Beltway Insider: ISIS Attacks Iraq; Syria Escalation; Election 2016; Ohio Execution Funerals; Jeffrey Katzenberg

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The White House was placed under lockdown twice the past week as two separate confrontations arose causing Secret Service to secure the president inside and respond to intruders breaching the fence, both incidents were deemed non-active threats.

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, increased two percentage points to 52% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President decreased one percentage point to 45%.

Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Twin Suicide Bombings

The Islamic State regime have claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings that resulted in 11 dead and 19 injured including women and children.

The brokered peace in Iraq is increasingly difficult to maintain as the Islamic State fighters continue to assert their position and dominance through fear and terror campaign.

Coordinated efforts in the Degrade and Destroy the Islamic State campaign throughout April resulted in between 900 to 1000 Airstrikes with nearly thirty a day in Islamic State strongholds. More than 741 Iraqis were killed and 1,375 were injured in acts of terrorism.

Iraq continues to destabilize as U.S. lead coalition partners, including Iraqi military, are seeking to liberate Mosul. The region remains unstable with waves of Protestors are storming the state legislature demanding their pro-reform platform be heard and coalition led forces fighting to end the violence attributed to the Islamic State regime.

Syrian Peace Treaty in Shambles; Aleppo Targeted

The Syrian Peace Treaty has nearly fallen apart as Bashar al Assad's military over the past week targeted the rebel held and contested city of Aleppo, landing direct hits on a hospital that killed 14 patients and three physicians.

Secretary of State John Kerry has returned to Geneva Switzerland to urge Russian President Vladimir Putin to assert his influence over the tyrannical Syrian leader and moved toward stabilizing the Syrian Peace Treaty that is in shambles.

The recent Syrian military escalation is just another of Assad's failure to adhere to a peace accord that he was instrumental in creating. The violations are true to Assad's character. His continued attacks on the citizens in the Aleppo region underscore his refusal to remain dedicated to this treaty.

"This actually reflects the failure of President Assad's political leadership, because he's had to resort to using the military might of the country to attack his own constituents.  So that's why we've made a strong case that President Assad needs to go, and Syrian leadership that actually reflects the will of the Syrian people with the capacity to actually unite the country to face down the threat that is posed by ISIL -- that's what's required.  And that's what we are trying to bring about," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

The White House has maintained a commitment to a change in political leadership in order to restore peace and bring an end to the five year Syrian Civil War.

Oddly, the White House press corps posed the question of direct retaliation against the Assad regime for violations of human rights, especially in the wake of the recent targeted airstrikes. Which seemed odd as President Obama refused to send direct military assistance or a special forces team after Assad's use of Chemical Warfare. It seems unlikely he would send in a deployment after targeted bombings.

Boots on the ground in Syria to assist the rebel led fighters remains out of the question. However, after five years of refusing to send U.S. Troops to Syria, President Obama has agreed to send in 250 Special Operation soldiers to assist in the fight of Islamic State stronghold.

The United States remains commitment to the current strategy of Humanitarian Aid, of assisting through bi-lateral partnerships within the region, supporting over the course of the civil war, the five nations that border Syria with Humanitarian Aid to assist in processing and supporting displaced Syrian citizens.

Assad is deeply influenced by Russian President Vladimir Putin which has the U.S. asking the Russian leader to bring Assad back to a place of sensibility and return to the peace talks and live up to the cessation of hostilities.

Ohio Massacre Funerals

The Rhoden Family began burying their dead this week, with one funeral held in neighboring Kentucky and the second funeral of new mother, Hannah Gilley, 20, who was shot sleeping next to her four-day old newborn. 

The remaining victims, mercilessly gunned down while they slept, 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden; his ex-wife, 37-year-old Dana Rhoden; their three children, 16-year-old Christopher Jr., 19-year-old Hanna and 20-year-old Clarence, or "Frankie"; Christopher Rhoden Sr.'s brother, 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden will be buried this week.

Investigators have been working around the clock hammering out theories, processing and following up on leads, sifting through evidence to determine what belonged in the home and what possible clues the killers left.

Media have reported Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader made requests for DNA samples which lends itself to the theory of DNA present that could not belong to the victims of was out of place in the homes.

Quick tempered, weed dealers with grow operations, in need of anger counseling are a few of the revelations surfacing since the April 20th murders. The scenes, media report are gruesome. All shot at least once, in close range with a shotgun, those who were awake fought valiantly after seeing both the killers and death approaching, one victim shot nine times.

Theories abound: Maybe they robbed a buyer, got away with the money without delivery the weed or delivered low grade skunk weed for high potency prices. Either way it was a sophisticated operation, well-planned and executed with military precision.

So far the "In Cold Blood" style executions remain a mystery as the small tight knit community has realized returning to normal may never happen.

Beltway Insider: Obama Meets with Royals, Saudis; Election; Ohio Massacre/Sinaloa Connection; Prince, Doris Roberts

Election 2016: Trump, Clinton Candidate Titles Still A Month Away

AS the 2016 Presidential Primary races head into the final two months, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald J. Trump have emerged and retained the frontrunner position and in reality the choices of the voters are polar opposites in belief of who America needs next as the leader of the free world.

Democrats

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic Presidential Candidate has hit her stride. With 218 awarded delegates away from clinching the nomination outright, the former Secretary of State, Senator, and supporter of the first president in the family Bill Clinton, is calling for unity in a sharply divided party.

Clinton, according to a recent Washington Post article is also secretly vetting possible Vice-presidential candidates. It seems unlikely her most formidable challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders will make the short list even as odds makers predict his name brings the ticket closer to one of the greatest landslide victories in history.

With April primaries completed Clinton enters May able to spend concentrated time campaigning in states where the Sanders machine may still have an edge. California's June 7 primary looms like a golden carrot in front of both candidates.

April 26 wasn't the clean sweep Clinton had hoped nor the total upset the Sanders machine had dreamed and still for both candidates Tuesday's five state race handed Hillary a smart four state victory and with Sanders single state win an upset.

As all Democratic Primary delegates are awarded proportionately, in every state, Mrs. Clinton should clinch the nomination with the June 7 primary.

Clinton secured victories in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut. Senator Sanders who is continuing to draw large crowds across the nation in every state won Rhode Island.

Sanders, still very much in the mix, heads into May with a solid showing throughout this season. Should he make a conciliatory speech or discuss mathematical reasoning with his constituency he runs the risk of total abandonment or reverse psychology and gaining the sympathetic undecided vote.

Either way, it is mathematically impossible for Senator Sanders to upset Hillary in the primaries. She is very much aware of the numbers and until she clinches, outright, she is still a primary candidate as is Senator Sanders.

With only four State Primaries scheduled for May, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky and Oregon, it seems still unlikely Mrs. Clinton will clinch the title in May.

Hillary should win Indiana, although pollsters separate the two by a hair, so close in fact that calling it for either is equally presumptive. It should be another photo finish win.  

If her past primaries provide insight into the upcoming states victories in West Virginia and Kentucky will boost Clinton's delegate total. Heading into June Clinton should still be 100 awarded delegates shy of clinching.

Senator Sanders will win Oregon in the primary scheduled for May 17 and with that will have won every state, known as the Western Wall, heading into the California primary.

Republican Primaries

Republican front runner and the presumptive GOP Presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump walks into the month of May needing 241 awarded delegates to clinch the nomination outright.

Over the course of the week, the two remaining challengers Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich were both eliminated, mathematically from securing the 1,237 awarded delegates to clinch the title or steal the victory.

Senator Cruz, in an attempt to gain a stronger foothold announced the selection of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his Vice-Presidential running mate. The selection has done nothing to bolster the Senator's standing, rank or chances.

The steamrolling Trump machine has continued to rack up victories and at press time remains 15 points ahead of his challengers in the upcoming Indiana race.  Which is a hybrid or winner take more state.

On the republican side winner-take-all contest will be held in four states, Nebraska, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota, over the next two months for total of 143 awarded delegates.  

Upcoming Indiana and West Virginia, May 10, and California's June primary have a hybrid winner take more contest meaning by order of the Republican National Committee which has already set the rules in place, a methodology for determining the winner based on congressional district or other mandated rule is in place.

With 57 awarded delegates available, in the Indiana Republican winner-take-more contest, should Trump win, which seems a foregone conclusion, clinching out right in May remains closer, but still not possible.

Republican Strategy

As with the Democratic front runner the Trump Machine is also allegedly vetting possible Vice-Presidential candidates.

Topping the short list are New Jersey Governor and former Republican Presidential Candidate Chris Christie, a veteran of two very successful bids as a Republican Governor in a heavily democratic state, and the idealist Cuban Florida Senator, and former Presidential Candidate, Marco Rubio, also a veteran of a successful politician campaign for Senator.

Jeffrey Katzenberg Begins His Third Act

Jeffrey Katzenberg, the name synonymous with animation films made a deal this week that left industry insiders sitting back speculating over his next move, as his company DreamWorks Animation sold to Comcast, who holds a majority stake in NBCUniversal, for $3.8billion dollars.

Katzenberg, who spearheaded the independent studio's animation division from its inception with then partners philanthropist David Geffen and uber director and filmmaker Steven Spielberg, who also earned a tidy sum from his shares, walks away from DWA with a sizable payday of nearly $400million dollars.

Rumors of the deal, which seem to come together in an historic ten days, were virtually non-existent. Even those who consider themselves in the know were taken aback by the swiftness of the sale which takes the studio executive who seemed to have a genuine love for his work away from animation and into the digital space.

The terms of the deal that were limitedly released indicate DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg will serve as chairman of DreamWorks New Media, as well as a consultant for NBCUniversal.

No mention by NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast, in the Thursday announcement if DreamWorks would undergo a name change. The agreement to acquire DreamWorks Animation includes the beloved franchises created under the DWA umbrella and the consumer product deals.

For those who did speak, the most common statements swirl around what the 65-year-old industry genius, who has made movies for nearly his entire career, will do next.

With his former mentor, Barry Diller, recreating himself with IAC after his leadership at Paramount Studios ended, the possibility is that Katzenberg will take his Awesomeness TV and build out the vastly untapped global digital space.

No one has mentioned retirement, except, of course, in less than flattering terms, The New York Times, after Mr. Katzenberg turned down requests for an interview, who hinted the best days for the exec are over and his deal, which nearly mirrors the recent acquisition of George Lucas' Star Wars by former employer and rival Disney, are over and seems to call it a day casting a shadow on the recent sale as a deal that puts Katzenberg out to pasture.

Katzenberg, himself, has remained silent on his next act. With seven films on slate over the next two years under the DWA moniker industry insiders seem to be expecting the same tenacity, determination and awesomeness that he presented throughout his tenure as animation wunderkind.

Expectations continue to grow in the build out of digital space as online construction is not even close to saturation. Creating a lasting and permanent solid market share return, as the space still remains uncharted, available, the wild, wild, west with many opportunities to guide and direct the course of usage.

With three billion internet users currently, the projected numbers over the next three years indicate global digital penetration hasn't yet and won't reach 70% until 2019. Device usage will triple in the same time frame and 192 countries now have 3G networks which equates to nearly half the global population.

Handheld devices and tablets, mobile friendly, are the choice of the majority of internet users. People in the world like to travel, and take a smartphone or tablet with them. The world likes devices that are easy, handheld and supports the more than 200billion applications downloaded every day.

With this golden road laid out in front of the transitioning Katzenberg, one can only imagine the next act will close with people of the world calling him the man who did for the internet what Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or Larry Page and Sergey Brin did in the infancy of the worldwide web.

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

Sources: Whitehouse.gov, Wikipedia.com,

 

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