Infamous internet entrepreneur and hacker Kim DotCom raised a lot of eyebrows over the weekend after he tweeted saying he knew DNC employee Seth Rich and he knew Rich was the Wikileaks contact. He’s not only saying he knew it, he’s saying he’ll go as far as testifying that Rich was the Wikileaks contact.

Kim DotCom says that if Congress will include the Seth Rich case in their Russia probe he will supply written testimony and evidence linking Rich to the DNC email dump via Wikileaks.

This is an explosive revelation, one that Fox News host Sean Hannity immediately jumped on.

As if this wasn’t enough to thicken the plot, an anonymous source who claims to work in Washington D.C. is out on social media explaining how DNC contacts are extremely panicked about the Seth Rich case. The individual wrote the following:

“Anons, I work in D.C.

I know for certain that the Seth Rich case has scared the shit out of certain high ranking current and former Democratic Party officials.

This is the reason why they have backed away from impeachment talk. They know the smoking gun is out there, and they’re terrified you will find it, because when you do it will bring the entire DNC, along with a couple of very big name politicians.

It appears that certain DNC thugs were not thorough enough when it came time to cover their tracks. Podesta saying he wanted to “make an example of the leaker” is a huge smoking gun.”

And followed it up with:

“The behavior is near open panic. To even mention this name in D.C. Circles [sic] will bring you under automatic scrutiny. To even admit that you have knowledge of this story puts you in immediate danger.

If there was no smoke there would be no fire. I have never, in my 20 years of working in D.C. Seen [sic] such a panicked reaction from anyone.

I have strong reason to believe that the smoking gun in this case is out o [sic] the hands of the conspirators, and will be discovered by anon. I know for certain that Podesta is deeply concerned. He’s been receiving anonymous calls and emails from people saying they know the truth. Same with Hillary.”

As a reminder, Seth Rich was a tech guru at the DNC when he was shot in the back. None of his belongings were stolen, yet law enforcement ruled his murder was a botched robbery.

It’s clear Rich was murdered in cold blood. What isn’t clear is why. But we know Rich had the capability and access levels required to hack and steal tens of thousands of DNC emails.

Let’s take three at once here.

First, the alleged Comey Memo.  If that memo is real — that is, if there really was a conversation between Trump and Comey in which he tried to talk Comey out of investigating Mike Flynn then there’s real trouble brewing.  What’s worse is that from reports thus far it appears the memo does exist.

That’s impeachable.  It might, depending on the context, also be Obstruction of Justice, but I strongly doubt that it’s able to be prosecuted without some sort of attendant threat.

It’s not criminal to say that someone’s a “good guy” and ask if an investigation can be concluded.  It becomes criminal if there’s a threat communicated that is linked to the statement and no, the fact that you can fire someone doesn’t make the statement into a threat.

So this is probably not an actual crime, but remember that impeachment is a political remedy, not a criminal one and therefore whether someone can be indicted is neither required or necessary.  It just happens to be a bar that, if you can jump it, makes impeachment far more likely to succeed.

Politically it would be suicidal for the Republican Party to support an impeachment over this issue and thus they won’t, provided it stands alone and nothing else of substance appears that is linked to it.

Where the calculus changes immediately and irrevocably is if there is more; that is, if there is actual proof of some sort of collusion with the Russians within the Trump Administration or transition team and this memo proves up.  There is a monstrously-deranged set of views that this “must” exist somewhere, somehow among the Democrat party and although being unable to find and prove it up they cling to it like the hard-right clings to their bibles and anti-gay rhetoric.  Both sorts of irrational garbage are equally destructive, by the way and this one is literally tearing the Democrat Party apart.

I will note that there is no evidence at all for this sort of link as things stand right now and I don’t believe it exists either based on the data that is in the public but if it emerges then Trump is burnt toast.

Second, on the so-called classified data allegedly given to the Russians in the meeting in the Oval Office.  So what?

Folks, there are two non-issues here.  First, the President can declare anything, classified or not, sharable with anyone he wishes.  I remind you that Obama did this repeatedly with various foreign state actors in the context of terrorism.  Second, in that context I’d hope the President would do so if it advances the cause of catching or killing those jackasses.  Nobody said a single word when Obama did the same thing, and the reason for it simple: It not only isn’t illegal or improper it’s expected and normal.  If you’re deranged enough to go after Trump on this then you might want to consider consuming a whole bottle of Drano, as doing so would measurably improve the collective IQ of the country.

Finally, Seth Rich.  Over the last few days there have emerged claims that Seth Rich just prior to being murdered did send tens of thousands of emails to Wikileaks.  I remind you that when Seth was alleged shot in a “robbery” not one thing was taken from him.  I said at the time that this alleged “robbery story” stunk to high Hell and it now appears evidence is emerging that he in fact was the leaker to Wikileaks on the DNC materials and thus the odds are extremely high, given the proximity of his murder to him doing so, that he was murdered because someone found out that he had done so.  This is very plausible and it required only that someone was watching him at the time.

If Seth Rich was murdered for leaking DNC materials to Wikileaks then he was politically assassinated and that points straight back at the Clintons, Obama and the DNC generally.

That, my friends, should be the story here.

Originally published at Market Ticker.

A massive ransomware worm shut down computers all over the world over the weekend, in part by appropriating a National Security Agency (NSA) exploit that the mysterious group called Shadow Brokers released to the public last month.

The virus encrypts user files and demands a ransom in Bitcoin to release them.

Image result for ransomware screenshot

ArsTechnica reported last Friday:

The malware, known as Wanna, Wannacry, or Wcry, has infected at least 75,000 computers, according to antivirus provider Avast. AV provider Kaspersky Lab said organizations in at least 74 countries have been affected, with Russia being disproportionately affected, followed by Ukraine, India, and Taiwan. Infections are also spreading through the United States. The malware is notable for its multi-lingual ransom demands, which support more than two-dozen languages.

On Sunday, Europol Director Rob Wainwright said, “The global reach is unprecedented. The latest count is over 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries, and those victims, many of those will be businesses, including large corporations.”

Microsoft pinned blame on the U.S. government for not disclosing more software vulnerabilities, reports Reuters:

In a blog post on Sunday, Microsoft President Brad Smith appeared to tacitly acknowledge what researchers had already widely concluded: The ransomware attack leveraged a hacking tool, built by the U.S. National Security Agency, that leaked online in April.

“This is an emerging pattern in 2017,” Smith wrote. “We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world.”

“This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem,” Smith wrote. He added that governments around the world should “treat this attack as a wake-up call” and “consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits.”

British security researcher MalwareTech found and pulled WannaCrypt’s kill switch. An explanation of how it was done is provided here: How I Accidentally Stopped a Global Wanna Decryptor Ransomware Attack.

Despite that fix, the problem is growing, reports Zero Hedge:

However, new variants of the rapidly replicating malware were discovered Sunday. One did not include the so-called kill switch that allowed researchers to interrupt the malware’s spread Friday by diverting it to a dead end on the internet.

As Bloomberg reports that Matt Suiche, founder of United Arab Emirates-based cyber security firm Comae Technologies warns a new version of the ransomware may have also been spreading over the weekend.

About 50% of machines that would have spread the infection by the second variation of the malware have Russian I.P. addresses, according to Suiche.

Over 40,000 machines appear to have been infected by the second variation of the malware already.

CNET provides additional information on the new version:

The new ransomware demands 0.11943 bitcoin, or about $218. It uses all the same exploits as the WannaCry ransomware, including EternalBlue, a vulnerability first discovered by the NSA and leaked by the hacker group Shadow Brokers in April.

“These appear to be ‘patched’ versions of the original malware, rather than recompiled versions developed by the original authors,” Ryan Kalember, senior vice president of cybersecurity strategy at Proofpoint said.

He predicted that new, mutated variants of the global virus will continue to pop up at an alarming rate. In the last 14 months, Kalember said, there have been new variants of ransomware every two to three days.

You can track the spread of the ransomware on a live tracking map from MalwareTech.

There are some precautions you can take to try to protect your computer from the NSA’s virus, Claire Bernish of The Free Thought Project reports. For that list, please see The NSA’s Virus Can Still Destroy Your Data, Here Are 5 Ways to Make Sure It Won’t.

This report from ABC includes more information on the ransomware and how to protect yourself:

But this is just the tip of the iceberg, as Joe Joseph explains…

Originally published at DailySheeple.

The topic line says it all.  It’s the way both sides of the political aisle shut down discussion on any particular topic they don’t want to have a civilized debate on, especially when money is involved and someone’s scamming someone else.

Take the abortion issue generally.  What always comes out at a pro-life march?  Photos of an aborted fetus.

Why? Because it’s guaranteed to nail the emotional response button and as soon as you accomplish that rational debate and discussion on any public policy matter ends.

Where did it start this time?  With a TV host who made an issue out his newborn kid that had a congenital problem and required immediate and very expensive surgery to correct.  He waved the aborted fetus picture and got Obama to chime in immediately on Obamacare and the AHCA.

Then I had a guy who ran that same crap in my thread on my reform bill proposal.  I banhammered him and explained why — that I simply will not tolerate the waving of “aborted fetus pictures” on any topic here and his was one of the most-egregious examples I’d seen in my time writing The Ticker.

So let’s analyze the root of these issues in the context of health care, without waving said pictures around.  Be warned, however, if you choose to comment: I don’t do the aborted fetus thing and if you try it you’ll get banhammered too.  Keep the discussion on policy rather than trying to play the “emotional” game and you’ll be fine.

These issues all turn on what are called “pre-existing conditions”, for the most part.  All of them are very expensive in our current medical system.  About 5% of the population have them in the most-serious (expensive) form at any given point in time but up to a quarter of the population has them in some form or fashion in a means that may not be ruinously expensive now but it will be later.  For the purpose of health insurance how you wound up in that 5% or 25% does not matter — only that you are if in the 5%, or are very likely if in the 25%.  The former will preclude you from being insurable under any rational system because the probability of the bad event is 1.0; it already happened.  The latter will radically increase the cost of being insurable under any rational system because the probability of the bad event approaches 1.0; that is, while it didn’t happen yet it is nearly-certain to do so.  Think of the latter case as being similar to trying to buy house insurance while under a hurricane warning — there’s no guarantee you will get trashed but no insurance company will ever write such a policy because the risk of damage is so high that they’d be crazy to do so.

These issues come in three basic forms distinguished by how and why they occurred.  Let’s enumerate them:

  • Chronic and expensive conditions that are a result of either lifestyle choice or bad luck and which can be relieved or eliminated through a lifestyle change.  Type II diabetes is the poster child for this group and I’ve written an article on the issue called “The Low-Hanging Fruit” for that reason.
  • Chronic and expensive conditions that are a result of lifestyle choice but cannot be relieved through lifestyle changes after the fact.  There are a huge number of conditions for which this applies, including drug or alcohol abuse that has resulted in severe body malfunctions (e.g. cirrhosis, cancer, etc), lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease or strokes as a result of smoking, HIV contracted due to consensual anal sex or IV drug use, the majority of cases of Hepatitis-C (same) and more.  These are all disorders and diseases for which the person involved was responsible for the condition but can’t fix or materially improve it by changing their lifestyle now, although they certainly could prevent or reduce future harm were they to cease whatever they were doing.
  • Chronic and expensive conditions that are the result of bad luck.  We all get one draw at the genetic lottery.  Some of us get a great draw, most of us get an “ok” draw with a few bad spots mixed in, and some get a really crappy draw.  The kid born with hemophilia, a genetic heart defect, Down’s — all are examples.  There are plenty that come along later in life too although many are not obvious.  It used to be that virtually anyone with periodontal disease or a high cavity rate (leading ultimately to root canals and tooth loss) was accused of failing to brush and floss.  We now know that’s false; a huge percentage of the people who have such problems in fact got a bad genetic draw and even with perfect oral hygiene they’re likely to have major problems down the road.

I separate this into three subdebates for a reason, but as a group all three of these are something that a large percentage of the population — somewhere around one quarter of all persons in the country — will fall under at some point in their life, with about 5% of the population under the most-severe (in terms of expense) forms of one of the above in the present tense.

The basic issue with all three is that all are flatly unaffordable under our current medical system.  None are “acute” situations (e.g. a broken leg, a car accident, etc.)

There is a further division found in the latter two of the above categories — whether there is any rational expectation that the condition, even with the most-aggressive treatment, will ever be remedied.

For a huge percentage of the sufferers in the second two categories the answer is no.  If you have MS you will always have MS.  You might control it, at least for a while, but it will never go away.  The same is true for the person with Downs; they will always have Downs.  Ditto for hemophilia.  There are many such disorders and diseases; hell, even Lyme can fall into this category and while many cases are preventable not all are.

One person with such a disorder who goes to work for the hypothetical company with 100 employees can destroy the salary prospects for everyone who works there permanently.  Take the person with MS that has a $70,000 drug they need to take to control their condition.  If they’re hired by an employer with 100 employees that person will literally steal about $1,000 a year from every other employee in the firm for as long as they work there.  Why?  Because with overhead that $70,000 drug is about $100 large and the company will be forced to pay it in the form of medical insurance premium increases.  This means they will be forced to reduce the salaries paid to everyone else by, on average, about $1,000 a year!

What’s even worse is that the employer is forced to conspire with the applicant to screw his or her employees!  It is illegal for an employer to discriminate on this basis and as a result they are actively engaged in stealing the money necessary for that person’s treatment from everyone else on their roster and there is nothing they can do about it. In very severe situations this can actually force a company out of business entirely, at which point everyone winds up out of a job.

This is why “single payer”, incidentally, can’t — and won’t — work.  A “single payer” system provides no incentive for any drug or medical company to figure out any way to reduce that cost — in fact, it provides the exact opposite incentive because everyone gets the treatment!  Single-payer in any form always leads to rationing and the least-able to be paraded around on TV as “victims” are the first to be left out in the cold without a jacket to die.  Governments are brutal in this regard because they’re faceless; witness the fact that everyone “hates” Congress but keeps voting to send their particular Congressperson back to their office!

Let me say this again just in case you missed it in the last paragraph: Single payer will kill 30 million Americans within five years of enactment because government will simply make a list of disorders and diseases sorted by cost and “aborted fetus” factor and draw the line at a point where the cost is high and the  “swing the baby” factor is low.  Anyone with a disease or disorder below the line will have their care denied and will die.  Government won’t do this because it’s “mean”, it will do this because without immediate and continuing collapse in cost the government itself will be unable to fund not only the medical system but the lights in the Capitol.

 A “no insurance” system (at all, at any price) on the other hand provides an incentive for firms to come up with a treatment people can afford to pay because otherwise they die and thus spend zero on health care (or anything else) in the future.  Leave the social side of this alone for a minute and it’s quite clear what happens to cost if you give someone a blank check — and this is demonstrated repeatedly in the real world by the skyrocketing price of chronic disease drugs and treatments.  Obamacare has made this much worse; witness the ratcheting up of Epipens, asthma medications and similar over the last eight years despite the so-called “underpayment” by Medicare and Medicaid that providers continually bleat about.

I’ll just take one example: Epipens.  You may or may not know this but epinephrine, the drug in those pens, costs literal pennies.  A (large) vial intended for veterinary use can be purchased over the counter for under $25.  A 1mg ampule intended for “individual” use (1mg/ml) on humans can be bought for under $5 but requires a prescription.  Diabetic-style syringes cost pennies each.  Note that the usual Epipen dose is 0.3mg which means one “individual” ampule contains about 3 doses; the per-dose cost including the syringe is about $2.00!

It is only the lack of competitive pressure that leads people to be able to charge 100x the retail cost of the supplies for these things, and providing them under ‘insurance’ just makes the problem worse.  If they had to sell them for cash Epipens would be $10 while the company would still make a 500% margin over the cost of the materials for packaging and similar.

For those people in the above three categories the first can be handled quite-effectively by simply cutting them off if they won’t make the required lifestyle change.

There is no answer in any form of public support for the second and third groups.  The only means by which we can resolve that problem in the intermediate and longer term is to stop enabling people to steal a never-increasing cost-spiral from others.  If we do that then companies will be forced to compete and find ways to treat these conditions at prices people can individually afford to pay because the alternative is that they sell nothing.

When you wave the dead fetus around what you are doing is enforcing theft against millions of others.  You are destroying business on purpose by trashing their ability to pay their employees competitive wages because someone with a high-cost condition joins their staff.  If you keep this up for long enough you will keep screaming until the government puts in place single-payer at which point the government will be unable to pay and thus will draw that line on the list of diseases and conditions which will kill millions of Americans outright.

There is one — and only one — answer: We must break the monopolies and enforce existing law.

If everyone has to pay the same price for the same drug or procedure then the only way a company can make money is to provide solutions to problems at a price people can afford to pay.  The 0.1% are, in fact, 0.1%!  If you can’t market your drug, device or procedure to the vast majority of the population of the nation because they can’t afford to buy it then in the medical field you have no market at all since these are not “aspirational” or “luxury” purchases.

This is what it comes down to folks, and if we are to make progress we must stomp on any who try to play a wave the dead fetus game — whether it be politically, in the media or our social circles.

The continuation of our way of life along with the operation of our federal and state governments depend on it.

Story originally published at Market Ticker.

Unless you’re living under a rock you know President Trump shocked the world last night with a surprise move to immediately fire now former FBI Director James Comey. While there was much controversy surrounding Comey, no one expected this move to occur. At least, not now.

But, of course, President Trump is not one to play by the norms of Washington. He does what he thinks is best and what others think is not relevant in that decision making process.

Clearly Trump believed Comey had to go.

And go he did.

Here’s the letter in full followed by a copy of the recommendation letter Sessions sent Trump.

May 9, 2017

Dear Director Comey,

I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.

While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.

It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.

I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors,

Donald J. Trump

Below is the letter Sessions sent to Trump with the recommendation to fire Comey.

Hezbollah is a dangerous, powerful, well armed and well funded terrorist organization. The group sort of began back in 1985 with a public political manifesto pledging complete and total allegiance to Iran. Since then Hezbollah has received political guidance, weapons transfers, military training and funding to the tune of at least $200,000,000 a year from Iran (According to the Pentagon).


Of all the groups receiving U.S. tax dollars, Hezbollah should be one of the most obvious to ensure no funding goes their way at all. Yet it now appears that roughly $600 MILLION of the mountains of cash Obama gave to Iran has indeed made its way to Hezbollah. A transfer that reports suggest happened in cash, from Iran to Hezbollah, using taxpayer dollars Obama took from us and gave to Iran.

More here.

According to a Saudi Arabian newspaper report on April 25th, Hezbollah had received $600 million worth of Iranian aid. The Al-Youm newspaper reported that the aid was transferred almost completely in hard cash, and is being used for the terror group’s institutions and salaries paid to its terrorists and their families.

The suggestion is it was the same funds sent to Iran by the Obama administration.

Al-Youm has an English version called Egypt Independent but the article did not appear in the English version and we can’t verify the report. However, in August 2016, Hezbollah’s leader confirmed that most of their budget is supplied by Iran.

While the media is fixated on fake news about Trump and Russia, most Americans are intentionally blinded from the truth that Barack Obama could very well have been funding terrorism with our money.

To make matters worse, the money was sent to Iran under the explanation that it was necessary to achieve peace.

Think about that for a minute.

Here in the states rowdy protestors will often get treated to a buffet of percussion grenades, smoke bombs, tear gas and sound cannons. Whether or not these activities are heavy handed is often a topic with many different opinions involved. But it never goes beyond that.

Which is good. Because in countries like Venezuela where dictators are in charge there seems to be no limits. Dictators will go to great lengths to ensure their grip on power remains.

Even if it means causing significant risk to lives of the very people they’re supposed to care about.

Such was the case the other day during a protest in Venezuela. As the video below shows, some protestors clashed with law enforcement and a driver of a heavy armor vehicle took matters into his own hands.

Yes, the vehicle smashed through a crowd of protestors, crushing many and dragging them beneath the truck.

This is what you get when your government gets completely out of control.

We’ve had a diverse range of thoughts posted here at today. The consensus here is that the GOP Obamacare amendment is a pain killer when surgery is needed. Too little at a time when monumental action is needed.

But until this post most of the commentary has focused on the fact that Obamacare stays intact and premiums are not likely to come down in costs. Rand Paul, however, brings up another point that just can’t be ignored.

Paul points out that, for the first time, the GOP is now openly and blatantly in the business of heavily subsidizing insurance company profits. In the Obamacare amendment they passed today, those subsidies come in at about 300 to 400 BILLION.

Rand Paul unloaded in a segment with Neil Cavuto, going so far as to call this practice of crony capitalism ‘deplorable.’

Watch the full segment below.

What good is $36,000 in tuition if it doesn’t also teach you how to fail at life? 

Students attending Butler University now have the option to learn everything they need to know about being non-productive in society, how to be triggered and how to retaliate against a President when doing so (for no good reason) accomplishes virtually nothing.

Indeed, Butler is offering a course titled “Trumpism & U.S. Democracy,” a course that provides deep background in Trump’s “perpetuating sexism, white supremacy, xenophobia, nationalism, nativism, and imperialism.” The course description includes this interesting tidbit.

“This course explores why and how this happened, how Trump’s rhetoric is contrary to the foundation of the U.S. democracy, and what his win means for the future.”

Sounds like a winner.

Meanwhile colleges like Butler are cranking out graduates who think they’re entitled to what doesn’t belong to them, feel society isn’t allowed to offend them, don’t believe in free speech and essentially want any opposing views silenced for good.

So why not add fuel to the fire with official courses on how to do it all professionally?

Good grief.

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