Why Twitter, Facebook and Google Are the Antisocial Networks

In today’s Outside the Box we resume our eight-part Strategic Investment Conference Speaker Series with my friend Niall Ferguson, senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford and the Center for European Studies at Harvard. Niall has a cautionary tale for us on the topic of social networks.
The problem, in a nutshell:
Facebook certainly made an impact last year, but not quite the impact the young Zuckerberg had in mind in his Harvard dorm. A committed believer in globalisation who tends to wear his liberal politics on his T-shirt sleeve, Zuckerberg is reeling. Not only did the masterminds behind the Brexit and Trump campaigns successfully use Facebook advertising to hone and target their ultimately victorious campaign messages; worse, the Russian government appears to have used Facebook in the same way, seeking to depress voter support for Hillary Clinton. Worse still, neo-Nazis seem to have been using the social network to spread their own distinctive brand of hate.
Niall – ever the history prof – can’t help chiding Mr. Zuckerberg on his choice of majors at Harvard:
Yet the architects of the biggest social networks to have existed should not have been surprised. If he had studied history at Harvard rather than psychology and computer science, Zuckerberg might have foreseen the ways in which Facebook and its ilk would be used and abused.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on DECEMBER 27, 2017.

Russia Establishes Two Permanent Bases In Syria To Host Nuclear Warships And Warplanes

Russia’s defense ministry has announced it is now in the process of establishing two permanent military bases in war-torn Syria after President Putin authorized prior deals with the Syrian government to move forward. Though Russia maintains merely up to ten military bases on foreign soil, the installations in Tartus and Khmeimim will be the most strategically located, allowing for a growing and permanent Russian presence on the Mediterranean, something which has already raised eyebrows in the West.
Though Putin formally announced the planned withdrawal of Russian forces from active operations in Syria in early December, there were parallel plans going back to at least early summer to maintain a smaller permanent presence based on an agreement with the Damascus government to host Russian forces for at least 49 more years, which includes the option of being prolonged further. Personnel and military hardware will be stationed at permanent Russian bases in Tartus and Khmeimim – both of which are on or near the Mediterranean.
According to Russian media reports, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated at a ministry meeting on Tuesday, ‘We have started the process of formation of our permanent forces [in Syria].” Though Tartus has operated as a Russian naval port since 1971 (referred to as a Material-Technical Support Point and not a “base”) and was until recently minimally staffed mostly by civilian contractors, it will reportedly undergo a massive transformation and expansion, which is to include the capability of hosting nuclear-powered ships.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 27, 2017.

10 Injured After Explosion In St.Petersburg Shopping Mall “Mass Homicide Attempt”

A week after Russian President Putin thanked US President Trump and the CIA for their warnings about a possible terror attack in St. Petersburg, TASS reports that an explosion in a storage locker in a busy supermarket in St. Petersburg has left 10 injured and dozens more evacuated.
Officials are treating the investigation as a potential mass homicide attempt.
Sources told local media that the explosion was equivalent to 200g of TNT.
The explosion occurred on Wednesday evening in the Perekrestok store in the shopping center on Kondratyevsky Avenue in the northern part of St. Petersburg. As reported by TASS in the main department of the Ministry for Emergency Situations in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region, the place is pulled by the operational forces, the evacuation of the building has already been carried out.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 27, 2017.

Russia Tests Powerful ICBM Capable Of Overcoming Missile-Defense Systems

As North Korea vociferously condemns the US and the United Nations after the Security Council passed yet another round of sanctionsagainst the restive regime, Russia is continuing to test ICBMs in preparation for a violent conflict on the neighboring Korean Peninsula while simultaneous calling for both sides to seek mediation.
Last night, Russia’s Strategic Missile Force tested the RS-12M Topol intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at the Kapustin Yar practice range in the southern Astrakhan Region, the TASS News Agency reported Tuesday.
“On December 26, 2017, a combat team of the Strategic Missile Force test-fired an RS-12M Topol intercontinental ballistic missile from the Kapustin Yar state central combined arms training range in the Astrakhan Region,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said.
“The launch was aimed at testing perspective armament for intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the ministry said.
“During the tests, specialists obtained experimental data that will be used in the interests of developing effective means of overcoming anti-ballistic missile defense and equipping the perspective grouping of Russian ballistic missiles with them,” the Defense Ministry said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

Russia’s Military Is Leaner, But Meaner

Authore by Leonid Brershidky via Bloomberg.com,
During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference on Thursday, a friendly journalist asked Putin whether the escalating tension in relations with the U. S. and the crumbling of arms control treaties would draw Russia into an unsustainable arms race. “We will ensure our security without engaging in an arms race,” the president replied, citing widely diverging dollar numbers for the U. S. and Russian defense budgets.
***
That’s a simplistic answer from a politician starting an election campaign (of sorts: Putin is headed for re-election in March without giving anyone else a chance). The more pointed question that should be asked is this: How, with a relatively small and decreasing military budget — 2.77 trillion rubles ($42.3 billion) for 2018, down from some 3.05 trillion rubles this year — is Russia is still a formidable military rival to the U. S., with its enormous and increasing budget of almost $692.1 billion in 2018, up from $583 billion this year?

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

‘Prepare For a Big Ass Fight’ U.S. General Tells Marines ‘There’s A War Coming’

As much of the world celebrates the Christmas Holiday, it’s business as usual on the geo-political front. And as we have repeatedly warned in recent years, numerous countries including military super powers Russia and China are actively mobilizing their armies for a widespread armed conflict.
With North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowing this weekend to never give up his nuclear ambitions and President Trump having made it clear that the United States will not allow the North to possess nuclear weapons capable of striking America, it appears that confrontation is inevitable.
Further signaling what may come to pass in 2018 is General Robert Neller, who spoke to Marines in Europe during his annual Christmas tour:
Neller emphasized to the Marines that they should remain ready to fight at all times, predicting a ‘big-ass fight’ on the horizon.
‘I hope I’m wrong, but there’s a war coming,’ Neller said. ‘ … You’re in a fight here, an informational fight, a political fight, by your presence.’

This post was published at shtfplan on December 25th, 2017.

Are FBI ‘patriots’ getting ready to expose the corrupt Mueller probe?

There are two parts to this article. Part one was written before the recent wave of Mueller-FBI demotion, retirement, and reassignment among key personnel. Part one is a kind of roadmap for whistleblower groups. A way to succeed.
Part two comments on the extraordinary ‘downsizing’ of Mueller-FBI personnel, and its possible connection to FBI whistleblowers within the Bureau.
To paraphrase the Ben Bradlee character in the film, All the President’s Men, nothing much is riding on the Mueller investigation, except the presidency; the role of the mainstream press in politicizing and editorializing its coverage of the White House; the immediate future of US-Russia relations; the future of the Clintons in politics; and the intervention of the Surveillance State in the day-to-day activities of a president and his team.
PART ONE
Did the gunslinger Trump collude with Putin in a secret underground cave, thus placing Hillary on a cross of pain? Did the Clinton Foundation make slimy palm-greasing deals all over the world with high-level crooks and launder their money? Will the knight-puppet Robert Mueller uncover any part of the truth? Will His Excellency, Jeff Sessions, stir from his self-induced narcosis, look around, and find out what’s going on?
– We’ve heard a certain tune before: Honorable government employees will soon expose the crimes of such-and-so, they’ll present the evidence and testimony, and they’ll bring down the house on the heads of corrupt agencies. And then…it doesn’t happen.

This post was published at Jon Rappoport on December 25, 2017.

The Strangelovian Russia-Gate Myth

The Strangelovian palaver of Russia-gate is embraced by many liberals as some totem to ward off the vile Donald Trump, but this dishonest process only furthers the cause of American Empire and risks global destruction…
The effects of humankind created climate chaos are proving to be more devastating than even the grimmest predictions. Today’s wealth inequity is worse than in the Gilded Age. Around the world, the U. S. empire wages perpetual war, hot and cold, overt and covert, including military brinksmanship with the nuclear power, the Russian Federation.
Speaking of the latter, the U. S. media retails a storyline that would be considered risible if it was not so dangerously inflammatory i.e., L’affaire du Russia-gate, wherein, according to the lurid tale, the sinister Vladimir Putin, applying techniques from the Russian handbook for international intrigue, Rasputin Mind Control For Dummies, has wrested control of the U. S. Executive Branch of government and bends its policies to his diabolical will.
Ridiculous, huh? Yet the mainstream press promulgates and a large section of the general public believes what is clearly a reality-bereft tale, as all the while, ignoring circumstances crucial for their own economic well-being; their safety, insofar as a catastrophic nuclear exchange; and the steps required to maintain the ecological criteria crucial for allowing the continued viability of human beings on planet earth.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 24, 2017.

Nikki Haley Pranked By Russian Comedians: “Putin Absolutely Meddled In The Binomo Election!”

Do you know Binomo?’ the impersonator asked. ‘They have declared independence. They had elections, and we suppose Russians had its intervention.’
‘Yes, of course they did, absolutely,’ Haley confidently replied.
And with that US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley got punked by well-known Russian comedians and professional pranksters Vovan and Lexus (Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov) – sometimes called “The Jerky Boys of Russia” – who had previously phone pranked figures ranging from Elton John to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Rep. Maxine Waters to Senators Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain.
The duo reportedly phoned Haley’s office hours after the UN voted to condemn Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Thursday, pretending to be Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister of Poland, in what ended up being a 22-minute conversation.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 24, 2017.

Wife Of Fusion GPS Founder Admits Her Husband Was Behind Fake “RussiaGate” Story

Authored by Alex Christoforou via The Duran,
The Russiagate story concocted by Hillary Clinton and the DNC, who coincidently funded Fusion GPS (the firm behind the ‘Trump dossier’ that the entire Russia election meddling is based upon), is unraveling at record speed.
***
Mary Jacoby, the wife of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, who is the man in the middle of the entire Russiagate scandal, boasted on Facebook about how ‘Russiagate,’ would not exist if it weren’t for her husband.
Tablet Magazine reports…
A Tablet investigation using public sources to trace the evolution of the now-famous dossier suggests that central elements of the Russiagate scandal emerged not from the British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s top-secret ‘sources’ in the Russian government – which are unlikely to exist separate from Russian government control – but from a series of stories that Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and his wife Mary Jacoby co-wrote for TheWall Street Journal well before Fusion GPS existed, and Donald Trump was simply another loud-mouthed Manhattan real estate millionaire. Understanding the origins of the ‘Steele dossier’ is especially important because of what it tells us about the nature and the workings of what its supporters would hopefully describe as an ongoing campaign to remove the elected president of the United States.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 24, 2017.

Trump Saved St. Pete’s Because He Wants A Piece Of The Syrian Pie

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,
Trump saved St. Petersburg after the CIA tipped off the FSB about an impending terrorist attack there.
***
Russia immediately acted on the information and arrested several terrorist suspects who were said to be plotting an attack on the famous Kazan Cathedral, and President Putin was so grateful for the many lives that were saved as a result of this joint cooperation between the two Great Powers that he even called Trump and extended his personal thanks to the CIA and its Director.
This was a model-breaking moment for some because it shattered their worldview of the US, Trump, and especially the CIA as inherently evil forces obsessed with plotting against Russia.
That’s not to say that these three are angels, but just that the pursuit of their interests can sometimes take surprising forms such as the recent example of high-profile anti-terrorist cooperation with Russia that was so useful to Moscow that President Putin felt obliged to thank the CIA, something which would have otherwise been unthinkable for the former head of the FSB to do in the presently tense atmosphere of the New Cold War.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 23, 2017.

Trump To Announce Anti-Tank Missile Exports To Ukraine

Earlier this week the Washington Post reported that President Trump has decided to come off the fence regarding his prior reluctance to formally approve lethal arms sales to the US-backed government in Kiev, Ukraine, and has now moved forward with Obama-era legislation to export weapons to the war-torn country.
Though as was noted at the time this commercial license approval was limited to small arms and ammunition as part of an initial $41.5 million deal, and not the heavier anti-tank systems sought by Kiev, it now appears the White House is going to announce inclusion of Javelin antitank missiles and possibly other advanced systems that could change the battlefield calculus of the war between Ukrainian and Russian-aligned forces in the Donbass region along the Russian border.
According to a new report by ABC News, Trump is expected to include the anti-tank missile systems as authorized exports to Ukraine, this based on four unnamed state department sources:
President Donald Trump is expected to announce his approval of a plan to sell anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian government, a move that would mark a significant escalation in lethal U. S. military support for Ukrainian forces battling Russian-aligned forces in the border region, four state department sources tell ABC News. If the president formally signs off, the plan will be presented to Congress for a 30 day review period where it would need to be approved before the State Department can implement it.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 23, 2017.

23/12/17: Bloomberg View on Asymmetric Military Budgets: Russia v U.S.

I have written before about asymmetric conflicts and power balances in the context, among other bilateral comparatives, the U. S.-Russia military spending: And the latest budgetary appropriations from the U. S. for 2018 are suggesting that Washington has a serious problem learning any lessons – whether these are lessons from being punched around repeatedly in the Afghanistan, or being derailed in Iraq, being made irrelevant in Syria and so on.

This post was published at True Economics on Saturday, December 23, 2017.

‘Committed Russophile’ Boris Johnson Goes to Moscow to Perform a Pantomime

Downing Street let its pug off the leash this week, allowing it to board a plane to Moscow.
It was the first time a UK Foreign Secretary has set foot in Russia there since William Hague went five years ago. Many had high hopes that Boris Johnson would be able to string consecutive sentences together without mumbling an incoherent quip or insult, but alas their hopes were dashed:
The foreign secretary described relations between Britain and Russia as a ‘very old diplomatic relationship, dating back to Ivan the Terrible.’ He then admitted that Lavrov had pointed out that ‘Ivan the 4th’ is the official title of the former Russian tsar.
Today’s meeting comes on the heals of Johnson’s fighting remarks earlier this week about British-Russian relations being ‘at a very low ebb.’

Past comments by Johnson include him saying that Russia was ‘in danger of becoming a pariah nation,’ along with a string of other gaffs.
On Thursday night before the Lavrov summit, Johnson even went so far as to threaten Russia with a UK launch of ‘retaliatory attack’ in response to Russia’s ‘destabilising’ cyber activity. Evidence has yet to be presented though as to what that ‘destabilising’ activity actually is.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on DECEMBER 22, 2017.

‘I Am So Sick of White Guys’: Liberals Celebrate Christmas With White People Are Bad Themed Adult Coloring Book

In yet another round of you can’t make this up stuff up hard-left insanity, a liberal writer from Seattle has published an adult coloring book that ridicules white people for their perceived slights against the leftist orthodoxy and unchecked ‘white privilege’ that allows them to vote for someone like Donald Trump.
Author Jim Corbett apparently wrote the book out of frustration (see Trump Derangement Syndrome) with what he was seeing on TV in relation to a wide variety of leftist causes including white privilege, the sham Russian/Trump collusion investigation, censoring conservatives on college campuses, and kneeling during the National Anthem.
‘It came completely out of me screaming at my TV, and the way the GOP is taking the country off in a totally different direction,’ Corbett told USA Today.
The paper reported:
Corbett and Tim Jones (another white guy) wrote the text; the 27 illustrations were done by veteran artist (and African-American) Steve Hartley. The coloring book is available online at Amazon for $10; Corbett says 10 percent of the profits are being donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

This post was published at shtfplan on December 22nd, 2017.

Putin Warns “Russia Has Right To Respond” To US Military Buildup, Hints At Use Of Nuclear Weapons

Multiple Russian state media outlets are reporting that President Vladimir Putin has stressed that Russia has a right to respond to US military build-up in Europe while furthering its strategic nuclear deterrence capabilities in a speech delivered before a Defense Ministry meeting on Friday in the city of Balashikha outside of Moscow.
At the same meeting Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that NATO has doubled the number of its military drills since 2012 in the vicinity of Russia’s borders, noting that Russia is carefully monitoring what it considers hostile NATO build-up and intensified surveillance operations along Russian borders. The defense minister further indicated that the number of NATO-member country troops stationed near Russian borders has tripled, growing from 10 to 40 thousand in three years, saying “In the Baltic states and Poland, four battalion-tactical groups, an armored brigade of the US Army, headquarters of NATO multinational divisions in Poland and Romania are deployed.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 22, 2017.

The Fight For Syria’s Last Al Qaeda Holdout: Russian Jets Launch Nonstop Airstrikes Over Idlib

The Russian Aerospace Forces launched a large number of airstrikes over the southern countryside of the Idlib Governorate overnight on Thursday, targeting the positions of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS/al-Nusrah) around the town of Abu Dali. Russian jets flying out of the Hmaymim Military Airbase began their attack by launching airstrikes over the towns of Abu Dali and Musharifah.
Not long after launching this attack, the Syrian Army was able to overwhelm the jihadist rebels of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham that were attempting to defend the town; they would then retreat before their entire front-line collapsed.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 22, 2017.

De Facto Travel Restrictions Now Exist For Americans

Dear Friends, I apologize for dumping this on you at Christmas, a time for peace and joy. But these are the facts. We can ignore them only at our peril.
De Facto Travel Restrictions Now Exist For Americans
Paul Craig Roberts
Green Party presidential Candidate Jill Stein is being investigated by the Senate Intelligence (sic) Committee for ‘Russian connections.’
What has brought Russiagate to Jill Stein? The answer is that she attended the 10th Anniversary RT dinner in Moscow as did the notorious ‘Russian collaborator’ US General Michael Flynn. RT is a news organization, a far better one than exists in the West, but if you were one of the many accomplished people who attended the anniversary dinner, you are regarded by Republican Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina as a possible Kremlin agent. What is going on here? Stein sums it up: ‘we must guard against the potential for these investigations to be used to intimidate and silence principled opposition to the political establishment.’

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on December 21, 2017.

‘THIS COULD BE WORSE THAN WATERGATE’: RAND PAUL CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO OBAMA OPERATIVES WHO COLLUDED AGAINST DONALD TRUMP

Time to investigate high ranking Obama government officials who might have colluded to prevent the election of @realDonaldTrump! This could be WORSE than Watergate!
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 21, 2017

After weeks of shocking revelations that proved without a shadow of doubt that anti-Trump operatives throughout the federal government actively worked to stop Donald Trump from winning the election, Senator Rand Paul has publicly called for an investigation into what many believe was a sort of soft coup attempt designed to insure that Hillary Clinton became president.
While Paul has obviously disagreed with the president on a variety of political issues, his call for an investigation shows that even those who don’t necessarily ‘stand with Trump’ are worried about the damage this anti-Trump operation has done to American democracy in general.
Perhaps the most shocking example of anti-Trump sentiment came in the form of a so-called ‘insurance policy’ that was discussed between FBI agent Peter Strozk and his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Strozk not only helped kickstart the sham Russian collusion investigation, he was also the leading investigator into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Keep in mind Strzok was openly supportive of Hillary Clinton for president.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 21, 2017.