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Beltway Insider: ISIS Dominates Iraq, Syria; Historic Floods; VP’s Son Dies; B.B. King Funeral

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The Freedom Act, the National Security Agency's tools utilized to maintain National security and protect civil liberties, is facing an imposed deadline of today in order to gather the necessary senatorial votes to pass a renewed Patriot Act.

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, decreased two percentage points to 47% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President increased two percentage points to 47%.

ISIS Strength Dominates Iraqi Military; Defies Syria

Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, ISIS, continues to march east while maintaining control of Ramadi, a key city outside of Baghdad.

The terrorist organization has moved into Basher Al-Assad's territory and taken the ancient city of Palmyra, known for its well preserved antiquities which have all been destroyed.

The Iraqi government continues to maintain the need for additional ground support from the United States and coalition partners in fighting the advancement of the ISIS military. Air strikes against the terrorist organizations have deconstructed key ISIS strongholds.

 "Our ongoing commitment to making sure that we're partnering with them as they face down this threat, and reiterating that the United States and our coalition partners cannot solve this problem for the Iraqi people, that we're going to stand with our partners in Iraq as they provide for the security of their own country," said Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary.

Assad, like the soldiers in Iraq, did not wage a battle to keep the dreaded and unpredictable religious zealot led militant group from moving into rebel controlled territories.

More than 262 inhabitants of Palmyra have been killed in what has been described with similarities to Poland falling to the German's Nazi War machine in four days.

ISIS is an uncontrollable militant terrorist organization, well defined with a perceived mission of establishing a caliphate and a home state. Marching across Syria, until they move into Assad controlled areas, they will be supported as they are taking back territory hard won from the U.S. backed Syrian rebel fighters.

U.S. supported rebel fighters, armed with military supplies have acted as the ground troops in the fight to have Assad removed from office. With ISIS in control the rebels have only two choices, join or fight.

Unless the United States and coalition nations move to stop additional ISIS advancement the coalition may run the risk of inadvertently arming ISIS militants with weapons stolen from the U.S. backed Syrian rebels.

Syrian Refugees

The Syrian refugee situation, that has been the topic of much discussion from the President and members of congress with the United States supporting all five nations that have taken refugees with ally Jordan receive a substantial support are now in harm's way and direct targets as ISIS, still apparently unstoppable roll into these surrounding nations.

Iraqi Responsibility

The Iraqi government, a multi-sectarian nation comprised of many different factions, run by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has been in office for nine months. Stepping into the volatile situation his role is to gather each of the factions and strengthen them into one unified voice.

Even with the fall of Ramadi, a significant loss, to the Iraqi's credit they held the city for more than a year from the initial ISIS attack.

"The Iraqi government announced the beginning of the mission to retake Ramadi and to drive ISIL out of Anbar Province.  I think that is a clear indication of the will of the Iraqi security forces to fight, and the United States and our coalition partners will stand with them as they do so," Earnest said.

Iraq's lack of unity, lack of preparedness and the unrelenting onslaught of an exceedingly well funded terrorist organization, has placed the nation's military on alert.

Iraqi security forces lost more than 2300 Humvees, as well as additional military surplus and weapons, were lost to ISIS in the attack on Mosul. The Iraqi's have been petitioning the United States for more access to military weapons and anti-terror fighting ground transports.

The U.S. government in addition to military air strikes is supplying military weapons. An approved sale of 1000 Humvees, additional weaponry, hand grenades and other combat ready military trucks including Anti-tanks as needed.

The United States is supplying all military necessities, weapons, training and air strikes. Obama has remained adamant no boots on the ground which will be the only military assistance not provided.

"The Iraqis have been asking for a military weapon, an AT4, which essentially is an antitank weapon that we believe can be valuable in trying to counter the VBIEDS, the vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices that ISIL has used to great effect. Essentially car bombs they've used in some of these fights.  The use of these AT4s could disable the car bombs, or could essentially stop the car bombs before they move into position where they have maximum effect.  Many of the car bombs are actually armored vehicles, and so that's the benefit of having this AT4 that can be deployed against them and can prevent, or at least make it much harder for ISIL fighters to use this particular military tactic," Earnest said.

No word from the White House if the AT4 will be approved by Senate and will be part of the military weapons package the Iraqi Defense Forces receive.

Historic Flooding Kills 30

At least 31 deaths in Oklahoma and Texas have been blamed on the historic flooding as apocalyptic rains literally poured enough water into the two states to end an equally significant drought that has been in effect for several years.

Officials have issued 571 Flash Flood warnings in May 2015, more than the 479 issued in all of 2014.

Walls of water slammed into cars and homes, families simply swallowed up as waters engulfed stranded vehicles; flood waters as high as stop signs, automobiles, vans, trucks tossed like Tonka toys into trees.

Rains are predicted for another day, as they have been for since Memorial Day with a stalled system, a partial El Nino, to blame for the deluge.

Families have gone missing as they travel roads they know well. Five are still missing from hard hit Wimberely, Texas, a small tight knit community 16 miles between Austin and San Antonio, Texas.

 A homecoming queen stalled out in water, on the way home from a dance, telephoned her dad and emergency assistance and before they could respond the wall of water swept her away.

Precautionary Hurricane season warnings once reserved for the eastern seaboard are also issued to those already under record rainfall.

The Brazos River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico is expected to crest Monday rose at 4ft per hour and sits now 50 ft. above normal. An Evacuation Zone has been established while all simply wait, hope and pray.

The Colorado River crested Saturday lower than expected. For those under mandatory evacuation, the orders were lifted and fortunately the low lying homes did not suffer the anticipated damage.

Officials are warning still, if you have doubts about driving anywhere don't. If the water looks too deep to pass, don't try. Water can be deceptive in its stillness, it doesn't take much to stall out a car, and they float easily with the driver losing control.

Beau Biden, Son of Vice President, Dies

Joseph Robinette "Beau" Biden III, husband, father and the son of Vice-President Joseph Biden, died Saturday of brain cancer. He was 46.

Beau Biden, a dedicated citizen, an Iraqi War Veteran, a political official, a loving husband, devoted father and respected son.

As a veteran, he was courageous, awarded the Bronze Star, exemplified honor as all those who choose to enlist do. He fought brain cancer bravely, privately, honorably.

"More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. Beau embodied my father's saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did. In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known, "the Vice-President said as he spoke of his son, through a released statement.

"Beau was a good, big-hearted, devoutly Catholic and deeply faithful man, who made a difference in the lives of all he touched – and he lives on in their hearts. But for all that Beau Biden achieved in his life, nothing made him prouder; nothing made him happier; nothing claimed a fuller focus of his love and devotion than his family, "said President Obama through a released statement.

Beau Biden leaves a grieving wife, Hallie, two children, Hunter and Natalie, a broken hearted father, Vice President Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden and three siblings, Hunter, Naomi and Natalie.

B.B. King Buried

B.B. King, who recently passed away due to natural causes and complications from diabetes, was laid to rest this weekend, as he stipulated before his death, in his home town of Indianola, Mississippi. He was 89.

The hearse carrying the remains of the man known as the King, arrived Wednesday and traveled down Beale Street greeted by thousands who lined the sidewalks and many more who filled the street walking beside the processional accompanying their hometown hero. Leading the march, a band of traditional Mississippi Delta Jazz musicians playing "When the Saints Go Marching In."

The public viewing was held Friday, with the funeral service Saturday.

Transferring Mississippi's celebrated son in preparation for the public viewing held in the B.B. King Museum and Interpretive Center, State Troopers served as Honor guards watching over the legend, his Lucille, and flowers adorning the bronze casket displayed in the entry way, behind red velvet ropes.

A large spray of red long stem roses draped the open casket where King, dressed in a black and white suit jacket with black lapels lie. A woven embroidered image of his beloved Lucille, a Gibson ES-355, lined the interior of the casket's top.

The public was permitted to pay final respects and offer tributes to the man whose soulful blues, born from the humble beginnings in the cotton fields of the Deep South, influenced the world over from the most common citizen to those who ruled and reigned over nations and peoples.

Before the sendoff service preached by the Reverend Herron Wilson, tributes to the man who influenced generations of musicians, world leaders, and ordinary folk,  came in.

"The blues has lost its king and America has lost a legend," Obama said. "No one worked harder than B.B. No one did more to spread the gospel of the blues."

Former President Bill Clinton whose love of the saxophone is quite well known, recalled playing two gigs with King, said, jokingly "I was his back up sax man."

Singer, songwriter, Stevie Wonder, who did not attend, sent a taped message played during the funeral. "He will always be known as the King of the Blues" the twenty-six time Grammy Award winner said.

At the beginning of the invitational only memorial service held in the sanctuary of Bell Grove Missionary Baptist Church, family members filed past the open casket.  

Filled to capacity, the standing room only crowd estimated at 500, with more than 200 others unable to find seating waited outside and watched the service from monitors placed around the area.

Celebrated musicians from around the world arrived for the funeral and ended playing in the service including Silvan Zigg, whom played with B.B. during the Montreux Jazz festival in 2011; Tony Coleman, his drummer for 37 years,

"Hands that once picked cotton would someday pick guitar strings on a national and international stage. Amazing," said Reverend Herron Wilson.

King was laid to rest at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, which opened in 2008 to tell his life's story.

The museum will develop a memorial garden, with benches and a water wall, around the grave site so visitors from around the world can make the trip to the birthplace of the legend, the Mississippi Delta.

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

Sources: Whitehouse.org, Wikipedia.com

 

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