Daily Bread for 8.6.18

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will see thunderstorms, with a high of eighty-one.  Sunrise is 5:52 AM and sunset 8:08 PM, for 14h 16m 14s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 30.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

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

On this day in 1945, after more than three-and-a-half years of war since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and years more of Japanese aggression across Asia, the United States detonates an atomic bomb over Hiroshima:

The discovery of nuclear fission by German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann in 1938, and its theoretical explanation by Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch, made the development of an atomic bomb a theoretical possibility.[53] Fears that a German atomic bomb project would develop atomic weapons first, especially among scientists who were refugees from Nazi Germany and other fascist countries, were expressed in the Einstein-Szilard letter. This prompted preliminary research in the United States in late 1939.[54] Progress was slow until the arrival of the British MAUD Committee report in late 1941, which indicated that only 5 to 10 kilograms of isotopically enriched uranium-235 were needed for a bomb instead of tons of natural uranium and a neutron moderator like heavy water.[55]

The 1943 Quebec Agreement merged the nuclear weapons projects of the United Kingdom and Canada, Tube Alloys and the Montreal Laboratory, with the Manhattan Project,[56][57] under the direction of Major General Leslie R. Groves, Jr., of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.[58] Groves appointed J. Robert Oppenheimer to organize and head the project’s Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico, where bomb design work was carried out.[59] Two types of bombs were eventually developed, both named by Robert Serber. Little Boy was a gun-type fission weapon that used uranium-235, a rare isotope of uranium separated at the Clinton Engineer Works at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.[60] The other, known as a Fat Man device, was a more powerful and efficient, but more complicated, implosion-type nuclear weapon that used plutonium created in nuclear reactors at Hanford, Washington.[61]

Recommended for reading in full — 

Michael D. Shear and Michael S. Schmidt report President Admits Trump Tower Meeting Was Meant to Get Dirt on Clinton:

WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Sunday that a Trump Tower meeting between top campaign aides and a Kremlin-connected lawyer was designed to “get information on an opponent” — the starkest acknowledgment yet that a statement he dictated last year about the encounter was misleading.

Mr. Trump made the comment in a tweet on Sunday morning that was intended to be a defense of the June 2016 meeting and the role his son Donald Trump Jr. played in hosting it. The president claimed that it was “totally legal” and of the sort “done all the time in politics.”

But the tweet also served as an admission that the Trump team had not been forthright when Donald Trump Jr. issued a statement in July 2017 saying that the meeting had been primarily about the adoption of Russian children.

Aaron Blake writes Trump just made 2 problematic admissions about the Trump Tower meeting:

The first is that Trump appears to have broken some new ground here when it comes to admitting the true purpose of the Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-aligned lawyer — and even further contradicted the initial statement he helped draft about it. At the time, Donald Trump Jr. issued a statement explaining that he and the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children.” We have since discovered that the elder Trump actually dictated that statement.

Quickly, though, that explanation fell apart, and we learned that Trump Jr. had actually been promised harmful information about Democrats, including Hillary Clinton. The president himself seemed to shrug it off, saying in July 2017 that, “from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting.” He added: “It’s called opposition research or even research into your opponent.” (Trump also tweeted along these lines.) But at the same time, he still suggested that the meeting was, in large part, about adoption.

….

But here’s the thing: This is a tweet about how the Trump Tower meeting was totally fine — nothing illegal to see here. If you’ve got no real concern about legal exposure from the meeting, why distance yourself from it? Trump seems to be arguing against his own point by assuring us that he had nothing to do with this meeting, which — oh, by the way — was totally on the up-and-up. Trump might as well have just confirmed The Post’s report that he is worried about what the meeting portends for his son.

  Jennifer Rubin contends A Democratic House’s priority: The foreign money:

The reason we do not know much of anything regarding Trump’s receipt of foreign monies is because, unlike other modern presidents, Trump has refused to release his tax returns and the GOP House has refused to assume its constitutional power to determine whether the president can accept foreign emoluments. Right now litigation is trying to remedy this likely constitutional violation. However, after the midterms, a Democratic House on a simple up-or-down vote could determine that no, the president cannot accept any foreign emoluments from the Saudis or anyone else.

You see, the emoluments clause requires affirmative permission from Congress; by explicitly denying him that permission, Congress would put Trump squarely in violation of the Constitution. In other words, it would be telling Trump, “Your emoluments or your presidency.” And if Trump refuses to give up his emoluments while remaining president? Impeachment would be a remedy for a willful violation of the Constitution, but Congress might also obtain a court order (if it could survive standing issues and a host of other legal hurdles). Foreign funds, for example, might be impounded by court order at his properties. Like Iran sanctions, U.S. banks could be ordered to stop receipt of any overseas money from Trump properties.

In sum, Trump never thought he’d win the presidency and has had no intention of giving up any income. To the contrary, he’s using the presidency to hawk his properties and, in the case of Mar-a-Lago, ratchet up the price of membership and charge the Secret Service and other officials for their accommodations. Trump’s level of greed and indifference to legal and ethical norms is unsurpassed by any president. A Democratic House, however, might go a long way toward ending the grotesque corruption that characterizes his administration.

Julian E. Zelizer observes The Press Doesn’t Cause Wars—Presidents Do:

Although the press has routinely been blamed for some of the United States’s most controversial conflicts, the historical evidence demonstrates that the power to make wartime decisions rests in the Oval Office and on Capitol Hill—not in the newsroom. Yes, the news media has the power to influence public opinion and to focus attention on particular threats, but elected officials always have considerable leeway—outside of an immediate national-security crisis—to make decisions about how and when to use military force. Besides the fact that the “media” is rarely unified on any issue, the ultimate responsibility for war must be laid squarely on the shoulders of elected officials.

This was the case with the Spanish-American War in 1898, where the press is usually blamed for getting the nation into a conflict. According to the legend, the publisher William Randolph Hearst, whose newspapers loved to run sensational headlines and provocative stories, honed in on the Cuban revolt against Spain because the real-life drama attracted readers in an increasingly competitive newspaper market. When an accidental explosion blew up the USS Maine, the Hearst papers blamed Spain and drummed up patriotic sentiment. “Remember the Maine!” read the headline. Soon after, Congress declared war.

The myth vastly oversimplifies the reality. The U.S. fleet was already on its way toward Spanish territorial possessions when the explosion occurred. Joseph Campbell and other historians have effectively punctured most of the pillars of the conventional story. Numerous Republicans leaders had been moved by humanitarian concerns. Vermont Senator Redfield Proctor delivered a speech describing the condition of Cubans who had been detained in camps, “one half have died and one quarter of the living are so diseased that they cannot be saved.” A major diplomatic impasse with Spain set up the conditions for the conflict, and the growing imperial ambitions of numerous advisors who were working with President William McKinley also played a role. As the historian George Herring wrote in his book, From Colony to Superpower, the Republican platform in 1896 had “set forth a full-fledged expansionist agenda” and “the War of 1898 provided an opportunity to implement much of this agenda—and more.”

How Teenagers in Baltimore are Using Code to Stop Overdose Deaths:

In Baltimore, sometimes called the heroin capital of the U.S., a group of teenagers have developed an app that can track bad batches of drugs and alert nearby users. This helps drug users know when potentially lethal combinations of heroin and fentanyl are being distributed in their community. The so-called Bad Batch Boys believe that giving the information to the people that need it most has the potential to save countless lives.

(One small, sincere effort may have the power to help at least a few avoid disaster.)