…sometimes there are some things that people are determined to deny
North Korea said on Sunday a total of 42 people had died as the country began its fourth day under a nationwide lockdown aimed at stopping the impoverished country’s first confirmed Covid-19 outbreak.
North Korea’s admission on Thursday that it is battling an “explosive” Covid-19 outbreak has raised concerns that the virus could devastate a country with an under-resourced health system, limited testing capabilities and no vaccine programme.
State news agency KCNA said the country was taking “swift state emergency measures” to control the epidemic, but there is no sign that Pyongyang was moving to accept international offers of vaccines.
Korean Central Television on Saturday night broadcast treatments for the fever. A doctor at Kimmanyu hospital suggested “gargling with salt water” and taking different medications in case of high temperature, headache and muscle and joint pains.
KCNA also suggested drinking Lonicera japonica tea or willow leaf tea three times a day.
Experts say North Korea appears to lack the capacity to test those tens of thousands of symptomatic patients. KCNA did not report how many of those suspected cases had tested positive for Covid-19.
North Korea had previously claimed no confirmed cases of the virus, and is one of only two countries in the world that have yet to begin a Covid vaccination campaign, according to the World Health Organization.
Its self-imposed lockdowns have slowed trade to a trickle and raised concerns about food shortages or other hardships, aid organisations have said.
…or bluster about
SEOUL, May 12 (Reuters) – North Korea fired three ballistic missiles towards the sea off its east coast on Thursday, South Korea and Japan said, in its latest tests aimed at advancing its weapons programmes, even as it reported a COVID-19 outbreak for the first time.
The latest launches come amid concerns that North Korea may be about to resume nuclear bomb testing suspended since 2017. U.S. and South Korean officials have said this could happen as early as this month.
North Korea’s 16th known weapons test this year came hours after it reported its first COVID-19 outbreak, declaring a “gravest national emergency” and ordering a national lockdown.
…but it doesn’t mean it seems plausible
The Kremlin’s press service said in a statement that Vladimir Putin told Sauli Niinistö that Finland’s abandonment “of its traditional policy of military neutrality would be an error since there are no threats to Finland’s security”.
The statement added: “Such a change in the country’s foreign policy could negatively affect Russian-Finnish relations, which had been built in the spirit of good neighbourliness and partnership for many years, and were mutually beneficial.”
…at some point you get to…or at any rate I get to…a point where you start to wonder
Russia has probably lost a third of the ground combat force it originally committed to its invasion of Ukraine, and Moscow has little prospect of accelerating its advance in eastern Ukraine, according to an intelligence estimate from the British government.
Russia’s attempted offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region has lost momentum and “failed to achieve substantial territorial gains over the past month whilst sustaining consistently high levels of attrition,” the U.K. Ministry of Defence said Sunday.
A Russian attempt to cross the Seversky Donets River in Ukraine’s east last week was repulsed by Ukrainian defenders with heavy losses of equipment. Ukrainian officials on Thursday released a video showing burnt out vehicles and a destroyed pontoon bridge.
“Under the current conditions,” the British ministry said, “Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days.”
…& yes, I know it’s important to consider the source…but even if I’d question that the likes of this one are what you might call reliable…in fact you might well be able to make a case that the more certain ross doubthat would like you to believe he can be of something he asserts the less certain it’s likely to be…it’s hard to deny that he’s somewhat representative of a way of thinking
Our success, however, yields new strategic dilemmas. Two scenarios loom for the next six months of war. In the first, Russia and Ukraine trade territory in small increments, and the war gradually cools into a “frozen conflict” in a style familiar from other wars in Russia’s near abroad.
Under those circumstances, any lasting peace deal would probably require conceding Russian control over some conquered territory, in Crimea and the Donbas, if not the land bridge now mostly held by Russian forces in between. This would hand Moscow a clear reward for its aggression, notwithstanding everything else that Russia has lost in the course of its invasion. And depending on how much territory was ceded, it would leave Ukraine mutilated and weakened, notwithstanding its military success.
So such a deal might seem unacceptable in Kyiv, Washington or both. But then the alternative — a permanent stalemate that’s always poised for a return to low-grade war — would also leave Ukraine mutilated and weakened, reliant on streams of Western money and military equipment, and less able to confidently rebuild.
And already, the pro-Ukraine united front in the United States is fracturing a little over the sheer scale of what we’re sending. So it’s not clear that either the Biden administration or the Zelensky government would be wise to invest in a long-term strategy for a frozen conflict that requires sustained bipartisan support — and perhaps soon enough the backing of a Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis administration.
There is another scenario, however, in which this dilemma diminishes because the stalemate breaks in Ukraine’s favor. This is the future that the Ukrainian military claims is within reach — where with sufficient military aid and hardware they are able to turn their modest counteroffensives into major ones and push the Russians back not just to prewar lines but potentially out of Ukrainian territory entirely.
Clearly, this is the future America should want — except for the extremely important caveat that it’s also the future where Russian nuclear escalation suddenly becomes much more likely than it is right now.
I’ve been turning over these dilemmas since I moderated a recent panel at the Catholic University of America with three right-of-center foreign policy thinkers — Elbridge Colby, Rebeccah Heinrichs and Jakub Grygiel. On the wisdom of our support for Ukraine up till now, the panel was basically united. On the question of the war’s endgame and the nuclear peril, however, you could see our challenges distilled — with Grygiel emphasizing the importance of Ukraine’s recovering territory in the east and along the Black Sea coastline in order to be plausibly self-sufficient in the future, but then the more hawkish Heinrichs and the more cautious Colby sparring over what our posture should be in the event that rapid Ukrainian advances are met with a Russian tactical nuclear strike.
But what the West is unclear about is how it wants the war to end. While it has chosen the means to respond to Russia’s aggression — principally, military aid to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia — it has not defined the ends these methods will serve. Instead, Western policy has largely been focused on outcomes it wants to avoid rather than achieve. The first is a Ukrainian defeat that allows Russia to install a puppet regime in Kyiv. The second is Russia’s resort to weapons of mass destruction or expansion of the war beyond Ukraine.
Within these two constraints there are many possible outcomes to the war. But in practice, the choice is simple: Will Russia be better or worse off than when it began this invasion on Feb. 24? Any outcome that leaves Russia better off would be a victory for the Kremlin — even if this falls far short of its original goal of subordinating all of Ukraine.
Fear of Russian escalation should not constrain the West from taking these steps. Russia’s reckless nuclear talk is designed to play on the West’s fears. But Russia’s saber-rattling reflects its dearth of other options. Since the war has exposed Russia’s weakness in other domains — conventional military force, informational warfare, cyberpower and economic resilience — weapons of mass destruction are now its only claim to geopolitical greatness.
Now Ukraine has punctured a big, gaping hole in the narrative of Russia’s ‘greatness’. Russia is poor, corrupt and authoritarian, and now we also know that it is weak and pathetic. Russia’s ‘greatness’ has crumbled in an orgy of murder and rape inflicted by brutal occupiers in Ukraine. Tainted by the blood of the innocents, and beaten in honest combat, the bully has been reduced to size. It’s about time. Thank you, Ukraine, for serving this bitter medicine. Russia needed it badly.
Russia needs proper humiliation. It needs a humble recognition of its diminished status, an acceptance of guilt, and a slow, painstaking effort to rebuild the trust of those it has wronged. Russia did not learn this lesson in the 1990s. It must learn it now.
True greatness lies not in hideous military parades, nor in promises to unleash a nuclear Armageddon. True greatness lies in acceptance of the past, and a willingness to make amends. It lies in the commitment to build a better future, in a country that could become known for its schools and hospitals rather than its tanks and missiles.
The real source of Russia’s humiliation has always been Russia itself: its arrogant, autocratic rulers and the chauvinistic populace that slavishly worship them. Russia’s defeat in this unjust, criminal war against Ukraine may help shift the domestic narrative in Russia towards accepting the country for what it really is, rather than what it has vainly pretended to be. It is only then that Russia can, finally, be at peace with itself and with its neighbours.
…douthat would probably fit in pretty well at the spectator, although the byline for that particular piece is “a professor at the Kissinger Center, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C”
…I might be thinking of re-watching dr strangelove
…even if the military variety of doomsday is arguably gilding the lily at this point
The fate of the vast quantities of oil and gas lodged under the shale, mud and sandstone of American drilling fields will in large part determine whether the world retains a liveable climate. And the US, the world’s largest extractor of oil, is poised to unleash these fossil fuels in spectacular volumes.
Planned drilling projects across US land and waters will release 140bn metric tons of planet-heating gases if fully realised, an analysis shared with the Guardian has found.
The study, to be published in the Energy Policy journal this month, found emissions from these oil and gas “carbon bomb” projects were four times larger than all of the planet-heating gases expelled globally each year, placing the world on track for disastrous climate change.
It means the US, the centre of the world’s addiction to oil and gas, will play an outsized role in the heatwaves, droughts and floods that will impact people around the planet.
Extracting oil and gas through unconventional methods such as fracking has expanded rapidly across the US over the past two decades, with at least 17.6 million people living within about half a mile (1km) of an active well.
Further expansion will be catastrophic for climate change, and poses a growing threat to the health and wellbeing of families and communities living near drilling sites.
Compared with traditional drilling, fracking is linked to higher levels of exposure to toxic air pollutants and poor water quality, as well as unhealthy noise and light pollution. Numerous studies have suggested elevated rates of congenital heart defects, childhood leukaemia, asthma, and premature births in neigbourhoods close to fracking sites, while elderly people living near or downwind are more likely to die prematurely.
Yet tens of thousands of oilwells, dredging up more than a third of US oil production, dot the Permian basin and production is about to escalate. Exxon has said it will boost production from the Permian by 100,000 barrels a day this year, while Chevron is upping its output by 60,000 barrels.
The productivity of new wells in the Permian is expected to hit a record high in 2022, with next year forecast to be a landmark for the US as a whole – a record 12.6m barrels of crude oil pumped each day across the country.
In recent years, Colorado has been hit by wildfires and floods linked to global heating, and the decline in snowpack on the mountains is fuelling drought and water shortages across the west. It also has some of the worst air quality in the country, with emissions from oil and gas operations accounting for 30-40% of locally produced ozone along the Front Range – the eastern plains of the Rockies, where most of the state’s 52,000 active wells (three-quarters are fracking sites) are located.
The US’s goliath output of oil is partly a consequence of the global oil shocks of the 1970s, when the country vowed to become more self-dependent for its fossil fuel supply.
The US is now a net exporter of oil, although this production has come at a huge cost to the climate – not only from the oil burned but also the enormous amount of greenhouse gases vented directly by wells. The explosion in drilling in the Permian has even triggered a spate of earthquakes in Texas.
…energy independence…texas…give me a minute…that reminds me of something
Brad Jones, CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said in a statement that the company had lost roughly 2,900 megawatts of electricity — or enough to power nearly 600,000 homes, the Texas Tribune reported.
Jones referenced the unseasonably hot weather, saying it was driving the demand for power across the state. Temperatures approaching 100 degrees were forecast from Austin to Dallas over the weekend and into next week.
Jones did not say why the plants went offline, and a spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment Friday evening.
…now where was I…something about self-inflicted problems
…no…that wasn’t it…although political grandstanding compounding tragic losses are woefully close to being the order of the day at this point…one way
Massie, 51, is the only member of the House to hold a perfect 16-for-16 record opposing legislation to support Ukraine and oppose Russia, according to House records and a Democratic analysis provided to The Washington Post.
It was easy to brush Massie aside in early March when he opposed a simple, nonbinding resolution declaring American support for Ukraine and demanding Russian President Vladimir Putin call a cease fire. Or in late April, when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was the only other Republican to oppose a bill to protect religious freedoms in Ukraine.
Little by little, however, with each proposal, a few more Republicans would sign up: eight Republicans opposed suspending trade privileges for Russia in mid-March; 17 Republicans opposed a resolution supporting Moldova, whose leaders fear their Ukraine-bordering nation could be Putin’s next target; 19 opposed a similar resolution in support for Georgia.
…but sure…let’s flirt some more with mutually assured destruction as though that weren’t more accurately described by its acronym
…seriously…that “interactive” graphic with the dots on that NYT thing about the US covid toll is pretty effective at giving that number a sense of perspective…& it surely does seem like that’s anathema to altogether more people than makes any kind of sense to me…in fact it’s hard not to wonder if some of them aren’t what some would call “sick in the head”
Those who know Musk, 50, say he is both fickle and crafty. At every stage of his supremely public career, he has positioned himself as an entertaining, if off-putting, celebrity. He is at once an open book — an omnipresent star inventor, pontificating about free speech in tweets and podcasts, hosting “Saturday Night Live” — and an elusive enigma, given to riddles, insults and slogans about how he might remake society — or, in this case, a social media platform with 229 million daily users.
…&…well…you know what they say about “birds of a feather”
Beneath the puckish public persona, Musk has displayed a fierce temper and what some associates and employees call a dark tendency to dismiss or harass people unlike himself. He has tossed off casually insulting tweets about women and other comments that have unleashed torrents of abuse from his nearly 93 million Twitter followers.
He is an engine of contradictions. His worries over the future of civilization appear to have deepened through the years: He quit President Donald Trump’s councils on manufacturing and job creation to protest Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accords. He has contributed to Democrats and Republicans alike, yet often has aligned himself with the right online, recently tweeting a meme showing “my fellow liberal” turning into a “woke progressive.”
He rails against government regulation, yet his most prominent ventures have relied heavily on taxpayers’ dollars, in the form of federal loans for Tesla, tax credits for electric vehicles, and government contracts for SpaceX.
He has revolutionized two complex industries — car manufacturing and rocketry — but often tweets like a 12-year-old. Asked by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey which of his 17,000 tweets ranks as quintessential Musk, he chose one from 2020: “I put the art in fart.”
He has absolute confidence in his ability to innovate (“I can see the truth of things and others seem less able to do so,” he told NPR in 2007) yet has described himself as fearful and anxious. “When I was a child, there’s one thing I said: ‘I never want to be alone,’ ” Musk told Rolling Stone in 2017. “I don’t want to be alone.”
…& as the events of the last few days/weeks/hours will testify to…a white man anxious about feeling insignificant & alone can take us to some fucked up places…but most of those aren’t rich enough to do this sort of thing
SpaceX barely survived its first few years, its spacecraft failing three times to reach orbit. By 2008, Musk had burned through virtually all of the $100 million he had bet on the company and barely had enough to attempt one more launch.
It was a success — the first privately developed rocket to reach orbit — leading NASA to come to the company’s rescue, hiring it in late 2008 to fly cargo and supplies to the space station.
That contract, worth $1.6 billion, gave SpaceX a toehold in the space industry. But Musk had his eye on another prize: the lucrative contracts to launch national security satellites for the Pentagon and intelligence agencies.
For years, those launches had been entrusted to the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Musk had attempted to block their merger, filing an unsuccessful lawsuit in 2005 that alleged the companies had “destroyed any pretense of competition.”
Over the next few years, as SpaceX launched several rockets successfully and sent its autonomous Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station, Musk made his big move. He beefed up his Washington lobbying efforts and filed another suit, this time against the Air Force, which was moving toward awarding more contracts to the United Launch Alliance.
“We sued the Air Force and Boeing and Lockheed — these are formidable opponents,” Musk once told The Post. “Suing the military industrial complex is something that you do not take lightly.”
The suit angered top Pentagon officials, but Musk charged ahead, taking his battle public, insulting his competitors and casting SpaceX as the moral choice over the United Launch Alliance, whose rocket depended on an engine made in Russia.
Musk prevailed: Congress capped the number of Russian-made engines the United Launch Alliance could buy, forcing it to seek a U.S.-built alternative. The Air Force settled Musk’s lawsuit, allowing SpaceX to bid for Pentagon contracts. SpaceX now launches Pentagon satellites, flies cargo and crew to the space station for NASA and won the contract to build the spacecraft that would land NASA astronauts on the moon.
…I mean…sometimes…just out of curiosity…do you ever wonder where the guy’s approach would get him if he didn’t pull it from on top of a bewildering amount of spending power?
[…]He longed for an electric vehicle but found few options. His search led him to Martin Eberhard, founder of Tesla Motors, which aimed to build an electric car for everyday consumers.
The path to success at Tesla was typically stormy: Musk pumped in millions and eventually fired Eberhard, who sued him, after which Musk called his erstwhile partner “the worst person I’ve ever worked with.” (Eberhard’s libel suit against Musk was settled out of court.)
In court testimony last year, Musk denied engaging in rage firing, but said he offers “clear and frank feedback, which may be construed as derision.”
…because I don’t happen to have that kind of depth of pocket…& I strongly suspect that were I to indulge in a spot of “clear and frank feedback” about where the antics of some of these self-serving solipsistic sons of bitches get the rest of us…I’m fairly sure you could construe a good deal of it as derision…or possibly some combination of defiance & despair
Still, Musk found a way to make major carmakers dependent on his company. Because Tesla sells only electric cars, it easily surpasses state emissions standards, winning credits it sells to carmakers that fail to meet emissions requirements. The result is a windfall for Tesla, which posted a $331 million profit in the third quarter of 2020 because of the credit sales.
Around the same time, Tesla’s stock price began the steep climb that would make Musk the world’s richest person, topping out at more than $1,200 per share a few months after he changed his title from CEO to “Technoking.” (Tesla closed Friday at $769.)
When Musk talks about Tesla, he steers clear of profit, preferring to focus on its role in saving “all life on Earth,” as he told podcaster Kara Swisher in 2018.
“If we do not solve the environment,” he said, “we’re all damned.”
…fun fact…that twitter buy out he claims to have “paused”…leaving aside the part where really that’s not “a thing” & he either has to go through with it or pay a billion bucks to back out…well…it has an interesting clause in its financing
The margin loan to buy Twitter could become a destabilizing force if Tesla’s stock value were to plunge. A steep decline might prompt the banks to sell their stock collateral to recoup the money they lent Mr. Musk, which could in turn set off even more selling across the market. The terms of Mr. Musk’s margin loan stated that he must pay off the entire debt if Tesla stock falls more than 40 percent from its price on the day of the loan.
…now, I don’t know what that paperwork considers to be “the day of the loan”…but I’d note that around about when the first incarnation of those arrangements was made public the price was, I think, somewhere in the vicinity of $1100…& that a few days before the friday referred to by the post, there…it dipped below $700…which would be within $50 of where that could place that 40% drop…you might think that might be significant…but there’s a good chance that’s worth about as much as my thoughts on the subject…unlike some people’s
I’d reached out to Ramaswamy to discuss his new venture, Strive Asset Management, an investment firm that he says will urge corporations to stay out of politics. Among Strive’s funders, though, is one of the more politically active people in business, Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist who supported Donald Trump and is now funding a slate of Trump-loving congressional candidates.
It turned out I was right: I did not agree with a lot of what Ramaswamy had to say. Not only are our politics radically at odds, we also differ on what “politics” means in modern American capitalism. Yet despite our disagreements, something odd happened. I found myself nodding along with what is perhaps Ramaswamy’s fundamental point: that three gigantic American asset management firms — BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street — control too much of the global economy.
The firms manage funds invested by large institutions like pension funds and university endowments as well as those for companies and, in some cases, individual investors like me and perhaps you, too. Their holdings are colossal. BlackRock manages nearly $10 trillion in investments. Vanguard has $8 trillion, and State Street has $4 trillion. Their combined $22 trillion in managed assets is the equivalent of more than half of the combined value of all shares for companies in the S&P 500 (about $38 trillion). Their power is expected to grow. An analysis published in the Boston University Law Review in 2019 estimated that the Big Three could control as much as 40 percent of shareholder votes in the S&P 500 within two decades.
The real danger posed by the three is economic, not political. The American economy is lumbering under monopoly and oligopoly. In many industries, from airlines to internet advertising to health care to banks to mobile phone providers, Americans can do business with just a handful of companies. As the journalist David Dayen has argued, this increasing market concentration reduces consumer choice, raises prices and most likely harms workers.
BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street have been extraordinarily good for investors — their passive-investing index funds have lowered costs and improved returns for millions of people. But their rise has come at the cost of intense concentration in corporate ownership, potentially supercharging the oligopolistic effects of already oligopolistic industries.
Indeed, there is some evidence that their concentrated ownership is associated with lower wages and employment and is already leading to price increases in some industries, including in airlines, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods. The firms dispute this. In a 2019 paper, Vanguard’s researchers said that when they studied lots of industries across a long period, they did not “find conclusive evidence” that common ownership led to higher profits.
But if the Big Three keep growing, the effects of their concentrated ownership will get only worse. Einer Elhauge, also of Harvard Law School, has written that concentrated ownership “poses the greatest anticompetitive threat of our time, mainly because it is the one anticompetitive problem we are doing nothing about.”
…&…well…let’s just say that putting other considerations in hock to the concerns of certain self-selecting minorities is…problematic when you begin to look at the wider context
Martin Antony, professor of psychology at Toronto Metropolitan University and co-author of “The Anti-Anxiety Program,” compared fear to pain. […]
It turns out that the rationality of my fears doesn’t matter. Antony told me that his biggest questions for people working through their fears aren’t whether the fear makes sense, it’s whether the fear is excessive or unreasonable. Is it in proportion to the actual threat? And does the fear actually matter in the person’s daily life?
Antony pointed out that that feeling isn’t actually even fear, which is centered on an immediate threat (a bear, say, is coming straight at you and hasn’t had lunch). What I’m experiencing instead is anxiety, which centers on a future threat (a bear could, at some time, some day, come straight at you having had no lunch.) And [Bethany] Teachman [a researcher at the University of Virginia with a focus on anxiety disorders] agreed, saying that while fear can be helpful, anxiety isn’t.
Quit Telling Me to Conquer My Fear [NYT]
…particularly when what gets peddled
Forgotten in the face of Vladimir Putin’s barbaric attack, it seems, were the cozy ties between top NRA officials and convicted Russian agent Maria Butina. The Kremlin operative didn’t just commit conspiracy against the United States—she also worked on behalf of Putin’s military conquest in the Ukraine region during the same period she was forging alliances, both in the US and in Moscow, with NRA leaders.
…is blatantly untrue
To the most shameless fabulists go the spoils. It’s Vladimir Putin’s credo. Donald Trump’s, too. (I could add Tucker Carlson, but enough about him.)
Mendacity is as old as time. Propaganda is as old as language. But things feel different — more dangerous — now. The mendacity has a faster metabolism. The propaganda has more outlets, with fewer filters. And for all our inventions, all our advancements, we humans seem more partial than ever to convenient fantasy over thorny truth.
The Power of Lies in an Age of Political Fiction [NYT]
…& when you translate that to a different context…in which it can astonishingly be hard to distinguish from “just another one of these senseless tragedies”
A mass shooting in downtown Milwaukee left 17 people wounded late Friday shortly after fans left a nearby NBA playoff game, according to the Milwaukee Police Department.
The shooting followed two other nearby incidents, police said at a news conference Saturday. One happened just after 9 p.m. when three people were injured in non-fatal shootings. Police said one person was in custody and a gun had been recovered.
In another incident around 10:30 p.m., one person was shot and injured. No arrests were made in that shooting.
Police said Saturday they do not believe any of the three shootings are connected.
…it’s still pretty hard to deny that some them have their roots in the same rotten ideological turf
“Often times it does take this long,” he said. “I’m very fortunate that our hard-working men and women did put it together so that we can clarify some things, in the abundance of caution, to give our communities a heads-up.”
Detectives are working to see if there was a ballistics match for the three attacks. He announced the possible link at an afternoon news conference.
The first two attacks happened April 2 and May 10 and were characterized by Garcia as drive-by shootings that appeared to target Asian American businesses. Witnesses described a red or burgundy minivan or vehicle in those incidents; a similar older-model minivan was described at Wednesday’s shooting at Hair World Salon.
Salon owner Chang Hye Jin, 44, was among those wounded and said she thought from the start that the shooting was a hate crime.
“It especially feels targeted because he didn’t even demand money,” she said. “He just came in to shoot people.”
…but sure…tell me again about the part where it’s the white guys that should be afraid of people that don’t look like them
A teenager in military-style clothing opened fire with a rifle at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in a shooting that officials called a “hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism”, killing 10 people and wounding three others before surrendering to police on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
Police officials said the 18-year-old, who is white, was wearing body armour and military-style clothing when he pulled up and started shooting at a Tops Friendly Market at about 2.30pm. The attack was streamed via a camera fixed to the man’s helmet.
“He exited his vehicle. He was very heavily armed. He had tactical gear. He had a tactical helmet on. He had a camera that he was livestreaming what he was doing,” the city police commissioner, Joseph Gramaglia, said at a news conference afterward.
According to the Associated Press, the shooting was broadcast live on the streaming platform Twitch for at least two minutes before the service ended his transmission.
Gramaglia said the gunman initially shot four people outside the store, three fatally. Inside the store, a security guard who was a retired Buffalo police officer fired shots at the gunman and struck him, but the bullet hit the gunman’s bulletproof vest and had no effect, Gramaglia added. The commissioner said the gunman then killed the security guard.
The alleged gunman was identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron of Conklin, a community about 200 miles (320km) south-east of Buffalo in New York state.
The supermarket is in a predominantly Black neighbourhood, about 3 miles (5km) north of downtown Buffalo. The surrounding area is primarily residential, with a Family Dollar store and fire station near the market.
But many said they were unsurprised that police had arrested, and not shot, the white 18-year-old suspect. “If was Black he would have been shot,” said one man, who gave his name as Alias John, who was standing nearby. “They wouldn’t have given him a chance to surrender. They’d have shot him up.”
“I heard the pop pop pop and saw three people down,” said Grady Lewis. “I thought they were shooting a movie.” Lewis said he saw Gendron enter the supermarket where the shooting continued. When he came out, he removed his tactical gear and calmly surrendered to police.
“I do know that this isn’t the first time this has happened in America, so this will be pretty much the same,” said Lewis. “There will candles, probably have a march, some preaching. But nothing that needs to be done is going to be done.”
The US president, Joe Biden, issued a statement late on Saturday. “The first lady and I are praying for the victims and their families, and hearts all across this country are with the people of Buffalo,” he said.
“We still need to learn more about the motivation for today’s shooting as law enforcement does its work, but we don’t need anything else to state a clear moral truth: a racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation,” he added. “We must do everything in our power to end hate-fuelled domestic terrorism.”
…because that’s what’s scary about the way the future’s looking
A manifesto apparently written by the suspect in a mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket that killed 10 laid out specific plans to attack Black people and repeatedly cited the “Great Replacement” Theory, the false idea that a cabal is attempting to replace white Americans with non-white people through immigration, interracial marriage and eventually violence.
The manifesto, which appears to be written by 18-year-old Payton Gendron, included a shared birth date and biographical details with the suspect in custody. The PDF was originally posted to Google Docs at 8:55 p.m. Thursday, two days before the shooting, according to file data accessed by NBC News.
The manifesto, which was not modified since it was posted on Thursday, includes elaborate details of a planned shooting. The document claims the suspect chose Buffalo because it was the city with the highest number of Black people in his vicinity.
The manifesto includes dozens of pages antisemitic and racist memes, repeatedly citing the racist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory frequently pushed by white supremacists, which falsely alleges white people are being “replaced” in America as part of an elaborate Jewish conspiracy theory. Other memes use tropes and discredited data to denigrate the intelligence of non-white people.
“Great Replacement” theory has recently received support from traditional power centers of the American right. According to an AP-NORC poll released this week, 1 in 3 U.S. adults believe there is an ongoing effort “to replace U.S.-born Americans with immigrants for electoral gains.”
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has repeatedly pushed “replacement” rhetoric on his show. “I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest for the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World,” Carlson said in April of 2021.
It was about a year ago when Fox News’s Tucker Carlson first eagerly ripped off the mask.
“I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest for the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World,” he said in April 2021. “But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually.”
This was an explicit evocation of a line of argument, once confined to the right-wing, white nationalist fringe, called “great replacement theory.” The idea, as Carlson makes clear, is not simply that immigration to the United States could reshape American politics but that some cadre of elites is intentionally encouraging that to happen. That there was a sinister plan to literally “replace” native-born Americans with immigrants.
Last December, the Associated Press and NORC conducted a large national poll examining conspiratorial ideas including this one. They found that nearly half of Republicans agree to at least some extent with the idea that there’s a deliberate intent to “replace” native-born Americans with immigrants.
The AP-NORC poll included several other questions related to the idea. They asked whether respondents were concerned about native-born Americans losing economic, political and cultural influence as the number of immigrants increased and whether they were concerned that the system under which elections are conducted discriminates against White Americans.
About 3 in 10 Americans overall agreed with the idea that intentional replacement was occurring or that native-born Americans were losing influence. About 1 in 5 agreed that the election system discriminated against Whites. In each case, though, Republicans were more likely than Democrats to express agreement or concern.
The pollsters also asked respondents what cable news channel they preferred. As might be expected, those who preferred Fox News were more likely than Americans overall or than those who preferred CNN or MSNBC to agree with the replacement theory idea. Three in 10 of those who prefer Fox News held the agree/concerned positions on the first two questions above. Among those who watched cable news closer to the right-wing fringe — One America News and Newsmax — the figure was 45 percent.
It’s worth noting that this is not simply a theoretical belief about elites hoping to reshape the country. The AP-NORC poll also gauged why Americans believed that immigrants were coming to the United States. They included traditional reasons, such as economic opportunity and political freedom. They also included reasons downstream from the idea that there was a nefarious intent to immigration: that immigrants were coming to the U.S. specifically to influence election outcomes or to change the American way of life.
More than half of Republicans thought that each of those was at least a minor reason for immigrants to seek to come to the United States. A quarter thought each was a major reason.
A substantial percentage of Democrats agreed, it’s worth noting. Half of Americans overall, for example, think that changing the American way of life is at least a minor reason for immigrants to come to the United States. But that more than half of Republicans think immigrants want to come to influence elections is obviously linked to the fact that nearly half of Republicans think a cabal of elites is encouraging them to come for that reason.
It also recasts the way in which this concept is sanitized. It’s not just that these nefarious elites want to swing open the doors to reshape the country, with those seeking to come to the United States unwitting pawns in their plan. Overlapping these two questions suggests that the immigrants are somehow complicit in this plan.
What was remarkable about Carlson’s assertion last year was that it failed to recognize the actual problem for his political allies. Hispanic voters do vote more heavily Democratic than Republican, but the margin by which that has occurred is looking increasingly wobbly. The real demographic threat to the GOP over the long term is that young Americans are much more heavily Democratic than Republican. That, too, might be shaky, but it was certainly more of a problem in April 2021 than Carlson’s feverish concerns about “replacement.”
[…sorry this is late going up…a combination of avoiding italics taking longer than I’d thought it might…& that sorry shit in buffalo throwing out where I thought I might have been going with it originally…I’ll try to find some tunes…but that might be a minute?]