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Ten Things to Watch for in 2006

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Feb 14, 2005
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Southern SD
January 4, 2006
Ten Things to Watch for in 2006

By Aaron Goldstein Aaron Goldstein on the insurgency on Iraq, Stephen Harper, Robert Mugabe, and the first female general manager in Major League Baseball history.

At this time a year ago I wrote a column titled “Ten Things to Watch for in 2005.” I was correct to predict that the Red Sox would not again win the World Series, and that Tony Blair would be re-elected as British Prime Minister. But I was incorrect in predicting that Russia would invade Ukraine and that Gerald Ford would pass away this year.

The second prediction I made a year ago was that the Iraqi elections would be a smash but ignored by the world. Well, I was half right. Yes, they have been largely ignored by liberal elites in the U.S., Canada and Europe, but have served as a source of inspiration for not only the Iraqi people but for democratic movements that emerged this year in Lebanon and Egypt.

Here are ten things to watch for in 2006:

1. The Decline of the Insurgency in Iraq

This is not to suggest that there won’t be violence in Iraq. However, with each passing day the legitimacy of democracy grows in Iraq. Iraqis, be they Shiite, Sunni or Kurd, will grow ever impatient with the insurgency and slowly but surely put their foot down as the Iraqi Army takes on greater responsibility.

Certainly, Iran will still have an interest in destabilizing democracy in Iraq but I suspect its attention will be turned elsewhere this year.

2. Iran Attacks Israel. Israel Strikes Back and is Condemned by the UN for it.

Iran will start to act out on its commitment to wipe Israel off the map. It will do so by conducting naval exercises off the Mediterranean as a way of saber rattling. These naval exercises will morph into rocket attacks on Israeli territory. Israel will appropriately retaliate but in so doing will take human life (re: Palestinians) and will be condemned once again by the UN for defending itself.

3. America is attacked again.

I truly wish to be wrong about this one. Yet I have a funny feeling that enough Americans have been lulled back into a false sense of security that the time is ripe for another large scale attack. I can envision more cities being targeted, such as Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Boston and even New Orleans. I cannot envision the methods that would be employed but I have a feeling that it will occur on one of two dates.

June 6 or October 11.

I pick these dates strictly because of the numbers. June 6, 2006 can be read as 6-6-6. June 6th is also the anniversary of D-Day — a great day in the history of America and the West. What better way to supplant such an achievement but through mayhem and murder.

As for October 11th, if you flip 9-11-01 upside you get 10-11-06.

Again, this is strictly a gut feeling. Believe me I hope I am wrong about those dates or any other dates. But it is a feeling I cannot ignore.

4. The GOP Retains Control of Congress…Barely

I predict that the GOP will retain control of Congress. Yes, the GOP will lose seats in the House and probably a couple of Senate seats. I believe Bob Casey will unseat Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania.

Yet Democrats will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by emphasizing the worst fears of Americans –- that we are to blame for the world’s problems. Telling people that our country cannot win the War on Terror, that our soldiers are terrorizing Iraqi women and children or that the President lied does not inspire confidence. Short of the Democratic Party anointing Joe Lieberman as its savior, the Democratic Party can look forward to another two years on the opposition benches.

5. Stephen Harper Resigns as Canada’s Conservative Party Leader

The Liberals will win their fifth straight federal election and the Conservative Party will lose seats, forcing its leader Stephen Harper to resign.

Yet this will be an opportunity for a Conservative rebirth, as it will pave the way for Peter MacKay to become leader and a more viable option for moderate and independent voters in Ontario.

6. Oil Prices Drop in Venezuela and Chavez Blames the Mossad

The party will begin to end in Venezuela as oil prices will drop. Hugo Chavez will lose the ability to prop up left wing allies in Cuba and Bolivia. Sure, Chavez will blame America, but he will also begin to focus more intently on Venezuela’s Jews. Chavez has blamed his country’s problems on the Israeli Mossad and in 2004 closed down a Jewish school. But he hasn’t had to play that card very often as he (though not Venezuelans) have been making money hand over fist. Yet the moment he starts losing money look for him to start targeting Jews faster than you can say “capitalist pig.”

7. Robert Mugabe Dies.

Zimbabwe’s President for Life will leave this mortal coil in 2006. The world will see Zimbabwe in near famine conditions. Unfortunately, with a fragmented opposition and an indifferent UN, things are not likely to change for the better in Zimbabwe, even if Mugabe is no longer able to kick white land owners and black opposition leaders around.

8. The Chicago Cubs do not get into the 2006 World Series.

With the Red Sox winning in 2004 for the first time in 86 years and the White Sox winning in 2005 for the first time in 88 years, wouldn’t it be neat if the Cubs won it for the first time in 98 years or just made it to the Fall Classic for the first time since 1945? Is grass green?

But don’t hold your breath.

Sure, the Cubs have added outfielders Juan Pierre and Jacque Jones. Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry give their bullpen some depth — but there are still too many question marks in Wrigleyville.

But first or worst, Cubs fans will be on Wayland Avenue to cheer.

9. Johnny Damon will be a bust in 2006 for the New York Yankees.

I do not make this prediction simply because Damon signed with the Evil Empire.

Although Damon passed a physical he still has a bum shoulder, and Damon did not hit well during the last six weeks of the 2005 season with the Red Sox. He debated whether to have off season surgery but decided against it since he was a free agent.

The shoulder might not be a factor in April but by the All-Star break it will be. This would have been a factor even if he resigned with Boston.

I also think cutting his hair has robbed Damon of his power. Prior to growing his hair, Damon played in the shadow of former Royal great George Brett. Damon was a good player but not amongst the very best. Damon has now joined the elites due to the psychological power of his hair, which drew many a Damon’s Disciples and W.W.J.D? (What Would Johnny Do?), as well as “The Passion of the Damon” T-shirts in New England.

Don’t forget that when you play center field for the Yankees you play with Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and even Bernie Williams. Yankee fans will resent Williams being cast off to the bench to make room for the GQ cover boy.

This is the one free agent signing that has women angrier than men in New England. A couple of my female co-workers now refer to him as “Johnny Demon.” They posted a picture of him after he had his locks shorn and wrote this caption: “TRAITOR – With Pretty Boy Highlights.”

As usual, things will be interesting in the neighborhood when the Yankees come to visit this season.

10. Kim Ng will become the first female (and Asian) General Manager in Major League Baseball

Kim Ng came within an eyelash of pulling this off in 2005. The Assistant GM for the Los Angeles Dodgers was in the running for the Dodgers GM position that became vacant after Paul DePodesta was unceremoniously let go. However, the Dodgers picked Ned Colletti, who was the Assistant GM with the San Francisco Giants.

But don’t be surprised if after the 2006 season, a team like the Baltimore Orioles or even the Red Sox should decide to hire her and become the talk of Major League Baseball.

Best wishes for a healthy, prosperous and interesting 2006.

Profile: Aaron Goldstein, a former member of the socialist New Democratic Party, writes poetry and has a chapbook titled Oysters and the Newborn Child: Melancholy and Dead Musicians. His poetry can be viewed on www.poetsforthewar.org.

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