11th & 13th & 19th April 2006
Objective analysis.  That's what's done here.



The Newspaper industry is facing more problems.  In NY, reporter Jared Stern is in trouble for soliciting contributions for favorable comment in the social pages.  The journalistic standards in Australia makes one wonder why anybody bothers to buy papers, except through habit - Oh, that's right, they don't.  According to Rupert Murdoch, only those over thirty years of age buy newspapers.

Is "the Press" doomed?   I still buy a daily because it is pleasant to sit down to a morning flat white with a newspaper, and after leisurely reading a few items of interest, to attack the daily Su-Do-Ku puzzle.  (Before going out to coffee I will have been online to read my 1 2 favorite strips on the Washington Post, and have read the Drudge headlines.)

Yesterday's editorial in "The Australian" castigated Foreign Minister Downer.  My image of Downer is indelibly tied to (I think it was) Journalist Liz Hayes observation that he was "The Cream" of the Liberal party.  When the interviewer, obviously puzzled, questioned "The Cream?" Liz responded with a wicked smile "Rich and Thick".

I expect that the newspaper industry's future is inevitable tied to the convenience of portable computers.  As Laptops and PDA's converge, then I will be able to take that hybrid out with me for coffee, and there read the latest (wireless) news, solve the latest su-do-ku. (or Latin Square, if you are a traditionalist)


The US congress is beating up on illegal immigrant Mexicans again.  That is a retrograde step for the USA, which, like 5th Century BC Athens, was founded and prospered on unrestricted immigration.

As an Australian farmer I really shouldn't be complaining.  Some of that cheap Mexican labor is in California picking fruit, which currently makes US fruit in the USA cheaper than Australian fruit in the USA.  I expect that if US legislators successfully stop Mexican illegals, then our fruit will be cheaper than US fruit in the USA, and it is likely that the wages that Mexicans repatriate will amount to less than the cost of imported Australian fruit.  Americans will benefit, because our soil has fewer herbicides etc.

Like the USA, we in Australia also have immigration problems.  In our case the problem immigrants are Muslim.  Of course most of us realize that 99.9% of Muslims are not terrorists, thugs or rapists (there is a difference?), but unfortunately nobody can sort out which are the antisocials, so it is easiest to exclude the lot.  (I think it was the Germans who recently reported that the 5% of Muslims in Germany were responsible for 70% of the rapes).  Already we have a major problem in Sydney, with one social science group reporting that in February, in the 33hours from midnight on a Monday to 9pm Wednesday there were 45 violent robberies, 15 of which were carried out with a knife or gun.

I have previously predicted (
on this site) that we can not exclude terrorism from Australia by immigration control, and that the correct antidote to the increasing violence and terror in our society is the liberalization of gun ownership.  By allowing those concerned, law abiding citizens who feel threatened and care to carry a concealed weapon, any would be terrorist or thug would have to plan much more carefully.  Think how differently the Port Arthur massacre might have turned out if even a few of Martin Bryant's 53 victims had carried concealed weapons.

I am afraid that we will need a few changes of
government and a tenfold increase in civil violence before such rational methods for the reduction of violent crime can be introduced.   But maybe I underestimate my fellow sheep.


Back in the seventies the NAACP started the battle for equal (ethnic) rights.  Before going further, let me say I am a firm advocate of equal treatment for all people.  By and large I approve of legislation that enforces that equivalence. (race, color, sex, religion, you name it.)

In Australia of the seventies our historians rewrote the history books, changing and modifying facts until it appeared that greedy white men stole aboriginal land without compensation, and engaged in various vile practices to destroy aboriginal culture.  The aboriginals were painted blameless white.  These lies were then promulgated to the new generation of Australians by means of modifications to the school syllabuses and the efforts of liberal journalists.  Most of those "facts" have since been refuted and are conceded to have been an excess of the era.  Unfortunately, damage has already been done to the reality perception of Australians younger than about 45.

Another excess of that era was affirmative action for women.  I am the father of daughters, and am sympathetic to many aspects of the feminist equal rights movement.  However "affirmative action" such as promoting people merely because they complied with the minimum requirements for a promotion, and were female, is unjust.  Affirmative action has resulted in many highly qualified men being "passed over" in favor of much less competent women, merely because they were men.

The feminist movement has initiated other and more dangerous injustices.  It has transformed the educational system by changing the syllabus so that girls are advantaged in most subjects.  It has done this by emphasizing that aspect of a subject where women (at least in Australia) seem to have an inherent advantage.  Australian women have historically performed better in tests concerned with the use of language, just as men have generally excelled in abstract and spatial reasoning (math and engineering).   Susan Maushart explained in an article in the Weekend Australian Magazine (April 06) that:

straight-down-the-line assessment, - where the answer was either right or wrong - has been replaced by journal-writing and "reflections".  The result is an educational environment engineered to advantage those with innate verbal and expressive gifts - females.

Expecting the same verbal performance from the two sexes is a bit like (in the extreme) expecting the same physical performance in sport.  Nobody expects women to compete with men on the race track or in the boxing ring.

Do we want the best mathematicians and engineers to design our bridge or aeroplane, or do we want the person who can best express themselves in language to design that bridge or aeroplane?  When teaching engineering, I do not favor the student who can (in lucid and precise terms) explain why they got the (wrong) answer, I prefer the student who got the right answer, even if their explanation is in language less elegant.

In any case, the primary problem is not in our education system, it is in our preschool nurturing.   Most parents are bringing up their children with the values of the last century.  (Examples of what I mean are the expectations of most men that their wives will take the load of childrearing, household management and management of the emotional bonds in the family.  As exemplified by the fact that a majority of separations are by wives leaving husbands, and mostly the husbands had no idea why.)

So the individual can fix the problem by considering their own family. 
  1. To teach a child emotional independence, give it lots of unconditional emotional support. If it never has to solicit approval in childhood, it will hopefully grow into an adult who does not seek approval.  (of course, by so doing, you may well destroy any chance the child might have had of succeeding in showbiz, media or politics.)
  2. To teach a child to think creatively, do not try to instruct or educate it. (Discovery learning is more a efficient way of learning, in the long run, than behavior modification).  In any case, how do you know that what you are teaching is correct?  It is unfortunately inevitable that the child will learn lessons from you, often the things that you would not want to teach it.
  3. To teach a child not to try to control others, exercise only the minimum control necessary. (i.e. the necessary control to keep it from straying onto the local intersection and getting killed, etc.)  e.g. If the child wants to come shopping with you, then allow it to come, even if it is less convenient.  If it wants to do something dangerous, allow that, but watch carefully, so that you can intervene.  Controlling others and being controlled by others are two aspects of the same trait.  With one, you get the other.
Hopefully, in this way, we can on an individual level make the necessary changes in our children's upbringing that will better prepare them for the rapidly evolving social realities of our culture.

- (Australian Tax Office) -

It is back to budget time, and treasurer Costello is expounding rationalizations for the new tax formula, which is apparently further cuts.  This is only happening because we do not have indexed tax brackets, with the result that a majority of wage earners are in the second to top bracket.

The majority of Australians over 50 are, of course, a bit thick.  My fellow Australians were offered tax indexation by Malcolm Frazer back in the late seventies, but took so little notice of that offer that it was quietly withdrawn.

Currently we pay (according to "The Australian" of 13th April 2006) about 32c in the dollar of GNP.  The USA, S. Korea and Japan are the major countries who pay less (at about 25c per GNP dollar) while the no-hopers in Europe pay up around 35c -50c per GNP dollar.  Canada pays a bit more than us.

The only reason that Australia is doing as well (high growth, low inflation) as Japan, Canada & the USA is our resources. 
I read recently that if the USA were not at war, it's budget would be balanced.  The reason that UK and Norway are keeping an even economic keel is oil.

Surely our government can read the writing, it's writ clear enough.  Low taxes promote a healthy economy.  As a codicil, the best tax is a flat tax, with negative income tax to replace Social Security.  That way, we could sack everyone in DSS.

The problem that our masters see with that scenario has the same reasoning as that which prompted them to make drugs illegal - they are frightened that not enough people will go to work if social security is too freely given.

House of Representative member Turnbull has discovered that one of the fringe benefits of his job (the government car) is worth $20,000 per annum.  I hope our ATO boys are collecting FBT from our government members on that!


19th April 2006.

The Iranians seem to have some anxiety about the security of their nuclear facilities.  This may be deduced from their pointed recital of all the bad things that they could do in the event that the USA destroyed their enrichment capability.

A sample of their threats.
  1. They have tens of thousands of martyrs ready to go.
  2. They will destabilize the situation in Iraq.
  3. They will block the straights of Hormuz, and oil will go past $100/barrel.

These threats are mostly paper tigers.  How can they get those
tens of thousands of martyrs anywhere important?  Having gone through USA security in 2004, I would give them Buckley's chance of getting Martyrs into the USA.

There is a Muslim Sufi (sage) (mythical?) called Nasrudin.  In one parable, his friends find him searching under a street light for some money he lost.  Before long, a group of people is helping him search.  Finally, one of his helpers, exasperated, asked Nasrudin where he actually lost the coin.  Nasrudin pointed across the road, and said "I lost it over there".  The helper then asked "Why are you looking for it over here?", to which Nasrudin replied, as if to a simpleton, "Because there is more light over here."

In the spirit of Sufi mystics, Iranians could infiltrate & martyr themselves in the Sunni regions in Iraq.  At least they will be able to get there.  They might even manage to thereby achieve point (2) and destabilize Iraq, although with Arabs you never know.  Maybe they will manage to unite Iraqis of the various sects against the Iranian invader.

As for stopping the flow of oil, well I am not so sure that they can with any certainty block Hormuz.  (The greenies would be happy if they did, because $100/bl oil would most certainly cut carbon greenhouse emissions.  If oil gets much higher than about $150/bl, then synthetic alternatives become viable options).  I remember another Arab called Saddam who thought that his army would stop the US military at his border.  I find that people from that part of the world seem to have a cultural need to overstate their own abilities.

However I am reasonably certain that the defiant posture of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is unlikely to be the sole cause for any US or Israeli belligerence. 
What President Mahmoud says is merely local politics.  As Mandy said, "he would say that, wouldn't he?"  Defiance is a win-win situation for Mahmoud.

Demolition.  How it could be done.

The Iranian centrifuges could be taken out anonymously, and who could say who was to blame?

Stealth is stealth, and the principles of stealth are for sale in the market.
   Stealth technology missiles are (no doubt) also available on the black-market.  As for the precautions (hardening) that the Iranians have no doubt taken to prevent such attacks, I can only point out that the initiative lies with the attacker, and there are many ways to render facilities useless other than by explosives.  Expect the unexpected.  Who expected the brazen Israelis would bomb Iraqi nuclear sites on the last similar occasion?

The location of most centrifugal sites is freely available on the internet to anybody who bothers to search, and those that are not so available are available to anybody prepared to pay a private intelligence agency.

Islam is looking very much a failed philosophy.  Since 622 AD Islamic states have been trying in a desultory fashion to eradicate or disperse the Jews, who in that time have gone from a few scattered refugee tribes (in places like Medina - Mohommed eliminated that tribe in one of the world's first examples of genocide - Ethiopa, Spain etc.) to a small, independent and powerful nation able to stand against the Arabs of the middle east.  Granted, Islam has produced some great religious architecture, but advances in science and technology, liberalism and economics are most notable by their scarcity.

On the military front Islam is reduced from invading hordes at Poitou-Charentes circa 732AD
, reduced from the proud Knights of Saladin in the twelfth century who reconquered Jerusalem, now we have the skulking terrorists of the 20th Century who cannot put an effective army in the field.

How far the mighty have fallen.

I would like to see somebody do a correlation between religion and economic
(per capita) wealth, adjusted for natural resources.  Within Christendom there was an often remarked upon (anecdotal) difference in per capita income between predominantly Catholic states (Italy, Spain & Ireland spring to mind) and majority protestant states (US, Germany, Australia, UK).  Even within an ethnic group within a nation there may be differences.  For instance Lebanese Christians seem to prosper in Australia, but Lebanese Muslims seem not to prosper.

5th May 2006.   My prediction of last December does seem to be running late.  Baghdad Burning, written by a blogger under the nom-de-blog riverbend, suggests in a 2nd May 2006 post a reason:

The big question is- what will the US do about Iran? There are the hints of the possibility of bombings, etc. While I hate the Iranian government, the people don’t deserve the chaos and damage of air strikes and war. I don’t really worry about that though, because if you live in Iraq- you know America’s hands are tied. Just as soon as Washington makes a move against Tehran, American troops inside Iraq will come under attack. It’s that simple- Washington has big guns and planes… But Iran has 150,000 American hostages.

Riverbend also mentioned rumors of bombing and a massing of Iranian troops on the northern (Kurdish) border.  That, together with local History, Geography and Geology, suggests many things.

Iran (and Turkey) do not like the idea of Kurds having their own nation.  Kurds have a proud military tradition stretching back to Saladin.  The Kurds live in an oil rich area, and are Sunni, considered by the Shia who rule in Iran and in southern Iraq to be heretics.  An independent Kurdistan would be a thorn in everybody's whatever.

Based on those raids and the US lack of response, it is my analysis that the US and Iran are readying themselves for a tussle. The US is not ready yet.  If the US does not start the fight, then the Iranians will.