13th April 2005
is now two years since the "Coalition of the Willing" deposed the
I have previously argued that Islam is
intrinsically undemocratic. (Then again, is there a real national
democratic government anywhere on this planet? Most nations,
USA, UK, France etc, seem to be ruled by democratically appointed
democracy would be participatory, in that any decision by elected
could, at the very least, be reversed by a vote of the population
acting en mass, like the
system in California). Islam is intrinsically undemocratic
because it's founder ruled as a theocratic dictator. Since
Mahommed is the
apotheosis of virtue, who would dare to claim that he could improve the
implemented by the Prophet?
Iraqi elections were held at the end of January 2005, and
fledgling democracy, despite terrorist propaganda directed
at the Baghdad
Sunnis, terrorist violence directed at Iraqi Shia, and predictions of
failure by western
liberal journalists, is on the path to control
of it's own destiny. The
election was outstandingly successful,
however opposition to the foreign occupation forces is again brewing in
the Sunni triangle.
The Iraqi authorities have produced
a hit with a TV show on the
Al-Iraqiya channel that has terrorist prisoners
confessing their crimes. They confess to rape, sodomy and
desecration of Mosques, and that they are paid by Syria, or committing
their crimes for financial reward.
This offensive is being denigrated by the Baghdad elitist bloggers (for
part hosted on public websites such as blogger.com.)
such blogger is university student Khalid Jarrar on blogsite
in Baghdad". Secrets has complained that the Al-Iraqiya terrorists
blacken the cause for "real mojahideen" (sic)
Another person publishes under the nom-de-blog "riverbend".
"A little bit about myself: I'm female,
Iraqi and 24. I survived the
war. That's all you need to know. It's all that matters these days
anyway." Her blog is anti US,
and extremely critical of the democratic process. Riverbend
writes fluent English (acquired, one suspects, in a country where
is the principal tongue). The CIA world factbook reports that less
than 25% of Iraqi women are literate (can read & write).
Riverbend bemoans (and I sympathize with)
the increasing pressure on Iraqi women to conform to the Muslim ideal. "It begins slowly and almost insidiously.
You stop wearing slacks or
jeans or skirts that show any leg because you don’t want to be stopped
in the street and lectured by someone who doesn’t approve. You stop
wearing short sleeves and start preferring wider shirts with a collar
that will cover up some of you neck." She also describes
feeling of horror after a conversation wherein her brother asserts that
living in a theocracy might be alright: "I wanted to answer, it’s not bad for *you*
- you’re a man… if anything
your right to several temporary marriages, a few permanent ones and the
right to subdue females will increase. Why should it be so bad? Instead
I was silent."
Both Riverbend and the author of "Secrets in Baghdad" appear to come
"Sunni triangle" region of Iraq where voter turnout averaged 25%, as
opposed to about 70% turnout in the rest of Iraq. It is
unsurprising that occupants of the region of Iraq that most benefited
Hussein's governance should complain about the new order.
Of course all is not sweetness and light in the
state of Iraq. I found the reports of atrocities committed by
both sides deplorable, "Fatima's letter"
moving. However, In the
history of Man's attempt at civilization hitherto there has never been
any society whose progress in civilization has gone so far that, in
times of revolution or war, it's members could be relied upon not to
commit atrocities from Arnold Toynbee, "A Study of History"
C1972 p 166.
I believe that intervention by a collection of states in another
state's affairs is justified when the intervention is to prevent or
correct a significant (defined as say 1% of the population) execution
or extreme incarceration (defined as 10 - 20 years) of the citizens of
the intervenee state when the crime is nonviolent & political.
Even when that precondition is satisfied, the virtue of intervention in
nation's affairs should be considered on
a case by case basis. On the best information
available the balance of continuing harm with the existing status quo
potential harm and forecast improvement during and following any
intervention should be weighed.
In Iraq, I understand that more than 1% of the citizens were unjustly
condemned for political crimes. The intervention, on balance, was
to the greater good of the
majority. I believe that we (the coalition) would have not
fulfilled our duty of
care to our fellow man if we had not intervened.
I also believe that history's lesson is that intervention where the US
been a party has usually been met with the subsequent approval of the
population. (Except perhaps, the Hillary Clinton inspired
intervention in Serbia.)
INTEREST RATES -
is now four weeks since I predicted
that Australian interest rates would not rise. I was wrong.
The reserve bank's board did raise interest rates in March by 0.25%,
and the reason given was wage inflation.
Then again, the board did not raise interest rates a further 0.25% at
it's scheduled meeting in April, despite having warned that such an
increase was probable. I think we can ascribe that failure to the
business members of the reserve board outvoting the academic members of
the board. There are times when practice ("flying by the seat of
the pants") is better than theory (instrument flying). Theory is
that wage inflation (due to a shortage of labour) can be controlled by
increasing interest rates. Practice is that if consumers have no
money, then retail business will suffer. Practice is that home
mortgage rates increasing reduces the amount of money in consumer's
How can we resolve this paradox? Let me try to provide a
The inference that can be drawn from (1) is that
unless wages rise faster than the CPI, then workers will be obtaining a
reduced real income, because the CPI is not a measure of real price
inflation. Therefore (since the government resistes real wage
increases larger than the CPI) employees are probably having to work
a second job, just to pay the same bills that they paid last year
- How can there not be price inflation when Australia
gets twice as much for primary mineral exports (iron ore and other
minerals)? The Chinese
are producing goods
for practically nothing, but they do need raw materials. For a
long time their low cost production has kept inflation low. (no Martha,
wasn't MacFarlaine's clever management of the reserve bank). So
Chinese goods are now costing more because we charge them more for iron
ore and other minerals. That is price inflation.
- Another issue is that the statistical measure of the CPI
Index) has been artificially reduced. (fiddled, if you like). The
CPI is inaccurate
for several reasons, but one important reason for reduction is that (as
the government ordered the royal statistician to NOT include real
estate inflation in the CPI. This has led to the situation where
housing costs have been progressively excluded from the CPI. (Do
I need to expand on real estate inflation? I thought not.).
Consequently cost of living has risen faster than the government
produced CPI would seem to indicate.
- Another issue is the unemployment statistics. The
government, perhaps because unemployment statistics are politically
sensitive, has instructed the royal statistician as to which data
to include in unemployment statistics. Consequently there are
many unemployed citizens who would like to be employed (usually I
suspect, having superior
qualifications) but who cannot be bothered with the aggravation of
registering as unemployed, and confronting the various government
officials and their intrusive questions and demeaning demands.
I believe that (2) and (3) are government-inflicted "corrections" that
the reserve board theoreticians ignored when performing the
calculations on which they increased interest rates. I believe
that if they had excluded the government
specified corrections, then they would have realized that there was,
no wage inflation.
Because if there is wage inflation, where is it? Who is paying
the over award wages?