Beltway Insider: Obama Vacation; ISIS, UN Military Accused of Rape; China; Julian Bond; WWII VJDay

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Secretary of State John Kerry returned to Havana, Cuba, this week, with the three Marines that lowered the flag closing the embassy over five decades ago allowing them the honor of raising the flag reopening and reestablishing diplomatic relations.

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, remained constant at 45% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President also remained constant at 50%.

Obama Family Vacation

President Obama, First Lady Michelle and family have been enjoying a peaceful, relaxing summer vacation on Martha's Vineyard.

One of the rare summer vacation when crisis, either man made or natural, has not interrupted the annual two week trek to what is the summer gathering place the nation's top democrats.

Meeting this year with Democratic presidential front runner Hillary Rodman Clinton, President Obama has discreetly avoided any direct early endorsement of the assumed Democratic nominee maintaining a neutrality as other possible candidates including Vice President Joseph Biden has surfaced as potential challengers to the early 2016 ticket formation.

The POTUS and former President Bill Clinton took in a round of golf, each complimenting the other on the good shots. Fortunately, they were true as long lens photogs captured both men sinking solid shots at the swanky Farm Neck Golf Course in Oak Bluffs.

Obama did take a rare moment and release two unique playlists of his favorite summertime tunes.

Expecting a sedate and politically correct Spotify playlist, highlighting everything from Yankee Doodle to Stars and Stripes, The Commander in Chief, without hearing his personal memories or connections to the tunes, was surprising in his choices. A combination of early influencers from the Motown generation to Sly and the Family Stone, Bob Marley and The Whalers, Justin Timberlake and John Legend with surprise inclusions like Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones. His evening playlist, a must hear, featured Nina Simone, Van Morrison, Mary J. Blige, Al Green, Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra to name a few.

The first family has been seen about the island attempting normal activities. With this the seventh year Martha's Vineyard has been the summer vacation location of choice the locals know the drill.

The only interruption could be the upcoming funeral of former NAACP and Civil Rights Leader Julian Bond who passed away in his sleep Saturday.

ISIS, UN Forces Accused of Rape

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) and the United Nations Peacekeeping Force stationed in Central Africa Republic (CAR) have been accused, separately, of raping prisoners and villagers.

The allegations that the organization entrusted by the nations of the world to maintain international peace and security, foster cooperation in solving humanitarian, economic, social and cultural issues and the promotion of human rights and freedoms complete with a Declaration of Human Rights and the most hated terror organization ever known to mankind, accused of war crimes similar to Adolph Hitler's Third Reich, now stand accused of the same crimes is unfathomable.

Not an uncommon weapon of war, the recent allegations stem from an attack on a female adolescent villager and other recent sexual assault allegations perpetrated by French Soldiers have rocked the United Nations bringing harsh condemnation from United Nations General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon, who labels the violence "a cancer."

Earlier in 2015 French soldiers, working with UN Peacekeeping Forces were accused of repeatedly engaging in sexual abuse of boys. These charges are from repeated incidents over the course of 2014.

The United Nations is facing increased scrutiny over its mishandling of the sex crimes which initially surfaced earlier this year detailing the repeated rapes of boys by French Soldiers in the same region of CAR. Allegedly the boys were homeless and given housing, food and money and held against their will by the soldiers.

Since those allegation surfaced no formal investigation has been initiated and the UN is being accused of covering up the repeated and increasingly common crimes. Likening the cover up of those entrusted, like the Catholic Church, in the care of its citizens, they are abusing their power and preying on the weak, vulnerable and voiceless.

It is also alleged and reported that senior level United Nations Human Rights officials knew of the attacks and refused to follow up.

Amnesty International Joins in Fight

Amnesty International, the Human Rights international organization, a watchdog for the Human Rights of the disenfranchised throughout the world was contacted.

The organization was notified of a second and unrelated incident involving a 12 year old girl. Amnesty International proceeded to investigate and according to sources interviewed 15 independent and unrelated witnesses as well as the girl and her family.

UN Forces Accused of Rape

A solider within the United Nations International Peace Keeping Force in Central African Republic has been accused by the Human Rights organization Amnesty International of the rape of a 12 year old and the murder off two independent citizens, a father and son. The solider nor the child have been identified.

The allegations first reported in The Guardian newspaper, the same British news organization that reported the Edward Snowden leak, and were published this past week detailing atrocities in the CAR involving a male member of the Peacekeeping Forces.

The Guardian presented the details of the crime, in which the child was physically assaulted initially slapped several times to force her to remain silent, she was dragged behind a truck by a man wearing a blue hat and vest consistent with the Peacekeepers uniform, and raped.

The girl reported the crime to her mother who then reported the crimes to the governing agency. She was examined by medical staff who determined her injuries were consistent with sexual assault.

The following day the Peacekeepers went on a rampage indiscriminately firing shots in the air and in the CAR. Two citizens were killed a father, Balla Hadji, 61, was shot in the chest and his son, Souleimane Hadji, 16, was shot in the back.

"These allegations of rape and indiscriminate killings committed by UN troops are supported by physical evidence and multiple witness accounts. There must be a prompt and thorough investigation by a competent civilian authority and the girl must receive full support including medical and psychological care. UN peacekeeping forces in Bangui should review their rules of engagement to ensure they are taking all feasible precautions to avoid incidental loss of civilian life," said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis response advisor, as reported in The Guardian.

Explosion Rocks Chinese Power Plant

Death toll in Wednesday's massive explosion has reached 112 with more than 90 still missing and 700 hospitalized. The deadly twin blasts which detonated at 11:30pm rocked the port city of Tianjin, known as the maritime gateway to Bejing. 

Officials have yet to determine the cause of the blast that ripped a hole in the Tianjin skyline.

"At this time of tragedy, the United States extends its heartfelt condolences to the Chinese people over the deadly explosion that occurred August 12 in Tianjin.  Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and with China's first responders who are working to help those who were injured," the President said.

Apocalyptic has been used to describe the initial blast. City blocks along the water's edge were destroyed. Burned out vehicles still line the streets, scorched buildings, mangled, melted steel, twisted and pierced through the carnage.

A dramatic video captured less than 1K away by Daniel van Duren, a California native living in Tianjin, shows massive black plumes, orange balls of flame, starbursts of sparks following the initial explosion.

Van Duren described feeling a "blast wave" as he filmed. Living in Tianjin with his girlfriend, Ying, Van Duren said the two were hoping to catch the Perseid meteor shower from his 34 story apartment building when the warehouse, just over a half a mile from his home, detonated.

Julian Bond

Julian Bond, former NAACP and Civil Rights Leader, who studied with Martin Luther King Jr., has died after a short illness. He was 75.

Horace Julian Bond, known to this generation as a scholar, professor and legal mind, to those who lived through the challenges and violence of the Civil Rights Movement in America's south remember him as the light skinned negro often seen with Dr. Martin Luther King.

As fate, chance, destiny would have it Julian Bond opted to study philosophy at Morehouse College and was assigned to then Professor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Swayed, invigorated and motivated by the opinions and beliefs of the non-violent ideology, Bond became co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, (SNCC).

The contributions of SNCC have been noted as pivotal to the Civil Rights movement playing leading roles in the major demonstrations during the upheaval including the August 28, 1963 March On Washington, which drew an unprecedented 200,000 Americans to hear Martin Luther King, Jr., deliver the "I Have A Dream" Speech which has since become one of the most referenced and remembered moments of the Civil Rights Movement. Bond worked behind the scenes collecting transcripts of the speeches and handing them out to the media.

Bond rose to fame during the struggle of African Americans to live free in America, by 20, he was a nationally recognizable figure as President of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

In 1971, Bond along with Morris Dees formed the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization active in the plight of the disenfranchised even today.

A seasoned voice of reason, beyond his years, Bond was noted to have a deep understanding of the human and mental condition which imprisoned people and the need to step beyond the mental condition into freedom.

He said, "A final SNCC legacy is the destruction of the psychological shackles which had kept black southerners in physical and mental peonage; SNCC helped break those chains forever. It demonstrated that ordinary women and men, young and old, could perform extraordinary tasks."

Fighting against an accepted system of disenfranchisement, of insignificant treatment and of injustice, Bond and many others in the Civil Rights Movement continued each day mourning the loss of 1968, of hope and innocence, and moving forward, committing themselves to a way of life of expected and hopeful change. While perfection is not attainable change can be.

For Bond and others who waited a lifetime January 2008 ushered in that season.

Bond died in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

70th Anniversary of End of World War II

This week marked the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II, marked as VJ or Victory Over Japan Day. Solemn services and iconic remembrances marked the day around the globe.

Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941,"a day that will live in infamy," brought the United States into active duty, as the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked the United States Navy installation on a Sunday morning destroying, dismantling or sinking the entire pacific fleet in the surprise attack.

The USS Arizona, with 1200 crew members, took a torpedo dead center and sank interning forever, all aboard the doomed battleship. The ship, still submerged, is home to the Pearl Harbor Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii.  The now White Building seemingly resting atop the water sits atop the destroyer.

The Sunday morning surprise assault killed 2,403 and wounded 1,178. The onslaught was so complete of the 390 aircraft available, 188 were destroyed and 159 damaged, only 40 would be useable after the attack. Of eight battleships, two were totally lost, two sank and recovered, three damaged, one grounded. The Naval base, exposed, remained vulnerable until reinforcements could arrive.

Courage and bravery beyond the call of duty from staff, service workers, medical personal, crew, and crewmembers became the strength of those who survived.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, then President, took to the airways as a stunned nation heard of the attack not unlike September 11, 2001 when the nation sat stunned watching the World Trade Center attack.

The development of Fat Man and Little Boy, code names for the Atomic Bombs which would destroy the Japanese people and cripple the government, rending them ineffective in continuing to anchor the Pacific Rim of Adolf Hitler's global plan for dominance, were in development.

Tests of similar magnitude, Hiroshima was equal to 18tons of TNT were conducted in Yucca Flats, Nevada.

Limited military personnel were aware of the Manhattan Project and even fewer civilians. Desmond Walker, grandfather to this author, was one of the few civilians to witness the test bombing at Yucca Flats. Maintaining silence for more than fifty years, he reveled the details, shortly before his death.

The end of World War II came after the dropping of the Atomic Bomb, on Hiroshima, Japan and Nagasaki, Japan killing 80,000 to 100,000 Japanese instantaneously and 250,000 to 300,000 within three days and producing a generation of victims suffering from various physical and mental injuries due to exposure or Post Traumatic Stress related injuries.

"We welcome Prime Minister Abe's expression of deep remorse for the suffering caused by Japan during the World War II era, as well as his commitment to uphold past Japanese government statements on history.  We also value Prime Minister Abe's assurances of Japan's intent to expand upon its contributions to international peace and prosperity in the years ahead.  For 70 years Japan has demonstrated an abiding commitment to peace, democracy, and the rule of law.  This record stands as a model for nations everywhere," said Ned Price, National Security Council Spokesperson.

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

To Listen to President Obama's Spotify Playlists: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/08/14/white-house-just-joined-spotify-listen-presidents-summer-playlist

Sources: Whitehouse.org, Wikipedia.com

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