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RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week

RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week
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RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week
January 2 to January 8, 2012

Featured Investigation
Updated and Reposted:
RealClearInvestigations'
Jan. 6-BLM Riots Comparison

The one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot came and went this week with Americans still sharply divided over the afternoon-long episode’s significance and severity as Democrats, hemorrhaging support and facing the loss of Congress this year, joined with sympathetic news media in a spectacle of public events to emphasize what was portrayed as the threat posed to democracy by Donald Trump and his party, as represented by that day.

To give readers some perspective on recent American political violence and coverage of it, RealClearInvestigations updated and resurrected its database comparing the Jan. 6 Capitol siege with a moment fading in public memory: the nationwide summer 2020 riots over George Floyd’s murder, protests endorsed by many on the left amid a virulent pandemic.

Highlights:

  • The summer 2020 riots resulted in some 15 times more injured police officers, 23 times as many arrests, and estimated damages in dollar terms up to 1,300 times more costly than those of the Capitol riot.
  • Authorities have pursued the largely Trump-supporting Capitol rioters with substantially more vigor. Dozens have been held in pretrial detention for months, where they have allegedly been mistreated.
  • In the summer 2020 riots, the vast majority of charges were dismissed. Prosecutors have dropped a single Capitol riot case.
  • Read more here.

More Jan. 6 Coverage

Featured Investigation:
The Reuters Data Scientist
Cancelled for BLM Heresy 

Zac Kriegman was enjoying a successful career spearheading artificial intelligence efforts at the media company Thomson Reuters when the Black Lives Matter protests erupted in May 2020. He came to believe the company was betraying the ethical foundations of journalism – a commitment to objectivity, neutrality and open-mindedness – in its coverage of the protests and its in-house social justice training programs. As Christopher F. Rufo reports for City Journal:

Driven by what he called a “moral obligation” to speak out, Kriegman refused to celebrate unquestioningly the BLM narrative and his company’s “diversity and inclusion” programming; to the contrary, he argued that Reuters was exhibiting significant left-wing bias in the newsroom and that the ongoing BLM protests, riots, and calls to “defund the police” would wreak havoc on minority communities. Week after week, Kriegman felt increasingly disillusioned by the Thomson Reuters line. Finally, on the first Tuesday in May 2021, he posted a long, data-intensive critique of BLM’s and his company’s hypocrisy. He was sent to Human Resources and Diversity & Inclusion for the chance to reform his thoughts. He refused—so they fired him.

The article also includes a link to that reported essay posted by Kriegman on his employer’s internal social media site. The 12,000-word piece, titled “BLM is Anti-Black Systemic Racism,” focuses on debunking what he sees as the three key claims of BLM activists and their media supporters: that police officers kill blacks disproportionately, that law enforcement “over-polices” black neighborhoods, and that policies such as “defund the police” will reduce violence. In a note attached to the piece on his website, Kriegman writes that the essay ...

... precipitated a barrage of hateful and racist attacks from BLM supporters within the company. When I contacted Thomson Reuters’ Human Resources department about the harassment, my post was removed, and I was told I was not allowed to use any company communications channels (email, teams, the Hub, etc.) to discuss the harassment I had experienced. Receiving no support from HR, I raised the issue with my colleagues and senior leadership over email, for which I was fired.

 

Other Noteworthy Articles and Series

Prenatal Test Predictions Are Frequently Wrong 
New York Times

More than a third of pregnant American women now use tests promising that a few vials of their blood, drawn during the first trimester, can allow companies to detect serious developmental problems in the DNA of the fetus with remarkable accuracy. The tests initially looked for Down syndrome and worked very well. But, this article reports, as manufacturers tried to outsell each other, they began offering additional screenings for increasingly rare conditions:

The grave predictions made by those newer tests are usually wrong, an examination by The New York Times has found. The Times interviewed researchers and then combined data from multiple studies to produce the best estimates available of how well the five most common microdeletion tests perform [including DiGeorge syndrome, Cri-du-chat syndrome and Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome]. The analysis showed that positive results on those tests are incorrect about 85 percent of the time. … Patients who receive a positive result are supposed to pursue follow-up testing, which often requires a drawing of amniotic fluid or a sample of placental tissue. Those tests can cost thousands of dollars, come with a small risk of miscarriage and can’t be performed until later in pregnancy – in some states, past the point where abortions are legal. The companies have known for years that the follow-up testing doesn’t always happen. A 2014 study found that 6 percent of patients who screened positive obtained an abortion without getting another test to confirm the result. That same year The Boston Globe quoted a doctor describing three terminations following unconfirmed positive results.

In a separate article, the Wall Street Journal reports on a couple who wish they had known that their sperm donor had a history of mental illness before dying of opioid abuse – a deadly pattern repeated by their late son.

 

Winners in Afghanistan? Contractors, to Tune of $14 Trillion
Wall Street Journal

The U.S. lost its 20-year campaign to transform Afghanistan but many contractors won big. Since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, this article reports, military outsourcing helped push up Pentagon spending to $14 trillion, creating opportunities for profit as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq stretched on.

One-third to half of that sum went to contractors, with five defense companies – Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co.  General Dynamics Corp., Raytheon Technologies Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. – taking the lion’s share, $2.1 trillion, for weapons, supplies and other services. … A panoply of smaller companies also made billions of dollars with efforts including training Afghan police officers, building roads, setting up schools and providing security to Western diplomats. During the past two decades, both Republican and Democratic administrations saw the use of contractors as a way to keep the numbers of troops and casualties of service members down, current and former officials said.

 

Leftist Foundation Funded Abortions for Population Control
Washington Free Beacon

The battle over abortion is not just happening in the courts. This article reports that the Packard Foundation – now run by the liberal heirs of computer titan George Packard – has devoted nearly $350 million during the last five years alone to expand access to abortion. A good chunk of this money has helped to develop and promote abortion pills, which allow women to terminate pregnancies at home.

In 2017, the Packard Foundation gave $1,000,000 to the Reproductive Freedom Project, a division of the American Civil Liberties Union that works to "ensure that all in our society have access to" abortion. That year, Reproductive Freedom Project attorneys sued the FDA to challenge its abortion pill restrictions, which required patients to receive abortion pills in person from specialty clinics.

Months later, in 2018, the foundation invested $500,000 in GenBioPro. The Nevada-based private company makes the generic form of mifepristone, an oral drug used to cause an abortion. It invested an additional $1.5 million in GenBioPro in 2019, the same year the company's generic abortion pill received FDA approval and hit the market.

At the same time, the foundation spent millions of dollars on political campaigns promoting increased access to abortion pills. From 2017 to 2021, it awarded liberal dark money network New Venture Fund more than $3.7 million in "reproductive health" grants. The Packard Foundation specifically earmarked $1 million of the contribution to All Above All, a New Venture Fund project that has advocated abortion pill deregulation. New Venture Fund also manages Abortion on Our Own Terms, another spinoff group that is dedicated to expanding abortion pill access and envisions a future where abortion pills are available over the counter nationwide.

 

Radical Post-Floyd Funding Tearing Apart the Left
New York Times

After George Floyd’s death at the hands of the police in May 2020, funding for racial equity groups exploded. In 2020 and 2021, one group calculates, they received “50,887 grants valued at $12.7 billion” and “177 pledges valued at $11.6 billion” – a sharp rise from the $3.3 billion received for the nine years from 2011 to 2019. Among the top funders are the Ford Foundation, at $3 billion; Mackenzie Scott, at $2.9 billion; JPMorgan Chase & Co. Contributions Program, at $2.1 billion; W.K. Kellogg Foundation, $1.2 billion and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, $1.1 billion. But, this article reports, some Democratic strategists are worried about unintended political consequences that could flow from this surge.

Rob Stein, one of the founders of the Democracy Alliance, an organization of major donors on the left, argued in a phone interview that while most foundation spending is on programs that have widespread support, “when progressive philanthropists fund groups that promote extreme views like ‘defunding the police’ or that sanction ‘cancel culture,’ they are exacerbating intraparty conflict and stoking interparty backlash.” … Matt Bennett, senior vice president of Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank, argued in an email: “Whether inadvertent or not, some progressive foundations are funding work that is shortsighted and harmful to the long-term progress they hope to achieve.” 

 

NY Prisons Punished 1,600 Over Faulty Drug Tests: Report
New York Times

New York’s prison system unjustly penalized more than 1,600 incarcerated people based on faulty drug tests, putting them in solitary confinement, delaying their parole hearings and denying them family visits, the New York State inspector general said in a damning report. The cause was improperly administered drug tests made by the company Microgenics that led to “rampant false positive” results for buprenorphine, an opioid used to treat addiction, as well as synthetic cannabinoids.

The report cited several examples of the grave consequences the tests had for prisoners. One woman at Albion Correctional Facility, near Rochester, N.Y., who had never tested positive for drug use during her two years in jail, suddenly tested positive for synthetic cannabinoids. As punishment, she was confined to her cell for 40 days and placed in solitary confinement for 45 days. She lost her prison job and privileges like recreation time, receipt of packages and phone use for months. She was also denied visits with her three children.

 

Coronavirus Investigations

New York's Rationing of Covid Treatment by Race
Substack/Glenn Greenwald

The healthcare industry’s embrace of the idea that “racism is a public health crisis” is having real-world ramifications in New York City where all nonwhite people suffering from Covid – regardless of age, health or underlying medical conditions – are automatically deemed to have met the requirement to be among the first to receive limited supplies of potentially life-saving monoclonal antibody treatment.

White people who are sick from COVID can still be eligible for antibody treatment, but only if they first demonstrate that they have “a medical condition that increase[s] their risk for severe illness.” But non-white people have the significant advantage of being automatically eligible without having to demonstrate that, since their non-white race is deemed to inherently constitute an increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. In other words, when determining eligibility for life-saving treatments, New York state is explicitly prioritizing some races over others.

 

New York: CareCube Accused of Running Covid-Testing Scam
New York Magazine

Three former employees of CareCube, which operates several Covid testing sites in New York City, said the company purposely lied to insurers and customers in order to charge them unnecessary payments. The employees, who requested anonymity out of fear of retribution, told New York Magazine that CareCube management conspired to use complicated billing procedures to exploit little-known exemptions in federal law, which requires that most Covid tests be given free of cost to patients, and then charged both parties for the same test. They say customers and insurers complained of fraudulent billing practices and that upper management has been aware of the complaints, which go back more than a year. 

CareCube has previously defended its billing practices by saying that patients are not being charged for tests but rather being charged for doctor’s visits, which it says are medically necessary for determining the reason for a test. (The Biden administration updated guidance last year that would prevent doctors from doing that.) … A woman who answered the phone at the Bay Ridge office declined to make [a company leader named Niranjan K.] Mittal available for an interview and demanded that I pass along questions to her when I identified myself as a reporter. “How would you like somebody writing a story about you?” she asked.



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