CK MacLeod's https://ckmacleod.com Sat, 10 Nov 2018 17:00:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 The Video of Our Moment – This is America https://ckmacleod.com/2018/05/07/the-video-of-our-moment-this-is-america/ https://ckmacleod.com/2018/05/07/the-video-of-our-moment-this-is-america/#comments Tue, 08 May 2018 00:24:14 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=78905 “Call me maybe,” this isn’t. Or is it? Oh my fucking God I'm dying pic.twitter.com/1dwT7AdcNF — fish (@FishiestDude) May 12, 2018

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YouTube Video

“Call me maybe,” this isn’t.

Or is it?

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Customizing the Intercom Launcher for WordPress https://ckmacleod.com/2018/03/25/customizing-the-intercom-launcher-for-wordpress/ https://ckmacleod.com/2018/03/25/customizing-the-intercom-launcher-for-wordpress/#respond Sun, 25 Mar 2018 17:34:56 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=78831 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

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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.

Customizing the Intercom Launcher

I’m going to look only at creating a custom launcher. I’ll assume that you…

  1. have already set up your Intercom account,
  2. are customizing Intercom for a WordPress site, and have installed and configured the Intercom WordPress plugin,
  3. may have already customized other aspects of the “standard launcher” via Intercom “App Settings” or specifically “Messenger Settings,” and
  4. already know about WordPress basics like child themes and using the Customizer, site management basics like FTP, and development basics like looking at a web page’s source code.

If all has gone well, and your WP Plugin is properly set up and authenticated (just follow the instructions and click the appropriate buttons), you have the standard launcher probably appearing in its default position, possibly on selected pages only. The plugin settings page will show you the App ID that you’ll be needing later right there front and center in gray inalterable letters.

The Default Launcher itself should look something like this, maybe at the default location down in the lower right corner of you screen:

Intercom Standard Launcher

Standard Launcher

Click on it to open the chat form whose characteristics – color scheme, avatar, language – you may have customized at the Intercom dashboard. We’re not concerned with them, however. We’re concerned with the initial appearance, before the launcher is opened: Its most obvious characteristics – the icon image formatting, as above – are buried in iframes, and not accessible via Messenger Settings or CSS.

Our goal will be a custom launcher built for TrekFederation, a Star Trek-themed site – and, when we’re done, it will look like this:

TrekFed Custom Intercom Launcher

Custom Launcher

Installing a Custom Launcher

Making our Intercom Communicator is going to be simple, and, as for the stuff you might worry about – like whether you need to include or incorporate multiple variables and whether it really will work automatically to open the chat form – don’t.

You can take these steps in any order.

Disable the Standard Launcher: One last thing back at the Intercom App Settings: Since we’re going to be replacing the custom launcher, go to your Intercom “Messenger settings” page, and uncheck the show on the web checkboxes – so it will look like this:

Intercom Dashboard – Messenger Settings

Create and Upload a JS File: Back at your own site, doing things “the WordPress way,” you’ll need to enqueue the javascript provided by Intercom, and, if you’re happy with the other launcher defaults, you need only a couple of lines:

//replace [your app id] (removing the brackets, too) with...
//...your Intercome App ID
window.intercomSettings = {
  app_id: "[your app id]",
  custom_launcher_selector: "#intercom"
};

As mentioned above, the app_id will be visible on the settings page of your WordPress plugin and in a few places in your Intercom dashboard. The custom_launcher_selector will be the HTML/CSS id of your custom launcher’s container. If you want to bypass your App Settings, or have never customized them, you can add additional variables to the above. (There are a handful available, as detailed in the Intercom help pages.)

Using a code editor like Notepad++ or even a regular text editor, you can save those four lines as a javascript (.js extension) file. I called mine intercom_launch.js, and I saved it (FTP’d it into) a child theme subfolder for javascript files named js.

Enqueue the JS File via a Function set: Open up your (child) theme’s functions.php file and – typing carefully – either enqueue the script separately or add it to another enqueue function. In this example, I’m going to use the long form enqueue statement – with separate “register” and “enqueue” functions – because I frequently find later on that having them separate will be convenient (for instance, when enqueuing the script only on certain pages):

/**
 * ENQUEUE INTERCOM JAVASCRIPT
 */
function add_intercom_js() {
	wp_register_script( 'launch_intercom', get_stylesheet_directory_uri()  . '/js/intercom_launch.js', array(), '1.0', true );
  	wp_enqueue_script( 'launch_intercom' );
}

add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'add_intercom_js' );

Save your functions.php file, and, if you want to be sure that the script has been loaded, check your page source code and search for “intercom.”

Add HTML for the Custom Launcher: The third key element will be adding the launcher HTML in an appropriate place in your theme. You could do this in any number of different ways, but the most direct way to ensure that the HTML is available on every page in a typical WordPress installation will be to add the code directly to your site footer via functions.php in your child theme, like so:

/* ADD HTML FOR LAUNCHER TO SITE FOOTER 
 * Replace "[your app id]" with the code
 * from Intercom dashboard or WordPress Plugin
 */
add_action( 'wp_footer', 'intercom_html') ;

function intercom_html() {
	
	echo '
	<!-- ADD INTERCOM LAUNCHER -->
		<a id="intercom" href="mailto:[your app id]@intercom-mail.com">Support</a> 
	<!-- END INTERCOM LAUNCHER --> 
	';
	
}

As you can see, the mailto link must match the App ID. Note also that you could perhaps as easily attach the launcher to any HTML element with the designated selector (CSS Class instead of ID will also work).

Add CSS to style up the thing: Though TrekFed may soon develop their own nifty (prettier and lighter weight) icon, for now I’m satisfied with loading an available Star Trek TOS communicator image. I’ve added one to a child theme “images” subfolder, and we’re linking directly to it with a relative path (to the wp-content folder, which works for background images in the WordPress Customizer’s Additional CSS panel).

/*INTERCOM COMMUNICATOR*/
#intercom {
	position: fixed;
	bottom: 40px;
	right: 40px;
	width: 90px;
	height: 115px;
	text-align: center;
	color: #0297ED;
	font-weight: 600;
	text-transform: uppercase;
	letter-spacing: 2px;
	text-shadow: 1px 1px #0297ED;
	background-image: url(https://a2b4u5j4.stackpathcdn.com/wp-content/themes/Divi-child/images/tos_comm_300x525.png?x67335);
	background-size: 60px, 105px;
	background-color: #eff2f4;
	background-repeat: no-repeat;
	background-position: center center;
	border: 1px solid #3a3a3a;
	border-radius: 5px;
	box-shadow: 1px 1px 1px 1px #3a3a3a;
	opacity: .85;
	z-index: 10; /*make sure it overlies certain z-indexed layers*/
	transition: 1s all ease;
}
/* ENLARGES AND BRIGHTENS WHEN YOU HOVER OVER IT */
#intercom:hover {
	transform: scale(1.1);
	opacity: 1;
	transition: 1s all ease;
}
/* MOVE IT ALL THE WAY TO EXTREME BOTTOM RIGHT
ON SMALL SCREENS */
@media (max-width: 768px) {
	#intercom {
		bottom: 0;
		right: 0;
	}
}

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The Scholar’s Stage: You Do Not Have the People https://ckmacleod.com/2018/03/03/the-scholars-stage-you-do-not-have-the-people/ https://ckmacleod.com/2018/03/03/the-scholars-stage-you-do-not-have-the-people/#respond Sun, 04 Mar 2018 02:07:24 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=78852 [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

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[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.

Some day I may have much more to say on this subject than I have already said.1

Notes:

  1. And I don’t mean just in conversation with T Greer, the author of the above post.

    T Greer–

    I wouldn’t want to get caught up in a simplistic literalism, but the disaster sufficient to justify or force American popular-political readiness for a war strategy for World War I is conventionally taken to be the sinking of the Lusitania, as connected to German attacks on US shipping. (World War I itself was a gross concatenation of disasters, and the attacks on American shipping can be taken as crystallizing or catalytic events, rather than as true causes of war.)

    The disaster that achieved the same effect in relation to the Iraq operation was, of course, 9/11. The unifying disaster upon which the Cold War was predicated, again in relation to popular readiness to accept constraints on freedom in relation to a strategic concept, was probably the detonation of the atomic bomb, unless it was the Holocaust, unless it was the entire cataclysm of World War II, unless it was the spread of Communism.

    In each case a kind of mirror image positive justification for the strategic regime or orientation also existed, and can be thought to have re-assured the American citizenry. For a citizenry convinced by events that a type of involvement in the world (for preservation and expansion of political-economic freedom as Americans have defined it) was incredibly profitable, necessary, and good, the threatened de-stabilization of that same involvement would represent impending disaster.

    The view may be difficult to accept when reduced to this particular set of terms, and may even be wrong, but that doesn’t make it unreasonable. Even at this peculiar moment in history, we are more within than beyond the historical epoch defined by the rise of American global power, and have not really had the popular commitment to it tested. After all, American popular opinion had demonstrably reverted to an isolationist tendency up to the very eve of American assumption of leadership of an international military alliance and program of global governance.

    We may be approaching such a test, one we can be said to have helped produce for ourselves. It might take just such a disaster as you imagine happening in Korea to unify us around a true departure.

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Matt Yglesias: Trump’s latest big interview is both funny and terrifying – Vox https://ckmacleod.com/2017/10/24/trumps-latest-big-interview-funny-terrifying-vox/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/10/24/trumps-latest-big-interview-funny-terrifying-vox/#respond Tue, 24 Oct 2017 07:10:47 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=78804 [E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is,

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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What It’s Like To Have Your Anti-Trump Art Go Mega-Viral – Co.Design https://ckmacleod.com/2017/08/17/like-anti-trump-art-go-mega-viral-co-design/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/08/17/like-anti-trump-art-go-mega-viral-co-design/#respond Thu, 17 Aug 2017 19:38:19 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=78715 So, does Mitchell make any money on the work, which has been shared so many times? He uploaded a high-res image of the symbol and granted permission for anyone to use it personally for free. But for those who want

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So, does Mitchell make any money on the work, which has been shared so many times? He uploaded a high-res image of the symbol and granted permission for anyone to use it personally for free. But for those who want to support his work or simply want something readymade, you can also buy T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, and journals emblazoned with the symbol through Threadless.“I really just want to spread the image as much as possible and cement it in history,” Mitchell says. “In all honesty, the amount I’ve made from my Threadless shop so far is still less than my hourly rate, so I don’t really see it as a big deal. If you look at my Twitter, half the replies are people wanting to know where they can buy a shirt. Threadless is happy to help them out with that, and so I’m happy to let that happen.”Now that the symbol has flooded our streets and our timelines, Mitchell just has one request: “Impeach this idiot already,” he says.

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Steven Pearlstein: Mark this date: Donald Trump is now a lame-duck president – The Washington Post https://ckmacleod.com/2017/07/30/steven-pearlstein-mark-this-date-donald-trump-is-now-a-lame-duck-president-the-washington-post/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/07/30/steven-pearlstein-mark-this-date-donald-trump-is-now-a-lame-duck-president-the-washington-post/#comments Sun, 30 Jul 2017 21:30:18 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=78682 This is a Waterloo moment for Trump, the tea party and their alliance. They have been stopped in their tracks not only by Democratic opposition but because of a mutiny within their own ranks. Although never particularly liked or respected,

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This is a Waterloo moment for Trump, the tea party and their alliance. They have been stopped in their tracks not only by Democratic opposition but because of a mutiny within their own ranks. Although never particularly liked or respected, it is now clear that they are no longer feared. The bankruptcy of their ideas and their incompetence have been exposed. Their momentum has been dissipated. Their rejection of political norms has itself been scorned. Our long national nightmare may finally be coming to an end.

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Jonathan Freedland: With Trump it’s time to go beyond mere disgust – The Guardian https://ckmacleod.com/2017/07/28/jonathan-freedland-with-trump-its-time-to-go-beyond-mere-disgust-the-guardian/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/07/28/jonathan-freedland-with-trump-its-time-to-go-beyond-mere-disgust-the-guardian/#respond Fri, 28 Jul 2017 19:28:52 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=78677 One seasoned Democrat told me that among the reasons Trump won in 2016 was that a long year of Crooked Hillary talk, about emails and Goldman Sachs and the like, had steadily demoralised and demobilised the liberal base. If sustaining

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One seasoned Democrat told me that among the reasons Trump won in 2016 was that a long year of Crooked Hillary talk, about emails and Goldman Sachs and the like, had steadily demoralised and demobilised the liberal base. If sustaining fury at Trump helps keep those same voters energised, so they eventually turn out to defeat him, it’ll be worth it, he says.

But it can’t just be in the form of world-weary, if witty, tweets. What’s needed is a coherent argument, one that explains why Trump’s repulsive behaviour matters. For Americans, that will surely centre on the state of their society. The civic realm is being degraded by Trump’s lies, vanities and insults. The national conversation is being coarsened. The basic democratic assumption, that disagreements can be resolved through discussion rather than coercion and violence, is being eroded from the very top. Note the language of Scaramucci’s outburst: “I want to fucking kill all the leakers.”

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(so: “the stationary state”) (oag #13) https://ckmacleod.com/2017/07/20/stationary-state-oag-13/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/07/20/stationary-state-oag-13/#respond Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:48:12 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=78667 (so: the stationary state, eroding entropically, searching for the crisis that may demand or allow for true "progress" - or mayn't)

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What a colossal missed opportunity.

— Dan Scotto (@dscotto10) July 18, 2017

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David Wallace-Wells: When Will Climate Change Make the Earth Too Hot For Humans? – New York https://ckmacleod.com/2017/07/10/david-wallace-wells-when-will-climate-change-make-the-earth-too-hot-for-humans-new-york/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/07/10/david-wallace-wells-when-will-climate-change-make-the-earth-too-hot-for-humans-new-york/#respond Mon, 10 Jul 2017 17:19:08 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=78658 [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

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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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Jacket X https://ckmacleod.com/2017/07/08/jacket-x/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/07/08/jacket-x/#respond Sat, 08 Jul 2017 23:52:00 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=73320 "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

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Taylor - The Jacket

Photo by Sullivan & Sullivan

Another shot from the movie never made or not yet made:

Photo by Sullivan & Sullivan

(Photos stolen from FASHION MEETS AFFORDABILITY: WHO WHAT WEAR COLLECTION)

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Gutenberg: The Invention of the Printing Press, the Destruction of WordPress https://ckmacleod.com/2017/07/07/gutenberg-invention-printing-press-destruction-wordpress/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/07/07/gutenberg-invention-printing-press-destruction-wordpress/#comments Fri, 07 Jul 2017 19:21:19 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64744 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...

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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.

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For the Fourth: Holy American Major League of Nations (Notes on Baseball, Booze, and the Re-De-Nationalization of Americanism) https://ckmacleod.com/2017/07/04/fourth-holy-american-major-league-nations-notes-baseball-booze-re-de-nationalization-americanism/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/07/04/fourth-holy-american-major-league-nations-notes-baseball-booze-re-de-nationalization-americanism/#respond Tue, 04 Jul 2017 18:48:09 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64731 It welcomed the tests of time/
Like an eternal friend,/
Our country is blessed,/
Our country is such!

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(Originally posted 1 April 2012)

YouTube Video

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 →

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Charles Pierce: This, Right Here. This Is Where Obama Choked. – Esquire https://ckmacleod.com/2017/06/29/charles-pierce-right-obama-choked-esquire/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/06/29/charles-pierce-right-obama-choked-esquire/#comments Thu, 29 Jun 2017 16:00:26 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64729 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

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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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Trump Unpopular Worldwide, American Image Suffers – Pew Research Center https://ckmacleod.com/2017/06/29/trump-unpopular-worldwide-american-image-suffers-pew-research-center/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/06/29/trump-unpopular-worldwide-american-image-suffers-pew-research-center/#respond Thu, 29 Jun 2017 15:40:26 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64725 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

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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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Fintan O’Toole: Britain: The End of a Fantasy – The New York Review of Books https://ckmacleod.com/2017/06/11/fintan-otoole-britain-the-end-of-a-fantasy-the-new-york-review-of-books/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/06/11/fintan-otoole-britain-the-end-of-a-fantasy-the-new-york-review-of-books/#respond Sun, 11 Jun 2017 19:57:32 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64720 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

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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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While 2017 happens… https://ckmacleod.com/2017/06/04/while-2017-happens/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/06/04/while-2017-happens/#comments Mon, 05 Jun 2017 00:00:55 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64713 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

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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.”

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Daniel W Drezner: The most extraordinary op-ed of 2017 – The Washington Post https://ckmacleod.com/2017/06/01/daniel-w-drezner-the-most-extraordinary-op-ed-of-2017-the-washington-post/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/06/01/daniel-w-drezner-the-most-extraordinary-op-ed-of-2017-the-washington-post/#respond Thu, 01 Jun 2017 16:17:24 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64709 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

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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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Counter-Drizzle on the Hypothesis of the End of the American World-Historical Era (OAG #12c) https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/31/counter-drizzle-end-world-historical-american-era-oag-12c/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/31/counter-drizzle-end-world-historical-american-era-oag-12c/#comments Wed, 31 May 2017 18:51:27 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64701 The counterargument vs Panic of the Fall of the US Order can still be made either independently or, perhaps more difficult, complementarily.

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The counterargument vs Panic of the Fall of the US Order can still be made either independently or, perhaps more difficult, complementarily.

— CK MacLeod (@CK_MacLeod) May 28, 2017

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German Trust in America – the Trend (#OAG 12b) https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/31/german-trust-america-trend/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/31/german-trust-america-trend/#comments Wed, 31 May 2017 17:02:20 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64696 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

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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.

The poll confirms the eye and ear test on German opinion regarding Mr. Trump. Consider the recent speech by Chancellor Merkel’s electoral opponent:

Though Deutsche Welle headlines the moment “Only in Germany,” I find it a bit reminiscent of Nancy Pelosi standing up for George W Bush vs. Hugo Chavez some years ago.

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Robert D Kaplan: Trump’s Budget Is American Caesarism – Foreign Policy https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/29/robert-d-kaplan-trumps-budget-is-american-caesarism-foreign-policy/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/29/robert-d-kaplan-trumps-budget-is-american-caesarism-foreign-policy/#respond Mon, 29 May 2017 16:05:44 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64689 The rise of the military, if coupled with the undermining of civilian aspects of national power, demonstrates a spiritual exhaustion and a descent into Caesarism. Named after Julius Caesar — who replaced the Roman Republic with a dictatorship — Caesarism

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The rise of the military, if coupled with the undermining of civilian aspects of national power, demonstrates a spiritual exhaustion and a descent into Caesarism. Named after Julius Caesar — who replaced the Roman Republic with a dictatorship — Caesarism is roughly characterized by a charismatic strongman, popular with the masses, whose rule culminates in an exaggerated role for the military. America is moving in this direction. It isn’t that some civilian agencies don’t deserve paring down or even elimination, nor is it that the military and other security forces don’t deserve a boost to their financial resources. Rather, it is in the very logic, ideology, and lack of proportionality of Trump’s budget that American decline, decadence, and Caesarism are so apparent.

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The Economist: How to understand Angela Merkel’s comments about America and Britain  https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/29/the-economist-how-to-understand-angela-merkels-comments-about-america-and-britain/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/29/the-economist-how-to-understand-angela-merkels-comments-about-america-and-britain/#comments Mon, 29 May 2017 15:58:05 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64687 Foreigners often get Mrs Merkel all wrong. She is not the queen of Europe, nor has she any desire to be it. She is a domestic leader and politician whose mounting international stature is always a function of her ability

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Foreigners often get Mrs Merkel all wrong. She is not the queen of Europe, nor has she any desire to be it. She is a domestic leader and politician whose mounting international stature is always a function of her ability to serve the interests and predilections of German voters. It is predominantly because Germans, for deep historical and cultural reasons, feel so “European” that that she talks and acts in a “European” way. Perhaps all the more for this, Mrs Merkel’s comments today illustrate how much Trumpandbrexit has hurt America and Britain in the past months. They have made it not just possible but also electorally beneficial for a friendly leader of a crucial partner to bash them in public. And more than that: to do it with sincerity.

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Tweet-Drizzle on Merkel on New World Disorder (OAG #12) https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/28/tweet-drizzle-merkel-new-world-disorder-oag-12/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/28/tweet-drizzle-merkel-new-world-disorder-oag-12/#comments Sun, 28 May 2017 18:17:34 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64678 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.

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The 100,000 ft, theodicy of Trumpism, paradoxes of neo-imperialism view is that long-term unreliability of US world leadership was a given.

— CK MacLeod (@CK_MacLeod) May 28, 2017

Appendix:

Photo: “Let not this Stein pass from my lips” – h/t @davidmackau

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One Giant Leap for Ordinary Gentlepersonkind (Commenter Ignore Button Use Case) https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/28/one-giant-leap-ordinary-gentlepersonkind-commenter-ignore-button-use-case/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/28/one-giant-leap-ordinary-gentlepersonkind-commenter-ignore-button-use-case/#respond Sun, 28 May 2017 16:11:28 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64669 "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."

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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:

Positive:

Today I looked at the comments on a post. In one subthread I noticed about 2/3 of the messages were blocked. I felt such a relief.

Note, I’m not blocking 2/3 of the people here, far far far less than that. But this subthread — the peanut gallery had gathered. The topic excited them. But now, it takes up little space on my screen and almost nothing of my attention. My eyes glaze right past, to find comments by people worth reading. I read those comments. It was really nice.

This feature is great.

Perceptive, referring to a few who have expressed skepticism about CIB:

The same dynamic went down over the BlockBot (and similar tools) on Twitter. The fact we could easily cut off the jerks drove the jerks bananas, which made the tool an even greater pleasure to use.

I owe no one my attention. 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.

Commenter Ignore Button is available from the WordPress Repository, and is covered under my High Powered Marketing $25 WP Plug-In Installation/Configuration Offer. I take feedback like the above as encouragement to push out additions to CIB and integrations with other commenting tools – as soon as I have some extended free time (whenever that might be…).

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Theodicy of Trump – a Tweet-Drizzle (OAG #11) https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/17/theodicy-trump-tweet-drizzle-oag-11/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/17/theodicy-trump-tweet-drizzle-oag-11/#comments Wed, 17 May 2017 21:09:09 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64651 ...the one thing Trump & his voters had right was the political class - as continually re-confirmed in their pusillanimous responses to him.

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Counterpoint: Framing her campaign as "Trump is existential threat & unfit" & downplaying Dem agenda WAS tacking to the center. https://t.co/VPvA7suQW8

— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) May 17, 2017

Notes:

  1. (Pillsy

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Kaila Hale-Stern: How to Read Director Comey’s Goodbye Letter – The Mary Sue https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/12/kaila-hale-stern-how-to-read-director-comeys-goodbye-letter-the-mary-sue/ https://ckmacleod.com/2017/05/12/kaila-hale-stern-how-to-read-director-comeys-goodbye-letter-the-mary-sue/#comments Fri, 12 May 2017 15:33:46 +0000 https://ckmacleod.com/?p=64639 My hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution. DONNIE TRUMPO HAS INVOKED A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS AND HE’S WIPING HIS ASS WITH OUR MOST SACRED DOCUMENT THIS

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My hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.

DONNIE TRUMPO HAS INVOKED A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS AND HE’S WIPING HIS ASS WITH OUR MOST SACRED DOCUMENT THIS IS THE FOURTH TIME I HAVE EXPLICITLY TOLD YOU THAT YOU HAD BETTER STEP UP

If you do that, you too will be sad when you leave, and the American people will be safer.

SORRY YOU’RE GOING TO BE FIRED AS WELL BY THIS CANCER ON THE AMERICAN STATE IT’S GOING TO BE WORSE BEFORE IT GETS BETTER BUT THE COUNTRY’S FREEDOM IS ACTUALLY AT STAKE HERE DESTROY HIM LIKE A GREAT AVENGING EAGLE

Working with you has been one of the great joys of my life. Thank you for that gift.

IF I EVER MEANT ANYTHING TO YOU MY G-MEN AND G-WOMEN YOU WILL BURN THIS MOTHER DOWN

Jim Comey

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