LOS ANGELES, December 31, 2011 ― As the clock ticks down to midnight and 2012 turns from expectation to reality, it is time to take a look at the Top Ten News Stories of 2011.
These lists are always controversial, so to forestall the inevitable argument, the list is the way it is simply because I said so. It’s my column, not yours.
Several big stories have been excluded: The MF Global Bankruptcy, America leaving Iraq, and the death of North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Il should not make the cut. People making lists have a habit of elevating recent events, as more important events go out of mind once they are out of sight. Also, these events all have the potential to lead to very serious and important situations in the near future. However, the exact consequences as of now are unknown. The stories have not been written yet. Therefore, accelerating history shall take a back seat to watching events unfold.
For this exact same reason, the S & P downgrade of America and the the financial crises in Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain do not make the list. If the entire Euro collapses, that is a story. Potential collapse is only a possibility, one which we hope will be avoided.
The ten year anniversary of September 11th, 2001, does not make the cut. 9/11 was the most important news story of the previous decade, and will be with many of us forever. However, Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 lived in infamy. The 70th anniversary on 12/7/11 was a remembrance of a prior significant moment. 9/11/11 is no different.
The deaths of Steve Jobs and Christopher Hitchens do not make the list because no single man is indispensable. Truly great men leave legacies behind. Mr. Jobs left an organization that will carry on ably now that he is gone. Mr. Hitchens left brilliant works that inflamed and educated. Both Mr. Jobs and Mr. Hitchens will inspire future thinkers. Yet technological advancements and theological arguments existed before them and will be around long after them.
First came the list of the Top 10 News Stories from the past decade.
With 2000-2009 done, the list from 2010 came and went.
Here are the Top 10 News Stories of 2011.
10. NPR Implodes: For decades NPR has been a welfare child, accepting money from the government to push a left-wing ideological agenda. Thanks to undercover reporter James O’Keefe and his friends, NPR was finally exposed. At a secretly recorded luncheon, representatives of the company laughed as men pretending to be Arabs praised “National Palestinian Radio.” Leftist President Vivian Schiller, the woman who fired Juan Williams for not being hateful enough toward the right, insisted NPR was not liberal. Within days she resigned. The only sad part of this story is that Congress is too gutless to permanently cut off all funding for this political advocacy group. Liberals cry about killing Big Bird. Let Pelosi pay for it or kill the bird instead of a Thanksgiving turkey next year.
9. Election 2012 Non-Candidates: While several people actually did run for President, much more attention was paid to people who declined to run. Saviors from all around the country ranged from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Wisconsin Congressman Ryan, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and Florida Congressman Colonel Allen West. All four of these men were relatively new, with three of them in their first term. They were all right to decline to run. They have important jobs to do, and kept their promises to the voters who elected them. Speculation focused on other high profile names from former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to Businessman and Celebrity Apprentice Donald Trump. Only when it became clear that the field as set was final did people finally start coming to terms with their choices. Some still want a last minute savior. This will not happen.
8. Occupy Wall Street: While these people were utterly insignificant as an actual movement, they were good for columnists out of ideas. These savage miscreants tried to be leftist antidote to the Tea Party, but ran into a small problem. The Tea Party actually stands for something. OWS are a collection of misfits who despise each other almost as much as the Wall Street bankers they claim to care about. OWS are people simply looking for free stuff, when not engaging in other hobbies such as rape, drug use, and vandalism. Since they are a coordinated mob organized by David Axelrod, the reelection of Barack Obama will be their only hope for survival. The police are partly to blame regarding their use of force. They have not used enough.
7. Japanese Earthquake: On March 11th of this year, Japan changed forever. The country was rocked by a 9.0 Earthquake that claimed over 15,000 lives. Almost 3,500 people are still missing. The ensuing tsunami was so powerful that it even caused some damage to the United States West Coast. Hawaii and Los Angeles escaped, but for a few hours people in these cities wondered if life would go on as usual. The most powerful Japanese quake was also the fifth greatest quake in world history. There have been 900 aftershocks since, with 60 of them over 6.0 and three greater than 7.0. Even with one billion dollars in donations reported by the American Red Cross, it will take decades for Japan to get back to where it was, if ever.
6. Penn State Sex Scandal: One minute the Nittany Lions were on their way to a BCS Bowl Game and even an outside shot at the national college football championship. Then the school was rocked by allegations that former longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky molested young boys he met through a charity he founded. He was discovered in the shower with a boy in a Penn State locker room engaging in a sex act. Even worse than these horrific acts was the fact that people in the football program did the bare minimum in response. The code of silence led to many more boys being victimized, as winning football games trumped honor and decency. In the end, everybody lost. Legendary Joe Paterno was fired midseason after 46 years at age 84. The school is in tatters. Yet one positive came out of the tragedy. The code of silence is now being broken elsewhere. A Syracuse basketball coach was just fired for similar allegations. Hopefully more victims, and more importantly, witnesses, will come forward.
5. Election 2012 Candidates: While virtually all 300 million Americans contemplated running for President, some actually did enter the race. The candidates can be divided into two tiers. The lower tier consists of candidates without enough support or name recognition to be included in most or any of the debates. Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer and gay activist Fred Karger are still running. Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter entered briefly and then dropped out. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson just dropped out this week from the GOP primary and is now trying to win the Libertarian nomination.
The upper tier consisted of nine candidates. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was the first to enter and the first to exit after a disappointing finish in the Iowa Straw Poll. In a test of the fluidity of the race, virtually every other candidate at one point had a brief run at or near the top of the polls. Businessman Herman Cain was in the lead when he dropped out of the race after multiple unsubstantiated sexual allegations were leveled against him.
The remaining seven candidates include former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and others trying to be the alternative to him if he stumbles. Mr. Romney has the establishment, and is trying to broaden that. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann are splitting the socially conservative Evangelical Christian vote. The libertarian anti-war vote has coalesced around Texas Congressman Ron Paul, with a small slice of it going to former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. The old guard is represented by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The Iowa Caucus on January 3rd, 2012, will go a long way to winnowing the field. Until then, it will be a bumpy ride for all seven remaining contenders.
4. Natural Disasters Rocked America: Tornadoes leveled Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Joplin, Missouri. North Carolina was hit with floods and later on with Hurricane Irene, which did damage from the Carolina Coast all the way up through Vermont. The devastation was massive. Storms in Oklahoma killed several people, including two young toddlers of one emotionally crushed father. Virginia actually had an Earthquake. Minot, North Dakota had massive floods. All across America, towns were devastated and lives were permanently wrecked. People tried to help, and as always Americans gave massive amounts of money, food, shelter, supplies, and love. Yet during the worst of it, it just seemed like there would never be a good day. People prayed to God, and hopefully in 2012 there will be more sunshine and far less pain. Natural disasters rocked America at a blistering pace.
3. The Arab Spring: What started as one person fighting for freedom in Tunisia sparked a match that set the Middle East ablaze as nations under dictatorships fought for freedom. Yet what that freedom would look like is still to be determined. Egypt fell, and Hosni Mubarak is now on trial. He is on the verge of death from old age and illness, but the trial continues. The Muslim Brotherhood is trying to take over Egypt rather than a secular democracy movement. After Egypt came Libya. With Egypt, America just watched. With Libya, America engaged in military action that was never referred to as war. It was a “kinetic conflict,” an invented term. “Leading from behind” allowed Moammar Ghadafi to last several months longer. Yet after 42 years, he was caught in the streets and beaten to death, a fitting end to a cruel madman.
The story is far from over, as 2012 leaves some key decisions. The current American leader desperately wants to avoid war at all costs. Sanctions are worthless, but this week sanctions were enacted against the central bank of Iran. They responded by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz. This could be resolved peacefully or with World War III. Nobody knows. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a saber rattler, but it is the mullahs who run Iran. As for Syria, Bashar Assad has avoided the fate of Ghadafi and Mubarak by resorting to a brutally violent crackdown. He has murdered several thousand of his own citizens, and the world is doing absolutely nothing about it.
While all of this is gong on, Palestinians are still killing each other, as Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups fund further global instability. Saudi Arabia is starting to allow women to run for office in 2015, in the hopes that it prevents their princes from meeting a deadly ending. So far revolts in Saudi Arabia have been minimal. Shockingly enough, not one ounce of this entire Arab Spring has anything to do with Israel. Leftists in America and around the globe desperately are trying to create a link. The Arab and Muslim governments know the truth. The result of the Arab Spring could be Armageddon, but it could be as fantastic as the Eastern European struggle for freedom in 1989 that brought down the Berlin Wall.
2. Wisconsin: Around the world people protest for the right to live freely without being shot to death. In America leftists protest for the right to be lazy bums subsidized by working conservatives. Wisconsin became Ground Zero in the battle to prevent unions from bankrupting America in the name of fairness. Governor Scott Walker passed legislation banning public sector unions from engaging in collective bargaining. Even FDR was against public sector unionization. First the Wisconsin Democrats illegally fled to Indiana and Illinois, since liberals have never much been interested in the rule of law when it disagreed with liberalism. Governor Walker hung tough and broke them.
Leftist rent-a-mobs funded by George Soros and Moveon.org became the pre-cursor to Occupy Wall Street. The mobs damaged government property and threatened the lives of Republican legislators. Governor Walker did not back down. The Democrats tried recall elections against legislators to overturn the Republican majority. The Democrats lost. They tried to defeat a Republican judge so the left would have a 4-3 advantage on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Democrats lost. Now they are trying to recall Governor Scott Walker. The only way to defeat bullies is by force, and in the same way Reagan bankrupted the USSR, Republicans are forcing the left to spend every precious resource on the defensive.
Meanwhile similar laws have been advanced in Ohio and other states, but weak-kneed Republicans have not stood their ground. In South Carolina, Governor Nikki Haley and Boeing are trying to beat back an assault from the National Labor Relations Board. Yet if Scott Walker succeeds in the long run, this will be the best chance in decades to finally put a stake through the heart of the labor union movement that has outlived its usefulness. If the unions succeed, there will be no jobs left as companies move overseas.
Despite terrible natural disasters, the struggle for freedom in the Middle East, and the fight over labor rights in America, one story easily surpassed everything else. It was not close.
1. Killing Osama bin Laden: A decade after this evil madman murdered 3,000 Americans, justice was done. On 9/11, four airplanes were hijacked. Two were flown into the World Trade Center Towers in New York City and one hit the Pentagon in Washington, DC. A fourth plane was meant to hit the White House, but in an act of courage impossible to imagine, the passengers took back the plane. The heroes and killers on that plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in a field.
It took ten years of effort to find Osama bin Laden. The history books will argue over who should get the credit. President Barack Obama gave the order. President George W. Bush provided the techniques including coercive interrogation methods, from waterboarding to rendition, that collected the intelligence. The brave heroes of Seal Team 6 fired the shots. Spontaneous eruptions and chants of “U.S.A.” formed outside the White House and Manhattan when news of his death was confirmed at about 11pm Eastern Time on May 1st, 2011. Osama bin Laden was found in a decrepit room in Pakistan with videos of himself and stacks of pornography. When all was said and done, one thing was clear. When the final bullets were put into bin Laden, he knew that he had met justice at the hands of Americans.
There are many problems on the world horizon, but for the second straight year the top story is positive news, The killing of Osama bin Laden is the Top News Story of 2011.
A calm and peaceful 2012 to the people of the world, everywhere.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian.
Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. After years of dating liberals, he has finally seen the light and now only dates Republican Jewish women. His family is pleased over this. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
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Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog.
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