Daily Bread for 4.9.18

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy, with morning flurries, and a high of forty-one. Sunrise is 6:21 AM and sunset 7:30 PM, for 13h 09m 26s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 39.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the five hundred fifteenth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Downtown Whitewater meets at 5 PM, and the Planning Commission at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1865, Lee surrenders to Grant in the village of Appomattox Court House:

Well-dressed in his customary uniform, Lee waited for Grant to arrive. Grant, whose headache had ended when he received Lee’s note, arrived at the courthouse in a mud-spattered uniform—a government-issue sack coat with trousers tucked into muddy boots, no sidearms, and with only his tarnished shoulder straps showing his rank.[14] It was the first time the two men had seen each other face-to-face in almost two decades.[13] Suddenly overcome with sadness, Grant found it hard to get to the point of the meeting and instead the two generals briefly discussed their only previous encounter, during the Mexican–American War. Lee brought the attention back to the issue at hand, and Grant offered the same terms he had before:

In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of N. Va. on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate. One copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside.[15]

The terms were as generous as Lee could hope for; his men would not be imprisoned or prosecuted for treason. Officers were allowed to keep their sidearms, horses, and personal baggage.[16] In addition to his terms, Grant also allowed the defeated men to take home their horses and mules to carry out the spring planting and provided Lee with a supply of food rations for his starving army; Lee said it would have a very happy effect among the men and do much toward reconciling the country.[17]

Recommended for reading in full —

➤ Ben White observes the budget outlook under Trump:

➤ Dave Weigel reports Farmers who propelled Trump to presidency fear becoming pawns in trade war:

When China threatened a 25 percent tariff on soybeans, Mike Petefish, who grows the crop over 2,000 acres, feared the worst. Soybeans are a $2 billion business in Minnesota.

“A 40-cent drop in soybeans, like we saw on Wednesday, meant $50,000 of value evaporating out of my bottom line,” said Petefish, the 33-year-old president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. “The last time I talked to our banker, he told me that of all his clients — these are all farmers — only four made money last year. We kind of broke even. But this year was looking tough even before the tariffs.”

➤ Matthew Rosenberg and Gabriel J.X. Dance explain ‘You Are the Product’: Targeted by Cambridge Analytica on Facebook:

Christopher Deason stumbled upon the psychological questionnaire on June 9, 2014. He was taking a lot of online surveys back then, each one earning him a few dollars to help pay the bills. Nothing about this one, which he saw on an online job platform, struck him as “creepy or weird,” he said later.

So at 6:37 that evening, Mr. Deason completed the first step of the survey: He granted access to his Facebook account.

Less than a second later, a Facebook app had harvested not only Mr. Deason’s profile data, but also data from the profiles of 205 of his Facebook friends. Their names, birth dates and location data, as well as lists of every Facebook page they had ever liked, were downloaded — without their knowledge or express consent — before Mr. Deason could even begin reading the first survey question.

The information was added to a huge database being compiled for Cambridge Analytica, the political data firm with links to Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. None of the people whose data was collected knew it had happened, not even Mr. Deason. “I don’t think I would have gone forward with it if I had,” Mr. Deason, 27, said in a recent interview.

➤ Madeleine Albright asks Will We Stop Trump Before It’s Too Late? (“Fascism poses a more serious threat now than at any time since the end of World War II”):

On April 28, 1945 — 73 years ago — Italians hung the corpse of their former dictator Benito Mussolini upside down next to a gas station in Milan. Two days later, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his bunker beneath the streets of war-ravaged Berlin. Fascism, it appeared, was dead.

To guard against a recurrence, the survivors of war and the Holocaust joined forces to create the United Nations, forge global financial institutions and — through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — strengthen the rule of law. In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down and the honor roll of elected governments swelled not only in Central Europe, but also Latin America, Africa and Asia. Almost everywhere, it seemed, dictators were out and democrats were in. Freedom was ascendant.

Today, we are in a new era, testing whether the democratic banner can remain aloft amid terrorism, sectarian conflicts, vulnerable borders, rogue social media and the cynical schemes of ambitious men. The answer is not self-evident. We may be encouraged that most people in most countries still want to live freely and in peace, but there is no ignoring the storm clouds that have gathered. In fact, fascism — and the tendencies that lead toward fascism — pose a more serious threat now than at any time since the end of World War II.

Warning signs include the relentless grab for more authority by governing parties in Hungary, the Philippines, Poland and Turkey — all United States allies. The raw anger that feeds fascism is evident across the Atlantic in the growth of nativist movements opposed to the idea of a united Europe, including in Germany, where the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland has emerged as the principal opposition party. The danger of despotism is on display in the Russia of Vladimir Putin — invader of Ukraine, meddler in foreign democracies, accused political assassin, brazen liar and proud son of the K.G.B. Putin has just been re-elected to a new six-year term, while in Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, a ruthless ideologue, is poised to triumph in sham balloting next month. In China, Xi Jinping has persuaded a docile National People’s Congress to lift the constitutional limit on his tenure in power.

➤ Consider The Surprisingly Recent Invention of the T-Shirt: