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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]
01 — Intro. That was one of Franz Josef Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, and this is your equiponderantly genial host John Derbyshire with another edition of Radio Derb. This has been a newsy sort of week. We've had a terrorist plot, ructions in the financial markets, yet more ructions over the shameful attempt by Arizona legislators to make illegal immigration illegal, and numerous other outrages against decency, diversity, international order, and sundry other pillars of civilized life. First, though, that election across the Pond.
02 — U.K. election. We have a result in the British general election. David Cameron's Conservative Party has won a plurality of seats in Parliament, but not enough to govern firmly. It's hard to get very worked up about this, as the three parties in contention can fairly be described as Left of Center, Center-Left, and Tree-Hugger Left. Certainly there is nothing conservative about David Cameron's Conservatives. It would be very difficult indeed to name anything they wish to conserve: not Britain's ancient demographic core, not the nuclear family, not restraint in public financing, not liberties of speech or assembly, not public respect for the Christian religion, not Britain's traditional wariness of European entanglements, not Britain's traditional warmth towards and co-operation with the old British-settler nations, not civic order and the suppression of crime by fair policing, not respect for rank and authority, not control over the national debt … There is no subject you can name on which Cameron's "Conservatives" wish to conserve any more than Gordon Brown's Laborites, though I'll concede that neither party would call in the U.N. to force a macrobiotic diet on the population, as Nicholas Clegg's Liberal Democrats would. Cameron and Brown may want to make homosexuals a Designated Victim Class, with special rights and privileges, but Clegg's party would make homosexuality compulsory. In this respect, at least, the Brits have dodged a bullet. Frankly, I'm past caring. The old England I grew up in, the England of stoicism and bitter beer and dry humor, the England in which it was bad form to take public affairs too seriously, the England of puddings and bobbies and weird regional accents, of casual snobbery and dim old churches and the smell of soft coal burning, the England of, as George Orwell famously wrote, "old maids biking to Holy Communion through the mists of the autumn morning" — that England's as dead as the Wild West. It's been replaced by a multicultural bazaar with a feral underclass and a vast, suffocating public sector, neither of which it can any longer afford. The educated classes are sunk deep in ethnomasochism — hatred of their own ancestors, of themselves really. Teenage girls get pregnant and are given public housing and a dole, while married couples struggle to pay their tax bills. The borders are open to foreign agitators who loudly declare their hatred for Britain, while old folk who survived the bombs and shortages of Hitler's war are sneered at as Nazis. When you come home to find burglars have looted your house, don't bother calling the police; they'll just give you an incident number for the insurance company; but try flying the national flag in your front yard — a squad car full of cops will kick your door down and tase you in the living-room for "racism." I couldn't care less about Britain any more. I'm nostalgic for what used to be, but I don't have any illusions any of it is coming back. These smooth-faced managerial types aim only to drag their country further along the road to perdition, with just minor differences in the speed of dragging. I said my goodbyes to England long ago. Let's turn our attention to a place that is still, in spite of some of the same dismal trends, a real country.
03 — Times Square bomber. Someone tried to set off a bomb in Times Square. Who on earth would want to do such a thing? Liberals were in no doubt: it was those Tea Party lunatics. The narrative is that the election of a black president has unhinged reactionary white people, in some cases so much so that they will resort to terrorism to vent their rage. That is what liberals actually believe. Case in point: Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York. Quote from him, asked by Katie Couric to speculate on the identity of the perp, quote: "If I had to guess 25 cents this would be somebody home-grown, maybe a mentally deranged person … somebody with a political agenda that doesn't like the health-care bill …" Nurse Bloomberg wasn't alone. Michael Sheehan in Monday's New York Times, quote: "While it's possible that last weekend's failed car-bomb incident in Times Square was part of a complicated international terrorist plot, the unsophisticated nature of the device has given rise to a much-needed discussion about the threat of 'home grown' and 'lone wolf' violence in the United States," end quote. The Huffington Post headline on Sunday evening read like this, quote: "Times Square Car Bomb Suspect May Be White Male Seen Near SUV." Oh, how they were hoping! Liberal journalist Robert Dreyfuss wrote in the Nation on Monday, quote: "It may be that the Pakistan-based Taliban has quietly established a Connecticut franchise while we weren't looking. That's possible. But it seems far more likely to me that the perpetrator of the bungled Times Square bomb plot was either a lone nut job or a member of some squirrely branch of the Tea Party, anti-government far right." End quote. On the cable TV channels, MSNBC's Chris Matthews and NBC News terrorism expert Roger Cressey spoke of the bomber likely being someone with a, quote, "right-wing agenda"; while on Fox News, Geraldo Rivera took a break from shilling for the Mexican government and scoffing at our nation's laws to assure us that the bomber had to be a white man. Imagine how stunned these commentators must have been to learn that the bomber was a naturalized citizen from Pakistan, a Muslim named Faisal Shahzad. Who would ever have guessed? But then, instead of smacking themselves on the foreheads and saying what idiots they'd been, Bloomberg and Co. started warning sternly about the need to be on guard against a, quote, backlash. Michael Bloomberg, to be fair, did allow that our Muslim community may, just possibly may contain, quote, "a few bad apples," but that was the only mention of the M-word other than in the context of backlash violence by Tea Party types against Muslims. The thinking here, so far as it's possible to understand the minds of liberals, their thinking seems to have been: All right, maybe it wasn't Tea Partiers who'd planted the Times Square bomb, but now it looks like a Muslim did it, the Tea Partiers will be out in packs after dark hunting down Muslims with shotguns and coon dogs. All right, all right, let's go over the record of the past few months. The Fort Hood shooting last November was carried out by a Muslim, Nidal Malik Hasan. The Christmas Day diaper bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was a Muslim from Nigeria. Earlier this year we had the New York subway bombing plot, the two guys arrested being Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, Muslims from Afghanistan. There's no, like, pattern there? Just "a few bad apples"? When the real threat is from those deranged Tea Party fanatics? Is that what you're saying, guys? Mayor Bloomberg? Dreyfuss? Mathews? Rivera? Is that what you're saying? What are you saying, actually? Can you put it in a nutshell for us? [Cuckoo sound] Oh, I see.
04 — No-fly list. Mr. Shahzad very nearly got away, too. The bomb was discovered early Saturday evening. By early Monday the FBI were on to Mr. Shahzad and put him on a no-fly list. Mr. Shahzad none the less managed to buy a ticket to Islamabad in Pakistan, on the United Arab Emirates state airline, changing planes at Dubai. They'd actually closed the doors of the plane ready for take-off from JFK before somone spotted Mr. Shahzad's name on the passenger manifest. Apparently it's up to airline personnel to check for late additions to the no-fly list, and the Emirates personnel didn't. The good news is that the TSA people made Mr. Shahzad take off his shoes and belt before they let him in the departure lounge. That is so important for airline security. Quote from Mayor Bloomberg, quote: "Clearly he was on the plane and shouldn't have been, and we got very lucky that he didn't escape," end quote. Indeed we did, Mr. Mayor; but not as lucky as we've been in foiling all those attacks from health-care protestors and lone wolves and Tea Party squirrels and folk with "right-wing agendas."
05 — Greek bailout. The parliament of Greece has passed laws imposing heavy spending cuts and tax increases on the country. These are the conditions dictated to the Greeks by their fellow European countries and the International Monetary Fund in return for a bailout package. The alternative was a national bankruptcy — an actual default on Greece's national debt. Greek labor unions are not happy, and there has been pretty continuous rioting, with three people murdered this Wednesday. The deal hasn't been closed yet, though. The bailout package is worth $145 billion. One-fifth of that, $29 billion, is supposed to come from Germany, and the German parliament has to vote its agreement. As Radio Derb goes to tape, the lower house of the German federal parliament, the Bundestag, has voted aye on the package, but the upper house, the Bundesrat, has yet to vote. Chancellor Merkel's party controls the Bundesrat though, and it's likely they'll listen to her pleas to pass the Greek bailout package. Parliamentary maneuvers aside, German voters are mad as hell that, as they see it, the fruits of their national work ethic and thrift are to be handed over to a nation that produces nothing, contributes nothing, practices well-nigh African levels of corruption, and whose citizens sit around under olive trees sipping ouzo all day long. Even if this bailout deal does go through, a settlement of the Greek problem will just throw the spotlight on the other PIIGS: Portugal, Ireland, Italy, and Spain. None of those other PIIGS is in as dire straits as Greece, but collectively they are at least as big a problem. And then there's Britain, whose budget deficit, as a percent of GDP, is actually the highest in all of Europe, and which may, after this week's election, have an ineffective government unable to control Parliament. The Brits, however, at least have the option to just devalue their currency, being outside the Eurozone. Well, well, how will it all end? Knowledgeable people tell me that the Euro will stagger along somehow for another two, three, maybe four years, then be gone. We'll be back to Francs, Deutschmarks and Lire, and they'll all be devaluing competitively against each other. The same thing will likely happen in the U.S.A., though in somewhat slower motion, and except that our states have no history — well, not since the Revolution — of managing their own currencies. The dollar can't disappear as the Euro will. It sure can devalue, though, and it will. All over the West, the party's over. The public finance paradigm of the past sixty years is slip-sliding towards the edge of the cliff. How this will play out world-wide is hard to call; but the world five years from now will look very different from today's, with much higher taxes and much lower levels of public services in all the developed countries. That you can take to the bank … if the bank's still in business.
06 — Immigration demonstrations. The May Day demonstrations against federal immigration laws were a bit of a fizzle. The illegals were supposed to be fired up by the recent Arizona law declaring their illegality to be illegal, but numbers were only half what was expected. Still, 50,000 turned out in Los Angeles, a respectable showing for people who are supposed to be lurking terrified in the shadows. And of course, not all the 50,000 were scofflaws from south of the border. A lot were local lefties, anarchists, showbiz bubbleheads and suchlike. Some of these American citizens supporting the scofflaws just hate America for one reason or another. Some others honestly consider themselves patriotic, but are sunk in immigration romanticism, believing the U.S.A. should be home to all the world's poor — all five billion of them, I guess. Behind the marchers — in the shadows, you might say — are a lot of selfish interests, people who don't give a fig one way or the other about American citizens or the future of our country, but who want cheap labor for their farms, meat-packing plants, or janitorial services, or who see a huge new cohort of poor voters for government welfare programs. And then there are the ethnic lobbies — Hispanic citizens who see the whole thing in tribal terms, seeking to swell the numbers of their tribe, the one called La raza — the race. It's terrible that things have come to this point, where 50,000 people can march through a major American city for the right to break our laws. Now that they have got this far, Americans are starting to wake up to the issue — starting, that is, to question the soothing platitudes of the open-borders propagandists and immigration romantics who fill our media, our universities, our legislatures. People are starting to say: "Hey, wait a minute …" Is it too late? Probably it is; but we should at least lean on our representatives to get the border properly controlled and monitored. If they don't know how to do it, let them call in the Israelis, who did a great job with their own border wall.
07 — Blacks-only field trip. Here's Dicken Elementary School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The school's student body is 60 percent white, 19 percent black, 21 percent other. The principal, Mike Madison, is also black. Well, last week the school had a field trip arranged by Principal Madison. It was an invitation-only field trip, and only black students were invited. Principal Madison defended the blacks-only field trip as as part of his school's efforts to close the achievement gap between white and black students. Quote from him: "The intent of our field trip was not to segregate or exclude students as has been reported, but rather to address the societal issues, roadblocks and challenges that our African American children will face as they pursue a successful academic education here in our community," end quote. So in excluding non-black students from the trip, Principal Madison had no intent to exclude anybody; and only African American children face "societal issues, roadblocks and challenges." The non-black kids, you know, all live in twelve-bedroom mansions and summer in Newport, Rhode Island. After breezing through school effortlessly for a few years, they're given jobs as investment bankers because, you know, white folk look after each other. Hmm, funny, I seem to have missed out on that career path. Oh well. Now look: I'll concede that Principal Madison meant well, in his victimology-addled mind, but this story about his blacks-only field trip shows us, in miniature, the moral problem with all these efforts to close the black-white achievement gap. Fifty years of experimentation has taught us that: (a) Intensive educational interventions raise student achievement, at least while students are subject to them, but (b) they raise all students' achievements. Now, if someone comes up with an achievement-raising educational intervention, they have come up with a social good. There are no moral grounds — and I don't think there are even any constitutional grounds — on which that social good can be denied to non-black students. If my local school district comes up with a program to raise students' achievement, then I, and a lot of other non-black parents, will want our kids in that program, and I don't see how we can be refused. If you only apply the intervention to black students, in the hope of closing the achievement gap with white students, you are withholding a social good on the basis of race. If, on the other had, you offer the social good to all students, then all test scores will rise, and you'll have the same black-white gap you had before, just at a higher level. There's no way out of this. You can commit an injustice, and face the rightful anger of white parents, and very likely an expensive lawsuit you will probably lose, or you can go on living with the achievement gap. Here's my solution: Treat everybody equally. If there are educational goodies to be handed out, even just a lunch-time field trip, hand them out to everyone fairly, without discrimination, and stop obsessing about group differences.
08 — Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo came and went. That's Mexico's national day, right? Actually, no: National Day is September 16 in Mexico. Cinco de Mayo isn't so much a Mexican July Fourth as a Mexican-American Kwanzaa — an artificial holiday boosted by American liberals to advertise to each other their exquisite multicultural sensitivity. The long-term goal is to get a Hispanic national holiday declared, more firmly establishing the U.S.A. as a bi-cultural, bilingual nation, just like all those other multicultural nations that have worked out so well: you know, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, the U.S.S.R., Cyprus, Rwanda, and so on. September 16 is inconvenient for that, being too close to Labor Day. Furthermore, September 16 commemorates a Mexican victory over the Spanish, who are, oh dear, Hispanic. May Fifth commemorates a victory over the French — that's better! So the multiculturalists promote Cinco de Mayo for all they're worth, even though nobody much in Mexico bothers with it. This causes the inevitable multicultural frictions and offense, particularly intense this year following Arizona's outrageous efforts to make it clear that illegal immigration is against the law. A sport team called the Phoenix Suns had special jerseys printed up with the logo "Los Suns" to, quote from the team's owner, "honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the state of Arizona, and our nation," end quote. Seems to me it should have been "Los Sols," but whaddo I know? Meanwhile, at Live Oak High School in the San Francisco Bay area, students showed up wearing T-shirts adorned with the Mexican flag to show their patriotism and their glorious diversity. Five other students who wore T-shirts emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes to advertise their cruel insensitivity were sent home in disgrace. Klein Collins High School, near Houston, Texas, displayed a Mexican flag in the main hallway. Parents complained, but nobody did anything; so a bold student took it on himself to remove the flag. The school was furious. They identified the student from surveillance video and suspended him for three days. In my own home town of Huntington, Long Island, a Cinco de Mayo party ended with fist-fights, a stabbing, and several arrests. Ah, diversity! Come on, let's all celebrate diversity! [Kumbaya]
09 — Miscellany. And now [Zarathustra] … Yes, it's our closing miscellany of brief items.
Item: News from Iran: Li'l Squinty came to New York Monday and made a speech at the United Nations, saying that countries like Israel and the U.S.A. who shamelessly develop nuclear weapons, should be sanctioned. Then Squinty took off all his clothes, stuck a banana in each ear, and sang "Sweet Betsy from Pike" in a high contralto. He was greeted with thunderous applause by the assembled delgates.
Item: In other news about crazy Third World dictators, Kim Jong-il of North Korea went to China. He had a closed-door meeting with the Chinese leaders, from which he emerged pale, bruised, and bleeding from the nose and ears to declare that whatever China's policy was, that would be his policy too. [Clip: "I'm so ronery …"]
Item: I haven't yet issued my weekly call to Get a Government Job. San Francisco looks like a pretty good place to get one. A report in SFgate tells me that, more than one in three of San Francisco's city workers earned $100,000 or more last year … 9,487 out of the city's 27,000 employees. And that's just wages; if you add in the generous city health care and pension benefits, San Francisco city workers are in clover. It's the nation's most dedicated sanctuary city, too, so you don't need to be a citizen to get on the gravy train. Come one, come all — San Francisco can afford it!
Item: There is in fact now so little point to being a U.S. citizen, people are opting out of it. The New York Times reports that, quote, "growing numbers of overseas Americans are taking the weighty step of renouncing their citizenship." The numbers aren't big, but they're growing: the Federal Register records 502 citizens and permanent residents renouncing their status in the last quarter of 2009. That's just one quarter, but it was two-thirds of the number for the whole year, and twice the entire number for 2008. Perhaps we should all give up our citizenship. What is American citizenship, after all, but a symbol of injustice and oppression? — a way of feeling superior to those noble, hard-working folk whom we insult and derogate by calling them "non-citizens." Let's scrap the whole thing.
Item: Two little gems of political correctness here from the mother country. Gem number one: In the little seaside town of Workington, up there in the North of England on the Solway Firth, a street preacher told a passer-by that homosexuality is a sin that contravenes the word of God. The passer-by complained to a nearby copper, and before you could say "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersexual, Zoophilic, and Questioning," the offending proselytizer had been frogmarched off to the local bridewell to be finger-printed, palm-printed, retinally scanned, DNA swabbed, and charged under the 1986 Public Order Act with "using threatening words or behaviour to cause harrassment, alarm or distress." While the police were thus engaged, an 80-year-old retiree was knocked down and robbed, a child was beaten black and blue by a drunken stepfather, and several houses were broken into and looted … but British police don't bother with trivialities like that any more. They focus on the real criminals.
Item: Gem number two: On the other side of that benighted country, in South Yorkshire, 74-year-old retiree Roy Newman decided to make his own personal contribution to the election campaign by urging fellow citizens to vote out local and national incumbents. He put up a big home-made sign in one of the windows of his house, saying GET THE LOT OUT! Mr Newman might have got away with it if he had not done the whole thing in red, white, and blue, the colors of Britain's national flag. Police were round in a jiffy. Mr Newman, under protest, changed some of the letters to yellow, which apparently satisfied the peelers. Quote from Mr Newman: "The police told me that due to the fact that the words were written in red and blue and the background was white, my sign had racist connotations."
Item: Meet Vladimir Gumenyuk, age 73, of Russia. Mr Gumenyuk claims to have cremated Hitler. This was in 1970 when the bones of Hitler, Eva Braun, and the Goebbels family were lying in a burial plot in East Germany. The authorities feared the plot might attract neo-Nazi pilgrims, so they sent Mr Gumenyuk with a work detail to dig up the bones, burn them, and scatter the ashes. Mr Gumenyuk claims to have turned down large sums of money to identify the spot where the ashes were scattered. He says he's afraid someone might put up a monument. Not an unreasonable fear: people do put up monuments to totalitarian mass murderers. A Russian knows all about that.
Item: In Australia there has been a rash of bank robberies and muggings by men wearing burkas. Quote from Aussie Member of Parliament Cory Bernardi, quote: "The burka is emerging as the preferred disguise of bandits and ne'er-do-wells." So I guess they've given up on those bush hats with corks around the brim. A little Aussie music, please, Ahmed. ["Tie me kangaroo down, sport …"]
10 — Signoff. There we have it, listeners. Another week of sliding down history's razor blade. Just one small erratum from last week. I stated that commentators calling for the USA to have a temporary worker program are all wet, as we currently have five different such programs. I actually understated my case. There are in fact twelve temporary worker programs listed on the State Department website, visa categories H-1B, H-1C, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, L, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-2, P-3, and Q-1. So next time you hear Bill O'Reilly or Ralph Peters or some other talking head call for a temporary worker program, just fire off an email to ask him what's wrong with the twelve we already have. I apologize for the error there. My research assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy were delinquent in their duties. I have suitably chastized them, with loss of grotto privileges and extra duties in the copier room. I tell you, we run a tight ship here at Radio Derb. Isn't that right, girls? ["Of course!"]
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]