Daily Bread for 3.29.18

Good morning.

Maundy Thursday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of fifty-two. Sunrise is 6:40 AM and sunset 7:18 PM, for 12h 37m 51s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 95.3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the {tooltip}five hundred fourth day.{end-texte}Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.{end-tooltip}

On this day in 1865, the Appomattox Campaign begins in Virginia:

When it became clear that the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia, was about to fall, Confederate leaders and troops began moving west toward the town of Appomattox Court House. Union troops, including several Wisconsin regiments, followed close on their heels in a series of battles fought March 29 – April 9, 1865, that became known as the Appomattox Campaign.

Recommended for reading in full —

➤ Mark Mazzetti reports Trump Aide Spoke During Campaign to Associate Tied to Russian Intelligence:

WASHINGTON — A top Trump campaign official had repeated communications during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential race with a business associate tied to Russian intelligence, according to a document released on Tuesday by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the election.

The campaign official, Rick Gates, had frequent phone calls in September and October 2016 with a person the F.B.I. believes had active links to Russian spy services at the time, the document said. Mr. Gates also told an associate the person “was a former Russian Intelligence Officer with the G.R.U.,” the Russian military intelligence agency.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is investigating numerous contacts between President Trump’s advisers and Russia-linked individuals and entities leading up to and after the November 2016 election. The document, filed in Mr. Mueller’s name, stated that the communications between Mr. Gates and the individual were “pertinent to the investigation.”

The individual is identified only as “Person A,” and the document describes him as someone who worked for Mr. Gates and Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, as part of their earlier representation of Russia-aligned parties and politicians in Ukraine, including the former president of Ukraine. A person with knowledge of the matter identified Person A as Konstantin V. Kilimnik, who for years was Mr. Manafort’s right-hand man in Ukraine.

➤ Michael S. Schmidt, Jo Becker, Mark Mazzetti, Maggie Haberman, and Adam Goldman report Trump’s Lawyer Raised Prospect of Pardons for Flynn and Manafort as Special Counsel Closed In:

WASHINGTON — A lawyer for President Trump broached the idea of Mr. Trump’s pardoning two of his former top advisers, Michael T. Flynn and Paul Manafort, with their lawyers last year, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions.

The discussions came as the special counsel was building cases against both men, and they raise questions about whether the lawyer, John Dowd, who resigned last week, was offering pardons to influence their decisions about whether to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation.

The talks suggest that Mr. Trump’s lawyers were concerned about what Mr. Flynn and Mr. Manafort might reveal were they to cut a deal with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, in exchange for leniency. Mr. Mueller’s team could investigate the prospect that Mr. Dowd made pardon offers to thwart the inquiry, although legal experts are divided about whether such offers might constitute obstruction of justice.

➤ Sharon LaFraniere reports Lawsuit Over Trump’s Ties to His Businesses Is Allowed to Advance:

WASHINGTON — A lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution by refusing to divorce himself from his businesses cleared a critical hurdle Wednesday when a federal judge in Maryland refused the Justice Department’s plea to dismiss it.

In a 47-page opinion, Judge Peter J. Messitte rejected the federal government’s claims that the plaintiffs had not shown that they had suffered injuries that a court could address.

The suit, filed by Washington, D.C., and the State of Maryland, accuses Mr. Trump of violating constitutional anticorruption clauses intended to limit his receipt of government-bestowed benefits, or emoluments. The local jurisdictions claim that in hopes of currying presidential favor, government officials are patronizing Trump-owned properties instead of hotels or convention centers that the District of Columbia or Maryland own or have some financial interest in.

Although the case could still be thrown out on other grounds, the judge’s ruling adds to the president’s growing legal troubles.

➤ Sophie Tatum reports that Presidential misspellings create spike in dictionary searches:

President Donald Trump is known for his Twitter feed, often posting seemingly off-the-cuff messages or providing commentary on the news of the day.

But his seeming lack of a filter on the social media platform has also led to several misspellings. And it’s not always the President tapping away, he often dictates messages to an aide who ultimately presses send.

According to a report by, when the President’s account has tweeted misspelled words, it has corresponded with a spike in searches of the same words spelled incorrectly on the website.

➤ Look toward The Hopeful Face of Middle America:

“I think that youth should be heard—and not only heard, but listened to,” says a teenager in the short documentary My America. As the reverberations from last weekend’s Marches for Our Lives continue to make headlines, Barnaby Roper’s film offers a galvanizing portrait of youth in America’s heartland.

Roper traversed middle America in search of answers after the 2016 election. “People would always say to me, ‘It was middle America’s fault,’” Roper told The Atlantic. “But I never understood this. So I wanted to go and see for myself. I wanted to make a film about the next generation of Americans—the generation that would inherit our successes and failures, our strengths and weaknesses.”

The production team, led by Cadence Films, encountered young people as diverse as the country in which they live. From teenagers fighting gun violence to extreme sports champions to misfits escaping homophobic families, the subjects of My America seem to have one thing in common: a disinclination to repeat the mistakes of an America past. “The American Dream is a total figment of the imagination,” says one young woman. “It died with history.”

Despite the fact that it was born of election results, Roper insists that “this is not a political film. It’s about hope. It’s about strength of the youth of our country. The youth of world need to be listened to.”

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5 years ago

And…Right here in Wisco-World…

Our dear Governor, demonstrating why he was the first to fade while running for President, has bowed to state law and ordered the very same special elections that he was fighting to the death to delay. He got clubbed like a baby seal by Eric Holder.

It was a strange subject for a “to the mattresses” defense. Neither the 42nd Ass’y or the 1st Senate districts would have flipped a chamber, as both chambers are (for the moment) safely Gerrymandered. There is certainly a slippery slope argument to be made that either of them flipping will fire up the gawdam libruls, but was it worth looking desperate and silly?

The original judge, appointed by Walker said:
(Walker’s interpretation of the law) “flies in the face of reason,” ?violates basic rules of grammar” and would lead to an “absurd result.” She said voters would clearly suffer harm if the seats were vacant all year…

A second judge ruled:
“No court that I’m aware of is at liberty to ignore the law in order to facilitate the Legislature’s consideration of bills that might become law. When and if a legislative bill becomes law it can be brought to the court, and at that time the arguments can be made as to what the effect of that law is on an already pending (order).”

This prompted Walker to get a special session called, so that the law requiring special elections asap could be changed. Meanwhile an appeals court Judge applied a bit more lash to Walker by denying his appeal, holding:
“Representative government and the election of our representatives are never ‘unnecessary,’ never a ‘waste of taxpayer resources,’ and the calling of special elections are as the Governor acknowledges, his ‘obligation’ to follow by (state statute),” Reilly wrote.

Walker then clearly straw-polled the WI Supremes, who, despite hauling enuf water for Walker in the past to fill Lake Mead, seem to have tipped him off that he was drilling a dry hole. He dropped his appeal, and folded, and the elections will be in June, just like the original judge ordered.

I’m not so sure about the 42nd, but the 1st Senate district could well be in play, even tho thoroughly Gerrymandered. Big Dairy CAFO’s have decimated the groundwater in Door and Kewaunee counties. The locals are high-pissed about their wells being contaminated. Walker, and the R-Team, have been in the forefront of relaxing groundwater rules at the behest of big-ag. Nothing focuses you politically like having to go to the 7-11 to get bottled water because your Governor, and his lickspittles, have enabled contaminating your well.