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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, traditional instruments version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Welcome to the podcast, ladies and gents. This is of course your reverently genial host John Derbyshire with VDARE.com's weekly feast of hateful hatefulness, brought to you from Hate Central here on the bosky north shore of Long Island.
Targets for my hate this week will be the Democratic Party of course, innumerate journalists, reckless globalization, the language police, false religions, Jeff Bezos, and the Governess of Michigan. That is the female of "Governor," isn't it? "Governess"? I think so.
Let's begin with the Party of the Little Guy and its prospects for November. Ethel?
[Clip: Ethel Merman, "Let's go on with the show.".]
02 — Obama endorses Biden. Tuesday this week Barack Obama finally endorsed Joe Biden for their party's Presidential nominee. That followed a lot of background chatter among close observers of politics that Obama had been pressing Bernie Sanders to pull out of the race, which Sanders had obligingly done the previous week.
How much is Obama's endorsement worth to Biden? Opinions differ. John Podhoretz published a column arguing that an Obama endorsement has historically been the kiss of death to candidates. He cited a number of candidates Obama had gone to bat for who face-planted in their subsequent election: Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, for example, who actually lost the Democratic primary in 2010 … to a guy who then lost in the general.
Eh, maybe. My own guess is that it's a very slight plus for Biden. A Democratic candidate needs the support of blacks and Goodwhite gentry liberals. Biden has that support anyway from having been Obama's Vice President for eight years; but not having Obama's explicit endorsement would have taken some of the shine off that.
And having that extra bit of blackety-black in his fuel tank simplifies Biden's choice of a running mate. Biden has already promised to put a Gyno-American on the ticket. If he believed he was coming up short on blackety-blackness, he'd feel pressured to pick some crazy white-hating Negress like Stacey Abrams or a mulatto-exotic Obama clone like Kamala Harris. Now, with that extra boost of negritude from Obama's endorsement, Joe can follow the sage advice Radio Derb offered him three months ago and pick Amy Klobuchar.
Can Biden win the Presidency in November? According to the analysts, it's nip and tuck. Current polling shows Biden with a good lead nationwide — five points on this week's Economist-YouGov poll. The slow demographic drift I keep harping on is in Joe's favor. The conservative and heavily-white Silent Generation is falling off the graph at one end: Joe has a nine-point lead among over-65s nationwide. Meanwhile less-white CultMarx-indoctrinated youngsters come on at the other end of the graph.
If you slice the numbers down to the electoral-college level, though, things don't look so good for Joe. Trump remains strong in the states with a big white working-class cohort of voters, states like Wisconsin and Iowa. Which, quote from the New York Times on this, April 13th, quote:
raises the possibility that Democrats could win the most votes and lose the White House for the third time in six Presidential elections.
But then, of course, there is this damn fool virus squirting a cloud of uncertainty over everything; or not so much the virus as the economic consequences of all the lockdowns and layoffs we're going through.
President Trump is putting up a good show of being in charge here, which should be to his credit in November, if he can keep it up that long. The economic forces in play here, though, are more in the nature of a huge incoming wave he has to surf than of something he can divert or manage.
I've been starting to hear Trump spoken of as the Herbert Hoover of our age, elected in easygoing Good Times but fated to be sucked down to defeat by economic forces he can't control, or will try but fail to control.
I don't buy that. When Hoover ran for re-election in 1932 the downturn was three years along, if you date it from 1929's Black Friday — which I think you can, psychologically, although economists will give you an argument. When Trump runs for re-election in November our current lockdown-layoff crisis will be just eight months along. There won't — I was going to say "won't yet," but I think I'll stick with just "won't" — there won't be the level of despair that Americans were feeling in November 1932.
The national psychology was anyway all different 88 years ago. People back then lived on the edge, with very little of a safety net. Unemployment meant hunger and eviction. That's not to belittle the distress a lot of Americans are going through right now; I'm only pointing out some key differences that might be in play in 2020 as compared with 1932.
The unemployment numbers today, for example, are horrendous — more than 22 million jobs lost in the last thirty days. That phrase "jobs lost" needs some interpreting, though. The word "furlough" is much in the air.
You may indeed have totally lost your job and all associated benefits, 1932-style. My sincere condolences if you have, with the hope you'll be back at work soon. Or you may have been put on temporary layoff, with or without retaining your benefits, which is bad enough but not 1932-bad.
Business reporter John Crudele at the New York Post has crunched the numbers out of BLS, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and got a nice upbeat column from it. Most of the layoffs in March were of the temporary kind, says John. Well, maybe. I read that same BLS report … twice, without being able to make any sense of it. Let's just hope for the best here.
Main point: This is not 1932. Also, Trump isn't Hoover. Trump, for example, has a personality, which Hoover basically didn't. You may not like Trump's personality, but it's hard not to notice it.
I am still, for example, getting a daily report in my New York Post on, quote, "cases"; that is, number of recorded cases of COVID-19, city, state, and nation. Recorded how? Number of hospital admissions? Then why not say so? Number of tests positive? Out of how many tested? Two thousand positives out of three thousand tested? Or two thousand positives out of a million tested? It's rare to see clear numbers spelled out.
It's likewise rare to see anything on the opportunity-cost side of the ledger. An acquaintance of mine is connected with NAPA, North American Partners in Anesthesia, which is, obviously, a professional association for anesthesiologists. They've fallen on hard times, my acquaintance tells me, because so many of the procedures that require an anesthesiologist — deep surgery, for example — have been put on hold while hospitals handle coronavirus patients.
A different acquaintance familiar with admissions to a nearby hospital emergency room tells me they are turning away cases they would not have turned away before to free up space for virus patients.
With so much of the nation's medical resources re-oriented to coronavirus cases like this, there must be some opportunity cost — surely including deaths — in health failure from other causes. Has anyone tried to quantify that? I haven't seen it; and until I do, I shall assume the numbers for coronavirus deaths need qualification they're not getting.
The general level of scientific and numerical understanding in mainstream commentary has improved some this past month, but it's still low. Journalism schools don't teach much math or statistics, I'm guessing.
Tucker Carlson, for example, had his regular medical reporter, a doctor named Marc Siegel, take a test for the virus on-air this past Monday. This is a new test developed by a lab in Chicago. We were told that, quote:
This is a rapid diagnostic test that will generate an accurate diagnosis within five minutes if the patient is positive for COVID and up to 13 minutes if they are negative.
Dr Siegel tested negative. Well, that's great. Watching the segment, though, I was waiting for someone — Carlson, Dr Siegel, or the pathologist administering the test — I was waiting for someone to utter one of the following two phrases:
Nobody did. Yet those are key things you want to know about any medical test, especially a brand-new test on a virus only recently come to notice.
Random story from the week's news. This was the London Daily Mail, April 16th. Headline: Nurse who twice needed hospital treatment for coronavirus casts doubt on the effectiveness of Covid-19 swabs after she tested negative THREE times.
The nurse in this story is Nicole Williams, age not given but looks to be no more than thirty, trim and fit, of Cardiff in Wales. Because she's a nurse, when she started getting symptoms she was tested right away. The test came back negative. The symptoms got worse; she was tested again, twice: negative, negative. A fourth test came up positive. The lady is now recovering, I'm glad to say.
So next time you see some TV talking head promoting a virus test, be sure to yell at the TV screen: "FALSE POSITIVES! FALSE NEGATIVES! WHAT ARE THE NUMBERS?"
04 — The de-globalizing of America. It's now a staple of deep-brow commentary on the pandemic that long-term it will mean a general retreat from the carefree globalization of the past thirty years.
As I pointed out last week, by far the greatest beneficiary from all that globalization has been the Chinese Communist Party. The party bosses have been able to keep their citizens happy with rapid economic progress, thus legitimizing their lawless, corrupt rule and keeping protest at bay. They have also, of course been able to fatten their own Swiss bank accounts.
So now there's much talk in the air about de-coupling from China. David Goldman has been all over this in his column at Asia Times. Yes, says David — and to his credit he's been saying it for years — yes, we certainly should decouple in all the areas of advanced electronics and IT that relate to our national security. Quote:
Washington should also enforce strict US content rules for sensitive defense technology. Many of the Pentagon's military systems depend on imported components. That's a concern on security grounds alone. Procurement rules should be changed to require that critical components be manufactured in the US.
Hard to argue with that, and I won't. But then David brings out the wet blanket. Total decoupling, or anything close to it, is, he says, impossible. Further quote:
The U.S. doesn't have the skills to replace a great deal of Chinese production.
The arts of precision engineering and process development that go into, for example, smartphones are much further advanced in China than here, says David. One more quote:
The U.S. doesn't have the engineers to make a smartphone. In fact, we don't have enough engineers to expand U.S. manufacturing output by any significant margin. As of 2015, China graduated six times as many engineers as the United States, according to the National Science Foundation. That was five years ago.
That rang a distant bell with me. I went digging through my archives. Yep, found it. This was me, writing in the London Spectator back in, oh dear God, May of 1989. The democracy movement in China was heating up. I interviewed dissident Wang Bingzhang, who was then living in New York. Quote from him in that interview:
Do you know the proportion of engineers to lawyers in Japan? Seven to one. And in America? One to seven — just the opposite. That's the difference between a modern, civilised Oriental society and a modern, civilised Western society. China should naturally belong to the first group.
Not the least of the problems here, as David points out, is that instead of training up our own citizens in advanced STEM subjects — that's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math — we have given over our educational resources to training other countries' citizens, notably China's.
This, like so much else, comes down to terminally stupid immigration policies: in this case, issuing far, far too many student visas. Which, in turn, comes down to cold cash: foreign students in our universities pay full tuition, bloating college endowments up to the point where the colleges can easily buy a few congressmen to forestall any immigration reform.
Let's hope — it's a thin hope, but I'm hoping it — let's hope that with all the talk of decoupling from China in the air, we'll restore some sense to our policies on student visas. If the colleges howl about lost revenue, let's tell 'em to start graduating more Americans in STEM subjects, fewer in Gender Studies, Literary Deconstructionism, and Queer Legal Theory.
Also on the topic of de-globalization: Pat Buchanan, in his column here at VDARE.com on Thursday this week, floats the happy idea that following the flap about a coronavirus outbreak on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, and the inevitability of what Pat calls "a hard reckoning for the allocation of our diminished resources after the nation reopens," one more fatality of the pandemic may be the neocon fantasy of America playing global policeman for ever and ever, world without end, amen.
From your pen to God's eye, Pat.
05 — N-word watch. The suits at VDARE.com won't let me say or spell out the N-word in full. I understand the reasons for that and am totally on board with the policy.
It's irksome, though; it annoys me. Not because I dislike black people. There are many I like a lot — I'll mention one in just a minute — but because a situation where one part of the citizenry is prohibited, on pain of career destruction, from uttering a word that the other part uses with perfect liberty, is unjust.
I don't mind taboo words in themselves. Probably every organized society needs taboo words. A taboo word should be taboo to everybody, though. Otherwise you're in one of those situations Sir James Frazer wrote about in The Golden Bough, one of those primitive societies where certain words can only be spoken by members of the ruling elite.
Well, here's a couple of stories from the past few days that I'm going to put under the heading "N-word Watch." I may make this a regular Radio Derb feature.
First story: Meet Kyle Larson, 27 years old, a race-car driver. Larson was a rising star in NASCAR. Apparently — I didn't know this, and I hope I'm getting it right — you don't get to be a star driver in NASCAR unless you are employed by an organization that runs teams of drivers.
Larson was an employee of an outfit named Chip Ganassi Racing. He was doing so well, he was preparing to go free agent, so that Chip Ganassi would have to fight a bidding war with other outfits for Larson's services. Pretty nice career spot to be in for a 27-year-old.
Last week it all fell apart. Sunday night, wearing a headset for some kind of live-streamed virtual event, Larson lost communication with a colleague — a white guy, as it happens. Checking the mike, he said, quote: "You can't hear me, N-word?" Except of course he didn't say "N-word," he said the actual taboo word.
It was a hot mike. Larson was suspended without pay by Ganassi early Monday, then suspended indefinitely by NASCAR. Then big sponsors — Chevrolet, McDonald's, Credit One Bank — started pulling out, so Ganassi totally fired him. For using the N-word, with a white colleague.
Larson, by the way, is half-Japanese, an unusual thing in auto racing. His grandparents spent time in an internment camp in California during World War II, so he has some victim cred. It didn't help. Blackety-black victimhood trumps every other kind.
Second story: Eugene Volokh is a scholar teaching First Amendment Law at UCLA Law School in, of course, Los Angeles. The First Amendment, in case you need reminding, is the one that, inter alia, forbids Congress to make any law "abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press."
So here's this scholar teaching First Amendment Law.
Well, last October the University of Connecticut Police Department arrested two students who were filmed saying the N-word while walking in a parking lot. The students were loud enough to be heard by two people in an adjacent apartment complex. These people called the campus police, the students were arrested and charged under a state law that makes it an offense to ridicule someone's race.
Volokh, our scholar, led a class discussion about that incident. He argued that the law is (a) unconstitutional, and (b) was anyway misapplied in this Connecticut case. He invited students to argue the pros and cons with him — just as a college teacher should do. Along the way, however, he uttered the N-word in all its taboo fulness.
Some students suffered hurt feelings and, when they had been revived and restored to full functioning, ratted on Prof. Volokh to the college authorities.
The law school dean issued a sniveling public apology for Volokh's gross and shameless breach of political correctness. You can read for yourself what the dean said at the reason.com website. Volokh has reacted to that with a spirited defense of his right to treat law-school students as sentient adults.
I have not so far heard that Eugene Volokh has been fired from UCLA Law School. Perhaps he has tenure, I don't know. If he should lose his job over this, I understand that Chip Ganassi Racing is looking for drivers.
Back in 2016 I noted a column Prof. McWhorter had published at The Daily Beast under the title "Anti-Racism, Our Flawed New Religion." Anti-racism is, he wrote, quote, "what we worship, as sincerely and fervently as many worship God and Jesus and, among most Blue State Americans, more so."
I bring this up again because next Wednesday is April 22nd, feast day in Britain of the holy blessed martyr Stephen Lawrence.
I described the case of Stephen Lawrence in full two years ago; go to the Radio Derb transcripts on my website and look for the one dated April 27th 2018.
Suffice it to say here that Lawrence was a young black man who was stabbed to death by some white teenagers in London, April 22nd 1993. He has subsequently been elevated to what can only, with a nod to Prof. McWhorter, fairly be described as sainthood.
Nobody knows who killed Lawrence, but some low-life teenage males of the neighborhood were arrested, charged, and tried. The evidence wasn't strong enough to convict them, though.
Some years later the far-left, anti-white Labour party was voted into power under the unspeakably loathsome Tony Blair … excuse me, I had to go spit there.
The Blairites reopened the whole case and turned the British constitution — yes, there is one — they turned it upside down to re-try the teens, repealing the principle of double jeopardy and a good deal besides. Ancient English rights to freedom of speech and assembly were cast by the wayside.
There were endless official inquiries and reports. That word "endless" was literally the case when I made my 2018 report: an investigation was still going on, 25 years after the crime! Probably it still is, I don't know. An enormous, and extremely ugly building was erected in London and named the Stephen Lawrence Centre. Lawrence's mother, a lady of no distinction whatsoever, was raised to the House of Lords, the upper chamber of Britain's national legislature.
And at a hushed, reverent memorial service on the 25th anniversary of the murder, Britain's then-Prime Ministerette, the vapid and worthless Theresa May, told a hushed conregation of all the highest in the land, that April 22nd would henceforth be Stephen Lawrence Day.
So should you find yourself in Britain next Wednesday, be sure to visit the Stephen Lawrence Center and pay proper respects to the holy blissful martyr Stephen Lawrence, peace be upon him. Don't forget to take your prayer shawl and some suitable offerings — anything white will do.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Wednesday this week on the VDARE.com site we posted one of our periodic calls for the arrest and prosecution of authority figures who aid or abet the harboring of illegal aliens in violation of U.S. Code Title 8 Section 1324.
So here's a thing I'd like to know: Why isn't Jeff Bezos in jail?
Bezos is a major contributor to TheDream.us — that's the name of the outfit, TheDream.us — which describes itself as, quote: "the nation's largest scholarship program for Dreamers," which is to say, for illegal aliens. How is that not aiding and abetting the harboring of illegal aliens?
Once securely locked up, Jeff will find himself in good company. Among the list of donors to the California Immigrant Resilience Fund, a a multi-million-dollar relief initiative for illegal aliens living in California, I see Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, along with a passel of funds and organizations with high-sounding names like Sunlight Giving, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the California Wellness Foundation. That prison farm should be a regular Club Fed.
So why aren't these billionaires and managers of tony funds all doing time? You know why: Because this is a country not of laws, but of men. Especially rich men.
Item: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been trying to enforce the country's strictest lockdown laws on the unfortunate citizens of her state.
Those citizens — well, some of them — have raised a rebellion. Several thousand of them held a protest rally at the state capitol in Lansing on Wednesday.
Governor Whitmer was not pleased. Interviewed on SiriusXM the next day, she extruded the following, quote:
It was a definitely a political rally. I've not often seen a Confederate flag at the state capitol — and there were a few of them. There was someone who had signs that had a swastika on it.
I'm still waiting for some follow-up pictures showing those Confederate flags and that swastika. The thing I'd like to know in the meantime is: What about the noose? You mean to tell me there was a Confederate flag and a swastika but no noose? Impossible!
The noose must have slipped Governor Whitmer's mind … so to speak.
Item: Finally, a wee insight into how Americans are occupying themselves under lockdown conditions.
A friend who lives in another state is stuck at home with her husband and late-teen daughter. The daughter is getting seriously restless. My friend thought that a jigsaw puzzle would be just the thing to keep her busy. Knowing that I am a keen puzzler, she emailed to ask if I might mail one of my old puzzles over to her. I said I'd be glad to oblige.
I wanted to get it to her as quickly as possible, though. Looking up postage rates, it occurred to me that for the same amount of money I might be able to just order a puzzle for her and have the firm ship it. Curious to see if I could in fact do that, I logged on to the U.S. website of Ravensburger, a German company that makes really good puzzles.
Up came the website's main page … with, superimposed right across the middle of it, a big blue panel saying:
Due to unexpected demand, we are unable to fulfill orders at this time.
08 — Signoff. That's all I have for you this week, ladies and gents. Thanks for listening, and many thanks for your encouragement and support via emails and donations.
And among the emails, very special thanks to listeners and readers offering advice for my blocked eustachian tubes. I have learned that there is a gadget called Eustachi, available at most chain pharmacies over the counter, that does the job. It's a bit pricey — I paid $60 — but worth it to get those tubes unblocked.
OK, for signout music, here's something that should block 'em up again.
Scanning the news this past couple of weeks, it's been hard to avoid seeing "WHO," W-H-O, all capital letters. That's understandable; the World Health Organization is newsy right now. For us sixties survivors, however, it's hard to keep seeing those capital letters without there coming to mind one of the great sixties rock groups — The Who.
When I went up to university in the early sixties, The Who were just getting known and still playing Saturday night college hops. They played a famous one at my college that people were talking about for years after. They showed up half an hour late and obviously stoned.
The students waiting in the dance-hall were not amused; they booed and hissed. That ticked off lead guitarist Pete Townshend. There were some potted plants in little plastic buckets set on the stage, I don't know why. Pete started picking them up and throwing them at the crowd. Students threw them back.
For a while it looked as though there might be another Altamont in the works. This was early sixties, though; things weren't yet Altamont-level crazy. Pete picked up his guitar and took the band right into their first number. The gig was a huge success at last; but that was a heck of an intro.
The Who: Here's one of their best. There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: The Who, "I Can See for Miles."]