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[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, big band version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! That was Haydn's Derbyshire March Number Two in a big band version and this is your vibrantly genial host John Derbyshire bringing you news of the hour, or at any rate of the week.
This week was heavy on political news. On Tuesday House Speaker Kevin McCarthy launched an impeachment inquiry by the House of Representatives into the Biden family's selling their political influence to foreign business interests for cold cash.
Then two days later on Thursday the office of Special Counsel David Weiss announced the indictment of Hunter Biden for lies he told on federal forms when buying a handgun five years ago.
Impeachment, indictment, … Do these events herald an improvement in our ability to conduct rational politics, or a further impairment? There is no impediment to me offering you my opinion, and I need no special inducement to do so … although what follows may be just a first installment …
02 — Fake impeachment, fake indictment. Kevin McCarthy's intention to impeach President Biden for corruption strikes me as pointless. His party has a majority of four in the House; in the Senate they're in a minority, 49 to 51.
So there are two hurdles to be jumped for anything effective to happen — I mean, for Biden to be impeached and convicted: One, get the full House to vote impeachment; then two, get all the Senate Republicans to vote for conviction, plus two or more Democratic Senators. The first hurdle there is jumpable, the second not.
[Added when archiving: Oops: You need two-thirds of the Senate for a conviction, so "two or more" should be "eighteen or more." Sorry …]
And what is a House impeachment inquiry going to inquire about that isn't already being inquired about by (a) Rep. James Comer's Oversight Committee and (b) Rep. Jim Jordan's Judiciary Committee?
So I think this comes under the heading Gesture Politics. Even if you allow that the Biden family is a nest of crooks, which I certainly do allow, there are better things to impeach the President for.
Most obviously, and of much greater benefit to the national welfare, he could be impeached for violating his Oath of Office by failing to ensure that the people's laws on immigration and settlement are faithfully executed. That's why you're called "Chief Executive," Joe.
Peter Brimelow made the case for that on Wednesday. The Boss also pointed out the probable reason why Kevin McCarthy prefers a charge of corruption rather than one of treason on our nation's borders: McCarthy is a RINO, a Uniparty shill, taking his instructions from the cheap labor lobbies who still own most of the Congressional GOP.
In last week's podcast, under the inspiration of political scientist Francis Fukuyama, I commented on the accelerating failure of Congress to do the job assigned to it by our Constitution. Congress has always been an arena for political games, of course; but it has serious Constitutional obligations fo fulfill, obligations that should, at least some of the time, preferably most of the time, put the national interest ahead of petty political triumphs.
One index of this accelerating congressional failure has been presidential impeachments. There have been four in our nation's history: of Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998, Donald Trump in 2020, and Donald Trump again in 2021. The gaps between those presidential impeachments were, in years: 130, 22, and 1.
Accelerating? Oh yeah. If the congresscritters have their way, presidential impeachment will soon be a weekly event.
If the impeachment inquiry is fake, the indictment of Hunter Biden is even faker. The bringer of this indictment is Special Counsel David Weiss, a glove puppet for People's Commissar Merrick Garland.
As my Friday New York Post points out under the memorable headline Junkie liar charged with 3 felonies, quote:
That's one of about a dozen crimes that Hunter Biden's committed, and ironically that's the one crime that he committed that you cannot tie Joe Biden into.
I should note that, one, the Post was quoting House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer; and two, that the headline I gave you there is from the print edition of the newspaper, targeted at Noo Yawkers. The online headline, aimed at a wider readership, is more genteel, quote: Hunter Biden indicted over lies about drug addiction while buying gun. Lemme tell youse: dese Noo Yawk joynalists know dere biznus.
The Post has another good quote on this, from Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, quote:
Getting Hunter on the gun charge is like getting Jeffrey Dahmer on littering.
So, bottom line on this impeachment and this indictment: fake and fake. [Seinfeld clip: "Fake, fake, fake, fake." (Audience laughter).]
03 — White House issues a 3-line whip. I'm not that familiar with Congressional jargon, but in the British House of Commons there is something called a three-line whip. Here's a definition from the online Cambridge Dictionary, quote:
In the U.K. a three-line whip is an instruction given to Members of Parliament by the leaders of their party telling them they must vote in the way that the party wants them to on a particular subject.
One of the reactions to Kevin McCarthy's announcement of an impeachment inquiry came out of the White House Counsel's office Wednesday morning as a memo. It was actually headed MEMO TO EDITORIAL LEADERSHIP AT U.S. NEWS MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS.
To this old Parliamentary junkie the memo looks very much like a three-line whip from the Ruling Class to their followers in the media.
The sender's name on the memo is Ian Sams, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor and Spokesman for White House Counsel's Office. The subject line reads as follows, quote:
Re: It's Time For The Media To Do More To Scrutinize House Republicans' Demonstrably False Claims That They're Basing Impeachment Stunt On.
I hope someone in the White House has rapped Ian Sams' knuckles with a ruler for having ended a sentence with a preposition, something Radio Derb would never be guilty of.
That aside, you have to marvel at the audacity of this memo. Although Ian Sams directed it to media bosses, he made no effort to keep it private. He is telling the whole world that he expects the media to toe the White House line.
To be sure that the media know exactly what the White House line is, the two-page memo comes with a fourteen-page appendix that, quote, "comprehensively addresses the 7 key lies House Republicans are suggesting they are basing an impeachment on," end quote.
And the audacity of the memo comes with a garnish of surprise. Why did the White House think it necessary to issue this three-line whip? Haven't the mainstream news outlets — Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, MSNBC — haven't they been working hard enough this past three years to cover for Biden and his family? I don't see how they could have worked any harder.
In Parliamentary proceedings a three-line whip generally goes out when party managers fear that some Members of Parliament may buck the party line on some important issue. Is the White House worried that they may be losing some portion of the regime media? I haven't seen any signs of that myself; but then, I only read the progressive outlets when I have to.
Or is there something else going on? Bear in mind that the fact of this memo having a White House address at the top doesn't necessarily mean that Joe Biden knows anything about it. Most likely he's oblivious to it. As best I can judge from the President's speech and behavior, at this point on life's journey "Oblivion" is Biden's middle name.
Speaking about the deep state in last week's podcast I limited myself to Francis Fukuyama's musings about what he calls "principals" and "agents." The principals are elected politicians; the agents are the bureaucrats who are supposed to implement the principals' policies.
A listener emailed in to chide me for not acknowledging that the deep state isn't just politicians and federal bureaucrats. It includes a lot of people employed outside the walls of government: media people, educators, businessfolk hungry for government contracts.
That is of course true; and by making this memo public, the White House managers are speaking to all of them.
All these lesser power centers have their own small reservoirs of pride, though. To be told so blatantly and openly that they must toe the line — must continue to declare Joe Biden innocent of all charges — will raise some hackles.
Perhaps that's the intention. Perhaps this memo comes from a desire on the part of the deep state to stir up some anti-Biden activity in the regime media. Why? Because they want to get rid of Biden, that's why. They don't think he can win next year's election, and they fear that whoever does win it will be unfriendly to them.
Obviously the White House can't issue a memo saying, "OK, maybe these charges against the President have some substance to them." They can, though, issue a shrill memo that will offend at least some of those employees at the Post and the Times, at CNN and MSNBC — ambitious young thrusters who like to think of themselves as investigative reporters asking bold questions.
So … Four-dimensional chess? Hey, I'm just speculating.
04 — Camp of the Saints (cont.) This week has seen one big immigration story and several smaller ones — I mean stories that are newsworthy but not novel or sensational, just more of the same old same old.
I'll give over this segment to the big story then follow with a portmanteau segment for the lesser ones.
The nearest we got to sensational this week was in the Mediterranean: precisely, on the little Italian island of Lampedusa.
Lampedusa's a tiny place: eight square miles, population six and a half thousand, way out in the sea midway between Sicily and the North African coast. It looks beautiful in the pictures I've been browsing on the internet.
The island belongs to Italy; so an African who can get there somehow is then in the EU, in Europe, and can avail himself of all the provisions in the European Convention of Human Rights, and of the mighty armies of human rights lawyers who enforce those provisions.
Naturally lots of Africans have been heading to Lampedusa. That's been going on for a quarter century now; it was part of the big 2015-2016 surge into Europe that got so much publicity — what Steve Sailer calls "Merkel's boner," I forget why.
The nearest North African countries to Lampedusa are: nearest, Tunisia, and next nearest, Libya. Demographically both countries are overwhelmingly Middle Eastern white, having been ruled by Arabs and Turks for several centuries; so most of the boat people coming to Lampedusa these twenty-odd years past have been of that same stock.
Recently things have changed, though, most especially in Tunisia. Across the Sahara Desert to the south, the black African countries of the Sahel have been heading out ever further in the directions of over-population, under-development, and serious civic disorder. There's been a steady flow of migrants northwards, especially into Tunisia, which until recently had a healthy economy.
The inflow of black Africans was OK for a while. But then the economy went into the tank, unemployment shot up, the president took emergency powers, and the blacks found themselves seriously unwelcome — not least by the president, a chap named Saied, who told them they should go back across the Sahara to black Africa.
The last few months things have gotten very bad for the blacks in Tunisia. Quote from the Washington Post, June 30th:
According to more than 25 Washington Post interviews with victims, aid groups and activists, Black Africans have been assaulted, robbed, spit on, raped, stabbed and dragged through the streets. Last month, a man from Benin was hacked to death by a group of young Tunisians. [The racist roots of the rise in migration to Europe this year; Washington Post, June 30th 2023.]
So of course the blacks are all heading to Europe — i.e. to Lampedusa. Tuesday this week, in some calm weather after a spell of rough seas, a flotilla of more than a hundred boats reached the island. By late Wednesday over seven thousand people had arrived, more than doubling the island's population. To judge from the news pictures, practically all of the 7,000 are young men of fighting age.
This is a big embarrassment for Italy's Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, who was elected to that office a year ago on a platform of curbing illegal immigration, and who has been leading a combined EU effort to bribe Tunisia and other North African countries to curtail people-smuggling.
As I record here, the Italians are moving illegals from Lampedusa to Sicily and the Italian mainland as fast as they can, with a honcho from the United Nations refugee agency urging other European countries to help.
Willingness on the part of European nations to do so is … variable.
Those nations of Eastern Europe that used to be Soviet satellites are the most resolute in policing and defending their borders, sometimes in defiance of EU edicts. At the other extreme is Britain, which shows neither the inclination nor the ability to defend her borders.
Germany just this week, perhaps trending in the East European direction, pulled out of a multinational program to take illegals from front-line countries like Italy and Greece.
In France, on the other hand, President Macron is mumbling about a vague new scheme to get all EU members helping solve the crisis. In the meantime he continues to do as little as he can to stop the flow from France to Britain across the Channel.
So probably most of these Africans from Tunisia will end up in the U.K. after passing first through Italy and France.
The overall picture here brings irresistibly to mind Jean Raspail's novel The Camp of the Saints, published fifty years ago this year and available for purchase from the VDARE.com bookstore.
Raspail drew a convincing picture of the incoming hordes (although he had them originating in India, not Africa); but the thing I remember most vividly from the book is the cowardice and helplessness of the Europeans — their utter inability to grasp what was happening, or to resist it — as their lands, the lands of their ancestors, were overrun.
Will there still be a place we can recognize as Europe another fifty years from now? Every time I read a story like this week's out of Lampedusa, my hope recedes a little further.
05 — Immigration extras. I promised you a clutch of lesser stories on immigration. Here they are.
This is from a September 5th article by John Thompson, Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Coalition for Immigration Reform. Article title: Massachusetts Collapsing Under Weight of Unbridled Illegal Immigration. Sample quote:
As illegal immigration surged between 1990 and 2007, it remained modest in Massachusetts. When the housing bubble burst in 2007, illegal workers began leaving states with high concentrations like California, Florida, and Arizona and moving to states like Massachusetts where the unlawful resident population, which was fewer than 100,000 in 2007, is now over 300,000 — some five percent of the state's population.
Thompson gives an account of the consequences, with links to supporting data.
On the upside, Massachusetts is one of the nine states that enforce E-Verify for both public and private employees. Thompson urges other states to do the same.
[Added after recording: So it says here, "updated 2023," with accompanying map: "Although E-Verify is voluntary, certain states require all employees to use it, whether public or private. These states include Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah."
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy told us last Friday that he would deport the children of illegal aliens with their families, even if the kids had acquired U.S. citizenship by being born here.
Both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis have said they will end birthright citizenship if elected. DeSantis told a news conference back in June that birthright citizenship for illegals is, quote: "inconsistent with the original understanding of the 14th Amendment," end quote.
I can't find anything that Trump or DeSantis has said about children of illegals already in possession of citizenship when the new rule, the Trump-DeSantis rule, takes effect. To that degree, Ramaswamy is ahead of them. He says those children will be deported along with their parents. OK, but will they keep their citizenship?
How retroactive will the new ruling be? What about an adult person who acquired birthright citizenship via illegal-alien parents, but whose parents have since become legal citizens somehow? Hey, I was an illegal alien here from 1972 to 1978. What if I'd engendered a child? Would that person, now around fifty years old, lose his citizenship?
What if one parent's illegal and the other isn't? Will it be different if they're married or not married? There's a lot of stuff to be worked out here.
I'm against birthright citizenship for children of illegals. I think it's a dumb idea. Most nations agree with me: outside the Americas almost none offer it: In Europe, none at all; in Africa just two; not China or Japan; not Australia or New Zealand. Outside the Americas birthright citizenship is considered really eccentric.
I just want to know the fine details.
Here's something about Russian illegals. Since the war broke out a year and a half ago there's been a big spike in numbers of Russians with cases in New York State's Immigration Court. A lot of them are avoiding conscription, apparently unaware that fear of conscription is not grounds for asylum in the U.S.A.
And here's news from the Arizona border. Numbers crossing over in the Tucson sector are now exceeding Border Patrol's detention capacity. In a single 24-hour period this week the CBP saw over 2,000 illegal crossings.
So what happens to the illegals when there's no detention space? They get released with a Notice To Appear, that's what happens. Welcome to America!
The news story I'm getting this from, at the Fox News website, says that in this Tucson sector, quote: "large numbers of single adult men from Africa have been crossing illegally, including many from Senegal." End quote.
What is it about Senegal? It's a small and inconsequential country in West Africa. I wouldn't be surprised to see Nigeria or Ghana or Cameroon or Mauritania showing up a lot, but why Senegal? I guess things are really rough there. Well, well: Senegal's loss will be the U.S.A.'s gain, I'm sure.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: The annual commemoration of the 9/11 attacks came and went. I of course mean no disrespect to the memory of those who suffered and died that dreadful day; but the commemorations seemed a bit lackluster, more so every year.
Recollections fade with the passage of time, of course. That aside, though, I think there's a widespread disillusion among us over our national reaction to that event; a sense of something on a scale with embarrassment at one end, shame at the other.
My preference at the time was for relentless low-profile efforts to find and punish everyone responsible: as I said at the time, quote, "small teams of inconceivably brave men and women, working in strange places, unknown and unacknowledged." End quote.
What we got instead was huge missionary wars: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, … With, of course, entirely negative results. After twenty years stumbling about in Afghanistan we handed the place back to the people who'd been running it on 9/11, along with several billion dollars worth of our best military hardware. Iraq became a puppet state of Iran. Libya turned into a junkyard of endless tribal conflict. Syria? I forget, but I'm not aware of us having done anything creditable there.
Yes, cause for embarrassment, at least. And guys who actually planned and supported the attacks have still, after 22 years, not been brought to trial. There they lounge at Guantanamo Bay while civilian and military lawyers argue and wrangle.
Embarrassment? No: shame is what's appropriate, national shame.
Here's the front page of the London Daily Mirror, September 14th, huge main headline: YEAR OF THE SHOPLIFTER, with a picture of two people shoplifting at a London clothing store. Subheading One: "Thefts soar but where are prosecutions?" Subheading Two: "We demand law change to stop 'epidemic'."
If Uncle Sam is having an epidemic of out-of-control shoplifting, the Brits must have one too.
As a footnote here I observe that the people in that cover picture are both white. It's possible that the two shoplifters actually were white. It's also possible, though, that they were black and the picture was doctored.
British media outlets now do this in the name of "equity." Last month the BBC was caught in the act. A story in March 2022 about some local elections was illustrated with a black hand feeding a ballot into a ballot box. Someone noticed that an identical picture had been used five years ago for an election story — identical except that the hand in the original picture was white.
Do our media engage in this kind of chicanery? Surely not!
Attendance at services has been declining for at least thirty years, from over a million in 1995 to just half a million today.
This is of course a religious instance of "Go woke, go broke." The Anglican clergy have succumbed to the Social Justice gospel while their congregants have remained mostly conservative, middle-class, and white.
To me it's a mild, peripheral loss. The schools I attended from ages five to eighteen all had a daily service: a hymn, a Bible reading, prayers. I know my Bible decently well, can sing my way through Hymns Ancient and Modern, and am fairly well acquainted with the Anglican liturgy.
I'm happy attending a different church now, but I can't help missing the flavor of Anglicanism. The late Roger Scruton caught that flavor nicely in a book he wrote with the title: Our Church: A Personal History of the Church of England. I reviewed that book for The American Spectator back in 2013; the review is archived at my personal website. You're welcome!
At the end of another term, I'd be in my mid-eighties. Frankly, it's time for a new generation of leaders. They're the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in.
I know, I know: Romney's not on our side. I've scoffed at him as a, quote "milquetoast gentry Republican," end quote.
He's a never-Trumper — voted, twice, to impeach. When I tackled him on immigration once at a National Review show'n'tell before the 2012 election, it turned out he had never given the subject a moment's thought. "I'll have to read up on that," he said lamely, or something along those lines.
[Added when archiving: Yet another blooper on the impeachment business. Romney's in the Senate. He voted twice to convict, not to impeach. Sorry, sorry …]
All that said, though, he's a decent man, a law-abiding family man, a patriot by his own lights who seems to have gotten through 25 years in public life without doing anything to be ashamed of.
Good luck, Mitt. I'm sorry I cornered you on a subject you knew nothing about. Enjoy retirement in, I guess, Utah.
07 — Signoff. That's all, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your time and attention. Today I notice is the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, so get into the spirit of the thing and head down to Taco Bell first chance you get. Buen provecho!
For signoff, something a bit eccentric. Yes; I lapse into eccentricity now and then — forgive me.
This follows a small social gathering a few days ago when the question went round the table: "What's your favorite movie ending?"
That's one of those questions that, if you asked me on a different day, I'd probably give you a different answer. It happened that on this day I had just read a review of David Kynaston's latest book in his series about Britain since WW2. This book covers the early 1960s, so memories of those years were at the front of my mind.
One particularly vivid memory was of the 1962 movie Phaedra, which ends with Anthony Perkins deliberately driving much too fast along the narrow coastal road of some Greek Island after being thrown out by his billionaire father for doing the naughty with his stepmother.
Wikipedia tells me that Phaedra was, quote, "a hit in Europe but a box-office failure in the USA." Sure enough, none of my dinner-table companions had heard of it, not even those who were alive and sentient in 1962. Late-teen Brits of my generation, though, couldn't get enough of watching Anthony Perkins chewing the scenery, and this was one of the most memorable examples.
The movie Phaedra was based on a play by Euripides. I only mention this because it gives me the opportunity to air the ancient schoolboy joke about the guy who shows up at a Greek tailor's shop carrying a pair of trousers. Tailor: "Euripides?" Customer: "Yes, eumenides?"
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Clip: Closing 1m54s of the movie Phaedra.]