Friday, December 22, 2023

Chaos and Reality


“Chaos is the score upon which reality is written.” – Henry Miller

So, we come to the end of the year and it’s time to grade my 2023 predictions and look ahead to 2024.

 2023 Prediction Reviews and Grades:

 _1 The Ukraine-Russia conflict gets resolved. Probably before the end of March.  Russia gets something out of it and the world agrees that Russia did not lose the war (even if they did.)

Grade F -  (Now it’s going to be a stalemate until the 2024 election is over).

_2 With the Ukraine-Russia situation settled world energy markets calm down and the European economy starts a slow recovery.  2023 will not be great and we will have a recession.  But it won’t be very deep nor will it last long.  Inflation eases up.

Grade  B -  (I should have said we might have a recession.  We dodged that one, so I was wrong.  Otherwise, not too far off on this prediction.

_3 The 2024 Presidential campaign is in full swing by the second half of the year.  The Democrats are stuck with Biden/Harris and the Republicans try to figure out how to make Trump go away.  I predict Trump does indeed fade out.  Barring a scandal of some sort, DeSantis is the favorite going into 2024.

Grade F – (Trump has not gone away yet and DeSantis has faded.  Biden/Harris may not be the ticket for the Dems.  American politics are in crazy land.   

_4 The Stock Market surges in the second half of 2023.

Grade A -  Pretty accurate on this one.

_5 2023 will be a big year for M&A activity, especially in transportation/logistics and food/grocery.

Grade A – Again not a bad prediction. 

_6 Georgia repeats as college football national champs. Kansas City wins the Super Bowl.

Grade A – 2024 will be different

_7 As evidence mounts that Covid originated in a Chinese lab, the “Covid Story” goes away.  Republicans will push it, but it will be to a dead end.

Grade B – I think this is sort of the way it turned out.  Will probably be discussed more so in 2024 as part of the Election battle.

_8 There will be some Federal response, at last, to the border crisis.  It has become a nasty loose end going into the 2024 elections and the Democrats recognize the need to do something.

Grade F – Really doesn’t appear that the Feds have done much and it’s going be a major issue during the 2024 campaign.  Weak play by the Dems.

_9 The United States, along with other Western industrialized nations, continues to move further to the left on climate, economic and social issues.  Conservatives will object and continue to issue dire warnings.  But the tide has turned and isn’t likely to change until there is some sort of cataclysmic event.

Grade B – I figured this was an easy grade A prediction but Climate was really the only move further to the left.  If anything Economic and Social issues might be leaning to the right just a bit.

_10 And lastly, I have one prediction that is guaranteed to be correct: Expect the Unexpected. 

 Grade A -  The “unexpected” is always  reliable and the Hamas-Israeli conflict certainly qualifies.  Not unexpected that there would be some sort of Palestinian-related trouble, but certainly not of the current magnitude.  Nor would one have expected the level of protest and anti-Israel sentiment across college campuses in the States.  


 And now for the 2024 Predictions

 _1 The economy shows some improvement driven by lower energy costs and a mid-year interest rate cut.

 _2 Trump/Haney lose to Biden/not Harris in a very close election.  (The Democrats must come up with a viable running mate for Biden given the likelihood that he cannot remain upright for four more years.) Republicans are fighting an uphill battle.  Younger people, BIPOCs and single women will overwhelmingly vote Democrat.  The abortion issue will be a major factor in this election. Whatever the outcome, the loser will go ballistic.

 _3 The Israeli-Palestinian crisis continues triggering terrorists’ attacks on European and American targets. This is going to get very ugly.

 _4 Trump’s legal battles drag on as do Hunter Biden’s. This too shall pass.

 _5 Over in the toy department, Alabama wins another Natty and the 49ers win the Super Bowl.  Paris hosts the 2024 Olympics. It turns out to be more of a Tik-Tok event than a television event. Advertisers, networks and nations lose vast sums of money on the Olympics. Eventually, the world will decide to just let Greece have the Summer Olympics and Switzerland the Winter Olympics on a permanent basis.

 Five predictions are enough.  Of course, there will be the unexpected. And that will change everything.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

It Happened


A recent poll conducted by The Economist/YouGov reports that 20% of young Americans age 18-29 believe that the Holocaust is or may be a myth; that it didn’t actually happen.  If one in five young people actually do not believe the Holocaust occurred;  is it any wonder why so many elite college campuses have become hotbeds of anti-Semitism? 

Certainly one may rightly plead the case on behalf of the Palestinian people who have legitimate grievances against Israel and those who have supported and enabled the injustices inflicted on them. But one must not pretend that the Holocaust did not happen just so they can feel more virtuous in supporting Israel’s enemies.

My father was a member of the 101st Airborne.  He was with those who liberated a Nazi concentration camp.  It was one of the few war experiences he was willing to share. Together we would look at the photos and then he would just go silent.  He could never reconcile what he saw there with what he had been taught and once believed about God.  It haunted him until the day he died at the age of 46; an accidental death and an empty vodka bottle near where he had been working.

So for those of you who may not believe the Holocaust actually happened, I can assure you that it did.


        "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness." - Elie Wiesel

Saturday, December 9, 2023

As Are We All


I was recently watching a television show where an old man in a nursing home was talking to a younger man about the young man’s father whom the old man had known well.  This father had been dead for many years.  The son remembered him from his childhood and the memories were painful.  He was a hard, demanding man; prone to drink and inclined to discipline his children in the old ways.  

The son asked the old man, “You knew him well. What sort of man was my father?”.  

The old man hesitated and then looking into the son’s eyes replied sadly, “A lesser man than he had hoped to be…as are we all.”

That might be one of the best lines I have ever heard.  Most of us have the tendency to judge others far too harshly while giving ourselves a pass on our behavior to the point of even blaming others for the people we have become.  

I’m not going to make this about victimhood or oppression and all the socio-economic-political push and pull around those issues.  This is, and should be to each of us, more personal.  How does one feel about the people in their life who have let them down?  Family members who failed to meet expectations, would- be mentors who let them down, employers who did not deliver on their promises, people in one’s life who just let us down without warning or regret.  

But how often do we look in the mirror and recognize that we are that family member who failed, the mentor who missed the opportunity to change someone’s life for the better, the employer (or employee) who did not deliver on promises or that we are the person in someone else’s life who let them down? 

Repentance begins with recognition.  Certainly, the realization that we are not the person we had hoped to be.  But more importantly, confessing that we are not the person God made us to be.  I don’t mean physically or mentally.  I mean the person you are as an eternal, spiritual being made in the image of God.  That person is the one who must confess they are less than they had hoped to be and most assuredly less than God created them to be… are we all.