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Would a Common Threat Unite Us?

charleslb
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10/25/2010 2:00:45 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Would a Common Threat Really Unify the World?

There's a popular and optimistic idea that you find everywhere from the writings of social scientists to science fiction films, from New Agey gurus to the unenlightened likes of Ronald Reagan, the idea that if the Earth came under attack by belligerent extraterrestrials humanity would finally unite against a common enemy.

But is this bit of upbeat conjecture about the potential unifying effect of an invasion from outer space actually socio-psychologically realistic? Or is it just a naïve and wishful notion? Perhaps for some of us it's not even a fanciful and hopeful thought at all, perhaps it's just the opposite, an expression of deep-seated cynicism about our ability to come together as a species out of more high-minded motivations. That is, some of us think so little of our human nature that craven fear and the selfish desire to survive is the only prod we can imagine unifying the human race.

Ah, but then back to the question, would fear of hostile ETs really be likely to make us all spontaneously join hands and sing kumbaya across the borders of the world? Would we really be slapped awake from our provincial and separatist ethnic, national, and religious identities? Would our survival instinct kick in and cause us to set aside all of the divisive thinking that blocks us off from one another in our various countries, churches, and cliques?

This is a nice, uplifting scenario, but is it really how humanity would react? Is it the most predictable and probable way things would play out? Not to be a downer, but I seriously doubt it. Why? Okay, first of all, the vast majority of humankind is still wont to think in terms of us and other, us vs. the alien other. This is the underlying way of perceiving and interpreting the world that lurks within all racism, nationalism, and religious sectarianism. A penchant to categorize things, to categorize them into us and them, friend and foe is etched into a primitive part of our brains and isn't just going to be erased by the presence of a common threat in orbit.

If anything, encountering genuine aliens, as opposed to fellow human beings whom we call alien because they speak a different language or have a different skin shade, would thrust our minds deeper than ever into thinking in categories of us and other. It would take our tendency to sort the world into our own group and those who are different, who are not us, and it would heighten it like never before. And of course such a heightened us-other mentality would not stay confined to our relations with ET. It would intensify already existing discord between peoples and leave the Earth a more bitterly divided and militantly quarrelsome place than before.

And not only would our us-them mentality be piqued and pushed front and center in our minds, there's also the fear factor to consider. Fear, historically, is not known to have a great cohesive effect, to wipe away people's nationalistic, political, theological, or otherwise bigoted reasons for disidentifying with and disliking their ethnically or culturally dissimilar neighbor. No, fear often doesn't exactly induce people to open their arms to what they have in common and to make common cause, rather it frequently puts us in a very primitively individualistic, aggressively selfish mode. A mode in which we're not by any means at our most sociable or brotherly. A distinctly uncongenial, unharmonious mode in which we're not terribly likely to tear down the fences on our borders and become a global melting pot.

The fear that human beings would experience if our planet found itself under siege by baddies from beyond our solar system would also make many of us seek comfort and a sense of safety in whatever identity or in-group is nearest and dearest to our hearts and our sense of self. In other words, many of us would respond by clinging even harder to being Americans or Chinese, Catholics or Muslims. We'd take refuge in whatever demographic or dogmatism, whatever community or creed we felt snug in before the war of the worlds. We wouldn't just cast aside familiar and reassuring identities and adopt a new and broader identity as members of one human family.

The short of it is that fear polarizes, it doesn't connect people. Sadly, a conflict with Martians or Alpha Centaurians would be extremely unlikely to promote the unification of humanity into a fraternally bonded one-world society. It might even very well set back any progress our species' social evolution may be making in such a direction. If we won the war we'd probably find ourselves with a much more oppositional geopolitical situation than we already have to deal with. And we'd quite probably find ourselves living in societies in which old differences and prejudices had been severely inflamed, in which there's less not more hope that people might embrace their human and spiritual solidarity. Any united military front that had arisen to resist the alien adversary would soon fall apart to reveal that while we were fighting side by side traditional divisions had ironically become more deeply entrenched in our frightened psyches.

It's not negative forces, not peril, strife, a common bogeyman, or fear that's going to get man to finally form a unity. Only consciously and conscientiously cultivated mental, moral, and social growth, only the good and noble efforts of progressive-minded men and women will one day overcome all our ignorant reasons for disunity and dissension and solidify us into one world-wide, all-inclusive, borderless, classless, and color blind in-group.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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10/25/2010 2:16:28 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
If you'd like to explore the above topic and others in greater depth you're invited to visit my website, The Total Revolution Project.com
Just click on or copy & paste the address below. Thanks.

http://thetotalrevolutionproject.com...
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
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10/25/2010 4:38:49 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/25/2010 2:54:10 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
Ok, FFS, stop posting your blog and GTFO.

This.

I didn't even bother reading that. It's way too long.
J.Kenyon
Posts: 4,194
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10/25/2010 4:43:02 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/25/2010 2:54:10 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
Ok, FFS, stop posting your blog and GTFO.

Agreed. If you're going to actually participate, debate, and be a part of the community, you're more than welcome here; different perspectives make things interesting. If you're just going to copy and paste your ridiculously long, poorly written essays and advertise your website, then GTFO.
SuperRobotWars
Posts: 3,906
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10/25/2010 7:17:06 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Well that is how man dominated the Earth . . .
Minister Of Trolling
: At 12/6/2011 2:21:41 PM, badger wrote:
: ugly people should beat beautiful people ugly. simple! you'd be killing two birds with the one stone... women like violent men and you're making yourself more attractive, relatively. i met a blonde dude who was prettier than me not so long ago. he's not so pretty now! ha!
:
: ...and well, he wasn't really prettier than me. he just had nice hair.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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10/26/2010 12:08:52 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/25/2010 4:43:02 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 10/25/2010 2:54:10 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
Ok, FFS, stop posting your blog and GTFO.

Agreed. If you're going to actually participate, debate, and be a part of the community, you're more than welcome here; different perspectives make things interesting. If you're just going to copy and paste your ridiculously long, poorly written essays and advertise your website, then GTFO.

A tad testy are we? I haven't just posted spam and absconded now have I? I've been replying to other participants and contributing more verbiage than some would like. As for my posts being too long, well, that's relative. Admittedly they're longer than the average post, and therefore lengthy in that sense. But they're not really all that drawn-out, just a couple of pages at most. Hardly a Herculean reading challenge! As for the quality of my writing, you're certainly entitled to your opinion that my posts are "poorly written". But of course that's a subjective critique with which I beg to differ. My style is unconventional but not objectively and atrociously ungrammatical. And although I'm often less than concise in making my points, I think that I'm usually cogent enough. You sound like you could use a chill pill, or maybe a relaxing herbal tea. This is a flippant but sincere suggestion, high blood pressure is a killer, I wouldn't want you to stroke out on us as you're such a ray of sunshine. (And BTW, would a spammer hang around to reply like this?)

http://www.thetotalrevolutionproject.com...
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
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10/26/2010 2:02:59 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/26/2010 12:08:52 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 10/25/2010 4:43:02 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 10/25/2010 2:54:10 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
Ok, FFS, stop posting your blog and GTFO.

Agreed. If you're going to actually participate, debate, and be a part of the community, you're more than welcome here; different perspectives make things interesting. If you're just going to copy and paste your ridiculously long, poorly written essays and advertise your website, then GTFO.

A tad testy are we? I haven't just posted spam and absconded now have I? I've been replying to other participants and contributing more verbiage than some would like.

And only in response to responses to your blog.

As for my posts being too long, well, that's relative. Admittedly they're longer than the average post, and therefore lengthy in that sense. But they're not really all that drawn-out, just a couple of pages at most.

Exactly

Hardly a Herculean reading challenge!

On a forum where we usually ping-pong arguments yes.

As for the quality of my writing, you're certainly entitled to your opinion that my posts are "poorly written". But of course that's a subjective critique with which I beg to differ. My style is unconventional but not objectively and atrociously ungrammatical. And although I'm often less than concise in making my points, I think that I'm usually cogent enough. You sound like you could use a chill pill, or maybe a relaxing herbal tea. This is a flippant but sincere suggestion, high blood pressure is a killer, I wouldn't want you to stroke out on us as you're such a ray of sunshine.

The general consensus is you have poor writing. It's not objective, but is the general opinion.

(And BTW, would a spammer hang around to reply like this?)

Yes, yes they would, to justify their existence to continue spamming


http://www.thetotalrevolutionproject.com...

The fact you included this means you are a spammer.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
J.Kenyon
Posts: 4,194
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10/26/2010 5:05:25 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/26/2010 12:08:52 PM, charleslb wrote:
A tad testy are we? I haven't just posted spam and absconded now have I? I've been replying to other participants and contributing more verbiage than some would like. As for my posts being too long, well, that's relative. Admittedly they're longer than the average post, and therefore lengthy in that sense. But they're not really all that drawn-out, just a couple of pages at most. Hardly a Herculean reading challenge! As for the quality of my writing, you're certainly entitled to your opinion that my posts are "poorly written". But of course that's a subjective critique with which I beg to differ. My style is unconventional but not objectively and atrociously ungrammatical. And although I'm often less than concise in making my points, I think that I'm usually cogent enough.

If I make make so bold, you may find it beneficent to employ the services of a proofreader, to see if it is not impossible to correct your curious case of a veritable deluge of verbal diarrhea. Perhaps a thorough review shall make apparent to you certain adaptations that might serve to curtail the lengthy linearity or of your circumlocutory oration.

You sound like you could use a chill pill, or maybe a relaxing herbal tea. This is a flippant but sincere suggestion, high blood pressure is a killer, I wouldn't want you to stroke out on us as you're such a ray of sunshine.

I'm good, thanks.

(And BTW, would a spammer hang around to reply like this?)

http://www.thetotalrevolutionproject.com...

Yes, evidently.
SuperRobotWars
Posts: 3,906
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10/26/2010 5:28:33 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Lies From The Tablecloth . . . Then again it is how we came to dominate Earth . . .
Minister Of Trolling
: At 12/6/2011 2:21:41 PM, badger wrote:
: ugly people should beat beautiful people ugly. simple! you'd be killing two birds with the one stone... women like violent men and you're making yourself more attractive, relatively. i met a blonde dude who was prettier than me not so long ago. he's not so pretty now! ha!
:
: ...and well, he wasn't really prettier than me. he just had nice hair.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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10/26/2010 6:57:13 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/26/2010 5:05:25 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:

If I make make so bold, you may find it beneficent to employ the services of a proofreader, to see if it is not impossible to correct your curious case of a veritable deluge of verbal diarrhea. Perhaps a thorough review shall make apparent to you certain adaptations that might serve to curtail the lengthy linearity or of your circumlocutory oration.

If I make make so bold,
I think perhaps it's you who could use a proofreader to catch such glaring typos before you submit your posts.

You may find it beneficent to employ the services of a
I realize that you're trying to be derisive here but still, the use of beneficent in this context is slightly catachrestic, i.e., inappropriate. Webster's defines beneficent as follows "Doing or producing good; performing acts of kindness and charity". The word beneficial would have been just as effective for your derisive purposes and a bit more context-correct.

to see if it is not impossible to correct your curious case of a veritable deluge of verbal diarrhea.
Kudos for lampooning my love of lavish alliteration, but this is a little more stilted than even my verbose verbalizations and magniloquent musings. I don't go quite that far out of my way to work in gratuitous alliteration.

Perhaps a thorough review shall make apparent
Nowhere have I been so pretentiously formal or formally pretentious as to use the word shall in this archaic manner, nor do I use thou, thee, and thine for that matter.

the lengthy linearity or of your circumlocutory oration."
Well, linear circumlocution, this is downright oxymoronic, like a compassionate conservative. Linear means to proceed in a straight line or a progressively straight fashion, circumlocutory means to talk around in circles, to be guilty of "evasion in speech", to quote Webster's again. (And we also have another sloppy typo here, or bad English, "or of" makes no sense whatsoever.)

I'll give you an A for inspiration, trying to mock my style was somewhat clever. But I'm afraid that I have to give you a D+ at best for execution. You should have given it a little more effort. If you're going to undertake to do something always give it 100%. Well, perhaps this was 100% for you, but I sincerely hope not.

So much for taking a sarcastic shot at my idiosyncratic style, next time why don't you deal with the substance of what I have to say, that might make for a more interesting contribution to this forum.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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10/27/2010 10:39:03 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/26/2010 3:24:32 PM, THE_OPINIONATOR wrote:
yes a common threat would unite us such as ww11 or 9/11

I don't think that the international cooperation forced by WWII really provides an example of a common threat motivating adversaries to bury the hatchet and form a lasting bond. Well, of the nations that came together during the war to fight the Nazis only those that had enjoyed friendly relations before the war remained on friendly terms after VE Day. The Western allies and the Soviet Union, on the other hand, promptly became Cold War enemies. Russians and Americans spent almost four years being allies and then roughly four and a half decades viewing each other with paranoid fear and hostility. Sadly, countries that fight together don't always stay together as post-war buds.

As for the war creating greater internal unity within the country, sure people rally together around the flag and circle the wagons in a spirit of nationalistic solidarity when a war's on. But did wartime camaraderie carry over into improved race relations after the war? Hardly, blacks, including blacks who had valiantly fought in the war in an optimistic attempt to win a little respect, found themselves experiencing just as much prejudice and discrimination as ever. It took a civil rights movement to really improve their status in American society. And conditions didn't get any sunnier for other minorities after WWII either. No, the war didn't raise the consciousness of Americans out of the bigotry they were accustomed to. The racial and socio-economic status quo didn't become more enlightened and equitable. There was no lasting, heightened sense of togetherness. If WWII is any indication war is not really such a great uniter of peoples across dividing lines. And as for 9/11, has there really been greater racial cohesion in the country since that event? Did it really create a beautiful sense of international esprit de corps? I don't know about you but I don't see a whole lot more brotherliness going on thanks to the so-called "war on terror".

It would be lovely if something good, such as a greater feeling of unity, would emerge from the evil of war. I genuinely wish that it worked like that, but apparently conflict isn't what unites people, working to overcome conflict and enmity and fear is what helps people realize their human solidarity.

http://www.thetotalrevolutionproject.com...
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Kleptin
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10/27/2010 9:34:17 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
The question isn't whether a common threat would unite us, but whether or not it is moral to manufacture one. The tactic has been used countless times in history, I'm pretty sure it's a fact.
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
charleslb
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10/30/2010 6:12:42 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/27/2010 9:34:17 PM, Kleptin wrote:
The question isn't whether a common threat would unite us, but whether or not it is moral to manufacture one. The tactic has been used countless times in history, I'm pretty sure it's a fact.

Inventing an artificial common threat in the hope of uniting people would be taking the low road to reach a lofty goal. It would not get us where we wish to go as a society, and it would not be morally justifiable because contrary to conventional political wisdom the end doesn't effectively justify and redeem the means.

As for your assertion that "The tactic has been used countless times in history", I can think of many instances in which the leaders and ruling elite of societies have used a common threat to motivate their subjects to toil and bleed for them in unison, but no real instances of a society's power elite genuinely trying to unify people. Divide and conquer is a far more familiar tactic in political history. When political powers do seek to create more international unity, under their own hegemony, it's usually done by brutally straightforward force, not by manufacturing a fictional common threat. Common threats never really unite people in any deep and lasting way. Only the enlightened desire and choice to set aside our superficial racial and partisan ideological differences and realize our fundamental ontological unity will ever help humanity become one people and nation.

http://www.thetotalrevolutionproject.com...
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
innomen
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10/31/2010 10:17:00 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
A common cause would unify, a common threat not so much. If the common threat was starvation; i'm thinking there would be less unity. However, a common cause perhaps out of necessity would have an effect of unity.
charleslb
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10/31/2010 12:53:20 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/31/2010 10:17:00 AM, innomen wrote:
A common cause would unify, a common threat not so much. If the common threat was starvation; i'm thinking there would be less unity. However, a common cause perhaps out of necessity would have an effect of unity.

Excellent point. Thanks.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Caramel
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11/1/2010 7:18:30 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I would like to present two pieces of fiction to compare and contrast to make my point. The first is Independence Day. No doubt what the OP had in mind, I don't believe it is representative of what would really happen. The second is much too old for most of you to have seen; it is an episode of The Twilight Zone in which a small suburban neighborhood hears a radio broadcast that aliens are invading. Over the next 20 minutes, the neighborhood degrades into panic until the citizens are killing each other in absolute hysteria. At the end of the episode it turns out aliens actually did land nearby and had engineered the radio broadcast just to see how we'd react. The episode closes with them contacting their mothership and informing them that we are ready to be conquered, based on how badly we were able to handle ourselves in their little experiment.

I think we would react much more likt the Twilight Zone episode than Independence Day. We are selfish and accusing; only stable for the moment while things are working out for us. As we assimilate more technology we ween ourselves onto a less independent way of life, and as we consume more wealth we become more desperate to hold onto it at any cost, even if it means another must starve. We have completely lost the ability to function as a society unless it is only to do whatever it is that is best for ourselves within a paradigm (capitalism) that minimizes the externalities of this behavior. Whenever something starts to go wrong, we freeze up and look for the police to take control for us. Our government can't even be trusted to do what's best for it's own citizens, never mind uniting with other countries and working together. And I don't consider Ww2 a "common threat;" if anything it just exemplified how divided we are.
no comment
charleslb
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11/5/2010 6:50:48 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 11/1/2010 7:18:30 AM, Caramel wrote:
I would like to present two pieces of fiction to compare and contrast to make my point. The first is Independence Day. No doubt what the OP had in mind, I don't believe it is representative of what would really happen. The second is much too old for most of you to have seen; it is an episode of The Twilight Zone in which a small suburban neighborhood hears a radio broadcast that aliens are invading. Over the next 20 minutes, the neighborhood degrades into panic until the citizens are killing each other in absolute hysteria. At the end of the episode it turns out aliens actually did land nearby and had engineered the radio broadcast just to see how we'd react. The episode closes with them contacting their mothership and informing them that we are ready to be conquered, based on how badly we were able to handle ourselves in their little experiment.

I think we would react much more likt the Twilight Zone episode than Independence Day.

I've seen the episode you're referring to (with cable channels that run old shows and DVDs no show is too old for anyone to be familiar with anymore), and yes, thank you, I agree that that episode did illustrate how a common threat could conceivably make a community fall apart, and set its members at each others throats, rather than nobly uniting them. I'm afraid the psychology of the characters in that particular Twilight Zone episode was more realistic than the upbeat scenario of people setting aside their mutual differences and hatreds to combat an outer space foe that you find in some more upbeat sci-fi stories.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
bluesteel
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11/7/2010 12:49:52 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
http://www.coca-cola.com...

The Jews would likely view the aliens as the coming of the Messiah and Israel would come rushing to their defense; the U.S. would then be obliged to support the aliens as well, sparking a Third World War.

Don't forget to reserve your Thanksgiving Turkey: http://www.ferndalemarketonline.com...

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You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)