Talk Media News

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.


Belgium extradites Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam to France to face trial


Quick News

  • Trump sweeps 5: “It’s over”
  • Clinton wins 4: When not if
  • South Sudan peace boost: Rebel returns
  • Senate nears $1.1 billion Zika deal?
  • SCOTUS: Corruption – former GOP Va gov
  • Police faulted: 96 British soccer deaths – 1989
  • Soccer deaths: Lies, smears, cover-ups
Trump Sweeps 5: “It’s Over” (NYT, Politico, AP, me
• Donald Trump declared himself the “presumptive nominee” of the Republican Party after he romped across Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island in a self-described “massive landslide” that dealt a serious setback to the anti-Trump forces/ “As far as I’m concerned, it’s over,” Trump boasted (not quite over yet, Donnie)
• Trump, in a victory speech at Trump Tower, pivoted towards a potential general election against Democrat Hillary Clinton. “She’s going to be easy to beat.” “If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5% of the vote.” (nice way to kick off a campaign to win over women – alienate them from the get-go – oh wait, already did that – slobs, pigs, flat chests not 10s…)
• Ted Cruz and John Kasich did so badly on Tuesday that together they were likely to win just 10 of the 118 bound delegates up for grabs. Cruz is now under growing pressure to beat Trump is Indiana’s primary next week, perhaps the last real chance to stop Trump. He and Kasich forged an alliance to thwart Trump in Indiana (yeah, not so sure about that bromance)


• The stakes for Cruz are so high that within political circles, speculation has been swirling that he would try to change the subject from his recent losses and announce his pick for VP before the Indiana primary. Advisers to Cruz were cagey, but didn’t dismiss it. Speculation swirls around Carly Fiorina’s name (generally, lots of swirling)
• But Trump has no intention of giving Cruz the opening in Indiana he so plainly needs. Trump planned a rally tonight in Indianapolis with outspoken Indiana University men’s basketball coach Bobby Knight. Trump also gives a foreign policy speech in DC today (scripted, not riffed, and look to see if much there there ++ – teleprompters, anyone??)

• Trump remains the only Republican who has a chance to reach the 1,237-delegate majority needed to clinch the nomination before the convention. But any major setbacks in the contests ahead could lead him to fall short of that magic number. He claimed at least 105 of the 118 delegates up for grabs Tuesday


• The Democratic establishment won two major Senate victories Tuesday as Rep Chris van Hollen (D-Md) romped over fellow Rep Donna Edwards (D-Md) in Maryland, taking 52% to Edwards’s 41%, while former WH aide Katie McGinty made a comeback in Pennsylvania against 2010 nominee Joe Sestak, winning 42% to 30% (Politico)

Clinton Wins 4: When Not If (NYT, NYT, Politico, Bloomberg, me)
• Bernie Sanders won only the Democratic primary in Rhode Island Tuesday and fell further behind Hillary Clinton in their race to amass 2,383 Democratic delegates to clinch the nomination. Clinton advisers predicted late Tuesday night that she was poised to net roughly 50 more pledged delegates than Sanders, out of 462 up for grabs
• Clinton’s advisers said Tuesday’s final delegates tally would reveal not if, but when, Clinton would win the nomination: either in early June, if she continues at her current pace, or as soon as Kentucky and Oregon primaries on 17 May, if she does better than expected in the coming weeks (but they’re including her 500 superdelegates – who could switch support at any point)
• Late Tuesday night, Sanders issued a statement saying he would go to the convention in July “with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform” – a remark that some Democrats interpreted as his first acknowledgement that he wouldn’t attend the convention as the nominee (but wants to have a huge influence on the agenda – and likely will)
• Tad Devine, Sanders’ senior strategist, said the Sanders team would discuss a range of issues today including how to adjust messaging about the nominating process and what route if any there is to winning it. “If we are sitting here and there’s no sort of mathematical way to do it, we will be up front about that,” Devine said Tuesday (but Sanders’ wife, Jane, had a different vibe)


• “Imagine a tomorrow where hard work is honored, families are supported, streets are safe and communities are strong and where love trumps hate,” Clinton said Tuesday night, drawing applause at her play on Donald Trump’s name. Clinton isn’t expected to publicly pressure Sanders to quit the race – Clinton advisers say that could backfire (no kidding)
• Clinton’s campaign has begun to analyze the Electoral College, working out potential races against Trump and Ted Cruz. The campaign will begin polling in battleground states like Ohio and Florida. But it will also pore over data in traditional GOP states like Arizona, North Carolina and Georgia that could be in play – particularly if Trump is the nominee

• In the coming weeks, Clinton will court Sanders’ voters by addressing the populist discontent over economic inequality and political disenfranchisement that was building before he even entered the race, Bloomberg reports. She touched on getting “unaccountable” money out of politics and closing the gap of inequality in her victory speech Tuesday night (she has a lot of work to do)


• Civil rights and elections attorneys said Tuesday they will appeal a federal court ruling upholding North Carolina’s 2013 major rewrite of its voting laws, that now require photo ID. A GOP candidate running to become North Carolina’s AG faced criticism Tuesday after saying “we must fight to keep our state straight” while discussing the state’s transgender bathroom law (nice…) (AP, Reuters)

South Sudan Peace Boost: Rebel Returns (BBC, NYT, me)

• South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar, a member of the Nuer ethnic group, was sworn in as vice-president on Tuesday in a boost for a peace deal aimed at ending more than two years of conflict in the world’s youngest country. He returned earlier to the capital, Juba, to take the post in a new unity govt led by President Salva Kiir, a member of the Dinka ethnic group

• Tens of thousands have been killed and about two million people left homeless in the conflict in South Sudan, which became independent in 2011. Machar fled Juba at the start of the civil war in Dec 2013. He had been accused of trying to organize a coup, which he denied – but it set off a round of tit-for-tat killings, which developed into a full-blown conflict

• Many analysts doubt that two will work together effectively after so much blood has been spilled. As Machar took his oath of office inside the presidential compound, soldiers were on guard outside. Near the main gate, a truck full of govt soldiers sat a few feet away from a truck weighed down by opposition soldiers. Members of both groups looked tense (great start, that)

• If the govt of national unity is formed in the next few days, in theory donors will start stumping up money – crucial as the economy is at rock bottom. Among its first challenges will be to overcome the mistrust between the two sides. The fact that some other groups haven’t signed the peace deal could also prove significant (like unity govt for who, exactly?)

• Kiir issued a rare apology for the peace deal’s slow implementation. Machar told the media: “I’m happy to be back … The war was vicious. We have lost a lot of people in it and we need to bring our people together so that they can unite.” Fighters on both sides have been accused of mass atrocities, including rape, wanton killing of civilians and recruitment of child soldiers…


• Up to $800 million in cash held by ISIS has been destroyed in air strikes, Maj Gen Peter Gersten, based in Baghdad, said. The deputy commander for ops and intel said under 20 air strikes targeting the group’s stores of money had been conducted, but didn’t specify how the U.S. knew how much money had been destroyed (BBC)


Senate Nears $1.1B Zika Deal (NYT, Hill, me)
• Senate negotiators on Tuesday neared an agreement to provide at least $1.1 billion in emergency financing to combat the fast-spreading Zika virus. WH spox Josh Earnest warned that Republicans were being slow: “This is an emergency. The American people are counting on Congress to act. And instead we’ve gotten bureaucratic excuses.”
• President Obama has requested $1.9 billion to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus. With Republicans resisting, the admin this month deployed $589 million, including $150 million of Ebola money. The additional $79 million was snagged from other accounts used to fight epidemics (Senate Dems are saying everyone should skip next week’s recess for this – oh sure)
• “We must do something to confront this scourge that’s facing our country,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) said in a Senate floor speech. With House Republicans insisting they were waiting for the WH to answer questions about the president’s request, House Democrats on Monday introduced their own bill – the full $1.9 billion (on the road to nowhere)
• House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) maintained on Tuesday that the best way to address Zika was through the regular appropriations process. (October, that is) But they need answers from the WH, he said. “What would the money be spent on this year, what is the money you need for next year?” (WH says it’s answered all the questions)

• “The majority has talked a good game about responding to the Zika virus,” Rep Nita Lowey (D-NY), ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement, “but all the hot air in the world does not deliver vaccines, diagnostics, and mosquito control that is needed now to protect American communities.” (I’m killing them in my apartment –  swarms)


• Prince’s sister believes he didn’t leave a will and has asked a Minnesota court to appoint a special administrator to oversee his multimillion-dollar estate – could get messy. Lots of half siblings, too. His brand will get so much bigger after his death + could be fights over whether to release the masses of music in his Vault. This one’s going to be epic (AP, me)

SCOTUS: Corruption – Former Va Gov (Reuters, AP, me)
• The eight justices will hear arguments today in the appeal by former Gov Robert McDonnell (R-Va), a former rising GOP star, of his 2014 corruption conviction arising from gifts from a businessman who sought to promote a dietary supplement. It’s the final case they’ll hear in their term that ends in June
• Legal question: Whether McDonnell’s conduct constituted “official action” in exchange for a thing of value, as required for conviction under federal bribery law. His lawyers contend he merely arranged meetings, asked questions and attended events, the same type of activities that politicians perform in exchange for campaign contributions (and get Rolexes)
• The court’s decision is expected to have wide implications for politicians and public officials by clarifying what distinguishes bribery from routine actions they often perform as a courtesy to constituents – pols are watching this one closely (especially – um – crooked ones)
• In court papers, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli said the justices in the past have carefully distinguished “general ingratiation” (eww) between a politician and a donor from “quid pro quo exchanges.” “But no such issue arose here, because the bribes in this case were personal loans and luxury goods, not campaign contributions,” Verrilli said

• McDonnell and his wife Maureen were convicted in 2014 of taking $177,000 in gifts and loans from Va businessman Jonnie Williams. McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison, which he has not yet served. At trial, prosecutors detailed the lavish lifestyle the McDonnells enjoyed thanks to the loans and gifts, including vacations, designer clothing and shoes


• I just have to say that I don’t know what’s going on with the news and pictures of dead animals right now. But I’m having to cover up bits of various websites for the next few days. Drudge has a picture of a dead dog. BBC has a picture of a caged – something – at a Siberian fur farm, as well as a dead elephant. I know there are worse things in life – but that’s me

Police Faulted for 96 Deaths: 1989 Hillsborough Disaster (BBC, NYT, Liverpool Echo, Liverpool Echo, me)
• Ninety-six English soccer fans who died as a result of a crush in the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster were unlawfully killed, the inquests concluded Tuesday. The jury found a senior police officer, David Duckenfield was “responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence.” Police errors also added to a dangerous situation at the match

• PM David Cameron said the inquests had provided “official confirmation” fans were “utterly blameless.” After a 27-year campaign by victims’ families, the behavior of Liverpool fans was exonerated. The jury found they didn’t contribute to the danger unfolding at the turnstiles at the Sheffield stadium on 15 April 1989

• After the verdict was announced, family members clasped hands outside the coroner’s court east of Liverpool and sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” the song that Liverpool fans belt out at every game and which is known worldwide as their anthem (hit by Gerry and the Pacemakers – 60s beat group from Liverpool). Some held photos of dead relatives. Others sobbed

• The jury concluded many died well after 3:15 pm on the day of the match. The coroner at the original 1991 inquest, Dr Stefan Popper, said he wouldn’t hear any evidence relating to deaths beyond that time because he believed (what does belief have to do with being a coroner?) that all the victims had died, or suffered fatal injuries, by then (see story below – shocking)

• The deaths were ruled accidental. Those verdicts were quashed following a 2012 independent panel report and new hearings were ordered. The new inquests found the direct cause of death was compression asphyxia in all but three. Applause rang out in the public gallery Tuesday after the verdict, and coroner Sir John Goldring said he had “never before had a jury clapped.”


• The victims suffocated to death as they entered the match after the police opened an exit gate in an effort to relieve congestion outside the stadium before the game. In the chaos that ensued, some victims were crushed against steel fencing. Others were trampled, and more than 700 people were injured. Errors by police in planning and executing security. Errors by ambulances

Lies, Smears, Cover-Ups
• In the days after the deaths, efforts by the police to blame the fans culminated in a story in The Sun tabloid called “The Truth.” It blamed Liverpool fans for bad behavior (lie) and said they had attacked rescue workers (they hadn’t), urinated on police officers (they didn’t) and pickpocketed victims (didn’t – all outrageous lies by police to cover up their errors – now exposed)

• David Duckenfield, the police officer who was in charge of security for the match, later falsely claimed that spectators had opened the gate the let the fans in and led to them being crushed. Duckenfield, now 71, left the force at the age of 46 and retired. (he was burrowed underground on Tuesday hiding from the press – probably down in hell where he belongs)

• A new inquest into the disaster was ordered after an independent panel concluded in Sept 2012 that there had been a vast cover-up in which senior police officers sought to dissemble blame by making scapegoats of victims and survivors. In Dec that year, a high court in London overturned the original inquest verdicts of accidental death

• The independent panel’s report, citing post mortem reports, said the coroner had assigned an arbitrary time of death for 41 victims, even as their hearts and lungs continued to function. Some members of the victims’ families fainted when they read the report

• “They done nothing wrong that day,” said Margaret Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James died in the crush and who leads the Hillsborough Family Support Group. “They were the heroes.” (This was also a victory for a working-class city over a dismissive establishment. note: I was born in Liverpool, grew up around there, and have been a lifelong Liverpool fan)

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Victoria Jones – Editor