Beltway Insider: Trump/Middle East, Iran/Saudis, Epstein’s Bedfellows, Felicity Huffman, Eddie Money/Ric Ocasek, 2020

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

President Donald Trump, after terminating former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton and cancelling the domestic meeting with Taliban leaders, has been faced with escalating Middle East tensions, an insurgence of terror and acts of war.

According to Gallup, President Trump's job approval rating, which was tracked for the two week time period ending August 5, 2019, decreased one percentage points to 41% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness increased one percentage points to 54%. A slight 3% of the population polled have no opinion. Ratings are calculated bi-monthly.

Trump's Middle East Policy Implode, Saudi Oil Fields Bombed

In the week after President Trump asked former National Security Adviser, John Bolton, to resign, the very issues he pushed back against the President's proposed foreign policy advancements including lifting sanctions against Iran, have come full circle.


Beltway Insider: Trump Invites Taliban to Camp David, Pence/Europe, Dorian Devastates, Walmart/Kroger, 2020


With the Iran escalating tensions in the Straits of Hormuz, Afghanistan admitting to a regime that includes terror acts and now the intelligence reports that indicate Iran is behind the coordinated bombing of Saudi Arabia's Oil field, an act of war against the Saudi government and global act of economic terrorism against the governments of the world which utilize Saudi oil.

The case against the Iranian Government, while not conclusive is not simply circumstantial either. The recent attempt to bomb British oil tankers traveling through the Persian Gulf, and the commandeering of a British vessel, seizing the ship and its crew, resulted in a build up of both US and British Navies, and the escort of any ship bearing the Union Jack.

Trump's Budding Bromance with HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa

President Trump Welcomes Saudi Prince, implicated in the murder of Washington Post Reporter Jamal Khashoggi to the White House on September 16, 2019.

A statement from the White House Press Secretary read, "President Donald J. Trump will welcome His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander, and First Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, to the White House on September 16, 2019.  The visit will further strengthen the strategic partnership and friendship between the United States and Bahrain and expand economic and security cooperation.  The two leaders are expected to discuss maritime security, countering the threat from Iran, efforts to promote peace in the region, and counterterrorism."

The Turkish findings of Khashoggi's killing were released calling the assassination gruesome as he entered the Saudi Embassy in Turkey where he was met by a 15-man hit squad sent to assassinate him. He never exited the building. His body was either dissolved in acid or dismembered and returned to Saudi Arabia.

Frequently writing on the Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa who felt the writings tarnished his image had determined Khashoggi was to be murdered. So, it was done.

Iran Bombs Saudi Oil, Global Shock-Waves

The drone strikes caused an immediate loss of nearly half of the daily oil production, dropping from 11.4 million barrels per day to 5.7million barrels a day, as in any catastrophic and crippling disaster, caused the refineries to be shut down and crude oil production stopped.

With global economies are far from the catastrophic recession of the early part of the decade, economies have shown signs, possible indicators of a recession. As the US is not dependent on foreign oil, it would seem likely that the US economy would not feel any repercussions. This is wrong.

Pump Prices Expected to Spike

As early as next week, drivers, throughout the country will see a significant rise in pump prices, with the increase on average of $0.25. per gallon. And consumers understand once it hits a high, it may drop $0.15 at some point in the future. But not anytime soon.

The US and Great Britain depend on OPEC for about 1% of the petroleum products. The US also has reverses, which could combat the Import loss and maintain current pump prices with only a slight increase. Canada at 5% and China at 3% will also feel some fiscal damage which will trickle down to the consumer. France and Germany are not dependent on OPEC oil to fuel economic growth.

Crude oil prices have already jumped 19%.

US State Department Reacts

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, via the micro-messaging platform twitter, "said there was "no evidence" the drones came from Yemen. He described the attack as "an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply". "We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran's attacks," Mr Pompeo added. The US would work with its allies to ensure energy markets remained well supplied and "Iran is held accountable for its aggression," the BBC reported.


CNBC Exclusive: Under Armour CEO and Chairman Kevin Plank and Under Armour President and COO Patrik Frisk Speak with CNBC's Courtney Reagan


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman assured the US they will handle the retaliation."Saudi state media reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had told President Trump in a telephone conversation that the kingdom was "willing and able to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression," the BBC reported.

Bin Laden Son Killed

President Trump has issued a press statement regarding the death Osama bin Ladin's son and apparent heir to the terrorist organization created by his father. "Hamza bin Ladin, the high-ranking al-Qa'ida member and son of Usama bin Ladin, was killed in a United States counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.  The loss of Hamza bin Ladin not only deprives al-Qa'ida of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group.  Hamza bin Ladin was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups."

SCOTUS Rules on Asylum Restrictions

The Supreme Court recently ruled on Asylum Restrictions. For the majority who don't follow the various means the Trump Administration has employed in his fight to end the free flowing southern border illegal entry, the latest and limited successful ruling which stops any person from applying for asylum in the United States if they have entered the US through another nation and did not apply for asylum in that nation. Essentially, citizens arriving from Central America and passing through Mexico to reach the border of the United States are barred from seeking asylum in the US if they have not sought asylum in at least one of the countries, such as Mexico, they passed in order to get to the US.

"We also had a Supreme Court decision yesterday on asylum.  And that was a very, very big decision.  And it was a 7-2 decision.  The asylum decision was very big, but we had a very good decision on the wall and wall funding. And the wall is going up as we speak.  We intend to have, approximately, you know, maybe something short of 500 miles of wall.  That would be almost everything that we need.  About 500 miles is what we need.  And we're going to be very close to that by the end of next year," the president said while speaking with reporters before the departure of Marine One.

United Auto Workers Set to Strike

United Auto Workers are set to strike at midnight after the union and GM failed to reach a new labor agreement.

UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said "negotiation would resume talks with General Motors on Monday and they still plan to strike."

This is a developing story.

Epstein and His Many Ivy League Bedfellows

Stanford University has become the latest Ivy League College, along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard who has had to explain to its faculty, staff and media, why they accepted financial gifts from the then convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

What is truly surprising is that the "why" behind the acceptance actually needs to be explained. Epstein was a successful Hedge Fund banker who had a penchant for making money, vast and large sums of money. He wasn't married, had no children, the university had visions of financial gifts in excess of 100million dancing through their heads. What behaviors they would have engaged in to secure a portion of his vast wealth should not be a surprise . . to anyone.


World News: Boris Johnson, Populism and The Political Reality


MIT President L. Rafael Reif has had to admit he did send "a standard acknowledgment letter thanking Jeffrey Epstein for a gift to Seth Lloyd – as far as we know now, the first gift received at MIT after Epstein's conviction. I apparently signed this letter on August 16, 2012, about six weeks into my presidency. Although I do not recall it, it does bear my signature."

He further added, "I am aware that we could and should have asked more questions about Jeffrey Epstein and about his interactions with Joi. We did not see through the limited facts we had, and we did not take time to understand the gravity of Epstein's offenses or the harm to his young victims. I take responsibility for those errors."

Felicity Huffman Sentenced

Actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced this week for her part in the College Admission scandal returning to the same court where she admitted her guilt in the widespread bribery for favoritism sting that netted 51 high net worth parents.

For her part, the Desperate Housewives star who pled guilty to Honest Services Fraud, which had received 14 days in a federal prison, one-year supervised release, $30,000 fine and 250 hours of community service.

Essentially the Academy Award nominee paid a proctor to correct her daughter's SAT scores to ensure her acceptance into the college of her choice.

Operation Varsity Blues surprisingly netted many influential intellectuals including Gordon Caplan, co-chairman of the international law firm Willlkie Farr & Gallagher, which boasts such illustrious legal luminaries as Supreme Court Justices Felix Frankfurter, Charles Evans, former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork and former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Caplan has pled guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband designer Mossimo Giannulli, who allegedly paid $500,000 so that each of her daughters could attend University of Southern California (USC), chose not to take the deal offered by the and were additionally charged with Conspiracy to commit money laundering.

With Huffman's sentencing precedent has been set and those who have accepted a plea deal should expect similar pronouncements when they return to court to find out their fate.

For those who didn't take the deal, and expect to fight the charges, the state will prosecute vigorously, and each person will be vilified in the media and presented as pretentious, entitled, arrogant with the expectation of no consequences or penalties.

Rocker Eddie Money Passes Away

Rocker Eddie Money, the gravely throated singer from the 1970s and 80s died this week after a short battle with esophageal cancer which had spread to his lymph nodes. He was 70.

Money, whose best-known hit "Two Tickets To Paradise" became an anthem for a generation of music lovers who were growing into their own post Woodstock era. Debuting at Number 22 on Billboard Top 100, Two tickets became a fan favorite.

Of the 23 chart hits, Take Me Home Tonight and Walk on Water, both from the 1980s, peaked in the top ten. The 21 other chart hits, many from the 1970s rock concert era, peaked respectively in the top 25.

The Real Money, a reality-based television show featuring the former rocker and his family, which had been renewed for an expanded 12-episode second season on Mark Cuban's AXS TV, kept the rocker fresh connecting with a new generation of fans. He is described as a generous person and remained loyal to his fans modernizing.

A statement from his family read: "The Money Family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this morning. It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our loving husband and father."


Op/Ed: Russia, Racists, and Ridiculousness


The Cars Lead Ric Ocasek Found Dead in his Apartment

Ric Ocasek, the lead guitarist for the 1980s new wave band The Cars, was found dead in his NYC apartment by his estranged wife model Paulina Porizkova. The 75-year-old singer apparently died of natural causes.

This is a developing story.

2020 – Dem Debates

With the third debate showcasing the probable field, those who have risen to the top include former Vice-President Joe Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elisabeth Warren. With all eyes focused on October, the candidates who failed to meet the standards set by the DNC are looking to be on the stage for the Ohio debate.

For more information on President Donald Trump www.whitehouse.gov.

Sources: whitehouse.gov.

Haute Tease

  • Beltway Insider: Trump Delusions of Success; Climate March; AR Executions; French Elections; Jonathan Demme

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump summed up his first 100 days in office, the random benchmark date used to gauge the incoming president effectiveness, stating, during a speech in Kenosha, Wisconsin, '"No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days."'

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump Flipflops/Faces Lawsuit; Mueller/Manafort Arrest; NY AG Files; WH Shakeup; Elizabeth Holmes

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump, and his three adult children, have been named in a lawsuit brought by New York state Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood, for what was called "persistent illegal conduct" that continued for "more than a decade." 

     
  • Queen Breaks Long Standing Fiancée Tradition Invites Meghan Markle To Join Family

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Newly engaged Prince Harry and his American actress fiancée, Meghan Markle, spent the Christmas Holidays attending the traditional Christmas Service at The Queen's Sandringham estate along with other members of the royal family.

     
  • Four Seasons Scottsdale Review – Expect the Unexpected

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Four Seasons Scottsdale, an AAA five-diamond gorgeous desert oasis that duly delivers on the high hospitality standards expected of an award-winning luxury resort, through an unpretentious, salt-of-the-earth, rustic charm, has a unique magic and mystique all its own.

     
  • Green Room Review - Truthful Performances in Rare Depiction

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Green Room, from Broad Green Pictures, Film Science and A24, brings to the screen a rare depiction of life inside a modern neo-Nazi compound as a Seattle punk band becomes targeted after witnessing the aftermath of a murder.

     
  • The Meddler Review - Sweet Story of Transitions

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Meddler, from Sony Pictures Classics, brings to the screen a film filled with the sweet, salty and savory moments of colorful and at time awkward transitions as one season of life and love end and another begins.

     
  • Theater Shooter, James Holmes, Formally Sentenced

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Theater Shooter, James Holmes who walked into the Aurora Cinemark 16, in full tactical gear, tossed a smoke bomb designed to get his targets to stand, and systematically slaughtered 12 moviegoers and wounded another 70.

     
  • NY Theater: Jagged Little Pill To Open on Broadway This Fall

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Producers Vivek J. Tiwary, Arvind Ethan David, and Eva Price are thrilled to announce that, following a record-breaking, sold-out world premiere at American Repertory Theater (A.R.T), the acclaimed new musical Jagged Little Pill will open on Broadway this fall.

     
  • World News: Between Cost and Price Where Does Care Enter The Hospital Equation

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The debt incurred by all French hospitals will be partly taken over by the State. But if the financing of the institution is not questioned, the reasons for the deficits remain intact and without viable answers. Explanations.

     
  • James Beard Foundation Announces Restaurant Design Award Jury and Final Call Dates For Select 2017 Awards Categories

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The James Beard Foundation announced a distinguished panel of jurors to serve as the judging authority for the 2017 Restaurant Design Awards. This panel invites restaurants, architects, interior designers, and graphic designers to submit their projects for consideration for the 2017 Restaurant Design Awards.  

  • Money News: DOW Closes Up; European, Americas Close Up; Asian Split

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Dow Jones Industrial, after feeling the sting of a bear market fought the rocky start and deep declines and managed to rally, pulling itself up of the abyss and ending the week strong with a solid triple digits gains.

     
  • Mommy Review – Character Driven Brilliance

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Mommy, from TeleFilm Canada and Roadside Attractions, brings to the screen a deeply concerning story of a widowed mother, her bi-polar violent son, a traumatized neighbor and the choices, intersections and decisions contemporary life presents.

     
  • Uptown & Downtown Book Review – A Trip through Old Skool NYC Graffiti Art

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Uptown & Downtown, from Schiffer Books, brings to the page what once humiliated politicians, mortified strap hangers, embarrassed tourists, and finally become persecuted by police who counted the artist criminal, of course, we’re talking about NYC Graffiti art.

     
  • Election 2020: Steyer Calls on Perez to Expand Polling Window Ahead of Nevada Debate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer sent a letter to Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez, calling on the DNC to expand the polling window for the Nevada debate to make it consistent with the last several polling windows.  

  • Bridgegate Resurfaces with the Resignation of Jeff Smisek

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Jeff Smisek, the Chairman and CEO of United Airlines, stepped down yesterday amid the ongoing investigation into United's connection with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Former chairman of the Port Authority, David Samson, is known to have voted on United's projects at Newark Airport.