Australia

Is BMW hurting bad enough to offer 10yrs free servicing?

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10 years? Sounds a bit desperate. A bit like the Korean makes a few decades back using monster incentives to lure customers by a value to good to refuse proposition. Have luxury car sales become so hard to get in Australia that the prestige make has to offer 10 years of free servicing and 1yr free insurance?

BMW sales in Australia fell 12.2% year on year in August 2018. Audi crumbled 25.8%. Benz did better at -3.4%. Land Rover fell 32%, Lexus down 11.7%. Porsche crumpled 25.4%.

It is likely the fine print in the 10 years free servicing basic package isn’t transferable between owners so if most buyers hold their BMWs for 5 years the total incentive is much less to roll out. If the fine print allows transfers it only adds to the desperate state of having to hurl freebies to shift metal. Dealers tend to make less on the sale of the car but plenty on gouging customers for service and spares.

Seems the tyres are going flat. Total car sales in Australia were down 1.5% in August. Passenger car sales fell 13.4% while those eco conscious Aussies bought 8.3% more SUVs. Medium and large sedan segments fell 24.1% and 60.3% respectively. Every SUV segment rose except upper large. Toyota finished up 1.7% for the month with 19.8% share.

#MakeActivismGreatAgain

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There is a sense of irony that Democrat Party protesters still fail to get. Boycotting business doesn’t work very well. In fact the opposite could well be true. This is a picture from the front of In-N-Out burgers on Sept 2, the day after Democrat activists called for a boycott for the fast food chain donating $25,000 to the GOP in California. Why didn’t they protest and call for a boycott when the same burger chain donated $30,000 to the GOP in 2016 and again in 2017? Shouldn’t they be embarrassed for their inconsistency? Perhaps they could thank the burger chain for reducing the size of the donation? One thing is for sure Democrats need to make blue caps with ‘MAKE ACTIVISM GREAT AGAIN”

When people boycotted the NRA post the Florida school shooting, membership surged. It seems more Americans are growing tired of this constant harassment.

There is a pattern from boycotts. People can decide for themselves if they abhor such donations. They don’t require a bunch of idle pot smoking basement dwellers to yell at them and tell them how to spend their hard earned dollars.

Even in Australia, activists called for a boycott of supermarket chain Coles for reintroducing plastic bags to convenience customers. Despite studies by the UK Environment Agency which showed that man made reusable “eco bags” we’re told are so green would have to be used 286x to match the environmental footprint of the single use HDPE disposable shopping bags they replaced. If people dispose of rubbish in these same bags (using them twice) then the eco bags would be required to be used 572x to offset the environmental impact. Ironically if people can’t use such bags for their rubbish they’re forced to buy plastic bags off the shelf to do so meaning plastic consumption is neutral, not reduced.

As these activists conjure up new schemes to makes us feel bad they probably do so sipping a latte from Starbucks in a paper cup. The cost to recycle the 500 billion (and rising) coffee cups consumed annually is so astronomical (it is hard to separate the wax that stops the cup disintegrating because of the energy intensity involved to do so) that over 90% end up in landfill. No one talks about that 300 million tons of virgin paper used to make these cups! How many of us give it one thought when we need a shot of caffeine? Right?! Although Starbucks is trialing a 5p latte levy for those that elect to use a paper cup. In any event no protest.

Boycotting businesses seems to help their fortunes so keep up the good work! Perhaps they should work it into being a platform policy such is the unbridled success

They’re a weird mob

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Lt. Norman Martin Peterson may have served 6 gruesome years in the Australian Field Ambulance during WW2, yet after the war he ended up being a character (Peto) in John O’Grady’s (pseudonym Nino Culotta)  “They’re a weird mob” which sold over 1,000,000 copies over multiple print runs since the 1957.

Norman’s best mate Lionel Addison (Addo) was also a character. O’Grady wrote,

So we went to the club, ‘just for a little while’, and Addo and Peto and Simmo and Old Vic were there. It was getting late, and Kay and I said we had to dgo, because our neighbour was ‘minding the monster’ and she would be wanting to go to bed. And Addo said that in any case they would all come to my place and I could make coffee…And Peto paid her a lot of attention with exaggerated gallantry, and gave her whiskey and beer.

O’Grady wrote that Addo & Peto were among the last people on earth anyone would want to control the freedom of suggesting if it was done they’d be the first to tell the wowsers where to jump. Seems pretty accurate, even  for a fiction novel.

First responder assaults – the shocking stats

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We must question the sanity of the world we live in. First responders – police, fire and ambulance – are generally people trying to save the community from danger by putting themselves in harm’s way. Yet the incidence of assaults against them has grown to shocking levels around the world. These are not exhaustive stats (this will come in a more comprehensive piece) but this piece paints a picture of what is going on and why we shouldn’t be surprised at the growing incidences of PTSD suffered by first responders. Something must be done. The next journey for CM is to provide a solution.

By branch:

POLICE

The FBI noted in 2016 that 57,180 (c.10% of all) US police officers were assaulted while performing their duties. 28.9% were injured (enough to enforce time away from work). The largest percentage of victim officers (32.2%) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls (domestic violence, family disputes, pub fights).

Assailants used hands, fists or feet in 78% of the incidents, firearms in 4.2% of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 1.9% of the assaults. Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 16% of assaults. Assaults on police in the US are up 17% in the past two years. 

In NSW, Australia some 2,343 (13.3%) police officers out of 16,500 have been at the receiving end of assault in 2017. That’s 6 per day. With regard to official statistics, the NSW Police Force indicated that over a three year period from 2013 to 2015, an average of 2,236 police officers per year were assaulted during the course of their duties. Around 7% of officers actually end up physically injured. 

 AMBULANCE/EMS

In the US health care professionals experience the highest rate of workplace violence (WPV) compared to all other industries, with the majority of violent injuries committed by their patients according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Studies show EMS responders were three times higher than the national average for all other occupations to suffer WPV. In regards to occupational fatalities, the rate among paramedics is more than twice the national average for all occupations and is comparable to those of police and firefighters at 12.7 per 100,000 workers per year.

The rate of nonfatal injuries among US paramedics was 34.6 per 100 full-time workers per year — a rate more than 5x higher than the national average for all workers.  In regard to fatal injuries, a retrospective cohort study of nationally registered emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in the U.S. found that 8% of fatalities were due to assaults. 

Males have been reported as the most frequent perpetrators of violence however, a separate study found female patients of the mean age of 32.5 years +/- 8.1 years to be the most frequent perpetrators. 

In the NSW Ambulance Service, approximately 51% of assault incidents were attributed to mental illness, 22% to alcohol, 15% to drugs. Similarly, statistics provided by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) concerning violence against Police from July 2006 to June 2016 suggest alcohol is a factor in many incidents.  Assaults on ambos in NSW are up 8-fold since 2001. Median lost hours for those EMS crew assaulted is around 8.6 weeks.

FIRE FIGHTERS

In what world do people shoot fireys? Here are 3 specific incidents in 2016 of attacks on fire fighters in the US. 

April 15, 2016: Firefighter fatally shot, second wounded in Prince George’s, Baltimore, Maryland

Jan. 22, 2016: Ark. firefighter shot, killed on EMS call, Pulaski County, Arkansas,

Jan. 20, 2016: Denver fire chief stabbed near station, Denver, Colorado,

Fire and Rescue NSW indicated its officers do not have the sort of violence prevention training of police and paramedics better able to protect their crew’s health and safety, including in respect of violent incidents. At the Parliamentary Committee’s hearing on 14 November 2016, Fire and Rescue NSW witnesses provided the following evidence:

Basically, when a crew arrives at an incident, you have a station officer and a station commander in charge of the crew and the…truck. That person undergoes promotional programs to get to that position. Part of that is understanding how the legislation is applied in reality from a practical point of view. Also, during that experience – we are talking probably eight to 10 years for that to occur …The promotional programs…cover the responsibilities of the officer and advise around the standard operational guidelines of when to withdraw and ask for police support and what is safe or not safe.

…If we look overseas for experiences and tried to align our experience to that, you would have to say that the civil unrest that is happening in the United States probably would not occur here to that degree. However, there is also an underlying issue in the United States where emergency service is seen as part of an arm of government and there is, hopefully, a small growing trend where emergency service ambushes are occurring…random shooters are calling emergency services to locations to make a point. We hope that never crosses to this country here, but we would always have an eye on what happens in other jurisdictions…because it is quite possible someone would pick that up as a possibility in this jurisdiction….”

PRISON GUARDS

The UK HMPS note that there were 7,159 assaults on staff in the year to March 2017 up 32%YoY. Serious assaults were up 25%YoY to 805 incidents. The National Tactical Response Group (NTRG) which is only called under extreme levels of prisoner violence  surged from 120 in 2010 to an annualized 630 by the end of 2016.  

THE PTSD IMPACT

This was the fascinating part of the research. It isn’t that the job isn’t hard enough already, it’s the lack of resources to support first responders when waiting for incidents. Lots of idle time to ponder.

US FEMA note stress has not only been categorized by exposure to traumatic incidents, but also the monotonous operational characteristics of EMS organizations, such as paperwork, lack of administrative support, low wages, long hours, irregular shifts, and cynical societal attitudes toward public safety officers.

Cumulative stress associated with the monotonous duties or low acuity calls has led to feelings of desensitization for patients, and their job as a whole. Concerns have also been raised regarding sleep quality and fatigue and the impact it has not only on the provider, but also job performance and patient  outcomes. Some research has posited that organizational stress often contributes more to the development of PTSD than traumatic events.

Also noteworthy is the notion that paramedics are often the source for a lot of criticisms by society for the decisions they make in determining life or death situations for patients and themselves. This can affect EMS providers in many ways and may contribute to the slow decline in provider morale.

Burnout (emotional exhaustion) is one of many organizational outcomes that may arise as a result of violence experienced by EMS responders. The question of whether or not violence would eventually lead to burnout was first raised in the early 1990s . Exposures to violence were noted as a reason many EMTs, especially volunteers, left the profession. In an early study from 1998, 7% of survey respondents within one urban fire department considered leaving EMS as a direct result of an abusive situation they encountered while on the job. Knowing how to emotionally cope following a tough incident can help to reduce anxiety and burnout.  

Mixed methods studies conducted in the U.S. and Sweden found that violent encounters altered the patient-provider relationship. Yet, some in the industry feel that exposures to violence do not cause stress or negatively impact providers. This lack of effect has been attributed to the internalization of the mentality that violence is a part of the job.  It has been posited that years of experience may be a protective factor that allows more experienced responders to experience less stress and anxiety after violent events. 

Evidence weighing the social and economic costs associated with increased violence and burnout is based mostly upon anecdotal evidence, with no assessments conducted on monetary value. Some suggest that, as violence increases, the need for police backup also increases, thereby increasing response time and delaying potentially critical care to a patient in need. 

Other concerns include altered operations for the private sector of EMS. Intent to leave the profession is also a concern. As more EMS responders leave the profession, numerous organizational and patient impacts have been hypothesized, including increased costs for training new EMTs and paramedics, greater numbers of inexperienced paramedics serving at any one point in time, and increased error rates committed by new and inexperienced paramedics. EMS responders also report seeking a job change away from their ambulance role. In some cases, responders stated they lost interest in fieldwork and tried to get off the road and into desk positions. 

What’s clear is that not enough is being done to help first responders cope with occupational hazards and handling the stress that comes from it. That is going to change very soon. Stay  posted!

While you’re at it, why not thank those first responders randomly in the street for the great work they do. It goes a long way! They need you just as much as you will need them when you’re in a bind!

Cheikmate

Australian Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is clearly massively under pressure. Sporting the second worst win/loss record of any Australian rugby coach he hit out at journalists questioning whether it is time to pack it in by suggesting they take mental disorder suppressing “pills” for exposing his dreadful stats. His team was walloped by New Zealand 40-12. The All Blacks retain the Bledisloe Cup for the 16th straight year.

Cheika talked of “passion” for the job but a great coach is one that extracts the best from the players by making them believe in themselves and achieve well beyond what they think they can. Australia need a Brian Clough type coach rather than the thuggish style of Cheika. Basic discipline is lacking in the Aussie team and that stems from the top. A coach that was confident in his ability to attain quality results wouldn’t resort to cheap shots. He’d merely let the scoreboard do the talking. Instead he shows the pressure is too much for him.  This press conference (especially from 5:30) confirms he is not right for the role. Time to replace him.

CM has made the argument multiple times – if money was taken away from the game all current All Blacks would still play proudly for their country. For the Aussies it is likely only a handful that might feel the same. Cheika is not building a team steeped in history, but making excuses for his dreadful deficiencies. He may accuse journalists of being clueless by stating they’ve never coached before, but should he possess an enviable success ratio the press wouldn’t ask for reasons why the Wallabies were road kill.

Cheikmate- time to go gracefully. The fans aren’t buying it.

Naked chef faces naked stupidity

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CM is not a great fan of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. He was the one threatening to leave the UK if citizens voted ‘leave the EU’ in the Brexit referendum. (Un)fortunately for most liberally minded celebrities who lay down ultimatums to their adoring fans, they ignored him and he’s still here. Hypocrisy anyone? However CM will defend him against left wing lunatics accusing him of cultural appropriation in the kitchen.

It’s probably harder to believe than making ‘punchy jerk rice’ but a UK Labour MP Dawn Butler said that Jamie Oliver must stop the cultural appropriation of Jamaica. The shadow minister for women and equalities, wrote,

I’m just wondering do you know what #Jamaican #jerk actually is? It’s not just a word you put before stuff to sell products… Your jerk rice is not OK. This appropriation from Jamaica needs to stop.

Factually we could say Jamie Oliver has culturally appropriated the Italians, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and a whole host of other nations’ with respect to their cuisine. Perhaps he should be forced to pay any monies gained from his success back to the countries he lifted these dishes from. Perhaps anyone who has bought his books should be hauled via drive thru kangaroo courts and summarily executed for brazen bigotry in the kitchen. Why not enforce state officials to monitor parents to ensure their children don’t develop a liking to culturally inappropriate dishes.

The Spectator wrote about other ridiculous events where evil whites plotted to allow people to judge for themselves whether they wanted to dine and consume their products.

Last year a burrito van in Portland was forced out of business after activists accused its two white owners of ‘stealing’ their recipes from Mexico. Soon afterwards, a list was circulated of similarly inadmissible behaviour entitled ‘(Alternatives to) White-Owned Appropriative Restaurants in Portland’. It named and shamed dozens of establishments and included suggestions of more acceptable places owned by ‘people of colour’. In February, the firm that runs the canteen at New York University sacked two white working-class men after they devised an African-American menu to celebrate Black History Month that was deemed ‘racially insensitive’ by a middle-class black student.

This politically correct nonsense needs to stop. Surely individuals can decide from themselves whether they can literally stomach a chef’s cuisine without him or her declaring white privilege before serving. Honestly how many actually care about this absurd nonsense? Probably less than 0.1% might get triggered.

Sure, one could argue that a Japanese chef adds authenticity at a sushi counter as does an Australian burning sausages on a BBQ. However when politicians think serving up such utter stupidity to constituents somehow creates value they only prove just how a lack of intelligence is completely inedible in any culture.

Given the current malaise in politics around the world is it fair to say there are more important fish to fry than accusing chefs of culinary expression.

N.B. CM would like to apologise if any kangaroos were offended by the misappropriation of their species in this article, including wallabies or any other animals identifying as kangaroos.

If only the Bledisloe Cup was 36 minutes…

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The Wallabies played a stupendous first 36 minutes in the 1st half. Great defence and solid possession. Then a try by the All Blacks set off a 6 try spree. The second half was a typical joke performance by a team that continually flakes when the cage is rattled. 7 lost line outs on our own feed and our scrum was screwed multiple times.

CM has thought for a while that coach Michael Cheika needs to go. He can’t bring 80 minutes of discipline with his players.  He has a 54% win record at the helm. With the All Blacks its 22%. Even Scotland is 50%. This is the second worst record of any Aussie coach.

Bob Dwyer – 64% win record

Alan Jones – 68%

Greg Smith – 63%

Rod Macqueen – 79%

Eddie Jones – 58%

John Connolly- 59%

Robbie Deans – 58%

Ewen Mackenzie- 50%

Time to realize he is a dud. The lack of discipline goes straight to the leadership team. There are no positives to take away when a team can only hold it together for just under half a game. It is not an issue of players or ability but discipline.

It doesn’t take away a deserved win by New Zealand but the engravers might as well get to work on the 16th straight series victory because the Wallabies are mere road kill for now.