Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 had its moments... All of them bad!

It was the worst of times; it was the worst of times (to misquote Dickens!) A year of political unrest, rampant idiocy, negligence, monsters in power, violence, racism, a drug epidemic, unspeakable tragedies and apocalyptic natural disasters, 2017 was the year when you found yourself asking "Good Lord, could things get any WORSE?" and unfortunately the answer was a resounding "YES! Check THIS out!" Every time I logged on to Twitter it seemed some fresh horror was trending.

On a personal level it was a rough year for me too. Stress and anxiety (over my own life and  the world in general), sleep deprivation, long hours running on empty, trips to the hospital etc. A terrible bout of pneumonia that began in late 2016 continued into 2017. For that I blame Trump (and the Russians!) for the traumatising American election! (And I'm CANADIAN! I can't imagine how horrifying it must have been for Americans!) Anyway, I barely slept a wink after November 9 2016! It was like a living nightmare. This could NOT be happening, could it?! Is this the world now?! Is this what we've come to?! Admittedly I'm not ordinarily very political but the election came as a shock to me. It sickened me, literally and figuratively. I watched in expectation of seeing the first female President! A historic event. Instead it went the other way. Toxic masculinity triumphed. Trump becoming President was an abomination. A man who BOASTED about grabbing women by their genitals, who couldn't be more racist if he was wearing a pointy white hood, a liar con artist fool that defrauded thousands of students with a bogus university was now somehow the leader of the Free World. A real life Idiocracy. It was tragic and I feared the consequences for the US and the world would be catastrophic. I tweeted this and I wasn't even exaggerating. Trump being elected seemed like a sign of the Apocalypse and there would be many further signs to come...
I wrote a song about Trump as well: "Dark Days: Trump as President." I was hoping the Electoral College would correct their mistake and get him out but they failed to. Then I was hoping Trump would be impeached but it's taking a lot longer than expected. He managed to make it through 2017, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake...

Here is a link to the video on Youtube:

This blog is normally about my daughter and I/my journey as a single Mom but I thought I'd make an exception and dedicate a post to one of the most harrowing, insane years that I can remember. A year that broke records and broke hearts. A year where every day in the news was like a cross between a hilarious SNL skit and a disturbing horror movie -- too awful, too absurd to be true, except it WAS... 

Through the tragedies and trials, somehow we still got through 2017! Yay! Look at us go! It's DECEMBER already! They say that time flies when you're having fun but lately it seems that it flies even when you're going through Hell on Earth! So let's pat ourselves on the back for getting through this rough patch and let's hope that 2018 will be better. If what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, we must be like Hercules by now!

Humour is a survival mechanism. Sometimes you have to laugh or you'll cry... 

Here's a look back at some of the highlights (aka LOW lights) of what I'm sure will be remembered as a very bizarre year, where crazy became the new normal and almost nothing could surprise us anymore. 


Size matters... 
President Trump despite winning the election (thanks to an antiquated and grossly unfair Electoral College system) was already butt-hurt that he lost the popular vote by 3 million to Hillary Clinton. #ImStillWithHer My heart broke for Hillary Clinton, for America and the world. I cried my way through her book "What Happened" -- it's brilliant, inspiring and heart-breaking. As she says in her book, rather than looking back in regret we need to move onward together. Resist! Insist! Persist! Enlist!

A lot of "what happened" to affect the election (the collusion with Russia, those damned emails etc) I knew. What I didn't know much about (and learned from her book) was voter suppression -- which is diabolical and INFURIATING! Why is this allowed?! How is that a democracy?! Even with all that Hillary had thrown at her she still won the popular vote by more than 3 million. She should have been the first female President! Instead the glass ceiling remained intact and a racist, narcissist, misogynist imbecile was elected. Trump is a small man. Small-minded, selfish, simple. He could never measure up to the great leader Obama was (or that Clinton would have been.) Then, to deflate his fragile ego even further Trump's inauguration was, like his hands and his brain, a little on the small side...SAD!

Trump already hated Obama as evidenced by his constant criticisms, the Birther Conspiracy etc. The hatred no doubt grows out of envy. Clearly Obama is everything that Trump is NOT: attractive, competent, intelligent, kind, honorable. Also, Trump is a White Supremacist. He just couldn't accept a black President. He had to attempt (feebly) to delegitimize him. The greatest irony is that Trump was constantly criticizing Obama for playing golf and Trump has been golfing more than any President EVER.

Trump is the classic example of the pot calling the kettle black. He is a pathological liar and a hypocrite. He constantly criticizes others (usually wrongfully) for the things he's actually guilty of himself. He insults the media calling them #FakeNews when he is the KING of fake news. Most of what he says is either inaccurate, misleading, propagandic or just outright absurd. 

So of course Trump caught wind of this and blocked Daniel Dale. 

But then Trump blocks anyone who disagrees with him. And there are a LOT of them...

Let's face it, Trump is an abomination. Most sane, rational citizens in America and around the world were shocked and horrified that Trump was actually THE PRESIDENT. It was like a bad joke, a surreal SNL skit gone horribly awry (incidentally Alec Baldwin is BRILLIANT in his scathing impressions of Trump -- so accurate that it enraged Trump to no end!) 

Having a misogynist (narcissist, racist imbecile etc) in the White House wasn't good news. In response to Trump's inauguration millions marched worldwide in the Women's March on January 21st. With 420 marches in the US and nearly 170 in other countries it was the largest single day protest in American history and the biggest global protest in recent history. Trump's fragile male ego took a huge blow seeing the march trump his inauguration numbers, by A LOT.

So what did Trump do? He used a picture of the Women's March and hung it up in the White House as an "Inauguration Day" photo. Even though the photographer's date at the bottom shows it as January 21st rather than 20th. For real. Just another of Trump's endless lies/illusions/fake news. Look how many people came to my inauguration! All wearing PINK! LOL

In addition to all the hot air Trump was blowing, strong winds were whipping through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia with a terrible tornado outbreak in January. This would be a prelude to many storms to come in 2017. 

Trump started showing his racist, xenophobic colors early in the year with a despicable "Muslim ban." It certainly seemed to be the opposite of the American sentiment on the Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these the homeless tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Trump made it abundantly clear that no one was welcome in his Divided States of America except ignorant White Supremacists like himself. He wanted to build a wall around Mexico to keep out what he called "bad hombres" (and make them pay for it. As if. Yeah, Mexico pretty much told him to go f*&% himself. So Americans would have to foot the bill. Trump quickly realized that was impossible. Yeah, math is hard. $20 billion for a 2000 mile wall along the Mexico-US border is a little cost prohibitive. Just another of Trump's delusions.) Trump wanted to stop new refugees/immigrants from coming in to the US and even deport immigrants that were already here. What a sweetheart. I guess he forgot his own wife is an immigrant and that (aside from Aboriginal people) America is a melting pot of people from all over the world... He supposedly wanted to reduce the threat of terrorism. Curiously the countries actual terrorists came from (the monsters responsible for 9/11 etc) were not even included in the ban ie Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE. Of course Trump couldn't ban countries that he does business with! Profit comes first after all!

Trump's deplorable executive order (as most of his ridiculous, odious acts) met with resistance. Protesters made it clear that they did not share Trump's sentiments towards other countries/cultures/races...

Trump certainly made it all too easy for comics to mock him. He's a walking joke. Late Night talk show hosts didn't even have to exaggerate. They could literally read a Trump statement verbatim and it would elicit laughter. Because it was just that ridiculous. And when you're going through tough times, laughter is the best medicine. Sometimes you have to laugh or you'll cry (or scream or have nightmares.) Someone on Twitter decided to make light of Trump's ludicrous orders with some creative artwork. "Trump Draws" mocks his executive orders with a series of videos/gifs depicting infantile drawings and misspellings (Trump's inability to spell isn't even an exaggeration. To err is human but when you're the PRESIDENT you'd think you might SPELL CHECK before sending out tweets...)


The Gong Show that was Trump's administration gave satirists SOOOO much to work with. Queen of alternative facts (aka Fake News) bumbling, co-dependent Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway went so far as to invent a massacre to justify Trump's travel ban. It had simply never happened. Seriously. She claimed that she just misspoke when she called it the "Bowling Green Massacre" during an interview (when really it was just a couple of refugees who were arrested in Kentucky in 2011 because of possible ties to terrorism.) This fictitious massacre naturally became fodder for Twitter humour:

I love that Chelsea Clinton called Conway out on this alternative fact! Incidentally the Louvre attack was an ISIS terrorist with machetes attacking soldiers outside the art museum in Paris, France. Luckily no one was badly hurt because he didn't have a gun. He shouted "Allahu akbar!" as ISIS tends to do. And yes God IS great but you are horrible ISIS! Stop attacking innocent people in God's name you imbeciles. God is love. You are serving Satan and you will go to Hell!

So while the Bowling Green Massacre was amusing it was also kind of scary. What's truly frightening about Trump supporters (who tend to be ignorant/delusional -- hence their support of a madman) is that they fall for these fictional/alternative facts. They believe the propaganda. They drink the Kool-Aid. They don't fact check. Pro-Trump media like Fox News and Breitbart would keep the lies coming. Trump would call REAL news media such as CNN and the New York Times "Fake media." So up was down and dogs were cats. And if you were one of the white rural uneducated "MAGA" red-hat-wearing racist xenophobic Trump voters, you ate it up. Trump would speak and you'd believe him. As Trump had boasted he could "stand on Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and not lose voters." Because that's the sort of hateful trigger-happy folk that voted him in. They hated Obama. They hated immigrants. And Trump, the white billionaire, was going to save them from it all.

Trump's cabinet picks were, not surprisingly, ogres as odious as himself. Of course they met with resistance. When he appointed racist Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Senator Elizabeth Warren had something to say about it. She read aloud from a letter by Martin Luther King Jr's widow, Coretta Scott King opposing Sessions' appointment as a judge. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ordered Warren to sit and be silent. McConnell said that Warren had been warned but "nevertheless she persisted." This phrase became a feminist battle cry inspiring others to speak up and stand up for what's right. #ShePersisted trended on Twitter. Chelsea Clinton even wrote a children's book about it.

 Heroes like Elizabeth Warren gave us hope. Trump and his monsters could try to destroy America and the world but they would meet with #Resistance.

In his rambling, ridiculous press conference in February, Trump revealed just how clueless (and mentally unstable) he was. 

New Yorker article: Inside Trump's Surreal Press Conference

Clearly when a lunatic is the leader of the Free World, we've gone off the rails!

Mother Nature was also having a meltdown with a number of storms throughout the year. In February Cyclone Dineo ripped through Mozambique. Only 55 were injured but 100,000 people were displaced.

2017 would turn out to be a record-breaking year for tropical storms. Climate change was clearly wreaking havoc on the planet and we could not ignore it (though some may try...) The one saving grace was that with our modern technology we are able to predict and track storms faster than ever so people can be evacuated to safety preventing fatalities. The storms were still devastating leaving many homeless.

Fires, floods and famine would ravage several areas around the globe for much of 2017.

Meanwhile not surprisingly Trump's "Muslim ban" or "Immigration ban" was under fire...

Luckily people on the street weren't the only ones protesting the ban. The Supreme Court overturned Trump's xenophobic, unconstitutional Muslim ban. Trump responded in characteristic spoiled brat not-getting-his-way fashion. Over the years Trump used Twitter as his own personal rant page. One would have thought this might change once he became President because it's unprofessional and unpresidential to constantly insult people on Twitter but Trump changed nothing. If anything he became MORE offensive once he took office.

Vultures of a feather flock together. Putin, who Trump had praised as being "very smart" (of course because they were in cahoots to win Trump the election!) decriminalized domestic violence. Got misogyny?! How do you possibly justify making it legal to assault women? I guess the same way you can brag about grabbing women by the genitals and STILL be elected President of the US...
The Divided States of America (Trump supporting racists and xenophobes vs sane rational citizens who respect diversity and all that the country was supposed to stand for) wasn't the only nation in turmoil. The United Kingdom was also pretty divided about whether they should have left the European Union. 

One person summed it up with a tweet:

Everyone knew that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to get Trump elected so it was no surprise when Trump's National Security Adviser resigned in February.

A year of embarassing blunders, even the Oscars messed up royally. Best Picture was accidentally awarded to La La Land when it was meant for Moonlight... 


Then in March Trump, who made a habit of saying something unbearably stupid/insane every single day (if not several times a day) went on a rant accusing Obama of wiretapping him. Because why not?!

I guess the guilt of Trump's collusion with Russia was getting to him and he was becoming paranoid delusional? Either that or Trump just wanted to create more fake news as part of his "smoke and mirrors" magic show/circus to take attention from the real (and quite terrifying) things that were actually taking place in his insane administration. How do you, as a President, and with virtually NO EVIDENCE accuse a former president of wiretapping? It's NUTS. Of course his supporters, delusional Obama-haters, would eat it up. Everyone else laughed their heads off.

Kellyanne Conway, Trump's bumbling, codependent Presidential counselor, then played along with this insane paranoid delusion telling the press that there really are "microwave cameras" out there. Naturally, hilarious tweets ensued...

The Trump adminiistration was just so easy to mock...

In 2017 even talking about the weather was stressful. Clearly we have done damage to the planet and Mother Earth is fighting back. Though climate change seems like something you really couldn't argue (like the Earth being round) not everyone is a fan of science...

Because he was an idiot long LONG before he became President, Trump tweeted in 2012:

Being a climate change denier is convenient when you prize profits over people. Then you can justify polluting, raping and pillaging the environment without accountability. Climate change is real and undeniable. Science has proven that temperatures are rising and the devastating consequences for our planet and ourselves. As expected, as soon as he was in office Trump began dismantling the EPA. He even wanted to bring back COAL. Coal, people! Trump doesn't give a damn about carbon emissions. Trump is in his 70s and knows he won't be around in the future anyway. He's too selfish to actually worry about the future of the world for his children and grandchildren, and the rest of the world. 

Not surprisingly Trump chose a climate change denier like himself, Scott Pruitt, to run the Environmental Protection Agency (into the ground!) Let that sink in. Someone who DOESN'T BELIEVE in protecting the environment (who actually received large sums of money from the fossil fuel industry and who fought the EPA at every turn. Can you say CONFLICT OF INTEREST?!) is put in charge of it. It boggles the mind. But subtlety is not Trump's strong suit. And he gets away with this crap. Like he said in his campaign he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose voters. Pruitt claimed that CO2 is not a main contributor to climate change. You can't make this stuff up. Of course if you say it's not your fault, you can keep doing whatever you want, right?

Meanwhile a drought in Somalia, cyclone in Madagascar and flood in Peru would beg to differ. We do affect the planet and we ignore that fact at our own peril. Catastrophic storms to come later in the year would make it all too clear -- destroy Mother Earth and she will fight back... 

Guardian article: Peru Flood Climate Change

On a lighter note, this little girl stole the show during Daddy's live press conference...


Trump was a fan of saying that he won the election "by a landslide." He clearly doesn't know what the word means. He had a meagre victory through the Electoral College and LOST the popular vote by over 3 million. He kept having self-congratulatory rallies to celebrate his "YUGE" victory (incidentally the only leader to have done such a thing since Hitler. The comparisons between Trump and Hitler are many -- Narcissistic nationalists with bad hair choices -- but I digress...) Meanwhile in Colombia, an actual landslide killed hundreds. Mother Nature was not happy in 2017. Not that Trump would acknowledge climate change.

Guardian article: Colombia landslide leaves 254 dead & hundreds missing

To protest Trump's anti-environment anti-Science nonsense (he even forbade the term "Climate change"  from being used. Seriously. "I deny climate change and I don't even want to HEAR the term!") a March for Science (also for Reality, Common Sense and The Obvious) was organized. Rallies and marches were held in Washington and 600 other cities around the globe on Earth Day April 22. Scientists wanted to express their concern over a government ignoring Science and thereby endangering the world. Sounds about right!

This strangely prophetic tweet NAILED IT. Reality really is stranger than fiction:

And then, because Trump wasn't doing quite enough damage to the Earth he dropped the Mother of All Bombs (seriously that's what it's called. Not even joking)... Ironically though Trump had no interest in helping Syrians originally (and banned their refugees fleeing the country) he claimed to suddenly be sickened by the atrocities committed by ISIS militants in Syria. So he bombed Afghanistan, trying to seem like a hero. Of course people were calling him out on his hypocrisy. Trump was a Nationalist who railed against Obama for involvement in the Syrian Civil War. Now he was doing the very thing he'd accused Obama of. Only worse. Because Trump's strike was completely ineffectual. Just more smoke and mirrors. Like Trump saying "Look what I can do!" (In the voice of Stuart from MadTV...)

Of course anyone who was paying attention was not buying Trump's hero act. Not by a LONG shot.

With the world falling apart before our very eyes, you might be tempted to get away from it all and go on vacation. But in 2017 even flying was a drag, LITERALLY! It was a PR nightmare too surreal to be believed but in keeping with the Bizarro world we were living in: In April, United Airlines forcibly removed a passenger (a doctor no less!) when he refused to volunteer his seat for an employee who needed it last minute. It boggles the mind! Is this what we've come to? No longer a civilized society but a bunch of barbarians who can literally drag a human beings by his legs when his only crime is SITTING IN A SEAT WHICH HE PAID FOR! It was ABOMINABLE. The poor man was not violent. He was not a criminal. He was a doctor who didn't want to give up his seat. Maybe he needed to get home to PERFORM A SURGERY or something. But some spoiled brat, entitled UA employee just HAD to have his seat. Maybe you shouldn't overbook then! At least you'll never have that problem again United because who the Hell would fly your horrid airline now?! Welcome to 2017! Cruelty & insanity are the new normal! At least it was caught on video/in photos. Like most things in 2017, you had to laugh or you'd cry...

This person NAILED it!

Even Merriam Webster couldn't resist throwing some epic shade at United Airlines with this tweet...

#2017InANutshell -- Unbelievably odious behaviour, (by government, corporations etc) usually captured on video, is then followed by mocking on Twitter... Usually within minutes...

At least there was this if you needed a laugh...Happy Easter!

This too -- vehicle break-ins by giant rodents...


Oh the irony. Head of the FBI James Comey, who in his own way helped to get Trump elected (by blowing Hillary's email gaffe WAY out of proportion just before the election) was now investigating Trump's collusion with Russia. So of course Trump fires Comey. Nothing to see here...  Trump said the real reason he let Comey go was his unfair treatment of Hillary Clinton?! I know, right?! I literally can't even. "Yeah I thought I'd fire you because you helped me get elected. It has nothing to do with the fact that you're investigating me now." Mmmm K.
Also kudos to USA Today for their alliteration! That's a lot of Fs! Of course there are other F words they could have used but that's probably not allowed. Like WTF?

At least France learned from America's mistake and did NOT vote in the Nationalist with an alt-right xenophobic agenda. Emmanuel Macron won the election over Marine Le Pen.

Just when you thought Trump couldn't be a bigger bonehead he would outdo himself. One night he accidentally posted a typo "covfefe" when trying to type the phrase "negative press coverage." He didn't catch the mistake for hours then posted this tweet as a childish "I meant to do that!" It was hilarious but also sort of horrifying. A bumbling fool is the leader of the Free World and no one is even babysitting him! He tweets from his golden throne, mistakes and all. There has never been a President like this. Nor should there be! Honestly, dude. You made a typo. It happens. Just OWN IT instead of trying to cover up like a psycho!

The world had gone insane and you never knew what would happen next. Then disaster struck with a despicable act of terror in Manchester, UK -- a bombing at an Ariana Grande concert. Twenty three were killed (including the suicide bomber), more than five hundred were injured and the whole world was heartbroken. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. It's a whole new level of evil when terrorists target CHILDREN. It boggles the mind.

No one wanted to believe we lived in such a cruel world. Unfortunately we do. Of course it didn't help that a complete ogre was the leader of the Free World. It doesn't set the bar very high...

If ever there was an "ugly American" Trump is it -- rude, brash, selfish, boorish, ignorant, immature. Never was this demonstrated more clearly than when he pushes past the Prime Minister of Montenegro in the famous video at the NATO Summit. The video summed up everything you need to know about Trump. He doesn't care about anyone but himself. He's too clueless to care about optics. He will just blunder through anyone or anything that gets in his way so HE can be at the front of the line. It's pathetic. Somehow you almost feel sorry for him as he tugs at his jacket lapels... (Almost.)

Then Trump in his infinite stupidity, in the middle of a #RussiaGate investigation, reveals classified information to Russian diplomats?! IN PLAIN SIGHT. 
It boggles the mind. (STILL not impeached...)

CNN -- Trump shared classified info with Russians

And then because they're not the brightest, the Trump administration proposes a budget with a $2 trillion accounting error. Math is hard. (Actually for Trump spelling is hard too...) When called on it they said "We meant to do that." Because this is the typical Republican response when they make a YUGE error and it just makes them look even more incompetent and ridiculous. Actually if you MEANT to do it then it's actually a lie, rather than an error, which is even worse....

Time article: Trump Budget Math Mistake

(For Republican readers, FYI egregious means SHOCKINGLY BAD! LOL)

Meanwhile Mother Earth continued to create chaos around the world. Floods and mudslides in Sri Lanka killed 150 people and left half a million homeless. The worst flood in over a decade, it left some towns under 18 feet of water. EIGHTEEN FEET! 

One million people were in danger as Cyclone Mora made landfall in Bangladesh. #2017InANutshell: All Apocalyptic. All the time. 


Even after Mother Earth screaming her warnings, Trump continued to deny climate change. The Paris Accord was a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the rise in average global temperatures. It was a commitment to doing what we can to SAVE THE PLANET THAT SUSTAINS US. So of course Trump, whose ignorance is matched only by his indifference, says "NAH! America is out!" Because he wants to bring back coal, pollute, rape and pillage the planet with impunity... Yes, he's just that evil. Needless to say this wasn't making him too popular around the world.

New York Times article -- Trump will withdraw US from Paris Agreement

The world is facing a humanitarian crisis with more than 65 million people forcibly displaced and 20 more people displaced EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. This number is unprecedented. Victims of never-ending wars, violence and persecution; victims of famine and disasters caused by climate change. These are refugees that need a safe place to live. Ideally wealthier countries would step up and accept refugees, help tattered countries to rebuild and promote peace. But Nationalists like Trump are indifferent to their plight. He wants to put "America First." And he can't even get that right. He puts himself and other billionaires first and everyone else be damned.

BBC News -- UN Refugee agency: Record 65.6 million displaced

No matter what, Trump was certainly not going to soften and take in any refugees. He's as inhumane and undiplomatic as they come...If anything he wanted to build a wall to keep people out and deport the immigrants already living in the U.S.

At least there was some good news. It seemed Trump's days were numbered. Comey testified before Congress that he was fired for the Russia investigation.

Trump can never resist lashing out at whoever dares to contradict him, even though inevitably it just makes him look worse:

Comey shot back "Lordy I hope there are tapes!"

Maxine Waters, who had been heroically rallying for Trump's impeachment for a number of reasons, couldn't resist getting a dig in at Trump:

And then, because the cyclone wasn't enough...

Tragedies continued to strike throughout 2017 and often those in poverty were the hardest hit. The rich get richer, the poor get dead. The only thing worse than a tragedy is a preventable one. In one incident, apathy, greed and criminal neglect in low income housing led to numerous deaths. You don't cut corners when it comes to safety and deliberately endanger people! 79 people died in the Grenfell Tower fire because their lives weren't deemed valuable enough to protect. The building was renovated with cheap cladding that failed safety tests. That is what caused the blaze to spread so quickly. The whole building went up like a box of matches. This wasn't just an accident. This was NEGLIGENCE CAUSING DEATH. Unconscionable. Profit was put before people. People died so that the wealthy could save a couple of bucks.

You would wonder how people could be so callous and cruel. But in America, Trump was busy dreaming up ways to give tax cuts to the rich while slashing health care and services for the poor. One of the saddest aspects of Trump winning the election was that he conned his supporters into thinking he cared about them. Unlike the "elite" he was going to stand up for the working man. How Trump supporters could be delusional enough to think a billionaire cared about them is beyond me.


Then in July Trump and Putin met for the first time (nudge nudge wink wink) at the G20 Summit...People couldn't resist commenting on it.

The rotten, stupid apple doesn't fall far from the rotten, stupid tree. In the middle of a #RussiaGate investigation, Donald Trump Jr openly TWEETS evidence of collusion with Russia! Face palm. 
LA Times article: Rep Brad Sherman introduces Articles of Impeachment

And then there's the health care debacle...

The senate rejected legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Republican snakes try to squeak through a "skinny repeal' that would still screw 15 million Americans out of health care insurance. Luckily it was rejected. Republicans are ruthless. They were willing to kill millions of people (or at least let them die without health care they need) if it would save them some money.

Trump, who hated Obama and wanted to do whatever he could to destroy his legacy, was hell bent on repealing and replacing Obamacare even though he couldn't offer anything to replace it. Trumpcare = Trump doesn't care. Basically slashing health care for those who need it most. Understandably Trump didn't want his name attached to his shameful creation so he balked at the term "Trumpcare" and called it the "American Health Care Act"  instead. 

This tweet sums it up perfectly:

They don't call them "Deplorables" for nothing....

Kudos to Fugelsang (and others) for calling Republicans out on their obvious hypocrisy claiming to be pro-life on one hand but signing a bill that would basically kill countless children on the other. 

Speaking of despicable killers, OJ, who literally got away with murder, was paroled in July. Of course he was. This is 2017! The monsters are running the country so why not walking the streets in their ill-fitting gloves!

And then, in the continuing Gong Show of a Trump admin, Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary resigned. And who could blame him?! No one on EARTH would want that job! Representing a cruel moron. It's a no-win situation...
Melissa McCarthy was BRILLIANT as Sean Spicer! I will definitely miss that. She and Alec Baldwin need to get together and make a comedy film about Trump!

And then, because each day he dreamed up new ways to be a giant a-hole, testing the boundaries of deplorability -- coward, draft-dodger and cruel bigot Trump then decided to ban transgender people from the military. For real. He's like a cartoon villain. Like you can't believe someone is actually that awful without trying to hide it. Especially when they're supposed to be a President. Obviously people had a few things to say about the decision...

And then, the mic drop....

The bad news kept coming -- In 115 years 200 species have had populations decrease by 80%. The change is exacerbated by widespread destruction of animal habitats and increasing global temperatures. Earth is 4 billion years old and has sustained life for 3 billion. Human beings are only 200,000 years old and yet we have impacted the planet to such an extent that scientists are calling our period in Earth's history Anthropocene -- the age of Humans. Humans are "super-predators" -- over-hunting, over-fishing, over-consuming meat, depleting the world's resources. Really hoping we don't wind up like the dinosaurs but it looks pretty grim. The changes we have made to the Earth have threatened its ability to sustain us. We're killing our planet. 7 billion of us squeezing the life out of it.

Species are reaching extinction 100 times faster because of us. We need to own that sh$#. Since 1970 the human population has doubled and the animal population has been cut in half. We're losing biodiversity. This isn't just a tragedy for the animals, it has far-reaching consequences for us too. Only 5 times in Earth's history has so much biodiversity been wiped out. The 5th time was when dinosaurs became extinct...

Industry, agriculture and fossil fuel use have raised carbon dioxide to the highest level in millions of years. As temperatures continue to rise, disaster ensues. Global warming causes glaciers to melt, sea levels to rise, species to go extinct and natural disasters -- fires, floods, droughts, hurricanes, earthquakes -- to increase. In 200 years the population has exploded from 1 billion to 7.6. We place extraordinary demands on the planet and if it can't meet them, we will perish. What can we do? As individuals, we can reduce, reuse, recycle. Make greener choices where possible. Try to control our consumption etc. (And yes I do feel guilty for my shopaholicism! Spell check is saying that's not a word but it should be! I also feel bad for all the commuting I do. Hoping to find an alternative to that this year for many reasons. I recycle though!) On a larger scale corporations and countries can commit to implementing changes to reduce pollution, to save resources, to protect the environment. Of course most countries ARE doing this but Trump dropped out of that commitment. It's like Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" but in real life. "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot. Nothing is going to get better. It's not." Trump doesn't care at all.

Billions of populations of animals have been lost in recent decades. This is beyond heart-breaking.

Mother Nature's wrath continued with disasters in South China.


Aside from the threat of Nature, there was the threat of terror. In Barcelona ISIS terrorists claimed 13 lives and injured more than 100 people in the one of the most violent days in Spain's history.

It was a year of tragedies. One of the most heartbreaking was the #GorakhpurTragedy where dozens of babies died from lack of oxygen. Oxygen supplies were cut over unpaid bills. It is horrifying to think anyone could be so callous as to allow children to die. It's criminal negligence. My heart went out to the helpless parents. I only hope they can find peace and justice. In a country of horrendous inequality the government spends 1% GDP on health care (the world's lowest.) Health issues like encephalitis have killed thousands of children over the last two decades.

Guardian -- Spate of child deaths linked to oxygen shortages

And if there wasn't enough nightmare fuel already there was always the threat of nuclear war...

New York Times: North Korea fires missile over Japan

Trump continued to disappoint...

At least Mueller was coming for him...

Meanwhile Narcissistic dictators Trump and Kim Jong Un hurled insults and nuclear threats back and forth...

Trump referred to Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man." Kim Jong Un retorted with "Dotard Trump." A dotard, for those not familiar with the archaic word, is a senile person with declining mental faculties. Nailed it. It would be funny if the two lunatics weren't flirting with nuclear holocaust. The irony is that while they are at odds, they have everything in common. Both grew up wealthy and spoiled. Both are Narcissists who crave attention and admiration. Both have HUGE yet completely fragile egos. Both are immature hotheads who lack empathy. Unfortunately they're not just schoolyard bullies. They're in a position to actually blow up the world. 
The world had become a horror movie... Filled with hatred. Filled with evil. It was inevitable given the political climate but it was still shocking to see.... 
Real life Nazis with torches. Welcome to 2017. This is Trump's America and he has blood on his hands. Having a racist President sets a HORRIBLE example. It emboldens the white supremacists and provokes acts of hatred. This photo looks like something out of a movie (the villagers with torches and pitchforks) unfortunately it's frighteningly real. This scene is from the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville -- a protest to the removal of racist Robert E. Lee's statue in Emancipation Park. (The statue naturally offended many in the community and was a symbol of hate.) The White Supremacists couldn't have this. In opposition to the lunatics on the right, sane, decent citizens on the left, came to protest the Nazi rally. The battle between good and evil has casualties. Unfortunately a beautiful activist with a passion for social justice, Heather Heyer died fighting for what she believed. An ignorant Nazi plowed his car into the crowd of peaceful protesters, killing her. As her heartbroken mother said, they did not silence her, they amplified her.

Trump, the KKK's darling, was in an awkward position. When there was an act of terror by ISIS it fit his agenda and he was all over it. But what could he say when a terrorist was one of his white supremacist supporters? His solution was to say that there was violence on "many sides." The right likes to make it sound like the left is just as violent. (No. Not by a LONG shot.) They refer to protesters against Fascism as "Antifa" (Anti-Fascist. As if that's a bad thing to be!) There aren't many sides. There are TWO sides: right and wrong, left vs right, decent human beings vs NAZIS. By not picking a side, by not blatantly condemning this attack, Trump was CONDONING it. The KKK noticed and praised him. The left noticed and rebuked him.

Trump later backpedaled and posted a tweet condemning the attack but it was half-hearted and no one bought it.

Barack Obama tweeted a beautiful response to the tragedy: That no one is born hating another person based on race/religion/culture. Hatred/racism/xenophobia is learned. And it needs to be unlearned. We are all from the same race --HUMAN -- and we need to show more humanity toward each other. Obama's tweet became one of the most popular ever. With close to 2 million likes...So maybe there IS still hope for humanity. 

There was some fallout in the White (Supremacist) House at least after this disgusting racist incident. The real President (as some called him since he was the real brains behind the operation, if you can call it that), the puppet master, the sickening racist, misogynistic Grim Reaper Breitbart alt-right propaganda maker Steve Bannon was forced out... Good riddance!

Clearly Trump was trying to save face but it was too little too late. Bannon seemed a little bitter and went back to his rag, Breitbart. Surprise surprise. Trump's ship was sinking, like his approval rating, his corrupt cabinet members kept dropping like flies, resigning or getting fired. All the while we wondered when it would Trump's turn. How was he not impeached yet?!

The New York Times did an article on all the White House staff who had left. It was quite a list. It must have broken records for the most people fired or resigning in the first year. Then again Trump is pretty much the WORST PRESIDENT EVER.

People couldn't resist commenting on Twitter...

I'm sure he wasn't stepping down so much as getting pushed out because after an innocent girl being MURDERED by a Trump-supporting racist it looked REALLY BAD to keep having a Nazi as your Chief Strategist.

Steve Bannon getting fired was a bit of happy news at least. And then, there was something else to make us smile/laugh: Trump, the imbecile, stared into an eclipse, even after repeated warnings about the damage to your eyes and despite the fact that he had special protective eyewear IN HIS HANDS! He took them off to look directly because why not? Because that's just who Trump is. He won't be told what to do, even when it's for his own good. Like Icarus, he will fly into (or at least stare into) the sun...

I LOVE this headline! The Daily News is my hero! This made me laugh out loud at a time when there wasn't much to laugh about. I guess for a man who doesn't believe in science, the eclipse would just be "fake news."

Aside from the political turmoil going on, chaos was brewing in the natural world as well. Hurricane Harvey began in the Caribbean and would be the first major hurricane of 2017. Unfortunately it would not be the last. The Category 4 storm made landfall near Rockport, Texas. It weakened to a tropical storm and then intensified again. It killed 90 people and became the costliest American natural disaster -- close to $200 billion.

280 miles wide with wind speeds of 130 mph Harvey broke records for rainfall from a single storm -- 51 inches of rain in Texas. In some cities it dumped 26 inches in a single day. By the weekend it had rained 27 trillion gallons in Texas. More than 80 people were killed and thousands left homeless. The devastation would last for months. Unfortunately Harvey was not alone. More storms, the worst ever, were on the way...

CNN -- Hurricane Harvey Slams Texas


As the Trump-Kim Jong Un war of words continued, you had to laugh or you'd cry...

Meanwhile, America was in flames...

While Texas was still reeling from hurricane and rain damage, the west coast was on fire. Thanks to dry, hot record-breaking temperatures sparks flew and ignited fires across eight states forcing thousands to evacuate, closing highways, destroying homes and clogging the air with smoke. In California the La Tuna fire near Burbank ravaged more than 7200 acres making it the largest fire ever in L.A. The scenes were terrifying and Apocalyptic. It was like a disaster movie but in real life.

Another day, another disaster. The hits kept coming. It certainly seemed like the Apocalypse. We thought Hurricane Harvey was bad. Then there was Hurricane Irma. A catastrophic Category 5 hurricane, Irma would break many records. Irma was the strongest Atlantic basin hurricane ever recorded outside the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. It spent THREE DAYS as a Category 5, making it the longest ever recorded. Irma maintained winds of 185 mph for 37 hours. It also caused the largest evacuation in the Bahamas' history and in the US.6.3 million people evacuated Florida (making it the largest evacuation in American history). The U.S. had never had two category 4 storms make landfall in the same year. Barbuda was all but obliterated with 95% of its buildings damaged.

And Irma had siblings -- her little brother and sister Category 3 storms Jose and Katia.

People couldn't help but mention the Apocalypse. This was not normal. Hurricanes, fires and floods, this many of them, back to back with record breaking ferocity were NOT NORMAL. It certainly looked like the end of the world.

Some people were a little more blase about Armageddon. Why let it ruin your golf game? If the a-hole President can golf every other day why shouldn't every a-hole with money to burn?

#2017InaNutshell -- Snapshots of the Apocalypse. Dudes golfing by a wildfire.

It wasn't an exaggeration. This was not normal. Hurricane Irma was a holy hell, record-breaking, end of the world type storm. A Category 5 with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph for 37 hours -- the longest EVER in the satellite era. Longer than all other Atlantic hurricanes. It was BAD.

Irma was the greatest (as in the WORST) Atlantic hurricane to pass beyond the Caribbean. Widespread devastation hit Florida. 

I tried to warn them...I wasn't kidding either. Nostradamus may have been vague and poetic but he's been right about everything. 

After all this, surely people thought, things couldn't get any worse. Then there was Hurricane Maria. How do you solve a problem like Maria? Another Category 5 Hurricane it was the worst natural disaster EVER in Dominica and Puerto Rico and the most intense tropical cyclone worldwide. Maria wreaked havoc and created a humanitarian crisis. The death toll in Puerto Rico, originally estimated at under 100 is now believed to be closer to 1000 with so many missing. Dominica, once a tropical paradise, was completely destroyed.  Total losses are estimated over $100 billion U.S., mostly in Puerto Rico. The storm passed but the devastation will linger for months if not years as they struggle to rebuild from the wreckage. Millions are still without power and basic necessities.

In Dominica, the Prime Minister, after having the roof torn off his own home by the merciless storm, went on Facebook saying how they had lost all that money can buy. It was heart-wrenching. Paradise lost. Some of the most beautiful places in the world torn apart. Everything was destroyed. Their homes and all their possessions just GONE.

Instead of offering heartfelt condolences for their losses (like a compassionate, decent leader would do), Trump, being the clueless callous a-hole bully that he is, decided to take the opportunity to kick them while they were down and insulted Puerto Rico, blaming them for being in a mess.

As if this weren't tone deaf and insensitive enough, Trump threw paper towels at hurricane victims when he visited Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Seriously. You can't make this stuff up. They got it on video. Ironically Trump was angry at NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem as a silent protest but didn't think it was offensive to hurl paper towels at hurricane victims.

And then, because Mother Nature still had a few things to say (screaming at the top of her lungs because somehow we still weren't getting her wake up call) -- earthquakes in Mexico. A terrible 8.2 magnitude quake off the southern coast near Chiapas, generating a tsunami with waves close to 6 feet. A 7.1 earthquake in Central Mexico followed... 40 buildings collapsed. 370 people were killed. 6000 were injured. In an eerie coincidence (yeah no there are no coincidences...this was a SIGN...) the quake happened on the anniversary of the 1985 Mexico City quake which killed 10,000 people. 

CNN article: Earthquake in Central Mexico kills 200+ topples buildings

Every time I logged on to Twitter I was afraid of what I might see. There were always thoughts and prayers going out to someone for something, some new tragedy, some fresh disaster. I'd glimpse at the trends and think "Oh God. What's happened now?" I didn't want to know but I had to know. Some people on Twitter chose to bury their heads in the sand, to keep posting the minutiae of their lives, to keep posting positive affirmations, to focus on the good. While I can see the reasoning behind it, I also felt that we couldn't just bury our heads in the sand and pretend it wasn't happening. The world was severely messed up and it was our doing. We had to take notice. We had to speak up. 


October opened with a gunman opening fire on concert goers on the Las Vegas strip in the deadliest mass shooting in the United States, leaving 58 dead, 546 injured. A deranged 64 year old white male fired more than 1000 shots from his suite in the Mandalay Bay hotel before turning a gun on himself. His motives were unknown but the male was clearly unstable -- an alcoholic and addictive gambler, the son of a psychotic bank robber who had been on the FBI's most wanted list. And one thing was clear: America HAD to enforce gun control. Knowing his history, would ANYONE with a brain stem and/or a conscience have sold this male a gun?! A thorough background check and mental health assessment should be MANDATORY to purchase a weapon. Gun dealers and manufacturers should be held accountable. This tragedy (like so many others) was COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE. Why was a mentally unstable person able to get his hands on a semi-automatic weapon? Turns out the assailant had actually stockpiled an arsenal of weapons. (23 firearms, ammo and high capacity magazines.) HOW IS THIS OK?! WHY IS THIS ALLOWED?! The NRA and other trigger-happy Mericans like to say that "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." But the reality is that guns make it FAR TOO EASY for cowards, terrorists and mentally unstable people to take lives. If someone is a danger to himself or others he should NEVER have access to weapons. Period. It's a no brainer. Protecting human life has to come first. Unfortunately many people value their guns more than human lives. The NRA and Trump are among them. They had blood on their hands, again.

Around the globe,the nightmares continued. Murder and mayhem was a common theme for 2017.

Somalia suffered the worst terror attack ever with 500 casualties. 

And what Apocalypse would be complete without a plague?
Natural disasters, violence and plagues. Yes 2017 had all the ingredients for a blockbuster sci-fi film about Armageddon. Meanwhile Hollywood was suffering its own Apocalypse...

In early October the New York Times published a story outlining decades of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein with Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd among the victims who spoke out. Weinstein issued an apology and took a leave of absence. He was later fired. Then more and more women began coming forward with allegations against Weinstein.

Hollywood film producer accused of sexual assault by more than 50 women.
Pandora's Box had been opened. Some called it the #WeinsteinEffect. Inspired by the brave Silence Breakers, more victims of sexual harassment and assault spoke out and male celebrities were dropping like flies. Resigning or being fired from projects/companies as a result. Even some of the most talented and respected actors in Hollywood (including Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman). Ironically, the President, who had numerous sexual assault allegations against him and was even heard BOASTING on tape about grabbing women by the genitals, still hadn't been fired! He never should have been elected. We have to hope he's impeached soon!

With so many victims coming forward two things were becoming depressingly obvious:
a) this had happened way too often
b) most of the victims had remained silent

If there was one positive to come out of 2017 it was that women finally felt empowered to stand up for themselves and to speak out against sexual harassment and abuse. There is no shame in admitting to having been a victim. Alyssa Milano tweeted #MeToo and invited others to do the same. She returned to find thousands of responses.

If it wasn't already abundantly clear that the world had gone to Hell in a hand basket in every conceivable way, there was another terrorist -- small but sinister, a toxic, merciless monster -- killing people across North America. Its name: Fentanyl. Fentanyl was largely to blame for a massive spike in overdose deaths. Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine. It's more dangerous than heroin because it's stronger and cheaper. A highly addictive opioid, as a controlled prescription medication in hospitals it can help chronic pain sufferers. Unfortunately because of its potency it is attractive to drug dealers and labs began making and selling cheap fentanyl, lacing it with other products to increase profits. 1 kilogram of Chinese fentanyl that costs $12,000 can be made into pills worth $80 million. Illicit drugs are unregulated. There is no quality control. Fentanyl was cut into other drugs without users knowing, leading to overdoses. The analogue carfentanil is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. It was developed for animals (such as elephants) not humans. Heroin is expensive. Fentanyl was cheap and plentiful. But deadly. Over 2017 there has been an explosion in fentanyl overdoses. A fentanyl overdose has the same symptoms as other opioid ODs except the onset is faster. Luckily a fentanyl OD can be treated with receptor blocking drug Naloxone and CPR. Naloxone is available as an injection or a spray. Unfortunately it's often too late. Police, fire, ambulance and hospitals are flooded with overdose calls EVERY SINGLE DAY. 80% are accidental. The irony is that to save/make money despicable drug dealers are cutting with fentanyl but they're killing off their client base. It's not sustainable. In the U.S. the fentanyl death toll rose by 540% in three years. That's only up to 2016. They don't even have the stats yet for 2017 when it became worse than ever in the U.S. and Canada.142 Americans die from fentanyl overdoses EVERY DAY. 

Evergreen Drug Rehab article: Sad Reality Fentanyl Death Toll

Even Trump had to acknowledge the problem. (Of course he would use it to justify his xenophobic policies and desire to build a wall to keep out "Bad hombres" -- as though all immigrants are drug dealers.)

It would be wrong to consider Trump's focus on the opioid epidemic as a sign of genuine concern for the lives of Americans however. Trump only paid attention to health issues if they somehow supported his agenda. He just wanted to foster hatred to justify his proposed wall, immigration policies etc. The truth was that Trump didn't give a damn about the health of Americans. His proposed health care (Trumpcare = Trump DOESN'T care) would essentially be cutting off the people who needed it most -- the poor, sick, elderly and female. It was a plan designed by a selfish, unscrupulous ogre who was willing to let people die to line his own pockets.

Obamacare taxed the rich to help pay for the poor to have health care. A typical Robin Hood. The money has to come from somewhere. Getting health care to those who need it most -- the sick, elderly etc -- was the top priority. With this coverage, 14 million Americans who needed help were covered. This only makes sense, logically and morally. Those who can afford to help those who can not afford it. Trumpcare does the opposite. It rewards the rich and takes away from the poor. He would boast about Americans saving on healthcare but it was the wealthy who would be saving. Those in poverty would be left with nothing. If Ebenezer Scrooge were President...

It was a year of loss for so many people. The Northern California Firestorm -- a series of 250 wildfires burned 245,000 acres across California in mid-October. The costliest wildfires on record they caused $9.4 billion dollars in damages and were predicted to cost the US economy at least $85 billion dollars. 44 people were killed, 185 hospitalized and 90,000 evacuated from their homes, 8900 structures were destroyed. This was the deadliest set of wildfires in a century. More than 10,000 firefighters battled the fires including crews from Canada and Australia that came to help.

CNN article: More evacuations ordered as deadly wildfires scorch Northern California

As if Puerto Rico hadn't been through enough already it was hit by a mudslide in October. The paper towels probably weren't going to be much help...

In better news: It was Mueller Time! #MuellerTime Charges were brought against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

An epic video of the FBI raiding the Trump administration began to circulate... #MuellerTime From Russia with Love. You HAVE to watch it! It made my day when I saw it!
Meanwhile there was a political crisis in Spain as Catalonia made a bid for independence..
Vox article -- Catalonia's ill-fated bid for independence

2017 was a year of unrest and division around the world. The issue in Catalonia is still not resolved. The battle between democracy and dictatorship continues... 
Sadly October began and ended with horror. On Halloween October 31st an ISIS terrorist rented a Home Depot pickup truck and plowed into cyclists and runners on the bike path at Hudson River Park in Lower Manhattan, New York City killing 8 and injuring 11. After crashing into a school bus the driver ran out wielding two guns and was shot/arrested by police.

One article suggested it's far too easy for anyone to rent a truck. Sadly it's just as easy for someone in the U.S. to buy a GUN. Maybe any time you are selling something that may be used as a weapon there should be some sort of process/waiting period/background check to prevent incidents like this. Again the more tragedies you can prevent, the better.

North Jersey article: Road Warrior -- too easy to rent a truck


Meanwhile in Canada...

Compared with what was going on in the rest of the world (the political insanity in America and natural disasters around the world), Canada is a relatively safe place to live and I have never been more proud or grateful to live here! Canada turned 150 this year! Happy Birthday Canada! We still have our problems of course -- the Retail Apocalypse has hit a number of stores -- Sears is going out of business (which makes me sad. I'm going to miss the Christmas Wish Book!) We still have violent crime (though nowhere near as bad as in the US). Like the US we also have an opioid crisis (though thankfully we had some MAJOR drug busts this year which will hopefully make a dent in the problem) and mental health crisis. 2017 was the year when anything could happen and human error/negligence could be deadly. In November, near Barrie Ontario, a distracted truck driver caused an apocalyptic 14 car pile up including two fuel tankers and several transport trucks and killed 3 people.  
Distracted drivers are dangerous, truck drivers even more so. The OPP told reporters they responded to more than 5000 transport truck-related collisions in 2017, 56 of which resulted in 67 deaths.

We need to pay more attention.

It should go without saying that we have to protect that planet that sustains us but we have managed to pollute it to the point where climate change was wreaking havoc around the planet with record-breaking natural disasters becoming the norm.

In Delhi the pollution levels and smog were so bad that doctors declared an emergency. The level of airborne pollutants in India's capital were so harmful they were the equivalent of smoking 50 cigarettes a day! 

In 2017 the world had become a living horror movie. #TexasChurchMassacre showed just how insane and horrific it could be. At a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas 26 people were killed and 20 injured when a 26 year old male dressed in black and armed with an assault rifle opened fire on parishioners on a Sunday morning. He then fled and shot himself in the head. Obviously unstable and with a history of domestic violence, he NEVER should have been able to buy a gun. This incident, like all the others (and sadly there are many in American history) shows just how crucial #GunControl is. There have to be laws in place to prevent tragedies like this from happening again. Gun dealers need to be held accountable. It should not be easy for a madman to buy a weapon to kill innocent people. Of all the places that people should feel safe, a church would have to be near the top of the list. Trigger-happy gun aficionados suggested people should start carrying guns everywhere to protect themselves. The solution to gun violence isn't MORE guns. It is less. And it is most importantly KEEPING GUNS OUT OF THE WRONG HANDS. Anyone with a history of violence and mental health issues, anyone who is a danger to himself and others should not be allowed to own a gun. Doesn't that make sense? Not to Trump. He actually repealed one of Obama's gun control rules - the Social Security Administration no longer has to submit names of mental health benefit recipients to federal agencies conducting background checks. Seems to me that would have been a good rule to KEEP! Someone who is so mentally ill that they are unable to work SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO BUY A GUN!!! Am I missing something here?! There is a mental health crisis AND a gun crisis. Making it easier for mentally ill people to obtain firearms is nothing short of criminal negligence. But this is how Trump runs the country (into the ground.) Once again there was blood on Trump's hands too.

When a terrorist act was committed by a non-white assailant with ties to ISIS, Trump was all over it because that fit into his xenophobic agenda, supposedly justifying his Muslim ban etc. When the culprit was a white male however, Trump was conspicuously silent. He couldn't dare to admit that when you study the statistics it is clear that there are more acts of terror by White Supremacist terrorists, that most mass killings are committed by white American males. Even the media seems to treat white killers differently. They are described as a "lone wolf" or mentally ill as opposed to a terrorist. Some couldn't resist commenting on the hypocrisy. Trump refused to acknowledge that most mass killings are committed by white males.

Gun control is one of the biggest issues but it became sadly apparent that many Americans prize their guns above human lives. It is FAR too easy to obtain a firearm in the United States. There should be thorough background checks and a waiting period. This may not prevent every violent crime but it would certainly have prevented many of the shootings that occurred. Someone who is unstable and a danger to himself and/or others should NOT have access to a firearm. Someone who is on the edge can do a lot less damage if they don't have a gun. The NRA and other trigger-happy morons will rant about their "constitutional right" to bear arms. How about the rights of innocent people NOT TO GET SHOT?! Shouldn't that trump everything else?!

Meanwhile, climate change continued to wreak havoc around the world...

In a year of horrendous earthquakes, the deadliest was still to come...

A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the Iran-Iraq border killing 452 people and injuring thousands.

To lose a child is every parent's worst nightmare. Loss of your homes and possessions is one thing but losing your loved ones is unbearable. My heart goes out to everyone in 2017 that lost a loved one in one of the many horrible tragedies throughout the year.

More earthquakes were to come, only hours later in Japan and Costa Rica.

Metro article: Three powerful earthquakes hit Japan Costa Rica Iran within hours of each other

Independent article: Costa Rica Earthquake latest today

A 6.5 earthquake hit Costa Rica causing panic in the streets and knocking out power lines but at least there was no major infrastructure damage.

Deadly flash floods caused "Biblical damage" in Athens. The deluge drowned streets in mud and debris, destroyed homes and businesses, killed at least fifteen people (many were missing so the death toll was hard to track) and injured dozens. Buildings collapsed and belongings were swept away in rivers of mud. Some argued that illegal construction over streams and riverbeds intensified the torrents. All year long Mother Nature gave us one warning and wake-up call after another -- destroy the Earth and she will destroy you. We have to commit to protecting the planet. For our own good.

Even South Korea, which rarely experienced tremors, had an earthquake that left many injured and more than 1000 homeless. 

Yet another earthquake, in South Korea, left 1500 homeless and dozens injured. There seemed to be no end to it. All year long it was one catastrophe after another. Earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, floods. The sheer volume and severity of natural disasters were of Biblical proportions. What else could happen?  Don't ask. 

Mount Agung in Bali which hadn't erupted in more than half a century started spewing ash. That couldn't be good... 100,000 people in 22 villages were evacuated.The last eruption, deemed a "moderate" one (in 1963) lasted a year and killed over 1000 people. As ash fell like snow, flights were cancelled and travelers stranded. Indonesia's National Disaster Management Authority warned eruptions were increasing and declared the highest alert level for the volcano. Beyond the local devastation, this could impact the entire globe. Scientists warn volcanic eruptions can push up the planet's thermostat for months as millions of tons of gases and particles spread through the atmosphere. Sulfur dioxide from the volcano react in the sky and could cool the earth. Eruptions can also change rainfall patterns around the world. Maybe this is Nature's way of counteracting global warming?! Volcanoes emit sulfur compounds straight into the stratosphere but they still don't hold a candle to the emissions from human activities which have a greater and longer lasting impact on climate. 

In addition to the threat of a nuclear holocaust (with Trump and Jong Un bickering like idiots), natural disasters, plagues and of course the always possible "Zombie Apocalypse" apparently we can add a potential Robot Uprising to our list of nightmare-fuel science fiction turned fact Armageddon scenarios. The wizards at Hanson Robotics in Hong Kong created a robot so intelligent and life-like that she has even been granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia. The first robot to achieve such status. Now apparently she even wants to have a baby. What scares me is that Artificial Intelligence could make a pretty convincing argument that humans are running the planet into the ground and that they would do a better job than us. Sorry Sophia but you give me the creeps!

Even Stephen Hawking warned that AI pose a threat to civilization: 

Hawking also warned we have only 100 years to leave Earth if we're to survive as a species.

BBC article: Sophia the Robot wants a baby

So, the Robot Apocalypse may be impending but we should try to keep our sense of humour. This made me laugh out loud:
Then Trump, who brings clueless to a whole new level, thoughtlessly retweeted UK anti-Muslim propaganda videos on his page. This is a President spreading hateful propaganda, oblivious (and/or wholly indifferent) to the repercussions of such an action. CNN article: Trump retweets anti-Muslim videos

As a leader in a democracy you have a responsibility to represent ALL of your citizens. To incite hatred (and make no mistake hate crimes against minorities increased with Trump in power) is beyond irresponsible. It is despicable.

Atlantic article: Islamophobia No Longer Needs Terrorism as a Justification 

Searches for the word "complicit" increased 300% in 2017. There was an 11,000% spike in the search after an interview with Ivanka Trump where she was asked whether she felt complicit in White House activities and answered that she didn't know what the word meant.There was also a spike in October when Republican Senator Jeff Flake said that would not run for re-election because he didn't want to be "complicit or silent." So, to save anyone looking -- complicit means to be involved with others in illegal activity/wrongdoing. The thing is, if you are NOT part of the #Resistance, if you are NOT speaking out against the horrible things people like Trump are doing, you are complicit. You are allowing it to happen. Trump is a monster, but he is not alone (though they do drop like flies in his administration). Anyone working with him could have and should have spoken up and tried to stop him. If they fail to, they are as bad as he is. And there is blood on their hands too.

And just as a reminder that lives hang in the balance as Trump goads Kim Jong Un into war...

CNN article: New missile test North Korea capable of hitting all US mainland

 CNN article: New missile test shows North Korea capable of hitting all US mainland

2017 as a whole could be seen as a cautionary tale on the dangers of toxic masculinity with Donald Trump as its poster boy. Kim Jong Un and Trump bickered back and forth like children over Twitter. Putin is a monster who basically made it legal to abuse women. Then this video of Venezuela's President Maduro, eating during a live broadcast, (while hilarious!) spoke volumes about the bloated, bullying tyrants who only care about themselves and not the people they are supposed to represent. Scarfing down an empanada on live TV while children are starving in his country comes across as a tad insensitive but then the toxic masculine male couldn't give a f$%^ about optics. "Let them eat cake!"
Much of the hatred and violence throughout 2017 can be attributed to toxic masculinity. Men who disrespect or even hate women, who prize guns over human lives, who will step on anyone to get what they want. When these sorts of men are leaders of countries what kind of example does it set for other men? Unfortunately it emboldens other monsters to embrace the ugliest aspects of their sex.

Truth dig article: Toxic masculinity is killing us in many ways

Luckily one positive thing to come out of 2017 was women beginning to take their power back and breaking their silence on sexual harassment and assault. #MeToo #WeinsteinEffect Another positive thing in November, Charles Manson died. Ordinarily you say "Rest In Peace" when someone passes away but in his case it's more like "Rot in Hell you A-hole!" Of course people had fun with the news. These tweets nailed it:

And if you needed a laugh, there's always a cat...or two...


There was no question 2017 was a catastrophic year. @NatGeo The US suffered more than $300 billion worth of damage from 17 named storms during the season

Figuratively Hollywood was burning with all the celebrities being accused of sexual assault. Literally, California was on fire. The Thomas Fire is the largest blaze in the state's history. It has burned 281,000 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara. Nine hundred firefighters battling the fire since the month started now say it is mostly contained at the end of the month. But it isn't over yet. More than 1000 buildings have been destroyed, 3 people (including a firefighter) have been killed. This has been California's worst fire season ever. A heat wave, climate change mixed with a growing population created the perfect firestorm and  can end it soon but as I type this it's still going.

Mount Agung still has not had a major eruption but has caused a major disruption in Bali. Tens of thousands of residents have been displaced, and tourists are scared off. Considering 70% of its economy is linked to tourism, this will have a devastating impact financially on top of other damages and pollution

Some good news at least: Michael Flynn plead guilty and cooperated in Mueller's Russia investigation. Once again we got our hopes up that Trump's impeachment would be soon. Still waiting on that one...

Guardian article: Ex National Security Adviser Michael Flynn charged with lying to FBI

A Category 3 tropical cyclone, Cyclone Ockhi began in the Gulf of Thailand and ended in western India, leaving a trail of destruction in Sri Lanka, Lakshadweep, South India and Maldives and killing more than 245 people. A hundred fisherman are still missing so the death toll may be higher. A number of fisherman told the Indian Express newspaper that they weren't expecting the cyclone and it brought back haunting memories of the tsunami in 2004. Grieving families in Kerala told the media that authorities failed to warn them about the storm. Even after the storm hit, response was slow. No one realized the severity of it until it was too late. The Kerala government blamed the meteorological department for informing them too late about the danger of the cyclone.

Undoing decades of foreign policy and sparking rage and violence, Trump undermines America's position as peace mediator by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. Recognizes Jerusalem as Israels' capital. "Opening the gates of hell in US interests" according to terrorist group Hamas.

At least an attempted terror attack in New York failed. If only they always failed.
After all the sexual abuse allegations against him everyone was happy to hear Roy Moore lost the Alabama US senate to Doug Jones. Everyone except Trump who was still supporting Moore. Because of course he was. Vultures of a feather flock together. Trump, being a Republican with sexual assault allegations against him as well couldn't very well condemn Moore. It was sickening that there seemed to be consequences for all sexual predators EXCEPT Trump. When would he lose his job?

UNICEF released a terrifying report: 17 million babies face brain development issues due to toxic air (toxicity 6x higher than what's safe.) South Asia has the largest population of babies in the worst affected areas -- 12.2 million babies. Ultrafine pollution particles can enter the bloodstream and travel to the brain causing neuro-inflammation, other pollution particles cause neuro-degenerative disease. Young children are especially vulnerable because they can be affected by a smaller dosage of chemicals than an adult. Because they breathe more rapidly and their physical defenses/immunities aren't developed they are extremely vulnerable to air pollution. This is tragic and stresses the importance of clean air, for everyone but especially children. Around the world we must commit to reducing air pollution, investing in clean, renewable energy sources, replace fossil fuel combustion, provide better waste management, prevent burning harmful chemicals.
And to remind us just how small we are in the grand scheme of things, Science discovers a distant supermassive black hole 13.1 billion light years away.

And to remind us of the difference between Democrats and Republicans: Accountability.
A 6.5 earthquake on the island of Java...
US statistics show an increase in drug overdoses:

US News article: Drug overdose deaths continue to soar

 And just when you thought 2017 couldn't get more weird, it snows in TEXAS...

Snow in Texas was not exactly a Christmas miracle, more like a sign of Climate Change and just how messed up things had become. The arctic was melting while places that were supposed to be hot were getting snow.

There was good news in December anyway, unlike the previous Person of the Year (Trump in 2016) this year's was courageous and inspiring. It wasn't just a person it was people -- women who bravely spoke up and spoke out against sexual harassment and assault. Time's Person of the Year was the Silence Breakers. They were pioneers in a Revolution, a reckoning where men who used their power to abuse women were FINALLY being held accountable. Women are taking their power back. Hollywood icons and moguls have fallen, CEOs have been fired. Some are even facing criminal charges. Yet somehow Trump, with numerous allegations against him, and even after the
Access Hollywood tape surfaced in October 2016 (where he boasts about grabbing women by the genitals. "When you're a star you can do ANYTHING!") suffered no consequences. He STILL got elected. He STILL hasn't been impeached.

Until he's impeached, the Resistance will continue to fight Trump. He will be thwarted by anyone with the power and the decency to keep him in check...

US District Judge denies request to enforce ban on trans recruits
And thankfully celebrities aren't shy about expressing their distaste for Trump and imploring people to take action to do something about it.

Alec Baldwin on Trump:

Hopefully Trump's days are numbered. He does something horrendous or incredibly stupid every single day he's in office.

One day, unbelievably, Trump accidentally confessed to obstruction of justice on Twitter. Yes. He's just that clueless! His tweet about Flynn didn't line up with his previously stated version of events...Basically he admitted that he knew Flynn had lied to the FBI and that's why he fired him. Asking Comey to go easy on Flynn and then firing Comey for continuing the investigation amounts to obstruction. Later realizing his gaffe, Trump tried to play it off like his lawyer wrote that tweet. As if. I think an attorney would know better. Otherwise I'd be firing him! Trump clearly writes all his own tweets. That's why they're so stupid. He's a hothead who needs to take a breath and count to 10 before he hate tweets something insane which will come back to bite him in the butt. He also needs to spell check!

I love the Daily News headlines about Trump. They always nail it!

Here's Trump's tweet (aka confession...)
Naturally Twitter had a field day with it...

New York Daily News: Robert Mueller gets thousands of Trump transition emails

It would seem Robert Mueller has more than enough to impeach Trump at this point but we will have to wait and see. Maybe Trump will resign like Nixon to save what little dignity he has left (too late!) Trump is constantly bullying and berating everyone he disagrees with but he is particularly vicious and insulting with women he feels threatened by. Recently he had this to say about Senator Gillibrand:

In 2017 the only thing you could take for granted was that you shouldn't take anything for granted. Now the internet, which has always been free, soon may not be...

Globe and Mail article: What the net neutrality repeal means for Americans and Canadians

Twitter weighed in on the issue:

Hopefully the internet will still be free because I've become rather fond of sharing my thoughts here, on Twitter etc! But if they make us start paying for everything I just won't use it. I'll go off the grid for good! Don't think I won't! I'm still making do with an i-phone 4 and I don't have any apps on it (which is good because they wouldn't work anyway!)

At least Trump is consistent in being an odious a-hole who is only concerned about the interests of billionaires like himself and leaves everyone else to rot. He's like a reverse Robin Hood -- rob from the poor and give to the rich! Now he's released his tax reform (aka Trump Tax Scam) which -- surprise! Surprise! -- features tax cuts for the wealthy and screws everyone else over. Pretty much the opposite of what he promised the working and middle class when he was running for office. He conned them into thinking he would represent them. He was going to "drain the swamp." Instead he's filling it. But his few remaining supporters are so ignorant they probably haven't figured it out yet... They likely won't read the tax bill. If they can read at all. The only ones praising the tax bill are the wealthy donors who wanted cuts and got them. It's deplorable. But then that's their catchphrase isn't it? Trump is a liar, scam artist, snake oil salesman. He lied and cheated his way into the White House and he will continue to con the American people, rape and pillage the planet and flirt with annihilation as long as you let him. For the love of God, get him out! #ImpeachTrump Come on Mueller! You must have more than enough evidence of treason by now... #RussiaGate #Collusion

Bernie always tells it like it is. The tax bill is a disgrace. Trump is a disgrace. It's been this way all year. Can we just impeach him already?!

The Trump Train wasn't the only one going off the rails in Washington. On its first run, an Amtrak high speed train plunged off the tracks onto traffic below killing three people and injuring 100. They're still investigating the cause but speed was obviously a factor. The train careened around the curve at three times the speed limit. For some reason Positive Train Control -- the technology that's supposed to automatically slow down a speeding train -- wasn't activated. Somehow a speeding train plunging off the tracks is a tragic and perfect metaphor for 2017. Like many tragedies throughout the year, it shouldn't have happened. It was preventable on so many levels. Yet here we are.

Amtrak CEO calls fatal derailment a "wake up call." I've lost count of how many wake-up calls we had this year.

CNN article: Amtrak Derailment in Washington

We need to wake up. We need Positive Train Control, Positive Politics Control, Positive Climate Control. Gun control. We need to take control of our lives and stop being passive participants. We need more love and peace, less hatred and violence. We need more accountability, more honor, more humanity. We need to change. We have had so many wake up calls this year and yet somehow we still seem to be asleep. Yes some people are speaking up and demanding change. But others are shuffling around like zombies, living in a delusional bubble, wilfully ignoring the truth around them. We have become so bombarded with tragedy that we've grown accustomed to it, become desensitized to it. Some prefer to just bury their heads in the sand and pretend it's not happening. 2017 has not been normal. It's time to wake up, as a whole, to save ourselves and our planet. We need to learn from our mistakes, triumph over tragedy, know better and DO BETTER. Shootings keep happening, with no gun control. Disasters continue to strike with no real commitment to reduce pollution/reverse climate change. To err is human but there shouldn't be so many blunders, so much carelessness, recklessness and negligence. Especially when peoples' lives hang in the balance. For all of our resistance, we are still speeding toward destruction and we can't be surprised when it comes. 

2017 has been Hell. And now Hell has frozen over. Climate change doesn't JUST mean global warming. It means that temperatures are messed up. Cold is hot. Hot is cold. Up is down. So the arctic is melting while places that are normally warm are getting snow. Here in North America there has been an Extreme Cold Warning for a week. The U.S. especially is experiencing record low temperatures. Even Niagara Falls has frozen over and sharks are freezing into sharkcicles... 
Of course simpleton Trump couldn't resist using the cold snap as evidence against Global Warming/Climate Change:

Science, which Trump has never been a fan of, proves him wrong:
It has been a year of extremes -- record-breaking hot and cold temperatures, catastrophic fires and floods. It has been a year of conflict, division, anger, hatred and violence, racism, bigotry, cruelty, negligence and indifference. We need more humanity, more love, more peace, more oneness. Despite so many brushes with the Apocalypse this year, somehow we made it through. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Let's move onward together...

There is still some good in the world, in humanity, there is still love and beauty and art. There is still humour (which is truly a survival mechanism. We couldn't get through all this crap without it!) It was a great year for music at least, so there's that. It was a great year for breaking the silence, speaking up and speaking out. So many women showed courage this year and it's inspiring. We need to hold on to that and celebrate it. Even amidst so much ugliness and despair, we can find beauty and hope. We can never give up. In the face of tyranny and oppression, the Resistance lives on.

Without question 2017 sucked but 2018 is here and hopefully many positive changes ahead. My hope is that we can learn to be more kind to ourselves, each other and the planet. At the end of the day we are all in this together. We are one race -- human -- and it's in our best interests to work together and peacefully co-exist. I hope we can all strive to be better and do better. And when we see those doing wrong, that we can speak up, resist and demand change. Impeach Trump. Come on, Mueller!

I wrote a song about 2017. For all its doom and gloom we still made it through and we have to focus on the positive. We are still here and we can try to make a better tomorrow.

"Dear 2017: Glad you're over now. 
Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
It was a terrible year. Everything went wrong.
But they say what doesn't kill us makes us stronger so we must be strong. We must be strong now. We must be strong."

Thank you for reading this post! I put a lot into it. It wasn't easy to find time and I had several technical glitches to work through! It's taken me quite a while to compile (chipping away a bit at a time.) Not sure why I felt compelled to do this project but for some reason I did. As I mentioned earlier, this blog is usually more personal (about my daughter and I) and less global (natural disasters etc!) but 2017 was a BIZARRE year and I was constantly shocked by what I heard in the news (mostly on Twitter.) It was a lot to take in! Some of my friends told me I just shouldn't read the news because it stresses me out but I couldn't look away. I couldn't believe it was happening. Ignoring it was not an option. Writing a blog about it all is my way of processing it. As a single Mom sometimes it feels like you carry the weight of the world, (a dying world at that in 2017!) and it can be overwhelming. This has been a rough year for me for so many reasons. At the very least I needed to get all of this off of my chest! Writing is therapy! Now I can take a deep breath and go do yoga... Namaste...

Happy New Year! Best wishes for peace, love and happiness in 2018!