The *Nixed Report

unix and overlooked pop culture

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.

An Apology to Our Readers

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

For the past several months, I haven’t been as active on the website as I should have been. I was trying to avoid intermixing politics with this very venue, and I shouldn’t have done so.

After all, Overlooked Pop Culture does contain subject matter that is in fact political in nature.

I also wasn’t motivated enough to keep going. That held true until last week. Now I have a reason to get started again. I apologize for being away for so long.

Sometimes, current events are needed to wake me back up.

In the coming days, more activity will occur on the site, and the podcast will resume next week. Thank you for your patience and sorry for leaving everyone hanging.

In the meantime, here’s a video elaborating the situation:

Needless to say we live in interesting times.

It’s the Kevin Owens Show!

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

Kevin Owens raises the Universal Title high in the air.

Kevin Owens raises the WWE Universal Championship high. Image based on screencap from Dailly DDT.

Last night on WWE Monday Night Raw, Kevin Owens became the Universal Champion with the help of Triple H. The move shocked the audience in a pleasant way. Future rivalries are set up while Owens can have a moment of glory.

Let’s hope it lasts longer than a mere moment.

After all, Jim Cornette himself had issues with Owens when he wrestled as Kevin Steen in Ring of Honor and said at one point that he would be limited to small audiences for the rest of his life. In this case, it’s a good thing he was wrong. This Reddit thread shines some light on that conflict.

The cool part is that Kevin Owens is not your typical muscle bound Fabio type.

In today’s changing world, stereotypes become especially suspect. The muscle-bound types aren’t the only ones who are athletic. The husky ones can go as well.

For all the athleticism in the world, having a functional brain can help when it comes to taking advantage of opportunities.

The point being? Owens is a douchebag, but he’s an amazing douchebag. He plays the part so well, especially when he screamed, “YYyyyyyyeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!” after winning the title last night.

Funny can make money in the right circumstances.

So let’s hope that Owens holds onto that championship for a while and he defends it, making it legit. After all, having a title changing hands multiple times like a hot potato is a good way to torpedo any possible prestige.

Chrome OS and Android: It’s Begun….

The Samsung Chromebook in a Box

The Chromebook before it was unboxed.

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

In the middle of the summer, interesting news came out regarding the latest update to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. It appears we are that much closer to seeing something that could give the executives at Microsoft and Apple nightmares in the months to come.

The Google Play Store will eventually come to Chrome OS.

Though it’s only available via the developer channel on select models, more will be added later on. I myself have purchased a newer Samsung Chromebook that’s Intel-based so that I can eventually test Crossover Office on it.

I’ll just have to be patient.

In the meantime, there are possibilities that can be seen in the future. Imagine being able to purchase inexpensive Chrome-based systems, install Android-based productivity apps on them, and have them used in an enterprise environment.

This could wind up disrupting the computer industry yet again.

Summer Slam 2016

Brock Lesnar laughing; colors inverted.

He does what he wants! Original image courtesy of Sportskeeda.

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

Summer Slam happened last night, and this year didn’t disappoint. A new champion was crowned, Cena was out-Cenaed, and Brock Lesnar has shown the world that he does what he wants.

The Universal Championship has potential, though the belt may need a different design.

It makes me wonder if Smackdown will have a Galactic Championship, with both champions vying for the number one contender spot for the WWE Heavyweight Championship.

As long as championship matches are the main event from here on out, things will continue to improve for the Standford based company. Pushing them to the middle of the card and onto the backburner only cheapens them and makes them meaningless.

Speaking of championships, let’s also hope that AJ Styles builds momentum to a championship run of some sort.

Contrary to appearances, the Phenomenal One is older than John Cena, and has more miles on him. Slow building of him towards a championship run will cost the WWE a huge opportunity at ratings. Styles doesn’t have as much time as others, so they may want to speed things up while he’s capable of performing like he’s still in his prime.

Speaking of which, let’s not have another Styles/Cena matchup; this horse doesn’t need to be beaten anymore.

The women’s division needs to get their act together. Wellness violations are not a good way of building said division. Also, if Eva Marie does have a legitimate reason why she shouldn’t have been suspended, then appropriate documentation should be shown to the audience demonstrating that she had a valid prescription in the first place.

Speaking of which, since Brock Lesnar is a part time performer, the Wellness Policy doesn’t apply to him, which presents an interesting opportunity.

I wasn’t able to watch the full main event due to other obligations, but I did read about the results. A TKO ruling seems to be building momentum for The Beast Incarnate. Could this mean another build as a monster heel until next year’s WrestleMania?

Could that momentum entail a rematch against Goldberg himself as teased by this 2K17 promo?

After all, Lesnar did declare that he was next.

Since Lesnar devastated Orton and then Shane McMahon, could it be possible that he’ll continue to reign down destruction on the WWE Universe until Goldberg is called upon to take him down at the Show of Shows?

Who knows, but speculation is fun at this point, especially if it turns out that a second WrestleMania match occurs to make up for the previous one.

Either way, things are going to get interesting.

Friday Roundup: FBI and Superheroes

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

Victor Thorn was a divisive figure in alternative media and Faith is an interesting comic book series thus far.

Victor Thorn passed away at the beginning of the month and Thomas is checking out the comic book series, Faith.

This week, I wrote an article reminding people in the alternative media field that Victor Thorn was a divisive figure who encouraged Lisa Guliani, his co-host of WING TV at the time, to go to the FBI over an adult themed satire over 10 years ago. It’s interesting to note that as of late, the WING TV website is only accessible through the Way Back Machine.

For those who weren’t satisfied with what was written, I also did a solo podcast episode going into a bit more detail (if you don’t want to listen below, right click here and select save as).

On a lighter note, I found Faith number one at Hastings, which is going out of business (all locations). Suffice it to say that she isn’t your typical square jawed type of superhero.

That’s all for this week. Check back with us on Monday for more exciting content.

Not Your Typical Superhero

Cover art for Faith Issue Number One

Faith is not your typical superhero, and Valiant seems to trying to speak to a newer generation.

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

As many in Missouri and Texas may know by now, Hastings is going out of business. In Warrensburg, Missouri, it was one of those stores that brought a variety of entertainment related products and services to markets that would otherwise not have them.

Suffice it to say that with Netflix, Red Box, e-commerce, and the changing of the video game market, it would be inevitable that this would occur.

The good news is that bargains can be found while everything is being liquidated. One of them was a comic book from Valiant Entertainment, Faith. The main character, Faith Herbert, is Zephyr, a superhero with psionic abilities.

She can fly, create protective fields, and move entire objects with those fields (including people).

Unlike Big Bertha from Marvel Comics, she is currently not a character meant for comic relief nor does she have to throw up just to use her abilities. She also works for a media outlet, but one targeted towards a new generation.

Faith works as a writer for Zipline, a Buzzfeed knock-off.

The first issue definitely speaks to a newer generation as there is mention of role-playing games (using pencil, paper, and dice), the conflict of interest on selling out to a media site (just to keep everyone else employed), and of course dating (still a normal part of many peoples’ lives).

I won’t spoil everything for the readers here, but I will say that the comic book series is definitely different. Though they have a special issue with a political candidate not everyone will agree with, it’s not the usual square jawed ripped to the max hero with a dull story line.

I’ll definitely keep an eye out for different comics. Have a niche comic you want me to check out? You may let me know in the comments section.

Before We Deify Victor Thorn…

Victor Thorn

He was a cult of personality type.

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

I have no doubt he either killed himself or has a new FBI ID…ROT in Hell asshole. –Jack Blood

I want to start by apologizing to everyone. I know it’s been a long time since I published anything here. The podcast is still going, but due to the election year, I haven’t put out a new episode in a while. Ironically, it’s with the subject matter at hand that jolted me back to life so to speak.

Last week, I saw the posts spreading on Facebook regarding the death of Victor Thorn, including from some popular fan pages. One of the primary links is from the American Free Press, a controversial alternative media site.

He died of a self inflicted gun shot wound.

Due to the fact that 2016 is a Presidential Election year and that Hillary Clinton is running for President, speculation was naturally going to occur. Thorn had written books and articles critical of the Democratic nominee, so this comes as no surprise.

I want to preface this next part by saying that I have no intention of speaking ill of the dead. Other than a minor rant on the YouTube channel, I haven’t publicly talked about it. I understand that there are family and friends who are grieving, and death is not known for being pleasant.

To Scott Makufka’s immediate family, you have my sincere condolences. The rest of this article is not aimed at any of you, for this is something that none of you were involved in. What I am about to say is not something I’m going to enjoy.

The truth must be told

Like with Steve Jobs of Apple, Thorn is already being given that mythic status, but reality must prevail. Before anybody places him on a pedestal, there’s some things you need to know.

Things like the fact that he is no martyr, let alone a hero.

In the beginning of my foray into the alternative media, I actually interviewed both him and Lisa Guliani on WING TV, an online television show that predates the existence of online streaming sites such as YouTube. Granted, the videos used RealMedia for encoding, but it was fairly cutting edge for the time.

Thorn and Guliani would have been what others referred to as conspiracy theorists. They questioned the official narrative of 9/11 and also viewed the state of politics in the early 2000’s with suspicion. That aspect of both of them was not the most controversial part of this duo.

Even more controversial was their criticism of other “like-minded” individuals such as Michael Ruppert, Kyle Hence, Daniel Hopsicker, and several others.

They even did a satirical episode where they pulled Masonic symbols out of Art Bell’s ass. Keep that in mind for later.

One of the major figures they also criticized was Alex Jones of Infowars.com. They stopped doing so for a while until they went to Oklahoma City to talk about the Oklahoma City Bombing with others who questioned the government’s official narrative.

This was over 10 years ago.

Jones didn’t make an appearance, so they began criticizing him again, starting with another satirical episode. They argued that he was only in it to sell his videos, and they would eventually wind up on Frankly Speaking with Frank Whalen on the Republic Broadcasting Network, a rival network to the Genesis Communications Network.

I actually spoke to Guliani, Thorn’s co-host, over the telephone on a regular basis. They both bragged about the results on Whalen’s show; threats were called in, a former associate of Jones cut off a micro-broadcasting station, and more.

Had I been more experienced back then, the fact that they were excited about those things would have raised a red flag.

They eventually made the claim that since GCN was renting satellite time from ABC, they were an affiliate of ABC’s. That’s like referring to me as an affiliate of Charter Communications because they happen to by my ISP at this time. In other words, confirmation bias is what caused them to look for anything proving that GCN, the very network that broadcasts The Alex Jones Show, was nothing more than a corporate sellout.

That was before I had a better understanding of the broadcasting world.

Enter Revere Radio Network. This was a network that both had initially supported until Sonny Crack, one of the show hosts who had an understanding of the broadcasting media world, called out Guliani for her inaccuracy (albeit in a not so diplomatic manner).

He would go on to create an adult themed satire aimed at her.

So what did two alternative media personalities based out of State College, Pennsylvania do about said satire recorded by a host who was based out of Tampa Bay, Florida?

More importantly, if two people claim that they are anti-establishment, what is the best course of action if they wanted to torpedo their own credibility?

At the time, they told me that based on advice from local law enforcement, they contacted the Cyber Crimes Division of the FBI. Robb Revere, the head of the network in question, would receive a friendly call from a special agent.

Fortunately for Revere, since it was a civil matter as opposed to a criminal matter, he wouldn’t have to worry about the FBI knocking on his door.

I was inexperienced and I certainly found that piece of satire to be in poor taste. Still, as the months went on, the worm would begin to turn

Around the time of Hurricane Katrina, I decided to test Robb Revere by sending him information about an individual who worked at a company that served up a significant portion of the Internet and was running on backup power in New Orleans. They were able to broadcast what was going on through webcams that showed what was happening in the streets outside.

Revere himself interviewed him, and eventually wound up realizing that I was no enemy of his. My thoughts at the time was that if he really cared about the news and the truth, he would pursue it. He did.

He decided to put me through a test as well and offered me a spot on his radio network. My initial plan was to torture them and even have the two co-hosts from WING TV on as guests, but both saw this as an act of betrayal.

The magic of Internet drama.

To top it off, I was informed that some things were going to go down in the future and that I wouldn’t be privy to them because of what I did. They would continue attacking and criticizing other alternative media personalities, thus creating more of a divide.

The two individuals were so polarizing that they eventually had a falling out with one another, resulting in Guliani leaving the show. Not long after that, WING TV would transform into a glorified online bookstore.

The rest as they say is history.

That still leaves the question of why he took his own life. The American Free Press has an audio interview with his brother, which should shed some light on the situation.

According to Bill Makufka, Scott Makufka was a complicated individual; Victor Thorn wasn’t just a pseudonym, but a separate identity.

He would tailor the conversation for each individual that he talked to, a description of a trait that sounds all too familiar, but that’s a story for another day.

What you need to know is that he along with his then-cohort did more criticizing than original content creation. They did some original work, such as protesting at Ground Zero on 9/11 a couple of times and Thorn/Makufka would put already existing material into an original format (9/11 On Trial), but they also built long list of people in their so called “Hall of Shame.”

When people are focused on more than ideas, there’s a problem. This holds true regardless of point of view. One can’t claim to be against “The Man” when they go to “The Man” to solve a perceived problem in the first place, especially when it’s a civil matter.

Scott “Victor Thorn” Makufka is no martyr, no hero, no deity. He was human, and in the past he along with a former co-host made a few mistakes (some more egregious than others) and ironically generated negativity, the very thing Makufka disdained.

So please don’t put him on top of a pedestal or argue that Hillary Clinton had anything to do with his death.

WWE’s Subtle Messenger

By Thomas Holbrook II

I recently subscribed to the WWE Network, and thus far, it seems to be worth $10 a month.  I was able to watch most of Payback last night, which brings me to today’s topic.

Bray Wyatt: The Eater of Worlds.

The Eater of Worlds in the WWE.

Let’s talk storylines.

Pro wrestling is the most unique form of theater as it requires athleticism along with the ability to improvise in front of an immense crowd.  The Shield didn’t reunite, but there’s a good reason.

It would have been too obvious.

One of the overlooked elements in WWE today is none other than Bray Wyatt.  He has had a history of being subtle.  As a so called “master manipulator,” he’s able to misdirect the audience into thinking he’s headed in one direction while it turns out not to be the case.

For instance, before his match with Ryback, viewers would find out why The Big Guy was challenged; he was simply in Wyatt’s way.  Wyatt’s way of what?

If one read the shirt he was wearing during the match while remembering the entrance, things may begin to make sense.

The overall message of the shirt went along the lines of, “Follow the light….. find your way home.”  While The Shield didn’t reunite last night, a couple of individuals did before the event.

Eric Rowen and Luke Harper.

There are plenty of members in the main WWE roster, and Ryback was getting more attention as of late.  Could that have been interfereing with Wyatt’s attempt to reunite his clan?  Furthermore, could he have been using the match in question to get the attention of Rowen and Harper?

Bear in mind that Wyatt has been playing the subtle game since the beginning of this year.  When Dolph Ziggler performed The Famouser on him, he no-sold it.  Then came the vignettes.  Then came the coffin….. except it happened over several weeks.

So let’s speculate for a moment.  Since a reunification of the Wyatt Family is being presented as something that isn’t as obvious, then when would be a good time for it to take place?

There was a slow build of three months to Wrestlemania 31 against The Undertaker.  Going by that time frame, would it be safe to say that at least three months from now, it may take place (assuming it does at all)?

After all, Summerslam would be the perfect venue to rebuild a faction that could act as competition against the more monopolisic Authority.  What are your thoughts?