Beltway Insider: Trump Recaps Asian Trip; Tax Bill; Puerto Rico; Morocco Stampede; UAE MARS City; Keystone Leak; Black Friday

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Today, two months after Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico leaving 95% of the inhabitants without electricity, 88% without clean water, another 70,000 in danger from a breech in the Guajataca Dam and now, the devastation remains with little progress.

According to Gallup, President Trump job approval, over the past week, increased by one percentage point to 39% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President decreased two percentage points to 56%.

Trump Recaps Asian Trip

President Donald Trump returning from his ten day, five nation Asian Foreign Trip has recapped highlights of his experiences.

"The President's historic five-country trip to Asia was an incredible success. He rallied the world against the menace of North Korea; strengthened our alliances and showed our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region; and took a stand for fair and reciprocal trade. As a result of the trip, American families will be safer and more secure, and American workers and companies are one step closer to competing on the level playing field they deserve," said White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders.

The Asian trip did little to derail the intent of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un. It was important for our allies in the region to understand especially as the President who can be considered unpredictable has formed his position based on solid policy and the proliferation of life treaty. The earthquake that was recorded and reported to be located under the tunnels of the launch site certainly aided in slowing the dictators equally unpredictable behaviors.


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One aspect of the Asian Trip was to introduce reciprocal trade agreements. as the President said, "we can no longer tolerate unfair trading practices that steal American jobs and wealth and intellectual property, and the days of the United States being taken advantage of are over."

China's Stranglehold on The U.S. and the Debate Over Rare Earth Elements

The President in his meetings with President Xi of China didn't press the issue of Rare Earth Elements, of which China is the largest exporter in the nation. The REE are crucial and critical to the manufacture of every Green Initiative from Wind Turbines to Environmentally friendly light bulbs to Hybrid Automobiles to every handheld device, smart phone, flat screen Television, computer laptop, desktop and monitor including defense department military systems from Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, Smart Bombs, Predator Unmanned Aircraft, Laser targeting and many other Defense Electronic Warfare Systems.

In the United States, Mountain pass California has the largest deposit of the elements and the mining is so damaging to the environment even the owners have chosen to only mine what is ordered. The Chinese conversely have no issues with the environmental disruption which occurs in the immediate area rendering the water containment and most lifeform suffering.

From the images the White House has released it looks as if First Lady Melania Trump received a more robust greeting in an event with troops at Yokota Air Base, in Tokyo, Japan.

House Passes Sweeping Tax Bill

Which in reality means nothing. As the bill, which is generally unpopular, just pass the senate before it can get anywhere near the Oval office. With the Holiday break quickly approaching on Capitol Hill, the likelihood of a Senate vote before late January 2018 at the earliest is out of the question.

Before the bill moves forward hearings and arguments will be presented on the issues of concern which from even a brief review are many.

And while it has been heralded as landmark legislation, the fact remains it is crafted from the House of Representatives, a body of 435 elected members and the first stop on most legislation. Led by Republican Paul Ryan, widely considered the most educated figure in both houses on budgetary matters, he is the Speaker of the House.

For the first time in history a Republican president is calling for lowering the taxes for those 99% of the population who carries the taxation burden for the 1%.

Puerto Rico's Long, Slow, Road to Recovery

Hurricane Maria, a Category Five, followed quickly on the heels of Hurricane Irma, also a Category five, slamming into Puerto Rico with an intensity and shocking fury, destroying nearly every standing structure and wiping out already weakened power grids.

As the storm passed, the devastation was reminiscent of an end of the world movie scene, with inhabitants attempting first to locate family and what was left of homes. A hefty $50billion in damage, a total of 55 dead with another 60 still unaccounted for two months later.

Even as the next day brought a breathtakingly beautiful Caribbean day the twisted mental, snapped and downed power lines, twigs which were once pylons and foundations for homes, remained in large debris piles.

Puerto Rico Electrical Power Authority

Hurricane Maria plunged 95% of the population, or nearly 3.6million, into darkness.

The instantaneous loss of a system wide power grid for any city would be devastating. The Northeast Blackout of 2003, the biggest in U.S. History, plunged 55million inhabitants of eight states and Ontario Canada into darkness and even New York City was without power, for two days.

For the people of Puerto Rico, its been two months, and still half of the island is without power with no timetable. Additionally, the Puerto Rico Electrical Power Authority is undergoing leadership changes. Ricardo Ramos resigned days after signing a controversial contract with Whitefish Energy Holdings.

"Ramos's resignation comes a few days after he defended his decision to the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee for signing a controversial $300 million contract between PREPA and Whitefish Energy Holdings, a small Montana company willing to restore and rebuild the grid on the island." Reported Newsweek

Memorandum and announcements via Twitter have indicated the nation is one track for power restoration. The people, one could venture, could care less about the Puerto Rico Electrical Power Authority shake-up, memo's or twitter. They want full restoration of electricity.

Guajataca Dam

Among the other ongoing devastation the island nation faces the breech in the Guajataca Dam, which during the height of damage assessment was responsible for an order that resulted in an additional 70,000 residents who survived the initial hit to be evacuated for fear the Dam would break.

It did. The force of thousands of gallons broke through the barrier, ripping apart roads, cutting a path though the hills surrounding the dam and running down the mountainside creating a swath of devastation through the hills, snapping trees, dislodging boulders, and crushing anything in its path.

The Dam has yet to be repaired.

Clean Water

Residents of the island nation are still facing an increasing threat of disease as more than 1milion citizens are still without clean drinking water.

The first choice for residents would be bottled water. Water trucks are positioned to provide residents with a pure water. Any water obtained from any source outside of designated clean water trucks, centers or in sealed bottled must be boiled.

Aquatabs AQT 100 Water Purification tablets may be available which will destroy the bacteria. 100 tablets will treat 200 quarts of water. Water is safe in 30 minutes.

Cholera, Guinea worm disease, Typhoid, Hepatitis A., Escherichia coli (E.Coli), Salmonella,  and Dysentery are just a few of the diseases caused by consuming untreated water.

Morocco Food Stampede Kills 15 Women; 40 More Injured

Fifteen women were trampled to death, with forty more suffering injuries when the crowd of mostly women were attempting to secure food being distributed in a governmental assistance program in a rural Moroccan village of Sidi Boulaalam.


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The deaths of the women are the first acknowledgment of a famine in the tiny community 90 miles southwest of Casablanca, with a population of less than 10,000 residents it is nearly invisible against the backdrop of the world's problems.

A Monarchy, "King Mohammed ordered that the victims' families be given any assistance they needed, the ministry said in a statement, adding that a criminal investigation had been opened, Reuters reported.

UAE MARS City Nears Completion

The largest MARS simulation city, which will provide the closest experience to actually living on the Red Planet ever to be attempted, is set to be completed in 30 months according to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Space Agency.

"The Mars City is the largest space simulation city ever built in the world and a realistic model to simulate living on the surface of the Mars. It will consist of several domes, with innovative construction techniques providing support for the structures. The project encompasses laboratories for food, energy and water, as well as agricultural testing and studies about food security in the future," Reuters reported.

The Dome structures will also hold a museum and a state of the art, specialized space laboratory. The Mars City has a price tag of $500million.

UAE Space agency has also reported The Hope Project will launch in 2020 and begin to orbit in 2021.  

Keystone Pipeline Leak

The Keystone Pipeline, 2,147 miles of above ground pipe, owned by TransCanada that runs from Alberta, Canada, to a distribution center in Oklahoma has, for nine years, fueled more debate than automobiles as both sides of the debate are dedicated.

An unexpected breech in the Keystone Pipeline sent 210,000 gallons of crude into the South Dakota countryside and for those hoping for a victory against the continued effort to build the Keystone XL Pipeline, it could be an early Christmas Miracle.

For those expecting a clear victory, playing down any damage of the leak is key to keeping the public focused on the necessity for the pipelines continued use.

   

Three phases of the project are in operation. They are:

 

The Keystone Pipeline (Phase I), delivering oil from Hardisty, Alberta, over 3,456 kilometres (2,147 mi) to the junction at Steele City, Nebraska, and on to Wood River Refinery in Roxana, Illinois, and Patoka Oil Terminal Hub (tank farm) north of Patoka, Illinois, completed in June 2010.

 

The Keystone-Cushing extension (Phase II), running 468 kilometres (291 mi) from Steele City to storage and distribution facilities (tank farm) at Cushing, Oklahoma, completed in February 2011.

 

The Gulf Coast Extension (Phase III), running 784 kilometres (487 mi) from Cushing to refineries at Port Arthur, Texas was completed in January 2014, and a lateral pipeline to refineries at Houston, Texas and a terminal will be completed mid-2016, going online the following year.

 

The proposed Keystone XL (sometimes abbreviated KXL, with XL standing for "export limited" Pipeline (Phase IV) would essentially duplicate (though along a shorter route and with a larger-diameter pipe) the Phase I pipeline between Hardisty, Alberta, and Steele City, Nebraska. 

 

It would run through Baker, Montana, where American-produced light crude oil from the Williston Basin (Bakken formation) of Montana and North Dakota would be added to the Keystone's throughput of synthetic crude oil (syncrude) and diluted bitumen (dilbit)from the oil sands of Canada.

 

The first two phases have the capacity to deliver up to 590,000 barrels per day (94,000 m3/d) of oil into the Mid-West refineries. Phase III has capacity to deliver up to 700,000 barrels per day (110,000 m3/d) to the Texas refineries.

 

By comparison, U.S. oil production averaged 9,400,000 barrels per day (1,490,000 m3/d) in first-half 2015, with gross exports of 500,000 barrels per day (79,000 m3/d) through July 2015. Wikipedia

Black Friday – Thanksgiving Annual Shopping Day

Black Friday, the annual binge shopping day, widely considered the official start of the Christmas Holiday shopping season, is gearing up if Wall Street pundits are correct for an even bigger boost to the economy as retailers are out to attract the undecided shopper.

Any retailer, in any city anywhere in the United States on Friday, November 24, will have the allure of making the impossible possible. MACY's Flagship in New York City will begin its holiday tradition of round the clock hours, allowing shoppers in the city that never sleeps to experience the store during any hour that is convenient to them.

The annual MACY's Thanksgiving Day Parade will usher in the Holiday season with many of the major retailers indicating they will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.  

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

Sources: Whitehouse.gov, Wikipedia.com,

 

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