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
  • Clinton pulls plug on presser: Emails
  • Clinton’s #fail with Black Lives Matter
  • “Don’t believe you change hearts”
  • FDA approves women’s libido drug
  • Libido drug: Be skeptical?
  • U.S. military missed signs: Soldier’s shooting rampage
  • Iran / Russia arms deal?
  • Walker rolls out health plan
  • State Dept employees fight for gay rights
  • Women pass Ranger School: Military to open up
  • Senate Democrats demand budget talks nooow
 
Clinton Pulls Plug on Presser: Emails (WaPo, Hill, me)
• In a testy exchange with reporters following a town hall meeting in North Las Vegas on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton responded, “What, like with a cloth or something?” when asked if the server had been wiped. “I don’t know how it works at all,” she added (so she won’t say if her server was wiped)
 
• After Ed Henry of Fox News pressed Clinton on the issue repeatedly, an aide ended the Q&A session and Clinton turned to walk away. Another reporter shouted a question about whether the email issue will ever go away. Clinton turned and shrugged. “Nobody talks to me about it other than you guys,” she said
 
• The exchange typified Clinton’s struggle to fully answer questions about her use of a private email account and server during her four years as SecState, and to move beyond those questions to focus on other campaign issues (if she’d be frank, it would help). The server was turned over to the FBI last week – after Clinton previously said it wouldn’t be
 
• “What I did was legally permitted, number one, first and foremost,” Clinton said (er borderline). “We turned over everything that was work-related, every single thing. In retrospect, what was meant to be convenient has turned out to be anything but convenient.” (convenient for whom?)
 
• “Look, my personal emails are my personal business. Right?” she said, when asked if the emails were wiped. “So we went through a painstaking process and through 55,000 pages we thought could be worth relating. Under the law, that decision is made by the official. I was the official. I made those decisions.” (but deciding which were personal/work – maybe smart to collaborate with an IG?)
 
• Vid: A very testy Hillary Clinton defends her email usage – and ends the presser / Vine: Hillary Clinton does the walking shrug as she walks out on a presser Tuesday after she’s continually pressed on her emails
 
Clinton’s #Fail with Black Lives Matter (WaPo, AP, me)
• Activists from the Black Lives Matter movement challenged Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton to answer for criminal justice policies pursued by her husband’s admin and for the legacy of white privilege – but Clinton told them to look for ways to change policies rather than trying to “change hearts.” (and missed a huge opportunity to connect)
 
• When activist Julius Jones suggests in a video that the group released that Clinton was being presumptuous by saying the movement should consider which policy prescriptions to support, Clinton gestures forcefully as she countered his assertion
 
• “Well, respectfully, if that is your position then I will talk only to white people about how we are going to deal with the very real problem,” Clinton says facetiously (really? tone-deaf to the occasion. show compassion, warmth – be Bill). “That’s not what I mean,” he says. “What I’m saying is, what you just said was a form of victim-blaming.”
 
• At that, Clinton turns partly away from him and starts to shake her head “no.” “Right? You were saying that what the Black Lives Matter movement needs to do to change white hearts,” Jones continues, before Clinton interjects

 

“Don’t Believe You Change Hearts”
• “Look, I don’t believe you change hearts,” Clinton says, chopping her hands in front of Jones’s chest for emphasis. “I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate. You’re not going to change every heart. You’re not.” (at the root of why she’s not connecting with many – “don’t believe you change hearts”)
 
• Still gesturing, Clinton continued: “But at the end of the day, we could do a whole lot to change some hearts and change some systems and create more opportunities for people who deserve to have them, to live up to their own God-given potential, to live safely without fear of violence in their own communities, to have a decent school,” she continued (campaigning now)
 
• So we can do it in one of many ways. You can keep the movement going, which you have started, and through it you may actually change some hearts,” Clinton said. “But if that’s all that happens, we’ll be back here in 10 years having the same conversation.” (she’s not wrong about policy – but she’s missing what’s a historic moment – and missing – – love)
 
• After the private exchange, members of the movement said they had hoped Clinton would reflect more on her personal role in promoting policies that they say hurt black Americans. “I didn’t hear a reflection on her part in perpetuating white supremacist violence,” said Daunasia Yancey. “I heard a reflection on failed policy.”
 
 
• Wikileaks leaker Chelsea Manning has been found guilty of possessing unapproved reading material by a panel at Fort Leavenworth prison but will be spared indefinite solitary confinement. Instead, she faces 21 days of restrictions on her recreational activities. Manning is serving a 35-year sentence (Guardian)

 

FDA Approves Women’s Libido Drug (WaPo, NYT, me)
• The first prescription drug to enhance women’s sexual desire won regulatory approval Tuesday, clinching a victory for a lobbying campaign that had accused the FDA of gender bias for ignoring the sexual needs of women
 
• The drug – Addyi from Sprout Pharmaceuticals – is actually the first drug approved to treat a flagging or absent libido for either sex. Viagra and other drugs available for men are approved to help achieve erections, or to treat certain deficiencies of the hormone testosterone, not to increase desire
 
• Advocates who pressed for approval of Addyi, many of them part of a coalition called Even the Score, said that a drug to improve women’s sex lives was long overdue, given the many options available to men
 
• But critics said the campaign behind Addyi had made a mockery of the system that regulates pharmaceuticals and had co-opted the women’s movement to pressure the FDA into approving a drug that was at best minimally effective and could cause side effects like low blood pressure, fainting, nausea, dizziness and sleepiness (just perfect for that crucial moment)
 
• According to one survey, about 10% of women suffer from hypoactive sexual desire disorder, the condition the drug is approved to treat. It’s approved for pre-menopausal women. Addyi is supposed to be taken nightly. It’s thought to work by changing the balance of certain brain neurotransmitters like dopamine and seratonin

 

Libido Drug: Be Skeptical? (Vox, me)
• According to an FDA analysis of Addyi (flibanserin), between 8 and 13 % of women who take the drug will see some improvement over placebo (lame). The women will have, on average, 0.5 more “sexually satisfying events” per month (super utterly lame)
 
• “If you’re going to give something to women and they’re going to pass out any time, that’s a real problem,” Walid Fouad Gellad, an internist in Pittsburgh who’s written about Addyi in JAMA, said. One in five women reported adverse effects, most commonly drowsiness, dizziness nausea and fainting, Also extremely low blood pressure. Exacerbated with alcohol
 
• The study on alcohol interaction was strange. It only involved 25 people, and only two were women (huh?). Plus, trials on Addyi have been limited to healthy women who aren’t on sleep aids or anti-anxiety drugs or all the other medications many American women rely on – so other questions emerge about other possible side effects
 
• The FDA has turned down this drug twice before, and it was only after the heavy lobbying campaign – funded by Sprout Pharmaceuticals – that the FDA approved it. It’s hard to see what was sexist about the FDA refusing to approve a drug that was almost ineffective and has many side effects. But if it helps some women, or they think it does, OK…

 

• Former President Jimmy Carter has scheduled a Thursday morning presser to discuss his cancer diagnosis. The 90-year-old Democrat plans to discuss his health in detail at 10 am ET at The Carter Center in Atlanta. Last week, Carter announced that cancer is spreading through his body
 
U.S. Military Missed Signs: Solder’s Afghan Shooting Rampage (WaPo, ABC News, TRNS, me)
• U.S. military commanders missed signs that Army staff Sgt Robert Bales “would engage in future unwarranted violent behavior against Afghans,” according to an Army investigation of a 2012 massacre in which Bales left a remote base and shot 22 villagers. The Army released the report under FOIA from media Tuesday, after refusing to do so for two years
 
• The report concluded that the command climate at the base “suffered from low standards of personal conduct and discipline.” But it also said that concerns about Bales’s conduct “did not rise to the level of warnings or indicators” that he was planning a shooting rampage, which was among the worst atrocities of the war (that we know about)
 
• Bales, 42, is serving a life sentence after he admitted to murdering 16 people, mostly women and children, and burning many of their bodies during a middle-of-the-night attack that sparked widespread protests in Afghanistan and led to a temporary suspension of combat operations
 
• Before his rampage, Bales had punched an Afghan truck driver and acted erratically at the base while on steroids, the report from U.S. Central Command said. Bales was on his fourth deployment in 10 years after three Iraq tours. He was a squad leader with a Stryker brigade, working with a small team that included Special Ops forces in Kandahar
 
• At the time of his guilty plea in 2013, Bales admitted that while deployed he used sleeping pills, steroids and liquor – including drinking whiskey in the hours before he twice sneaked away from his post to walk to two villages. Bales went door to door before shooting 22 people. He burned bodies using kerosene from a lamp

 

• Republican presidential hopeful and former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla) said Tuesday that the govt should have broad surveillance powers of Americans to help combat “evildoers” (is he going to be a “W” redux? Couple of days ago, Jeb came out for torture, and now this?) (AP, me)
 
Iran / Russia Arms Deal? (Reuters, Fox News, AP, Hill, TRNS, me)
• Iran will sign a contract with Russia next week to buy four S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, Iranian defense minister Hossein Dehghan said Tuesday, bringing Tehran closer to acquiring an advanced air defense capability. Negative reaction from the Obama admin was swift. “We certainly object to it,” State Dept spox John Kirby told reporters
 
• Peter Wezeman, an arms expert at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said, “With four battalions, they should be able to deploy missile systems in four different locations.” The S-300 can engage multiple aircraft and ballistic missiles up to 186 miles away
 
• Meanwhile, Sen Bob Menendez (D-NJ), a senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday that he’s a “no” on the Iran nuclear deal. It was expected. In a blistering speech at Seton Hall School in New Jersey, he said it “authorizes and supports the very road map Iran will need to arrive at its target.”
 
• “Senator Menendez has done more in the last two years than any other Democrat to beat the drums of war with Iran,” said Zack Malitz, campaign manager at CREDO Action, a group supporting the deal. The statement was accompanied by a pic of Menendez with “Warmonger” stamped across it in orange
 
• Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said Monday that President Obama has “a great likelihood of success” with the deal. “He can win by getting one third plus one of either house,” McConnell told a local chamber of commerce

Vid: Marco Rubio throws a football – hits a little kid in the face –  watch it over and over and over again (kid wasn’t hurt)

 

Walker Rolls Out Health Plan (Politico NYT, AP, me)
• Tuesday, Gov Scott Walker (R-Wis) offered a health plan to fully repeal Obamacare – top priority – then he proposes a system of tax credits that would allow Americans who don’t get insurance through their employers to purchase individual plans. Credits would be based on age not income, and consumers could decide what plan to buy, if at all
 
• Walker’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare by lowering taxes and supposedly offering consumers more freedom comes as he has been struggling in recent polls after a tepid debate performance. Despite continuing resistance to the law, dismantling it would be a big challenge for a Republican president
 
• The Obama admin said this month that the number of people without health insurance continues to decline, and has dropped by 15.8 million, or a third, since 2013. Meanwhile, studies have shown that the law has helped to keep insurance premiums in check
 
• Walker pledged that people with pre-existing conditions would be protected (we’ll see). He would eliminate the mandate to buy, but consumers would have to maintain continuous coverage to prevent a large premium increase or a denial of coverage. He said states would have more flexibility over Medicaid. Consumers could shop for plans across state lines
 
• Walker’s plan doesn’t include cost figures or an estimate of the number of people who would be covered, making it nearly impossible to compare with current law. Walker said his plan would be paid for by eliminating $1 trillion in taxes that are levied under the current law and making other changes to Medicaid and how health insurance is taxed (sounds messy and iffy)

 

• The Walker campaign held a press phone call with reporters Tuesday to discuss his health plan. But when reporters tried to submit a question, a press aide demanded to know what question each reporter intended to ask. WSJ’s Stephanie Armour said it was the “first time” as a reporter she’d been pre-screened (he has no business running for the WH – #1stAmendment)

 

State Dept Employees Fight for Gay Rights (NYT, me)
• From the earliest years of the Obama admin, the State Dept has made securing the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people around the world a priority. But the dept is increasingly trying to secure equal opportunities of a group much closer to home: its own employees
 
• Around 50% of State positions around the world are effectively off-limits for Foreign Service officers who would want to move with their same-sex spouses, according to current and former dept employees and Glifaa, an advocacy group for gay and transgender people in the State Dept and other foreign affairs offices in the govt
 
• Some countries, like Brunei and Qatar, will not issue diplomatic visas to same-sex spouses. Macedonia approved a constitutional amendment this year defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Nigeria has a ban on same-sex relationships that threatens violators with 14-year prison terms
 
• Last month, more than 100 members of Congress wrote to SecState John Kerry, urging State to deny visas to the spouses of diplomats from countries where the same-sex spouses of American Foreign Service officers are unwelcome. The dept responded that it was unable to do that for legal reasons. Said it was working on the problem quietly
 
• Officials say progress has been made. In 2011, only 38% of postings around the world could guarantee visas of same-sex couples. And this year, the dept appointed Randy Berry, a longtime diplomat, as a special envoy for the rights of gay, bisexual and transgender people

 

• The WH has hired its first openly transgender staffer. Raffi Freedman-Gurspan was appointed outreach and recruitment director for presidential personnel, the WH announced Tuesday (TRNS, Politico)
 

2 Women Pass Ranger School  (AP, AP, me)

• Two women have passed the Army’s Ranger School becoming the first females to complete the grueling combat training program and earn the right to wear Ranger tabs on their uniforms. The Army’s Ranger HQ says the women and 94 men passed the 62-day course that tests their ability to overcome fatigue, hunger and stress during combat operations
 
• While completing the course lets the two women wear the ccveted Ranger black-and-gold tab, it doesn’t let them become members of the Ranger regiment yet. Allowing women to participate in the Ranger course is part of the military’s push to open more combat jobs to women
 
* The military services are poised to allow women to serve in most front-line combat jobs, including special operations forces, senior officials said. The services are wrapping up reviews and must make their recommendations to SecDef Ash Carter this fall
 
• Based on early talks, officials say the Army, Navy and Air Force likely will not seek exceptions that close any jobs to women. Marine Corps leaders, they say, have expressed concerns about allowing women to serve in infantry jobs and yet may seek an exception
 
• Even if Marine leaders object, they’re likely to meet resistance from senior Navy and Defense Dept officials who want the military to be united on this issue. Undercutting the Marines’ reservations is that Special Operations Command is likely to allow women to compete for the most demanding military commando jobs – including Navy SEALs

 

• Raw vid: CCTV footage that has been posted on Thai media apparently shows the Bangkok bombing suspect, wearing a yellow T-shirt, leaving a backpack, taking a photo and walking out on the street. Officials say he didn’t act alone (AP, me) he certainly leaves a backpack – and appears to pick up the pace a bit when he clears the crowds

 

Senate Democrats Demand Budget Talks Nooow (Roll Call, Hill, me)
• All Senate Democrats, plus the two independents, wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) Tuesday, demanding budget talks before lawmakers return from the August recess after Labor Day. “We cannot afford to wait, only to let delay and inaction bring us to the brink of another totally predictable and completely predictable crisis.”
 
• Congress has until 30 September to reach a deal on funding the govt. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has already signaled a short-term continuing resolution will be considered
 
• McConnell has vowed that he won’t let the govt shut down, which would undercut his push to show that Republicans can govern heading into the 2016 election. But: “We’re not talking about negotiations. … We’ll come back after August
[and] we’ll discuss a way forward,” he told reporters late last month
 
• Democrats warned Tuesday that waiting until Congress returns to DC on 8 September is “unwise.” They’ve urged Republicans for months to sit down and negotiate a budget agreement that would roll back congressionally mandated spending caps – and that they’d block any bill that increases defense spending without increasing nondefense spending
 

• But it’s got even more complicated because of a separate fight over Planned Parenthood since an anti-abortion group released heavily edited attack videos. Conservative Republicans in the House are suggesting they won’t support any spending bill that doesn’t also defund Planned Parenthood

 
• Hackers who stole personal details of more than 37 million members of cheating dating site Ashley Madison have posted the data online on the dark web site Tor. But some of it has started showing up on regular sites. Sooo, just saying…
 

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___________________
Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ Loree Lewis and Sydnee Fried contributed to this report

 

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