Beltway Insider:Obama Failed Foreign Policy; Election 2016/Super Tuesday; Scalia Funeral; Ray Charles

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President Obama has remained steadfast in his determination, despite continued opposition from Republican congressional leaders, to fulfill his constitutional duties and nominate and seat a Supreme Court Justice to fill the recently vacated seat held by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

 

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

Obama’s Failed Foreign Policy – Softens Firm Russian Position

National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz lead a press conference over the past week answering question on the fluid situation in Syrian, Russia and the ultimate goal of destroying the Islamic State Fighters.

Usually very candid, Rice sidestepped most questions with circular responses that failed to answer anyone directly. The singular take-away was a changing United States position on Russia and the possibility of a Syrian ceasefire are real with Obama stating both leaders will remain in contact.

ISIS Strikes

With that at Press time, ISIS has claimed responsibility for a series of bombings killing 140 civilians in Damascus, the capital of Syria and once the scene of carnage associated with chemical warfare release perpetrated by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and Homs, located in western Syria and close to the Lebanon border.

Assad has supported and created a safe haven for the Islamic State Fighters to train and proven his loyalty is toward ISIS and its terroristic campaign against all nations.

Tough Talk on Russia; Ukraine Remains Split

Russian Tanks, in March 2014, rolled into neighboring Ukraine from Sochi, Russia where they had been amassed in an unquestioned, and globally lauded, security build up to protect the athletes of the world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly laid claim to the Crimea Peninsula, a 10K square miles land bridge stretching, from Sochi across the Black Sea into the Ukraine. Decisively holding succession elections, which Putin called legal, Crimea, Ukraine, became Crimea Russia in a matter of weeks.

As Putin continued to threaten the Ukraine with annexation and take over, the people of the Ukraine were furthering their own interests and moving closer to European Union Acceptance. Backed by the United States and EU allies, Ukrainian held a presidential election with Petro Poroshenko, a Ukrainian businessman winning the victory.

Every governing global body that held any power, voted to effectively suspend Russia and subsequently President Vladimir Putin from participation including the G8, the global gathering of the eight most advanced and industrialized nations.

The G8 became the G7, as Obama made it painstakingly clear, as he furthered the punishment for annexation of Ukraine imposing sectorial sanctions, to all that until the Bear was crippled and returned the Ukraine to its rightful boundaries, nations of the world would support the ban.

Obama and the Russian President spoke recently on Putin’s new role in the Obama presidency as the stress of Syria’s continued and long lasting civil war is weighing heavily on all nations, including the United states who will have given close to $1Trillion dollars in Humanitarian Aid to those five nations surrounding the war torn nations.

President Obama has continued to pledge humanitarian aid and urged EU allies to pledge the same.

Assad Uses Chemical Weapons on His Own People

Throughout the Syrian Civil War, which began during the Arab Spring of 2011 in which 20 nations across the Middle East and Arabian Peninsula witnessed the uprising of the population demanding democratic change in government. The sheer volume of participants and social media played a great part in toppling nearly a dozen governments.

The movement spread to Syria in hopes the dictatorial leader Bashar Al Assad, would be driven from power. He immediately issued crackdowns and violently fought the uprising. The United States supported the freedom fighters in hopes that Assad, who at one time was Obama enemy Number one would be toppled also.

Assad has a long list of global violations and is sanctioned at the United Nations level. From the time of his use of chemical weapons against his own people he has faced a united global community. Recently he has given safe haven to Islamic State Fighters and has received military weapons to use in the fight against the freedom fighters from Russia including MIG Jet fighters and have armed the Syrian military with Russian Kalashnikov (Kal-ash-nigh-kof), the equivalent of an AK-47.

Men, women, children dead from chemical weapons release.

Millions of Syrians Forced to Flee Homeland

The continued deluge of displaced Syrians refugees fleeing, through any means their homeland, some hoping to return others leaving behind everything traveling with only what they can carry to, hopefully a better life have shaken even the most jaded.

Bloated bodies of men women and children, drowned babies, hoping to make it to Greece only to meet a sad horrific ending as their vessels unsafe from the beginning capsize. Others facing tenement conditions, in nations stretched to the very limits of possibility.

Our regional allies overloaded. The United States and other nations have spent Trillion Dollars spent of support, relocation, assistance and if history holds true a democratic Syria will seek and receive infrastructure rebuilding assistance.

A forcible removal, tired foreign leaders theorize, of Assad handles the situation effectively and streamlines U.S. cost.

Obama Warns Putin  - Well Maybe

President Obama has not moved, in theory, from his tough talking position that called for Putin’s suspension form the G8, Sectorial sanctions, including furthered business interests for Americans wishing to do business with the U.S.S.R.

That position, however, is moving from a rigid and impossible situation to the more moderate frame of possibility as a Syrian Ceasefire has come into light. The two leaders are now in communication.

The potential of Russia becoming an active participant in the dismantling and complete annihilation of the Islamic State fighters, is a cause greater than the annexation of the Ukraine and the downing of Malaysian Airliner MH17, killing 298 passengers and crew.

Russian backed separatists, those still fueled and financed by Putin, and actively threaten the eastern border of Ukraine continue in acts of aggression.

Russian bombers, which from all accounts are an on-again-off-again possible supportive partner in the coalition of nations which now stands at 65 members, always seem to be slightly off target. This fact no more obvious than during the past week when the Russian have rained down bombs in U.N Backed Aleppo, a Syrian Rebel stronghold, where civilian families, men, women and children, still live.

Also Beltway Insider: Obama/SCOTUS/GOP Wars; Justice Scalia; Election 2016; Sanders/Cruz; Eliot Spitzer

Scalia Funeral

The funeral for Justice Antonin Scalia, who died one week ago while on a weekend hunting trip in Texas, was held Saturday after being returned to Washington earlier in the week.

The two day ceremony began Friday when the body of the longest serving member of the Supreme Court returned to Washington. The Supreme Court police served as Pallbearers carrying the casket past two long lines, representing thirty years of service, of Scalia’s former law clerks. The esteem and respect shown the originalist was quite moving. An honor guard of rotating law clerks stood beside the casket.

Eleven current and former United States Supreme Court Justices, the President and the First lady along with many other members of Washington’s Political elite, those who argued and won and those who argued and lost all came together, to pay who paid their respects as the body of Scalia lie in repose in the Great Hall in the Supreme Court.

The sharp difference of opinions and interpretation of law, were the foundations of healthy debate and obviously as the sitting justices gathered to pay their respects to their longtime colleague, not indicative of actual and genuineness of feelings and caring for the wellbeing of the affable Scalia.

The casket was placed on the same catafalque that assassinated President Lincoln rested as he lie in state.

Saturday’s Service

More than 3000 mourners filled the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., the largest Catholic Church in the United States and one of the top ten largest in the world.

The sons of Justice Scalia were pallbearers for the official Funeral service. His wife of more than 56 years, Maureen, followed the casket escorted by two of her 28 grandchildren.

Another son the Reverend Paul Scalia, a vicar at a local dioceses spoke eloquently of his father’s love for this country, his love law for the law and lightly on the intersection of the two. He allowed the stoic gathering, which outside his immediate family and a few close friends, rarely knew the man, a few insights into his father’s sense of humor telling stories of the time when the justice found himself on his son’s confessional line, only to recuse himself which both men preferred and the Reverend laughed as explained his father at times had trouble remembering our names, but there were nine of us.

Chief Justice Clarence Thomas, from all reports also a deeply religious catholic, read from Romans.

Scalia’s untimely death has left in its wake conspiracy theories from even the most liberal pundits, writers and thinkers, posing the questions of possibility especially in this highly charged presidential season when a challenge and a vote could effectively end a lifetime of political pursuit

Election 2016: Trump, Clinton Emerge as Party Leaders; Bush Suspends Campaign

Billionaire developer Republican Donald J. Trump and Former Secretary of State Democrat Hillary Clinton have each emerged as the respective party leaders after Saturday’s South Carolina Primary and Nevada’s caucus.

Trump, who won decisively over the ever dwindling GOP pack of presidential hopefuls, ended the day with a resounding 33% of the vote in a heavily diverse state indicating his ever increasing, common man, popularity crosses over into the African American and low income demographics.

The billionaire, and his international model and former Miss Universe wife, Melania, celebrated his second straight primary victory in Spartanburg, South Carolina yesterday.

Of the 1237 delegates needed to outright secure the Presidential Nomination , Trump has secured 67, Ted Cruz, 11, and Rubio, ten. Ohio Governor John Kasich has five delegates.

The Ted Cruz-Marco Rubio push pull for second place is virtually tied with Rubio winning South Carolina and Cruz finishing third.

Clinton, considered the presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate has secured 502 delegates of the 2,383 needed for the nomination. Her slow and startling beginning left many wondering if the seemingly impossible to beat Clinton had been usurped by the upstart and unusual campaign tactics of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Sanders, whose base is considered the fringe, disenfranchised voters or 99%ers, a demographic of which the majority of the population falls into, has increasingly presented a campaign gravitating toward the moderate democratic in hopes of securing the solid Clinton voter.

Sanders, self-identified as a socialist democratic, has whittled away at the Clinton’s solid lead often challenging the former Senator and Secretary of State at her past record. Both candidates have begun the usual x-ray examination of the other’s record, statements and alliances in hopes of revealing discrepancies.

Jeb Bush, son and brother of the 41st and 43rd Presidents former President George W. Bush and former President George H.W. Bush, once considered the presumptive Republican 2016 presidential candidate have suspended his campaign.

The news, rumored throughout the week, was not a surprise as former Governor of Florida had not yet won a primary losing both South Carolina and New Hampshire.

Big money SuperPacs, a long supporter of the younger Bush considered a traditional candidate, are slowly withdrawing the financial support and repositioning themselves toward candidates who are gathering support even as it is early in the political primary season.

Super Tuesday

The next major hurdle for the candidates and the final sifting process comes March 1, 2016, Super Tuesday when 16 states will hold primaries and caucuses. Actual leaders in both parties should emerge with strength and surefootedness.

Democratically, it is unlikely Senator Sanders will suspend his campaign and will fight for a place on the ticket. If Clinton wins all 16 states on Super Tuesday Sanders position obviously becomes weakened.

Big Democratic states such as New York with 291 Delegates and California with 546 Delegates are not held until later in the season, California as late as June which makes a Sanders departure unlikely until the votes in California are counted.

With 1,091 delegates available on March 1, the major democratic triple digit delegate states, Georgia (116) Massachusetts (116) Texas (252), Virginia (110) will be decisive in Clinton and Sander’s upcoming strategies.

Ray Charles Salute

President Obama and First Lady Michele Obama have announced they will be hosting a very special salute to the late Ray Charles in the next “In Performance at the White House” series.

“The Musical Legacy of Ray Charles,” a workshop for various aged students across the country to participate in an interactive workshop with a storied group of musical talent. Leaders in the entertainment community will begin the day with a questions and answer session. An overview of Ray Charles’ life will also be presented.

With sixteen tributes to the musical threads that make up the fabric of the American culture including Memphis Soul, Country Music, Motown and Broadway Show tunes, the “In Performance” series is one of the favorites.

Expected talent are Yolanda Adams, Leon Bridges, Andra Day, Anthony Hamilton, Brittany Howard, Demi Lovato, Sam Moore, Jussie Smollett, The Band Perry and Usher with Ricky Minor as executive music director will perform.

The Smithsonian Salutes ray Charles: In Performance at the White House will be broadcast on Friday, February 26, 2016 at 9:00pm on PBS stations nationwide. The event will also be lived streamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live at 7:00PM Wednesday February 24, 2016.

For more information on President Barack Obama: www.whitehouse.gov

Sources: Whitehouse.gov, Wikipedia.com,

#JeSuisParis

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