Daily Bread for 12.19.17

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of forty-two. Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 4:23 PM, for 9h 01m 42s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 1.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the {tooltip}four hundred fifth day.{end-texte}Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.{end-tooltip}

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

On this day in 1777, Gen. Washington and the Continental Army arrive at Valley Forge:

Washington’s poorly fed, ill-equipped army staggered into Valley Forge, weary from long marches. Winds blew as the 12,000 Continentals prepared for winter’s fury. Only about one in four of them had shoes, and many of their feet had left bloody footprints from the marching.[4] Grounds were selected for brigade encampments, and defense lines were planned and begun.

The first properly constructed hut appeared in three days. One hut required 80 logs, and timber had to be collected from miles away. A hut could go up in one week with the use of only one axe. These huts provided sufficient protection from the moderately cold and wet conditions of a typical Pennsylvania winter. By the beginning of February, construction was completed on 2,000 huts. They provided shelter, but did little to offset the critical shortages that continually plagued the army.[5]

On this day in 1862, the Wisconsin 1st Light Artillery prepares for Vicksburg Campaign.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey and Carol D. Leonnig  report Trump team’s meeting with Mueller’s office poised to ratchet up tensions:

White House lawyers are expected to meet with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s office late this week seeking good news: that his sprawling investigation’s focus on President Trump will soon end and their client will be cleared.

But people familiar with the probe say that such assurances are unlikely and that the meeting could trigger a new, more contentious phase between the special counsel and a frustrated president, according to administration officials and advisers close to Trump.

People with knowledge of the investigation said it could last at least another year — pointing to ongoing cooperation from witnesses such as former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, as well as a possible trial of two former Trump campaign officials. The special counsel’s office has continued to request new documents related to the campaign, and members of Mueller’s team have told others they expect to be working through much of 2018, at a minimum….

(Trump will either have to expect a lengthy, properly thorough inquiry or precipitate a constitutional crisis.)

Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Robert Barnes report Trump talked about rescinding Gorsuch’s nomination:

The president worried that Gorsuch would not be “loyal,” one of the people said, and told aides that he was tempted to pull Gorsuch’s nomination — and that he knew plenty of other judges who would want the job….

Trump was especially upset by what he viewed as Gorsuch’s insufficient gratitude for a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court, White House officials said. The judge sent the president a handwritten letter dated March 2, thanking him for the nomination and explaining how grateful he was, according to a copy obtained by The Post.

“Your address to Congress was magnificent,” Gorsuch wrote. “And you were so kind to recognize Mrs. Scalia, remember the justice, and mention me. My teenage daughters were cheering the TV!”

(Thank goodness Gorsuch’s fawning note – “magnificent” – turned up – he might have been out of an appointment otherwise.)

Susan Glasser writes ‘He Would Probably Be a Dictator by Now’ (“Two charter leaders of the #NeverTrump movement assess Year One”):

Last year, Eliot Cohen rallied dozens of fellow veterans of Republican administrations, people like him who had served in the upper reaches of the Pentagon, State Department and National Security Council, to warn against Donald Trump winning the White House. He would become, the group open letter Cohen organized said, “the most reckless president in American history.”

A year later, Cohen, a top official in President George W. Bush’s administration, and another charter #NeverTrump proselytizer, his fellow conservative Max Boot, hardly back down when asked whether their predictions of global gloom and doom had been proven right in the first year of the Trump presidency. Both men, lifelong Republicans and historically minded policy intellectuals, offered unequivocal yeses in a joint interview for this week’s Global Politico podcast – and castigated former friends inside the party they’ve both now renounced as “Vichy Republicans” for collaborating with a president they believe is not fit to hold office.

Boot pronounced Trump both “incredibly erratic and unpredictable,” though he allowed that “some of the worst-case scenarios that we imagined have yet, mercifully, come to pass.” Just because Trump has not yet destroyed NATO, launched a trade war with China or torn up NAFTA, lifted sanctions on Russia in a grand bargain with Vladimir Putin, or started a war with North Korea, Boot argued, does not mean he won’t.

“It’s true, they haven’t started World War III yet,” Cohen added. “That’s a pretty low bar.”

(Opposition was right during the campaign, is right now, and will be right until Trump meets his political ruin. Autocratic, bigoted, ignorant, conflicted, and fawning of America’s enemies merits only opposition.)

Jason Stein reports State of Wisconsin’s spending on private workers up 57% since 2010:

MADISON – From laundry and legal services to computer upgrades and health care, state taxpayers spent $653 million last year on private workers, part of a growing reliance on outside firms to do public business.

In the final term of Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, these payments dropped, falling from $490 million in 2006 to $417 million in 2010, according to figures from the state Department of Administration.

But under the first six years of GOP Gov. Scott Walker, spending on contractors rose by 57%, or several times the rate of inflation for that period. Contractors are often more expensive than state employees — but not always, officials said….

Overall, state jobs haven’t been cut under Walker — they’ve actually risen by nearly 3% during his time in office to 70,400 full-time positions, according to the Legislature’s budget office.

But outsourcing has risen more quickly. The Walker administration says the increase has been driven in part by a once-in-a-generation overhaul of state computers and by a shortage of state workers in some jobs….

(Wisconsin’s not spending less – she’s increasing and redistributing spending.)

Here’s How Sloths Use Their Slow Motion To Their Advantage:

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5 years ago

We are governed by a madman, who is enabled by a collection of greedheads, in a party that has devolved to the point that everyone is just trying to lock-in as much personal advantage as possible before the whole thing blows up.

How else do you explain a “victory” on tax-reform being touted as the best thing for America while the actual Americans are 2-1 against it? That is not the activity of a party that thinks very far ahead. That is the party of smash-and-grab and get out-of-town with the loot before the hounds get too close.

Yeah…I’m being harsh. The R-Team has earned it.