Confidence

Kobe ‘Steal’ – why this scandal could get much uglier

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Kobe Steel is the next in a growing list of Japanese corporates embroiled in data falsification. Kobe Steel has been supplying lower spec material to customers than advertised. In a sense stealing. Sure VW is no better in lying about its emissions but Kobe Steel has the potential to be more like Takata than Mitsubishi Motors in terms of impact. The issue here has to do with Kobe Steel products being in structures of aircraft, trains (including bullet trains) and cars. While much is being made of ‘little risk’ attached to these slightly lower spec products the reality is that ‘metal fatigue’ is calculated in the resesearch, development, testing and evaluation of such products.

For instance when planes are in the development phase FAA certification depends on making sure products can meet certain tolerances, cycles and stress tests. Once certification is granted, if subsequent production is met by sub-standard intermediate products unbeknownst to the manufacturer of the part then the trail becomes a much more serious matter. It is easy enough to determine which Honda’s had defective airbags as it is a specific part on specific models. Yet Kobe Steel steel products shipped all over the globe may have been used in different parts. Then those discrete parts would need to be traced to the next intermediate stage and then on to the finished part to which may be fixed to an airline on the other side of the world. Boeing is naturally not raising any alarms until they can assess the issue.

JR has already noted 310 sub standard parts in wheel bearings in its bullet trains which will be replaced at the next scheduled service. It is likely that the JR parts are over spec for the extra margin of safety.

None-the-less aircraft could turn into a much bigger problem. There is only one spec that is supposed to be met. Failure to meet it could cause planes to be grounded until parts are replaced. This could be massively costly as planes not in the air earning money cost millions on the ground. Not to mention the risk of the US government fining the company for reckless behaviour.

Kobe Steel has seen revenues track sideways for the better part of a decade. Profits have been all over the shop. Much like Toshiba tried to fiddle the books with one division in the hope that in time it would be able to put the money back and no one would notice. As for Kobe Steel, there was obviously a plan to try to boost profitability by lowering specs and charging prices for superior spec. Even then the contribution has been poor. Hardly surprising when the cash conversion cycle has exploded from 38 days a decade ago to around 82 today. To be faker most of the big steel companies have a similar CCC which hasn’t changed much over the last decade.

What we can be pretty sure of will be the soft touch of the local authorities. Even with such willful deceit, it is unlikely anyone will see inside of a jail cell or pay multi million dollar fines in Japan. However the tail risk here is the likes of Boeing who will extract every pound of flesh with the help of its authorities to rent seek from Kobe Steel if certain parts are found to be ultimately faulty because of negligence. This is not a staged Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors leak to force a cheap entry into the latter. Still, 37,000 employees at Kobe Steel will be seen as a sizable number to protect at a national level hence a limp wristed response to follow.

One final point. Do we honestly think that Kobe Steel can conduct an honest audit of its deceit? Surely flagrant data fiddling will be milled down to more acceptable cheating.  It is a time honored tradition to leak a bit, then a bit more so as to minimize the shame.

Until Japanese listed corporates face far harsher penalties for such malfeasance, it will be hard to shake off the cynicism that the corporate governance code has introduced anything more than mere lip service. That is OK if that is what Japan wants to project to the world that shareholders are not a priority.

Channeling Chewbacca, the feminist…

Here is a video of Justin Trudeau talking complete drivel about how he’s proud to be a feminist and how we bloody minded males must stop being men. What is the perpetual bleating about identity that seems to fill his days. Then again he feels completely at home muzzling his own citizens (e.g. Bill M-103). What a shame Trudeau wasn’t able to give speaking lessons to POTUS before he gave his UN speech. Trump didn’t have to growl like Chewie. All he needed was Chewbacca socks so he could look gruff while he apologized profusely for every hurt feeling even if he had nothing to do with it.

Trudeau highlights what is wrong with world leaders today. Appearing to do things is enough. Sometimes hard measures are required. Leadership, even if decisions are unpalatable, is about doing. In a crisis could would you want to bet on him? He is a vote for virtue signaling. Ewok socks much more appropriate for the Canadian PM

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When Reagan used to stick it to the Soviets

For all the flak that DJT copped today on social media for sticking it to the Rocketman, Venezuela and the United Nations, Reagan was no less tough in the rhetoric toward foes. Reagan’s speech in Berlin where he demanded Gorbachev “tear down that wall” was no less in your face than Trump telling Rocketman to smarten his act or face the music. The central instrument for burying the Soviet Union was Reagan’s massive defense build-up. He forked out $134 billion in 1980 and ramped it to $253 billion in 1989. American defense spending rose to 7% of GDP (c.4.5% now), dramatically increasing the federal deficit. The Soviet Union was compelled to keep up by raising the share of its defense spending from 22% to 27% of GDP, freezing the production of non-defence goods at 1980 levels. Economically it couldn’t keep up and by 1991 the Soviet Union folded. A small price to pay to end the Cold War. America did not wilt under Reagan as it has in recent years,

We should not forget the numerous occasions that former President Reagan openly used to ridicule the Soviets for being so backward. As the old saying goes, ‘never a truer word than that said in jest’. The joke about the curfew is a cracker.

Blowing the whistle on NASA over climate data

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Jo Nova has an excellent piece exposing the scams inside NASA with regards to their climate models and allegations of misappropriated taxpayer funds. She notes whistleblower Dr Duane Thresher who worked seven years at NASA GISS “describes a culture of self serving rent-seekers, mismanagement and incompetence. These are the top experts in the climate science field that we are supposed to accept without questioning. Those who say they are working to “save the planet” care more about their junckets than they do about the data or their “best” model…NASA GISS’s most advanced climate model is run from the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Thresher recounts a story from someone on the inside:“NASA GISS’s climate model — named Model E, an intentional play on the word “muddle” — is called the “jungle” because it is so badly coded.” I know this to be true from my own extensive experience programming it (I tried to fix as much as I could…)…”

Of course I can hear the alarmists cry  that Thresher is a ‘discredited’ scientist as they do for anyone who disagrees,. Much in the spirit of the Harvard piece I put out last week, venerable organizations like NASA (which has put humans into space) carry almost untouchable status. This is the problem. Do we just suck up aything we are told by these organizations or do we need to add an extra layer of skepticism because of the ‘reputation’?

It is truly hard to imagine that the brain’s trust that makes up an organization that can launch rockets and space shuttles can be guilty of such sloppiness. Such whistleblowing will  lead to a congressional testimony which will bring many things to light. It wasn’t long ago that NOAA was subpoenaed after a whistleblower said the group had rushed a report ahead of the Paris climate summit with obviously fiddled data that fit a narrative. NOAA refused to hand over the emails for months on the grounds of privacy  when the head of House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith explained the reality that they worked for the government and had no choice.

Smith noted, “According to Dr. John Bates, the recently retired principal scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, the Karl study was used “to discredit the notion of a global warming hiatus and rush to time the publication of the paper to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy…I thank Dr. John Bates for courageously stepping forward to tell the truth about NOAA’s senior officials playing fast and loose with the data in order to meet a politically predetermined conclusion. In the summer of 2015, whistleblowers alerted the Committee that the Karl study was rushed to publication before underlying data issues were resolved to help influence public debate about the so-called Clean Power Plan and upcoming Paris climate conference. Since then, the Committee has attempted to obtain information that would shed further light on these allegations, but was obstructed at every turn by the previous administration’s officials. I repeatedly asked, ‘What does NOAA have to hide?’

Once again whenever people try to use the ‘credibility’ argument to sway debate, there is a treasure trove of evidence to show in this case that it is politics not science. With billions if not trillions at stake, such fraud has not resulted in any of these climate scientists being fined, deregistered or jailed for the very things that have happened to people in the financial sector. What is the difference I wonder? Maybe because the government has been in on the act…

Even Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has been recently exposed for divisive behaviour in temperature measurement. Putting hard floors on cold temperatures with no such restrictions on warm weather. We’re supposed to trust these bodies? More on that tomorrow.

Well as the old adage goes, “there are lies, more lies and then there are statistics”

How well do you know your pronouns, bigot?

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How well do you know your gender pronouns? To be honest I was unaware of what they were. I had to look them up. After all laws in some parts of the world will make it a criminal and jailable offense to knowingly call someone by the wrong pronoun. Will the government be posting gender pronoun indoctrination reference sheets to all citizens? Will we have Gender Police roaming the streets like the Saudi religious police who enforce blasphemy laws?  How will governments be able to write to citizens using “Dear Sir/Madam”? Unless they add another page making sure all other variants are included. The above table is but a fraction of the number of pronouns there are.

Google’s banner when searching for ‘gender pronouns’  list – gender neutral, 4chan, they, non, non-binary, agend, personal, respect gender, different, LGBT, table English, neopronouns, inclusive, special snowflake, muh, non conforming, genderque, more than two and so on. Vanderbilt University for instance has wall plaques for staff which denote their preferred ‘pronouns’. At what point did people’s sense of self esteem become so fragile that governments are prepared to fall for it and introduce made up language and make laws to enforce it? Learning the times table was hard enough. Honestly, are people expected to learn Ne, Ve, Ey, Ze, Zie or Xe and all the variations? How psychologically weak must someone be to protest at being incorrectly referred to?

Yet this is the world we are creating. Gender fluid schools, cross dressing, penis tucking and chest binding for primary school students…the list goes on. Boys in Victoria will be allowed to wear uniform dresses to school. The same Victorian government is proposing that medical staff at schools be given the right to dispense drugs such as the contraceptive pill to girls as young as 11 without parental consent. Ottawa has introduced a law – Bill 89 – which gives the state the right to dispossess parents of their children who question their child’s identity.

All the while we are told identity politics is all about ‘inclusiveness.’ How can one have inclusiveness if these minority groups wish to remain openly and proudly exclusive? If we were truly striving for inclusivity then race, religion, gender identity, sexual preference and so on would not be barriers to anything. Why do governments even need to  consider changing public documents? What if you don’t identify as male or female and fly into a country where the customs entry card only lists M or F? Are they right to refuse entry or if they arbitrarily note you as male when you identify as something else? Will you protest at the customs official’s ignorance?

Progressive? Most people probably couldn’t care less what some people identify as. Next time I fly Qantas I am going to identify as an 11yo 4th gender African Wahhabi with dwarfism so I can fly at 50% off and see how far I get. Who are they to deny me? To get what I am on about listen to this interview on this very subject of ‘identity’ and the lunatic aruments made. Anyone who disagrees must by definition be a racist, sexist bigot and prosecuted. Sadly in the real world I have the worst identikit imaginable. I check all the wrong boxes which makes me the suitable target for all of this irrelevant nonsense.

Still to those that must identify with a different pronoun ask yourself – how incomplete is your life to feel that this will some how give you some sense of recognition you were lacking when referred to as he or she? Perhaps I should congratulate you in being able to get authorities to buy into this politically correct rubbish.

Deliberately taking taxpayers from the 1st world to the 3rd

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The green madness in Australia continues apace. Virtue signaling governments whose efforts are nothing more than expensive tokenism at best have led the Australian energy market regulator to warn of blackouts in Victoria during the coming summer. In what world would anyone logically trade perfectly reliable electricity for renewables which have a track record of failure in neighboring South Australia? On even the most pessimistic warming scenarios Australia’s renewable efforts will have a 0.00014 degree impact in 100 years. So many billions frittered away for absolutely no gain. Industries made deliberately less competitive because their electricity prices have doubled in a decade despite being a country totally rich in raw materials to make us one of the most efficient. What is worse is that South Australia which is 40% renewable has had to blow another $600mn of taxpayer funds on back up power. Initially it will be diesel generators that burn 80,000 litres per hour until a gas plant can be built. Despite the massive failure, the Premier of SA talks it up as though he is noble. At what cost? The highest electricity prices in the world, the highest unemployment rate in Australia and the slowest growth. Surely a legacy worth protecting.

Making the Wallabies amateurs might turn them into professionals

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14. Fourteen. That is how many Bledisloe Cup titles the All Blacks have won in a row. 15 looks a certainty. As mentioned many times before the Wallabies are playing the game in much the same manner as the managerial structure. From the turmoil at the top to a coach who can’t get discipline among his players has no chance.

That is no slight on the quality of the ABs. Every one of the players in that side carries the pride of a nation. Sure it is a religion in NZ but there is a sense of purpose. We know how much a loss to the Wallabies accounts for a national day of mourning. The biggest defining factor is that were the Bledisloe Cup an amateur tournament like it used to be one would guess all the AB players would still represent.

However the Wallabies are never going to properly challenge the ABs unless they adopt a mentality of representing as amateurs. In fact if I had my way, the first question would be that – would you represent your country for the love of it? One would weed out the problems pretty quick. Of course many would argue that without fat paychecques the team would quickly hollow out. Maybe. However as a fan I’d much rather see my team lose with heart than the appalling display that has been a feature of the team for so long.

Perhaps the Japanese are the best example of a team that through great coaching transformed. In the 2015 World Cup the Springboks went into that game thinking it was a formality. As we know the Boks lost and put Japan’s rugby team in a whole new light. From the laughing stock of world rugby to a credible team. Eddie Jones proved his worth as he is now doing for the Poms.

The Wallabies lack leadership from top to bottom. We could analyze missed tackle stats till the cows come home but there is every reason to think that the problem is mental not physical. As pointed out many times, even in the line up some Wallabies players have socks around their ankles. Sure presentation might not mean much in terms of player quality but the military spec All Blacks are tidier than a marine’s bunk. When facing off even little details can make a huge difference in the way the opposition perceives its enemy.

The sooner changes are made at the top, the sooner the mental aspects of the game can improve. Maybe then these amateurs might be able to play like the professionals their grossly inflated salaries would signal