Daily Bread for 3.18.17

Good morning.

Whitewater’s Saturday will be cloudy with a high of forty-four. Sunrise is 6:59 AM and sunset 7:05 PM, for 12h 06m 26s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 69.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred thirtieth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court hands down a decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, holding that the right of an indigent defendant in a criminal trial to have the assistance of counsel is a fundamental right essential to a fair trial, and petitioner’s trial and conviction without the assistance of counsel violated the Fourteenth Amendment (Betts v. Brady, 316 U.S. 455, overruled). On this day in 1954, Parker Pen employees in Janesville, Wisconsin win a wage increase (“a 5-cent-an-hour wage increase in contract negotiations. After the raise, male employees made a base pay of $1.95 an hour while their female counterparts were paid $1.62 an hour”).

Recommended for reading in full —

Matea Gold describes How the Mercer family’s partnership with Stephen Bannon shaped the populist climate: “The Mercers, Republican mega-donors who had spent millions on the failed presidential bid of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and Bannon, then executive chairman of Breitbart News Network, were still weeks from formally aligning with Donald Trump’s campaign. But the festivities that balmy evening aboard the Sea Owl, the Mercers’ luxurious yacht, marked the growing influence of their financial and political partnership in shaping the 2016 campaign — and in encouraging the populist surge now reverberating around the world. The Mercers’ approach is far different from that of other big donors. While better-known players such as the Koch brothers on the right and George Soros on the left focus on mobilizing activists and voters, the Mercers have exerted pressure on the political system by helping erect an alternative media ecosystem, whose storylines dominated the 2016 race. Their alliance with Bannon provided fuel for the narrative that drove Trump’s victory: that dangerous immigrants are ruining the country and corrupt power brokers are sabotaging Washington.”

Louise Mensch explains What to Ask About Russian Hacking: “The framing of the committee’s questions matters immensely. Legally, witnesses cannot confirm or deny even the existence of a current national security investigation. The very mention of a “FISA warrant” would allow Mr. Sessions to avoid the substance by excusing himself from commenting. Committee members must therefore word their questions without reference to any case. I would simply ask Mr. Sessions this: “Was the president’s tweet about a wiretap at Trump Tower, to your knowledge, illegal? If so, to whom have you reported this offense? “To your knowledge, did any person illegally inform the president that there was a wiretap at Trump Tower?” The president’s unwillingness to answer questions about contacts between his campaign team and Russian officials, and the pattern of contradictory and misleading statements on those contacts, are toxic. Never in American history has a president been suspected of collaborating with a hostile foreign power to win an election. The founders provided three equal branches of government to protect the republic. The American people now depend on the House committee to do its job and uncover the truth.”

Consider how hippos almost became a common American food: