Radio Derb: The North Korean Knot, The Google Guy, And Freedom Of Association, Etc.
[Music clip: From Haydn’s Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
This week saw the Trump administration dealing with its first big foreign-policy crisis. At any rate, I think it’s a crisis. The newspapers and TV talking heads are calling it a crisis, so I’ll go along, although I’m not really convinced there’s anything here above the level of noisy bluster.
With international affairs, though, you never know. Things can spin out of control. I do agree with the warning I saw on a Twitter feed midweek, quote: “Please don’t anyone assassinate an archduke right now.”
02 — The North Korean knot. You have to feel a bit sorry for the Koreans. We all know the golden rule for real-estate valuation: location, location, location. Geopolitics works kinda the same way. So there are the Koreans, squinched up in Northeast Asia between China, Russia, and Japan. It was never going to be easy, being Korean.
The thing Radio Derb wants to know is, why is Korea any of America’s business?
We fought a war there most of a lifetime ago, when the world was configured very differently. Because of that, and because none of the subsequent U.S. administrations could be bothered to give some prolonged, concentrated attention to the place, we’re still stuck in a 1953 time warp, with thirty thousand of our troops stationed there in South Korea — a prosperous and talented nation perfectly capable of managing its own defense, or allying with Japan for mutual defense.
I’ve made my arguments on Korea, and you can read them in the Radio Derb transcripts, if you feel inclined. See the March 17th edition, for example. Or you could read Pat Buchanan’s latest column; Pat’s views and mine line up pretty well on Korea.
Korea? Kim Jong Un? As the kids say: Not my circus, not my monkey. We should not be there.
The problem of course is that we’ve allowed to develop one of those situations where, as the old joke goes, to get to the place you want to get to, you really don’t want to start from here.
The South Koreans and the Japs, for example, have gotten so comfortable living all these decades under Uncle Sam’s nuclear umbrella, it’s an open question how ready they are to take on their own defenses. If we decamp from the region, as I’d like us to, there’d be a transition period of uncertainty here. Uncertainty in a Kim Jong Un environment is not good.
Even our withdrawal could be hazardous. The usual drill in these cases is to withdraw the military family members first, then the support units, then the fighting troops last.
That, however, could easily be interpreted as preparatory to us attacking the North. Imagine some flunky rushing in to Kim Jong Un’s office with the news: “The Americans are moving out their wives and kids! What does it mean?” No telling how Kim would react. That old demon Uncertainty again.
OK, so withdraw by whole units, troops and families together. Even that could look suspicious to Kim. The feigned flight is a military tactic as old as warfare — it won the Battle of Hastings for King William. Is Kim nutty enough to think our withdrawal was staged, preparatory to an attack? Nobody knows. Nobody really knows how nutty the guy is. That’s a big unknown variable, perhaps the biggest one.
Talking to friends and acquaintances about this, including some geostrategically sapient folk, I’ve noticed a new and sometimes alarming degree of impatient fed-upness. What people are fed up with is the notion that we could get into a major war over a place where we have no vital interests. Korea united, Korea divided, Korea democratic, Korea totalitarian, … it’s nothing to Americans.
One thing everyone’s agreed on is that if push comes to military shove here, things will get real messy real fast.
There’s a “shock and awe” scenario put forward by some of the most fed-up: Just hit North Korea with everything we’ve got. Level the whole place once and for all using our biggest weapons — including nukes. Hey, they’ve threatened us with nukes, haven’t they?
That’s fantasy, though. You’d have major fatalities from fallout across the region. Whatever North Korea and the ChiComs deserve, it’s a wicked thing to dump radioactive ash on friendly countries like Japan and South Korea.
In any case, the nation we have become, the nation that’s passing federal regulations on transgender bathrooms, has no stomach for killing on that scale. We’d have to take out Pyongyang completely, for example — two million men, women, and children. Yeah, yeah, we did it to Hiroshima. That was a different war, though … and a different America.
There’s also the little matter of North Korea’s own nukes. They don’t have many, and they can’t target very reliably, but with luck they might take out Tokyo or Anchorage, or crash our national economy with an EMP burst.
And are we quite sure, with hundreds of miles of our southern border still wide open, are we quite sure there isn’t a North Korean nuke nestled in some American city, waiting for the word of command? If I were Kim Jong Un, there definitely would be.
There is further the interesting question, which I’ve been raising here and in my monthly Diary, of whether our nukes would actually work. Kim’s probably would: they are shiny and new. Ours are old and rusty, or whatever the correct adjective is for deteriorated forty-year-old nuclear material. We haven’t actually done a test for decades.
On top of all that you can add the chemical and biological element. Does anyone really think that Kim and his dad, with all that intensive work on missiles and nukes, weren’t putting just as much effort into nerve gas and new strains of smallpox?
So, definitely, messy. There are some less messy military options, though the Uncertainty demon hovers grinning over all of them, too.
I like this one, for example, from naval analyst Norm Friedman, upcoming in the Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute. Quote:
Kim Jong Un depends on a network of secret police for his survival. No one can say whether anyone in Korea would revolt if they were gone, but it seems clear that Kim does not trust his population. It may take a very powerful nuclear warhead to destroy Kim’s shelter, but the police network is unlikely to enjoy any similar protection. It is probably subject to destruction, for example by cruise missiles. The U.S. Navy is particularly well placed to make such a threat. Each of the four converted strategic submarines carries 154 Tomahawks. The North Koreans, and almost certainly the Chinese and the Russians, cannot track these extraordinarily quiet submarines effectively. The submarines therefore represent a surprise threat, which might suddenly destroy Kim’s perceived ability to maintain his rule.
End quote. We actually did something like this to Iraq, Norm tells us, after Gulf War I, when Saddam Hussein tried to kill the first President Bush. Didn’t seem to work very well there, but perhaps our cruise missiles are better now.
As Norm says, surprise would be essential. You don’t want the secret police fleeing their offices and surviving. You’d also be killing a lot of innocent folk and anti-regime dissidents in the secret-police dungeons, but I guess that can’t be helped.
Bottom line here: Through the inattention, inertia, gullibility, and shallow diplomacy of previous administrations, we’ve gotten ourselves into a place we don’t want to be. Is it too much to hope that, however the present situation plays out, we’ll be wiser in the future, and not get ourselves into these knotty situations?
Is that too much to hope? Yes, I’m sure it is.
Title of the piece: Pyongyang’s Construction Boom: Is North Korea Beating Sanctions?. The author is Henri Féron, a Korea specialist at Columbia University. The date is July 18th.
Yep: According to Dr. Féron, real estate is booming in the North Korean capital. Sample quote:
There are so many glistening new buildings in Pyongyang that the city is unrecognizable from what it was ten years ago.
End quote. The article comes with some impressive pictures of huge lit-up complexes of business and residential buildings. The word “Pyonghattan” is in there somewhere.
Dr. Féron chews over all the possibilities that occur to his reader. Is it, for example, all a façade, a Potemkin village? There are rumors that the interiors of these new buildings don’t live up to the exteriors; and we know of a case in 2014 when a 23-storey apartment building collapsed during construction. We know of it because the Norks themselves publicized it, with Kim visiting wounded workers in hospital. You can imagine the fate of the architects and site supervisors … although perhaps it’s better not to.
So likely there’s an element of fakery here. That can’t be the whole story, though, says our author, or even much of the story.
North Korea’s economy is an interesting study. We’ve all seen those photographs taken from space at night, with South Korea all lit up and the North all dark. We’ve heard about how poorly nourished the Nork people are, how they are an inch shorter on average than South Koreans, and so on.
There’s much more going on than that, says Dr. Féron. North Korea is transitioning to crony capitalism. There are wealthy businessmen, “donjus” in Korean, who are expected to pay “loyalty donations” to the state.
And North Korea’s economy is not in such bad shape. Statistics for food production and trade, such as we have that are at all reliable, tell us that things are looking up economically. Defector numbers are down. And now that he’s nuclear, Kim need not bother spending so much on his conventional forces, which are all decrepit anyway.
Even with all that, it’s hard to balance North Korea’s accounts without assuming they get huge subsidies from China.
China really likes having North Korea there, and they intend to keep it going. The cost to them isn’t much. They have 54 times the population of North Korea. Proportionately to populations, it’s like us subsidizing Nicaragua.
What’s that you say? Isn’t China supposed to have signed on to U.N. sanctions? [Laughter.]
That’s not to say the ChiComs like Kim. There is strong circumstantial evidence that they supported his reformist uncle, Jang Song-thaek, who was powerful in Kim Jong Un’s early years as leader after 2011.
The ChiCom ideal for North Korea would be to have their own guy in there, some dull Walter Ulbricht-type apparatchik who would follow China’s line and not make trouble. Jang was a perfect fit for that role. Probably the ChiComs tried to get Kim assassinated so they could put Jang, or some other yes-man, into power.
Kim out-foxed them, though. Jang was arrested and killed in 2013, along with anyone else who had ever uttered a friendly syllable about China.
So, no, Kim is not China’s ideal as a puppet ruler. You have to work with what you’ve got, though; and Kim, with all his faults, is better than instability, or Korean unification. So, they keep him going.
And it’s likely the ChiComs who’ve nudged Kim towards economic reforms — the very reforms his uncle favored. Kim didn’t kill his uncle because he disagreed with his economic philosophy; he killed him because he believed, probably correctly, that Uncle Song-thaek had a Chinese dagger up his sleeve.
So this is China’s circus, and Kim is China’s monkey. What does that mean for the U.S.A.? Next segment.
04 — China: let’s make a deal. Speaking in New Jersey on Tuesday, President Trump said the following thing, quote:
North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.
End quote. A few hours later, Kim Jong Un responded with a new threat: That his next round of missile tests will target the waters near Guam.
So: Any more threats, said the President, will be met with fire and fury. Kim responded with more threats. Our President responded with … more empty bluster.
If Kim Jong Un were to conclude from this week’s exchanges that the U.S.A. is, as the Maoists used to say, a paper tiger, his conclusion would be a reasonable one. We’re in Obama-style “red line” territory here. “No more threats, or else!” That brings in a new threat. “Okay, but no more threats! You better watch out, pal! …”
I’m listening to this and thinking: Where’s the Donald Trump I voted for? The one who told Japan and South Korea they should nuke up and take responsibility for their own region? I guess he went to the same place as the Donald Trump that was going to wall off our southern border.
Our Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis followed up the fire-and-fury promise with something a tad gentler. Said he on Wednesday, quote:
The [North Korean] regime’s actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict if it initiates.
End quote. So mere threats won’t be enough to ignite our fire and fury; the Norks will actually have to initiate a conflict. Hoo-kay.
Our Secretary of State was even more emollient. Quote from him:
I think Americans should sleep well at night, have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days.
End quote. Well, other Americans can speak for themselves. This one was lying awake at night trying to square Trump’s hollow bluster with Mattis’s mild firmness and Tillerson’s diplobabble. I hope it all makes more sense when translated into Korean.
The ChiComs chipped in, trying to pour oil on the troubled waters — that is, before shipping the oil to North Korea free of charge. They warned both sides against, quote, “employing words or actions that could sharpen differences and escalate the situation.”
Actually the ChiComs are laughing up their sleeves here. They know that under no circumstances will the U.S. conduct a land invasion of North Korea. Been there, done that. Even if things got hot and the nukes and cruise missiles were flying, we’d stay offshore.
China could at last move in, take over, and stabilize the place. They’d actually like that. They could finally put their Walter Ulbricht in and have a nice stable buffer state for the rest of the century.
The ChiComs would like it even more if, in the course of the festivities, Kim Jong Un actually did nuke Guam.
Almost the first thing I ever heard about Guam was back in 1971, when I was hanging out in Hong Kong with journalists and China-watchers. One of them told me about a reception he’d been to at the Bank of China, which is where Hong Kong’s British elite used to socialize with government officials from the mainland.
At this particular cocktail hour the subject of Guam had come up. The mainland-China representative at the reception had lost his temper and called Guam, quote, “just a big stationary U.S. aircraft carrier,” end quote. I doubt ChiCom attitudes have changed much.
China wants hegemony in the Western Pacific. If we lose Guam, or Okinawa, or Honolulu to a North Korean nuke, that’s to China’s advantage. They’d be popping champagne corks over in Zhongnanhai.
Back to our President. He surely understands at some level, to go just by his rhetoric on the campaign trail, that it’s stupid for us to keep thirty thousand troops in South Korea. Those troops do serve one useful function, though: as a bargaining chip.
China would like our troops out of South Korea, too. So isn’t there the basis of a deal with China here?
Shouldn’t our President drop an email to Xi Jinping, saying: “We’re mulling the possibility of maybe withdrawing from South Korea. What would that be worth to you? What would you give us?”
That would be a deal for the ages. Isn’t our President supposed to be a master of the deal? Didn’t he write a book about it?
Whatever deal we got from the ChiComs, it would need to be watertight. They’d lie and cheat and renege any chance they got, as they do on sanctions, as they do on everything. This shouldn’t be beyond the power of our President, though — our Negotiator-in-Chief, and his diplomats.
Come on, Mr. President. Let’s make a deal.
05 — Two Minutes Hate at Google. From actual Marxists to Cultural Marxists. This week’s big story on the CultMarx front was the firing of Google employee James Damore. The firing offense was, he had written a document titled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber and circulated it on Google’s internal network. The document was leaked to journalists, the nation’s CultMarxists threw a collective fit of hysteria, and Damore got the push.
The topic of the document was the representation of sexes in Google’s workforce. Damore came at the topic from an attitude of biological realism, buttressed with references to human-sciences literature. Some random samples:
- Quote: “Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence.”
- Quote: “I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”
- Quote: “Women, on average, have more openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas.”
- Quote: “Women on average show a higher interest in people and men in things.”
- Quote: “In addition to the Left’s affinity for those it sees as weak, humans are generally biased towards protecting females.”
- Quote: “The same compassion for those seen as weak creates political correctness, which constrains discourse and is complacent to the extremely sensitive PC-authoritarians that use violence and shaming to advance their cause.”
You can read the whole thing at its very own website, diversitymemo.com.
The document closes with a list of constructive suggestions, among them, quote: “De-moralize diversity … Stop alienating conservatives … Have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of our diversity programs … Be open about the science of human nature …”
The document is all written in an earnest, reasonable tone. It actually came across to me as a bit cucky. Damore for example uses the CultMarx jargon term “gender” to mean “sex.” There are flashes of virtue signalling. Quote: “I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more.”
None of that helped Damore at all. To the CultMarx mob, his document was Hate Speech and he is a loathsome bigot — literally Hitler. The CultMarx websites and newspapers went into a full Two Minutes Hate.
Those elements of cuckiness notwithstanding, I totally support James Damore. He’s a fellow spirit: an open-minded, curious empiricist who believes in an external world and thinks that by careful inquiry we can understand it. As he told us in his interview with Stefan Molyneux, quote, “I really like understanding things.”
There has been so much comment on this incident the past few days, there’s little original I can add. The ironies have been much noted. A guy writes a memo saying that women on average are more emotional than men; women respond by shrieking and fainting … and so on. Steve Sailer’s been covering the story very diligently; I refer you to his posts on our blog and at Unz Review.
The only thing I’d add, because I don’t think it’s gotten enough attention, is a grudging, qualified, very slightly sympathetic word on behalf of Google.
The context here is employment discrimination laws, especially federal ones. They are really driving this whole story; and of course the Trial Lawyers’ Association is driving them.
I’ve worked in big modern corporations and seen their Human Resources departments close up. They are under constant peril of discrimination lawsuits, which are bad for the company’s image and often very expensive.
As a Freedom of Association absolutist, I’d like to see all anti-discrimination laws repealed. They are nothing but a cash cow for the trial lawyers; their effect on our economy, and on our social harmony, is entirely negative.
Joy Pullman has a very good article arguing this case over at The Federalist this week. Money quote:
Outcome equality is simply incompatible with procedural equality. If we apply the same rules equally to all people, we will get some disparate group outcomes, because people are different. We must therefore choose whether we want equality before the law or unequal preferences in an attempt to engineer outcome equality. Google, and liberals at large, attempt to have both, but the two are fundamentally incompatible, as Google is painfully discovering.
It follows from that, by the way, that while I embrace James Damore as a kindred spirit, I’m sorry to see that he is getting lawyered up over his dismissal.
Again: Freedom of Association absolutism is the rule at Radio Derb. Any employer should be able to fire anyone at any time for any reason, or for no reason at all. Being fired from a job should, in my opinion, be no more litigable than being dumped by a girlfriend … although I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the trial-lawyer parasites are working on that one, too.
In his original memo, the one that started all the fuss and led to his firing, Damore included this little nugget of evolutionary psychology, quote:
Note that contrary to what a social constructionist would argue, research suggests that [inner quote] “greater nation-level gender equality leads to psychological dissimilarity in men’s and women’s personality traits.” [End inner quote; and there’s a link there to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.] Because as [inner quote again] “society becomes more prosperous and more egalitarian, innate dispositional differences between men and women have more space to develop and the gap that exists between men and women in their personality becomes wider.”
End inner quote, end quote.
All right, here comes the self-advertisement. It’s a long quote from the sex chapter, Chapter Five, of my galaxy-sundering 2009 bestseller We Are Doomed. Ahem, long quote to the end of the segment:
Some human-science researchers are mulling over a theory that goes roughly as follows
- Before the rise of agriculture 10,000 or so years ago, when human beings lived in small hunter-gatherer groups, men and women treated each other in a fairly egalitarian sort of way, but innate male-female differences in traits like recklessness (more in men) and emotional responsiveness (more in women) were freely and fully expressed. Mating was based on straightforward mutual affection, constrained only by incest taboos and tribal solidarity, but complicated, no doubt often fatally, by love triangles. Then …
- With agriculture came the higher-density, better-organized, hierarchical, and more constrained societies with which we are familiar. The sexes were less egalitarian in the way they treated each other. (Think of Chinese foot-binding.) On the other hand, paradoxically, innate male-female personality differences were squished down by all that social pressure: men constrained to be less reckless, women less emotional. Mating was way constrained: Think of the plots of Romeo and Juliet and La Traviata. The older, freer, wilder ways of mating lived on in myth and folk memory — think of the plot of Tristan und Isolde. Now …
- Modern post-industrial society is taking us back to the Pleistocene. Once again we are egalitarian in our treatment of each other; but our inner Mars and Venus are freer to express themselves without restraint than in those laced-up millennia of agricultural-industrial patriarchy. (Think of the plot of Fatal Attraction.)
John Tierney, science editor of the New York Times, covered this theory in September 2008. He quoted David Schmitt of Bradley University: “Humanity’s jaunt into monotheism, agriculturally based economies and the monopolization of power and resources by a few men was ‘unnatural’ in many ways,” Dr. Schmitt says, alluding to evidence that hunter-gatherers were relatively egalitarian. “In some ways modern progressive cultures are returning us psychologically to our hunter-gatherer roots,” he argues. “That means high sociopolitical gender equality over all, but with men and women expressing predisposed interests in different domains. Removing the stresses of traditional agricultural societies could allow men’s, and to a lesser extent women’s, more ‘natural’ personality traits to emerge.”
End quote, end quote.
I’d be amused, and flattered, to think that James Damore picked up that nugget from reading my book. If that is indeed the case, James, mail your copy of We Are Doomed to me c/o VDARE.com, and I’ll inscribe it with an uplifting message for you.
07 — Men fight, women gossip. Just one more short segment on the Google story, or at any rate related to it. This is a bit of personal reminiscence, and kind of geeky, for which I apologize to non-geeks.
In the Fall of 1969, after two years of schoolteaching, I realized I would never be any good at that line of work, and got myself a job as a computer programmer. My employer was Britain’s National Data Processing Service, the IT arm of the British Post Office, which for reasons it would take much too long to explain also controlled the country’s telephone system.
At that point, twenty years into the Computer Age, the bureaucrats had still not come up with job titles for programmers. My actual job title as a programmer — I swear I am not making this up — was Assistant Postal Controller, Grade II. So if you have any trouble getting your mail delivered, drop me a line; I may be able to help.
So there I was 48 years ago in my first coding shop. A lot of my colleagues — I think it was at least half — were females. They had a reputation as being good programmers. Please note that this was long before Political Correctness or the “diversity” rackets came up, before discrimination lawsuits. I don’t think Britain even had a Trial Lawyers Association in 1969.
The environment was one where, if you were good at your job, people respected you for it, regardless of sex; and if you were not good, people let you know, and unless you were ornery and looking for a fight, you sought other employment … as indeed I had. Imagine that! Such a simple world!
I actually spent a lot of time pondering why these ladies were so good at coding. I came to some rough conclusions at last.
This was Assembler Language coding, which is very, very fiddly. To divide two numbers and get quotient and remainder, you had to write half a dozen instructions. You had to keep track of which registers you were using in the CPU, which addressing system this particular stretch of code was using, and so on. It was fiddly. “Coding down to the metal,” we used to call it.
Now, my mother was very keen on needlework. From childhood I watched her stitching away at crochet and tapestry work. She claimed she could make lace, too, but, quote from Mum, “It’s too fiddly. All those bobbins!”
There was my clue. The coding these women were doing, Assembler Language coding, was like needlework. It needed endless precision, infinite patience.
One of the differences between men and women is that men are more easily bored. These lassies could peck and stitch at their code all day long, and stay after work to finish it. Me, by five p.m. I wanted to run out and break some glass somewhere.
But no, I’m not going to tell you that women are better at coding than men. Assembler Language coding was already, even then, giving way to high-level languages like FORTRAN and COBOL. Linear styles of program construction were yielding to modular programming, which then morphed into object-oriented programming — much more fluid and less fiddly than Assembler Language needlework.
There is still a feminine side to systems engineering. There are way, way more users now than there were in 1969, so more need for people skills in figuring out what the users want and the best way to give it to them.
Down in the code mills, though, it’s likely guys who are generating the neat ideas and pushing the projects forward.
Men fight, women gossip … while doing needlework.
No, of course, it’s not a straitjacket, and shouldn’t be. Back in the sixties there was a football player, a big beefy NFL star — I forget his name — who boasted that when he wasn’t crashing into other big beefy players on the gridiron, he liked to relax with needlepoint. Regardless, if I wanted some needlework done, NFL headquarters wouldn’t be my first call.
The variety of human types is infinite and fascinating. When a lot of us are thrown together, though — as in a company workforce — statistics take over. There are group differences — by race, by sex — and as the numbers mount up, they will show.
If you don’t have a good basic grasp of statistics; and if you don’t understand that we human beings, including our brains, belong to the realm of biology, and obey biology’s laws; if you don’t have that grasp and that understanding, your opinions on things like this Google fuss will be ill-founded.
Absolutely no offense intended to anyone.
Imprimis: I don’t know if you saw that video of a boat full of Africans coming ashore on a tourist beach in Spain.
The depressing thing about the video is the way the sunbathing tourists stood around gawping as the boatload of Africans disembarked and ran off up the beach. By the time the police got there, we’re told, the invaders had all disappeared.
Watching the video, I wanted to scream at those tourists: “FOR CRYING OUT LOUD DO SOMETHING! THESE PEOPLE ARE INVADING YOUR CONTINENT! AFTER MESSING UP THEIR OWN!”
That’s unfair, of course. The tourists were taken by surprise. What were they supposed to do, anyway? The tourists were family people with little kids, plus a few pudgy oldsters. The Africans were tough-looking young men. Probably I’d have stood there gawping, too.
Still, it’s depressing when you get a little live snapshot there of the home continent going down.
There’s good news, though. It’s not all passive, helpless frog-boiling over there. The various European groups collected under the banner “GI,” for Generation Identity, raised nearly $200,000 on the internet to rent a ship, the C-Star, and use it to patrol the Libyan coast in hopes of deterring or perhaps even turning round the invaders’ boats.
They’re meeting stiff resistance from the so-called NGOs — the Non-Governmental Organizations, charities and such, who, when not driven by sheer blind ethnomasochism, are in cahoots with the people-smugglers for cold cash.
The North African people smugglers, too, posing as fishermen, are harassing the GI boat and preventing it from docking.
The brave defenders are out there on the good ship C-Star, though. It may be, after all, that Europe will not go down without a fight.
You remember the Brexit vote of June last year, when the Brits voted to leave the EU, the European Union. How’s that going? Are they out yet?
No, not even close. Britain’s government, led by the worthless and ineffectual Theresa May, has huffed and puffed and flipped and flopped over the severance terms, not getting anywhere much.
Now there are signs the natives are getting restless. Two prestigious institutions, Oxford University and the London School of Economics, have carried out a huge opinion study, more than 20,000 respondents, on the exit terms for Britain. Executive summary: the Brits just want out, even the ones who voted to remain last year.
The debate over exit terms is framed as “soft” exit versus “hard” exit. “Soft” means carefully negotiated, with lots of qualifications and conditions. “Hard” means “the hell with it, let’s just leave.”
The study found seventy percent overall favoring a “hard” exit — more than the 52 percent who voted to leave last year.
Of those who voted last year to leave, 91 percent favor a “hard” exit.
Drilling down through the numbers, it’s plain that the key issues are control of the borders and reduced immigration. Even among people who voted to remain in the EU last year, support for, quote, “little to no EU immigration” is at 47 percent.
That’s the feeling about EU immigration. It would be fun to see the opinion numbers on non-EU immigration, but the researchers don’t tell us.
Sell globalism; buy nationalism!
Here in New York City, in the borough of Brooklyn, there’s a big U.S. Army base, Fort Hamilton. The base has streets, typically named after great military men of the past.
That includes streets named for Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. [Scream.] With the purging of Confederate figures and symbols currently under way, those street names are of course big fat targets for the purgers.
Congresscritter Yvette Clarke, for example, who represents a Brooklyn district in Congress. Ms Clarke (whose biography tells us she is “proud of her Jamaican heritage,” although it doesn’t tell us why) has been pestering the Army to change the names of those streets, on account of blackety-blackety-blackety-black.
The Army, to its credit, is standing firm. They wrote back to Ms Clarke that, quote:
After over a century, any effort to rename memorializations on Fort Hamilton would be controversial and divisive. This is contrary to the Nation’s original intent in naming those streets, which was the spirit of reconciliation.
End quote. Crisp, clear, and firm, as a military statement should be. Mr. President, on your authority as Commander-in-Chief, find out who wrote or dictated those words, and promote him.
Item: Finally, I have been remiss in not keeping listeners up to date with the achievements of Radio Derb’s longtime friend and patron President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan. What has our friend been up to?
Quote from the Guardian, August 3rd, quote:
After serenading the country in song and on his guitar, pumping iron in a gym, DJing and finishing first in car and horse races galore, Turkmenistan’s unconventional president has showcased another of his many talents.
State media has broadcast footage of Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, dressed in a commando outfit and sunglasses, firing at targets with an automatic rifle and pistol and throwing knives — all with predictable pin-point accuracy.
End quote. Foreign enemies and saboteurs, always striving to belittle and destroy President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, even after he won 97 percent of the popular vote in February’s election, have put it about that these videos were staged.
Fie on them and their negativity! Long live President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov! Long live the noble republic of Turkmenistan! [Turkmen national anthem.]
Seeing all those young faces at the conference, it occurs to me that I don’t do enough, as a senior American, to set our rising generation on the right road — the straight, narrow road to health, happiness, and success in life.
I have some signout music here that will rectify that. Here’s the late Buck Owens with some wise advice.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Buck Owens, “Cigarettes Whiskey And Wild Wild Women.”]