»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, February 15, 2008

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[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire Marches.]

01 — Intro.     [Hillary laugh-cry] I am sorry, I have no idea what that was. The island is full of noises. This is your genial host John Derbyshire, welcoming you once again to Radio Derb, with a lot of noises of the verbal sort about the news of the hour.

02 — Hillary tanks.     Republican or Democrat, you'd have to have a heart of stone not to be chuckling over the slow collapse of Mrs Clinton's campaign. Part of running for president is getting people to like you who didn't already. Mitt Romney couldn't pull it off, though he was a very worthy candidate in lots of ways. Mrs. Clinton can't, either, though for different reasons. Mitt was just too much the technocrat, too much the capable and efficient boss man. Nothing penetrated the shield of his campaign so deeply as Huckleberry's quip that Romney looks not like the people you work with, but the guy who fires you. Sure, a capable and efficient boss man would probably be a good thing to have in the White House. A country's not a business though, and we'd like to see a bit more of ourselves and our friends in the head guy than Romney could show. Mrs. Clinton can do the bossy technocrat thing, too, but her appeal is even weaker than Mitt's. I mean, at least Mitt had actually run things. And then, while Mitt was no-one but his own uninspiring self, whether you liked him or not, Mrs. Clinton carries with her those hints and recollections of bogus, fake, phoniness that she can never quite scrape off her shoe. Those shady deals from the Arkansas days; the deep and well-founded suspicion that her marriage is nothing but a vehicle for the ambitions of the two people in it; the manufactured tears and furrowed-brow pretense of "compassion" and "connection" … A lot of people are fooled, of course, but far too many are not. I myself can never see Mrs. Clinton without recalling Dr Johnson's remark about Alexander Pope: "He could not drink tea without a stratagem." There's not much for a conservative to be happy about in this election year, but watching this Dowager Empress of the Democrats, this Eva Peron in a pants suit, sink down slowly into the quicksand, squawking and pleading and squirting out the fake tears as she goes, makes up for a lot. Democracy is great, isn't it?

03 — Obama triumphs.     Well, perhaps democracy's not that great, if, out of three hundred million people, we end up with John McCain and Barack Obama as choices for our head of state. Far too many people are being far too nice about Obama. The guy is a typical product of the 1980s college system, when our institutions of higher education had all been turned into PC madrassas, and all the poisonous flim-flam of identity studies and diversity indoctrination filled the campus air. That kind of atmosphere suited Obama to a T — he'd already spent twenty years obsessing about his own precious identity. Then off he went into work — if you'll pardon the expression — as a "community organizer" and then as a lawyer representing, what? — community organizers, what else? Then back to the warm, scented bath of academic life, teaching law students how to help organize communities and litigate on behalf of, you know, community organizers. Reading Obama's résumé makes me feel very glad I don't live in a community that needs organizing by Ivy League grads whose heads are packed with p-c b-s. Now here's Obama gassing away about how he's going to "unite" us. What does that mean? He's going to persuade all the nation's conservatives to become liberals? Or is it a socialist thing — he's going to unite rich and poor by taxing the rich into poverty? Lotsa luck with that, buddy. Or is the uniting going to be spiritual? Is he going to swing us all into line behind his own favorite pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose church's website says, quote: "We are an African people, and remain 'true to our native land,' the mother continent, the cradle of civilization." How is he going to bring in those renegade few of us who think that Americans should be true to, you know, America? Or is it a race thing — is Obama going to bring black and white together at last? But the evidence is rather strong that black Americans and white Americans don't want to be brought together. We watch different TV programs, give our kids different names, live in different parts of town, send our kids to different schools, and drink different brands of beer. What are you going to do about any of that, Senator? Bring back busing? Force white mothers to name their kids DeShawn and Tashika? Obama's campaign is hot air, all hot air, and nothing but hot air. Unfortunately, a great many people seem to like hot air. I'd like to be able to say that the guy is such a clueless airhead, he can't do much harm. However, I remember saying exactly that about Jimmy Carter. I've been going around saying I wilol no way vote for John McAmnesty. Getting a real good look at Obama now, I feel my resolution faltering.

04 — Condi vs. Vlad.     Meanwhile, as we Americans ponder the politics of hope, the politics of change, the politics of meaning, and the politics of those lovely marshmallow things with a cookie on the bottom and all covered with crisp dark chocolate, the rest of the world is going its own wicked way, impudently ignoring all our earnest attempts to show them how good and nice we are. In the front rank of the ignorers is Russia, which, in the few remaining years before its population drinks, pollutes, and aborts itself out of existence, promises to be an A-1 nuisance. Having no manufacturing economy other than the manufacture of barbed wire underwear, and inhabited by a population whose men are only sober for fifteen minutes after waking up in the morning, and whose women spend all their time trying to get jobs in Saudi massage parlors, the only real leverage the Russians have comes from owning huge reserves of oil and gas, and possessing 16,000 nuclear warheads. They are doing the best they can with those resources to make our flesh creep. Vladimir Putin, the KGB boss who now runs this KGB nation, recently threatened to nuke the Ukraine if they didn't get into line with Russian plans to re-incorporate them into the warm bosom of the motherland, so they can once again enjoy all the benefits of KGB civilization — you know, mass famines, forced labor, eight-hour waits on line to buy a loaf of bread, all the good old stuff the Ukrainians used to enjoy. This upset our Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, who fired back at Putin with this, quote: "The Soviet Union … is gone forever, and I hope that Russia understands that. We are absolutely devoted to the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine and of other states that were once a part of the Soviet Union." Wow. Remember how people used to roll their eyes when Barry Goldwater spoke about "liberating the Ukraine"? I thought at the time that ol' Barry had got carried away a bit there. I think the same of Secretary Rice's remark. If Vlad sends his ramshackle army with its malfunctioning equipment and rusty tanks into the Ukraine — assuming enough of the troops can be roused from their drunken stupors for long enough — what exactly will our administration do? Refuse to buy Russian oil? That'll have them quaking in their shoddy plastic boots. Perhaps instead of getting into shouting matches with Russia, we should just keep quietly reminding them that if there's still going to be a Russia one generation from now, they're going to need to drop the police state model and try something civilized for a change.

05 — British athletes won't offend ChiComs.     Across the pond there was a little kerfuffle that deserves some attention. This was the British Olympic Committee telling athletes to promise not to say or do anything that would offend the Chinese Communists at the summer Olympics in Peking later this year. I'll admit to being a bit conflicted here. On the one hand, the ChiComs are using the Olympics as a way of validating their disgusting regime to their people — "Look! The whole world respects and admires us! Those trouble-makers whining about democracy in China or freedom for Tibet — nobody cares about them! Nobody in the world cares!" It's awful to think of them crowing and blustering, pretending that their nasty little dictatorship is a lawful government, when nobody elected them and their secret police are clubbing harmless people to death for having the wrong opinions. On the other hand, once the International Olympic Committee had decided to stage the games in a dictatorship that of course was going to use it as an advertisement for their regime, any aspiring athlete was faced with a choice of whether to go along or not. You can't have your cake and eat it. If you want Olympic Glory, the only way to get it is to acquiesce in the stupid, wrong-headed decisions of the IOC. Nobody else is running the Games. The British Olympic Committee is selecting the athletes and doing the administrative drudge work on their behalf. They're entitled to ask athletes not to mess up the show. The IOC screwed up giving the Games to the ChiComs in the first place — that was the original sin here. You can be a sinner yourself — go along with the organizers and go get your medals while the heirs of Mao Tse-tung beam down at you from the celebrity box; or you can say: "No, I won't give aid and comfort to a gang of fascists," and stay away; but you can't do both. I might have some admiration for an athlete who won a medal, stood up and made a protest, then handed his medal back — but I don't think that's what anyone has in mind.

06 — Visas for summer workers.     Here's a weepy for you, Get your hanky out. If you're one of those strange postmodern types who doesn't carry a hanky, reach for the drapes, or whatever disgusting thing it is you do when liquid comes out of your face. All right, here's the story. You remember your last summer vacation, right? At Cape Cod, or Yosemite, or the Jersey Shore? Remember that cute young waitress you got chatting with, from Slovenia? Or that chatty room service guy from Ecuador? Well, they came in on H-2B visas. Those are visas issued to young people from other countries to come here and do seasonal work. The number of them is capped by law at 33,000 every six months. Employers l—o—v—e to get these young foreign workers, though. See if you can guess why. … Right. And now they're mad because the quota was raised temporarily last spring, but Congress forgot to make the raise permanent. Don't the congresscritters know that any raise in immigration quotas must be permanent, just like any increase in funding to a government program? Meanwhile, the fine old American tradition of working your way through college is fast disappearing. If you are one of the 99 percent of American college students who didn't get a summer internship at some prestigious law firm or investment bank, you hang out with your pals at the beach. College costs? Oh, student loans will take care of that. May as well start out in life up to your earholes in debt — it's the American way. Who wants to do scummy drudge work in some resort hotel, anyway? For goodness' sake, I might break a nail. Americans don't do that kind of work — it's for foreigners. And so the republic sinks deeper into decadence, the nail-breaking realities of the world slip further from our consciousness, and another tranche of foreign youngsters discovers what a soft, spoiled, flabby, debt-addled, nation of conceited sissies we have become.

07 — Congress on steroids.     Congress has been holding hearings into the use of steroid drugs in professional baseball. Why? Beats me. The phrase "enumerated powers" mean anything to anyone in Washington D.C.? No? I thought not. If it's illegal for baseball players to use these drugs, the appropriate police jurisdictions should investigate and make arrests. If it's not illegal, but violates something in the contract a player signs when he joins a major league team, the tort lawyers — of whom, last time I looked, the republic has a pretty good supply — should swing into action. What business it is of Congress, I don't see. However, if you say that in a public blog, you get 200 emails from readers saying: "Let them investigate! While the Congresscritters are fooling around with pointless stuff like this, at least they're not doing any harm to the country." There's something to be said for that argument, I suppose; though if my proposal that Congress sits for no more than five days in any calendar year, were adopted, the issue would be moot. I think actually these hearings are just theater for the mob, like Roman circuses. We're not allowed to lob empty beer bottles at millionaire athletes on the field any more, so we work out our feelings watching Roger Clemens squirm and twist under the self-righteous indignation of some decrepit old twelve-term incumbent with a sack full of lobbyist money in his house locker. I suppose it keeps us out of mischief too, and it's less messy than lions versus Christians.

08 — Miscellany     A miscellany of short items.

Item:  In Kuwait, two Islamist members of parliament have called on the government to ban Valentine's Day cards. Valentine's Day, say these guys, quote, "is alien to our society … and contradicts our religion's values and teachings." Reminded that Islam is a religion of love and peace, the Islamists backed off a little, saying that perhaps sending a Valentine card might be OK, so long as you just sent it to your camel.

Item:  Mexican president Felipe Calderon snuck over the border to give us filthy racist Yanquis some lessons in history. Quote: "The worst thing that happened in this country is this anti-Mexican or anti-immigrant perception of people." What, worse than race slavery? Worse than the Civil War? Worse than the Great Depression? Worse than Sally Field's Oscar acceptance speech? Interesting. What's the worst thing that ever happened in Mexico? Perhaps having a succession of governments so corrupt and incompetent that twenty million of Mexico's citizens fled away to pick lettuce in California for three dollars an hour.

Item:  Four people have been arrested on charges of spying for China. The last names of the four people arrested are: Bergerson, Yu, Kang, and Guo. The ChiComs are very upset about the arrests. A Foreign Ministry spokes-commie spluttered that, quote: "The so-called accusation against China on the issue of espionage is totally groundless. We urge the United States to abandon its Cold War thinking and stop groundless accusations and instead contribute to mutual trust and friendship between our two peoples." He went on to say that America and other round-eye nations were perfectly beastly to China back in the nineteenth century, and we should be jolly well ashamed of ourselves, and show proper respect and gratitude to the great Chinese people, who have never done anything wrong and never would, for their kindness and spirit of forgiveness in being willing to talk to us and sell us cheap t-shirts.

Item:  In the Pashtun language, which is one of the main languages of Afghanistan, the word for "Englishman" is used to mean "Satan." Afghan mothers warn their children that if they don't behave, the British will come and torture them. Well, let's just say there's some historical bad blood there. It cuts both ways, too. Remember Kipling: "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains …" Now there is more bad blood. President Karzai of Afghanistan has been criticizing Britain for making things worse in the regions where British troops are engaged. That's after Britain has shoveled $3bn of aid money into Karzai's rat-hole of a country, and sacrificed 87 servicemen fighting Karzai's tribal enemies for him. There are eight thousand British troops in Afghanistan right now. Perhaps they're fighting the wrong people. In a country like that, it's never easy to tell.

Item:  Congratulations to Mr. Matthew Howell of Los Angeles, the first winner in a totally new kind of sporting competition: speedcabling. What you have to do in speedcabling is, untangle a rats nest of wires such as we typically have under our computer desks. Quote from Mr. Howell: "The finals were brutal — 12 ethernet cords, some as long as 25 feet, all knotted into a nasty bundle." His prize was a $50 gift certificate for dinner at a local Italian restaurant. Wonder if he ordered spaghetti?

09 — Signoff.     There you have it, Radio Derb listeners. A pretty good week for Hillaryphobes, and for anyone who likes to eat chocolates that have been stored in some drugstore's back room for three years, but otherwise just as dismal and wretched as usual. Let's look on the bright side, though: Next week will be worse. And of course, Radio Derb will be here to bring you all the mayhem and misery.

[Music clip: More Haydn.]