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—————————[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. Here we are on a bright, crisp Friday morning, 39 shopping days to Christmas and far too many to the 2008 Presidential election.
There was another debate last night, but alas, I missed it. I had to go back-wash my WaterPik, and you know what a tricky job that can be.
Anyway, I hear Hillary did well and Obama less well. Is that good or bad? Well, I guess it depends whether you want a female socialist for your President or a black socialist. So far as the Democratic nomination is concerned, I'm still rooting for Al Gore. If we're going to have a socialist President, let's have a crazy one. At least it'll be fun to watch — unlike a televised candidate debate hosted by Larry King in a Wolf Blitzer suit.
|02 — Warren Buffet sticks it to Joe Middleclass. As we all know, modern
society is basically a conspiracy by the top and the bottom against the middle.
The poor get a nice welfare state because the politicians who run the show don't want to have their windows broken. The rich get their druthers either by buying politicians, if the local environment is corrupt enough, or by hiring battalions of clever lawyers and accountants to keep them out of trouble. Poor old Joe Middleclass gets the shaft.
Estate taxes illustrate this point. Poor people don't have estates so they don't have to pay estate taxes. Rich people have such humongous estates they don't mind paying them. Meanwhile, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, the guy who's built up a modest estate by providing some useful service to his neighbors for three or four decades, he gets that estate wiped out by punitive taxes.
That's the background to Warren Buffet's remarks last week at a Senate Finance Committee hearing that he favors keeping the tax.
Under present law the estate tax is being gradually decommissioned. An estate worth up to two million this year, and next year, will be exempt from the federal estate tax. Anything over that gets taxed at 45 percent.
In 2009 the exemption level rises to 3.5 million; and by 2010 the estate tax will be repealed altogether … only for a year, though. If Congress does nothing, the tax comes right back in 2011 with an exemption threshold down to just one million and a tax rate of 55 percent.
Well, that's fine with Warren. Quote:
The resources of society I don't think should pass along in terms of an aristocratic dynasty of wealth. I believe in keeping equality of opportunity as much as you can in this country.
Opportunity to do what, Warren? To take care of your family and descendants? That's an opportunity most people would like to have.
Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, John Kerry, all those damn Hollywood stars … You know, when I grew up, hating the rich was second nature. We hated them because they were rich, though. Here in America, I find myself hating the rich because they're so damn liberal.
|03 — Hyper-liberal college in difficulties, boo hoo. It's tough being a
conservative, with all the big guns of society firmly in the hands of the left and pointed your way.
The mainstream news media, the academy, Hollywood, much of the clergy, much of the legal profession, big labor, and — on cultural issues, at least — big business, are all on the other side. Not to mention Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and the rest of the plutocracy.
We conservatives do have our consolations though. One of them is that aggressive liberal ventures often end in ignominious financial failure.
Last year's bankruptcy filing by Air America Radio was greeted by much popping of champagne corks here in Buckley Towers, though we were sorry to see that the liberal talk radio network has since been resuscitated.
Well, this year we have the woes of Ohio's Antioch College to celebrate. No institution of higher learning ever took the "liberal" in "liberal arts" more literally than did Antioch. This was the place that invited racist junkie cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal to give one of its commencement addresses a few years back.
Student enrollment's been on the slide for a while though, and financial woes have been piling up at Antioch. In June the college announced that it would cease operations after the 2007-2008 academic year. Now, after a desperate fundraising drive, the trustees have said that the college will stay open after all, though with much reduced facilities.
It's so sad to see an institution of higher learning in such difficulties. So sad! [Laughter.]
|04 — Spitz backs down on licenses for illegals. The latest person to join
the ranks of out-of-touch elitists getting bitch-slapped by the electorate on illegal immigration — following such luminaries as George W.
Bush and John McCain — the latest is New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.
They teach you some great stuff at Harvard Law School: like, for example, how to count. After careful deliberation, Spitz figured out that when the electorate breaks 77-16-7 No-Yes-Couldn't-care-less on an issue, the astute politician wants to be with the 77 percent. Spitzer has now withdrawn his plan to hand out driver's licenses, free Sedan de Villes, comped country club membership, a full set of living room furniture, and all the tacos you can eat, to illegal immigrants.
Of course, it wasn't only careful deliberation that caused Spitzer to back down. It was also that severed horse's head the Clinton people left in his bed the other night.
Spitzer's withdrawing the proposal was an immense relief to Mrs Clinton, who was blind-sided by the topic at the last Presidential debate, never having imagined that she would have to answer questions about anything so icky as illegal immigration at a respectable gathering.
Isn't it just yahoos and racists who are worked up about that? How perfectly distasteful! Isn't that Tim Russert fellow ashamed of himself for bringing up the whole squalid issue? And for pressing ME on it, as if I was some kind of low-grade person interviewing for a job! … whatever a "job" is. Doesn't he know who I am?
|05 — Saudi king meets Pope. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia took a swing
through Europe the other day and stopped off on his itinerary to have an audience with the Pope in the Vatican.
Saudi Arabia and the Vatican are two of the now very tiny number of places in the world that can fairly be described as theocracies, so presumably the Vicar of Christ and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques traded tips on the almost extinct art of theocratic government.
About a million Catholics live in Saudi Arabia, the largest group being Filipino guest workers. I have no data on how many Salafist Muslims are resident in Vatican City.
Well, the Pope made a plea for Catholics in Abdullah's kingdom to be allowed more freedom in gathering and worshiping. Yeah, some hope! If Abdullah were to allow open worship by Christians in Saudi Arabia, he'd pretty soon be putting in a call to the D-D-D-D travel agency. That stands for "Desperate Despots Desirous of Disappearing."
Believe me, Abdullah thinks about the Shah of Iran all the time, the way Indian-fighting U.S. Army officers in the late 1870s thought about General Custer.
Still, let's spare a thought for the Christians of Saudi Arabia; and all praise to His Holiness for at least bringing it up. While I have, as I said, no information on the situation of Muslims resident in Vatican City, I doubt their assemblies are broken up by the Swiss Guard, as Christian congregations in Saudi Arabia sometimes are by the Muslim authorities.
At parting the Pope and the King exchanged gifts. The Pope gave the King a 16th-century engraving of the Vatican. The King gave the Pope a gold jewel-encrusted … sword.
|06 — Mex Prez scolds us. Our President hasn't had much to say about
illegal immigration lately, but his co-President has been saying plenty.
That would be our good friend and neighbor Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico. I mean, you know, the part of Mexico south of the so-called border.
Calderón is mighty exercised about the ten or twenty million Mexicans who were encouraged by their government to leave that country so that Mexican elites wouldn't have to worry about them making trouble on account of having no jobs.
Quote from Mr Calderón, quote:
I am especially concerned at the growing harassment — and in recent days the persecution — of Mexicans in the U.S. It is my duty to call respectfully but firmly on the candidates of the political parties in the U.S. to stop taking Mexicans as symbolic hostages in their speeches and strategies.
Well, just sitting here mentally checking off the parts of my town I have to avoid, the portion of my property taxes going to schools clogged with non-English speaking kids who have no legal right of residence in my country, the portion of my state taxes going to jail space for illegal-alien gang members and drug traffickers, I find myself wondering who is hostage to whom.
Mr Calderón's speech wasn't all negative, though. He pledged to build more shelters for people deported back across the border into Mexico. Well, you'd better get building, pal. The way the public mood's going here in the U.S.A. You're not gonna have any trouble at all filling those shelters up.
Although wouldn't it have been wiser to do something for your poor and jobless people before they hiked over into the United States?
|07 — Fate catches up with O.J. "There is no armor against fate,"
said the poet; and, as is usually the
case with poets, he was spot on.
I don't suppose O.J. Simpson is much of a poetry reader, but perhaps he'd be a wiser man if he was. Back in September, in company with five of the guys he hangs out with — you can imagine what charmers they must be — O.J. went storming into a private suite at the Palace Station Hotel in Las Vegas, armed and hollering, claiming that the occupants of the room had something that rightfully belonged to him.
Us folks out here in non-celebrity land — well, most of us, anyway — have some excellent ideas about what rightfully belongs to you, O.J., but we'll leave that to another time.
Now a justice of the peace, after a hearing, has ordered that O.J. must stand trial on charges of kidnapping and armed robbery. "As always," sniggered O.J. after the ruling, "I rely on the jury." Well, O.J., you should probably also rely on the ever-reliable tendency of public prosecutors to turn a silk purse of a case into a pig's ear.
Still, call me a cockeyed optimist, but even with all the stupidity, corruption, race hustling and rottenness of the criminal justice system working for you, O.J., I'm going to be betting on fate this time around.
|08 — Jihad Jane: our federal government at work. All the mainstream news
media have now had a go at trying to figure out why so many people are so enthusiastic about Ron Paul.
Why on earth — this is the mainstream media approach — why on earth would anyone prefer a shy, old, small town obstetrician to the sleek, glib, groomed, super-capable, hyper-competent law school cum laude masters of the universe vying for our attention in the electoral big leagues?
Well, it's no great mystery to me. Those masters of the universe — and one mistress, of course — all tell us that the federal government will do this and that and the other thing, thereby solving all our problems.
Yet what in fact we see with our own lying eyes under administrations of all parties is federal government programs operating with all the grace, control, and effectiveness of the proverbial monkey trying to get intimate with a football.
Take the case of Jihad Jane, for example. "Jihad Jane" isn't her real name; it's just what the New York Post calls her, which ought to be good enough for anyone. If you want to insist, her actual name is Nada Nadim Prouty. This lady comes from Lebanon, which is an Arab country, not a support group for people with leb issues.
Well, Jihad Jane arrived in this country on a one-year student visa back in 1989, but she overstayed her visa. Then she paid an unemployed citizen to contract a fake marriage with her so she could get citizenship. She duly got citizenship in 1994, and promptly divorced the loser. Then, with the aid of some false documents, she got a job as an FBI agent with full security clearance.
On vacations in Lebanon she partied with Hezbollah leaders, including the guy who ordered the Marine barracks bombing in 1983. Back in the FBI's Detroit office, Jihad Jane hacked into the FBI computers on Hezbollah's behalf.
Oh, did I mention? She also got herself hired by the CIA — after all the usual background checks and polygraph tests, of course. She worked at the agency's National Clandestine Service, which runs covert ops against terrorists from organizations like, oh, you know, Hezbollah.
Well, that's our federal government folks. In fact, that is the most highly-screened, carefully-watched level of our government!
Homeland security? Fuhgeddaboutit. Buy yourself a fallout shelter.
Or vote for one of those masters of the universe. They'll have everything working smooth as clockwork in no time. You know they will!
|09 — Miscellany. Just a few short items to see us out.
Item: I know Radio Derb listeners are always keen to hear about our young people celebrating diversity. Well, here's a story from Newark, New Jersey about exactly that.
Students at Lakewood High School, unable to restrain their enthusiasm at being part of the gorgeous mosaic of modern multicultural America, staged a riot. The riot featured pitched battles between black students, who are 36 percent of the student body, and Hispanic students, who are 43 percent. I have no information on what the white students — 19 percent — were doing, but my guess would be they were hiding under their desks.
Ten Lakewood police officers arrived, but they were immediately overwhelmed and had to call for backup. Eventually this celebration of diversity was terminated by seventy-five police officers from five towns, all in full riot gear.
How fortunate we are to be a diverse nation! What a wonderful idea it was to import tens of millions of Hispanics to add to our diversity!
Item: Australians named worst emitters says the headline on this report from the Center for Global Development, whoever they are.
Having hung out with Australians a fair amount, I kind of know what they mean.
Quote: "Australians were found to be the world's worst polluters per capita …" Yes, that was my impression, too: "… producing five times as much CO2 from generating power as China."
Yes, well, never mind CO2 from generating power. You should experience what they emit after a few frosted Fosters.
Item: If class warfare is your thing — paging John Edwards — then India is the place to go.
The whole class system in India solidified into a caste system centuries ago. High-caste Indians don't stop at making snooty remarks about low-caste folk. They shun them; they refuse to touch them; and they forbid their kids to marry them. Occasionally they kill them.
That last thing is what happened to 40-year-old Kailash Bagry over in western India the other day. Low-caste Mr Bagry was caught shooing away cattle tethered outside his house. Alas for Mr Bagry, the cattle belonged to a high-caste family. He was promptly clubbed to death and his body was burned.
Wow. Well, let's just be glad John Kerry didn't get elected in '04. Try tethering a couple of cows outside his house.
Item: Here's a guy who could use a seminar in money management skills: basketball player Jason Caffey. Ex-basketball player, I should say. Caffey had a ten-year career in the sport during which he raked in as much as five million dollars a season. Now he's broke and he's filing for bankruptcy.
As a money-making venture, being a basketball star is a pretty good gig. Almost as good, if you can't play basketball but you're an attractive female, is having a baby by some millionaire basketball star. The child support payments will set you up nicely for life.
At least eight ladies entered into this particular business transaction with Mr Caffey and now they're whining that he's not paying child support because he's broke.
Hey, go find yourselves another athlete, ladies. Capitalism has winners and losers, you know.
Item: If you go to the BBC website, they have a little clip of Intel's Manny Vara explaining how sand gets turned into hard shiny silicon for the making of silicon chips.
It's quite fascinating, but it got me thinking. The Middle East is mostly sand, isn't it? Might there not be some really fast way to fuse all that sand together into one humongous thousand-mile-wide sheet of silicon? I bet our scientists could come up with something if they put their minds to it.
Item: Let's see what's happening in Africa. We don't hear much news from Africa, yet it's a big place and lots of stuff happens there. So let's see, what have we got?
Fighting has started up in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were fighting each other for years. Two or three million people are thought to have been killed. Then there was a pause this summer while they had an election; and now they're fighting again.
Quote: "This month thousands of civilians from North Kivu have fled to South Kivu after renewed fighting." End quote.
Oh, come on, wake up there, listener! You are interested in two million people getting killed, aren't you? No? You're not? No, I guess I'm not, either, really. Let's move on.
Item: Back in the mother country, new Prime Minister Gordon Brown has asked his subjects to offer suggestions for a national motto. A national motto: something that encapsulates the essence of modern Britain.
Britons rose to the occasion, or rather sank to it. In America We Trust was one offering. Once-Mighty Empire, Slightly Used was another.
Other suggestions were a bit more cryptic, though you could sort of see what this one was getting at: Drinking Continues Until Morale Improves.
The national talent for self-mockery was present: Sorry, It's All Our Fault. That reminds me of my home town in England, a quiet little country town called Northampton, where people talk slowly and don't move any more than they have to. You used to be able to buy a bumper sticker that said Sorry! I'm From Northampton.
Anyway, back to Mr Brown and his scheme. I'm betting that the winner will be this one, which really captures the essence of the modern British spirit. Quote: At Least We're Not French.
|10 — Signoff. And there you have it, listeners. As you can see, things are
pretty bad all over.
We do have our consolations though: home life, family, books, opera, all the glories of Western civilization — including of course Radio Derb, back here next week with a special Thanksgiving edition.
Until then, keep smiling, keep busy, keep your eyes on the horizon, and don't take any wooden nickels.
[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]