Most Americans say protest graffiti, statue vandalism, trespassing, looting are violent acts

​Most Americans say protest graffiti, monument vandalism and destroying private property are violent acts, according to a new Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen.
The results come amid a national debate about protesting tactics, following the May 25 death of African-American male George Floyd while in the custody Minneapolis police. Some observers have argued that property destruction does not amount to violence because it does not result in bodily harm.

Just the News Daily Poll
With Scott Rasmussen
A narrow plurality of voters believes that blocking traffic is a violent action, not a peaceful protest. Solid majorities believe all the other actions cited in the poll are violent.
“Some conservatives will see in these numbers proof that Americans view the protests themselves as violent rather than peaceful,” Rasmussen said, “and further, that the media is misleading people by claiming they are not.
“However, other polling I’ve conducted shows that voters are split right down the middle on whether the protests are peaceful (45%) or plagued by violence (46%). To some, that may seem like a contradiction. Solid majorities of voters say things like graffiti and destroying private property are violent actions and those actions are featured in most of the protests in the news. The difference may be in the perception of how big a role those violent actions played overall. For some, they are the primary feature of the protests. For others, they are the actions of a few troublemakers.”
Just the News Daily Poll respondents were asked “Please let me know if you consider each of the following to be part of a peaceful protest or if they are violent actions.” They responded as below:

 

Peaceful

Violent

Not Sure

Blocking traffic

40%

45%

15%

Painting graffiti on walls and buildings

23%

66%

12%

Destroying stores and private property

4%

91%

5%

Vandalism of public monuments and statues

12%

77%

12%

Throwing things at police officers

5%

86%

9%

Trespassing on private property

15%

68%

17%

The national survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted July 2-4, 2020 by Rasmussen, a polling veteran. Margin of sampling error: +/- 2.8% for full sample. 
To see the full demographic cross-tabulations for this polling question, click below:

To see the methodology and sample demographics for this polling question, click below:

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Amazon dumps Washington Redskins football gear amid calls for name change

Amazon is pulling Washington Redskins branded products off of its website amid renewed public debate over whether the professional football team should change its name.
A message to Amazon sellers reportedly indicated that they should remove the Redskins-related items.
“With the announcement from the Washington team and the NFL, we are removing products with the team’s name and logo from our stores,” the notice said according to CNBC. “Failure to properly close or delete all restricted product listings from your inventory may result in deactivation.”
Other major companies including Walmart have also moved to ditch Redskins products
While the issue surrounding the team’s name has arisen in the past, it has again become a topic of focus as national attention has been directed toward racial issues in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
In a statement Friday the team said “the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name. This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.”

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Over 60 newspaper companies among media businesses that received millions in COVID-19 stimulus loans

More than 60 newspaper businesses and other media companies such as Forbes Media and Alaska Public Media received millions of dollars in forgivable coronavirus stimulus loans.
The forgivable loans were issued under the Paycheck Protection Program as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act stimulus bill passed this spring by Congress and signed into law by President Trump.
Brookings Newspapers, Cookeville Newspapers, City Newspapers, Wyoming Newspapers, Tribune Newspapers and The Epoch Times Association appear under the $150,000 to $350,000 category, according to data provided by the Small Business Administration. 
Joongang Daily News Atlanta received $150,000 to $350,000, and JOONGANGILBO USA, the owner and operator of Joongang Daily News California, The Korea Daily and other Korean media properties, received $1 million to $2 million.
Cleveland Newspapers, Southern RI Newspapers, Alaska Public Media and San Francisco Print Media are among the $350,000 to $1 million category. The Daily Caller, an online media outlet, also received $350,000 to $1 million.
The Washington Times, owned by Operations Holdings, which is affiliated with the Unification Church of South Korea, as well as Hoffman Media Inc., a women’s lifestyle publisher, received $1 million to $2 million.
The Korea Times Los Angeles, Sun-Times Media Productions and Scranton Times received $2 million to $5 million.
Forbes Media, the company behind Forbes Magazine and other financial publications, as well as the Seattle Times Company are listed under the $5 to $10 million category. 
The Seattle newspaper informed subscribers that it received a $9.9 million loan in advance of the government data release. SummitMedia, a radio broadcasting company, also received $5 million to $10 million.
The government data released did not contain the exact amount of each loan.  
According to the SBA, the loan is forgivable if “at least 60 percent” of it is used toward payroll. The rest can be used for qualified expenses such as rent and utilities.

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Ilhan Omar's campaign has paid nearly $900,000 to consulting firm owned by her husband

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar over the past two years has paid nearly $900,000 to a consulting firm owned by her new husband, federal election records show. 
Disbursements from Omar’s 2018 campaign and 2020 reelection campaign show the congresswoman has sent just under $880,000 to E Street Group LLC, a consultant firm run by Democratic strategist Tim Mynett, according to FEC filings.
Omar is part of the House freshman class known as “The Squad,” which includes New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and several other female Democrats know for their strong progressive agenda. 
Omar and Mynett were married in March, after each divorced their respective spouses in late 2019. In court filings, Mynett’s first wife said Omar was having an affair with her then-husband. Omar has denied the allegation.
The couple’s financial arrangement does not appear to violate any political campaign laws, though former George W. Bush administration attorney Richard Painter told the New York Post that such arrangements “should not be allowed.” 
“I think it’s a horrible idea to allow it, given the amount of money that goes into these campaigns from special interests,” he said. 

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Washington State suggests schools give priority to nonwhite students during reopening

Washington state is considering a plan that would give priority to minority and disadvantaged students when schools reopen in the fall following months of closure during the coronavirus pandemic. 
Like most state chief executives across the country, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee shuttered his state’s public schools earlier in the year as part of a coronavirus mitigation plan. States have lately begun considering how they will re-open their schools in the fall, if at all.
Education officials across the country have proposed various plans incorporating alternating schedules, “cohorting” of students, and distance learning programs, while others have suggested the entire upcoming school year may consist entirely of virtual classrooms. 
A “district planning guide” released last month by Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, makes similar suggestions, but it also suggests granting priority to non-white students during proposed reopening phases. 
The guide cited a theoretical reopening plan that would “serve students furthest from educational justice first,” among which it cited “students of color.”
Others recommended to receive priority reopening slots included “students with disabilities, English learners, students experiencing homelessness, [and] students experiencing poverty.” 
The superintendent’s office quietly updated that section of the document on Wednesday following growing media response to the proposal, though the basic thrust of the proposed policy — one in which some students are given priority attention over others — was not altered. 
In its “revision log,” the document says the Wednesday edits “added clarifying text to the section about phasing students in by priority.” 

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Pence: 'Absolutely essential' that schools reopen in the fall

Vice President Mike Pence declared Wednesday that U.S. schools reopening in the fall is “absolutely essential” –reenforcing the growing push from within the administration to get children and older students back in classrooms after months of state-mandated distance learning. 
Essentially every governor in the country shut down his or her state’s educational systems in March out of concerns that schools could become coronavirus hotspot.
In recent weeks, states and school districts have struggling with the decision to either resume in-person instruction in the fall or continue with virtual learning. 
A strong and growing body of evidence indicates that children are at minimal risk from contracting and spreading COVID-19 and that they are also unlikely to suffer severe cases from it. A growing body of advocates and officials has pointing to this data in recent weeks as proof that reopening school is relatively risk-free. 
President Trump tweeted on Monday that “SCHOOLS MUST REOPEN IN THE FALL.” On Tuesday, he participated in a roundtable in which he said he would “put pressure on governors” to reopen their states’ schools in the fall. 
On Wednesday, at a White House coronavirus task force press conference, Pence also advocated resuming in-class learning in August. He noted that numerous at-risk student groups require special education, nutritional support and other unique arrangements, and that “school is the place where they receive all those services.”
At that press conference, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos also urged reopening, saying that “students can and must continue to learn full-time.”
Schools “must fully open,” DeVos also said, and they “must be fully operational.”
Reopening schools, Pence said at one point, is a goal “shared by every parent in America.”

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Harvard, MIT sue to stop Trump administration from suspending foreign student visas during pandemic

Harvard and MIT reportedly filed a lawsuit Wednesday to prevent the Trump administration from suspending visas for foreign students if their colleges move classes online exclusively during the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit follows U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announcing Monday that international students whose courses move entirely online would be required to depart the country, rescinding a previous plan to grant exemptions to student visa-holders, according to The Hill.
The universities asked a federal court in Boston for a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction against the administration’s new policy.

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Army Lt. Col. Vindman, key figure in Congress' Trump impeachment trial, retires from military

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in Congress’ Trump’s impeachment inquiry last year, said Wednesday that he’s retiring from the military.
Vindman, who is retiring after more than two decades of military service, says he fears that his future with the Army “will forever be limited” as a result of his congressional testimony and the resulting political retaliation.
Vindman’s lawyer told CNN that his client has suffered a “campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation,” led by President Trump and his allies.
In February, the president fired Vindman from his position as the nation’s top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. Trump also fired Vindman’s twin brother who served as an NSC lawyer at the White House, while playing a role in support of impeachment hearings against the president. 
Recently, the conversation surrounding Vindman has become focused on whether the White House was acting to prevent an upcoming promotion for Vindman to the rank of colonel.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy both reportedly approved Vindman’s promotion in the last week, following a Defense Department inspector general report into allegation of “inappropriate behavior.”
Vindman reportedly decided to retire from the military following conversations with senior Army officials who made it clear that continued career advancement would be difficult given the political fallout from his impeachment testimony. 
Vindman was reportedly told that he would no longer be able to work within his field of expertise, which includes Ukraine. Vindman’s next planned assignment was attending the National War College.
During public impeachment testimony in November 2019, Vindman told Congress that he believed the president’s eagerness to investigate Vice President Joe Biden and his family’s ties to business interests in Ukraine was “inappropriate,” and felt he had to report it out of a “sense of duty.”

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Rowling, Rushdie, dozens of others join in open letter opposing cancel culture

J.K. Rowling, Salman Rushdie and dozens of other writers, artists and academics have joined against so-called cancel culture, which they say has jeopardized public debate and weakened the free exchange of ideas. 
They argued against ideological conformity and the rise in what they call “illiberalism,” in an open letter in Harper’s Magazine. 
Others who have joined Rushdie and J.K. Rowling, author of the “Harry Potter” book series, include Margaret Atwood, Noam Chomsky, Gloria Steinem and Malcolm Gladwell, according to the Associated Press.
The letter states that “the forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world,” and argues that supporters of the movement have a powerful ally in President Trump, “who represents a real threat to democracy.”
Trump, however, has spoken out about elements of cancel culture, in which prominent people and others face attacks for sharing opinions. 
The president has opposed efforts by liberal-leaning groups and others to dismantle statues of early American leaders whose past, they say, includes social injustice that should not be memorialized. 
Rowling has attracted criticism over her views on transgender issues, which have angered many activists. In a series of tweets, Rowling said she supported transgender rights but did not believe in “erasing” the concept of biological sex, the wire service also reports.
The comments prompted Daniel Radcliffe and other cast members of the Potter films to publicly disagree with her. Rowling was unmoved, but was attacked for weeks online.

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California court to review case of potential jurors dismissed over support of Black Lives Matter

A California appeals court is taking up the issue of potential jurors bering dismissing for their seeming supporting for the Black Lives Matters movement is an act of jury discrimination.
In January, the California state Supreme Court announced its intention to review the rules for disqualifying potential jurors. Since at least 2016, there have been several reported instances of potential jurors being dismissed based apparently on their stated support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
In 2016, a woman named Crishala Reed was removed from a jury following a line of questioning from the prosecutor during which she was asked if she supported Black Lives Matter, and subsequently, if she supported “destroying other people’s property.”
The questioning of Reed’s support for for the movement will now be taken up by the appeals court. Should the court find that that the prosecutor used race in the decision to remove Reed, the defendants could be eligible for a new trial.
Lawyers for the defendants say the prosecutor’s decision to remove Reed violated the Constitution’s ban on excluding prospective jurors based on their race.
The case in question involves the 2012 double-murder of a Bay Area couple, for which three Black men were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. 
A court filing from the case says that Reed was “openly hostile when the prosecutor questioned her about BLM.”
The California Attorney General’s Office said that race was not a factor in the prosecutor’s decision to dismiss Reed from the jury pool. 
During the jury selection process, lawyers often quiz jurors on their views of the criminal justice system. Courts have even allowed prosecutors to ask jurors about their opinions of past trial results, like the O.J. Simpson verdict. 
When asked about her views on fairness in the criminal justice system, Reed responded, “How I feel is that Black people are being sentenced longer than other races,” but told the judge that her opinion could be set aside to maintain fairness during trial. 
Reed maintained that she supported the cause, but no illegal behavior associated with Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

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China defends World Health Organization, criticizes Trump's decision to withdraw over coronavirus

China on Wednesday defended the World Health Organization and criticized the U.S for deciding to withdraw from the group over its handling of the coronavirus.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the Trump administration’s announcement Monday to withdraw was “another demonstration of the U.S. pursuing unilateralism, withdrawing from groups and breaking contracts.”
Zhao also said the United Nation-affiliated WHO is “the most authoritative and professional international institution in the field of global public health security,” according to the Associated Press.
The U.S. departure from the organization “undermines the international anti-epidemic efforts, and in particular has a serious negative impact on developing countries in urgent need of international support,” Zhao also said.
President Trump and other world leaders have been critical of how the WHO handled the pandemic in its early stages – arguing it was slow to inform the world about the outbreak in Wuhan, China, and further suggest the group was covering for China.
The U.S. withdrawal won’t take effect until July 2012, which means the country could stay in the WHO if Democrat Joe Biden becomes president in November. Biden has said he would keep the WHO, amid Trump’s vows in recent months to leave.
The U.S. is WHO’s largest donor and provides it with more than $450 million per year, but owes about $200 million in current and past dues. Those financial obligations must be met before a U.S. withdrawal can be finalized, the wire service also reports.

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Facebook conducts civil rights audit: former ACLU exec says company suffers from 'serious setbacks'

Facebook on Wednesday released the findings of a two-year audit that recommended the social media platform should build a “civil rights infrastructure” into every facet of its operation.
In 2018, Facebook hired former American Civil Liberties Union executive Laura Murphy to conduct an audit of the company’s performance on significant social issues. 
The audit criticizes the company’s decision to excuse the statements of politicians from fact-checking, a decision stemming from CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s commitment to free speech on the platform. 
“While the audit process has been meaningful, and has led to some significant improvements in the platform, we have also watched the company make painful decisions over the last nine months with real world consequences that are serious setbacks for civil rights,” the report states. 
Murphy told the AP, “When you elevate free expression as your highest value, other values take a back seat.” When it comes to the speech of politicians, whether fact-checked or not, the company is elevating “the speech of people who are already powerful and disadvantaged people who are not.”
In recent weeks, in the wake of a nationwide wave of protests and civil unrest concerning racial injustices, more than 900 companies have begun an advertising boycott of Facebook to protest its purported handling of hate speech and the spread of misinformation. 
On Tuesday, civil rights leaders met virtually with Zuckerberg to discuss their position. Several of them expressed doubt that the reports from the audit would be implemented across the company. 
“What has become increasingly clear is that we have a long way to go. As hard as it has been to have our shortcomings exposed by experts, it has undoubtedly been a really important process for our company,” wrote Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, in a Facebook newsroom post. 

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Cotton says Trump is right to consider TikTok ban, argues it's a 'threat' to privacy

Sen. Tom Cotton agreed Wednesday with President Trump’s consideration of a ban on the use of the mobile app TikTok in the U.S., amid concerns the China-based owners of the short-video app could be collecting personal data from subscribers. 
“I have long said that TikTok poses a threat to the privacy and perhaps the security of Americans. I urged the Department of Defense some time ago, to prohibit the use of Tick Tock on our young soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, devices and so that threat is not limited to our service members,” Cotton, a Republican an Army veteran, said on a conference call organized by Trump’s re-election campaign.  
“It may be heightened for them, but it’s not limited,” he continued. “So I would certainly encourage every parent to consider whether or not they should let their kids put TikTok on their devices. And I think President Trump is taking appropriate steps to evaluate whether we should even allow it to be used in this country.”
Cotton, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, noted that TikTok is banned in India.
“India, the world’s largest democracy and a good friend of ours, just prohibited TikTok and several other apps … because there really is no such thing as a private company that has the ability to protect your personal information inside of China. I think all Americans should be worried about Chinese based apps like TikTok,” he said.
Trump said Tuesday that his administration was considering a ban on TikTok.
“It’s something we’re looking at, yes,” Trump said. “It’s a big business. Look, what happened with China with this virus, what they’ve done to this country and to the entire world is disgraceful.”
The federal government is currently investigating whether TikTok is sharing information about its users with the communist Chinese government. 

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Why the civil rights fight is good news for Biden, bad news for Trump

President Donald Trump’s latest barrage against those removing Confederate and historical statues could be alienating a key electorate that the president needs most to secure another term in office.
57% of those who strongly oppose Trump also oppose removing statues of George Washington. These are voters over the age of 55, live in the suburbs and are politically independent. 

Those are also the voters that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is wooing as he gains support among progressive activists and protesters demonstrating against police brutality. The harder Trump goes against what he’s called the “radical left,” the more opportunity Biden may have to scoop up these independents. 
Biden too has his own balancing act as he works to mollify progressives who want more police and health care reform, as well as climate change policy.
Scott Rasmussen talks more about the statue issue, and why it’s going to be important in the 2020 election, in his new Number of the Day podcast.

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British court rules against Christopher Steele, orders damages paid to businessmen named in dossier

A British judge ruled Wednesday that Christopher Steele violated a data privacy law by failing to check the accuracy of information in his infamous dossier, ordering the former spy’s firm to pay damages to two businessmen he wrongly accused of making illicit payments in Russia.
Justice Mark Warby of the High Court of England and Wales order Steele’s firm Orbis Business Intelligence to pay a modest 18,000 English pounds—about $22,596 in American currency – to each of Petr Aven and Mikhail Fridman as compensation for a violation of Britain’s Data Protection Act 1998 .
Warby ruled that while Steele had a national security interest to share his intelligence with U.S. and British authorities, several of the allegations in Memo 112 of the Steele dossier were “inaccurate or misleading as a matter of fact.”
The judge ruled Steele violated the law by failing to aggressively check the accuracy of one claim accusing Aven and Friedman of making illicit payments to Russia’s Vladimir Putin before distributing it to various U.S. and British figures, including the FBI.
“That is an allegation of serial criminal wrongdoing, over a prolonged period. Even in the limited and specific context of reporting intelligence for the purposes I have mentioned, and despite all the other factors I have listed, the steps taken to verify that proposition fell short of what would have been reasonable,” Warby ruled.
“The allegation clearly called for closer attention, a more enquiring approach, and more energetic checking,” the judge added.
The ruling involves a long-discredited claim in Steele’s dossier – repeatedly by U.S. news media – that Russia’s Alfa Bank connected to Aven and Fridman was transmitting secret messages between Moscow and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
The FBI concluded the computer pings were not nefarious messages but rather routine behavior most likely connected to email spam. Special Counsel Robert Mueller told Congress last year he did not believe the allegations.
Fridman hailed the ruling in a statement.
“We are delighted with the outcome of this case and that Mr Justice Warby has determined what we have always known to be the case – that the contents of Memorandum 112 are inaccurate and misleading,” he said. “Ever since these odious allegations were first made public in January, 2017 my partners and I have been resolute and unwavering in our determination to prove that they are untrue, and through this case, we have finally succeeded in doing so.”
This is a developing story that will be updated.

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Why the civil rights fight is good news for Biden, bad news for Trump

President Donald Trump’s latest barrage against those removing Confederate and historical statues could be alienating a key electorate that the president needs most to secure another term in office.
57% of those who strongly oppose Trump also oppose removing statues of George Washington. These are voters over the age of 55, live in the suburbs and are politically independent. 

Those are also the voters that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is wooing as he gains support among progressive activists and protesters demonstrating against police brutality. The harder Trump goes against what he’s called the “radical left,” the more opportunity Biden may have to scoop up these independents. 
Biden too has his own balancing act as he works to mollify progressives who want more police and health care reform, as well as climate change policy.
Scott Rasmussen talks more about the statue issue, and why it’s going to be important in the 2020 election, in his new Number of the Day podcast.

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Activist groups, nonprofits on left and right, cash in on taxpayer-funded forgivable stimulus loans

President Trump might have pledged to “drain the swamp” during his first term in office,. but the CARES Act stimulus bill he recently signed has sent millions in taxpayer funds to political activist groups and non-profits in Washington on the left and right.
According to the Small Business Administration, the Paycheck Protection Program loans, which are part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, are forgivable if “at least 60 percent” is put toward payroll. The rest can apply to qualified expenses such as rent and utilities.
The Albright Stonebridge Group, led by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a Democrat, and former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, a Republican, each received $2 million to $5 million.
Oceana, an environmental nonprofit organization, the left-leaning New America Foundation, and the global health nonprofit Population Services International also received $2 million to $5 million, according to SBA data.
The $1 million to $2 million category includes Media Matters, a liberal advocacy organization; the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog organization; R Street Institute, a conservative and libertarian think tank; American Immigration Council, which publicly opposes Trump’s immigration policies; the Environmental Working Group; Friends of the Earth, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington D.C.
The lobbying group Jefferson Consulting Group and the Bipartisan Policy Center are also listed under that category.
The Alliance for Justice, a progressive judicial advocacy group; Middle Seat Consulting, which is linked to the Democratic campaigns of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke; and J Street, a non-profit liberal group that advocates for a two-state solution to the Israel and Palestinian conflict, received $350,000 to $1 million.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group; Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition; Asian Americans Advancing Justice; NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation; the National Abortion Federation; the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund; the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute were also awarded $350,000 to $1 million.
The Chertoff Group, run by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Cheroff, a Republican; the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for stricter policies to combat illegal immigration; and the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning and pro-union organization were also listed in that category.
Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, the anti-tax group led by Grover Norquist, received $150,000 to $350,000.

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Supreme Court doubleheader: justices rules in favor of religious liberty on two cases

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Trump administration regulation that allows employers to opt out of providing contraceptives to their employees if the company’s owners have a religious or moral objection.
The Affordable Care Act stipulates that health insurance provided by employers must include birth control as a preventative service at no cost. The Trump administration sought to expand the moral and religious exemptions to that mandate. 
This is the third time the high court has ruled on the issue. 
Also Wednesday morning, SCOTUS ruled that civil courts cannot be involved in employment discrimination suits brought against religious organizations where the employee served a religious function. 
The decision expands upon a ruling from 2012, in which the court said that religious organizations are granted a “ministerial exception” from employment discrimination lawsuits. 
The court ruled 7-2 on both decisions. 

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House bill decreases WH suggested NASA funding for projects that would put Americans on the moon

The Democrat-controlled House is proposing a measure to keep NASA funding next year at $22.629 billion, following the Trump administration’s requested budget of $25.2 billion. 
The measure introduced Tuesday primarily addresses funding the White House suggested be used for NASA’s Exploration Research and Development efforts. While the White House’s budget allocated nearly $5 billion for  R&D, the House is suggesting just over $1.5 billion.
NASA’s research and development division houses several programs including ones that would impact project Artemis, a program meant to get two astronauts to the south pole of the moon by 2024, at the direct behest of President Trump.
About $3.3 billion of the White House’s suggested $4.7 billion would be allocated toward the Human Landing System (HLS), a program NASA is developing to help bring astronauts to the lunar surface. The House appropriations bill suggests just $628 million for the project.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine responded to Congress’s bill with a statement thanking them for the bipartisan HLS funding, calling it “an important first step in this year’s appropriations process.”
Bridenstine also said that he looks “forward to working with the Senate to ensure America has the resources to land the first woman and next man on the moon in 2024.”

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Facebook says it closed over 100 pages and accounts linked to Roger Stone disinformation efforts

Social media giant Facebook on Wednesday announced it had removed over 100 pages from its servers that had reportedly been utilized by former Trump confidant Roger Stone in order to facilitate “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on the website. 
The company said it had identified dozens of pages allegedly used by Stone and affiliates as far back as 2016 to influence and manipulate public debate; Facebook also closed numerous personal accounts—including Stone’s—involved in that effort. 
The pages came to light following the public release of warrants related to Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump-Russia controversy; those warrants revealed the existence of the illicit accounts and behavior. 
Stone, a longtime friend of President Trump and an advisor to his 2016 campaign, was convicted in 2019 of lying to investigators and witness tampering, along with several other charges, following his being investigated by Mueller’s special counsel. 
He is set to begin serving a 40-month prison term next week; the date of his incarceration has been pushed back several times, including in April due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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White House warns Railroad Retirement Board that its Chinese investments pose national security risk

White House officials on Wednesday warned the federally administered Railroad Retirement Board that its funds have been invested in Chinese concerns that pose both security risks to the United States and economic risks to the American workers whose money is being invested. 
United States National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said in a letter on Wednesday to RRB Chairman Erhard Chorlé that the board’s investments in companies located in the People’s Republic of China “present a national security risk to our country,” as well as a “significant and unnecessary economic risk” to railroad retirees.
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by Just the News, states that the investment portfolio—managed by the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust—has funds invested in numerous businesses which “operate in violation of U.S. sanctions laws and assist the PRC’s efforts to build its military and oppress religious minorities.”
Among those companies are “military contractors that provide military aircraft, missiles, and telecommunications support to the People’s Liberation Army,” the letter states. The federal officials specifically cited Hikvision, a Chinese technology firm that “manufactures surveillance equipment that China uses to oppress religious minorities.” 
They also cited investments in ZTE, a Chinese telecommunications corporation which they said is “engaged in a multi-year conspiracy to supply, build, and operate telecommunications networks in Iran using U.S.-origin equipment in violation of the U.S. trade embargo.”
ZTE, they said, has also violated U.S. sanction laws by shipping telecommunications equipment to North Korea.
In addition to security concerns, the letter states that the retirement board’s investments come at a time of “mounting uncertainty concerning the PRC’s relations with the rest of the world,” particularly as China faces potential sanctions and boycotts over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as its “suppression of Hong Kong’s democracy,” its “gross human rights violations,” and its flouting of U.S. sanctions in Iran.
The letter asks that the board “carefully consider” the situation and possibly order the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust to “take swift action to protect” retirees whose money is being invested in China.
The officials have asked for a response by July 15.

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Judicial Watch and Daily Caller file suit to obtain information pertaining to Biden's Senate records

Government watchdog Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation are suing the University of Delaware to try to get the publicly-funded school to turn over Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s elected office records. 
The suit was filed July 2 in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware after the school rejected the Freedom of Information Act requests pertaining to Biden’s Senate records and other related documents, saying that public money is not spent on Biden’s documents.
Judicial Watch contends that the assertion about the public money was submitted “without corroboration.”
“The University of Delaware should stop protecting Joe Biden and provide the public access to his public records, as Delaware law requires,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.
The conservative watchdog group is seeking records relating to any communication from January 1, 2018, until now between Biden or his representatives and individuals representing the college. Judicial Watch is also seeking any records that concern the proposed release of Biden’s Senate records. 
The Daily Caller is seeking to obtain the former senator’s records from the university as well as other information related to Biden’s records.
Prior to filing the suit, both organizations petitioned the state Office of the Attorney General about the university’s denial of their FOIA requests. The Delaware chief deputy attorney general determined that the college’s move did not constitute a FOIA violation, according to the filing.
“The University of Delaware should do the right thing and turn over Joe Biden’s public records as required by law,” Daily Caller News Foundation co-founder and President Neil Patel said in the Judicial Watch statement. “Partisan gamesmanship by a public university is unseemly and unlawful. If they don’t want to do the right thing, we will force them in court.” 

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White House warns Railroad Retirement Board that its Chinese investments pose national security risk

White House officials on Wednesday warned the federally administered Railroad Retirement Board that its funds have been invested in Chinese concerns that pose both security risks to the United States and economic risks to the American workers whose money is being invested. 
United States National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said in a letter on Wednesday to RRB Chairman Erhard Chorlé that the board’s investments in companies located in the People’s Republic of China “present a national security risk to our country,” as well as a “significant and unnecessary economic risk” to railroad retirees.
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by Just the News, states that the investment portfolio—managed by the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust—has funds invested in numerous businesses which “operate in violation of U.S. sanctions laws and assist the PRC’s efforts to build its military and oppress religious minorities.”
Among those companies are “military contractors that provide military aircraft, missiles, and telecommunications support to the People’s Liberation Army,” the letter states. The federal officials specifically cited Hikvision, a Chinese technology firm that “manufactures surveillance equipment that China uses to oppress religious minorities.” 
They also cited investments in ZTE, a Chinese telecommunications corporation which they said is “engaged in a multi-year conspiracy to supply, build, and operate telecommunications networks in Iran using U.S.-origin equipment in violation of the U.S. trade embargo.”
ZTE, they said, has also violated U.S. sanction laws by shipping telecommunications equipment to North Korea.
In addition to security concerns, the letter states that the retirement board’s investments come at a time of “mounting uncertainty concerning the PRC’s relations with the rest of the world,” particularly as China faces potential sanctions and boycotts over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as its “suppression of Hong Kong’s democracy,” its “gross human rights violations,” and its flouting of U.S. sanctions in Iran.
The letter asks that the board “carefully consider” the situation and possibly order the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust to “take swift action to protect” retirees whose money is being invested in China.
The officials have asked for a response by July 15.

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Hong Kong opens Beijing's new national security office as new policy goes into effect

Beijing on Wednesday opened its new national security office in Hong Kong, following the implementation of the central government’s new law that is widely being viewed as a way to strip the semi-autonomous territory and financial hub of its relative independence.
Also on Wednesday, Hong Kong’s education bureau announced that schools are no longer permitted to allow students to sing or listen to the protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong.” Last week, the city government outlawed the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time.”
Carrie Lam, the leader of Hong Kong, joined officials from the Chinese Communist Party, as well as her predecessors at the ceremony marking the opening of the Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong. 
The law follows months of protests in Hong Kong over an attempt last year to extradite some accused of crimes in the territory to the mainland to be tried in court. 
Under the new law, police now have the authority to conduct searches without warrants and order internet service providers and platforms to delete messages they believe don’t fall within the scope of what is allowed under the new legislation. The national security policy prohibits what Beijing sees as secessionist, subversive, or terrorist activities in Hong Kong.
Following the implementation of the new law, various tech companies, including Google, Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, and Zoom, said they would halt processing the requests for user data from Hong Kong law enforcement, as they companies work to understand the implications of the new policy.
On Tuesday, TikTok also stopped operations of its app in Hong Kong, disabling the download function from Hong Kong’s Apple and Google app stores.
The widespread fear among the global community, as well as pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong, is that the new law undermines the special freedoms Hong Kong has enjoyed since China took control of the city from the U.K. 23 years ago. The move by Beijing to limit the ability of Hong Kong citizens to offer public dissent is pushing the city away from their formerly Western-style of governing, and toward the mainland’s authoritarian regime. 

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AG Barr launches Operation Legend, federal crackdown on violent crime in U.S. cities

Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday announced the launch of Operation Legend, an effort to crackdown on spiking crime in American cities like Kansas City, where four-year-old LeGend Taliferro was fatally shot in his bed last
Federal law enforcement agencies will work with state and local law enforcement to help tackle crime in U.S. cities.
“President Trump has made clear: the federal government stands ready and willing to assist any of our state and local law enforcement partners across the nation responding to violent crime. Operation Legend will combine federal and local resources to combat the disturbing uptick in violence by surging federal agents and other federal assets into cities like Kansas City, a city currently experiencing its worst homicide rate in its history,” Barr said in a statement included in a Department of Justice press release.
“The Department’s Operation Legend is named in honor of one of Kansas City’s youngest victims, four-year old LeGend Taliferro who was shot in the face while sleeping in his bed. LeGend’s death is a horrifying reminder that violent crime left unchecked is a threat to us all and cannot be allowed to continue,” Barr said.
At Barr’s direction agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF and U.S. Marshal Service will provide assistance to state and local officials in order to combat crime in Kansas City.
“As part of Operation Legend, Attorney General Barr directed federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshal Service, DEA and ATF to surge resources to Kansas City in the coming weeks to help state and local officials fight the surge of violent crime. They will be working alongside state and local law enforcement agencies. Department of Justice assets will include over 100 FBI agents, U.S. Marshals, DEA agents, and ATF agents,” according to the press release. 

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Brazil President Bolsonaro reportedly using hydroxychloroquine to treat his coronavirus infection

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro is reportedly expressing confidence that he’ll swiftly recover from the coronavirus by taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.
Bolsonaro announced earlier this week that he’d contracted the virus. Hydroxychloroquine has had mixed results in treating the virus. 
Brazil has the second-most number of reported virus infections and related deaths worldwide after the United States. The South American country has more than 1.6 million confirmed infections and roughly 66,740 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus resource center. 

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AG Barr launches Operation Legend, federal crackdown on violent crime in U.S. cities

Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday announced the launch of Operation Legend, an effort to crackdown on spiking crime in American cities like Kansas City, where four-year-old LeGend Taliferro was fatally shot in his bed last
Federal law enforcement agencies will work with state and local law enforcement to help tackle crime in U.S. cities.
“President Trump has made clear: the federal government stands ready and willing to assist any of our state and local law enforcement partners across the nation responding to violent crime. Operation Legend will combine federal and local resources to combat the disturbing uptick in violence by surging federal agents and other federal assets into cities like Kansas City, a city currently experiencing its worst homicide rate in its history,” Barr said in a statement included in a Department of Justice press release.
“The Department’s Operation Legend is named in honor of one of Kansas City’s youngest victims, four-year old LeGend Taliferro who was shot in the face while sleeping in his bed. LeGend’s death is a horrifying reminder that violent crime left unchecked is a threat to us all and cannot be allowed to continue,” Barr said.
At Barr’s direction agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF and U.S. Marshal Service will provide assistance to state and local officials in order to combat crime in Kansas City.
“As part of Operation Legend, Attorney General Barr directed federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshal Service, DEA and ATF to surge resources to Kansas City in the coming weeks to help state and local officials fight the surge of violent crime. They will be working alongside state and local law enforcement agencies. Department of Justice assets will include over 100 FBI agents, U.S. Marshals, DEA agents, and ATF agents,” according to the press release. 

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Most Americans say protest graffiti, statue vandalism, trespassing, looting are violent acts

​Most Americans say protest graffiti, monument vandalism and destroying private property are violent acts, according to a new Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen.
The results come amid a national debate about protesting tactics, following the May 25 death of African-American male George Floyd while in the custody Minneapolis police. Some observers have argued that property destruction does not amount to violence because it does not result in bodily harm.

Just the News Daily Poll
With Scott Rasmussen
A narrow plurality of voters believes that blocking traffic is a violent action, not a peaceful protest. Solid majorities believe all the other actions cited in the poll are violent.
“Some conservatives will see in these numbers proof that Americans view the protests themselves as violent rather than peaceful,” Rasmussen said, “and further, that the media is misleading people by claiming they are not.
“However, other polling I’ve conducted shows that voters are split right down the middle on whether the protests are peaceful (45%) or plagued by violence (46%). To some, that may seem like a contradiction. Solid majorities of voters say things like graffiti and destroying private property are violent actions and those actions are featured in most of the protests in the news. The difference may be in the perception of how big a role those violent actions played overall. For some, they are the primary feature of the protests. For others, they are the actions of a few troublemakers.”
Just the News Daily Poll respondents were asked “Please let me know if you consider each of the following to be part of a peaceful protest or if they are violent actions.” They responded as below:

 

Peaceful

Violent

Not Sure

Blocking traffic

40%

45%

15%

Painting graffiti on walls and buildings

23%

66%

12%

Destroying stores and private property

4%

91%

5%

Vandalism of public monuments and statues

12%

77%

12%

Throwing things at police officers

5%

86%

9%

Trespassing on private property

15%

68%

17%

The national survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted July 2-4, 2020 by Rasmussen, a polling veteran. Margin of sampling error: +/- 2.8% for full sample. 
To see the full demographic cross-tabulations for this polling question, click below:

To see the methodology and sample demographics for this polling question, click below:

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New York City students may return to classrooms in September, but not every weekday

New York City schools may reopen in September, but students will participate in a combination of in-person and remote learning as a consequence of the pandemic.
While all families will have the opportunity to opt for full-time remote academics, those who wish to send their children back to the classroom can do so, albeit for less than five days per week, officials said.
In order to facilitate social distancing the plan is to have smaller groups of students attend school just a few days each week—those pupils will engage in remote academics the remaining days.
The number of days in the classroom per week will vary depending on the school and the attendance model it selects but will allow students to attend in-person courses between one and three days per week.
The plan is contingent upon the conditions related to the coronavirus pandemic and will proceed “assuming the city continues to meet all necessary COVID-19 public health thresholds,” according to a press release.
In a tweet about the move, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took a dig at President Trump, who has been calling for schools to reopen. 
“What we WON’T do is ignore the science and recklessly charge ahead like our president,” de Blasio said. “We will do it the right way. We will keep everyone safe.”

“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!” President Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning.

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New York bail hearing for Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell now set for July 14

A New York judge has set the arraignment and bail hearing for long-time Jeffery Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell for July 14, follow earlier reports that Maxwell would appear before a court as early as Friday.
Maxwell is charges she recruited girls for Epstein to sexually abuse young women.
Maxwell will appear by video for an initial appearance in Manhattan federal court next week, said Judge Alison J. Nathan, according to the Associated Press.
Maxwell, a 58-year-old British socialite was arrested last week at a $1 million estate she bought months ago in New Hampshire.
Her lawyer did not return a message seeking comment, the wire service also reports. 
Prosecutors say they plan to ask that Maxwell be kept incarcerated pending trial on the grounds that she has the money, the overseas connections and the incentive to flee.
Maxwell has repeatedly denied engaging in abuse.
 
 
 

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Former Fox News Channel host Shepard Smith to begin anchoring a nightly newscast on CNBC this fall

Former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith will soon begin hosting a weekday news program on CNBC, the network announced Wednesday.
Smith, who previously worked at the Fox News Channel for more than two decades, will anchor “The News With Shepherd Smith” weeknights at 7 p.m. EST—the show will start this fall and air for one hour each night.
In addition to anchoring the nightly newscast he “will also assume the new roles of CNBC’s Chief General News Anchor and Chief Breaking General News Anchor as well as Executive Editor of The News with Shepard Smith,” according to the CNBC press release.
“Gathering and reporting the news has been my life’s work. I am honored to continue to pursue the truth, both for CNBC’s loyal viewers and for those who have been following my reporting for decades in good times and in bad,” Smith said in a statement.

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New evidence turned over to Flynn shows DOJ doubted criminal case against Trump adviser

Months before they approved a prosecution of Michael Flynn, senior Justice Department officials expressed skepticism in internal notes about the FBI’s continuing pursuit of the Trump national security adviser and the possibility of charging him with a crime, Just the News has learned.
The skepticism about whether Flynn intended to lie during an FBI interview or posed a national security threat was expressed in handwritten notes that were turned over Tuesday to Flynn’s defense team and the judge overseeing his case under a protective order, according to multiple sources.
The documents were discovered recently by U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen, who was specially appointed by Attorney General William Barr to review the conduct of the FBI and the DOJ in the Flynn case. They are the latest exculpatory materials — evidence that Flynn could have used to prove his innocence — that were withheld from his defense and only belatedly produced more than two years after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
The sources told Just the News the new documents included extensive notes taken by senior Justice Department official Tashina Gauhar, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, and former DOJ and FBI lawyer Dana Boente between January and March 2017, long before Flynn’s case was referred to Special Counsel Robert Mueller or Flynn reached a deal to plead guilty later that year.
The notes include records of a late January 2017 meeting where Flynn’s case was discussed by numerous senior FBI and DOJ officials. The meeting occurred nearly three weeks after the FBI agent who had investigated Flynn’s contacts with Russia, including ambassador Sergey Kislyak, had already concluded the Trump adviser had not engaged in any wrongdoing and that the five-month-long investigation should be closed down without any further action.
FBI supervisors overruled the agent and kept the case open, pivoting instead to the idea of seeking an interview with Flynn and pursuing a prosecution under the rarely used Logan Act.
According to sources who have seen the notes, Justice officials expressed skepticism that the Logan Act could be applied to Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition, and were told Flynn appeared to have been forthcoming and did not intend to lie to the FBI. The notes also make clear officials had ruled out Flynn as having acted improperly as an agent of Russia, the sources said.
The notes appear to support testimony previously given to Mueller by former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and former acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord, both of whom expressed concerns about the way the FBI was pursuing Flynn. Just the News reported on their testimony earlier this year.
Yates told Mueller that the FBI advised her that “Flynn was very accommodating” and that the “interviewing agents’ assessment was that Flynn showed no ‘tells’ of lying, and it was possible he really did not remember the substance of his calls with Ambassador Kislyak.”
McCord told Mueller’s prosecutors that “upon learning of Flynn’s phone calls with Ambassador Kislyak, a Logan Act prosecution seemed like a stretch to her.”
By Jan. 30, 2017, the FBI sent senior DOJ officials a memo declaring the bureau did not believe Flynn was acting as an agent of Russia, according to documents Mueller’s team belatedly turned over to Flynn’s lawyers.

Then-Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Matthew Axelrod also was interviewed by the Mueller team about the Flynn interactions and disclosed that Strzok “provided his view that Flynn appeared truthful during the interview,” an assessment “based more on Flynn’s mannerisms and lack of hesitation when answering questions as opposed to what Flynn actually said,” a summary of Axelrod’s interview stated.
Gauhar, an Obama-era holdover, has shown up in several prominent DOJ national security cases over the years, but her work on the Russia case mostly escaped public attention until last month when Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham included her name on a list of possible witnesses he may subpoena in his ongoing probe of the Russia case investigators.

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Cancel Culture targets Broadway hit 'Hamilton,' as racial politics grow more uncompromising

“Hamilton,” the Broadway play which for half a decade has been a nearly unsurpassed cultural phenomenon across the globe, may be on the verge of a denouement. 
The play, written and originally starring the actor and musician Lin-Manuel Miranda, took America and the world by storm when it debuted in 2015. Combining a clever, lightning-quick hip-hop musical score with an imaginative yet mostly faithful take on American history — and with the vast majority of the cast being made up of nonwhite actors — it would go on to win nearly a dozen Tony awards as well as a Pulitzer Prize. 
Inspired by historian Ron Chernow’s exhaustive biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, Miranda’s play depicts Hamilton’s role in the American Revolution and its immediate aftermath, including his actions as a soldier and aide-de-camp to George Washington during the Revolutionary War, his turn as Washington’s Treasury Secretary, his relationship with his wife Elizabeth, the death of his son, and his own eventual death in a duel with Aaron Burr. 
The production has spawned a franchise — including an album, merchandise, and books — that has grossed over $1 billion worldwide. A filmed version of the play, released this month on the streaming service Disney+, has been met with acclaim. The show has been so highly regarded that New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley once suggested that people should “mortgage their houses and lease their children” to see it. 
Yet a growing chorus of voices may be turning on both the play and the man who produced it. The ongoing political moment in which America finds itself — where the dictates of Black Lives Matter have become something of a moral litmus test, and every aspect of American culture and history is under unforgiving scrutiny by ideologues and activists — may ring down the curtain on perhaps the premier cultural touchstone of the 21st century so far. 
At issue for a growing number of activists is the contention that Miranda’s play largely glosses over the issue of slavery in 18th century America. Numerous historical characters in the production — George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson — in real life owned significant numbers of slaves; the play more or less skates around these facts, and it goes to great lengths to portray Washington in an almost hagiographic light. 
Hamilton, too, is subject to a similar sort of hagiography, even though his historical relevance largely comes from his service to Washington the slaveowner. Hamilton was an outspoken and committed abolitionist, but he appears to have had few compunctions about working for Washington and with other slavers. Moreover, there is evidence that he may have facilitated some slavery transactions for his wife’s slaveowning family. 
Those tensions, which were mostly ignored in the early years of the play’s meteoric success, are becoming more apparent today, as the nation engages in a protracted debate about whether we should rip down statues of not just Confederate generals but Founding Fathers and even Union heroes of the Civil War as well. 
Writing at CNN last week, journalist Ed Morales asked: “Is [Hamilton’s] strategy of non-traditional casting a triumph that allows people of color to ‘rise up’ or are they undermined by the irony of how their embodiment as founding fathers ignores the fact that most of the characters they play were slave owners?”
Writer Tracy Clayton, meanwhile, wrote last week that “Hamilton” is “a flawed play about flawed people written by an imperfect person,” though she claimed it gave her life “a big boost” when she first saw it. She wrote that she “would have appreciated more context [in the play] about hamilton & slavery,” but she counseled against “lump[ing] it in with statues of columbus and robert e lee.”

Earlier this month, a 2016 interview with Harvard historian Annette Gordon-Reed resurfaced in which the professor, who confessed she liked the play, nevertheless argued against interpreting Hamilton in too charitable a light.
“He was not an abolitionist,” Gordon-Reed said. “He bought and sold slaves for his in-laws, and opposing slavery was never at the forefront of his agenda.
Esquire this week, meanwhile, echoed that criticism by noting that “Hamilton’s actual relationship to slavery and slave owners was much more complex, and not as progressive as the play depicts.”
Washington Post writer Gregory Schneider argued last week that Hamilton’s “relationship with Washington, his marriage into the wealthy Schuyler family, his slaveholding friends — all advanced him socially while requiring him to turn his head from the toughest issue of the day.”
Miranda’s office did not respond to an interview request from Just the News. But the artist was clearly well aware of the growing backlash against his most famous work — a backlash which includes criticism that he has uttered the word the N-word on more than one occasion. On Monday, he briefly and favorably acknowledged the burgeoning reevaluation of his play.
“All the criticisms are valid,” he wrote on Twitter, responding to Clayton’s thread. “The sheer tonnage of complexities & failings of these people I couldn’t get. Or wrestled with but cut.”
“I took 6 years and fit as much as I could in a 2.5 hour musical. Did my best. It’s all fair game,” he added.

Whether that will be enough to save his show from “cancelation” remains to be seen, and may very well be determined by the course of American politics in 2020: If Black Lives Matter continues its dominating march through American academic, cultural, corporate, legal and political life, it may end up that Miranda’s play will get the axe due to its relative soft-pedaling of American slavery.
Reflecting on the difference between the 2015 of the play’s release and the 2020 of today,  Clayton observed, “Hamilton the play and the movie were given to us in two different worlds.”
“Our willingness to interrogate things in this way,” she continued, “feels like a clear sign of change.”

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Delaware, New Jersey hold primaries, with Democrats targeting party jumper Van Drew's House seat

Delaware and New Jersey on Tuesday hold their 2020 primary elections, with balloting mostly by mail as a result of the coronavirus. Among the most closely watched races will be the reelection bid of Democrat-turned-Republican New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew.
The first-term congressman switched parties in December 2019, after the Democrat-controlled House’s impeachment vote on President Trump. The move, as expected, opened a floodgate of Democratic primary bids to win the south Jersey congressional seat.
Delaware is the home state of presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who has already won enough delegates to secure the party nomination at next month’s nominating convention in Milwaukee. 
The Delaware primary will be the first in which all registered voters in the state can vote from home. New Jersey has mailed ballots to the state’s 2.3 million registered Democrats and 1.3 million Republicans, and ballot applications to 2.4 million unaffiliated registered voters, according to The New York Times. 
The state’s primaries are “closed,” which means voters must be a registered member of a party to vote.
As with most primaries since the pandemic hit in March and most balloting being done by mail, at least some of the results of Tuesday’s elections won’t be known for at least a week.
The top Democratic primary candidates for Van Drew’s seat include Amy Kennedy, who married into the Kennedy political family and who reportedly has the backing of Democrat Gov. Philip D. Murphy, progressives and labor unions. Kennedy is also a mental health advocate and former teacher.
Another contender is Brigid Callahan Harrison, a college professor who reportedly has the backing of Democratic Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez. Booker is also facing reelection this year and is expected to win easily Tuesday and in November.
Van Drew is facing two primary challengers – including former George W. Bush speech writer Robert Patterson – but is widely expected to win.

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Frederick Douglass Foundation chairman suggests Dem Party more systemically racist than police

The conservative head of a foundation honoring the famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass is rejecting the notion that systemic racism pervades America’s police forces, suggesting instead there is more evidence of systemic racism in the liberal bastions of the Democratic Party and Planned Parenthood.
During an interview on the “John Solomon Reports” podcast, Kevin McGary, the chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of California, questioned the claim that systemic racism prevails among police when so many minorities populate law enforcement’s ranks.

Instead, he said that the description of systemic racism could be applied to the Democratic Party, which he said “started slavery and segregation and to this very day they actually encourage the black genocide of black babies.” He also said that “all of their upper echelon, meaning in the House and the Senate, are white, and has been for decades, many decades, probably forever.”
He said that a “sincere leftist-Marxist” would express opposition to the Democratic Party.
“But if you’re sincere you would immediately begin to march on Washington against the Democrat Party. At the very least you would say, we want reparations, not from the U.S. in general but from the Democrat Party. They’re the party that precipitated all this,” he said.
Discussing the late founder of Planned Parenthood, McGary said that Margaret Sanger’s “racial hatred towards blacks is unparalleled” and he said that “her organization specifically targets to this very day black babies” through its abortion programs.
McGary said that while black women of child-bearing age make up a small proportion of the population, a significant quantity, “over 90 percent in some estimates, of Planned Parenthood and affiliates are actually in the black community. Why? Why would you put all of your sites in the black community for a three percent demographic? This makes no sense,” he said.
Planned Parenthood has long defended its founder, Sanger, who was a proponent of the turn-of-the-century science movement known as eugenics that advocated breeding humans with superior qualities. Sanger’s writings included statements such as “the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective” and that “we do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”
Planned Parenthood has said it does not believe Sanger’s comments were meant to be racist and noted Martin Luther King Jr. was accepted an award in Sanger’s name.
McGary predicted that during the upcoming 2020 presidential election President Trump will secure a larger share of support from black voters than he earned during the 2016 election cycle.
Regarding the key question that will characterize this year’s election, he remarked, “The question is: Do you want the ideal of America, the free, the righteous, the just-type America or do you want a new sort of reimagined America that embraces something that is anathema to our Constitution, that would be Marxism.”

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Trump topped Biden in 2020 primary vote turnout in key swing states like Florida, Ohio

While an imperfect predictive measure, President Trump defeated rival Joe Biden in 2020 primary vote turnout for key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, even after Biden had essentially sewn up his Democratic Party’s nomination.
Citing the strong turnout for Trump in the primaries, his campaign sees an enthusiasm and base intensity gap favorable for the president, as the Democratic Party has been locked in fierce internecine battle dating back to at least the 2016 presidential race.
In Pennsylvania, Trump earned 934,524 votes this year, compared to 914,904 for Biden, according to the Associated Press. In Ohio, Biden earned 623,186 votes compared to a reported 682,843 for Trump.
In the supposed “blue wall” state of Wisconsin, Biden earned 581,611 votes compared to 616,705 for Trump, and though Democratic rival candidate Bernie Sanders earned 293,652 votes, those Sanders voters were not reliably loyal to the Democratic Party, as shown by 2016.
“In 2016, about 216,000 Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin voters backed the Vermont senator in the spring and Trump in the fall, according to an analysis of exit polling — well over twice the president’s total margin of victory in those states, which were critical to his electoral vote win in the face of a decisive popular vote loss,” reported NBC’s Shannon Pettypiece.
In Florida, Trump won 1.163 million votes, compared to Biden’s 1.077 million, although 397,091 Floridians voted for Sanders and 255,764 voted for other Democrats. Yet an ABC News/Washington Post poll found 15% of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 supporters will vote for President Donald Trump’s reelection, and 80% of Sanders’ supporters said they would back Biden over Trump, leading to questions of whether many Sanders primary voters would stay home for the general election.
The Biden campaign did not respond to request for comment from Just the News.
“I think that there’s a real excitement around the president,” Boris Epshteyn, Trump 2020 campaign strategist and former Trump White House aide, told Just the News in an interview. “It’s very important to report it correctly. And a lot of the media — overwhelming majority of the media — got it wrong in 2016. And they’re doing it now.”
The Trump campaign noted that the president attracted record-breaking support in 2020 primary election voting when compared to recent incumbent presidents of either party seeking re-election. Trump received more votes than former President Barack Obama did in 2012 (the year Obama ran for re-election) in 23 of the 27 states which have held primaries in both 2020 and 2012. In many cases, Trump received two or three times Obama’s totals. Trump has also received more votes than former President George W. Bush when the Texan was seeking re-election in 2004.    
Trump also has historic support within his own party, so far winning more than two million more votes than his total in the 2016 primaries — a new record for the most votes ever cast for an incumbent president. Trump has also set dozens of records for votes cast for incumbent presidents in their respective state party primaries and has won more than 94% of all votes cast in the Republican primaries.
The Trump campaign also noted Biden’s vote share in Democratic primaries underwhelmed even after rival Sanders dropped out of the race. Despite being unopposed by any active candidates, Biden earned barely half of the vote in some contests. In his best primary, he received less than five of every six Democrat votes, with most states falling somewhere in between. Notably, one of the two primaries held in late June was almost as bad for Biden as his first one as the presumed nominee two-and-a-half months ago.

“Joe Biden is not excited about his own candidacy,” Epshteyn said. “He doesn’t have the stamina to run a campaign, let alone the presidency. And it takes a lot of stamina. And you look what President Trump’s putting in, you know, 20-plus-hour days working for this country, achieving so much for this country. What’s Joe Biden going to be able to do between his sleep and his naps and wondering about what day it is? And I’m not trying to make fun of the guy. You just compare Joe Biden, you compare Donald Trump. Which person would you want run running a county, let alone a country, right? Joe Biden just doesn’t have the stamina. He doesn’t have the strength. He doesn’t have the alacrity. He doesn’t have what it takes to be president.”

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Roger Stone asks appeals court to keep him out of prison a while longer

Attorneys for Roger Stone have requested an emergency stay of District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s ruling that directs the 67-year old to report to federal prison camp by July 14.
Stone, Donald Trump’s friend and former political adviser, is attempting to get a federal appeals court to postpone the 40-month prison sentence that he faces after being convicted of attempting to thwart a congressional investigation into collusion between Russia and the president’s 2016 campaign. 
Stone’s legal team says that he suffers from an undisclosed medical condition that makes him highly susceptible to the coronavirus, should he catch it, and that his odds of contracting the illness in prison are high. The complex in Georgia where he is supposed to report is presently experiencing about ten cases among inmates and staff.
Prosecutors reportedly do not oppose Stone’s request to Judge Jackson to delay his reporting date. However, the latest legal filing indicates that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in DC has informed his lawyers that they are opposed to getting the appeals court involved.
President Trump has said before that Stone shouldn’t worry about being sent to prison, predicting that his friend will be exonerated by the legal system; and, should that fail, POTUS has hinted that a pardon or commutation may be on the horizon. 
Stone has publicly shared that he suffers from asthma and a history of respiratory medical issues. However, his court filed medical history was put under seal. Prior to last week’s ruling by Jackson, Stone said that he faced “certain” death in prison because of the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus.
Online, Stone maintains that he was [sic] “charged on politically motivated ,fabricated charges and was denied a fair trial with an unbiased judge,an honest jury and uncorrupted and non political prosecutors.”

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After sending 1000s of COVID patients into nursing homes, New York blames deaths on 'infected staff'

New York officials issue a report this week concluding that the high number of coronavirus deaths in state care facilities was the result of infected workers, not sick residents, spreading the contagion.
New York has face sharp criticism over the past several months for its policy of allowing COVID-19-positive patients to return to nursing homes before they were declared free of the virus.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state policy of allowing residents to return to elderly-care facilities was in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, PolitiFact in May rated that claim “mostly false,” pointing out the state appeared to pressure nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients regardless of whether they could properly house them.
The report by the New York Department of Health states that “an analysis of the timing between known nursing home staff infections and nursing home fatalities indicates that they are correlated.” It also states that “the peak number of nursing home staff reporting COVID-19 symptoms occurred 23 days prior to the date of the peak nursing home fatalities.”
The data “does not support [the] assertion” that infected patients were the spreaders of the disease, the department argues. 
“Nursing home resident fatalities peaked on April 8, 2020,” the paper states. “The peak of nursing home admissions from hospitals did not occur until April 14, 2020, a week after peak nursing home fatalities – suggesting the policy was not the cause.”
The report also argues that “most patients readmitted to nursing homes were likely not infectious,” claiming that they would likely have spent enough time in the hospital to have entered a non-infectious stage of the disease. 
Data also “do not show a consistent relationship between admissions and increased mortality,” the report says, adding that “there were cases where nursing homes did not admit any COVID-positive patients, yet still had a high number of COVID-related deaths.”
The report states that any staff who spread the disease did so “through no fault of their own,” insofar as they would have been unaware they were infectious while working.

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Black Lives Matter Foundation must stop soliciting donation in NY, says state AG

A state attorney general in New York says that the Black Lives Matter Foundation must immediately stop seeking donations from New Yorkers who believe the organization is affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement.
The foundation is a California-based company that is not registered in New York as a charitable organization, which makes it illegal to collect donations from inside the state, New York Attorney General Letitia James said Monday.
“Every organization that seeks to solicit donations from New Yorkers must follow state laws. We will also fight for transparency so that donors’ goodwill isn’t preyed upon by opportunists,” James also said. “The Black Lives Matter Foundation failed to register or file any financial documents with the state, and therefore, has failed to provide New Yorkers with information on how their donations will be used.”
The foundation, which is listed as a nonprofit with a singular employee and a UPS store as its address, raised more than $4 million following the May 25 death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. The majority of those funds have now been frozen as the foundation came under scrutiny.
Many donors have given to the foundation in recent weeks thinking that they were contributing to the organization whose cause is to end police brutality. Companies including Apple, Microsoft and Google have recently made donation to the Black Lives Matter Foundation. 

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China uses phone malware to spy on Uyghurs living abroad, cyber-investigator says

Chinese hackers are spying on Uyghur Muslims around the world, using malware that collects personal information from cell phones, a cybersecurity investigator told Just the News.
The malware lurks inside phone applications that are popular among Uyghurs living in 14 countries, said Kristin Del Rosso, senior security intelligence engineer at Lookout, the San Francisco-based company that found the harmful software. 
The applications — codenamed GoldenEagle, SilkBean, DoubleAgent, and CarbonSteal — were found on one type of system, but could exist on others, Del Rosso said.
“The families we have described (GoldenEagle, SilkBean, DoubleAgent, and CarbonSteal) have only been seen on Android at the moment,” Del Rosso said. “It is possible there is an iOS component, however we do not have data to definitively confirm that.”
The hackers have spied on their targets at least since 2013, according to a statement from the Lookout company. The malware targets Tibetans, but mainly spies on Uyghurs, the company said.
The Uyghurs are an ethnic minority living in Central Asia, in territory known by Uyghurs as East Turkistan and by Beijing officials as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.
Primarily Muslim, the Turkic-speaking Uyghurs have lived in the region for some 4,000 years. In 1949, their territory was absorbed by Communist China. 
In recent years, the international community has denounced China for holding more than 1 million Uyghurs and members of other ethnic groups captive, locking them inside concentration camps under brutal conditions. 
Communist Chinese officials reportedly keep close tabs on Uyghurs living inside the autonomous region. Three years ago, though, an exile group warned that Beijing also would use technology to spy on Uyghurs living abroad.
“Email and the internet have created new opportunities to monitor the activities of Uyghur activists, who find themselves frequently targeted by attempts to gain access to their communications,” said the Uyghur American Association in a 2017 statement. “This makes communicating with Uyghurs still in China very risky, as phone calls can be monitored more easily than in the past.”
The warning was accurate, according to the cybersecurity engineer.
“We knew there was already surveillance-ware targeting the region and Uyghur individuals, so hunting around characteristics of that malware or apps that might appeal to that audience provided the foothold into a much larger investigation,” Del Rosso said.
The company searched more than 100 million apps in its dataset, and found malware families with suspicious permissions and capabilities. 
“After uncovering these malware families, we were able to connect them together by reverse engineering their code and closely studying their command and control infrastructure and signing certificates,” Del Rosso said.
In a report on its investigation, Lookout wrote that the applications likely were implanted through target phishing and fake third-party app stores. Based on the languages the apps were written in, investigators concluded that targets were being spied on in 14 countries. These include France, Kuwait, Egypt, Saudia Arabia, Turkey, and Syria. 
The systems appear to align with Chinese security directives, the Lookout report stated. 
The report follows recent press accounts that China has committed atrocities against ethnic Uyghurs. The alleged abuses include forced sterilization, mass incarceration, and torture. 
In June, President Trump signed into law a human rights policy act imposing sanctions for human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region, and mandating U.S. government reports on the topic. 
On Monday, Uyghur exiles reportedly asked the International Criminal Court to investigate China for genocide and human rights abuses against the ethnic minority.

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McConnell: 'I believe there will be’ one last COVID-19 stimulus package passed in the Senate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expects Congress will present one more coronavirus relief package when voting resumes July 20 in his chamber but said passage will depend on whether such a measure includes liability protections for businesses, hospitals, health care professionals and others.
“For us to have a normal situation across the country, it seems to me the next package, if there is one, and I believe there will be one, must contain the following: number one: liability protection, and this is not just for businesses,” McConnell said during an event at the Dare to Care Food Bank in Kentucky on Monday.
“This is for hospitals, doctors, nurses, non-profits, universities, colleges, K through 12 so that people who acted in good faith during this crisis are not confronted with a second epidemic of lawsuits in the wake of the pandemic that we’re already struggling with,” he added. “We cannot be back to normal if we have an epidemic of lawsuits.”
McConnell also said children need to be able to return to school in the fall.
“We cannot have a normal country if kids aren’t back in school and kids and jobs are directly related,” he said. “That will be part of any package I craft and we take up in the Senate for debate, to do whatever we can to help America get back to normal and right at the top of the list is kids in school – parents are literally petrified of the possibility of kids not being back.”
McConnell announced that the theme of the next stimulus package that he’s “likely to roll out” in the next few weeks would be “liability reform, kids in school, jobs and health care — that’s where the focus, it seems to me, ought to be.”
The Kentucky Republican said the bill would “start” in his office and hopefully gain bipartisan support along the way.
“In consultation with the administration and also with Senate Democrats we’ll be moving forward in all likelihood sometime during the month of July,” he said.
The Senate returns for votes on July 20.
The last coronavirus stimulus package the Senate passed was the $2.2 trillion CARES Act. The House passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act in May that included federal assistance for state and local governments, stimulus payments for illegal immigrants who have recently filed taxes and expanding mail voting provisions for the November election such as requiring states to mail out ballots to every register voter. Senate Republicans oppose the bill in its current form.
Speaking at a different event in Kentucky, McConnell said that the fourth coronavirus package would be the last one.
“This will have to be the last rescue package because we now have a debt the size of our economy for the first time since World War II. We cannot keep doing this,” he said.
McConnell signaled that direct payments might also be part of the fourth package. 
“I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less. Many of them work in the hospitality industry. The hospitality industry, as all of you know, just got rim-racked — hotels, restaurants — and so that could well be a part of it,” he said.
“I can’t comfortably predict we’re going to come together and pass it unanimously like we did a few months ago,” he also said. “The atmosphere has become more political than it was in March but I think we will do something. The country needs one last boost.”
McConnell also urged Americans to wear a mask in public.
“The single most important thing that each of us can do as individuals to not only protect ourselves but our colleagues is to wear a mask,” he said.

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Scott Rasmussen: Why Trump's loyal base can actually hurt his reelection chances

In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has tried to maximize support among the white voters to rally his base.
He’s pushed hard to reopen the economy and to present himself as the “law and order” president by defending American heritage.

More info is available here: 

And the numbers show it.
Of those who say they will vote for Trump, 91% think he will win re-election. Among supporters of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, only 81% say they believe the former vice president will emerge victorious. 
Trump has a strong base, but it’s not big enough for him to win the election. To clinch victory, he will have to win over Independents and others who are at least more confident in Trump than Biden to handle the epic topics of our day — the economy, combating the coronavirus, and dealing with racial inequality.
Scott Rasmussen talks about Trump’s reelection chances in his new Number of the Day podcast.

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Brazilian President Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday during a national broadcast that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus
“Everyone knew that it would reach a considerable part of the population sooner or later,” he said, after taking the test Monday. “It was positive for me.”
He reassured supporters that his lungs were “clean,” but warned people not to get too close to him. 
Brazil is second only to the U.S. worldwide in reported virus cases and related deaths. 
Bolsonaro previously called the sometimes deadly virus, just a “little flu.” He often appeared in public and at rallies without a mask, sometimes hugging his supporters. He has continued to encourage his country to reopen, and has been critical of social distancing and shelter-in-place measures.
In March, Bolsonaro tested negative for the virus following a meeting with President Trump, after which several of Bolsonaro’s entourage members tested positive. 
More than 65,000 people have died in Brazil of the virus, and more than 1.6 million cases have been confirmed so far, according to the country’s health ministry. 

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Federal Judge order Dakota Access Pipeline to be shutdown, emptied

A federal judge has ordered the shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline while an environmental review is conducted. The judge also ordered that the pipeline must be emptied by August 5.
The judge found that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated “the National Environmental Policy Act when it granted an easement” for the pipeline’s construction. 
Judge James Boasberg wrote Monday in a 24-page order legal precedent and “the seriousness of the corps’ deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow for the thirteen months that the corps believes the creation of an EIS will take.”
The review must be completed inside of 30 days, according to the order. The pipeline has been operation for three years. It carries oil from North Dakota to an oil terminal in Illinois, through South Dakota and Iowa. The pipeline’s route crosses underneath the Missouri River, which runs up against the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation that lies on the border between North and South Dakota. 
The initial construction of the $3.8 billion pipeline yielded months of (sometimes violent) protests. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe uses water from the Missouri River and fears that the pipeline will pollute the source. 
In 2018, the Army Corps of Engineers said that a study that it had completed determined that the pipeline posed no significant environmental threats.
In 2017, Judge Boasberg ruled that the corps “largely complied” with the proper environmental law when okaying the pipeline, but ordered a continued review. He ultimately ruled that the corps didn’t adequately assess how an oil spill under the Missouri River could impact the tribe’s fishing and hunting rights.

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Scott Rasmussen: Why Trump's loyal base can actually hurt his reelection chances

In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has tried to maximize support among the white voters to rally his base.
He’s pushed hard to reopen the economy and to present himself as the “law and order” president by defending American heritage.

More info is available here: 

And the numbers show it.
Of those who say they will vote for Trump, 91% think he will win re-election. Among supporters of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, only 81% say they believe the former vice president will emerge victorious. 
Trump has a strong base, but it’s not big enough for him to win the election. To clinch victory, he will have to win over Independents and others who are at least more confident in Trump than Biden to handle the epic topics of our day — the economy, combating the coronavirus, and dealing with racial inequality.
Scott Rasmussen talks about Trump’s reelection chances in his new Number of the Day podcast.

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Grassley urges 'deep state' prosecutions before election, calls on Durham to release findings

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley is urged the federal government to prosecute the purported “deep state” conspirators within its ranks – arguing that it would be “sad” if such action was delayed until after the November presidential election and calling on U.S. Attorney John Durham to release the results of his investigations into alleged federal misconduct. 
Durham, who serves the District of Connecticut, is conducting a probe into whether federal investigators violated government policy and statute in the course of its Trump-Russia investigation, led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
In a tweet on Monday, Grassley, a Republican, appeared to demand that Durham release his current findings of that investigation. He also lament over the possibility that prosecutions of alleged federal wrongdoers might only take place after the 2020 presidential race. 
“IF NO PROSECUTIONS TIL AFTER ELECTIONS SAD SAD,” Grassley tweeted.
The extent to which the FBI appeared to mishandle the alleged Russia collusion probe emerged in recent weeks and months with the release of recently declassified documents that led the Justice Department to move to drop its case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in the probe to lying. 
“just think Flynn Mueller Impeachment/ The deep state is so deep that ppl get away w political crimes/Durham shld be producing some fruit of his labor,” he continued. 

Attorney Genera William Barr last month said that he expects “some developments” in the case “hopefully before the end of summer.”

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Trump administration wants schools open, says 'CDC never recommended school closures' during COVID

President Trump is leading a White House roundtable Tuesday with teachers, administrators and students to discuss the reopening of classrooms in keeping with coronavirus guidelines, arguing that schools may have been overly cautious in their shutdown approaches.
“It’s really critically important to get our schools open,” a senior administration official told reporters prior to the afternoon roundtable. “I think it’s worth noting that CDC, actually, in its guidances, we never recommended through the pandemic – in March, April, and May – that actually that schools close. Those were local-jurisdictional decisions that were made. We do believe there are a variety of strategies that schools can adopt that really minimize the risk, and then can open these schools quite safely. And I think that’s really the intent here.”
The official said that reason that the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention never recommended school closures was that, “We didn’t feel that was really an effective public-health strategy that needed to be operationalized.” 
In a CDC report issued earlier this year, the agency stated: “There is a role for school closure in response to school-based cases of COVID-19 for decontamination and contact tracing (few days of closure), in response to significant absenteeism of staff and students (short to medium length, i.e. 2-4 weeks of closure), or as part of a larger community mitigation strategy for jurisdictions with substantial community spread (medium to long length, i.e. 4-8 weeks or more of closure).”
Administration officials said they wanted to implement a “holistic” approach to re-opening schools that would also ensure the safety of the community, particularly those at risk for COVID-19 infection.
The administration Tuesday afternoon will also host Dr. Sally Goza from the American Academy Of Pediatrics, who is expected to share perspective on an AAP report released about a week ago.
“The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school,” the AAP reported stated. The White House will also host a panel with Health and Human Services Secretary Azar and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that will be led by Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force team. 
A senior administration official also noted that schools received more than $13 billion to help them respond to the COVID-19 situation, as part of the virus-related, federal spending measure known as the CARES Act. 
That funding was highly flexible in its uses, whether to support provision of distance education and remote learning services, or to maintain the continuity of services in the physical building.
The administration also noted that state, local, and tribal leaders received about $150 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund that also are flexible dollars that can be prioritized in ways that recipients deem best use. 
“We’re going to provide folks with resources – both the dollars that we’ve referenced, but also help identify best practices, which the CDC has done, but also other organizations have done as well – to make sure that this can be done safely moving forward,” a senior administration official told Just the News.

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Florida orders all schools to reopen in August

Florida has ordered that all schools reopen their campuses in August – a major departure from nationwide education policy as many public officials continue to debate whether to return to the classroom in the fall in any capacity. 
Schools were first among the first U.S. institutions to shutter as the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, with state governors ordering the shutdowns at first for several weeks, then in most cases through the end of the school year. 
As fall now approaches, state officials have been reluctant to consider reopening classrooms, amid growing evidence that children are less likely to contract and spread the disease and are equally unlikely to experience severe infections if they do get sick. 
In Florida on Monday, state Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran issued an executive order directing “all school boards and charter school governing boards [to] open brick and mortar schools at least five days per week for all students” in August. 
Corcoran cited what he said was the “need to open schools fully to ensure the quality and continuity of the educational process, the comprehensive well being of students and families and a return to Florida hitting its full economic stride.”
The commissioner further ordered that schools throughout the state “must provide the full array of services that are required by law so that families who wish to educate their children in a brick and mortar school full time have the opportunity to do so.” 
He noted that the state would be relaxing its “strict compliance” expectations for normal reporting practices during the reopening process. 
Schools, Corcoran argued, “are not just the site of academic learning.”
“[S]chools provide many services to students that are critical to the well-being of students and families,” he said, “such as nutrition, socialization, counseling, and extra-curricular activities.”

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Capitol Hill cashes in on coronavirus loans, PPP money goes to congressional members, foundations

Millions of dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program passed this spring on Capitol Hill, then signed by President Trump have gone to groups linked to influential congressional caucuses and their members. 
The PPP was established as part of the Congress’ Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, passed in response to the economic crisis created by the virus pandemic and economic shutdown through much of the country. 
Among the Capitol Hill-related groups to get the money were the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, all received loans of at least $350,000, according to a report released Monday by the Small Business Administration. 
Unemployment reached historic levels in April and May as millions of Americans filed for benefits after being let go from their jobs. The PPP offers loans to help businesses cover their payroll expenses, with the loans being potentially forgivable if recipients keep their employees on-staff and do not reduce their wages. 
Yet numerous have also gone to companies run by members of Congress.
Republican Rep. Mike Kelly received as much as $3 million in loans to help cover payroll at his car dealerships in Pennsylvania. Texas Democratic House candidate Christine Mann was given a nearly-$30,000 loan to help cover her campaign expenses while she worked in the medical field during the coronavirus pandemic. 
The government last week extended the window in which one can apply for a loan under the program, giving potential borrowers until August to request funds. 
Unemployment remains above 11% throughout the country according to the latest numbers. Some public officials have suggested that future coronavirus spikes or outbreaks could necessitate additional economic shutdowns, a decision that would likely send the unemployment rate spiraling upwards again. 

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Florida orders all schools to reopen in August

Florida has ordered that all schools reopen their campuses in August – a major departure from nationwide education policy as many public officials continue to debate whether to return to the classroom in the fall in any capacity. 
Schools were first among the first U.S. institutions to shutter as the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, with state governors ordering the shutdowns at first for several weeks, then in most cases through the end of the school year. 
As fall now approaches, state officials have been reluctant to consider reopening classrooms, amid growing evidence that children are less likely to contract and spread the disease and are equally unlikely to experience severe infections if they do get sick. 
In Florida on Monday, state Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran issued an executive order directing “all school boards and charter school governing boards [to] open brick and mortar schools at least five days per week for all students” in August. 
Corcoran cited what he said was the “need to open schools fully to ensure the quality and continuity of the educational process, the comprehensive well being of students and families and a return to Florida hitting its full economic stride.”
The commissioner further ordered that schools throughout the state “must provide the full array of services that are required by law so that families who wish to educate their children in a brick and mortar school full time have the opportunity to do so.” 
He noted that the state would be relaxing its “strict compliance” expectations for normal reporting practices during the reopening process. 
Schools, Corcoran argued, “are not just the site of academic learning.”
“[S]chools provide many services to students that are critical to the well-being of students and families,” he said, “such as nutrition, socialization, counseling, and extra-curricular activities.”

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Capitol Hill cashes in on coronavirus loans, PPP money goes to congressional members, foundations

Millions of dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program passed this spring on Capitol Hill, then signed by President Trump have gone to groups linked to influential congressional caucuses and their members. 
The PPP was established as part of the Congress’ Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, passed in response to the economic crisis created by the virus pandemic and economic shutdown through much of the country. 
Among the Capitol Hill-related groups to get the money were the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, all received loans of at least $350,000, according to a report released Monday by the Small Business Administration. 
Unemployment reached historic levels in April and May as millions of Americans filed for benefits after being let go from their jobs. The PPP offers loans to help businesses cover their payroll expenses, with the loans being potentially forgivable if recipients keep their employees on-staff and do not reduce their wages. 
Yet numerous have also gone to companies run by members of Congress.
Republican Rep. Mike Kelly received as much as $3 million in loans to help cover payroll at his car dealerships in Pennsylvania. Texas Democratic House candidate Christine Mann was given a nearly-$30,000 loan to help cover her campaign expenses while she worked in the medical field during the coronavirus pandemic. 
The government last week extended the window in which one can apply for a loan under the program, giving potential borrowers until August to request funds. 
Unemployment remains above 11% throughout the country according to the latest numbers. Some public officials have suggested that future coronavirus spikes or outbreaks could necessitate additional economic shutdowns, a decision that would likely send the unemployment rate spiraling upwards again. 

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Deutsche Bank fined $150 million for failing to properly monitor Epstein's accounts and transactions

Deutsche Bank was fined $150 million on Tuesday and told that its “mistakes and sloppiness” allowed Jeffrey Epstein to conduct millions of dollars in business that should have been met with higher levels of scrutiny.
Officials say the bank’s “significant compliance failures” led to Epstein being able to executive hundreds of transactions worth millions of dollars that should have been watched much more closely.
The fine makes Deutsche Bank the first financial institution to meet consequences pertaining to its dealings with Epstein. 
The late multi-millionaire, who died in prison last August while awaiting trial on federal charges of sex-trafficking, used Deutsche Bank to send payments to people who were known Epstein co-conspirators. Regulators say Deutsche Bank failed to monitor Epstein’s account activity “despite ample information that was publicly available” pertaining to his criminal record. 
“Our reputation is out most valuable asset and we deeply regret our association with Epstein,” said a statement from the bank.
In 2006, Epstein was the subject of a federal investigation involving accusations that he sexually abused underage girls at his homes in Manhattan and Florida. Eventually, he signed a non-prosecution deal and served a mere 13 months in a Florida state prison. 
In 2013, despite his criminal history, Deutsche Bank onboarded Epstein and then proceeded to “detect or prevent millions of dollars of suspicious transactions,” said Linda Lacewell, New York State DFS superintendent. 
The Epstein situation is just the latest regulatory trouble of Deutsche Bank’s. In 2017, Germany’s largest bank was slapped with $630 million in penalties from New York State over a $10 billion Russian money-laundering debacle, in which it is alleged that the bank did not properly handle a stock-trading plot that allowed Russian clients to shift huge amounts of money into offshore accounts.
In 2016, the bank settled with the United States Justice Department for $7.2 billion following an investigation in to no-good mortgage assets. One year before that, Deutsche agreed to fork over $2.5 billion because they were manipulating the interest rate. 
Additionally, according to reports in the New York Times, the bank was the largest lender to President Donald Trump at the time of his election in 2016. The bank is presently embroiled in a Supreme Court case to determine whether the bank will be forced to respond to subpoenas compelling the institution to disclose the president’s financial records. 

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Trump administration withdrawing U.S. from World Health Organization

The Trump administration has reportedly withdrawn the U.S. from the World Health Organization.
The move, which President Trump has for months suggested he would make, was reported first by The Hill newspaper and later confirmed by a senior administration official. 
The president and other world leaders have been critical of how the United Nations-affiliated WHO handled information related to the start of the coronavirus in China. 
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez tweeted that Congress has been informed about the withdrawal, a move he sharply criticized.
“Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic,” the senator tweeted. “To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn’t do it justice. This won’t protect American lives or interests—it leaves Americans sick & America alone.”

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Grassley to skip Republican National Convention over coronavirus, breaks 40 year streak

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley says he won’t attend next month’s Republican National Convention, citing concerns about contracting the coronavirus.
Grassley’s absence will mark the first time that the 86-year-old senator has missed a convention since being elected to the upper chamber 40 years ago. 
Grassley made the announcement on a conference call Monday with reporters. 
“I’m not going to go,” he reportedly said. “And I’m not going to go because of the virus situation.” 
Grassley still reportedly intends to make his annual tour of Iowa’s 99 counties, with plans to visit 29 of them over the next two weeks.

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Popular social media app Tik Tok leaving Hong Kong after China enacts security law

TikTok said Tuesday it will cease operations in Hong Kong, following China recently enacting a national security law on the semi-autonomous city.
ByteDance, the owners of the the short-form video app, follows similar social media platforms and messaging apps – including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter – raising concerns about having to providing user data to Hong Kong authorities.
China imposed the law follows months of protests in Hong Kong, after China proposed legislation that could have resulted in some suspects facing trial in mainland China courts.
The social media companies say they are assessing implications of the security law, which prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in the city’s internal affairs. In the communist-ruled mainland, the foreign social media platforms are blocked by China’s “Great Firewall,” according to the Associated Press. 
TikTok said in a statement that it had decided to halt operations “in light of recent events.”
Hong Kong authorities quickly to implement the law after it took effect on June 30, with police arresting about 370 people, the wire service also reports. 

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Recipients of majority of stimulus loans issued still haven't been released by the government

The federal government has not disclosed most of the forgivable coronavirus-stimulus loans issued to businesses under the $660 billion federal Paycheck Protection Program.
The Small Business Administration has publicly released lists of the forgivable loans under $150,000 issued in each state but it did not include the names of the recipients.
Loans under $150,000 make up the bulk of the loans issued. According to SBA data through June 30, 2020, loans under $50,000 represented 66.8% of all loans provided, $50,000 to $100,000 represented 13.8% and $100,000-$150,000 represented 6%. 
The state-by-state lists the SBA released included only the names of the lenders, including banks and credit unions, that approved the loans as well as the estimated number of jobs the loan will help retain. To date, banks have earned billions in taxpayer-funded fees for issuing the loans as part of PPP, which was setup by the $2.2 trillion CARES Act. The SBA hasn’t said whether individual bank branches directly received forgivable PPP loans.
As Just the News previously reported, the federal government isn’t going to conduct a review of most taxpayer-funded forgivable loans issued under the program. 
According to the SBA, the loan is forgivable if “at least 60 percent” of it is used toward payroll. The rest can be used for qualified expenses such as rent and utilities. 
The SBA declined to comment when asked on Tuesday if it plans to disclose the recipients of the loans under $150,000 but the agency shared a press release announcing that the agency would disclose a list of more than 40,000 businesses that received forgivable loans between $150,000 and $10 million. The agency estimated that most of the loan dollars approved fall into those categories.  
The document released does not contain the exact amount of each loan but it shows the name of the company and the estimated number of jobs it retained with the taxpayer-funded loan.
For loans below $150,000, the total of the loan was released, “aggregated by zip code, by industry, by business type, and by various demographic categories.”
The SBA did not provide a list of the exact amount of each loan issued to recipients above $150,000 and declined to say whether one will be released.

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State Fair of Texas cancelled for first time since WWII due to coronavirus pandemic

The 2020 State Fair of Texas has officially been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic –  marking the first time since WWII that the annual event will not be held.
The decision was made Tuesday in a vote by the fair’s board of directors.
“In the current climate of COVID-19, there is no feasible way for the Fair to put proper precautions in place while maintaining the Fair environment you know and love,” board Chairwoman Gina Norris said.
“While we cannot predict what the COVID-19 pandemic will look like in September, the recent surge in positive cases is troubling for all of North Texas. The safest and most responsible decision we could make for all involved at this point in our 134-year history is to take a hiatus for the 2020 season,” she also said.
The announcement noted that the cancellation does not necessarily mean that beloved college football games will also be cancelled.
“The NCAA, respective conferences, and participating universities – the University of Texas & University of Oklahoma and Prairie View A&M University & Grambling State University – will be in charge of making decisions regarding the football games that occur at Cotton Bowl Stadium during this unprecedented time of COVID-19,” the press release noted. “Should football be played this fall, the schools will be playing in the Cotton Bowl as scheduled, despite the cancellation of the 2020 State Fair.”
According to Johns Hopkins University there have been nearly 3 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and more than 130,000 deaths.

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NFL stars who blasted Brees flag support go mum on DeSean Jackson's Farrakhan, Hitler posts

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson apologized today for sharing on Instagram anti-Semitic quotes misattributed to Adolf Hitler. The post accused Jews of conspiring to oppress African-Americans.

“The white Jews knows that the Negroes are the real Children of Israel and to keep Americas secret the Jews will blackmail America,” the post said. Jackson pulled the quotation from “Jerusalem,” a book by Dennine Barnett.
Responding on Twitter to critics of his behavior, Jackson wrote, “ANYONE WHO FEELS I HAVE HATE TOWARDS THE JEWISH COMMUNITY TOOK MY POST THE WRONG WAY I HAVE NO HATRED IN MY HEART TOWARDS NO ONE.”
Jackson also shared a clip of a speech featuring Louis Farrakhan accusing Dr. Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates of contriving to “depopulate the Earth” with a vaccine for the coronavirus. Said Jackson in response to Farrakhan’s conspiracy theory: “This man powerful. I hope everyone got a chance to watch this! Don’t be blinded. Know what’s going on!”
Louis Farrakhan has his own history of broadcasting his affinity for Adolf Hitler. In a sermon delivered on March 11, 1984 in Chicago, Farrakhan praised Hitler for being a “great man.” At the time, Farrakhan was supporting Jesse Jackson’s 1984 presidential campaign, and although Jackson condemned the content of the remarks, he “refused to renounce Farrakhan’s political support” to preserve his status as a campaign “surrogate.”
DeSean Jackson has since deleted the posts of Louis Farrakhan and Dennine’s book from his Instagram page. And in his apology video released on Tuesday, he professed regretting “posting anything that Hitler did.” He was, he continued, “just trying to uplift the African American community” and “enlighten my people.” Jackson did not say unequivocally that the conspiracies he promoted are untrue. 
Jackson’s posts emerged several weeks after New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was widely criticized by his peers and forced several times to apologize for saying he will “never agree with anybody’s disrespecting the flag of the United States.” Brees was called “beyond lost” by San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman. Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Malcolm Jenkins said Brees’ “insensitivity” made him “part of the problem.” 

The silence of NFL players caused Matthew Berry, a senior sports analyst at ESPN, to ask on Twitter, “Has any current NFL player come out yet denouncing Desean Jackson?”
“I haven’t seen anyone,” Berry continued, “but maybe I missed someone. You are either against all hate or you are not. It’s not a pick and choose proposition.”
As of Tuesday, neither Sherman nor Jenkins have condemned Jackson’s remarks. Stephen Jackson maintained that Desean Jackson is “speaking the truth” and “speaking the facts that he know.”
The Philadelphia Eagles did call out Desean Jackson, however. A statement released on Tuesday by the organization said:
Block quote: “We have spoken with DeSean Jackson about his social media posts. Regardless of his intentions, the messages he shared were offensive, harmful, and absolutely appalling. They have no place in our society and are not condoned or supported in any way by the organization. We are disappointed and we reiterated to DeSean the importance of not only apologizing, but also using his platform to take action to promote unity, equality, and respect. We are continuing to evaluate the circumstances and will take appropriate action. We take these matters very seriously and are committed to continuing to have productive and meaningful conversations with DeSean, as well as all of our players and staff, in order to educate, learn, and grow.”
But not everyone is happy to see Jackson held to account for promoting hate. Producer and conspiracy theorist Tariq Nasheed said on Tuesday, “Understand the con game the dominant society is playing with DeSean Jackson right now. What he posted wasnt ‘bigoted.’  And the dominant society knows this. But they are using the ‘I’m white & I say so’ rule to interpret it as bigoted, so they can justify their own anti-Blackness.” 
It’s not yet clear if or how the Eagles plan to punish Jackson for his behavior. 

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Mississippi county supervisors vote against relocating Confederate monument

In the state of Mississippi, the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted against moving a Confederate monument to a different piece of county property.
The Daily Journal reported that some of the supervisors noted that they had discussed the issue with African Americans.
The 5-0 vote came as monuments and statues around the country have been removed, toppled or vandalized amid a heightened national focus on racial issues in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
The Mississippi state legislature and Gov. Tate Reeves recently approved legislation to retire the state flag which was the last state flag in the union that still continued to use the Confederate Battle emblem. Per the legislation, the next flag design cannot contain the controversial symbol.

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Pompeo says U.S. considering TikTok restriction amid concerns Beijing use app for surveillance

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the Trump administration is considering restricting the use of TikTok in the country amid concerns about the Chinese social media application is being used by Beijing for surveillance.
“We are taking this very seriously and we are certainly looking at it. We have worked on this very issue for a long time,” Pompeo said late Monday on Fox New’s “The Ingraham Angle.” 
Such a move would reportedly follow Australia considering such a restriction and India having already banned the app. 
TikTok has grown in popularity over roughly the past two years. The app is a platform for short, smart-phone made videos and is especially popular among teens. 
Such a restriction in the U.S. is part of the administration’s larger concern about the Chinese Communist Party using the country’s technology in other countries for surveillance. 
The administration has already put limitations on efforts by Chinese technology companies Huawei and ZTE to expand in the U.S. The companies are leaders in the international race to development next-generation, super-fast 5G wireless technology.
“We have worked on this very issue for a long time, whether it’s the problem of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure,” Pompeo also told Fox News. “We’ve gone all over the world and we are making real progress getting that out. We had declared ZTE a danger to American national security.” 

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After sending 1000s of COVID patients into nursing homes, New York blames deaths on 'infected staff'

New York officials issue a report this week concluding that the high number of coronavirus deaths in state care facilities was the result of infected workers, not sick residents, spreading the contagion.
New York has face sharp criticism over the past several months for its policy of allowing COVID-19-positive patients to return to nursing homes before they were declared free of the virus.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state policy of allowing residents to return to elderly-care facilities was in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, PolitiFact in May rated that claim “mostly false,” pointing out the state appeared to pressure nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients regardless of whether they could properly house them.
The report by the New York Department of Health states that “an analysis of the timing between known nursing home staff infections and nursing home fatalities indicates that they are correlated.” It also states that “the peak number of nursing home staff reporting COVID-19 symptoms occurred 23 days prior to the date of the peak nursing home fatalities.”
The data “does not support [the] assertion” that infected patients were the spreaders of the disease, the department argues. 
“Nursing home resident fatalities peaked on April 8, 2020,” the paper states. “The peak of nursing home admissions from hospitals did not occur until April 14, 2020, a week after peak nursing home fatalities – suggesting the policy was not the cause.”
The report also argues that “most patients readmitted to nursing homes were likely not infectious,” claiming that they would likely have spent enough time in the hospital to have entered a non-infectious stage of the disease. 
Data also “do not show a consistent relationship between admissions and increased mortality,” the report says, adding that “there were cases where nursing homes did not admit any COVID-positive patients, yet still had a high number of COVID-related deaths.”
The report states that any staff who spread the disease did so “through no fault of their own,” insofar as they would have been unaware they were infectious while working.

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Chief Justice Roberts hospitalized after fall last month, Supreme Court belatedly discloses

The Supreme Court belatedly disclosed Tuesday night that Chief Justice John Roberts was hospitalized overnight last month after becoming dehydrated and falling while exercising.
The 65-year-old justice required stitches and was released the morning following the June 21 incident, the court told The Washington Post in a statement.
The fall at a Maryland country club was not related to two prior seizures the chief justice has suffered, the last in 2007, court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg told the newspaper.
“The Chief Justice was treated at a hospital on June 21 for an injury to his forehead sustained in a fall while walking for exercise near his home. The injury required sutures, and out of an abundance of caution, he stayed in the hospital overnight and was discharged the next morning,’ Arberg said. “His doctors ruled out a seizure. They believe the fall was likely due to light-headedness caused by dehydration.” 
Roberts, who was appointed chief justice in 2005 by President George W. Bush and confirmed by a GOP-led Senate, last suffered a seizure while vacationing in Maine in June 2007.
Over the last month, he played key roles in two decisions that disappointed conservatives.  He sided with the court’s liberal bloc in 5-4 decisions that struck down a Louisiana law restricting abortions and blocking President Trump from taking action against child immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA.

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Trump's niece reveals in new book she leaked tax information info to NYT

President Trump’s niece Mary Trump excoriates her uncle in her forthcoming book and reveals that she provided family tax documents to The New York Times.
“It wasn’t enough for me to volunteer at an organization helping Syrian refugees,” she wrote in the book, according to excerpts provided to Axios and other publications. “I had to take Donald down.”
Even the book’s title includes a sharp rebuke of the president—the work is titled: “Too Much And Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man.”
The book is slated for a July 14 release and in it Mary Trump shreds her uncle and warns that his re-election would spell disaster for the nation.
“By the time this book is published, hundreds of thousands of American lives will have been sacrificed on the altar of Donald’s hubris and willful ignorance. If he is afforded a second term, it would be the end of American Democracy,” she reportedly writes in the book.
Mary Trump, a clinical psychologist, also claims that Donald Trump paid an individual to take an SAT exam for him. White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews described that claim as “completely false.”
“Donald’s pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neurophysical tests that he’ll never sit for,” the president’s niece reportedly wrote in the book.

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From ‘Made in China’ to ‘Owned by China’: 20 deals show how China is gobbling up U.S. assets

U.S. lawmakers are seeking how to address growing American supply chain concerns amid the global coronavirus pandemic. In addition to most consumer goods and electronics, China reportedly manufactures “more than 90% of U.S. antibiotics, vitamin C, ibuprofen and hydrocortisone, as well as 70% of acetaminophen,” among other crucial drugs imported by the U.S.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) has become one of the most vocal critics of the Chinese Community Party and has urged a boycott of goods made in China. “We have to pass a law: Stop buying anything from Communist China,” Scott said in a recent interview. “Nothing. Don’t buy any products from them.”
However, a boycott of goods made in China would do little to address growing Chinese influence over American interests achieved via investments, mergers, and acquisitions. Between 2002 and 2016, Chinese state-owned or state-linked companies acquired more than $120 billion worth of assets in 40 states across the U.S. Just 15 Chinese entities (sovereign wealth funds, state-owned corporations, or state-linked private sector firms) accounted for 60% of this activity. In 2016 alone, more than 50 of these Chinese acquisitions exceeded $50 million. Several Chinese takeover deals exceeded $1 billion.
Here are 20 Chinese investments and buyouts that have consequences for American consumers (and potentially 2020 election voters):
1. Reddit — China’s Tencent Invested $150 Million in 2019
Online social forum Reddit (majority-owned by Conde Nast publishing) received $150 million in funding from China’s Tencent. The investment is “an odd pairing between one of the architects of China’s Great Firewall of censorship and one of America’s most lawless free-speech forums,” wrote TechCrunch’s Josh Constine. Reddit has since placed the most popular pro-Trump subreddit, The_Donald, in “quarantine,” where it effectively ceased all activities. 
2. TikTok — Viral video platform owned by Chinese company valued at over $100 billion
China’s ByteDance created TikTok in September 2016 and launched the millennial-friendly social network on the iOS and Android app stores in 2017. In October 2018, TikTok became the most downloaded app in the U.S. — the first Chinese app to do so — and ranked among the 10 most-downloaded apps in the last decade (with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). TikTok users were recently praised by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) for helping to disrupt a Trump campaign event in Tulsa, Okla.
3. Universal Music Group — Tencent bought 10% of UMG in December 2019 for $3.4 billion
China’s Tencent bought a major stake in the California-based “Big Three” record company for a whopping $3.4 billion.
UMG owns the rights to most of the world’s most popular artists, including Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Post Malone, Billie Eilish, Queen and The Beatles (among thousands of other worldwide global music stars).
4. Warner Music — Tencent recently (June 12) completed its purchase of a significant stake in another one of the “Big Three” record labels for $200 million
This year, Tencent bought 10% of Warner’s publicly available shares (or 1.6% of the entire company) for $200 million, with the option to double the purchase for the same price.
5. Riot Games — Tencent purchased 93% of Riot in 2011 for $400 million
Riot Games produces the world’s most popular PC game: League of Legends (LoL). In 2015, Tencent bought the remaining 7% for an undisclosed sum. When Riot Games would not cooperate with Tencent’s demand to make a mobile LoL platform, Tencent cloned the software and produced their own version of the game.
Tencent also owns 40% of Epic Games (creator of “Fortnite,” which pulled in $2.4 billion in 2018, making it the world’s most profitable game), 11.5% of Bluehole (PlayerUnknown’s “Battlegrounds”), and significant chunks of Activision Blizzard (“World of Warcraft”), Ubisoft (“Assassin’s Creed” and “Far Cry”), and even distributes the infamous “Candy Crush Saga,” among other popular games in the U.S.
In 2018, Tencent joined several other investors in a $150 million funding round for Discord — a popular chatroom app used by video gamers. 
6. AMC Theaters bought out by Wanda Group in 2012 for $2.6 billion
In 2012, China’s most Hollywood-focused M&A machine, Dalian Wanda, bought the popular movie theater chain AMC Entertainment Holdings for $2.6 billion. AMC was founded in Missouri more than a century ago and has 300 locations across the United States. Now owned by China, AMC was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and has said that a bankruptcy filing is “likely.”
Other American movie theaters and movie studios have received heavy investment from the Chinese as well, including Dick Clark, Carmike and Starplex Cinemas (all invested in heavily by Dalian Wanda), Dick Cook (CITIC), Studio 8 (Fosun), and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners (undisclosed investment from Alibaba as part of $300 million group funding round).
7. Legendary Entertainment Group Inc — Dalian Wanda Group purchased the major Hollywood studio for $3.5 billion in 2016
The takeover by Dalian Wanda in 2016 for $3.5 billion was the largest Hollywood-China deal to date. 
As the Wall Street Journal reported, the deal “significantly expands Wanda’s presence in the global entertainment business, as it now owns one of the largest independent movie companies in Hollywood.”
China’s influence became apparent when Legendary Entertainment began planning to make more films in China, including a series of Godzilla films and a Chinese co-production starring Matt Damon titled “The Great Wall.”
8. Smithfield Foods — Bought out by China’s WH Group (formerly the Shuanghui Group or “Shineway”) for $4.7 billion in 2013
Virginia-based Smithfield Foods owns a variety of household names, including Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, Cook’s hams, Farmland, and Healthy Ones. Smithfield is the world’s largest hog farmer and pork processor, and its products are sold in approximately a dozen countries.
At the time, Shuanghui’s deal with Smithfield was the largest takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese buyer.
Notably, COVID-19 tore through Smithfield’s American processing plants leading to worker shortfalls and concerns that there may be a meat shortage in the U.S. 
9. GE Appliances — China’s Qingdao Haier Co. Ltd. purchased General Electric’s appliances unit for $5.6 billion in 2016
Haier chairman Zhang Ruimin (also a party delegate to the 19th congress of the Chinese Communist Party) plans to connect Chinese software with as many American households as possible, telling the South China Morning Post: “Imagine by touching the screen on your fridge, you can buy things from online shops … By using apps on your cellphone, you can check which laundry room close to you has washing machines available.”
With its purchase, Haier reportedly laid off more than 12,000 GE personnel and now owns approximately 15% of the U.S. appliance market. 
10. Ingram Micro — HNA Group bought California-based IT company Ingram Micro in 2016 for $6 billion
11. Airbnb, Inc. — China Investment Corporation (CIC) invested $100 million in 2017
12. Brooklyn Nets (and their arena, the Barclays Center) — Bought by Alibaba co-founder Joseph Tsai in record-setting $2.35 billion deal
The NBA has been criticized for its cozy ties with China. Perhaps no NBA franchise has cozier ties than the Brooklyn Nets, whose CEO David Levy resigned just two months after the team and their stadium were bought out by Alibaba billionaire Joseph Tsai. The New York Times reported that Tsai’s buyout was the biggest takeover of an American sports franchise in history.
Tsai has drawn criticism for praising the Chinese Communist Party and casting aspersions on the Hong Kong protests.
13. Ironman Triathlons — China’s Dalian Wanda bought 100% of the athletics company in 2015 for $650 million
Wanda, China’s largest real estate developer, bought the Florida-based company, which boasts approximately 250,000 registered athletes and hosts 200 events in 27 countries. 
14. Nobel Learning Communities — China-based Primavera Capital backed the Spring Education Group (SEG) buyout of Nobel Learning Communities in 2018
Founded in 1984 and based in West Chester, Pa., Nobel Learning had 190 schools in 19 states with approximately 25,000 students across the U.S. at the time of the Chinese investment. 
15. Lexmark International Inc. — A consortium of Chinese investors led by Beijing-based Apex Technology Co. Ltd. completed the $3.6 billion takeover of Lexmark in late 2016
16. Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. — China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd. bought this U.S.-based luxury hotel group in 2016 for $5.5 billion from Blackstone Group LP
17. Motorola Mobility — China-based Lenovo Group Ltd. purchased the American cell phone manufacturer for approximately $2.91 billion in 2014
China’s Lenovo — already one of the largest computer manufacturers in the world — bought the U.S.-based Motorola cell phone company from Google for nearly $3 billion, which helped the Chinese tech company become one of the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturers.
18. International Business Machines Corp. division (IBM’s x86 Server Business) — China’s Lenovo Group Ltd. bought the computer server hardware division from IBM for $2.1 billion in 2014
As Reuter’s reported at the time, the deal gave “the Chinese tech firm the firepower to win business clients from U.S. rivals.”
“In the large and medium enterprise space we can now fully leverage IBM technology to compete with brands like HP and Dell,” announced Lenovo’s CEO Yang Yuanqing.
Lenovo had previously purchased IBM’s personal computer business for $1.75 billion in 2004, making it the world’s third-largest manufacturer of personal computers.
By August 2014, Obama’s CFIUS had approved the Lenovo takeover of IBM’s x86 division.
19. Waldorf Astoria New York (Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc) — Anbang Insurance Group purchased the iconic hotel in 2014 for $1.95 billion, setting a record price for a U.S. hotel takeover.
20. Henniges Automotive — Purchased by the Chinese Communist Party’s state-owned Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC) for approximately $800 million in 2015
As investigative author Peter Schweizer reported in his book “Secret Empires”: “AVIC sits at the heart of the Chinese military industrial complex. In September 2015, when AVIC bought 51% of American precision parts manufacturer Henniges, the other 49% was purchased by the Biden-and-Kerry-linked BHR.”
The Henniges deal with AVIC received CFIUS approval from the Obama-Biden administration (including the John Kerry State Department) in 2015.
The China state-owned (or state-linked) billion-dollar takeovers and multimillion-dollar investments listed above represent just a small fraction of the total funds pouring into the U.S. from China. Chinese energy companies have also taken control of numerous oil and gas and clean energy assets across the U.S. 
But buying out American companies is not the only way China exerts its influence in the United States. Chinese entities often partner with American firms on real estate developments, technology initiatives, manufacturing projects, and other deals that lead to increased financial ties without China taking a direct ownership stake.
American companies, particularly ones with complex supply chains and significant international sales operations, often set up manufacturing operations in China to capitalize on low labor costs and lax worker protections. For example, a recent analysis found that at least eight U.S. companies — Abercrombie & Fitch, Amazon, Apple, FILA, General Motors, Google, Nike, and Ralph Lauren — benefit “from China’s enslavement of Muslim minorities.” 

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Rep. Jordan asks US Park Police about efforts to defend federal landmarks

Rep. Jim Jordan in a Monday letter to United States Park Police (USPP) Acting Chief Gregory Monahan requested information about the USPP’s efforts to defend federal property and landmarks both in the nation’s capital and across the country.
The Ohio Republican also asked for information pertaining to the USPP’s June 1 activity to move protesters located near the White House.
“The Trump Administration must protect federal property, especially the landmarks and memorials that celebrate our nation’s history, from violent left-wing agitators,” he noted. 
“I respectfully request that you provide information about the USPP’s decision to expand the perimeter around Lafayette Square on June 1, including the damage to federal property and injuries to federal law enforcement officers caused by rioters,” Jordan wrote. 
“I also ask that you explain the USPP’s work to protect federal property and landmarks in Washington, D.C., and federal landmarks in localities around the country under the USPP’s jurisdiction,” he said.
The congressman said that the information should be supplied by July 14, 2020.

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Frederick Douglass statue torn down in Rochester, N.Y. on anniversary of famed abolitionist speech

A statue of Frederick Douglass was removed from its position in Rochester, New York, on Sunday, the anniversary of the famous abolitionist’s celebrated speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July.”
Police say the statue was removed from its base near an Underground Railroad site, where Douglass delivered the speech and worked with Harriet Tubman to lead slaves to freedom. 
The statue was found next to the Genesee River gorge, about 50 feet from its base. One of the project leaders who installed the Douglass statue told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle newspaper that the statue will be replaced due to severe damage to the original. 
In his July 5th speech, delivered for the first time in 1852, Douglass called the July 4th celebration of liberty a sham in a country that enslaved and oppressed its Black citizens. 

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Gun violence surges in major U.S. cities, 13 killed in Chicago over July Fourth weekend

Chicago officials report a deadly Fourth of July weekend, with a least 13 people killed, including a 7-year-old girl, the latest in a wave of violent crime in the city since the Memorial Day weekend.
The child was reportedly killed at a family party. A teenage boy was also among those killed. The 14-year-old died in a shooting just before midnight Saturday, when four males reportedly opened fire on a large street gathering, police said.
Police reportedly had planned to put an additional 1,200 officers on the streets this past weekend, in response to the crime wave.
In New York, the city reportedly had 176 murders in the first six months of the year, a 23% increase compared to the same period last year.
In Chicago, the 7-year-old girl was fatally shot in the head while standing on the sidewalk at her grandmother’s house during a Fourth of July party around 7 p.m. in the Austin neighborhood, police told the Associated Press.
The suspects got out of a car and began shooting, police officials said. No one has been arrested.
The previous weekend, a 1-year-old boy riding in a car with his mother and a 10-year-old girl who was inside her home when a bullet fired a block away pierced a window and struck her in the head as she sat on a couch, according to news reports. 

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SCOTUS rules that 'faithless electors' must vote for popular-vote winner

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the 538 people who cast the actual votes for president in December as members of the Electoral College must vote the way the laws of their state direct.
The high court ruled unanimously against advocates who were attempting to change the Electoral College and shift the country toward a nationwide popular voting system for the presidency. 
SCOTUS ruled that presidential electors must vote as their state requires them to, which in most states means voting for the candidate who won the popular vote in the state. 

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Broadway actor Cordero dies of coronavirus complications

Broadway and television actor Nick Cordero died Sunday from complications related to the coronovirus.
The Tony nominated actor reportedly suffered sepsis infections, had mini-strokes and had his right leg amputated before he died.
In May, Cordero’s wife, Amanda Kloots, revealed he had woken from a medically induced coma but remained “extremely weak.” Amanda announced his death on Instagram.

“God has another angel in heaven,” she wrote. “My darling husband passed away this morning. He was surrounded in love by his family, singing and praying as he gently left this earth.”
While Cordero was in hospital, Kloots regularly sent him videos of her and their 1-year-old son, Elvis, and encouraged fans to take part in a daily sing-a-long. She paid tribute to his “extraordinary” doctor and thanked everyone for “the outpour of love, support and help we’ve received”.
Many other celebrities paid tribute to Cordero and his family including Josh Gad, Zach Braff and Viola Davis.
“My heart is broken. I feel ill,” Gad tweeted. “Along with the entire Broadway community and the entire world, I mourn the loss of the incredible Nick Cordero and send my sincerest love and prayers to ⁦@amandakloots⁩ , Elvis & and entire family. RIP Nick.”

“RIP Nick Cordero!” Viola Davis wrote on her twitter page. “My condolences to you Amanda who fought and loved so hard….so sorry for his little one. My heart is with you. May flights of angels….”

A fundraising page to help pay for medical expenses raised more than $600,000 (£480,000).
 

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Epstein friend Ghislaine Maxwell transferred to New York, to be arraigned Friday

Ghislaine Maxwell, the long-time confidant of convicted sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein, will be arraigned Friday in New York, a Southern District of New York official tells Just the News. 
Maxwell was arrested Thursday in New Hampshire and has been charges in connection with federal sex-abuse crimes. She was reportedly taken Monday to a detention center in Brooklyn.
The 58-year-old Maxwell will be arraigned before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Alison Nathan.
The government is expected to argue that Maxwell be denied bail because she is a flight risk.
Maxwell purportedly has three passports, has traveled extensively around the world in the past several years, has numerous bank accounts in the U.S. and abroad, and the financial means to leave the country.
Exactly one year ago, Epstein was arrested on federal sex-trafficking charges in connection with minors in Florida and New York. He was found dead in his jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trail. 
Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 in a Florida court to procuring underage girls for prostitution and to soliciting a prostitute.

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Cornell gives to group tied to Black Lives Matters, purportedly not officially registered

Cornell University’s student government has donated thousands of dollars in student fees to a coalition that includes a group associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, despite the group purportedly not being registered as an official student organization.
The Ivy League university’s Student Activities Funding Committee sent $10,000 to the group, the Cornell Students for Black Lives fundraising initiative, which describes itself as a “coalition,” according to the Washington Free Beacon. 
The SAFC is a student-led group that allocates fees to campus groups. School officials did not respond the news gathering agency’s request for comment.
Some students have objected to the donation, including conservative student leaders who expressed their concerns in a letter to the editor to the Cornell Daily Sun.
However, some student government officials have defended the allocation. 
The student assembly’s vice president of finance, Moriah Adeghe, told the Free Beacon  that the campus government is within its boundaries to spend appropriated money on the “humanity of black people.” Adeghe reportedly said any student against the donation is inherently “anti-black” and should not “mansplain” their dissent.

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How America's view of socialism has shifted

How Americans feel about socialism depends on your age and your feeling of three founding ideals of U.S. society: freedom equality and self governance.
For the younger generation, it’s less about political entities controlling the economy and more about ensuring everyone has the same rights and access to resources as everyone else.
According to a Scott Rasmussen, between 35-40% of Americans have a favorable opinion of socialism. For the older generations around during the Cold War, this is a problem. But for the younger generations who have applied a slightly different definition to the word, it may be a good thing. 
Scott Rasmussen explores the nuances in his new Number of the Day podcast. 

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Australia locks 3,000 residents in their homes for days during extreme lockdown measures

Three thousands Australian residents living in nine public housing buildings in Melbourne have been banned from leaving their homes for at least five days. This is the harshest coronavirus lockdown rule that Australia has thus far imposed.
Five hundred law enforcement officers have been assigned to monitor the towers to ensure that residents do not leave their small units. There are more than 1,300 units in the nine towers, and residents were not warned in advance of the lockdown. 
The government will be arranging for food and healthcare services to be delivered to the tower residents, though residents have reportedly not been given details on how those logistics will work. 
Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria, said the decision to lock the towers was made due to “patterns of movement, friendship groups,” and “family groups” within the towers. “You will not be allowed to leave your unit, your dwelling within that tower, for any reason,” he said.
Several neighboring zip codes will also be placed on stage-three stay-at-home lockdown, though those individuals will still be allowed to leave their homes to exercise, grocery shop, and provide other essential caregiving activities. 
Victoria has recorded 108 new cases of the virus in the last 24 hours, which is the state’s highest figure since late March. Twenty-three of those cases came from inside the nine towers. The government is planning on testing each of the residents of the towers over the next five days. 

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California Democrat Rep. Cárdenas calls for more diversity in congressional staffing

Representative Tony Cárdenas on Monday sent a letter to fellow Democrats calling out a lack of diversity among House staffers.
“As we work to dismantle systemic racism throughout the United States, it is time for us to be bold, break our habits, and correct our flaws as a legislative body and a caucus,” Cárdenas wrote in the letter. “We must face our glaring failure as a Congress. Building a truly diverse House of Representatives is our responsibility, and, as leaders, we must do it now,” he said.

The California Democrat, who also is an advocate for developing a Latino Museum, provided statistics from the Joint Center of Political and Economic Studies, an organization that describes itself on Twitter as “America’s Black think tank.”
“The Joint Center of Political and Economic Studies found that more than eight out of 10 chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and communications directors in the 115th Congress were white. In 2018, 84% of chiefs, 88% of legislative directors, and 87% of communications directors were white. Of the 1,110 senior staff positions, only 152 were people of color. The data is clear: people of color are not being promoted or hired for senior staff positions. This is not for a lack of diverse candidates who are dedicated and qualified,” Cárdenas wrote in the letter. 
The statistics referenced in the letter appear to come from the organization’s September 2018 report, “Racial Diversity Among Top U.S. House Staff.” The report noted that 88.3% of legislative directors and 86.9% of communications directors were white.
“How can we expect to address issues of racial discrimination when the vast majority of our staff working on these issues cannot speak directly to the experiences of racial injustice?” Cárdenas asked.
The congressman suggested developing “a Members task force with one sole mission: ensuring more equitable hiring practices and staff diversity. This task force will identify best practices in all aspects of staff recruitment, hiring, retention and promotions. Every Member will be provided with every opportunity to build diversity in every team in the House.”

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Egyptian government arrests doctors and journalists over coronavirus criticisms

The government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi is stifling criticism of its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Egyptian security agencies have reportedly arrested at least 10 doctors and a half-dozen journalists who have reported or questioned the practices of Egypt’s delicate healthcare system during the pandemic.
Health workers say administrators have instructed them to remain silent or face government punishment. Several foreign correspondents have been summoned by officials for “professional violations.” 
Egypt is experiencing a surge in cases that threatens to overwhelm its hospital system. The Arab nation has recorded over 76,000 cases of the virus and 3,343 deaths, which is the highest toll in the region. 
El-Sissi, who became president following a coup against Egypt’s first democratically elected president seven years ago, says that critics of the country’s handling of the virus are “enemies of the state.” 
Recently, the Egyptian government has collected medical supplies as the country prepares for an influx of patients. The military has established field hospitals and isolation centers with 4,000 additional beds. The government is also working to scale up testing and the distribution of face masks and PPE gear to front-line medical workers. 
But the medical community remains in dire straits. Doctors are purchasing supplies with their modest salaries, and in some cases, being publicly blamed for the spike in virus cases. 
Last month, Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly accused doctors of “negligence and mismanagement” during a televised briefing. 
At least 117 doctors, 39 nurses, and 32 pharmacists have so far died from the virus, and thousands more have been sickened. Yet hospital directors are advising their staff that those who fail to show up to work will be labeled traitors and treated as national security risks. 
“Even if a doctor is dying, he must keep working … or be subjected to the most severe punishment,” said a health deputy in the Nile Delta province of Beheira.
A U.N. advocate for rights in the Middle East told the Associated Press that “there is no appetite to address what is going on in Egypt, let alone sanction them in any way for what the government is doing to their own people.” 
Despite persistent and growing human rights abuses, Egypt remains a pillar of stability in the region that the international community count on to prevent regional geopolitical decay.

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Senator proposes system to track ‘infectious diseases’ from visitors, like DHS tracks terror threats

Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy has proposed the creation of a federal system that tracks infectious diseases among travelers entering the United States, similar to the way the Department of Homeland Security monitors potential terrorist threats.
The Louisiana Republican said the tracking system would help prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
“Homeland Security knows that when somebody takes off from a country, which might have a terrorist cell within it, that they are flying to the U.S. and when they’re supposed to arrive. And I’ve often thought that we should have a similar system for the spread of infectious disease,” Cassidy said during a recent video conference call with health care experts.
“So that if we know there is an outbreak of Zika in the Pacific and workers are coming from the Pacific to Brazil in order to build out the Olympic infrastructure that they might be bringing Zika with them and if you will you can connect those hotspots of disease just like you would hotspots of terrorism,” he also said.
Cassidy, who is also a doctor, said that when someone from a part of another country that’s a “hotspot” for Zika is traveling to work in a U.S. fish processing plant, for example, the operators of the plant would be made aware of that information under the proposed system.
Cassidy told Just the News that he originally proposed the idea “around six years ago” during the Zika outbreak and that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials told him “they are working on” such a system.
Since a similar system has yet to be implemented for infectious diseases, Cassidy said he might incorporate it into future legislation as a way to “formalize” the idea and move it forward.
“It just seems that’s what we should do in an era in which, think about it, if this truly started in a wet market within four months it has spread around the world. And so it shows you the rapidity by which infectious disease can spread,” he said, referencing COVID-19.
Cassidy’s office was asked on Monday which specific DHS system for terrorism would be the model for the senator’s infectious disease tracking system. His office declined to provide the name of the system but referred to an op-ed Cassidy wrote in March about the importance of “tracking immunity” to help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

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Navy holds joint exercise in South China Sea, sparking China to criticize U.S.

The United States is conducting a joint exercise in the strategic South China Sea with two Navy aircraft carrier groups, drawing backlash Monday from China. 
The Navy said over the weekend that the USS Nimitz and the USS Ronald Reagan and their accompanying vessels and aircraft conducted exercises “designed to maximize air defense capabilities, and extend the reach of long-range precision maritime strikes from carrier-based aircraft in a rapidly evolving area of operations,” according to the Associated Press. 
On Monday, China foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the exercises were performed “totally out of ulterior motives” and undermined stability in the area.
“Against such a backdrop, the U.S. deliberately dispatched massive forces to conduct large-scale military exercises in the relevant waters of the South China Sea to flex its military muscle,” Zhao said at a daily briefing, the wire service also reports.
China claims almost all of the sea and routinely objects to any action by the U.S. military in the region. Five other governments claim all or part of the sea, through which approximately $5 trillion in goods are shipped every year.
China has sought to shore up its claim to the sea by building military bases on coral atolls, leading the U.S. to sail warships through the region in what it calls freedom of operation missions, according to the wire service.

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Georgia Gov. Kemp declares state of emergency, calls up National Guard to protect state property

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday declared a state of emergency and authorized the activation of up to 1,000 National Guard troops in response to a spate of lawlessness. 
“Following weeks of dramatically increased violent crime and property destruction in the City of Atlanta, the July Fourth weekend saw over thirty Georgians wounded by gunfire, including five confirmed dead,” the press release explains.
One of the victims of a fatal shooting was an 8-year-old girl.
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead,” Gov. Kemp said in a statement. “This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city. I have declared a State of Emergency and called up the Georgia Guard because the safety of our citizens comes first. This measure will allow troops to protect state property and dispatch state law enforcement officers to patrol our streets,” he said.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Sunday decried the violence.
“Enough is enough,” Bottoms said at a news conference. “Enough is enough.”
On Monday, the mayor announced that she tested positive for coronavirus but is not experiencing symptoms.
“COVID-19 has literally hit home. I have had NO symptoms and have tested positive,” she tweeted.

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Jon Huntsman loses GOP primary in Utah by a hair

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman will not win a third term as the state’s governor. 
Huntsman’s campaign fell by just one percentage point short to Lt. Gov Spencer Cox in the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary, officials said Monday night after tabulating results from the June 30 primary.
Huntsman earned 35% of the vote, while Cox won with 36%. Former state House Speaker Greg Hughes captured  21%.
Huntsman was previously elected to the position in 2004 and 2008, before leaving to serve as President Obama’s ambassador to China, which he followed up with an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2012. He also served as President Trump’s ambassador to Russia, a position he left last year.
Cox, who has served at lieutenant governor since 2013 had the support of outgoing Governor Gary Herbert. 
Cox will face off against Chris Peterson, an attorney, in the general election. Republicans have not lost a gubernatorial race in Utah in 36 years. 

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White woman who called cops on black birdwatcher in Central Park now facing prosecution

The white woman who called police on a black man in Central Park and claimed that he was threatening her is now facing a charge following the incident that occurred in May.
“Today our Office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree. Our office will provide the public with additional information as the case proceeds,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., announced in a statement Monday.
Birdwatcher Christian Cooper filmed a now-viral exchange with Amy Cooper in the park. In the video the woman asks Christian Cooper to stop filming. She tells him that she would contact the police and “tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life.” 
Amy Cooper then placed the call and make the claim as Christian Cooper continued filming her.
“There is an African-American man, I am in Central Park, he is recording me and threatening myself and my dog,” the woman said on the phone.
Christian Cooper posted the video online along with his explanation of what transpired prior to the video. He said that he informed the woman that her that her dog was supposed to be on a leash in that section of the park. His post provides his account of their encounter:

Amy Cooper issued an apology in a statement the day after the exchange took place.
“I want to apologize to Chris Cooper for my actions when I encountered him in Central Park yesterday. I reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions when, in fact, I was the one who was acting inappropriately by not having my dog on a leash. When Chris began offering treats to my dog and confronted me in an area where there was no one else nearby and said, ‘You’re not going to like what I’m going to do next,’ I assumed we were being threatened when all he had intended to do was record our encounter on his phone,” she said in the statement. 
“He had every right to request that I leash my dog in an area where it was required,” she said. “I am well aware of the pain that misassumptions and insensitive statements about race cause and would never have imagined that I would be involved in the type of incident that occurred with Chris. I hope that a few mortifying seconds in a lifetime of forty years will not define me in his eyes and that he will accept my sincere apology.”
Christian Cooper during an interview on “The View” said that he accepted the woman’s apology, though he noted that, “I think she’s gotta do some reflection on what happened because, you know, up until the moment when she made that statement and made that phone call it was just a conflict between a birder and a dog walker and then she took it to a very dark place and I think she’s gotta sort of examine why and how that happened.”

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Country music star Charlie Daniels dies at 83

Country music singer Charlie Daniels died Monday morning, following a hemorrhagic stroke. He was 83.
Daniels was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and best known for the song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
Daniels, also a member of the Grand Ole Opry, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for veterans over the years. He and his wife, Hazel Daniels, established the Veterans and Military Family Center at Middle Tennessee State University. 
A statement from his representatives announcing his passing read, “An outspoken patriot, beloved mentor, and a true road warrior, Daniels parlayed his passion for music into a multi-platinum career and a platform to support the military, underprivileged children, and others in need. The Charlie Daniels Band has long populated radio with memorable hits and his signature song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” 

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New gun owners say they bought firearms because police might not reach them in time

As pockets of anti-law enforcement activists demand that jurisdictions strip funding from police departments, ordinary citizens around the country assert that they are resorting to self defense, and are buying weapons.
The assertions come amid a nationwide spike in personal weapons sales. In June, the FBI checked the backgrounds of 3,931,607 potential gun buyers, according to the Bureau. In the same month, Americans bought 2,387,524 guns, reported Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF), an industry research and consulting group.
“The demand has absolutely exploded beyond anything we have seen over the last 20 years,” said Jurgen Brauer, chief economist for SAAF.
No official data explain the rise, Brauer told Just the News.
“If you walk into a firearms store, they will not ask you the reason for buying a firearm,” he said. “There are small nonscientific anecdotal reports, though. Primarily it’s a security concern where people are not sure if public security is available while they are on lockdown.”
Individual gun owners echoed and expanded on that explanation. 
“I saw what happened in Seattle, when police couldn’t get into the protest zone,” said single mother Kathleen Morrison, citing alarm over violent crimes inside the now dismantled Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. “I thought, what if that happens here,” where she lives on the opposite end of the country, in Virginia. “I signed up for lessons, and I bought a gun.”
So, too, did a military veteran who lives in Maryland, where the process to buy a firearm is more cumbersome.
“I never felt a need to have a weapon until COVID, and even then, I didn’t buy one,” said the veteran, who grew up around household weapons in the Midwest. “Then the riots hit. The police weren’t doing anything about it. If the police weren’t stopping people from breaking into businesses, I figured home break ins were next.”
Two weeks ago, the veteran took a firearms class, the required first step for buying a gun in Maryland. When the state-mandated waiting period is over, he plans to buy a pistol.
Concerned citizens have flocked to one longtime African American gun advocate, asking for help and advice.
“I get calls every day from church friends, old friends, asking to go to the range,” said Rev. Kenn Blanchard, who has a podcast, Black Man With a Gun. “People are concerned about their safety.”
The trend began decades ago, he said.
“It’s been an increase since Y2K,” Blanchard said, referencing fears about social instability in the lead-up to the year 2000. “That’s when it first started. Every tragedy after that, every war and conflict and incident, has caused people to think, hmm, maybe I should buy something.”
The demand went up when people went into pandemic quarantine, Brauer said. 
Added Blanchard: “And then the riots hit.”
Both Morrison and the veteran said they only are focused on personal safety.
“I don’t want to use my gun ever for anything but going to the range,” Morrison said. “But I want to know if I need it, I have it.”
Blanchard tells friends and listeners to view weapons as personal protection equipment.
“It’s just like a fire extinguisher in your house,” Blanchard said. “You are responsible for your own safety. You have to hold things down. You may have minutes, hours, or days. You can’t put out a fire with harsh words. You have to have a show of force.”
The advice applies to everyone, he said.
The Maryland-based veteran said that 40-50 people took part in the firearms class he attended. Many were women, he said, and were first-time gun owners.  
“Everybody felt like we needed protection,” he said. “Before, we all took for granted that cops would come when you need ‘em. Now, we don’t take that as a given.”
In early August, the FBI will release background check statistics for July.

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Shock poll: Half say violent bid to overthrow US government at least 'somewhat likely' within decade

Fifty percent of U.S. voters think it’s at least somewhat likely there will be a violent attempt to overthrow the United States government within the next decade. That total includes 18% who think it’s very likely, according to Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen.
“This was a surprise!” Rasmussen said. “Upon reflection, though, it probably shouldn’t have been. Clearly, President Trump’s remarks indicates that he thinks this could become a good campaign issue.”
Rasmussen noted that Republicans are a bit more likely to expect such violence, but the gap is fairly modest. That may be due to a perception among some that the current civil unrest is heading in that direction.
“There is also likely a solid partisan distrust fueling such concerns,” Rasmussen said. “Many Republicans fear the left will respond with violence if President Trump is re-elected. Many Democrats fear the same from the right if President Trump is defeated.”
During his South Dakota speech at Mount Rushmore National Memorial on Friday, President Trump condemned the waves of violence sweeping the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
“Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our Founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities,” Trump said said. “Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this, but some know exactly what they are doing. They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive. But no, the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country, and all of its values, history, and culture, to be taken from them … The radical ideology attacking our country advances under the banner of social justice. But in truth, it would demolish both justice and society. It would transform justice into an instrument of division and vengeance, and it would turn our free and inclusive society into a place of repression, domination, and exclusion.”
The poll also found that lower-income voters are more likely to expect a violent attempt to overthrow the government than middle-and-upper income voters.
Just the News Daily Poll respondents were asked “Looking ahead over the next decade, how likely is it that there will be a violent attempt to overthrow the United States government?” They responded as below: 
18% Very Likely
32% Somewhat Likely
21% Not Very Likely
21% Not At All Likely
15% Not Sure
The national survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted July 2-4, 2020 by Rasmussen, a polling veteran. Margin of sampling error: +/- 2.8% for full sample. 
To see the full demographic cross-tabulations for this polling question, click below:

To see the methodology and sample demographics for this polling question, click below:

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Ohio town proclaims itself a 'Statuary Sanctuary City' for statues of outcast historical figures

As protesters target statues around the nation, one town is becoming a statue sanctuary city for monuments honoring select figures. 
Newton Falls, Ohio City Manager David M. Lynch has signed a proclamation that states that the city will accept and display spurned statues of people including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and certain other prominent figures.
“A Proclamation declaring that Newton Falls is a Statuary Sanctuary City and declaring a general amnesty for George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, Patrick Henry, Francis Scott Key, Theodore Roosevelt and Christopher Columbus as represented by the statues of these great leaders, and volunteering to accept these statues that have been removed throughout the USA and place them in a location of honor in our community,” the proclamation says, according to a copy posted by 21-WFMJ.
“They founded our nation, they ended slavery, and established and protected our national parks,” Lynch said, according to Fox 8. “Yes, they had warts but they laid the foundation for what we have today,” he said.
Protesters in Baltimore, Maryland on July 4th toppled a statue of Christopher Columbus and dumped it into the city’s Inner Harbor. 

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Colin Kaepernick tweets on Independence Day: “We reject your celebration of white supremacy”

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Independence Day tweeted a message accompanied by a video that features actor James Earl Jones reading from the Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
“Black ppl have been dehumanized, brutalized, criminalized + terrorized by America for centuries, & are expected to join your commemoration of ‘independence’, while you enslaved our ancestors” Kaepernick tweeted. “We reject your celebration of white supremacy & look forward to liberation for all,” he wrote.

In the video, James Earl Jones reads from the Douglass speech as images, art and videos related slavery, racism, and police brutality appear on-screen.
“What have I or those I represent to do with your national independence?” Jones says in the video. “Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice embodied in that Declaration of Independence extended to us?There’s not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.”
Fox News noted that Kaepernick also shared the same video on July 4, 2019.
Kaepernick’s kneeling protests during the playing of the national anthem sparked controversy and debate during his time in the NFL, and the issue of American athletes kneeling during the anthem continues to generate controversy today.
National attention recently has been focused on racial issues and policing following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minnesota. 

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Baltimore protestors topple Christopher Columbus statue, dump it into city's Inner Harbor

Protestors on Independence Day night in Baltimore, Maryland toppled a statue of Christopher Columbus and dumped it into the city’s Inner Harbor.
The targeted statue was owned by Baltimore, and was dedicated in 1984 by Mayor William Donald Schaefer and President Ronald Reagan, according to the Baltimore Sun.
“The Columbus statue was dragged down as people marched across the city Saturday demanding reallocation of funds from the police department to social services, a reassessment of the public education system, reparations for Black people, housing for the homeless, and the removal of all statues ‘honoring white supremacists, owners of enslaved people, perpetrators of genocide, and colonizers,’ according to a flyer,” the outlet reported.

There is another Columbus statue in Baltimore, as well as an obelisk monument honoring the man, according to the Sun.
Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan on Sunday tweeted that Baltimore officials “need to regain control of their own streets and immediately start making them safer.”
Amid a heightened focus on racial issues in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minnesota, statues and monuments have been removed, toppled and vandalized around the nation.   

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Kanye West announces: 'I am running for president of the United States'

Renowned musical artist Kanye West on Independence Day tweeted that he will run for president this year.
“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States! #2020VISION,” he tweeted.
So far, West’s announcement has garnered more than 475,000 retweets and nearly one million likes. He has previously spoken about having presidential aspirations.
Elon Musk, known for helming companies including Space X and Tesla, expressed his support for West.

West recently released a single titled “Wash Us In the Blood” in advance of the release of his forthcoming album “God’s Country.”
If West mounts a presidential bid, he will have to defeat both of the major political parties’ candidates, Republican incumbent President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. West has missed the filing deadline to get on the ballot in a number of states, though voters could write his name in during the election.

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