RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week

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RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week
Nov. 10 to Nov. 16, 2019


Featured Investigation
The Brennan Dossier: All About a
Prime Mover of Russiagate 

Former CIA chief John Brennan was a central architect and promoter of the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory from its inception, a comprehensive new report from RealClearInvestigations finds. Aaron Maté connects the dots of details that have slowly come to light: 

  • Contrary to a general impression that the FBI launched the Trump-Russia probe, Brennan pushed it to the bureau.  
  • Brennan also supplied suggestive but ultimately false information to counterintelligence investigators and other U.S. officials.  
  • Leveraging his close proximity to President Obama, Brennan sounded the alarm about alleged Russian interference to the White House, and was tasked with managing the U.S. intelligence community's response.  
  • Brennan shut out other intelligence agencies and, while some FBI officials doubted the Trump-Russia narrative, he insisted on its veracity.  
  • To substantiate his claims, Brennan relied on a Kremlin informant who had limited access to Putin’s inner circle.   
  • Breaking with CIA tradition, Brennan intruded into domestic politics, pushing into the public arena then-secret Trump-Russia collusion allegations in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election. 
  • Brennan is unlikely to escape scrutiny from a Justice Department criminal inquiry of Russiagate, which is examining how intelligence "flowed from the C.I.A. to the F.B.I." 

Meanwhile, a CIA analyst hired and placed in the White House by Brennan is the catalyst for the current Democrat-led impeachment effort against President Trump. 

The Trump Investigations: Top Articles

Impeachment Hearings Open: Hearsay on New Trump Call, Washington Post
Dueling Right-Left Impeachment Echo ChambersAxios 
Obama NSC 'Detailees' Led Trump Opposition, Washington Times 
Schiff Transcript Named 'Whistleblower' Week After RCI, Federalist 
IG Complaint Blows Whistle on 'Whistleblower' Raising Funds, Fox News 
What Biden Did in Ukraine, New York Times 
At United Nations: Obama, Clinton Alumni Battle Trump, Daily Caller
Roger Stone, Mueller GOP Target, Guilty of 7 'Process' Crimes, NBC


Featured Investigation
LGBTQ Education Is Gaining
in Public Schools, Pre-K on Up

Starting in kindergarten and in some cases pre-K, public schoolkids across the country are increasingly being taught about gender fluidity and gay and transgender historical figures, John Murawski reports for RealClearInvestigations: 

  • This year alone, four states – New Jersey, Illinois, Colorado and Oregon – enacted policies requiring public schools to include the contributions of LGBTQ people.  
  • At a recent “Equity Week” in suburban Chicago, pre-K and kindergarten kids read “I Am Jazz,” a picture book about a transgender girl, and “My Princess Boy,” about a gender-nonconforming boy who likes to dress in girls’ clothing.  
  • First-graders made transgender flags and practiced using gender-neutral pronouns, while second-graders were introduced to concepts like “gay,” “lesbian” and “non-binary.”  
  • Second- and third-graders deconstructed the Cinderella fairy tale for gender bias and rewrote it in a non-biased way.  
  • Fourth- and fifth-graders looked at masculinity, femininity and androgyny in advertising. By the end of this lesson, the teaching materials say, “students will notice which aspects of their identity match certain gender norms and start to discuss ‘breaking the binary.’” 
  • Advocates say the reforms offer a more truthful version of history while promoting inclusive schools.  
  • Critics say some of the material amounts to state indoctrination of the very young. 
  • Attorney General William Barr warns of threats to religious liberty. 


Other Noteworthy Articles and Series

China's Inflicting a Muslim Kristallnacht. Satellite Images Are Proof
Washington Post 
In a cultural genocide with few parallels since World War II, the Chinese government has destroyed thousands of Muslim religious sites, Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt writes. It has confined at least 1 million Muslims in camps, where aging imams are shackled and young men are forced to renounce their faith. Muslims not locked away are forced to eat during the fasting month of Ramadan, forced to drink and smoke in violation of their faith, barred from praying or studying the Koran or making the pilgrimage to Mecca. And – in possibly the most astonishing feature of this crime against humanity – China has managed to stifle, through 21st century repression and age-old thuggery, virtually any reporting from the crime scene. This article is illustrated with striking before-and-after satellite images that show the destruction. 

Thousands Face Danger Because of Aging U.S. Dams 
Associated Press 
Deaths from dam failures have declined since a series of catastrophic collapses in the 1970s prompted the federal government and states to step up their safety efforts. Yet about 1,000 dams have failed over the past four decades, killing 34 people. A review of public records laws identified 1,688 high-hazard dams in 44 states and Puerto Rico. The actual number is almost certainly higher: Some states declined to provide condition ratings for their dams, claiming exemptions to public record requests. Built for flood control, irrigation, water supply, hydropower, recreation or industrial waste storage, the nation’s dams are over a half-century old on average. Yet they are being relied upon to protect more and more people as housing developments spring up nearby. It would take more than $70 billion to repair and modernize the nation’s more than 90,000 dams. But unlike much other infrastructure, most U.S. dams are privately owned. 

Google Secretly Gathers Health Data on Millions in U.S. 
Wall Street Journal 
Google is engaged in a secret project with one of the country's largest health-care systems to collect and crunch the detailed personal health information of millions of Americans across 21 states ,reportedly to improve care. The initiative, code-named "Project Nightingale," appears to be the largest in a series of efforts by Silicon Valley giants to gain access to personal health data and establish a toehold in the massive health-care industry. The data cover patients' complete health history, including names and dates of birth. Neither patients nor doctors have been notified. Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are also aggressively pushing into health care, though they haven't yet struck deals of this scope. 

John Solomon, Ukraine Reporter Trump Trusts 
New York Times 
The gaslighting of the American people continues in the columns of the nation’s most celebrated news outlets. After the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory they pushed for years was debunked, they doubled down by claiming anyone who questioned them and their “official” sources was advancing a fact-free, crazy conspiracy theory. A few outlets have also penned hit pieces on the journalist John Solomon, whose reporting has long challenged the official narrative. The New York Times this week ran an especially vicious piece that included quotes from government officials claiming Solomon’s work was filled with “non-truths and non sequiturs” and another who asserted, “His grammar might have been right.” The article presented nothing about what these falsehoods might have been. To use a favorite trope of the Times, the sources presented no evidence to support these claims. Despite its nasty tone, the article did have its lighter moments. Given how Times reporters have long served as stenographers for political figures – that’s how we got the Trump-Russia hoax – one could only laugh when the paper reported that Solomon’s “techniques blur the boundaries meant to keep journalist-source relationships at an arm’s length.” It also had some irony as one of the writers on the piece, Kenneth P. Vogel, wrote a 2017 piece for Politico reporting the Ukrainian officials were scrambling to get in Trump’s good graces because had they worked so hard during the campaign to defeat him. That, of course, is now considered a conspiracy theory.  

Trump Allies Got Well Off Fed Health Contract 
At least eight former Trump figures were hired as outside contractors to the federal health department at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. They were among at least 40 consultants who worked on a one-year, $2.25 million contract directed by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma. The contractors were hired to burnish Verma’s personal brand and provide “strategic communications” support. They charged up to $380 per hour for work traditionally handled by dozens of career civil servants in CMS's communications department. The GOP consultants mostly worked as subcontractors through Nahigian Strategies, which is run by brothers Ken and Keith Nahigian. The former led the Trump transition team in early 2017; the latter worked for multiple GOP presidential campaigns. 

Campus Journalists vs. Censorious Students 
New York Times 
It’s the best of times and the worst of times at college newspapers. Let’s start with the worst: After covering protests of a campus speech by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, editors at the Daily Northwestern apologized for posting photographs of protesters on social media, and for using the school directory to attempt to contact students. By contrast, the editors at the Harvard Crimson have not backed down as many other students and student organizations have attacked them from seeking comment from Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a story about protests against immigration policy. At issue in both cases, and similar ones around the country, is the tension between the longstanding tradition of balanced reporting a growing feeling among some students that many issues don’t have two sides and journalists should do a better job of taking people’s feelings into account. In a separate article for City Journal, John Tierney reported on similar tensions at professional newsrooms. 

Liz Warren's 'Billionaire Tears' Mug Sells Through Billionaire's Firm 
Daily Caller 
A billionaire could get even richer thanks to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s new “Billionaire Tears” mug. The $25 mug, which Warren’s presidential campaign introduced Wednesday, is sold through Shopify, a Canadian e-commerce company whose founder and CEO, Tobias Lütke, is worth an estimated $2.8 billion. “Savor a warm, slightly salty beverage of your choice in this union-made mug as you contemplate all the good a wealth tax could do: universal healthcare, student debt cancellation, universal free college, and more,” the mug’s product page states. And think about Lütke laughing all the way to his Canadian bank. 

He Told Kid: Slide Into Third Base. Then He Got Sued. 
John Suk, a 31-year-old middle school teacher from Somerset, N.J., is being sued for allegedly destroying the future of a teenager he was supposed to protect, of taking a reckless course of action that showed a callous disregard for another person's safety. “He sounds like an awful person,” the reporter explains. “Then you remember what Suk did to end up here. He instructed a player he was coaching during a junior varsity baseball game to slide. Not into an active volcano. Not into a shark tank. Into third base.” The reporter says he thought the civil court case would provide some laughs. It is, he says, deadly serious. “If Suk is found liable for an injury that took place because of that slide — and if a seven-figure check is written because of his actions — what will happen to high school sports? Who will sign up for these coaching jobs knowing their reputation and livelihood might be in jeopardy? And how long before school districts drop sports entirely rather than pay skyrocketing insurance premiums?  

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