11 Predictions for 2021

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I’ve been sitting on this for a while, equivocating on all kinds of things. I realize, though, that with news moving as fast as it is, I need to get my predictions for the year published. I don’t want things to happen on this list and later seem like I was post-prognosticating (to wax Shakespearean).

As always, I have to say that this is NOT about predicting the future in a spiritual-type way. I am not psychich, and as a Christian I would never attempt that. It is not intended to be prophecy either. I am not speaking for God or fate. I am simply making educated guesses about what may happen. Also, especially this year, I do not wish many of these things to happen. I am simply guessing that they will. Fortunately for me no one reads my thoughts much, because if they did, in this day and age even guessing that something might happen is enough to get a person attacked by the mob. What a world.

OK, here goes…

  1. The stock market will have a losing year. On the first day of trading for 2021 (Jan 4th) the Dow Jones high was 30,674.  The S&P was at 3,768.  The NASDAQ was 12,698.  On the last day of trading for 2021, all three will be lower than those values.  I suspect that the Dow will have lost the most value, possibly even below 27,000.  I think that the NASDAQ will be below 10k.
  2. Oil prices will increase–and gas will too. The price of a barrel of oil as reported on the NASDAQ listing (CL:NMX), on the first day of trading was $47.62.  The prices in Q4 will be around $70.  These prices haven’t been seen since 2014.
  3. The economy will be worse. The US economy will take a major hit, but that won’t be seen until at least later Q3.  I am guessing that when it hits, it will hit hard.  However, the media and politicians will say this is from both “the Trump economy” and “economic effects from COVID.”
  4. Houses will be worth less. Median house prices in Los Angeles county are currently at $720,604 (according to http://laalmanac.com/economy/ec37.php).  A big bubble will burst in the California housing market.  I am not sure if this will happen in 2021 or 2022, but when it does, it will be worse than 2008 for them.  Look for the median price to shrink to near $500k at least.  This will be even more striking if you look at the average house value.  Prices of real estate at the upper end of the market will see the biggest contractions. There will also be a decline in housing values in other places (maybe most places), but California will be worst.
  5. There will be bankruptcies. Several major retail companies will go completely out of business.  I’ve long been predicting the complete demise of Sears, and this might be the year.  But look for at least one of the closings to be somewhat unexpected.  I have my eye on Nordstroms.
  6. Big political struggles will increase, and changes will happen. The Leftist cadre seems to be now in complete control of the United States.  I think that the assault on other ideologies will be just as big throughout 2021 (unless the Q-believing folks happen to be correct…and that is unpredictable now).  I believe that the first issue that they will fixate on will be gun control.  Some event of violence will spark this push.  I think that the chances are high that this will also lead to ending the filibuster rule in congress, and possibly eventually to an attempt to pack the Supreme Court.  If this happens, the narrative will be that the violence must be stopped.  They will cite rising violent crime in the cities as part of the reasoning.  If the Supreme Court does any action to invalidate this, then there will be a push to pack the court, although the narrative will be “rebalance the court, because it has been packed with conservatives.”  If this happens, it might lead to the breakup of the United States.  I do think that the chances of this playing out over the next couple of years (not just 2021) are high, although it will be surprising how fast things move in 2021.  For the record, I think all of this is a grave tragedy, and will have very bad effects on the world.
  7. Censorship is only beginning. Tech censorship will continue (and increase) through 2021.  This will mean banned accounts of popular Republican-aligned voices.  Also, this will not be simply banned Twitter and Facebook accounts.  There will be erased bank accounts, servers deleting information, and possibly even providers (like AT&T) censoring.  Some of this will end up before the Supreme Court.
  8. Many companies will tire of the strife. Because of all the arguing, some businesses will decrease bowing to the mob or excluding/apologizing/etc.  This will further separate Americans, as some businesses will be seen as “Conservative,” and some as “Leftist.”
  9. Racial hysteria will lessen. Possibly later in the year, the BLM and racial violence and protest will quiet down. 
  10. Sports will start to return. Baseball will be the first major sport to allow fans back in the stands at all games.  However, I don’t know if the major sports will fully recover, ever.
  11. International relations will become very heated. Some belligerent foreign power will create significant strife that will involve the United States.  This could involve one of the familiar list of candidates, like North Korea or Iran.  I doubt that this will be from a major power like Russia or China, but will have their backing.  I think that this may happen in concert, such as Iran announcing that they have nuclear weapons and North Korea testing missiles, or causing problems in South Korea.

What “Might” Happen Tuesday

Things to Look for on Election Night

The short answer is that I have no idea. Anyone who says they do, is wrong. They don’t. That’s the TL;DR. If you want it short, you can stop reading now.

For those who stayed (if any), here are a few things to look for. First a caveat. While I am talking about the presidential part of the election, that is possibly no more important than the Senate and House races. I am not forgetting them. In fact, I think that these will be largely bellwethers and as such, are the ones to really pay attention to on Tuesday night.

So, far as the Senate and President go, there are 4 possibilities after Tuesday night (or whenever it’s finally decided).

  1. Trump WinsSenate stays Republican
  2. Trump Wins Senate goes to the Democrats
  3. Biden WinsSenate stays Republican
  4. Biden Wins.Senate goes to the Democrats

For Republicans, the only positive outcome in #1. Even though Trump wins in outcome #2, if the Senate is Democrat, the chances of the House impeaching again and the Senate convicting, are astronomical. Trump will not serve for 4 years. That is almost a guarantee.

Further, this would mean almost certainly that Trump won by a small electoral majority. Leftist groups will be on the streets causing chaos. This is not a scare tactic or red meat for Conservatives. Leftist groups are planning this, and will happen (possibly in any Trump win). It would also mean that Trump will have won with a smaller total number of votes than in 2016 nationally (most likely). That would be more fuel for the “Resist!” crowd.

While #3 is not a dream for Democrats either, it might also create as much chaos as the second option. I also think that this option is the least likely of all possibilities.

Option #4 is a nightmare scenario. Even for average Democrats, I don’t see how it could be palatable. If the Dems had total power of both branches, the Supreme Court would be the only bulwark. The possibility of court-packing would be pretty certain. Ending the Senate filibuster rule would also happen, and the Democrats dream of getting rid of the Electoral College would be on the agenda.

I don’t think that last one would happen. I think that Democrats might try it, but there are still too many Republican or even moderate states. If the Electoral College were to end, the United States would break up. States would leave. But, even if the Supreme Court is packed, that might start to happen too. So, for all but the most Left-leaning of Democrats, having control of both the Presidency and the Senate should be scary.

The only real hopes for a Republican win are either that the polling is wrong by a small amount, and it continues to improve for Trump. In this case, he squeaks out a win. The other possibility is that there is a hidden Red Wave.

I do see those as real possibilities. Trump does seem to have momentum. The nice thing is, early returns will show what is happening. Here are the 5 states to watch on Tuesday night.

  1. Maine. Biden will likely win here. Every poll shows it. Most have him winning by double-digits. Quinnipiac has him winning by 21%. All the polls also show Sara Gideon beating incumbent RINO Susan Collins by single-digits (except for Quinnipiac), but some are even in the margin of error. What to watch: Does Susan Collins win? If she does, then either the polls were not accurate, or we’re seeing a Red Wave. If Susan Collins wins, and Trump loses by single digits, or miraculously wins, we are seeing a Red Wave. If Trump wins Maine, the election is over. Turn off the TV.
  2. North Carolina. Incumber Republican Senator Thom Tillis has been down in the polls by single digits. The numbers have been tightening on this race in recent weeks, and are now within the margin of error. For Trump, this race is basically tied in the polls. Most show the winner within the margin of error, some showing Trump, others showing Biden. What to watch: Does Trump win or lose by a lot? Does Thom Tillis lose by a lot. Slight wins for Trump do not negate the polls, but landslides denote a Red Wave.
  3. Michigan. This state is a huge canary in the coal mine. All polls are showing the incumbent Democrat, Gary Peters, beating Republican challenger, John James. His lead is in the mid to high single digits, outside of the margins or error. What to watch: If Peters wins by a small margin, or if James wins, it might portend a Trump victory. It also might show that Trump is doing very well with black voters. Further, if Trump wins, then it will likely be a bad night for Democrats.
  4. Georgia. Do not pay attention to the Senate race in this one. It’s weird. But in the Presidential election, some polls have Trump ahead, some Biden, some tied. No major poll shows the winner outside of the margin of error. What to watch: The winner here will show how accurate these polls have all really been. It is an early one to watch.
  5. Arizona. While this is a later state to watch, being on the Western side of America (but Arizona will be with the rest of Mountain Time on Tuesday), the polls have recently flipped, showing Trump with a very narrow lead. This is mostly within the margin or error here. What to watch: If Trump wins by more than 5%, then we have a Read Wave for sure.

If you want to research this yourself…

Here are a few good links to look at

Nothing but the News

Mostly Peaceful Protests burn Portland…again

Downtown Portland– Peaceful protestors gathered for a 101st night in downtown Portland Tuesday in order to advocate for equitable public policy toward black Americans and end police brutality. “We just want our black, non-conforming, and Wiccan xi’s and xim’s to be free of violence,” Antifa General and Flower Prince/Princess Karen “Unicorn” Rutledge told reporters over the weekend. “Our message is that simple.”

Karen Rutledge pictured giving instructions to other members (she’s the one in black, wearing a face covering).

Protestors are increasingly upset by negative media attention to their cause. “We are no different than anyone else. We are normal people,” said Mister Smash (who didn’t want to reveal his real name, for fear of retribution. “I put my pants on one leg at a time, myself. I don’t let my mom do that for me. She’s not even allowed into my room anymore.”

Alan “Mister Smash” Nusbaum pictured all dressed up before taking the long limo ride to the night’s protests.

Mister Smash isn’t new to the protesting world. “I went to my first protest when I was 16,” Smash says in a thoughtful moment. “The courts had just released two cops who brutally murdered an innocent man and nothing was going to stop me from making sure that justice was done.”

Smash was referring to two Portland PD officers who were involved in a now infamous incident in the “skid row” district of Portland. The officers were trying to make an arrest of the “Nursing Home Rapist,” who had just escaped from prison after murdering 3 guards with his bare hands and stealing their firearms. The two policemen shot and killed the man after he shot out all four tires of their police car and broke out the windows. The officers were later acquitted in court, sparking city-wide protests. “It was just another case of the cops murdering a person of color.”

After the trial was over the officers were fired by the mayor of Portland. The city rules give the mayor plenary power over all police matters as well as the usual mayor duties. The policemen had been defended by Mister Smash’s father, prominent Portland attorney Phillip Nusbaum. “It all turned out OK, though. The cops got off scott-free, but my dad gave me a thousand bucks for my protesting club and a new car. So basically, justice was done.”

At around 9:30 the night’s “Protest against Racial violence, Sexual repression, Genderism, Capitalism, Wealthyism, and Right-Wing Media bias” launched into high gear. Protestors peacefully occupied the middle of Capital Street Bridge, and lit the bridge on fire. “It was a statement about repression. It was beautiful.” said Karen Rutledge. Paramedics treated 12 peaceful protestors for smoke inhalation, and the protestors were quickly able to recover and return to protesting, peacefully.

Peaceful protestors trapped on bridge

The group then left and gathered later in front of the Resting Sunset Retirement Home on Fourth Avenue. “Down with the f****** cops!” “Yo ho, capitalism has got to go.” and “No justice, no peace. These streets are not your streets…anymore.” The peaceful protestors chanted in unison out of their pre-prepared protest chant books.

Peaceful protestors in front of the Resting Sunset Retirement Home

Fractured

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the seriesFractured

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I’ve been watching and reading the news with a different eye recently. It really started a couple weeks ago during the Texas State Republican Convention, at which I was again a delegate this year. During the convention, I sat through caucuses and meetings as well as the proceedings on the convention floor.

A convention is an exciting and busy event, and there is always positioning and debating. That is the point of the whole thing. When delegates from a whole state get together to pick one document that will guide all of what their collective will is going to be concentrated on over the next 2 years, there should be considerable debate.

After the convention each night, I would go home and absorb the day’s news. I consistently heard throughout the weekend about how the split Republican Party was arguing over issues of homosexuality, marijuana, and immigration. There were Republicans protesting, and the organization was undoing itself.

I consistently wondered if perhaps the news media were accidentally at a different convention, or if possibly I was the one attending a different convention entirely. I checked. I was definitely at the right place.   None of what the news was reporting was happening at all.

While platform positions regarding homosexuality-related issues were debated in the committee meetings I’m sure, the body of delegates didn’t discuss it even one time. Let me rephrase that in case you missed it: we didn’t talk about homosexuality even once…not one time…not even in passing…it wasn’t an issue. Yes, the platform does address “reparative therapy.” Anyone who has paid attention to the news knows this is only addressing the push for making it illegal to offer counseling available to those who do not wish to live as practicing homosexuals. This has happened in California already. The platform position only addresses this situation. This part of the platform was not discussed at all, or even voted on separately (lest you think I’m cheating in my prior statements).

Outside of the building on the first night were somewhere between 8 and 12 people with pro-homosexual marriage signs. They were not members of the convention. They were exceedingly kind, and it seemed everyone was kind to them. I firmly support anyone’s right to protest in this way. They were on the evening news and on radio. They must have had great pre-protest press releases for a dozen people to get so much media coverage.

Marijuana was discussed, and any pro-legalization efforts were soundly defeated by the body. There was no mass demonstration. There were however, a lot of pro-pot people who only showed up as delegates prior to that vote and then left shortly afterward. Four of them were in my row. I had never seen them before. One of them leaned over to his friend during the vote and said, “That just shows how dumb these Republicans are.” They were clearly not Republicans, and they were only there to try and create chaos. They failed. But they did have their NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) car out front, made to look like a cop car, but with big pot leaves on it. I have always found it amusing that the organization to legalize pot uses an acronym that proposes an alternate spelling of “normal.”

I took this picture right outside the Convention Center

I took this picture right outside the Convention Center

Immigration was slightly contentious, for about 45 minutes or so. But in reality, there was little difference in the ideas of the two vying groups. In fact, the only real discrepancy was that the more Conservative of the groups thought that if securing the border was allowed to be in the same legislative package as other immigration matters it would end up never being enacted. Other than that, almost everyone was in agreement. In the end, a compromise was made, smashing the two plans into one. Everyone left unified. There were no mean words, and no fighting.

But this is the opposite of everything we’ve read, isn’t it? Not in the “Liberal spin on reality” way, but just complete lies. -Ryan

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Vancouver: Chinese Tour – Part 5 (Buffets)

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This is Part 5 in a series about my recent tour in Canada.  Click the link if you’d like to catch up on Part 1 of the series.

When mealtime came around, we would always stop in the parking lot of some pretty run-down Chinese buffet.  When you take one of these tours, you get the chance to buy a meal plan, in which case the tour provides the meals for you.  They are always Chinese buffets.  We knew this.  We didn’t buy the meal plan, and we ate much better food.

Two Bohemians, Sherman and his son Yale, did have the meal plan. Our assigned seats were always in the same group.  At the end of every mealtime, I’d ask them how the food was.  They almost always looked at me and shook their heads.  On the way back, we stopped in the same town as we had the first day.  Thomas told us that we would be stopping at the same buffet as before.  Yale uttered a loud expletive.  I am still laughing about that.

There are two reasons that the meal stops are always Chinese buffets.  First, for some reason Chinese people aren’t much into eating indigenous foods in places that they travel to, in the same way that Americans often tell me how much they liked the McDonalds in Bangkok.  They also like visiting Chinatown in any big city.  I don’t get this at all.  China towns are always a great source for cheap knock-off merchandise., but why someone would want to visit a foreign country’s poor copy of your homeland is beyond me.  It is humorous that the best place in a city to buy cheap knock-offs is itself a cheap knock-off.

The second and more important reason that these groups always stop at Chinese buffets is capitalism.  The Chinese buffets give the tour companies kickbacks and a cheaper price for taking the tour groups there.  It is an exclusive contract.  Thomas confided in me that he wouldn’t be allowed to take the group somewhere else even if he wanted to, and then made the universal fingers rubbing thumb motion for “money”.

This means that the buffets have zero incentive to make their food quality or service competitive with any other local establishment, because they are not in danger of losing any business.  It just has to be good enough that no one loudly complains and nobody gets sick.  This is of course, the opposite of capitalism.  The tour guide is a type of dictator, the bus his kingdom, and we are the starving masses.  Let us eat cake, or at least decent Chinese food.

So, whenever the bus stopped for mealtime everyone would walk in single file into the restaurant.  All Chinese buffets look generally the same everywhere, so I don’t need to describe the scene.  We would walk in the opposite direction, searching for some sort of Canadian fare.

As it turns out, Canadians really like pizza.  Pizza in interior Canada was unavoidable.  It was everywhere.  In some towns pizza was the only viable alternative to pub food.  We ate a lot of pub food.  We also ate our share of pizza.

In one small town (the one where we stopped at the same Chinese buffet twice), we went to a local pizza chain for lunch.  The lady owner was an immigrant from some indeterminate country, possibly the interior of SouthwestAsiaIndia or Somethingistan.

She was also indeterminately pleasant.  The menu offered several different types of crust for you to choose.  I asked for the hand tossed garlic.  She smiled and said, “It is fresh I made it this morning.”

“Great,” I said.  “I’ll have that one.”

Her brow furrowed.  “It is fresh.  Choose again.”

I was wondering if this was some game from Somethingistan, a cultural idiosyncrasy that makes customers order crusts a number of times before their choice is acceptable.  She did seem quite proud of the freshness of her dough.   So, I repeated my order.

“It is very fresh…made this morning.  Choose again, please.”

“OK.  I’ll have the hand-tossed garlic, please.” I repeated, feeling my lunch time slipping away in this Twilight Zone-esque moment.

“You will have the wheat crust.”

“Um…ok…sure.”  I furrowed.  “Is it fresh?”

“No, it is old.  You come back 15 minutes.”

We ate the pizza back on the bus.  It burned the roof of my mouth, and I couldn’t taste anything much for days.  The crust was really good, though…much better than that fresh stuff you get at other places. -Ryan

Predictions for 2012

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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

    What Does the Bible Really Say?

    At church on Tuesday, we were discussing how our actions, both good and bad, affect our eternity.  Does God work things out like a giant scale and measure whether our good deeds outweigh our evil ones?

    “Because we sin, we cannot be in the presence of God or we will die.  But because Jesus died as the perfect sacrifice, he can forgive our sins, and wipe the slate clean.  In order to get to heaven we need to have a relationship with him  He won’t want to hang out with us if we don’t know him.” -Jessica actually typed this here.  Yes, she really wrote this!

    Is this what the Bible actually says?  The first person with a well thought through and studied answer to this in the comments section will win a $5 Starbucks gift card.  The person with the most well thought out and researched answer will also win the same prize.