Manic Monday Markup 12/7/15…
UPDATED 12/10/15 10:25AM: To correct a portion of “The Feds.” President Obama said Daesh’s “will not be” defeated militarily alone. A prior version omitted the “not.”
We begin today in California, where federal authorities have announced that the couple that shot up a holiday party in San Bernardino in an apparent act of terrorism, were radicalized for some time. Federal investigators are scouring the globe for clues as to why the almost paradigmatic American husband and wife, left their six-month year old child in the care of her grandmother and then murdered 14 people at the Inland Regional Center. Most of the dead were coworkers of the male suspect, Syed Farook.
While both were ostensibly radicalized, who radicalized whom? A great deal of scrutiny has fallen on the women, Tashfeen Malik, a Pakistani-born women from a wealthy family there. Farook was born in Illinois.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama tried to assure a jittery nation that the battle defeat the terror of Daesh (also known as the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq & the Levant or ISIL/ISIS). In a rare Oval Office address, he told Americans the US was stepping up its efforts, but also warned this threat will not be defeated by strength of arms alone. He also argued that while the Islamic community has a role in countering the perverted theology of Daesh, Americans must not tar a billion Muslims based on the actions of an infinitesimal minority. The media was unimpressed while Republicans sniffed at his speech, but offered no scent of what they would do differently.
…And the World:
Much of the investigation into Malik appears to focus on her past in Pakistan, where she excelled at a pharmacology college and a religious school. Her family, as vexed as anyone about the attack, has said she brought shame upon them, but those in Pakistan seem to point to her upbringing in Saudi Arabia, where her father moved the family after a property dispute with her extended family. Her religiosity has been described as deeply conservative, as was the school she attended, but not necessarily standing out as prone to jihadist violence.
Daesh has claimed the shooting was carried out by its followers, but it has not claimed any direction for the attack and there is no evidence Farook & Malik were directed by those overseas or were part of a larger cell or plot.
In Venezuela, the opposition came in from the wilderness gaining a majority in legislative elections, signaling a crack in the wall of support of the late President Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro. Under the socialist government, the country’s economy has deteriorated while its plentiful oil revenues were squandered.
In British political potpourri: Parliament voted to authorize strikes in Syria against Daesh targets. Conservative Party Prime Minister David Cameron wanted broad support in Parliament, although Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, who leads the opposition, opposed strikes. A rousing speech by Labour’s own Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Hilary Benn, the son of a Leftist, led over sixty Labour MP’s to support the motion on humanitarian, security and internationalist grounds. That stoked, likely overblown, talk that Benn could be the leader the moderate wing of Labour has been looking for.
However, Corbyn enjoyed a respite from criticism after the special election in Oldham, a part of Manchester. There, Jim McMahon, leader of the Oldham council, won the seat left by the death of a Labour MP by a commanding margin. There had been concerns that the UK Independence Party or Ukip, would win the seat especially given Corbyn’s far-left agenda. Corbyn claimed the results proved his critics wrong, they replied Labour held the seat because McMahon was a stellar candidate.
Negotiators in Paris scramble to find an agreement on climate change as one study shows that use of less carbon-intensive sources of energy could result in a fall in CO2 emissions by mid-century. Meanwhile, the biggest polluters are plugging tougher warming targets.
The Feds (cont’d):
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has gone there. Following the attacks in San Bernardino, Trump has called for a ban on ALL Muslims entering the United States for any purpose. Fellow Republicans are speaking out, but that doesn’t seem likely to work. Many Trump supporters probably agree with him.
.@Realdonaldtrump has gone from making absurd comments to being downright dangerous with his bombastic rhetoric.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 7, 2015
He’s putting at risk the lives of interpreters, American supporters, diplomats, & the troops in the region by making these bigoted comments
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 7, 2015
Most ppl waiting to see Trump that I spoke to think Trump's plan to ban Muslims is a good one. Most cited recent attacks in CA as proof.
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) December 7, 2015
Hillary Clinton also chimed in, precisely on point.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 7, 2015
A fresh push to limit gun sales to those on the terrorist no-fly list has divided Republicans, and maybe, just maybe, after San Bernardino, put them on the back foot on this issue. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court turned down an opportunity to review a Circuit Court ruling upholding a ban on assault weapons.
To our neighbor to the South, Connecticut appears to have reached a budget deal to correct the deficit, but it is not bipartisan.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has not made her choice for the Democratic presidential nomination, but she is working on her party getting the Senate back from GOP control.
The State of Things:
Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration is under fire for accepting several earlier retirements from the Department of Transportation as part of his deficit-cutting plan only to hire many back with the agency.
See our report on the Gaming Commission meeting last week on MGM’s proposed changes to its design. Paul Tuthill of Northeastern Public Radio notes that commissioners want more information before approving any alterations to MGM’s plans.
Special Elections afoot once more. Boston Senator Anthony Petrucelli’s impending resignation to take a lobbying job means a big fat target for Boston-area pols looking for a promotion. An arch-Democratic seat, much of the action will likely be in the preliminary. Per Politico Massachusetts, top candidates could include Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo and Rep Aaron Michlewitz, but the district is not wanting for high-profile notables.
Jim Aloisi takes the idea of means-tested MBTA fares to the woodshed.
Our Editor-in-chief, Matt Szafranski and Natalia Munoz, who writes for El Sol Latino, discuss gun control and a Greenfield cop’s confederate flag with NEPR’s Susan Kaplan on the Short List.
The Fourth Estatements:
Could go under Fourth Estatements, too, but…Huffington Post employees ask management to recognize their union. Well above a majority of eligible employees have signed union cards.
Labor and Detroit casinos sign a new labor pact. It now goes to members for ratification.
The plan to name a new senior center after former State Rep Ray Jordan has run into opposition from a prominent senior group in the city.
A new historic district is on tap before the City Council today.
The city’s housing authority presented its review of its operations recently.
The last 48 hours yielded many a good tweet, particularly with regard to the events in San Bernardino. One point Obama made that was key was how boots on the ground to fight them would only stoke Daesh’s powers of recruitment. Today, somebody else became a rallying cry for the so-called state. Trump’s comments about restricting entry of Muslims goes well beyond everything this country stands for. But we don’t need to enter a philosophical debate about our values to see the danger. Today we award the tweet prize to Erin Gloria Ryan, an editor for Vocativ, a deep-data reporting outfit. Her comment about what Trump can be for Daesh, especially given his frontrunner status, goes to the heart of how dangerous such bigotry is. Truly, we want to actually defeat Daesh, not merely sound tough. Forget security versus liberty. This is bravado versus safety. Trump’s comment are all the former and put at risk the later.