Beltway Insider: Obama Commutes Sentences; Colombian President; Assad/Aleppo; Trump Debacle; Hurricane Matthew; Oldchella

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President Obama, who has spoken of his upcoming pardons, commuted the sentences of 102 drug offenders, primarily convicted of possession and distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine, with the release dates for the felons beginning February 2017 and continuing over the next eighteen months.

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, remained constant at 52% 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%.

Colombia President Received Nobel Peace Prize

President Juan Manuel Santos, the President of Colombia, South America, was chosen as the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the 50 year-long war and build a better nation and legacy for himself and the people of Colombia.

In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end, the committee explained the "war has cost the lives of at least 220,000 Colombians and displaced close to six million people. The award should also be seen as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process. This tribute is paid, not least, to the representatives of the countless victims of the civil war."

Both President Obama and Vice President Biden also congratulated the 65-year-old, U.S. educated leader who recently indicated the Peace Prize money will be donated to organizations aiding the conflict victims.

"I want to congratulate my friend and partner Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  The Nobel Committee made the right decision in welcoming his tireless efforts to bring a just and lasting peace to Colombia, sending a message that in a world of conflict the pursuit of peace must be supported and encouraged. As Colombia turns away from the longest-running war in the Western Hemisphere, this award is a testament to President Santos' unwavering, courageous leadership through years of difficult negotiations," Obama said.

"I admire the extraordinary courage and dedication President Santos has demonstrated throughout the peace process. His faith in the prospect of a better future for the people of Colombia has never wavered. And, although the work is not yet done, thanks to his leadership, after 52 years of violence, it's possible to envision a hemisphere that is fully at peace," said Vice President Joseph Biden

Syria's Assad Targets Rebel Held Aleppo

Aleppo, Syria, has taken the brunt of Syrian led and Russian assisted airstrikes nearly leveling the Syrian capital in an effort to drive out rebel strongholds and recent ominous statements, from Bashar al Assad indicate the bombing raids are not ending.

Assad has announced that citizens of Aleppo should flee and will allegedly provide safe passage. The citizens of Aleppo have two choices, hopefully survive the daily bombing raids, and possibly face the same in the following days, or flee.

"What's clear is that the Assad regime continues to pursue a strategy of bombing civilians into submission.  It's grotesque.  It's disgusting.  And there are many observers who have declared that it is a violation of international law. The situation in Aleppo is one that is a source of deep concern.  And the willingness of the Russians to aid and abet the Syrians in carrying out this murderous campaign against innocent civilians raises a lot of questions about their credibility.  It certainly has isolated them in the international community.  And it's something that we're deeply concerned about," said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

The United Nations has released imagery of Aleppo and the topography over the past week has shown tremendous damage and devastation. Aleppo, where at least 250,000 citizens, non-fighting citizens have remained. The city has suffered through Blitzkrieg style airstrikes resulting in imagery akin to World War II bombed out London.

"The satellite imagery that was released by the United Nations illustrating the terrible impact of the bombing campaign of the Syrians and the Russians tragically is not particularly surprising.  There are a wide variety of anecdotal reports of cluster munitions, bunker busters, bunker buster bombs, and other incendiary explosive devices that are taking an extraordinary toll on the civilian population in Aleppo.  The widespread reports of the children that have been killed in Aleppo just in the last few weeks are gut-wrenching, to say nothing of the innocent men and women who have been killed in those military operations," Earnest said.

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Election 2016: Clinton/Trump Meet In Town Hall; Trump Derails Amidst Vulgar Revelations; Sets Record; VP Snooze Debate

Donald Trump, the Republican Presidential Candidate, a man the GOP endorsed as ascribing to their platform and values, was outed over the weekend by The Washington Post by a segment tape shot in 2005, spoken into a "hot mic" for the entertainment program Access Hollywood with then host, Billy Bush.

Trump who has been accused throughout the campaign as a grouper, a misogynist, for lack of more defined terminology sexually aggressive, liberal or a whore and still with the comments surfacing his language is deeply concerning and if he is boasting for the interview, attempting to gain information from the young Bush, or confessing to past behaviors, his words present him as a serial sex pervert.

Trump stated in the three-minute interview obtained by The Washington Post, which is laced with vulgar, defamatory and crude language, that because he was "a star" he could "grab them by the pussy" whenever he wanted. He went on to add "You can do anything." To which Billy Bush also affirmed the fact that celebrity does have its sexual draw with "anything."

Trump also admitted he was instinctively drawn to "kissing" beautiful women who he would force himself on and went on to add "I don't even wait." The conversation continued with another locker room, sophomoric account of his plotting to seduce a married woman and how he "went to try and fuck her."

Donald Trump has spent the last two weeks of his campaign calling attention to the marital fidelity of former President Bill Clinton, and even as far as broaching the lack of sexual activity between the Democratic candidate and her husband.

Donald Trump has also secured another dubious title: the only major candidate in political history that did not earn the endorsement of one major newspaper or media.

VP Debate – A Yawn Compared to Presidential

Senator Tim Kaine approached the debate from a position of arrogance as if the election has already occurred and he had his award show wave ready. The arrogance was off putting for the undecided voter. As there are still some who are wavering.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence is clearly the more presidential of the two candidates and prepared to step in should anything render his boss incapacitated. And yes his political views are alienating. Granted his position on Gay Marriage, Gays Rights is as right as they get. And he speaks it. Is there something welcoming, to the undecided, about someone who will express their extremely distasteful opinion to the point of alienation?

Hillary seems of course the slam dunk winner. Is that a position of arrogance? Does she believe there is no room, even after Trump's Triple D, debacle, derailing, disturbing, revelations.

The American people are fickle and forgiving. Hopefully, they will vote for the more qualified candidate, the one with plans, not simply empty and ambiguous words.

Auspiciously absent from the political stumping for Mrs. Clinton is of course, true blue American Political dynasty daughter, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. Has the two Political Dynasty's suffered a severing?

Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew, now a post tropical storm, off the Carolina coast and heading out to sea where it will no longer be a threat to land, weather prognosticators and meteorologists do not anticipate or expect the loop back as one weather module suggested earlier.

Matthew may be bidding the United States and Atlantic coastline farewell but not after dumping record rainfalls throughout the hard-hit Carolina's and devastating Dame Marie, Haiti, which took a direct hit.

The extremely poor nation was ill prepared for the Category 4 Hurricane that ripped through with sustained winds of 140mph and gusts of 215mph shredding the municipalities and tearing apart shanty town homes across the western tip of the nation.

The winds were at Hurricane force thirty miles out from the band and tropical storm force winds extended 195 miles from the center.

Hurricane Matthew lived up to the warnings, flash floods, downed power lines, devastation resulted in more than 894 deaths.

Hurricane Matthew remained a Category 4 after breaking land in Haiti. Veering slighting west, Matthew touched the tip of La Manigua, Cuba heading 90 miles north to the United States.

Weather modules predicted Floridians would see a direct hit and with Haiti's devastation expected heavy damage.

Hurricane Matthew teased the Florida coast with heavy winds, high surf and rains, resulting in flood damage, tossing unsecured or loosely secured vessels around buffeting the coast and thankfully no direct hit.

The closest Matthew came to a direct hit was above Charleston South Carolina. By then Matthew, a Category 1, had weakened considerably with winds of 110mph and gusts of 125mph. Still strong enough to down trees, power lines, rip roofs, the heavy rains flooded streets, trapped residents and flood roads and forced owners to abandon vehicles.

Wilmington, North Carolina, the Cape Fear river rose past its banks with residents walking through knee high standing water. The Tar Heel state faced up to 19inches of rain in Fayetteville; the coast escaped with only 6 inches.

Hurricane Matthew claimed 17 lives in the United States and combined is over 1000.

Desert "Oldchella" Trip

Knocking against stereotypes the legends of Rock and Roll, Paul McCartney, The Who, Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Roger Waters earlier this year agreed to a three-day concert festival in Palm Springs.

The event, affectionately known as "Oldchella," a gentle tease to the average age of the performers who all, save one, have reached their seventies.

For the record our rockers, Bob Dylan, 75, Charlie Watts, 75, Paul McCartney, 74, Mick Jagger, 73, Roger Waters, 73, Keith Richards, 72, Roger Daltrey, 72, Pete Townshend, 71, Neil Young, 70, have all reached the Septuagenarian age bracket except one, Ron Wood, guitarist for The Rolling Stones, who at 69 is the youngest.

The idea that these rockers would be able to generate the interest in the Coachella Valley music scene, usually reserved for the annual and extremely successful youth driven Coachella Music Festival, a rite of passage each spring for the throngs of youth heading to the desert to be a part of the new wave concert events, was put to rest early after the announcement of Desert Trip sold out in less than one day.

So much in demand were the tickets, a second weekend was added. It sold out, although as the weekend is upon us, rumor has it some tickets for weekend two still exists . . . they say.

The Desert Trip, obviously geared toward the older Baby Boomers, who often sit back and remember the first time they saw Roger Daltrey and The Who or Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones, or headed to the New York Airport, with a "We Love You, Paul," sign in hand, like some very well-known celebrities have recounted those moments, in their youth, with affection.

Desert Trip brought them all to the stage for one, well now, two incredible weekends of warm late summer nights, rock and roll and new memories. Not reserved for only the boomers, Desert Trip is about the music which transcends time and age.

The crowd is a mix of the young, the hopeful, next generation musicians and the seasoned, energized by the sound to stand for something and now hoping the same motivation takes hold of the lost Millennials who for a night or two are joined by the sound.  

The genuine surprise is that the concert promoters are surprised at the revenue generated. With $250million a toss out number for weekend one, the double fantasy trip should bring in about $350million and $500million.

Not bad for a group of 70 somethings.

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