Update on updates

model or method

“True practice involves study, prayer, and reflection so action reaches perfection” —Hongyin, 22

That quote block just took ten minutes to design because I kept expecting the quotation marks to appear automatically and the block to set itself apart just as in the Classic Editor. Apparently I have to now manually add the quotation marks, and the only benefit appears to be being able to use the settings in the side bar to change the color (which I was accustomed to doing using the HTML text editor in Classic).

So big deal. Blocks seems designed to ween the writer away from HTML/WYSIWYG while spending an undue amount of time fussing around with “Quote Block.” Believe me, I am not impressed!

One thing that happened which was nice was we do now have WordPress fully updated, and this allowed the Bravenet PHP to be updated to 8.0. The reason my website was crashing was because I tried to update the PHP before updating WordPress. It makes sense now because the WordPress 6.1 eliminates all the error generation in the debug file—many of which were related to PHP and outdated plugins.

Just for insurance and for potential site migration, we also invested in UpdraftPlus. UpdraftPlus even has an associate program for those who don’t mind Big Brother looking over your shoulder, sifting through your website saved in various packets in the cloud, and tracking what you do offline. (It reminds me of signing up for the DC Board of Elections database, and now my voter registration is showing up in six different places online.)

We also invested in an updated Themezee Plugin for Leeway. The lead designer had stated there was no more support, but after begging a bit, he did provide the Leeway plugin so that I can have it updated to at least WordPress 5.1. Themezee is also offering a package deal so that one license allows the customer access to multiple themes. Eventually when I have to install a new theme, it can be after test-run on an experimental WordPress site. Thanks to UpdraftPlus, that should be a cinch, opening up a test-site; however, with Bravenet, I never know what kind of obstructions the host-server may have in place.

Another great plugin is Advanced File Manager which allows SFTP file management from the front end inside WordPress. Since I couldn’t get my SFTP software (whether WinSCP or FTP Voyager) to work, that may potentially solve the SFTP challenge. But now that the PHP is updated, the gliche in the SFTP connection problem may also be solved. I just don’t want to have to file any more support tickets with Bravenet right now, since my New Year resolution is to continue having benevolent thoughts.

Anyway how was Bravenet to know that the whole problem actually was based upon an outdated WordPress version? But with UpdraftPlus, that won’t be so much a problem anymore, since with incremental saves, any new updates can be undone as quickly as a restore.

Everyone deserves a reprieve during the New Year. A few weeks ago there were several interviews conducted with Democrats or Progressives that I once admired. At RealNews.com, Reverend Chris Hedges conducted an interview with longtime Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D) who served 4-terms in Congress before he was ousted due to his antiwar stance.

In the December 16, 2022 interview, the former Mayor of Cleveland spoke candidly about how the Congress is captured by the war-time economy. This is what happened to the Democratic Party in his view:

“…I think as soon as the Democratic Party made a determination, could have been 35, 40 years ago, that they were going to take corporate contributions, that wiped out any distinction between the two parties.”

Apparently throughout his career, the Congressman took guff from other Democrats for taking an antiwar stance. Kucinich refused to vote in approval for defense budgets after he realized there was so little accountability inside the Pentagon but instead trillions of dollars worth of accounts that couldn’t be reconciled:

“So, from that moment on, I just said, wait a minute. They’re not keeping track of how this money’s spent. Why in the world should I vote for this budget? So from that point on, right through to the conclusion of a 16-year service in the United States Congress, I didn’t vote for a single budget of the Pentagon or any of the supplemental appropriations to keep wars going because I knew it was a racket. I knew there would be billions of dollars thrown away. And I can cite chapter and verse, inspector generals’ reports. Once the money goes out of this country overseas, whether it’s Iraq or whatever adventure we were in, the money’s blowing….”

The former Congressman admitted that it takes rare courage to stand up to the lobbyist forces acting on Congress, promising that whether healthcare or defense, the industry will provide jobs, and most importantly, provide the legislator the votes needed to stay in power. This is also where the media wars come into play to ratchet up the perception of vast differences between the two parties when in fact:

“The government generates perceptions. And people think, well, there must be a reason for the government’s position on this war. The truth of the matter is that we’re in a heavily militarized society driven by greed, lust for profit, and wars are being created just to keep fueling that. It moves right into this idea, this old idea of a manifest destiny.”

The saddest part, Kucinich believes, is how mired America has become in living out its lies. These lies, as other foreign experts have observed, is what will kill America in an age of ruthless competition and increasing multipolarity. We cannot simply rely on the weapons, whether economic, defense, or media, to maintain American superiority; instead we must do what countries in the East are doing which is investing within.

Personally I was surprised at how open Mr. Kucinich is, but with Reverend Chris Hedges, of course he might be speaking with the choir. One thing the Democrats or Progressives won’t touch is the Covid-19 vaccine controversy—because the US Green Party is still supporting the Single-Payer Healthcare. But they are making progress, maybe forced to because Independents are making inroads in alternative media. The problem is that per InfluenceWatch.org, various private foundations, such as the Benjamin Fund, help support popular Democratic thinktanks and there doesn’t have to be as much transparency anymore. A recent exception was the FTX cryptocurrency debacle where its founder is accused of money laundering and operating a huge slush fund and virtual ponzi scheme.

The point is that if the agenda is set by a private, possibly foreign entity, then the Congress is essentially bought. The media war upon the public is so successful that many Americans still believe that America is peerless when it comes to modern society. Nothing can be further from the truth. Even as an Asian-American, I am faced with culture-shock when viewing some of China’s regional documentaries (CCTV) which demonstrate such a highly sophisticated approach to land-planning with extensive traditional to high-tech integration. As an American, it makes me feel both admiring and ashamed. Today, “democratic-socialism-with-Chinese-characteristics” including respect for the land and its peoples is deeply ingrained in China’s cultural-historical consciousness—and it’s successful. It’s just that it seemed not so long ago that many of these megacities had been viewed pretty much through the eyes of Alasdair Clayre in the picturesque Heart of the Dragon, an oversized early 1980s documentary with detailed contexts that aided me in writing my book, Gwok Choy: A Family Memoir from the Sino-Japanese War.

Believe me, many Touji today would be stunned with the immense urban changes on such a grand scale, from the transportation systems, to dramatic skyscrapers, to preserves of temples, hanging bridges, reforestation projects, virtual cartography, drone-cameras, satellite imagery, micro-macro farming, launching of space station, and so on. It is truly mind-boggling the leaps in science and still including the humanities that is taking place—done not for profit but to improve trade and opportunities so that China can continue to protect its heritage while helping the world transition or survive with increasingly dwindling fossil fuels availability.

Actually it made me sad that I have already missed so much of the magical growth process; the unveiling of these documentaries means these projects have been successfully completed: they are ready for the world to see. In a huge mega-city I have no doubt that I would feel somewhat lost, but it also reminds me of the state of disrepair in America’s once great cities on the West Coast. A politician whose pockets and bank accounts are filled with cash will quickly deny that anything is wrong with America’s infrastructure, and that all we need to do to is allocate more money to help the planned improvements along. Will California Congressman Kevin McCarthy, who delivered such an inspiring acceptance speech, actually help create change in the Golden State? Will he prioritize much needed water reservoir and water transport improvements? How many high-speed rail miles does he plan to have finished? What about plans to reduce dependence on the “war-is-a-racket” economy? Maybe people will confuse him with Gavin Newsom, or worse, the Hunter Biden. McCarthy looks like the boy-next-door with his Valley charm and still even retains an air of idealism.

But everyone knows looks are deceptive. The third-man behind the President may very well become like Mitch McConnell, just an eager rubber stamp for warmongering as the inevitable American Dream.

PS. There are also problems selecting text in Gutenberg Blocks. I used to be able to shift-select all the way down to end of the article to change font-size or font-type; now I have to go paragraph-by-paragraph after the 600 word limit.

Crossposted from christinehkroll.wordpress.com