ANOTHER BRAINLESS USE OF STATISTICS

Where was daddy when we needed him?

I saw this story in the paper today (Black troops as much as twice as likely to be punished by commanders, courts (usatoday.com)), and I cringed. Another brainless use of statistics!

WASHINGTON  — Black troops are far more likely than their white comrades to face court martial or other forms of military punishment, according to a study to be released Wednesday.

Black service members were as much as two times more likely than white troops to face discipline in an average year, according to an analysis by Protect Our Defenders, an advocacy organization for victims of sexual assault and military justice. The group combed through Pentagon data from 2006 to 2015 for its report.

USA TODAY received an advance copy of the study. (continued here)

Are black troops are far more likely than their white comrades to face court-martial or other forms of military punishment? Let’s assume that that much is true. Let’s assume that the raw data was properly collected. Let’s assume crunching the numbers shows that black troops are far more likely than their white comrades to face court-martial or other forms of military punishment. What does that statistical “proof” demonstrate? Well, it does demonstrate that black troops are far more likely than their white comrades to face court-martial or other forms of military punishment, but that is it. What these statistics do not tell us is why black troops are far more likely than their white comrades to face court-martial or other forms of military punishment.

The study does not support is this conclusion.

“From the findings of the study, race appears like it plays a big role, which is disheartening,” Don Christensen, president of the group and a former top prosecutor for the Air Force, said in an interview. “It seems to have a sizable role in determining if somebody’s going to go to court or receive non-judicial punishment. I’m really not sure what exactly explains it, and that’s what is really troubling. The military has known about these numbers for decades and has done nothing about it.” (from here)

What is the military supposed to do? What is the military supposed to do it is not already doing?

Consider another statistic, the one discussed in this article, CNN’s Don Lemon says more than 72 percent of African-American births are out of wedlock (politifact.com).

In the middle of a national conversation about race following the George Zimmerman acquittal, CNN anchor Don Lemon gave an on-air commentary that went viral on social media. The focus of the commentary was a five-point list of recommendations. “Black people,” Lemon said, “if you really want to fix the problem, here’s just five things that you should think about doing.”

The No. 1 item on that list — “and probably the most important,” he said — had to do with out-of-wedlock births.

“Just because you can have a baby, it doesn’t mean you should,” Lemon said. “Especially without planning for one or getting married first. More than 72 percent of children in the African-American community are born out of wedlock. That means absent fathers. And the studies show that lack of a male role model is an express train right to prison and the cycle continues.” (continued here)

Politifact reported that the birth of 73 percent of Non-Hispanic blacks are considered “non-marital” whereas as the birth of only 29 percent of Non-Hispanic whites are considered “non-marital”. Is it possible that Non-Hispanic blacks have a greater problem with military discipline because Non-Hispanic black fathers did not help their children to learn self-discipline?

The family is the building block of our society. We cannot make our society any stronger than the families which make it up. Government — even the best part of it, our military forces — is incapable replacing what families must do for children, build strong character.

If you are not happily married, please don’t have sex. Fornication is not recreational sex; it is just irresponsible, animal pleasure. Fornication fouls up three lives. Statistically, the odds are good that fornication will lead to an absent father, an unwed mother, and a child bereft of what only a father can provide. In fact, we can confidently state the statistics demonstrate that much.

54 thoughts on “ANOTHER BRAINLESS USE OF STATISTICS

  1. I taught Research and Methodology for the Social Sciences at West Point. One of the teaching points was any bivariate distribution is meaningless. Anything and everything can be compared to phases of the moon. It means nothing. It isn’t causal analysis. If you compare black and white racial stats on anything, it means nothing. It may lead you do further research to look for the real independent variables – leading to a hypothesis you want to test empirically. Try explaining that to people with a political agenda. Their numbers mean nothing and show nothing. If you want to do serious analysis, then please do so.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Let me see. We have people running around whose business is race hustling. We have others who have been taught that they are discriminated against constantly because of the color of their skin. And you have a stack of complaints? Surprise! Surprise!

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        1. Yep. I’m told a surprising number of EO complaints are same sex/same race discrimination complaints. IOW, a person will charge another person for racism (or sexism) when they are both the same race (or sex).
          The EO complaint become a default way to address (and/or counter) grievances.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. It has little to do with the nothing controveries in the media. It has more to do with the fact that some people join the military never having seen a black person in their life and heard nothing but bad things about black people growing up.

          Some of these complaints are not real discrimination complaints. Most are. We can’t stick our fingers in our ears and say that race isn’t relevant anymore when there is objective evidence to the contrary.

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        3. We can stop making so much of the “problem” that the fuss we are making becomes a problem.

          Let’s get a bird’s eye view. Part of a commander’s job is to treat his troops without partiality. He has a mission. His job is to accomplish that mission and make certain his subordinates work to accomplish that mission. When the troops do not believe the command structure will treat them impartially, that is detrimental to mission performance. That is why problems like this belong to the commander, not the JAG. The JAG provides specialized expertise. Important? Yes, but the JAG is supposed to help get the job done, not get in the way.

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        4. You don’t seem to get the implications of the facts you admit. Since the CO is the problem, how can he then fix the problem without having to fix himself? So the commander is his own problem? No, that is absurd. You may say that the commander is his superior’s problem, but a commander who is doing improper things knows how not to get caught or has the endorsement of his superiors.

          You have gotten up in arms about the prosecutorial discretion of the prior administration, claiming that justice needed to be served. Now you defend such discretion in the face of the evidence you cited yourself. You do not seem to see the inherent conflict of interest in the system. Or choose not to. In many cases, it is the CO, not JAG who gets in the way of justice.

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        5. And every crooked CO knows how to hide stuff from his boss. Every CO knows how to create a climate where whistleblowing is bad and joining in the malformed culture is good. Its how they covered up the Maywand District murders for so long.

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  2. Good post, Tom. And I agree with Mr.Bowden above. I’m an old stats guy myself and you can make “truth” out of anything. But if you are serious it’s way more than gathering data and making interpretations. In this case, to determine a pattern, you need to determine the race of the military jury.. the judge… the military attorneys… types of judgments.. types of crimes… all this crap, and more, needs to be taken into consideration.
    I also watched Lemon’s list that day… and while there are times I think he’s a bit preachy, he did a good job here. I encourage you to look up Bill Cosby’s summations of black issues that cause problems in the black communities. He got roasted by black leaders in daring to suggest blacks need to look at themselves more than white privilege.

    In my business I work with a lot of black Americans it’s it’s not uncommon for black males to discuss having one or more “baby mommas”… and it seems to be a composite of careless sex and a social proclivity where even the woman welcomes pregnancy in order to collect public aid. After decades of this mindset it’s almost become and accepted cultural activity…. it’s just accepted as part of life in the black communities.

    But, hey.. I’m a white guy.. so I am not allowed to pass this kind of judgement.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am no expert on the problems with our welfare system. I do know, however, that at one time black families were just about as stable as white families. This problem with out-of-wedlock births is one of the “successes” of the welfare state, which includes the wonderful public schools black children attend.

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  3. Hm.
    In the military black service members are “as much as two times more likely” to receive disciplinary action as white service members .
    By contrast, outside the military, black individuals are incarcerated five times more often than white individuals.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Off the top of my head, I don’t know the crime stats. If you have a good link, I appreciate you posting it. Max of two per comment, BTW, to keep the spam down.

      Thanks.

      Like

        1. My pleasure. It’s interesting to note incarceration rates were far less disparate earlier on.
          Which supports your argument (regarding fathers, intact families and so forth). Bigly.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Either that, or racism is far more a problem now than it was in the 1960s. And if you believe that I I’m a queen with too much money weighing me down, so just give me your social security number and some personal info and I’ll mail it right to you.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Somehow they always end up as the statistical victims of alleged societal misapplication of the prevailing value system, don’t they? What happens if we rewrite the claim to read, “People of color — regardless of race — are punished by the judicial system more often than white individuals?” Does this lead into the argument that it is impossible to hold whole segments of society to blame for the illicit actions of a few and is that part and parcel of the scenario desired by the PC advocates of our century?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The information is fake.
      The reaction from the military to articles like this is very real (demanded by Congress, in response to their voting base).
      There’s a beltway war, mister! Air force needs to prove it cares more about diversity than the Navy.

      Like

  4. Yep. Pretty standard anti-White crap study. Find a statistic and draw the conclusion that meets the oikophobes’ and ever-angry Blacks’ preconditioned expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like that quote too. So I tried looking it up before I wrote this post. Turned out to be a puzzle.

      I also enjoy Will Rogers, but I don’t think he coined that quote. Mark Twain credited it to a British Prime Minister (that’s who I once mistakenly credited), but the “experts” in such things could not figure out when that guy said it.

      Anyway, great minds think alike. So I would imagine more than one person originated that quote independently, but nobody seems to know.

      Anyway, thanks for adding that quote to the post. It is important to remind people that while numbers don’t lie people do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right, it was Mark Twain. I actually knew that, but got the source mixed up in my head. Been a while since I heard it. But I liked lot of Will Rogers’s quotes, too. And I would not have put it past him to quote Twain. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. “Are black troops are far more likely than their white comrades to face court-martial or other forms of military punishment?”

    As someone who works in the Army JAG corps as a reservist, this data is 100% accurate.

    “From the findings of the study, race appears like it plays a big role…” This is true. I have seen it first hand and I have worked on the fall out of such decisions. When two soldiers, one white and the other black, commit the same crime, in the same unit, to the same degree, and both had not committed the offense before, race is ABSOLUTELY a factor when the only differences in their records is that one is white and the other black but the latter is discharged and the former get NJP.

    Simple fix: take the prosecutorial power away from commanders and give it to the JAGs like every civilian jurisdiction.

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    1. The problem is solved. We now know the cause for the statistical disparity. We have your word on it. So that settles the matter

      We also have a solution. Since commanders are racists, and JAGs are not racists, we can fire all the commanders and put the JAGs in charge.

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      1. “Since commanders are racists, and JAGs are not racists, we can fire all the commanders and put the JAGs in charge.”

        No, not what I am saying at all. JAGs have no impetus to retain bad personnel; commanders do. The military is unique in that its judiciary is not separated from its executive and the abuses of power our founders warned us about are rife in it. These things DO happen. I am not surprised by the study because I have seen it happen.

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        1. @Stephen
          Commanders have a motive to retain bad personnel? Racists are detrimental to good order and discipline. If a commander has an “impetus” to retain “bad personnel”, that commander needs to be fired.

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        2. Yes, they do. They may be pals like I said elsewhere. They may want to show they are doing a better job at maintaining their unit than they really are.

          Yes, that commander SHOULD be fired. But when that commander is really good at hiding things–obstructing soldiers from addressing grievances, having their NCOs pressure potential squealers, looking the other way, having the endorsement of wrongdoing from superiors–that becomes next to impossible.

          Hence why JAG should take over the prosecution.

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      1. Just to add: “This is true. I have seen it first hand and I have worked on the fall out of such decisions. When two soldiers, one white and the other black, commit the same crime, in the same unit, to the same degree, and both had not committed the offense before, race is ABSOLUTELY a factor when the only differences in their records is that one is white and the other black but the latter is discharged and the former get NJP.”

        If you work in the legal office you should know “not committing the offense before” isn’t the only criteria that goes into the punishment assessment. One might have a stack of reprimands, the other a spotless personal history.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The more I think about it, the more nonsensical your response.
          For example, the comparison of NJP and discharge.
          A lawyer doesn’t get to decide if a person keeps his or her job in the civilian world. They do something wrong and the boss can fire them.
          Then there’s the court martial process which is more like a civilian trial with some differences (and working in the JAG office you should know those differences and why the Commander has ultimate authority but that doesn’t seem to be the situation you’re referring to in your example).

          A commander holds ultimate responsibility. If they have a person running around who is hindering the mission of the unit (whether due to incompetency or criminality) it is their responsibility to remove that person (or move them to a different position where they’ll be less problematic). If they don’t they are personally negligent of their responsibilities. What they do is a judgement call and it isn’t based only on the crime itself, it is based on the proven character and history pattern (and sometimes mental evaluation) of the offender.

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        2. One of the reasons our government our and our companies are getting less and less effective is that the regulatory environment keeps getting more and more intense. Everyone is trying to use the courts as a means of second guessing the guy who is supposed to be in charge. Thus, we are giving people responsibility without giving them the authority they need to get the job done.

          Like

        3. Well, I have insomnia so I’ll add more to this one (a topic that really gets me het up). First, I will reiterate that I am ASTOUNDED that anyone who works at the Jag’s office would bring up the EO system as a case in point “see how much discrimination we have!”
          Because it is patently obvious the EO complaint system is a train wreck, replete with frivolous claims.
          Here’s something folks might not be aware of….They don’t even process them at the individual bases they send them to a central processing location.
          So the military base has absolutely no control over how long this takes. If the center (filled with civilian personnel who are not accountable to the commander or base) doesn’t process the EO complaint within 180 days the base has to pay.
          So government resources are taken away from unit effectiveness and away from the bases because the central processing authority didn’t get the job done on time. The fact it takes so long to process should give one an idea of what a ridiculous number of EO complaints there are.

          “One of the reasons our government our and our companies are getting less and less effective is that the regulatory environment keeps getting more and more intense. Everyone is trying to use the courts as a means of second guessing the guy who is supposed to be in charge. Thus, we are giving people responsibility without giving them the authority they need to get the job done.”

          This is true. The civilian world encounters this, but no where near the level the military does. Things have become worse and worse as more groups attempt to jump onto the political bandwagon of “marginalized peoples” (transgenders have just been added to the mix…a huge waste of resources, examples available upon request).

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. One solider was found guilty of over $50k in government fraud but his commander recommended him for a verbal counseling. So he gave him, allegedly since there is no paper record, a verbal talking to when he cheated the tax payer out of his money.

        And stuff like this happens all. the. time. The commander’s reason? The soldier was “invaluable,” despite the poor narrative of his evaluations. The unofficial story was that they were buds before the officer commissioned and he went easy on him because of it. Again, happens all the time.

        Like

        1. I don’t have enough context to know the situation, and context matters a great deal.
          But there is a process outside the chain of command (as I”m sure you know) to report commanders who abuse their authority. The IG complaint.

          Like

        2. Oh sure. The IG. If the IG is actually honest. Since most IGs sit at the wing/brigade level, even at the air force/division level, depending on the force org and the availability of general officers, and the majority of misconduct occurs at the squadron/company level, it is ridiculously easy for an O3 to hide things from people three or four echelons above.

          It would be easier if the prosecutor was not their immediate boss, but someone outside the chain who could pursue justice. We already have that with trial defense services; we need prosecutorial services as well: objective observers who can pursue the best possible case against misconduct.

          Like

        3. To give an example of context, at present in the USAF a Commander cannot use his staff car for anything but official activity. Should be easy, no? Well…going through the drive-through (or stopping) for coffee is not an official activity so if the coffee shop is on the way to the function that’s a matter of fraud waste and abuse. One can go to a change of command in the staff car, but one can’t then drive it to the reception at the club afterwards. That too falls under fraud waste and abuse. It’s really better to not use the staff car at all because it is just a way to get into trouble with no real benefit anymore. That’s just a staff car. My spouse (and I attended as well) took a weeklong commander’s course and essentially the whole class was committed to conveying the thousands of things that can get them fired (just about all of them related to fraud waste and abuse and the many, many ways that could happen which they might not be aware of)
          I find it a little hard to believe that thousands are being thieved from the government (all. the. time) nothing is being done about it.

          Like

        4. The deficit is out of sight for a reason. We are all raiding the public treasury.

          To provide a fig leaf for themselves, the biggest thieves, politicians, promulgate endless laws and create agency after agency, program after program, to fix this or that problem. In other words, they don’t fix the problem. Otherwise, they would have stop stealing. When all they are doing is spending more money buying more votes, they just pretend they are being virtuous.

          Like

        5. “Oh sure. The IG. If the IG is actually honest. Since most IGs sit at the wing/brigade level, even at the air force/division level, depending on the force org and the availability of general officers, and the majority of misconduct occurs at the squadron/company level, it is ridiculously easy for an O3 to hide things from people three or four echelons above.
          It would be easier if the prosecutor was not their immediate boss, but someone outside the chain who could pursue justice. We already have that with trial defense services; we need prosecutorial services as well: objective observers who can pursue the best possible case against misconduct.”

          If you have concerns about the IG at the local level, you can file with a higher level such as the DOD IG that has no vested interest in the unit.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Thought about posting this on the “rainbow” thread, but since we were on the subject of EO complaints it seems better here.
    It’s Pride week and the base is having its annual obligatory month with gay pride material. Since no commander has attended any of these events (and the turnout was very low at the most recent one) a person has filed an EO complaint.

    Like

    1. It should be noted that the source of on of the highest percentages of EO complaints here is the Child Development Center. Which is entirely female and (with the exception of one person) entirely minority. The complaints are within the organization (iow, they’re filing discrimination complaints against each other).

      Like

        1. Really?
          Yes.

          Have you got a link for that?
          No, I’m not getting this information online and I don’t think it’s publicly available.
          What would interesting (and it will never happen because it is too controversial) would be a GAO investigation of the cost to gains considerations of EO complaints. That doesn’t mean I have an answer….I do think if there are legitimate concerns about sexual harassment or racism there should be an objective way to deal with them, and the EO complaint process should offer a reasonable option. But there’s obviously widespread abuse of the process via frivolous claims.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. The benefit might be difficult to quantify, but I tend to wonder about the wisdom of taking a complaint to the government just because someone hurts your feelings.

          Like

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