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

  • Greece starts returning refugees to Turkey
  • Huge leak reveals elite’s tax havens
  • Trump warns: “Very massive recession”
  • Trump reality check: Electoral map
  • Will Dem 2016ers debate in NYC?
  • GOP Congress’ incomplete: Stalled bills…

Greece Starts Returning Refugees to Turkey (BBC, AP, me)
• The first boats carrying refugees being deported from Greece to Turkey have arrived at the Turkish port of Dikili under an EU plan aimed at easing mass migration to Europe. Scores of migrants were seen boarding ferries on the Greek island of Lesbos early today (worries about violence on board the boats as people don’t want to leave Greece)
• Turkish officials said they expected to receive around 500 people. Migrants in Greece have complained of a lack of information about the asylum procedure and some said they were unaware they could be returned. The EU agency responsible for escorting people across the Aegean has less than one/tenth of the staff needed to do the job, AP reported (great start, EU)


• Under the deal, migrants arriving illegally in Greece are expected to be sent back to Turkey if they don’t apply for asylum or if their claim is rejected. For each Syrian refugee returned to Turkey, the EU is due to take in another Syrian who has made a legitimate request. Turkey won financial and political concessions as part of the agreement
• Both Turkey and Greece have made a panicked rush to meet this deadline – and neither country is really ready, BBC reports. Only a fraction of the necessary staff have arrived on the Greek islands to accompany the process and in Turkey the preparation is still sketchy. There are grave doubts over whether the deal will hold and how the migrants will be properly treated in Turkey

• Amnesty International has accused Turkey of illegally returning Syrians to their homeland, something Turkey denies. Save the Children called the deal “illegal and inhumane,” saying people told them they would kill themselves if sent back to Turkey. Tens of thousands have been stuck in Greece after northern countries closed their borders (situation is untenable – but happening)


• Amtrak said its trains will run as regularly scheduled today, as federal officials investigate the deadly derailment outside Philadelphia that killed two people after a train struck heavy equipment on the tracks (AP)


Huge Leak Reveals Elite’s Tax Havens (BBC, Guardian, Haaretz, me)
• A huge leak of confidential documents has revealed how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth Eleven million documents were leaked from one of the world’s most secretive companies, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca – biggest leak ever. They show how Mossack Fonseca has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax
• The company says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged with criminal wrong-doing. The docs show links to 72 current or former heads of state, including Icelandic PM, Sigmundur Gunnlaugson, who had an undeclared interest linked to his country’s bailed out banks and is now facing calls for his resignation
• The files also reveal a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring involving close associates of Russian President Putin. Gerard Ryle, director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) said, “I think the leak will prove to be probably the biggest blow the offshore world has ever taken because of the extent of the documents.”
• The Putin op was run by Bank Rossiya, which is subject to U.S. and EU sanctions following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Money has been channeled through offshore companies, two of which were officially owned by one of Putin’s closest friends, concert cellist Sergi Roldugin, who has known Putin since they were teenagers

• Roldugin has personally made hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from suspicious deals, but docs from his companies state that: “The company is is a corporate screen established principally to protect the identity and confidentiality of the ultimate beneficial owner of the company.” (so much more about others, too – tax authorities worldwide are already investigating people)

• Some of the big names caught up in the massive Panama Papers leak – Saudi Arabian King Salman, Ukrainian President Poroshenko and many more… (Fusion)


Trump Warns: “Very Massive Recession” (WaPo, me)
• In an extensive (weird) interview with Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of WaPo, Donald Trump said that economic conditions are so perilous that the country is headed for a “very massive recession” and that “it’s a terrible time right now” to invest in the stock market (wonder if he does). He said plenty of other things, too – don’t have space (it’s an odd read)
• “I think we’re sitting on an economic bubble. A financial bubble,” Trump said, making clear he meant the economy at large. “First of all, we’re not at 5% unemployment. We’re at a number that’s probably into the twenties if you look at the real number. That was a number that was devised, statistically devised to make politicians – and in particular presidents – look good.”
• Bureau of Labor Statistics’ analysis of joblessness beyond the unemployed was 9.8% nationally last month. In addition, the consensus of most economists is that the U.S. economy has about a 20% chance of slipping into recession this year largely because growth remains weak across the world, according to a WSJ survey of economists in March (Trump’s not bothered about facts)
• Most economists aren’t overly worried about an imminent downturn because job creation remains strong, workers are starting to see their wages grow and the Federal Reserve remains cautious about shifting away from the low-interest-rate stance that has helped stimulate the economy. Any number of Trump’s predictions haven’t worked out:
• In 2012, he predicted that if President Obama were reelected, oil and gas prices would go “through the roof like never before.” In 2011, Trump said that when Obama’s health care law took effect, national unemployment would “go even higher” than 9%. He was also bullish on real estate investments in the run-up to the housing bust

• Kate McKinnon plays CNN’s Kate Bolduan interviewing a crazy female Donald Trump defender in SNL’s excellent cold open


Trump Reality Check: Electoral Map (NYT, me)
• In recent head-to-head polls with Hilary Clinton – if the nominee – Donald Trump trails in every key state, including Florida and Ohio, despite her soaring unpopularity with swing voters. In Democratic-leaning states across the Rust Belt, his deficit is worse: Clinton leads him by double digits in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The electoral map is a reality check for Trump
• Trump has become unpopular by 2-1 – NYT/CBS News poll – to women, non-whites, Hispanics, voters under 30 and those with college degrees – the voters who powered President Obama’s two victories and represent the country’s demographic future
• In some states, Trump has surprised establishment-aligned Republicans with his breadth of support beyond the less-educated men who form his base. Even so, his support in the nominating process, in which some 30 million people may ultimately vote, would be swamped in a general election, when turnout is likely to be four times that (129 million or so)
• Among independents, 19% have a favorable opinion of Trump, but 57% view him unfavorably, the NYT/CBS survey found. Given his loathed standing among Democrats and the possibility that many in his own party would spurn him, Trump would need to invert his numbers among independents to even be competitive in November
• With white women, 23% view Trump favorably, while 54% have an unfavorable opinion. And that was before Trump attacked Ted Cruz’s wife, ridiculed a female reporter against whom Trump’s campaign manager was charged with committing battery and suggested that women who have abortions should face criminal punishment before reversing himself


• John Oliver takes apart Donald Trump’s nuclear weapons “policies” on Last Week Tonight
• Trump’s incendiary comments about minorities and the disabled, and proposals to bar Muslims from entering the U.S. or to force Mexico to pay for a wall on the southern border, have resounded so widely that half of all voters said they’d be scared if he were elected president, the NYT/CBS poll said
• If Clinton somehow loses the Democratic race, Trump could fare even worse in a general election against Bernie Sanders, who has higher margins than Clinton in head-to-head polling against Trump in most swing states. In addition, Trump is viewed unfavorably by a majority of whites without college degrees, according to an ABC News/WaPo poll early last month
• High primary turnouts have fed speculation that Trump could lure back the so-called missing white voters – populist-minded Americans thought to have skipped the 2012 presidential election. But the actual number of missing white voters is quite low in the closely contested states, where turnout remained high or even rose in 2012
• Moreover, there’s scant evidence that white voters who did stay home would be inclined to support Trump. In fact, they were far younger and much more likely to be registered Democrats than the white voters who did turn out, according to the census and data from L2, a nonpartisan voter file vendor (wonder if there will be reax from his camp to “failing” NYT – of course everyone has been wrong about Trump so far…)


• Republican candidates are campaigning hard in Wisconsin, ahead of Tuesday’s primary. Donald Trump is 10 points behind rival Ted Cruz. Sarah Palin campaigned for Trump in Milwaukee, drawing unintentional giggles from a largely unresponsive audience when she said, “Trump talks rationally.” (NYT, HuffPo, me)
Will Dem 2016ers Debate in NYC? (Politico, AP, AP, Politico, NYT, me)
• CNN and NY1 are approaching the DNC about hosting a debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on 14 April in Brooklyn, a source familiar confirmed to Politico. Clinton’s campaign spox, Brian Fallon, proposed 14 April in a tweet, while also accusing the Sanders camp of being “more interested in having fake excuses to attack Hillary Clinton than actually debating”
• Saturday, the Sanders campaign wrote: “The idea that they want a debate in New York on a night of the NCAA finals – with Syracuse in the tournament no less – is ludicrous. We have proposed other dates which they have rejected. We hope we can reach agreement in the near future.” It’s getting crazy, actually, with dates and counter-dates being proposed and rejected – both sides
• NYT reports today that Sanders’s top advisers and allies say they missed opportunities to run an aggressive political operation in 2015 that would have presented more of a challenge to Clinton. Sanders refused last fall, despite the urging of advisers, to criticize Clinton over speaking fees etc. Advisers say had he campaigned more in Iowa, he might have avoided his loss there
• First up is Wisconsin’s primary on Tuesday. Sanders – who is ahead in the polls – was planning to continue an aggressive Wisconsin tour today. Clinton is campaigning in important New York, while husband Bill Clinton plans to campaign on her behalf today in Milwaukee
• According to an AP analysis, Sanders must win 67% of the remaining delegates and uncommitted superdelegates – party leaders and officials who can support any candidate – through June to be able to clinch the Democratic nomination. So far he’s only winning 37% (read the NYT piece – early missteps and choices by Sanders may have doomed him – against advisers’ advice)

• Traveler complaints jumped 34% last year, to the highest level since 2000. The top frustration is problem flights including cancellations and delays. The percentage of flights that arrived on time rose to 79.9% from 76.2% in 2014, according to a report out today from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (AP)


GOP Congress’ Incomplete: Stalled Bills (AP, me)
• The Senate returns this week with a strong majority of Republicans saying no to any consideration of President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Judge Merrick Garland plans to meet with 11 senators this week, including two Republicans, Susan Collins (R-Maine) and John Boozman (R-Ark) – he’s up for re-election. They’re the only two Republicans open to hearings/vote
• In the House, which is back 12 April, conservative opposition probably will make it impossible to pass a budget, which would be a major embarrassment for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis). The latest Gallup poll shows public approval of Congress at an abysmal 13% (yet incumbents continue to win their primaries…)
• Advocates for criminal justice overhaul hope Congress will move legislation in both chambers before the summer. The GOP caucus is split over a bipartisan bill that would give judges the discretion to impose lesser sentences than federal mandatory minimums. Some conservatives say the bill could release violent offenders from prison. GOP colleagues strongly deny that

• In the House, a GOP proposal to aid debt-stricken Puerto Rico has drawn criticism from House Democrats and conservatives, raising doubts about Congress’ ability to resolve the issue. In the Senate, a bipartisan bill to aid Flint, Mich, with its lead tainted water issue is being blocked by Sen Mike Lee (R-Utah) who doesn’t want it to add to the deficit


• When police officers spotted a chihuahua loose on the Bay Bridge, they tried to bring him to safety, but he sped off. So began the wild chase Sunday morning that shut down part of the bridge. Video footage released by the California Highway Patrol captures the chase on the desolate bridge. “Ponch” was eventually captured and is recovering at a San Francisco animal shelter (USA Today)

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Victoria Jones – Editor