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YEAR END REVIEW 2021 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Barry Kowal   
Dec 23, 2021 at 08:13 AM

Hello Everyone!!!! 

   This is one of those group e-mails that are shot out at the last minute to wish
everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS or whatever you celebrate (or If you celebrate
anything at all) and a HAPPY NEW 2022!!! Sort of just realised that Christmas
is Saturday! For those of you who are new to my mailing list I do this year-end
review every year.I have been doing this for every year since 2004.These
reviews are fairly lengthy so I reckon most of you probably don't even read it.
Those of you who do,thank you. The review is available all year round on
my website at:

This year like last year and the year before I have images that shaped 2021.Each
one of these images will be addressed in my year-end review.
Now I will begin the year-end review. Every year I start with the news and
first discuss issues related to the USA and then I will discuss issues regarding
other parts of the world.Some issues are intertwined as they involve more than
one country.Then I do the obituaries,then sports,then entertainment and the closing.
The topics look at several events of the past year.So hold your breath now and let's
begin by looking at what has transpired in this world that we live in over the past
365 days.



  The News I display here is not CNN,MSNBC or FOX News.It is real news.I will post
things you will not read or hear in the mainstream media.
 Now I will start the 2021 Review by discussing the #1 story that has affected
nearly every country in the world for 2021.Of course that is the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of December 1,2021 there had been 262,720,061 COVID-19 cases and 5,214,810
have died from COVID-19.



The COVID-19 pandemic,also known as the coronavirus pandemic,was the biggest news
story of 2020 and it is the biggest news story of 2021 because the pandemic
continues although many people have been vaccinated.COVID-19 symptoms range from
none to life-threatening.Severe illness is more likely in elderly patients and
those with certain underlying medical conditions. Transmission of COVID-19 occurs
when peoplebreathe in air contaminated by droplets and small airborne particles.
The risk of breathing these in is highest when people are in close proximity,but
the virus can transmit over longer distances,particularly indoors and in poorly
ventilated areas.Transmission can also occur,rarely,via contaminated surfaces
or fluids.People remain contagious for up to 20 days and can spread the virus
even if they do not develop symptoms.

  In 2021 several vaccines have been approved and distributed in various countries,which have initiated mass vaccination campaigns since December 2020.Other recommended preventive measures include social distancing,wearing face masks in public,ventilation and air-filtering,covering one's mouth when sneezing or coughing,hand washing,disinfecting surfaces, and quarantining people who have been exposed or are symptomatic.Treatments focus on addressing symptoms,but work is underway to develop medications that inhibit the virus.Authorities worldwide have responded by implementing travel restrictions,lockdowns,business closures, workplace hazard controls,testing protocols and systems for tracing contacts of the infected. 

The pandemic has resulted in severe social and economic disruption around the world,including the largest global recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.It has led to widespread supply shortages exacerbated by panic buying, agricultural disruption and food shortages.The resultant near-global sustained quarantine saw an unprecedented decrease in the emission of pollutants. Numerous educational institutions and public areas have been partially or fully closed and many events have been cancelled or postponed.Misinformation has circulated through social media and mass media and political tensions have been exacerbated.The pandemic has raised issues of racial and geographic discrimination,health equity and the balance between public health imperatives and individual rights.

On 2 January, VOC-202012/01,a variant of SARS-CoV-2 first discovered in the UK,
had been identified in 33 countries around the world, including Pakistan,
South Korea,Switzerland, Taiwan, Norway,Italy, Japan, Lebanon, India, Canada,
Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, and China.

On 6 January, the P.1 variant was first identified in Japanese travellers who had just returned from Brazil.

On 12 January, it was reported that a team of scientists from the World Health Organization would arrive in Wuhan on the 14th of the month; this is to ascertain the origin of SARS-CoV-2 and determine what were the intermediate hosts between the original reservoir and humans.On the following day, two of the WHO members were barred from entering China because, according to the country, antibodies for the virus were detected in both.

On 29 January, it was reported that the
Novavax vaccine was only 49% effective against the 501.V2 variant in a clinical
trial in South Africa.The China COVID-19vaccine CoronaVac indicated 50.4%
effectivity in a Brazil clinical trial.

On 12 March,it was reported that several countries,including Thailand, Denmark,
Bulgaria, Norway and Iceland, had stopped using the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19
vaccine due to what was being called severe blood clotting problems, a cerebral
venous sinus thrombosis (CVST).Additionally, Austria halted the use of one batch
of the aforementioned vaccine as well.On 20 March, the WHO and European Medicines
Agency found no link between thrombus (a blood clot of clinical importance),
leading several European countries to resume administering the AstraZeneca vaccine.

On 29 March, it was reported that the US government was planning to introduce
COVID-19 vaccination 'passports' to allow those who have been vaccinated the
ability to board aeroplanes,cruise ships as well as other activities.

In April and May, a severe wave of infections hit India, where the Delta variant
was first identified.In mid-April, the variant was first detected in the UK and
two months later it has catalysed a third wave in the country, forcing the
government to delay the full reopening from lockdown which was originally
scheduled on 21 June.

On 11 August, the developers of Sputnik V offered the first component of that
two-dose vaccine, 'Sputnik Light' (Ad26),to Pfizer for trial as a booster against
the Delta variant.

On 31 August, The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (South Africa)
indicated a potential variant of interest known as C.1.2; it has been identified in
the entire country and abroad.

On 3 September Dr. Anthony Fauci,medical adviser to President Biden and Director of
the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, indicated that 3 doses
of vaccine for COVID-19 will become the new norm.

As of 1 December 2021 262,720,061 cases have been reported worldwide due to
COVID-19;5,214,810 have died.



    I'm here to discuss the end of the American empire. But before I do I want to
note that one of our most charming characteristics as Americans is our amnesia.I
mean, we are so good at forgetting what we've done and where we did it that we can
hide our own Easter eggs.

   I'm reminded of the geezer "someone about my age" who was sitting in his living
room having a drink with his friend while his wife made dinner.

   He said to his friend, "you know, we went to a really terrific restaurant last week.
You'd like it. Great atmosphere Delicious food. Wonderful service." 

"What;s the name of it" his friend asked.

   He scratched his head. "Ah, ah. Ah. What do you call those red flowers you give to
women you love"

   His friend hesitated. "A rose" 

'Right. Um, hey, Rose! What was the name of that restaurant we went to
last week. Americans like to forget we ever had an empire or to claim that,
if we did,we never really wanted one.But the momentum of Manifest Destiny made us
an imperial power.It carried us well beyond the shores of the continent we seized
from its original aboriginal and Mexican owners.The Monroe Doctrine proclaimed an
American sphere of influence in the Western Hemisphere.But the American empire was
never limited to that sphere.

In 1854,the United States deployed U.S. Marines to China and Japan,where they imposed our first treaty ports.Somewhat like Guantanamo,these were places in foreign countries where our law,not theirs,prevailed,whether they liked it or not.Also in 1854,U.S. gunboats began to sail up and down the Yangtze River (the jugular vein of China), a practice that ended only in 1941,when Japan as well as the Chinese went after the US.

In 1893, the United States engineered regime change in Hawaii. In 1898, the USA annexed the islands outright.In that same year,the US helped Cuba win its independence from Spain, while confiscating the Spanish Empire's remaining holdings in Asia and the Americas: Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. Beginning in 1897, the U.S. Navy contested Samoa with Germany. In 1899,the US took Samoa's eastern islands for themselves,establishing a naval base at Pago Pago.

From 1899 to 1902,Americans killed an estimated 200,000 or more Filipinos who

tried to gain independence for their country from ours. In 1903,the USA forced Cuba
to cede a base at Guantanamo to rhem and detached Panama from Colombia.In later
years,they occupied Nicaragua,the Dominican Republic, parts of Mexico and Haiti.
Blatant American empire-building of this sort ended with World War II,
when it was replaced by a duel between us and those in our sphere of influence
on one side and the Soviet Union and countries in its sphere on the other.  But
the antipathies our earlier empire-building created remain potent. They played a
significant role in Cuba's decision to seek Soviet protection after its revolution
in 1959. They inspired the Sandinista movement in Nicaragua. (Augusto Cesar Sandino,
whose name the movement took, was the charismatic leader of the resistance to the
1922-1934 U.S. occupation of Nicaragua.) In 1991, as soon as the Cold War ended,
the Philippines evicted U.S. bases and forces on its territory.
Spheres of influence are a more subtle form of dominance than empires
per se.  They subordinate other states to a great power informally, without
the necessity of treaties or agreements. In the Cold War, we ruled the roost in
a sphere of influence called "the free world" "free only in the sense that it
included every country outside the competing Soviet sphere of influence, whether
democratic or aligned with the United States or not. With the end of the Cold War,
the US incorporated most of the former Soviet sphere into their own, pushing their
self-proclaimed responsibility to manage everything within it right up to the
borders of Russia and China.

Russia's unwillingness to accept that everything beyond its territory is ours to regulate is the root cause of the crises in Georgia and Ukraine. China's unwillingness to acquiesce in perpetual U.S. dominance of its near seas is the origin of the current tensions in the South China Sea.

The notion of a sphere of influence that is global except for a few no-go zonesin

Russia and China is now so deeply ingrained in the American psyche that our
politicians think it entirely natural to make a number of far-reaching assertions,
like these:

(1) The world is desperate for Americans to lead it by making the rules, regulating
global public goods, policing the global commons, and doing in "bad guys" everywhere
by whatever means our president considers most expedient.

(2) America is losing influence by not putting more boots on the ground in more

(3) The United States is the indispensable arbiter of what the world's international
financial institutions should do and how they should do it.

(4) Even if they change, American values always represent universal norms, from which other cultures deviate at their peril. Thus, profanity, sacrilege, and blasphemy' all of which were not so long ago anathema to Americans "are now basic human rights to be insisted upon internationally. So are indulgence in homosexuality,climate change denial, the sale of GM foodstuffs, and the consumption of alcohol.And so forth.

These American conceits are, of course, delusional. They are all the more unpersuasive to foreigners because everyone can see that America is now in a schizophrenic muddle" able to open fire at perceived enemies but delusional, distracted, and internally divided to the point of political paralysis. The ongoing "sequester" is a national decision not to make decisions about national priorities or how to pay for them. Congress has walked off the job, leaving decisions about war and peace to the president and turning economic policy over to the Fed, which has now run out of options. Almost half of the US senators had time to write to America's adversaries in Tehran to disavow the authority of the president to represent us internationally as the Constitution and the laws prescribe. But they won't make time to consider treaties, nominees for public office, or budget proposals. Politicians who long asserted that "Washington is broken" appear to take pride in themselves for finally having broken it.  

Congress may be on strike against the rest of the government, but the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines remain hard at work. Since the turn of the century,they have been kept busy fighting a series of ill-conceived wars" all of which they have lost or are losing. The major achievement of multiple interventions in the Muslim world has been to demonstrate that the use of force is not the answer to very many problems but that there are few problems it cannot aggravate. The repeated inability to win and end wars has damaged US prestige with US allies and adversaries alike. Still, with the Congress engaged in a walkout from its legislative responsibilities and the public in revolt against the mess in Washington, American global leadership is not much in evidence except on the battlefield,where its results are not impressive. 

 Diplomacy-free foreign policy blows up enough things to liven up the TV

news but it generates terrorist blowback and it's expensive. There is a direct
line of causation between European and American interventions in the Middle East
and the bombings in Boston, Paris and Brussels as well as the flood of refugees
now inundating Europe.And so far the USA has racked up over $6 trillion in outlays
and future financial obligations in wars that fail to achieve much, if anything,
other than breeding anti-American terrorists with global reach.

The USA borrowed the money to conduct these military activities abroad at the expense of investing in their homeland. What we have to show for staggering additions to our national debt is falling living standards for all but the "one percent," a shrinking middle class, a rising fear of terrorism, rotting infrastructure,unattended forest fires, and eroding civil liberties. Yet, with the notable exception of Bernie Sanders, every major party candidate for president promises not just to continue -- but to double down on -- the policies that produced this mess. 

Small wonder that both U.S. allies and adversaries now consider the
United States the most erratic and unpredictable element in the current world
disorder. You can't retain the respect of either citizens or foreigners when you
refuse to learn from experience. You can't lead when no one, including you
yourself, knows what you're up to or why. You won't have the respect of allies and they
won't follow you if, as in the case of Iraq, you insist that they join you in
entering an obvious ambush on the basis of falsified intelligence. You can't
retain the loyalty of proteg's and partners when you abandon them when they're in
trouble, as we did with Egypt's Hosni Mubarak. You can't continue to control the
global monetary system when, as in the case of the IMF and World Bank, you renege on
promises to reform and fund them.

And you can't expect to accomplish much by launching wars and then asking your military commanders to figure out what their objectives should be, and what might constitute sufficient success to make peace. But that's what the USA has been doing.The generals and admirals have long been taught that they are to implement,not make policy.But what if the civilian leadership is clueless or deluded? What if there is no feasible policy objective attached to military campaigns? 

The USA went into Afghanistan to take out the perpetrators of 9/11 and punish the Taliban regime that had sheltered them. We did that, but the Taliban is back. Why? Because we can be" To promote girls' education? Against Islamic government? To protect the world;s heroin supply? No one can provide a clear answer. 

The USA went into Iraq to ensure that weapons of mass destruction that did not exist did not fall into the hands of terrorists who did not exist until our arrival created them. The USA IS still there. Why? Is it to ensure the rule of the Sh`ia majority in Iraq? To secure Iraq for Iranian influence? To divide Iraq between Kurds and Sunni and Sh`ia Arabs? To protect China;S access to Iraqi oil? To combat the terrorists our presence creates? Or what? No one can provide a clear answer.Amidst this inexcusable confusion,the US Congress now routinely asks combatant commanders to make policy recommendations independent of those proposed by their civilian commander-in-chief or the secretary of state. Our generals not only provide such advice; they openly advocate actions in places like Ukraine and the South China Sea that undercut White House guidance while appeasing hawkish congressional opinion. We must add the erosion of civilian control of the military to the lengthening list of constitutional crises the USA's imperial adventurism is brewing up. In a land of bewildered civilians, the military offer can-do attitudes and discipline that are comparatively appealing. But American militarism now has a well-attested record of failure to deliver anything but escalating violence and debt. 

This brings me to the sources of civilian incompetence. As former US President Obama said, there's a Washington playbook that dictates military action as the first response to international challenges. This is the game the USA has been playing "and losing" all around the world. The cause of our misadventures is homemade, not foreign.

 And it is structural,not a consequence of the party in power or who's in the

Oval Office.The evolution of the National Security Council Staff helps understand

The National Security Council is a cabinet body established in 1947 as the Cold War
began to discuss and coordinate policy as directed by the president. It originally had
no staff or policy role independent of the cabinet. The modern NSC staff began with
President Kennedy.He wanted a few assistants to help him run a hands-on, activist
foreign policy.So far,so good. But the staff he created has grown over decades to
replace the cabinet as the center of gravity in Washington;s decisions on foreign
affairs. And,as it has evolved,its main task has become to make sure that foreign
relations don't get the president in trouble in Washington.
Kennedy's initial NSC staff numbered six men, some of whom, like McGeorge Bundy
and Walt Rostow,achieved infamy as the authors of the Vietnam War. Twenty years later,
when Ronald Reagan took office, the NSC staff had grown to around 50.  By the time
Barack Obama became president in 2009, it numbered about 370, plus another 230 or
so people off the books and on temporary duty, for a total of around 600. The bloat
has not abated. If anyone knows how many men and women now man the NSC,he or she is
not talking. The NSC staff, like the department of defense, has never been audited.
What was once a personal staff for the president has long since become
an independent agency whose official and temporary employees duplicate the
subject expertise of executive branch departments.This relieves the president of
the need to draw on the insights, resources, and checks and balances of the
government as a whole, while enabling the centralization of power in the White
House. The NSC staff has achieved critical mass. It has become a bureaucracy whose
officers look mainly to each other for affirmation, not to the civil, military,
foreign, or intelligence services.Their focus is on protecting or enhancing the
president's domestic political reputation by trimming foreign policy to the
parameters of the Washington bubble. Results abroad are important mainly to the
extent they serve this objective.

From the National Security Adviser on down, NSC staff members are not confirmed by the Senate. They are immune from congressional or public oversight on grounds of executive privilege. Recent cabinet secretaries ' especially secretaries of defense" have consistently complained that NSC staffers no longer coordinate and monitor policy formulation and implementation but seek to direct policy and to carry out diplomatic and military policy functions on their own. This leaves the cabinet departments to clean up after them as well as cover for them in congressional testimony. Remember Oliver North, the Iran-Contra fiasco, and the key-shaped cake" That episode suggested that the Keystone Cops might have seized control of our foreign policy. That was a glimpse of a future that has now arrived.

 Size and numbers matter. Among other things, they foster

overspecialization. This creates what the Chinese call the phenomenon
-the narrow vision of a frog at the bottom of  a well.The frog looks up and sees a
tiny circle of light that it imagines is the entire universe outside its habitat.
With so many people now on the NSC staff, there are now a hundred frogs in a
hundred wells, each evaluating what is happening in the world by the little bit
of reality it perceives. There is no effective process that synergizes a
comprehensive appreciation of trends, events, and their causes from these
fragmentary views.
This decision-making structure makes strategic reasoning next to impossible.
It all but guarantees that the response to any stimulus will be
narrowly tactical. It focuses the government on the buzz du jour
in Washington, not what is important to the long-term wellbeing of the United
States. And it makes its decisions mainly by reference to their impact at home,
not abroad. Not incidentally, this system also removes foreign policy from the
congressional oversight that the Constitution prescribes. As such, it adds to
the rancor in relations between the executive and legislative branches of the
federal establishment.

In many ways too, the NSC staff has evolved to resemble the machinery in a planetarium. It turns this way and that and, to those within its ambit, the heavens appear to turn with it. But this is an apparatus that projects illusions. Inside its event horizon, everything is comfortingly predictable. Outside "who knows?" there may be a hurricane brewing. This is a system that creates and implements foreign policies suited to Washington narratives but detached from external realities,often to the point of delusion, as America's misadventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria illustrate. And the system never admits mistakes. To do so would be a political gaffe, even if it might be a learning experience.

We have come up with a hell of a way to run a government, let alone an informal empire manifested as a sphere of influence. In case you haven't noticed, it isn't effective at either task. At home, the American people feel that they have been reduced to the status of the chorus in a Greek tragedy. They can see the blind self-destructiveness of what the actors on the political stage are doing and can moan out loud about it. But they cannot stop the actors from proceeding toward their (and our) doom. 

Abroad,US allies watch and are disheartened by what they see. Our client states and partners are dismayed. Our adversaries are simply dumbfounded. And our influence is ebbing away. 

Whatever the cure for our foul mood and foreigners' doubts about us may

be, it is not spending more money on our armed forces, piling up more debt with
military Keynesianism, or pretending that the world yearns for us to make all its
decisions for it or to be its policeman. But that's what almost all US politicians
now urge as the cure to our sense that the nation has lost its groove.Doing what they
propose will not reduce the threat of foreign attack or restore the domestic tranquility
that terrorist blowback has disturbed. It will not rebuild our broken roads, rickety
bridges,or underperforming educational system. It will not reindustrialize America or
modernize the nation's infrastructure. It will not enable the cointry to cope
with the geo-economic challenge of China, to compete effectively with Russian
diplomacy,or to halt the metastasis of Islamist fanaticism. And it will not eliminate
the losses of international credibility that foolish and poorly executed policies
have incubated. The cause of those losses is not any weakness on the part of
the U.S. military.

Americans will not regain their national composure and the respect of
their allies, friends, and adversaries abroad until they recognize their
interests and perspectives as well as their own, stop lecturing them about
what they need to do, and concentrate on fixing the shambles they made here at
home. There's a long list of self-destructive behavior to correct and an equally
long list of to-dos before us. Americans need both to focus on getting their act
together domestically and to rediscover diplomacy as an alternative to the use of
Both the president and the Congress now honor the Constitution ever more
in the breach.  In our system, money talks to such an extent that the Supreme
Court has equated it to speech.Our politicians are prepared to prostitute themselves
to both domestic and foreign causes for cash. Policy dialogue has become tendentiousLY
ly representative of special interests, uncivil, uninformed, and inconclusive.American
political campaigns are interminable, uncouth, and full of deliberately deceptive
advertizing.They are showing the world how great republics and empires die, not how
they make sound decisions or defend spheres of influence.

Spheres of influence entail liabilities for those who manage them but not necessarily for the countries they incorporate. Take the Philippines, for example. Secure in the American sphere, it did not bother to acquire a navy or an air force before suddenly it's in the mid-1970s" asserting ownership of islands long claimed by China in the nearby South China Sea and seizing and settling them. China has belatedly reacted. The Philippines still have no air and naval power to speak of. Now it wants the United States to return in sufficient force to defend its claims against those of China. 

It's gratifying to be wanted.Other than that,what's in this for the U.S.? A possible American war with China? Even if such a war were wise, who would go to war with China with us on behalf of Filipino claims to worthless sandbars, rocks,and reefs? Surely it would be better to promote a diplomatic resolution of competing claims than to help ramp up a military confrontation.

The conflicts in the South China Sea are first and foremost about the control of territory "sovereignty over islets and rocks that generate rights over adjacent seas and seabeds. Our arguments with China are often described by U.S. officials as about "freedom of navigation." If by this they mean assuring the unobstructed passage of commercial shipping through the area, the challenge is entirely conjectural. This sort of freedom of navigation has never been threatened or compromised there. It is not irrelevant that its most self-interested champion is China. A plurality of goods in the South China Sea are in transit to and from Chinese ports or transported in Chinese ships.

But what we mean by freedom of navigation is the right of the U.S. Navy to continue unilaterally to police the global commons off Asia, as it has been for seventy years, and the right of the US navy to lurk at China's twelve-mile limit while preparing and practicing to cross it in the event of a U.S.-China conflict over Taiwan or some other casus belli. Not surprisingly, the Chinese object to both propositions, as we would if the People's Liberation Army Navy were to attempt to do the same twelve miles off Block Island or a dozen miles from Pearl Harbor, Norfolk, or San Diego.

We persist, not just because China is the current enemy of choice of our military planners and armaments industry, but because we are determined to perpetuate our unilateral dominance of the world;s seas. But such dominance does not reflect current power balances, let alone those of the future. Unilateral dominance is a possibility whose time is passing or may already have passed. What is needed now is a turn toward partnership. 

This might include trying to build a framework for sharing the burdens of assuring freedom of navigation with China, Japan, the European Union and other major economic powers who fear its disruption. As the world's largest trading nation, about to overtake Greece and Japan as the owner of the world's largest shipping fleet,China has more at stake in the continuation of untrammeled international commerce than any other country. Why not leverage that interest to the advantage of a recrafted world and Asian-Pacific order that protects US interests at lower cost and lessened risk of conflict with a nuclear power?

We might try a little diplomacy elsewhere as well. In practice, we have aided and

abetted those who prefer a Syria in endless, agonized turmoil to one allied
with Iran. The US policy has consisted of funneling weapons to Syrian and
foreign opponents of the Assad government, some of whom rival our worst enemies
in their fanaticism and savagery. Ten years on,the Assad government has not fallen.
Perhaps it's time to admit that the US didn't just ignore international law but
seriously miscalculated political realities in their effort to overthrow the Syrian

Twenty-two percent of the world's people are Muslim. Allowing bombing campaigns and drone warfare to define our relationship with them is a recipe for endless terrorist backlash against the USA. In the Middle East, the United States is now locked in a death-filled dance with fanatic enemies, ungrateful client states,alienated allies, and resurgent adversaries. Terrorists are over here because the USA is over there. They'd be better off standing down from our efforts to sort out the problems of the Islamic world. Muslims are more likely to be able to cure their own ills than the USA to do this for them. 

When he was asked in 1787 what system he and our other founding fathers had given Americans, Benjamin Franklin famously replied, "a republic, if you can keep it." For over two centuries, they have kept it. Now, if the USA cannot repair the incivility,dysfunction and corruption of our politics, they will lose their republic as well as their imperium. America's problems were made in the USA, by Americans, not by refugees, immigrants, or foreigners.  They cry out for Americans to fix them.

How America will collapse (by 2025)


    A soft landing for America 40 years from now? Don't bet on it. The demise of
the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone
imagines.If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American
Century,a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in
2025,just 4 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.

Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project,a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003. 

    Future historians are likely to identify the Bush administration's rash invasion
of Iraq in that year as the start of America's downfall. However, instead of the
bloodshed that marked the end of so many past empires, with cities burning and civilians
slaughtered, this twenty-first century imperial collapse could come relatively
quietly through the invisible tendrils of economic collapse or cyberwarfare.
    But have no doubt:when Washington's global dominion finally ends, there will be
painful daily reminders of what such a loss of power means for Americans in every
walk of life. As a half-dozen European nations have discovered, imperial decline
tendsto have a remarkably demoralizing impact on a society, regularly bringing at
least a generation of economic privation. As the economy cools, political
temperatures rise, often sparking serious domestic unrest.

     Available economic,educational,and military data indicate that, when it comes
to U.S. global power, negative trends will aggregate rapidly by 2020 and are likely
to reach a critical mass no later than 2030. The American Century, proclaimed so
triumphantly at the start of World War II, will be tattered and fading by 2025,
its eighth decade, and could be history by 2030.

    Significantly,in 2008,the U.S. National Intelligence Council admitted for the
first time that America's global power was indeed on a declining trajectory.In one
of its periodic futuristic reports, Global Trends 2025, the Council cited "the
transfer of global wealth and economic power now under way, roughly from West
to East" and "without precedent in modern history," as the
primary factor in the decline of the "United States' relative strength --
even in the military realm." Like many in Washington, however, the
Council's analysts anticipated a very long, very soft landing for American
global preeminence, and harbored the hope that somehow the U.S. would long
"retain unique military capabilities" to project military power
globally" for decades to come.

   No such luck.Under current projections,the United States will find itself in
second place behind China (already the world's second largest economy) in economic
output around 2026,and behind India by 2050. Similarly, Chinese innovation is on a
trajectory toward world leadership in applied science and military technology
sometime between 2020 and 2030, just as America's current supply of brilliant
scientists and engineers retires, without adequate replacement by an
ill-educated younger generation.

  By 2020,according to current plans,the Pentagon will throw a military Hail Mary pass
for a dying empire.It will launch a lethal triple canopy of advanced aerospace
robotics that represents Washington's last best hope of retaining global power
despite its waning economic influence. By that year, however, China's global network
of communications satellites, backed by the world's most powerful supercomputers,
will also be fully operational, providing Beijing with an independent platform
for the weaponization of space and a powerful communications system for
missile- or cyber-strikes into every quadrant of the globe.

    Wrapped in imperial hubris,like Whitehall or Quai d'Orsay before it,the White
House still seems to imagine that American decline will be gradual,gentle and
partial.Ordinary Americans,watching their jobs head overseas, have a more realistic
view than their cosseted leaders.An opinion poll found that 65 percent of Americans
believed the country was now "in a state of decline."  Already, Australia and Turkey,
traditional U.S. military allies, are using their American-manufactured weapons for
joint air and naval maneuvers with China. Already, America's closest economic
partners are backing away from Washington's opposition to China's rigged
currency rates.

    Viewed historically,the question is not whether the United States will lose its
unchallenged global power,but just how precipitous and wrenching the decline will be.
bIn place of Washington's wishful thinking, let's use the National Intelligence
Council's own futuristic methodology to suggest four realistic scenarios for how,
whether with a bang or a whimper, U.S. global power could reach its end in the 2020s
(along with four accompanying assessments of just where we are today).                    

The future scenarios include: economic decline, oil shock, military misadventure, and World War III. While these are hardly the only possibilities when it comes to American decline or even collapse, they offer a window into an onrushing future.

Economic Decline:Present Situation 

 Today, three main threats exist to America's dominant position in the global

economy:loss of economic clout thanks to a shrinking share of world trade,the decline
of American technological innovation, and the end of the dollar's privileged
status as the global reserve currency.

   By 2008,the United States had already fallen to number three in global merchandise
exports,with just 11 percent of them compared to 12 percent for China and 16 percent
for the European Union. There is no reason to believe that this trend will reverse

    Similarly,American leadership in technological innovation is on the wane.In 2008,
the U.S. was still number two behind Japan in worldwide patent applications with
232,000, but China was closing fast at 195,000, thanks to a blistering 400 percent
increase since 2000. A harbinger of further decline: in 2009 the U.S. hit rock
bottom in ranking among the 40 nations surveyed by the Information Technology
& Innovation Foundation when it came to "change" in "global
innovation-based competitiveness" during the previous decade. Adding
substance to these statistics, in October China's Defense Ministry unveiled the
world's fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A, so powerful, said one U.S.
expert, that it "blows away the existing No. 1 machine" in America.

    Add to this clear evidence that the U.S. education system, that source of
future scientists and innovators,has been falling behind its competitors.After
leading the world for decades in 25- to 34-year-olds with university degrees,the
country sank to 12th place in 2010.The World Economic Forum ranked the United
States at a mediocre 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math
and science instruction in 2010. Nearly half of all graduate students in the
sciences in the U.S. are now foreigners, most of whom will be heading home, not
staying here as once would have happened. By 2025, in other words, the United
States is likely to face a critical shortage of talented scientists.

    Such negative trends are encouraging increasingly sharp criticism of the
dollar's role as the world's reserve currency."Other countries are no longer willing
to buy into the idea that the U.S. knows best on economic policy," observed Kenneth
S.Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. In mid-2009,
with the world's central banks holding an astronomical $4 trillion in U.S.
Treasury notes, Russian president Dimitri Medvedev insisted that it was time to
end "the artificially maintained unipolar system" based on "one
formerly strong reserve currency."

    Simultaneously,China's central bank governor suggested that the future might lie
with a global reserve currency "disconnected from individual nations" (that is, the
U.S. dollar). Take these as signposts of a world to come, and of a possible attempt,
as economist Michael Hudson has argued, to hasten the bankruptcy of the U.S.
financial-military world order."

Economic Decline:Scenario 2020 

  After years of swelling deficits fed by incessant warfare in distant lands,in 2020,

as long expected,the U.S. dollar finally loses its special status as the world's
reserve currency.Suddenly,the cost of imports soars.Unable to pay for swelling
deficits by selling now-devalued Treasury notes abroad, Washington is finally
forced to slash its bloated military budget. Under pressure at home and abroad,
Washington slowly pulls U.S. forces back from hundreds of overseas bases to a
continental perimeter. By now, however, it is far too late.

Faced with a fading superpower incapable of paying the bills, China, India, Iran, Russia, and other powers, great and regional, provocatively challenge U.S. dominion over the oceans, space, and cyberspace. Meanwhile, amid soaring prices, ever-rising unemployment, and a continuing decline in real wages, domestic divisions widen into violent clashes and divisive debates, often over remarkably irrelevant issues. Riding a political tide of disillusionment and despair, a far-right patriot captures the presidency with thundering rhetoric, demanding respect for American authority and threatening military retaliation or economic reprisal. The world pays next to no attention as the American Century ends in silence. 

Oil Shock:Present Situation 

 One casualty of America's waning economic power has been its lock on global oil supplies. Speeding by America's gas-guzzling economy in the passing lane, China became the world's number one energy consumer this summer, a position the U.S. had held for over a century. Energy specialist Michael Klare has argued that this change means China will "set the pace in shaping our global future." 

  By 2025,Iran and Russia will control almost half of the world's natural gas supply,

which will potentially give them enormous leverage over energy-starved Europe.Add
petroleum reserves to the mix and, as the National Intelligence Council has
warned, in just 4 years two countries, Russia and Iran, could "emerge as
energy kingpins."

  Despite remarkable ingenuity,the major oil powers are now draining the big basins
of petroleum reserves that are amenable to easy,cheap extraction.The real lesson of
the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was not BP's sloppy safety
standards, but the simple fact everyone saw on "spillcam": one of the
corporate energy giants had little choice but to search for what Klare calls
"tough oil" miles beneath the surface of the ocean to keep its
profits up. 

 Compounding the problem,the Chinese and Indians have suddenly become far heavier
energy consumers.Even if fossil fuel supplies were to remain constant (which they
won't),demand,and so costs,are almost certain to rise-and sharply at that.Other
developed nations are meeting this threat aggressively by plunging into experimental
programs to develop alternative energy sources. The United States has taken a
different path, doing far too little to develop alternative sources while, in
the last three decades, doubling its dependence on foreign oil imports. Between
1973 and 2007, oil imports have risen from 36 percent of energy consumed in the
U.S. to 66 percent.

Oil Shock:Scenario 2025 

  The U.S. remains so dependent upon foreign oil that a few adverse developments in

the global energy market in 2025 spark an oil shock. By comparison, it makes the
1973 oil shock (when prices quadrupled in just months) look like the proverbial
molehill. Angered at the dollar's plummeting value, OPEC oil ministers, meeting
in Riyadh, demand future energy payments in a "basket" of Yen, Yuan,
and Euros. That only hikes the cost of U.S. oil imports further. At the same
moment, while signing a new series of long-term delivery contracts with China,
the Saudis stabilize their own foreign exchange reserves by switching to the
Yuan. Meanwhile, China pours countless billions into building a massive
trans-Asia pipeline and funding Iran's exploitation of the world largest
percent natural gas field at South Pars in the Persian Gulf.

  Concerned that the U.S. Navy might no longer be able to protect the oil tankers
traveling from the Persian Gulf to fuel East Asia,a coalition of Tehran,Riyadh and
Abu Dhabi form an unexpected new Gulf alliance and affirm that China's new fleet of
swift aircraft carriers will henceforth patrol the Persian Gulf from a base on the
Gulf of Oman. Under heavy economic pressure, London agrees to cancel the U.S.
lease on its Indian Ocean island base of Diego Garcia, while Canberra,
pressured by the Chinese, informs Washington that the Seventh Fleet is no
longer welcome to use Fremantle as a homeport, effectively evicting the U.S.
Navy from the Indian Ocean.

  With just a few strokes of the pen and some terse announcements,the "Carter Doctrine,"
by which U.S. military power was to eternally protect the Persian Gulf,is laid to
rest in 2025. All the elements that long assured the United States limitless
supplies of low-cost oil from that region -- logistics, exchange rates, and
naval power -- evaporate. At this point, the U.S. can still cover only an
insignificant 12 percent of its energy needs from its nascent alternative
energy industry, and remains dependent on imported oil for half of its energy

  The oil shock that follows hits the country like a hurricane,sending prices to
startling heights,making travel a staggeringly expensive proposition,putting real
wages (which had long been declining) into freefall, and rendering non-competitive
whatever American exports remained. With thermostats dropping, gas prices climbing
through the roof, and dollars flowing overseas in return for costly oil, the
American economy is paralyzed. With long-fraying alliances at an end and fiscal
pressures mounting, U.S. military forces finally begin a staged withdrawal from
their overseas bases.

   Within a few years,the U.S. is functionally bankrupt and the clock is ticking
toward midnight on the American Century.

Military Misadventure:Present Situation 

  Counterintuitively,as their power wanes,empires often plunge into ill-advised

military misadventures.This phenomenon is known among historians of empire as
"micro-militarism" and seems to involve psychologically compensatory
efforts to salve the sting of retreat or defeat by occupying new territories,
however briefly and catastrophically. These operations, irrational even from an
imperial point of view, often yield hemorrhaging expenditures or humiliating
defeats that only accelerate the loss of power. 

Embattled empires through the ages suffer an arrogance that drives them to plunge
ever deeper into military misadventures until defeat becomes debacle.In 413 BCE,a
weakened Athens sent 200 ships to be slaughtered in Sicily. In 1921, a dying
imperial Spain dispatched 20,000 soldiers to be massacred by Berber guerrillas
in Morocco. In 1956, a fading British Empire destroyed its prestige by
attacking Suez. And in 2001 and 2003, the U.S. occupied Afghanistan and invaded
Iraq. With the hubris that marks empires over the millennia, Washington has
increased its troops in Afghanistan to 100,000, expanded the war into Pakistan,
and extended its commitment to 2014 and beyond, courting disasters large and
small in this guerilla-infested, nuclear-armed graveyard of empires.

Military Misadventure:Scenario 2014 

 So irrational,so unpredictable is "micro-militarism" that seemingly fanciful

scenarios are soon outdone by actual events. With the U.S. military stretched thin
from Somalia to the Philippines and tensions rising in Israel, Iran, and Korea,
possible combinations for a disastrous military crisis abroad are multifold.

  It's mid-summer 2014 and a drawn-down U.S. garrison in embattled Kandahar in
southern Afghanistan is suddenly,unexpectedly overrun by Taliban guerrillas,while
U.S. aircraft are grounded by a blinding sandstorm. Heavy loses are taken and in
retaliation,an embarrassed American war commander looses B-1 bombers and F-16 fighters
to demolish whole neighborhoods of the city that are believed to be under Taliban
control, while AC-130U "Spooky" gunships rake the rubble with
devastating cannon fire.

Soon,mullahs are preaching jihad from mosques throughout the region and Afghan Army
units,long trained by American forces to turn the tide of the war,begin to desert en
masse. Taliban fighters then launch a series of remarkably sophisticated
strikes aimed at U.S. garrisons across the country, sending American casualties
soaring. In scenes reminiscent of Saigon in 1975, U.S. helicopters rescue
American soldiers and civilians from rooftops in Kabul and Kandahar.

 Meanwhile,angry at the endless,decades-long stalemate over Palestine,OPEC's leaders
impose a new oil embargo on the U.S. to protest its backing of Israel as well as the
killing of untold numbers of Muslim civilians in its ongoing wars across the Greater
Middle East. With gas prices soaring and refineries running dry, Washington
makes its move, sending in Special Operations forces to seize oil ports in the
Persian Gulf. This, in turn, sparks a rash of suicide attacks and the sabotage
of pipelines and oil wells. As black clouds billow skyward and diplomats rise
at the U.N. to bitterly denounce American actions, commentators worldwide reach
back into history to brand this "America's Suez," a telling reference
to the 1956 debacle that marked the end of the British Empire.

World War III:Present Situation

 In the summer of 2010,military tensions between the U.S. & China began to rise in

the western Pacific,once considered an American "lake." Even a year earlier no
one would have predicted such a development. As Washington played upon its
alliance with London to appropriate much of Britain's global power after World
War II, so China is now using the profits from its export trade with the U.S.
to fund what is likely to become a military challenge to American dominion over
the waterways of Asia and the Pacific.
  With its growing resources,Beijing is claiming a vast maritime arc from Korea to
Indonesia long dominated by the U.S. Navy.In August,after Washington expressed a
"national interest" in the South China Sea and conducted naval
exercises there to reinforce that claim, Beijing's official Global Times
responded angrily, saying, "The U.S.-China wrestling match over the South
China Sea issue has raised the stakes in deciding who the real future ruler of
the planet will be."

  Amid growing tensions,the Pentagon reported that Beijing now holds "the capability
to attack" [U.S.] aircraft carriers in the western Pacific Ocean" and target
"nuclear forces throughout" the continental United States." By
developing "offensive nuclear, space, and cyber warfare
capabilities," China seems determined to vie for dominance of what the
Pentagon calls "the information spectrum in all dimensions of the modern
battlespace." With ongoing development of the powerful Long March V
booster rocket, as well as the launch of two satellites in January 2010 and
another in July, for a total of five, Beijing signaled that the country was
making rapid strides toward an "independent" network of 35 satellites
for global positioning, communications, and reconnaissance capabilities.

 To check China and extend its military position globally, Washington is intent on
building a new digital network of air and space robotics, advanced cyberwarfare
capabilities,and electronic surveillance.Military planners expect this integrated
system to envelop the Earth in a cyber-grid capable of blinding entire armies on the
battlefield or taking out a single terrorist in field or favela. By 2020, if
all goes according to plan, the Pentagon will launch a three-tiered shield of
space drones -- reaching from stratosphere to exosphere, armed with agile
missiles, linked by a resilient modular satellite system, and operated through
total telescopic surveillance.

World War III:Scenario 2025 

    The technology of space and cyberwarfare is so new and untested that even the
most outlandish scenarios may soon be superseded by a reality still hard to conceive.
If we simply employ the sort of scenarios that the Air Force itself used in its 2009
Future Capabilities Game,however, we can gain "a better understanding of how
air, space and cyberspace overlap in warfare," and so begin to imagine how
the next world war might actually be fought.

 It's 11:59 p.m. on Thanksgiving Thursday in 2025. While cyber-shoppers pound the
portals of Best Buy for deep discounts on the latest home electronics from China,
U.S. Air Force technicians at the Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) on Maui choke
on their coffee as their panoramic screens suddenly blip to black. Thousands of
miles away at the U.S. CyberCommand's operations center in Texas, cyberwarriors
soon detect malicious binaries that, though fired anonymously, show the
distinctive digital fingerprints of China's People's Liberation Army.

  The first overt strike is one nobody predicted.Chinese "malware" seizes control of
the robotics aboard an unmanned solar-powered U.S. "Vulture" drone as it
flies at 70,000 feet over the Tsushima Strait between Korea and Japan. It suddenly
fires all the rocket pods beneath its enormous 400-foot wingspan, sending
dozens of lethal missiles plunging harmlessly into the Yellow Sea, effectively
disarming this formidable weapon.

   Determined to fight fire with fire,the Whiten House authorizes a retaliatory
strike.Confident that its F-6 "Fractionated, Free-Flying" satellite system is
impenetrable,Air Force commanders in California transmit robotic codes to the
flotilla of X-37B space drones orbiting 250 miles above the Earth, ordering them to
launch their "Triple Terminator" missiles at China's 35 satellites. Zero response.
In near panic, the Air Force launches its Falcon Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle into
an arc 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean and then, just 20 minutes later, sends
the computer codes to fire missiles at seven Chinese satellites in nearby
orbits. The launch codes are suddenly inoperative.
   As the Chinese virus spreads uncontrollably through the F-6 satellite architecture,
while those second-rate U.S. supercomputers fail to crack the malware's devilishly
complex code,GPS signals crucial to the navigation of U.S. ships and aircraft
worldwide are compromised. Carrier fleets begin steaming in circles in the
mid-Pacific. Fighter squadrons are grounded. Reaper drones fly aimlessly toward
the horizon, crashing when their fuel is exhausted. Suddenly, the United States
loses what the U.S. Air Force has long called "the ultimate high
ground": space. Within hours, the military power that had dominated the
globe for nearly a century has been defeated in World War III without a single
human casualty.

A New World Order?

    Even if future events prove duller than these four scenarios suggest,every

significant trend points toward a far more striking decline in American global
power by 2025 than anything Washington now seems to be envisioning.
  As allies worldwide begin to realign their policies to take cognizance of rising
Asian powers,the cost of maintaining 800 or more overseas military bases will simply
become unsustainable,finally forcing a staged withdrawal on a still-unwilling
Washington. With both the U.S. and China in a race to weaponize space and
cyberspace, tensions between the two powers are bound to rise, making military
conflict by 2025 at least feasible,if hardly guaranteed.
  Complicating matters even more,the economic,military and technological trends
outlined above will not operate in tidy isolation. As happened to European empires
after World War II,such negative forces will undoubtedly prove synergistic.They
will combine in thoroughly unexpected ways, create crises for which Americans are
remarkably unprepared and threaten to spin the economy into a sudden downward
spiral,consigning this country to a generation or more of economic misery.

  As U.S. power recedes,the past offers a spectrum of possibilities for a future
world order.At one end of this spectrum, the rise of a new global superpower,however
unlikely,cannot be ruled out.Yet both China and Russia evince self-referential
cultures, recondite non-roman scripts, regional defense strategies, and
underdeveloped legal systems, denying them key instruments for global dominion.
At the moment then, no single superpower seems to be on the horizon likely to
succeed the U.S.

 In a dark,dystopian version of our global future,a coalition of transnational
corporations,multilateral forces like NATO and an international financial elite
could conceivably forge a single,possibly unstable,supra-national nexus that would
make it no longer meaningful to speak of national empires at all. While
denationalized corporations and multinational elites would assumedly rule such
a world from secure urban enclaves, the multitudes would be relegated to urban
and rural wastelands.

 In "Planet of Slums," Mike Davis offers at least a partial vision of such a world
from the bottom up.He argues that the billion people already packed into fetid
favela-style slums worldwide (rising to two billion by 2030) will make
"the 'feral, failed cities' of the Third World" the distinctive
battlespace of the twenty-first century." As darkness settles over some
future super-favela, "the empire can deploy Orwellian technologies of
repression" as "hornet-like helicopter gun-ships stalk enigmatic
enemies in the narrow streets of the slum districts" Every morning the slums
reply with suicide bombers and eloquent explosions."

  At a midpoint on the spectrum of possible futures, a new global oligopoly might
emerge between 2020 and 2040,with rising powers China,Russia,India and Brazil
collaborating with receding powers like Britain,Germany,Japan, and the U.S, to
enforce an ad hoc global dominion, akin to the loose alliance of European
empires that ruled half of humanity circa 1900.

  Another possibility:the rise of regional hegemons in a return to something
reminiscent of the international system that operated before modern empires took
shape.In this neo-Westphalian world order,with its endless vistas of micro-violence
and unchecked exploitation,each hegemon would dominate its immediate region-
Brasilia in South America, Washington in North America, Pretoria in southern
Africa, and so on. Space, cyberspace, and the maritime deeps, removed from the
control of the former planetary "policeman," the United States, might
even become a new global commons, controlled through an expanded U.N. Security
Council or some ad hoc body.

  All of these scenarios extrapolate existing trends into the future on the assumption
that Americans,blinded by the arrogance of decades of historically unparalleled power,
cannot or will not take steps to manage the unchecked erosion of their global position. 
 If America's decline is in fact on a 22-year trajectory from 2003 to 2025,then
the U.S. has already frittered away most of the first decade of that decline with
wars that distracted them from long-term problems and,like water tossed onto desert
sands,wasted trillions of desperately needed dollars.

   If only 4 years remain,the odds of frittering them all away still remain high.
Congress and the president are now in gridlock;the American system is flooded with
corporate money meant to jam up the works; and there is little suggestion that any
issues of significance,including US wars, our bloated national security state, our
starved education system, and our antiquated energy supplies, will be addressed
with sufficient seriousness to assure the sort of soft landing that might
maximize our country's role and prosperity in a changing world.

Europe's empires are gone and America's imperium is going.It seems increasingly
doubtful that the United States will have anything like Britain's success in shaping
a succeeding world order that protects its interests,preserves its prosperity,and
bears the imprint of its best values.

What George Soros Says About Bitcoin

George Soros.jpg
  Soros Fund Management,the investment firm led by well-known billionaire and
philanthropist George Soros,in October gave the green light to Bitcoin (BTC)
trading earlier this year.The firm's Chief Investment Officer Dawn Fitzpatrick said
the firm was investing in Bitcoin and in the infrastructure around it. 
   The fund may have opened the doors to crypto,but-aside from comments made in 
Davos a few years ago-Soros has played his crypto cards close to his chest.Here's
what we know about his views on Bitcoin. 

Who is George Soros? 

   George Soros is famous for his success as an investor,and for his charitable
contributions.In 2017 he gave $18 billion-80% of his wealth-to Open Society
Foundations, a network of human rights and justice groups. 

    Soros is regularly dubbed "the man who broke the Bank of England" because back in 1992 he made $1 billion by shorting the British pound.Short selling allows investors to profit when the price of an asset goes down.  

   One reason people want to know what Soros thinks about the ever-evolving world of 
digital currencies is that the 91-year-old has earned a reputation as the premier
currency speculator in the world.Another reason is a fear that he and his firm
might go short on Bitcoin,which is essentially betting that the leading
cryptocurrency will lose value. 

What Soros has said about Bitcoin 

   When he addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2018,Soros 
described Bitcoin as a "typical bubble." 

He compared the cryptocurrency industry to the tulipmania that gripped The
Netherlands in the 1600s.His main concern-volatility."Bitcoin is not a currency,"
he said,"because a currency is supposed to be a stable store of value, and a
currency that can fluctuate 25% in a day can't be used, for instance,to pay wages.
Because the wages could drop by 25% in a day." 

   However, he also saw the potential in blockchain technology, which he labeled
"innovative." Warning that blockchain tech could be used for both good and bad,
Soros highlighted a positive use case. "We use it actually in helping migrants
to communicate with their families and to keep their money safe and carry it with
them," he said. 
  Most recently,his investment firm decided it would invest in Bitcoin,but Soros
himself did not comment. 
   In 2021 Soros did say Bitcoin will bring down the US dollar as the world 

Why Soros Fund Management will trade crypto 

   Speaking to Bloomberg Front Row in March,Fitzpatrick said, "We think the whole
infrastructure around crypto is really interesting, and we've been making some
investments into that infrastructure." By infrastructure,she's referring to
everything from cryptocurrency exchanges to asset management and crypto tax
  She explained that the interest in cryptocurrencies has been fueled by deflation.
"Something like Bitcoin might have stayed a fringe asset, but for the fact that over
the last 12 months we've increased money supply in the U.S. by 25%,"Fitzpatrick
    Like many investors,Fitzpatrick views Bitcoin as a commodity rather than a 
currency-she points out that it is storable,transferable and has a finite supply.
Indeed,the CIO thinks Bitcoin has succeeded in taking some of the market away from
   Fitzpatrick warned that Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), or GovCoins,
could threaten Bitcoin,at least in the short term.CBDCs are government-backed digital
currencies that are built on the blockchain.They are essentially digital versions of
traditional currencies like the U.S. dollar. 
   China has been piloting a digital yuan for some time, and the Federal Reserve is
considering the pros and cons of a digital dollar.CBDCs offer some of the benefits
of cryptocurrencies,such as fast and cheap payment processing-but without the
volatility or risk. But because they are centralized, there are privacy and security
concerns that may be difficult to overcome.  

No longer a fringe asset 

    A lot has changed since 2018. More and more retailers accept cryptocurrency as
a form of payment and a recent Bakkt survey showed that 48% of Americans had bought

   If you're considering following Soros Fund Management and buying Bitcoin, make
sure you understand the risks and only invest money you can afford to lose.
Cryptocurrency investing can generate high rewards, but it could also lead to
heavy losses.

tough times don't last only tough people do when the going gets tough the tough get going


  During the history of Afghanistan,several superpowers have attempted to invade
Afghanistan without maintaining a stable, permanent rule.Modern examples included
the British Empire during the first, second and Third Anglo-Afghan Wars (1839-1842,
1878-1880, 1919), the Soviet Union in the Soviet-Afghan War (1979-1989) and the
United States in the War in Afghanistan (200102021).Some have attributed ancient
empires to the narrative,including the Persians,Greeks,Arabs,Turks and Mongols.The
difficulty in invading Afghanistan was attributed to the prevalence of fortress-like
qalats,the deserts, the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan,its severe winter and
its "impregnable clan loyalties",and outside neighboring countries support such as
Pakistan,where foreign invaders were unable or not permitted to cross into such
nations to destroy their enemy sanctuaries.

 How does an empire die? Often,it seems, there is a growing sense of decay, and then something happens,a single event that provides the tipping point.After the Second World War,Great Britain was all but bankrupt and its Empire was in shreds,but it soldiered on thanks to a U.S. government loan and the new Cold War exigencies that allowed it to maintain the outward appearance of a global player.It wasn't until the 1956 Suez debacle,when Britain was pressured by the U.S.,the Soviet Union and the United Nations to withdraw its forces from Egypt-which it had invaded along with Israel and France following Gamal Abdel Nasser's seizure of the Suez Canal-that it became clear that its imperial days were over.The floodgates to decolonization soon opened.

  In February,1989,when the bSoviet Union withdrew its military from Afghanistan 
after a failed nine-year attempt to pacify the country, it did so in a carefully
choreographed ceremony that telegraphed solemnity and dignity.An orderly procession
of tanks moved north across the Friendship Bridge, which spans the Amu Darya river,
between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan-then a Soviet republic.The Soviet commander,
Lieutenant-General Boris Gromov,walked across with his teen-age son, carrying a
bouquet of flowers and smiling for the cameras.Behind him,he declared,no Soviet
soldiers remained in the country."The day that millions of Soviet people have
waited for has come,"he said at a military rally later that day. "In spite of our
sacrifices and losses, we have totally fulfilled our internationalist duty."
    Gromov's triumphal speech was not quite the equivalent of George
W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" following the 2003 Iraq invasion,but it came
close, and the message that it was intended to relay, at least to people inside
the Soviet Union, was a reassuring one:the Red Army was leaving Afghanistan
because it wanted to, not because it had been defeated.The Kremlin had installed an
ironfisted Afghan loyalist who was left to run things in its absence,a former
secret-police chief named Najibullah;there was also a combat-tested Afghan Army,
equipped and trained by the Soviets.

Meanwhile,the mujahideen guerrilla armies that had been subsidized and armed by the United States and its partners Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were in a celebratory mood. Their combat units were massed outside Afghanistan's regime-held cities,and there was an expectation that it would not be long before Najibullah succumbed, too, and Kabul would be theirs.In the end, he held out for another three years,with his downfall merely leading to a new civil war.

    For all the talk of internationalist duty, the Afghanistan that
the Soviets left behind was a charnel ground. Out of its population of twelve
million people, as many as two million civilians had been killed in the war,
more than five million had fled the country, and another two million were
internally displaced. Many of the country's towns and cities lay in ruins,and half
of Afghanistan's rural villages and hamlets had been destroyed.
     Officially,only fifteen thousand or so Soviet troops had been
killed-although the real figure may be much higher-and fifty thousand more
soldiers were wounded. But hundreds of aircraft, tanks, and artillery pieces
were destroyed or lost, and countless billions of dollars diverted from the
hard-pressed Soviet economy to pay for it all. However much the Kremlin tried
to gloss it over,the average Soviet citizen understood that the Afghanistan
intervention had been a costly fiasco.
    It was only eighteen months after the Soviet withdrawal from
Afghanistan that a group of hard-liners tried to launch a coup against the
reformist premier Mikhail Gorbachev. But they had miscalculated their power, and
popular support. In the face of public demonstrations against them, their
putsch soon failed, followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union itself. Of
course,by then,much beyond the Soviet Union's Afghan quagmire had conspired to
fatally weaken the once powerful Empire from within.

While the two events are humiliatingly comparable, only time will tell whether the old adage about Afghanistan's being the graveyard of empires proves as true for the United States as it did for the Soviet Union.Robin Wright thinks so, writing,on August 15th, "America's Great Retreat [from Afghanistan] is at least as humiliating as the Soviet Union's withdrawal in 1989,an event that contributed to the end of its empire and Communist rule. . . . Both of the big powers withdrew as losers, with their tails between their legs,leaving behind chaos. When I asked James Clad, a former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense,for his thoughts on the matter, he emailed, "It's a damaging blow, but the "end" of Empire? Not yet, and probably not for a long time. The egregious defeat has hammered American prestige, however, delivering the geopolitical equivalent of egg on our face. Is that a fatal blow? In the wider world, America still retains its offshore power-balancing function. And despite some overheated journalism, no irreversible advantage has passed to our primary geopolitical opponent "China."

It is true that, for the time being, America retains its military prowess and its economic strength. But, for two decades now, it has seemed increasingly unable to effectively harness either of them to its advantage. Instead of enhancing its hegemony by deploying its strengths wisely, it has repeatedly squandered its efforts, diminishing both its aura of invincibility and its standing in the eyes of other nations. The vaunted global war on terror-which included Bush's invasion of Iraq for the purpose of finding weapons of mass destruction that did not exist, Barack Obama's decision to intervene in Libya and his indecisiveness about a "red line" in Syria, and Donald Trump's betrayal of the Kurds in the same country and his 2020 deal with the Taliban to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan-has effectively caused terrorism to metastasize across the planet.

Al Qaeda may no longer be as prominent as it was on 9/11, but it still exists and has a branch in North Africa; Isis has affiliates there, too, and in Mozambique, and, of course, as the horrific attacks last Thursday at Kabul airport underscored,in Afghanistan. And the Taliban have returned to power, right where it all began twenty years ago.

    Rory Stewart, a former British government minister who served on Prime Minister 
Theresa May's National Security Council,told me that he has observed the events in
Afghanistan with "horror":Throughout the Cold War,the United States had a
consistent world view.Administrations came and went,but the world view didn't change
much.And then, following 9/11, we-America's allies-went along with the new
theories it came up with to explain its response to the terrorist threat in
Afghanistan and elsewhere. But there's been a total lack of continuity since
then;the way the United States viewed the world in 2006 is night and day to how
it views it today. Afghanistan has gone from being the center of the world to
one in which we are told that such places pose no threat at all. What that
suggests is that all of the former theorizing now means nothing. To see this lurch
to isolationism that is so sudden that it practically destroys everything
fought for together for twenty years is deeply disturbing.
    Stewart,who co-founded the Turquoise Mountain Foundation-which
has supported cultural heritage projects,health and education in Afghanistan
for fifteen years-and is now a senior fellow at Yale's Jackson Institute
for Global Affairs, was skeptical of Joe Biden's assertion that the strategic
priorities of the United States no longer lie in places like Afghanistan, but
in countering China's expansion. "If this were true," he said, "then clearly
part of the logic of the American confrontation with China would be to say,
"We're going to demonstrate our values with our presence across the world,'
just as it did in the Cold War with the U.S.S.R.And one way you'd do that is to
continue your presence in the Middle East and other places,because removing yourself
is counterproductive.In the end,I think all of this talk about a China pivot is
really just an excuse for American isolationism."

Back to the nagging question: Does the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan represent the end of the American era? On the heels of what appears to have been a disastrous decision by Biden to adhere to a U.S. troop drawdown that was set in motion by his feckless predecessor, it can certainly be said that the international image of the United States has been damaged. It seems a valid question to ask whether the United States can claim much moral authority internationally after handing Afghanistan, and its millions of hapless citizens, back to the custody of the Taliban.But it remains unclear whether, as Stewart suggests, the U.S. retreat from Afghanistan represents part of a larger inward turn,or whether, as Clad believes, the U.S. may soon reassert itself somewhere else to show the world that it still has muscle.Right now,it feels as if the American era isn't quite over, but it isn't what it once was, either. 

 The report by International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance says
"visible deterioration" began in 2019.

   The United States has been added to an annual list of "backsliding" democracies
for the first time,the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral
Assistance NGO has said,pointing to a "visible deterioration" that began in 2019.

   The Stockholm-based organiZation makes its annual assessment using 50 years of 
democratic indicators.It places about 160 countries into three categories:democracies,
including "backsliding" democracies; "hybrid" governments; and authoritarian
  Globally,the report said more than one in four people live in a "backsliding" 
democracy,while two-thirds of the world live in either a "backsliding" democracy,
"hybrid" or authoritarian regimes.
  "This year we coded the United States as backsliding for the first time,but our
data suggest that the backsliding episode began at least in 2019," said the report,
titled: Global State of Democracy 2021.
   "A historic turning point came in 2020-21 when former president Donald Trump 
questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election results in the United States,"
the report said, referring to a campaign by the former president and his allies
to overturn the 2020 US election results,which culminated in Trump's supporters
storming the seat of the US legislature on January 6.

The report also cited growing polarization in the US, as well as state voting laws "disproportionately affecting minorities in a negative way".

IDEA Secretary-General Kevin Casas-Zamora called the "visible deterioration of democracy" in the US "one of the most concerning developments" in the 2021 report, according to the AFP news agency.

He warned of a knock-on effect, noting: "The violent contestation of the 2020 election without any evidence of fraud has been replicated, in different ways, in places as diverse as Myanmar, Peru and Israel."

Global backslide

The report said the number of backsliding democracies in the world had doubled in the past decade.

In addition to :"established democracies" such as the US, the list includes European Union member states Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia.

Two countries that were on the list last year -Ukraine and North Macedonia-were removed this year after their situations improved.

Meanwhile, Turkey, Nicaragua, Serbia, Poland, and Brazil were rated as having the most significant democratic declines over the last decade.

The report says in 2020 there were 98 democracies in the world,20 "hybrid" governments,including Russia,Morocco and Turkey and 47 authoritarian regimes,which include China,Saudi Arabia,Ethiopia and Iran.

The trend towards democratic erosion has "become more acute and worrying" since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report added.

"Some countries, particularly Hungary,India,the Philippines and the USA,have [imposed] measures that amount to democratic violations - that is, measures that were disproportionate, illegal, indefinite or unconnected to the nature of the emergency-it said. 


  In this year-end review I continue making comments referring to 2025 as the
demise of the US Empire and nothing more than the January 6 attacks on the US
Capital could provide me with a reason for making such a prediction.The
perpetrators of this attack are not Trump supporters but cultists similar to Jim
Jones in 1978 in Guyana or the 1969 Charles Manson cult.These people ignore logic
and reason while clinging to every word Donald Trump says.As evidenced by the fact
of the people who drank bleach as a cure for COVID and the people who on their own
death bed dying from COVID were still denying the existence of the pandemic.

 In the 1980s deceased conservative Republican US Senator Barry Goldwater said this
of the far right of the Republican party:
  "Mark my word,if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party,
and they're sure trying to do so,it's going to be a terrible damn problem.Frankly,
these people frighten me.Politics and governing demand compromise.But these
Christians believe they are acting in the name of God,so they can't and won't
compromise.I know,I've tried to deal with them."

Barry Goldwater.jpg
  Right now the Democrats are in control of the Presidency,the US Senate and the 
House Of Representatives.The Democrats have done an awful job in Congress and the
Republicans will more than likely after the 2022 election gain control of both
houses of Congress.Then it will make it much harder for Biden to get any decent
legislation passed.Then more than likely a Republican president will get
elected in 2024 and it may very well be Donald Trump or a Donald Trump 2.0 (Ron
DeSantis). Either way January 6 was just a rehersal for 2025.With the GOP
controlling the Presidency and both houses of Conress the US will burn and
become a country like a Christian version of Saudi Arabia. 
  On January 6, 2021,a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the
U. S. Capitol in Washington,D.C.They sought to overturn his defeat in the 2020
presidential election by disrupting the joint session of Congress assembled to
count electoral votes that would formalize President-elect Joe Biden's victory.The
Capitol Complex was locked down and lawmakers and staff were evacuated,while
rioters assaulted law enforcement officers,vandalized property and occupied the
building for several hours.Five people died either shortly before,during,or
following the event: one was shot by Capitol Police,another died of a drug overdose,
and three succumbed to natural causes.Many people were injured, including 138
police officers. Four officers who responded to the attack died by suicide
within seven months.

Called to action by Trump,thousands of his supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., on January 5 and 6 to support his false claim that the 2020 election had been "stolen by emboldened radical-left Democrats" and to demand that Vice President Mike Pence and Congress reject Biden's victory. Starting at noon on January 6,at a "Save America" rally on the Ellipse,Trump repeated false claims of election irregularities and said, "If you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore".During

and after his speech,thousands of attendees walked to the Capitol and hundreds breached police perimeters as Congress was beginning the electoral vote count. Many in the crowd broke into the building,occupying, vandalizing and looting it,assaulting Capitol Police officers and reporters, and attempting to locate lawmakers to capture and harm.Gallows had been erected west of the Capitol and some rioters chanted "Hang Mike Pence" after he rejected false claims by Trump and others that the vice president could overturn the election results.Some vandalized and looted the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other members of Congress.With building security breached, Capitol Police evacuated and locked down both chambers of Congress and several buildings in the Capitol Complex.Rioters occupied the empty Senate chamber while federal law enforcement officers defended the evacuated House floor.Pipe bombs were found at each of the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee headquarters, and Molotov cocktails were discovered in a vehicle near the Capitol.
    Trump resisted sending the National Guard to quell the mob.Later
that afternoon, in a Twitter video, he reasserted that the election was
"fraudulent", but told his supporters to "go home in peace".[The Capitol
was clear of rioters by mid-evening,and the counting of the electoral votes
resumed and completed in the early morning hours of January 7.Pence declared
President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris victorious. Pressured
by his administration, the threat of removal,and many resignations,Trump later
committed to an orderly transition of power in a televised statement.A week
after the riot, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for incitement of
insurrection,making him the only U.S. president to have been impeached twice. 
   Dozens of people present in Washington, D.C. on the day, including some who took
part in the riot,were found to be listed in the FBI's Terrorist Screening Database,
most as suspected white supremacists.Over 30 members of anti-government groups,
including the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and Three Percenters, were charged with
conspiracy for allegedly staging planned missions at the Capitol, but the vast
majority of the 702 people charged with crimes relating to the riot had no known
affiliation with far-right groups, and did not plan the riot in advance.
January 6.jpg



The second impeachment of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the
United States, occurred on January 13, 2021, one week before his term expired.
It was the fourth impeachment of a U.S. president, and the second for Trump
after his first impeachment in December 2019.Ten Republican representatives
voted for the second impeachment, the most pro-impeachment votes ever from a
 president's party.This was also the first presidential impeachment
in which all majority caucus members voted unanimously for impeachment.
   The House of Representatives of the 117th U.S. Congress adopted one article of
impeachment against Trump of "incitement of insurrection", alleging that he had
incited the January 6 attack of the U.S. Capitol. These events were preceded by
numerous unsuccessful attempts by Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential
election, as well as his pushing of voter fraud conspiracy theories on his
social media channels before, during, and after the election.A single article
of impeachment charging Trump with "incitement of insurrection"
against the U.S. government and "lawless action at the Capitol" was
introduced to the House of Representatives on January 11, 2021.The article 
was introduced with more than 200 co-sponsors.The same day, House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave Vice President Mike Pence an ultimatum to invoke
Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to assume the role of acting president within 24
hours, or the House would proceed with impeachment proceedings.Pence stated
that he would not do so in a letter to Pelosi the following day, arguing that
to do so would not "be in the best interest of our Nation or consistent
with our Constitution".Nevertheless, a House majority, including one
Republican, passed a resolution urging Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment.
The House impeachment managers formally triggered the start of the impeachment
trial on January 25 by delivering to the Senate the charge against Trump.The nine
managers walked into the Senate chamber led by the lead impeachment manager,
Representative Jamie Raskin, who read the article of impeachment.The trial in
the Senate was scheduled to start on February 9.The trial was the first of its
kind for a departed U.S. president, with Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and
Trump having each been the incumbent in prior impeachment trials; as a result,
Chief Justice John Roberts chose not to preside as he had done for Trump's
first impeachment trial (the president pro tempore of the Senate, Vermont
senator Patrick Leahy,presided instead, and arguments favoring the conviction
of Trump cited the Senate's 1876 conviction of Ulysses S. Grant's Secretary of
War William W. Belknap, who was impeached and convicted after leaving office.At
the trial, 57 senators voted "guilty", which was less than thetwo-thirds majority
needed (67) to convict Trump,and 43 senators voted "not guilty", resulting in Trump
being acquitted of the charges on February 13, 2021.
   Belief in importance of democracy high in 53 sampled countries but inequality and
big tech companies seen as biggest threats.
 The US faces an uphill task presenting itself as the chief guardian of global
democracy,according to a new poll that shows the US is seen around the world as
more of a threat to democracy than even Russia and China.
   The poll finds support for democracy remains high even though citizens in democratic
countries rate their governments' handling of the Covid crisis less well than people
in less democratic countries.
   Inequality is seen as the biggest threat to global democracy, but in the US the 
power of big tech companies is also seen as a challenge.
   The findings come in a poll commissioned by the Alliance of Democracies Foundation
among 50,000 respondents in 53 countries.
   The results will make stark reading for the G7 foreign ministers as they hold a 
final day of talks in London in which they have collectively assumed the role as
bulwarks of democratic values determined to confront autocracy.
    The survey was carried out by the Latana polling company between February and 
April,so a hangover effect of Donald Trump's :America first" foreign policy may linger
in the findings.Overall the results show perceptions of the US starting to improve
from last year.
   Whereas in the spring of 2020 people in both more democratic and less democratic
countries were equally satisfied with their government's pandemic response (70%),a
year later the approval ratings have dropped down to 65% in less democratic countries,
but in more democratic countries the rating has fallen to 51%.In Europe the figure is
45%. Positive ratings reach 76% in Asia.
   In perhaps the most startling finding, nearly half (44%) of respondents in the 
53 countries surveyed are concerned that the US threatens democracy in their country;
fear of Chinese influence is by contrast 38%, and fear of Russian influence is
lowest at 28%. The findings may in part reflect views on US comparative power,
but they show neither the US, nor the G7,can simply assume the mantle of
defenders of democracy.
   Since last year,the perception of US influence as a threat to democracy around the
world has increased significantly,from a net opinion of +6 to a net opinion of +14.
This increase is particularly high in Germany (+20) and China (+16).
   The countries still overwhelmingly negative about US influence are Russia and China,
followed by European democracies.
   The study shows an attachment to democracy globally,with 81% of people around the 
world saying that it is important to have democracy in their country.Only a little
more than half (53%) say their country is actually democratic today-even in

    The single biggest cited threat to democracy is economic inequality (64%).

  In almost every country surveyed save Saudi Arabia and Egypt limits to free speech
are seen as less of a threat to democracy than inequality.
   But half the people surveyed (48%) say the power of big tech companies,as 
opposed to the simple existence of social media, is a threat to democracy in their
country.Among democracies,the US is the most concerned about big tech (62%),but
wariness is growing in many countries compared with last year, reflected in broad
support for greater regulation of social media.
   Voters in Norway,Switzerland and Sweden are most confident their country is 
democratic,but so are the Chinese, where 71% agree that China has the right amount
of democracy.In Russia only 33% think their country is democratic. Global support for
Joe Biden;s plans to stage a Democracy Summit is high in every country save China
and Russia.
   The findings will also make disturbing reading for the eastern European
democracies such as Hungary where only 31% of voters think their country is
democratic-on a par with findings in Nigeria, Iran, Poland and Venezuela.
    Anders Fogh Rasmussen, chair of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation,former
Nato chief and Danish prime minister,said:"This poll shows that democracy is still
alive in people's hearts and minds.We now need to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic
by delivering more democracy and freedom to people who want to see their countries
become more democratic.
   "The positive support for an Alliance of Democracies, whether the UK's D10 
initiative or President Biden's Summit for Democracy,shows that people want more
cooperation to push back against the autocrats.Leaders should take note of these
perceptions and act upon them."

 The partisan gap in Covid's death toll has grown faster over the past few months

than at any previous point.

   As 2020 wound down,there were good reasons to believe that the death toll during
the pandemic's first year  might have been worse in red America.There were also good
reasons to think it might have been worse in blue America.

   Conservative areas tend to be older,less prosperous and more hostile to mask
wearing,all of which can exacerbate the spread or severity of Covid-19.Liberal areas,
for their part,are home both to more busy international airports and more Americans
who suffer the health consequences of racial discrimination.

   But it turned out that these differences largely offset each other in 2020-or
maybe they didn't matter as much as some people assumed.Either way,the per capita
death toll in blue America and red America was similar by the final weeks of 2020.

   It was only a few percentage points higher in counties where Donald Trump had won
at least 60 percent of the vote than in counties where Joe Biden crossed that threshold.
In counties where neither candidate won 60 percent, the death toll was higher than
in either Trump or Biden counties. There simply was not a strong partisan
pattern to Covid during the first year that it was circulating in the U.S.

Then the vaccines arrived.

 They proved so powerful,and the partisan attitudes toward them so different,

that a gap in Covid's death toll quickly emerged. In brief: The gap in Covid's
death toll between red and blue America has grown faster over the past month
than at any previous point.

    In October,25 out of every 100,000 residents of heavily Trump counties died from
Covid, more than three times higher than the rate in heavily Biden counties (7.8 per
100,000).October was the fifth consecutive month that the percentage gap between the
death rates in Trump counties and Biden counties widened.

    Data unavailable for Alaska and Washington, D.C.Credit...Source: New York Times
database,Edison Research Some conservative writers have tried to claim that the gap
may stem from regional differences in weather or age,but those arguments fall apart
under scrutiny.(If weather or age were a major reason, the pattern would have
begun to appear last year.) The true explanation is straightforward: The
vaccines are remarkably effective at preventing severe Covid, and almost 40
percent of Republican adults remain unvaccinated, compared with about 10
percent of Democratic adults.

   Charles Gaba,a Democratic health care analyst, has pointed out that the gap is
also evident at finer gradations of political analysis: Counties where Trump
received at least 70 percent of the vote have an even higher average Covid death
toll than counties where Trump won at least 60 percent. (Look up your county.)

 As a result,Covid deaths have been concentrated in counties outside of major

metropolitan areas.Many of these are in red states, while others are in red parts of
blue or purple states,like Arizona,Michigan,Nevada,New Mexico,Pennsylvania,Oregon,
Virginia and even California.

red 2.png

This situation is a tragedy,in which irrational fears about vaccine side effects
have overwhelmed rational fears about a deadly virus.It stems from
disinformation-promoted by right-wing media,like Rupert Murdoch's Fox News,the
Sinclair Broadcast Group and online sources-that preys on the distrust that results
from stagnant living standards.

A peak?

The future of Covid is uncertain,but I do think it's possible that the partisan

gap in Covid deaths reached its peak last month.There are two main reasons to expect
the gap may soon shrink.

One,the new antiviral treatments from Pfizer and Merck seem likely to reduce Covid
deaths everywhere,and especially in the places where they are most common.These
treatments,along with the vaccines,may eventually turn this coronavirus into just
another manageable virus.

Two,red America has probably built up more natural immunity to Covid-from prior
infections-than blue America,because the hostility to vaccination and social
distancing has caused the virus to spread more widely.A buildup in natural immunity
may be one reason that the partisan gap in new Covid cases has shrunk recently.

Still,nobody knows what will happen next. Much of the recent decline in caseloads is mysterious, which means it may not last.And the immunity from vaccination appears to be much stronger than the immunity from infection, which means that conservative Americans will probably continue to suffer an outsized amount of unnecessary illness and death.


Senate parliamentarian.jpg

 Although Joe Biden ran on a platform promising to raise the minimum wage to $15.

an hour within less than two months in office Joe Biden broke that promise.

  In March bowing to a ruling from the Senate parliamentarian,the Democratic
majority in that chamber has abandoned efforts to mandate a $15 minimum wage as
part of the planned $1.9 trillion economic support package under the simple-majority
reconciliation process.The attempt was necessary because 60 senators,the minimum
needed to break a filibuster,do not back the proposal,which would more than double
the current federal hourly minimum, $7.25,by June 2025.In fact,there are not even
50 votes for it.Two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin III (W.Va.)
and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), were on record in opposition.

  In 2001 when George H.W.Bush was president the Senate parliamentarian ruled that
tax cuts for the rich could not be included in the reconciliation process.The GOP
responed by sacking the Senate parliamentarian.

    Democrats need to bow to that reality,too-not by giving up on a higher minimum
wage,but by seeking to raise it to a somewhat more modest figure than $15 per hour.
Such a compromise might even attract Republican support.Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah)
and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) have three GOP co-sponsors for their bill to raise the
federal minimum to $10 per hour over five years.

Like the Democratic plan,the Romney-Cotton bill would preserve the
minimum wage's value in real terms with periodic automatic increases after the
five-year phase-in.This is already within one dollar of Mr. Manchin's
recommended $11 minimum.Meanwhile,self-styled populist Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)
has said he could support a higher minimum wage,though he would limit the $15
minimum to companies with sales of $1 billion or more.

    The point is that there is growing bipartisan recognition in the Senate that
the federal minimum,last raised 11 1/2 years ago,has lost about a third of its
purchasing power since 1970,and that something should be done about it.Yet there is
also concern-justified,in our view-about the job-destroying potential of going to
$15 everywhere in the country by 2025. A recent Congressional Budget Office report
found that the Democratic proposal would indeed lift nearly 1 million workers out of
poverty but also reduce labor demand to the tune of 1.4 million jobs.This is not
surprising given that the $15 minimum would likely represent an unprecedented level
of 60 percent of the median wage,assuming modest overall compensation growth between
now and 2025.The percentage would be even higher in low-cost states and of course the
adjustment would be toughest for small restaurants and other mom-and-pop
businesses.By comparison, the minimums in most of the United States' peer
countries cover between 45 percent and 50 percent of the median.

   That would be a useful benchmark for U.S. lawmakers, too, if they are looking for
a way to maximize benefits of a higher minimum while minimizing job loss-bearing in
mind that the latter risk is borne by low-income workers. Further support for the
working poor should come through permanent increases to the earned-income tax credit,
a federal wage subsidy that the Democratic-backed stimulus package already
boosts,but for one year only. Progressives have made $15 a national cause, and
their movement has greatly raised awareness regarding the federal minimum's
stagnation. Now is the time, though, for those in favor of a higher minimum to
practice the art of the possible.
Daunte Wright.jpg

   On April 11,2021, Daunte Wright,a 20-year-old Black man,was fatally shot by police
officer Kimberly Potter during a traffic stop and attempted arrest for an outstanding
arrest warrant in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, United States.After a brief struggle
with officers,Wright was shot at close range.He then drove off a short distance,
but his vehicle collided with another and hit a concrete barrier.Officers pulled
Wright out of his car and administered CPR,but were unsuccessful,and he was
pronounced dead at the scene.

    The following day,police said that Potter meant to use her Taser,but accidentally
grabbed her gun instead,striking Wright with one shot to his chest.Two days later,
Potter and Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon resigned from their positions,and
Potter fled her home after her address was leaked on social media.On April 14,
Potter was arrested,charged with second-degree anslaughter,booked into the Hennepin
County Jail,and released on $100,000 bail.On September 2, 2021,prosecuting authorities
added the charge of first-degree manslaughter.
 The shooting sparked protests in Brooklyn Center and renewed ongoing demonstrations
against police brutality in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area, leading to
citywide and regional curfews.Demonstrations have also spread to cities across the
United States.



State of Minnesota v. Derek Michael Chauvin is an American criminal case in the
District Court of Minnesota in which former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin
was tried and convicted of the murder of George Floyd during an arrest on May 25,2020.
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder,third-degree murder
and second-degree manslaughter;the first charge could have carried a maximum penalty
of 40 years in prison.This sentence was the longest Chauvin could be incarcerated for.
It was the first conviction of a white officer in Minnesota for the murder of a black
person.On June 25,2021,Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the
second-degree murder.

    The trial was held at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis,and
it ran from March 8, 2021,through April 20.It was the first criminal trial in
Minnesota to be entirely televised and the first in state court to be broadcast live.
The trial received extensive media coverage,with over 23 million people watching the
verdict being announced on live television.


  Even a guilty verdict would not have answered the questions the case had come to
symbolize.On Friday,November 19 a jury found Kyle Rittenhouse,the teenager who shot
three men during protests in Kenosha,Wisconsin,USA in the summer of 2020,not guilty
of all the charges against him.Jurors deliberated for more than three days
before delivering the verdict this afternoon,accepting his attorneys' argument that
Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense.

    The trial was inevitably a media circus,spurring intense criticism of the judge
and prosecutors from commentators across the political spectrum. Much of that attention
offered little insight, and sidestepped the point. The predicament of the Rittenhouse
trial was that it could never do what many Americans,especially on the left,wanted.
It couldn't produce a plain answer as to whether Rittenhouse was a hero or a
villain. It couldn't say something about the state of race relations in
America. The jury could never have rendered a yea-or-nay verdict on the saturation
of guns in American society.

   These are political matters,not judicial ones.The trial itself turned on narrow
and prosaic questions:Beyond a reasonable doubt,did Rittenhouse commit homicide or
reckless homicide and recklessly endanger people? During the trial, the judge
also dismissed two misdemeanor charges, for breaking curfew and unlawfully
possessing a dangerous weapon while younger than 18,citing errors by
prosecutors. Ultimately, the not-guilty verdict means simply that Rittenhouse's
self-defense argument was convincing to the jurors.

   From the start,the events that led to Rittenhouse fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum
and Anthony Huber and injuring Gaige Grosskreutz,are incomprehensible without considering
the role of race in how things unfolded. The shootings occurred during protests
after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, on August 23, 2020.
The United States was already in the midst of huge protests following the May
murder of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer.But the case could never
serve as a plain assessment of race in America,in part because the three men
Rittenhouse shot were all white.

   The most striking element of Rittenhouse's experience, and one of the reasons it
became such a focal point for national attention,was the way he was treated by police.
Rittenhouse was 17 when he self-deployed to the streets of Kenosha,not far from his
home in Illinois,carrying an AR-style rifle. Just a few minutes before he shot the
three men, footage showed police greeting Rittenhouse and giving him a bottle of
water.After the shooting,he then went home,where his mother persuaded him to turn
himself in.At the police station,detectives cut off his interview when he plainly
did not understand Miranda right

  As many commentators have pointed out,a young Black man in the same situation would
almost certainly not have been afforded all-or perhaps any-of these indulgences.The
Second Amendment may be written in a race-neutral way, but in practice Black
Americans do not have the same rights that their white compatriots do. A Black
boy might never have had the audacity to go to protests with a rifle on his back.If
he had,he almost certainly wouldn't have been able to waltz past friendly police,
turn himself in on his own timeline and have his rights so carefully protected.But
this injustice was outside the scope of the trial.Racially disparate enforcement is
a travesty of justice,but undue clemency is not a crime. Neither the police nor our
hypothetical Black counterpart were on trial.

  Or set aside questions of race.Outside the bounds of a polarized court case,most
Americans would likely agree that untrained 17-year-olds armed with high-powered
rifles should not be appointing themselves property defenders and stationing themselves
on the streets of cities in the midst of tense protests.A group of conservatives,
largely of the MAGA variety,have chosen to make Rittenhouse into a hero.That's
disgraceful and not merely because much of the effort has been shameless
profiteering.Rittenhouse;s choices during the summer of 2020 aren't something that
anyone should emulate.Even if you are more sympathetic-if,for example,you found
yourself moved by Rittenhouse's apparent breakdown on the witness stand during his
trial-you should object to the commodification of the worst moment in a teenager's

 Besides,no such heroes should be necessary.We already have a force that is granted
the right to carry and use firearms in defense of the peace.This is,of course,the
police.They are trained,regimented, and in a command structure and they are all
legally adults.(The rub in protests like the ones that swept Kenosha is that by the
time they begin,the police have by definition lost legitimacy in the eyes of many of
the demonstrators.)

   Moreover,there is the question of whether 17-year-olds should even possess rifles.
Rittenhouse initially faced a charge of unlawfully possessing a dangerous weapon,but
the judge tossed that charge in a dispute over the length of the gun.The larger and
more socially important matter of whether 17-year-olds-or anyone else-should be
acting as a vigilante defense force is not strictly a legal issue, but a political
one.No judge or jury can resolve that.

    Once Rittenhouse was out on the streets of Kenosha, carrying his rifle and got
into a confrontation with the men he shot,a legal question did come up: the doctrine
of self-defense.As Shaila Dewan of The New York Times wrote in an excellent piece,
self-defense laws are being stretched to their limits by the number of people carrying
guns in the United States today. Going to a protest armed may be a stupid and
provocative thing to do, but it is not (necessarily) an illegal one,and the
legal parsing of self-defense does not take prior wisdom into account,but
begins at the moment of conflict. A reasonable jury might have reached a
different conclusion on these charges, but its ambit was always going to be

    The Rittenhouse trial has underscored how exceptional this spring's trial of
Derek Chauvin,in which he was convicted of Floyd's murder,was.To begin with,the
prosecution in Minneapolis was extremely effective, expertly using witnesses and
knocking down defense attorneys' arguments. More often in recent high-profile cases
with strong culture-war elements, prosecutors have flailed.From the 2013
George Zimmerman trial to the 2016 charges against militants who occupied a federal
facility in Oregon,prosecutors overreached,erred,clashed with judges and failed to
win cases.

Independent experts have identified prosecutorial mistakes in some of these prior
cases.In the Rittenhouse case,too,observersfrom both the left and the right took
issue with the prosecution's decisions.Over time,the repeated failures to convict
white defendants erode trust and legitimacy. A functional justice system will
produce both convictions and acquittals, but the disproportionate burden borne by
Black Americans is a sign that our justice system is not a functional one.

   The Chauvin case was also exceptional because it was straightforward.Not only
were the facts relatively clear-one reason Chauvin was convicted,while so many other
police officers charged in killings have not been-but the symbolism of Floyd's murder
and the stakes of the case were closely matched. In the Rittenhouse trial, by
contrast, the expectations and symbolic baggage were wholly out of proportion
with the actual issues on trial. The desire for the justice system to sort out
messy questions with what can seem like careful objectivity is understandable,
especially when our (explicitly) political institutions are struggling so
mightily. But no shortcuts are available here. Americans cannot rely on the
justice system to do what the political system will not.
William Shatner.jpg
 On Wednesday,October 13 Blue Origin's second human spaceflight returned to Earth
after taking a brief flight to the edge of space.
    Among the four passengers on board-there is no pilot-was William Shatner,the 
actor who first played the space-traveling Captain Kirk in the Star Trek franchise.
   "The covering of blue. This sheet,this blanket,this comforter that we have 
around.We think,'Oh, that's blue sky,' "an emotional Shatner said after returning
to Earth.
  "Then suddenly you shoot through it all of the sudden,as though you're whipping a
sheet off you when you're asleep,and you're looking into blackness,into black

   At age 90,Shatner is now the oldest person to fly into space.

  "I do not know what I may appear to the world,but to myself I seem to have been 
only like a boy playing on the seashore,diverting myself in now & then finding a
smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth
lay all undiscovered before me," he said in a tweet after landing.
  The rocket system New Shepard,took off around 9:50 a.m. CT from a launch site 
near Van Horn,Texas.

  Joining Shatner on the flight was a Blue Origin employee and two paying customers.

  Billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos,who owns Blue Origin,was on-site for the 
launch and shook the hands of all four passengers as they boarded New Shepard.The
rocket is named after American astronaut Alan Shepard.
   The entire suborbital journey lasted about 10 minutes.On part of the trip,the 
four passengers experienced weightlessness.
  The capsule topped out at an apogee altitude of 351,000 feet (about 66 miles up). 
It then fell back to Earth,landing under a canopy of parachutes in the West Texas
  Blue Origin launched its first human spaceflight in July,with Bezos and three
others on board.
  The October 13 flight came about two weeks after 21 current and former Blue
Origin employees wrote an essay accusing top executives at the space company of
fostering a toxic workplace that permits sexual harassment and sometimes compromises
on safety.Blue Origin denied the allegations.

 Before I start there are two things I want to say.I am a US citizen but I have
spent two years out of my life in Canada.I have been to all the provinces and
territories of Canada except for Nunavut.In 1985 I spent two months in
Vancouver in and in 1995 I spent 3 months in the province of New Brunswick.In
1994 I took 3 months out of my life and drove from one end of Canada to the
other.In 2002 I sort of drove across most of Canada spending 76 days going from
Cranbrook,British Columbia to Quebec City.

   The Canadian people for the most part were very nice to people and have left me
with many good memories of their country.Now,the other thing I want to say is.I
used to have a British girl friend.She left me with many good memories of the UK.In
my youth I enjoyed listening to the music of The Beatles,The Rolling Stones,
Led Zeppelin,Pink Floyd,The Who and Queen.

    That said on December 1,2018 Meng Wanzhou the board deputy chair of Huawei
Telecommunications equipment company located in Shenzhen,China was arrested at
Canada's Vancouver International Airport by The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
(RCMP) on a provisional U.S. extradition request for fraud and conspiracy to
commit fraud in order to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran.From December
7 to 11,Meng attended a bail hearing in Vancouver.She was released on a $10 million
bail that was granted with conditions,including electronic surveillance.She
was required to hand over her passports,of which seven were listed in her court
Meng Wanzhou.jpg

   On December 10,2018,two Canadian men Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were
taken into custody in the People's Republic of China.Their detention and subsequent
indictment under the state secrets law is regarded as an act of retaliation against
Canada for its arrest of Huawei telecoms executive Meng Wanzhou and has been cited
as an instance of hostage diplomacy.The pair is frequently and colloquially referred
to as the Two Michaels.The pair spent 1020 days in Chinese custody.
2 Michaels.jpg

  After 1028 days on Friday,September 24,2021 the USA declined to extradite Meng
Wanzhou and later that afternoon Meng Wanzhou was on a chartered flight heading
back to China.Within minutes of Meng flying back to China the "Two Michaels" were
on a plane heading back to Canada.There is no denial that China was holding the
"Two Michaels" as hostages to obtain the freedom for Meng Wanzhou and it worked.
Company) are spinning the story that the Canadians were good decent people following
the rule of law while the Chinese were undemocratic and unjust in
how they imprisoned the "Two Michaels".
Now the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) and the BBC (British Broadcasting
This case primarily involves three countries-the USA,Canada and China.Although
the USA,Canada and part of China (Hong Kong) were once part of Britain,Britain is
not involved in this incident.

However,Britain has audacity to claim Canada was properly following
the rule of law when the UK doesn't.One needs to look know no further than how
the UK court system is mistreating Julian Assange.Julian exposed the truth on
how the US was committing war crimes by killing innocent civilians in Iraq and for
doing this the US wants to send him to prison for 175 years.Julian has spent
over two years at Belmarsh Prison in the UK awaiting extradition to the
USA.Most of the journalists who have witnessed the court proceedings have
considered the court hearings to be a joke.Just watch the videos presented by
UK journalist Richard Medhurst who was a spectator in the "Old
Bailey" in London where the Assange proceedings were going on.

   So the BBC has no room to talk about following the rule of law.Further,
Australia is just as bad.Julian Assange is an Australian citizen and his government
won't help him.Too bad Julian is not Chinese.He'd be free now.

   Now back to the "Two Michaels" and Meng Wanzhou in Canada.Like the BBC the CBC
is claiming the Canadian government is following the rule of law and China does
not.There are three things wrong with that preception.The laws Meng was accused of
violating were US sanctions NOT UN sanctions!!!!

On May 8,2018 the USA withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action also
known as the "Iran nuclear deal" or the "Iran deal".After doing so the USA imposed
sanctions on Iran. Simultaneously,the USA was engaged in tarrif wars with
China.Also,China's technology was surpassing that of the USA.So,in order to
discredit the Chinese technology.The USA got the Canadian government to arrest one
of the major executives of Huawei Telecommunications Equipment Company,Meng Wanzhou.
Any person with half of a brain could see that Meng's arrest was purely politicial,
or perhaps Canadian officials did not want to see the political implications.Further,
under Canadian law one is not supposed to be extradited for political reasons.

   Second,reverse the scenario,if China had an arrest warrant out for a US executive
transitting through Canada do you seriously believe the RCMP would arrest the American
exec.No way in hell.

 Third,this case on it's face is extreme over reaching.A Chinese business is
entering into a business deal with an Iranian entity.That is none of
America's business.

   So,in my opinion I believe the Chinese were quite justified in holding the "Two
Michaels" hostage and the reason for their 1020 day captivity should fall
on the Canadian government not the Chinese government. If the Canadians had
spine when the US government asked them to arrest Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver
International Airport,Canadian officials should have told the Americans
"if you have a problem with China,you take it up with them,don't get us
involved".Unfortunately Canada like the UK is a bootlicker.The "Two Michaels" could
have been released at any time had the Canadian government freed Meng Wanzhou.But
instead the Canadian government chose to kiss America's ass.Canada is responsible
for the "Two Michaels" 1020 day incarceration.China is sending out a message to
Canada and other countries in the world "if you want to kiss America's ass you can
do that but not at the expense of China".



     A coup d'etat in Myanmar began on the morning of 1 February 2021,when
democratically elected members of the country's ruling party,the National League for
Democracy (NLD),were deposed by the Tatmadaw-Myanmar's military-which then vested
power in a stratocracy. Acting president Myint Swe proclaimed a year-long state of
emergency and declared power had been transferred to Commander-in-Chief of Defence
Services Min Aung Hlaing.It declared the results of the November 2020 general
election invalid and stated its intent to hold a new election at the end of the
state of emergency. The coup d'etat occurred the day before the Parliament of
Myanmar was due to swear in the members elected at the 2020 election, thereby
preventing this from occurring.President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung
San Suu Kyi were detained, along with ministers, their deputies, and members of
   On 3 February 2021,Win Myint was charged with breaching campaign guidelines and
COVID-19 pandemic restrictions under section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management
Law.Aung San Suu Kyi was charged with breaching emergency COVID-19 laws and for
illegally importing and using radio and communication devices,specifically six ICOM
devices from her security team and a walkie-talkie, which are restricted in
Myanmar and need clearance from military-related agencies before acquisition.Both
were remanded in custody for two weeks.Aung San Suu Kyi received an additional
criminal charge for violating the National Disaster Act on 16 February,two
additional charges for violating communications laws and an intent to incite
public unrest on 1 March and another of violating the official secrets act on 1
  As of 12 April 2021,at least 707 civilians, including children, have been killed
by military or police forces and at least 3,070 people detained.Three prominent NLD
members also died while in police custody in March 2021.

 The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) or the Chinese Navy has numerically the
largest navy in the world with an overall battle force of approximately 355 ships and
submarines,including approximately more than 145 major surface combatants,a new report

   The United States Department of Defense (DoD) has launched its annual report on
military and security developments in China.The report covers security and military
developments involving China until the end of 2020.

  China's national strategy to achieve "the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation"
by 2049 is deeply integrated with its ambitions to strengthen the PLA.In 2017,General
Secretary Xi Jinping laid out two PLA modernization goals during his speech to the
19th Party Congress:to "basically complete" PLA modernization by 2035 and to
transform the PLA into a "world class" military by 2049. Throughout 2020, the
PLA continued to pursue its ambitious modernization objectives,refine major organizational
reforms, and improve its combat readiness in line with those goals, according
to the report.

   This includes the PLA developing the capabilities to conduct joint long-range
precision strikes across domains,increasingly sophisticated space,counterspace and
cyber capabilities and accelerating the large-scale expansion of its nuclear forces.

  In 2020,the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced a new milestone for PLA
modernization in 2027.If realized,the PLA's 2027 modernization goals could provide
Beijing with more credible military options in Taiwan contingency,US DoD noted.

Additional Chinese Navy's achievements include:

 The commissioning of its first domestically built aircraft carrier in late 2019 and

its first Renhai-class cruiser in early 2020.The country expects its second
domestically built aircraft carrier to enter service by 2024.-In 2020, the navy
launched its second Yushen-class amphibious assault ship (Type 075 LHA) after
launching its first in 2019,its first class of large deck amphibious warship.

    A third hull is also under construction.PLAN will likely maintain between 65 and
70 submarines through the 2020s,replacing older units with more capable units on a
near one-toone basis.In the near future, the Chinese Navy will have the capability
to conduct long-range precision strikes against land targets from its submarine
and surface combatants using land attack cruise missiles, notably enhancing the
PRC's global power projection and training to protect the PLAN's aircraft
carriers and ballistic missile submarines, the report concludes.

  Recently,China commissioned its largest maritime patrol vessel in Guangzhou City,
Guangdong Province to enhance maritime security operations in the deep sea.
Vladimir Putin.jpg
  New U.S. sanctions on Russia are "mostly symbolic" and will have minimal impact 
on markets and the macroeconomic outlook, economists have suggested.
    President Biden's administration on Thursday,April 15 announced a raft of new 
sanctions against Moscow over alleged2020 election interference, a huge cyberattack
on U.S. government and corporate networks, illegal annexation and occupation of
Ukraine's Crimea, and human rights abuses.
    Sanctions targeted 16 entities and 16 individuals accused of attempting to 
influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election,along with five individuals and
three entities linked to the Crimea annexation, and expelled 10 Russian diplomats
from the U.S.
    Washington also imposed sanctions on newly-issued Russian sovereign debt,which 
caused a slight sell-off in the Russian ruble and sovereign bonds on Thursday.
   The move prevents U.S. financial institutions from participating in the primary
market for ruble and non-ruble denominated debt after June 14.

"Symbolic exercise"

    However, economists do not foresee any tangible fallout from the sanctions in 
their current form.
   "The latest round of U.S. sanctions was a mostly symbolic exercise," Agathe 
Demarais, global forecasting director at The Economist Intelligence Unit said.
   "Sanctions on Russian individuals and companies are irrelevant, as these people
and firms have no ties to the US and probably no intention to ever use the U.S.
dollar or to have bank accounts in the U.S."
    Demarais added that the sanctions on sovereign debt are less stringent than the
initial market reaction would suggest,since they only target the primary debt
market and can therefore "easily be circumvented via the secondary market."
    The primary market in this instance refers to Russian debt securities created 
and offered to the public for the first time,while the secondary market is where
those securities are traded among investors.
   "This policy choice means that the U.S. administration was careful to avoid
hurting U.S. investors,who hold billions in Russian sovereign debt," Demarais said.
   Notably, U.S. officials accompanied the sanctions with a series of statements 
voicing desire to improve bilateral relations with Moscow. The sanctions effectively
draw a line under a period of investors waiting and guessing as to their timing and


    Vladimir Tikhomirov,chief economist at Moscow-based BCS Global Markets,said that
some investors were relieved by the removal of uncertainty and fairly modest sanctions,
which reduced the overall level of Russia-related investment risks.
    Tikhomirov said the sovereign debt ban was the most significant of the new 
measures,but its impact was still limited.
  "However,given the current state of Russia's budget (in 1Q21 the budget was in 
surplus),low level of sovereign debt,conservative fiscal policy and high volume of
accumulated reserves the ban on new debt purchases is unlikely to have significant
implications for the state of Russia's finances or for the economy at large," he said.
  Liam Peach,emerging markets economist at Capital Economics,agreed that the fallout
will be limited unless the sanctions are extended to all sovereign debt,or Russia
launches aggressive retaliation.

    Capital Economics estimates that the Russian government will issue 2.5 trillion
rubles of bonds in 2021, equivalent to 2.7% of its GDP,to finance its deficit and
roll over maturing debt.However, Peach anticipates that almost all debt will be
issued in rubles and bought by Russian banks,limiting the impact of sanctions on new

   While past sanctions have tended to result in a prolonged premium on Russia's
dollar bonds and currency,the macro impact has been fairly limited,Peach highlighted
in a research note Thursday.
    "This provides an anchor,but of course the impact will depend on what scale 
non-residents sell their holdings of outstanding debt," he said.
   "Russian retaliation could consist of counter-sanctions or increased tensions
with Ukraine but the key point is that the trend towards increased isolation will
only grow further," Peach noted.

Is retaliation coming?

  Tikhomirov said Russian investors do not expect retaliation by way of economic or
financial measures,and therefore remain relatively sanguine about the implications
on markets and the economy.
  "That said, the prime risk in this area is mainly political: as Russia is likely 
to retaliate by political moves these potentially could result in a further
escalation in Russia-West relations, which, in turn, could trigger counteraction
from the U.S. and its allies," he said.
   "Such a scenario cannot but concern many investors, although hopes remain that
Moscow will take the U.S. offer and will also make moves aimed at improving relations
with the U.S. and the West in general."
   Economists broadly expect the Central Bank of Russia to hike interest rates next
week.Peach projected that should the ruble come under significant pressure and the
CBR develops worries about the inflation outlook, more aggressive monetary tightening
can be expected.Capital Economics now expects a 50 basis point hike to 5%.
   Meanwhile Tikhomirov anticipates a 25 basis point hike to 4.75% and a possible 
additional 25-50bp hike later in the year, as policymakers track an acceleration in
inflationary pressures rather than reacting to sanctions.
President of the People's Republic of China,Xi Jinping.jpg

  In the United States and other countries, the impact of climate change is a key
factor "along with economic pressures and demographic change"that will likely force a
reduction or even a retreat from its worldwide military commitments.More broadly,the
juxtaposition of just a few key trends indicates the potential role of a gathering
environmental crisis in catalyzing the shift to a new world order. First and
fundamentally, America's share of the gross world product has declined
steadily, from 50 percent in 1950 to a projected 15 percent by 2024. But its
defense budget has moved in the opposite direction, rising 150 percent from
$274 billion in 2000 to $720 billion in 2019,with planned increases to $747
billion by 2024.

  Complicating Washington's ability to sustain the high costs of its global military
presence,its own 2018 National Climate Assessment predicted the country will face
multiple consequences of climate change by 2050,if not before:including
sustained drought, proliferating wildfires, coastal torm surges, far more
intense hurricanes,damaged infrastructure, and declining harvests" all of which
it is already experiencing to some degree.The combined impact of "rising
temperatures, extreme heat, drought, wildfire on rangelands, and heavy
downpours" will cut US agricultural production back to the level of the 1980s.

   Indicating the lack of preparation for such cascading changes,the report warned:
The potential need for millions of people and billions of dollars of coastal
infrastructure to be relocated in the future creates challenging legal,financial and
equity issues that have not yet been addressed." Indeed, another government report,
issued in 2020, warned that 40 percent of the US population lives in coastal
areas vulnerable to sea level rise, which has accelerated rapidly.

By 2100,seas worldwide are very likely to rise at least twelve inches above their level in 2000; however, if carbon emissions continue unchecked, they could surge as much as 8.2 feet.

 Confronted by an ever-widening gap between rising military budgets and declining

fiscal resources,Washington will likely have to reduce expensive overseas deployments
and turn increasingly to a cost-effective covert triad for national defense "cyberwarfare,
special operations forces, and satellite surveillance. As its share of the
world economy declines,Washington's fiscal and political capacity to maintain
its troop commitments to NATO is already fading. At the other end of Eurasia,
Beijing's expanding economy will draw longtime US allies into China/s orbit,
weakening their support for American bases and joint military operations.China's
growing dominance will eventually make the costs of US overseas garrisons prohibitive,
and Washington will likely retreat to some version of hemispheric hegemony.

    Adding to the pressure for such a global retreat, two social forces,working in
tandem,will likely decrease US capacity for overseas military missions.Most
immediately,the escalating tempo of natural disasters from global warming will demand
domestic troop deployments."Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our
national security," the Pentagon told Congress in 2015, "contributing to
increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources
such as food and water.: Already, there have been major deployments for
hurricane relief, and the need will only grow as disasters increase in scale
and frequency with each passing decade.

   America also faces escalating social costs to sustain an aging society.By 2034,
the U.S. will reach what the Census Bureau calls "a new milestone," when people
over age sixty-five (77 million) will outnumber children under eighteen
(76.5 million).Those older Americans will generate "greater demands for healthcare,
in-home caregiving and assisted living facilities" that will likely divert fiscal
resources from defense to social services. The Congressional Budget Office
predicts that federal spending on people older than sixty-five (Social
Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) will climb steadily from 20 percent of the
federal budget in 2019 to 50 percent by 2049, while both the labor force and
the economy will grow at much slower rates than in decades past. The
ever-increasing costs of supporting senior citizens is likely to leave far less
money for overseas bases or military interventions. From this synergy of
domestic and foreign pressures, Washington's global presence will probably
start to fade within a decade.

   Compounding such internal problems, an ever-increasing flow of climate change
refugees from Mexico and Central America reaching the southern border may well
contribute to an upsurge in populist nationalism within the United States.While the
political consequences of anti-immigrant xenophobia are unpredictable,they could lead
to sealed borders, a less welcoming society and Washington's further retreat from
international leadership.

   As tensions over climate change refugees rise on both sides of the Atlantic after
2030,the United Nations could become paralyzed by a great-power deadlock in the
Security Council,as well as by rising recriminations over the role of its High
Commissioner for Refugees.Pummeled by these and similar crises from other
climate change flashpoints such as Bangladesh, East Africa, and Southeast Asia,the
international cooperation that lay at the heart of Washington's world order for
the previous 80 years would come under severe pressure amid faultfinding and

    In a world battered by global warming with millions of migrants streaming across
borders worldwide,the hypernationalism of the Chinese global system will probably
prove more appealing.As the international cooperation that was once the hallmark of
the current world system recedes, Beijing's transnational system marked by
transactional diplomacy could slowly achieve something akin to global hegemony.

  In the earlier transition to the Iberian age,the cataclysm of the Black Death
converged with European conquests in Asia and the Americas to create a new world
order.Similarly,the industrial revolution,combined with the cataclysm of the
Napoleonic Wars,led to the emergence of the British imperial era.In a possible
reprise of such a process,the geopolitical impact of China's growing economic
dominance over Eurasia,catalyzed by the mounting disruption of climate change,
could gain sufficient force to supersede Washington's world order with something

    When will this convergence of geopolitics and climate cataclysm produce such a
change? Beijing plans to complete both the technological transformation of its own
economy and much of its massive trans-Eurasian infrastructure by 2025.That projected
date complements a prediction by the US National Intelligence Council that "China
alone will probably have the largest economy, surpassing that of the United States
a few years before 2030." The accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers projected
that by 2030 China's GDP would grow to $36 trillion "over 40 percent larger than
America's of $25 trillion.

Since Beijing's and Washington's defense budgets represent 2 and 3 percent of

their respective economic outputs, China's military,already the world's second
largest,should be comparable or even more powerful than America's around 2030,
leaving Washington militarily dominant only in the Western Hemisphere.In late 2019,
the New York Times reported that "in 18 of the last 18 Pentagon war games involving
China in the Taiwan Strait,the US lost." Rather than ramp up its defense of those
straits,where more US aircraft carriers would simply mean bigger targets,in 2020
Washington encouraged Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., maker of 84 percent
the world's most advanced computer chips, to build a $12 billion factory in Arizona.
Those outcomes may explain how Beijing's growing strength in the South China Sea
could become the first step in Washington's retreat from the Pacific littoral.
As China pushes its maritime frontier farther into the Pacific, engulfing and
threatening Taiwan,Washington may well be faced with a difficult choice "to either
abandon an old ally, or fight a war it might lose.

  In sum,climate change pressures on the current international system will likely
converge with China's expanding economic and military power around 2030 to catalyze
the transition to a new hegemon and a new world order cast in its image.If so,the
impact on the three intertwined issues that have long been the hallmark of global
governance "national sovereignty, human rights, and energy"will be profound.

   Compared to the way the unrivaled US military dominated the globe for the past
80 years,China's hegemony will likely be more diffuse and less direct.Given its deep
commitment to the defense of its frontiers, Beijing will probably concentrate its
military forces near home,pushing the US Navy back toward Hawaii.Moreover,the Chinese
state is run by Communist mandarins unaccustomed to and dismissive of the legalistic
negotiations of international organizations, meaning it is likely limit its
global leadership to bilateral economic exchanges with individual nations or
regional blocs.

   Adding all this up,the Chinese global hegemony that may take shape around 2030
will be a looser world order than its American predecessor.Instead of military
intervention or covert manipulation to assure compliance with preordained political
standards,Beijing will ignore the corruption,incompetence or inhumanity of its
international partners to focus on the mutual advantage of economic exchange.
Instead of aspirations to human rights and adherence to the judgments of international
tribunals,its world order will privilege national sovereignty over universal principles.

  And instead of hundreds of overseas military bases and worldwide troop deployments,
China will likely concentrate its forces in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean.
In this more diffuse world order, each hegemon would dominate its immediate
region "Brasilia over South America;Washington, North America; Beijing, East and
Southeast Asia;Moscow, Eastern Europe; New Delhi, South Asia; Tehran, Central Asia;
Pretoria,southern Africa; Ankara and Cairo,the Middle East.

    Judging from Beijing's past actions, it seems likely that this divergence of its
emerging global order from Washington's will be especially marked in the defining
areas of national sovereignty and human rights.From its suppression of Tibetan Buddhist
identity in the 1960s through its repression of the Uyghur Muslims a half century
later,its leaders have been unconcerned about the human rights of its religious
minorities,just as it ignores such abuses by its allies.

   As the first global hegemon in five centuries to emerge outside the succession
of Western powers,China's ruling Communist elite does not share the same ingrained cultural
references. The shift in global power from Madrid to Amsterdam, London, and
then Washington was smoothed by a continuity in the debates over human rights
within the same Western legal tradition. So China's rise represents a real
rupture. After centuries of struggle to establish the principles of individual
liberty articulated in the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that
seminal document's moral imperative will probably fade during the coming
decades. Similarly, the recognition of the world's oceans as a shared commons
for commerce among nations, hard won after centuries of war and diplomacy, will
likely diminish as Beijing defends its claim to a mare clausum over the East
and South China Seas. 

   In parallel with President's Xi's political ascent since 2013,a generation of
statist intellectuals has celebrated China's rise as a new kind of empire and rejected
most Western influences.Arguing that "the history of humanity is surely the history
of competition for imperial hegemony,"prominent statist scholar Jiang Shigong
posits that the Anglo-American powers created the UN as nothing more than "a site of
struggle in the construction of world empires."
  Now that the United States and its empire are suffering "state failure,political
decline,and ineffective governance caused by . . . decadence and nihilism created by
cultural liberalism," China must, he says, take advantage of the current "historical
transition . . . to construct world empire 2.0." Judging from its diplomacy to date,
Beijing will try to bind its world system together with the rhetoric of economic
progress,while leading a global campaign to lift humanity's forgotten millions out
of their material misery. 

    Yet Beijing's embrace of economic growth as the basis for both its domestic
legitimacy and international influence may well condemn its global leadership to an
early death.In its hell-bent drive for development, Beijing has fouled the air of its
cities with coal smoke and auto exhaust,damaged its greatest river by damming it for
cheap electricity and fished its coastal waters to exhaustion.To repair the damage
from that environmental degradation, Beijing adopted a generally successful
five-year Air Pollution Action Plan in 2013 to cut coal consumption for home
heating and reduce fine particulates in the air of major cities below 60
micrograms per cubic meter (still far above the World Health Organization's
maximum of 10 micrograms.) 

    To combat global warming,President Xi announced in 2020 that China would reach
carbon neutrality by 2060'a date so far in the future that it might well be too late
to stop the feedback loops of tropical fires and Arctic permafrost melting that
are already creating an environmental crisis.

  On the global stage,Beijing has been similarly conflicted. During the UN's 2019
Madrid climate summit,China claimed a leadership role while simultaneously joining
the United States and India in blocking the call for stricter emission targets.Abroad,
Beijing was unapologetically promoting coal-fired power. In early 2020, the
trade group Institute of International Finance reported that 85 percent of all
projects under the BRI entailed high emissions of greenhouse gases,
particularly the 63 coal-fired electrical plants the project was financing
worldwide. At home, moreover, China remained the world's leading emitter of
carbon dioxide (CO2) and even raised its coal-fired electrical capacity in
2018-2019 by 4.5 percent,while use elsewhere in the world declined.
    Between 2015 and 2020,Beijing built an impressive 440 gigawatts of wind and
solar energy,but it also added a hefty 225 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity that
increased its share of the world total for coal-generated power to a daunting 53
percent.As global CO2 emissions only rose,China's combination of increasing oil
imports and continuing coal production made it the largest single source of pollution on
the planet,accounting for 29 percent of the world's total in 2017. Both at home
and abroad, China's global influence has thus become a major barrier to 
curbing greenhouse gas pollution.

   The recent American record has been marked by a parallel lack of progress,
particularly under a climate change "denying president whose administration was
focused on giving free rein to fossil fuel producers.Despite Donald Trump's
impassioned defense of the coal industry,market forces driving the shift to natural
gas for electrical generation cut the country's coal consumption by 18 percent.
Nevertheless,rising pollution from natural gas and a continuing reliance on
gasoline for road transport meant US emissions actually increased. Instead of meeting
its commitment under the Paris climate accord for a 28 percent reduction in
greenhouse gas emissions within a decade, the Trump administration adopted
anti-environmental policies that will add 1.8 billion metric tons of CO2 to the
atmosphere by 2035-equivalent to the annual combined emissions of
Britain,Canada and Germany. 

    Together,China and the United States accounted for 44 percent of total CO2
emissions in 2019,but they have failed,unlike the Europeans,to exercise a
commensurate role in the ongoing transition to renewable energy.In spite of the
visible proliferation of photovoltaic panels and turbine towers worldwide,it will
take an enormous effort to move the planet beyond its current dependence on fossil
fuels for 80 percent of its total energy needs. The UN's "middle-of-the-road scenario,"
which aims to keep the global temperature increase to 1.5'C above preindustrial
levels, requires that electricity from all renewables (solar, wind, hydro,
modern bioenergy) reach 48 percent in 2030 and 63 percent by 2050.

   That is a steep climb from the current world total, circa 2020, from those four
sources of just 11 percent. Since 72 percent of all greenhouse gases come from
energy for industry,heating, and transport, their reduction requires a sweeping
two-phase transformation-first,a shift of all three activities to appropriate forms
of electricity and then a simultaneous conversion of the electrical grid to renewables.
  To transform an energy infrastructure built up over the past 150 years will 
require several decades of sustained investment and an ironclad political
will, still largely absent in both China and the United States. Just as Beijing
has promised to become carbon neutral by 2060,so Washington under the Biden
administration has made the same commitment for 2050. As a critical first step,
the president announced in April 2021 that the US would, within a decade, cut
emissions by 50 percent from its peak level in 2005. To advance toward that
ambitious goal,the US needs to make some drastic, even daunting, changes by
2030: it must close all of its remaining 200 coal-fired power plants, convert a
quarter of the country's homes to electrical heat pumps, raise annual sales of
battery-powered cars from the current 1.5 percent to 50 percent of the total,
and expand the nation's electrical grid by 60 percent. 
    The country will also need to double, and then redouble, the annual pace of 
renewable energy construction, until solar and wind installations cover an area
bigger than Colorado and Wyoming combined.If all that were done, the US would cut
its pollution per person, which is currently the world's highest at 17.6 tons of
CO2 every year, to 8.8 tons,comparable to Europe where emissions are 7.4 tons.
Even if America and China meet those ambitious goals, there will still be enough
residual CO2 accumulated in the atmosphere for the inertia of "committed warming"
to drive world temperatures well past the UN's target of 1.5'C to a
dangerous average of 2.3'C. In sum, the world can still slow the pace of climate
change and avoid the most disastrous scenarios, but even a maximum effort
cannot prevent the advent of serious environmental and social disruption. 

 Over the past three hundred thousand years, humanity has made three basic
energy transitions: first came the mastery of fire, then the domestication of
draft animals and agriculture, and most recently reliance on fossil fuels.
Without more effective leadership from the global titans, humanity's fourth
transition to renewable, non-emitting energy sources will likely be too slow to
contain global warming at manageable levels.


Julian Assange.jpg

  Julian Paul Assange born 3 July 1971 is an Australian editor,publisher and activist
who founded WikiLeaks in 2006. WikiLeaks came to international attention in 2010 when
it published a series of leaks provided by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea
Manning.These leaks included the Baghdad airstrike Collateral Murder video
(April 2010),the Afghanistan war logs (July 2010),the Iraq war logs (October 2010),
and Cablegate (November 2010).After the 2010 leaks, the United States government
launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks.

   In November 2010,Sweden issued an international arrest warrant for Assange over 
allegations of sexual misconduct.Assange said the allegations were a pretext for his
extradition from Sweden to the United States over his role in the publication
of secret American documents.After losing his battle against extradition to
Sweden, he breached bail and took refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador in London in
June 2012.He was granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012 on the grounds of
political persecution, with the presumption that if he were extradited to
Sweden, he would be eventually extradited to the US.Swedish prosecutors dropped
their investigation in 2019,saying their evidence had "weakened
considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events
in question."
    During the 2016 U.S. election campaign, WikiLeaks published confidential
Democratic Party emails,showing that the party's national committee favoured
Hillary Clinton over her rival Bernie Sanders in the primaries.
    On 11 April 2019,Assange's asylum was withdrawn following a series of disputes
with the Ecuadorian authorities.The police wereNinvited into the embassy and he was
arrested.He was found guilty of breaching the Bail Act and sentenced to 50 weeks in
prison.The United States government unsealed an indictment against Assange,Irelated
to the leaks provided by Manning.On 23 May 2019,the United States government further
charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act of 1917.Editors from newspapers,
including The Washington Post and The New York Times,as well as press freedom
organisations,criticised the government's decision to charge Assange under the
Espionage Act,characterising it as an attack on the First Amendment to the United
States Constitution,which guarantees freedom of the press.On 4 January 2021,
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled against the United States' request to
extradite him and stated that doing so would be "oppressive" given his mental
health.On 6 January 2021, Assange was denied bail, pending an appeal by the
United States.On 10 December 2021 Britain's Court of Appeal ruled that Assange
can be extradited to the USA to face the charges.
     Assange has been confined in Belmarsh maximum-security prison in London since 
April 2019.
Julian Assange 3.jpg

Rather strange Juliann Assange is facing 175 years in a US prison for exposing
war crimes while the indiduals comitting the war crimes don't even get charged.

    This next story is more of an Oped than a news story.This
story is designed primarily for people in their late 40s,50s or 60s who have come to that fork in the road to choose between work and retirement.You know Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016 at 79 years of age was still a judge sitting on the US Supreme Court when he died.Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist in 2005 at 80 years of age was still a judge sitting on the US Supreme Court when he died.Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg (aka RBG) in 2020 at 87 years of age was still a judge sitting on the US Supreme Court when she died.Strom Thurmond long time member of the US Congress (48 years in the US Senate) retired from the US Senate in January 2003 at 100 years of age.Five months later he dropped dead.Although I wish he died 100 years earlier.Larry King who spent over 63 years of his life as a TV host,in 2021 at 87,died while still working as a television host.
Larry King.jpg
   All these people spent nearly their whole adult life on Earth working until they dropped dead.In life there is work and there is play.These people like many others do not know how to play.Several months before Larry King died he was asked why don't you retire.He replied "If I retire what would I do."
These people are workaholics.Just like an alcoholic can not
imagine life without having alcohol. These workaholics can not
imagine life without work.There are many things they can do if
they retire like white water rafting,fly fishing,buy an RV and
ride all around the country,sky diving,deep sea diving,write a
book,sail on a boat across the ocean,start a website or a
podcast,go to the beach,go hiking,travel,watch sex videos,sit
back and watch the grass grow and many more things to do.

These people (to Americans) have they ever been to the beach at Waikiki in Hawaii?Have they ever put their feet in the Arctic Ocean in Prudhoe Bay,Alaska?Have they ever gone across the Golden Gate Bridge?Have they ever walked down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon?Have they ever been to the Alamo in San Antonio?Have they ever visited Mount Rushmore?Have they ever eaten Louisiana cuisine on Bourbon Street in New Orleans?Have they ever been to the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago?Have they ever gone to the Everglades in Florida? Have they ever on Derby Day been to the Kentucky Derby in Louisville? Have they ever been inside the US Capital in Washington,D.C.?Have they ever gone to the top of the Statue of Liberty in New York City?Have they ever visited Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts? Have they ever eaten lobster at a restaurant on the Atlantic Ocean in Belfast,Maine while watching the sun go down?
   All these people (internationally speaking) have they ever
been to the top of the CN Tower in Toronto?Have they ever gone
on a Caribbean Cruise to Barbados?I did but I didn't fancy
it-too many Republicans.Have they ever visited the old section
of Havana in Cuba?Have they ever visited Air Studios in
Montserrat (where Rolling Stones recorded much music)? Have they ever walked on Copacabana Beach in Rio De Janeiro?Have they ever visited the slave houses in Isle Gore (Gore Island) in Dakar,Senegal?(Where slaves were stored before being shipped off to the Americas).Not the most cheerful of places to visit.Have they ever visited Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe? Have they ever seen the pyramids along the Nile?Have they ever been to the top of the Eiffel Tower? Have they ever kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland? Have they ever been inside the House of Commons in London?Have they ever eaten at a cafe on a beach on the French Riviera?Have they ever been to Brandenberg Gate in Berlin?Have they ever seen the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy?Have they ever visited any of the Greek Islands?Have they ever visited Red Square in Moscow?Have they ever visited the Taj Mahal on a Friday night underneath a full moon in Agra,India?Have they ever climbed the Great Wall in China?Have they ever walked over the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia?

  All the things in the above places I have done and been to
yet I feel my life is not complete.I have never been to Antarctica to see the penguins.I must see the penguins in Antarctica before I drop dead.I have done all these things because I know how to play.I don't want to be like William Rehnquist and just work until I drop dead.As Mick Jagger said "Life Is A Party".These people like Rehnquist who work until they die must have a lot of money.When you die you can't take it with you.Further,when people work to such old ages they are doing a disservice to other human beings.There are many young people in their 20s fresh out of law school and up to their eyeballs in debt.They can't find a job because some people with much money want to still work.
William Shatner.jpgHarriette Thompson.jpg
There are people who know how to play and I immensely admire
them.William Shatner who at 90 years old went up into space on
October 13,2021.Harriette Thompson in 2015 at 92 became the
oldest woman to complete a marathon.Tony Bennett who in 2021 at
95 records a new album with 35 year old Lady Gaga that enters
the top 10 on the US Billboard 200 Album chart.Joe Newman of
Sarasota,Florida at 108 years old still drives his Mercedes
convertible around town with his 101 year old girlfriend.Further,
he still pumps his own gas and checks his own oil.These people
I desire to be like if I reach their age.
Tony Bennett.jpgJoe Newman of Sarasota,Florida.jpg 
   Further,you have only one life so you should get what you
can out of it.The best thing about retirement is you do not
have to answer to anybody but yourself.You should always have
goals.You should have a reason for getting up every day.Like
Joni Mitchell said in 1969 "Life is for learning".Once you
think you have seen everything and have all answers.You have one foot in the grave.

 "Growing old is mandatory,acting old is optional."

Bronnie Ware.jpg
There is a woman by the name, Bronnie Ware. She is an Australian
nurse who spent several years caring for patients during the last
12 weeks of their lives, and asked her patients about "any regrets
they had or anything they would do differently."
Bronnie talked about the amount of clarity her patients
exuded in their lives that they reminisce over.The commonalities
that she picked up on were expressed through the book she wrote,
The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the
Dearly Departing.
   The major concept of the book reveals the 5 main regrets of
her patients.It's called,The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.
 Here are the top 5- 
1)I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself,not
the life others expected of me.
I wish I hadn't worked so much. 3)I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings. 4)I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 5)I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Phil Spector.jpgVeronica Spector.jpg

The late Spector,who was convicted of murder in 2009,produced five Hot 100 No. 1s during his
career,among 19 top 10s.Phil Spector,who pioneered the "Wall of Sound" production style for
classic Billboard Hot 100 hits in the 1950s, '60s and beyond,died Saturday,January 16,at the
California Health Care Facility state prison in Stockton,California,USA where he'd been
serving a 19-year sentence for a 2009 murder conviction.He was 81.

Spector was a force like few others on the Hot 100 from the late '50s through the early
'70s, producing five No. 1 songs,among 19 top 10s,during his lifetime.He first appeared
atop the tally nearly four months into the chart's existence,when The Teddy Bears' "To
Know Him, Is to Love Him" began a four-week reign in December 1958,just before his 19th

Spector added two more Hot 100 No. 1s as a producer in the '60s: "He's a Rebel" by the
Crystals and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' " by the Righteous Brothers.He also notched
two in the '70s: the last of The Beatles' record 20 leaders, "The Long and Winding Road"/"For
You Blue," and the first solo No. 1 by a member of the group after its breakup that year,
George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord"/"Isn't It a Pity."

Below,Billboard has compiled a ranking of Spector's 40 biggest Hot 100 hits as a
producer.Among those 40 songs are six each by The Crystals,led by "He's a Rebel," and The
Ronettes, paced by "Be My Baby." The Righteous Brothers follow with five entries,with
"Lovin' Feelin' " joined in the top 10 by "Unchained Melody."

Along with The Beatles' "Road," the group's John Lennon shows with four titles below, and
Harrison has three.

Spector's influence is such that his name has contributed to Hot 100 hits from the chart's
first year,1958,through 2021.Following the survey's Aug. 4, 1958,inception, "To Know Him"
debuted on the chart dated Sept. 22 that year. Most recently,two holiday chestnuts that he
produced hit new highs earlier this month: The Ronettes' "Sleigh Ride" and Darlene Love's
"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)." The seasonal classics, originally released in the '60s,
reached bests of Nos. 13 and 19 on the Hot 100 dated Jan. 2 and rank at Nos. 28 and 36 on
the retrospective below.

Phil Spector's Biggest Billboard Hits
Rank, Title, Artist, Peak Position, Peak Date
1, TO KNOW HIM, IS TO LOVE HIM, The Teddy Bears, No. 1 (three weeks), 12/1/1958
2, MY SWEET LORD/ISN'T IT A PITY, George Harrison, No. 1 (four weeks), 12/26/1970
3, YOU'VE LOST THAT LOVIN' FEELIN', The Righteous Brothers, No. 1 (two weeks), 2/6/1965
4, HE'S A REBEL, The Crystals, No. 1 (two weeks), 11/3/1962
5, INSTANT KARMA (WE ALL SHINE ON), John Ono Lennon, No. 3, 3/28/1970

6, BE MY BABY, The Ronettes, No. 2, 10/12/1963
7, THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD/FOR YOU BLUE, The Beatles, No. 1 (two weeks), 6/13/1970
8, UNCHAINED MELODY, The Righteous Brothers, No. 4, 8/28/1965
9, IMAGINE, John Lennon Plastic Ono Band, No. 3, 11/13/1971
10, DA DOO RON RON (WHEN HE WALKED ME HOME), The Crystals, No. 3, 6/8/1963

11, CORINNA, CORINNA, Ray Peterson, No. 9, 1/9/1961
12, THEN HE KISSED ME, The Crystals, No. 6, 9/14/1963
13, I LOVE HOW YOU LOVE ME, The Paris Sisters, No. 5, 10/30/1961
14, EBB TIDE, The Righteous Brothers, No. 5, 1/8/1966
15, PRETTY LITTLE ANGEL EYES, Curtis Lee, No. 7, 8/7/1961

16, ZIP-A-DEE DOO-DAH, Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, No. 8, 1/12/1963
17, JUST ONCE IN MY LIFE, The Righteous Brothers, No. 9, 5/15/1965
18, SECOND HAND LOVE, Connie Francis, No. 7, 6/9/1962
19, BLACK PEARL, Sonny Charles and the Checkmates, Ltd., No. 13, 7/5/1969
20, WHAT IS LIFE, George Harrison, No. 10, 3/27/1971

21, UPTOWN, The Crystals, No. 13, 5/26/1962
22, HE'S SURE THE BOY I LOVE, The Crystals, No. 11, 2/16/1963
23, POWER TO THE PEOPLE, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, No. 11, 5/1/1971
24, THERE'S NO OTHER (LIKE MY BABY), The Crystals, No. 20, 1/6/1962
25, WALKING IN THE RAIN, The Ronettes, No. 23, 12/5/1964

26, BABY, I LOVE YOU, The Ronettes, No. 24, 2/1/1964
27, WAIT TIL' MY BOBBY GETS HOME, Darlene Love, No. 26, 9/7/1963
28, SLEIGH RIDE, The Ronettes, No. 13, 1/2/2021
29, BANGLA-DESH/DEEP BLUE, George Harrison, No. 23, 9/11/1971
30, WHY DO LOVERS BREAK EACH OTHER'S HEART?, Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, No. 38, 3/30/1963

31, HE KNOWS I LOVE HIM TOO MUCH, The Paris Sisters, No. 34, 3/10/1962
32, DO I LOVE YOU?, The Ronettes, No. 34, 8/1/1964
33, (TODAY I MET) THE BOY I'M GONNA MARRY, Darlene Love, No. 39, 5/11/1963
34, (THE BEST PART OF) BREAKIN' UP, The Ronettes, No. 39, 5/16/1964
35, PUDDIN N' TAIN, The Alley Cats, No. 43, 2/16/1963

36, CHRISTMAS (BABY PLEASE COME HOME), Darlene Love, No. 19, 1/2/2021
37, EVERY BREATH I TAKE, Gene Pitney, No. 42, 9/11/1961
38, MOTHER, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, No. 43, 1/30/1971
39, UNDER THE MOON OF LOVE, Curtis Lee, No. 46, 11/27/1961
40, HUNG ON YOU, The Righteous Brothers, No. 47, 8/21/1965

One of the songs not included on Phil Spector's Hot 100's list is "River Deep Mountain
High" by former US citizen Tina Turner.

I know in 1966 the song only peaked at #88 on the Billboard Hot 100 but many
musicologists consider it his best work.

  It is considered by producer Phil Spector himself to be his best work.Rolling
Stone Magazine ranked "River Deep-Mountain High" No. 33 on their list of the 500
Greatest Songs of All Time.NME in the UK ranked it No. 37 on their list of the 500
Greatest Songs of All Time.The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame added it to the list of
the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall
of Fame in 1999.The song peaked at #3 in the UK and #1 in Spain.

Ronnie Spector former lead singer of the 1960's girl group "The Ronettes" and the
ex-wife of "Phil Spector" commenting on his death said "He was a brilliant
producer but a lousy husband".

 02 Rob Flockhart-Canadian ice hockey player (Vancouver Canucks,Minnesota North Stars),heart attack-age 64
03 Gerry Marsden,English musician (Gerry and the Pacemakers,The Crowd), heart infection-age 78
Gerry Marsden.jpg
07 Deezer D,American rapper and actor (ER, In the Mix, CB4), heart attack-age 55
08 Michael Fonfara-Canadian keyboardist (The Electric Flag,Downchild Blues Band,Rhinoceros),cancer-age 74
11 Mark Keds-English singer (Senseless Things,Deadcuts), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-age 50
13 Tim Bogert-American rock bassist (Vanilla Fudge, Beck, Bogert & Appice, Cactus), cancer-age 76
16 Phil Spector-American Hall of Fame record producer,musician (The Teddy Bears),& convicted murderer,founder of Philles
Records,COVID-19-age 81
18 Jimmie Rodgers-American pop singer ("Honeycomb", "Kisses Sweeter than Wine", "Secretly"),kidney disease -age 87
21 Remy Julienne,French stuntman (Licence to Kill, Fantomas, The Da Vinci Code), COVID-19.-age 90
22 Hank Aaron-American Hall of Fame baseball player (Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Indianapolis Clowns),natural causes-age 86
23 Larry King,American Hall of Fame broadcaster (Larry King Live, Larry King Now,Politicking with
Larry King),sepsis as a complication of COVID-19-age 87
24 Sonny Fox,American television host (Wonderama, Way Out Games),COVID-19-age 95
28 Jay W. McGee-American-Canadian musician-age 71
30 Double K,American rapper (People Under the Stairs).,unspecified causes-age 43
02 David Donato,American singer (White Tiger, Black Sabbath)-age 66
03 Anne Feeney,American folk singer-songwriter and political activist,COVID-19-age 69
04 Gil Saunders,American soul singer (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes),lung cancer and multiple sclerosis.-age 68
07 Ricardo Silva Elizondo,Mexican singer and actor (Destilando Amor, El premio mayor, Amigas y Rivales), COVID-19.-age 67
08 Mary Wilson,American Hall of Fame singer (The Supremes),hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.-age 76
Mary Wilson.jpg
12 Frederick K. C. Price-American televangelist,founder of the Crenshaw Christian Center,COVID-19-age 89
13 Louis Clark-English musical arranger (Electric Light Orchestra, Hooked on Classics), conductor, and keyboardist,stroke-age 20
14 Ari Gold,American singer-songwriter,leukemia-age 47
15 Raymond Levesque,Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, and actor (Bernie and the Gang),COVID-19-age 92
16 Carman,American Christian singer,complications from hiatal hernia surgery-age 65
17 Raffaele Cutolo,Italian mobster, founder of the Nuova Camorra Organizzata, pneumonia-age 79
18 Juan Pizarro,Puerto Rican baseball player (Milwaukee Braves, Chicago White Sox), cancer-age 84
24 Sylvia Murphy,Canadian singer, COVID-19.-age 89
26 Bob James,American rock singer-songwriter (Montrose),stomach ulcer complications.(death announced on this date)-age 68 
28 Tom Green,,American Mormon polygamist, COVID-19-age 72

01 Ralph Peterson Jr, American jazz drummer (The Jazz Messengers, Out of the Blue), cancer.-age 58
02 Bunny Wailer,Jamaican reggae singer (Bob Marley and the Wailers) & songwriter ("Electric Boogie"),
Grammy winner (1991,1995,1997),complications from a stroke.-age 73
03 Diego Gomez,Spanish radio journalist,COVID-19-age 84
04 Alan Cartwright,English rock bassist (Procol Harum),stomach cancer.-age 75

alan cartwright.jpg
05 Chuang Ling-yun, Taiwanese singer and actress, suicide by jumpin--age 21
07 Fabio Brunelli,Brazilian news anchor, journalist and writer,cancer-age 51
09 Marino Lombardo,Italian footballer (Torino,Cesena,Pistoiese),heart attack-age 70
11 Jewlia Eisenberg,American singer (Charming Hostess), GATA2 deficiency.-age 50
14 Frankie de la Cruz,Dominican baseball player (Detroit Tigers, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers), heart attack.age 37
16 Timur Faizutdinov,Russian ice hockey player (HC Dinamo Saint Petersburg), cranial injury-age 19
17 Amy Johnston, American actress (The Buddy Holly Story, Welcome Back, Kotter, Brothers and Sisters) and drama coach, cancer-age 66
19 Jordi Cornet,Spanish politician, member of the Catalan Parliament (2010-012) and Barcelona City Council (1995-2010), cancer-age 55
20 Buddy Deppenschmidt,,American jazz drummer,complications from COVID-19-age 85
21 Sharon Matola,American biologist and environmentalist, founder of the Belize Zoo, heart attack.-age 66
22 Swede Knox,Canadian NHL ice hockey linesman, cancer-age 73
24 Alex Andjelic,Serbian Olympic ice hockey player (1964) and coach, complications from COVID-19-age 80
28 Neil Merryweather,Canadian musician, brain tumor.-age 75
30 Claire dela Fuente,Filipino singer, cardiac arrest..-age 62

01 Antonio Delgado Palomo,Spanish athlete, Paralympic champion (1976), throat cancer.-age 63
02 Quindon Tarver,American R&B singer,traffic collision-age 38
03 Jill Corey,American singer ("Love Me to Pieces", "Let It Be Me"),septic shock.-age 85
05 Sarah Hughes,British journalist, cancer.-age 48
06 Peter Ainsworth,British politician, MP (1992-2010),heart attack.-age 64
08 Roseli Machado,Brazilian Olympic long-distance runner (1996),COVID-19-age 52
09 DMX,American rapper ("Party Up (Up in Here)", "X Gon' Give It to Ya") and actor (Cradle 2 the Grave), complications
from a heart attack.-age 50
14 Lindani Myeni,South African rugby player, shot.-age 29
15 Derio de Castro,Brazilian voice actor, COVID-19-age 72
16 Ole Anthony,American minister,religious investigator and satirist,lung cancer.-age 62
19 Walter Mondale,American politician,vice president (1977-1981),Natural causes-age 93
20 Les McKeown,Scottish singer (Bay City Rollers),Heart disease-age 65

Les McKeown.jpg

03 Phil Naro,American rock vocalist and theme songwriter (6teen), tongue cancer-age 63 03 Lloyd Price,,R&B singer ("Personality","Stagger Lee"),complications from diabetes.-age 88

Lloyd Price.jpg

04 Nick Kamen,English model, singer ("Each Time You Break My Heart") and songwriter ("I Promised Myself"), bone marrow cancer.-age 59L 06 David Bulow,American soccer player (Dungannon Swifts, Richmond Kickers), stroke-age 41 10 Miguel Arellano,Mexican Olympic basketball player (1964, 1968), cancer-age 80 11 Bernard Lachance,Canadian singer-songwriter and conspiracy theorist, complications from AIDS-age 46 14 Farooq Qaiser,Pakistani puppeteer (Uncle Sargam), cardiac arrest.-age 75 16 Patsy Bruce,American country songwriter ("Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"),unspecified causes-age 81 24 John Davis,American singer (Milli Vanilli, The Real Milli Vanilli), COVID-19).age 66

03 F. Lee Bailey,American attorney (Sam Sheppard, O. J. Simpson, Patty Hearst).-age 87
F. Lee Bailey.jpg
09 Dakota Skye,American pornographic film actress,drug overdose-age 27
14 Lisa Banes,American actress (Cocktail, Young Guns, Gone Girl), traffic collision.-age 65
18 Gift of Gab 50,American rapper (Blackalicious, Quannum Projects),natural causes.-age 50
29 John Lawton,English hard rock singer (Uriah Heep, Lucifer's Friend).-age 74
29 Donald Rumsfeld,American politician,US secretary of defense.,multiple myeloma.-age 88
04 Sanford Clark,American rockabilly singer ("The Fool", "Houston"), COVID-19.-age 85
06 Suzzanne Douglas,American actress (The Parent 'Hood,How Stella Got Her Groove Back,When They See Us),
cancer.-age 64
09 Jonathan Coleman,,English-born Australian radio and television presenter, prostate cancer.-age 65
14 Jeff LaBar,American rock guitarist (Cinderella, Naked Beggars),cause of death remains unknown-age 58
16 Biz Markie,American rapper ("Just a Friend") and actor (Men in Black II, Yo Gabba Gabba!),complications
from diabetes.-age 57
17 Robby Steinhardt,American singer and violinist (Kansas),Pancreatitis.-age 71
19 Chuck E. Weiss,American songwriter and vocalist, inspiration for "Chuck E.'s in Love",cancer.-age 76
26 Mike Enzi,American politician,US senator (1997-2021),mayor of Gillette,Wyoming (1975-1983),
injuries sustained in traffic collision.-age 77
28 Dusty Hill,American Hall of Fame musician (ZZ Top) and songwriter ("Tush"),hip injury-age 72
Dusty Hill.jpg
29 Richard Lamm,American politician, governor of Colorado (1975-1987),complications from 
pulmonary embolism.-age 85
31 Paul Cotton,American musician (Poco, Illinois Speed Press) and songwriter ("Heart of the Night"-age 85
31 Alvin Ing,American singer and actor (The Final Countdown,Stir Crazy,The Gambler),COVID-19.-age 89
04 Dick Farrel, American radio host, complications from COVID-19-age 65
04 Paul Johnson,American DJ ("Get Get Down") and record producer, COVID-19-age 50
06 Les Vandyke,English singer and songwriter ("What Do You Want?","Poor Me"),death cause
is said to be a short illness.-age 90
08 Bruce Conte,American guitarist (Tower of Power),leukemia.-age 71
11 Mike Finnigan,,American keyboardist and vocalist, kidney cancer.-age 76
15 Ernie Sigley, Australian radio,television presenter (Sunnyside Up,) & singer,complications
from Alzheimer's disease-age 82
17 Chicken Hirsh,American drummer (Country Joe and the Fish)-age 81
18 Ron Cornelius,American musician and record producer,complications from a stroke.-age 76
21 Don Everly,American singer (The Everly Brothers) and songwriter ("Cathy's Clown").,pulmonary disease-age 84
Don Everly.jpg
23 Olli Wisdom,English musician (Specimen).-age 63
26 Kenny Malone,American drummer, COVID-19,-age 83
27 Sam Salter,American R&B singer.-age 47 
29 Ron Bushy,American drummer (Iron Butterfly),esophageal cancer.-age 79
29 Ed Asner,American actor (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant),COVID-19.-age 91


01 Carol Fran,American soul blues singer, pianist, and songwriter, complications from COVID-19-age 87
02 David Patten,American football player (New York Giants,New England Patriots,Washington Redskins),
traffic collision.-age 47
05 Sarah Harding,English singer (Girls Aloud) and actress (Run for Your Wife),breast cancer.-age 39
07 Warren Storm,American swamp pop singer and drummer,heart failure.-age 84
10 Michael Chapman,English singer-songwriter and guitarist (True North),heart attack-age 80
17 Dottie Dodgion,American drummer and singer, complications from a stroke-age 91
23 Sue Thompson,American pop and country singer ("Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)", "Norman"),Alzheimer's disease-age 96

Sue Thompson.jpg
25 Greg Miskiw,British journalist (News of the World), lung cancer.-age 71
26 Alan Lancaster,English rock bassist (Status Quo, The Party Boys), complications from multiple sclerosis.-age 72
27 Andrea Martin,American singer-songwriter ("Before You Walk Out of My Life")
and record producer,cause of death was undetermined.-age 49
29 Hayko,Armenian singer ("Anytime You Need") and songwriter, COVID-19.-age 48
29 Julia Nixon,American singer, complications from COVID-19.-age 66
05 Pat Fish,English musician (The Jazz Butcher),heart attack.-age 63
08 Everett Morton,Kittitian-born British drummer (The Beat),No cause of death was given.-age 71
11 Emani 22, American R&B singer, injuries sustained in an accident.-age 22
12 Ricarlo Flanagan,American comedian and actor (Shameless, Walk the Prank), COVID-19.-age 41
15 Sir David Amess,British politician, MP (since 1983),stabbed-age 69
16 Geoffrey Chater,American motorcycle road racer, complications from diabetes..-age 65
16 Ron Tutt, American drummer (Elvis Presley,Neil Diamond,Roy Orbison),Natural causes-age 83
Ron Tutt.jpg18 Colin Powell,US secretary of state (2001-2005), complications from COVID-19-age 84
20 Pat Campbell,American talk radio host (KFAQ),brain cancer.-age 61
21 Einar,Swedish rapper, shot.-age 19
23 Bob Neumeier,American sportscaster (WBZ-TV, ESPN, NBC Sports),heart failure-age 70
24 Mike Hoffmann,American guitarist and record producer, pulmonary embolism-age 67
30 Igor Kirillov,Russian news anchor (CT USSR), COVID-19-age 89
31 Alpo Martinez,American drug dealer,shot-age 55
01 Semra Dincer,Turkish actress (Elephants and Grass,Kavak Yelleri,Kuzey Guney),lung cancer-age 56
02 Declan Mulligan,Irish-born American rock musician (The Beau Brummels),Parkinson's disease.-age 83
03 Kurt Thyboe,Danish journalist and sports commentator,pneumonia.-age 81
05 Marilia Mendonca,Brazilian singer,Grammy winner (2019),airplane crash-age 26
09 Larry Gordon,American musician,injuries sustained in traffic collision.-age 76
11 F. W. de Klerk,South African politician, state president (1989-1994),mesothelioma.-age 85
13 Philip Margo,American musician (The Tokens),Stroke.-age 79
Philip Margo.jpg
17 Theuns Jordaan,South African singer-songwriter,leukaemia-age 50
27 Beverley Dunn,Australian actress (The Flying Doctors,Prisoner,Dogstar).-age 88
28 Alexander Gradsky-Russian rock singer, musician, and composer, stroke-age 72

04 Martha De Laurentiis,American film producer (Breakdown,Hannibal,U-571),cancer-age 67
05 Bob Dole,American politician,member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1961-1969)
and Senate (1969-1996),lung cancer.-age 98
06 Fred Hiatt,American journalist,editor and columnist (The Washington Post),cardiac arrest-age 66
07 Steve Bronski,Scottish keyboardist (Bronski Beat).Cause of death is not known-age 61
08 Gil Bridges,American musician (Rare Earth), complications from COVID-19.-age 80
10 Michael Nesmith,American musician (The Monkees) and songwriter ("Different Drum", "Joanne"),
Grammy winner (1982),heart failure.-age 78
Michael Nesmith.jpg 10 Mensi,English punk rock singer (Angelic Upstarts),COVID-19-age 65 10 Les Emmerson,Canadian singer (Five Man Electrical Band), complications from COVID-19.-age 77 13 Joe Simon,American soul and R&B singer ("The Chokin' Kind","Get Down,Get Down (Get On The Floor)",
"Power Of Love")-age 85 15 Wanda Young,American singer (The Marvelettes).-age 78 16 Terry Uttley,British bass guitarist (Smokie)-age 70 22 Robin Le Mesurier,British guitarist,cancer-age 68



2021 World Series.jpg

     The 2021 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's
(MLB) 2021 season.The 117th edition of the World Series,it was a best-of-seven
playoff played between the National League (NL) champion Atlanta Braves and the
American League (AL) champion Houston Astros.
     The series began on October 26 and concluded on November 2.The Braves won the 
series four games to two.It was their fourth World Series title in franchise
history,their first since 1995 and their second in Atlanta.
   The Braves reached the World Series after winning the NL East,defeating the 
Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Division Series and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL
Championship Series.The Astros won the AL West,defeating the Chicago White Sox in
the AL Division Series and the Boston Red Sox in the AL Championship Series
    The Astros had home-field advantage due to their better regular-season record 
than that of the Braves.The teams split the first two games,which were played at
Minute Maid Park in Houston,and the Braves won Games 3 and 4 at Truist Park in
Atlanta.The Astros won Game 5,returning the series to Houston.The Braves won Game 6
to win the World Series. Jorge Soler was awarded the World Series Most Valuable
Player Award after batting .300 in the Series with home runs in three of the Braves'
victories, each time giving them a lead they would never surrender.


Superbowl 55.jpg

   Super Bowl LV was the championship game of the National Football League (NFL)
for the 2020 NFL season.The National Football Conference (NFC) champion Tampa Bay
Buccaneers defeated the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Kansas City
Chiefs,31-9.The game was played on February 7,2021,at Raymond James Stadium in
Tampa,Florida,the home stadium of the Buccaneers,marking the first time a team
played a Super Bowl in its home stadium.Due to COVID-19 protocols limiting the
stadium's seating capacity to 25,000 fans,it was the least-attended Super Bowl.

    The Buccaneers' victory was their second and made them one of only two teams,
along with the Baltimore Ravens,to be undefeated in multiple Super Bowls.They
finished the regular season with an 1105 record and a wild card berth to advance to
their second Super Bowl appearance through the guidance of several new acquisitions,
most notably veteran quarterback Tom Brady in his first season away from the New
England Patriots,who was the Super Bowl's oldest player at 43. The Chiefs,aided by
their top-ranked offense, finished the regular season with a league-best 14-2
record to advance to their fourth Super Bowl appearance and were the defending Super
Bowl LIV champions, seeking to become the first repeat champions since the Patriots
in 2004.

 Kansas City entered the game favored to win, but were undone by offensive
struggles and costly penalties.For the first time under quarterback Patrick Mahomes,
the Chiefs failed to score a touchdown and lost by double-digits,making them the
third Super Bowl team to not score a touchdown.They committed 11 penalties for 120
yards, including a record eight penalties for 95 yards in the first half,most of
which were called against the defense.The Buccaneers capitalized on these mistakes to
take a commanding 21-6 lead at halftime and dominated the remainder of the game.
Brady,who also extended his player records for Super Bowl appearances at 10 and wins
at seven,was named Super Bowl MVP for a record fifth time and was the first to
receive the award with multiple franchises.He became the oldest player to receive the
honor and win a Super Bowl as the starting quarterback,breaking additional personal
records,while Bruce Arians was the oldest head coach to win the Super Bowl at 68.

  The game was televised nationally by CBS.Country music singer Eric Church and R&B

singer Jazmine Sullivan performed the national anthem,while the halftime show was
headlined by Canadian singerThe Weeknd.On television, Super Bowl LV was seen by
91.63 million viewers,the lowest ratings for the game since 2006. Combined with
viewership on other platforms, viewership was down by 5% overall in comparison
to Super Bowl LIV, but with a 69% increase in average streaming viewership.


NBA Playoffs.jpg

    The 2021 NBA Finals was the championship series of the National Basketball 
Association's (NBA) 2020-21 season and conclusion of the season's playoffs.In this
best-of-seven playoff series,the Eastern Conference champion Milwaukee Bucks
defeated the Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns, 4-2,winning their first NBA
championship in 50 years and their second title overall.Holding home-court advantage,
the Suns led the series 2-0 before the Bucks came back and won the next four games,
becoming the fifth team in NBA history to win the championship after losing the
first two games,joining the 1969 Celtics,1977 Portland Trail Blazers,2006 Miami
Heat,and 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers. Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo was named NBA
Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP).With the COVID-19 pandemic altering the NBA's
schedule for the second consecutive year, the start date of the series was
pushed from its usual time in late May or early June to July 6,the
second-latest start in Finals' history.
  Milwaukee and Phoenix were two of five teams in the league with an active 
championship drought of 50 years or more.Prior to 2021,the Bucks won their only
title in 1971,while the Suns have yet to win a title since joining the league in
1968.They were both making their third Finals appearance. Phoenix and Milwaukee
each began play as expansion teams in 1968.Both teams were involved in a coin toss
for the rights to the first overall pick in the 1969 NBA draft,which the Bucks won
and used to select Lew Alcindor,later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,from UCLA.He led
the Bucks to their first championship in 1971.The 2021 Finals was the first since
1971 to not include any players who had previously won an NBA championship, and
the first since 2015 that no players on the winning team had prior NBA Finals
experience. The Suns' Jae Crowder was the only player in the series who
previously played in the Finals,making it just the second time since the first
Finals that fewer than two players had previously appeared in the championship
series;no players had previously played in the Finals in the 1977 series.



 The 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs was the playoff tournament of the National Hockey

League (NHL).The playoffs began on May 15,2021 and concluded on July 7,2021,with the
Tampa Bay Lightning winning their second consecutive and third overall Stanley Cup in
franchise history, defeating the Montreal Canadiens four games to one in the
Stanley Cup Finals. The playoffs were originally scheduled to begin a few days
after the 2020-21 regular season, but they began four days prior to the end of
the regular season after the Vancouver Canucks had eleven games postponed
because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

  The league returned to the traditional 16-team playoff format with all series being
best-of-seven,after using a 24-team format in 2020 due to the regular season being cut
short by the COVID-19 pandemic.Due to cross-border travel restrictions imposed by the
Government of Canada, the league temporarily realigned this season into four
divisions with no conferences.Consequently, the first two rounds of the playoffs
featured intra-divisional matchups,with the higher seeded teams receiving home-ice
advantage in those rounds.In the Stanley Cup Semifinals,the four remaining teams (one
from each division) were reseeded based on their regular season records.Both semifinal
winners advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals.After initially stating that the Campbell
and Wales trophies would not be awarded this season, the league decided in June
2021 that the Montreal Canadiens and Vegas Golden Knights would play for the
Campbell Bowl and the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning would play for
the Wales Trophy.

    Although it was initially unknown whether the Canadian teams that qualified for
the playoffs would be able to play in their home arenas after the second round, on
June 6,it was announced that those teams would be allowed to play in their home arenas
for the remainder of the playoffs.In order to complete the playoffs in Canada,
the League applied for a cross-border travel exemption with the Public Health Agency
of Canada. Prior to the announcement, there were some ideas of the Canadian
team playing in a neutral NHL city in the US after the second round.

  The Colorado Avalanche made the playoffs as the Presidents' Trophy winners with the
most points (i.e. best record) during the regular season.The Pittsburgh Penguins
increased their postseason appearance streak to 15 seasons, the longest active streak
in the four major North American professional sports.For the second year in a row and
third time overall since 1996, all California-based teams,the Anaheim Ducks,
Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks, missed the playoffs. For the first time
since 1966, every team that qualified for the playoffs was also in the previous
year's postseason. With all of the Canadian-based NHL teams in one division,
the format for this season ensured that there would be a second round series
between two Canadian-based teams for the first time since 2002.

    For the first time since 1992,three of the previous year's semifinalists,the New
York Islanders,Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights, returned to the round
for a second consecutive season.



    The 2021 AFL Grand Final was an Australian rules football match contested 
between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium in Perth,Western
Australia,on Saturday 25 September 2021.It was the 125th annual grand final of the
Australian Football League (AFL),staged to determine the premiers of the 2021 AFL
   The match was played at Optus Stadium in Perth because an ongoing COVID-19 
lockdown prevented the match from being played with a crowd at its contracted ground,
the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne,Victoria.It was the first grand final played
in Perth and the second consecutive grand final to be played outside Victoria.
   Melbourne won the match by a 74-point margin,defeating the Western Bulldogs 
140-66.Christian Petracca won the Norm Smith Medal.The win was Melbourne's first
premiership since 1964.



On my website I focus on the music charts from five countries-USA,UK,Canada,
Australia and New Zealand.In 2021 in all five countries a British recording act had
the #1 song of the year.This last happened in 2017 when Ed Sheeran's "Shape Of You"
was #1 song of the year in all five countries.In 2021 the USA and Canada had
"Levitating" by London born singer "Dua Lipa" as the #1 song of the year.

   Dua Lipa born 22 August 1995 is an English singer,songwriter and model.After
working as a model,she signed with Warner Bros. Records in 2014 and released her
eponymous debut album in 2017.The album peaked at number three on the UK Albums
Chart and yielded eight singles,including "Be the One", "IDGAF", and the UK
number-one single "New Rules", which also peaked at number six in the
US. The album has been certified platinum in numerous countries worldwide and
won Lipa the Brit Awards for British Female Solo Artist and British
Breakthrough Act in 2018.

   Her 2018 single "One Kiss" with Calvin Harris peaked at number one in the UK and
became the year's longest-running number-one single by a female artist,winning the
2019 Brit Award for Song of the Year. In 2019, she won the Grammy Award for Best New
Artist, as well as the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording for her Silk
City-collaboration "Electricity". Later that year, Lipa released
"Don't Start Now" as the lead single from her second studio album.
Reaching number two in the UK and US, and number four on the US year-end chart,it
was the most commercially successful song by a female artist in the US in 2020.

   Dua Lipa released her second studio album, Future Nostalgia (2020),to critical
acclaim.It earned six Grammy nominations-including Album of the Year,Record of the
Year and Song of the Year-and became her first UK number-one album.The album helped
Lipa win British Female Solo Artist and British Album of the Year at the 2021 Brit
Awards.She has received many accolades, including recognition on the Time 100
Next list (2021). She made her modelling debut at Versace's Spring/Summer 2022
show at Milan Fashion Week.

  "Levitating" a song from her second studio album,Future Nostalgia was written by
Lipa,Clarence Coffee Jr., Sarah Hudson and Stephen Kozmeniuk.The production was
handled by Koz and Stuart Price, and stemmed from a Roland VP-330 synthesizer
sample played by the former. The song is an electro-disco and nu-disco song
with several disco tropes. It incorporates elements of dance-pop, pop-funk,
power pop and space rock, as well as 1970s, 1980s and 1990s pop and R&B
styles. The lyrics describe the idea of "levitating" when falling in
love, with several outer space references.

   A remix of "Levitating" by American DJ the Blessed Madonna featuring Madonna and
Missy Elliott was released for digital download and streaming on 13 August 2020 as
the lead single from Lipa and the Blessed Madonna's remix album Club Future Nostalgia
(2020).It was categorised as a EDM,electro-disco, electro house,future bass and
techno track,with a throwback disco and trance vibe and an increased
tempo from the original. A second remix featuring American rapper DaBaby was
released for the same formats on 1 October 2020 in promotion of the bonus
edition of Future Nostalgia, as the album's fifth single. The remix impacted
contemporary hit radio formats in the United States on 6 October 2020,serving as the
album's third single in the country.The remix has the same production used in the
original,with DaBaby adding a pop rap verse and intro.

    "Levitating" reached number five on the UK Singles Chart and number two on the
US Billboard Hot 100,becoming Lipa's seventh top five single in the UK and second in
the US.Despite not peaking at number one in the United States,"Levitating" was named
the number one song of 2021,becoming the fourth single to accomplish this feat and
the first single to do so since Lifehouse's "Hanging by a Moment" in 2001.It also
ranks in the top 40 of its All-Time list.This song is also the longest running
top 10 song by a female artist in Billboard Hot 100 chart,becoming the second song
to spend 40 weeks in the region.It also reached number two on the Billboard Global
200 chart.The song was awarded a Platinum certification in the United Kingdom by
the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

   "Levitating" was promoted with the release of two music videos,one for each of
its respective remixes.The Will Hooper-directed music video for the Blessed
Madonna's remix was filmed in London and Atlanta and has a theme of "love
conquers all". It sees many people under the influence of a mysterious planet and
being obsessed with a maze-like symbol.The DaBaby remix received a music video that
was directed by Warren Fu and created in partnership with social media platform
TikTok.The video is centered around Lipa and DaBaby dancing in an art deco-styled
elevator,with many TikTok users in the cast. Lipa promoted the single with
live performances on the Graham Norton Show, at the American Music Awards of
2020 and on Saturday Night Live.


Heat Waves.jpg
    Glass Animals are a British indie rock band formed in Oxford in 2010.Led by 
singer,songwriter,and producer Dave Bayley,the group also features his childhood
friends Joe Seaward,Ed Irwin-Singer and Drew MacFarlane. Bayley wrote and produced
all three Glass Animals albums.The first,Zaba (2014),spawned the single "Gooey",
which was eventually certified platinum in the United States. Their second full
album, How to Be a Human Being, received generally positive reviews and won in two
categories at the 2018 MPG Awards for UK Album of the Year and Self Producing
Artist of the Year,as well as a spot on the Mercury Prize shortlist.The third,
Dreamland,their first fully autobiographical album (Bayley had said he felt it was
selfish to write about oneself),included the single "Tokyo Drifting" which peaked
at number seven on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.
  In their live shows they play re-worked,dance-heavy versions of their songs.Their
song "Heat Waves" reached number one in Australia in February 2021 and was voted
number one on the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2020.It was also the #1 song for the
entire year of 2021 in New Zealand."Heat Waves" was released as a
single from their third studio album Dreamland on 29 June 2020. It was released
alongside its music video.The band ran a remix competition for the track, with
19-year-old British producer Shakur Ahmad winning and having his remix issued
by the band, alongside a remix by American DJ Diplo in August 2020.Another
remix features vocals from American rapper Iann Dior."Heat Waves" in
addition to being a top-five hit in several European countries,and reaching the
top 10 in the United States.It has surpassed more than 900 million streams on
    Glass Animals earned their first Grammy nomination in the Best New Artist
category at the 2022 Grammy Awards.
Bad Habits.jpg

  Edward Christopher Sheeran born on February 17,1991 is an English singer-songwriter.
Born in Halifax,West Yorkshire,he was brought up in Framlingham,Suffolk and began
writing songs around the age of eleven.In early 2011, Sheeran independently
released the extended play,No. 5 Collaborations Project. He signed with Asylum
Records the same year.

   Sheeran's debut album, + (pronounced "plus"), was released in September 2011 and
topped the UK Albums Chart. It contained his first hit single "The A Team". In
2012, Sheeran won the Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist and British
Breakthrough Act. Sheeran's second studio album, X (pronounced "multiply"), topped
charts around the world upon its release in June 2014.It was named the
second-best-selling album worldwide of 2015.In the same year,X won Album of the
Year at the 2015 Brit Awards, and he received the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter
of the Year from the British Academy of Songwriters,Composers and Authors.A single
from X,"Thinking Out Loud", earned him the 2016 Grammy Awards for Song of the Year
and Best Pop Solo Performance. 

Sheeran's third album,devide.jpgpronounced "divide"),was released in March 2017,and
was the best-selling album worldwide of 2017.The first two singles from the album,
"Shape of You" and "Castle on the Hill", broke records in a number of countries by
debuting in the top two positions of the charts.He also became the first artist to
have two songs debut in the US top 10 in the same week. By March 2017,Sheeran had
accumulated ten top 10 singles from devide.jpgon the UK Singles Chart, breaking the record
for most top 10 UK singles from one album.His fourth single from devide.jpg,"Perfect",
reached number one in the US, Australia and the UK, where it became the Christmas
number one in 2017.The world's best-selling artist of 2017, he was named the Global
Recording Artist of the Year. Released in 2019, his fourth studio album No.6
Collaborations Project debuted at number one in most major markets, and spawned
three UK number one singles, "I Don't Care", "BeautifulPeople" and "Take Me Back To
London". His fifth studio album,= (pronounced "equals"), topped the charts in most
major markets in 2021.

    Sheeran has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, making him one of the
world's best-selling music artists.He has 84.5 million RIAA-certified units in the
US,and two of his albums are in the list of the best-selling albums in UK chart
history.In December 2019,the Official Charts Company named him artist of the decade,
with the most combined success in the UK album and singles charts in the 2010s.
Globally,Spotify named him the second most streamed artist of the decade.Beginning
in March 2017, his devide.jpg Tour became the highest-grossing of all time in August 2019.
An alumnus of the National Youth Theatre in London, Sheeran's acting roles
include appearing in the 2019 film Yesterday.

   "Bad Habits" is a song by Ed Sheeran.It was released on June 25,2021,through
Asylum and Atlantic Records,as the lead single of his fifth studio album, =.The song
marked his first solo release from an album in over four years.A limited
edition CD and cassette single was also released.The song received mixed
reviews from music critics,who compared its sound and style to the works of The
Weeknd, particularly "Blinding Lights".

  "Bad Habits" was a commercial success,peaking at number-one in numerous countries
including Australia,Belgium,Canada,Germany,Hungary,New Zealand,Switzerland and
South Africa,becoming the official first number-one hit on the newly launched South
African music charts.It proved to be particularly successful in both the United
Kingdom and Ireland,as the song spent eleven consecutive weeks at the top of both
the UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart.In the United States,the song peaked
at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.

   A drill remix made by Fumez the Engineer featuring British rappers Tion Wayne
and Central Cee was released on 12 August 2021.


   On June 16,2021 Julia Rommelt from Speyer,Germany was crowned Playboy Playmate of
the Year 2021 in Munich,Germany.
  Julia Rommelt was born in 1996 in Bad Hersfeld,Germany.Her Zodiac sign is Cancer.
She has brown eyes.She is 5 foot 7 inches (170 kms.) and weighs 106 pounds(48 Kg.).
Her measurements are 36C-26-36.She has beautiful big eyes which look very appealing
and long silky hair.She has a very attractive personality.

  Julia Rommelt is the famous Tiktok Star,Model and Instagram Star.She has appeared
in many Videos.She is known for her beautiful looks,cute smile,modelling poses,style
and amazing personality.She is among one of the most trending girls in TikTok.She is
primarily famous appeared in many Videos.She is known for her beautiful looks,cute
smile,modelling poses,style and amazing personality.She is among one of the most
trending girls in TikTok. She is primarily famous for comedy video clips, dancing
videos, and performs lip-syncs on TikTok( social media presence is
growing at an astounding pace.She is also popular for her eye-catching Instagram
pictures and Videos.She has a huge fan following. You will be soon seeing her in
modeling shoots.She loves to travel.She has added many story highlights on her
Instagram account about fashion,travel,food,workout,friends and more.


   So much for the world in 2021.As for my world I started 2021 living in Chianyai,
Thailand and I will end 2021 living in Nakhon Sri Thammarat province in Thailand.
   I spent every day of 2021 on Thailand soil.I am now retired and still live in a 
house all alone.All of my 20,000 Cds,records and tapes,plus my huge Playboy collection
are with me in my house.I will probably (unless I am kidnapped by the CIA) be in
Thailand for almost all of 2022.I now have not been on US soil in over (12) years
(I left the USA on September 15th,2009).If things go as I would like them to there
is a good chance I may never see the USA again.I don't need the USA's war machineS,
I don't need their ghetto scenes.
   In 2021 I increased the size of my website.I now have approximately 6400 files on
my website ( projections are to have 7000 files on
my website by January 15,2024.It may take me about four years for me to get my
website up to snuff.So it may be at least four years before I begin writing
that book about my life which I have been wanting to do for the past 13
years.Also in about four years I am hoping to have my own internet show.We will
see.I take life one day at a time.I am hoping for this book and my internet
show to be my bonanza.As Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones said back in 1967
"Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind".
   It was a pleasure to have all of you being part of my life this year.Anyway,that
is my year-end review for 2021.I hope you all had a cool year too and that you have
lots of dreams to aim for in the next 12 months or so.
   Remember every second of your life you spend thinking of bad and negative thoughts
it is one second less your are spending thinking of good and positive thoughts and
you don't get that one second back.Try spending more time thinking about things that
make you smile and laugh.So even if life does not deal you the cards you wanted just
remember to keep on dancing and enjoying the party.Have a fantastic Xmas or
whatever holiday you celebrate and I will e-mail you all individually when the time
frame is not so narrow!! It's been great to have you all in my year and my life!!!!

  Joyeaux Noel,Feliz Navidad,Frohliches Weihnachten,Merry Xmas et la prochain.

Last Updated ( Dec 23, 2022 at 09:15 AM )

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