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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air — the voice they couldn't silence! Well, actually they did silence me for a few days there, the "they" in the case being a bold battalion of rhinoviruses who invaded and occupied my upper respiratory tract last week.
I apologize for the absence and tender heartfelt thanks to the many listeners who emailed in to express concern. I'd like to assure everyone I am quite recovered, with some help from my ever-loyal research assistants. Mandy and Candy gave me rub-downs with hot towels, and Brandy performed several of her exceptionally invigorating relief massages. Thanks to their faithful attentions I am now right as rain.
So let us see what's been happening while I was lying on the couch groaning and sweating.
02 — Crimea and punishment. Here's a thing that's happened: Russia has annexed the Crimea. What. A. Surprise.
I say again: Whatever Vladimir Putin decides to do to, or with, the Ukraine, there's very little we can do about it, and that's always been the case. It's their sphere of influence.
Does that make Russia look strong and America weak? I suppose so, but so what? If the U.S.A. annexed some adjacent province of Mexico and Russia failed to stop us, I guess that would make us look strong and them weak. Of course a nation's strong in its sphere of influence and less strong outside it. Of course!
The foolishness on the part of our foolish government was to talk as though we could do something about it, when we never could. But that's what happens when you elect faculty-lounge bloviators and professional talkers to high office.
Our politicians should take as their model the great Calvin Coolidge, who was most famous for saying the following thing, quote:
Please don't think I'm being flippant about this little crisis. International order is not a bagatelle. Big, powerful countries should behave themselves. When they fail to do so, the consequences can be very dire, as we learned a hundred years ago.
If we end up sticking Russia with some kind of sanctions or diplomatic insults, you won't hear me complain.
Yet the sight of Barack Obama doing a passive-aggressive version of King Lear in the storm — "I will do such things, / What they are yet I know not, but they shall be / The terrors of the earth," the sight of that is just comical and pathetic.
Shut up, Mr. President.
03 — Magic Negro to empty suit. That reminds me of something I've been meaning to comment on for a while, but never have, for reasons that will become obvious in around forty-five seconds.
This is, that I don't ever recall passing a general opinion on Barack Obama as President. Looking back over the last five years of Radio Derb archives, I see I've said surprisingly little about Obama. I've commented on things he's said, written, and done, but never in all generality on the man himself, in his office. So I may as well have a go at that.
Barack Obama's charm has always escaped me. He just doesn't really register with me. I can't even take seriously the idea of him as a leftist radical. I've know some real leftist radicals in my time, including a chap who used to be the Chairman of Austria's Communist Party.
Obama just isn't in that league, idea-wise or action-wise. He's a cipher, an empty suit; and I'm a bit surprised at myself having found this much to say about him.
Barack Obama, to me, is not a leftist demon, still less of course a Magic Negro. He's basically a wet Tuesday afternoon in Coney Island: something featureless and uninteresting, to be got through with patience and fortitude.
We're now into the sixth year of his Presidency. The main thing he's done is Obamacare, which is an unholy mess, though I assume it'll eventually hold together somehow, when enough string and duct tape has been applied. I can't recall a single thing he's said that's struck me as interesting or memorable.
His Supreme Court choices have been terrible: two bubble-head Cultural Marxists. I'll have more to say about that in a later section.
His Attorney General is a major nuisance, relentlessly pushing the stupid and incoherent doctrine of "disparate impact" down the nation's throat. Still, Alberto Gonzales did the same in George W. Bush's Presidency, so we're hardly any worse off. Some forms of political stupidity are just embedded in the national culture now, and will go on being practiced whoever's in the White House, unless the nation elects me … which would require a Constitutional Amendment.
Obama's foreign policy has been to let the clock run out on George W. Bush's foolish adventures in nation-building, but otherwise to stay out of trouble. That could have been worse, I suppose. However, our forces have suffered over sixteen hundred fatalities in Afghanistan on Obama's watch, and some corresponding number of blindings, cripplings, burnings, and maimings, all to no purpose whatsoever. That's inexcusable.
It's true that the security services found Osama bin Laden on Obama's watch, and he authorized the hit. He could hardly have done otherwise, though, so I can't see any credit is deserved for that.
Steve Sailer thinks Obama is bored. I think that may be right, though bored is an amazing thing to be if you're President of the United States. It does, though, fit with my image, or rather non-image, of a man disengaged, not really a playah, interested mostly in himself and the sound of his own voice.
So my main response to Barack Obama is: Meh (which people tell me I don't pronounce right).
04 — Neoconfest. Just going back to the Ukraine business for a moment: One of its side consequences has been a surprising resurgence of neoconnery.
Charles Krauthammer wants, quote, "a naval flotilla in the Black Sea," end quote. John McCain wants to station missiles in the Czech Republic, and tells us that, quote, "We are all Ukrainians now." That's funny: I thought John-John's goal was to turn us all into Mexicans. I don't know what Dick Cheney wants and I'm afraid to ask: to send the Seventh Fleet steaming up the Volga, probably.
And here's John Bolton. What would a neoconfest be without Mister Pastry. (Sorry, that's a British reference, and a pretty old one, too.) Bolton's been going round the TV talk shows with his angry face on, demanding that, quote: "America should assert unambiguously that it will urgently press for full NATO membership for a democratic Ukraine," end quote.
NATO? Is that thing still around? Why?
Look, Mr Bolton, I have no idea whether Putin plans to invade Ukraine or not. As we go to tape here, it hasn't gone beyond saber rattling. I can't think of anything better guaranteed to make him invade, though, than for NATO to admit Ukraine. It's certainly what I would do if I were him in that eventuality. And what would NATO do in response, Mr Bolton? Counter-invade? Really?
I always suspected Bolton was nuts. Now I know it.
Not that the neocons are totally a waste of space. Here's one I'll give the time of day to: Amir Taheri. Taheri put his finger on a couple of good points in his column last week. Quote:
As Monday's falloff on the Moscow stock exchange and sharp drop in the value of the ruble indicate, Putin may not be in such a strong position after all.
That brought to mind the classic diplomatic remark usually attributed to Talleyrand, quote: "Russia is never as strong as she looks; Russia is never as weak as she looks," end quote. I'm obliged to Amir Taheri for reminding us of some of the weaknesses.
For sure, though, Russia isn't as weak as she was the last time Western powers intervened in force in her affairs. That was 1918, when we sent several thousand troops over there to support the Whites against the Reds in the Civil War that followed Lenin's revolution. How'd that work out?
Here's another strategic catch-phrase, this one from British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. In a TV interview towards the end of his life, the interviewer asked Monty for his opinion about the rules of warfare. Were there any? Should there be any?
Monty, who was a man of few words, replied thus, quote:
Rules of war? There are only two rules of war. Rule One: Never invade Russia. Rule Two: Never invade China.
Sounds like pretty good sense to me.
05 — Wise Latina seeks foothold. That's enough about the Great Game. Let me just go back and fulfil a promise I made back there to say something about the Supreme Court.
One of Barack Obama's justices is Sonia Sotomayor, the wise Latina. Justice Sotomayor is still going round promoting her autobiography, which came out last year.
This week she was at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she told a roomful of students that, quote:
For more minorities and women to gain more of a foothold in government decisions, we're going to have to work the political system at the highest level.
What on earth is she talking about? The whole federal government is run for the benefit of women and minorities. Obama's other Supreme Court pick was a woman. Obama himself belongs to a racial minority; so does his Attorney General, his Secretary of Labor, his Secretary of Transportation, his Secretary of Energy, his Secretary of Veterans' Affairs, and his Secretary of Homeland Security. His Secretary of the Interior is a woman; so are his Secretary of Commerce and his Secretary of Health and Human Services; so was his last Secretary of State.
And that's just the cabinet. How much of a foothold do you want, lady?
The wise Latina further opined that, quote, "I'm very optimistic about the power of minorities to change the dialogue in this country," end quote. What does that even mean? What dialogue? Who are the two parties to this dialogue? Why does it need changing?
This, let me remind you, is a justice of our nation's Supreme Court, presumptively one of the best legal minds in the country; yet she plainly has a head full of feelgood clichés. Every time she opens her mouth, nonsense comes out. Hold on to your liberties, citizens.
Justice Sotomayor's people are from Puerto Rico. We are coming up to 1917, the centenary of the Jones Act, which awarded U.S. citizenship to a million and a quarter mixed-race Spanish-speaking peasants. This was part of the Wilson administration's positioning itself to enter World War One, something to do with safeguarding approaches to the Panama Canal.
A curious thing about that little bit of history is that the Puerto Ricans didn't want U.S. citizenship. Their House of Representatives voted unanimously against it.
From the American point of view I guess it looked like a good idea at the time. In hindsight, though, and contemplating Justice Sotomayor's meaningless babble, I'd have to say I think the Puerto Ricans got it right the first time.
06 — Sessions for President! If you think handing out U.S. citizenship to a million and a quarter mixed-race Spanish-speaking peasants was pretty dumb, whaddya say we hand out U.S. citizenship to twelve million mixed-race Spanish-speaking peasants? Plus thirty or forty million of their relatives to follow via the miracle of chain migration.
The Crony Capitalism Party is determined to do exactly that. We heard from two of their most powerful members recently, House Leader John Boehner [Clip: Johnnie Ray, "Cry"] and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.
Boehner addressed a forum of agriculture businessmen in his Ohio district March 1st. He was apologetic about not having got anywhere much with flooding the country with Mexican high school dropouts so the AgBiz leaders could make more money, but he promised to keep trying. Quote from him:
I'm still working with the President, working with my colleagues in a bipartisan way, and the Congress to move this issue along.
Boehner was surprisingly frank about his intention to keep the cheap labor illegal. Quote:
I'm not sure we're ready for nationwide E-Verify until we get into substantial immigration reform.
Let me just translate that for you from politician-speak. Translation: We won't strengthen the laws against hiring illegal foreign workers until we've made it easier for you to hire legal foreign workers.
The phrase "American workers" seems not to have appeared in Boehner's address.
Paul Ryan was in his district in Wisconsin this week. He told the local newspaper tearfully that he doesn't have enough votes to pass an amnesty bill right now.
How many votes does he have? The Congressional newspaper Roll Call polled all the House Republican offices. Answer: 18, including Ryan himself. How many Republican House members are there? Two hundred and thirty-four. So eighteen would be … hang on a minute … [calculator sound] … a bit less than eight percent.
Keep working on it there, guys.
One takeaway here is, don't give up on the Republican Party. They're not all pushing crony capitalism. There is, for example, Senator Jeff Sessions, whom God preserve! Thursday this week President Sessions… sorry, I jumped the gun there: Senator Sessions published a piece at National Review Online that I urge you to read.
Sample quote, somewhat edited:
When Americans went to the polls in 2012, the following was true: Work-force participation had sunk to its lowest level in 35 years, wages had fallen below 1999 levels, and 47 million Americans were on food stamps. Yet Mitt Romney, the challenger to the incumbent president, lost lower- and middle-income voters by an astonishing margin. Among voters earning $30,000 to $50,000, he trailed by 15 points, and among voters earning under $30,000 he trailed by 28 points.
The comment thread that follows the piece is packed with readers urging Sessions to run for President. I'll join my voice to that chorus. Run, Jeff, run!
07 — School admission tests are racist! Our educational system continues to be plagued by an achievement gap between, on the one hand, white and Asian students, and on the other hand, blacks and Hispanics. For all you We Are Doomed fans, that's Ice People and Sun People.
That pesky gap issue came up again this week in New York City. The city has a number of elite public high schools, with entrance decided by competitive examination. This week the exam results came out for the 2014 admissions.
Of all the students who passed the admissions exam, 53 percent were Asian, 26 percent were white, seven percent were Hispanic, and five percent were black. That's Ice People 79 percent, Sun People 12 percent. No, I don't know what happened to the other nine percent, I'm just reading this out of the New York Post.
Ice People 79 percent, Sun People 12 percent. For comparison, of those who actually sat the exam last October, 46 percent were Sun People, so the population in the examination halls was roughtly half and half.
There were interesting reactions to the results. Quote from the New York Post, quote:
Advocates say the low pass rate for blacks and Hispanics is an outrage. "It's not good for the city," said David Jones, CEO of the Community Service Society of New York. [Don't ask me, no idea.] "We have to come up with an admission system that is wider than this one-size-fits-all exam."
Excuse me? A "one-size-fits-all exam"? As opposed to what, different exams for Sun People and Ice People? I have an uncomfortable feeling that that is exactly what Mr Jones has in mind.
Lazar Treschan, the director of youth policy at that same Community Service Society of New York, whoever they are, spoke more bluntly, quote: "It's academic apartheid," end quote. I haven't yet seen a report of anyone mentioning slavery, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.
New York's communist Mayor Bill de Blasio is also unhappy. Quote from him:
Over time we're going to have a series of steps we take. I think ultimately we need to reform the admissions system.
I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but I'm missing Michael Bloomberg. Two years ago when Bloomberg was Mayor, some nuisance group filed a complaint with the U.S. Education Department, arguing that these admission tests for elite high schools were obviously written by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Bloomberg was asked about the complaint at a news conference at the time. Here is what he said, quote:
There's nothing subjective about this. You pass the test, you get the highest score, you get into the school — no matter what your ethnicity, no matter what your economic background is. That's been the tradition in these schools since they were founded, and it's going to continue to be.
Ah, meritocracy! Enjoy it while you can; it won't be around much longer.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
That's his name. The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs has a limit of 100 characters maximum in names, and Full Metal Havok More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The Superheroes Combined With Frostnova squeaks in with 99 characters.
Is this kind of thing common in New Zealand? I got Full Metal Havok More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The Superheroes Combined With Frostnova's phone number from the New Zealand White Pages and called to ask him. Unfortunately Full Metal Havok More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The Superheroes Combined With Frostnova was away at a sheep-shearing event so I was only able to speak to his wife, Crazy Glue Blob Queen of the Peach Melbas Luscious Lips Oompah-Loompah Cucumber Sandwich Frostnova. She didn't know.
Yeah, that's 99 characters, too — don't bother counting.
Item: Some election news here. Voters went to the polls in North Korea on Sunday to elect a new Supreme People's Assembly — that's the country's parliament. Quotes from the state news agency, dateline Sunday, headline, quote: "DPRK Seething with Election Atmosphere." Wow, exciting times over there in Pyongyang.
Further quote: "Constituencies are crowed [sic] with voters fully determined to strengthen the revolutionary power and further glorify the socialist homeland."
I was waiting with bated breath, as I'm sure you were, listeners, for the result from Paektusan Constituency No. 111, where the candidate for the Workers' Party of Korea was none other than Respected Marshal Kim Jong Un. I'm glad to report that the Respected Marshal was re-elected with 100 percent of the vote on a 100 percent turnout. Congratulations, Comrade!
I'd just note, however, that according to the Central Election Committee, turnout nationwide was only 99.97 percent. I make that about six thousand missing voters. That's got to be a bit worrying for the government. I mean, what kind of legitimacy do you have when six thousand people didn't bother to vote? This could be a crisis for the regime.
Item: A couple of military items here. First item: On Saturday, March 1st, troops at the Kadena Air Base in Japan staged what is believed to be the first drag queen and king show on an American military base.
The show, we are told, was thrown in support for the base's recently formed advocacy group for the army's LGBT community. The name of the group is OutServe-SLDN. They rejected my suggestion that the group be named Buggery in the Barracks, I don't know why.
Item: Second military item: An independent commission asked to look into the matter has reported that there is, quote, "no compelling medical reason" for the U.S. armed forces to prohibit transgender Americans from serving. They further reported that the current exclusion of these transgender folk is, quote, "based on outdated beliefs."
You know, like the belief that a person who's confused about whether he's a man, a woman, or a rutabaga is unlikely to make an efficient soldier.
The commission also determined that the President could lift the current ban without approval from Congress. You can be sure he will do so, because, you know, transgendered is the new gay. What, you thought we were still working on "gay is the new black"? That is so 2013. Get with the zeitgeist, for Heaven's sake.
Bottom line here: If you want to have your willy cut off by a trained surgeon, join the military — they'll do it for free. Hey, what's a defense budget for?
Item: Just one more: As of this week, you can be annoying in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The City Commission has struck down a 38-year-old section of the city code that states, quote, "no person shall wilfully annoy another person."
They might come to regret this. Now Grand Rapids is going to be a magnet for annoying people. I heard Joe Biden has already been seen shopping for an apartment there.
On the brighter side, allowing people to be annoying could be a commercial boon. For example: It will now be possible to hold the Oscars ceremony in Grand Rapids.
09 — Signoff. That's it, folks. I know, I should have said something about this missing plane in Southeast Asia. What's to say, though? It's missing: That's all anyone knows. A very strange business, though you have to suspect the worst, and I offer my condolences to the families of passengers.
I was trying to think of something Puerto Rican to play us out, but all I could come up with was West Side Story, which is kind of whiny and victimological. "Oh, we're having such a hard time in A-me-ree-ca with all this prejudice and stuff …" Really? So go back to Puerto Rico, pal. Don't let the door hit ya on the way out.
Not being able to come up with anything apt, I thought I'd give you a little Mozart. Here's one of my great favorites: "Un'aura amorosa" from the deeply politically-incorrect opera Così fan tutte.
"Così fan tutte" means "they're all like that," with that final "e" on "tutte" making a feminine plural. The aria is a little love song: "A loving breath from our significant other brings to the heart sweet refreshment." The singer here is Nicolai Gedda, a great Swedish tenor of the fifties.
More from Radio Derb next week!
[Music clip: Gedda, "Un'aura amorosa."]