»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Wednesday, December 31, 2008

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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]

01 — Intro.     Radio Derb is on the air. Welcome, listeners. This is your eternally genial host John Derbyshire with the news of the hour. Well, I survived a family Christmas with two teenagers, just barely. Santa brought me liquor, candy, books, and three, count 'em three, jigsaw puzzles. Good old Santa! I hope you all had a jolly time out there in Radioland, and I hope you're all fortifying yourselves for what promises to be a challenging year. Here's the show. [Clip: "On with the show."]

02 — Quantum of Solis.     President-elect Obama has pretty much filled out his cabinet by now. Latest pick: Hilda Solis as Labor Secretary. Who she? Well, let's take a look at who likes her. This guy likes her:  Roberto Lovato, a writer for La Prensa of San Diego. Quote from him: "This is especially welcome news to labor and immigrant rights groups who have constituted Solis' primary base in her rise to national prominence." Oh boy. Continue quote: "The daughter of Mexican and Nicaraguan immigrant laborers, Solis brings the most solid progressive credentials of any member of the Obama cabinet — including Obama himself." Whoa — she's more "progressive" than Obama, who had the most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate? Continue quote: "She has won abundant praise and wide support because of her positions on labor rights, immigration issues, environmental protection and women's rights, to name a few." Oh, I think you named enough there, Mr. Lovato. Continue quote: "Her appointment reflects the growing power and influence of the labor and immigrant struggles of Southern California and across the country." End quote. Mr. Lovato goes on to praise Mrs. Solis for, quote, "the struggles against Proposition 187 in California." Now, Proposition 187 was the 1994 ballot initiative to prohibit illegal immigrants from using social services, health care, and public education in California. So our new Secretary-of-Labor designate thinks illegal immigrants should be able to use public services funded by taxes on working citizens? This helps American workers how? Perhaps we should just rename the Department of Labor the Department of Illegal Labor. Here's someone else who likes Mrs. Solis. This is an editorialist for the New York Times, quote: "The first and biggest test of Mr. Obama's commitment to labor … will be his decision on whether or not to push the Employee Free Choice Act … which would make it easier than it has been for workers to form unions … the measure is vital legislation and should not be postponed … The real issue is whether enhanced unionizing would worsen the recession, and there is no evidence that it would." End quote. So now wait a minute there. The whole problem with the Big Three automakers has been the extravagant benefits won by the UAW. And the Times is saying we need more of that kind of thing? And Mrs. Solis is just the person to give it to us? When she's not agitating for the right of illegal immigrants to push low-paid Americans out of jobs? Oh, this is going to be a great administration for American workers. One half will be encouraged to price themselves out of the labor market as the UAW has done, the other half will be shoved aside to make room for illegal immigrants.

03 — Gaza fighting.     Crisis in the Middle East! Well, when isn't there some kind of crisis in the Middle East? Here we have Hamas, the elected government of the Gaza Strip, lobbing missiles at random into Israeli towns, and Israel answering with air raids on Hamas buildings. The Arabs complain that civilians are getting killed, and I'm sure they are; but what do they think happens when they drop a half dozen missiles on an Israeli town? Hamas deliberately kills civilians; Israel accidentally kills civilians, because Hamas uses civilians as human shields. Who should I be sympathizing with here? Looks like a no-brainer to me. Gaza has a location great for trade, and a lovely climate. The inhabitants might have made something of the place. Instead, they elected a bunch of crazy Islamists who want nothing but trouble. Well, they wanted trouble, they got it. What did they expect? Now all the Euro-weenies are howling about the wickedness of the Israelis. What do they expect the Israelis to do when missiles are dropping on their heads? For crying out loud, Israel withdrew from Gaza two years ago, pulled out their settlements, and handed it all over to the Arabs, who of course immediately smashed up everything the Israelis had built, then started plotting the next round of terror attacks on Israeli civilians. Now all the muckety-mucks of international peace, harmony, and goodwill are telling Israel they have to pull their settlements out from the West Bank and withdraw from there. Seeing the result of withdrawing from Gaza, why would Israel withdraw from the West Bank? If appeasing the Arabs gets you nothing but mayhem, why appease them? Here's my own modest suggestion to the Arabs. Show the world you are capable of building something other than militarized welfare slums ruled by gangsters and lunatics. Then maybe you'll get some sympathy from civilized people. Until then — sorry, pal, I'm cheering on the Israelis.

04 — Russians like Stalin.     One of Russia's biggest TV stations has been running a poll to see who the greatest Russians were. More than 50 million people voted by phone, internet or text message. Top of the poll was Alexander Nevsky, a 13th-century prince who fought off various Swedish and German attempts at invasion. Second came Peter Stolypin, a reforming Prime Minister under the last Tsar, assassinated in the Kiev Opera House in 1911. Third greatest Russian was, guess who? Uncle Joe Stalin. Actually Stalin was riding high at Number One in the poll for a while, till the organizers appealed to people to vote for someone else. You'd think, wouldn't you, that a dictator who terrorized his country, shipped 25 million of his own citizens to execution chambers or slave-labor camps, starved millions more in deliberate famines, and was best buddies with Adolf Hitler until Hitler turned on him, would be vilified and hated. No, the Russians love old Uncle Joe, or at least an awful lot of them do. That would include current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is heading up a campaign to rehabilitate Stalin. New school history textbooks have been produced and distributed, telling Russian kids that Stalin acted, quote, "entirely rationally" to build up his country. And earlier this month Putin's secret police raided the offices of Memorial, a citizens' organization that has been working for 20 years to build up a database of all those who suffered and died under the communist terror. The goons took away Memorial's entire digital archive — "a huge blow to our organization," says the director. So I guess I'm not the only one who isn't very diligent about backing up my files. And while I sympathize with those people at Memorial, I must say, given that Russia still owns thousands of nuclear warheads, I'd selfishly vote for a Russia under tight dictatorial control rather than an unstable Russia. The risk of instability's real: Russia's taking a big hit from the global economic crisis and the low price of oil. Matter of fact, they're doing bailouts to help their economy — ten trillion roubles so far, with 300 companies getting assistance. If it keeps Russia stable, I'm fine with it.

[A Russian listener commented as follows:

The vote for the "greatest Russian" is much more depressing than you think. It's not just good showing by Uncle Joe, but who the government pushed as the alternative (and many people actually voted for). The winner, Alexander Nevsky, is arguably a more sinister figure than Stalin. I would characterize him as Russian Darth Vader who of his own free will went over to the dark side and took his country with him. At the time of Mongol invasion of Europe he faced a stark choice:  fight the Mongols (like virtually every other Christian ruler in the path of the invasion did) or join them. The Pope actually offered to place the entire Teutonic Order at his disposal if only Alexander chose to side with the West. But Alexander obviously considered Western Christians (i.e. Catholics) a greater threat to Russia than an horde of barbarians and chose to become an adopted son of Khan Batu instead. Besides pledging the allegiance of his Novgorod Principality to the Mongols, he helped them conquer other Russian lands (and kill his uncle, the prince of Vladimir and Suzdal). For all those feats he was later canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church. Well, in reality it was for one particular feat:  saying "no" to the Pope (after all doing so has always been the sole raison d'etre of the Orthodox Church). And the same virulent anti-Westernism is, of course, the reason Putin and Co. consider him the greatest Russian. Their choice should be viewed by us as a clear warning.

In a sense they are right, of course. Alexander shaped the course of Russian history more than perhaps anybody else. Unlike Stalin, he actually had a choice (I mean, a strategic choice rather than a tactical choice of which Politburo opponent to take on next). Had he listened to the Vatican, the Mongol invasion would have surely been more painful in the short term, but by now Russia might have become just a bigger and somewhat more corrupt version of Poland. Instead he virtually destroyed any chance of Russia ever becoming a normal country. Russia became a more or less willing vassal of the Golden Horde and adopted a lot of Mongol customs and attitudes, especially when it comes to administration. Russia has been an oriental despotism ever since. I.e. they have had a ruler in the capital, unconstrained by any constitutional niceties or any silliness like habeas corpus and they have had provinces ruled by satraps whose only qualification and sole restriction on power is absolute loyalty to the maximum ruler. (Of course, just like in the Golden Horde, corruption is accepted as a natural part of this system of government.) Right now regional governors don't bother to go through the motions of even sham elections — rather they are just being appointed directly from Moscow. So, why should not those guys admire the guy who set all this in motion?]

05 — Cuba 50 years on.     January 1st is the 50th anniversary of the flight of Fulgencio Batista from Cuba, leading soon after to the beginning of Fidel Castro's regime. Batista was a gangster and a thief, no doubt, but his rule wasn't as bad as what followed. He was a real man of the people — a half-caste, whose father was a sugar-worker, as compared with Castro, son of a millionaire landowner from Spain. To be sure, Batista allowed the mob to run casinos in Havana, making the place a sort of Caribbean Las Vegas, but he never engaged in the totalitarian mass killings of the Castro regime, the complete annihilation of civic freedoms, or the glorification of Soviet communism. He tried his best to keep the Cuban constitution alive, in fact. While Castro murdered his political opponents out of hand, Batista actually released Fidel Castro from prison after less than two years, as a conciliatory gesture to his opponents. That worked out well, didn't it? I'd prefer not to live under a dictatorship; but if I had to choose between living under Batista or living under Castro, I wouldn't hesitate for a second. Batista's government was far better. Well, Cuba's had fifty years of communism, the average wage is $25 a month, the country, which could easily be self-sufficient in food, spends $2 billion a year importing food, and your choice of automobile is a 1965 Russian Lada or a 1957 Buick. And of course, innumerable people have been murdered, tortured, or sent to labor camps for having the wrong opinions. What a tragedy! Now Cubans are waiting to see if Barack Obama will lift the U.S. embargo. I'd say lift it when Fidel Castro dies, but not before — why do that murdering old bastard any favors?

[That same Russian reader points out that:  "There's no such thing as '1965 Lada.' Fiat was not even asked to build an auto plant in Togliatti until 1966 and no cars were built until 1970. BTW back in the 1980's a diplomatic car with an African flag in Moscow was invariably a Mercedes and American diplomatic tags could usually be seen on a Lada."]

06 — Archbishop plays Hitler card.     The Archbishop of Canterbury can always be depended on to add to the world's stock of harmless amusement. Here he was, writing in the Daily Telegraph just before Christmas, warning that governments shouldn't pursue, quote, "dogmatic solutions" to the financial crisis at the risk of, quote, "the most vulnerable." Who are the most vulnerable? Quote: "the pensioner whose savings have disappeared, the laid-off employee, the hopeful young executive, the helpless producer of goods in some Third-world environment where prices are determined thousands of miles away." And why would it be wrong for our governments to expose these vulnerable people to risk? Because, quote, "that's what the Nazis did." Are you getting this? If our governments don't reimburse us for investments that have gone south, keep us in our jobs, however unproductive, and shovel our national wealth into Third World countries, however corrupt, then pretty soon they'll be invading Poland and hustling us off to gas chambers. "We must not lose our moral compass," declares the Archbishop. How about our marbles?

07 — Christmas Eve killings.     [Psycho Dad] Well, I hate to end the year on an upbeat note. I wouldn't want Radio Derb listeners to think I was going all touchy-feely on them. So here is the worst story from the Christmas season, in fact one of the worst of the year. This is the Psycho Dad over there in Los Angeles — technically a Psycho Step-dad, actually. Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, recently divorced and out of a job since July, went to his ex-wife's parents' home on Christmas Eve wearing a Santa outfit. The family was having a party, the house was full of the ex-wife's relatives. Pardo opened fire, killing nine and severely wounding a couple more, including a little 8-year-old girl whom he shot in the face. Then he torched the place with a home-made flame thrower he'd brought along for the purpose. Unfortunately for Pardo, your home-made flame-thrower needs careful handling. He burned himself badly, drove off in great pain, and shot himself. His original plan apparently had been to flee to Canada — police found the airline tickets on his body. The thing that sends shivers up the spine here, apart from the beastly cruelty of the deed itself, is that Pardo didn't fit the crazy-killer profile at all. He wasn't a twitching misfit loner with a record of antisocial misdemeanors. He seems in fact to have been something of a boulevardier. The L.A. Times quoted Rachelle Maxheimer, a former roommate (whatever that means) saying that Pardo was a ladies' man, quote: "preferring younger women and dating several at once." End quote. Pardo kept his lawn neat and walked his dog. He was a guy who loved his cars, too. He had a Hummer and a Miata. He was a big, good-looking man, gentle and kind, according to everyone, fond of kids, and an usher at his local church. This whole horror was about as random as anything can be. Criminals kill for money; tyrants kill for power; Jeffrey Pardo killed from sheer anger, with nothing to hope for from the act, leaving ten children orphaned. There isn't any political point here, any lesson to be learned, any program of action indicated. There's no moral to be drawn, except the oldest one of all: that the heart has some very dark places, not necessarily visible from the outside. I hope the murdered dead will rest in peace. I hope the orphans will find loving homes. And I hope I make it to the end of the road without ever coming face to face with what those poor people encountered in Los Angeles this Christmas Eve.

08 — Miscellany.     Here's the traditional miscellany of short items to see us out of 2008.

Item:  Congratulations to Michelle Duggar of Arkansas on the birth of her 18th child. I grew up listening to my mother's stories about her twelve siblings, and what a warm and busy family they were, so I got an early predilection for big families. Of course, that was then and this is now. My uncles left school at 14 and started bringing money home. Nowadays, with college fees and medical insurance, and nobody earning much until their mid-twenties, it's a brave couple who go for a dozen kids or more — braver than the Derbs, for sure. I'm glad somebody's doing it, though. Welcome to the world, Jordyn-Grace Duggar.

Item:  Mexican beauty queen Laura Zuniga was crowned Miss Hispanic America earlier this year. Now it turns out that the lovely Miss Zuniga was a gangster's moll. The shapely lady was busted — if you'll pardon the expression — in the Mexican town of Guadalajara just before Christmas, riding in an SUV with her boyfriend, who is a drug smuggler, alongside $53,000 in bills and a big stash of firearms. The Mexican tabloids are now referring to the lady as "Miss Narco." If the crown fits, wear it, Laura. The really surprising thing here, given Mexico's general condition of degenerate corruption, is that any policemen could be found who were willing to arrest these crooks.

Item:  A friend of mine upstate makes the following points about Illinois Governor Blagojevich, long quote: "Governor Blagojevich says he is 'fighting for the disenfranchised.' What a strange constituency group for a politician to cater to. It is reasonable for a politician to be solicitous of those who are too young to vote (ages -0.75 to 17), even though they can't (yet) return the favor by voting for him. But Governor Blagojevich is fighting not for the unenfranchised but for the disenfranchised, that is, for those who used to be able to vote, but no longer can. Who are these people? Not even people who go insane are deprived of the right to vote. To become disenfranchised, you have to actually do something seriously wrong. As far as I know, in most states, including Illinois, the only people who ever get disenfranchised are those who are convicted of a felony: prisoners and former prisoners. These are the people Governor Blagojevich is fighting for." End long quote. That's well said. Not only is Blago fighting for these people, he seems to be doing his best to join them.

Item:  Over in Missouri, the whole ugly business of racial preferences is coming under renewed assault from the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative. The Missouri Secretary of State has approved a ballot initiative for the 2010 elections, so the initiative's supporters have a year and a half to gather signatures and to fight off the concentrated challenges from the legal, political, educational, and commercial establishments of the state, all of whom are determined to keep race preferences. You can add the media to that list. Here's a sentence from a December 24th report in the newspaper St. Louis American, explaining the meaning of affirmative action, quote: "By definition, affirmative action … was developed to ensure that applicants were treated equally without regard to race, color, religion, sex or national origin." End quote. You see: affirmative action is just simple color-blind fairness, no preferences at all! No quotas, no set-asides, everybody treated equally on their qualifications! Nobody here but us chickens.

Item:  We haven't heard from Li'l Squinty for a while. What's he been up to? Well, the Poison Dwarf of Tehran appeared on British TV December 25th to deliver a Christmas message. Quote: "If Christ were on Earth today, undoubtedly he would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over," end quote. And then he predicted that Christ would return with, quote, "one of the children of the revered Messenger of Islam and will lead the world to love, brotherhood and justice." Isn't that nice? Then the Mad Midget stuck a banana in each ear and hung upside down by his feet from a studio ceiling fixture while emitting a high-pitched ululating noise. Merry Christmas, Squinty! Good to know that the next generation of nuclear-armed nations will be in good responsible hands.

Item:  Over in the city of Malmö, Sweden, the youth of the city celebrated Christmas in their own interesting way, by staging riots. If you go to YouTube and enter "Malmo riots" you will get a good picture. Police were out in convoys of heavily-armored vehicles, facing barrages of rocks and Molotov cocktails. The youths set fire to a school, and there was widespread looting. Gosh, those Swedish youths are really unruly, aren't they? Perhaps they'd eaten too many meat balls or watched too many old Liv Ullmann movies. At any rate, you can be sure these riots are nothing to do with the fact that Sweden has some of the world's loosest laws on immigration and asylum, that Malmö's population is one-quarter Muslim immigrants from the Middle East, and that ninety percent of these Muslim immigrants are unemployed. The riots have nothing to do with any of that at all, and it would be a gross violation of multiculturalist protocols to suggest otherwise. These were just youths, just Swedish youths. It was probably just Christmas high spirits. Or perhaps they were celebrating diversity.

Item:  For goodness' sake, can we get this stupid Caroline Kennedy thing over with? She's obviously the right person for the job. She's a Kennedy, isn't she? People are saying she's not qualified. What does that mean? You have to take some kind of exam before you can be a U.S. Senator? I never heard of that. I wouldn't want it, either. The smarter our congresscritters are, the more ways they'll think up to fleece us and wreck our country. Caroline Kennedy doesn't drool or pick her nose in public. She doesn't fall down when she tries to walk. She's stinking rich, so she doesn't need the money lobbyists will try to stuff into her pocketbook. She'd make a fine Senator. What's the problem here?

Item:  If it's real Christmas cheer you want, go to China. Some friends of mine just came back from Shanghai. They said every store in the city has a Christmas tree, and the big stores have several. Santa Claus — that's the round-eye name for ʥ, of course — is everywhere. In fact, according to BBC news, the biggest Santa Claus ever made is on display at the Ice Festival in the far-northern Chinese city of Harbin. The Santa is 525 feet long. So there you are: while we diversity-whipped multiculti foreign devils are carefully wishing "Happy Holidays" to each other and admiring our neighbors' menorahs, Kwanzaa bushes, Eid al-Fitr outfits, and Wiccan solstice decorations, over in the People's Republic they're just enjoying a merry Christmas. Funny old world, eh?

09 — Signoff.     That's it, folks, another year goes swirling down the plughole. Not much worth remembering there:  a dictatorship Olympics, a liberal multiculturalist elected President, markets crashing all over, a couple of small wars, an earthquake, a psycho Santa Claus, and some guy threw his shoes at our president. Don't blame me, none of it was my fault, I just report the stuff. Let's put it all behind us, celebrate the New Year with friends, and hope for better times to come. Oh, before I let Robert Burns loose on you, I'll just remind you that it's a special Burns Night coming up on January 25th, the 250th anniversary of the poet's birth, so get yourself a haggis — there's plenty of suppliers on the internet — and some neaps and tatties, and a bottle or two of the golden stuff, and celebrate Burns Night in proper style. Hire a piper if you can find one. Here's Peter Dawson. Happy New Year, everybody!

[Music clip: Auld Lang Syne]