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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. John Derbyshire here once again, ladies and gents, with your weekly dose of inspiration and exasperation on Radio Derb.
"This world," said a noble Englishman, "is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." Knowing as I do that NRO readers are well-equipped both to think and to feel, I am here each week to bring you a little comedy and a little tragedy — mixed together, I hope, in judicious proportions.
Let us then survey mankind from China to Peru, and see what he's been up to.
|02 — Yet another failed theory about terrorism. Boy, this is a
season for watching stupid theories bite the dust, isn't it?
I mentioned on a previous Radio Derb that Stupid Theory Number One, that democratization will bring rational governments to power in the Middle East, and Stupid Theory Number Two, that everything in that region will be tickety-boo if only Israel would withdraw from territory she's occupied, are now both showing flat lines on the intensive care monitor.
Now here goes Stupid Theory Number Three: that only failed states breed terror. Is Britain a failed state? Well, there were some who might say so, but to me it looks just like the comfortable, commercially-minded, welfare-state parliamentary democracy we're trying to turn Iraq into.
Yet Britain's popping out terrorists like a Pez dispenser. Let's listen to the intensive care monitor hooked up to that failed-states-breed-terror theory, shall we? [Beeeeeeep] Oh dear, another flatline.
Anyone got any more theories about terrorism, its causes and its solutions? Anyone? Hello?
|03 — Can the Israelis still do it? I've got a slightly embarrassing and
possibly stupid confession to make. Here it is: I am envious of the Israelis.
Now look, I don't minimize the distress caused by having a Katyusha come in through your bedroom window. Still less do I minimize the distress of learning that a person that you love has been killed in action.
On the other hand I have this memory of growing up in 1950s England surrounded by who all looked back nostalgically to the World War Two years as the spiritual and emotional high point of their lives.
The Israelis look to me to be grimly united as never before. They know that the very existence of their nation is at stake. They know what they have to do and they're determined to do it. In the breaks from doing it they'll have as much fun as they can. I hear that Tel Aviv nightclubs are thriving.
When this latest round of fighting started I asked my boss, who'd just come back from Israel, if he thought the Israelis could still do it, "it" being what they did in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973.
Rich is a cautious man and he hedged his bets, saying something like, "We will have to wait and see."
Well, my bet right now, some negative indicators notwithstanding it, is that the Israelis can still do it. They screwed up in the early stages here, but that often happens in war. In fact, it hardly ever doesn't happen. Israel will do the necessary and good luck to them.
A friend of mine put it this way. The Israelis have accepted the fact that if they don't do anything, people will condemn them as cowards and parasites who expect the United States to protect them; and if they bomb the [beep] out of their enemies, people will condemn them as tyrants and baby killers. So they figure they might as well bomb the [beep] out of their enemies and survive to be unpopular.
My friend is right. Israelis can defy the world and survive, or they can do what the world wants them to do and be butchered on mass. It's a no-brainer really,
|04 — Ramos and Compean on trial. If you want to know the lengths to which
the Bush administration will go to maintain an open border with Mexico, study the case of United States versus
Ramos and Compean.
The locale here is a courtroom in El Paso, Texas. The principal players are Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Kanof, border patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, and a Mexican citizen name of Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila a drug smuggler.
Your U.S. attorney, carrying out administration policy, is prosecuting the bejesus out of those two border patrol agents on behalf of her pal and chief witness, Mexican drug smuggler Mr Aldrete-Davila.
You see our Border Patrol guys had stopped a van which was later found to have 800 pounds of marijuana inside. The driver, our Mexican friend Mr Aldrete-Davilajumped out of the van and made a run for the Mexican border, knocking down one of the Border Patrol guys. Both Border Patrol agents fired some shots at the fleeing suspect, but with no apparent effect.
Agent Ramos, by the way, is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Navy Reserve. He's been involved in the capture of nearly a hundred drug smugglers and the seizure of untold thousands of pounds of narcotics, and he was nominated for Border Patrol Agent of the Year in March, 2005.
Well, now he and his buddy are facing twenty years in the federal pen because, says U.S. Attorney Kanof, Border Patrol agents are not supposed to pursue fleeing suspects.
That's right. Uncle Sam and Uncle George and Uncle Alberto want these two brave man sent down for twenty years for pursuing a fleeing suspect.
You think I'm making this up, don't you? Nope. Here are U.S. Attorney Kanof's actual words quoted in the local newspaper, quote: "It is a violation of Border Patrol regulations to go after someone who is fleeing. The Border Patrol pursuit policy prohibits the pursuit of someone." End Quote.
What about the drug smuggler, Mr Aldrete-Davila? Is he getting prosecuted too?
Are you kidding? He's suing the Border Patrol for five million dollars for violating his civil rights. It turns out he took a round in the buttocks after all.
You see, the Department of Homeland Security — you know, those brave people who work night and day to keep our homeland secure — the Department of Homeland Security sent investigators to track down Aldrete-Davila in Mexico and offer him immunity if he'd testify against the two agents.
In securing the homeland, you see, there is no more important task than cutting deals with foreign drug smugglers. I think we can all agree on that.
So, bottom line: Two of our law-enforcement officers have their lives comprehensively wrecked, a Mexican drug smuggler gets five million dollars of your money and mine, an ambitious Assistant U.S. Attorney gets promoted to full U.A. Attorney, and the great campaign to secure our borders marches on.
Thank you, Mr President. Thank you, Mr. Attorney General. Thank you, Mr Chertoff. We can sleep soundly in our beds at night knowing that our nation's security is in your capable hands.
|05 — Democrats try to square the pacifist circle. The defeat of Joe
Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic primary generated such a volume of commentary, you'd have to be a much faster reader than I am —
and to be perfectly frank, you'd have to be much more interested in politics than I am — to get through it all.
I read a fair selection though, and the column that stuck in my mind was Jacob Weisberg's opinion piece on slate.com.
Weisberg pointed out that the Democratic Party is in danger of being captured by pacifist types who aren't just against the Iraq war, but are against any war — who, as someone once said, loathe the military.
However unpopular the Iraq war is getting with the American people, we are not a nation of pacifists. We showed that in 1972 when the Vietnam war was turning pretty unpopular, yet George McGovern still managed to lose 49 states on a pacifist platform.
The trick for Democrats is to make voters believe they are entirely on board with the ancient and instinctive American belief that military force is one perfectly acceptable option we must maintain in our dealings with the world, while yet believing the Iraq adventure to have been a mistake followed by a fiasco. This is a particularly difficult circle to square for those Democratic politicians who voted for the war.
If the pony-tail, Birkenstocks, and mountain bike crowd succeed in capturing the party, the Democrats will lose 49 states in '08, whatever is happening in Iraq.
The person who knows this best is Hillary Clinton, and she is the weather-vane to watch.
|06 — Ovations for a nation-wrecker. Great news from Zimbabwe! The
annualized inflation rate has dropped below a thousand percent! The July figure was 993.6 percent.
No doubt people are dancing in the streets of the capital. Or possibly not; there don't seem to be too many people left in Zimbabwe, and those that are left are too malnourished to do much dancing.
The World Bank just recently referred to Zimbabwe's situation as, quote, "the worst economic crisis of any country in peacetime."
Here's another quote from the left-wing British weekly the New Statesman.
As a result of Mugabe's land reform the countryside looks blighted by a terrible scourge and four million Zimbabweans depend on food aid. Many more subsist on roots and fried termites, and the country's life expectancy has dropped to the lowest in the world, just 34 years old for women. South Africa is host to more than two million refugees from Zimbabwe. Every day hundreds more desperate Zimbabweans attempt to enter South Africa across the crocodile-infested Limpopo River.
The truly astounding thing in all this is that Robert Mugabe, the man responsible for all this misery, is a huge hero in the rest of Africa. He gets a standing ovation anytime he shows up at a Pan-African congress.
The neighboring country of Malawi has even named a new road after him: the Robert Gabriel Mugabe highway, which goes from Malawi's capital to the Indian Ocean ports of Mozambique. Mugabe himself ceremonially opened the road back in May.
However, since Malawi, like South Africa, is home to lots of disgruntled Zimbabwean refugees, the Malawian police have to guard the plaques bearing Mugabe's name. Even so, last month a group of twenty men armed with machetes and clubs managed to smash up several of the plaques.
Meanwhile Cap'n Bob marches on from standing ovation to standing ovation, one of that small select company of Nation Wreckers, along with Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Il.
If there is a hell, it must surely have a special super-heated grotto for monsters like these — people whose achievement in life has been to force misery, desperation, exile, and death on their own nations.
|07 — Mike Wallace interviews Li'l Squinty. One-hundred-and-thirty-year-old
TV anchor Mike Wallace scooped an interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Wallace was of course quite bold over by the wit and charm of
the guy who wants to wipe Israel off the map.
Said the drooling old lefty: "He's actually, in a strange way, a rather attractive man: very smart, savvy, self-assured, good-looking in a strange way. He's very, very short, but he's comfortable in his own skin." End quote.
Now, I don't want to rain on an old man's parade, but as far as I'm concerned Ahmadi-nutjob would be a whole lot better looking if he was a head shorter. And however comfortable he may be in his skin, I personally would be much more comfortable knowing that he had been separated from it by a well-placed cruise missile.
Ahmadi-fruitcake was one of those terrorists who invaded our embassy — that is, sovereign U.S. territory — back in 1979 and held our diplomats and citizens hostage against all the laws of civilization.
This repulsive, homicidal little dwarf has got it coming. Hey, Wallace: You don't have much to look forward to at your age. As George Burns used to say, you're not buying any green bananas, are you? Why didn't you do your country a service for once and secrete a bomb somewhere on your scrawny liver-spotted person and blow yourself and Ahmadi-jihad to kingdom come.
Hey, it would have made great television.
|08 — O.J. Simpson thanks Jesus. Okay, here's a spot quiz. Who was videoed
saying the following thing while simultaneously chomping on a cigar and boogying with some low-life sluts — oh, sorry: I mean "party
girls" — at a Philadelphia nightclub? Quote. "I love my life. Isn't life wonderful? Thank you, Jesus."
Was it (a) Dick Cheney, (b) Lindsay Lohan, (c) Pat Robertson, or (d) O.J. Simpson?
If you guessed (d) give yourself an extra Twinkie with your tea-time snack. Yes, the butcher of Brentwood, the slasher from San Francisco, the Heisman Trophy hacker, Old Jugular Juice is out there partying.
Some of O.J.'s lifestyle has now been recorded for posterity in 75 hours of video posted on a website named judgeoj.com. We see the football legend and cutlery salesman in conversation with shock jock D.J. Star.
Star calls Oprah Winfrey a, quote, "nappy-head country bitch." Replies O.J. "Oprah is not a truthful person." Now that's gotta hurt, having O.J. Simpson call you untruthful — a bit like having Mel Gibson call you a loose-mouth lush.
In another clip O.J. sits at a bus stop in Atlanta, unable to get any bus to pick him up. "They kicked my ass right to the curb," he complains.
A lot of us would like to kick it further than that, O.J., for what you did to two innocent and unarmed people. Yeah, yeah, we know; you sometimes get that Sir Thomas Wyatt feeling, don't you? "They flee from me that sometime did me seek."
Sir Thomas didn't actually murder anyone though. If you had any self-respect, O.J., you'd do to your own throat what you did to your wife's. But then, if you had any self respect we wouldn't still be reading about you.
|09 — Miscellany. All right, let's see. Scraping the barrel here for news
stories for you, whadda we got?
North Africa on jellyfish alert. No, I don't think so.
Penguins in Texas highway crash. Say what? "A truck carrying 25 penguins, an octopus, and some exotic fish overturned near Galveston. Oh dear. One penguin died and three were killed by oncoming traffic.
Wow. Imagine that! You're driving down the highway to Galveston minding your own business and suddenly there's a dead penguin splattered across your windshield. Do you have to report penguin accidents?
Well, it could've been worse. Apparently this was part of a big transportation exercise from one zoo to another. Said the Texas highway patrol: "There was another truck full of snakes and alligators just an hour ahead of them. At least we didn't have to deal with that." Well, absolutely.
Okay, what else? We got any showbiz news? Robin Williams in Rehab, what's that about?
Quote from the man's publicist: "Robin has found himself drinking again and decided to take proactive measures."
Don't you love that responsibility-free language? He has "found himself drinking." You know, like: "Officer, I just found myself doing eighty in a twenty-five zone." Or: "Your Honor, I found myself putting arsenic in my wife's bedtime hot chocolate."
Well, good luck to Williams in Rehab, anyway. Chance for a few games of cribbage with Mel Gibson, at least.
What else is going on? Anything in the science news? Oh, here we go.
The low-frequency seismic rumblings of volcanoes are being transformed into delicate musical scores in an effort to predict when they will erupt. Researchers in Italy have already created a concerto from the underground movements of Mount Etna. They are now creating melodies from Ecuador's recently-erupted Tungurahua.
Fascinating. When these scientists are through with the volcanoes, I am available to have a concerto — if not a full symphony! — made from my own seismic rumblings after I've scarfed down a takeout from Taco Bell garnished with a couple of my wife's indescribably superb pickled onions.
Should this exciting musical project come to fruition, you can be sure you will hear it first on Radio Derb.
|10 — Signoff. Well, that's all for this week, boys and girls. I hope I
leave you just as angry, depressed, and despairing of the human race as I myself habitually am.
If you are still cheerful, however, the cure will be along next week — another dose of Radio Derb!
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]