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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]
01 — Intro. Greetings, ladies and gentlemen. Radio Derb is on the air. This is your stoically genial host John Derbyshire with the news of the hour. I emphasize "stoically" because I speak to you from a bed of pain. I suffered a slight domestic mishap yesterday, as a result of which I have a sprained ankle, a sprained thumb, and a black eye. Do you have any idea how many things you can't do with a sprained thumb? Well, the founder of National Review had a conversational rule that bodily ailments were not to be discussed in his presence, and I shall henceforth observe that rule, retreating into stoicism. Here's the news.
02 — Ground Zero mosque: yanking our chain. The news and opinionating this week has been pretty much wall-to-wall mosque — the Ground Zero mosque that is. What's really going on here?
What's going on is, Muslim agitators are yanking our chain. How much more obvious could it be? This is the latest version of the Flying Imams. Remember them? If you don't, turn to page 280 of my colleague Andy McCarthy's excellent book The Grand Jihad. Let me quote from Andy, quote (slightly edited):
The "Flying Imams" incident had occurred shortly before Thanksgiving in 2006 — not long after the fifth annual commemoration of the 9/11 atrocities. At Minneapolis International Airport, six ostentatiously pious imams, all of Middle Eastern descent, decided that boarding time at the airport gate — where passengers were gathering to enter U.S. Airways flight 300, bound for Phoenix — was the perfect time and place to commence evening prayers.
End quote. Commence they did, at full volume and with maximum display, chanting "Allahu Akbar!" — God is great! — at the tops of their voices.
This was just the beginning of what Andy calls their "grievance theater." Though traveling as a group, the imams dispersed to seats throughout the plane, just as the 9/11 hijackers had. Several of the imams asked for seatbelt extensions — long straps with a heavy metal buckle, issued to obese passengers, though none of the imams was obese. An Arabic-speaking passenger told a crew member the imams were cursing America and praising Osama bin Laden.
When more passengers complained, the imams were removed from the flight and questioned by the FBI — just as they had intended; just as they had planned.
The next phase of their operation also went like clockwork. Every one of the innumerable Muslim-rights associations started screaming for apologies and denouncing those flight 300 passengers as intolerant bigots. The imams were just exercising their religious and civil rights, we were told. Yeah, right.
With money from these organizations — which is to say, at one slight remove, money from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, and all the Jew-killers and drug-pushers of the Muslim world — the imams got lawyered up, so much so that Congress had to pass a law to immunize the passengers from legal costs that would have bankrupted them. The Muslims got a settlement anyway, thanks to lefty judge Ann Montgomery, who came within a whisker of asserting that flying passenger planes into skyscrapers is protected speech under the First Amendment. A spokesman for CAIR crowed that Judge Montgomery's asinine blatherings were, quote, "a clear victory for civil rights."
The whole business had of course been planned in advance, to lay down a marker that Muslims in the U.S.A. can do anything they want to do, at any place and any time they want to do it, and if you object, you're a bigot, and will find yourself facing a battalion of lawyers whose pockets are stuffed with Saudi cash and whose mouths are stuffed with all the lies and cant and threats and insults of hate-America multiculturalism.
Well, the Flying Imams incident was four years ago, and the agitators reckoned it was time for another bit of grievance theater. Time to yank on that chain again!
03 — Ground Zero mosque: pro and con. So here they are a-yanking. The liberals are on board with them, of course, just as they were with the Flying Imams — read Andy's scathing rebuttal of Judge Montgomery. The liberals are on board with anything that drives another wedge into the old monocultural U.S.A. — though of course, hypocrites that they are, they make careful sure that they themselves are insulated from the worst consequences of multiculturalism. I notice that of the eight mosques and Islamic cultural centers Google shows in Manhattan, not one is on the Upper West Side where the power lefties live. Strange, that.
There is actually a liberal case against the mosque, namely that Islam, as it has developed across the last few decades, supports the most illiberal social systems on the planet, possibly excepting North Korea's. Permitting large-scale settlement of Muslims in a liberal Western society is begging for trouble — ask the British, French, Dutch, Danish, Swedes, and Germans. It's a terrible idea, and liberals have been fools to encourage it.
Of course it is true that most Muslims are not terrorists — who disputes that? Most Russians in 1917 weren't Bolsheviks; most Chinese in 1949 weren't Maoists; most 9th-century Scandinavians weren't seaborne raiders. If the Silent Majority of any place made history, there wouldn't be any history.
OK, there is, as I said, a liberal case against the mosque. You won't hear it from liberals, of course. They are too much in love with the liberal case for the mosque, which is, that it pokes a finger in the eye of ordinary patriotic Americans who like their country the way it is, and don't want it radically changed, and especially don't want the memory of murdered Americans insulted by people who sympathize with the murderers.
And just as there's a liberal case for and a liberal case against, so there's a conservative case for and a conservative case against.
The conservative case for the mosque is that the building of the thing is a private transaction between private citizens, and the authorities should just butt out. Aren't we conservatives supposed to be the ones who are opposed to government meddling in everything? I can think of at least two answers to that without breaking a sweat. Answer One is that it's very improbable this is a private transaction. Some, at least, of the money for the mosque will come from foreign governments and government-sponsored organizations, so it's closer to an international incident than a private transaction. Call that Answer 1a, so I can throw in Answer 1b here too: as a religious establishment, I believe the mosque will enjoy tax breaks, so that we New York taxpayers will be funding it indirectly. Answer Two: No, most conservatives think that government should have something to say about the use of private property near national monuments. There's a fight going on in Pennsylvania right now over plans to build a casino half a mile from the Gettysburg National Military Park. I'm sure the local authorities are involved, and they should be.
So much for the conservative case for the mosque. The conservative case against it takes us back to the Flying Imams. A proud, independent, free people, with a nation and culture they cherish, should not permit their chain to be yanked by militant activists of an alien, incompatible, and hostile way of life who hate that nation and despise that culture. We should stand up for ourselves — we, the majority.
Eight years ago I published a column titled "Minoritarianism" in which I said the following thing, quote:
In a civilized liberal democracy, majorities owe certain things to harmless minorities: tolerance, civility, and the rights affirmed in the Constitution — freedom of speech, assembly, etc. However, it seems to me that minorities owe something to the majority in return: mainly, a proper respect for their tastes, beliefs and sensibilities, and a decent restraint in challenging them, if there are some reasonable grounds for challenging them. This contract imposes some costs on minorities, of course, but I think they should look on those costs as the price of the tolerance they enjoy.
End quote. That's the implicit contract between majority and minority in a free society. If it breaks down, everyone suffers, though surely the minority suffers most. And even there, if you paid attention to the quote, I'm assuming that Muslims are a harmless minority — a thing open to reasonable question. Read Andy McCarthy's book.
04 — Rauf the flying imam. Speaking of flying imams, here's another one: No less a one than Abdul Rauf, the main front man for the Ground Zero mosque.
Rauf is flying around the Middle East as I speak — I think he's in Bahrain at this particular moment, wherever the hell that is — and all at taxpayer expense! Yes, the State Department is covering all the costs of the imam's tour, which will take in not only Bahrain but also Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
You should not, of course, suppose that this trip has anything to do with raising funds for the Ground Zero mosque. Nothing of the sort! Absolutely not! Should one of those Emirs be so inspired by the imam's words as to press a check into his hands, the imam will righteously refuse to accept it. Of course he will! We have the State Department's word for that. [Laugh]
So what is the purpose of this trip that you and I are paying for? Well, the State Department says that it is, quote, "part of a program to promote interfaith tolerance."
I don't get that. The CIA World Factbook shows that the populations of Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates are overwhelmingly Muslim: 82 percent, 78 percent, and 96 percent, respectively. The expression "coals to Newcastle" comes to mind. Don't these countries have imams of their own to instruct them in "interfaith tolerance"?
What's "interfaith" about this trip, anyway? Rauf's a Muslim, they're Muslims; I'm not getting where the "interfaith" part comes in, in this trip I'm paying for. As it happens I know a few Christian pastors who'd be delighted to go off on a government-funded junket to explain the tenets of their faith to the sheiks, emirs, and sultans of nether Arabia. Why not send them?
Ah, but Islam's special, you see — entitled to special rights and privileges and junkets. It's a minority religion in the U.S.A., you see; and we of the boorish, boring, whitebread majority, we with our dark resentments about lost privilege and our sinister bigotry, we must get down on our knees and bang our heads on the ground, confess our horrible sins of prejudice and cruelty, and acknowledge the ineffable, magical wonderfulness of the minority.
05 — Combat troops out of Iraq. Back in September 2004 I called for U.S. troops to get out of Iraq. Finally, six years later, seven and a half years after the invasion of Iraq, the American government has caught up with me. The 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, which was the last U.S. combat brigade in Iraq, crossed over by land into Kuwait this week. Fifty thousand U.S. troops will remain in Iraq until the end of 2011 to advise Iraqi forces and protect U.S. interests.
After our seven and a half year effort, forty-four hundred American dead and 32 thousand wounded, expenditures around one point five trillion dollars (if you factor in veterans' benefits and disability), we're almost out of Iraq. We leave it a vibrant and thriving democracy, full of bustling commerce, efficient public services, and pro-American sentiment — a strong friend in the region …
Oh no, wait a minute, that's the bizarro Iraq. What we actually leave is a country wracked with sectarian violence, plagued by chronic shortages of water and electricity, suffering massive unemployment, and addled with corruption. Five months after the last elections there is still no functioning government or parliament. The armed forces are a joke, and the entire Iraq adventure enormously strengthened Iran, which is now the strongest player in the region, with stooges in key positions in Iraqi public life.
Well, let's at least hope those 50,000 remaining troops really do leave Iraq in 2011. When they do, perhaps we could pull out the 52,000 troops we have stationed in Germany, the 35,000 in Japan, the 28,000 in South Korea, the 10,000 in Italy, the 9,015 in Britain, … And in future, when some nation strikes at us, let's strike back ten times as hard, leave a nice big pile of rubble to mark our passage, and then get the heck out while they're still wondering what hit them.
06 — Pakistan floods. There have been terrible floods in Pakistan this past couple of weeks. We're told that 20 million people are affected, four million homeless, tens of thousands dead. Pakistan has appealed for international aid.
Who's stepped up? Well, we have, the U.S.A. In actual relief funding so far, we're way out ahead of the pack, with $100 million. Britain's next with over $40 million, then Australia with $32 million. That's actual funds delivered. There are also pledges: us, another $50m, the Europeans $180m, Saudi Arabia $105m, Germany $32m …
Wow, the Saudis are coughing up funds, or at least pledging funds, to help their co-religionists. I bet their eyes are watering in the king's palace over there. No doubt Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates will chip in when they're through listening to Imam Rauf's lectures on interfaith tolerance. Who knows? — perhaps even Egypt will make a contribution, possibly passing on some of the two billion dollars a year we send them as a bribe not to start trouble with Israel. Or how about Libya, swilling in oil money, with much more to come now that they've kissed and made up with Britain and got their Lockerbie terrorist back?
One curious exception to all this surge of charity was noted by the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday. Headline, quote: Why many Pakistani-Americans aren't sending flood donations home, subhead: "Many Pakistani-Americans say they are reluctant to donate to Pakistan flood relief efforts because they think their money will only line the pockets of a government they see as corrupt."
Interesting. Quote from one local Pakistani, Mr. Mussarat Khan, whom the Monitor reporter interviewed as he was leaving a doctor's office, quote: "The money might reach a quarter of the people who really need it. The doctor and I were discussing the flood, there is just so much corruption." End quote.
Yep, your tax dollars at work in that $100m pledge Mrs. Clinton announced so proudly. Actually, your tax dollars sluicing through into the Swiss bank accounts of the Pakistani elites, drug smugglers, and terrorist bosses. Feel proud, America, of what your government is doing for the wretched of the earth! Or in this case, for the wretched of a country that maintains a vast military establishment, a full nuclear missile arsenal, and ranks number 139 out of 180 in Transparency International's index of corruption.
Could it be, might it just possibly be, that these Pakistani Americans know something that our State Department doesn't know? Or perhaps they can't donate to the flood victims because they're all tapped out from donating to the Ground Zero mosque.
07 — Obama's Auntie's asylum. You'll recall that Obama's Aunt Zeituni Onyango was granted asylum in the U.S.A. three months ago after a hearing before the Executive Office for Immigration Review. The Hearing Officer was Leonard Shapiro, up there in Boston.
Well, the Boston Globe has been giving us some details of Judge Shapiro's reasoning, details winkled out of the Justice Department via a Freedom of Information Act request. Reading the Globe report, you can see why the government would much rather not have released these details. Judge Shapiro's reasoning is, not to put too fine a point on it, a blazing disgrace to the American legal profession.
It is now perfectly plain that Aunt Zeituni received preferential treatment because of her connection to Obama. Her asylum claim is utterly without merit, and Judge Shapiro's adjudication of it demonstrates beyond doubt that we live in a nation not of laws, but of men — and men's aunts.
Remember, please, the history of the case. Aunt Zeituni came to the U.S.A. on a tourist visa in 2000. When the visa expired she just stayed. In December 2002 she applied for asylum, but was denied and ordered deported. She ignored the court order and re-applied for asylum in 2004; that application was also rejected, and again she ignored the order of the court.
Then in the run-up to the 2008 election, the London Times did a little — what's it called? oh yes: journalism — and tracked down Aunt Zeituni to a public housing project in Boston. Not only was she illegally in the country, she was living off the American taxpayer. When the Associated Press asked the Bush administration to confirm the story — a story, just to remind you, that had been uncovered by a British newspaper, the American press corps being determined to do nothing that might hurt the chances of the presidential candidate they unanimously favored — when the AP asked the government to confirm the story, an anonymous official did so. Judge Shapiro says this was an outrage. It was, said the judge, quote, "a reckless and illegal violation of her right to privacy which has exposed her to great risk."
How it did that is not clear. If A suspects that B is in the country illegally, and A asks the government if this is so, and a government official says yes, it is so, where did someone do something wrong? The only fault of the government here is in failing to deport the person illegally resident. At a stretch, a great stretch, you might argue there'd been a violation of the 1974 Privacy Act; but even then, you'd still have to show why such a violation is germane to an asylum application.
As to the "great risk," what on earth is Judge Shapiro talking about? Obama's relatives are treated like royalty in Kenya. There is no known instance of any of Obama's many, many, many relatives in Kenya being persecuted at all.
Worse yet, Judge Shapiro acknowledged that Aunt Zeituni's claims of fear of persecution in her previous applications were all lies. Quote: "Onyango's testimony in February was sometimes confusing and inconsistent with what she said during her last request for asylum six years ago," end quote.
Yes, Aunt Zeituni is a flagrant liar as well as a flagrant scofflaw. Yet Shapiro still allowed this latest claim.
There is no evidence that anything that's happened to Aunt Zeituni since 2004 made her any kind of a target for persecution in Kenya. It is just something she claims — something she plucked out of the air, with no supporting evidence whatsoever. In a previous claim she said she had health problems that made her unable to walk. She did indeed show up to the February hearing in a wheelchair; but then she mysteriously walked out. She strolls around her Boston neighborhood, flaunting the expensive designer accessories she seems to have a fondness for.
Judge Shapiro's findings are a disgrace. The only evidentiary foundation for them is unsubstantiated claims made by an applicant the judge himself acknowledges to have lied at previous hearings.
This whole case is a shame and a scandal. Zeituni Onyango has been given special treatment because of her relation to the president. She had failed to obey previous court orders, was a fugitive from justice, living off the public fisc; yet she was permitted to reopen a previously denied asylum case years afterward. How often does that happen?
I'll save you the trouble of researching it: it never happens. It happened in this case because of who she is, in outrageous disregard of all law, rules, and precedent. If the citizens of Boston have the spleen their ancestors had, they will tar and feather Leonard Shapiro and run him out of town on a rail.
Oh, and speaking of precedent: What would normally happen with such a highly questionable decision as this, is that the Department of Homeland Security would file an appeal of Judge Shapiro's farcical decision. Will the DHS actually do so? Don't hold your breath.
Meanwhile, here's a prediction: Judge Shapiro's career prospects under the Obama administration are very bright. I'd say we're looking at a future Supreme Court Justice here.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Item: Quote from the Financial Times, quote: "Call centre workers are becoming as cheap to hire in the U.S. as they are in India, according to the head of the country's largest business process outsourcing company," end quote. What's apparently happened is, wages in India have risen, while unemployment has driven down wages in the U.S.A. Isn't this wonderful? Wait a few years, we'll be competitive again in textiles and cheap toys. Then a few more years, we'll be competitive in goat-herding and subsistence farming. Of course, we can always emigrate to the high-paying jobs. I'm sure China and India will gladly open their borders to floods of poverty-stricken Americans just trying to put food on their families. Of course they will. Why wouldn't they?
Item: Back to Kenya here for a snippet of news: A chap in that country has been tried and sentenced to nine years in the pen for trying to sell an albino. The blood and body parts of albinos are much prized by witch doctors, who tell their clients they will bring them luck in love and business. The ask price for this particular albino was $267,000, according to Reuters. There you see Aunt Zeituni's total lack of imagination. At her asylum hearing she should have whited up and claimed protection as an albino. That would have spared her those pesky deportation orders in 2002 and 2004. Spared her, I mean, the trouble of ignoring them. Of course, your nephew getting elected president also works, but it's kind of a long shot.
Item: Yet more news on the multi-culti tolerance front: Augusta State University down in Georgia, a public institution please note, told 24-year-old student Jennifer Keeton she'd be expelled from her Master's degree program in School Counseling if she didn't change her opinions about homosexuality. Ms. Keeton is a Christian, and according to the Chronicle of Higher Education she stated in classroom discussions and written assignments that she believes sexual behavior, quote, "is the result of accountable personal choice," and also that — you may want to sit down and take a stiff drink before hearing this next one, listener, it's a bit of a shocker — also that, quote, "people are born male or female." Good grief! Ms. Keeton has a lawsuit going against Augusta State, who in their defense brief tell us in aggrieved tones that they went to immense trouble to draw up a "remediation plan" for the plaintiff, requiring that she attend workshops, read homo-propaganda, and participate in the local Gay Pride parade. My advice to Ms. Keeton, should her lawsuit fail, would be to convert to Islam. Then she could happily advocate for stoning homosexuals to death, and the authorities wouldn't dare utter a peep of protest. You have to fight multiculturalism on its own ground.
Item: Speaking of which, there's been some shock and horror expressed at the finding by a Time magazine poll that 24 percent of Americans think the president is a Muslim. My own impression, speaking as one of the eleven Americans who has actually read Obama's autobiography, is that he's no more interested in the supernatural than he is in higher mathematics. True, he sat very happily in the pews at Trinity United for twenty years listening to Jeremiah Wright preaching how "white folks' greed runs a world in need," but that was just, you know, politics. My guess is, Barack Obama caught a lot of z's in those pews.
Item: Finally, for those listeners who depend on Radio Derb to keep track of the Zeitgeist for them, here's a note on social trends. Topic: Nude vacations. A report posted Tuesday on CNBC tells us that, quote: "Nearly one out of every two people surveyed … said they'd be willing to bare it all at a beach. That's up from 3 out of 10 last year." CNBC further reports that, quote: "There are an increasing number of naked destinations, including beaches, resorts, cruise lines and spas." Let me make a couple of things perfectly clear. First, I am not one of those one in two, I'm one of the other one in two. Second: The National Review post-election cruise is not a naked event and will not be visiting any naked beaches. Quite the contrary. Gentlemen will dress for dinner, sober attire will be required at all other times, and in a proper gesture of respect to devout Muslim cruisers, burkas and burkinis will be made available to ladies who request them. We are conservatives; our watchwords are modesty and restraint.
09 — Signoff. With that, another broadcast of Radio Derb draws to a dignified close. I am heading up to the grotto to nurse my ligaments in soothing warm waters and healing vapors, augmented by some gentle massaging from my faithful research assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy. The aim is to get me back into fighting trim for next week's broadcast of Radio Derb!
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]