30 Jul. 2007

Mid-2007 Reality Check

We're only halfway through 2007, but I thought it might be a good idea to look at how my predictions from Nov 2006 are working out:
1. By this time next year, the GOP and Dems will be in a no-holds-barred catfight over Executive Privilege. There will be subpoenas flying in all directions as Dems try to expose the criminal misdeeds of the past five years and Reps desperately try to characterize it as dirty partisan politics. Sadly, it will all be politicized by the looming 2008 elections. Any progress the Dems make will be locked up in court, while Bush prepares a list of pardons that will more than quadruple any previous list.
We are nearly at the "locked up in court" phase, with Abu Gonzo still in place.
2. Iraq will grind onward in ever deeper violence and misery. Howard and Bush will maintain their fantasy and keep stalling for time. PM Gordon Brown will unilaterally announce a timetable for withdrawal of UK troops by mid 2008.
I'm not sure what Brown told Bush yesterday, but he still has six months to unilaterally withdraw. I suspect it is now official, if still secret, UK government policy. [UPDATE: Yep, I was right].
3. SOMEBODY in Iraq will sign a new Oil Law giving Big Oil the PSAs they crave (later Iraqi rulers will dismiss the contract as illegitimate) but private security firms will baulk at supplying the personnel to protect pipelines, drill new wells, etc. Big Oil will have to sit back and wait, contracts in pocket.
The Iraqi cabinet has twice approved the new Oil Law, but cannot get it passed. Big Oil is still waiting.
4. John Howard's poll ratings will continue to sink as the Australian federal election looms in Oct/Nov. Either a terrorist attack on Australia soil will provide a sudden turnaround, or Howard, citing health reasons, will quit politics to spend more time with his family.
Haneef was not quite the terrorist attack Howard craves, and his health is an increasing topic of speculation.
5. Gandhi's blogs will continue to suck and attract minimal visitors. He will continue to contemplate an end to blogging but will not be able to pull the plug on this compulsive habit. He will start writing a new book at least a dozen times, never getting past the opening paras and/or a general outline. George Soros will not send him any money.
Not many books started, the rest is all spot on.
6. The sun will continue to rise, glorious and majestic, every morning. Villagers in sleepy Third World communities will continue to appreciate its glory more than caffeine-addicted office workers in the concrete jungles of New York, Paris, London, Sydney, Tokyo, and Brussels. Global warming will continue to seep into the collective consciousness, with new hybrid electric cars and much-touted political initiatives that will fail to live up to their promises.
Actually the Global Warming debate has moved much faster now that Bush, Howard and their ilk have stopped denying it. Still a very long way to go, of course.
7. In response to slower ratings and changing political realities, the Murdoch media empire will continue to drift slowly away from its radical Zionist agenda without ever admitting error or relinquishing control of the levers of government in Australia, the UK and the USA. Global institutions like the IMF and World Bank will continue consolidating power in the hands of a global corporate elite, whose fortunes will continue to grow even larger. Protest groups will become more organized, but police interference with these groups will also grow. Political leaders, backed by the Murdoch press, will characterize such groups as "radical terrorists" and use harsh anti-terror laws to supress them. At least one major news story along such lines will be revealed as a hoax (but a later police investigation will reveal nothing).
It will be very interesting indeed to see how protests at APEC are organised and reported. We've already had one big hoax story.

All in all, not a bad strike rate, and still five months to go. Stick with me, folks.