Daily Bread for 1.12.17 – 2017

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be cloudy, with morning snow showers, and a daytime high of twenty-five. Sunrise is 7:23 AM and sunset 6:43 PM, for 9h 20m 30s of daytime. The moon is full today, with 100 percent of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the sixty-fifth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Tech Park Board meets at 8 AM, and the Landmarks Commission Birge Fountain Subcommittee Meeting will meet at 10 AM.

On this day in 2010, an earthquake strikes Haiti, killing over one-hundred thousand. On this day in 1864, the 20th Wisconsin Infantry takes part in a battle in Matamoras, Mexico to rescue the American consul in Matamoras when he became caught in an uprising between two opposing Mexican factions.

Recommended for reading in full —

Christian Caryl writes that one should Beware the Dark Art of Russian Blackmail: “Blackmail exists everywhere, of course. But nowhere else has it become such a prominent part of political life as in post-Soviet Russia. In the wild 1990s, the gray men of the old KGB sold their talents to the highest bidders, and plenty were willing to bid: newly minted millionaires, would-be politicians, mobsters. Countless private security services competed to see who could produce the dirtiest dirt, and journalists — another feature of a strange new world of turbulent freedom — were happy to publish what they dug up. Putin learned well. As president he soon cracked down on both the freelance spies and the journalists, but he never forgot his early lessons about the uses of kompromat, from the Russian for “compromising material.” Discrediting an enemy, he realized, can be far more effective than throwing them in jail, so the culture of kompromat has continued to thrive under his rule — though it’s now primarily deployed in the services of the Russian state.”

Paul Wood of the BBC considers the Trump ‘compromising’ claims: How and why did we get here?, and offers different perspectives on Trump: “In a New York Times op-ed in August, the former director of the CIA, Michael Morell, wrote: “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr Putin had recruited Mr Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.” Agent; puppet – both terms imply some measure of influence or control by Moscow. Michael Hayden, former head of both the CIA and the NSA, simply called Mr Trump a “polezni durak” – a useful fool. The background to those statements was information held – at the time – within the intelligence community. Now all Americans have heard the claims. Little more than a week before his inauguration, they will have to decide if their president-elect really was being blackmailed by Moscow.”

Longtime intelligence analyst Amy Zegart poses The Biggest Intelligence Questions Raised by the Trump Dossier: “1) Trump team communications with the Russian government before the election….2) Whether the FBI screwed up….3) Is the two-page intelligence report officials provided to Trump and Obama, which in part summarizes the longer set of memos compiled by the former MI6 agent and made public by Buzzfeed, primarily aimed at the past or the future?….4) The obvious unknown:  Is the embarrassing information about Mr. Trump true?”

Greg Sargent observes that Trump’s presser was remarkable. It means we’re heading into truly uncharted territory: “Take two key provisions [of Trump’s proposals oon conflicts of interest] here, the idea for a new ethics adviser that would sign off on new deals, and the pledge to “isolate” himself from the business to the degree that he won’t know about any new deals unless he reads about them in the media. The problem is obvious: Even if Trump takes these steps, and even if he does transfer his holdings into a trust managed by his sons, he still knows what his business holdings are, regardless of whether he knows about any “new” deals or whether any such new deals pass muster with his ethics adviser. That means that much of the potential for conflicts remains in place: Trump will be making regulatory decisions impacting businesses (such as banks) that are entangled with his own. He will be setting American policy in countries where he retains holdings. Trump’s businesses could even directly benefit from Trump policies. Only full divestment would have sufficed to ward off potential conflicts in these areas.”

From You Suck at Cooking (episode 55) it’s Slam Poetry Popcorn

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