Crisis

How many more EU-skeptics can one squeeze in a selfie?

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Last week a 31yo Austrian Sebastian Kurz swept to power in Austria with a strong anti-EU bias. Following the growing strength in nationalist parties in The Netherlands, France, Germany, Catalonia, Britain, Hungary, Italy, Poland it seems that the Czech Republic may be the next country to say, “who do you think you are kidding Mr Juncker

Tomio Okamura (far left in the picture) of the Czech Freedom and Direct Democracy Party (SPD) has experienced a huge surge in popularity in the polls on the eve of the vote suggesting he could secure 10% and form part of the governing coalition of which the center-right Ano Party is set to win.

He said that “Over the last couple of years, the EU has shown itself to be un-reformable… The elites are incapable of showing the flexibility needed to react to current and crucial problems such as terrorism and the migration of Muslim-African colonisers to Europe.

So where have we heard that before? Once again regardless of whether a growing number of people in Europe are viewed as unsympathetic, racist or bigoted towards refugees they are ‘still’ voting for these nationalist parties which can only be seen as another vote of no confidence in the EU project. How could it be anything else?

As to the anti-EU selfie, they may need a drone camera to squeeze them all in next time.

#METOO – shame on #YOUTOO

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I really didn’t want to do this. Seriously. Not for the reason you think either. To all the women posting ‘Me Too’ and encouraging others to do the same ought to think very carefully about what they are doing. So much of what of what I’ve read so far is to be honest trivial. It doesn’t condone bad behaviour but life isn’t perfect.

When I was 13 I was raped by a total stranger. A man. I buried that trauma for over 25 years. I didn’t tell my parents, family or friends. Even today I’m tormented by the sheer horror of that night. I live with it every day. He is likely dead by now but it is etched in my memory. A stain that can’t be bleached. Which is probably why you might read me protest at the professional victimhood industry as I do via this blog. Maybe you understand a bit better as to why I am such a fighter of the truth.

In my year at high school there have been six suicides. People I knew in some case for 40 years. As tragic as it is we are sometimes are so tied up in our own lives that we fail to see warning signs of our friends. Of course in my darkest days the thought crossed my mind but I made a pact with myself that taking the easy way out was letting that bastard win. Not on my watch. In fact I think it is in part why I am so stubborn. I tend not to believe anything I read unless I study it first. I have a statistical database in my memory in the widest of fields – from gun ownership, illegal drugs price/purity coinciding with economic cycles to education levels and almost anything else you can think of. My mind is always spinning looking for data that challenges conventional group think.

In the previous post I wrote of the sexual assault of my daughter on a train in Tokyo. I think I was worse than she was. I was a mess. I wanted to take her place because the last thing I wanted was for her to experience any of the years of emotional troubles it might bring down the line.

I could consider myself a legitimate victim in every sense of the word and I haven’t written this post to receive sympathy or soothing words! Please understand that. On the contrary real victims are the ones who shout the least. They’re too busy dealing with it to bother seeking sympathy and cyber hugs. The fake victims are ones that scream about stuff that is more attention seeking than anything else.

The difference is I am not out here today to draw attention to my own situation. I’m here to say that unless you’ve truly been impacted by something heinous that has given you endless trauma don’t post willy-nilly #metoo post about some drunk jerk at a bar trying to pick you up.

I honestly had no intention of telling people about my past but this constant “poor me” attitude that pervades the world today must end. If one wants to raise awareness to any cause don’t dilute it with petty claims you probably haven’t thought about til given this opportunity. You discredit the real people battling with demons and actually make it far worse in helping them cope.

Men can be impacted by sexual harassment, abuse and assault. It is just underreported. So to the feminists using #metoo to attack (in many cases innocent) men with this campaign – shame on you.

Austria proves again why the EU needs to listen more and talk less

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God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we’d listen more and talk less,’ so the old saying goes This is what the EU gets for trying to bully its member states. It wasn’t long ago that EU President Jean-Claude Juncker was telling Austrians that if they democratically elected Norbert Hofer of the right wing FPO then the EU would remove Austria’s voting rights and cut off any transfers. Well the Austrians have voted for a conservative anti-immigrant party (which wants a programme to get immigrants to assimilate with the local culture) with a 31yo leader, Sebastian Kurz. His People’s Party garnered 31.4% (+7%) of the vote with the far-right wing FPO coming in second at 27.4% and incumbent Social Democrat Party coming in third with 26.7%. The Greens will probably not make the cut off of 4% to make a party, So once again the EU has had yet another major repudiation of its totalitarian ideals.

CM has been making the point for ages that forcing one’s beliefs onto others must be done in a way that listens to the other side. Otherwise it delivers results like Trump. It seems the EU hasn’t learned a thing.

So what have we had?

-Le Pen garnered 1/3rd of the French vote (double the best ever achieved by Front National),

-the far right Freedom Party’s (FPO) Norbert Hofer still managed 46% in Austria farcical re-run presidential election),

-Geert Wilders’ 25% increase in seats for the anti-immigrant PVV in The Netherlands,

-the surge in the Sweden Democrats to the top of the recent polls, Elections in 2018.

-Italy’s referendum which turned into a backdoor vote to oust PM Renzi. Elections in 2018 likely.

Brexit (although PM May is handling negotiations in true British efficiency – Fawlty Towers ring a bell?),

the Swiss handing back a 30yr standing free ticket to join the EU,

-the AfD in Germany getting 13% of the vote (Merkel may have won but it was her party’s worse showing in 7 decades)

…these don’t look like promising trends for an EU which is already badly listing. Despite ample warnings the EU refused (and still refuses) to change its course or exercise due care. It just issues more threats.

While the left openly voices its rage at these ‘right-wing’ parties growing in support, they never bother to seek reasons why. The right are generally just dismissed as racists, bigots or worse.  Major party loyalty has never been worse. The fabric of the loyal party voter base is wearing thinner. Take Australia’s One Nation Party led by Senator Pauline Hanson. The popularity of the mainstream LNP and Labor Parties is at record lows. One Nation is now 10% of the vote from 2% several decades ago. While some parties may claim their loyal base has abandoned them the stronger case to be made is the clear shift of the parties away from their once faithful constituents. Why?

Incumbent governments seem to cower at receiving negative news from the 24-7 polling cycle that is social media. Being careful to avoid inviting attack, they pander to all of the socially acceptable agendas – climate change, gender fluid bathrooms, laws clamping down on free speech, open borders and afffirmative action.

However political correctness is clearly not the answer as these results across Europe and elsewhere show. People are sick of the brow beating by socialist activists. Tired of the constant protests and social justice bleating. The NFL might find that most of its fans are against police brutality but they aren’t wanting a weekly lecture in grievance politics with the price of entry or their cable TV channel. Growing weary of the idea that it is ‘free speech’ and anything against those ideals are deemed ‘hate speech’. It is not to deny some positions are not necessarily palatable but in the marketplace of free speech, ridiculous positions can easily be disproven. Better to give extremist voices a chance to talk and invite public opinion on them at their own peril. Shutting it down forces it underground., making it inherently more dangerous.

Too many mainstream political parties are moving off the policy reserve that defined them so their once loyal followers are actively seek ones that will. While Hanson’s One Nation or Senator Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives may not tick every box to existing LNP voters, they cover enough of the positions that matter to them that they’ll tolerate some of the more out there ideas. It is not uncommon to hear the left complain at One Nation’s is growing popularity at the expense of the Greens but it is a devil of their own making.

So will the EU listen to the Austrian call? Will it pay attention to the Hungarians who voted over 98% against accepting forced migrant quotas? Think through the logic. If you were an asylum seeker, would you think your chances of unincumbered settlement would be best placed where 98.4% of the population doesn’t want you? It is irrelevant whether we think the Hungarians are insensitive brutes not to extend a welcome to those that are legitimately in need. It is their country and their democracy has spoken. If Brussels assumes to dictate to Hungary how it wishes to protect its culture and whatever it holds precious, why shouldn’t the EU have the same rights to enforce income tax, housing benefits and anything else it sees fit? Of course it is a preposterous notion.

It will not be long before the EU will be front and center on Greece. Let us not forget that the EU colluded with Goldman Sachs to ‘fiddle’ the accounts to make Hellas much prettier optically than it was. Was this pig without lipstick it wouldn’t have gained acceptance to the club. So the EU is not in a position to claim innocence over a deliberate ploy to ram-road the Greeks into its federal state yet have no qualms treating it with disdain. Talk about double standards.

In all seriousness the treatment of the Greeks by the EU is despicable beyond words. So for all of the left’s blind love for the EU and its socialist agenda, 36% of Greeks live below the poverty line and 58% of the youth are unemployed. So for all of the EU’s shared sense of purpose and equality, that means many can’t access affordable healthcare because it is generally provided by corporates and when you lose a job you lose the healthcare. This means many are forced to use A&E of major hospitals which are now overcrowded and understaffed as more doctors are leaving to seek better fortune for their services elsewhere.

If that wasn’t enough, mothers who had given birth were being restricted from taking their new-borns home if they couldn’t pay the hospital fees. While the government has banned this practice they have introduced new laws to allow the seizure of assets (e.g. homes) if debts are not settled.

Shortly, the Greeks are coming up for discussion over its debt position and austerity. With just months left before Greece’s latest lifeline expires, officials directly involved in the country’s bailout say they don’t have the stomach for contingent aid program when the current one expires in August 2018. While the EU and Athens are battle worn after 7 years of this knife edge rescue,  Greece will need to show it can go it alone but it’s eurozone creditors will be reluctant without further strings attached.

Here is betting that the EU doesn’t heed the lessons that have been ringing loud and clear for years. Sincerely hoping Greece leaves the EU and lets market forces revive its economy. Better to die on its feet than live on its knees.

Kobe Steel’s White Samurai – who might be forced into national service?

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While we are some way off understanding the extent of damage to Kobe Steel, we shouldn’t rule out the inevitable action which could involve a structured rescue of it, a white samurai if you will. Japan’s largest steel company NSSMC (5401) owns 2.95% of the outstanding shares of Kobe Steel. Will we see a motion in several months time as more facts become known for a consortium like the INCJ to team up with NSSMC to turn it into another Hinomaru sunset business? We saw the dying semiconductor industry in Japan get rolled into Elpida (which went bust) and cell phone screen players get merged into Japan Display (still listed) so why would anyone doubt a Hinomaru Steel consortium which would be a forced sense of national duty. While still way too early to surmise we should not ignore such a scenario should Kobe really find itself hoisted by its own petard. Corporate harakiri is the last thing Nippon Sumitomo Steel holders want from a governance perspective

Shocking state of suicide

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The National Institute of Health (NIH) lists the top 10 categories of causes of death in America in 2015 as above. Heart disease was the highest cause leading to over 633,800 deaths. Cancer was slightly under 600,000. Respiratory disease came in 3rd at 155,000. Homicide, while not listed in the Top 10, was around 14,000. Total drug related deaths were around 50,000, equivalent to deaths from car accidents and murder combined. Death from heroin and illicit opioid overdoses exceeded 20,000.

F4BB85AF-601B-44CD-8232-83590DB4455E.jpegSadly suicides in the US totaled a shocking 44,193 in 2015, most prevalent in younger age groups. Over the last 15 years we can see that suicides per head of US population has continued to climb.

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In 15 years, the incidence of female suicides has climbed 45% per head of population. While male suicide outnumbers female suicides per head of population by almost 4x the relative increase in 15 years has been 16.3%. In aggregate total suicides have grown 20.4%, an awful statistic. Half of the suicides were the result of self inflicted gunshot wounds. 1/3rd of women tended to commit suicide by taking poison versus 10% by males.

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The detrimental economic impacts are also quite heavy, The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Suicides cost around $51bn annually while homicide is around $26bn.

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Perhaps the most alarming part of the NIMH study was the 1.1mn people that made proper attempts to take their own life. Almost 10mn contemplated it.

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In Australia, suicide rates are also at a decade high of 12.6 people per 100,000 or almost identical to those rates in the US. 3,000 took their life in 2015. According to Beyondblue 3 million Australians suffer from anxiety or depression.

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The suicide rate in Northern Ireland has increased dramatically over the last 30 years – the male rate has increased by 82% in this time. Male rates remain consistently higher than female suicide rates across the UK and Republic of Ireland – most notably 5 times higher in Republic of Ireland and around 3 times in the UK.

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Since 2007, suicides in the UK have started to mildly trend back upwards from 10,8/100,000 to 10.9.

China accounts for 26% of the world’s suicides. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the country saw c.500 by women per day taking their own lives in 2009 or around 183,000 a year. At that rate some 1.5 million Chinese women have taken their own lives in the past eight years.

Japan is approximately down to 19.5 suicides per 100,000 but South Korea remains persistently high at 28.5.

It is a point worth reflecting on. There have been six people from my own high school year who have taken their own life. Seemingly happy and healthy on the outside, matters have taken a turn that not even friends could have detected until it is too late.

The most common symptoms that lead to suicide are due to depression or anxiety onset by

-substance abuse
-incarceration
-family history of suicide
-poor job security or low levels of job satisfaction
-financial insecurity
-history of being abused or witnessing continuous abuse
-being diagnosed with a serious medical condition, such as cancer or HIV
-being socially isolated or a victim of bullying
-being exposed to suicidal behavior

Worsening economic conditions are undoubtedly pushing more people toward suicide. Greece, which does not have a high suicide rate (8.8) compared to other EU countries (average of 11.6 people per 100,000), saw tough financial austerity measures leading to a 35% jump in suicide rates in a little less than 2 years, not dissimilar to Russia between 1989-1994. Each 1 percentage point rise of unemployment rates in men aged 20 to 59 was associated with a 0.19/100,000 population rise in suicide. Spain saw 20% higher suicides in 2015 vs 2008.

This is the mark of suicide prevention. Note that most countries have suicide prevention hotlines.

America

Australia

UK

Help is at hand.

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US unemployed since 1948 – trend is our friend?

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This is a chart of unemployed persons in the US since 1948 published by the St Louis Federal Reserve. The shaded sections denote recessions. Interesting to note that the we are skirting the red line at present, one that has seldom been breached in 70 years. Will history be bunk or will the trend confirm economic slowdown? An eerie looking chart.

Knee-ncompoops – the only beneficiary has been BBQ lighter fluid makers

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Alright, I think we’ve all seen enough kneeling to last a lifetime. In fact the original message of kneeling during the national anthem pushed to the fore by Colin Kaepernick to raise awareness for ‘BLM’ has now been diluted to complete irrelevance. Now it is being done as a fashion. So the idea of raising awareness has now been switched as a protest against the President. So was BLM such small potatoes that it got switched so readily for this?  To be honest, NFL players are employees. Better paid than most but employees. If we went to our places of work and told our bosses that we’d take a knee if told we had to start at 6am to service particular clients who needed our services, we could understand if our jobs would be in jeopardy. In the same light, if our customers (fans) aren’t served they’ll go somewhere else. It is simple. The end user of any product ultimately has the last word. Recent NFL ratings and certain sponsors reflect this.

Equally the number of videos of NFL fans burning jerseys, championship pennants and other memorabilia will undoubtedly boost sales of BBQ fire starter fluid. Of course fans are infuriated. Many work exceptionally hard to be able to afford the tickets that are supposed to take them away from financial, work and other stresses.

The number of videos from people of all races, colours and socio-economic bases have also made it very clear – they view this as political garbage and that these highly paid athletes reflect the way that America provides them with the oppportunity to take home millions of dollars, earning more in a game than many fans make in a year only incenses paying fans. Where are their activities within the communities they claim they support?

Perhaps even more telling is these so called moral crusaders in many cases do not speak from very high ground. The USA Today published a list of all of the arrests and charges laid on NFL heroes – from assault, battery, DUI, rape, guns, drugs and resisting arrest. Yet here they are telling normal Americans how they need to ‘reflect’ on this ‘racial’ divide which somehow has sprung up from the woodwork.

Now when Alejandro Villaneuva, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, makes a personal choice to show his pride i his nation he is summarily pilloried by his coach and then turns around and makes a forced apology when there was no need to except under the guise of this politically correct hand-wringing. I actually felt sorry that Villaneuva had to apologize for expressing his true feelings. His apology even displayed his own surprise he was even making it.

So every time I see yet another team kneeling I look at them as the least original protestors around. Nothing but lemmings who can’t see that every single new protest just alienates those they should be embracing to sustain their lavish lifestyles. No one is saying they can’t exercise their free speech but they might find their fans far more sympathetic if they didn’t throw it in their face every game.

Still we live in a world where yelping injustices (which in many cases aren’t affecting those kneeling) begets this so called ‘division’. Whether it is POTUS’s place to slap these slice sportspeople is one thing – many say he is the key behind this disunity. I disagree – he has merely woken many of us who don’t live in America to what a divided nation he inherited. So if you look beyond the headlines and look at his actions his real aim is to ‘unite’ people – because the US can’t heal if everyone is moaning only about one’s own issues.

This video of BLM protestors being invited to speak at a Trump rally shows more about what can happen when both sides listen. More powerful than any knees. Although I wonder if liberals would ever allow Trump supporters to talk on their platform? Watch the initial resistance until one of the conveners at the rally says to the crowd to shut up and listen in the interest of ‘free speech’ – now that would not have come about from a community that is as divided as the MSM makes out. That is the essence of MAGA.