2016 feels like the worst year ever

Planet Earth has finished yet another full lap around the Sun. It’s now the year 2017. The chronological tank of unprocessed sewage known as 2016 is finally over. When people say 2016 was the worst year ever, they’re opening the proverbial bomb bay doors and dropping a 50 megaton truth bomb. I feel like 2016 was the worst year ever. Personally speaking, I was ready to drown 2016 in a bathtub after only a few months.

Historically speaking, I know 2016 was far from the worst year ever, but emotionally speaking, it sure seemed that way.

Presidential election

The 2016 presidential election, both the run-up and the aftermath, had a lot to do with the perception that 2016 was the worst year ever. I believe Donald J. Trump will go down in history as the worst president ever, and that’s saying a lot. Then again, if Hillary Clinton would have won, I believe she too would have gone down as the worst president ever. I think that’s what made the 2016 presidential election such a massive kick to the reproductive organs: both choices were terrible.

I’d be genuinely surprised if Trump finished out a four-year term. If I was a betting man, and I’m not, I’d wager that Trump will quickly grow bored and resign. Being president isn’t the same thing as running for president.

Islamic terror attack at the Pulse nightclub

In June of 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old US citizen born to Afghani parents, went into a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida with a SIG MCX assault rifle and killed 49 people and wounded 53. Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS and on a 911 call said the attack was “triggered” by a recent airstrike in Iraq that killed an ISIS commander.  Thankfully, police killed Mateen in the nightclub. Mateen’s family buried his body at the Hialeah Gardens graveyard, the only Muslim cemetery in all of South Florida.

This attack bothered me on many levels. It made me very mad. First of all, I’m tired of gay people being picked on. For too long gay people have been singled out for discrimination and prejudice. I felt like things were finally getting better for gay folks when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples cannot be denied the right to marry. It made me feel proud to be an American. Then, an Islamic terrorist goes into a gay nightclub and slaughters 49 people.

Secondly, it turned out that Omar Mateen had been on a terrorist watch list two different times. We’ve been at war with Islamists since 2000 when the USS Cole was attacked by Al-Qaeda while docked in Yemen. The attack killed 17 sailors and injured another 39. We’ve been at war with these assholes for 16 years, and it doesn’t seem like we’re getting any better at it. The only thing stopping people like Omar Mateen from doing something similar is a lack of will on the part of the terrorist.

And finally, it makes me angry that Mateen was buried on American soil. Once again, an Islamic terrorist who carried out an attack on Americans is laid to rest in a Muslim cemetery in the United States. That shouldn’t happen. If you commit a terrorist attack on Americans, your remains should be handled like the remains of Osama bin Laden, dumped at sea in international waters.

A lot of good people died

It seemed like 2016 was a popular year for good people to die. The people we lost this past year, but not limited to, include:

  • David Bowie
  • Alan Rickman
  • Abe Vigoda
  • Garry Shandling
  • Prince
  • Anton Yelchin
  • Pat Summitt
  • Kenny Baker
  • Gene Wilder
  • Steve Dillon
  • Gwen Ifill
  • Ron Glass
  • John Glenn
  • Alan Thicke
  • Craig Sager
  • George Michael
  • Carrie Fisher

Some of these people passed away after living a long, full life. Others died way too young. The one commonality the people listed above all share is that their passing made me feel sad. That’s a lot of people to feel sad about in one year.

Donald Trump still thinks he won in a landslide

Former reality TV star and our future president, Donald Trump evidently still thinks he won last month’s election in a commanding fashion. He did not. Trump received 306 electoral votes compared to Hillary’s 232 electoral votes. That’s a difference of 74 electoral votes. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to be President.

Trump tweeted the following this morning:


Trump brings up the popular vote because Hillary got nearly 2.7 million more votes than Trump, just not in states where she needed them to be. That fact that 2.7 millian more Americans voted for Hillary and not him must realy be getting to Trump. Otherwise, why would he feel the need to tweet about the popular vote?

I’m not surprised by this because Trump is acting just like the man I thought him to be: vain, petty, and thin-skinned.

What does surprise me is how he seems to have no regard for math. The part of the tweet I find the most amazing is where he says, “I would have done even better in the election, if that is possible

If that is possible? Of course, it was possible. Instead of winning 306 electoral votes, he could have cleaned Hillary’s clock and won all 538 electors.

There has been a total of 58 presidential elections in this country. Of that, Trump ranks 46th in the win differential. There have been 45 elections with a larger win percentage than last month’s election.

Only a delusional blowhard like Donald Trump could look at 46th place as some historical achievement. He did make history, though. No other president in our country’s history has lost the popular vote by such a massive amount and still won the White House.

Russia hacked our election? I don’t think so

There’s been a lot of news lately about how Russia supposedly hacked our presidential election to ensure Donald Trump would be the next president. As much as I dislike the former Soviet Union and Donald Trump, I’m having a hard time believing this story is true. I don’t think Russia hacked the Clinton campaign’s email.

On March 19, 2016, someone sent Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta a fake email from Gmail telling him he needed to change his password. A Clinton campaign staffer told Podesta that the email looked legit, but he should not click on the link in the email. Instead, he should log into his Google account directly and change it there.

John Podesta didn’t do that. He clicked on the link in the fake email. He then entered his email address and password into a fake Google site and went through the motions of changing his password. In reality, he didn’t change anything. The person or persons who sent him the fake email then had his Google password. With that, they had full access to all his emails.

In what world is that considered hacking? What it was was a successful phishing attempt made possible by the stupidity of John Podesta.

Like most people living in the 21st century, I routinely get similar emails telling me I need to update my PayPal or Google password. Like most people living in the 21st century, I know better than to click on any of the links contained in these emails. I look for the typos, chuckle to myself, and then delete them.

This whole scenario seems ridiculous. Why was the Clinton campaign using Gmail for their email? At the very least, they should have had a private email server for campaign communications. Certainly, Hillary Clinton is no stranger to the idea of private email servers. The campaign should have had an email administrator, a person, who made certain campaign communications were secure. Evidently, they didn’t do any of that. A competent email admin would have ensured emails like the phishing email Podesta clicked on never would have made it to him to click on.

I just don’t see how this is necessarily connected to the former Soviet Union. Did Sarah Palin see it take place from her house? It doesn’t take a crack team of state-sponsored cyber hackers to send out a phishing email.

Over the weekend, I read over and over how the CIA confirmed that this “hack” was perpetrated by the former Soviet Union because Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted Donald Trump, not Hillary Clinton for president.

The problem with these news stories is they are all attributed to “multiple sources” within the CIA. None of the sources have gone on the record. I wouldn’t expect them to be since leaking the contents of a classified CIA report is a crime. Considering that, how trustworthy should these multiple sources be?

If Putin, in fact, favored one candidate over another in our presidential election, I fail to see how this is even newsworthy. Perhaps he saw in Trump a man cut from the same cloth as himself. Since Putin and Trump both seem like egomaniacal douche bags, so that makes sense.

The biggest problem I have with accepting this whole Russian hacking scandal is that even if you can connect it to the Russians, the emails leaked to Wikileaks were emails from people in the Clinton campaign. Nothing was concocted to make Hillary or her people look bad. Their actual words are what cast them in such a poor light.

Even if you were to hold another election, something some idiot on CNN actually suggested, everyone knows the content of the emails. By referring to this scandal as a cyber hack by the Russians, it seems the content of the emails is fake.

That’s not the case.

Like it or not, we elected Donald Trump as our next president. Personally, I don’t like it, but I’m not ready to blame the Russians for it. I blame the Democratic Party. It went to great lengths to make sure Hillary Clinton was its candidate, even though she was a severely flawed nominee. If the primary process had been more democratic, I believe a more electable candidate would have been chosen. From reading the leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee, it was clear the deck was stacked for Hillary Clinton. I think Donald Trump won the election because he was able to run against Hillary Clinton. If there was anyone else representing the Democratic party, I believe Trump would have lost.

Donald Trump will be president because of who he was able to run against. Russia had nothing to do with that.

Donald Trump will be our next president

People were in shock yesterday to learn that Donald J. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States of America.

It seemed even Trump and his people were caught off guard by the news. For a long time now, all the polls pointed to Clinton winning. Then on November 8, the only poll that matters took place and the voters chose Trump over Clinton. Trump garnered 290 electoral votes compared to Clinton’s 232 electoral votes.

A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to become president.

A lot of people seem to be genuinely upset about this. The Twitter hashtag #NotMyPresident almost immediately began trending. The same thing happened eight years ago when Barack Obama won. I don’t remember if there was a Twitter hashtag dedicated to the feeling, but I know a lot of people were saying it. They were wrong back then, and the people expressing it now are wrong too.

Donald Trump will be everyone’s president.

If he turns out to be a terrible president, then historically speaking, he’ll be in good company. Two of the four presidents depicted on Mount Rushmore thought it was morally acceptable to own other people.

Most of the presidents in my lifetime have been bad. I’m old enough to remember Richard M. Nixon and the crap he put our country through. If we can get through the Nixon years, we can surely get through the Trump years.

Contrary to what anyone says, we don’t know what a Trump presidency will look or feel like. We know he campaigned on things like building a wall on the southern border and deporting over 11 million people who are here illegally. We’ve been told this makes Trump a racist.

Under the Obama administration, over 2.5 million people have been deported. Does this make Obama a racist too?  His administration was enforcing existing federal law, just like the Trump administration would be doing if they deported everyone who is here illegally.

When Trump was running for the Republican nominee for president, his campaign released the following statement after the San Bernardino attack:

Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.

Many people reacted negatively to this statement. For years now we’ve clung to the narrative that Islam is a religion of peace and the people who practice the faith, Muslims, are just like everyone else.

The problem with that narrative is that it seems to fly in the face of reality. The perpetrators of the San Bernardino attack, Rizwan Farook, and Tashfeen Malik, attended two mosques in southern California, the Islamic Center of Riverside and the Dar-Al-Uloom Al-Islamia mosque located outside San Bernardino. Both of these mosques are descent and respectable places of worship, not radical hotbeds of hate.

After Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik murdered 14 people and injured another 24, they were killed by the police.  When authorities released their bodies, they received a traditional Islamic burial at the Wal-Hamdu-Lillah cemetery located in Rosamond, California.

The cemetery is owned by the American Islamic Institute of Antelope Valley, a mosque located in Palmdale. This mosque is also a decent and respectable place of worship.

How is it that these two murderous terrorists could attend normal, regular American mosques and then receive traditional Islamic burials at a Muslim cemetery operated by a mosque that neither one of the dead terrorists had ever even attended?

Either Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were Muslims in good standing, or they were not true representatives of the Islamic faith. The fact they received traditional Islamic burials by a mosque they had never attended would seem to indicate that they were thought to be good Muslims.

These are the type of problems we face while fighting a war against Islamic terrorists. Even though we’ve been fighting this war since 2000 when the U.S.S. Cole was attacked, killing 17 American soldiers and injuring another 39, we don’t seem to be any better at differentiating the “good” Muslims from the “bad.” Not because of any prejudices we have, but because the “good” Muslims seem more than willing to embrace the “bad,” both before and after a terror attack. It’s one of the many reasons this war has been going on for so long.

Something has to change. 17 years is far too long to be fighting a war. You may not agree with Trump’s idea of banning Muslims from entering the country until we can figure out what’s going on, but at least he tried to find an answer to the problem. Hillary Clinton, the candidate I voted for both in the primary and in the general election, seemed to have difficulty even saying the words “Islam” and “terror” in the same sentence.

Donald Trump will be our next president - Bent CornerContrary to what you might read on Reddit or The Huffington Post, nobody really knows what type of president Trump will turn out to be. The same people who say Trump is just like Hitler were the same people who said Hillary Clinton was going to be our next president. They were wrong about that. Who knows, maybe they’re wrong about Trump too.

I prefer to take a wait and see attitude when it comes to Donald Trump as president. He wasn’t my choice, but he will be my president.

 

Why I hate voting at elementary schools

People are going to the polls today to choose our next president. No matter who wins, Donald J. Trump or Hillary Clinton, I firmly believe they will go down as our worst president of all time. And that’s saying something because we’ve had some awful presidents.

Sheri and I voted early. If I’m ever allowed to vote again, if I don’t get thrown into a Trump re-education camp for things I’ve said on social media about Trump, early voting is the only way I will ever vote again. It’s a pretty spiffy way to vote. Here in Hagerstown, there is one central place to early vote. It’s a permanent facility maintained by the Washington County Board of Elections.

To vote on election day, we have to go to a nearby elementary school. I try to stay away from elementary schools, not because I was ordered to do so by a judge or anything, but because as a kid I hated elementary school.

I attended Quartz Hill Elementary School located in the high desert of southern California.

I grew up in an era where teachers could hit, beat, whip, or punch students. I don’t think the term “verbal abuse” was even invented yet. I was called derogatory names on a daily basis. Not by other students, but by the teachers.

When I was a kid, the only bullies we had at our school were the teachers.

Nobody at the school ever whipped me, but my entire 4th-grade class had to watch one of our classmates, Danny, get whipped by the 6th-grade teacher who taught next door, Ms. King.

Ms. King was a terrible, mean person. She wore the same clothes every day. She smelled of cigarettes and Brylcreem. She looked like a fat version of Adolf Hitler, only without a mustache.

Ms. King whipped Danny because he walked by her classroom coming back from a bathroom break and had to audacity to run his hand along with window panes of her classroom. Ms. King followed Danny back to our classroom and asked our teacher, Mrs. Gibson, if she could discipline Danny for disrupting her class. Mrs. Gibson agreed and Danny had to stand bent over while Ms. King whipped him on the back with her leather whistle lanyard.

Danny had welts on his back, but it was determined it was his fault because he was moving (he was not) when Ms. King administered her leather lanyard justice. She claimed to be aiming at Danny’s ass, not his back. Plus, Danny was a foster kid, so it’s not like he had parents that would raise a stink with the school.

Back then, teachers could beat students as long as it was focused on the ass. The 70s were a weird time. My 5th-grade teacher, Mr. Brock, would hit students on the ass with a wooden paddle. He would take us down to the principal’s office where he would use the principle’s paddle. It didn’t hurt that much because Mr. Brock was old and feeble. Plus, my parents “spanked” me with a leather belt.

A wooden paddle is some weak-ass shit compared to the sting of a leather cowboy belt.

I still remember the feeling I got when I learned Ms. King was going to be my 6th-grade teacher. My grammar school had two 6th grade teachers. I was just one of the unlucky half who was assigned to Ms. King’s classroom.

By the time I was in the 6th-grade, I think Ms. King’s whipping privileges had finally been revoked; I don’t remember her ever whipping anyone when I was in the 6th-grade. Maybe that was a punishment she reserved for just 4th-graders who lived in a foster home. She would still hit kids. She once punched me in the face for talking to a kid next to me. She was mean. She called me stupid on a daily basis.

So yeah, I don’t like elementary schools. I also don’t like women who look like Adolf Hitler. A coincidence? I think not.

Choosing between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Choosing between Trump or Hillary is like choosing between getting doused in the face with weapons-grade Ebola or full blown AIDS.

I didn’t watch last night’s debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The way I figure, if something weird happens, it will be plastered all over YouTube and Facebook. Other than watching something weird for entertainment purposes, I just don’t care. I dislike both candidates. I don’t want either to be the next president. Not only would I just prefer Barack Obama serving another four years, but I would even prefer George W. Bush to come back and perform four years of community service in the Oval Office.

I’m sure by now George W. Bush realizes where he screwed up before and would take great pains not to screw up again.

Choosing between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton - Bent CornerI’d wager I’m not alone in this opinion.  I disliked George W. Bush greatly when he was our president, but I would prefer him over Orange Hitler or Grandma Nixon. Unfortunately, neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama can serve again as president. The Consitution forbids it. The Constitution, the same document that states a black person is equal to three-fifths of a person, at least when it comes to representation in Congress, says a president can only serve two terms.

Choosing between Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is like choosing between getting doused in the face with weapons-grade Ebola or full blown AIDS.

Jut pick one. Go ahead and pick one.

I’d prefer not to pick one. The same applies to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. One is like a bucket of AIDS, and the other is a spray can of Ebola. I’m not even sure which is which.