Bruce has been playing this Predictions game for couple of years now, and it’s mildly amusing so I’ll give it a shot, again.

*Iraq- Direction:

Now that the Democrats have their way and have power to enforce their misbegotten policies, this has no place to go but down, assuming it moves at all. I actually think that it will end up being pretty much a stalemate over the next two years. What improvements happen will be relatively offset by the Arabs in the region mistrusting America and whether not it’s left wing is going to take over completely the government and the policy that affects their lives so greatly. If we hadn’t tried to placate them in the first place this would even be an issue. As it is …

* Iran – Become nuke power? Will sanctions be enforced and if so to what effect?

* North Korea – Will they try to sell nukes? Outcome of 6 party talks?

Unquestionably Iran will become a nuclear power. And because even if we manage to take out thier refinement ability, we will find that North Korea has been selling them to Iran. The six party talks will work exactly as North Korea designed them; as a distraction from it’s other activity… such as weapons production for rouge states such as Iran and Syria.

* Afghanistan – Heading toward collapse or will it survive the threat of a resurgent Taliban?

Afghanistan will survive, but whether not they thrive depends on early on what happens in Iran. How much money, and muscle Iran can bring to keeping the Islamo fascist movement going in Afghanistan, remains to be seen. Without any major change in the power structure and Iran, Afghanistan will survive but won’t make much progress.

* China – Continue to grow economically or run into growth problems?

Even as they’ve been growing they’ve been running into growth problems. The two rather go hand in hand, particularly for a centrally dictated economy. What’s keeping them going at the moment and historically over the last twenty years are so is the huge influx of western cash. The question is whether not they would survive that cash being cut off either by a policy change, or by recession here in the west, or both.

* Russia – Continue its drift toward totalitariansim? Why?

Yes. As to why I would think that to be blatantly obvious; its centralized government is being threatened by freedom more so, even, than the Chinese at the moment. Totalitarianism is a knee jerk reaction for such governments.

* Europe – Take steps to curb muslim immigration and influence? What?

They will try, but I fear it to be too late for them. I said so a year ago during the riots in France. I see nothing to change that perception.

* Middle East – Any radical changes foreseen? Alliances?

This one’s difficult; Iran, certainly has the possibility of coming to grips with itself and an almost livable government. I suppose that a transition from what they have now to almost livable is an improvement. That having been said, there’s still Syria to deal with. The real issue though, is not whose running each country, but the cultural dynamics involved. Those trends send alliances , and for that matter just about any other governmental influence . Which is a nice segue to:

* Islam – Changes? Moderation? Increased radicalization? changes?

In the religion itself? I don’t think so. In the how the religion is perceived by its adherents? Well, that, perhaps is another matter. My read is that it’s about an even split between those who will become more moderate, and those who will become more radical. And unless the ones that are more radical will become more desperate and more violent, while the ones who were becoming more moderate will be less so. Guess who’s going to win that battle?

* UN- UN able to enforce sanctions on Iran? Will it remain ineffective or will new Sec Gen be able to change that? Darfur? Somolia?

A change at the head isn’t going to change a damn thing. There is too much in the way of incompetence spread through the organization, to say nothing of corruption, for it to be useful. I call it about a 50/50 shot that they will be able to enforce sanctions on Iran, but it’s a sure bet that either way it’s not going to bring that errant dog to heel. They will be equally effective elsewhere in the world.

* Environment – Any movement in the international environmental movement?

Since the concept of global warming is every bit as much a religion as Islam is, look at my answer above about Islam and make the translation. The religion won’t change, how that religion is perceived by its adherents is another matter, and it will be about an even split between those who will become more moderate and those who will become more radical the ones were more radical will probably end up become more violent than they have been, and start burning live things down as opposed to simply burning down buildings and SUV’s.

* Economy – see the world economy growing, shrinking, stagnating? Why?

Shrinking. As to why… the increased reliance on socialist policy.

* Immigration – Any answers this year? Bush team up with Dems? Fence?

There is an unquestionable historical pattern, here.  The last thing the Democrats want to do is actually solve a problem. To do so is to allow the horse to eat the string carrot… at which point, the horse stops moving. Or in the case of Democrat rank and file, the Democrat voters stop supporting Democrats. They know they can maintain power longer, if they simply mollify the right noises at the proper times, and be completely ineffective in solving the problems they claim to care about so deeply.

*Health Care – Any movement toward a more consumer oriented system or a single-payer government system?

Same answer as above. Oh, the democrats will be making significantly more noise about it now that they have the bully pulpit. But that’ll be about the size of it.

* Social Security – Continue to ignore it or actually confront its problems?

Same answer. In this case, the fact remains, that the only way the democrats can see to solve the problem is to spend more money on it, which is certainly going to lose them votes. Meantime, the republicans are going to be playing the part of the little Dutch boy plugging the holes in the dike.. as I pointed up Jeff Sessions as doing. This isn’t going anywhere.

* Environment – Any progress on environmental agenda?

Since this global warming thing as a total farce, one would hope not. But you know as well as I do that they are going to lay additional regulations on already beleaguered American automobile manufacturers. After all, it’s “for the children”

* Congress – Predictions about the Democratic control of congress? Budget and Spending – More? Less? About the same? Laws, investigations and various other possibilities? Real ethics reform in Congress or lip service.

Are you kidding? These are Democrats, after all. Budget and spending cuts? Forget about it, unless you’re talking about the military. Let’s remember the only thing they cut under the Clinton administration was in fact, the military. Carter, too. Yes, they will try to investigate and possibly impeach Mr. Bush. As for real ethics reform, come and ask me that question after they remove John Murtha from office. (And, just as a toss in, no I don’t think the democrats are going to try to remove John Murtha from office. Nor will they, without some serious help from republicans. But I don’t see that happening, either. The obvious answer is, there are any simply paying lip service to ethics. And I don’t expect that to change.

* Supreme Court – Any new nominees? How many and who? Chances of getting out of committee?

New nominees, depends on who decides to kick in the next two years. As to getting out of committee, see also: snowball, hell. Unless of course, Lincoln Chafee or someone of the like decides he likes robes.

* ’08 Presidential contenders – See anyone begin to emerge from the pack? Who?

The only guarantee I can make you here, is that the current frontrunners, will be by this time next year.

* Economy – Growth, recession? Which sectors are going to be strong? Housing going to collapse?

A recession… which will be directly tied to a Democrat tax increase. By the facts, not by the news media. And certainly, (chuckle) not by the Democrats, or their supporters.

* National Security – Changes? Threats?

American interests will be attacked over the next two years. You can count on it. *

* Blogging: Consolidation? Commercialization? Improvements?

Blogger will be folded up into some other org, possibly connected with YOU Tube.

Final protections:

1: after one year of Democrat rule of Congress, one one, mind… America will wonder how the hell they manage to get themselves into that mess, and will start working their way out for day reversal of fortunes in ’08.

2: The price of oil will remain fairly steady, and perhaps rise marginally, once the world oil suppliers realize that with the democrats in power, our chances of actually getting on a serious drilling binge are about zero.