I could start with the easy prediction: Propaganda mindsets will prevail in 2009.
Thus, instead of asking why Afghanistan is occupied by US troops-- since even the FBI admits there is no evidence proving that Bin Laden, with the collaboration of the Afghans, perpetrated the 9/11 hijackings-- US citizens will ask "what is the best way to help Afghanistan help itself?" The chauvinism, racism, and pure violent evil of such a question will not come up in public discourse. Likewise, the fact that the Gaza prisoners' rockets have retaliated at a rate of 1/100th the rate of Israeli violence for the last several years will remain obscure. It will be an unwelcome fact. Here's another one we won't talk about: we negotiatied to free all Iraqi prisoners that weren't charged with a crime. But we haven't.
Maybe it's a terrorist fact, skulking around in the bushes somewhere. Some facts are just plain offensive to decent people. Like those pictures of Gaza toddlers' severed heads-- they will be denounced as hysterical demagoguery. How dare they. Is there no decency?
We think as we are told. Thus we do not say "Every penny of the Treasury/Fed/legislated bailout for those rich bankers must be accounted for! What, their wages come to $1000.00/hour? How outrageous! It must be their damnably corrupt Banker's Union!" No, we do not say that. We are meek. Quiet. We hand over the keys to the mint and step backward, bowing, bowing. Not looking up.
Accountability, I prophesy, won't happen. I have a vision of Christo--remember him?--wrapping up the Statue Of Liberty like a mummy, to show that after the failure to impeach, the failure to prosecute the telecom spying, the failure to prosecute torturers and warmongers, Liberty is but a mummified zombie (he could include a loudspeaker at Liberty's mouth endlessly repeating "BRAINZZZ..." in an asthmatic monotone)--but no. Uh uh.
I'm pretty sure these predictions are correct, so you can start calling me Swami. Other predictions are a little more difficult, but not impossible--like the economy; you'd think with all the hand-wringing, I'd be inclined to get all contrary, and say things will be all right. But that's not the case at all; I'd say there isn't nearly enough hand wringing right now. Now is the time to wring your fool hands off, say I. One word: hyperinflation.
Yup, hyperinflation. Not only does 'hyperinflation' have an impressive five syllables, it is the word to describe what happens when you attempt to print your way out of national bankruptcy. Who is going to buy up the debt on all those trillions? "Not us," say the Chinese. "Not us," say the Japanese. "Who you looking at," say the Saudis. I, Swami, say that hyperinflation may come hop-hop-hopping our way, maybe before the year is out. If I lose my Swami status over this, I'll be okay with it. Just buy me a drink or something (or trade hoarded beans for it).
Now, if I were an adept Swami, I'd tell you whether the sunspot maximum, coming this way after a too-long sunspot minimum, will knock out power grids worldwide or not. There's no telling, really, though it is tempting to speculate that oscillation in one direction--towards the just-ended and too-long minimum--might be followed by a pendulum swing the other way. Last time the Sun got really cranky, nineteenth-century telegraph lines caught fire. Everything else kept on keeping on, though, because it was the nineteenth century, and everything from the electrical, sewer and water supply to ship navigation was NOT dependent on feeble electrical patterns pulsing in silicon flakes. So this is an either-or: either it's not a problem, or we're all gonna die.