Sunday, November 17, 2019

No left-wing outrage over bake shop refusal to bake “Trump cake” for nine-year-old


by Ethan Huff, Natural News:

Right now there’s a deafening silence emanating from CNNThe New York Times, and many other mainstream media outlets that, if this particular story of discrimination involved a gay, lesbian, or transgender wedding, you can be sure that they would all be in a resounding chorus of tizzy. But because it was a Trump supporter who was refused goods and services, you can almost hear the crickets chirping.

Let’s cut to the chase: A nine-year-old boy from California who admires President Trump wanted a cake made for his birthday bearing the business mogul’s “Make America Great Again” campaign hat. The boy’s mother tried to find a baker who would make this type of cake for her son, but none would agree to it. The mother ended up having to bake the cake herself, and her son still had a wonderful birthday.

The boy, named Dylan Harbin, later wrote a letter to President Trump explaining that the President is his “favorite president.” Young Dylan told President Trump about the cake his mom made for him, and other such childlike innocence that pulled at the heart strings of millions of Americans. The story quickly spread via the alternative media, and now many are asking the question: Where was the mainstream media’s outrage over this?

Given, no bake shop is required by law to bake a cake for anyone. But why, then, are bakers who refuse to bake cakes for gay weddings allowed to be bullied and forced into “re-education” programs, which is exactly what happened to Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado.

As reported by The Washington Times, Phillips refused to bake a cake for a gay couple because his Christian beliefs compelled him not to. Phillips was sued and ordered by the state’s Civil Rights Commission to go to brainwashing sessions, and had to change his store policies to comply with the demands of the LGBT community. Phillips also has to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years following the incident.

This is quite the litany of punishment for refusing to bow down to the god of LGBT, and one that’s still being battled in court – with its next stop being the Supreme Court. Phillips’ lawyer has already presented a case, and oral arguments are set to be heard this upcoming fall as to the bake shop’s fate (as well as that of other businesses in the U.S. whose owners also wish to follow their consciences on matters such as this).

If bakers don’t have to bake Trump cakes, then they also don’t have to bake gay cakes

What’s interesting is that, in Phillips’ case, his right to refuse service is seen as intolerable because it discriminates against a protected group. But in young Dylan’s case, the bakers who refused to make his “Make America Great Again” cake are apparently being regarded as simply exercising their free speech rights. This double standard is quite hypocritical, and raises serious questions about the equality of justice in the U.S. today.

“Similarly here, cake shops declined Pickle’s order for conscience reasons,” wrote Michael P. Farris, president, CEO, and general counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian legal group defending Phillips in his cake case, on a recent blog post comparing the two cases. Pickle, just to be clear, is the nickname that young Dylan explained in his letter to the President that many people call him at school.

“Yet, no one on the Left is calling for legal action against the cake shops. And neither should anyone on the Right. The fact is that these cake shops have freedom of speech. They have the right to decline to use their artistic talents to celebrate events or promote messages that violate their beliefs, even if it offends a nice little kid.”

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Stock Market Warning Siren is Blaring


by Wolf Richter, Wolf Street:

Are we blinded yet by the brilliance of corporate earnings?

“Adjusted” earnings growth is 10.2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} year-over-year in the second quarter, according to FactSet, based on the 91{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results. The energy sector was a key driver, with 332{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} “adjusted” earnings growth from the oil-bust levels of a year ago.

The sectors with double-digit earnings growth: information technology (14.7{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}), utilities (10.8{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}), and financials (10.3{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}). The rest were single digit. Earnings in the consumer discretionary sector declined.

Revenues grew 5.1{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, also led by the energy sector. At the beginning of Q2 last year, the WTI grade of crude oil traded at $35 a barrel. In Q2 this year, WTI ranged from $42 to $53 a barrel.

So the Wall-Street hype machine is cranking at maximum RPM to propagate the great news that earnings are soaring, and that this is the reason why stocks should also be soaring, and forget everything else. The hype machine carefully avoids showing the bigger picture which is dismal for earnings and ludicrous for stock valuations.

Aggregate earnings per share (EPS) for the S&P 500 companies on a trailing 12-months basis rose for the second quarter in a row. That’s the foundation of the Wall Street hype. But here’s the thing with these EPS: they’re now back where they had been in… May 2014.

Yep. More than three years of earnings stagnation. No growth whatsoever, even for “adjusted” earnings. In fact, on a trailing 12-month basis, aggregate EPS of the S&P 500 companies are down about 5{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} from their peak in Q4 2014. And yet, over the same three-plus years of total earnings stagnation, the S&P 500 index has soared 34{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

This chart shows those “adjusted” earnings per share for the S&P 500 companies (black line) and the S&P 500 index (blue line). Chart via FactSet(click to enlarge). I marked August 2012 as the point five years ago, and May 2014:

And these are not earnings under the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). FactSet uses “adjusted” earnings for its analyses. These are the earnings with the bad stuff “adjusted” out of them by management to manipulate earnings into the most favorable light. Not all companies report “adjusted” earnings. Some only report GAAP earnings and live with the consequences. But others put adjusted earnings into the foreground, and that’s what Wall Street dishes up.

Since August 2012, the trailing 12-month “adjusted” earnings per share of the companies in the S&P 500 index rose just 12{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in total. About the rate of inflation – nothing more. Over the same five years, the S&P 500 Index soared 72{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

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Chinese Bank Suffers ‘Rare’ Bank Run, Police Arrest “Rumor-Spreaders”

from ZeroHedge:

Chinese police questioned 27 people, detained 12 and “severely” reprimanded 15, over the spreading of gossip about Linshang Bank – a lender with 61 billion yuan ($9.1 billion) in deposits – which caused a rare bank run in Eastern China.

The South China Morning Post reports that a few disgruntled employees at Shandong Sanwei Oil Group, an agricultural processing company, were unhappy after they were placed on leave when production lines were closed at the firm.

The employees spread a rumour that the firm was collapsing with billions of yuan in unpaid loans and that it might also bring down Linshang Bank, the report added.


The rumour spread quickly among residents, triggering a run on the local branch of the bank, according to the article. At one point more than 500 depositors gathered outside the branch demanding to withdraw their money.

The bank said in a brief statement on its website that the spate of withdrawals at one of its branches in Linyi in Shandong province on Monday was caused by “a few individuals spreading rumours” that the bank was in trouble.

The lender urged the public “not to believe in or spread rumours to jointly maintain good financial order”.

“In the face of rumors, we hope the public reacts rationally, does not believe in rumors, does not rumor-monger, to avoid harming their own interests.”

An official in the bank’s general affairs office told the South China Morning Post on Thursday the situation was now back to normal. A clerk at the bank’s Bancheng branch also said normal operations had resumed.

“Our branch managers have been explaining to our clients … and most clients left the branch without withdrawing money after they knew it was just untrue gossip,” the clerk said.

As SCMP notes, regional banks in less developed areas are regarded as the weak links in China’s financial system as lenders often give large loans to local enterprises and may expose themselves to greater risks if local economic growth slows.

A rumour that a rural lender in Sheyang county in Jiangsu province had run out of money three years ago triggered a three-day run on the bank, which forced it to place stacks of cash behind teller windows to ease depositors’ panic.

While bank runs in China are unusual, the rapidity of this run (from gossip to deposit demands) makes us wonder just how fragile confidence must be among the average Jao. As a reminder, China’s central bank launched a deposit insurance system in May 2015, adopting Western-style protection for depositors. The maximum payout level is set at 500,000 yuan per depositor for each bank.

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It’s All Going Wrong For A Gold Cartel On The Precipice

by Andy Hoffman, Miles Franklin:

I wasn’t planning to write another article this week – as tomorrow morning (Friday), I’m taping a MUST LISTEN interview with one of the smartest investors in the Precious Metals/Cryptocurrency space; Edward Blake, the Renegade Investor.  Not to mention, it’s the middle of August, and I have yet to take a day off from publishing all year.  However, as we are living through what may well be a major inflection point in history – monetary and otherwise – I figured I’d pen a few thoughts.  What the heck?  Diana and Sylvie are visiting relatives in New York, so who’s going to stop me?

Anyhow, the trading day just concluded – with the “market” finally allowed to have a real down day.  But don’t worry, the “Dow Jones Propaganda Average” was down just 0.93{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}, whilst gold’s gains were capped by the equally time-honored “1{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} rule” for the second straight day.  I mean, how could stocks possibly go down more than 1{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}; or gold up more than 1{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}; when we’re on the cusp of nuclear war – causing bond yields, oil prices, and the dollar to plunge, amidst unprecedentedly manipulated markets yielding “dotcom valuations in a Great Depression Era,” and the “lowest inflation-adjusted gold and silver prices in modern times?”

Boilerplate manipulation commentary notwithstanding, it’s not where we are now that matters, but where we are going – likely, much sooner than most can imagine.  Which is, a time when – at least, in real terms – these “roles” will be reversed, as capital floods out of historically overvalued financial assets into “scarcity assets” like Precious Metals and Bitcoin; i.e., the “twin destroyers of the fiat regime.”  As in my view, the “ultimate monetary death cross” – when the majority of the world’s population realizes crypto is destined to replace fiat currency – is coming soon.  And when it does, no adjectives have yet been created to describe the mad rush of tens of trillions of fiat toilet paper into the handful of tiny scarcity asset markets.  Even Ray Dalio says “buy gold before it’s too late” – as I assure you, someday soon, it will be.

Care of said “monetary death cross,” I have recently updated my longstanding view that the gold Cartel will be overwhelmed by physical demand when “the Big One” finally hits.  This is still a viable possibility, of course – particularly if a crisis is triggered by a shocking political, economic, or military event; such as, a U.S. invasion of North Korea, particularly if Kim Jung-Un’s “response” is what I think it will be.  That said, I now believe the more likely scenario is one where the Cartel voluntarily disbands, not that they would ever admit it.  The reason being, that when the crypto-currency revolution sweeps across the globe, “they” will realize there’s no point trying to hold PM prices down anymore – particularly because so little “manipulation ammunition” remains after two decades of relentless suppression, amidst an environment of surging global demand.  Thus, when PMs rise to five, ten, or even 20x their current levels, no one will care except the handful of investors wise enough to have bought them at today’s bargain basement prices.  And the best part is, governments will be so busy flailing at the “windmills” known as decentralized crypto-currencies, they won’t bother to vilify PM investors; let alone, enact windfall taxes or attempt to restrict your ownership.  In other words, the best-case scenario for a group of die-hard investors, who deserve good fortune more than any others.

I couldn’t have been blunter about how near I believe that time is, in taking the bold step to pen the “most Precious Metal bullish I’ve ever been” two weeks ago.  And per today’s title, it couldn’t be clearer that the winds of change are blowing our way.  Yes, the potential war with North Korea overshadows all else, but man are things going the wrong way for the Cartel, on all fronts.

From plummeting bond yields, oil prices, and the dollar (wow, has “Trump-flation” died); to rising market volatility; plunging “inflation” data – yielding an increased imminence of QE4; historically ugly demographics; the expanding “retail Apocalypse”; the upcoming “debt ceiling” bloodbath; parabolically rising debt – of all kinds; Bitcoin’s SegWit activation; escalating military tensions between China and India; and what’s this, for the first time in three years, positive gold money flow; the odds of the long-awaited “commercial signal failure” haven’t been this high since the height of the 2008 Financial Crisis.  Only this time around, “history’s most overdue crisis” will not only be far worse, but irreversible – as now that Central banks’ ammunition and credibility have been destroyed, their only remaining “tool” will be the blatant, massive hyperinflation that will buy them but a few months at most; before first, the weakest currencies collapse; and ultimately, the world’s “reserve currency” as well.

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Keiser Report: Geopolitics & Cryptocurrencies (E1109)

by RT:

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max and Stacy discuss the electric car boom driving a resource boom in Australia . . . and the biggest mines are now being acquired by Chinese companies. In the second half, Max interviews Gerald Celente of about paradigm shifts: from cryptocurrencies to electric cars. 

OFFICIALS: Federal Prosecutor Investigating Visa Fraud in Wasserman Schultz’s District Shot Himself in Head – But NO GUN Was Found


by Jim Hoft, The Gateway Pundit:

A federal prosecutor’s body was discovered on a Hollywood, Florida beach on May 24.

He was shot in the head.

Beranton J. Whisenant, Jr.’s body was found in May by a random individual. The police were investigating at the time to determine if Whisenant’s death was a “homicide, suicide, or something else.”

Whisenant worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami in its major crimes unitHe was handling several visa and passport fraud cases in Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s district.

Now this…
Officials say Beranton’s death was a suicide and he shot himself in the head.
But no gun was ever found.

The Sun-Sentinel reported:

Detectives and a medical examiner found Whisenant had shot himself in the head, Hollywood police said.

Police searched for two blocks north and south of the crime scene but couldn’t find the gun or any other weapon.

He was assigned to the Miami office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and been hired as federal prosecutor a few months earlier.

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BREAKING: China says it will defend North Korea in event of US invasion

by Alexander Mercouris, The Duran:

Editorial in Chinese official newspaper Global Times sets out China’s red lines: China will intervene in event of US invasion of North Korea to prevent regime change there

As the war of words between the US and North Korea continues to mount, an increasingly angry and worried China has given Washington and Pyongyang a clear public hint of where its red lines are.

The hint came in an editorial in Global Times, a newspaper owned by the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper the People’s Daily, which is often used by the Chinese government to express opinions it holds but which it feels it might be too provocative to air officially.

Editorials in Global Times do not therefore have quite the same weight as editorials in the People’s Daily or the official Xinhua news agency or of course public statements by the Chinese government.  However they do reflect official Chinese thinking and should be read as such, especially since their wording is carefully chosen in advance.

The editorial in Global Times in which China has hinted at its red lines downplays the risk of war.   It says the angry rhetoric Washington and Pyongyang are hurling at each other is foolish grandstanding.  About that it is almost certainly.  However it also says that this grandstanding risks war because both sides risk humiliation if they back down

Many people believe the possibility of war is very low. If war really breaks out, the US can hardly reap any strategic harvest and North Korea will face unprecedented risks. North Korea aims to propel the US to negotiate with it, while the US wants to put North Korea in check. Neither can achieve its goal, so they compete to escalate tensions, but neither wants to take the initiative to launch a war.

The real danger is that such a reckless game may lead to miscalculations and a strategic “war.” That is to say, neither Washington nor Pyongyang really wants war, but a war could break out anyway as they do not have the experience of putting such an extreme game under control.

Yesterday in an article for The Duran I said that China’s patience with the US was almost exhausted and the Global Times editorial straightforwardly says this, putting the US on the same level of childishness as North Korea and saying that China has given up hope of persuading these two countries to start behaving like grown-ups.  It says that in light of this “reckless” behaviour by both sides – with the greater onus to behave responsibly being however first and foremost on the US since it is by far the stronger party – China is obliged to make clear to both sides what its red lines are

Beijing is not able to persuade Washington or Pyongyang to back down at this time. It needs to make clear its stance to all sides and make them understand that when their actions jeopardize China’s interests, China will respond with a firm hand.

(bold italics added)

Then comes the clear statement of what the red lines are, and what in the event of armed conflict China will do

China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral. If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.

(bold italics added)

In other words if North Korea is so stupid as to launch an unprovoked attack on the US – which in this context probably covers the wild and reckless North Korean threat to launch a missile demonstration against Guam – it is on its own.  However if the US attacks North Korea – either as part of some ‘pre-emptive’ strategy or in order to achieve regime change there, China will come to North Korea’s defence.

The Global Times editorial – wisely – does not spell out what China would in that case do.  However since the discussion is one of war the necessary implication must be that in the event of a US attack on North Korea China will respond militarily.

Probably that response will be graduated and will depend on how severe the US attack on North Korea might be.  However since the editorial says that the survival of the North Korea is a matter of Chinese national interest, the necessary implication must be that in the event of a straightforward US-South Korean invasion of North Korea to achieve regime change there the Chinese response would be direct intervention by the Chinese armed forces to prevent that happening.

That would set the scene for the first armed clash between the US and the Chinese militaries since the end of the Korean war, and for the first all-out military superpower clash since the end of the Second World War.

I have repeatedly written in The Duran that bluffing China is a fool’s game because such a bluff in the end is always called.

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Stanford University Introduces Course on ‘Abolishing Whiteness’


by Tom Ciccotta, Breitbart:

Stanford University will introduce a course this fall which will task students with considering “abolishing whiteness” and the ultimate goal of understanding “what is the future of whiteness,” according to the institution’s course catalog.

The course, which is entitled “White Identity Politics,” will be taught by instructor John Patrick Moran, and analyze the “future of whiteness.” For the uninitiated, the concept of “whiteness” refers to the social aspect of race. According to the University of Calgary, “whiteness” is a socially and politically constructed learned behavior built upon the systematic privileges afforded to whites in Western society.

The Stanford course looks to abolish this social concept of “whiteness” through an analysis of what the course description alleges is “the rise of white identity politics in the United States” as a result of the 2016 Presidential election. Stanford Professor Tomás Jiménez explained that “whiteness” refers to “the set of behaviors and outlooks associated with the racial category, white.”

Pundits proclaim that the 2016 Presidential election marks the rise of white identity politics in the United States. Drawing from the field of whiteness studies and from contemporary writings that push whiteness studies in new directions, this upper-level seminar asks, does white identity politics exist? How is a concept like white identity to be understood in relation to white nationalism, white supremacy, white privilege, and whiteness? We will survey the field of whiteness studies, scholarship on the intersection of race, class, and geography, and writings on whiteness in the United States by contemporary public thinkers, to critically interrogate the terms used to describe whiteness and white identities. Students will consider the perils and possibilities of different political practices, including abolishing whiteness or coming to terms with white identity. What is the future of whiteness?

Ernest Miranda, a spokesperson for Stanford, told the College Fix that “abolishing whiteness” is a concept devised in the 1990s to encourage whites in the Western world to stop identifying as white in order to help end inequalities.

Harvard scholar Noel Ignatiev spoke about the concept of “whiteness” in a documentary on campus radicalism. He argued that “whiteness is a form of racial oppression,” and that “there can be no white race without the phenomenon of white supremacists.”

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We’re Moving Closer and Closer to a Major Buying Opportunity in Oil

by Marin Katusa, Katusa Research:

As we entered the summer months, many investors wanted to believe a terrible time for oil and gas stocks was nearing an end. Now that we’re six weeks into summer, we see that’s not the case.

During the first half of 2017, oil and gas stocks were among the market’s worst performers. The Dow Jones US Oil & Gas Index declined 17{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}. Some of the more highly levered oil and gas stocks fell twice that much. After such a big fall, value-hunting investors began buying. But last week, we saw that oil and gas stocks are still vulnerable to waves of selling that send them to 52- week lows.

Take Pioneer Natural Resources for example. In the mutual fund and hedge fund world, it’s considered one of the premier independent oil and gas companies… a “go to” stock for getting exposure to the oil sector. After reporting second quarter earnings and stating it would delay drilling projects, Pioneer stock was crushed 17{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in the following two days and hit its lowest level of the year. A true wipeout… in one of the sector’s best operators.

Pioneer is not an isolated case. Last week, a handful of other oil and gas stocks hit yearly lows, including Apache, Range Resources, Southwestern Energy, Parsley Energy, RSP Permian, Sanchez Energy, Carrizo Oil & Gas, and Noble Energy.

An especially notable loser last week was Canadian producer Seven Generations Energy. It’s a major player in one of my favorite areas for investment, Canada’s prolific Montney shale. It has exceptional assets. However, quality was no sanctuary last week. After reporting second quarter earnings, “Seven Gen” dropped as much as 18{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} and reached a fresh yearly low.

***Regular readers will recall my writings on the oil patch back in June. At the time, I stated that although the oil and gas sector had suffered massively in 2017, more pain was on the way. Last week’s declines show that my expectations are being met. They are also moving us closer to a significant bottom in the oil sector. I’m getting closer and closer to pulling the trigger on high-quality names marked down to discount prices. More on this to come.

How Index Funds Are Impacting the Gold Sector

Over the past seven years, index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have dominant forces in the market. Typically, these funds don’t try to beat the market. They are the market. They own broad indexes (like the S&P 500) or sector groups (like retail or energy). And they’ve become widely popular with investors.

Index funds are so popular that many investors are warning about the effects index funds are having on the overall stock market. Since index funds buy stocks based on an index – not good old fashioned fundamental analysis – they have the potential to make popular, overvalued stocks even more overvalued… and warp the market.

What you may not have heard however, is how ETFs are influencing returns in the gold stock sector. Since spring, the smaller mid-tiers (sub 400,000 ounces of gold production annually) have experienced significant selling which we will explain later.  This significant selling of the smaller mid-tiers has lowered the overall mid-tier index relative to its performance to the senior index in past years.

And still true today, as a group, the mid-tiers overall are cheaper than the senior gold producers.

The chart below is the Katusa Senior Gold Index which is made up of the 15 global publicly listed primary gold producers that produced over 1 million ounces of gold in 2016. The senior golds have outperformed the Katusa Mid-Tier Gold Producers which is made up of 25 publicly listed primary gold producers that produced between 250,000 and 1 million ounces of gold in 2016.

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5 Stories You’re Missing While the Media Hypes a Nuclear War With North Korea

by Carey Wedler, The Anti Media:

This week, many Americans are more terrified of North Korea than usual, with some scrambling to buy supplies in case of a nuclear apocalypse as at least one local government offers advice to residents on how to survive a blast. Though Americans are unsure about Trump’s approach to North Korea, a majority agree that the country is a serious threat as much of the media repeatedly hammers home just how dangerous the situation has become.

But amid round-the-clock coverage of the threats hurled back and forth between and Kim Jong Un, others stories continue to break. Though these stories may be garnering slight attention in the mainstream conversation, they are drowned out by the North Korea narrative. That’s because the media loves a good feeding frenzy, especially when it comes to potential death and annihilation from an external threat.

Here are five developments to stay informed about as Americans collectively run around like radioactive chickens with their mutated heads cut off.

1. A nuclear plant is leaking and poisoning workers in Washington

The Hanford Site, located in Washington State, leaked radioactive plutonium particles on June 8, sickening workers and traveling as far as three miles from the facility. The contractor tasked with cleaning up the site, which has been leaking for years, withheld information until this week when local outlet KING obtained an internal memo discussing the situation. Multiple workers have tested positive for “internal exposure” to radiation as those in charge of demolishing the Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP) continue their task, which was underway when the release of radioactive vapor occurred.

The contractor charged with helping to take down the PFP, CH2m Hill,  has downplayed the risk of the recent leak. Overall, estimates predict it will take between 50 and 75 years to clean up the entire Hanford Site, which experts have deemed the most toxic place in America” and “an underground Chernobyl waiting to happen.“ Ironically, as Americans shudder at the prospect of nuclear war, the direct threat Hanford poses is ultimately a consequence of their own government’s nuclear ambitions; Hanford produced the “Fat Man” bomb that decimated Nagasaki at the end of World War II. Further, multiple nuclear sites around the country are also leaking, highlighting the ongoing dangers of poorly maintained nuclear infrastructure and the lack of accountability from those in charge of them.

2. Under Trump, the U.S. has dropped almost as many bombs in 2017 as it did last year

During the 2016 election, some Trump supporters championed him as an anti-war candidate who could disrupt Hillary Clinton and the war hawks’ trajectory. Trump asserted she could easily spark World War III. As Trump saber-rattles against North Korea, ultimately becoming what he warned against, he has also perpetuated America’s penchant for military violence in other parts of the world. Foreign Policy reported this week that “Under Trump, the United States has dropped about 20,650 bombs through July 31, or 80 percent the number dropped under Obama for the entirety of 2016. At this rate, Trump will exceed Obama’s last-year total by Labor Day.” The increase has particularly affected Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, as well as other countries in the Middle East. They have also incurred heavy civilian losses with no apologies from the Trump administration. These increased military operations – which were high to begin with under Obama — come with little to no diplomatic strategy, according to Foreign Policy.

3. The president advocates more failed tactics to combat drug addiction

Signaling his intent to impose heavy-handed government policies both abroad and at home, Trump announced this week that he supports a “law and order” approach to the opium epidemic sweeping the United States. This “solution” mirrors the one proposed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who believes criminal enforcement is key to stopping drug use. Their strategy ignores effective models set by other countries that focus on treatment and decriminalization, instead choosing outdated and failed policies. Earlier this year — in addition to criminal enforcement — Sessions advocated a revival of Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no” campaign, which clearly failed considering America’s addiction problem continues to plague communities. In announcing his “law and order” mentality this week, Trump claimed “Strong law enforcement is absolutely vital to having a drug-free society,” demonstrating his ignorance of human nature; humans have been using drugs for thousands of years, and previous crackdowns on drug use have failed to address the problems of addiction.

4. Police continue abusing citizens

As the U.S. government grandstands against North Korea, its own law enforcers continue to harass and murder Americans, often with impunity. This week, the family of Aaron Bailey, an unarmed motorist who was shot and killed by Indianapolis police at the end of June, revealed that according to his autopsy, he was shot four times in the back following a brief pursuit that ended in Bailey crashing his car and police subsequently killing him. Though the investigation is ongoing, the Indy Star notes that “In Indianapolis, no police officer in recent years has been charged with a crime in connection with an officer-involved shooting.” On Wednesday, Washington, D.C. authorities announced that an officer who shot and killed an unarmed motorcyclist last year will not face charges. This is a common occurrence in the United States, where at least 611 people have already been killed by police this year.

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