Manic Monday Markup 3/14/16…
…And the World:
We begin today in Russia, where President Vladimir Putin has ordered the beginning of troop withdrawals from Syria. Saying his objectives have been met, Putin said the conditions have been set for peace. Of course, Putin has made such gestures in other arenas before (Ukraine) and did nothing. Moreover, Russian military hardware will remain in Syria (the Russians have a major naval base there).
According to Haaretz, Israeli officials and the Palestinian Authority have been meeting secretly to help the latter regain control of West Bank cities.
Nearly a year after the Germanwings crash in the French Alps took the lives of 150 people, French aviation officials called for clearer oversight of pilots’ mental health. The co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, intentionally downed the planes. He had hidden his struggle with mental illness from Germanwings (now called Eurowings) a subsidiary of Lufthansa and been declared unfit for work. However, that information never got to Germanwings. France’s air safety agency, the BEA, called for doctors to disclose such information directly to airline employers, which, if it poses a threat to other people (as it clearly did in Lubitz’s case) is allowed under even Europe’s strict privacy laws.
Terror attacks rocked Turkey and the Ivory Coast over the last few days. Turkey blamed a bombing in Ankara that killed on Kurdish separatists. In the Ivory Coast, 16 were killed in shootings at beach resorts.
China faces a new threat: labor protests.
The New York Times compares last week’s White House state dinner for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to a family reunion between the US and Canada.
Buckeye of the Storm:
Ohio appears to be the epicenter of the presidential race right now. While its results may not be determinative on the Democratic side, it could be on the Republican side. For the anti-Trump faction of the GOP to deny real estate tycoon and provocateur Donald Trump a majority of delegates, John Kasich, Ohio’s governor, must prevail in his home state. Former House Speaker John Boehner came out of retirement to endorse Kasich over the weekend.
On the Democratic side, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders hopes for another stunning upset after last week’s in Michigan. However, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stung by the Wolverine rejection (albeit a narrow one, mitigated by a lopsided win in Mississippi) is campaigning hard to keep Ohio in her column. Polls suggest a tight race that could go into the late hours. Others worry Sanders’s unrelenting attacks on Clinton’s will cost her in the Fall, if she’s the nominee.
The White House via the Prairie State:
Perhaps turning more in Sanders favor is Illinois amid his hard-edged rhetoric—indeed, quite harsh, politics-as-usual rhetoric—attack on Clinton in the state in which she was born. Sanders has attacked Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Clinton supporter, for his role in the suppression of a video purporting to show the death of a young black man at the hand of police. This guilt-by-association argument is a very clear attempt to peel away black support from Clinton in Chicago, which will likely dominate which way the state swings.
Show Me Sunshine:
Also voting tomorrow are Florida, Missouri and North Carolina. On the Democratic side, Florida and North Carolina are expected to stay to form and go hard to Clinton. Missouri not so much. On the Republican side, Florida is likely going to be the last hurrah for Senator Marco Rubio, whose campaign has all, but collapsed in the last few weeks. He did win the Washington DC caucus though…
Civil discourse appears to be cracking along the edges of the Trump campaign as violence and violent rhetoric rears its ugly head more and more. A Chicago rally was cancelled due to safety concerns. Trump is ferreting out protesters at his rallies and his own campaign manager is implicating in manhandling a reporter (see Fourth Estatements). The nature of Trump’s rhetoric lends itself to incitement and it remains unclear when or how it will subside.
President Barack Obama may announce his pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia this week. Washington odds-makers think he has narrowed his choices to DC Circuit Judges Merrick Garland and Sri Srinivasan and 9th Circuit Judge Paul Watford.
Also on Ohio’s ballot tomorrow: in the eighth district, formerly that of John Boehner, contenders to succeed the ex-speaker will duke it out in the primary. Being a blood-red seat, the primary tomorrow is considered to be tantamount to election. The general election is June 7.
Labor Secretary Tom Perez for Veep?
Economic overcast in Connecticut. The number of jobs created in 2015 has been halved in a new report.
The State of Things:
Charlie’s cash has all the attention. Gov. Charlie Baker has amassed an eye-popping $3 million warchest, perhaps a means of scaring off any Democrats insolent enough to challenge him in 2018.
In other Baker news, the governor signed a bill intended to crack down on the opiate crisis in the state.
A Native American tribe in Taunton says their casino will open in 2017 outside the jurisdiction of Massachusetts Gaming Commission, putting plans for the third casino under the expanded gaming law in doubt.
The race to replace Pittsfield Senator Benjamin Downing is heating up. Last week Richmond Attorney Andrea Harrington announced her bid for the Democratic nomination. Today, previously announced Democratic candidate Adam Hinds released his platform.
A former paper mill in Holyoke is set for demolition and redevelopment as the home of Aegis Energy Services.
Jack Griffin, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Sheriff, kicked off his campaign on Friday.
The Fourth Estatements:
Amid the allegations that Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski assaulted a Breitbart.com report, the site’s editor-in-chief and the reporter have both resigned. Ex-chief Ben Shapiro and Michelle Fields, the reporter, stepped down from the conservative outlet, founded by the late right-wing maestro Andrew Breitbart over the weekend. They claimed the publication, which has been stoking Trump’s campaign anyway, failed to provide sufficient support to its employee after the altercation. More resignations have followed.
The New York Times names James Bennet, the Editor of The Atlantic, as its Editorial Page editor. Bennet will succeed Andrew Rosenthal, who will continue to write for The Times’s opinion page. Over the weekend, Politico had reported that Bennett might be headed for the newsroom.
The Public Safety Committee of the City Council is continuing discussions about the pawn shop ordinance including extending the moratorium.
Friends of the Homeless in Springfield was in the spotlight as Beacon Hill considers the budget of shelters. Friends of the Homeless is the largest outside of Boston, according to Northeastern Public Radio.
While the subject of the photo vehemently denies anything other than irony in giving the Nazi salute, the photo of a 69 year-old woman with her arm outstretched amid pro and anti-Trump protests shall be a haunting piece of the 2016 election. The Chicago Tribune’s story seems to cast doubt on the story of Birgett Peterson, a German émigré, who became a citizen in 1982. She says it was done to counter the heckling and Heil Hitler salutes of anti-Trump protesters. In any event, The Tribune’s photo is a stark illustration of the very real fascism, if not actual Nazism (yet), Trump’s campaign has inspired. The violence, the attacks on the press—both physical and rhetorical—and the xenophobia should chill any American. For this we award The Tribune’s photo desk this week’s tweet prize.
— Chicago Tribune Photo (@ChiTribPhoto) March 12, 2016