[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]
01 — Intro. … And Radio Derb is on the air. It's all election fever here at Buckley Towers, of course, and we shall do our utmost to bring you the latest news and analysis. This is your psephologically genial host John Derbyshire with all the news that's fit to podcast.
02 — Sharron Angle campaign ad. ["Waves of illegal aliens streaming across our border …"] That's Sharron Angle's latest campaign ad in her attempt to take Harry Reid's Senate seat over in Nevada.
The liberals have been going nuts over it. Tuesday this week Joy Behar, who runs a TV show called The View, in which middle-aged lefty women whip each other up into hot flushes about the wickedness of conservatives, Joy Behar indulged herself in a foam-flecked rant about the ad. Don't take my word for it: ["I'd like to see her do this ad in the South Bronx …"]
Leaving aside the extreme improbability that Ms. Behar could even find the South Bronx, let alone would ever in a million years go there, it would indeed be impolitic of Sharron Angle to do that ad in the South Bronx, as the South Bronx contains a good proportion of illegal immigrants.
But that's kind of the point. Why do we even have illegal immigrants, in Nevada or the South Bronx or anywhere? Round 'em up and ship 'em home.
Sorry, that's just me editorializing. Back to the story: Other lefty media snobs like Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, whose jobs and property values are in no danger at all from illegals, and who can easily afford the high taxes needed to provide welfare services, education, hospital treatment, and police services to illegals, were just as hysterical as Ms. Behar.
The candidate herself, however, was delighted. Ms. Angle sent Joy Behar a bouquet of flowers. The note delivered with the flowers read as follows: "Joy, Raised $150,000 online yesterday. Thanks for your help. Sincerely, Sharron Angle." That just got Joy frothing again, quote: "I'd like to point out that those flowers were picked by illegal immigrants, and they're not voting for you, bitch!"
From this exchange I think we can make a fair judgment about the relative classiness of Ms. Angle and Ms. Behar. This election is driving liberals out of their minds. Isn't it wonderful? I just wish it could go on for ever.
Oh, and along with those donations to Sharron Angle there came a surge of support in the polls. She now looks set to take Harry Reid's seat. It just gets better. ["I'm Sharron Angle, and I approve …"] I'm John Derbyshire and I strongly approve of Sharron Angle. As they say on The View: You go, girl.
03 — Judges OK voter fraud. Let me just play back a bit of Joy Behar's riposte there, quote: "those flowers were picked by illegal immigrants, and they're not voting for you."
Whether the flowers Sharron sent her were picked by illegal immigrants I don't know, and for sure it would be an exceptionally masochistic illegal immigrant who'd vote for Sharron Angle. The illegals will be voting for someone, though; at least they will if our federal judiciary has its way.
Here's one tentacle of that judiciary, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, striking down a ballot initiative, Proposition 200, that Arizona voters passed in 2004. The initiative requires people to produce proof of citizenship when they register to vote.
You might think it's pretty sensible to ask people to identify themselves when signing up to vote. After all, we have to show proof of identity when we get on a plane, go into a federal courthouse, or buy extra strength Mucinex at the drugstore. No big deal.
Ah, said two of these three justices, but it's a very big deal for poor and minority voters. See, if you're poor you can't afford a driver license, birth certificate, or passport; and if you're a minority — well, as everyone knows, minorities live under such numbing oppression they're quite incapable of doing anything for themselves, certainly anything as complicated as getting a driver license. So liberals seem to believe.
Note the date on that ballot initiative, by the way: 2004. This wretched case — it's technically known as Gonzalez vs. Arizona has been dragging its weary length through the courts for six blessed years, and has in fact been ruled on before by the Ninth Circuit, in 2007 — a ruling entirely opposite to the one they just announced! Three years from now they'll be ruling on it again, then three years later again, on to the crack of doom.
Such a straightforward thing: the people of Arizona want you to show i.d. when registering to vote … and it spends years being litigated to death by left-wing groups with limitless funds supplied to them by George Soros, the ACLU, the Ford Foundation, and the government of Mexico. Our courts are no longer institutions for administering justice, they are delaying mechanisms to make sure that nothing offensive to the left-wing power elites will ever get done.
The federal court system is not an apparatus of law, it's an apparatus of delay, a machine to ensure that the people's will is frustrated. My son was just out of elementary school when the citizens of Arizona declared their wish that prospective voters identify themselves. He'll be married with kids by the time that wish is realised, on the slim chance it ever is.
Look: To hold a proper election you need to have a sound, reliable system for registering voters and recording votes. Do we have one? No we don't; and if the federal judiciary has anything to say about it, we never will.
04 — Portland, Me. wants non-citizens to vote. That's not even the worst of it. The intention of those two Ninth Circuit judges is plainly that non-citizens should be able to lie their way into the voting booth.
In Portland, Maine, they won't even have to lie, if a ballot initiative proposed by the Maine League of Young Voters is passed on Tuesday. The ballot initiative, called Question Four, will give the vote to non-citizens who are legally resident.
Portland has a population of 63,000, three or four thousand — I can't get a more precise number — not U.S. citizens. Main regions of origin for these non-citizens: Somalia and Latin America.
What does the Maine League of Young Voters have to say in support of Question Four? Quote from their website:
Our federal immigration system is broken. The process of becoming a citizen can sometimes take well over a decade and cost thousands of dollars. At the same time, more than one in ten Portland school children come from immigrant families. Until Congress steps up and fixes that system, we need to find our own solutions at the local level. Voting YES on 4 ensures fair democratic municipal elections — and that's good for everyone.
End quote. OK, let's just parse some of that.
"Our federal immigration system is broken." False. The system is fine. It's only that the federal authorities wilfully refuse to operate it.
Next: "The process of becoming a citizen can sometimes take well over a decade and cost thousands of dollars." Oh, tell me about it. From my first Green Card application in February 1987 to my naturalization ceremony in April 2002 was fifteen years and two months. It did indeed cost thousands of dollars, though to be honest with you most of those thousands were paid by a company I worked for. Still, fifteen years, a mass of paperwork, a lot of sitting around waiting for my number to be called, and yes, a few thousand bucks my company didn't cover — it sure was a chore.
Why did I do it? Because American citizenship seemed to me to be a great prize worth the time and trouble — a wonderful thing, a boon. I'd be American at last, a citizen, a citizen of the greatest country in the world. What an honor! What a privilege!
To our lefty transnational judges and ACORN front groups like the Maine League of Young Voters, it's more like: What a sucker!
05 — Smart gals go Muslim. News from the mother country here: Lauren Booth, who is the sister of Tony Blair's wife, has converted to Islam. Quote from the London Daily Mail:
She decided to become a Muslim six weeks ago after visiting the shrine of Fatima al-Masumeh in the city of Qom. She says: "It was a Tuesday evening, and I sat down and felt this shot of spiritual morphine, just absolute bliss and joy."
I'm not sure what its being a Tuesday has to do with it — perhaps she's leading into one of those knotty math puzzles — or what the lady was doing in Qom, but that's her testimony.
She's not such an outlier, either: the Mail turned up a whole cohort of middle-class English gels who are trading in their sports bras for burkas. A sociologist who claims to have done the count says that the ratio of female converts to male converts is two to one.
What's going on here? Quote from another guy who's studied the issue: "Some are drawn to the sense of belonging and of community — values which have eroded in the West."
I think he's nailed it. The dominant ethic in the West is the one loosely called "expressive individualism." Seek out your own path in life; find something you love to do, something that expresses your inner individuality, and strive to do it as best you can. Personally, I love expressive individualism. It suits me fine, and I think it drives a creative, interesting, productive society.
Expressive individualism doesn't suit everybody, though; and it suits fewer women than men. Furthermore, there is a truth lurking in here that you don't hear much about — certainly not from commentators like me, who think Muslims should stay in their own countries.
The truth is, that Islam seems to make life worth living at a high level for a lot of people, much more so than our post-Christian expressive individualism. Just run your eye down the list of nations ranked by suicide rate on Wikipedia. Yeah, yeah, Wikipedia, I know; but they pulled them off the World Health Organization tables, and the random figures I checked match up.
What do you see on this table? As your benchmark, note that the U.S.A. suicide rate is about 11 per hundred thousand. There are two mostly-Muslim countries up above us: Kazakhstan, a real outlier, at 27 per hundred thousand, and Bosnia at 12. We're 11, remember. Most Muslim countries are way down at the bottom of the rankings: Turkey 4; Bahrain 3; Kuwait 2; Iran, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan all less than 1. The WHO doesn't list a figure for Saudi Arabia, but from browsing around, the suicides there seem to be mostly foreign maids and the like.
Look: If expressive individualism suits you, as it suits me, and as it suits people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who got the heck out of Islam at the first opportunity, the whole Muslim arrangement seems stifling, oppressive, uncreative, and soul-destroying.
How many of us expressive individualists are there, though? Is the proportion higher among men than among women? I'd make a simply terrible Muslim; but I'm not blind to the appeal that faith might have to others, or to the consolations it offers to hundreds of millions. I'd just prefer them to stay in their own countries — where, to judge from those suicide statistics, they seem pretty happy anyway.
06 — Cockney-Islamic republic. Twenty years ago as I write, I was living in the Lodon borough of Tower Hamlets, formerly known as the East End, among all those colorful Cockneys — Eliza Doolittle and Stanley Holloway.
Actually there weren't many Cockneys left. A big part of the district had been gentrified and colonized by yuppies like myself. The part that wasn't gentrified was being taken over by Muslims from Bangladesh. The Cockneys had either died off or moved out to the Essex suburbs after selling their houses at outrageous prices to the incoming yuppies and Muslims.
The demographic cut at present in the borough seems to be over half white English, over a third Muslim, the other twelve percent or so "other."
Well, Tower Hamlets got itself a new mayor last Thursday: Lutfur Rahman. Mr. Rahman ran on an independent ticket, having been kicked out of the Labour Party for reasons I'll get to shortly. He got twice the number of votes of the official Labour candidate, who sports the sturdy old English yeoman name of Helal Abbas. Voter turnout was 25 percent, of which Mr. Rahman got just over half — 13 percent of the electorate.
The back story here concerns an outfit named the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), which is an offshoot of an older outfit named Jamaat-e-Islami, the Party of Islam, founded 70 years ago in Pakistan.
Tower Hamlets' new mayor Mr. Rahman is, not to mince words about it, a front man for IFE. Mr. Rahman received scads of money from IFE; and he in turn, when he became leader of the city council three years ago, diverted millions in taxpayer funds to IFE and its tributary groups in the borough. The results were interesting. For example, if you went into one of the borough's public libraries any time in the past couple of years, what you mainly saw on the display shelves were Islamic propaganda texts. That's the kind of thing that got Mr. Rahman kicked out of the Labour Party.
IFE, according to its website, wants to transform the infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed, quote, "from ignorance, to Islam." They now have a large area of central London with a billion-dollar budget as a base of operations. Well done, voters of Tower Hamlets!
07 — U.S.A. gets more corrupt. Transparency International has published its annual survey of corruption worldwide. Top five least corrupt nations, from the top: Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, Sweden. Bottom five most corrupt, from the bottom up: Somalia, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Iraq, Uzbekistan.
Good to know there's nothing rotten in the state of Denmark after all. Good to know too that we're only currently occupying two of that latter five.
In respect of which, here's a different news item telling me that, quote: "Nearly 18 billion dollars earmarked for reconstruction in Afghanistan remain unaccounted for, a sweeping U.S. government audit has shown." Gosh, I wonder where it all went to? I'm sure that handsome President Karzai has no idea. No idea! Sorry, can't help you, guys! [Ker-ching]
Back to that list from Transparency International, though. The U.S.A. is at number 22, the first time we've ever ranked lower than 20. Ten years ago we ranked 14.
What's changed this past ten years to slide us eight points down the corruption ranking? Probably just that we have got more diverse. In a diverse society, people trust each other less. That's been proved by rigorous social science — see Chapter Two of my book, which is now available in a truly bodacious paperback edition.
Without trust to keep the wheels turning, you need something else, and corruption fills the bill. If you won't do something for me on the honor principle, I'm going to slip you a few benjamins by way of encouragement. And when citizenship has been devalued by the courts (see above), and foreigners — even foreigners illegally resident — have been elevated into the privileged position of "protected minority," nobody's going to put forth any effort from motives of patriotism or good citizenship. To get them to put forth any effort, you're going to have to bribe them. Q.E.D.
08 — Bomb plots roundup. Staten Island's in the news.
Staten Island is one of the five boroughs of New York City, the one that nobody goes to; as opposed to Manhattan, where all the good restaurants are, Brooklyn and Queens, which we Long Islanders have to go through to get to Manhattan, and the Bronx, where Joy Behar spends all her free time. Most New Yorkers probably assume, as I do, that Staten Island is entirely populated by cops. At any rate, whever a cop is in the news, he always seems to live on Staten Island.
Well, in there among the cops, Staten Island is raising a crop of jihadis. First up: Farooque Ahmed, 34 years old, graduate of City University, formerly of Staten Island. Ahmed moved to Virgina a couple of years ago and has been busy scoping out Washington D.C. metro stations. The goal was to set up simultaneous bomb attacks to kill as many Metro riders as possible. Ahmed was arraigned in federal court this week on a slew of charges. Let's see, what's his background? Christian Scientist? Zoroastrian? Latter Day Saints? Plymouth Brethren? … Good grief! He's a Muslim from Pakistan! Well, knock me down with a feather! Who would have thought it?
And here's another Staten Islander: Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, 21 years old, U.S. born to Palestinian parents, currently in federal custody in Hawaii awaiting transfer to Brooklyn for a trial. Incredibly enough, it appears that Shehadeh is a Muslim too, like Farooque Ahmed! Small world, eh?
Now of course, not all Muslims are howling jihadis. Here's one who certainly isn't: Mild-mannered, smartly-dressed, soft-spoken Feisal Abdul Rauf, chief sponsor of the Ground Zero Mosque. Rauf is so soft-spoken he can't even bring himself to say the word "terrorist." Interviewed by Al Jazeera TV while on a visit to the Persian Gulf, Rauf extruded the following, in answering a question about Islam in America, quote: "Islam was seen as a national security threat in America because the …" There he paused to search his mind for the right word, the mot juste. The … what? Ah! He continued: "… because those who've attacked America utilized the vocabulary of religion."
You can't get any more soft-spoken than that. Did militant Islam ever have a smoother front man?
09 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Item: News from Mexico. Last Friday ten gunmen attacked a teenager's birthday party in Ciudad Juárez, killing 14 people and badly wounding 19. The dead were aged 13 to 32 and included six females. Then Sunday night in Tijuana, another posse of gunmen attacked a drug rehabilitation center, killing 13 people after lining them up against a wall. Wednesday in the city of Tepic on the Pacific coast, yet another squad in three cars pulled up at a car wash and opened fire, killing 15. So here's a Radio Derb travel advisory: Stay the heck away from Mexico.
Item: Every report that comes out on the fiscal situation in California is worse than the one before, it seems. Here's a new one from the Milken Institute. Samples: By 2012 or 2013, the three major state pensions' obligations — this is just the three major ones, mind — will be more than five times as large as total state tax revenue. Last year the pension liability came out to $3,000 per working-age adult in the state. By 2014, it will triple to over $10,000 per working-age Californian. Ten thousand dollars from every one of you. Come on, cough it Up! Gotta pay those pensions. The average state employee contributes to the system for 25 years, but will receive benefits for 26 years; and the number of benefit-receiving years is increasing as longevity improves. And so on. People accuse me of being mean-spirited towards government workers. Well, perhaps I am, but just look at those numbers! You can be mean-spirited or any other kind of -spirited, but you can't make those numbers work. They're not sustainable, not possible. A quart won't go into a pint pot, even for the sweetest-spirited person in the world. Sorry, guys, the game's up, and by no means only in California.
Item: Here's a conservative for you, or at any rate for me: Tom Tancredo, former Republican congressman from Colorado's sixth, currently running for governor of that state against tree-hugging multi-culti leftist John Hickenlooper. Tom's running on the Constitution Party ticket. There is a Republican in the race somewhere, but he's polling down in single digits and nobody can be bothered to remember his name. Incredibly, Tom is neck and neck with Hickenlooper in the polls, and might very well win on Tuesday. I'll grant you Tom's not the greatest platform speaker you ever heard. He's got funny ideas about the origin of species, and for all I know about proton decay, continental drift, string theory, and the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram, but who cares about any of that? He's a real conservative — low taxes, restraints on federal power and judicial activism, citizenship and the National Question. This time next week Colorado could have a true conservative in the state house. What a year!
Item: A bit late with this one, but back in September Jonathan Last had an article in the Weekly Standard with an eye-catching title: "America's One-Child Policy." The reference is of course to China's one-child policy, an actual government policy, with supporting laws and regulations, implemented in 1979. Last argues that we have a one-child policy too, only it's an informal one, forced on our middle classes by the desire and need of educated women to have careers, the stupendous costs of raising kids, the burden of student loans, easy abortion and contraception, and changes in housing patterns. Non-Hispanic white fertility is now at European levels (in fact lower than France or the Scandinavian countries); black tertility just below replacement level, Hispanic fertility way above it. Can we get educated Americans to have more babies? Last tells the dismal story of Singapore, which has tried everything you could think of for a quarter century. Punch line, quote: "And yet the effort has met with total and unremitting failure. In 2001, Singapore's fertility rate was 1.41. By 2004 it was 1.24."
It's going to be an aging, graying world this century. Get used to it.
Item: Next Saturday President Obama lands in India for a three-day visit. On his first stop, in Bombay, he'll stay at the Taj Mahal hotel, scene of a grisly terrorist attack two years ago. To be on the safe side, the president's party has booked the entire hotel, all 570 rooms. And then some: the party is so big, they've booked another 300 rooms in other luxury hotels in the city. The party will be flying in on Air Force One plus two jumbo jets. Don't get the idea that we have a high-maintenance president, though: the presidential motorcade will have a mere 45 vehicles. It still seems like a lot of trouble to go to to get your laptop fixed, Mr. President, but I know how tiresome those customer support phone calls can be.
Item: Finally, one from from the Health & Safety Fascism file. The topic here is a Halloween topic: ducking for apples. "Ducking for apples," said Dorothy Parker: "Change one letter, and it's the story of my life." Be that as it may, over in England, something called the Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust has recommended that children wear goggles when ducking for apples at Halloween. Here's what they say, quote: "a high-velocity impact with an apple has the potential to cause serious eye injury," end quote. Well, that's what one of the spokes-nannies says. Another one, out at the extreme wing of nannyism, opines that, quote, "contestants should remove the apples from the water with their hands instead of their mouths." Right. And when you're out trick-or-treating, kiddies — I mean, if you must go trick or treating, rather than requesting candy by email — when you're out trick-or-treating, don't forget to disinfect your hands after each doorbell you press.
10 — Signoff. OK folks, that's it. Gotta go now: no, not the usual Friday evening party in the grotto. This week I've been asked out. I have this big fan over on the west coast. He's in New York this weekend, and he's invited myself and my research assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy to join him in his suite at the Plaza Hotel for, quote from his email, "drinks, food, political analysis, and a game of Hunt the Lizard." I assume that's some kind of board game, like Parcheesi … I don't know. Anyway, it all sounds like fun. I always enjoy meeting fans of the show, and the girls are very excited about it. I've never met this particular fan before, but Brandy tells me has some kind of TV show, and has been in the movies. So off we go, if the girls are ready. You ready, girls? ["Of course!"] Right, we're heading out to meet our west coast fan, name of Charlie. More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]