Really Bad Things Are Going To Happen Now

The Domino Principle’s forecast for the next two years in American politics.

If you think the past two years have been a nightmare, then you’d best buckle up tight, because we ain’t seen nothing yet compared to what is coming during the next two years. While there will surely be many unanticipated and horrifically shocking surprises, based on what we already know we can project with a fair degree of certainty how many aspects of political life in America will play out as the dominoes fall. And it isn’t even remotely pretty.

We stand by the graphic we published prior to the election last week… and the verdict is now in. We WILL get the government that WE deserve. At least for the next two years, America will have a government that will continue to march strongly down the path to demagogic authoritarianism (see CNN: Midterm fury fuels Trump’s assault on constitutional norms). And that trek is backed by nearly half of the American public voting to embrace a degree of dishonesty, moral deplorableness and self-destructiveness never before seen at such scale in our lifetimes.

Even in a state like California, often seen as the heart of American liberalism, Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter, who is currently facing 60 federal charges, ran a massively racist campaign that tried to label his opponent as a terrorist. He got re-elected to the House by a nearly 10-point margin. Californian Devin Nunes, who has spent the past two years doing everything possible to use his position in Congress to obstruct investigation into Russia’s attempts to interfere with our elections (and with the Trump campaign’s related collusion with Russia), was easily re-elected. It was a real bright spot see Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican member of the House who has consistently shown more loyalty to Russia than to America, narrowly lose his re-election bid, but that was the exception rather than the rule (see The Atlantic: Putin’s Favorite Congressman Has Lost His Reelection).

As Gabriel Schoenfeld noted last week (See USA Today: Election results did not repudiate Trump. They show he has normalized immorality.):

“the fact of the matter is that in three short years the face of America has profoundly changed. A significant fraction of the society has been lured into moral degradation by the siren song of a demagogue.”

And as Andrew Sullivan wrote  (see Intelligencer: America’s Fever Is Still Rising):

“We learned that the American public as a whole has reacted to the first two years of an unfit, delusional, mendacious, malevolent, incompetent authoritarian as president … with relative equanimity.”

“So where does this point us? To nowhere good, I’m afraid. The trouble with a normal election cycle in 2018 is that we do not have a normal president in 2018. We have a deranged, fabulist bully. For a presidency like Trump’s to generate less opposition after two years than Clinton’s or Obama’s is a rather chilling sign of how far down the rabbit hole we have already gone. To greet what is an emergency for liberal democracy as a business-as-usual political cycle, is de facto a big win for the whole idea of strongman rule. And on the key issues of a free press and the rule of law, the strongman is winning.”

And as Peter Beinart writes (see The Atlantic: The Harsh Truth Exposed by the Midterm Elections):

“The harsh truth is this: Racism often works. Cross-racial coalitions for economic justice are the exception in American history. Mobilizing white people to protect their racial dominance is the norm. The lesson of 2018 is that American politics is not reverting to “normal.” In many ways, Trumpism is normal. It’s not Trump who is running uphill against American tradition, it’s the people who are trying—bravely but with mixed success—to stop him.”

The House and Senate

As was expected, control of the House of Representatives will shift to the Democrats in 2019. The Senate appears to have increased its Republican majority. Some of the immediate repercussions:

For the first time, the President and his criminal activities (and his Cabinet’s) will finally be subject to material oversight by the lower branch of Congress.

The House will start issuing subpoenas to the Executive Branch of government and to witnesses in the Trump/Russia collusion probe who have failed to cooperate in the past. Expect the Executive Branch to often ignore such subpoenas or respond to them in less than good faith. Expect many court battles to subsequently ensue as the White House works to continually obstruct and delay.

Adam Schiff will become Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which will start actively protecting America rather than Trump and his Russian collaborators. It will likely make Schiff a central figure and prominence in American life on an ongoing basis. He will become at least as important to bringing integrity back to America as is Robert Mueller. Unlike Mueller’s investigation, which has been largely conducted in private, Schiff’s will become a public spectacle… as it should.

Expect that sometime in late 2019, as findings from subpoenas along with the Mueller probe become public, the House will likely impeach the President. The President will then go to trial in the Senate.

Expect that now that the opposition party is now in charge of the House, the President will be relentless in blaming the House Democrats for every malady affecting America.

In particular, expect that there is a reasonably high probability that in 2019 or 2020 America will face an extended government shutdown. For his part, Trump will intentionally do this by refusing to enact funding legislation unless it includes things which he knows there is no chance the Democratic House would ever approve. Then he will blame the Democrats. And for their part, when the new House takes office in 2019, the Democrats may likely refuse to pass any legislation on any topic that also fails to include language that will fully protect the Mueller investigation. Trump will likely never agree to sign such legislation. Unless enough House and Senate Republicans vote to override the Presidential veto, government funding will come to a complete halt.

Our already terrible health care and health insurance situation in America will probably now be protected from further attempts by Trump to worsen it further. The same is true for many other issues that would require Congressional action to affect. However, expect Trump to further try to use Executive Orders in increasingly bizarre ways to circumvent Congress.

The House will consider and likely pass many legislative measures pro forma, related to gun safety, health care reform, election reform and many other topics. The President will likely refuse to sign such measures even in the extremely unlikely event that the Senate also passes them.

There will be very rare instances, largely related to foreign affairs, where the House and Senate will find consensus to pass new legislation. But on the whole, the House will primarily focus on issues related to trying to pass a consensus budget while acting largely as an investigative body of the Executive Branch.

The Senate will act as an obstructive body, while focusing on budgeting issues along with Executive and Judicial Branch appointments (see The Atlantic: How Senate Republicans Will Use Their New Power).

The likely Republican increase in the Senate majority, occurring despite Trump’s conduct over the past two years, has direct implications:

  1. It will be far easier for the Senate to rubber stamp Trump’s judicial and executive branch appointments; individual members of the Senate will no longer have as much leverage over the process;
  2. Republican Senate members will believe that association with Trump, his illiberal agenda, his lies, and his criminal actions is NOT a political liability, and it may in fact be a political asset when they run for re-election; and
  3. Republican members of the Senate may well feel that, despite being fully aware that Trump is both unhinged and a criminal, it will be a liability for them to vote for Trump’s removal from office after his impeachment by the House. It is very possible that no matter how severe the evidence is of criminal conduct found in the Mueller probe, not enough of the Republican members of the Senate will be willing to vote for Trump’s conviction and removal from office, and Trump will serve out the remainder of his term. On the other hand, the evidence justifying Trump’s impeachment and removal from office based on what is already publicly known is extraordinarily damning… and what is publicly known is estimated to only be about 10-15% of what Mueller knows. This is going to get much, much worse for Trump in the coming months, which brings us to…

The Mueller Investigation

Stories in the media indicating that the Mueller investigation is nearing a final report are almost certainly false. It is very possible Mueller is close to issuing a report on some topics related to the investigation, but the notion that the investigation is “wrapping up” is completely inconsistent with how such investigations are conducted. Trump continues to engage in criminal obstruction on an ongoing basis to interfere with and attempt to end the investigation prematurely (see Intelligencer: Trump Is Trapped, and Trying to Protect Himself at All Costs). What degree of success Trump will have in obstructing is unknown (see The Atlantic: It’s Probably Too Late to Stop Mueller). In any event, Mueller himself seems to be far from finished… and Congress will be just getting started this coming January.

Outside of undue interference from the Executive Branch, we should expect substantial additional indictments from Mueller quite soon, including people very close to the President. Eric Prince, Jared Kushner, and Donald Trump, Jr. are very likely to face indictment. Roger Stone, Sam Clovis, Jeff Sessions, Joseph Schmitz, Steve Bannon, and J.D. Gordon would be next on the list in terms of likelihood of indictment. Many others, including but by no means limited to Thomas Barrack, Carter Page, Robert McFarlane, Stephen Miller, Ivanka Trump, Joseph Mifsud, Jerome Corsi, George Nader, Joel Zamel, Felix Sater, Alexander Torshin, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud may also face scrutiny, even if some of them are outside the reach of our legal system in terms of actually being able to bring them to justice. If you don’t yet know these names and how they are involved, you will be given ample opportunity in the coming months.

There is reason to believe a likelihood that many such indictments have already been issued and are currently sealed, waiting to be unsealed when Mueller deems the timing to be appropriate. In addition, it is very possible that the President has already been personally subpoenaed and that the subpoena is currently being litigated in non-public proceedings. The likelihood is that Mueller will follow DOJ guidance and not seek to directly indict President Trump as long as he remains in office as President. Instead, the information Mueller collects on Trump’s personal wrongdoing will be referred to Congress for support of possible impeachment. Once Trump is out of office, then criminal charges will likely be forthcoming against him, barring a pardon issued from his successor (or his likely attempt to pardon himself).

Expect to see the Mueller investigation, and the associated actions from other jurisdictions working with Mueller, to revolve around the following topics:

  • Attempts to directly and illegally interfere in US elections, by both Russia and those related to the Trump campaign.
  • Illegal actions related to the quid pro quo “Grand Bargain” around Trump’s election… watch for details related to this to continue to be made public in sensational fashion (chart via Seth Abramson on Twitter):
  • Money laundering activities directly related to the election and to Trump’s past history, particularly ones that involve him with Russia in ways that could give Russia undue influence over his actions.
  • Fraud related to a significant segment of Trump’s past business dealings.
  • Attempts to cover up, obstruct, and witness tamper with the investigation of all of the above.

The release of Seth Abramson’s new book this week, Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America, should provide substantial additional insight.

Also see Note 1 at the end of this article: Likely Trump-related U.S. law violation areas subject to oversight by Mueller, US Congress, and the Federal Court System.

The Department of Justice and the Judiciary

As we have noted in the past, Trump’s agenda will be to continue to use his nominating ability in the federal judiciary to put in place justices who will move the courts away from socially progressive rulings, and who will allow him to expand the authority of the presidency and the executive branch. With a greater majority in the Senate, he will have further ability to make life long appointments of individuals who lack even the most basic qualifications for the federal bench… their sole criteria for nomination will be their willingness to rule as loyalists in unwavering support of Trump’s agenda, regardless of the applicable rule of law.

As POTUS continues to staff the Justice Department, he will try to harness it to pursue political prosecutions against enemies, place a focus on litigation that targets specific religious and ethnic groups, and otherwise trample civil rights. Disregard for the judicial process and its outcomes has been a hallmark of Trump’s career, and he has quite openly used litigation as a tool of harassment. He now has the largest prosecutorial organization in the world at his disposal, and as he continues to corrupt it to his political ends, the prospects are chilling.

In his attempt to turn the Department of Justice into his personal political tool, Trump forced the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions the day after last week’s election. He then appointed Matt Whitaker as Acting Attorney General… Whitaker is a Trump loyalist who will do everything in his power to try to undermine and cripple the Mueller investigation. He will also likely do everything in his power to purge the DOJ of anyone who will not place fealty to the President above their duty to uphold the Constitution of the United States (see The Atlantic: Republicans Must Choose Between Trump and the Rule of Law). And a DOJ compromised in this manner will simply ignore criminal referrals coming from Congress that are hostile to Trump.

Trump’s appointment of Whitaker appears to be both statutorily illegal (see ShugerblogWhitaker’s Appointment as Acting Attorney General Is Statutorily Illegal) as well as constitutionally illegal (see New York Times: Trump’s Appointment of the Acting Attorney General Is Unconstitutional). As described in this latter New York Times story, anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in his position is therefore invalid, including any actions he might take with regard to the Mueller investigation or to fire or reassign his staff. It plunges America and the ability of the Department of Justice to fulfill its mission to uphold the laws of the United States into a true constitutional crisis. We expect a likelihood that Mueller will use the courts (or is already using the courts) to challenge any authority Whitaker might try to exert over his investigation, and that Mueller could potentially subpoena and/or indict Whitaker should he find it warranted and necessary to protect the integrity of the investigation of the President from obstruction by the President.

Immigration and Racism

Trump will continue to incite hate, division and racism against those who are not white and Christian. He will continue to support nationalism rather than patriotism (See Sydney Morning Herald: Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism: France’s president lectures the powerful). He will continue to lie to the American people, and use fear based on those lies, to gain support for actions that will keep people who he doesn’t not believe will support his political agenda from entering the country, and to remove those who do not support his political agenda from the country. He will continue to fail to pursue courses of action that will address the serious need for immigration reform in America in a productive fashion, while continuing to support huge financial expenditures for measures certain to worsen the problem… he will continue to push for a wall, and he will continue to expend huge financial resource putting people seeking asylum in America into ever growing detainment centers run by his political friends and financed by US taxpayers.

Jaime Casap summed up the situation well on Facebook, in a post that applies to many other ethnic groups in addition to Latinos:

Foreign Relations

The situation in North Korea seems to have reached a quiet yet disturbing impasse, at least for the moment. The implicit arrangement seems to be that as long as North Korea does not fire or test any more missiles, or further test their nuclear weapons, the US won’t make a big deal that they are continuing to develop nuclear missiles and weapons. The New York Times reports this week that North Korea is moving ahead with its ballistic missile program at 16 hidden bases that have now been identified in new commercial satellite images, a network long known to American intelligence agencies but left undiscussed as President Trump claimed to have neutralized the North’s nuclear threat (see New York Times: In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception).

The long term implications of this are dreadful, of course. Expect that North Korea will develop and sell nuclear weapons that will make their way to those who have the ability to use them against America, and that they will also develop better nuclear technology to be carried on their now tested missiles while also working to improve their current missile technology. They will resume nuclear tests and missile tests when it suits their agenda, at which point Trump will return to hostile rhetoric. That all of this is wrapped in a public disinformation campaign asserting that Trump has achieved some kind of a victory because he and Kim are no longer making war threats at each other remains extraordinarily unsettling but is typical of Trump’s approach to governing through disinformation.

Trump will continue to incite, antagonize and violate past US promises towards Iran. If an opportunity arises to escalate hostility with Iran, Trump will undoubtedly take it. Syria may present ample opportunities for military escalation as well.

When agents of the Saudi Arabia government murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month, Trump seemed more upset about how incompetent the Saudi’s cover-up of the situation was, rather than showing any real outrage over the murder itself. Trump also seemed more concerned about what it might do to the United States’ ability to sell weapons of death to Saudi Arabia, than about the idea that perhaps the Saudi Arabia government doesn’t have the moral compass to be entrusted with weapons of death. Expect the Mueller probe to unearth significant evidence of inappropriate transactions between those close to Trump and his administration, and the Saudi government.

Trump will continue to act in a manner consistent with his being inappropriately beholden to and compromised by Putin. Putin is surely aware that with the Democratic House coming into power, and with Mueller’s investigation likely to reveal the extent of Trump’s involvement with Russia, that he has little ability to exert influence upon Trump that will yield actual results. We can be sure, however, that Putin will continue to use his resources to try to spread disinformation, to stir up hostility to divide America, and to exert biased influence upon the US political system. Trump will do little or nothing to stop it (and he may, as he has done in the past, actively encourage it), so long as he sees it as supporting his own objectives.

Expect Trump to continue to use tariffs to antagonize America’s trade partners and to cause serious economic harm to America.

Expect Trump to continue to antagonize America’s allies and weaken NATO, while showing admiration and friendship towards many of America’s adversaries and many of the world’s most vile and illiberal leaders. Expect him to support those who seek to destroy democratic institutions across the world.

Freedom of the Press and Speech

Trump’s press conference the morning after the election confirms that he is becoming increasingly unhinged, irrational, and illiberal. As the walls continue to close in on him with respect to his and his family’s criminal activities, expect to see more and more speech and behavior from him that is similar to what one would expect from a fascist dictator. He will continue to attempt to restrict the freedom of the press and to redefine truth as fiction, and fiction as truth. He will continue to incite antagonism against journalists who cover him truthfully, and we should expect a likelihood that acts of violence will be taken by his supporters toward the press in America.

Public protest over Trump’s behavior will increase as Mueller’s findings come to public light and Trump takes action to evade justice. Expect Trump to take inappropriate actions to try to restrict and interfere with peaceful public protest. Expect that there will be instances where protest fails to remain peaceful, and Trump uses such circumstances to attempt to further restrict freedom of speech.

Election Tampering

Trump will, over time, engage in further efforts to tamper with (or support those who will tamper with) the 2020 elections in his favor. What we saw happen during the 2018 elections will be escalated: Trump will support efforts designed to tamper with elections and restrict voter turnout in ways that favor those who support him; while he will also fabricate false allegations aimed at invalidating elections results that do not favor him and those he supports. It remains well within the realm of possibility that Trump will create or use a national emergency to attempt to suspend the 2020 presidential election; or to attempt to invalidate the election if it does not support him sufficiently.

Gun Safety and Domestic Terror

As of November 12, 2018 America had experienced 308 mass shootings in 315 days. Gun deaths and slaughters will continue to occur at a rampant pace, in many cases motived by a President who intentionally radicalizes the unbalanced in support of hate and irrational conspiracy theories.

As the evidence of Trump’s extraordinary degree of criminality and betrayal of America becomes public, and as his presidency starts to really unravel, there are tens of millions of people that are part of his alternative-reality cult who are really going to have trouble coping with the situation in a socially acceptable manner. Not all of them will be as incompetent as the Florida MAGA Bomber. Incidents of violence from white male Christian nationalists in particular will likely rise dramatically. This group of individuals represents the single greatest domestic terror risk to America at the moment.

Alas, it would be folly to not also recognize that we may also see acts of violence from some who become unbalanced in despair as America fails to keep the President in check.

The House will surely pass legislation that might improve the gun risk situation in America, but it will have no chance in ever passing into law unless America decides to materially change the Senate and presidency in the 2020 elections. Until then, thoughts and prayers are gonna be the best America has to offer to this tragically escalating situation.

The President will continue to respond to acts of violence committed by minorities and immigrants by calling for action to be taken against them as a group. He will continue to respond to acts of violence committed by white US citizens by doing nothing.

Natural Disasters and Environmental Challenges

Environmental changes will continue to increase the ongoing barrage of natural and environmental disasters. The President will continue to urge the federal government to respond to these crises in different ways depending on whether the area affected supports or resists his agenda. The EPA and the Department of the Interior will continue to remove regulations that protect the public and environment.

The Long Term Forecast For America

The bottom line is that the 2018 elections were inconclusive. Results were certainly quite decent for those who oppose the President’s trek away from democracy and towards authoritarianism, but hardly the “blue wave” one would have expected from an America that clearly rejects Trump and the dreadful things he represents. Trends in Texas, Florida, and the more conservative parts of California were clearly positive, if not yet sufficient. Ongoing patterns indicate that in another 5-15 years we will see significant shifts affecting the electoral outlook in America.

Prior to Trump’s unlikely election, The Domino Principle had projected a strong possibility of a long and slow entrance into a dark and troubled period for America… as an entrenched white America resisted and grappled with inevitable social changes, while also having to deal with an increasingly severe economic and environmental legacy handed to it from earlier generations (see our article from February, 2015: There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne). Trump’s election brought issues rapidly to a head in a way we had not anticipated (see Note 2 below regarding Domino Principle #5, Developmental Psychohistory).

There are two possible future directions for America that we now see as feasible, both of which have a reasonable probability of being realized. On the one hand, it is very possible that the Trump presidency will serve as an abrupt catalyst into a sustained period of decline for America. As democracy fades, we will become a post-factual (see Wikipedia: Post-truth politics) and increasingly illiberal society, in which for many facts are defined by the power of the speaker or the number of people repeating a statement… instead of by correlation with actual reality; and in which individuals are shamed as being intolerant for calling a lie “a lie.” In such a world, science becomes indistinguishable from mysticism, and technological advance grinds to a near halt. Those who support those in power are not subject to the rule of law, while those who oppose those in power are often subject to prosecution without fairness or cause. Denial and avoidance of economic and environmental realities will bring sustained and severe damage to America and its citizens.

On the other hand, there is also a real chance that Trump’s presidency will bring many slow-festering issues in America to a rapid head. Instead of America experiencing the long and slow period of difficulty we had earlier anticipated, or it plunging rapidly into sustained darkness as described above, there is a chance that America will instead experience a much briefer period of great pain. The extreme public reaction in response and opposition to that pain will result in a relatively brief period of darkness, followed by a time of growth and enlightenment. Note that if this should happen, it largely won’t occur by converting those who are part of the cult supporting Trump and bringing them back to reality. It will happen by motivating to action the far greater number of people who reject what Trump stands for, and those who have previously not participated in our political process. And it will largely happen through politicians who find they are able to appeal more to the center rather than to political extremes. So far, success in achieving this is more modest than many would have hoped, yet that in itself is not reason to give up hope, either.

Time will tell. We must never forget that we each have a role to play in determining which outcome will prevail.

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Note 1: Likely Trump-related U.S. law violation areas subject to oversight by Mueller, US Congress, and the Federal Court System (probably not an exhaustive list):

18 U.S. Code Chapter 11 – BRIBERY, GRAFT, AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
18 U.S. Code § 201 – Bribery of public officials and witnesses
18 U.S. Code § 203 – Compensation to Members of Congress, officers, and others in matters affecting the Government
18 U.S. Code § 205 – Activities of officers and employees in claims against and other matters affecting the Government
18 U.S. Code § 208 – Acts affecting a personal financial interest
18 U.S. Code § 210 – Offer to procure appointive public office
18 U.S. Code § 216 – Penalties and injunctions
18 U.S. Code § 219 – Officers and employees acting as agents of foreign principals
18 U.S. Code § 225 – Continuing financial crimes enterprise
18 U.S. Code § 227 – Wrongfully influencing a private entity’s employment decisions by a Member of Congress or an officer or employee of the legislative or executive branch
18 U.S. Code Chapter 19 – CONSPIRACY
18 U.S. Code § 371 – Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States
18 U.S. Code § 402 – Contempts constituting crimes
18 U.S. Code Chapter 29 – ELECTIONS AND POLITICAL ACTIVITIES
18 U.S. Code § 597 – Expenditures to influence voting
18 U.S. Code § 601 – Deprivation of employment or other benefit for political contribution
18 U.S. Code § 602 – Solicitation of political contributions
18 U.S. Code § 606 – Intimidation to secure political contributions
18 U.S. Code § 607 – Place of solicitation
18 U.S. Code § 610 – Coercion of political activity
18 U.S. Code Chapter 31 – EMBEZZLEMENT AND THEFT
18 U.S. Code § 641 – Public money, property or records
18 U.S. Code § 663 – Solicitation or use of gifts
18 U.S. Code § 666 – Theft or bribery concerning programs receiving Federal funds
18 U.S. Code Chapter 37 – ESPIONAGE AND CENSORSHIP
18 U.S. Code § 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information
18 U.S. Code § 794 – Gathering or delivering defense information to aid foreign government
18 U.S. Code § 798 – Disclosure of classified information
18 U.S. Code Chapter 41 – EXTORTION AND THREATS
18 U.S. Code § 872 – Extortion by officers or employees of the United States
18 U.S. Code § 873 – Blackmail
18 U.S. Code § 875 – Interstate communications
18 U.S. Code § 876 – Mailing threatening communications
18 U.S. Code § 880 – Receiving the proceeds of extortion
18 U.S. Code Chapter 42 – EXTORTIONATE CREDIT TRANSACTIONS
18 U.S. Code § 891 – Definitions and rules of construction
18 U.S. Code § 892 – Making extortionate extensions of credit
18 U.S. Code § 912 – Officer or employee of the United States
18 U.S. Code Chapter 45 – FOREIGN RELATIONS
18 U.S. Code § 953 – “The Logan Act” Private correspondence with foreign governments
18 U.S. Code Chapter 47 – FRAUD AND FALSE STATEMENTS
18 U.S. Code § 1001 – Statements or entries generally
18 U.S. Code § 1028 – Fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents
18 U.S. Code § 1030 – Fraud and related activity in connection with computers
18 U.S. Code § 1031 – Major fraud against the United States
18 U.S. Code § 1038 – False information and hoaxes
18 U.S. Code Chapter 63 – MAIL FRAUD AND OTHER FRAUD OFFENSES
18 U.S. Code § 1343 – Fraud by wire, radio, or television
18 U.S. Code § 1344 – Bank fraud
18 U.S. Code § 1349 – Attempt and conspiracy
18 U.S. Code Chapter 73 – OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
18 U.S. Code § 1505 – Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees
18 U.S. Code § 1510 – Obstruction of criminal investigations
18 U.S. Code § 1511 – Obstruction of State or local law enforcement
18 U.S. Code § 1512 – Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant
18 U.S. Code § 1513 – Retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant
18 U.S. Code § 1519 – Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations and bankruptcy
18 U.S. Code Chapter 79 – PERJURY
18 U.S. Code § 1621 – Perjury generally
18 U.S. Code § 1622 – Subornation of perjury
18 U.S. Code § 1623 – False declarations before grand jury or court
18 U.S. Code Chapter 95 – RACKETEERING
18 U.S. Code § 1956 – Laundering of monetary instruments
18 U.S. Code § 1957 – Engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity
18 U.S. Code Chapter 96 – RACKETEER INFLUENCED AND CORRUPT ORGANIZATIONS
22 U.S. Code Chapter 11 – FOREIGN AGENTS AND REGISTRATION
26 U.S. Code § 7201 – Attempt to Evade or Defeat Tax
Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution – Title of Nobility (Foreign Emoluments) Clause


Note 2: Domino Principle #5, Developmental Psychohistory, states that while one cannot foresee the actions of a particular individual, one can sometimes apply the laws of statistics to large groups of people to predict the general flow of future events. Economic bubbles, mass hysteria, collective obsessional behaviors and “rational selfish behavior” can be driving societal forces whose repercussions must be recognized and anticipated. This Domino Principle owes its legacy to Isaac Asimov’s fictional Foundation trilogy, which was in turn based on the story of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. The Foundation story involves a small group of social scientists developing the science of psychohistory in the far future, and then using it in an attempt to vastly shorten an anticipated dark age for humanity.

In the Foundation trilogy, the science of psychohistory operates on the assumption that no single individual can have a measurable effect on human trends on their own, due to the plan relying on the predictability of the actions of very large numbers of people. A character in Asimov’s story, known as the Mule, invalidates that assumption, and the entire plan is thrown into chaos. Donald Trump seems to be playing a similarly disruptive role in unexpectedly changing our anticipated course of American history. It is clearly quite painful in the short term, but whether or not it will be beneficial in the long term is still to be determined.

🎶One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand
🎶

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Cliff Kurtzman

Described as "pragmatically reckless with a high tolerance for ambiguity," Dr. Cliff Kurtzman is the founder of The Domino Principle. He is also an award winning entrepreneur, speaker, trend forecaster, and M.I.T.-trained rocket-scientist. Over the past 25 years, Cliff has launched several highly successful ventures by seeing technology trends in the world before they became widely realized, figuring out how they would impact our lives and then creating businesses that leveraged those trends ahead of many others. His bio is at http://www.kurtzman.biz.
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4 thoughts on “Really Bad Things Are Going To Happen Now”

  1. Articulate and very well thought out essay!!
    Unfortunately, it appears Cliff has seen the handwriting on our wall how trumpism fascism will continue to be a cancer on our democratic republic.

  2. I hope I wake tomorrow with the optimism of Distress Potential. Dire Straits when that is the hopeful scenario but it seems to me at the moment to be a plausible dream. Thanks for the link to Coldplay.

  3. Damn, just when I was feeling a little bit better, I had to read this. Unfortunately I do see the path that he could use to get re-elected. With climate change causing even worse horrible storms across the country, and wildfires all along the west coast, his policies causing the economy to turn downward but blaming the House Democrats, he will ramp up fear, blame, and even darker demagoguery to make people afraid. And then, are we facing a lifetime dictator or am I just too pessimistic?

  4. And I didn’t even get into the fact that probably 90% of people in this country do NOT have enough resources to retire (401ks were always a joke) poverty, homelessness will only get worse without government intervention. So my question is to all the companies, communities and people who are not of retirement age that want to have a quality living environment, how important do you think it is that we fix this now, or are you ok with seeing all the desperate people living on the street or living hand to mouth? Does this give you the aesthetics that you envision you and family thriving in? Because it will only get worse unless real resources are applied to correct it. Otherwise, gosh, enjoy the syringes, trash, tents, children begging in the streets everywhere you try to drink your lattes. Because this will only get worse. We are headed back to Hoovervilles.

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