Beltway Insider: Trump/UK/Iran Tensions, 9/11 Vote Blocked, Apollo 11 Remembered, Justice John Paul Stevens, Jeffrey Epstein

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President Trump paled this week, even with his divisive outbursts on four freshman representatives, to the events of fifty years ago when a divided America was glued to the television watching history made with each small step.

According to Gallup, President Trump's job approval rating, which was tracked for the two week time period of July 3 -16, 2019, decreased two percentage points to 41% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President remained consistent at 55%. A slight 3% of the population polled have no opinion. Ratings are calculated bi-monthly.

Iran Seizes British Tanker

Iranian Naval Command radioed a United Kingdom flagged oil tanker sailing through the Straits of Hormuz ordering the ship's captain to "alter its course" before seizing the freighter and taking its crew hostage.

The Iranian navel has escalated its pushbacks efforts against the military strength of the United States and the United Kingdom. A series of determined maneuvers preformed to escalate tension in the region, have targeted the USS Boxer, stationed in the region on Middle East deployment.


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"An unarmed Iranian navy Bell 212 helicopter flew alongside the Boxer, yards away from the deck, before it was chased away by a U.S. helicopter. The commander of the Boxer, Capt. Ronald Dowdell, called the engagement "surreal." The convoy swept past the speed boats without incident but was followed by the larger Iranian military vessel, which came as close as 500 yards to the Boxer—the distance the U.S. navy allows before verbally communicating to a ship not to come any closer. U.S. helicopters flew between the Iranian ship and the Boxer to warn it away, then followed a white Iranian aircraft that U.S. naval officials identified as a Y-12 surveillance plane," The Wall Street Journal reports.

As tensions continue to escalate between the Iranians and the United Kingdom, the United States has increased its military presence sending troops to Saudi Arabia as president Trump reassure allies of military support.

"Iran is in big trouble right now.  Their economy is crashing.  It's coming to a crash.  They're trying to bring soldiers back home because they can't pay them.  A lot of bad things are happening to them.  And it's very easy to straighten out or it's very easy for us to make it a lot worse," the President said.

9/11 Vote Blocked

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked the 9/11 compensation fund bill from receiving unanimous support this week as the bill moved from the house to the Senate. Even with the attempts to gain media attention, the bill which had 73 cosponsors, is still expected to pass by a wide bipartisan margin.

Senator Paul and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) indicated they blocked the 9/11 bill, which guarantees funding until 2092, because of the high cost. Freedom does come at a price and for the 200 additional New York City Fireman who have died since 9/11 they, along with the 343 who perished on site, the cost of freedom paid the ultimate price.

Not one senator would want to ponder the necessity of a prepared fire department if they or a loved one were trapped in a building or the compensation should the roof collapse or a back-draft cause an explosion and battalions are killed. Every senator, every person, would want the bravest, the most courageous, the men and women with an unfathomable commitment to the task at hand.

Senator Mitch McConnell, has said, "Congress has never failed to address the compensation fund."

"It is almost incomprehensible that after losing 343 members on Sept. 11, we have now had 200 more FDNY members die due to World Trade Center illness. These heroes gave their lives bravely fighting to rescue and recover other. We will never forget them." FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement.

Apollo 11 Remembered

The 1960's have always been spoken of as the psychedelic generation, the time when people tuned in, turned on and dropped out. It was a generation who saw war breaking out on the streets of every major American city as push-back from the Vietnam war was spilling over into the streets. The Civil Rights movement in the South brought images of terror as Americans turned on Americans due to the color of their skin. It was a time when each day the ticking time bomb of change grew louder.


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It was time of courage, of leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., of President John F. Kennedy who would galvanize a people, a nation, each speaking with passion of change as each had a dream of what tomorrow would bring to this nation.

President Kennedy announced to the American people, September 12, 1962, in Houston, Texas the new frontier for the American people would be the moon. "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things," he said, "not because they are easy but because they are hard."

The new frontier would put a man on the moon and would be realized even without the man who fueled the hope, the belief in all that we could achieve heights beyond our comprehension, we would mourn the loss of those dedicated to the success. Bravely and honoring them continue to the finish.

And on July 20, 1969 with more than 500million people around the world, citizens of every nation, we watched as we reached that new frontier.

Astronauts Mike Collins alone circled the moon in the Command module while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the two men chosen to land on the Moon's surface touched down in the lunar module and Armstrong, announced to the world, "That was one small step for man one giant leap for mankind."

And for one moment in time the world paused, united, strife silent, guns quiet, proud. And we watched, awestruck.

President Trump Remembers Apollo 11

"For more than a half century, the United States has led humanity's quest into the great unknown.  Few moments in our American story spark more pride than the Apollo 11 mission, when Neil Armstrong, alongside Buzz Aldrin, planted our beautiful flag into the Moon's surface on July 20, 1969.  Those first steps upon that "magnificent desolation" represent a remarkable era in American innovation that has inspired future generations to become scientists and engineers and has served as a catalyst for the technological revolution of the 21st century.  The Apollo 11 lunar landing was a spectacular demonstration of American technical prowess and space leadership, and it served as an enduring example of what can be accomplished, in the face of incredible odds, by American heart, courage, and grit." President Trump said in a press release.

Funeral Arrangements Announced for Associate Justice John Paul Stevens

Former Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, who passed away this week, will lie in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court of the United States Monday, July 22. A private funeral service and interment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, July 23.

A private, invitation only, service begins at the Supreme Court at 9:30AM. The public is invited to pay their respects beginning at 10:30AM.


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"On behalf of the Court and retired Justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice John Paul Stevens has passed away," Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. said in a statement.

Statements from The Supreme Court Regarding the Death of Retired Associate Justice John Paul Stevens

Statement of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.: He brought to our bench an inimitable blend of kindness, humility, wisdom, and independence. His unrelenting commitment to justice has left us a better nation. We extend our deepest condolences to his children Elizabeth and Susan, and to his extended family.

Statement of Justice Clarence Thomas: In almost two decades as colleagues on the Court, he was an unfailingly collegial, courteous, and kind colleague. Since his retirement, we have missed him greatly as a member of the Court, and now will miss him even more profoundly as a friend.

Statement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: From my first year at the Court, Justice Stevens was my model for all a collegial judge should be. Circulations from other chambers invariably took precedence over all else on his worktable. His manner at oral argument typified both his civility and the quality of his mind. In a Capital City with no shortage of self-promoters, Justice Stevens set a different tone. Quick as his bright mind was, Justice Stevens remained a genuinely gentle and modest man. No jurist with whom I have served was more dedicated to the judicial craft, more open to what he called "learning on the job," more sensitive to the well-being of the community law exists (or should exist) to serve.

Statement of Justice Stephen G. Breyer: John Stevens was a superb Justice. He was blessed with a brilliant mind, which he put to the service of his strong humane instincts. When I first came to the Court and thereafter, I found that John was a considerate, helpful, good-natured, and insightful colleague. John understood how the rule of law forms a necessary part of our constitutional democracy. He understood that laws are designed primarily to serve those who live under them.

Statement of Justice Samuel A. Alito: I will always remember John Paul Stevens as a warm, engaging, and unfailingly cordial colleague who went out of his way to make me feel at home from my first day on the Court. Throughout his long and dedicated career, he brought a penetrating, pragmatic, and distinctively singular intellect to bear on the most important legal issues of the time. 

Statement of Justice Sonia Sotomayor: Justice Stevens was not only a great public servant, but an extraordinary mentor and role model to me personally. We hit it off from my first day on the Court. We must have talked for hours that day. Justice Stevens was impossible not to like; affable, humble, and unfailingly kind. Though we overlapped on the bench for only a year, I learned much of what I know about being a Justice from him. His decency, integrity, and commitment to principle were unparalleled.

Statement of Justice Elena Kagan: I was honored to succeed Justice John Paul Stevens on the Court, and his extraordinary tenure has inspired me ever since. He was one of a kind — a brilliant lawyer with a passion for justice, a person of rare independence who modeled collegiality and valued institutions, a modest man who achieved greatness in both his majority and his dissenting opinions.

Statement of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch: I am very sad to hear about the loss of Justice Stevens. His life and legacy will be remembered as one of dedication to his country with his admirable service to the U.S. Navy and on this Court. 

Statement of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh: Like the President who appointed him, Justice Stevens was a patriotic son of the Midwest who performed his constitutional duties with quiet dignity. Justice Stevens' contributions to the law are immense and will guide this Court's decisions for years to come. But for those who appeared before him in court or who sat beside him as judges, the most distinctive Stevens quality was his civility.  

Statement of Justice David H. Souter (Retired): He was the soul of principle and an irreplaceable friend.

Statement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy (Retired): For over 20 years it was my high privilege to be on the Supreme Court with Justice John Paul Stevens. There were just nine of us at the conference table of course, and it was often John who proposed arguments that we simply had to address. He was brilliant at interpreting the law in a way to reach what he considered to be the fair result. John had a brilliant mind. He enjoyed discussing literature, sports, history, the law, and endless other subjects. We used to say that we should not visit each other's chambers too often because once we started to talk it was hard to stop.  


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Jeffrey Epstein Denied Bail

Billionaire financier and registered sexual offender, Jeffrey Epstein has been ordered held without bail even as his attorneys had proposed a $100 Million-dollar bail package which Judge Richard M. Berman denied indicating no amount of money would reduce the danger to the community.

NBC News reports that Judge Berman said, "'I doubt any bail package can overcome' any danger to the community."

If convicted Epstein faces more than 45 years in prison.

For more information on President Donald Trump www.whitehouse.gov.

Sources: whitehouse.gov.

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