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Maybe Biden might like to stop in Chicago on his way back

John Kass was spot on this morning(link below). The Buffalo shooting, while tragic is just another weekend in Chicago (this last one 30 people were shot, almost all blacks shot by blacks). Blacks aren't being killed by white supremacists, statistically their being shot black gang bangers.

Mass shootings represent far less than 1% of the 25,000 homicides last year. People aren't interested in more BLM rhetoric. Folks want law enforcement to be enabled to fight crime (not kicked under the bus), inflation brought down, blah blah blah. We're not going to get much of that with the current Geriatric and Chief.

Oops, I'm speaking ill of the elderly. Sheet, I won't be invited on the View.

Biden, Calling on Americans to ‘Take on the Haters,’ Condemns Racist Rhetoric After Buffalo Massacre

May 17, 2022

Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Peter Baker, NY Times

BUFFALO — President Biden called on Americans on Tuesday to “take on the haters” and “reject the lie” of racial replacement that animated a white man who gunned down Black shoppers in the latest eruption of violence targeting people of color in the United States.

Declaring that “white supremacy is a poison” coursing through America, Mr. Biden flew to this grief-stricken city in western New York not just to mourn the 10 people killed in Saturday’s shooting rampage but to confront “ideology rooted in fear and racism” and accuse conservative political and media figures of exploiting it.

“What happened here is simple and straightforward: Terrorism. Terrorism. Domestic terrorism,” Mr. Biden told a bereaved crowd gathered in a community center. “Violence inflicted in the service of hate and the vicious thirst for power that defines one group of people being inherently inferior to any other group, a hate that through the media and politics, the internet, has radicalized angry, alienated, lost and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced.”

This so-called replacement theory, the notion that an elite cabal of liberals is plotting to substitute immigrants or other people of color for white Americans, has become an increasingly common talking point on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show and among some Republican leaders. While Mr. Biden did not specify names, he asserted that certain politicians and pundits were promoting the conspiracy theory and stoking racism out of a cynical desire to score political points and make money.

“I and all of you reject the lie,” Mr. Biden said. “I call on all Americans to reject the lie, and I condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain and for profit.”

“We can do this if we resolve to do it,” he added, “if we take on the haters and those who don’t even care. It’s just about profit and politics.”

Give your grad all of The Times.

News, plus Cooking, Games and Wirecutter.

The president’s visit came as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released a report showing a flood of new guns in the United States, with the annual number of firearms manufactured nearly tripling from 3.9 million in 2000 to 11.3 million in 2020. But Mr. Biden acknowledged that he had little chance of enacting meaningful new curbs on weapons.

His use of the term “domestic terrorism,” however, represented a stark contrast to former President Donald J. Trump, whose White House was accused by homeland security analysts of discouraging officials from even saying the words. Likewise, Mr. Biden’s condemnation of white supremacy was the kind of unequivocal repudiation that Mr. Trump often was reluctant to issue while his administration was said to suppress intelligence warnings about the extremist threat.

But he did not go as far as some on the left wanted him to, stopping short of condemning specific purveyors of replacement theory and other hateful provocations.

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Asked later by reporters if certain Republicans or Mr. Carlson deserved blame, Mr. Biden said, “I believe anybody who echoes the replacement is to blame — not for this particular crime — but it, there’s no purpose. No purpose except profit and, or political benefit. And it’s wrong.”

ImageThe bloodshed at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo renewed the national debate over gun control.

The bloodshed at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo renewed the national debate over gun control.Credit...Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

Mr. Carlson said on his show on Monday night that the focus on him demonstrated “the ruthlessness and dishonesty of our political leadership” who wanted to use a tragedy to justify muzzling critics of the establishment.

Within minutes of the shooting, he said, “professional Democrats had begun a coordinated campaign to blame those murders on their political opponents. ‘They did it,’ they said immediately. ‘Payton Gendron was the heir to Donald Trump,’ they told us. ‘Trumpism committed mass murder in Buffalo.’ And for that reason, it followed logically, we must suspend the First Amendment.”

From Opinion: The Buffalo Shooting

Commentary from Times Opinion on the massacre at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo.

The Times Editorial Board: The mass shooting in Buffalo was an extreme expression of a political worldview that has become increasingly central to the G.O.P.’s identity.

Jamelle Bouie: G.O.P. politicians and conservative media personalities did not create the idea of the “great replacement,” but they have adopted it.

Paul Krugman: There is a direct line from Republicans’ embrace of crank economics, to Jan. 6, to Buffalo.

Kathleen Belew, author and historian: The long game of white-power activists isn’t just to terrorize and intimidate nonwhites. Democracy itself is in the cross-hairs.

Mr. Carlson invited one of his critics, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic majority leader, to debate him on air after the senator directly called him out. But Mr. Schumer, who traveled with Mr. Biden on Tuesday, declined. “Amplifying racist lies and propaganda is simply not debatable,” he wrote on Twitter.

In traveling to Buffalo three days after the massacre, Mr. Biden was confronting the sort of violent white extremism displayed in 2017, when neo-Nazis and right-wing militias marched into Charlottesville, Va., and Mr. Trump declared that there were “very fine people” on both sides. Mr. Biden has often said that episode drove him to run for president.

But the careful line Mr. Biden drew underscored the challenge for a president who came to office preaching unity in figuring out how to take on those preaching hate. Whenever he has spoken more assertively about the politics of division, such as on the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, he has been accused of violating his own promise to bring the country together, leaving him in something of a political box, trapped by his desire to be a unifier while feeling compelled to take on forces rending America apart.

“Look, the American experiment in democracy is in a danger like it hasn’t been in my lifetime,” he said on Tuesday. “It’s in danger this hour. Hate and fear are being given too much oxygen by those who pretend to love America, but who don’t understand America.”

Mr. Biden spoke about each of the 10 shooting victims who died by name, at one point pausing to compose himself when describing a father slain while picking up a birthday cake for his 3-year-old son. “In America, evil will not win,” he said. “I promise you. Hate will not prevail and white supremacy will not have the last word.”

But some residents of Buffalo found the words unsatisfying. “I could care less about what Biden said. I want to see action,” said Toni Arrington, 27, a hair stylist who stood outside the community center where the president spoke. “I want to see our community actually get help. I want to see people actually be protected. We work, we pay taxes, we pay for our protection, and we’re not getting it.”

The bloodshed once again renewed the national debate over gun control, a prime example of Washington’s paralyzed politics, but the president made no specific policy announcements beyond voicing continued support for removing military-style firearms from the streets.

As a senator, Mr. Biden helped pass an assault-weapon ban in the 1990s but it expired after 10 years. As vice president, he helped develop a package of gun initiatives after the massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.

The Obama administration issued nearly two dozen modest executive actions but failed to pass legislation. Mr. Biden’s own administration has been no more successful in passing gun control legislation in Congress, although he has taken some steps to address the issue, starting with a crackdown on the proliferation of so-called ghost guns, or firearms assembled from kits.

But the gun-rights lobby’s hold on the Republican Party is unshaken, and action on proposals such as universal background checks and a new assault-weapons ban remain stalled in part because of the narrow partisan divide in the Senate.

Speaking with reporters before boarding Air Force One back to Washington on Tuesday, Mr. Biden said there was little more he could do through executive action and that he had to “convince the Congress” to take up stronger gun laws, which he acknowledged would be “very difficult.”

“Part of what the country has to do is look in the mirror and face the reality,” he said. “We have a problem with domestic terror. It’s real.”

The United States has struggled to directly acknowledge the threat of domestic extremism, let alone develop an effective response. The Trump administration slashed grants to nonprofits and law enforcement agencies that focused on domestic terrorism, cutting funding from $20 million to less than $3 million before much of it was restored in 2020.


People gathered outside the Delavan-Grider Community Center in Buffalo before Mr. Biden’s speech. The president has taken steps to focus government resources on preventing domestic extremist attacks.

People gathered outside the Delavan-Grider Community Center in Buffalo before Mr. Biden’s speech. The president has taken steps to focus government resources on preventing domestic extremist attacks.Credit...Mustafa Hussain for The New York Times

“You have to know who your enemy is and what the threat is,” said Elizabeth Neumann, the assistant homeland security secretary for counterterrorism and threat prevention during the Trump administration. “Trump was never willing to acknowledge that. Biden has.”

Even with the president’s readiness to describe the threat, she said the federal government has not made enough progress in working with authorities to prevent violent extremism.

In June, the Biden administration unveiled a national strategy to combat violent extremism, calling for additional intelligence analysts, improved collaboration with social media companies to take down violent videos and expanded digital literacy programs to train the public to identify hateful content and resist recruitment by extremists.

The F.B.I. issued three times as many domestic terrorism assessments for local authorities in 2021 as it did the previous year, according to a senior official. But the official acknowledged the difficulty of policing extremist language while abiding by the First Amendment.

Janet Napolitano, a former secretary of homeland security who serves on Mr. Biden’s intelligence advisory board, said it was clear that the United States had not made enough progress preventing extremist attacks since Charlottesville.

“Treat it almost like a disease instead of crime so we can better diagnose ahead of time,” Ms. Napolitano said. “I think the bully pulpit is the president’s strongest role.”

Marc H. Morial, the president of the National Urban League, a civil rights organization, said uniting the country required directly calling out those who amplify theories influencing domestic extremism.

“Some people say when you do this you’re promoting division,” Mr. Morial said. But such claims amounted to a “diversion,” he added.

“You unite people around purpose,” he said. “You don’t unite people for the sake of being united.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs reported from Buffalo and Peter Baker from Washington. Jesse McKinley and Lola Fadulu contributed reporting from Buffalo.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs is a White House correspondent covering a range of domestic and international issues in the Biden White House, including homeland security and extremism. He joined The Times in 2019 as the homeland security correspondent. @KannoYoungs

Peter Baker is the chief White House correspondent and has covered the last five presidents for The Times and The Washington Post. He also is the author of six books, most recently "The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III." @peterbakernyt • Facebook

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