Thursday, February 23, 2017

Let's not create the hideous monster that our government is becoming

Austin literally tops the charts of ICE noncriminal arrests in the country.  We are paying the price, I feel, for our city's and district's position on being a sanctuary city and safe space for our children, families, and community, as well as because of our high level of organizing and organizational capacity as any analysis of organizations concerned and involved would reveal. 

Nor does it help that we are situated in the shadow of the Texas State capitol building that is currently in session that is trying, at the urging of our governor, Greg Abbott, to pass legislation (SB4) that would make it illegal for any Texas city to be a sanctuary for our state's undocumented immigrant population.

These are terribly sad and tragic news for these families and for our community as a whole.

The piece I just posted kon When the Nazis wrote the Nuremberg laws, they looked to racist American statutes provides an important history lesson.  Genocide didn't start out right away.  It all began with laws that first turned them into second class citizens, opening a door to what ultimately became a state-sponsored genocidal project.

It is in our best interest as a policy that we learn from this history so that we do not create the hideous monster that our government is becoming.

Angela Valenzuela

Austin No. 1 in U.S. — for noncriminals arrested in ICE raids


More than half of the 51 people detained in the Austin area during a recent ICE oporation were “noncriminals.”
Records obtained by the Statesman indicate a different outcome than the one federal officials had announced.
ICE officials have said the operation was aimed at the most dangerous violent criminals.
U.S. immigration agents who conducted a recent operation in the Austin area arrested a higher percentage of people here with no previous criminal convictions compared with other regions of the country and swept up more people found guilty of drunken driving than any other offense, federal documents obtained by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV show.
The information, compiled by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and presented late last week to several U.S. congressional officials, provides the most comprehensive data available about the national operation that sparked a furor in Austin, where 51 people were arrested.
It also intensified questions Wednesday about whom federal agents targeted as part of Operation Cross Check, which ICE officials have said was aimed at the most dangerous, violent criminals.
RELATED: On ‘Day Without Immigrants,’ call to embrace Austin workers, families
The newly obtained records indicate a somewhat different outcome than federal officials had publicly announced, prompting condemnation from some officials and immigration advocates.
“Statistics, mere numbers don’t convey the depth of the sad story of lives interrupted,” said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin. “An indiscriminate deportation policy that does not target those that pose a real threat makes our communities less safe, divides families, and will hurt our economy.”
Austin City Council Member Greg Casar, who represents North Austin’s District 4, said the ICE operation in Austin tore hard-working families apart.
“ICE officials attempt to justify themselves by holding up the criminal records of a few people,” he said.
Documents show that of the 51 people arrested by federal immigration agents, 23 were previously identified by ICE as having criminal convictions. Yet 28 of them were deemed “noncriminals” by the immigration agency — meaning they didn’t have previous criminal convictions but were suspected of being in the country illegally.
The number of noncriminal people arrested during the operation number stands in sharp contrast to other regions where the operation took place.
STATESMAN IN-DEPTH: In ‘sanctuary’ fight, a new question of justice emerges
According to the data, in the Austin region — which includes the cities of San Antonio, Del Rio, Laredo and Waco — 55 percent of those arrested were “noncriminal,” compared with 34 percent in Atlanta, 30 percent in Chicago, 6 percent in Los Angeles and 5 percent in New York.
It was unclear why the Austin area had more noncriminal arrests, but federal officials said they suspect it could be the result of “collateral apprehensions” — the arrest of a person because they might have been with a wanted individual at the time.
“During targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws,” ICE said in a recent statement. “Those persons will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and when appropriate, arrested by ICE.”
ICE officials have declined to identify the 51 people detained as part of the operation during a four-day period during the second week of February, making it difficult to know why the immigrants were arrested and their previous criminal histories, if any.
A large number of the 51 people are thought to be from Austin, federal officials said.
The Statesman has been attempting to learn their names through other means, including family members and limited federal court records.
The operation in Austin came to light after U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, who recently condemned new Homeland Security Department directives revealed Tuesday that expand immigration enforcement across the country, confirmed on Feb. 10 rumors that immigration officials were carrying out targeted arrests in the Austin-San Antonio area.
ALSO READ: Austin immigrant arrests part of surge attributed by some to Trump
Soon after the operation became public, ICE officials highlighted the arrests of a citizen of El Salvador who had pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of a child and of a Mexican citizen convicted of repeat domestic violence offenses.
According to the data, of the 23 people with criminal convictions, nine were convicted of drunken driving, two for assault and two for sexual offenses involving children. But the data include several individuals who had been convicted of marijuana possession, obstructing the police and drug trafficking.
The operation struck fear in Austin, prompting protests and vocal responses by some City Council members.
Mayor Steve Adler sent an open letter to citizens of Austin, saying the city is a welcome, inclusive community.
“One consequence of this is the fear and panic among many of our neighbors who do not pose threats to our community,” Adler wrote. “Some family members are disappearing with their whereabouts unknown. Some parents, fearful of apprehension, aren’t sure of what will happen to their U.S.-born citizen children, not to mention the home they’ve owned for years and into which they’ve placed all their family savings.”
He added that Austin police haven’t had any role in the operation.
“The numbers of how many have been detained show that immigration (ICE) is lying, that the administration is lying in regard to the people who are being deported,” said Alejandro Caceres, an immigration organizer with the group Grassroots Leadership. “For us it doesn’t matter who was deported, for us all deportations and detentions were unjust.”


Op-Ed. When the Nazis wrote the Nuremberg laws, they looked to racist American statutes

This piece in today's Los Angeles Times written by James Q. Whitman is illuminating.  Whitman is a Yale Law School professor of comparative and foreign law and author ofHitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law.”  

Super interesting.


Op-Ed.  When the Nazis wrote the Nuremberg laws, they looked to racist American statutes

James Q. Whitman / February 22, 2017 / Los Angeles Times

The European far right sees much to admire in the United States, with political leaders such as Marine le Pen of France and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands celebrating events — such as the recent presidential election — that seem to bode well for their brand of ethno-nationalism. Is this cross-Atlantic bond unprecedented? A sharp break with the past? If it seems so, that’s only because we rarely acknowledge America’s place in the extremist vanguard — its history as a model, even, for the very worst European excesses.

In the late 1920s, Adolf Hitler declared in “Mein Kampf” that America was the "one state" making progress toward the creation of a healthy race-based order. He had in mind U.S. immigration law, which featured a quota system designed , as Nazi lawyers observed, to preserve the dominance of "Nordic" blood in the United States. 

The American commitment to putting race at the center of immigration policy reached back to the Naturalization Act of 1790, which opened citizenship to "any alien, being a free white person."  But immigration was only part of what made the U.S. a world leader in racist law in the age of Hitler. 

Then as now, the U.S. was the home of a uniquely bold and creative legal culture, and it was harnessed in the service of white supremacy. Legislators crafted anti-miscegenation statutes in 30 states, some of which threatened severe criminal punishment for interracial marriage.  And they developed American racial classifications, some of which deemed any person with even "one drop" of black blood to belong to the disfavored race. Widely denied the right to vote through clever devices like literacy tests, blacks were de facto second-class citizens. American lawyers also invented new forms of de jure second-class citizenship for Filipinos, Puerto Ricans and more. 

The ugly irony is that when the Nazis rejected American law, it was often because they found it too harsh.
European racists followed these toxic innovations with keen interest. Of course they were well aware that America had strong egalitarian traditions, and many of them predicted that American race law would prove inadequate to stem the rising tide of race-mixing. Hitler, however, was cautiously hopeful about America's future as a white supremacist state, and after he took power in 1933 his Nazi Party displayed the same attitude. 
This is the background to a disturbing story: the story of the American influence on the Nuremberg Laws, the notorious anti-Jewish legislation proclaimed amid the pageantry of the Nazi Party Rally at Nuremberg in September of 1935.
At a crucial 1934 planning meeting for the Nuremberg system, the Minister of Justice presented a memorandum on American law.  According to a transcript, he led a detailed discussion of miscegenation statutes from all over the United States. Moreover it is clear that the most radical Nazis were the most eager advocates of American practices. Roland Freisler, who would become president of the Nazi People's Court, declared that American jurisprudence "would suit us perfectly."
And the ugly irony is that when the Nazis rejected American law, it was often because they found it too harsh.  For example, Nazi observers shuddered at the "human hardness" of the “one drop” rule, which classified people "of predominantly white appearance" as blacks.  To them, American racism was sometimes simply too inhumane.
That may sound implausible — too awful to believe — but in their early years in power, the Nazis were not yet contemplating the "final solution.” At first, they had a different fate in mind for the German Jewry:  Jews were to be reduced to second-class citizenship and punished criminally if they sought to marry or engage in sexual contact with "Aryans."  The ultimate goal  was to terrify Germany's Jews into emigrating.
And for that program, America offered the obvious model — even if, as one Nazi lawyer put it in 1936, the Americans had "so far" not persecuted their Jews.  Of course the Nazis did not simply do a cut-and-paste job, in part because much of American law avoided open racism. (Laws intended to keep blacks from the polls did not explicitly name their target.) But American antimiscegenation law was frankly racist, and the Nazi criminalization of intermarriage followed the American lead.
In a sense, this ugly tale about the history of American racism is also about American innovation gone awry. Today, we’re leaders in the creation of corporate law; back then, it was race law. Other countries, such as Australia, put legislative obstacles in the way of mixed marriages, but the United States went so far as to threaten long prison terms.
And we must not forget how tenaciously the racist rulebook that the Nazis admired held on in the United States. Antimiscegenation laws were only struck down at the tail end of the civil rights era, in 1967. Race-based immigration policies did not fully end until 1968 — long after the Greatest Generation stormed the beaches of Normandy and liberated Nazi death camps. 

James Q. Whitman is a professor of comparative and foreign law at Yale Law School. He is the author of “Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law.”  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Who's really out of control here...Trump or California?

Excuse me... Quite the contrary.  Trump is out of control.  I'm happy to share here California scholar and colleague Dr. Ricardo Stanton-Salazar's response to this:

LA Times February 21, 2017

POTUS has cast California as “out of control” ….proposed legislation [in Sacramento] would make the entire state a sanctuary for “illegal aliens” …. [according to POTUS] “illegal aliens breed crime.”
Huge demographic change in CAL since 1980: Today the state’s population of 40 million is 40% Latino, 13% Asian, and only 38% white. Over the past two decades, CAL has seen an influx of 3.5 million immigrants, mostly Latino. An estimated 2.4 million undocumented immigrants also live in the state.
CRIMINALS!! ?? According to the FBI, the California Department of Justice and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the state has seen precipitous drops in every major category of crime and violence that can be reliable measured. In Trump terms, you might say that modern California is the opposite of “American carnage.”
The numbers are striking. Since 1980, California’s rate of reported crime overall has fallen by 62%.
[see rest of article on page A11, OP-ED]
Mike Males (Senior Researcher for the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in San Francisco)

And let's remember.  California and the rest of the Southwest exists because our people were invaded by Europeans. The continent, too, our Motherland.

Our lands were taken away.  And they still are getting taken away through gentrification, school charterization, and neoliberal policies that equate to land grabs and "accumulation by dispossession," to use neoliberalism scholar, David Harvey's words.

We as a community throughout the passage of time have shown admirable restraint—less, I think, because we're deferential, and more because psychically, emotionally, spiritually, and historically, we are still home.  Our ancestors never left this continent.  We never left.  Y no nos vamos!

Leave us alone, Donald Trump!  Stop wreaking havoc on our people, our children, teachers, and communities.  Not only have we not done anything to you, you and your billionaire friends are rich in great part because of their sacrifices and poorly-paid labor.  

And c'mon people.  Join us in letting your representatives know the impact of these nightmarish injustices on our communities.

If you do not know who represents you, click here to find out.

Angela Valenzuela

 (Fox News Channel)
(Fox News Channel)
Declaring California to be “out of control,” President Trump threatened to withhold federal funding to the state if it votes to declare itself a sanctuary state.
A state Senate committee on Tuesday approved a bill from State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León that would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from using officers or jails to uphold federal immigration laws, effectively a statewide version of so-called sanctuary cities.
In an interview airing during Fox’s Super Bowl pregame show, Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly asked the president about the plan.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump said, reiterating his opposition to sanctuary cities, which he said “breed crime.” He signed an executive order in his first week in office that threatened to withhold federal funding for cities that don't cooperate with federal immigration officials.
“If we have to, we’ll defund," Trump said. "We give tremendous amounts of money to California. California in many ways is out of control, as you know.”
Trump said it wasn’t his preference to do so, and that states and cities should get money they need “to properly operate.”
But, “if they’re going to have sanctuary cities, we may have to do that. Certainly that would be a weapon,” he said.

Trump's Latest Ethnic Cleansing Directive and Latino disenfranchisement

These directives by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) came out yesterday from the Trump administration and they are alarming. 
Do read every word of this post in order to inform yourself of this ethnic cleansing campaign inscribed in policy and its concomitant call for border militarization resulting, as it were, in an ethno-nationalistic police state that is reminiscent of Nazi Germany (read this in-depth, chilling exposé by Sarah Posner in case you have any doubts).

Trump puts tougher immigration policy in motion: Thousands of new immigration officers could lead to a spike in deportations.  By Josh Dawsey and Ted Hesson 02/21/17

Mexican officials riled by Trump’s new deportation memos: The release of the documents comes on the eve of Tillerson and Kelly’s trip south of the border. By

This is fully about ethnic cleansing and as a consequence, Mexican American and Latino disenfranchisement.  It makes sense when we think of changing demographics and how whites are feeling de-centered in our country, insecure about their long-enjoyed privilegesthat they either fail, or don't want, to seeparticularly among elites who simply can't accept the browning of America that, by the way, even these directives cannot ultimately stop.

Do consider making a contribution to the institute's efforts here as this is utterly terrifying and terroristic.

Also, do reach out to your representatives to share with them your thoughts.   If you do not know who represents you, click here to find out and do reach out to them right away on the wrong-headedness of this direction in policy.

Angela Valenzuela





William C. Velásquez Institute

For Immediate Release                                                        More Info: Patricia Gonzales

WCVI President Denounces Trump Administrations Directive on Deportations
Trump Policy Has Gone from Bad to Worse

(Los Angeles, Feb 21, 2017) The narrative that early Trump Administration executive orders were so controversial and amounted to such bad policy because the Trump team was in chaos has turned out to be utterly false.  After a month of self-organization, the "well written" Trump Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implementing memo spells out the worst-case scenario of mass deportations, criminalization, and border militarization.

Indeed WCVI accuses the Trump Administration of seeking to launch a sui generis ethnic cleansing campaign against undocumented immigrants, 85% of whom are from Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Definition of ethnic cleansing:  the expulsion, imprisonment, or killing of an ethnic minority by a dominant majority in order to achieve ethnic homogeneity

The DHS Memo broadly defines who should be deported, far more so than under Obama, and in practice would cover nearly all undocumented rather than the 1% with criminal records. It also enhances the existing DHS/ICE "deportation force" with 15,000 new personnel.

Under Trumps' plan, human and civil rights violations will impact tens if not hundreds of thousands of immigrants and citizens alike. Under Obama, 20,000 US citizens were mistakenly captured in raids, this kind of ethno-racial profiling will get worse with the new directives. 

The cost to taxpayers of hunting down the 11 million undocumented will be tens of billions of dollars. 

The annual economic impact of forcibly removing seven million employed undocumented immigrants from the economy will be hundreds of billions of dollars. Entire regional economic sectors like agriculture, hospitality, and construction, in California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Arizona, and Nevada will go into contraction.

Immigrant families will suffer mightily as parents will be criminalized for uniting with their children. Federally funded private immigrant prisons along the border will reap massive profits as they are expanded and filled to the gills with obligatory incarceration of captured immigrants.

The border will become a further militarized "no - mans - land" by adding 5,000 border guards and more than a thousand miles of wall to the already existing 20,000 guards and 700 miles of fencing at a cost of 20-40 billion taxpayer dollars. This at a time when all the data shows net zero or near net zero cross border migration since 2007:

Coincidentally, unless a miracle happens, the Supreme Court will soon enable US border guards to shoot to kill Mexican immigrants on Mexican soil!

WCVI calls on "the resistance movement" to pressure Congress to deny appropriations to Trump's immigrant ethnic cleansing campaign and border militarization. Instead Congress should enact a common sense legalization program for law abiding undocumented persons and Trump should halt his ill advised cold war on Mexico.


William C. Velasquez Institute, 320 El Paso, San Antonio, TX 78207



Study: US Already Spent $250 Billion in Border Security: Building Border Wall Unnecessary

Here's an earlier piece that cites a study by Dr. Raul Hinojosa at UCLA on just how much Trump's border wall is going to cost U.S. taxpayers.
The study Duro Contra el Muro: Analysis of Costs and Impacts of Migratory Control Policies in the US by Dr. Raul Hinojosa of the North American Integration and Development Center (NAID Center) concluded that the US border with Mexico has been stable for years due to a combination of US enforcement spending, declining US labor demand, and demographic decline in Mexico.  

This political move also of course seriously places U.S.-Mexico relations in jeopardy, let alone its people. Let's get informed and let's challenge our representatives in Congress on just how foolhardy this is, let alone hateful—such that it's already getting termed by pundits as "A Cold War with Mexico."  Surreal, but true.

Angela Valenzuela

William C. Velásquez Institute
For Immediate Release                           More Information: Tricia Gonzales, 210-240-9546
                                                                Antonio Gonzalez 323-849-4496           
Study: US Already Spent $250 Billion in Border Security
Building Border Wall Unnecessary
(Mexico City, August 31, 2016) "Over the last generation the US has spent nearly $250 billion dollars in border enforcement through various federal laws and annual budget appropriations. Immigration from Mexico has been net zero or negative since 2007. The notion that immigration reform needs to include more border enforcement spending is contrary to the facts. In real terms this element of America's broken immigration system has been solved," said Antonio Gonzalez, WCVI President at a press conference in Mexico City on August 30th.
The study Duro Contra el Muro: Analysis of Costs and Impacts of Migratory Control Policies in the US by Dr. Raul Hinojosa of the North American Integration and Development Center (NAID Center) concluded that the US border with Mexico has been stable for years due to a combination of US enforcement spending, declining US labor demand, and demographic decline in Mexico.
Hinojosa remarked at the Mexico City press conference "that massive US border enforcement spending has reached absurd heights. US taxpayers are now spending $45,000 for each border apprehension of an unauthorized immigrant compared to slightly more than $1,100 per immigrant in 1992. Today on average each border guard captures 1.6 immigrants per month, compared to about one per day 1992.
"The US government is already wasting tax-payers money on border enforcement. And proposals from Presidential Candidate Trump and the bipartisan Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform proposal S744 of 2014 -which contained the so called 'border-surge program' would waste tens of billions more."
"Now more than ever the 9 million unregistered Mexican Americans need to register and vote in the upcoming US elections to send a message to Congress and the President that they oppose building a wall and increased border enforcement. Mexican Americans want legalization for the millions of undocumented workers in our country that have toiled for decades in our fields, restaurants, and factories without basic human and civil rights. They deserve justice," concluded Gonzalez who is also President of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP).
See the links below or go to for a copy of the study in English or Spanish.


Autocracy: Rules for Survival by Masha Gessen

This piece written by Masha Gessen on the very heels of the presidential election offers the following wisdom based on her having spent much of her career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia and on the topic of autocracy.  I learned about her, by the way, from one of our country's leading conservative columnist George F. Will who came out yesterday evening on MSNBC and who calls Trump a "con artist" and "clown act."  He is today officially a "former republican."  I strongly encourage you to see the show in its entirety here:  The GOP's conversion to a 'political sociopath' 

Here are the rules followed with one of Gessen's comments that resonates with me this morning.

Rule #1: Believe the autocrat.
Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality
Rule #3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule #4: Be outraged.
Rule #5: Don’t make compromises
Rule #6: Remember the future.
Those who argue for cooperation will make the case, much as President Obama did in his speech, that cooperation is essential for the future. They will be willfully ignoring the corrupting touch of autocracy, from which the future must be protected. (my italics)
Forewarned is forearmed.  Let's unceasingly challenge not only autocracy but also those like Trump, Bannon, and his cabinet that  embodies it.

George F. Will inspires great hope, by the way who forecasts that things will change by next summer.   You may follow his column in the Washington Post here.

Angela Valenzuela

Autocracy: Rules for Survival

Protesters outside Trump Tower the day after the election, New York City, November 9, 2016
Andrew Kelly TPX/ReutersProtesters outside Trump Tower the day after the election, New York City, November 9, 2016
“Thank you, my friends. Thank you. Thank you. We have lost. We have lost, and this is the last day of my political career, so I will say what must be said. We are standing at the edge of the abyss. Our political system, our society, our country itself are in greater danger than at any time in the last century and a half. The president-elect has made his intentions clear, and it would be immoral to pretend otherwise. We must band together right now to defend the laws, the institutions, and the ideals on which our country is based.”

That, or something like that, is what Hillary Clinton should have said on Wednesday. Instead, she said, resignedly,
We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power. We don’t just respect that. We cherish it. It also enshrines the rule of law; the principle [that] we are all equal in rights and dignity; freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values, too, and we must defend them.
Hours later, President Barack Obama was even more conciliatory:
We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country. The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world….We have to remember that we’re actually all on one team.
The president added, “The point, though, is that we all go forward with a presumption of good faith in our fellow citizens, because that presumption of good faith is essential to a vibrant and functioning democracy.” As if Donald Trump had not conned his way into hours of free press coverage, as though he had released (and paid) his taxes, or not brazenly denigrated our system of government, from the courts and Congress, to the election process itself—as if, in other words, he had not won the election precisely by acting in bad faith.

Similar refrains were heard from various members of the liberal commentariat, with Tom Friedman vowing, “I am not going to try to make my president fail,” to Nick Kristof calling on “the approximately 52 percent majority of voters who supported someone other than Donald Trump” to “give president Trump a chance.” Even the politicians who have in the past appealed to the less-establishment part of the Democratic electorate sounded the conciliatory note. Senator Elizabeth Warren promised to “put aside our differences.” Senator Bernie Sanders was only slightly more cautious, vowing to try to find the good in Trump: “To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him.”

However well-intentioned, this talk assumes that Trump is prepared to find common ground with his many opponents, respect the institutions of government, and repudiate almost everything he has stood for during the campaign. In short, it is treating him as a “normal” politician. There has until now been little evidence that he can be one.

More dangerously, Clinton’s and Obama’s very civil passages, which ended in applause lines, seemed to close off alternative responses to his minority victory. (It was hard not to be reminded of Neville Chamberlain’s statement, that “We should seek by all means in our power to avoid war, by analyzing possible causes, by trying to remove them, by discussion in a spirit of collaboration and good will.”) Both Clinton’s and Obama’s phrases about the peaceful transfer of power concealed the omission of a call to action. The protesters who took to the streets of New York, Los Angeles, and other American cities on Wednesday night did so not because of Clinton’s speech but in spite of it. One of the falsehoods in the Clinton speech was the implied equivalency between civil resistance and insurgency. This is an autocrat’s favorite con, the explanation for the violent suppression of peaceful protests the world over.

The second falsehood is the pretense that America is starting from scratch and its president-elect is a tabula rasa. Or we are: “we owe him an open mind.” It was as though Donald Trump had not, in the course of his campaign, promised to deport US citizens, promised to create a system of surveillance targeted specifically at Muslim Americans, promised to build a wall on the border with Mexico, advocated war crimes, endorsed torture, and repeatedly threatened to jail Hillary Clinton herself. It was as though those statements and many more could be written off as so much campaign hyperbole and now that the campaign was over, Trump would be eager to become a regular, rule-abiding politician of the pre-Trump era.

But Trump is anything but a regular politician and this has been anything but a regular election. Trump will be only the fourth candidate in history and the second in more than a century to win the presidency after losing the popular vote. He is also probably the first candidate in history to win the presidency despite having been shown repeatedly by the national media to be a chronic liar, sexual predator, serial tax-avoider, and race-baiter who has attracted the likes of the Ku Klux Klan. Most important, Trump is the first candidate in memory who ran not for president but for autocrat—and won.

I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now:

Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization. This will happen often: humans seem to have evolved to practice denial when confronted publicly with the unacceptable. Back in the 1930s, The New York Times assured its readers that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was all posture. More recently, the same newspaper made a telling choice between two statements made by Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov following a police crackdown on protesters in Moscow: “The police acted mildly—I would have liked them to act more harshly” rather than those protesters’ “liver should have been spread all over the pavement.” Perhaps the journalists could not believe their ears. But they should—both in the Russian case, and in the American one. For all the admiration Trump has expressed for Putin, the two men are very different; if anything, there is even more reason to listen to everything Trump has said. He has no political establishment into which to fold himself following the campaign, and therefore no reason to shed his campaign rhetoric. On the contrary: it is now the establishment that is rushing to accommodate him—from the president, who met with him at the White House on Thursday, to the leaders of the Republican Party, who are discarding their long-held scruples to embrace his radical positions.

He has received the support he needed to win, and the adulation he craves, precisely because of his outrageous threats. Trump rally crowds have chanted “Lock her up!” They, and he, meant every word. If Trump does not go after Hillary Clinton on his first day in office, if he instead focuses, as his acceptance speech indicated he might, on the unifying project of investing in infrastructure (which, not coincidentally, would provide an instant opportunity to reward his cronies and himself), it will be foolish to breathe a sigh of relief. Trump has made his plans clear, and he has made a compact with his voters to carry them out. These plans include not only dismantling legislation such as Obamacare but also doing away with judicial restraint—and, yes, punishing opponents.

To begin jailing his political opponents, or just one opponent, Trump will begin by trying to capture members of the judicial system. Observers and even activists functioning in the normal-election mode are fixated on the Supreme Court as the site of the highest-risk impending Trump appointment. There is little doubt that Trump will appoint someone who will cause the Court to veer to the right; there is also the risk that it might be someone who will wreak havoc with the very culture of the high court. And since Trump plans to use the judicial system to carry out his political vendettas, his pick for attorney general will be no less important. Imagine former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie going after Hillary Clinton on orders from President Trump; quite aside from their approach to issues such as the Geneva Conventions, the use of police powers, criminal justice reforms, and other urgent concerns.

Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality. Consider the financial markets this week, which, having tanked overnight, rebounded following the Clinton and Obama speeches. Confronted with political volatility, the markets become suckers for calming rhetoric from authority figures. So do people. Panic can be neutralized by falsely reassuring words about how the world as we know it has not ended. It is a fact that the world did not end on November 8 nor at any previous time in history. Yet history has seen many catastrophes, and most of them unfolded over time. That time included periods of relative calm. One of my favorite thinkers, the Jewish historian Simon Dubnow, breathed a sigh of relief in early October 1939: he had moved from Berlin to Latvia, and he wrote to his friends that he was certain that the tiny country wedged between two tyrannies would retain its sovereignty and Dubnow himself would be safe. Shortly after that, Latvia was occupied by the Soviets, then by the Germans, then by the Soviets again—but by that time Dubnow had been killed. Dubnow was well aware that he was living through a catastrophic period in history—it’s just that he thought he had managed to find a pocket of normality within it.

Rule #3: Institutions will not save you. It took Putin a year to take over the Russian media and four years to dismantle its electoral system; the judiciary collapsed unnoticed. The capture of institutions in Turkey has been carried out even faster, by a man once celebrated as the democrat to lead Turkey into the EU. Poland has in less than a year undone half of a quarter century’s accomplishments in building a constitutional democracy.

Of course, the United States has much stronger institutions than Germany did in the 1930s, or Russia does today. Both Clinton and Obama in their speeches stressed the importance and strength of these institutions. The problem, however, is that many of these institutions are enshrined in political culture rather than in law, and all of them—including the ones enshrined in law—depend on the good faith of all actors to fulfill their purpose and uphold the Constitution.

The national press is likely to be among the first institutional victims of Trumpism. There is no law that requires the presidential administration to hold daily briefings, none that guarantees media access to the White House. Many journalists may soon face a dilemma long familiar to those of us who have worked under autocracies: fall in line or forfeit access. There is no good solution (even if there is a right answer), for journalism is difficult and sometimes impossible without access to information.

The power of the investigative press—whose adherence to fact has already been severely challenged by the conspiracy-minded, lie-spinning Trump campaign—will grow weaker. The world will grow murkier. Even in the unlikely event that some mainstream media outlets decide to declare themselves in opposition to the current government, or even simply to report its abuses and failings, the president will get to frame many issues. Coverage, and thinking, will drift in a Trumpian direction, just as it did during the campaign—when, for example, the candidates argued, in essence, whether Muslim Americans bear collective responsibility for acts of terrorism or can redeem themselves by becoming the “eyes and ears” of law enforcement. Thus was xenophobia further normalized, paving the way for Trump to make good on his promises to track American Muslims and ban Muslims from entering the United States.

Rule #4: Be outraged. If you follow Rule #1 and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised. But in the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock. This will lead people to call you unreasonable and hysterical, and to accuse you of overreacting. It is no fun to be the only hysterical person in the room. Prepare yourself.

Despite losing the popular vote, Trump has secured as much power as any American leader in recent history. The Republican Party controls both houses of Congress. There is a vacancy on the Supreme Court. The country is at war abroad and has been in a state of mobilization for fifteen years. This means not only that Trump will be able to move fast but also that he will become accustomed to an unusually high level of political support. He will want to maintain and increase it—his ideal is the totalitarian-level popularity numbers of Vladimir Putin—and the way to achieve that is through mobilization. There will be more wars, abroad and at home.

Rule #5: Don’t make compromises. Like Ted Cruz, who made the journey from calling Trump “utterly amoral” and a “pathological liar” to endorsing him in late September to praising his win as an “amazing victory for the American worker,” Republican politicians have fallen into line. Conservative pundits who broke ranks during the campaign will return to the fold. Democrats in Congress will begin to make the case for cooperation, for the sake of getting anything done—or at least, they will say, minimizing the damage. Nongovernmental organizations, many of which are reeling at the moment, faced with a transition period in which there is no opening for their input, will grasp at chances to work with the new administration. This will be fruitless—damage cannot be minimized, much less reversed, when mobilization is the goal—but worse, it will be soul-destroying. In an autocracy, politics as the art of the possible is in fact utterly amoral. Those who argue for cooperation will make the case, much as President Obama did in his speech, that cooperation is essential for the future. They will be willfully ignoring the corrupting touch of autocracy, from which the future must be protected.

Rule #6: Remember the future. Nothing lasts forever. Donald Trump certainly will not, and Trumpism, to the extent that it is centered on Trump’s persona, will not either. Failure to imagine the future may have lost the Democrats this election. They offered no vision of the future to counterbalance Trump’s all-too-familiar white-populist vision of an imaginary past. They had also long ignored the strange and outdated institutions of American democracy that call out for reform—like the electoral college, which has now cost the Democratic Party two elections in which Republicans won with the minority of the popular vote. That should not be normal. But resistance—stubborn, uncompromising, outraged—should be.