Horse Powered Treadmill Log Splitter (Video)

This log splitter uses only one horse-power. Literally.

Another angle:

Original video found via YouTube search. A copy spotted here.

Talkative Baby Girl Has a Heated Discussion with Her Dad (Video)

Dad is speaking Russian and the baby is speaking gibberish, but that doesn’t take anything away from this adorably intense conversation:

Oldest known upload here. Original probably somewhere on VK.com. Spotted here. Another viral copy here.

French Bulldog Begging to Get on Sofa (Video)

French Bulldog Begging to Get on SofaFrench Bulldog Begging to Get on Sofa

Alice the French Bulldog really wants to climb on that sofa!

Original video found via Youtube. Spotted here.

What happened to ‘words matter’? Chris Cillizza: ‘Russia hacked the election’

Remember Barack Obama’s “Words Matter” speech? It was a really good speech.

Anyway, to CNN’s Chris Cillizza, it appears that words don’t matter and he feels he can use any word he wants if he criticizing President Trump:

Read more: http://twitchy.com/gregp-3534/2017/07/06/what-happened-to-words-matter-chris-cillizza-russia-hacked-the-election/

The New Cold War: Why Russia Is Playing A Dangerous Game In Ukraine And Beyond

Vanessa BlackVanessa Black

Vanessa Black

The holding of elections by the separatist Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in November 2014 meant another step away from a peaceful reconciliation with the rest of the country.

The restive eastern provinces, instead, remain steadfastly pro-Russian and refuse to yield to calls from Kiev, Brussels and Washington to reunite with the rest of the country. Russia unsurprisingly supported the polls being held.

While the Ukrainian situation is critical in its own right, both for Ukraine and for broader Russo-European relations, it also casts light on a frequently overlooked element of European international affairs: the continent’s legacy of unresolved or “frozen” conflicts.

Russia’s recent resurgence in antagonistic relations with the west, including an increased naval and aerial presence in the Baltic Sea, has caused vague talk of a “new Cold War.”

While a disturbing pall of finality hangs over the use of such a loaded term, Robert Legvold for one, writing in Foreign Affairs, argues that the Ukraine crisis and the ensuing animosity between Russia and the United States “has pushed the two sides over a cliff and into a new relationship, one not softened by the ambiguity that defined the last decade of the post-Cold War period, when each party viewed the other as neither friend nor foe.”

This being the case, it would seem prudent to assess other potential flashpoints involving Russian influence, ambitions or populations which could lead to Ukraine-type situations in other corners of the continent.

It will not be far from the minds of Western strategists that it was only 2008 when Russia last fought a border war over territorial claims, in that case the South Ossetia region of Georgia.

It was the secessionists in the pro-Russian region of Northern Georgia who instigated hostilities, but the Georgian military response and rapid Russian rejoinder demonstrated how quickly events in such tense settings could develop.

That conflict also saw Russian reinforcement of Abkhazia, a second region caught in a tug of war between Russia and Georgia. So far, open conflict has not resulted from this particular location, once revered as the go-to holiday destination for the Soviet elite.

However, Abkhazia itself has maintained that it is independent since 1999, and has remained under de facto self-rule, despite Georgian ideas to the contrary. Further, it appealed to Belarus earlier in 2014 for recognition of its sovereignty, something it has so far received from only Russia and a small handful of close Russian allies.

These cases, Ukraine and Georgia, sit on Russia’s geographical borders, which, at the very least, are logical places for international sores to occur. The world is not short of festering flashpoints on recognized border regions; just look at Kashmir.

However there are also less immediately obvious areas where pro-Russian sentiment has led to bizarre and potentially troubling situations. The Transnistria region of Moldova, sandwiched between the landlocked East European nation and western Ukraine, begs particular attention.

While having retained de facto independence since the 1992 civil war, itself a result of Moldova’s newfound independence from the USSR, it has no status under international law.

This tiny pro-Russian enclave sits in an international grey area, physically and metaphorically, and Western strategists have become increasingly concerned that it will be the next bound in Russia’s attempts to “retake” Europe.

Russia maintains a garrison there, with the consent of the Transnistrian authorities, and an arms cache, supposedly enough to act as a resupply base if Russian troops on the east Ukrainian border could reach it.

So far this has not happened, but the presence of this proto-Communist, pro-Moscow island sandwiched between the beleaguered Ukraine and poverty-stricken Moldova (while already heaving under the weight of Russian economic embargoes), presents a very difficult regional quandary.

Between Transnistria in the west and Abkhazia, and the again-dormant South Ossetia in the east, Russia has shown how dangerous life can be for countries bordering the belligerent Putin regime.

That these frozen wars are again relevant in a broader regional security context is only emphasized further by events such as the abduction of an Estonian security officer on the Russian border by agents of Russia’s FSB security service in September 2014, and supposed naval probes by Russian forces into the Baltic Sea.

If Europe’s frozen conflicts are to erupt, one way or another, into open warfare, there is no way analysts can be entirely certain how far or how quickly the dominoes will fall.

So far, Russian action has been carefully engineered to avoid a triggering of NATO’s Article 5, defining an attack on one member as an attack on all and triggering a collective response. Were such a level to be reached, the nature of any NATO response would likely depend on the event that triggered it.

Such is the nature of the economic interdependence between Russia and what it regards as “the West,” and mutual fear of each others’ military capability. An all-out military conflagration of the kind feared by old school Cold Warriors is highly unlikely to be the immediate outcome.

However, that is not to say Western strategists and foreign policy officials can rest on their laurels. The awkwardness of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, in which Russia rapidly and effectively seized the initiative, is a demonstration of the plain fact that the end of the Cold War did not put paid to the threat of armed conflict between East and West.

While traditional Western paradigms see Ukraine as almost analogous to Russia in terms of culture and geography, for the purposes of this situation, it is essentially Western.

The ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych, his predictable flight to Russia and the emergence of a more pro-Western regime in Kiev were all the result of his reneging on a pro-EU agreement and the seeking of closer ties with Russia.

The pro-Russian secessionist movement in the east of the country spiraled out of this political chaos, making it a war centred on the East/West fault line.

Transnistria may yet prove to be one to watch in the unfolding saga of the “New Cold War,” given its propensity for courting Russian support and its geographic location.

Abkhazia, were a new round of hostilities to occur, would be seen more as symptomatic of Russia’s unstable borders than a direct tie to the game of chicken currently being played by NATO and the Kremlin.

These frozen conflicts are not themselves likely to be the triggers of any grand confrontation in the near future (although, the lessons of June 1914 should not be forgotten), but are both emblematic of the havoc that could be wrought to the European continent in future and potential wild cards in a strategic game which is already being played out.

Ukraine may yet prove to be the latest addition to this collection of immovable wars, or may become the one that unfreezes them all at once.

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/news/politics/new-cold-war-russia-playing-dangerous-game-ukraine-beyond/906518/

Russia Wipes Opposition Sites From The Internet

“I don’t even know if anyone is reading this anymore.”

View this image ›

Via blackhole.beeline.ru

Russia has all but eliminated the free media as it fights an information war against the West over Ukraine, with prosecutors blocking independent websites and other publications making editorial changes under obvious Kremlin pressure.

Russia’s general prosecutor’s office announced late Thursday that it was blocking the independent news websites Kasparov.ru, run by chess champion and self-exiled opposition figure Garry Kasparov, EJ.ru, and Grani. ru for inciting “illegal activity” and participating in unsanctioned protests. Prosecutors also banned anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny’s blog, by far the country’s most popular and a flashpoint for anti-Putin sentiment, on the grounds that posting to it violated the terms of his house arrest, which bars him from using the internet.

“I don’t even know if anyone is reading this anymore,” read a post on Navalny’s blog. The post said Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, and his Foundation for Fighting Corruption have been running the blog since Navalny’s bail was revoked Feb. 28. Numerous Twitter users reported that LiveJournal, the service hosting Navalny’s blog, and the Ekho Moskvy radio website, which reposted it, were entirely unavailable on some internet providers, though Russia’s internet registry said they had not been banned.

Russia passed a law late last year allowing prosecutors to ban websites that promote “rioting, racial hatred, or extremism” without a court order. The law also covers websites with foreign servers, which will be banned in Russia if their owner ignores a cease and desist letter. According to a list published by internet freedom activists, the only other websites to be banned under the law promote Islamic radicalism or white supremacism.

Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly moved to monopolize television, the majority of Russians’ sole source of news, in the early 2000s shortly after he took power, but for years was largely content to allow the country’s few dissenters space in print and online. After opposition activists bypassed an effective national media blackout through social and digital media to organize unprecedented demonstrations against him that catapulted Navalny to national fame, however, Russia began making steps to rein in the country’s few independent publications and passed a law allowing it to block websites on request.

The political crisis in Ukraine has seen the Kremlin escalate its efforts to assert control over the flow of information, with every major independent publication making surprise masthead changes under obvious political pressure. Thirty-nine employees of Lenta.ru, the country’s most popular independent news site, quit en masse Thursday after their owner unexpectedly fired its editor-in-chief. The founder of VK, Russia’s wildly popular Facebook clone, was forced out of the company in January by Kremlin-linked investors after pressure over his efforts to resist censoring opposition pages.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/russia-wipes-opposition-sites-from-the-internet

Stuck Prairie Dog Gets Rescued from a Hole (Video)

Some good people in Russia rescue a prairie dog that was stuck in its hole…

via

This Is Totally A Hoax (I Hope), But Wouldn’t It Be Cool If It Was Real?

If aliens with giant ships were actually invading planet Earth, you can be pretty darned sure you would hear about it within a matter of minutes (thanks, Twitter). With that in mind, anytime you see a video or a picture of a supposed UFO flying near planet Earth, just remember that it’s probably a hoax. Of course, even if it is a hoax, it can still be pretty cool to check out what others are presenting as “evidence.”

Take, for example, the following (clearly fake) video of an alien “tripod” walking around the city of Novosibirsk in Russia. As Novosibirsk is the third most populous city in Russia, you can be sure that if this was actually happening, we would have at least seen one terrified tweet about it.

It’s still pretty cool to imagine it happening, though.

(source: World Truth)

When the aliens do invade, I can assure you that we’ll all be gone faster than we can blink. So savor these fictitious invasion scenarios in which we actually stand a chance against our new overlords.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/alien-invasion/

Does Russia Really Want Crimea — And Does Crimea Want Russia?

“Separatism is just a show.”

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Stringer / Reuters

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — Fights broke out in the Crimean capital on Wednesday between demonstrators for and against Ukraine’s new provisional government in Kiev. The Kremlin ordered unannounced war games in western Russia. By the looks of it, a Russian military intervention on behalf of ethnic Russians living in Ukraine seemed more likely than ever. On the ground in Simferopol, however, the situation is rather different. The explosive atmosphere of the past days has been defused, not exacerbated. And the chance that Crimea, a former Russian possession, will split off and appeal for President Vladimir Putin’s protection is smaller today than it has been in days past.

The phantom of Crimean separatism has spooked Ukraine since the country’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Crimean and Russian politicians alike have found populist gain in the notion of the Black Sea peninsula finally coming home to Mother Russia. But it seems nobody is ready to push as far as secession, since the status quo is much more beneficial to both the local pro-Russia lobby and Kremlin geostrategists. From afar, the scuffles outside the Crimean parliament looked like a brewing storm between Russian nationalists on the one side and Ukraine loyalists — including Crimea’s ethnic Tatar minority — on the other. In fact, the leaders of the two sides are in constant contact with each other and have a common enemy: the outsiders whom ousted President Viktor Yanukovych installed from his eastern Ukrainian stronghold in the city of Donetsk. “Separatism is just a show,” said Lenur Yunusov, editor of the Simferopol news site 15minut.org. “The fight for political posts and getting rid of the guys from Donetsk are much more important.” Refat Chubarov, the head of the Crimean Tatar community, and Sergei Aksyonov, leader of the Russian Unity Party, appeared together outside the regional parliament on Wednesday and called for calm. Both were marginalized by the old regime. Both support Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Crimea’s independence is the last thing pro-Russia politicians want, Yunusov said: “For them it’s better to be in Ukraine and get money from Moscow. They don’t want to split off.” By bringing out thousands of men, many with the physiques of wrestlers, the well-organized Tatar community convinced the parliament to cancel a special session that could have discussed a referendum on Crimean independence. Now representatives of Crimea’s three biggest ethnic groups — Russians, Ukrainians, and Tatars — will sit down and negotiate the formation of a new regional government, said Liliya Muslimova, Chubarov’s spokeswoman. Fisticuffs and bloody noses appeared unavoidable as pro-Kiev protestors pushed through a spindly police line to a considerably smaller pro-Moscow rally. Protesters chanting “Russia! Russia!” were surprisingly incoherent about what they really wanted. The most frequent answer to the question of whether Crimea should break off and become a part of Russia was that Ukraine should join the Moscow-led Customs Union and not the European Union. The Customs Union, consisting of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, is the Kremlin’s latest plan to stand up to the West and create a regional powerhouse of its own. There was little nationalistic fervor among the pro-Russia protestors. The Tatars, who are Muslim, were not targeted because of their ethnicity or religion — but because of their unequivocal support for the new authorities in Kiev, whom the Kremlin has branded fascists. By conducting military exercises close to Ukraine’s border, Putin is giving the finger to the interim government and its western allies, without facing any consequences. The Kremlin understands perfectly well that keeping a naval base in Crimea is much more useful than annexing the entire peninsula, since it is Ukraine’s most vulnerable part. Crimea, which dangles into the Black Sea, is often called “the balls of Ukraine,” because whenever Russia needs to, it can give a tight squeeze. In the long run, squeezing is more effective than castration. Officially, the Kremlin considers the provisional government in Kiev illegitimate. Yet Yanukovych’s whereabouts remain unknown, though rumors persist he may be in Crimea. It’s plausible that he is hiding at the Russian Navy base in Sevastopol — a sort of diplomatic no-man’s-land like the Moscow airport transit lounge that was National Security Agency defector Edward Snowden’s temporary refuge last summer. As long as Yanukovych isn’t found, the Kremlin can continue to pretend he’s still Ukraine’s president.

Russia’s cautiousness in making any rash moves over Crimea was evident Tuesday, when Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky visited Simferopol. A member of nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s party, Slutsky pussyfooted around the question of what Russia would actually do for Crimea’s ethnic Russians. “In the case of any provocations against the inhabitants in the east and southeast of Ukraine, and the Republic of Crimea, we also have corresponding, appropriate measures,” he declared stiffly, while members of the local Russian community begged him for financial aid and complained that Moscow TV channels were ignoring them. As demonstrators from both sides gradually dispersed from the Crimean parliament this afternoon, an older Russian woman started wailing that a man had been killed. Like everything else here, there was a kernel of truth. A man had in fact died — of a heart attack.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/luciankim/does-russia-really-want-crimea-and-does-crimea-want-russia