Month: May 2018

Kindergarten level agenda behind Kinder Morgan buyout

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The Canadian Liberal government is paying $4.5bn for a 60yr old pipeline that was sold a decade ago to Kinder Morgan for $377m for an asset RBC values at $2.5bn. Another $7.5bn will be spent to “create jobs”. Apart from Canadian tax dollars going to fund a US company’s ability to expand and compete against Canadian suppliers, the real truth of Trudeau’s intentions probably don’t become any clearer when examining the sponsored summer jobs programme (where businesses could only get greenlighted if they shared “his” values). Yes, taxpayer dollars were approved by Trudeau to help activists protest a pipeline he’s just bought. This was an ad posted by Dogwood:

“As an organizing assistant through the Canada Summer Jobs program you will work directly with a Dogwood Provincial Organizer and the field organizing team to help our organizing network stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project, as well as help us strengthen the public call for stronger, more accountable and transparent democracy.”

He has already been crashing in the polls. This will help to no end. So much for transparency.

Checking privilege or checking presumptions?

CM has lost count of the times the white privilege moniker has been thrown about as a way to shut down debate. There is an almost uncanny wish for liberal whites to white-shame other whites these days. It seems that 99.9% of those who throw the white privilege word are white themselves. The tacit argument is that they feel they gain acceptance with non-whites by denying their own identity. Have non-whites come out en-masse demanding this? Virtually none that CM has met.

The left is obsessed with this idea that all minorities are distinct groups who share identical thoughts and beliefs. Take the radically leftist inspired C-16 compelled speech laws in Canada where the trans community took what was supposed to be a compassionate piece of legislation as one where they felt betrayed by the lack of consultation and presumption of shared voice. There is a fantastic scene from Freedom Writers to this very point. Do these supposedly justice for all human rights crusading cultural Marxists assume all minorities are facsimilies within their clusters? Why do these activists become self appointed spokespeople for these groups? It is exactly this type of condescending action which creates the very division they are trying to stop. Diversity of thought among individuals, anyone?

Take these posters from the University of San Francisco (uSF). Karl Marx may have recently turned 200 but his legacy lives and breathes in California. So much for universities being the cradle of free and open thinking. The University of Texas has the MasculinUT program which is equally obtuse. Men must not feel obliged to express unrestricted masculinity. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200 – why not castrate male UT students or force inject female hormones instead? Let’s not start with the mind-bending educational programs forced on pre-schoolers across the world. The designers don’t even hide the agenda. Not to mention Bill 89 in Ontario which allows the state to remove children from parents who don’t accept their gender identity in time. Or a Massachusetts kindergarten that has banned the use of the word ‘best friend’ for the sake of inclusivity. We’re even being told to ask for an infant’s consent to change their diaper. It is a slippery slope that the left wants considered mainstream when it is patently empirically extreme.

Apart from the deeply condescending nature of the uSF posters, are Christians the only religion that should feel privilege? Why not Buddhists, Jews, Hindus or Muslims? Do those groups not observe religious holidays? Do the majority of Muslims protest Christians celebrating Christmas? No. Do Christians take to the streets when Muslims celebrate Ramadan? No. When you’re busting to go to the bathroom do you consciously check cisgender privilege? Most likely not. It is surprising more cisgender women don’t cross the border to use male bathrooms when their line in long. Probably because of a group assumption that men are less hygienic and might leave the toilet seat up.

Let’s look at some of the leftist thinking about ranking ‘privilege’.

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Take the quick test above. According to this table you will need to become an other, intersex, gay, trans, Middle Eastern, homeless, blind, disfigured, short, Muslim scientist (presumably climate professors get extra negative scores) to maximize all potential disadvantages. There is no worse combination for future victimhood in the liberal identikit than a tall, white, straight, cis male who works in finance. Although thankfully Australians are regarded at the lowest spectrum of whites. Still, how unfair to the Japanese who have gone through two decades of virtually no economic growth and untold natural disasters to be compared to Aussies that have had 25 years of unfettered economic expansion and face some dangerous snakes and spiders. Or is that a function of the Japanese being required to check their colonial past throughout Asia in the early 20th Century?

White privilege is just another tenet of group categorization. Should whites pay a tax to offset their level of privilege, presumably relative to their position on the chart above?

Going back to the white privilege shamers, many of those CM knows have backgrounds in finance. In an industry that is often tagged for having a penchant for deregulation, free spirits and mugging Main St. is anything but, when so many scream to the world at their virtuous moral code. How many of them support so many ideologies around equality of outcome despite most of these ‘white’ investment bankers being the first in line to cry foul if their ‘supposedly’ superior skill sets have not been rewarded accordingly. So while on the outside they protest so much injustice and inequality, they scream like libertarians internally. They can’t have it both ways. CM has always been a libertarian and believes in equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome.

CM appreciates there are injustices throughout the world but the worst way to achieve it is by compelling it, even under the veil of affirmative action. The case studies of doing so are overwhelmingly conclusive of producing the opposite outcomes. If everyone is assured the same result, why bother studying or striving for the extra mile? It is counter intuitive. It is also downright demeaning to assume that ALL ambitious minorities are crying to be given a leg up.

The most recentwhite privilege jab was over a discussion of the freedom of speech of NFL kneelers. Because many of the players happen to be black, CM needed to check white privilege. The only argument CM made was that these NFL players were employees who have a boss. How dare CM silence these people fighting for a cause! CM argued that no one is claiming they do not have a right to protest but if their bosses are witnessing customers (aka fans) deserting the games, hence impacting revenues which ultimately impedes the ability to throw multi millions to the same players something has to give. Put simply they have a business call to make. Make it all about police brutality but when harsh economics ends up seeing players sacked, don’t cry to CM. Is your boss unfair to sack or demote you if you are not prepared to please customers in order for the business to stay afloat? Just take a knee and see how far you get. CM bets none of you will. You know full well the boss is entitled to expect a return on the money he or she pays you. The boss isn’t doing it solely out of generous spirit. The NFL bosses aren’t questioning free speech but forecasting the net present value of the franchise.

The irony is that most of the kneelers (although CM read that Colin Kaepernick does invest into some of the causes he is protesting) do not invest their own spare time to fight those injustices. Many are trying to stay out of the courts given their all too frequent misdemeanors off the field – rape, DUI, resisting arrest, dog-fighting etc. Yet the white privilege shamers come forward with the argument that fans should put up with it. The liberal creed is that ‘social justice’ must be beaten into viewers. Do these SJWs get that the more they hammer these messages home the further they drive the people they’re trying to convince away? If we can white shame these spectators enough they’ll cave, right? Wrong. Little do they realize that these same fans might have financial, marital or employment stresses that the game is supposed to take them from? Is it just white fans seeking remediation? Most certainly not.

White privilege was hurled at the US education system for unconscious racial bias. What The NY Times article failed to document was that 99.6% of ALL kids stay out of big trouble which would result in serious disciplinary action, including arrest. All too easy to dumb it down to colour alone, yet when looking at liberal (Brookings Institute) or libertarian (Heritage Foundation) think tanks, both point to broken homes as a major cause of problems in graduation rates and disciplinary action. This has been documented over decades. Yet the liberal view is that all this division can only be attributed to white privilege. Torn asunder if black libertarians like Thomas Sowell, Larry Elder or Candice Owens don’t tow the line.

Skin colour seems to be a single-variable regression to white shamers. Does CM tell his half-Japanese kids to moan and complain that they are mixed race? Or does he try to impart to them the value of hard work, diligence and making their way through application and effort? They hopefully get the message that their father has tried to impart to them many times that the ‘taste of victory’ is umpteenths times greater the harder the challenge. Did Oprah become the world’s highest paid entertainer for hard work or just because she is black? Should we gut the NFL and put in less competent white players to ensure that ethnic balance is restored along the lines of population weights? Would fans want to pay a premium to see inferior performance? White shamers would suggest they would. Common sense would say not.

Yet, white privilege is the problem that if fixed will supposedly solve everything. Australian nurses and midwives are being told in the latest code of conduct to check white privilege and admit their colonial past to expectant mothers of other backgrounds. No seriously, instead of focusing on ensuring safe deliveries they are being asked to bow down to this ridiculous indoctrination. Will mothers giving birth feel empowered that the midwife grovels or marvel in the miracle of bringing life into the world?

Little by little, freedoms are being forcibly removed from society under the guise of political correctness. Reasoned debate is ignored. Outcomes are engineered in a way that ensures the data fits the legislation. Canada is one of the worst examples of this in action and the latest polls against PM Justin Trudeau reflect the backlash. Instead of debating sensibly through democratic means, the left wants to channel their doctrine through education and compelled speech. The left shouldn’t be surprised when a growing list of countries throughout Europe are becoming fed up with centralized control and voting at a sovereign level to disassociate themselves. Even if Brussels still tries to influence those constituents as to how they democratically choose to sustain their cultures, as evidenced this week in Italy.

Take the UK stance over Islam. British authorities seem so afraid of their own shadow that they have introduced a two-tiered approach to the control of citizens that would even make Lenin blush. Not initially by design but by avoidable mistakes. The dithering non-confrontational nature of the Brits means that they muddle through issues which end up making them more uncomfortable and put the population in a worse position, period. There are undoubtedly swathes of Muslims who detest the way they are tarred with the same brush as the more radical among them that are behind terrorist activity or grooming under-age girls for rape and sex trafficking. Rightly so. Any group of Christians would feel equally appalled to have their faith associated with sexually deviant priests molesting young boys. Therein lies the danger of generalizing groups rather than correctly targeting individual perpetrators, regardless of whether religion has been taken out of context to commit crimes.

Radio presenter and founder of Quilliam, Maajid Nawaz, has openly critized the UK authorities for pandering to political correctness.

For too long in this country, we have ignored the issue of grooming gangs. Of young vulnerable teenage girls who have been victimised, drugged, raped and abused…Whether it’s the Rotherham case or all the other cases that were replicated across the country, it is both the conclusion of the prosecutor in the Rotherham case…or indeed the official inquiry into why it took so long for these young vulnerable under-age girls to get justice – both of those concluded that fears of racism prevented us from coming to the defence of vulnerable under-age girls…Fears of racism meaning that the state was scared that it would be accused of being racist if it rightly arrested and prosecuted largely British Pakistani Muslim men in their abuse of under-age white teenage girls…If we hadn’t all been silent, if we had all addressed this issue head on when it needed to be addressed, when it was time to address it, then the void would not have emerged for the populist agitators to fill that gap…

Nawaz holds no punches. The British government has presumed the majority of Muslims may get offended so 1,000s of innocent under-age (white) girls became sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. One Labor politician claimed that these rape victims should shut up for the sake of diversity. Should that be categorized as a white privilege offset? Presumption is a dangerous game. Are people surprised when the cover up is finally exposed that Britons become enraged? It is hardly a win-win for the Muslim community at large to have this fester beyond the squalid state it already has become.

Yet examining the state of UK prisons, inmates identifying as Muslims number 15% of the population despite being 7% of the UK population. Is that a sign the judiciary is being biased against the Tommy Robinsons of the world? No. While the drive-thru jailing of him last week apears overly biased, the explosive growth in the Muslim prison population would not exist were the courts targeting non-Muslims. If only the courts were able to expedite justice for these poor girls as quickly as Mr Yaxley-Lennon.

Examining the huge surge of violence (against fellow inmates and guards), an 800% leap in unexplained deaths (aka murder) and the 6 fold jump in call outs of the tactical riot squad within UK prisons over the last decade coincide with the doubling of jailed radicals. It must worry the law makers no end to how they solve for this disturbing rise in crime and stick to politically correct narratives.

The simple solution is to engage a broader section of all communities beyond those that have clearly produced no tangible results. When will they realize it is not working and DO something about it, rather than presuming the several speak for the whole?

If liberals desperately covet diversity and identity politics for the good of peoplekind, they are going the wrong way about it. Shaming others has proven to be a recruiter for the right. To put this in chess parlance –

The best chess move is the one which your opponent least wants you to make

Instead of ostracism and presumption, try engaging individuals rather than expect them to accept accusations of association to groups that they may abhor.

Jan 2008 again?

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Back to Jan 2008 10yr Treasury – 3mth Treasury Bill spread levels of 0.84% overnight. Shaded areas are previous recessions. I’m sure it is nothing. The friend who sent me the link also sent a Barron’s article last week which interviewed Kiss legend Gene Simmons who believes the Dow is poised for 30,000. He may well be proved right, although I wonder just whether algo trading is linked to Twitter followers. Maybe if Katy Perry starts jawboning about Dow 40,000 we should shut up and buy the trend. More useful than some Goldman Sachs nerd with a PhD in nuclear fission to read the runes…

10-3mthTB

20 fast facts on UK Prisons – sorry, No Vacancy

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Easy enough to find. Not enough space. Some fast facts on the state of prisons.

  1. UK prisons are at 96% (83,430) capacity (86,555) as of Friday, 25th May 2018. There are 3,125 available spaces left but 3,214 cases of home detention. 95% of inmates are male.
  2. A year ago (May 2017), capacity was 98.4% and 95% male population with around 2,100 in home detention.
  3. A prison is classified as overcrowded if the number of prisoners held exceeds the establishments Certified Normal Accommodation (CNA). As at the 30 December 2016, 69% (80) of prison establishments were overcrowded, 23 just over 10,000 more prisoners than the total in use CNA.
  4. Prison guards in the UK over the last decade have shrunk 30% from 25,000 to 17,500. The UK government announced in November 2016 that it plans to recruit 2,500 new front-line officers by 2018.
  5. In the 12 months to March 2017, there were 40,414 reported incidents of self-harm (a rate of 474 per 1,000 prisoners), up 17% on the previous year. The number of self-harm incidents requiring hospital attendance increased by 13% on the previous year to 2,771 while the proportion of incidents that required hospital attendance remains broadly similar at 6.9%.
  6. Self-harm trends differ considerably by gender, with a rate of 409 incidents per 1,000 in male establishments (with incidents up 24% on the previous year) compared to a rate of 1,835 per 1,000 in female establishments (a reduction of 8% in number of incidents from the previous year).
  7. Assaults continued to increase, reaching a record high of 26,643 assault incidents in the 12 months to March 2017, up 4,461 (20%) from the previous year. Of these, 3,606 were serious assaults, up 22% from the previous year.
  8. There were 19,361 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults in the 12 months to March 2017 (a rate of 227 per 1,000 prisoners), up 16% on the previous year. Of these, 2,825 were serious assaults, up 21% on the previous year.
  9. There were 7,159 assaults on staff in the 12 months to March 2017 (a rate of 84 per 1,000 prisoners), up 32% on the previous year. Of these, 805 were serious assaults, up 25% on the previous year.
  10. Deaths in prison have risen sharply in the last decade. Deaths per prisoner numbers are up 76%.  Other deaths (where cause has yet to be determined) up 833%. Absolute numbers are only 3.7 per 1,000 prisoners up from 2.1 a decade ago.
  11.  The National Tactical Response Group (NTRG) which is called under extreme levels of incidents has grown from 120 in 2010 to over 420 in the year to August 2016. Annualized that number would be close to 630. So almost 6-fold in only 6 years. In prison. Gold Command and Tornado teams are those where prison guards have specialist training.
  12. 25% of prison inmates are in for violence against others. 17% are in for sexual offences and 15% for theft and drug offences.
  13. The proportion of 30-39 year olds has increased by 4 percentage points to 30% since 2010. At the end of 2016 it was the most numerous age group of prisoners with over 25,000 in this age bracket. The proportion of prisoners aged over 40 has increased from 22% in 2005 to 33% in 2016.
  14. It is interesting to note that as of the 31 December 2016, there was one prisoner over the age of 100.
  15. At the end of 2016 just over a quarter of the prison population was from a non-white ethnic group – this figure has stayed relatively constant since 2005. Whites make up 87% of the UK population and 73% of inmates. Asian/Asian British make up 6.9% of the population and 8.0% of the inmates. Black/Black British make up 3% of the population and 12% of inmates.
  16. In June 2005, the largest ethnic groups in prison for British nationals were White (82%), Black/Black British (10%) and Asian/Asian British (4%).
  17. At the end of 2016 just under half the prison population was of a Christian faith (48.5%) – a decrease of 9.5% compared to June 2002. The proportion of Muslim prisoners has increased from 8% in 2002 to 15% in 2016. The proportion of prisoners with no religion in 2016 (31.5%) was down 0.9% compared to 2002. Hindu’s and Jews make up 0.5% each, Sikh 0.9% and Buddhist 1.8% of inmates. 
  18. At the end of 2016 there were just under 10,000 foreign nationals (FNP) within the prison population (c.12%). Foreign nationals from Europe accounted for the greatest proportion of all foreign nationals within the prison population (51%), those from Africa (19%) and Asia (16%) contributed the second and third largest proportion respectively.
  19. At the end of 2016, foreign nationals originating from the EU (excluding the UK) accounted for 43% of all foreign nationals in prison and just under 5% of the total prison population. Men accounted for 96% of all FNPs within the prison population.
  20. The available data for European countries in 2014 shows that Sweden
    and Norway spent £439/day per prisoner and £432/day per prisoner respectively. Figures for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are all around £150 a day. Croatia spends a little over £9/day per prisoner.

Inviting or inciting violence?

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As a father of two daughters the idea of child grooming gangs is a chilling prospect. One of my children was sexually molested on a Tokyo subway aged only 13. Nationality doesn’t matter. Religion doesn’t matter. I took time off work every morning for months trying to find the perpetrator. Had I caught him, care for what happened to me mattered not. Vigilante justice? Call it what you will. It doesn’t get more personal when your own blood, especially a child, is the innocent victim. Any parent who loves their kids would contemplate such sacrifice. When people realise that the authorities are willfully turning a blind eye to obvious crimes, law makers should not be surprised if vigilantism and chaos become the by-product. The arrest of Tommy Robinson has all of the hallmarks of the judiciary inviting the ‘hellfire‘ on themselves. CM often gets criticized for defending free speech as if it is some gross distortion of the facts. That the looming Orwellian dystopia CM describes doesn’t exist.

Whether one agrees with Tommy Robinson’s views or not, one cannot fault his passion to bring to light the problems of child rape gangs in Britain and the political correctness to hide the predominantly ‘Asian’ nature of the perpetrators. Millions (and growing) have seen his 75 minute live-stream video outside Leeds Court where he was summarily arrested for ‘suspicion of breaching the peace‘. Despite having the alleged defendants and spectators scream obscenities like “go f*ck your mother!” or “your wife is a prostitute” or “I’m here to see your mum” and others push him in front of the police, nothing happened to them. Why the sexual references? The police officers claimed they didn’t see him being physically assaulted but suggested they’d get a warning if they did witness.

Robinson did absolutely nothing violent, obscene or provocative to warrant an arrest. Disturbing the peace? The amount of people that came up to him unsolicited congratulating his work, asking to go on future marches and take selfies was apparent. The fact he has two best selling books on Amazon is testament to him being far from a lone voice. Is it any wonder the authorities want to gag him? Should those that support him be dragged in front of the courts too?

He made numerous references about being aware of his restrictions the day he was arrested last week. He spoke to nearby police to ensure and confirm he wasn’t crossing lines. He made the reference on his video that the police were likely monitoring it to try to nab him on any remote technicality. Well they did. He was aware of the risks. He may well have violated his court order on a “legal” technicality. CM isn’t a lawyer but the video didn’t appear to show disorder. He was jailed for 13 months and on top of that a media gag was placed by the court on discussing details of his trial. Should we be surprised that 1,000s marched on Downing St?

CM documented the two decades of cover ups contained in the independent inquiry into the Rotherham child grooming scandal which was along the lines of what Robinson was reporting on in Leeds. In April we wrote:

“The details of the Rotherham grooming gang scandal was tabulated in an independent inquiry looking at the problem between 1997-2013 showing the extent of the cover up. The table above shows the actions taken after 157 complaints about child grooming in Rotherham were made to the South Yorkshire Police since 2013. The Inquiry tabulates a case of a father being arrested for trying to get his daughter out of a rape den. A 12yo girl was raped in a park then doused in gasoline and threatened with being lit if she said anything about what had happened. The sad thing is that these gangs are wide spread – Rotherham, Rochdale, Newcastle, Bristol, Aylesbury, Oxford, Peterborough, Keighley, Newham, Leeds, Bradford, Telford, Sheffield and London. The report discusses how the gangs transfer the children within the ‘safe houses; in the network to keep the industry clandestine.”

The gory details are all in the report. CM encourages people to read the contents to be aware of how terribly young kids have been groomed, threatened and undoubtedly psychologically damaged for life. Many have tried to commit suicide. It is a travesty. Even if you hate what Tommy Robinson stands for, at the very least open your eyes to the industrial level of this crime. Take this example:

Child F (2006) was a victim of serious sexual abuse when she was a young child. She was groomed for sexual exploitation by a 27-year-old male when she was 13. She was subjected to repeated rapes and sexual assaults by different perpetrators, none of whom were brought to justiceShe repeatedly threatened to kill herself and numerous instances of serious self-harm were recorded in the case file, including serious overdoses and trying to throw herself in front of cars...doctors were seriously concerned about her because of the number and seriousness of hospital admissions over such a short time, many associated with serious drug misuse and self-harm.”

This is what the Inquiry had to say about the Police:

We deal with the response of South Yorkshire Police at some length throughout this report. While there was close liaison between the Police, Risky Business and children’s social care from the early days of the Risky Business project, there were very many historic cases where the operational response of the Police fell far short of what could be expected. The reasons for this are not entirely clear. The Police had excellent procedures from 1998, but in practice these appear to have been widely disregarded….We were contacted by someone who worked at the Rotherham interchange in the early 2000s. He described how the Police refused to intervene when young girls who were thought to be victims of CSE (child sexual exploitation) were being beaten up and abused by perpetrators. According to him, the attitude of the Police at that time seemed to be that they were all ‘undesirables’ and the young women were not worthy of police protection.

The Council was no better:

In 2004-2005, a series of presentations on CSE were first made to councillors and then other relevant groups and agencies, led by the external manager of Risky Business, from Youth Services. The presentations were unambiguous about the nature and extent of the problem…In 2006, a Conservative councillor requested a meeting with the Council Leader at which he expressed his concerns about CSE. This had come to his attention via constituents. He told the Inquiry that the Council Leader advised him the matters were being dealt with by the Police and requested that he did not raise them publicly…

Interviews with senior members revealed that none could recall the issue ever being discussed in the Labour (Party) Group until 2012Given the seriousness of the subject, the evidence available, and the reputational damage to the Council, it is extraordinary that the Labour Group, which dominated the Council, failed to discuss CSE until then. Some senior members acknowledged that that was a mistake. Asked if they should have done things differently, they thought that as an administration they should have tackled the issues ‘head on’, including any concerns about ethnic issues.”

In any event, when Robinson was arrested there was no other media present covering what should be viewed as a highly contentious, topical and heinous crime against human rights. Anyone with a heartbeat should be repulsed by the systematic rape of 11 year olds. 12yo girls shouldn’t have their tongues nailed to tables nor raped by 30 men in one day nor have 6 pregnancies in 4 years. It would be fair to say that the majority of Brits (much less the world) would be appalled by what has been going on. Yet media blackouts are deemed a preferable response by the judiciary. The people who have been covering it up should be convicted  as accessories, not those trying to expose such a shameful episode. Look how well that worked for Angela Merkel after the Cologne New Year’s Eve assaults were eventually exposed several years back.

No-one in their right minds wants to invite vigilantism but the seemingly farcical arrest of Robinson would seem to be inviting it rather than his videos inciting it. It is clear people in Britain are fast realizing that freedoms are being removed. Reprehensible legislation is being introduced to silence the truth. Whether once can say with certainty that this is 1984, it would seem things are pointing toward it. Politically motivated violence in Germany is surging post legislation designed to gag the populace.

Robinson is no saint. He has a checkered past which he freely admits to in his book, Enemy of the State. Yet his arrest has caused outrage around the world. If the authorities thought banging him up would limit the damage they’ve made a grave mistake. Anything that is pulled or deleted finds a way of resurfacing and ballooning the awareness. Conversely some people have posted pictures of him having been assaulted and bashed in prison (this has not happened since this arrest) as a way to incite more anger. If his followers want to save him, misreporting facts, trying to scale the gates at 10 Downing St or threatening the judge that convicted him won’t help the cause. They can’t swing public opinion with the two wrongs argument.

Growing numbers of the British population are getting fed up and if more of this type of politically correct hand-wringing continues the problem is likely to get out of control. The government and judiciary may think limiting the actions of those deemed to ‘incite’ division by jailing them will quell further unrest. However they should beware the public reckoning they ‘invite’. Will cooler heads prevail? At this juncture, it would appear not.

We say again, while it is debatable as to whether Tommy Robinson was in violation of his court order on a legal technicality, the bigger issue is the thousands of children that have been permanently damaged by the deranged acts of sick people. No matter what their background, colour, race or religion they should be given the maximum penalty for raping children if found guilty. They may not have taken lives, but they have stolen the sanctity of it. To that end, Robinson should be congratulated for bringing it to light, not censured. It is not just Tommy that deserves the right of free speech but the voice given to those poor children silenced for decades while those who were supposed to protect them turned a blind eye. Perhaps even SJWs will find it in their hearts to see the virtue of Robinson’s actions to stand up for those that couldn’t defend themselves. His only weapon is free speech. If some want to call his actions ‘hate speech‘ then they only prove how little they truly care for real victims.

GE’s Angolan Kwanza exposure

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Sell-side analysts rarely read through the fine print of an annual report. Hidden away in the prose, one can find some pretty eye-opening paragraphs. From GE’s 2017 Annual Report,

“As of December 31, 2017, we held the U.S. dollar equivalent of $0.6 billion of cash in Angolan kwanza. As there is no liquid derivatives market for this currency, we have used Angolan kwanza to purchase $0.4 billion equivalent bonds issued by the central bank in Angola (Banco Nacional de Angola) with various maturities through 2020 to mitigate the related currency devaluation exposure risk. The bonds are denominated in Angolan kwanza as U.S. dollar equivalents, so that, upon payment of periodic interest and principal upon maturity, payment is made in Angolan kwanza, equivalent to the respective U.S. dollars at the then-current exchange rate.”

On that basis the marked to market figure is actually another $250mn hole in 2017. One wonders what the exchange rate will be in 2020? Furthermore at what level will Travelex or Thomas Cook exchange that for? It would be safe to assume the ‘bid/offer’ spread will be horrendous. GE might find it more useful to run a Nigerian mail scam to hedge the expected losses. For a company as large as GE, potentially losing $850mn should look like a rounding error unless the company is bleeding as the monster is. GE took a pretax charge of $201mn on its Venezuela operations.

We shouldn’t forget that “GE provides implicit and explicit support to GE Capital through commitments, capital contributions and operating support. As previously discussed, GE debt assumed from GE Capital in connection with the merger of GE Capital into GE was $47.1 billion and GE guaranteed $44.0 billion of GE Capital debt at December 31, 2017. See Note 23 to the consolidated financial statements for additional information about the eliminations of intercompany transactions between GE and GE Capital.

As 13D Research noted, “GE spent roughly $45 billion on share buybacks over 2015 & 2016  despite the shares trading well above today’s levels all the while ignoring the $30 billion+ shortfall in its pensions. Management disclosed in a recent analyst meeting that it would have to borrow to fund a $6 billion contribution to its pension plans next year, as well as chopping capex by 26% in 2018.

As mentioned yesterday, there are some who have faith in the sustained turnaround in medical. Indeed it has seen some top line and margin improvement but management seems more concerned with focusing on cutting costs than pushing innovation. Efficiency drives should be part and parcel of all businesses but one must hope CEO John Flannery has far bigger hopes for its market share leading product line (which GE admits facing pricing pressure in some segments) than trimming the staff canteen cookie tin.

GE remains a risky investment. Flannery has it all to prove and to date his performances have been anything but inspiring. GE feels like a business suffering from the divine franchise syndrome synonymous with former CEO Jack Welch. That dog eat dog culture seems to be biting its own tail.

 

 

First Ladies

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LGBTQ Nation notes Jennifer Aniston will star as the first lesbian president in the yet to be written, First Ladies which has the tag line “Behind every great woman…is another great woman.”  Her partner (stand-up comedian) Tig Notaro will play the First Lady. Will Ferrell is also supposedly starring in the film, which suggests a comedy. Even if it is humour one hopes Aniston is elected on her abilities rather than what she does behind closed doors.

Even though CM despises identity politics, the marketplace for free speech should be counted, weighed and measured by the film’s success at the box office. It is a film investment like any other. If it is found wanting then will someone dare to write a terrible review based on content or will they feel compelled to talk it up for fear of being labeled? That maybe more telling than the film itself.

CM doesn’t care what gender, sexual orientation, race or religious background a politician is provided they are the most qualified to run a country for the people that democratically elect them. That should be the only factor. Many claim that Hillary missed out because she is a woman, not because she treated the election as a coronation, stuck to $1,000 plate fund raisers in the Democratic Party hot spots, her email scandals, her husband’s chance encounter with the Attorney General on the tarmac or alienating deplorables? Or could it be she is on a world tour still griping about it?