Daily Bread for 11.7.17

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of forty-four. Sunrise is 6:38 AM and sunset 4:39 PM, for 10h 00m 58s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 89.3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the three hundred sixty-third day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Common Council meets tonight at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1917 (October 25th under the Julian calendar), Lenin’s Bolsheviks overthrow Kerensky’s moderate, provisional government (that provisional government having overthrown the Tsar in February). A century of oppression in Russia and the countries she would come to occupy would follow.

Recommended for reading in full —

Eileen Sullivan Adam Goldman report Trump Adviser Carter Page Describes Meeting With Russian Official During 2016 Campaign:

WASHINGTON — A former Trump campaign adviser told Congress he had a private conversation with a Russian deputy prime minister during the 2016 presidential campaign and that at least two members of the president’s team were aware, providing more details to what is publicly known about Moscow’s access to President Trump’s circle, according to a congressional transcript released late Monday.

“I’ll send you guys a readout soon regarding some incredible insights and outreach I’ve received from a few Russian legislators and senior members of the Presidential administration here,” the former adviser, Carter Page, wrote in a July 8, 2016, email to campaign staff members after he spoke with Arkady Dvorkovich, the deputy prime minister.

The New York Times first reported the fact that Mr. Page notified campaign officials about his meetings in Moscow, but the transcript, which is over 200 pages long, discloses the names of those advisers — Tera Dahl and J.D. Gordon — and the identity of the Russian official, Mr. Dvorkovich. Mr. Page’s testimony also revealed that more campaign staff members were aware of his July 2016 trip to Russia than had previously been disclosed, including Jeff Sessions, who is now the attorney general.

Mr. Page’s eight-hour testimony, under oath, to the members of the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, came the same week as the first charges were announced in the special counsel’s investigation into ties between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russian officials….

(Curious about Page’s lengthy testimony? Here’s a link (pdf), from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.)

David Kirkpatrck reports Parliament Asks Twitter About Russian Meddling in Brexit Vote:

LONDON — A British lawmaker said on Friday that some of the same Russian-linked Twitter accounts that sought to influence the American presidential election were also deployed in Britain, in the strongest indication yet that Russia used the same tactics on both sides of the Atlantic.

Twitter disclosed to the United States Congress this week that it had identified 2,752 accounts affiliated with Russia’s Internet Research Agency, a notorious troll factory. In a letter to the company, the lawmaker, Damian Collins, wrote that “it has subsequently emerged that some of those accounts were also posting content that relates to the politics of the United Kingdom.”

Mr. Collins, a Conservative who is leading a parliamentary inquiry into “fake news,” had been presented with screen shots showing the same Russian-linked accounts posting about Britain, his office said Friday.

Any evidence that Russia sought to use social media to manipulate British politics, as the Kremlin appears to have done in the United States and France, could raise questions about the legitimacy of the referendum last year that called for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, or Brexit….

(Fake news, properly understood, is Russian propanda masquerading as factual accounts. Fake news as Trump has describes it is simply an appropriation of the term to describe meticulously-sorced stories that are critical of his administration. Trump commonly takes terms and distorts their original meanings to serve his purposes.)

Ronan Farrow reports on Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies (“The film executive hired private investigators, including ex-Mossad agents, to track actresses and journalists”):

In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women. He began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations. According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is one of the world’s largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies. Black Cube, which has branches in Tel Aviv, London, and Paris, offers its clients the skills of operatives “highly experienced and trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units,” according to its literature.

Two private investigators from Black Cube, using false identities, met with the actress Rose McGowan, who eventually publicly accused Weinstein of rape, to extract information from her. One of the investigators pretended to be a women’s-rights advocate and secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan. The same operative, using a different false identity and implying that she had an allegation against Weinstein, met twice with a journalist to find out which women were talking to the press. In other cases, journalists directed by Weinstein or the private investigators interviewed women and reported back the details.

The explicit goal of the investigations, laid out in one contract with Black Cube, signed in July, was to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against Weinstein that eventually emerged in the New York Times and The New Yorker. Over the course of a year, Weinstein had the agencies “target,” or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories. Weinstein monitored the progress of the investigations personally. He also enlisted former employees from his film enterprises to join in the effort, collecting names and placing calls that, according to some sources who received them, felt intimidating….

Farther down in Farrow’s story, one finds reporting about Atty. David Boies:

David Boies, who was involved in the relationships with Black Cube and psops, was initially reluctant to speak with The New Yorker, out of concern that he might be “misinterpreted either as trying to deny or minimize mistakes that were made, or as agreeing with criticisms that I don’t agree are valid.”

But Boies did feel the need to respond to what he considered “fair and important” questions about his hiring of investigators. He said that he did not consider the contractual provisions directing Black Cube to stop the publication of the Times story to be a conflict of interest, because his firm was also representing the newspaper in a libel suit. From the beginning, he said, he advised Weinstein “that the story could not be stopped by threats or influence and that the only way the story could be stopped was by convincing the Times that there was no rape.” Boies told me he never pressured any news outlet. “If evidence could be uncovered to convince the Times the charges should not be published, I did not believe, and do not believe, that that would be averse to the Times’ interest.”

He conceded, however, that any efforts to profile and undermine reporters, at the Times and elsewhere, were problematic. “In general, I don’t think it’s appropriate to try to pressure reporters,” he said. “If that did happen here, it would not have been appropriate.”

(Boies doesn’t think it’s a conflict of interest to represent a publisher-client while hiring investigators who are working to undermine the publisher-client’s stories? Oh brother, oh brother, oh brother. See Report Details Weinstein’s Covert Attempt to Halt Publication of Accusations. Here’s an NYT statement on the matter: “We learned today that the law firm of Boies Schiller and Flexner secretly worked to stop our reporting on Harvey Weinstein at the same time as the firm’s lawyers were representing us in other matters,” the statement read. “We consider this intolerable conduct, a grave betrayal of trust, and a breach of the basic professional standards that all lawyers are required to observe. It is inexcusable and we will be pursuing appropriate remedies.”)

Lauren Duca writes Fox News Is Undermining American Democracy:

Few displays of Fox News propaganda have been as egregious as the cheeseburger incident on Monday, October 30.

It was a huge news day, with game-changing developments in the ongoing investigation by special prosecutor Robert Mueller into the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia. That morning, major news outlets like CNN and MSNBC reported that Mueller had indicted the president’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his deputy Rick Gates. The special counsel’s office also released documents revealing that earlier in the month it received a guilty plea from former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who admitted to lying to the FBI about “his interactions with a certain foreign contact who discussed ‘dirt’ related to emails” concerning Hillary Clinton, according to CNN.

As developments unfolded on its competitors’s screens, Fox and Friends briefly mentioned the news, but failed to provide any accompanying reporting or commentary, and quickly moved on to a minutes-long dialogue about the differing placement of cheese on burger emojis released by Google and Apple.

A history-shifting moment was breaking in real time, and there was Fox, committed to a deep dive into the nuance of the virtual-beef-patty stacking hierarchy. It came just after a spot on millennials getting too enthusiastic about Halloween and before a piece announcing the breaking discovery that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the most desired holiday candy.

“We’ve been talking about this all morning,” says host Jillian Mele, introducing the emoji segment. “Can you see what’s wrong with this picture? The cheese is underneath the hamburger! Who does that?”

(Talking about cheeseburgers on 10.30.17 is Fox’s equivalent of holding one’s hands over one’s  and singing blah-blah-blah-blah.)

So, Is There Any Cheese in Cheez Whiz? (And the Story of Kraft):