Thoughts on a Year Gone By

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This is the last commentary I will be writing this year. Well, maybe not. I may write one or two over the next 10 days, depending on the events which will be shaping our lives. But since Barry is in Hawaii and the Members of Congress are away from DC, our country is safe from from further political destruction until after New Year’s Day.
          But, you never know, right?
          To my Email buddies, thanks for your friendship and loyalty for these many years. To my Followers on Twitter, thank you for helping me grow to over 1,000 of you since February. I never knew so many passionate people like me existed in this country and elsewhere. And to my new Friends on Facebook, thanks for your friendship. You have only gotten a taste of what is yet to come.
          For those of you who don’t know the backstory, I lost a very dear friend, my mentor actually, this year, with whom I have corresponded since the late 90s, every week. Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch wrote a weekly commentary which would appear in various publications in the City, and he would email it to those of us who did not necessarily have access otherwise. I will tell you, and my longtime email buddies can attest, that he would write and I would generally respond. Every week for over 15 years. And respond and reply again, depending on the issue. And occasionally, both of us would write offline to each other.
          When I was sick with cancer, he took the time to write to me, inquiring on my status and expressed his concern and good wishes for my speedy recovery. When the Mayor passed in February, my brother encouraged me to set up a blog and continue commenting on the issues of the day, as Ed did. Trust me, he is missed.
          Initially, it was something I did on an occasional basis, but as with all things, “life is what happens when you are busy making other plans” (John Lennon). To me, this is now a daily process, twice a day. I have my own blog, and I appear daily in The Cal Report, Steve Foley’s blog, and weekly in Front Lines, a blog owned by Candice Lanier.
          This has been a very volatile year, as most years are. And, if history is anything but a predictor of future events, 2014 will be equally so. We can count on our President, his administration, the Congress and other politicians at the state and local levels to entertain us with their blunders, whether by word or deed. Absolutely guaranteed, as much as the sun rises each day.
          Certainly, as a retired banker, I can tell you that the banks will continue to be negatively in the news, as we will continue to see fines and penalties assessed for their roles in the meltdown of the financial markets in 2008. Someone has to pay for it, right? But the federal government will continue to be blameless, even though it encouraged banks to make those questionable loans.
          The Middle East will continue its slow burn, from North Africa to Pakistan, and everywhere in between. Christians, Coptics, Jews, Kurds and others will be in the crosshairs of the weapons Sunnis and Shi`ites point at each other. Iran will certainly violate the Munich-style “nuclear treaty” it signed. The Iranians are already stretching the language to the limit. Russia will continue to grow in influence, especially in the Middle East. Cuba will be in the news, again, and perhaps the US and Cuba will reach an “accommodation” as the Castros begin to recognize their mortality.
          And don’t forget about China and the other East Asian countries. Economically, China’s influence in the world will grow exponentially in the coming year. After all, capitalism is fine as long as it benefits the People’s Republic.
          There will be other topics, events, and stories of interest which are presently unrevealed. They, too, will come forward for all of us to opine. But that is all for another commentary. You can count on it.
          For now, I wish you and your loved ones, friends and families all, the joys of this holiday season, whether you celebrate Solstice, Chanukah (belatedly), Kwanza or Christmas. May you find peace, happiness and joy as we wind down 2013. And may 2014 be better, happier and healthier than any year any of us has lived before.
          See you next week.


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