Beltway Insider: Obama Pardons; ISIS/Syria; Paris Terrorist Extradited; MH370; Election 2016; Jobs; Patty Duke

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President Obama hosted his final Nuclear Security Summit, boycotted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the international summit focused on proliferation treaties, keeping nuclear materials off the black market and the denuclearization of North Korea.

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, remains consistent at 53% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President also remains consistent at 44%.

Obama Grants Federal Drug Offenders Clemency

President Obama announced this week he has granted clemency to sixty-one federal drug offenders, sentenced under previous judicial guidelines during which harsher penalties were enforced, most low level and already served the time.

As common sense criminal justice reform has been a top priority of the Obama Administration since the action was announced by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and on this particular issue democrats and republicans have been enthusiastically working together, a rare occurrence in Washington.

To facilitate solid action in this area president Obama and his team reviewed carefully those who had applied for clemency. More than a third of these offenders were serving life sentences for crimes that are now decriminalized under revised laws. Of those receiving clemency, some were also in prison for weapons related charges.

"What's important about these cases is many of them are low-level drug offenders and many of them, had they been sentenced under the rules that are in place today, would have already served out their sentence. That's what made them particularly strong candidates to receive this kind of clemency from the Commander-in-Chief," said Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary.

Wednesday's sentence reductions will bring Obama's total number of commutations as president to 248.

The Islamic State and Syria

Syria Military, under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad, has essentially revoked its welcome of the Islamic State Militants within the borders of Syria and have forced them from Palmyra, a fortress the Islamic State fighters have held from some time.

Under the recent Syrian Ceasefire, Assad has been changing his strategy in the hopes that he will convince the global population that he is in fact democratic enough to remain in power.

The Islamic State, as with anything they touch, destroyed Palmyra. Once known as an oasis in the desert, with archeological finds dating back to the second millennium BC.

With ancient intact amphitheaters over 2000 years old, similar to the Rome Pantheon, rising up from the desert surrounded by Palms, Palmyra was a destination, on early Silk road trade routes, and recognized currently as a World Heritage site. Until ISIS gained control ten months ago. Now the city is in ruins, ancient artifacts destroyed, the museum's antiquities of unknown civilizations, including statutes have been decapitated.

The Islamic State fighters also left behind a city rigged with explosives and a mass grave, filled with approximately forty bodies of women and children. Media reports the bodies show signs of torture and decapitation.

"We have raised the significant concerns we have with President Assad's leadership.  The manner in which he has used that nation's military to attack innocent civilians isn't just completely immoral, it has also turned a large majority of the country against him.  So it is impossible to imagine a scenario where the political turmoil and violence inside of Syria comes to an end while President Assad is still there.  And by "there," I mean in the President's office in Syria," Earnest said.

Assad, as with any who have dealt with the Islamic State, on any level, has understood his situation as leader of Syria is precarious both as friend to ISIS and enemy of the state. Driving the Islamic State from his nation, and Raqqa, the Islamic State de-facto capital has become his priority.

For the United States and nations who have suffered attacks from the Islamic State or have watched while their citizens have been burned alive, beheaded or brutalized, Assad's pseudo loyalty to dismantling and ultimate destruction of the Islamic State is in realty too little too late.  

Abdeslam Extradited

A Belgian court approved the extradition of Paris Terrorist attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam to France on Thursday. Abdeslam was captured March 18th during an extensive police raid in Brussels as part of a manhunt to find those responsible for the November 13, 2015 attacks in Paris, which left 130 people dead.

U.S. Economy Slows; Unemployment Claims Increase; Unemployment Rate Rises

The U.S. Economy slowed slightly as the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that only 215,000 jobs were added in March. Initial jobless claims also increased in the United States hitting 276,000 for the week ending March 26, 2016.

March also saw an incremental increase of 11,000 claims from the previous week. Market analysts' predicted the figure to hold around 265,000. However, jobless claims remained under 300,000, which is the benchmark level set that represents a strong labor market.

The Federal Unemployment rate increased slightly ticking up to 5%. The labor force participation rate also increased to 63%, which accounted for the uptick in the unemployment rate. Overall, the March employment report indicated that the US economy is continuing growth.

Gallup organization through calculations released from the BLS factoring all disenfranchised groups calculate the actual federal unemployment rate, overall, at 9.5%.

Also Beltway Insider: Obama Fails Handling Belgium Attack; Brussels; ISIS, Taliban Strike Three Cities; Election 2016

Malaysian Air MH370

Twenty-five month ago Malaysian Air MH370 went missing on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China, falling from the sky erased from radar leaving aviation experts mystified and frustrated and family members devastated.

Initial recreations of possible scenarios ruled out what was considered obvious: no debris field directly over the flight path indicated the absence of a catastrophic mid-air explosion or breakage. In fact, for more than two years, no debris has ever been found.

Investigators concluded the catastrophic incident, which has yet to be determined, occurred   in excellent flying conditions, inside Vietnamese air space, one hour into the flight. Without any evidence investigators can only run theoretical scenarios as to the possibility of air break-up, gross pilot error, power failure, and catastrophic break up with complete submersion.

Experts from Malaysia Air have remained diligent initially focusing on an intentional downing expecting the ocean to release some portion of the craft at some point.

Oceanographers were consulted to determine based on fuel calculations the projected path of debris. This week breakage with discernible colors and stenciling used by Malaysia Airlines on Boeing 777 aircraft matched what was found on debris in Mozambique.

According to the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau, the dimensions, materials, and construction of both of the debris parts conformed to those of a Boeing 777, making it likely that the debris was from MH370. The location also fits the pattern the wreckage would have been carried through deep underwater circulation or what is known as the conveyor belt current.

Malaysian Air MH370 disappeared March 8, 2014 with 239 passengers and crew members on board.

Election 2016 - Primaries Continue; Trump Chaos; Implodes over Abortion Statements

Clinton, Sanders Ready for April Showdown

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders, after eleven days of stumping with major contests in mind are facing off again this week as Wisconsin voters take to the polls.

Wisconsin voters appear as equally split as Missourians. Missouri resulted in an electoral tie with each Clinton and Sanders receiving 34 electoral delegates and a margin of .02% victory separated the popular vote.

Clinton remains the frontrunner and will secure the nomination. The momentum for Wisconsin, after eleven days remains split depending on the poll. Upcoming race predictions: Senator Sanders should win Wisconsin, in another photo finish, and Wyoming; Hillary will take New York.

The Donald Trump Roadshow Continues

Donald Trump is surging in the polls. His base, the alienated and left behind, those who are buying the charlatan fantasy of The Donald's interpretation of government in action, "I say it; therefore, it is" are building dream houses on his blinding gold dust façade.

If anyone knows how difficult the workings of government can be, it is Mr. Trump. His hard line, extreme right of center, position on every abusive, alienating, concerning position is a ploy to reel in the disenfranchised voter. Those who would sit it out and complain, giving them the chance to live the Trump fantasy.

Trump is positioning himself as everyman, a non-candidate that at times participates in non-thinking before speaking. We've all been there, right. Saying something we regretted? Trump believes you will understand his faux pas, his mistakes, his waffling opinions, because we all do that at some point, right?

His extreme right of center statements are a concern even to the GOP. As the more conservative right he portrays himself the more liberal his opponents move to present themselves just to secure some distance from his deeply shocking and damaging rhetoric.

His recent abortion statement is archaic to a civilized population and reminiscent of a third world nation, the Ayatollah, ISIS and other terror networks, who believe women should be stoned to death for extra marital affairs and participating in sexual activity, which considering Mr. Trump's checkered past, would seem an appropriate punishment for the thrice married GOP contender.

Trump has become the proverbial Icarus, high on his own hype, he flew too close to the sun and spouting his firebrand rhetoric of "Making America Great Again" he has effectively burned himself. Apparently, "Making America Great Again" begins with repealing laws that allow women, with consultation and in privacy, to make personal and private medical decisions.

Personal opinion is not the subject; Roe v. Wade has always sparked a deep divide in the population. The subject is "punishment" akin to prison or other public flogging, stoning or blacklisting.

With his professed love of women, and again, as I violate my own decision not to bring his trail of wives and women into the race, he has effectively opened the closed door by professing "women should be punished" for participating in Abortion. Heil Hitler.

Mr. Trump has been married three times, his second wife, Marla Maples, after a torrid extramarital affair that heralded The Donald with headlines of "The Best Sex Ever" on local NYC newspapers. Of which he will now either agree or deny dismissing as tabloid journalism as that is what a normal bully would do, destroy the messenger.

Mr. Trump has taken women's rights, women he professes to love, even to the point of speaking of his own daughter Ivanka in an incestuous manner, as she is an attractive woman, and of course, fitting the chauvinistic scale Mr. Trump assesses women, she would do as his eye candy of the moment.

Mr. Trump is choosing to revert the Women's Movement, of which his daughter, Ivanka has flourished under, back to the days before Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem marched hoping for some change.

Soon if this attack on women's rights continue women will once again hope for representation, for individuals who will secure their persons, their rights as valid members of society, equal to and under the constitution "created equal" with the same "inalienable rights."

Mr. Trump's decision to "make women suffer" for a private medical decision of which he does not agree is akin to the Scarlett letter, brand them with an "A" for adultery or abortionist.

How dare he believe that he can make a medical decision for any person? 

Do we all agree on Abortion. No, and a personal medical decision is personal. It is not the responsibility of Mr. Trump to brand, divulge or in any way scar, blacklist or injure any person who has medical choices opposite or different than his own.

Trump Campaign Manager Arrested

In other news on the Trump Front - Republican frontrunner Donald Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was arrested Tuesday and charged with simple battery in Jupiter, Florida for grabbing the arm of a reporter at a Trump campaign event on March 8th. Trump was quick to announce that "Mr. Lewandowski is absolutely innocent of this charge."

Patty Duke Dies

Patty Duke, the academy award winning actress and longtime friend of Hollywood, died this week of sepsis poisoning from a ruptured intestine. She was 69.

With an acting career spanned nearly six decades, from 1958 to 2015, Duke began acting as a child and grew up in front of the camera.

In 1962, she portrayed Helen Keller and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and two Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress and New Star of the Year. She won, at 16, the Academy Award and at the time was the youngest Academy Award winner and a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year.

Breaking the mold once again, Duke immediately jumped into the dual role, in a show created especially for her by Sidney Sheldon. By 17, Duke had her own television show, The Patty Duke Show carried by her name and her ability to play identical cousins, Patty Lane, an average American teenager and Cathy Lane, a sophisticated, Scottish teen.

Duke, it doesn't seem if ever stopped working. She had projects without fail in film, television from 1959 until her death. She also had two top 40 hits in the 1960 and a singing career. She was also the President of the Screen Actors Guild from 1985 through 1988.

She was an open advocate of Bi-polar and mental illness writing about her own diagnosis and appearing on Oprah discussing her challenges.

She is survived by her husband, Michael Pearce, and three children, Sean Astin, Mackenzie Astin and Kevin Pearce.

For more information on President Barack Obama:



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