Sunday, July 25, 2021

Fancy Frauds, Bogus Bears & Malware Mimicry?!

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by Adam Carter, Disobedient Media:

Anomalies Discovered In Malware Found By CrowdStrike Merit Further Inspection

It’s amazing what people retain and how they pick up on conflicts of information and inconsistencies. I’ve been impressed by a lot of people I’ve come to know through Twitter and one great example is Stephen McIntyre (of Climate Audit – a blog that has an interesting history of its own in relation to the ClimateGate hack of 2009).

Over recent months McIntyre has given some attention to the topic of the alleged hacking of the DNC in 2016 and his findings have been particularly interesting, at least, to anyone interested in unraveling digital deception.

As always, some of the background helps for context, if you’re familiar with CrowdStrike’s activity at the DNC, their background and the dates of their activities, feel free to skip the next couple of paragraphs.

CrowdStrike and DNC Malware Discoveries

End of April 2016 – Breach Detected
Towards the end of April 2016, the DNC (Democratic National Convention) contacted a cyber-security firm called CrowdStrike in relation to a suspected breach.

Early May 2016 – CrowdStrike Called In, Falcon Installed
CrowdStrike visited the DNC early in May and soon discovered malware. They installed their flagship product “Falcon” (a product supposed to prevent both hackers and malware) across the network and on or before May 11, 2016, the DNC started paying their service subscription fee to CrowdStrike.

Late May 2016 – Emails Acquired
Approximately two weeks after Falcon had been installed, emails were acquired (with dates going up to 19th-25th of May depending on mailbox) that were subsequently leaked to WikiLeaks.

Early-Mid June 2016 – WikiLeaks Announce Leaks & CrowdStrike Announce Hackers
WikiLeaks first gave indication they were in possession of leaked emails (relating to Hillary Clinton) when Julian Assange stated it in an interview with ITV’s “Peston on Sunday” on June 12, 2016.

Within 48 hours of the announcement (on June 14, 2016), an article appeared in the Washington Post, covering a story from CrowdStrike executives Shawn Henry and Dmitri Alperovitch. In the article, they claim to have just been working on eliminating the last of the hackers from the DNC’s network during the past weekend (conveniently coinciding with Assange’s statement and being an indirect admission that their Falcon software had failed to achieve it’s stated capabilities at that time, assuming their statements were accurate).

The following day, June 15, 2016, they publicized a report in which they share IOCs (Indicators of Compromise) and samples of the malware code.

To date, CrowdStrike has not been able to show how the malware had relayed any emails or accessed any mailboxes. They have also not responded to inquiries specifically asking for details about this.

In fact, things have now been discovered that bring some of their malware discoveries into question.

Fancy Bear Malware & Compile Times

It was reported that Cozy Bear (aka APT29) was at the DNC since the Summer 2015 and that Fancy Bear (aka APT28) didn’t start their attacks until Spring 2016.

While it would seem logical to infer this as meaning that the Fancy Bear activity occurred just before CrowdStrike’s visit, there is a reason to think Fancy Bear didn’t start some of its activity until CrowdStrike had arrived at the DNC.

Read More @ DisobedientMedia.com

Amazon And Google Employees Busted In Asian Sex Trafficking Sting

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from ZeroHedge:

Several Seattle employees of both Google and Amazon were busted after using their corporate accounts to send emails to local brothels and pimps looking to purchase services from sex workers trafficked from Asia, according to emails obtained by Newsweek.

“[E]mails obtained by Newsweek reveal another sordid corner of the tech sector’s treatment of women: a horny nest of prostitution “hobbyists” at tech giants Microsoft, Amazon and other firms in Seattle’s high tech alley.” 

Many of the emails were swept up in a 2015 sting operation which targeted online chat rooms and message boards in which customers rate sex workers – resulting in the arrest of 18 of these “prostitution hobbyists,” including several high level Amazon and Microsoft directors – two of which are currently scheduled for trial in March. 

Seattle brothels had been catering to Microsoft employees through several “backpage.com” ads located nearby the company’s Redmond, WA headquarters, in what is becoming a booming business. 

A study commissioned by the Department of Justice found that Seattle has the fastest-growing sex industry in the United States, more than doubling in size between 2005 and 2012. That boom correlates neatly with the boom of the tech sector there. It also correlates to the surge in high-paying jobs, since this “hobby” (the word johns use online to describe buying sex) can be expensive: some of these men spent $30,000 to $50,000 a year, according to authorities.

The tech sector has not only employed a significant number of men who pay for sex with trafficked women, it has also enabled traffickers to more easily reach customers and to hide their business from cops by taking it off the streets and into computers and ultimately, hotel rooms, motels or apartments. In one 24-hour-period in Seattle, an estimated 6,487 people solicited sex on just one of the more than 100 websites that connect buyers with sellers, according to a 2014 study.

Of note, Backpage.com shut down its adult sections in January, citing government pressure following a 2016 Senate report on commercial sex services fingered the website as a hotbed for criminal activity, and stating that “Backpage officials have publicly acknowledged that criminals use the website for sex trafficking, including trafficking of minors.” 

  Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer (Texas AG)
Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer (Texas AG)

In October, 2016, Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer was arrested in Houston and the company’s Dallas headquarters searched. NPR reported at the time that Ferrer, 55, was charged with pimping a minor, pimping and conspiracy to commit pimping. Two controlling shareholders of Backpage — Michael Lacey and James Larkin — also are charged with conspiracy to commit pimping.” 

The prostitutes trafficked from Asia typically don’t speak much English, relying on translation apps to offer services such as “girlfriend” experiences and “Nuru” (nude massage). Many of the women are working their way out of debt bondage, and feared for their lives or those of their families – according to one pimp interviewed during the 2015 sting.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

INSANITY: Teacher fired for “misgendering” a student sues school, calls policies “totalitarian”

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by Robert Jonathan, Natural News:

A math teacher in the U.K. is out of a job because he told two students “well done girls,” which he described as a slip of the tongue. Using the language in question, he was praising them for their hard work.

The teacher, Joshua Sutcliffe, apologized to one of the teens, a transgender student who reportedly identifies as male, but wound up being suspended by the school while it conducted an investigation. Shortly thereafter, the Oxfordshire-based school determined Sutcliffe, 27, had “misgendered” the student and engaged in discrimination, resulting in his dismissal.

In response, Sutcliffe described the school’s equality policies as “totalitarian” in a letter to the headmaster in which he also said he was going to sue, Metro of the U.K. reported. The teacher also explained that he’s not on board with the transgenderism ideology that encourages gender self-selection because it is not in the best interests of children.

Sutcliffe also works as a pastor as a local Christian church and in that context, he maintains that his classroom activities were appropriate, the Daily Mail reported.

I had always tried to respect the pupil and keep a professional attitude as well as my integrity, but it seemed to me that the school was trying to force me to adhere to its liberal, [Leftist] agenda…

While the suggestion that gender is fluid conflicts sharply with my Christian beliefs, I recognize my responsibility as a teacher and Christian to treat each of my pupils with respect. I have balanced these factors by using the pupil’s chosen name, and although I did not intentionally refer to the pupil as a “girl,” I do not believe it is unreasonable to call someone a girl if they were born a girl.

 The school also reportedly shut down a bible club that Sutcliffe ran for 100-plus students.

The incident suggests that political correctness may be more rampant in the United Kingdom than it is in the U.S., if that’s even possible. On both sides to the Atlantic, the progressive movement for whatever reason has elevated transgender rights to the top or near the top of its political/cultural agenda, and gender identity/fluidity curriculum has even made its way into the public schools. (Related: Read more about gender issues at Rational.News.)

In April, NaturalNews founding editor Mike Adams wrote, “You can’t believe in biological transgenderism and science at the same time.” He argued that if you believe in science, then you must agree with “the genetic reality that gender expression in humans is binary.”

Sutcliffe has the backing of the Christian Legal Centre in the U.K., which insists that he never received any formal training about how to refer to that particular pupil.

In the clip below from ITV, watch Joshua Sutcliffe describe what happened in the November 2 incident and its aftermath and outline his personal convictions under somewhat hostile/condescending questioning and draw your own conclusions.

Read More @ NaturalNews.com

MUELLER’S FRAUD EXPOSED, AS NEOCONS CONTINUE PUSH FOR GEOPOLITICAL CONFRONTATION

by Harley Schlanger, LaRouchePac.com:

The urgency of defeating the efforts of special counsel Robert Mueller to conduct a coup against elected U.S. President Trump, on behalf of British and Wall Street imperial interests, can be seen in the attempt by neocons both within the administration and outside, who insist that the U.S. must continue the policy of geopolitical confrontation with Russia and China, which was supported by his opponents.  In the last days, there are further indications that it is Trump’s continuing commitment to strategic collaboration with Russia and China that precipitated “Russiagate,” and not “meddling” in the U.S. election by Russian President Putin, nor “collusion” by Trump with Putin to steal the election, that has made him a target of unprecedented vitriolic attacks, lying media stories, and a corrupt “investigation” which his opponents hope will lead to his ouster. 

Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump aggressively targeted both the Bush Republicans and the Obama-Hillary Clinton Democrats as supporters of endless wars, which have resulted in millions of casualties and the waste of trillions of dollars, while America has become less safe.  He launched devastating attacks against the Bush administration, accusing President George W. Bush of “lying” to get the U.S. into a war with Iraq, and against Obama and Clinton, for the policy of “regime change” in Libya and the attempt to oust Syrian President Assad, at the risk of a war with Russia.  He also blasted the deployment of U.S. and NATO troops eastward, targeting Russia, saying he was convinced that it would be “great” if the U.S. and Russia would be friends and allies, especially in the war against terrorists.  He said at several campaign events that he would have no neocons in his administration. 

The war-weary American people responded to his attacks on the neocon wars, by electing him President.  The neocons responded to his election by launching Russiagate! 

The release this week of a National Security Strategy document reveals that neocons within Trump’s administration are trying to steer the administration into confrontation with both Russia and China.  The document identifies both nations as pursuing policies directly counter to U.S. interests.  In the introduction, the document claims that “China and Russia challenge American power, influence and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity.  They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.”

Later, the document asserts that Russia and China “want to shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests.”  In a passage which is a thinly-veiled attack on the Belt-and-Road Initiative, China is singled out as seeking “to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific Region, expand the reaches of its state-driven economic model, and reorder the region in its favor,” while Russia is accused of seeking “to restore its great power status and establish spheres of influence near its borders.”  President Xi’s “win-win” approach, embodied in his New Silk Road policy, which would replace geopolitical confrontation with pursuit of common goals, is falsely characterized as a plan to dominate its neighbors economically, with military threats to back it up.  In commenting on the document, Trump’s National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster explicitly endorsed geopolitics in a speech delivered to the U.K.-based think tank Policy Exchange, stating “Geopolitics are back with a vengeance, after this holiday from history we took in the so-called post-Cold War period.”  He identified both Russia and China as strategic adversaries.  It is reported that the document reflects the views of McMaster and two assistants who participated in drafting the paper, Nadia Schadlow, a deputy assistant for National Strategic Strategy, and Dina Powell, deputy National Security Adviser and a Goldman Sachs alumnus.  Both Schadlow and Powell served in the administration of George W. Bush.  

Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp LaRouche identified this language as an attempt to return the U.S. to the “neocon geopolitical confrontation” approach of the two previous administrations, and pointed to sharp denunciations by Russian and Chinese officials, which identified the document as an example of “old, outdated thinking.”  But Mrs. LaRouche also pointed out Trump, in releasing the document, was less confrontational, as he said he will “attempt to build a great partnership with those [Russia and China] and other countries….”  The document also represents a restatement of Trump’s commitment to oppose regime change, stating, “We understand that the American way of life cannot be imposed on others, nor is it the inevitable culmination of progress.”  She identified the divergent points of emphasis as indication of an ongoing internal battle, noting that Trump recently had a very successful trip to China and has spoken repeatedly of his “great” personal relationship with China’s President Xi, and has had several recent very productive discussions with Putin.

GEOPOLITICS MEANS WAR

It should be noted that the confrontational language in the report echoes comments of former top Obama officials, CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who were part of the “Get Trump” team from the outset, signing on to the infamous, still-unsubstantiated assessment released by the intelligence community on January 7, 2017, that concluded, “with high confidence”, that Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential campaign.  On leaving their posts, both continued to attack Trump as naive for believing he can work with Russia.  On June 7, 2017, in Australia, Clapper claimed that it is in Russia’s “genes to be opposed, diametrically opposed, to the United States and western democracies.”  The two joined forces again on CNN’s “State of the Union” on November 12, 2017, to slam Trump and Russia.  Brennan said that Trump is “intimidated” by Putin, and that Russia is “a threat to our democracy.”  Clapper chimed in, adding that “Putin is committed to undermining our system,” and that Trump, by rejecting that view, “poses a peril to this country.”

At the same time the National Security Strategy document was released, Newsweek magazine ran a cover story in its December 21 issue with the headline, “Putin is Preparing for World War III.”  The article has the usual Fake News characterization of Putin as a paranoid authoritarian dictator who uses the threat of encirclement and war to cover up for his economic failures.  For example, it states that the Kremlin is mobilizing because “it is convinced war is imminent.”  It includes a quote from a former British Ambassador to Russia (naturally, who wishes to be an anonymous source), who said “Russia is engaged in a strange sort of unilateral arms race.”

This attempt to scare its readers is not a new tactic by Newsweek.  In August 2016 it reported, “Europeans Are Quietly Preparing for War with Russia.”

An even more hysterical fantasy appeared in the German mass tabloid Bild Zeitung on December 20, citing two unnamed NATO officials who charged that the Zapad 2017 military exercise was a rehearsal for a full scale Russian military assault on Europe.  According to this story, the Russians plan to occupy three Baltic states, while attacking by air key infrastructure in Germany, Sweden and Finland, the latter two nations being pushed hard to play a more active role in NATO.  The article says the goal of Russia in launching such an attack is to paralyze NATO, while preventing reinforcements in the East.  This article appears as there is a concerted effort to boost defense spending in Europe, along with the promotion of a European Union “defense union.”

MUELLER UNDER S
EIGE

The move toward more aggressive war propaganda in the Trans-Atlantic region comes at a point when the Mueller witch hunt is being seriously undermined by exposes of corruption within its ranks.  The revelations of the role of top FBI Counterintelligence official, Peter Strzok, are particularly damaging, as they demonstrate conclusively that Strzok is at the center of a “web of corruption” which includes the highest levels of British intelligence, the Clinton campaign, and the FBI.  The effort to contain the damage by supporters of Mueller, by belittling the evidence of corruption as a “conspiracy theory”, fell apart last week, as Congressional Republicans have become emboldened, in questioning leading FBI officials.  What is emerging in ongoing Congressional hearings is a picture that shows that Strzok was brought into the operation begun by James Comey, Clapper and Brennan to smear Trump with allegations that he was in a conspiracy with Putin to become President.  Comey’s team, with Strzok at its head, was engaged in the smear campaign to prevent Trump from winning the election.

The most damning evidence is a text message sent by Strzok to his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, which was discovered by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice (DOJ).  In the message, Strzok wrote to Page on August 15, 2016, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office that there’s no way Trump gets elected, but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.  It’s like an insurance policy….”  Andy’s office refers to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a close ally of the Clinton political machine, meaning that the FBI hierarchy was directly involved in a scheme to sink Trump’s campaign; the “insurance policy” obviously refers to using the Russiagate story, which was just then being developed by Strzok’s team, to remove Trump, should he win the election!

It was at this same time that Strzok and other top FBI officials were brought into collaboration with “former” MI6 official Christopher Steele, who produced a dossier alleging that Putin had sexual blackmail material against Trump.  Steele’s dossier, produced for Fusion GPS “opposition research” company, was funded by the Clinton campaign, likely with full backing from leading elements of British intelligence, whose GCHQ had begun tracking Trump in the summer of 2015, long before he laid waste to a field of 17 Republican opponents.  Despite more than a year of attempts to corroborate Steele’s allegations, McCabe admitted, in part through not answering questions in a Congressional hearing, that they have not been able to do it!

There are many other pieces to this story, including that of Strzok’s role in exonerating Clinton for her use of a private server, his role in the set-up which led to Michael Flynn’s plea to a single count of “lying to the FBI”, and top DOJ official Bruce Ohr’s meeting(s) with Steele, while his wife was employed by Fusion GPS.  These are coming out due to the work of Republican Congressmen, with more hearings to come.  A sample of some of the responses from Congressional investigators to these revelations gives a flavor of how things are turning against Mueller’s prosecutorial thuggery and the FBI’s systemic corruption.

On December18, Rep. Trey Gowdy (South Carolina) responded to the Strzok revelations by saying the anti-Trump messages sent back-and-forth with his mistress show an “unprecedented” level of bias.  “It is devastating” that they spoke of developing an “`insurance policy` in case Donald Trump won.  What I hope is that insurance policy was not a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.  This was a level of bias that you rarely see.”

Rep. Devin Nunes (California), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, followed his committee hearings by asking, “I hate to use the word corrupt, but they’ve become at least so dirty that who’s watching the watchmen?  Who’s investigating these people?  There is no one.”  

Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), who has been demanding subpoenas be issued so that all those involved can be interrogated, is especially focused on the Steele dossier, and whether it was used to obtain warrants from the secret FISA Court to conduct surveillance on the Trump campaign.  In reviewing the role of Strzok and Ohr, he said, “Everything points to the fact that there was an orchestrated plan to try to prevent Donald Trump from becoming the President of the United States.”

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who recently spoke directly to Trump about what has been turned up involving “conflicts of interest” and “outright corruption”, said “…it’s time for Bob Mueller to put up or shut up.  If there’s evidence of collusion, let’s see it.”  He said, in reference to the meeting in “Andy’s room”, that it is disgusting that a “bunch of bureaucrats can sit around and scheme about how to deprive the American people of their duly elected President.”

ILLEGAL SEIZURE OF TRANSITION EMAILS

One other element of Mueller’s prosecutorial fraud came to light last week, which was his team’s seizure of tens of thousands of emails from Trump’s transition team, despite the legal ruling by the General Counsel for the General Services Administration (GSA), Richard Beckler, that these were private, and should remain in the hands of the GSA.  When Beckler was hospitalized, Mueller’s operatives seized the records, without receiving a court-approved subpoena.  Shortly after his hospitalization, Beckler passed away.

The seizure of these documents was the subject of a biting op ed by constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley in {The Hill} on December 18.  Turley, who is no fan of Trump, nevertheless correctly identified Mueller’s action as “legally unprecedented and strategically reckless,” warning that the use of “tainted” evidence could lead to the overturning of any conviction that Mueller might get.  Turley described this as an abuse of law, following in the footsteps of the notorious former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, writing that “Hoover’s attitude toward the use of federal power lingers [within the FBI] like a dormant virus.  Too often investigators interpret uncertain legal questions as a license for action.”  Turley specifically identified Mueller’s lead prosecutor Andrew Weissman as one whose record includes “major reversals in past prosecutions for exceeding the scope of the criminal code or questionable ethical conduct.”

Turley’s comments, along with those of Fox News legal commentator Jeanine Pirro, represent a sharp break into the open in major media, reflecting the turn against Mueller’s operations.  Pirro  called Mueller’s team a “criminal cabal”, which should be taken out in “cuffs” (handcuffs).  They are acting as a “core group of arrogant, corrupt and lawless individuals that felt that they, and not we, should decide a presidential election.”

As these quotes from Congressman and legal experts show, there is now finally a willingness to break through the cover-up and get at the truth about Russiagate, that it has been a story concocted, from the beginning, with no evidence, to either contain Trump, or get rid of him, in defense of an old crumbling order, and that the real “meddling” in the election by a foreign country came from Britain, in coordination with the Clinton campaign and the FBI.  But that is not enough.  It is now time that the deeper issue behind Russiagate is exposed, and that issue is the unwillingness of the promoters of the neocon unilateral world order to give up their power.  The endless wars, and endless bailouts they have imposed are necessary for them keep the world embroiled in deadly, useless geopolitical conflicts, which inflict misery on the majority of the world’s people, while allowing them to loot with impunity. 

Donald Trump’s election victory showed that the American people were tired of this immoral, bankrupt order.  Now citizens must m
obilize to shut down Russiagate, to free Trump to bring the United States into the New Paradigm of cooperation and development initiated by President Xi Jinping of China, with full support from Russia’s President Putin.  The era of geopolitics must be put to an end, if the annihilation of mankind is to be prevented.  Shutting down the Mueller investigation, and jailing the corrupt officials behind it, would be a good first step in that direction.  Toward that end, LaRouchePAC activists delivered this week, to every U.S. Senate office and to many committee staffers, the report which first exposed Russiagate as a fraud, “Robert Mueller is an Immoral Legal Assassin.”  As Lyndon LaRouche commented, “the gate has been opened” — it is now the time to move!

Hero Cops Kidnap 80-Year-old Couple, Steal Their Christmas Presents, Arrest Them for Having a Plant

by Rachel Blevins, The Free Thought Project:

An elderly couple is facing years in prison after police found cannabis in their car that they claimed was meant to be used as Christmas presents for family.

York County, Nebraska – An elderly couple was arrested this week after a traffic stop turned into a drug bust that led to Nebraska Sheriff’s Deputies posing proudly with 60 pounds of cannabis that the couple was transporting across the country to gift to family members as Christmas presents.

Patrick Jiron, 80, and his wife Barbara, 70, were travelling from their home in Clearlake Oaks, California, to visit family in Massachusetts and Vermont in their Toyota Tacoma, when they were stopped in Nebraska for driving over the center line and failing to signal, according to a report from the York News-Times.

The deputies who stopped the vehicle claimed that they could “immediately smell the strong odor of raw marijuana,” and the county’s canine unit “alerted to the presence of a controlled substance and a probable cause search was conducted of the vehicle.”

It is not clear whether the police dog was already on the scene at the time of the traffic stop, or whether the officer called for backup. Lt. Paul Vrbka told the News-Times that after a search was conducted, 60 pounds of cannabis was found in boxes inside the pickup topper of the truck. He claimed that the street value is around $336,000.

They said the marijuana was for Christmas presents,” Vrbka said.

Those Christmas gifts were seized, and Mr. and Mrs. Jiron were arrested on felony charges of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver. A follow-up report noted that while Patrick Jiron was jailed and has since been released after he posted 10 percent of his $100,000 bond, Barbara Jiron was cited, but was not jailed “due to some medical issues.”

Residents in the couple’s home state of California voted to legalize cannabis for recreational use in November 2016. Recreational cannabis sales will become legal in California on Jan. 1, and because of the change in the state’s drug laws, nearly 500,000 people who have been labeled as felons for cannabis-related charges, could have their convictions cleared.

Cannabis is also legal in Massachusetts, and it has been decriminalized in Vermont—the two locations where Mr. and Mrs. Jiron said they were delivering 60 pounds of the plant as Christmas gifts. However, cannabis is still illegal in Nebraska, where the couple was stopped by police. In Nebraska, possession of more than 1 pound of cannabis is considered a Class IV felony, which is punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Lt. Vrbka told the News-Times that the couple told the deputies who arrested them that “they didn’t know it was illegal to transport marijuana in Nebraska.” 

As The Free Thought Project has reported, police officers in the United States have a history of targeting the elderly for possession of cannabis, even when they obtain it legally. In one case, a man was traveling from California to Texas to visit his granddaughter, who was suffering from a terminal illness. His car was searched during a traffic stop because he admitted that he had a marijuana pipe—however, he obtained it legally with a prescription in California.

In another case, four months after police received a call from a woman who claimed that her identity was stolen, they decided to investigate, and they happened upon a 77-year-old man’s cannabis plants by mistake. Even though he was not harming or threatening anyone with his peaceful possession of the plants, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com

Hollywood’s Top 6 Problems of 2017: Ticket Sales Collapse, Dead Franchises, JLaw, and Sex Abuse

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by John Nolte, Breitbart:

Below is a list of Hollywood’s top six problems coming out of a rather disastrous 2017. The 22-year drop in attendance is the least of them.

America is falling out of love with the movies, and that is only because Hollywood fell out of love with us first.

  1. Attendance Hits 22-Year Low

In 1995, the American population was 266 million. Today’s population has increased by almost 60 million, to 325 million. Nevertheless, despite a 22% increase, movie attendance in 2017 is exactly where it was in 1995. With just 1.26 billion tickets sold, a 4 percent decrease over last year, the left-wing Los Angeles Times reports that movie attendance has hit a 22 year low.

The news is not all bad. With price increases, overall ticket sales should only be about 2 percent behind last year. The international box office should see an increase of 2 percent. The bad news, however, is very bad…

  1. The Shrinking Box Office Pie Creates Big Winners and Even Bigger Losers

To begin with, 51 percent of 2017’s total box office revenue was gobbled up by just 20 titles, leaving 145 wide releases to split up the rest. Two studios, Disney and Warner Bros., ate up 40 percent of the pie.

  1. The Serial-Killing of Golden Geese Franchises

The worst news, though, is the 2016 and 2017 deaths of a number of franchises, which represent the golden geese of Tinseltown, the irreplaceable brands vitally necessary in an industry releasing fewer and fewer titles while becoming more and more dependent on $250 million all-in gambles that require a global take of $600 million just to break even.

Dead or faltering franchises include — Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, Planet of the Apes, Blade Runner, Cars, Alien, xXx, Underworld, Resident Evil, Smurfs, Justice League, Saw, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Star Trek, Independence Day, Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Ice Age, Jack Reacher, The Da Vinci Code.

Franchises that exploded on take-off include — The Mummy, King Arthur, The Dark Tower, Valerian.

Oh, and 2017 also lost an entire genre — the R-rated comedy.

  1. The Rare Breed of the Movie Star Is Getting Rarer

Also damaged are a number of once-reliable actors who could at least ensure a respectable opening.

Matt Damon has three epic flops on his résumé this year, Downsizing (a catastrophe that opened wide Friday and will not clear $10 million), Suburbicon (total gross $5.7 million), and The Great Wall ($45 million). Damon had already lost the goodwill of Red America with his obnoxious politics. His recent statements downplaying Hollywood’s sexual misconduct scandal have probably cost him everyone else.

Add to that list Jennifer Lawrence, whose big, ignorant, bigoted mouth has turned her into box office poison. This year’s Mother! was a massive flop that opened to just $7.5 million and topped out at $17 million. Last year, her big-budget Christmas release, Passengers, crashed and burned with just a $14.8 million opening.  X-Men: Apocalypse, Joy, and the final two chapters of the Hunger Games series all under-performed.

After the surprise success of Trainwreck, Amy Schumer seemed poised to own the comedy box office, but her own polarizing, ignorant mouth appears to have undone her career before it really began. Despite co-starring with the much-beloved Goldie Hawn in Snatched, the $42 million comedy lost tens of millions with a total worldwide gross of just $61 million.

Thank You For Your Service wisely hid Schumer’s participation, but word still leaked, and it is not unreasonable to believe that had something to do with its box office humiliation of just $9.4 million.

  1. Star Wars Stumbles

Even The Last Jedi, while still a smash, is under-performing. After eight days, the eighth chapter in the iconic franchise has grossed an impressive $321 million, but that is $120 million behind The Force Awakens, and even trails Jurassic World by $4 million.

The Last Jedi looks to be on pace to squeak over $600 million domestic, some $300-plus million behind its predecessor. Moreover, when you adjust for inflation, chapter eight will fall way behind the much derided prequel, The Phantom Menace ($807 million), and way behind The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi ($877 million and $840 million, respectively).

Read More @ Breitbart.com

Downsizing Government: EPA Shrinks By More Than 700 Workers Since Trump Too Office

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by Tim Brown, Freedom Outpost:

Since taking office in January 2017, President Donald Trump has overseen the shrinking of the unconstitutional Environmental Protection Agency by more than 700 workers, and that’s a positive thing for Americans.

The story comes by way of The New York Times & ProPublica, both of which are clearly in support of bigger government.

WASHINGTON — More than 700 people have left the Environmental Protection Agency since President Trump took office, a wave of departures that puts the administration nearly a quarter of the way toward its goal of shrinking the agency to levels last seen during the Reagan administration.

Of the employees who have quit, retired or taken a buyout package since the beginning of the year, more than 200 are scientists. An additional 96 are environmental protection specialists, a broad category that includes scientists as well as others experienced in investigating and analyzing pollution levels. Nine department directors have departed the agency as well as dozens of attorneys and program managers. Most of the employees who have left are not being replaced.

The departures reflect poor morale and a sense of grievance at the agency, which has been criticized by President Trump and top Republicans in Congress as bloated and guilty of regulatory overreach. That unease is likely to deepen following revelations that Republican campaign operatives were using the Freedom of Information Act to request copies of emails from E.P.A. officials suspected of opposing Mr. Trump and his agenda.

The cuts deepen a downward trend at the agency that began under the Obama administration in response to Republican-led budget constraints that left the agency with about 15,000 employees at the end of his term. The reductions have accelerated under President Trump, who campaigned on a promise to dramatically scale back the E.P.A., leaving only what he called “little tidbits” in place. Current and former employees say unlike during the Obama years, the agency has no plans to replace workers, and they expect deeper cuts to come.

If you recall, immediately after taking office, President Trump signed an executive order that for every new regulation, two regulations must be revoked.

Apparently, that has had a strong effect on the EPA and other agencies.

Read More @ FreedomOutpost.com

The Assassination Attempt on Ex-CIA Cody Snodgres and Why Some Sources Must Remain Confidential

by Dave Hodges, The Common Sense Show:

One of the most common questions I receive from my audience is “How did you know about ____? Prying out government secrets is a relatively easy thing to do if one has  adhere to a set of protocols. I am hopeful that our audience will understand why we sometimes must use unnamed sources. And Cody Snodgres should have remained unnamed.

Open Source Information

The easiest way to obtain classified information is through the Internet. The government stores an estimated 80% of its secrets online. However, the information is stored in multiple places and each location is usually incomplete and one has to know how to connect the dots of information that arises out of multiple sources. Modesty aside, connecting the dots is something that I do well. In fact, I was recruited to follow in my father’s footsteps and enter intelligence work and the Naval Academy was the selected venue. I turned it down as I did an offer that came from the CIA after I graduated from college and it was a case of the fruit does not fall very far from the tree.

Compiling open source data is burdensome but an effective means of figuring out what the more nefarious parts of the government are up to.

The Art of Obtaining Sensitive Information: Getting Sources to Talk

In order to go beyond the normal release of contrived information that is distributed to the MSM from intelligence sources (ie mostly boldfaced lies), one has to have a counter-balance and a strategy that includes developing the ability to obtain accurate information from deep cover sources who are in a position to know what can’t be obtained by FOIA requests background checks or from government-based data websites. Although as an aside, I could make a living just writing books on what I can obtain from government websites that would contradict many of the major stories released by the MSM which I refer to as factories of misinformation.

A related question that I get asked by people is how do you obtain your inside sources? First, many in the Independent Media (IM) will get contacted by an individual with a story to tell, but the IM person has the wrong demeanor and the source will back away. Reporters are sometimes too blunt and try to rush the story. One has to remember that a confidential source’s biggest fear is that they will be discovered. In fact, a common trick used by informants is to have a trusted personal source make first contact with the IM just to see if the reporter can be trusted. This strategy also prevents the NSA from identifying a source through things like voice recognition software. Also, one has to have the right demeanor to interact with a source, or most often a proxy source, which is very common.

Given that my father possessed some of the nation’s top military and technology secrets put me in a unique position to know many people who had access to similar information and I was raised in an environment where one had to adopt the proper demeanor and part of that included learning not to ask embarrassing questions. Additionally, I developed the demeanor on knowing how to talk to informant by merely facilitating the conversation as would a mental health therapist, of which I used to be  in that line of work. One of my most effective questions that has yielded good results is “What do you want to tell me that you are afraid to let me know”. Or, “How much can you tell me without putting my life in jeopardy”? These types of questions can reveal some very petinent information.

Once one “taps into a sensitive area”,  with a good source, it attracts like-minded insiders who want to get something off of their chest, especially if the revleation is incomplete. I call this the “echo effect”. I have put out stories only to have more damning information come my way because of the desire of most people to tell the entire story.  I have learned that many of the people who work in our maligned organizations (eg DEA, FBI, and even the CIA) are actually good people who care about the country and want to come forward because unfolding events can negatively impact their children. This is why operatives will often tell you that they don’t fear dying themselves, however, by the time that many of these people reach me, they have already been generally told if they talk, their families will be killed, or even that their children will be put into horrific sex-slavery rings (very common) after their parents die in a car accident (eg Boston Brakes). Among intelligence operatives, this is a very common threat and a legitimate fear. Also, the threat of being framed and implicated in sex crimes against children is another popular threat designed to enforce complicit silence.

Read More @ TheCommonSenseShow.com

Massive FBI corruption forces Deputy FBI Director to retire early

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by Alex Christoforou, The Duran:

Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe set to retire early.

The real US election collusion has surfaced, and it involved the DOJ and FBI working in unison, first to prevent Donald Trump from winning the White House, and then putting together an “insurance policy” (in the form of a salacious and disgusting dossier) to handicap the Trump Administration once in power.

One of the main players in the FBI’s collusion against American Democracy, Hillary Clinton supporter and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, is being forced to retire early next year after his corruption was fully exposed by text messages uncovered between his subordinate and mistress.

The Gateway Pundit reports that McCabe’s retirement announcement comes on the heels of a major shake up at the FBI; Wray just removed Comey “confidant” and suspected leaker James Baker from his top post as general counsel.

Via WaPo…

Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s deputy director who has been the target of Republican critics for more than a year, plans to retire in a few months when he becomes fully eligible for pension benefits, according to people familiar with the matter.

*****

Start your own website here >>

McCabe won’t become eligible for his full pension until early March. People close to him say he plans to retire as soon as he hits that mark. “He’s got about 90 days, and some of that will be holiday time. He can make it,’’ said one.

A spokesman for McCabe declined to comment, as did an FBI spokesman.

The pressure on McCabe has only intensified, though. He got an eight-hour grilling from the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, and returned to Congress on Thursday to face more than nine hours of questions from the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.

Other senior FBI officials, including those who worked closely with McCabe and Comey, are expected to face similar questioning from Congress next year.

The Gateway Pundit reports…

Andrew McCabe took a grilling in a closed door testimony last week which left many saying he would be fired from his position as FBI Deputy Director.

McCabe treated Hillary’s criminal email investigation with kid gloves.

As previously reported, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) revealed on Fox News Friday that email evidence from FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe indicates the Hillary Clinton email probe was coded “HQ Special.” The term suggests the probe did not follow standard investigative procedures, likely ‘softening,’ the bureau’s findings.

Read More @ TheDuran.com

Assange’s Twitter Mysteriously Vanishes After Seth Rich Hint, WikiLeaks Raid, & CIA Threats

by Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project:

Following a Tweet in which Julian Assange hinted that Seth rich was the source for leaked Clinton emails, WikiLeaks was raided and Assange’s Twitter has vanished.

UPDATE: Assange’s Twitter is back up and running. However, he’s made no statement of his missing account and he now appears to be following 25 accounts in spite of only following WikiLeaks before the disappearance. The number of people following Assange also drastically decreased. Adding to the cryptic nature of this event, the US Navy tweeted “Julian Assange” in quotes this morning.

Late Sunday night, Twitter erupted in panic after it was discovered that the page belonging to WikiLeak’s political prisoner, Julian Assange, had completely vanished. The disappearance of Assange’s Twitter is particularly ominous as it follows a tweet in which he referred to a video naming Seth Rich as the source for the leaked Clinton emails as “Brilliant.” What’s more, around the same time Assange made that Tweet, masked men in black broke into the WikiLeak’s office amid rising threats from US intelligence actors.

Read more @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com

FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR MCCABE ‘RETIRING’ AFTER ‘TRUMP INSURANCE POLICY’ DEBACLE

from Infowars:

Seeking a way to escape Russia probe scrutiny

Just hours after the FBI’s top lawyer, James Baker, was reassigned, WaPo reports that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will retire in a few months – once he becomes fully eligible for pension benefits.

McCabe, who has been the target of Republican critics for more than a year, spent hours in Congress this past week, facing questions behind closed doors from members of three committees.

Republicans said they were dissatisfied with his answers:

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), has called for McCabe’s ouster, saying he “ought to go for reasons of being involved in some of the things that took place in the previous administration. We want to make sure that there’s not undue political influence within the FBI — the [Justice] Department and the FBI.”

Democrats called it a partisan hounding:

Democrats emerging from Thursday’s questioning of McCabe urged him to resist Republicans’ calls to step down, saying the GOP’s new focus on McCabe smells of political opportunism. “Mr. McCabe should in no way be fired by biased political commentary,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.).

But whichever it was, The Washington Post reports, according to people familiar with the matter, McCabe plans to retire in a few months when he becomes fully eligible for pension benefits.

As a reminder, McCabe was former director James B. Comey’s right-hand man, a position that involved him in most of the FBI’s actions that vex President Trump as well as the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, a matter that still riles Democrats.

McCabe won’t become eligible for his full pension until early March. People close to him say he plans to retire as soon as he hits that mark.

“He’s got about 90 days, and some of that will be holiday time. He can make it,’’ said one.

A spokesman for McCabe declined to comment, as did an FBI spokesman.

There is good reason to question McCabe’s perspective and un-biasedness…

His wife, a Democratic candidate for a Virginia Senate seat in 2015, had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the political action committee led by a close ally of the Clintons. He had also been part of discussions with Justice Department officials that critics said prevented FBI agents from more aggressively pursuing their investigation of the Clinton Foundation. Agents were trying to determine if donations to the foundation were made with an expectation of government favors from Clinton or her allies.

After reports about those issues surfaced in October 2016, then-candidate Trump singled out McCabe for criticism, and congressional Republicans demanded detailed answers from the FBI about his role in the Clinton probes — questions they insist remain unanswered.

McCabe’s role is being examined by the Justice Department’s inspector general, who has said a report on how the Clinton probe was handled should be finished by spring.

Republicans are also focusing on the FBI’s relationship with the author of a dossier containing allegations against Trump. The bureau offered to pay the author of that document after the election to keep pursuing leads and information, but the agreement was never finalized, The Washington Post reported earlier this year.

And most recently, one of his senior advisers, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, had exchanged numerous pro-Clinton and anti-Trump text messages with Peter Strzok, the top FBI agent on Mueller’s probe. Strzok was removed by Mueller when he learned of their communications; Page had left the Mueller team two weeks earlier for what officials said were unrelated reasons. In one text, Strzok texted that he thought Clinton should win “100,000,000-0.’’

Read More @ Infowars.com

Wife of Fusion GPS founder admits her husband was behind fake “Russiagate” story

by Alexander Christoforou, The Duran:

She bragged about it on her Facebook page.

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.

*****

In a Facebook post from June 24, 2017, that Tablet has seen in screenshots, Jacoby claimed that her husband deserves the lion’s share of credit for Russiagate. (She has not replied to repeated requests for comment.) “It’s come to my attention that some people still don’t realize what Glenn’s role was in exposing Putin’s control of Donald Trump,” Jacoby wrote. “Let’s be clear. Glenn conducted the investigation. Glenn hired Chris Steele. Chris Steele worked for Glenn.”This assertion is hardly a simple assertion of family pride; it goes directly to the nature of what became known as the “Steele dossier,” on which the Russiagate narrative is founded.

Start your own website here >>

The Gateway Pundit reports that the news of the Facebook post comes amid heightened scrutiny for the opposition research firm. According to Fox News reporter Jake Gibson, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called on a senior Justice Department attorney to look into appointing a special counsel to investigate recently demoted official Bruce Ohr’s contacts with Fusion GPS.

“Sessions on calls for a special counsel to look into Sr DOJ Official Bruce Ohr, and wife Nellie’s contacts with Fusion GPS during the summer and fall of 2016: I’ve put a Senior Attorney, with the resources he may need, to review cases in our office and make a recommendation to me, if things aren’t being pursued that need to be pursued, if cases may need more resources to complete in a proper manner, and to recommend to me if the standards for a special counsel are met, and the recommended one should be established,” tweeted Fox News reporter Jake Gibson on Tuesday.

Fox News‘ James Rosen and Jake Gibson recently reported the wife of Justice Department official Bruce G. Ohr worked for the opposition research firm during the 2016 presidential election.

Fox News reports…

Contacted by Fox News, investigators for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) confirmed that Nellie H. Ohr, wife of the demoted official, Bruce G. Ohr, worked for the opposition research firm last year. The precise nature of Mrs. Ohr’s duties – including whether she worked on the dossier – remains unclear but a review of her published works available online reveals Mrs. Ohr has written extensively on Russia-related subjects. HPSCI staff confirmed to Fox News that she was paid by Fusion GPS through the summer and fall of 2016.

In a statement to Fox News, a Justice Department spokesperson noted that…

“It is unusual for anyone to wear two hats as he has done recently. This person is going to go back to a single focus—director of our organized crime and drug enforcement unit. As you know, combatting transnational criminal organizations and drug trafficking is a top priority for the Attorney General.”

Read More @ TheDuran.com