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What We Expect to See in 2017

Posted on Dec 31, 2016

Mr. Fish / Truthdig

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Editor’s note: The views in this article are each author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Truthdig.

2016 is history. As we turn the page on this strange and difficult year, Truthdig editors and writers look ahead to what 2017 will bring.

Mainstream Media Will Continue to Perpetuate the Two-Party Duopoly—Kasia Anderson

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Unfortunately, I’m expecting to see the continued erosion of journalistic standards in the mainstream media. We will no doubt witness the ongoing substitution of functional news coverage and commentary by “panels” populated by surrogates and water-carriers for both mainstream parties. (This is another way of reinforcing the two-party duopoly in U.S. politics and drowning out possible contributions from those who may offer unexpected or unsanctioned perspectives.) There will surely be more of a push, on the part of outlets that tend to toe the Democratic or Republican party line, to splinter the us-vs.-them divide and widen perceived rifts between various demographics.

I also expect that strategies deployed as test cases before the election will be refined and applied more broadly in its aftermath. Take, for example, the recent and astonishing developments in North Carolina. I’m not alone in suggesting that those could add up to a test case for larger-scale threats to American democracy, such as it is. On another note, the campaign-trail rallies that helped secure Donald Trump’s presidential victory also served as test cases for determining which slogans and ginned-up controversies stirred up the crowds. Those may persist into his tenure in the White House, but regardless, the ideas that resonated with audiences could show up again in more concrete form (with at least one exception: “Drain the swamp”). And continuing along well-worn lines, there will be more attempts to wield the idea of “fake news,” now thrown around so widely that its meaning has become confused and distorted, as a way of not just identifying potentially bogus stories but also shutting down legitimate, if at times controversial, discussions and debates.

To end on a more hopeful note, as in other fraught moments in the nation’s history, we’re likely to see a variety of creative pushback methods put to work against the practices and policies of the incoming administration.

12 Fearless Prognostications—Bill Blum

1. Donald Trump will nominate an Antonin Scalia clone to the Supreme Court. After some feckless Democratic kicking and screaming, said clone will be seated.
2. Trump’s billionaire buddies will file more Gawker-type lawsuits to drive small, politically independent publications out of business.
3. NSA spying will be reinvigorated.
4. Edward Snowden will lose his asylee status in Russia. Julian Assange will remain a fugitive.
5. Rick Perry, the new energy secretary, will try to dismantle the EPA, but will prove incompetent at the task. Still, global warming will accelerate, and most Republicans will continue to deny the planet is warming, even as hedge funds buy stock futures in beachfront property in Orlando.
6. Betsy DeVos, the new education secretary, will dismantle the Department of Education.
7. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III will abandon all further efforts to defend the Voting Rights Act.
8. Trump will call for replacing the national anthem before sporting events with a presidential tweet.
9. An impeachment resolution against Trump will be introduced. It will go nowhere.
10.Trump will sponsor a massive increase in military spending, putting us at the brink of World War III.
11. You’ll know your president is lying if his lips move.
12. The world will end, or it won’t. I’ll be batting .500 on this one, either way.

President Trump Is No Laughing Matter—Bill Boyarsky

Welcome to our new leader, Putin. Just joking. Or, back to Hitler. More sick jokes. Or curses to those who said it wouldn’t make any difference who won. Not so much of a joke.

Whistleblowers Will Get No Mercy From the New Administration—John Kiriakou

Whistleblower protection in national security is very important to me. I didn’t pay too much attention to it until I blew the whistle on the CIA’s torture program and the entire weight of the U.S. government fell on my head. Eric Holder, President Obama’s first attorney general, was a monster. But I don’t think he’s anything like what we’ll see from Donald Trump.

Regarding Edward Snowden, who told Americans that the National Security Agency was spying on every one of them, Trump already has said, “I think Snowden is a terrible threat. I think he’s a terrible traitor. And you know what we used to do in the good old days when we were a strong country—you know what we used to do to traitors, right?” The interviewer answered, “Well, you killed them, Donald.” Trump finished, “Well, he is damaging America. This guy is really doing damage to this country, and he’s also making us look like dopes.”

Trump’s new CIA director, Michael Pompeo, said in an interview on C-SPAN that Snowden is “a traitor” and added that, “He should be brought back from Russia and given due process, and I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence.”

This is what would-be national security whistleblowers are up against. I don’t expect anything good to come from Trump.

The People Will Exercise Their Power—Eric Ortiz

We are living in dangerous times. America is a divided nation. This division raises some dark questions. Is civil war possible? Will a new McCarthyism destroy constitutional rights? Have we entered a new Cold War? Will President Trump lead us to nuclear Armageddon?

Despite such doom and gloom, I am hopeful we will avoid catastrophe. My hopefulness is a result of what has happened at Standing Rock. People have power, and they have proven they can stand up to corporatocracy by banding together in pursuit of a greater good

The stand at Standing Rock provides a blueprint of what is possible through people-powered mobilization. The people will continue to exercise their power to fight injustices and right wrongs at the grass-roots level. More community leaders will emerge from all walks of life and say, “Enough is enough.” These leaders will mobilize the people with one common goal: to make the world sustainable for future generations. They will lead local, micro revolutions against corruption, waste and malfeasance.

The people will stand up for America. They will work to keep Trump and the establishment accountable. It will not be an easy road and may require much sacrifice, but the long arc of the moral universe will begin bending toward justice.

Time for a Radical Awakening—Paul Street

2017 will be a year of radical awakening in the United States. Sparked into organization and action by the grotesque corruption and multiple egregious polices of the arch-plutocratic Trump administration and mindful of the Wall Street-captive nothingness of the Obama administration, millions of U.S. citizens will rise to oppose another right-wing presidency and more fundamentally to confront the capitalist and imperial deep state that controls the nation on numerous levels beneath and beyond its quadrennial electoral carnivals.

Workers and citizens will organize against what we might call (updating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the 21st century) “the 10 evils that are interrelated”: the profit system, militarism, imperialism, racism, sexism, classism, police-state-ism, atomization, cynicism and ecocide.

The new resistance movements will insist on merging numerous struggles previously fought on a dysfunctional single-issue basis. They also will understand that nothing else concerned citizens care about is going to matter all that much if environmental catastrophe isn’t averted through a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy in the next two decades.

The new resistance will build on and take inspiration from the Native American-led struggle being waged against the Dakota Access pipeline at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. Defense of the water and climate protectors against coming attacks from the Trump administration will provide an early flash point in the year of radical awakening.

Trump Opponents Are Ready to Fight Back—Heidi Swillinger

In the time since Donald Trump grabbed America by the p-word and forced us to kiss him, I have felt helplessness and fear in a way I’ve never experienced. I’m sad to say that it took his election to make me realize how many incredible gifts I’ve been able to enjoy—and even take for granted—just because I was born here.

My list is long and personal, but the most important item on it is that I’ve been able to practice a career in journalism without fearing reprisals or silencing, nor has scrutiny of my work ever resulted in wholesale rejection of truths I’ve uncovered. It’s a no-brainer to predict that these things will come under increasing threat. And yet, as I talk with friends and strangers who feel as I do (I know only one person who voted for Trump), I see that we are going to fight back.

The one blessing of this election is that it has been a mobilizing event, and a unifying one. Trump, so used to forcing others to bend to his will, is finally going to get a run for his money. And in the end, right will prevail.

Now we want to hear from you. What do you think 2017 will bring? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


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