Daily Bread for 9.11.17

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of seventy-five. Sunrise is 6:31 AM and sunset 7:10 PM, for 12h 39m 04s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 70% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the three hundred sixth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Planning Commission meets this evening at 6:30 PM.

Today is the sixteenth anniversary of coordinated Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on the continental United States. On this day in 1903, auto racing rebuts at the Milwaukee Mile.

Recommended for reading in full

Jeffrey Goldberg ponders The Autocratic Element (“Can America recover from the Trump administration?”):

Like many people, I’ve lately been preoccupied by the mayhem-makers of the radical right, and by those in power who abet their work. But even as Nazis were invading Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, I found myself worrying about a more subtle, but still substantially pernicious, manifestation of democratic decay. This is the apparently deathless attempt by certain rightist Republicans to bring Hillary Clinton to “justice,” a cause rationalized this way by one such Republican, a freshman congressman from Florida named Matt Gaetz: “Just because Hillary Clinton lost the election doesn’t mean we should forget or forgive conduct that is likely criminal.”

Let us lay aside the question of whether the charges of criminality leveled against Clinton are specious (they certainly seem to be) and focus instead on the novelty of Gaetz’s mission. The idea he is endorsing—if not on behalf of Donald Trump, then in the spirit of Donald Trump—is that the political party that wins power is duty-bound to hound to the point of actual prosecution the losing party.

This is un-American, and I mean that in a very specific way. I’ve spent much of my reporting career covering countries that are not ruled by law, and that do not venerate the democratic norms of restraint, moderation, forgiveness, and compromise. It is common for autocratic rulers, even those who took office through ostensibly democratic elections, to persecute the individuals and parties that they have vanquished, for reasons ranging from paranoia to simple vindictiveness. America, though, has been different. It is not uncommon in the U.S. for the losers to challenge the victories of the winners, and this is as it should be. But it is a dangerous innovation to use the instruments of state power to harass powerless, defeated political foes. The fractures that this sort of behavior causes are not easily healed….

(Even at best, we’ve a long road ahead.)

Adam Bates contends Trump’s Decision on Military-Style Weapons Will Harm Communities:

In 2004, then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s SWAT team in Maricopa County, Ariz., raided a suburban home looking for illegal firearms.

The raid was a comedy of ineptitude.

The officers drove their armored vehicle into a parked car on the street. They changed into military-style uniforms on the lawn, leading a neighbor to conclude that they might have been amateur paintballers or even gang members. One of the many tear gas canisters police fired into the home apparently sparked a fire and set the home ablaze. A dog trying to flee the fire was scared back into the home, where it died.

Instead of a cache of illegal weapons, the raid recovered an antique shotgun and a legally owned 9mm handgun, and officers made only one arrest — for a failure to appear in court over traffic violations.

It should go without saying that military weapons and tactics should be reserved for the most pressing circumstances. Yet the Trump administration is taking the country backward by again giving police departments access to the most dangerous artillery that is often unnecessary for local officers….

Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffrey write that Trump’s Signals to White Supremacists Aren’t Dog Whistles. They’re Flares:

“They may not be ready for the Ku Klux Klan yet, but as anti-white hatred escalates, they will.”

That was Rachel Pendergraft, a spokeswoman for the political arm of the Ku Klux Klan (yes, this exists), talking last year about the way the Trump campaign was helping racist and white supremacist groups reach a growing audience. Mother Jonesinterviewed her as part of a big investigation, which found that these extremists were seeing Trump as legitimizing their once-hidden views.

Hearing people like Pendergraft talking this way—taking off the hood, as it were—was shocking enough. But here’s what really stunned us in reporting out that story: Not only were extremists excited by Trump’s campaign. Not only were they using it to recruit on a scale they hadn’t imagined before. They felt that the campaign was signaling to them actively and deliberately—and the more we dug, the more we realized they were right….

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen warns of The Russian Company That Is a Danger to Our Security:

MADBURY, N.H. — The Kremlin hacked our presidential election, is waging a cyberwar against our NATO allies and is probing opportunities to use similar tactics against democracies worldwide. Why then are federal agencies, local and state governments and millions of Americans unwittingly inviting this threat into their cyber networks and secure spaces?

That threat is posed by antivirus and security software products created by Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based company with extensive ties to Russian intelligence. To close this alarming national security vulnerability, I am advancing bipartisan legislation to prohibit the federal government from using Kaspersky Lab software.

Kaspersky Lab insists that it has “no inappropriate ties with any government.” The company’s products, which are readily available at big-box American retailers, have more than 400 million users around the globe. And it provides security services to major government agencies, including the Department of State, the National Institutes of Health and, reportedly, the Department of Defense….

(Kaspersky isn’t the only Russian company with state-security ties to Putin, to be sure.)

A dog meets a bear, and the dog wins the field: