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Daily Bread for 10.25.18

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of fifty-one.  Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 5:56 PM, for 10h 34m 52s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 99.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundred sixteenth day.

 

On this day in 1836, a territorial legislature meets:

On this date the first legislative session of the Wisconsin territory convened in Belmont, Wisconsin. During this first session, forty-two laws were put in the statute books. At this time, the Territory of Wisconsin included all of present-day Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and part of the two Dakotas.

Recommended for reading in full —  Chinese & Russians intercept Trump’s unprotected calls, letting go of Gen. Lee, some of Trump’s lies are impeachable offenses, wage stagnation, and video of the misunderstood ‘false vampire bat’   —  

Matthew Rosenberg and Maggie Haberman report When Trump Phones Friends, the Chinese and the Russians Listen and Learn:

When President Trump calls old friends on one of his iPhones to gossip, gripe or solicit their latest take on how he is doing, American intelligence reports indicate that Chinese spies are often listening — and putting to use invaluable insights into how to best work the president and affect administration policy, current and former American officials said.

Mr. Trump’s aides have repeatedly warned him that his cellphone calls are not secure, and they have told him that Russian spies are routinely eavesdropping on the calls, as well. But aides say the voluble president, who has been pressured into using his secure White House landline more often these days, has still refused to give up his iPhones. White House officials say they can only hope he refrains from discussing classified information when he is on them.

Mr. Trump’s use of his iPhones was detailed by several current and former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could discuss classified intelligence and sensitive security arrangements. The officials said they were doing so not to undermine Mr. Trump, but out of frustration with what they considered the president’s casual approach to electronic security.

American spy agencies, the officials said, had learned that China and Russia were eavesdropping on the president’s cellphone calls from human sources inside foreign governments and intercepting communications between foreign officials.

(Trump’s nationalism shows no regard for the security of this nation from its authoritarian adversaries.)

Retired Army General Stanley A. McChrystal writes At 63, I Threw Away My Prized Portrait of Robert E. Lee (“I was raised to venerate Lee the principled patriot—but I want no association with Lee the defender of slavery”):

On a Sunday morning in 2017 I took down his picture, and by afternoon it was in the alley with other rubbish awaiting transport to the local landfill for final burial. Hardly a hero’s end.

….

A mythology grew around Lee and the cause he served. For many, Lee’s qualities and accomplishments, already impressive, gained godlike proportions. This was the Lee I first came to know: a leader whose flaws and failures were sanded off, the very human figure recast as a two-dimensional hero whose shadow had eclipsed the man from whom it came.

But as time passed, the myth was reexamined. The darker side of Lee’s legacy, and the picture in my office, now communicated ideas about race and equality with which I sought no association. Down it came.

(Good for him – Lee was an enemy of the United States, and his failed effort succeeded only in bringing four years of death, continued slavery, and treason. See also Lee’s Reputation Can’t Be Redeemed.)

 Bob Bauer writes Some Presidential Lies Are Impeachable Offenses:

President Trump is a committed liar, as even his most dependable supporters openly concede. The Washington Post columnist and former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen recently wrote that “the president lies all the time,” and he included this candid assertion in a piece favorable to the president. A serious question is whether Trump’s lies have put him at risk of impeachment.

….

Some lies, however, may represent a dereliction of constitutional duty, and these cannot be left to the political marketplace.

As Philip Bobbitt shows in his supplement to Charles Black’s landmark study of impeachment, a “conspiracy to pervert the course of a presidential election” by “acting in league with a hostile foreign power” is clearly a basis for removal. So, too, is any false statement made to impede an investigation into this kind of conspiracy—including false statements to the public. A clear precedent is the article of impeachment on obstruction passed by the House Judiciary Committee in the proceedings against Richard Nixon. It included a charge that Nixon had made “false and misleading public statements,” which were “contrary to his trust as president and subversive of constitutional government.”

It is entirely possible that Trump has made “false and misleading public statements” of exactly that sort.

 Tory Newmyer writes It’s not just the stock market dive the GOP should worry about:

President Trump can’t be happy that after another steep sell-off on Wall Street, the U.S. stock market has now erased all of its gains this year. Trump revels in the market highs, and the recent slide comes at a precarious moment for Republicans hoping economic tail windslimit their midterm losses.

But a less splashy piece of news Wednesday arguably should be more worrying for the GOP: The Federal Reserve reports that wages are moving higher but only at a “modest to moderate” clip, despite the tight labor market. 

The finding is the latest piece of evidence suggesting the strong economic growth evident in headline numbers isn’t trickling down to everybody. And it follows a new poll by Bankrate.com showing six in 10 Americans say they’re financially no better off today than they were two years ago — a number that climbs to nearly eight in 10 for those earning less than $30,000 a year.

(Emphasis in original.)

 Behold The Misunderstood ‘False Vampire Bat’:

Deep in the Maya forests of Mexico lives the rarely-seen Vampyrum spectrum—the false vampire bat. Little is known about these carnivorous mammals, as their nocturnal lifestyle and remote habitats make them exceedingly difficult to study.

That didn’t deter biologist Rodrigo Medellin and photographer Anand Varma. In Jason Jaacks’s short documentary, In Search of Tzotz, Medellin, Professor of Ecology at the University of Mexico, and Varma, on assignment for National Geographic, spent months scouring ancient ruins and labyrinthine caves in the Yucatan for traces of the mysterious winged creatures, whom the Maya called Tzotz.

“Through Dr. Medellin’s research and Anand’s incredible visual storytelling skills, we witnessed several new behaviors never before seen by science,” Jaacks told The Atlantic.  “We spent quite a bit of time crammed in a small tunnel inside an 800-year-old Mayan temple, in near-pitch darkness, filming the False Woolly Vampire bat roost. To hear a bat with a 2.5-foot wingspan fly over you in tight quarters was utterly amazing…Being in the presence of these bats is an awe-inspiring feeling.”

2 comments for “Daily Bread for 10.25.18

  1. joe
    10/25/2018 at 11:42 AM

    The next two weeks could well be where it all comes to a head. Imagine if the bomb guy had the minimal competence to make a functional pipe bomb? We would be looking at the assassination of two former presidents, a former vice president, a former Attorney General, several members of congress, Trump’s opponent for the presidency, CNN, and some politically active civilians. They are, of course, exactly the targets that Trump has been vilifying for the last three years. The targets are no coincidence. Trump has been riling up the rubes nonstop to take direct action, and they are.

    Trump is directly responsible for inciting this attack on our democratic system. These attempted bombings are the first major guerilla action in the second US civil war. I will not be surprised if, on Nov. 7, if the election goes against Trump, that he refuses to accept the results. It is entirely possible that his tame Federalist Supreme Court goes along. Roberts may have some misgivings, but that is unlikely to prevent him from backing Trump. That is why he is there. The SC threw the Gore election, so they have some on-the-job skills when it comes to nullifying elections.

    It’s clear where this is going. Last night, right here in Wisco-World, at the CWA airport in Mosinee, Walker and Trump stood beaming next to Leah Vukmir while she fired up the crowd to chant “Lock her up!”. To be specific, who they want to lock up is the former Secretary of State, Presidential opponent of Trump and the former first lady. They shouted “lock her up” on the same day as an assassination of her was foiled. That is the feral state of the current Republican Party.

    It is about to get really messy. The bombs were meant to be a softening-up strike. There is a lot of blather from Rush and his acolytes about how this is all a false-flag operation. My guess is that it is real. It is precisely the desired end-result of Trump’s demonization campaign.

    • JOHN ADAMS
      10/25/2018 at 12:43 PM

      Trumpism glorifies violence, as Trump has all his life (although he’s never been in a fight, and hasn’t even been near a combat zone, to show support for the soldiers he arrogantly call his own, while president).

      We are left with this question, one your remarks address: how far will Trump go? If he’s like other authoritarians, he will use the power of the state to set aside any adverse electoral results. If he’s like other authoritarians, he’ll see that once out of power he’d be especially vulnerable to the law for his many corrupt schemes. If he’s like other authoritarians, he will feel the need to use force to satisfy a fanatical faction that’s been tempted to that course since his campaign.

      Would Trump truly risk a color revolution, so to speak? It’s a practical, not an airy, question. One should have no doubt that his use of force to hold power would lead to his utter ruin. Trump’s ignorant supporters’ boasting about their willingness to do anything for Trump would melt under adverse conditions.

      Trump’s an ignorant, impulsive man who does not grasp the extent of his ignorance and impulsiveness. If there should ever be a man who would miscalculate on a continental scale, it’s Trump.