The following are the top ten stories from 2017 (really, eleven since there was a tie for tenth) in this humble writer’s opinion and some thoughts on each.
#10 (tied) “Rocket Man” and a Nuclear North Korea
The possibility of a nuclear North Korea scares the hell out of Asia. With their continued testing of ballistic missiles that can reach the United States, there will come a time when the US must confront the Lilliputian leader of North Korea. As I write this, South Korea has seized a Chinese ship with oil bound for North Korea. Sanctions are fine, but if a two-bit country can circumvent them, then anyone can.
Hopefully, a breaking point will come where nuclear weapons are not lobbed at each other. While the name-calling has been juvenile, this writer would not be surprised to find out that Trump is trying to goad North Korea into something so that he can react. It’s a strange theory (granted), but we are talking about Trump here so anything is possible.
One thing is certain: the status quo of allowing a nuclear North Korea would be a hugely destabilizing event in Asia.
#10 (tied) Mass Shootings and Cries for Gun Control
One thing is certain in this world: if there is a mass shooting anywhere in the country, the Left and Democrats will be there with their well-worn pleas for gun control. Bodies had not been counted in Las Vegas or Texas this year before the Democrats were out there with their talking points. Jimmy Kimmel even offered up some late night tears for the departed before wondering why “commonsense gun control” efforts were not considered.
The sad part is that of all the “commonsense gun control” suggestions being put forth by Democrats and the Left, not a single suggestion would have saved a single life. One editorial even suggested repealing that pesky Second Amendment. When it was discovered that a gun-toting church-goer in Texas tracked down the shooter, only in the mind of the Left was that considered not an act of heroism, but a act of vigilantism.
It is as if the gun-grabbing Left lives for mass shootings for without them, they would not have a platform to put forth silly ideas and shed fake tears on late night television.
#9 The Firing of FBI Director James Comey
This action by Trump- something that should have occurred the day after his Inauguration- set off a chain of events and cries of the end of the Republic, shades of Watergate, and proof that a vast cover-up was taking place. Trump’s only error here was waiting as long as he did to fire Comey.
The result was the appointment of a special counsel and the inevitable cries of the Trump haters that something was amiss. What was Trump trying to cover up by firing Comey? With the appointment of a special counsel and several Congressional inquiries into alleged Trump-Russian collusion, surely this firing made no sense. Unless, that is, one comes to the unmistakable conclusion that Comey was an inept, partisan hack who cared less about the law and most about James Comey. Why would an FBI Director “leak” recollections of a private meeting with the President to a third party knowing that third party would leak it to the media?
Comey should have been fired for ineptitude in handling the Clinton e-mail server problems. There are some on the Right who are so deranged with hatred of Trump that they have elevated Comey to saintly status when not deifying him, then turn around and accuse others of deifying Trump. Whatever the case may be, Comey deserved to rightfully go.
#8 The Appointment and Confirmation of Neal Gorsuch
The best part about the whole Neal Gorsuch confirmation is the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell grew a set of balls and invoked the “nuclear option.” To the Democrats and the Left, this vacancy on the Court should have Merrick Garland’s name on the back of the chair Gorsuch now occupies. To the winner goes the spoils and they include getting a conservative (we hope) on the Supreme Court. Schumer overplayed his filibuster hand and should have saved the bluster for a more controversial nominee, but Democrats sometimes cannot help themselves when it comes to stupidity.
Even better, despite some recent negative stories, Trump’s appointments to various positions throughout the Federal judiciary have been met with pleasant surprise by many conservatives. Of course, this will not deter the Trump-deranged from highlighting those negative stories as somehow indicative of all of Trump’s choices for judicial openings.
With three years left in his term, Trump may get some more Supreme Court picks. One can thank Chuck Schumer and the Democrats for making their confirmation much more easier now. If any current Justice announces their retirement at the end of this term, you will likely see a battle the likes of which we have not witnessed since the nomination of Robert Bork. Let’s hope Trump shows backbone and stands by his man… or woman.
#7 The #MeToo Hysteria
Going back to the days of 1692 in Salem, the mass hysteria of sexual harassment allegations thrown around this year garnered “Persons of the Year” honors and a front page spread on Time magazine for the many offended. Who knew there were so many perverts in Congress, in the movie industry and television? Sexual scandals are nothing new in America, but the depth of this phenomena is unseen costing a Hollywood mogul his empire, an NBC top anchor his job, a sitting Senator his job, and a wannabe Senator his job.
Some will point backwards and say these women came forward emboldened by the misogynist jerk in the White House. But, the problem likely goes back further to the days of serial groper Bill Clinton and how the Left dismissed the charges against him because there was that sordid pubic hair allegation against Clarence Thomas to remember.
The moral of the story is that men (and women) in power believe they can act and say a certain way and get away with it because of their position of power. Whether taking a picture of oneself about to grab the breasts of a sleeping woman, bragging about grabbing a woman’s genitalia on a TMZ bus, locking subordinates in an office with a switch under your desk, or masturbating in a hotel room in front of unsuspecting women, people in power have been warned. There is always Twitter, Facebook, a gleeful press and Gloria Allred waiting to hear your story.
#6 Protests, Confederate Statues and Death in Charlottesville
Truth be told, the problems in Charlottesville, Virginia this past summer go back to the election of Trump. Almost immediately, there were calls for “resistance” and protests. When not protesting some mythical end-of-the-world scenario because Trump was elected, the Left was loaded for bear and tried to shut down any debate that did not conform to their politically correct visions. Whether it was Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro, Charles Murray or Milo Yiannapolis, the Left was shutting down free speech from sea to shining sea.
Enter some white supremacist miscreants who found a ready target in miscreants from the Left trying to take down statues of Confederate war heroes and soldiers. It reached a head in Virginia when the authorities there failed to keep both sides separated and violence ensued. We know now that was the intent of the authorities: just enough violence to shut the whole thing down. But it backfired; the whole thing was not shut down and an innocent person died.
Still and all, the pontificating by the media and the reaction by some supposed constitutional conservatives- you know, the ones who believe in free speech- suddenly decided to signal their virtue and jump on the “hate speech is not free speech” bandwagon. Yes- the white supremacists are a vile, disgusting group of people who pervert conservatism by their attachment to it. And we can call them out for it and distance ourselves from them and their message. But, do we have to sacrifice our allegiance to the First Amendment to do so? At times, the self-flagellation on the Right was nauseating.
Of course, there are many who believe that Trump made these morons more bold and that he was somehow defending them. Long before Trump, these neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups existed. They are only so newsworthy now because the media makes them newsworthy. Ignore them and they go away because they speak to an echo chamber. It is a fact the Leftist groups that descended on Charlottesville were the ones who came looking for violence. Perhaps if authorities had done their jobs in places like Berkeley, Portland and elsewhere, this would have never been a story and there would be one less death today.
#5 The Mueller Investigation
So… Robert Mueller is appointed as special counsel tasked with investigating alleged collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign in 2016, or so we thought. Thus far, Mueller has indicted three people for what amounts to financial crimes like money laundering. Oh- and the one insignificant dude for lying to the FBI.
The Never Trump crowd is hanging their aspirations on this probe that will likely drag on through 2018. If the first year is any indication, they shouldn’t get their hopes up. I think most reasonable people can reach one conclusion- the Russians interfered in the 2016 election, just like they did in the British Brexit campaign, and campaigns throughout Eastern Europe, France, and Holland.
Meanwhile, Mueller is being deified, much in the same way the detractors, the Resistance, and the Never Trumpers (a strange collection of the deranged) deify Comey. My best guess is that after about 24 months of investigation and scores of dollars, this investigation will end with a plea bargain from Paul Manafort and some minimal sentence for Mike Flynn. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin is somewhere smiling in a cave deviously petting a bear cub because this whole thing worked out better than he planned and for that he can thank all those who believe they are “saving democracy” from Trump.
#4 Trump Battles the Media
It was a battle long in the making and admittedly, at times, Trump is own his worst enemy. Perhaps a little more governing and a little less golf and tweeting would alleviate some problems. But, it cannot be overlooked that the media has it in for Trump and that they are now confronting a foe the likes of which they have never seen.
What is amusing to watch is the mainstream media making fools of themselves in their zeal to air or print the smoking gun story that brings down a President. They believe they have their new Watergate and nothing will stop them. When the media has to write stories about how the media is some sacrosanct watch dog for democracy, they just may be losing the battle.
And it works to Trump’s advantage much like a successful terrorist attack works to the advantage of the terrorist. All Trump has to do is prove one story false and it sullies all the true stories with the taint of partisanship. And the media has been doing a good job of handing Trump victories with their race to publish unsubstantiated conjecture, or their sad attempts to make a small news blip a major story.
#3 The On-Going, Never-Ending, Open-Ended Russian Collusion Story
I didn’t include this with the Mueller investigation because, quite frankly, at this point I don’t know what the Mueller investigation is about as it seems to be going in about 100 directions at once. Instead, this is about the many investigations that, unless you are a conspiracy theorist grounded in conjecture and imagination, have proven no connection between the Russians and Trump.
Instead, most are motivated by the (what I call) bromance theory of geopolitics. That’s when you say something nice about a foreign leader and that foreign leader then intervenes on your behalf in an election. It is the theory of dolts on the Left and, sadly, the Right and anyone who believes Putin operates this way is a total moron.
Let’s be clear here: Russia interfered in the 2016 election, but not for the reasons offered by the Never Trump losers and the “resistance.” They did it to undermine faith in American democracy no matter who won the election. Commonsense alone tells you the Russians would have preferred the paper tiger known as Hillary Clinton who was long on tough talk and short on action. Hell- if they could get 20% of US uranium reserves under her watch, why not “prefer” Clinton?
This preoccupation with linking Trump himself with some grand Russian conspiracy makes those people thus preoccupied unwitting stooges of Vladimir Putin. You are not the saviors of American democracy; you are doing the bidding of Putin.
#2 Tax Reform
The little train that couldn’t passed at the end of the year giving Trump his first major legislative victory. How this plays out in 2018 when people see more take home pay remains to be seen. The Democrats are counting on a failure which is strange because despite statistics showing most of the benefits will go to the middle class on a comparative basis, they insist they have the interests of the middle class at heart. Rooting for the failure of a tax plan that would benefit the middle class seems rather weird to me, but then Democrats are weird at times.
Although the tax reform package may not be what most conservatives envisioned when first proposed, there is enough good to offset any bad on balance. Yes- it passed without bipartisan support, but then so did Obamacare and they portray that as a popular program.
The reaction of the Left with their tales of Armageddon and death because of the tax package gives them away. Leftist class warfare failed miserably, so they resorted to lies, distortions… and CBO estimates. The CBO may very well be non-partisan, but they are not always accurate (see: CBO estimates regarding Obamacare). Time will tell whether this long-overdue reform is a net positive or negative, but the initial reaction should give the Democrats pause for concern,
#1 The Epic Failure of the GOP to Repeal and Replace Obamacare
Three attempts and a legislative initiative that went on for 10 months ended in failure. After seven years of cries of “repeal and replace,” we found that the GOP never really had a realistic, viable replacement plan. More importantly, it revealed fissures within the party not only over Obamacare, but other issues of importance.
There is a lot of blame to go around. The fact is that Trump is not exactly a member of Mensa when it comes to the finer points of policy detail. McConnell and Ryan failed to quell dissension within their ranks as the Democrats sat back, watched and giggled. In the end, it was a “maverick” like the aging John McCain who doomed the show when it wasn’t Democrats posing like Republicans- Murkowski, Collins, Flake- dooming Obamacare repeal.
The fact is that Obamacare proves an age-old adage in Washington regarding entitlements: once granted, they are near impossible to get rid of. And Obamacare is a dismal entitlement program that made a confusing health insurance system more confusing. Perhaps, that was the plan of the Democrats all along which would make Pelosi and Reid strangely smarter than Ryan and McConnell.
Well, happy New Year Redstate and here’s hoping 2018 is as entertaining as 2017!!!