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Manic Monday Markup 9/19/16…

The Feds:

We begin today in New York, where one bomb went off in the Chelsea neighborhood, and another nearby was secured before it could go off. This followed a detonation in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. Bombs were also found at the train station in Elizabeth interrupting Amtrak and New Jersey transit service between New York and Philadelphia. A suspect described as a naturalized citizen, Ahmad Khan Rahami, has been captured after a shootout with police in Linden.

Nobody was killed in the bombing and, although 29 were injured in the Chelsea explosion, all were released from the hospital according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Initially, some officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, resisted declaring a connection to international terrorism until more information was available. That may change as officials indicated when Rahami was identified.

The bombings have spilt into the presidential race wherein the Republican candidate, real estate tycoon and provocateur Donald Trump, took a victory lap for declaring that it was a bombing. Trump, in a series of interviews with friendly outlets, also used the incident to push his hardline immigration position and suggested freedom of expression is hindering the battle against terror. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, promised the US had to resources to “get the bad guys” but not declare war on a whole religion. Appearing before reporters, Clinton put forth a calmer front perhaps attempting to project a more presidential vibe against Trump’s trademark rambling and invective.

…And the World:

New York had already been gearing up before the bombings in preparation of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. Facing crises over refugees and instability, world leaders are gathering in the city for what is also among President Barack Obama’s final turns on the world stage.

President Obama is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the moribund peace process with the Palestinians.

Russian President Vladimir Putin enjoyed a victory as his party claimed a huge majority of the seats up in the country’s parliamentary elections. While the election was viewed as less corrupt than the last election, abysmal turnout reflected the population’s lack of interest in—and choices at—the polls.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken responsibility for her party’s horrid showing in the Berlin elections.

The British Labor party is expected to reelect Jeremy Corbyn, its leader, trouncing his challenger Owen Smith. The result will be announced on Saturday. Corbyn’s leadership is blamed for the party’s dismal showing in polls, which would predict near-annihilation for Labour were an election held. The Economist has some thoughts about where Labour could go after the leadership contest regardless of its outcome.

Brazilian President Michel Temer looks for legitimacy following Dilma Rousseff’s removal from office earlier this summer.

The Feds (cont’d):

Before the bombing, the presidential contest has already gone through a rash of twist and turns. Polling had shown Trump pulling close and a series of hand-wringing articles on Clinton’s hold on Millennials (fair) and Latinos (less so) had hit the press. This came on the heels of Clinton’s pneumonia and deplorables remark—which, as expected, has turned into a story about racist supporting Trump rather than Clinton’s elitism.

However, Trump may have squandered that opportunity following a few rough interviews his children did and his own lashing out at a Flint, Michigan pastor who admonished him not to campaign in her church. Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall speculated that this set up Trump’s refusal to disavow his birther position during a Washington Post interview. This led to a ludicrous statement from the Trump campaign that at once disowned Trump’s birtherism—and lied about how long it went on—and then falsely blamed Clinton for it.

Friday the media, led to believe it was covering Trump’s public flip-flop on the subject, discovered they had largely been brought in for Trump to tout his new hotel. During that unveiling, he briefly said Obama was born in the US and again repeated the fiction that Clinton had started it. Clinton aides had discussed Obama’s exotic biography in 2008, but never suggested he was not born in Hawaii. An Iowa volunteer for Clinton in 2008 was dismissed for promoting the notion, however. In fact, birtherism—the question of Barack Obama’s birth on US soil and thus his citizenship—was started by a fringe Illinois candidate Andy Martin.

The media reacted with uncharacteristically strong, but fair fact-checking and correction of Trump, his surrogates and the RNC’s claims about Clinton and when Trump came around on birtherism. Reporters are even uttering the previously unutterable: Trump is setting a dangerous precedent.

Ohio Republican governor John Kasich, who said he was unlikely to vote for Trump, goes to war with the RNC. Good for him! No, really!

The hole seems to get deeper for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi who got a check from Trump around the time her office decided not to investigate Trump University. Apparently, consumer complaints of that kind had fallen on deaf ears for a while.

Republican New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte facing not only a huge organizing effort backing challenger Maggie Hassan (and Clinton), but history.

Census figures last week showed big income gains across the spectrum, but there were variations. Connecticut was among those states with growth that lagged the nation.

The State of Things:

Has Charlie Baker been keeping his enemies too close and his friends not close enough? The Boston Herald has been savaging the cronyism over which Baker has presided, particularly in the Department of Conservation & Recreation. Republican State Committee members have jobs in the agency while Baker’s campaign driver got a six figure gig with the stat environmental police. Crickets, mostly, from state Democrats.

On Friday, Holyoke gathered to remember artist, rabble-rouser, guerilla journalist and friend James Bickford, better known by his alter-ego Pronoblem Baalberith. Bickford died last Sunday in a motorcylce accident. He was 46.

Senator Eric Lesser kicked off his reelection campaign last week. Here’s our preview of his fall campaign.

North Shore Congressman inhaled and said he will be backing marijuana legalization on the ballot.

Politico Massachusetts reports opponents of another ballot question on humane treatment of farm animals have yet to gear up for the ballot fight.

MGM is opposed to Question 1, which would allow another slots parlor in Massachusetts.

City Slickers:

Roman Catholic Bishop Mitchell Rozanski and city officials formally broke ground for the new Pope Francis school slated for the former location of Cathedral High School.

The Springfield Museum Association basks in a new two-year Smithsonian affiliation.

ICYMI: Our report on last week’s council meeting wherein a district fire chief’s contract was rejected.

Twitter Chatter:

With a whiplash-packed week, it seems difficult to settle on one thing, but notably, we a week out from the presidential debates. They could be the defining moment of this campaign. The pressure is on Clinton, but Trump, too. While many commentators act like he just needs to avoid burning down his lectern, in fact he faces risks, too. However, Clinton has little room for error lest all the bad media narratives (and popular perceptions) return. These debates could be a pivot point for the whole country. Will it follow Trump into his darkness or pull itself back from the brink—if Clinton makes her case for it to do so. Today we award the tweet prize to Charles Johnson, the editor of the website Little Green Footballs. His observation about the debates, given the polling, is no overstatement. It is said every year, but in 2016 thisactually rings true: the republic could be at stake.