Daily Bread for 11.22.17

Good morning.

Midweek in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of thirty-five. Sunrise is 6:56 AM and sunset 4:25 PM for 9h 29m 01s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 14.5% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the three hundred seventy-eighth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1963, Pres. Kennedy is assassinated while riding in a Dallas motorcade. On this day in 1935, the China Clipper (NC14716) makes the first trans-Pacific airmail delivery,”via via Honolulu, Midway Island, Wake Island, and Guam, and deliver[ing] over 110,000 pieces of mail.”

Recommended for reading in full – 

Luke Harding relates The Hidden History of Trump’s First Trip to Moscow (“In 1987, a young real estate developer traveled to the Soviet Union. The KGB almost certainly made the trip happen):

Trump’s first visit to Soviet Moscow in 1987 looks, with hindsight, to be part of a pattern. The dossier by the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele asserts that the Kremlin had been cultivating Trump for “at least five years” before his stunning victory in the 2016 US presidential election. This would take us back to around 2011 or 2012.

In fact, the Soviet Union was interested in him too, three decades earlier. The top level of the Soviet diplomatic service arranged his 1987 Moscow visit. With assistance from the KGB. It took place while Kryuchkov was seeking to improve the KGB’s operational techniques in one particular and sensitive area. The spy chief wanted KGB staff abroad to recruit more Americans….

(Trump was an organ grinder’s monkey even before Putin became the organ grinder.)

Nicholas Fandos reports He’s a Member of Congress. The Kremlin Likes Him So Much It Gave Him a Code Name:

WASHINGTON — For two decades, Representative Dana Rohrabacher has been of value to the Kremlin, so valuable in recent years that the F.B.I. warned him in 2012 that Russia regarded him as an intelligence source worthy of a Kremlin code name.

The following year, the California Republican became even more valuable, assuming the chairmanship of the Foreign Affairs subcommittee that oversees Russia policy. He sailed to re-election again and again, even as he developed ties to Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia.

Then came President Trump.

As revelations of Russia’s campaign to influence American politics consume Washington, Mr. Rohrabacher, 70, who had no known role in the Trump election campaign, has come under political and investigative scrutiny. The F.B.I. and the Senate Intelligence Committee are each seeking to interview him about an August meeting with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, Mr. Rohrabacher said. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is said to be interested in a meeting he had last year with Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s short-lived national security adviser….

(So reprehensible is he, that Rohrabacher’s more a true fifth columnist than even a fellow traveler.)

Alice Ollstein reports Trump May Tap Pro-Gerrymandering Professor To Run The 2020 Census:

The 2020 U.S. Census will determine which states gain or lose electoral power for years to come, and President Donald Trump is leaning towards appointing a pro-gerrymandering professor with no government experience to help lead the effort.

Politico reported Tuesday that Trump may soon tap Thomas Brunell, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Dallas who has no background in statistics, for a powerful deputy position that doesn’t require congressional approval.

He authored a 2008 book titled Competitive Elections are Bad for America.

The position has historically been held by a career civil servant who has served many years in the Census Bureau….

(Trump’s great effort in ’18 and beyond will be attempts to suppress the vote, and later to distort the decennial census to favor pro-Trump states and constituencies.)

Adam Serwer writes of  The Nationalist’s Delusion:

….During the final few weeks of the campaign, I asked dozens of Trump supporters about their candidate’s remarks regarding Muslims and people of color. I wanted to understand how these average Republicans—those who would never read the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer or go to a Klan rally at a Confederate statue—had nevertheless embraced someone who demonized religious and ethnic minorities. What I found was that Trump embodied his supporters’ most profound beliefs—combining an insistence that discriminatory policies were necessary with vehement denials that his policies would discriminate and absolute outrage that the question would even be asked.

It was not just Trump’s supporters who were in denial about what they were voting for, but Americans across the political spectrum, who, as had been the case with those who had backed Duke, searched desperately for any alternative explanation—outsourcing, anti-Washington anger, economic anxiety—to the one staring them in the face. The frequent postelection media expeditions to Trump country to see whether the fever has broken, or whether Trump’s most ardent supporters have changed their minds, are a direct outgrowth of this mistake. These supporters will not change their minds, because this is what they always wanted: a president who embodies the rage they feel toward those they hate and fear, while reassuring them that that rage is nothing to be ashamed of….

(Serwer sees the so-called base of Trump’s support for what it is. America has seen other vile factions, from Know Nothings to Confederates to the Klan to the Bund. Our people have overcome them all, and will overcome this present challenge.)

Ronan Farrow reports Harvey Weinstein’s Secret Settlements (“The mogul used money from his brother and elaborate legal agreements to hide allegations of predation for decades”):

On April 20, 2015, the Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez sat in an office in midtown Manhattan with an eighteen-page legal agreement in front of her. She had been advised by her attorney that signing the agreement was the best thing for her and her family. In exchange for a million-dollar payment from Harvey Weinstein, Gutierrez would agree never to talk publicly about an incident during which Weinstein groped her breasts and tried to stick his hand up her skirt.

“I didn’t even understand almost what I was doing with all those papers,” she told me, in her first interview discussing her settlement. “I was really disoriented. My English was very bad. All of the words in that agreement were super difficult to understand. I guess even now I can’t really comprehend everything.” She recalled that, across the table, Weinstein’s attorney was trembling visibly as she picked up the pen. “I saw him shaking and I realized how big this was. But then I thought I needed to support my mom and brother and how my life was being destroyed, and I did it,” she told me. “The moment I did it, I really felt it was wrong.”

Weinstein used nondisclosure agreements like the one Gutierrez signed to evade accountability for claims of sexual harassment and assault for at least twenty years. He used these kinds of agreements with employees, business partners, and women who made allegations—women who were often much younger and far less powerful than Weinstein, and who signed under pressure from attorneys on both sides.

Weinstein also hid the payments underwriting some of these settlements. In one case, in the nineteen-nineties, Bob Weinstein, who co-founded the film studio Miramax with his brother, paid two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, roughly six hundred thousand dollars today, to be split between two female employees in England who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault. The funds came from Bob Weinstein’s personal bank account—a move that helped conceal the payment from executives at Miramax and its parent company, Disney, as well as from Harvey Weinstein’s spouse….

(In places big and small, corrupt organizations and institutions will conceal actual injuries to individuals for the sake of leaders’ personal satisfaction or self-serving appeals to an institutional reputation they, and they alone, have in fact blackened.

Some in Whitewater have, for so many years, ignored or defended institutional wrongdoing of their friends though boosterism of the most childish kind: if all they owned sank to the bottom of Cravath, still it would not compensate adequately the assault survivors in this city who have been wronged not once, but twice over. For a FW category on this subject, see Assault Awareness & Prevention.)

Cockatoos, in turns out, are pretty darn sharp: