Daily Bread for 9.16.17

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of eighty-six. Sunrise is 6:36 AM and sunset 7:01 PM, for 12h 24m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 15.7% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the three hundred eleventh day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

General Motors is founded on this day in 1908. ON this day in 1864, the Wisconsin 13th Infantry participates in an operation against Confederate generals Forrest and Hood in Tennessee.

Recommended for reading in full —

Deepa Seetharaman, Byron Tau, and Shane Harris report that Facebook Gave Special Counsel Robert Mueller More Details on Russian Ad Buys Than Congress (“Social-media company shared copies of ads and account information, people familiar with the matter said”):

Facebook Inc. has handed over to special counsel Robert Mueller detailed records about the Russian ad purchases on its platform that go beyond what it shared with Congress last week, according to people familiar with the matter….

(Key points: how extensive was the Russian campaign, and was there coordination with any Americans?)

Drew Harwell and Amy Brittain report that Taxpayers billed $1,092 for an official’s two-night stay at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club:

….On a weekend in early March, during one of seven trips by Trump and his White House entourage to the posh Palm Beach property since the inauguration, the government paid the Trump-owned club to reserve at least one bedroom for two nights.

The charge, according to a newly disclosed receipt reviewed by The Washington Post, was $1,092.

The amount was based on a per-night price of $546, which, according to the bill, was Mar-a-Lago’s “rack rate,” the hotel industry term for a standard, non-discounted price.

The receipt, which was obtained in recent days by the transparency advocacy group Property of the People and verified by The Post, offers one of the first concrete signs that Trump’s use of Mar-a-Lago as the “Winter White House” has resulted in taxpayer funds flowing directly into the coffers of his private business…..

(Trump has many vices, but even among so many greed is prominent.)

Jessica Huseman writes that Experts Say the Use of Private Email by Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission Isn’t Legal:

President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission came under fire earlier this month when a lawsuit and media reports revealed that the commissioners were using private emails to conduct public business. Commission co-chair Kris Kobach confirmed this week that most of them continue to do so.

Experts say the commission’s email practices do not appear to comport with federal law. “The statute here is clear,” said Jason Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle and former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.

Essentially, Baron said, the commissioners have three options: 1. They can use a government email address; 2. They can use a private email address but copy every message to a government account; or 3. They can use a private email address and forward each message to a government account within 20 days. According to Baron, those are the requirements of the Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, which the commission must comply with under its charter.

“All written communications between or among its members involving commission business are permanent records destined to be preserved at the National Archives,” said Baron. “Without specific guidance, commission members may not realize that their email communications about commission business constitute White House records.”

David Frum asks Will America Accept Refugees From Trump’s White House? (“In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Sean Spicer demonstrated why those fleeing the administration may find it difficult to start fresh”):

On Wednesday night, Jimmy Kimmel interrogated one of the first of the refugees, former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer, on his ABC late-night show. It was a very gentle vetting, not “extreme” at all. And yet the encounter raised all kinds of red flags about whether these entrants will ever appreciate and accept democratic norms. As former Trump staff seek to integrate themselves into American civic and business life, it will be important to evaluate which of them can be rehabilitated—and which have compromised themselves in ways that cannot be redeemed.

The Spicer-Kimmel interview offers some important guidance, especially this core exchange:

Spicer: Your job as press secretary is to represent the president’s voice, to make sure that you are articulating what he believes, his vision on policy, on issues, and other areas that he wants to articulate. Whether or not you agree or not isn’t your job. Your job is to give him advice, which is what we would do on a variety of issues, all the time. He would always listen to that advice, but ultimately he’s the president ….

Kimmel: And then you have to march out there and go, ‘Yeah, he had a bigger crowd everybody.’”

Spicer: He’s the president, he decides, that’s what you signed up to do.

That’s one interpretation of White House service: to serve the president as the president wishes to be served, to tell the lies that the president wishes to have told. Spicer is not the only Trump veteran to have that view of the job. So does his successor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. So do Kellyanne Conway and the former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka. They work for the president, they follow his orders—whatever their own interior misgivings—and they say whatever he tells them he wants said, just as his attorneys and accountants do.

(Trump surrounds himself with amoral misfits, third-tier men and women, who will do whatever he wants. His administration is a kakistocracy.)

Alexandra Horowitz ponders why little dogs yap so much: