Daily Bread for 2.23.20

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of forty-five.  Sunrise is 6:39 AM and sunset 5:36 PM, for 10h 57m 48s of daytime.  The moon is new with 0.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand two hundred second day.

  On this day in 1945, during the Battle of Iwo Jima, a group of United States Marines and a U.S. Navy hospital corpsman reach the top of Mount Suribachi on the island and are photographed raising the American flag.

Recommended for reading in full —

Greg Sargent writes Trump’s corruption will get worse. His own advisers just showed how:

Trump publicly attacked the Russia investigation as a witch hunt for years, expressly to justify his efforts — also undertaken in plain sight — to obstruct it.

True, there are things Trump didn’t want publicly revealed — like his campaign’s 2016 efforts to encourage and benefit from Russian electoral sabotage.

But this is precisely where the public corruption comes in. Trump’s insight has been that unabashedly attacking and obstructing law enforcement in plain view makes it seem less shady, reverse-reinforcing his original claim that efforts to ferret out the wrongdoing he does want concealed are illegitimate.

Trump just pardoned a string of white-collar criminals and political allies, claiming they were unfairly prosecuted by the “same people” who investigated him. This reportedly came not after a serious procedural vetting of their prosecutions, but after recommendations from friends, celebrities and campaign donors.

Trump didn’t hide this. Here again the public and unabashed declaration of the power to confer impunity on the guilty — to declare the guilty innocent simply because they were investigated for wrongdoing just as he was, meaning he is one of them — is the whole point of it.

Bess Levin writes Trump’s “Phase One” Trade Deal [with China] Is Another Classic Trump Scam:

For one thing, as the New York Times notes, just 16% of the $200 billion in purchases will be of goods produced by farmers, who were hit extremely hard by the trade war (banks, the energy industry, and drug companies are major beneficiaries), and whose recovery won’t happen overnight. For another, as Vox’s Jen Kirby points out, China desperately needs agricultural products like soybeans and pork, so it was already prepared to buy such items, and might have done so anyway. And there’s the question of whether U.S. farmers can even produce the amount China says it will purchase, which some experts believe may not be achievable.

While the U.S. has halted additional tariffs on Chinese goods that were scheduled to go into effect in December 2019 and will halve tariffs on $110 billion in goods announced last September, duties will remain on approximately $360 billion in Chinese goods, which of course U.S. companies and consumers will continue to pay for. In addition, China refused demands to include a clause promising not to hack American firms and will continue to heavily subsidize many of its state-run and private companies, a major point of contention that Trump cited as recently as September as a reason to reject a proposed deal. Despite the administration’s claims, what was agreed on today is not exactly a lot to write home about, particularly considering the carnage Trump has caused over the last two years in order to get it.

Life Through the Eyes of a Sea Turtle:

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