Apocalypse Now: 2017 Was Another Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

Just our luck that 2017 gave us more of the same bad news that we’ve experienced in recent years.

Here’s just a small sampling of what we suffered through in 2017.

The new boss proved to be the same as the old boss. True to form, the new boss (Donald Trump) proved to be no better than his predecessors in the White House in terms of protecting the citizenry from the American police state.

911 calls turned deadly. “Don’t call the cops” became yet another don’t to the add the growing list of things that could get you or a loved one tasered, shot or killed by police, especially if you have any condition that might hinder your ability to understand, communicate or immediately comply with an order.

Traffic stops took a turn for the worse. Police officers were given free range to pull anyone over for a variety of reasons and subject them to forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced blood draws, forced breath-alcohol tests, forced DNA extractions, forced eye scans, forced inclusion in biometric databases.

The courts failed to uphold justice. A review of critical court rulings over the past decade or so, including some ominous ones by the U.S. Supreme Court, reveals a startling and steady trend towards pro-police state rulings by an institution concerned more with establishing order and protecting the ruling class and government agents than with upholding the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

A culture of compliance paved the way for sexual predators. Twenty years after America gave a collective shrug over accusations of sexual harassment by Bill Clinton, sexual harassment suddenly made headlines after a series of powerful men, including Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, were accused of predatory behavior in the workplace.

Patriotism trumped free speech. At a time when the American flag adorns everything from men’s boxers and women’s bikinis to beer koozies with little outcry from the American public, a conveniently timed public dispute over disrespect for the country’s patriotic symbols during football games further divided the nation.

Mass shootings claimed more lives. A mass shooting in Las Vegas, the deadliest to date, left us with more questions than answers, none of them a flattering reflection of the nation’s values, political priorities, or the manner in which the military-industrial complex continues to dominate, dictate and shape almost every aspect of our lives.

Civil discourse was drowned out by intolerance, violence and militarized police. Americans allowed their fears—fear for their safety, fear of each other, fear of being labeled racist or hateful or prejudiced, etc.—to trump their freedom of speech and muzzle them far more effectively than any government edict could. In Charlottesville, Berkeley and St. Louis, the presence of violent protesters and militarized police turned First Amendment activities into riots.

The cost of endless wars drove the nation deeper into debt. Waging endless wars abroad (in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Syria) didn’t make America—or the rest of the world—any safer, any greater, or any richer. The interest alone on the money America has borrowed to wage its wars will cost an estimated $8 trillion.

Government agencies padded their pockets at the expense of taxpayers. In Virginia, drivers traveling along a toll road during rush hour were hit with a $40 toll to travel a 10-mile stretch of road, part of a new dynamic price gouging scheme aimed at penalizing single-occupant vehicles traveling during peak times.

The plight of the nation’s homeless worsened. In communities across the country, legislators adopted a variety of methods (parking meters, zoning regulations, tickets, and even robots) to discourage the homeless from squatting, loitering and panhandling.

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 Surveillance State rendered Americans vulnerable to threats from government spies, police, hackers and power failures. The Corporate State tapped into our computer keyboards, cameras, cell phones and smart devices in order to better target us for advertising. Social media giants such as Facebook granted secret requests by the government and its agents for access to users’ accounts. And our private data—methodically collected and stored with or without our say-so—was repeatedly compromised and breached.

Technology drove teens to suicide. Studies show that the rapid explosion of cell phone use and increased screen time by young people have contributed to a climate in which teen mental health is failing and suicide rates among 13- to 18-year-olds are skyrocketing.

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—with full support from the Trump Administration.

Drones became more lethal. DARPA, the government’s military research agency, unveiled a plan to deploy a swarm of armed, surveillance mini-drones. The Pentagon also provided a glimpse into its future plans for kamikaze drones and tethered, targeted killer drones.

Science got scary. Researchers created “humanized” mice using organs taken from fetal tissue. Genetic engineers created an entire synthetic DNA genome watermarked with encoded links and hidden messages. The FDA approved the first digital pill embedded with sensors to monitor patients’ intake. And DARPA funded research towards the creation of genetic extinction technologies that could be used to eradicate or alter whole populations.

The government waged a renewed war on cash. Championed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the government’s attempts to seize cash and other valuables under the guise of asset forfeiture moved into high gear. Denver made $2.4 million in car seizures in one year alone. One Alabama town turned its police force into a money-making operation to increase revenue.

The U.S. military industrial complex—aided by the Trump administration—armed the world while padding its own pockets. Not content to sell an arsenal of weapons and military equipment to the world, the U.S. government pushed to amend a global arms control agreement to allow it to sell military drones globally.

Let’s not take the mistakes and the carnage and the toxicity of this past year into a new year.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the police state is marching forward, more powerful than ever.

Thus, if there is to be any hope for freedom in 2018, it rests with “we the people” engaging in local, grassroots activism that transforms our communities and our government from the ground up.

Let’s resolve to work together to make this new year better than the last.

Comments

Hugh_Jorgan J. Peasemold G… Thu, 01/04/2018 - 09:57 Permalink

" Patriotism trumped free speech. " ????

Wrong. Free speech was exercised but because it was, in the eyes of a majority of people, a poorly conceived message, undesirable repercussions ensued. This is the essence of why free speech WORKS in a free society and there is no need for the thought police/discrimination laws, hate speech statues, etc. Especially, when we see the chaos these kinds of laws have created.

In reply to by J. Peasemold G…

MusicIsYou Wed, 01/03/2018 - 21:54 Permalink

If you didn't like 2017 you're really not gonna like 2018. And you won't like 2019 either because it's just gonna keep getting worse nonstop. I know you keep hoping but hope is just an illusion that keeps people motivated, it's just a word. Hope is a mindfck like thinking you'll be the next lottery winner, no, you won't be.

MK ULTRA Alpha Wed, 01/03/2018 - 22:04 Permalink

BS, there are so many doped up, bad behaving Americans, so many illegals drunk DWI, and so many anti-American foreigners, the police have no choice but to be on hair trigger alert. If this was Mexico the police would have killed millions. Look at some of these other nations before bad mouthing your own country.

There are too many bad citizens in the US, MORALITY IS DEAD. There is no honor. The people were brainwashed by television to do evil with every kind of evil known to mankind. US leadership from Bush I to Obama I has provided a poor example of quality well mannered people, just look at Bill Clinton sex maniac.

It is OK to smoke cannabis, but hard drugs WILL do damage. Clinton was a regular user of cocaine, in the Whitehouse etc. he use to have nose bleeds and showed up at ER in Little Rock, that's from the attending medical doctor. Bush II was a cocaine addict alcoholic recovering but everyone could tell it did damage, he had difficulty making speeches. Then cool Obama used a teleprompter and looked like a cool rapper. Obama was a Crack Head Homosexual in Chicago. All bad examples for our nation, but the Clinton's adherence to the victim culture and promotion of we're all victims destroyed independent self reliance among an entire generation. The malaise continued until we didn't care about our country and we allowed anyone to rob the nation at will. Well they robbed us of more than our money, they destroyed the soul of America, the very backbone, until factions called for more police state, more control, more electronic control grids under the guise of fighting terrorist, but we were the terrorist.

We've had a serious loss of civil liberties. But it is needed because there is so much bad, extraordinary measures must be taken because this nation is in a civil war against itself, many different angles of civil war are being conducted. Media has always been used to pour poison into the mind of our youth, now social media controls their minds. Because of the delusion created by the social medias grip on the mind, sometimes the only choice is strong military style police action. Most people who are well mannered, honorable, good citizens, don't realize what's out there or the reason for our malaise. Hard drugs, Media and poor leadership are the main reasons, and it was a generational decline. This didn't happen over night, it took three generations to get here.

 

Malleus Maleficarum MK ULTRA Alpha Thu, 01/04/2018 - 00:00 Permalink

With all these unprecedented police powers, militarization, unconstitutional surveillance, and nary a jury in the land which would dare convict them, they still haven't managed to turn everything back to unicorns and rainbows. Amazing! In fact, it just gets worse and worse. But definitely, if we just "give" them a little more of our dwindling freedom, and some more weapons, ammo, APCs, and money to boot, they'd turn it all around this time! And people would be more chilled out than ever because at least you'd let them smoke pot in your Stasi utopia! When it goes bad (and it will) and chews you up right along with everybody else, at least you can die with the great satisfaction of knowing that you were "honorable and moral" and thus, undeserving of your fate! Hell, let your executioners know your feelings and they may even shake your hand and pat you on the back before frog-marching you to the guillotine! Servility is insanity!

(My apologies if your comment was sarcasm! I honestly can't tell, but I certainly hope so...)

Oh, and as police line-of-duty deaths fell to fifty year lows, there is still no "war on cops." 

https://reason.com/blog/2017/12/28/there-still-wasnt-a-war-on-cops-in-2…

There were, however, very nearly 1200 Americans killed by police, which was a record! But hey, at least they didn't kill 'millions' of us like they do in Mexico - and apparently, we deserved it even more!

http://www.killedbypolice.net/kbp2017

In reply to by MK ULTRA Alpha

Clock Crasher Wed, 01/03/2018 - 22:05 Permalink

The only hope we have is that Trump is the real deal.  And even then it's not going to get any better.  It'll just stop accelerating toward hell as fast. 

Cabreado Wed, 01/03/2018 - 22:22 Permalink

"Let’s resolve to work together to make this new year better than the last."

I don't care that the calendar changes from a "7" to an "8."
I care about the trajectory.
And Mr. Whitehead, it's not very difficult at all now...
You either focus and protect vigorously the Rule of Law you have now,
or expect and invite a different one.

Rex Andrus Wed, 01/03/2018 - 23:18 Permalink

You have TDS Whitehead. Get it checked. Those who contract it have all been complete assholes all their lives. I'm sick of all you fucking NIMBYs whining too. You baked it. You eat it.

Baron Samedi Wed, 01/03/2018 - 23:47 Permalink

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”  ― Frank Zappa

Supplemental:

"Give me six lines from the pen of the most honest of men and I will find something in it to hang him." - Cardinal Richelieu

 

 

ultraticum Thu, 01/04/2018 - 03:21 Permalink

Good list . . . but there was a small cause for hope:  the recognition of the growing movement to decentralize money.  An epic battle in this war awaits in 2018.

arby63 Thu, 01/04/2018 - 04:48 Permalink

Keep your guns and buy more. There will come a day soon where everything simply stops working as advertised. Then who knows what the hell happens. In the end, it's all on you.

Unreconstructe… Thu, 01/04/2018 - 06:20 Permalink

Mr. Truman drops atomic bombs on women and children and it my father who is posthumously adjudged a war criminal.

At Yalta with a sweep of a pen, a senile president condemns a third of the world to communism.

Europe with the zeal of a missionary gone mad, hands over the wealth and resources of Africa to savages who have barely learned to beat a drum.

Then you give them tanks and arms to replace their bows and arrows.

And when your freezers arrive, they use them to store their enemies until their Sunday dinner.

I have the grace not to mention Vietnam.

All over your brave new democratic world, inflation spirals as literacy drops.

And in America? They vote for law and order whilst shooting down Presidents, schoolchildren, and rock stars in the streets.

Johann von Tiebolt
The Holcroft Covenant (1985)