Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of fifty. Sunrise is 7:05 AM and sunset 6:16 PM, for 11h 11m 29s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 98.3% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1861, the 8th Wisconsin Infantry leaves Madison: “It would later move east through Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama, and west into Arkansas and Missouri and fight at the battles of Corinth, Vicksburg, Jackson, and Nashville.”
Recommended for reading in full:
Julia Davis writes Trump’s Syria Fiasco Is Part of Putin’s To-Do List (‘Trump tried to keep his talks with Putin at Helsinki last year secret from his staff and the world, but Russia’s president held up the checklist for the cameras. Syria was on it’):
In Finland last year, the leader of the most powerful country in the world demonstrated cringeworthy servility toward Vladimir Putin—president of a rogue government sanctioned by the West for a great number of malign activities, including Russia’s brazen interference in the U.S. elections.
The world’s pariah looked triumphant next to the deflated American president. As Trump stood hunched over, with a blank expression, Putin was practically glowing—and he wanted the world to know just how great the meeting went for Russia. Putin held up a thick stack of his notes with both hands, showing them off for the world to see, in effect giving himself the thumbs-up.
Discernible portions of the first page, purposely written in abnormally large script, included references to the election interference, Putin’s request that Russia be allowed to interrogate the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, and also the British businessman Bill Browder, pursuant to the 1999 Treaty with Russia on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. There was a reference to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. And at the bottom of the first page, Putin’s notes also mentioned Syria, where Russia has been wreaking havoc and committing mass atrocities in concert with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and Iran.
For public consumption, the Russian president’s handwriting mentioned “joint humanitarian operations with the goal of creating conditions for the return of refugees.” The reality on the ground tends to create—not dissipate—the flood of refugees, essentially weaponized by Russia and Syria to destabilize Europe.
The Washington Post editorial board writes A new report describes Russia’s deception. The interference sounds just like Trump’s playbook:
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S lawlessness and nonstop lying about the matter of Ukraine have consumed Washington so completely that a new bipartisan report on Russian election interference has received less attention than it deserves. The kicker? The investigation directly contradicts the commander in chief’s fountain of falsehoods.
The Senate Intelligence Committee released the latest installment this week of its comprehensive review of the Kremlin’s systematic attempts to sway the 2016 vote. The top-line finding is this: The Internet Research Agency, whose efforts the committee assesses were directed and supported by the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, sought to harm Hillary Clinton and elevate Mr. Trump.
The Russians extended their reach beyond the online realm with rallies and spontaneous gatherings known as flash mobs, at one point attempting to draw a crowd in New York City by offering free hot dogs and at another paying participants to portray Ms. Clinton imprisoned in a cage. A protest against Islam in Houston by a made-up group called “Heart of Texas” and a manufactured pro-Muslim event held at the same time resulted in a confrontation that local news agencies covered live. The operation cost operatives in St. Petersburg only $200.
“The preponderance of the operational focus,” write the Senate authors, “was on socially divisive issues .?.?. in an attempt to pit Americans against one another and their government.” The Kremlin’s hope throughout its history of disinformation operations has been to turn the public “passive and paranoid,” convince people they cannot rely on traditional channels for the truth, and lure governments into responding in a manner “irreconcilable with the nation’s principles and civil liberties.”