Daily Bread for 12.3.17

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of fifty-five. Sunrise is 7:08 AM and sunset 4:21 PM, for 9h 12m 16s of daytime. The moon is full today. Today is the three hundred eighty-ninth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1992, British engineer Neil Papworth sends the first SMS text message (“Merry Christmas”) from his work computer in Newbury, Berkshire, to Vodafone executive Richard Jarvis’ mobile phone. On this day in 1947, WTMJ-TV becomes the first television station in Wisconsin.

Recommended for reading in full —

Nicholas Fandos reports Operative Offered Trump Campaign ‘Kremlin Connection’ Using N.R.A. Ties:

WASHINGTON — A conservative operative trumpeting his close ties to the National Rifle Association and Russia told a Trump campaign adviser last year that he could arrange a back-channel meeting between Donald J. Trump and Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, according to an email sent to the Trump campaign.

A May 2016 email to the campaign adviser, Rick Dearborn, bore the subject line “Kremlin Connection.” In it, the N.R.A. member said he wanted the advice of Mr. Dearborn and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, then a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump and Mr. Dearborn’s longtime boss, about how to proceed in connecting the two leaders.

Russia, he wrote, was “quietly but actively seeking a dialogue with the U.S.” and would attempt to use the N.R.A.’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky., to make “‘first contact.’” The email, which was among a trove of campaign-related documents turned over to investigators on Capitol Hill, was described in detail to The New York Times….

(History will look back on the National Rifle Association both for its support of Trump and Putin, leaving national a dual loyalty.)

Michael S. Schmidt, Sharon LaFraniere, and Scott Shane report Emails Dispute White House Claims That Flynn Acted Independently on Russia:

WASHINGTON — When President Trump fired his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in February, White House officials portrayed him as a renegade who had acted independently in his discussions with a Russian official during the presidential transition and then lied to his colleagues about the interactions.

But emails among top transition officials, provided or described to The New York Times, suggest that Mr. Flynn was far from a rogue actor. In fact, the emails, coupled with interviews and court documents filed on Friday, showed that Mr. Flynn was in close touch with other senior members of the Trump transition team both before and after he spoke with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, about American sanctions against Russia.

While Mr. Trump has disparaged as a Democratic “hoax” any claims that he or his aides had unusual interactions with Russian officials, the records suggest that the Trump transition team was intensely focused on improving relations with Moscow and was willing to intervene to pursue that goal despite a request from the Obama administration that it not sow confusion about official American policy before Mr. Trump took office….

Adam Roston and Joel Anderson report He Spent Almost 20 Years Funding The Racist Right. It Finally Paid Off (“William Regnery II, a man who inherited millions but struggled in business, tried for 15 years to ignite a racist political movement — and failed. Then an unforeseen phenomenon named Donald Trump gave legitimacy to what Regnery had seeded long before: the alt-right. Now, the press-shy white separatist breaks his silence”):

How did explicit racism move from a taboo to an open, unabashed force in American politics? A loose but sprawling internet army, often called the alt-right, gave white supremacy a massive megaphone. And with the rise of Donald Trump’s candidacy, it suddenly seemed to be everywhere at once.

In fact, that movement had an infrastructure — organizations, journals, conferences, money — that had been laid down years before. It was in large part funded by one person: a secretive and aging multimillionaire named William H. Regnery II, the most influential racist you’ve never heard of.

Despite inheriting immense wealth, having grown up in a prominent family in the conservative movement, he had managed to chalk up virtually no public success in his first six decades of life. He never graduated from college, and he floundered in his attempt at running the family business.

But starting in 1999 — when he convened a dozen other middle-aged white nationalists at an ornate seaside hotel nicknamed the Pink Palace — he has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the quest to transform America and create what he calls a white “ethnostate.”

His traceable donations have gone chiefly to two organizations, both of which he established and led as founding president. The first was the secretive Charles Martel Society, named for a leading figure of the European Middle Ages who fought off Muslim invaders. That organization helped create the second: the innocuously named National Policy Institute, which became a nerve center of the alt-right. In 2011, Regnery hired Richard Spencer, the charismatic speaker widely credited with coining that term, to be the NPI’s president and director….

Steve Dorsey reports Uzbekistan incident raises suspicions of Russian involvement in Cuba attacks:

A newly revealed incident reported by a USAID officer who is based at the American embassy in Uzbekistan is raising suspicions Russia may have been involved and could have had a hand in bizarre attacks targeting U.S. diplomats in Cuba, according to American sources.

In September, the officer and his wife reported, according to one source familiar with the incident, what may have been at least one acoustic attack similar to those experienced by the diplomats in Havana.

[Investigation into mysterious Cuba attacks “back to square one”]

The first Cuba attacks began in November 2016, and the last report of an attack was in August 2017. Victims of the attacks in Cuba describe hearing a loud, high-pitched sound often described like a hiss of cicadas or crickets in unusual places—often in their homes.

The State Department declined to describe in detail the incident in Tashkent….

NASA describes A Supermoon Trilogy:

A series of three supermoons will appear on the celestial stage on December 3, 2017, January 1, 2018, and January 31, 2018.