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Re: Paso Robles and other earthquakes 2

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Just some thoughts...
I am not an expert on "North Korea, Iraq, Iran, India, and Libya" mentioned in your post - only as much as I can read in the press.  As far as USSR is concerned - I know something, as I lived and worked there for many years.  I am very much into history of Russia and of the United States. 
In the late 1940s (1948?), there was an earthquake in Ashkhabad (at that time - Soviet Central Asia). The entire ancient city (republican capital) was destroyed with presumably hundreds of thousands dead.  Considering the historical period, it was 100% blacked out of any media.  Nobody even knows where they were buried (we do not want to know HOW they were buried).   
There was an earthquake in Spitak in 1997 (IIRC).  By official estimates (perestroika was in full swing), it left 25,000 dead, predominantly, due to shady construction - the earthquake science and codes in USSR and Russia were/are well developed. 
Over the modern history, and up until recently, there were countless instances of criminal and unbelievable disregard to human life in USSR and Russia - anthrax outbreak in the Ural region, nuclear testing over populated areas, Chernobyl, nuclear sub Kursk, etc.        
With all the cold-war expenditures of the US government, you cannot even remotely compare the ordeal of people in [quite cold] Alaska after a M9.0 in 1964 to that of the Iranian folks now (reportedly) freezing after the Bam earthquake. 
Why am I saying all that? Because with what I know (including some not-so-pleasant aspects of the US history), I still would never put United States in one row with the aforementioned countries. 
Call it hyper-sensitivity by a first-generation immigrant - I do not mind.  After so many years in this country, US-bashing still troubles me - although I accept 100% the need for self-bashing for our survival and prosperity.  Paraphrasing W. Churchill, United States definitely has the worst governmental system - not counting all others...
"Seeing from both worlds", I firmly believe that, no matter what they think of us out there, in most (if not all) instances, United States stands on higher moral (alas, not always practical) grounds.  With our Constitution and the aforementioned "bashing" in place we seem to have powerful enough tools to always correct ourselves into the  right course.  Hopefully, WE - Republicans and Democrats, whites, blacks, and all others - will be able to appreciate and preserve what we have, and to keep doing what we are doing for the better of all people.  We just need to try our best - and history will sort it out, as it always does. 
Wishing good New Year to all, and some warm weather to people in Bam and other cold places -
Steve Gordin, SE
Irvine CA  
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2003 12:38 PM
Subject: RE: Paso Robles and other earthquakes 2

<...> I am amassed at the high military expenditures compared to
GDP that governments make while ignoring more important investment in their
nations infrastructure and food production. Some examples include North
Korea, Iraq, Iran, India, Libya, USSR and the USA (it is not religion