Daily Bread for 10.9.18

Good morning.

 Tuesday in Whitewater will see scattered afternoon thunderstorms with a high of eighty.  Sunrise is 7:02 AM and sunset 6:21 PM, for 11h 19m 18s of daytime.  The moon is new with 0.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundredth day.

Whitewater’s Public Works Committee is scheduled to meet at 6:00 PM.

On this day in 1975, Andrei Sakharov is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize:

The father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, Andrei Sakharov, was awarded the Peace Prize in 1975 for his opposition to the abuse of power and his work for human rights. The leaders of the Soviet Union reacted with fury, and refused Sakharov permission to travel to Oslo to receive the Prize. His wife, Jelena Bonner, received it on his behalf. Sakharov was subsequently deprived of all his Soviet honorary titles, and the couple was for several years kept under strict surveillance in the town of Gorkij. Only when Gorbachev came to power in 1985 were they allowed to return to Moscow.

Sakharov revealed his talent for theoretical physics at an early age, and got a doctorate in 1945. From 1948 on, under the supervision of the Nobel Laureate Igor Tamm, he worked on the development of a Soviet hydrogen bomb. Sakharov was patriotic, and believed it was important to break the American monopoly on nuclear weapons. But from the late 1950s on, he issued warnings against the consequences of the arms race, and in the 1960s and 1970s he voiced sharp criticism of the system of Soviet society, which in his opinion departed from fundamental human rights.

Recommended for reading in full —  Trump drowns America in red ink, asking to whom Trump has a personal indebtedness, the darkness that’s overcome conservativism, a Plan B in response to Trumpism, and video of a New York rat so big even a cat clears out   —

Heather Long writes Trump’s economy means soaring deficits, too:

As most of America was glued to the final twists of the Brett M. Kavanaugh vote last Friday, the Congressional Budget Office dropped a whopper of a report. The United States federal government ran a deficit of $782 billion in fiscal 2018, the CBO said, the highest since 2012 and substantially higher than last year’s $666 billion. 

This isn’t supposed to happen. The U.S. economy is humming, and a hot economy is supposed to translate into higher tax revenue and very tiny deficits. In fact, the last time unemployment was around this level — in 2000 and 1969 — the U.S. government ran a surplus.

President Trump vowed to eliminate the debt in eight years while he was campaigning for president. Instead, he is presiding over ballooning deficits, an unprecedented situation during strong economic times. In fiscal 2018, which concluded at the end of September, spending jumped 129 percent while tax receipts rose 0.4 percent.

(Emphasis in original.)

David Frum asks What Does the President Owe, and to Whom Does He Owe It?:
Conservative Max Boot writes The dark side of American conservatism has taken over:

In 1964, the GOP ceased to be the party of Lincoln and became the party of Southern whites. As I now look back with the clarity of hindsight, I am convinced that coded racial appeals had at least as much, if not more, to do with the electoral success of the modern Republican Party than all of the domestic and foreign policy proposals crafted by well-intentioned analysts like me. This is what liberals have been saying for decades. I never believed them. Now I do, because Trump won by making the racist appeal, hitherto relatively subtle, obvious even to someone such as me who used to be in denial.

In fairness, many Republican voters and their leaders, from Wendell Willkie to Mitt Romney, have been a lot more moderate. Their very centrism stoked the fury of some on the right. The pattern was set early on, in 1964, with Phyllis Schlafly’s best-selling tract “A Choice Not an Echo.” Schlafly was baffled why Republicans candidates had lost presidential elections in 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948 and 1960. “It wasn’t any accident,” she wrote, ominously. “It was planned that way. In each of their losing presidential years, a small group of secret kingmakers, using hidden persuaders and psychological warfare techniques, manipulated the Republican National Convention to nominate candidates who would sidestep or suppress the key issues.” These nefarious “kingmakers” were New York financiers who supposedly favored “a policy of aiding and abetting Red Russia and her satellites.” And how did these “kingmakers” manipulate the GOP? By promulgating “false slogans” such as “Politics should stop at the water’s edge.” In other words, for Schlafly the very idea of bipartisanship was evidence of incipient treason.

This was not the ranting of some marginal oddball. Schlafly was one of the leading lights of the right who in the 1970s would lead the successful campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment. Trump’s claim that he is going to “Make America Great Again” — after it has been betrayed by disloyal elites — is simply an echo, as it were, of Schlafly’s conspiratorial rants.

The history of the modern Republican Party is the story of moderates being driven out and conservatives taking over — and then of those conservatives in turn being ousted by those even further to the right. A telling moment came in 1996, when the Republican presidential nominee, Bob Dole, visited an aged Barry Goldwater. Once upon a time, Dole and Goldwater had defined the Republican right, but by 1996, Dole joked, “Barry and I — we’ve sort of become the liberals.” “We’re the new liberals of the Republican Party,” Goldwater agreed. “Can you imagine that?”

Jennifer Rubin writes The corruption of the GOP is complete: So what’s Plan B?:

The Republican Party’s Trumpization is complete. It’s not a conservative party, or a small government party or an anti-authoritarian party (to the contrary!). It has become the caricature of the left from days gone by — all power, no principle, dismissive of courtesy and reasoned persuasion. Anger, not ideas, is its animating force. We have a nativist party that views America not as a creedal nation, but as a white Christian nation that is diminished by immigrants and is threatened by outsiders. If it possesses any coherent philosophy, it is one of victimhood — which in turn justifies any and all bad behavior.

Four weeks from this Wednesday (the day after the midterm elections), sorry, will commence the lead-up to the 2020 presidential race. Any Republicans thinking of challenging President Trump because they recoil from the party of Trump is, I hate to break it to them, out of luck. The party wants the mocking cruelty, the attacks on the press and on women, the protectionism and the white nationalism. These things define it.

Are we then destined to have only a choice in 2020 between President Trump (or a clone) and the Democratic Party nominee? Perhaps, and if so, we should pray Democrats pick a unifying figure, one who can restore our institutions and rebalance our politics. And what if the Democratic Party selects Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)? Well then, it’s time for Plan B.

Perhaps a potential ticket independent is waiting to be constructed from among the few Republicans who have refused to join the Trump cult. There are center/right governors — John Kasich (Ohio), Charlie Baker (Mass.), Brian Sandoval (Nev.) and former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels. Democrats such as Gov. Steve Bullock (Mont.), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Gov. John Hickenlooper (Colo.) would be solid additions on a ticket if you wanted to go the bipartisan route — perhaps with the promise of a one-term “reset” to rinse out the toxic remnants of the Trump era. Alternatively, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — a true independent voice — would be on any short list for vice president.

Watch as a New York Rat Bullies Cat out of the Way:
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