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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, fife'n'drum version version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Welcome, listeners, from your circumspectly genial host John Derbyshire, podcasting to you from VDARE.com's state-of-the-art recording studio here in the bosky wilds of Long Island.
This morning, Friday morning, I sat down as per my usual routine with a bowl of oatmeal porridge, a glass of orange juice, some prunes, and the New York Post. What should I see all across the front cover of the Post? Main picture: an attractive young woman on a beach wearing not very much. Inset picture: an attractive young metrosexual guy — designer stubble and so on. Caption, in letters two inches high: LOVE BITES!
What's that all about? Well, the guy is some B-list movie star I never heard of named Armie Hammer. The gal, who I likewise never heard of, is one Courtney Vucekovich, tagged as an entrepreneur.** She dated Mr Hammer for a few weeks last summer. The news is, that he harbors fantasies of cannibalism, and shared these fantasies with her during their brief affair. Sample, quote from the lady:
He said to me he wants to break my rib and barbecue and eat it.
My reaction to this cover was to whoop with pleasure, then get up and dance a jig around the kitchen — it was actually more like a solo merengue.
I didn't actually read much of the accompanying story on inside pages 8 and 9. The general tone of the thing is adequately conveyed by the closing sentence, quote:
He later claimed in a separate interview that he was drunk at the time of the interview.
Hey, we've all been there, pal. But the cause of my delight was, that this boy-girl story about cannibalistic fantasies, full front cover and two full inside pages of a respectable national newspaper, had nothing to do with politics. I am heartily, thoroughly, desperately sick of politics. I turn to the political news wearily, sighing and groaning. The cannibalistic fantasies of a B-list actor? A breath of fresh air!
I have sunk into a mood where I hate politics and I hate politicians. Only with an effort can I bring myself to look at their smug fat faces posed in phony expressions of sincerity, reproof, or alarm — expressions they have practiced for hours in front of their bathroom mirrors. Only with an effort can I bring myself to listen to their canting avowals of concern for the common welfare, delivered in tones of pious earnestness and it-pains-me-to-say-this-but-duty-calls fake moralism, while donors stuff wads of cash into their suit pockets and ChiCom hookers wait in the limo outside.
I swear, the next time I hear one of these bottom-feeding mud creatures tell me "This is not who we are," I shall … I shall … I don't know what I shall do. Go down to Capitol Hill in D.C. and break a few windows, perhaps? Nah, I'm not the type. I can understand the impulse, though.
Can't we get term limits for these reptiles? I think an absolute lifetime limit of six weeks in any public office would be about right.
All right, all right, I'm venting. It's my podcast, I can vent if I want to.
All right, dammit: politics.
** [Added when archiving: Seems to me this should be "entrepreneuse."]
02 — Prosecuting Officer Chauvin. The premise of this and the next two segments is, that the incoming new administration will, with high probability, face three major crises in the next year or two. I shall give over one segment to each crisis.
Crisis number one: the Derek Chauvin trial. Chauvin, you'll recall, is the former Minneapolis Police Officer charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd last May. Jury selection for Chauvin's trial begins March 8th, so this is pretty immediate.
Three other police officers who were present at the scene when Officer Chauvin succeeded in restraining Floyd have been charged with lesser offences of the aiding-and-abetting sort. Quote from the report on Yahoo.com, January 14th, quote:
[Minneapolis Judge Peter] Cahill previously ruled in November that it was in the best interest of justice that all four cops be tried together, saying this would allow the jury to have "all of the evidence and the complete picture of Floyd's death." But the persisting realities of COVID-19 seem to have changed his mind.
There follows some stuff about the physical limitations of the largest courtroom in the justice center. It's not big enough for all the lawyers and supporting staff needed when trying four defendants, without violating COVID-19 restrictions. Uh-huh.
Given the stakes here, you have to suspect skullduggery.
The stakes for Judge Cahill are, that if you glance over his left shoulder you see the sinister figure of Keith Ellison, Minnesota's white-hating black Muslim Bernie-bro Attorney General, who is determined to get Chauvin put away for 400 years.
Allowing the jury to have, quote, "all of the evidence and the complete picture of Floyd's death" might get in the way of that. If all of the evidence says that Floyd died of a massive drug overdose only indirectly related — perhaps not related at all — to Officer Chauvin's having used a commonplace method of restraint on him, and if one or two intelligent citizens slipped through the jury-selection process, the prosecution's case could be in trouble.
The stakes for the rest of us are, that an acquittal of Officer Chauvin would mean another round of mayhem like the one we saw last year: public buildings defaced and torched by anarchist mobs, highways closed, random citizens beaten and killed, private businesses looted, while Biden and his crew blame it all on "white supremacists," Kamala Harris starts a GoFundMe account to bail out the rioters and looters, and big corporations donate another ten billion dollars to Black Lives Matter.
Remember the Rodney King riots in 1992? They started because the police officers who arrested King and beat him when he resisted, were acquitted at state trial. King didn't even die, although he got a broken leg and some nasty bruises.
Plus, the nation was a lot more sane in 1992 than it is today. That was before Satan rose from the Underworld to gift us with the internet, smartphones, and social media. The rioters back then were mostly black and disorganized: anarchist Goodwhite mobs were not yet a thing.
Note also that those Rodney King cops weren't off the hook after acquittal. Under the cruel and disgraceful system of double jeopardy that is now standard when Badwhites — especially cops — injure blacks or Goodwhites, those Rodney King cops were tried all over again on spurious "civil rights" charges, and ended up in jail anyway.
There is no doubt that Derek Chauvin, if acquitted in state court — likely even if convicted, as was the case with James Fields — there is no doubt Officer Chauvin will face the same double jeopardy.
We have just this week been learning about Joe Biden's nominee to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division: a lady of color whose pineal gland pumps out melanin at a rate that puts us dull, un-spiritual white people in the shade … so to speak. With Ms Melanin in charge of the nation's civil rights, Officer Chauvin's going to have many, many decades to regret he didn't take the fast way out while he still had his service revolver.
When the System wants to get you, it'll get you. It'll get Derek Chauvin, one way or another. Until it has, though, there may be some more blood shed in America's streets.
03 — Helicopter money. Coming crisis number two: the economy. I got a call the other day from my investment advisor.
The Derbs have a modest — very modest — portfolio of investments as a result of 401K plans we contributed to at various times. I don't have sufficient interest or expertise to manage the thing, so for the past twenty years I've had a local firm managing it for us. They're properly accredited, their fees are reasonable, they don't churn, and they saw our little boat through the 2008-2009 typhoon with only minimal damage, earning our undying gratitude thereby.
So I got this call, which is not usual. They don't call me much unprompted.
Financial management is of course all a matter of risk-reward calculations and guesswork. The call was to discuss shifting our portfolio away from risk, into less-rewarding but more-secure instruments.
"We're in a bubble," my man told me. "Bubbles burst."
Yes we are, and yes they do. I've been reading similar things in the business press, in those moments when I can drag my attention away from low-rank actor's cannibal fantasies to what's happening in the markets.I just checked the debt clock: 27 trillion dollars national debt, heading upwards rapidly to 28 trillion. That's $222,000 per taxpaying citizen.
Not to worry, the politicians tell us. That's just a number on paper. It doesn't mean anything. We're the U.S.A., the world's Top Dog! Foreigners will go on lining up to buy our bonds … for ever!
Yeah, well, maybe. My family's little portfolio is just numbers on paper, too — actually of course just bits and bytes in some server somewhere. [Clip: The Beatles, "Nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about …"] Just so.
At least the Derbs have some savings. Millions of working Americans don't; and millions of Americans who were working this time last year, are not working now.
There were massive job losses last spring as the pandemic took hold; we all know that. Then employment recovered somewhat through summer and fall. Then, the latest numbers show, there were major job losses all over again in December. For the first week of January The New York Times reports that, quote:
On a seasonally adjusted basis, new state claims [for unemployment benefits] totaled 965,000. Before the pandemic, weekly filings typically totaled around 200,000.
The approach to all this to be taken by the new congress looks to be twofold.
One: helicopter money. The feds will send us all checks for $600, as per the omnibus spending bill our conscientious legislators passed just before Christmas, having carefully scrutinized all 5,593 pages of it in the seven hours they were given between the bill's publication and the House vote.
We'll get the check whether we need it or not. Why? The feds have meticulously detailed knowledge of all our financial circumstances in the IRS databases. An elementary exercise in low-level artificial-intelligence programming as applied to those databases could easily determine who really needs help and who doesn't.
Unfortunately that's way beyond the intellectual and organizational powers of our dumb, lazy federal government. So they're just sending out the helicopters to fly over and shower the money on us all.
Won't that send the national debt rising even faster? Hey, don't worry; it's just numbers on paper. And we're the U.S.A. — Planet Earth's economic Top Dog! For ever!
I said that the new congress's approach will be twofold. The first fold is that helicopter money. What's the second fold?
Mass immigration! Amnesty, with full working rights, to the twenty or thirty million illegal aliens resident here; plus opening the borders to bring in another twenty or thirty million! It's the right approach, they know it is, because Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Charles Koch, and the Chamber of Commerce told us it is!
Going back to that story about Armie Hammer's cannibalism fantasies, I just noticed with interest that the actor seems to be a Big Lebowski fan. Quote:
Hammer allegedly asked a partner if he could [inner quote] "cut off one of your toes and keep it with me in my pocket so I always had a piece of you in my possession." [End inner quote.]
Big Lebowski fans will get the reference. Those of you so benighted as not to be Big Lebowski fans, go to YouTube and put "big lebowski toe" into the search box.
Sorry, my attention drifted there. Politics; gotta talk about politics. Where was I? Oh yes: looming crisis number three.
Executive summary: The aircraft carrier is obsolete. Sample quote:
To a geostrategic realist it is clear that 10, 12, or 15 American carrier groups sailing the world's oceans 24/7 at an astronomic cost makes no sense. There is a solid front of well-funded vested interests inside the Beltway and across the nation pretending otherwise, of course.
Of course. The number one threat here is of course China. No; the ChiComs don't want to occupy our land and enslave us. Unless your territory has a border with metropolitan China, as in the case of the unfortunate Tibetans and Uighurs, the ChiComs don't want your land, only your money.
The exception to that is Taiwan, which the ChiComs very much want to bring back into the warm embrace of the Motherland. They will make moves to do that as soon as they think they can get away with it. On Srdja Trifkovic's analysis, which the ChiComs probably agree with, that would be about now.
The news stories about the U.S.A. being fed to their own people by the ChiCom party bosses are of a nation in decline: riven by social disorder, its political system a shambles, its economy cratering, enervated by factional fighting, dispirited by twenty years of futile wars, and led by a senile buffoon, a ditzy broad, and a comic-opera legislature. This would, as they see it, be a great time to make the move on Taiwan.
Would they succeed? Probably, for the reasons Srdja Trifkovic lays out. Our geostrategic posture is stuck firmly in the past. Sons and daughters of the soldiers we sent twenty years ago to put Afghanistan to rights, are today themselves in Afghanistan, putting it to rights. We are still in NATO thirty years after NATO's adversary, the Warsaw Pact, vanished from the face of the earth. Our carrier groups patrol the world's oceans, all primed up to re-fight the Battle of Midway.
A few weeks ago, also in Chronicles magazine, I wrote the following thing, quote from me:
For the United States, China's re-taking of Taiwan will be a Suez moment: the psychological equivalent of the 1956 humiliation of Britain and France by Egypt and the Americans. Until the Suez Crisis, the phrase "British Empire" was still taken seriously. Suez gave that phrase some color of irony, a color that deepened rapidly. Two years later May 24 was downgraded from Empire Day to Commonwealth Day.
I don't take any pleasure in this prediction. I'm a patriot: an American by choice, proud and happy to be one. When I contemplate the farce that is our national government, though, the phrase that comes to mind is the one current in WW1 to describe the British Army: "Lions led by donkeys." You could say it's our fault for electing the donkeys; but seeing the shambles of this recent election, I'm not sure the fault is all ours.
Our geostrategic position is absurd and untenable. We should be a commercial republic as the Founders intended, minding our own business and leaving other nations to mind theirs. The U.S. Navy should guard our shores and protect our merchant shipping. We should keep ourselves well supplied with nuclear weapons to deter an existential assault. None of that requires 26,000 troops in South Korea, 12,000 in Italy, or eleven carrier groups.
We thought Donald Trump understood this and might do something about it; but he was too lazy and inattentive, too easily buffaloed by the military-industrial establishment. He did basically nothing.
Now we have a new administration coming in, one that Srdja Trifkovic calls, I think correctly — "openly interventionist." I hope the result will be nothing worse than a national humiliation.
05 — The vanity of power. So much for matters our nation's legislators should be attending to. What have they actually been attending to this week? Why, they've been impeaching President Trump again!
Here is a story from British history. There was an English king, Charles the First, of the Stuart dynasty. Our schoolmasters told us that Charles was "cultured, autocratic, and unwise." He was so unwise, the nation fell into a civil war, which Charles lost. The victors chopped his head off in 1649.
For the following nine years Britain was a republic, though it preferred to be called a commonwealth. The head of this show was a chap named Oliver Cromwell, with the title Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. Cromwell ran a sort of military dictatorship lite, deferring to Parliament in most things.
After Cromwell died from an illness in 1658 his son Richard became Lord Protector. Richard didn't have his father's abilities, though, nor the respect of power centers like the army, Parliament, and the churches. After a short spell of disorder the Brits pushed him out and brought back the monarchy in the person of Charles the Second, who had been living abroad in various European countries.
Charles the Second was personally charming, politically adroit, and determined never again to, as he said, "go on his travels." The public liked him, all the main power centers supported him, and Cromwellism went into a steep decline.
The new king ordered that all those involved in the overthrow and execution of his father Charles the First were to be tried and punished. That included Oliver Cromwell himself, who, please recall, had died two years before.
So … how d'you punish a guy who's been dead two years? No prob: You just dig up his corpse and hang him in public, for a show. That's what they did. Cromwell's corpse was dug up and hanged in chains. For good measure they chopped his head off and stuck it on a pole for all to see.
It all sounds dumb and spiteful; but if there is one thing the powerful like, it's a show — a show of their power, that is, most especially a show that humiliates a hated predecessor who now has no power at all.
In fact this has happened many times in many different countries. The website AmusingPlanet.com lists four famous cases, including one Pope: Formosus, who died in A.D. 896. Formosus actually got a formal trial, his corpse propped up on a throne in the courtroom, dressed in papal robes. I hope they had good ventilation in that courtroom.
The papacy has seen more dignified moments. Oh, the verdict? Guilty!
All this came to mind with this second impeachment of Trump. It's true that Trump is still among the living, and long may he remain so. In fact he is still President.
However, the impeachers are making the same point that the people who dug up Cromwell and Formosus were making: "We are in power now. The one who came before us is gone, and won't come back. He has no power any more, and we can do as we please with him. Nyah nyah!"
Vindictive? Definitely. Spiteful? Of course. Lacking any politically-constructive purpose? For sure. There is useful work our legislators need to do, as my previous three segments I hope made plain. They prefer to put on this show.
This is the sheer vanity of power, open and unashamed.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: There's a political mood in the air, and it calls for a memorable descriptive name. I suggest "Woke Triumphalism."
Donald Trump, the great hate figure of the woke crowd, has been vanquished. The nation's legislature, which occasionally offered some feeble opposition to the onward march of wokeness, is now controlled by the Democratic Party — wokeness enthroned. All the big federal executive departments are being put in the hands of progressives. Even the military has gone woke.
Antifa and BLM, the street-level enforcers of wokery, enjoy the support and patronage of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The big internet and social media companies have joined forces to purge the public square of dissent from wokism. Payment services, banks, credit card companies, book publishers, … any commercial organization that might assist the propagation of dissident views is slamming the door on them.
It's game, set, and match to the wokesters. We are now one nation under strict ideological orthodoxy, like China … but minus the high-speed trains.
There was The Era of Good Feelings, The Age of Lincoln, Reconstruction, The Progressive Era, The Roaring Twenties, The Postwar Consensus, The Vietnam Era. Now we have entered a new phase in our nation's history: The Era of Woke Triumphalism.
North Korea's been under tight ideological orthoxy for 75 years. Let's see if we can surpass that!
Item: Did I mention book publishers back there? It's not just the book publishers bowing the knee to the woke enforcers: it's the book sellers.
Case in point: Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon, references to which in the press come tagged with the epithet "iconic." Portland is of course dominated by the Antifa-BLM goons. Any Portland business that doesn't want its windows smashed, or worse, had better do as they say.
Portland is also the home of freelance journalist Andy Ngo, who's been reporting on anarchist street violence for three years now, often at great danger to himself. Well, Andy's written a book, title: Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, publication date February 2nd.
As I go to tape here you can still pre-order the book at Amazon; but given Amazon's complicity in the silencing of Parler last weekend, I wouldn't be surprised to see Andy's book disappear from their website.
It's already disappeared from Powell's, that "iconic" bookstore in Portland. They have announced that they will not carry the book on their shelves. They will, however, keep it in their online catalog.
Even that tiny concession infuriated the Antifa gang bosses. They sent a squad to Powell's on Monday: not a real mob, just enough muscle to intimidate the store owners and make them close early. "Nice little bookstore you got here … iconic, in fact …"
Item: The city of Miami, Florida is of course the location of Miami Beach, the actual beach stretching south-north along a spit of land separated from the mainland by a lagoon named Biscayne Bay. If you steer your yacht up north through Biscayne Bay you come to Indian Creek Island, a very tony place, one of the wealthiest in the United States, with just 29 residences in it. As well as those residences, Indian Creek Island contains Indian Creek Country Club, possibly the most exclusive such establishment in the country.
Well: Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka, née Trump have bought a little plot there — it cost a mere $30 million — and are having a house built on it.
This has caused some discord among Indian Creekers. Owning a home on the island doesn't guarantee you membership in the country club. You have to be nominated and make an application. If even one club member objects, your application will be turned down.
It has apparently been made clear to Jared and Ivanka that they need not bother applying to the country club. Sure, they're rich and Jewish; but they're not rich, liberal and Jewish.
I've tried my best to be indignant about this, but I just can't do it. The main obstacle is, that every time I see a picture of Jared's smooth, pink, rich-boy face, I suffer a spasm of projectile vomiting. I don't know why …
Item: The world of identity politics is rich with initialisms and acronyms: BIPOC, API, LGBTQIA, and so on. Well, here's another one: ADOS, A-D-O-S. That stands for "American Descendant of Slavery," and the point of it is to differentiate blacks descended from black slaves in the U.S.A. like Michelle Obama from blacks of foreign black ancestry, like … well, like Barack Obama.
A January 3rd report at rt.com tells us there is considerable tension here. No, not in the Obama marriage — Heaven forbid! — but between ADOSes (or ADOS: I'm not sure what the plural is) and black immigrants, especially from Africa. Sample quote:
The schism is exacerbated as African immigrants generally have higher average earnings than ADOS, while they and their children tend to do better academically …
Black Africa has an awful lot of people. Even with a mean IQ down around seventy, there are still tens of thousands in the right-hand tail of that bell curve, and those are the black Africans we're getting.
This comes under the heading I have used in several articles: "importing an overclass." Note that the African immigrants are not just more college-educated than ADOSes, they're more college-educated than white Americans.
A recipe for social harmony? Eh … possibly not.
Item: Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who ran for the Democratic Party presidential nomination last year — unsuccessfully of course — has now entered the lists for Mayor of New York City, voting for which takes place this fall.
His campaign has already hit a small snag, though. Yang, you see, is an intactivist. An intactivist.
No, I didn't know that word either until I read this story in the January 9th New York Post. Intactivists, it turns out, are people opposed to circumcision. Quote from the candidate:
From what I've seen, the evidence on it being a positive health choice for the infant is quite shaky. It's sort of pushed on parents in many situations.
Circumcision … New York City … you see the snag here.
This being the New York Post, the reporter did not fail to tell us that Yang's intactivism, quote, "could cut into his popularity," end quote.
Oh, I can do better than that. I spent a few months in my youth washing dishes in and around New York City, including for a lot of kosher caterers. I have a good stock of mohel jokes. A mohel, in case you don't know, is the trained specialist who conducts ritual circumcisions. How much is he paid for his services? Ten dollars an hour, plus tips … and so on.
My own favorite circumcision story isn't actually Jewish. It's in Mrs Thrale's Anecdotes of Samuel Johnson. Quote:
Mr Johnson told me that at a friend's house he had been one evening talking over some theological subjects — the room was full — a young lady said to him: "Now pray dear sir tell us what was that circumcision we so read of?"
Item: Here is a rather touching story from Brazil.
The heroes of the story are two chaps named Ronaldo Santana and Marcio Albuquerque. Mr Santana is a bus driver in the city of Recife, out on the easternmost bulge of Brazil. Mr Albuquerque is his conductor.
On Monday this week Mr Santana was tooling along the highway from one side of Recife to the other when he saw a sloth trying to cross the road. A sloth.
Now, as I'm sure you know, sloths are famous for two things.
At this point it may occur to you to wonder whether that is why we refer to a lazy person as slothful — because he resembles a sloth. No, it's the other way round. The word "sloth" meaning "laziness" came first. It traces back to an old Germanic root word; the same root as the word "slow."
The sloth is a tropical critter, native to Central and South America. English speakers did not encounter it until the Age of Exploration four or five hundred years ago. Observing its easygoing lifestyle, they christened it the sloth.
OK, back to our story. Seeing that sloth trying to cross the road at its accustomed leisurely pace, Mr Santana feared for its life on the busy highway. He pulled over his bus; then he and Mr Albuquerque, the conductor, who are both animal lovers, took the sloth on board. They carried it with them to the bus terminus, apparently without trying to collect a fare from it, then handed it over to police.
During the journey, the sloth kept the bus passengers entertained by trying to hang upside down from the handrails.
Item: And that's only one of this week's sloth stories. The other is from Panama. Wednesday this week in the town of Alcalde Diaz, firefighters were called to rescue a sloth that was stuck on top of a utility pole, up among the wires and cables there.
The firefighters performed a very capable rescue, the video of which had been viewed over 2,000 times by Thursday noon.
07 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening, and I know you are looking forward to next week's inauguration every bit as much as I am. I shall watch the ceremony live on one of the news channels … unless some other channel is covering Armie Hammer's taste in barbecued ribs.
I know, I know: You're all scratching your heads and asking: "Stories about sloths? Or sloths, or sloth, whatever the heck the plural of 'sloth' is. Two sloth stories? Really, Derb? Why?"
Why indeed? Normally I would be loth to give over two items to animal stories, especially if both concerned the same species of animal. On my oath, I would. I have a reason though, and here it is: Because any excuse is a good enough excuse to play some Flanders and Swann. Here they are.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Flanders & Swann, "The Sloth."]