Just Another Week: Five Quick Under-the-Radar Stories

In a continuing series to deflect one’s mind off all things Trump, wiretaps, and Russia, I bring you five underappreciated and under-reported news tidbits from the previous week:

Mexican Blowback

Two well-respected Mexican investors have recently stated that Mexico has considerable leverage should Trump initiate a trade war with that country.  Perhaps most interesting is their suggested strategy that would target products exported to Mexico from particular states that Trump won in 2016.  For example, they note that 178,000 jobs in Ohio alone are reliant on exports to Mexico.  Other vulnerable states mentioned were Michigan and North Carolina.

Snap Goes Public

Snap- the company that brings you SnapChat whose selling point is that pictures are available only for a certain period of time before they disappear- went public.  The stock was originally priced at $17 a share, but the IPO brought in an estimated $40 billion.  After a frenzy where trading started above $24 per share, it almost reached $28 after a day.  One unique feature of the IPO was that investors had to lock-in for one year which is the double the time required of vested employees and venture capitalists.  SnapChat faces competition from Facebook’s Instagram.

Online Media and Fake News

The Columbia Journalism Review looked at over 1.25 million stories over a 8-month period and found that pro-Trump audiences paid the greatest attention to the most polarized websites. This means that this pro-Trump audience was most susceptible to believing in and then spreading via social media fake news stories.  They claimed that the culture of misinformation was made possible by technology, but the “right wing” has been more savvy in using social media.

A Dubious Honor

The Centers for Disease Control released statistics showing that the rate of fatal drug overdoses has more than doubled since 1999 with the 55-64 age group the most affected.  In 2015, over 33,000 American lives were lost to opioid overdoses alone.  The rate per 100,000 in 2015 stood at 16.3 which was more than deaths due to suicide (13.4), firearms (11.3) and car accidents (11.1).

SPLC With Egg on Their Faces

The FBI arrested Juan Thompson on charges he was responsible for a spate of at least a few of the recent bomb threats directed at Jewish community centers and schools.  The ostensible reason was that Thompson’s white girlfriend recently jilted him and this was an attempt to get back at her (Thompson is black).  I mention his race only because of the response by the Southern Poverty Law Center which stated:

Thompson’s motivation seems to have been to implicate a former girlfriend in the JCC threats, not necessarily anti-Semitism as such

Wait!  So the deliberate targeting of Jewish community center is not anti-Semitic because he was trying to implicate his girlfriend?  Then why not target a public school?  Or the Empire State Building?  Or any other number of non-Jewish locations?  They stated that since he was charged in 8 instances, it does not explain the other 92.  Does that make it “right?

 Or did the SPLC excuse Mr. Thompson because he’s black…and a Leftist ex-reporter? Thompson is a former reporter for Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept who was fired for misleading stories.  He gained some limited notoriety for reporting that Dylann Roof- the racist Charleston, SC mass killer- was motivated into racism after his girlfriend left him for a new black boyfriend.  This was attributed by Thompson to Roof’s cousin, Scott Roof.  There was one big problem- there was no Scott Roof.

Perhaps the “other 92 instances” were copycats who latched onto the media’s great search for the next big story in their continuing “Hate in the age of Trump” meme propagated in large part by the SPLC whose word the media takes as gospel.

The same week the SPLC was excusing an anti-Semitic act, they branded a group- Californians for Population Stabilization- a hate group.  Originally, I thought they were some bearded eco-terrorists that met to eat a macrobiotic diet as they planned the next attack on an SUV dealership until I went to their website and found they were an online community opposed to illegal immigration.

This group’s hate group designation is based on a Facebook page and a newsletter they publish.  They are not a group of armed vigilantes patrolling the border or harassing and fire-bombing Mexican-American homes and churches in California.  More likely, the motivation is the SPLC’s disagreement with the group’s views on illegal immigration.

But then again, when you boast assets of over $300 million one guesses the Southern Poverty Law Center (which incidentally has nothing to do with “poverty”) can be the media’s primary gatekeeper of hate.