Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Flood in Our Future

All the Midwest is awash and the damage is unbearably familiar. If you haven’t seen the footage on the news, stay in Saratoga County long enough and you’ll be able to film it for yourself. Because back in the quiet backrooms of the Hudson River Regulating District (HRRD), they’ve drawn up a perfect plan for the Perfect Flood.

Before the Great Sacandaga Lake was filled in 1930, the NY legislature created the HRRD and gave them a mission in 1922—

“The Regulating District’s operations at the Conklingville Dam alternately block or release waters in the Hudson River to help prevent flooding during periods of high water flow and augment river flows during periods of drought.”

And so it did its single job, FLOOD CONTROL...for sixty years. In the 90's a new breed of owners came to the remote shores. These people didn't like the ways of us old-timers, owners who've grown used to moving docks as the lake level was drawn down. Planners dreaming of Restaurants and Marinas did not like the prospects of receding waterfront views. Sacandaga River Rafting, a growth industry in an area that needs every job it can get...the river runners lobbied the HRRD to store tons of water for regular & reliable brief releases. So the rafters launch at a predictable hour and they actually ride a "bubble" or released rushing water.

That was all a lot for HRRD to ponder. So in 2000, the HRRD re-wrote their legal "purpose." New missions were quietly added to the 1922 "FLOOD" statute--

In addition, the District will target Great Sacandaga Lake elevations that are higher than historic levels for enhancement of fall lake recreation, release water from reservoir storage to enhance hydroelectric generation, and will provide for Sacandaga River whitewater recreation and other objectives.

Not big news. Not with the printer's ink. But strange things started happening.
The changing story is told on the lake's daily website that records the water level and any strange flood waters that race over the spillway... creating a magnificent little Niagara Falls. So what is the 78-year history of flooding--

"Discharge over spillway, part or all of several days in 1983, 1990, 1993, 2000, 2003-2004 (only spillage since dam completion in 1930)."

The site makes no mention of 2006, the year when new daily high water records were established for 270 days. The year when the dam did the Niagara overflow performance on more than seven days. Even in the summer.

Up on the Sacandaga, a troublesome spring thaw flood is a sure thing. The risk will be small unless floating docks and boats and trees clog the VERY small opening under the little bridge at the dam. That narrow chute was a HUGE design flaw. If the ancient rusted security boom strung across the lake surface near the dam were to fail, you've got a lot of junk headed for a narrow opening.

But the more likely CATASTROPHIC FLOOD will come due to one of our more recent climate change issues, the MASSIVE but localized summer storms of record-setting rainfalls. They've struck all over New England in the last ten years...but NOT the Sacandaga watershed. Not yet.

While the surface of the lake itself is on 41.7 square miles, the mountainous terrain that drains into the Great Sacandaga is a staggering 1,044 square miles.

When this region is hammered by the kind of rains that have hit Northern Lake George, the Mohawk Valley, New Hampshire and Connecticut...well, we've been lucky enough to dodge a bullet.

The Sacandaga will flood and top the Conklingville dam and then the tiny Stewart's Bridge dam just downriver. Next, the torrent hammers the waterfront homes on the Hudson at Corinth... homes and lawns which add more solid wreckage to the raging waters. Next, the Hudson tops the old IP dam in Corinth...and then it comes to the ancient dam at Spier Falls.

The first Spier dam collapsed back in the '20s. The dam that's there now was recently reinforced... you make due with what you've got. But the Federal Energy Regulating Commission (FERC) wasn't overly imporessed. In fact, FERC demanded that the planners for the County Water system change their original design so as to prepare for "a catastrophic breach of the dam at Spier Falls." So the engineers of the County Water system moved the main pump house up to higher ground…above the projected high water mark in a post-Spier Hudson.

The Spier damn spans the wide Hudson at a point of an extreme vertical drop. It's not inconceivable that the Sacandaga flood and the battering docks & boats & picnic tables & trees will cause it to fail. And THAT massive wall of water will wreak havoc on Glens Falls, Ft. Edwards, Halfmoon, Troy...even Albany. It'll be national news and a Federal disaster area.

There Will Be Flood.
There will not be any Academy Awards.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Predictions for 2007 - The Scorecard

ABOUT 2007-
Many folks say my "2008" predictions were after the fact. AFTER Gaza...AFTER Pakistan...AFTER Wall Street. Truth be told, I started writing the rant in early February. Take it or leave issues here.

What MATTERS is what I PREDICTED for 2007. My preview of 2007 was sent in my pre-blog life back on May 7th 2007. It was an email sent far and wide. So it's worth revisiting here after almost a full year of reality.

LESSON ONE- Not so fast, Yankee Boy!

AS A SELF-SERVING PREAMBLE, I will say my HUGE mistake last year was to view the world using AMERICAN time. We Just Do It. We Do It Now. Fast food. We are NOT a patient people. Which is why we don't "get" the MidEast. Americans have many virtues; patience is not one of them. We tend to think this year, next election cycle, and that's it. [Bin Laden deputy] Ayman al Zawahiri in his autobiography points out that it took two centuries to get the crusaders out of the Middle East. It took 120 years to get the French out of Algeria. It took 70 years to get the British out of Egypt. That's how these guys are thinking — they see it as a generational thing. See JohnHopkins Magazine, April 2006-

That's why some of last year's losers have come baaaaaaaack.

2007 Scoreboard (A-F)

1. Lebanon will explode again...Hezbollah gets support from Syria.

B 2007 turned out to be one of the safest years in Israel since before the second Palestinian uprising began more than seven years ago. But early 2008 is making me look better- Israel ready to invade, Syria ready to return in massive force... and three US Warships just sent to the coast two days ago. Call it "simmering."

2. Israel will come out swinging. And THIS time, they won’t hesitate to hit Syria.

B+ On September 6, Israeli aircraft roared into Syrian airspace and then bombed a "mystery facility" suspected of being for the enrichment of uranium weapons. That gutsy move put the whole international world on edge...Syria blinked.

3. Syria takes the fight to Israel, sending weapons to the West Bank and Lebanon.

A- Israel charges that Syria-based Palestinian militants are directing violence against Israeli from the West Bank and Gaza. The rockets still fly, weak home-made Qassams, now we see deadly GLADs from Lebanon/Egypt/Syria not seen in Gaza until recently.

4. Afghanistan explodes in a nation-wide offensive in almost all 34 providences.

D- My bad, too soon. The Taliban and Al Qaeda have used the last year to regroup out in the countryside. They've rebuilt the opium industry to re-arm and they are going to dramatically increase the attacks on the cities and Karzai...attacks that have been plentiful despite the lack of news coverage. But NO "explosion" in the last year.

5. (Afghanistan attacks) will be the Tet Offensive of the MidEast.

D My bad, too soon. Ironically, a well-regarded "Strategy Page" website had a lead story on December 25, 2007- "Sometime within the next six months or so, al Qaeda or Saddamist terrorists will attempt a Tet offensive. Al Qaeda and Saddamist plotters are betting a deadly spasm of bombs and subsequent media magnification will give us reason to rethink."

6. Pakistan is the second Spring front for Al Qaeda. They murder President Musharraf.

B+ My bad, too soon. Pakistan's fundamentalist terrorists are in complete control of the mountainous NorthWest. But Bhutto was killed in place of Musharraf...thanks to Mr. Bush-- The White House needed a "successful democracy" to prove his vision for Iraq. Musharraf was no poster child so Bush pressed him hard-- To eliminate the Military State of Emergency... to remove his General's uniform...and to let Bhutto return for elections. The bad guys killed Bhutto knowing Musharraf would get blamed. Perv's "election" is the beginning of the end. His party lost BigTime to two parties eager to restore peace among historic tribes.

7. Iraq’s Green Zone completes Al Queda’s triple-threat. Bombers within the compound detonate themselves throughout this “safe” compound of AMERICA and ALLIES. Mortars and rockets rain down on all 4 square miles.

F My bad, too soon. But...from the same "Strategy Page" Tet prediction- "Striking the Green Zone would be the media coup de grace, intentionally echoing North Vietnam's assault on the U.S. embassy in Saigon." This is the 40-year anniversary... NAHHH, forget it.

8. England’s Prince Harry will be targeted and killed.

A+ Somebody in London must have read my 2007 prediction. After the public announcement that Prince Harry would be deployed to Iraq, the plan changed and he was ordered to stay home because his regiment would be targeted. THEN, he was SENT in secrecy...and as soon as it became public, he was sent home. For safety. ASAP.

9. The POLITICAL repercussions of Al Qaeda’s operations will be enormous. America's policy of denial allows Al Qaeda to grow into something unimaginable.

A/D The first sentence about a massive 3-county Fanatical Insurgent Uprising was wrong. The second sentence is 100% correct as Afghanistan and Pakistan are armed to the teeth.

10. Iraq instantly erupts into all-out Civil War.
F My bad, too soon. Plenty of tension. As for "The Surge"...see my look at 2008.

11. Turkey's Islamists gain political power. The dreamstate of Attaturk is no match for this incredibly violent year and the advance of Islam Extremists. A Muslim-based Turkey sweeps into the southern mountains to drive all the Kurds out of Turkey and into the Kurdish lands of Iraq.

A I was correct militarily, missed on politics. But 100,000 Turkish troops are massed on the Kurdish border and 10,000 launched an 8-day invasion. It was stopped under enormous international pressure. Recently the Turks launched another airstrike into Kurdish land. Stay tuned.

12. Islamic Revolution in Saudi Arabia/Jordan/Egypt, Iran and Egypt nuked by Israel, Oil at $5 a gallon, Stock DOW at 4,000, our nation in textbook DEPRESSION.

F- The twisted ramblings of a paranoid mind. HOW does he get ANYTHING right?

13. Israel is surrounded. Suicide bombers move in from Jordan, Syria and Egypt. This is no Seven-Day war. It is an attack of human waves and hatred.

D- More ramblings of a paranoid mind. these final days, Israel DID invade Gaza and it's going to be a very different scenario in 2008.

14. As Iraq unravels and Afghanistan explodes, our National Confidence plummets. The intelligence failure follows on the lies of WMD…the lies of Pat Tillman… the lies of Jessica Lynch…the lies of “killed Al Queda leaders”… the nation sits dazed in a fog not unlike the post 9/11 weeks. Then things get bad.

B- More...hey, wait a minute. Iraq's mess is only on temporary hold by "The Surge." And the Afghanistan explosion is ticking as Condi BEGS NATO to come help us. And speaking of "lies"- "President Bush and his top aides publicly made 935 false statements about the security risk posed by
Iraq in the two years following 9/11, according to a new study." And in case you missed it, the Pentagon determined Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire at close range. And they knew it before the ceremonial funeral. Didn't even tell Mom & Dad. Something has America in a dour "fog."

15. The sub-prime loans have started to go bad. You know that from the news. But what is bad will get worse. The loans that created the housing boom are now ready to backfire on homeowners as their monthly mortgages increase. Eventually payments can’t be made. Homes in foreclosure. Americans go bankrupt trying to “hang in there.” A loan is worthless if it isn’t being paid off. And of course, there remains the ticking time bomb of all the speculative real estate purchases made at the height of the housing boom. Families invested money in houses/condos in the expectation of “flipping” them for a quick profit. That’s the story in today’s (3/2007) New York Times. But it’s not news. Loans foreclosed, spending down, jobs lost, new condos simply abandoned… and all Hell breaking lose in the MidEast.

A++ Unfortunately, I was positively brilliant on this one. I'll take the Nobel Prize.


Florida will have a nasty hurricane season, I couldn't care less how many get names. SIX will hit US turf and THREE will be major. They'll come in from Africa, as usual...but they'll track mostly southern between the Everglades and Cuba. The danger zone will be from Tampa, through the panhandle, through New Orleans, to Galveston.

A+ SIX named storms hit the gulf. They came in south of Cuba. The landfall points in America were Tampa, Mobile, Houston, San Antonio. Exceptionally high pressure systems over Texas forced the two deadliest storms to track due west into Mexico.

SIX storm named clockwise, starting at 6:00- Yellow=FELIX, Burgundy=DEAN, Turquoise=ERIN, Orange=HUMBERTO, Dark Grey=TEN, Green=BARRY

* * * * * *

And THE SURGE is working.

Oh yeah-
It might...just a Recession.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Predictions for 2008

2008 Predictions
MIDEAST 1: Israel at War

1- The Gaza Strip is the flashpoint.
Israel has already launched the first of many invasions into Gaza. After destroying the border wall, rockets have rained on Israel's south. The small inaccurate Qassams are terror enough, but the toll from sophisticated GRADs smuggled in from Syria and the Egyptian tunnels under the Egypt/Gaza border demand a savage response. Israel will strike again and strike deeper. Egypt's strong Fundamentalism movement, "The Brotherhood," will move across the Sinai to join the battles in Gaza. Sensitive to the rising Fundamentalism in Egypt, President Mubarrak fails to stop The Brotherhood. Israel uses satellite and night vision to enter Egyptian airspace to catch The Brotherhood out in the relative open, before they can get to Gaza. Mubarrak is pressured to respond. He might send troops and encourage the fundamentalists. He might do nothing and risk being overthrown or killed.
***But GAZA is a LONG SLOG, it has ALREADY STARTED, it will ESCALATE and MAY lead to war with EGYPT.

2- Lebanon is within weeks of erupting as flashpoint #2.
The Lebanese are FURIOUS at the USA for posting three warships off the coast. The USA is there to deter Syria from marching back into Lebanon. Syria is aching to jump back into the Lebanese lands they've already armed to the teeth. Israel is watching ALL of it and they will NOT make the mistake of the 2006 war, the long war that infuriated Israelis who now demand security. The tension has been growing since Israel killed major Lebanese terrorist Imad Mughniyeh. Hezbollah threatened massive retaliation and has the missiles to do it. Iran's Al-Qaeda forces have promised to join the fight. Iran's President Ahmadinejad has committed Iranian support.
***The ROCKETS will fly to test USA and Israeli resolve, ISRAEL invades IN FORCE, and it is a HUGE EXTENDED BATTLE.

3- The Third front for Israel- The West Bank.
The West Bank is the ideal launching point for Syria-based Palestinian militants, an inconvenient third front. As the more militant Hezbollah forces join with Iranian al-Qaida, Kassams and GRADs fly. ISRAEL counters with intense attacks into the West Bank.
***The WEST BANK fight will ultimately bring an eyeball-to-eyeball face-off between SYRIA and ISRAEL.

4- Israel is now fully-mobilized and they hunker down.
Gaza/Egypt in the South, Syrian-backed invader on the West Bank, and a mixed bag of militants driving in from the North. Israelis are routinely retreating to basement safety bunkers. The mighty Israeli military command AND political leadership is utterly frustrated by suicide bombers throughout the country. There are too many anti-Israel factions to even think of peace negotiations.
***Israel hunkers down in bomb they prepare to strike.

5- The Nuclear Genie is soon out of the bottle.
Israel makes the threat of retaliation to the nations who support the fighters in the streets- Egypt, Syria, Iran, Lawless Lebanon...they are all warned in public and private statements. The target selected will depend on which nation provides the biggest cache of weapons. With good target selection, political wisdom, and just plain luck...the one Israel attack will force an intimidated peace. At a cost. Maybe Egypt's Answan Dam. Maybe Iran's nuclear facility at Natanz. Concentrated Lebanese fighters might be hit in the Bekka Valley. Syria's underground missile facility at Aleppo would be a possible target. I guess Israeli will attack Itan's underground nuclear facilities at NATANZ as a strategic warning with a special attempt to avoid large civilian loss. BUT...if the warning fails, Damascus could be wiped off the map.

MIDEAST 2: Pakistan in Turmoil

6- The Election so intensely advocated by Bush is the beginning of a long civil war. With our puppet Perv the Big Loser, Hell breaks lose. All I can do is steal from a NYTimes op-editorial-
"NYT 2.1 OpEd- As matters stand, the Punjabi-dominated regime of Pervez Musharraf is headed for a bloody confrontation with the country’s Pashtun, Baluch and Sindhi minorities that could well lead to the breakup of Pakistan into three sovereign entities. In that event, the Pashtuns, concentrated in the northwestern tribal areas, would join with their ethnic brethren across the Afghan border (some 40 million of them combined) to form an independent “Pashtunistan.” The Sindhis in the southeast, numbering 23 million, would unite with the six million Baluch tribesmen in the southwest to establish a federation along the Arabian Sea from India to Iran. “Pakistan” would then be a nuclear-armed Punjabi rump state. The nuclear safeguards depend on the Pakistani Army as an institution, not on the president. They would not be affected by a break-up, since the nuclear weapons would remain under the control of the Punjabi rump state and its army. The Punjabi-Pashtun animosity helps explain why the United States is failing to get effective Pakistani cooperation in fighting terrorists. The Pashtuns living along the Afghan border are happy to give sanctuary from Punjabi forces to the Taliban, which is composed primarily of fellow Pashtuns, and to its Qaeda friends."
***NOT good for our forces In-Country.

7- The Pakistani Nukes are going to be kept safely under control.
The US will supply covert assistance to only one faction of the confusing battleground described in #6...most of which is over my head. What is NOT over my head is the fact that the Pakistani Army is a "faction" all it's own, with or without Musharraf. In fact, the man we will deal with is the man who has been our friend for while, Army General Kayani. General Kayani makes a deal with the two ruling parties-- The insurgents stop attacking the Pakistani military, and the military will sit quietly while the Pashtun majority work out a peaceful plan of...well, PACIFISM. Musharraf is out, live-and-let-live is in.
***NOT good for our forces In-Country.
MIDEAST 3: The Taliban retakes Afghanistan

8- Afghanistan in the post 9-11 era long ago...the last smart move by the US.
We pounded the Taliban within an inch of their lives. Taliban fighters were unprepared for our enormous power, especially from the air. MORE IMPORTANT, our attack was made with the support of the world. But Bush turned to Iraq, opinion turned against us, and the Taliban was saved. Without our troops, Taliban groups have proliferated and re-armed. Record-setting opium crops have financed their rearming, and country towns and villages quickly surrendered to Taliban rule because the Afghan Army can only control the city and protect President Karzai. When the snow is all melted, the Taliban forces will sweep across the country in a lightning assault. We know it's coming but Condi could not get NATO aboard because NATO knows it's a fight that can't be won. The Taliban takes Kabul, Karzai never leaves the city alive. I've got 4 references below... taken from MANY pages. These four pieces should be read by every American...and we'll then be as wise as NATO. There will be no "second front" in the mountains because Pakistani fighters have actually joined their old tribes. The snow melts, Taliban forces will sweep across the country in a lightning assault and Karzai flees or dies.
***NOT good for our forces In-Country.

MIDEAST 4: Iraq unravels, the Myth of The Surge

9- Iraq explodes and this time I mean it.
And you can and should see it coming a mile away...IF you know the Surge. The Surge was a DEAL we made with the minority SUNNI fighters. We asked the Sunnis to stop attacking our troops, and asked them to JOIN us in a broad battle against our COMMON foes- Al Qaeda and the Taliban. We promised to bring in more soldiers, we promised the Sunnis $300 a day per fighter, and we promised them the umbrella of our tactical air support and immense artillery power. But the FIREPOWER was only HALF of the bargain. What is less-well known is that we promised the SUNNIs would then CONTROL the pacified territory, that they would GOVERN themselves, and they would PROTECT themselves with SUNNI defense forces of the Great Nation of Greater Iran. That was KEY because not one SUNNI wants to trust his life to a SHIITE cop. BUT...we can not and will not be able to "seal the deal." Without self-rule, the Sunni forces will feel betrayed, rightfully so, and the Sunnis will be our enemy again. And on that day, we've got ourselves stuck in the middle of a civil war between the SHI'A and the SUNNIs.
***The Surge is exposed as the myth that it is.

10- Iraq explodes and this time I mean it.
The Shiite armies have agreed to a truce...which by ALL accounts have cut violence by about 60%. SIXTY FRIKKIN' PER CENT. Recently the top Shiite Militia guy al-Sadr decided to "extend" the peace until August of this year. Well...AIN'T GONNA' HAPPEN. The Shiites are trying to consolidate political power...but they are too trigger-happy for turf. The SHIITE peace will end...but I know NOT where. Maybe Basra in the South. Maybe on the outskirts of Baghdad. Maybe the "last-stand" at Mosul. Who knows. But Shiite-on-Shiite violence erupts and bodies fill the daily news. Americans are fair targets.
***The Surge is exposed as the myth that it is.

11- Iraq explodes and this time I mean it.
The Shiite armies hate ONE THING more than each other-- The Sunnis. And as USA forces hand over "pacified" areas to the Sunnis, the Sunnis will set up political and military institutions.
The Shiites in Baghdad will not tolerate ANY HINT of Sunni self-rule. So the Shiite militia ATTACK Sunni territory as soon as American forces walk away. Without the US AIR SUPPORT, the Sunnis die. And they feel betrayed. and they get mad.
***And the Surge is exposed as the myth that it is.

MIDEAST 5: How 'bout them Kurds?

12- The Kurds and the Turks are at war on the Northern border.
The Kurds are in a bind because they MUST move south to seize the oil fields of Kirkuk. EVERYBODY wants Kirkuk but the Kurds have the advantage of better military discipline. AND their enemies are fighting each other...those Shi'a and Sunnis. Even if the Kurds stop their terrorist attacks into Turkey, the Turks have an army of 100,000 on the border and they haven't come to play hopscotch. Kirkuk rages on. International pressure keeps the Turks from invading as the Kurds kick butt and seize the oil fields. And...gosh darn it...the Kurds are actually HAPPY to sell oil to us. LUCKY US!!!!

MIDEAST 6: American Iraq under attack

13- American forces haven't got a friend anywhere.
The Shi'a forces have been fairly quiet because we made deals with the key clergy and warlords. And they're just waiting...for the Sunnis to clear out the countryside, a countryside where the Shi'a will NOT allow ANY Sunni self-government. So the Shi'a militias come at us with all they've got. The Sunni troops are outraged that we could not guarantee the "self-rule" we promised as THE KEY to THE SURGE. So the Sunnis come at us with all they've got. The Kurds have always been our friends...but they are only up in the North, unable to help us hold Baghdad. The Shiite militias start fighting each other (see #10), then they start slamming the Sunnis (see #11), and it's time to drive America OUT. The Green Zone becomes a killing zone. Mortars and rockets and suicide bombers...we at home are as stunned as we were when TET erupted in Vietnam.
MIDEAST 7: America sees reality

14- American forces are utterly outnumbered on too many fronts.
THIS is where the ELECTION...and the HISTORY of THE WORLD will be decided. I have been a supporter of John McCain since WAY before the 2000 election. He is a good, honorable, decent, and utterly MILITARY man. He is not afraid to 'fess up when he is wrong. And as Baghdad becomes a killing field, with more enemies in Afghanistan and no help from Pakistan or NATO...the McCain I respect will do the RIGHT THING for his fellow veterans in Harm's Way. He will speak. McCain will make a historic speech in which he points out the political changes that remain beyond our control. Turning to Iraq, he will say we have fought bravely and nobly...

"BUT our Iraqi counterparts have FAILED to achieve their promised goals. They have not made political reconciliation. They have not come up with a plan to distribute oil revenues. They have failed to secure the Taliban sanctuary near Pakistan. THEREFORE, we Americans can do no more. We can no longer sacrifice our sons and daughters to a failed nation-state that has chosen war over peace. They have chosen ancient hatreds over a prosperous future. They have chosen not to establish a beacon of hope and light, but a return to the darker side of our nature.

"My friends, as of this day, I am consulting with our Commanders in the field to create the plans for an orderly and safe withdrawal of American forces from the Iraqi war zone. Our men and women will be coming home to their families and a grateful nation. And make no mistake- They will be coming home with pride and dignity.

"As your Commander in Chief, I accept responsibility for this strategic decision. Every battlefield general will tell you that every battle is a fluid thing. The situation changes and the responsible commander must react accordingly. There is not now, nor has there ever been a battle plan that survived intact until the last shot was fired. The recent changes in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan and Afghanistan...they have not been of our making. But the threat to our sons and daughters now exceeds the abilities of our coalition forces.

"Know and understand this, my friends, that these warriors are not coming home in defeat.
They are coming home to a nation where the pursuit of peace beats in every heart. For all our differences and disagreements, the greatest of America's achievements has always been the greater good.

"God willing, families will be united again. American will continue to work with all nations in every corner of the world to see peace and prosperity thrive in what are now the deadly fields of fire. My friends, make no mistake- This is a proud nation, not a retreat for isolationists and defeatists. But instead we remain the shining beacon of hope for the people of this greatest of all God's creation, this beautiful earth, His home to us all. May God bless the United States."

IFFFF McCain makes that speech and brings our troops home, he will win the Election. The global danger will make America turn from semantics and sarcasm to honest-to-God leadership. Though it seems absolutely impossible, IF McCain brings us OUT, he will WIN in November.. If he "Stays the Course" he loses.

15- American people take a while to grasp the absolute FOLLY of "The Surge."
But they see the huge shift in power. And we are NOT winning. IFFF McCain stays with the Bush policy, the Democrats win the election by an ASTOUNDING margin. With so much at stake, the sexist soul of America rears its head and Hillary is defeated on the convention floor. Frankly, I believe she will be defeated by the Primary Process, however close. But IFFFF she is ahead, the nervous electorate will insist on a man. Obama. IFFFF McCain sticks with the Bush War Plan, Barak Obama is the next President of the United States.

AMERICA 8: The Homefront

16- The Economy will cling to shreds of hope until Spring thaw in Afghanistan.
And the simultaneous phenomenal spread of foreclosures and "recession." It is not a recession- When America stops buying, the WORLD is in trouble. As a few daring pundits dare speak the word "recession," America goes a wee bit bonkers. People see the home values around them falling...and so they turn to local government and demand "property re-assessments." In total ignorance, they say "My neighborhood homes are not worth $250,000, today they sell for $90,000. So I DESERVE a fair market re-assessment." So stupid. Fine...assume you "win." With all your local homes on the tax rolls for LESS, your City Council will simply increase the TAX RATE to create the same city budget. But the public goes a WEE BIT bonkers when their tax rate per/$1000 goes up by 200%.
***America falls into a Depression with or without re-assessment. Not a good thing.

17- The Terrorists know what we value most...and it ain't air travel.
It's PLAY. It's PEACEFUL FUN. It's SPORTS. And that's where they hit us. A few incredible acts of terrorism terrify America into staying away from the most simple acts of it Sports, Theme Parks, or Spring Break in Cancun.

I take no joy in any of this. I pray to God I'm wrong.
BUT...I have read the news without the AMERICAN spin.
Without the WASHINGTON spin. It's out there in black and white.
I'm sorry.
I'm either right or I'm wrong.
But if I had a wife and a family and a real job and no passion for history...

...I'd be watching the never-ending debate about what the future holds for
Hillary or Obama in Pennsylvania. It's the lead story on every newscast.

Central America?
Please. There's no oil. They don't matter.

And THE SURGE is working.

Oh yeah-
It might...just a Recession.