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.

Morning Jumpstart

  • Is Trump worried – about losing?
  • Was Trump co-founder of ISIS?
  • Clinton attacks “outlandish Trumpian ideas”
  • Reid might play hardball: Obama’s SCOTUS pick
  • Aleppo chlorine gas attack investigated
  • ISIS intel was cooked: House panel
  • Couple sues over “digital hell”
  • Couple’s home was imaginary crimewave
Is Trump Worried About – Losing? (NYT, Buzzfeed, Politico, USA Today, AP, TMN, me)
• Facing one of the toughest stretches of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump on Thursday acknowledged in unusually candid terms that he faced daunting hurdles in crucial states. Speaking before a group of 700 evangelical pastors and church leaders in Orlando, Trump mentioned Utah, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia (some swings in there + red utah)
• Trump pleaded with pastors and church leaders to organize their congregants and impress upon them the stakes in the election. “We’re going to hopefully win, and the way we’re going to win is you have to get your congregations and you have to get your parishioners and you have to get all your people to go out and vote,” he said
• In the same speech, Trump repeated a false claim that he’s made about Hillary Clinton: he’s calling Clinton a “founder” of ISIS. Instead of saying her policies as SecState helped contribute to the group’s rise, Trump said she should be named ISIS’s “most valuable player” (he’s simply unable to be taken seriously with this childish sh#t)
• In an interview with CNBC, Trump acknowledged the possibility that he could lose the election. “At the end, it’s either going to work or I’m going to, you know, I’m going to have a very, very nice long vacation,” said Trump, who has rarely before conceded the possibility of defeat (nice for him that he can afford to take one. most of us can’t take the time – including his followers)
• Thursday, in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Trump was given an opportunity to clarify a statement made repeatedly Wednesday that President “Barack Hussein” Obama was the “founder” of ISIS. “No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.”
• NYT and Gannett have requested that the New York Supreme Court unseal records from Donald Trump’s divorce from his first wife, Ivana Trump. The couple was granted a divorce because of “cruel and inhuman treatment,” though they later reached a settlement. The filing said the records have “become directly relevant to the issues being debated” in the campaign (pleez pleez pleez)
Was Trump Co-Founder of ISIS, Too?
• Hewitt replied, “But he’s [Obama] not sympathetic to them. He hates them. He’s trying to kill them.” “I don’t care,” Trump said. “He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that, that was the founding of ISIS, OK?” Lost in this is that Trump pushed forcefully for immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq in several interviews in the late 2000s – so co-founder award to him, too 
• “First, I’d get out of Iraq right now,” Trump said to British GQ in 2008. “And, by the way, I am the greatest hawk who ever lived.” In March 2007, Trump said on CNN, “You know how they get out? They get out. That’s how they get out. Declare victory and leave.” There are other instances, too – see Buzzfeed above
• Meanwhile, concerns about Trump’s unpopularity are compelling enough that more than 70 Republicans gathered signatures Thursday for a letter urging the GOP party chairman to stop helping Trump and focus on protecting vulnerable House and Senate candidates (NYT reported last month that GOP leaders are thinking of focusing down ballot starting in September)
• The letter warns that Trump’s “divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence and record-breaking unpopularity risk turning this election into a Democratic landslide.” RNC didn’t respond to a request for comment. Trump said to Fox News that he wasn’t concerned the GOP would cut him off: “All I have to do is stop funding the Republican Party,” he said (Kochs can step in – and have)
• Trump’s campaign and top Republican Party officials plan what one person called a “come to Jesus” meeting today in Orlando to discuss the nominee’s struggling campaign. The request for the meeting came from the Trump campaign, although Trump will not attend (fly on wall)
• U.S. officials are discussing economic sanctions against Russia in response to cyberattacks on Democratic Party organizations. Officials haven’t come to a decision on how to proceed and sanctions would require the WH to publicly accuse Russian hackers of the breach (WSJ)
Clinton Attacks Trump in Economic Speech (NYT, AP, WSJ, TMN, me)
• In her first full-throttled rejection of Donald Trump’s economic agenda, Hillary Clinton called parts of Trump’s tax plan a discount to benefit his ultra-wealthy peers and relatives. “Donald Trump wants to give trillions in tax cuts to people like himself,” she said, citing his positions on eliminating the estate tax and reducing corporate taxes (wouldn’t hurt you, either, Hill)
• “Even conservative experts say Trump’s agenda will pull our economy into recession,” she said in Warren, Mich, adding that he “made a career out of stiffing small businesses.” She also faulted Trump for making his products overseas, saying it’s “just wrong.” (she didn’t address the latest email flap – Clinton Foundation & State Dept – have a presser, Hillary haha)
• The Democratic presidential nominee didn’t offer any new ideas to present the country’s economy in her address. Instead, she contrasted a more optimistic view of the country’s economy with what she dubbed as “outlandish Trumpian ideas” that have been rejected by both parties (but not rejected by his followers – don’t write people off)
• Appearing in the county known for the so-called Reagan Democrats, Clinton tried to seize the opportunity to win back some of the blue collar voters who have supported her rival, making the case that she offers a steadier road map for economic growth and prosperity. “I just don’t think insults and bullying is how we’re going to get things done,” she said
• She also reiterated her strong opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, leaving herself little room for backtracking should she win the WH if it’s taken up in the lame duck Congress later this year. “I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election, and I’ll oppose it as president,” she said, (ok then) while noting that the U.S. shouldn’t cut itself off from the rest of the world
• Hillary Clinton could release her 2015 taxes as early as today. Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, and his wife, are expected to release. It’s part of an effort to put pressure on Donald Trump to release his taxes which he says are under an IRS audit. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, says it would be “malpractice” to advise him to release them before the end of the audit (that bad, huh?)
Reid Might Play Hardball Over Obama’s SCOTUS Pick (Politico, Roll Call, Roll Call, WSJ, me)
• Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) wouldn’t rule out a move to force a discharge vote to force consideration of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland (remember him?). The procedural maneuver wouldn’t technically confirm Garland, but it would serve as a proxy vote that would put GOP senators on record as either supporting or opposing him
• “We have a couple of options and we’re deciding when to do that and if we should do it,” Reid said to reporters on a conference call Thursday. “I’ve been in touch with some of my senators during the break to determine that.” (could be awkward for vulnerable GOPers facing reelection to go on record)
• Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) recently said at a political gathering in Kentucky, “One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ‘Mr President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.'” “Proudest moment?” Reid said Thursday. “I can’t imagine that.” (sure you can)
• Reid said McConnell has refused to hold a hearing on Garland because of pressure from the billionaire megadonor Koch brothers. The Kochs have stayed away from Donald Trump, but Reid said they’re cleaning up after him with donations to GOP senators struggling with Trump at the top of the ballot
• Reid said Hillary Clinton would revive Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court if she’s elected president. “I would think that she and the people around her would say, ‘Why do we need to draw out the vote here?'” Asked how he was sure and if he had conversations with the Clinton campaign, Reid said, “I can say that with some degree of credibility.”

• Watch – disturbing and important new political song from Green Day: “Bang Bang,” that takes aim at America’s gun violence epidemic from the point of view of being inside the head of a mass shooter. Not a celebration of gun violence – the opposite – but creepy even so, to think that a shooter could be attracted to it

Syria: Aleppo Chlorine Gas Attack Investigated (BBC, Reuters, me)

• The UN is investigating evidence of a toxic gas attack on a rebel-held area of the Syrian city of Aleppo. Rebels said the attack – which reportedly left four people dead and many injured – was carried out by govt forces using chlorine gas (this, on top of lack of electricity and water, and in the middle of 104 degree weather, is beyond inhuman)

• Footage obtained by the BBC shows people with breathing difficulties receiving treatment at a hospital. Men, women and children are shown being fitted with oxygen masks by medical staff. The gas is thought to have been chlorine dropped in a barrel bomb, said the Syrian Civil Defense – volunteer emergency response workers

• UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura confirmed the global body’s experts were investigating reports of a gas, believed to be chlorine, being dropped on Aleppo. “There is a lot of evidence that it actually did take place. If it did take place, it is a war crime and as such it would require everyone … to address it immediately,” he told reporters (and do what? where’s a justice system?)

• Russia has announced a daily three-hour halt to hostilities from yesterday, to allow in aid. But UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said while that would be taken seriously, a break of up to 48 hours was needed to get enough aid in on trucks. A witness in Aleppo said there hadn’t been any ceasefire on Thursday, contrary to what the Russians had said (note that)

• Earlier, some of the last doctors in the rebel-held east of the city appealed to President Obama to come to the aid of the 250,000 civilians there. They said that in the past month there had been 42 attacks on medical facilities in Syria, 15 of them on hospitals where they work. Elsewhere, Russian planes attacked targets in the northern city of Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold

• The Obama admin said Thursday it was shifting $81 million away from biomedical research and antipoverty and health care programs to pay for the development of a Zika vaccine, resorting to extraordinary measures because Congress has failed to approve new funding to combat the virus (NYT)

ISIS Intel Was Cooked: House Panel (Daily Beast, Hill, AP, LAT, TMN, me)

• Intelligence assessments approved by senior leaders at U.S. Central Command exaggerated the progress of anti-terrorism efforts they ran against ISIS militants, a GOP-led task force said in an initial report released Thursday (what’s not yet clear to me, at any rate, is why)

• The report detailed what the task force described as “persistent problems” in 2014 and 2015 with the command’s analysis of U.S. efforts to train Iraqi forces and combat the extremist group in Iraq and Syria. CentCom, based in Tampa, Fla, runs the U.S. military operations in the Middle East

• The task force’s investigation isn’t yet complete. A separate investigation by the Pentagon inspector general also is underway. A CentCom spox said the command is reviewing the House report but declined to comment further because the task force and IG inquiries are still proceeding

&&&

• The task force focused on the command’s intel directorate. The office underwent structural and management changes in mid-2014 that resulted in intel that was “consistently more optimistic regarding the conduct of U.S. military action” than the judgments of many senior, career analysts at the command, according to the report

• At issue are whistleblower allegations by 50 intel analysts at CentCom that superiors were altering their work, making the picture of the fight against ISIS rosier than reality. Three House committees formed a GOP-led joint task force to investigate. Rather than joining, Democrats on the Intelligence Committee decided to undertake their own parallel investigation

• Rep Adam Schiff (D-Calif), the committee’s top Democrat, said Thursday that the command created “an overly insular process for producing intel assessments” about ISIS and Iraqi security forces. Schiff said that blinkered process stalled the release of intel, didn’t sufficiently accommodate dissenting views and undermined the morale of analysts at CentCom

• But Schiff said the Democrats found no evidence that intel had been politicized. “Nor did we – or the majority – find any evidence that the WH requested to, or in any manner attempted to, have the intel analysis conform to any preset or political narrative,” he said (some GOP committee members are speculating WH involvement – but can’t produce any evidence at all)

• House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) called on GOP leaders to reconvene Congress over Zika funding at a Capitol Hill presser on Thursday. She also said she had received intel briefings on the recent cyberattacks against Democrats. “I know, for sure, it’s the Russians,” she said, adding that the attacks constituted an “electronic Watergate.” (TMN)
Couple Sues Over “Digital Hell” (BBC, me)
• A Kansas couple is suing an internet mapping company for $75,000 after years of “digital hell.” MaxMind matches IP addresses, which are used to connect devices to the internet, to physical locations. It has said these aren’t meant to be precise (that’s our first clue)
• James and Theresa Arnold say it registered their home as the position of more than 600 million addresses. (WT? bit crowded in your bathroom?) They say this has led many people to wrongly believe a host of crimes were committed at the property
• “The first week after the Arnolds moved in, two deputies from the Butler County Sheriff’s Dept came to the residence looking for a stolen truck. This scenario repeated itself countless times over the next five years,” documents filed with a Kansas court read (it’s bad – oh it’s bad – the BBC piece has more examples than I could use)
• The issue came to light after an investigation by Fusion, which reported that the property’s owner Joyce Taylor and her tenants had been accused of being “identity thieves, spammers, scammers and fraudsters” for years
Couple’s Home Was Imaginary Crimewave
• Fusion said Taylor’s troubles were the results of IP mapping by MaxMind, which chose her property as the default spot for IPs it couldn’t locate more precisely other than saying they were in the U.S. The house in Kansas, which the Arnolds rented out in 2011, is near to the geographical center of the country (so anything that’s near the center for crime is their living room, basically)
• “In 2013, the Butler County Sheriff Dept ran a background check on the plaintiffs because of all the activity taking place at the residence,” the court docs say, adding that the dept was receiving “weekly reports about fraud, scams, stolen Facebook accounts, missing person reports” linked to the home (you’d have to be, like, a full-time scammer-spammer type to do all this)
• “The following events appeared to originate at the residence and brought trespassers and/or law enforcement to the plaintiffs’ home at all hours of the night and day: stolen care, fraud related to tax returns and bitcoin, stolen credit cards, suicide calls, private investigators, stolen social media accounts, fund raising events and numerous other activities.” (fund raising too? that’s nice…)
• They accuse MaxMind of “reckless and grossly negligent conduct” that has caused “great emotional distress, fear for their safety, and humiliation.” MaxMind declined to comment. The company’s founder Thomas Mather said MaxMind has changed its default center points to be in the middle of bodies of water (great, now cops will pounce on us while we’re kayaking)
• President Obama on Thursday dropped his daytime and nighttime summer playlists for 2016 – and the sense was, including in this reviewer’s mind – that he’s feeling pretty melllllowwww. There are some good tunes in there
More US Golds – and a First – in Rio (USA Today, AP, NYT, Deadspin, me)
• Sauntering to the sounds of Latin music, Simone Biles soared to the women’s all-around gymnastics title on Thursday. Hours later, Michael Phelps blew away rival Ryan Lochte – and everyone else – to win his fourth gold medal of the Rio Olympics and 22nd overall with a victory in the 200-meter individual medley
• Simone Manuel of the U.S. and Penny Oleksiak, 16, of Canada, tied for the gold medal in the women’s 100-meter freestyle, upsetting world-record holder Cate Campbell. Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming
• “It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality,” Manuel said. “This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on. My color just comes with the territory.”
• NBC couldn’t be bothered to air Simone Manuel’s medal ceremony live – even though the rest of the world did – (watch here). Instead, NBC showed 7-hour old Russian gymnastics. NBC finally aired it late at night. (yup, that’s the way for US to treat the first African-American woman to win an individual swimming event – casually racist and sexist)
• What’s up with the U.S. national anthem at the Olympics medal ceremonies? It’s bringing tears to viewers’ eyes – for the wrong reasons. It’s just so damn sad. Because it’s being played in a minor key! WTF? How can you celebrate with gut-wrenching chords that you’d normally hear at the funeral of Binkie, your late-lamented patriotic pet skunk?

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__________________
Victoria Jones – Editor
News is news
Comments are mine

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