Daily Bread for 12.24.20

Good morning.

Christmas Eve in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of twenty.  Sunrise is 7:23 AM and sunset 4:26 PM, for 9h 02m 17s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 73.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is both the one thousand five hundred seventh day and the forty-eighth day. 

  On this day in 1814, representatives of the Britain and America sign the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Martin Pengelly reports Trump claims to be ‘working tirelessly’ but leaves Covid relief bill in disarray:

Donald Trump was at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Thursday, claiming to be “working tirelessly for the American people” with a schedule that included “many meetings and calls”. Back in Washington, a Democratic proposal to increase direct payments to Americans under the Covid relief bill, from $600 to $2,000, was blocked.

That was Trump’s demand in a surprise video address on Tuesday night but it was shot down by Republicans who opposed greater spending throughout stimulus talks.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats would try again on Monday. Should the relief bill fail, millions of Americans will be without desperately needed relief at least until President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.

“To vote against this bill is to deny the financial hardship that families face,” she said, “and to deny them the relief they need”.

The White House’s official guidance to reporters about Trump’s “tireless” Christmas Eve schedule contrasted with recent examples notably light on official events, which have left Trump free to make baseless claims of electoral fraud and meet with conspiracy theorists and cronies about attempts to subvert the constitution and stay in power, despite defeat by Joe Biden.

 Michael Kranish reports Trump vowed to drain the swamp. Then he granted clemency to three former congressmen convicted of federal crimes:

Trump pardoned former congressmen Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.), who pleaded guilty to misuse of campaign funds, and Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who was in prison after being convicted of securities fraud. The president commuted the sentence of former congressman Steve Stockman (R-Tex.), who was convicted of misusing charitable contributions. Hunter and Collins were early and avid supporters of Trump’s campaign.

Michael Gerson writes Trump is an authoritarian wannabe. He must never hold power again:

Looking on the bright side of a humiliating national disaster, the manner of President Trump’s departure from power has clarified why he must never hold power again.

In leaks to a variety of news organizations, senior Trump administration officials reported: 1) Rudolph W. Giuliani urging the federal government to illegally seize Dominion voting machines; 2) presidential consideration of deranged conspiracy-monger Sidney Powell as a special counsel investigating nonexistent election fraud; and 3) a White House meeting involving disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn at which Trump discussed the imposition of martial law.

These accounts indicate the emergence of two distinct factions within Trump’s inner circle. On one side are the lunatics — among them Giuliani, Powell and Flynn — who want Trump to violate laws and assume authoritarian powers. On the other side are sycophants who supported Trump’s spurious legal challenges to the election result but apparently draw the line at treason. By most accounts, Trump’s sympathies lie with the lunatics.

Brooklyn Coffee Shop Hosts Essentials Drive for Local Residents:

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