Tardy Tuesday Takedown 7/5/16…
…And the World:
We begin today in Australia, where it appears the governing Liberal-National/Coalition party (LNP) will likely win the most seats after Saturday’s election. However, that represents a substantial drop from the 89-some odd seats it had in 150-member House of Representatives. Neither party is likely to have a majority resulting in a hung parliament, echoing Labor’s dillema . Labor has substantially made up ground it lost in the 2013 election. Most prominently, the gamble Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made in calling for a double-dissolution has proven a disaster. By calling early Senate elections, too, all 76 seats were up too and those seem to have gone against LNP, too. Turnbull has accepted responsibility for the result.
Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, who survived and wrote about the Holocaust, died Saturday.
Bombs went off in Medina, Saudia Arabia and two other Saudi cities following blasts in Baghdad and Istanbul. While not all have been conclusively linked to Daesh, which is also known as ISIS/ISIL, it would suggest an escalation of the group’s international terrorism as it loses territory in Iraq and, to a lesser degree, in Syria.
In the same vein, The New York Times considers Turkish president Reccip Tayyip Erdogan’s fraying alliances.
In Britain, the Conservative Party leadership contest has whittled down to three after former Defense Minister Liam Fox is eliminated on the first ballot and Stephen Crabb withdraws. Home Secretary Therese May came in first. The list must be reduced to two before it is forwarded to party membership. The winner will become the party leader and ergo Prime Minister.
Meanwhile the UK Labour party is trying to find a way to move past Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Notably, as the threat of fresh elections has receded, replacing Corbyn outright may not be necessary immediately to salve antsy Labour members’ concerns.
Both British parties leadership elections/turmoil have been brought on by Britain’s June 23 vote to leave the European Union.
The cockpit voice recorder from EgyptAir Flight 804, which crashed in the Mediterranean, suggest a fire had broken out on the plane. The flight data recorder indicated the same.
What you’ve all been waiting for. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey formally recommended that no charges be brought against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (and, ostensibly her staff) because she used a private server to conduct State Department business. While chastising her and her staff for being “extremely careless” for using a server that could have been exposed to hacker attacks (and indirectly, was not being properly archived), Comey said no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case because Clinton and her staff lacked any intent or gross negligence while using the server or later delivering its contents to the government.
The FBI has helpfully posted a transcript of Comey’s remarks.
Statement by Director Comey on the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email system https://t.co/KEUwbgzIKE
— FBI (@FBI) July 5, 2016
While Clinton’s presidential campaign released a tempered thanks to the FBI (and another admission it was a mistake), some criticized the unorthodox way in which Comey, a Republican who had served as Deputy Attorney General under George W. Bush, released the FBI’s findings. Predictably, Republicans also cried foul, but Comey’s got an interesting rep for speaking truth to power. Take that either way.
Gross Negligence = blatant indifference to one's legal duty. Comey defined @HillaryClinton 's actions as gross negligence in that presser.
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) July 5, 2016
(FYI, Reince is incorrect)
FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2016
While it does seem as though Comey violated protocol for these situations, arguably there was cause to go this route after former President Bill Clinton and attorney General Loretta Lynch’s impromptu tarmac meeting in Phoenix.
Whatever Comey's recommendation, this presser is so inappropriate. Complete departure from FBI/DOJ standards.
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) July 5, 2016
Absolutely outrageous presser by Comey. DOJ/FBI is supposed to speak in court. If it won't make statements in court, it shouldn't make them.
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) July 5, 2016
Agree. Also wording of a few things were odd. If anything, I think Dems have a case for bias, not GOP. https://t.co/s0tBbn1T6f
— David S. Bernstein (@dbernstein) July 5, 2016
The media’s response was somewhat predictable. While fairly emphasizing the carelessness, there was also a rush to say Clinton lied about declaring items released were not marked classified. Comey hedged in saying whether classified materials that passed through the server were marked classified at the time.
Comey seems to be saying here that some were marked. And is tough on that distinction anyhow: pic.twitter.com/EYhc4H3klk
— George Zornick (@gzornick) July 5, 2016
Meanwhile, Clinton and President Barack Obama rallied in Charlotte, North Carolina today, their first joint appearance since she clinched the Democratic nomination. NPR notes the history of this development.
Hello, Instagram! It's President Obama. Really! I'm excited to hit the trail with Hillary today in Charlotte, and I'm taking over her account to share a few thoughts with you about the stakes in this race, and why I think she'd make a great president. So I hope you'll follow along. I'm feeling pretty fired up. -bo
The website Mic traced Donald Trump’s Star of David Twitter image—the Donald’s camp said it’s a sheriff’s badge—to apparent white supremacists. Republican Speaker of the House called Trump out for the graphic. It comes amid rising worry that Trump, despite his (lame) disavowals, he may be legitimizing racist rhetoric in the US.
Also, is Trump exactly the candidate Vladimir Putin is looking for?
The State of Things:
With no opponent in sight, Governor Charlie Baker is gearing up for 2018. The state GOP is seemingly using 2016 as a test run of its ground game, but it’s not really clear how.
Senator Eric Lesser’s East-West study made it into the state budget the legislature passed last week.
Thrilled to announce that a feasibility study examining rail from Springfield to Boston is on its way to the governor's desk
— Eric Lesser (@EricLesser) July 1, 2016
Elie Wiesel, though world-renowned, built much of his scholarly career in Massachusetts, namely at Boston University.
WMassP&I Editor-in-chief and Reminder Managing Editor Mike Dobbs again joined Susan Kaplan on NEPR’s Short List.
ICYMI: Jack Griffin dropped out of the Hampden Sheriff’s race and endorsed Springfield City Councilor Thomas Ashe. Meanwhile, a judge ruled in favor of Sheriff Michael Ashe’s plan to move the Western Mass Alcohol Correction Center to Mill Street in Springfield.
Northampton holds a special election Thursday to fill the at-large Council seat of Jesse Adams, who resigned earlier this year to focus on his law practice. Thursday is the preliminary. The top two vote-getters will move on to a special general election in a few weeks.
Peter resigns from the Wilbraham-Hampden Regional School Committee.
The Fourth Estatements:
The New York Observer, which is owned by Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, published an open letter from one of its employees to Kushner protesting his silence over the apparent Star of David in an image that had appeared in a Trump tweet attacking Hillary Clinton. Kushner, married to Trump daughter Ivanka, himself has become a prominent advisor to the presumptive GOP nominee.
Brexit could harm British newspapers, Politico reports.
Poland’s conservative government is interfering with state-owned television stations.
Sadly, also in Trump, the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey paid 500,000 to stop a union organizing drive. The workers, who went on strike Friday are still on the picket line. The Taj Mahal is no longer owned by Trump, but by ally and activist investor Carl Icahn.
France forces through reforms of its labor laws despite protests.
The City Council has more to ponder when it again meets on the proposed medical marijuana dispensary on Cottage Street.
Union Station’s platform will open six months behind the rest of the station. Late last week, WMassP&I also reported this would delay Amtrak’s relocation to the station from its current facility fronting Lyman Street.
Amid all the banality of national politics (and international, frankly) it can be easy to lose perspective. Some people with tremendous egos forgot too often—or all the time—how small they really are, both literally and figuratively. Today we award the tweet prize to NASA’s Juno Mission. As it begins its investigation of Jupiter, largest of our neighs revolving around the Sun, it tweeted video of its approach. The time-lapsed images show the Jovian moons orbiting around the planet, but, as the mission tweeted, doing so “up close” in a way Galileo never could. Perhaps not as humbling as a pale blue dot, but it is nevertheless mind-blowing.