How many more EU-skeptics can one squeeze in a selfie?

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Last week a 31yo Austrian Sebastian Kurz swept to power in Austria with a strong anti-EU bias. Following the growing strength in nationalist parties in The Netherlands, France, Germany, Catalonia, Britain, Hungary, Italy, Poland it seems that the Czech Republic may be the next country to say, “who do you think you are kidding Mr Juncker

Tomio Okamura (far left in the picture) of the Czech Freedom and Direct Democracy Party (SPD) has experienced a huge surge in popularity in the polls on the eve of the vote suggesting he could secure 10% and form part of the governing coalition of which the center-right Ano Party is set to win.

He said that “Over the last couple of years, the EU has shown itself to be un-reformable… The elites are incapable of showing the flexibility needed to react to current and crucial problems such as terrorism and the migration of Muslim-African colonisers to Europe.

So where have we heard that before? Once again regardless of whether a growing number of people in Europe are viewed as unsympathetic, racist or bigoted towards refugees they are ‘still’ voting for these nationalist parties which can only be seen as another vote of no confidence in the EU project. How could it be anything else?

As to the anti-EU selfie, they may need a drone camera to squeeze them all in next time.

Sexual and domestic violence against males – the statistics

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It is perhaps unsurprising to see some women come out and blame men for their ‘silence culture’ in the aftermath of the Weinstein saga. Indeed it was some of the sisters who chose to stay silent while they collected the trappings of stardom as others suffered. If we were to believe the Me Too crusade we would think that only men commit sex crimes, right? The US National Intimate Partner Sexual Violence Survey (NIPSVS) conducted in 2010 showed that 25 million men and 53 million men had claimed they were victims of some form of sexual violence by an intimate partner or acquaintance. Both figures are shocking to be sure but the statements in a rather one-sided piece from Heather Jo Flores in The Independent with respect to Me Too.  were of particular interest:

Men, it’s not our job to keep reminding you. Remind each other, and stop abusing. It’s as simple as that. Until men speak out against men who abuse, this will never stop. How about y’all post “I ignored it and I won’t anymore” instead? Because #hearyou doesn’t cut it. Just hearing us doesn’t cut it. Taking action, speaking out, and showing zero tolerance for abuse is the only way through. Silence enables. Be the change..So why do men need to have multiple victims come forward before anybody says a damn thing”

If Flores opened her eyes she might see that we are exactly as she claims we are not.  For much of the utter rubbish men may brag about amongst themselves (e.g.bro-culture), talking up how they conducted street justice is never one of them. Take a look at the multiple social experiments on domestic violence which show random men stepping up to defend women they have never met who look to be in trouble. That is taking action. Immediate. No looking the other way. They are hardwired to protect her. It is instinctive. In the reverse, no one defended the male being attacked in the same video. If anything males smirked, some feeling sorry for him, others joining in but not stepping in the way. Where were the girls that leapt into action to protect the defenseless male? Yes, nowhere. The pot calling the kettle black?

A study conducted by the IDF showed mixed battalions had far higher casualty rates than segregated ones because the enemy would deliberately target the women knowing the men would be men and do extraordinarily risky things in harms way to protect the women. It was not that the female soldiers were any less effective in combat. These weren’t random acts of stupidity but a sense of moral duty not found in training manuals. Indeed it is men being men.

Many of us are told from our tender years that we must never hit women. To open doors, walk behind women going up escalators in case they fall, to walk on the kerbside to prevent women from potentially being drenched by a passing car hitting a puddle. In Japan one would be amazed at the reactions of surprise if one suggests women exit the elevator before men. There is a look of “are you crazy?” Followed by a polite smile and bow. We certainly feel a strong bond to defend. Is it any wonder men are 93% of war casualties?

Flores goes on to say, “Yes, I know men get abused too. Once in a lifetime, maybe a handful of times, in extreme situations. And they get abused by men, mostly. Just like us..I write this to ask: why are we still demanding that women out themselves as survivors, again and again and again, rather than demanding that men out themselves as abusers? Violence against women is a daily reality,.”

In the 12 month period conducted in the NIPSVS survey 6.46mn women and 6.1mn men were victims of sexual violence by their partner, an acquaintance or stranger. 4.74mn women were victims of physical violence by men and 5.365mn men were victims of phyiscal violence by women. Hardly a handful of times, nor at the hands of men.

1.555mn men claimed their intimate female partner hit them with fists or a hard object vs 1.289m women claiming the reverse. 3.13mn men were slapped by their women vs 1.85mn in the reverse. Awful stats on any measure. Still it puts paid the notion that men are generally victims of other men once a blue moon. When it came to psychological intimidation around 20.5mn men were victims of it vs 16.5mn women.

The NIPSVS survey was conducted again in 2011 and revealed much the same trends.

If men must out themselves as abusers, perhaps female abusers should do likewise and male survivors should speak out just as women do.

According to a UK study,

“Male victims  (39%) are over three times as likely than women (12%) not to tell anyone about the partner abuse they are suffering from. Only 10% of male victims will tell the police (26% women), only 23% will tell a person in an official position (43% women) and only 11% (23% women) will tell a health professional.

The number of women convicted of perpetrating domestic abuse has increased seven fold since 2004/05. From 806 in 2004/05 to 5,641 in 2015/16…In 2015, 119,000 men reported to English and Welsh police forces stating they were a victim of domestic abuse. 22% of all victims who report to the police are male. In 2012, 73,524 men did…

Men don’t leave abusive relationships for various reasons – the top reasons being: concern about the children (89%), marriage for life (81%), love (71%), the fear of never seeing their children again (68%), a belief she will change (56%), not enough money(53%), nowhere to go (52%), embarrassment (52%), not wanting to take kids away from their mother (46%), threats that she will kill herself (28%) and fears she will kill him (24%). 

Of those that suffered from partner abuse in 2012/13, 29% of men and 23% of women suffered a physical injury, a higher proportion of men suffering severe bruising or bleeding (6%) and internal injuries or broken bones/teeth (2%) than women (4% and 1% respectively). 30% of men who suffer partner abuse have emotional and mental problems (47% women). Only 27% of men sought medical advice whilst 73% of women did.

The percentage of gay or bi-sexual men (6.2%) who suffered partner abuse in 2008/09 is nearly double the number for heterosexual men (3.3%). Lesbian women (12.4%) as a percentage also suffered far more partner abuse compared to heterosexual women (4.3%).

Ms Flores then goes on to say,

Don’t forget that, for 500 years in Europe (and still in many many countries) a woman saying “no” was punishable by death, legally. Show me one example of a man being legally executed for saying no to sex, and I’ll consider changing my position.

While men may not be at risk of being executed for refusing sex, find one Anglo, Asian or European country where women can be. Answer is none. It is only in certain cultures that practice female genital mutilation among other arcane laws that would seek to do so. A sect which feminists, who have no qualms shaming Western society, often choose to turn a blind eye to. It is hardly a credible argument that connects her belief that male silence and ignorance of female abuse is somehow linked to a claim of something that happened half a millennia ago.

None of this points to pleasant reading. Sadly it is this prevalence to continually point fingers at men for not doing enough. Unfortunately it is sometimes these same feminists who are busy trying to change ‘men’ so they stop being men. That somehow we should feel ashamed for being men. That we should take responsibility for every wrong doing conducted by a small minority and be brow beaten for not being the very men you are trying to force us not to be. Ms Flores you can’t have it both ways.

What car in Japan has the best residual value? A Jeep

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I was shocked to learn today that the Jeep Wrangler has the best residual value of any mainstream car in Japan. Better than the Europeans, Japanese or any other brand. US cars used to be thought of in Japan as the laughing stock of retained value. In three years owners expected it would be worth near as makes no difference – zero. Yet the Wrangler holds 70% of its value after 3 years here. Depreciation on most things is almost anvil off a cliff type price action. It is no surprise that Jeep has grown from 1000 units in 2009 to over 10,000 today.  Even dealers have a massively positive outlook which is almost unheard of among the auto makers. Most are so conservative that they look to flat to down as an annual target. The FCA management is on another league here and it shows.

I was also checking the Fiat Chrysler financials and share price. The stock has tripled in the last 12 months and the margins are up there with the pack with greatly shrunken debt and growth. When I covered the stock in 2000, Fiat was a laughing stock. Tail end Charlie and the butt of jokes – how things change when you focus on customer needs.

Equal pay for equal work

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Australian Channel 9 TV Today Show host Lisa Wilkinson has quit the station after pay negotiations broke down. Her request to have her salary matched to that of her male side kick Karl Stefanovic was knocked back. Stefanovic is reportedly on a $6mn three year deal, contracted when he was about to quit and join another station. Call it unfair or whatever you will but Wilkinson was still paid ($1.1mn) but appeared on fewer shows than Stefanovic .The network upped it to $1.8mn (with the potential it would cause retrenchments) but it was not accepted by her. She walked to defend the gender pay gap to join a new show where she is paid 3x the salary of the male host. So the gender pay crusader is ok with earning more for equal work. How soon we forget that the station being pilloried for not paying fairly made Jana Wendt the top paid announcer 30 years ago. Commercial decision.

MotoGP is a great example of why equal pay for equal work isn’t always so simple. The Ducati Factory Team has two riders – a newly signed €25m 2-yr contract former 5x world champ Jorge Lorenzo and a €1.5mn pa 1x world champ Andrea Dovisioso. Now Dovi is in shooting distance of his first ever MotoGP crown while his overpaid team mate is ranked 8th with patchy performance. While no doubt the pay gap for the same work (riding a motorcycle as fast as possible and not crashing) will be addressed somewhat, satellite team rider Scott Redding has to “pay” for his seat. Not get paid, but pay. So much for equal pay! Yet Redding has made a conscious choice on the basis he performs and his fortunes change. He hasn’t demanded a €25mn deal because he’d be laughed at even if technically fair. Yes, the reality is that “performance” matters. If you’re a better rider, TV cameras are zoomed in on your sponsors for more of the race. That’s why the pay gap exists. Sponsors get their lick. Same job, unequal pay.

We heard similar arguments around the pay differences between the male and female national US soccer teams. The point was made that the women were more successful than the men (true) so it was absurd they were paid less.  The realities were simple. The women were paid healthy salaries whether they played or sat on the sidelines – win, lose or draw. The men were geared to pay on performance and those who were dropped on playing badly didn’t get a dime. Once again, as professional sports goes, male sports tend to be much better paid because of the revenues they attract (which is a reflection of commerciality). Lionel Messi earns 40mn euro a year. Is he worth 100x that of the highest paid female player, Alex Morgan. Well if you paid Messi $400k he probably wouldn’t play. It’s just the world of professional sports. Perhaps all players should be on $40m per year after all equal work, equal pay right? How would losing teams be able to attract superstars to help them win championships (they’re not in it to lose) if they paid them the same wage? They’d remain at the bottom of second division and go out of business because they couldn’t afford equal pay.

To turn the argument on its head, perhaps male models should have the right to protest that female supermodels absolutely trounce them for pay. Only three male models earn over $1mn while 5 times as many supermodels earn it. In the lower echelons female models get paid much more than the men. Probably because the companies that wish to advertise think their brands get more impact by using women! No problem – a commercial choice.

While there is no doubt that pay equality for the same work is fair in theory, the idea that women are deliberately discriminated against from a pure economic standpoint is irrational. If companies could hire women to do the same work as men for 25% less, why would any business hire men? If you work at Starbucks or as a bank clerk, on the same seniority, hours, effectiveness and efficiency then absolutely the pay should be equal .

For jobs that have equal output from equal time then absolutely equal pay is warranted. However workplace discrimination is an evil in almost every firm. Do we have half yearly evaluations where everyone gets the same grade and same bonus? Or do firms try to keep the best performers by incentivizing them to keep bringing in more dollars. For the record my top salesperson (female) in my former career was the best paid of all – gender irrelevant – output relevant. No complaints.

So we can howl at the gender pay gap but let’s get real with what is unfair and what isn’t. There is an idea that all have a right to equal pay but I will defend every woman who earns more than me if she legitimately beats my results – wait a minute I already did.

Ann Arbor councilors take a knee

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Well the dilution goes on. Seems knees can be taken anywhere now. Four councilors from the Michigan city of Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, decided to take a knee during the national anthem ahead of session. Of course we can argue they are exercising free speech but what would the Ann Arbor Police Department think of councilors taking a knee to protest police violence? Given these people are in a position to influence policy why don’t they head down to the AAPD and work “with” them on solutions to raise awareness on how to deal with the problem, should it exist on as grand a scale as made out? No, just take a knee and do nothing. Wimpy virtue signaling liberals who think appearing to do good is just as good as actually doing the real thing

Of course it is not to say that excessive use of force isn’t an issue. It is to say that many good policemen and women put their lives on their line to protect the people. Some people resist arrest when compliance would see far fewer shows of force. If you aren’t breaking any laws, why would you resist? However there are too many occasions where people that have resisted arrest have threatened officers with acts of force. It doesn’t justify excessive force. In fact if cops were wanting to hide their bad behaviour they wouldn’t be signing up to body-cams to provide proof!

Back to Ann Arbor. The city of 360,000 has an income above the mean, a 3% unemployment rate, jobs growth of 2%, cost of living 1.6% below the national average and a median house price of $225k. It is hardly a town that has a rampant crime rate with cowboy cops slamming its residents.

These are the crime facts in Ann Arbor vs the national average of cities it’s size

Burglary and motor vehicle theft are at rates at half the national average. Murder 1/5th. Robbery less than half. Assault in line. Rape, marginally above. So on balance hardly a crime infested swamp overrun with blood thirsty police officers. Yet councilors with no evidence of trigger happy sherriffs take a knee?

So perhaps these councilors  could point to the wonderful work of the AAPD and use them as a beacon of successful policing rather than take a knee for problems they could help solve by coordination with other police forces with a bad reputation. No, taking a knee is enough. Case closed.

Await the witch hunts from #METOO

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Perhaps the saddest side effects of the METOO campaign will be the witch hunts that ensue. Already we are seeing such a movement in Australia to out the sexual predators in our own entertainment ranks. We don’t need to labour the point that sexual (or physical for that matter) harassment or assault is abhorrent and true offenders should be dealt with according to the law.  Sadly with a witch hunt some of the claims will be unsubstantiated, knowingly consensual but cause otherwise innocent people to defend things that aren’t true. Im sorry but if you are accused by an ambulance chaser seeking a payout making up about things that never happened then careers could be ruined in the process even if the defendant wins. It’s dangerous ground.

I made the point the other day that people that have PTSD from such sexual crimes do not need campaigns, especially started by Hollywood stars who knew full well the predators in the midst but chose to put career, fame and fortune ahead of other’s misery. It demeans them. Each person who has suffered a serious traumatic event in their life  has to deal with demons in their own way. There is no set manual to coping. To think that ‘raising awareness’ for something that some people have spent a life time trying to suppress or at the very least contain do not need to have the spotlight. Shame is perhaps one of the strongest emotions for sufferers among anguish, anxiety, anger, despair, hopelessness and suicide so putting Me Too in neon lights does them no good at all. You’ll find that most PTSD sufferers have problems with elevated risk taking whether alcohol, sexual or drug addiction, extreme sports activities (motorcycling, skydiving, off piste skiing etc) and so on. Yet someone had the nerve to say “How f*cking dare I?” In all honesty she speaks volumes about the victimhood industry, that I, an innocent casualty  of a sick mind, am told to shove it in order that someone who suffered at the hands of a wolf whistler somehow deserves equal outrage.

There is no issue with people who wish to come out and tell stories of things that happened in the past. However people need to be allowed to come out with their issues at a time that suits them, Indeed different things affect different people in different ways but this Me Too (if you honestly read the majority of posts) looks little more than unbridled activism which sets out to achieve something yet gets diluted by the people making petty claims they personally dismissed 20 years ago who now get a free kick on a social media platform so they can receive oodles of attention, likes and soothing words about bravery. To many of those that sought attention through Me Too, there is a likelihood the stated issue never really bothered you more than a day or two. Think of how someone bothered for decades views a cry for attention?

I have made this comment till I am blue in the face – the real sufferers are the ones who want the least exposure and least attention drawn to them. It is hard enough to cope, We aren’t reaching out for hand holding or singing songs by a campfire. We are in need of understanding, not sympathy or empathy.

So to the witch hunts that are surely coming. I pity the poor (majority of) males who will be unfairly dragged before courts (or out of court settlements) to defend something that never happened. Do not mistake this with an absolute desire to punish real offenders that break laws. What this activism will do is dilute the cause. Just like we saw with the witch hunts encouraged by the Australian Human RIghts Commission, even innocent students can have their lives ruined by people claiming utter falsehoods. Why should we expect anything less in the quest of some disgruntled people to use Me Too to destroy the lives of people that they willingly consented to be in a position to come in sexual contact? That to me is a sickening way to turn a cause that was supposed to help the innocent turn into one that unfairly frames the truly not guilty. But, how f*cking dare I?

Highways to Hell. Railways to Ruin

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Zero Hedge has an interesting expose on a report that China is expediting the construction of a 6 lane highway toward North Korea’s border. It makes perfect sense and supports what CM has said about China taking action on North Korea and replacing Kim Jong Un with a puppet they can control. Forget the WW3 rhetoric. It is far cleaner to have China deal with the problem. The constant jaw-boning from Trump is to get China to hurry up. Of course there is a limit to the patience. The so-called G1112 Ji’an–Shuangliao Expressway is under construction. China’s Jilin province has even upgraded road infrastructure inside some parts of North Korea. It would be useful in getting tanks and troops to the border quickly. There is method in the madness and it is quite a common infrastructure to put in place for obvious reasons. North Korea is hugely strategic to China’s border security – a buffer from the US backed South Koreans.

Probably many are unaware that Mongolia which divides China and Russia has a railway developed by the Russians which runs on a Russian rail gauge. Mongolia is rich with resources so any raw materials exported to China must change bogeys at the border. It is the same with the Kazakh-China border. Russian rail gauges. So in the event of war, troops and supplies can be efficiently transported. Sure an enemy can bomb a railway but in terms of transporting lots of equipment and heavy armaments quickly rail is very efficient.

While the news looks startling it is nothing more than business as usual for the Chinese. Before the highway is completed the Chinese still have around 150,000 troops stationed near the border.