Daily Bread for 9.15.18

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny, with a high of eighty-four.  Sunrise is 6:35 AM and sunset 7:03 PM, for 12h 28m 18s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 35.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

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

On this day in 1940, Britain wins decisive victories in engagements during the Battle of Britain:

On 15 September, two massive waves of German attacks were decisively repulsed by the RAF by deploying every aircraft in 11 Group. Sixty German and twenty-six RAF aircraft were shot down. The action was the climax of the Battle of Britain.[248]

Two days after the German defeat Hitler postponed preparations for the invasion of Britain. Henceforth, in the face of mounting losses in men, aircraft and the lack of adequate replacements, the Luftwaffe completed their gradual shift from daylight bomber raids and continued with nighttime bombing. 15 September is commemorated as Battle of Britain Day.

Recommended for reading in full — 

The New York Times editorial board describes Medicine’s Financial Contamination (“Disclosure rules may seem arcane, but money corrupts medical research”):

The fall from grace last week of Dr. José Baselga, the former chief scientific officer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, illuminated a longstanding problem of modern medicine: Potentially corrupting payments by drug and medical device makers to influential people at research hospitals are far more common than either side publicly acknowledges.

Dr. Baselga, a giant in cancer research whose work led to the discovery of the lifesaving drug Herceptin, resigned on Thursday after The New York Times and ProPublica reported that he had repeatedly failed to properly disclose millions in industry payments.

Decades of research and real world examples have shown that such entanglements can distort the practice of medicine in ways big and small. Even little gifts have been found to influence doctors’ prescribing habitsand their perceptions of a given company’s products. Larger payments have been shown to affect the design of clinical trials and the reporting of trial results, among other things. And such financial entanglements have proved devastating to individual patients — and to society at large. The opioid epidemic, to take one recent example, was partly spread by doctors who were persuaded to ignore warning bells and prescribe these drugs liberally by companies that showered them with gifts and consulting fees.

Dr. Baselga’s lapses may not have touched off a drug epidemic, but they have damaged the reputation of a leading cancer hospital in which tens of thousands of patients place their trust every year. Medical institutions should prize that trust at least as much as they prize profits. They should work aggressively to keep themselves beyond such reproach. And they should hold leaders of Dr. Baselga’s rank to an especially high standard, because leaders more than rule books set the example that others will follow.

( Small towns like Whitewater do not have the contamination of payments from Big Pharma – they have the contamination of entitled landlords and bankers, for example, who stack public committees with friends and even employees while simultaneously running private special interest groups.  Indeed, they feel entitled to do so, falsely comforting themselves – despite decades of policy failures and contrary to any observable evidence – that they are somehow more capable than anyone picked at random from the community. Where pride was once seen as a serious flaw, it’s now a justification.)

Victoria Clark, Mikhaila Fogel, Matthew Kahn, Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, and Benjamin Wittes consider The Manafort Guilty Plea, the Mueller Investigation, and the President:

Only three weeks ago, the president of the United States lauded Paul Manafort for bravely rejecting any cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller:

I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” – make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man! 

So much for that.

On Friday, Manafort, who was chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign from June to August 2016, pleaded guilty in federal district court in Washington to two charges of conspiracy against the United States—one involving a lobbying scheme that involved financial crimes and foreign-agent registration violations, and the other involving witness tampering. In the course of his plea, Manafort also admitted guilt on bank-fraud charges on which a federal jury in Virginia hung last month. And in exchange for the special counsel’s office dropping the remaining federal charges against him in the District of Columbia, he stopped “refusing to ‘break’” and entered into a cooperation agreement that obligates him to “cooperate fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly with the Government in any and all matters” in which it may need him.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders hastily sought to put distance between the plea agreement and the president, stating: “This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated.”

As it was with the president’s tweet three weeks ago, the White House is once again way out on a limb.

The grain of truth in Sanders’s claim is that most, though not all, of the criminal conduct to which Manafort admitted preceded his work for the Trump campaign, and none directly implicates the campaign itself or Trump. But it is only a grain. For one thing, Trump constantly boasted of hiring the “best people”—and even in March 2016, when Manafort first joined the campaign, it was clear that he was superlative chiefly in influence peddling on behalf of unsavory characters close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. His questionable reputation and murky relationships with former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska were matters of public knowledge long before the campaign began.

Indeed, though the specific crimes to which Manafort has now pleaded were not yet public, the most rudimentary vetting would have flagged him as a person of particularly high risk. As Franklin Foer noted in the Atlantic last month, Sen. John McCain rejected Manafort’s involvement in the 2008 Republican National Convention because of his disreputable ties even back then, before his involvement with Yanukovych. Trump hired him anyway.

And it gets worse for the president. Manafort has admitted to committing crimes while serving as Trump’s campaign manager, although those crimes were not committed in his capacity as campaign manager or on behalf of the campaign. Manafort was found guilty in Virginia on, among other charges, a bank fraud allegation involving conduct that the indictment describes as continuing through May 2016—the second month of Manafort’s formal involvement with the Trump campaign. But as part of his plea on Friday, Manafort admitted to the charges against him in his Virginia trial on which the jury hung, including charges of bank fraud that took place between April and November 2016—that is, during the time in which he led the Trump campaign. He also admitted that during his time as campaign chairman, he had still not met his disclosure obligations under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), incurring criminal liability.

Stephen Bates, Jack Goldsmith, and Benjamin Wittes assess The Watergate ‘Road Map’ and the Coming Mueller Report:

According to countless media accounts and President Trump’s own lawyers, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is writing some kind of report on allegations of presidential obstruction of justice. Exactly what sort of report this may be is unclear. But to the extent that Mueller is contemplating a referral to Congress of possible impeachment material, he has two historical models of such documents to draw on. One, the so-called Starr Report, is famous and publicly available. The other is a document most people have never heard of: the “Road Map” that Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski sent to Congress in 1974 and that informed its impeachment proceedings, which were already underway.

The Road Map was very different from the Starr Report. Where Starr wrote a lengthy narrative, the Road Map was reportedly spare. Where Starr evaluated the legal relevance of the evidence he referred, the Road Map apparently contained no analysis and drew no conclusions. And where the Starr Report was in bookstores worldwide and today is just a Google search away, the Road Map is largely forgotten.

There’s a reason for that: The Road Map remains under seal at the National Archives. Kenneth Starr couldn’t read it. You can’t read it. And, remarkably for a document that may be the best model available for his current project, Mueller can’t read it either.

The three of us filed a petition on Thursday to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that seeks to rectify this problem. Represented by attorneys at Protect Democracy, we asked the court to unseal the Road Map. We did so because the document is of significant historical interest and significant contemporary interest. As we will explain in this post, which is drawn from declarations that we and others filed in the matter, the Road Map is one of the few significant pieces of Watergate history that remains unavailable to the public. The document is also keenly relevant to current discussions of how Mueller should proceed. It is possible that it is even relevant to discussions taking place within the Mueller investigation itself.

It is time for Jaworski’s Road Map to see the light of day.

The Road Map grew out of intensive discussions within the Special Prosecutor’s Office about how to proceed against President Richard Nixon for alleged crimes uncovered by the special prosecutor’s investigation of the Watergate scandal. The Watergate Special Prosecution Force had obtained important evidence through the grand jury that the House Judiciary Committee had not obtained. Some members of the Special Prosecutor’s Office wanted to indict the president for obstruction of justice and related crimes. Others in the office argued that the special prosecutor should draft a presentment charging Nixon with crimes, including obstruction of justice. According to this plan, the grand jury would approve the presentment and the presiding federal district court judge, John Sirica, would transmit it to the House of Representatives for its consideration in deliberations about possible impeachment proceedings against the president.

Tom Kertscher writes Scott Walker misleads in claiming Tony Evers could have revoked teacher license in porn viewing case:

Walker says: “A teacher watched hard-core pornography in his classroom,” along with other inappropriate behavior, but Tony Evers didn’t revoke the teacher’s license and “the teacher is still in the classroom.”

The first part of Walker’s statement, about the teacher’s behavior, is correct on two points; but on two other points, the validity of the allegations is unclear.

Meanwhile, the more important part of Walker’s statement is misleading in saying Evers could have and didn’t revoke the teacher’s license. There was a lack of legal basis for revocation at the time — made clear by the fact that Walkers and Evers backed a change in state law so that teachers can be fired for viewing pornography at school.

The Milwaukee County Zoo announces birth of its first-ever red panda cub:

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