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01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, one and all, from your crustily genial host John Derbyshire, here with VDARE.com's survey of the week's news.
I am sad to report that after long consultations with VDARE.com's medical team, I have been diagnosed with Trump Disappointment Syndrome. I am told there is a twelve-step program I can book into that is quite effective; but unfortunately it is massively over-subscribed and they can't fit me in until next August. For relief in the meantime I shall continue to vent my disappointment here on Radio Derb.
Before I do so, though, here in a spirit of postmodernist self-reference is a Radio Derb segment about … Radio Derb.
02 — I feel like Krapp. As noted in my October Diary, I am diligently transcribing old Radio Derb sound files to that people who prefer to read text rather than listen to audio have access to the podcasts back to 2004.
It's slow work but I've settled into a comfortable routine. Any time I have half an hour to spare, I do some transcribing. The years 2004 and 2005 are already complete. I am currently in August 2006. Two thousand and seven looms ahead, a vast un-transcribed Sahara stretching to the horizon. After that it gets much easier, as I have rough transcriptions for most episodes. The text just needs cleaning up and standardizing.
It's kind of creepy, though, listening to your own voice from twelve, thirteen, fourteen years ago. I feel like Krapp. That's K-R-A-P-P, the protagonist of Samuel Beckett's play Krapp's Last Tape. Quote from myself, in an appreciation of Beckett I wrote some years ago, longish quote:
The Krapp of Krapp's Last Tape is the only character in the one-act play. He is a shabby man of sixty-nine. It has apparently been his habit to make a tape recording every birthday. In the play he listens to a tape he made thirty years before, when he was thirty-nine. The taped voice of Krapp-39 mentions that he has been listening to a tape from ten or twelve years earlier, say Krapp-28. Krapp-39 mocks Krapp-28, and Krapp-69, listening, joins in the mockery. Then Krapp-69 mocks Krapp-39 … yet keeps rewinding to an encounter Krapp-39 describes, a moment of tender contact, not explicitly sexual, with a woman.
End quote. Like Krapp, I occasionally find myself wincing at some of the opinions I held back then, opinions I would not now defend. Those winces have been occasional, though. On balance I've been pretty consistent — as I darn well should have been, the podcasts starting in my late fifties.
The truly depressing thing is listening to myself passing comments on immigration and the National Question, comments that I could cut'n'paste into today's podcast without them being at all anachronistic. In that zone practically nothing has changed since the mid-2000s.
Where things have changed, they've changed for the worse. Here I was in May of 2006, for example, celebrating the town of Herndon, Va. Quote from myself back then, following local elections in Herndon, quote:
Last August the town council of Herndon voted five to two to spend 170,000 of the town taxpayers' dollars to establish a hiring center where illegal immigrants could hang out while waiting for local contractors to illegally hire them for a day's illegal work.
End quote. Well, that's nice. I can't find census figures for Herndon in 2006; but in 2016 the Hispanic population was 36 percent, while in 2010 it was only twenty-six percent. On a linear extrapolation backwards to 2006, it would have been nineteen percent when I podcasted. On a linear extrapolation forward from 2016, it's likely nudging forty percent now.
So the Hispanic population of Herndon went from less than twenty percent when I gloated about pro-illegal-alien candidates being voted off the town council, to nigh-on forty percent today.
Vote any way you like, listeners; it will make no difference. Immigration-wise, nothing gets done and nothing changes, except for the worse.
03 — Trump Disappointment Syndrome. That segues naturally into the Trump-disappointment segment, which I may as well make a permanent feature of the podcast. The one thing a National Conservative can expect from our President is disappointment.
The biggest disappointment is of course on immigration. No proper border; no universal compulsory E-Verify; no tax on remittances; no end to birthright citizenship, or chain migration, or the visa lottery, or the investor-visa scam, or the OPT guest-worker racket, or the ruthless replacement of America workers by cheaper H-1 and H-2 visa holders from abroad …
And that's just to speak of formal, legal immigration issues. Illegal immigration is worse than ever. Headline from Breitbart.com, November 26th, headline: Illegal Immigration under Trump on Track to Hit Highest Level in a Decade.
How many illegal aliens do you think CBP apprehended last month, month of October, at the Southern border, listener? Several hundred? A couple of thousand? Could it possibly have been even ten thousand or more?
Listener, it was fifty-one thousand. That's seven and a half caravans, using the unit of measure I introduced four weeks ago: one caravan equals seven thousand souls. Seven and a half caravans in one month.
Where legal immigration is concerned, you may fairly say that the President can't legislate, only Congress can legislate, and the congressreptiles just won't because they're all bought and sold by the cheap-labor and open-borders lobbies.
To which I'd reply: true enough, but much of the success or failure of a President is measured by how good he is at getting Congress to do stuff. On that metric, Trump is an utter failure.
Where illegal immigration is concerned, the President does have real power: law-enforcement power by executive authority, power as Commander-in-Chief to deploy troops. Trump hasn't done nothing in those areas, but he hasn't done much; and what he's done has been timid, half-hearted.
When I voted for Trump two years ago I wouldn't have been able to imagine myself saying the following thing, but here I am saying it: I wish Trump would be confrontational. I want to see him throw down some gauntlets — to Congress, to the courts, on birthright citizenship, on interior enforcement.
Sure, the lefty judges and the congressweasels will fight him every step of the way; but battle will have been joined, and citizens will be talking about these issues, instead of about who paid for whose lunch in Moscow in 2016.
04 — Criminalizing politics: the opportunity cost. You can gather from that last comment that I'm not a fan of Robert Mueller and his investigations.
That's not partisan on my part: I deplore altogether the criminalization of politics. Chatting with the boss, Cousin Peter, on the video feed earlier this week, Peter said he wanted the Senate Republicans and the President to get some legal action going against Hillary Clinton, who seems to have broken all sorts of laws when she was Secretary of State.
I disagreed. I yield to no-one in my loathing of Mrs Clinton, and would pull over and watch with gleeful satisfaction if I spotted her in an orange jump-suit doing weed-whacker duty on some highway verge upstate.
The trouble is, opportunity cost. While newspaper op-eds and TV bloviators are filling the political atmosphere with these investigatory leaks, these prosecutions over picayune financial irregularities and telling lies to congressional committees — as if congressional committees don't get lied to every day of the week, and three times on Fridays — while all this irrelevant flak is filling the air, important things aren't getting discussed or acted on.
Worse yet: under cover of all that flak, wicked and subversive things are getting done.
An example from this week: Congress has decided to double the number of H-2B visas for seasonal guest workers — which is to say, for foreign workers to do jobs that American high-school and college students used to do in their vacations.
This is the result of a deal struck between some key Senators — Republicans, of course — and cheap-labor lobbying groups.
To name actual names, the Senators are Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Mike Rounds of South Dakota. The lobbying groups are the Seasonal Employment Alliance and the H-2B Workforce Coalition.
Concerning those lobbies: just those two are the tip of a mighty iceberg. Washington, DC is crawling with these cheap-labor lobbies. They are brazen, shameless, and out in the open, to the degree you have to think they are mocking us — us, working Americans.
The H-2B Workforce Coalition, for example, describes itself on its website as, actual quote:
A consortium of various industry associations throughout the United States that have joined together to protect American workers by ensuring American small and seasonal employers have access to legal short-term temporary workers during peak business periods.
End quote. See, they are protecting American workers by bringing in cheaper foreign workers to undercut them! You can imagine the hoots, the guffaws, and the high-fives around the conference table when they approved that mission statement.
To be absolutely fair to the Senators, they have had the decency to pretty up the pig with some lipstick about employers, quote, "verifying their new hires through E-Verify." They're given a year to do the verifying, though — these visas are supposed to be for seasonal jobs, remember, and an E-Verify check takes about thirty seconds — and an unspecified further number of years to verify their existing workforces …
In short, the quid pro quo the Senators worked out with the cheap-labor lobbies is a whopping great quo of 66,000 extra visas for employers in return for a quid as substantial as wet tissue paper.
And there is no political space for us to discuss this flagrant betrayal of American workers because we're all too busy gasping and swooning over a bounced check some third-level Trump campaign flunky signed three years ago.
05 — It's not just immigration. I haven't quite finished venting my Trump Disappointment Syndrome — do you mind one more segment?
There were three things I hoped for from President Trump.
I think I've dealt adequately with Trump's failure on the National Question, at least until next week's vent.
On the second thing, some analysts at Brown University have come up with a full estimate for the cost of all our post-9/11 wars. The phrase "full estimate" there means an estimate that includes not only the formal congressional appropriations, but also secondary costs like veterans' care, interest on borrowed money in the appropriations, and war-related expenditures by the State and Homeland Security departments.
Bottom line: just a wee bit short of six trillion dollars through to the end of fiscal year 2019.
Six trillion dollars … and counting. There is no end in sight here. As ZeroHedge observed in his comment on this, quote: "Many of those wars have become more or less permanent operations, with no consideration of ending them under any circumstances." End quote.
Six trillion dollars is twenty thousand per citizen, close to fifty thousand dollars per federal taxpayer. Are you happy that your fifty thousand has been well spent? In Afghanistan? In Yemen? In Pakistan? In Iraq? Not to mention, of course, the tens of thousands of troops we have scattered around the world in places where we're not fighting.
I mean, thank goodness for the 12,000 troops we have in Italy! If they weren't there, a new Mussolini would come up in no time and go invading Abyssinia, putting the U.S.A. in mortal peril!
As for infrastructure; well, two years in to Trump's Presidency, I don't see much going on, nor even being talked about.
Here's a thing we might talk about. I mean, you know, the Infrastructure President might talk about.
My colleague Fred Reed over at The Unz Review has been visiting China and posting his impressions. He has been especially enthusiastic about China's high-speed trains. He notes, for example, that you used to be able to take a plane for the two hundred miles from Chengdu to Chongqing, two cities in China's southwest. Now there are no more flights. There's a high-speed train that takes a little over an hour — "high-speed," according to Fred, means 180 miles an hour. It's way more convenient and less bother than taking a plane.
If you fly much around the U.S.A. you'll be seething with envy here. I'm assuming everyone hates flying as much as I do. The extortionate cab fares out to the airport; the security theater at the departure gates — don't forget to take your belt off! — the cramped seats and unresponsive cabin crews, … A high-speed train down the northeast corridor from Boston to D.C. would be a huge improvement to our business efficiency and human happiness.
Why don't we have one? Fred points to a lot of reasons. Some of them are more excusable here than in a communist dictatorship — property rights, for instance. Others, like the lobbying power of the airlines, speak to correctable defects in our political system. And then of course — opportunity cost again — there's that six trillion dollars we've peed away chasing jihadis around the houses in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I'm always a bit wary of comparisons between First World infrastructure and Third World infrastructure. Visiting Taiwan two years ago I was much impressed by the cleanliness and efficiency of the Taipei subway system. What a contrast with New York's! You can spend an aggregate hour standing on Taipei subway-station platforms without seeing a single rat!
But then, I reflected, they built their system from nothing just a few years ago, with modern materials and techniques. New York is stuck with what it inherited from 1904. So the comparison isn't altogether fair.
It's not altogether un-fair either, though. Taiwan's a small place with almost no diplomatic recognition. The U.S.A. is a mighty world power with multi-trillion-dollar budgets. We can't build a high-speed rail? Really?
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
People go out at night without cash, which may cease to exist in a few years. China seems to have leapfrogged the credit card.
End quote. It's not just China: Sweden's going the same way. The value of bills and coins in circulation in Sweden peaked in 2007 and has been declining fast ever since; it's now at its lowest level since 1990.
This seems to me a really bad idea. It's a threat to liberty when every tiniest commercial transaction you engage in is recorded electronically on some government database; and it's a threat to a nation's financial stability — think Solar storm or EMP attack, or just a failure of the power grid. Let's stick with cash.
Item: The trial of James Fields began this week in Charlottesville, Va. Fields, 21 years old, from Ohio, is the fellow who drove a car into a crowd of Antifa rioters in Charlottesville last year. One woman died and several were injured.
It seems disgraceful to me that it's taken fifteen months to bring Fields to trial. The Sixth Amendment guarantees us, quote, "the right to a speedy and public trial." Fifteen months doesn't seem very speedy to me, for an incident that occurred in plain daylight before numerous witnesses. Friends who are familiar with the justice system, though, tell me it's not abnormal.
This trial is in a Virginia state court. When it's done, Fields will also be tried in federal court on "hate crime" charges.
On the state murder charge, he ought to have a good case. Local politicians had stood down the police force so Antifa could run wild, to disrupt a lawful demonstration; and it was an armed Antifa mob that Fields encountered. If he can establish that he feared for his life, and saw the car as his only weapon against the mob, he might get off.
The federal hate crime charge is just a ruse to get around the double-jeopardy clause in the Fifth Amendment. It basically charges Fields with having bad thoughts. Hate crime laws are a disgrace to Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence, an insult to our independence of mind. "You can't go to jail for what you're thinking," went the 1956 pop song. In 1956 indeed you couldn't; now you can, and James Fields very likely will.
Item: If liberty is in bad shape here with the criminalization of wrong thoughts, things are far worse over in Britain.
Britain's asylum laws are just as ill-thought-out and easy to game as ours, so much so that the phrase "asylum seeker" is just a synonym for "illegal alien" over there.
The laws on under-age asylum seekers are especially daft. So two lads arrived in England from Iran, we are not told how, claiming to be 15 and 12 years old. They were handed off to a charity, which found housing for them and placed them in schools for full-time education.
Classmates of the 15-year-old, whose name was Siavash, couldn't help noticing that he was 6ft 1in tall, had stubble on his chin and a receding hairline. Rumors got through to the parents, who tried to raise the matter with the school authorities. They were of course scolded for "racism" and sent away.
This all got into the newspapers; the government took notice, and now Siavash — who is at least 25, possibly 30 — has been removed from the school. His younger companion, advertised as 12 years old, is still in the high school. He may be no more than 20.
To tighten the social-control screws still further on the Uighurs, the ChiComs have started deploying Chinese government workers to live in the homes of Uighurs who have relatives abroad, or who are suspected of bad thoughts — of being too religious, for example. (The Uighurs are traditionally Muslims.)
Even if you don't have one of these cadres living in your home with you, one is liable to turn up at weddings and funerals, on the lookout for thoughtcrime.
It's all very creepy. I should be careful about reporting these stories about ChiCom social control, though. You never know who might be listening. I don't want to give any ideas to our own Thought Police. Next thing you know, Google and Twitter employees will be fanning out across the country asking to crash on the couches of people they've identified as badthinkers …
Don't laugh. This could happen. Nothing would surprise me at this point. Just be careful who you open the door to.
Item: I can't say I've ever engaged much with Neil deGrasse Tyson. I'm vaguely aware of him as a science popularizer. Browsing his Wikipedia page, I see he attended Bronx High School of Science, one of New York City's very selective high schools, so he's obviously smart.
He's also black, though — an enormous advantage to a smart guy's career, especially in science. I have it on good authority that American universities fight like cats over the small number of black math Ph.D.s that come on the market every year. They are desperate to darken up their math faculties. No doubt it's the same with other STEM subjects.
That's the society we live in, though. It's not Tyson's fault and I don't blame him for taking advantage of his black privilege.
So it was with only very mild interest that I saw he's been caught up in this "sexual harassment" hysteria. One woman has claimed Tyson slipped her a mickey and raped her in 1984, when they were both graduate students. A second woman, a physics professor herself, has claimed that Tyson groped her at an academic party in 2009. And yet a third lady says that Tyson made inappropriate sexual comments to her when she was working as his assistant in 2016, causing her to quit.
So from having no particular feelings at all about Neil deGrasse Tyson I've now moved to feeling sympathetic and supportive to him. Where sexual harassment is concerned, my default assumption is that it's all a lawyers' ramp, and that the women involved are having the prospect of big fat cash settlements dangled in front of them by shyster attorneys.
I can certainly report that if I had tried the things Tyson is accused of on the young women that I recall from the 1960s and '70s, I would have come away with a black eye. I find it hard to believe that women have somehow forgotten how to administer a good slap, or how to utter phrases like, "Keep your hands to yourself, pal!"
Good luck fending off the harpies from the Trial Lawyers Association, Neil; and I promise to watch your next TV special.
Hillenburg was the creator of SpongeBob Square Pants, whose adventures provided much pleasure and laughter to my children and myself around the turn of the century. I find I can still sing not only the theme song, but also the promotional song for Krusty Krab pizza. [Sings.] Although it's been several years since I last overheard the kids speaking of me in the third person as Squidward.
It's no small thing to have provided dozens of hours of harmless pleasure to millions of people. Stephen Hillenburg's was a life well lived, and cut short much too soon. Condolences to his loved ones.
07 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents, this last day of November, 2018. Thank you for listening, and please make a note in your desk calendar that Radio Derb will be off the air next week. I shall be taking a brief vacation to energize myself for the Christmas season. Radio Derb will resume on Friday, December 14th.
That's a shame not just because the world will be deprived of my erudition and wit for a week, but also because next Friday is December 7th, so I miss the opportunity to tell my favorite December 7th anecdote. People my generation all know it, but younger listeners may not.
This is a true story. Back in 1966 when Lyndon Johnson was President, his younger daughter Luci Baines Johnson, just 19 years old, got married. The wedding date was set for August 6th that year.
There was a minor fuss about that. August 6th is the date we dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. There were some indignant comments in the Japanese press. The daughter of the American President getting married on such a grim anniversary? Was this some kind of deliberate insult?
When Luci was told about the criticisms she responded in proper LBJ style. "OK," she said, "we'll change the date to … How about December 7th?"
The wedding went ahead on August 6th as scheduled.
We don't make presidential offspring like that any more. We don't write pop songs as good as the one I mentioned in passing a few minutes ago, either. Here's a snippet of it to play us out.
There will be more from Radio Derb the week after next.
[Music clip: The Four Lads, "Standing on the Corner."]