War Is A Racket: After 17 Years And Billions Wasted, US Seeks Peace With Taliban

Afghanistan, long acknowledged to be America’s “forgotten war”, has finally returned to the news of late. But this time, in a shocking twist on the now 17-year long conflict, the US is negotiating with the Taliban.

Perhaps this is why the mainstream media has by and large not given this bombshell story the coverage it deserves? Or do the major networks feel the American public has long ago stopped paying attention and will therefore yawn at any headlines containing the words ‘US Troops/Afghanistan’?

Image source: Getty via The Telegraph

As Daniel McAdams explains, last week US State Department officials met with Taliban leaders in Qatar. At the request of the Taliban, the US-backed Afghan government was not invited. The officials discussed ceasefires and an end to the war.

Meanwhile, the US inspector general charged with monitoring US spending on Afghanistan reconstruction has reported that since 2008, the US has completely wasted at the least $15.5 billion. He believes that’s just the tip of the iceberg, though.

On Sunday, Reuters had this report on the latest surprising developments:

A meeting between a senior U.S. diplomat and Taliban representatives in Doha last week to discuss a possible ceasefire ended with “very positive signals” and a decision to hold more meetings, people with knowledge of the talks said on Sunday.

The meeting between a delegation led by Alice Wells, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and Taliban representatives was first reported in The Wall Street Journal but has not been officially confirmed.

According to one Taliban official, who said he was part of a four-member delegation, there were “very positive signals” from the meeting, which he said was conducted in a “friendly atmosphere” in a Doha hotel.

Could we be witnessing the very beginning stages of a negotiated face-saving exit from this nearly two decade long American quagmire in central Asia? 

The prospect is discussed in today’s Liberty Report:

Which Companies Lost The Most Fake Followers In The Twitter Bot Purge?

Submitted by Priceonomics

On July 11, 2018, Twitter announced in a blog post they would be removing all “locked” accounts – those exhibiting suspicious or spammy behavior – from the service and warned that by doing a sweep of these accounts, many users would lose a pretty significant number of followers.

One of the metrics Craft tracks on companies is social media engagement, so we looked through our database before and after the purge to see which company Twitter accounts lost the most followers.

The table below shows the 25 companies with the highest number of lost followers:

Ironically, Twitter itself was the account that lost the most followers by a wide margin. Other social media platforms, YouTubeInstagramFacebook also appeared on the list, as did other news/entertainment companies including The New York TimesESPNCNN and others.

Next, we looked at which of the largest accounts were least affected by this purge. We filtered our list of companies to those with more than 500,000 Twitter followers. Of those, twenty-five companies were in fact so unaffected, they actually gained followers in this period.

Blockchain and Cryptocurrency-related companies (CoinbaseBittrexBitcoin, and others) are heavily represented in this list above, perhaps surprisingly showing themselves relatively immune to the Twitter purge of bot accounts.

It is possible these accounts gained followers so rapidly that the followers they lost in the purge were quickly gained back, yielding a net positive increase in followers. Epic Games (creator of Fortnite), for example, gained 86,600 followers in the two week period after July 19. Similarly, the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency-related accounts each gained under 10,000 new followers in the two week period after the purge was complete. And therefore, as these post-purge numbers are similar to the increase in followers during the purge, this suggests there were not a huge number of accounts removed from their follower counts.

For companies with over 500,000 followers, the chart below shows how many companies lost what percentage of their followers:

*Note: the <1% category includes the 25 companies that gained followers during the period.

The mean decrease in Twitter followers for these larger accounts was 2.6%. The median loss, however, was 1.7% – the difference is due to a skewed right distribution from a handful of accounts that suffered heavy losses. Four accounts lost over 40% of their followers: CEOWORLD Magazine (-64%), Andrew Christian Inc. (-60%), Yes Bank (-44%), and MusclePharm (-44%).

As markets look beyond financials to measure the health, value, and future potential of a company, alternative metrics can be used to gauge company vitality. One of these metrics is audience engagement on social media. Bots and spam accounts were clearly distorting the true picture regarding companies’ real social media followings, so it was a helpful move from Twitter to reduce fake accounts and improve the signal to noise ratio on the platform.

California’s Native Americans Now Want to Secede From Trump’s America

While the left-er members of California’s sanctuary state decry those who refuse to hug a tree/illegal-immigrant/paper-straw, it was a Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist that most recently attempted to split the state into more co-operative communities (but was denied by the California’s Supreme Court despite over 365,000 signatories believing in the plan).

California

Now, a month later, a different group of well-meaning Californians wants out of America as it stands.

As RT reports, supporters of a long-running effort to see California secede from the United States have revamped their plans to include the creation of an “autonomous Native American nation,” which would encompass almost half of the new state.

The Calexit campaign held a rally at the California state capitol in Sacramento on July 4, calling for an end to the American “occupation” of the state. A statement released by the campaign said that US Independence Day was “no longer a day to celebrate.”

Having failed in 2017 with CalExit 3.0

CalExit 4.0 is about to be relaunched with a whole new angle – instead of simply seceding from the US, however, the new plans involve creating a special Native American “autonomous nation” within the new independent state, creating a “buffer zone between between Donald Trump’s America and the new independent California Republic,” according to Yes California co-founder Marcus Ruiz Evans.

Now bear in mind that CalExit 4.0 will also have to get the 365,880 signatures required (just as Tim Draper did above before the Supreme Court banned it) to get the question of California independence on a special 2021 ballot.

Another movement co-founder, Louis J. Marinelli – whose wife is Russian and had previously run into trouble for asking that California “independence” be recognized by Putin, explained the decision as a way to “right the some of the wrongs of the past” by giving back land to Native American people.

The Calexit campaign said on Twitter that the new Native American autonomous buffer zone would help the new California advance its progressive platform “without all those Trump supporters trying to derail” the new state “at every turn.”

We have two awkward questions – do the native Americans know they are being ‘given back’ the least productive part of the state? And what will happen to the Trump-Buffer-Zone when President Trump’s term expires?