Daily Bread for 6.7.18

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny, with a high of eighty-one.  Sunrise is 5:16 AM and sunset 8:31 PM, for 15h 14m 49s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 41.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the five hundred seventy-third day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Landmarks Commission is scheduled to meet at 6 PM.

On this day in 1776, Richard Henry Lee (of Virgina) introduces a resolution to the Continental Congress:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.

That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.

Recommended for reading in full —

  David J. Lynch report This Ohio factory thought it could bring U.S. jobs back from China. Then Trump got involved:

 Bill Adler was invited last year to bid on a contract to make commercial sausage stuffers for a company that wanted to replace its Chinese supplier. The customer had just one non­negotiable demand: Match China’s price.

Adler, owner of metal-parts maker Stripmatic Products, thought he could. But even as he readied his proposal, talk of President Trump’s steel tariffs sent the price of Stripmatic’s main raw material soaring.

In April, with prices up nearly 50 percent from October and the first wave of tariffs in place, Adler’s bid failed. His costs were too high.

Today, instead of taking business from China, Adler worries about hanging onto the work he has. He hopes that the president’s tariffs are just a negotiating tactic.

“It’s got to be short-term, or I’ve got to find another way to make a living,” Adler said, only half joking. “It’s going to be an ugly scenario if it doesn’t end quickly.”

(Trump’s trade policy flies in the face of centuries – literally – of economic understanding across the political spectrum.  It’s as though a man living in the fourteenth century, and knowing nothing of economy theory then or after, began to meddle with the trade structure of the most successful commercial republic in human history.)

Matt Apuzzo reports Trump Team Pushed False Story Line About Meeting With Kremlin-Tied Lawyer, Memo Shows:

For nearly a year, the denials from President Trump’s lawyers and spokeswoman were unequivocal. No, the president did not dictate a misleading statement released in his son’s name.

“He certainly didn’t dictate,” said the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“The president was not involved in the drafting of that statement,” his lawyer Jay Sekulow told NBC News.

“That was written by Donald Trump Jr., and I’m sure in consultation with his lawyer,” Mr. Sekulow told CNN.

“The president didn’t sign off on anything,” he told ABC.

But in a confidential, hand-delivered memo to the special counsel, Mr. Trump’s lawyers acknowledged that, yes, Mr. Trump had dictated the statement, which attempted to deflect questions about a meeting with a Kremlin-tied lawyer at Trump Tower. Prosecutors are asking whether the statement was part of an effort by the president to obstruct a federal investigation.

(A year of lies.)

  Denise Clifton reports A Murder Plot, a Twitter Mob, and the Strange Unmasking of a Pro-Kremlin Troll:

For several days in March, British Prime Minister Theresa May was the focus of an all-out assault on Twitter after she blamed the Kremlin for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter on British soil. One account in the melee stood out, racking up hundreds of retweets and claiming May was lying about the nerve-agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal:

“The #Skripal Case: It Looks Like Theresa May Has Some Explaining to Do!” declared one of many broadsides from @ian56789, who called the attempted murder a “#falseflag” operation.

To expert disinformation researchers, the troll appeared to be working on behalf of Vladimir Putin’s regime, part of a longer-term pro-Kremlin campaign. The British government reported that the “Ian” account—whose avatar featured the chiseled face of British male model David Gandy—sent 100 posts a day during a 12-day period in April, reaching 23 million users. Atlantic Council analyst Ben Nimmo examined tens of thousands of tweets around #Skripal and concluded Ian was likely part of a Kremlin troll operation, based on multiple characteristics seen across Ian’s posts going back six years. The account vigorously backed Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, and pushed Moscow spin regarding chemical weapon attacks in Syria and the shooting down of Malaysian flight MH-17 over Ukraine. The most important clue, according to Nimmo, was Ian’s extensive posting about the assassination of Boris Nemtsov in the 24 hours after the Russian opposition leader was murdered in Moscow on February 27, 2015. Ian let loose those tweets—including the suggestion that the CIA was involved—as a social media campaign about Nemtsov was launched by the Internet Research Agency, the infamous Kremlin troll farm in St. Petersburg that targeted the 2016 US elections.

But it turned out the Ian account was not necessarily what it seemed. In April, British media reports, citing UK government sources, misidentified Ian as a Russian “bot,” and the account was temporarily suspended by Twitter. Then, a retired British IT project manager named Ian Shilling came forward as its owner, defiantly stating he had no connection to the Russian government.

(Trolls and bots are different, but as bots become more sophisticated it’s hard to distinguish them from people who are trolling.)

The Committee to Investigate Russia writes Putin Says He and POTUS Speak Regularly:

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Austrian television channel ORF Monday night that he and President Trump “regularly talk over the phone.”

CNN:

Putin said that in a recent phone call, “Donald said he was worried about the possibility of a new arms race.”

“I fully agree with him — however, to prevent a possible arms [race], we should think about it, we should do something about it, give corresponding instructions to our Foreign Ministry and the US State Department,” Putin added.

When asked by journalist Armin Wolf why there had been no US-Russia bilateral summit since Trump became president, Putin said he had met Trump more than once at international events but signaled that there were no immediate plans for a formal meeting.

“I think that the possibility of these meetings depends to a large extent on the internal political situation in the United States,” Putin said. “The congressional election campaign is getting under way and then there will be the next presidential election, and the President of the United States is coming under attack over various matters. I think this is the main reason.”

(…)

Trump and Putin have spoken by phone eight times, according to readouts distributed by the White House. They have met in person twice — once at a formal bilateral meeting in Germany and once on the sidelines of a leaders’ summit in Vietnam.

(There are Russian dissidents, and many ordinary Russians, who are great friends of America. Putin, however, has made himself an enemy of the United States and of a civilized internal order.  Americans sympathetic to Putin are fellow travelers, and those few actively working on behalf of his interests are fifth columnists. Either way, such people are rightly held as detestable.)

 Merrit Kennedy reports Great White Sharks Have A Secret ‘Cafe,’ And They Led Scientists Right To It:

Great white sharks have a “hidden life” that is becoming a lot less hidden thanks to a scientific expedition that has been years in the making.

Scientists used to think the apex predators moved up and down the western coast of North America, snacking in waters with lots of food close to shore. Almost 20 years ago, Stanford marine biologist Barbara Block started putting tags on the sharks that could track their movements.

A layer of nutrient-rich plant life exists deeper under the ocean than satellites could detect. Tiny creatures feed on it, and larger creatures feed on them. And up and up. It represents “a complete food chain, a ladder of consumption, that made us believe that there was an adequate food supply out here for big animals like tunas and the sharks,” Robison said.

The fact that scientists didn’t even know this area existed until sharks led them there speaks to how much we still don’t know about the ocean. In fact, according to NOAA’s National Ocean Service, humans have explored just 5 percent of it.

(Word has it that the sharks always get the café’s best seating.)