Barbara Buono will Win, Apple will Grow, Assad will Die and other forecasts for 2013

by L J Furman, MBA on January 20, 2013

in Connecting the Dots, Fukushima


LF_w_Barbara_Buono

In “The World Will Not End and Other Predictions for 2012,” I developed a set of predictions for 2012, the accuracy of which were described by me in 2012 Revisited. Here are my predictions for 2013. As noted last year, I am extrapolating from patterns that I see – also known as reading tea leaves.

  1. New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie will lose his re-election campaign to NJ Senator Barbara Buono, pictured with me, above. The Tea Party Republicans will not compromise with President Obama, Democrats in the House and Senate, or the Republican Leadership in the House and Senate.  They will, again, threaten to shut-down the U. S. government.
  2. A major hurricane will batter the Gulf Coast or the Eastern Seaboard, causing $25 to $80 Billion worth of damage. FEMA will be there to help.
  3. Apple will continue to report record sales and record profits. It will close out the year with a market capitalization around $650 Billion, up from today’s level of $470 Billion. If HP‘s Board doesn’t fire CEO Meg Whitman, HP may return to profitability. Dell‘s market share and market capitalization will fall.
  4. The wind and solar industries will increase in the US and globally, particularly Japan, which is now planning to have 100% renewable energy by 2040, and India, which is learning from the mistakes being made in China, Japan, and the West.
  5. Large industrial conglomerates will continue to design and sell wind turbines, LED lighting, PV solar modules and more energy efficient medical devices, etc.
  6. Assad will fall – and will die – by the end of 2014.
  7. Mohammed Morsi and the Moslem Brotherhood will consolidate power in Egypt, but will not abandon the Egypt – Israel peace treaty.
  8. Iran will provide weapons and support to Islamists in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia.
  9. Israel, feeling threatened, and very concerned regarding Iran, Syria and Egypt, will ignore pressure to negotiate with the Palestinians.
  10. Roger Saillant and RP Siegel will not win any awards for their novel, Vapor Trails.

For an overview of the details see below.

  1. In my Dec. 2011 post I predicted that President Obama would defeat the Republican challenger. Today I am predicting that New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie will lose his re-election campaign to his Democratic challenger, NJ Senator Barbara Buono. This is not a statement of endorsement of Sen. Buono (altho depending on her positions on various issues, that may be forthcoming). And Sen. Buono will have to work hard to win the election. Gov. Christie, is popular with many in New Jersey (and unpopular with some in the GOP nationally) due to his willingness to work with President Obama and FEMA to use government resources to rebuild the Jersey Shore in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. (That, of course, is what most Democrats, many Independents, and all Keynesians say is the proper role of government.) It seems possible that Gov. Christie will run into trouble with the electorate on traditional conservative issues of law and order, fiscal responsibility, and the environment. He will also run into trouble with the electorate with his views on organized labor and the role of government.  In addition, while a segment of the electorate will appreciate Christie’s “take no prisoners” leadership style, more will like Buono’s consensus building / “talk softly but carry a big stick” approach. Back in Washington, D.C., The Tea Party Republicans will not compromise with President Obama, Democrats in the House and Senate, or the Republican Leadership in the House and Senate.  They will, again, and again, threaten to shut-down the U. S. government. As it did in July, 2011 and December, 2012, this will continue to wreak havoc on financial markets (Time / NY Times / Wash Post).
  2. The year 2013 will be one of the 10 hottest years ever recorded. A major hurricane will batter the Gulf Coast or the Eastern Seaboard. Like Sandy, 2012, and Irene, 2011, it will pack high winds and cover hundreds of miles. Damage will range from $25 to $80 billion, depending on where it makes landfall. FEMA will be there to help.
  3. With all due respect to Stuart Jeffrey, an analyst with Nomura, while Apple designs and sells mobile devices, and generates much of its profits from the mobile communications space, it is much more than simply a telecom company. Apple will continue to report record sales of various products, making record profits on computers, cell phones, music players, tablets, which its customers will continue to love to use.  Apple also may surprise us with something new and different.  It will close out the year with a market capitalization around $650 Billion up from today’s level of $470 Billion. HP and Dell will report strong sales and weak earnings. They will continue to try to grow by acquisition. Dell may sell itself to a hedge fund. If it does, the fund will break it into its components by the end of 2014.  If HP doesn’t fire Meg Whitman, it will have a chance at turning itself around. The fundamental weakness of HP, Dell, Asus, Lenovo, etc. is that they believe that they must sell “disposable” PCs even if they lose money on every unit.  If you lose money on each unit sold, you can’t make it up in volume. Microsoft will announce Windows 8.1  or 9, which will include as an option, the ability to default to an interface suspiciously like that of Windows XP or Windows 7.
  4. The wind power and solar energy and energy efficiency industries will expand in the US and globally, particularly India and Japan, which is developing plans to be build 1.0 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2020 and to have 100% renewable energy by 2040 ( Discovery NewsThe Hindu ).  Total US installed wind and solar capacity will double. American Wind Energy Association will hold a Regional Wind Energy Summit in Portland, Oregon, February 19, a Wind Project Siting Seminar in Portland, Oregon, February 20, a Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, Illinois, May 5-8, and a Community Windpower conference June 11-12 in Rochester, NY. The American Solar Energy Society‘s National Conference will convene in Baltimore, Maryland April 16-20. First Solar, Sunpower and other American solar energy companies will also continue their expansion into India and Japan. Coal, oil, and frackking gas will also continue to increase.  New evidence will emerge about the dangers of hydro-fracturing. Shell Oil will proceed with its plans to drill for oil off the coast of Alaska. Nuclear power will continue its slow decline. However, the sustainable energy industry will continue to be held back by up front costs – which will continue to drop. The UnSustainable fuel and waste based energy industry will continue to be propped up by its ability to externalize clean-up costs, morbidity costs and mortality costs to other sectors.  Pollution in China will continue to worsen. The Chinese authorities will continue to disregard deaths from pollution, industrial accidents, along with calls to liberalize and respect human rights. The death rates in Chinese Coal Mines, Auto Accidents, and from pollution will continue to be significantly higher than anywhere in the world. There will be 200 to 300 deaths in Chinese coal mines, compared to 10 to 15 in the US and 1 or 2 in Canada. There will be 25 to 30 deaths per 100,000 cars in China, compared to 13 to 15 in the US. And 1.1 million to 1.5 million people will die from air and water pollution in China and east Asia.
  5. GE, Siemens, Phillips, Hitachi, and other large industrial conglomerates will continue to design, build, and sell wind turbines, LED lighting, PV solar modules and more energy efficient turbines, locomotives, jet engines, medical devices, etc.  They would sell nuclear power plants, but their only customers for nuclear power plants would be China, Iran and North Korea.  IBM, EMC, Oracle and SAP will continue to work on energy efficiency and the “Smart Grid.” Ford and General Motors will see sales of their most efficient hybrids and plug-in hybrids, i.e. the Ford C-MAX, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ and Chevy Volt meet or exceed their expectations.  The C-MAX and Toyota Prius will dominate the taxi industry. Because it is more luxurious than the Prius, the MKZ hybrid will become the car of choice among livery cab drivers.
  6. Assad will fall by the end of 2014. Until he does, Syrians will continue to flee Syria for Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and France. When he falls his “client” Nasrallah of Hezbollah, will turn to Mahmoud Achmadinejad of Iran and Mohammed Morsi and the Moslem Bortherhood of Egypt for support and weapons. But because Hezbollah will become weakened by fighting to support Assad in Syria, anti-Hezbollah forces in Lebanon will be strengthened.
  7. Mohammed Morsi and the Moslem Brotherhood will consolidate power in Egypt. Coptic Christians, moderate and liberal Moslems, women will see their right eroded. Morsi, the Brotherhood, the Egyptian government will continue to support Hamas in Gaza and continue anti-Israeli rhetoric.  They will strengthen ties to Iran and stretch but not abandon the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.
  8. US-led sanctions against Iran will continue to put pressure on President Achmadinejad and the Mullahs who run the Islamic Republic of Iran. The regime will seek to deflect these pressures by threatening Israel and supporting Islamists in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia.  Iran will provide weapons and support to Assad and the Alawis in Syria, Meshal and Hamas in Gaza, Morsi and the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt, and radical Islamists in Algeria, Libya, Mali, Qatar, Afghanistan and Pakistan. All will continue to crack down on (some might say oppress) women, Moslems of other sects, non-Moslems.
  9. Netanyahu and the Israelis, feeling threatened by Iran, Syria, Egypt and the Islamists will ignore the Palestinians and Western pressure to negotiate with the Palestinians. Many Palestinians, frustrated by the denial of their legitimate aspirations, will continue to call for the destruction of Israel. There will be no movement without bold leadership – which appears lacking from all sides.
  10. Roger Saillant and RP Siegel will not win any awards for their novel, Vapor Trails. which I think of as The Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.  Siegal and Saillant will continue work on the trilogy and we will continue to work to sell the screenplays. I’d like to see Ben Affleck as Turner, Harrison Ford as Mason Burnside, Morgan Freeman as John Pennington, Ryan Gosling as Jacob Walker, Julienne Moore as Diana Mars, Jessica Chastain or Angelina Jolie as Maya Russell West, Emma Wastson as Ellen Greenbaum, and Clint Eastwood as Jack Masterson. While much of the action takes place in New Orleans, given the realities of Hurricane Sandy, we could set it in Atlantic City or Breezy Point.

As noted last year, I am not studying entrails of chickens or rolling dice. I am looking at people, news media, and thinking. More detailed posts are in development to explore some of these ideas. Check back.

I hold a Bachelor’s in Biology and an MBA in “Managing for Sustainability” from Marlboro College. I can be reached at ‘L Furman 97” @ G Mail . com and US 732 .  580 . 0024.

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