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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Yes, with a fa-la-la la-la and a ho-ho-ho, this is your seasonally genial host John Derbyshire bringing you VDARE.com's survey of the news this week before Christmas.
Before I commence, please let me just remind you that the VDARE.com year-end fundraising appeal is still ongoing; and that your contributions will not only support our day-to-day operating expenses, but also our lawsuits against PayPal and the Mayor of Colorado Springs for their attempts to deplatform us. Do please help if you can. Thank you in advance!
OK, the news. First, the week's big one.
02 — The hell with politics. This week's headliner was of course the impeachment of President Trump.
I don't know whether it's something intrinsic to the event, or some psychic deficiency in myself, but I don't find this the least bit interesting.
Whichever it is, I am not alone. Consider politician David Bonior. Bonior, who is still among us, although now retired from politics, sat in the House of Representatives for 26 years. For eleven of those years — years that included the 1998 impeachment of Bill Clinton — he was the House Democratic Whip, a very important position in the legislature.
Here was Bonior talking to reporter Marc Fisher of the Washington Post on Wednesday, quote:
Even I don't watch this stuff … If it bores me, and I'm a political person, it's going to really bore a lot of other people.
I note with mild interest that David Bonior is just three days younger than me. Is it just an age thing? Some shift in public attitudes to politics and politicians that we geezers are never going to adjust to, but which twenty- and thirty-something Americans are totally locked into? Eh, maybe.
My vague impression is that it's more a sex thing than an age thing. Women take things a whole lot more personally than men do.
Political scientist Bob Weissberg likes to use the example of a pickup basketball game. You form two teams, you play, points are scored, fouls are argued over, game ends.
If it was guys playing, after the game ends they'll merge back into a single friendly group, josh around for a while, then go off and have drinks together in proper Confucian style. A week later, if you reminded them of the game and asked who won, none of them would remember.
If the players were female, though, every point, every foul would likely be remembered and argued over bitterly, angrily for years afterwards.
Bob has a point. In my VDARE.com September Diary this year I recorded spending a day with two old Chinese friends, both male, one a strong dissident who hates the ChiComs, the other a Party member and booster. Quote from my diary:
It's all very good-natured, I should say. When you've known guys for 36 years, you're not expecting any surprises. Nobody thinks anyone's mind is going to be changed; nobody's being dishonest; David's booster talk and Bruce's cynicism are both genuine. The three of us all like each other at a personal level, so the hell with politics.
That, I think I'm going to claim, is a characteristically guy thing. Women in the generality aren't like that. That's why your wife remembers tiny verbal slights from twenty years ago.
Just saying those last four words in that diary quote — "the hell with politics", those words — reminds me that those words, or something very close to them, have been my instinctive reaction this past few months whenever I've found myself looking at some newspaper article or TV talking head discussing impeachment.
In my darkest moods that sentiment, "the hell with politics," lurches off into a yearning for some dictator — a Cromwell, a Pinochet — to sweep in and clean up the whole mess: Shoot a few dozen congresscritters, terminate most federal Departments, fire a couple of million federal bureaucrats, rip up the Federal Register, repatriate the troops, capital punishment for employing illegal aliens, expel the United Nations, move the federal capital to the geometric center of the 48 contiguous states, which I believe is about two miles northwest of Lebanon, Kansas, … you get the idea. You've probably had similar thoughts yourself.
Those are bad and foolish thoughts, though, and I don't mean that facetiously. Dictatorship can solve a few things for a short while, but it's not a basis for rational governance. Cromwell was still warm in his grave when the Brits regretted the whole thing and brought back the monarchy. Pinochet did a lot better, but Chile today is not an advertisement for anything much.
So I guess when I'm thinking straight my true feeling is: "the hell with this politics" — the politics we currently have, the politics of gesture and empty rhetoric, the politics of drama queens and emoting old ladies telling us who we are.
The promise of dictatorship is an end to politics. That's impossible, though. You can't not have politics; you can only have good politics or bad politics. Our politics right now is simply terrible. I avert my eyes.
So does David Bonior, who remembers a different politics. Further quote from him, speaking of the Clinton impeachment twenty years ago:
We weren't as divided back then … You could always find people to work with on the other side who were fair. The process was very solemn, in part because there was much more respect for government then.
I think he's gilding the lily a bit, but there's some truth in there. Politics in a huge sprawling country like ours has two parts: the struggling-for-power part and the getting-things-done part. Struggling for power is a universal feature of politics everywhere. It's not pretty; it's sometimes dramatic.
Getting things done is duller and less newsy, not much of an outlet for drama queens, but we used to cope with it pretty well. Things got done.
Now they don't. Now it's just a high-school drama show, girls and girly-men screeching at each other across the stage.
If I had magic power to put things right, I'd put electronic-tag ankle bracelets on all the drama queens and banish them from the District of Columbia for life, leaving the federal government to boring guys with green eyeshades and shirtsleeve garters applying co-operative intellect, not competitive emotion, to the solving of the nation's problems.
I repeat: Our politics right now is simply terrible. I avert my eyes.
03 — Building the wall. On the matter of getting things done: December 12th I posted here on some news about the wall being built along our southern border. Yes, said a link I posted, the wall truly is being built, although very slowly. Quote from the link: "Miles Built: 93. Miles to be built: 509+." End quote.
As I said, that's awful slow, even if it's true — I expressed some doubts. Donald Trump was elected three years ago. He was sworn in as Chief Executive one thousand and sixty-four days ago as I speak. Ninety-three miles divided by 1,064 averages out at 154 yards per day — not very impressive for the can-do nation. At that rate the remaining 509 miles will take sixteen years, and that'll still be less than one-third of the total border, which is 1,954 miles.
That post of mine brought in some emails, though, as posts will. One very interesting one came from a doctor who works in a town near the border over in the western sector. Quote from him:
Some of my patients are working on the wall. I see them for physicals and if they get injured. It seems to be a big project.
That's very encouraging, and dispels some of my doubts. Plainly the administration is trying. I'd be happier if they'd been trying those first two years, instead of playing patty-cake with congressional open-borders cuckmeister Paul Ryan. Still, I'll take what I can get.
News reporting on the wall exposes some of the legal and legislative issues that are keeping things slow. Here's a story from Reuters, December 17th. Headline: Trump administration may not hit 2020 border wall goal, official says.
That official is Mark Morgan of Customs and Border Protection, the CBP. So what, according to him, is keeping things slow? Well, some federal judge — a Mexican-American judge appointed by Bill Clinton — has blocked him using military funds for wall construction. Plus, current funding for the wall runs out this weekend.
And the CBP's own figures, according to Reuters, show that 90 of those 93 miles already built replace existing structures. Commissioner Morgan pushed back on that one, insisting that everything built so far should be considered new. O-kay.
The judge issue and the funding aren't killer obstacles. An appeals court could overturn that kritarch's ruling, and Congress is right now deliberating a spending package that includes wall funds.
Still: Two years of nothing … 154 yards per day … replacing existing structures … judicial obstruction … funding issues… You don't get an impression of desperate urgency.
And this — the border wall — is just one aspect of one face of the immigration issue. I mean of course the illegal face. What about visa overstayers? What about Employer penalties? What about salutary deportations? Is anything getting done? No, nothing.
And then the other face, the legal face. The only news stories I ever read about legal immigration are about efforts to increase it.
Four million young citizens enter the workforce every year; and every year we bring in a million immigrants for permanent settlement, and well north of a further million as guest workers. Not enough! say our ruling class. We need more!
Hey, look on the bright side, Derb. If you think of our efforts here at VDARE.com to bring some reason and order to our immigration system, if you think of it as a job, it looks like it's a job for life. You're never going to be redundant.
04 — States scoff at federal law. And while the federal government inches forward slowly, grudgingly towards a rational immigration policy, state governments are headed in the other direction — the direction of immigration insanity — by mighty leaps and bounds; and the federal government makes no effort to restrain them.
Case in point — cases, I should say, they're coming thick and fast — cases in point: the laws that took effect this week in both New York State and New Jersey allowing illegal aliens to get drivers' licenses. There have been lines around the block at DMV issuing offices in both states, and not an ICE agent to be seen.
I thought of going to my own local DMV and attempting a citizen's arrest. Given that I'm a law-abiding tax-paying straight white male citizen, though, and further given the complete inversion of values we now live under, chances are I'd be the one that ended up in jail. So defeatism set in and I stayed at home.
Not everyone has succumbed to defeatism. In Rensselaer County, halfway up New York State on the eastern side, County Clerk Frank Merola said his staff wouldn't process license applications for illegals. Quote from him:
The Department of Justice has recognized this law is unconstitutional and we remain hopeful that the courts or federal government will do what is right and intervene. This is a matter of right and wrong for me, and the Green Light Law is not in the best interest of the people we serve.
Mr Merola got the support of Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin. Quote from him:
We do not believe illegal immigrants should be allowed to obtain the privilege of a state driver's license.
So patriotism isn't quite dead yet in New York State. Mr Merola had actually filed a lawsuit arguing his case, but a federal judge, wouldn't you know it, dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that Mr Merola had no proper standing to bring it. Latest news is that Mr Merola has yielded to overwhelming force from his state authorities not opposed by any federal counter-force. He will process applications from illegals.
It seems to me that if he does, he's breaking federal law. Here's the law: Title 8 of the U.S. Code, Chapter 12, Subchapter II, Part VIII, § 1324, subsection lower-case "a," paragraph I, subparagraph uppercase "A,", quote:
Any person who … knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation … shall be punished as provided in subparagraph (B).
The referenced subparagraph calls for a fine, an imprisonment of not more than five years, or both.
I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that a county clerk giving a driver's license to an illegal alien is indeed harboring or shielding from detection that alien. So, in fact, are the state legislators who passed these disgraceful laws, and the fool governors who signed them.
Do these laws not mean what they seem to mean? It can't possibly be that illegal aliens are above the law. We have it on the repeated authority of Elizabeth Warren and all the other Democratic Presidential candidates that nobody is above the law.
Once again, where is ICE? Can't we at least have some arrests and prosecutions to test these laws?
Or, if the federal government chooses not to enforce these particular laws, may we please have a full list of what other laws they choose not to enforce, just so as we know?
05 — You think our politics is rough? In foreign news, a couple of stories here from Pakistan. I'll bundle them both into one segment.
If you think impeachment's a rough deal, spare a thought for Pervez Musharraf, the tenth president of Pakistan, in power for most of the oughts. Mr Musharraf, who is 76, has just been sentenced to death for high treason. This is a sentence in absentia; ex-president Musharraf is currently holed up in Dubai. My guess is he won't be returning to Pakistan to contest the judgment.
Pakistani politics is way rough. Permit me to take a glance back across the 72 years of Pakistan's political history.
Musharraf was, as I said, the tenth president. The sixth, Zia-ul-Haq, died in a highly suspicious plane crash. The fourth, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was tried, sentenced, and hanged. Bhutto's daughter Benazir was twice Prime Minister of Pakistan before being killed by a suicide bomber.
"Politics ain't beanbag," we like to say. Compared with Third World politics, our politics, even at its most unsightly, is a lot less dangerous than beanbag. It's tiddly winks.
Second item from Pakistan. Did you see those video clips of the lawyers rioting against the doctors over there? A mob of about 500 lawyers — all in proper business attire — attacked the Punjab Institute of Cardiology on Wednesday, apparently upset over mistreatment of a lawyer by a doctor.
This was a real riot. The lawyers beat up doctors, smashed windows and medical equipment, and torched a police car. The authorities had to use tear gas.
Lawyers versus doctors, eh? It reminds me of the disturbances here on Long Island a few years ago when a mob of accountants stormed the local library, beating up librarians and setting fire to books. They claimed that one of their own number had been over-charged on a late-return fee.
I tell you, the professional middle classes are a tinder box, just waiting for a spark.
06 — The case for term limits (cont.) Readers of my 2009 best-seller We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism will recall the name John Dingell. Mr Dingell was a congressman. He got a walk-on part in Chapter Three of my book in the following sentence, quote:
We have … lost our republican virtue, traded it in for a passel of gassy rhetoric, imperial grandeur, and promises of managerial competence from rooted incumbents like Senator Robert Byrd and Representative John Dingell (longest serving member of the House at 53.2 years and counting).
That was 2009. The counting went on for a while longer. Congressman Dingell served 59 years in the House, an all-time record, before retiring in 2015. He died this February aged 92. His seat in Congress was taken over by his wife, Debbie Dingell.
Wednesday this week Debbie Dingell voted in favor of the two articles of impeachment against President Trump. That vexed the President, who told a rally of supporters that same evening that when John Dingell had died, he, President Trump, had made sure the deceased was accorded full funeral honors, and Debbie Dingell had called to thank him for it. She had, the President told us, said that her husband would be thrilled as he looked down and saw how the country was honoring him.
Recalling this at Wednesday night's rally, the President added a Trumpian impromptu:
[Clip of Trump speaking: I said, "That's OK, don't worry about it. Maybe he's looking up … I don't know. I don't know, maybe. Maybe. But let's assume he's looking down."]
The President's implication, in case you didn't get it, was that John Dingell might be in Hell, not in Heaven.
That had politicians all over reaching for the smelling salts. "As cruel as it is pathetic," honked Joe Biden. "It is beyond unconscionable that our President would behave this way." End honk.
Nancy Pelosi put on her more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger voice. Quote: "It's not funny at all. It's very sad." End quote.
Debbie Dingell herself bore up bravely, looking for a silver lining. Quote: "If anything good comes out of this, maybe people will take a deep breath and think about it." End quote.
Well, being reminded of John Dingell's 59 years in Congress and being succeeded by his wife, has got me thinking about all sorts of things: term limits, Lurleen Wallace, term limits, … mostly term limits.
And the fuss over President Trump's little quip got me wondering whether any of these ruling-class metropolitan lefties actually do believe in the existence of Hell.
Hey Joe, Nancy, Debbie: Count your blessings. At least you're not practicing politics in Pakistan.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Our Washington Watcher reported Wednesday here at VDARE.com that the law to fund the Department of Defense though fiscal year 2020 included a provision to give permanent residency to four thousand Liberians here on temporary visas.
I don't quite get this, on a couple of levels. Most obviously, what do these Liberians, who are almost all civilians, have to do with our nation's defense?
And then, wasn't the whole idea of Liberia to be a refuge for American blacks, a place they could go to escape the horrors and cruelties of white supremacy? Why would Liberians want to come back and settle here?
Digging into the backstory here, I see that some subset of these Liberians are the ebola tourists I was reporting on five years ago. There had been an outbreak of that horrid disease in West Africa, including Liberia. The first person to die from ebola here in the U.S.A. was actually a Liberian, Thomas Duncan, who passed away October 8th 2014 in Dallas. Mr Duncan had arrived two weeks previously on a tourist visa.
Our national response to that ebola outbreak seems to have been to wave in a lot more Liberians on temporary visas. Brilliant! Now they're going to be citizens, bringing in their relatives and fake relatives by chain migration, to this land of rampant white supremacy.
I await the next ebola outbreak.
Item: Those of us who lament the mass Third World invasion of the ancestral homelands in Europe have been taking some small comfort in the fact that four European countries, the so-called Visegrád Four, have set their national policy firmly against the invasion.
The Visegrád Four are Poland, Hungary, Czechia, and Slovakia. with Poland much the most populous — 38 million, against only 26 million for the other three together.
Uh-oh. Polish nationalist Paul Moczar tweeted November 29th that, tweet:
The first group of economic immigrants from Ethiopia is heading to Poland.
Apparently the fact of their being majority Christian, as indeed around two-thirds of Ethiopians are, was a deciding factor for the Polish bureaucrats.
I don't want to rain on anyone's parade here, but I can't forbear noting that the nation with the highest homicide rate in the world, El Salvador, is also majority Christian — is indeed named after the Christian Savior. Murder rate 83 per hundred thousand.
Ethiopia's murder rate is not as bad as that: a mere seven and a half per hundred thousand — one-eleventh of the El Salvador figure.
Poland? Zero point six seven per hundred thousand … which, by one of those arithmetic coincidences I find irresistible, is one-eleventh of the Ethiopia number.
So I'm sure things will work out just fine.
Item: Never let it be said that Radio Derb fails to take a clear stand on controversies of the day.
There is a furious controversy right now over in England about the right way to serve a cup of tea. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was filmed pouring milk into his teacup first, and then keeping the teabag in the cup for a lengthy period. The issue of milk first or tea first sundered the nation, setting brother against brother and husband against wife.
Even Prince Charles, heir to the throne, felt obliged to issue an opinion: milk should be added last, he told us, before taking out the teabag.
What is Radio Derb's position? I take out the teabag — squeezing it with my thumb against the teaspoon for the last bit of richness — then add the milk and stir.
I perform these maneuvers with a frisson of filial impiety, though. My dear old English mother scorned teabags. She made tea in a teapot with loose tea-leaves — Ty-phoo brand for choice — always warming the teapot first, then bringing it to the kettle, never the kettle to the pot. She'd let the tea sit and brew in its pot, under its tea-cosy, for a few minutes, then pour a little milk into the cups and add the tea to the milk. In my heart I know that's the right way. Forgive me, Mum.
Item: OK, a spot quiz. Here's a brief clip of a guy speaking a foreign language. What language is it?
[Clip: Scott Mann taking the parliamentary oath.]
Did you get it? That was British Member of Parliament Scott Mann taking the parliamentary oath the other day in Cornish.
See, Cornish is not just a hen, it's a language — one of six languages indigenous to the British Isles, the other five being Welsh, Irish Gaelic, Scots Gaelic, Manx, and of course English. Some people include Romany in the list, the language of Gypsies; some others include sign language; hey, fielder's choice.
Cornish is the old language of Cornwall, in the southwestern tippety-tip of England. There's quite a strong local identity down there.
By Tre, Pol, and Pen
… we say back in the old country; the meaning being, that Cornish surnames very commonly begin with Tre-, or Pol-, or Pen-. If your surname begins with one of those syllables and you want to get on the identitarian bandwagon, learn some Cornish. There are lessons on the internet.
The language actually went extinct back in the eighteenth century, but it's been revived by Cornish loyalists and there are now several thousand speakers. At least three other Members of Parliament have taken the oath in Cornish.
I haven't so far heard of any secession movement — a Cornexit — but nothing would surprise me nowadays.
Item: Finally, hearty congratulations from Radio Derb to Fallon Sherrock of Milton Keynes, not far from my home town in the East Midlands of England. Ms Sharrock is competing in the World Championship of Darts, currently being held in London. Of the 96 competitors, only two are female.
Tuesday this week Ms Sharrock became the first female competitor ever to beat a man at the championship level, winning a purse of seven thousand five hundred pounds. If she now wins her second-round match, against an Austrian chap, she'll win another fifteen thousand.
If this had happened in my own darts-playing days fifty years ago, my congratulations would have been severely muted, not at all hearty. Darts was a guy thing, played over pints of ale in the smoky back rooms of pubs. Women had their ways of enjoying themselves; we had ours.
So … have I awoken to how antiquated, sexist, and hatefully hateful my former attitudes were? Not really. I'm just glad to see that the World Darts Championships appear to be proceeding without any arguments at all about whether the male competitors are genuinely male and the females genuinely female.
I wonder how many more years that will be the case.
08 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time and attention, and for your emails and donations.
For signoff music we should of course have a Christmas carol. Just the other day I heard one that was new to me. This came from an old friend of Polish ancestry and, yes, it's in Polish. I can't speak Polish; but the carol sounds lovely, and I'm hoping to make up for any hurt feelings I may have caused by that segment about Polish cuckery.
I am in fact so far from being able to speak Polish, I can't even read Polish words off the page, so I'm going to have Google Translate read the name for me. This carol is called [clip: "Wśród nocnej ciszy"], which means "the silence of the night." It's sung here by the folk song group Mazowsze, which is the name of a region in Poland — the region that contains Warsaw.
Thanks to my old friend for this; thanks once again to listeners for your support; and a very merry Christmas to one and all!
[Music clip: Mazowsze, "Wśród nocnej ciszy."]