OK, now some of my predictions for 2007
have not come true, but they are still forming. It is apparent that my timing and scale on things is a bit off. Still, not too bad.
That said, here's my take on 2008:
* Economy - "Recession" is in the news, and Bush and Congress are under pressure to "stimulate" the economy. They will try, but like the old time doctors "stimulating" women diagnosed with hysteria, it will ease the problem for a little while, but not fix the fundamental issue. Instead, the foundations to our economy will continue to erode, with a structure that rewards foolishness and waste, so that when the crash ends up like an unstoppable freight train, there won't be a fix - we'll have to just sit and weather the storm. Take the lull time to pay off debts and build savings.
* Petroleum - we've hit $100 a barrel, and backed off. Expect to bounce above it more, regardless of political pressure on OPEC. Reduce trips, but don't go into hock to buy a new car.
* Earthquakes - last year's "big" quake in the bay area was on a different fault than I expected. It seems to have relieved enough pressure that 2008 won't bring any 7.0 shakers. All bets are off for 2009/2010.
* Global Warming - More properly, this would be called "Climate Destablization". This year will be another one with violent weather. No Katrina level stuff, but not a lot short of it, and more often in more areas and more ways. Southern states, including southrn California, will bear the brunt in the US, with the general midwest taking the next biggest hit. Career opportunities in EMS - fire/rescue are going to increase.
* Housing - the bloodletting has begun. Any fed bailout will make it worse in the long run, but they don't know that. Expect housing bandaids and lender bailouts (out of our pockets, of course), mostly to please Wall Street and stupid banks, not home buyers.
* Health Care - "mandatory insurance purchase" laws will come up. Unlike car insurance, you can't chose not to live like you can chose not to drive or own a car. This will get ugly, and the insurance companies will get richer, and health care will still be unavailable for more and more people - even those with "insurance". After all, what good is a PPO with no providers in the network? More bodies will wash up on the shore of our failed system.
* Politics - gag. The scary candidates will be front runners. If the Dems play too much divisive politics in the primaary, the next president will be either a dominionist whack job, or a racist whack job. Beware of any candidate who appeals to the "bread abd Circuses" mentality of the mob.
* Pandemics - not bird flu, mad cow, or any big name. However, look for sizable MRSA, antibiotic resistant pneumonia and other deadly mutations of more common infections to kill large numbers, but be quieted by the press and medical establishment for fear of startinga panic. Coupled with the health care mess, and the housing/homeless mess, this will cut a swath through the poorest classes, quietly. The politicians won't do anything - "those people" aren't anyone's "base".
* Iraq - no change, still a mess, all year. No ome has the balls to say "enough".
* Impeachment - No one has the balls to prosecute members of the Bush administration for their treason against the Constitution and the rule of law. The next president will inherit the imperial presidency.
* Religion - ugly. Fanaticism will clash with fanaticism, and the reasonable, caring people will be drowned out in the din. Look for more violence againzst minority religions, again.
* Terrorism - when is terrorism not terrorism? When it comes from the right and Republicans are in power. People holding signs in pickets will be put on the "no-fly" list, but white power racists, dangerous anti-gay fanatics and violent dominionists will fly around unmolested to big dollar speaking engagements. More harm will be done by the right wing nuts than al Queda.
* Tech - "buried" tech will be "found", for profit, of course. But once the cat is out of the bag, expect a lot of churn at the small entrepreneur level. Big biz will try to quash it, with government help, but eventually the dinosaurs can't escape the tar pits.
* Digital Rights - slowly, the likes of RIAA and the MPAA will be forced to admit reality - the customer makes the rules, regardless of how many laws they pay for otherwise. The thaw has already started, and will pick up steam as they try to win back customers who have flipped them the bird in droves. Expect to see some near bankruptcies in the process, as digital prodution and distribution becomes a bone of contention.
* Russia - political yoyo, and dangerous due to instability and unpredictability.
* Pakistan - internal turmoil. Do not travel here, do not site companies here. Whoever the Bushies back will lose.
* Iran - simmering powder keg. If we keep our fingers out, this will become a moderate, westernized (european style) country. If we meddle, it will be a fanatical, repressed breeding ground for terror and human rights abuses.
* Global Economy - the US in recession will make other economies unstable. Combine this with climate destabilization and high petroleum costs, and the body count will climb. The rich will not care. Lots of sad stories, lots of hand wringing, no true changes to fix things.
* Middle East peace - Bush will fail.
In general, 2008 will be more of the same, plus worse weather. No great upheavals, just more "bad news fatigue".
* Pay down debt, reduce spending. If it's being advertised heavily, don't buy it - the ads tend to point to stuff you don't need.
* Go green and local, spend your hard earned cash in your community.
* Buy what you need first, not what you merely want. Remember, there are levels of need and want.
* Develop "at home" skills and hobbies. Give homemade gifts this year, if you can.
* Increase your savings.
* Take charge of your own health. The insurance companies will not advocate for *you*, only their profits. They make money killing you.
* Energy saving technologies are a good buy. The bills you reduce are your own.
* Offer a helping hand within your own community. Large religious based charities are tending toward corruption, scandal and ulterior motives.
* Vote your conscience, beware the wolf in sheep's clothing. But vote!