Category: Conspiracy Theories

Joyce Riley Passed Away

Joyce Riley Passed Away Today
She was a radio talk show host based in Versailles, Missouri.

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

Versailles, Missouri based radio talk show host Joyce Riley will no longer be able to host The Power Hour radio broadcast. According to their official Facebook Fan Page:

It is with the greatest of sadness that we deliver to you today the heartbreaking news of the death of our friend and fellow patriot Joyce Riley. Joyce died peacefully on June 25, 2017.
Sent with love and remembrance,
The Power Hour

She was the narrator behind the film Beyond Treason and hosted The Power Hour, often with former co-host Dave vonKleist, the narrator of 911 In Plane Sight. Riley was battling cancer and that fight ended today.

Friday Roundup: April 28, 2017

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

With the so called “government shutdown” delayed until next week, the roller coaster of 2017 is still building momentum, which brings us this week’s Friday Roundup.

Unix

 

FOSS Force announced the improvement of their news wire. In addition to headlines and authors, excerpts are now included. DistroWatch Weekly has a review of Ubuntu 17.04, the final series that will use Unity for the desktop environment before switching back to GNOME in the next LTS release. Jesse Smith noted an issue with Snap packages in conjunction with DEB packages.

I think it is worth mentioning that to install Snaps from Ubuntu Software, we need to have an Ubuntu One account. Sometimes, when trying to install Snaps, I would encounter authentication errors with my Ubuntu One account and I found closing Ubuntu Software and then re-opening the software manager and trying to install the Snap again would work around the issue.

I also feel it worth pointing out that Ubuntu’s three software managers (Ubuntu Software, Snap and APT) each work with a subset of the available packages. Snaps, for example, cannot be managed using the APT utilities. Likewise, we cannot use Snap to manage traditional Deb packages. The Ubuntu Software application tries to bridge this gap and works with desktop applications provided by both Snaps and Deb packages. However, Ubuntu Software does not work with non-desktop software or some games, requiring a trip to the command line to manage those items. This situation may get better in the future and we may get an all-in-one software manager, but for now we need three different utilities to manage software on Ubuntu and that makes for an awkward situation.

The CEO of Thinkpenguin Inc was arrested for filming the police at a police checkpoint and may face up to a year in jail. Christopher Waid had this to say:

I was essentially arrested for filming a police checkpoint in Manchester, New Hampshire (police invoked non-existent law to interfere with recording, made multiple contradicting and confusing requests, and were quick to obstruct and damage video recording equipment). Papers please. I don’t think I’ll be posting this to the ThinkPenguin blog as its irrelevant to free software / the company / etc. However I thought people here might be interested in following the case. The entire trial will be highly publicized, recorded, etc. One of the officers humorously threatens me with a motor vehicle violation. To be clear I was not drinking, not driving, had no car nearby (got there via another driver which had his car parks two or three blocks away), and in no way under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The Debian Project is shutting down their public FTP service, though developers won’t be affected. According to SoftPedia:

This means that the upload queues for both the main (ftp://ftp.upload.debian.org) and security (ftp://security-master.debian.org) archives will be accessible to them. The rest of the world won’t be able to access ftp://ftp.debian.org, nor ftp://security.debian.org starting November 1, 2017.

Overlooked Pop Culture

 

Comic book fans may have a reason to rejoice with the upcoming Marvel Legacy one shot. It includes multiple characters telling a story of the glory days. The story will relate to future of the Marvel Universe going forward.

Podcast co-host Stephen Kelley has a review of the 2017 release of Ghost in the Shell. He does pose a warning to the Internet Outrage Machine before the review is underway:

Let’s get this first part out of the way:

If there is one thing I’m tired of in the realm of film and television, it’s pre-emptive complainers trying to de-rail everything before it even comes out. with any review of this live action American/Chinese Ghost in The Shell film, everyone has drawn battle lines in regards to the elephant in the room of “Hollywood whitewashing”; in fact, I would say you were almost expected to take a side, and if you took a side that many didn’t like you’d get lectured by the other. It’s annoying that folks are getting in fights and “unfriending” each-other because of opinions over a goofy sci-fi film, but that’s our modern society I guess. Some popular reviews from major sites didn’t even talk about the film, they just reviewed everything that was in some way perceived as racist to stoke the outrage fires, this honestly comes across like they never actually watched it.

I’m not going to dwell on this topic too much because I can see both sides and don’t think arguing over whether or not Scarlett Johanson should or should not be cast as The Major actually addresses the actual problem that Hollywood has with representation. The internet witch hunts and rage were nearly identical to what people attempted to do with both recent Star Wars films, and even last years re-boot of Ghostbusters, and I honestly don’t care anymore. I’d rather discuss a film based on an anime/manga property that I’ve loved for upwards of 20+ years, and how it turned out.

/end rant

On a lighter note, Causecon has started today and will run through Sunday. All proceeds will go towards the local Women’s Resource Center in Beckley, West Virginia.

Political underground radio talk show host Jack Blood has made his return after a lengthy hiatus. He has a Patreon page for those who have followed him over the years and want to support him. On said page, he indicated the following:

At this time, the show is 100% commercial free! It will be up to you if it stays that way.

That ends this week’s Friday Roundup. We’ll be back next week.

Corporate Media Doesn’t Get Alex Jones

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

Alex Jones is made fun of for viral marketing.
He is a master of viral marketing.

In the passing weeks, there have been a plethora of stories regarding Alex Jones and his “performance artist” defense used by his attorney during his divorce hearing. Since that defense was used, it was assumed by most corporate owned outlets that he doesn’t believe what he’s selling to others.

Once again, they’re way off the mark, and this is part of the reason why so much trust has been lost regarding these established outlets.

The issue at hand is that he uses certain shock jock tactics which are really not that different from that of Rush Limbaugh or Howard Stern. He has an audience to build and maintain. The sense of urgency that he has always displayed has been a part of his viral marketing.

There’s a reason he kept encouraging his followers to copy his films and give them away for free.

That is also why I would be able to use his work for certain benchmarks in any future reviews. His discs aren’t region locked. That is a hallmark of viral marketing, and Canonical has also successfully used that tactic to make Ubuntu a house hold name.

Furthermore, when one actually looks into other venues that have covered him at length, a more complicated story appears.

However extreme and paranoid and downright cartoonish his unending stream of alarm can be, Jones believes every word he says and can prove it with a personal stash of food big enough to last three years. And if they bothered to look without prejudice, these righteous leftists would see that Jones covers issues like the drug war, the growing security state, and Monsanto’s genetic modification of food exactly the way they do, just as many of his themes were echoed by the Occupy movement. –John H Richardson for Esquire Magazine

Jones has since changed tone since Trump was elected as President of the United States, but he did cover a lot of points of view that the anti-war crowd would have agreed with during George W Bush’s time in office. As for further evidence that Jones believes what he says, look no further than Joe Rogan.

This isn’t to say that I entirely agree with Jones or his tactics that are used. What I find irritating is the mindless group think that keeps echoing each other when a misleading headline comes across the eyes of the masses.

If people are to oppose Jones and those similar to him, they need to have all their facts straight and be able to back up what is being argued.

Oh, and before anybody cheers for the ex-wife of Jones, you may want to listen to Jack Blood and what he has to say.

When one digs deeper, they find the story of an individual who doesn’t like competition and who may very well have sold out depending on the point of view. Those are points in which criticism would be valid as opposed to saying he doesn’t believe in what he’s selling.

Friday Roundup: April 21, 2017

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

StarCraft Map Editor in Wine
Though Starcraft currently doesn’t run in Wine, the map editor does.

This week has been an interesting one to say the least. Ubuntu continues to get noticed due to Canonical’s change in direction while other interesting developments in the land of make believe are on the horizon. Still, it’s time to get our nerd on.

Here’s this week’s Friday Roundup.

Unix

Canonical’s announcement of moving back to GNOME and no longer using Unity starting with the next LTS release has had some exploring their options. The conclusion of one blog post is that GNOME 3 can’t replace Unity and that there will definitely be a learning curve for those who aren’t used to it.

Luís de Sousa writes:

The take home message of this exercise is that Unity 7 and Gnome 3 are markedly different desktop environments, designed with different – sometimes almost antagonistic – goals. Gnome 3 is a low visual feedback environment, meant for a small number of workspaces and highly reliant on mouse input. In its turn, Unity 7 is far more open to keyboard interaction, embraces workspaces as a cornerstone of desktop interfacing and overall offers far more modes of interaction and features. Unity 7 comes across as a transparent environment, providing immediate visual feedback on what may be happening with each of the programmes it manages; by contrast Gnome 3 opts to hide many visual cues, preferring a clean desktop, focused entirely on the current foreground programme.

(Bolding added for emphasis)

With the switch to GNOME will come the obvious switch to Wayland as well. X11 is network oriented, while Wayland is focused on individual systems, thus cutting down on overhead and improving graphical performance.

Speaking of Ubuntu, System76 is now starting to move production and design in-house. Phase Three will be long term. Carl Richell writes:

We’re starting with desktops. There’s a lot to learn and the form factor is easiest to work with. Both design and CAD work are well along their way. We’re prototyping with acrylic and moving to metal soon. Our first in-house designed and manufactured desktops will ship next year. Laptops are more complex and will follow much later.

Last but not least by any means, Solus has a new release. In addition to the in house Budgie Desktop, MATE and GNOME editions are available. Their release notes are available here.

Overlooked Pop Culture

Apparently, there may be a mini version of the Nintendo Switch on the horizon, if analysts are correct. If true, one can only speculate what will happen to the DS line of portable consoles in the near future. In a surprising turn of events in WWE, Jinder Mahal has earned a number one contender spot for the WWE Champtionship.

Seeing as how the product is now less predictable, it may become more entertaining. Only time will tell.

In a piece that shows a lack of understanding, NBC is among the latest to pick up the story regarding Alex Jones and his performance artist defense. Jones is currently in a custody battle over his kids.

A note of correction: They claim he pushed that the moon landing was faked. That is not entirely true. There will be a future article regarding Jones and his custody battle to further explain this.

StarCraft fans have cause to celebrate this week as the original has been released for free in lieu of the Remastered Edition. Those who want to run into under Wine may be disappointed as it doesn’t work.

The good news is that the map editor still runs.

So if you’re a Windows or OS X user, you’ll be able to run this classic game and compete with your friends.

Cool Links of the Week

Lemonade is not your traditional renter’s insurance company. They operate to keep costs down and premiums low. Mozilla Thunderbird is also an amazing e-mail client, and they could use your help.

That wraps up this week’s interesting, weird, and cool news. We’ll see you next week.

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

Update: Over a week later, they implemented SSL. They have a security certificate from Comodo.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Friday Epic Fail: Deport Bieber!!!!

Screenshot of We the People Petition
Focus on the NSA? The military’s involvement overseas? Our digital rights? Nah! Let’s hang Bieber instead!

By Thomas Holbrook II

Ironically, the subject matter is brought up again in the same week.  Is it the contents of the latest podcast episode?

Maybe something about GMO’s and bees?  Bitcoin?

Unfortunately, it’s a subject involving something that’s less important than all of the above.  I of course am speaking of Justin Bieber.

Or rather, the petition to have him deported.

To make a long story short as to why said petition is up, here’s a link that will give you an idea of what’s going on.  Something about drugs, alcohol, and other things.  To shorten it even further, I have five words:

Are you fucking kidding me?!

We have the controversy surrounding the NSA and wiretapping.  There’s that chaos over in the Ukraine.  But no!  Let’s focus on yet another celebrity having a breakdown.

At least when Alex Jones and Kurt Nimmo had their petition to deport Piers Morgan, there was an actual purpose to it (hint: if you say it was to deport Morgan, then you haven’t been paying attention).

There are more important things out there, and that’s why this petition makes this week’s Friday Epic Fail.