Daily Bread for 5.16.17

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of eighty-five. Sunrise is 5:29 AM and sunset 8:12 PM, for 14h 42m 55s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 74% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred eighty-ninth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Common Council meets tonight at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 2001, federal agent Robert Hanssen was indicted on charges of spying for Moscow. He is now serving life without parole. On this day in 1913, bandleader Woody Herman is born in Milwaukee.

Recommended for reading in full —

Louis Nelson reports that Trump claims he has ‘absolute right’ to share intelligence with the Russians:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning claimed he has “the absolute right” to share intelligence with the Russian government, while doing little to deny that he allegedly divulged highly classified information to a foreign adversary during an Oval Office meeting last week.

“As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism,” Trump wrote on Twitter, breaking his message up into two posts.

Eliot A. Cohen explains The Terrible Cost of Trump’s Disclosures:

To a remarkable degree, the United States relies on liaison relationships with other powers with whom it shares information. If Trump has indeed compromised a source of information, it is not merely a betrayal of an ally’s trust: It is an act that will jeopardize a whole range of relationships. After all, the Director of Central Intelligence cannot very well say, “Don’t worry, we won’t share that with the president.” So now everybody—even our closest allies like the United Kingdom—would be well-advised to be careful with what they share with us. That is a potential intelligence debacle for us, but the danger goes beyond that. If any foreign government harbored lingering illusions about the administration’s ability to protect any information, including sensitive but non-intelligence matters like future foreign-policy initiatives or military deployments, they no longer do. They will be even more apprehensive about sharing sensitive information of any kind because…

Bob Cesca observes that Trump’s Russia scandal keeps getting deeper: At this point, campaign collusion might be the least of his problems:

Anyone with even a remedial understanding of politics and public relations understands that Trump is bungling the White House reaction to the ongoing investigation, turning an already harrowing treason probe into a harrowing treason probe made far more toxic by an obvious coverup.

It’s still unclear exactly what’s wrong with the president that he continues to botch and fumble the political reaction to the widening Russia scandal. We should definitely rule out, with prejudice, any argument that the president is practicing “three-dimensional chess” — that is, the “crazy like a fox” theory suggesting that Trump is working his way through a twisty Machiavellian strategy that we mere mortals are incapable of understanding. There’s nothing like that going on here. Chances are, Trump is being perpetually stymied by a combination of his desperation to kill the Russia probe; his clinical delusions, in which he believes certain things are real that clearly aren’t; his political ignorance; and, of course, his erratic knee-jerk style of blurting out gibberish and lies without any message discipline or self-censorship.

David Roberts contends that We overanalyze Trump. He is what he appears to be:

We badly want to understand Trump, to grasp him. It might give us some sense of control, or at least an ability to predict what he will do next.

But what if there’s nothing to understand? What if there’s no there there? What if our attempts to explain Trump have failed not because we haven’t hit on the right one, but because we are, theory-of-mind-wise, overinterpreting the text?

In short, what if Trump is exactly as he appears: a hopeless narcissist with the attention span of a fruit fly, unable to maintain consistent beliefs or commitments from moment to moment, acting on base instinct, entirely situationally, to bolster his terrifyingly fragile ego.

We’re not really prepared to deal with that…

Woody Herman entertains with the Woodchopper’s Ball: