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This Day in History | 1969

Apollo 11, the U.S. spacecraft that had taken the first astronauts to the surface of the moon, safely returns to Earth.

The American effort to send astronauts to the moon had its origins in a famous appeal President John F. Kennedy made in front of a special joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961: “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.”

Good morning Middle Americans, 

2020 gets curiouser and curiouser. For the first time in modern political history there will be no political conventions. No big arenas, no balloon drops, no cheering crowds. When people were talking about a presidential election without debates, well, we thought that was a crazy idea. Today. Not so much. President Trump took it like a champ, announcing yesterday that he was calling off the Jacksonville celebration portion of the convention. We know he’s dying inside. 

Also today, more bad news for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The Connecticut supreme court has ruled that he must provide documents and information about his claims that the Sandy Hook Shooting was fake. The lawsuit against him can now move forward. He’s being sued for harassing the families of the children, killed in the 2012 shooting in Newtown. 

Tick tock… as they say. Another day, another sign of rising tension between the US and China. The People’s Republic has ordered the US to close one of our consulates, after we shut theirs down in Houston. We also know that the Chinese are harboring a fugitive in San Francisco who obtained an illegal visa to enter the United States. Finally today, a judge has ordered the release of tons of documents from child molester and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s accomplice Ghislane Maxwell’s 2015 case. 

Read all about it. 

-Fraser Dixon

Trump Abruptly Cancels Republican Convention in Jacksonville: ‘It’s Not the Right Time’

(New York Times) – Texas mother, 2 young daughters found dead in SUV, prompting probe…

Parents concerned about kids falling behind as COVID-19 keeps schools…

The New York Times logoTrump Abruptly Cancels Republican Convention in Jacksonville: ‘It’s Not the Right Time’

Bowing to threats posed by the coronavirus, President Trump reversed course on Thursday and canceled the portion of the Republican National Convention to be held in Jacksonville, Fla., just weeks after he moved the event from North Carolina because state officials wanted the party to take health precautions there.

The surprise announcement threw one of the tent-pole moments of Mr. Trump’s re-election effort into limbo, with the president describing in vague terms how the Republicans would hold his renomination in North Carolina and do “other things with tele-rallies and online.” It was an ill-defined sketch of an August week that Mr. Trump once envisioned drawing huge crowds and energizing his struggling bid for a second term.

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Court Upholds Alex Jones Sanctions in Sandy Hook Case

(AP) — The Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a sanction against Infowars host Alex Jones over an angry outburst on his web show against an attorney for relatives of some of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims, who are suing him for defamation.

The court issued a 7-0 decision rejecting Jones’ claims that his comments aimed at attorney Christopher Mattei were protected by free speech rights, and upholding a lower court’s ruling that Jones violated numerous orders to turn over documents to the families’ lawyers.

The lower court judge barred Jones from filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, as a penalty for his actions.

The families of eight victims of the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and an FBI agent who responded to the massacre are suing Jones, Infowars and others for promoting a theory that the shooting was a hoax. A 20-year-old gunman killed 20 first-graders, six educators and himself at the school, after having killed his mother at their Newtown home.

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China tells US to Close Consulate in Chengdu in Growing Spat

(Reuters) – China ordered the United States to close its consulate in the city of Chengdu on Friday, responding to a U.S. demand this week that China close its Houston consulate, as relations between the world’s two largest economies deteriorate.

The order to close the consulate in Chengdu, in southwestern China’s Sichuan province, was seen as roughly reciprocal in terms of scale and impact, continuing China’s recent practice of like-for-like responses to U.S. actions.

China had warned it would retaliate after it was unexpectedly given 72 hours – until Friday – to vacate its Houston consulate, and had urged the United States to reconsider.

“The U.S. move seriously breached international law, the basic norms of international relations, and the terms of the China-U.S. Consular Convention. It gravely harmed China-U.S. relations,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

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Judge Rules to Unseal Documents in 2015 Case Against Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s Alleged Accomplice

(CNN) – A federal judge ruled on Thursday to publicly release documents that have been kept under seal in a case involving Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s one-time girlfriend and alleged accomplice.

US District Judge Loretta Preska verbally unsealed the documents in a ruling held via teleconference. She is giving Maxwell’s legal team a week to pursue an appeal to her decision but ordered the court to have the documents ready to be posted “within a week.”

The documents are connected to a 2015 defamation case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claimed Epstein sexually abused her while she was a minor and that Maxwell aided in the abuse. The case was settled in 2017.

Included in the now unsealed documents are Maxwell’s 2016 deposition related to the lawsuit in which she denies knowing if Epstein had a scheme to recruit underage girls for sex. Other documents include emails and depositions by others, including Giuffre and anonymous women who also claim to have been abused by Epstein.

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