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posted on 31 December 2017

2018: The Year Of The BIG ONE?

by Reverse Engineer, Doomstead Diner

Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner

It's Christmas Eve 2017 as I begin this blog, which I will publish next week on New Year's Eve as my 2017 wrap up blog and maybe some predictions for 2018. Unfortunately, both looking backward and forward, I'm not terrifically motivated nor do I have any great new insights to keyboard out I haven't keyboarded 1000 times before.

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Not like there is any shortage of collapse material though, in fact 2017 was a Banner Year for Collapse on many levels! I don't think any year since the shit show began in earnest in 2008 has had as many good Collapse stories as 2017. So motivated or not, I will squeeze out a year's worth of collapse turds, and then tomorrow flush them down the toilet to make room for another load coming soon to our world.

By himself, from his Inauguration onward, Donalditry Trumpovetsky has filled the newz pages of the MSM and the Blogosphere with a steady stream of complete bullshit and insanity. The Hill has done me the favor of compiling a Top 10 list of Trumpofsky Turds.

The Memo: The Top 10 Trump controversies of 2017

By Niall Stanage - 12/24/17 06:00 AM EST 3,307

The Memo: The Top 10 Trump controversies of 2017

© Getty Images

President Trump’s first year in office has produced a relentless stream of controversies.

Trump’s willingness to flout political norms has outraged his critics, even while it has delighted his supporters.

In a sign of just how tumultuous 2017 has been, some stormy episodes that would have been enormous stories under other presidents do not even crack the Top 10 list below.

We found no space on the list for a Trump speech to the Boy Scouts in July that drew widespread criticism for its overtly political nature; nor for his suggestion that TV anchor Mika Brzezinski was bleeding from the face due to cosmetic surgery; nor for his jab at Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as “Pocahontas" during an event honoring Native American veterans.

Here are the ten biggest Trump controversies of the year.

  1. The firing of James Comey

The decision to fire FBI director James Comey was the biggest self-inflicted wound of Trump’s first year.

It led directly to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein - and to a world of pain for the president.

Top aides have been indicted, the Russia probe has hung over his first year in the White House and the president himself faces questions about whether he obstructed justice.

Comey delivered dramatic testimony to Congress after the firing. His words were carried live nationwide by at least a dozen TV networks.

The widespread suspicion - though Comey did not explicitly say this - is that the FBI director was fired because he refused to back off an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

“It’s my judgment I was fired because of the Russia investigation," Comey said.

Trump was reportedly advised against firing Comey even by some of his most stalwart aides, including then-chief strategist Stephen Bannon. He went ahead, and the reverberations dominated the rest of the year.

They will echo into 2018.Charlottesville

Trump’s reaction to a rally by far-right activists in this Virginia city dominated August, and led to some of the strongest criticism of him from within his own party.

The “Unite the Right" rally stretched over the weekend of Aug. 11 and 12. Among those attending were unabashed white supremacists, neo-Nazis and anti-Semites. They had come to the city to protest the proposed removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park.

Predictably, there were clashes between those attending the rally and left-leaning groups opposed to them. A protester, Heather Heyer, was struck and killed by a vehicle driven by a man reported to have far-right sympathies. According to police, the ramming was an intentional attack.

Trump initially said that there had been “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides." The response, suggesting a moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and those who protested against them, caused a furor.

The controversy deepened further when, at a subsequent appearance, Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides."

In addition to a blizzard of Democratic and liberal criticism, Republicans including former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney all publicly dissented from Trump’s position.

Travel ban

Trump had been in office for just a week when he signed an executive order that led to protests in streets and at airports.

The first version of the travel ban that the administration tried to enact banned most travelers to the United States from seven nations with majority-Muslim populations.

Trump and the administration argued such a move was necessary to protect the United States from the threat of terrorism. But it ran into immediate legal challenges. Lawyers argued there was clear religious animus and discrimination, a point that they reinforced by highlighting Trump’s campaign-trail promise to enact a “total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the United States.

The first version of the ban became bogged down in the courts, as did a second iteration.

But the White House finally got a victory in early December, when the Supreme Court allowed a third version of the ban to go into effect while legal challenges to it are ongoing.

Taking a knee in the NFL

Trump has had a contentious relationship with the NFL dating back to the 1980s, when he was a prominent investor in the rival United States Football League.

But he kicked things into a completely different gear this year, hammering players who opted to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem in protest of racial injustice.

Trump put himself squarely in the middle of the issue during a speech in Alabama in September. Campaigning for incumbent Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), who would go on to lose the GOP primary, Trump said people would “love" if NFL owners reacted to a player taking a knee by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired!"

The outburst initially produced a greater degree of solidarity among the players. Trump, though, was loath as ever to back down, and hit the players and owners several more times, especially via Twitter.

It was not clear who won the fight politically, though Trump has repeatedly noted a decline in TV ratings for the NFL.

“Little Rocket Man"

Trump’s unorthodox approach extended to the international arena.

His supporters see his disregard for diplomatic niceties as a long overdue move toward American assertiveness. His detractors regard it as reckless and dangerous.

The most vivid example came in Trump’s ongoing feud with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. In a speech to the United Nations in September, Trump called Kim “Rocket Man" - a simultaneous reference to North Korea’s missile program and the Elton John hit often played at Trump rallies during the 2016 campaign.

During the same speech, Trump said that the United States would “totally destroy North Korea" if it felt it had to do so.

In response, Kim called Trump “the mentally deranged U.S. dotard" and threatened to make him “pay dearly" for his rhetoric.

Trump called Kim “a sick puppy" - and modified his nickname to “Little Rocket Man" - on subsequent occasions.

A controversial condolence call

Trump had already shown during the 2016 campaign that he had no compunction about tangling with the relatives of U.S. troops killed in combat, if they criticized him.

Last year, it was Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a U.S. Army officer killed in Iraq in 2004. The Khans appeared at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in support of Hillary Clinton.

This October, it was the family of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, one of four U.S servicemen killed in an ambush in Niger.

The row began when Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), a friend of the Johnson family, told a local NBC News affiliate in Miami that Trump had told Johnson’s widow, “you know, he must've known what he signed up for."

Wilson accused the president of having been insensitive and said that Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, had said that Trump did not seem to recall her husband’s name.

On Twitter, Trump insisted that Wilson had “totally fabricated" what he had said. Members of Johnson’s family, however, stood by Wilson’s account.

The controversy followed on the heels of a related Trump flap, when he claimed, inaccurately, that former President Obama and other past presidents “didn’t make calls" to bereaved relatives.


The Russian probe led by Mueller began delivering its most serious problems for Trump in late October, when former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Richard Gates were indicted on charges related to money laundering.

A lower-level campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, was also indicted. The bigger threat for Team Trump in that instance was the revelation that Papadopoulos was cooperating with prosecutors.

The biggest news of all came in December, when Flynn, the former national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Flynn, too, struck a deal with Mueller’s team.

Flynn’s flip is the single most dangerous element so far for Trump and his closest confidants.

Kirsten Gillibrand “would have done anything"

The president reacted explosively after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said he should resign in light of the accusations of sexual assault and other misconduct that have been leveled against him by more than a dozen women.

“Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Charles E. Schumer and someone who would come to my office 'begging' for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump," he wrote on Twitter.

The suggestion that Gillibrand “would do anything" for campaign cash was widely seen as a sexual innuendo.

But White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president, arguing at a media briefing that "only if your mind is in the gutter would you have read it that way."

Other female Democrats, including Warren, came to Gillibrand’s defense, as did a number of media figures.

Gillibrand herself accused Trump of “a sexist smear attempting to silence my voice."

Sean Spicer and the inauguration crowd

Then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer set the tone for much of what was to come on the first full day of the Trump presidency, lambasting the media for their coverage of the previous day’s inauguration.

Among his criticisms was that the media had not recognized that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe."

The in-person crowd at Trump’s inauguration was significantly smaller than the audience for Obama’s equivalent event in January 2009, as photographic evidence made clear.

Spicer also got several other facts wrong in his broadside, but he continued to stand by it as long as he served in the White House.

After he left, he was asked by the New York Times if he regretted the episode.

“Of course I do, absolutely," he replied.

The Mooch is loose

There has never been a White House communications director quite like Anthony Scaramucci.

The financier and Trump friend - “The Mooch" to fans and foes alike - was appointed by Trump on July 21, and fired 10 days later.

Spicer resigned as White House press secretary on the same day Scaramucci was tapped by Trump. Spicer was soon followed to the exits by his friend and ally Reince Priebus, Trump’s first chief of staff.

There had not been any time for that tumult to settle down before Scaramucci gave a profane on-the-record interview to The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, in which he attacked Priebus and Bannon in crude terms.

There was no way back from there. The arrival of retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly as chief of staff spelled the end of Scaramucci’s short and tempestuous tenure.

The Memo is a reported column by Niall Stanage, primarily focused on Donald Trump’s presidency.

This list of course barely scratches the surface of Trumpsky's gaffes and daily Twitter embarassments. The issue here is these stories come so fast and furious that they get pushed out of the newz stream after a day or two to make room for the next one. Besides the "Top 10" Controversies with El Trumpo, we also have lists of his Top 10 Impeachable Offenses too! However, with both houses of CONgress pwned by the Repugnants at the moment, any kind of move to actually impeach his Trumpness is unlikely to gain any traction. So we are probably stuck with him dropping Trump-Turds all over the White House through 2020.

This does not however answer the question of what will occur in CONgress in the 2018 Midterm Elections. Several Diners have expressed the opinion that the Deplorables remain enamored of Trumpty-Dumpty despite his many falls and shattered eggshell and will continue to vote Repugnant no matter how quickly it impoverishes them. They also make the case the districts are so well gerry-mandered the color coding is about impossible to flip anywhere.

There is a lot to be said for these arguments, but in this case @DonaldDumbkopf is so pathetically awful it's hard for me to imagine how the Repugnants can maintain control of BOTH the House and Senate in 2018. They currently only hold the Senate by a pathetic single seat. Trumpovetsky's popularity numbers continue to plummet, pretty soon they will be in the negative imaginary numbers. CONgress Critters are announcing their "retirements" by the truckload, either because they can't stand working under Trumpsky or because they grabbed some intern's ass in 1968, or both. So I think the 2018 elections are a real crapshoot and pretty tough to call. You can be sure though that if one or both of the houses of CONgress fall to the Demodopes, the current lockup in Goobermint will get an order of magnitude worse.

Speaking of ass-grabbing and other sexual "harrasment", I can't help but be astounded how quickly this took off and became a first class Witch Hunt forcing numerous Politcos, Hollywood Movie Stars and Corporate CEOs to resign their positions. Not that I have much sympathy for these folks, but I also am astounded how quickly they all capitulated to just being ACCUSED of something that in most cases happened over a decade earlier. No criminal charges were brought back then, and for the most part no criminal charges are being brought now because unless they actually RAPED somebody, what they were doing wasn't illegal and still isn't. You can certainly argue that there is a lot of abuse of power here and that women have been the proponderance of the victims of this, but that was the way the culture was organized. The "casting couch" in Hollywood goes back to its earliest years, if a young actress didn't put out for the Film Director or the Studio Head, she was back to waitressing in a Diner in no time.

One thing I don't understand is why some of these guys don't just DENY the accusations? Who is around to testify whose ass got grabbed at what 1980s party where everyone was wired up on Coke? You don't even have to lie, just use the "I do not recall" defense, because you were probably so wasted you DON'T recall grabbing some ass at a party! However, just about uniformly they have all capitulated to the #MeToo foks and resigned or been fired from their juicy high paid jobs.

The height of this nonsense came with the shit-canning of Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion fame. Garrison was a well known introvert and hardly fraternized with ANYBODY over the 40 years he told his stories over PBS radio shows. One fucking woman says he "touched her naked back" 20 years ago and Garrison gets the boot? WTF?

Moving into the future, I can't see how any male could function in a work environment with this Sword of Damocles hanging over your head all the time. Where do you meet women if not on the job? Just about anything can be considered "unwanted attention" or "sexual harrasment". Nobody can have any FUN anymore!

The Strafing Run of Mother Nature

Moving off the Political Clown show of 2017 and over to Climate & Disasters, we had a steady train of these all year, and for a while there in Novemeber not a day went by without some community being completely wiped out by a hurricane and then the aftermath of infrastructure damage. A full 3 months after Puerto Rico got levelled by Irma/Maria, they STILL don't have electricity restored to the whole island. In many places, "restoration" of electric power doesn't mean the grid is back up, it means the Army Corps of Bozos has brought in generators to bring some power back to individual communities. Also entrepreneurial Ricans are doing well selling generators & inverters these days too!

Puerto Rico without electricity

Not too much followup Newz on what is going on in the FSoA and Brit Virgin Islands these days, but my guess is they are mostly still swimming in shit. On the upside, if you are looking for a cheap sailboat, many of these slightly damaged floating homes can be purchased for pennies on the dollar now.

The Hurricane Parade of 2017 in the Carribean was followed closely by the CA Wildfires, culminating with the Thomas Fire which became the largest fire in modern CA history, chewing up over 270,000 acres of real estate and at least 1000 or so expensive McMansions. Endless great Armageddon style pictures from these conflagrations every day, if this didn't drive home to the Newz Consumer that there is a slight problem with sustainability of the suburban lifestyle in CA I can't imagine what will.

What you can see from the diagrams of the fire is where the CA Fire folks set up their fire lines. Huge swathes are left to burn, and what they do is circle the wagons around the rich enclaves with a lot of expensive McMansions built on them. Getting Special Attention and a LOT of firefighting help from CA Prisons are neighborhoods with people like Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Rob Lowe living in them. So mostly these Jeweled Communities were "saved" by the brave Firefighters/Prisoners working for $2/day and/or some time reduced from the sentence.

However, even though the structures of the Rich & Famous were mostly Saved, they still had to breathe the air until they finally blew out of town to take an air conditioned hotel suite in Phoenix. The McMansion is still gonna stink like smoke unless they can get the insurance company to total it, raze it to the ground and build a new one, even though it didn't burn at all.

Precisely how many tons of carbon were released into the atmosphere by these fires I do not know, but given the fact that SoCal looked like China for 2 straight weeks and they were handing out filter masks like confetti it was pretty significant. Not even all the carz driving around LA every day make the atmosphere look THAT bad. However, at least this acreage is unlikely to burn again next year, but you can't say the same thing about some new Hurricanes dropping in on the Carribean and the GoM next season. I really wonder what the response will be if Houston gets hit by ANOTHER hurricane next year? $Billions$ already spent this year, now you gotta go fix it AGAIN? How many times will people rebuild in the Land of Perpetual Mold Spores?

The last of the Collapse Storiez I will cover for the 2017 Recap Edition of Sunday Brunch on the Diner is the Bubblicious Bitcoin Banquet, where speculators are still having a field day Pumping & Dumping Crypto-Currency bullshit reaching ridiulous valuations and based on NOTHING. This form of "money" didn't even EXIST a few years ago, but now is "worth" $100s of Billions if not Trillions of Dollars. Meanwhile, a new story pops in just about every week of some exchange that got hacked or some scam being run by some con artists in Hong Knog or Singapore to make some money off this mania. Somebody is going to be left with a very big bag of NOTHING when this one finally plays itself out.

There remain however numerous crypto-currency FANATICS out there who see this nonsense as the SAVIOR of money from the centralized control of the TBTF Banks controlling the global central banks. What nobody seems to grasp is that it doesn't matter WHAT you use for money, gold, paper, digibits whatever, if you don't have the resources to value the money against, it's worthless.

Anybody who actually HAS some money these days is in a frantic search for some way to protect their paper wealth from theft by Da Goobermint through Taxation or theft by the Banks through Inflation. Crypto Fanatics are basically people in the world of finance trading around a lot of virtual debt with nothing to back it up at all and besides that is incedibly energy intensive and loaded with complexity that makes it impractical for most of the population to use in any meaningful fashion.

The illusion of wealth is being perpetuated by the ever rising stock market, which really only keeps going up because more debt is pitched at it every day. Energy companies, Tesla, Amazon, Alibaba, NONE of them actually make an organic profit. All they do is expand the level of their debt every year, as does Da Goobermint as well of course. This expanded level of debt makes it appear there is a GDP increase, but there really is not. On a per capita basis, each year we all are incrementally poorer and deeper in debt. Anyone who believes all this debt can EVER be paid off is in serious need of a Reality Check.

So as we move onward here into 2018, some sort of Reset has to come, but will it actually arrive in 2018? What form will it take, and how pervasive will the effects be through the economy as a whole? It's really a Fool's Game to try and predict this, what you really need to do is Hedge as best you can against the possibility this IS the "Year of the BIG ONE".

So, how do you hedge? Here are a few suggestions, more or less in order of importance.

#1- Have a stockpile of long lasting foods and alternatives for producing electricity at least through temporary disruptions. You don't need a full blown off-grid Solar PV & Wind Turbinesystem for this, although it's a nice prep to have if you can afford it. At least have a generator and deep cycle battery and inverter though. Small emergency setups that can carry you through a couple of weeks without grid power can be put together for under $1000.

#2- Get out of/Stay out of Debt if at all possible. Many people are too far underwater on this to completely get out now, but you do the best you can and definitely don't take on new debt unless you absolutely have to just to stay alive. The last thing you want in a SHTF scenario is to see your bank account locked up because you didn't make your last mortgage payment and the bank has frozen your account.

#3- Have a decent size STASH OF CASH that can carry you through at least a couple of months where you can't access your bank account. Right now here in the FSoA we still do HAVE cash that works, the Almighty Dollar, and the paper version is not going to disappear here overnight, or even hyperinflate overnight either. It's very fungible currency and you can use it to buy more food and preps pretty much right up to the minute of SHTF Day.

#4- Have a good BUGOUT PLAN in place. If you at least have a car, you can have a decent bugout plan to GTFO of Dodge if your neighborhood happens to be the latest one to be leveled by Floods, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Wildfires, Drought or Political Upheaval. Have a selection of different destinations depending on how things shape up, and alternative routes to get there. Hopefully have friends/relatives at the other end of your bugout plan to join up with. Have provisions for shelter on the road and for cooking.

#5- Have PERSONAL PROTECTION that is sufficient to at least keep the average Zombie at bay. You don't need a fucking arsenal for this, but a good semi-auto pistol, a shotgun and a rifle with a scope is probably not a bad idea to have in the car with you. You can leave the RPGs at home if you don't have room. lol.

I would NOT suggest anyone currently employed in the Industrial economy quits their job to go live in the Tropical Rainforest or the Alaska Bush, even if you are fairly conversant with living the Full Primitive. You would have to be Cody Lundin to make it out there by yourself or even with a small Tribe. You will need to see how society reorganizes and become part of some group to be able to make it through the Zero Point.

These principles are timeless and do not prevent you from living a "normal" life for as long as BAU continues. They don't cost a fortune either, you don't need gobs of money to buy your own Doomstead and set it up with off grid power systems, etc. You just need to remain flexible, mobile and out of DEBT. It's about the best you can do, and when TSHTF in your neighborhood, then you can get to the task of figuring out what you will do in the aftermath.

Maybe it comes in 2018, maybe it takes to 2020 or 2025, but a reset is coming down the pike here, as sure as the SUNā˜¼ rises each day over the horizon. Be ready for that day when it comes.

Remember the Boy Scout Motto. BE PREPARED!

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