Beltway Insider: Year in Review - Global Terrorism, Tragedies, Donald Trump and Twitter

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As the world rings in the New Year, 2017 will be remembered for unleashing a wave of global terrorism, unprecedented natural disasters, mass shootings, and a corrupt White House administration that changed the accessibility to the President.

According to Gallup, President Trump job approval, over the past week, increased by one percentage point to 40% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President remained constant at 55%.

President Trump has consistently had lower approval ratings than any modern president in history.

President Donald Trump Inaugurated

January brought a change of the guard in American with President Donald Trump taking the oath of office along with Vice President Mike Pence. The Presidency has been tumultuous with Trump expecting the American public to accept his win without question.

The majority of Americans believe that one of the President's three adult children, Ivanka, Don, Jr., or Eric or a member of his immediate inner circle were actively involved with securing his victory through involvement with the Russians.

His inauguration, which one year later the attendance totals are still debated, was countered with millions who took to the streets in cities and towns across the nation protesting his presidency.

The unprecedented backlash is gaining momentum as in one of the most debated and surprising upsets Alabama voters have elected Doug Jones, the first Democrat in a decade even after President Trump endorsed his challenger, Roy Moore.

Donald Trump had to wait nearly a year before he gained his first legislative victory. After attempting throughout the year to persuade the American people his brand of polarizing politics was essentially what the world need to see in order to make America Great Again, he was repeatedly challenged in court over attempts to use his Executive Power to subvert the Constitution and its protections.

His continued controversial use of Twitter, the micro-messaging platform, as a tool for keeping the public updated on his opinions, thoughts, motivations and general trash talking jabs at his democratic targets or any person he believes has questioned him or continues to challenge him has made Twitter a common source for media around the world and made the President of the United States accessible to every journalist.


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This Trump administration has seen more employment changes in 11 months than most Presidents see over the course of a complete term. The shortest tenure was Anthony Scaramucci, a Goldman Sachs banker with a shocking personal life, hired to be Trump's Communications Director and expected to clean up Trump's failing image and who was announced with great fanfare and ten days later, with a single sentence sent packing.

Others in Prsident Trump's inner circle who parted ways include Steve Bannon, who served as the President's White House Chief Strategist, for seven months also parted ways. Sean Spicer, who served as White House Press Secretary and acting Communications Director departed. Reince Priebus, who served as the White House Chief of Staff also left after seven months. Tom Price, Department of Heath and Human Services, and resigned after seven months. The Department of Homeland Security has seen two Directors leave over the past 11 months including John F. Kelly and Elaine Duke who resigned after five months.

The first six months Trump also bid farewell to National Security Advisor and Retired United States Army General Michael T. Flynn, later indicted by Robert A. Mueller, the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation leading the Investigation into the Russia Collusion connection.

Robert Mueller and the Russian Connection

Meticulously and with precision Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russian/Trump connection or collusion with a foreign government for the purpose of circumventing and influencing the Presidential Election of 2016 has resulted in four indictments against George Papadopoulos who pleaded "Guilty" to one count of false statements; Rick Gates who pleaded "Not Guilty" to eight counts; Paul Manafort who pleaded "Not Guilty" to nine counts and Michael Flynn who pleaded "Guilty" to one count and agreed to assist the investigation.

Mueller who is facing harsh criticism from the President, who adamantly states there was no collusion, continues to focus on Jared Kushner son-in-law and Senior Advisor the President, as well as other members of Trump's inner circle.

Terrorism Opens 2017

On January 1, 2017, shortly after 1:00am, a lone gunman shot his way into the Renia Nightclub in Istanbul killing thirty-nine and injury seventy. It was the first terrorist attack of the New Year and would set a precedent as each month saw an increasing number of terrorist attacks around the world.

Mass shootings seemed to be the weapon of choice for homegrown terrorist in the United States with nearly 400 mass shooting occurring in the United States in 2017.

The United States is the only civilized nation in the world that has this type of continuing Gun violence. As the year comes to an end and New Year's Eve celebration in every major city are hosting outdoor events, the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas that resulted in 59 deaths and 527 injured has been deemed the number one domestic terror threat.

Federal authorities in Houston, Texas stopped a potential copycat of Las Vegas earlier December 31 after a guest at the Houston Hyatt Regency, identified as Richard Ziemba, 49, became intoxicated in the hotel bar and increasingly agitated to the point of belligerence. At that point he was escorted to his room by police who upon entry found several weapons and ammunition. The hotel was set to host an annual New Year's Eve celebration.

Sutherland Springs, Texas, a small town with a couple of stop lights and two churches suffered the unthinkable when a lone gunman entered the First Baptist Church in full tactical gear and systematically began slaughtering members of the congregation. Twenty-six, including eight members of one family and an unborn child, died.

A mass shooter targeted passengers in the Fort Lauderdale Airport killing five and injuring six. In June, Republican members of the House of Representatives with practicing for the annual charity game when a disgruntled citizen opened fire filling one and injuring five.

Even when bullets rain down upon their own lawmakers refuse to consider common sense gun laws. It is a shameful example to set in the world, hiding behind the claim of dedication to the constitution, while allowing ones citizens the freedom to exact anarchy.

Europe

Explosives, suicide bombers and vehicle attacks have increased in Western Europe throughout 2017 with the UK bearing the painful burden of witnessing atrocities and terror upon its citizens.

Manchester, England, known as the seat of manufacturing, a modern northern city with the Manchester Arena a stop on every global concert tour.

On the night of May 22, 2017, after an Ariana Grande Concert, an lone wolf suicide bomber wearing a shrapnel laced bomb filled with nuts, bolts, and screws detonated himself in the lobby killing twenty-three concert goers and waiting parents and injuring more than 500.


Counter-Terror Expert Bruce Alexander Talks New Year’s Eve Security in New York, London, Paris


Lone wolf terrorists used vehicle attacks on three separate occasions in London. In March a lone wolf, who police believed was called up by a ping on his cell phone, dove his vehicle across Westminster Bridge striking pedestrians. After crashing the car he stabbed a policeman to death bring the total to five dead and 49 injured.

Terrorists also used the vehicle attack during a night attack in the London bridge area. After plowing down tourists and locals out for an evening stroll, the three terrorist crashed the van and jumped out stabbing people. Eight died and 48 were injured.

Barcelona

Vehicle attacks also shocked the world when during the height of the August tourist season in Barcelona, Spain, when a van plowed through the busy outdoor bazaar killing thirteen and injuring 130. Terrorists had planned a coordinated attack thought the coastal region as authorities investigating a home explosion found evidence linking the bomb making factory to the vehicle attackers. Nine hours after the Barcelona attack a second vehicle attack occurred in Cambrils killing one and injuring six.

New York

Manhattan has seen an increase in vehicle attacks. In June a vehicle attacked killed one and injured twenty others. On October 31, 2017, the weekend of the NYC Marathon, a vehicle truck attack plowed down a bicycle path in lower Manhattan killing eight and injuring eleven. The Marathon went off without a hitch.

Most recently a suicide bomber, wearing a pipe bomb that malfunctioned, attempted to detonate himself in the Port Authority. In June a vehicle attack in Times Square killed one and injured 18.

Tragedies, Natural Disasters

June was a challenging month for Londoners. Still reeling from the rise in terror attacks the world watched in horror as an apartment fire at Grenfell Tower, in North Kensington, consumed the 24 story building killing an unprecedented 70 people.

The shocking video of residents calling for help from the top floors, using social media to live broadcast the dire situation, dropping children to safety and horrifically being told by emergency operators to wait for rescue.

While the cause was determined to be a faulty freezer, the rapid spread of the blaze was determined to be the cladding used when the exterior of the building was renovated.

New Yorkers also felt the devastation of an unprecedented apartment fire, the worst the city has experienced in nearly a quarter of a century as a toddler playing with a stove has been determined to have caused the fatal Bronx fire that killed twelve, including four children, and left four others in critical condition just days before 2017 ended.

Natural Disasters Decimate Entire Islands

"The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was a hyperactive, deadly, and extremely destructive season, featuring 17 named storms, ranking alongside 1936 as the fifth-most active season since records began in 1851. The season also featured both the highest total accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) and the highest number of major hurricanes since 2005. All ten of the season's hurricanes occurred in a row, the greatest number of consecutive hurricanes in the satellite era," Wikipedia reports.

The Hurricane season will go down in the record books as the costliest at $369.86billion in damage. The storms which ranged from a water event in Hurricane Harvey, dropping 51.88 inches of rainfall in Houston, Texas, a new North American record, to devastating wind events with Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria which collectively decimated islands across the Caribbean and Puerto Rico.

To this day, three months after the devastation Puerto Rico is still without electricity even after the President has repeatedly promised assistance and failed to deliver.

Unprecedented Wildfires

Northern California experienced unprecedented wildfires across Sonoma and Napa counties leaving the famed wine region struggling to comprehend the mass ruin and caused $9.4billion in damage.

The 2017 fire season in California has been the costliest and most damaging with more than 8,900 structures, buildings, homes, vineyards and historic century old establishments consumed by the fires.

The December Southern California fires have burned for nearly one month and has yet to be contained. Over one thousands structures were destroyed.

Journalist Kim Wall Murdered

Kim Wall, a Swedish freelance journalist, educated at Columbia University in New York City, headed home for a short stop and decided to interview Danish submarine inventor Peter Madsen, hoping to pitch the finished product to Wired.

What seemed like an easy few hours, she boarded the UC3 Nautilus with Madsen. The two were photographed by a passing boater. It would be the last time Kim Wall would be seen alive.

What happened next is conclusion although the circumstance remain debatable. Sometime over the next three hours Wall was murdered onboard the submarine and dismembered. Her torso was found days later with fifteen stab wounds mostly around her genitals. The remainder of her body parts were found in a two separate garbage bags in Koge Bay.

Madsen's trial is schedule for 2018.

World Welcomes 2018

With stunning pyrotechnic displays around the world beginning in Sydney, Australia the world has welcomed in 2018! Here's to a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.

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