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Post 60

Tuesday, July 27 - 6:46pmSanction this postReply
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Subject: New Approach to Internet Debates

Merlin,

I just thought of an idea: I've long observed the super-aggressive and insulting types who tend to take over threads. In addition to being hypercompetitive, abusive, contemptuous, and abrasive they tend to find some nit to pick.

Find some little flaw in something you said which is not central to the original purpose of the thread. And then play "gotcha!" And the original substantive points of the thread get forgotten. They tend to drive more fastidious people away and so they get 'the last word'.

Here's an alternative: Let's not even deal with that.

There are some really important issues here about the nature of conservative, radical, and moderate Islam and about how one deals with a billion people that those who threaten us can hide among. Or influence. That's one of the things I wanted to discuss. Even the historical late medieval time frame was a side topic, which has now become the whole (and somewhat pedantic and 'gotcha' oriented) focus.

So, why don't you and I have a discussion about the major topics of this thread and we'll just ignore this individual until such time as he becomes 'civilized'?

Let me start by asking you several questions, if any of these are of interest:

1. What is your understanding of how the Islamic and Christian civilizations have changed, why they changed, and where they are at now?

2. Do you think these considerations have any implications for dealing with the conservative, moderate, and radical (willing to use force to convert the world or to attack the West) muslims?

3. Do you think it is advisable or necessary to target civilian institutions like mosques to fight a war against the radicals and terrorists?

4. What's your assessment of the book "Aristotle's Children"? Entirely aside from the discussion of Islam, I'm very impressed with it and I'll give my reasons as soon as you give me yours.



(Edited by Philip Coates on 7/27, 6:55pm)




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Post 61

Tuesday, July 27 - 8:37pmSanction this postReply
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Wow Phil, you take pompous ass to a new level.

I see you finally admit how inaccurate you were in the post that you "took a lot of trouble to write...and worded it very precisely"


(Edited by John Armaos on 7/27, 8:53pm)




Post 62

Wednesday, July 28 - 6:41amSanction this postReply
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troll ignored


(Edited by Philip Coates on 7/28, 6:52am)




Post 63

Wednesday, July 28 - 6:58amSanction this postReply
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By the way, for the two of you [I very much wonder if Luke is one of them] who click on *every single thing* John A says on this thread, regardless whether or not it is cogent -- I don't think that is what the atlas statuettes are for:

"My guy said something. I'm not sure if he's right about all his facts, but he's on my side. Let me click on him: So there! Take that Phil Coates, my enemey..."



Post 64

Wednesday, July 28 - 7:07amSanction this postReply
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Teresa:

When a group of "moderates" comes forward and reports to the FBI that their radical mullah is preaching hate and recruiting terrorists on U.S. soil, then I'll accept Phil's position.

I don't think that is likely, or even possible. The minority of moderates/moderns in that world have insufficient political power, precisely because the other elements -- the theocratic OMIR, the Old Men in Robes -- run the Street around by the nose, via mega-politics. The OMIR are also a minority, but they are a ruling minority in those, this is key, 'theocracies.' Not just official theocracies, but the de facto theocracies, like Bangladesh.

The moderates/moderns -- no matter what their preferences -- are standing by on the sideline because they have insufficient influence on the Street. And, part of that dynamic is the same old, same old class warfare that leads our own Street around by the nose. Their theocrats fire up their street and lead them around by the nose(and so do ours, though our theocracy is based on a competing religion -- Social Scientology, "S"ociety is God, and the state is its proper church.) The OMIR grab onto the Street at an early age, the indoctrination begins early. (Just like it does here, with all that 'the' economy crap.)

Moderns-moderates all over the place are watching the simmering out of control tribal nonsense, the courting of the street, and wondering when it is all going to just explode. It isn't at all clear to them that modernity is going to win this battle with the Dark Agers, clinging to their gig, because mega-politics works, even in the face of strenuous wishes that it didn't.

And so, they sit on the sidelines, waiting for this conflict to sort itself out. What else can they do, they have no 'street cred.' These (few) folks aren't at those radical mosques listening to the theocratic nutcakes.

regards,
Fred



Post 65

Wednesday, July 28 - 10:06amSanction this postReply
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Phil,

I am not interested in any lengthy discussion of Islamic and Christian civilizations. I read a lot about Islam and Muslims for a year or so for after 9-11 and got my fill of it.

My first post on this thread (42) was pointing out to John A., with tact, his egregious error about Byzantine Christians being the sole custodians of the works of Aristotle. At that time I had no intention to post more. He had the chance to correct himself, but he chose a different tactic. He took offense, tried to defend his claim, and took even more offense when asked for citations to support his assertions. What a crime -- todoubt something John A. asserts!

I don't claim to be an expert on the history, but his claim didn't fit with any other accounts I had heard/read. I didn't initially name a great counterexample, but did a little later -- Andronicus of Rhodes. To deal with him John tries retrofitting his narrative rather than admit his error, didn't answer two question in my post 52 (hmm, I wonder why), and verbally assaults me in other ways. Sorry, John, the story of the preservation of Aristotle's works begins with his death, not some date centuries later you arbitrarily pick to fit your story.

John A. wrote:
So why didn't you demand Phil provide citations for his historical claims but you did for me?
There is a simple answer to that -- you made the false "sole custodian" claim, not Phil. I'm not surprised if you didn't think of that.

John A. wrote:
Wow Phil, you take pompous ass to a new level.
The pot calls the kettle black.

Phil wrote:

What's your assessment of the book "Aristotle's Children"? Entirely aside from the discussion of Islam, I'm very impressed with it and I'll give my reasons as soon as you give me yours.
I liked the book. I have already posted about it some on RoR. I'm not inclined to write a book review of it. There are already 43 reviews of it on Amazon. You go first. I might comment.

I would like to have known Peter Abelard and seen him debate.

(Edited by Merlin Jetton on 7/28, 10:21am)




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Post 66

Wednesday, July 28 - 10:42amSanction this postReply
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Merlin, you claim I'm being insulting but here you are using very same language you purport to be insulting.

My first post on this thread (42) was pointing out to John A., with tact, his egregious error about Byzantine Christians being the sole custodians of the works of Aristotle. At that time I had no intention to post more. He had the chance to correct himself, but he chose a different tactic. He took offense, tried to defend his claim, and took even more offense when asked for citations to support his assertions. What a crime -- to doubt something John A. asserts!


I did provide citations. So I don't understand your objection here. But you on the other hand, provided no citations to suggest how Islamic scholars were even able to came across the texts of antiquity. Someone had to preserve them up until Islamic scholars had the opportunity to even read them, and you still can't answer that basic simple question.

I don't claim to be an expert on the history, but his claim didn't fit with any other accounts I had heard/read.


Oh that one book you and Phil read that now gives you enough knowledge to again skirt an explanation as to how Islamic scholars centuries later started translating and reading ancient Greek texts. That again, for some reason, excuses you from providing any historical evidence as to how these texts were available for consumption to the Islamic scholars.

I didn't initially name a great counterexample, but did a little later -- Andronicus of Rhodes. To deal with him John tries retrofitting his narrative rather than admit his error


Oh for crying out loud, a counterexample that was never actually a counterexample to anything I claimed! I didn't say the Byzantines even after Islamic scholars started reading Aristotle were still the sole custodians of the ancient Greek texts! You totally misunderstood the point of that position. So no, there was no retrofitting going on. You are just stubbornly refusing to and deliberately trying to not understand the narrative I was trying to put forth and the one that was patently false that Phillip proposed. It's not even a narrative I'm coming up with on my own, historians such as John Julius Norwich and Lars Bronsworth author of "Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization" make the same claims. Andronicus of Rome is centuries before there was any such thing as a "Christian World". This was a "Pagan World". Phillip made no claims about the Pagan world being the world of darkness, brute force, etc. He compared two religious worlds, so please Merlin if you don't mind let's stick to the actual historical context of the conversation.

Sorry, John, the story of the preservation of Aristotle's works begins with his death, not some date centuries later you arbitrarily pick to fit your story.


Merlin, since his death the Greco-Roman civilization preserved his texts. The Byzantines were simply an extension of that civilization (it was just another Greco-Roman civilization). From Aristotle's death on through to the Roman Era and then through the Byzantine era those texts were never lost (except a portion of them occasionally were lost through fire) They were lost to the Latin West when the Western Roman Empire fell. Again, you are deliberately trying to not understand my position. Why would you think by me saying "the Byzantines were the sole custodians of the ancient philosophical, historical and artistic texts" that it should mean they were the sole custodians ad inifinitium and always the custodian since before there even was an Eastern Roman Empire to begin with? Adronicus of Rome? Are you serious Merlin? Someone that existed almost 300 years before there was even such a thing as an Eastern Roman Empire? What time period did you think I was referring to as being "sole custodian"? Or were you just not aware of what period of history the Byzantine Empire belongs to?

That would be like objecting to someone saying: "America is the sole custodian of the Florida Everglades" and then you turning around and saying "But what about the Spanish and the Native American tribes!" Yeah well they may have well been the sole custodians prior, but not when America came around.

There is a simple answer to that -- you made the false "sole custodian" claim, not Phil. I'm not surprised if you didn't think of that.


1) The claim was not false, you just horribly mangled its meaning.

2) Phil was false on his narrative that: ", the muslim world was the peaceful world, the civilized world, the world which had great respect for the Greeks and reason and science and which revered, respected, and preserved the works of Aristotle and of science and enlightenment for those very reasons. If the muslim religion as such were the implacable problem, what about it made it more so than the Christian world of the time: The Christian world was the world of barbarism and force and an intellectual, moral, economic, epistemological dark ages. The Islamic world was the world of order, rule of law, trade, science, reason."

Of which he now admits was wrong and of which you had never demanded he provide any citations for his claims.


When Phillip made his appeal to the medieval Christian World as being in the "Dark Ages", this is only applicable to a specific Christian World (if by Dark Ages we take it to mean a loss of knowledge of antiquity). Namely the Christian World of Western Europe, the Latin West, the land area that was once part of the Western Roman Empire. The Greek East did not experience this "Dark Age". It did have rule of law, it did keep the knowledge of the ancient world. The historical world view of the entire European continent experiencing a dark age in medieval times is a view that is centuries old in modern academia, dating back to probably when Edward Gibbon wrote the "Decline and Fall of Roman Empire" in the late 18th century as he absolutely despised Christianity and Byzantium. That dismissive historical view of the Byzantine Empire had stuck around for a very long time in academia. Today it is an outdated view. Historians today often refer to the Byzantine Empire as "The Lost Empire". It's a fitting description, not only were they lost to the invading Turkish Armies, it was lost to the world of modern academia.


And this isn't some kind of nitpick, this is a particularly egregious historical error on Phil's part, in a post that he claimed he took a lot of time and care to write. Well reading one book isn't enough to put in the amount of time and care that is needed to start making broad sweeping historical claims like that.





(Edited by John Armaos on 7/28, 11:51am)




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Post 67

Wednesday, July 28 - 11:08amSanction this postReply
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John A. wrote:
Merlin, you claim I'm being insulting but here you are deliberately twisting my words and taking them out of context:
The claim was not false, you just horribly mangled its meaning.
No, I did not twist or mangle your words at all. I took them literally. To wit:

I've pointed out to you that the Byzantine Empire, which was a Christian Empire, lasted for a millennium and were the world's sole custodians of the ancient philosophical, historical and artistic texts which included those of Aristotle. (post 37)
That does not specify what years they were the "sole custodians". It does not preclude the years before the Byzantine Empire, which is evidentally the way you want me to twist and mangle your words.

I repeat my question from post 52, which you declined to answer. Are you saying all of Andronicus' originals and copies ended up in the Library of Constantinople?

But you on the other hand, provided no citations to suggest how Islamic scholars were even able to came across the texts of antiquity. Someone had to preserve them up until Islamic scholars had the opportunity to even read them, and you still can't answer that basic simple question.
It doesn't matter. Even if Islamic scholars got them from the Byzantine Christians, the Islamic scholars were also custodians, by any ordinary meaning of the word. Similarly, Peter Abelard, Thomas Aquinas, and others had access to Aristotle's works. So there were other custodians, long before the Byzantine Empire ended, which falsifies the "sole" in "sole custodians." 

(Edited by Merlin Jetton on 7/28, 12:48pm)




Post 68

Wednesday, July 28 - 11:28amSanction this postReply
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Merlin:

That does not specify what years they were the "sole custodians".


So should I have written "sole custodian but only sole custodians within the time of their existence"

Really Merlin? So I ask again, suppose I said America is the sole custodian of the everglades. Would you object to that assertion because I did not specify what years America existed/exists for them to qualify as being sole custodians of the everglades? Don't you think by identifying "America" it presumes we are at least only restricting that identification of custodianship to within that time of which America is in existence? Suppose one day Florida is no longer part of America, would it still be incorrect to say "America was the sole custodians of the everglades"?

I repeat my question from post 52, which you declined to answer. Are you saying all of Andronicus' originals and copies ended up in the Library of Constantinople?


What do you mean originals? There is no such thing as "originals" there are only "copies". The only instance of some original text that I'm aware of that was found are the Dead Sea Scrolls, (perhaps there are other instances) and only modern technology can decipher what was written on them. We don't have the "original" scrolls of say the Iliad Merlin. Those texts are available for consumption today because generation after generation people had to continuously make copies. The originals are gone, long destroyed and rotted away. They weren't written in some kind of indestructible material. What we have today are copies, and eventually yes, at least those copies that didn't perish in fire were in the library of Constantinople. The ones that we don't have today are forever lost, the ones that we do have today were preserved throughout the existence of the library of Constantinople. And that library received its copies from other libraries in Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, etc.

(Edited by John Armaos on 7/28, 11:53am)




Post 69

Wednesday, July 28 - 11:35amSanction this postReply
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It doesn't matter. Even if Islamic scholars got them from the Byzantine Christians, the Islamic scholars were also custodians, by any ordinary meaning of the word.


I say again: "suppose I said America is the sole custodian of the everglades. Would you object to that assertion because I did not specify what years America existed/exists for them to qualify as being sole custodians of the everglades? Don't you think by identifying "America" it presumes we are at least only restricting that identification of custodianship to within that time of which America is in existence? Suppose one day Florida is no longer part of America, would it still be incorrect to say "America was the sole custodians of the everglades"?"




(Edited by John Armaos on 7/28, 11:38am)




Post 70

Wednesday, July 28 - 11:43amSanction this postReply
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What do you mean originals? There is no such thing as "originals" there are only "copies".
I meant what Sulla delivered to Andronicus.
Sulla brought the writings of Aristotle and Theophrastus back to Rome, where they became the basis of a new collection of Aristotle's writings compiled by Andronicus of Rhodes which forms the basis of the Corpus Aristotelicum which exists today. (link)
Over the course of several years, Andronicus patched the writings together, classifying and collating (and perhaps editing) them. Copies were made and distributed. (Aristotle's Children, p. 38-39).
 




Post 71

Wednesday, July 28 - 11:46amSanction this postReply
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I say again: "suppose I said America is the sole custodian of the everglades. Would you object to that assertion because I did not specify what years America existed/exists for them to qualify as being sole custodians of the everglades? Don't you think by identifying "America" it presumes we are at least only restricting that identification of custodianship to within that time of which America is in existence? Suppose one day Florida is no longer part of America, would it still be incorrect to say "America was the sole custodians of the everglades"?"



Post 72

Wednesday, July 28 - 11:52amSanction this postReply
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Repeat your Everglades question as many times as you want. Why should I answer your question when you won't answer mine (with more than merely your assertions)?
(Edited by Merlin Jetton on 7/28, 11:57am)




Post 73

Wednesday, July 28 - 11:54amSanction this postReply
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Because your question doesn't make any sense. I can't answer an unintelligible question. Proving that there existed a prior sole custodian doesn't negate the fact there was a subsequent sole custodian. I am the sole custodian of my house. When I move, someone else will become the sole custodian of that house. Using the term "sole custodian" is not an automatic meaning of "ad infinitium". So I'll say again:

"suppose I said America is the sole custodian of the everglades. Would you object to that assertion because I did not specify what years America existed/exists for them to qualify as being sole custodians of the everglades? Don't you think by identifying "America" it presumes we are at least only restricting that identification of custodianship to within that time of which America is in existence? Suppose one day Florida is no longer part of America, would it still be incorrect to say "America was the sole custodians of the everglades




(Edited by John Armaos on 7/28, 12:10pm)




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Post 74

Wednesday, July 28 - 12:17pmSanction this postReply
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Knut Kleve, Professor of Classics at the University of Oslo


http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/bellagio/bellag1.html

The fourth century was a critical time for the classical literature of Greece and Rome. Written on papyrus, it was gradually crumbling away and threatened to sink into oblivion unless transferred to parchment Constantine the Great had begun that process by having the books of Holy Scripture copied, and his son the Emperor Constantius II undertook to continue the effort. The result of his initiative was the first imperial library of Constantinople, which contained more than 100,000 volumes The leader of the project was Themistios who commanded a considerable team of calligraphers and librarians.

One of the main problems was, as it is today, to choose what to save, for it was impossible to save everything. First, Themistios and the emperor chose to save the old literature--Homer and other great authors of the golden age of Greece. Themistios seems to have been uninterested in Latin authors. He did not, and did not want to, understand Latin. He was an arrogant Greek who regarded all other people, including Romans, as simply barbarians. But the emperors were Romans and Latin speaking, so Constantius saw that the classical literature was also transferred to parchment.

Although the older literature was regarded as more valuable than contemporary work no one any longer spoke the Greek of the great Attic authors. So it was necessary to save commentaries and works of grammar as well as the texts of Sophocles, Plautus and other classical works From the record, we can see that Themistios knew many more classical authors than we have today.


The greatest enemy of ancient literature was, however, fires Several fires in the Constantinople library eventually destroyed much of the collection, but Themistios' efforts had not been wholly in vain, for visitors came to the library from the provinces to consult works and take away copies--and some of the copies were recopied. Without the efforts of Constantius and Themistios our knowledge of the classical literature would certainly have been even smaller.


Again, this isn't merely an assertion. If you think some other civilization had the ability to preserve these texts after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and before the Islamic scholars came around, then it requires you to start naming which civilization this is. But if you want me to prove a negative, that I can't disprove that other civilizations didn't exist in this time period which had preserved these texts, then you are asking for an epistemological impossibility. I can only point to who had them during that time and that no other custodians within that time frame are known to have existed.





(Edited by John Armaos on 7/28, 12:29pm)




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Post 75

Wednesday, July 28 - 2:59pmSanction this postReply
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John A., your analogies with the Everglades and your house have a serious flaw. There is only one of each (at a fixed location). Or do you believe there was only one copy (or multiple copies never separate) of any of Aristotle's works at any time during the whole interval when you believe the Byzantine Empire was "sole custodian"?  :-)  Are you happy that I finally answered?

 




Post 76

Wednesday, July 28 - 3:09pmSanction this postReply
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Ok, so did you honestly think I meant there was just one copy sitting in one library in the Byzantine empire of each work of antiquity? It was meant to convey that there was for a time being, throughout the majority of the period Phil called the Dark Ages, one known empire where you could have found these works.



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Post 77

Wednesday, July 28 - 3:44pmSanction this postReply
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John A. wrote:
It was meant to convey that there was for a time being, throughout the majority of the period Phil called the Dark Ages, one known empire where you could have found these works.
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averroes:
In the West, Averroes is most famous for commentaries on Aristotle's works, most of which had been inaccessible to Latin Europe during the Early Middle Ages. Before 1100 only a few of Aristotle's logical works had been translated into Latin by Boethius, although the entire extant Greek corpus was known in Byzantium. After Latin translations of Aristotle's other works from Greek and Arabic were made in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Aristotle became more influential on medieval European philosophy. Averroes' commentaries on Aristotle contributed to his growing influence in the medieval West.

Averroes lived in Spain in the 12th century during the Islamic Empire. But I guess this doesn't count per John A.

Nor does Boethius (ca. 480524 or 525 AD):
He intended to translate all the works of Aristotle  and Plato  from the original Greek into Latin. His completed translations of Aristotle's works on logic were the only significant portions of Aristotle available in Europe until the 12th century. (link)

(Edited by Merlin Jetton on 7/28, 4:55pm)




Post 78

Wednesday, July 28 - 5:53pmSanction this postReply
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Merlin you're being pedantic. What I gather from your post is it would be more accurate had I said:

"the Byzantine Empire..were the world's sole custodians of [THE OVERWHELMINGLY VAST MAJORITY] of the ancient philosophical, historical and artistic texts?"

Is that better?

Averroes lived in Spain in the 12th century during the Islamic Empire.


Ok, and where did he get Aristotle's works?

Do you not think the existence of the Byzantine Empire was responsible for the vast majority of these texts being preserved for other emerging cultures to have had the chance to even come across them? The wiki entry you post is basically saying the complete works of Aristotle were known to the Byzantines and contrasting this with the Latin West that only had a few (thanks to Boethius). Well then at least we have to acknowledge they were the sole custodians of those complete works before others many centuries later had gotten copies of them.


And what do you have to say then about Phil's assertion that the Christian World at this time was "the world of barbarism and force and an intellectual, moral, economic, epistemological dark ages" and the Islamic world was "the world of order, rule of law, trade, science, reason.." How does this fit with the existence of the Byzantine Christian Empire that had the complete works of Aristotle? They had the rule of law? etc



(Edited by John Armaos on 7/28, 7:11pm)




Post 79

Thursday, July 29 - 1:51amSanction this postReply
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to be fair, I don't believe it's directly Radical Islam that we're at war with; I think right now we're dealing with an extension of the Cold War.

I'm under the belief that the one sure-fire way to win this war--and btw we'll never do it in a million years--is to bomb Moscow.

I've read up on several big past events of history that played a major part in what we're dealing with now...and most of them seem to be based around abysmal disasters of the Cold War.

It's then also worth noting that Numbers Stations are now becoming more active than they've ever been before.

A few other things worth noting:

there was an event that happened right around the time of 9/11: a Ukrainian spy was lethally poisoned while finding some apparently vital information about the goings on in Soviet Russia( yes, I refer to them as Soviet Russia; deal with it).

Amazing timing, huh? Like y'know...when no one would be paying attention since the Twin Towers had just been destroyed?

Also, most of Iran's nukes are currently being supplied by--big surprise--MOSCOW!

And then of course there's the issue of China buying all our federal debt or something like that. Um...where are they getting all that money from? They just passed a stimulus package that made Obama's look like massive deregulation! Gee...could it be from their puppet masters in....Moscow?

From my perspective, all signs point to the Kremlin. And one Mr. Vladimir Putin.



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