As recently as 2004, the U.S. was Australia’s number one trading partner but China has replaced the U.S.

Australia did $18.6 billion with China in 2003-2004 and $21.6 billion with the U.S.

In 2004-2005, these figures changed to $24.1 billion and $22.6 billion. So, the U.S. is not dropping, but

China just flew by.

Australia is very attractive to China because the Aussies have 30% of the world’s uranium. On the other

side of the ledger, China helps keep Australia’s manufacturing costs low. The political upshot of all this

is that Australia is no longer impressed by U.S. anti-China propaganda, namely the idea that

China is a military threat to the land down under because China enjoys capitalism


The NY Times has a foolish, unthinking editorial criticizing Michael Chert off for asking for more federal standards to protect vulnerable chemical plants from being bashed, banged and boomed to smithereens by the bad guys. Instead he should get after the industry for not doing all it can within the existing standards. The problem with the Times is that it has not read any of my articles explaining why we don’t have a problem.

The Washington Post is not sure that prosecuting Steven Rosen and Keith Weiss man for

passing secrets to Israel is wise. Of course, it isn’t. It is downright dumb but the Post focuses on the wrong aspect of the madness. It says, “”The conviction would herald a dangerous aggrandizement of the government’s power not merely to prosecute leaks but to force ordinary Americans to keep its secrets. The Post makes no comment on the absurdity of this particular case. It seems that U.S. Intelligence came into possession of an Iranian plot to

do nasty things in Israel. You would think that letting Israel know would be a good idea. Uh,

  1. U.S. Intelligence doesn’t share its secrets. Rather like getting into trouble for telling your

mother that the elevator is broken and dangerous. Everyone is supposed “to mind his own

business.”. Haven’t we been told that ad nauseum?


Madeline Al bright has an op-ed piece in today’s LA Times. It seems she doesn’t think Bush is the smartest man of the last 1000 years. She doesn’t think much of the phrase “axis of of evil” either and, for that matter, doesn’t see why Bush lumps Saddam Hussein with bin Laden. These are separate concerns. We’re with you, Madame Secretary, on all counts.


Argentina raised the minimum salary at which it imposes income tax. This will cost the government $490 million in lost revenue.

Brazil’s zero-coupon Treasury bill which matures in January 2007 now pays 15.1%. Got the guts, anyone? Count me out.

Chile’s copper exports surged 81% last month. (How nice. I once bought Anaconda copper when I was a callow youth. The next day, Chile nationalized the company and I got 0 cents on the dollar.)

The yield on Columbia’s benchmark 13.5% bond, due September 2014, rose to 7.5%. Sell this! Don’t be deterred by the fact that you don’t own any.

Good times in Mexico. Industrial output jumped from 2.7% to 3.9% in December – best increase in a long time. It has nothing to do with you and, unfortunately, nothing to do with the Mexican people.

Peru’s economic growth is slowing but its 9.91% bond maturing in May 2015 is paying a nifty 7.58%. Therefore? Sell, of course and, once again, it doesn’t matter that you don’t have any to sell. Sell, anyway. Or pretend.

All is well in Venezuela, of course. Unemployment is rapidly falling, economic growth is going swell, and Hugo Chavez wants to beat George Bush to a bloody pulp in or out of the ring. And he can do it.


The so-called “Butcher of the Balkans”, Slobodan Milosevic, was found dead in his prison cell. He died early this morning but the exact time is unknown. Death is attributed to natural causes since he had been quite ill for some time. He had been awaiting trial for crimes against humanity.




About 35 years ago there was a hilarious movie musical about Hitler titled “The Producers” whose hit song was called “Springtime for Hitler.” It was meant to be unintentionally funny. Now the Germans are trying it themselves, only this time the joke is blatant. Berlin crowds were stunned by the sight of swastikas and demonstrations until they discovered it was all part of a movie spoofing the Nazi regime. It is a parody on Hitler’s final days and it is called “Mein Fuhrer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler.” I can’t wait to see it when it opens in the U.S.A.