‘Our Kids Carpooled Together’: How Old Friends In High Places Assembled The Russia Collusion Hoax

The indictment of Washington attorney Michael Sussman — accused of lying to the FBI in order to smear Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign — reveals the ace up the sleeve of high-powered Democrats. It’s a card they played time and again to advance the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory: friends in high places.

They used friends in law enforcement to launch secret investigations; they used friends in the federal government to broaden those investigations; and they used friends in the media to spread the word about Trump and his organization being under investigation.The Russia fiasco metastasized in large part because those involved in advancing the false allegations had important connections. They used friendships with powerful federal officials to encourage investigations against team Trump. Those targeted by Sussmann and others were unabashed outsiders, and as such lacked the sort of connections the insiders exploited so adroitly.

Sussmann was a partner at the Washington law firm Perkins Coie in 2016, which represented the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president. But, according to the indictment handed down by Special Counsel John Durham last week, when he met with the FBI’s general counsel, James Baker, to allege that Trump was in cahoots with the Russians, Sussmann claimed he was representing another client. The indictment alleges this was false.

Securing a meeting with the FBI’s top lawyer can’t have been easy. But for Sussmann it was.

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Internet ‘freedom’ at its lowest in 11 years: study

The internet is an increasingly unwelcome place for many. A new study suggests that online “freedom” is in decline — for two very different reasons, depending on who you ask.

The annual report by Freedom House, a Washington, D.C.-based research and advocacy group, said this year is the 11th consecutive to see a global internet freedom decline.

The “Freedom on the Net” report rates countries on a 100-point scale, with the bottom considered least free. This year, scores internationally range from as low as 10 points in China to 96 points in Iceland. Scores 71 and above are designated “free,” while scores below 40 are “not free”; everything in the middle is considered “partly free.”

Considerations made in scoring include the extent to which free speech is legally protected, the proliferation of misinformation and hate speech and whether government authorities were known to target individual users, such as in India or Hungary where journalists and activists have been hit with state-supported spyware.

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CEO of Moderna Says Even Young Will Need to Take Vaccine Booster Shots Indefinitely

The CEO of pharmaceutical giant Moderna says that even younger people will have to get vaccine booster shots at least once every three years, meaning that a two-tier society which punishes the unvaccinated could remain in place indefinitely.

According to Stephane Bancel, the pandemic will continue for at least another year, at which point there will be enough vaccine doses “so that everyone on this Earth can be vaccinated.”

This includes jabs for infants and booster shots for those who require them.

“Those who don’t get vaccinated will immunize themselves naturally because the Delta variant is so contagious,” said Bancel, although he went on to assert that such people would still get ill.

“You can either get vaccinated and have a good winter. Or you don’t do it and risk getting sick and possibly even ending up in hospital,” said the Moderna CEO.

Bancel says life will return to normal “in a year,” but that this will be dependent on people continuing to receive regular COVID-19 booster jabs.

The CEO said older and vulnerable people would “undoubtedly” need refresher shots at least once a year, while even younger people who face an infinitesimal chance of dying from the virus will need booster shots every three years.

Israel has already signaled that vaccine passports will incorporate mandatory proof of an individual having received booster shots.

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‘Action could be taken’ against students using wrong pronouns at PPU

On September 13, the Office of Equity and Inclusion notified the student body of Point Park University (PPU) that “action could be taken” against individuals who do not use their classmates’ preferred pronouns. 

Campus Reform obtained a copy of the email.

The university’s Misgendering, Pronoun Misuse, and Deadnaming Policy states that “any individual who has been informed of another person’s gender identity, pronouns, or chosen name is expected to respect that individual.” If a complaint is filed regarding this policy, “action could be taken,” the email reads. 

“While the University recognizes the aspect of intent versus impact, we must recognize that regardless of the intent, if an individual is impacted in a harmful way, action could be taken if a complaint is filed,” the email states.

The email served to notify students on the university’s anti-discrimination policy for the 2021-2022 academic year. 

“The Office of Equity and Inclusion would like to welcome in the 2021-2022 academic year with information on current policies that exist through our office and information regarding the Preferred Name Policy, instances of misgendering, pronoun misuse, and deadnaming (the use of a person’s legal “dead” name instead of using the person’s chosen or preferred name), as well as resources on microaggressions and additional training,” the opening of the email reads. 

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SHADOWDRAGON: INSIDE THE SOCIAL MEDIA SURVEILLANCE SOFTWARE THAT CAN WATCH YOUR EVERY MOVE

A MICHIGAN STATE POLICE CONTRACT, obtained by The Intercept, sheds new light on the growing use of little-known surveillance software that helps law enforcement agencies and corporations watch people’s social media and other website activity.

The software, put out by a Wyoming company called ShadowDragon, allows police to suck in data from social media and other internet sources, including Amazon, dating apps, and the dark web, so they can identify persons of interest and map out their networks during investigations. By providing powerful searches of more than 120 different online platforms and a decade’s worth of archives, the company claims to speed up profiling work from months to minutes. ShadowDragon even claims its software can automatically adjust its monitoring and help predict violence and unrest. Michigan police acquired the software through a contract with another obscure online policing company named Kaseware for an “MSP Enterprise Criminal Intelligence System.”

The inner workings of the product are generally not known to the public. The contract, and materials published by the companies online, allow a deeper explanation of how this surveillance works, provided below.

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Biden says troops should be dishonorably discharged if they disobey order to get Covid vaccine

The White House said Tuesday it ‘strongly opposes’ a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that prohibits the Pentagon from punishing or dishonorably discharging any service member who refuses a vaccine. 

‘The Administration strongly opposes section 716, which would detract from readiness and limit a commander’s options for enforcing good order and discipline when a Service member fails to obey a lawful order to receive a vaccination,’ the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement on the yearly bill that funds the Pentagon. 

‘To enable a uniformed force to fight with discipline, commanders must have the ability to give orders and take appropriate disciplinary measures.’ 

The Pentagon ordered all service members to get vaccinated last month and didn’t rule out court martialing those who don’t. 

More than 800,000 service members out of around 1.4 million still needed to get their shots at the time of the mandate, according to Pentagon data. 

But during the budget bill’s markup under the House Armed Services Committee, an amendment, now section 716, proposed by Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., made its way into the bill that prohibited ‘any discharge but honorable’ for vaccine refusal. 

‘I am appalled that the Biden Administration is trying to remove my amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that prevents anything but an honorable discharge for service members who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine,’ Green said in a statement to DailyMail.com. ‘This was a bipartisan amendment — every Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee agreed to it.’ 

Section 716 notes ‘many Americans have reservations about taking a vaccine that has only been available for less than a year.’ 

‘No American who raises their hand to serve our Nation should be punished for making a highly personal medical decision,’ Green said earlier this month.

Republicans have balked at vaccine mandates across the board. 

‘Our readiness, our ability to take on the enemy is being undermined by forcing young people, people who are perfectly healthy, perfectly able to fend off Covid, and are required to have the vaccine,’ Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., told DailyMail.com in an interview.  

The White House also took issue with section 720, which exempts those who previously had a coronavirus infection from needing to take the shot. The bill states that service members can be exempted for ‘administrative, medical, or religious  reasons, including on the basis of possessing an antibody test result demonstrating previous COVID–19 infection.’ 

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IMF report suggests credit scores could soon be based on web browsing history

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has published the results of research conducted into how lenders are likely to be doing their business in the future, and what new information and personal data these companies plan to start asking from borrowers in order to determine their credit score.

The biggest takeaway is the seemingly inevitable shift from merely accessing credit information to also incorporating people’s online behavior into the process of deciding whether to lend them money necessary, for example, to buy a house.

Compared to the way the system now works in most countries – these changes, which are expected to be coming soon, look fairly invasive privacy-wise, and with no “vision” of proper safeguards. Banks and others will go as far as to access personal browsing and shopping history. This would be done by allowing automated systems, powered by algorithms, to harvest the data and turn it into credit reports.

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The Strange and Mysterious Story of a Missing Prime Minister

Today’s article is on the unresolved subject of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt’s vanishing on December 17, 1967. The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia say of Holt’s weird disappearance:  “With Australia at war in Vietnam in 1967, suddenly Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared without a trace – an event unparalleled in the history of western democracy. The nation was in shock and disbelief at the shattering news, hoping for a miracle for the man who famously declared it was ‘all the way with LBJ.’ Police led a ‘‘softly softly’ investigation and concluded accidental drowning. But at the height of Cold War paranoia, persistent doubts about his disappearance fueled rumor and wild speculation. Why did Holt go into such violent surf that day? Had he chosen a bizarre way out of a difficult situation? Why were police withholding crucial facts? What had they overlooked?”

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