Dear Leader

The Wolf who cried “Boy”

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North Korea’s threat to fire a nuclear missile at Guam should the US try anything to jeopardize the hermit kingdom’s nuclear programme is more the domain of an hysteric media for now. He is the wolf crying boy – “I will eat your sheep when I wish, what are you going to do about it?” Of course, no sane government can dismiss his threats. The 33-year old leader has assassinated subjects and relatives who he feared might pose a challenge to him. He taunts his enemies in full knowledge the collateral damage the West may suffer would likely be factor fold higher than he stands to lose. North Korea’s GDP is estimated to be around $12 billion annually. Tokyo’s GDP is estimated to be around $1.5 trillion, 125x larger. Seoul’s GDP is around $780 billion (65x North Korea) but is located in shelling distance. From a purely militaristic standpoint, North Korea doesn’t stand a chance. The US has spy satellites parked permanently over North Korea surveilling troop movements, missile test sites and US submarines will have constant watch over Pyongyang’s naval activity. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is not a bargaining chip in this case. While it does raise the ‘risk’ factor, it is not enough to exclude war on the peninsula.

The problem is that all the while no action is taken, PyongYang’s arsenal grows more sophisticated. Kim has no plans to halt his development. In 1994 then President Bill Clinton came closest to taking action against its nuclear capability but in the end chose diplomacy. We are 23 years on and the capabilities are such that this game has increasingly limited life span. Trump made his thoughts clear in a 1995 interview. Try to talk him out and if all else fails take the military option

The more advanced his arsenal becomes, the more weight his demands carry. Kim is in his 30s. Assuming the West does nothing, there is another three decades of threats and bellicose to consider. Over time its weapons programme will be sufficiently credible to hit Washington DC. Just like Russian missiles in Cuba, America will not allow a condition which could threaten it to exist.

North Korea has 3 main nuclear missile launch sites (Musudan-Ri,  Punggye-Ri and Tongchang-Ri) among the fourteen nuclear facilities ranging from R&D, power generation,  mining and refined fissile material production. A surgical strike would be difficult to achieve without North Korea getting away a few missiles itself.

Why Guam? Of course one can view his threat in several ways. One, Guam is the current realistic technical capability of his nuclear weapons, two; Kim hasn’t said he’ll strike Washington DC which should be interpreted as evidence that he is not completely deranged and bragging about capabilities he does not yet have, three; he could theoretically bomb the US military installations in Okinawa which is closer than Guam and more likely to score a relative hit but he has been careful not to drag Japan into this contest (yet) and finally; his nuclear programme is his only bargaining chip. Were Kim to cease his atomic aspirations, he would literally be a sitting duck. He knows – as did his father and grandfather before him – the regime survives on the will of the Rest of the World to appease it. If he has no trump card, the RoW can ignore it.

On April 10th this year, China’s special envoy on the North Korean nuclear programme, Wu Dawei, visited Seoul with the idea of pushing a harder UN resolution in case of another nuclear test. In the short term China is hoping a short term halt to coal imports will bring Kim Jong-Un to heel they have not ruled out removing him entirely. It is the least preferred option but Trump’s moves will only mean China is being forced to up the ante. However China has been lamenting that it can’t force Kim to come to heel. Once again this is partly China testing the will of Trump versus his predecessor. Do not think for one second that China hasn’t been channeling Sun Tzu as to how it can pull off a geopolitical masterstroke by bringing Kim to heel and the US to back down. This is becoming harder to achieve, even more so with an unpredictable president.

Let us not forget the strategic benefits of North Korea to China. It provides a buffer to the US friendly South Korea and keeps furthering China’s status as a dominant force (economically and militarily) in the region. One of the last things China wants is the equivalent population of Australia (24 million) as refugees on its northern border. Best it remains contained inside a regime presiding over a tiny economy. Even less desirable is a US invasion/strike which puts a US protectorate on China’s doorstep.

Global markets are not reacting too erratically to this crisis. They are collectively taking the path of most common scenario vis-a-vis history to date. Minor risk on. Even Korean CDS spreads, at 14 year highs (61) remain well down on GFC and the death of Kim Jong-Il. However a president who wants to reassert US foreign policy after 8 years of willful abuse under his predecessor may be more than willing to take decisive action and put an end to the North Korean problem. He won’t risk it unless his generals can give a very high level of assurance the collateral damage will be minimal

While some media want to believe that Trump is itching for a war in North Korea or Iran to resurrect his sliding poll numbers, that is an obtuse way of thinking. North Korea is a growing threat. Pure and simple. If North Korea gets a capability to potentially hit the US mainland then that is untenable. Any country that threatens to attack another puts itself on a geopolitical chess board of its own making. This is dragging China into a game it would rather not play but inevitably Beijing realizes that it has to take control before Trump takes it from them leaving them in the worst of all worlds.

Cooler heads to prevail? Maybe but something suggests that North Korea is brewing beyond what markets are currently pricing.

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Victorian government wants to take control of parenting

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It shouldn’t surprise coming from the Marxist Victorian government but the idea for girls as young as 11 to get access to the contraceptive pill without consent from the parents is plain irresponsible. Most parents worry about their kids. What they eat and what they put in their bodies. It isn’t they turn a blind eye to their kids potentially engaging in underage intercourse. Some kids may only want it to reduce pain during their menstrual cycle but to have a government provide a service which deliberately allows kids to bypass parental approval is downright wrong. Why does the state have a role giving kids who clearly aren’t of a sufficient mental maturity to fully comprehend what they are taking and then enable them to hide it from their guardians? It is hard enough tying to get kids to listen and become model citizens.

Allowing the government to effectively endorse actions that effectively suggest to kids they don’t need their parents consent opens a whole new can of worms about disobedience.

Why not just give kids the vote at age 11 if they’re of sufficient mental faculty, pay their taxes and contribute to society?

On the bright side at least it isn’t as bad as Bill  89 in Ottawa which allows the state to take custody of children from parents who don’t accept their kids gender identity.

The Red Pill vindicated in the land of the Rising Sun

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For all the drama surrounding the Red Pill movie and the idea that men can be victims, former LDP politician Mayuko Toyoda made the case for defenseless males. She totally lost the plot at her driver/secretary hurling expletives and insults at his baldness and physically attacking him. Japan has had consecutive episodes of politicians making fools of themselves- is there any wonder the population has lost faith in the ability to operate government. Here are a few reminders.

Nakagawa at the G8. After years of failed policy to weaken the yen his drunk press interview sunk the yen more rapidly than any rational policy before it.

Nonomura hearing over falsified travel claims. He burst into tears at his presser.

Then again we shouldn’t overlook the pathetic level politicians hit on a regular basis overseas-

Aussie PM Turnbull on Trump

Justin Trudeau’s cardboard cut outs of himself

Trump love in with his cabinet who all betrothed their adoration for him

Is this what great leaders are made of?

When you’re sorry, you’re sorry

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What is it with these supposed heartfelt apologies designed to show sincerity and compassion. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has apologized for any hurt that may have been caused 160 years ago to Chinese gold prospectors subject to a tax on entering Victoria meaning many had to walk on foot from South Australia. Andrews said, “It is never too late to say sorry, particularly if you mean it…On behalf of the Victorian government, on behalf of the Victorian Parliament, I express our deepest sorrow and I say to you that we are profoundly sorry.”  One of Andrew’s MPs, Mr Hong Lim, said that the form of the apology had been in discussions for two years,  How sincere can an apology truly be if you have to craft it over 24 months? If you’re sorry, you’re sorry – surely the words should drip from the tongue not require speech writers. Pathetic. Try apologising to your better half 2 years after your crime and see what response you get…

Why Alan Joyce didn’t take one for the team

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While getting smacked in the face with a pie was uncalled for, the decision by Qantas CEO Alan Joyce to press charges against the perpetrator is over the top and actually harms the cause he chooses to enslave his own employees by. Had he chosen to laugh at it and make light of the situation he would have not only taken the moral high ground but showed he was above it. In the process show that those for it aren’t so brittle and fragile. Still Joyce couldn’t resist the opportunity to press charges when the only damage was done to his tailor’s heart! Jeremy Clarkson showed the right way how to deal with being pied. He could have turned it to a massive advantage which is now an own goal.

I’ve written before that I think his use of Qantas as a way to publicize marriage equality is dead wrong. One of his stunts was to get staff to wear ‘acceptance’ rings and distribute them to passengers as a way to promote it. I said it was wrong. I suppose were someone to politely decline to wear one they’d undoubtedly be branded homophobic, bigoted and summarily ostracized for such expressing such views. That they may indeed support gay marriage but not feel it important enough in their list of priorities (mortgages, job security, kid’s school, health etc) to do more. That is a conscious choice. Fail to wear the ring and perhaps your career takes a turn for the worse all because you don’t want to be forced to outwardly express your political views. Yet if you feel forced to wear one that makes you a slave.

Corporations should keep their political views to themselves. If Alan Joyce wants to go on a personally crusade to fight for the cause he can do it on his own time not on the shareholders clock. If CEOs feel so passionately about politics maybe they should come down from their multi-million dollar ivory towers and run for office for a fraction of the pay. Now that IS the best way to show you truly back the cause (of course assuming people would vote you into office).

Here I was thinking the Irish had a sense of hunour? In the case Mr Joyce you didn’t take one for the team! What a place he could have shown it – a speech on why leadership matters.

Media proves they’re petrified of Tony Abbott

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It didn’t take long for the Tony Abbott haters to spring into action. The media naturally is panicked that this Labor-esque budget will kill off Turnbull if the polls don’t reverse and give rise to an Abbott return which they know would win back swathes of disaffected Lib voters who have abandoned the party since the betrayal. Abbott’s crime? Not applauding the Treasurer for the shameful budget presented last night. Spoilt brat, sore loser and against his own party are the accusations. One can only imagine had he clapped the headlines would have read ‘Sell out!’ or ‘Applauds the opposite of what he proposed!

Let’s think about what his actions truly showed in the context of ourselves. If you worked tirelessly and loyally for a company/party and dedicated almost three decades of blood, sweat and tears to an organization’s success let us just say that you have ‘invested’.  Even if you haven’t you may know someone in your firm who has but let’s assume its you. You are unfairly shafted from your leadership role and your conniving successor seeks to undermine you at every opportunity. You are not only demoted but stripped of dignity. Despite clear evidence you still wish to work for the betterment of all because of those years of investment, you are sidelined and black-balled. Any sensible contribution is ignored and those who once supported you start to realize that doing so risks them being tarred with the same brush in front of the new management. You see the fruits of your hard work get eroded even to the point where the damage impacts the core values of your customers. Even though you have sleepless trying to stop the boat you painstakingly and lovingly tried to build and maintain from sinking, management continues to play music on the deck of the Titanic. Some may call your cause futile but they can never deny it is built on trying to be true to the people you serve internally and externally. Then one day you realize that the damage is irreparable and you won’t appease your new boss on the basis of what you know to be the complete antithesis of your soul. People still respect you inside for not selling out. You’re the real deal and secretly people respect you way more than they let on. Secretly they know they are ashamed of their insecurity.

So while I read many social media posts telling Abbott to ‘go away’, ‘quit’, ‘do us all a favour and go‘ I would argue that many of you are playing the man not the ball. Was he flawless? No. Was he well intentioned? Yes. He is the man that volunteers for the rural fire fighting service. He didn’t do it for point scoring, It was dedication to the cause. If indeed it was for point scoring then why would he bother to do it now he is on the backbench? Perhaps ask yourself one question – would you prefer a person of principle to be your boss or someone that would sell you down the river if you ever got in the way of their ambition? If you choose the latter it says a lot more about you than Tony Abbott.  As Churchill remarked, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life”

The media is petrified. If they weren’t they’d see no reason to give him any airtime.

Breaking (News) the bank

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What a joke. The Turnbull Coalition would seem to be looking to increase the debt ceiling another $100bn. Instead of focusing on sensible fiscal repair (unpleasant truths) he’ll focus on handouts (comforting lies) to make people feel better about themselves. Tonight’s budget will be full of hand outs we can ill afford. Borrow and spend has been a hallmark of Labor governments, not coalition governments. Yet Turnbull is so far down the polls that his vanity will cause the spigots to be turned on full. There is a video doing the rounds of PM Turnbull and Treasurer Morrison rehearsing the budget speech – it is so fake, contrived as to make a manager’s speech about how good things are to staff a week before commencing mass layoffs. The audience doesn’t believe a word of the bullshit bingo. Taking them for fools is perhaps the best way to alienate them further. Watch Turnbull’s numbers tank.