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

  • Ben Carson defends bio: Trump pounces
  • Carson: Some bio questions
  • Missouri campus: No justice, no football
  • Netanyahu & Obama meet at WH today: <3 ?
  • Pols: Bomb likely cause of Russian jet crash
  • Carter: US needs “much more” to defeat ISIS
  • Pentagon’s Guantanamo closure plan: This week?
  • Burma election: Opposition confident of landslide
  • Democratic 2016ers in SC forum
Ben Carson Defends Bio; Trump Pounces (NYT, Hill, TRNS, me)
• GOP 2016er Ben Carson emphatically defended himself Sunday on the morning news shows against mounting claims that he’s embellished his bio, saying he was under such intense scrutiny because of the threat he poses to “the secular progressive movement in this country.” (inflated opinion of himself, much?) “It’s time to really move on,” he insisted (no, it’s not)
• On NBC, Carson said he wouldn’t make his brother available to discuss the supposedly violent episodes of his youth, which he’s described in his books. So far, nobody else has verified the dramatic and vividly recalled tales of Carson attempting to stab – friend? relative? – and trying to strike his mother with a hammer. GOP rival Donald Trump pounced
• Appearing by phone (why do they put up with it) on several shows Sunday, Trump went after the attempted stabbing, which Carson has said was blocked by his friend’s belt buckle. “That’s pretty unlikely cause a belt buckle will turn. You know, a belt buckle is not going to stop a knife,” Trump said
• Carson has written about a “pathological temper” in his childhood. Trump invoked the word repeatedly on Sunday and Friday night, saying that Carson has a “pathological disease. “You say in a book you have a pathological disease – pathological disease is not cured.” / “Do you think that’s the right temperament to be president? I don’t think so.”
• Carson claims (wrongly) the probe and rumors into President Obama’s birth certificate are “not even close” to the media scrutiny that he’s faced. “If you can show me where that’s happened with someone else I will take that back.” (umm – Clinton(s) accused of murder, Obama repeatedly accused of being commie and not being U.S. citizen – Carson’s only faced this for a week LOL)

• Donald Trump monologue – Saturday Night Live. Trump had good, not great ratings. His monologue was flat, stale. Almost like SNL’s writers didn’t know how to write something funny for him. He’s better off the cuff. The funniest and sickest bit was Larry David shouting out “Trump’s a racist,” to win $5,000 from Hispanic group – and looking like he meant it (me)


Carson: Some Questions (WaPo, WSJ, Politco, me)
• Friday, Politico published a piece in which it called an anecdote from Carson’s bio – that he was offered and turned down a full-ride scholarship to Wast Point – a “fabrication” Politico later changed that wording
• Later Friday, WSJ printed a piece that questioned Carson’s recollections about high school, including a claim that he protected white students during a race riot, and college, including a claim profiled in the Yale Daily News, because he was the only student in a course not to walk out after being told that they would have to retake an exam – WSJ found no one to support the claims
• For years, Carson has spoken of attempting to stab a close friend back in the day, but facing new scrutiny, he said last week that it was a cousin he had attempted to stab (Tuesday’s GOP debate could be a lot of fun – if moderators have the guts to ask questions and aren’t intimidated by the candidates)
• In an account earlier this year, Carson claimed to have once been threatened by an armed robber while eating at a Popeye’s restaurant in Baltimore. Baltimore police say they have no record of the robbery and critics noted that Carson is a vegetarian (it’s all too many discrepancies – serial alleged exaggerations – doesn’t add up – and doesn’t like being challenged)
• Carson has now said to NYT that he was told that “someone like me” could get a scholarship…”It was an informal, you know, ‘with a record like yours, we could easily get you a scholarship…” Note: all tuition is free at West Point. He said Sunday that he’s found the Yale Daily News photo of him being praised as the most “honest” student that WSJ couldn’t find
• U.S. employers went on a hiring spree in October, according to govt data released Friday, adding 271,000 new jobs after a few months of disappointing growth. The number blew past analysts’ expectations of about 185,000 positions. The unemployment rate dipped to 5%. Wages rose at the fastest pace since 2009 (WaPo)
Missouri Campus: No Justice, No Football (NYT, BBC, AP, WaPo, Politico, me)
• More than 30 black football players at the University of Missouri say they will boycott games until their university’s president, Timothy Wolfe, resigns over what they call his inability to deal with racism on campus. Frustrations at the university have been rising after recent incidents including one in which someone used feces to draw a swastika on a residence hall wall
• Other incidents have included racial slurs hurled at students. Sunday evening, two groups representing students said they would stage walkouts today and Tuesday in solidarity with the activists and in protests of Wolfe’s response. The Board of Curators, the university’s governing body, will hold a closed-door meeting this morning
• One graduate student, Jonathan Butler, is continuing a hunger strike over alleged racism in the mainly white college. In a statement Sunday, Wolfe said his admin was working to address the students’ concerns. “We want to find the best way to get everyone around the table and create the safe space for a meaningful conversation that promotes change.”


• The football players’ coach is backing the players. The Legion of Black Collegians, the black student govt, tweeted a photo Saturday night of 32 football players linked in arms with Butler – “The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’,” a message with the picture said
• A group called Concerned Student 1950, named for the year the university began admitting black students, has been staging demonstrations, including protests, over the weekend. A petition calling for Wolfe’s resignation has garnered over 3,500 signatures. Wolfe has met with Butler and leaders of the student groups involved
• Missouri’s AG, Chris Koster, urged the university to set up a task force to address the students’ concerns. Sen Claire McCaskill (D-Mo), an alumna, issued a statement Sunday calling for the board to “send a clear message to the students to Mizzou that there is an unqualified commitment to address racism on campus.”
• The campus in Columbia is about 120 miles west of Ferguson, the St Louis suburb where tensions erupted over the shooting death of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown last year by a white police officer. The school’s undergraduate population is about 79% white and 8% black. Wolfe hasn’t resigned (does he get it?)


• President Obama on Friday rejected the application for the Keystone XL pipeline. “The State Dept has decided that the Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the national interest of the United States. I agree with that decision,” Obama said. He said it “would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy.” Republican 2016ers pounced (TRNS, TRNS)

Netanyahu & Obama Meet at WH Today: <3 ? (AP, WSJ, Hill, me)
• Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is in Washington DC on a trip that’s been clouded in controversy following his appointment of a spox – a conservative commentator – who has previously written that President Obama is anti-Semitic and SecState Kerry has the mental abilities of a 12-year-old. Ran Baratz isn’t on the U.S. trip. His appointment is currently on hold (!)
• Much of the Oval Office discussion today is expected to focus on a nearly two-month wave of violence between Israel and the Palestinians. Since mid-Sept, 11 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, while 74 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 47 who Israel said were involved in attacks or attempted attacks
• Israel has accused Palestinian political and religious leaders of inciting the violence. The Palestinians say it’s the result of nearly 50 years of military occupation and a lack of hope for gaining independence. Netanyahu said he would discuss “possible progress with the Palestinians, or at least stabilizing the situation with them”
• U.S. officials said last week that Obama has made a “realistic assessment” that a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians isn’t possible during his final months in office. (ya think?) They said Obama would be seeking info from Netanyahu on how to lay the groundwork for a future peace (best bit will be the grin – or not – and grip photo op. main thing is to kiss and make up)

Today’s meeting will be the first since the U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran was finalized in June. In March, Netanyahu angered the WH by delivering a speech to the GOP-led Congress to rail against the impending deal. Obama snubbed Netanyahu and didn’t meet him. Talks are expected to include discussions on a new package of U.S. military aid to help ease Israel’s concerns

• Senior U.S. military leaders have proposed sending more forces into Europe on a rotating basis to build up the American presence and are stepping up training exercises to counter potential Russian interference with troop transfers in the event of a crisis with Moscow (WSJ)


Pols: Bomb Likely Cause of Russian Jet Crash (NYT, AP, Express, Politico, me)
• Senior House members said Sunday that there was a mounting consensus among American intelligence officials that a bomb brought down the Russian charter jet that crashed 31 October in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, killing all 224 people on board
• “I think there’s a growing body of intelligence and evidence that this was a bomb – still not conclusive – but a growing body of evidence,” Rep Adam Schiff (D-Calif), top Dem on the House Intelligence Committee who was briefed by intel officials on Saturday, said on ABC on Sunday
• Rep Peter King (R-NY), chair of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on terrorism and intelligence went further on ABC. “Until it’s final, we can’t say. But, right now, all the evidence points in that direction, yes.” It’s not clear how much American intel and law enforcement agencies have learned about the crash
• American investigators haven’t been invited to visit the crash site, and while the Russian govt has asked the FBI for help, it’s not known how much info Moscow has shared with the bureau. Britain’s Express tabloid reports that spies at GCHQ in England heard extremists celebrating moments after the explosion in English, with London and Birmingham accents
• Security officials at Sharm el Sheikh airport have told AP that the facility has long had gaps in security, including a key baggage scanning device that often isn’t functioning and lax searches at an entry gate for food and fuel for the planes
Carter: US Needs “Much More” to Defeat ISIS (Reuters, Hill, Hill, Hill, me)
• SecDef Ash Carter said Saturday the U.S. needs “much more” than airstrikes to defeat ISIS. “If you say, is it enough? I don’t think it’s enough. I think we’re looking to do more,” Carter said of the U.S. campaign against ISIS during a defense forum in California (doing more, when, exactly?)
• “We can defeat ISIL, but it’s keeping them defeated that’s the hard part,” Carter said. “It’s making it stick.” “Finding those capable and motivated and willing forces turns out to be difficult. And so, as we identify them and strengthen them, we will do more. We have to support capable and motivated forces.”
• Former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell said Sunday that the crash of a Russian airline in Egypt is “going to add to the perception that ISIS is winning, and that has been a key strength of their in terms of attracting followers, attracting recruits.”
• Sen Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on NBC Sunday, “The Special Forces are limited, I think 50. That won’t do it. If we’re really going to use special operations, quick in, quick out, you have to do it in a much more comprehensive way to get at ISIL.”
• Three serving or former Russian soldiers have been geolocated by photos in Syria, including locations near Hama, Aleppo and Homs, Russian investigative bloggers said Sunday, suggesting the Kremlin’s operation stretches well beyond its air campaign. Russia has launched air strikes to support President Assad, but says it has no intentions of a ground operation


• The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear another challenge to Obamacare, this time to decide whether religiously affiliated organizations such as universities, hospitals and charities should be free from playing any role in providing employees with contraceptive coverage (WaPo)

Pentagon’s Guantanamo Closure Plan: This Week? (AP, me)

• The Pentagon’s plan outlining the long-stalled plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, expected this week, makes no recommendations on which of seven U.S. prison sites is preferred, but it gives advantages and disadvantages. The Centennial Correctional Facility in Colorado has advantages, according to anonymous admin officials – no conclusions reached

• Congress would have to approve any decision to select a U.S. facility – lawmakers say that’s unlikely. (i’ll say) But the Supermax in Florence, Colo, already holds convicted terrorists, including Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Zacarias Moussaoui, one of the conspirators of the Sept 11, 2001, attacks

• The Pentagon plan also lays out the broader effort to reduce the detainee population at Guantanamo, through transfers to other countries. The center now holds 112 detainees, and 53 are eligible for transfer. The rest either face trial by military commission or the govt has determined they’re too dangerous to release but they’re not facing charges

• Even as the WH pitches this plan to skeptical lawmakers, officials haven’t ruled out the possibility that President Obama will try to close the prison and move the remaining prisoners to the U.S. without congressional approval. “I would not take anything off the table,” WH spox Josh Earnest said last week. (Sen John McCain (R-Ariz)’s head promptly exploded)

• Obama would likely have to argue that the restrictions imposed by Congress are unconstitutional, although he’s abided by them for years. The dispute could set off a late-term legal battle with Republicans in Congress over executive power, potentially in the height of a presidential campaign (what has he got to lose? – worst case for him, they don’t come to the U.S.)


• Was it a UFO? A large, bright comet-shaped object with a blue-green-white tail streaked over LA and San Diego Saturday night. The Navy has confirmed that the “meteor” was a scheduled Trident II ballistic missile test flight. (sure it was. trust us, we’re with the govt…) (me, RT)

Burma Election: Opposition Confident of Victory (BBC, me)

• Burma’s opposition National League for Democracy says it’s confident of a landslide victory in the first openly contested national election in 25 years. An NLD spox said it expected to win about 70% of seats. Party leader Aung San Suu Kyi said: “I think you all have the idea of the results. Official results have been released for 12 seats, all won by NLD

• The acting leader of the military-backed Union Solidarity Development Party has told BBC that he lost his own seat to the NLD – seen as a key indicator of election results. “We have to find out the reason why we lost,” U Htay Oo said. (hint: people prefer some form of democracy) “However, we do accept the results without any reservations.”

• Earlier, Suu Kyi addressed a crowd at NLD HQ in Yangon, urging them to be patient. A quarter of parliamentary seats are reserved for the army, and for the NLD to have the winning majority it will need at least two-thirds of the contested seats. Voting was mostly smooth, with some irregularities

• But Suu Kyi can’t become president because the constitution bars anyone with foreign children from holding the post (was put in to stop her). Her two sons, with her late husband, are British. If the NLD wins, it will face difficulties in changing the constitution on its own. Suu Kyi has said she would be “above the president” if she wins

• The full results won’t be known for a few days and the president will only be chosen in February or possibly later. Hundreds of thousands of people – including minority Rohingya Muslims – were denied voting rights, raising fairness concerns. SecState John Kerry hailed the elections as a step to democracy, but added that they were far from perfect

• This is a scream. Democrat John Bel Edwards, running for governor of Louisiana against Sen David Vitter (R-La), launched an attack ad in the college football game between LSU and Alabama on Sat. “John Bel Edwards, who answered our country’s call … or David Vitter, who answered a prostitute’s call, minutes after he skipped a vote” – must see
Dem 2016ers in SC Forum (Politico, me)
• The three Democratic 2016ers took turns to be grilled by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow for 30 minutes at the First in the South Presidential Forum in Rock Hill, SC, on Friday night, before about 3,000 people. Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) took a veiled swipe at Hillary Clinton. “For me, as opposed to some unnamed candidates, the issue of Keystone was kind of a no-brainer.” (meow)
• Sanders defended his record on guns – he voted against the Brady Bill – pitching himself as a liberal from a rural, pro-gun state who could build consensus across the country, “which says we are going to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them,” and he said he supports ending the gun show loophole
• Clinton spoke emotionally about a recent meeting with the mothers of African Americans who died at the hands of law enforcement. “I still can’t get over that Eric Garner, on Staten Island … died from a chokehold,” she said, referring to the New Yorker who died last year after a police officer placed him in an illegal chokehold
• But Clinton stumbled a bit on the death penalty. “I would breathe a sigh of relief about that
[if SCOTUS struck it down} because I think many states have gone way too far.” “I do have some questions about removing it completely for terrorism,” she said pointing to the Boston Marathon bombers and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (make up your mind)
• Former Gov Martin O’Malley (D-Md) (still there, then?), said, “When I ran of mayor of Baltimore I only had 88 days to go and I was the whopping first choice of 7% of my neighbors. So I kind of like a tough fight.” A recent Winthrop University poll pegged O’Malley at 2% in South Carolina (seen you without a shirt – no Floyd Mayweather)


• Crazy: A huge cave-in has swallowed more than a dozen cars at an IHOP parking lot in Meridian, Miss, according to local media. Witnesses heard a series of booms before power went out

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Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ Nicholas Salazar and Washington Desk contributed to this report


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