Beltway Insider: Obama, Allies Meet; Syria/Refugees/Counterterror; Election; Rings of Fire; Invictus; Kobe Bryant

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President Obama will travel this week to Saudi Arabia, Germany and the United Kingdom continuing to strengthen the global coalition and commitment in the destruction of the Islamic State and firming the support for the reunification of the Ukraine.

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, decreased one percentage point to 50% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President increased one percentage point to 46%.

Commitment to the Annihilation of the Islamic State

With 66 nations participating in the global coalition to ultimately degrade and annihilate the Islamic State regime, 28 nations have picked up the mantle and are now committed to accelerating their contributions in the U.S. led coalition to degrade and destroy the Islamic State terror organization.

President Obama will hold a bi-lateral and Gulf Summit meeting with the United State allies in the Gulf region. After which President Obama will meet with Queen Elizabeth. Obama's visit coincides with the Queens 90th Birthday.

During the U.K. visit the president plans to meet with Prime Minister Cameron and hold a town meeting of sorts with London youth. The president plans to meet with German chancellor Angela Merkel, again as his time in office winds down, his opportunities to engage in any type of bi-laterals or allied meetings becomes increasing more limited.

The Unspoken Issues

With the Syrian Civil War engaged in a peace accord, the underlying reasons for the initiation of the draining, costly and devastating uprising, the financial resources invested in the removal of Assad, as well as humanitarian efforts from all parties, frontline effort from allies and support effort from others has to be addressed.

Without the realization of the goals the Syrian war becomes senseless. The massive financial resources and support from all nations would be wasted and leaders who poured resources into the opposition would be deemed irresponsible management.

Not to mention the meaningless loss of life endured regularly as the mass exodus of refugees left all, fleeing with only the possessions they could carry in search of a better life. At times finding rest other times, death as traders took advantage of sincerity and intolerable circumstances.

The generosity of nations who without thought for themselves, agreed to open their borders and now. Peace with no change is not peace.

"We recognize that there are just enormous challenges being confronted by Germany and our European allies, that given their proximity to Syria and to the Middle East and North Africa, they have substantially more refugee flows from those conflict areas than we do. We believe that Chancellor Merkel has shown enormous courage and vision in trying to find ways to accommodate refugees, even as Europe has been also seeking ways to negotiate with Turkey to manage those refugee flows, said Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.


Without the exactness presented during the phone conference call, it was casually mentioned and definitely understood Counter Terror issues will continue to be a part of every U.S. led summit, meeting and other forms of communication until the last of the Islamic State Terror organization has been destroyed.

"On the counterterrorism side, I think he'll also be making the point that the key element in counterterrorism is not turning off migration; it is good intelligence-sharing and information-sharing.  It's being able to identify who is a threat.  And that may not at all be from within a refugee population.  That may be from long-established populations in Europe, as we've seen in some of the recent plots," Rhodes said.

Election 2016

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been campaigning in New York State, once again appealing to the people to support her in her quest to represent them and bring refreshing change to Washington.

This election, however, is a little different as Mrs. Clinton looks toward the New York State Primary coming this Tuesday with assuredness the state that sent her to Washington for two consecutive terms will once again send a resounding message to the naysayers, the detractors and chief rival Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.

The New York State democratic primary, of which Mrs. Clinton still holds a commanding lead, should push her closer although not over the top as she pursues the necessary delegates to clinch the victory.

As delegates are proportionally awarded in New York State Mrs. Clinton should close the day with a plus/minus range of 53% with 130 delegates, should she maintain her current lead or 160 delegates should she win 65% of the vote. Heading into New York State it was thought Mrs. Clinton would leave with 193 pledged delegates or 75% of the vote.

Senator Sanders won't leave the Empire state empty handed and will add to his total.

On the Republican side there is no doubt Donald J. Trump will win the New York State Republican primary with a majority of the vote.

Rings of Fire

Over the course of this past week, the world experienced five major earthquakes, four of which were along the tectonically active Ring of Fire, a belt of volcanic and geologically active areas.

The Ring of Fire begins in Argentina, at the furthest most tip of South America and moves along the west coast of South American, up the coast along the coasts of Chili, Peru and Ecuador, the site of Saturday's major Ecuadorian quake, and continues up along the California and the western wall, covering the entire Pacific shoreline.

The Ring of Fire arches up over Alaska, and the Aleutian Islands and runs down the eastern coast of Asia, which includes Japan the site over the past five years more than five crippling earthquakes, two of which occurred this past week. The Ring of Fire end in Christ Church, New Zealand, the center of frequent and devastating earthquakes.

Explaining the Impossible

Those who are informed even on a small scale can look over the path of this instability and see the world's most recent crippling and devastating earthquakes. The entire Japanese islands are under the Ring of Fire plates. The area is home to 10% of the world's most active volcanos. 

Over the last five years Japan has seen an increase in major catastrophic earthquakes. On March 11, 2011 the Tokyo region experienced a 9.0 underwater mega thrust earthquake with the epicenter in the Sendaii region.  The reality low level quake at 19miles in depth, lasted six minutes, and has been recorded as one of the most powerful in Japanese history.

The devastation of the quake was widespread and nothing compared to the damage caused by the tsunami that followed the quake. 

The quake was so violent entire land masses were moved. The island of Honshu was, according to geological records and post-quake measurements, moved 8ft east. The entire earth's axis moved which is not uncommon when earthquakes registered in the 9.0 seismological scale.

Within minutes after the quake had subsided the water in dramatic fashion vacuumed and returned to the shore in disastrous proportion reaching levels of 133 feet, swallowing entire communities and flooding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor plant which caused a major meltdown likened to Three Mile Island. The final death toll reached 22,000.

Major Japanese Geological Movement

Japan in the past week has experienced two major earthquakes, one, a 6.5 which initiated three days of hundreds of minor aftershocks and tremors followed by a major catastrophic 7.0 quake. A 4.6 quake hit the paralyzed island in the same region at 11:30PM.

Scientist are warning the region may be hit with what is term "The Big One" indicting another 8.0/9.0 earthquake may still be possible for the shattered region.

Ecuadorian officials have stated the damage is excessive and upwards of 250 lives have been lost. No additional information is available. Ecuador also rests within the Rings of Fire.

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Invictus Games 2016 Set to Begin May

The 2016 Invictus Games, set to begin in Orlando Florida this May 9, will be the second gathering of Athletes from around the world wounded in war and challenged as a result. His Royal Highness Prince Harry has announced the Games are set to begin in May 9 through May 14, 2016.

The word "Invictus" means "unconquered." It embodies the fighting spirit of the wounded, ill, and injured Service members and what these tenacious men and women can achieve, post injury. The Games harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for those whom serve their countries.

Fifteen nations have been invited to participate in the 2016 USA Invictus Games. The Walt Disney Company has underwritten the Games and built a new aquatic center which will host the swimming competitions.

Invictus Competitors are stunning to watch as they conquer the injury that could have conquered and sentenced them to a limited life without hope or promise. They are inspiring.

Kobe Bryant Retires

Kobe Bryant, the bearer of the Los Angeles Lakers purple and gold Number 24 over the last two decades, played his last game this week, staying true to his showmanship image and ability scored a whopping 60 points.

The veteran Laker, having spent his entire career playing in Los Angeles, entertained fans across the board from those in attendance at the celebrity filled Staples Center to admirers' from coast to coast. Los Angeles officially became Kobe Day with local newscasters filling the airwaves with memories of his lengthy career with the L.A. Lakers franchise.

The final introduction began with master of ceremonies, former Laker teammate, Ervin "Magic" Johnson, Number 32, at center court for a tribute befitting the man of the hour.

The montage of Kobe's greatest plays was filled with NBA friends, Laker's family and punctuating the tribute the consummate Laker fan, Jack Nicholson, who eloquently spoke for fans everywhere and for himself and his family.

Kobe Bryant is truly an amazing athlete, his skill is unmatched, his stats, a marvel. His career high 81 points in a single game places him second only to Wilt Chamberlain who scored 100 points in a single game.

The video for the five time NBA Championship player included past Lakers, Ervin "Magic" Johnson, Lebron "King" James, Shaquille "Shaq" O'Neil, Lamar Odem, and many others who lauded, the two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner, with praise, respect and admiration.


Drafted by the late Jerry Buss, Bryant began his professional career in 1996 right out of high school. Bryant was born and bred National Basketball Association, the son of a professional ball player, he made a decision early on to follow the game and moved his family to Italy. They eventually returned to the states, after his dad retired, and essentially Kobe began his push for the pros.

He set himself apart in high school and was courted by all the top colleges. A year before him, Kevin Garrnet went pro right out of high school. That decision became the catalyst for Kobe's own decision.

Kobe Bryant was landed in L.A. on a deal with the Charlotte Hornets, at 17 Kobe Bryant became the youngest player in the leagues.

Career Controversy

Bryant has not always been the anointed one with controversy also following the league's leading scorer. the highest scorer in history

In 2003, Bryant was indicated in Colorado for rape. The case was ultimately dismissed. Bryant's character which is directly tied to endorsement deals accounting for a substantial portion of his income, took a beating during the pre-trial hearings, which were televised.

Maintaining the encounter was consensual, he also admitted additional adulterous affairs. His relationship with the accuser was also examined and while the two had engaged in sexual encounters on separate occasions, the allegation was brought forward on an incident that was not consensual.

However, in September 2004, the assault case was dropped by prosecutors after the accuser refused to testify in the trial.

Afterward, Bryant agreed to apologize to her for the incident, "Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter."

The accuser filed a separate civil lawsuit against Bryant, which the two sides ultimately settled.

Bryant's image took a beating once the allegations were made public. Not all his lucrative endorsement deals dropped him, Nike remained with the beleaguer ball player.  After two years of damage control, Bryant became to pick up similar endorsements.

Greatness Revisited

Bryant, with too many awards and distinctions to list, retired from the game after 20 years with the same team which in and of itself is unbelievable.

Throughout the past two decades, Bryant has had his ups and down, on and off the court, and as Magic Johnson said, "He's the closest thing we've seen to Michael Jordan. He'll probably go down as the second greatest scoring guard. You couldn't stop him. His will to win was incredible and he stayed in the gym like no other. This guy was 24/7 basketball. I'm happy for him because he said he feels this is his time to go out. He's going out the way he wants to go out."

The fans proved throughout The Black Mamba's twenty-year career they had his back, good times, bad, win or losses. No one felt the sting of loss or the sweet of victory more than the Los Angeles Laker Fans.

At the post retirement game press conference Bryant thanked the fans and expressed his appreciation saying "It was always for the fans."

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