Manic Monday Markup 5/23/16…
…And the World:
We begin today in Austria, where voters narrowly rejected a far-right anti-immigrant presidential candidate, Norbert Hofer, in favor of independent (and formerly Green Party) candidate Alexander van der Bellen. The presidency in Austria is largely ceremonial, but when Hofer came in first place in last month, it touched off a political maelstrom in Europe. Not only would far-right parties like Hofer’s Freedom Party be given a seat at the table, but Hofer himself could have tried to force new elections that likely would have favored his party. Hofer’s April win already prompted the resignation of Austria’s prime minister. Van der Bellen called for unity in his victory speech and immigrant breathed a sign of relief.
NPR talks to an expert about the rise of far-right parties in Europe.
A brilliant move to restrain his enemies and tighten his power gone awry? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who head the Likud party, was on the edge of a deal to expand his coalition with the left(ish) Zionist Union, but then suddenly offered the Defense Ministry to right-wing nationalist Avigdor Lieberman, head of Yisrael Beitenu. That would have entailed dumping Likud mainstay Moshe Ya’alon, a former Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff who has defended the IDF from political attacks.
But Ya’alon never gave Netanyahu the chance to broom him, resigning in a public departure that slammed the extremism in the country’s politics. The military is still broadly respected in Israel and Netanyahu’s move might cost him public support. Meanwhile, Ya’alon’s seat in the Knesset will go to a controversial activist that has already embarrassed the prime minister.
Negotiations between Lieberman and the religious parties have stalled, as have talks with other parties in the prime minister’s government. Netanyahu says a deal is still possible with the Zionist Union. Parts of Netanyahu’s coalition are also opposed to Liberman’s demand for the death penalty for terrorists, though as proposed it would likely only apply to Arabs. Oh, and police may reopen a criminal investigation of Bibi.
President Barack Obama, while visiting Vietnam, lifted the US’s embargo on arms sales to the peninsular nation, touting the move as closing another lingering chapter from the Cold War.
The government of Iraq announces plans to retake Fallujah from Daesh, also known as ISIS/ISIL.
The search continues for answers and wreckage from Egypt Air Flight 804, which crashed into the Mediterranean on May 19.
American Justice in Brief: One of the Baltimore police officers implicated in the death of Freddie Gray was acquitted. The charges were not the severest the six officers faced. The Supreme Court overturned a decades-old conviction of a black death row inmate after evidence surfaced the prosecution used preemptory challenges to excuse black jurors.
New polls show a tight race in the presidential race, although much of that appears to be supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders withholding support for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side. Meanwhile, the Republican presumptive nominee, real estate tycoon and provocateur Donald Trump, faces potential flack for withholding his tax returns.
Doubts about the Donald continue. Clinton urges voters not to view him as a typical candidate and perhaps House Speaker Paul Ryan’s demurral in endorsing Trump is informed by his doubts that Trump can win. Plus, those mob ties?
Politico speculates that New York Senator Charles Schumer may be a key figure in healing the fissures between Clinton and Sanders. Others fear Sanders’s may be blowing an opportunity to turn his waning campaign into a longstanding movement.
Sanders endorsed Tim Canova who is challenging Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz in her congressional primary. Still, as Daily Kos observes, even with a Sanders-sponsored cash infusion, Canova faces a tough road to hoe. Wasserman Schultz has become a lightning rod for her orchestration of the primary process Berniecrats have said favors Clinton.
The State of Things:
Funeral arrangements for slain Officer Ronald Tarentino are as follows:
Wake Thursday May 26,2016 from 2-7 at St…. https://t.co/whWBRdmHmp
— Auburn Police (@AuburnMAPolice) May 23, 2016
Rest in Peace Elizabeth Baker, mother of Gov. Charlie Baker. Our deepest condolences to the governor at this difficult time.
A conference committee for the State House and Senate have also unveiled a compromise bill to update the commonwealth’s sorry public records law, widely recognized as one of the nation’s weakest. The new law provides firmer deadlines for public agencies and municipalities to respond to requests and leaves it up to judges to award legal fees to those that must go to court to secure public records. The House will vote on the bill Wednesday and the Senate is expected to follow sometime thereafter.
WMassP&I Editor-in-Chief Matt Szafranski and The Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Larry Parnass and joined NEPR’s Susan Kaplan to discuss veterans’ courts, the millionaires tax and Bill Weld’s Libertarian Vice-Presidential run.
Holyoke axes its creative economic coordinator in the face of uncertain support for the job’s continued existence.
The Fourth Estatements:
Esteemed journalist and veteran 60 Minutes reporter Morley Safer died last week at the age of 84.
The Breitbart reporter who resigned in the wake of her organization’s limp response to a Trump campaign aide’s alleged assault of her is going to The Huffington Post–to cover Trump.
How is the British press covering the vote on whether the UK will remain in the European Union?
In newspaper potpourri: After buying its competitor, The Tampa Bay Times abruptly shut down the rival 123-year old The Tampa Tribune. Meanwhile in Las Vegas, staff chafe at Sheldon Adelson’s control of the Las Vegas Review-Journal even as it comes with looser purse strings.
As federally mediated talks between Verizon and unions representing its landline worker enter their second week, picketers keep the pressure on the company. One analyst says the strike has cost the company $200 million.
Labor organizations are debating their role in the gig economy.
Springfield City Councilors will vote on Mayor Domenic Sarno’s budget tomorrow.
Tomorrow State Rep. Benjamin Swan will be making an announcement about his political future with his son at his side. Benjamin Swan, Jr., chair of Springfield’s Planning Board, is expected to announce his run for his father’s seat.
A medical marijuana facility has been proposed for a building on Cottage Street.
The slaying of Auburn Police Officer Ronald Tarentino is a sad reminder of the risks on the job that officers face. But one of the great struggles this country has is trying to balance the humanity of all individuals. Clearly, the late individual alleged to have murdered officer Tarentino had a beef that led him to go out in a blaze of anything, but glory. This blog is reminded of the sacrifice of Springfield Police Officer Kevin Ambrose who died performing the very paradigm of duty: protecting another. It is important in these moments not to assume police do not have respect or that demanding more accountability from them means they lack it. To say otherwise defames the dead whether cop or civilian. Today we award the tweet prize to Attorney General Maura Healey, whose tweet strikes the appropriate balance in these moments. That’s how we work toward a safer and more just world.