FREE WHITEWATER

Daily Bread for 1.20.19

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of thirteen.  Sunrise is 7:19 AM and sunset 4:52 PM, for 9h 33m 45s of daytime.  The moon is full with 99.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the eight hundred second day.

 

On this day in 1981, the Iran Hostage Crisis ends.

Recommended for reading in full:

Adam Rawnsley reports Breakfast in Trumpland: Inside the Nunes-Flynn Meeting That Caught Mueller’s Attention:

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has gone from being an overseer in the Russia investigation to a potential witness in it. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating potential influence peddling at an inaugural fundraising breakfast attended by Nunes, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and a host of foreign officials from around the world. So where do pricey Eggs Benedict fit in with the rest of the Russia investigation

Best buds: It makes sense that Nunes appeared at the event alongside Flynn, then his fellow Trump transition teammate. The two became close when Flynn was serving as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency for President Obama and Nunes was a junior member of the House intelligence committee, according to a Newsweek profile. The two bonded over Flynn’s Iran-centric view of Middle Eastern terrorism, and Nunes eagerly embraced the general’s conspiracy theories, like the belief that Tehran was somehow behind the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

 Last Tuesday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar questions attorney general nominee William Barr on obstruction from CNBC.

Justin George and Eli Hager report One Way To Deal With Cops Who Lie? Blacklist Them, Some DAs Say:

In the racially divided city of St. Louis the chief prosecutor has embraced a controversial tool to hold police accountable: blacklisting cops who she says are too untrustworthy to testify in court.

So far, Kim Gardner has dropped more than 100 cases that relied on statements from the 29 officers who got on the list for alleged lying, abuse or corruption. And she won’t accept new cases or search-warrant requests from them, either.

From Philadelphia to Houston to Seattle, district attorneys recently elected on platforms of criminal justice reform are building similar databases of their own. Often known as “do not call” lists, they are also called “exclusion lists” or “Brady lists” after a famous Supreme Court decision requiring prosecutors to disclose to defense lawyers information about unreliable police officers or other holes in their cases.

The goal is to help prosecutors avoid bringing cases built on evidence from officers who are likely to be challenged in court, these new DAs say. Having a centralized list at a district attorney’s office, they say, allows for the gathering of institutional knowledge, so that if one prosecutor on staff knows about a bad cop, all the prosecutors do.

(Small groups of liars and misfits have been shielded long enough, among the rank & file and among leaders.)

 A World-Famous Artist With Four Legs and a Bite:

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Foxconn Couldn’t Even Meet Its Low First-Year Goal

Here in Whitewater, the local private business lobby invited last year as a guest speaker a state operative to exaggerate wildly talk about Foxconn. See A Sham News Story on Foxconn.

As it turns out, Foxconn hasn’t even been able to meet the low, first-year employment goals set for the publicly-subsidized project. Rick Rommel reports Foxconn falls short of first job-creation hurdle but reiterates ultimate employment pledge:

Foxconn Technology Group had 178 full-time Wisconsin employees in 2018 — 82 jobs short of the minimum required for the company to immediately claim state job-creation tax credits.

The electronics manufacturer, however, can still earn credits for the 2018 employment by making up for the job-creation shortfall in future years of its long-term contract with the state.

Foxconn ultimately could receive $1.5 billion in job credits as part of an overall public subsidy package totaling about $4 billion.

….

At the same time, the company said it had changed the timing of its hiring plans.

“While we remain committed to creating 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, we have adjusted our recruitment and hiring timeline,” Foxconn executive Louis Woo said in the letter sent to Mark Hogan, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., and shared with Gov. Tony Evers. “As a company with operations around the world, we need to have the agility to adapt to a range of factors including global economic conditions.

(At the Journal Sentinel, Rick Rommell is something of a Foxconn apologist, so by the time he’s writing about bad news…)

Now one should do what one can for others, even for the state- and crony-capitalists who’ve banded together in a local lobbying group. I’d guess that the annual meeting of the Greater Whitewater Committee is now approaching, and perhaps they still need a guest speaker.  I’ve previously suggested Scott Walker (and now he’s free, one hears), but I’ll admit there’s one guest speaker even more suited to that organization and its interests.

 

Previously10 Key Articles About FoxconnFoxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers,  Foxconn Destroys Single-Family HomesFoxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair BudgetThe Man Behind the Foxconn ProjectA Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the TroughEven Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) WorkforceFoxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All, Foxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious, Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace ConditionsFoxconn’s Bait & SwitchFoxconn’s (Overwhelmingly) Low-Paying JobsThe Next Guest SpeakerTrump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn Plant, Foxconn Deal Melts Away“Later This Year,” Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison, Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent Domain, Foxconn: Failure & FraudFoxconn Roundup: Desperately Ill Edition Foxconn Roundup: Indiana Layoffs & Automation Everywhere, and Foxconn Roundup: Outside Work and Local Land.Continue reading

Daily Bread for 1.19.19

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be cloudy, with blowing snow, and a high of twenty-three.  Sunrise is 7:19 AM and sunset 4:51 PM, for 9h 31m 49s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 96.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the eight hundred first day.

 

On this day in 1809, Edgar Allan Poe is born.

Recommended for reading in full:

 Robert O’Harrow Jr. reports A $450 dinner, $45 whiskey: Political appointee, aide ring up the expenses:

They are federal financial regulators who filed for expenses like corporate CEOs, seeking reimbursement for limos, deluxe air travel and meals in posh restaurants.

There was an UberBlack ride from the District to neighboring Alexandria, Va., for $250, according to internal records obtained by The Washington Post. Two airline tickets to a meeting in Vienna came in at more than $11,000 each, even as a staffer found a way to the same event for a fraction of the price. A meal for three at Joe’s Seafood near the White House cost $450 — including $45 for a dish of Dover sole and $43 for halibut, according to receipts for the meal.

J. Mark McWatters, head of the National Credit Union Administration, and his chief of staff, Sarah Vega, and their guests also showed a fondness for wine and top-shelf liquor, including, in one instance, a $45 glass of 18-year-old single-malt whiskey, records show. In 2016 and 2017, they expensed more than $2,500 worth of alcoholic beverages — most of it under Vega’s account — despite a written policy prohibiting reimbursement for the purchase of alcohol.

(The transgression isn’t the meal’s cost; the transgression is expecting taxpayers to pay for it. McWatters and Vega may do as they wish, on their own time, with their own money.)

 Patrick Marley reports Judge finds Republicans violated free speech rights by blocking liberal group on Twitter:

MADISON – A federal judge ruled Friday that three Wisconsin Republicans violated the First Amendment rights of a liberal group by blocking it on Twitter.

U.S. District Judge William Conley found in a 30-page ruling that Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester and two others had acted unconstitutionally by blocking One Wisconsin Now on Twitter “because of its prior speech or identity.”

One Wisconsin Now — an advocacy group that frequently tweaks Republicans online — in 2017 sued Vos, Rep. John Nygren of Marinette and then-Rep. Jesse Kremer of Kewaskum for blocking it on Twitter.

By blocking One Wisconsin Now, the three lawmakers prevented the group from responding to their posts and offering its own — often snarky — point of view.

Conley, who was appointed to the bench in 2010 by President Barack Obama, determined the three Republicans ran their Twitter accounts as public officials. By operating those accounts, they chose to participate in an interactive forum open to the general public, he wrote.

“Having opted to create a Twitter account … and benefit from its broad, public reach, defendants cannot now divorce themselves from its First Amendment implications and responsibilities as state actors,” he wrote.

Orca Calf Offers Hope for a Fading Group in the Pacific Northwest:

‘This is not a close decision’: Federal Judge Strikes Down Lame-Duck Changes to Wisconsin Voting Laws

Laurel White reports Federal Judge Strikes Down Lame-Duck Changes To Wisconsin Voting Laws:

The restrictions limited early voting in Wisconsin to the two weeks before an election. In recent years, cities including the Democratic strongholds of Milwaukee and Madison have offered several weeks of early voting.

Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed the new restrictions into law roughly three weeks before he was to leave office and be replaced by Democrat Tony Evers. The same lame-duck session of the Legislature also sought to curb Evers’ powers, in a move widely criticized as a power play.

Liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now joined with the National Redistricting Foundation, an arm of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee headed by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, to argue that the new restrictions violated a 2016 federal ruling on election laws in Wisconsin. The groups appealed to the judge in that case, Judge James Peterson of the Western District of Wisconsin, to block the new law.

….

Peterson issued a favorable ruling for the groups on Thursday afternoon.

“This is not a close question,” Peterson wrote in his decision.

See One Wisconsin Now, Inc. v. Mark Thomsen, et al., 3:15-cv-00324-jdp (W.D. Wis. Jan. 17, 2019):

Friday Catblogging: Cat Listens to Mahler

Kyle Macdonald writes This cat listening to Mahler is basically all of us:

All Mahler superfans will know that one of his Adagios can elicit a huge range of emotions.

But we’re happy to say there’s no need for a detailed analysis of the rates of harmonic change and cadential tension (though we have that too), because this feline sums it all up perfectly.

Choco belongs to Japanese pianist Yuriko Morota. The cat’s dramatic contortions to the slow, suspense-filled strings in the Adagio finale to Mahler’s final symphony are everything you could wish for. If indeed you wish for pets listening to Austro-Bohemian late-Romantic symphonies, and looking funny.

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Daily Bread for 1.18.19

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be cloudy, with snow falling in the late afternoon, and a high of twenty-seven.  Sunrise is 7:20 AM and sunset 4:50 PM, for 9h 29m 57s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 89.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the eight hundredth day.

 

On this day in 1803, Pres. Jefferson requests funding for what would become the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Recommended for reading in full:

 Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier report President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project (“Trump received 10 personal updates from Michael Cohen and encouraged a planned meeting with Vladimir Putin”):

President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.

Trump also supported a plan, set up by Cohen, to visit Russia during the presidential campaign, in order to personally meet President Vladimir Putin and jump-start the tower negotiations. “Make it happen,” the sources said Trump told Cohen.

And even as Trump told the public he had no business deals with Russia, the sources said Trump and his children Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. received regular, detailed updates about the real estate development from Cohen, whom they put in charge of the project.

Update: But see In a rare move, Mueller’s office denies BuzzFeed report that Trump told Cohen to lie about Moscow project.

Mikhaila Fogel, Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, Matthew Kahn, and Benjamin Wittes assess this news in The Latest Revelation From BuzzFeed News: Trump Reportedly Directed Cohen to Lie to Congress:

First, the criminality alleged in this story is—if true—unsubtle and unambiguous, directly related to the president’s conduct as president, and concerning matters of great import.

This story is the first direct allegation of a crime by Trump involving L’Affaire Russe for which the president cannot claim that his actions were authorized by the Article II powers of the presidency. There is an active debate about the degree to which the obstruction statutes can or cannot be applied to facially valid exercises of presidential authority—like, for example, firing the FBI director or directing the conduct of an investigation. There is no debate, by contrast, about whether the president can obstruct justice in his conduct outside of his authorities as president.

Eric Mack explains How to see the last ‘super blood wolf moon’ lunar eclipse for 18 years:

Starting at around 7:34 p.m. PT or 10:34 p.m. ET Sunday, a partial eclipse will begin, with the full eclipse starting a little over an hour later. You can safely look at the blood moon from anywhere skies are clear enough, unlike solar eclipses that require special eye protection in most cases. The main event lasts about an hour.

If skies don’t cooperate or you can’t be bothered to step outside for some reason to see it for yourself, you can catch the livestream from the Virtual Telescope Project in Rome below. There’s also a handful of other eclipses still to come in 2019.

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Roundup on Jefferson, Wisconsin’s ‘Warriors & Wizards’ Festival

There are four recent developments in the debacle that has been the October Warriors and Wizards (formerly Harry Potter) Festival in Jefferson, Wisconsin.  Despite problems during its two years in Edgerton, Jefferson picked up the festival, and the Daily Jefferson County Union touted the shabby festival even as residents were screaming about the low quality of the event and dishonesty of the event organizer. See Iceberg Aside, Titanic‘s Executive Pleased with Ship’s Voyage.

Now the DU has been playing catch up, reporting on the sad truth of the event after hundreds of people – some undoubtedly relying on prior false & absurdly laudatory DU coverage – attended the event.

(I did not lose any money on this event, and have no personal disappointment. The story here is how lying boosters pushed an obviously cheesy festival with no regard to ordinary patrons’ time or money. Far from representing and defending the community, the DU‘s then-publisher and current editor and reporter sold out their own neighbors.  The DU’s reporting now has no choice but to concede what’s plain to every last sentient creature on the planet – and was plain to so many these last few years.)

Obvious point – I live in Whitewater.  My concern is here.  If something like this happened repeatedly in Whitewater (and I do not believe it would), neither the officials involved nor the reporters deceptively flacking it would deserve their jobs.  Sometimes one writes of nearby mistakes as both a cautionary tale and a reminder that our small and beautiful city will always deserve better.

Here’s what’s happened after years of DU puff pieces:

Early November 2018.  Jefferson City Council assesses the festival (something like assessing whether a tsunami is a destructive occurrence).

Mid-November 2018.   The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department opens a criminal investigating into accusations that the promoter wrote several bad checks to private vendors who supplied services for the festival.

Mid-November 2018.  City of Jefferson officials admit that they were aware of the festival’s problems (that is, city administrator Tim Freitag admits lying about his previously stated ignorance of any financial problems with the event (he should have been fired for his dishonesty).

Late November 2018.  City of Jefferson decides to extend the time to decide whether to cancel the event (if you need to think it over…)

Early December 2018.  Festival promoter Scott Cramer misses a payment deadline (of course he does).

Mid-January 2019.  City of Jefferson sends collection notice to festival’s promoter (alternative headline: City of Jefferson Tries to Get Blood from a Turnip.)

Mid-January 2019.  City of Jefferson terminates contract with the festival.

For it all, the city’s taxpayers and many vendors have not yet been paid.

Previously: Attack of the Dirty Dogs, Jefferson’s Dirty Dogs Turn Mangy, Thanks, City of Jefferson!Who Will Jefferson’s Residents Believe: Officials or Their Own Eyes?Why Dirty Dogs Roam With Impunity,  Found Footage: Daily Union Arrives on Subscriber’s Doorstep, Sad Spectacle in Jefferson, WI (and How to Do Much Better), What Else Would a Publisher Lie About?, Iceberg Aside, Titanic‘s Executive Pleased with Ship’s Voyage, and New Developments About Jefferson, Wisconsin’s ‘Warriors & Wizards’ Festival.… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 1.17.19

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of thirty-five.  Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 4:49 PM, for 9h 28m 07s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 81.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundred ninety-ninth day.

Whitewater’s Community Development Authority is scheduled to meet at 5:30 PM. (For a category at FREE WHITEWATER with posts describing the years-long failure of the Whitewater CDA’s approach, see CDA.)

On this day in 1864, the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry fights in the Battle of Dandridge, Tennessee.

Recommended for reading in full:

 Patrick Marley reports Wisconsin GOP lawmakers seek to hire attorneys at taxpayer expense to defend lame-duck laws:

Republican legislators have taken the first step to hiring private attorneys at taxpayer expense to fight a lawsuit challenging lame-duck laws that limit the power of Democratic officials and curtail early voting.

Top lawmakers were asked Wednesday to sign off on hiring lawyers without knowing what it would cost. If approved, two GOP leaders — Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester and Senate President Roger Roth of Appleton — would be given the power to determine whom to hire and how much to pay them.

The effort comes at a time when Vos has refused to release a legal contract in another case that is expected to cost taxpayers at least $850,000.

 Allyson Chiu reports Rudy Giuliani: ‘I never said there was no collusion’ between Trump campaign and Russia:

Rudolph W. Giuliani claimed Wednesday night that he “never said there was no collusion” between President Trump’s campaign and Russia leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

In a remarkable, at times contentious, interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, the president’s lawyer was accused of contradicting his own past statements about collusion as well as what Trump and his supporters have repeatedly asserted. On Twitter, Trump has used the phrase “no collusion” dozens of times, and a number of those instances were direct denials that his campaign was involved with the Russian government.

Giuliani’s shocking declarations — several of which Cuomo called out as being false — quickly sent the Internet into a tailspin as many wondered what could have prompted the former New York mayor to suddenly change course.

….

As recently as July, Giuliani was asked by Fox News contributor Guy Benson, “Regardless of whether collusion would be a crime, is it still the position of you and your client that there was no collusion with the Russians whatsoever on behalf of the Trump campaign?”

“Correct,” Giuliani responded at the time.

But on Wednesday, Giuliani appeared to amend his previous comments on the subject.

Spencer S. Hsu reports New court filing indicates prosecutors have extensive details on Manafort actions not yet made public:

Prosecutors working for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III have intensively scrutinized Paul Manafort’s activities after President Trump’s election — including after Manafort was criminally charged — and indicated they have extensive details not yet made public about Manafort’s interactions with former Russian aide Konstantin Kilimnik and others, a Tuesday court filing showed.

That Time a Heineken Distributor Convinced the Masses That Corona Contained Human Urine:

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Walker v. Ocasio-Cortez On Twitter (Spoiler: She Shreds Him)

I’m a supporter of neither Scott Walker (an anti-market crony capitalist) nor Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (an anti-market socialist), but a Twitter exchange between them was notable for being so one-sided: Cortez engaged and out-played Walker. In this post, I’ll analyze the exchange. Wholly apart from their politics, it’s obvious that Ocasio-Cortez is a talented communicator, while Walker … isn’t.

Walker’s Original Tweet:

Explaining tax rates before Reagan to 5th graders: “Imagine if you did chores for your grandma and she gave you $10. When you got home, your parents took $7 from you.” The students said: “That’s not fair!” Even 5th graders get it.

 

Ocasio-Cortez’s reply to Walker:

Explaining marginal taxes to a far-right former Governor:

Imagine if you did chores for abuela & she gave you $10. When you got home, you got to keep it, because it’s only $10.

Then we taxed the billionaire in town because he’s making tons of money underpaying the townspeople.

Walker’s Counter-Reply (hours later):

REALITY CHECK: When the federal government raised taxes on the “wealthy” in the 90s, revenues missed projections & people lost family-supporting jobs. Not very progressive…

A few remarks:

Marginal Rates. Ocasio-Cortez has a plan (to which I am opposed) to tax to a marginal rate of 70%. (A marginal rate of 70% does not mean one’s whole income is taxed at 70% – only the amount over a specified threshold would be taxed at 70%.)  Walker either doesn’t understand the concept or deliberately distorts her proposal (or any marginal rate proposal) in his tweet.

Before Reagan. Walker links a better approach to a time before Reagan, presumably for ideological purposes. I doubt Reagan, himself, would describe arguments against high marginal rates that way. The better approach would be to speak historically: “across centuries, the experience of productive societies is that…” Walker’s too narrow.

Abuela. Walker writes of grandma, but Ocasio-Cortez replies with abuela. Very clever. Ocasio-Cortez turns the story from middle America to a constituency that’s working class and significantly Latino (she represents a congressional district covering the Bronx). Walker speaks one language, but Ocasio-Cortez reminds that she speaks (at least) two.

Shifting the Terrain. Ocasio-Cortez replies cleverly to Walker not with a debunking of his error (or lie) about how marginal rates work, but by focusing on her political point that “[i]magine if you did chores for abuela & she gave you $10. When you got home, you got to keep it, because it’s only $10.” She emphasizes lower taxes for low-wage earners, using the small dollar figures in his tweet to emphasize workers’ struggles.

But she’s not done with him – she hits him with a soak-the-rich argument that most people will find (sadly) convincing: “Then we taxed the billionaire in town because he’s making tons of money underpaying the townspeople.” (See what she did there? She implies that some private parties owe some of their money to other townspeople.)

Walker’s Counter-Reply. Walker thinks the problem with high marginal rates is that government lost revenue? No, the responsive counter-reply is that high rates (marginal or flat) drain money from the private economy. … Continue reading

Daily Bread for 1.16.19

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of twenty-nine.  Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 4:47 PM, for 9h 26m 20s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 73.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundred ninety-eighth day.

The Whitewater School Board’s Policy Review Committee is scheduled to meet at 8 AM.

On this day in 1888, Wisconsin resident William Vilas becomes United States Secretary of the Interior.

Recommended for reading in full:

Jim Tankersley reports Shutdown’s Economic Damage Starts to Pile Up, Threatening an End to Growth:

The partial government shutdown is inflicting far greater damage on the United States economy than previously estimated, the White House acknowledged on Tuesday, as President Trump’s economists doubled projections of how much economic growth is being lost each week the standoff with Democrats continues.

The revised estimates from the Council of Economic Advisers show that the shutdown, now in its fourth week, is beginning to have real economic consequences. The analysis, and other projections from outside the White House, suggests that the shutdown has already weighed significantly on growth and could ultimately push the United States economy into a contraction.

….

Mr. Hassett [chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers] said on Tuesday that the administration now calculates that the shutdown reduces quarterly economic growth by 0.13 percentage points for every week that it lasts — the cumulative effect of lost work from contractors and furloughed federal employees who are not getting paid and who are investing and spending less as a result. That means that the economy has already lost nearly half a percentage point of growth from the four-week shutdown. (Last year, economic growth for the first quarter totaled 2.2 percent.)

(Making America Stagnant Again.)

 Bill Kaplan describes How Shutdown Is Hurting State:

Wisconsin dairy and other farmers are no longer receiving special payments because of the loss of foreign markets. “States like Wisconsin, which lost at least 638 dairy farms last year, are particularly vulnerable” (New York Times). Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin had added programs to the farm bill to help alleviate the burden of low prices and resultant stress. The shutdown has put everything on hold. Baldwin said: “More uncertainty and more stress. We can’t afford to wait months. We need to get this moving now.”

The shutdown also threatens FDA inspection of Wisconsin food processing companies (vegetables). Similarly, EPA inspections of state Superfund sites, chemical and industrial factories and water treatment facilities, are on hold. And, Wisconsin Native Americans are in trouble. The Oneida Nation said: “the shutdown is putting the health and welfare of our community and our members at risk and impeding our economic development potential”.

 Deer in Door County rescued after falling through ice:

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Yet Go He Will…

Ted Koppel cautions Don’t expect Trump to go quietly:

There is a disarming innocence to the assumption that whether by impeachment, indictment or a cleansing electoral redo in 2020, President Trump will be exorcised from the White House and that thereby he and his base will largely revert to irrelevance.

Truthfully, there are few among the many millions in opposition and resistance who likely expect Trump to go quietly; there’s nothing quiet about him. Having spent these recent years in opposition, these millions have taken the measure of Trump.  There are no uncertainties about what he is: authoritarian, bigot, confidence man, and foreign dictator’s fifth columnist.

A man like that will thrash and howl at the approach of political ruin.

Millions of his fellow Americans will deliver that political ruin to him and his nativist movement.

Loud in ruin will resound less forcefully than loud in power.  (Indeed, loud in ruin then will sound like quiet now.)

This brings to mind my favorite political commercial of 2016,  entitled simply Quiet, and embedded above. … Continue reading

Congressman Steve King, But Not Only Steve King…

Bigoted congressman Steve King has lost his committee assignments, should be censured, and truly should leave politics forever.

And yet, and yet, while King should go,  King shouldn’t head for the exit alone:

The condemnations of Mr. King stood in stark contrast to the lawmakers’ willingness to tolerate President Trump’s frequent offensive and insensitive remarks about migrantsblack peopleNative Americans and other minorities.

Just last week, the president used the Oval Office to unleash a blistering assault on undocumented immigrants, portraying them as criminals in a fashion that harked back to an earlier era of American politics but rarely heard from a president in modern times. And on Sunday night, Mr. Trump invoked the Wounded Knee massacre of hundreds of Native Americans as an attempt to joke about Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Via Steve King Removed From Committee Assignments Over White Supremacy Remark.… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 1.15.19

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of thirty-four.  Sunrise is 7:22 AM and sunset 4:46 PM, for 9h 24m 36s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 62.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundred ninety-seventh day.

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

On this day in 1967, the Packers win the first Super Bowl (35-10 over the Chiefs).

Recommended for reading in full:

Julian E. Barnes and Helene Cooper report Trump Discussed Pulling U.S. From NATO, Aides Say Amid New Concerns Over Russia:

There are few things that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia desires more than the weakening of NATO, the military alliance among the United States, Europe and Canada that has deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years.

Last year, President Trump suggested a move tantamount to destroying NATO: the withdrawal of the United States.

Senior administration officials told The New York Times that several times over the course of 2018, Mr. Trump privately said he wanted to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Current and former officials who support the alliance said they feared Mr. Trump could return to his threat as allied military spending continued to lag behind the goals the president had set.

(No greater gift to Vladimir Vladimirovich than the end of American participation in the NATO alliance.)

 Fred Kaplan considers Trump and Putin’s Cone of Seclusion (“It’s not just unusual that there are no notes from Trump’s meetings with Putin. It’s unprecedented”):

Whether his translator’s notes hold anything incriminating about Trump’s fealty to Putin, it is appalling that he would go into a one-on-one meeting with the Russian president without a note taker—especially given his shallow grasp of the issues and the very real possibility that he could have given away U.S. interests or disclosed vital secrets without understanding what he was doing. He also conducted his one-on-one with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at their summit in Singapore, without a note taker present.

….

Quite aside from matters that may be of concern to special counsel Robert Mueller, who knows what concessions Trump may have made in these sessions? In the follow-on meetings that have since taken place between U.S. and North Korean negotiators, American diplomats have sometimes raised points that they consider vital—only to have their North Korean counterpart wave it away, saying, “Go talk with your president.” Did Trump concede these issues in his one-on-one without telling his subordinates? We may never know; some U.S. officials suspect he did.

Meg Jones reports USO Wisconsin collecting gift cards for Coast Guardsmen working without pay because of shutdown:

Like other federal workers working without pay, Coast Guard members and their families are facing hardship paying bills, buying groceries and filling gas tanks.

To help, USO Wisconsin has started a gift card collection for local Coast Guardsmen and their families.

How to help pollinators in cities:

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