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[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire Marches.]
01 — Intro. "It's the first Radio Derb of the year … With Huckabee winning, And Obama grinning from ear to ear, It's a sad Radio Derb this New Year." Yes, folks, the first round in the presidential contests has been won by two nanny-state big-government open-borders socialist meddlers, both of whom successfully hid their desire to take our money and spend spend spend it behind clouds of spiritual squid ink. Oh boy. This is going to be a long year.
02 — Iowa caucuses (general). Well, well, the Iowa caucuses caucused. Whaddid we get? A number of lessons, that's what. Lesson One: Nobody much in Iowa gives a fig about foreign policy. Of the two big winners, Huckabee barely knows that the world beyond our borders exists, while Obama thinks it is full of poor and oppressed people waiting for us to take leadership in the United Nations to lift them up by our amazing spiritual power — oh, and using our money — yours and mine, gentle listener. Lesson Two: Evangelicals will vote for an evangelical, even if he gives his stump speeches in Ancient Sumerian. Lesson Number Three: Western libertarian conservatism isn't dead. Ron Paul and Fred Thompson between them got 21 percent in Iowa — almost as much as Mitt Romney. Hopes for a Paul-Thompson, or Thompson-Paul ticket to run against Gore-Obama next November are still alive. Lesson Four: Illegal immigration, which is transforming parts of Iowa into suburbs of Mexico City, isn't much of an issue. Neither Mike Huckabee nor Barack Obama has ever shown any convincing sign of caring about this issue, nor even of having thought about it for more than ten consecutive seconds. Lesson Five: Nobody much likes Hilary Clinton.
03 — Iowa caucuses (GOP). Congratulations to Mike Huckabee for having poked his finger in the eye of the Republican establishment, which has been getting much too big for its boots lately. You'd think the people who gave us George W. Bush would have learned some humility; but no, this lesson had to come the hard way. I wish it had been someone other than Huckabee who'd done the eye-poking, though. It's nice that Huckabee's an evangelical who can pull in all the evangelical voters, but does he have any actual ideas about what ails the country, how the federal government should deal with the problems we can foresee, what federal arrangements best position us to deal with problems we can't foresee? None that I've heard. Huckabee's a big-government populist who wants to tell us what we can eat, drink, and smoke. His entire program is a retread of George W. Bush's compassionate conservatism, one of the worst ideas the human race has come up with since benevolent despotism, to which it bears a strong resemblance. I don't mind the Biblical squid ink, as much as I dislike what it hides. For example: As Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee signed a law in March 2005 to allow state police to work with the feds at enforcing immigration law. To actually get the police doing it, though, Huckabee had to sign an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security. He never did that. In his remaining 20 months in office, he never made the move. That's how much Mike Huckabee cares about illegal immigration — about at much as George W. Bush does. Do we really want another fake conservative squandering yet more of our national substance on stupid ideas?
04 — Iowa caucuses (Dems). What did the Democrats get? Well, they
got Barack Obama, which is
to say they got compassionate conservatism with a good dash of sixties radicalism and racial resentment. You don't
want to look too closely at the
origins of Obama's brand of squid ink, either. While Huckabee's is good old tent meeting revivalist
values, with strong American roots going back into the eighteenth century, Obama's is the sinister white-hating
tribalism of his mentor the Rev.
Jeremiah Wright, with its roots in 1960s liberation theology and black power. The Obama people have been very busy
indeed air-brushing Rev. Wright
out of Obama's biography, but Obama was acknowledging him as a mentor as late as March this year, and the title of
Obama's book, The Audacity of
Hope, is taken from one of Wright's sermons. If you think Barack Obama has purged himself of all racial
resentment, listen to his wife, and
reflect on the fact that he lives with this woman, amicably so far as one can tell. At some point the fathomless
yearning of white Americans for a
black politician they can like and trust is going to bump up against Obama's actual convictions. Again, it was nice to
see the establishment
favorite Hillary Clinton get a finger poked in her eye; but Obama's just as much a nanny-state socialist as she is, and
with racial hangups to
So my overall verdict on the Iowa caucuses: Good job on the poking of fingers in eyes there, fellows — enjoyable to see that. Now could we please get some real presidential candidates?
05 — Oil hits $100. Oil hit $100 a barrel. It only hit it for an instant, but we'll be back there. World oil production has been pretty flat for four years in the teeth of increased demand — that's why the price has been increasing, duh. OPEC just put out a report saying that they will increase production by 5 percent a year, but a lot of the experts thing this isn't possible. Some big producers, like Saudi Arabia, may just be lying about their reserves — no-one really knows. Others, like Nigeria and Iraq, are chronically unstable. Still demand grows, with India and China sucking in the stuff like seven-year-olds at milkshakes. Whether we've hit the fabulous "oil peak" yet, I don't know, but for sure the era of cheap oil is gone for ever and won't be coming back. My advice would be to get that bicycle out of the garage, oil it up and inflate the tires.
06 — Bhutto assassination. As a founder member of the conservative faction known as "the hell with them hawks," I was neither shaken nor stirred by the murder of Benazir Bhutto. For a Third World pseudo-nation in which an avaricious westernized elite lords it over a vast tribal peasant hinterland, the closest you can hope to get to rational, consensual government is probably something run by the army, the military commanders kept in line with big fat bribes from some generous foreign patron. The alternatives are a Latin American style mercantile kleptocracy, which just riles up the peasants and leaves the army sullenly fingering their weapons, or a religious-fundamentalist despotism with the most intelligent and productive citizens living in exile abroad. Benazir Bhutto represented the Latin American option. A spell in power for her would have done nothing for the peasants except increase their numbers, their poverty, and their disgust, thereby fortifying jihadism; and it would have ticked off the army, leading to their eventual re-assumption of power. It would, of course, have done wonders for the Bhutto family's Swiss bank accounts. Ms. Bhutto was a brave lady, playing politics in a very tough neighborhood. She wasn't Joan of Arc, though, much less Margaret Thatcher, and neither Pakistan nor the USA had anything to hope for from another Bhutto government. Probably the best thing for us would be a jihadist Pakistan, sinking into poverty and irrelevance under the rule of crazy mullahs. If they gave us any trouble, at least we would have a whole nation to go to war against in the good old-fashioned style, instead of playing hide and seek with "insurgents" in the back alleys of some place whose government was theoretically friendly to us.
07 — Kenya unrest. Pakistan in fact illustrates the old adage that in the Third World, politics starts with a soap box, proceeds to a ballot box, and ends with a cartridge box. For yet another illustration of that, check out Kenya. They had an election over there. The president, Mwai Kibaki, was re-elected. The main opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has been a sore loser, and has brought his supporters out on the streets. 300 people have been killed and 70,000 made homeless. 50 of the people killed died when a mob set fire to a church they had taken sanctuary in. There are 40 different tribes in Kenya, and most of Kenyan politics is about promoting the interests of your tribe. Kibaki, the guy who won the election, is a Kikuyu. This tribe has been dominant in business and politics since the British left 44 years ago. Jomo Kenyatta, father of the nation, was a Kikuyu. The people Odinga has got out on the streets are mostly from his own tribe, the Luo tribe — the tribe Barack Obama's Dad came from, by the way. What we have here, in other words, is more of the joys of diversity. Burning a church full of people may sound a little brutal to you, but it's just how they celebrate diversity in Africa. And we all want to celebrate diversity, don't we? Of course we do.
08 — Tiger mauls idiots in SF. As basic life-management rules go, I should think that "don't mess with large hungry tigers" should be way up at the top of anyone's list. Well, three young men in San Francisco apparently misplaced that rule on Christmas Day. They got mauled by a tiger that seems to have leapt out of its enclosure. One of them is dead, the others badly hurt (though now out of hospital). We are now hearing from a police spokesman that an empty vodka bottle was found in the front seat of the car the three lads drove to the zoo. We are also hearing from visitors to the zoo that day that some young men, likely the same ones, were seen taunting the big cats. We are further told by the New York Post that slingshots were found on the young men. The attorney for the two survivors, Mark Geragos, denies all these stories. Quote from him: "There is no evidence of taunting whatsoever because there was no taunting." Hold on a minute — Mark Geragos? Haven't I heard that name before? Let me just google him … whadda we got … "American criminal defense attorney best known for defending pop-star Michael Jackson, actress Winona Ryder, Gary Condit, and Susan McDougal, and Scott Peterson." So would I be going out on a limb here if I were to say that the two surviving non-vodka-drinking, non-slingshot-owning, non-taunting survivors are fishing for some big bucks here? I'm not talking about the kind of bucks with antlers that you find in a zoo, either. To adapt the words of William Blake: "Tiger, tiger, burning bright / Launched a lawsuit with your bite; / The payout will be out of sight!"
09 — Census report. You know the old joke: "Somewhere in the world three times every second, a woman has a baby. We gotta find that woman and stop her!" Well, here's the New Year's report from the United States Census Bureau. One person is born in the USA every 8 seconds. One person dies every 11 seconds. One immigrant settles here every 30 seconds. Net result: Our population increases by about one person every 13 seconds. As our nation prepares to ring in the new year, the U.S. Census Bureau today projected the Jan. 1, 2008, population will be 303,146,284 — up 2,842,103 or 0.9 percent from New Year's Day 2007. You can get into trouble for talking about this stuff in conservative circles, which are mainly philoprogenitive, but someone has to do the dirty jobs around here, so here's an immigrant — I mean me — to take up the broom. Obvious fact one: Bigger populations aren't better. If they were, China and India and Pakistan and Brazil and Nigeria would be paradises on earth, which — trust me — they're not, while Norway and Iceland and Slovenia and Singapore and Taiwan would be sink-holes of desperation and poverty, which — trust me again — they're not. Obvious fact number two: The United States we know and love was established by mainly Protestant Englishmen, with a scattering of Dutchmen and Germans, and was later augmented by Catholic Irishmen and South Europeans, and by Jews from the Russian Empire. The current increases, both through births and immigration, are hardly at all from any of these groups, so it is fair to assume that the United States our grandchildren inhabit will be different from the one we know. It may retain its core identity, as the population enthusiasts tell us; but this is, as Ron Paul says of evolution, "just a theory."
10 — Miscellany Here's a handful of short items to see us out.
Item: It was a quiet New Years Eve in France. Only 372 cars were burned by youths. Last year the youths burned 396 cars. 730 cars were burned, also by youths, when Nicholas Sarkozy was elected in May. France has the meanest youths around.
Item: Michael Bloomberg, the irritating Mayor of New York, says he may run for President. Well, I hope he does — we'll get rid of him for a while. Bloomie thinks there is too much politics, too much rancor and disagreement. It gets in the way of a Chief Executive doing things. Speaking as a person who believes that most of what governments do is futile, and some of the rest actually wicked, I'd like to keep the rancor and disagreement going — in fact step it up a bit.
Item: Seven albino alligators have been stolen from a zoo in Brazil. The animals, said by officials to be worth around $10,000 each, have no skin pigment and their eyes are a distinctive pink. Albino alligators — who knew? So if you see one of these critters waddling down Main Street, notify your nearest Brazilian consulate. Quote from the BBC website, where I found this peculiar story, quote: "Most of albino alligators born in the wild do not survive because their skin colour makes them vulnerable to attack." Well, thank goodness there's nothing like that in the human world.
Item: Not counting a few Pacific islands, the U.S.A. is the world capital of obesity. Thirty-four percent of us are technically obese. These numbers come from a survey done by something called the Trust for America's Health. The fattest state is Mississippi, where getting on for half the inhabitants are obese. Well, I can understand that. From what I recall of the climate in Mississippi, it's not exactly conducive to jogging. The report also confirms what we all know from observation: the poorer, blacker, and more female you are, the more likely you are to be obese. Not to worry, though. With Mike Huckabee on the road to the White House, we'll soon have federally-supervised compulsory national dieting. Ol' Mike himself lost a hundred pounds one time, so he can lead the national calisthenics broadcast every morning on TV, the channel you won't be allowed to turn off. To make sure we're all doing our jumping jacks before breakfast, President Huckabee could appoint Mike Bloomberg as Surgeon General, with a federal squad of inspectors to go round and check on us. That'll take care of it.
11 — Signoff. Well, that's it for Radio Derb this bright January morning. I repeat: it's going to be a long year. At the end of it we shall likely have a president who actually believes the federal government can improve our lives for us, and set the rest of the world to rights at the same time. Get yourself an offshore bank account, reader. These people are going to take your money and burn it. You have been warned.
[Music clip: More Haydn.]