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Daily Bread for 3.20.19

Good morning.

Spring begins in Whitewater with mostly cloudy skies, an occasional shower, and a high of fifty.  Sunrise is 6:56 AM and sunset 7:07 PM, for 12h 10m 53s of daytime.  The moon is full with 99.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the eight hundred sixty-first day.

Whitewater’s Parks and Rec Board meets at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1854, the Republican Party is founded in Ripon, Wisconsin:

The meeting’s organizer, Alvan E. Bovay, proposed the name “Republican” which had been suggested by New York editor Horace Greeley. You can see eyewitness accounts of the meeting, early Republican campaign documents, and other original sources on our page devoted to Wisconsin and the Republican Party. Though other places have claimed themselves as the birthplace of the Republican Party, this was the earliest meeting held for the purpose and the first to use the term Republican.

Recommended for reading in full:

Robert Kagan writes The strongmen strike back:

Of all the geopolitical transformations confronting the liberal democratic world these days, the one for which we are least prepared is the ideological and strategic resurgence of authoritarianism. We are not used to thinking of authoritarianism as a distinct worldview that offers a real alternative to liberalism. Communism was an ideology — and some thought fascism was, as well — that offered a comprehensive understanding of human nature, politics, economics and governance to shape the behavior and thought of all members of a society in every aspect of their lives.

We believed that “traditional” autocratic governments were devoid of grand theories about society and, for the most part, left their people alone. Unlike communist governments, they had no universalist pretensions, no anti-liberal “ideology” to export. Though hostile to democracy at home, they did not care what happened beyond their borders. They might even evolve into democracies themselves, unlike the “totalitarian” communist states. We even got used to regarding them as “friends,” as strategic allies against the great radical challenges of the day: communism during the Cold War, Islamist extremism today.

Like so many of the theories that became conventional wisdom during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, however, this one was mistaken. Today, authoritarianism has emerged as the greatest challenge facing the liberal democratic world — a profound ideological, as well as strategic, challenge. Or, more accurately, it has reemerged, for authoritarianism has always posed the most potent and enduring challenge to liberalism, since the birth of the liberal idea itself. Authoritarianism has now returned as a geopolitical force, with strong nations such as China and Russia championing anti-liberalism as an alternative to a teetering liberal hegemony. It has returned as an ideological force, offering the age-old critique of liberalism, and just at the moment when the liberal world is suffering its greatest crisis of confidence since the 1930s. It has returned armed with new and hitherto unimaginable tools of social control and disruption that are shoring up authoritarian rule at home, spreading it abroad and reaching into the very heart of liberal societies to undermine them from within.

Robot Learns How to Play Jenga:

3 comments for “Daily Bread for 3.20.19

  1. joe
    03/20/2019 at 9:45 AM

    News has surfaced about the post-public-trough employment plans for two retired Wisconsin GOP’ers. Fox, who went live yesterday with the new, lean, all-hatred-all-the time, FOX Corp., also announced that they had hired the Wisco-Kid to sit on their BoD. Is anybody surprised? For Ryan, it’s just another lateral transfer in the FOX/GOP grand consortium. I also expect, considering he is working for FOX, that this is really just a bridge-gig until he gets tapped for White House chief of Staff, or some other cabinet post. Trump’s hiring pool is kind of shallow, and Ryan just dropped into it with an audible plop. At least when the Kid’s predecessor, John Boehner, was deposed, he went on to doing God’s work lobbying for a legal weed cartel. Working for FOX is much lower-rent.

    Scott Walker, who had grand plans to charge $25K/gig to do inspirational speaking, presumably about how to piss $4B of the WI taxpayers bux away on an industrial wet-dream, has found few takers. He has announced now that he is going to stump for Trump with his entire heart and soul, while doing a side-hustle pimping a constitutional convention to enshrine every conservative bad idea. It is a side track to giving the Fab-5 on the SC license to slap down every progressive idea, as they will now be “unconstitutional”. I think he is doomed to fail on both points. A far easier gig for Walker would be to concentrate on running job-fairs for Foxconn to hire blue-collar workers. That’s a job he won’t even have to show up for.

    I see that former Walker for President Social Media Director, Liz Mair, has been sued for $250M, along with “Devin Nunes’ Mom”, and “Devin Nunes’ Cow”, and Twitter for besmirching Devin Nunes on Twitter. Mair, as you may recall, lasted less than a day on Walker’s campaign after she disparaged the good people of IA just before their caucuses.

    Nunes values his reputation more highly than most impartial observers. The invaluable Charlie Pierce, writing in Esquire, has the definitive take on the law suit:
    https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a26867530/devin-nunes-twitter-lawsuit/

    Wonkette lists the offending tweets:
    https://www.wonkette.com/devin-nunes-sues-devin-nuness-cow-for-alienation-and-sedition-of-affection

    These are trying times. The President is threatening to launch a coup using the US military, the civilian police, and the Bikers for Trump. He is showing every sign of being stark, raving, effing, crazy. We are being incited to reprise the civil war. Thank you, Devin Nunes, for injecting a much needed splash of humor in these perilous times. You may want to join the Proud Boys, but can’t because of the unfortunate “No Masturbating” rule (according to “Devin Nunes’ Mom”, as documented in the lawsuit), but I thank you for leavening this depressing season.

    • JOHN ADAMS
      03/20/2019 at 11:15 AM

      So much interesting news.

      Ryan finds himself with a six-figure internship board seat until the Murdochs decide where to place him next.

      Walker doesn’t know what to do with his free time, so he’s going with that always-evergreen-never-planted budget amendment. Perfect, truly: “A far easier gig for Walker would be to concentrate on running job-fairs for Foxconn to hire blue-collar workers. That’s a job he won’t even have to show up for.”

      Nunes – a world-class dunce – wants to sue for being ridiculed as a world-class dunce. Everything he says and does only further corroborates the claim. A sharp person would be able to dispel false claims that he or she was dense; Nunes is too dense to do anything that isn’t confirmation of his stupidity. Whichever way he turns, he’ll step into something brown.

      Trump, meanwhile, comes ever closer to that moment after popular rejection when he will have to decide: accept the will of the electorate or defy the republic? Never once has Trump chosen well for our society; one would be surprised if he did so now.

      • joe
        03/20/2019 at 11:49 AM

        Walker, who is exhibiting wishful thinking worthy of Gus Hall or Harold Stassen, also is reported (by The Hill) to be considering running again for governor, or (assuming RoJo follows thru on his pledge to retire) US Senator. I still think job-fair coordinator is a better gig.

        Gerrymandering, as Walker found out last year, is not of any use for a statewide election…