FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day November 7th through 11th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

Bad officials are the ones elected by good citizens who did not vote.  –  George Nathan

FOD Trivia Question of the Day

What group of islands, consisting of Pinta, Pinzon, Santa Cruz and Isabella were made famous by Charles Darwin’s expedition on the Beagle?

Previous FOD Trivia Answer

Which is the only mammal that can’t jump?  Answer – Elephants

 

Fireball Editorial of the Day

Respect for the free press in under ever increasing parochialism from our President, it would be good to review another time when the freedom of the press was challenged by another president, Richard Nixon.  In reviewing the request from then Assistant U.S. Attorney General William Rehnquist for an injunction against The Washington Post  to prevent them from publishing the Pentagon Papers U.S. District Court Judge Murray Gurfein declined to issue such an injunction, writing that “[t]he security of the Nation is not at the ramparts alone. Security also lies in the value of our free institutions. A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, a ubiquitous press must be suffered by those in authority to preserve the even greater values of freedom of expression and the right of the people to know.”  The case New York Times Co. v. United States (403 U.S. 713) quickly rose rapidly through the U.S. legal system to the Supreme Court.  Justice Hugo Black wrote a majority opinion that elaborated on his view of the absolute superiority of the First Amendment: “…The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell. … [W]e are asked to hold that…the Executive Branch, the Congress, and the Judiciary can make laws…abridging freedom of the press in the name of ‘national security.’ … To find that the President has ‘inherent power’ to halt the publication of news…would wipe out the First Amendment and destroy the fundamental liberty and security of the very people the Government hopes to make ‘secure.’ … The word ‘security’ is a broad, vague generality whose contours should not be invoked to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the First Amendment. The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security… . The Framers of the First Amendment, fully aware of both the need to defend a new nation and the abuses of the English and Colonial governments, sought to give this new society strength and security by providing that freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly should not be abridged.”  Some good thoughts don’t you think?  Contributions and comments sought and appreciated.

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day November 2nd through 6th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

May we all, as a nation of believers, fight for the achievement of America; may we make sacrifices worthy of those proud men and women who fought for us, labored for us, bled soil from the beaches of Normandy to the fields of Gettysburg for us. – Cory Booker

FOD Trivia Question

OK another animal or rather mammal question.  Which is the only mammal that can’t jump?

 

Previous FOD Trivia Answer

What is the only mammal born with horns?  Answer: Giraffes

GO VOTE

National Days

And what National Day is on November second.  Why it’s National Stout Day – a great day to have a Guinness.   Remember there is food value in beer, but no beer value in food.  And it’s also National Deviled Egg Day.

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day October 29th through November 1st 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

“Just as the bird needs wings to fly, a leader needs useful information to flow. Leaders learn.” ― Israelmore Ayivor, Leaders’ Ladder 

FOD Trivia Question

What is the only mammal born with horns?

Previous FOD Trivia Answer

In 1977, the Coca Cola Company (and its twenty two bottling companies) was forced out of what country for refusing to reveal its secret formula?  Answer – India.

 

Vote!  It’s your responsibility as a citizen.

 

Xi Jinping Says ‘Prepare For War Over South China Sea And Taiwan’

Trade disputes with the US, tariffs, a domestic economic downturn, complaints regarding intellectual property, Taiwan and the South China Sea has caused China to be thoroughly upset with the US and her allies as of late. President Xi Jinping is not a leader who has succeeded at the first blast of anti-Chinese rhetoric in the past and I don’t believe he nor his government is looking for possible alternative behaviors which could lessen tensions with the US.  In fact I suspect they are doubling down as that strategy has worked against less powerful neighbors in the past.  The South China Morning Post is reporting China’s President Xi Jinping has ordered the military region responsible for monitoring the South China Sea and Taiwan to assess the situation it is facing and boost its capabilities so it can handle any emergency.  The Southern Theatre Command has had to bear a “heavy military responsibility” in recent years, state broadcaster CCTV quoted him as saying during an inspection tour made on Thursday as part of his visit to Guangdong province.  “It’s necessary to strengthen the mission … and concentrate preparations for fighting a war,” Xi said. “We need to take all complex situations into consideration and make emergency plans accordingly.  “We have to step up combat readiness exercises, joint exercises and confrontational exercises to enhance servicemen’s capabilities and preparation for war.”  Details of his speech were not released to the public by state media until Friday.  Xi’s visit to the military command was one of several he made during a four-day trip to the south China province aimed at bolstering confidence amid an economic slowdown, and growing trade and strategic disputes with the United States.  Details of his speech came a day after China’s State Councilors General and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said the country would never give up “one single piece” of its territory and warned that “repeated challenges” to its sovereignty over Taiwan were extremely dangerous and would result in military action.  One of the primary missions of the Southern Theatre Command is overseeing the South China Sea, an area where tensions and military activity involving China, the US and other powers have been growing steadily.  Earlier this month, a Chinese destroyer almost collided with a US warship in the disputed waters after making what the Americans described as an “unsafe and unprofessional” maneuver in an attempt to warn it to leave the area.  Military observers said Xi’s comments were most likely intended to boost morale and reiterate Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.  “It’s likely intended as a signal to the US in particular and any parties that Beijing perceives to be causing provocation [in the disputed waters],” said Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.  Beijing-based analyst Zhou Chenming took a similar view.  “The United States is expected to conduct more freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea region, and because it does not recognize [Beijing’s] rights to artificial islands, like Mischief Reef, there will probably be more military friction between the two countries there.”  Koh said Xi’s address to the Southern Theatre Command was also a clear warning to pro-independence forces in Taiwan, as the military region shared responsibility with the Eastern Theatre Command for monitoring the self-ruled island.  Relations between Beijing and Taipei have deteriorated since Tsai Ing-wen from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party was elected Taiwan’s president in 2016.  (Fireball note: How much is hyperbole, how much in intended for the domestic listener and how much is a creditable threat to US positions is not known, but I expect things to get worse before they get better.

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day October 25th through 28th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

Nothing that is morally wrong can ever be politically right.  – Anonymous 

FOD Trivia Question

In 1977, the Coca Cola Company (and its twenty two bottling companies) was forced out of what country for refusing to reveal its secret formula?

Previous FOD Trivia Answer

On September 16, 1630, the town of Shawmut, Massachusetts changed its name to what?  Answer – Boston.  I thought it a good trivia question as the Red Sox are in the World Series.

 

Congrats To The Red Sox

Congrats to the Boston Red Sox 2018 MLB’s World Champions.  Each game had its own level of excitement. Overall however the Sox showed their 108 game winning season was not a flash in the pan as they dominated the LA Dodgers in almost every game.  Max Muncy, who began the year in the minor leagues for the LA Dodgers, became the hero with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 18th  inning in game three of the World Series with a 3-2 win against the Boston Red Sox.  Famous Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax, the youngest player ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and certainly one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history stayed for the entire game. I don’t know how many balls were used in this game, but a lot of foul balls were hit and I know they brought out at least another 10 dozen balls adding to the normal 20 dozen prepared for the game and that was in the bottom of the eighth inning. Max Muncy became the first Dodger player to hit a walk-off home run since Kirk Gibson did so in 1988.  In a great baseball moment before Game Four on 27 October, Dennis Eckersley, “Eck” threw out the first pitch for Game Four to Kirk Gibson.  Gibson grabbed a bat and waited for Eck to throw the pitch as if to reenact the home run.  ECK is the pitcher who gave up a dramatic walk-off home run (a phrase Eckersley coined) to the injured Kirk Gibson in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.  The Red Sox  played with exceptional tenacity and discipline throughout the entire World Series.  And of course the good news is, catchers and pitchers report in Mid-February

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day October 22nd through 24th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

Ye who write, choose a subject suited to your abilities. – Horace

 

FOD Trivia Question

On September 16, 1630, the town of Shawmut, Massachusetts changed its name to what?

 

Previous FOD Trivia Answer

In 1851, what did Elias Howe, Walter Hunt and Isaac Merritt Singer all invent simultaneously, each in a different part to the US?  Answer: The sewing machine.

 

There’s A Lot Of Stuff Going On Out There – Let’s Get To It

 

Fireball Editorial on Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press

I had not commented, till now, on the Saudi’s amateurish assassination the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.  Evidence is coming out his murder was brutal and premeditated; and his body was dismembered inside the Saudi consulate building.  Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Saudi Arabia and Turkey to discuss Khashoggi’s disappearance.  CIA Director Gina Haspel has now traveled to Turkey as part of the investigation.  It is well documented that nothing happens in Saudi Arabia without the knowledge and consent of the powerful Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).  MBS’s degree of authoritarianism and bold aggression against any criticism adversely distinguishes his regime from those of his processors, despite his marketing campaign in the West as a progressive reformer.  With US help he has continued a brutal war in Yemen, bullied Qatar, detained members of his own family and punished an unknown number of Saudi citizens.  In his comments of 23 October President Trump doesn’t criticize MBS or Saudi Arabia, but instead said “They had a very bad original concept, it was carried out poorly, and the cover-up was the worst in history of cover-ups.”  Overall our President has once again espoused a fundamental reorganization of American values: Money first and morality, or at the least the protections enshrined in the US Constitution for journalists and citizens to voice their dissent, a distant second.  He recently praised a congressman for his cowardly attack on an American journalist (for which the Congressman pleaded guilty to assault) and he’s mocked the American press while abroad.  His ongoing contempt of the press has heartened the world’s dictators to mimic his actions.  During the 2016 election, Trump refused to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime for jailing and killing dissidents, including journalists. And, though no one knows what the two men discussed in their private Helsinki summit, no one in the administration has even so much as hinted they discussed press freedom.  Trump also laughed in front of the American press when Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte called journalists “spies.” Those reporters were asking if Trump brought up human rights abuses while with the strongman who has allegedly killed countless thousands of drug users and who has defended the killing of journalists.  American leaders have traditionally been able to claim the moral high ground when calling for freedom of the press and freedom of speech around the world.  That best of American freedoms is not just for journalists, but for people of all occupations to be able to speak their minds without fear of jail or death.  For regimes like Putin’s, MBS’ and Deterte’s, censorship and control of its citizens is why the fundamental value of free speech was given a prominent, foundational place by our founding fathers.  Speaking of journalists in particular, US presidents and other US officials have championed those ideals on the global stage by letting all countries know they face tangible repercussions to their seats of power; for example sanctions, or cancellation of arms sales, or discontinuation of foreign aid if they were to harm or imprison foreign reporters, let alone kill them.  American correspondents have over past generations exposed corruption, human rights abuses as well as general ineptitude that would have gotten local journalists censored, jailed or possibly killed for covering.  We need to foster dialogue rather than see it suppressed by a growing number of strongmen around the world.  We need free speech and freedom of the press.  We need our own president to support these American values.  Comments solicited and appreciated.

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