't wish any harm to trans people, but they're suffering from a delusion, a kind of malady. As with physical maladies, that's the province of specialists. I don't believe I have to know all the jargon of all the specialists. Who can?
Even when my own life — my own body — encroaches on the world of clinical specialists, I don't see why I have to get deep into their jargon. I suffer from Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, which is different in some way from Small Lymphocytic Leukemia, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and probably some other varieties I've forgotten.
How is it different? Don't ask me. Ask a hematological oncologist: it's their business, not mine.
Ms Netrebko is a Russian and a patriot. Her patriotism has limits: early in the Russia-Ukraine war she put out a statement calling on Russia to end the war. That got her canceled in Russia. Because of other, pro-Russian statements, however, New York's Metropolitan Opera dropped its contract with her, causing all the other American opera houses to shun her. She is now unemployable in both countries and has had to sell her city apartment.
She has launched a $360,000 lawsuit against the Met and its general manager Peter Gelb, claiming that they used her, quote, "as a scapegoat in their campaign to distance themselves from Russia and to support Ukraine," end quote.
I wish Ms Netrebko all the luck in the world with this lawsuit. It's bad enough that our federal government is pouring money — our money — into a squabble between some Eastern Slavs that is none of our national business.
That a private cultural institution is depriving us of a talent like Netrebko's just so they can strike the fashionable pose on that same squabble is just as bad, although probably not as dangerous to our lives and property.
08 — Signoff. That's the show, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time and attention. Thank you also for your emails, which as usual I am far behind in responding to. The rule for incoming emails remains, as always: everything non-abusive is read, pondered, and when appropriate plagiarized.
For signoff music this week, a bit of classic Americana. Actually more than a bit; I'm going to give you a full four minutes of this one. It's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," performed here by guitarist and singer-songwriter Robbie Robertson, the guy who wrote it way back in 1969.
Robbie Robertson died on Wednesday this week, not long after his eightieth birthday. And yes, I know: he was Canadian by birth, so you might want quotation marks around that word "Americana" that I just used. He was half Mohawk and half Jewish by descent, though, which confuses the issue.
It's further confused by the lyrics of the song, which you can easily find online. The singer, telling his story in the first person, is a Southerner named Virgil Caine just after the Civil War. He laments the depredations of Union General George Stoneman, the fall of Richmond, and the loss of his brother, a Confederate soldier killed in battle. His wife is thrilled to get a passing glimpse of Robert E. Lee.
In the dominant ideology of 2023 that makes Virgil Caine a hateful, leering white supremacist slave driver out of the same mold as Simon Legree and Adolf Hitler. The song, according to some of Steve Sailer's commenters, has been widely canceled.
That just shows how deep we've sunk into the dumbest, most puerile kind of moralizing. People didn't think like that in 1969. Trust me, I was there.
The common view of the Civil War back then was that the Confederate states had wanted to govern themselves, just as the Thirteen Colonies had ninety years before. Both desires were opposed by a dominant imperial power, and the matter was decided by force, as matters sometimes have to be.
The Thirteen Colonies won their war of secession; the Confederacy lost theirs. Those are the breaks. The Civil War was only a moral drama to people who think everything is a moral drama. That's the way we're supposed to think today, a couple of cultural revolutions on from 1969.
I call b-s on the infantile, hypocritical moralism of 2023 and praise on Robbie Robertson for a fine, beautiful American song. Rest in Peace, Sir.
[Music clip: The Band, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."]