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.


Quick News

  • Boehner: Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh”
  • GOP to Trump: Fine, whatever – err yes
  • What Bernie Sanders wants
  • Obama to make “smart guns” push
  • Situation in Aleppo “catastrophic:” UN
  • Compromise: Criminal justice reform
Boehner: Cruz “Lucifer in the Flesh” (Raw Story, Hill, Politico, Hill, Hill, me)
• Former House speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) let loose his inner demon during remarks at an event Wednesday night at Stanford University, panning Ted Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh.” “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life,” Boehner said – Stanford Daily
• Sen Cruz (R-Texas) was a thorn in Boehner’s side during several standoffs with the Obama admin. Cruz met secretly with members of the hardline House Freedom Caucus – unusual move – in 2013 and pushed them to fight to defund Obamacare. The effort eventually led to a govt shutdown that hurt the GOP (and Boehner eventually got booted from the House)
• At a presser Thursday morning, Cruz jumped on the comments. “John Boehner had some interesting comments last night,” Cruz said. “He allowed his inner Trump to come out. If you want a president like John Boehner, Donald Trump is your man.” Boehner said Wednesday he would vote for Trump, but not for Cruz (nearly all gonna vote for Trump – alpha doggie now)
• Rep Pete King (R-NY) said Thursday that Boehner was being too kind to Cruz. “I fully agree with John Boehner, and maybe it gives Lucifer a bad name by comparing him to Red Cruz,” he said on CNN. Meanwhile, Cruz’s only friend in the Senate, Mike Lee (R-Utah), went ballistic on talk radio, unleashing a diatribe in which he said he was “appalled” at the “horrible” statement
• WH spox Josh Earnest, when asked, said he didn’t know if Boehner “was trying to be helpful or harmful. I think he was just looking to be honest about his own view.” Separately, Satanic Temple spox Lucien Graves was outraged that Cruz would be compared with Lucifer and trashed his “failures of reason, compassion, decency and humanity.” (we talking about the same Cruz here?)
GOP to Trump: Fine, Whatever – Err Yes (WaPo, me)
• Throughout the Republican Party, from New Hampshire to California, many leaders, operatives, donors and activists arrived this week at the conclusion they’d been hoping to thwart or at least delay: Donald Trump will be their presidential nominee (it’s your own fault, you did nothing to stop him, heads in sand, fingers in ears – didn’t believe your eyes)
• Trump smothered his opponents in six straight primaries in the Northeast. He is gaining high-profile endorsements by the day. And his rivals – Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Gov John Kasich (R-Ohio)  – are making the kind of rushed tactical moves that signal desperation (oh – that Cruz-Kasich bromance? like most of my romances – ooover)
• The party is at a turning point. GOP stalwarts opposed to Trump remain fearful of the damage the unconventional and unruly billionaire might inflict on the party’s down-ballot candidates in November. But many are exhausted by the prospect of a contested July convention, according to interviews this week with more than a dozen party figures from coast to coast (spoilsports)
• With likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton pivoting to a general election and her well-funded allies readying for a full-out assault, Republicans are eager to unite quickly


• The Anti-Defamation League wants Donald Trump to ditch the slogan “America First” because it was once used by anti-Semites who wanted to keep the U.S. out of World War II. “For many Americans, the term ‘America First’ will always be associated with and tainted by this history,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement (Hill)
• “The lion’s share of Republicans want the process settled,” said Mike Dennehy, a veteran New Hampshire-based party strategist. “There’s anxiety settling in about the process, and that’s what people are tired of. They just want it done, they want the fighting to stop.”
• Cruz is pushing back. He took the unusual step Wednesday of choosing a running mate, businesswoman and failed GOP 2016er Carly Fiorina. They, and independent groups opposed to Trump, see Indiana’s primary on Tuesday as their best, perhaps last, chance to derail Trump (looking iffier by the day – get out some of that fire and brimstone and a few dead cats, Ted)
• The race isn’t over, but Cruz and Kasich are already mathematically eliminated from clinching the nomination on a first ballot and would need a convention floor fight to win. “Trump has become a fact rather than a problem,” said former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who has offered informal advice to Trump but hasn’t endorsed him
• On Thursday, Trump’s top campaign adviser, Paul Manafort, was on Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers and press his case that Trump is becoming the de facto GOP standard-bearer (Manafort’s day job is a lobbyist and makeover artist for clients including tyrant-types and dictators – sooo this is a perfect fit for him – and a scarifying one, too)


What Bernie Sanders Wants (Politico, Politico, me)
• Bernie Sanders shared the list of changes he’d like the Democratic Party to make during a speech on Thursday. in Springfield Oregon. Sanders said that he wants to see the party pursue a 50-state strategy, open primaries in every state, and automatic voter registration for everyone starting at age 18 (not sure they’ll go for open primaries, some insiders like what they have)
• “All over this country we have Republican governors trying to make it harder for people to vote. Our job is to make it easier. Bring more people into the system and that means if you are 18 years of age you are registered to vote, end of discussion,” Sanders said (so simple, no reason not to do it)
• “In those states where it’s applicable, we need same-day registration, we need open primaries.” The comments by Sanders come as the Vermont senator’s path to the nomination has narrowed dramatically, after defeats in New York and in four of five states on Tuesday. Sanders pushed back, in a speech in Indiana, on speculation he’d leave the race before June
• “We are in this campaign to win, but if we do not win, we intend to win every delegate we can so that when we go to Philadelphia in July, we are going to have the votes to put together the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen.” (and that might make for a fairly lively convention)
• Sanders strategists are counting on him to be tied or slightly ahead of Hillary Clinton in national polling by July. The May primary calendar is looking friendlier than preceding weeks. Polls show Sanders within striking distance of Clinton in Indiana. And he has likely victories in West Virginia, Oregon, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota – California could be good, too


• About 16 U.S. military personnel, including a two-star general, have been disciplined for mistakes that led to the bombing of a civilian hospital in Afghanistan last year that killed 42 people, a senior U.S. official said Thursday. The Pentagon is expected to release the full report on the investigation today (it’s going to be pretty shocking – do read it) (AP, me)


Obama to Make “Smart Guns” Push (Politico, me)
• As early as today, President Obama is set to formally release findings from the Defense, Justice and Homeland Security Depts on ways to spur development of guns that can be fired only by their owner – smart guns – according to industry and gun control sources. The gun lobby and law enforcement rank and file are mobilizing against
• In January, Obama ordered federal agencies to explore such technology and report back as part of his series of executive actions for “common sense” gun reforms. Critics are gearing up to fight back against the possibility that such guns could be required for govt firearms purchases (and black helicopters)
• A source familiar with the plans said that type of mandate isn’t on tap right now, but critics are still worried the admin is laying the groundwork for such a move. Among the biggest skeptics are cops. “Police officers … shouldn’t be asked to be the guinea pigs in evaluating a firearm that nobody’s even seen yet,” said James Pasco of the Fraternal Order of Police
• Smart guns wouldn’t prevent most mass shootings, gun crimes or suicides – biggest driver of gun deaths. However, they could cut down on the roughly 500 deaths each year from accidental shootings, especially by kids. Advocates point to findings that most youth suicides are committed with a parents’ weapon
• Advocates accuse the gun lobby of creating a chilling effect by casting any govt embrace of smart guns as a mandate. The NRA’s website casts the motives for a mandate in ominous terms: “as a way to prohibit the manufacture of traditional handguns … and, presumably, imbed [sic] into handguns a device that would allow guns to be disabled remotely.” (chips in heads, too?)


• North Korea has sentenced a 62-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen to 10 years of hard labor for spying. Kim Dong-chul had made an apparent confession in Pyongyang last month in front of reporters, saying he was paid by South Korean intel officers. Kim was born in South Korea (BBC)
Situation in Aleppo Catastrophic: UN (BBC, Reuters, me)
• The UN says the situation in Syria’s city of Aleppo is catastrophic, after some 200 people were killed in attacks on targets including a hospital. Air strikes on and around the Doctors Without Borders – Medecins Sans Frontieres or MSF – backed al-Quds hospital killed at least 27 people, while more than 30 died in other attacks. The violence has left a partial truce hanging by a thread
• Separately, the Syrian govt reported that 150 U.S. troops had arrived in the town of Rmeilan in Syria’s predominantly northern Kurdish province of Hassakeh, denouncing it as an “illegitimate intervention.” President Obama said last week he was deploying 250 troops to Syria to help certain rebel groups fight ISIS
• MSF said at least 14 patients and three doctors had been killed in the air strike on al-Quds hospital. Among them was one of the city’s last pediatricians, Dr Moaz. A MSF spox said, “He kept it going, was always there and always worried about the needs of the people. He was honest and very committed.” (there’s clearly a govt campaign to destroy hospitals in Syria)
• Local sources blamed war planes from the Syrian military or from Russia, which is supporting the govt of President Assad, for the attack The Syrian military denied targeting the hospital. The Russian defense ministry said it had carried out no air strikes in Aleppo in the past few days (of course – it just happened mysteriously by bombs dropping themselves)
• SecState John Kerry said he was “outraged” by the hospital attack. UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura said that in the past 48 hours there had been an average of one Syrian civilian killed every 25 minutes and one wounded every 13 minutes.(think about that)  He aimed to restart the peace talks in May, but “if this conflict continues, there will be no more Syria.”


• Investigators are looking into whether Prince died from an overdose and whether a doctor – Michael Jackson’s? – was prescribing him opioid painkillers in the weeks before he was found dead at his Minneapolis home, a law enforcement source told AP. Looking at whether a doctor was with Prince on a plane that made an emergency landing a week before Prince died (AP)

Compromise: Criminal Justice Reform (Politico, me)
• Influential Senate Democrats and Republicans held a presser Thursday trumpeting changes they’d made to criminal justice laws that they believe address conservative criticisms that could have derailed the bill in the Senate. The legislation tries to ease mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenders
• GOP Sens Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Steve Daines (Mont), Mark Kirk (Ill) and Thad Cochran (Miss) are all on board after changes were made in recent weeks. New Democratic backers include Sens Michael Bennet (Colo), Joe Manchin (WVa) and Bill Nelson (Fla)
• The compromise has brought some influential organizations, such as the National District Attorneys Assn, on board. It won’t satisfy critics like Sen Tom Cotton (R-Ark). He quickly blasted the compromise bill, saying it “only raised more serious questions.”

• Tough on crime conservatives, led by Cotton, had warned that the original version would inadvertently release felons with violent criminal records early from prison. The next step for the Senate coalition will be to persuade Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) to take up the legislation this year. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) supports a bill in the House and the WH backs it


• Rocking into the weekend with “Please Take the Devil Out Of Me” – George Jones, a Texan just like poor, possessed Ted Cruz. This recording is from the mid to late 50s, Maybe the song can exorcise Lucifer from Teddie before his head spins and he spews that green stuff that’s the color of this font

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Victoria Jones – Editor