Beltway Insider: Obama, World, EU Reacts to Brexit; Brits Vote Leave; WV Floods; Whitey Bulger; Rio

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President Obama maintained his campaign promise this week and designated the site of the Stonewall Uprising, in New York City’s Greenwich Village, the first National Monument in the fight for freedom to honor the broad movement of LGBT equality.

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, decreased by three percentage points to 50% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President increased one percentage point to 43%.

Obama, World, EU Reacts to Brexit

President Obama, along with other members of the G7 Nations, have reacted unilaterally over the recent Brexit Referendum, in which the citizens of the United Kingdom spoke, turned out in record numbers and exercised the power of the vote and returned the UK to a self-governing nation.

The process of extraditing the United Kingdom from its complicated relationship with the European Union is one that involved unanimous agreements from all EU members, all parliaments members must vote and remain unanimous in agreements, and then a second round of voting if the initial first round is not unanimous.

So while the ballots have been cast and counted, and citizens of Britons are understanding, as Google trends reveled, after the fact, what they’ve voted on, the repercussions have begun.

The United Kingdom exit strategy is a lengthy process taking nearly two years. While some issues are more immediate, the upcoming EU summit will not include the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron has tendered his resignation effective October. 

Obviously, there will be an orderly process of negotiating the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union.  And as leaders from around the world have expressed today, that process will be done in a way that ensures financial stability, continued investment, and economic prosperity.

Predictors, Analysts and Tea Leaf Readers Forecast The United Kingdom’s Future

As citizens of the United Kingdom have voted to leave the EU, the idea is liberation will bring instantons freedom and prosperity.

One can expect over the immediate to have a volatile economic reaction which has already begun. Market indicators suggest a recession and economic downturn will begin as the world reacts to the news of destabilization.

After this minor rocky start, the United Kingdom should experience a relatively active economic boom, the exits strategy is lengthy. The next sixteen months should be one of widespread economic prosperity in the UK with all sectors and industries reaping the harvest of the boom.

The recession and length of the recession becomes dependent on undetermined factors once of which is the health of the Queen. Should her reign end, the economy will experience a larger post-EU settling period and deeper recession. If the Queen remains active and able to shepherd the people through the changes, the recession becomes less.

President Obama Reaction Statement

President Obama spoke with Prime Minister David Cameron after the historic vote reiterating the United States position and “assured Prime Minister Cameron that, in spite of the outcome, the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, along with the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO, remain vital cornerstones of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel Reaction Statement

German Chancellor, in speaking with the president indicated she, too, regretted the decision of the people to exit the EU and resected the will of the people. The President and the Chancellor affirmed that Germany and the EU will remain indispensable partners of the United States. The leaders also noted that they looked forward to the opportunity to underscore the strength and enduring bond of transatlantic ties at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, July 8-9.

President Obama on Prime Minster David Cameron’s Resignation

“Obviously the Prime Minister has been a trusted friend, trusted advisor, and a good partner in facing a host of issues around the globe.  I also feel that Prime Minister Cameron is deeply committed to democratic values and has a strong record to show for that over his time in office. At the same time, the EU will remain an indispensable partner of the United States.  And both of us, Prime Minister Cameron and myself, reiterated our shared goals to promote stability, stimulate growth, and foster democratic ideals in Europe and beyond. 

Delivering the position of the President, White House principal Deputy Press Secretary, Eric Schultz, “The President did express regret about the Prime Minister's decision to step aside. 

Beltway Insider: Obama/Orlando/Filibuster; Belgium-Paris Terror; Stanford Rape Judge; Okinawa; Bob Iger

WV Floods, Historical and Deadly Floods Kills 24; Including 2 Children

Historic rainfall across West Virginia has obliterated towns, forced homes off their foundations, washed out bridges and chunks of highways and left 24 dead including a child swept away in his backyard from fast rising, rushing water.

President Obama has signed a Declaration of disaster for hard hit Greenbrier, Kanawha, and Nicholas allowing residents to secure federal funding. West Virginia governor Earl Ray Tomblin has declared a state of emergency in 44 of 55 counties.

Tomblin who maintained contact with his constituency throughout the storms via, the micro messaging platform, twitter announced he was working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to add additional counties to the Federal disaster lists securing much needed federal assistance.

Pictures and videos from the area were heartbreaking and wrenching as homes broken from the foundations floated downstream. To date nearly 500 homes have been destroyed. The record breaking rainfall stunned that nation as pictures of flooded cars, big rigs, exploding and burning homes floated down stream.

Details of water rescues, of residents moving possession to higher ground and literally running out of time the water moved so quickly, pouring down the mountainside sweeping one child right out his yard where he had been playing. Calm one moment and torrential flood the next. 

The fast moving and rushing water tore through the valley town of Elkview, that sits directly on the Elk River, a Mississippi tributary feed by the Ohio River, stranding nearly 500 residents at the Elkview Crossings Mall, as the torrent of flood water tore out a chuck of the highway making travel impossible.

Rivers had long crested their banks rising in some places nearly 2 feet per hour triggering mudslides and landslides. The unprecedented precipitation, a rare once in a thousand years’ event, broke records kept for 128 years. The Elk River burst its banks at 37.7 feet, breaking the last recorded height from 1888.

The PGA Greenbrier Classic has been cancelled due to extensive and violent flood damage to the greens and local community. The Country club is housing displaced residents and providing meals.

West Virginia National Guardsmen have been deployed to help in the clean-up. Search and rescue missions are continuing. Governor Tomblin continues to reach out via Twitter @GovTomblin or call 800-451-1954 for in state assistance.

The National Weather Service has predicated rain to begin again Monday as a cold front pushes through the state.

Rio de Janeiro Olympics 2016

The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics are heating up as financial difficulties, doping scandals, the Zika Virus and Athletes pulling out of competition over health concerns plague the games set to start in August.

Financially the games are in deep trouble, which is common for economically challenged host countries, as experts from the International Olympic committee have been notified by the Brazilian government that they have run out of money.

The concern of half-finished venues, poorly constructed stadiums and inadequate transportation system said to be the last of the infrastructure projects have attending countries stepping up to address the issues of safety which for the beleaguered nation goes further than construction and infrastructure projects.

Zika Virus Overshadows Thrill of Competition

The Zika Virus, a relatively unknown plague until earlier this year, is also causing high concern as the contagion is spread through infected mosquitoes which is difficult to control the spread, outbreak and infection.

The Center for Dieses Control (CDC) has issued a warning for travel to countries affected by the virus.

“The CDC has issued an alert for travel to areas where Zika virus is spreading. Travelers who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should consult a doctor.”

The Rio de Janeiro Olympics were not mentioned specifically in the statement issued by the CDC although the spread of Zika is at alert levels throughout South America sparing only Chile who has yet seen an active Zika threat.

The Health risks are great. Without a known cure high profile athletes including Rory McIlroy, Vijay Singh, Marc Leishman, and Tejay Van Garderen, are withdrawing from the games over concerns about contracting Zika virus.

To date there have been 265 reported cases within the United States and D.C. many athletes to withdrawn from competition due to concerns over the spread which is unknown.

Doping Scandals – Russian Athletes Facing Tough Times

Doping scandals are making headlines again as all competing Athletes undergo standard drug screenings to solidify eligibility.

Russian remains at the top of the list with doping violations and the current scandal is no different as Russian doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova recently revealed the extent of enhancement cheating that is considered normal.

Stepanova went into hiding after revealing details of widespread cheating in Russian athletics. The International Association of Athletes Federation (IAAF) said on Friday Stepanova could be allowed to compete at the Rio Games as an independent athlete. The Russian team has been banned over the use of illegal substances.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has voiced his dissent to the decision stating, “It would be "absurd" if Russian doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova was allowed to compete at the Rio Olympics while clean Russian athletes are barred from the Games.”

The IOC has reviewed testing results from Beijing and London and determined 31 athletes in six different from 2008 Beijing Olympics were caught cheating. The unidentified athletes have been banned from competition in Rio. The London 2012 testing has no yet been completed. Those athletes were also be banned from competition.

Most recent action comes after a WADA report exposed a systematic, state-sponsored doping scandal among Russian sports officials.

The IAAF reinforced its ban initiated in 2015 against the Russian Federation resulting in a total ban on competition for an indefinite amount of time. The IOC has suspended Russian track and field athletes from competition.

In a bid to overturn the ban, Russia announced a series of reforms aimed at eliminating and spreading awareness about doping to its athletes. However, at a meeting recently the IAAF refused to lift the ban, a Sky News reporter confirmed.

Doping Lab Under Suspicion

A World Anti-Doping Agency spokesman confirmed that the organization had suspended the Rio de Janeiro lab responsible for testing Olympic athlete samples. The suspension is reportedly due to technical errors and WADA director David Howman says the whole thing is "pretty disturbing." For now, all samples are being transported to another WADA-accredited laboratory.

Russia has also been hit by the WADA for compliance violations of international standard in anti-doping governance. The decision leaves Russia without an internationally recognized anti-doping agency, which forbids the country from hosting or bidding on international sporting events.

James Whitey Bulger

What is the life of a mobster worth? For the curious, the collector and the historian the possessions of James Whitey Bulger, the notorious leader of the South Boston’ Winter Hill Gang from more than four decades, went on the auction block as the government seeks restitution for his victims.

Held on a single day, the online auction garnered nearly $110,000.00 which will allegedly be distributed to Bulger victims. Bulger and his lover, Catherine Greig, captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, CA, after more than 16 years on the run, was convicted on 11 counts of murder.

When the mobster was captured, federal authorities seized $800,000.00 in cash in his Santa Monica apartment, along with a cache of weapons.

Items on the auction block included personal possession, 27 pairs of sunglasses, his and hers Asics Trainer sneakers, Bulger’s personal book collection with handwritten notes in the margin, revealed the aging mobster read history and mob related topics.

Bulger when he fled Boston, in 1994 after receiving a tip, had the presence of mind to bring some of his prized possessions with him, a gold and diamond Claddagh ring, a replica of the 1986 Stanley Cup championship trophy, a large collection of porcelain cats. Of course, no mobster auction would be complete without the more sinister pieces of which included camouflage gear, binoculars and a personal folding shovel. 

James Whitey Bulger was recently denied a second trail. His first trial was considered a sham by many. Pervasive systemic corruption that repeatedly kept the admitted mobster from participating in his own defense and presenting evidence of his alleged deal with the government, his upper echelon informant status, and his expectation of immunity. He was sentenced to two life terms plus five years.

Stonewall National Monument

The new Stonewall National Monument will permanently protect Christopher Park, a historic community park at the intersection of Christopher Street, West 4th Street and Grove Street directly across from the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. The monument boundary encompasses approximately 7.7 acres of land, including Christopher Park, the Stonewall Inn, and the surrounding streets and sidewalks that were the site of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising.  

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