Daily Bread for 7.8.18

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of eighty-four.  Sunrise is 5:25 AM and sunset 8:34 PM, for 15h 09m 42s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 26.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

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

On this day in 1850, James Jesse Strang is crowned king:

On this date James Jesse Strang, leader of the estranged Mormon faction, the Strangites, was crowned king; the only man to achieve such a title in America. When founder Joseph Smith was assassinated, Strang forged a letter from Smith dictating he was to be the heir. The Mormon movement split into followers of Strang and followers of Brigham Young. As he gained more followers (but never nearly as many as Brigham Young), Strang became comparable to a Saint, and in 1850 was crowned King Jamesin a ceremony in which he wore a discarded red robe of a Shakespearean actor, and a metal crown studded with a cluster of stars as his followers sang him hosannas. Soon after his crowning, he announced that Mormonism embraced and supported polygamy. (Young’s faction was known to have practiced polygamy, but had not at this time announced it publicly.) A number of followers lived in Walworth County, including Strang at a home in Burlington. In 1856 Strang was himself assassinated, leaving five wives. Without Strang’s leadership, his movement disintegrated. [Source: Wisconsin Saints and Sinners, by Fred L. Holmes, p. 106-121]

Recommended for reading in full — 

  Anne Applebaum asks Trump is hinting at concessions to Putin. So what do we get back?:

But all these [possible] deals, just like the original Yalta agreement, have at their heart a fatal flaw: They rely on promises from a Russian leader who has never, in Syria, Ukraine or anywhere else, kept his word. In Ukraine he has continued to bankroll the “rebels” who continue to prosecute an illegal war in the east. In Syria he has repeatedly reneged on commitments to lift sieges, allow the delivery of humanitarian aid and deescalate conflict, yet he has paid no price. Even if he wanted to, the idea that he can somehow control Iran is peculiar: The Russian foreign minister has already said that it is “absolutely unrealistic” to expect Iran to remove itself from the conflict. The Russian military doesn’t have the troops for that anyway.

In both Ukraine and Syria, the situation is extremely odd: The United States — still, in theory, the stronger power — appears to be negotiating to give up quite a lot in exchange for very little. The only explanation for U.S. determination to make a lopsided deal is Trump himself. Perhaps he has learned from his experience negotiating with North Korea: In Singapore he endorsed a dictator, got nothing except unenforceable promises and then came home to a hero’s welcome from Fox News. Or perhaps he still feels he owes something, after all, to the man who helped him win the presidency.

 Hope Kirwan reports New Chinese Tariffs Mean Lower Prices For Wisconsin Farmers (“Prices For Soybeans, Pork, Dairy Products Already Down As New Tariffs Take Effect”):

As a trade war between China and the United States continues, Wisconsin farmers are feeling the effects.

New U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods went into effect early Friday morning. In response, China released their own taxes on many U.S. products, including soybeans, pork and dairy products.

The two countries began trading tariffs after the Trump administration announced in May that it would impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum.

  Paul Krugman contends Big Business Reaps Trump’s Whirlwind:

When organizations like the Chamber of Commerce or the Heritage Foundation declare that Trump’s tariffs are a bad idea, they are on solid intellectual ground: All, and I mean all, economic experts agree. But they don’t have any credibility, because these same conservative institutions have spent decades making war on expertise.

….

But a trade war may be only the start of big business’s self-inflicted punishment. Much worse and scarier things may lie ahead, because Trump isn’t just a protectionist, he’s an authoritarian. Trade wars are nasty; unchecked power is much worse, and not just for those who are poor and powerless.

Consider the fact that Trump is already in the habit of threatening businesses that have crossed him. After Harley-Davidson announced that it was shifting some production overseas because of trade conflicts, he warned that the company would be “taxed like never before” — which certainly sounds as if he wants to politicize the I.R.S. and use it to punish individual businesses.

For the moment, he probably can’t do anything like that. But suppose Republicans retain control of Congress this November. If they do, does anyone think they’ll stand up against abuses of presidential power? G.O.P. victory in the midterms would put a lot of people and institutions at the mercy of Trump’s authoritarian instincts, big business very much included.

(When liberal Nobel laureate Krugman contends no expert – left, center, or right – supports Trump’s trade war tariffs, he’s correct, but Trumpism isn’t a sound economics, or in the end even any economics – it’s a bigoted authoritarianism.)

  Gregory Krieg contends The ‘civility debate’ isn’t about manners. It’s an old-school power play:

The so-called “civility debate” is the newest front in a wider conflict that has less to do with manners, or ensuring a polite discourse, than in protecting the powerful from being forced to engage with politics on someone else’s terms.

At its heart is a unique form of cultural illiteracy and status anxiety. The ability to hand-pick when and in what context to face the consequences of your work is a privilege, deep-seated and treasured by those who possess it. Dinnertime interlopers who challenge this expectation are protesting more than a government official or policy — they are fundamentally rejecting it.

  Mutilated Money? This Place Will Give You a Fresh Stack: