Belmont Club

Belmont Journal: Lockdown Socialism

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Nov 13 2020 03:00@

There’s a saying in the computer security that attackers will spend millions to steal billions. This applies to the cryptocurrency world where sophisticated hackers are rightly feared. But elections are an even more lucrative target. Anyone who can spend millions can control trillions.

Public reliance on connectivity is now so great that we accept what the computer says almost regardless with only the slightest understanding what goes on under the hood and the network beyond. Forget the Middle Ages; we live in the new age of faith. But some idea of the danger can be gleaned from the fact that truly secure information is air-gapped, giving away no bits, not even a clue to its physical location. Those who know are wary. Those who don’t are carefree.

It’s hard to accept the degree that our daily lives, even our daily bread, can depend  on the secure timely flow of invisible information.  And yet if the Internet were down your debit or credit card couldn’t buy a coffee at the store down the street. We don’t have paper cash any more, nor increasingly even paper ballots. If we lose the network we lose it all.

We’re told everything is secure, everything is ok. But safety is relative against those determined to spend millions to disrupt trillions. It may not be ok. And as was recently the case with the coronavirus we may find that our world is not as secure as it seems.

Nov 12 2020 13:00@

The American political scene remains unsettled because it is so evenly divided. The election is so close it’s like a coin that landed on its edge or a  pencil standing poised on its tip. This unstable symmetry will “break” under imperceptible influences. The vibrations from a passing truck, a microbreeze — anything — may cause the coin or pencil to fall over in this direction or that. The outside observer will have no way to predict or even explain why a hung coin broke head or tails.

Under these split conditions it is dangerous for politicians to act as if they had a “mandate” and start preparing enemies’ lists or crafting titanic spending initiatives. Yet that is precisely what they have been doing, without the slightest self awareness of break dancing on the edge of a very high cliff.

Not so long ago a generation that grew up during the Cold War knew how dangerous strategic equality could be; why it was a bad idea for a B-52 to wander into Soviet airspace or for a Bear to “accidentally” overfly Offut AFB. Today’s politicians have forgotten the lesson to everyone’s cost.

The Cold War experience suggests catastrophe can only be avoided if both sides limit their aims and avoid overreaching. And yet the emotional momentum is all the other way. The mood is to fight, on both sides.

Joe Biden in particular is trapped by the extravagant promises he made to the Democratic party left wing. Those undertakings, made in the heat of false polls showing him at the head of a Blue Tsunami are now stranded on a low surf, leaving him in a dilemma.

Nov 11 2020 13:00@

The Deplorables are rewiring. As Jeffrey Dunetz notes it’s no longer sufficient to trust a single source of news.

USPS whistleblower Richard Hopkins demanded Tuesday night that The Washington Post retract a story suggesting he ‘recanted’ his claims regarding directions he was given by his Erie, PA postmaster to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day–the story was a lie, he did not recant.

In response the Deplorables are diversifying their sources of information, moving to backup platforms and adjusting their trust networks. Adaptation is actually a good thing. The human brain is built to rewire. Marshal Kutuzov, the man who beat Napoleon, was shot through the head twice, once through both temples. It was the rewired Kutuzov V3 that beat Boney.

Kutuzov’s big strategic insight was that it was more important to preserve the army than defend fixed places against Napoleon. Part of the reason the cheating allegations are being pursued is they keep the army of Deplorables together rather than scattering into the night.

Winning over the army of Deplorables is very important to Biden. They are part of the supply dump, the taxation base, he must capture to keep going. Without them he will have little to feed his leftist auxiliaries. If the Deplorables retire in good order it is problematic for the Democrat cause.

Nov 10 2020 13:45@

The biggest change between 2016 and 2020 is that by the latter the Deplorables had acquired a self-awareness not present when Hillary first coined the term. In that first election they discovered their existence. In the second they defended an identity. This consciousness does not repose in Bill Barr or DT. Rather it exists in diffuse networks separate and uncontrollable even by those who first gave it voice.

Nov 10 2020 12:00@

In the post-election but pre-proclamation phase both camps are selling different products. The Democrats are selling the ability to “move on”. By projecting a president Biden the D’s are offering foreign governments, businesses and institutions the leave to plan for 2021 by anticipating policies and tacitly inviting them to make deals with shadow incoming administration officials. This is a well known product as its sales attest.

What the populists are selling, with the support of some institutional Republicans, is consensus. Due to the serious doubts over the honesty of certain state elections, a Biden presidency will ever live under a cloud unless it is dispelled now. This poses a genuine risk to “move on-ers” for how can you move on if nearly half the electorate wants to stop and count?

Planners can either start making deals on a projected future despite the lack of consensus or await the results of the challenge process with no assurance of eventual stability in Washington anyway.

The US didn’t get suddenly divided. After years of identity politics, it is hard to seriously credit denunciations of instability. If anything is surprising it was that the crash took this long. Abusing trust is a little like printing money. Things go bad slowly than all of a sudden. “Payment Error: (15005) – Processor Decline – This transaction cannot be processed.”

Someday someone may make a movie about the swing state elections titled “A Glitch Too Far”. Division so long in the making cannot be so easily healed.

Nov 9 2020 23:30@

The uncertainty’s not completely over. Bernard Kerik describes the developing situation in Pennsylvania:

This is only the beginning. More to come! RealClearPolitics – just rescinded their call for Biden winning Pennsylvania!

Nov 9 2020 20:00@

The media, who act like a kind of virtue police, may have used fake documents to gain a ratings rich interview from Princess Diana.

The Daily Mail, Channel Four and the brother of Princess Diana, Earl Spencer, alleged former BBC journalist Martin Bashir produced fake documents to win the trust of the late royal that led to the famous 1995 interview on her marriage to Prince Charles.

‘The louder they talked of their honor, the faster we counted our spoons.’

Is there an alternative to running a society through narrative control and virtue signaling?

Nov 9 2020 14:00@

Pfizer says the vaccine may be here. “‘Great day for humanity’: Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine over 90% effective.” What happens to the mask task force?


Nov 9 2020 14:00@

The controllers are back. Anne Applebaum: “Globalization will stop the virus”.

Biden’s Pick for Coronavirus Task Force: ‘Living Too Long Is Also a Loss’.

Under Lockdown Socialism:

–you can stay in your residence, but paying rent or paying your mortgage is optional.

–you can obtain groceries and shop on line, but having a job is optional.

–other people work at farms, factories, and distribution services to make sure that you have food on the table, but you can sit at home waiting for a vaccine.

The sustainability of lockdown socialism depends on how long until a vaccine arrives or human immunity rises.

Books: The Complete One Pot: 400 Meals for Your Skillet, Sheet Pan, Instant Pot®, Dutch Oven, and More (The Complete ATK Cookbook Series)