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Embarrassing: Police Trace Source of Novichok to British Man, Not Russia

Embarrassing: Police Trace Source of Novichok to British Man, Not Russia | 18 July 2018 | In a huge embarrassment for the British government, police have identified a British man as the source of the novichok agent used to poison Russian spy Sergei Skirpal. According to Scotland Yard, a bottle of the deadly poison that was recovered from the home of Charlie Rowley – one of the latest victims of novichok poisoning. Sky News reports: Tests at Porton Down have confirmed that the substance in the bottle is novichok, Scotland Yard said. An investigation is now under way to establish whether it is from the same batch that poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in March.

UMN policy would punish incorrect use of gender pronouns

UMN policy would punish incorrect use of gender pronouns | 16 July 2018 | The University of Minnesota is considering a new policy that would mandate the use of "preferred pronouns" under threat of expulsion or firing. According to the policy--currently titled "Equity and Access: Gender Identity, Gender Expression, Names and Pronouns"--members of the academic institution "are expected to use the names, gender identities, and pronouns specified to them by University members." The university explains that the document is needed to further support "transgender and gender nonconforming" individuals on campus...To accomplish these goals, the policy includes a lengthy list of punishments designed to discourage "discrimination" and "harassment" based on gender identity.

Measure to split California into three states removed from ballot by the state Supreme Court

Measure to split California into three states removed from ballot by the state Supreme Court | 18 July 2018 | The California Supreme Court decided unanimously Wednesday to remove from the November ballot a measure aimed at dividing California into three states. In a brief order, the court said it acted "because significant questions have been raised regarding the proposition's validity and because we conclude that the potential harm in permitting the measure to remain on the ballot outweighs the potential harm in delaying the proposition to a future election." The court, meeting in closed session, also agreed to rule eventually on the measure's constitutionality, a ruling that is likely to go against the initiative.

Non-citizens legally register to vote in San Francisco school elections

Non-citizens legally register to vote in San Francisco school elections | 18 July 2018 | San Francisco began registering non-citizens, including undocumented immigrants, to register to vote Monday in the November election for the city school board, reported The San Francisco Chronicle. The move follows passage of a 2016 ballot measure by San Francisco voters opening school elections to non-citizens who are over the age of 18, city residents and have children under age 19, reported the publication. San Francisco became the first city in California to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections following passage of Measure N with 54 percent of the vote after two previous failed tries, reported KTVU.

Trump: No, Russia isn't targeting US

Trump: No, Russia isn't targeting US | 18 July 2018 | US President Donald Trump has said Russia is not targeting the US and reiterated that nobody has been as tough on Moscow as he has. Speaking following a Wednesday cabinet meeting, Trump shook his head and said "no" when asked by a reporter if Russia was still targeting the US. "There's been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia," he said adding that Putin "knows it better than the media."

Haters would rather 'go to war' than see me getting along with Putin - Trump

Haters would rather 'go to war' than see me getting along with Putin - Trump | 18 July 2018 | In a fresh tweet President Donald Trump has said some people would rather "go to war" than see him getting along with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. He added that the "haters" merely want "a boxing match." Starting the morning with a new post, Trump gave credit to his press conference following a landmark gathering with Putin in Finland on Monday. The sight of Trump and Putin not attacking each other at the press conference in Helsinki sent mainstream US media into meltdown. Some outlets were angered even by the fact that the summit happened at all.

Hawaii gets new island as erupting volcanic crater continues to spew lava into sea

Hawaii gets new island as erupting volcanic crater continues to spew lava into sea | 16 July 2018 | Lava flows that have been cascading into the sea have formed a brand new, small island off the coast of Hawaii after a crater at Mount Kilauea exploded with the force of a 5.2-magnitude earthquake. Friday's crater explosion sparked a slow-moving flood of lava that destroyed hundreds of homes at Kapoho, on the Big Island...When the lava cooled, the sea peeled back to reveal a small island jutting out from the depths only a few meters from the mainland.

Russian military 'ready to work with US' after Trump and Putin talk Syria, nuclear arms in Helsinki

Russian military 'ready to work with US' after Trump and Putin talk Syria, nuclear arms in Helsinki | 17 July 2018 | The Russian military is ready to work with the US colleagues on all the areas discussed by the two presidents during the Helsinki summit, namely cooperation in Syria and mutual reduction of the strategic nuclear arsenals. "Russian Defense Ministry is ready to implement the agreements on the international security, reached by Russia's President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump during the Helsinki summit yesterday," Ministry's spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Tuesday. On Monday, Russian and the US leaders agreed to revitalize the military cooperation in several fields. During the press conference in the aftermath of the summit, Trump stated that Russian and US militaries proved to actually get along better than the politicians of the two countries over the past few years, naming deconfliction communication in Syria as an example.

House GOP questions FBI lawyer for second day

House GOP questions FBI lawyer for second day | 16 July 2018 | House Republicans grilled former FBI lawyer Lisa Page behind closed doors on Monday as they sought to make the case that bias influenced the bureau's investigations of President Trump and Hillary Clinton. It was the second day of a grueling interview for Page, whose emails and text messages with FBI agent Peter Strzok have been cited by GOP lawmakers as suggesting the FBI was biased against the Republican presidential candidate. Lawmakers from the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform committees remained mostly tight-lipped on the details of her testimony, though multiple Republicans praised her as cooperative and forthcoming.

Russian gun activist arrested as 'foreign agent', lawyer calls it misuse of law

Russian gun activist arrested as 'foreign agent', lawyer calls it misuse of law | 16 July 2018 | The Russian gun activist who was arrested in Washington, DC is not an agent of the Kremlin and the Department of Justice (DOJ) is misusing the law to charge her as such, the attorney for Maria Butina said. Butina, 29, was arrested on Sunday and jailed pending a hearing scheduled on Wednesday, the DOJ said in a statement on Monday. She was charged with "conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States without prior notification to the Attorney General." Charges against Butina are "simply a misuse of the Foreign Agent statute, which is designed to punish covert propaganda, not open and public networking by foreign students," Butina's attorney Robert Driscoll said in a statement.

Secret plot to 'Evict Julian Assange from Ecuadorian embassy' after 6 years inside

Secret plot to 'Evict Julian Assange from Ecuadorian embassy' after 6 years inside | 15 July 2018 | The UK and Ecuadorian authorities are secretly planning on evicting Julian Assange from his embassy safe house after six years inside, it has been reported. The Wikileaks founder has been living in the South American country's embassy building since 2012 after seeking asylum there over fears he would be extradited to the US on espionage charges. He originally went into hiding after an arrest warrant was issued so he could be sent to Sweden over sexual assault and rape allegations. But he has reportedly overstayed his welcome [?!?] since former Ecuadorian president, Rafael Corra, granted him political asylum. Sources have said the UK and Ecuadorian Governments are keen to strike a deal to get him out.

Cold War ended, difficulties in Russia-US relations don't have any objective reasons - Putin

Cold War ended, difficulties in Russia-US relations don't have any objective reasons - Putin | 16 July 2018 | There are no objective reasons for Moscow and Washington not to get along, said Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking first after more than three hours talks with US President Donald Trump. The talks reflected "shared wish" of the two presidents to fix the US-Russia relations and envision the first steps to do so, Putin added... Trump again asked his Russian counterpart on the alleged Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential elections, Putin revealed, stating that he replied exactly the same, as the last time. Russia has not meddled into the internal affairs of the US, he stated, adding that if any real evidence is provided, Moscow will cooperate on it.

Putin, Trump hold first ever one-on-one summit in Helsinki

Putin, Trump hold first ever one-on-one summit in Helsinki | 16 July 2018 | The heads of Russia and the US are holding talks today in the Finnish capital of Helsinki to discuss a wide range of issues in an attempt to mend bilateral relations. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump have arrived at the presidential palace in Helsinki to hold their first ever full-fledged summit talks... Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said that the Syrian issue would be one of the central topics: Russia's alleged meddling in the US election and energy cooperation are among other issues experts have mentioned. The top diplomats from the two countries Sergei Lavrov and Mike Pompeo have held separate talks.

Trump and Putin: Leaders set to have 90 minute one-on-one meeting in Helsinki before they let aides join them

Trump and Putin: Leaders set to have 90 minute one-on-one meeting in Helsinki before they let aides join them and will wrap up their confab with a press conference | 15 July 2018 | President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will have a 90 minute one-on-one meeting in Helsinki on Monday after amid worries about what kind of concessions the president may offer his Russian counterpart when they are alone. After Trump and Putin meet mano-a-mano at 1:20 p.m. local time (6:20 a.m. ET), they will be joined by aides for a two-hour expanded meeting and working lunch at the Presidential Palace. The leaders will cap off their time in Finland with a press conference at 4:50 p.m. local time (9:50 a.m. ET). The two men are only scheduled to see one another on Monday afternoon.

'Israeli rockets' strike Syrian military positions near Aleppo - state media

'Israeli rockets' strike Syrian military positions near Aleppo - state media | 15 July 2018 | Syrian military positions near Aleppo airport have come under a missile strike, state media reports, blaming Israel for the attack. The strike targeted "one of our military positions north of the airport in Aleppo," a military source told the Syrian Arab News Agency, stressing that the damage from the aggression was "limited to material." The source denounced the raid as a "desperate attempt to support the defeated terrorist groups" in Daraa and Quneitra, where the Syrian army is actively working to defeat them.

Leak at Porton Down lab may be behind UK nerve-agent poisonings - Russian embassy

Leak at Porton Down lab may be behind UK nerve-agent poisonings - Russian embassy | 14 July 2018 | A leak at the Porton Down secret laboratory may explain the nerve agent poisonings in Britain, as both cases happened in nearby Salisbury and Amesbury, the Russian embassy in the UK has said. The Russian mission pointed out that both poisoning cases took place "in the vicinity of the secret military chemical laboratory in Porton Down," which may well lead to the conclusion that "some kind of 'leak' from this laboratory might have taken place. This cannot be excluded." The Porton Down chemical laboratory is located some 8km from both Salisbury and Amesbury. [Also, check Fort Detrick's little house of chemical warfare horrors.]

Rosenstein target of impeachment filing being prepared by House conservatives - report

Rosenstein target of impeachment filing being prepared by House conservatives - report | 13 July 2018 | Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is the target of an impeachment effort being undertaken by conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a report. U.S. Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, both members of the House Freedom Caucus, are said to be leading the effort and could submit an impeachment filing in the next few days, Politico reported Friday. Rosenstein has been clashing with some House Republicans for months over requests for Department of Justice documents, the Washington Examiner reported.

UK police claim to have found bottle containing 'Novichok' nerve agent in Amesbury victim's house

UK police claim to have found bottle containing 'Novichok' nerve agent in Amesbury victim's house | 13 July 2018 | UK police say they have found the source of the nerve agent that allegedly poisoned two people in Amesbury, killing one. They claim the source appears to be a small bottle discovered in one of the victim's homes. The bottle was apparently found in Charlie Rowley's house in Amesbury on Wednesday. "Scientists have now confirmed to us that the substance contained within the bottle is Novichok," a Friday statement by police said. Investigators say they've not yet determined how a bottle of supposedly weapons-grade chemicals ended up in Rowley's home, or if there are more like it around.

Ex-FBI lawyer Page agrees to testify before House this week

Ex-FBI lawyer Page agrees to testify before House this week | 12 July 2018 | Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page has struck a deal to testify this week before Congress for a transcribed interview centered on her conduct during the 2016 presidential race, according to the head of the House Judiciary Committee. Page, a close adviser to former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, is scheduled to appear for the interview on Friday at 1:30 p.m. Lawmakers will then be able to continue their questioning on Monday, according to a committee press release.

Germans favor withdrawal of US troops, not paying more for US 'protection' - poll

Germans favor withdrawal of US troops, not paying more for US 'protection' - poll | 12 July 2018 | Almost every second German favors the withdrawal of US forces based there, according to a poll taken prior to the NATO summit, at which Donald Trump accused Berlin of relying on Washington's protection and not contributing enough. Some 42 percent of Germans are ready to see 35,000 US troops return home, a new YouGov poll, conducted on behalf of the German Press Agency, revealed. Only 37 percent wanted to see US troops stay in Germany in some capacity. The remaining 21 percent did not decide.

U.S. Marshals 'went to Lisa Page's house three times' to serve a subpoena after she declined to appear before a GOP-led committee to talk about her anti-Trump texts with FBI lover

U.S. Marshals 'went to Lisa Page's house three times' to serve a subpoena after she declined to appear before a GOP-led committee to talk about her anti-Trump texts with FBI lover | 11 July 2018 | A top Republican on Capitol Hill has sent the United States Marshals Service to deliver a subpoena to a former FBI lawyer who defied an earlier request by Congress to testify about alleged anti-Trump bias within the bureau. Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia, says he instructed the Marshals to serve a subpoena to Lisa Page, whom he has accused of 'apparently' having 'something to hide.' Earlier on Wednesday, Page defied a congressional subpoena and declined to appear before a closed-door session of the House Judiciary Committee, which Goodlatte chairs. Goodlatte said that initially Page's lawyer agreed to accept the subpoena, but 'then turned around and immediately tried to reject it,' according to Fox News.

Mueller asks court for 100 more blank subpoenas ahead of Manafort trial

Mueller asks court for 100 more blank subpoenas ahead of Manafort trial| 11 July 2018 | Special counsel Robert Mueller is asking a federal court in Virginia for 100 blank subpoenas in the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. The request was made in a filing on Wednesday. The subpoenas would require their recipients to testify in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria on July 25, when Manafort's trial in Virginia is set to begin. The request comes roughly a month after Mueller filed a request for 150 blank subpoenas.

Traces of chemical weapons agent found in shrimp in Sweden

Traces of chemical weapons agent found in shrimp in Sweden | 11 July 2018 | Traces of a chemical warfare agent were found in shrimp caught near the Swedish island of Maseskar, where 28 ships with chemical and other weapons were sunk by the allies after World War II, the Swedish National Water Agency said. The agency urged a complete fishing ban in the area surrounding the island, which is located in the Skagerrak straits linking the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The substance, identified as diphenylchlorarsine, is likely leaking into the water from decaying bombs aboard the sunken ships, the agency said. Swedish scientists are now warning that traces of the poisonous substance may also be present in Baltic Sea fish, saying that they are planning to expand their research into the matter.

Lisa Page will not appear for Capitol Hill interview despite subpoena, attorney says

Lisa Page will not appear for Capitol Hill interview despite subpoena, attorney says | 10 July 2018 | Former FBI attorney Lisa Page will not appear for a private interview with two House committees despite being subpoenaed, her attorney told Fox News Tuesday. In a statement, Amy Jeffress said her client did not have enough time to prepare and had asked the the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees to schedule another date. In a statement, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said: "It appears that Lisa Page has something to hide..." Other GOP members of the Judiciary Committee slammed Page's refusal to appear, with Ron DeSantis of Florida calling it "pathetic" and Jim Jordan of Ohio said she was "once again showing the double standard."

Trump pardons Oregon ranchers at center of 40-day standoff

Trump pardons Oregon ranchers at center of 40-day standoff | 10 July 2018 | President Trump on Tuesday pardoned a pair of Oregon ranchers whose arson conviction became a focus for opponents of federal government land ownership. Dwight Hammond, 76, and his son Steven Hammond, 49, were convicted in 2012 and sent to prison on arson charges. They had set a series of fires on their ranch that spread to federal land. The Hammonds' case became the inspiration for the 40-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016. The organizers wanted to protest federal land ownership.

House Judiciary Committee subpoenas anti-Trump FBI lawyer Lisa Page

House Judiciary Committee subpoenas anti-Trump FBI lawyer Lisa Page | 09 July 2018 | The House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed former FBI lawyer Lisa Page to appear for a private interview on Wednesday, according to two people familiar with the subpoena. Page exchanged text messages critical of Donald Trump with FBI agent Peter Strzok, who will testify publicly before the panel on Thursday. Page and Strzok both worked on the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails and later special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. It is unclear if Page will appear.

Brett Kavanaugh Is Trump's Pick for Supreme Court

Brett Kavanaugh Is Trump's Pick for Supreme Court | 09 July 2018 | President Trump on Monday selected Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a politically connected member of Washington's conservative legal establishment, to fill Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's seat on the Supreme Court, setting up an epic confirmation battle and potentially cementing the court's rightward tilt for a generation. The nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, 53, a federal appeals court judge, former aide to President [sic] George W. Bush and onetime investigator of President Bill Clinton, was not a huge surprise, given his conservative record, elite credentials and deep ties among the Republican legal groups that have advanced conservatives for the federal bench. Judge Kavanaugh...is a graduate of Yale and Yale Law School. He also impressed Mr. Trump during his interview, and was enthusiastically backed by the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II.

Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

Breaking: Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court | 09 July 2018 | President Trump nominated appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court Monday night to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, ending a days-long guessing game that began the moment Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27. In televised remarks from the East Room of the White House, the president praised what he called Kavanaugh's "impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law." "There is no one in America more qualified for this position, and no one more deserving," Trump said.

Rhino poachers mauled and eaten by lions in South Africa

Rhino poachers mauled and eaten by lions in South Africa | 06 July 2018 | At least three poachers who broke into a rhinoceros reserve in South Africa received a brutal dose of karma when they were torn to pieces by a pride of lions. Staff at the Sibuya Game Reserve in Kenton-on-Sea, South Africa discovered the men's bloody remains on Tuesday, including dismembered limbs and a decapitated head. Several pairs of empty shoes were discovered, indicating that the lions ate the men, although staff say that more remains may be hidden in the thick bush. "The lions are our watchers and guardians and they picked the wrong pride and became a meal," reserve owner Nick Fox told the Daily Express. [Excellent idea to bring the lions aboard as security guards. Apparently, they're great workers!]

Talk emerges that Hillary Clinton is plotting her 2020 comeback and prepping to take on Donald Trump a second time

Talk emerges that Hillary Clinton is plotting her 2020 comeback and prepping to take on Donald Trump a second time --Clinton's next scheduled public appearance is at the third annual Ozy Fest, July 21 and 22 in Central Park | 08 July 2018 | Hillary Clinton has ramped her public presence and her fundraising appeals in recent weeks, leading to speculation she's plotting her 2020 comeback and preparing for a rematch with Donald Trump. The New York Post notes that five times in the last month alone, Clinton sent e-mails touting her super PAC's role in combating Trump. ...The day after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, Clinton introduced a new resistance partner: Demand Justice... Demand Justice's executive director is Brian Fallon, who served as Clinton's campaign press secretary.  Clinton's next scheduled public appearance is at the third annual Ozy Fest that takes place July 21 and 22 in Central Park.

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'We want either a hammer or a fire, to break the spell or dissolve the ice.' Artisan radical freethinker, George Jacob Holyoake, Reasoner V (1848): 2.

CLG's Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D. and Lori Price receive the Patrick Henry Think Tank's American Hero Award 02 Nov 2005 The Patrick Henry Democratic Club --A Think Tank working to give the government back to the people. "Give me liberty or give me death!"

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