Friday, January 6, 2017

Looking back at predictions for 2016


Let's whisper this blog back to life.

I began a tradition of making January predictions - and looking back to see how inaccurate the past year's predictions were (which if nothing else disqualifies me from the ranks of the proper punditariat).

Shall we see how I did?

Here were my 9 predictions for 2016:

  • 2016 comes in at the second hottest year on record, just behind 2015.
Nope.  It was far and away the hottest.
  • Clinton / O'Malley handily defeats Trump / Rubio in the presidential election, despite months of breathless concern trolling on the part of the punditocracy. 
Yeah, no.  I thought the US electorate was too conservative to really bring someone in to tip over the apple cart.  I figured the status quo had another election cycle, especially given the flawed nature of the main Republican con artist.  But clearly the anything-but-more-Clinton animus won out among enough people.
  • Obama ushers out his presidency with an unprecedented number of blanket pardons for non-violent drug offenders.
Wishful thinking on my part.  Unashamed, America continues to imprison people at a rate that easily outstrips all other countries - no matter how despotic they aspire to be.
  • A cultural panic ensues when a US community outlaws the playing of football for youths under the age of 18.  The state legislature quickly repeals the law.
Not yet, though I still like that prediction.
  • As Iranian oil comes to market OPEC finally ratchets down production to keep oil in the $30-50 range for most of the year.
Well, sorta.  It was demand destruction more than OPEC that kept oil prices below $50 - except for a couple of months when it flirted with $55.
  • Domestic terrorism - especially against Blacks, Muslims and liberals - will claim more American lives than Daesh, Al-Quaida and their ilk combined.
Omar Mateen's massacre of gay men at the Pulse nightclub was the splashiest, but even more Black and Hispanic men continue to be incarcerated and murdered by police in a pattern of systematic terrorism.
  • Vladimir Putin will survive an assassination attempt.
  • Internet advertising will be exposed as utterly ineffective, and the business model for internet content suppliers begins to collapse in earnest.
Nope.  $70 billion is being spent on ads to your computer and cell phone.  
  • Because representational democracy has gone off the rails at the federal level there are a number of things that won't change:
    • Americans won't take back their democracy from the wealthy interests that have hijacked it; and corporations will continue to write regulations to suit themselves.
    • Assault weapons will remain legal despite more mass shootings.
    • Militarization of police forces, systematic use of homicide and excessive force, as well as officers' de facto immunity from prosecution will continue unabated despite the mounting financial and social costs.
    • We will not develop a constructive or effective plan for dealing with Islamic fundamentalism.
Well, on the last one - that we basically won't do anything to solve any of our big problems - turned out to be the solidest prediction.  And one that can clearly be recycled for the coming year.

Interestingly, faith in Progress turned out to be one of the year's biggest casualties.  Certainly among liberals, the ascension of Trump (and the murder of radicals cawing around his impending presidency) have been a bucket of cold water thrown on progressive assumptions about where this civilization was going.  The Trumpenproletariat, of course, had already seen Progress go off the rails as far as they were concerned.

The hive mind has become more consciously aware that something is amiss.

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