Beltway Insider: Russia, Ukraine Poised for War; Obamacare Rollout Claims HHS; March Job Numbers; Equal Pay Day

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has maintained his aggressive violations of the Ukraine's territorial sovereignty as he prepares to annex three additional regions along the eastern border in an action that promises severe global economic and diplomatic repercussions.


According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week rose one percentage point to 43% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President dropped two percentage points to 51%. 

Russia, Ukraine Poised for War

Russian President Putin, despite efforts from the international community and stern warnings from the United States, has continued to amass troops along three eastern Ukraine regions escalating the tensions between the emerging new Ukraine and the old Soviet guard.

With all global partners, allies and governing organizations backing the sanctions, Putin has continued his aggressive action risking plunging his country, and its people, into what could be long-term economic and diplomatic sanctions.

President Obama has been closely watching the escalating exchanges in the Ukraine as reports have surfaced, through traditional and social media, of incitement by Russian sympathizers and unrest along these border towns.

In a recent telephone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the concerning situation in eastern Ukraine, both "leaders called for Russia to move its troops back from the border region."

"The Ukrainian government has made clear that it is offering to resolve that situation through dialogue, and we support that approach.  As I noted yesterday, there is ample evidence, both in traditional and social media and elsewhere, that some of the protestors are being paid, that they're not locals, and that is certainly of concern to us.  But again, we support the Ukrainian authorities' approach to this matter," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Putin Plants Protesters

Russian President Putin has been cited has the key force behind the current wave of protesters in the Eastern Ukraine, which have seized buildings in public demonstrations requesting help from neighboring Russia and demanding a succession day election.

The escalation of Russian troops along the Eastern Ukraine border has, since mid-February, been a serious global concern echoing throughout Europe, with U.S. allies and partners. Russian officials have answered the global questioning stating military exercises. The troop buildup has become a jumping off point for the invasion and subsequent takeover of Crimea.

"All of this is of concern to us, and we've made very clear that should Russia take action that violates Ukraine's territorial integrity further, or violates Ukraine's sovereignty further, there will be further consequences.  As you know, the President signed two executive orders, and the second one creates authorities that would allow the United States to level more additional sanctions aimed at sectors of the Russian economy.  Our partners in Europe and elsewhere have indicated a likeminded approach should there be further troubles," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Although the scenario closely resembles the Crimea takeover, it cannot be stated emphatically that the Soviet Union intends to carve out additional Ukraine territory.

The Russian government has issued a statement indicting the protesters are citizens of the United States, hired gun mercenaries sent to recalculate the global perception and act as the catalyst for counter military maneuvers directed toward Russia.

Obamacare Rollout Claims Sebelius

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, two weeks after the end of the initial open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare, has tendered her resignation to President Obama.

Sebelius, who was highly critical of the initial rollout confirmed to a congressional committee the introduction of the ObamaCare marketplace was "a debacle," was not asked by the President to resign.

"Kathleen has been here through the long fight to pass the Affordable Care Act.  She helped guide its implementation, even when it got rough.  She's got bumps, I've got bumps, bruises. We were committed to get this done.  And that's what we've done, and that's what Kathleen has done," said President Obama.

Sebelius, former governor of Kansas, has served in President Obama's cabinet from the beginning, faced media scrutiny over every aspect of the Affordable Care Act, its rollout, implementation, initial elevated results, released numbers, and held accountable for its failures.

Introducing Sylvia Mathews Burwell, currently the Director of Office of Management and Budget, nominated to succeed the outgoing Sebelius the President said, "Sylvia is a proven manager who's demonstrated her ability to field great teams, forge strong relationships, and deliver excellent results at the highest levels.  And she's done it both in the public and private sectors."

President Obama announced at the nomination ceremony, 7.5million Americans signed up for healthcare through the marketplaces, as the final, although not confirmed, initial open enrollment numbers,

"Kathleen will go down in history for is serving as the Secretary of Health and Human Services when the United States of America finally declared that quality, affordable health care is not a privilege, but it is a right for every single citizen of these United States of America."


March Job Numbers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently announced the U.S. economy continued its sluggish recovery adding a paltry 190,000 jobs predominately in professional services, healthcare and mining and logging.

The employment numbers create little change in the both the overall unemployment numbers, at 10.5million, and the overall unemployment rate which also remained unchanged at 6.7%.

Adding 190,000 jobs represents a similar and consistent pattern of economic growth and slowly whittles away at the overall unemployment totals, which throughout the past year resulted in unemployment numbers to decline by 1million and by .08%.

The Obama Administration is diligently focused on dropping the long term unemployment numbers which have stubbornly been cemented at mid-recession numbers and consists of two demographically separate groups: Discouraged and long term unemployed for a total of 5.9million workers.

The focus of President Obama's back to work effort and agenda, the long-term unemployed, approximately 3.7million workers, represent those who have been out of work for more than 27 weeks and actively look for employment.

Discouraged workers, approximately 2.2million workers, have ceased looking for work as they believe the market is devoid of any opportunity suited for them.

President Obama has pushed his Action Year Plan to CEO's in an effort to get Americans back to work and with that even offered incentives which can include up to eight months of subsidized wages.

Professional services, including temp services, led the job creation sector with 57,000 positions added to the economy. Healthcare added 19,000; Mining and Logging added 7,000 positions which marked the highest single month gain for the forestry industry.

All other employment sectors remained unchanged and added little or no jobs to the economy.

Obama Pushes Equal Pay Agenda; Creates Equal Pay Day

President Obama, this week, signed into law Equal Pay Day, as a continual reminder of the discrepancies between men and women in our nation's workforce.

In 2014 two employees, performing the exact same work, with identical credentials and accomplishments, by virtue of gender alone the female will earn less than her male counterpart.

"Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns; for African American women, Latinas, it's even less.  And in 2014, that's an embarrassment.  It is wrong.  And this is not just an issue of fairness.  It's also a family issue and an economic issue, because women make up about half of our workforce and they're increasingly the breadwinners for a whole lot of families out there.  So when they make less money, it means less money for gas, less money for groceries, less money for child care, less money for college tuition, less money is going into retirement savings," the President said.

Signing the Equal Pay Day into effect in mid-April, the president emphasized women are forced to work on average 16 months to earn what male workers earn in 12 months. Salary discrimination is not held to hourly employees; salary discrimination is across the spectrum from the executives to professionals to hourly workers.

The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill the president signed into law and presented by Lily Ledbetter, an executive who simply wanted man wages.

Ledbetter didn't set out to be a trailblazer or ever thought she would be standing in the Oval office. She was stopped judicially from her fairness pursuits and reached out to congress who listened and acted.

Employment fairness doesn't begin and end with paycheck fairness, it begins with fair hiring practices. It begins with women receiving the same opportunities out of the starting gate, with wages equal to man wages from the beginning, with credentials, qualifications and transferable skills, and not gender the determining hiring criteria.

Sources:,, Bureau of Labor Statistics

For more information on President Obama:   

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