24th January 2005
AUSTRALIAN POLITICS -
Opposition Labour party leader Mark Latham lost a Federal Election to
fourth time winner John Howard last September. Young (40's)
Latham was boosted into the position by previous opposition leader
& mentor Simon Crean, who (despite a
reported warm personality among colleagues) was losing public
popularity at a catastrophic rate due to a
perception of arrogance.
Protege Latham was never really up to the job. It was not
really surprising that the pressure led to a reduced immune system
engendering a severe attack of Pancreatitis,
which resulted in Latham's retirement from Parliament.
Possible contenders for the vacated position are Beazley, Foreign
minister Rudd and Julia
Gillard, (the new Crean protege). Both
Beazley & Rudd have credibility. Like Beazley, John Howard
displaced as leader before resuming that position and winning against
Labour incumbent Keating. On the other hand, Rudd has a
diminutive stature (like Howard) and has huge popularity with the
fourth estate, which does translate to real power in the
electorate. Julia Gillard is a dark horse, unknown to me.
Some journalists are calling for a re-invention of
the Labour Party. John Howard has moved the Liberal Party away
from "elected leader dictatorship" to "elected team dictatorship".
"Leader" is a 19th Century dynamic, associated with the individual.
"Team" is an oligarchic management concept where a group ("team") acts
in it's own interest to maintain power.
I would hope that the people of Australia are ready for "Democracy"
which implies that
the subject people should have a say (or at least a veto) in
everything. That is what
the Swiss have had for nearly a millennium. That is what
Californians have even now. (And California has half again as
many people as Australia, and about six times the GDP. It works
very well, it is just that our politicians are unwilling to share their
So lets have a bit of lateral thinking here. I suggest that the
should offer something that "we the people" really want, offer
that Johnny Howard is temperamentally unable to match. We
already know he loves power, and will not share it. If the new
Labour government were to offer
something along the lines of the "propositions" that allow citizen
participation in California, they might capture the voters'
imagination. And incidentally take power at the next election.
journalists are already claiming that the Iraqui election will be a
failure, that it will cause a civil war. I suspect that the voter
turnout will show just how much those journalists deserve their
pay. Of course, in the West, journalists are no longer paid to
report the facts, they are paid to report the facts that their readers
want to hear. (Nobody admits this truth, that is why US
the journalists on "sixty minutes" were sacked.) The trick is to
report only opinion dressed up as fact, that way those dreadful
"bloggers" can't prove that you reported lies.
Of course a civil war in Iraq would be no news to my readers. The
Sunni faction were never going to accept the massive loss of power that
Hussein's defeat entailed. They are like the gambler who has lost
most of his fortune, and places his last few dollars on a last bet
before disappearing into poverty and shame.
However the civil war is now. It will tail off rapidly after the
elections. What follows the election will be, as in Aceh,
imported Al Quaida terrorists attempting to give the impression to the
world that there is continuing civil unrest in Iraq.
And just how severe is the terrorism in Iraq anyhow? In the USA
over 60,000 road deaths each year, in a population of nearly 300
million, which is a death rate of about 2 deaths per 10,000
population per annum. In Iraq estimates vary from 3,500 (Iraqui
ministry of health) to about 16,500 since 1st January 2003,
which is between 1 and 3.5 deaths per 10,000 people per annum.
terrorists pose a risk to the average Iraqui that is approximately
equal to the risk posed by Automobiles (~2 per 10,000) to US citizens.
- v - IRAN -
would strongly suggest that the Iranian Mullahs not give George Bush
any excuse to invade. I do not believe that he has yet committed
to invade, but I believe that he is in the process of deciding.
Saddam thought that he had sassed Bush out. He made a
mistake. When he realized that Bush intended to invade, it was
too late to negotiate.
My advice is to ignore your advisers. Your advisers listen to the
Liberal press. Also, they are corrupted by the powerful positions
that they occupy, and do not dare to give an opinion that does not
match your own prejudices. I would like to point out that the
"Liberal Press" in Christendom has, if anything, a negative influence
It is suggested that without hesitation you immediately find out what
Washington wants and give it
to them. Do not try to negotiate. The Americans are
victorious. "Only fight battles on your own terms."
ISRAEL + PALESTINE
predicted Abbas has delivered a peace initiative. Sharon must
exceed that initiative. It is not good enough to merely match the
Your diarist suggests that Sharon take a punt. Tear down the
barriers to entry. No more searches and papers, restore the
status quo ante intifada. In the event that terrorists break the
truce, it will be on Abbas' head. I believe that the Palestinians
would capture and punish such terrorists as rapidly as the Israelis in
an effort to prevent an interruption to the peace process.
Both sides have shown their Macho side. If they are not stupid,
both sides will have seen that although they can hurt the other side,
they also suffer.
Diarist suggests that they adopt the Taoist way. Be prepared to
hold the left hand tally. Accept a lower benefit from any
agreement with your antagonist. Eventually he might become your
some years Australian Diarist has been predicting the demise of the
music copyright industry. It is becoming clear that the next
copyright cadaver will be the drug industry.
Copyright crime (as a generic) is fairly easy to predict. It is a
function of the price differential between making an illegal copy and
the price charged for a licensed copy. When copyright license
holders get too greedy, they cause that differential to rise. In
the Australian music industry the differential for a CD is about
AU$30. Once people accept the notion that illegal copies are OK,
it will be
hard to wean them from that notion. As a result, the license
agents will become unemployed.
For instance I expect that the price of music will fall to well below
$1.00 per track, probably purchased and downloaded direct from the
music producer's official site.
In the same way a generic drugs market will soon develop. The
ramifications for drug production are that individual biochemical
scientists will develop drugs, the US government will develop a
streamlined drug trial systemology and production will be licensed on a
competitive basis with perhaps a 5% license fee.
I suspect that it might be a good idea to hedge any drug shares you
might own. ("Put" options). It will
probably take another year or two before the shares start to lose
value, but diarist believes that a loss is as inevitable as taxes
(death might soon be avoidable.).