Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year
By John W.
“What’s past is prologue.” ― William Shakespeare,
- What a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad
year this has been.
Toxic politics. Violence. Hunger. Police shootings. Mass
shootings. Economic downturns. Political circuses.
Senseless tragedies. Loss. Heartache. Intolerance.
Prejudice. Hatred. Apathy. Meanness. Cruelty. Poverty.
Here’s just a
small sampling of what we’ve suffered through in 2016.
After three years of increasingly toxic politics, the
ruling oligarchy won and “we the people” lost.
The FBI’s investigation of Hillary’s emails ended with a
whimper, rather than a bang. FBI director James Comey
declared Clinton’s use of a private email server to be
careless rather than criminal. Bernie Sanders
sparked a movement only to turn into a cheerleader for
Hillary Clinton. Clinton won the popular vote but lost
the election. Donald Trump won the White House while the
American people lost any hope of ending the corporate
elite’s grip on the government.
The government declared war on so-called “fake news”
while continuing to peddle its own brand of propaganda.
President Obama quietly re-upped the National Defense
Authorization Act, including a provision that
government agency to purportedly counter propaganda and
More people died at the hands of the police.
Shootings of unarmed citizens
(especially African-Americans) by police
claimed more lives than previously estimated,
reinforcing concerns about police misconduct and the use
of excessive force. Police in Baton Rouge shot
Alton Sterling. Police in St. Paul shot
Philando Castile during a traffic stop. Ohio police
Tyre King after the boy pulls out a BB gun.
locked down after protests erupt over a police
shooting of a fleeing man. Oklahoma police shot and
Terence Crutcher during a traffic stop while the
man’s hands were raised in the air. North Carolina
Keith Lamont Scott, spurring two nights of violent
protests. San Diego police killed
Alfred Olango after he removed a vape smoking device
from his pocket. Los Angeles police shot
Carnell Snell Jr. after he fled a vehicle with a
paper license plate.
We lost some bright stars this year.
Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia’s
death left the court deadlocked and his successor up for
grabs. Joining the ranks of the notable deceased were
Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, Fidel Castro, Leonard Cohen,
Carrie Fisher, John Glenn, Merle Haggard, Harper Lee,
George Michael, Prince, Nancy Reagan, Janet Reno, Elie
Wiesel, and Gene Wilder.
Diseases claimed more lives.
Zika virus spread outwards from Latin America and
into the U.S.
The rich got richer. The
Panama Papers leak pulled back the curtain on
schemes by the wealthy to hide their funds in shell
Free speech was dealt one knock-out punch after another.
First Amendment activities were pummeled, punched,
kicked, choked, chained and generally gagged all across
the country. The reasons for such censorship varied
widely from political correctness, safety concerns and
bullying to national security and hate crimes but the
end result remained the same: the complete eradication
of what Benjamin Franklin referred to as the “principal
pillar of a free government.”
The debate over equality took many forms.
African-Americans boycotted the Oscars over the absence
of nominations for people of color, while the Treasury
Department announced its decision to replace Andrew
Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. North Carolina’s
debate over transgender bathrooms ignited a
nationwide fury. Meanwhile, the
U.S. military opened its doors to transgender
individuals. A unanimous
Supreme Court affirmed a Texas law that counts everyone,
not just eligible voters, in determining legislative
districts. The nation’s highest court also
upheld affirmative action, while declaring a
Texas law on abortion clinics to be an unnecessary
burden on women.
Environmental concerns were downplayed in favor of
Flint, Michigan’s contaminated water was declared a
state and federal emergency, while thousands protested
the construction of the
Dakota Access Pipeline and its impact on water
Technology rendered Americans vulnerable to threats from
government spies, police, hackers and power failures.
The Justice Department
battled Apple in court over access to its customers’
locked, encrypted iPhones.
Microsoft sued the U.S. government over its access
to customers’ emails and files without their knowledge.
Yahoo confirmed that over
half a billion user accounts had been hacked. Police
departments across the country continued to use
Stingray devices to collect cellphone data in real
time, often without a warrant. A six-hour system
shutdown resulted in hundreds of
Delta flights being cancelled and thousands of
Police became even more militarized and weaponized.
Despite concerns about the government’s steady
transformation of local police into a standing military
army, local police agencies continued to acquire
weaponry, training and equipment suited for the
battlefield. In North Dakota, for instance,
police were authorized to acquire and use armed drones.
use of SWAT teams for routine policing tasks has
increased the danger for police and citizens alike.
Children were hurt. A
endangered silverback gorilla was shot preemptively
after a 3-year-old child climbed into its zoo enclosure.
In Disney World, an
alligator snatched a 2-year-old boy off one of the
resort’s man-made beaches. A
school bus crash in Tennessee killed five children.
police resource officers made schools less safe,
with students being arrested, tasered and severely
disciplined for minor infractions.
Computers asserted their superiority over their human
counterparts, who were easily controlled by bread and
artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo, defeated its
human opponent in a DeepMind Challenge Match.
Pokemon Go took the world by storm and turned users
into mindless entertainment zombies.
Terrorism took many forms.
Brussels was locked down in the wake of terrorist
attacks that killed dozens and wounded hundreds. A
shootout between a gunman and police wrought havoc
on a gay nightclub in Orlando. Terrorists armed with
explosives and guns
opened fire in Istanbul Airport. A trucker
drives into a crowd of revelers on Bastille Day in
France. Acts of
suspected terrorism take place throughout Germany,
including attacks using axes, knives and machetes.
Japan undergoes a mass killing when a man armed with
a knife targets disabled patients at a care facility.
Syria continued to be ravaged by bomb strikes, terrorism
and international conflict.
Science crossed into new frontiers.
Doctors announced the birth of the
first healthy three-parent baby created with DNA
from three separate people. Elon Musk outlined his plan
to populate Mars.
Tragedies abounded. An
Amtrak train derailed outside of Philadelphia. A
commuter train crashed through a barrier in New
Floods in Texas killed nine soldiers stationed at
Heatwaves swept the southwest, fueling wildfires.
Flash floods and heavy rain devastated parts of
The nanny state went into overdrive.
Philadelphia gave the green light to a
tax on sugary drinks. The FDA issued guidelines to
urge food manufacturers and chain restaurants to
reduce salt use.
The government waged a war on cash.
Not content to swindle, cheat, scam, and
generally defraud Americans by way of wasteful pork
barrel legislation, asset forfeiture schemes, and costly
stimulus packages, the government and its corporate
partners in crime came up with a new scheme to not only
scam taxpayers out of what’s left of their paychecks but
also make us foot the bill. The government’s war on cash
is a concerted campaign to do away with large bills such
as $20s, $50s, $100s and shift consumers towards a
digital mode of commerce that can easily be monitored,
tracked, tabulated, mined for data, hacked, hijacked and
confiscated when convenient.
The Deep State reared its ugly head.
Comprised of unelected government bureaucrats,
corporations, contractors, paper-pushers, and
button-pushers who are actually calling the shots behind
the scenes, this
government within a government is the real reason
“we the people” have no real control over our so-called
representatives. It’s every facet of a government that
is no longer friendly to freedom and is working overtime
to trample the Constitution underfoot and render the
citizenry powerless in the face of the government’s
power grabs, corruption and abusive tactics. These are
the key players that drive the shadow government. They
are the hidden face of the American police state that
has continued past Election Day.
The U.S. military industrial complex—aided by the Obama
administration—armed the world while padding its own
pockets. According to the
Center for International Policy, President Obama has
brokered more arms deals than any administration since
World War II. For instance, the U.S. agreed to
provide Israel with
$38 billion in military aid over the next ten years,
in exchange for Israel committing to buy U.S. weapons.
Now that’s not
to say that 2016 didn’t have its high points, as well,
but it’s awfully hard to see the light at the end of the
tunnel right now.
receive emails from people urging me to leave the
country before the “hammer falls.” However, as I make
clear in my book Battlefield
America: The War on the American People, there
is nowhere in the world to escape from the injustice of
tyrants, bullies and petty dictators. As Ronald Reagan
recognized back in 1964, “If we lose freedom here, there
is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on
Let’s not take
the mistakes of 2016 into a new year with us. The
election is over. The oligarchs remain in power. The
police state is marching forward, more powerful than
ever. All signs point to business as usual. The game
continues to be rigged.
The lesson for
those of us in the American police state is simply this:
if there is to be any hope for freedom in 2017, it rests
with “we the people” engaging in local, grassroots
activism that transforms our communities and our
government from the ground up.
attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and
president of The
Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield
America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks,
2015) is available online at www.amazon.com. Whitehead
can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
expressed in this article are the author's own and do
not necessarily reflect Information Clearing House