Irish Stew #58…

[Double billing today…don’t get used to it, but 2017 is starting out with a lot of news to comment on. Don’t be shy. Your comments are always welcome, even rants. Just keep them clean!]

International

Russia and Syria declare ceasefire. How nice of them! Who’s speaking for the rebels? We have an international refugee crisis in the area; Aleppo, Palmyra, and other cities are completely destroyed and their populations dead; and Assad and Putin are patting each other on the back and chortling about how many rebels they’ve killed. Maybe ISIS will regroup and refocus and go after Assad—he deserves it!

Team Assad/Putin are closing in on Stalin’s record for murders, and Papa Joe had a lot more years under his belt. If there’s a Devil, he has some good assistants who work despotic hand in skeletal hand with the Grim Reaper. So little time…so many people to kill!

Say goodbye to the two-state solution. Netanyahu doesn’t want it, Trump doesn’t want it, and the Arabs don’t want it because it works against their campaign to destroy Israel. The main problem in the Middle East? Everyone wants a scapegoat. Secondary problem? Saudi Arabia! Even with low oil prices, the Saudi royalty are still living the rich life. When their people reach the level of the long-suffering Palestinians, maybe something will change. By then Netanyahu might be begging for his life!

National

Media and public senility. Loss of short term memory, they say, is one indication of senility. Whether senility or just plain stupidity, the American media and public have become so focused on the Russian hackers that the big issue has been forgotten. Did Russian hackers help Donald Trump or hurt HRC? There’s a difference, folks, and not recognizing it is part of that senility or stupidity too!

Not to minimize cyberwarfare crimes perpetrated by pimp Putin’s hacker-whores, let’s deal with reality: there were sleazy crimes committed by HRC and her followers once Mr. Sanders entered the primaries, and they continued all the way through them, the convention, and the 2016 election. Here’s a Bishop Berkeley-like question: if illegalities are committed by a candidate, campaign, and political party, does it matter who exposed them?

The media and the public can blame Panama papers people, Russians, Snowden, and other whistleblowers who embarrass VIPs and one-percenters all they want, of course, but let’s not forget the crimes that were uncovered either (I haven’t said that enough about Snowden—I apologize to the American people, not him). HRC and the DNC got their just deserts, and many establishment Dems belong in jail.

Cyber warfare? Obama strikes back at Putin, ignoring Rodney King’s advice. Of course strongman Putin would have no use for King, considering him a weak victim. Hmm, that sounds a bit like Trump’s attitude toward McCain. Putin strikes back. Off we go down the yellow brick road toward Cold War 2.0.

Some troubling questions: Would Obama have done this if HRC won? Would he have done this if it were the RNC hacked and not the DNC? What does he really think of HRC, hubby Billy, Wasserman Schultz, and the rest of the Dem establishment who only care about blacks in America because they want their votes? Inquiring minds want to know….

“I would have won.” Obama’s sour-grapes statement not only lowered himself to HRC’s and her followers’ whining levels, it’s another demonstration of senility or stupidity. Mr. Obama couldn’t run, so his statement is logically vacuous and bitter.

Know who could have won? Bernie Sanders! In spite of the Dem establishment’s dirty tricks against him, Mr. Sanders did well in those battleground states. He and many others warned HRC’s campaign to pay attention to them. She and they didn’t, in their arrogance, so we’re saddled with a fascist fanatic who’s just itching to launch a nuclear attack. When the nuclear ashes settle on our major cities, HRC and the Dem establishment will at least share some of the blame!

Business

Apple’s duplicity is Trump’s challenge. The NY Times on 12/28 reported that billions in hidden tax breaks and perks support China’s iPhone production facilities. Notwithstanding this evidence for Apple being a multinational only interested in profits without any consideration for its customers and the country that is its HQ (remember the “agency model” they invented to scam book buyers?), we have to ask: Is Mr. Trump going to better the Chinese and offer Apple a better deal to return iPhone production to this country? Secondary question: will Apple want to return production this country? (Apple could be the model for the arrogant multinationals in my sci-fi novel Survivors of the Chaos!)

Local

The killing ground. Thugs killing cops, cops killing thugs and innocents, gang murders, domestic disputes turning deadly—is it just me, or is our nation’s slide into hell accelerating? Murders are up 14% (seems like more, but I guess it’s how you count’em), with 43.7% of that increase from gangland Chicago alone. Good people are getting frustrated; bad people are wilding. What’s the solution? Beats me, but some people should come up with some answers before “Sons of Anarchy” becomes our international nickname. NRA members, are you reading this? You’re probably part of the problem!

Pop

2016 a downer. Bowie, Wilder, Gabriel, Haggard, Prince, Cohen, Michael, Fisher, Reynolds—the Grim Reaper was busy with singing stars and actors (I apologize to the famous families and friends if that list isn’t complete). Death and taxes—the sure things in our lives. Death and the living’s realizations of mortality dominated 2016; Trump and taxes, war, and poverty might characterize 2017. If you feel the need to be a recluse, you’ll probably have company…but get your own cave in the wilderness. We’ll all need to stake our claims as we become cave women and men again. That’s a bit farther back in time than even ISIS wants (they just want to return to the 6th century).

Sports

He’s proven a point. Tom Brady, QB of the NE Patriots, probably won’t be the NFL’s MVP, not if demagogue and two-bit dictator Goodell (probably a Trump fan along with all NFL owners) has anything to do with it, but Brady (also a Trump fan) has his revenge against Goodell and the non-Patriots NFL owners, as well as against those who doubted his ability. At 39, he and Coach B have led the Pats into the playoffs for the Nth time (I can’t remember what N is, it’s been so long).

Moreover, the Pats have shown it’s all about team (dare I say “team Trump”?). Brady might be a superstar, but his first goal is to win, and the Pats have won as a team that steps forward when adversity strikes. Like everyone else in the NFL, the Pats have had serious injuries this year, but players have stepped up to take the places of the injured ones. The players who play are also the most opportunistic bunch in the league (just consider points made on turnovers).

I don’t think the Pats will win the Super Bowl, but getting this far with Mr. Goodell and the whole league and many other teams’ fans against them (NYC sportscasters rarely mention the Pats, but they whine a lot about the Bills, Giants, and Jets) speaks highly of their moxie. Other teams are in better shape and look better on paper (Dallas, for example), but we’ll see.

Anything can happen in the NFL (including drug addiction, murders, shootings, and violent domestic disputes). Remember that interception in the Pats v. Seahawks Super Bowl when all the Pats’ fans and players, including Brady, thought all was lost because the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson had just completed an incredible pass to make it first-and-goal? Or Vinatieri’s last minute field goal in the Snow Bowl? Football is all about teamwork, and the Pats do that well. They might have a tight end who commits murder or a QB who hedges his bets with deflated footballs while doing it (jury still out for the latter because Brady’s guilt was decreed by Goodell and the player’s union deserted him).

So what’s the point? Dunno. You decide. It’s the NFL!

***

Rogue Planet. Hidden away from near-Earth planets in remote spiral arms of the Galaxy are Human worlds that have lost contact with more progressive worlds and reverted to strange and primitive customs and traditions, their leaders using religion, superstition, and imported technologies to rule in tyranny.  Survey ships explored and catalogued these planets as suitable for future colonization centuries earlier, but groups with a special interest in ensuring a homogeneous and often despotic society didn’t bother applying for permission to colonize.

Following the ITUIP (Interstellar Trade Union of Independent Planets) Protocol, ships are restricted to observe and maintain a hands-off policy for these rogue planets, even when there is great temptation to intervene.  Eden, where a theocracy rules with an iron fist, is such a planet.  A group of rebels struggles to end the oppressive regime to forge a new future.

Available in all ebook formats and print. Read for free by writing an honest review (query through my contact page).

And so it goes… 

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