Reflecting on August 2017

As we reflect during these challenging times. Remember, there are forces out there working on manipulating you and everything around you to lose hope in yourself and fellow humans. Don’t fall for it.

You have a choice to be on the side of good or the side of evil against your own people. While we may have our differences, we all bleed red and every negative situation affect us all.

Remember that the enemy seeks to destroy when they think you are not looking, so stay engaged in your politics, local and national.

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”

Furthermore, HATED, BIGOTRY, RACISM, XENOPHOBIA, HOMOPHOBIA, ANTI-SEMITISM, MISOGYNY, are not acceptable in our society.  Remind them how history judged individuals like Hitler.

 

Content below is a snapshot into local U.S. news and other events that happened around the globe during the previous month. What can we learn from it to make our future better?

Grand Jury called in Russia Investigation

Robert Mueller

During the month of August, Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed by Congress to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 elections, calls on a grand jury in Washington D.C. This marks a major turning point, as it indicates that Mueller believes there is enough evidence to pursue a  criminal case; the job of a grand jury in the United States is to determine the validity of the legal complaint. The jury issues subpoenas to Donald Trump Jr. and White House Adviser Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law. (Reuters), Photo Source: J. Scott Applewhite, AP

 

Congress Pushes Through Russia Sanctions

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During the month of August 2017, In response to the allegations against Russia, the United States Congress passes through a bill applying stiff sanctions against Russia. President Donald Trump is a vocal critic of the move, which runs counter to his policy of entente with America’s former Cold War rival. The President attempts to block the bill, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, but Congress overrides him. The move meets swift condemnation from Russian authorities. (Reuters),  Photo Source: AFP

 

Martin Shkreli Convicted

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During the month of August, Martin Shkreli was convicted on three counts of fraud in federal court. The former pharmaceutical executive and hedge fund manager became infamous in the United States after he was accused of price gouging necessary and life-saving medication for people with HIV. He gained further notoriety after many of his personal communications were leaked to the public. The 34-year-old faces up to 20 years in prison, though he does not yet have a sentencing date. He remains free on bail, set at five million dollars. (Reuters ) Photo Source: (JESSE WARD/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

 

President Exchanges Threats with North Korea

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During the month of August, in response to threats made against Guam by the DPRK, President Trump tells the world that North Korea will face “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if their provocations continue. Many in the United States and abroad worry that such saber rattling will push the standoff between the nuclear powers to a crisis. President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, who ran on a platform of de-escalation and diplomacy with the north, is particularly nonplussed. (BBC), Photo Source: AP

 

“Unite the Right” Rally Held in Charlottesville

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During the month of August, a loose coalition of white supremacists, neo-nazi organizations and KKK  hold a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The rally’s main focus is to protest the removal of a state honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee. When counter-protesters arrive, one of the white supremacists drives his car into the crowd, killing one woman and injuring several more. Following the violence, many cities and states begin removing Confederate memorials immediately. When pressed for a statement, President Trump claims that people on “both sides” share blame for the violence. Global leaders decry the actions of the rally organizers, and many target the President’s remarks. (CNN), Photo Source: The Washington Post/Getty Images

 

President Trump Announces New Immigration Plan

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During the month of August, President Trump announces a new immigration plan. The RAISE Act, drafted with the support of Tom Cotton and David Perdue, would prioritize skilled workers for acceptance into the U.S. The current system favors immigration with familial ties in the country. The Act would curtail legal immigration into the United States by nearly one half each year. Critics call the act unfairly biased, and point out that immigration is responsible for maintaining the U.S. population against declining birth rates. (The Washington Post), Photo Source, Getty Images

 

19 Trump Administration Members Resign

White House adviser Steve Bannon.

During the month of August, either in direct response to the events surrounding Charlottesville or for more nebulous reasons, 19 members of the Trump administration resign from their posts. This includes the entire Committee on the Arts and Humanities, citing their dissatisfaction with the President’s response to the rally. More notably, special advisor Carl Icahn steps down, as well as staunch Trump ally and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. The Breitbart executive has been a mainstay of the president’s campaign and staff. (Associated Press), Photo Source: Somodevilla, Getty Images

 

Political Violence in Berkeley Continues

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During the month of August 2017, the political violence in Berkeley, California continues, as 14 people are arrested in the wake of widespread clashes between right-leaning protesters and left-leaning counter-protesters. Berkeley’s political climate came under scrutiny early over alt-right speaking engagements. The clashes have only escalated between Trump supporters and white supremacists, and left-wing groups like Antifa and By Any Means Necessary. (Los Angeles Times), Photo Source: AP

 

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio Pardoned

Donald Trump Pardons Disgraced Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio

During the month of August 2017, President Trump uses his presidential power to pardon former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio came into the spotlight when he implemented widespread stop-and-search procedures targeting civilians who appeared as though they might be undocumented immigrants. When a federal court issued an injunction and demanded he desist, Arpaio continued the practice. This led to his eventual firing and conviction. The President’s office originally refused to comment on whether Arpaio was to be pardoned, up until the pardon was issued. (The Washington Post), Photo Source: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

 

Transgender Troops Confirmed for Continued Service

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During the month of August 2017, roughly one month after President Trump declared a ban on trans citizens serving in the military, Defense Secretary Mattis announces that transgender troops will retain their ranks and duties while the Department investigates the combat-readiness of the Armed Forces. President Trump, in spite of previous investigations suggesting otherwise, claimed that trans service members negatively impacted the military’s budget and combat effectiveness. Many other NATO members allow open service by trans soldiers. (The Hill), Photo Source: Getty Images

 

Terror Attack Strikes Barcelona

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During the month of August 2017, in what is declared a terrorist attack, a van driver runs down a crowd on La Rambla, the central commercial street in Barcelona, Spain. At least twelve people are killed, and many more wounded. Police immediately detained two suspects for questioning, and in the following days several more are taken in or killed in shootouts. ISIL, also known as ISIS, claims responsibility for the attack. (The Washington Post) Photo Source: Sergi Alcazar/El Nacional

 

North Korea Fires Missile Over Japan

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During the month of August 2017, in the latest of many ballistic missile tests, the North Korean military launches a Hwasong-12 missile nearly two thousand miles over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Japan immediately goes on high alert, and key Japanese allies are quick to condemn the provocation. China similarly speaks out against the launch, but many are skeptical about Beijing’s ability to rein in their aggressive neighbor. (The Independent), Photo Source: Reuters

 

IAEA Declares Iran Within Nuclear Deal Limits

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During the month of August 2017, the International Atomic Energy Agency releases a report that Iran is still operating within the limits of the controversial 2015 nuclear agreement. Despite concerns from critics that Iran would flaunt the rules and develop a dangerous weapons program. Tehran officially is pursuing nuclear energy as a means of developing their energy infrastructure, and for the development of other (non-military) technologies. (Reuters) Photo Source:  AP

 

Upwards of 500 Killed in Mudslide in Sierra Leone

During the month of August 2017, heavy rains near Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, cause a massive mudslide. The sheer mass of dislodged earth devastates large areas, and an initial body count puts the death toll at 350 people. Estimates place the final count at 500 or more. The city immediately begins rescue operations, and many in the community look to relocating those orphaned by the disaster. (BBC), Photo Source: Seyllou/AFP/Getty images

 

Hurricane Harvey Hits Texas

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Rescue boats fill a flooded street as flood victims are evacuated floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise, Aug. 28, David J. Phillip—AP

 

During the month of August 2017, Tropical depression Harvey is reclassified as a Category 3 Hurricane. The State of Texas issues floods warnings and weather advisories. The storm hits the coast of Texas, bringing with it extensive flooding and dangerous high-speed winds. The greater Houston area and surrounding countryside are the worst hit. Harvey also affected Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras, Louisiana, Yucatan Peninsula, Windward Islands, Suriname, and Guyana.

Samaritans help push a boat with evacuees to high ground during a rain storm caused by Tropical Storm Harvey along Tidwell Road in east Houston

Samaritans help push a boat with evacuees to high ground during a rain storm caused by Tropical Storm Harvey along Tidwe, Adrees Latif—Reuters

 

 

Researchers Successfully Edit Genes to Prevent Heart Disease

A New York doctor says he has used the DNA of three adults to create a child for a couple from Jordan.

During the month of August 2017, U.S.-based research teams successfully use embryonic cells to fix a faulty gene sequence responsible for particular deadly heart diseases. The joint teams of American, Chinese, and South Korean scientists hope to expand the scope of the work, and create effective gene treatments for a wide range of dangerous and debilitating illnesses. Although research using embryonic cells is controversial, this marks a major breakthrough in medical science. (BBC), Photo Source: Getty Images

 

U.S. Views Total Solar Eclipse

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During the month of August 2017,  citizens of the United States were treated to the sight of a solar eclipse. Although solar eclipses aren’t quite as rare as they seem( a total solar eclipse occurs somewhere on earth every two years), this is the first time a total eclipse has been visible from the contiguous States since the 1970s, and the first time all 48 mainland states could see an eclipses  since 1918. CBS), Photo Source: Photo by Nicholas Jones.

 

Scientists Detect New Radio Bursts From Space

 

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During the month of August 2017, Observers at Breakthrough Listen, an initiative dedicated to finding intelligent life beyond Earth, reported a substantial number of fast radio bursts (FRB) from FRB 121102. The source of these bursts, identified as a distant dwarf galaxy, has come to public attention in 2012 and 2015, and now again in 2017. While there are many mundane explanations for FRBs, the recurrence of the signals is peculiar, and many wonder whether this may suggest the existence of extraterrestrial (nonmicrobial) life. (Berkeley News), Photo Source: Harvard/NASA

 

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