CK MacLeod's

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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The Video of Our Moment – This is America

Childish Gambino – This Is America (Official Video)

“Call me maybe,” this isn’t.

Or is it?

Read more ›

Posted in Culture & Entertainment, Movies, Music, Operation American Greatness

Customizing the Intercom Launcher for WordPress

Intercom is a relatively recently created cross-platform messaging tool, in use at around 25,000 sites, whose “Inbox” app or sub-app can work as a slick customer support/interaction alternative to older systems like ZenDesk. It will work out of the virtual box in WordPress, and some aspects of its appearance and other features can be managed via the Intercom control panel. Substantially modifying the initial look of the Intercom “launcher,” however – for instance, to replace Intercom’s icon with one of your own – requires a bit of custom coding.

Intercom launcher at Pippa

Intercom launcher at Pippa

You can see the Intercom launcher in use at WordPress-based sites like Tradeshift.com and Pippa.io, where it has been modified in color. Because the launcher operates via iframe, its other visible characteristics will not be accessible to regular site-level CSS. To reach further into it, you will have to create a “custom launcher,” requiring a process or series of steps whose requirements may not be initially clear from a perusal of Intercom’s help pages, which do not happen as of this writing to include any WordPress-specific implementation examples.

The techniques in this simple explainer/tutorial may also be helpful if you’re working on, say, a Stripe payment widget or a Vimeo player or other javascript-enabled, iframe-dependent add-on with an accessible API. Read more ›

Posted in Using WordPress, Web Design

The Scholar’s Stage: You Do Not Have the People

[T]he Korea issue is but an extreme expression of a tendency that blights the entire field. We are uncomfortable with democratic accountability, unwilling to subject ourselves to public debate, and uninterested in the constraints public opinion and popular politics place on the policies we craft. This complacency is not excusable. It is not sustainable. We cannot defend the cause of freedom without the support of the people. To try and do this is to risk terrible disaster.

We cannot defend the cause of freedom without the support of the people. To try and do this is to risk terrible disaster.

When have “the people” ever risen to defend the cause of freedom other than in the face of disaster?

There is also a contradiction in terms here: To commit to any project at all, and especially to great military or defense project, is to accept constraint, in some senses or for some even radical constraint, on freedom. This philosophical problem will undermine all projects seeking American strategic coherence. The American idea simply does not permit the latter. They are mutually exclusive.

Read more ›

Posted in History, Operation American Greatness, The Exception, War

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

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, Operation American Greatness

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:

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