• Play the sound file
[Music clip: Opening bars of Beethoven's Fifth]
01 — Intro. Yes, Radio Derb listeners, the appalling Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill is dead, at least for this year. Halleluia!
Heartfelt thanks to all the citizens who helped make this happen; from the ordinary folk whose outraged phone calls jammed the Senate switchboard to tireless bloggers like Mickey Kaus, Michelle Malkin, and my colleagues at National Review Online. Everyone who helped to make this happen, everyone who planted a spear in the thick hide of this monstrous beast, deserves the thanks of a grateful nation.
The elites will be back, you may be sure. We have seen, these past few days, how desperately, how passionately they want this amnesty, and how shamelessly they will lie and promise to get it.
For the moment though, victory is ours and it is sweet indeed.
As Winston Churchill said, addressing his ravaged nation as the guns fell silent after World War Two: "We may permit ourselves a brief period of jubilation."
|02 — The National Question rises. As our own John O'Sullivan has noted, the
ructions around the Senate immigration bill have at least put the National Question at the front of everyone's mind.
By the National Question is actually meant a group of questions about what we wish our nation to be, how open we want to be to our immediate neighbors, whether we want to continue the multicultural project or return to the old assimilation model, and how many people we're willing to let come settle in our country, chosen by what criteria.
Are we, for example, a monolingual nation? And if we are, is any legislative or executive action necessary to keep us so?
These are all important and debatable issues. Unfortunately they are all issues it's hard to discuss calmly precisely because of the multicultural ethos.
If we decided, for instance — and I'm not proposing this, I'm just using it as a thought experiment — if we decided that the only people we should admit for settlement are people with degrees from good universities along with their wives and children, well, then we'd be admitting a lot of East Asian and European people and not very many Moroccans, Zimbabweans, Cambodians, or Guatemalans.
That, you can be sure, would get a lot of people upset, and charges of racism would be flying around in no time.
Something similar would happen with almost any scheme we settled on, which means we shall settle on nothing much. We have got ourselves into such a fix with multiculturalism and political correctness, There are now really, really important things that we just can't have any calm national conversation about. In fact, I think these recent immigration debates illustrated that.
Listen to Teddy Kennedy when it was plain that the bill was going down. Speaking of the bills opponents, Kennedy said, quote:
We know what they're against; we don't know what they're for. Perhaps they want some kind of Gestapo to round up these people.
You see how it goes. If you want the people's laws on immigration properly enforced, you're a Nazi. That's the level our national debates have sunk to. That's how capable we are of discussing the most basic elemental issues of national sovereignty and integrity.
If I'm right about this, it's a great tragedy — quite possibly the final tragedy of our republic.
The National Question is terrifically important, but we can't talk about it. Someone's feelings might get hurt.
|03 — Congressional dysfunction. Assuming the republic does survive for a
short time longer, two things show clearly through the settling dust of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
First, there is something badly wrong with our legislative processes when a tremendous national change of this magnitude with a price tag, according to at least some respectable analysts, in the trillions of dollars can get as far through Senate deliberation as this one did.
There had been no committee hearings, no open discussion. Floor debate was meant to be severely limited and the amendment process curtailed. The thing was hundreds of pages long yet key senators had plainly not read it. Some provisions of the bill addressed matters for which we already have adequate laws — laws which our executive will not enforce,… and so on.
Something is badly wrong with the legislative process.
Second, when the administration failed to enforce those laws for six years and only began enforcing them to placate opponents of the senate bill, what hope can we have that this administration, now angry and bitter at the failure of its pet project, will enforce these key laws?
It would be nice to think that our Congress might hold the administration's feet to the fire. Our Congress, however, is hardly any more enthusiastic about immigration law enforcement than the administration is.
I think we can look forward to a period of the laxest immigration enforcement in U.S. history.
|04 — Blair steps down. Across the pond, meanwhile, Tony Blair has quit his
job as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, handing over power entirely voluntarily — even if, one cannot help thinking, somewhat
reluctantly — to his friend and colleague, Gordon Brown.
So far, Brown can be credited with only one thing: He has brought the adjective "dour" back into general circulation. Over in Britain the dour Scotsman is something of a stereotype, and Brown fits it. He looks, as Alice Roosevelt said of Calvin Coolidge, he looks as if he'd been weaned on a pickle.
Personally I like that in a national leader. I have no problem with dourness … or is it "dourity"? I don't share the normal American taste for ever-smiling leaders, putting their arms around foreign statesmen and speaking in terms of lofty uplift. I'm going to go out on a limb in fact and say that I think that very taste has got us into a lot of trouble recently.
Brown looks like a man who's going to tell his fellow Brits they are a lot of frivolous slackers, and unless they engage in some serious self-examination and reform and get their noses to the grindstone, things will get even worse than they undoubtedly are.
That's not a bad message for our time. Perhaps one of our, oh, eight Presidential candidates might try it out.
Now, why do I keep coming back to Ron Paul?
|05 — W kisses up to Islamic supremacy. President George W. Bush gave a
speech at the rededication of the Islamic Center in Washington D.C. You can find the speech among the news releases on the White House website. The
keynote of it was, quote, "strengthening our friendship with the Muslim community worldwide."
If you read through the speech, it actually reads pretty well — one of the President's better efforts. That was my first impression.
He reminds us that the Islamic Center was first dedicated by Dwight Eisenhower, a President pretty generally liked. He points out our nation's commitment right there in our Constitution to freedom of worship.
He announces that he's going to appoint an envoy to something called the OIC. That's the Organization of Islamic Conference, which sounds ungrammatical to me, but which is apparently — I'm looking at its website — a sort of Muslim United Nations, 57 Muslim countries banded together to defend Muslim interests. The OIC was established in 1969 in response to, and this is a direct quote from their website, "the criminal arson perpetrated on 21st of August, 1969 by Zionist elements against Al Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem." End quote.
So we know pretty much where we are with this OIC outfit.
The Washington D.C. Islamic Center is no outpost of sweetness and tolerance either. National Review's Steve Emerson tells us it is just the place to go if you want to pick up a copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It is in fact largely financed by the government of Saudi Arabia, a nation which does not, to put it very mildly indeed, subscribe to the doctrines of religious tolerance and pluralism so eloquently voiced by our President.
You see, Mr President, it's not just the words you say, it's where you say them and who you say them to. In this particular instance we have to suspect that your words, as eloquent and laudable as they were taken by themselves, fell on stony ground.
|06 — Scooter Libby goes to Club Fed. Scooter Libby has begun serving his
sentence at what his ex-boss would call "an undisclosed location."
I had better tread carefully here. The last time I ventured any public comment on the Libby case, to the general effect that I didn't give a fig about it or about him, my remarks caused the editor of First Things to blow a gasket, and a couple of National Review colleagues wrote me out of their wills.
Well, I'm going to plow ahead anyway and just hope I don't get struck by lightning.
It is my impression that opinion on the Libby case divide the nation into three camps.
In the scale of injustices one reads about every day — and I'm assuming it was an injustice — this one barely moves the needle on the sympathy dial.
Of course, in theory we should be equally indignant about all injustices everywhere. In practice very few of us — perhaps only the Dalai Lama and John Edwards — can bring that breadth of compassion to bear on the affairs of the world.
Meanwhile, will someone please give me an answer to this question?
Since the Vice President has, constitutionally speaking, very little to do other than go take a snooze in the Senate Chamber now and again, why does he need a staff, let alone a Chief of Staff?
Answers — in brief, please — to my email address, which you can find on my homepage, which you can find by googling my name.
|07 — School racial quotas, 2007 style. You remember Brown
versus Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court ruling back in 1954 that ended legal segregation in the nation's school systems?
You remember that? And did you naively think that that ruling would be the end of race-based assignment of students to schools? If you did well then you really were naive.
Thanks to Brown, school district administrators can't legally say, "No black kids in this school; no white kids in that school." They can, though, legally say: "Well, I think we need a few more black kids in this school — you know, for the sake of diversity — so we'll shut out some corresponding number of white kids."
They can, and they do.
If the school in question is regarded as the best school for miles around, some people — in that case, some white parents — are going to be ticked off.
Well, some people in Seattle, Washington and Louisville, Kentucky were, and their cases ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court this week. The court has ruled that these particular plans are unconstitutional. At the same time, it has ruled that some such racial gerrymandering might be okay — just not this particular kind.
So the vice has been tightened another quarter of a turn on the affirmative action beast, but the beast still lives.
Justice Roberts distinguished himself in the ruling by remarking that, quote: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."
Justice Breyer distinguished him-self by countering that, quote: "Rarely in the history of the law have so few undone so much so quickly."
And so the whole grisly business of racial head-counting lumbers on for a few more decades. Our schools aren't even logical about how they do it.
An 11-year-old girl of north Indian parentage — that is subcontinental Indian — has been denied admission to Mark Twain Intermediate School in Brooklyn, New York, because she's counted as black and the school already has its full quota of black kids.
This lass, whose name is Nikita Rao, showed that she had grasped the situation by telling the New York Post quote: "I feel bad because I would have gotten in if I was white."
Welcome to America, honey.
Note, please, that subcontinental north Indians speak languages of the Indo-European family and cluster with white Europeans genetically.
And behind all this there stands the specter of de facto segregation. Yesterday I happened to look up the student ethnicity stats for the Samuel J. Tilden High School, also in Brooklyn — in fact, just five miles away from Mark Twain Intermediate as the racial classifier flies.
You want to hear about Samuel J. Tilden High School? Ninety-two percent black, seven percent Hispanic, one percent everything else.
Let's face it, listeners, racial quotas in school and college admissions are as American as apple pie and will be with us until the crack of doom. And even if by some miracle our judiciary completely stopped us from doing it by law or administrative policy, heck, we'd just go on doing it anyway of our own accord. Ask the kids at Samuel J. Tilden.
|08 — Elites' bid to shut down talk radio. A key factor in taking down that
hideous Senate immigration bill was talk radio, which is dominated by conservative patriots who would like our nation to have properly enforced
borders and proper control of who enters and leaves.
The elites are of course furious at losing their amnesty plan and they are swinging out wildly at everyone who caused them to lose it. That would include the talk radio hosts; and that accounts for all this talk about bringing back the Fairness Doctrine.
The Fairness Doctrine, which ruled the airwaves from the very beginning of radio in the 1920s down to 1987, stipulated that all points of view should be balanced off. One hour of liberal radio had to be balanced by one hour of conservative radio.
Well, that was all tossed out in the second Ronald Reagan Presidency. Rush limbaugh took to the airwaves soon after, and the rest is history — conservative history.
So who wants to bring the fairness doctrine back? Let's see, we have Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois. We have Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee. We have Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, who was in the news big time three or four years ago, I forget why …
Are you getting the picture here. Not that this is just a Democrat thing. Our high elites are, if you'll pardon the term, bipartisan. Trent Lott grumbled last week that, quote: "Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem." Senator Lindsey Graham is also a fan of the fairness doctrine, apparently.
Fortunately talk radio can handle itself pretty well. On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a motion disallowing funding for the Fairness Doctrine. We have representative Mike Pence to thank for that, and thank him we should. Nice going, Mike!
Quote of the week on this comes from Newt Gingrich speaking up for the Pence Amendment on the Hannity and Colmes show, quote: "I think a conservative ought to introduce a bill that calls for equal time in Hollywood, equal time on college campuses, equal time in the New York Times editorial page, equal time at CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and Time and Newsweek, and then we could have a conversation." End quote.
Thank you, Newt. Message to the elites: We don't need no steenkin' Fairness Doctrine.
|09 — Miscellany. Just a handful of items in our closing miscellany.
Item: President Calderón of Mexico was spitting mad when he heard about the downfall of the comprehensive immigration reform bill. "The United States Senate," he said, "has made a big mistake."
I don't suppose I'm lucky enough to count President Calderón among my Radio Derb listeners, but just on the off chance he's listening, here is a message from me to him.
Mind your own darn business, Mr President. It is the grossest form of diplomatic discourtesy for the head of one nation to tell legislators of another nation how to vote, and to scold them if they vote the wrong way. This is our country, not yours … not yet, anyway.
Item: I feel a certain affinity with Ann Coulter as, like her, I have a tendency to keep cracking my shins against the taste barrier, and having to explain my jokes to people who have been outraged by them for one reason or another, the most common reason being that they are stone stupid.
Well, you don't read Ann Coulter looking for exquisite good taste. You read her because she is a superb polemicist who never gives an inch of ground and relentlessly mocks all the pieties and lies of modern American liberalism.
Ann's current go-around with John Edwards and his wife is therefore very entertaining. Most recently Ann defended a feeble joke she made against John Edwards a while back by saying this, quote:
Bill Maher was not joking when he said he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack. So I've learned my lesson. If I'm going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.
Now, of course, the Edwards camp and their screeching lefty camp followers are putting it about that Ann plans to assassinate John.
I don't need to say anything to give Ann support in this; she can take very good care of herself. I am enjoying the fight, though.
Item: Li'l Squinty is in the news again. Everybody's favorite cross-eyed dwarf, President Ahmedinejad of Iran, is having a spot of bother with his own people.
Incredibly, the world's fourth-biggest oil producer is having gasoline shortages to the point where they've found it necessary to impose rationing. Angry drivers are lined up for miles trying to buy gas. In places they have been rioting and burning gas stations.
Even the world's fifth-biggest oil producer — that would be Mexico, folks — hasn't made such a complete pig's ear of its economy as Iran has.
The moral would seem to be that if you want your economy to thrive, don't hand over your country to a bunch of Mullahs. Whether that moral will sink in to Li'l Squinty's cute li'l head before Iran falls apart altogether, we shall have to wait and see.
Perhaps the Hidden Imam will return to earth and sort it all out for him.
Item: Hatshepsut, the first female Pharaoh of ancient Egypt, was a piece of work.
She married her half-brother, Thutmose the Second, who ruled as Pharaoh for thirteen years, during which, says Wikipedia: "It has been traditionally believed that Hatshepsut exerted a strong influence over her husband."
When he died, leaving only an infant son, Hatshepsut got power and eventually had herself crowned Pharaoh, wearing a beard for the purpose — sort of 15th century B.C. Hillary Clinton, you see.
Why am I telling you this? Well, Egyptologists believe they have identified the mummy of Hatshepsut. This mummy has been lying around for years, but some recent DNA tests seem to have pinned it down as being Hatshepsut.
Clutched tightly in the mummy's hand was a sheaf of scrolls filled with hieroglyphics, not yet completely deciphered, but believed to be billing records from an ancient Egyptian law firm.
Item: Just one more quote from the immigration debate to finish up with.
Here is Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, pleading with her colleagues not to stop the immigration bill. Quote: "If we miss this opportunity, there is not likely to be another in the next few years." End quote.
From your mouth to God's ear, Senator!
|10 — Signoff. And from my mouth to your ears, patient listener. That was
your weekly edition of Radio Derb, brought to you from the spacious sound studio here at Buckley Towers.
I hope I have left you wiser than I found you; and if not, consider that you are at least ten minutes closer to retirement.
Tune in again next week for more criticism, commentary, and contumely from Radio Derb.
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches.]