Radio Derb: The Slow Motion Coup, The British Election, And Not Enough Trumpism, Etc
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01m36s — Straining at gnats, swallowing camels. (Russia, Mexico.) 12m08s — The dear old game of scratch-my-neighbor. (The GOP dreams.) 19m34s — We got Trump, but not much Trumpism. (Another NATO?) 26m46s — Mussolini's revenge. (Why are we in Sicily?) 30m14s — Britain's upcoming election choice. (A cuck and a commie.) 35m20s — The limits of intellectual property rights. (Derby Pie for the masses!) 40m00s — Graph of the week. (Freshwomen go left.) 43m33s — Alternative for Germany gets new leader. (We didn't know it means alternative lifestyle.) 45m05s — India's gruesome headlines. (It's the Brits' fault.) 47m07s — Vlad tinkles the ivories. (Nixon was better.) 48m06s — Bulgars shun CultMarx. (Three national-conservative parties.) 49m13s — Memorable last words. (But we're better off without him.) 51m45s — Signoff. (What Juilliard won't teach you.)

[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]

01 — Intro.     And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your humbly genial host John Derbyshire, here with's weekly roundup of the news with a reactionary twist and a soupçon of wry cynicism. This week's news was dominated yet again by frantic legalistic churning about who said what to whom in President Trump's circle, and whether the thing that was or was not said warrants impeachment. Where is all this coming from? From the Swamp, of course. This stuff is all driven by leaks from inside the White House and other offices of state. See, Washington, D.C. isn't just a swamp; it's a swamp that leaks. This is bad: you know how foul and stinky swamp-water is. Our citizenly duty calls us, though. We have to get up close and ponder these leaks. So hold your noses and follow me.

02 — Straining at gnats, swallowing camels.     Every week, sitting down here to record Radio Derb, every week I'm thinking things can't get any crazier — the hysteria has to burn itself out, the temperature can't get any higher, the fever has to break — and every week it's worse. Boy, they really want to get this guy.

I don't even bother much any more to focus on the actual thing that President Trump or one of his colleagues is supposed to have said or done. Every time, when you look closely, it's basically nothing. I've been reading news and memoirs about American presidents since the Kennedy administration. I swear that every single damn thing Trump is accused of, warranting special counsels, congressional enquiries, impeachment — every single thing has been done by other recent presidents, often to a much greater degree, with little or no comment. Remember Barack Obama's hot-mike blooper in the 2012 campaign, telling the Russian President that, quote, "After my election I have more flexibility"? Remember that? Can you imagine how today's media would react if footage showed up of Trump doing that in last year's campaign? Can you imagine? I can't. We are a big, important country with big, important things that need doing — most important of all, halting the demographic transformation that's tugging us out of the Anglosphere into the Latino-sphere and filling our country with low-skill workers just as robots are arriving to take their jobs. Those big, important things aren't getting done. Instead, our news outlets are shrieking about high crimes and misdemeanors in the new administration; things that, when you read about the actual details, look awful picayune. Sample, from today's press, concerning Michael Flynn, the national security advisor President Trump fired for supposedly lying to the Vice President about a phone conversation he'd had with the Russian Ambassador last December. To the best of my understanding, the root issue was just a difference of opinion over the parsing of what Flynn remembered having said, and the precise definition of the word "substantive," but Trump fired him anyway. Well, here's Eli Lake at Bloomberg News on the latest tranche of investigations into Flynn's activities, quote:
Flynn's legal troubles … come from his failure to properly report foreign income. One source close to Flynn told me that the Justice Department had opened an investigation into Flynn after the election in November for failing to register his work on behalf of a Turkish businessman, pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Flynn had instead reported this income through the more lax Lobbying Disclosure Act. After his resignation, Flynn registered as a foreign agent for Turkey.
End quote. Did you get that? Instead of registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, Flynn reported his income through the Lobbying Disclosure Act! High crimes! Treason! Special Prosecutor! Congressional inquiry! The Republic is in danger! Suspend habeas corpus! This must not stand! And then, the whole silly Russia business. The Bloomberg guy has words about that, too. Quote:
Flynn also failed to report with the Pentagon his payment in 2015 from Russia's propaganda network, RT, for a speech in Moscow at the network's annual gala. As I reported last month, Flynn did brief the Defense Intelligence Agency about that trip before and after he attended the RT gala. The Pentagon also renewed his top-secret security clearance after that trip.
End quote. So obviously the rot goes deep into the Pentagon. They're covering for him! Let's have a purge of the military! Special prosecutor! Oh, we have a special prosecutor? Let's have another one! Russia, Russia, Russia. For crying out loud, Russia's just a country. We have no great differences of interest with them. What, are they trying to reclaim Alaska? First I've heard of it. You could make an argument, I suppose — I don't myself think it's much of an argument, but you could make it — that Russia's a military threat to Europe. Once again, with feeling: Europe has a population three and a half times greater than Russia's and a GDP ten times greater. Europe's two nuclear powers, Britain and France, have more than five hundred nuclear weapons between them. If the Euros can't defend themselves against Russia, there's something very badly wrong over there, beyond any ability of ours to fix, even if you could show me it's in our national interest to fix it, which you can't. At this point, in fact, reading the news from Europe, I think a Russian invasion and occupation of the continent would be an improvement. A Russian hegemony might at least put up some resistance to the ongoing invasion of Europe from Africa and the Middle East. It doesn't look as though the Euros themselves are up to the job. That aside, Russia's just a country. American citizens are free to visit Russia and talk to Russians, including Russian government employees, just as free as we are to talk to Australians, Brazilians, or Cambodians. As the Lion said on his blog, quote from him:
Do liberals who are making a big deal about the Trump-Russia thing really believe that no one involved in a presidential campaign should have ever talked to anyone from another country? How would an administration ever conduct any foreign policy if no one in the administration has ever left the United States or ever talked to a foreigner?
And again, these standards have never been applied to other Presidents. Bill Clinton took campaign donations from the Chinese army; Barack Obama groveled to the Saudis; where were the calls for special prosecutors? Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, with whom Flynn had that December phone conversation, is, says the New York Post, "a suspected Kremlin spy." Is he? Why should I care? I bet ol' Sergey does all the spying he can. So, I'm sure, do the ambassadors of China, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Botswana. That's what ambassadors do. That's what we do in their countries. Does anyone not know this? "A Kremlin spy"? What is this, 1957? Russia's just a country. And as our own James Kirkpatrick has pointed out here at, it's a country run by people who hate us — the American people — less than our own elites do. As James also points out, if it's interference in our elections that bothers you, consider what Mexico's been doing for the last forty years: encouraging mass immigration of its own underclass into the U.S.A., lobbying through its consulates and Spanish-language TV channels for voter registration, using Mexican-owned outlets like the New York Times to demonize and discredit national conservatives. The founder of Christianity scoffed at those who strain at a gnat but swallow a camel. In the matter of foreign interference in our elections, the gnat here is Russia; the camel is Mexico. Our media and opinion elites have swallowed the camel. Unless, of course, just down the road a few months, there's going to be a hysteria-storm about Mexican interference in our elections. My advice would be: Don't hold your breath.

03 — The dear old game of scratch-my-neighbor.     It's all fake, of course. All the shouting and swooning is just the rage of a dispossessed class — our political class.

Our political and government class, I think I should say. There are tens of thousands of federal functionaries who have never stood for election to anything, but whose loyalty is to the political establishment. Great numbers of these people settled in to their comfortable seats during the eight years of Barack Obama's administration; so to the degree that they care about party affiliation, they prefer the Democratic Party. Washington, D.C. voted 91 percent for Mrs Clinton last November. This is the famous swamp that candidate Trump promised to drain. This is where the leaks come from. Draining the swamp means getting rid of those people. They should be fired — en masse, in their hundreds and thousands, and marched out the office door by security guards before they can trash files. Thomas Richard over at the Polizette website has a suggestion I like. "Nearly 62,000,000 people voted for Trump," he says. It was actually close to sixty-three million, but hey. He continues: "If one-half of one percent of those voters applied for political positions, that would be a pool of 310,000 Trump supporters." Now that would be draining the swamp! Sure, the operations of the federal government would be disrupted, but we'd get over it. Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, whose work was a lot more critical to the economy and public safety than some GS-9 paper-shuffler at the Department of Agriculture. There'd still be the politicians to deal with, of course. I'm dreaming of lamp-posts … but that's uncharitable of me. There are some decent patriots in politics, I know it. Still, a big majority of federal politicians are helping to drive the hysteria; and their rage against Trump is, as they say in D.C., bipartisan. Senator John McCain told CNN on Tuesday that President Trump's troubles are, quote, "of Watergate size and scale." There's a grain of truth in that. The Watergate affair was a media witch-hunt against a president the establishment elites disliked. Nixon's offenses were of a kind the media had never bothered about, nor even reported, when done by Democrat presidents — like Lyndon Johnson's bugging of Barry Goldwater in 1964. So yes: When the political and media establishment try to drive from office a president they dislike, it is kinda like Watergate. It's pretty plain by now that the Republican Party establishment is not going to forgive Donald Trump for humiliating them last year. They'll be just as happy as Democrats to see him go, if they can somehow help the Democrats force him out without showing too much outward enthusiasm. Last August, after Trump had clinched the Republican nomination, I reproduced a remark Peggy Noonan made in one of her columns. Here's the remark again, quote:
From what I've seen there has been zero reflection on the part of Republican leaders on how much the base's views differ from theirs and what to do about it. The GOP is not at all refiguring its stands.
End quote. Has there been any reflection among GOP leaders in the nine months since, about the meaning of Trump's victory? Not much that I can see. Sixty-three million Americans rejected establishment politics last November. They took a chance on an outsider. From a field of sixteen seasoned Republican politicians and one upstart, GOP primary voters selected the upstart. Then sixty-three million of us voted for him in the general. Does the GOP get this? Have they learned anything from it? Not that I can see. With some exceptions, of course. GOP elder statesman Pat Buchanan spelled it out in an interview with the Daily Caller this week. Quote from him:
We tried the wars, we tried the free trade globalism, and we tried the open borders and people don't like the results. And they're not going to like it better if we go back to the same approach.
End quote. The GOP leadership would like to go back anyway. They think if they can get rid of Trump, that will get rid of Trumpism. They yearn to get back to the futile wars, the free trade sucker economy, the open borders and multiculturalism. If they can just pull off an impeachment, the Republican party bosses believe, and install some donor-compliant drone in the White House, then we sixty-three million Trump voters will smack our foreheads with our palms and say: "Jeez, we are so dumb! Why did we let ourselves get led astray like that? Why didn't we vote for Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush in the primaries, as you wise elders wanted us to? We're sorry! We promise to follow your advice in future!" They really think that, the McCains and Grahams and McConnells and Ryans. Get rid of Trump, you get rid of Trumpism, they believe. Then we can all go back to what Orwell called "the dear old game of scratch-my-neighbor." Yep, this is the Stupid Party.

04 — OK, we got Trump; when shall we get Trumpism?     Whether Donald Trump is actually the right person to give us Trumpism, is more and more in doubt.

I am of course grateful for the small mercies. Thank you for Jeff Sessions; thank you for the work you're doing on trade; thank you somewhat for Neil Gorsuch, who may yet turn and cuck on us. Those are small mercies, though. Where's the really big, bold swamp-draining exercise, like the one I just described? Why are we still issuing work permits to illegal aliens? Why no federal legislation to slam a mandatory ten-year sentence on any illegal who, after being deported, comes back in? Why no request to Congress on funding for the border Wall? For an end to the visa lottery and restrictions on chain migration? When do we start testing the constitutionality of birthright citizenship? Why are we still in NATO? Why are we still at war with North Korea (which technically we are, since there hasn't been a peace treaty, only an armistice)? I like Ann Coulter's analogy. It's as if we're in Chicago, says Ann, and Trump says he can get us to L.A. in six days; and then for the first three days we're driving towards New York. He can still turn around and get us to L.A. in three days, but, says Ann, she's getting nervous. Me too. My nerves are taking another hit this weekend, as the President sets off on a foreign trip. The itinerary reads: Saudi Arabia; Israel; Rome; Brussels; Sicily. Early signs for the trip are discouraging. The President doesn't actually start the trip until Saturday; but Wednesday this week the Washington Post published a report, based, they say, on White House sources, that the administration wants to form an "Arab NATO" — a coalition of Sunni-Muslim states with U.S. support and American weapons. Oh great. So not only are we going to stay yoked to a Cold War alliance in Europe, a quarter-century after the Cold War ended, we're going to yoke ourselves to another, brand-new alliance in the Middle East, putting ourselves firmly on one side in the medieval squabbles of trashcan nations that have nothing to offer us but trouble. Well, and oil, I suppose: but they'll sell the oil to us anyway. What else can they do with it? The White House is putting some Trumpish spin on this. Quote from the Washington Post:
Officials said the concept fits three major tenets of Trump's "America First" foreign-policy frame: asserting more American leadership in the region, shifting the financial burden of security to allies and providing for U.S. jobs at home (through the massive arms sales).
End quote. Well, I guess the arms sales are good, at least until Saudi Arabia gets taken over by crazy radicals and all those state-of-the-art weapons fall into their hands, as happened with Iran after 1979. What's this about "asserting American leadership in the region," though? Of what benefit is that to any American? Worse yet, the Trump administration seems to be getting involved in the Peace Process between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. In Greek mythology the personification of futility was Sisyphus, who, for offenses against the gods, was condemned for ever to roll a great rock to the top of a mountain, then watch it roll back down. Whichever warm body in Washington gets assigned to do the Arab-Israeli negotiations will develop a unique insight into the suffering of Sisyphus. I wrote a column about peace processes seventeen years ago. Sample quote: "It is hard to avoid the suspicion that the phrase 'peace process' will sooner or later join other once-innocuous expressions like 'final solution' or 'cultural revolution' in the Devil's Dictionary of political jargon," end quote. Trump's desire to get behind that rock and start pushing it uphill has led to him breaking another one of his campaign promises, the one where he told us he would move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's actual capital, Jerusalem. That would upset the Arabs and scupper the peace process. From where I'm sitting that looks like a positive — a large net reduction in the amount of futility in the world. Trump apparently disagrees, though; so that campaign promise has been sent to the trash folder with all the others. I don't personally care where the damn embassy is located, and yes, I know that every politician on the campaign trail this forty years past has promised to move us to Jerusalem, with no intention of actually doing so. It's just a thing they all say to get some Jewish votes, we all know that. Still, that trash folder Trump has been tossing his campaign promises into is getting awfully full. We don't expect you to do everything you promised to do, Mr President, but we do expect a decent proportion. It's nice — and I'm still glad, truly I am — that we got Trump into the White House. Now can we please have some Trump-ism?

05 — Mussolini's revenge.     Just a footnote to that last segment.

I mentioned that after Saudi Arabia and Israel the President will go on to Rome, Brussels, and Sicily. Why? Well, to take them in turn … Rome is where the Pope lives, and Presidents travelling anywhere near Italy always drop in on the Pope to help shore up the Roman Catholic vote. That's good honest politicking and I have no problem with it. I feel pretty sure the President doesn't take the Pope's opinions about international affairs any more seriously than I do, so I have no worries on that score. Brussels is the home of the European Union headquarters, so the President will hobnob with some leading Eurocrats. Again, no objections from me, so long as the President forgets everything they've told him as soon as he's on the plane out of there. Wait a minute, though. I see that on Thursday afternoon Trump will speak at the unveiling of a NATO memorial. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster tells us that Trump will, quote, "reaffirm America's commitment to the alliance and repeat his insistence that for the good of the alliance, all members must share responsibility and share burden," end quote. I'd rather have been told that Trump would tell Europeans to defend their own damn continent … but I guess that ship has sailed. On to Sicily. Sicily, wha? See, there's a meeting of the G7 group there, advertised as "a forum for highly industrialized democracies to coordinate economic, security, and energy policy." Fair enough, I guess, and probably harmless. Afterwards the President could motor up to Corleone and deal with Don Ciccio: "E questo è per te!" Just kidding there. What the President will actually do after the G7 snooze-a-thon is, he will speak to our servicemen stationed in Sicily, to — quote from McMaster again, to "thank them for the sacrifices they all make to keep us safe," end quote. That's a nice gesture, and definitely a thing our President should do. But … why do we have troops in Sicily? Beats my pair of jacks. They are some portion of the 12,102 military personnel we have in Italy, who in turn are twelve percent of the very nearly 100,000 we have in Europe — that continent that lies devastated and helpless after the ravages of WW2, helpless against the threat of a Soviet attack. Or something.

06 — U.K. election: a cuck and a commie.     There's an election coming up in Britain on June 8th, two weeks next Thursday.

As a Brit by birth and upbringing, with an aggregate 35 years' residence in the place, I ought to be able to offer some penetrating insights into the politics over there. I can't, though: been too long away, got too Americanized, lost interest. The election result is anyway a foregone conclusion, barring a major asteroid collision between now and June 8th. The Tory Party, who currently control the House of Commons, and the government under Prime Minister Theresa May, will win easily. The other big party, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party, will lose bigly. Ladbroke's, the big bookmakers over there, are giving six to one odds against Corbyn being the next Prime Minister, and that's generous. We and the Brits were approximately in sync there for a few decades. In 1979 they elected Margaret Thatcher, a patriotic conservative supply-sider; the following year we elected Ronald Reagan, another of the same. Nineteen eighty-eight we elected Poppy Bush, a cucky establishment-type semi-conservative; in 1990 the Brits got John Major, cut from the same cloth. Nineteen ninety-two we elected a slick, cynical, center-left self-enricher, Bill Clinton. It took the Brits five years, but in due course they got one too: Tony Blair. Blair lasted ten years, nearly to the end of the George W. Bush era. The Brits were spared an Obama, and their political leadership hasn't really gotten back into sync with ours. Some of the same big political currents are operating there as here, though. The vote last June on Brexit, Britain's leaving the European Union, is a fair parallel with our November vote for Donald Trump. Working and lower-middle-class Brits, like our own Deplorables, are fed up with stagnant wages, mass immigration, and multiculturalism. They want their country back. It's not likely they'll get it. Theresa May, who's going to win this election, is no Donald Trump. Before becoming Prime Minister after last year's Brexit vote she'd spent six years as Home Secretary — that's Attorney General, approximately — in the Tory government of stupid and worthless David Cameron. She had considerable power over border control, even within the constraints of EU rules, but made only some timid cucky reforms, and scurried away even from those when the "human rights" lobbies and leftwing jurists barked at her. Net migration into the U.K. was 256 thousand the year Mrs May became Home Secretary; five years later it was 332 thousand, a thirty percent increase. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, you can think of as Bernie Sanders' dumber brother. You can get the essential measure of him by learning that the British Communist Party has endorsed him and for the first time since the 1920s won't be fielding any parliamentary candidates of their own. They figure Corbyn represents them sufficiently well. So there they are: a cuck and a commie. Poor old Britain. I'd like to tell you that there's a Donald Trump waiting in the wings somewhere in Britain, to get their politics and ours back in sync, but I don't believe it. Freedom of speech over there has been stamped out in the interests of multiculturalism; anyone who spoke as Trump did on the campaign trail would be arrested, convicted, and locked up in jail. I confidently predict that Britain will have a Muslim Prime Minister within ten years.

07 — The limits of intellectual property rights.     As a writer I am pretty keen on intellectual property rights. If people want to use my stuff, I at least want to be asked. If they use much of it, I want to be paid. That's only fair.

There is, though, a foggy borderland where intellectual property rights meet the broad popular culture. One of the things you find in that borderland is Derby Pie. Derby Pie is a Kentucky specialty, named of course for the Kentucky Derby. Here's a quote from an NPR article about Derby Pie, quote:
What's commonly called a "derby pie" is like an embellished pecan pie: sticky, sweet filling made with bourbon and chocolate chips, covered by a hard nut top and a pastry crust.
End quote. My mouth's watering already. Bourbon is my liquor of choice, and I love pecan pie. Two great American culinary inventions blended together — genius! According to the NPR report, though, if you go looking for Derby Pie in Kentucky, or anywhere else in the Republic, you won't find it, except at one place: Kern's Kitchen in Louisville. Apparently the pie was invented by Grandma Kern back in 1950, and the family filed the name "Derby-pie" as a federally registered trademark of their restaurant. (I'm just conjuring up a mental image of Grandma Kern — one of those Scotch-Irish frontier women, the kind that answered the door carrying a shotgun. I'm thinking of the story from WW2 about the old Appalachian lady who came across two men acting suspiciously on her property. When she confronted them she couldn't understand what they said, so she shot them. She told the local sheriff about it. In due course some FBI men showed up to congratulate her: It turned out the two men were German prisoners of war who'd escaped from a nearby camp. "Germans?" said the old biddy. "I thought they was Yankees!") A lot of local restaurants around Kentucky are disgruntled about not being able to put Derby Pie on their menus. One owner of a diner in Frankfort put up a sign saying: "Have a piece of 'I Can't Call It Derby Pie' pie." The Kerns sued him anyway and he's still paying off the lawyers. I have a suggestion for that diner owner and others in the Bluegrass State. My inspiration here is a bar I sometimes patronize on West 33rd Street in New York City: Jack Demsey's. The spelling there is D-E-M-S-E-Y-apostrophe-S. They wanted to name the bar after heavyweight boxing champ Jack Dempsey, "Dempsey" with a "p," but there was already a Jack Dempsey's Restaurant, who complained the bar was stealing their name. So they just dropped the "p." There's your clue, you Kentucky restaurateurs. I suggest you just switch to the British pronunciation. Start calling it "Darby Pie" and change the "e" to an "a." That should shut the attorneys up. If it works, send me one of those pies, care of I really want to try Darby Pie.

08 — Miscellany.     And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.

ImprimisGraph of the week, actually a bar chart, comes via Catherine Rampell, a Washington Post opinion columnist. The x-axis of this chart, along the bottom edge, shows all the years from 1971 to 2016. The y-axis, up the left-hand side, measures the percentage of college freshmen in the U.S.A. who consider themselves, quote, "liberal or far left." For each year there are two bars: one for male freshmen, one for females. Very interesting chart. For the first year shown, 1971, more men than women were "liberal or far left." It looks like 44 percent of men, only 38 percent of women. Then, as you pass your eye rightwards along the chart, that gap steadily shrinks. In 1982 the two sexes are equal, both around 22 percent. Yes, that's a drop for both sexes from 1971, but the men dropped more than the women, so now, in 1982, they're equal. After that, women take the lead. At last, in 2016, forty-one percent of women say they're left, only 29 percent of men do. Readers of my paradigm-shattering bestseller We Are Doomed will recall my arguing in Chapter Five that women are naturally inclined to socialism. Edited quote:
The "gender gap" in political attitudes has been remarked on since at least 391 B.C. That was the year Aristophanes staged his play "The Assemblywomen" … In the play the women of Athens, disguised as men, take over the assembly and vote themselves into power. Once in charge, they institute a program of pure socialism … Aristophanes' intent was ribald comedy. The wrinkled old hags of the city are soon demanding equal sexual access to the handsome young men, a thing that even a modern American liberal — a male one, at any rate — might regard as taking the doctrine of universal entitlement a bit too far. The playwright grasped the essential point, though: women incline to socialism much more naturally than do men.
End quote. Whether that is true in a grand universal sense, as I implied, feel free to discuss among yourselves. On Ms Rampell's figures, though, it is definitely more true among college freshmen today than it was 46 years ago. Item:  That said, here's a counterexample … maybe. Her name is Alice Weidel. She is the new leader of Germany's national-conservative AfD party, the Alternative for Germany, and she's a lesbian. As the Washington Post tells us, quote:
After days spent campaigning for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the 38-year-old lesbian goes home to her partner and two sons.
End quote. I gotta say, the German right wing has my head spinning. I thought the previous leader of the AfD, Frauke Petry, was a lesbian. She sure looked like one, with that page-boy haircut, the men's shirts she wore, and her complete lack of interest in cosmetics; but in fact Mrs Petry has four kids from a failed marriage and now has a rather handsome lover of the opposite sex to keep her supplied with … shirts. I guess I should just face the fact: sex-wise, I don't know what's going on any more. Item:  Following up on last week's segment on India, I've been paying attention to news stories from that subcontinent. I must say, they have some really eye-catching crime stories. Here's an exceptionally gruesome one from last week. I'll just give you the headline. It's long, but you need it all for the full effect. Headline: Jilted boyfriend gang-rapes ex-girlfriend with six other men then drives a car over her head to stop her being identified before leaving her for dogs to eat in India. Now that's a headline you can savor. I hasten to add, before Indian readers fire off angry emails to me, that I draw no conclusions at all about the national character from that. There are monstrous crimes committed in any country. Matter of fact, Britain last week said goodbye to Ian Brady, who died aged 79 after fifty-one years in jail. Brady and his girlfriend had kidnapped little children and tortured them to death for the fun of it. Evil has no national home. Probably that Indian headline reflects more on a national taste for lurid journalism than a plague of homicidal jilted boyfriends. And since the Indians had no national newspapers before the British took over, I suppose you could blame that taste on the Raj. Where did I spot that story? In the London Daily Mail. Item:  Last Sunday Vladimir Putin was visiting with ChiCom President Xi Jinping at Xi's residence. The President kept him waiting, so Vlad killed the time by playing some tunes on Xi's grand piano. Vlad won't be performing at Carnegie Hall any time soon. Like the proverbial dog walking on its hind legs, though, while it wasn't done well, it was remarkable to see it done at all. I was reminded of the old quip — I think it was one of Bill Buckley's — about Nixon and JFK. Kennedy made a big show of sponsoring the arts, attending classical music concerts, and so on; but it was Nixon that knew how to play the piano. Item:  It's not news to Radio Derb listeners that the old Soviet-bloc countries of Eastern Europe are much firmer in resistance to mass immigration and multiculturalism than are the West Europeans. Here's another illustration of that: Bulgaria. They had a snap election over there on May 4th. Victory went to a coalition that includes three, count 'em three, national-conservative parties, all firmly opposed to mass immigration. Nobody in Bulgarian politics, including traditional socialists, actually favors it. I owe this, and much more, to a Bulgarian listener who emailed in with it. He also takes issue with my April 21st comments on Turkey, in a thoughtful and knowledgable way that I shall deal with at proper length in my monthly diary. Thank you, Sir. Item:  Finally, some last words here. I don't mean the last words in the podcast, although we're getting close, but the actual last words some person ever spoke. I have a mild and not really very morbid fascination with this topic. You know you're at Death's door. You turn the handle, the door swings open, and you're about to step through. What are you going to say? When we did the Great Civil War Battlefields Tour two years ago, my wife was affected to actual tears by learning the last words of Stonewall Jackson: "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees." Last words just don't come any better than that. Here's a close runner-up, though. These came from 45-year-old J.W. Ledford, Jr., who was executed by lethal injection at a state prison in Jackson, Georgia early Wednesday morning. I come to bury Mr Ledford, not to praise him. To praise him would be outrageous, as he was obviously a very nasty piece of work. The crime he was executed for was murder. He'd stabbed an elderly neighbor to death, threatened the neighbor's wife then tied her up, burgled the neighbor's house and stole his truck for a getaway. For an extra helping of nasty, the neighbor he murdered was the doctor who'd delivered him into the world. Well, on Wednesday morning, after 25 years on Death Row, J.W. left the world, and not a moment too soon — at least 24½ years too late, if anyone wants my opinion. He left with a flourish, though. His last words were recorded thus, quote: "You can kiss my white trash ass." End quote, end of J.W. Ledford, Jr.

09 — Signoff.     There you have it, ladies and gents: another week here in the United States of Hysteria. Thank you for listening; and thank you for the emails and for the financial support you give to and to me.

The other day I was chatting with Earl Carlyss, who teaches violin at the Juilliard School in New York City. I revealed to him a small ambition I have nursed for many years: to learn to play the erhu. The erhu is a Chinese stringed instrument. It has just two strings, with the bow trapped between them. Many years ago in China I had a friend who played the erhu — not professionally, just for private satisfaction. I loved to listen to him play: it's a beautiful sound. Earl knew about the erhu — he knows pretty much everything there is to know about stringed instruments — and he agreed with me that it's a fine expressive intrument with a lovely sound, but he said the Juilliard doesn't currently have any programs. Perhaps they think it would be cultural appropriation. Well, here to play us out is some erhu music: a young lady named Song Fei. This is a standard piece usually given the English title "River of Sorrow" … which I don't think refers to the Potomac … There'll be more from Radio Derb next week. [Music clip: 宋飞, "江河水."]      
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