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Manic Monday Markup 10/17/16…

…And the World:

We begin today in Iraq, where government forces in concert with the United States have begun their assault on Daesh’s last stronghold in the country, Mosul. The fundamentalist terrorist group, also known as ISIS/ISIL, has drained away from Iraq amid onslaughts from the Iraqis and Kurdish military units. Recapturing Mosul would leave Daesh with few major footholds in the country, confining it to principally neighboring, if utterly chaotic Syria.

Meanwhile, there appears to be no deal in sight to try (again) to bring a ceasefire to Syria and bring much-needed relief to Aleppo. However, Russia has announced an eight-hour humanitarian bombing pause.

Wikileaks claims a “state actor” cut off the Internet access of its impresario Julian Assange, who is holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges.

Irish leaders fear Brexit will lead to economic disaster for the Emerald Isle.

Nations agree to limit a refrigerant that plays a powerful role in the warming of the planet and climate change.

Some of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria are released. Many remain captured.

President Barack Obama rolls out the red carpet for Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi for what will be the president’s final state dinner.

Canada sends (digital) hugs to electorally cranky Americans.

The Feds:

Polling seems to be settling down, with some variation in states like Ohio, but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, appears to be holding onto a lead in national polling and enough states to cross the threshold in the Electoral College. That’s freezing her opponent out of the White House.

Buffeted by a week of sexual assault allegations, real estate tycoon and provocateur Donald Trump has gone nuclear, alleging media conspiracies, vote rigging and calling for the candidates to take a drug test before the third and final debate.

Trump’s claims of rigging the election is drawing some rebuke from Republicans, including his running mate Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Ohio’s Secretary of State Jon Husted.

A North Carolina Republican field office was firebombed over the weekend. No one was hurt, but the office and its contents were a total loss. “Nazi Republicans leave town or else” was spray painted outside. Democratic voters started a GoFundMe effort to help the GOP reopen the office. Clinton condemned the attack, earing in the thanks of the Tar Heel State GOP. Trump fanned conspiracy theories.

Against Missouri’s increased Republican pull, Democrats Chris Koster, running for governor, and Jason Kander, running for Senate, hope to defy the pull of an expected Trump win in the Show Me state.

Former US Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama are expected to lead an effort against gerrymandering after the president leaves office.

The Clinton camp sets its sights on Arizona, sensing Trump’s weakness among establishment Republicans and Mormons combined with the antipathy he has earned among Latinos, could deliver the state for the Democrats in the presidential contest. But the example of Arizona offers an interesting quandary Clinton has. Invest elsewhere or stick to the plan? So far, she appears to be leaning toward the former to the relief of down ballot candidates.

In the context of the national campaign, New York City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, reveals she was sexually abused.

Connecticut Republicans call for a budget hearing amid conflicting information about the state’s spending plan through next June.

The State of Things:

With an anticipated $300 million deficit forming in the budget, Gov. Charlie Baker prepares an effort to induce early retirement among state employees, but layoffs could be on the horizon. Labor thinks the cuts are too deep.

The Globe takes a rare swipe at Gov. Charlie Baker’s lack of transparency on campaign finance.

Trouble in the Heart of the Commonwealth? Republicans dig up an old arrest of a state rep candidate, Moses Dixon, but the evidence suggests the alleged domestic incident may not have happened at all. Dems are sticking by Dixon.

Updates on the 1st Hampden & Hampshire Senate district from WMassP&I. Last week, an overview of Republican Chip Harrington’s challenge of Democratic incumbent Eric Lesser. Yesterday, former Governor Michael Dukakis was in town stumping for Lesser.

The Greenfield Recorder’s Chris Collins and WMassP&I’s Matt Szafranski joined Susan Kaplan on NEPR’s Short List last week to discuss the Rintala trial and the transgender bill passed into law earlier this year.

Holyoke’s Clerk, Brenna McGee, readies the Paper City for earlier voting.

It’s Working:

No Old Fashioneds tonight. Jim Beam distillers go on strike.

Unions start to line up behind green jobs.

The Fourth Estatements:

The New York Times’s media columnist Jim Rutenberg takes on the increasingly nasty criticism Trump and friends are hurling at the media. Meanwhile, the paper reports that Trump son-in-law and media maven Jared Kushner may be looking at a Trump TV network. Tablet Magazine considers Kushner’s future more broadly.

Important segment on Trump’s Brian Stelter’s Reliable Sources program on CNN as the host calls out the Republican’s absurd claims about conspiracies against him. Also see The Atlantic’s David Frum and The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan chime in.

Also see Sulllivan’s column on how the Committee to Protect Journalists came out to pan Trump’s treatment of the media and his contempt for a free press.

The Times profiles Andrew Kaczynski who recently jumped Buzzfeed’s ship for CNN.

City Slickers:

Another bombshell report on the police out of Masslive. Reporter Dan Glaun along with Republican reporter Buffy Spencer dig into the assault of a man outside Nathan Bill’s, allegedly at the hand of the police. These events are said to have taken place a year and a half ago and are still under investigation. However, no officer is believed to have been disciplined over it, yet.

More on Pearl Street (Police HQ). Stephanie Barry fron The Republican reports that Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni has requested assistance from the Attorney General Maura Healey and the US Attorney’s office for Massachusetts for the investigation of Springfield Police Detective Gregg Bigda. The paper cites a letter from the AG urging the city not to release any addition information until its investigation is complete. The US Attorney declined comment to the paper.

Springfield Public Schools, which remain under state scrutiny if not outright control, are showing improvement, insists Superintendent Daniel Warwick.

Twitter Chatter:

The national election has become an incredible burden. Trump’s meltdown may not win him the presidency, but its radioactivity is infecting the fiber of the nation and our beings. The attacks on our democracy, however imperfect, and our press, however flawed, nibble away at the very freedoms Trump’s supporters so fervently believe Clinton and Obama are destroyed beneath their jack boots. Today we award the tweet prize to Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake and former journalist Jim Roberts, whose tweets offer forceful rejoinders to Trump’s political mayhem.

Flake, his state’s junior senator, put forward, in no uncertain terms, that Americans from both major parties, work together to ensure the integrity of the political process. A longtime Trump critic, Flake’s declaration of faith in our process is refreshing and right.

Roberts, who has left journalism for a career in public relations, defended the press quite directly, suggesting that Trump’s criticism was misplaced. Roberts does not say the media is unbiased. Rather, it abhors and shines and a light on the very evils that define Trump’s candidacy. They are not ganging up on him. Rather his stench is impossible to ignore.