Beltway Insider: Obama on Syria; Ryan; Election 2016; Texas Floods; Invictus Games; Fred Thompson Dies

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The National Republican National Committee (RNC) announced this week they were suspending relationships with NBC News after the third Republican debate according to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as the news channel failed to deliver the agreed upon promises.

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, remained constant at 46% 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 Sends Troops to Syria

President Obama announced this week he would be sending Special Forces into Syria, after years of repeatedly emphasizing there would be no additional boots on the ground, under the umbrella of advising the Syrian and Iraqi fighters.

Repeatedly questioned about the any coalition or Syrian policy changes White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest indicated, even as Syria was mentioned nearly 74 times in one press conference, he had "no new announcements to make."

"There have been at least a couple of situations where the United States has taken military action to resupply and reinforce those fighters on the ground to give them greater capability to take the fight to ISIL.  Some of those American military pilots that I referred to earlier have carried out airstrikes in support of those ongoing operations on the ground.  And I think that's an indication of how central this is to our strategy," Earnest said.

There has been repeated reporting a reassessment of the current policy and especially now as the Russian involvement has disrupted the linear linkage toward a unified goal of deposing Basher al-Assad and replacing him with democratic government.

Considering the recent additional engagements by Russian fighters of "buzzing" U.S. Ronald Reagan in close fly overs, the two nations are now at odds over the Russian goals which are contrary to the United States desire.

"But I do not envision a scenario anytime soon where that basic strategy is going to change.  Ultimately, we're only going to be successful when we can succeed in building up the capacity of fighters on the ground inside of Syria who can take the fight to ISIL inside their own country.  The United States cannot unilaterally impose a military solution on the situation inside of Syria," Earnest said.

Boehner Retires; Paul Ryan Elected Speaker of the House

Representative Paul Ryan, (R-WI), former Vice Presidential Candidate, has been elected Speaker of the House, over Democratic challenger Nancy Pelosi, a position vacated by the unexpected retirement of Ohio Representative John Boehner.

The newly elected Speaker, much like the exiting Boehner, will lead the Republican representatives as each side attempts to maneuver the other. The Republicans, of course, want a greater majority of Republican leaning objectives; the Democrats more democratic.

Speaker Ryan, is also the Chairman of the House Budget Committee. He is known for his keen insight into "The Path to Prosperity" proposals. 

His first order of business was to call for both parties to pray for each other, not for conversion but for reconciliation.

Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary, was somewhat evasive when a White House Press Corp reporter said "John Boehner has finally come out and said The Holy Spirit" led him to resign and "now Paul Ryan is talking about praying -- each side praying for one another" and did the President have an epiphany or "spiritual awakening?"

To which Mr. Earnest redirected the reporter to another reporter who also asked some time ago. So if the Pope had anything to do with the sudden boldness by politicians to name the Holy Spirit by name he is not saying.

Hurricane Patricia Spars Mexico; Hits Texas With Heavy Rains

Hurricane Patricia, the most powerful storm ever recorded in history, slammed into a nearly deserted point of Mexican coastline midway between two tourist hot spots and except for sporadic damage didn't produce the catastrophic apocalyptic end expected.

Patricia dissipated quickly over the Sierra Madre Mountains although continued generating wind and rain throughout the Mexican Gulf coast.

The storm, did, however slam Texas with drenching, soaking, flooding rains, accounting for nearly six deaths. More than 20 inches of rain fell in a three day period. As floods and flash floods suddenly appeared and swept residents away. Winds from Patricia were felt as far north as Michigan with gust of 50-60MPH slamming the peninsula.

Election 2016

The National Republican National Committee (RNC) announced this week they were suspending relationships with NBC News after the third Republican debate according to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as the news channel failed to deliver the agreed upon promises.

In a letter to NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack, Chairman Priebus stated the moderators did not moderate talk time fairly and did not focus enough and did not focus enough on key issues such as job growth, taxes, technology, retirement and the national economy.

The Debate

Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie, the top ten candidates for the GOP nomination for President of the United States gathered this week at the University of Colorado for their third debate.

As the debates are organized to inform the voters on the key issues and positions of each of the candidates by the candidates, the significance of talk time, past political record, public service, professional leadership, position on issues that affect Americans grows with increasing importance as primary season approaches.

The Republican Candidates Position on the Issues

The debate did nothing to allow the candidate to express their viewpoints on individual issues. Overall ratings for each of the candidates is as follows.

With possible scoring from -10 to +10 with any negative numbers representing a more liberal viewpoint and conversely positive numbers represent a more conservative ideology.

Individual Rights include abortion, same sex marriage, employment, religion and environmental issues. Defense and International Issues ranks candidates on Trade, Military, America and America's Role Abroad.

Economic Issues are Stimulus (Jobs, Job Growth), Taxes, Immigration, Social Security and Domestic issues include Crime, Guns, (Gun Reform), Healthcare, School Vouchers (Public Schools), Energy and Drugs (including legalizing Marijuana) and possibly States Rights.

Front runner Donald Trump scores a 6 on Individual Rights, 6 on Domestic Issues, 4 on Economic Issues and 2 on Defense and International Issues. Dr. Ben Carson 4, 2, 6, 0; Senator Marco Rubio scores 6, 8, 5 and 8.

Senator Ted Cruz ranks 6, 7, 8, 9; Former Governor Jeb Bush 5, 7, 2, 4; Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina 0, 6, 6, 2.

Former 2012 Presidential Candidate and former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee 6, 5, 4, 5; Senator Rand Paul 5, 3, 3, -1; Governor John Kasich 2, 5, 4, 3; Governor Chris Christie -2, -1, 5, 5.

The Republicans by the Numbers

Real Estate Developer Donald J. Trump remains the GOP front runner with 27% of Americans supporting his candidacy. Dr. Ben Carson, former Pediatric Neurosurgeon and head of Johns Hopkins Pediatric Department, remains second with 22.2%.

Career politicians Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is quickly and stealthy gaining support for his candidacy is now third with 9.6%. Former Texas Senator Ted Cruz remains in fourth position with 7.0%.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, once considered the de-facto candidates is now fifth with 6.6% of Americans supporting his candidacy for President. Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina is still in the mix as the GOP's only female candidate, she is sixth with 5.6% of Americans supporting her bid for the Presidential ticket.

Career politicians including former 2012 Presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckebee, 3.0%, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, 2.8%., current Ohio Governor John Kasich,2.2% and current New Jersey Governor Chris with 1.8%, aren't faring as well with the party voters as they have in the past and round out the last four positions.

The Democrats

Potential Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton celebrated her birthday over the past week with the help of a few friends including pop-superstar Katy Perry who presented the expected nominee with a "POTUS" golden necklace.

Perry, introduced by the former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, had to hold himself back and remarked he knew today his place was "warm-up act" and laughed as he introduced the main act.

With Benghazi hearings quite possibly behind her, the former Secretary of State's performance was judged and graded by everyone from news pundits to GOP front runner Donald Trump. With only a few minor hiccups, from the general consensus is she held up extremely well. Her health and mental stamina, after 11 hours of questioning was also judged as excellent.

While the terms "presumptive" and "de-facto candidate" are widely used to describe Mrs. Clinton is, as of November 1, 2015 is polling at 48.8% among Democratic candidates, the field still remains at three with her strongest challenge coming from Senator Bernie Sanders, who is polling at 27%.

Any assumption of victory, even as the Democratic field has narrowed with the statement from Vice President Biden and the withdrawal of others, is premature.

"I think Senator Sanders in particular has demonstrated an ability to energize a substantial portion of the Democratic electorate, and the kind of strength and energy that his campaign is showing, particularly in the early states, I think makes him a -- I think by all accounts -- a serious contender.  I don't think that's a controversial notion," Josh Earnest said.

The Benghazi Motivation

With the majority of Americans viewing the intense questioning of Mrs. Clinton, even as she was the Secretary of State and has admitted and not defined her "full responsibility," as partisan politics and the intent to derail her presidential campaign.

"When you have the Republican presidential frontrunner essentially defending the Democratic presidential frontrunner from attacks from fellow Republicans, it strikes me as a situation that's not particularly favorable to Republicans and doesn't speak very well of the performance of the Republicans who are serving on the eighth congressional committee that was formed to investigate the tragic incident in Benghazi," said Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary

Invictus Games

HRH Prince Harry of England joined Dr. Jill Biden and the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, in announcing the Invictus Games, founded by the Prince, will be held in the United States in May 2016.

Prince Harry, a veteran of Two Tours of Duty in Afghanistan, told of the moment he knew his future was dedicated to advancing the conversation and bringing into the forefront, the national spotlight, the issues our injured Troops faced on a daily basis. 

"Returning to the U.K. after my first deployment, I shared the flight home with three critically injured British soldiers, all in induced comas, and the body of a Danish soldier killed in action.  It hit me then that this flight was one of many, carrying home men and women whose lives would be changed forever, and some who had made the ultimate sacrifice.  From that moment, I knew I had the responsibility to help all veterans who had made huge personal sacrifices for their countries to lead healthy and dignified lives after service, "said HRH Prince Harry.

The Prince spoke eloquently and with passion on the needs faced not only by the returning servicemen and women, but also the families and those with what has been identified as "invisible Injuries," like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety and depression.

"And Jill and I, the President and the Vice President -- we're going to do everything we can to shine a light on this event.  And this is just the beginning, because what we know is that we should be celebrating all of you, our wounded warriors, just like we celebrate our Olympians, our Paralympians and our other professional sports teams.  You all are amazing.  And we want to shine a light not just on you all as athletes, but on the folks who are behind the athletes every step of the way -- their caregivers and their families," First lady Michelle Obama said.

Imploring the crowd, he encouraged all to talk freely, to seek help and The Invictus Games is working to bring these "invisible injuries" into a national and international conversation. To inform the public and calm the concern of repercussion which is one of the greatest barriers all veterans, and those affected face to seeking mental health assistance, and to seek help.

"One of the things that never ceases to amaze me, even as I've seen it thousands of times, is the spirit of our wounded warriors.  As they work toward their new normal after being injured, they never lose their competitive drive and dedication that made them some of the finest warriors this nation, and the world, has ever seen," said Dr. Jill Biden.

The 2016 Invictus Games, opened to all athletes wounded in battle, will be held, May 8 through May 12, in Orlando, Florida.

Former Senator Fred Thompson Dies

Freddie Dalton "Fred" Thompson, former United States Senator, Attorney, actor and author has died in his home state of Tennessee after losing his battle with Lymphoma. He was 73.

Known for his reoccurring role as the tough talking D.A. Arthur Branch, on the hit television show "Law & Order," Thompson from 2002 through 2007.  The former Senator accumulated an additional 53 acting credits in film and television.

Thompson's career began as an attorney and in 1973 he was appointed minority counsel to assist with the Watergate Hearings. He was credited with supplying Republican Senator Howard Baker with the now famous questions "What did the president know and when did he know it?"

It was later in the hearing Thompson questioned Alex Butterfield, known as one of the President's Men and served as Deputy Assistant to President Nixon, and asked him if he were aware of the existence of listening devices in the oval office.

Thompson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) a form of cancer in 2004. He has stated he had no symptoms and did not expect his life expectancy to be affected. He died November 1, 2015 from progressive complications of lymphoma.

For more information on President Barack Obama:


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