Daily Bread for 9.30.19

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of eighty-three.  Sunrise is 6:51 AM and sunset 6:37 PM, for 11h 45m 46s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 4.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand fifty-sixth day.

There will be a Hwy 12/CTH N Intersection Public Meeting at 5 PM (an earlier closed session will run from 4:30 to 5 PM).

On this day in 1954, the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, is commissioned, under the command of Commander Eugene P. Wilkinson, USN.

Recommended for reading in full:

Kevin Poulsen writes GOP Shows Russian Trolls How It’s Done With Whistleblower Smear:

From Donald Trump on down, prominent Republicans used part of their weekend to falsely accuse Trump’s hand-picked intelligence community inspector general (IC IG) of secretly changing the requirements for intelligence workers to submit whistleblower tips as part of a deep state plot to clear the way for the Aug. 12 complaint about Trump’s phone call to the president of Ukraine.

The smoking gun in the putative conspiracy is an obscure government form, IC IG ICWSP Form 401, also known as the Disclosure of Urgent Concern Form. The document is put out by the IC IG for intelligence workers who need to file urgent complaints that trigger special treatment under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act.

According to the GOP and an army of conservative commentators, the old version of the form prohibited workers from submitting urgent complaints based on secondhand information; only misconduct witnessed personally could be reported. That changed in early August, the false claim goes, when ICIG Michael Atkinson snuck through a hasty revision to the complaint form that reversed long-standing policy.


The kernel of fact near the center of the conspiracy theory is that there is, indeed, a new version of Form 401 dated August 2019.

A question on the form explicitly anticipates tips based on secondhand information, and asks the whistleblower to check a box: “I have direct and personal knowledge,” or, “I heard about it from others.” The Federalist used a screenshot of that field to illustrate its story.

What the article didn’t mention or screenshot is a nearly identical field gracing Form 401 since at least May 2018, making it impossible that it was added as an easement for Trump’s whistleblower. 

(Emphasis added.)

Tim Mak reports NRA Was ‘Foreign Asset’ To Russia Ahead of 2016, New Senate Report Reveals:

The National Rifle Association acted as a “foreign asset” for Russia in the period leading up to the 2016 election, according to a new investigation unveiled Friday by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

Drawing on contemporaneous emails and private interviews, an 18-month probe by the Senate Finance Committee’s Democratic staff found that the NRA underwrote political access for Russian nationals Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin more than previously known — even though the two had declared their ties to the Kremlin.

The report, available here, also describes how closely the gun rights group was involved with organizing a 2015 visit by some of its leaders to Moscow.

It’s Jousting, But on Water:

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4 years ago

There is a putrid stench of flop-sweat perfuming the White House these days. Trump is now actively advocating, or at least threatening, civil war. I’m not surprised, as I have long thought it would come down to this. We are about to find out just how far Trump takes this, and who buys in on which side. We already know Trump has his militias of old-guys-that-hump-guns on-board and locked-and-loaded. Evangelicals, with the sweet smell of rapture tickling their nostrils, are all-in, too. Local Law Enforcement, which is distressingly racist, will line up with Trump, I suspect. Where the military and federal law enforcement come down is not completely clear, but is critical, as they have the really big guns on their side. Trump will order the military and feds to do things that they will not be comfortable doing. How will they react?

Trump has now self-impeached via the Ukraine call “memo” he put out. He just stomped his own dick into a mushroom-flavored pulp, artistically garnished with Yeti pubes. He also implicated Barr and Rudy, which can’t be making them particularly happy. Hanging over all of them, and likely a lot of other White House minions as well, are the word-for-words that are stashed at the NSC. One hopes that the NSC has taken suitable safeguards to retain the evidence. It’d be a shame if some sort of strategic fire erased the evidence. This is absolutely going to end up at the Supreme Court, and we will find out just what John Roberts is made of.

Trump has corrupted huge swaths of the political system with a combination of tribal appeals, overt racism, and direct threats of attack from the right to any “squishes” not completely backing him. It is starting to look like the bullying of R-team politicians, by threatening to primary them, is morphing into those very same R-Teamers starting to get scared of being thrown out of office for backing Trump. Yertle is being exceptionally quiet, other than assuring us that there will be a trial in his kangaroo court, should Trump be impeached, which is closing in on being inevitable. Yertle, one of the master political strategists of all time, appears to be understanding that he can back Trump to the hilt, and lose the Senate, or play it straight, and maybe hang on. If (or maybe when) Yertle flips, Trump is gone. Yertle has his own seat to worry about, too, as he is massively unpopular in KY and has a very credible challenger next year.

This is getting really ugly. The American political system is going to be way different when it is all over. At a minimum, the Republican Party is going to have to do some serious re-structuring, if it even survives.