Daily Bread for 1.12.18

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of twenty. Sunrise is 7:23 AM and sunset is 4:43 PM, for 9h 20m 08s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 16.7% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the four hundred twenty-eighth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1904, Henry Ford sets a land speed record:

Henry Ford, standing, and Barney Oldfield in 1902, with the “999” racing automobile.

The Ford 999 was a nameplate attached to two distinct but similar racers built by Henry Ford during the early 20th century. Though they began as separate entities, they were virtually mechanically identical, and parts (and ultimately names) were swapped between them as needed, making the identities and legacies inseparable….On January 12, 1904 in New Baltimore, Michigan, Henry Ford personally drove the rechristened 999 with his mechanic Ed “Spider” Huff at the throttle. A new land speed record was achieved of 91.37 mph (147.05 km/h) on an ice track carved into Lake St. Clair’s Anchor Bay. It stood for only a few weeks, but this was ample time to bring more good publicity for Ford’s new company.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Zach Beauchamp writes Trump’s “shithole countries” comment exposes the core of Trumpism (“Trump’s racism isn’t incidental to his political appeal. It’s the core of it”):

This is a man who launched his political career by pushing a conspiracy theory that the first black president was not actually born in America. This is a candidate who rocketed to the top of the GOP primary polls by calling Mexicans rapists. This is a president who has repeatedly attempted to act on his campaign pledge to ban Muslims from entering the United States, who has said that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS” and that Nigerians live in “huts.”

It’s not just that Trump has consistently and unambiguously expressed beliefs like this — though he has. It’s that his willingness to say these things, out loud, is the core of his political appeal to his vaunted base. Trump won the GOP primary and the presidency not in spite of his xenophobia and racism, but because of them.

Put even more bluntly, his talk about “shithole countries” is a perfect distillation of Trumpism….

Political scientists who study race and immigration find that they have played a central role in the transformation of American politics. Democratic support for civil rights legislation and mass Latino immigration led to a sea change in American voting, wherein white voters who feel high levels of racial resentment shifted en masse into the Republican Party….

This meant that a candidate like Trump, someone who was willing to openly disparage minority groups and immigrants, had an opening in the Republican primary. Someone who could mobilize these voters by telling them what they really wanted to hear would be able to command their votes.

That’s exactly what happened. Michael Tesler, a professor at the University of California Irvine, took a look at racial resentment scores among Republican primary voters in the past three GOP primaries. In 2008 and 2012, Tesler found, Republican voters who scored higher were less likely to vote for the eventual winner. The more racial bias you harbored, the less likely you were to vote for Mitt Romney or John McCain.

With Trump, the opposite was the case. The more a person saw black people as lazy and undeserving, the more likely they were to vote for the self-proclaimed billionaire….

You might think that looking back to the primary is old news — but really, it isn’t. Trump’s “base,” his most hardcore supporters, are the people who helped make him the Republican standard-bearer. Primary data is some of the best evidence we have about the nature of Trump’s support — and it suggests that xenophobia and racism were the defining part of Trump’s support.

(See also How race and identity became the central dividing line in American politics. A herrenvolk isn’t merely a sham democracy – it’s inimical to democracy.)

Eli Rosenberg and Amar Nadhir write Reporters to Trump ambassador: ‘This is the Netherlands — you have to answer questions’:

Peter Hoekstra, the newly minted U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, held his first news conference with the Dutch media at his new residence in The Hague on Wednesday.

It did not go well.

Dutch journalists peppered Hoekstra with questions on unsubstantiated claims he made in 2015 about chaos that the “Islamic movement” had allegedly brought to the Netherlands.

“There are cars being burned. There are politicians that are being burned,” he said then, at a conference hosted by a conservative group. “And yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands.”

The comments have widely been described as inaccurate, and seem to reflect certain conspiracy theories about sharia law that crop up in some circles of the far-right in the West. When pressed by the Dutch reporters, Hoekstra declined to retract the comments or give specific examples to back them up.

In fact, after saying that he would not be “revisiting the issue,” he simply refused to answer the question at all.

But the reporters were not done with the line of questioning. Instead of moving on, another reporter would simply ask a variation of the query again.

“Everybody there had one question: That crazy statement you made, are you going to withdraw it?” Roel Geeraedts, a political reporter at the Dutch television station RTL Nieuws, said in a phone interview about the event. “We were not getting answers, so we all kept asking it.”

(Our press – nationally and locally – should do as well: This is America — you have to answer questions. The Dutch example is a good one for us; we’ve forgotten what we should always have kept in mind.)

Ronald Brownstein observes The Voters Abandoning Donald Trump (“According to previously unpublished findings, the blue-collar whites at the core of his coalition have lost faith over his first year in office”):

Together, the results crystallize the bet Trump is making for his own reelection in 2020, and for his party’s chances in November’s election: that he can mobilize enough support among older and blue-collar (as well as rural and evangelical) whites to offset the intense resistance he’s provoked from groups that are all growing in the electorate: Millennials, minorities, and college-educated whites—particularly the women among them.

These findings emerge from a cumulative analysis of 605,172 interviews SurveyMonkey conducted with Americans in 2017 about Trump’s job performance. At my request, Mark Blumenthal, SurveyMonkey’s head of election polling, calculated Trump’s average approval rating over the last year among groups of voters segmented simultaneously by their race, gender, education level, and age. That extra level of detail, not available in conventional polls because their samples are too small, offers a more precise picture of Trump’s coalition.

The SurveyMonkey results put Trump’s total approval rating for 2017 at 42 percent, with 56 percent disapproving. That’s slightly higher than, but within range of, other major public surveys….

Layering in gender and age underscores voters’ retreat. Trump in 2016 narrowly won younger whites. But he now faces crushing disapproval ratings ranging from 62 percent to 76 percent among three big groups of white Millennials: women with and without a college degree, and men with a degree. Even among white Millennial men without a degree, his most natural supporters, Trump only scores a 49-49 split….

(These are encouraging findings, but there’s more to be done, with a relentless, withering focus on Trump, His Inner Circle, Principal Surrogates, and Media Defenders.)

Betsy Woodruff, Lachlan Markay, and Asawin Suebaseng report Steve Bannon Lawyers Up… as Russia Investigators Get Ready to Pounce:

The Daily Beast has learned that the former top White House strategist has retained Bill Burck, of the firm Quinn Emanuel. Two sources tell us Burck is helping Bannon prepare for an interview with the House intelligence committee, which is currently scheduled for next week. Sources also said Bannon plans to “fully cooperate” with investigators.

Burck also represents White House Counsel Don McGahn and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus for the purposes of the Russia probe, as Law360 reported last September.

It is not unheard of for one attorney to represent more than one client on the same matter. But the fact that several key players with Trump administration ties have the same lawyer could irk investigators.

“In general, prosecutors don’t like it when the same attorney represents multiple people who are subjects—or more—because it looks like they’re controlling the story,” said Ken White, a former federal prosecutor who specializes in First Amendment issues, speaking of investigators’ targets.

Until recently, Bannon had largely avoided becoming publicly ensnared in the Russia investigation. But behind the scenes, Bannon sought to play a role in Team Trump’s handling of the issue. He privately advised the president in October to get more aggressive in fighting back against Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and urged Trump to hire new lawyers….

Imagine a Flight Through Orion Nebula in Visible and Infrared Light:

By combining the visible and infrared capabilities of the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, astronomers and visualization specialists from NASA’s Universe of Learning program have created a spectacular, three-dimensional, fly-through movie of the magnificent Orion nebula, a nearby stellar nursery. Using actual scientific data along with Hollywood techniques, a team at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Caltech/IPAC in Pasadena, California, has produced the best and most detailed multi-wavelength visualization yet of the Orion nebula. Credit: Space Telescope Science Institute