RealClearInvestigations Newsletters: RCI Today

RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week

RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week
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RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week
Oct. 24 to Oct. 30, 2021

Featured Investigation:
Clinton '16 Alfa Bank Hoax Scheme
Targeted CIA, DOJ, State

The 2016 Clinton campaign’s effort to trigger a federal investigation into Republican opponent Donald Trump – based on the dubious story of a “secret hotline” to Moscow via a Trump Organization-Alfa Bank backchannel – was far more comprehensive than previously known.

Paul Sperry reports for RealClearInvestigations:

  • Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann’s approach of the FBI with the Alfa Bank story in Sept. 2016 – which ultimately led to his recent indictment – was hardly the only one.
  • The Clinton campaign also fed the story to the Obama administration’s State Department, Justice Department, and Central Intelligence Agency.
  • In October 2016 former British intelligence officer and Clinton campaign subcontractor Christopher Steele pitched it to a State Department contact.
  • The lead ultimately landed with anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok.
  • Team Clinton persisted in pushing the Alfa Bank story even after the election.
  • Top DOJ official Bruce Ohr – husband of Nellie Ohr, an employee of Clinton opposition researcher Fusion GPS, which commissioned Steele’s infamous dossier – advised FBI officials that the story was real, passing along documents from Fusion.
  • In February 2017 Sussmann met with officials in then-CIA Director John Brennan’s general counsel’s office to do the same – a meeting the CIA took in spite of its foreign focus. The agency handed it off to the FBI.
  • After a meeting with old Clinton hands, including current Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Fusion’s Glenn Simpson, FBI analyst-turned-Democrat-operative Daniel Jones rebooted the story and fed it to FBI officials.
  • Source: “The Clinton machine flooded the FBI with pressure from a number of angles until investigations of Trump were opened and reopened. The deception was wide-ranging.”


Featured Investigation
All About the Bidens:
Introducing RealClearInvestigations’
Hunter Biden Reader

RealClearInvestigations this week debuted its Hunter Biden Reader, a standing feature bringing together years of news reports from across the political spectrum documenting the dubious dealings and apparent influence peddling of President Biden's errant son and other family members.

It’s doing so because a year after Democrats and major media suppressed the Hunter Biden story at the peak of his father’s successful presidential run, it’s clearly not fading away in the Biden era:

  • Revelations continue to emerge from the hard drive of Hunter’s abandoned laptop. 
  • The story is also getting major media traction from a critically praised new book on the Bidens by a Politico reporter, who has verified some emails on the laptop. 
  • Ethical outrage continues to boil over anticipated high-priced sales to anonymous big-spenders of novice painter Hunter's abstract mixed-media dabblings.
  • Calls for a special counsel investigation were renewed at a House hearing last week.
  • Polling suggests that the 2020 election might have gone the other way if more voters had known of the laptop, which was discredited by big media outfits and stifled by Facebook and Twitter as they flouted their own standards.
  • To this day, the Wikipedia page for Hunter makes a single passing mention of “a laptop purportedly belonging to Biden.”
  • RCI’s Hunter Biden Reader is hyperlinked chronologically by topic (China, Ukraine, Laptop etc.) in an easily digestible format.


Biden, Trump and the Beltway

Meet Ray Epps, Federally Protected Jan. 6 Provocateur
Was the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol an FBI operation? Since the attack, the FBI has investigated, arrested, and imprisoned hundreds of people mostly for minor misdemeanor trespassing charges. But not Ray Epps. That’s odd because, as this article reports, the Arizona man appears to have been a ringleader of the riot. Video shows him instructing protesters to enter the U.S. Capitol building on January 5 and shepherding crowds toward the Capitol on January 6. His photo was almost immediately added to the FBI’s Capitol Violence Most Wanted List – as suspect #16. On Jan. 11, the Arizona Republic publicly identified him. The FBI did nothing publicly.

Then, on July 1, between the hours of 3:37 a.m. and 5:55 p.m., the FBI finally took action on Ray Epps. But not to prosecute him, or to announce a sweeping investigation or FBI SWAT raid on Epps’s house for all of his phones and electronics. Instead, someone at the FBI quietly and stealthily purged every trace of Ray Epps from the Capitol Riots Most Wanted database.

This article does not nail down why the FBI hasn’t arrested Epps or why it purged his photo from its database. But it does report that the bureau has a long history of embedding operatives – who often push their targets toward action:

This is how you end up with at least 12 FBI informants in a tiny “right-wing” Michigan militia plot from October 2020 (that’s just informants, not even agents), 15 informants in the “right-wing” 2016 Malheur plot, dozens in the 2014 Bundy Ranch affair — including six FBI undercover agents posing as fake documentarians shooting a fake documentary — and the list goes on. 


More Biden, Trump and the Beltway

Garland DoJ Blocks GOP in 1/6 Probe Federalist
40 Gov't Workers Linked to Anti-Gov't Group Rolling Stone
Cloak and Dagger Caper to Spread Russia Collusion Tale Just the News
Clinton Aide Abedin Alleges Sex Assault by Unnamed U.S. Senator  BBC


Other Noteworthy Articles and Series

Politics Guided Facebook's Decision-Making 
Wall Street Journal
Many conservatives claim Facebook discriminates against them. While documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal and covered in its Facebook Files series do not render a verdict on that question, this article reports that employees and their bosses have hotly debated whether and how to restrain right-wing publishers, with more-senior employees often providing a check on agitation from the Facebook rank and file. The documents viewed by the Journal, which don’t capture all employee messaging, didn’t mention equivalent debates over left-wing publications.

Some internal documents show employee antipathy toward conservative media. In 2018, an engineer who had claimed on a message board that Facebook was intolerant of conservatives, left the company. When he took his critique to Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, some Facebook employees criticized him for going on a network “so infamous and biased it can’t even call itself a news channel,” records from the message boards show. Various employees called Mr. Carlson a “white nationalist” and “partisan hack” who “looks as though he’s a Golden Retriever who has been consistently cheated out of a cache of treats.”

Nevertheless, some Facebook employees believed the company was giving conservatives a pass, in large part because right-wing sites are consistently among the best-performing publishers on the platform in terms of engagement. Quote:

In many of the documents reviewed by the Journal, employees discussed whether Facebook was enforcing its rules evenly across the political spectrum. They said the company was allowing conservative sites to skirt the company’s fact-checking rules, publish untrustworthy and offensive content and harm the tech giant’s relationship with advertisers.

How AI Spyware Took Over Schools 
Bloomberg Businessweek
Are schools trying to become parents? As controversies swirl around the country regarding who has the primary authority to decide what children learn, this article reports that many school districts are using software to not just shape childrens’ minds but to control their actions:

At Pekin Community High School, the teachers are something close to omniscient. Education, even in-person education, is digital in the Covid-19 era, and staff members use a piece of software to watch everything students do on school-issued laptops and to keep them off banned websites. The kids are aware. “They pretty much know that they’re being monitored 24/7,” says Cynthia Hinderliter, head of technology at the school outside Peoria, Ill.

Even as schools throughout the U.S. have reopened for full in-person instruction, they’ve generally kept the technologies they picked up during the unending months of Zoom lessons. 

Some parents and privacy groups find the use of tracking software inside classrooms to be disturbing, but many school administrators (and many parents, for that matter) seem to regard those concerns as overblown. Schoolkids already turn over personal data to big companies when they mindlessly scroll through TikTok and Instagram, and surveillance in schools has been around for as long as there have been hall monitors. “I’ve always felt that they’re already being tracked,” says Pekin High’s principal, Joel Schmieg.

Scammers Use Fake Job Ads to Steal Identities
It has become a ubiquitous internet ad, with versions popping up everywhere from Facebook and LinkedIn to smaller sites like Jobvertise: Airport shuttle driver wanted, it says, offering a job that involves picking up passengers for 35 hours a week at an appealing weekly pay rate that works out to more than $100,000 a year. But, this article reports, airports aren't really dangling six-figure salaries for shuttle drivers. Scammers are seeking identities they can use to commit fraud.

The ads reflect a tactical adjustment by cybercriminals. A massive wave of unemployment insurance fraud during the pandemic prompted authorities to heighten identity verification requirements. In most U.S. states, cybercriminals can no longer simply input stolen identity information into government websites and frequently collect unemployment insurance aid. Now, applicants whose names are used to apply for unemployment benefits often need to verify on their phones that they’re the ones seeking assistance, a process similar to two-factor authentication. …

In September, someone going by “mrdudemanguy” on another forum, known as Dread, offered this advice to a person seeking stolen identities: “Pretend to be a local business and post some job ads. When they send in their résumé, call them and ask some basic job application questions. Make them think they’ve got the job as long as they can do a background check. For the background check request they send you photos or scans of ID documents.”


Young Women Embracing Sterilization
Common Sense w/Bari Weiss
A range of traumas and fears is spelling trouble for the nuclear family. The marriage rate is at an all-time low, as is the birth rate. Millennials are the first generation where a majority are unmarried (about 56%). They are also more likely to live with a parent and less likely to have ses; the number of men 18 to 30 who admit they have had no sex in the past year tripled between 2008 and 2018. This article uses these stats to highlight what may be a growing trend, though it is not supported by authoritative evidence: the decision by some women to eliminate the possibility of having children through sterilization:

Darlene Nickell, 31, in Denver, Colo., had her tubes removed eight months ago. “My generation is very aware of the ways that our parents traumatized us,” she tells me. “My mom smoked a lot of weed and did her own thing, and my dad was away a lot for work.” She says her parents’ marriage improved after they became empty nesters.  … Isabel is planning a “sterilization celebration” at a local sushi joint. There will be lots of booze, a smattering of friends, and her brother and his husband, who are also child-free. “I don't want to work my life away,” says Isabel, who hopes to retire in her fifties or earlier.

Although the movement may be small, it has its own lingo.

“Brant” means “breeder rant” (as in, the annoying things people with kids tell people without kids about how great life is with kids). “Mombie” is a haggard mom-zombie, lost to the land of breast milk and binkies. “THINKER” is an acronym standing for “Two Healthy Incomes No Kids Early Retirement.” “Bingo-ing” refers to the questions the child-free get asked by the child-full: “What if your kid cures cancer? What if you regret it? Who will take care of you when you’re older?”⁠  


Coronavirus Investigations

Why Healthcare Workers Are Willing to Lose Job Over Jab Wall Street Journal
Fauci's 40 Years of Animal Experiments Kerfuffle
How'd No-Mask, No-Vax Florida Get Covid to Drop? Daily Mail
Alabama: Spiritual Fatigue Over the Unvaxxed New Republic

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