Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011: Wild Year Ahead

Some predictions are easy to make. It did not take much looking at Barack Obama in 2008 to see that he did not have the spine to take on the corporate military state in any meaningful way. Some predictions are well-nigh impossible to make, either because they involve incredible levels of complexity (predicting the paths of all 2011 hurricanes, today) or because we simply have limited knowledge of specifics that give birth to them.

The chances of peace, or of a military victory, in Afghanistan are pretty near zero for 2011. The United States and allies will spend another half trillion dollars, the Taliban and allies will spend somewhere south of half a billion dollars (that is a thousand to one ratio), and the year will end in stalemate. Without advanced weapons and training the Taliban cannot defeat the U.S. No one is going to loan them jets or even cruise missiles. Yet the people of Afghanistan aren't going to suddenly like being bossed around by a bunch of militant Christians from the U.S. and their local puppets. Killing Taliban fighters (and Afghan civilians) just creates more orphans that grow up to be Taliban process.

If anything happens in Congress this year, it won't be for the good of the American people, if by people you mean those earning less than the national median. Or for that manner, the lower 80%. Any Republican measures can be blocked by Obama or by Democrats in the Senate; any Democratic measures can be blocked by Republicans in the House of Representatives. So the only measures that will pass will be those that help industries that contributed campaign funds to both Republicans and Democrats.

The economy will improve in 2011 [See also 2011 Economic Analysis]; I predict both Republican and Democratic Party politicians will take responsibilities for any improvements, while continuing to deny any responsibility for the Great Regression.

I predict that in 2011 fundamentalist christians will Praise Jesus for anything good that happens, and blame Satan for anything that goes wrong.

The environment, on the whole, will continue to deteriorate. This is largely a function of the growth of the American and global economies. However, deterioration will continue at such a slow rate that most people, especially politicians, will be able to deny reality or deprioritize doing something about it. The exception is the State of California. Here politicians have written laws such that in-state cement factories will not contribute to global warming (cement = limestone + heat, releasing carbon dioxide in the process). Cement will be brought in from Mexico, so in addition to the greenhouse gasses needed to create it, more will be created transporting it. But since the emissions will go into Mexican air, I suppose they won't warm up California.

In other words, life will go on in 2011. Apocalypse may be just around the corner, or at the end of the tunnel, or sitting waiting for you in the Texas School Book Depository or the jungle or the next traffic jam, but before then we all must muddle through 2011.

The good old rules still apply. Practice charity, love the Earth and its occupants, and don't be too gullible. Humans are mortal; that is why life is precious. Enjoy it while you can.

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