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[Music clip: Noel Coward, "Bad Times Just Around the Corner."]
01 — Intro. Forgive me, listeners. I am in the throes of a particularly acute episode of Trump Disappointment Syndrome.
Back there in November of 2016 I was skipping around gleefully, saying: "Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this sun of New York." Now here we are two-and-a-third years later, and there has been no progress at all on the National Question.
Not only has there been no progress; to judge by our President's most recent remarks, he's planning to make things worse.
02 — Trump shafts American workers. Yes, the President hammered another nail into the coffin lid of my hopes this week.
This was at a White House bash on Wednesday, the inaugural meeting for something called the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. That's a Commerce Department boondoggle to improve the quality of our workforce. If the phrase "learn to code" is slinking into your mind as you hear this, you're not far wrong.
Trump's Commerce Secretary, old Wall Street veteran Wilbur Ross, was of course present, though he didn't have a lot to say, other than some boilerplate about how "American workers form the backbone of our economy."
Also at the meeting — sitting at Trump's left hand, in fact — was his daughter Ivanka. Uh-oh. Yes, the First Shiksa is a big player in this training, education, apprenticeships, "work-based learning opportunities in the rapidly changing digital economy" zone.
There were a couple of state Governors there, too, some CEOs, think-tankers, Chamber of Commerce types, principals from organizations in the jobs & training area, and so on.
It was all very worthy in its own way, I guess, though of course all tilted towards the demands of libertarian billionaires and globalist financiers. That tilt was successfully hidden under a blanket of bland, sleep-inducing waffle about initiatives, pathways, collaborations, challenges, … zzzzzz … until the very end, when some reporter asked Trump a question.
That was when the President jumped out from under the waffle blanket and said the thing that sent me heading to the liquor cabinet. Actual exchange:
[Clip: Q: "Mr. President, how much more immigration would you like to see?"
So much for the American worker forming the backbone of our economy, although Trump's declaration was of course great news for the Bangladeshi worker.
There's no real cause for surprise here. This was, according to the Breitbart reporter, the fourth time in a month that Trump has boasted of his intention massively to increase legal immigration levels. He did it just last weekend at CPAC.
This is a complete repudiation of Trump's position not only on the campaign trail, when you might make the excuse that a campaigning politician is not under oath, but months into his Presidency — to at least August 2017, when Trump supported the RAISE Act to halve legal immigration. The RAISE Act was of course stomped to death by the Republican leadership in Congress.
It was also an exceptionally wrong time for a U.S. President to tell the world, "We want a lot of people coming in." At our southern border, illegals — oh, I beg their pardon: "asylum seekers" — are pouring in in record numbers, so much so that even the New York Times is running front-page stories about it. Quote from the Times, March 5th:
More than 76,000 migrants crossed the border without authorization in February, an 11-year high.
For the President to say a dumb thing in public is bad enough. For him to say it at such a time is double dumb.
You may say: "Yes, but legal and illegal immigration are two totally separate issues. You can favor legal while deploring illegal."
Well, yes, you can. If Trump is such a big fan of legal immigration, though, how come he didn't reveal that to us until his State of the Union speech the other week? Indeed, not only did he not reveal it, he campaigned open and loud as a candidate keen to reduce legal immigration, and continued talking that way for months into his Presidency.
And while the legal-illegal distinction might be clear as day to you and me, it may be considerably less clear to an illiterate 75-IQ Guatemalan swineherd, who just hears: "We want a lot of people coming in," or the equivalent thing in Mayan.
I'm sorry once again to upset the Ever Trumpers, but in rigorous logic there are only four possible deductions one can make from this latest fiasco:
In support of the fourth possibility there, Trump had a senior moment at the Wednesday meeting.
Ivanka was, as I said, sitting at his left hand. Sitting at the President's right hand, to make sure his other ear was covered, was Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. At one point the President thanked Tim Cook for participating in this Advisory Board … except that he referred to him as "Tim Apple."
The press jumped all over that, of course. On this point, though, at least, the President has my sympathies. He has a lot of names to remember, and it doesn't get easier after seventy. I discussed that with my boss, Peter Vdare, and he agreed.
03 — Every open-borders word is a lie. Just let me clarify a point in that segment that may have puzzled listeners.
I quoted the New York Times telling us that unauthorized border crossings in February were at an 11-year high. "Wait a minute," some of you will be saying. "I keep hearing assurances from TV talking heads and congresscritters that illegal border crossings are at the lowest levels for twenty years. What's up with that?"
What's up with it is, they're playing with words: the words "unauthorized" and "illegal," for instance.
A single guy who sneaks across the border, gets spotted and picked up by the Border Patrol, and says, "It's a fair cop, guv'nor!" is an illegal crosser.
A woman who sneaks across with two kids in tow, gets spotted and picked up by the Border Patrol, and says, "I claim asylum!" is only an unauthorized crossing.
Guess which one is way more common now than five years ago. Put it another way: Had you even heard the expression "asylum-seeker" five years ago? (In an American context, I mean. In Europe, where the asylum racket has been general knowledge for much longer, everyone's long since used to hearing "asylum-seeker.")
There are all sorts of minutiae like that the open-borders propagandists can play fudge with.
Another is the difference between Mexican border-crossers, who can be sent back if caught, and Central Americans from further south, who can't.
So you could have a whole lot of Mexicans who cross, get caught, and are sent right back; and they all count as "unauthorized crossings" even though they're back in Mexico when the numbers are published.
Then you could have a smaller number of Central Americans you can't send back, and they're "unauthorized crossings," too … except that they're here for good.
Now see if you can guess how the numbers stand today, Mexicans versus Central Americans. Ri-i-ight.
The open-borders people are master manipulators like that. A fair default assumption when you're listening to them is that every word they say is a lie, including "and" and "the."
Here's one of my favorite examples from three years ago, when Ann Coulter was promoting her excellent book ¡Adios, America! Ann did a TV spot with open-borders shill Jorge Ramos. Here's one of the questions Jorge asked her. Listen carefully.
[Clip: Let me just give you this number. So you're concerned about immigrants coming here. The percentage of foreign-born population in 1900 was 13.6 percent. In 1910, 14.7 percent. Right now, 13 percent. In other words the percentage of the foreign-born population in this country hasn't changed! So you're crying "wolf!" when there's no problem.]
You have to admire the guy's audacity, jumping right from 1910 to 2016. See, the percentage hasn't changed!
Actually, or course, it has changed mightily. Yes: in 1910 it was 14.7 percent. In nineteen-seventy, however, it was only four point seven percent.
Those very high proportions in the early 20th century were too much for American voters. They leaned on their representatives, legislation was passed — notably in 1921 and 1924 — and the foreign-born percentage dropped steadily down for over forty years. The great early-20th-century bulge assimilated, became American.
The high percentage we have today is just as vexing to Americans as the high numbers of 1910 were to our great-grandparents.
The big differences between now and then are, one, that we no longer have a robust labor movement to stand up for American workers, and two, that Congress a hundred years ago actually functioned on behalf of American citizens.
04 — One cheer for Ilhan Omar. Further adding to the stock of public merriment this week was Ilhan Omar, the dimwitted Representative from Minnesota's 5th District.
Ms Omar has been rather free with remarks about how Jews are too fond of money, use their money for disproportionate influence in our politics, have dual loyalties and in some cases dual American and Israeli citizenship, and so on.
As I noted in the February 15th podcast, this is third-rail stuff, like talking openly about black crime rates. Also like that other third rail — which I guess is then a fourth rail … whatever — also like that, there's some truth behind what she says, truth rooted in group differences.
Ashkenazi Jews have high average intelligence, so they do disproportionately well in free societies like ours. I don't know that they are any more fond of money than the rest of us — I'm pretty fond of the stuff myself — but they make more of it per capita because of their success. And yes, U.S. foreign policy is tilted towards Israel more than it would be if none of that was the case.
This is one of those zones, along with global warming and the vaccination controversy, that I don't venture into much. In part that's because, like those other zones, it's inhabited by way too many shrieking monomaniacs of one faction or another. Mostly, though, I just don't think it's a big deal.
Sure, we're partial to Israel, perhaps more than we should be; but we don't have a war guarantee with them, as we do with South Korea or our twenty-eight allies in NATO.
If Russia attacks Estonia, we are treaty-bound to go to war with Russia, a major nuclear power. If North Korea attacks South Korea, we're back at war with the Norks, a minor nuclear power.
If Egypt attacks Israel I assume we'd take Israel's side, with diplomatic and material support, but we're not under any obligation to do so, and it's highly unlikely we'd send an expeditionary force. I would certainly be against sending one.
If I'm going to lose sleep over foreign commitments, I'm going to lose it over these crazy, absurd, outdated treaty obligations we have to come to the defense of nations that are rich and populous enough to defend themselves, either alone or in local alliances.
The thrust of our foreign policy should be to press the Europeans, the Koreans, the Japanese, and the rest to be as militarily self-reliant as the Israelis are.
My foreign policy ideal is precisely the one voiced by an American President two hundred years ago:
America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
That's where we stand with Israel, isn't it? If it's not, it's where I would want us to stand. I'd also want us to stand there in respect of other free, independent nations. I really like that ideal.
So I'm not much disturbed by Ms Omar's indiscretions. I'll even raise one cheer for them. She's talking about group differences, after all. We have a taboo on talking about group differences, and I think that taboo is dumb and counter-productive.
Shouting down all talk of group differences with screams of "bigotry!" "prejudice!" "racism!" "antisemitism!" doesn't help us towards a fairer and more harmonious society, whether the group at issue is Jews, blacks, or Somali Muslims.
And on one of Ms Omar's points, I heartily agree. Dual citizenship is a simply terrible idea. I don't know why we tolerate it …
No, wait, actually I do know. We tolerate it because of a 1967 Supreme Court ruling, Afroyim v. Rusk. That's something Congress could fix, though, if Congress were capable of doing anything more than passing vapid virtue-signalling resolutions (next segment).
When I got U.S. citizenship I heard a lot of advice from other British expats about how I could keep my U.K. passport — in effect, be a dual citizen. My stock reply to them was: "You only have one mother, you only have one country." My U.K. passport has long since expired, and gathers dust in a memento box in my attic. I'm an American.
We should outlaw dual citizenship.
05 — Squaring the Muslim-Jewish circle. The really fun thing about Ms Omar's indiscretions has of course been the quandary in which they put the Democratic Party.
Yes, Ashkenazi Jews have high average intelligence; so yes, they are more successful than average; so yes, they make more money than average.
Some of that money makes its way to AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobbies. Some other of it, though, makes its way to the Democratic Party, which American Jews vote for disproportionately — about three to one.
But now you have this Democratic congressgal saying rude things about Jews and Israel. Eeek! You can imagine the panic among senior Democrats. They quickly cobbled together a lengthy resolution condemning, quote, "anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry" not to mention, of course "white supremacists."
Yes, the U.S. House of Representatives wants us to know that they renounce Satan and all his works. Well, most of them do. When the resolution came up for a vote on Thursday, it passed by 407 to 23, with one representative not voting and one voting "Present" — which means "in the House for the vote but not registering an opinion."
Naturally the 23 dissenters have been under pressure to explain themselves. Why would anybody vote against a resolution deploring all the aforementioned varieties of evil gnawing at the nation's heart? How could any reasonable person be in favor of hate, bigotry, racism, and the other scourges condemned in the resolution?
Different dissenters offered different explanations. Mo Brooks of Alabama was the most forthright, taking an anti-anti-white position. He could not, said Mo, sign on to a resolution against discrimination that failed to mention discrimination against white people and Christians.
The other member of the House Anti-Anti-White Caucus, Steve King of Iowa, continued to keep the low profile he's been keeping since mid-January, when he was stripped of his committee assignments after a New York Times reporter quoted him as being in favor of Western civilization. Rep. King was the one voting "Present" on Thursday.
Other dissenters objected that the resolution didn't specifically mention Ms Omar, who after all was the occasion of all the fuss. Since it did mention the Dreyfus Affair, the WW2 internment of Japanese, the Ku Klux Klan, questions about John F. Kennedy's loyalty, and a mass of transparently bogus statistics about anti-Muslim violence, it is a bit odd they left out Ms Omar.
Also omitted was any but the merest passing references to Muslim terrorism here in the U.S.A. To take one incident at random: In December 2016 a young man named Abdul Artan deliberately drove his car into a group of people on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, injuring thirteen of them. Then he got out and started stabbing bystanders with a butcher knife. A cop shot him dead. Did I mention that Artan was an immigrant from Somalia? There you go.
This little Thursday dust-up was likely a harbinger of things to come. Our Muslim population is nudging four million and growing fast. Most — around sixty percent — are immigrants, and three in ten of those immigrants arrived since 2010.
Like all immigrants, their vote skews heavily Democratic; and like Muslims everywhere, their opinions about Jews skew heavily negative. For Democrats who want to keep Jewish donors on board, this is a tough circle to square.
For an idea as to how much tougher it will get, glance across the pond, where Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party is tearing itself apart over antisemitism, mainly because it is dependent on the huge urban Muslim vote.
All together now, repeat after me on a count of three: One, two, three, "Diversity is our strength!"
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
The article chronicles, if you'll pardon the verb, Ireland's transformation from the intensely conservative Roman Catholic nation it still was as recently as forty years ago to what it is now: The most angrily secular, feminist, homosexualist, globalist nation in Europe, perhaps in the world.
In 1979, forty years ago this Fall, Pope John Paul II visited Ireland. At just one stop on his visit, in Dublin, he said Mass to one and a quarter million people — one-third of the entire population of the Republic. Total attendance at all his events was 2.5 million, two-thirds of the whole population.
Today the country's Prime Minister is an open homosexual whose father was Indian, from Bombay. The general tenor of public life in today's Ireland closely approximates the faculty lounge at Berkeley College.
It's been an astonishing change in just a few years. I want to say more about it, but I'm running out of space here. I'll save it for my March Diary. Meantime, check out Piers Shepherd's article. It's online at the Chronicles website.
Item: At least the Irish still have some control over their own affairs — when they're not scurrying to obey the edicts of the European Union, I mean.
Here's a different nation with a culture even more distinctive than Ireland's: Tibet. The unfortunate Tibetans have had no control at all over their own affairs for a long time: to be precise, for sixty years this week.
Marking the anniversary, this Sunday is Tibetan National Uprising Day. Tibetans in exile are holding appropriate events to commemorate the loss of their country.
You can't get more distinctive than Tibetans. They have their own language, their own religion, their own cuisine, their own calendar, their own folkways, a well-defined territory they've lived in for centuries, and they put butter in their tea. In a just world they'd be governing themselves.
This is not a just world. Tibet is under Chinese occupation. The ChiComs are very well aware of this week's anniversary. They've closed the whole country to foreign visitors until April. They've done this every year since 2008.
There is nothing we can do in a practical way to restore Tibetan independence, but we can at least bear witness to the barbarism, cruelty, and injustice of the Chinese occupation. I've tried to do that, as occasion permits, for over thirty years now, and I shall go on trying.
Item: In China itself, the annual session of the National People's Congress is under way. The job of the NPC over the next two weeks is to rubber-stamp decisions made by the ChiCom party bosses since last year's gathering. I don't understand why totalitarians feel the need for these bogus "parliaments," but I guess they know their own business best.
The NPC isn't a total non-event this year. The economy's sputtering, international human-rights monitors are on China's case about its crackdown in the far West, and there are a couple of momentous anniversaries coming up: the centenary of the 1919 May Fourth Movement, which was a key event in post-imperial China's modernisation and national consciousness, and the thirtieth anniversary of the June 4th incident, when the student movement was crushed in Tiananmen Square.
All of which seems to have put the leadership on edge. Anyone who even looks as though he might be having a dissident thought is being hustled out of the capital. Internet censorship is even fiercer than usual.
Again, there's nothing we can do about any of that; except to remind ourselves what an enormous tragedy it is that this great, huge, talented nation with a glittering civilizational history should be in the grip of a brutal and lawless despotism of corrupt gangsters.
Item: Not that everything was admirable in old China. There was, for example, foot-binding. Female children had their feet tightly bound, actually deforming the bones as they grew, so that in adulthood the foot would be tiny.
The Daily Mail ran a story this week about a 92-year-old woman in a village near Peking who, the story says, may be the last surviving victim of foot-binding. The practice had died out by the 1930s in all but the most backward areas; but once the bones had been formed, which is to say de-formed, there wasn't anything you could do to reverse the process.
I got a little twinge of nostalgia, reading this story. My first landlady in 1971 Hong Kong had bound feet. Each foot was about four inches, heel to toe. The poor woman could hardly walk. Mama Lee was her name. I suppose she's long gone now.
Sorry: just reflecting that the past and its strange customs isn't all that far away.
07 — Signoff. On that melancholy note, ladies and gents, I leave you. Hey, I told you I was feeling glum. I'll perk up, don't worry.
A merry host of listeners emailed in to tell me that last week's signout music, "Your Baby Has Gone Down the Plughole," was recorded by the late-sixties British pop group Cream. I didn't know that, and I'm obliged for the information. Eric Clapton, lead guitarist of the group, is a few weeks older than me. I guess every British kid of our generation knew that song.
I was much more impressed by one listener who told me that I had included the lyrics to "Your Baby Has Gone Down the Plughole" in my April 2008 monthly diary, then hosted at National Review Online.
I had totally forgotten that, and am embarrassed to have been caught repeating myself. I try never to repeat myself. I try never to repeat myself.
Good eye, Sir; and I'm flattered to know there are people who've been following me for eleven years.
Just one more, on the subject of embarrassment. My daughter, 26 years old, used a word the other day that I'd never heard before. The word was "dadbarrassing."
I had, in company, mentioned something from her infancy that she would rather I hadn't mentioned. "That is so dadbarrassing!" she sighed.
Did she just make that up, or is "dadbarrassing" an established item of the millennial vocabulary?
OK, enough. Let's see if Gracie can cheer me up. There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Gracie Fields, "Sing As We Go."]