Beltway Insider: Obama Issues Sanctions; Air Asia; 2016 President Race; Syrian Civil War; Mario Cuomo

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President Barack Obama has issued an Executive Order authorizing additional sanctions against Kim Jong Un and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in response to the unprovoked, financially destabilizing and destructive cyber attack against SONY Pictures Entertainment.


According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, remained constant at 46% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President decreased one percentage point to 48%. 

North Korean Sanctions

President Obama, although failing to call the incident a Terrorist Attack, has authorized the Secretary of Treasury, Jacob Lew, to "impose sanctions on business and entities associated with the government of North Korean."

"Our response to North Korea's attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment will be proportional, and will take place at a time and in a manner of our choosing. Today's actions are the first aspect of our response," the President said.

The newest sanctions are in addition to all sanctions already in place. They are aimed at the government of North Korea and not the people. To impose the Secretary of Treasury, at his direction and in consultation with the John Kerry, Secretary of State may carry out the purposes of the order.

Cyber Terror

The Executive Order comes on the heels of SONY Pictures Entertainment reversing a decision to release a film which depicts the assassination of North Korea leader's Kim Jong Un.

Folding in the face of a terror threat did not sit well across the board from the White House to every citizen, and SONY through counsel David Boies, stated SONY would be limitedly releasing the film on Christmas Eve as planned.

The threats of terror proved to be empty and baseless proffered from an organization that understood the difference between cyber vandalism and full scale acts of war against another government. The latter of which proved too daunting a challenge for the besieged terror group.

Air Asia Crash 8501 Jetliner Found

AirAsia 8501, the doomed airliner that disappeared from radar in hurricane force thunderstorms one week ago, has been found in the JAVA Sea, presumably where it crashed in a weather related catastrophe.

Officials have been hampered from a full recovery of the passengers as well as fuselage and craft as severe storms continued to rage during the daylight hours.

The Airbus A320-216, only six years in use, went missing one week ago during an early morning flight from Surabaya to Singapore. It has since been determined the airliner has acted improperly as it had no license to operate the popular low cost island hopping airliner on Sunday.

QZ8501 carried 162 passengers including flight crew. Officials announced nearly thirty bodies (although the number has been reported as forty) Malaysian officials have announced the remains of thirty passengers, all presumably from Air Asia 8501, have been found and returned to Surabaya for identification.

Syrian Civil War

The Syrian Civil War, the longest running active conflict in the historic Arab Spring that moved throughout the Middle East and Arab Peninsula beginning December 2010, has reached another milestone in its quest for freedom from Syrian's tyrannical leader Basher Al-Assad.

The Syrian Conflict escalated in March 2011 and since al-Assad continues to assert his intentions to remain as President and has unleashed unprecedented brutality and punishment upon his citizen. including the use of chemical weapons of which he was further ostracized and sanctioned by the United Nations. As rebels are also refusing to back down, the raging war has ended 2014 with the title of most bloody in the four year old clash.

More than 74,000 Syrians were killed in 2014 according to several NGO's working to bring an end to the violent and bloody struggle for freedom, democracy and independence.

More than 3million Syrians have been displaced to neighboring countries. Neighboring Jordan's population has increased nearly 600,000 with a steady continued influx of fleeing refugees.

Jeb Bush Kicks Off 2016 Nomination Bid

John Ellis Bush, the second son of President George H. W. Bush and brother to former President George Bush, has formally sent specific indicators of a potential presidential run in 2016.

With Presidential Candidates 2016 on high watch, the pre-movements of the former two term Florida Governor are of significant interest as he divests himself of particular duties and interests that would interfere with a potential 2016 Presidential bid.

CNN/ORC* national opinion poll positioned Bush as nearly one-quarter with 23% of general public mentioned him as a potential GOP Presidential candidate with former front runner New Jersey Governor Chris Christie trailing with 13%.

The democratic candidates are holding their cards closer to the vest with all eyes, pundits and polls on Hillary Clinton, wife of former President William Jefferson Clinton, the former Secretary of state has refused to announce any plans or unequivocally deny any assertions of a potential 2016 democratic bid.

The first official poll of potentials candidates, for both parties was recently released, with the former first lady topping the possible democratic challengers by a huge margin with 66% of the votes over even current Vice President Joe Biden who only received 8% of the vote.

GOP field has not singled out a solid frontrunner as African American Physician Ben Carson was also mentioned with 7% of the vote, Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who recently announced he would resign from his hosting duties at FOX News to explore a potential 2016 Presidential run, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul each with 6%.

Obama and VP Biden Eulogizes Former Governor Mario Cuomo

Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo passed away this week, just hours after he saw his son current Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo sworn in for a second term. He was 82.

A champion of the democratic ideals of a party he loved; his passion for New York State was only matched by his passion for home and family

He married his childhood sweet heart Matilda in 1953, before many including President Obama who eloquently eulogized him was born, and raised a family of six, a feat in and of itself.

An Italian kid, born in Queens, New York, from Immigrant parent who made the choice to brave the possibility of sure death for a better life for themselves and their family, the Cuomo's were one of millions of European immigrants to pass through Ellis Island for the chance at the American dream.

Holding that ideal close, Mario Cuomo, set out to give back and in fact to quote his son Andrew who stated at the wake of another tragedy, "it was the ultimate assimilation." An immigrant in an adopted country Cuomo went on the champion the ideals that make this nation and its people great.

His career began oddly after spending six days hospitalized for a head injury he suffered during his stint as professional baseball player with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Working the minors, Cuomo, in the days before helmet, Cuomo was struck in the head. It was then he decided to change careers.

He returned to Queens and St. John's University for both an undergraduate and law degree. He graduated tied for the top honors, clerked for New York State Appellate Judge Adrian P. Burke. When it came time to find the law firm home, Cuomo endured the sting of ethic discrimination and struggled finally receiving an offer from a small established firm.

Cuomo entered political life and went on to serve the people of New York State for an unprecedented three terms.

Eloquent, his gift to rouse the people to action was never more evident than his floor speeches at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. His belief in liberty for the citizen and freedom to live in expression of those beliefs catapulted this kid from Queens, a title he cherished, into the national spotlight.

He was considered for the Democratic vice presidential ticket and although he never ran for the highest office. He did live to see that dream of higher service realized through his son Andrew who chose the arduous life of public service.

President Obama and Vice President Biden each offered heartfelt condolences to the Cuomo family at the notice of the former governors passing.

The sad news, which capped a two week span of deeply sad news for residents of New York State, was

"Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. An Italian Catholic kid from Queens, born to immigrant parents, Mario paired his faith in God and faith in America to live a life of public service - and we are all better for it.  He rose to be chief executive of the state he loved, a determined champion of progressive values, and an unflinching voice for tolerance, inclusiveness, fairness, dignity, and opportunity.  His own story taught him that as Americans, we are bound together as one people, and our country's success rests on the success of all of us, not just a fortunate few.  Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences to Mario's wife Matilda, his children, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Maria, Margaret, Madeline, and Chris, and his family, friends, and New Yorkers who loved him dearly," President Obama said in a released statement.

"Jill and I were saddened to hear of the passing of former Governor Mario Cuomo. He was one of the most principled and courageous public servants I have ever known. He was a forceful voice for civil rights, for equal rights, for economic opportunity and justice. He had the courage to stand by his convictions, even when it was unpopular. Mario Cuomo was full of hope and optimism, because he believed in this country, and he believed in its people. He knew what we could all achieve together. Our hearts go out to the entire Cuomo family. He was a good man, "Vice President Biden said in a released statement.

World leaders, members of the Democratic Part and those dedicated to public service all marked his passing with distinctive, honest and heartfelt words for the politician he was, the man, this kid from queens, became.

New Yorkers Bury Two of the Finest

Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, two of the NYPD's finest executed at point blank range on December 21 while patrolling the Tompkins Housing Project in Brooklyn, were laid to rest in separate funerals attended by federal, state and local politicians and dignitaries.

More than 25,000 NYPD officers and many more officers flown in from around the country, by Southwest Airlines, to show support for the two officers murdered in a senseless killing also stood watch over the fallen.

Chastised by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton over their behavior at Officer Rafael Ramos' funeral, the rank and file stood united in grief and did not mark the funeral and wake of Wenji Liu with similar silent protests over the ever growing dissension between the Police and the Mayor's office.

Mayor De Blasio and the nation has seen an escalation in race issues simmering from the murder of Michael Brown in July 2014 and the death of Eric Garner in August and the subsequent failure of the judicial system to indict either officer for the deaths.

The rage retaliation brought on by these oversights in the judicial system, the wounds of racism, outrage, discrimination and a deeply divided America unfortunately are now etched in the hearts, minds and soul, of all people.

We also offer our deepest condolences to the extended NYPD family and the families of Officer Rafael Ramos and Detective (Posthumously) Wenjian Liu.

For more information on President Barack Obama:


*CNN/ORC Survey - The survey was conducted by live interview among 1,011 adults nationwide from Dec. 18-21, with a subsample of 453 Republicans and 469 Democrats, via landline and cell phone.

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