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Manic Monday Markup 8/8/16…

…And the World:

We begin today in South Africa, where elections last week continue to roil the political status quo. While the African National Congress won a majority of the vote in municipal elections, it still represented a huge setback, it vote share dropping off considerably from prior races. A stagnant economy and scandals surrounding President Jacob Zuma has prompted middle class voters to abandon the ANC. Younger voters have been bolting for longer.

The Democratic Alliance, led by Mmusi Maimane won the largest vote share, if not the majority, in former ANC strongholds like Pretoria, the capital, and Nelson Mandela Bay, which includes a major manufacturing hub. The ANC was reduced to a plurality in Johannesburg. While far behind, the Economic Freedom founded by Julius Malema, a Zuma protégé-turned foe, may prove critical for both the DA and the ANC as they search for coalition partners to form a majority in many municipal councils.

Japan’s emperor, Akihito, hints at abdicating. However, he will need the Japanese Diet (parliament) to let him first, hence the unusual public address in which he relayed his wishes.

Dozens are murdered in a hospital bombing in Pakistan.

Israel plans a crackdown on pro-Palestinian activists from abroad.

In Italy, the story of Donald Trump echos that nation’s experience with Silvio Berlusconi.

A judge in Britain has ruled that the Labour party must let all members, not just those signed up as such before January 12, participate in the leadership election slated for this Fall. The party’s executive committee plans to appeal.

Thailand’s military-written constitution has been approved by voters, but many fear it will merely entrench the armed forces’ role in politics. Regional results show a split.

Russia’s entire Paralympic team has been banned from competing in the summer games.

The Feds:

More polls show former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the lead against real estate tycoon and provocateur Donald Trump. Power Post vacillated today between whether Trump has a floor or a ceiling in these polls. Trump tried to change the story in a speech in Detroit with a call to eliminate income taxes for those making less than $25,000 (double that for couples) and making child care tax-deductable (it already is to a point) and a deduction does nothing for those without taxable income. He also called for cutting Wall Street and energy regulations.

Politico considers whether John Kerry will have a role, up to and including Secretary of State, in the Clinton State Department.

An anti-Trump Republican plans independent run. In Michigan-related 2016 news, however unsurprising, former Republican governor William Milliken endorses Clinton. But Trump does have George Prescott Bush (son of Jeb), even if the rest of the presidential clan is staying far, far away from the bombastic “billionaire.” But lots of other GOP are not on board.

The New York Times looks into whether Think Tanks are real policy incubators or corporate shills. Part two on scholars at such groups was posted today.

Paul Ryan, not quite basking in the glow of Trump’s endorsement, hedges on Republicans keeping the House majority.

Former Connecticut Supreme Court justice David Borden has died at the age of 79. He retired in 2007 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age. Also last week, former Ohio Republican Congressman Steven LaTourette died. He was 62.

The State of Things:

The Boston Globe has a big story about how Governor Charlie Baker charmed the pants off of Beacon Hill Democrats this session. Hefty approval ratings and control of the administrative levers didn’t hurt.

Despite practically signing a blood oath not to raise taxes or fees while being interviewed by Globe reporter Joshua Miller some time ago, Baker signed the ride-hailing bill which includes a fee on Uber and Lyft to be used for infrastructure projects. Elsewhere, the energy bill was also signed today.

Democrats are struggling to stand out in the race the nomination in retiring State Senator Benjamin Downing’s sprawling Berkshire-county based district (in also includes the western fringes of Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties).

President Barack Obama and family arrived on Martha’s Vineyard for their last such vacation as First Family.

WMassP&I Editor-in-chief and Republican managing editor Cynthia Simison joined NEPR’s Carrie Healey for the Short List. Marijuana and underreported news stories were on tap in the Friday discussion.

Holyoke City Council President Kevin Jourdain crossed swords with his 2015 (and possible 2017) rival Juan Anderson-Burgos over the former’s support for Donald Trump.

Read our review of the endorsement race in the Hampden Sheriff’s home stretch. Former Springfield mayor Charlie Ryan backs Nick Cocchi, while Chicopee Rep Joe Wagner is with Tom Ashe.

The Fourth Estatements:

A cable television executive credited wih helping to create C-SPAN, Robert Rosencrans, has died at the age of 89.

Jim Rutenberg, the New York Times‘s media columnist, is challenging the normal rules of objectivity in reporting. Meanwhile, Brian Stelter has another good segment this weekend, when he challenged even conservative media to set Trump straight on his “rigged” election talk.

Venerable, if quintessentially Beltway-minded, media personality and commentator Ron Fournier is leaving Washington to help lead Crain’s Detroit Business.

City Slickers:

The Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival went off without a hitch Saturday.

The iconic Puritan statue, designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, shall remain in its place at Merrick Park (the corner of Chestnut and State). Mayor Domenic Sarno and the Parks Commission rejected a proposal to move the statue, originally placed in Stearns Square as part of a larger display, amid renovations planned for the open space between Worthington and Bridges streets.

The Reminder reports no progress has been made on converting the former School Department building to apartments.

Twitter Chatter:

Donald Trump desperately wants to change the subject. That is what today’s speech was all about. However, it was mostly right-wing catnip and was delivered in Detroit, which he declared proof of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s failures. Today we award the tweet prize to two folks calling bunk on Trump’s latest reset, former presidential advisor David Axelrod and MSNBC reporter Alex Seitz-Wald. Axelrod pointed out that Trump was citing statistics from climate change-deniers (and attacking Chinese environmental standards while promising to roll back America’s).

Seitz-Wald pointed out that calling Detroit a failure is somewhat hollow given the level of support the city (and nearby counties) has given to Obama and Clinton. A day on policy may be better for Trump than one about his gaffes, but as the tweet winners this week note, it still maintains a whiff (or a stench) of the same dissembling and lies for which Trump is famous.