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Hello 2012! Why the long face?

A Mayan carrying the burden of debt. Some things never change!
Sweet Jesus!
The world is messed up on many levels right now. Ireland is in a malaise, the sadness and confusion actually tangible on the streets (why the Irish generally choose to not actually do anything about their awful situation deserves a blog posting of its own, so watch this space). In my opinion, things are going to get worse before they get better and 2012 could well be the shittiest year for yonks. Why?

1. War
The war between US/Israel/UK and Iran has already begun. Assorted scientist assassinations, massive blasts at arms plants and the first known use of a computer virus (StuxNet) to attack nuclear facilities combined with drone overflights and the build-up of military forces literally all around Iran mean that full-on conflict could break out any day. Whether it's really all about human rights or oil or banking (or even nuclear weapons development!), we'll probably never know. I, for one, have no problem with the Iranian regime being destroyed, but it's important that the Iranian people decide what comes after.

We also have Afghanistan, North Korea and probable civil war in Iraq to contend with. War between the US and China is probably a long way off yet, but it's clear that America is now preparing for this eventuality. I believe that the Korean and Vietnam Wars were actually US/China conflicts. I wonder is the US secretly assisting pro-democracy movements in China, as it appears to be doing in Russia?

2. Climate Change
Late 2011 saw The Great Deluge in Dublin and 2012 began with a week-long storm. Similar events all around the world. The basic science is that a warmer atmosphere has more energy (= more storms) and warm air holds more moisture (= more rain) so there will many more extreme weather events. Can we stop climate change? I don't think so as we are too selfish, stupid and lazy as a species.

3. The Stupid Economy
If Ireland was a person or company, it would have been declared bankrupt long ago. Crazy bankers, mental property developers, incompetent regulators, dumb politicians and a citizenry whose own greed allowed them to swallow the bullshit that Ireland's was a 'different kind of speculative bubble', these were the ingredients of Ireland's collapse. Much of the world made the same mistakes and is in the same impossible position. Ireland's foreign debt amounts to €400,000 for every man, woman and child in the country (you can see the national debt clock here). More taxes, less benefits is the Government/IMF/ECB mantra but this can't go on forever while the public service enjoys salaries, benefits and pensions that are beyond the wildest dreams of most honest workers, let alone the poor and dispossessed.

But it's not all bad
The world will not end. The Mayan calendar just finishes its cycle on December 21. A new cycle begins on December 22. Anyway, if they couldn't predict the coming of the conquistadores, why the hell does anyone care what else they 'predicted'? And NASA confirms that no destructive planetary alignment is possible this or any other year. President Obama will be re-elected and he will continue to do his best with the shitty hand he's been dealt. And we now have the Occupy and Anonymous movements to look to, as well as web activist collectives like (join this now). The Arab Spring has gotten rid of a good few despots (the whole thing was kicked off by WikiLeaks, let's not forget) and I hope it gets Syria, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia some kind of freedom this year. The Eurozone (doesn't that sound like something from Orwell's 1984?) is finished and, if it all goes bang at once, the peasant peripherals like Ireland, Portugal and Greece will probably do well out of it. Ignore those who say that the Euro collapse will mean the end of the world - they're all bankers or in bankers' pockets and, to them it will be the end. I'll drink to that!

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