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Friday Morning Briefing: El Paso massacre upends white nationalists’ normalization strategy


Two years ago, America’s white nationalist movement stunned the country. Neo-Nazi demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, had turned deadly when a far-right protester drove a car through a crowd, killing one and injuring dozens. Some movement leaders regrouped. Instead of stoking outrage, they set out to build support with another tack: Looking normal and eventually gaining mainstream acceptance for far-right ideas. But last weekend’s massacre in El Paso, Texas has scrambled the calculus for the movement’s aspiring normalizers.

Stopping America's next hate-crime killers on social media is no easy task. The pattern is clear: Hate-filled manifestos posted on websites populated by white supremacists, followed by gun attacks against blacks, Jews, Muslims, or Latin American immigrants. In some cases, the killers use their internet posts to praise previous attacks by other white nationalists. And after new assaults, the manifestos get passed around, feeding the cycle of propaganda and violence.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell rejected a plea from more than 200 mayors to call the Senate back early to consider new gun legislation, following two weekend mass shootings that left 31 people dead. The 214 mayors, including those of El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which were the scenes of the weekend massacres, in a letter to the Senate majority leader and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer urged the Senate to vote on legislation already approved by the House of Representatives expanding background checks for guns sales without waiting for the end of the Senate’s summer recess.

As Alaska warms, expect more wildfires and chaos for marine life. July 2019 now stands as Alaska’s hottest month on record, the latest benchmark in a long-term warming trend with ominous repercussions ranging from rapidly vanishing summer sea ice and melting glaciers to raging wildfires and deadly chaos for marine life.


Demonstrators crowded the arrivals hall at Hong Kong airport, handing out anti-government leaflets and waving banners in a dozen languages in a bid to raise awareness among visitors ahead of weekend rallies planned across the city. Railings festooned with tear gas canisters and colorful postcards are artworks that the protesters have made from materials left over from recent demonstrations, hoping to spread their message in the Chinese-controlled territory. The U.S. State Department spokeswoman called China a “thuggish regime” for disclosing the photographs and personal details of a U.S. diplomat who met with student leaders of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

“Those who waste time hurt the country,” Italy’s ruling League party said in a statement. The party said it will present a no confidence motion in the Senate to bring down the government and it hopes the country will go quickly to snap elections. Matteo Salvini’s right-wing party announced that its ruling coalition with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement had collapsed. The shock announcement follows a period of intense public feuding between the League and its coalition partner and it throws the euro zone’s third-largest economy into deeper political uncertainty.

Malaysia filed criminal charges against 17 current and former directors at subsidiaries of Goldman Sachs following an investigation into a multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal that led to the demise of state fund 1MDB. But Malaysian prosecutors have said $2.7 billion of the proceeds were diverted and the offering statements filed with the regulators contained statements that were false, misleading or involved material omissions. Goldman Sachs said the charges were misdirected.

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