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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. Greetings, listeners. That was one of Franz Joseph Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, and I hereby deem Radio Derb on the air!
Let's see what's been happening in the cuckoo's nest.
02 — Costing the healthcare bill. Well, well; we finally have some numbers on the President's health-care bill.
It will not, as those foam-flecked right-wingers have been telling you, cost a trillion dollars over the next ten years. It will only cost 941 billion 215 million 684 thousand, 554 dollars and 18 cents over the next ten years. That's the CBO's official estimate, and you know when the government gives you a cost estimate, you can take it to the bank.
Renowned mathematician and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a break from her efforts to crack the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture to tell us, quote: "I love numbers. They're so precise."
Yes they are, Nancy, so precise. And while it is certainly not the case — absolutely not, impossible, no way — that this reform could end up costing one cent more than that 941 billion 215 million 684 thousand, 554 dollars and 18 cents, it is simultaneously true that [Clip: Obama: "This is going to reduce the deficit by a trillion dollars …"]
So let's go ahead and pass the thing, why don't we? Or deem it, or Slaughter it, reconcile it, proclaim, assert, declare, aver, announce, attest, mandate, enjoin, decree, require, authorize, dictate, impose or ordain it.
03 — Questioning the President. Since I got the President's attention there, perhaps I can jump in with a few questions.
Mr President, how can the thing simultaneously cost 940 billion and reduce the deficit by a trillion?
[Clip: Obama: "I think those are legitimate concerns …"]
And come to think of it, how are we all going to know what's in the bill, and have time to read and ponder it, when it isn't public yet, and the vote is scheduled for Sunday?
[Clip: Obama: "Here's what I think is going to happen …"]
And a thing that I've been wondering for a while: If an insurance company can't turn me down for a pre-existing condition, why wouldn't I just wait till I get sick before buying insurance?
[Clip: Obama: "The fact of the matter is …"]
And what about this woman in Ohio, this woman with leukemia, who you said on March 15 is going to lose her home because she's uninsured? The Cleveland clinic that's treating her said there was never any possibility of that, she's probably eligible for Medicaid, and nobody ever thought of putting a lien on her property.
[Clip: Obama: "Let me finish my answers here …"]
I'm sorry, Mr. President, go ahead with your answers.
[Clip: Obama: "I've got to say to you … (jabber jabber) …]
04 — Illegals on the march. Also on March 15, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took another break from solving chains of partial differential equations to tell us that, quote:
My biggest fight has been between those who wanted to do something incremental and those who wanted to do something comprehensive. We won that fight, and once we kick through this door, there will be more legislation to follow.
Translation: this healthcare bill is only the first of many trillion-dollar, ten-thousand-page pieces of legislation the President and the congressional Democrats have lined up.
You thought things would just go blessedly quiet once this healthcare behemoth has been safely delivered and moved into the viewing room? Nah-uh. They have more "comprehensive reforms" lined up! What's next, I wonder?
Here's a clue: the same day that the Democrats are planning to deem, or Slaughter, reconcile, proclaim, assert, declare, aver, announce, attest, mandate, enjoin, decree, require, authorize, dictate, impose or ordain the healthcare bill, there's going to be a huge rally in Washington D.C. in aid of "comprehensive immigration reform."
Yes, the cheap-labor rackets and Democrat ward heelers have joined forces with Mexican consuls and client-hungry public-sector unions to bus a hundred thousand scofflaws to the capital, taking care to issue every one of them with a U.S. flag, the sea of Mexican flags in the last big round of scofflaw rallies not having gone over well with the TV-viewing public.
You can be sure that all the big-name politicians in D.C. will be jostling to address the assembled multitudes, eager to attach themselves to a cause that is so enthusiastically embraced by the American public. [Laugh.]
05 — Down Mexico way. Meanwhile, down there in Mexico, the nation that actually calls the shots on what we jokingly call U.S. immigration policy, down there in Mexico … can we have some suitable music please, Ahmed? [Clip: "South of the border …"] … thank you … in Mexico itself, the few people still living there are having a rough time.
President Felipe Calderón's strategy of using the army to put down the drug gangs is falling apart. The point of the strategy was to bypass Mexico's police forces, who are all bought and paid for by the drug bosses. The Mexican army mostly isn't.
Dealing with drug gangs intimately imbedded in the local commerce and politics of Mexican towns, though, needs some subtlety and finesse. If you've ever seen a unit of the Mexican army up close, you'll know that "subtlety" and "finesse" are not the first two words that leap to mind.
So the entire result of Calderón's well-intentioned effort has been to raise the level of mayhem and chaos. Last Saturday three people associated with the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso, were murdered. Two of them were U.S. citizens, one a woman four months pregnant. They were gunned down in broad daylight. So were six other people in that town on that day.
What is our government doing about any of this? Well, they're trying to persuade Calderón to let us train his army, to improve them in the subtlety and finesse zone. This has raised protests in Mexico, though, with several Mexican parliamentarians complaining angrily that letting our security people in to train their troops would be a violation of Mexican sovereignty.
Let me just say that again: Mexican politicians are complaining that we are violating their sovereignty.
Mexican schools teach Mexican kids that the southwest United States is Mexican territory; Mexican government agencies publish booklets and DVDs giving advice on how to break U.S. laws; the Mexican economy is propped up by billions of dollars in remittances from millions of Mexicans living in our country illegally; and yet Mexican politicans are howling that a squad of FBI men sent in to try to raise the competence of their soldiers, is a violation of Mexican sovereignty! Anybody know the Spanish word for "chutzpah"?
Oh, well: In the event Mexico implodes completely, at least we have that spiffy virtual fence along the border to hold back the flood of refugees. Don't we?
Er, no. Our Secretary of Homeland Security told us this week what we kind of knew anyway: That the virtual fence was just another way of lying to us about immigration enforcement, and that our business and political elites have no interest in secure national borders, for very excellent business and political reasons, viz. holding down American wages, and expanding the clientage of the welfare state to the advantage of big-government enthusiasts.
Janet Napolitano came on the talk shows to assure us, though, that border security is still a major administration concern. Really, Madame Secretary? Really? [Clip: Scary Movie 3: "Nah, I'm just screwin' with ya …"] Yeah, that's what I thought.
06 — ChiCom hanky-panky. The British government's released a report criticizing communist China for human rights abuses. The British Foreign Secretary recently visited China and tried to get some news about human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who was arrested last year and hasn't been seen or heard of since. He had no luck, and this report was released after he got home.
Responding to the report, the ChiCom foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said it was a base imperialist slander against the spotless Chinese government, and it had hurt the feelings of the Chinese people very much, so much so that they were openly weeping and tearing their hair in the streets of Peking and Shanghai.
When reporters persisted in asking about the fate of Mr Gao, the spokesman said that his feelings were now so hurt he had lost the power of speech and would have to go lie down.
In other China news, the New York Times reports that the ChiComs are gaming the international trade regulators for all they're worth. Of fourteen complaints filed with the World Trade Organization last year by one nation against another, five were filed against China. The WTO has 153 members, so 36 percent of complaints were filed against 0.7 percent of members.
Meanwhile the ChiComs have done all they can to suppress a series of reports from the International Monetary Fund, documenting how China holds down the value of its currency for protectionist purposes. (If you keep your currency low-valued relative to others, then imports are expensive, you see, and your citizens can't afford to buy other countries' goods — protectionism on the sly.)
The WTO and the IMF were set up, let's remember, in hopes of avoiding another great depression like the one of the 1930s. By gaming them like this, the ChiComs are undermining them, and threatening the whole postwar structure of world trade. Nobody has more to lose from that than the Chinese people.
As the past 61 years have amply shown, however, the Chinese people count for very little to the rulers of the Chinese People's Republic.
07 — Gaddafi talks sense. A stopped clock is right twice a day. On the same principle, if you listen long enough to the babblings of a lunatic, occasionally you'll hear some sense.
Case in point: Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, President-for-Life of Libya — or, to give it its full and proper name, the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jambalaya. Last week the deranged despot suggested that the endless violence in Nigeria between Christians and Muslims could be solved if the nation just split into two, one Christian and one Muslim.
I don't see anything wrong with this idea myself, and in fact it seems to me a great many of the world's ethnic conflicts could be solved like this. The actual process of breaking up needs some careful management, as inhabitants of India and Pakistan, or the former Yugoslavia, will tell you. It does solve the problem, though, and I recommend it not only for Nigeria but for other ethnically troubled states — Ukraine, Iraq, Bolivia, and pretty much anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Nigerians, however, took exception to Colonel Gaddafi's remarks and withdrew their ambassador. Hearing of this, Colonel Gaddafi stuck bananas in his ears, fell to the ground, assumed a fetal position, and began clucking like a hen.
08 — Netanyahu's brother-in-law disses Obama. In other foreign parts, our administration isn't getting a whole lot of respect.
Our Secretary of State, whose name escapes me for the moment, flew to Moscow to confer with Russian leaders. The day she arrived, the Russian government announced that the nuclear plant Russia has built for the Iranians will go into operation this summer in Iran.
This follows the pattern of Joe Biden's visit to Israel a week or so ago, when just as Joe settled down for talks with Benjamin Netanyahu, Bibi's government announced they will be building some Jewish housing in an Arab section of Jerusalem.
Hey ho. What will be next in these humiliation stakes? — Barack Obama arrives for high-level talks in Peking just as the ChiComs launch a barrage of nuclear missiles at Taiwan?
It was the Israeli eye-poke that really stung, though. Matters weren't improved when Hagai Ben-Artzi, the husband of Benjamin Netanyahu's sister, told an interviewer on Israeli army radio that our President is an antisemite. Quote from Mr Ben-Artzi, quote:
Mr Obama not only disliked Netanyahu personally, but dislikes the people of Israel. For 20 years, Obama sat with Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who is anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli, and anti-Jewish. It's clear Obama agreed with Rev. Wright because he remained a member of his congregation. As a politician running for President he had to hide it, but it comes out every time and I think we just have to say it plainly — there is an anti-Semitic president in America.
Plainly Mr Ben-Artzi has completely misrepresented the facts here. In the first place, there is nothing the least bit antisemitic about Rev'm Jeremiah Wright. When he gave that lifetime achievement award to Louis Farrakhan, he was completely unaware that Farrakhan had called Jews "bloodsuckers" and their faith "a gutter religion." Rev'm Wright would never have given Farrakhan that award if he had known.
In the second place, even if Rev'm Wright were an antisemite, it wouldn't matter, because Barack Obama never listened to a word he said in all those 20 years of sitting in his pews. Not a word.
Well, now there's a serious spat between our administration and the Netanyahu government, but …
09 — Miscellany. Before I complete that sentence … yes, it's Radio Derb's closing miscellany of brief items.
Item: Whatever issues we may have with those nasty Israelis, we remain on good terms with the Palestinians. What's the news from over there in Arab Palestine?
Well, March 11 marked the 32nd anniversary of the martyrdom of Dalal Mughrabi. Who he? It was a she, actually — a 19-year-old Palesinian Arab girl who, back in 1978, led a squad of terrorists into Israel. They went by boat from Lebanon, landing near the main road from Haifa to Tel Aviv. There they hijacked a bus full of Israeli families returning from a Saturday picnic. They then drove the bus along to Tel Aviv, shooting at passing cars, killing several people.
They hijacked another bus and piled the passengers into the first one. When confronted by Israeli security forces, they stopped the bus and ran out, throwing grenades into it. Thirty-nine people died, including 13 children; 72 people were wounded.
It was the deadliest single terrorist attack in Israel's history. Dalal Mughrabi and most of her comrades were killed in the final shoot-out.
This disgusting psychopath is of course a hero among the Palestinian Arabs. Last Thursday authorities in the Palestinian town of el-Bireh, outside Ramallah, dedicated a square to her. So far as I can judge from news reports, the administration was too busy chastising the Israelis to notice.
Item: Governments, including our government, raise money by issuing bonds. Once you've issued a bond, of course you have to make regular coupon payments to the bond-holder. How much do you have to pay him? That depends on the rating of the bond.
American government bonds have traditionally been rated triple-A, the highest rating you can get. We have therefore been paying out on the bond coupons at an agreeably low rate.
That may be about to change. Moody's Investors Service — the main bond rating agency — says that the U.S.A. is on the verge of losing its AAA rating. Our deficits are too big, and we're spending too much.
Look at the vicious circle here: The more we spend, the more we risk having our bond rating lowered. The lower our bond rating, the more we have to spend servicing our debt. In short: The more we spend, the more we have to spend.
And this is debt that goes on and on, into the far future. I have two teenage kids. In their late middle age, they'll still be paying for George W. Bush's and Barack Obama's spending extravaganzas.
What kind of people are we, dumping such burdens on our own children?
Item: A committee of the British Parliament has been told that cocaine use is aggravating global warming. The MPs were told that for every few "lines" of cocaine snorted in a London club, four square metres of rainforest is destroyed.
Some of the reporters who picked up this story did due diligence, though, digging around for the background sources. Turns out that this argument was first put forward at a U.N. conference on drugs three years ago.
Why raise it again now? Here's why. Britain's police forces are having a new anti-drug campaign, using hand-held gadgets that can detect tiny traces of cocaine on your fingers. The bobbies are stationing themselves outside popular pubs and clubs with these gadgets. Anyone who refuses the finger-scan can be denied entry. Anyone who tests positive gets arrested.
More creeping authoritarianism by the British government; but at least they still feel the need to justify their intrusions somehow. What better justification is there than global warming, for this … or anything?
Item: Here's a story from Britain's own immigration enforcement front.
An Egyptian named Amer Hassan, 23 years old, decided to go to Britain. He crossed to Libya, then took a small boat over the Mediterranean to France. Then he hitch-hiked north across France till he reached the Channel tunnel. He snuck into the tunnel and started walking.
This isn't easy to do as it's a railroad tunnel; but by keeping close to the side, Mr Hassan managed to cover 16 miles. Then he had a change of heart, gave up, and waited for security guards to come and arrest him. He told them, quote:
I don't want to go to England anymore. They're racist over there.
It turned out that he had already lived in Britain once before, but had been thrown out for a false claim of asylum.
I'd put Mr Hassan down as one very confused Egyptian. He does illustrate a common phenomenon of our age, though: Foreigners who spend half their time telling Western countries what beastly racists we are, and the other half of the time moving heaven and earth to try to get into our beastly racist countries.
Make up your minds, guys.
Item: Yet more education madness to add to last week's little Radio Derb philippic. That was Arne Duncan grumbling that civil rights have been ignored in our schools for ten years.
This week it was a proposed overhaul — a "comprehensive reform," I guess — of schooling. Quote from the Education Department handout:
We will call on states, districts and schools to aim for the ambitious goal of all students graduating or on track to graduate from high school ready for college and a career by 2020.
In other words, George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, whose stated purpose was to make every American child "proficient" by 2014, is to be replaced with this even more ambitious scheme to make every kid ready for college by 2020.
So the federal government is going to make dumb kids smart — smart enough to benefit from a college education. I wonder what the next "comprehensive reform" will be. Turning water into wine, perhaps.
But shame on me for my cynicism. This is the federal government; they can do anything they decide to do. And if the effort to make dumb kids smart doesn't work out, we can always just lower college standards to grade-school level. That'll do the trick.
Item: Here's a lady named Susan McBride, who works in the Planning Department of Detroit City. I wonder what they plan in the Detroit Planning Department? How to hand over the last few remaining inhabited blocks of Detroit to coyotes and wild turkeys, perhaps.
Anyway, here's this McBride person, and she objected to the perfumes and deodorants used by her co-workers, so she sued the city. They settled for $100,000, which is about all the money there is in Detroit. Now Detroit city workers are forbidden to mask their body odors. Well, that should clear out what remains of the population.
Congratulations to the shyster lawyers who perpetrated this fraud on Ms McBride's behalf. Lots of luck to them enlisting the coyotes as plaintiffs in their next scam.
Item: March 17th came and went, the day when we commemorate that great British missionary, Saint Patrick.
Down in Gallatin, Tennessee, two local men celebrated in their own way by robbing a bank while dressed as leprechauns. Perhaps they thought that was where they'd buried their pot of gold. Both men were shot dead, one by the police, the other by himself, though whether intentionally or not, I couldn't say.
In related news from the Volunteer State, two hobbits hijacked a hearse in Hamilton, two elves embezzled equity in Ellendale, and two fairies … well, never mind what they did.
10 — Signoff. A catalog of woe, ladies and gents, a chronicle of crime, a litany of litigation, and a, er, spreadsheet of, um … spoliation. That's the world we live in. More of it next week from Radio Derb.
Meantime, to see us out this St Patrick's Day week, what is more apt than a fine Irish tenor of the old school? Here's Joseph Locke.
[Music clip: Joseph Locke, "Macushla."]