TRNS News Notes is brought to you by Victoria Jones. Victoria Jones is the Chief White House correspondent and global analyst of the Washington DC based Talk Radio News Service, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.

News Now

  • Oregon killer’s rant: No girlfriend
  • Boy kills girl over puppies
  • Reid starts gun control push
  • NATO slams Russia’s violation of Turkey’s airspace
  • Trans-Pacific trade deal signed: Now what?
  • US general: Afghan forces requested hospital attack
  • South Carolina floods kill 12
  • Democrats on offense with Benghazi leak
  • Boehner sets election dates

Oregon Killer’s Rant: No Girlfriend (NYT, NYT AP, me)

• The gunman who killed nine people at an Oregon community college last week before killing himself ranted in writings he left behind about not having a girlfriend, and wrote something to the effect of: “Other people think I’m crazy, but I’m not. I’m the sane one,” a law enforcement official said Monday. The writings were about two pages long (so it was about lack of sex)

• Also Monday, some faculty, staff and students returned to the campus for the first time since the shooting, while President Obama announced he will travel to Roseburg on Friday to meet privately with victims’ families. In a courtyard on campus, a therapy dog sat on a blanket with its handler. A woman crouched down, wiped away a tear

• In a series of online postings over a decade, Laurel Harper, a registered nurse and the mother of the killer, said she kept numerous firearms in her home and expressed pride in her knowledge about them, as well as in her son’s expertise on the subject (yup, that was something to be proud of)


• The Brady Campaign has called for Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlon to resign, who’s leading the investigation, saying he holds “extremist” views on gun control. He wrote in 2013 that he wouldn’t enforce gun control laws and posted a video to Facebook that suggested 9/11 and Sandy Hook were part of a govt conspiracy to take away guns – now says he doesn’t believe that (BBC)

• She also opened up about her difficulties raising a son who used to bang his head against the wall, and said that both she and her son struggled with Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Harper’s posts were found on Yahoo Answers, a site where she spent hours over the last 10 years, mostly answering medical questions from strangers

• Harper, 64, said her son was “no babbling idiot nor is his life worthless. (it is now) He’s very intelligent and is working on a career in filmmaking.” Alexis Jefferson, who worked with Harper at a California subacute care center around 2010, said Harper confided in her that she had placed her son Harper-Mercer in a psychiatric hospital when he didn’t take his medication

• “She said that ‘my son is a real big problem of mine,” Jefferson said in a phone interview. Jefferson said Harper said the problem was when he didn’t take his medication and she wouldn’t get him out of the facility until he started taking his medication again

• Harper wrote six years ago to a parent. “Fact: Before my son was even born, I was reading out loud to him from Donald Trump’s ‘The Art of the Deal.’… And now my son invests in the stock market along with me, turns a profit and is working on a degree in finance.” It’s not clear where – or if – Harper-Mercer had pursued such a degree (can’t wait for reax from Trump…)


• Tennessee Lt Gov Ron Ramsey (R) wrote Friday on Facebook that the shooting was an example in which “Christians and defenders of the West” have been targeted. “I would encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit…Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise.” (because Christ said so?) (TPM, me)


Boy Kills Girl Over Puppies (BBC, WaPo, NBC News, WATE, me)

• An 11-year-old boy in Tennessee has been held on suspicion of shooting dead an 8-year-old neighbor in an argument over a puppy. The boy has been charged with first-degree murder as a juvenile. The case could later be transferred to adult court. Police say he killed the girl on Saturday evening with his father’s shotgun after she refused to let him see her puppy (speechless)

• “She was a precious little girl,” Latasha Dyer said through tears, of her daughter McKayla. “She was a mommy’s girl. No matter how bad of a mood you were in, she could always make you smile.” Each child had a puppy, Sheriff Bud McCoig said. The boy “wanted to see the 8-year-old’s, and she said no, and then he went and retrieved a gun.”

• The boy fired the 12-gauge shotgun from inside of his house, striking the girl as she stood in her yard, the sheriff said. The gun was stored in a closet without locks. When first responders and police arrived, they found the girl “lying on the ground with a gunshot to the chest,” McCoig said. She was taken to the area hospital, and died from her injuries

• Both children went to the same school. Dyer said that she had previously approached the school principal about the 11-year-old bullying her daughter. “When we first moved to White Pine … he was making fun of her, calling her names, just being mean to her. I had to go to the principal about him, and he quit for awhile. And then all of a sudden yesterday, he shot her.”

• The Gun Violence Archive, a not-for-profit organization that compiles data on gun violence, says 559 children aged 11 or under have been killed or injured in the U.S. in gun violence so far this year (so we have an alleged bully, with access to guns. who wants to bet he wasn’t kind to animals, either?)

• Map: In 30 states, there’s no minimum age requirement for long gun possession – kids can own them (WaPo)

Reid Starts Gun Control Push, Slams Republicans (Politico, AP, TRNS, me)
• Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) said Monday that he’s reaching out to other senators on moving background checks legislation – a tall order in the Senate, where just two years ago, after the massacre at Sandy Hook, Republicans and red-state Democrats blocked a bill when the chamber was under Democratic control (good luck, Harry)
• “If we don’t take action, we are equally responsible for innocent deaths as the sick individuals who plot and carry out these horrific measures,” Reid said Monday on the Senate floor. “One thing is clear: To pass background checks, we need Republicans to stop acting as puppets of the NRA.”
• During a daylong swing through New Hampshire on Monday, Democratic 2016er Hillary Clinton unveiled new gun control measures. She proposed a repeal of legislation that shields gun manufacturers, distributors and dealers from liability suits, even in the case of mass shootings like the one that killed nine people at a community college on Thursday

• Clinton has made strengthening gun laws a centerpiece of her presidential campaign, vowing she would use her executive power as president to expand background checks for sellers at gun shows and online and back legislation banning domestic abusers from purchasing guns

• New DNC video has President Obama debating most of the GOP 2016 field on gun control – hard-hitting

NATO Slams Russia’s Violation of Turkey Airspace (NYT, BBC, Reuters, Time, TRNS, me)
• Ratcheting up the confrontation over the Syria war, Russia said Monday that its “volunteer” ground forces would join the fight, and NATO warned the Kremlin after at least one Russian warplane trespassed into Turkey’s airspace. Turkey summoned its Russian ambassador twice – after an apparent second violation of its airspace
• “Had Turkey responded … it could have resulted in a shootdown, and it is precisely the kind of thing we warned against,” secstate John Kerry said during a visit to Chile. News services said late Monday that a second airspace violation might have been committed on Sunday, but that report couldn’t be immediately confirmed – sounds like Turkey isn’t waiting
• The Russian plan to use so-called volunteers (likely highly trained creepy special troops) seemed similar to Russia’s stealth tactic in using soldiers to seize Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 and to aid pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine. Moreover, American officials said they believed that more than 600 Russian military personnel were already on the ground in Syria
• Also, 41 insurgent groups opposing both President Assad and ISIS said in a statement that Russia’s “brutal occupation has cut the road to any political solution,” the latest challenge to diplomatic efforts by a special UN envoy, Steffan de Mistura (this is really bad news – exactly what the U.S. didn’t want and Russia’s excuse to take them out)
• Separately, a group of prominent Saudi Arabian clerics called on Muslim and Arab countries to support a jihad or holy war against Assad and his Russian and Iranian patrons. The statement followed a declaration from the head of Russian Orthodox Church, Patrick Kirill, blessing the Russian fight in Syria (so let’s all go to war…)


• The Senate will take up the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act today, bringing Republicans a step closer to a showdown with President Obama. The WH said Monday that he would veto the current version mainly because it keeps budget caps on federal spending but boosts defense spending. There aren’t enough votes to override a veto (Hill)
Trans-Pacific Trade Deal Signed (Politico, WSJ, BBC, NYT, TRNS, me)
• The world’s biggest ever trade deal was signed into existence on Monday. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) cuts trade tariffs and sets common standards in trade for 12 Pacific rim countries, including the U.S. and Japan. It marks the end of five years of often bitter and tense negotiations. U.S. trade unions are furious
• Supporters say it could be worth billions of dollars to the countries involved but critics say it was negotiated in secret and is biased towards corporations. The deal covers about 40% of the world’s economy and was signed after five days of talks in Atlanta. It still has to be ratified by lawmakers in each country – may not be so easy in the U.S.
• A victorious President Obama said, “This partnership levels the playing field for our farmers, ranchers and manufacturers by eliminating more than 18,000 taxes that various countries put on our products.” But Democratic 2016er Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) said he would “do all that I can do defeat this agreement in Congress.” (strange bedfellow GOPers may be with him)


• ‘Splainer: Maps, pics and your questions answered: The TPP (NYT)
• China wasn’t involved in the deal, and the Obama admin hopes it will be forced to accept most of the standards laid down by TPP. The final round of talks was delayed by negotiations over how long pharmaceutical corporations should be allowed to keep a monopoly period on their drugs. The U.S. wanted 12 years. Others wanted five – got that short term, then possibly more
• An admin official touted “the most robust enforceable environment commitments of any trade agreement” and said “TPP will put American workers first by including the strongest enforceable labor standards of any trade agreement in history.” The AFL-CIO and many environmental groups had opposed TPP, but some environmental groups praised the final product
• Under a new trade promotion authority law, Obama can submit the deal to Congress for straight up-or-down votes without any amendments. But it also allows lawmakers to strip the “fast track” provision if they feel the admin hasn’t adequately consulted with them or followed congressional negotiating objectives – (and GOPers are pouncing – developing)


• So, this is getting old. Confidants of VP Joe Biden expect him to make a decision about getting into the 2016 race next weekend – or shortly thereafter. Get on with it, Joe. Several people who have visited Biden recently said he seems to be leaning “yes” (Politico, me)
US General: Afghan Forces Requested Hospital Attack (AP, Hill, NYT, TRNS, me)
• Afghan forces who reported being under Taliban fire requested the U.S. airstrike that killed 22 people at a medical clinic in northern Afghanistan over the weekend, Gen John Campbell, top commander of American and coalition forces in Afghanistan, said at a hastily called presser on Monday, correcting an earlier statement that the strike was because U.S. forces were threatened
• In response, Christopher Stokes, general director of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres), which operated the hospital, said, “The U.S. military remains responsible for the targets it hits, even though it is part of a coalition. There can be no justification for this horrible attack.” He called for a “full transparent independent investigation.” (will get military ones)
• On Saturday, Afghan officials said Taliban fighters were in the hospital at the time of the airstrike, but MSF is adamant there weren’t any. NATO was undertaking a preliminary assessment and would produce initial results in days. The U.S. military is doing its own standard investigation under the Uniform Code of Military Justice
• Campbell’s revised account doesn’t clarify whether the clinic was targeted in error or whether U.S. military personnel followed procedure. “If errors were committed we will acknowledge them,” Campbell said. He declined to say who authorized the strike
• WH spox Josh Earnest on Monday avoided describing the attack as a “war crime,” citing ongoing investigations. Campbell, based in Kabul, is in DC this week and testifying before two congressional committees, including about his recommendations on the future of the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan. (he’s gonna get hammered about the hospital attack)


• Physician assisted suicide will become legal in California under a bill signed into law on Monday by Gov Jerry Brown (D). Brown, a former Roman Catholic seminarian, said in a signing statement that if “dying in prolonged an excruciating pain” it “would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill.” (TRNS, Reuters)
South Carolina Floods Kill 12 (Reuters, WaPo, NOAA, me)
• Floodwaters from unprecedented rainfall in South Carolina have killed 12 people, closed some 550 roads and bridges and prompted hundreds of rescues of people trapped in homes and cars. “This is not over,” Gov Nikki Haley (R) said at a presser. Rain continued to fall in some of the hardest-hit areas
• President Obama declared a disaster in South Carolina, making federal funds available to govts and non profits in 11 counties. More than 2 feet of rain have fallen in the past three days in parts of South Carolina, and moderate to heavy rain persisted Monday. The rain was expected to taper off today
• Of the 12 people known to have been killed, seven drowned, the South Carolina Dept of Public Safety said. Four others died in weather-related car crashes. Flooding even caused coffins to rise up from the ground at Springfield Cemetery in Orangeburg
• The rains that caused the flooding weren’t part of Hurricane Joaquin, which moved up the Atlantic over the weekend – they happened because of the interaction of Joaquin with a low-pressure storm to the west

• This is an extraordinary 0:07 second vid: A “fire hose” of tropical moisture, also known as an atmospheric river, has doused the Carolinas in record rainfall

Democrats on Offense With Benghazi Leak (AP, Hill, Daily Beast, me)
• Democrats on the House Benghazi committee on Monday released a partial transcript of a closed door interview with former secstate Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, in response to what they called selective and inaccurate Republican leaks (this is unprecedented – you just don’t do this – but Republicans have been selectively leaking like sieves)
• Release of the transcript is “the only way to adequately correct the public record,” the Democrats said in a letter to the panel’s chairman, Rep Trey Gowdy (R-SC). They said they would release the full transcript in five days, in order to give Gowdy time to identify any specific info in the transcript he believes should be withheld from the American people
• Democrats released comments from Mills in which she rejected a claim that Clinton issued a “stand down” order blocking U.S. troops from rescuing those trapped at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The supposed stand down order has been widely debunked
• Democrats are on the offense after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif), likely the next speaker, said last week: “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A special committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.” McCarthy called Clinton “untrustable” (not a word)
• Democratic 2016er Hillary Clinton said in New Hampshire on Monday, “This committee was set up, as they have admitted, for the purpose of making a partisan, political issue out of the deaths of four Americans. I would never have done that, and if I were president and there were Republicans or Democrats thinking about that, I would have done everything to shut it down.”


• Hillary Clinton’s campaign releases her first national ad for cable TV – and it hammers Republicans over Benghazi, slamming them over House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif) foolish comments implying their Benghazi committee was set up to bring her campaign down. What a gift, Kevin – you a closet Democrat?
Boehner Sets Election Dates (Hill, Politico, Roll Call, TRNS, me)
• Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Monday postponed the election for House majority leader and majority whip until next month, a blow for Rep Steve Scalise (R-La) who announced Sunday he had the votes to win majority leader. The House Republican Conference will choose its speaker nominee on Thursday and full chamber will vote for speaker on 29 October
• Boehner’s decision could take some of the pressure off Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif), the favorite to replace him. But the bigger impact is that the delay will give conservatives more time to find a candidate to run against Scalise and Rep Tom Price (R-Ga) for the No 2 and 3 leadership positions (Boehner the kingmaker)
• Some hardline GOP conservatives are opposed to simply promoting McCarthy and Scalise up the leadership ranks following Boehner’s departure, believing that such a move will just leave in place a team that has failed to deliver on its promises to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood or dramatically reduce govt spending
• Rep Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), 48, is running against McCarthy and has presented himself as a new face who can unite the House. “No, no. He’s flat out wrong,” Chaffetz told reporters Monday when asked if he’d make the same no govt shutdown promise as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) (Chaffetz is struggling to get the votes but lobbying hard)
• Though he’s resigning at the end of the month after losing control of the GOP conference, Boehner has emerged as a major player in the leadership elections. The delay will also push the elections up against a looming vote to raise the federal govt’s $18 trillion plus debt ceiling
• Augustus Sol Invictus, a Libertarian Party candidate for the U.S. Senate in Florida, spent a week in the desert fasting & praying, then came home, killed a goat and drank its blood. The goat murdering thing is a bit of a problem in his election campaign. So’s the support of white supremacists. And the fact that he’s renounced his U.S. citizenship + + (do read on) (AP, me)

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Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ Nicholas Salazar, Loree Lewis, Brittany Gervais and Ebony Romero contributed to this report


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