26 June 2007
many years predicting his demise, I have come to think of John Howard
as either having a charmed life, or as one of the cleverest politicians
ever to take the Australian stage. He might be even cleverer than Paul
Keating thought himself to be. Kevin Rudd is now feeling the full heat
of JH's attack, and noticeably wilting. Unless KR can find a killer Ap,
(see below) I am afraid that he will go the way of Keating, Beazley,
Crean and Latham.
One indication of JH's cleverness was his refusal to ever say
"sorry". I noted that refusal, and admired him for it, because as an
old timer with some direct experience of Aboriginals, I believed that
the procedures instituted by early governments were humane &
appropriate. Definitely not something about which I should feel sorry.
Howard has restored the policies which recent generations of
Aboriginals and liberals have condemned. No alcohol on the reservation.
Providing healthy food in lieu of money, (money is something which
Aboriginals are not equipped culturally to understand). Compulsory
health checks for children. If warranted, taking children at risk and
putting them in boarding schools or foster homes, and giving them an
education which allows them to become productive and valued members of
the non aboriginal society.
The real problem is that Aboriginal culture is an inappropriate
interface for the products of a technological civilization.
If Aboriginals wish to retain their aboriginal culture, then they
must return to being hunter gatherers. No technical toys from white
culture. No fishing nets, (They had not invented them before 1770). No
metals. No ceramics (necessary to, among other things, ferment
alcohol), and they must accept that their numbers would be culled by
periodic starvation. If they do not want that basket of nasties, then
they should relinquish their protective attitude about "their" culture,
stop condemning the non-aboriginal people for cultural imperialism, and
allow us to bring their culture into alignment with a technological
If John Howard had said "Sorry", he could not in all honesty have
taken those action to rectify the situation. He recognized the implicit
error of those left wing liberal trendies. Reservations that are
alcohol free, foster homes for at risk children, these are not the
things for which I (or JH) need feel sorry. I feel sorry that those
well meaning left wing trendoids managed to invade our university
history departments and mis-educate a generation of our history
teachers, who by then misinforming a generation of Australian
schoolchildren that "previous Australian governments committed crimes
against Aboriginals" (i.e. "stole a generation" of Aboriginal culture,
"kept Aboriginals on reservations", "did not allow Aboriginals equal
rights" to buy alcohol). Those people are the ultimate cause of
Those trendoids learned well the lesson of George Orwell, written in
"1984″. "He who controls the present controls the past. He who
controls the past controls the future." Now we must undo their
What is the Killer Ap""for Kevin Rudd? What must KR do? This whole
Aboriginal initiative of JH is a real trap. If KR accepts it, then the
Labour party becomes a laughing stock (i.e. they must now say "We're
not sorry now").
But all is not lost. I believe that JH has one weakness. Howard is
an elitist, in the sense that he believes that he is better able to
choose the direction for our society than are either the Labour party
(probably true) or we the Australian people.
Unfortunately, KR is also an elitist. So he probably will not adopt
the one policy which I believe just might pip JH at the post.
What policy? Quite simple. Introduce a more democratic form of
government. Either by introducing a more or less continuous online poll
of voters to determine day to day government policy, or introduce a
"Schwartzenegger amendment" to the constitution. In other words, amend
the constitution so that the people could initiate an election whenever
they got sufficiently irritated with the elected government.
My bet is that KR would collect the margin for victory. My guess is
that unless he reciprocated, (which would be hard for JH to do) then KR
would win by a landslide.
6 June 2007
CURRENT EVENTS IN OZ
After seeing the recent performance of
Queensland Premier Beatty, I
am not surprised that parts of Queensland are anxious to split. Beatty
is the sort of Premier that makes visitors laugh at the motto on
Queensland car number plates which states "The Clever State". Hehe. So
how come they elected Beatty?
e.g. Beatty has decided to reorganize
government, so, without consultation, just a few months after being
elected, he unilaterally decided to combine local councils (no doubt in
an attempt to reduce the expanding count of independent councilors). As
a reason he said "many councils are experiencing financial difficulty".
When challenged, he was unable to produce a list, however a list
compiled by local government indicates that only about 2 or 3 (5%) of
councils are in real difficulty. (Maybe, with the Labour party under
such financial stress from "work choices", redesigning the lifeboats is
not such a dumb move.)
Another example, the state of Queensland
is a major mineral
exporter. The Queensland government monopoly rail system is reportedly
costing the nation $billions in lost exports because it cannot handle
transfer of coal and other minerals to the dock. Reportedly about 30
ships are waiting outside Mackay harbour as I write. Beatty has
attempted to blame the other players (The mines are to blame, the
privately owned docks cannot handle the throughput, etc.) however those
other players deny that they are to blame. Then again, maybe that
stupidity is not so dumb, if it advantages unions.
Opposition leader Rudd has shown great
promise in the polls, despite
the difficulties put in his path by PM Howard. However recently he
seems to have lost the initiative.
First there was the fact that his wife, a
multi-millionaire (a business worth around $100M after 20 years, built
from government subsidies for expediting the meeting of employers with
employees) had been using work contracts, and even had dealings with
the much reviled "Work Choices"
legislation. Work Choices was a John Howard political initiative that
struck a potentially fatal blow at the heart of the Labour party
machine. "Work Choices" legislation reversed over 100 years of Union
sponsored legislation that had entrenched unions in the workplace. Work
Choices is an alternative to unions.
Rudd's wife has now committed to selling
the Australian operations
of her company. I am having difficulty in calculating whether that was
a shrewd business move on her part, or a noble gesture. On the one
hand, a Labour win would severely damage the economy, which would be
bad for most businesses. On the other hand, this is an employment
business, so with the rising unemployment that John Howard has forecast
if "Work Choices" is repealed, any business getting a government
handout for helping people to find work could be very well placed
financially. I suppose it would ultimately depend on whether the
government subsidy was subject to the employment agency actually
finding the unemployed person a job.
Then KR had trouble with the "salt of the
earth" language of
hardline unionists. Howard seems, in the meantime, to be gaining
traction (despite the increasing desperation of Garrett and the much
diminished Greens) in the Global Warming debate after announcing a
"financially responsible" global warming initiative. Again, he was
simultaneously able to paint Labour as financially irresponsible
because Labour intended to set pollution limits without first
calculating their effect on the economy.
The most recent polls indicate a quite
massive swing back towards Howard.
SEPARATION OF POWERS
Last week the NSW state prosecutor (an
supposedly immune to political influence) sent a couple of NSW
policemen to the hotel of Indonesian General Sutiyoso (now a Governor
in Java who just happened to have been the general allegedly in charge
of the Timor invasion back in the late seventies when the Balibo 5 were
killed) with a request for his appearance in front of a court. Perhaps
exceeding their authority, those police permitted the hotel staff to
use a key to gain entry after successive knocking on Sutiyoso's door
elicited no response.
The general was not amused, and a
diplomatic incident resulted.
Premier Iemma (NSW) apologised to the General and has since
demonstrated that the prosecutor is perhaps not quite as independent as
we had thought… Premier Iemma is looking worse all the time.
Until recently, I have been prepared to
give Venezeula's President
Chavez the benefit of doubt. He earned that benefit by enacting
legislation that gave voters the power to remove him from office, in
the same way that voters were able to remove Grey as Governor of
California and appoint Schwartzenegger as governator. However Chavez'
action in refusing to renew the TV broadcasting license of the leading
anti-Chavez network in Venezeula for alleged anti Chavez propoganda
appears to be heavy handed. A more elegant (though perhaps less simple)
solution would have been to legislatively curtail foreign influence or
find some other aspect which had permitted control of the broadcaster
by hostile elements.
It has been established in numberless
instances around the world
that suppression of dissenting opinion generates resentment and
opposition. On the other hand, permitting public opposition allows
those who are dissatisfied a chance to indulge their grievance until
they become aware of the consequences of a change of government.
Since October 1999 I have been advocating
that the US develop an efficient ABM. (1),
The Russians have objected to their former satellites obtaining ABM
installations. The Chinese have made known their concerns that Taiwan
might obtain ABM installations.
It heartens me to see that both the
Russians and the Chinese have
started to complain. I take those complaints as evidence that the US
has produced an effective ABM that might be able to defend against the
ICBMs that those nations possess. If those nations had read this diary
back in 1999 they might have realized both the technical possibilities
for, and strategic importance of a functional, efficient ABM.
Far from the dire warnings of those
nations, an effective ABM will
reduce the likelihood of brushfire wars, because who would bluff with
ICBMs a nation whose ally is defended by a 99% effective ABM shield?
That ABM incidentally removes urgent
concerns about a secretly
developed nuclear missile threat from either North Korea or Iran. I
suspect that the hardline governments of those nations will wither when
it becomes obvious that neighboring nations are ignoring them because
they no longer presented a threat.
I have remarked before that the occasional
column by a writer who
uses the nom de plume "Henry Thornton" (in this instance, "Asset price
bubble a worry" in "The Australian" of 5th June 2007) is extremely
useful because he almost always gets everything about 180 degrees
wrong. His argument in this instance is that asset inflation applies to
BHP, the stock market and real estate when those items are compared to
the CPI. (From the graph he gives, Real Estate has increased by 400%
whilst CPI increased by 200% since 1986)
The CPI (Consumer Price Index) has become
a politicized instrument,
which nowadays mostly reflects the cost of consumables, (imported
Chinese knick-knacks and farming) not (as most punters think), the cost
of living. Nonetheless, especially since around 2000, there has been an
inflation of real estate and stocks. HT identifies the commonly given
reason for that inflation, which is too many dollars (from super funds
and capital inflows) chasing too few assets. That explanation does not
suit Henry, who reasons that the theory does not explain the booming
stockmarket in China, which does not have large capital inflows.
You gotta wonder how Henry makes a living
in the real world.
Henry, it's the Chinese (voluntary)
equivalent of our compulsory
superannuation that causes Chinese asset inflation. Individual Chinese
are investing on the Chinese stock exchange. The Chinese have a culture
that encourages a very high personal savings rate.
Seems that Trujillo and Samuel are in
deadlock. Each is an expert in
his own business, and neither will concede. I guess they just got off
on the wrong foot.
Only dialup is available to Barvennon.
Even if Trujillo & Samuel
stop fighting, I can't see any likely improvement in transmission
speeds. Supposedly I could get satellite, but the waiting list is long,
relying on misiscule periodic handouts (subsidies) by the government.
Originally I felt that Trujillo was
merely making a commercial
statement when he refused to build FTTN under the conditions set by
Samuel. Now I am not so sure. There does seem to be an element of
monopolistic aggression in some of Burgess' latest statements. Perhaps
Samuel overstated the magnitude, but I am beginning to believe that he
might have got the quality right. It remains to be seen whether Coonan
and Costello can find an amicable solution.