Manic Monday Markup 10/5/15…
…And the World:
We begin today in Georgia—the US state—where a deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been reached. The agreement, its backers say, will open up US products to dozens of Asian markets by felling tariffs. While President Barack Obama has insisted the deal will include unprecedented worker and environmental protections, labor and green groups remain incredibly skeptical. Although, some wildlife groups are praising its measures, provided they are enforced. TPP’s secret negotiations have also drawn ire and scrutiny.
In Canada, the leaders of the major parties have concluded their debates this past Friday leaving only two weeks until Canadians go to polls. Since riding to victory in Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s home province of Alberta, the leftist New Democratic Party has been riding high. However, the latest polls show a retreat for the NDP, largely to the benefit of the Liberal Party, a center-left party. Led by Justin Trudeau, the son of a former prime minister who exceeded debate expectations, Liberals hope to deny Harper another term in Ottawa. However, vote-splitting with the NDP complicates Liberals’ hopes.
Russia’s muscular entry into the Syrian Civil War has NATO warning Moscow about targeting civilians. Meanwhile, the Kremlin has announced “volunteer” forces from Russia will go to Syria.
Israel is grappling with a wave of attacks that has left eight dead. The Israeli government has announced a terror-cell leader has been arrested for murders of settlers in the West Bank. Meanwhile, after a week in whicch Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stuck their fingers in each other’s eye, Israeli media is reporting both are trying to work together to calm the situation lest a Third Intifada breaks out. Deaths on the Palestinian side have also been reported.
In South/Central American potpourri from The New York Times: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff prepares her country for austerity as the economic crisis deepens. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron will visit Jamaica this week and may need to grapple with an issue more familiar to American politicians: reparations for slavery.
The Colombian government and guerrilla there reach a peace accord.
Power Post this morning argues that the Trans-Pacific Partnership may be a way for Hillary Clinton to distinguish herself should Vice-President Joe Biden gets into the presidential contest. Following last week’s shooting in Oregon, Clinton also took on guns, suggesting she would consider executive action to close background check loopholes. Biden’s decision to join the fray, if not a public one, could come this weekend, Politico reports
On the other side of Clinton, Bernie Sanders drew 24,000 to a rally in Boston and 6000 in Springfield.
Elsewhere, Clinton did herself a whole lot of good with her performance as “Val,” the easy-to-talk-to bartender her doppelgänger, played by Kate McKinnon, met during this weekend’s Saturday Night Live.
Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz has entered the battle to be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. While most odds makers would put their money on Kevin McCarthy, the current House Majority Leader, to succeed John Boehner, Chaffetz could deny McCarthy enough votes within the GOP caucus to deny McCarthy the majority he needs to become speaker. Democrats will overwhelming vote for Nancy Pelosi, although a few dissidents may back another Democrat.
Democratic New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan has decided to challenge incumbent Senator Kelly Ayotte, setting up a clash of the titans in the New England as part of the overall battle for the US Senate.
This is gonna be a war. https://t.co/JePrrInxBu
— David S. Bernstein (@dbernstein) October 5, 2015
The US Supreme Court has an epic, and politically fraught docket this term that could veer heavily to the right.
The State of Things:
The Boston Globe notes that the legislature has started this year off with some of the fewest votes in recent memory. The reason? The rules battle and the agenda—or lack thereof—coming from the governor’s office.
Holyoke potpourri: The Ward 6 Council battle takes an odd turn with news Council President Kevin Jourdain has been questioning the past residency of his (formerly) lesser-known opponent Juan Anderson-Burgos. The candidates for Treasurer spar over experience. Finally, in today’s inbox, the Morse campaign begins a fact-check operations. Earlier this year, Morse’s mayoral opponent Fran O’Connell accused Morse of dropping the ball on efforts to keep O’Connell Care at Home in Holyoke. The Morse campaign, echoing an Op-Ed during the summer, says O’Connell never got back to them.
Former Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette formally kicked off his campaign to take back the corner office in City Hall.
In Boston’s City Council race, much of the recent attention has focused on the Yancey-Campbell district race, but at-large Annissa Essaibi-George, who ran in 2013, is trying again for an at-large seat this year.
The Fourth Estatements:
Technically news about social media and Twitter in particular falls under this heading. In Twitter news, the company has brought back its former CEO Jack Dorsey on a permanent basis. Dorsey had been leading the company on an interim basis since July.
The New York Times thanks readers as it reaches 1 million digital-only subscribers. While still a ways off from relying on those subscribers for a steady income (the print product, despite falling revenues, provides the lion’s share of the Times Company’s income).
MGM Executive William Hornbuckle was in Springfield to recommit his company to Springfield after news broke two weeks ago that the company was downsizing the height, if not the scale, of its $800 million casino. He also met with city councilors today.
Hornbuckle joined MGM and city officials at 195 State Street to announce the company was buying the former School Department headquarters to build 30+ apartments as part of the company’s plan to place market-rate apartments offsite. The purchase price has not been disclosed as of this time, although the city had acted to take the property back after the developer—to whom they sold it for $1—stopped work. It is not clear if the city would get the proceeds of MGM’s purchase of the building.
A City Council subcommittee is reviewing the jersey barrier situation on Main Street today. The matter went to committee last week.
Hillary Clinton has been struggling. Some of it is not her fault, but the media’s. But some of it is clearly her and her campaign’s doing. While unfortunately prefaced by a leak of a memo promising a more relatable and spontaneously Hillary, there is really no doubt—unless you hate Clinton—that this spot on SNL was an all-around win. By far the best choice was to do what most politicians on SNL don’t: play somebody else. Clinton could take the ribbing directly—from “herself” no less—and had a chance to laugh about it. She would be wise to continue this route as means to take herself less seriously…and to keep it up. Today we award the tweet prize to Clinton’s traveling press secretary Nick Merrill for tweeting this photo of
Clinton “Val” in the green room, watching the opening skit, before going out to tend bar. A meta moment to be sure, but it should serve as a reminder that running for president need not be an all-grueling experience. And it can have rewards too.
"Val" getting read to go tend bar. @nbcsnl pic.twitter.com/GBiyeezi88
— Nick Merrill (@NickMerrill) October 4, 2015