FREE WHITEWATER

Daily Bread for 4.7.18

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of thirty-six. Sunrise is 6:24 AM and sunset 7:28 PM, for 13h 03m 45s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 58.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the five hundred thirteenth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1862, (then) Maj. Gen. Grant and his soldiers are victorious at the Battle of Shiloh (although public opinion at the time misunderstood Grant’s success):

In the immediate aftermath of the battle, Northern newspapers vilified Grant for his performance during the battle on April 6, especially for being surprised and unprepared. Reporters, many far from the battle, spread the story that Grant had been drunk, falsely alleging that this had resulted in many of his men being bayoneted in their tents because of a lack of defensive preparedness. Despite the Union victory, Grant’s reputation suffered in Northern public opinion. Many credited Buell with taking control of the broken Union forces and leading them to victory on April 7. Calls for Grant’s removal overwhelmed the White House. President Lincoln replied with one of his most famous quotations about Grant: “I can’t spare this man; he fights.”[115] Although all of the Union division commanders fought well, Sherman emerged as an immediate hero after Grant and Halleck commended him especially. His steadfastness under fire and amid chaos atoned for his previous melancholy and his defensive lapses preceding the battle.[116]

Army officers that were with Grant gave a starkly different account of his capacity, and performance, than those of enterprising newspaper reporters far away from Grant during the battle. One such officer, Colonel William R. Rowley, answering a letter of inquiry about allegations aimed at Grant, maintained:

I pronounce it an unmitigated slander. I have been on his Staff ever since the Donelson affair (and saw him frequently during that) and necessary in close contact with him every day, and I have never seen him take even a glass of liquor more than two or three times in my life and then only a single at a time. And I have never seen him intoxicated or even approximate to it. As to the story that he was intoxicated at the Battle of Pittsburg, I have only to say that the man who fabricated the story is an infamous liar, and you are at liberty to say to him that I say so. …

—?Yours &c W R ROWLEY [117]

In retrospect, however, Grant is recognized positively for the clear judgment he was able to retain under the strenuous circumstances, and his ability to perceive the larger tactical picture that ultimately resulted in victory on the second day.[116] For the rest of his life, Grant would insist he always had the battle well under control and rejected claims from critics that only the death of Johnston and arrival of Buell’s Army prevented his defeat. In his 1885 memoirs, he wrote:

Some of these critics claim that Shiloh was won when Johnston fell, and that if he had not fallen the army under me would have been annihilated or captured. Ifs defeated the Confederates at Shiloh. There is little doubt that we would have been disgracefully beaten if all the shells and bullets fired by us had passed harmlessly over the enemy and if all of theirs had taken effect. Commanding generals are liable to be killed during engagements; and the fact that when he was shot Johnston was leading a brigade to induce it to make a charge which had been repeatedly ordered, is evidence that there was neither the universal demoralization on our side nor the unbounded confidence on theirs which has been claimed. There was, in fact, no hour during the day when I doubted the eventual defeat of the enemy, although I was disappointed that reinforcements so near at hand did not arrive at an earlier hour.[118]

Recommended for reading in full —

➤ Scottie Lee Meyers writes Wisconsin Has Seen Largest Middle-Class Decline Of Any State, Study Finds:

A new state-by-state analysis from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that Wisconsin experienced the biggest decline in middle-class households in the country between the years 2000 and 2013.

The study found that the percentage of households in the middle class dropped in all 50 states, with Wisconsin’s drop from 54.6 percent to 48.9 percent being the most significant. Moreover, Wisconsin saw a 14 percent decline in median household income.

➤ Mary Jordan and Scott Clement report In reaction to Trump, millions of Americans are joining protests and getting political:

Tens of millions of Americans have joined protests and rallies in the past two years, their activism often driven by admiration or outrage toward President Trump, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll showing a new activism that could affect November elections.

One in five Americans have protested in the streets or participated in political rallies since the beginning of 2016. Of those, 19 percent said they had never before joined a march or a political gathering.

Overwhelmingly, recently motivated activists are critical of Trump. Thirty percent approve of the president, and 70 percent disapprove, according to the poll. And many said they plan to be more involved politically this year, with about one-third saying they intend to volunteer or work for a 2018 congressional campaign.

(The dustbin awaits Trumpism.)

➤ Elaine Kamarck writes Rebuffed by Congress, Trump resorts to old ideas on the border:

Aside from the normal Trumpian hyperbole, there are two major problems with President Trump’s announcement that he would use the military on the border between the United States and Mexico. The first involves long-standing legal restrictions on the use of the military in domestic law enforcement and the second, perhaps bigger, problem is: why now?

Under a law passed in 1878 called the Posse Comitatus Act, the United States military is prohibited from operating on American soil in a law enforcement capacity. The law, originally part of the withdrawal of Union forces from the occupied South after the Civil War, has become such a centerpiece of American government that many people assume, mistakenly, that it is part of the Constitution.

Therefore, injecting the military into domestic law enforcement operations is possible but not without introducing potential problems. It diverts military resources from other operations that are perhaps more important, and it is costly (GAO estimates that the Bush and Obama operations cost over $1.3 billion). And finally, at the core of the restrictions is the fact that the National Guard cannot arrest the people they help identify—only the border patrol agents can.

But perhaps the bigger problem is that militarizing the border now sounds suspiciously like a ploy to energize Trump’s base before the midterm elections rather than a sound response to an actual problem. First of all, the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has been decreasing rather than increasing ever since the Great Recession reduced job opportunities in the United States, as has the number of apprehensions at the border.

Second, the number of Mexicans has been decreasing as a proportion of the total population of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.—so while militarizing the border with Mexico could help, it doesn’t begin to address all the people who come in on tourist or other visas and stay. Furthermore, the 1000-plus, mostly Honduran refugees now marching into Mexico are part of a demonstration that has been
going on annually for several years in order to draw attention to the plight of migrants—and they are being evaluated for asylum protections by the Mexican government.

All of this said, Donald Trump fueled fear and loathing of unauthorized immigrants and turned it into a path to the White House. But faced with the reality of the situation, Congress has rightfully concluded (several times now) that they have other things to spend money on than Trump’s border wall. And so his latest gambit is just one more instance of trying to milk the immigration issue for every ounce of its political juice.

➤ Mary Jordan and Scott Clement report In reaction to Trump, millions of Americans are joining protests and getting political:

Tens of millions of Americans have joined protests and rallies in the past two years, their activism often driven by admiration or outrage toward President Trump, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll showing a new activism that could affect November elections.

One in five Americans have protested in the streets or participated in political rallies since the beginning of 2016. Of those, 19 percent said they had never before joined a march or a political gathering.

Overwhelmingly, recently motivated activists are critical of Trump. Thirty percent approve of the president, and 70 percent disapprove, according to the poll. And many said they plan to be more involved politically this year, with about one-third saying they intend to volunteer or work for a 2018 congressional campaign.

(The dustbin awaits Trumpism.)

➤ The Committee to Investigate Russia summarizes reporting on Manafort’s M.O.:

The Guardian reveals the deceitful and underhanded way Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafortoperated when he was working for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Kremlin former president of Ukraine.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort authorised a secret media operation on behalf of Ukraine’s former president featuring “black ops”, “placed” articles in the Wall Street Journal and US websites and anonymous briefings against Hillary Clinton.

The project was designed to boost the reputation of Ukraine’s then leader, Viktor Yanukovych. It was part of a multimillion-dollar lobbying effort carried out by Manafort on behalf of Yanukovych’s embattled government, emails and documents reveal.

Manafort’s strategy relied on spreading disinformation about Yanukovych’s political opponent, Yulia Tymoshenko. After she lost in 2010, Ukrainian prosecutors arrested her for what is believed to be political retribution.

In 2011 Manafort approved a clandestine strategy to discredit Tymoshenko abroad. Alan Friedman, a former Wall Street Journal and Financial Times reporter, based in Italy, masterminded this project. Friedman has previously been accused of concealing his work as a paid lobbyist.

Also involved were Rick Gates, Manafort’s then deputy, and Konstantin Kilimnik, another senior Manafort associate who the FBI believes has links to Russian military intelligence.

In July 2011 Friedman sent Manafort a confidential six-page document titled Ukraine – A Digital Roadmap. It laid out a plan to “deconstruct” Tymoshenko via videos, articles and social media. Yanukovych deferred to Manafort, who gave the project the go-ahead, sources in Ukraine’s former government say.

(…)

Manafort’s media operation included attacks on Clinton. In October 2012 Gates emailed Manafort and Friedman, flagging a piece written by the journalist Ben Shapiro. The Breitbart article criticised Clinton for her public support of Tymoshenko, who had recently made an electoral pact with the far-right Svoboda party.

The article cited a Jewish “leader” who accused Clinton anonymously of creating a “neo-Nazi Frankenstein”. Gates wrote: “Gentlemen – Here is the first part of a series of articles that will be coming as we continue to build this effort. Alan, you get full credit for the Frankenstein comment.”

In addition to the money Manafort and Gates earned for their Ukrainian work being at the center of Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s current charges against them, The Guardian points out that how the two men conducted business from 2010 to 2014 resembles what Russia did to interfere in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

Manafort’s Ukraine strategy anticipated later efforts by the Kremlin and its troll factory to use Twitter and Facebook to discredit Clinton and to help Trump win the 2016 US election. The material seen by the Guardian dates from 2011 to 2013.

Have You Ever Really Seen the Moon?:

 

On a whim, Wylie Overstreet set up his telescope outside his apartment. He wanted to look at the moon. He had no idea he would, in a matter of hours, inspire awe in hundreds of strangers on the streets of Los Angeles. “It’s incredible how many people have never looked through a telescope,” Alex Gorosh, a friend of Overstreet’s, told The Atlantic. “Many people thought the image wasn’t real—they thought we were playing a prank on them.”

Overstreet and Gorosh were so taken by strangers’ reactions to the moon through their telescope that the friends began to set it up in different locations across the city, filming as they went. “That’s when we recognized the powerful message of unity that we were capturing,” said Gorosh.

Their resulting film, A New View of the Moon, is a simple tribute to human wonder. Like last year’s total solar eclipse, Overstreet and Gorosh witnessed how a cosmic event has the power to bring people together. “It’s about taking a step back and appreciating the beauty and grandeur of the natural world around us,” said Gorosh. “It sounds cheesy, but if we were able to do that more often, it would be much easier to work through the divisions that we’re facing as a culture.”

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