Welcome to Saturday's Potluck - 5-7-2022

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Pablo Picasso

Not sure if proper to laugh or cry.

Instructions on How to Be a Rebel by wikiHow.

Thinking Like a Rebel
1. Hold unpopular views on political and social issues. A central part of being a rebel is to develop views that go against popular, traditional views.
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4. Think of rebellion as a movement, not just an attitude. Being a rebel involves taking physical action, not just holding and believing in unpopular views.
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For example, it may be popular and common for your peers to play football and wear letterman jackets on campus. Do the opposite by wearing torn jeans and obscure band t-shirts.
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Acting Like a Rebel
4. Dress outrageously. Making a spectacle of yourself is a great way to make people do a double-take. Dare to grab hold of people's attention from everyday, mundane routines.
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Rebellion is all about contradiction. If you can create contradiction within your wardrobe, people might notice you even more. For example, wear a mohawk but also wear thick framed glasses. Wear a pair of worn sneakers with a business skirt. Throw a nice blazer over a Black Sabbath t-shirt and jeans.
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Rebelling Responsibly
2. Know the difference between rebellion and recklessness. If your actions have a possibility of seriously hurting yourself or others, avoid doing them. Rebellion is about standing out; you don't need to do harmful things to do so.
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The company men behind Biden’s foreign policy ‘Blob’ Asia Times May 3, 2022
Meet the players inside the ‘Blob’ that makes Biden’s many ill-advised foreign policy decisions

What these top players all have in common is that they are company men with ties to the Democratic establishment going back years if not decades. They represent, in their careers and outlook, the mainstream of the Democratic Party; hawkish on foreign policy, moderate on domestic policy and sensitive to the concerns of corporate America, they are wedded to old ideas and ways of doing business that go back to the Clinton administration.
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So, if Reagan’s first term was dominated by the Troika, the White House of Joe Biden, an ardent Catholic, might be said to be dominated by three Cardinals: White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, counselor to the president Steve Ricchetti and deputy chief of staff Bruce Reed.
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The irony of America’s current predicament is that Biden’s cast of utterly conventional, decidedly buttoned-down establishmentarians who brook no deviation from the bipartisan foreign policy orthodoxy of the post-Cold War era are the very opposite of the sort who are needed to find an off-ramp from this, the most perilous moment of East-West confrontation since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
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Ron Klain, a longtime denizen of “Biden World” and a sharp bureaucratic infighter, is White House chief of staff and therefore, like Baker, first among equals.

Klain, despite a career littered with high-profile failures, including overseeing the 2000 Florida recount for the Gore campaign, has had an unerring ability to make himself in demand.
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Klain also has a reputation in Washington for not knowing what he does not know, a perhaps common trait among those who inhabit the top tier of political operatives and publicists who run Washington.
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long-time Biden consigliere Steve Ricchetti, a veteran of the DC revolving door, including a controversial stint as a health care industry lobbyist.

Ricchetti handles White House relations with Capitol Hill. Such is his pull inside the Oval Office that three of his own children have been appointed to positions inside the administration, including his son J J Richetti, who serves as special assistant in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the Treasury.
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Bruce Reed is said to be the in-house policy wonk. No friend of progressive politics, Reed came up through the ranks as a centrist policy adviser to Senator Al Gore in the 1980s then as domestic policy advisor to President Bill Clinton.
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Much attention in recent weeks has been paid to the trials and tribulations of Biden’s struggling Vice President, Kamala Harris. Yet missing from the coverage is the fact that Harris, for all her bumbling, has built a strong foreign policy team around her.
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The irony of America’s current predicament is that Biden’s cast of utterly conventional, decidedly buttoned-down establishmentarians who brook no deviation from the bipartisan foreign policy orthodoxy of the post-Cold War era are the very opposite of the sort who are needed to find an off-ramp from this, the most perilous moment of East-West confrontation since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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Terror from Balochistan: a menacing tool to disrupt Sino-Pakistani economics The Cradle Pepe Escobar May 05 2022

This is the concise story of how a suicide bombing may carry the potential to subvert the whole, ongoing, complex process of Eurasia integration.

Recently, the Balochistan Liberation Movement (BLA) had released an ISIS-influenced video threatening “Chinese officials and installations” in Pakistan’s vast province.

Yet what actually happened in late April was a suicide bombing outside of the University of Karachi’s Confucius Institute – not Balochistan – and targeting Chinese teachers, not “officials and installations.”

The suicide bomber was a woman, Shaari Baloch, alias Bramsh, who detonated her vest just as a van carrying Institute staff members approached the entrance.
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This was no standard terrorist attack. Its reverberations are immense – not only in one of Pakistan’s provinces and South Asia regionally, but for the whole of Eurasia. It may be a harbinger of serious turbulence ahead.

Shaari Baloch’s act of desperation should be seen, to start with, as the embodiment of a deep-seated Baloch alienation felt by the educated middle classes, from lawyers and traders to students, constantly permeating the complex relationship with a distant Islamabad. A significant part of the puzzle is that 26 Pakistani intel agencies never saw it coming.
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The anti-China instrumentalization of the BLA also ties in with the regime-change parliament operation in Islamabad that recently deposed former prime minister Imran Khan, who was always a fierce adversary of the American “Forever War” in Afghanistan. Khan resolutely denied Pakistan’s use in “over the horizon” US military ops: that was one of the key reasons for him to be ousted.

Now, with a pliant, Washington-approved, new regime in town, a miracle has just happened: the Pentagon is about to clinch a formal agreement with Islamabad to use Pakistani airspace to – what else – keep interfering in Afghanistan.
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Imran Khan was a serious thorn in the side of the west because he kept impressing on Pakistanis that the Forever War in Afghanistan was militarily unwinnable. He knew how all the proxies – including the BLA – that destabilized both Afghanistan and Pakistan for decades were, and continue to be, part of US covert operations.

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Carrier Duel: Chinese, American Battle Groups Drill Near Each Other East of Taiwan Sputnik News May 3, 2022

Gao said the drills are a “a routine training exercise within the annual work plan of the PLAN and designed to improve the aircraft carrier battle group's ability to fulfill its missions.” He reiterated that the drills comply “with relevant international law and practice, not targeting any party,” according to a PLA release.

According to the Japanese Defense Ministry, which tracked the ships as they passed through the Miyako Strait, the group contains eight ships, including Liaoning; the Type 052D guided-missile destroyers Xining, Urumqi and Chengdu; the Type 052C destroyer Zhengzhou; the Type 054A frigate Xiangtan; the Type 901 supply ship Hulunhu; and the Type 055 guided missile cruiser Nanchang.
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Also in the Philippine Sea is the USS Abraham Lincoln, a Nimitz-class carrier that’s much larger than Liaoning, and its accompanying battle group. Late last month, the ship was near the Japanese coast as US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi viewed aerial drills intended to signal their joint commitment to “deterrence” against China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), according to Pentagon publication Stars and Stripes.

The dueling carrier drills come as the US has stepped up demonstrations of its support for Taiwan, an autonomous island just off the coast whose rebellion against Beijing is informally supported by the United States.

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What is on your mind today?

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ggersh's picture

Diplomacy in amerikkka today is = do as we say, not what we do

Anyone in DC think Russia might be thinking the same?

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-us-show-it-can-win-a-nuclear-war-russia...

Again, anyone home in DC?

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/dangerous-american-game-helping-k...

another conspiracy theory becomes fact?

https://ips-dc.org/the_cias_worst-kept_secret_newly_declassified_files_c...

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“Those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.”
— Hannah Arendt

studentofearth's picture

@ggersh capable of learning from unintended consequences.

Ironically, some of the men employed by Gehlen would go on to play leading roles in European neofascist organizations that despise the United States. One of the consequences of the CIA’s ghoulish alliance with the Org is evident today in a resurgent fascist movement in Europe that can trace its ideological lineage back to Hitler’s Reich, through Gehlen operatives, who collaborated with U.S. intelligence.

Slow to recognize that their Nazi hired guns would feign an allegiance to the Western alliance as long as they deemed it tactically advantageous, CIA officials invested far too much in Gehlen’s spooky Nazi outfit. “It was a horrendous mistake, morally, politically, and also in very pragmatic intelligence terms,” says American University professor Richard Breitman, chairman of the IWG review panel.

More than just a bungled spy caper, the Gehlen debacle should serve as a cautionary tale at a time when post-cold war triumphalism and arrogant unilateralism are rampant among U.S. officials. If nothing else, it underscores the need for the United States to confront some of its own demons now that unreconstructed cold warriors are again riding top saddle in Washington.

It seems we are at another moment in history where CIA are trying to prompt a real or fake attack to force the US military to join a conflict they started and are unable to win with their current plan.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

enhydra lutris's picture

As usual on Saturday, I'm thinking of farmers' market, which, in turn, makes me think about our own gardening efforts. There is also a whole boatload of planning and scheduling and such ongoing daily because we have suddenly become a bit more overwhelmed with stuff that we need to attend to than normal. In short, all kinds of personal stuff and no political stuff, and the need to create tickler files and suchwhat that I thought I'd left behind decades ago. HAH!

Annie, the Cal falcon, has a second chick. This means that at least one has to be the offspring of her original mate, the recently deceased Grinnell, which is seen as good news locally.

be well and have a good one

EDIT: typo, wrote here for her

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

studentofearth's picture

@enhydra lutris hopefully they both will survive this year.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Lookout's picture

We had old friends stay with us last night. They were here playing a dance. Nice to come back toward normalcy.

Thought this was on target...explaining why we're at war. 8 min

Amazing how little news there is on the US coup in Pakistan. Keep moving, nothing to see here.

Thanks for the news and OT!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

QMS's picture

@Lookout

kinda blends in on the 'mericun failures in international relations
happening all over the globe ie: China, India, Russia, Venezuela,
Saudi Arabia, Turkey - just to name a few. The US is losing it's
wars of economic sanctions, and more countries are realizing
there are better ways to go forward. Wish this madness would
stop very soonly. At least for the sake of independent nations.

Glad your musical friends are returning!

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studentofearth's picture

@QMS

Wish this madness would stop very soonly.

thanks for stopping by.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Pluto's Republic's picture

@QMS

Certainly, Westerners are unlikely to know that Pakistan's future has been completely transformed by hooking into China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China's massive investment is opening the entire region up to the outside world, including Iran.

The news that Americans receive actually describes the fallout caused by the desperate attempts by the US to destroy the BRI and harm the economies of those nations that are participating. This fallout is what we in the US are living through. The following article is an update written at the close of 2021:

Pakistan-Iran-Turkey Rail Freight Line Reopens After Ten Years

Islamabad-Istanbul rail service resumes and will boost trade among the Economic Cooperation Organisation countries

The first freight train to run from Pakistan to Turkey through Iran has departed after a 10-year hiatus in a major boost to the trading capabilities of the three founders of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

Dec 23, 2021 — The 6,540 km journey from Islamabad to Istanbul city takes ten days, less than half the time needed for the equivalent voyage of 21 days by sea. The inaugural train, carrying rice, dates and pink salt left its depot at Margala station in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital city, to Istanbul, on Tuesday (December 21), hauling more than a dozen containers. The train has the capacity to carry 80,000 tonnes of goods.

It will traverse 1,990 km across Pakistan, passing through Quetta into Taftan at the Iranian border and on to Tehran and Tabriz over a 2,603 km stretch before completing its route in Istanbul via Ankara, and offers the shortest and most affordable route for transportation of goods between Asia and Europe.

About This Map — Get a feel for the geopolitical view. Notice that this map contains the area where Russia is currently battling with Ukraine. The new railway shown will hook up with the BRI as it exits China at the middle right edge of the map. The BRI's final stop in China is in Xinjiang, a province in China that the US made an attempt to smear and defame with colossal lies about a Chinese genocide taking place. By the numbers, Xinjiang is now one of the world's top tourist destinations, and fast becoming one of the wealthiest areas in China. The Chinese Uighurs are very much at the center of the action in Xinjiang. Can you drive to a neighboring state and back within a day? Then, that's part of your geopolitical territory. A Russian living in this area can drive to Syria or Iran for dinner. That's their 'hood,' and it's really nobody's business but their's.— Pluto

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The three countries, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey, launched the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) container train service in 2009, but it only got as far as test runs and was never fully operational. The three countries had planned to follow up the initial freight trains with passenger services, and operationalize the ITI transnational line with the aim of enhancing connectivity with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

China’s involvement in several rail projects in Pakistan is certainly motivated by commercial considerations, but it also sees distinct advantages for improving transportation and access to Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. Significant new investment has taken place at Gwadar to cater to future Afghani trade. China has also been developing Special Economic Zones in the Punjab region near Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Railways Minister Azam Khan Swati said on the train’s departure that “The start of the container train from Pakistan to Iran and Turkey was a long-standing dream of the countries of the region, which came true again,”

He said strengthening and expanding ECO rail cooperation can contribute to regional stability and peace. ECO member countries include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It provides a platform to discuss ways to improve development and promote trade and investment opportunities. The ECO is an ad hoc organisation under the UN Charter, with an objective to establish a single market for goods and services, much like the European Union. The ECO’s secretariat and cultural department are in Iran, its economic bureau is in Turkey and its scientific bureau in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said “Regional business cohesion is in dire need of important projects such as the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul railway,” while Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood stated, “As one of the most effective vehicles, the ECO train can virtually help expand exports, imports and trade among the member countries.”

The ITI, by extension, will connect to China’s Xinjiang Province, which is populated by ethnically Turkic Uighur Muslims and further boost the Belt and Road connectivity, and interlink the infrastructure and economies of countries across Asia, Africa, and Europe.

China regards Iranian transport as part of the Belt and Road Initiative and has sought close involvement in the build-out of the West Asian nation’s infrastructure. The ITI railroad, on the other hand, will help Iran move around US sanctions. For Tehran, this is an attractive alternative trade route because the ECO countries trade in local currencies and not the US dollar.

The United States has been following a policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran to isolate the country through severing all modes of international trade with the Islamic Republic. However, it is practically impossible to isolate and stop Iran from trading with its neighbors.

Earlier this month, Javad Hedayati, an official with Iran’s Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization said that Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia have reached an agreement on establishing a transit route connecting the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea.

“Georgia and Iran are the two main parties to the agreement, as Iran is connected to the free waters through the Persian Gulf, and Georgia has two important trading ports east of the Black Sea. On the other hand, Georgia and Azerbaijan have made great efforts to improve and develop their transportation infrastructure, so we have tried to increase cooperation with both these countries.” he added.

This transit route can potentially link with the ITI and further boost connectivity in the region, given that Pakistan and Turkey are both close allies of Azerbaijan in addition to having strong trade relations with Iran.

Last month, Iran and Pakistan signed their first barter trade agreement to exchange Pakistani rice with Iranian LPG, marking a watershed in a quest to overcome the biggest hurdle to business between the two big neighbors.

Other than the barter trade in rice, the two sides agreed on construction of border markets, and movement of trucks under the Convention on International Transport of Goods (TIR) cooperation for Pakistan to reach European and Caucasian markets and for Iran to access the Chinese market.

In April, Iran and Pakistan opened their third official border crossing with the aim of facilitating business and trade exchanges and creating new job opportunities for their border residents.

The Pishin-Mand crossing is only 70 km from the Pakistani port of Gwadar which is being developed through the U$60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor to link with Xinjiang province.

Iran and Pakistan hope to sign their long-awaited free trade agreement in the next couple of months which they believe will raise bilateral trade to U$5 billion a year from U$1 billion now.

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RELATED READING

Xinjiang – Central Asia’s Wealthy, Prepared, & Influential Trade & Investment Partner

The power-center of Central Asian trade and commerce is located in China's Xinjiang Province, and specifically the regional capital, Urumqi, which is Central Asia’s wealthiest, and second largest city. Xinjiang’s wealth, and certainly that in Urumqi, was the key to the West's sphere of influence and soft power, which the US squandered through its diplomacy of deceit.

Urumqi’s economic strength and favorable investment participation slipped through the fingers of Westerners as a result of US media hype and their own absence of knowledge. Urumqi is one of the top 500 cities worldwide in scientific output (Nature Index rankings). Xinjiang University is a first-class academic institution, specializing in science and engineering with specific leading technologies in developing resilient agriculture in arid ecologies.

The city also has sizeable ethnic diversity, including the dominant Han Chinese, in addition to ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Mongols, Russians, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Tartar, and Tibetan minorities. Western media often misrepresents Xinjiang as a Uyghur dominated society, but this has never been true. In 1908, the Uyghur population in Urumqi was estimated by explorer Aurel Stein to be about 25% of the total. Since then, the Uyghur population in Urumqi has grown from 1908’s 12,500 to 388,000 today and has grown by 20% since 2000. That make up is also reflected at the University, where Central Asian culture is an Undergraduate subject.

Urumqi had long been the focal point for China’s “Western Development Project.” This effort manifested itself over the years to include massive economic spending in western China, and especially Xinjiang Provence, including over 100 significant development projects and regional spending estimated at over US$100 billion. It can be argued that the genesis of China’s entire Belt and Road Initiative was from Beijing’s experience in the development of Xinjiang and observing the results.

Urumqi was industrialized and transformed from primarily an agriculture-based economy to manufacturing, especially heavy-duty machinery and vehicles, power transmission equipment, and especially Sustainable Energy. Anyone who has travelled from Urumqi to Turpan will be familiar with the sight of thousands of wind turbines and solar panels lined across the Taklimakan Desert. It is again no coincidence that these are the exact products that Afghanistan will need during its reconstruction and that Central Asia is already utilizing.

While the West has decried investment into Xinjiang for largely misrepresented reasons concerning treatment of parts of the Uyghur population, it should be noted that better-informed Muslim countries are Xinjiang’s main foreign investment and trading partners. The West jumping to conclusions based on deliberately misleading political narratives have blinded them them economically. In Xinjiang Provence, trade has been booming; figures released in August 26, 2021 by Xinjiang customs showed that during the period January-July of that year, Xinjiang’s exports rose 33%, while imports increased 14%.

With the United States, European Union, Canada, and the UK imposing sanctions on certain Chinese officials, and on construction companies in Xinjiang — Western investment into Xinjiang have been labeled as problematic. This became an historic investment opportunity for regional players with alternative FDI and fund-raising mechanisms. The West's self-generated bloc is also part of NATO, whose military forces abruptly exited Afghanistan, making trade with them even less likely. This highlighted a unexploited advantage that regional investors in Central Asia have over the West. The cultural aspects of international trade can pave the way to extraordinarily successful trading relationships based on trust. An understanding of Islam and a working knowledge of Mandarin, Russian, and Arabic are vital skills that very few Westerners have bothered to develop.

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If you have a grasp of the information contained herein, you are probably one of the smartest people in the US right now.

[edit = typo in map caption]

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____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

Creosote.'s picture

@Pluto's Republic

Strong arteries of fact help

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studentofearth's picture

@Lookout ruled by the British Empire - good find.

WION (World Is One News) brings latest & breaking news from South Asia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and rest of the World

News anchor is blunt - 5 of the 6 countries responsible for exporting 80% of the worlds weapons are directly involved in Ukraine. (US 37%)

Been enjoying the increased casualness of conversations. Part of it is with the warmer weather encourages outside visiting.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Pluto's Republic's picture

...on the great potlucks of the prior two Saturdays that I didn't get around to mentioning.

I really enjoy your writing, your topics, and your thinking style.

[Edit]

And one more thing. I like the way you curate your feature articles, and then casually juxtapose them against one another. The unspoken, energy-charged space between the topics, is a volatile cauldron of emotion and radical thoughts, often too potent to express. Too dangerous to discuss. Today's potluck is no exception.

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____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

studentofearth's picture

@Pluto's Republic

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.