Beltway Insider: U.S. Sends Fleet to Aid Airliner Search: G7 Firm on Russian Sanctions; Overtime Pay, Emergency UI

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President Obama, amidst plummeting approval ratings, continues to force the economy forward implementing his Action Year Plan to aid American workers who are still carrying the burden of the global economic fallout and recession.

 

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week plummeted six percentage points to 39% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President rose four percentage point to 55%. 

G7 Nations Firmly United on Russian Sanctions

President Barack Obama along with other G7 nation members are pressing for diplomatic sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggressive military action which violated the territorial sovereignty against neighboring Ukraine.

The countries that comprise the G8, absent of Russia, are united in sanctioning the Soviet Union, through diplomatic and financial channels, and clearly advised the Russians that these actions will only bring the global governing bodies, in complete agreement against Russian military and hostile actions.

The President and Secretary of State John Kerry have continued to voice, in the strongest language possible, the official sanction of the Soviet Union over the aggressive act of war violations, and attempts at annexation of Crimea by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"We are working to see if the Russians are willing to resolve this matter diplomatically.  Secretary Kerry has been in regular contact with Foreign Minister Lavrov.  And those conversations will continue," said White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney.

Vice President Joseph Biden is also monitoring the Russian actions and has remained in constant and frequent contact with the Ukraine's Prime Minister reinforcing the "United States stands firmly behind Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in ensuring Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity as Ukrainians chart their own course for a democratic future."

Despite the presentation by the Kremlin that the call for assistance came from Crimea and the Ukrainians are holding escalated elections in the city of Crimea to determine the support for Russian annexation, all governments acknowledge the sovereignty of the Ukraine, in total, and are demanding the Russian withdraw from the boundaries of the Ukraine.

As the Ukraine moves forward toward EU admission the Russian military bases in Crimea fall under the control, rule and scrutiny of European Union officials. Putin will never allow those installations to be under any other control expect Russian. The succession of Crimea may be the only alternative to additional military action.

Putin seems intent on showing the world the citizens of Crimea actually want to be a part of Russia and will more than likely use any win in these disputed elections to present his good will intentions as a defense to heads of state both now and at the upcoming June 2014 G8 Summit hosted by Russia and held in Sochi.

"In the meantime, as we've made clear, there have been and there will be costs to Russia's action.  And we have a flexible tool in the executive order that the President signed that will allow us to calibrate the cost depending on the decisions that Russia makes, depending on whether or not Russia decides to avail itself of an opportunity here to pursue its concerns in Ukraine in a peaceful, diplomatic way," said White House press Secretary Jay Carney.

U.S. Sends Fleet to Aid Search for Missing Malaysian Airliner

The United States joined China and an unprecedented ten other nations in a massive 1000 mile search, over the South China Sea and Indian Ocean, as the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH305 deepens.  

"The (Department of Defense) DOD said over the weekend that the Seventh Fleet has sent assets to assist in search efforts, including the USS Pinkney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, which is now in the vicinity and has two MH-60R helicopters equipped for search efforts onboard.  Additionally, a P-3C Orion aircraft from our base in Okinawa is now in the region and has long-range search radar and communications capabilities," said White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney.

After a week of intense scrutiny as well as futile search and recovery missions the daunting task of finding the Boeing 777, that presumably went down at some point into the flight.

The Malaysian government has been more forthcoming with sensitive sonar information not previously released as they are now aided by a total of 12 countries united in determining the cause, bringing accountability and of course the grim task of recovery,

As no solid debris has surfaced over the week, Malaysian Airlines released new data which revealed a homing device was active nearly four hours after the communications handoff to Vietnamese Ho Chi Min tower was supposed to take place, which expanded the search mission in a circumference of 1000 miles.

Additionally several news agencies are reporting data which monitors the in flight controls were manually shut off at intermittent intervals during the flight which has led officials to rule out catastrophic mid air power failure or scatter missile damage similar to TWA Flight 800.

Officials haven't released any information gathered from communication transmissions originating from individual cellular conversations or data transmission of passengers which if the terrorism theory materializes could indicate the devices were confiscated to stop any distress messages from being sent as was the case with Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, PA on September 11, 2001.

Pilot disorientation, similar to spatial disorientation the official released cause of 1999 plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, and sister-in-law, off the shores of Martha's Vineyard, has become a major theory especially in admission of the continued revelation of data from the Malaysian government that tracked the plane.

Pilot suicide is also a consideration, as with Egypt Air Flight 990 which crashed into the waters off Nantucket, in 1999, killing all 217 aboard.

Air France 447 which went down in a severe electrical storm in route from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Charles De Gaulle International Airport, in 2009, took approximately two years to release official determination, and complete recovery, which shifted blame from mechanical failures to pilot inexperience.

Without knowing the ocean floor topography the possibility that MH305 went down at full speed drilling itself into an underwater atoll, burying itself deep away from the possibility of sonar availability although no tsunami or oceanic disturbances were reported.

At this point, every theory is simply that. Although as investigators reconstruct the timeline and rule out, based on the lack of visual findings, oceanic disturbance and scientific data, initial theories are slowly being ruled out. A new picture has emerged which brings into play the stolen passports and could be one without any conclusive ending.  At least for now.

 Overtime Wages Restructured

President Obama continued utilizing his executive authority to implement elements of his Action Year Plan he so clearly outlined during January's State of the Union Address.

As he indicated then, when mandated by law he would work with congress to bring about necessary changes to aid American workers who are still carrying the brunt of the recession burden and when, through Executive Order, he could cut through the red tape and create swift, permanent and effective action he would.

This week, he introduced and signed into law, through an executive order, an additional wage strengthening packaging that rewards workers for their dedicated service and stops flagrant violations of the overtime laws.

Obama "has ordered the Secretary of Labor to modernize our country's overtime rules to ensure that millions of American workers are paid a fair wage for a hard day's work," the President said in a released statement.

Salaried workers, often thought of as upper management or degreed professional, are usually called upon, in compensation for the higher benefit packages, to work beyond a normal forty hour week.

"We think these two items are very different, but obviously they do feed into the same thing, which is people should be rewarded for fair work.  But again, realize we're not talking about people who -- what you're paying workers who are working 30 or 40 hours a week.  This is, do you have an obligation to pay the minimum wage to someone -- to pay the minimum wage or overtime to someone who is on a fixed salary and maybe working 60, 70, 80 hours a week," said Secretary of Labor Betsey Stevenson

Employers have been grossly taking advantage of workers through egregious violations of the overtime laws by offering salaried positions and expecting, demanding, the employee work 60 to 70 hours per week reducing wages to poverty level.

"Americans have spent too long working more and getting less in return.  So wherever and whenever I can make sure that our economy rewards hard work and responsibility, that's what I'm going to do.  Because what every American wants is a paycheck that lets them support their families, know a little economic security, and pass down some hope and optimism to their kids.  That's something worth fighting for.  And I'll keep fighting for it as long as I'm President," the President said in his weekly address.

Emergency UI Benefits Bill

After months of political haggling a bill was reintroduced that would resurrect the emergency unemployment benefits that lapsed December 28, 2013 plummeting over 1.3 millions into a fiscal abyss.

Senate Democrats and Republicans finally hammered out a bill that includes emergency unemployment benefits past the initial twenty weeks allowed through UI claims and addresses the lapsed benefits.

As the economy slowly and steadily improves, the bi-partisan effort lead by UI bill which is the third of its type to address the unemployment insurance and A bi-partisan senate effort must pass both houses before it can signed into law by the president.

"The President has repeatedly called on Congress to take action on a compromise solution to extend this vital lifeline for millions of hard-working Americans as they look for work and support their families. This is not just the right thing to do for these Americans looking for work, it's the right thing to do for our economy," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a released statement.

 

Sources: Whitehouse.org, Wikipedia.com, 

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

For more information on the Affordable Care Act: https://www.healthcare.gov/

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