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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]
01 — Intro. [Pause]
Oh … Sorry, sorry, I just dozed off there for a moment. I do apologize, ladies and gentlemen. Thing is, I'm a little short on sleep. I went up to Martha's Vineyard for a few days R&R, and boy! does that place take it out of you. I tell you, partying on the Vineyard is harder work than work, if you know what I mean. You can't take three steps without someone wants to shake your hand, or have you autograph their Barbra Streisand CD, or tell you how to fix the economy.
You don't realise how much it takes out of us celebrities when we mingle with the common people. I tell ya, it took me all afternoon just to get through that bookstore — and after all that, they didn't have a single copy of The Fountainhead.
Ah well, nose to the grindstone here, Derb. Yes, this is your indefatigably genial host John Derbyshire with yet another edition of Radio Derb — all the news you need to know on your hideaway vacation with 800 Secret Servicemen in a convoy of bullet-proof limousines.
02 — Natural disasters. Yes, we had an earthquake up here in the northeast. Situated as we are high up here in Buckley Towers, the effect was somewhat magnified for us. I myself was up on the 96th floor, taking a nap on one of the water beds in Jonah's suite. Got some interesting wave effects there.
I heard that Ahmed, my Waziri sound technician here, fell to his knees and prayed. He was praying in Arabic, though, so no-one could understand. What were you saying there, Ahmed? [Ahmed: "I was calling on Allah to send his cleansing fire down upon the infidels …"] Right, OK. My research assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy were in their cubicles, hard at work ranking and collating. Did you feel the earth move, girls? ["Of course!"] Always gratifying to hear.
Once we heard that the epicenter was near our nation's capital, all the conservatives here at National Review rushed to the TV monitors hoping to see Washington, D.C. collapse into a pile of smoking rubble. There was general disappointment when this failed to happen, but … we live in hope.
And now we are bracing for hurricane Irene. I have issued galoshes and sou'westers to all my staff. Should the city flood, causing us to be trapped here for an extended period, I have made sure we are well stocked with dried pemmican, necessary medications, and of course refreshing beverages. Er, could you put a little more ice in this one for me, Candy? [Ice sound] Thank you, my dear.
So never fear, Radio Derb listeners! We shall ride out the storm in true Blitz spirit! [Vera Lynn music]
03 — GOP presidential candidates. Meanwhile, what's been happening in the world of politics?
Well, we had a new poll in the other day from Gallup. The poll base was: Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents. Poll question: Who will you most likely support? Here are the percentages: Perry 29, Romney 17, Paul 13, Bachmann 10.
That's in reverse order from my own preferences, but I'll happily take any of those candidates if my fellow Republicans pick herm. "Herm" — that's the politically correct gender-neutral accusative case for the third person singular pronoun: "herm." Nobody's going to catch Radio Derb out being disrespectful to gyno-Americans, no sir! Ah, Brandy? Peel me a grape would you, sweetie? That's a good girl.
So Rick Perry's out there in front. What does this mean? Well, one thing it means is, Governor Perry needs to work on his image. Peggy Noonan caught it nicely, I thought, in her Wall Street Journal column, comparing Perry to Ronald Reagan in 1980. Quote from Peggy:
Jimmy Carter, at the end of the campaign, tried to paint Mr. Reagan as an angry cowboy with crazy ideas. You don't want that guy with his finger on the button … Then Reagan would walk out on the TV screen and give a speech or an interview and people would see this benign and serious person and think, "He isn't radical. That's not what radical looks like."
End quote. I think Peggy nailed it. The candidate needs to have a soothing, reassuring side — benign and serious, as Peggy says. Work on it, Governor.
Next down the pack, poor old Mitt Romney can't get a break. He's been out on the stump all these months, schmoozing and hand-shaking and fund-raising and scarfing down the rubber chicken; then Perry jumps in and suddenly is whupping him by 12 percentage points. It's just not fair.
Mitt's saying to himself: "Slow and steady wins the race, slow and steady wins the race …" Which is just what Hillary Clinton was saying at this point four years ago.
There's a tension in Republican nomination politics. On the one hand, Republicans famously vote in the guy whose turn it is. On the other hand, there's such a thing as having missed your turn too many times — think of Nelson Rockefeller. My feeling is that Mitt's dangerously close to that always-a-bridesmaid-never-a-bride territory. He's a decent patriot and very capable, though, and if the next president's a non-Romney Republican, sh-he would be a fool not to give Romney some important job. "Sh-he," see? We're really working on these gender neutral pronouns here. Ah, could I get a refill here, Mandy? Thanks.
On the other side of Romney is Ron Paul, just as disturbing to Mitt, in a different way: this cranky old guy who never ran a lemonade stand, has trouble finishing his sentences, and whose support base contains an even higher proportion of propellor-heads than usual — and trust me, the usual is pretty high: politics attracts wackos like millionaire French socialists attract hotel-maid rape scams. And he's right there in the poll, just four points behind sobersides executive-experienced-up-to-the-nose-holes Mitt Romney. Poor old Mitt: does everything right, can't get a break.
And Mrs. Bachmann down there at the bottom end, 19 points behind Perry. No offense to Governor Perry, but that stinks. Again, Mrs. Bachmann's worked her way up the ladder, cleaning up the gaffes, improving her image, keeping a steady and consistent line on what needs doing, and this outsider comes rolling in and leaves her choking on his dust.
That's the game, though, and there's a way to go yet — just precisely one year this weekend, actually: the GOP convention will open August 27 in Tampa, Florida. One year, guys — and of course gals. Twelve months, fifty-two weeks, 366 days, starting … now!
04 — DSK off the hook. Yes, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is off the hook, or hors du crochet as we Francophones say. The sexual assault charges against him were formally dismissed this week, and he's got his passport back.
There's nobody to like in this story. Strauss-Kahn is an arrogant don't-you-know-who-I-am millionaire socialist; his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, is a low-life scam artist on the make. They deserve each other.
There are degrees of turpitude, though. Taking advantage of a hotel maid is one thing; lying systematically to the authorities for personal gain, as Ms. Diallo did — a thing clearly revealed by the documents released by our Manhattan D.A. — is on another level. Ms. Diallo lied to get into our country, lied her way into welfare benefits, and lied repeatedly to investigators in the Strauss-Kahn business, wasting untold quantities of public money — my money, your money.
Ms. Diallo needs to be deported back to Guinea a.s.a.p. The civil suit she had filed against Mr. Strauss-Kahn is a joke, given her track record of proven mendacity; but if she wants to pursue it, let her do so from her own country. If you want to be really scrupulously fair, by all means lets deport Strauss-Kahn, too. I have no use for either of these people, and I can't see why the U.S.A. has, either. Millionaire leftists? We've got all we need: George Soros, Diane Feinstein, where does one stop? Low-life system-gaming rape-scam artists? Yep, we have them a-plenty, too: Crystal Gale Mangum and Tawana Brawey come to mind. We don't need to be importing these types. We're self-sufficient.
The only real policy issue here is the refugee asylum racket — the willingness of our immigration officials and judges to give credence to any kind of sob story, however feebly substantiated, from any Third World low-life who wants to come in and hook up to our generous welfare system.
The New York Times actually published a feature story on asylum fraud back in July, July 11th. The case of Ms. Diallo, who has admitted lying on her asylum claim, is, says the story, quote: "apparently not unusual." No kidding. Another Diallo, Amadou Diallo, the street vendor from Guinea who was shot by New York police officers in 1999 in a mistaken-identity incident, had also lied, telling immigration his poor family had been killed in civil conflict, when in fact his family was prosperous and unharmed. Lying is the default assumption here; genuine cases are the exception, if there even are any.
The adjudication of these cases is very capricious. The Times tells us that immigration courts nationwide granted 51 percent of asylum claims last year. In New York City, however, the approval rate was 76 percent. New York heard more asylum cases than any other city, the Times tells us. Gosh, I wonder why.
05 — Jobs: foreigners get first pick. Jobs, jobs, jobs. That's what the administration is concentrating on, just as hard as it can. Gotta get people to work!
Which people, though? Well, there's a line, and it looks as though U.S. citizens are expected to get to the back of it. First in line are illegal immigrants, 300,000 of whom with cases currently before the immigration courts are to be the beneficiaries of "prosecutorial discretion" on the instructions of our Homeland Security and Justice Departments. They will also be given work permits.
And there's a line within the line. First among those 300,000 newly legal American workers are lesbians — hard to believe, when you look at our winsomely feminine directrix of Homeland Security. But yes, one of the first named for reprieve was Sujey Pando, a lesbian from Mexico legally married in Iowa to an American from Colorado, Violeta Pando.
Wait a minute, though: Aren't we constantly being told that federal law trumps all considerations in immigration proceedings, and that state law can just butt out? And isn't same-sex marriage not recognized by federal law?
Step forward, the person who asked that question. [Gunshot.] Any further questions?
Who else we got in the first list of reprieves? Manuel Guerra, an illegal immigrant from Mexico living in Florida. He's ecstatic. Quote from Mr. Guerra: "I don't want to go back to Mexico, and I've been fighting this for five years." You know, Mr. Guerra, I don't want to pay my income tax, but the law says I have to, so I do.
Mr. Guerra's lawyer tells the New York Times that once Mr. Guerra's got his work permit he'll be legally eligible for the first time to apply for financial aid that would allow him to continue his religious studies. He wants to be a Roman Catholic priest, you see. I guess there are no openings in Mexico for that line of work. And who's going to pay for that financial aid? You are, suckers.
From the fact that these first two reprieves are for Mexicans, you should not get the idea that the administration is showing any partiality to Mexicans in this administrative amnesty they're enacting. Heaven forbid! Here's a posting from the White House Office of Public Engagement, August 15, quote:
This past Friday, White House and senior administration officials — including representatives from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Education, and HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement — met with African community leaders to discuss immigration issues specific to the African immigrant and refugee population. The convening brought together leaders and advocates representing communities from the countries of Mauritania, Somalia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Guinea Bissau.
Yes, it's Latinos and Africans the administration is focusing its immigration policy on. I wonder why that would be? Though at least the African immigration initiative is in the context of legal immigration — or, in the case of refugee scammers like Ms. Diallo and the late Mr. Diallo, semi-legal.
And in fact, right behind illegal immigrants in the job line are legal immigrants — over a million a year, most of them not selected for any skill or talent, but just for beings someone's relative. Around eighty percent are of working age — say 75,000 a month going on to the jobs line.
So that's the administration's jobs policy: Bring in tens of thousands of people every month for settlement, amnesty tens of thousands more illegal settlers. U.S. citizens? Screw them!
06 — Libya: For shame. I see that Radio Derb has held off commenting on the ructions in Libya.
The reason is pretty simple: I don't give a fig about Libya. How is Libya important to me, as an American? It isn't; and if we're spending one dollar from the national fisc trying to affect events in Libya, that's one dollar too much.
I also think we've behaved badly towards Muammar Gaddafy. That isn't such an awful thing to do, since Gaddafy is a loathsome psychopath. Still, there are right and wrong kinds of behavior even when dealing with loathsome psychopaths, and ours has been mostly wrong.
Consider our past exchanges with Gaddafy.
In April 1986 Libyan agents bombed a nightclub in Berlin, killing two U.S. servicemen and injuring 80 more, leaving some permanently disabled.
In retaliation, the Reagan administration bombed Libya nine days later. Number of casualties unknown, but probably commensurate with the Berlin number.
In retaliation for that, two and a half years later the Libyans brought down Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, with 270 fatalities, 190 of them American. The bombing was found to be the work of Libyan state agents, undoubtedly under orders from Gaddafy.
At that point — i.e. in 1991 — the U.S. government would, in my opinion, have been entirely justified in sending an expeditionary force to invade Libya and reduce its towns, cities, military and commercial establishments, and communications facilites to heaps of trash. Not only would we have been justified in doing that, we should have done it. Libya had made war against us, indiscriminate war against both our military and civilian populations, and we should have made war right back, with ten thousand times as much force. I venture to speculate that if we had delivered such a salutary lesson in 1991, there would have been no 9/11. As the late Osama bin Laden expressed the Arab point of view so eloquently: "If people see a weak horse and a strong horse, naturally they will favor the strong horse."
We did not go to war against Libya, though. In deference to the oil companies, we cut a deal with Gaddafy and effectively forgave him his sins, accepting blood money from him — most of it squeezed by Gaddafy from those same oil companies — and granting him immunity from prosecutions.
When we invaded Iraq in '03, Gaddafy suspected he might be next. He thereupon got real nice with us, forsaking his primitive nuclear program and offering intelligence assistance in the War on Terror. For this, we fully accepted him, and pretty soon he was exchanging smiling handshakes with Tony Blair, Condi Rice, John McCain, and, yes, Barack Obama.
All right. International politics has its own logic, and it's not a girl scout clambake. If Roosevelt and Churchill could pal up with Joe Stalin, I guess we could do photo-ops with Gaddafy.
But then, when Gaddafy's domestic situation goes pear-shaped on him, suddenly he's a limb of Satan again, and we're making righteous war against him.
I'm sorry, but that's kicking a man when he's down. Decent people don't do that, not even to grossly indecent opponents. Having kissed and made up with Gaddafy and accepted his assistance, however grudging and dubious, we should have stood by him; or at least left him alone to deal with his domestic problems as best he might. The NATO campaign against Libya is an act of hypocrisy. In the case of some of the actors, hoping for oil favors from the victorious rebels, it's opportunistic, which is at least understandable. In the case of the U.S. it's pure useless, expensive, counter-productive sanctimony.
We ought to be ashamed of ourselves. In fact we ought to be twice ashamed: for not having hammered Gaddafy when we ought, twenty years ago; and for hammering him now, when we ought not. The French and Italians are at least looking to make money out of the operation. We just did it because it felt good: not even for grown-up commercial reasons, but for shallow and silly emotional reasons. For shame, for shame.
07 — Miscellany. And now for our closing miscellany of brief items.
Item: The Martin Luther King monument was unveiled in Washington, D.C. I'm just going to say right out that I'm against the whole thing. My friend Paul Gottfried calls King "the patron saint of white guilt," and I think he's got it right. Collective guilt is a fruitless and unhealthy thing, and I think we should eschew it. To the degree that King was a historically important person, he has been extravagantly rewarded for it by having his birthday made a national holiday — the only non-president to be so honored, unless you count Jesus of Nazareth. That ought to be enough recognition for any person who didn't found a nation or win a war. Let's get over this stuff, for crying out loud.
Item: Since I've wandered into the racism zone, here's my favorite racism story of the week. A Polish immigrant engineer in Yorkshire, England, has been awarded $3,600 by a court for a racist insult he suffered from the lips of a co-worker. What was the nature of the insult? The co-worker called the Polish guy "Borat." Yep, that was it. $3,600. And the firm that employs them both has to, quote, "put in place a workplace harassment and bullying policy," end quote, and, quote, "train all employees in line with the policy," end quote, and all the rest of the stupid, infantile, feminized, touchy-feely, kumbaya dog poop. Here is the actual ruling of the judge in the case. His name is Jonathan Whittaker. Quote from Judge Whittaker: "The application of the nickname 'Borat' violated Mr Ruda's dignity in the period in question and created for him a degrading, humiliating and defensive work environment." End quote. Is it wrong of me to wish for Judge Whittaker to be hung up naked by his thumbs in a public square and pelted with rotten fruit? Yes, I suppose it is.
Item: Finally, for those of you who doubt that the Last Days are upon us, as predicted by the Mayan chronologists, here's one to add to the earthquake and hurricane stories this week. A huge meteorite hurtled through the sky and struck the earth Thursday afternoon, causing forest fires near its crater. Where was this? Wait for it: It was in Peru, right near the old Inca capital of Cuzco. We're told that the meteorite made landfall "to the south of the Imperial City, between the districts of San Sebastian and San Geronimo." Do you still doubt, ye of little faith? [Twilight Zone music]
08 — Signoff. That's it, folks. The wind's picking up here in Gotham, the sky's beginning to darken, and there's a general air of foreboding here at Buckley Towers, mixed with some disappointment that once again, it seems, Babylon on the Potomac is to be spared from destruction.
We must strive to keep our peckers up, though. Here's Gracie Fields with some uplift. Tune in to Radio Derb again next week … if there is a next week …
[Music clip: Gracie Fields' Sing As We Go]