Devon Archer Spills The Beans: Tells Congress About Shady Burisma Dealings, Joe Biden’s “More Than 20” Conversations

Devon Archer Spills The Beans: Tells Congress About Shady Burisma Dealings, Joe Biden’s “More Than 20” Conversations

Hunter Biden’s former business partner Devon Archer has spilled the beans to Congress, telling lawmakers in a closed-door session that Burisma Holdings pressured Hunter Biden in December 2015 to ‘deal with’ a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating the firm for corruption – shortly before then-VP Joe Biden threatened Ukraine with a quid-pro-quo over US aid in exchange for firing said prosecutor.

According to Just the News, Archer also told the House Oversight and Accountability Committee that Hunter Biden was hired to sit on the board of Burisma because his family’s “brand” had value at a time when the firm was facing corruption allegations from not only Ukraine’s own prosecutor general’s office, but the US and Great Britain as well.

“Devon Archer testified that the value of adding Hunter Biden to Burisma’s board was ‘the brand’ and confirmed that then-Vice President Joe Biden brought the most value to ‘the brand,'” an anonymous source told JTN. “Archer also stated that Burisma would have gone under if not for ‘the brand.”

Selling the brand

Archer also contradicted Joe Biden’s claims that he had never met with Hunter Biden’s foreign business associates – telling the committee that Joe Biden had gotten on speakerphone over 20 times with his son’s business clients – not to engage in specific business, but he “was put on the phone to sell ‘the brand.'”

The former business partner at the Rosemont Seneca firm, who was convicted in 2018 in a tribal bond fraud scheme, also told lawmakers that Hunter Biden was pressured in late 2015 to help deal with Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin’s corruption investigation as Joe Biden was preparing to travel to Ukraine. -JTN

“In December 2015, Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma, and Vadym Pozharski, an executive of Burisma, placed constant pressure on Hunter Biden to get help from D.C. regarding the Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin,” the source told JTN. “Shokin was investigating Burisma for corruption. Hunter Biden, along with Zlochevsky and Pozharski, ‘called D.C.’ to discuss the matter. Biden, Zlochevsky, and Pozharski stepped away to take make the call.”

A few days after that meeting, Joe Biden visited Ukraine as vice president and began an effort to force Ukraine’s president to fire Shokin, eventually threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees if the termination did not happen. Biden’s defenders have long maintained the firing was not related to Burisma and was a result of U.S. policy because the Obama administration felt Shokin was corrupt.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene echoed JTN‘s source, telling the Daily Caller: “The biggest significant thing that has come out so far is that we now have proof that Joe Biden lied. He’s been telling everyone for years now that he knows nothing about Hunter Biden’s business deals, that he’s never talked to his son about it. Well, this morning Devon Archer confirmed for all of us that that is not true.”

“He told us in his transcribed interview that he heard Hunter Biden speak to Joe Biden more than 20 times about their business deals. Not about anything else, but about the business deals,” she added.

Meanwhile, trust fund Democrat Dan Goldman (Schiff Jr.) continues to run cover…

And Democrats are of course starting to cry foul at the rules they themselves made during the Trump years…

Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/31/2023 – 16:40

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

10 Signs That The Mainstream Media Is Not Telling You The Truth About The Economy

10 Signs That The Mainstream Media Is Not Telling You The Truth About The Economy

Authored by Michael Snyder via,

If you believe the corporate media, the U.S. economy is doing absolutely great as we start to roll through the second half of 2023. 

Even though inflation is out of control, the commercial real estate market is in free fall, corporate bankruptcies are surging, and large businesses all over America are conducting mass layoffs, we are being told that everything is just peachy. 

For example, the following comes from a recent NPR article entitled “What recession? It’s a summer of splurging, profits and girl power”

The numbers are in and things look surprisingly rosy for the U.S. economy:

The Federal Reserve is still cautious, but big brands – including Coca-Cola, Hilton and Visa — are singing praises to shoppers seemingly undeterred by companies’ raising prices. What’s more, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Barbie are enticing people to part with their money, bolstering local businesses.

Yes, “girl power” is supposedly saving the U.S. economy.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

Unfortunately, it just isn’t true. 

Here are 10 signs that the mainstream media is not telling you the truth about the economy…

#1 When the economy is doing well, there is a tremendous demand for trucking.  But when the economy is tanking, trucking companies often get into serious trouble.  So it is a very bad sign that “one of the country’s oldest and largest trucking businesses” is literally on the brink of collapse…

Yellow, one of the country’s oldest and largest trucking businesses, is preparing to file for bankruptcy and may collapse within days, leaving some 30,000 workers without jobs.

The nearly 100-year-old company is known for its competitive pricing and has more than 12,000 trucks shipping freight across the US for brands including Walmart and Home Depot.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the company is preparing to file for bankruptcy and is in the process of selling off other parts of the business.

#2 You can add Anheuser-Busch to the rapidly growing list of large companies that are conducting mass layoffs

Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, announced it will lay off 350 employees, many of them in corporate positions, as it seeks to recover from the fallout over a campaign involving a trans influencer.

#3 The number of large corporate debt defaults so far this year has already exceeded the grand total for the entire year of 2022…

The total amount of corporate debt defaults in the United States this year have already exceeded the amount seen in 2022.

Experts have been warning of a wave of defaults to hit the economy for some time due to higher borrowing rates.

At least fifty-five American-based companies defaulted on their loans in the first half of 2023, according to data from Moody’s Investors Services.

That is a 53 percent increase from the total number of defaults last year, when just 36 companies said they would fail to repay their debt obligations to lenders.

#4 The cost of living continues to soar.  CNBC is reporting that vehicle repair costs have risen by nearly 20 percent over the past 12 months…

Car repair costs are up almost 20% in the past year, according to the consumer price index — more than six times the national inflation rate and among the largest annual price increases of any household good or service.

So, what’s driving up prices?

It’s a combination of factors, experts said. Some emerged in the pandemic era while others are longer-term trends in the auto market, they said.

#5 More than three-quarters of a million households in the state of California are behind on their rent, and now it appears that a tsunami of mass evictions is coming

More than 768,000 households are behind on rent in the Golden State, with debts totaling more than $5 billion, putting approximately 721,000 children at risk of eviction, according to the National Equity Atlas—a collaborative data and analytics tool founded by Oakland-based Policy Link and the University of Southern California Equity Research Institute.

Residents in the City of Los Angeles are facing a deadline of Aug. 1 to repay all rental debt accrued between March 2020 and September 2021, with that from October 2021 to January 31, 2023, due by February 2024.

#6 Electric vehicles were supposed to be the wave of the future, but Ford is going to lose 4.5 billion dollars on electric vehicles this year alone…

Ford Motor Company announced it is projected to lose a whopping $4.5 billion from electric vehicles (EVs) this year, up from the previous projected loss of $3 billion.

The company released its second-quarter financial results on Thursday. The U.S.-based automaker’s EV division, called “Ford Model e,” has lost $1.8 billion so far this year, according to Fortune.

#7 A yield curve inversion normally means that a recession is coming, and right now the yield curve is the most inverted that it has been in more than 40 years

How big is big when it comes to the latest inversion? To measure the magnitude of the inversion, a time series of the gap between the yields on a long-term and a short-term is calculated. The most common-used measure of this is the gap between the 10-year Treasury and the 3-month Treasury. If we graph this difference between the 10-year and the 3-month, we can see that we’re now experiencing the largest inversion in more than 40 years

#8 Just like we saw in 2008, home foreclosures are starting to surge

Home foreclosures have shot up for the second year in a row – as concerns grow that owners are sitting on a ‘negative equity timebomb.’

Figures from data firm ATTOM show that around 186,000 foreclosures have been filed in the first six months of the year. The trend is being driven by an uncertain housing market and soaring mortgage rates.

#9 I have repeatedly warned my readers that we are in the early stages of the worst commercial real estate crisis in U.S. history, and now one expert is comparing it to a “Category 5 hurricane”

Starwood Capital Group’s Barry Sternlicht recently told Bloomberg’s David Rubenstein about the ongoing crisis in the commercial real estate sector, equating it to a severe “Category 5 hurricane”. He cautioned, “It’s sort of a blackout hovering over the entire industry until we get some relief or some understanding of what the Fed’s going to do over the longer term.”

Currently, the biggest problem in the CRE space is sliding office and retail demand in downtown areas. Couple that with high-interest rates, and there’s a disaster lurking for building owners.

#10 According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the number of announced job cuts in the United States during the first half of this year was 244 percent higher than the number of announced job cuts during the first half of last year…

Employers have announced 458,209 cuts so far this year, a 244% increase from the 133,211 cuts announced through June 2022. It is the highest first-half total since 2020, when 1,585,047 cuts were recorded. With the exception of 2020, it is the highest January to June total since 2009, when 896,675 job cuts were announced.

Considering all of the facts that I just shared with you, how in the world can anyone possibly claim that the U.S. economy is heading in the right direction?

It just doesn’t make any sense.

Of course those that work for the mainstream media can write anything that they want.

But that doesn’t mean that we have to believe them.

We live in a time of great deception, and it is only going to get worse.

If you think that things are bad now, just wait until we get to this time next year.

With the presidential election looming, the mainstream media will be desperate to portray the Biden administration in a good light.

But no amount of spin can change the truth.

The U.S. economy really is in big trouble, and very dark storm clouds are gathering on the horizon.

*  *  *

Michael’s new book entitled “End Times” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on, and you can check out his new Substack newsletter right here.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/31/2023 – 16:20

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

Oil Soars In July As Massive Short-Squeeze Sends Stocks Up For 5th Month In A Row

Oil Soars In July As Massive Short-Squeeze Sends Stocks Up For 5th Month In A Row

While the Chinese manufacturing economy continued its contraction overnight, July saw the 3rd straight month of upside economic data surprises in the US – now at its most positive since March 2021 – crushing talk of ‘any’-landing at all…

Source: Bloomberg

Interesting, despite the surprising macro picture, rate-change expectations for the rest of the year were little changed MoM (albeit with a big dovish drop early on followed by a hawkish shift back to high-for-long by the end of the month)…

Source: Bloomberg

That ‘good’ news lifted stocks – all of them – on the month, with Dow Transports leading the month (along with Small Caps) and the S&P and Dow Industrials lagging (but still up 3% on the month). That’s the 5th straight month of gains in a row – the longest win streak since Aug 2020 …

Source: Bloomberg

The last couple of minutes of the month saw a mini-melt-up in stocks…

Energy stocks outperformed on the month (along with financials?) while Defensives (Healthcare and Real Estate) lagged…

Source: Bloomberg

Cyclicals only marginally outperformed Defensives on the month…

Source: Bloomberg

The gains were supported by another huge squeeze. ‘Most Shorted’ stocks accelerated higher in July by the most since Jan (the 3rd straight month of squeeze/covering – the biggest 3 month rally since March 2021)

Source: Bloomberg

The implied correlation embedded within S&P 500 options crashed to a record low in July (i.e. the index-level risk plunged relative to that of the idiosyncratic risk of all the components as traders sold index vol relative to single-stocks like there was no tomorrow)…

Source: Bloomberg

VIX went basically nowhere in July as stocks soared…

Source: Bloomberg

But this week could be fun…

Source: Bloomberg

Bonds were mixed in July with the short-end outperforming (2Y -7bps, 30Y +15bps)…

Source: Bloomberg

The 10Y yield tried (and failed) twice during the month to break above 4.00%…

Source: Bloomberg

Which meant the yield curve (2s30s) steepened significantly on the month – but only after it flattened to its most-inverted since SVB’s collapse…

Source: Bloomberg

The dollar fell for the second straight month in July, but bounced back from an ugly intra-month low

Source: Bloomberg

Cryptos were very mixed on the month with BTC and ETH down around 4%, Solana and Ripple ripping higher and Litecoin flailing…

Source: Bloomberg

Perhaps most notably, Bitcoin volatility dropped to its lowest since 2016…

Source: Bloomberg

July was Oil’s best month since Jan 2022, with WTI hitting $82, back above pre-OPEC-Cut levels from March/April…

Gold rallied in July – up around 3% for its best month since March with futures back above $2000…

Finally, as Goldman sums up the strong market performance ahead of the recent positive economic data as “Uncomfortably Long”.  Because the market has already taken meaningful credit for better growth and inflation news, the road ahead could be a little bumpier than in the last few weeks. US equities are the poster child for the tension between macro news and valuation.

Source: Bloomberg

Stocks do not look cheap, but there is little doubt that the macro news – higher growth, lower inflation – is a more equity-friendly mix than was expected.  BUT For now, credit markets ain’t buying it…

Source: Bloomberg

With Thursday and Friday being VERY event-risk-heavy, catalysts for some tactical pull-back to reality in stocks are high.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/31/2023 – 16:00

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

FBI Made ‘Inappropriate Use’ of Foreign Surveillance Program To Spy on Americans


A White House advisory board has recommended that Congress place new restrictions on the FBI’s access to a foreign surveillance tool to prevent the bureau from using it to spy on Americans’ electronic communications.

That surveillance program—authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)—was intended to track foreign spies and potential terrorists but has predictably morphed into a way for law enforcement agencies to get a warrantless peek at Americans’ phone records, emails, and other electronic communications. In the report published Monday, the White House’s Intelligence Advisory Board said the FBI’s use of the databases created by Section 702 should be limited to investigations dealing with foreign intelligence—the same standard that is used at the other intelligence agencies with access to that data.

“FBI’s use of Section 702 should be limited to foreign intelligence purposes only and FBI personnel should receive additional training on what foreign intelligence entails,” the report recommends. The report says the FBI has made “inappropriate use of Section 702 authorities, specifically U.S. person queries.”

While the full scope of Section 702 data collection remains unknown, there’s no doubt about the FBI’s aggressive use of the database. In 2021, for example, the FBI ran more than 3.3 million queries through the Section 702 database, according to a government transparency report. Separately, a 2021 report from the secret federal court responsible for adjudicating FISA-related matters documented 40 instances in which the FBI accessed surveillance data as part of investigations into a host of purely domestic crimes, including health care fraud and public corruption.

The FBI imposed new internal restrictions on the use of Section 702 surveillance last year, but the new White House report says those changes are “insufficient to ensure compliance and earn the public’s trust.”

Indeed, the public (and Congress) ought to be wary of the FBI’s promises to police itself—and of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s (FISC) ability to hold the bureau accountable. As Reason‘s Scott Shackford detailed in 2021, the FBI had promised the FISC in the wake of the Carter Page scandal that it would change procedures to stop snooping on Americans. The FISA court rubber-stamped those changes.

But the new White House report suggests the FBI is still up to its old tricks with regard to Section 702. As the Associated Press notes, the report details how the FBI used its access to the database to run queries for “a U.S. senator and state senator’s names without properly limiting the search, looking for someone believed to have been at the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and doing large queries of names of protesters following the 2020 death of George Floyd.”

Those latest revelations show that “the Federal Bureau of Investigation simply cannot be trusted with conducting foreign intelligence queries on American persons,” wrote Matthew Guariglia, a senior policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates for privacy in online communications, last week. “Regardless of the rules, or consistent FISC disapprovals, the FBI continues to act in a way that shows no regard for privacy and civil liberties.”

The FBI’s ongoing misuse of the Section 702 database has become a hot-button political topic, particularly among Republicans who are unhappy about the bureau’s surveillance of former President Donald Trump’s allies, including Page. A group of six Republican lawmakers led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R–Fla.) and including Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) have introduced a resolution calling for Congress to allow FISA to expire at the end of the year. Meanwhile, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have spoken out about the need for reforms to Section 702 in advance of the December deadline for the program’s reauthorization.

The federal intelligence community seems to be taking that threat to its snooping seriously. Monday’s report claims that blocking the reauthorization of the spying program would be “one of the worst intelligence failures of our time.” In a statement, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Congress should reauthorize the program “without new and operationally damaging restrictions on reviewing intelligence lawfully collected by the government and with measures that build on proven reforms to enhance compliance and oversight.”

It would appear that the FBI’s abuse of Section 702 to spy on Americans’ communications has exceeded even the intelligence community’s willingness to defend such unconstitutional techniques. As such, revoking the FBI’s ability to use the Section 702 database to investigate routine crimes ought to be the starting point for congressional negotiations over the future of the program.

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Do You Have a Paper About Article III Standing?

As followers of this blog will surely know, there have been a lot of important developments in the law of standing recently at the Supreme Court and in the lower courts. For that reason, the Constitutional Law Institute at the University of Chicago will be hosting a conference in late September about Article III standing doctrine. If you have a paper on this topic you might like to present, please consider submitting it by tomorrow.

The official announcement and submission details are below:


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Is the ACA’s “Shared Responsibility Payment” a “Tax . . . Measured by Income”?

If you thought the courts were done figuring out whether the financial penalty imposed under the Affordable Care Act on those who failed to obtain qualifying health insurance was a tax or a penalty, you were mistaken. Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit revisted that question for purposes of the federal bankruptcy code.

Chief Judge Sutton summarized the issue in In re: Juntoff as follows:

In passing the Affordable Care Act, Congress created a “Shared Responsibility Payment” for individuals who did not purchase qualifying individual health insurance plans. Congress eventually eliminated the Payment. That development did not end debates over whether the Payment is a tax or a penalty. At issue today is whether the Payment amounts to a “tax . . . measured by income” under the Bankruptcy Code’s provisions for prioritizing the payment of some debts over others. We join the Third and Fourth Circuits in concluding that it is.


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Minnesota Caretaker Gets Lifetime Ban for Crime She Didn’t Commit

Minnesota Caretaker Gets Lifetime Ban for Crime She Didn’t Commit

People deserve a presumption of innocence, but they don’t always get it in Minnesota. When Ifrah Yassin applied for government permission to work at a group home for adults with intellectual disabilities near Minneapolis, the state Department of Human Services told her no.

Not now. Not ever.

Despite persistent staffing shortages at facilities like these nationwide, a mandatory background check resulted in a lifetime ban for Yassin. No matter how long she lives or where she goes in Minnesota, her name will remain in a do-not-hire database that works like a no-fly list for health care professionals.

The reason? Regulators determined by their own “preponderance of the evidence” that Yassin had committed aggravated robbery in her youth. Fact-finders satisfy this burden of proof when they establish that someone is guilty with more than 50 percent likelihood—essentially a coin toss. Yet these determinations are normally made in courthouses, not administrative offices.

How the Department of Human Services reached its conclusion is unclear. Regulators have refused to give Yassin any original evidence. The police briefly arrested her and her friends on suspicion of robbery in 2013, but officers promptly released the young women after realizing their accuser had provided a false name. The case went nowhere.

No charges. No trial. No conviction.

Normally in the United States, this means innocence. The fact is not lost on Yassin, a refugee drawn to the constitutional promises of due process and equal protection. “I came to America from Somalia in search of a better life,” she says. “I never thought that I’d end up being punished for the rest of my life for something I didn’t do.”

The injustice is not the first Yassin has endured. In 2011, when she was just 20 years old, she faced false allegations of witness tampering from a St. Paul police sergeant who led a yearslong investigation that has since been discredited. One federal appeals court accused the sergeant of “lies and manipulation,” and another federal appeals court accused the sergeant of pushing a “fictitious story.”

The 8th Circuit describes Yassin as “perhaps the most accidental of participants” in this bogus investigation. Her only involvement was getting assaulted during a chance encounter with the sergeant’s star witness, which was spun as witness tampering.

A jury acquitted Yassin, but not until she spent two years in federal custody awaiting trial. Yassin tried to hold the sergeant responsible, but the courts have blocked her efforts to sue, citing immunity doctrines that shield government officials. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately refused to intervene, leaving Yassin with nothing.

No day in court. No police accountability. No remedy for the violation of her rights.

While the sergeant who framed Yassin has faced no consequences for what she did, Minnesota regulators are imposing consequences on Yassin for something she didn’t do. And while that sergeant is still employed as a St. Paul officer, Minnesota is blocking Yassin’s ability to earn an honest living.

The state’s refusal to sign off on the background check highlights a nationwide problem with collateral consequences, which refers to any civil penalty not imposed by a judge or jury. Examples include restrictions on international travel, access to subsidized housing, and voting.

Many states also block ex-offenders from working in their chosen occupations. But few jurisdictions extend this type of collateral consequence to people never convicted. Minnesota takes this step, flipping the rules of justice upside down. Instead of requiring the state to prove guilt, Minnesota requires people like Yassin to prove innocence.

Besides the challenge of proving a negative, Yassin must refute information the state refuses to share, which means she must resort to mind reading. Our public interest law firm, the Institute for Justice, lays out the constitutional problems in a July 12 letter to regulators.

Federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017, have repeatedly rejected procedural schemes that require ensnared individuals to prove their innocence. Yet this is what Minnesota does.

Even if background check applicants are guilty of wrongdoing, imposing lifetime bans on gainful employment is rarely a good policy. People deserve a fresh start.

Blackballing Yassin for a crime not even police or prosecutors believe she committed is doubly absurd. She deserves immediate approval to work.

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Shots Fired: Twitter Explores Lawsuit Against Pro-Censorship Operatives

Shots Fired: Twitter Explores Lawsuit Against Pro-Censorship Operatives

Twitter parent company X corp is exploring a lawsuit against the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a UK-based dark money nonprofit run by a far-left British Labour Party operative named Imran Ahmed.

Earlier this month journalist Paul Thacker dropped a Twitter files exposé via The Disinformation Chronicle in which we learn that pre-Musk Twitter employees took action against several conservative accouints after the CCDH released a report alleging that just 12 accounts produced the majority of anti-vaccine disinformation on social media.

Facebook, meanwhile, rejected the report, saying in a statement that “There isn’t any evidence to support this claim.”

A similar lack of evidence underpins a July 20 letter from “X” attorneys to CCDH and its CEO, Ahmed, which it accused of targeting Twitter with multiple unfounded accusations in an attempt to hurt the company financially.

The letter cites a June CCDH report titled “Twitter Fails To Act On 99% Of Twitter Blue Accounts Tweeting Hate,” which X says was “false, misleading or both.”

“It has come to our attention that you and your organization, the Center for Countering Digital Hate … have made a series of troubling and baseless claims that appear calculated to harm Twitter generally, and its digital advertising business specifically,” reads the letter (via Paul Thacker). “CCDH regularly posts articles making inflammatory, outrageous, and false or misleading assertions about Twitter and its operations, which CCDH holds out to the general public as supported by ‘research.”

X is also asserting that CCDH is funded by Twitter competitors – a claim they have denied, the NYT reports.

Ahmed took to Twitter to complain, writing “Threatening independent watchdogs that inform the public about wrongdoing is the kind of thing tyrants do.”

To which Thacker asks: “Why is this guy in America? Who funds him?

Who is Imran Ahmed? As Thacker writes:

Started by Imran Ahmed, the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) sprang out of nowhere in late 2017 or early 2018. At the time, Ahmed was leaving a job as a political advisor to members of the British Labour Party and had just written a book.

As we chronicle in our just published book The New Serfdom, the dominance of market fundamentalism has been a disastrous experiment that has ripped up social cohesion and solidarity while the gap between the 1 per cent and the 99 per cent has soared to levels not seen since the beginning of the last century. Home ownership, secure employment and fair wages seem like relics of a bygone era. Meanwhile exploitative workplace practices have created a new serfdom leaving many people trapped in insecure, unfulfilling and underpaid work with no escape route.

How this background as a political operative prepared Ahmed to brand himself as an expert in disinformation is unclear. His LinkedIn account makes no mention of his work as a political operative in England, although his biography at CCDH states that he is an “authority on social and psychological malignancies on social media, such as identity-based hate, extremism, disinformation, and conspiracy theories.”

Ahmed now lives in Washington DC and his organization does not provide a list of funders.

In early 2021, CCDH posted a report titled “The Disinformation Dozen” that alleged the majority of COVID vaccine disinformation came from just 12 accounts, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Ahmed released the report just as the Biden administration began their COVID vaccine rollout and shortly before the House held hearings on disinformation at social media companies.

Twitter officials began sharing Ahmed’s findings, soon after CCDH released them that March. “COVID-19 misinfo enforcement team is planning on taking action on a handful of accounts surfaced by the CCDH report,” reads a March 31 email, noting that Ahmded’s report was released right before the House held a hearing on disinformation where Facebook’s Mark Zuckeberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsy both testified, along with Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Reactions abound:


Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/31/2023 – 15:45

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Justice Jackson Accused Of Second Glaring False Claim In Affirmative Action Dissent

Justice Jackson Accused Of Second Glaring False Claim In Affirmative Action Dissent

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

We previously discussed how Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson included a false claim to support her dissent in the Court’s recent opinion barring racial discrimination in college admissions. Now, the justice is accused of a second false claim derived from the same source: the amicus brief of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Notably, however, the media is still citing the first error as proof that race-blind admissions will kill Black citizens.

In her prior error, Jackson claimed that affirmative action has been shown to “save lives” by allowing black doctors to give better care for black people than white doctors.

“It saves lives. For marginalized communities in North Carolina, it is critically important that UNC and other area institutions produce highly educated professionals of color. Research shows that Black physicians are more likely to accurately assess Black patients’ pain tolerance and treat them accordingly (including, for example, prescribing them appropriate amounts of pain medication). For high-risk Black newborns, having a Black physician more than doubles the likelihood that the baby will live, and not die.”

Experts immediately objected that the claim was wildly off base. AAMC later asked the Court to correct the claim, though many objected that it still did not fully address the scope of the false claim. Ted Frank who previously noted that the study itself was flawed in relying on a linear regression given the small group analysis. He responded to the correction on Twitter by noting:

“The particular specification the authors and AAMC highlight fails to account for the fact that black doctors are much less likely to be neonatologists, who get the higher risk cases. The number is much smaller when there’s a partial attempt to control for this. And, as the op-ed noted, the logit model hidden in the back of the appendix found that black doctors had a higher mortality rate overall. The study is not grounds for racial discrimination, and the paper doesn’t dare to claim that skin color saves lives.”

I will leave these details to those with a better statistical handle on these studies.

However, even after AAMC corrected or “clarified” its error, the media is still citing the original claim.

In Time, senior correspondent Janelle Ross recently wrote a piece on how the ban on racial discrimination in admissions would kill Black citizens:

“I write this with no hyperbole intended. Some of us are probably going to die.”

She then cites Jackson’s claim that “for high-risk Black newborns, having a Black physician more than doubles the likelihood that the baby will live, and not die.” This is part of what Ross insists is an effort to get “away from the ecosphere where alarmist conservative information outlets assign continued white dominance oxygen-like importance.”

Ross then cited the second claim as dispositive proof that race blindness will kill blacks. In her dissent to Students for Fair Admissions, Jackson wrote, “research shows that Black physicians are more likely to accurately assess Black patients’ pain tolerance and treat them accordingly.” This included “prescribing them appropriate amounts of pain medication.”

However, critics object that none of the four studies cited by AAMC support that claim. They reportedly explore problems of Black patients in dealing with pain management, but do not examine the relative efficacy of doctors of different races. They further note that AAMC has pushed DEI policies, including the use of race in faculty appointments and admissions to medical schools. These claims are used to justify the use of race as a criterion.

A review of the studies seems to confirm the objections.

For example, the first study cited was Kelly M. Hoffman et al., Racial Bias in Pain Assessment and Treatment Recommendations, and False Beliefs about Biological Differences Between Blacks and Whites, 113 Proc. Nat’l Acad. Scis. 4296, 4298-30 (2016). However, that study focused on how “false beliefs” can impact the community, though it did find that half of a sample of white medical students and residents endorsed some of these false beliefs.

The second study is Monika K. Goyal et al., Racial Disparities in Pain Management of Children with Appendicitis in Emergency Departments, 169 JAMA Pediatr. 996, 998-999 (2015). However, that study deals with racial disparities in use of analgesia in emergency departments and does not focus on the race of the doctors.

The third study is Karn O. Anderson et al., Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Pain: Causes and Consequences of Unequal Care, 10 J. Pain 1187, 1198 (2009). This study, however, is a review of recent literature on racial and ethnic disparities in pain on reducing and eliminating disparities in pain. Again, the focus is on the treatment levels, not the race of the treating physicians.

The final study is C.S. Cleeland et al., Pain and Treatment of Pain in Minority Patients With Cancer, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Minority Outpatient Pain Study, 127 Annals Intern. Med. 813, 815 (1997).  Again, the study focuses on the continued failure to offer adequate pain control and suggested new approaches to the control of cancer-related pain in this patient population.

As shown by these studies, there are obviously serious concerns over the health care for the Black community with higher rates of mortality in some areas and concerns over access to medical treatment. However, these statistical claims suggest that there is evidence that the race of doctors is driving some of these differences. The selective use of such studies can often play to confirmation bias in crafting opinions.

For academics, even raising exaggerated or false claims can be perilous. Most professors do not want to be tagged in a cancel campaign or declared hostile to diversity. Conversely, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently allowed North Carolina State University to move to fire a professor as “uncollegial” in his criticism of diversity policies. The opinion by Judge Stephanie Thacker will hopefully be reviewed by the full court or the Supreme Court because it could gut not just protections of free speech, but academic freedom.

Sweeping claims of systemic racism are often made with little scrutiny in law schools and other departments. The risks are simply too high in the current environment. There is a new orthodoxy that has taken hold of higher education and the media with little tolerance for opposing views.

What is striking is that these errors are coming from the largest organization representing medical schools. As I discussed earlier, it is another example of the perils of so-called “Brandeis briefs” where amici dump studies into the record.

Before joining the court, Justice Louis Brandeis filed such a brief in his brilliant challenge to work place conditions. It is now a common feature in briefing of cases as groups and associations push studies as determinative or substantial evidence on one side or another. My opposition to the brief is that the justices are in a poor position to judge the veracity or accuracy of such studies. They simply pick and choose between rivaling studies to claim a definitive factual foundation for an opinion. It produces more of a legislative environment for the court as different parties insert data to support their own view of what is a better policy or more serious social problem. There is only a limited ability of parties to challenge such data given limits on time and space in briefing.

The result is that major decisions or dissents can be built on highly contested factual assertions.

Clearly, Justice Jackson would have still maintained her defense of race-based criteria in admissions even without such statistical evidence.

Moreover, she is not the only justice to make contested claims in recent opinions. However, it is also indicative of how these dubious statistical claims can be used to justify or challenge major legal doctrines.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/31/2023 – 15:25

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

Soft-On-Crime San Francisco Cracks Down – On Musk’s “X” Logo

Soft-On-Crime San Francisco Cracks Down – On Musk’s “X” Logo

While soft-on-crime San Francisco DA Brooke Jenkins has made it clear that it’s open season for criminals, one thing the city won’t tolerate is unpermitted changes to signage from political opponents.

After Elon Musk installed a giant “X” logo on top of his rebranded company’s downtown headquarters (which Musk says he has no intention of moving despite the city’s ‘doom spiral’) – city officials launched an investigation following two active complaints at 1355 Market Street, one of them being for an unpermitted structure on the roof.

The complaints were both filed on July 28, and the Department of Building Inspection subsequently issued a notice of violation (NOV) for each complaint.

According to the complaint against the “X” sign, a city building inspector was unable to gain access to the building on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, representatives for X told the city that the sign is “a temporary lighted sign for an event,” to which the inspector told the company that the NOV “requires the structure to be remove [sic] with a building permit or legalize.”

On Saturday, the same city inspector tried to enter again, but “upon arrival access was denied again by tenant.”

A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Building Inspection, Patrick Hannan, told the San Francisco Standard on Friday that an investigation was underway.

An aerial view shows a newly-constructed X sign on the roof of the headquarters of the social media platform previously known as Twitter, in San Francisco, on July 29, 2023. (Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

A building permit is required to make sure the sign is structurally sound and installed safely,” said Hannan, adding “Planning review and approval is also necessary for the installation of this sign. The city is opening a complaint and initiating an investigation.”

Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion last October, renamed Twitter to “X” earlier this month, explaining the rebranding as a step towards turning the social media platform into an “everything app.”

His new (WEF) CEO Linda Yaccarino, explained further last week:

X is the future state of unlimited interactivity—centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking—creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities,” she wrote on X. “There’s absolutely no limit to this transformation. X will be the platform that can deliver, well….everything.”

Musk, meanwhile, wrote on July 29th that he has no plans to move out of San Francisco.

“Many have offered rich incentives for X (fka Twitter) to move its HQ out of San Francisco. Moreover, the city is in a doom spiral with one company after another left or leaving. Therefore, they expect X will move too,” he wrote, adding “We will not.”

You only know who your real friends are when the chips are down. San Francisco, beautiful San Francisco, though others forsake you, we will always be your friend.”

Meanwhile, Musk wants us to know he loves Canada. 

Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/31/2023 – 15:05

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden