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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your heretically genial host John Derbyshire, here once again with some titbits from the week's news.
Headline political news this week has all been about what I guess we have to call Memogate — the shenanigans, some of them recorded in memos written by the principals, over FBI investigations into Donald Trump's election campaign.
Listeners have been emailing in to ask me why I have not so far commented on this business. I shall start off this week's podcast by trying to explain why.
I'll do my best to make this substantive, but I had better put a warning up front: This will be a Segment About Nothing.
02 — Whatevergate. Yes, this is going to come out as kind of an apologia.
There are things that are important, and things that are interesting. Some things are interesting and important. Some things are neither interesting nor important. Some things are interesting but not important, and some other things are important but not interesting.
The catch is that what is interesting to some people is not interesting to others. A great English novelist observed that, quote, "One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other." End quote. Similarly, what is absolutely fascinating to Jack may be an insomnia cure for Jill. This may even be the case when Jack and Jill are married. I'm sure we can all think of instances.
So here's my confession: This whole matter of conducting politics by means of prosecutors and investigators set up by one political faction to go over the transactions of another faction with legal and inquisitorial fine-tooth combs, is not interesting to me.
Is it important? Well, it can be. The Watergate witch-hunt was of this character, and it brought down one of our better presidents. It likely also contributed, two years later, to the election of Jimmy Carter, one of our worst presidents.
So yes, this Memogate, Comeygate, Russiagate, Whatevergate business might turn out to be important, although my impression at the moment is that it won't. It's more likely, I think, on present evidence, it's more likely that five years from now the names Comey and Mueller, Steele and McCabe, Carter Page and Peter Strzok will be footnotes in memoirs nobody reads.
Politicians who do illegal things should of course be exposed and sanctioned, but you have to think that the tools for doing that are much too easily available to vindictive rival politicians. After watching this stuff across 45 years of American politics, I'm at the point where I'd trade off some slightly higher level of corruption in our national politics for some restraint on congresscritters having access to the prosecutorial option.
The results of these jihads can be devastating for citizens who have gone into politics with selfless and patriotic intentions. The money quote here is from Ray Donovan, Ronald Reagan's Secretary of Labor. After being acquitted on a corruption charge in 1987 Donovan asked, quote: "Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?" End quote. No, the federal government doesn't have an office for that.
Since Whatevergate might turn out to be important, I've been doing my best to keep up with the news about it. I watch Tucker Carlson every night. He has a good clear style of exposition, and isn't afraid to bring in anti-Trump types to argue the other side with him. We here at VDARE.com have run some good informative pieces: Peter Brimelow's column last Monday and Pat Buchanan's the same day.
Those are guys to whom Whatevergate is interesting, and so they have done a much better job of commenting on it than I could. From them I gather that yes, there really is a Deep State which in 2016 dedicated itself to preventing a Trump victory; and yes, at least some elements in the FBI were active in that cause; and yes, the fuss over Russian interference is a child of that, an effort by the world's sorest sore losers to delegitimize Trump's victory after the event.
My eyelids grew heavy just saying that stuff, though, so pay no attention. If you care, follow the guys that care: Tucker and Peter and Pat.
If politics is downstream from culture, this prosecutorial politics is, far as I'm concerned, not even part of the river; only a smelly, murky little backwater, choked with weeds and rotting vegetation, populated by dark, slimy critters of the lizard and toad families.
I can do politics and I can do culture, but I can't do this stuff. Important? Maybe. Interesting? Not to me. Sorry.
03 — Immigration roundup. As mentioned a couple of podcasts ago, I'm trying to restrict my immigration commentary to just one or two segments per session. The commentarial air is so full of immigration talk nowadays, I think listeners appreciate some variety, even on a website dedicated to patriotic immigration reform.
So I'm packing this week's immigration commentary into two segments, mostly into this one. Here we go.
Yet another set of immigration proposals for Congress to ponder. This legislation was introduced Monday by two Senators:
Those grades tell you all you need to know about the nature of this proposed legislation.
Yep, it's the old 1986 bait-and-switch: Amnesty for millions of foreign scofflaws in return for … what? [Crickets.]
That's pretty much it. There is of course language in the proposal to make it sound like we might get something in return for all that amnesty; but the language is so vaporously imprecise you could drive a coach and four through it without slowing down.
The proposals will, McCain told us, "strengthen border security." What, by building a wall? No, no, no, no mention of that. We'll strengthen border security other ways, to be decided. Yes, really we will: honest injun, cross our hearts and hope to die, stick a needle in our eye. Just gotta get the amnesty done first …
Oh, and the McCain-Coons proposal will, quote, "address the root causes of illegal immigration," end quote. Say what? What are the root causes of illegal immigration — other than lax border security, which, as noted, the proposal will do something or other about sometime or other, honestly, no kidding, promise promise promise!
The root causes of illegal immigration are the lack of a proper visa entry-exit tracking system, and the lack of universal E-Verify. Are McCain and Coons going to fix those things? Hel-lo?
Oh, they mean the root root causes — crappy life prospects in the poop-hole countries that most of the illegals come from. What control does the U.S. government have over that?
The cause of those crappy life prospects — the root root root cause of illegal immigration — is the low level of human capital in those countries; concerning which, to the best of my understanding, not only can Uncle Sam do nothing, nobody can do anything.
Here's another immigration item. Ex-President George W. Bush, at a think-tank conference in the United Arab Emirates, scolded President Trump for rescinding DACA.
Concerning the beneficiaries of that probably-unconstitutional order, W said, quote "America's their home," end quote. It may be their home, W, but it's not their country. A country's only your country if you're a lawful citizen.
Guess what else he said. Quote:
There are people willing to do jobs that Americans won't do. Americans don't want to pick cotton at 105 degrees but there are people who want to put food on their family's tables and are willing to do that. We ought to say thank you and welcome them.
End quote. Leaving aside the issue that picking cotton is almost entirely automated nowadays: Was that a trip down Memory Lane, or what?
Radio Derb likes to cheer the fact that our country has awoken from its immigration slumbers and is now at last discussing the issue publicly in a reasoned, well-informed, grown-up way.
Not W, though. He's still mumbling out the threadbare slogans of fifteen years ago, slogans even the cheap-labor shills are now embarrassed to be heard repeating: "jobs that Americans won't do," "putting food on their families," "our broken immigration system," … All that was missing was a quote from Emma Lazarus.
I cringe to think I once voted for this moron.
At a slightly higher level is this op-ed by Jason Riley in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal. Headline: Our Immigration Debate Is Older Than America Herself.
Jason Riley is the author of a 2008 book titled Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders. So again, we know pretty much where we are here.
Except that we don't, quite. Riley seems to have backslid somewhat from open-borders purism.
Most of the article is just polystyrene filling for the Journal's cheap-labor subscribers. It's decorated by a big picture of the Statue of Liberty, though Riley doesn't tell us what the Statue, a hundredth birthday present to our republic from France, has to do with immigration. Sample of the polystyrene text:
There is no typical immigrant. They aren't all gang members, and they aren't all microbiologists.
End sample. You don't say! Gosh, Jason, that would never have occurred to me if I hadn't read it in the Wall Street Journal!
In among all the filler, though, you suddenly find yourself reading this, quote:
Yes, humanitarianism ought to inform this debate, but ultimately U.S. immigration policy should prioritize the needs of the people already here, not the people trying to come.
That's way off the reservation for commentary in the broadsheet open-borders press. The people already here? What, Jason, you mean those worthless lazy hillbillies David Brooks thinks are so irredeemably inferior to vibrant, energetic, entrepreneurial immigrants? You mean those ignorant, stupid, irreligious deplorables Bret Stephens wants to replace with smart, fecund immigrants? Those people? Are you serious?
"U.S. immigration policy should prioritize the needs of the people already here, not the people trying to come." They printed that in the Wall Street Journal? It was a bit like reading your way through a Papal encyclical and suddenly coming across a sentence saying there isn't really a God or a Heaven and after you die it just gets real quiet.
Either elite opinion is waking up to something, or else Jason Riley will be looking for a new job about now. They're hiring at Home Depot, Jason.
Finally, just one more brief item on immigration: headline guaranteed to raise a smile, if not a round of applause, from any immigration patriot. This is from CNS News, headline: DREAMers Threaten to Leave U.S. if DACA Deal Doesn't Allow Them to Stay. That's the headline. Illegals are threatening that if we don't give them amnesty they'll go back to their home countries.
The response to that is so obvious, I'll leave you to supply it yourselves. In case it's not obvious to you, here's a clue: It contains the words "door" and "hit" and a reference to a fleshy part of the DREAMer's anatomy.
04 — Out from the attic. Mrs Rochester escaped from the attic again on Wednesday. After prowling the streets of Washington, D.C. for a couple of hours, scaring all the winos, she turned up in Congress, goggle-eyed and hissing strangely, and delivered an eight-hour speech urging white people like herself to commit mass suicide so that vibrant brown people could take their rightful place as rulers of America.
I think that's what the speech was about, anyway, though I confess I didn't listen attentively to all eight hours. Wednesday's the day I express my dog's anal glands, and some things just have to be attended to.
The parts I did watch were so strange, I was expecting a couple of orderlies in lab coats to show up and escort the lady to a van outside.
If I was right in my speculations last podcast that President Trump's strategy is to position himself as the party of Americans, with the Democrats as the party of foreigners, that strategy is working better than I could have imagined.
Neil Munro over at Breitbart provided toe-curling extracts from Nancy's speech. Samples — you'd better have the barf bag handy:
We recognize that they are a blessing to America … the dreamers are all over our country, Mr. Speaker, they are a blessing so across the board … These are the best of the best. They are so fabulous … Each of them with their individual contribution to the greatness of America. So exciting, so proud of them … Recognize, recognize again the hard work ethic, the commitment to education, to community service, to faith, to family, to the United States of America. It's a beautiful thing … Am I not lucky to be able to become so familiar with so many of these beautiful dreamers? We want to send these people back? This talent, this rich talent, this achievement, this determination, this faith in the future, this patriotism for America? I don't think so … Let us acknowledge the dreamers and their optimism, their inspiration to make America more American
End samples. Neil Munro, who has a keen ear, did spot in that eight-hour gush of immigration romanticism, he did spot one reference to us American citizens, who live here legally. Quote:
Many of the great academic minds in our country came from another country. But then — at the same time America produced our own and that's a pretty exciting combination.
So she thinks we can bring forth people who are not totally worthless; but they only lose their worthlessness when in combination with those wonderful, beautiful, talented illegal aliens who have blessed us with their presence.
The speaker here is the leader of her party in the U.S. House of Representatives — a major party, that had a president in power until just over a year ago.
Chuck Schumer, the lady's Senate counterpart, is an intelligent man. He has to be racking his brains right now to think of some way he can get Mrs Rochester back into the attic … and lose the key.
05 — Larry the Lifer. In my January 26th podcast I mulled over the fate of Larry Nassar, the sports medic sentenced to 175 years in jail by a crazy female judge for fondling young girl athletes when he was supposed to be examining them.
That was a state trial in Ingham County, Michigan. It followed a federal trial in which Nassar was separately sentenced to sixty years in the jug, by a different crazy judge, also female. Since the sentences run consecutively, that was a total tariff of 235 years at the time of writing.
In those two trials, however, our feminized judiciary had just been clearing its throat. There's been a third trial on different molestation charges in a different Michigan county, Eaton. Monday this week Nassar got handed a further sentence of 40 to 125 years, to run concurrently with the others.
One thing about this third trial wasn't different, though. Can you guess what? Ri-ight: This was another female judge.
Plainly we are in the realm of unreasoning hysteria here. All right, this new sentence was concurrent, not consecutive. The three sentences together still add up to an aggregate 350 years, though.
For sure Larry Nassar is a nasty piece of work, but … three hundred and fifty years? For, as I said two weeks ago, for crimes in which no-one was killed, maimed, battered or disfigured, and nothing was stolen? Would Larry Nassar be any worse off if he had killed, cooked, and eaten a couple of those athletes?
Three hundred and fifty years? Three hundred and fifty years back from today, Charles II was on the English throne, Louis XIV ruled in France, Vermeer was painting, Milton was writing, and Johann Sebastian Bach was not yet born. New York had only just stopped being New Amsterdam, Boston's population was around four thousand, and Philadelphia did not yet exist.
January 30th I posted a follow-up on the VDARE.com website inspired by a listener who'd found the Larry Nassar trials as weird and disturbing as I had. My listener posed some questions that still hang in the air unanswered. Nobody in the media or in public life seems interested in asking them.
What is the usual tariff for actual rape? Not the stroking and finger-diddling Larry Nassar engaged in, but actual forcible rape? How did he get away with it for twenty-five years? Twenty-five years. What were the parents doing? We know that some of them were in the examination room with Larry and their child when acts of molestation occurred. Isn't that kind of … strange?
As creepy as Larry Nassar may be, what's a whole lot creepier is the way these prosecutions echo the appalling "child abuse" scandals of thirty years ago, when harmless people were sentenced to decades in jail on preposterous charges. A key player in that show was another female jurist, Janet Reno, later Bill Clinton's Attorney General. Talk about creepy.
I don't think the charges against Nassar are preposterous on that level, but I'm baffled to understand how they deserve a third of a millenium in jail. To quote my listener, in reference to Larry Nassar's previous state trial, quote:
When I listened to the judge's rant, I wondered if some civil liberties lawyers were listening and bothered by it.
End quote. I think I can answer that. No, the ACLU weren't listening and weren't bothered. They were all out marching with banners in support of illegal aliens.
There's something cockeyed somewhere.
06 — Progressives love science … but don't know any. Here's a science story from the Old Country.
Britain's main Progressive and anti-white newspaper over there, The Guardian, reported with much glee on February 7th that the remote ancestors of the British people had dark skin. Take that, white supremacists!
This finding comes from recent advances in our understanding of DNA. By scrutinizing a person's DNA closely enough, we can now tell fine details of his appearance, and even do a fair-probability reconstruction of his face. These techniques have been applied to Cheddar Man, a complete human skeleton unearthed in 1903 in Southwest England.
Cheddar Man lived about nine thousand years ago, which makes his people one of the earliest to return to Britain after the ice sheets melted at the end of the last glaciation. Around ten percent of modern English people are known to be descended from his group, quite possibly including your humble correspondent.
Scientists have just finished compiling a complete genome for Cheddar Man. It tells us he had blue eyes, dark skin and dark curly hair, and was lactose intolerant.
This will make great propaganda for the anti-white crowd, but it's nothing surprising to those of us who'd read Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending's 2009 book The 10,000 Year Explosion.
In Chapter Three of that book, Greg and Henry (who is alas no longer with us) argue that the switch from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to agriculture led to vitamin D deficiency, since fresh meat has more vitamin D than cereals. Ultraviolet rays in sunlight, acting on human skin, generate vitamin D; more when the skin is lighter. Sure, too much ultraviolet will give you skin cancer; but in high latitudes like Britain's, too much sunlight is not a problem.
So after the switch to agriculture, which in Britain took place six thousand years ago, long after Cheddar Man was chasing reindeer round the tundra, light skin would have had health benefits. Natural selection took care of the rest. Quote from Cochran and Harpending:
Several of the major mutations causing light skin color appear to have originated after the birth of agriculture.
End quote. That's from a book published nine years ago; so this news about Cheddar Man is not sensational.
The Progressives are jumping all over it anyway. The Race and Gender columnist for the Toronto Star — yes, that is apparently an actual job, with a desk and a salary — this columnist, a person named Shree Paradkar, could barely contain himself, herself, or itself. The news is, says he, she, or it, quote "worthy of chuckles and cackles," end quote. The headline on this column is How Cheddar Man shatters accepted views of immigration. Uh … okay.
One of the hardest things about debating race denialists is their fixation on skin color. "It's an insignificant thing!" they say, as if they've just discovered the Law of Gravity. "Inconsequential!" Which is kind of true. It's a marker of race, but one of many, and not essential in any classification. There are albino Africans with dead-white skin.
Race is deep ancestry. You're more closely related genetically to some groups than to others. There are some handy external markers like skin color and hair texture, but they don't do anything. What does stuff is the entire genome. By analyzing the entire genome you can predict a person's self-reported race with north of 99 percent accuracy — way better than you'd get from just looking at them.
And to speak of immigration in the context of nine thousand years ago is absurd. Immigration concerns nation-states and their laws, neither of which exited in 7000 b.c. You might as well speculate about a criminal prosecution for the guy who killed Cheddar Man by knocking a hole in his skull.
Progressives know nothing. They are ignorant and stupid. They know nothing about science and can talk in no terms other than those of early twenty-first century social obsessions. Progressives are idiots.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Some news here from Europe. First, an item I'm going to put under the headline New Frontiers in Ethnomasochism.
This comes, not very surprisingly, from Sweden, the world capital of hating your own country. The Swedish national bureaucracy includes a National Heritage Board, tasked with preserving the cultural heritage of Sweden. The head of the National Heritage Board is usually a professional archeologist.
The heck with all that stuffy old nonsense! The Swedes have just appointed a new head of the National Heritage board. His name is Qaisar Mahmood, and he's a Muslim born in Pakistan.
Mr Mahmood admits he has no background in Swedish history or archeology. He did, though, compile a report on diversity in the heritage bureaucracy. That and fifty cents, and belonging to the vibrancy demographic oneself, will get you a nice plum government position in today's brave new Sweden, oh yeah.
Where's Eric Bloodaxe when we need him?
Item: On a more hopeful note, also from Europe, Italy has a general election coming up March 4th, and National Conservative parties are looking strong.
Quote from Breitbart, based on a survey from a major Italian newspaper, quote:
Italians have swung significantly to the right in the past five years, with those who self-identify as "liberals" or "progressives" falling by nearly 50 per cent.
End quote. Italy's system of voting makes it hard to call a result here, but the Trumpish Five Star Movement is polling well. So is the wobbly center-right coalition of Matteo Salvini's anti-EU League of the North and Silvio Berlusconi's much less anti-EU Forza Italia. The center-left pro-EU coalition of current Prime Minister Gentiloni Silveri and former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has cratering poll numbers.
Don't bother trying to remember those party names. This is Italian politics we're talking about here, where party names change with the wind, and it's a political sensation when a Prime Minister stays in office more than a year.
The overall mood of Italian voters looks good, though — good, I mean, for the prospect of Europeans pushing back against the open-borders globalists at last and taking their countries back.
Their may yet be hope for Europeans if they can just fence off those damn Swedes somehow, and lock Angela Merkel up in a nunnery somewhere.
Item: I don't know if Russia counts as Europe; you can get a long argument going about that. Whatever: I think we should spare a moment to remember Roman Filipov, the Russian air force pilot whose plane was shot down over Syria February 3rd.
Major Filipov ejected safely from his plane, but he came down in an area controlled by the enemy, who surrounded him and began to close in. He killed two with his handgun; but then, realising his situation was hopeless, he pulled the pin on a hand grenade to kill himself, shouting out: "This is for our guys!" The Russian press claims that the grenade blast killed more of the enemy; but seeing that Major Filipov's radio link with his airbase must have ended when the grenade went off, I don't see how they know that.
It's a moving story anyway, whatever you think of Syria and Russia's role there. Don't ask me. Since all the American politicians I hate are anti-Russian, I'm emotionally predisposed to take Russia's side. That's irrelevant here, though. Selfless heroism in battle is to be admired even among one's enemies.
Thirty thousand people attended Major Filipov's funeral in the Russian city of Voronezh February 8th. In all that multitude, in a nation that loves literature, I'm sure there were some who knew Kipling's lines:
When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
08 — Signoff. That's all for this week, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening, and be sweet to your sweetie on St. Valentine's Day.
I gave you a little Kipling back there, some lines from "The Young British Soldier." Here to play us out are some other lines from that same poem, sung by the great Peter Dawson.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Peter Dawson, "The Young British Soldier."]