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RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week

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RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week
July 11 to July 17, 2021

 

Featured Investigation:
Unions’ Focus on ‘Woke’ Over Work
Bothers Many in the Rank and File

The Great Awokening of unions -- including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s embrace of the “intersectionality of worker and LGBTQ rights” -- is stoking tensions between the traditional blue-collar rank and file and Big Labor’s newly progressive leadership, Bill McMorris reports for RealClearInvestigations:

  • With union membership in the private sector workforce sinking from 17% to 6% over the last 40 years, labor leaders have increasingly embraced progressive ideology promoted by the Democrats to increase membership and reclaim power.
  • In reaction, rank-and-file union members gave significant support in 2016 and 2020 to President Trump, a foe of not only woke ideology but the PRO Act aimed at thwarting “right to work” states and growing unions’ ranks.
  • The chasm between leadership and traditional workers was further illustrated by a failed attempt to organize an Amazon warehouse in Alabama through blatant racial appeals to its largely black workforce.
  • California teachers have sued, incensed that their dues are funding left-wing political causes.
  • With union membership shrinking, recruiters have turned their focus to better-educated and more liberal workers in tech, health care, higher education and newsrooms.
  • “The unions see that their own welfare is tied to a larger coalition of a kind of multi-racial alliance that is generally pro-labor, anti-racist, and respecting the rights of sexual expression,” says a labor historian.

Featured Investigation:
Research Used to Justify
California's 'Equity' Math
Doesn't Add Up

In Part 1 of a two-part examination of research misused in support of “social justice,“ Richard Bernstein reports for RealClearInvestigations on flawed academic justifications for California's new "racial equity" approach to teaching math -- an approach that rejects gifted programs. 

Bernstein reports:

  • The current draft of the California Math Framework declares bluntly, “We reject ideas of natural gifts and talents” -- in favor of what critics call a “one size fits all” approach to teaching math.
  • But the research used to justify that says nothing about whether “all students” are capable of high math performance. “This isn't a question that my own research was designed to address,” the cited Princeton researcher tells Bernstein.
  • Similarly, a Stanford academic said her work, despite what the Framework says about it, does not reject the idea that some students are better in some subjects than other students. “It's not the idea that people are all the same,” she told Bernstein.
  • While lamenting the lack of “people of color” in math, the Framework almost entirely ignores the large presence of those of Asian ancestry -- those who would be conspicuously hurt by the Framework.
  • The small, well-off New York suburb of Rockville Centre is implausibly cited as justification for what far more economically stratified and multi-ethnic California should do.
  • Part 2 of Bernstein’s series points to other problems with research on woke topics, including the small, supposedly racist or sexist slights called  "microaggressions." It turns out they often are in the eye of the social researchers beholding them.

Biden, Trump and the Beltway

Papers Purport to Show Putin’s Plot to Elevate Trump Guardian
Doubts Over Purported Blockbuster Kremlin File Washington Post
Sen. Blumenthal, Wife's Chinese Gov't-Tied Investment Washington Free Beacon
Iran: Off U.S. Blacklist, Oil Man's Back to Old Ways Wall Street Journal
PAC Raised Millions Impersonating Trump CNN
Investigative Issues: Media and Government's Steele Dossier Failings Intelligencer

Other Noteworthy Articles and Series

FBI Delayed, and Nasser Abused Many More
New York Times
It may be hard to believe but James Comey’s FBI – which broke numerous rules in its investigation of the bogus Trump/Russia allegations – was even worse than we knew. A new report from the Department of Justice’s Inspector General concludes that multiple FBI and DOJ agents covered up the sexual abuse perpetrated by Lawrence G. Nassar, the now imprisoned former doctor for the U.S.A. Gymnastics national team and Michigan State sports. This includes the abuse of perhaps 70 athletes between July 2015, when U.S.A. Gymnastics first reported allegations against Nassar to the F.B.I.’s Indianapolis field office, and August 2016, when the Michigan State University Police Department received a separate complaint. Recounting the IG's findings, the article also reports that ...

[S]enior F.B.I. officials in the Indianapolis field office failed to respond to the allegations “with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required” and the investigation did not proceed until after a September 2016 report by The Indianapolis Star detailed Mr. Nassar’s abuse. F.B.I. officials in the office also “made numerous and fundamental errors when they did respond” to the allegations and failed to notify state or local authorities of the allegations or take other steps to address the ongoing threat posed by Mr. Nassar, the report said. According to the report, the special agent in charge of the Indianapolis field office, W. Jay Abbott, lied to the inspector general’s office numerous times when it asked him about the Nassar inquiry. Mr. Abbott gave false statements “to minimize errors made by the Indianapolis Field Office in connection with the handling of the Nassar allegations,” the report said. … The Justice Department declined to prosecute Mr. Abbott, who retired in January 2018, and an unnamed supervisory special agent in Indianapolis in September 2020, according to the report.

Pharma Funded Over 2,400 State Lawmaker Campaigns
STAT News
“Follow the money” is one of the most famous axioms in journalism. Sometimes that path leads to corruption, but more often it can prompt stories that are heavy on innuendo. Such is the case with this article that argues that a major reason health care reforms are throttled at the state level is the political donations Big Pharma makes to legislators. It reports that in the last two years, at least 2,467 state legislators — over one-third of all state lawmakers nationwide — used pharmaceutical industry cash to fund their campaigns. The industry wrote over 10,000 individual checks totaling more than $9 million. Without any evidence that the money killed a specific bill or changed a particular vote, it asserts that “in “state legislatures, a small corporate contribution can go a long way. While a member of Congress might view a $2,500 PAC check as largely symbolic, in a competitive local race, the same money can help to fund TV ads, T-shirts, and lawn signs, and by extension, win votes.” This passage is typical of the article’s spirit:

While the investments are modest, they can still pay dividends. “A campaign contribution gets you access,” said Constance Bagley, a consultant and former Yale professor who has written about how corporations should approach political giving. “Legislators will say, ‘Well, that doesn’t mean I’m being bribed.’ But frankly, my view is that if you get immediate access if you give a contribution, and you don’t get immediate access if you don’t, it’s hard to say that it’s not getting you something.”

At bottom, the article assumes that reform is necessary and good and that any views to the contrary must be rooted in corruption – which it fails to demonstrate with facts, which is the mission of straight news reporting.

Michgan: 12 Fed Snitches in Gov. Kidnap Case
BuzzFeed
So far the score is 14 to 12. The first number is the total of those charged to date in the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last October. The second figure is the number of confidential informants law enforcement has admitted using to infiltrate the groups involved in the plot. Although prosecutors have acknowledged using informants to build the case, they have provided very little detail on their activities or identities in a case that drew international headines. While confidential informants are essential to such probes, the relatively large number is making some wonder about the line between investigation and entrapment.

Inside the Industry That Unmasks People en Masse
Vice/Motherboard
Tech companies claim that the trackers used to follow smartphone users do not directly identify them. That, this article reports, may be technically true. What the statement doesn’t account for is that an entire industry exists to purposefully and explicitly shatter that anonymity. This de-anonymization industry does this by linking mobile advertising IDs (MAIDs) collected by apps to a person's full name, physical address, and other personal identifiable information (PII). Quote:

"Anyone and everyone who has a phone and has installed an app that has ads, currently is at risk of being de-anonymized via unscrupulous companies," Zach Edwards, a researcher who has closely followed the supply chain of various sources of data, told Motherboard in an online chat. "There are significant risks for members of law enforcement, elected officials, members of the military and other high-risk individuals from foreign surveillance when data brokers are able to ingest data from the advertising bidstream," he added, referring to the process where some third parties obtain data on smartphone users via the placement of adverts.

Coronavirus Investigations

Covid-19: Kids Were Safe the Whole Time New York
Authoritarianism Advances as World Battles the Pandemic Associated Press
Italy: Anonymous Skin Sample Points to Covid Origin Wall Street Journal

 



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