Putin Ejects Diplomats, Competing Comedy
Monday, July 31, 2017
Vol. 6, No. 201
Payback: In an escalation of tensions, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the cutting of 755 US diplomatic staff in his country in retaliation for Congress passing new economic sanctions. He set a deadline of Sept. 1.
“Over 1,000 employees — diplomats and technical workers — worked and continue to work today in Russia; 755 will have to stop this activity,” Putin said on state-run television. The actual number of Americans on staff there is in the mid-300s. They have a lot of local hires.
The ejection of US diplomatic staff was announced Friday, but the numbers Putin ordered are massive. It’s the biggest diplomatic rupture between the two countries since 1986.
The State Department issued a nearly-passive statement saying, “This is a regrettable and uncalled-for act. We are assessing the impact of such a limitation and how we will respond to it.”
David Sanger wrote for the NY Times that Putin “seems to believe his greater leverage lies in escalating the dispute, Cold War-style, rather than subtly trying to manipulate events with a mix of subterfuge, cyberattacks and information warfare.”
Also yesterday, Putin put Russia’s military might on display yesterday, celebrating Navy Day in St. Petersburg, at Sevastopol, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and off the shores of Syria, where there’s been a Russian military buildup.
President Trump was playing golf. Mark Knoller of CBS, who keeps tabs on presidents, tweeted, “By my count, it’s his 36th visit to one of his golf clubs, 15th time at the one in Sterling, VA – since taking office.”
Chest-bumping: As tensions also rise in the Korean peninusula, the US yesterday flew two B-1 bombers over South Korea and shot down a test missile with the new anti-missile system the US installed. North Korea’s missile technology is rapidly advancing, leaving the US scratching its head about what to do.
Nation: At least nine people were injured yesterday in the Mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles when a van plowed into pedestrians — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was seen at the Brewers’ ballpark in Milwaukee hugging a plate of nachos while confronting and berating a male heckler, who was not offered any nachos — After accepting too many students who actually decided to enroll, the University of California at Irvine sent letters to 499 of them, rescinding their acceptances. Needless to say, it’s caused a riot.
The Obit Page: DL Menard, who wrote “The Back Door,” which may be the most popular and familiar Cajun song of all time, has died at age 85.
“The Back Door” is about a man who sneaks back home through the back door after a long night drinking at honky-tonks. A few verses later he gets into a brawl and gets thrown in jail, also through the back door.
It’s a great song. You’ve heard it, you just don’t know you’ve heard it.
“Moi et la belle on avait été au bal
On a passé dans tout les honky-tonk
On a revenu le lendemain matin
Le jour étais après s’casser
J’ai passé dedans la porte d’en arrière”
Art Immitating: David Mandel, the executive producer of the HBO political comedy, “Veep,” said at a public forum that President Trump is making his job harder. “It does seem like they are doing a rival comedy,” he said in Pasadena.
“We think to ourselves, ‘What is the most stupid thing a President can do?’ On a daily basis, and sometimes on an hourly basis, they just outdo us, and it sucks.”