»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Thursday, April 13th, 2006

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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]

01 — Intro.     It's Spring Festival time, NRO readers! Here comes the Spring Festival Bunny with some Spring Festival eggs.

While you savor the multicultural joys of Spring Festival, here is a special Spring Festival edition of Radio Derb. And don't let me catch any of you using the E-word.

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02 — Why aren't I marching for immigrant rights?     The big news this week was Monday's nationwide marches for immigrant rights.

I suppose I should have been out there marching. After all, I'm an immigrant, and I'm just as keen on asserting my rights as the next person. But you know, it's a funny thing, but I've been a citizen, I've been a legal resident, and I've even been an illegal immigrant and in all those years it never once occurred to me that I was being deprived of any rights. I must have been missing something.

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03 — Illegal aliens: the polls.     Be nice to know if Monday's demonstrations swung the opinions of Americans one way or the other.

I haven't seen any polls taken since Monday, but there have been a couple out since the similar demonstrations a few days earlier.

A USA Today / Gallup poll reported in Tuesday's Washington Times that 81 percent of Americans say illegal immigration is out of control, while 61 percent say the government should make illegal immigration a crime. I must admit I'm a bit puzzled there. If it's illegal, doesn't that mean it's a crime?

Well, whatever. Fifty-two percent of the respondents also think that the government should make it a crime for U.S. citizens to help people if they know they're in the country illegally. Sixty-one percent were now less likely to be sympathetic as a result of the protests — I think that means the earlier protests. Sixty-five percent of the respondents said they would pay significantly higher prices if the price of goods and services went up as the result of tighter controls on the southern U.S. border. Fifty two percent oppose any form of amnesty.

There were partisan differences there, though, with 51 percent of Democrats favoring amnesty. Only 13 percent of Republicans agreed.

Be interesting to see how these opinions develop. It's been said often but it bears saying again: There is no issue on which elite opinion differs so markedly from popular opinion.

Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I do believe that just for once elite opinion may lose this one.

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04 — Comparative flag-burning.     Remember the periodic legal / constitutional fuss about our right to burn the U.S. flag? Well, meet 58-year-old Roy Warden of Tucson, Arizona.

Mr Warden was arrested after Monday's demonstrations for burning a flag. The actual charges are assault, criminal damage, and reckless burning.

Now, didn't we settle all this? Doesn't Mr Warden have the right to burn the Stars and Stripes if he wants to?

Well, maybe he does; but the actual flag Mr Warden was burning on Monday wasn't the Stars and Stripes. It was the flag of Mexico.

If you want to burn Old Glory, go ahead — enjoy yourself! Burn Old Enchilada and off you go to the slammer. It's called "respecting diversity."

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05 — Not a hate crime.     Speaking of double standards, does anyone remember the Howard Beach incident of 1986 when a gang of young white men chased three black man? One of the black men ran into the road, was hit by a car and killed.

The story made a huge sensation and a very dishonest TV movie was made of it. The movie did not, for example, mention the fact that all three of the black men had criminal records, nor that the one who died in traffic had, quote, from a toxicologist, "near-lethal levels of cocaine in his system," nor that one of the white youths ultimately convicted had previously had a black girlfriend with whom he remained on good terms. Anyway, the thing made a media sensation and became hyped up into one of our modern melodramas about white-on-black racism.

Well, twenty years on and just a few miles away last week, in Harlem to be exact, five black youths chased a young white men shouting: "Get the white guy!" The white man, named Broderick Hehman, ran into traffic and was hit and killed by a passing car

Things have moved on since 1986, and New York nowadays has hate crime laws. However, the four young men so far arrested will not be charged with a hate crime. Nor, I'll bet a month's income, will there be a nationwide fuss, or endless moralizing about racism and a prime-time TV movie about the incident.

In fact, I'm surprised we've been allowed to hear about it at all.

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06 — Rudy for President?     The conventional wisdom about Rudy Giuliani running for President is that Democrats won't vote for him because he's a Republican while not enough Republicans will vote for him because he's liberal on abortion, homosexuality and immigration.

I'm not so sure. The U.S.A. could be sailing into some choppy waters this next couple of years, and Americans may decide that a plain-spoken, no-nonsense guy who knows enough about getting things done to have cleaned up New York City would be just the ticket in tough times. I say Rudy has a shot at it.

Someone over in the other party obviously agrees, as a smear movie in the Michael Moore style is now coming out. Titled Giuliani Time, the movie portrays Rudy as a racially-insensitive thug who trampled on the faces of the city's poor.

Speaking personally, as a standard bearer for the mean-spirited tendency, I'm fine with this. I'm a bit tired of watching the Republican party trying to be nice to people who hate it and will never vote for it.

Still, I acknowledge that mine is not a point of view universally held here on the right. Compassionate conservatism hasn't quite finished its run yet, more is the pity, and while that remains true, Rudy's a long shot and this new movie won't help him any.

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07 — Respecting Iran's rights.     Iran announced that its scientists have succeeded in making enriched uranium — but only for peaceful purposes, they said.

At least that's what some of them said. The armed forces chief of staff, who didn't get the talking points in time, said that, quote, "when a people master nuclear technology and nuclear fuel, nothing can be done against them," end quote. Because they have so much peaceful nuclear energy, you see? You can't do anything against them.

Anyway, foreign reaction to the development was fast and ferocious. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said he was, quote, "seriously concerned" by the Iranian announcement. Oooh, seriously concerned! That must have had them ducking under their desks over in Teheran.

That was nothing. French government spokesman John Françoise Cope urged Iran to respect its obligations and stop nuclear activities … please. In Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel's government said, Iran's announcement was cause for concern. Quote: "It is anozzer step in ze wrong direction by Iran." a German government spokeskraut said.

At this point I imagine the Iranians were scrambling their air force, but even that wasn't the end of vigorous action by the West. Condoleezza Rice telephoned the head of the International Atomic Energy Authority, whose first name is … uh, let me have a look here … oh yes: Mohammed, to ask him to reinforce demands that Iran comply with its nonproliferation agreements.

Arm the missiles! But no, the Iranians showed wonderful restraint in the face of all this terrifying saber rattling on the part of the Western powers. President Ahmedinejad only asked foreign governments to, quote, "recognize and respect Iran's rights."

You know, just the way Iran respected the rights of the U.S.A. when they took over our embassy and hog-tied our citizens, or the way Iran respecting the rights of Salman Rushdie's translators when it had their throats cut; the way Iran respected the rights of Israelis when it called for them to be wiped out.

Here's the whole truth about the Iran issue. We can deal with Iran now when the consequences of doing so will be bad, or we can deal with them later, when the consequences will be ten thousand times worse. I vote for now.

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08 — For sale in an Afghan bazaar.     Ah, the Middle Eastern bazaar, where everything is known and everything is for sale! Don't you sometimes get the feeling that in some respects we are just totally outclassed by those guys in robes and turbans?

Case in point, the L.A. Times reports that at the bazaar in Bagram, Afghanistan, you can buy stolen computer drives from the nearby U.S. army base containing classified military assessments of enemy targets, names of corrupt Afghan officials, and descriptions of American defenses.

Traders at the bazaar say that Afghan cleaners, garbage collectors and other workers from the base show up every day offering stolen items: knives, watches, refrigerators, packets of Viagra and flash memory drives taken from military laptops.

The drives, smaller than a pack of chewing gum, are sold as used equipment; but a reporter who bought a few found classified documents on it.

I don't know which is more depressing: than the U.S. military is so sloppy with its secrets, or that our soldiers need Viagra. What do they need it for, anyway? This is Afghanistan, for Heaven's Sake — not exactly a fleshpot of rampant sexual opportunity. Best not to ask, perhaps.

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09 — Walking round the world.     In a week dominated by illegal-immigrant stories, here is the saddest illegal-immigrant story of all.

Karl Bushby from Hull in northern England took it into his head to walk around the world. He's been walking for seven and a half years. Starting at the southern tip of South America, Karl and another chap, Dimitri Kieffer, have walked up the entire West Coasts of South, Central, and North America and just recently walked across the frozen Bering Strait into Siberia.

Here, however, a problem arose. Their papers were not in order and so they were detained by Russian border guards. Now they're under house arrest in a village in far Siberia while the Russian authorities — so well known for their humanitarianism, efficiency, and dispatch! — decide whether to deport them or not.

At this point Karl and Dimitri's best move might be to stage a march down the village street chanting "Sí Se Puede!" and carrying a British flag; but perhaps this hasn't occurred to them yet.

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10 — Signoff.     Well, there you are, coming into Spring Festival … which will be immediately followed by Government Bureaucrats' Festival, otherwise known as tax filing day.

Enjoy them both. This is John Derbyshire signing off for Radio Derb. Don't eat too many of those chocolate Spring Festival bunnies, now, y'hear?

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[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]