[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, fife'n'drum version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Yes, this is your oleaginously genial host John Derbyshire broadcasting to you from our state-of-the-art recording studio here on Taki Theodoracopulos's private island in the wine-dark Aegean.
As longtime Radio Derb listeners will know, I choose my introductory adverbs with care, and with an eye to making what we media professionals call a segue into what follows.
What follows in this case is a story about olive oil. We consume quite a lot of the stuff here on the island. I'm a big fan myself for health reasons. As you probably know, olive oil gets a good press from the medical profession. Olive oil … a good press … Oh, never mind. Anyway, they say it's good for the heart. Since the island is covered with olive groves, we're never short of the stuff. The girls take big jars of it — amphorae, to all you classical scholars — with them when Taki's yacht is in port and they go to his parties, so I guess our proprietor likes plenty of olive oil on his comestibles.
Well, Greece is a member of the European Union, the EU, and last week the EU issued new rules on olive oil. Restaurants in EU countries would no longer be permitted to serve olive oil in open jugs or bowls, only in sealed bottles. Apparently unscrupulous restaurateurs have been mixing inferior oil with the better sort and passing off the mixture as "virgin" olive oil. [Snickering from girls] … I'm sorry, girls; is there an issue? [Girls: "No, no …"] … Don't you have work to do in the file room? [More snickering, door closing.]
This is the kind of petty meddling that makes everyone hate the EU. As the British Prime Minister said of the rule, quote: "It shouldn't even be on the table," end quote.
There was so much protesting, the EU has now withdrawn the rule — a victory for democracy. It would be nice to think that this little victory might grease the skids, as it were, for abolition of the entire EU and all its monstrous waste and bueaucracy, but that's probably too much to hope for.
02 — Et in Arcadia ego Several horrible things happened this week. Perhaps one shouldn't try to distinguish between degrees of horror, but what seems to me to have been the worst was the monster tornado that struck central Oklahoma on Monday.
The twister was huge, with a funnel half a mile wide, a destruction zone a mile and a half wide, a path 17 miles long, and wind speeds in excess of 200 miles an hour. Worst hit was the town of Moore, where entire subdivisions were wiped out. Twenty-four people were killed, including nine children in their schools. Some of those children had been taken to their school basement for safety; then, when water pipes burst, they were drowned. News stories like this are really hard to read.
My first acquaintance with Oklahoma was the 1955 movie musical, a big hit in England. So I grew up with this image of Oklahomans as cheerful pioneers with strong communal spirit, helping each other out while they covered the prairie with waving wheat that sure smelled sweet and corn that was high as an elephant's eye. I'm hoping they are still that way, and will join together to comfort the bereaved and rebuild what's been lost.
There's an old Latin tag, used by the artist Nicholas Poussin as the title of a painting: Et in Arcadia ego. Arcadia is the most lovely, peaceful, rustic place you can imagine. The idea is, that even in a rural utopia like that, Death is present.
My sincere sympathies go out to all those afflicted. Any Radio Derb listeners in a position to help, I urge you to do so.
There is a modest political angle to this story. Oklahoma's two United States Senators are Jim Inhofe, the senior, and Tom Coburn, the junior. Both of them are Republicans and both are strong fiscal conservatives, which endears them to Radio Derb. When Hurricane Sandy struck the northeast U.S.A. last fall and a bill for federal aid came up in Congress, both senators voted against it.
They had excellent fiscally-conservative reasons for doing so. Other congresscritters had done their best to load the Hurricane Sandy bill up with special-interest pork items unrelated to the actual disaster. Money was allocated to fisheries in Alaska, road-building in the Virgin Islands, and, most scandalously, $100 million in new funding for the utterly useless Head Start program, the latest embarrassing report on which was being withheld by the administration.
Now this terrible tornado disaster has struck Oklahoma, we're assuming there will be some federal legislation for relief; and this has led to a lot of snarky comments about whether Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn will vote that down the way they voted against the Hurricane Sandy bill.
I haven't heard anything from Jim Inhofe on this, but Tom Coburn to his great credit has insisted that any special aid allocated to relief in Oklahoma should be offset by equal cuts elsewhere in the federal budget. Goodness knows there's plenty to cut. They might begin with Head Start; that report was eventually released and showed all over again what a complete waste of resources the program is.
I congratulate Senator Coburn for sticking to his principles, and for continuing to uphold those frontier virtues of thrift and self-support that I learned about from Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones back in the day.
Once again, I offer my sympathies to those afflicted by this disaster, along with a confident belief that Oklahoma, with the spirit of her people and the help and support of her neighbors, will soon once again be … OK!
03 — Muslims thank Europe for taking them in. The second great horror of the week was the brutal murder on a London street, at half past two on Wednesday afternoon, of a British soldier by two fanatical Muslims.
The victim was a 25-year-old serviceman named Lee Rigby, married with a two-year-old son. He was attacked 200 yards from a major barracks in South London. He wasn't in uniform, but he was wearing a T-shirt supporting Help for Heroes, a military charity, and he was carrying a military duffel.
The killers were British men of Nigerian ancestry, apparently converts to radical Islam. After they had hacked the serviceman to death, and unsuccessfully tried to remove his head, they put on a show for bystanders during the twenty minutes it took for the world's most useless, incompetent, and PC-whipped constabulary to show up.
When the bobbies eventually arrived their natural instinct would have been to ignore the murderers and arrest the bystanders. The murderers, however, were hard to ignore, covered as they were in their victim's blood, waving bloody knives and a meat cleaver, and shouting Islamic slogans. One of them actually pulled a gun. Even Constable Plod got the message, and the murderers were both shot, though of course not fatally — that would have been too much to expect.
Once I'd heard the news, I waited in dull resignation to hear some figure in the British establishment — London's buffoonish Mayor, perhaps, or the very lifelike robot they call Prime Minister, or London's chief enforcer of political correctness, more commonly known as the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police — I was waiting for some such figure to step up to a microphone and tell his fellow countrymen that as tragic as the murder of Serviceman Rigby was, if Britain's diversity were to become a casualty, that would be an even greater tragedy.
So far nobody has fulfilled these dark expectations, although the Prime Minister-bot did put on his best angry face and say that the murder of Serviceman Rigby would bring the British people together and, quote, "make us stronger." This might be true, since Britain could hardly be any weaker than she already is without removing the last few traces of the national spine.
If you wanted to go looking for those traces, the last place to look would be in the Ministry of Defence, which is the British equivalent of our own Defense Department. Following the murder of Serviceman Rigby, the Ministry issued an order to all service personnel in London to not wear their uniforms in public.
I'll say that again. The government department in charge of the military forces of a sovereign nation told military personnel not to wear the nation's uniforms in the nation's streets, for fear of inflaming the sensibilities of people who hate the nation.
Even in a Britain so far gone in multicultural pussification, someone realized this was too much. The Prime Minister-bot was quickly reprogrammed to rescind the order. Serving British troops may now once again wear Her Majesty's uniform in the streets of Britain. We should give thanks for small mercies, I guess.
The background to this story, and all the stories like it, is the gross folly and stupidity of British policy across recent decades, closely tracking similar insanity by successive U.S. administrations. Next segment.
04 — Why are we there? Why are they here? In the first place these two Nigerians should not have been in Britain. The mass immigration that has transformed Britain was a deliberate ploy by British ruling elites to weaken and destroy the national consciousness of their citizens by imposing multiculturalism on them, all in furtherance of the elite's globalist agenda and Cultural-Marxist ideology.
That's not just me mouthing off. Key figures in the British elite have admitted it. Peter Mandelson, a homosexual socialist who served as a cabinet minister under Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, admitted it two weeks ago at a public rally, quote:
In 2004 when as a Labour government, we were not only welcoming people to come into this country to work, we were sending out search parties for people and encouraging them, in some cases, to take up work in this country.
That, please note, was at a time when Britain was already overcrowded and badly socially divided after decades of barely-controlled Third World immigration. Nor was this the first such admission. Three and a half years ago a senior adviser to Tony Blair admitted to the London Evening Standard that Blair's Labour government had deliberately encouraged mass immigration in order to make Britain multicultural and, quote, "rub the Right's nose in diversity."
Does anybody doubt that America's own ruling classes have been conducting a similar policy with the same goals? The ordinary working- and middle-class populations of Britain and the U.S.A. live under the rule of people who hate them and seek to destroy them by shattering and discrediting their sense of nationhood — quote, "rubbing their noses in diversity."
Now let's look at the thing from the point of view of these Muslim fanatics. One of them was kind enough to tell us, in that twenty minute gap while the police were trying to remember how to lace their boots and start their cars, why they did what they did. His fellow-Muslims in Muslim countries, he said, were being killed by British soldiers.
This is quite true; and given the murderers' fanatical frame of mind, their very strong feeling of fellowship with other Muslims, it sufficiently explains the murder. That's why they did what they did. As a matter of fact Serviceman Rigby had served a tour in Afghanistan, though it's not likely the murderers knew that.
That is the other side of British and American governmental stupidity. I've been asking for years what we think we are doing in Afghanistan, without getting any satisfactory answer. The place is a backward sinkhole of no strategic value, whose small quantity of natural resources has already been cornered by the Chinese communists.
So it's double stupidity: They shouldn't be in our countries, and we shouldn't be in theirs.
Seems to me there's the basis for a deal there: We'll get out of Muslim countries if they'll get out of ours. For as long as I've been asking what the heck we are doing in Afghanistan, I've also been asking what benefit Western countries obtain from admitting Muslims for settlement. After all, they don't allow permanent settlement by us in their countries. Try getting Saudi citizenship.
Why are we there? Why are they here? I've never heard a reasonable answer to either question.
05 — Celebrating diversity in Sweden. Please don't think I was excusing the murder there. I was just trying to show how these fanatics justify such things to themselves in their own strange, dim, alien minds.
And while it sure doesn't help to go bombing Muslim countries, Muslims settled in the West will make trouble anyway. Consider for example the case of Sweden, which has no troops in any Muslim country, nor any drones dropping bombs on Muslims.
Sweden has, though, allowed lots of Muslims to settle there. How many? Well, the latest numbers I have show foreign-born residents in Sweden breaking down as follows by country of origin. Ignoring Finland and Norway, which aren't really at issue here, the former Yugoslavia has sent the biggest number: 157,000, of which I'll guess a third are Muslims from Bosnia, say 50,000. Then Iraq 128,000, though a majority seem to be Christian Assyrians, so let's say 50,000 Iraqi Muslims. Then Iran 66,000, Turkey and Somalia 45,000 each, Syria and Afghanistan 30,000 each. That's north of 300,000 foreign-born Muslims in a population of nine million — say three or four percent. And that's just foreign-born, mind. Stick around a few years till the kids are grown up.
What did Sven Svensson get in return for all that hospitality and military restraint? Well, this week he got five nights of rioting, going into a sixth as Radio Derb goes to tape. This is serious rioting: buildings and automobiles torched, rocks thrown at police, Molotov cocktails.
Quote from Agence France-Presse, quote: "The troubles are believed to have been triggered when police shot and killed a 69-year-old resident in a Stockholm suburb last week after the main wielded a machete in public." End quote.
"A 69-year-old resident." Well, that's informative, isn't it? I mean, we wouldn't want people thinking it was a 69-year-old non-resident, would we?
The Swedish media seem to be even more diversity-whipped than Britain's and America's. Quote from Kjell Lindgren, a spokesman for Stockholm police, on Wednesday, quote: "We've had around 30 cars set on fire last night, fires that we connect to youth gangs and criminals," end quote.
Just bear that in mind if you go to Sweden: Setting cars on fire is criminal.
Oh, wait, I have a further quote from Mr. Lindgren, via the BBC, quote: "My colleagues say the people on the streets are a mixture of every kind of people you can think of. We have got Swedes, we have got very young people, we have got people aged 30 to 35. You can't define them as a group. We don't know why they are doing this. There is no answer to it." End quote.
"Every kind of people you can think of"! Australian Aborigines! Siberian shamans! Gauchos from the pampas! Polynesian princesses! Hasidic rabbis! Guatemalan grandmothers! Every kind of people you can think of! This was some diverse riot!
But just a minute: In the very next paragraph of the story, we read that, quote: "In Husby [that's one of the suburbs where they are rioting and burning cars] more than 80 percent of the 12,000 or so inhabitants are from an immigrant background, and most are from Turkey, the Middle East and Somalia." End quote. Hmm. I guess that rules out the hasidic rabbis.
Turkey, the Middle East and Somalia, eh? Looks like it is a Muslim thing, then. But what's their beef, if Sweden has no troops in their countries? Countries which, in any case, they have abandoned because Sweden is a whole lot nicer.
Here's a clue from MSN News, Canada, quote:
After decades of practicing the "Swedish model" of generous welfare benefits, Sweden has been reducing the role of the state since the 1990s, spurring the fastest growth in inequality of any advanced OECD economy.
End quote. So you see, it's the fault of the Swedes. These Muslim immigrants came in to the country looking for those, quote, "generous welfare benefits" just as the government was heartlessly cutting back on them! You can see why the immigrants are mad — although so far not mad enough to go back to their own countries.
There are some hopeful signs of fed-upness there in the land of meatballs and leggy blondes, though. Further quote from MSN: "An anti-immigrant party, the Sweden Democrats, has risen to third in polls ahead of a general election due next year, reflecting unease about immigrants among many voters." End quote. All strength to them!
And in Britain, there's the U.K. Independence Party, UKIP, as we told you two weeks ago. So the West hasn't totally given up yet. Where's America's equivalent, though? Where are our Sweden Democrats? Where is our UKIP?
06 — Scandalopolis, D.C. Last week I told you about the IRS stalling on tax-exempt status for conservative groups. I also mentioned in passing the Justice Department seizing records of 20 phone lines used by Associated Press reporters.
We didn't get much wiser about either scandal this week. Lois Lerner, the lady in charge of the IRS division overseeing nonprofits, admitted that the question at a May 10th meeting that allowed her to pre-empt release of the Inspector General's report was indeed staged; but everyone, including Radio Derb, had figured that out anyway.
Ms. Lerner then, on Wednesday this week, went before the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee that is looking into the IRS scandal and … took the Fifth. Or as Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio said, quote: "Ms. Lerner invoked her constitutional rights to not testify about denying Americans their constitutional rights."
The Justice Department scandal is harder to get a handle on because it involves "guidelines." That is to say, when the feds want a journalist's phone or email records, they are supposed to ask nicely and only take the bare minimum they need. Those are the guidelines. Plainly they weren't observed in the Associated Press case.
That case centered around an FBI operation to thwart a terrorist plot. The terrorists were going to blow up a passenger plane. Some details of the FBI operation leaked out.
This week we learned of a different case. A Fox News reporter had cultivated a State Department analyst with information on North Korea's nuclear program. So again, there was leakage from a government intelligence office to the press. Eric Holder signed off on a search warrant to seize the emails of the Fox News guy. His State Department contact has been indicted for the leaks.
Both cases come under the Espionage Act, which has been used against six federal officials since Obama came to power. It was used just three times against government employees in the previous ninety years. So it really does seem that the administration is being, shall we say, over-zealous in policing relations between its intelligence people and the press.
The questions remain as to how much the President knew. I stick with the hypothesis I aired last week: that Barack Obama is a hands-off administrator who is not much interested in what goes on in the government. He's the anti-Jimmy Carter. Carter micromanaged every tiny decision, or tried to. Obama's an affirmative-action hire who assumes he doesn't need to do very much, that he'll continue to be wafted upwards on the gusts of hot air supplied by fawning liberal admirers. That was how he got to the presidency; I doubt he sees any reason to change. Time for another round of golf.
I might, though, back off from my contention last week that these scandals were just a case of low-level worker-bees doing what government people do without much direction from political appointees. Holder, at least, is looking like a guy with something to hide. He has now agreed to a, quote, "review" of those guidelines for digging into reporters' communications.
I still doubt any of this will go anywhere. Obama, Holder, and Mrs. Clinton are an unsightly crew all right; but they still have the Senate and the media on their side, and most of the permanent bureaucracy — the government people. They'll sail through this with their skins intact. The only realistic hope for Republicans is to put the administration in bad enough odor with voters that the Democrats lose the Senate in next year's mid-terms, and that's a thin hope in my opinion.
So … I can't stand the sight of this crew either, but we're stuck with them until 2017. Let's do what we can to block their worst efforts: things like, for example, the Amnesty Bill. Oh, please, let's block that.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: The 2013 Amnesty, Open Borders, Cheap Labor, Mexicanization, Scofflaw Relief, and Destruction of the American Working Class Bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with some insignificant amendments, on a 13-5 vote. Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, and Jeff Flake joined all the committee's Democrats in voting aye. The bill now goes to the full Senate for a vote.
Announcement of the vote was followed by two disgusting spectacles. Disgusting spectacle one was the audience in the room breaking into a triumphal chant in Spanish. ¡Sí, se puede! they chanted, which I think translates as "Kiss your country goodbye, Gringos!"
Disgusting spectacle two was the senile, drooling Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont — a walking, or at any rate shuffling, case for term limits all by himself — grinning vacantly at the foreign chanting and beckoning the chanters to come forward, I'm assuming not so that the capitol police could arrest them and hold them for deportation.
You don't have to look much further than Senator Leahy's inane grin to know that the U.S.A. is in deep, deep trouble.
Item: A sidebar to the Oklahoma tornado story. Washington journalist Wolf Blitzer was down there reporting after the tornado struck, interviewing survivors. In one of the interviews he was talking to a young mother with her infant in her arms. "I guess you've got to thank the Lord, right?" said Blitzer. The lady gave a subdued "Yeah." Blitzer pressed her: "Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?" He meant, the decision to leave her house, which was totally destroyed moments later. The lady, in much embarrassment, said, "I'm actually an atheist."
Now, I don't know Blitzer's religious beliefs. He's Jewish — in fact has lived in Israel and speaks Hebrew — but nothing necessarily follows from that. So I'm going to make an impertinent speculation here. If I'm wrong, send me an angry email and I'll post a correction on next week's broadcast.
I'm speculating that Blitzer, finding himself out in Bible Belt flyover country, which for a Beltway bandit like himself might as well be Upper Volta, I'm speculating that Blitzer just naturally assumed that anyone he met would be a fundamentalist Christian, and tried to strike an appropriately patronizing tone. That's what got him embarrassingly snookered.
Like I said, I'm just speculating, based on my generalized knowledge of media elite types. If I'm wrong, let me know.
Item: Let's note one point in favor of the British approach to Muslim terrorism: they don't refer to it as "workplace violence." That is still the official position of the U.S. government on the Fort Hood shooting of November 2009. That's three and a half years ago; and the shooter, Nidal Hasan, has not yet come to trial.
Hasan killed 13 people and wounded 32 others, after first standing up and shouting "Allahu akbar!" He got lawyered up, the army took exquisite care not to offend any religious sensibilites, and here we are three and a half years later, still waiting for the guy to come to trial for his act of "workplace violence."
This week we learned two things about the case. One, that Hasan has been drawing his salary all this time — now a total of $278,000, according to an investigation by NBC News. The Department of Defense explained that they can't suspend Hasan's salary until he's been proven guilty.
And then, we've got a trial date: May 29th. That's when the court-martial is scheduled to open.
May 29th? Either someone's got a sense of humor, or no-one reads history any more. May 29th — Hel-lo? It's on a Wednesday this year, but back in a.d. 1453 it was a Tuesday: Terrible Tuesday, the day Constantinople fell to the Muslim horde.
Perhaps I should have kept my mouth shut there. If Hasan's lawyer gets to hear about the date coincidence, he'll move for another postponement. We wouldn't want to hurt Hasan's feelings, would we?
If it was up to me, I'd go for October 10th as a trial date. October 10th, a.d. 732, Battle of Tours. Look it up. I believe it was a Friday.
08 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents.
Speaking of anniversaries, there can't be much doubt whose music you'll be hearing to play us out this week. Wednesday was the 200th birthday of Richard Wagner, history's most outstanding instance of a major creative genius who was also a horrible human being, although that's a pretty crowded field.
Traditional opera consisted of stories acted out by people more or less just talking to some minimal musical accompaniment — what is called "recitative," — with the action stopping dead every so often to allow some person or persons to step forward and sing a well-crafted song.
Wagner's mature operas — "music dramas," he called them — aren't like that. They don't have any recitative; they're all music. Everything is sung to full tunes, beginning to end.
In his early operas, though, Wagner hadn't yet freed himself from the traditional structure, so you get some good old-fashioned arias, duets, and ensembles, some very beautiful. Being an old-fashioned guy, I naturally have a weakness for these. Here's a bit of the duet that closes Act Two of The Flying Dutchman, sung by Anja Silja and Franz Crass.
More from Radio Derb next week!
[Music clip: From The Flying Dutchman, Act II.]