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[Music clip: "While Shepherds Watched"]
01 — Intro. Wasn't that lovely! When we were kids we used to sing: "While shepherds washed their socks by night …" Now of course I have put away childish things. Ho ho ho!
Oh, wait a minute: We're not allowed to say "Ho ho ho" any more, not since rappers took over the word "ho." Now if you say "ho" some Gyno-American in the vicinity is going to take offense.
Well, we must move with the times. Instead of "Ho ho ho" I am henceforth going to say "Ha ha ha." Nobody could possibly object to that, I'm sure.
OK, let's … [Phone rings] … Excuse me. Hello? … Oh hey, Boss, what's up? … What? "Ha ha" is disrespectful? To Whom? … To the Haha? Who are they? … An ethnic group … in Morocco and Algeria? You're kidding. Wha … Its on Wikipedia, you say? Wait a minute, hold on there. [Keyboard clicking.] Holy cow, so it is. All right, all right, I'll lay off "Ha ha." … Right, I'll lay off "Ha ha" and "Ho ho" both. Right … Yeah, yeah, don't worry, Boss … Yep, OK, got it … Right, yeah … You too … OK, bye. [Hangs up phone.]
Well: I'm not allowed to say "Ho ho ho" and I'm not allowed to say "Ha ha ha." Er, how about "He he he"? Hm, yeah, sort of … girly, isn't it? I'm afraid guys of the other orientation might find that hurtful.
"Hu hu hu"? No, that won't do. Hu is the Chinese word for a barbarian. Come to think of it, it's also the Chinese word for a tiger, a butterfly, a fox, a pelican, a lake, a beard, and a gourd. Funny language, Chinese. It's that "barbarian" that people would get hung up on, though. So I guess I'd best stay away from "hu."
Now, how can Santa laugh without triggering a lawsuit? Is there any way? Oh, yes, of course there is! [Clip: Hillary cackle.]
02 — Preamble. As you can probably tell from that, gentle listener, I am not in much of a mood for work today. If this week's Radio Derb has less pith and moment than you are accustomed to expect, if I descend into triviality, self-indulgence, and peculiar sound effects, if I burst into croaking song or uncontrollable giggling, if I break off from recording to write another check to the Ron Paul campaign, well, just put it down to Christmas spirit, OK?
All right, here is the actual broadcast. Concentrate now, Derb. There's stuff happening out there, and you're paid to report on it.
03 — Campaign summary. Of course, one thing that's happening is this wretched election campaign, which already seems to have been going on for ever. Back home in Shakespeare's Island, election campaigns last two weeks, or three if we're unlucky.
Still, I shouldn't grumble. This is an exceptionally rich crop of candidates, with something for everybody, and I am, I really am, still curious to see how it shakes down.
Two large factors are shuffling the deck right now.
One large factor is that more and more people believe there will be a recession next year. Not just Gloomy Guses like me, either; folks who actually know stuff, like the analysts at Morgan Stanley, or like Alan Greenspan. The economic jitters are filtering down to the voters. They're worried about their jobs; which means also, in this crazy system we have, they're worried about their healthcare, too. And they're worried about their debt.
That all skews things towards a candidate like Mitt Romney, who oozes business understanding and managerial competence. It also skews things towards Mrs Clinton, because people have fond memories of the 1990s Clinton prosperity. No, I agree, that's not wholly rational, but that's how electoral politics works.
All that stuff you've been hearing about Mrs Clinton's campaign imploding — Well, take it with a pinch of salt. She's a tough lady; she can come back; and the economic wind is behind her.
Large factor number two is the national security issue — or rather, the absence of it.
This is a wild card, as a big terrorist atrocity on our soil, or a big reversal in Iraq or Afghanistan, could bring the issue forward again. Right now, though, heading into those momentum-building early primaries, war and security aren't big. That hurts Giuliani and McCain … though it likely helps Mrs Clinton, as it dulls the force of Barack Obama's big selling point about being the guy who voted against the Iraq War.
And then, above these issues, there is the even larger issue of who we are and where we're headed, and whether we're in any shape to cope with the crises we know are just over the horizon: the commodities crunch and the entitlements tsunami.
And whether any of the mainstream candidates can make much difference. Some of us see real structural and systemic problems — social problems, demographic problems, as well as economic and security problems. I said "some of us," but I hope there'll be more of us as the campaign advances — perhaps even enough of us to make a real difference.
That's why I'm speaking up for Ron Paul, the only candidate who's talking about these fundamental things. And talking as a conservative.
Go get 'em, Doc!
04 — Globalization plus democracy equals strife. Interesting stuff happening in Bolivia. No, really; and that boy who said "I don't bolivia!" can leave the room please.
Four years ago a political scientist named Amy Chua published a book with the title World On Fire. I reviewed that book for the American Conservative. Amy Chua's central argument was that globalization and democracy are at loggerheads. All over the world there are countries with what she called "market-dominant minorities," like Ms Chua's own relatives, the Chinese of the Philippines.
Globalization is a huge boon for these clever, industrious, business-savvy minorities. It's a boon for everyone, of course; but, as with so many things in the human world, it's the differentials that count. If brown Filipinos are getting a bit richer but yellow Filipinos are getting way richer, that causes problems.
It especially causes problems because market-dominant minorities are minorities. So in a democracy, the market-non-dominant majority can outvote them.
In the particular case of Latin America, this plays out in different ways in different countries, depending mostly on the demographics. What are the proportions, in any given country, of (a) original Indians, (b) more or less direct descendants of the European colonizers, (c) mixed-race mestizos, and (d) other, like the black people of Brazil.
Well, in Bolivia the cut is about fifteen percent European, fifty-five percent Indian, thirty percent mestizo. Put it another way: If you line up seven Bolivians, one of them will be European, four will be Indian, and two will be mestizo.
Unfortunately these groups aren't spread smoothly across the landscape of Bolivia. The highlands of the West and South, which include the capital, are heavily Indian. The broad lowlands of the East and North are much more European and mestizo.
Economics cuts unevenly, too. The Indians are poorer and less educated, while the taller, paler lowland people are better off.
Well, guess what: The lowlands want to secede. Four of Bolivia's nine departments have passed autonomy legislation. This is in defiance of President Evo Morales, who is an Indian and a socialist, and who is trying to impose a new constitution that favors the four-sevenths of the population that, like him, is Indian.
What you see here is the great looming tragedy of our age — and I don't use the word "tragedy" lightly. Establish a free economy under democratic rule, and what happens?
What happens is: Some ethnic groups rise and some sink — or, what amounts to the same thing, they don't rise as fast. Yes, folks: free markets plus democracy equals ethnic conflict.
The answer to Rodney King's question — "Can't we all get along?" — is every day more plain, and the answer is: No, we can't, not on a level playing field.
Welcome to the twenty-first century!
05 — No God in this fight. You know, it's a pity we never got Derb TV working. If you could see me right now, in the background over my right shoulder you would see a strangely glowing image of Christopher Hitchens.
Now I just want to make it clear that this is not any kind of statement or appeal on my part. In fact it's just a coincidence. The Hitch picture just happens to be there. You won't catch me injecting religion into a political campaign. No way!
06 — Eternal vigilance. I pass my son't room and I see that he's on the computer, texting with his friends.
"Have you finished your homework, Son?" I ask.
"No," he says, "I'm just taking a break."
"All right," I say, "five minutes."
Twenty minutes later I go past again and he's texting again, or perhaps still.
You know the feeling. Well, if you've raised kids you know the feeling.
The United States Congress is kind of like that. The only sure way to get them doing what they ought to be doing is to be tirelessly vigilant and keep the pressure on.
Case in point: the border fence. Last year's Secure Fence Act specified, quote, "two layers of reinforced fencing." It also specidied five stretches of the border, totalling over seven hundred miles, where the fence should be built.
Well: Congress has just passed a monster spending bill — over half a trillion dollars, containing nine thousand earmarks, and in there among the countless other clauses of this humongous bill are a couple that (a) remove the requirement for two layers of fence, and (b) leave the locations of the fence segments to the discretion of border enforcement.
The elites in this country are absolutely, unshakably determined that illegal immigration shall not be controlled, let alone stopped. It is their top priority — the most important thing in the world to them.
The business lobbies, the gated community crowd, the educrats, the mainline churches, the unions, the tort lawyers, the liberal bleeding hearts … they love illegal immigration more than they love their lives. If it's up to them, that fence will never be built.
Fortunately it's not just up to them. As the defeat of this year's amnesty bill proved, we have voices too. The trouble is, we have to keep using them. If we relax for a minute, they slip some atrocity like this through Congress.
Keep shouting! Keep calling! Don't let up!
07 — Goodbye, California. Faster and faster the United States is losing California.
The Los Angeles Times ran a story December 20th about the flows of people into and out of the Golden State and its cities.
California's population registered a slight growth in fiscla 2007, but that was due to 200,000 foreigners settling in the state, and a high birth-rate among recent immigrants. Eighty-nine thousand more people moved out of California than moved in from other states of the union.
In Los Angeles County, population a bit over ten million, things are worse than they are in the state at large. Quote from the LA Times, quote:
In Los Angeles County alone, nearly 115,000 fewer residents came from other states and other California counties than moved to other states and counties. The county ended up with a total increase in population thanks to 91,000 births and an influx of 70,000 residents from foreign countries.
End quote. It is not sheer coincidence that California is heading into a deep fiscal crisis. Governor Schwarzenegger has told his law-makers to expect a fourteen billion dollar budget deficit in January. He could of course raise taxes; but California's income and sales taxes are already high. Raising them will just drive more middle-class people out of the state, leaving fewer to pay for the health, education, and welfare of the unskilled Mexicans who have been pouring in this past twenty years.
California is a write-off. Pity; it has a really nice climate.
08 — Spinning and dissolving. That's it, listeners, I'm afraid. I'm all newsed out for this year.
The news stories in fact are starting to blur together in my mind. Does Hillary Clinton's brother owe child support for a baby fathered on Britney Spears' sister by John Edwards? Did some student at Princeton endure an attack by noose-brandishing Ron Paul supporters endorsed by Joe Lieberman? Did Turkey invade Iraq to stop Vladimir Putin becoming the next Prime Minister of Pakistan?
Don't ask me. It's all spinning and dissolving. I have to get out of here: settle down in front of the fire with a glass of Old Crow and something really undemanding on the telly.
I have to escape; I have to go home; because, after all, there's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home …
09 — Signoff. Before I head for the fireside and the fruit cake, there is just one more year-end thing to be done.
That, of course, is to wish a very merry Christmas to all Radio Derb listeners. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your emails; and apologies if I didn't answer your particular email. Every email gets read and appreciated, but if I tried to answer them all, I would do nothing else.
I wish you good family time over the holiday and all that you wish for yourselves in the coming year. May your days be merry and bright, and may all your opinions lean right.
[Music clip: "Away in a Manger."]