Weekly Randoms 7/31 - 8/13

- Everyone on tv looks nuts when watching it on mute.

- Sebastian Gorka, a White House security advisor, suggested last weekend's explosion at a Minnesota mosque was propagated by the left when asked by a reporter why the president conveniently never publicly commented on it. 

- This past Thursday, Jeffrey Lord, an obnoxiously pro-Trump conservative CNN pundit, was fired after tweeting out a Nazi tweet that read 'Sieg Heil'. Typing that just made me feel furious and dirty all the same. This trend of hatred is not a sustainable path. 

- The next day, white supremacists, Nazi's and KKK members gathered together to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statute in Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting hate-filled lines like "blood and soil", "Jews will not replace us" and "Heil Trump" while carrying lit torches. These bigots were met by brave men and women that opposed their hatred. Tensions increased on Saturday, when smaller brawls broke out. Later the same day, a white supremacist plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing one and injuring 19 others. Video has also gone viral of white supremacists beating a black man with clubs.

- Former KKK leader David Duke, the same guy Trump struggled to find a way to distance himself from during the 2016 election campaign, was quoted during Saturday's rally saying "that's what we believed in, that's why we voted for Donald Trump. Because he said he's going to take our country back. That's what we gotta do."

- Trump's response to the violence and murder of a counterprotestor was a tweet that called to "end all that hate stands for" and to "be united". That sprung the same former KKK leader David Duke to say "I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror and remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists." That had Trump backpedal his comments by tweeting he "condemn violence on all sides." That vague a statement translates into the President of the United States being an apologist for racists for not calling them out directly for their hatred and pretending that defending yourself against incited violence and threats is no false equivalency to hate groups and armed militia instigating and threatening anyone who opposes their views. By not doing so, he himself, as the President of this country and the massive platform that comes with it, has implicitly performed an act of domestic terrorism; as white supremacist Andrew Anglin said "he refused to even mention anything to do with us. When reporters were screaming at him about white nationalism he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him." A non-answer and walk away from reporters asking if he condemns Nazi's and white supremacists is indeed an answer. Refusing to do so in the moment or even after the fact is inexcusable. But then again, what else can you expect from a man with a long history of racism, xenophobia and bigotry?!

- 'Merica, where protests by residents in the streets after an unarmed black man was shot and killed by a cop led to teargas, rubber bullets and military vehicles in a black city but a march by white supremacists chanting "blood and soil", "Jews will not replace us" and the murder of Heather D Heyer and instigated violence to those who opposed their hate, saw none of that.

- This week also saw the White House's white nationalist wing get a word in and announce they'll limit legal immigration into the country by 50%.

- Lexington, Kentucky Mayor Jim Gray says "the tragic events in Charlottesville (VA) today have accelerated the announcement that I intended to make next week. On Tuesday, I will ask the Council to support Lexington's petition to the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission (to move 2 confederate statutes from the city courthouse), a required next step. Details to come." At least he'll on the right side of history..

- The walk out of work the last day before vacation is a beautiful thing.

- The U.S. Treasury announced new financial sanctions directly against Venezuelan President Maduro, after he followed through with his attempt to rewrite their constitution. At least 16 died during protests on Sunday and by Tuesday two of Maduro's more prominent critics and opposition had been kidnapped in the middle of the night and taken to an unknown place. Might be safe to strip that 'president' title at this point. In response, a  released WH statement read "we have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary."

- In another tale of President-turned-authoritarian, President Erdogen has started trial proceedings of 486 primarily military individuals on charges of conspiring in a failed coup of parliament and the president and leading an armed terrorist organization; among other charges.

- The Pentagon is contemplating arming the Ukraine militia against Russian invasion. Such a decision would need to be approved by the President, which would make for an interesting decision to see how that would play out.

- Props to Utah mayor Ben McAdams for going undercover to a homeless shelter in his city to see the horrendous conditions of rampant drug use, violence and general lack of safe conditions firsthand. Let's hope this is the first step towards improving shelter conditions not just in Salt Lake City, but nationwide.

- The White House has now confirmed that Trump Jr.'s 100% lies of a statement following initial reports of his involvement in the now infamous June 2016 meeting with Russians was drafted by daddy Trump, otherwise known as the President. According to reports, White House officials had encouraged Jr. to be transparent, as they had the foresight to understand more revelations would soon follow, but were overruled by daddy Trump because, well, that's just how Trump rolls. Lying to the grave is just his style. The most amusing part of all this is the fact that it directly contradicts, Jay Sekulow, Trump's own lawyers' July 12 CNN interview where he stated Trump had not approved or had any input in his son's statement. This seems to be the first direct link between Trump himself and the whole messy Russia fiasco.

- A subpeona for Jared Kushner, was issued in May, shortly after it was reported that the company, Kushner Cos., used Kushner's position as President Donald Trump's senior advisor to promote the company and the One Journal Square development to Chinese investors in exchange for visas for investments.

- We also learned this in the last couple weeks that Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager,  had his home raided by the FBI through a search warrant in late July. 

- It's scary to think how much more Trump and this White House would get away with if they weren't so god damn stupid.

- Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has also impaneled a grand jury, an indication that he thinks his collusion investigation with Trump's people has enterred another level of seriousness.

- Steve Mnuchin, before being confirmed as the Treasure Secretary, stated multiple times under oath that his former company, Onewest, never robosigned. That was found to be a lie every time. As their VP in 2009 stated that a team of 8 would approve over 6,000 affidavits a week without reviewing them "no more than 30 seconds" a piece. 

- Trumps appointee for the Department of Agriculture, Sam Clovis, was a birther and once called Eric Holder, our then Attorney General Eric Holder a "racist black", because of course he did. You'd have to be at least a certain level of despicable to be associated with this administration.

- An airline worker in Nice, France, was suspended for punching a man holding his baby during an altercation late last week. Too many stories about airline employees feeling too froggy for my liking.

- Don't look now, but more and more Republican Senators are growing a pair of balls and are finally getting sick of Trump belittling and demanding things of them. Orrin Hatch of Utah this week said "if rules were changed as Trump wants, it would be the end of the Republican Party", Tim Scott of South Carolina "we don't work for the president" and even the obstructionist himself Mitch McConnell of Kentucky "it's pretty obvious that our problem on healthcare was not the Democrats." 

- Mitch McConnell, Turtle Man himself also said Trump has yet to grasp the Congressional procedure and that he has "excessive expectations." Trump stated to a reporter when asked if Mitch should be replaced, stated "you can ask me that question" if he fails to make significant progress on the president's agenda, while also amusingly telling him to "get back to work" to pass legislation, tax reform and an infrastructure plan.. while himself being on a 17 day vacation from accomplishing not a damn thing.

- He has harsher words for his own Senate Majority leader for not doing his bidding than he has for Putin tampering with the U.S. election system and removing more than 700 of our US Diplomats or white supremacists chanting threats and killing those that oppose their hatred. That's our president. 

- The federal government is on the verge of granting a second pharmaceutical drug company giant a patent on a drug and monopoly, allowing the current pharmaceutical climate of eagerly charging astronomical prices and shamelessly exploiting their consumers to continue. First with a Zika Virus vaccine, and now with a liver cancer drug to a Chinese pharmaceutical giant for exclusive rights, all through taxpayer paid research; even as Senator Bernie Sanders seeks to fight the exclusivity right procedure being granted until after establishing fair market prices.

- Crops are dying in California, as immigration has been slowed. Costing a couple California towns a total of $13 million, already. Never saw this coming... 

- Baltimore cops were caught planting drugs on a couple of men that were pulled over 2 weeks ago. They had shut off their body cams, then magically found drugs 20 minutes into their search when they suddenly put their cameras back on, only to afterwards realize one of the other body cams filmed the whole thing. This marks the 2nd time within the last few weeks that Baltimore cops were caught planting drugs. Body cams should be on at all times for officers when responding to a call, to protect them as well as civilians. After all, there are at least 2 sides to each story. Failure to do so should be across-the-board consequences to attempt to prevent this kind of thing. Seems like this would be something the DOJ would want to look into further. Instead..

- Word was also released last week that the Department of Justices' civil-rights division will seek to "redirect resources" to investigate college admissions practices and fight affirmative action procedures. Because that's the country's biggest problem these days, too much anti-white discrimination. 

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- The DOJ, run by Sessions, has overruled a decision found by the appeals court that stated in Ohio that Ohioans that didn't vote in a 6 year span were eligible to be purged from the voter rolls. This follows a purge attempt case in Texas from 2011 for voter ID laws that the DOJ has, until as recently as when Trump's group came in, opposed the discriminatory bill. This also follows a letter sent to all 44 states covered by the Voting Rights Act, by the DOJ, requesting proof on how they're complying with the Act from 1993. It is expected that will only further negatively impact Americans right to vote. The 1993 Act specifically states any person "shall not result in the removal of the name of any person from the official list of voters registered to vote in an election for federal office by reason of the person's failure to vote." Glad to see our DOJ has their priorities straight.

- Also on Thursday, in a totally unsurprising but nonetheless in a total scumbag move, Republicans in Indiana began reducing the amount of early voting stations in a largely Democratic county of Indiana, in Marion County, while increasing them in Republican white suburbs following Obama's surprising 2008 Indiana win. The results became fruitful in the 2016 election, where the reduced early voting stations in Marion County fell 26%, while Republican Hamilton County, which had two early voting stations added, saw a 63% increase in voting. 1 early voting station for every Hamilton County member now, as opposed to 1 for every 700,000 Marion County member. Yep.

- "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen..he has been very threatening beyond a normal state." This after it was reported that North Korea has developed a miniature nuclear warhead. General Mathis doubled down on Trump's words of bravado, "the end of its regime and the destruction of its people" in regards to North Korea.

- Unsurprisingly, Trump's fire and fury comments were apparently "improvised", catching even his new Chief of Staff John Kelly by surprise and were dismissed by even his own Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, saying he does not currently view North Korea as an "imminent threat" and that "Americans should sleep well".

Courtesy of Indiatimes.com

Courtesy of Indiatimes.com

- Continuing with the Trump/North Korea theme, Trump retweeted this past week a Fox and Friends story that a North Korean ship missiles were spotted angling in the waters. This came after his own UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, commented on the story calling it a "shame" and that she won't speak on "classified info". The story, based on an anonymous source, was eager to be released by a president quick to scapegoat legitimitate stories with anonymous sources when it calls out his or his cabinet's corruption, collusion or incompetence, was found to be false. 

- And can we just take a minute to appreciate how repulsively full of shit tv evangelists and tv pastors that back Trump are, such as Pastor Robert Jeffress, stating that "and I wanted to clarify that I believe the Bible, especially Romans 13, does give Trump moral authority to use whatever force necessary." You're no where to be found when Trump is a sexist, misogynist, xenophobic or just outright verbally attacking someone, let alone any other of countless global tragedies you're conveniently silent or apathetic about, but when it comes to backing your boy, you're all in. I swear I hope each and every one of you holy hyporcrites are right and there IS a hell somewhere, because it'll be well deserved.

- 95 degrees in Florida is so much more unbearable than 105 degrees in Nevada.

- An estimated 547 gun deaths these past two weeks, as per gunviolencearchive.org.

- Meanwhile, another top EPA official resigned, Elizabeth "Betsy" Southerland, from her role of Director of Science and 30 year career with the agency. She cited the administration's lies and the war on truth as her reasoning.

- How bad is the war on truth and the ethics of this administration, you may ask? Trump has ordered the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop using the term climate change and instead replace it with "weather extremes".

- The court of appeals for D.C., one that'll hear many of Scott Pruitt, the appointed head of the EPA's  legal battles, overruled the attempt to delay a rule that would limit the methane leaks at gas and oil facilities. It would force companies to plug leaks because, apparently selfish people would like to be safe from harmful chemicals..?

- Trump has created secret teams of former lobbyists with sweeping authority to review federal rules and regulations. Meetings have been held in secret, without the opportunity for public input and in some cases, the administration has refused to even reveal the names of people serving on the panels.  Analysis by the New York Times and Pro Publica has found numerous conflicts of interests, including several people who could personally profit from repealed regulations they're reviewing. Nobody's surprised.

- Trump's cabinet is so bad, federal scientists have released a sobering and terrifying report on climate change before Trump's people could get their hands on it and quash it.

- The Secret Service has spent over $35,000 in just the first 3 months for golf cart rentals for this president at his Mar-a-Lago, alone. The U.S. apparently also leases space inside Trump Tower for costs of $130,000 a month. While continuously beating the broken drum about the need to cut funding to important federal programs because of it's wasteful spending. 

- The leaks of Trump's conversations with world leaders, even for someone that can't stand him as I do, seems a little much and dangerous. 

 - The increasing privatization of defense contractors to fight international issues or wars like what seems to be happening in Afghanistan, that answer to no one, is a dangerous trend that create horrific war crimes and more and more future enemies.

- DuPont and their spinoff company, Chemours, are being sued by local citizen groups for releasing highly dangerous chemicals, linked to testicular and kidney cancer, into the drinking water as part of a decades long cover up. The chemicals has potentially exposed over 250,000 residents in the North Carolina and West Virginia area.

- Rather than declaring a public health emergency for the opioid epidemic, from the advise of his own opioid commission, Trump vowed "strong law enforcement" and getting "very, very tough" on the southern border. Because of course he did. 

 - A decidedly Republican Iowan district as recent as last year went to a Democrat this past week after a special election.

- Starting in July 2018, Oregon will require big companies in retail, hospitality and food service to give employees their schedules at least a week ahead of time, and offer stress pay to workers who don't get  a 10-hour break between shifts. By 2020, employers covered by the law will have to hand out schedules two weeks in advance. Props to Oregon for becoming the first state, big cities like Seattle and New York City have similar laws, to pass a law protecting our most vulnerable workers.

- A 6.5 earthquake rocked Sichuan, China this past Wednesday, killing at least 7 confirmed, 21 seriously injured, as many as over 100 feared to be dead and injuring hundreds more.

- Vice News reports that Trump gets a daily flattery report, twice a day, at 9:30 a.m. And 4:30 p.m. Forgoing the daily intelligence briefing. Half his Republicans in the country is willing to forgo a 2020 election "if it is found illegal immigrants are found to be voting", voting machines can be hacked in less than an hour. Trump thanked Putin for ousting over 700 diplomats, by Trump saying "we're trying to save money".

- Wells Fargo is under investigation, again. This time for pushing "optional" monthly mortgage warranties that many consumers found to be more than a daunting task to remove from their automatic enrollment billing through a third party company, American Home Shield. A statement Wells Fargo released stated that they ceased working with third party companies like American Home Shield and "other optional packages" in 2012, which leads to question how many other unwanted fees and scams did they rip off from their consumers.

- See how quickly we fell down this %&$!@%$ rabbit hole where the standards for this standing president are so low that they're simply to not implicitly support the KKK and Nazi's, and he can't even do that! This is where we are now.