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Dept of Agriculture censors use of "climate change"

(Guardian) Staff at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been told to avoid using the term climate change in their work, with the officials instructed to reference “weather extremes” instead.

A series of emails obtained by the Guardian between staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a USDA unit that oversees farmers’ land conservation, show that the incoming Trump administration has had a stark impact on the language used by some federal employees around climate change.

A missive from Bianca Moebius-Clune, director of soil health, lists terms that should be avoided by staff and those that should replace them. “Climate change” is in the “avoid” category, to be replaced by “weather extremes”. Instead of “climate change adaption”, staff are asked to use “resilience to weather extremes”.


President Obama Just Got His Very Own Holiday

(Washington Journal) Trump supporters in Illinois must be either simply fuming or else be planning moves to another state as their Republican Governor, Bruce Rauner, signed a bill on Friday declaring August 4th a new state holiday, Barack Obama Day.

Senate Bill 55, designating the birthday of the former president a state holiday, was passed by both houses of the Illinois legislature without a single dissenting vote. The new holiday is “set apart to honor the 44th President of the United States of America who began his career serving the People of Illinois in both the Illinois State Senate and the United States Senate, and dedicated his life to protecting the rights of Americans and building bridges across communities.”

The new holiday is strictly commemorative, meaning that banks will remain open, and no one will get any mandatory paid time-off from work, but instead it will be treated as a “day of acknowledgment and celebration.”

H2O Man

A Secret Team

I thought it might be interesting to say a few words about the news that Mr. Mueller is running a federal grand jury that is looking into the Trump-Russian scandal, including a focus on administration attempts to obstruct justice. Although I am bone-tired, as well as sore from falling backwards onto a downed tree on my lawn last night, I am hoping this attempt is coherent. Or semi-coherent, as the case may be. Please excuse any confusing statements or errors in thinking, for I am old and feeble.

Before addressing the federal grand jury directly, I'd like to suggest forum members read a 1973 book, titled “The Secret Team,” by Fletcher Prouty. At the time, Col. Prouty's book detailed some of the history of the intelligence community's destabilizing and overthrowing foreign governments. At the time, of course, it was of special interest to those who were following the series of crimes known collectively as the Watergate scandal....



(WSJ) Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, a sign that his inquiry is growing in intensity and entering a new phase, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The grand jury, which began its work in recent weeks, is a sign that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry is ramping up and that it will likely continue for months. Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign or associates colluded with the Kremlin as part of that effort.

A spokesman for Mr. Mueller, Joshua Stueve, declined to comment. Moscow has denied seeking to influence the election, and Mr. Trump has vigorously disputed allegations of collusion. The president has called Mr. Mueller’s inquiry a “witch hunt.”

Ty Cobb, special counsel to the president, said he wasn’t aware that Mr. Mueller had started using a new grand jury. “Grand jury matters are typically secret,” Mr. Cobb said. “The White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly.…The White House is committed to fully cooperating with Mr. Mueller.”


Trump Removes Anthony Scaramucci From Communications Director Role

(NYT) President Trump has decided to remove Anthony Scaramucci from his position as communications director, three people close to the decision said Monday, relieving him just days after Mr. Scaramucci unloaded a crude verbal tirade against other senior members of the president’s senior staff.

Mr. Scaramucci’s abrupt removal came just 10 days after the wealthy New York financier was brought on to the West Wing staff, a move that convulsed an already chaotic White House and led to the departures of Sean Spicer, the former press secretary, and Reince Priebus, the president’s first chief of staff.

The decision to remove Mr. Scaramucci, who had boasted about reporting directly to the president not the chief of staff, John F. Kelly, came at Mr. Kelly’s request, the people said. Mr. Kelly made clear to members of the White House staff at a meeting Monday morning that he is in charge.


RNC Tells Staff To Preserve All Documents Related To 2016 Campaign

(BuzzFeed News) Republican National Committee employees have been asked to preserve all documents related to last year’s presidential campaign — a step RNC lawyers describe as precautionary, but necessary, as investigations continue into Russia’s meddling in the election.

“Given the important role that the RNC plays in national elections and the potentially expansive scope of the inquiries and investigations, it is possible that we will be contacted with requests for information,” reads a July 28 memo to staff from the RNC counsel’s office.

"Therefore, we must preserve all documents potentially relevant to these matters until they are resolved or until we are informed by all necessary parties that preservation is no longer necessary."


US Senate healthcare repeal bill fails

(BBC) The latest attempt to repeal the Obama-era healthcare act has failed after a dramatic night in the US Senate.

At least three Republicans - John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski - voted against the bill, which needed a simple majority to pass. President Donald Trump said the three had "let the American people down".

The so-called "skinny" repeal, which would have scaled back some of the more controversial provisions, is the third failed attempt to repeal Obamacare.


Anthony Scaramucci Calls Reporter, Trashes Priebus and Bannon in Profanity-laden rant

(The New Yorker) "Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” [White House Communications Director] Scaramucci said. He channelled Priebus as he spoke: “ ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’" ...

"I'm not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.” (Bannon declined to comment.) ...

"What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers and I want to get the President’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people,” he told me.

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