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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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


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