There is not a lot going on in the news, here lately, so I figured this morning we could just kick back with a cup, or two, and commiserate about Life in general and how things work out – or don’t.
On the way out to the mail (our driveway is about half a block long) the peace and quiet of the neighborhood was still being disturbed with my brother-in-law. Panama was down range with an AK making sure that neither of those two hard drives (the ones that were non-op in the article earlier this week) were never going to be salvaged.
At the mailbox, I turned and sure enough, the jonquils were coming up around the perimeter and that reminds me to remind you that with football season over, it’s time to start watching out for snakes if you’re in southern climes. In northerly climes, simply watching the news out of D.C. should satisfy the effort.
The first package in the mail was a box with two old electron tubes in it: A pair of matched 12AU7A’s. You probably don’t give a rip about a 9-pin miniature base dual triode type vacuum tube. Statistically, they went out of production around the time you were born.
They do, however have a role inside my old vacuum tube volt meter (VTVM) along with a 6X4 rectifier tube. And therein was the first first business point to make with you: have you noticed hos people put tons of effort into preparing for things like EMP and yet it never occurs to them that the kind of materials that would be needed in a post-EMP would would likely all run on vacuum tubes.
This astounds me, but when I look at who wins political offices, it sort of all falls into place: We don’t live in a land of deep thinkers anymore. And we don’t seem to care if we have jobs…thus the magic of socialism’s selling feature (something for nothing) that presently propels the candidates on one and a half sides of the aisle.
Then I got back to thinking about the problem in the news that I’d been pondering so deeply that I needed the walk to the mailbox to get the blood pressure back down.
That was? Well, I hope you noticed the report in the WaPo Wednesday about how the Southern Poverty Law Center was claiming that “Hate crimes were up 14%” in the year just past.
Huh? Did I miss the memo from Hate Crimes-R-Us or something?
The news page at the SPLC says, in what looks on their site like 72 point font, or better:
The number of extremist groups operating in the United States grew in 2015 – a year awash in deadly extremist violence and hateful rhetoric from mainstream political figures, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual census of hate groups and other extremist organizations.
Say…you’re not a racist, are you? No? Well, neither am I, neither is Elaine, and I’m convinced that Panama and his significant aren’t either. What’s more…since we actually live in the South, none of us has been invited to a Klan event. We also scour the web looking for extremists and no sign of any increases we could find.
Not that racism has gone. It hasn’t. But there’s a agenda going on to melt-down all social grievances into one pot and that simply doesn’t work.
More people calling BS on force-fed sexual minority ads and such? Sure. But that’s not a hate crime – yet. That’s called free speech and/or a difference in values. I for one don’t care if you want to change sexes – that’s you’re deal. If you can’t read the data on how that impacts later in life, I don’t care. But I sure as hell don’t want to pay for it UNLESS you want to buy me a new airplane. Because that’s my hobby. You pursue yours on your own dime, thank you.
Lookie here: That’s not hate. That’s called fiscal responsibility. Do what you want…but don’t stick me or us with the bill. Worse, don’t stick me with the bill and then call me guilty of a HATE CRIME because I protest the doctor bills and the increase in taxes because you sucked government into a guilt trip. Not my deal…no money. Take out a loan like I’d have to for liposuction.
On inspection, however, it appears that the SPLC may have a further difficulty – and I’m too lazy to read their report to see how they dance around it: Is a person who goes to a Donald Trump rally, who doesn’t want any more illegals (and let’s toss in 10,000 Syrians being shipped into America) really a member of a “hate group?”
Not in my world.
Is someone who is willing to take legal political action (writing to whomever or voting) in an organized way part of a hate group because they don’t want a factory built in Mexico, not America (like Carrier is doing) engaged in hate? (This is a trick question because IF living your opinion in a politically active way is hate, then what in God’s name is global warming?)
In other words, as I glanced through the report, there were a large number of “hate” designations applied to what in an earlier time – back when we were a country that enjoyed free speech, free assembly, and freedom of thought and didn’t have a left leaning agenda – that what is pandered as “hate” now is nothing other than a difference of opinion.
Another sample from the groups press release:
The Year in Hate and Extremism — by Mark Potok — The number of hate and antigovernment ‘Patriot’ groups grew last year, and terrorist attacks and radical plots proliferated.
This one concerned me. We are seeing a left-driven agenda that has been smearing the label Patriots for some number of years now. It started, arguably with the OKC Bombing – and despite there being reported “other parties” to that, no other were brought to trial and there’s a fair body of thought that there was something (like an agent provocateur) in the woodpile that never made it to the public’s attention.
This kind of “willing to accept answered questions” is apparently dangerous stuff, however.
In fact, when I went looking for the source of the purported “52 deaths” due to domestic extremism cited by the SPLC what do you suppose I came across? The same claim being made in an Anti-Defamation League report released in January. The ADL report wasn’t so quick to go off on the “patriot” types at all. And in fact the ADL report made it clear in their body count of 52 that…
“Usually, right-wing anti-government extremists account for the next highest number of murders each year (Table 2), but in 2015, in a disturbing development, domestic Islamic extremists were responsible for 19 deaths, almost as many as were white supremacists. All of these deaths stemmed from two shooting rampages: the July 16 attacks by Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez on military targets in Chattanooga and the December 2 rampage by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.
In 2015, a record number of Americans were arrested for alleged crimes related to Islamic extremist activity, almost all of them in support of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). “
“The ADL’s data includes David Crowley, considered a right-wing extremist filmmaker, who was found dead in his home with his wife and 5-year-old daughter in an apparent murder-suicide by gun last January. Roy Murray of Idaho, who has ties to an Eastern Washington militia group, is accused of killing his estranged wife’s mother, stepfather and son before burning down their home on May 26. Each was found on the property with numerous gunshot wounds. And on June 7, Augustine Bournes shot and killed his wife and three children, before setting fire to their home and fatally shooting himself.
Less than two weeks later, as mentioned in the report, a militia movement activist named James Faire allegedly ran over a couple with a pickup truck during a June 18 confrontation at a rural home in Washington state where he and a woman were reportedly squatting.”
Walking back in from the mailbox, I found myself asking a very interesting question: Am I to believe there has really been any alarming increase in patriot dangers in America as implied by the decidedly liberal/left SPLC? Or, should I believe that as the ADL noted, the big up and comer is the ISIS / militant Islamists who don’t want to jump in the melting pot with the rest of us?
The third choice was ultimately the choice I went with: Newsweek is not so much of a Middle East Partisan, nor is it crafting the liberal agenda. Instead, they seem to do a more balanced job of reporting the data. And when I took the 10 extremists and backing out all of the “screwed up domestic crisis” deaths, suddenly the threat from “domestic extremism” looked decidedly more Muslim than anything else. Don’t you hate it when we go back to the data?
I did look for the detailed increased listing of SPLC-labeled hate groups but I didn’t see a complete list published. They did manage to call out White Nationalist groups, but didn’t see fit to (in the interest of equality) name any Black Nationalist groups. Would Black Lives Matter qualify? I don’t know – couldn’t find that list of 892 or whatever groups – but how many people besides me remember Bernie Sanders’ Seattle appearance being shouted down by BLM or the pre-Christmas BLM boycott of businesses in Chicago, but say, isn’t that like – oh, you know – black extremism, too?
If that’s not evidence of BLM’s potential to be labeled a hate group, check out this story and get back to me: http://13wham.com/news/nation-world/man-attacked-over-black-lives-matter.
I must have missed any reference to Black Nationalists but seems to me that if we review the record post-Ferguson, something comes into focus. Wikipedia remembers…
In the early morning hours of March 12, two police officers were shot outside the Ferguson police station. Though approximately 100 protesters remained on the other side of South Florissant Road adjacent to the police line, witnesses believed the shooter was on the top of a hill approximately 220 yards from the police station. A 41-year-old officer from the St. Louis County Police Department was hit in the shoulder, and a 32-year-old officer from the Webster Groves Police Department was hit in the cheek
Not extreme enough? Flip forward to the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore:
On April 29, looting resumed in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland. Two people were shot in the neck and a third was shot in the leg, with all three victims being in stable condition. Six people were arrested, one for shooting one of the victims and five for looting a Mobil gas station. Four police cars were damaged after rocks were thrown at them. Several items were also set on fire.
Was something wrong in the Gray case? Absolutely. But I didn’t see the SPLC highlight that as domestic terror…but when the process of law falls on EITHER FREAKING SIDE then fairness would mention both, would it not? And similarly labeled.
It’s my problem, I suppose, but it is something to think about. When a report comes out (like the SPLC report) and it doesn’t apply the same units of measure and same labeling system to all parties, a terrible uncertainty of measurement is incurred.
This of this as an engineering problem: If we’re going to really fix the social ills of America we need to be damned accurate in our measurement reports.
If we used racial identifiers, they should be handed out evenly and events measures. It’s like a balance scale, that way. You can say this many were black and this many were white and on a per 100,00 of population that’s this number over here.
But when you use different – and sometimes fuzzily defined group membership (what’s a patriot, for example?) it is very much like purporting to build as “social balance scale” except that there’s apples on one side and oranges on the other. Toss in a sliding fulcrum – the balance point at the middle of the scale – and the measurement, whoever interesting and emotionally appealing – becomes useless.
Actually, perhaps worse than useless because the report attempts to show something (like racism is alive and sick in America – which it is, but because the report doesn’t first line the data into consistently labeled sets, the high credibility such a report might otherwise have loses its punch and become agendizing more than reportorial in essence.
I didn’t see any mention of all the police discipline handed out this year. In the Black community, that would qualify and domestic terrorism worth discussing, but the SPLC report didn’t get into a tally of police abuse of authority, near as I could tell.
You should read both the ADL and the SPLC reports when you have time. You may come to a different conclusion. Please post comments as you’re moved. Mine is very simple and far more actionable than what I read of the SPLC report.
In order to get a true measure of racial, religious, or political extremist activity, we need to lump the sets of data to evenly balance emotionally hot labels. A report could match up race 1 and race 2 data, for example, or religious activists 1 versus religious activists 2, or political group 1 versus political group 2.
By using equality in labeling, we can get a much cleaner, objective measure of our social ills. Was the Kllan increasing membership faster than BLM? I couldn’t figure it out from the report. But what I did sense was a three-card Monte of pejoratives including now mixing in patriots as a ban thing – which in my book, it is not.
I also couldn’t ascertain what kind of real violence was going on in Islamic terror versus Christian terror – because we don’t measure bombers over the Middle East against retribution on the ground – we have leaned approximately nothing since Afghanistan or 9/11.
This is directly attributable, IMHO to failure to make reasonable and accurate measurements of our failings as humans. The northeast press gives wide coverage of things like the SPLC report. But out here in fly-over country, we wonder what the point is of measuring Golden Delicious against Navel, or no, wait, let’s make that tangerines. And while we’re at it, let’s compare that to a slice of Pumpernickel. Toss on a slice of cheddar and I’m not sure what kind of dish we’ve got.
Perhaps I am simply too stupid and addicted to clean, well-matched data sets.
Back on police for a sec: The cops are in the “fill up the courts and prisons” business model. The extremists (of any color) are power-seekers who want to lead by stirring up things and re-igniting the old, worst tendencies of people. And government is still trying to buy off the poor – at the same time as industry is fleeing America. All simply fixed with reasonable tariffs, but we don’t have the balls to stand on our feet as “our own country” anymore because the globalist/corporate coup has taken the Hill. They make money as globalists by playing the wage spread between here (>$20/hour for Carrier here versus ~$3/hour in Mexico). Worse, we issue tax breaks to do it.
We are a country that has forgotten how to lump data sets and compare measurements. This leads us directly to imprecise thinking and a mish-mash of social programs which demonstrably don’t work. We have lost our way on crime, too.
Fact is that for every burglar in jail there is probably an unpunished customer for stolen goods and it would be simple to end thievery by punishing the customers of crime to a greater degree than the perps. But again, looking at the reality of social ills is not our strong suit. For every dealer, there are a couple of buyers. Yet only the dealer does the time too often.
And that’s what could actually break up America – it’s not a dual standard so much as a mush standard that is innuendoed and agendized. Once land of the brave, home of the free, including people who could speak, assemble, and organize without interference so long as they did not break the laws as written, we are now the land of the mush-minded easily whipped this way or that by speakers of goobledegook and govspeak who play to our irrational and emotional rather than useful measurement of fact.
In Ure’s world, though,what applies to the Klan applies every bit as much to BLM and the extremists of global warming as well. And we should toss in the increasingly militarized police, and the “bomb everywhere” foreign policy idiots as some examples of which may be found at the roots of San Bernardino, Ferguson and Baltimore.
We today find ourselves increasingly in a Strange New Land where government has been acquired by corporations which make all major policy decisions and where in all honesty the new reality is that “A hate group is anyone who dares to disagree with me.”
We are a country that has clearly lost its way. As this lack of national Unity drags out – we may be expect to be besieged by more spoon-fed easy liberal answers like the implied “beware of patriots.” Because real patriots respect differences of opinion and embrace unity and the rule law and common purpose above all.
But that was back when these were the United states. Few will call-out the liberal bait-and-switch of a “patriot problem” as an attempt intended, or otherwise, to take the public spotlight off the 10,000 unemployed Syrians whom this administration is importing so your tax dollars can support further internal division. I’m pretty sure after reading the SPLC highlights I must be a member of a hate group – independent voters (been a dangerous increase in ’em) – because I, for one, believe fostering illegal immigration is a federal crime and those who promote it are engaged in criminal if not treasonous acts.
Walking down the driveway is seemed like the same-old Ongoing B.S. Just a different day.
(No Pacific Islanders, Patagonians, horses, or spotted owls were harmed in the writing of this column.)
Yet another card arrived today:
Sales Have Tanked!
Dividends are down!
Stocks have nose-dived!
And on the inside of this reminder from my little sister?
“The good news is your age has risen slightly.”
She’ll be getting a phone call about Martini time today. How is that “good news” exactly?
But I won’t do it till age 67 officially passes, lest she call at midnight to wake me up with “I want to be first to wish you a happy…..” [Slam! click]
OK, off to real work now…I have been promising shorter columns…and I mean to make good on that promise sooner or later. But I assure you, the columns after I’ve died will be remarkably short.
Write when you break-even,\