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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your incommensurably genial host John Derbyshire with highlights from the week's news.
Radio Derb rather left listeners hanging last week. We had to go to tape before anything definite was known about the Boston Marathon bombers. Now of course we know much more, so let's put these guys under the withering gaze of my researchers' keen analysis.
02 — A case of absimilation. Sir Winston Churchill famously remarked in his old age that, quote: "I have lived 78 years without hearing of bloody places like Cambodia."
Alas, that kind of comfortable ignorance is no longer vouchsafed to us. In this modern world of instant communication and cheap airline travel, you're not going to make it to 78 without hearing of places a lot more remote than Cambodia. Places like, for example, Dagestan.
This is in the context of the Boston bombers, whose identity was discovered just after last week's Radio Derb went to tape. The two brothers, Tamerlan and Jokhar Tsarnaev, have their roots in the northeastern Caucasus, a region that is technically part of present-day Russia.
I say "technically" because these are ornery mountain peoples, and Muslims, not Christians, who don't take kindly to being ruled by anyone outside their clan. Recall the Scotch-Irish mountain men of Appalachia, one of whom was working his field 200 years or so ago when a government agent showed up and called across the fence rail: "You there! Where's your master?" Reply: "He hasn't been born yet." That's the mentality.
Well, Dagestan is one of those truculent regions in Russia's far south, the Caucasus mountains. Useless fact of the week: The southernmost point of Russia is the summit of Mount Bazardüzü in, yes, Dagestan — 41 degrees North and change. Which is further north than New York City but a tad south of Chicago.
That's worth remembering: No place in Russia is as far south as New York. If Napoleon's generals had known that, they might have spared themselves a world of hurt.
Well, these brothers come from a mixed marriage. Dad is a Chechen from Chechnya, the next region to the north of Dagestan, between Dagestan and Russian Russia. Mom is from Dagestan; but she isn't a Dagestani, because there is no such thing. Dagestan, you see, is blessed with more diversity than you'd think possible in a place smaller than West Virginia.
Quote from my trusty and infallible reference source, the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, quote:
The population numbered 587,326 in 1897, of whom only 5,000 were Russians. They consist chiefly of mountaineers known as Lesghians (i.e. Avars, Darghis, and Kurins), a race closely akin to the Circassians, intermingled towards the Caspian Sea with Tatars and Georgians. There are also sprinklings of Jews and Persians.
These people of the Caucasus didn't get the memo about diversity being a strength. They've been at each other's throats for centuries. The main thing uniting them at any level above family and clan is religion; which in the case of Chechens and Avars means Islam.
The older Tsarnaev brother got religion in his early twenties, four or five years ago, and pulled in his younger brother with him.
The Tsarnaev brothers are in fact prime examples of absimilation. This is a word I tried to float four years ago in my book We Are Doomed. Immigrants are supposed to assimilate to the host society. The first syllable of "assimilate" is contracted from Latin ad-, which indicates moving towards something. If you swap it out for the opposite ab-, which means moving away from, you get my word "absimilate."
May I quote from my own book, please? Thank you. Page 203, quote:
Absimilation seems to be rather common, though you don't read much about it. I noticed it years ago in England. The first generation of black Caribbean immigrants to my native land strove to be as English as possible. They worked hard at low-paying jobs — the black bus conductor was a stock figure in English life by the mid-1960s — bought old houses and spruced them up, dressed in immaculate "Sunday best" to go to church, and kept on the right side of the law. Doing unskilled summer-vacation construction jobs at the time, I was often in work gangs with black laborers. They were popular and good workers, fun to be around … It was dismaying, in the seventies and eighties, to see a large piece of the second-generation cohort break off and slip into crime, idleness, and social dysfunction. Those spruced-up houses became ganja dens; daughters of the elegant church ladies became welfare queens.
That's ab-similation, opposite of a-ssimilation. Put it in your vocabulary notebooks, please, students.
In fact the Tsarnaev brothers were much more religious than their parents, who were nominal Muslims, if not actually secular modern Russians. The mother got more devout in middle age and the marriage broke up on that account in 2011; but the boys were full-grown by that point.
In any case, piety did not prevent Mrs Tsarnaev from shoplifting at Lord & Taylor's in June last year. Facing a court appearance in October, she and her husband reunited for long enough to fly back to Dagestan, where they now live.
Brought to the U.S.A. when young — ages seventeen and eight — the brothers should have assimilated easily. Instead, they ab-similated.
03 — Refugee roulette. Working for VDARE.com, an immigration-restrictionist website, I do a lot of writing about immigration.
To do a lot of writing, you have to do a lot of reading. One of my favorite websites for immigration topics is Ann Corcoran's Refugee Resettlement Watch. It's a real eye-opener. If you thought refugees are pitiable half-starved wretches fleeing persecution with their meager possessions in cloth bundles, read Ann's site and get yourself an education in the refugee scam.
There are of course some genuine refugees, but they are atypical. To attain refugee status, you need a story, and your story needs to be believed by the people processing refugees at the front end. It's in the nature of things, though, that these stories are impossible to check. So refugees are mostly Third Worlders who've figured this out, have enough chutzpah to keep telling the same lies over to the processing officers, and want to live in the West.
Your poster child here is Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, of raping her two years ago. That turned out to be a pack of lies; so did Ms Diallo's story about being gang-raped in her native country of Guinea, West Africa, a story that got her a refugee visa to live in the U.S.A.
Then there is reunification of families. Once a refugee is in the U.S.A. they can petition for relatives to come in. This aspect of immigration policy was so addled with fraud it was actually suspended for several African countries in 2008, when DNA testing showed that most of the relatives tested were not actually related. (It's still partially suspended.)
Lobbying to keep these scams going in the U.S.A. are the so-called "volags," or voluntary agencies. These have impressive and heart-warming names like Episcopal Migration Ministries, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Pretty holy, eh? Don't be fooled. These volags get a cash grant from the State Department for each refugee they settle. This is big business. The Lutherans, for example, got eight and a half million dollars of your money and mine in 2011.
And no, they don't spend much on actual resettlement. Once refugees are here, the volags hand them off to the welfare agencies as fast as they can. This seems to be what happened to the Tsarnaevs, who were on welfare most of the time.
This is the background to the Tsarnaev family being in the U.S.A.
The father and his younger son, aged eight, first came to the United States legally in April 2002 on 90-day tourist visas. Once here, the father applied for political asylum, claiming he feared deadly persecution based on his ties to Chechnya.
Now, for a Russian to get a U.S. tourist visa isn't easy. You have to prove you're employed and fairly well off, so that you'll return after visiting the States. Further, the dad was actually born and raised in Kyrgystan, then a Soviet Republic but now an independent state. He has dual citizenship, so if he was persecuted in Russia, he had another country to go to.
Tsarnaev, Sr. didn't have any known ties to Chechnya, anyway, other than his ancestry; and the fighting had died down by that point. What we have here is an extremely gullible Asylum Officer in the immigration office — one who should be named and fired.
It's all too typical, though. Twelve years after 9/11 the U.S.A. is as wide open as ever: wide open to illegals strolling across the border, wide open to bogus "refugees," wide open to so many foreign students there's barely room for American kids in some of our colleges — wide open, wide open. This isn't a country; it's a hotel.
04 — Who'll guard the guards? News stories travel in convoys, like London buses. Just recently we've had a whole convoy of stories about prison inmates getting sexually involved with prison guards — or "corrections officers," as we're supposed to say — and impregnating them.
The first one that got my attention concerned Tyshinia Love Brewster, a prison guard at a maximum security prison in New York State, who was charged with felony third-degree rape back in February when found to be six months pregnant by an inmate. The logic of the rape charge is that an inmate can't legally consent to sexual intercourse.
Then there was Nancy Gonzalez of New York City, a corrections officer who was pregnant by inmate Ronell Wilson. Mr Wilson is on Death Row for murdering two police officers. Officer Gonzalez gave birth to Wilson, Jr. last month.
Now here's this story from Baltimore. The city's main detention center was apparently being run by the inmates, with the co-operation of the prison guards. A criminal gang called the Black Guerilla Family were having cellphones, prescription pills and other goodies smuggled in by friendly guards. One gang leader used proceeds from his jailhouse business to buy luxury cars, including a Mercedes-Benz and a BMW, which he allowed some of the officers to drive.
Another one, or possibly the same one, name of Tavon White, has fathered five children with four of the female guards since being locked up on attempted murder charges since 2009. Two of these females got tattoos of Mr White's first name — one on her neck, the other on a wrist.
Here, in these stories, you see two of the consequences of liberalism coming together.
The essence of liberalism is the denial of human nature. There are no sexes, there are no races, criminals are the product of bad environments, gay is just as good as straight, and everything is equal to everything else.
To set criminals to breaking rocks for sixteen hours a day would therefore be unacceptably cruel. It's not their fault they're criminals. They're just victims of circumstance.
Likewise, setting mean, beefy males to guard male prisoners, as used to be done, would be shamefully sexist. What, are you implying that women can't do this work?
There is a real world, though, and it is inhabited by human beings who do differ from each other in important ways. In this real world, for example — the world liberals don't believe in — it is common for convicted male murderers to receive love letters from strange women.
"Chicks dig jerks" is one of the catch-phrases among that subculture of guys who call themselves "pickup artists." Some chicks take it to extremes, and dig psychopaths.
It's an oddity of human nature; and human nature actually does exist, though you'll never get a liberal to believe it.
05 — Premature Islamophobe. In just a minute I'm going to quote a thing I wrote back in November, 2006.
I was reviewing Mark Steyn's book America Alone. Now, I'm an admirer of Mark, who's a much better writer than I am. He's also a very witty speaker: If you get the chance to see him speak, don't miss it. I like the guy personally, and I like what he does.
Mark's a mainstream conservative, though, with the ultimate timidity of that breed, that holds them back from any real solutions and leaves the discourse safely in the hands of liberals. He'll walk to the river-bank, but he won't wade in; he'll load the gun and wave it around but he won't pull the trigger.
So in America Alone Mark writes about the conflict between Western civilization and Islam, which as we all know has been going through an acute phase this past few years. He offers three options for Western nations: Submit to Islam, destroy Islam, or reform Islam. Our only hope, says Mark at last, is in the reform of Islam; and that's something Muslims will have to do themselves. We can only try to offer help and guidance.
OK, here's the thing I wrote, quote:
After the pungent brilliance of the preceding 200 pages, this all falls a bit flat. And in fact, the reader who has traversed those 200 pages has been having different thoughts from the ones Steyn tries to guide him to. For example: Is that original list of options — submit to, destroy, or reform Islam — really exhaustive? How about we just fence it off: Expel our own Muslims, forbid Muslims to enter our countries, proscribe Islam, and deal with Muslim nations commercially at arm's length? (They have to sell their oil to someone, or else starve.) Such actions are, of course, way over the line of politically acceptable discourse today; but in five or ten years, after a couple more jihadist atrocities, they will not be.
That was seven years ago, and it was a pretty strong opinion at the time. It's less so now, and there are signs I was just ahead of the curve there — a premature Islamophobe, if you like.
Let me just say that I don't consider myself an Islamophobe; don't mind Islam, have no argument with Islam, am happy for people to practice Islam if they want to; but simply don't believe it plays well with others, and should stay in its own countries, all 57 of them, and stay out of ours.
Straws in the wind: The other day — Monday, to be exact — Laura Ingraham, on her radio show, said she has long believed the United States should shut down all immigration from central Asia and any nation with a majority Muslim population. Atta-girl!
I would submit that people shouldn't be coming here as tourists from Chechnya after 9/11. Dagestan, Chechnya, Kyrgystan, uh-uh. As George Bush would say, "None of them stans."
This is very heartening. Then, when I had just got over swooning about that, Democrat Bob Beckel — he was the campaign director for Walter Mondale's Presidential bid — told Rush Limbaugh that, quote:
I think we really have to consider, that given the fact that so many people hate us, that we're gonna have to cut off Muslim students from coming to this country for some period of time so that we can at least absorb what we've got, look at what we've got and decide whether some of the people here should be sent back home or sent to prison.
So it's bipartisan! We've got one bigfoot conservative commentator and one old Democrat warhorse both saying we should keep Muslims out.
To the lefties, of course, this is "hate." I must "hate" Muslims, and so must Laura Ingraham and Bob Beckel.
How childish! You don't have to "hate" people to want them to stay happily in their own countries and out of yours. It's actually how most of the world feels. Chinese people don't "hate" Indonesians, but they're no way going to let ten million of them settle in China.
Western liberalism is strange, sick, abnormal, and anti-human. They are the haters. They hate their own countries, their own ancestors, their own culture, their own race. It's a sickness, a pathology.
06 — Re-inflating the housing bubble. Broadly speaking, politics is the enemy of economics. When people are jostling for power, the poor shmucks who are merely jostling to make an honest buck get trampled underfoot.
For sure, liberal politics is an economy-killer. We saw that when the business of lending money got politicized.
This started back in the 1970s with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 and the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. What had happened was, political agitators had noticed that blacks and Hispanics were getting approved for mortgages at lower rates than whites and Asians.
Since, according to liberal ideology, it cannot possibly be the case that some races are, on aggregate, less credit-worthy than others, the reason for the discrepancy can only be malice on the part of lenders, a/k/a "racism." So laws were passed and lawsuits were filed to make banks lend equally to all races.
Here's a typical such lawsuit, brought in federal court in 1994 by Selma S. Buycks-Roberson, Renee Brooks, and Calvin Roberson, quote, "on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated," end quote, against Citibank, claiming that the bank had denied mortgages to minority applicants. One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs was … Barack Obama.
Actually it's mathematically easy to see whether lending standards are being fairly applied. If creditworthy minorities are being denied loans because of "racism," then those who do get loans must be super-duper, undeniably creditworthy, and should have lower default rates than non-minority borrowers. Was this so?
Several researchers, including my pal Peter Brimelow, then at Forbes magazine, crunched the numbers. No, it wasn't so. The old credit standards were rational and fair.
Nobody listened, of course. Under pressure from lawyers, activists, and the federal government, banks gave up on rational credit stadards and lent by quota. The result was the housing crash of the late 2000s, with minorities particularly hard hit by foreclosures.
Liberals never give up, though, and now it's starting up all over again. The Obama administration is having a big new push for "fairness" in lending; i.e. a war on rational credit standards. Administration officials like Sara Pratt, John Trasvina, and Shaun Donovan at HUD, Ellen Seidman at the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Eric Holder, Thomas Perez, and Eric Halperin at Justice — all of them leftist ideologues, all Clinton administration retreads — they're all pushing for more "fairness."
Quote from left-liberal fanatic Thomas Perez, quote:
We encourage a more holistic approach to lending that looks beyond merely credit score when determining a borrower's ability to pay.
The last time I saw the word "holistic" was in Andrew Ferguson's book about college admissions. Admissions officers have turned away from evaluating applicants by GPAs, SATs, or any other measure of academic excellence, to "holistic" admissions. Quote from Ferguson:
A more practical and accurate term for holistic admissions is "completely subjective."
This won't end well, any more than it did last time. One senior banker, John Allison, former CEO of Branch Banking & Trust, has opined that because of these policies, quote: "There will be another incredibly destructive crisis in our financial system in the next 10 to 15 years," end quote.
But then, isn't a mere financial crisis a small price to pay for the pleasure that Donovan, Holder, Perez, Halperin, and Obama are getting from venting their ideological spite on bankers?
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: The U.S.A. has a new protected class: redheads. At any rate, New York City does. At some point this month, we learn, a memo went out from the city police commissioner's office to police sergeants and lieutenants, warning them that harassment of redheaded police officers would not be tolerated.
Apparently this is being driven by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C. Reporting this story, the New York Post tracked down a cyborg at the Commission named Justine Lisser, who extruded the following, quote:
It's an innocuous-seeming criteria, but if it has a "disparate impact" on a certain racial group, red hair could be considered the basis of discrimination.
Apparently you can rise to spokesman rank in the federal government without knowing that "criteria" is a plural noun.
I can't resist a mention of my favorite redhead, the movie actress Jill St. John, who played Tiffany Case in the James Bond movie Diamonds are Forever. At one point in the movie she changes her hair color, and Sean Connery passes a comment about this. There follows one of the best Bond-movie one-liners from Connery: [Clip: "Provided the collar and cuffs match …"]
Item: Another footnote on the Boston Marathon bombing. This is a reader's letter in the New York Post, Thursday this week. I'm just going to read the letter out to you. I think it makes a nice point. Here you go, long quote:
On April 19, 1776, citizens of Lexington and Concord stood toe to toe with elements of the mightiest military force in the world.
Item: On Tuesday this week Sara Elizabeth Soto of Weatherford, Texas, took off all her clothes, climbed in through the doggy door of a stranger's house, and was found sitting naked in the bathtub. She told police she had done nothing wrong and was, quote, "just trying to use the phone."
For goodness' sake, lady; who has a phone in the bathroom?
Item: An encouraging sign of sanity from the judiciary this week.
As you may know, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the federal immigration agents' union are suing the Department of Homeland Security for trying to prohibit agents from doing their jobs.
Under a directive issued by Obama and DHS Secretary Napolitano last year, agents are told not to start deportation proceedings against illegals who meet certain conditions: They were less than 16 when they entered, they're in school or have a high school diploma, haven't been in trouble with the law, and they aren't a threat to public safety or national security. These are the so-called DREAMers. Don't deport them, said the administration directive.
Kobach and the agents' union are fighting that. They argue that when the people's laws say something shall be done, the administration can't lawfully instruct their agents that it shall not.
Well, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Dallas seems to agree with the plaintiffs. He hasn't ruled yet — he wants to hear more arguments — but he did issue a preliminary finding that, quote, "The court finds that DHS does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings," end quote.
Most encouraging. Given the degraded and politicized state of our jurisprudence, one hardly dares to hope for good sense from this quarter, but I'm going to hope anyway. We should get a ruling this summer.
Item: Jenna Krehbiel of Salina, Kansas was attending the circus with her 3-year-old daughter when she needed to go to the bathroom. Off she went, closed the door behind her, and found she was sharing the room with a large live tiger. The tiger had wandered in after doing its act in the ring.
Fortunately no harm was done and the tiger was speedily recaptured.
Punchline, from Ms Krehbiel, quote: "My daughter wanted to know if it had washed its hands."
I hope Ms Krehbiel got some compensation from the circus for her unpleasant experience. If that'd been me in there with the tiger, I would have wanted a free change of underwear at least.
08 — Signoff. That's all for this week, patient listeners … except, of course for a little signoff music.
This week's music clip comes with a brief preamble.
From time to time a listener emails in to tell me that derb, d-e-r-b, is a word in the noble German language. So it is. Quote from my battered old 1958 Cassell's German Dictionary, quote:
derb, adj. firm, solid, strong, powerful, robust, hardy, sturdy, stout; coarse, blunt, rough, rude, uncouth.
I shall leave it to others to decide which adjectives there best fit my humble self.
There's a related German noun, Verderben, quote: "corruption, destruction, ruin, perdition," end quote. Oh dear.
What's all that got to do with my signoff music? Not much, but any excuse is good enough for a bit of Wagner. Here's Josef Greindl in the second act of Tannhäuser, telling the name character what a bad boy he's been and what disgrace he's brought to the glee club. Halfway through you'll hear him sing: Zur Rettung doch vor ewigem Verderben / steht offen dir ein Weg — "Yet one path to deliverance from eternal perdition stands open to you."
More from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Tannhäuser "Ein furchtbares Verbrechen ward begangen. …"]