24th & 29th October 2005



On 25th September I wrote about government secrets and monopolies (bubbles).  I am not going to write about the tollroads in Sydney, Australia. Spleenie has covered that issue.   I agree with Spleenie, it is our system of government, it's secrecy, it's sponsorship of private ownership of infrastructure monopolies that is the cause of our angst.  We the people of Australia need a way to more directly make our voice heard.

Where we are going is the path followed in Europe, which is in cultural stagnation brought about by high taxes and overgovernment.


The Israelis have given Gaza to the Palestinians, there are reports of violence and corruption in Gaza.  Maybe the Israelis should give as much back to the Palestinians as possible - before the Palestinian people realize what a good deal they have, and demand that Israel govern Palestine.  (Just kidding).

The Syrian dictator is in a load of trouble, it seems that his minions have been interfering a little bit too overtly in Lebanese affairs.  The Americans are telling all and sundry all about it, and it seems that general opinion is that what he has been doing is un-Islamic (or words to that effect).

It does seem that the Sunni Iraqis who are not Kurds are not getting their way.  First they wouldn't vote, now it turns out that even if they do vote, they have no effect on the outcome.

In a rather shrewd move, the Americans released a letter purportedly from an important Al Qaida leader (Ayman al-Zawahiri) to the chief leader of the terrorists in Iraq (Abu Musab al-Zarqawi).  It was shrewd because, whether it was in fact an intercepted letter or was just a made up letter, it raised issues that must set the average Shia Iraqi thinking.

The attacks on Shia Iraquis, while no doubt generating bad feelings, could in the past have been discounted as the general enthusiasm of suicide bombers seeking a shortcut to 84 virgins, and not being too particular about where they did their mess.

This letter raises the issue, just what are the intentions of the majority Sunni Muslims in the region towards the heretic Shia?  History shows that the most vicious wars are fraternal, (Think the English "war of the roses", the American civil war, even the central African war between the Hutus and the Tutsis in Rwanda.)  There is a history of war between Sunni & Shia.  And the Sunni terrorists in Iraq are certainly acting in a manner that lends credibility to Shia fears.

29th October 2005.  The UN has just released a report on the criminal breaching of Iraqui trade sanctions, and Kofi Annan has urged that those individuals responsible be prosecuted by their governments.  In Australia, France and Russia it is not going to happen.

In Australia, for instance, the AWB (Australian Wheat Board which was a government department until around 2000, the funny business started in 1999) was reported as responsible for transferring hundreds of millions of dollars to Hussein's private treasury by way of a pretend Jordanian trucking company.  Said transport company charges (of around $80/tonne) were exorbitant, to say the least, and about five or six times the competitive commercial rate.  The story put out by AWB is that "the UN OK'd the deal."  (If I had thought I could have reliably found a single magistrate who would believe an excuse of that quality for a criminal act, I might have ventured into a life of crime.)

I understand that the French and Russian Presidents are likewise blaming the UN.  Whatever happened to the crime of "conspiracy"?.

It is interesting that the NZ dairy board is accused of the same crimes (paying bribes to Saddam) and also became a private company at the same time.  I wonder how many other government organizations around the world that were dealing with Iraq turned private in the year 2000? Did somebody in those governments with a belated sense of paranoia want another layer of protection.

Meanwhile in Iran the new President has given a keynote speech about rubbing Israel off the map.  I believe that statement can legitimately be construed as an informal declaration of war. Following that speech, the Israelis are unlikely to feel constrained by legalities like a "formal declaration of war" if a target of opportunity presents itself.  The difficulty for the Israelis is the USA, which must protect Iran from any attack crossing occupied Iraq.  So maybe the Iranians are safe for a couple of years more, (unless intelligence indicates that Iran is about to obtain critical engineering information).


Ever since the Teacher's Federation promised then failed to send someone to help me in a dispute with my employer, I have had no time whatsoever for unions.  (My employer found me innocent of the alleged wrongdoing).  Union organizers are bloodsucking leeches combined with the worst aspect of politicians.  They are definitely not the sort of people that I would want to know. 

What I know of student union politicians coincides with that conclusion.  Student union politicians use the enormous budget ($millions) that is compulsorily extracted from mostly penurious students (around $500 p/a  per student) to throw grog parties for themselves and their mates, or run various other scams that I do not want to discuss on these pages, since I am not protected by parliamentary privilege.

"Tammany Hall" would have been called "SRC Hall" if it had not been previoused in the USA.

 John Howard (for whom I have nearly as much distaste as I have for Union managers) has moved to enact legislation that, while being touted as removing power from employees, will actually empower them.  Two of the largest companies in the world (GM and FORD) are on their knees because of union power.  If the USA could have Johnny's legislation, then GM and FORD would have a chance at survival.  (Employees are empowered by a surfeit of employers, not by sending employers broke.)

As it is, I suspect that those marques will be taken over by China & India within the next decade.

29th October 2005.  The other piece of legislation proposed by PM Howard was for the control of terrorists.  Because of our constitution all legislative power is not in the hands of the Federal Government.  So PM Howard sent a copy of the proposed legislation to the state governments for approval.  The six states and the Northern Territory all said "OK".  But the chief minister of the Australian Capital Territory put it up on her website.  Citizens thereupon took interest, and certain of the more draconian elements are being rewritten.  For instance, the Feds (Australian Federal Police) might not be allowed to incarcerate suspects for six months without charges, or even justification.  Nor may they be ordered to shoot to kill, like the London Train incident.

Of course that was quite game of the CM (chief minister), because the ACT and NT are not an original states, and our Federal Government, in it's wisdom, chose not to give their legislative bodys the same powers as was given to the original states.  I suspect that PM Howard did not actually need the permission of either the ACT or NT pretend-state-governments to enact his anti-terror legislation.  I do not think he will make that mistake again.

The public response has left the Federal & State Governments flat footed.  PM Howard was relying on the States (governments') concurrence to any legislation that increased the power (or the tax burden) of an Australian government over Australians.  Normally that is a sure bet, even though the state governments were from the opposite (blue) end of the political spectrum.

Since then all the state governments have picked up the ball, and are acting quite horrified at such a horrible attack on our civil liberties by the Federal (red) government.

Why aren't I surprised?

30th October- The anti terrorist legislation has reportedly been redrafted.  Apparently (as I anticipated) the ACT CM has been warned not to publish the new draft.  The rumor mongers claim that the "shoot to kill" (aka the London Train Incident) clause has been removed.

Australia has not got a bill of rights, which would protect Australians from such blatantly draconian* legislation.  The PM instead argues that an important factor in preserving liberty is the attitude of the people.  My response is that Australians would rather not have to get shot to persuade their government that it is infringing their liberty.  Adolf Hitler took power legally because laws permitting infringement of civil rights were already established when he took power.  The Wehrmacht would not have acceded to his rule otherwise.  (Hitler used existing powers, similar to the legislation that John Howard has proposed, and arrested the communist members of the Reichstag => German parliament.  With the communists gone, the Nazi party went from 49% to 51% of the votes in the Reichstag.)  That is why it is accurately said that Hitler took power legally).

Likewise, if some plausible rogue takes over Australia, let us not provide legitimacy to an executive power seizure by arresting opponents.

*draconian, named after Draco (circa 500 BC) who was reputedly
the first person to codify Athenian law.
  Apparently execution
was the judgment penalty for the unpaid debts of commoners.