Daily Bread for 8.13.17

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of seventy-seven. Sunrise is 6 AM and sunset 7:58 PM, for 13h 58m 25s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 67.2% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the two hundred seventy-seventh day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1961, East Germany’s communist government begins construction of the Berlin Wall. On this day in 1936, a freight train derails near Janesville, “18 cars, 13 of them oil tankers, burned in the ensuing spectacular blaze. Although monetary loss was estimated at $150,000, no one was injured.”

Recommended for reading in full — 

Vann Newkirk asks When Does a Fringe Movement Stop Being Fringe?:

….Where euphemism, newly-coined terms, and lack of historical perspective all leave the country confused as to just how the violence in Charlottesville came to be, the truth is there in plain sight. What happened there in Emancipation Park and what is happening not only in the streets of Charlottesville, but streets across the country, is that the rhetoric and policy of white supremacy, which is still fostered and abetted widely, is again being converted into the kinds of overt interpersonal violence by which most people recognize it. And for the people who stand to lose the most from that kind of violence, the question might be when—not if—it transforms from a political peripheral into a regime.

History says that those transformations are relatively fast, and often act as conflagrations that destroy decades of progress in flashes. The paramilitary racist Red Shirts in South Carolina appeared on the scene just two years before their armed resistance helped bring an end to Reconstruction and the establishment of a new white-supremacist Jim Crow government. The third Klan arose in strength in the South in the 1950s, and by the end of the decade had embarked on one of the most extensive bombing and terrorism campaigns in American history. Its predecessor in the second Klan existed as a tiny membership group for years after the 1915 release of D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, but fielded a 50,000-strong march through the nation’s capital in 1925.

The emerging lessons in Charlottesville are somber. White supremacy can and will flourish when given fuel; white-supremacist rhetoric will tend towards violence; and it’s often only in the rear-view mirror that Americans can clearly see the events that lead to that violence spreading….

Colbert King reminds These are your people, President Trump:

President Trump’s mealy-mouthed mutterings on the terrorism let loose in Charlottesville on Saturday are worthy of the hypocrite and instigator of hate that he has proved himself to be. Trump knows what was at work on those streets and who was behind it. As well he should. They are some of the same forces that helped to put him in the White House.

On hand giving the clan of white nationalists a verbal boost was former Ku Klux Klan leader and preeminent white nationalist David Duke. Just as the bigoted Duke was on hand on election night exclaiming on social media that Trump’s victory was “one of the most exciting nights of my life.” Duke tweeted at the time, “Make no mistake about it, our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump.”

And Duke’s people — Trump’s people, also — were out in force in Charlottesville with their hate-filled minds, their guns, and a weaponized automobile….

(There have been, and are, many reasons to oppose Trump: his autocracy, bigotry, serial mendacity, ignorance, subservience to Putinism, and intemperance. He’s so much of these vices, that any one of them would be enough to reject him from any significant position, let alone the presidency. Trump is unfit even to care briefly for one’s dog; no reasonable person would trust him to do so. It is an old adage that bad doesn’t get better, it gets worse. So it is with Trump: the longer he holds power, the worse will be the damage he causes.)

Jennifer Rubin argues Enough of the Confederate statues, the alt-right heroes and Trump’s moral idiocy:

….If Republicans are now truly disgusted by the president they supported, they can condemn his embarrassing comments, support the FBI and Justice Department investigation, and urge that Confederate statues throughout the country be taken down. We’ve now erased the fictions that these monuments are about “Southern heritage.” No, they are giant concrete shrines to white nationalism.

“It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America, they fought against it,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a memorable speech explaining his city’s decision to remove the statues. “They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots. These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement and the terror that it actually stood for.”

If the president doesn’t grasp this, the rest of the country should. It’s time to get rid of the statues and get rid of the alt-right heroes in the White House. As for Trump, the country cannot get rid of him soon enough.

Sarah Kaplan writes of Doggy glasses, doomsday omens and other eclipse myths — debunked:

….Myth: The sun emits harmful radiation during the eclipse.

Fact: Because there have been so many strongly worded warnings about the hazards of watching the eclipse, some folks worry that there’s something dangerous about the sun itself at this time. Others have heard that eclipses are associated with particularly harmful radiation that can poison food or cause birth defects. And astrologers have been saying that eclipses are associated with chaos, disruption, violence — you name it.

These claims have no scientific basis, though, and there’s nothing particularly dangerous about the sunlight during an eclipse. It’s the same sun we always enjoy, the one that lights our days, fuels our plants and makes our planet habitable, but momentarily just stuck behind the moon. The situation is analogous to a cloud passing in front of the sun, only in this case, the cloud is made of rock and is floating 240,000 miles above the ground. The light you see during totality — when the moon completely covers the main part of the sun and makes it possible to see the sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona — is a little eerie and sometimes has a greenish tinge.

You don’t need to cover your windows, hide indoors or protect your unborn children from the light. You just need to make sure that anyone watching the event takes the appropriate measures to protect their eyes….

Great Big Story takes viewers on a Dive Into Budapest’s Hidden Underwater World:

4 thoughts on “Daily Bread for 8.13.17

  1. Crazy week!
    • Trump threatens a first-strike nuclear war on North Korea, whilst he vacations on the Jersey shore.
    • Trump threatens to invade Venezuela, for no discernible, or rational, reason.
    • Trump’s peeps commit domestic terrorism, which he blames on “both sides”.

    All of this is crazy, and points out that we are governed by a dangerous madman, but the last point is the most interesting, from a political perspective. It has long been crystal clear that Trump is an unabashed white supremacist, and loud and proud about it. He is supported by 100% of the racist, and ugly, base of the republican party. Upstanding supporters of Trump in Charlottesville were sporting MAGA hats, swastika armbands, guns, and shields with semi-cryptic Nazi decorations.

    This is a Bush-looking-out-the-window-of-AF1 moment. Trump does not look good. He knows that he cannot govern without the enthusiastic, and increasingly violent, support of the of the unreconstructed racist subculture, perhaps 15-20%, of America. What that leaves is the 80-85% of the country that is frightened of and appalled at Trump (or simply does not give shit). Those are not winning odds.

    Lots of otherwise sane republicans voted for Trump as a useful tool for getting more tax cuts and less federal regulations. They now face the choice of being labeled as white supremacists, or not enabling Trump anymore. The middle ground is gone, obliterated by a grey Dodge charger in a small town in VA. There is no effective way to waffle this situation, and what their position is. We shall see what legs the gospel of “tax cuts are all that matter” have.

    The choice is stark. We will soon know where the Republican party is going.

    I’m not that hopeful…

    1. He is a white supremacist, and there’s ample evidence that he’s held a racial bias for most his adult life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Yh0jAxOxGE His father was a bigot http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-father-fred-fbi-dossier-trump-management-company-racist-get-rid-of-blacks-dont-rent-to-a7583851.html, and in the last election and since Trump has fomented bigotry.

      You’re right that there is no middle ground. There are conservatives who have always opposed Trump (Rubin, Frum, Kristol, Rick Wilson), but many in the GOP who knew what he was (McConnell, Ryan, Walker) but wanted & needed the support of his rabid followers.

      (We disagree on some of this, to be sure; I see that there’s a solid case that even these other conservatives enabled parts of this, although Rubin was never in that camp. Kristol and Frum in particular have a disasterous record of past support of destructive militarism. Still, I’ll yet embrace these anti-Trump conservatives in the hope of finishing off Trumpism even a moment sooner. Let it not be said that I’ve no optimism in me…)

      There’s no way back, however, for those who winked and nodded, or those who stayed silent, during the whole campaign; even now, they don’t want a way back (as Ryan panders to them with fast-cut videos promoting a wall.)

      Conservatism will go on, but the Republican Party (in one of the great ironies of our history) is now a white nationalist party, animated by both a core and also by a vanguard committed to a herrenvolk. A lumpen band is the core (15-20% seems spot on) and men like Bannon, Miller, Gorka, Anton, and Spencer are the vanguard.

      Yes, crazy indeed.

      1. It gets uglier by the day to admit to being a Trump-loving R-Teamer. Even Orrin Hatch torched Trump over his lame denunciation of the Charlottesville murder-by-Charger.

        Trump is making no friends in the Senate majority. He has been harshing Yertle lately, which seems both dangerous and self-defeating. He wants the Senate to go off the health-insurance cliff once again, a position favored by a remarkably small percentage of the citizens of any political party. Then he screws-up politics 101, which is to not seem to be supporting domestic terrorist organizations.

        Trump is, as I postulated a year ago, blowing up the Republican party. The schism is sorting out to be the hard-right racists against the appalled tax-cutters and womb-regulators. Neither piece is big enough to own the system. It is getting to be an exceedingly unstable coalition, lately.

        Throw in an invasion or nuking or two and we have not even started to live in interesting times.

        1. We’ve reached the point, at least from the moment Trump took office (really from his nomination), when America (and reasonable conservatives, too) would be better off without the GOP. The reasonable ones could form something better; the unreasonable ones are already in the process of making the GOP an American version of Le Pen’s National Front.

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