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Andreas Holzer
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I was at the cinema yesterday.... <3

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Sounds good, I'm in.

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"The big earthquake that struck New Zealand last year may have been the most complex ever, say scientists.
November's Magnitude 7.8 event ruptured a near-200km-long swathe of territory, shifting parts of NZ's South Island 5m closer to North Island.
Whole blocks of ground were buckled and lifted upwards, in places by up to 8m.
Subsequent investigations have found that at least 12 separate faults broke during the quake, including some that had not previously been mapped.
Writing up its findings in the journal Science, an international team says the Kaikoura event, as it has become known, should prompt a rethink about how earthquakes are expected to behave in high-risk regions such as New Zealand".

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Stumbled on a nice SW channel...

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Snerk...

Watching TV commentators applaud him for containing himself for a little over an hour was like hearing a parent praise a difficult child for not pooping in his pants during a pre-school interview.

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This. 
"Two years ago, when Garry Kasparov, the chess champion turned political dissident, began to warn that Vladimir Putin sought to undermine liberal democracy—not only in neighboring countries, but all over the West—he was widely written off as a crank. After Russia managed to hack the servers of the Democratic National Committee and spread fake news on an industrial scale, his warnings were finally recognized as all too prescient. But it is only over the past weeks, as journalists around the world have broken dozens of stories about Russian meddling in the democratic process, that the sheer scale of this effort has become apparent." So begins an eye-opening article that lists scores of ways that Putin's renamed KGB has been waging acts of aggression toward almost all democratic nations.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_good_fight/2017/03/can_europe_defend_itself_from_putin_s_russia.html

Why this campaign to mess up the western democracies? Okay, first, Putin needs and promulgates his own narrative, that democracy is a fiction. That it has never worked as anything but a hypocritical hoax, perpetrated by meddlesome oligarchs -- exactly the situation in Russia, today. This narrative is now spread all across the far-right-o-sphere, in most western nations.

Second, from Putin's perspective this is payback time. The Kiev Revolution - when Ukrainians rose up to oust their Moscow-controlled president - was the last straw. Our press ignored the way Putin blamed (credited) Obama/Clinton with that setback, preferring to focus on Putin's "masterful" nibble-back in Crimea. But on a larger scale, VP had already been striving ceaselessly to form an alliance of anti-democratic nations, long before Ukraine was ripped from his control. That anti-western arc now sweeps from Ankara and Damascus, through Moscow and the Eurasian steppe, all the way (one can assert) to Manilla.

Although many Putin pals have spoken of this plan openly, the American right calls any mention of it "anti-Russian hysteria" and "liberals agitating for nuclear war." Silly on the face of it, these phrases have joined "deep state" and "facts are useless" and "democracy is always a fiction" as central memes pouring from the Fox/alt-right machine.

One key element of this arc (Reagan or Bush might have called it an "Axis of _) will be if Putin can seal in an alliance with Iran. Iranian militias already fight side-by-side with Russian special forces and Assad's army in Syria. But the full scale alliance -- including a warm water port in the Persian Gulf -- has been sought by Moscow for 200 years. Only, there's a problem. Iran's vastly complex and close-to-modern civil society.

Unlike our "ally" Saudi Arabia, half the population in Iran is educated, rambunctious and eager to join the modern world. The ayatollahs know their days are numbered, unless they can rally the people around some desperate struggle against The Great Satan. (Especially a conflict that's limited in scope, by the Russian nuclear umbrella.) Hence a war between Iran and the US serves so many interests! The mullahs want one, the Saudis (stupidly) want one, the Israelis (foolishly) want one, Putin is positively rubbing his hands...

...and Donald Trump has ordered a US aircraft carrier (ironically the George H. W. Bush) back into the dangerous, tight waters of the Gulf. Not to protect US interests! (We are now energy independent enough not to need forces in the Straits of Hormuz.) But to serve as bait for a "Tonkin Gulf Incident."

Am I paranoid? Bah. Every foreign policy related person in today's White House, along with Steve Bannon, Rex Tillerson and the rest -- except (thank heavens) for national security adviser H.C. McMaster -- has beat the Iranian war drums. (McMaster's predecessor had been the loudest drum-beater.)

Where are the right wing voices who've been accusing democrats and moderates of "war-mongering at Russia" when the real danger is an "incident" with Iran, leading to Vladimir Putin's dream-come-true?

Pray for the US Navy, and their sage-calm officer corps. That they can navigate harsh waters and even harsher interference from those who would spend our brave sailors' lives.

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