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Victoria Jones created and edits Quick Morning News. She is chief White House correspondent with Washington DC-based Talk Media News, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.
 

Quick News
 
  • Britain insults Trump: “Wazzock”
  • Oscars boycott: Is Chris Rock next?
  • Flint’s water: Governor under fire
  • Democratic debate: 4 big moments
  • US prisoners leave Iran: 11th hour crisis
  • Iran denounces new US sanctions
  • Navy timeline: Iran’s capture of US sailors

 

Britain Insults Trump: “Wazzock” (WaPo, WaPo, Hill, NYT, me)
• The British parliament set out Monday to debate a popular – 575,000 signatures – petition to ban Donald Trump from its green and pleasant land. Is Donald Trump dangerous or merely a buffoon? MPs from across the political spectrum took turns insulting the Man Who Would Make America Great Again
 
• “Daft and offensive” / “let’s be clear: Donald Trump is an idiot” / “wazzock” (really silly idiot) / “bonkers” / “what is under his hair?” / “buffoonery” / “ridiculous xenophobe” / “fool” / “the orange prince of American self-publicity” / “objectionable and hateful” / “crazy” / “poisonous, corrosive man” / “obscene demagogue” / “dangerous”
 
• MP Edward Leigh, a Conservative, noted that he’s been described as “an extreme right-winger,” but “as it happens I am strongly in favour of gun control, I voted insistently against bombing Syria and invading Iraq … and I’m opposed to capital punishment. Would I survive in the Republican Party?” (no chance, mate)
 
• Most in the debate thought it counterproductive to ban Trump from Britain, rather than employing “a classic British response of ridicule” – rumbles of “hear, hear.” Naz Shah, “a proud Muslim woman,” who called Trump “evil,” said she would “invite him for a curry.” Gavin Robinson summed Trump up: “he throws a dead cat on the table, and people stop and listen to him.”
 
• 2016er Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas) hammered away at rival Donald Trump in NH on Monday night. “You should ask: ‘Where did you stand on the TARP big bank bailout? Did you oppose it or support it?’ Where did you stand on Obama’s massive stimulus plan? Did you oppose it or support it? On both of those I opposed it. On both of those, Mr Trump supported it.” (Politico)

 

#OscarsSoWhite Boycott: Is Chris Rock Next? (Reuters, Reuters, NYDN, me)
• African-American director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith said Monday they’ll boycott next month’s Academy Awards ceremony because black actors had been shut out of the Oscar nominations. “40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can’t Act?” Lee wrote under the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag. Lee has received an honorary Oscar
 
• The Oscar acting nominees announced Thursday lacked black performers for the second year in a row. Lee, the director of films such as “Do the Right Thing,” said he was coinciding his boycott announcement with the Rev Martin Luther King Jr day national holiday. He said his decision meant no disrespect to emcee Chris Rock or producer Reginald Hudlin, both black
 
• Rock is facing pressure to bow out as host of the 88th annual Oscars, and dubbed them last week in a tweet “the white BET awards.” There’s no precedent for a host to drop out this close – six weeks away – to the telecast. Neither Will Smith, the husband of Pinkett Smith, nor Idris Elba, received acting nominations this year
 
• Meanwhile, Bernice King, daughter of the slain Nobel Prize winner and civil rights icon, told a standing room-only crowd at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where her father had preached, that blacks faced the erosion of voting rights, environmental injustice and rising gun deaths. “What would my father say? He’d say: ‘What is taking you all so long?'”
 
Flint’s Water: Governor Under Fire (NYT, NBC News, CBS News, me)
• The National Guard sent dozens of additional members into Flint, MI, on Monday to help address the impoverished city’s water crisis as Gov Rick Snyder (R) came under widening criticism for his handling of a massive exposure to lead. Monday, Snyder said critics calling the crisis his “Katrina” is unfair. “It’s a disaster,” he reportedly said
 
• Rev Jesse Jackson said Sunday at a church that the full effect of the lead contamination of the city’s tap water isn’t yet known. He said there should be “tape around the city, because Flint is a crime scene.” Michigan AG Bill Schuette is (as it happens) investigating possible crimes. Snyder has been accused of allowing the problem to fester
 
• The water became contaminated after Flint switched from the Detroit water system to the Flint river as a cost-cutting move. The corrosive water lacked adequate treatment and caused lead to leach from old pipes. Tests found elevated levels of lead in the water and in the blood of some children. Lead contamination can lead to brain damage and other health problems
 
• President Obama declared a state of emergency on Saturday and ordered federal aid for state and local response efforts. Snyder also sought a major disaster declaration which would have freed up more federal aid, but Flint’s problem didn’t qualify because it was a man-made disaster not a natural disaster (man named Snyder)
 
• Calls for Snyder to resign have grown louder over the last week as his admin has come under fire for not recognizing the severity of the water problem in Flint and moving too slowly to address it. Snyder declared a state emergency on 5 Jan and asked for federal help nine days later. Democratic 2016ers Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders attacked Snyder in the debate


• Watch this viral Vine of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic debate – giving one of the best side eyes ever – as Hillary Clinton hurls “weak” and “disappointing” his way

 

Democratic Debate: 4 Big Moments (Politico, Politico, Politico, me)
• In Sunday night’s Democratic presidential primary debate in Charleston, South Carolina, Hillary Clinton had Bernie Sanders on defense over guns. He said she was “disingenuous” when she labels him a reliable vote for the gun lobby. But Clinton hammered away, saying Sanders has voted “with the NRA, with the gun lobby, numerous times.”
 
• Sanders released a memo on his Medicare-for-all proposal two hours before the debate. Clinton said Sanders wanted to “start over with a contentious debate.” Sanders, raising his voice, shot back: “What her campaign was saying – Bernie wants to end Medicare, Medicaid – that is nonsense.” He said of Obamacare, “no one is tearing this up, We’re going to go forward.”
 
• Sanders faced Clinton: “You’ve received over $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in one year.” He said Goldman had paid fines for breaking the law but kids who smoke marijuana go to jail. Crowd erupted. Clinton defended herself by leaning on President Obama, who she said Sanders had gone after – but she never answered the question of speaking fees
 
• “That question annoys me,” Sanders said, when asked to expand on previous statements ripping Bill Clinton’s sexual transgressions. “Yes, his behavior was deplorable. Have I ever once said a word about this issue? No, I have not.” Wan smile from Clinton. “I’m going to debate Secretary Clinton, Governor O’Malley, on the issues facing the American people.”

 

• “Will Hillary Clinton get prosecuted?” was the top trending question on Google searches during the debate. The other biggie was “What did Hillary Clinton do that is illegal?” Also: “Why is Bernie Sanders so popular?” Plus: “Why is Martin O’Malley running for president?” (Google doesn’t know – nobody knows any more…)

 

US Prisoners Leave Iran: 11th Hour Crisis (BBC, NYT, Reuters, me)
• Three released American-Iranian prisoners, including WaPo Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian, have left Iran and arrived in Germany after being freed Saturday. Rezaian, 39, was jailed on (bogus) charges including spying, for over 500 days. The U.S. said it was offering clemency to seven Iranians being held in the U.S. for sanctions violations
 
• Iranian authorities “continued to manipulate” Rezaian until the moment he was released, his brother said Monday. At the last minute, after the deal was negotiated, Iranian authorities tried to stop Rezaian’s wife Yeganeh Salehi, and his mother, from leaving with him, Ali Rezaian told CNN. The women were held without phones in a separate room at the airport for hours Sunday
 
• Finally, Iranian authorities agreed under American pressure – SecState John Kerry reached out to Iranian FM Javad Zarif – to let them leave. The conflict came close to unraveling the entire prisoner swap – U.S. said all must be swapped or none – and underscored that parts of Iran’s factionalized system still strongly resist any rapprochement with the U.S.
 
• A fourth prisoner chose to stay in Iran. A fifth American, writer and student Matthew Trevithick, was also released from jail on Saturday – but not part of the exchange. His family said in a statement he had been studying Farsi in Iran (that’s what Rosetta Stone is for…so you don’t go to Iran). Three congressmen have traveled to Germany to meet the prisoners
 
• “Iran has also committed to continue cooperating with the U.S. to determine the whereabouts of Robert Levinson,” a U.S. official said. AP says Levinson is a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007 while working for the CIA on an unapproved intelligence mission. Levinson’s wife, Christine, has complained she learned the news from TV. The Obama admin says Iran leaked the news early (bit lame)

Iran Denounces New US Sanctions (BBC, me)

• New sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Iran over its ballistic missile program have “no legal or moral legitimacy,” an Iranian foreign ministry spox said Monday. The new U.S. move came just a day after international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program were lifted (the new sanctions are much smaller $$$ in effect on Iran than the sanctions that were lifted)
 
• The head of the world’s nuclear watchdog, visiting Tehran, said Iran has agreed to further strengthen its cooperation with his organization. The new Treasury Dept sanctions prevent 11 entities and individuals linked to the nuclear program from using the U.S. banking system. In Oct, Iran tested a precision-guided ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead
 
• A UN resolution endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers calls on Iran to refrain from testing missiles designed to carry nuclear weapons. Four American-Iranians in Iran and seven Iranians in the U.S. were freed in a prisoner swap deal on the day sanctions were lifted
 
• The new sanctions were announced only after a plane carrying the released prisoners had left Iran. President Obama hailed the nuclear deal as “smart.” But he said the U.S. would “remain steadfast in opposing Iran’s destabilizing behavior elsewhere” – such as its missile tests

• Iraqi security forces on Monday combed the Baghdad neighborhood where three Americans went missing over the weekend, likely kidnapped by gunmen after visiting an Iraqi colleague’s home, according to multiple reports. Sources on the ground in Baghdad said the apartment the Americans visited was a known brothel (Hill, me)

 

Navy Releases Timeline: Iran’s Capture of US Sailors (NYT, Reuters, me)
• The Defense Dept on Monday released a timeline of events surrounding the seizure of 10 Navy sailors by Iran last week. But the timeline didn’t explain why the crews of two patrol boats – which the military said were supposed to remain in international waterways – deviated from their course and strayed into Iranian territorial waters (in other words, a PR exercise)
 
• Nor did it explain why they allowed Iranian sailors to board their boats, or why the boats’ communications equipment apparently failed, cutting them off from their superiors. Senior Pentagon officials said the timeline contained limited new info because the Navy is reviewing the actions of the sailors, who could face stiff punishment for the episode (beyond peculiar)
 
• The Iranian and American sailors had a verbal exchange when the Iranian vessels first arrived but there was no gunfire. Iranian military personnel boarded the boats. Iranian personnel aboard Iranian vessels conducted armed over-watch of the boats with mounted machine guns. The boats were escorted at gunpoint to Farsi Island, DoD said (so many whys there)
 
• An inventory found that the Iranians hadn’t taken any weapons, ammunition or communications gear. But two SIM cards, which can store data, from hand-held satellite phones were missing. SecState John Kerry said on CNN that once he heard about the sailors’ detention, he was “very frustrated and angry” and “I raised it immediately with the Iranians.”
 
• RIP Eagles co-founder, singer, songwriter and guitarist Glenn Frey, who died Monday aged 67 of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. Frey formed the Eagles with Don Henley in 1971. He co-wrote “Hotel California” and “Take It Easy,” among others – they helped define the 1970s. Another icon

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Victoria Jones – Editor

 
Talk Media News provides breaking news coverage of domestic and world news to more than 400 radio stations across the United States.