Manic Monday Markup 11/16/15…
UPDATED 11/18/15 12:17AM: To reflect a correction. Young Latino candidates were winning in Haverhill as well as Chelsea, not just the latter.
…And the World:
We begin today in France, where investigators have now identified Abdelhamid Abaaoud as the mastermind of the coordinated attacks launched Friday night in Paris that have killed 129. Manhunts have been underway all weekend for organizers, accomplices and a possible 8th attacker who got away (after being briefly detained by French authorities). Brussels is now the focus of the search, as it is believed the plan was prepared there. However, Belgian authorities admit they have little control over an area of the city that has spawned an inordinate number of Europe’s Islamic radicals.
Meanwhile, France has upped its airstrikes on Islamic State (or ISIS/ISIL) targets in Syria as President Francois Hollande declares his country will destroy ISIL. While French military forces have long had a role in the battle against ISIL, most of their strikes have been focused on Iraq. Global leaders meeting in Antalya for the G20 find the attacks have hit the top of the agenda.
Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin held intense talks on the sidelines, but may be inching toward finding a conclusion to the Syrian war. That conflict has provided ISIL with a nice backdrop of chaos against which it can operate. Were Putin able to make Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down, as Israeli sources claim, it could go a long way to ending the conflict.
Russia itself has had to reassess its strategy after a plan filled with its citizens was downed shortly after takeoff from the Sinai. ISIL claimed responsibility. Another bombing Thursday in Beirut was also claimed by ISIL. Lebanon has hosted many refugees and the militant group Hezbollah, has engaged ISIL, perhaps prompting the attack, which was overshadowed by the carnage in Paris.
Our thoughts on Paris.
In non-terrorism potpourri: Japan falls back into recession. The Times profiles a poet in Myanmar, a member of Aung Sun Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, who beat a soldier for a seat in a Parliament. Suu Kyi’s party overwhelming won elections in a country that has been ruled by military dictators for fifty years.
President Obama, in Turkey, criticized Republicans who suggested the US begin closing mosques and added that refusing Syrian refuges wholesale after the attack is a “rejection of our values.” Obama also argued against ground troops to fight ISIL.
As governors announce they will not accept Syrian refugees, The Times has prepared a map of where Syrians have been resettled in the US.
While he has hardly been a fan of Obama’s foreign policy, noted International Relations professor Andrew Bacevich argues that ground forces (and the tone taken by Hollande) will not stop ISIL.
Relatedly, commentators pick apart fears and rhetoric that has spilled over from Paris and into the Presidential contest. A New York Times Op-Ed says that while there are risks, the danger is lower than in Europe, because the US’s has geographic and intelligence advantages. Peter Beinart, writing in The Atlantic, dismisses Marco Rubio tough talk about ISIL waging a war against Western civilization. Paul Krugman warns against giving into fear, as the terrorists want.
Glenn Greenwald contends that revelations made by Edward Snowden had nothing to do with terrorists avoiding detection by Western intelligence agencies.
While her answer about Wall Street is being widely panned, Hillary Clinton has been pretty universally declared the winner of the Democratic debate this past Saturday. Among major outlets, only the Washington Post declared her the loser.
Elsewhere in the race for the White House, Senator Ted Cruz announces the support of xenophobic Congressman Steve King of Iowa.
Meanwhile, Louisiana Senator David Vitter uses the Paris attack as a Hail Mary pass to save his lagging gubernatorial campaign. Polling has shown state rep John Bel Edwards in the lead.
The State of Things:
Gag! Gov. Charlie Baker says he will not allow more Syrian refugees into Massachusetts. At least he had the proviso of wanting more information. But still. BARF!
Elsewhere on that subject, Massachusetts political leaders held a rally on Boston Common in support of France.
Latinos are on the move in Massachusetts politics, having won seats in this month’s municipal elections. Chelsea and Haverhill appears to be where young Hispanic candidates in particular scored seats (doubling as Millennials A-Massing). Cameo from Springfield State Rep Jose Tosado.
Sophomore Boston City Council Michelle Wu says she has the votes to be Council President. Wu would be the first non-white councilor to hold the post in the city’s history.
Former Worcester City Councilor files for a hand recount in the at-large council race.
Westfield Mayor Daniel Knapik has resigned, leaving his elected successor, City Council President Brian Sullivan, to take office early. Sullivan will take over the seat for a full term in January.
The Fourth Estatements:
John Oliver takes full advantage of HBO’s permissive stances on expletives in a takedown of ISIL.
Springfield remembers slain police officers Alain Beauregard and Michael Schiavina 30 years after they were murdered in the line of duty.
Mayor Domenic Sarno has booted his general election opponent, Salvatore Circosta, from his community review board for police misconduct.
Having failed in court, Biomass opponents pin their hopes on a local health board’s review of the project.
New England Public Radio considers whether better youth participation would boost Springfield voter turnout.
Reminder managing editor Mike Dobbs casts a skeptical eye on Domenic Sarno’s revived 1 a.m. closing plan for bars.
The events in Paris will be met with action, but the question ultimately become will that be the right action? Or are we willing to perform the action that is necessary to do what we claim to want? Today we award the tweet prize to two individuals who get to the heart of both questions. The first is former presidential advisor David Axelrod, who rightly noted that the attacks could reinforce the wave of NIMBYism in Europe over the refugee crisis. Disconcertingly, that could mean the refugees end up large-scale camps.
Sad to say, post Paris, the refugee issue is likely to stir another Guantanamo-style imbroglio, in all its NIMBY fury.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) November 16, 2015
Meanwhile, Dewey Square political consultant Mary Anne Marsh observes that the declarations of war from France in the wake of the attacks (mirroring the US’s past such declarations) are somewhat hollow unless the country full commits to it. That means a military draft. Marsh also had some astute observations about how the refugee crisis feeds into ISIL and how bombs alone won’t solve the problem.
If you want to declare war v. ISIS in the truest sense of the word then the draft must be re-instituted to have the human resources to do it
— Mary Anne Marsh (@maryannemarsh) November 16, 2015