That is to say, if you thought 2017 was insane, it’s hard to imagine that things will be any less crazy next year. A year ago I had wondered how 2017 would top 2016 in Craziness in Current Events. It sure as hell did.
Not that 2017 was a bad year for me personally. It wasn’t. Leaving all politics aside, I’m quite happy and prosperous and want to keep it going. This, apparently, is an incredibly horrible thing for anyone to say.
I’m not a fan of Swift’s but I think more highly of her for remaining apolitical. I actually think more of her for stubbornly staying neutral than I would if she were speaking out in complete agreement with me. Would be nice if more entertainers did likewise.
So what’s ahead for us in the waning days of 2017 and beyond? First, the GOP is poised to finally pass major legislation. It has at long last overcome the trials and tribulations of controlling Congress and the Presidency for almost an entire year.
What the debate over taxes has revealed is not just that the party is desperate to show they can have something to show for their majority, it’s that tax cuts remain a singular unifying force for the modern GOP. That was enough to overcome the many differences over the particulars of tax policy, as well as the polls warning Republican lawmakers that this legislation is not something the public seems to want. And it’s why, despite those many obstacles, Trump is likely to have a bill to sign into law next week.
That is a fantastic observation. The GOP is very solid when it comes to tax cuts. On health care, immigration, and almost every other possible legislation though? Not at all. I don’t think that the passage of this bill is going to signal any momentum for any other legislation in 2018. Not anything broadly palatable to most Republicans anyway. I’m happy with the final bill, FWIW. Had my doubts with the initial House version, but this is adequate.
Net Neutrality died. More accurately, the FCC got rid of it. Nothing preempts Congress from reviving it, except their own inability to form and pass a bill doing so. Or should we? Matthew Walter says to let it stay dead.
The idea that internet service providers should be forced to provide unlimited access to content transmitted indiscriminately whether it is old episodes of Sesame Street, pornographic videos of simulated rape, or a column at The Week, makes as much sense as saying that a brewing company should be able to suck up all the water in a river so long as people like drinking it. We do not force bookstores to stock certain volumes or restaurants to prepare every conceivable dish. The prospect of a segregated internet in which much of the crap now gumming up the works remains legal but available only to those willing to pay a premium to access it is a welcome one.
Truthfully, I haven’t made up my mind about Net Neutrality and we haven’t discussed it very much on RVS either. Maybe it’s time. I can see Walsh’s point, but I also don’t trust ISP’s to protect free speech any more than I trust Google. I lean toward saying that Net Neutrality should be maintained, but I also acknowledge that it isn’t the more “conservative” viewpoint to have. Perhaps we’ll see this pop up in Congress next year since an overwhelming majority of voters like Net Neutrality.
Remember that time the US won a war and nobody noticed?
There is nothing more characteristic of the Trump era, with its fire hose of misinformation, scandal and hyperbole, than that America and its allies recently managed to win a war that just two years ago consumed headlines and dominated political debate and helped Donald Trump himself get elected president — and somehow nobody seemed to notice.
I mean the war against the Islamic State, whose expansion was the defining foreign policy calamity of Barack Obama’s second term, whose executions of Americans made the U.S.A. look impotent and whose utopian experiment drew volunteers drunk on world-historical ambitions and metaphysical dreams. Its defeat was begun under Obama, and the hardest fighting has been done by Iraqis — but this was an American war too, and we succeeded without massive infusions of ground troops, without accidentally getting into a war with Russia, and without inspiring a huge wave of terrorism in the West.
I’d rather not be too hasty. The Caliphate has indeed been physically crushed, but it is ideologically very much alive. Its adherents are still killing people and will keep trying throughout 2018.
Speaking of polarizing extremist mass movements, #MeToo is probably spurring research and development into sex droids and virtual reality porn as quickly as it is clearing out Hollywood producers and Congressmen from public life.
The breakdown of trust between the sexes is the tragic legacy of the modern feminist movement, but it has taken on a new fervor with the #MeToo campaign and the growing accusation that masculinity is vile, toxic, and inherently predatorial. Fear of men is legitimized, as accusation is treated as fact. Men are seen as “the enemy,” an embodied deviance that must be remolded into the image of a woman. Their sexuality is assumed to be naturally brutal, a threat to be controlled and reduced for the individual man to be considered “safe.”
While women’s willingness to hold men accountable for criminal sexual behavior is to be applauded, the scorched-earth approach we are seeing today is destructive because it undermines trust. When anything from a naive touch during a photo shoot to an innocent attempt at a kiss is compared to rape and sexual abuse, we are not healing society but infecting relationships with the poison of distrust.
Whether it’s in the workplace, church, or home, the interaction between a man and a woman is unique and primary to all other relationships. When a breakdown of trust happens there, when fear of the other sex becomes generalized, society simply can’t thrive.
I make fun of #MeToo quite a bit, but I seriously share that writer’s characterization of the movement as ultimately a destructive one. Maybe it hasn’t arrived at that point yet, but it hasn’t reached its high-water mark either. And it has now added a female politician to its body count. I can’t predict how far it will go, but I still think it’s the political and cultural force to watch through at least 2018.
Oh, speaking of the Force, has anyone seen The Last Jedi? If you have, give me a spoiler-free review if you don’t mind. The professional movie critics are all over the place with it and I’d like to know what to expect before I make it later this week.
What else for 2018? The Mueller investigation keeps taking hits. If the Special Counsel has any more indictments to announce, now would be the time. Really, these seem to happen at convenient times. Remember when the Uranium One story first broke and started picking up steam? Mueller released the first three indictments. Strzok’s termination from Mueller’s investigation was only announced the day after Flynn plead guilty.
Since then, the Strzok matter just keeps looking worse and worse. In particular, we’re left to wonder what the “insurance” policy that these philadandering FBI agents were prepared to enact if Trump won the 2016 election was. Trump’s lawyers are complaining that Mueller illegally seized the Trump transition team’s emails. If true, this would effectively invalidate any evidence gained from those emails under the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine, right?
And then Republicans in Congress are becoming more and more vocal about all of it, potentially paving the way for Mueller’s firing. So yeah, if Mueller has any bombs to drop, he might want to hurry up. I don’t see his investigation continuing far into 2018. If there is nothing to prosecute related to Russia/Trump collusion, then there has been enough time to identify it between Comey’s investigation and Mueller’s. If it continues to drag on with only the occasional indictment for process crimes and a buttload of leaks, then Congressional Republicans may be eager to shut it down before the midterms.
Not that it matters. No matter what Mueller does or what the evidence shows, Americans will still fight over Russia’s impact on the election for decades. I offer the Supreme Court case Bush v Gore and Obama’s birth certificate as examples of other things that people who are mad about their sides losing elections obsess about long after events have moved on.
They’re all wrong anyway. Space aliens interfered in our election.
Build the orbital wall, Mr President.
As many of you know, I love all things paranormal. I’m on the “Mulder side” in most conversations about topics ranging from UFO’s to Bigfoot to cigarette smoking Deep State assholes. So the insider release about information related to the Pentagon’s study of UFO incidents is probably the most exciting news item I’ve seen this week.
Just before leaving his Defense Department job two months ago, intelligence officer Luis Elizondo quietly arranged to secure the release of three of the most unusual videos in the Pentagon’s secret vaults: raw footage from encounters between fighter jets and “anomalous aerial vehicles” — military jargon for UFOs.
The videos, all taken from cockpit cameras, show pilots struggling to lock their radars on oval-shaped vessels that, on screen, look vaguely like giant flying Tic Tacs. The strange aircraft — no claims are made about their possible origins or makeup — appear to hover briefly before sprinting away at speeds that elicit gasps and shouts from the pilots.
It’s one thing when some moron shoots video of a Chinese lantern thinking it’s an alien spacecraft. But when you have F/A-18 fighter pilots shocked at the movement and velocity of objects they can’t even identify, it should give you pause even if you’re a skeptic. Maybe we’ll see some real evidence released in 2018? If Trump wanted to stick a lance into Deep State’s chest, I would think that would do it, really, given that the government has been lying about this topic for at least 70 years. Maybe it’s his own “insurance” against impeachment. Who knows?
Let’s leave off happy. One of my favorite YouTube channels discusses one of my favorite shows.
What else is there to anticipate/dread?0