Daily Bread for 11.10.17

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of thirty-three. Sunrise is 6:41 AM and sunset 4:35 PM, for 9h 53m 56s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 52.4% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the three hundred sixty-sixth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1871, Stanley finds Livingstone. On this day in 1834, the Wisconsin Territory sees its first sale of public land.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Anna Nemtsova reports How Putin’s Using Hungary to Destroy Europe:

BUDAPEST—Russian President Vladimir Putin has some key allies in the European Union. In some countries, they are outliers, even fringe elements. In some, like France and the Netherlands, they made impressive bids for power before, finally, they failed. But in Hungary, a nation of about 10 million people east of Austria, west of Ukraine, and north of the Balkans, Putin’s soulmate is the prime minister, Viktor Orban.

As with so many Putin allies and apologists (including in the United States) Orban made the fight against immigration a centerpiece of his agenda. And he then went one better by identifying another Hungarian as the personification of evil “liberalism”….

Moscow officials applauded Orban, welcoming the fences Hungary installed on its frontiers to stop refugees, and especially praising Budapest’s criticism of European democracy.

The Kremlin has spent a lot of energy trying to discredit EU policies in the Baltics, in the Balkans, and in Western Europe, but there was no need to convince the Hungarian leader, as Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orban were thinking along the same lines, and Orban has garnered a lot of local backing for his ideas….

Ryan Goodman observes Ability to Charge Flynn Strengthens Case of Obstruction of Justice against Trump:

Special Counsel Bob Mueller has now gathered sufficient evidence to indict Michael Flynn and Flynn’s son, according to NBC News. An indictment of Flynn—and even simply having sufficient evidence to indict him—greatly strengthens the case of obstruction of justice against the President.

Why? Former federal prosecutor and Just Security’s Alex Whiting explained this summer in a piece, “As Collusion Evidence Emerges, Obstruction Allegations Begin to Look More Damaging.” Here’s Professor Whiting’s point:

Despite the old adage that “the cover-up is always worse than the crime,” obstruction charges will be harder to prove if in fact there were no improprieties to hide.

Read Whiting’s article for his full analysis including how prosecutors generally think about tactical choices in such cases. In his piece, Alex focuses more on the “collusion” charges as the potential underlying cover up. But who could have anticipated the avalanche of legal problems that Flynn would face, as outlined in the NBC news story—plus recent reporting by the Wall Street Journal’s Shane Harris on Flynn’s potential role in seeking Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russians and Harris’s subsequent report that Mueller directly turned his investigation’s attention to Flynn’s potential role in those efforts.

What’s more, as the NBC story explains, an indictment of Flynn would implicate the President more directly….

Andy Kroll writes Ready for Trump TV? Inside Sinclair Broadcasting’s Plot to Take Over Your Local News (“Its mix of terrorism alerts, right-wing commentary, and “classic propaganda” could soon reach three-quarters of US households”):

….After Carson dropped out of the race in March 2016, Sinclair threw its weight behind Trump. A Politico story detailed how Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, speaking in a postelection off-the-record session, described an arrangement where Sinclair had aired interviews with candidate Trump without commentary in exchange for greater access to the campaign. “It’s math,” Kushner reportedly said, boasting about the benefits of reaching Sinclair’s massive audience. While Sinclair says Kushner was describing a standard offer made to both campaigns to conduct extended interviews with local anchors, a Washington Post analysis found that Sinclair stations ran 15 “exclusive” interviews with Trump, 10 with running mate Mike Pence, and 10 more with campaign surrogates. By contrast, the company’s stations aired zero interviews with Hillary Clinton, five with Sen. Tim Kaine, Clinton’s pick for vice president, two with Chelsea Clinton, and none with any other top surrogates. According to the Post, Sinclair higher-ups suggested questions with a strongly anti-Clinton bent to local reporters.

Just before the campaign, Sinclair took steps to expand its style of news online. In August 2015, the company bought the name and technology from the remains of a failed San Francisco startup, Circa News. The new venture’s announcement promised an “independent digital news site” for readers who “value raw content, differing perspectives, and personalization.” Circa would produce stories for the web and video segments for Sinclair’s stations.

Sinclair’s pick to run Circa was a former Washington Times editor named John Solomon, who has a conservative slant and a history of writing stories damaging to Democratic politicians. Ten current and former Circa staffers told me that Solomon pitched the new venture as a down-the-middle, nonpartisan news organization: “BuzzFeed with a brain,” is how one remembers Solomon putting it. But as the presidential campaign ramped up, staffers, who asked to remain anonymous because they signed nondisclosure agreements or fear retribution, say Circa adopted a notable rightward tilt and an increasingly hostile stance toward Clinton. Solomon hired a former Republican National Committee spokesman named Raffi Williams to be a political reporter, though he previously had little formal journalism experience. Williams, the son of former NPR reporter turned Fox News pundit Juan Williams, is now a spokesman at Secretary Ben Carson’s Department of Housing and Urban Development….

Bryan Behar writes This is Still America, Dammit:

Let me start with the one piece of good news that’s come out of the first year of the Trump Era. Yes, there is some good news. In fact, there would be two pieces had I had the forethought to invest my life savings in Zantac and brownie mix stock about 9 months ago. Oh well. We still have 3 more years. Or 3 more days. Depending on how moved Robert Mueller is by the evidence. Or this article. But preferably the evidence.

For me, the one piece of news that can almost be characterized as positive is that for the first time in my nearly 52 years, I’ve been forced to think about what it means to be quintessentially American. And what it means for our government to behave in ways that are consistent with our longest-held and most deeply-cherished beliefs and norms. Throughout my life (and I suspect most people’s), the ability to go about our days blindly and complacently, eating pork rinds and drinking Dr. Pepper, without ever needing to think too deeply about the American experiment was a luxury that came from a basic, bipartisan stewardship that was always brought to the Oval Office.

Sure, there have been shifts in policy and philosophy between subsequent administrations. But never have before have I been forced to ask, “is this how we do things in America?” I’ve never had to confront and ponder what makes us distinctly American until I felt that those most fundamental underlying principles were being challenged and threatened from within our own government. Every day. Many times a day. Even sometimes at night. And always on Twitter….

Bosun the French Bulldog sometimes surprises himself:

When you see yourself in the mirror first thing in the morning #?

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