Thursday, January 01, 2009
Another spin around the solar merry-go-round. What will this new year bring?
Prognostication is not my forté. But, then again, I'm just as likely to guess correctly as any schmo on that electronic talkie picture machine, so here we go.
Israel will continue her brutal oppression of the Palestinians, but will temper her military aggression in an apparent concession to international pressure. The current spate of indiscriminate bombing in Gaza is Israel's last hurrah, her last smack in the Palestinian face. At least, for the time being. The days of complete freedom to repress and murder Palestinians are coming to an end, temporarily, with the end of the Bush administration. Ehud Barak and all those AIPAC demons know that, to continue to maintain Israel's "most favored nation" status with the United States, they will have to throw a bone to the new administration, and that means sparing the rod... for a while anyway.
Hillary Clinton's State Department will move heaven and earth to prevent a war between India and Pakistan. The Indians, holding all the trump cards, will eventually go along with those efforts, but will hold out long enough to get some fat economic concessions. There won't be any talk about curbing India's nuclear weapons program.
Pakistan itself will see a military coup, with tacit US support. American interests will be much better served with a friendly military strongman sitting in Islamabad than with some kind of messy electoral democracy.
The Iraq mess will start winding down in earnest, and when it is all done, Americans will soberly and bitterly realize that nothing much has changed. Al Maliki's Iraq will be much like Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
In response to public howls of outrage, the Obama administration's Justice Department will initiate some half-hearted investigations into the Bush administration's myriad scandals and abuses. In the time-honored Democratic tradition, said investigations will result in some strongly worded condemnations and Republican breast-beating about "partisan witch hunts." Nothing much will come of any of it. At most, we might see a few indictments against some mid-level schmucks who just weren't lucky enough or smart enough to suck up to the right people.
The Republican party will maintain a low profile until Obama does something unpopular. Then they'll pounce. Or they'll attempt to pounce. Of course, there may still be some Republican scandals waiting in the wings as well...
Sarah Palin will continue to flutter around the national political scene, much to Mike Huckabee's chagrin.
We're going to see some hard times here in the Rose City. There will be a rise in violent crime and in unemployment. I predict that many of the big corporate titans in the area will announce massive lay-offs.
On the other hand, the Obama stimulus plan that is currently being formulated will bring some much needed money into the area. We may well see new plans for light rail expansion and an expanded Trimet fleet.
I remain faithful that the citizens of my city will come together in the times to come. It's what we do.
I won't go so far as to predict it, but I'm hopeful that Maty and I will be expecting a new addition by the end of this year. A frightening thought, but also a joyous one.
Frivolous cultural stuff
Slumdog Millionaire will not have to bear the shame of winning an Oscar. The self-important stuffed-shirts in the vaunted "Academy" will give their meaningless gold statue to one of their own, not some upstart Brit and his Indian cohort.
Angie will leave Brad to have a lesbian relationship with Jen.
Anyway, there they are: my predictions. Believe it or not, in spite of this dour dose of cynicism, I'm rather hopeful. The reason? I believe public perceptions have changed fundamentally. Catastrophe has a tendency to open people's eyes. So, we've got to weather this storm, and it won't be easy, but people are aware. And, when people are aware, good things happen, eventually.
I close with my usual caveat regarding predictions: Just like my advice, they're worth every cent they cost, and they're free to you!
Happy New Year.