Confidence

ABC goes bananas but slips up on cold truths that split the narrative

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On March 18,  CM wrote about the gross inefficiencies at the ABC, which have rapidly deteriorated over time. We said,

Since 2008, the average salary of ABC’s staff has risen 25% from $86,908 to $108,408. Total staff numbers have risen from 4499 to 4769. Therefore salaries as a percentage of the ABC revenues have risen from 37.1% of the budget to 50%. The ABC’s ability to generate sales from content has fallen from A$140mn to A$70mn last year. The multicultural SBS has seen its budget grow from A$259mn in 2008 to A$412mn in 2017. SBS staff numbers have grown from 844 to 1,466 over the same period with average salaries rising from A$82,689 to A$88,267 or 7.2%. Which begs the question why is the SBS able to operate at 31% of the budget in salaries while the ABC is at 50%? Surely the ABC’s economies of scale should work in its favour? Clearly not.

According to The Australian, in response to the budget cuts coming over the following three years,  the ABC responded today with,

The ABC says there is “no more fat to cut” following the federal government’s announcement to slash $84 million in funding from the public broadcaster…News director Gaven Morris has hit back at the three-year funding freeze announced in Tuesday’s federal budget, which maintains more than $1 billion a year for the broadcaster.

“Make no mistake, there is no more fat to cut at the ABC. Any more cuts to the ABC cut into the muscle of the organisation…We’re as efficient as we’ve ever been…We’re the most minutely scrutinised media organisation in Australia…$84 million over three years, there is simply no way we can achieve that without looking at content creation and certainly looking at jobs within the organisation.”

Well perhaps if the ABC stop airing radical feminists who demand that parents seek approval from their babies when changing nappies or called conservative politicians who served in the military as “c*nts” perhaps it might justify for more budget.

It is a pretty simple. Online media pretty much allows such a wide array of choice that we do not need a taxpayer funded media (which readily breaches its code of conduct with regards to political bias) to provide so much content.

We have multiple ABC TV & radio stations plus multiple websites. One could argue for one each. We certainly do not need to give the ABC more money to expand its platforms to make up for a shortfall in quality content to arrest declining market shares.

Get consent from your infants you thoughtless parents

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It shouldn’t surprise us with the left’s lunatic thinking that a child knows that it is responsible for soiling it’s own diaper. Of course only our national broadcaster, the ABC, would host such people on their programmes. Is it any wonder the ABC has had a budget freeze for the next three years. It should be heavily slashed given it wastes tax payers money on such inane stupidity. No wonder it’s viewership continues to decline.

We work with parents from birth… just about how to set up a culture of  consent in their home so, “I’m going to change your nappy now. Is that okay?” Of course the baby’s not going to respond, “Yes mum, that’s awesome. I’d love to have my nappy changed.” But if you leave a space and wait for body language and wait to make eye contact, then you’re letting that child know that they’re responsible…”

You can find the ABC’s budget malaise here.

Red card your superiors

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News in the U.K. that a corporal training troops  went way too far with his treatment of a particular female recruit. The U.K. top brass has expressed its horror and anger, threatening to court martial the offending trainer. Didn’t Colonel Jessup answer the question of ordering a Code Red as, “you’re damn right I did!

Regardless of gender, isn’t the point of drill sergeants one that ensures that discipline is literally beaten into fighting forces? Isn’t the point of meeting minimum basic standards all about creating an effective fighting force?

If the cadet in question burst into tears after being berated for wimpishly bayoneting the sandbag should we feel sympathy? One can be sure the said corporal probably screams obscenities at all the people put in his charge, regardless of gender, religion or race. While it might not sound savory, will an enemy cut the opposing army some slack if they see tears? Will they roll over? Drop their weapons for the sake of equality?

While a leaked video is embarrassing, CM sincerely hopes those that join the armed forces are more than prepared to follow orders and accept the harsh discipline that is expected  of a soldier. The military is no place for social experiments. Yet more and more the army is pushing diversity ahead of capability. At least when the body count surges we can proudly posthumously award the dead with equality medals. The armed forces should strive for ability above all regardless of gender, sexual orientation or skin colour.

Who’d have guessed?

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In what world do people think wailing works as a way to win over people in an election? Strategy and policy matter. Rasmussen Reports writes,

In fact, just 15% of Likely U.S. Voters believe focusing on the president’s possible impeachment is a better campaign strategy for Democratic congressional candidates than focusing on policy areas where they disagree with Trump. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 70% think focusing on policy differences is a better political strategy. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Forty-one percent (41%) now believe the president will be reelected in 2020, up from 34% in late December. Twenty-six percent (26%) still think Trump will be defeated by the Democratic nominee, but 31% felt that way four months ago.

Twenty-five percent (25%) say the president will be impeached before serving his first full-term in office. That compares to 29% in the previous survey.

A sizable majority of Democrats agrees that policy differences, not impeachment, is the better political strategy, although a plurality of voters in the opposing party still says the Republican president won’t finish his first term in office.”

If only Elon Musk could summon institutional questions

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Elon Musk has apparently terminated the question of a Bernstein analyst ((followed by the rest of the institutional queue) on the basis of it being “uncool”. He said, “We’re going to YouTube [for retail investors]. These questions are so dry. They’re killing me!” If only the Tesla CEO could summon the right type of questions that deflected criticism of the company as easily as maneuvering a parked Model S from a tight parking spot.

While he urged non-believers to sell the stock, there is little to be gained pushing a line of  opacity for a company with production issues, continuing losses and $10.6bn in debt. Earnings results are not about having fun but for investors/analysts to probe and qualify assumptions in the interest of making rational investment decisions.

CM has made constant reference to Musk’s amazing ability to sell. He is coming up to the pointy end of having to deliver. There are countless distractions which perculate below the surface – copyright infringement trial launched by Nikola Motor, the NTSB autopilot probe, countless resignations and recent calls to cut the staff canteen cookies. By blowing off the main investor pool that feeds him, the question of CEO capability becomes a bigger factor than the dreadful earnings themselves.

There is no better disinfectant than sunlight but Musk continues to deflect. Cash flow continues to decline  The production shutdown in April will thump Q2 earnings, not to mention the capex spend should rise plus the write off of equipment that has proven to be surplus to requirements. Here he is talking of 10,000 units a week down the line to fill the hearts of the faithful followers. Perhaps his comments about not needing to raise capital are best addressed by the fact he’s raised 7x since that statement.

Today’s results meeting is more telling in that snake oil salesman tactics of talking up the situation was replaced by silence and stonewalling. Telling.

Australian Army to ban death symbols

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This is an Australian Army helicopter patch. The new Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, who will step into the role in July reported soldiers will be banned from displaying “death symbology or iconography” including the pirate skull, crossbones, the punisher symbol, the Spartans or the grim reaper. Such symbols  are supposedly “at odds with the army’s values and the ethical force we seek to build and sustain“.

Surely a country wants its fighting forces to be effective. Period. The whole point of a military is possessing inequality on the battle field. That the enemy lives in fear of taking on our soldiers. If such patches make soldiers feel 10 foot tall then surely the morale boosting benefits outweigh getting in step with the times. As General Patton once said, “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”

The Australian Army is already moving down accelerated politically correct recruitment practices. Instead of pushing for those most qualified, emphasis is being placed on gender balance.

Recruiters at the ADF have been told they must hire women or face relocation if they don’t comply. The recruiters say there are no jobs available for men in the in the infantry as a rifleman or artilleryman. But these positions are marked as ‘recruit immediately’ if a female applies. If a 50kg woman is in the artillery, a 43.2kg M-107 shell is over 80% of her weight. An 80kg man would be lifting the same shells at around half of his weight. This is basic physiology.

The West Australian newspaper reported one recruiter who said, “This is political correctness gone mad. I don’t care if it is a man or a woman – I just want to get the best person for the job.”

The military is no place for social experiments. The same argument should be made about subs. A $50bn bribe for votes was made to ensure they’re manaufacturer in South Australia. Instead of aiming for the best possible equipment built in the most cost efficient manner  these subs won’t only be late but obsolete and potentially so over budget that the fleet will be compromised. At least we appeared to do the right thing.

Cutting back on the Tesla staff cookie tin

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Where have we heard this before? When companies look to tighten the belt, bosses often pat themselves on the back by cutting back on ‘unnecessary expenses’ like staff coffee room biscuits. That somehow over a 12 month period a company hemorrhaging millions has saved $832.67 on cookie cutting. Maybe $1,239.31 on fewer newspaper subscriptions. Well it seems Tesla’s Elon Musk is getting tough on approvals. Well he might especially after claims he doesn’t need a capital raise and made wise cracks about going bankrupt on April fool’s day.

Musk tweeted that his finance team were going to be out to trim back on any expense deemed not vital to the cause. All $1mn approvals must be solely signed off by the CEO himself. Suchnis the extent of ‘production hell’ he has moved to 24-7 shifts to hit his slated targets.

His email also bragged,

It is extremely rare for an automotive company to grow the production rate by over 100% from one year to the next. Moreover, there has simultaneously been a significant improvement in quality and build accuracy…

Indeed it is extremely rare to have auto companies doubling production year over year because most companies never plan to improvise their manufacturing  methods to start with. Toyota doesn’t meet a week before starting a new vehicle build and have a thought bubble. “Tanaka-san, did you get hold of Fanuc to see if they have any spare robots they can install by Friday?” Moreover the quality improvements are also a celebration of dreadful moving to mediocre. These aren’t achievements in any manufacturers book. They’re a candid admission of ‘amateur hour’

Musk continued,

Any Tesla department or supplier that is unable to do this will need to have a very good explanation why not, along with a plan for fixing the problem and present that to me directly. If anyone needs help achieving this, please let me know as soon as possible. We are going to find a way or make a way to get there.”

Seriously? It is a rather frightening prospect now that the CEO, whom took over the production floor several weeks ago, is sending a  crisis stations email to staff and suppliers.

His levels of lashing out of late seem somewhat concerning. Two weeks ago he accused the NTSB of lacking credibility by kicking off Tesla in the investigation panel into the recent death caused of a driver in California who had relied on autopilot Attaking the regulator is never a wise move. Worse, he blamed the driver in response to a lawsuit launched by the deceased’s family claiming he put too much faith in a system he champions as smarter than humans. Which is it?

Musk’s full letter to employees is here but perhaps he should take a lead out of the Riva Aquarama production line book. Carlo Riva built the Ferrari of yachts with excruciating attention to detail. All the different stages of production crew had different coloured jackets on. When looking out his window if he ever saw colours mingling he knew he had a problem.

Musk talks the confidence game but the pressure is bearing down on him. Senior departures, impending court actions and a production system that has been found wanting after such a short period of time that major changes need to be enacted because the original concept was so poorly thought out. So much for sensible factory capex allocation.

Elon Musk also made surprising remarks about the new found existence of sub suppliers. Musk can’t  lick his finger to find the direction of the wind forever. This is rookie level discovery. Frankly shareholders should be very concerned.