2015 Predictions

presdictionsheader

Every year I create my predictions for the year ahead. It seems like I’m beating an old horse to explain this, but once again this is not astrology or psychic power (as you might realize by reading my analysis of 2014’s predictions). I’m just making my best guess as to what the news in the coming year might include. No one reads this anyway, so I really just do it as a game for myself.

I wrote these down on the first week of January because my website hosting has been a bit of a debacle lately. I have witnesses to this, if anyone wants to doubt me. So, without further adieu…

Continue reading “2015 Predictions”

A Few Predictions for 2014

 

presdictionsheaderEvery January I try to make a few predictions for the upcoming year.  This is not astrology, tea leaf reading, or prophecy.  I am simply making some informed guesses based upon observations.  My track record is pretty good, but it is certainly less than 100%. Here are a few:

  1. The Dow Jones Industrial Average high on January 1st was 16,500+.  On the last trading day of the year, The Dow will be a net loss (under 16,500) for the year.  I am guessing that there will be a large correction period this year, but it could also be from fallout from a major political event, or a world event.
  2. There will be a major political change in North Korea.  I cannot see the Kim Jung Un regime lasting another 12 months.  I know that part of North Korea’s strategy is to appear weaker than it actually is (see Stratfor’s analysis), but I think the regime is more tenuous than many believe.  This regime change will likely come from an internal coup rather than an external invasion.  I must admit that this is more wish than anything, but I do believe this has a good likelihood.
  3. The NSA related security issue will be one of the biggest stories of 2014, just like it was this year.  However, part of 2014’s story will be about the private sector trying to both solve consumers’ desire for security.  There will be new products and maybe even new companies creating products and services to safeguard consumers’ private data.  Some of these will be mostly hoaxes, although there might be some new creative technology.  There will also be a rising popular push for keeping private information off of the internet

Bonus

  1. There is a high likelihood of Israel being a much more significant newsmaker than last year.  The possibility of a strike on Iran has increased significantly after the last American and Iranian presidential elections.  The ramifications of this would also be huge.  Even if there is no Israeli strike on Iran, I believe there will be significant West Bank/Palestinian related violence, perhaps even another intifada.
  2. Gas prices will end the year lower than the $3.12 they are at now.
  3. Hollywood movies will be remarkably more upbeat in tone than they were in 2013.  This will be especially true of the Summer Blockbusters, which will feature less apocalypse porn  than in recent years.
  4. Hilary Clinton will formally announce her candidacy for President this Summer.  She will announce this Spring that she is going on a “listening tour” and will announce her presidency surrounded by a sense that people are crying out for her to run.

 

Predictions for 2012

Stonehenge

It’s that time of year again: time for my predictions for 2012!

Just to clarify (as always) this no attempt at fortune-telling, tea reading, astrology, or anything involving animal entrails.  Instead, I am estimating what I think might happen according to everything from Game Theory and analysis to gut feeling.  Some things I get pretty accurately.  Other times I am flat wrong.  It seems to me that I have a pretty decent track record, but the only reason that I do this is for fun.

The challenge is for anyone to do this along with me, and see who gets things the most right.  So, here goes…

Politics

  • The one thing I always hate doing is presidential politics.  It seems to me that in any election cycle anything over one month off is a political eternity, but there are a few points that I think will be big influences.
    • Anyone but Romney will have a hard time winning at all, because they are too flash-in-the-pan-y.  Every other candidate has such big negatives that it will be pretty easy for Obama to paint them as either evil or crazy.  Ron Paul seems to be the one exception to that, but he does his own job of making himself seem crazy by opening his mouth.
    • Romney’s challenge will be to motivate the Republican base.  In the ridiculously long primary season, the fact that almost everyone has taken their turn at leading is a really bad sign for Romney.  It is almost an anyone but Romney attitude that might be hard for him to overcome.
    • Because of the above points, the chance of a last-minute third party run by someone seems good, but that would lose the election for the Republican, no matter who it is.
    • Really poor economy pre-election loses the race for Obama.
    • A war probably loses the election for Obama also.
    • Even an illusion of a good economy seals the election for Obama
    • All of this is completely negated by major unforseen circumstances, which will probably happen.
  • Come Summer no one will be occupying anything
  • Summer will see revitalized Tea Party activity
  • Immigration will be an even bigger issue than last year

World Events

  • I hope that I am wrong–A terror attack on US soil which will involve attackers getting here via Mexico.  This will spark a major tense discussion of border issues.
    • As I see it Game Theory-ed out, this is in the terrorists best interests.  Although my experience has taught me that the formidable-ness of this particular opponent is definitely not in their thoughtfulness, this seems in their best interest.  We have taken the fight to them.  Al Qaida is mostly wiped out.  I have read several articles regarding this, and they have recently raised the idea of negotiating with us (through the Taliban).  In radical islamic strategy, this is the step to take when one is on his heels.  Attacking the US homeland would make sense.  Further, in bringing it from Mexico (also easier to sneak in that way) it would create an internal fight in the US.  With a huge percentage of the population being illegally from Mexico, and without allegiance to the US, it would create turmoil.  If I were a strategiest for them, I would be looking at that idea.  This is the type of process that I go through in determining all of my guesses.
  • I am praying that there is a constitutional backlash against the dangerous laws that have been passed to curtail citizens’ rights for the sake of security.  This combined with the above could cause massive chaos politically in the US.  This might be beneficial in the long run, but won’t be fun.
  • Military action involving Iran.  It won’t be pretty.  If it doesn’t happen, look for massive war in the future.  If it does happen, there might be war now.  Further, this would seriously hurt the US economy.  This will be an important moment for Obama.  If he allows conflict with Iran it hurts the economy and is another war.  These are the 2 things that would prevent his re-election.  If he doesn’t push Iran, then it will probably cause big problems for the US and our allies into the future.
  • North Korea will stay totalitarian communist.  It is in China’s best interest.  Though it could be a tense year for the two Koreas.

Pop Culture

  • Lady Gaga gets involved in even weirder stuff.  I know that this seems like a non-prediction (like saying there will be weather), I am serious.
  • Facebook will lose users for the first time in its history.
  • The world will not end in December.  No planet will pass near the earth.  There will be no magnetic pole shift.  But pop culture will get really obnoxious about the end of the world as you know it by year’s end.  There will be a movie or two.
  • The summer movie season will be populated by even more over-hyped action junk than usual.  There will also be a much higher rate of raunchy comedies. -Ryan

    Wikileaks, The Federal Reserve Bank, and a blind free press

    Wikileaks Header

    A Busy Week in the Newsroom

    For connoisseurs of news and politics, the flurry of activity this week has been thrilling.  There have been assassinations in Iran, countries in the EU going bankrupt, and another little scandal brought on by a website called Wikileaks.org.  Over the last day and a half, the US has also willingly revealed some rather embarrassing information about the actions of the Federal Reserve Bank over the last few years.

    On Wednesday the Federal Reserve revealed new information about the recipients of the money given in 2008 and 2009 in order to bail out businesses and banks under TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program).  The information also indicated dollar amounts the bank has given.  According to The Washington Post, the Fed essentially loaned GE $16 billion, Harley Davidson $2.3 billion, and Verizon $1.5 billion.  None of this was publicly known prior to Wednesday’s announcement.  This new information is serious and troubling, as partly indicated by its placement on the front page of many newspapers and top-red status on the Drudgereport.

    This federal candor brings to the surface some serious questions.  Why would the government choose to release such scandalous information at this time, when they are already embarrassed by the current leak of information?  Further, what do they stand to gain through this level of disclosure?  Finally, how could government funds allocated to some of the largest companies in the US, totaling $3.3 trillion go unnoticed by any of the nation’s news outlets until now, and what does that mean about the state of American journalism?

    Candor in the Fed

    Time almost always clarifies questions such as these, but at this moment Wikileaks appears to be more the impetus behind this Fed announcement than merely tangential to it.  Wikileaks has been a constant thorn in the side of the US government over the past several years, as it has revealed increasingly damaging and embarrassing classified information about the government’s secret activities.  This week, they began publishing 251,287 classified US diplomatic cables on their website.  While this document dump is possibly less damaging than some previous leaks, it is very embarrassing for the US.

    But what appears to be even more significant is the website’s claim to be on the verge of releasing information on “a major bank that is still in existence,” according to a Reuters report.  Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange has declined to announce the name of this bank.  So people are guessing.  Prognosticators are placing their money on Bank of America.  They might be wrong.

    Of course there could be other reasons for The Fed’s recent disclosure, but it appears likely that they are assuming that the next Wikileaks disclosure (set for January) will target the Federal Reserve Bank itself.  This would make sense.  In order to stay relevant, Wikileaks is under pressure to have increasingly major leaks to share.  It is not clear what vendetta the site has against the United States (if it is not simply about freedom of information—which seems doubtful), but it is clear that the site is focused more on government actions than it is on business corruption.  Sharing secret bank documents would be somewhat out of the site’s typical MO.

    If the Fed assumes that the next leak is to be about them (whether it actually is or not), it would make sense for them to dump this information while there is already so much political embarrassment on the table.  The chances that the banking information will get lost in the glut of news are much greater, and it takes away power from Wikileaks disclosures, lessening the impact.  If the Fed is wrong on this guess, they will be playing into Assange’s strategy quite nicely, however.  The Fed must assume that this information cannot be hidden forever, and now could be as good a time as any to release it while it must compete for front page status.

    A Blind Press

    One question that doesn’t appear to be answerable at the moment is, how in the world did the entire US free press miss $3.3 trillion in unreported aid sent to major American businesses?  That much money does not get hidden very easily, even in an economy the size of the United States.  One might understand how money sent to GE, which owns NBC and affiliated news outlets, might have suppressed this inside their newsrooms, but how the news could have escaped every competing outlet and the blogosphere is simply astounding.  Perhaps the American free press should be more embarrassed about this disclosure than the Federal Reserve Bank and the US government.

    Many answers to these riddles will have to wait until after January.  But the American public should expect more self-disclosures by the US, and possibly American banks, and further world tension involving Wikileaks.  December and January should be quite exciting.   -Ryan

    2009 Predictions

    As events unfold throughout the year, I do my best to reflect how they have fulfilled my beginning of the year predictions.  That said, there are a few recent events that I found noteworthy.

    First, there was the recent terror plans in New York City and Denver that seemed to have been foiled, at least for now.  I had predicted that this year there would probably be an attempt (not that wild a guess, really).  I also Twittered about the likelihood of one upcoming soon merely weeks ago.    There is a good article about the recent situation here.

    Second, although I did not put this as one of my points in this year’s predictions, one of the things I have been discussing at great length is that the big social policy debate of the coming years will be on the issue of assisted suicide.  This will be less aimed at terminal disease pain relief, and more about the elderly.  Unfortunately, I haven’t written much about it on here.  Last week, Newsweek’s cover story, “The Case for Killing Granny,” advocates this position in a way that I could not have imagined (and still can’t believe).  As if on cue, the Brits are following right along, according to this Reuters report-Ryan

    copyright-notice

    The Fall and Rise of Barbarism Part 7

    This is part 7 of a multi-part series.  Read part 1 here.

    Barbarian
    Barbarian

    The Effect on Faith

    Exactly what to expect for America itself in this future, is very difficult to say. Possibilities include a weakened America existing in its same form but having less world influence, to America’s basic destruction by both outside, and internal fighting, or America existing more as a pre-Civil War loose collection of states. There is no way to predict what the American future will look like at this time.

    But that doesn’t really answer what will happen to the American and world Christian outlook. Christianity does not rely on Americanism, of course. But America does powerfully affect the world Christian community. While the growth of the Christian faith is epicentered in both African and Asia, with secularization and Islamification being more prevalent in the West, America is still the center of the financial, resource, and influence world of faith.

    The loss of America’s influence will certainly have a huge affect on the Christian world. But how this will work itself out in time is not estimable at this time. Certainly, there will be destabilization in the Christian community. This will most like work itself out to mean that there will be no Capital for Christianity. It might also end in increased persecution around the world, as there will be no powerhouse to protect Christianity’s interests.

    However, history tells us that persecution is good for Christianity, as it causes the Christian community to invest fully in their faith, to make Christianity less a culture, and ends in enormous numerical growth. As Christians, we don’t have to worry about the future of the Church. We know what happens in the end. We don’t know all that will happen between then and now, and we certainly know it won’t always be easy.

    But that doesn’t really answer what will happen to the American and world Christian outlook.  Christianity does not rely on Americanism, of course.  But America does powerfully affect the world Christian community.  While the growth of the Christian faith is epicentered in both African and Asia, with secularization and Islamification being more prevalent in the West, America is still the center of the financial, resource, and influence world of faith.

    The loss of America’s influence will certainly have a huge affect on the Christian world.  But how this will work itself out in time is not estimable at this time.  Certainly, there will be destabilization in the Christian community.  This will most like work itself out to mean that there will be no Capital for Christianity.  It might also end in increased persecution around the world, as there will be no powerhouse to protect Christianity’s interests.

    However, history tells us that persecution is good for Christianity, as it causes the Christian community to invest fully in their faith, to make Christianity less a culture, and ends in enormous numerical growth.  As Christians, we don’t have to worry about the future of the Church.  We know what happens in the end.  We don’t know all that will happen between then and now, and we certainly know it won’t always be easy. -Ryan

    copyright-notice

    The Fall and Rise of Barbarism Part 6

    This is part six of a multi-part series.  Read part 1 here.  Read subsequent posts here.

    Barbarian
    Barbarian

    The Fall of Giants

    We have gone past a point in America where we can turn this clock back.  Many experts believe that the American century is over, and the next century most certainly won’t be a repeat.  I believe that the evidence backs this up, both historically and in terms of current events.  This doesn’t mean we will fall into the sea.  It does mean that things will be different.  A look at history should shed light on what may be to come.

    When the empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Britain, and The Soviet Union fell they left differing decrees of chaos in their wake.  The latter empires left lesser degrees of chaos, but their empires were also dovetailed with another stabilizing empire (in both cases the United States).  The Romans were unique in that there was no other competing empire to really challenge their existence, similar to the situation that the United States faces today, although certainly the European Union (itself a powder keg) Russia, and nations like Canada and Australia are stabilizing.

    The Roman empire didn’t just end.  It fractured, as its fringes sought their own independence and regional power.  The competing states model that followed drained the regional competing countries of all internal resources, as they invested in war and outside competition.  Far more resources were expended in competing for resources than were ever gained by those resources.  The result was what we know call the “Dark Ages.”

    During this time, the one rising competing empire was the Muslim Caliphate leading to the Ottoman Empire.  The rapid expansion of the Muslims into the carcass of the Roman Empire was almost without challenge.  When Europe finally realized that they needed to respond, it led to the Church controlled Middle Ages, and ridiculous Church corruption and pollution by the world.  It was hundreds of years before the Roman norms of indoor plumbing, rights for middle class, and secure resources where even imagined again.

    As America loses its stature in the world, this does not have to echo the fall of the Roman Empire.  The European Union could provide stability in the absence of America’s influence.  Most other countries would likely lack the resources to be capable of this.  However, Europe has its own massive battles to fight.  Europe is in sharp decline, at least as the Europe that has existed for modern history.  They are facing another Muslim invasion, but this time it’s a more peaceful one.  Within 10 years several European countries will be majority Muslim, and almost all of Europe’s non-Muslim population in irreversible decline.

    The religious issue in this regard is almost secondary.  The Muslim populations in these countries are not melding into society as other immigrants do.  They bring their own ideas of governance, Sharia law, etc.  This will certainly lead to serious conflict, as can be evidenced already beginning in France over the last 5 years.  Non-Muslim Europeans will either allow themselves to accept Dhimmi status under Muslim controlled governments, or they will rise up.  These conflicts will make it difficult for Europe to be much of a stabilizing force for the world. -Ryan

    copyright-notice

    The Fall and Rise of Barbarism Part 5

    This is part 5 of a multi-part series.  Read part 1 here.  Read subsequent posts here.

    Barbarian
    Barbarian

    The Emotional American Stanza

    There is another cycle at work within America that we need to be aware of.  Just as revivals in the early 1900’s brought about the Pharisee-ism of the early 20’s, which led to crime in the 30’s, we are in a part of our own cycle now.  The Bush years seemed to be a revival without revival, and a triumph of moral legalism (at least as far as the mainstream media and far left would have us believe).  The public responded with a “Yes we can believe in change.”  But now crime is seriously on the rise and healthy society markers are on the decline.

    Of course, forces completely outside of human control, or at least strategic planning, could change things in a heartbeat.  But today the decline is possibly spinning out of control.  This is also the first time in modern America where our moral compass has no North.

    Think about it for a second: The state of California (and they are not alone in this) has increasingly been restricting any and all tobacco use.  This is not a bad thing, really.  But at the same time, the state has been rapidly relaxing marijuana laws.  There are now cities where it is legal to smoke pot on your porch, but a Marlboro will get you a hefty fine.

    Our states are slowly allowing marriage between homosexual partners and whole denominations are allowing actively homosexual ministers, while calling the homosexual “lifestyle” immoral can get you publically censored and censured.  On television, “Oh, God” has become the most frequently used phrase, but “I love Jesus” is never used unless it is somehow a joke.  Cartoons of Mohamed are self-censored from newspapers…the same newspapers that write blistering articles pitting Christian leaders as being ignorant or even evil for their faith.  -Ryan

    copyright-notice