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AROUND THE CORNER: 2019 Trends and Predictions from 21WIRE


21st Century Wire
NEW YEARS DAY SPECIAL

Looking forward into the New Year, here are but a few breaking trends to look for, as well as some salient predictions for the coming year.

In last year’s Trends and Predictions for 2018, we identified some prominent breaking trends in politics, international relations and technology, but as is continually the case these days – the pace of change keeps speeding up, offering even more twists and turns than in previous years. Looking back, 2017 was certainly The Big Shuffle, and 2018 was Shake & Bake. During this coming year, we’ll see some entirely new realities come into focus, as 2019 opens our vantage just enough to see what’s Around the Corner. As usual, some of it’s very encouraging, while other parts are more than a little dicey.

So here it is – the good, the bad, and the ugly for 2019…


‘Impeachment, Impeachment, Impeachment!’ –
Starting from January, this will be the only word you will hear on US mainstream media. Yes, there will be gridlock in Congress for the next two years – that’s a given. But get ready for the “Daily Impeachment” talking point across the entire media spectrum. Forget the fact the opposition still have nothing to actually impeach him on – they will still go for it anyway, and it will be 24/7.  There are a number of practical reasons why the political system is locked into this drama. Already, the Democrats have warned they will be launching dozens of Congressional investigations into Trump’s past, present and maybe his future too, looking at his tax returns, bankruptcies, antitrust, intellectual property, and anything else they can possibly think of. First, this will provide the dark cloud the Democrats will use to maintain a media advantage throughout the 2020 Election cycle. Secondly, this ‘cloud of doubt’ might also help to encourage Republican candidates to break with tradition and enter the race to challenge the incumbent, like Mitt Romney, Niki Haley, or Marco Rubio. This will be used to weaken Trump and divide the Republican electorate. In addition to this, an 18 month-long ‘festival of impeachment’ will effectively become a continuation of the Mueller circus, and judging Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s wild projections like ‘Mueller doesn’t have to indict Trump for Congress to impeach him’ – the possibilities are literally endless. So expect everything and the kitchen sink. But also expect the public to contract a severe case of ‘scandal fatigue’ (and mainstream media fatigue) brought on by this repetitive Democrat strategy and which may end up working against the #Resistance, and actually increasing Trump’s support base with undecided voters as it did in 2016.

Mueller’s Failure – President Trump’s enemies have spent the past 18 months waiting for that elusive smoking gun – hoping that special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on supposed ‘Russian Interference and Trump-Russia Collusion in the 2016 US Election’ will bring home the bacon for the #Resistance. More likely, it will be devoid of anything of substance. The reality is that if they had any real evidence of ‘collusion’, they would’ve presented it by now. So #Russiagate will be truly dead in 2019 – and at that point it will be fair game to use as a joke to ridicule the hysterical operatives on the political left who’ve been pushing this official conspiracy theory now for the last two years running. Get ready for that Van Jones moment, when cult icon Mueller serves up that big fat, juicy… nothing burger.

No. 45 Survives – Already, he has taken every conceivable punch, and sustained every vector of attack – and no doubt he’s poised to take many more. For Trump, fielding incoming bogies has become a sport. He will run in 2020, and failing some catastrophic 2008 market crash – he will likely have a strong campaign. If America has learned one thing over the past three years, it’s that Trump can work the media better than any politician in US history and he’ll keep doing it – and not only in the media, but on social media too. As Russiagate collapses, look for Trump to go increasingly on the offensive in 2019, energizing his base, while confusing and befuddling the opposition with the usual barrage of Twitter bombs.

Big Bad Bubbles – Currently, the world’s financial markets are facing more artificially inflated bubbles than at any time in history – we have a new and growing housing bubble, an epic stock market bubble (which is as volatile as ever), a massive corporate debt bubble, a student loan bubble, a car loan bubble, and more fundamentally: the global dollar-denominated sovereignty debt bubble. That last is the one to look out for because it can easily be popped as soon as the US Federal Reserve Bank raises interest rates beyond what is affordable to countries who have been buying cheap money at 0% for the last decade during the protracted period of Quantitative Easing (QE). The Masters of Universe (bankers) in New York City are now beginning to pivot towards the position of Quantitative Tightening (QT), whereby the US will be calling in all of those debts – a tamult which will surely trigger a global dollar liquidity crisis. This could send markets into chaos. When that happens, anything is possible – and not all good. The next major crisis will also open the door to a serious re-evaluation of the current global financial system where the US dollar is considered the world’s reserve currency. Other currencies like the euro and yuan will then be thrust into consideration for major commodity transactions like oil and gas, and alternative options like cryptocurrencies, a la Bitcoin, will also increase in influence in what will likely be a more decentralized international monetary playing field. This will also mean volatility and instability, so hold on to your hat (and your wallet).

2020 Election Cycle – It seems like only yesterday that Donald Trump stormed the gates of Pennsylvania Ave. If the 2018 Midterms were anything to go by, expect a non-stop, break-neck media circus, particularly on the Democrat side of the ticket. Expect the Democrats to do exactly what the Republicans did in 2016, which is to load the field up with as many candidates as possible, including a few Hollywood celebrities – in order to generate interest, excitement and ultimately to dominate media coverage by creating an overwhelming political spectacle from which one champion will emerge at the party convention in the summer of 2020. But a leopard never changes its spots, and the one thing the Democrat Party never does is leave anything to chance – which means that one champion will have been pre-selected by the Party and the liberal media.  It will be easy to tell who that person is by the fall of 2019.

Michelle Obama 2020 – When she announces, she will be regarded as the presumptive nominee by both her party and the media. Forget about her lack of experience – Trump has already lowered that bar forever – one of the downsides of Trump winning in 2016. Could the bar be lowered again with regards to experience being an actual requirement to hold the top office in the land? That said, as First Lady, she was in charge of school lunches and planning the many White House vacations which became source of controversy for the right-wing press during the Obama reign. The fact is she can work a rally better than any other Democrat bar Bernie Sanders (who also looks likely to run again in 2020). The marketing pitch on CNN and MSNBC is as predictable as it is banal: “buy one, get one free,” or “two for the price of one”, and that free parcel will be Barack Obama. After the 2016 Hillary folly, nothing will energize the Democrats more than the prospect of the Dear Leader returning to the Oval Office on the wing of his other half. For the magpies at MSNBC and CNN, this would be the ultimate, putting a tingling sensation right up the leg of Chris Matthews. However, be warned that if this transpires, it will certainly unleash a war of Identity Politics in America and beyond – a gladiatorial duel pitting a left-wing black woman (Obama) against a right-wing white man (Trump). If past protests are anything to go by, as well as the corporate media’s direct role in stoking anti-Trump unrest in America in late 2016 and 2017, along with the nastiness and toxicity on both sides of the political aisle – then a Trump vs. Obama political contest will definitely result in politicized street violence in America. At that point, all bets are off.

Silicon Stasi – 2017 and 2018 were the years when the partisan ideologues deep state loyalists in Silicon Valley came out of the closet and began to openly censor anything and everything they deemed to be threat to their own political order. The good news is there will be push-back though in 2019, and this could lead to Congressional or Senate hearings on Silicon Valley’s own election meddling and targeted partisan censorship, and possible moves towards federal antitrust lawsuits. The bad news is that the overpaid (and over-rated) techocratic gatekeepers at Facebook, Google, and Twitter will still carry out this dirty practice by further burying their methods in more complicated science and algorithms, especially as they’ve tasted victory in the 2018 Midterms using these same methods. The nexus of corruption between Silicon Valley and Washington DC is now critical – and threatens the very fabric of the American constitutional republic, as well as democracies globally. That’s right: they won’t stop with the US – this is a global censorship program, enforced across their entire platform. This will likely lead to a consumer backlash. But as these companies have a near global monopoly on social media and search engine results, it will take sometime before the masses can migrate out of their invisible digital prison.

Second Referendum – 2018 was the year of massive toxicity injected into the Brexit debate in Britain. For those who have been paying attention closely and aren’t wired into MSM propaganda talking points, the Deal or No Deal farrago, as far back as 2016, the end game was already clear: whether Britain was staying in or leaving the EU, it was always going to opt-in to the policy and conventions it likes, and opt-out of those it did not like. The reality is that the whole Brexit affair has already weakened the European Union, and that will have geopolitical ramifications going forward. But in Britain, the EU referendum itself was nothing more than a formality, and one which the political classes could use to consolidate their own power bases and keep society at each other’s throats while they continued to rob the wealth of the nation and privatize as many public assets as possible under the Neoliberal guise of ‘balancing the state budget’ (aka austerity). This exact plan was outlined in David Cameron’s 2016 white paper, The Best of Both Worlds, but amazingly the entire mainstream media ignored it, opting instead to play the matador in a two year-long three-ring circus which is about the end rather badly. Moreover, Theresa May and the Tory star chamber have always known that the entire issue would be held-up by the Irish border issue in the end, and again, the media dutifully played along with the gag. All signs are pointing to Brexit being overturned by a Second Referendum – a move which deep state publications like The Guardian have been pushing relentlessly for the last year. If this happens in the summer of 2019, expect at the very minimum a soft civil war in the UK – pitting Middle England against the Metropolitaners of London and Edinburgh. To put it more crudely: the red meat-eating, football loving and beer swilling, right-leaning nationalist Brexitiers against the congenial globalization-friendly liberal left-leaning internationalist Remainers. Sounds like fun doesn’t it? It will be for the mainstream media and Westminster elites, both of who are desperate for another crisis which they can spend every waking minute talking about and pretending to ‘fix.’ Moreover, it will divide the country along partisan and ethnic lines, and with any bad luck – usher in a poor facsimile of Oswald Mosley in a somewhat cheaper modern avatar form of Tommy Robinson who is already making a play at taking over the UKIP party, driving it further towards the far fringes of the establishment’s dying Left-Right paradigm. Of course, none of this would be possible if the country had a real Fourth Estate.

More Yellow Vests – It’s a simple equation: the cost of living is rising faster than middle and working class incomes. Add to this, a rapidly expanding underclass who simply cannot work for lack of decently paid jobs with some prospects of advancement. In other words, the promise of the post-WWII dream of upward mobility is gone, and it’s not coming back. Europe is expected to continue experiencing zero percent growth well into the next decade – and the Masters of the Universe (bankers) do not have an answer for this sordid state of affairs. This means you can expect more Gilet Jaunes aka Yellow Vests popping up across Europe and beyond. 2019 will see the Yellow Vest movement go even deeper, into the real core of the issue which is how government is designed and functions. This means they will begin to challenge the EU also, which might even lead to serious calls for “Frexit”. If anyone can up-end the status quo and the sham that our “constituency democracy” has become – it will be the Yellow Vests who finally do it.

European Civil Unrest – Another unintended consequence of the Yellow Vests was the timing of their protests and the foolhardy move by Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders to go ahead with signing on the Marrakesh Pact, a supranational agreement which guarantees EU members will let in millions of African immigrants, with EU members agreeing to a ‘safe and orderly immigration wave.” You could not have blown a bigger dog whistle to mobilize the nationalist and ethno-nationalist blocs right across Europe, particularly in key states like Germany, Italy, Poland, France, Belgium, and Hungary. More to the point, this gives the right-wing additional common cause with the Yellow Vests – which spells trouble for governments who are already losing public trust and confidence. The danger here is that government agent provocateurs embedded within both Right-wing and Left-wing groups may now have a ready-made pretext to start race riots and other untoward violence on the streets of Europe – to which the state will react predictably by ratcheting-up the police state and other means of control, travel restrictions, or even some form of biometric ID cards. The backlash to this is already underway, even though the media are not talking about it. The state will also use such a crisis to further curtail free speech and assembly, which will cause even more blow-back, leading to a vicious cycle which national states will use to try and consolidate power, but the EU Super-State is not likely to be a winner long-term in such a scenario. Wait and see…

Death of the Left-Right Paradigm – If 2018 demonstrated anything, it’s that western society is entering a post-political epoch, which means that the old post-WWII orientation of the traditional Left-Right political paradigm is now on life support. This shift has been happening gradually for years now, but recent upheavals like the Yellow Vests, Brexit and Europe’s ‘Migrant Crisis’ – have accelerated this process. One of the predictable reactions to this evolution will be increased calls by certain canny (and Machiavellian) members of the establishment for parties of “national unity” and a “centerist option“. But be forewarned: the Neocons and radical pragmatists will quickly rush to occupy this new political real estate which will be marketed to the masses as a panacea to polarized politics by introducing ‘the new center’ whose protagonists will likely include war criminals like Tony Blair and David Cameron, as well as deep state operatives like Joe Biden and Mitt Romney. But what the elites are truly afraid of is something completely new: calls for increased self-government by citizens, along with calls for a more direct form of democracy – both of which appear to be emerging already via the Yellow Vests in France. If this trend continues, that will bring with it a genuine ‘welcome to the future’ moment for 21st century western society.

Brussels Breaks with Washington on Russian Sanctions – One of the unintended consequences of Trump’s rambunctious trade wars, threatening sanctions against European countries for buying natural gas from neighboring Russia, and berating fellow NATO member states with protection racket threats – is that some of the European states are now thinking seriously about reclaiming what is left of their dignity and sovereignty. One of the keys to this equation is the Ukraine – partly because the EU side of the sanctions equation is still tied to the Minsk Agreement. The US and UK would like to drag Europe and NATO deeper into this situation if possible, in order to maintain a strategy of tension which is extremely profitable for certain interests, but not for the average working person in the EU – just ask Italy, Greece or Spain. This means that we’ll likely hear some serious talk from EU states about tapering off sanctions against Russia, and more importantly – in Germany you may now hear real calls to finally eject the US military occupation of the county which has been in place since WWII. The latter has the potential to really up-end the US-led post-WWII global order and extended deterrence doctrine which so many in the US have taken for granted as a permanent fixture of unipolar dominance. The US and NATO’s answer to this, of course, is to continue egging-on a war with Russia. They may succeed, but attitudes and priorities are changing, which means nothing can last forever.

US Out of Iraq? – In late 2018, Trump dropped the ultimate bombshell when he announced the US would be ‘pulling out’ of Syria and also bringing half its troops home from Afghanistan. In the wake of such a major draw-down, US military pundits seemed almost relieved when President Trump did his surprise Christmas visit to Iraq. But this also brought the long-term US military presence back into focus for Iraqi MPs – who are suddenly wanting answers to questions of US violations of Iraqi sovereignty – leading calls for the US to leave their country. This may not happen over night, but it’s now a political bone of contention. The danger here is that the US deep state apparatus, namely the CIA and the Pentagon, will be looking to create a pretext whereby the emergence of some “terror threat” in Iraq can be used to justify the ongoing US military occupation of parts of Iraq along the Syrian border and a sizable portion of the capital, Baghdad. Make no mistake about it: this is literally an existential crisis for the US Military Industrial & Intelligence Complex – so look for this pretext to emerge in early 2019. In reality, what we are really witnessing here is a fundamental shift in US grand strategy, from a post-WWII liberal international order dominated by defensive realism, to a new more multipolar arrangement with the US focusing more on its own hemisphere, while accepting some emerging rivals – although very few people in the US media and foreign policy establishment will be brave enough to admit this publicly just yet.

Netanyahu Must Go – The latter part of 2018 saw Bibi Netanyahu’s hard-line Likud Coalition collapse – leaving the prospect of a change in Israeli leadership a real possibility for the first time in nearly 20 years. As it stands, Israel will call an early general election on April 9, 2019. Will Bibi finally exit from the main stage, and if so, will he be replaced by another ultra-Zionist, or a more moderate or progressive leader? Whichever way it goes, the result may influence the trajectory of Palestine’s destiny going forward. In the meantime, expect a desperate Netanyahu to try and drum-up various existential threats to the security of State of Israel in order to reinforce his hard-line support base which has been flagging ever since the IDF’s recent debacle in Gaza. Expect talk of ‘destroying Hezbollah tunnels‘ on the Lebanese border in Operation Northern Shield, or more provocations, fabricated threats and war games with neighboring Syria.

Libya and Gaddafi the YoungerLast year, we predicted that the son of the late Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, would return as a person of political influence in Libya. Indeed, this has happened. In 2019, he will make a challenge for the leadership of the country, and unlike many of his US-backed rivals and favored bureaucrats – he does have a very loyal support base among the Libyan population. Not only that, but Saif will likely have the backing of the Middle East’s new king-makers in Moscow. Needless to say, Washington and Tel Aviv, as well as the GCC, are not very happy to see a popular Arab nationalist coming to the fore, and so expect the Western clandestine machine to spin into action and snare him in some controversy, or worse (yes, the unthinkable).

5G – 2019 is the year when advanced countries begin rolling out the new 5G cellular network, supposedly designed to “make life easier for people” (as if that’s actually necessary), but in reality will provide governments and their tech monopoly partners with the total surveillance grid framework they have been graving for since as far back as Huxley and Orwell. Think Google Maps on steroids, with heat signatures, and also charging you for every mile you drive (and with any luck, for walking too). What’s potentially worse though, is that this new technology utilizes dangerous military-grade frequency bands, and it is completely untested on humans, animals, plants and insect life. In other words: the health risks are very real, which really means we are all corporate guinea pigs in what is to be one of the biggest commercial experiment in human history. In truth, elites simply do not care if it all goes sideways, so long as they can cash in on their IPOs and run off to their private islands in the Caribbean. In short, the 5G roll-out is the epitome of corporate recklessness – and our governments are ‘all in’ on this operation.

Cannabis Goes Mainstream – 2018 was a huge year in terms of legalization of cannabis in the US and in other parts of the world. While initially this has been progressing along the ‘medical marijuana’ track, the momentum is now heading into the recreational drug use sector as well, and even more crucially – into the industrial hemp sector too. Also, 2019 will see more millionaires and billionaires made through the legal trade of cannabis and industrial hemp. This has the potential to kick-start a mini agricultural revolution in the US and across the world.

A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) – 2018 was a huge year for A.I., especially in areas like deep learning and intelligent algorithms. While this has been constantly hyped in the media, expect that hype to die-down somewhat as A.I. becomes an accepted reality of our day-to-day infrastructure – just like “the internet” itself became an almost invisible platform hosting our favorite apps and social networks. In 2019, the A.I. revolution will not be so much about machines doing our manual labor for us, but rather machines doing more of our thinking and decision-making for us. This will include planning and strategizing, and sifting through hundreds of purchasing choices in order to tell us exactly what we really want or need. This is already happening in the background now, only it will become more formalized and accepted as a human adjunct in 2019. This will include even more use of ‘bot chats’ when interacting with any customer service interface. In the related field of robotics, we’ll most certainly see a big surge in human-looking ‘sex bots’ – an industry which will turnover tens of billions in 2019, including ‘sex bot brothels‘ opening up in every major city in Europe, and possibly in Asia too. A more fundamental question should be: what does all this mean for the evolution human brain? Unfortunately, we see it getting smaller with each advance in A.I.

RMA – In military terms, this acronym stands for ‘Revolution in Military Affairs’. 2019 will see an RMA, but not necessarily one which benefits offensive US global hegemonic stance. Rather, this RMA favors those countries interested in authentic defense and deterrence against threats from the US. One of the centerpieces of this RMA will be new Russian and Chinese technology ranging from land and ship-based hypersonic missiles to rail-gun and projectile weaponry, as well as A.I. driven autonomous drones and aircraft. This defensive technology is revolutionary because it has the potential to neutralize an opponent with relatively superior air and naval power. One potential risk or downside to this line of tech is that it has the potential to nullify the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) which has been the governing doctrine between geopolitical rivals the US and Russia (formerly Soviet Union). A new RMA could increase one party’s ability to knock out first strike or second strike of their adversary, but which also increases uncertainty when applying game theory to Cold War type of rivalry. Much of this war-gaming is theoretical of course, as no sane party would want to test actions and outcomes between two nuclear states (sane being the operative word). Regardless, the introduction of new technology will usher in an RMA, which means military powers will have to adjust their strategies and policies accordingly, or find themselves permanently on the back foot.

New Moon Shot – With so few conquests left to undertake these days, and with so many spaces on the geopolitical monopoly board already spoken for, competing world powers are looking for new daylight. This means the Moon will be back on the global aspirational agenda again in 2019. China has already positioned itself far ahead of the competition on this one. But the one which is really going to rattle Washington’s cage is if the Russians follow through with their threat to “fact check” NASA’s moon landing claims by mounting their own exploratory mission to the Moon. The big losers in all of this of course… will be the Flat Earthers.

HOW ACCURATE WERE WE? TAKE A LOOKING BACK AT PREVIOUS YEARS…

SHAKE & BAKE: 2018 Trends and Predictions from 21WIRE

THE BIG SHUFFLE: 2017 Trends and Predictions from 21WIRE

LOOKING AHEAD: 2016 Predictions and Trends from 21WIRE

GAME CHANGERS: 2015 Predictions and Trends from 21WIRE

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