Daily Bread for 1.26.17 – 2017

Good morning.

Whitewater’s Thursday will be cloudy with a high of thirty-four. Sunrise is 7:13 AM and sunset 5:01 PM, for 9h 47m 18s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 2.3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the seventy-ninth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1788, the first European settlers in Australia landed at what’s now Sydney. On this day in 1925, a fire destroys the Whitewater Hospital, with losses estimated at $20,000.

Recommended for reading in full —

Jeet Heer writes that Donald Trump Is Becoming an Authoritarian Leader Before Our Very Eyes: “Turning a speech at an intelligence agency [at the CIA] into a political rally is a deep betrayal of political norms. But it is very much in keeping with Trump’s disturbing habit of claiming the armed wing of the state, including the military and law enforcement, as his political allies. He said early in the CIA speech that “the military gave us tremendous percentages of votes. We were unbelievably successful in the election with getting the vote of the military. And probably almost everybody in this room voted for me, but I will not ask you to raise your hands if you did.” At the end of his speech, Trump sounded like a pathetic suitor making his final pitch: “I just wanted to really say that I love you, I respect you. There’s nobody I respect more.” While Trump’s antics might have impressed his fans watching from home, they seem to have done little to assuage worries in the agency. The New Yorker interviewed a variety of intelligence experts, including John MacGaffin, a high-ranking veteran of the agency. “What self-centered, irrational decision process got him to this travesty?” MacGaffin told the magazine. “Most importantly, how will that process serve us when the issues he must address are dangerous and incredibly complex?”

David Zirin writes about his experiences at the inauguration in I Was at Trump’s Inauguration. It Was Tiny: “Walter, a Trump supporter from Virginia, said to me, “This isn’t what I thought it would be. I thought this was going to be like our version of Woodstock. Instead I’m just cold.” Susan from West Virginia said to me, “On the plus side, I guess it can’t get worse. And I’m still glad we’re going to get the Supreme Court. But today—this is sad.” Raymond from West Virginia shrugged his shoulders and said, “I thought it would be like one of his rallies. Instead, it’s this.” (Raymond then asked if I was Jewish. I said yes and he said “Just checking.” I said, “C’mon Raymond! Even your anti-Semitism sounds demoralized.” He looked down, sadly.) In addition, the Secret Service and TSA personnel in charge of the checkpoints, both groups maligned by this administration, were cracking jokes about the president-elect as we were going through the metal detectors. One TSA agent even took a button from me that said, “Solidarity Trumps Hate.” He wasn’t confiscating the button. He took it to wear (“later,” he told me). If it wasn’t for the thousands of protesters who came out for both permitted and non-permitted demonstrations, the day would’ve had no life at all.”

Conservative Peter Wehner explains why he’s opposed to Trump in Why I Cannot Fall in Line Behind Trump: “…Mr. Trump has continued to demonstrate impulsivity and narcissism, an affinity for conflict and vindictiveness. Which leads to my main worry about Mr. Trump: His chronic lack of restraint will not be confined to Twitter. His Twitter obsessions are a manifestation of a deeper disorder. Donald Trump is a transgressive personality. He thrives on creating disorder, in violating rules, in provoking outrage. He is a shock jock. This might be a tolerable (if culturally coarsening) trait in a reality television star; it is a dangerous one in a commander in chief. He is unlikely to be contained by norms and customs, or even by laws and the Constitution. For Mr. Trump, nothing is sacred. The truth is malleable, instrumental, subjective. It is all about him. It is always about him. In “The Abolition of Man,” C. S. Lewis wrote, “I am very doubtful whether history shows us one example of a man who, having stepped outside traditional morality and attained power, has used that power benevolently.” Donald Trump has not only spent much of his life stepping outside of traditional morality; he seems to delight in doing so. If I am right about Mr. Trump, and Lewis is right about history, then it is unlikely that President Trump will use his power benevolently. Quite the opposite, in fact.”

Aaron Blake reports that ‘Eight years. Eight years.’: Donald Trump and his team are already assuming a 2020 reelection win: “Trump and his advisers have increasingly taken to speaking not just about what they’ll do over the next four years, but what will happen over the next eight — a premise that takes for granted that he will be reelected in 2020. Call it confidence or call it presumptuousness, it’s increasingly a part of the talking points. “The White House and the media are going to share joint custody of this nation for eight years,” Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said Monday night on Fox News’s “Hannity.” “And we ought to figure out how to co-parent.” The day before, during a White House ceremony swearing in his new aides, Trump promised that “we are going to do some great things over the next eight years.” And then he repeated, for good measure: “Eight years.”

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