Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017: A Retrospective and A Look toward 2018

While I think nearly everyone since time immemorial has always said something like "wow, what a year it's been", I think we can pretty safely put 2017 in that category of "Wow, What a Year It's Been" don't you? I've looked back at the articles I've written since January and the wide ranging topics I've covered. I've also checked out several retrospective articles as well, both here and abroad. With your indulgence, and with touch of nostalgia, I would like to review some of those articles with you and, perhaps, make a few predictions about 2018.

The first article of 2017 for me was about racism raising its ugly head again. However, this racism was different. It wasn't the racism of the 1950's or 60's. It wasn't the kind that Martin Luther King spoke against or in his that the dream he told us about. It wasn't even the racism that Malcolm X spoke out against. No, this wasn't the racism of George Wallace, the KKK, or of the discrimination experienced by Cesar Chavez. This was new; something which smelled phony or contrived At the time I wrote the article, I was still a little unsure. However, as the year progressed, my suspensions seemed to be more and more correct (in fact, I would return to this topic several more times during the year in order to gain a better understanding of it).

I grew up in the deep South and still live in the South today (although it's often called the northernmost Southern town---LOL). Nevertheless, I did experience the South of the 1960's. My friends at the time included rich kids, dirt poor ones (including a few whose parents were migrant workers), Irish and Italian Catholics, Greek Orthodox Greeks, kids from broken homes, Asian kids, Native Americans, girls---yes, girls (including "girly" girls and tomboys. And a PSA point---none had cooties), handicapped kids, and yes, kids who were black (and often quite poor). Frankly, we really didn't care. Of course, we all occasionally had our falling outs or fought, but we always came together for each other. In school, the classes were all mixed socially and racially, as well as by gender (back then, kids came in two types---boy or girl). One year, in the sixth grade, I even had a black teacher---Mrs. Gladys Knight (I didn't like her and she did not like me, but that's another story). Even when we moved to Bowling Green Kentucky in the early 1970's, I had a number of black friends and black teachers (as well as an Indian teacher from Delhi by the name of Ron Kumar Mukhergee. He was my pal. Thank you Mr. Mukhergee where ever you are).

Granted, my experience was likely unique, but I can't really recall any overt acts of racism during that time. Even in boot camp, we had a large contingent of Northern black guys from the big cities who had rarely been about any of us "white folk" and a couple of guys whose fathers or uncles were active in the KKK and/or John Birch Society, yet they became the best of friends. Of course, I'm sure it was there...somewhere. However, the "racism" I was now hearing about was different. Much of it was the result of black individuals being killed by police officers for crimes they may or may not have committed. It seemed like the police officers were acting more aggressive and shooting first. In the majority of those cases (even the ones which should have been a slam-dunk), the cops were getting off. One, an overweight guy who was tackled by several officers (and was well known to them), was allegedly selling illegal cigarettes. He loudly complained about not being able to breath and ultimately died.

Another was a little kid playing in the park with a toy pistol. A toy pistol! A caller reported the kid was alone and pointed out the toy gun. The two cops shot and killed the kid within seconds of arriving. Then there was the slightly overweight older guy stopped for a tail light issue. Judging from the video, he panicked (he had as suspended license) and turned to run. The cop calmly pulled his pistol and shot the man in the back when he was about 20 or so yards away. He then walked up to the body and placed what appeared to be a gun in his hand. The cop later testified that he was "afraid for his life", of a hopelessly out of shape older guy running away from him. Seriously? There was also the guy who was stopped; got out of his truck as ordered; reached in his hip pocket for his wallet, and suddenly shot multiple times. That officer (a female) also testified that she was "afraid". The guy was about 15 feet away! Of course, all of these officers were recently acquitted, though one or two were eventually fired from the force, but served no time.

In none of these cases did the officers pull their tasers, which could have eliminated any potential threat and saved a life. The officers were obviously being protected by the Judicial system. Ok, I get it. But what I wasn't hearing was about police or Judicial reforms. I also wasn't hearing about intercity youth being taught to do exactly what they are told by police officers, or even their teachers. What I was hearing was demands that whites pay "reparations" for what allegedly happened to an ancestor close to 200 years ago. I was hearing demands that whites (and Asians) give blacks their homes, cars, businesses, or investments when they died. They claimed that they were "owed" what whites and Asians owned. There was also a big uproar about so-called "cultural appropriation". That's when one ethnic or racial group demands that another group stop using certain behaviors or cultural fashions. For instance, black groups were demanding the non-blacks stop putting their hair in "corn rolls" , wearing large loop ear rings, use certain slang terms, or wearing droopy pants. Insanity (except for the droopy pants. Now that's a good idea).

In other articles, I wrote about conservatives (especially white conservatives) being openly denied the opportunity to events they were officially invited to! Those who were willing (or able) to speak found themselves shouted down, heckled, or had students and other individuals try and take over the stage. Outside, these "snowflakes" as they're called, would protest, attempt to block traffic, and destroy property. They were admittedly trying to stop the free speech and expression of others while demanding that everyone not just listen to them, but agree with them. They got bent out of shape when drivers refused to stop. Differences of opinions had become a big "no-no" (which, ironically, was especially the case on college campuses where diversity of opinion used to be the norm), and the "snowflakes" openly admitted it. They simply did not want anyone challenging their mindset even if it meant denying others freedom of speech. Who could forget "comic" Kathy Griffin's big SNAFU with her picture holding the severed head of Trump? She had a hissy fit because people were upset over her crude sense of humor and disrespect. Can you imagine a comedian doing that with the head of Obama or Hillary? The Left would have had an apoplectic fit!

Occasionally I wrote about how the Left (still in meltdown mode over Hillary Clinton's loss to Donald Trump), continued to bash "The Donald" at every opportunity; every news broadcast or "talking heads" show seemed to open with some criticism of Trump the way old TV shows did sponsor commercials. Nothing was too off the wall as long as it was negative. Take the "Russian Investigation" for instance. The Left has been desperately trying to figure out why Hillary (the "pants suit Caesar as I called her) was denied her coronation; surely it couldn't be because she was a poor candidate or thought untrustworthy or corrupt by the America People. Nah, that couldn't be it. However, the notion of the Russians "buying" or influencing the presidential election, now that was more "realistic". Of course, as it turned out, the more the Congressional subcommittees investigated, the less incriminating evidence against Trump they found. However, they did manage to keep uncovering dirt on Hillary, the Clinton Foundation, and the DNC. Whoops. Nevertheless, the corporate media keeps trying to make a mountain out of a dung heap, and that dung heap appears to have a name. Care to guess?

Several of the articles I wrote in 2017 dealt with the topic of illegal immigration. As many of you know, I'm a big proponent of legal immigration, especially in areas where we have a shortage or for academic reasons. However, I do not and will never support illegal immigration. Those individuals knowingly ignore and break our laws . Many have no interest in becoming citizens. They refuse to adapt to our values or traditions, or even learn our language. They skirt the law and find work with anyone willing to pay them (many end up working for some seriously unscrupulous individuals). We also have churches and other groups who, for some reason, believe that the laws don't apply to them; that they are somehow exempt. They seem to have no problem letting taxpayers pick up the tab though. They routinely help these criminals evade authorities; provide them with food and shelter; manipulate our national safety net, and even find jobs and places for them to live. Even some cities have got in on the act by declaring themselves so-called "Sanctuary Cities", whereby they will harbor these criminals and protect them from federal authorities, even if an individual was repeatedly deported, had a criminal record, and guilty of committing a murder while keeping their hand out for federal money. Such was the case when I wrote on Kate Steinle and her murderer, illegal alien Jose Zarate in December.

Zarate, who has a criminal record and been deported six times as I recall, allegedly "found" a stolen pistol laying under a nearby chair, wrapped in a towel, next to where he was sitting on Pier 39, near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. According to Zarate, when he unwrapped the pistol it "accidently" fired, striking the base of a mental pole and then striking Steinle as she stood nearby talking to her father during one of those "father/daughter" moments. She died in his arms. Zarate was acquitted, and while he was charged with possession of a stolen firearm, was credited with time served while awaiting trial, which means that at most, he would serve no more than 30 days. By the way, I've wondered how he could have been charged with possession of a stolen gun if he had only "found" it moments before. Odd don't you think? As an aside, one of the "Sanctuary Cities" I mentioned, Denver Colorado, passed a new city ordinance that allows homeless individuals (who are mainly illegal immigrants) to poop and pee anywhere and anytime they want in public. Now that's going to be a great tourist attraction!

Another subject that I wrote about was terrorism, especially as it pertained to ISIS, Syria, and the not too subtle duel between the US and Russia. As you all should know, the US and its Allies, have been engaged in a long and protracted war with the terrorist organizations Al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS and their splinter groups. Meanwhile Syria's Civil War descended into the realm of nightmares. In Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, the US claimed to do its best to destroy these organizations (and a mighty fine job our military has done too).

Meanwhile, the US supported "freedom fighters" out to topple Assad. The only thing is that these "freedom fighters" were one and the same as the terrorists we've fighting elsewhere. The key difference is that Syria (and Assad. Russia's other regional ally is Iran) has been Russia's longtime ally in the Middle East (comparable to the US and Israel). The US wanted to remove this connection, and by aiding the terrorists...err..."freedom fighters" in establishing a Caliphate, we end the threat from groups like ISIS, and create a new potential ally in the Middle East (albeit a very dangerous one and one close to Israel). More importantly though, we deny Russia an ally. Russia, nevertheless, has been successful in defeating ISIS or whomever, in relatively short order---much to the embarrassment of the State Department.

Speaking of terrorism, have you noticed that while there has been a slight increase in "lone wolf" attacks here and there, we've heard nothing about the single largest "terror attack" in US history? I'm speaking of course about the mass shooting in Las Vegas outside the Mandalay Bay Hotel . We literally know next to nothing about the shooter, or the events leading up to and just after the shooting. We've had three revised reports from law enforcement about what actually happened. There has been no new updates. Zero. Several of the key witnesses have since died of various causes. Much of what we do know (or think we know) is contradictive (such as the use of "bumper stocks" on semi automatics with bipods, muzzle flashes from two points simultaneously yet one shooter, missing or absent hotel security footage, failure of housekeeping, and many others). I guess what happens in Vegas really does stay in Vegas.

A more recent article discussed the significance of Trump acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Apparently this issue went over the heads of most Americans. We just don't seem to grasp how divisive this topic is, and will likely become. Since Israel's creation in 1948, Israeli leaders have insisted that Jerusalem belonged to Israel. However, Palestinians and the Arab World have long claimed the City of David as their own (mainly due to the Dome of Rock site). Through a series of wars, initiated by Muslim armies, the Israeli military secured the city, and despite high tensions, has allowed it to remain open to all faiths and peoples. Meanwhile, Israel has used Tel Aviv as essentially its proxy capital, along with the resort city of Haifa. Trump's proclamation has stirred a hornet's nest in the Middle East and has given the various Muslim factions a common cause... and target...against not just the "Great Satan" (that would be us), and the "Little Satan" (which would be Israel, although no new excuse was need).

Lastly, I spent much of 2017 writing about the human condition. Something I've always been very interested in. One topic I considered was the microchipping of people. There are some positives uses such keeping track of your kids or senior adults (such as those with dementia). Employers and banks like the idea since employees can clock in without actually clocking in! Personal and financial information would be more secure and less subject to hacking. Your credit score would be instantly accessible...with the right prefix. Your health records would be right there in your hand and just a security access code away. No more trying to remember who you see or when. No more trying to remember prescriptions, allergies, or surgeries. You could even monitor all your vitals.

Some has speculated that at some point (sooner rather than later), we could install a port; perhaps at the base of our neck, where data could be instantly up loaded from the nearest computer data port. We would interact directly with Internet or any other data network. Imagine "knowing" any language, subject or mastering a skill in seconds. Perhaps too the ability to correct any mental or physical issue with a simple download, or in conjunction with nanotechnology; near microscopic "bots" which could mend cardiovascular problems such as a clogged arteries, a faulty valve, or torn ligament in minutes. Maybe repairing intestinal problems or getting an overall health "checkup" could be as simple as swallowing a specialized bot. The possibilities are almost endless.

However, who will pay for these advances, and more importantly, who will have access to them? Will it only be the uber-rich? We are already a world divided into a tiny minority of obscenely rich and the rest of us. Even the US has become essentially become a two tier economic, social, and political society. We're already an Oligarchy with a growing police state. Perhaps it will only the military and "Deep State" security agencies, creating a "Matrix" type of world. As for employers or banksters, I don't think that's such a great idea personally. It means employers can and will keep track of you 24/7/365. They will track and monitor everything you do---everything. Think about that. Your personal history will no longer be entirely private. Neither will your financial or health history. They will, at some point, co-mingle.

Employers are going to demand---not ask--- to know your habits and health in order (they will claim) to minimize their healthcare costs, anticipate absenteeism, and your potential productivity. I can foresee employers demanding at some point your genetic health information---got to know about any dickey heart, arthritis, or possible cancer susceptibility! Given that we are already an Oligarchy; a neo-fascist plutocracy, if your employer knows, the government will know too and visa versa. No thank you. I'll pass. I value my privacy; my sense of "humanity" far too much. I am not Borg. I will not be assimilated.

So, as we move into a new year, let me say that from us at Another Opinion, we wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe New Year. Of course, we hope you will continue reading A/O, commenting, and passing on, and recommending Another Opinion. We depend on you to keep going and bringing you another perspective; Another Opinion. Have a great 2018 everyone!

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