Daily Bread for 11.30.17

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater is sunny with a high of forty-nine. Sunrise is 7:05 AM and sunset 4:22 PM, for 9h 16m 09s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 87.1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the three hundred eighty-sixth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1835, Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) is born. On this day in 1864, the 24th Wisconsin Infantry takes part in the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee: “Major Arthur McArthur was wounded at Franklin as the 24th Infantry fought several hours in fierce combat that left seven of its soldiers dead or wounded.”

Recommended for reading in full — 

David Graham writes It’s Not an Act (“It’s no longer possible to pretend that President Trump is simply playing at bigotry, hypocrisy, and detachment from reality”):

Over the past 24 hours, President Trump has delivered a concentrated dose of misinformation, self-sabotage, hypocrisy, and bigotry that stands out even by the standards of his short and eventful political career….

Taken together, however, they offer yet another display of poor judgment and divisive leadership from the putative leader of the free world, and they again cast doubt on his fitness for his office. They are also further evidence that Trump’s hypocrisy, bigotry, and dishonesty are not an act. He means it all.

….the president has repeatedly demonstrated that he’s not just posturing, and it’s not simply a cynical ploy. Trump isn’t being hypocritical simply for sport or political gain. His bigotry isn’t just an act to win over a certain segment of the population. Of course it wasn’t: Trump has been demonstrating that since he arrived in the news, settling a case alleging that he had kept African Americans out of his apartment buildings, up through his demand to execute the Central Park Five. He isn’t spreading misinformation just to twist the political discourse—though he may be doing that—but because he can’t or won’t assess it. It is not an act.

All of this has been clear to anyone willing to see it for a long time, yet some people have convinced themselves it’s merely an act. That includes the Republican members of Congress who shake their heads but try to ignore the tweets. It includes the senator who chuckles at Trump’s enduring birtherism. And it includes the White House staffers who, according to The Times, are “stunned” to hear their boss denying the Access Hollywood tape. It’s stunning that they’re still stunned.

(Trump is, and always has been, what we who oppose him correctly understood him to be. We will oppose him unrelentingly until he meets his political ruin.)

Greg Jaffe, Carol D. Leonnig, Michael Kranish and Tom Hamburger report Inside the White House, Michael Flynn pushed proposal from company he said he had advised:

The week after President Trump’s inauguration, national security adviser Michael Flynn forwarded a memo written by a former business associate and told his staff to fashion it into a policy for President Trump’s approval, according to two people familiar with the exchange.

The proposal — to develop a “Marshall Plan” of investment in the Middle East — was being pushed by a company that Flynn said he had advised during the 2016 campaign and transition. The firm was seeking to build nuclear power plants in the region.

His advocacy for the project in the White House surprised some administration officials and raised concerns that Flynn had a conflict of interest. From August to December 2016, he said he served as an adviser to the company, IP3, reporting later on his disclosure forms that he ended his association with the firm just weeks before joining the administration….

(Of course it’s a conflict of interest. For it all, Flynn’s one brazen grifter in an administration of grifters, schemers, and self-promoters.)

Beth Reinhard, Aaron C. Davis and Andrew Ba Tran report Woman’s effort to infiltrate The Washington Post dated back months:

The failed effort by conservative activists to plant a false story about Senate candidate Roy Moore in The Washington Post was part of a months-long campaign to infiltrate The Post and other media outlets in Washington and New York, according to interviews, text messages and social media posts that have since been deleted.

Starting in July, Jaime Phillips, an operative with the organization Project Veritas, which purports to expose media bias, joined two dozen networking groups related to either journalism or left-leaning politics. She signed up to attend 15 related events, often accompanied by a male companion, and appeared at least twice at gatherings for departing Post staffers.

Phillips, 41, presented herself to journalists variously as the owner of a start-up looking to recruit writers, a graduate student studying national security or a contractor new to the area. This summer, she tweeted posts in support of gun control and critical of Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigrants — a departure from the spring when, on accounts that have since been deleted, she used the #MAGA hashtag and mocked the Women’s March on Washington that followed Trump’s inauguration as the “Midol March”….

(Money donated to James O’Keefe and Project Veritas is wasted money; if dim-witted donors want to waste their money on a reactionary mediocrity, one would hope they spend even more.)

Natasha Bertrand reports A key witness in the Russia probe had a ‘lengthy conversation’ with Trump at Mar-a-Lago:

Former CIA Director James Woolsey dined with President Donald Trump last weekend at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida — where, a report said, they had a “lengthy conversation” at the main dining table surrounded by several of Trump’s friends, associates, and political allies.

A tipster told Politico’s Playbook about the conversation, which raised eyebrows given Woolsey’s centrality to the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser.

Woolsey, who served on the board of Flynn’s lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group, was at a meeting on September 19, 2016, with Flynn and Turkish government ministers in which they discussed removing the controversial Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen from US soil, Woolsey has said.

Woolsey apparently notified Vice President Joe Biden through a mutual friend about the meeting, which he thought could have been an illegal discussion, Woolsey’s spokesman, Jonathan Franks, said earlier this year.

Franks confirmed late last month that Mueller’s team had interviewed Woolsey about the meeting. He said Woolsey and his wife had been in touch with the FBI since before Mueller began overseeing the bureau’s Russia investigation in May….


Hallie Detrick writes 2017’s Only Supermoon Is Happening This Weekend. Here’s How to See It:

The only supermoon of 2017 is coming to a night sky near you.

Sunday Dec. 3 is the only time this year that we’ll have a supermoon that is visible to the naked eye. The moon will actually be at its closest point to Earth at 4 a.m. ET on the morning of Dec. 4, but the best time to view it will be just after sunset on Sunday evening, when the ‘moon illusion’ will make it easier to see the difference.

Dec. 3 kicks off a three-cycle streak of the celestial phenomenon. The full moons on Jan. 2 and 31, 2018, will also be supermoons. The phenomenon is technically called perigee syzygy and occurs when the moon is at the closest point in its Earth orbit at the same time as the Earth, moon, and sun are aligned, creating a full moon.