Month: May 2016

Lies, more lies & statistics?

Sweden rape

Believe me there is no joy in researching this topic for a whole lot of obvious reasons  but it is part of a much larger report under construction of how the world’s social fabric is fraying which I guarantee will be an eye opener for anyone on either side of the left/right divide. It will hold no punches but before people run up the flags of bigotry and bias by those who are prone to shut down debate about its content it will be balanced as this example should highlight.Remember this is the marketplace of free thought. As I often contest, many people are prone to reading headlines of poorly researched articles and this topic has found some real doozies.

A lot of media reports make bold claims that Swedish asylum seekers/refugees/ immigrants are a large wedge of total rapes and sexual assaults in Sweden.In order to get to the bottom of sensationalist reporting I spent the day delving into the official statistics bureaus of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark as well as the UN Office of Drugs & Crime (UNODC). Honestly if people actually wanted to discover the truth (assuming you trust the official statistics bureaus) it is not hard if you look deep enough.

The UNODC reports that Sweden has the world’s second highest rate of rape in the world at 69 rapes per 100,000 people. There are definitional issues with rape between countries which skews the statistics. As you can see above chart there has been a sharp increase in rapes as a % of total crimes. Crime has doubled in Sweden since 1975 but rapes have grown 7.7x with a population that has grown only 19% in 40 years. At the same time court convictions of rapists has fallen from 14% to under 3% at the same time. 1975 marked Sweden’s multicultural policy which involved a call for mass migration. One conclusion is rapes were sharply up since 2000 and convictions have sharply declined since 1985. However we have no reference within the Swedish Stats Bureau to show any correlation with the claim. There have been plenty of admissions from the Police in Sweden that they have been deliberately keeping information from the public on ethnicity (most infamously at the “We are Stockholm” youth festival) so as to prevent civil unrest. Dozens of girls as young as 11 reported being sexually molested at the event by gangs of Afghani refugee youth. It is this type of cover-up that has incited many Swedes to put their support behind the right wing Sweden Democrats who are polling as the most popular party.

Sweden Democrats

As a fact checker I cross referenced bold media claims that two thirds of criminal court appearances in Denmark involved immigrants in 2011 & 75% of juvenile crimes were committed by first descendants of immigrants. Statistics Denmark (the official website) enables one to break down crime by year, country of perpetrator, age cohort and act. Even if one aggressively tried to fudge the figures there is no way such numbers could result. So any stats that I’ve seen on Denmark are complete garbage. I’m still looking to do the same for Norway.

There is a natural simplicity to blame the foreigner. Outside of murder, rape is probably considered the most despicable of crimes to be committed. However if there has been a proactive cover-up (by police, state and media outlets) of crimes committed by predominantly refugees (Stockholm & Cologne are the prime examples) who appear to be behind it you cannot expect the public to take a positive view of those in power. If the government wish to claim their policies are working then they should not feel the need to hide realities. If they continue to do so, the following blue bars will continue to lurch further right.

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Full marks for creativity

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The Japanese equivalent of an Aero bar. I’m not quite sure the connection between a sailing ship and green tea flavoured chocolate is but full marks for coming up with such an interesting brand.  Sure beats Hitachi’s most recent slogan “The future is open to suggestions”

Smelling worse than the emissions from the tailpipe

MMC2

Call me cynical but the Mitsubishi Motors  emissions scandal which was pointed out by its customer Nissan smells worse than anything emitted from the tailpipes. How is it that a company loses $4bn in market cap only to have a sizable stake hoovered up at a bargain basement price by the whistle blower…? In any case the FT ran an article on boardroom scandals

FT – String of Scandals in Corporate Japan

The new flood of confessions, though welcomed by proponents of better corporate governance standards, has also produced darker questions and the fear that there may now be far worse news yet to emerge.

“I think it has become clear that the flow of scandals is far from over, and so naturally you have investors that are increasingly concerned about that,” says Michael Newman, head of corporate advisory at Custom Products Research. They “will be very eager to work out where the next problem is going to arise.”

“The problem, however, is investors are not getting a lot of help setting their minds at ease because the level of forensic analysis on the sell-side in Japan is low,” he says, adding that he has research for clients showing how average ages of Japanese boardrooms can help predict the likelihood of corporate scandal.

150,000 protesters defy proposed French labour laws

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150,000 French have taken to the streets to protest new labour laws set to be introduced in France. 1,300 arrests made and the police have had to deploy riot squads to quell the violence.

The new law would allow firms to bypass national labour laws if they strike up internal bargaining agreements with staff. This would also mean the 35 hour work week could also be stretched to 60.

France’s minimum wage is just shy of €1500/month. If a Romanian can only get €240/month at home France becomes a relatively more attractive proposition. Of course we can see the economic rationale for France to loosen labour laws but throwing in uncontrolled mass migration with high youth unemployment and you are only going to sew seeds of discontent.

One of France’s military unions is threatening to cause a transport strike as the Euro2016 football kicks off on June 10

German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble: “France is obviously not unreformable…France can live with such disputes.”

The French pride themselves on their motto of Liberté égalité fraternité but only until the point their daily livelihoods face sustainable  disruption

25% of EU is at the poverty line

Population_at-risk-of-poverty_or_social_exclusion,_2009–14_YB16The statistics are truly disturbing. According to Eurostat there are 122 million Europeans at risk of poverty. 25% of the population. To put that in context Australia is around 14% and Japan at 16%. One-third of Greeks are already there.

Greece has youth unemployment (defined as <25yo) at 58%, Spain 56% and Italy 40%.

Forget Stephen King – pick your way through the Eurostat data – it is not a pretty picture and you can be sure the EU’s approach to more Europe to solve these problems is destined to failure.

Be careful with your (s)election

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I had some pretty interesting meetings with government ministers in Japan today. Interesting observations were had.

As goes Australia Mr Abbott is sorely missed by PM Abe and ministers here. Not just for the subs contract falling through but the fact a relationship which had a high level of trust was broken. There is a lot of damage control required and I doubt the PM or Ms Bishop have the Skillset to repair it properly. The bicycle tyre repair kit doesn’t work for long.

On reflection while many Australians tend to only look at the sorry state of our politics on a domestic basis make no mistake the Japanese (and I presume others) now consider “political risk” as on the menu, something which the lack of til now was one of our strongest playing cards in the region. Political risk created out of narcissistic thirst for an office which looks less and less legitimate by the day. I suggested Japan not have much expectation post the double dissolution election.

Of course many will cry Abbott had to be overthrown but the same people will overlook what he’d achieved on the foreign relations front. Expedient one sided reporting and the relentless blood sport that led to Turnbull as PM sadly is something over time we should reflect on. The damage is done and this wound will not heal quickly. Australia bowled itself out with its own googly.

On other fronts my suggestion of flat taxes is not off the table by any means but as such the political negotiation will require a larger majority and delicate handling of tax loopholes. Poland is an intriguing case study. Some politicians have long been proponents of trying to get the 70% of corporations that pay no tax to chip in.

Europe is a concern. Their view is the EU only tightens the vice on its Member States and this is incompatible with the shift to the right. The Japanese think Brexit is unlikely but at the same time the closer the result is to leaving the larger the implications for EU trying to plug holes in the already leaky ship.

Of course should the US become more isolationist they were hoping that Australia would have been a natural country to pursue similar geopolitical interests. This has become trickier.

Be careful what you wish for Australia. Japan may not be so healthy but it is still the 3rd largest economy in the world and its culture is wedded to loyalty and trust. We have single handedly booted it to the kerb.

Austrian electoral system needs to learn governance

Government without Governance – Interesting to find that the person in charge of the Austrian electoral commission is indeed a big wig within the Socialist SPO party. Whether he did anything improper or not is another debate but surely there is no internal governance to allow such a glaring oversight. This is not much different than being a politician and awarding contracts to a company you have a vested interest in…

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