Beltway Insider: Trump/Impeachment, UK Tory Win, NZ Volcano, Greta Thunburg/Bob Iger, Danny Aiello

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After a day of contentious debate, the House Judiciary committee approved two Articles of Impeachment against President Donald J. Trump, making him the fourth president in history to face the possibility of removal of duties from Impeachment.


President Trump's job approval rating, which was tracked for the two-week time period ending November 15, 2019, increased two percentage points to 43% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness decreased one percentage points to 54%. A slight 3% of the population polled have no opinion. Ratings are calculated bi-monthly.

House Judiciary Votes to Approve Two Articles of Impeachment

Led by Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerrold Nadler, in brief remarks after the votes, said, "Today is a solemn and sad day. For the third time in a little over a century and a half, the House Judiciary committee has voted articles of impeachment against the president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress," NPR reported.

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The full house vote is scheduled to be held December 18, 2019. With an expected vote along party lines, the impeachment should pass with 233 democratic votes, 197 Republicans should vote "no." Even if the republicans pick up the single Independent vote, they will not have the majority vote.

The next phase will be a lengthy senate investigation with everyone expecting both the president and whistle blower to testify. During the Senate phase the president remains in office and active, which essentially means it will be business as usual.

The vote, when it comes to it should be along party lines with 53 Republicans voting "No" and 45 democrats voting "Yes" Should the democrats pick up the two independents they will still need seven GOP votes to secure an impeachment.

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in an interview on Fox News on Thursday evening, "There is zero chance the president will be removed from office." McConnell said he was hoping that there would be no Republican defections in the Senate trial and that he was working closely with White House lawyers, pledging "total coordination,"' NPR reported.

Johnson's Party wins a Landslide Victory – Brexit Appears Poised for Completion

The UK Prime Minster Boris Johnson won a decisive victory in the recent general election securing a conservative majority in the British Parliament signaling the possibility of clear and definitive movement toward the finalization of the nation's exit from the European Union.

President Trump took to the micro-messaging platform Twitter to congratulate Prime Minister Johnson on his 88-seat win, one of the largest Tory victories since Margaret Thatcher's secured 102 parliamentary seats.

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"Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN! Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after Brexit. This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U. Celebrate Boris!" Trump tweeted in the early hours of Thursday morning," The Hill reported.

Scotland has demanded a new exit vote after the win.

New Zealand Volcano Eruption

New Zealand has once again been thrust into the global spotlight with the volcanic eruption of Whakaari Island, also known as White Island, off the coast of Auckland, and the confirmed deaths of 15 tourists who were climbing on the active site.

Tour operators who were ferrying tourists' groups to the island gave estimates that 47 people from several nations were on the island at the time of the explosion; 24 Australian, nine Americans, five New Zealanders and others from Germany, the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia.

Thirty-six victims were passengers aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Ovation of the Seas. A crew member was also reported as missing. In the five days since the eruption, recovery teams have been searching the waters near the island for victims.

The Eruption, Aftermath and Fatalities

Extensive video's made public by tourists from the first tour group that has just departed White Island minutes before the tragedy and were back on the tour boat when the volcano, which was steaming during their accent, erupted showing plumes of smoke and scalding ash spewing more than 12,000 feet into the air.

The thick shroud of scalding ash was falling as a group of tourists were reaching its summit, and a second group of tourists were waiting to be picked up at the water's edge having completed their day sightseeing trip.

According to New Zealand National Operation Commander and Deputy Commissioner John Tims stated, "There are currently 30 patients in six hospitals around New Zealand, Middlemore, Hutt Valley, Auckland City, Tauranga, Waikato and Christchurch. Twenty-five patients are critical with the remainder stable but serious [condition]."

Skin Ordered From U.S. To Meet Demand of Burn Victims

The severity of the burns has resulted in a global order of more than 1,300 feet of skin to be used for skin graft for the victims. The skin is provided by organ donors who designate skin for transplant upon death. The skin is usually removed from the deceased's back and backs of the legs. Donors must register "any needed organ" or specific organ donations and stipulate skin before it can be removed.

Dr. Peter Watson, chief medical officer of Counties Manukau Health, said at a press conference Wednesday that there are 29 patients being treated in intensive care and burn units at four different hospitals throughout New Zealand. Twenty-four of the burn patients remain in critical condition.

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"'We currently have stock but are urgently sourcing additional supplies to meet the demand for dressing and temporary skin grafts. We anticipate we will require an additional 1.2million sq cms of skin for the on-going needs of the patients. These supplies are coming from the United States and the order has been placed," Watson said.

He added, "The nature of these burns is complicated by the gases and chemicals in the eruption. This has necessitated more rapid surgical treatment of these burns than is the usual case for thermal only burns. As such surgical teams have been working around the clock, non-stop, to expedite the initial surgical treatment of the patients. This is just the start of a very long process that for some patients will last several months."

Returning Home

The Australian Military of Defense was called into action transporting the thirteen Australians who had been hospitalized in New Zealand, eleven of which were critically injured, back to their homeland.

"Some 47 people, including 24 Australian citizens and four permanent residents, were on the island when the volcano erupted on Monday. Ten Australians are now confirmed dead, two are presumed to have died and 12 are still being treated in hospitals after being repatriated with severe burns," reported The Guardian.

Several of the rescued and initial survivors have succumbed to their injuries including three Australian's, Krystal Eve Browitt, 21, Matthew, 13, and Berend Hollander, 16, who were on the island with their parents Martina and Barbara who are presumed dead.

Dr Watson, who has explained the trauma has taken a toll on his staff as well. The "severely critical patients, many of whom are in surgery every second day." The medical community has responded as "new surgeons are arriving - we're in a very fortunate position to have overseas burns specialists approaching us and offering their support and the first one has arrived and is going to be joining our teams tomorrow which is going to give much needed relief to our teams," he said.

The road to recovery for the remaining eleven patients is long and arduous. It will be months before they will be stable enough to move and complete the journey and recovery in their homelands. The recovery process as the victims are severely injured with burns covering nearly 80% of their bodies is lengthy.

Greta Thunberg/Bob Iger Share Time Magazine Person of the Year

What do a 16-year-old Environmental Activist from Sweden and a 68-year-old American Business leader have in common?

Well, if you are Greta Thunberg and Walt Disney Chairman of the Board Bob Iger you have both been named "Person of the Year" in Time Magazine's annual issue that highlights individuals for their achievements.

Iger became the first person in the "Businessperson of the Year," a newly inaugurated category, while Thunberg rose above all industries and sectors for her commitment to the environment and her ability to rally the power of youth.

The fact that nearly a half century separates the two is evidence enough that greatness can be achieved any time in any life.

Iger, who needs no introduction, purchased Fox Studios, from owner Rupert Murdoch, for the staggering sum of $70 billion and immediately decreased the sale price by nearly $20 billion which had all the benchmarks of his usual business savvy and meticulous scrutiny of the bottom line. He has, and is quick to praise his team, created an entertainment monopoly with several key purchases including PIXAR, MARVEL and Lucas Films that has continued to resonate with a global audience. Time Magazine honored him with the title of Businessperson of the Year.

Greta Thunberg

For environmental activists around the world, the name Greta Thunberg, the youngest person in the magazines 90-year history ever to be named a Person of the Year, has become synonymous with global environmental activism.

Her School Strike for the Climate began with one small voice, in a tiny nation, halfway around the world. Each Friday she would appear with her sign, sitting out front of the legislative office, soon the world took notice. Her Global School Strike for the Climate in September 2019 drew more than 5 million participants in cities around the world. It was the culmination of more than two years of School Strikes.

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As she continues her fight for greater commitment to combat global warming and the subsequent effects of higher earth temperature, melting of polar icecaps and the domino effect of poor earth management and disregard of the planet, its resources, and the generational devastation that each nation has passed onto the next generation she has awakened a calling in everyone to weave one environmental decision into each of our lives.

At nearly 17, much will be expected of Thunberg as she continues to speak out challenging politicians and expecting nations and leaders to honor their commitments. Her popularity has already made her a target of those nations and leaders who see her as a threat to exposing their failures.

Time Magazine also launched titles for Entertainer of the Year, Lizzo; Athletes of the Year, shared by The Women's U.S. Soccer Team; The Guardians highlighting Public Servants who chose the right thing as opposed to the safe or easy.

Danny Aiello Dies

Oscar nominated actor Danny Aiello, veteran of the stage, theater and screen, died this week after a short illness. He was 86.

Remembered for his many roles over his career that spanned five decades, he earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance as Sal the Pizza owner in Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing.

A versatile actor, Aiello was the quintessential New Yorker of Italian American decent who began his acting career late with his break-out performance in the 1973 film "Bang The Drum Slowly" opposite Robert De Niro. The two went on to star in four other films together. They became friends and remained friends.

People Magazine reported that "[Robert] De Niro honored Aiello in a statement obtained by People, saying, "I am very saddened to hear of Danny's passing. I have known him for almost 50 years. I am sad." He added, "See you in Heaven, Danny."

Before Aiello began his acting career he did more than hold down odd jobs, he served in Army, was a bus driver and the president of the Greyhound Bus union in his 30s and as his career focused shifted and the universe lead him to the next phase he became a bouncer at The Improvisation, in New York, which is where he the future began to unfold.

Aiello is also remembered as the chronic committee-shy brother Johnny, in Moonstruck, opposite Cher and Nicolas Cage, in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather II, and starring in Madonna's Papa Don't Preach video. With more than 100 credits to his name reducing his talent to one role is impossible.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Sandy, and three children Rick, Stacy and Jamie. He is preceded in death by his son, Danny Aiello III. Funeral arrangements are private and have not been released.



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