So much has been said about the News Makers and the People of the Year, from so many different perspectives, one has to wonder if we all lived on the same planet in 2002.
If the conventional pundits are entitled to their opinions concerning the News Makers and People of the Year; then so am I.
In the following, I have chosen various News Makers and People of the Year with a final PERSON OF THE YEAR. My News Makers and People of the Year will also include the LOSERS as well as the WINNERS.
And at the very end are my predictions for 2003.
* * * AMERICAN NEWS MAKERS OF THE YEAR * * *
GEORGE W BUSH – PRESIDENT OF THE USA . . . WINNER: For amongst other things; sticking to his principles. Also; for singlehandedly carrying the Republican Party on his shoulders to win back the US Senate and increase Republican control over the House of Representatives.
Also for the way he has handled the terrorist crisis. And thus far, for the way he is battling the enemies of freedom.
DONALD RUMSFELD – SECRETARY OF DEFENSE . . . WINNER: For quarter-backing the best efforts of the combined US military and intelligence groups since the Second World War.
In the battle for Afghanistan and the war against international terrorism, Rumsfeld has given the USA (world) reason not to panic.
THE BUSH INNER CABINET . . . WINNERS: For giving the people of the USA confidence and pride in the their government at the highest levels. The Bush team has handled itself with diligence, classy decorum, hard work and moral integrity. Some of it should rub off on this side of the border.
AMBER ALERT . . . WINNER: Some things really do work.
TRENT LOTT – FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER . . . LOSER: For being stupid. Oh; and a racist too.
BILL CLINTON – FORMER PRESIDENT . . . LOSER: He left an economic and global security mess for the world to clean up. If only he had his head as dedicated to the task of being President as it was to the task of getting laid.
THE CEO’S . . . LOSERS: For demonstrating that they can steal hundreds of billions of dollars, and still not shake the confidence Americans have in their overall economic system.
Some of the CEO’s have been jailed. Some have been humiliated. But they have not gone away. They’re only resting and licking their wounds, surrounded by abject luxury until their time comes again. Unfortunately; most probably sooner rather than later.
CATHOLIC CHURCH . . . LOSER: The sex scandals in the American Catholic Church will lead to the abolition of celibacy for the Catholic clergy, and open itself up to the democratization of the Church. That’s not a bad thing.
* * * CANADIAN NEWS MAKERS OF THE YEAR * * *
SHEILA FRASER – AUDITOR GENERAL . . . WINNER: For exposing unfathomable graft, corruption, incompetence and monumental economic losses caused by the Chrétien Liberal government. The long term effect of her report will hasten changes to government accountability.
STEPHEN HARPER – CANADIAN ALLIANCE LEADER . . . WINNER: For rebuilding the Canadian Alliance Party, and beginning a process where a real alternative is available to Canadian voters. Eventually, Stephen Harper will make a huge difference in the way Canada does politics.
THE CANADIAN ARMED FORCES . . . WINNERS: For doing such a magnificent job while being equipped with so little.
THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT . . . LOSERS: For making a once proud nation internationally irrelevant. For discriminating against Western Grain Farmers. For squandering billions of tax dollars. For stealing democracy from Parliament and the Canadian people. And the list goes on.
THE QUEBEC GOVERNMENT . . . LOSERS: For never failing to miss an opportunity to embarrass itself. Yet still able to squeeze the maximum out of a comatose Canada.
HOWARD WILSON – ETHICS MINISTER . . . LOSER: Prime Minister Chrétien’s ethics councilor proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are virtually no ethics in Canada’s government. Least of all in his own office. Otherwise he would have quit in disgust.
PAUL MARTIN – PRIME MINISTER WANNABE . . . LOSER: For being absolutely ordinary. Here’s a man who has spent a lifetime in politics, and still stands for nothing.
Also: For STEALING tens of billions of tax dollars to create his surpluses.
SUPREME COURT . . . LOSERS: For assuming that they, the UNELECTED jurists for life, have the right to create constitutional jurisprudence. Especially in the name of Quebec’s non existing “Distinct Society”.
Because of these Ivory Tower elitists, the people of Canada have no confidence in the justice system. And worse than that. Most Canadians don’t even care.
ADRIENNE CLARKSON – GOVERNOR GENERAL . . . LOSER: For being a condescending, useless, and expensive government representative; illustrating just how distant the government is from the people.
* * * WORLD NEWS MAKERS OF THE YEAR * * *
AUSTRALIA . . . WINNERS: They don’t blink when it comes to standing tall.
TONY BLAIR – BRITISH PRIME MINISTER . . . WINNER: For being there when the USA and the world needed him most.
RUDY GIULIANI – FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR . . . WINNER: Just because.
THE ISRAELIS . . . WINNERS: In spite of all the daily horrors they live with. In spite of a biased and anti-Semitic press. They still function as a NORMAL democratic society in search of peace through compromise. And they still teach their children NOT to hate.
ARIEL SHARON – ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER . . . WINNER: For showing himself to be an extraordinary statesman, a skilled politician and a durable leader, during some of the most troubling times in Israel’s history. In spite of every prognostication to the contrary.
APPEASERS . . . LOSERS: The do nothing do-gooders, who curse us to fight and die because of their reluctance, cowardice and or stupidity. To them; the only bad guys are the ones who stand up to the thugs, and who are more than ready to physically fight for rights.
KIM JONG IL – NORTH KOREAN DICTATOR FOR LIFE . . . LOSER: For proving that morally and economically bankrupt countries can aspire to even lower depths than imaginable.
The Bush administration doesn’t want to scare us, but “little” Kim is a madman sitting on a nuclear arsenal.
SADDAM HUSSEIN – SOON TO BE THE EX PRESIDENT OF IRAQ . . . LOSER: For taking one step over the line which will end his regime.
OSAMA BIN LADEN – TERRORIST ON THE RUN. . . LOSER: For being a cowardly bully, who ran and hid when the Americans fought back. More than anything, OBL has demonstrated the true mettle of the Arab and Islamic terrorists. KILL as many unarmed, innocent and unsuspecting people as possible in a sneak attack, and then run like hell.
YASSER ARAFAT – ANOTHER TERRORIST . . . LOSER: Once again he showed the world how gullible and stupid it is for their continuing support of this stale-dated terrorist, as he continues to curse his own people with poverty, ignorance, violence and the pursuit of nothing good.
NEWS MEDIA . . . LOSERS: For selectively choosing which act was an act of terrorism, and which was an act of militants, specifically when it came to the murder of Israelis compared to others.
The news media has developed an ethic of equivocation that is in itself evil. For example: Suicide bombers are bad. HOWEVER; the circumstances that drove them to blow themselves up were just as bad, if not worse than their act of murder. America had 9/11 coming for the way it treats the impoverished world. And so on.
Also: For sensationalizing news events, and turning news broadcasts into entertainment.
LIBERAL LEFT . . . LOSERS: For being exposed as social manipulators, political micro managers and intellectual frauds. Regrettably; in 2003, they will probably make a comeback.
THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE COMMITTEE . . . LOSERS: For naming Former President Jimmy Carter as the Nobel Peace Laureate of the Year.
Jimmy Carter is a man who didn’t have the courage to stand up to anyone, and as a result, condemned the world to face the thugs some 20 years after his failed presidency.
On behalf of Bill Clinton, Carter also negotiated the dreadful 1994 agreement with North Korea to end their nuclear proliferation program, for which he was initially named as the Nobel Peace Prize Winner. North Korea stopped nothing. He took the prize anyway. And the world pretended the failed non proliferation agreement never happened.
THE UNITED NATIONS . . . LOSERS: For just about everything. Outside of being a debating club for some of the most pathetic, incompetent and corrupt nations on this planet, the UN seems to stand for only one thing. How can they condemn Israel today?
UN WEAPONS’ INSPECTORS . . . LOSERS: A make-work project for Hans Blix, and a side show until the Americans and a few of their friends are ready to become the main act. When the inspectors move out, if Saddam was smart, so would he.
THE MAJORITY OF THE MIDDLE EASTERN ARAB WORLD . . . LOSERS: They still have no idea of the meaning of democracy, plurality, multi-culturalism and equality of the sexes. However; cracks are appearing, especially in little places like Qatar.
ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM . . . LOSERS: A social and global disease, almost like none other. The closest parallel are Hitler’s ethnocentric Nazis.
SUICIDE BOMBERS . . . LOSERS: When all else fails, MURDER is their best option. As a matter of fact, murder is their best option even before all else fails. To be a suicide murderer takes enormous stupidity, unimaginable heartlessness and a commitment to insanity.
FRANCE . . . LOSERS: Just for being France.
* * * * THE NEWS MAKER AND PERSON OF THE YEAR * * * *
GEORGE W BUSH: Just for keeping it all together, and proving that he is nothing like what the Liberal press tried to make him out to be.
* * * * PREDICTIONS FOR 2003 * * * *
The USA will invade IRAQ and defeat Saddam Hussein. However; it will not be a cakewalk. The Iraqis will fight the invaders within the cities, where the advantage will be theirs.
That said; if the Americans stand true to Bush’s Doctrine, they will impose a modern day version of the Marshall Plan, and move Iraq towards Western style democracy.
When this becomes successful, Saudi Arabia will be far less of a player. Especially as the world, specifically North America finds and utilizes far better energy alternatives to petroleum. Also; with Qatar, and a solid base in a new Iraq, Saudi Arabia will become far less strategically important.
Iran’s theocracy will either fall, or be forced to share influence with a developing democratic movement and become less hostile to the West and even to Israel.
Syria will be isolated as a state sponsor of terrorism, and undergo its own social and political upheaval due to poverty. I wouldn’t be surprised to see major changes in Syria after the Americans are successful in Iraq.
Lebanon will continue to limp through the New Year.
There will be no significant changes in Egypt.
Israel will reelect Ariel Sharon and his Likud by a huge margin, and continue to clobber Arab and Islamic murderers, and collectively punish the families and supporters of perpetrators until the violence stops.
As a result, the Palestinians will finally relegate Arafat to the sidelines of history, and find a way to make a very grudging peace with Israel, based upon blackmail and extortion. The world and Israel will go along with it.
North Korea will continue to develop its nuclear program as the rest of the world nervously watches. If action is going to be taken against North Korea, it will most likely be economic. However; North Korea will probably be successful in extorting what it wants from its Asian neighbors with complicity from the West.
Africa will continue to slowly move towards democracy, taking one step back for every two steps forward. We won’t see a truly democratic Africa in this decade or generation.
India and Pakistan will continue to trade blows, but will not go to war. Even over major terrorist attacks, unless Pervaiz Musharaf is overthrown in an Islamic led coup.
Canada’s government will continue to do nothing as it spends and squanders our future. However; the people will become far less enchanted with the Liberals and start looking more seriously at the Canadian Alliance.
Quebec will vote back in the PQ with either a slim majority, or by coalition with the ADQ. Either way, taxes will continue to be high. Social services will continue to degrade. Ethnocentrism will be the mantra of whichever government. The Québécois will continue to try to extort money from Ottawa with the ever successful threat of separation. But in 2003, far fewer Canadians will give a damn about Quebec and its threat to leave.
Western Canada, specifically Alberta, will become far more vocal in terms of regionalizing Canada. They won’t be alone.
Business will continue to sputter with higher than average unemployment.
There will not be a marked resurgence in high-tech industries.
Retail sales will be very soft.
Car sales will be very soft.
Housing starts will taper off somewhat, but will continue to grow.
Home building products will do well.
Long distance travel and tourism will be relatively soft. However, short trips by car will be strong.
Interest rates will remain low.
The stock markets will do somewhat better, but not spectacular.
Global warming and environmental issues will be on the front burner.
Global terrorism will become much less of a threat by the end of 2003.
Militant Islamism will be on the wane and restricted to the sick countries that use it as a form of government.
Europe will struggle economically, but continue to grow and prosper as a Union.
2003 will be the YEAR OF THE ENTREPRENEUR where innovation, guts, hard work and determination will pay off big for the “little guy” making his/her move up.
In all, I feel pretty good about 2003. There will be some major changes made, yet still a great deal of stability. For some, it will be a year of hardships. For others, it will be a year of unprecedented opportunities.
I wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR with great happiness in 2003.