Beltway Insider: Obama, G7, Agenda; Election; Egypt Air; Syria Bombings; Cosby in Court; Bob Dylan

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The leaders of the G7 met this week in Ise Shima Japan to reiterate their commitments to advance major global economic and political agenda guided by a set of common values based on freedom, democracy, respect for human rights.

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, remained constant at 47% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President remained constant at 49%.

 Obama, G7 Leaders Meet; Discuss Global Concerns

The G7 Summit, the annual global leadership conference, set a series of priorities over the three-day meeting.

The 2016 summit was divided into ten key initiatives and areas of common concern including Promoting International Peace and Security, Responding to the Global Displacement Crisis, Achieving a strong, sustainable, balanced Global Economic Growth, Leveling the Playing Field for International Trade and Investment, Enhancing Financial Transparency and Tackling Corruption, Promoting Stability, Innovation and Growth in Cyberspace, Addressing Climate Change, Protecting the Environment and Strengthening Energy Security, Advancing Global Health and the Global Health Security Agenda, Advancing Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality and promoting Sustainable Development.

The rise of the Islamic State regime, other known terror organization and individual global sympathizers were extensively discussed as the European Union nations are usual and continued targets. The G7 leaders expressly created a Counter Terror and Violent Extremism creating a Global Counterterrorism Forum's International CT/CVE Clearinghouse Mechanism; and deepen cooperation on countering the financing of terrorism.

Tandem to the International Peace and Security are the Global Displacement Crisis. From the fact sheet released by the White House the G7 leaders addressed the Global Displacement crisis by remaining committed to bolstering the global refugee, host community assistance and welcomed efforts to strengthen long-term global capacity and effectiveness to respond to crises.  To this end, G-7 leaders asked the World Bank to develop a global crisis response platform that will assist host states in providing sustainable livelihoods and education for both refugee populations and their communities. 

In what is the strongest statement on gender equality to date this meeting of the G7 stated: "G-7 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, to the belief that women and girls are equal and indispensable agents of change in our societies.  Also, affirmed the importance of promoting and protecting women's rights and underlined the role of women as key actors to ensure peace and security.  They recognized women are critical to addressing challenges such as violent extremism, the global displacement crisis, and protracted conflicts.  Also specific commitments to empowering women and girls through education, promoting opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and advancing the Women, Peace, and Security agenda."

Election 2016: Hiatus over Holidays a Relief for Rhetoric Weary Voters

Memorial Day, the usual official starting line in most election cycles, is passing with unusual silence as the three main candidates, Republic Nominee Donald J. Trumps, Presumptive Democratic Nominee Hillary R. Clinton and chief contender, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are quietly allowing the day to pass.

Donald Trump attended the annual Rolling Thunder Rally in Washington. D.C. without the common hecklers or violence that has plagued the New York Real Estate developer cum politician as of late. Still reeling from his Albuquerque, New Mexico rally, which had to be silenced with tear gas and riot police. His Washington D.C. appearance at a motorcycle rally was one of relative calm.

Trump Accepted 9/11 Money

The latest revelation on Mr. Trump may have some potential to tarnish the already mocked and ridiculed GOP candidate, is his acceptance of $150,000 dollars from the 9/11 Memorial Fund.

The money which was intended to assist business that suffered and individuals who were injured because of the terrorist attacks ended lining many of Manhattan's wealthier and connected residents. Mr. Trump is just one of the many who received the free money. Many were convicted of fraud and a few saw jail time.

Clinton Violated Federal Record Rules Audit Says

Presumptive Democratic Candidate Hillary R. Clinton appears to be putting a tighter grip on her campaign strategy. Barring Forced Majeure or the end of the world, Clinton will win the Democratic nomination on June 7.

Mrs. Clinton faced another challenge this week over what California Governor Jerry Brown said "has some kind of dark energy that gets everyone excited" as the Email scandal that has plagued and dogged her throughout the campaign was again talked about on Capitol Hill.

Whether or not the email scandal becomes anything more than a non-issue in the sea of real and life affirming and affecting issues remains to be seen. The possibility of email overload and the public's actual understanding of email, email servers, privacy filters and the majority of email functionality may just have this issue and attempt to stop the Clinton Campaign deleted.

An official state department audit released on Wednesday concluded Clinton violated federal records rules pertaining to the preservation of private email servers while she was secretary of state.

Her nomination is historic and well earned. Her recent decision not to accept the challenge of Senator Sanders to a pre-California primary debate was solid strategy. Her campaign doesn't need any bumps, rope-a-dope, of slick catch phrase jabs before the Super Tuesday -West primary.

The tally for the day with California holding 475 awarded delegates is over 500 with five others states also heading to the polls that day.

Clinton, is well aware that chief challenger Bernie Sanders will win some of those 475 awarded delegates. He would have to win nearly all to derail her and that even by Senator Sanders own admission is an impossibility.

Senator Sanders, if nothing else, has presented a realist view of the campaign and he hasn't changed as Super Tuesday – West looms.

The candidates are expected to fight hard and heavy over this upcoming week with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat just over a week away.

Egypt Air

The search and recover mission of EgyptAir is narrowing to a three square mile zone in the Mediterranean Sea as searchers are focusing on data signal picked up from the emergency transmitters on board the doomed airliner.

Authorities have provided full disclosure on the ill-fated jet and last minutes as well as suggestions based on evidence of a massive fire, although evidence of explosives or other detonations have not been suggestive.

Of the items found, including opened and un-charred life preserver has suggested the passengers had a few moments to prepare. The fire could have been confined to the cockpit area and the sharp jagged movements defensive in attempts to either fight the fire or throw the intruders, terrorist, off balance.

Family members have arrived in Cairo, Egypt to provide DNA samples. Of the 66 persons aboard none have been found intact and all remains have indication of burns. Forensic analysis will compare DNA samples from family and those on board through toothbrushes, hair brushes, or vertical DNA if not personal hygienic items belonging to the victims are not available.

Also Beltway Insider: Obama, G7, Meet in Japan; The Libyan Olive Branch; Election: Trump, Clinton, Sanders; Morley Safer 

Syria Bombings, Refugee Disaster

The Islamic State Fighters have claimed responsibility for a series of bombings near the Syrian Coastline cities of Tartus and Jableh. More than 120 citizens were killed in the government held cities.  

The recent bombings are the newest threat to the Peace Accord and August deadline of transfer of power. The frustration by all parties over the lack of adherence by the Assad regime has resulted in the resignation of the opposition leader negotiator.

Refugee Disaster in the Mediterranean

More than 700 are feared dead as an overloaded ship capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. The refugees. Primarily from Nigeria and Sub-Saharan nations, were attempting to make the journey from Libya to Italy when the damaged vessel took water and capsized.

Three separate vessels sank this week leaving many presumed dead.  

Cosby Will Face Trial Over Rape Allegation

Bill Cosby, at one time one of the most prominent African America entertainers, will stand trial for the alleged rape of a then Temple University employee in Pennsylvania.

Cosby, 78, accused by close to 60 women of rape and sexual assault, has repeatedly through the years denied the allegation. The odds of occurrence and similarities in accounts, from a wide range of women, of all races, ethnicities and professions, have only recently become known.

The tarnished entertainer, dressed in a suit, attended the 3 ½ hour and looked less frail then his first court appearance in December. He could receive ten years in prison if found guilty.

Cosby, in his glory days, was a solid earner for NBC and helped the network handily win the Thursday night demographics for a decade. Documents presented indicated those in positions of power at the network also knew of Cosby's actions.

His legal troubles are only beginning as an additional case may see the inside of the courtroom. Hugh Hefner, the founder and longtime head of Playboy Enterprises, gave deposition this week over an alleged rape that occurred at the famous Playboy Mansion during a party where Cosby and the teen attended. The courts have ordered Cosby's wife Camille to also give deposition.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan, one of the most prolific singer, songwriters of the past six decades, celebrated his 75th birthday this week. Known for his distinctive sound, Dylan influence is noted throughout the most turbulent and changing period in American history.  

Born in 1941 as Robert Allen Zimmerman, Dylan took to the stage early with renditions of Elvis Presley and Little Richard. During his high school years before a solo act he was a member of Danny & The Juniors, a high school band. Well received by students, the band was so loud, according to Dylan, the Principal cut the microphone.

Raised in Minnesota, he dropped out of the University of Minnesota after his first and moved to New York's Greenwich Village. The Village, always a magnet for the free and independent thinker, drew the bohemian singer songwriter to the beats of a new and changing generation.

Dylan, part of the 1960's generation, influenced a world of counterculture youth, Hippies, as they were then known, and one of the few contemporary musicians to pass on the iconic Woodstock concert.  Although he didn't play Woodstock, Dylan did attend the March on Washington in August 1963. His influence to a war weary generation cemented his status as the counterculture movement passed.  

Dylan with his individual and unique sound and deep, heartfelt and honest lyrics wrote such memorable tune including "Like a Rolling Stone," "The Times They Are A Changing," "Blowin' in the Wind," "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Knocking on Heaven's Door," "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "Hurricane," "Tangled up in Blue," "I Want You," "Lay Lady Lay." He also recorded two well received and popular Christian Albums in the 1980's Slow Train Coming and Saved.

Bob Dylan has sold more than 100million records. He has released six books filled with his artwork and drawings and has shown his work in major galleries. He has won eleven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for "his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power."

Dylan was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he has also been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame.

He has played with many great musicians from The Traveling Wilburys, comprised of George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and the late Roy Orbison, The Band (and appeared as a special guest during The Band's Last Waltz Farewell concert), Joan Baez, the late Johnny Cash, the Grateful Dead, George Harrison, Mark Knopfler and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.

Age, like most musicians of his time, have not slowed him and Bob Dylan is currently touring and will be one of the mega talents headlining the Desert Trip Concert scheduled for October 2016.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, the traditional start to the summer getaways, is really a day to remember the sacrifice of the those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Remember our veterans this Memorial Day and look to our nation with all its current ills and be thankful.

For more information on President Barack Obama:


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