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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 24,979

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The "Number Two" stuff wasn't based on fuzzy intelligence!

It is based on a non-fuzzy understanding of how PR a.k.a. bullshit works. It's ludicrous to you or me. But it's plenty good for the real target audience, which is Wolf Blitzer et al. (Do you think he remembers how many Number Twos have been croaked since 9/11? Only the latest one counts.)

Vietnam bodycount redux.

Much less complicated than to claim X original enemies, minus Y enemies killed, equals Z enemies left. Just say you killed the most important ones this week, so victory is always near.

You have an interesting recollection of the history.

It's hard to imagine a more successful primary season for the Democratic party than the one in 2008. More than 35 million people were mobilized to participate. All the interest was focused on Obama and Clinton. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, it was pure crickets as an old man (in the sense of old, old ideas) plodded to a predetermined result. Lesson: Democracy (as imperfect as it was) is not to be feared!

As for your platitude about the effect of open primaries, I guess we'll see! Prior history does not guarantee future results, as the Wall Streeters say...

Interesting: List of open primary states

Here is a list of open-primary states with the number of their electoral votes as a very rough gauge of their influence on the outcome (total 169 unless I made a mistake adding).

South Carolina would be the first one voting next year.

Alabama (9)
Arkansas (6)
Arizona (11)
Georgia (16)
Illinois (20)
Massachusetts (11) (All races' primaries open for "unenrolled"/unaffiliated voters only)
Michigan (16)
Mississippi (6)
Missouri (10)
North Carolina (15)
North Dakota (3)
South Carolina (9)
Tennessee (11)
Vermont (3)
Virginia (13)
Wisconsin (10)

Open, but not for presidential elections:

Hawaii (Open primary for state, local, and congressional races; caucus system for presidential races.)

EDIT: To add Illinois and correct total.

EDIT II: To note that Wikipedia sucks and point you to a more complete list that includes Ohio, Texas and Louisiana, and thus puts it close to half of the total electoral votes. Rules vary, however.


EDIT 3: To apologize as I just saw that the link is a GOP site, but the info seems good.

I don't start from any assumption about atheists.

Being one myself, at least with regard to sentient single-entity planner-creators of everything, and knowing a great many otherwise.

I have developed a particular set of observations about the counterproductive, narrow New Atheist schtick, however, mostly from first-hand experience of going to a bunch of NA-inflected atheist meetings some years ago in New York. Mostly likable people (unlike, say their matinee idols, Harris, Hitchens and Maar) and not bad as drinking partners. Tend to be on the autistic-libertarian-idealist side of things, not that I mind too much. Their PR sense is certainly terrible, as with the series of Santa ads, and they're willing to pander to nationalism, as with the campaign to get "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance. (The only credible and consistent position with regard to Pledges of Allegiance is that the entire text should be struck and forgotten as a quasi-totalitarian relic.) The worldview is too narrow. It's not enough to make a drama out of rejecting non-natural gods and pretend this is the first solution to the ills of the world.

It's not their audience at all.

The billboard trolls fundamentalists with a triviality. (Who says church is necessarily a bad thing, by the way? Something that New Atheists do not understand from their position of privilege at all - that people want community.)

Ahem, as I was saying: The billboard cannot possibly win over fundamentalists. It is designed to troll them and prompt them to react, so as to produce headlines and responses back in the neighborhoods of the New Atheists, so that they can feel smug as though they did something that matters.

Why are they telling people to skip church (where their friends may be) as opposed to making a logical or doctrinal point about the dangers of fanatical irrational belief? Do you see the difference? This is just insulting the people for being stupid - a form of ad hominem. It doesn't make an argument against what they believe.

All history should be subjected to a high level of scrutiny

President worship in general is in the spirit of monarchy, not democracy. How particular individuals may live up to "the test of leadership" is, in general, a mystifying concern. It doesn't usually interest me. What actually happened is much more interesting.

Events should be commemorated in all their complexity. I'm arguing for a different historical culture. Princeton should host a Woodrow Wilson museum that tells all these stories. But building names suggest honor without caveats. (Building names also don't actually recall history, often people have no idea who a given personage is.)

Anyway, I suggested Debs (spell his name right, for chrissakes) just to anticipate a possible "what's your alternative?" move. My real alternative would be history education, museums, sponsored research, cultivating a nuanced view with room for debate and evolution. No need to put this guy's name on a building.

I agree that some objections are anachronistic, so your LGBT example with regard to Debs (or Wilson, or anyone else from the time) would a red herring. However, the accusation that Wilson was a committed and published scientific racist and actually made things worse for black people is not anachronistic. Alternative ideas were in circulation at the time, and he was regressive for his time. He doesn't get that excuse.

No one's questioning Wilson's historical importance.

It's a question of the way in which it should be commemorated in public. A straight endorsement of any individual "great man" is almost always going to be a whitewash. This case is no different. I vote for more historical research and popularization of historical complexity, and less in the way of bullshit heroic monumentalization. There should be forms of memorialization that present such figures in their full contexts.

Wilson was a committed "scientific racist" who gave his presidential endorsement to the pro-Ku Klux Klan blockbuster, Birth of A Nation. Deal with it. Why do you want to forget such things? What is your identification with this particular imperialist, as opposed to any other? The League of Nations by the way was an attempt at a concordance of European empires, to maintain these and manage their affairs in a way that avoided future European wars, but did not question European dominance of their colonies. For example, it legitimated the French-British carve-up of the Middle East. Then again, this white man's club was better than the alternative that followed its breakup. Here as well, we would all be served by not heroizing and turning everything into these simplistic narratives of good or bad. Sorry that history's not simple enough.

But if you want it simple, I'd like to see a monument for Eugene Debs, of course. Or the International Workers of the World. Or the dead of Ludlow - appropriate at Princeton with all its buildings named after Rockefellers! You want a hero, look up Louis Tikas. He too was a man of his time - and yet nothing like Professor Wilson. Fancy that.

"Arab Muslims"

You've got your general category, and it's wrong.

These are citizens of Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan -- all countries in which your government conducted wars -- fleeing from current war zones, in which (1) conditions are deadly (due to the war, the bombs, including those made and delivered by your government, and the resulting health and ecological conditions) and (2) where there are forces who want to murder them, often on the basis of their ethnicity, race or religious grouping. Some of them aren't Arab, and some of them aren't Muslims. You want to debate the particular definition of "genocide" devised to suit the Great Powers of 1948, but this denies that whatever the definition, many of those you want to turn away will die from intentionally directed violence as a result.

Also, it's pogroms, not pograms.

Also, the 12 million undocumented people are a separate issue. (They should be legalized, of course.) You are employing the fallacy of "whatabouttery."

And the environmental legacy, "sterling." I missed something, did the US ban the blowing up of mountains and the poisoning of waters in order to extract hydrocarbons to burn and further fuck up the climate? Did the emissions level go down to conceivably sustainable levels? How about the coddling of BP and the failure to ban drilling on the ocean floor?

Anyway, fuck presidential "legacies." There are bigger issues.

Duane Clarridge (CIA) is a Bush mob consigliere.

So he took his Carson paycheck as a consultant, and has now demonstrated his enduring loyalty to the Family.

Notwithstanding that it's true!

And an implosion of Carson may benefit Trump but it ain't going to Jeb!'s benefit.

Schadenfreude all around.
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