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Hate Crimes, Plus a Question for US Senate Candidate Kamala Harris

Authored by Mike Kimel

Let’s start with the lede: from what I can tell, according to Kamala Harris (California State Attorney General and candidate for the US Congress), the ISIS-inspired massacre of 14 people in San Bernardino was not a hate crime.  

And now, the story, with some meandering around interesting facts.  The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations 2015 Hate Crime REPORT was just released.  

One interesting passage in the report is this:

The great majority of African Americans and Latino/as in Los Angeles County co-exist peacefully and are not involved in ongoing racial conflict. However, for many years this report has documented that most hate crimes targeting African Americans are committed by Latino/as and vice versa. This is particularly true in neighborhoods that have undergone rapid demographic shifts from being primarily black to majority Latino/a. The other factor driving this phenomenon is the large number of Latino/a street gangs which have ties to the Mexican Mafia, the largest and most violent prison-based gang. The Mexican Mafia has been feuding with black inmates for decades and has encouraged their affiliated street gangs to drive African Americans out of their neighborhoods.

Strictly from a data point of view, I wonder how many of the crimes described in the above paragraph are just turf wars.  Are these really any different from when two X gangs go at it, with X being any particular racial or ethnic group?

Another interesting factette:

Anti-Jewish crimes were followed by those targeting Muslims (19%), Christians (5%), Jehovah’s Witnesses (3%) and Catholics (2%). This represented a large increase in the number of anti-Muslim crimes, from to 3 to 19. As a percentage of all religious crimes, anti-Muslim crimes jumped from 4% to 19%. Four of these took place after the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris that claimed the lives of 130 people and seriously wounded nearly 100 more. There were also 9 anti-Muslim/Middle Eastern crimes that occurred following the December 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino in which a Muslim couple attacked a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health holiday party killing 14 employees and seriously wounding 22.

Fortunately, the majority of those crimes took the form of vandalism, intimidation and disorderly conduct.  There were also 8 simple assaults and 4 aggravated assaults which are more serious, and luckily, no murders.  

With that said, two thoughts.  First, there is little information on the perps of anti-religious hate crimes, but one blurb says:

A Middle Eastern male entered a synagogue and shouted, “I’m going to kill all Jews”. The suspect attempted to use a stun gun to harm one of the members.

In keeping with explanation of anti-Black and anti-Latino crimes quoted above, it would have been interesting to know whether anti-Jewish or other anti-religious crimes are often perpetrated by individuals who can be described as “Middle Eastern.”   

My second thought also inolved the “Middle Eastern” angle.    I thought it would be interesting to see how the San Bernardino massacre was treated in official reports on hate crimes.  Of course, San Bernardino is not in Los Angeles County, so I went to the Hate Crime in California put out by California State Attorney General Kamala Harris.

So there’s no mistake in what information is reported, I quote:

Hate Crime in California, 2015 reports statistics on hate crimes that occurred in California during 2015. These statistics include the number of hate crime events, hate crime offenses, victims of hate crimes, and suspects of hate crimes. This report also provides statistics from district and elected city attorneys on the number of hate crime cases referred to prosecutors, the number of cases filed in court, and the disposition of those cases.

Also, in the appendix, we learn:

California Penal Code section 422.55 defines a hate crime as “a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim: (1) disability, (2) gender, (3) nationality, (4) race or ethnicity, (5) religion, (6) sexual orientation, (7) association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.”

Now, table 6 on page 17 lists hate crime “events,” “offenses,” victims and suspects by jurisdictions, including those that occurred in the city of San Bernardino.  Those numbers are, respectively, 4, 5, 4, and 4.  Additionally, we learn from Table 2 that a total of three of the Hate Crimes in the state of California in 2015 were hate crimes.  So it is safe to assume that the San Bernardino massacre does not qualify for inclusion in the report.  Since it also was too significant to ignore or simply misplace, one can only conclude that it wasn’t a hate crime according to the authors of the report.

Kamala Harris, whose name appears on the front cover of this report, is running for the US Senate.  I wish someone would ask her why 14 people being killed by radicalized, ISIS inspired individuals engaging in what they would call jihad doesn’t qualify as a hate crime.  

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Okay, so today at a rally in suburban Detroit…

“By the way, I’m spending a lot of money on my campaign. And why isn’t she spending some money on hers? I’m spending a hundred million dollars,” Trump said, after criticizing Clinton for accepting donations from Wall Street bankers and special interest groups. “… I think I’ll be over a hundred million dollars.”

Trump tells Obama not to pardon Clinton, even though she hasn’t been charged or convicted of anything, Jenna Johnson, Washington Post, today

Look, folks.  It’s way, way, way past time that Clinton shout from the rooftops that there are three billionaires who are writing extremely large checks to Trump’s super PAC, two—father-daughter hedge-fund duo Rebekah and Robert Mercer, and oil and gas billionaire Harold Hamm—who are determining Trump’s fiscal and regulatory policy proposals and prospective court and agency-head appointees.

No. One. Knows. This.

She also needs to say, and say again, and again, that the aggregate amounts of “Citizens United money” that will have gone respectively to support her, and Trump’s, campaigns by November 8 is far less important than the amounts one or two or three billionaires are donating to each campaign, and the percentages of the total donations to the respective campaign that these billionaires’ donations comprise.

Earlier today, in the Comments thread to my post from earlier this week titled “What Clinton and her surrogates need to get across to millennials, racial minorities and union members,” I exchanged these comments with reader Eric377:

Eric377 / October 1, 2016 8:57 am

Well it seems to me that Trump got and used a lot less “Citizens United” type money than his Republican opponents and Clinton. The deep suspicion – conviction for many, really – is that voting for Clinton is voting to leave the current elite structure completely unchanged.

Me / October 1, 2016 9:57 am

Here’s the problem with looking only at the aggregate amount each candidate has received in Citizens United money: As I’ve written in AB posts here seemingly ad nauseam since early Aug. when I learned of it, sometime late in the primary season two hedge fund father-daughter billionaires, Robert and Rebekah Mercer, who had been funding Cruz, began instead funding Trump to the tune of many millions of dollars. They live in the Hamptons and began meeting with him and effectively controlling his fiscal and regulatory policy proposals as well as his selections of nominees for the Supreme Court and for agency chiefs. These people are the main funders of Breitbart–thus, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway–and of the Heritage Foundation, thus Stephen Moore and other ostensible economics experts.

The other billionaire who’s been funding Trump–some oil-and-gas billionaire named Harold Hamm–to the tune of many, many millions of dollars is–surprise–recommending appointments as Interior and EPA chiefs.

If Clinton actually wants to energize millennial progressives, all she has to do, I think, is tell them this. She doesn’t–for fear of, y’know, alienating all those moderate suburban Republicans who would be thrilled to see the oil-and-gas industry control Interior and the EPA, and extreme rightwing hedge fund billionaires and the Heritage Foundation make fiscal and regulatory policy.

Meanwhile, today CNN Politics is reporting, in a story reported by Theodore Schleiffer titled “Trump finally hits the big-money jackpot,” that Trump is now also funded by Republican billionaires Sheldon and Marion Trump and the Ricketts family—two of the uber-funders of far-right Republican campaigns, and of Republican candidates who are far-right mainly because Adelson, the Rickets and the Kochs are. About the Adelsons, Schleiffer writes:

Despite only publicly committed $5 million to what is likely to be the de facto Trump super PAC, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are pledging at least $25 million to pro-Trump presidential efforts, according to multiple people briefed on their donations. That sum includes giving to nonprofit group that will never be required to disclose his donations.

As for the Ricketts, their wealth comes from TD Ameritrade, which the current Mr. Ricketts, Thomas, joined at age 30.  His father founded the company, but it was entirely a merit hire.  In any event, Trump apparently doesn’t know that it is a financial institution.  (It’s a large one, Donald.)

Which brings me to a post that was in follow-up to my earlier post, in which I mentioned that there really, truly, honestly is a difference between Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Anyone know who Gary Johnson would name to the Supreme Court?  It doesn’t matter, cuz he won’t be naming anyone to the Court.  Trump or Clinton will.

So, so much about Clinton’s campaign has just completely missed the mood of a huge swath of voters in this election cycle.  Not least is that moderate Republican suburbanites—to whom she’s directed her campaign almost exclusively—would be less likely rather than more likely to vote for Trump if they knew that he indeed has billionaire puppeteers, who they are, what they want, and the extraordinary influence they’re having on his policy proposals and will have on his court and agency-head appointments.   It’s way, way, wayyy past time for Clinton to tell the public about this.

Also at that rally today, Trump suggested that he be indicted for his serial criminal fraud, bribery, and tax and other laws related to his charity.  Wire fraud, for sure.  Johnson reports in that article:

NOVI, Mich. — Donald Trump called on President Obama on Friday to refuse to pardon Hillary Clinton and her associates, even though they have not been charged with any crimes, let alone convicted of any crimes.

“Mr. President, will you pledge not to issue a pardon to Hillary Clinton and her co-conspirators for their many crimes against our country and against society itself?” Trump said to a cheering audience in this Detroit suburb on Friday evening.

He added: “No one is above the law.”

One of the very many thoroughly disorienting characteristics of Trump’s in this campaign is his routine tactic of accusing others of what he is accused, with supporting evidence, of doing.  I do think, though, that on this he’s playing with fire.  That quote of his will support demands for criminal investigations and civil fines.

Although, I suppose he could assert the defense that he is no one, and therefore is above the law.

I’m guessing that the starkness of Trump’s manic conduct in the last two days—and, really, you don’t need any formal knowledge about severe bipolar illness to recognize that, apart from other obvious mental illness, he is severely manic—will, finally, finish off this candidacy.  But the answer to why Clinton isn’t far ahead in the polls is not just the malpractice nature of so much high-profile journalistic coverage of these two candidates—the obscenely overblown emails-and-related-matters obsession, to cited the most obvious news media indulgence.  It’s also that Clinton has run as an outdated moderate Republican, almost throughout her campaign dating back to its inception.

There’s really no time like the present for her to start campaigning like it’s 2016.  Since, after all, that’s what it is.

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