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.

In the News

  • Obama: U.S. underestimated ISIS
  • Boehner: Boots on the ground
  • Boehner:”Happy” to have vote on strikes
  • Secret Service epic fail after 2011 WH shooting
  • Michelle reamed out agency director
  • GOP House hopefuls howling at moon?
  • Hillary “Antichrist” / blood moons and Jews
  • India’s Modi to dinner at WH today
  • Ferguson: Police hunt suspected shooter of officer
  • Hong Kong: Protesters defiant
  • Value Voters Summit poll: Cruz wins again!
Obama: U.S. Underestimated ISIS
• In a “60 Minutes” interview with Steve Kroft that aired Sunday, President Obama said, “Our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that, I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.” Clapper’s director of national intel. Obama was referring to the rise of ISIS

• Obama added that the agencies had overestimated the ability and the will of the Iraqi Army to fight such Sunni extremists. “That’s true. That’s absolutely true,” he said. In citing Clapper, Obama made no mention of any misjudgement he may have made himself (and under the bus Clapper goes) (Politico, CBS, NYT, AP, Hill, Fox, me)

• Obama blamed former Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki for creating the conditions that allowed the rise of ISIS. “When we left, we had left them a democracy that was intact, a military that was well equipped and the ability to chart their own course – – –

• “And that opportunity was squandered over the course of five years or so because the prime minister, Maliki, was much more interested in consolidating his Shia base.” Obama praised Maliki’s new replacement, Haider al-Abadi. saying there had been some progress by the Baghdad govt

• In prepared testimony before the House and Senate Intel Committees’ threat hearings in Jan and Feb, Lt Gen Michael Flynn, recently departed director of the DIA, said ISIS would likely make a grab for land in Iraq and Syria before the end of the year (sounds like a warning to me) (Daily Beast, me)
• “What we have to do is rather than play Whac-a-Mole and send U.S. troops wherever this occurs, we have to build strong partnerships. We have to get the international community to recognize this is a problem.”

• “This is not America against ISIL. This is America leading the international community to assist a country with whom we have a security partnership with, to make sure that they are able to take care of their business.”

• Obama acknowledged that the U.S.-led military campaign in Syria is helping dictator Bashar al Assad. “I recognize the contradiction,” Obama said. “We are not going to stabilize Syria under the rule of Assad,” whose govt has committed “terrible atrocities.”

• But Obama said he had no choice but to order U.S. air strikes on Assad’s enemies, ISIS and the Khorasan Group because, he said, “those folks could kill Americans.”

• It’s to be expected, Obama said, that the U.S. is shouldering much of the burden. “That’s always the case. America leads. We are the indispensable nation. We have capacity no one else has. Our military is the best in the history of the world. And when trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don’t call Beijing, They don’t call Moscow. They call us.”
• U.S.-led coalition warplanes bombed ISIS group positions overnight across four provinces in northern and eastern Syria, hitting a grain silo as well as the country’s largets gas plant, activists said today (AP)

Boehner: Boots on the Ground

• House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Sunday on ABC that he didn’t think President Obama’s strategy was sufficient to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. “At the end of the day, I think it’s gonna take more than air strikes to drive them outta there. At some point somebody’s boots have to be on the ground.” The U.S. may end up with “no choice.”

• Deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken went on most of the Sunday shows. He called “boots on the ground” the “al Qaeda trap.” We’re not going to fall into their trap of sending hundreds of thousands of Americans back. That’s exactly what they want us to do. They want to bog us down.” (WaPo, Hill, AFP, TPM, me)

• Sen Chris Murphy (D-CT) said on CNN that he needs to hear more from Obama about the “end-game strategy” for Syria. “If we are betting on the so-called moderates to be able to defeat both
[ISIS] and Bashar al Assad at the same time, I ultimately don’t think this is how this is going to end up.”

• In an audio message posted on the internet Sunday, Abu Mohammad al Jolani, who heads Nusra Front in Syria, called on “citizens in America and Europe” to stand against their govts. “Your leaders will not pay the price for the war alone, you will pay the higher price,” Jolani warned

Boehner: “Happy” to Have Vote on Strikes
• Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Sunday on ABC that he’d be “happy” to have a vote authorizing strikes against ISIS and would call Congress back if President Obama sent over such a proposal. “The president typically in a situation like this would call for an authorization vote and go sell that to the American people and send a resolution to the Hill.”

• Boehner said: “The president has not done that. He believes he has existing authority under existing resolutions to do what he’s done.” Boehner said he agrees Obama has authority to order the airstrikes, but believes Congress should weigh in (Politico, Hill, me)

• Tony Blinken, deputy national security adviser, said on Fox News Sunday, that President Obama wants the 2002 authorization to use military force in Iraq repealed – despite relying on it for strikes in Iraq and Syria – and replaced with an authorization specific to ISIS to support the current fighting

• Nevertheless, “While we welcome that, we don’t need it,” Blinken said. The WH is also using a 2001 resolution that directed President Bush to fight the terrorists responsible for the September 11th 2001 terrorists attacks as justification for the military’s efforts against ISIS The militant group wasn’t named in either the 2001 or 2002 authorization

• Blinken argued that Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who is believed to have planned the September 12th attacks, founded ISIS, so the link’s justified. “We have the 2001 authorization and we have a basis in the 2002 authorization,” he said

• Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as Afghanistan’s new president today, marking the first democratic transfer of power. He’s expected to sign a bilateral security agreement with the U.S. so troops would remain after 2014 for training and counterterrorism missions (WSJ)
Secret Service: Massive Fumble After 2011 WH Shooting
• WaPo has an in-depth investigative piece on the Secret Service’s failure after the 2011 incident in which a gunman fired shots that hit the WH while one of the Obama daughters and her grandmother were home. Although officers rushed to respond, a supervisor told them to “stand down” and that no shots had been fired. It’s a great, gobsmacking read

• The agency didn’t realize for four days that at least seven bullets had hit the residence. President and Michelle Obama went absolutely ballistic when they found out. Deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken said Sunday on CNN, “I know the Secret Service is on top of this and they will take every necessary step to correct any problems.” (apparently not)

• A Secret Service supervisor thought the sharp cracks that rang out that night were backfire from a construction site. Authorities later concluded bullets were fired by a man in a car on Constitution Avenue outside the WH perimeter – but even then assumed at first the WH wasn’t necessarily the target

• Only four days later, when a housekeeper found broken glass on the Truman Balcony, did anyone realize the WH had actually been struck. President Obama and the first lady were away when the shooting happened and were furious not only about the breakdown on the night of the shooting but how long it took for them to be told

Michelle Reams Out Director
• Mark Sullivan, then the Secret Service director, was summoned to a meeting in which the first lady raised her voice loudly enough that she could be heard through a closed door

• The gunman, Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, 21, of Idaho Falls ID, had told a friend that Obama was “the Antichrist” and that he “needed to kill him.” according to papers later filed in court. Ortega-Hernandez is doing 25 years in prison

• There were so many missed clues, so many missteps, that it’s frankly stunning – read the story. They caught him because he crashed his car and they found the gun. Obama has received three times the number of death threats as his predecessors

• Coupled with the fence jumping incident on 19 September when Omar Gonzalez actually made it through the front door of the WH, this would be bad enough. Add in the Colombia prostitutes scandal, the Netherlands drunk and passed out in a hotel hall event, Director Julia Pierson will have a – lively- time before House Oversight Committee Tuesday…

Chelsea Clinton and her husband Mezviznky were thrilled to welcome Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky into the clan. Former President Bill Clinton and former SecState Hillary Clinton apparently can’t keep away. Here’s probably the meanest front page of the year from New York Post. Being horrid to a day-old baby…

GOP House Hopefuls Howling at Moon?
• Are the rabid righties coming? Replacements for at least a dozen mild-mannered Republicans will pull the party to the right, and for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), they could present a leadership challenge. Many have refused to commit to voting for him to serve again as speaker (NYT, me)

• Rep Tom Petri (R-WI), a centrist, is likely to be replaced by Glenn Grothman, an uber-conservative from the WI State Senate.Grothman’s opposition to equal- pay legislation: “You could argue that money is more important for men.” (I’ll take diamonds) He’s also suggested that some gay teachers “would like it if more kids because homosexuals.”

• Rep Howard Coble (R-NC), 83, could be replaced by Mark Walker, a Baptist pastor who wrote on Facebook that he “had the privilege of spending an hour with an African-American male who grew up in the inner city,” but that “most of these Americans have no concept of the pride and joy when we, as parents, invest in our children.” (no good comes from “these Americans”)

Hillary “Antichrist” / Blood Moons and Jews
• Ryan Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, is seeking the House seat in MT being vacated by Rep Steve Daines. Zinke says the U.S. is losing its focus on “the real enemy, Hillary Clinton,” whom he called the Antichrist (and why not)

• Then there’s Jody Hice, a radio host (natch). He’s looking to replace Paul Broun (R-GA) – who’s pretty out there himself. Hice called evolution a lie from “the pit of hell.” Hice said of women in politics, “If the woman’s within the authority of her husband, I don’t see a problem.”

• Hice compared the recent appearance of red “blood moons” to prophecies that preceded the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, Israeli statehood and the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 (oh please win)

India’s Modi to Dinner at WH Today
• Well, sort of. New Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Washington today for meetings. Tonight, President Obama hosts Modi for a working dinner. The WH is scrambling to figure out how to handle the etiquette as Modi is on a strict nine-day religious fast. He won’t be eating anything (WSJ, Hill, NYT, WaPo. me)

• During the nine-day festival of Navratri, a Hindu festival, Modi will drink mostly water, perhaps flavored with lime. Many officials bond over food, and this is tricky. How much food should be served? How long should the meal be? How much should you eat? Obama tonight, VP Joe Biden, SecState John Kerry and Speaker Boehner on Tuesday will find out

• Modi had a rock star’s welcome at Madison Square Garden Sunday, where a dazzling, Bollywood-style show with dancers warmed up the crowd. Modi appealed for help from 18,000 Indian-Americans to help develop his country’s economy


• The U.S. and India hope that Modi’s meetings with Obama at the WH can improve strained relations between the world’s two largest democracies, though both sides have played down the possibility of any headline grabbing agreements between the two nations. Modi will also be meeting with major business leaders

• Senior Obama administration officials said talks mark a “pivotal time in international affairs.” Trade, energy security, infrastructure, manufacturing, climate change, clean energy, defense and security issues will all be on the agenda

• In 2005, the U.S. denied Modi a visa for his alleged complicity in sectarian violence in his home state of Gujarat. A federal court on Friday issued a summons for Modi in a lawsuit brought by a human rights group. It was filed on behalf of victims of the Gujarat violence that claimed more than 1,000 lives, mostly Muslims

• Yaaay: Following backlash from lawmakers and press advocates (and common sense), the Forest Service is backing off on a (clearly unconstitutional) proposal that would have banned photography and videography in national forests (Hill, me)

Ferguson: Police Hunt Suspected Shooter of Officer
• Local police Sunday continued to search for a suspect who wounded a Ferguson police officer in the arm Saturday night, but now authorities say the incident involved only one person and that it appears no burglary took place (St Louis Post Dispatch, AP, NYT, me)

• Police also confirmed that the wounded officer had a body camera, but that it was turned off during the incident. Unclear why. (weird) The shooting was unrelated to the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer last month

• Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., said rather than an apology from Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson, “An apology would be when Darren Wilson had handcuffs, processed and charged with murder.”

• In a stern letter to Jackson, the DoJ Friday pressured the Ferguson PD to stop its officers from wearing bracelets stamped with the message “I am Darren Wilson,” the officer who’s being investigated for shooting Brown, and from covering up their name plates with tape

• “These bracelets reinforce the very ‘us versus them’ mentality that many residents of Ferguson believe exists,” the letter says. The letter notes that Jackson had agreed to prohibit the officers from wearing the bracelets while in uniform and on duty, nevertheless it was making the letter to him public

Hong Kong: Protesters Defiant
• Thousands of pro-democracy protesters are blocking Hong Kong’s streets, shutting down the territory’s business hub and ignoring appeals to leave. Today, the Hong Kong govt said riot police were being withdrawn as people had “mostly calmed down.” (BBC, NYT, South China Morning Post, me)

• Some banks and schools were closed and there was transport chaos. Protesters – a mix of students and supporters of the Occupy Central pro-democracy movement – are angry at Beijing’s plans to vet candidates for Hong Kong’s 2017 leadership elections

• They want a free choice of candidates when they cast their ballots for the chief executive – something Beijing says is out of the question. Sunday saw angry scenes and dozens of arrests on Hong Kong’s streets as tens of thousands of protesters faced riot police in the heart of the city

• China is watching uncomfortably; as long as the protests continue, there’s a chance they’ll spread to the mainland, where many are unhappy with one-party rule. The Chinese govt is taking steps to limit info about Hong Kong by censoring internet search terms and forums discussion. Instagram is said to have been blocked

• Shocking (short) vid: Hong Kong police grab and pepper spray – at point black range – a harmless elderly protester

Value Voters Summit Poll: Cruz Wins
• Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) won the Value Voters Summit poll Saturday with 25% of the vote. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson came in second. Cruz won last year, too. Former Gov Mike Huckabee (R-AR) came in third. Sen Rand Paul (R-KY) interestingly didn’t even place (Hill, Politico, me)

• In a fiery speech, Cruz warned the audience that they were living in “dangerous, extreme, radical times,” and dubbed Democrats “an extreme, radical party.” “If you want to defend the First Amendment and religious liberty, vote Harry Reid out,” he said

• Likely 2016er Paul addressed his opposition to the plan to provide arms to foreign fighters battling ISIL. “You and I must stand with our fellow Christians around the world, but that does not … mean arming both sides in every conflict.”

• Retiring Rep Michele Bachmann (R-MN) called President Obama the “first anti-Israel president in American history” during a fiery speech. She trashed his foreign policy. “In their fantasy world, a smaller, diminished, less powerful U.S. is somehow supposed to bring about global tranquility.”

• Nobody topped Sarah Palin for an #epicfail. She lamented that “truth is an endangered species at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue,” presumably meaning the WH. The WH is at 1600

• Human rights activist (and actor) George Clooney and human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin got married in Venice over the weekend. Here’s a pic that shows off her gorgeous dress. Here’s a pic of them on a gondola and here’s another wonderfully happy one

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Victoria Jones

The Talk Radio News Service is the only information, news booking and host service dedicated to serving the talk radio community. TRNS maintains a Washington office that includes White House, Capitol Hill and Pentagon staffed bureaus, and a New York office with a United Nations staffed bureau. Talk Radio News Service has permanent access to every breaking newsevent in the Washington, D.C. area and beyond.