1st & 11th & 20th December 2004

- IRAQ -

The Sunni triangle Mullahs seem to have realized that the terror strategy that they have tacitly supported is not going to disrupt the elections.  Oops.  Now they want the elections delayed so that they can negotiate some sort of minority protection.  After all, their Jihadists have been slaughtering all those nice Shia policemen who came up to try and keep order.  Some of those southern Shia tribes might decide that they have a blood feud with the Sunni, that the Jihad was not actually a legal Jihad.  Of course that would be terrible news to all those poor suicide bombers who would no doubt have to return their 72 virgins. (lets hope they used some of them).

One thing about George Bush.  He does not strike me as a merciful man.  I would suspect that if the arabs in the Sunni triangle could provide immediate peace, could capture and turn in all the murdererous terrorists (hiding under the pretense of "Sharia") to the provisional authorities for justice, then George Bush just might exert a modicum of influence in an attempt to delay the elections until some sort of minority compromise was worked out.  Admittedly such traitorous behavior as turning in Sharia warriors would be a huge loss of face for the Sunni.

But consider the alternative which would be a Shia majority government in Iraq.

After their treatment at the hands of Sunni terrorists, the sucker Americans will probably not stop the revenge that the Shia exact.

A little over a year ago I forecast:

"Unless fundamentalists take positive steps to disown the fundamentalist organization that supported that operation (which was an attack against Moslems), then fundamentalist organizations as a group will lose credibility with Islam.  A cancer of uncertainty will develop.  Instead of growing, fundamentalist Islam will lose direction and wither."

The Shia in Iraq are the first domino.  Bin Laden realizes this.  That is why he has made unprecedented broadcasts suggesting attacks on oil wells.

The war against Islamic terrorism has turned.

- IRAN -

The Clerics in Iran do not seem to understand.  Bush is not Carter, nor, like Allah, is he the all merciful.  I believe that Bush will manage to totally screw Iran if the Iranian government does not totally and demonstrably (and fairly rapidly) abandon all plans for developing nuclear weapons.

There are several possible scenarios.  Now that Iraq is "neutralized" one solution might involve an Israel "surgical strike".  Of course the Israelis might be unwilling to spoil their peace prospects, so if the Iranians have the sense to tell Hezbollah to support a peace treaty in Israel, they might cancel that option.  The Israelis are fairly cynical, so it would have to be a solid treaty.  The Iranians might think that they could reverse such treaty when it has served it's purpose, but I believe that the Palestinians are ready for peace, and once set on course would not be easily diverted.

To the Mullahs in Iran.  Do not take much comfort from what US liberal journalists write.  Bush only gives them lip service.


On the Eastern marches of Europe, Ukraine (population 50 million, located above the Black Sea) is in the throes of a deciding what to do about a contested presidential election.  The Russians have sided with the pro-Russian, nominated winner.  European powers (led by Poland) have taken the part of the losing contestant.  At stake is the future direction of the Ukraine, either as part of the Russian or as part of the European power block.  The US is supporting Europe in a desultory fashion.  I am not sure that US policy should be to support a European Ukraine (or Chechen terrorists) against Russia.  I tend to believe that the USA of the 21st century might have as much in common with Russia as it has with Europe.  It might be a good idea not to diminish Russia too much.  (Perhaps Russia should apply to become the 51st state?).

I am not sure which way I would recommend to Ukrainians that they should vote.  Europe is stultified, and unless there is a revolution (a' la the French type, where those in power are guillotined for "crimes against the people") all I can foresee is devolution to an overtaxed hell where government bureaucrats in Brussels vampire the population.  At least the Russian empire is in the throes of change, and perhaps something good might eventuate.

The US dollar is falling against the Euro.  This signifies that the US policy of non-intervention is partially succeeding.  The Chinese are still hanging in there, maintaining their fixed Yuan/US$ exchange rate.  The price of oil is falling, is now around US$45, down from the mid $50's.  It is reported that European Auto Makers are losing market share, and Ford USA is in trouble.  (Toyota is still profitable I believe.)   Pity the Chinese.  They must know they will have to (eventually) appreciate against the US$, but realize that any movement will be taken as a sign of weakness by the wolves, (=hedge funds) and probably initiate a run (i.e. massive purchases) of their currency.   My suggestion is to bite the bullet sooner rather than later, devalue (~ 5%) and hold the mark till the speculators have to cover.

Michael Jackson has been raided AGAIN. To me, it looks like a liberal prosecutor who can't admit that he was wrong.  We get those corrupters of the judicial process in Australia.  Lindy Chamberlain was accused two decades ago of murdering her baby, and originally a police prosecutor had her convicted.  An appeal with the help of a federal MP reversed that judgment.  Now that MP is under pressure from the police force involved.


The Australian dollar is vacillating.  At first it rose as the US$=Yuan retreated, now it is sliding.  I expect that it will stabilize somewhere either side of $US0.80c.  More to the point, it will devalue slightly against gold, which will cause a lot of our (now uneconomic) Australian gold mines to resume production.

The internet file sharing system called Kazaa is currently defending itself in Australian courts against the music publishers.

When it comes to libertarian values in courts, Australia is about as primitive as it gets.  We have not advanced much since the days of the Eureka Stockade, when police murdered diggers at the Victorian goldfields for wanting a representative voice on their taxation.  (By that time the British Government had learned their lesson on imposed taxation from America.   So a couple of decades later they saddled us with a defective constitution
giving politicians too much power, and then gave us independence).

As an example of the backwardness of the Australian legal system:  recently some poor male with a mobile phone-camera combination was fined $500 by a beak (magistrate) for photographing some topless ladies on a public beach.  I understand that bare breasts are acceptable on Australian beaches.  (I do not know for certain whether they are legal, but there are always plenty available for viewing on Bondi beach).  I am not sure of the rationale behind that conviction, but then, it was only a lowly beak (not a real judge) who made that decision.  I would hope that it would be reversed on appeal.

Fortunately, it doesn't matter what Australian courts decide.  The copyright industry is dead.

The music industry are fighting back by creating "false" Kazaa sites, so that seven out of eight sites do not actually have music files, only a copyright warning notice.  Done properly, that would be a rather expensive exercise.  However it will not work. 
The music companies are pissing into the wind.  Copyright (not just music, but video and books) are as dead as the dodo.  Even if they stop Kazaa, even if their "false files" initiative works, there are millions of computer literate music fans out there, all trying to swap music files.  Even with hundreds of (expensive) software wizards, those fans will devise new ways to swap files faster than the wizards can think of new ways to prevent them.  I mean, hell, fans could even swap music files by PGP encrypted e-mail.  They could employ a "cell" system, where each cell member can only reveal the e-mails of say, at most, a dozen other people.  As I said in an earlier diary, to recording industry executives, "sell your Lotus or Ferrari or Porsche, put the city townhouse and the beachfront hideyhole on the market, and go out and look for a real job.  The gravy train is dead."

There is only one workable defense for the copyright industry.  That is to stop charging the present outrageous ripoff prices for copyright material.  My suggestion is to start selling music CD's for about $4.00 (instead of $20-$30) each.  Video DVD's could be sold for about US$8 each.  Paperbacks in the USA at about US$6.00 are reasonably priced, and personally I would be prepared to pay that much for hardcopy.  (The policy of publishing first in expensive Hardback is deplorable.)  However in Australia paperbacks cost about AU$20 which is US$15, an outrageous ripoff which can only be circumvented by bulk buying from the USA or by downloading a pirated e-copy.

On 20th December the US Supreme court accepted an application from the Music industry to review Napster.  A famous Australian prime minister once said words to the effect "It's no use making a law if you can't enforce it".  If those nine justices are getting good advice, they will confirm the lower court judgement.  It is too late to close the barn door.

Other news from Australia is that our Telecom monopoly "Telstra" has announced the retirement of CEO "Ziggy".  It is interesting to note that the only CEO's who seem to succeed in running major corporations (those with expansionist policies) are the founders.  e.g. Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Apple, News, Yahoo prospered incredibly under the direction of their founders.  As soon as the board (or somebody) appointed an MBA or something to replace the founder (think Apple, Wal-Mart, Telstra) then corporate profits begin to flounder, direction is lost.  If I was investing in the stock market (which I can't be bothered doing because I can't be bothered filling in the income tax forms required thereby) I would only invest on the jockeys, never the horses.  I trust Rupert Murdoch, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates to make a profit.  If it is an MBA CEO, (I don't care whether it's issued by Harvard or Woop-Woop) if he starts planning takeovers etc. sell pronto.  Think John Elliott of Fosters Beer fame.  Think Ziggy Switzkowski of PCCW fame.  MBA's have the impression that they are a person with twice their actual intelligence.


In the Bible, Moses wandered the desert for forty years.  Only when he died did the tribe of Israel enter the promised land.

Arafat is gone.   Tired old men know it all, and will never relinquish the slightest advantage.
  The Israelis must change leaders.  A new leader with no baggage is needed.  Peace in Palestine/Israel is more essential than destroying Al Quaida.  Peace in Palestine/Israel will lead to peace in the world.

Sharon must go.


Turkey has been approved to begin consultations on joining Europe.

Here we have an example of the lie that is representative democracy.   Practically none of the people of Europe want Turkey to join the union.  And yet, Turkey has been invited in a non-democratic decision.