Daily Bread for 8.17.18

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of eighty.  Sunrise is 6:04 AM and sunset 7:53 PM, for 13h 48m 44s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 42.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the six hundred forty-second day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1864, Wisconsin soldiers bury Confederate dead at Cedar Mountain, Virginia:

A soldier in the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry wrote home this day describing the aftermath of the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Virginia. He criticizes Confederate officers for withdrawing under cover of darkness and forcing Union soldiers to inter their enemies: “Instead of burying his dead, we found the plains, the hills, the villages strewn with dead and dying rebels. Oh! the sight was sickening, and beggars description. Here an arm, there a leg, yonder half of what was once a man…”

Recommended for reading in full — 

The Spectator (in a review of House of Trump, House of Putin by Craig Unger) asks Did the Russian mafia help Trump along his way to the Oval Office?:

Before he died last year, the New York muckraking reporter Wayne Barrett told me he had discovered ‘25 to 30’ connections between Donald Trump and the mob. He was talking about Italian-American organised crime but today another New York journalist, Craig Unger, says he has found ‘59’ links to the Russian mafia. He lists them all in his new book House of Trump, House of Putin, which is damning in its accumulation of detail, terrifying in its depiction of the pure evil of those Trump chose to do business with, and enraging in that — if Unger is right — Trump acted with impunity for decades to get filthy rich laundering the mob’s blood money. This is the man who now sits in the Oval Office, Unger says. In fact, he argues, they put him there.

House of Trump, House of Putin starts with Trump’s early days in business, when his lawyer was Roy Cohn, who was also consigliere to two of the five New York Italian crime families and ‘the most evil, twisted, vicious bastard ever to snort coke at Studio 54’. There were mafia figures like ‘Sonny’ Franzese, a hitman who was recorded helpfully explaining how to get rid of the bodies: ‘Dismember victim in kiddie pool. Cook div parts in microwave. Stuff parts in garbage disposal. Be patient.’ When one of these Italian gangsters met Trump to buy an apartment ‘he opened his briefcase and $200,000 in cash spilled out on Trump’s table’.

To the Russians, this was small time. Unger retells a story of Barrett’s that when a Red mafiya boss, David Bogatin, came to Trump Tower, he met Trump himself and immediately bought five apartments for $6 million in cash (about $14.5 million today). Trump didn’t seem to wonder where this money might have come from. He was one of the first developers to discover that you could sell condos to shell companies that concealed the owners’ identities, Unger says. This allowed Russian criminals ‘to launder vast amounts of money’. Trump’s willingness to sell ‘no questions asked’ was so important, Unger believes, that he gave the Russian mafia a foothold in the United States.

William H. McRaven, a retired Navy admiral, was commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014. He oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. He writes Revoke my security clearance, too, Mr. President:

Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs.

A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself.

Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.

If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be.

Anna Nemtsova writes Trump Wants to Make Asbestos Great Again:

In the Russian city of Asbest in the Ural Mountains, life and work revolves around a dark pit more than 1,000 feet deep and six miles long, the largest asbestos-producing mine in the world. The future of every household in this community of about 70,000 people depends on chrysotile, the white mineral from which asbestos fibers are extracted—fibers so extremely carcinogenic that 65 countries have banned them.

The World Health Organization is unequivocal: “Exposure to asbestos, including chrysotile, causes cancer of the lung, larynx and ovary, mesothelioma (a cancer of the pleural and peritoneal linings) and asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs).” The WHO estimated in 2014 that 107,000 people die each year because of asbestos related diseases (PDF). Worldwide, asbestos is responsible for about half of all the work-related deaths from cancer. In the United States every year mesothelioma kills from 12,000 to 15,000 Americans.

Not surprisingly, given such statistics, the company that operates the enormous mine, Uralasbest (also written as Ural Asbest), has lost many of its buyers and significantly cut down both its production volume and staff. Since 2013 more than 1,000 of some 5,000 workers have lost their jobs, and panic has gripped the city like an epidemic.

But Russia continues to insist that chrysotile is safe if used in controlled conditions—and so, enthusiastically and notoriously, does President Donald Trump.

  Jim Tankersley reports Steel Giants With Ties to Trump Officials Block Tariff Relief for Hundreds of Firms:

Two of America’s biggest steel manufacturers — both with deep ties to administration officials — have successfully objected to hundreds of requests by American companies that buy foreign steel to exempt themselves from President Trump’s stiff metal tariffs. They have argued that the imported products are readily available from American steel manufacturers.

Charlotte-based Nucor, which financed a documentary film made by a top trade adviser to Mr. Trump, and Pittsburgh-based United States Steel, which has previously employed several top administration officials, have objected to 1,600 exemption requests filed with the Commerce Department over the past several months.

To date, their efforts have never failed, resulting in denials for companies that are based in the United States but rely on imported pipes, screws, wire and other foreign steel products for their supply chains.

The Ocean’s Cosmic Lessons:

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