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Best Web OpEds    H4'ed 8/5/19

We Have a White Nationalist Terrorist Problem

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White supremacy, is a violent, interconnected transnational ideology whose adherents are gathering anonymously online to spread their ideas, plot attacks & cheer on acts of terrorism. If any perpetrators of the two mass shootings had adhered to the ideology of radical Islam, the resources & awesome power  of the our government would mobilize without delay, & work tirelessly to deny future terrorists access to weaponry, money and FORUMS to spread their ideology. Its financiers would face sanctions. Places of congregation would be surveilled & infiltrated by spies. Those who gave aid or comfort to terrorists would be prosecuted. Programs would be established to de-radicalize former adherents.  And if the technology companies refuse to step up, law enforcement has a duty to vigilantly monitor and end the anonymity, via search warrants, of those who openly plot attacks in murky forums.”

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Susan Lee Schwartz Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I began teaching in 1963,; Ba and BS in Education -Brooklyn College. I have the equivalent of 2 additional Master's, mainly in Literacy Studies and Graphic Design. I was the only seventh grade teacher of English from 1990 -1999 at East Side (more...)
 

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"This is important to note; "An investigation by The Times earlier this year found that "at least a third of white extremist killers since 2011 were inspired by others who perpetrated similar attacks, professed a reverence for them or showed an interest in their tactics... In a manifesto, the gunman wrote that he drew some inspiration from the white nationalist terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left 51 people dead. The F.B.I. is investigating the El Paso mass shooting as a possible act of domestic terrorism. n April, another terrorist who opened fire at a synagogue in Poway, Calif., echoed the words of the Christchurch suspect, too, and appeared to draw inspiration from a massacre at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last fall."


"White nationalist terror attacks are local, but the ideology is global. On Saturday, a terrorist who, according to a federal law enforcement official, wrote that he feared a "Hispanic invasion of Texas" was replacing white Americans opened fire in a Walmart in El Paso."

Submitted on Monday, Aug 5, 2019 at 4:54:07 PM

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Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric looms over El Paso massacre. "How do you stop these people? You can't," Trump lamented at a rally in May. Someone in the crowd yelled back one idea: "Shoot them." The audience of thousands cheered and Trump smiled.

Submitted on Monday, Aug 5, 2019 at 6:19:06 PM

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After two mass shootings killed 29 people in less than 24 hours, President Trump claimed Aug. 4, the perpetrators were "very, very seriously mentally ill."(Reuters)

THE BIG IDEA: We've seen this movie before. Will the remake end differently?

President Trump tweeted this morning that Republicans and Democrats should come together to pass "strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform," so that those killed over the weekend in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, will not have died in vain.

In a speech at the White House, Trump called for "red flag" laws, or extreme risk protection orders, to ensure people who "pose a grave risk to public safety" do not have access to guns or so that their guns can be taken with "rapid due process." He also directed the Justice Department to flesh out a proposal to ensure that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty and for capital punishment to be delivered "without needless delay."

Then Trump opened the door to bigger action. "I am open and ready to discuss all ideas that will actually work," he said.

Here are eight reasons to take this with a grain of salt. As always, watch what the president does more than what he says:

1. Trump talked a big game about the need to change gun laws after the February 2018 massacre in Parkland, Fla., but he never followed through with anything significant. He held a televised White House meeting with leaders from both parties during which, among other things, he expressed openness to raising the age to buy a gun from 18 to 21. But then he caved to pressure from the National Rifle Association and did an abrupt about-face. Instead, he created a Federal Commission on School Safety. A week before Christmas, the panel led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos quietly released a report that advised against increasing the minimum age required for gun purchases. The Trump administration did, however, move to ban bump stocks through the regulatory process after the Las Vegas massacre in October 2017. That ban went into effect this March.

2. The devil is in the details. Trump's tweet today is generic and vague. He's not endorsing any of the many proposals that have been floating around for years.

3. Trump has previously threatened to veto two background check bills that passed the House in February. Congressional Republicans overwhelmingly opposed both measures. "The first bill, receiving 240 votes with just eight Republicans voting 'yes' would extend existing laws to require background checks for all gun sales and most gun transfers," Felicia Sonmez and Paul Kane note. "The second bill, which passed with support from three Republicans, aims to close the 'Charleston loophole,' a reference to the 2015 shooting in South Carolina. The gunman was able to purchase the weapons after a three-day federal background check failed to turn up a prior conviction, and this proposal would extend that window for completing a background check to at least 10 business days. Trump has threatened to veto both measures."

4. Both bills are being pigeonholed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), who is up for reelection in Kentucky next year and therefore has little incentive to upset his right flank. McConnell, who fractured his shoulder yesterday in a fall outside his Louisville home, is very unlikely to bow to calls for a special session to take the bills up.

5. Injecting immigration into the already fraught gun debate is a poison pill.Congress has been unable to act on guns or immigration because both are issues full of political land mines. The fact that Trump suggests they should be grouped when both issues divide both parties suggests strongly that this is more about messaging than a desire to put points on the board.

6. Time is on the gun lobby's side. Congress's summer recess is scheduled to last five more weeks. Five weeks is an eternity in politics, and the passage of time may sap momentum as the public's attention turns elsewhere.

7. The NRA is weakened by scandal, but the gun lobby is still strong. The NRA played a pivotal role in getting Trump elected in 2016 by spending heavily in the states he flipped and activating conservatives in places such as Pennsylvania. But the group's strength has always been the passion of its adherents. The Republican Party has grown more dependent on rural voters in recent years, who tend to be more opposed to gun control.

8. Trump's divisiveness makes it harder for him to bring the country together, even if he's earnest about wanting to do so. Just 38 minutes after calling for national unity this morning, Trump suggested that the media is to blame for the shootings. "Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years," he tweeted. "News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!"

The president's criticism of the media follows a string of articles that highlight the ways he's fanned the flames of anti-immigrant sentiment. "After yet another mass slaying, the question surrounding the president is no longer whether he will respond as other presidents once did, but whether his words contributed to the carnage," White House bureau chief Phil Rucker writes on the front page of today's newspaper.

The manifesto apparently written by the suspected shooter in El Paso closely mirrors Trump's rhetoric, including language about a Hispanic "invasion" of Texas. "The author's ideology is so aligned with the president's that he decided to conclude the manifesto by clarifying that his views predate Trump's 2016 campaign and arguing that blaming him would amount to 'fake news,' another Trump phrase," Rucker notes.

Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, pointed to that part of the manifesto. "People are going to hear what they want to hear," he said on NBC. "My guess is this guy's in that parking lot out in El Paso, Texas, in that Walmart doing this even if Hillary Clinton is president."

-- Why this time could be different: Trump has the power to get something done if he wants. This could be his Nixon-to-China moment. During the brief period last year when Trump was calling for strict gun laws, polls showed Republican support for gun control surging. He's popular enough with Republicans that he could strong-arm enough senators to pass a bill if he wanted to invest the political capital. Going into an election year, Trump may decide that passing a law strengthening background checks would boost his standing with suburban women and other constituencies he's struggling with. Unlike last year, there's a Democratic-controlled House.

Like Trump, there are Republicans in Congress who are up for reelection next year and might benefit from passing some bill on this issue. "I have long supported closing loopholes in background checks to prevent the sale of firearms to criminals and individuals with serious mental illness," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), whose approval rating has been tanking since she voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, referring to the bipartisan measure by Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that failed to get 60 votes after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn.

Submitted on Monday, Aug 5, 2019 at 6:22:16 PM

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