Belmont Club

Signal to Noise With Richard Fernandez

Signal to Noise With Richard Fernandez
PJ Media

Rather than using social media as a notebook, it seemed better to establish a separate optionally accessible site: Signal to Noise. The benefit of a members-only site is it reduces trolling. The Belmont Club will remain open and free, as usual. To keep the length manageable, I will start a new notebook every week or so. Sign up here to become a VIP member.

Democracy equals Biden

Is Criticizing Joe Biden a Danger to Democracy? “As concerns mount over the future of free and fair elections, a debate has broken out about whether the media must protect Biden to save the republic.” — New Republic

Some think Joe must bear a share of the blame for his unpopularity by not being progressive enough. That people are thinking this way suggests the system may be broken, but it’s a mistake and projection to think the poor old GOP will bring down the temple. A reality earthquake will do that.

The administration’s crisis is a model crisis. It anticipated a Biden boom, a triumphant return to international normalcy etc. When it didn’t happen,  rather than questioning their faith it was simply easier to blame Trumpifer.

DT has become the real-life Emmanuel Goldstein of the left, the saboteur behind every recent reduction in the chocolate ration, a kind of supernatural being who grows stronger each time he is righteously crushed. He can’t be an ordinary man, just another ex-reality show host; for no ordinary man could turn everything JB touched into ashes. There must be the stench of diabolism around it somehow.

Perhaps the only way out of this nightmare is to simply get on with innovating, achieving and producing without making it obvious the world is paying the ideologues no mind and by and by through tacit agreement everyone will get along just fine.

It’s a Biden Boom but people can’t see it — Newsweek

Life imitates farce

Smollett guilty.  What was really on trial was the practice of didactic political psychodrama that is slowly making everything into a reality show.

Surprise maneuver

“Putin outsmarts Biden with ace up sleeve to deliver ‘energy chokehold’ to EU” — MSN Ukraine argues they’re twisting Putin’s arm with their neck.

Unexpected barriers to deep space travel

Space sleeping bag to solve astronauts’ squashed eyeball disorder — BBC

A Sun-like star just sent out a flare 10 times larger than any previously observed. — Gizmodo

The Carrington Event — “was the most intense geomagnetic storm in recorded history, occurring on 1–2 September 1859 during solar cycle 10. It created strong auroral displays that were reported globally and caused sparking and fire in multiple telegraph systems. … A geomagnetic storm of this magnitude occurring today would cause widespread electrical disruptions, blackouts, and damage due to extended outages of the electrical grid.”

The Hammer of Phoebus — “On May 1, 2019, the star next door erupted. In a matter of seconds, Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to our Sun, got thousands of times brighter than usual — up to 14,000 times brighter in the ultraviolet range of the spectrum.”

I guess there’s no way back to Eden by the old door. It’s spaceships, not bucolic windmills, in our future.

The advantage of dictatorships and monarchies

Dictators and autocrats don’t have to feign being ordinary. They can dispense with masks, go clubbing, host parties etc unapologetically.  You expect authoritarians to arrive by private jet to denounce climate change — denounce anything.

There is nothing more demoralizing than realizing that policy is another name for rules for ordinary people.

It doesn’t really matter if you’re wrong any more


Amid Legal Jeopardy, Jussie Smollett Is Shopping New Projects — Hollywood Reporter

The Christmas carol banned by the BBC

Bing Crosby’s 1943 hit “I’ll be home for Christmas”, because it was so heartbreaking.

Open thread Ukraine

Should Joe Biden stand fast in Ukraine (and in what way) or make a dignified retreat while he can?

Survival of the un-fittest

It unsurprisingly shows the political system was optimizing for something else besides ‘heroism’ and ‘decency’. It also explains the striking sub-normality of people in politics.

Biden administration unveils first anti-corruption plan. Politicians have a plan for everything and a solution to almost nothing.

Red haze

China Increasingly Obscures True State of Its Economy to Outsiders. New data restrictions have made it harder to get details on what’s happening inside the country — WSJ

“China’s increasing secrecy isn’t the result of any single policy, businesspeople and political analysts say, but rather a combination of factors: a response to the pandemic, growing concerns about data security and a political environment in which the outside world is viewed with suspicion.

The U.S. has also taken moves to partially decouple the world’s two largest economies, including limiting Chinese access to American technology and research universities through trade and visa restrictions.”

Joe Biden’s Year Was Ruined. Whose Fault Is That?

Biden inherited an economy he didn’t build, sundered by a pandemic he didn’t start. He oversaw the distribution of a vaccine he didn’t develop, and his inoculation campaign ran headfirst into vaccine resistance he couldn’t control. — Atlantic

“Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today.”

No ketchup unless you ask for it

It’s the law. “Los Angeles, the largest city in a state that started the fast-food boom, has decided that condiment packets should be treated as a suspicious substance. They haven’t been banned outright, but customers can get ketchup, mustard, relish, and other spreads in their takeout orders only if they request them.”

“If we are to overcome the extreme climate challenges we face, we will have to alter or otherwise transform all our habits relating to fossil fuel products, including plastics, and our essential natural resources, like forests,” said L.A. councilman Paul Koretz — City Journal


Art imitates the public spirit of the age

It’s not just James Bond that is gloomy, the original Star Wars was hopeful in a way that reflected a lost optimism. We’ve somehow lost hope. If I thought politicians really mattered, I would too.

Biden administration expected to announce diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics this week — CNN The Biden time machine went too far back, past ‘Old Normal’, before the ‘End of History’ right smack into the height of the Cold War.

Why is Putin massing troops in Ukraine?

Mr. Putin’s gambit may be a cold calculus of coercion, backed by signals that the threat of war is real — a way to force President Biden to recognize a Russian sphere of interest in Eastern Europe. — NYT

Putin sees Biden as Russia’s chance to rebuild the old Soviet empire. He might be wrong but that’s how he sees it.

Left to die

U.S. and other nations condemn Taliban over ‘summary killings’ of former security forces

When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the Taliban come to hunt down what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

If you feel you’re abandoned and poorly led,
Jes’ think o the nice things that Brandon has said,
For what does it matter so long as you’re dead
An’ gone to your Gawd like a soldier?

Passing into legend

WW2 vet Bob Dole dies at 98

Last of WWII ‘Band of Brothers’ Officer Edward Shames Dies at 99

The biggest accomplishment of the greatest generation was not winning the war but establishing a peace lasting 3 generations. Men grew to peaceful old age in the shadow of their fame.

In place of the GG we have leaders with a plan for everything and a solution for nothing.

The 5 stages of climate change

1. Pre-AGW stage
2. Problem discovery, the sky is falling, urgent call to action
3. Public realizes the cost of climate policies
4. Uh-oh phase, negotiating compromise
5. Some other crisis comes along and grabs limelight

There will always be at least one existential crisis facing mankind at any given time. The odds the  one named by media and the actual one  in reality are the same are shockingly low.

Imaginary Putin/Biden dialog

Biden: Well, sir, there are other means of defense besides war.
Putin:  But, there’re none of them any good unless the threat of war is behind them. I’ll make it a matter of your having to fight me or fold.
Biden: That’s an attitude, sir, that calls for the most delicate judgement. Because in the heat of action men are likely to forget where their best interests lie.
Putin: Then the trick is to make my play strong enough to tie you up, but not to war against your better judgement.

The new normal

U.S. warns of possible Russian invasion of Ukraine with 175,000 troops as soon as January — CBS

“Democrats livid over GOP’s COVID-19 attacks on Biden …The criticism of masks and vaccines has sabotaged Biden’s efforts to get the nation past the pandemic, some argue.”  — The Hill

The rumor of war, recurring pestilence and scarcity are the new normal. It’s what Hollywood would describe as “epic”, or “Biblical” meaning Boss Level, but not in a good way.

In a time … in a place … only one man is not responsible.

Family estrangement  increasingly caused by Woke children

Although research is limited, most break-ups between a parent and a grown-up child tend to be initiated by the child … Clashes in values … are also increasingly thought to play a role … with conflicts resulting from “issues such as same sex-preference, religious differences or adopting alternative lifestyles”. — BBC

Ideal Communist child Pavlik Morozov turned in his father to the secret police for withholding grain from the state — Britannica

Homeowner trying to smoke out snake infestation burns down own house

Authorities believe the chosen heat source for the attempted serpent eradication was coals, which were located “too close to combustibles”. The fire’s area of origin was described as “basement, walls/floor …. Status of snakes undetermined.”. — Guardian

CNN fires Chris Cuomo after new details emerge

“The spectacle of a high-profile cable news anchor advising his powerful politician brother amid scandal was a longstanding headache for many CNN journalists, who privately expressed discomfort at actions that, in their view, compromised the network’s credibility.” – CNN

The message is that Chris Cuomo was the exception rather than the rule.