CK MacLeod's

(so: “the stationary state”) (oag #13)

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, Operation American Greatness

Noted & Quoted

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[C]limate scientists have a strange kind of faith: We will find a way to forestall radical warming, they say, because we must.

It is not easy to know how much to be reassured by that bleak certainty, and how much to wonder whether it is another form of delusion; for global warming to work as parable, of course, someone needs to survive to tell the story. The scientists know that to even meet the Paris goals, by 2050, carbon emissions from energy and industry, which are still rising, will have to fall by half each decade; emissions from land use (deforestation, cow farts, etc.) will have to zero out; and we will need to have invented technologies to extract, annually, twice as much carbon from the atmosphere as the entire planet’s plants now do. Nevertheless, by and large, the scientists have an enormous confidence in the ingenuity of humans — a confidence perhaps bolstered by their appreciation for climate change, which is, after all, a human invention, too. They point to the Apollo project, the hole in the ozone we patched in the 1980s, the passing of the fear of mutually assured destruction. Now we’ve found a way to engineer our own doomsday, and surely we will find a way to engineer our way out of it, one way or another. The planet is not used to being provoked like this, and climate systems designed to give feedback over centuries or millennia prevent us — even those who may be watching closely — from fully imagining the damage done already to the planet. But when we do truly see the world we’ve made, they say, we will also find a way to make it livable. For them, the alternative is simply unimaginable.

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They were concerned that any pre-election response could provoke an escalation from Putin. Moscow's meddling to that point was seen as deeply concerning but unlikely to materially affect the outcome of the election. Far more worrisome to the Obama team was the prospect of a cyber-assault on voting systems before and on Election Day. They also worried that any action they took would be perceived as political interference in an already volatile campaign. By August, Trump was predicting that the election would be rigged. Obama officials feared providing fuel to such claims, playing into Russia's efforts to discredit the outcome and potentially contaminating the expected Clinton triumph.

This, right here. This is where they choked. The American people had damned close to an absolute right to the information their government already had. The most fundamental act of citizenship is the right to cast an informed vote. The idea that the Obama administration withheld the fact that the Russians were ratfcking the election in order to help elect a vulgar talking yam is a terrible condemnation of the whole No Drama Obama philosophy. Would Donald Trump have raised hell if the White House released what it knew? Of course, he would have. But, as it was, the American people went to vote with only about half of the information they needed to assess his candidacy. This was a terrible decision.

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Changing views of U.S. presidents over past decade and a halfAs Pew Research Center’s global surveys from George W. Bush’s presidency illustrated, many of Bush’s key foreign policies were unpopular, and by the time he left office Bush was viewed negatively in most of the countries we polled. His successor, Obama, generally received more positive ratings throughout his White House tenure.Today, in many countries, ratings for President Trump look very similar to those for Bush at the end of his term. This pattern is especially clear in Western Europe. In the UK, France, Germany and Spain, the low levels of confidence in Trump are very similar to the poor ratings for Bush in 2008.

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To take power, May had to pretend that she, too, dreams these impossible dreams. And that led her to embrace a phony populism in which the narrow and ambiguous majority who voted for Brexit under false pretences are be reimagined as “the people.”

This is not conservatism—it is pure Rousseau. The popular will had been established on that sacred referendum day. And it must not be defied or questioned. Hence, Theresa May’s allies in The Daily Mail using the language of the French revolutionary terror, characterizing recalcitrant judges and parliamentarians as “enemies of the people” and “saboteurs.”

This is why May called an election. Her decision to do so—when she had a working majority in parliament—has been seen by some as pure vanity. But it was the inevitable result of the volkish rhetoric she had adopted. A working majority was not enough—the unified people must have a unified parliament and a single, uncontested leader: one people, one parliament, one Queen Theresa to stand on the cliffs of Dover and shake her spear of sovereignty at the damn continentals.

...Brexit is thus far from being a done deal: it can’t be done without a reliable partner for the EU to negotiate with. There isn’t one now and there may not be one for quite some time—at least until after another election, but quite probably not even then. The reliance on a spurious notion of the “popular will” has left Britain with no clear notion of who “the people” are and what they really want.

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The most extraordinary paragraph in this op-ed, however, is this one:

The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a clear-eyed outlook that the world is not a “global community” but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage. We bring to this forum unmatched military, political, economic, cultural and moral strength. Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it.

...First — and this is so obvious I can’t believe I have to type out these words — the United States can’t simultaneously proclaim “America first” and then claim any kind of moral strength. Saying loudly and repeatedly that American values are not going to be a cornerstone of American foreign policy strips you of any moral power whatsoever.

The second and bigger problem is that the “embrace” of a Hobbesian vision of the world by the most powerful country in the world pretty much guarantees Hobbesian reciprocity by everyone else. Most international relations scholars would agree that there are parts of the world that fit this brutal description. But even realists don’t think it’s a good thing. Cooperation between the United States and its key partners and allies is not based entirely on realpolitik principles. It has helped foster a zone of stability across Europe, North America and the Pacific Rim that has lasted quite some time. In many issue areas, such as trade or counterterrorism or climate change, countries gain far more from cooperation than competition.

Furthermore, such an embrace of the Hobbesian worldview is, in many ways, anti-American.

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Jacket X

“The world of things calls for art, in which intellectual accession to being moves into enjoyment, in which the Infinity of the idea is idolized in the finite, but sufficient, image.” — Emmanuel Levinas

Taylor - The Jacket

Photo by Sullivan & Sullivan

Posted in notes, Photography

Gutenberg: The Invention of the Printing Press, the Destruction of WordPress

Or at least that’s what some people seem to think about the new “page-builder” style editor with which WordPress.org seems to be planning to replace the current post editor:

While the developers working on the Gutenberg editor plugin have obviously put a lot of work into creating the plugin and I commend them on their efforts so far, the truth is, this plugin is nowhere near ready to be included in WordPress and needs a lot more work, in particular, UX work.The WordPress.org Gutenberg page states: “The goal of the block editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable.”

Unfortunately, the plugin as it currently functions is a long, long way from achieving this goal.

That’s from the WPMUDev blog, under the title “Gutenberg Editor Review: Please Don’t Include This in WordPress Core.” User reviews of Gutenberg in plug-in/Beta form are not much better, though a few users do profess to be excited about it.

Posted in notes, Using WordPress Tagged with: ,

For the Fourth: Holy American Major League of Nations (Notes on Baseball, Booze, and the Re-De-Nationalization of Americanism)

It welcomed the tests of time/
Like an eternal friend,/
Our country is blessed,/
Our country is such!

(Originally posted 1 April 2012)

The Anacreontic Song (Georgia Tech Glee Club)

God Bless a Metonym

Scott observes a process of the trans-nationalization of baseball alongside the seemingly contradictory patriotic and militaristic displays at Angels pre-season games. He refers specifically to members of the military being asked to stand for rounds of applause, and he wonders why women who have not had cosmetic surgery are not instead asked to stand. As further discussion confirmed, and as consideration of the ritualistic singing of the national anthem at modern American Major League baseball games ought to confirm, the relationship of baseball to American (American-style) nationalism is a complex and possibly contradictory, possibly dialectical one.

Scott: And the cool thing is that the term “American” itself contains these potentialities. Have you written about that?

I believe that Scott was referring to the notion that our Washingtonian empire of Unitedstatesia has managed to seize the grand metonym “America” for itself along with the economically most promising expanse of the North American continent, arguably (materially-demonstrably: historically) the most geo-politically and geo-economically exploitable terrain on the planet under our loosely speaking modern conditions of commerce and technology – secure, resource-rich, underpopulated, arable, temperate, benefiting from relatively unobstructed internal and external connections: To employ the baseball cliche, the United States is the country that was born on third base geographically.

…the rest of the thing →

Posted in Anismism, Music, Neo-Imperialism, Old Gone Over, Political Philosophy, Sports, US History, War, Yoga Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

While 2017 happens…

If not the very best picture of 2017 so far, the one below, which has been sweeping through Twitter, has to be in the running at least for best and most sympatico – “this man is all of us just living our lives while 2017 happens lol!” – amateur photo:

Man, Mower, Tornado

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Cecilia Wessels, mandatory credit

According to the photo caption at Times Colonist, “Cecilia Wessels snapped the picture of her husband, Theunis, as the twister passed near their home in Three Hills.”

Posted in notes

Counter-Drizzle on the Hypothesis of the End of the American World-Historical Era (OAG #12c)

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, Operation American Greatness

German Trust in America – the Trend (#OAG 12b)

There has been some attempted pushback – including in the comments here – on the notion that Donald Trump has uniquely damaged German-American relations, particularly in relation to the views of the German public – for example:

Merkel chose a Munich beer hall as her venue to speak out and she was on the campaign trail for the elections to the Bundestag in October. She was speaking to a German audience which holds the United States in poor esteem. By the way, this has nothing to do with Trump. The percentage of Germans who trusted the US plunged from 76% to 34% during the first six years of the Barack Obama presidency. (On the other hand, sixty percent of Germans admire the ex-CIA whistle blower Edward Snowden as a heroic figure.)

As the poll history depicted above demonstrates, observers like M.K. Bhadrakumar are playing the deepest valley in recent pre-Trump American-German relations vs. Obama’s post-Bush, inaugural high. Read more ›

Posted in Operation American Greatness Tagged with:

Tweet-Drizzle on Merkel on New World Disorder (OAG #12)

If the generation since the fall of the USSR has been a tale of the unfitness of the USA for leadership, then Trump is pure continuity.

Read more ›

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, Operation American Greatness Tagged with: , , , , , ,

One Giant Leap for Ordinary Gentlepersonkind (Commenter Ignore Button Use Case)

“The reality is, on any public forum there is going to be a peanut gallery, and I’ve never seen a moderation policy that can quite eliminate them, but not eliminate interesting people who I want to hear from. So, culled lists, either individually (as here) or collectively (as was needed in a larger space such as Twitter), are a fine thing. They make a forum far more pleasant to use.”

The powers that are at Ordinary Times, my old development haunt, have seen their way to installing Commenter Ignore Button (CIB), which I developed with the commenting culture and its discontents at their very site as inspiration. Commenter veronica d, using the tool quite as I had envisioned people using it, has provided some user response which, I’m happy to report, is as perceptive as it is positive and in both cases very: Read more ›

Posted in Ordinary Times, WordPress Plug-Ins Tagged with: ,

Theodicy of Trump – a Tweet-Drizzle (OAG #11)

Read more ›

Posted in Operation American Greatness

State of the Discussion

+ BTW, I recently upgraded some this and that on the back end of the blog, and it does seem to make comments post much faster [. . .]
Gutenberg: The Invention of the Printing Press, the Destruction of WordPress

For WordPress self-hosted people, there is already a "restore legacy editor" plugin, even though Gutenberg hasn't been installed yet as the default.

Gutenberg: The Invention of the Printing Press, the Destruction of WordPress
+ I thought you were on WordPress.com, not self-hosted WordPress. I can't find any info on WordPress.com and Gutenberg or Gutenbergerish editing, so I don't know [. . .]
Gutenberg: The Invention of the Printing Press, the Destruction of WordPress

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