Daily Bread for 8.27.17

Good morning.

Whitewater will see thunderstorms today with a high of seventy-two. Sunrise is 6:15 AM and sunset 7:36 PM, for 13h 21m 14s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 32.4% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the {tooltip}two hundred ninety-first day.{end-texte}Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.{end-tooltip}

On this day in 1883, the island volcano Krakatoa erupts, causing tidal waves in Indonesia’s Sunda Strait that would claim some 36,000 lives in Java and Sumatra. On this day in 1864, the 5th, 6th, 7th, 19th, 36th, 37th and 38th Wisconsin Infantry regiments remained entrenched around Petersburg, Virginia.

Recommended for reading in full —

David Frum observes that Trump Won’t Back Down:

….Trump has bolted himself back to his political base, defying all mainstream opinion. It’s not just a matter of appealing to nativist voters, although Donald Trump always is glad to do that. Many conservative voters who are not especially nativist will rally to the Arpaio pardon too. Conservatism has been leaking its ideological contents for a long time now, and the Trump experience has ejected whatever little remained. Yet conservative voters remain passionately attached to Donald Trump, at least as compared with anyone else in politics, as a recent poll from George Washington University demonstrates. Among Republicans in Republican districts, 53 percent complained their member of Congress was not doing enough to support President Trump; only 4 percent complained that the representative was doing “too much”….

If it weren’t for the atavistic hatreds—and of course the micro-targeted paybacks to favored lobbying constituencies—not much would remain in the Trump era of the party of Reagan and the Bushes. But the hatreds still rage hot and fierce, and having been powered into the presidency by them once, Donald Trump hopes he can do it again. After all, what other choice does he have? Not only because he has accomplished nothing better, but because it’s not in his nature even to imagine what that “better” could look like.

(Frum’s right, as Trump’s course is unsurprising. This is why it’s true, as it has been since the beginning of Trump’s rise, that our present conflict will end only when Trump meets his complete ruin.)

Adam Liptak explains Why Trump’s Pardon of Arpaio Follows Law, Yet Challenges It:

Noah Feldman, a law professor at Harvard, argued before the pardon was issued that such a move “would express presidential contempt for the Constitution.”
“Arpaio didn’t just violate a law passed by Congress,” Professor Feldman wrote on Bloomberg View. “His actions defied the Constitution itself, the bedrock of the entire system of government.” By saying Mr. Arpaio’s offense was forgivable, Professor Feldman added, Mr. Trump threatens “the very structure on which his right to pardon is based.”

It was the first act of outright defiance against the judiciary by a president who has not been shy about criticizing federal judges who ruled against his businesses and policies. But while the move may have been unusual, there is nothing in the text of the Constitution’s pardons clause to suggest that he exceeded his authority.

(Trump will abuse powers granted to him to undermine lawful authority – such as that of the judicial branch – that remains outside his grasp.)

Edel Rodriguez writes that As a boy, I fled despotism in Cuba. Now I’m fighting it here in America:

….At 19, I became an American citizen, one of the highlights of my life. Throughout high school, I had become a devoted student of U.S. history and cherished this country’s democratic system. I came to feel that this was truly my country.

Over the past year, though, I’ve sometimes strained to differentiate my adoptive country from the dictatorship I fled. Violence at political rallies, friends watching what they say (and noting who is in the room when they say it) and a leader who picks on society’s weakest — this has felt all too familiar. I began making art about what I saw, to bear witness. I wanted to hold up a mirror to the president’s daily abuses of the Constitution, test the rights given to me by that Constitution. I wanted to find out if this is really the land of the free, the home of the brave.

The work has been published on magazine covers worldwide and on street posters, and has appeared at numerous political rallies. I’ve been interviewed by television shows and been the subject of news articles. I would give all of that up for a return to normalcy. A return to the idea that the magic of America lies in the fact that it is a country of immigrants and will always be. I love going to Chinatown and not understanding a thing, eating new food in Koreatown, speaking Spanish with the guys in the taco truck and dancing to Arabic music with the Egyptian falafel cook on the street. One of the great things about America is having a genuine international experience without having to travel.

Immigrants have made America a shining example to the world, have renewed this country and will continue making it great.

Michael Cavna reports on The next Pokémon Go? Star Wars unveils a massive ‘Last Jedi’ augmented-reality game:

If it can work for Pokémon, then why not for the world of Obi-Wan?

An augmented-reality experience as real-world physical hunt is being rolled out next month by another global entertainment franchise, with the next Star Wars film, “The Last Jedi,” on the near horizon.

Last summer, as the AR scavenger hunt from Pikachu’s universe exploded — spurring a $7.5 billion market-value surge for maker Nintendo — The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs asked: “Now, what’s to keep the Comcasts and Apples and Amazons and Disneys of the world from making our naturally 3-D world the exciting new area of augmented exploration on a scale as massive as Pokémon Go?”

The short answer from Disney, one year later: Apparently nothing. Because the Mouse House is unveiling its promotional stunt of a free “treasure hunt” on a rather massive scale, the company announced early Thursday.

The campaign’s basics, by the numbers: As the first wave of “Last Jedi” merchandise lands Sept. 1 (a.k.a. “Force Friday II”), the “Find the Force” AR game — involving about 20,000 stores in 30 countries — will let participants hunt down 15 Star Wars characters, two are which are new. (Is that the Admiral Ackbar you’re looking for?)….

Today I Found Out describes the sad fate of the passenger pigeon in From Billions to Zero in 50 Years:

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4 years ago

We have been preached to by the Republican Party for at least 50 years about the sanctity of “Respect for our laws”. Of course, it was always bullshit. Nixon illegally dumped the same amount of tonnage on Cambodia as we dropped in all of WW2. Note that we were not at war with Cambodia. Then there was Watergate…

Lord Ronnie shredded the Hatch act by working out a side-deal with the Iranians to get himself elected. There was the little issue about selling missiles to the enemy to finance an illegal war in Central America. For these sorts of deals, the Republican Party embarked on a crusade to name every government building that they could after him, and elevated him to roughly the status of the Pope, or at least some sort of demi-god.

Fast forward to today. It is abundantly clear that Trump was elected by his collusion with our sworn enemy, with the assistance of an FBI director maneuvered into being an accessory to the crime. And now he pardons Arpaio, convicted of felonious acts in a federal court. Trump is on the edge of being deposed, in one way or another, for an entire panoply of financial crimes.

Furl your flags, Republicans. You can’t call yourselves law-abiding patriots, anymore. You elected Trump. Q.E.D.

The Republican party has been traveling in a straight-line path to where we are now since LBJ “freed the slaves” a hundred years after we spent 620,000 lives, out of a population of 13 Million, settling what our country stood for. Nixon had his henchman, Roger Stone, who was more recently thawed out from full-body cryo-preservation to get back in his white sheet and work his racist magic for Trump. Lord Ronnie announced his presidential run in Philadelphia, MS, on the graves of Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman. He announced at the fairgrounds, instead of out at the dam, likely because there was more room to burn crosses in town.

Bush 1 trotted out Willie Horton in a racist attack so loathsome that its creator, Lee Atwater, apologized on his death-bed for thinking it up. Right here in Wisco-world, Michael Gableman, one of the most corrupt justices ever to serve on the WI supreme court, got there by smearing a black justice, Louis Butler, with a completely bogus ad campaign about Butler coddling a black child molester.

And so we get to Trump. Trump is not an aberration, but rather the logical extension of where the Republican party has been going since the early 60’s. His unquestioned racial animus is enabled by the institutional Republican party. They own him. They figured that they could control his baser impulses and just use him as a tool to get some more tax-breaks. That has not worked out at all well. They traded whatever soul that was left in their party for a few more dollars in their kid’s living trust. That this sort of a “deal with the devil” was transparently unlikely to work is no particular mystery. I, and everyone outside of the FOX/Breitbart/Drudge/NewsMax/Limbaugh bubble, saw it coming long before the election.

The R-Team needs to come to grips with the monster that they have enabled. They have the tools to fix the problem, and we will see if they are men (mostly) enuf to use them. It is now a matter of self-preservation, as Trump is rapidly blowing up any semblance of the Republican coalition. They have elected a pathological liar, and a completely amoral despot, to run our country. He is destroying our country, and the Republicans are being decimated by his “Friendly Fire”.

You would think that watching Trump morph from “Mexico will pay for the big, beautiful, wall” to “I will shut down the US government unless the US taxpayers build the big, beautiful, wall” would be instructive. It won’t be. Racism has Trumped any principles that the current R-Team may have had. “Sensible” conservatives are aghast at what the party has turned into, completely ignoring their direct complicity in making it happen.

Pigeons are roosting…..