Radio Derb: Biden Lies, Democrats Vie, Legislators Deny, And Students Cry, Etc.
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00m45s  Crazy days among the Dems.  (Not so much the policies but the polls.)

07m29s  Biden launches with a lie.  (Joe's moral arc bends from plagiarism to mendacity.)

13m48s  The persistence of race denialism.  (No such thing as weather.)

18m30s  California's shame.  (Overclass America has poop on the sidewalks.)

24m41s  Homelessness mnemonic.  (A handy encapsulation.)

30m13s  Liberty, lunacy, and order.  (I'll take liberty.)

33m59s  Double survivors.  (Nuked more healthful than sunk.)

36m34s  Words are violence.  (Transubstantiation for the 21st century.)

40m05s  Signoff.  (With a patriotic song.)

01—Intro.     And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your mnemonically genial host John Derbyshire, bringing you highlights of the week's news from's lavishly-equipped sound studio here in the bosky hills of northern Long Island.

Let's go straight to the news wires.


02—Crazy days among the Dems.     It really does seem to be crazy time in the Democratic Party.

Not that Democratic policies are crazy: For sure some of them are—open borders, free college, banning cars and planes—but I doubt anyone much takes those seriously. When you consider what we might reasonably anticipate actually getting from an actual Democratic administration, it only differs in shades of gray from what we have currently under President Trump. This is the age of the Uniparty. Heck, the borders are more open now than they were under Obama.

No, the real craziness is in the poll numbers for Democratic Presidential candidates. You'd think that by now we would have passed into the age of woke millennial voters driving those numbers, calling for youth, vigor, and novelty.

Yet when I brought up the Morning Consult website a few minutes ago—that's a basic, pretty reliable polling outfit sampling fourteen thousand likely Democratic primary voters nationwide—who should I see grinning out at me from the top of the poll but Joe Biden, favored by thirty percent of pollees, and Bernie Sanders, with 24 percent.

All those millennial-friendly wunderkinder candidates I've been reading about are way behind the two big kahunas. None of them even breaks ten percent, although Peter Buttigieg is close at nine percent. Of the seventeen candidates listed—yes, we're up to seventeen, with a year and a half to polling day—only six break five percent.

A lot of the explanation is just name recognition. Thirty-six percent of respondents hadn't even heard of Mayor Buttigieg. If you are one of those who never heard of him and would like to get up to speed, I offered some extended commentary here on Radio Derb last week.

Those of us who watch politics for a living tend to forget how little space it occupies in the minds of normal people, thank goodness. Most Americans find their families, their friends, their jobs, their hobbies, and the fortunes of their local sports teams more interesting than politics.

Even in these politically-fevered times, voter turnout in presidential elections struggles to break sixty percent. In last Fall's midterms, turnout broke fifty percent for the first time since … Can you guess? When was the previous year more than half of eligible voters turned out for a midterm? You could win a bar bet on this one: It was 1914.

It's still astonishing that the dynamic, progressive, forward-looking Democratic Party, which is so strongly favored by smartphone-addicted millennials with their untucked shirts, body piercings, skintight jeans, and degrees in Gender Studies should have as its way most-strongly-favored presidential candidates two white guys whose ages on being elected, if either were to be elected, would be 78 or 79.

Should we mind these guys' ages? Eh, it's a trade-off. The great rule of life in these matters is the one that Frenchman gave us all those centuries ago: Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait—"If youth only knew; if age only could." When you're young and full of vigor you can accomplish anything, but you don't know squat. When you're old you're loaded up with wisdom, but it's hard to get much done.

There's a lot of individual variation, of course. I find it hard to believe, though, that most Americans, let alone most millennials, really want an octogenarian President. If I'm right about that, the DNC needs to put more effort into getting name recognition for the thirty- and forty-something candidates further down the current polls.

Back in the 1940s the Daily Worker, which was the official newspaper of the British Communist Party, famously translated a passage from one of Stalin's speeches as, quote: "The organs of the Party must penetrate the backward parts of the proletariat." Seems like the Democrats still have a lot of penetrating to do.

So I'm going to follow that up with a Buttigieg joke, right? Wrong! Why would I do that?


03—Joe Biden launches with a lie.     Yes, Joe Biden's out in the lead there, favored by thirty percent of likely Democratic voters nationwide, thirty-four percent in the early-primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, when the actual voting starts to make headlines a few months from now.

Thursday this week Biden made his candidacy official with a three-and-a-half-minute video that leaned heavily on the disturbances in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. "Charlottesville, Virginia" are actually the first two words of the video.

The other words are largely pasted together from CultMarx boilerplate phrases. The Obama-ish phrase "who we are," for example, which is now so threadbare even leftists wince at it, turned up three times, along with "America's an idea," and the obligatory reference to "Europe in the 1930s." Why is it these lefty orators never throw in a mention of St Petersburg in 1917? Hard to figure.

And of course that video didn't lean on the Charlottesville events so much as on the narrative of them constructed and broadcast by CultMarx media outlets, then re-broadcast and re-re-broadcast in a determined and successful effort to smother any account of what really took place.

We've offered ample coverage of what actually happened at Charlottesville here on, under the tag "Charlottesville narrative collapse."

The tag is a bit optimistic: The CultMarx narrative of Charlottesville is triumphant in major media and probably among the public at large. That narrative has only collapsed among the tiny sliver of the population who have read all 207 pages of the Heaphy Report, or the objective summaries of the report offered at websites like Certainly Joe Biden had no qualms about retailing the dominant narrative in all its brazen mendacity.

[Clip:  And that's when we heard the words of the President of the United States that stunned the world and shocked the conscience of this nation. He said there were, quote, "some very fine people on both sides."

Very fine people on both sides? With those words, the President of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it.]

I don't myself buy the "moral equivalence" argument. One side in the Charlottesville fracas had the sole intention to hold a legally-permitted rally in defense of a historic statue; the other side had the intention to disrupt that rally violently. Local politicians and law-enforcement encouraged and assisted the latter faction. Moral equivalence? I don't see it.

What did the President actually have in mind when he spoke the words Joe Biden's quoting? Here's what Trump said:

[Clip:  And you had people—and I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally—but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.

Now, in the other group also you had some fine people; but you also had trouble-makers. And you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats … You had a lot of bad people in the other group.]

Plainly what was in the President's mind there was the idea that there were some Nazi nutcases mixed in with the defenders of that statue; and there were some anarchist nutcases mixed in with the clergymen and cat ladies who initiated the violence. The fact remains that the first group, Nazis and all, had lawful permits to be where they were and do what they were doing, and the second group didn't, but the authorities let that second group attack the first anyway.

So Joe Biden, this republic's leading argument for congressional term limits—he's been warming seats in Washington, D.C. since the Nixon administration and has already run for President twice, the first time 32 years ago—Joe Biden has launched his third campaign with a bare-faced lie. Not much to be surprised about there: He launched that first campaign with an act of bare-faced plagiarism.

Mendacity, plagiarism: now there is moral equivalence.


04—The persistence of race denialism.     It's April still, for a few more days. At this time of year I always get a scattering of emailed requests to mark the anniversary of my getting fired from National Review in April of 2012.

I can never think of anything to say that I haven't already said, so I generally pass over the anniversary in silence.

For sure we are no closer to honest realism about race today than we were seven years ago. This is a bit surprising, given the advances we've made in understanding biology—especially in human genetics and paleoanthropology.

Not only is social-science orthodoxy in the Western world stuck firmly at "no such thing as race," it has actually advanced to "no such thing as sex." I wouldn't be very surprised to open my newspaper one morning and find myself looking at an op-ed advising me that there is no such thing as weather, no such thing as crime, or no such thing as music.

So I was correspondingly un-surprised to see this story from CBS Sacramento, April 23rd. Headline: California May Ban Schools From Suspending Students For "Willful Defiance". Monday this week the California State Senate actually approved this measure on a vote of thirty to eight. Now it goes to the State Assembly; then, if passed, to the Governor for signature.

California schools are already prohibited from suspending students up to third grade for "disrupting school activities or willfully defying school authorities." This new measure extends that ban all the way up to twelfth grade. So disruptive or willfully defiant high-school seniors can't be suspended, if the law goes into effect.

This new law, and others like it around the country, are of course driven by race denialism. Reading down the CBS story, you soon come to this, edited quote:

Research has shown the category of willful defiance was disproportionately used to discipline minority students, specifically African-Americans … African-American students made up 5.6 percent of enrollment in California schools in 2017-18, but accounted for 15.6 percent of willful defiance suspensions.

End quote. You don't say. Since there is no such thing as race—since it is scientifically preposterous that human groups of different deep ancestry might exhibit different statistical profiles on behavior, intelligence, and personality—the only conceivable explanation for those suspension numbers is hate. We must stamp out hate!

It's wearying to have to keep countering this race-denialist gibberish year after year. I certainly don't feel up to it. Let the fools gibber, I really don't care.

Still, I hope listeners will take this segment as a satisfactory response to those requests I get each April. It's as much as I can stir myself to do. Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait, all right?


05—California's shame.     California's been in the news on another topic: homelessness.

I noted in my January 18th podcast the new smartphone app issued by the city government of San Francisco that lets you take a photograph of any human waste you spot on the city streets, and then automatically forwards the picture to the Public Works Department. That app, you may recall, is called Snapcrap.

In case that story left you insufficiently grossed out, in the last few days we have been seeing computer-generated maps showing all the locations, identified of course with little fecal-brown markers, where public poop has been reported. One of these maps, covering the past eight years, has a hundred thousand markers. That's a lot of poop.

Quote from the news story:

The worst year was last year when more than 28,000 instances were reported&nbsp. The number was 8,000 more than the previous year and more than five times the 5,547 that were reported in 2011.

San Francisco's homeless problem has been a talking point among local media, industry and residents for years.

It has been dubbed the "shame of the city" and been likened to a human rights crisis by UN investigators.

End quote.

"For years" is certainly right. Sixteen years ago I visited San Francisco on a book promotion tour. I wrote up my visit for National Review. Sample quote:

Eighteenth-century Londoners used to amuse themselves with a day out at the Bedlam Asylum, where they could view the lunatics from a safe distance. Present-day citizens of San Francisco do not need to put themselves to so much trouble. Half the lunatics, drunks and drug addicts in America—in the world, I wouldn't be surprised—are right here in the center of their city.

I have vivid memories of that trip, and find it hard to believe that things could have gotten any worse. The numbers say they have, though. Good grief!

It's not just the city streets, either., April 17th, headline: "Surge" of Homeless at Major U.S. Airport. Story, sample quote:

Officials at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) are evaluating how to best address the growing issue of homeless people taking shelter in the air hub, the latest challenge stemming from the northern California city's homelessness crisis.

End quote.

I guess we should be grateful for small mercies: the airport is better-supplied with restrooms than the streets are.

Nor is it just northern California. Tucker Carlson at Fox News has been covering the homeless crisis in Los Angeles. Things there look to be as bad as in San Francisco, although I haven't yet seen a poop map of the City of Angels.

For American patriots, these stories can only inspire deep shame. These are not some hollowed-out rustbelt cities we're looking at here. This is San Francisco, at the cutting edge of the high-tech digital World of Tomorrow—twenty miles from Silicon Valley. This is Los Angeles, movie and media hub, twenty miles from Malibu.

This is Overclass America, where our elites live, work, and socialize. The median sale price of a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $1.3 million. And people are pooping in the street.

The first movie I ever saw on American soil was American Graffiti, which was released the week after I first arrived here in August 1973. The movie is set in California, and makes you want to go and live there.

Now, 46 years later, I'm amazed that anyone would want to live there: anyone, I mean, who is not either rich enough to insulate himself from the filth and misery, or so poor that his life choices come down to being destitute in a warm sunny state or a cold wet one.


06—Homelessness mnemonic.     In the matter of homelessness, I have a mnemonic.

When we first started reading about homelessness as a big social problem forty years ago, I had a friend who was a social worker—he was actually involved, as a salaried professional, in dealing with homelessness.

My friend taught me a mnemonic which, he said, encapsulated the entire homeless issue. I shall now teach you that same mnemonic, as a public service. You're welcome!

Here is my friend's mnemonic encapsulating homelessness: "CATO-4321." Got that? "CATO"—a "C," an "A," a "T," and an "O." Then, "4, 3, 2, 1."

The first part, the "CATO," gives the four categories of homeless people; the second part, "4-3-2-1," gives their relative proportions. I'll take the four categories in turn.

"C" stands for "Crazy." I apologize for that: It's not a very sympathetic way to speak about people with mental-health issues. This was forty years ago, when we spoke more bluntly. The "C" of "CATO" goes with the "4" of "4321": Forty percent of the homeless are afflicted with mental-health issues.

Next, "A." That stands for "Addicts," and it goes with the "3." Thirty percent of homeless people are drug addicts. Alcoholics may be in there, too—I forget.

Next after "C" and "A" comes "T." That stands for "Tramps." This word isn't much used in American English; my friend and I were living in England. I think the nearest equivalent here is "hobos."

This population of homeless, the "T's"—who of course are twenty percent—these are people who like living on the streets. They're not crazy and they're not drug addicts. Homelessness is their chosen lifestyle. They're the happy homeless.

Finally the "O's" at ten percent. "O" stands for "Out of luck." These street people are not crazy, they're not addicts, and they don't want to live on the streets. They just have no choice.

These are people you or I would recognize as normal, but they've had some terrible reversal of fortune. Lost their job, lost their house, wife left them and took the kids, no family to fall back on for support. It happens. There but for the grace of God …

After he'd explained his little mnemonic to me, my 1979 friend added the following. Quote from memory.

Of all those four groups, the only one that Social Services can do much for in a permanent way is the "O's." They want to be helped; and when you try to help them, they co-operate. The Crazies and the Addicts mostly won't co-operate, because they mostly can't; the Tramps won't co-operate because they don't want to.

That was forty years ago. Probably the social science on homelessness has made great forward strides since then. Probably my friend's thumbnail analysis is hopelessly out of date. Any Radio Derb listeners with more up-to-date knowledge of homelessness are welcome to email in and enlighten me. I'm always happy to have my understanding improved—honestly.

I must say, though, that my very occasional encounters with actual homeless people in and around New York City suggest that "CATO-4321" is still a pretty good working mnemonic.


07—Liberty, lunacy, and order.     As a footnote to that last segment: Shouldn't all those crazy people be insitutionalized, as used to be done? What about the black guy who tossed a little white boy off a balcony at Mall of America the other day? Should we really let people like that wander around free?

This is a seriously knotty problem, right up against the liberty-versus-order frontier. A nation like ours, founded in the love of individual liberty, should be wary about locking people up unless they've been found guilty, by a jury of their peers, of seriously antisocial acts.

In the particular case of the Mall of America perp, 24-year-old Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, you can make a case that he should have been locked away somewhere. He has a long rap sheet of antisocial behavior, mostly of a petty and destructive kind—smashing five computers in a public library because something on Facebook annoyed him, that sort of thing—but including at least one felony conviction. He was actually referred to Criminal Mental Health Court for one offense; they gave him six months incarceration.

The fundamental problem is, we don't understand much about mental health, certainly not enough to make reliable predictions. For all any mental-health professional could have told you, Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda could have gone on committing petty property offenses his whole life without ever actually hurting anyone.

In most cases we don't know a lunatic is a homicidal lunatic until he tries to kill someone. Up to that point he's a minor social nuisance, as Mr Aranda has been.

In the present climate of soft totalitarianism, if we give the authorities more license to lock up persons they judge to have mental health issues, it won't be long before they'll be locking up dissidents and nonconformists, as the U.S.S.R. used to do. They'll be locking up me.

With all proper and sincere sympathy for that little boy at the mall—who, I'm glad to say, seems likely to make a good recovery—and all proper curses on the head of Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, who I hope gets put away for a very long time … With all those qualifications, at that jagged border where personal liberty meets social order, I shall always be prejudiced in favor of liberty.


08—Miscellany.     And now, our closing miscellany of brief items. Just a couple of little ones to see us off to bed.

Imprimis:  Seriously hardcore Radio Derb fans will recall that ten years ago I mentioned Mr Tsutomu Yamaguchi of Japan. Mr Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima in August 1945 when we dropped an atom bomb on the city. He survived that and fled to join his family in Nagasaki, arriving there just as the second atom bomb hit that city.

Mr Yamaguchi survived both atom bombs and lived to be almost 94, dying in 2010.

Here's another story from the same genre. The survivor here was British merchant seaman George Beauchamp of London, born in 1872. George was working as a stoker on the Titanic when it hit that iceberg back in 1912. He survived that, and three years later was on the Lusitania when a German U-boat torpedoed it, killing 128 Americans and contributing mightily to anti-German feeling in the U.S.A.

(Alternatively, if conspiracy theories are your thing, the Lusitania was sunk by a British submarine in hopes of bringing America into WW1. Personally I'm allergic to conspiracy theories, but hey, whatever floats your boat … So to speak.)

Mr Beauchamp lived to be only 72, dying in 1944. Apparently having a couple of ships sunk under you is less healthful than being nuked twice. Still, I like to think that Mr Yamaguchi and Mr Beauchamp might get together in the Afterlife and exchange survivor stories over a few glasses of sake and brown ale.


Item:  One key axiom of the snowflake culture currently holding the academy in its icy grip is that words, spoken or written, can be acts of violence. They don't just suggest, or promote, or incite violence; they are violence. It's like the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, where the eucharist bread and wine don't merely represent Christ, they are Christ.

This idea, that words are actual violence, applies even if the words are spoken by someone strapped into a straitjacket and imprisoned in an iron cage; even if they are written on a slip of paper that is then sealed in a container and dropped into an ocean trench.

Or printed on an automobile license plate. That is the gravamen of a case currently being litigated with much passion in Nova Scotia.

What happened was, a Nova Scotian named Lorne Grabher bought a personalized licence plate for his Dad with the family name on it: GRABHER, G-R-A-B-H-E-R. The name is of respectable German origin. If you break it into two words, though, it looks like "Grab her." [Scream.]

Some woman complained, Nova Scotia's DMV revoked the plate, and Mr Grabher has filed a civil lawsuit to get the plate reinstated.

Expert witness for the DMV this week was one Carrie Rentschler, a professor of Communication Studies. In written testimony Professor Rentschler extruded the following, quote:

The speech act "Grabher" can be located on the continuum of sexual violence, as a form of communication like catcalling, verbal harassment and verbal threats of gender violence.

End quote.

The Mrs and I were in Nova Scotia four years ago, and we liked the place very much.

I'm trying to decide whether I like it less now, or more: less, because the court system of the province has given hospitality to a honking poseur like Prof. Rentschler, or more, because life in Nova Scotia is so uneventfully law-abiding, the courts can give over their time to these lunatic extremes of snowflakery.


09—Signoff.     That's all I can offer you, ladies and gents. Thank you for listening; and for my Northern Hemisphere listeners, welcome to high Spring! is of course a website promoting patriotic immigration reform. It therefore behooves Radio Derb to play you some patriotic music once in a while. Here's a piece that comes to mind. I don't know why it comes to mind right now, it just does.

There will be more from Radio Derb next week.


[Music clip: Kate Smith, "God Bless America!"]

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