The *Nixed Report

unix and overlooked pop culture

Blind Patriotism Is Unacceptable

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”  –Theodore Roosevelt

Today is President’s Day, a holiday in which

Donald Trump tweeting that the "fake news" media is the enemy of the American People.

Though we don’t always talk about politics, there are times when things like this make it necessary to do so.

we celebrate and appreciate US Presidents from history’s past. Originally George Washington’s Birthday, it was turned into a general holiday to celebrate all Presidents. One of the things that we appreciate the most as American citizens is criticism in addition to praise.

After all, no one official is supposed to have all the power and for good reason.

President Trump has referred to media that he disagrees with as the enemy of the American People. This goes beyond the simple accusations of bias, which all venues have regardless of how they try to downplay it or eliminate.

In reality, objectivity doesn’t actually exist; the only way for it to do so is if somebody were to live in a vacuum.

With that said, today is as good as any to call the President out for his foolhardiness. Not all aspects of media is inherently evil. Yes, major venues have made huge mistakes, and these companies and entities have themselves to blame for losing a tremendous amount of trust.

Whether it was not truly giving the full story regarding the Gulf War until well after the fact, pushing No Child Left Behind while taking money from the Department of Education, or falsely claiming that Kevin Mitnick was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, there is plenty of blame to go around.

That is why competition actually exists in the realm of free thought and free expression.

The problem with Trump referring to certain media venues as an enemy of the American People is that it bolsters this “us vs them” mentality to the point where we become even more divided than ever.

When a major player of Fox News is balking at such a statement, it’s time to pay attention.

If it weren’t for any media that operates freely in this country, we wouldn’t know certain unpleasant truths. One of those truths is the fact that Trump is using an outdated Android Phone to tweet, thus leaving him vulnerable to those who want to obtain state secrets.

The additional problem is also two fold. For starters, it can potentially create an adversarial divide between the people and media in general. The other issue is that it could potentially cause independent venues to be blamed for this, whether they had a hand in it or not.

In other words, what Trump is doing is attacking the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution. This is not a good sign, no matter who is inside the Oval Office.

Mr President, that was not an acceptable statement.

Lesnar Humiliated Yet Again

Lesnar looking defeated and humiliated.

Goldberg quickly eliminated Lesnar after another spear.

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. That’s how the old saying is supposed to work, but unfortunately, Brock Lesnar rushed Goldberg like a fool.

He was quickly eliminated after being speared.

When Paul Heyman told Michael Cole that it was one of those things that could either make a person even better than they were or even destroy them, it appears that Goldberg is the one person who can cause the Beast Incarnate to lose his cool and ultimately lose a match. Could Goldberg be the man who Lesnar can’t overcome?

That seems to be the question as far as this year’s Wrestlemania is concerned.

If the man with the spear and Jackhammer can manage to beat Lesnar with one more encounter, then that would make him legendary. It would also put him in the Hall of Fame. The reason why Goldberg didn’t win the Royal Rumble is because he honestly doesn’t need another title reign.

After all, he’s the man who put a stop to the Beast Incarnate in less than two minutes.

If the man who humiliated Lesnar can be the one who got away, that could be one story that’s reminisced over for decades to come.

At The *Nixed Report, we try to help out causes that we believe in. The Reglue Project is doing their annual fund raiser to get computers into the hands of kids whose parents can’t otherwise afford one. The one thing that is hard to fund is fuel so that the machines can be delivered. This fund raiser has some good perks and hopefully, with enough people chipping in, they’ll meet their goal for the year. Won’t you take the time and check them out, even chip in if you can?

Also, we have an official Patreon Page. Pledging just $1 USD to us each month will get you exclusive access to our newsletter, where you can have a behind the scenes look at our operation.

The Next Level

Become one of our patrons.

Visit our Patreon page and become a patron today.

One of the things that has become apparent in the last several months is that we live in interesting times. The things that we thought weren’t possible have become the inevitable.

It feels like we’re living in a real life Twilight Zone.

As we continue the new year, new challenges arise. In order to better cover the topics that fascinate us and hold our passion, we need to be able to step it up. That requires money.

The first goal is to make sure the web hosting can handle the files and traffic we throw at it. The reason why we host each episode ourselves is because we also want our site to get more traffic.

That won’t happen if the podcast is hosted off the site.

If we reach $100 a month, hosting will be upgraded. With better hosting, we’ll be able to have more traffic. From there, further goals will include upgrading our recording equipment and even investing in a dedicated studio.

The studio is a long term goal and won’t be reached for a while.

In the meantime, feel free to share our Patreon page, and become a patron today.

Podcast Pushed Back Until Tuesday

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

There will be a slight delay of the latest episode of the podcast. The original plan was to have it published on Friday. Due to a second part time job and the current work schedule, I will be pushing it back to Tuesday.

I will be having the podcast published on Tuesday from here on out.

At some point, Friday will have a video show that summarizes the week. Mondays will also have regular posts that are more Unix and tech related. For tgose who are in the midwest, please have a safe and wonderful weekend.

Icy weather is never fun.

Unexpected Powerhouse

HP Desktop

This was found at the local Salvation Army store.

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

Last year, a used system was purchased from the local Salvation Army store in Warrensburg, Missouri. For several months it sat inside of our world headquarters.

It was either a system that could be salvaged for parts or something that could be put to good use.

Early Tuesday morning, it was plugged into a TV via VGA and powered on. It turned out that spending approximately $5 USD was going to yield a pleasant surprise. Preliminary specs are as follows:

  • AMD Phenom quad core CPU
  • 7 GB of RAM
  • AMD Readon HD 5340 with 1 GB of RAM
  • 500 GB Hard Drive

The system itself currently has Windows Vista Home Premium. It seems it was set up for World of Warcraft. Whether it can handle a Linux distribution at this point with the precarious situation regarding AMD graphics will remain to be seen.

Though it’s not the most that has ever been had, this desktop has the most memory out of all the desktop systems in a long time.

Further research will be needed to see if it can hold more memory. Depending on what it can handle, it may very well replace the main desktop.

The Electoral College is Necessary

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

This article will be brief and to the point. There has been drama surrounding the electoral college, and it is certainly understandable that many are hoping for a rebellion against President-elect Trump. For full disclosure, I did not vote for him.

Before we drone on about the “will of the people,” a timely reminder is in order; we are not a democracy, nor were we meant to be one in these United States.

All one has to do is read Article 4, Section 4 of the US Constitution. It reads:

The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.

There are elements of democracy, which does include voting. However, the majority can not run roughshod over the entire country. There’s a reason it’s called Tyranny of the Majority.

Our representative form of government has checks and balances not just in the three branches but all throughout the country. The electoral college was designed to prevent Tyranny of the Majority.

It’s an unfortunate shame that faithless electors are not able to rebel against that of the blind masses should the need arise.

The idea is supposed to be about having checks and balances to prevent anyone from having too much power over others. In other words, the electoral college is not the real problem, though giving electors more autonomy would make things a bit better.

Regardless of what happens, we need to focus on the real problem with the election cycle and that’s the fact that two political parties do not want other party to come to the table or be involved in the process.

We need to change the conversation about the fact that there are only two perceived choices in any given election cycle, and push for more than three.

Three Past Media Sins

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

Brian Williams Fake News

Major media itself has been just as guilty of perpetuating false or misleading news.

The past several weeks have seen accusations of media venues peddling fake news and that something has to be done about it. Believe it or not, major venues are not without sin in that category. Here are just three instances in which major media publications and networks got things wrong.

Kevin Mitnick

He was a computer hacker who had mastered the art of social engineering. Mitnick got himself into some trouble in the 1990’s to the point where John Markoff was writing sensationalist stories about him. Markoff claimed he was the FBI’s most wanted computer hacker (he wasn’t), and even claimed that Mitnick broke into the computer systems of a bank in order to distribute a fake press release.

In reality, the so called fake “$400 million loss,” was actually human error as opposed to malicious intent. As for being the most wanted by the FBI, he was on a US Marshall’s poster, but that’s not quite the same thing. Due to such sensationalist stories, Mitnick’s civil liberties were blatantly violated as he was prevented from even having a trial (he plead out so he would no longer be placed in solitary confinement).

Fortunately, Mitnick is now a successful consultant who helps businesses keep their information secure. He is also a successful author of multiple books.

Iraq and WMD’s

As Jon Schwarz of The Intercept points out, major media outlets are still getting this one wrong. The false premise of invading Iraq was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that he was aiding Al Qaeda. In reality, both were bitter enemies.

As for the weapons that were found, they were the very same weapons that existed well before Dessert Storm and Shield. They were holdovers from the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980’s. Some of the weapons couldn’t be destroyed safely due to their very nature, and Hussein was not about to attempt to utilize them.

The world would have discovered it quickly.

The other weapons were ones that Hussein didn’t know about as his regime lost track of them. They weren’t the only military force to lose track of resources as the US Military has also done the same.

Numerous casualties and injuries would result from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

New York Times and Their Fake News Problem

Remember Jayson Blair? He was let go because he plagiarized or outright faked his news coverage. Salon has an interesting piece describing a big problem in terms of media coverage.

Blair wasn’t the only one who played a part in misleading the public. Another individual was involved in pushing the talking points of George W Bush’s administration. Among said points includes the previously covered instance above.

Conclusion

Accusations of bias and being fake aren’t necessarily new nor are actual acts of either. Multiple mainstream venues have indeed made mistakes in terms of accuracy and are not without sin.

So the next time you hear somebody ask about fake news, you may want to ask them, “Remember Brian Williams?”

Infowars Doesn’t Care About Your Privacy

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

In light of the election results and the accusations of venues acting as fake news outlets and/or propaganda arms to the Russian government, there has been concerns regarding free speech. There is legislation that is indeed concerning as it could potentially violate the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution.

With that said, the fourth and fifth amendments should also be valued as well. I am no fan of tearing down other venues, but there are times when criticism is warranted. When I saw Infowars ask for signatures for a petition, I became irritated.

Infowars Petition Signup

Note the checkbox that also signs a person up for a newsletter.

It is a similar tactic used by Newsmax and other venues. I have no problem with petitioning or asking for people to signup for a newsletter. Where I take issue is when I see that the website doesn’t use SSL Encryption.

Infowars Lacks OpSec

In other words, anything sent can be intercepted by a third party.

I had a similar issue with John McAfee himself when he announced he was running for President. He was requesting volunteers on his campaign site, but there was no SSL Encryption.

To be fair, after being called on it, a certificate was implemented, thus ensuring the privacy of those who signed up to volunteer.

Without encryption, any information submitted in an online form can be intercepted by a third party interloper. Other sites like The Intercept use SSL due to the revelations from Edward Snowden. Having a plan for OpSec, or Operational Security, is important and should not be overlooked.

This means protecting the information of visitors in any way possible on the entire site, not just a customer’s online shopping cart. This site is no exception.

The *Nixed Report uses SSL.

We value the privacy of our visitors, which is why we have an SSL certificate installed and active.

This means any comments you submit will be encrypted and not intercepted by a third party. We value your privacy, which is why we don’t complain when ad blocking is used.

The idea is to earn money with the site, but without visitors, that won’t happen.

So the next time you see a call to action, double check and make sure the connection to the site is secure. In the meantime, you may want to e-mail Kurt Nimmo or Paul Joseph Watson and ask them why Infowars does not implement site wide SSL Encryption.

Operational Security Update

SSL has now been enabled.

Privacy conscious users can now celebrate.

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

In the past few months, it’s become obvious how important the mission of the site has become. The unfortunate, inevitable truth is that major news and media networks are trying to figure out how they could have gotten the election year so wrong while not actually coming upon the correct answer.

In reality, they blame so called “fake news” outlets for their own failings.

In light of this, and revelations over the years, it’s still important to have operational security in mind no matter what any given website is about. For that reason, we have enabled SSL encryption.

In the coming days, the about page will be updated so that anybody who wants to e-mail any of us will not only have an available e-mail address but an encryption key as well. I will also remove my personal site and set up a new one to free up resources for this site.

My Libertarian Conscience will simply be set up in a new home, and the podcast will be converted to a YouTube show instead.

In light of media incompetence, civil liberties concerns, and the revelations from Edward Snowden, I knew that it was time to make things a bit more secure. What he did was not without controversy, and there were unintended consequences.

With that said, the cat is already out of the bag and everybody should be thinking about their privacy.

Even if one has nothing to fear from their own government, there are still identity thieves and others with less than honorable intentions. Protecting your identity and privacy is generally a good idea.

It’s like wearing a helmet when getting on a bike or safety goggles when you’re doing a job that requires eye protection.

That’s also why I don’t begrudge those who use ad blocking. I don’t blame any readers who have no desire to be tracked and traced.

I’ve only begun to keep things updated here. Stay tuned for more articles and more podcasts.