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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! Greetings, ladies and gents, from your critically genial host John Derbyshire, here with VDARE.com's weekly batch of commentary on the news.
It's been an eventful week: a disastrous week for a lot of people down in Louisiana and Texas. I was grumbling three weeks ago about Storm Isaias depriving us of power here on Long Island.
Hurricane Laura down on the Mexican Gulf coast Wednesday was way worse than Isaias. I'm reading about storm surges of twenty feet and half a million people evacuated.
Sympathies from Radio Derb to all afflicted. Listeners who want to help our fellow citizens in distress down there can go to the American Red Cross website and make donations.
And then, there's been all the violence and destruction in Wisconsin. And then, the Republican national convention. Let me take them in that order.
02 — Revolution. Wisconsin got a visit from the Antifa mob following the shooting in Kenosha on Sunday of a criminal suspect, 29-year-old Jacob Blake, who is black. The cops had been called on Mr Blake for reasons now disputed. He'd arrived at some kind of sidewalk kerfuffle in his car, left the car and got involved somehow, and the cops were called.
Mr Blake, for whom an arrest warrant was out from last month, was so keen not to be arrested, he ignored the orders of the cops, kept moving after being tasered, and reached into his car for something.
The cops naturally feared he was reaching for a gun, so one cop shot him seven times in the back — which, Blake being faced away from him, half in the car fishing for something, was the only place the cop could shoot to disable him.
Mr Blake survived the shooting, but may now be permanently paralyzed. The cop who shot him is white: 31-year-old Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the force.
Mr Blake has six children, three of them by a lady named Laquisha Booker. These three were in the car's back seat when he was shot. We haven't been told anything about the other three, or what Mr Blake does for a living.
It's a miserable story, but I can't see, watching the video, how the cops could have acted any differently. Should they have waited to see what Blake was reaching into his car for before shooting him? I wouldn't have.
It's a rough deal for Mr Blake, but his behavior was seriously stupid. In this world, stupidity comes with a price, sometimes a high one. It's a rough deal for his kids, too, there in the back seat of the car seeing him get shot; but that's on him. He should have co-operated with the cops. The misfortune of those kids is to have a wilfully stupid dad with no respect for the law or its enforcement.
To the anarchist mobs and their supporters in the media and establishment this was of course another case of leering Bull Connor-type white racists working their evil will on a helpless black man begging for mercy. Kenosha got the full treatment: burning, looting, and mayhem.
All this in Kenosha, Wisconsin; population 100,000, ten percent black. The anarchists, here as elsewhere, seem to be majority white. Are there really that many rabid, street-fighting anarchists in Kenosha? Probably not: but Chicago is only fifty miles away, and while these mobs are anarchists, modern social media make organization and mobilization irresistibly easy even for anarchists.
There is a nation-wide network of these rioters now, egged on by their supporters in the establishment, in the media and social media, in Hollywood, in the sports world, in the universities. They are enabled by hands-off mayors, governors, DAs and prosecutors.
I am tolerant — more tolerant than most middle-class types, I think — of a certain quantity of disorder in a society. A quality I admire in Americans is our orneriness, our refusal to put up with things that shouldn't be put up with. There are of course lawful ways for us to express our discontents and redress our grievances; but when lawful ways are thwarted by powerful, corrupt interests, some shouting and some breaking of politicians' windows — what Orwell called "turbulence" — is, I believe, excusable.
The anarchists are way, way beyond that level of turbulence now. Abe Greenwald has an opinion column in the September issue of Commentary magazine titled: "Yes, This Is a Revolution." Sample longish quote:
As Thomas Paine said approvingly of France in 1791, [inner quote] "it is the age of revolutions, in which everything may be looked for." [End inner quote.] A mission so grandiose demands the most radical assault on the current order, and changing the world begins with changing one's country. So it was in France in 1789, Russia in 1917, and China in 1949. And this is especially so if one's country is seen as the seat of the present evil and is also the most powerful nation on the planet. This is, then, most fundamentally a revolution against the United States of America and all it stands for.
Until recently — until Kenosha, I think — I would have said that's hyperbolic, over-stated, even hysterical. Yet this is Commentary magazine; not exactly a bastion of based Trumpism.
Greenwald in his article refers to, quote, "the killing of George Floyd," as if the case against those Minneapolis police officers has already been tried and adjudicated. All the evidence I've seen suggests that Floyd died of a massive narcotics overdose.
So Greenwald is going along with the woke narrative there like a good neocon cuck; yet even he senses that we have turned some kind of corner.
Me too. I'm persuaded. Yes, it's a revolution. And where there's a revolution, there'll be a counter-revolution.
Twice in the last year, I have been told, quite casually and spontaneously, by perfectly responsible adults, one an older woman, that all this — America's ongoing immigration crisis and the resultant balkanization — will come to blood.
That was at roughly the same point in the 2012 election cycle that we are now at in the 2020 cycle. Barack Obama was elected to his second term a few weeks later, and the healing began … not.
We're facing what was called in the case of the Civil War an irrepressible conflict.
So it has. Up to this week, however, guns have not been much in evidence; and the blood shed has been that of people who tried to stand up to the anarchist mobs — people like Adam Haner, kicked in the head by an anarchist in Portland on August 16th, or retired police officer David Dorn, shot dead by a looter during anarchist riots in St Louis, June 2nd.
This week we saw the beginnings of counter-revolutionary violence. Monday this week there was shooting at anarchists marching from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. As they passed through Bedford, Pa. (population around 2,600), there was an exchange of gunfire. One of the anarchists took birdshot in the arm. It's not clear who started the shooting.
Then on Tuesday night three anarchists were shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, two of them fatally, by 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, using an AR-15 rifle. According to the New York Times investigation, the sequence of events in outline was, to enumerate:
That account, I repeat, is one I took from a published report by employees at the New York Times. Given the total control of the Times by its woke staffers, as illustrated in the Tom Cotton / James Bennet affair back in June, I'm guessing those employees will soon be ex-employees, and whichever editor saw their findings into print will be an ex-editor.
It so happens that I spent midday Wednesday at my local range, re-learning for the fifteen-hundredth time what a lousy shot I am with a rifle. Back home that evening, watching the video clips then being posted of Rittenhouse shooting Huber and Grosskreutz, I confess that my first reaction was: "Nice shooting!"
I mean, Rittenhouse was sprawled on the ground in an awkward posture and, I am sure, scared out of his wits. He none the less got off four shots, killing one anarchist and badly winging another. All right, the range was close, but I'm still impressed.
The local judicial authorities, like their counterparts in Minnesota, Oregon, Washington State, and pretty much everywhere else, are on the side of the revolutionaries. They have smiled on benignly at the rioting, looting, and arson, but have thrown the book at young Kyle Rittenhouse.
For fatally shooting Rosenbaum in the head, Rittenhouse has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide. For fatally shooting Huber in the chest, first-degree intentional homicide. There's a charge of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, which I guess is for winging Grosskreutz when Grosskreutz was trying to shoot him.
There are also some lesser charges — two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety — just in case the more serious ones can't be made to stick, which of course they shouldn't be.
I bet they will be, though. Our woke prosecutors and judges are merciless with counter-revolutionaries. Young Kyle will likely end up with four hundred years in jail, like James Fields.
Still, the counter-revolution is under way, and these were its first shots. As a peace-loving patriot, I wish I could believe they'll be the last. I truly wish I could; but I can't.
04 — The GOP convenes. The week's other headliner has been the Republican Party's nominating convention. To nobody's surprise at all, they nominated Donald Trump and Mike Pence to second terms as President and Vice-President.
As with the Democrat's convention the week before, this one had to be staged with proper regard to the coronavirus pandemic. So, no crowded convention hall with state delegations waving their banners, for the most part only disjointed clips of worthy Republicans pitching the case for Trump and Pence to empty or social-distancing halls, or just TV cameras.
I'll confess I didn't watch much of it. I have a low threshold of tolerance for political boosterism, even from politicians I plan to vote for. My version of journalistic due diligence here was to read about each evening's proceedings in the following morning's copy of the New York Post. You may grumble that a media outlet with the worldwide influence of Radio Derb should have applied a bit more effort, but … I didn't.
From what I did watch, I must say, I thought the production values were very good. Although I didn't like everything that was presented — as I'll explain in more length in the next segment but one — the whole thing was beautifully made, much better than last week's Democrat show.
That's not blind partisanship speaking. In common with many, many other Republican voters — including the millions who pushed Donald Trump through the 2016 primaries in the teeth of opposition from Rubio, Kasich, Jeb Bush, Huckabee, and the rest — in common with those voters, I don't much like the Republican Party, and positively loathe quite a lot of their leading figures. I've often found myself thinking that if the U.S.A. is to have any kind of future, we need to smash the Republican Party to pieces.
So no, not blind partisanship, just appreciation for a job well done by the RNC. And also a lurking feeling — call me a cockeyed optimist, but it's only a feeling — that the fact of this having been so well done suggests that Trumpism may have a foothold in the Party.
I doubt it's much more than that: Institutional Republicanism is decades old and deeply entrenched. Still, I'm a tad more hopeful than I was a week ago that Trumpism may have a future, with the GOP as its home.
When I said that to Peter Brimelow, Peter observed that there were no Bushes in evidence at the convention. Not Bushes as in leafy plants, Bushes as in George W. and Jeb. I think that's right, and it strengthens my optimism. Even if I'm wrong and the GOP is not turning towards Trumpism, it's at least turning away from Bushism.
OK, convention highs and lows. I'll present them, as best I can judge them, in two segments. First the highs.
05 — Convention high points. Here are the high points, according to me.
High points: Monday. Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St Louis couple who stood outside their home with guns to deter an anarchist mob advancing on it. The McCloskeys came across very well, I thought. They seem like normal people: which, after last week's Democratic Party circus, was refreshing.
Their appearance was also a good and necessary reminder that a Joe Biden Presidency would put our Second Amendment rights in dire peril. It was reading about the McCloskeys on Tuesday morning, in fact, that prompted me to go to the range on Wednesday. Thanks for the prompt, guys.
High points: Tuesday. Nicholas Sandmann, the Covington High School student who has successfully sued CNN and the Washington Post for defamation. Did CNN cover his appearance? If they did, you must have been able to hear their teeth gnashing in the background.
Also on Tuesday: First Lady Melania Trump. The New York Post put Melania on its front cover, but didn't actually report much of the content of her speech, so I watched it on the internet. Very well-phrased and well-delivered, for someone not a political or showbiz professional.
I'm a bit skeptical of the First Lady's claims to fluency in French, German, and Italian; but her English is just fine, and I assume her Slovenian is, too; so she's fluent in one more language than I am.
High points: Wednesday. Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, a man of extraordinary courage and integrity, gave a two-and-a-half-minute speech Wednesday evening. Chen escaped from China eight years ago — with help from the Obama administration, as all the news media made a careful point of telling us.
Chen's address was short because his English is less than fluent, although better than my Chinese. There are excellent reasons for that: Chen didn't learn English until middle age, and he's been blind since infancy.
Chen offered a welcome reminder of the cruelty and ruthlessness of the Chinese communists, and the way they treat the bravest and best of their citizens. That said, I confess to doubts about the wisdom of the U.S.A. forming a multinational coalition to confront the ChiComs, as Chen proposed.
I'm well acquainted with the dire state of human rights in China — and in many other places, too. However, the U.S. government exists to preserve the rights and interests of Americans, not to go off crusading on behalf of other people's rights and interests.
We should speak up, we should encourage, and we should honor brave dissidents like Chen Guangcheng; but liberty and rational government in China are for the Chinese people themselves to attain. As for a multinational coalition: small prospect. Too many nations have been bought off by the ChiComs.
High points:Thursday. Trump, of course, and the big show at the White House. He's the President; I voted for him in '16 and I'll vote for him again in November. I have never heard him say anything memorable or interesting, though, so I passed on the speech.
I think I did the right thing. There was pretty general agreement that Trump's speech, at over an hour, was way too long. Even Michael Goodwin, Trump's strongest supporter at the New York Post, conceded that the thing got no points for style.
The President did, though, remind us that he had personally scotched the plan by the Tennessee Valley Authority to bring in cheap foreign employees on guest-worker visas and fire a corresponding number of American workers, after first making the Americans train their replacements on pain of no severance pay. I'll thank him for that.
One more high point from Thursday evening's show: the opera singer Christopher Macchio, singing from the Blue Room balcony of the White House. He gave us some lovely songs, including a stirring "Nessun dorma." After the event, Macchio tweeted that, tweet:
What President Trump & the 1st family did for me tonight is something I'll never forget. They stood & listened in regal nobility as I performed with tremendous love & pride in my heart for a nation grateful for their commitment to saving our culture & way of life.
"Our culture & way of life," yes! Who did the Democrats have to sing out their convention — Cardi B, was it? I forget.
06 — Convention low points. Now here are the low points, again according to me.
Low points: Monday. I groaned a bit to see Nikki Haley given a speaking spot. Did I speak earlier about entrenched institutional Republicanism? Did I mention John Kasich and Jeb Bush? I think I did; and that's the lunch table Nikki Haley belongs at.
Still, I'll make allowances. Identity-wise, if they have a lady of Indian parentage, I guess we have to have one, too.
And Haley's speech wasn't bad. I winced at the line: "Of course we value and respect every Black life." The dreadful thought crossed my mind that she would then up and say: "Yes! Black lives matter!" She didn't, though, and for this relief much thanks.
Low points: Tuesday. Tuesday was a bit of a cuckfest. Trump pardoned, there on-screen, a convicted bank robber who found religion and has been doing good works. I'm happy for the guy and don't much mind the pardon, but I don't think this belonged at the convention.
What's it supposed to tell prospective voters: that a Trump administration will be nice to bank robbers? Is that really a vote-winner?
Then the President staged a naturalization ceremony for five immigrants. Their home countries were: Ghana, Sudan, Lebanon, Bolivia, and India. With the just-possible exception of the Bolivian guy, none of them was white. So this feature, and probably the bank robber too, were all to tell us that the President is not a racist.
Hoo-kay. Could someone please tell our President about the Sailer Strategy?
Low points: Wednesday. Nothing very objectionable this evening, but I winced again to see Lara Trump, the President's daughter-in-law, as a speaker. There were way too many Trumps speaking at the convention. The President, sure; and the First Lady, no problem; but the rest of them, I don't trust. Indeed, I don't actually trust the President unreservedly.
Leave 'em at home, Mr President.
Low points: Thursday. Again with the relatives, this time Ivanka. I've heard whispers that Ivanka has political ambitions — as an institutional Republican, of course, not a Trumpist.
Ivanka spoke for eighteen minutes. Did we really need that much of an introduction to your dad, honey?
I couldn't face listening to the whole thing, but I did eyeball the transcript. I also, just from habit, did a Ctrl-F on "immigr," but of course there were no hits. Indeed, aside from that one worthy boast of the President's about stomping on the Tennessee Valley Authority, the entire convention had nothing to tell us about the prospects for real action on immigration. As for an immigration moratorium … In our dreams!
The convention managers may have inflicted Ivanka and a whole battalion of other secondary Trumps on us, but I'll thank them at least for not giving a speaking spot to Jared Kushner.
Was that because the RNC suits know that ninety-five percent of Republican voters can't stand the sight of Jared, and spit at the mention of his name? I hope so.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: This one was hard to resist.
Minneapolis has, as we all know, endured weeks of rioting, arson, and looting, with whole streets of the city's business district reduced to rubble.
Surviving businesses in the city would like to protect themselves; but how best to do it? Well, one way would be to cover their store windows with steel shutters, as is done in crime-prone districts all over America — indeed, all over the world. When you close up the business at night, you pull down the shutters. It's an ordinary and obvious security measure.
Well, not in Minneapolis it isn't. A Minneapolis city ordinance, in place since 2004, forbids the use of shutters, apparently because they are unsightly.
Business owners have been pleading with the city to rescind the ordinance, but with no success. Those darn shutters are unsightly. Oh sure: entire blocks of smoking rubble are unsightly, too. They were burned out by Black Lives Matter rioters, though, and that's a righteous cause, so no problem there.
Quote from the Free Beacon, quote:
Business owners are rethinking placing trust in the government to protect their property.
Protect your own damn property, ya stinking capitalists. Not with armed force, though: If you try that, the city authorities will come down on you like a ton of bricks.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is poised to endorse nearly two dozen freshmen House Democrats for reelection, triggering a revolt within the right-leaning organization and drawing fierce pushback from the group's powerful GOP donors.
Amazing. So the nation's leading lobby for cheap foreign labor, both legal and illegal, is turning away from the GOP towards the Democrats. What's up with that?
Could it be that the Chamber of Commerce likes Joe Biden's talk of mass amnesty and open borders? Could it? Nah, surely not. Can't be … no way …
Item: I passed some comment a couple of weeks ago about facial recognition software, which is much more powerful than most people realise. Well, here's a new frontier in that technology: facial recognition for animals.
Yes, it's a thing, although so far I think only in China. Meet Zhao Jinshi, a graduate of Cornell University and founder of Beijing Unitrace Tech, a company developing software for the agriculture industry. Quote from him:
We've been using it for sheep, pigs and cows. For pigs, it's more difficult because pigs all look the same, but dairy cows are a bit special because they are black and white and have different shapes.
I think that's a slur on the porcine community. They all look the same? Are we still allowed to say that, even in relation to pigs?
And now I come to think of it, there's an old joke about New Zealanders and their sheep that fits nicely here. It's too indelicate for a family show, though, so I'll leave you to look it up if you're inclined.
08 — Signoff. That's all I have, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening; and again, if you want to help the folk down in Louisiana left homeless by Hurricane Laura, look up the American Red Cross website and give what you can.
OK, some signoff music. Englishman Julian Bream died August 14th. He was 87 years old. That's a pretty good innings; but, of course, proper condolences to his loved ones.
Bream was a guitarist — classical, not rock'n'roll. That's not what I personally remember him for, though. As well as the guitar, he also played the lute. Back in my student days there was a minor fad in the educated classes of Britain for Julian Bream's lute music. I rather liked it in small doses: not enough to buy an LP myself, but half the people I knew owned one, and it's a tiny part of the background music to my wasted youth.
So here to see us out, in tribute to a dedicated master of his craft, is Julian Bream playing a piece by the 16th-century English composer John Dowland. The piece is titled "Loth to Departe," which of course I am …
… But there will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Julian Bream playing Dowland's "Loth to Departe."]