Good morning and Happy New Year.
The new year begins in Whitewater with partly sunny skies and a high of thirty-seven. Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset 4:32 PM, for 9h 06m 58s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 10.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the fifty-fourth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.
Recommended for reading in full —
John Gurda writes of Making America hate again? It’s a very old story: “Time after time, and without surrendering our national security, Americans of longer tenure have put hatred aside and allowed newcomers to find their way. We have done so grudgingly, more often than not, and rarely without conflict, but the result is a society richer for the presence of all of us. The alternative is not just impoverishing but chilling. What if we really were able to shut our doors and close our windows? In the 1850s, during an especially virulent outbreak of nativism, the aptly named Know Nothing Party rose to prominence as one of the first groups pledged to “keep America American.” Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, expressed grave misgivings in an 1855 letter to a friend. His words sound eerily familiar in 2017, as we prepare to inaugurate a president who openly admires Vladimir Putin. “Our progress in degeneracy,” Lincoln wrote, “appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”
In the defense blog War on the Rocks, Andrew Weisburd, Clint Watts, and JM Berger write of Trolling for Trump: How Russia Is Trying to Destroy Our Democracy: “Russia’s honeypots, hecklers, and hackers have run amok for at least two years, achieving unprecedented success in poisoning America’s body politic and creating deep dissent, including a rise in violent extremist activity and visibility. Posting hundreds of times a day on social media, thousands of Russian bots and human influence operators pump massive amounts of disinformation and harassment into public discourse. This “computational propaganda,” a term coined by Philip Howard, has the cumulative effect of creating Clayton A. Davis at Indiana University calls a “majority illusion, where many people appear to believe something ….which makes that thing more credible.” The net result is an American information environment where citizens and even subject-matter experts are hard-pressed to distinguish fact from fiction. They are unsure who to trust and thus more willing to believe anything that supports their personal biases and preferences.”
Eli Saslow describes The white flight of Derek Black: “Every day since then [an argument with white nationalist relatives], Derek had been working to put distance between himself and his past. He was still living across the country after finishing his master’s degree, and he was starting to learn Arabic to be able to study the history of early Islam. He hadn’t spoken to anyone in white nationalism since his defection, aside from occasional calls home to his parents. Instead, he’d spent his time catching up on aspects of pop culture he’d once been taught to discredit: liberal newspaper columns, rap music and Hollywood movies. He’d come to admire President Obama. He decided to trust the U.S. government. He started drinking tap water. He had taken budget trips to Barcelona, Paris, Dublin, Nicaragua and Morocco, immersing himself in as many cultures as he could.”
Amy Wang reports that Anthony Bourdain bashes fellow ‘privileged Eastern liberals’ for making Trump win possible: “The utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes is largely responsible for the upswell of rage and contempt and desire to pull down the temple that we’re seeing now,” Bourdain told Reason [Magazine]….Bourdain has made, well, no reservations about his disdain for Trump — or for those who choose to do business with him. In a recent interview with Eater, Bourdain said he had “utter and complete contempt” for restaurateur Alessandro Borgognone, who announced in November he would open a sushi restaurant at Trump’s hotel in Washington. “I will never eat in his restaurant,” Bourdain declared in that interview. He expressed similar feelings about chef David Burke, who said he would take over another space at the same hotel after José Andrés pulled out. “Burke’s a steaming loaf of s—, as far as I’m concerned, and feel free to quote me,” Bourdain told Eater.”
Let’s have something animated to begin the new year, from Yulia Mikushina —