HH: Mark Steyn is Columnist To the World. He is author of After America: Get Ready For Armageddon. It is linked over at Hughhewitt.com. Mark Steyn, I was watching you with Neil Cavuto, and you are hitting the zone, but I’m afraid it is not what we want, because the country is falling apart (laughing).
MS: Yeah, no, on the one hand, it is great publicity to have the United States downgraded for the first time in 94 years to mark the launch of my book. But on the other hand, I understand that when the rubble, the dust has settled, and we’ve got to crawl out from under the rubble, my kids are going to be in amidst that rubble, and I would rather this were a genuine AAA nation again. But I’m afraid it’s not at the moment.
HH: Mark Steyn, I read your book back and forth to Phoenix yesterday. I was flying around with Governor Jan Brewer in her plane yesterday, telling her, among other things, about the interview upcoming. And she’s fighting for states rights. She’s really fighting for that vision of America that you put in the last chapter – Decentralize, Degovernmentalize, Deregulate, Demonopolize, Decomplicate, Decredentialize, Disentitle, Denormalize. And she does it, as do a number of other people. So I’m going to ask you the pessimist/optimist question, but there are people who have this agenda and are pushing it out there as a political platform.
MS: Yeah, and I wonder, I think the question is, whether there are enough of them, because at some point, people in certain states where that spirit survives will think, well, do we really want to be…if Illinois and California and New York are determined to go down this path unto oblivion, do we want to go down it with them? That’s what is the question that’s being asked in Europe at the moment – the Scandinavian economies, the German taxpayers. The German taxpayers are figuring well, do we really want to yank our future, tie our chain to the Greeks and the Portuguese and the Spaniards and the Italians? And I don’t want people to start asking that question in the United States. But they will, they will, if the national government does not get the hell out of people’s lives to the degree it’s in them at the moment.
HH: Mark, in After America, you quote my good friend, Dennis Prager, your friend as well. And in fact, the day he gave that speech about American education, he was on a platform with Sarah Palin and myself.
MS: That’s right.
HH: There were 6,000 people there, and that video, Dennis’ speech, has been viewed a million times. Where are all those people? Why aren’t they back out there marching and organizing for 2012?
MS: Yeah, because I think Dennis’ speech was, he was asked, I think, what was the greatest problem facing America today, and there were people, people in the crowd cried Obama. And he said no. He said it’s not Obama. And I go into that a bit in the book, that Obama, it’s not the fact that there is a man called Barack Hussein Obama. It is the fact that that man was elected by, whatever it was, 53% of the American people.
MS: A man who would have been simply not credible as leader of a functioning superpower under almost any rational circumstances.
HH: We are now engaged in sort of a great experiment, Mark, about whether or not, whether the country can survive, but whether we can survive without a president. I view the office as essentially vacant, and that we have to, you know, he walked out today, and the market fell 600 points after he spoke.
MS: Right, right.
HH: And so it’s a true test of our mettle, but you write he’s not the problem, he’s a symptom. But boy, we’d better treat the symptom right away, don’t you think, in terms of January, 2013?
MS: Yes, I think so, and I think in that sense, American conservatives fail to draw the right lesson from what happened in 2008. He was a product of the broader culture in that there are millions and millions of people who think like him at American campuses all over this country. And they hold influential positions in other elite institutions in this country. Their sensibility, the Obama sensibility, is widely shared in the United States. And it’s deeply…and this was their moment of triumph, by the way, that they managed to get one of their own elected as president, not a guy like Bill Clinton, who would kind of toss them a bone from time to time, or like Jimmy Carter, but actually one of their own, a member of…so that we wound up with a faculty lounge administration, with more Harvard/Yale types than any other administration in history, and less experience of business and wealth creation than any other American administration. Nobody knows how wealth is created in the Obama administration. He doesn’t know. I mean, he thinks you create wealth by writing another unreadable autobiography, because that’s how it worked for him. Timothy Geithner doesn’t know. He’s the creature of government. But they’re claiming to be able to run a multi-trillion dollar enterprise. You know, Obama today was quoting his pal, Warren Buffett, again. What I find odd is that you and I could possibly run a million dollar business, multi-million dollar business. That’s a relatively common skill. To be able to run a billion dollar business is less common. The skill set required to run a multi-trillion dollar enterprise is unknown to human history.
MS: And we decided to let Obama and Geithner run one. We’re the crazy guys.
HH: I know. If you think forward, and I’m going to come to your letter from the future in the next segment, but if you think forward, they will simply be astonished. It is though, you cite the Roman republic as turning into the Roman monarchy. It’s as though we found someone from the hinterlands, and turned over the empire to them, sua sponte.
MS: Right, right.
HH: Mark, in terms of, last hour I spent talking about the Navy SEALs and their fellow special operators who died. And one thing in After America that you hint at is that there remain incredible Americans, the people who are out there at the front end of the spear. They fight the war. We’re very not aware of them.
HH: 90% of America isn’t aware of them. But I think, are there enough of them to continually and renew sort of the civic culture?
MS: Well, this story was almost, when I heard the news from Saturday, it was almost, I didn’t write about it, because in a sense, it was too sad to write about…
MS: …because it went with the downgrade on the Friday that is was too poignant a symbol of a superpower in eclipse, because the theme of my book is that it starts with the money, but it very quickly turns into questions of geopolitical power and of military reach. And to have this, what for the moment remains an incredible stroke of luck on some Taliban guy with an RPG, that he manages to kill over 20 of the elite of the elite, over 20 of America’s most highly-skilled warriors, it was almost too poignant a symbol of the way that financial decay always results, and very quickly to, in military decay. And believe me, as a foreigner, I well know that. And as the citizens of prior great powers would be able to tell you, the two always go together.
HH: Mark, are you surprised at how little marked this has been? I played some tape from the Today Show, but I couldn’t, I wrote a column about it, and I said this is simply wholly inadequate to the task, but someone’s got to try. I just don’t see anything…I know people lost some money today, but 30 special operators, 22 SEALs, this is, it’s like Beirut, actually, in 1983.
MS: No, and what I find interesting is the way the official media performed the task that Victorian ladies were properly said to do to overly curvaceous piano legs. They draw a discrete veil around it, for fear that it might be embarrassing. And I think that’s the function they perform for the Obama administration, that it would be too much to take both the downgrade and the worst day in Afghanistan within 24 hours. That is not a good day for the United States, and it’s not a good day for the Obama administration. And this kind of reflexive protectiveness they extend to him is doing grave damage to their own reputation. But it’s also not doing the nation or its citizens any favors.
HH: Mark Steyn, when I finished After America, what occurred to me was actually a scene in Dickens’ Christmas Carol, at the end, when Scrooge is with the ghost of Christmas future, and he says to the ghost, “Before I draw near to that stone to which you point, answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that will be? Or are they shadows of things that may be only? Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends to which if persevered in, they must lead,” Scrooge continues, “but if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me.” My question, Mark Steyn, say it is thus with what you write about After America.
MS: Yes, I think Dickens is right in that sense that our fate is not foreordained to the degree that I lay out in After America. I wrote After America, because I don’t want it to come true. I’ll be very sad if it comes true. When I wrote about Europe in America Alone, everything that has happened in the five years since has confirmed my thesis, even thought the smart guys of the Economist said my book was alarmist. I think if anything, it was insufficiently alarmist. I don’t want this, the vision of a post-American world, to come true. But to do that, Americans have to understand that when Obama stands up today and talks about long term problems, no. It’s not about…you can’t sit around and form another commission that you’re going to ignore, and talk about your long term problems. We’ve got to fix the short term problems, or we’re not going to be around long enough to get clobbered by the long term problems.
HH: It’s now, and the book for now is After America. It’s linked at Hughhewitt.com. It’s at Amazon.com. You can get an autographed copy at www.steynonline.com.
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HH: I want to urge everyone, buy it for your Democratic friends, really, for people that you love in your life who just are clueless about what’s going on, and have this attitude which we’re going to talk about so brilliantly described and laid out in After America. But also, and this is off the ordinary course for me, if you’re in a small group, in a church small group, and you’re tired of reading the latest inspirational book, and you want to do something different, order up a number of copies of After America, and spend nine weeks going through the nine chapters. It will do you good. Mark Steyn, I want to focus on Chapter 8 – After: A Letter From The Post-American World, in which you’ve got a time traveler looking back from mid-century, you know, 2050, 2061, I guess it would be, and they write of, for example, a Sino-Russo-Islamic cyber shield that shutters the internet’s many portals, and of a desiccated and energy-starved North America. It’s not really science fiction. It’s really, simply, pushing the trend out a little bit.
MS: Yeah, I think that’s all I did. I didn’t want to get too weird. I mean, weird stuff is happening already in the world. I mean, Japan has a shortage of young people, so it’s already developing welfare robots to give you assisted baths in the old folks home. And you don’t, so you don’t really need to push that to the next stage. I mean, we talk here about we need immigrants to do the jobs Americans won’t do. In Japan, they’re developing post-humans to do the jobs that there aren’t any humans around to do.
MS: And I didn’t want to push that, because then you, you know, you start off talking about debt to GDP ratio, and you’re in science fiction territory. So I didn’t want to push it too far, but I look at, for example, the way China is solidifying its grip on Indian Ocean trade routes. And I think it’s pretty clear that at some point, China will go to a lot of our friends in the Middle East, in the United Arab Emirates, and the various other less insane polities in that region, and will make them an offer in which it will be greatly to their advantage to redirect the direction in which their oil ships. And I don’t think, and meanwhile, we sit around here saying oh, no, we don’t want any of that vulgar oil exploration off our coasts, or in our Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, because we don’t, we want the world’s largest mosquito herd to be able to frolic and gamble in its pristine wilderness forever. We’re still indulging ourselves with this kind of 1950 attitude that we’re the last man standing at the end of the Second World War, everything else is kaput, and we have the money to fund our own stupidity unto the end of time. And this idea that we can still indulge ourselves, and not do any oil exploration, and not supply our own energy, even as China gobbles up resources all over the planet, is deeply, deeply corrosive.
HH: And I stress, it’s not like our friend, Robert Ferrigno’s novels, which are post-Apocalyptic novels that are supposed to illustrate, you know, big, big changes that could come.
MS: Right, right.
HH: These are simply accretions of detail. And I go back to the cyber shield, because you know, Vanity Fair this month has got two stories on the People’s Republic of China-sponsored attacks across the globe on infrastructure, cyber infrastructure.
HH: And Egypt, Iran, Russia, they all control the internet. Our tech-happy buddies in Silicon Valley think oh, the internet will liberalize everything. It ain’t so.
MS: No, and I think what’s interesting, and you don’t even have to go to those countries. If you look at Canada, Australia, Europe, they’re talking in various free speech areas of setting up controls over the internet for some kind. So I think this idea that cyberspace will liberate everybody is delusional. I think it’s also the case that if you look at the industrial espionage and the cyber espionage that China engages in, the idea that somehow, which is the delusion of your Thomas Friedman types at the New York Times, that moving to a world of Chinese economic dominance is just the merest, it’s just one of the many colorful features of globalization, celebrate diversity and all the rest of it. It isn’t. It’s a once a half millennium civilizational shift. And if you just look at what…and so it’s not like, I mean, I compare at one point in the book the transition from pax Brittanica to pax Americana. Well, the transition from the United States to an era of Chinese economic dominance isn’t going to be like that at all, and it’s precisely because that British-American transfer of power was so smooth, and so benign, that nobody even noticed it. I mean, nobody even, people occasionally mention it in, you might find it mentioned in the footnote of an Andrew Roberts or a Martin Gilbert history book. But it’s basically unnoticed in human history, because it was so rare.
HH: It was gentle.
MS: It was so rare.
HH: I’ve got to also tell people that if they read After America, they will realize the future, if it is not changed, if the course correction doesn’t come, will not only be far less energy-filled, but it will be far less Jewish, far less gay, far less religiously tolerant, and indeed, all of the world’s current hellholes, you write, like Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, they will all be less civilized than they are now in 2011, Mark Steyn. It’s stark.
MS: Yeah, what I find odd, again, is this assumption that…the assumption of the sort of globalists…
MS: …is that the natural course of events is for the world to turn into, you just leave this, this country starts out as a dump, and then it gets a couple of factories, and the next thing you know, it’s turning into Sweden. And it doesn’t work like that. A lot of the world has actually gone backwards. Pakistan, which is the source of a lot of American problems at the moment, Pakistan is far worse than it was in 1950. It’s gone backwards. Sudan has gone backwards. Sierra Leone has gone backwards. And then when you look at the tensions in various other corners of the map, what’s to prevent them from going backwards, too?
HH: Yeah, and liberalization, come hither and celebrate diversity, that’s not going to be the case under an Islamicized, radicalized Middle East. It’s not going to be the case in China. And North Korea certainly isn’t going to have the rainbow flag flying over the DMZ anytime soon.
MS: No, no, and I find it, again, I find it odd that there are sort of inevitablist theories of history, because there is nothing inevitable about this stuff. And most people understand, I think, that at a basic level, freedom, liberty, requires vigilance. And what I find distressing is when you go to an American college town, and the assumption that because it’s been this way all these guys’ lives it will always be that way, I quote the line, I quote at one point a line from Cecil Rhodes, the great British imperialist, who said that to be born an Englishman is to win first prize in the lottery of life. And a century later, Americans think that to be born a U.S. citizen is to win first prize in the lottery of life. And George Bernard Shaw turned that thought around on the eve of the First World War. He said do you think the laws of God will be suspended for England simply because you were born in it? And I think that’s the question for America. Do you think the laws of God, or if you prefer, the laws of nature, or if you prefer, the laws of reality, will be suspended forever simply because you happened to be born in the United States? No. At a certain point, reality reasserts itself.
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HH: Mark, two things I want to cover in this segment. First, the personal, I’m wondering if you think, because you brought this to my attention on Page 109, I’ve been broadcasting for 20 years. I am at this moment an inch away from a microphone. Do you think if I went to Greece, I can get two decades worth of credit for exposure to microphone bacteria?
MS: Well, I love that, because people wonder how Greece ended up in the hellhole it’s in. And this is a very good example of how government metastasizes, because Greece introduced a law that if you worked in a hazardous profession, you could retire at 50. And initially, hazardous professions included things like bomb disposal, which is, you know…
HH: Genuinely hazardous.
MS: Yeah, I don’t know how often you’ve ever disposed of a bomb, but you know, you have to say is it the red wire? Do I take the red wire away from, which one is it? And it’s quite tricky stuff. I can understand. So you get to retire at 50. Then of course, they extended it until eventually, it embraced hairdressing. You know, hairdressing is now regarded as a hazardous profession in Greece, because you have to work with all this hair color. So you know, you can be doing, you can be at the salon and doing somebody’s hair, and that takes a toll. And then they moved it to TV and radio hosts.
MS: Because of the risk of microphone bacteria. Now you’re a Salem Radio host, and you said you’ve just been doing this for 20 years, Hugh.
MS: You, and you mentioned Dennis Prager earlier.
MS: You and Dennis Prager and Bill Bennett and Michael Medved, you are going to have…
HH: Mike Gallagher.
MS: …greatest class action suit against Salem for exposing you to this dangerous microphone bacteria, and for shortening your life. It’s going to be like the tobacco companies all over again. They’re going to be, Salem is going to want to give you a billion dollar out of court settlement for this microphone bacteria. So as a result of that, you know, it’s very hard to find a non-hazardous profession in Greece now. And of course the reality is that when you eventually declare, you know, radio hosts and hairdressers hazardous professions, what you’re doing is really creating a hazardous employment market.
HH: Yeah, it is. Everybody…but I just wanted to relate back, if I moved to Greece, I have a vision of a little island where the Greek government will send me money based upon my two decades. But perhaps I reach. Everyone does. But I’ve got to get to my absolute favorite paragraph, and it’s tragic, but it’s on Page 260. And I put down the book, and I just said that says it all. Here it is. “There is a fairly recent journalistic genre, specimens of which now turn up on the news pages with numbing regularity. A cougar kills a dog near the home of Frances Frost in Canmore, Alberta. Miss Frost, a ‘environmentalist dancer’, with impeccable pro-cougar credentials, objects strenuously to suggestions that the predator be tracked and put down. A month later, she’s killed in broad daylight by a cougar who’s been methodically stalking her.” Mark Steyn, I feel bad for Ms. Frost, but that is a metaphor for everything.
MS: Yeah, I just started collecting these little stories a few years ago, because I found it so, I find it fascinating, for a start, the suggestion of game wardens that wild beasts may be losing their fear of man, because you know, in the old days, when these creatures used to encounter a guy, he was usually like, he was usually wearing a cap and a plaid jacket and holding a rifle, and his vision of the animal was that he’d look great stuffed and mounted over the guy’s fireplace. And now when he runs into humans, it’s just as likely to be some kind of Bambi boomer who’s trying to get in touch with himself. And I started thinking is this an emblem not just of the relationship between Western society and animals, but Western society and other kinds of predators.
MS: And I think if you look, I think it’s possible that if you read these sad stories, the Italian lady who dressed as a bride, and who walked to Palestine for peace, and her body was found raped and murdered, gang raped and murdered a couple of weeks later, her illusions met reality. When you look at these silly feminists, or these gay guys marching in the gay pride parade, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, these are people, the only construction work you could get in Afghanistan under the Taliban was when they built a wall specifically for the purpose of crushing a homosexual underneath. And the silliness, these people are like that environmental dancer with the cougar. They don’t, they’ve lost the survival instinct. They don’t understand.
HH: It’s, as she, as Frances Frost to the cougar is, it’s Thomas Friedman to China.
MS: Right, right.
HH: It’s such a perfect metaphor. It is in the middle. You have to work hard. You have to get to Page 260. But you’ll fly through After America, America.
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HH: It’s got everything in it that you need, including quick reviews of Harvey Mansfield’s book on manliness, which you can’t carry on a plane or you’ll be arrested, I think. It’s got James Cameron. I did not realize, Mark Steyn, that James Cameron had slandered First Officer William Murdock of the Titanic. To paraphrase Ray Donovan, where do you go to get your reputation back when you’ve drowned?
MS: Yeah, no, his whole thing on Titanic was that it was a class thing, you know, that the people were pushing past the women and children to get onto the lifeboats. And this particular fellow from Scotland, who’s just an ordinary member of the Titanic’s crew, in fact, he gets slandered in the movie, because he’s shown taking a bribe and then murdering a third class passenger. And in fact, in real life, this guy, Murdock, went down, he did the dull, decent, British thing. He stood on the deck throwing life belts to passengers in the water to help them keep afloat until help came, and then he went down with the ship, all very dull, decent, stiff upper lipped and British. James Cameron slandered him in that movie of his, and then to add insult to injury, offered, I think it was, five thousand pounds for a memorial to the guy in his hometown in Scotland.
HH: Now really, it’s outrageous.
MS: It is outrageous, because what’s fascinating about that is that the social conventions held up. The thing hits, the ship hits the iceberg. People haven’t, men, I mean, you imagine it, Hugh, you or I being in that situation. You’ve got an hour to kiss your wife and children goodbye, and then have a final smoke and a glass of cognac in the lounge as they go off in the lifeboat, and you go down with the ship. And I think there’s something, I worry, and this is beyond mere politics, this is beyond the debt crisis, but that we have so reconfigured the basic building blocks of society, that we can no longer rely on centuries-old social conventions like that. And one day, we may have to rely on them.
HH: And as I think you very poignantly put, it’s not that you worry about not living up to it. That’s a test that everyone passes at the time it occurs. You worry that no one’s aware of the test.
HH: That the standard itself is gone.
MS: I know, and I think that’s really the issue here. I think whenever I write about this stuff, people always say to me oh yeah, like you, Mr. Pansy Columnist, the guy who sings A Marshmallow World, yeah, right, like you’re going to be taking a bullet for somebody. But the point, Hugh, is that you have to, society has to set that standard.
MS: Otherwise, I think that is one of the tragic things, that in this atomized society, increasingly atomized society, it’s really the paradox of Europe and of societies that go down that path, that the more collectivized you become, the more you’re asked to supposedly share everything with the government because it’s fairer, the less communitarian, actually, people become.
MS: And that gets to the heart of why I think what Dennis Prager was saying, you mentioned what Dennis was saying at that thing you and Sarah Palin did with him, his point there was that nobody in Europe gives money to charity. Their charitable giving is far less than the United States. Their civic participation is far less than the United States. And he’s right, because why would you? When you give all your money to the government, the government does that for you. Why do you need to give money to Africans? The government gives money to Africans on your behalf. Why do you need to go down and man the bake sale for your local church? The government takes care of the poor people. And that is the central issue, that big government expands at the price of citizenship, and especially at the price of self-reliant citizens.
HH: And it leaves Dependistan, as you write, in its wake, and in collapse. And again, your timing is impeccable and tragic, because you write about the collapse of Britain, and Tottenham goes up in smoke last night.
HH: It’s as though you had press agents inciting riots in East London last night, Mark Steyn.
MS: I would like to say that my publicist was arranging the riot in London to show London in flames. But in fact, she was far too busy, actually, arranging the U.S. downgrade.
MS: You know, she can’t be everywhere.
HH: You know, people are going to become very suspicious, Mark.
MS: But I do find it slightly depressing when on the weekend before the book’s release, quite so many news events align themselves to fit its thesis.
HH: And again, you haven’t connected these dots, yet, but Fast And Furious is breaking. I spent yesterday talking with Paul Gosar, who is a Congressman on the committee, and Governor Brewer and others about Fast And Furious. Not only do we have a cartel state south of our border, we’re sending them weapons now.
MS: Yeah, yeah. And I think this is really, I mean, I think this is really astonishing, the idea that somehow stimulus funds are being used to stimulate the, effectively, the Mexican coffin industry.
MS: I mean, real Mexicans are being shot dead with these guns, aside from the Border Patrol guy on our side of the thing, but just real Mexicans are being shot dead with these things, and federal agencies regard it as some sort of interesting, hypothetical exercise.
HH: But you know what it was? It was an extension of that attitude you talk about so much in After America of elitism, the arrogance that they actually know better, that they could actually follow the guns back to the cartel.
HH: It’s crazy what people think they can accomplish in the government.
MS: Well, and I think, I mean, I do think on the whole, and again, this has nothing to do with entitlements. When people say to me oh, well, the entitlements are all very complicated, well, the DEA, ATF, FBI, that isn’t complicated. And they’re all competing with each other. And half the time, you’ve got, like, undercover guys from the DEA staking out undercover guys from the ATF, staking out undercover guys from the FBI. Then you’ve got, like, the Department of Education has a SWAT team. Think about that.
MS: The United States is the only country in the developed world where the Secretary of Education has his own SWAT team. The Agriculture Department has its own SWAT team. I mean, you’re getting to the stage where there’s very few federal government departments now that can’t kick your door down and stick a gun in your face. This is, I mean, leaving aside all the civil liberties aspects of it, it’s actually profoundly unrepublican.
MS: And at some point, Americans have to say, you know, I have a line that the people who work for me say I shouldn’t use too often, because it’s likely to make Americans enraged. But I have a line, you know, George III wouldn’t have done this to you. And that’s true, but it’s true at a basic level. George III would not have sent his education secretary to kick your door down.
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HH: Mark, I don’t even have a chance to go through the fact that we’ve got inventile dysfunction in the United States, that the ten year hole at Ground Zero is the memorial, and not a good one, the small and vulgar pleasures of the social media addiction, your wonderful advice to authors. Don’t just write there, do something.
HH: And all of these other things, but I want to close on a somewhat light-hearted note. I had no idea that you were the anti-Obama for the Globe And Mail. I kind of thought that the President likes show tunes?
MS: (laughing) No, I was astonished to find the Globe And Mail, on the eve of the inauguration, claimed that Obama embodied the sort of new hybrid spirit of mankind, and that I was everything that old, vengeful, bitter, white men…
MS: You know, essentially, Obama and I are basically the same generation, and in fact, we’re both, you know, the children of British subjects.
MS: And in that sense, I mean, you know, I’m sure I could pull out a Hawaiian birth certificate…
MS: I’ve got the Hawaiian accent down pat. So I don’t, I never thought of ourselves as being widely different. But what I find interesting about that is that the delusion of the rainbow coalition, because it’s like that increased black turnout in California, for example, all the people who stayed in the voting booths long enough to vote for the proposition banning gay marriage in large numbers, the rainbow coalition gets far more complicated the more you look at it. And that’s before you’ve got, like, the nice gay couple standing next to the big, bearded polygamist imam with his four child brides.
HH: All right, I’ve got to close with my tough question, though. If you had to be governed by either Mayor Nanny, Michael Bloomberg, or Mayor Rizzo of the City of Bell, whom would you choose?
MS: (laughing) Well, I’ll say this, that when there’s a big snowstorm, and Nanny Bloomberg flies off to his pad in Bermuda just before it hits, at least he’s doing it on his own plane, and on his own dime. That disgusting city manager in Bell, California, taking from a broken down loser town, taking a million bucks plus in pension and benefits, that is depravity.