Grace, Chewbacca & The Deplorables: 2016 Year in Review

At the end of each year, it’s customary to reflect backward instead of looking forward. Pretty much the only forward-thinking we ever do is related to some doomed-to-fail resolution that we wind up breaking within the first month of the new year when the first celebrity we kind of liked dies. Pass the cigarettes, pie and alcohol. Fuck scales, anyway.

For whatever reason–almost entirely the fault of current-year-cucklord, John Oliver–we’ve decided that 2016 is without doubt or subjective discourse, the worst year that has ever existed in modern human history. And therefore, hardly worth even looking back upon.

I mean, Jesus Christ–your favorite musician you haven’t listened to in 10 years passed away, and a cult of personality won the most respected government position in the world just by playing your surreal and interminable whinging panic for laughs. There’s no way 2017 could possibly be worse…unless Trump somehow finds a way to get sworn in as President...oh, right. Get used to being disappointed, kids; unless 2017 becomes the year of “getting the fuck over it.”

But, hey–maybe it’ll be fun to take a glance in the rear-view…and see just how bad–or not-so-bad–it actually was. Let’s see what you got, 2016.

It was the year of Star WarsJanuary saw The Force Awakens becoming the highest grossing film in America, ever; with another film, Rogue One being set for release in December. This installment didn’t do quite as well, and we rounded out the year with the death of Princess Leia actress, Carrie Fisher.

In January, The 3 Percenters took over an empty wildlife refuge in Oregon, all stemming from the aftermath of the Ammon Bundy stand-off back in 2014. Ending with an FBI shootout, this took over most of our January headlines, diminishing the impact of stories like…

Obama pretending via executive order to “change” gun laws simply by enforcing laws already on the books. The President concurrently teamed the government up with Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter in a deal meant to block terrorist recruiting, but would end up having devastating censorship effects geared more towards sparing the feelings of terrorist sympathizers.

President Obama also declared a state of emergency in Michigan in response to tap water that had been deemed unsafe because of lead contamination. Another example of the government being called in to fix problems caused by government incompetence. Oh, and it’s almost a year later, and nothing has been solved in Flint.

Obama also lifted sanctions on Iran connected to their nuclear proliferation programs…so he had that going for him, too.

By January 10th, the year was already a wash for most people with the death of sometimes-listenable rockstar, David Bowie. 2016 would be marked as the worst year for celebrity deaths from here on out because we lost some old fantasy movie actors, and drug addict rockstars.

In February, the election really kicked into gear with the Iowa caucuses won by Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Hillary Clinton. This led to the inevitable dropping out of potential Republican candidates from the primaries. At this point, we could tell that the election was going to be interesting with Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both winning the first New Hampshire primary. With the death of Antonin Scalia, another major issue is thrown into the political stormy mix: the ability to choose at least one guaranteed replacement Supreme Court Justice.

February also brought our first terrorist attack of 2016 when an Islamic militant with a machete injured four people at a Jewish restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. It was shrugged off as…probably not evidence of any growing problem.

Super Tuesday happens in March, evidently making the possibility of Donald Trump surviving the Winter all-too-real for his detractors. Trump is forced to cancel a Chicago rally when the Democratic Party organizes mass violent protests in a successful attempt to shut him down. Fistfights broke out, resulting in injured cops, injured protesters and arrests. This would be the start of a series of these events that are both in no way connected to anti-Trump protesters or the Democratic Party…

Obama becomes the first president to visit Cuba in 88 years, celebrating a regime that has resulted in the deaths of many. In another insult to civil liberties, Obama’s Department of Justice successfully unlocks the iPhone’s data storage without the help of Apple (remember, the gov’t and Apple are already working together on counter-terrorism efforts). They announce this after a lengthy debate on the topic of the government being able and allowed to hack into anything at any time.

At the beginning of April, a coalition of Bernie Sanders-supporting progressive groups marched from Philly to Washington DC in favor of reforming “rigged voting laws.” Hillary supporters laughed off these allegations and over 1200 law-breaking protesters were arrested. Obviously this is in no way a prediction of how Anti-Trump protesters will behave for the rest of the year.

Villanova wins the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship; and American Idol ends its final season by crowning yet another victorious singer that you’ll never hear from again. Kobe Bryant plays his final NBA game for the LA Lakers, and the Boston Marathon goes off without a hitch.

SpaceX achieves an incredible feat, launching its Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station and landing its reusable booster on a spaceport drone ship.

In the ongoing political primaries, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton further solidify their victories. Trump beating out an entire panel of newcomers and career politicians, and Clinton struggling to defeat a 100-year old Jewish Socialist even with the entire might of the party behind her.

While the national election coverage took over the media even more, Comcast’s NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks for $3.8B, the United States Air Force delivers support to Ukraine against Russia, and China denies the United States Navy access to their ports. And despite the cat and mouse game being played across the globe, Obama happily engages in the cringe Correspondents’ Dinner hosted by Larry Wilmore.

In May, Obama’s helpful new policies in Cuba pay off when a Carnival Cruise line is allowed to come and go from Havana in a show of good faith with America. Meanwhile, Anti-Trump protesters in Seattle begin attacking law enforcement in a riot that injures five police officers with rocks, Molotov cocktails, and more.

A new prohibition begins to go into effect in various states, including California. While alleged liberals fight for marijuana freedom, they make strides to restrict smoking cigarettes and e-cigarettes by banning them from certain locations and increasing the legal age of use from 18 to 21.

Nyquist wins the Kentucky Derby here on Earth while NASA confirms more than 1284 exoplanets in space. Meanwhile, CBS cancels the objectively awful and ill-conceived CSI: Cyber, finally killing the CSI franchise. Furthering the sad month for television, Michael Strahan does his final Live! with Kelly and Michael.

While questions were raised as to the security risks of Hillary Clinton’s private email violations, Obama was trying to cement a new legacy for himself: visiting places that had previously been off-limits for presidents. His next trip would be to Hiroshima, Japan. Yikes.

The next day, May 28th, would set a new world in motion. A critically endangered Western lowland gorilla named Harambe is shot and killed in his Cincinnati Zoo enclosure. Controversy would expand days later when sexual assault convict, Brock Turner, would be sentenced to only 6 months in prison with a lifetime sentence of being a sex offender.

By June, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the presumptive nominees for their respective parties. During the same time, two things are becoming abundantly clear: terrorist attacks and beginning to spill into America (29-year old Omar Mateen shoots over 100 people at Pulse gay leather bar in Orlando), and the hatred for Donald Trump is getting out of control. A 19-year old pulls a cop’s gun in an attempt to assassinate the would-be president.

Led by John Lewis and Katherine Clark, members of the House of Representatives sit on the floor of the House until Speaker Paul Ryan does something(?) about gun control. The sit-in is staged by 60 legislators, all using iPhone apps to communicate their message. They remain for one day, and give up. Nothing is accomplished, and people are again made aware that their government is 100% full of shit.

Scientists formally announce the HGP-Write, their plan to synthesize the human genome. Scary stuff. A Stanford clinical trial finds stem cells can potentially restore dead brain circuits and restore patients’ ability to walk.

NASA discovers that the Universe is expanding faster than they thought. And Tesla Motors reports the first death caused by their self-driving car.

In July the U.S. Military lifted a ban on transgender people serving openly, and the flood of transgender soldiers came pouring in! Kidding.

Attorney General Lynch decided she was only going to aid and abed Hillary Clinton off the radar, and Black Lives Matter hits a fever pitch. The protesters finally receive what they’d been chanting about when a sniper named Micah Xavier Johnson shoots 16 people before being blown up.

We get a very confusing development in the saga of Hillary Clinton when her investigation is re-opened by the State Department the same month as her super-cringe Democratic Convention/Victory Party.

Sixteen people are killed in what is bizarrely the most devastating hot air balloon disaster in American history.

We got the hottest ever temperature in the Eastern Hemisphere at 129 degrees in Kuwait…except for the time in 1913 that Death Valley, California had a temperature of 134.

August opens up with yet another disastrous Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. More development on the Cuban front as the U.S. conducts its first commercial flight to Cuba in over 50 years. Other than that, August was pretty quiet with the son of a Kansas State Rep dying on a water slide, and Gene Wilder dying of being 83 years old.

Disaster strikes yet again when on September 11th, Hillary Clinton suffers from “overheating” while attending a memorial ceremony on a mild afternoon.

More terrorist bombing attacks strike New Jersey and New York injuring over 29 people. Further bombs are found at a transit station, and another stab-happy terrorist goes on a spree in a Minnesota shopping mall. Another terrorist kills 5 people in a Burlington, Washington mall. Still no serious consideration from the party currently in charge about the invasive threat of Islam. 100 million viewers tune in to see Trump and Clinton’s first debate.

According to climate models, scientists speculate that the planet Venus may have been habitable in an ancient past. They also find that Greenland Sharks can live up to 400 years, so take that, tortoise.

October marks the first accusations toward Russia of hacking the Democratic National Committee’s computer systems. While unsubstantiated, and clearly reactionary to Russia pulling out of talks about Syrian cooperation, Obama maintains his “confidence” that Russia was trying to interfere in the American election.

Meanwhile, the New York Times and the Washington Post both publish clear attempts to destroy Donald Trump’s chances.

The New York Times published sections of Trump’s 1995 tax records that reported an almost $1B loss. According to tax law, this would render Trump ineligible to be taxed for up to 18 years. Because no one bothered to read this and only assumed things based on the baiting of late night hosts and clickbait news, this rumor became simply “Trump doesn’t pay his taxes.”

While The Washington Post leaked an audio conversation from 2005 of Trump and Access Hollywood host, Billy Bush discussing celebrity groupies and how they allow and encourage sexual advances. This is where we get the implication that Trump bragged about non-existent sexual assaults.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones are officially discontinued after reports of spontaneous combustion. Anti-Trump protesters begin mass campaigns of fake (and real) hate crimes including spray-painting swastikas and racial slurs in Trump’s name, and fire-bombing Republican headquarters.

Seven defendants of the Ammon Bundy takeover back in January are acquitted of all federal charges. FBI Director James Comey changes his mind once again and re-opens the official FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton due to additional information discovered while investigating Anthony Wiener’s underage sex addiction. But, remember, PizzaGate is still bizarrely far-fetched…

Oh, and a 36-year old was sentenced to over a year in prison for the 2014 super-hacking of celebrity nude photos known, lovingly, as The Fappening.

November was a huge month for Cubs fans who claimed the first MLB title since 1908.

In a colossal ‘fuck you’ to GMO-haters, a genetically modified grain called SuperWheat is reported to boost yields by up to 40%.

In creepy-science news, Adobe announces a software which will accurately replicate anyone’s voice.

On November 8th, the gloating and 99% certitude that Hillary Clinton was going to win the Presidential Election turned into rabid nail-biting…and then to tears. And when you add up all of the events of the  year leading up to this, it seems profoundly obvious.

Trump loses the popular vote by millions, but handily wins the electoral votes. The mission then turns to threatening and frightening Republican electors into changing the results of election when it is time to cast their votes in December.

Anger and frustration over the lost election further fuels both the Anti-Trump protesters and the anti-capitalist environmentalist reactionaries at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation demonstration in North Dakota. Over 300 are injured in a series of violent protests and clashes with police.

Green Party candidate with 0% of the vote, Jill Stein, begins raising money from donors and Democratic leaders for a hand recount of votes in several key states where Trump won by relatively small margins. The recounts either show less votes than originally counted for Hillary Clinton, evidence of inappropriate activity on the part of Democrats, or no evidence of any fraud whatsoever, and therefore, no need to recount. Millions of dollars are burned.

11 people are injured in a terrorist attack at Ohio State University by an 18-year old student trying to prove that Islam is peaceful.

By December, the US Army Corps of Engineers had temporarily suspended the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Protesters rejoice this non-victory.

The CIA reiterates Obama’s suspicion of Russian hackers interfering in the election despite refusing to produce or state any actual evidence.

A war on so-called “fake news” breaks out almost entirely due to John Oliver’s random staggering nonsense HBO show–making it possibly his most effective grass-roots campaign to date. The government’s partnership with social media and news sites suddenly becomes even more dangerous.

It turned out the death threats and protests only strengthened the resolve of Republican Electors. Most of whom weren’t allowed to change their votes even if they wanted to. Vitriol did have an unintended consequence, though. Several Democratic Electors changed their Hillary Clinton votes, despite being fined, and resulted in Clinton losing even more votes.

The Russian Ambassador to Turkey is shot dead while giving a speech at an art exhibition in Ankara. People will compare this attack to the Franz Ferdinand assassination that was thought to kickstart World War 1. Those people are retarded.

Obama’s administration makes several last-minute orders to make Trump’s presidency slightly more difficult. Because he knows most people don’t follow actual news, or at least don’t remember things well, he figures that ending certain programs (like Muslim registry and watch-lists) will create an even worse impression for Trump when he re-opens them.

Harvard researchers identify a potential aerosol injection that could cool the planet from the effects of greenhouse gases.

Just before Christmas, it was found that the Ebola vaccine is up to 100% effective at eradicating Ebola.

Moving into January, the multiple factions, activists and meme-creators who got Trump elected begin to turn on one another, creating a questionable and rocky Trump front just a month before the inauguration.

There seems to be a cohesive hope that 2017 will usher in more palatable experiences from politics and media…and while I’m apprehensive, it does seem to be improving slightly. Trump said we would get tired of so much winning.

I believe him. Happy New Year, everyone!

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