Daily Bread for 8.18.18

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of eighty-two.  Sunrise is 6:05 AM and sunset 7:51 PM, for 13h 46m 08s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 52.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

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

On this day in 1864, the Second Battle of Weldon Railroad opens near Petersburg, Virginia:

The 2nd, 6th, 7th, 37th, and 38th Wisconsin Infantry regiments took part in the Second Battle of Weldon Railroad, also known as the Battle of Globe Tavern, near Petersburg, Virginia. This was the first Union victory in the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign. By destroying the railway while under heavy attack, Union troops forced Confederates to carry their provision 30 miles by wagon around Union lines to supply the city.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Conservatives Rick Esenberg and Collin Roth write To ‘Save’ Jobs, Wisconsin Republicans Set a Dangerous Precedent:

This should serve as a moment for reevaluation. Republicans talk all the time about how government doesn’t create jobs. They like to say that government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers. But a desire to appear to be “pro-business” (as distinct from “pro-market”) and curry favor with working-class voters has led Republicans in many states to embrace a role for government that they once bemoaned. Instead of simply focusing on creating the proper conditions for economic growth through low taxes and a minimal regulatory burden, they have found it politically profitable to target companies and industries with incentives and handouts. Job totals are now tallied like points on a scoreboard.

Virtuous though its intent may be, this is central planning by another name. The result is market distortion, an inefficient use of resources, and a narrative of economic development built on myths and hubris. It serves neither business nor workers. Politicians have convinced themselves that without tax incentives, new jobs would never be created and lost ones would never be replaced. This is, quite simply, false. It fails to see what occurs in the economy every day when consumer choice and markets determine whether businesses succeed or fail.

(Esenberg & Roth are writing in National Review Online, so they carefully couch their criticism with qualifiers like ‘[v]irtuous though its intent may be.’  They know these policies are junk, but they have to say so carefully, to soften the blow for any pro-Trump readers who may still visit NRO.)

Dan Kaufman writes Why Education May Be the Issue That Breaks Republicans’ Decade-Long Grip on Wisconsin:

When a new academic year begins in Wisconsin a few weeks from now, the only school in Darien, a small community near the Illinois border, will remain empty. In January, local school officials proposed raising property taxes to bring in three and a half million dollars. Voters rejected the idea—it would have been the second property-tax increase in three years—forcing the district to make drastic cuts to its budget. Darien Elementary School was one of those cuts. Its teachers were laid off, and its students will be sent to other schools in the area. Similar school closings have, in recent years, occurred in a number of other rural Wisconsin towns.

It has been nearly a decade since Governor Scott Walker—who grew up near Darien—and his fellow-Republicans began implementing their vision of conservative austerity and privatization in Wisconsin. The result has been a state more attractive to corporations, with a smaller middle class and deteriorating public infrastructure and institutions—from roads to the University of Wisconsin system to public schools. During this period, Republicans have maintained nearly unbroken control of the state’s government, and Walker has become a conservative hero. This year, as he seeks reëlection to a third term, he has expressed pride about his record and has been typically implacable on most issues—except, notably, education. After the state cut more than a billion dollars in spending on schools and universities between 2011—the year Walker took office—and 2017, Walker signed a budget last year that included an increase of some six hundred and forty million dollars in K-12 spending. “I’m being aggressive on this,” Walker told the Wisconsin State Journal, in June. “We’re proclaiming proudly that I’m the pro-education governor and I want to continue to be the pro-education governor.”

This is the context for Tony Evers’s victory in the Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday. Evers, Wisconsin’s state superintendent of schools since 2009, beat out seven opponents to claim the nomination. And at sixty-six years old, with little charisma and middling name recognition, he might beat Walker in November. Until last month, no poll had ever shown Walker trailing a declared Democratic opponent by more than a few points. Then NBC/Marist released a poll showing Evers ahead of Walker by thirteen points. Another poll, by Emerson College, had Evers ahead by seven.

Jennifer Rubin contends Hanging on to Trump’s rabid base won’t be enough:

After the Helsinki debacle, 11 days of the Paul Manafort trial, contradictory statements on the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, numerous obnoxious and racist tweets, never-ending verbal duels with accusers (including past employees) and, for good measure, a senseless trade war, we shouldn’t be surprised that President Trump’s approval rating is slipping somewhat. Gallup has it down to 39 percent; Quinnipiac has it at 41 percent.

The Quinnipiac poll numbers highlight how poorly Americans think of him:

Only 31 percent of American voters like President Donald Trump as a person, while 59 percent dislike him, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released [Tuesday]. … By a smaller 54 – 43 percent margin, American voters dislike President Trump’s policies.

Voters disapprove 54 – 41 percent of the job Trump is doing as president, including 48 percent who disapprove strongly. Another 30 percent approve strongly.  The Trump Administration is not doing enough to help middle class Americans, voters say 58 – 38 percent.

Americans don’t need to hear a tape of Trump saying the n-word to know he “does not treat people of color with the same amount of respect he affords white people”  — by a margin of 54 percent  to 39 percent. Moreover, “American voters say 54 – 37 percent that ‘President Trump has emboldened people who hold racist beliefs to express those beliefs publicly.’ ”

Sarah Jones describes Trump’s New Strategy to Demonize Immigrants:

A draft rule, which has not been released to the public, reportedly stated, “Non-citizens who receive public benefits are not self-sufficient and are relying on the U.S. government and state and local entities for resources instead of their families, sponsors or private organizations. An alien’s receipt of public benefits comes at taxpayer expense and availability of public benefits may provide an incentive for aliens to immigrate to the United States.”

These restrictions may now be close to fruition. On Tuesday, NBC News reported that Trump’s immigration policy adviser, Stephen Miller, is preparing a rule that would penalize documented immigrants for using certain public benefits: Use of food stamps, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or even Obamacare could cost a documented immigrant a green card or prevent them from gaining citizenship.


The rule is premised on the notion that non-citizens burden citizen taxpayers by taking welfare benefits or other public funds. But the evidence doesn’t support this. Not only is it extremely difficult to immigrate legally to the United States, it’s even more difficult to access benefits after doing so. A fair examination of the evidence points to one inescapable conclusion: Trump’s policy isn’t intended to shore up the welfare state for citizens, but to undermine it by reducing immigration.

(Indeed, see The biggest beneficiaries of the government safety net: working-class whites.)

It’s a cougar v. dog faceoff:

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