The Watcher’s Council
I will not make predictions for the coming year, except that it will be one hell of a fight. Instead, I want to give you a couple of items to ponder and then The Watcher’s Council’s take.
Reflections by Mark Twain:
Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.
In honor of Rudyard Kipling and his birthday – the most apropos poem in history:
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.
We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.
We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.
With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
Welcome to the new age…
Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or simply daily living. This week’s question: What Are Your Predictions For 2014?
GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: 2014 will have similar themes to its predecessor.
The wider Middle East will continue to be convulsed by the uprisings of recent years, the Iran/Great Satan relationship will require close attention, the rise of China and re-emergence of Japan should mean headlines coming out of the South China Sea.
The possibility of war between Iran and Great Satan receded across 2013. Now 2014 throws up the possibility of detente between them, but it will be a difficult road.
If the interim nuclear deal becomes a comprehensive one, detente is possible, if it falls apart then war will again begin to feature in the headlines.
China is emerging on to the world stage at a steady rate, and under the Premiership of Shinzo Abe, Japan is re-emerging almost 60 years after the end of World War Two.
They will bump up against each other with ripples washing up against the US Navy and countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines.
China is building a blue water navy, pushing out into the Pacific. To do that it has to sail past Japan and there things get a bit crowded.
At the same time there is a fledgling arms race between China and India amid continuing tensions between the two along the Himalayas.
In 2014, Aegypt will hold parliamentary and presidential elections. Whoever wins – their power will be limited in a fractured country in danger of becoming bankrupt.
Next door in Libya, the state didn’t fall apart because it has yet to come together following the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011.
Tripoli was the scene of many gun battles as different militia took on each other and the fledgling official armed forces in what is a capital city in name only. The second city Benghazi saw similar scenes amid fears that Libya might disintegrate.
Like Syria. Now some Syrian opposition groups are fighting ‘Al Qaeda in Syria’, who are fighting the Syrian Kurds, who are also fighting the Syrian opposition, who are still fighting Assad.
Damascus has held, yet it’s hard to see how it will ever again dominate the whole country. The state lines drawn in the sand by the colonialists a century ago are disappearing.
Al Qaeda does its best to make things worse. We will hear more from al Qaeda in 2014, but its stated aim of creating an Islamic caliphate from which to dominate the world has advanced little since the AQ declarations of war in 1996 and 1998.
Brazil will continue to rise, Russia will continue to dominate its ‘near abroad’ after a string of policy successes clawing back the influence it lost in the aftermath of the collapse of communism.
Iraq will hold an election which will show how fractured the country still is two years after the Americans went home.
And Afghanistan will hold a presidential election showing how fragile it is ahead of the troop pull-out at the end of the year.
Speaking of fragility, the elections for the European Parliament in late May will show the strength or weakness of loyalty to the main stream post-war consensus across the continent.
The National Front will win huge numbers of votes in France, and UKIP is likely to do well in the UK. The former may well be a reflection of voting intentions in French domestic elections, the latter will frighten the three big British political parties.
Scottish independence? Unlikely, but possible, however that’s the future, and if you want to make God laugh – tell him your plans.
And I’m too crunk to write anymore. Happy New Year!
The Razor: I used to make predictions at The Razor, and the problem I discovered was not being wrong but with my timing. I predicted Elizabeth Taylor would die in 2007, but she waited until 2011. I pegged Nelson Mandela for that year too and he held on until this month. And I foresaw the collapse of the housing and stock market bubbles – but just not in a financially useful way. Both held on longer than I expected. As Keynes once said, the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent. This year I even tried, betting a small amount against JC Penney and lost, although I expect that the retailer will fold sometime in 2014. Like people, it’s easy to make a general prediction that a company will die. After all everyone does; it’s the timing that’s challenging.
For 2014, I’m predicting the collapse of the stock market bubble again. I can’t believe we’ve got another one so soon after the 2008 and valuations are up there with 17th century tulip bulbs. Bears have been burned the past two years and more will likely suffer before this market becomes rational, but eventually financial gravity will reassert itself, and I’ll venture that 2014 will be the year it does. If I’m wrong about this next year I’m going to start testing the bottled water supply for LSD. Twitter is valued at $40 billion and hasn’t made a single dollar in profit. Not a one. Wall Street is tripping balls and doing the whole glow-stick thing listening to techno. $40 billion? Duuude is the company valuation I see the same one you see? Faaar oooout…
2014 will also be the year the GOP BEGINS to get serious. The 2014 elections are theirs for the taking, so I expect that will steel some minds within the party and the lackadaisical leadership we’ve had over the past few years will get a makeover. The leaders that come out of the 2014 elections will be the ones we talk about in 2016. On second thought, maybe I’m tripping. Boehner and Priebus aren’t going anywhere and neither is the GOP.
China is going to pick a fight with someone – likely someone small like the Philippines or Vietnam although a newly militarizing Japan might be the adversary. The US will be caught off-guard as it has been over everything important for the past five years. This administration reminds me of the deer I see while driving around these parts at night except the deer have better scruples. No deer ever let an ambassador die or sent the IRS after its enemies, at least none of the ones I see on my property. China is a lumbering giant and is going to step on someone – soon.
The cultural divide between the establishment elites and the citizenry as exemplified by the current Duck Dynasty scandal will grow, although interest in Duck Dynasty itself will flare out. Reality TV shows have lifespans, and with each success they seem to grow shorter. Personally I’m fed up with the genre and find myself watching scripted dramas and comedies although through broadband outlets like Amazon Prime and Netflix. I went without DirecTV for four days this week and didn’t suffer at all. It’s going to be harder to justify rising cable and satellite rates when you can watch whatever you want commercial free via broadband.
As for the Obama administration, I only have one question: How low can it go? After the blatant lies and revelations of 2013 nothing would shock me with this lot. I keep on falling back on Hanlon’s Razor to attribute the blatant disregard for the Constitution and 230+ years of American foreign policy history, but after awhile that excuse no longer works. Stupidity and gross incompetence will only take you so far; you need pure narcissism fueled by amorality to take you to where we’ve been the past 5 years. Until Obama, I thought Carter was the worst president in modern American history, followed closely by Nixon. Carter would never have painted himself into a corner with his rhetoric over Syria as Obama did in 2013. Nixon would never have used the IRS to attack an entire class of his enemies. What surprises lurk in 2014 for the Obama administration? On one hand I can’t wait to find out; on the other hand I want to disappear to a cottage on an Irish moor before I do.
One should be hopeful at this time of year for the future, but I just can’t be. My optimistic predictions of the past always failed; Paris Hilton did not overdose. McCain did not beat Hillary in ‘08 and Obama did not lose his re-election. But I seemed to do well on the pessimist side.
So going with my prior success, we’re screwed in 2014. Seriously. Doomed with a capital D – OOMED! In a year you’ll look back and say that Scott from The Razor predicted the year accurately and you’ll beg Rob not to ask him to predict 2015.
Oh, and lest I forget, Happy New Year!
The Colossus of Rhodey: 1) Obumble, er, ObamaCare will continue to unravel. As more deadlines approach, anger over the law will increase. Obama will continue to try to unilaterally alter various provisions, and this will lead to a constitutional showdown. There will be no real attempt at impeachment due to political considerations; however, the House GOP will finally seek judicial remedies.
2) The GOP will take control of the Senate with a narrow majority. They’ll keep Harry Reid’s “nuclear option” as a rule.
3) The GOP will slightly increase its majority in the House.
4) Obama’s personal and job approval numbers will continue to plummet.
5) The mainstream media will continue to do its best to support Obama.
JoshuaPundit: At the risk of sounding rather pessimistic, I think 2014 will be a year of reckoning.
The House will remain more or less as it is, with a few seats fluctuating plus or minus for the current Republican majority. I do not believe Republicans will win the Senate, although they may pick up a couple of seats. The reasons for this will be (A) The warfare the GOP establishment will wage on Tea Party backed candidates. (B) The preponderance of ‘Libertarian’ candidates, some of whom will be Democrat financed and suck up 8-12% of the vote, similar to what happened in the recent governor’s race in Virginia (C) Outright voter fraud combined with a massive black turnout in the Democrats’ urban enclaves ginned up to ‘protect’ Obama from being impeached. Blacks will continue to support him uncritically in spite of his policies that disproportionally damage African-Americans.
Speaker John Boehner will likely at least partially rescue the Democrats from the consequences of ObamaCare by pushing through amnesty for illegal aliens, in spite of the fact that based on the 2012 figures, fully two thirds of the available legal Hispanic vote either voted Republican or stayed home.
ObamaCare will still remain the law of the land at the end of 2014, in spite of being Biblically unpopular. I fully expect a taxpayer funded bailout to be approved either by executive order or congress to ‘save the insurance industry’. The media will not concentrate on the fact that the bailout is necessitated by the damage done to the industry by ObamaCare.
Attacks on traditional American values and on Christianity will continue. I cannot predict what the backlash on this could be, or if it will even exist.
The economy in general will be in flux. Americans will sense that something’s very wrong, but will have trouble pinpointing it because the figures on things like unemployment and inflation will continue to be gamed. They definitely will notice higher prices on food, fuel, energy, and basic commodities because of the Obama Administration’s costly regulatory diktats by the EPA and other agencies. You will likely see more people working less hours at multiple jobs as employers cut hours to evade ObamaCare.
There will be defacto gun control in many Blue run states using heavy taxation on gun ownership and permits and on the sales of firearms and ammunition. I’d advise people to stock up now and to learn how to reload their own ammo.
The Dow will continue to rise simply because there are so few if any places to invest and get any kind of return that beats inflation. There may very well be a correction later in the year, (Twitter worth $40 billion????) and as always, some savvy investors will jump off the bus beforehand while others will stay aboard and get slaughtered.
In foreign affairs, the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will go nowhere. In April, the talks will collapse, which is the Palestinian strategy, so that Abbas can blame Israel and go to the UN to demand Palestinian statehood along the indefensible pre-1967 lines. Barack Obama will instruct his hand-picked UN Ambassador Samantha Power to abstain so that this will pass the Security Council.
I expect Iran to make a successful nuclear test in 2014. What the Israelis will do then is unpredictable, but I don’t expect them to sit quietly, especially if the scenario I predict when it comes to the Palestinians and the American betrayal plays out. I also predict as a consequence of this that Israel becomes closer to China and possibly even Russia, especially as both countries extend their influence in the Middle East.
Syria will settle into a quasi-stalemate, while Iraq will continue to be wracked by terrorism as a consequence of essentially disenfranchising its Sunnis. Turkey may very well see a change in government, but it that happens it will be a quasi Islamist/Turkic Nationalist government led by the Gülenists ousting the Muslim Brotherhood oriented Islamist government of Erdoğan and the AKP, rather than secular democracy if it does. That would still likely be a change for the better as far as the West is concerned.
The situation in the western Pacific will continue to be volatile, as China expands its blue water navy while we retreat and U.S. allies like Japan and Australia realize that the Obama Administration’s ‘Pacific Pivot’ is meaningless. Look for Japan in particular to revamp its military.
In fact, I predict that the former democratic U.S. allies of the Anglosphere, Australia, Canada and India will all become increasingly independent when it comes to the U.S.
No security agreement will be signed and we will leave Afghanistan in 2014, having accomplished nothing.
One positive aspect of 2014 will be that most Americans will begin to look more honestly at where our Republic is heading. That could very well set the stage for more positive changes in direction in the future.
Virginia Right!: Obamacare will continue to be the top story. As people begin to use their plans and discover that in addition to paying a pretty penny for coverage, the doctor’s and hospital bills will be unaffordable after the Obamacare plan pays the paltry amount it will pay. People will not be able to afford the copay and deductible portion they are required to pay and also pay the monthly premiums. The newly covered people will be unable to pay their portion and will essentially still be uncovered.
The Republican war on the TEA Party will make holding the House an uphill battle and winning the Senate an impossible dream as TEA Party activists turn on Republicans and run Conservative alternatives as third party candidates in the general election. Establishment Republicans are already nearly indistinguishable from Democrats and the war on all things TEA will only result in Democratic victories. The only saving grace will be Obamacare.
The victory in the Duck Dynasty persecution of Phil Robertson will carry into 2014 as more people will challenge the left wing bullies demanding Christians abandon Bible teachings and beliefs.
The economy will suffer a major meltdown in 2014.
The Glittering Eye: Last year I didn’t make any predictions on my blog. For a number of years at the beginning of each year I made twenty some-odd predictions on areas from the economy to politics to sports to the Academy Awards, recapping at the end of the year to see how my predictions for that year had fared. My typical accuracy of prediction was between 80-90%.
One of the things I noticed was that although my predictions were generally right I also failed to predict the biggest stories of the year. For example, this year I wouldn’t have predicted the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papacy, Edward Snowden’s absconding with his trove of NSA secrets, or that the debut of Healthcare.gov would have been bungled in such a dramatic fashion.
At this point I don’t have any plans to make my annual predictions on my blog. However, in a spirit of bonhomie I’ll pitch in here to contribute some predictions.
By the end of 2014 marriage between same-sex partners will be legalized in all 50 states of the United States, effectively mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court.
As of December 31, 2014 the U.S. unemployment rate will be 7% plus or minus .2%. It will feel much worse, few will really believe the statistics, and BLS statistics will be entering the territory of the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics, whose reports are almost universally disbelieved.
Between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014 the real gross domestic product will have increased by less than 3%. It could be much, much worse. I think it’s about 3:2 that we’ve entered a recession by the end of the year.
12 Years a Slave will win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Sandra Bullock will win for Best Actress. Robert Redford will win for Best Actor.
By March 31, 2014 fewer than 3.5 million people will have signed up for insurance via the healthcare insurance exchanges whether Healthcare.gov or the various state-run exchanges. That’s just a little more than 1% of Americans, 10% of the number of people without healthcare insurance, and half the number projected by the CBO. Proponents of the PPACA will proclaim the exchanges a success. On December 31, 2014 the PPACA will still be on the books.
Israel will not have attacked Iran. Iran will not have suspended its enrichment program.
Republicans will pick up seats in the House and Senate, holding control of the House but narrowly failing to gain control of the Senate.
Illinois’s reformed public pension plan will be struck down by the courts.
Here’s the prediction in which I have the most confidence: none of my predictions, with the possible exception of my same-sex marriage prediction, will be among the top stories of the year for 2014.
Rhymes With Right: Predictions, predictions, predictions — do I have predictions for 2014? You bet I do.
Let’s break them down by category
1) We’ll finally see the death of Fidel Castro. The Left around the world will mourn deeply.
2) The current Turkish government will fall, and a more secular regime will replace it — returning the nation to its historical political configuration.
3) Nobody will do anything serious about the instability in Syria because there are no good guys there — which means a year from now Assad will still be killing his people and Islamists will still be trying to overthrow him.
4) Iran will continue working towards nuclear weapons — and Israel will continue to show restraint, not launching a military attack on the Islamic Republic. However, there will be more “unexpected deaths” of researchers, “industrial accidents” and “software problems” that most will understand are the results of Israeli efforts to provide for its own security.
5) The Christian population of the Middle East will continue to be persecuted and the governments of the West will continue to ignore the violence against followers of Christ in the region.
1) The GOP will hold the House of Representatives, even picking up a handful of seats as a part of the ObamaCare backlash.
2) The GOP will also win the US Senate — but will hold only 51 seats following bruising primaries against incumbents and a couple of meltdowns by “not ready for prime-time” nominees.
3) Barack Obama will continue to govern using the same playbook as the late Hugo Chavez, issuing executive decrees and making illegal recess appointments despite the restrictions on executive power contained in the Constitution.
4) Chief Justice John Roberts will write a 5-4 majority opinion on the ObamaCare birth control mandate — and will deliver a stinging defeat to Barack Obama by striking down the mandate on First Amendment grounds.
5) Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden will both declare their candidacy for President before Christmas. So will at least three Republicans — one of whom will be Chris Christie. Thus begins the long slog to November of 2016.
1) Despite drawing a great deal of national attention — and out of state money — Wendy Davis will NOT be elected Governor. Greg Abbott will be elected with over 55% of the vote.
2) Republicans will hold on to all statewide elected offices and both houses of the legislature. Among the statewide winners will be Jerry Patterson as Lt. Governor and George P. Bush as Texas Land Commissioner.
3) While Senator John Cornyn will face a crowded primary field that includes Congressman Steve Stockman, he will be the Republican nominee for Senate and will hold the seat for the GOP in November.
4) As the CD36 GOP primary has 12 candidates, the nomination will be decided in a runoff between two candidates who have garnered only about 20% of the vote each in the primary. The ultimate victor will be Seabrook businessman Dave Norman.
5) In 2014, the Houston Texans have their third number one draft pick since 2002. In 2006, they did the unexpected thing and drafted Mario Williams despite Reggie Bush being the consensus #1 pick of experts and Vince Young being the fans sentimental favorite — but this year we will see them pick a quarterback with that first pick. And no, it won’t be Fresno State’s Derek Carr, the younger brother of their 2002 number one pick — it will be the very safe and very expected Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville, despite sentimental fan hopes for Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.
The Independent Sentinel: Predictions for 2014: John Podesta will push through Mr. Obama’s agenda on global warming, immigration, and any other far-left idea that comes up. No one will be held accountable for anything except Republicans who will be blamed for everything. We will be lied to by the administration and the media will swear it’s true. The media will be very busy preparing for the second coming of Hillary Clinton who will diet and get Botox injections. Nancy Pelosi will make idiotic statements. Republicans will take over the Senate, at least they had better. If Republicans don’t get the Senate back, we’re toast.
Well, there you have it.
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it.
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