Daily Bread for 10.12.17

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of sixty-two. Sunrise is 7:05 AM and sunset 6:16 PM, for 11h 10m 06s of daytime. The moon is in its third quarter, with 49.4% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the three hundred thirty-seventh day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets today at 5 PM.

On this day in 2000, seventeen sailors are killed in an attack on the USS Cole. On this day in 1783, Henry Dodge is born: “On this date Territorial Governor Henry Dodge was born in Vincennes, Indiana. The son of Israel Dodge and Nancy Hunter, Henry Dodge was the first Territorial Governor of Wisconsin. Prior to this position, he served as Marshall and Brigadier General of the Missouri Territory, Chief Justice of the Iowa County (Wisconsin) Court. During the Black Hawk War of 1832 he led the Wisconsin militia who ultimately brought the conflict to its tragic end. He served as Territorial Governor from July 3, 1836 to October 5, 1841 and again from May 13, 1845 to June 7, 1848. He also served as U.S. Territorial Senator from 1841 to 1846. When Wisconsin was admitted to the Union as a State, dodge was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate; he was reelected in 1851 and served from June 8, 1848, to March 3, 1857. He was also twice nominated for President and once for Vice President, all of which he declined. Henry Dodge died on June 19, 1867 in Burlington, Iowa.”

Recommended for reading in full — 

Robert Kagan writes Faster, Steve Bannon. Kill! Kill!:

Rarely has a political party more deserved the destruction the Republican Party may be about to suffer at the hands of President Trump’s former strategist, ideological guru and onetime puppeteer Steve Bannon. It was obvious during the earliest days of the campaign that Trump never intended to be either the leader or the protector of the Republican Party. He had contempt for the party. For one thing, it was a proven loser. For another, it crumpled like stick figures under his steamroller. Who could respect people who fell so easily, and so willingly?…

Should we have rooted for Republican leaders to fight back? Sure. And we did. The party would be worth saving if it contained even a dozen women and men of courage. But of course if it did contain such people, it wouldn’t need saving. Today the definition of a brave Republican is someone who is not running for reelection. So rooting for them is no longer an answer. The best thing for the country may be to let the party go. Let it become the party of Trump and Bannon, and as fast as possible. Let the 35 percent of the country who believe Trump is a suitable president, or who hate Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama so much that they would elect Mussolini to the White House, have their party.

The rest of Republican voters should leave the party until it earns back the right to their support. They should change their registration and start voting for Democratic moderates and centrists, as some Republicans did in Virginia recently, to give them a leg up in their fight against the party’s left wing. A third party of “good Republicans” is a fantasy. This is a two-party country. To defeat one, you have to support the other, either directly or indirectly. Right now the country’s best hope is for a moderate Democratic Party that speaks for that sizable majority of Americans who recognize the peril of seven more years of Trump in the White House. Bannon is doing his part to make that happen. It’s time for Republican voters who care about this country to do theirs.

Betsy  Woodruff and Spencer Ackerman report Russia Probe Now Investigating Cambridge Analytica, Trump’s ‘Psychographic’ Data Gurus:

A data firm backed by some of Donald Trump’s closest allies is now facing scrutiny as part of an investigation into possible collusion between the president’s team and Russian operatives, The Daily Beast has learned.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) is looking at Cambridge Analytica’s work for President Donald Trump’s campaign as part of its investigation into Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 race, according to sources familiar with the probe.

The company is in the process of turning over documents to HPSCI, according to a source familiar with the committee’s work. Another source close to the investigation said that the probe’s focus on Cambridge Analytica is “fruitful.”

Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, had holdings in Cambridge Analytica worth between $1 million and $5 million as recently as April of this year, Bloomberg reported. Bannon, now back as the chairman of the pro-Trump media outlet Breitbart, hasn’t been publicly mentioned as a potential witness for or target of Russia investigators. He previously sat on the board of Cambridge Analytica….

Jennifer Rubin observes Evangelical conservatives are proving their harshest critics right:

For years, Democrats accused Christian conservatives of being closet theocrats, seeking to impose Christianity on the country and refusing to accept, let alone embrace, American diversity. That was a generalization, but it turned out to be more true than not.

The evangelical defense of President Trump has taken on a religious fervor immune to reason. The Post reports:

Although some say the Trump-evangelical alliance harms Christianity, it’s common to hear other conservative Christians say that Trump’s unexpected win — down to the electoral college — shows that God had a more-deliberate-than-usual hand, and has put Trump there for some reason.

Brian Kaylor, a Baptist pastor with a PhD in political communications who has written several books about religion and politics, thinks [White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee] Sanders holds this view of a divine plan and it gives her confidence at the podium.

“When you have to stand up there and defend whatever he’s done, it’s more than you are defending a politician, or even a president; you are defending God’s chosen leader for this time,” he said of Trump’s defenders.

That’s stunning to the many Americans who think the divine right of kings was what we fought against in the American Revolution. A God-chosen president can do no wrong, tell no lie, make no error. And that, it seems, has been the default setting for many of Trump’s most loyal supporters among the religious right….

(N.B.: There is a powerful religious case against Trump; a conservative religious defense of Trump runs counter to this powerful case, and leads one to conclude that it may not be theology, but electoral politics, that underlies a deplorable defense of Trumpism. Indeed, Trump actually does best with evangelicals who don’t go to church.)

Michael Weiss reports The making of a Russian disinformation campaign: What it takes:

….”Between Christmas Eve 1959 and mid-February 1960,” the American journalist John Barron later recounted, “West German authorities recorded 833 separate anti-Jewish acts. Then the epidemic ceased almost as suddenly as and mysteriously as it had begun. Police arrested and interrogated 234 people. Analyzing their motives, the government concluded that 24% acted out of ‘subconscious Nazi motives;’ 8% were inspired by extreme rightist or leftist beliefs; 48% were drunks or thugs; 15% were children; and 5% were mentally deranged.”

Case, then, seemingly closed — but for a few oddities diagnosed in Patient Zero of this epidemic. The two men who had inaugurated the spree of defacements in Cologne had belonged to a minuscule West German neo-Nazi party but, as Barron noted, the authorities discovered “that they frequently made trips to East Germany and one had a Communist Party badge hidden behind his coat lapel”….

It would take a few more years, when defectors from the GDR stole across the Berlin Wall, for the true provenance of the “swastika graffiti operation” to become known.

An operation is exactly what it was, too, cooked up by General Ivan Ivanovich Agayants, who headed Department D of the First Chief Directorate of the Soviet KGB. The “D” stood for Dezinformatsiya, or disinformation, and Agayants, an austere ethnic Armenian, was very good at his job. During his tenure, he oversaw the forgery of documents alleging that the CIA planned to assassinate Indonesian President Sukarno and eliminate Turkish military officials and political actors in the interest of the then-ruling center-right Justice Party.

The 58-year-old provocation may have been a tactical success, but it was a strategic failure: West Germany stayed in NATO and remained an intact liberal democracy immune from the restoration of Hitlerism well into reunification with its eastern neighbor. But the swastika graffiti campaign remains a vivid case study of a poisonous weapon used for decades, not only by the Soviets, but also by their heir, Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB lieutenant colonel, in trying to influence western nations, including the course of American democracy….

NASA’s ScienceCasts presents A Display of Lights Above the Storm:

Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) are flashes and glows that appear above storms and are results of activity occurring in and below those storms. Researchers are working to better understand lightning and thunderstorms, how they form and develop over time, and why storms produce different TLEs in different circumstances.