2 nd February 2006
Objective analysis.  That's what's done here.



Breitbart reported yesterday that "Google Stock Down After Results Miss Views"On closer reading it turned out that financial forecasters' & journalists' profit estimates (views) were waaaay above the actuality.  Apparently they had hugely underestimated (by more than 14c/share) Google profits in the past five quarters, and they had hugely overestimated (by 14% or 22c/share) profits this quarter.  It gets worse.  Apparently Google is a rarity.  It does not give profit forecasts.

So let's put it in perspective: financial analysts & journalists have had to actually make their own estimates instead of reading predigested corporate PR.  Despite the magnificent qualifications, financial expertise and huge salaries these financial experts no doubt get paid (at least in relation to their displayed expertise) they got it hugely wrong in all six quarterly forecasts of Google profits.  (Google has only been a public company for six quarters).  Could somebody suggest (for publication here) a blogger financial forecaster who actually uses ability to forecast profits, and doesn't blame the target company when profits are not as forecast?

Google has been in the news lately for standing up to Uncle Sam about privacy, and for caving in to China about censorship.  (No significant mention was made that Yahoo & everybody else had already caved in to
Uncle Sam & China.)  In fact, Bill Gates has recently spoken with approval of the Chinese regime, apparently believing that they will soon join the ranks of governments who consider breaching of copyright to be a capital crime.

Microsoft's projected Vista OS is rumored to be an attack on Google's search monopoly, on the other hand there are rumors that Google is working on a downloadable OS with a suite of applications.  With broadband, an online OS becomes a real possibility.  I suppose that it would function by downloading the OS from Google during boot.  There are a lot of issues, but my money would be on Google.  However Bill Gates is a wily player, not above quite a few dirty tricks, it's a fair way to game.

- AWB II -

The US Senate seems to be taking an interest in our cosy little John Howard designed judicial investigation of the corrupt ex-government QANGO called AWB which is Australia's wheat sales monopoly, which it is now known paid larger bribes than anybody else in the world to support Saddam Hussein.   According to today's "Australian" (2/2/06), PM Howard's past senior adviser, and then Washington Ambassador John Thawley spoke to Republican Senator Coleman in October 2004 & "unequivocally dismissed" any possibility that the AWB was paying bribes to Saddam Hussein.

As an Australian I believe that my government has the duty of taking those actions that will maximize Australia's national income.  (and reducing my taxes thereby).  However that mandate does not extend to commission of illegal or even immoral acts to attain that objective.   For instance, Australia under Fraser was the first country to recognize Indonesia's invasion/annexation of E.Timor, and it profited us greatly thereby.  Personally I would have preferred that Indonesia not have been encouraged in that invasion, and I am happy that John Howard has supported Timor separation, and happy that he has returned at least some of the mineral hydrocarbon income to which they are, by international law, entitled.  Frazer's actions on our behalf were probably not illegal, but they were immoral.  Australia profited at the expense of the Timorese.

In the same way, I can appreciate that our government labored to sell our wheat to Iraq against intense competition, and against severe political difficulties.  They probably had knowledge that other people (the French and Russian Presidents and Kofi Annan's son spring to mind) were corruptly giving bribes.  That others were guilt of the same crime does in no way excuse the payment of bribes.

According to law, a crime committed in my name is a crime committed by me, unless I disavow that crime and do everything in my power to make restitution & bring the guilty parties to justice.

I disavow that crime.  There should be an open investigation of all people involved, including Prime Minister John Howard, minister for trade Alexander Downer, then ambassador Thawley and the relevant chairmen & board members of the AWB and the various government departments.  That investigation should be conducted under the auspices of the High Court.  In view of the heinous nature of the offense, justice demands that those found guilty should have assets confiscated and be jailed.  One of the tests of guilt should be whether the individual concerned benefited directly; if not, then there should be a presumption that either (a) the officer was directed by a superior to perform the act, or (b) the officer was chosen because it was anticipated that he would act in that manner, and so on up the food chain.  John Howard certainly benefited by having made the sales.  He kept my taxes low and therefore I voted for him..

How can we prevent corruption from recurring in the future?  Corruption would be hindered by eliminating all reference to "charges" or "exempt documents" from the Freedom of Information Act and making all Government documents available online*.  This is not the first time I have written about secrecy in government.  While our government can act in secrecy from we, it's shareholders, it is open slather for criminals & the morally turpitudinous to enter government (especially with the slander & defamation laws that we have) & exercise their talents.

* Admittedly, there are issues such as personnel records that will need careful redesign.
  There is much information on the personnel records of public sector employees that is
 quite irrelevant to the qualification assessment necessary in hiring of the employee, and
 should be deleted.  There is other information about public sector employees which
 should be available to any taxpayer.

- IRAN -

China and Russia are both (together with Euro powers & the US) bringing evidence of acquisition by Tehran of nuclear weapon technology before the UN security council.  Tehran states that the evidence is misinterpreted, false or fabricated, and that in any case, it has a perfect right to obtain such technology if it so desires.

The government in Tehran needs a lesson in realpolitik.  That lesson is:   Equal rights is a fine libertarian theory, except (for instance at the village level) where the person wanting equal rights is giving good reason for belief by others that (s)he is a homicidal maniac, and the particular equal right that (s)he wants is the acquisition of a deadly weapon.

Of course perhaps the Iranians are a perfectly reasonable bunch of people from a culture very different from our own, and we are misinterpreting their responses.  Perhaps they are extremely hurt & offended that others should consider their polemics as evidence that they are a nation of religiously homicidal maniacs.  By their culture, our suspicions might require them to maintain their "honor" by seeking to acquire those very items that we seek to deprive them of, but only because we seek to deprive them of those items.   It is mere coincidence that those weapons are what they would have required to carry out their oft repeated threats against their neighbors.

Unfortunately, we cannot give Tehran that much latitude.  The lesson of history (which they apparently deny) is that the time to stop homicidal maniacs (religious or otherwise) is before they acquire power.

China and Russia are erstwhile allies of oil power Iran.  I calculate that only their belief that there was a threat of imminent military action by Israel and/or the US against Iran could have brought about such action by China and Russia. 

I believe that the leaders in Tehran have fallen into the trap of believing their own polemics.  Do they think that the only reason the US went into Iraq was to stop Saddam?  Do they believe (as they say) that they could successfully fire missiles across US forces in Iraq against Israel?  The USA might not look very efficient as an occupying power, but as a military power they have no match.

My December prediction stands.
we can anticipate strategic pinpoint bombing with minimal unavoidable civilian casualties* (about March 2006 is my guess).  I imagine that the delivery mode will be by some sort of stealthed cruise missile, and when the resulting radioactive plume makes a few thousand Iranians sick, the response will be "Tut tut, gee whizz, we didn't realize that they were so far into processing.."  Most of the rest of the cosy dictatorships in Islam do not approve of the "holier than thou" fundamentalist attitude, so it can be expected that they will be totally outraged, but (with hands out, palms up:) what can I do against the powers ranged against us etc...