And it begins...

With 2006 right around the corner, it feels like we're waiting for the starting gun.

In the next few weeks, the confirmation hearings for Judge Alito are going to begin. We can expect to have the abortion debate fought in the press again, this time with real implications. Now that we know that George W. Bush not only ordered the NSA to watch Americans without warrants, (and admitted to it on national TV!) we can expect questions about privacy and civil liberties. Alito's service to Saint Ronnie in the 80s will come to light, which he will explain away as 'services for a client' that have no bearing on his personal views. This is, of course, bullshit. You don't apply to work for Ronald Reagan if you don't agree with him on most things.

The Patriot Act will be up for consideration again in a little less than a month. We can expect doom and destruction to be forecasted by right-wing pundits, assuming they don't just go straight to accusations of anti-Americanism. The irony, of course, is that America was founded to establish a nation free of most of the things in the Patriot Act. (Well, if they had the internet in 1776, King George would have watched which websites Jefferson surfed let alone listening in on Ethan Allen's cell phone calls.)

And of course, 2006 sees the reelection campaigns of every member of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate. Will growing unease with the ruling oligarchy bring about a Democratic House or Senate? I'm not getting my hopes up. If it does, however, things would move in a hurry. Can you imagine the exploding heads at the White House if there wasn't a rubber stamp legislature? Impeachment is the buzzword if the 2006 elections go well for Democrats. The rub is that impeachment would require a majority in both houses and perfect unity, even from the likes of Joe Lieberman, who has done everything but ask for a job in the Bush Administration. I don't think that, based on the evidence we've seen come to light so far, there will be an impeachment (though based on that evidence, there certainly SHOULD be.) Bush's admission that he broke the law on surveillance without warrants is proof he broke the law. It'll take something a lot more startling to get enough bipartisan support to impeach.

Actually, 2006 should see some action on that front as well. 2005 saw the Senate declare its independence from the tyranny of the current King George. I'm sure that next year won't be any easier for the President. Unless he picks up seats. That, however, is unlikely unless Diebold gets involved...

Iraq would be an exciting spectacle in emerging nations and revolutionary upheaval if it weren't for the fact that thousands will die, American and Iraqi. Prediction: Independent Kurdistan creates chaos in the region. Sunnis and Shiites won't exactly be getting along either, with Iran stepping in (openly or furtively) to assist their Shia brothers. The problem is that all three groups see advantages in fracture and loss of power/identity in unity. The more we turn over power to the Iraqi military, the less control we have in preventing the Iraqi army from breaking ranks and reforming (with good U.S. training) into ethno-religious militias. "Iraqification" isn't a solution. It's the problem.

And finally, we should see the end of the Plame-gate affair. (Maybe we'll finally know what happened with that Jeff Gannon fellow too.) My guess is that Rove is indicted. In the end, it won't change anything though. He'll be as effective an advisor over the phone as he is in the White House. And it's not like the guy's going to starve without his government pay check. The people who already don't trust Bush (65% of Americans) will continue to not trust him. The people who do trust Bush (35% of Americans) will continue to drink the koolaid.

By the time 2007 rolls around, I imagine we'll start to see a shift back to the left. The far-right has pushed too far too fast. The failure of 'intelligent design' in Dover, PA both in the courts and with voters is a harbinger for the Right. I won't speculate on the amount of the shift. It could be just an increasingly assertive legislature. It could be impeachment. My guess is somewhere in between.

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