Monday, November 21, 2016

What is Coming

Congratulations, America. You elected a racist, sexist, admitted sexual assaulter, and a petty, vindictive, con man and pathological liar to the highest office in the land. You elected a man who claims to be a Christian first, a conservative second, and a Republican third to the 2nd highest office (an American didn't even figure in the list). I think we have seen enough of D***** T**** and Mike Pence to know what is coming.

It is not pretty.

Here are my predictions. After eight or (hopefully) four years from now, you can see how many I got right. I hope to be wrong on all of them, but I don't think so.

1. Attacks on minorities of all kinds will go through the roof compared to previous years. I expect the rise of the Klan, neo-Nazis, and similar vigilante organizations. Jews, Muslims, black people, gay people, Latinos: all will be targets. Non-white and non-Christian students will be harassed in schools. Muslims will be attacked in the streets. At first it will be minor, like hijabs being pulled off, and orthodox Jews being beaten up. But the Justice Department will respond only tepidly to such attacks. There will be no effort at all to monitor the far Right. This stuff has been bubbling just below the surface for years (remember Alan Berg?) and now it will achieve legitimacy, or at least not outright disapproval, under the new president.

2. The full force of the federal government will be brought against critics. At first this will be in minor ways: direct criticism from the president via twitter, or reporters being shut out of press conferences. However, it will quickly escalate once Kim Jong T**** takes office. Reporters will be harassed and attacked. We will see the IRS used as a routine tool to harass and investigate individual critics and larger organizations, such as the ACLU and the FFRF. Existing tax exemptions will be removed for these groups. We will see passports of critics being denied renewal, or being confiscated at the border. We will see US citizens and (particularly) permanent residents denied re-entry into the country on bogus grounds. US citizens living abroad will be easy targets because they have little or no representation; the tax treaties with other countries can be abrogated and such citizens will end up paying double taxes. Kim Jong T**** has shown to be petty and vindictive and to hold a grudge for decades (remember Rosie O'Donnell)? Now he has the power to get revenge.

3. Intellectuals -- always a target of authoritarians -- will come under attack. At first it will be minor things, like withholding federal funds from institutions who employ intellectuals disliked by the administration. Later, it will progress to outright harassment through tax law changes and immigration. Permanent residents will have their right to stay revoked. Perhaps some people will be jailed under bogus terrorism charges for their controversial opinions. The Department of Education will be destroyed. There will be a renewed push for creationism, intelligent design, denial of human-caused global warming, and other crackpot theories in the public school curriculum. Educational institutions will suffer because excellent people from other countries will not want to come to the US where they might be targets. Graduate study will suffer. Pure research will suffer. NSF priorities will be shifted to things like exploration and exploitation of fossil fuels. Federal funding for research into alternative energy sources will dry up.

4. The Federal government will be turned into a money machine for Trump and his cronies. Once a grifter, always a grifter. Kim Jong T*** and his millionaire and billionaire friends will get huge tax cuts, while taxes for the poor and lower middle class will go up. The deficit will skyrocket. Friends of Kim Jong T**** will amass huge fortunes because of tax law changes and biased infrastructure allocation, while all critics will be shut out of participation. Cities traditionally run by Democrats will get shut out of funding for infrastructure projects.

5. Extremists will be appointed to the Supreme Court. They will make rulings that will significantly reduce access to abortion. Religion will be allowed as an excuse to disobey almost any law (as long as you are white). Advocating creationism will be allowed and even encouraged in public schools. Textbooks will be altered to remove discussion of evolution. Voting rights will be under attack, with bogus allegations of fraud as the justification. Redistricting will occur and strongly favor Republicans.

6. Blacks, Jews, Muslims, and gays will not sit by silently as these changes occur. I predict the rise of radical groups, much like the Black Panthers of the 1960's, that will retaliate in increasingly violent ways. There will be more street protests and violence. If you thought Black Lives Matter protests were violent (they were not, as a rule), you ain't seen nothing yet. Probably there will be bombings by groups like these. The need for crackdowns on these groups will be used by Kim Jong T**** as excuses to violate civil liberties. New intrusive laws allowing surveillance will be passed.

7. Finally, and this is the least likely (but the warning signs are all there), the US will degenerate into a fascist dictatorship, perhaps after some sort of Reichstag incident, with Kim Jong T**** as supreme leader. He will start by having the Republican-controlled Congress vote him some emergency powers. In an ironic reversal, the only country in Europe (after Marine Le Pen is elected) that will stand against Kim Jong T**** and stand for freedom and democracy will be Germany. They remember the last fascist dictator to take power and what happened.

I don't want any of these things to happen, but I predict many of them will.

For the moment, Canada is safe. Probably there will be an exodus of intellectuals and minorities from the US to Canada rivalling the Vietnam war days. But with the world's most powerful country becoming the fascist dictatorship next door, I don't know how long that safety can last.


dean said...

I suggest that it is not Trump himself we need to be concerned with, it is Pence, Cruz, and the rest of the right wing leaders with their anti-minority, anti-woman, anti-anyone who isn't a well off white male stance.

Trump has no clue about the workings of government, but they do, and they will have his ear as well as new positions of power.

Our new emperor himself has no clothes, but he has some very evil minions.

philosopher-animal said...

I'm wondering what will happen to the EPA - that may well affect us Canadians sooner than we think.

Jeffo said...

I try to approach the situation with a big dose of humility. I did not see this outcome as remotely possible. That tells me I should be twice as cautious about predicting what happens next.

Eight years ago, the losing side engaged in lots of feverish pronouncements – death panels imminent, gangs of emboldened black teens would be rioting in the cities, a coming Islamist putsch from within the highest levels of government. A lot of people on the left respond by saying, “The right sure is stupid!” I prefer to say, “Maybe after suffering an unexpected, humiliating defeat, one shouldn’t make highly politicized accusations without careful thought.” That applies to us as well.

Don’t get me wrong. Trump’s flirtations with anti-Semitic movements are profoundly disturbing. But the ease with which he has already dropped his campaign-defining commitments tell me that he is probably not a racial ideologue, or an ideologue of any kind. Whether that makes him more or less dangerous is of course still an important question.

Did you predict that a conservative-majority Supreme Court would extend marriage rights to one of history’s most hated minorities? Or that our news media would become intensely focused on misconduct in the policing of black citizens? History unfolds in funny ways. I am trying to see this election as an opportunity to revisit the easy, pat answers I’ve churned out to life’s tough questions.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

You may be right, of course. I just want the satisfaction of being able to say "I told you so!" as I am being carted off to the death camps.

dean said...

"But the ease with which he has already dropped his campaign-defining commitments tell me that he is probably not a racial ideologue, or an ideologue of any kind."

Looking at the people he is proposing for a variety of appointments doesn't give me the same semi-optimistic view you have. I hope you are right and I am wrong.

Mikkel Rumraket Rasmussen said...

I suspect that Trump doesn't give the slightest fuck about the presidency at all, that he's just there to try to score business deals and in effect, we are seeing a Mike Pence presidency at work.

Mikkel Rumraket Rasmussen said...

And painfully unironically I discover this headline no more than 1 minute after my previous post:

Mike Pence is president of the US.

JimV said...

My wild prediction is that Trump will either resign or be impeached at some point in the next two years. I'm not confident in that, but if Whitewater was a big scandal there has to be plenty of similar Trump material out there, and even his party is uneasy about him.

Not that I expect President Pence to be much of an improvement.

William Spearshake said...

"You may be right, of course. I just want the satisfaction of being able to say "I told you so!" as I am being carted off to the death camps."

There won't be any death camps. You will just be forced to work at less than minimum wage at a Trump hotel.

CDP said...

I'll add one prediction of my own. Contrary to current "conventional wisdom" that Trump is an isolationist, I expect he will embroil the U.S. in many more military conflicts, directly or through proxy armies. This will outrage the tiny minority of Americans who believe that the lives of foreigners have value.

I would like to take issue with Prof. Shallit's point 7: "If you thought Black Lives Matter protests were violent (they were not, as a rule), you ain't seen nothing yet." The Black Lives Matter movement has engaged in civil disobedience in legitimate protest of widespread state violence against black Americans, including instances of what are essentially extrajudicial executions by the police. (E.g. see the 2015 Amnesty International report "Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force in the United States.") According to the 31 December 2015 Guardian article "Young black men killed by US police at highest rate in year of 1,134 deaths," young (defined as age 15 to 34) black men are five times as likely as young white men to be killed by the police in the United States.

Paranoia about alleged threats of violence by black men directly endangers black lives. In the moments before the neo-Nazi Dylann Roof murdered nine black people, including elderly women, he informed them that he had to kill them because "they" were raping white women. Exactly one day before the Roof massacre, Donald Trump alleged that Mexico was sending Mexican rapists across the U.S. border. One might call this an unpleasant coincidence, but it's really not that great a coincidence: assertions of threats to white womanhood are a longstanding racist canard.

On November 22, 2015, Trump disseminated fabricated data alleging that 81% of white homicide victims are killed by blacks (the actual number is approximately 15%). Fear of violent black people helps Trump; that's why he perpetuates this fear. So, may I suggest we dispense with speculations about the civil rights movement turning to violence?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

I'm not sure what you're taking issue with, since I agree entirely with most of your points.

But I also remember the Black Panthers, which started idealistically and degenerated into violence, and I predict the same thing will happen. It won't just be minorities fighting back; I bet there will be some eco-terrorism as well.

Capt Stormfield said...

I suspect Mikkel Rumraket Rasmussen has it right. Trump is an empty vessel intellectually and politically. As long as his narcissism and business ventures are boosted, the people who have his ear will find him an easily manipulated tool.

...and the people around him are ideologically driven.

cody said...

I didn't realize my predictions are relatively tame in comparison. I expect the environmental movement to be set back severely, abortion rights to be pushed back, and a conservative Supreme Court churning out conservative crap for the rest of my life, setting back all sorts of issues. I was a little optimistic with him dropping things like "lock her up", but then the appointments have been incomprehensibly bad. Perry for the Department of Energy? The Department he couldn't remember he wanted to eliminate? It's like he's trolling us.

I agree with some of the above too, about Pence seeming to be in charge, possibility of impeachment or resignation due to corruption. It's still unbelievable the idiocy they're achieving.


Good night, teacher. My name is Vitor Henrique C. Lanjoni and I am skeptical and I would like to ask a question.
I know this posting has nothing to do with the question, but I thought I'd better do it right here, since I do not have access to your email to post the question:

1- What do you think about numerology? You know what I'm talking about, the symbology of numbers that mystics and esoterics like to use.
For example:

1- Zero represents the pure, unmanifest
2- One represents individuality
3- Two represent duality
4- Three represents balance

The argument defenders of this symbology of numbers use is that the concept of trinity is present in many cultures (Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Osiris, Isis, Horus, etc.). This similarity would argue that it has something to do with the collective unconscious, different from what the mystics try to juggle by saying that if it is present in all cultures then it has an essence of truth in it.

What do you think about everything?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

A google search would easily produce my e-mail address, so I conclude you don't really care about contacting me by e-mail.

Numerology is utter garbage.


So what do you think about the concept '' music of the spheres '' composed by Pythagoras in a geocentric model. Do you think the ''music of the spheres'' is real?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

It's pre-scientific garbage. Of no interest, except historical interest.

Jeffo said...

Now that we're 100 days out of the Trump presidency, it seems like a good time to evaluate your predictions.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

I think I did pretty well. What's your opinion?