Beltway Insider: Obama Meets with British Prime Minister; IRS Targets Conservatives; Bomber Confesses; SNAP Faces Cuts; Angelina Jolie Reveals Medical Decisions

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President Barack Obama and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron met at the White House, this week, discussing the escalating violence in Syria in preparation for the upcoming G8 Summit.

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, rose a single percentage point to 50% of those polled approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President dropped a single percentage point to 43%.

President Obama Meets with British Prime Minister

President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron met this week in preparation for the upcoming G8 Summit and spoke to members of the media in a joint press conference that followed.

Opening remarks from the president included reiterating the two allies are united in democracy, and committed to furthering economic strength and recovery, transatlantic trade, freedom from terrorists, and global development.

President Obama also spoke on the commitment the two global powers have in assisting in third world growth as well as hearing the progress on AIDS, TB, food scarcity, societal violence and other dominating issues that plague the world.

Prime Minister David Cameron also presented the prevailing issues to be discussed as he host the G8 in Loch Erne Northern Ireland. He indicated the most pressing concern outside the control of both leaders is the escalating violence in Syria under the Assad regime.

Cameron believes the window of opportunity is narrow and has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to assist in creating a transitional government that will end Assad rule and his reign of terror which has caused refugees to flee their homeland into neighboring Jordan

IRS Targets Conservative Groups

Conservative groups and religious organizations with names such as Patriot,  Tea Party or other commonly associated conservative name became the target of an Internal Revenue Service witch hunt to slow, stop or stall, any approvals for reduced or tax free exempt status.

President Obama stated, when asked by Associated Press reported Julie Pace about the IRS scandal. “If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kinds of practices that had been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that’s outrageous and there’s no place for it. And they have to be held fully accountable, because the IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity and people have to have confidence that they’re applying it in a no-partisan way – applying the laws in a non-partisan way.”

Already under fire for the mishandling of the situation conservatives and republicans are indicating the Obama White House knew in July of 2012 that the practice of targeting, similar to profiling, was taking place.

Both President Obama and White House Senior Political Advisor Dan Pfeiffer have voiced appropriate outrage over the revelations.

Boston Bomber Suspect Confession

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev , the suspect in the Boston Marathon Bombing, according to published news reports wrote a confession, as he lie hiding in the boat during the final hours before his capture.

Confessing, Tsarnaev allegedly explained the bombings were retaliation for the US involvement in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He also, allegedly, wrote “when you harm one Muslim you hurt them all” indicting his Muslim religious beliefs bind him with all Muslims throughout the world that are oppressed and believe violence is the answer.

In other developments two of the three students arrested, Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, have waived their right to a probable cause hearing schedule. Both are being held, without bail, and charged with conspiring to obstruct justice and misleading investigators.

Lawyers for the two accused, both 19 and in the United States on student visas from Kazakhstan, have indicated their clients had nothing to do with April 15th twin blasts that killed four and injured more than 260.

The third suspect, Robel Phillipos, also 19, of Cambridge, Mass., was also charged with making false and misleading statements to authorities has been released on 100K bond.

If convicted on the obstruction of justice charges alone the three could face fines up to 250,000 and five years in prison.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Faces Cuts

SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is facing growing opposition on Capitol Hill as concern over the increasing costs associated with funding the domestic program grows.

Senators are facing deepening choices as the Sequester incisions, from domestic and defense programs over the next ten years, intensify.  The bill which is circulating calls for a cut of over 4.1 billion from the program and the possibility of upwards of $20 billion in cuts by 2021.

The cuts in the program are clearly in line with President Obama vision to create a stronger middle class. The escalating cost of underwriting the food subsidy program, which more than 44million Americans depend on, has increased $45 billion in the last six years from $35 billion in 2007 to $80 billion in 2013.

The Farm Bill which controls the Food Stamp program is run by The Department of Agriculture which also provides subsidies to farmers compensating them for not farming their land.

To be eligible for Food Stamp household income cannot exceed $29,000 for a family of four.

Angelina Jolie Reveals Medical Decisions

Actress and activist Angelina Jolie reveled this week she underwent a preventive double mastectomy to reduce her chances of Breast Cancer after she learned she carried the defective BRCA 1 gene.

Explaining her decision in a New York Times Op-ed, the 37 year-old international superstar, wrote of her mother’s death after a decade of fighting from cancer. She wrote candidly of her own medical issues, that she inherited the “faulty” BRCA 1 gene which dramatically increased the risk, as it does with all women, of cancer.

The decision, Jolie went on to reveal, was part of a plan to reduce her personal chances of developing cancer  from 87% to now 5% risk and to further reduce her chances she indicated she would be continuing the preventive measures by having her ovaries removed.

According to Wikipedia, “women with an abnormal BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene have up to an 80% risk of developing breast cancer by age of 90; increased risk of developing ovarian cancer is about 55% for women with BRCA 1 mutations and about 25% for women with BRCA 2 mutations.”

Jolie explained her decision was done for her family, her great love for her partner/fiancé Brad Pitt and to educate and encourage women on other options.

 

For more information on President Obama: www.whitehouse.gov 

Sources: Gallup, Wikipedia, Whitehouse.gov, UPI

 

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