FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 31st through August 3rd 2017

May You Live In Interesting Times

“May you live in interesting times.”  Well at least that seems to be true when looking at the national and international picture today.  I had always heard ‘May you live in interesting times to be a Chinese curse or to have at least originated in China.  Despite being widely attributed as a Chinese curse, there is no equivalent expression in Chinese.  The nearest related Chinese expression is “太平” (nìng wéi tàipíng quǎn, mò zuò luàn lí rén), which is usually translated as “Better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a human in a chaotic (warring) period.”  The expression originates from Volume 3 of the 1627 short story collection by Feng MenglongStories to Awaken the World.  Evidence that the phrase was in use as early as 1936 is provided in a memoir written by Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen, the British Ambassador to China in 1936 and 1937, and published in 1949. He mentions that before he left England for China in 1936, a friend told him of a Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

 

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 28th through 31st 2017

Some Baseball Congrats

Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre became the 31st member of the 3,000 hit club on Sunday while facing the Orioles. With his team trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, he hit a 3-0 fastball off of Wade Miley for a double, putting runners on second and third with one out. He’s the first Dominican-born player to reach 3,000 career hits.  And then a rookie who just came up to the LA Dodgers, Klye Farmer, in his very first at bat against the San Francisco Giants Sunday night hit the walk-off hit in the bottom of the eleventh inning to beat the Giants 3-2.  Kyle will never forget that first hit and only has 2999 hits to go before he can join the likes of future Hall of Famer Beltre.

 

 

Russian President Putin Orders US Diplomatic Staff Reduction

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that he was ordering the United States to reduce its diplomatic staff in the country by 755.  In an interview with the state-owned broadcaster Russia 24, Putin said the move was in response to “illegal restrictions” imposed by the United States. Putin (left) claimed that more than a “thousand” U.S. diplomatic employees are in Russia, but “755 will have to cease their activities in the Russian Federation.”  Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, said he didn’t believe Putin’s order targeted only U.S. diplomats. “When I was U.S. ambassador, we didn’t have that many Americans in Russia,” he said.  But McFaul called the move a “major escalation” far out of proportion with the Obama administration’s decision to expel 35 suspected Russian spies in December.  The Russian order came days after Congress passed a new round of sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the United States’ presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria.  The bill, which also included sanctions against Iran and North Korea, passed overwhelmingly in the House and the Senate, with only five dissenting votes between them.  A provision in the veto-proof legislation would limit President Donald Trump’s ability to unilaterally lift the sanctions. On Friday, the White House said that Trump intended to sign the legislation into law.

 

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day June 1st and 2nd, 2017

‘Summer of Comey’ Gets Underway Next Week

Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week, the committee announced Thursday.  He will testify first in an open session on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 8, and a closed session will follow.  Selective leaks will follow the closed session.  During his testimony, Comey is expected to say President Trump pressured him to end the  FBI‘s investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign associates and Russia, it was reported by the Washington Examiner and others last Wednesday.  Comey’s testimony is highly-anticipated, as he led the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election before Trump fired him last month.  Comey (left) was dismissed by President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017, days after Comey reportedly requested increased resources from the DOJ for the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, a report which was later denied by the DOJ.  Following Comey’s firing, several news reports revealed details of various interactions the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation had with the president.  During one such interaction occurring days after his inauguration, Trump reportedly asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to him. Gee, I thought that loyalty oath thing died with Medieval kings.  Comey declined, but promised to always be honest with the president.  In another conversation, Trump reportedly asked Comey to end the FBI’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was fired in February.  Comey recorded his interactions with Trump in memos while working at the FBI, and the details of those memos — including his conversations with Trump — are expected to be discussed during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.  The details of Comey’s memos have caused concern among lawmakers on Capitol Hill, particularly Democrats, who are questioning whether Trump attempted to obstruct the Russia probe.  After Comey was fired, the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel and oversee the probe.  Though some lawmakers were initially concerned that Mueller’s appointment would prevent Comey from testifying privately, Comey and Mueller met privately to discuss how Comey could testify and avoid “legal entanglements.”

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day May 19th through 23rd, 2017

Friends of FOD

I got a little behind in getting out the last edition, so now it’s all combined into one edition.  Enjoy, comment, write your Congressmen!

 

Trump Budget Rant

Yesterday, May 22, the White House officially unveiled its 2018 budget.  The Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said that the president is making good on his vow to save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, among other things, and said that they are not kicking anyone off who needs the programs.  Yet deep cuts to programs would indicate otherwise.  Trump’s budget would cut Medicaid by a lot, despite the president telling the Daily Signal days before launching his White House bid, “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.”  The administration proposes reducing spending on Medicaid programs by more than $600 billion over the next decade, a massive cut that appears to go on top of $839 billion in Medicaid cuts included in the House health care bill Trump is supporting.  Trump’s budget proposes slashing the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a $31.4 billion change to the program that pays monthly benefits to over 10 million disabled individuals under the retirement age. Barring the kind of hyperbolic growth Trump has promised and economists have disputed, Trump’s budget would do little to combat the national debt. Rather, it would potentially increase it.  For us veterans, the proposed budget decreases cost-of-living adjustments for veterans benefits payouts and eliminating those adjustments for some federal civilian retirees altogether.  The White House plan would extend the practice of rounding down veterans payouts to the nearest whole dollar, trimming a few cents off our checks. Trump’s plan calls for eliminating annual cost-of-living increases Federal Employee Retirement System enrollees completely, and lowering the adjustments for Civil Service Retirement System enrollees by 0.5 percent.  And while those Navy “Crabs” (Side Moving Beach Creatures) or Civil Servants are not always held in the best of regards, this would be represent substantial reductions in payouts for the estimated 70,000 federal retirees each year, along with the hundreds of thousands more already collecting their pensions. CSRS beneficiaries are not eligible for Social Security payments. FERS employees are, but those government pensions still make up a significant portion of their retirement income.  Trump’s budget was declared dead on arrival.  But then again I can think of a Presidential budget that wasn’t considered dead on arrival.

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