Manic Monday Markup 6/13/16…
We begin today in Florida, which has become the site of the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States. Shortly after 2 a.m., Omar Mateen, an American citizen born in New York, began firing on patrons of Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. At least 49 people were killed before police stormed the club several hours later, killing Mateen in the process. Though he pledged allegiance to Daesh, also known as ISIS/ISIL, Mateen’s scattershot life, violent comments to coworkers and abusive behavior toward his ex-wife imply something broader than just an extreme (and perverted) interpretation of Islam.
Shooter's ex-wife asked on CNN if she thinks he was gay. Takers her a second to respond. "I don't know."
— Matt Pearce 🦅 (@mattdpearce) June 13, 2016
The attack hit Central Florida’s LGBT community particularly hard, which, being June, was celebrating Pride. Pulse, holding a Latin night Saturday night/Sunday morning, was one of the node of the festivities. It also comes in context of a broader history of violence against LGBT people in the United States.
President Barack Obama address the shooting yesterday and again, confirming that this was indeed homegrown terrorism, but that the motives remain unclear. Mateen had been under FBI investigation twice before Sunday, but investigators found no evidence at the time he had any links to extremists. While claiming allegiance to Daesh’s leaders, he also confused that group with other groups that opposes Daesh and had done so before. While likely motivated in part by extremism, Mateen held broadly bigoted views including against the LGBT community. He apparenlty cased Pulse and other gay clubs.
Mateen’s family, originally from Afghanistan, have distanced themselves from his son’s behavior. His father a television and Internet personality of sorts, said they had no inkling the attack was coming and suggests his son’s prejudices and not Islam, was to blame.
…And the World:
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) June 13, 2016
Israel’s ambassador to the United States cancelled his appearance before the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s meeting in Washington. The cancellation came after Haaretz reported on his planned attendance and amid questions from Knesset opposition members who felt the ambassador’s participation at a pro-Republican event might run afoul of Israeli civil service laws and already strained US-Israeli relations.
With polling showing Brexit moving into the lead, European workers in Britain are concerned about the future.
A neighborhood in Canada, opposite Detroit, decays in the shadow of a dispute about a new border crossing between Michigan and Ontario.
Pedro Kuczynski declares victory in Peru’s presidential election.
The Feds (cont’d):
The presidential contest was also buffeted by the events in Florida. Both presumptive presidential nominees, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump cancelled events in the wake of the shooting. In New Hampshire, real estate tycoon and provocateur Donald Trump called for a ban immigration from countries with a history of producing terrorists and claimed American Muslims were sheltering terrorists in their midst. The naked demagoguery went further when he seemed to imply Obama was a terrorist sympathizer. As for his ban, it earned its share of mockery as unworkable and ignorant.
Trump says the burden is on Clinton to explain how she'll pay for her immigration plans. Does not mention his wall plan.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 13, 2016
Trump wants to ban immigration from areas with 'history of terrorism.' (Sorry France, sorry U.K., sorry Norway…) https://t.co/2JAZ2YYer1
— Josh Dehaas (@JoshDehaas) June 13, 2016
This goes far beyond just "Muslim ban" — Trump calls for suspension of immigration from countries w/ proven history of terrorism against US
— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) June 13, 2016
So if Trump is going to ban immigration from places where there is a proven record of terrorism against US Allies…I guess Israelis are SOL
— Michael Cohen (@speechboy71) June 13, 2016
Trump was also castigated for taking a victory lap Sunday…straight through the pool of the victim’s blood.
Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2016
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a different path. While calling on the US’s Arab allies to do more to shut down financing of terrorist organizations, she condemned—by implication—Trump’s declaration of war upon a religion. She also made a specific appeal to the gay community expressing her solidarity for their pain in this moment.
Clinton, wrapping half-hour speech in Cleveland, invokes post-9/11 unity: "Time to get back to the spirit of those days, the spirit of 9/12"
— Matt Flegenheimer (@mattfleg) June 13, 2016
The Orlando shooting has revived the Congressional debate on gun control with Newtown, Connecticut’s representatives in the fore. While current law was not able flag or stop Mateen was obtaining the weapons he used, rules Democrats unsuccessfully pushed for after the San Bernardino shooting last year might have. The attacks have put Republicans in the uncomfortable position of defending gun rights for terrorists.
The race to succeed California Senator Barbara Boxer will be a spectator sport for the GOP with state Attorney General Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, both Democrats, advancing from last Tuesday’s nonpartisan top-two primary (similar to municipal elections in Massachusetts). The Democratic dominance of the race reflects the demographic tilt towards minorities in the Golden State. Despite the one-party race, The Los Angeles Times argues that the race needn’t be one without any choice. Moreover, the GOP may be sidelines, but its voters will not be come November.
Former Ohio Senator George Voinavich, a former governor and mayor of Cleveland died over the weekend. The former Republican lawmaker was 79.
The State of Things:
In Northampton yesterday, Senator Elizabeth Warren, reportedly shaken by the Orlando shooting, did not answer political questions before she gave a speech about income inequality.
Two victims in Orlando had ties to Western Massachusetts.
Gov. Charlie Baker rejected the homophobia implicit in the events in Orlando. In wake of shooting, he also calls state’s gun laws adequatehttp://nepr.net/news/2016/06/13/in-the-wake-of-orlando-shootings-baker-says-mass-guns-laws-are-adequate/. No apparent mention of his position on federal law.
In Holyoke potpourri: The Council is set to begin its budget hearings. Meanwhile, a panel recommends placing the Community Preservation Act on the ballot. The law imposes a surcharge on property tax bill to fund housing, historic preservation and open space projects.
Changeover at the top of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
Somewhere over the Rainbow:
The shooting in Orlando cast a pall over the progress the LGBT community has made in the United States. The attack on a nightclub, something of a sanctuary gays and lesbians, evokes the darkest days of the movement and reopens old wounds about its safety.
If you can't wrap your head around a bar or club as a sanctuary, you've probably never been afraid to hold someone's hand in public.
— Jeramey Kraatz (@jerameykraatz) June 12, 2016
The sense of community in these places was reflected in the Pulse itself. The club was named for the heartbeat of the owner’s brother, who died from AIDS.
The Fourth Estatements:
A first look at tomorrow's front page pic.twitter.com/cCcnGKxg02
— Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) June 13, 2016
Springfield’s Planning Board approves the site plan for Pope Francis high school on Surrey Road, the site of the former Cathedral High School.
A war of words has erupted on the Springfield City Council’s Finance Committee after last week’s budget vote.
Much attention has been put on Omar Mateen’s ethnicity and religion. There’s no denying that Islam is not particularly accommodating of homosexuality, but not especially less so than many mainline Christian branches. Nevertheless, Sunday’s attack was one aimed specifically at the LGBT community. Whatever Mateen’s motivations or grievances with the United States or the West, he chose this place. It comes as the country grapples with a debate about transgender rights, which suddenly swept the country most prominently in the form of the bathroom bill. Fate would have that issue intersect with Orlando. Today we award the tweet prize to Michigan State Rep Jeremy Moss. In context of news that Orlando survivors had holed up in one of Pulse’s restrooms which Mateen held people hostage in another bathroom, condemned the idea that LGBT individuals pose a threat in the lavatory. Previously opponents of transgender rights cited the risk of individuals using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. Now the argument seems gauche at best.