Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of thirty-three. Sunrise is 7:20 AM and sunset 4:50 PM, for 9h 30m 24s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 2.1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the four hundred thirty-fourth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.
Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 7 AM.
On this day in 1911, aviator Eugene Burton Ely is the first to successfully land an airplane on a ship:
Ely flew from the Tanforan Racetrack in San Bruno, California and landed on the Pennsylvania, which was the first successful shipboard landing of an aircraft.This flight was also the first ever using a tailhook system, designed and built by circus performer and aviator Hugh Robinson. Ely told a reporter: “It was easy enough. I think the trick could be successfully turned nine times out of ten.”
Recommended for reading in full —
➤ Mark Sommerhauser reports Memo: Foxconn cost to public nearing $4.5 billion:
A newly released memo projects the public cost for a planned Foxconn manufacturing project near Racine could near $4.5 billion — nearly 50 percent more than the $3 billion cost initially cited by the project’s chief proponent at the state Capitol, Gov. Scott Walker.
The figures were compiled by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau in a memo requested — and released Tuesday — by Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh. The individual cost figures are not new but had not previously been compiled in a single document.
They reflect costs to state government, mostly through tax credits for Foxconn over a 15-year period. They also include costs to local governments near the proposed site of the Foxconn campus, in eastern Racine County.
The breakdown of public costs from the project, according to the memo, is as follows:
State tax credits, $2.85 billion
Local government incentives, $764 million
U.S. Interstate 94 North-South project, $408 million
Utility costs, $140 million
State sales tax exemption, $139 million
Road improvements, $134 million
Worker training, $20 million
Local government grants, $15 million
➤ Denise Clifton reports Putin’s Trolls Are Targeting Trump’s GOP Critics—Especially John McCain (“Kremlin-linked accounts keep going after the ailing Arizona senator, as well as Mitt Romney, Bob Corker, and others”):
When John McCain checked into Walter Reed Medical Center in December as he continued his battle against cancer, Russian trolls seized the moment to spread a conspiracy theory that the veteran Republican senator was using his health as a pretense to dodge a rising “scandal” concerning the so-called Trump-Russia dossier. Far-right stories attacking McCain – a frequent critic of President Trump – were among the top 10 shared by Kremlin-backed Twitter accounts in the days after McCain was hospitalized, as well as later in the month after he returned to Arizona, according to recent analysis by the cybersecurity project Hamilton 68.
While the vast majority of the attacks from the 600 Twitter accounts tracked in real time by the Hamilton 68 dashboard are aimed at Democrats, the trolls also turn their sights on Republicans who sometimes stand up to Trump. Repeat targets have included Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. National security adviser H.R. McMaster has also been a target. But no Republican has faced more persistent wrath from the Russian-linked accounts than McCain, says Bret Schafer, an analyst for the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a group of national-security experts behind the dashboard working to expose Kremlin meddling in US politics. And those attacks on McCain have intensified in recent weeks.
Schafer says that the trolls tend to spread disinformation from far-right American sites rather than content from explicitly Russian ones. “GatewayPundit.com and TruePundit.com—sites to the right of Breitbart—those are our frequent flyers,” he says. “The Russians are latching onto hyperpartisan content.”
(Trump gives Putin no reason to stop, so Putin won’t.)
➤ Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier report Investigators Are Scrutinizing Newly Uncovered Payments By The Russian Embassy (“US authorities are poring over hundreds of newly uncovered payments from Russian diplomatic accounts. Among them are transactions by former ambassador Sergey Kislyak 10 days after the 2016 presidential election and a blocked $150,000 cash withdrawal five days after the inauguration.”):
The transactions reveal:
One of the people at the center of the investigation, the former Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, received $120,000 ten days after the election of Donald Trump. Bankers flagged it to the US government as suspicious in part because the transaction, marked payroll, didn’t fit prior pay patterns.
Five days after Trump’s inauguration, someone attempted to withdraw $150,000 cash from the embassy’s account — but the embassy’s bank blocked it. Bank employees reported the attempted transaction to the US government because it was abnormal activity for that account.
From March 8 to April 7, 2014, bankers flagged nearly 30 checks for a total of about $370,000 to embassy employees, who cashed the checks as soon as they received them, making it virtually impossible to trace where the money went. Bank officials noted that the employees had not received similar payments in the past, and that the transactions surrounded the date of a critical referendum on whether parts of Crimea should secede from Ukraine and join Russia — one of Vladimir Putin’s top foreign policy concerns and a flash point with the West.
Over five years, the Russian Cultural Centre — an arm of the government that sponsors classes and performances and is based in Washington, DC — sent $325,000 in checks that banking officials flagged as suspicious. The amounts were not consistent with normal payroll checks and some transactions fell below the $10,000 threshold that triggers a notice to the US government.
The Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, sent more than $2.4 million to small home-improvement companies controlled by a Russian immigrant living not far from there. Between 2013 and March 2017, that contractor’s various companies received about 600 such payments, earmarked for construction jobs at Russian diplomatic compounds. Bankers told the Treasury they did not think those transactions were related to the election but red-flagged them because the businesses seemed too small to have carried out major work on the embassy and because the money was cashed quickly or wired to other accounts.
➤ Lachlan Markay and Spencer Ackerman report Team Trump Cooks Terror Stats for Bogus Immigration Argument (“The administration insists the ‘foreign born’ are responsible for most of the terror threat the U.S. faces. That’s true—if you ignore hundreds of plots, attacks, and recent trends”):
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday released a report highlighting foreign-born individuals convicted of terrorism charges here in the United States (PDF). Backed by the Department of Homeland Security, DOJ entirely omitted data on domestic terrorism incidents. And what statistics the government did produce are completely contradicted by counter-terrorism experts. The administration is trying to argue that terrorism on American soil is largely carried out by the “foreign-born”; the experts insist that it’s the other way around—that U.S. citizens have been the majority of the offenders since 9/11.
“If you’re looking at international terrorism, you’re going to see people with a more international background—that’s just common sense,” said William Braniff, the executive director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland.
“Whenever you’re trying to answer an analytical question, the way you frame the question directly contributes to what data you include in this analysis, and in this case, they exclude a lot of data that would present a different picture.”
What’s more, the report’s release appears to have been timed—though the White House called the timing “purely coincidental”—to tie national security to ongoing administration efforts to end two U.S. visa programs as a condition of congressional immigration negotiations.
➤ What about That Time the British Developed a Flying Jeep?