Daily Bread for 12.20.17 | FREE WHITEWATER

Daily Bread for 12.20.17

Good morning.

Midweek in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of thirty-two. Sunrise is 7:22 AM and sunset 4:23 PM, for 9h 01m 39s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 4.9% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the four hundred sixth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Parks & Recreation Board is scheduled to meet today at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1803, France formally cedes its Louisiana territory to the United States.

In December 1941, large numbers of Wisconsinites begin to enlist: “After the attack on Pearl Harbor, thousands of Wisconsin citizens volunteered to fight. Roughly 320,000 Wisconsin soldiers served in the armed forces during the WWII, including more than 9,000 women. Wisconsin’s National Guard formed a substantial part of the new Red Arrow Division, helping to maintain the respected reputation of its predecessor from World War I by remaining undefeated in the Pacific theater. The majority of Wisconsin soldiers were draftees who served in units comprised of men from around the country. More than 8,000 soldiers died and another 13,000 were wounded in combat. Fifteen Wisconsin men won the Medal of Honor during WWII.”

Recommended for reading in full — 

David Frum observes – in response to a Charles C.W. Cooke article criticizing Jennifer Rubin – that Conservatism Can’t Survive Donald Trump Intact (“As reflexive support for the president redefines their movement, most conservative commentators have caved to pressure, following along”):

The most revealing thought in Cooke’s essay is his explanation for why he feels it is safe to go with the Trumpian flow: “Conservatism in this country long predated Trump; for now, it is tied up with Trump; soon, it will have survived Trump.”

This is something many conservatives tell themselves, but it’s not even slightly true. Trump is changing conservatism into something different. We can all observe that….

(I’m not a conservative, but Frum’s right. There’s more to say about Cooke’s essay another time, but Frum gets to the heart of conservatives’ problem: they won’t be able to maintain integrity while waiting Trump out.)

Jennifer Rubin writes Here are the latest games from Trump’s shoddy legal team:

The strongest indication of President Trump’s precarious legal situation is his legal team’s propensity to make political, not to mention hysterical, accusations in lieu of legal arguments. One supposes that if Trump’s lawyers had meritorious points, they would make them in a proper legal forum, as Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) suggested with regard to the lawyers’ temper tantrum over thousands of transition team emails acquired by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III from the General Services Administration….

If, of course, Trump’s legal team went to court, it would need a viable legal claim. Legal experts are flummoxed as to what the basis might be for challenging the acquisition of documents relevant to the Russia inquiry. (Fear of gross embarrassment isn’t a legitimate one.) For one thing, Trump would have to attack his own appointees at the GSA for turning over the documents, which cannot by definition be covered by presidential executive privilege because Trump wasn’t yet president. The Post quotes former prosecutor Randall Eliason as saying that the transition emails are “not your personal email. If it ends in .gov, you don’t have any expectation of privacy.” Likewise, Ben Wittes of Lawfare blog tells me, “When you use government devices you do so with the explicit understanding that you have no expectation of privacy. Moreover, if there is a complaint here, it is a complaint about GSA for overbroad production, not against Mueller for seeking materials that are obviously germane to his investigation.”

David Graham ponders The Partisan, Nihilist Case Against Robert Mueller (“Attacks on the special counsel aren’t about misconduct—instead, they’re aimed at discrediting the very idea of professionalism”):

….The opposition to Mueller is partisan, but not in that it pits Republicans against Democrats. Its partisans are loyal first and foremost to President Trump. And in the inexorable logic of fiercely loyal partisans, they can only interpret other people’s actions through the same lens. Hence they have decided that Mueller, despite no real evidence in favor of the proposition and plenty of circumstantial evidence against it, must also be entirely partisan. (The same partisan impulse is at work in support for Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate race in Alabama.)

Gone by the wayside are some of the earlier critiques. Back in May, when Mueller started his work, Trump partisans could still argue with a straight face that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, there was no evidence of collusion, and there would never be any evidence of collusion. Even if it eventually emerges that there was no criminal act involving collusion, it has become impossible to claim that the special counsel’s probe is purely a fishing expedition. The July revelation of a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer established that if there was no collusion, it was not for want of trying. Trump and others abandoned the talking point that there was no collusion and adopted a new one: Collusion is totally normal and appropriate! George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn have since both pleaded guilty to lying about their contacts with Russian officials—in the former case, contacts that occurred during the campaign. Carter Page testified to the House about extensive contacts with Russians….

Ruth May reports How Putin’s proxies helped funnel millions into GOP campaigns:

….Buried in the campaign finance reports available to the public are some troubling connections between a group of wealthy donors with ties to Russia and their political contributions to President Donald Trump and a number of top Republican leaders. And thanks to changes in campaign finance laws, the political contributions are legal. We have allowed our campaign finance laws to become a strategic threat to our country.

An example is Len Blavatnik, a dual U.S.-U.K. citizen and one of the largest donors to GOP political action committees in the 2015-16 election cycle. Blavatnik’s family emigrated to the U.S. in the late ’70s from the U.S.S.R. and he returned to Russia when the Soviet Union began to collapse in the late ’80s….

The International Space Station is An Out of This World Research Lab:

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