Radio Derb: Trump's Back Against The Wall, Brexit In Name Only, And Show Trial In Charlottesville, Etc.
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01m36s  Trump's back now against the Wall.  (The price will be high.)

08m51s  Nationalism: the money quote.  (Honoring Alexander Solzhenitsyn.)

16m36s  BINO: Brexit In Name Only.  (Like Khrushchev sending in the tanks.)

23m48s  Show trial in Charlottesville.  (Swinging the authoritarian door closed on us.)

34m11s  Pay us to go away!  (21st-century Danegeld.)

36m43s  Another Trump retreat.  (On defense spending.)

38m50s  Ideograph of the year.  (Japan chooses.)

40m45s  Signoff.  (With James Taylor.)  

01—Intro.     And Radio Derb is on the air! That was a snippet from one of Franz Joseph Haydn's Derbyshire Marches and this is John Derbyshire with a full fortnight's news.

Yeah, sorry about the lacuna there. The Derbs took a brief vacation last week. My trouble and strife had some vacation days from her employer she had to use up before year end; a friend recommended a hotel; there were budget flights; so off we went for five days in Cancún.

This was totally off the grid, a thing we online bloviators need to do once in a while. I didn't take my laptop and I still don't have a smartphone.

I shall have more to say about Cancún in my month-end diary. Radio Derb is for news, and my ruminations thereon. So … where's Ethel? Here she comes.

[Clip:  Ethel Merman, "Let's go on with the show."]


02—Trump's back now against the Wall.     Is it too early to declare the Trump Presidency a failure? Well, as a British Prime Minister once observed: "A week is a long time in politics." Two years is a geological epoch.

So let's cling to hope. We could enter a huge, prolonged economic boom. The Chinese Communist Party might step down and hold nationwide elections. Robert Mueller might be exposed as a child molester. Who knows?

You have to say, though, that things don't look good for patriotic immigration reform. Our President has, through incompetence and inattention, got himself into the worst possible position. His back is, so to speak, against the Wall.

How so? Well, look. The Wall—the wall to protect our southern border—was his signature campaign promise in 2016. It's what got him elected.

We're fifteen months away from the Spring of 2020, when that year's Presidential race gets going in earnest. If, at that point, there is no Wall, Trump is toast. Worse than toast, in fact: He'll be a laughing-stock. As present-centered—as bereft of foresight—as he is, he surely knows this.

It follows that if he wants to be re-elected—or even just to leave the Presidency after one term in something better than jeering ignominy—he has to build that Wall.

How's he going to do it, though? The regular route would be for Congress to appropriate funds. An alternative route would be for Commander-in-Chief Trump to instruct the military to build the Wall. There don't seem to be any other options: although a movement has come up to crowd-fund the financing for a wall. That's touching, but … yeah, well.

The only hope of getting Congress to appropriate funds is for Trump to pay them a huge political price for doing so. What kind of price would we be talking about? Well, there would be the most extravagant and wide-reaching amnesty for starters, probably with expedited citizenship to get those twenty or thirty million new legal residents on the voter rolls ASAP.

And that's just for starters. Abolition of ICE? Check. Huge increases in refugee numbers? Check. Signing on to the U.N.'s global migration racket? Check. Massive expansion of legal immigration? Check. Universal sanctuary laws? Check—sanctuary much!

Knowing how much Trump needs that wall, Congress will squeeze him till the pips squeak.

And there would be a negative price, too. Congress would be very firmly insisting not only that certain things be legislated, but that certain other things would not—no way! never!—be legislated. Overhaul of the asylum laws, for example; an entry-exit tracking system to catch visa overstayers; taxing of remittances; repeal of birthright citizenship; … fuhgeddaboutit!

Universal compulsory E-Verify, with colossal penalties for employers in violation? As Radio Derb has told you before, this is the nuclear weapon against illegal immigration. It has never stood much of a chance in Congress, given that those employers are major donors to the Republican Party. Its chance would now go from microscopic to zero.

What about Option Two: commanding our military to build a wall? Ann Coulter's been promoting this. Given the lady's legal and constitutional expertise, I'm willing to believe it can be done.

Can it be done in fifteen months, though? Even without much legal expertise, I can foresee all kinds of delaying tactics the congressweasels could employ, with the eager assistance of their pals in the federal judiciary. There's the little matter of acquiring land rights, just for starters.

If you thought the legal challenges to Trump's 2017 Travel Ban were egregious, get ready for the mother of all challenge-fests. And remember: the challenges don't have to succeed at last, they just have to stall effective action for a year and a quarter.

In those first two years, with his party in control of Congress, Trump might have given us something on patriotic immigration reform. He might have nagged and bellowed, propagandized to the nation in broadcast addresses, put immigration reform at the front of everyone's mind, made E-Verify a bigger national talking-point than Kim Kardashian's butt. Even the bought-and-sold cucks of the congressional GOP would have had to pay attention.

The opportunity was utterly wasted. Now, if we get a border wall, it will come at a terrible price—a laying-waste of such immigration control as we have. And I'm betting we won't get a wall anyway.


03—Nationalism: the money quote.     U.S. immigration policy is nested in the broader issue of our time: the struggle of settled Western nations with their distinctive national characters and familiar—familiar, I mean, to the citizens who comprise them—their familiar styles of managing their public affairs, the struggle of these nations to keep their nationhood intact against the ambitions of globalizing elites.

As it happens, there is a keynote quotation on precisely this topic that is particularly apt this week. Here at we have used the quotation, or bits of it, rather often, as it accords precisely with our own inclinations and our mission here. Cousin Peter, my boss here at, used it to rhetorical effect in his 1995 book Alien Nation. I used it in my planned 2016 address to Williams College, the address that college President Adam Falk judged so dangerously inflammatory, he banned me from his campus before I could deliver it.

FacetThe quotation I am talking about comes of course from Alexander Solzhenitsyn's Nobel Lecture, the lecture he sent to the Swedish Academy on accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. Since we have gotten such mileage out of the quotation already I might, under other circumstances, have forborne bringing it out yet again. It is, though, especially apt this week: Tuesday, December 11th, was the centenary of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's birth.

Here's the quotation:

In recent times it has been fashionable to talk of the levelling of nations, of the disappearance of different races in the melting-pot of contemporary civilization. I do not agree with this opinion, but its discussion remains another question. Here it is merely fitting to say that the disappearance of nations would have impoverished us no less than if all men had become alike, with one personality and one face. Nations are the wealth of mankind, its collective personalities; the very least of them wears its own special colours and bears within itself a special facet of divine intention.

End quote. Now I see those words again, in fact, I am absolutely not going to apologize for bringing them forward for the umpteenth time at Instead, I'm going to propose that schoolchildren all over the Western world be made to memorize them, as America kids are taught to memorize the Pledge of Allegiance … assuming they still are. If they aren't, I'd rather not know.

As I've mentioned before, I binge-read my way through Soviet dissident literature forty years ago. Solzhenitsyn was of course on the list; but with all respect for his suffering and his achievement, and with all due thanks for that precious quotation, I can't truthfully say I ever really warmed to him as a writer. His style seemed to me heavy and clumsy. That could be the translator's fault, though; I was reading him in English. If any fluent readers of Russian are listening, I'll be glad to air your opinion in a future podcast.

Which Soviet dissident writers did I warm to? Well, Bukovsky was most fun to read, as a person who I thought—the way you do when you engage with an author's work—I would most enjoy meeting over dinner and drinks.

From a literary point of view, though—I mean, if I were being asked to place a money bet on who would still be read a hundred years from now—I liked Varlam Shalamov. That comes with a warning: Shalamov is not fun to read. He is well over on the grim side of Soviet dissident literature, together with Solzhenitsyn's early long poem Prussian Nights. These are works that should be read only by daylight. having just yesterday evening attended the Christmas party of the conservative high-culture magazine The New Criterion, I'm glad of the opportunity to put in a plug for that fine periodical, now in its 37th year of publication.

In the Books section of the November issue of The New Criterion, Andrew Stuttaford has a portmanteau review of four works of fiction, one of them a new translation of Shalamov's Kolyma Stories.

Stuttaford gives a full and fair short account of Shalamov and his work. He says, correctly, that there is almost nothing lyrical in Shalamov's work. There is a little, though. I can still remember, forty years after reading it, a very lyrical description of the Siberian landscape, all the more striking for coming amid so much bleakness.

All honor and respect to these survivors of one of the most horrible despotisms the modern world has given us—one for which progressives and globalists are still cheering.

And before leaving this topic, I can't resist asking the question Steve Sailer always asks when the name of Solzhenitsyn comes up: When will some publisher give us a full translation of his last book Two Hundred Years Together, which was a history of the relations between Russian Jews and Gentiles under both Tsarism and communism? Why has no publisher so far done so?


04—BINO: Brexit In Name Only.     OK, from the general to the particular.

The particular particular for this segment is Brexit, the attempt by the people of Britain to escape from the globalist nation-killing clutches of the European Union.

The phrase "people of Britain" needs some qualifying. Leavers—people who wanted to leave the EU—did indeed predominate over Remainers in the Brexit vote two and a half years ago, but there were regional differences.

The English, who have been worst afflicted by mass immigration, were strong for leaving. The main exception to that was London, which has been so overwhelmed by immigration, white British are now actually a minority in the city—a minority heavily tilted towards ethnomasochist Social Justice Warriors.

The non-English regions of the country—Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland—delivered more votes in aggregate for remaining in the EU, 2.87m to 2.22m, though obviously not enough to tip the overall U.K. vote. And hidden within that aggregate, I should say, was a Welsh vote to leave—52.5 percent of Welsh voters, up close to England's 53.4 percent.

The Welsh electorate is small, though, less than six percent of England's. So with no offense to the Welsh, it's fair to say that to a good first approximation, the Brexit vote was, more than anything, a cry for English nationalism.

So that was two and a half years ago. How is the exit process going?

Not well. Britain, like the U.S.A., is ruled by an entrenched establishment who don't much like ordinary citizens and don't much care what they want. This establishment has been putting up a fierce rearguard action.

The latest skirmish in that action took place Tuesday evening, when Tory Members of Parliament held a vote of confidence among themselves in their Prime Minister, Theresa May. Mrs May won the confidence vote by 200 to 117, so she will go on being Prime Minister and negotiating with the EU over exit terms.

The terms she has gotten so far are not very good from the point of view of restoring her nation's sovereignty and independence. The polite name for the current package is "soft Brexit." The not-polite name is BINO—"Brexit in name only." The 200 MPs who voted for her on Tuesday are establishment types who are fine with BINO. Most of them are Remainers who want no exit at all. The rebels who voted against Mrs May on Tuesday want a better deal than the feeble one she's promoting.

What a mess! Can it really be so hard to restore a nation to full sovereignty? There are plenty of nations that have held on to theirs, trading with other nations on mutually-agreed terms, participating as necessary in globalist agreements on things like air and ocean pollution, yet jealously guarding their nationhood and carefully controlling immigration. These nations—nations like Australia, Iceland, and Japan—are doing fine.

We even have instances of a transnational bloc breaking up, the nations going their own ways. This happened when the U.S.S.R. fell apart and the Warsaw Pact collapsed in 1991. OK, there were some messy transitions in there, and those nations, after some years, ended up in the EU; but it wasn't Armageddon. The problems that Mrs May pretends to find so vexing—borders, trade, migration—were handled somehow years before the EU came along and imposed uniformity.

Likewise we are told that Northern Ireland, and its border with the Irish Republic, are big sticking problems in these Brexit negotiations. Really? Have there never before in history been two friendly nations amicably sharing a land border? Are there no two such nations anywhere in the world right now?

It may be that national sovereign independence is like innocence: once lost, it can never be regained. Or it may be that the EU, from spite and vindictiveness, wants to make an example of Britain, so that no other nations will dare think of leaving their bureaucratic empire—the managerial-bureaucratic equivalent of Khrushchev sending tanks into Hungary in 1956.

If the latter, the EU despots have willing accomplices—quislings—in Britain's Deep State, and in the Republic of Ireland, whose own Prime Minister is an eager tool obediently jumping to the crack of the Eurocrats' whip.


05—Show trial in Charlottesville.     As before mentioned, I don't have any legal training or expertise. When I need to understand some point of law I pull down my dog-eared 1983 edition of Black's Law Dictionary and look it up.

I just did that to look up "murder." Quote from Black's:

Murder.  The unlawful killing of a human being by another with malice aforethought, either express or implied.

End quote. Well, that seems pretty straightforward. Black's goes on to tell us that there are degrees of murder. Further quote:

In most states murder is divided into two degrees … All murder which shall be perpetrated by means of poison, or by lying in wait, or by any other kind of wilful, deliberate and premeditated killing, or which shall be committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate any arson, rape, robbery, or burglary, are commonly deemed murder of the first degree; and all other kinds of murder are deemed murder of the second degree.

End quote. Hoo-kay, got that. Where am I going with this?

To Charlottesville, Va., where the trial of James Fields has been taking place. Last week Fields was convicted of the first-degree murder of Antifa demonstrator Heather Heyer in August last year. Fields had driven his car into a crowd of demonstrators, causing Ms Heyer's death, apparently from a heart attack. He also faced charges of malicious wounding and leaving the scene of an accident.

Tuesday this week the jury handed down their sentencing recommendation: life plus 419 years in prison and $480,000 in fines.

If you're wondering about that number 419, and how it gets added to the life sentence, here's the breakdown. Life is for the first-degree murder conviction. For malicious wounding Fields got 70 years each for five of the charges—total 350 years—then twenty years each for another three, making sixty, total 410. The nine years was for leaving the scene of an accident. Four hundred and nineteen, got it? Plus life.

That's not final. The judge in the case will sign off on sentencing in March next year.

This was of course a show trial, as amply documented here on by our correspondent writing under the pseudonym "Charlottesville Survivor." The sentence is absurd, as you will see if you read the court proceedings.

Which isn't easy. A remarkable thing about this trial was how little news coverage it got. It got no direct TV coverage at all because the judge in the case barred cameras from the courtroom. I noted the opening of the trial in my November 30th podcast. I was off the grid the following week; but catching up when I got home there was surprisingly little about the trial in my news aggregator services.

The nearest thing I could find to a blow-by-blow account of the whole trial is the one posted on the website for CBS19, the Charlottesville affiliate of CBS news. CBS is of course an establishment outlet, so the report is all biased towards the goodwhite Charlottesville narrative—peaceful demonstrators on behalf of justice and truth, with flowers in their hair, savagely attacked by a neo-Nazi mob. Sample:

The group of people hit by the car had gathered in Charlottesville to protest against white nationalist groups.

At the time they were hit, many of them were chanting and holding signs promoting equality and protesting against racial discrimination.

End sample. Such gentle souls! No mention here of flamethrowers, AR-15s, or attacking cars with sticks and missiles.

Another sample from the CBS19 report, sample:

The defense also made a procedural motion to strike all charges except one, claiming the Commonwealth didn't prove the intent to kill.

Judge Richard Moore denied the motion, saying [inner quote] "I don't know what intent he could have had other than to kill people." [end inner quote]

The trial is moving much faster than initially anticipated, though it is still scheduled to last through next week.

Yep, it moved fast all right—so fast, if you blinked you'd miss it. Which of course was the point; as was Judge Moore's waving aside any doubts about Fields' intentions.

This was a show trial in the best Soviet tradition. James Fields is an unstable nitwit who deserves five years porridge for what he did; but if you can read that log of the trial and come away believing that what he did was congruent with the definition of first-degree murder that I read out from Black's at the top of this segment, you have severe deficiencies in reading comprehension.

And Fields still faces a federal trial for "hate crime"—which is to say, for having bad thoughts while doing what he did. If found guilty of having those bad thoughts, he can be executed.

I'm not at a loss for words here, but I am having trouble putting words together on this business without lapsing into screaming and breaking things.

In hopes of keeping matters on an even keel, I'll close this segment with a longish quote from the Z-Man, who captures what I'm thinking very closely, but without the screaming. Quote, slightly edited:

We no longer live in a land of laws. What has gone on in Virginia since that rally is an abomination. This is just the most recent act of lawlessness. Over the last year or so, other men have been sent away for hard time over trivial things, simply because they are white and hold the wrong opinions. Meanwhile, the blacks involved were handed checks and allowed to promote themselves off their crimes. For white people, there is no justice in the court system, so make sure you stay out of it.

The best way to think about Charlottesville now is in the fuller context of the pogrom launched against dissidents this past year. The normal way of resolving disputes in a civil society is no longer available. The people in charge are slowly swinging the authoritarian door closed on us. They are corrupting every aspect of civil life in order to prevent any challenge to their authority. These show trials are just one aspect of their greater war on us.


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

Imprimis:  Here's a news item that sums up quite a lot of our current condition.

A chap from Honduras named Alfonso Guerrero Ulloa led a group of about a hundred Central Americans to the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana on Tuesday. They demanded that the U.S.A. either let them in or pay them $50,000 each to go back to Central America.

Punch line: Mr Ulloa is a suspect in the 1987 bombing of a Chinese restaurant in Honduras that wounded six American soldiers. He fled Honduras for Mexico, which of course gave him asylum.

You can't make this stuff up. You can, though, put a good old historical name on that $50,000 demand. The name is "Danegeld."

When the Vikings were ravaging the shores of England and France during the middle Middle Ages, the rulers of those countries paid them to go away. Those payments were "Viking gold"—in the Old English language, "Danegeld."

Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem about it. Sample stanza:

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
    To puff and look important and to say: —
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
    We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

End quote. Shall we yield to that temptation? Let's hope not. Kipling again, still on the Danegeld:

For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
    And the nation that pays it is lost!


Item:  Just when you think you couldn't get any more frustrated with President Trump you see headlines like this one in Politico, December 9th: Trump reverses course, tells Pentagon to boost budget request to $750 billion.

That really is a course reversal. Trump has been promising cuts in defense spending. He recently called a $716 billion figure for fiscal 2019, quote, "crazy," and he didn't mean crazy small. Just in October he called for a cut down to $700 billion. Now he wants $750 billion.

In all fairness to the President, this seems to be a negotiating ploy, putting the $750 billion number in front of Congress so they don't push the appropriation down below the $733 billion the defense establishment wants.

Still, with pointless wars trundling on in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and tens of thousands of our troops stationed in dozens of countries from Italy to Korea, to no useful purpose, and the national debt nudging $22 trillion, I wish for once Trump had stuck fast to his original promise to cut down all this imperial overstretch.

If we'd wanted runaway defense expenditures and open borders we could have nominated Jeb Bush.


Item:  The Japanese have a custom I rather like.

Written Japanese has an alphabet—in fact it has two alphabets—but it also includes Chinese ideographs. The ideographs are not alphabetic; you have to memorize the pronunciation of them one by one. They are more visually striking than words written alphabetically, though. In fact the expressive writing of them with a brush and ink is a much-prized art.

There's a foundation in Japan dedicated to keeping that art alive, and every year this foundation asks the general public to vote for the one ideograph that, in their opinion, best illustrates the year just passing.

This year's vote was for the ideograph, in Chinese pronounced zai, which means "disaster."

The news story I got this from explains that there have been an unusual number of natural disasters over there in 2018: massive flooding that killed over 200 people, a stupendous heat wave that killed 150 more, a typhoon, and an earthquake.

To slightly adapt a famous quote usually attributed to Bette Davis: Being Japanese ain't for sissies.


07—Signoff.     That's it for this week, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening, and many thanks to listeners who've sent me Christmas cards and other styles of seasonal greetings. We have our Christmas lights out on the bushes in front, and shall be buying our tree this weekend, if the Home Depot hasn't run out of them.

It was interesting to be in Mexico. I've only been in that country once before, on a one-day shore trip to Cozumel as part of a National Review Caribbean cruise. Interesting … but, as I said, I'll save more penetrating observations for my December Diary.

Meanwhile that Cancún trip gives me an excuse to indulge my nostalgia for early 1970s soft rock. Here's James Taylor to see us out.

There will be more from Radio Derb next week.


[Music clip: James Taylor, "Mexico."]

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