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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air, ladies and gentlemen. This is your genial host John Derbyshire with your weekly roundup of the news from a conservative angle.
It was a good week for America, and for conservatives, with the Kennedy-McCain Amnesty bill looking, at week's end, to be well on its way to limbo where it belongs.
Lots of other stuff to cover this week too, so let's get started.
|02 — Putin gets bolshie. If you can figure out what Vladimir Putin's up to,
you're smarter than I am.
Putin went ballistic, so to speak, when our government declared its intention to deploy some defensive stuff in Poland and the Czech Republic. This is ten interceptor missiles and a radar installation.
This, we made it clear at the time, was to defend Europe against missiles launched from rogue states like Iran. Putin said this would, quote, "upset the global strategic balance" — which of course is in the process of being mightily upset already, though Putin seems not to have noticed, by the proliferation of nuclear weapons to places like North Korea and Iran.
Well, at the G-8 summit in Germany this week, Putin suggested that maybe instead of installing our own stuff in east Europe, we could sign on to use Russia's own radar installations in the Caucasus. They cover the whole Middle East and Indian Ocean regions. At the time of recording this broadcast, we are officially studying the offer.
Putin knows perfectly well, of course, that the proposed Czech and Polish installations are no threat to Russia. He's most likely just trying to open up some cracks in NATO and to bolster his tough-leadership credentials with the Russians.
It's a good time to get bolshie from Putin's point of view. Russia's oil and gas are bringing in billions to the state treasury and Bush is looking weak and distracted.
Six years ago, Bush famously looked into Putin's soul and liked what he saw. Right now, Putin is looking into Bush's horoscope and really liking what he sees.
Oh, on a sidebar here: The New York Times ran a photograph of German Chancellor Angela Merkel sitting between Bush and Putin.
Well, I don't know, but if I were Chancellor of Germany, that's a position I'd try to avoid in future photo ops. I mean, we all remember the last time America and Russia converged on Germany from opposite sides.
|03 — Onward, Clinton soldiers! Hillary Clinton raised twenty-six million dollars in the first
quarter of 2007, it says here in the New York Times. According to some spreadsheets leaked from Hillary's campaign, she has received
commitments of at least twenty-three million more for the second quarter.
Who's giving Hillary all this money?
Quote from the Times:
Lawyers in Chicago, bankers in California, and the campaign has relied particularly heavily this spring on money from gay men and lesbians and Asian Americans, with two separate fundraisers involving Fujianese Americans.
Wow. Now, I'm not that familiar with the campaign-finance laws, so I don't know whether a lesbian Chicago lawyer of Fujianese ancestry is allowed to donate three times over. Someone else is going to have to figure that out.
Meanwhile, Hillary's campaign website is looking for a campaign song. Never one to duck a songwriting challenge, here's my contribution.
[Sings, to the tune of "Onward Christian soldiers."]
Onward, Clinton soldiers!
|04 — Obama: elect me or there'll be riots. Barack Obama gave a speech at
Hampton University, a historically black college in Virginia.
The speech clocks in at 4,232 words, according to Microsoft Word. I mentioned that just so you know I really did link to the darn thing. If I were to tell you that I read every word of it with close attention, I'd be telling you an untruth.
It starts off with something about the 1992 Los Angeles riots: a pregnant woman getting shot, her baby being born okay but with a bullet in his arm.
So the moral of the story is … what, Senator Obama? Don't go out in the street when there's a riot going on? Don't take a gun to your next riot or someone might get hurt? Or what? I don't know. You try to figure it out.
Here are Obama's next five sentences, quote:
I've been thinking and praying about that story. I've been thinking that there's always going to be a scar there that doesn't go away. You take the bullet out, you stitch up the wound, and fifteen years later there's still going to be a scar. Many of the folks in this room know just where they were when the riot in Los Angeles started and tragedy struck the corner of Florence and Normandie.
Now, not to pick nits here, but what actually happened on Florence and Normandie was that Damian Williams smashed in the head of Reginald Denny, a perfect stranger to him, with a breeze block. Then he did a victory dance over Denny's twitching body and made gang signs at helicopters filming the event.
That is felonious assault, not tragedy. For tragedy there has to be some dramatic dimension, some story about human personalities interacting with the world and with each other.
Well, on to the next sentence. Quote:
And most of the ministers here know that those riots didn't erupt overnight. There had been a quiet riot building up in Los Angeles and across this country for years.
Then we get a whole lot more about this quiet riot that's building up all over the place again, apparently. What's Obama trying to tell us? That if we don't elect him President, there'll be riots?
He didn't exactly say that, but he didn't exactly not say it, either.
Then we've got something about Hurricane Katrina. Quote:
Look at what happened in New Orleans and along the Gulf coast when Katrina hit. People ask me whether I thought race was the reason the response was so slow. I said no, this administration was colorblind in its incompetence.
End quote. Well, if you want to talk incompetence, Senator, how about the incompetence of the Mayor of New Orleans? How about the incompetence of the Governor of Louisiana? Oh wait: They're Democrats, aren't they? Right.
What else in the speech? Some more about that baby … something about God … something else about God … coming together as one people … transforming this nation … zzzzzz [snoring sounds] …
|05 — GOP candidates debate: Rudy. Meanwhile, on the other side of
politics — I mean, passing from the Democrats, who never do anything conservatives like, to the Republicans, who very occasionally do
something we like — we had another debate among the GOP candidates for nomination.
Pretty much everybody agrees that Rudy Giuliani came out very well. Rudy got lucky though. There was no question about guns at all, a big weak point for Rudy.
He got the abortion question, but nobody remembers what he said because there was a lightning strike at just the right point, disrupting the sound quality. Whose side is God on here?
And then the gay rights issue came up in the context of the military, permitting Rudy to just skip around the issue by saying this is not the time to deal with disruptive issues like this.
So Rudy could lean hard on the War on Terror, on his own splendid response to 9/11, and he could take a strong line on Iran and so on.
He's read the 400-page immigration bill, he tells us, and personally I believe him.
He thinks the sentence on Scooter Libby was, quote, "grossly excessive."
Would that be "grossly excessive" like in, oh, criminalizing ordinary stock-trading practices so you can indict anyone you like? Like handcuffing the heads of arbitrage at respectable securities-trading companies, dragging them off to jail, and then failing to come up with any case against them?
"I've prosecuted 5,000 cases," boasted Rudy. Yeah, but it was the ones you didn't get round to prosecuting after you'd humiliated the defendants — those are the ones that give us pause, Rudy.
|06 — GOP candidates debate: McCain, Paul, Tancredo, Hunter, Huckabee,
Gilmore. And then there was John McCain.
Sometimes you want to see John McCain get elected President just to watch him break windows at the White House, sock Vladimir Putin on the jaw, and tell Hu Jintao to go violate himself.
I mean, a McCain Presidency could be fun. Of course, it could also be kind of disruptive, with some huge proportion of the world's five billion poor people being waved in across our borders.
What else from the debate? Ron Paul spoke up well, and with feeling, against identity politics and groupthink; and he broke some kind of barrier by actually mentioning birthright citizenship — the dumbest piece of judicial misinterpretation currently in play.
That's not bad, but Ron mostly fumbled on other issues, erasing my very feeble and occasional thoughts about supporting him.
Tom Tancredo said we want an immigration timeout. At last, somebody said it! Quote from Tom: "We have to begin the process of assimilating people."
What a great idea! … but try getting it past the Wall Street Journal editorialists, not to mention the White House.
Duncan Hunter did a good job of explaining how Canada and Mexico rip off our drugs; and I must say that altogether the standard of talk on healthcare here was very high.
Mike Huckabee, asked to name the most depressing moral issue facing the nation, said, quote, "the value of every single human life." I guess that was an appeal to the anti-abortion vote; but then Mike spoiled it by raising — again, if I recall correctly the previous debate — the dumb non-parallel with jihadist terrorists. You know: "We love life, they love death."
It sounds nice, but someone should tell Mike that fundamentalist Muslims are anti-abortion too, just like himself.
Jim Gilmore got much closer to revealing the true mentality of those who govern us when he said in reply to a different question, quote: "We understand the value of every single person as a tax payer."
Now that's the real value of every single human life, as seen by the government people. A human life is one that pays taxes … except under a Ron Paul Administration. Hey, I'm warming to Ron again.
|07 — Senate immigration bill crashes and burns. Birthright
citizenship — I can't believe we're talking about this stuff.
One good thing that's come out of this ludicrous senate immigration bill is a real educational experience for a lot of people about immigration issues. It's fun to see things that immigration wonks have been chewing over for years suddenly in the public square being debated, or at least mentioned.
The political and business elites hate this, of course. They don't want people talking about immigration or knowing anything about it. That's why they brought this bill to the senate floor without any hearings or discussion. They don't just want to open our borders and amnesty twelve million trespassers; they want to do it all in the dead of night, silently and secretly.
What a shameful business it's been! What an insight we've had into the contempt that our ruling classes feel towards us rubes!
As I'm recording this the second cloture motion has failed and it looks as though the bill will go down in flames. Then what will the administration do without this raft of new laws they were planning? Start serious enforcement of existing laws?
Well, that's probably too much to hope for. Still, if public anger keeps rising as it has been, keeping steady pressure on the administration, they might grudgingly do a little law-enforcement, venting their anger and frustration at being made to do the jobs we pay them to do by periodically telling us what nativist yahoos we are; and, you know, railroading a few Border Patrol agents into jail on trumped-up charges.
Well, the failure of this horrible bill is the best thing that's happened in politics this year. Congratulations to all who helped to bring this beast down: Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Michelle Malkin, all the other commentators and bloggers.
And of course a special thanks to the wonks who've been pegging away at this crucial issue in the shadow of intense elite disapproval for years past, crunching the numbers and making the case: people like the Center for Immigration Studies, NumbersUSA, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, VDARE, and I'm sure others I've forgotten.
Thanks, and congratulations! This has been a victory for popular democracy. America has dodged a bullet.
|08 — JFK terror plot foiled.
Three men were arrested and another is being sought for a plot
to blow up fuel pipelines that cross New York City to bring gasoline and airplane fuel to Kennedy Airport.
One of the men, a retired airport cargo worker living in Brooklyn, was 63-year-old Russell Defreitas, who is also known as Mohammed.
Sixty-three years old, my goodness. Two of the other suspects are aged 55 and 56. I don't have an age for the fourth guy, Abdel Nur, but to judge him from his picture on WNBC.com, he's the oldest of the lot. All four of these men are Muslims. What did you think, Christian Scientists?
So here's something new to worry about. It's not just those glittery-eyed young Arab guys lusting for their seventy-two virgins in Paradise. We also have to watch out for white-bearded old farts lusting for … what? Early bird specials on nectar? Senior discount passes to sit at God's right hand?
These guys all come from Guyana, by the way, a dirt-poor and corrupt country in South America — hang a right at Venezuela. Not that these characters are from the bottom of Guyanese society. One of them was a Member of Parliament there and the mayor of his town. Defreitas, the ringleader, is a U.S. citizen.
I've read some different opinions about how dangerous this plot really was — some people talking about fearsome destruction, and some saying it couldn't possibly have worked. The definitive comment on all that was the one given by my colleague Jay Nordlinger.
Jay pointed out that these plotters always look like shambolic doofuses when they're caught in the planning stages; but when they carry the thing through to completion, then they're fully-credentialed terrorists. That shoe bomber fumbling with his matches was a pretty mockable character; but if he'd ignited his little device the plane would have gone down.
So credit to the FBI for catching these JFK plotters. We'd all better hope they keep catching them. It's a cliché, but it's true: The terrorists only have to get lucky once.
|09 — Miscellany. Here's our closing miscellany of brief items.
Item: Los Angeles is enduring a drought, with the driest year since rainfall records began 130 years ago. Angelenos have been urged to take shorter showers, to turn off their lawn sprinklers, and to flush their toilets only when necessary, whatever that means.
Let's face it, L.A. is one of those cities that's just built in the wrong place. A lot of cities are. The worst case is Peking, which is on the edge of a desert. The Chinese are building two tremendous canals to get water to the city, probably disrupting the entire ecology of north China in the process.
Maybe we should just build some new cities from scratch like the Brazilians did.
Item: In the Alabama Senate on Thursday, Democratic Senator Lowell Barron addressed Republican Senator Charles Bishop as a "son of an [expletive]."
Senator Bishop did not take this kindly: He up and punched Senator Barron in the head. Security guards and other senators then pulled them apart.
"It's certainly a black eye on the Legislature and the Senate in particular," said Republican Representative Jay Love disapprovingly.
Well, Representative, it's actually a black eye for Senator Barron.
This kind of thing happens a lot in the Taiwan parliament, doesn't it? So I guess this is just another one of those Chinese imports.
Item: The California Department of Corrections will now allow conjugal visits for gay and lesbian prisoners.
This means that gay and lesbian prisoners will have the right to spend up to three days with family members, including domestic partners, in some special living areas set aside on the prison grounds.
The expression "coals to Newcastle" comes to mind here.
The measure isn't totally unopposed, though. The Campaign for Children and Families issued a statement saying, quote: "The ACLU's assault on marriage in California has produced this nonsensical policy that rubs the average voter the wrong way."
Not the most felicitous choice of words there, but basically correct.
They used to put you in jail for doing it. Now, if you're in jail, you have a right to do it. Isn't progress wonderful?
Item: Paris Hilton's 45-day jail sentence for violating her parole ended after three days on account of, quote, "an unspecified medical condition."
I think I can offer a diagnosis here. The medical condition we're seeing here is known to us doctors as ECI, Extreme Celebrity Invulnerability, also sometimes known as O.J. Simpson disorder.
The most effective treatment is gender-specific. For male sufferers, intensive golf is indicated. For females, home rest with some moderate partying and shopping usually restores the patient to perfect health.
The condition is not communicable; so all you ordinary citizens, quit worrying. This won't be happening to you
Item: The Disney Corporation has bought a script for a movie about Adam and Eve. The storyline, according to Variety, follows the biblical Adam as he trails Eve to modern-day Gotham after they have a lover's quarrel. Adam discovers that Satan was behind the breakup.
Right. So we have this guy wearing a fig leaf, riding the Lexington Avenue local. Well, anyone who's lived in the Big Apple has seen stranger things.
What I want to know is how these two innocents — who obviously can't have inherited any money, and didn't go to law school, and have no marketable skills — how can they afford to live in New York City?
The Times is all set to thank them for their labors by printing a really negative review. Quote from the leaked review:
The book is almost uniformly negative and overly focuses on what they consider the Clintons' scandalous past and the darker aspects of Hillary Clinton's personality. Carl Bernstein, the veteran journalist of Woodward and Bernstein Watergate fame, presents a more balanced and convincing picture of Clinton in his competing biography.
So that's something to look forward to: the Times trashing Times writers who've trashed the Clintons. Should be fun, like watching sharks eating each other.
Item: Nancy Pelosi paid a moving tribute to the Chinese protestors who died in the Tiananmen Square massacre eighteen years ago this week. Here's what Nancy said:
Today we pay tribute to the brave souls of Tiananmen Square, who eighteen years ago defied the powers of their day to demand the liberties and freedom to which all people everywhere are entitled.
End quote. Well, that was nicely said.
Is Congress going to do anything substantive to help China's harassed democrats? Probably not. Will a future Democratic administration kiss up to the thugs of Peking as shamelessly as the last one did? Yes, probably.
Still, Mrs Pelosi spoke well and the statement does her credit. As my parents encouraged me to say on receiving an unsatisfactory birthday present: It's the thought that counts.
|10 — Signoff. Okay, Radio Derb fans, that's your ration for this
week — a good week for America, with the amnesty bill in the ditch and four fewer crazy jihadists to worry about.
Tune in again next week for more of the news you need to know from the intrepid reporters of Radio Derb.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]