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World News

2023, the year of sex, drugs and violence

The end of 2023 is starting to feel like the end of the first act of a Greek tragedy, but with a defeated world and not just a romantic hero.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza is devastating, while the war with Hamas and Israel remains heated. The war also continues in Ukraine, where Russia is frustrated that it has not yet succeeded in absorbing Ukraine and Vlad “the Impaler” Putin is sending his political enemies to Siberia. As the two wars rage, attacks on U.S. troops and commercial shipping in the Middle East underscore growing fears that the war will expand, engulfing the United States and its allies in an apocalyptic nightmare of destruction.

Meanwhile, more than 11,000 migrants are waiting in shelters in Mexico hoping to enter the United States as the country’s lawmakers continue to play political football on the issue. Xenophobic Republicans don’t want any more Democrats on the ballot (few immigrants are registering with the party to try to kick them out), but no one wants to pay $10 for a tomato, which is why Americans need and demand cheap labor.

Wait. There is more.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called Taiwan’s “reunification” with China “a inevitability and defense analysts say a war could be brewing in two to three years — once China finishes modernizing its military and plays a few more war games to iron out operational problems before invading Taiwan.

The world is a jagged bundle of nerves, an amalgamation of competing tribes of cavemen who possess “technological terrors” that could wipe us all out (apologies to Darth Vader). Or, with apologies to My father, she’s a nervous virgin in a brothel or a nervous whore in church.

He is a child without self-control. It’s about an elderly, infirm dementia patient in a nursing home, a comedian bombing a stage at a truck stop, a drama-filled family reunion, a mass shooting at a playground and a divorced couple still in therapy.

That, my friends, is the end of 2023. A year-long kidney stone managed by the almighty dollar. Money has taken over medicine, politics, entertainment, media and everything else.

In my international and domestic travels over the past two years, there has been no place more symbolic of this boredom than the middle of America. Drive down I-70 into the heart of Missouri. This is a state where Missouri Republican lawmakers have introduced two bills (The Abolition of Abortion in Missouri Act) that would allow women to be charged with murder for having an abortion in the state. The proposed legislation would give fetuses the same rights as human beings, allowing criminal charges to be filed against anyone who performs an abortion, assists someone in having an abortion, or provides abortion care in the state, which has put put in place a near-total ban on the procedure after last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Missouri is also a state whose highway billboards tell a far stranger story than the puritanical hubris of its lawmakers suggests. Porn and sex toy stores, gun stores, liquor stores, legal marijuana dispensaries, and auto malls advertise alongside church ads and military recruiting billboards along state highways. Churches may advertise that you must take responsibility for your actions (just say NO to abortions), but the money is invested in sex, drugs, and violence. It seems the captains of industry want to push Hansel and Gretel into giving you an abortion or using a gun – maybe both, but you’ll be driving an impossible-to-pay car while drunk, on drugs and playing with bullets well wa. Unfortunately, it seems there is no place for people like Hunter S. Thompson in today’s modern world – his Gonzo antics are too outdated today when we see penis pumps and “Strawberry Kush” marketed on giant billboards in a state that wants to authorize the death penalty for those who abort.

That, my friends, is the end of 2023. A year-long kidney stone managed by the almighty dollar. Money has taken over medicine, politics, entertainment, media and everything else. This is why we are so baffled by the staggering number of hypocrisies and absurdities that make life so incongruous. This all makes sense if it makes money.

Of course, any conversation that includes discussions of hypocrisy, money and politics must include former President Donald Trump, whose Christmas message is “Rot in Hell” to his opponents and those who seek to hold him accountable of 91 crimes charged in four different jurisdictions around the world. the country. Peace on earth? Goodwill towards man? Well. Humbug. Trump just wants to see you be Scrooged.

Trump is visibly in a celebratory mood, characterized by festering fear, smashing innocent ketchup bottles, and wants to spread fear among the revelry of the season. And as luck would have it, don’t forget the money. His Christmas proclamations were also filled with the pervasive begging that characterizes his White House revenge tour. He will accept any amount you want to send him, but remember that it’s really about you – not him. He just wants to be a misanthropic, misogynistic Nazi-like dictator one day to put the country back in order. “I bet you would especially like to meet me now,” exclaims one of his emails to potential contributors as he asks for money and a chance to visit him at Mar-a-Lago .

Can you imagine what Republicans would do if Trump wasn’t on the ballot next year? Well, apparently neither can most of the members of this party, who continue to support this flabby fool, even as it becomes more and more obvious that he could run his campaign either penniless or behind bars, or both, next summer. Trump is the establishment of today’s Republican Party.

So 2023 ends not with a bang, but with a whimper – even for President Joe Biden. A growing number of Democrats have expressed concern about his re-election – not only because of his age (which is absurd when compared to Trump), but also because of the political baggage of his son Hunter, an impeachment candidate led by the Republican Party. and (above all) the Biden administration’s frustrating inability to communicate its successes to the American people.

Most polls give Biden the green light on the key issue of abortion — and it’s an issue that alone is expected to decimate Republicans. What kind of medieval mind would want to prosecute women for murder simply because they had an abortion? Here, the Republicans do all the communication that needs to be done. They are repressed, angry and out of step – and the majority of Americans know it. But this is not the only problem, and for some hesitants, it is not the decisive issue. One could argue that anyone sitting on the fence in a possible race between Biden and Trump is probably fence-sitting due to their own timidity, stupidity, or guilt, but that’s another question. They remain helpless and dangerous.

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However, there is one problem that will push them to go to the polls to vote: the economy. Many Americans, according to a December CNN poll, don’t believe Biden has a clue about the economy. And this even after Biden and his team argued for months that the president’s economic plan had produced results. The unemployment rate has fallen below 4 percent and the economy is growing faster than expected – making doomsayers who predicted a recession look like raving lunatics. But gas prices are on the rise, even if they have been falling recently. Yet it’s harder to buy a home today than at any time in the past 40 years, and even with the return to work, the distance between rich and poor continues to widen.

If you’re a purveyor of pungent predictions on the various social networks available since Elon Musk smashed Twitter into glittering shards of nonsense, you tend to think that the glass is half empty and the world is headed to hell .

There is nothing wrong with the fact that the former president predicted sadness, doom and destruction and replaced hope with hatred, peace on Earth with a scorched Earth and intelligence with ignorance. voluntary.

Still, I don’t think the real world is as desperate as the Internet world.

Just before leaving Washington, DC, for a Christmas trip to the West Coast and Midwest, I began my personal annual ritual of greeting everyone with a “Merry Christmas.” Despite the so-called War on Christmas, I have never met anyone who approached me for saying this. I celebrate Christmas and wish everyone peace and goodwill on Earth, no matter what they worship. Since I don’t know what or who you worship, when I greet you, you will receive a “Merry Christmas” from me. The worst response to my greetings was: “And happy holidays to you too.” Several people wished me a happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Eid al-Fitr. Once a Zoroastrian wished me a happy Yalda and a Hindu wished me a Baba Din. When I talk to the other 4,000 religions on the planet, I will report what they said. The atheists and agnostics to whom I wished a Merry Christmas all responded with joy, some saying “Thank you,” others saying “I wish you peace and goodwill all year long.”

This year, I greeted people in Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Mid-Missouri with “Merry Christmas!” » Nobody got angry. Everyone was smiling and wishing me the same thing. My Jewish cousin even gave me a dreidel – even though it wasn’t made of clay. I’m kidding. Since I have known him, I have wished him a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah.

The personal responses I have received over the years are very different from the smug and angry messages you may receive on social media. It seems that people, when we see each other face to face, are a little more respectful and understanding. There are many reasons for this, but humans are social animals and, although we come from diverse backgrounds, we have universal wants and needs.

That being said, a greeting remains universal; Good year.

This is the salvation that I now offer to all the inhabitants of the planet. Because all that goodwill and peace talk is going to evaporate – in fact, Trump never embraced it.

The new year brings international, national and political challenges to a world mired in conflict and struggle. Let us all wish for a moment’s respite from this self-imposed storm – and see if we cannot make it last longer than is necessary to offer a greeting of peace.

Because, my friends, 2024 is shaping up to be a challenge.

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