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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]
01 — Intro. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Radio Derb, National Review's no sap zone. Yes, if it's warm'n'fuzzy, heart-melting, uplifting sappiness you're looking for, you have totally come to the wrong place. This is your uncharitably genial host John Derbyshire with a thoroughly mean-spirited look at the week's news. First, what has our uplifter-in-chief been up to? Let us see …
02 — Velma Hart confronts Obama. Velma Hart showed up on the cover of my New York Post Tuesday. Mrs. Hart was participating in a town hall meeting held by President Obama in Washington, D.C. She's a middle-class lady, chief financial officer for a veterans' organization, husband's in management at Verizon, two teenage daughters. Solid middle-class American.
Said Mrs. Hart to the President, quote: "I'm exhausted. Exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now. I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. And I'm waiting, Sir, I'm waiting. I don't feel it yet … Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly. Is this my new reality?" End quote.
I don't quite know where to start with that. Mrs. Hart looks to be in her forties, which is an odd sort of age to be still believing in Santa Claus. What did she think Barack Obama was going to do for her with his "mantle of change"? What is a "mantle of change," anyway? Hang on, I'm not sure about "mantle" — let me just look it up here … here we are: "mantle — something that covers, enfolds, or envelops." So Mrs. Hart was looking to be covered, enfolded, and enveloped with change by Barack Obama.
But it didn't happen! She's still waiting! She's not feeling it yet! (Feeling what? The mantle, I guess.) And now, she tells us, she's reduced to eating hot dogs and beans — quite a lot of them, from the look of her.
All right, all right, I shouldn't be unkind about Mrs. Hart. Like legions of other Americans, she has somehow forgotten the fundamental principle of American government, which is: Politicians don't exist to give us stuff or do things for us, or cover, enfold, and envelop us in mantles of change and gowns of hope and ski-jackets of prosperity and ponchos of security. In the U.S.A. politicians exist to uphold the constitutional order, guard the coasts and borders, maintain a reasonably stable currency, restrain congressional and judicial excesses, avert unnecessary wars, and otherwise keep out of our way while we get on with living our lives and working out our individual fates as free people in free association with each other.
Back in the 2008 campaign there was a lady who attained brief fame by telling a TV reporter that if Barack Obama was elected president, she wouldn't have to pay her rent any more. That wasn't Mrs. Hart, but the mentality's not really very different.
Of course, politicians of all parties encourage this Santa Claus mentality. "When somebody's hurting, government must move," said George W. Bush. No Sir: when somebody's hurting, they must move. Government has to get out of the way, so there is space and opportunity for the hurting person to move to.
Sorry, Mrs. Hart; I'm just having trouble feeling sympathy for anyone who voted for Barack Obama's gassy, empty rhetoric of "hope" and "change." You're still waiting, you say? Waiting for what? Waiting for Tinkerbell to come and sprinkle fairy dust on you?
Alexis de Tocqueville pointed out a big difference between the Americans of his time and the Europeans. When some public thing needs doing, he said, the European waits for the local squire or baron to do it; Americans get together and do it for themselves.
That's what we used to be like. When somebody was hurting, we moved. Now when somebody is hurting we wait for the government to move. Worse yet, we're probably wise to do so. If we try to move by ourselves we'll probably be in violation of some EPA regulation, or Justice Department directive, or FDA mandate. Best wait for the government to move. Keep waiting, Mrs. Hart, keep waiting.
03 — Obama addresses Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Our president's been busy. A couple of days before that Town Hall meeting he gave a fawning, pandering speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
As I am sure all Radio Derb listeners know, we are in the second week of Hispanic Heritage Month. To quote from the official website — and it is official: Hispanic Heritage Month is organized and promoted by a slew of U.S. government agencies: Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian, etc., etc. — quote: "Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America." End quote.
Well, our president joined in the festivities by addressing the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Parts of his speech had me scratching my head. Sample, quote: "There is no 'us' and 'them.' In this country, there is only 'us.' There is no Latino America or black America or white America or Asian America. There is only the United States of America — all of us. All of us joined together. Indivisible." End quote.
Nice sentiment, Mr President; but if you really believe it, why are you addressing the Congressional Hispanic Caucus? If there is no Latino America, why even is there a Congressional Hispanic Caucus? Or a Hispanic Heritage Month?
And then we got this, quote: "Long before America was even an idea, this land of plenty was home to many peoples. To British and French, to Dutch and Spanish, to Mexican, to countless Indian tribes. We all shared the same land. We didn't always get along. But over the centuries, what eventually bound us together — what made us all Americans — was not a matter of blood, it wasn't a matter of birth. It was faith and fidelity to the shared values that we all hold so dear." End quote.
I shall just note in passing the big burst of applause after he said the word "Mexican," which kind of stood out against the utter lack of applause following the words "British," "French," "Dutch," and even "Spanish." I think we all know that in current American usage, "Hispanic" is about ninety-five percent a synonym for "Mexican," and events like Hispanic Heritage Month are vehicles for Mexican revanchism. Duly noted; let's get on to what the President said.
First off, there was no such thing as a Mexican prior to 1821, because there was no such thing as Mexico. That was the year Mexico got her independence from Spain. The U.S.A. was pretty well established by 1821, as I recall, under our fifth president.
Second, the implied disavowal of any interest in blood ties sounds a bit odd coming from a man who gave his autobiography the subtitle: A Story of Race and Inheritance.
Third, being American is largely a matter of birth. Being born in the U.S.A. is a sufficient condition for U.S. citizenship. It's not a necessary condition, but it is a sufficient one, and it is the method by which the overwhelming majority of Americans acquire their citizenship.
We've been having some arguments about this recently … but perhaps Obama didn't notice. Perhaps he's been too busy schmoozing the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, and all the other groups in his favor, groups whose existence and influence demonstrate so clearly that Obama is telling a bare-faced lie when he says that "There is no 'us' and 'them.' In this country, there is only 'us.'"
If there's only "us,", why are the Library of Congress and a dozen other federally-funded agencies promoting Hispanic Heritage Month? That's a rhetorical question, of course. I know the answer, and so do you.
04 — Carl Paladino closes on Cuomo. A lot of us New Yorkers live in hope that we can get a Chris Christie of our own this November — a governor, that is, who can stand up to the public-sector unions, speak plainly to us about our fiscal problems, and do some pest control in our bought-and-sold state legislature.
Republican Carl Paladino might just be the guy. Our governor's race was supposed to be a shoo-in for Democrat princeling Andrew Cuomo, a guy who emerged from his mother's womb with a sheaf of political speeches ready to deliver, and has never had a job outside politics.
This doesn't seem to be a good year to be a career pol, though — not even for a Democrat in New York. The polls have been all over the place recently, but one this week had Paladino just six points behind Cuomo.
Paladino is not a career politician but a businessman, so he's a little jagged around the edges, without the oily, practiced manners of the professional pol. It's possible he'll say something a little too frank, giving the Democrats an opening to paint him as a kook, or a bigot, or one of those other things they like to paint non-career politicians as.
He's been pretty blunt already, though, and New Yorkers seem to like him for it, or at least not mind him. He's told us he's going to go to Albany, the state capital, and, quote, "take out the trash." He's also declared his intention to, quote, "kick down the door of the legislature, lob in a hand grenade, then machine-gun the survivors." I just hope he means it literally …
The state Republican establishment is deeply unenthusiastic about Carl, as is the state Conservative Party, who endorsed the lackluster Rick Lazio, and who now say they may run Lazio anyway to draw votes away from Paladino. Way to get us a conservative governor, guys. If someone can explain to me any one single issue on which Lazio is more conservative than Paladino, I'd like to hear it.
Go Carl! — I wanna be there when that hand grenade goes off.
05 — Swedish elections. As predicted by Radio Derb last week, the immigration-restrictionist Sweden Democrat party won its first ever parliamentary seat in the September 19th national election there.
The Sweden Democrats took an interesting line in their electioneering. Sweden, as everyone knows, has a big, cradle-to-grave welfare state, the folkhemmet, the people's home. The Sweden Democrats have been pointing out that Sweden's excessive generosity to immigrants, most of them from the Middle East, means that Sweden's old people, who've paid into the folkhemmet all their lives, are being shoved aside in the scramble for welfare benefits by burqa-clad women with five children apiece.
It's a potent message — so potent the Swedish establishment banned the party from airing its ads on national TV. The establishment doesn't seem to like the idea that those welfare programs Swedes have been paying into all their lives are for Swedes to benefit from. They believe those programs are for the whole world! To deny them to a person just because that person isn't Swedish, would be shameful! What does mere nationality matter? There shouldn't be any such thing as nations, anyway. They cause nothing but trouble.
It's not just Swedish elites who feel that way; that's the default elite position all over the Western world. And if some citizen who's been paying into the social security system for forty years sees foreigners coming into his country to milk the system, and feels resentment; why, he must be a bad person, with a heart filled with "hate." Actually his position is an entirely reasonable one, and the only hate I can see in this situation is the hate our elites feel for people who love their country and want its benefits distributed fairly among citizens.
The Swedish Democrats won their seat in parliament anyway; more evidence that in Europe, the worm is beginning to turn, as more and more native Europeans begin to question the idea of unlimited numbers of immigrants receiving unlimited benefits and get-out-of-jail-free cards while they themselves pay crippling levels of taxation and face bankrupting legal wrangles with the authorities if they fail to cross some "t" or dot some "i" on some damn fool government form.
Wait a minute … what did I just say? … "unlimited numbers of immigrants receiving unlimited benefits and get-out-of-jail-free cards"? … That brings something to mind; but what is it? It's on the tip of my tongue. Hold on, it'll come to me …
06 — Obama's Aunt. Ah yes — Auntie Zeituni! This business about Obama's Aunt Zeituni Onyango just keeps going from weird to weirder.
Did you see the interview she gave to Boston TV station WBZ-TV? Just go to YouTube and search on "Zeituni," Z-E-I-T-U-N-I. There are two clips there, an earlier one and a later one — they're the clips with the most viewer hits. They really have to be seen to be believed.
Talk about a sense of entitlement! ["If I come as an immigrant you have the obligation to make me a citizen …"] In fact it goes beyond entitlement: Aunt Zeituni is a victim. ["To me America's dream became America's nightmare …"] Far from her having taken advantage of us, it is we who have taken advantage of her. That's what she said: ["I did not take advantage of the system. The system took advantage of me … I've been treated like Public Enemy Number One …"]
OK: no enforcement of two, count 'em two deportation orders, free public housing, $700 a month disability … Being Public Enemy Number One looks like a pretty good deal to me. Better than a rat-infested shack in Nairobi, anyway.
But why should we do all this for her? Aunt Zeituni is eager to tell us. ["You are here to help people …"] Ah; so those of us grumbling about Auntie Zeituni are just like that narrow-minded, hate-filled Swedish guy who fancies that his taxes are meant to help his fellow citizens. No! — they're for the whole world!
There is a bit of a puzzle about Aunt Zeituni's finances, though. She favors expensive designer clothes and accessories, and for her recent hearing before Judge Shapiro, reported in our August 20th broadcast, she had the services of an expensive immigration lawyer flown in from Cleveland.
Tackled on this point, Aunt Zeituni was glad to clear up the conundrum. She revealed to the interviewer the identity of the person paying her bills. It is … God. No kidding. ["How can you afford …?"] I've heard of "God is my co-pilot," but this is the first time I've heard "God is my bank manager."
You know, I always miss out on these things. Mrs. Derbyshire wants a new kitchen, but we can't afford it. How do I get in touch with God for a new kitchen? If Aunt Zeituni's listening, or anyone else who knows the trick, please let me know, care of National Review. In the event the Almighty himself is listening, it's a tiled floor we want, and one of those refrigerators that makes ice cubes in a dispenser thingy. And not the deal with the microwave over the range, please — causes too many problems with the electronics heating up. And …
Oh, sorry, got a little sidetracked there. Back to Aunt Zeituni. So here she is: she ignored two deportation orders, she got herself into public housing, she's unemployed, on disability welfare, decked out in a sharp designer outfit, attorney's fees paid for her by the Supreme Being. Not bad.
One thing you have to agree with her about for sure: ["It's a great country …"]
It certainly is, Auntie, for those who are brazenly shameless enough about scoffing at its laws and milking its public funds.
07 — Woodward's book. Bob Woodward's got a new book out: Obama's Wars, a compendium of tittle-tattle, much of it circumstantially credible, about administration infighting over our war in Afghanistan.
The main tension, according to Woodward, was between the military men on one side, and on the other the spin doctors, political strategists, and yes men Obama surrounds himself with. Military men have this old-fashioned obsession about winning wars, even misguided wars such as they surely know the Afghanistan war is. Obama and his people just want to wind the thing up in some way that can be spun as a success, or at least not a humiliating failure.
Now, I know what you're muttering to yourselves out there in listenerland. You're muttering: Hey, Derb, but you want us out of there ASAP too. So what's the difference between you and Obama?
Here's a clue: Obama wants to tiptoe out apologetically, backing off humbly into Pakistan, our guys murmuring as they go: "We're terribly sorry we disturbed your noble, colorful Third World culture with our clumsy intervention. Sorry! Sorry! Please move to our country and open a restaurant so we can be more vibrant."
My ideal would be more like marching out with drums beating and pipes playing, enemy harassment discouraged by barrages of cruise missiles, and leaving behind stern warnings that should Afghanistan in future produce anything that appears on satellite reconnaisance as though it might even remotely, conceivably be a terrorist training camp, the sky over that region will be so thick with Predator drones, the inhabitants won't know day from night: and then, when the drones discharge their ordnance, they won't know anything at all ever again.
Though to Obama's credit, assuming Woodward didn't just make this up, Obama did show one flash of sense, saying that the thing he most dreads is a nuclear terrorist attack. Me too, Mr. President, me too. Terrorists in caves and rooming-houses can't make nukes, though. If that dreadful thing happens, some government will be behind it. Let's at least make sure that we'll know which government that is, and that they know we'll know, and that they, and their capital city, will, without warning or apology, be turned into an expanse of fused glass within a few hours of such an attack, and will still be glowing in the dark twenty years later.
08 — Miscellany. Who's this coming up the path? Why, it's Miss Elainie with our closing selection of brief items.
Item: Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents Washington D.C. in the House of Representatives, came in for some mild criticism when a message she left on a lobbyist's voice mail was leaked. After telling the lobbyist how many subcommittees she sits on and how much weight she swings on federal construction projects, she mentioned one particular big project she's a key player in, and in which it sounds as though the lobbyist has an interest. Then she asked him to give her some damn money. Quote: "I'm simply candidly calling to ask for a contribution." She didn't precisely say "No money, no honey," but that was the clear message. House ethic rules state, quote, "[N]o solicitation of a campaign or political contribution may be linked to an action taken or to be taken by a Member … in his or her official capacity," end quote. Eleanor Holmes Norton is in clear violation of that rule. Here's my prediction: Nothing whatever will happen to her. Just like nothing will happen to Charlie Rangel, just like nothing happened to the guy with a stack of twenties in his office freezer, just like nothing happens when Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson default on their taxes. Some of our citizens lead charmed lives, I don't know why. Can't figure it out at all.
Item: An administration stuffed up to the rafters with community organizers, career bureaucrats, ex-lobbyists, race hustlers, and lifetime political hacks needs a business face — someone who looks as if he has a clue how capitalism works. Larry Summers has been filling that slot in the Obama administration, serving as director of the president's economic council. It's a bit of a stretch, Larry's entire experience of the productive economy consisting of a few monts as part-time seat-filler on the board of an investment firm, but it was good enough for the Obamarrhoids. Now there are heavy rumors Larry's had enough of trying to get the Obama people to take their medication, and he'll soon be out of there. So there's an opening in Washington for someone who has a clue about the real world of productive work. Just the one opening.
Item: Feeding time at the zoo; which is to say, the United Nations General Assembly has been in session. Li'l Squinty flew in from Iran and made a speech saying that the tales about Muslims having brought down the World Trade Center were all lies, that Muslims would never do such a cruel destructive thing, and if anyone said otherwise he'd smash them to pieces. Then he took off all his clothes, smeared himself with chocolate, and sang the Toreador song from Carmen in a high falsetto.
Item: Yemen's in the news: Yemen, that beacon of prosperity, progress, and peaceful development down at the bottom left corner of the Arabian peninsula. The Yemenis took time off from curing cancer, inventing the next generation of iPhones, and producing award-winning movies to send a team to a chess tournament in Minsk, Belarus. As luck would have it they drew Israel in the first round. The Yemenis refused to play, and so forfeited the game, giving Israel a 4-0 win by default. That wasn't the end of it, though. For one thing, the way the score was listed, it looked as though Yemen had played Israel and lost. The Yemenis were extremely indignant about this. Allah forbid anyone might think they'd have anything to do with Israelis! For another thing some of the Yemeni players seem to have fraternized with Israelis, or at least allowed themselves to be in the same room with them. For this, Hamoud Ubad, the Yemeni Minister of Youth and Sports, fired the board of directors of the Yemeni Chess Union and all the chess players. Yes, there'll be peace in the Middle East any day now.
Item: HIV has been spread in the U.S.A. mainly by male homosexuals. This is a rather obvious and well-known fact, but one that it is deeply politically incorrect to say out loud. The greatest cover-up of our age, in fact, has been the suppression of this truth. It keeps popping up, though, and here it is again. The Centers for Disease Control just published a study of 8,153 active male homosexuals in 21 U.S. cities. One in five of them was infected with HIV. Large proportions were unaware they were infected: 26 percent of white men, 46 percent of Hispanics, and 59 percent of black men. The director of the study told Reuters that, quote, "We can't allow HIV to continue its devastating toll among gay and bisexual men." Perhaps if they stopped buggering each other it would help.
Item: Finally, Obama's healthcare reforms kicked in this week. A whole lot of new requirements have been placed on insurance companies, and they are raising their premiums accordingly. Who could have predicted this? Recession-strapped businesses with employee healthcare plans are passing the increases straight through to their employees; self-employed folk like myself get hit directly. Those evil, evil insurance companies! Latest polls show that 61 percent of Americans want the healthcare bill repealed. Well, they must be evil, too. After all that hard work our President and Congress put into reforming the nation's healthcare, people have the nerve to complain about a teeny 20 percent hike in premiums. Truly, there is no gratitude in politics.
09 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Forty days to the mid-terms, so sharpen up your voting pencils. There are some great candidates out there to vote for, conservatives both fiscal and social, so find out who they are in your district and let's shake things up a bit. It probably won't avert the crash of oh-eleven, but it'll reduce the parasite quotient in our state and national legislatures, and make us all feel much better. Give us a song, Gracie.
[Music clip: Gracie Fields, Sing As We Go]