FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 1st through 4th 2018

Fireball Saying of the Day

All you have to know about celery is that it’s made up of 95% water, and it’s 100% not pizza.

 

Xi Asserts Claim On South China Sea

As followers of FOD and I expected, Military Times is reporting Chinese President Xi Jinping strongly asserted China’s determination to defend territory it claims, including in the South China Sea, in a meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.  While the tone of Mattis’ visit to Beijing was largely upbeat, Xi made sure to reinforce his reputation as a fervent nationalist when it comes to issues of sovereignty.  Though Xi gave no specifics in his statement, he was largely seen as indicating the South China Sea as well as self-governing Taiwan. China also claims territory held by India and uninhabited East China Sea islands controlled by Japan.  “Regarding the issue of China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, our attitude is firm and clear,” state broadcaster CCTV quoted Xi as telling Mattis on Wednesday at the Great Hall of the People. “Not a single inch of the territory left behind by our ancestors must be lost, while we are not seeking to take any bit of what belongs to others.”  Randy Schriver, Assistant Defense Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, said Mattis made U.S. positions clear, including its longstanding and widely shared opposition to China’s militarization in the South China Sea.  “It’s not for one country to diminish what are international rights for navigation as defined in international waters,” Schriver said.  Mattis said the Trump administration’s decision to disinvite China from a multinational naval exercise this summer was an “initial response” to Beijing’s activity in the South China Sea. Mattis called the U.S. action a “relatively small consequence. I believe there are much larger consequences in the future.”  The U.S. military has deployed the third aircraft carrier this year to patrol the South China Sea, where Washington has criticized China’s military buildup on new manmade islands.  The 97,000-ton USS Ronald Reagan, carrying more than 70 aircraft, anchored in Manila Bay on Tuesday for meetings between navy officials of the two countries and liberty for its thousands of sailors after weeks at sea.  The U.S. military presence in the region “promotes our ability to safeguard freedom of the seas, unimpeded commerce, to deter conflict and coercion and to promote adherence to rules-based international order,” Rear ADM Marc Dalton told reporters on board the ship.  Two other American carriers earlier patrolled the waterway.  China has reportedly deployed anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, along with electronic jammers and other equipment, on islands it built on disputed reefs in the Spratly Islands, some of which have runways. It also landed a bomber aircraft on Woody Island in the Paracels group, sparking alarm among rival claimants and the United States. Washington has no territorial claims in the region but has declared that freedom of navigation and overflight in the waters is in U.S. national interest.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 1st through 4th 2018”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day June 7 through 9, 2017

‘Summer of Comey’ Underway

I watched the public portion of the James Comey’s hearing today.  I didn’t hear any great new information that had not been released ahead of time or that would rise to the level of obstruction of justice.  While it appears so far President Trump likely acted inappropriately, it would seem unlikely any legal effort could be put forth that would attempt to prove he acted illegally, since obstruction of justice requires proving intent.  And since presidents are not charged in a court of law, but rather in Congress through the impeachment process, the question will likely rage on as a political one, rather than a legal one.  Likely it fits into the Trump pattern of actions as political naiveté.  We had a president who we knew perjured himself before a grand jury under oath and he wasn’t found guilty.  The questioning itself was somewhat interesting in that both political parties attempted to add their spin to the proceedings by shaping their questions so as to support their political interests.  Secondarily it will be important to see what republican capital the President has remaining in Congress.  That will play out over the summer and as the Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, investigation into Russia’s involvement during the US elections gets down to business.  Also significant was that Comey said without a doubt Russia attempted to interfere with the last presidential elections and they would do it again and again.  Their goal is to degrade American’s trust in our institutions at any turn and to degrade America’s influence abroad.  Well that’s not new, just their methods.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day June 7 through 9, 2017”