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Monday, June 02, 2014

OTP - June 2014: Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

Bitter Mouse Posted: June 02, 2014 at 07:48 AM | 4613 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: otp, politics, stupid ideas

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   2001. SteveF Posted: June 12, 2014 at 07:53 AM (#4723826)
Quick how many non-Christians are in the GOP and in Congress?

I would assume none, but the breakdown for Democrats won't be that much better I imagine. I'd guess maybe 5-10% of Democrats are Jewish? Maybe there are one or two Californian/Hawaiian congresspeople that are Buddhist.
   2002. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 08:18 AM (#4723831)
I would assume none, but the breakdown for Democrats won't be that much better I imagine. I'd guess maybe 5-10% of Democrats are Jewish? Maybe there are one or two Californian/Hawaiian congresspeople that are Buddhist.


As per Wikipedia, there are currently ten Jewish senators: Carl Levin, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Ron Wyden, Chuck Schumer, Benjamin Cardin, Bernie Sanders, Al Franken, Richard Blumenthal, and Brian Schatz. All except Sanders are Democrats, and Sanders caucuses with the Democrats. There are also 23 Jewish members of the House of Representatives, and all but Cantor are Democrats.

There are three Buddhists in Congress: Senator Mazie Hirono and Representatives Colleen Hanabusa and Hank Johnson. All are Democrats. There are also one Hindu (Representative Tulsi Gabbard) and two Muslims (Representatives Keith Ellison and Andre Carson), all of whom are Democrats. There are currently no (avowed) atheists in Congress. Pete Stark and Barney Frank were the most recent ones, but both left office in 2013.
   2003. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 08:22 AM (#4723832)
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, a Tea Party candidate for the state house just endorsed the idea of a law mandating that homosexuals be stoned to death.

(He considers himself a libertarian, incidentally.)
   2004. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 08:53 AM (#4723835)
Not a US problem. We don't have to fix the world. And if we stop bombing random ME countries they will spend a bunch less time trying to (terror) bomb us back. I am against them having a civil war. I am more against the US getting involved in their civil war.


Then we might as well just accept defeat in the "War on Terror," and end Gitmo and the drone strikes and the wiretaps and all the rest.
   2005. JE (Jason) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 08:55 AM (#4723837)
The problem(s) in the ME are much deeper historically than Obama's (lucky if not wise) decision to stay out of Syria. Or than Bush's foolish decision to go into Iraq. The unraveling of the imperial system is long and violent. When you go into a region, randomly draw lines on a map and call them "states," and then enforce your randomly created "states" by oppression and tyranny for 150 years or so, the dissolution of that arbitrary madness is probably going to be bloody and painful. Extra credit points if your 150 years of arbitrary, tyrannical "states" in the region also serve to repress the region's advancement as the rest of the globe liberalizes and adopts modernity in some way or another in such a way that you can then come back to it and claim that the peoples of those "states" are just incapable of modern thinking after the fact!

Bullsh#t, Sam. The Middle East is not Africa. The states formed under Sykes-Picot were not "arbitrary." Damascus and Baghdad were once Arab empires, the latter lasting for more than 500 years.

As with Crimea, you'll go to jihadi (i.e., extreme) lengths to absolve Obama of foreign policy neglect, this time blaming dead Brits.
   2006. BrianBrianson Posted: June 12, 2014 at 08:57 AM (#4723838)


Then we might as well just accept defeat in the "War on Terror," and end Gitmo and the drone strikes and the wiretaps and all the rest.


It looks like surrendering to drugs is going to have drugs going all Marshall plan on us. Not a bad idea to consider the same approach to terror. ;)
   2007. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:00 AM (#4723839)
http://online.wsj.com/articles/alan-murray-the-divided-states-of-america-1402528612

Good article today in the WSJ, based on a large Pew survey of Americans.

Political polarization appears NOT to be a DC phenomenon, but a national phenomenon, and the Left is polarizing just as rapidly as the Right.
   2008. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:01 AM (#4723842)
At least from reading Andrew Sullivan, Brat is espousing exposing everyone to the vagaries of the market, including the K Street/Wall Street axis and defending the middle and working class from the millions of undocumented immigrants who distort the labor market to their detriment.

As Sullivan puts it:

And that’s why, in my view, it is not to be under-estimated. The K Street-Wall Street nexus is a scandal; as is our absurdly complex tax code (largely devised for corporate welfare and for those with expensive tax lawyers). Put that together with a left-sounding defense of the American middle-class against millions of undocumented, low-wage immigrants, and you’re beginning to get somewhere.

Given where the country now is, I expected Obama’s likeliest successor to be to his populist left, someone able to corral anger at the one percent and Washington, someone urging radical change on behalf of the little guy. But the Clinton machine has managed to choke off that possibility – while the GOP is fast rushing into the gap.


At this point in history, the country needs Clintonism in the same way a homeless guy needs an ice storm.

Your call, liberals. Who are you standing with? Real people ... or the very avatars of crony capitalism?
   2009. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4723843)
The states formed under Sykes-Picot were not "arbitrary."


The borders of those states, on the other hand...

"I should like to draw a line from the e in Acre to the last k in Kirkuk." Right?
   2010. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4723844)
Political polarization appears NOT to be a DC phenomenon, but a national phenomenon, and the Left is polarizing just as rapidly as the Right.


So what you're saying is that at least something good might come of all this?
   2011. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4723845)
Bullsh#t, Sam. The Middle East is not Africa. The states formed under Sykes-Picot were not "arbitrary." Damascus and Baghdad were once Arab empires, the latter lasting for more than 500 years.

As with Crimea, you'll go to jihadi (i.e., extreme) lengths to absolve Obama of foreign policy neglect, this time blaming dead Brits.


Total bullsh#t. The cradle of modern day Islamism is Iran, which has been independent with stable borders for forever.

Silly, modish theory promulgated not for understanding, but to burnish the self-image of the promulgator. Next.
   2012. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:04 AM (#4723846)
Maybe, but the borders have essentially nothing to do with the rise of Islamism anymore than our borders have anything to do with the rise of Christianism here.


False. The borders have a great deal to do with the rise of Islamism. The borders drove the repression and tyranny. The repression and tyranny drove the double edged sword that creates the fertile ground for Islamism. On the one hand, the repression and tyranny impeded the modernization of the peoples of the region, stunting the spread of liberalism there. That stunting in turn created a deep swamp of sectarian reactionaries willing to go to war against the imperial powers and their pet dictatorships, and eventually the entire idea of western liberalism itself (especially since the actions of the west in the region belied the rhetoric of their great liberal "principles.")

This does not remove the onus of moral horror from the Islamists (or the tyrants of the region) themselves. But it's pointless to pretend that the intractable problems we see today sprung wholely formed from the forehead of Jihadist Zeus as well. The west has two real options at this point. We can either continue to stand on the necks of the region and continue our imperial past as long as we can, or we can attempt to manage the fallout of ending our imperial adventures and attempt to contain the "reformation" violence that is more or less inevitable as the ME attempts to climb into modernity. The latter is unpleasant and will result in pain and violence abroad, if not again at home. But the former is impossible both tactically and morally.
   2013. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:05 AM (#4723847)
So what you're saying is that at least something good might come of all this?

Not unless you're advocating partition of the USA.
   2014. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:07 AM (#4723848)
False. The borders have a great deal to do with the rise of Islamism. The borders drove the repression and tyranny.

Wait, when did the Islamic world and/or the Middle East NOT have repression and tyranny?

Islamic states have been ruled by repression and tyranny since 622 AD.
   2015. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:07 AM (#4723849)
Sort of interesting take on the partisan divide in the nation.

Because the two parties have now relitigated the same cultural and economic issues for several elections in a row, voters have learned what each party stands for and have found their way into the appropriate camps, thus ending the political upheaval that followed the collapse of the post-Civil War party system, when Republicans lost their hold on the North and then Democrats lost their grip on the South.


EDIT: Hey I should have refreshed. Different article from the same Pew poll from up thread.
   2016. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:09 AM (#4723851)
Then we might as well just accept defeat in the "War on Terror," and end Gitmo and the drone strikes and the wiretaps and all the rest.


Um, ok.
   2017. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:13 AM (#4723854)
Not unless you're advocating partition of the USA.


The right is going to be extreme no matter what the left does. But at least this way, we might get an actual left as an option in this country, rather than watered-down centrism.
   2018. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:13 AM (#4723856)
Islamic states have been ruled by repression and tyranny since 622 AD.


This is an oversell. During much of the dark ages the Muslim world was much more enlightened than Christendom. Not that this a a very high bar or anything.
   2019. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:13 AM (#4723857)
Then we might as well just accept defeat in the "War on Terror," and end Gitmo and the drone strikes and the wiretaps and all the rest.


Yeah, I'd be OK with that. Where do I sign?
   2020. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:18 AM (#4723858)
Not unless you're advocating partition of the USA.


The left has the cities and the right has the farms and many suburbs. The left has the young, minorities, and well educated.

I am not sure how to draw lines on a map to partition that in any kind of feasible fashion.
   2021. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:18 AM (#4723859)
Then we might as well just accept defeat in the "War on Terror," and end Gitmo and the drone strikes and the wiretaps and all the rest.


Slowly, but yes. You can't win a war on an tactic, and GITMO is an abomination.
   2022. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:21 AM (#4723861)
The cradle of modern day Islamism is Iran


You have no idea what your talking about. Iran is the enemy of al-Q, you moron.
   2023. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4723865)
Wait, when did the Islamic world and/or the Middle East NOT have repression and tyranny?

Islamic states have been ruled by repression and tyranny since 622 AD.


And up until about 1750 or so, so was Europe. And it wasn't until the post-War(s) era that the project of liberalism really took root in the west. And lo and behold, during that time frame, while the west was leaping forward technologically and ideologically, that same west was continuing the imperial project in the ME, generally pivoting from British boots on the ground to a "my pretty dictator pony" model instead.

The point is that the region is 250 years behind, not out of some grand moral failing inherent in Islam, nor due to some racially obtuse inability of "Arabs" to embrace modernity, but because the dominant world powers over the course of those centuries had a jackboot on the region's neck the entire time.
   2024. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:26 AM (#4723868)
The cradle of modern day Islamism is Iran, which has been independent with stable borders for forever.


In so much as modern day Islam has a cradle, wouldn't it be Saudi Arabia? Of course to truly answer the question one would need to define "Modern Islamism" (sounds like Modern Liberal to me) as distinct from Islam (A modern religion with many flavors).

Out of curiosity what is the cradle of "Modern Christianism"?
   2025. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:28 AM (#4723870)
The point is that the region is 250 years behind, not out of some grand moral failing inherent in Islam, nor due to some racially obtuse inability of "Arabs" to embrace modernity, but because the dominant world powers over the course of those centuries had a jackboot on the region's neck the entire time.

Then prove it. Anybody can assert anything. Proving things is the challenge -- here the mechanisms of causation, as opposed to mere coincidence.
   2026. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:34 AM (#4723873)
In so much as modern day Islam has a cradle, wouldn't it be Saudi Arabia?


Yes. Well, kinda. Modern Islam is a bifurcated reality. The cradle of Sunni Islam is Saudi Arabia. The cradle of Shi'a Islam is Iran. The conflation of the two brands of Islam into a single "religion" belies an abject ignorance of history or current events.
   2027. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:34 AM (#4723874)
Then prove it. Anybody can assert anything. Proving things is the challenge -- here the mechanisms of causation, as opposed to mere coincidence.


How on Earth would this be "proved"? Besides shouldn't the NULL hypothesis* be there is no difference, and the testable hypothesis be there is difference 'X'? And then you test that hypothesis.

* Assuming sociology, politics, et al were pure science - which they are not.
   2028. bobm Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:36 AM (#4723875)
[2018]

From wikipedia

In the history of mathematics, mathematics in medieval Islam, often called Islamic mathematics or Arabic mathematics, covers the body of mathematics preserved and advanced under the Islamic civilization between circa 622 and c.1600.[1] Islamic science and mathematics flourished under the Islamic caliphate established across the Middle East, extending from the Iberian Peninsula in the west to the Indus in the east and to the Almoravid Dynasty and Mali Empire in the south.
   2029. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:36 AM (#4723876)
The conflation of the two brands of Islam into a single "religion" belies an abject ignorance of history or current events.


Depends on your definition. I think Islam is one religion, just like Christianity is one religion. From far enough away the divisions seem pretty trivial. Up close of course both dissolve into a nearly fractal like endless profusion of doctrinal splits, where the closer you get to the subject the more divides there are.
   2030. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:39 AM (#4723879)
Then prove it. Anybody can assert anything


Of, #### off. Having been shown to have no knowledge or understanding of the region's history or culture, you realize you're out of your depths and scurry back to a corner to shout for the proving of negatives and alternate histories. We all recognize your tactics, here.

Iraq is a ########### today because Iraq has always been a ###########, ever since the British created a "state" there out of whole cloth, with no concern or thought given to the actual cultures and desires of the people living in "Iraq." This is true of most of the middle eastern "states." Of course I can't "prove" that an alternate history, where the west doesn't stand on the ME's neck as imperial masters for two centuries, end better. But my position has the benefit of taking seriously the ideals of western liberalism, the notion of human rights and self-determination, and the belief that a polity that self-governs organically will eventually be more peaceful and prosperous than one that is ruled over by roughshod tyranny. Just because the tyrants had British and American patches on their arms doesn't mean they weren't tyrants.
   2031. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:39 AM (#4723881)
#2028. Yup. During parts of that time period the Arab world was much more "liberal" about many things and more enlightened than the "west". There were even long periods of relative liberalism regarding religion.

When it comes to the Crusades, in large part the Crusaders were rude, primitive and barbaric invaders. Not exactly a high point IMO.
   2032. Ron J2 Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4723883)
#1984 I think the ambassador massively undersells just how dysfunctional those moderate groups were.

And #1986 the US didn't (directly at any rate) arm Bin Laden. But the Afghanistan (take 1) experience demonstrates the issue with the ambassador's point. The US had their favorites. They lost out to the Taliban in the struggles that followed the exit of the Soviets. There's nothing to me that says the non militant opposition could have been successful in what amounts to a three (or more) way civil war.

Dunno. I think sometimes things just don't lend themselves to a solution -- particularly as a more muscular intervention was basically never on the table.

I suppose the US could have just held their nose and backed Assad, but I can't see that flying domestically. Almost any other outcome is better than a protracted civil war.
   2033. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4723884)
Out of curiosity what is the cradle of "Modern Christianism"?


Germany? Protestants and all that.
   2034. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:43 AM (#4723885)
I agree that the current problems in the ME have a lot to do with the borders drawn by the British and French (and, BTW, my understand is that the Ottomans were fairly enlightened and tolerant as far as empires go), but the discovery of oil and the west's need for that oil is as least as big of a factor.
   2035. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4723889)
Depends on your definition. I think Islam is one religion, just like Christianity is one religion. From far enough away the divisions seem pretty trivial. Up close of course both dissolve into a nearly fractal like endless profusion of doctrinal splits, where the closer you get to the subject the more divides there are.


Concurred and stipulated. But failure to acknowledge the distinctions between Sunni and Shi'a, between the Saudis and Wahhabist brands, and the Iranians and the Shites, is just mindless stupidity. Anyone who thinks AQ is being run out of Iran is too stupid to take seriously in pretty much any conversation going forward. AQ hates the west, modernity and liberalism. But AQ hate the Shi'a more.
   2036. JE (Jason) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4723891)
   2037. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:48 AM (#4723892)
And of course there's Arabs vs. Turks vs. Persians.
   2038. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:50 AM (#4723894)
AQ hates the west, modernity and liberalism. But AQ hate the Shi'a more.


Yeah if we would stop inserting ourselves into that hornets nest they would happily settle down to resolve their doctrinal issues. You know the traditional way such things in all religions have been decided. Weapons and eventual (and sporadic) maturity.
   2039. Ron J2 Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4723896)
#2024 It'd be difficult to undersell the influence of Sayyid Qutb (Egyptian) or Hassan al-Banna (also Egyptian).
   2040. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4723897)
#2039. Egypt is the lead dog in the middle east in many ways. I admit I am not up enough on Islam to fully evaluate it though.
   2041. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4723898)
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, a Tea Party candidate for the state house just endorsed the idea of a law mandating that homosexuals be stoned to death.

(He considers himself a libertarian, incidentally.)


I'll preface this by saying that this character represents only himself, and as a minor candidate in a minor state he's like a gnat buzzing in your ears at worst. But this is still worth posting for the amusement value:

That [stoning gay people to death] goes against some parts of libertarianism, I realize, and I’m largely libertarian, but ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss.

When a Facebook user messaged Esk to clarify further, he responded:

I never said I would author legislation to put homosexuals to death, but I didn’t have a problem with it.

Understandably unnerved, the magazine called up Esk for clarification. Although Esk claimed he didn’t remember the comments, he fleshed out his views:

That was done in the Old Testament under a law that came directly from God and in that time there it was totally just. It came directly from God. I have no plans to reinstitute that in Oklahoma law. I do have some very huge moral misgivings about those kinds of sins.

Pressed one final time about his position on stoning gay human beings to death, Esk dug in his heels:

I know what was done in the Old Testament and what was done back then was what’s just. … And I do stand for Biblical morality.
   2042. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4723899)
But this is still worth posting for the amusement value


Well I hope he lives his entire life by the biblical rules set forth in the bible, literally and completely. I bet my house he doesn't.
   2043. Greg K Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4723901)
Germany? Protestants and all that.

Maybe Switzerland, with Zwingli and Calvin and all that jazz?
   2044. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:09 AM (#4723903)
How on Earth would this be "proved"?

Simple -- by explaining and documenting the theory, i.e., that the proffered backwardness is the result of the proferred imperialism -- as opposed to something else. They may have coincided, but that doesn't tell us anything valuable.
   2045. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4723905)
Of, #### off. Having been shown to have no knowledge or understanding of the region's history or culture, you realize you're out of your depths and scurry back to a corner to shout for the proving of negatives and alternate histories. We all recognize your tactics, here.

In other words, you have no support for your hypothesis. Good to know, though not surprising.
   2046. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4723908)
It'd be difficult to undersell the influence of Sayyid Qutb (Egyptian) or Hassan al-Banna (also Egyptian).


Both of whom rooted their reactionary/conservative readings of Islam in political opposition colonialism.

Again, this does not absolve them of what their theories and ideas have wrought, but only children believe that the bogeymen are just "born evil."
   2047. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:13 AM (#4723909)
Simple -- by explaining and documenting the theory, i.e., that the proffered backwardness is the result of the proferred imperialism -- as opposed to something else.


Wherein "something else" is SBB's religious hatred of Arabs and Muslims.
   2048. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:16 AM (#4723910)
Wherein "something else" is SBB's religious hatred of Arabs and Muslims.

Don't blame me for your failings. It's unbecoming.
   2049. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:22 AM (#4723913)
Simple -- by explaining and documenting the theory,


If you read his posts, he pretty much did outline his theory. That Imperialism and its impact really harmed the Middle East. And he gave examples as to why (nations borders being one).

You realize this is the internet, and a politics thread and not one for history post docs, right? And the next time you document a theory here more thoroughly than he has his will be the first.
   2050. Greg K Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4723915)
You realize this is the internet, and a politics thread and not one for history post docs, right?

Your tact could use some work. There are subtler ways to let it be known that my kind is not welcome here.
   2051. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4723919)
The problem(s) in the ME are much deeper historically than Obama's (lucky if not wise) decision to stay out of Syria.

Lots of straw men in these Syria posts. Military aid to the rebels isn't the same as troops on the ground. Folks are also ignoring the huge disconnect in Obama's ASSAD MUST GO rhetoric and his do-nothing policies, which not only ignored the advice of his own Ambassador, but also his own Secretary of State - a woman by the name of Hillary Clinton. You may have heard of her.
   2052. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:47 AM (#4723921)
That Imperialism and its impact really harmed the Middle East.

I thought his theory was the imperialism was responsible for the rise in recent decades of militant Islamism. The yoke of imperialism (such as it was) was of course overthrown in the Middle East primarily by secular nationalists, not Islamists. Islamism in today's form developed almost entirely post-imperialism.

Nor of course does "imperialism" have a thing to do with the millenium-old Shia-Sunni schism, the other major political force in today's Middle East.

   2053. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:47 AM (#4723922)
A number of folks seem pretty heavily invested in the idea that the debate on ObamaCare is "over", when the reality is it has just begun. Given how various provisions were back-loaded, and the unending stream of exemptions, exceptions, waivers, postponements and other delays, people are just beginning to feel ObamaCare's impact, and that process will continue for several years. It may not be pretty


Clapper, yes there will be a lot of "debates" about Obamacare's true impact once it picks up steam since it will have some very nasty effects, but you're delusional if you think Obamacare will be repealed. It will not be. It's here to stay, and if anything will just get worse.

I think you need to accept that reality.
   2054. Ron J2 Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4723924)
#2051 Well Syria is a ########### right now and there's little reason to doubt that Hailary would have opted for a different -- more active -- course. Would it have led to a better outcome if the US had opted for the same type of tactics as Libya? Maybe, but I'm just not seeing it.

Maybe. But they'd have been going at it without the backing of anybody but perhaps (likely) France. (remember that Cameron lost an open vote on the subject) And the Syrian military is a lot more capable and better equipped than Libya's.

As for arming the moderates, the Economist had a number of little pieces on them. Basically the various groups couldn't have agreed where to have lunch, never mind finding common cause on the battlefield. (took them months to agree who had seats at the table) And none of the opposition in exile types had any credibility in the country.
   2055. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4723925)
This is an oversell. During much of the dark ages the Muslim world was much more enlightened than Christendom. Not that this a a very high bar or anything.

Unless you were non-Muslim. But yes, the Christian world was ruled by repression and tyranny for much of its history as well. By the Middle Ages, Western Christendom had some moderating influences due to the weakness of state vis-a-vis local nobles, and independent cities, and the competing influence of the Church and the HRE, counterbalancing the direct sovereigns. Freedom actually declined into the early modern era as states became more centralized and powerful.

My point was that tyranny was not some foreign import to the Muslim world brought by the imperialists.
   2056. The Good Face Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4723926)
Clapper, yes there will be a lot of "debates" about Obamacare's true impact once it picks up steam since it will have some very nasty effects, but you're delusional if you think Obamacare will be repealed. It will not be. It's here to stay, and if anything will just get worse.

I think you need to accept that reality.


QFT. That said, is Obamacare responsible for these new BBTF "Diet Pill Powerhouse" ads we're getting? Beats the "one simple trick discovered by a Mom!" ads...
   2057. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4723927)
Your tact could use some work. There are subtler ways to let it be known that my kind is not welcome here.


If I could I would change it it "Only History post docs". The occasional godling is more than welcome among us mortals. :)

Seriously though, you are as welcome as anyone else. Hmmm, that came out underwhelming.
   2058. tshipman Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4723928)
The cradle of modern day Islamism is Iran, which has been independent with stable borders for forever.


Quoted for extra WTF. It's difficult for me to understand how anyone with even the most base level of knowledge could come to this conclusion.

Lots of straw men in these Syria posts. Military aid to the rebels isn't the same as troops on the ground. Folks are also ignoring the huge disconnect in Obama's ASSAD MUST GO rhetoric and his do-nothing policies, which not only ignored the advice of his own Ambassador, but also his own Secretary of State - a woman by the name of Hillary Clinton. You may have heard of her.


I think the trope of military aid to the rebels has a bad counterfactual. We give military aid to the "moderate" rebels, thus strengthening them. Okay. The best case scenario here is not a moderate, secular ruler of Syria, it's a three way civil war. We gave no aid to ISIS, and they have grown consistently more powerful in the region.

There is no step that the US could have taken (short of backing Assad, which would be morally repugnant) that does not result in a bloody civil war with an uncertain outcome. Your argument, that the aid to moderates (who are still ####### extremists by any rational account) would have driven out the Islamists is wishcasting. The Islamists were always the more popular and better organized group. We can see this in how they thrived despite having zero assistance.
   2059. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4723929)
That said, is Obamacare responsible for these new BBTF "Diet Pill Powerhouse" ads we're getting? Beats the "one simple trick discovered by a Mom!" ads...

Wait, I thought those ads were individually targeted, based on your browsing history. All I ever see are offers for bootleg DVDs.
   2060. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:05 AM (#4723934)
There is no step that the US could have taken (short of backing Assad, which would be morally repugnant) that does not result in a bloody civil war with an uncertain outcome.


And every step the US takes also pisses off everyone in the region (often including those we aid) and lends support to the "Americans are imperialistic warmongering pig-dogs" story line. But only because that is how we often act. Funny how that happens.
   2061. Greg K Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4723936)
Seriously though, you are as welcome as anyone else. Hmmm, that came out underwhelming.

No worries, I'm just annoyed that this is a historical discussion I can't really contribute to with any degree of usefulness. Except to say that I would think something like the end of imperialism in the Middle East has a lasting impact and any major social or political movement in the region has in some way been shaped by that (along with any number of other cultural or economic factors).

Which I guess is a longer way of saying - "generic vague comment about historical context X"
   2062. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4723937)
No worries, I'm just annoyed that this is a historical discussion I can't really contribute to with any degree of usefulness.


Look around you dude, settle in and join the rest of us ;)
   2063. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4723939)
http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/06/12/iraq_civil_war_kurds_control_kirkuk_after_government_forces_flee.html

These are the people we should be backing in the region. Give the Kurds weapons, Special Forces advisors, air support, and let them beat the #### out of the Islamists.
   2064. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4723941)
My point was that tyranny was not some foreign import to the Muslim world brought by the imperialists.


And the counter being that while you are correct - most of every culture's history is a history of tyranny - the pivotal years wherein the west jackrabbited out of tyranny and into modernity were notable in the ME for having those same western powers imposing tyranny on the population there. To think through the current state of disarray in the region without acknowledging the heavy hand western imperialism (and its follow on factors of client states/pet dictatorships and colonialism-via-privatization) is stupid on its face.
   2065. Joey B. Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4723944)
The cradle of modern day Islamism is Iran

Whatever you do, don't ever say that to anyone in Saudi Arabia. You'd be lucky to not get decapitated.
   2066. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4723945)
And the counter being that while you are correct - most of every culture's history is a history of tyranny - the pivotal years wherein the west jackrabbited out of tyranny and into modernity were notable in the ME for having those same western powers imposing tyranny on the population there. To think through the current state of disarray in the region without acknowledging the heavy hand western imperialism (and its follow on factors of client states/pet dictatorships and colonialism-via-privatization) is stupid on its face.

But, Western imperial rule was in many ways more liberal than the pre-existing regimes. Also, imperialism came very late to the Middle East. Most areas were not Western controlled until the 20th century, but there was no movement towards liberalism in the 19th century.

India endured imperialism far longer, and is in a much better place.
   2067. tshipman Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4723946)
Here's the other thing that bugs me about TYC's comments about Syria.

He doesn't view Libya as a success. He thinks that Obama's actions in Libya were not constitutional, and that our intervention there was a failure.

He wants to have it both ways in other words. In areas where Obama does nothing, blame Obama for inaction casusing chaos. In areas where Obama acts, blame Obama for resulting chaos.

If you're intellectually honest, you say: Okay, I wish we could have done Syria like we did Libya. I am okay with that POV. I think it's naive because Libya was always a better case than Syria, but it's at least intellectually honest.
   2068. The Good Face Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4723947)
And every step the US takes also pisses off everyone in the region (often including those we aid) and lends support to the "Americans are imperialistic warmongering pig-dogs" story line. But only because that is how we often act. Funny how that happens.


Yes. At this point, USG and the "Middle East" are like a couple stuck in a horribly dysfunctional marriage. They literally cannot be in the same room together without getting in each other's faces and making one another miserable. Fortunately, this is why the concept of "countries" was invented; we don't NEED to be in the same room. I'm thinking a 10 or 20 year trial separation would do all parties involved a world of good.

   2069. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4723949)
The cradle of modern day Islamism is Iran, which has been independent with stable borders for forever.


In so much as modern day Islam has a cradle, wouldn't it be Saudi Arabia?


The "cradle" of modern day islamism is Saudi Arabia (the Wahabi takeover of Mecca in the 19th century...)
or Turkey (Attaturks' abolishemnt of the caliphate)

or Egypt (Sayyid Qutb)

It is most decidedly not Iran in any way shape or form.
   2070. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4723950)
India endured imperialism far longer, and is in a much better place.


India is a much different place than the Middle East and even the imperialism was different. Europe did not enact its colonialism the same everywhere. Different countries faced with different conditions on the ground and different geo-political needs put in place different policies. And thus there were different outcomes.
   2071. Mefisto Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4723951)
Folks are also ignoring the huge disconnect in Obama's ASSAD MUST GO rhetoric and his do-nothing policies, which not only ignored the advice of his own Ambassador, but also his own Secretary of State - a woman by the name of Hillary Clinton.


Obama (for once) did the right thing. If Hilary wanted a more aggressive policy, she was wrong.

Freedom actually declined into the early modern era as states became more centralized and powerful.


Not for the common person. The common person was oppressed by the nobility. Centralization actually protected the average person, which is why the commoners almost always supported the King.
   2072. Lassus Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4723960)
Fortunately, this is why the concept of "countries" was invented; we don't NEED to be in the same room.

I personally don't think this is true any more. The world has shrunken in such a way that to me it's either deal with each other or die.
   2073. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4723961)
The "cradle" of modern day islamism is Saudi Arabia (the Wahabi takeover of Mecca in the 19th century...)
or Turkey (Attaturks' abolishemnt of the caliphate)

or Egypt (Sayyid Qutb)

It is most decidedly not Iran in any way shape or form.


Modern Islamism began with the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini.
   2074. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:33 AM (#4723962)
Modern Islamism


Feel free to define your term. Or, as you said to Rickey! earlier - "Prove it".
   2075. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4723964)
These are the people we should be backing in the region. Give the Kurds weapons, Special Forces advisors, air support, and let them beat the #### out of the Islamists.

The Kurds already see the opportunity, they've taken Kirkuk- unlike the Iraq government's army the Kurd's militia (pesh merga?) is actually capable and WILLING to fight- but I really don't see the Kurds doing anything to help Maliki- if he gets really desperate he may appeal to Iran... Muqtada al-Sadr had a shiite militia (who were pains in the ass when we were there but were actually rather ineffectual compared to most Sunni insurgent groups, but in a bizarre turn of events al-Sadr seems to have had a religious epiphany of some sort, withdrew from politics and ordered his militia disbanded)
   2076. Ron J2 Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4723967)
#2063 Well there is the issue of Turkey. Turkey's made accommodations with a federated Kurdish area inside of Iraq but (to put it mildly) they're not keen on a strong Kudistan.

Doesn't mean the idea is dead in the water since they're also not keen on an Iraq (or Syria) dominated by militant Islamists. But it's have to be managed carefully.

Assuming you see it as a good idea to get involved in the first place. I've long thought a multi-sided civil war was likely for the region and I sure as hell wouldn't want to be in the middle of it.
   2077. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4723968)
Feel free to define your term. Or, as you said to Rickey! earlier - "Prove it".

Wikipedia: Islamism is a set of ideologies holding that "Islam should guide social and political as well as personal life".

I'm comfortable with that definition. Islamism is Islam as a totality, much as Soviet Communism was a totality.
   2078. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4723971)
a set of ideologies holding that "Islam should guide social and political as well as personal life".


Right, now prove it started where you say it did. Because even my cursory reading suggests otherwise. But since it is your assertion you need to prove it.
   2079. The Good Face Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4723974)
He doesn't view Libya as a success.


And you do? Libya is now a failed state. That's pretty much the worst possible scenario. At the very least, it could have become a failed state without USG being responsible for it. Sometimes #### gets broken no matter what, but that doesn't mean we need to be the ones who break it.

I personally don't think this is true any more. The world has shrunken in such a way that to me it's either deal with each other or die.


We could deal with others via diplomacy and trade. We should stop dealing with each other by invading countries, stationing troops, installing military bases, getting mixed up in civil wars, importing jihadis, etc.
   2080. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4723976)
Right, now prove it started where you say it did.

Iran was the first modern Islamist state, established in 1979 -- this is pretty standard and straightforward stuff.

I'm not interested in quibbling over the definition of "start," particularly since I didn't use the term. Modern Islamism's primary cradle of political success was -- self-evidently -- the Ayatollah's Iran. It has since served as a beacon of Islamism.
   2081. GregD Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4723978)
Obviously there was divergence by time place and regime but many Muslim states were extremely tolerant in the Middle Ages. Many had systems of separate rule where local Jewish or Christian rulers basically ran little fiefdoms that answered ultimately to the central authority but had wide latitude. Some had special religious courts so people would be charged with breaking their particular religions rules not the rules of other religions. Now there was no question who was in charge so equality wasn't on the table but power and a degree of autonomy was much more possible for many non Muslims in the Middle Ages than it was for non Christians in the Christian world. Missionaries were at times different stories.

Arguably the Ottoman Empire was by the mid nineteenth century the most liberal empire the world has known.

There were reasons why the Jewish populations if the Middle East remained so large and why Christian communities have two thousand year histories intact in some regions ruled by Muslim dynasties.

That changed dramatically and for many reasons and people can disagree legitimately about those reasons but the history of tolerance under Muslim rule exceeds that for much of Christiandom. An optimist could say that means it could revive. A pessimist could say that it shows that tolerant empires don't always stay tolerant under strain and there's a grim reminder to all of us
   2082. Ron J2 Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4723979)
As the Sterling turns: Shelly Sterling probate court

Trial next month may confirm who actually controls the trust.

Side note in the saga. The Clippers are being sued by a former (unpaid) intern.
   2083. bunyon Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4723980)
In general, my reading of history, not as extensive as I'd like, is that when a Civil War is brewing, there is no avoiding it long term. You can kick the can down the road a bit but it will come. And if there isn't a clear, decisive winner, it will continue flaring up until there is. That is the reason not to get involved. Unless you're willing to simply conquer a country and rule it by force, don't get involved. Trying to nudge things one way or the other is bound to failure. Whatever side you pick will be seen as the false side, given their alliance/reliance on you, the outsider. It sucks, but pretty much peoples have to sort this crap out for themselves. We (the US, Europe, Russia, China, etc.) did. At this point, let Iraq, Syria, Libya, et al sort themselves out and then deal with the winner(s).
   2084. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4723981)
But, Western imperial rule was in many ways more liberal than the pre-existing regimes.


Imperialism cant be liberal if it's imposed at the point of a gun. It's like converting someone to Catholicism via torture. It's bullshit.

Also, imperialism came very late to the Middle East. Most areas were not Western controlled until the 20th century, but there was no movement towards liberalism in the 19th century.


You'd be hard pressed to explain to me why and how the Ottoman Turks were notably less liberal than Franco's Spain or Mussolini's Italy. And the entire point is that imperialism in the ME "came very late." As a result, the cultural stunting and social pains of exiting that imperialism are also "coming very late." It would have been better had the west not held that modernization process back in the region. (No, I'm not saying that Iran would be France if we had just let things pass, but I do strongly suggest that a less imperial history that allows for organic, naturally developed nation states in the region would have led to a lot more Turkeys and a lot less "Iraq" and "Syria.")
   2085. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4723982)
Modern Islamism began with the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini.


I think we have a good idea why SBB hinges the decline of civilization at 1979. Methinks he may have a bit of a bugaboo up his ass about Muslims.
   2086. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4723983)
Imperialism cant be liberal if it's imposed at the point of a gun.

Sure it can. All governors rule at the point of a gun. If they rule liberally, they've ruled liberally at gunpoint.
   2087. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4723985)
I think we have a good idea why SBB hinges the decline of civilization at 1979. Methinks he may have a bit of a bugaboo up his ass about Muslims.


That occurred to me as well.

Or maybe he just never got over Wire splitting up after releasing 154 that year.
   2088. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4723987)
I think we have a good idea why SBB hinges the decline of civilization at 1979. Methinks he may have a bit of a bugaboo up his ass about Muslims.

I've already stated that the massive increase in religious nuttery in the Middle East found a parallel in the United States and is, indeed, a primary strand in and cause of the US decline.

The fact that it happened here in tandem with very brisk economic growth -- purportedly a liberalizing phenomenon -- shows the depth of the decline.

But those observations have nothing whatever to do with foreign Muslims -- though it goes without saying that the de-secularizing of the Middle East was a disasterous development for civilization defined more broadly.

The year of the Ayatollah's ascent was also the year of Margaret Thatcher's ascent and the beginning of the reign of economic nuttery, which of course also has a direct parallel in the United States beginning at virtually the same time.
   2089. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4723990)
You'd be hard pressed to explain to me why and how the Ottoman Turks were notably less liberal than Franco's Spain or Mussolini's Italy. And the entire point is that imperialism in the ME "came very late." As a result, the cultural stunting and social pains of exiting that imperialism are also "coming very late." It would have been better had the west not held that modernization process back in the region. (No, I'm not saying that Iran would be France if we had just let things pass, but I do strongly suggest that a less imperial history that allows for organic, naturally developed nation states in the region would have led to a lot more Turkeys and a lot less "Iraq" and "Syria.")

There's very little evidence that the majority of the inhabitants of the region want a "modernizing process". At least not in the sense we in the West think.

Democracy or the will of the people has repeatedly led to less liberal states than those ruled by strongmen or the Army (Iran, Turkey, Egypt).
   2090. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4723991)
There's very little evidence that the majority of the inhabitants of the region want a "modernizing process". At least not in the sense we in the West think.

Democracy or the will of the people has repeatedly led to less liberal states than those ruled by strongmen or the Army (Iran, Turkey, Egypt).


Definitive majorities in virtually every country in the ME think leaving Islam should be punishable by death.

Read the data and get your heads out of the clouds, people.
   2091. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4723993)
And while SBB's obsession with the Iranian Revolution as the start of "modern Islamism" (a term that means whatever he needs it to mean at any given time, much like "modern liberal"), it bears mentioning that the revolution was driven in real part by a social desire to be free of an autocratic dictatorship that ignored the will of the people while serving as a semi-puppet regime for the United States. I.E., western imperialism.
   2092. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4723995)
   2093. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4723996)
And while SBB's obsession with the Iranian Revolution as the start of "modern Islamism" (a term that means whatever he needs it to mean at any given time, much like "modern liberal"), it bears mentioning that the revolution was driven in real part by a social desire to be free of an autocratic dictatorship that ignored the will of the people while serving as a semi-puppet regime for the United States. I.E., western imperialism.

But it took an Islamist (*) form, when many secular revolutionary forms were available and had been previously used. That's the part that needs explaining.

(*) Totalitarian Islamist, to be more precise.
   2094. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4723997)
Nothing to see here, nope. (Warning! PDF)

Here are the key findings from the Center for American Progress’s analysis of the Latino
electorate and the implications it will have on future elections:
• Immigrants and their children are an increasing share of the Latino electorate:
Immigrants and their children made up 49 percent of eligible Latino voters in 1996.
This share climbed to 55 percent by 2012.
• Second-generation immigrants are the driving force behind the
growth of the Latino electorate. Between 2012 and 2016, 3.3 million
Latino citizens will turn age 18. Of these, 57 percent, or nearly
2 million, are the children of immigrants.
• Immigrants and their children are more likely to vote than third generation
immigrants. Therefore, as immigrants and their children
become a larger share of the Latino electorate, the voter turnout
rate for Latinos will likely increase.
• As immigrants and their children make up a larger share of the
Latino electorate, the importance of immigration reform will only
continue to grow for the electorate as a whole.
   2095. Joey B. Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4723998)
Modern Islamism began with the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini.

I would say it began with the establishment of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, and it was already becoming an ascendant force when they unsuccessfully tried to assassinate Nasser, and that was back in the fifties.
   2096. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4723999)
Democracy or the will of the people has repeatedly led to less liberal states than those ruled by strongmen or the Army (Iran, Turkey, Egypt).


No one is denying the fact that the last 200 years has uttely ############# the region. Right now the choices the west have are 1) manage the chaos, disorder, civil war and reactionary back and forths in the region as they sort out their own modernity as best we can, mostly via containment, or 2) engage in long term, endless occupations as an imperial force, while draining our national will and treasury to nil.

The first option is painful and will be bloody, especially in the Middle East (and occasionally, inevitably given modern infrastructure and modern arms, outside of the ME proper.) The second is impossible, and a direct contradiction to our supposed civilizational values to boot.
   2097. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4724001)
Imperialism cant be liberal if it's imposed at the point of a gun.

Sure it can. If you ban child brides and the stoning of women for not veiling, or for seeking education, under threat of force, you are imposing liberal values at the point of a gun.

Just like when Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne to Little Rock. He was imposing liberalism at literal gunpoint.
   2098. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4724005)
No one is denying the fact that the last 200 years has uttely ############# the region. Right now the choices the west have are 1) manage the chaos, disorder, civil war and reactionary back and forths in the region as they sort out their own modernity as best we can, mostly via containment, or 2) engage in long term, endless occupations as an imperial force, while draining our national will and treasury to nil.

Islamism is the primary political force in the region and there's virtually no evidence that it's even compatable with modernism, much less capable of midwifing it. (*) It's in the interest of the region that Islamism and sharia be denuded of their political influence.

Anyone who wrote these words would have been entirely correct on September 12, 2001, and Islamism has gained in influence since that date.

These are the unfortunate and unavoidable facts.

(*) Moreover, the influence of Islamism is contrary to the national interest of the United States.
   2099. GregD Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:20 PM (#4724015)
On the student loan vote, it failed because of a filibuster as it had 57 votes for it. Other than Harry Reid--who switched his vote to no to give him the procedural right to call the bill up again--every no vote was a Republican.

But I am sure this only proves that the parties are indistinguishable on economic issues right?
   2100. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4724022)
But I am sure this only proves that the parties are indistinguishable on economic issues right?


Hard to believe young adults vote Blue, isn't it?
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