No need for a crystal ball this year
Tisdale - Sunday, December 30, 2012
by:Timothy W. Shire
You know, looking over last year’s new year predictions, I could save myself a whole lot of time and effort by just copying and pasting the whole thing. Looking at the predictions and comparing the year with what was anticipated, I am not proud of the fact that I played it safe and fudged some of the hard predictions with to many generalities. Clearly, I blew it when I predicted riots in American streets last summer when it turned out to be peaceful and self absorbed. I and many others fully expected military action in the Persian Gulf and it didn’t happen. I also am a bit ashamed that I did not specifically say that Obama would with the election, but according to Fox News and most Republicans, they still don’t believe that he did. Enough about last year, what can we expect in 2013?
The first thing we need to accept is that 2013 looks far better from our perspective right now in December than it will look in October. It is perfectly reasonable to expect that things in the coming year are going to be all right. Last year at this time, I predicted the Riders would win the Grey Cup, Saskatchewan people are known for being optimistic and I am confident and fully expect the Riders to sort out their weird ups and downs from this year and get their act together for the whole season in 2013.
There are two dominant themes that we have to superimpose on the coming year, both are inevitable and there is nothing that can be done other than figure out ways to deal with these two issues and accept what happens. The two things are climate change and the melt down of the American economy which will inturn affect the whole world just as it did in 2008.
The effects of climate change are cumulative and so gradual, that we all can be tricked into thinking that storms, floods and droughts are all attributable to a world growing warmer. The world is warming and the oceans are rising, but neither of these conditions fully explain or even are directly related to the day to day weather we experience. However, having made this statement, we need very much to realize that the time for modification of our way of life and consumption of fossil fuels is dramatically contributing and accelerating the process of global warming. World wide recognition of this fact has passed the tipping point so that even Americans are now becoming aware of environmental issues. Personal behaviour, corporate responsibility and government involvement all need to come into play and the politicians who ignore this do so at their peril, not just now, but in the future when they will be condemned by history.
When the government of the United States under then President George W. Bush decided that it would be good for his Texas oil friends to go to war with Iraq he did something that had never been done. He went to war and at the same time cut taxes, especially for the wealthy. The combination of the mounting debt and deregulation of the country’s financial institutions resulted in the collapse of the free market capitalist system in 2008. That collapse was just as profound as the crumbling of the Soviet Union, which marked the failure of communism as that country was practicing that social/political dogma. The odd thing was that when the recession of 2008 occurred and governments began to provide the funds to keep banks and business solvent, there was no realization that the economic system had failed, not the banks.
Since then, the American government has fallen under the control of intellectually feeble minded bunch, who think that the idea of continuing to spend money you don’t have and can not afford to borrow, without increasing government revenue is even possible. The President was re-elected even though during his term, no president in the past has been re-elected with those conditions present and yet they returned the same dummies to their House of Representatives. The result is a certainty, even if some sort of agreement is reached at the last moment, it is already to late. Without addition revenue and without spending at the present rate, the United States of America is truly insolvent and can not service the interest on its debts. The results are pretty much automatic and colour all of the description of what to expect this coming year.
Economic and financial woes
- Europe: Surprisingly, the Euro survived 2012 and it will most certainly survive 2013. The unemployment of the young people of Greece, Spain, Ireland and the United Kingdom will continue and increase. There are people by the thousands who have been out of work since they left school a couple of years ago and no employment can be expected for them this coming year or the one after that. It is a remarkable situation that they have not taken to the streets in violent revolt, but everything looks like they will remain peaceful and despite the added hardship, Europe will make the best of things without resorting to violence. We can be confident that things are unlikely to change in the new year, because Europe is already officially in a double dip recession, so that the American economic illness this winter, is just more hardship and life will go on. One of the odd things in Europe, is that this winter, workers from one disadvantaged area can travel to another part of Europe, to either find work, or obtain better benefits. It is not clear how much more strain this will put on the governments of UK, Germany and France, but the UK is expecting as many as 100,000 people from areas like Romania to make their way to better housing and healthcare.
- China: China’s renewed government is facing a formidable task of working to reduce corruption, but their economy is pretty much self contained. Most of us don’t realize that every worker in China is likely to save twenty cents on every dollar he or she earns. Small or big income notwithstanding, that creates a mountain of investment capital. Not only does China hold a considerable amount of American debt, its mammoth banks have the cash to buy pretty much anything anywhere any time. As a result, they are building empty cities, vacant malls and a monster development at Dundurn. The result of the 2013 American recession will be felt, but hardly anything to create a problem for such a massive economy as that of China.
- India: Just as predicted last year, the world’s largest democratic country is financially sound and almost entirely immune to the American economic blight. They will continue to grow their economy in 2013 at the same rate as in 2012 while continuing to make steady progress with improving the quality of life for their truly enormous population. Their demand for oil will sustain the price of oil somewhat during the dramatic downturn triggered by the US reccession.
- South and Central America: Agricultural markets will be positive for both Argentina and Brazil ,while in general, the American recession will go almost unnoticed, just as the 2008 recession passed Latin America, as it hustled along with 5% growth per annum. Columbia and Venezuela both have more problems stemming from political tension and trade with the United States.
- The United States of America: They were lucky in 2008 not to have slipped into a depression. This time it could be much, much worse, not the initial impact, because that looks like the economy will simply sink gradually without a drastic stock market crash. The reason for the lack of a stock market crash is that the stock market itself is and is becoming less and less a reality. Government participation in the economy as a whole makes the market place completely artificial and perhaps even irrelevant. Stock prices will decline, but that has already begun, but they will moderate with glimmers of stupid hope.
The recession created by the American Congress is not a short term thing. The damage to the American and the global economy is very long term, so much so, that the real effects of the so-called “fiscal cliff” may not even really effect the overall economy until the end of the year, or even into 2014, but recovery will take something like a decade to get back to the levels of 2007. Presently, economist who are by their very nature, very poor at predicting anything, are confused about what to expect with the prospects of their country defaulting on its debt obligations and that is perfectly reasonable, because the politicians causing the problem haven’t a clue about what they are initiating.
The most dramatic sign of difficulty will be the actual buying power of the American dollar. With “quantitative easing” (printing money) the dollar is already grossly over valued and the world’s capital needs to find a place to go, as investors sell off the worthless paper. Increasing the interest rate in Canada, or any of the European countries, would devastate their exports to the US, but would result in a tsunami of investment. In the US, goods purchased from outside the country will escalate to ridiculous costs, this will particularly affect the importation of all commodities, especially raw materials like coal, iron ore, copper and rare earth compounds needed in the electronics and automotive industries. Immediate affects, such as lay offs in automotive and other manufacturing will be delayed well beyond this coming year.
Just so you understand this stupidity here, the tax level that kicks in on Tuesday is the same rate during the Clinton years when the US was experiencing balanced budgets.
- Canada: A difficult year coming for several Canadian provinces, Ontario which is pretty much a state of the United States, will suffer more from the 2013 recession then Michigan, while Quebec’s minority government has a 75% chance of collapsing and the province’s debt load is close to being unsustainable. Manitoba has a rather unique internal economy, but they are facing taxation increases in their spring budget that could cause a serious slowdown. Saskatchewan and Alberta will weather the economic storm of the year even though Alberta will have to borrow heavily in 2013 as oil revenues continue to decline.
With the inability to market oil either east or west and the continental price of oil falling right to the level of making oil sands production uneconomic. The price of Canadian oil will dip to $40 a barrel in 2013, down from the just over $65 right now. You see the price of oil each day quoted, is not what is paid to Canada, that price is the price of light North Sea oil in that $85 range. With out pipelines, Canadian oil is becoming worth less and less while eastern Canada and Quebec in particular, are paying the world price as they import all they consume.
The potash market should strengthen this year, but high production levels are trimming the profits.
- Oil: World reserves are now higher then ever before, making for a glut in the market, not enough as yet to depress the price, but the American recession will reduce demand world wide and there will be a decline in the Brent price to the $60 range. However, there is no connection what ever between the price of crude and the price you pay at the pump. The pump price this summer will be as high, or higher, then last year despite the recession.
Indian demand is a very important factor in the price of Persian Gulf oil and embargoes on Iranian crude are expected to disappear by spring.
China’s needs are considerable, but it seems Russia is doing a fair job of helping out with the extra consumption in parts of China.
The decline in revenue for oil exports will severely affect Nigeria and several other third world countries, who have been counting on oil to sort out their lack of industry and development. There is little likelihood in 2013 that there will be any change in the situation in Sudan. Oil from the South will not be going to market this year.
- Food: Last year I predicted huge food shortages in sub-Saharan Africa and the wide spread famine predicted by the UN did not materialize. The American recession will produce dramatic food price increases in North America simply because the US dollar is going to lose about 40% of its value. This could mean that meat and produce prices will rise sharply as they are dependent upon transportation and disruption in the marketplace will cause unpredictable repercussions.
Geopolitical problems and concerns
- The middle East: Would you believe, no change in 2013. That’s what I am predicting, same old, same old. Armed to the teeth raring to kill one another, Shia versus Sunni, everybody versus Israel, Al Qaeda stirring up the fight, the Taliban ready and willing to die for nothing and American drones randomly firing missiles at targets all of which are not legitimate. Did I miss anything?
- Egypt: The Moslem Brotherhood is in power and the public has just figured that out, their constitution is just so much rhetoric and the military is still firmly in control. This is the same story as it was a year ago and will be the same story a year from now. What makes it all really hard to understand is that the United States is bankrupt, but it is funding the Egyptian government with massive amounts of aid, which in turn is being used to purchase weapons from the world’s largest exporter of killing equipment, yep, you guessed it, USA. The government is much more inclined to provide support to Hamas so Egypt will continue to play an important role in Gaza and its suicidal bent.
- Israel / Palestine: The status Palestine has achieved with the United Nations will have little affect this year. No meaningful negotiations are going to take place because Hamas thinks that it won the most recent conflict with Israel. Something like 160 Gaza people died and six Israelis, yet Hamas thinks it won. Based on that logic they will want to win some more and their supply of missiles are being renewed.
Meanwhile, the voters in Israel demand that more settlements be established on the Westbank and the government will do what their people want, it is a democracy.
In Lebanon, Hezbollah has acquired some very much improved missiles from Iran and they too would like to win in a exchange of fire with Israel. There is really nothing that will stop this ongoing conflict.
The real silliness is Canada deciding it wants to be involved in backing up Israel, which in affect will just encourage further violence not less. Another ugly factor is the success of the Israel anti-missile system in the recent exchange with Hamas. This too just offers more encouragement. 2013 will see several skirmishes and no talks, or peace initiatives will result. John Kerry, (new US secretary of state) is a good guy but this is more than being a good guy can accomplish.
- Syria: Russia will have three naval landing crafts, each with a full compliment of Russian Marines (about 1,400 each) in their base on the Syrian coast by January 10th. Their purpose is to provide cover for the withdrawal of Russian military advisers and personel from Syria when it is expected to fall in late January.
The Syrian dictator, Assad, has no plans to leave his country and will in all likelihood be killed. Few will mourn his demise, but at this point he is no longer really of consequence.
The uprising begun over a year ago was initially between Sunni and the ruling Shia factions, of which, Assad depends upon for his support. All that appears now to be history. The conflict has seen faction after faction develop all over the country, some are foreigners from Libya, some from Iraq, there are Iranian Revolutionary Guard units fighting for Assad, Al Qaeda is pretty busy and the former Syrian military people are dispersed between various regional, almost tribal factions. This is a total loss situation, there will be no winner and the fighting, just as in Libya, will go on for all of 2013 to one degree or another, even though the actual government and its army are likely to be disabled before mid February. Iran and Russia have both decided that their part in the conflict is all but over.
- Turkey: As predicted last year Turkey, did bolster its defences along the Syrian border and have been able to mute the situation with the Kurds somewhat. My niece is planning a trip in March to Istanbul and has ignored my advice not to go, but I think she should be okay. Turkey’s political situation is far more stable than it was a year ago and the country is doing its very best not to let its historical tolerance of Moslem factions and other religions, to slip away. Turkey wants desperately to improve itself, to become a part of the European community, just as it was in the days of the Ottoman Empire.
- Iraq: Iraq’s status is unchanged from a year ago, it is not a failed state, but it is not a unified one, as bombings with significant death tolls occur almost weekly. Sunni’s blow up Shias and Shia’s blow up Sunnis, blood and more blood is shed. The change in the past year is that Iraq has moved itself well out of the American sphere and has entered the realm of something more similar to Somalia. In 2013 the religious conflict will simply worsen to the point that a sort of patrician will look very attractive as the country gets itself ready to dissolve in 2014 much as Pakistan and India did in 1948. Until then, keep that AK-47 close at hand.
- Afghanistan: British and Americans are still on the scene and so are still about 1,000 Canadians, but for everyone, it is a total waste of time and money. One interesting thing is that opium revenue is down a bit in 2012, as the government has established itself as dependent on the bankrupt US treasury. European countries have ended their financial support of the Karzai government because it has failed in every way to live up to commitments made to produce democratic and uncorrupted administration. The country’s biggest bank went broke because brothers and friends of Karzai made off with the money.
At this point, about one-third of the country is under direct control of the Taliban, with its headquarters in Pakistan. In 2013 the CIA is planning to rejuvenate the warlord alliance that initiated the displacement of the Taliban. This looks like a working plan and Afghanistan should be moving well toward a civil war by October, with the Northern Alliance, funded by the United States and supported by US air force and navy aircraft, as they engage the Pashtuns of the central and south eastern portion of the country.
President Karzai will flee the country and live extremely comfortably on the fortune he has been stuffing away in Switzerland.
Civilian casualties in 2013 will not be significant, as the real fighting will not take place until the Americans are all back home shipping money to the Northern Alliance.
- Pakistan: Drone attacks on Waziristan will end with the American reduction of operation in Afghanistan.
The government of Pakistan was a bit shaky through 2012 but is looking pretty solid in 2013. The constant flow of money from the United States is the main source of revenue for the country and the main amount of that money is spent on weapons. Despite that enormous military spending, do not expect life in Pakistan to improve one little bit.
From the Swat Valley to the Khyber Pass, that portion of the country is totally under the control of the Taliban and tribal warlords. Islamabad’s police and soldiers are not safe outside of Lahore or Peshawar.
What is expected to change in 2013 is Pakistan’s state operated terrorism against India, there will still be incidents, but India is moving steadily to tighten things up and the Indian public is solidly behind their government. No nuclear war this year.
- The Gulf States: Steadily this past year, the oil rich kingdoms of the gulf has been showing remarkable leadership and good sense. The impressive success they are having with commercial development is the only good news for that whole part of the world. The American recession is expected to have some negative business affects on the region, but not enough to cause social or political tension.
- Saudi Arabia: The balancing act between the two ruling portions of the kingdom is amazing to behold. The ultra fanatic clerics are presently raising hell over women selling lingerie in stores. A new law forbiding men from selling these items is in affect so shop keepers are employing women and the clerics object to women working. I tell you this because this is the way things are in the kingdom. The ruling princes are constantly juggling the common sense of running a country, with the Moslem clerics controlling the legal system and with no written or agreed upon constitution to give the people a sensible framework.
There will be a peaceful transition of power this year with the death of the king, but there will be a good deal of jostling for power within the government by the legions of princes.
Saudi’s military is arming itself at an alarming rate in preparation for a possible confrontation with Iran or Israel but no actual conflict is expected this year.
- Iran: The country has refurbished its missile arsenal with the help of friends, so much so that they have been providing assistance to North Korea with their missile program.
However, as you have seen, Israel did not launch a strike on the country’s nuclear development program and the Americans have maintained restraint in the Persian Gulf. Though it is clear that the intent of Iran is to produce a nuclear arsenal of missile delivered weapons, they are now a year or more away from conducting even a single test, let alone fabricate deployable warheads. However, the United States and European naval forces are still on station in the Gulf, including access to three American carrier task forces. In 2013 this concentration of military might, protecting the straights of Hormuz, is going to be downgraded enormously, so much so that the Europeans and the Americans are going to quietly end their sanctions on oil exports from Iran.
Oppression within Iran is not abating at all and is expected to scale upward. It is unknown as to why the ruling Khamenei is escalating repression on the population, not only women, but the public in general.
Ahmadinezhad is expected to remain as a spokesperson the government, but he will have no real power just as has been the case since his election.
- North Korea: This is a festering wound in the far East. The continued lack of resolution, unchanged since 1952, is impossible to explain and a threat to Korea and the Japanese also feel threatened by the North. China appears more supportive and in 2013 look for China to use North Korea as a tool to keep up the level of tension with both Japan and Korea.
- Vietnam: This past year has seen some very uncomfortable situations with China and more of the same is expected in the coming year. Vietnam will try even harder to gain some increased ties with India who has the only real blue water navy other than the United States in the area.
The issues are over islands in the South China Sea. For domestic political reasons, China needs to have external conflict to demonstrate to its people that it is a proud and aggressive nation. This means threats to Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines but China’s People’s Liberation Navy is far less capable then its bluster.
The American recession will be a problem for Hanoi but they can handle a bit of economic hardship.
- China: This coming year will see a whole lot less noise coming out of China about corruption. The Bo Xilai scandal and his wife’s conviction for murdering a British spy is enough for some years in terms of its deep rooted affect on the confidence Chinese people have on their ruling political system, now the government is aiming for calm and quiet. While that may be their goal, they still have to contend with some noisy issues.
Hong Kong is simply not happy and in this new year there are bound to be more and more incidents where anti mainland rhetoric and jingoism brings the resentment out into the open.
China’s military spending is a focus for the Obama administration’s anxiety, but the Americans need to relax a bit. The old aircraft carrier the Chinese are putting out to sea now and then is strictly for training and ultimately for PR reasons, it is not operational, nor are the aircraft meant to land and take off from it. Because of its ski-jump deck, aircraft can only take off with very limited fuel or armaments, not enough to be realistic threats to anyone.
The announcement today to buy more than thirty swept wing long range, cold war vintage Russian bombers, is not now, not 2013, but years from now, before they can be useable.
China is absolutely fantastic at deception and when it comes to the military, they rely more on PhotoShop then jet fuel.
2013 is a year for political calm in China and a time when they are turning their administrative attention to the deadly threat of their polluted environment. The rising levels of the Pacific endanger something like 20% of the huge population of the country.
- Japan: Other than for natural disasters, Japan has not made the news much this year, but in 2013 they are ready to set aside some their reserve when it comes to military capabilities. They have been forced by China to direct more resources to defence then was necessary in the past and as mentioned, they are feeling uneasy about North Korea. They have a more than hundred year old tradition of a powerful navy and China’s pressure over the disputed islands will see in this coming year, Japan’s navy asserting itself, not only in the seas surround their country, but as far away as the Indian Ocean. In addition, Japan has and is developing effective under sea capabilities, so that when taken as a whole, the Japanese navy of 2013 is a real navy, not one created by PhotoShop and there is growing expectation that the Japanese Navy will use force against Chinese fishing vessels used for propaganda purposes.
- The United States of America: With a full fledged recession, perhaps a depression, it would seem appropriate for the United States to pull in its horns a bit. They are well into the process of getting out of Afghanistan and unless Israel is attacked, their presence in the Middle East will be confined to the Persian Gulf. However, they have active operations on going in a large number of African countries. Obama has a pro-active stance when it comes to both China as a possible military threat and to China’s colonial presence in Africa.
Instead of backing down in 2013, expect the United States to still be the world’s number one bully. Their drones will keep on zapping away in Yemen, perhaps in Somalia and their new Secretary of State, John Kerry, is informed and like Hillary Clinton, a tough advocate for American interests where ever they may be, world wide. That means in the Canadian Arctic and probing the defences of Russia.
Their economic situation will not humble the country, that identifies itself as the “greatest country in the world.” Obama is a clever and organized man, but he is head of a country with the stupidest bunch of lawmakers ever seen on this planet and his military leaders, though they have never won a war since 1945, think like Hamas, losing is for them a kind of winning. Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan all failures of which they are proud.
- Federal Canadian: There are some things that a politician should never ever ignore and at the top of that list is grass roots movements with funny names. The “occupy” movement was a failure because it did not have a catchy name and really lacked any real focus, but the federal government is faced right now with a political nuclear warhead called “idle no more.”
The one man government in Ottawa is apparently expecting this to fade away like the goofy occupy movement, but this one is different. The government’s massive two part omnibus bills made enemies in nearly every segment of the Canadian population. Mostly the stuff is just irritating, not enough to get upset about, but put together, these two bills demonstrate an obnoxious arrogance that even Pierre Elliott Trudeau would never have attempted. When asked how far he was prepared to go with the War Measures Act he said “just watch me.” That’s pretty arrogant, but he was dealing with a single problem. Stephen Harper took hundreds of little changes affecting people lives and their country and mashed them together, then pushed them through the house with a majority government.
“Idle no more” is an Internet born technological grass roots movement with the ability to bring a whole range of resentment into focus as the First Nations people target environmental ignorance. The whole thing has just begun, look out, it can expand, re-invent itself and adopt any number of wrongs. The movement will not surge and then ebb away, but can materialize on any venue and will crunch forward as the budget of 2013 takes shape.
- Quebec: The minority government of Quebec is always on the verge of falling, but don’t count on it, clearly, the people involved are not stupid and they came to power directly as a result of the student protests that kicked the legs out from under the Liberal government.
What requires our close attention is the extent of the inquiry into corruption in Quebec. Four mayors down, countless civil servants more than willing to cough up evidence against politicians to save their skin and the thing is really only just begun. Without a doubt, former provincial cabinet ministers and department heads will come under fire, certainly the former premier himself, former Liberal federal cabinet ministers and any present cabinet ministers from Quebec, are likely candidates for corruption condemnation. The inquiry will continue for much of the year and it will definitely spread beyond Quebec’s borders.
- Ontario: The replacement of the premier, then an election in Canada’s most important province is on the menu. Sadly, most of us in the rest of the country turn off any information about the place because it really doesn’t matter, because what happens in Ontario seems only to be important to Ontario. If the Liberals replace McGuinty with a woman leader, they have a shot at winning a minority government, otherwise the NDP could once again be in power in Ontario.
- British Columbia: The provincial election will be May 14 and it will see Adrian Dix and the NDP attempt to unseat Christy Clark and her Liberal majority government. Clark looks like a clear winner.
- Federal Liberal Party of Canada: April 14, the Liberals will have a new leader for their party. The government party for most of Canada’s history is sitting third in the House of Commons and most often in the polls. Their hope is to turn things around with yet another leader. This leadership election does not only involve Liberal Party members, but “supporters” can register on line and vote, moving the Liberal selection process closer to an American primary election format. The net result is that the candidates will be campaigning across the country as they need to attract attention and support, not just from party members, but the public at large.
The two front runners are former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s eldest son, Justin, and Canada’s first astronaut and former head of the Canadian Space Agency, Marc Garneau. There is no question that the young Trudeau is inexperienced but has a certain rock star quality that might very well attract people who have never voted ever to support him, both for the leadership race and in a general election. Garneau is an exceptional man and would make a good political leader, but would he move the Liberal party from third place to government in three years time? I am predicting that Justin Trudeau will win the leadership race and with it, turn Canadian politics on its ear.
- Federal Cabinet: Vic Toews, Gerry Ritz, and Peter MacKay are an embarrassment to the people of Canada. Ritz and Toews will leave the cabinet in the spring and Peter MacKay will be demoted to something that will be totally unnoticeable.
- American politics: The race for the next president to be elected in four years has already begun, it is the sole purpose of American news media and who among us in Canada gives a damn. The American style political system has leaked across the border and poisoned Canadian politics so that Canadians in fewer and fewer numbers turn out to register a vote. In 2013 the right wing rabble who blab away on American radio and on Fox News are going to fade into the black mess of their economic sewer that they have helped to create. Advertisers will wash their hands of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and the cast of hundreds of tea party pundits who brought patriot zeal to the point of self destruction. By 2014 few will remember their rantings.
Life as we know it
- Dick Tracey styled watches will be for sale, both by Apple and other cell phone makers, it is simply time for the wrist watch smart phone.
- Hardly earth shattering, but in 2013 the functionality of the laptop and desktop computer will have begun to ebb, the era of the personal computer is almost over as communication, entertainment, information and meaningful work will begin the transition to a host of diffuse technological devices, some already exist, but how we use iPads, iPhones, the cloud and voice recognition, meld into practical day to day life. There will be personal computers for as long as five years from now, but their time is over as other avenues of technology fill their role much better and this process has already begun.
- The medical break through of 2013 is on two fronts, identification of harmful proteins and engineered virus to produce magic bullet cures.
- Riders win the Grey Cup played at home this year.
- Here is a sure thing prediction, the NHL will work toward holding a hockey season in 2013 and 2014, but who cares?
Make the best of 2013, it could be a year of challenge, but it also could be a truly wonderful year for you if you choose to make it as good as it can be.
Happy New Year.