Daily Bread for 12.30.20

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of thirty-two.  Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset 4:30 PM, for 9h 05m 24s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 99.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is both the one thousand five hundred thirteenth and the fifty-fourth day. 

  On this day in 1813, British soldiers burn Buffalo, New York.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Shayna Jacobs and Jonathan O’Connell report N.Y. prosecutor hires forensic accounting experts as Trump criminal probe escalates:

NEW YORK — The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has retained forensic accounting specialists to aid its criminal investigation of President Trump and his business operations, as prosecutors ramp up their scrutiny of his company’s real estate transactions, according to people familiar with the matter.

District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. opened the investigation in 2018 to examine alleged hush-money payments made to two women who, during Trump’s first presidential campaign, claimed to have had affairs with him years earlier. The probe has since expanded, and now includes the Trump Organization’s activities more broadly, said the people familiar with the matter. Vance’s office has suggested in court filings that bank, tax and insurance fraud are areas of exploration.

Vance has contracted with FTI Consulting to look for anomalies among a variety of property deals, and to advise the district attorney on whether the president’s company manipulated the value of certain assets to obtain favorable interest rates and tax breaks, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter remains highly sensitive. The probe is believed to encompass transactions spanning several years.

 David Corn reports Kelly Loeffler’s Conflict of Interest Is Even Worse Than Reported:

When she entered the Senate in January 2020, she was given a spot on the Agriculture Committee, which oversees government regulators of the Fortune 500 business where she was recently a top officer. The company, Intercontinental Exchange (known as ICE), owns and operates a number of financial and commodity exchanges regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which falls under jurisdiction of the Agriculture Committee.

Loeffler’s assignment to the committee seemed a whopping conflict of interest: She still owned between $5 million and $25 million in ICE stock, and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is its CEO. Worse, Loeffler was placed on the committee’s subcommittee on commodities, which has direct oversight of the CFTC. In response to criticism, she left the subcommittee in May but remained a member of the full committee.

Yet one piece of this tale has received little notice. Her conflict of interest was even more pronounced, for while Loeffler was on the commodities subcommittee, the CFTC took several actions that impacted ICE. This means Loeffler was overseeing regulators at the same time they were engaged in activity affecting a company she was intimately tied to as a current shareholder, former executive, and spouse of its CEO.

 David Smith writes Alternative facts, witch-hunt, bigly: the Trump era in 32 words and phrases:

alternative facts

Coined by Kellyanne Conway, the White House counselor, during a Meet the Press interview in January 2017 to defend press secretary Sean Spicer’s the false assertion that Trump drew the biggest inauguration crowd ever. Together these formed the original sin of the Trump presidency, culminating in his coronavirus and election denialism.



This was the dark side of “America first”. Trump’s defenders claimed he was using the term to condemn globalisation and its devastating effects on American workers. But critics heard a dog whistle for racist, antisemitic and antigovernment conspiracy theorists including the alt-right. George Soros, a billionaire philanthropist, was among the targets of anti-globalist bigotry.

(A lexicon of lies and bigotries.)

  What is ‘Dance Monkey’ and How Did It Take Over the World

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