Manic Monday Markup 4/4/16…
…And the World:
We begin today in Panama, where a law firm, Mossack Fonesca suffered a massive document leak that has the potential rock politics across the world. News organizations poring over the files have found connections to tax scofflaws and possible surrogates that control Russian President Vladimir Putin’s money.
The Icelandic Prime Minister faced calls to resign after the leaks revealed a company formed the Virgin Islands had assets affected by the financial crisis, which hammered Iceland in particular. The Prime Minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, played a role in government settling the debts after the crash.
Putin was not implicated in any wrongdoing, but the documents reveal a constellation of insiders, acolytes, friends and family that may be holding wealth that actually belongs to the Russian President. The Kremlin issued a blanket denial, calling the reports a smear egged on by “Putinphobia.”
Members of the Conservative Party in both the House of Lords and the House of Commons in Britain face new scrutiny for offshore accounts and a British banker may have set up a firm North Korea uses to buy weapons. In another case, one Ian Cameron runs a fund that has apparently avoided paying taxes in the nation run by his son, Prime Minister David Cameron.
But more than anything, the documents show how the rich hide their assets to avoid the taxman.
The European Union has begun deporting migrants landing on Greek islands. Only those that declare they are seeking asylum are allowed to stay. The migrants will be returned to Turkey under a deal that country and the EU hammered out last month.
The New York Times writes about how the governing party in Brazil has succumbed to very corruption and cronyism for which the party criticized the country’s former political elite.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is amenable to meeting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Wisconsin votes next in the Presidential primary. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Texas Senator Ted Cruz appear in the lead for the Democratic and Republican contests respectively according to the polls. Sanders has one factor also helping him in Wisconsin: an open primary.
Both Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been hammering Republican Governor Scott Walker. On the other side, Walker endorsed Cruz over real estate tycoon and provocateur Donald Trump. Talk radio, meanwhile, has lent a hand to the Stop Trump movement.
Wisconsin is the only state both parties vote in until April 19 when New York votes. That, too, has become a major battleground. Polls show Clinton leading the state she once represented in the Senate, but Sanders is trying to take advantage of his roots there. Even the Democratic candidates’ campaign offices in Brooklyn have become fodder for analysis of the race. They will also debate in New York.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 4, 2016
WMassP&I’s editor-in-chief Matt Szafranski posited over the weekend on State of the Race that Upstate New York could end up being decisive (audio not yet available). Indeed, Clinton unveiled a manufacturing proposal there on Friday.
Bigger picture: early missteps by Sanders may prove more decisive in his likely failure to secure the Democratic nomination for president.
Among Republicans, Trump is moving on from a rough last week that may have actually done damage to his campaing. Or not.
The US Supreme Court squashed a conservative effort to force states to draw legislative districts based on eligible voters rather than total population. The case was decided 8-0, but there were three separate opinions. The majority opinion, written by Ruth Bader Ginsburg had six justices on board, allowed total voter population as a means to draw districts, but still left ambiguity in this area of jurisprudence. Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas each wrote their own concurrences, the latter of whom also signed onto most of Alito’s opinion. The result is a win for liberals and Democrats, who, being concentrated in cities where non-voters are often concentrated, could have found themselves diffused among redrawn districts.
Behind Marco Rubio’s exit from the stage is a little-noticed fight within both parties to nominate contenders to replace him in the Senate.
The State of Things:
Roxbury State Rep Gloria Fox announced her retirement and her departure will make the State House less diverse. Globe columnist Adrian Walker ponders this problem. Meanwhile, Boston at-large City Councilor Ayanna Pressley has thrown her weight behind Dianna Hwang in the special election to replace Anthony Petruccelli.
Our editor, Szafranski, and WHMP’s Natalia Munoz discussed charter schools and April Fool’s Day with NEPR’s Susan Kaplan last week.
Our review of now-Republican James “Chip” Harrington’s bid for the 1st Hampden & Hampshire Senate district. The bigger tent he claims the GOP has could be tested.
Meanwhile, the senator he hopes to replace, Eric Lesser, has weighed in on the issue of populating a Quabbin Reservoir island with rattlesnakes, urging a delay. Quabbin is partly in Belchertown, which is in Lesser’s district.
The issue of putting the rattlers has caused some consternation among locals. Perhaps they’re right as the slithering reptiles can cause problems in tight spaces like islands…or airplanes. WARNING! Foul language herein may not be for the faint of ear, er, heart!
Masslive reports on the new automatic tolling that will soon start on the Massachusetts Turnpike. As designed, however, there will be no toll among the so-called Springfield exits, nor among the Worcester ones.
File under petty (and lame): Holyoke Council President Kevin Jourdain slammed Mayor Alex Morse for a (largely symbolic) executive order prohibiting travel to North Carolina following the enactment of that state’s anti-LGBT legislation.
File under “WTF?”: Holyoke at-large Councilor Jennifer Chateauneuf’s claims of harassment from, well, everybody at this point, has tumbled deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. It seems Chateaunef…oh, just read this lengthy in-depth piece by The Republican’s Mike Plaisance.
The Fourth Estatements:
The Reminder considers the new program on WSBK about the presidential race. Disclosure, your editor-in-chief has an appearance in the article—as he regularly appears on the program.
Also in The Reminder, Editor Mike Dobbs takes Hampden Sheriff candidate Michael Albano to task for attacking the press including The Republican, the TV stations and his own publication.
The Reminder itself changed its format, switching to a tabloid format and consolidating its editions. Dobbs’s column on the changes appeared in last week’s markup.
The City Council will attempt to override Mayor Domenic Sarno’s veto of an ordinance that would tighten waivers to the residency ordinance. Should the veto be overridden, it will likely end up in court.
INBOX: The city is reopening public comment on the complete streets initiative. A meeting will be held at 5:30 on April 7 at 60 Congress street to solicit input from the public.
Springfield across America. The city’s control board is looked at as an alternative to Michigan’s Emergency Manager law that has been connected to Flint’s lead-water crisis.
— Robert Goodspeed (@rgoodspeed) April 1, 2016
For example, Mass. created a control board for Springfield in 2004 which included mayor & city council president https://t.co/Q80tEVgdhc
— Robert Goodspeed (@rgoodspeed) April 1, 2016
Elsewhere in residency, Sarno claimed councilors complaining about district fire chiefs are re-litigating a thirty year-old issue.
Construction of railcar plant has begun.
We will be watching the impact of the Panama Papers for years in all likelihood. Iceland’s experience may be particularly pronounced given how it touches the country’s leader himself. He was questioned about it during a videotaped interview and his reaction is just one encapsulation of how the revelation will move forward. Today we award the tweet prize to famed National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, who added a GIF of Gunnlaugsson’s reaction to a tweet. This is an incredibly serious issue, but that deflation in the premier’s face may yet be repeated by many a leader’s visage in the weeks and months ahead.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 3, 2016