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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. First Radio Derb broadcast of the decade! That was one of Franz Joseph Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, and this is your perenially genial host John Derbyshire with the news of the hour.
Lots to report this week, so let's get into it.
02 — Healthcare from behind closed doors. [Obama clip: "Not negotiating behind closed doors …"]
Yes, that was our President on the campaign trail two years ago. That was no off-the-cuff remark, either. It was a campaign theme. Here he was a few days later: [Obama: "These negotiations will be on C-Span …"] Then in March of '08: [Obama: "We're going to do all these negotiations on C-Span …"] Now April: [Obama: "All this will be done on C-Span …"] Continuing on to May: [Obama: "I want the negotiations to be taking place on C-Span …"] Fast forward to August: [Obama: "We'll have the negotiations televised on C-Span …"] On to November '08, when he had already been elected: [Obama: "I respect what the Clintons tried to do in 1993 …"] Once again, later in November: [Obama: "We will have a public process …"]
So, with all those promises of openness and C-Span coverage, this final stage of the healthcare bill, the reconciliation of the House and Senate bills, should be quite a show, right?
Wrong. The committee proceedings to finalize the bill will not be televised.
Now, OK, politicians say all sorts of stuff when campaigning, and nobody who's graduated fifth grade should believe more than half of it. Still, Obama was awfully insistent about this one.
And this is no ordinary politician, this is Barack Obama — redeemer of America's political soul, tribune of the people, beacon of hope and change, winner of the Nobel Peace prize, and altogether the most wonderful person ever to attain the Presidency, if not the most wonderful person that ever lived.
The reason he was so insistent on openness in the production of a healthcare bill was, as he made clear, to prevent the health-insurance and drug companies from working their will against the interests of ordinary folk.
We all know, of course, that capitalism is evil; that big corporations are endlessly scheming to destroy our health, loot our bank accounts, and undermine our rights, and that only the fearless actions of those brave progressive souls willing to stand up and speak truth to power — people like, say, Barack Obama — prevent us from being poisoned, bankrupted, and enslaved by the satanic machinations of Blue Cross and Pfizer, Inc.
Still, the question must be asked: If Barack Obama of 2008 was so insistent on openness in order to prevent big corporations from having their way behind closed doors, who'll be having their way behind the closed doors of congressional committee rooms when the healthcare bill is finalized?
03 — The Pants Bomber (cont.). Barack Obama isn't the only one whose pants have been on fire lately, of course. There has also been Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian guy who tried to blow up a plane with a bomb in his underwear on Christmas Day.
Instead of exploding, the bomb burst into flames. Captain Underpants is now in federal custody and getting treatment for what are called "severe burn injuries." You have to wonder what that means in terms of Mr Abdulmutallab's future contributions to the gene pool … but let's not dwell on that.
As Radio Derb goes to tape, the President just made a public a report on the whole incident, but it didn't tell us anything that hadn't already been leaked. Plainly the U.S. visa system is just as screwed up as it was when Mohammed Atta's visa approval came through six months after 9/11. Plainly it will be this screwed up for ever.
The federal government has long since reached a plateau of incompetence. They'll never get any better; though we shouldn't, in all prudence, bet on their not getting worse. These bureaucrats and time-servers would issue a visa to Osama bin Laden if he showed up, and wave him through airport security, while pulling aside your grandmother for a full strip search.
It's nice that the President has seen fit to offer us some information, though, even if he doesn't intend to do us the same favor on the healthcare bill.
Well, what have we learned from this Captain Underpants incident? For one thing, it's clear that Mr Abdulmutallab's inspiration came from radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, the same guy who was sending email instructions to the Fort Hood assassin Nidal Hasan, and who described Hasan's actions as, quote, "courageous."
Al-Awlaki is a U.S. citizen, born here in 1971 when his father was a student in New Mexico. He himself has a degree in civil engineering from Colorado State University and a master's in education at San Diego State.
One thing that's clear here is that these jihadis are not the wretched of the earth. Far from it. Abdulmutallab's Dad is a wealthy banker; Hasan is a professional psychiatrist. Osama bin Laden himself comes from a very wealthy family.
The jihadis are driven by hatred of the West. They hate us because their allegiance is to Islam, and Islam — Islamic culture, Islamic nations, Islamic armies — are repeatedly humiliated by the West. In the first Gulf War the body count came out at 134 dead allies, 20,000 dead Iraqis. That's a fair quantitative measure of the success of Islamic societies compared with Western ones.
If you're a Muslim, it's humiliating. To really feel that humiliation, to really feel the burn of it, you need to have some education, some close acquaintance with the Western world, some knowledge of history and current affairs, and some insight into how the corrupt, semi-Westernized rulers of places like Saudi Arabia actually live. Attending a Western university and listening to radical professors talk about the evils of capitalism and colonialism probably helps, too.
Peasants and goat-herds don't have that sort of knowledge. They'll fight for their tribe or their chieftain, but they're not likely as crazy as the educated jihadis who've been giving us so much trouble lately.
The Center for Defense Information, a military think-tank, estimates we shall spend 300 billion dollars this year in military operations against the peasants and goat-herds of Afghanistan, people who would leave us alone if we left them alone. That's 820 million dollars a day.
Meanwhile, in Texas and New Mexico, in Minneapolis and Virginia, in London and Manchester, a new generation of jihadis is recruited.
04 — Triple agent assassin. Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi. That was the 32-year-old Jordanian doctor who blew up himself and seven of our people at a CIA base in Afghanistan last week. Yep, a doctor.
Al-Balawi got pulled in by the Jordanian police for making jihadi propaganda. Somehow he got the police to believe they had "turned" him to help them against al-Qaeda — specifically, to help them find the Number Two in the organization, Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahiri — also a doctor, as it happens.
I tell you, this whole jihad business is a very bourgeois operation. A working-class lad like me probably wouldn't get through the door.
Anyway, al-Balawi went off to Pakistan and Afghanistan as a double agent, claiming he would gather information on al-Qaeda and pass it on to the CIA. He was in fact a triple agent, passing on our intelligence data, codes, and methods to al-Qaeda, while building up trust so he could get close enough to kill some of our key personnel.
It all worked brilliantly. The level of trust was so high that al-Balawi was not even patted down as he walked into a top-level meeting at the CIA Afghan base. The deputy station chief for the whole of Afghanistan was there, along with the agency's two leading experts on jihadi operations. All were killed, along with four other security experts.
The Times of London reports that the meeting was expected to be of such substance that it was to be followed by a call to President Obama.
Now we not only face the loss of much of our own expertise, we also have to figure out how much al-Balawi passed on to al-Qaeda, and how many other people we think are agents are actually double agents, and how many we think are double agents are, like al-Balawi, actually triple agents.
Mr al-Balawi's wife, a journalist living in Istanbul, interviewed by a Turkish news agency, delivered herself of the following tribute, quote:
I am proud of him; my husband has carried out a great operation in such a war. May God accept his martyrdom.
05 — Educated terrorists. Meanwhile, we can add Captain Underpants, the Christmas Day bomber, to the roll call of terrorists who graduated from British universities, along with Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who murdered Daniel Pearl, and who was a graduate of the London School of Economics, the London bus bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan, University of Leeds, Kafeel Ahmed, who blew himself up at Glasgow Airport — he was a Cambridge graduate — and Omar Rehman, currently serving fifteen years for conspiracy to blow up several British and American targets, a graduate of the University of Westminster.
Irish historian Ruth Dudley Edwards had a devastating piece in the January 2nd Daily Telegraph detailing the huge jihadist presence in British universities, and the efforts the jihadis make to recruit freshmen to the cause.
If a right-wing reactionary like myself or Pat Buchanan were to attempt to give a public talk at a British university, we should be tarred and feathered and run out past the porter's lodge on a rail; but every glittery-eyed fascist with a beard and an Arabic name is an honored guest behind those ivy-covered walls, and anyone who objects will be attended to by the British police, who nowadays spend most of their time enforcing political correctness.
The CIA has in fact told the White House that the single biggest threat of another 9/11-scale attack comes from a British-born Pakistani extremist entering the U.S. under the visa waiver program. The CIA has a huge operation in Britain, monitoring thousands of Islamic extremists identified by MI5, Britain's own security service.
The Daily Telegraph reported last year that, quote:
Around 40 per cent of CIA activity on homeland threats is now in the UK.
These born-in-the-West Muslims are the most dangerous of all. They feel like misfits in the country of their birth; yet if they go back to the native village in Pakistan or Yemen, they're out of place there, too. Lost and rootless, they need a home, and al-Qaeda offers one.
As I have mentioned before, Captain Underpants graduated from the same London college I did, only forty years later. When I graduated, there were no Islamic prayer rooms, no visiting Imams, no Islamic presence at all that I was aware of. How did things get to this point? How? By mass immigration, that's how.
06 — Maggie, immigration skeptic. Mass Third World immigration into Britain began soon after World War Two, when a ship named Empire Windrush arrived at London docks bearing five hundred immigrants from Jamaica. That was 1948.
Immigration of Muslims from Pakistan came slightly later, in the 1950s, the peak years being 1961 and 1962. There were only ten thousand Muslims in Britain in 1955; now there are two million, half of them British-born. Whole neighborhoods of historic British towns and cities are solidly Muslim. Most are of course pleasant enough people, but it's a lot of water for the jihadist fish to swim in.
Allowing Muslim settlement in such numbers was a really stupid policy. Didn't anyone spot this? Well yes, plenty of people did. We learned this week that one of those people was Margaret Thatcher.
The deliberations of the British government are made public after thirty years, so we are just getting a close look at papers from the early Thatcher administration.
Thatcher came to power in May of 1979. Two months later, in a cabinet meeting, the issue of Vietnamese boat people came up. One of Maggie's colleagues suggested taking ten thousand of them. Maggie said that there were already too many people coming into Britain.
A different colleague said he'd got a lot of letters favoring acceptance of the boat people. Well, replied the Iron Lady, the people who'd written those letters should be invited to accept refugees into their homes.
In other remarks, she said she thought it quite wrong that immigrants should be given public housing ahead of British people, and that Poles, Hungarians, and white Rhodesians were less objectionable because they could more easily be assimilated into British society.
It's astonishing to think that just thirty years ago, before multiculturalism fixed its grip on the throat of the West, a national leader could speak such frank good sense.
A year and a half earlier, in fact, when she was only Leader of the Opposition, Maggie had told a TV interviewer that, quote:
People are … afraid that this country might be … swamped by people with a different culture … We are not in politics to ignore peoples' worries: we are in politics to deal with them.
That statement was widely credited with killing off the electoral prospects of the crypto-fascist National Front, which had been making progress among voters through the 1970s.
Nowadays no British politician would dare speak as frankly as Maggie. They are all thoroughly PC-whipped. And nowadays the crypto-fascist British National Party, successor to the National Front, is climbing steadily up in the opinion polls. They got a million votes in the Euro elections last year.
Citizens want to hear what politicians have to say about immigration, multiculturalism, and citizenship. If mainstream politicians are too shy to say anything at all, people will turn to those who are less shy.
Fascism is the bastard child of political correctness. Maggie understood that. She was the last major politician on either side of the Atlantic that did.
07 — Polling on immigration. What do present-day Americans think about immigration? The pollsters have been asking them.
Once again, as noted many times before, the thing that leaps out from the numbers here is the complete disconnect between elites and commoners. The poll I'm looking at here was done by Zogby for the Center for Immigration Studies, released a few days ago. It was done among people who attend church or synagogue regularly, and broken out by confession. Here's a sample question, quote:
Do you support or oppose reducing the illegal immigrant population over time by enforcing existing immigration laws (such as requiring employers to verify the legal status of workers, increasing border enforcement, and more cooperation with local law enforcement)?
That's the question: Support or oppose attrition by strict enforcement of current laws. OK, what did people say? Respondents could strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose. I'll just give you the "strongly support" numbers, by confession.
This is the position liberals denounce as "nativist," "discriminatory," "racist," and the rest of it. It is a position the current administration, like the previous one, will not touch with a ten-foot pole.
And it is the opposite of the position taken by church leaders. Last year the National Association of Evangelicals adopted a resolution calling for amnesty for illegal immigrants. The United Methodist church, which is the largest mainline Protestant church, just last May called for a pathway to citizenship for illegals. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has a website where they demand a, quote, "broad-based legalization" for, quote, "immigrants without proper documentation." The Episcopal Church asked for the same thing at its general convention last July. The Union for Reform Judaism wants amnesty and big increases in legal immigration. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism likewise; they are a signatory, along with many other religious groups, to the Interfaith Statement in Support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which I'll leave you to google for yourself.
And so on, and so on. Down in the church and synagogue congregations, 50, 60, 70 percent "strongly support" attrition through strict enforcement of current laws. Throw in the "somewhat support" respondents and you have thumping majorities. Up there among the bishops and chief rabbis, the call is for amnesty.
Time for a Reformation, perhaps?
08 — Best countries to live in. Some magazine named International Living — no, I never heard of it, either — has published a list of the best places in the world to live.
This strikes me as being based on some loaded assumptions. Best places for who to live? Best place for a couch potato government worker running out the clock to his retirement package? Best place for an imaginative entrepreneur with a great idea for a business start-up? Best place for a research scientist? Best place for a conservative political commentator? Best place for a career criminal? Best place for a radical Islamist looking to organize an al-Qaeda cell? Best place for who?
Anyway, here's the list, for what it's worth.
Hm. So whadda we got in that top five? The country that started World War Two, the country that surrendered to them first chance it got, the country that stayed out, and two distant allies. There's a moral there somewhere.
Where's the U.S.A.? Oh, here we are, Number Seven, just above Belgium. Belgium? Come on!
Italy's at Number Ten, Austria at Number 13. Poor old Britain's down at number 25, six below Uruguay. So winning WW2 really worked out great, didn't it?
No, I'm taking the whole thing with a pinch of salt. I've been around magazine journalism a bit, and let me tell you, there's an awful lot of magazines run by 23-year-old journo-school graduates with pony tails, Birkenstocks, mountain bikes, and the collected works of Leon Trotsky on their bookshelf at home.
I'm sticking with the U.S.A., though I'll admit I'm getting more and more curious about Uruguay.
09 — Miscellany. Here is Radio Derb's traditional closing miscellany of brief items.
Item: They have a neat law in one of the Swiss cantons, allowing courts to scale fines according to the offender's income. Thus we read that an unnamed millionaire caught doing 85 miles an hour down a village street was issued a speeding ticket for 290 thousand dollars.
Switzerland doesn't sound so bad. Six-figure speeding tickets, minaret bans — what's not to like? Where were they on that list of best countries? Number three … well, I'm willing to believe that one.
Item: The administration's dream of making America Hospital To The World took another advance last week when President Obama announced an end to the 22-year ban on people with AIDS coming here.
Way back in the Ellis Island era, immigrants were checked for serious health problems, and sent back on the next boat if unfit. Now, however, our nation is so rich, and so well supplied with doctors, nurses, hospitals, and clinics, that we can take in all the world's invalids and treat them on the public fisc.
Of course, we shall be even better equipped to do so when the president's healthcare bill emerges from those locked and bolted committee rooms.
Item: The city of Chicago, like every other jurisdiction, has had terrible problems with the examinations it gives to prospective hires and promotions in its police and fire services. The problems are, of course, that black and Hispanic candidates pass the exams at much lower rates than white or Asian candidates.
That opens up the city agencies to "disparate impact" lawsuits, alleging that the tests are somehow unfair to minorities. One way out of that used to be to just stiff the white candidates by invalidating the test results and hiring or promoting by race; but that avenue was closed down last year by the Supreme Court in the Ricci versus DeStefano decision.
Another strategy is to dumb down the tests so much that wellnigh everyone passes, and then just apply your quotas. Chicago has already gone down that road as far as it can without looking totally ridiculous, though. Chicago's last fire and police tests, back in 2006, were passed by 85 percent of applicants who walked in off the street. From my own estimate of the kind of people who walk in off Chicago streets, that's pretty scary already.
Now Chicago Police Department is contemplating the one option left to them: scrapping examinations completely. Seems logical to me — by Chicago standards, at least. [Clip: "Chicago."]
Item: In Nevada, as everyone knows, prostitution is legal. You can, for example, check into the Shady Lady Ranch, up there by Beatty in the high desert. You can check in — er, I'm just reading this information off their website — you can check in for the January Special: forty minutes with an associate for only $180.
Well, the Shady Lady has just got approval from the county Licensing and Liquor Board to start servicing women as well as men. Jim Davis, proprietor of the Shady Lady, said they could have their first stud on staff in as little as two weeks.
Hm, wonder what the hiring process is there? Let's hope there are no issues of disparate impact.
Item: How are things in Glockemorra? Fine, so long as you watch your tongue.
On January First Ireland's new blasphemy law took effect. Under this law a person can be fined up to 35 thousand dollars if, quote,
he or she publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion.
The law is nothing to do with bolstering Ireland's status as the land of saints and scholars: It is a sop to Muslims, a modern Danegeld.
Blogger Andy Ross points out that all the Irish need to do to advertise the absurdity of the law is to start a new religion that requires its members to proclaim statements which other religions condemn as blasphemous.
Item: A late footnote to my earlier segment on attitudes to immigration among believers: At least one prince of the church is getting the message. George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, had an Op-Ed in Thursday's London Times calling for lower levels of immigration and for immigrants to respect British culture, history, and the established church.
Thanks for that, Arch. Better late than never, I suppose.
Item: This year is divisible by ten so we get a census, with all the controversy and rancor that brings along.
It's started already. Arabs want to have their own race category, instead of being counted as just "white."
Immigrants from Mexico and Central America who identify with their particular Indian tribe — Maya, Mixtec, Zapotec, Nahua, etc. — will be allowed to so list themselves on the census form. It turns out there are a lot of these, quote, "indigenous immigrants" in the U.S.A. — thirty percent of California farm workers. Many of them can't even speak Spanish.
And then there's the scandal about the race box marked "Black, African American, or Negro." Apparently the word "Negro" is unacceptable nowadays. Who knew? I hope someone tells the United Negro College Fund.
Yes, census time is fun time, for those of us who enjoy watching the PC enforcers play Twister.
Item: Here's a person who's heeded my call to GET A GOVERNMENT JOB: Amanda Simpson, just appointed as a senior technical advisor in the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security.
The newsworthiness here is that Amanda used to be Mitch. She changed her sex and became Amanda. This makes her the first person to serve in an administration by Presidential appointment after changing sex.
I'm fine with it and I wish her luck. I just wish I could believe that the nation needs a Commerce Department with an eight billion dollar budget.
10 — Signoff. There we are, ladies and gents. I'm going to sign us off with something a little different this week. To relieve you of some of the stress built up from all those stories about the underwear bomber, here is the great English countertenor Alfred Deller with his son Mark, singing Purcell's Sound the Trumpet. I don't know why this came to mind, but it's a lovely piece of vocal music and I hope you enjoy it.
[Music clip: Alfred & Mark Deller singing Purcell's "Sound the Trumpet."]