Daily Bread for 2.15.20

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of thirty-two.  Sunrise is 6:51 AM and sunset 5:26 PM, for 10h 35m 35s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 53.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand one hundred ninety-fourth day.

  On this day in 1898, the battleship USS Maine explodes and sinks in Havana harbor, killing 274.

Recommended for reading in full —

David Corn writes Trump Unleashed: The Trump Presidency Enters Its Most Dangerous Phase:

Through the Trump Era, it’s been fashionable for some of his critics—especially on Twitter—to assail his actions as the coming of kleptocracy, autocracy, authoritarianism, and, yes, fascism to the United States. Recently, in an airport, an elderly women stopped me to say that she survived the Holocaust in a camp and now fears she is experiencing what her mother went through eighty-five years ago as the catastrophe approached in Germany. I tried to persuade her that as bad as things are now, there remains institutions, organizations, and millions of people who will not accept what is happening to the nation’s democratic institutions and who can oppose a complete power-grab from Trump and his cult (a.k.a. the Republican Party).

I still believe that. But Trump’s hostile take-over of the Justice Department this week is yet another sign that the task of countering Trump’s extremism is becoming both harder and more crucial.

By now, you know the basics: After the Justice Department requested a seven-to-nine years sentence for Roger Stone, a longtime Trump intimate who was convicted of lying to Congress and witness-tampering (to protect Trump in the Russia scandal), Trump tweet-whined that this sentence would be too harsh, and the DoJ dutifully rescinded it. Four federal prosecutors, apparently in protest, withdrew from the Stone case, with one quitting the department. Then Trump attacked the federal judge handling the case. Still on the rampage the next day, Trump—again in a tweet—threatened to withhold assistance for New York State if it did not smother investigations related to Trump.

On Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Bill Barr seemed to rebuke Trump by saying he would not “be bullied or influenced by anybody,” including the president. But Barr has already done so much of Trump’s bidding—undermining the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, opening investigations that appeared designed to unearth information that support Trump’s favorite conspiracy theories—his declaration of independence was too late, if not ludicrous.

Bruce Vielmetti reports Former federal agent acquitted on 4 of 5 counts in sexual assault trial:

A jury late Friday found a former federal agent not guilty of sexually assaulting two women after a nine-day trial that featured explicit testimony from three former girlfriends, but guilty of assaulting a third.

David Scharlat, 55, of Oconomowoc, was charged in April 2018 with five counts of sexual assault against the three women over five years. Scharlat, who had steady dating relationships with all of the women, says the charged incidents were all consensual.

His attorney, Paul Bucher, called the conviction inconsistent with the other verdicts and said Scharlat will appeal. “The fight is not over,” he said.

In her closing argument, Assistant District Attorney Michele Hulgaard said the evidence showed Scharlat to be a predator who had no regard for the women in his life and took what he wanted from them, emotionally and physically. He used the authority of his badge and gun to intimidate them, she said.

  Dog & Deer

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