Thursday in Whitewater will be increasingly sunny with a high of eighty-one. Sunrise is 6:34 AM and sunset 7:05 PM, for 12h 30m 28s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 34.8% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the three hundred ninth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.
On this day in 1861, the USS Colorado sinks the Confederate private schooner Judah off Pensacola, Florida. On this day in 1888, the Great Washburn Fire (Washburn, WI) breaks out “in back of Peter Nelson’s Hardware Store in Washburn, Wisconsin. The fire spread quickly, consuming an entire block of homes and businesses, including Meehan’s Clothing Store, two local newspapers, and Beausoliel’s Meat Market.”
Recommended for reading in full —
Atty. Bradley Moss describes The Hapless Smear Campaign Against Jim Comey (“The White House is making legal arguments about the former FBI director that barely pass the laugh test”):
….These talking points were presumably provided to [WH Press Sec.] Sanders by the White House Counsel’s Office, but as a litigator with considerable experience representing government officials and contractors (including whistleblowers) of all ideological persuasions, trust me: They are nonsense.
For one thing, the Privacy Act has no clear or recognizable application here. The Privacy Act is a statutory mechanism by which individuals can secure access to records maintained in what’s known as a U.S. government System of Records that contains their personally identifiable information. It also enables individuals to sue the U.S. government in civil court if a federal agency relies on inaccurate records to render a determination concerning that individual, or if the agency disseminates an individual’s records to unauthorized third parties.
Even if President Trump were inclined to sue Comey for “leaking” one of the memoranda, it’s not clear what legal basis he would have for doing so under the Privacy Act. There is no indication the memoranda were ever maintained in an FBI System of Records, or that they contain any personally identifiable information about the president that would implicate the Privacy Act. The statute does also contain a criminal provision, but even if it somehow applied to the memorandum “leaked” by Comey (and there is no clear reason why it would), the provision itself is essentially toothless. In the 43-year history of the Privacy Act, there appear to have been only two reported cases in which the Department of Justice has ever sought to prosecute someone for violating it. The most recent case was prosecuted in 1997 and resulted in a not guilty verdict.
Although Sanders did not specifically mention it, some legal commentators have claimed that Comey could be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 641 regarding “theft” of government property. However, the Department of Justice’s own Criminal Resource Manual explicitly states that the provision shall not be used to prosecute theft of government information. The reason, according to the manual, is to protect whistleblowers from unfair prosecution….
(These talking points are useful only to dupe non-lawyers into thinking there’s a sound legal case against Comey; there isn’t.)
Barbie Latza Nadeau writes that Pope Francis Makes Everything That Donald Trump and Steve Bannon Say Sound Stupid (“The pontiff has positioned himself as the voice of reason—and of science—to confront Trump’s erratic and destructive instincts”):
….Lately, Pope Francis has been bluntly anti-Trump, essentially shooting down almost everything the American president says with, well, logic.
A perfect example occurred on the storm-tossed papal plane heading back to Rome from Colombia through the incredibly wide path of Hurricane Irma on Sunday night. Francis was asked by the traveling press about climate change. To hear those on the plane talk about it, the turbulence, timing, and flight path over the destruction felt like something just short of divine intervention.
Francis shared his disdain for climate change deniers, a group Trump associates himself with, once tweeting, “Give me clean, beautiful and healthy air – not the same old climate change (global warming) bullshit! I am tired of hearing this nonsense.”
Francis didn’t mince his words either. “Man is stupid,” he said, quoting the Old Testament, according to those on the plane. “When you don’t want to see, you don’t see”….
Matthew Rosenberg and Ron Nixon report that Kaspersky Lab Antivirus Software Is Ordered Off U.S. Government Computers:
WASHINGTON — The federal government moved on Wednesday to wipe from its computer systems any software made by a prominent Russian cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, that is being investigated by the F.B.I. for possible links to Russian security services.
The concerns surrounding Kaspersky, whose software is sold throughout the United States, are longstanding. The F.B.I., aided by American spies, has for years been trying to determine whether Kaspersky’s senior executives are working with Russian military and intelligence, according to current and former American officials. The F.B.I. has also been investigating whether Kaspersky software, including its well-regarded antivirus programs, contain back doors that could allow Russian intelligence access into computers on which it is running. The company denies the allegations.
The officials, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiries are classified, would not provide details of the information they have collected on Kaspersky. But on Wednesday, Elaine C. Duke, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, ordered federal agencies to develop plans to remove Kaspersky software from government systems in the next 90 days.
Wednesday’s announcement is the latest instance of the apparent disconnect between the Trump White House, which has often downplayed the threat of Russian interference to the country’s infrastructure, and front-line American law enforcement and intelligence officials, who are engaged in a perpetual shadow war against Moscow-directed operatives….
(This is good news for American security. See also from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen The Russian Company That Is a Danger to Our Security.)
Justin Fishel, Brian Ross, and Jordyn Phelps report that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin requested government jet for European honeymoon:
Secretary Steven Mnuchin requested use of a government jet to take him and his wife on their honeymoon in Scotland, France and Italy earlier this summer, sparking an “inquiry” by The Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General, sources tell ABC News.
Officials familiar with the matter say the highly unusual ask for a U.S. Air Force jet, which according to an Air Force spokesman could cost roughly $25,000 per hour to operate, was put in writing by the secretary’s office but eventually deemed unnecessary after further consideration of by Treasury Department officials….
(Like Trump, Mnuchin will take as much as he can get.)
The Cassini probe will end its mission tomorrow in spectacular fashion: