Crisis

Why?

What often surprises CM is the need to openly show one’s abhorrence to the now 50 people senselessly murdered in Christchurch. On the contrary, if one didn’t find the events appalling that would say something in itself. There is nothing ‘woke’ about publicly showing one is against what happened. Of course the overwhelming majority of us are. Yet moral preening does nothing to help stem the flow of such terror. Neither does capitalizing on tragedies such as this to pit division via unhinged political activism.

Social media has been whipped into a frenzy since the cold blooded crime. Ad hominem attacks against the usual culprits for being complicit does little to help the grieving process. There must be no words to understand their pain. So why resort to cheap shots and big noting on Twitter? Survivors and families of the dead will hardly find solace by reading the bile of ignorant apparatchiks making a bad situation palpably worse.

CM has often questioned the purpose of lighting up monuments and splashing avatars with national flags of where those atrocities occurred. Does anyone in their right mind think that would-be-perpetrators pay the slightest mind to such appeals? Might as well keep the lights on. Because unless proper action is taken, nothing will change. Instead of stifling debate, we need to engage in it. Tackle the issues burning the fabric of our society.  Social and mainstream media continue to push false narratives, making people even more afraid to speak their minds. Some countries like Canada have laws that jail those that dare to.

If we accept the vast majority of people in the world are decent no matter what their background, why is it activists expect certain groups to self-flagellate when such events occur? The background of the victims or the villains should be irrelevant. It is despicable beyond belief to murder innocent unarmed people whatever their race, skin colour, religious beliefs or sexual proclivity. No one should question this. Yet tougher and tougher legislation restricting freedoms ends up being the by-product. Unfortunately newly introduced laws end up causing the opposite of intended effect. It only emboldens these extremists to go deeper underground. It exacerbates resentment.

We have to ask ourselves why? It seems most of the political class is asleep at the wheel given the trend of rising nationalism, especially throughout Europe. Instead of having deep transparent discussion addressing the problems and issues driving these movements, our leaders think it prudent to bury their heads in the sand. Hiding behind the spineless guise of political correctness, they legislate against certain groups with ever harsher penalties in ways which seem only to underpin the popularity of those that seek to defend them. If the political elite think believe they understand the will of the people they are woefully out of their depth at selling messages of unity. For if they understood the layman, populist parties would remain on the outer.

Think about it. Alternative for Deutschland, Sweden Democrats, The Dutch Freedom Party, Lega in Italy, the Freedom Party in Austria, Vlaams-Belang in Belgium, Order & Justice in Lithuania, Law & Justice Party in Poland, Fidesz in Hungary, True Finns, Front National in France…the list goes on. From fringe parties (or not even in existence) a decade ago to Top 3 in many cases. Have more Europeans become racist bigots in the last decade by chance or do they feel their lot changing for the worse?

Take a look at the poverty statistics across Europe. There were 78mn living below the poverty line in 2007. At last count, Eurostat noted that number was 118mn  (23.5% of the European population). In the Europe 2020 strategy, the plan is to reduce that by 20 million. Fat chance.  37.5mn (7.5%) are living in severe material deprivation (SMD) , up from 32mn in 2007. 40 million extra Europeans are suffering in poverty in a little over a decade. No wonder these nationalist parties have gained traction. It is easy to whip up a disaffected mob by claiming their futures are being undercut by mass migration. Whether the arguments are sound or not is frankly irrelevant. People want their lives back. Seeing the inaction among incumbent parties, many are willing to chance those that supposedly feel their pain. Macron still faces yellow vest protests for four consecutive months. Is it any wonder nationalist Marine Le Pen polls higher than the young President?

Perhaps we should question the authorities in playing their part in firing up the discontented. After reading 200+ pages of the Rotherham Inquiry into grooming gangs, it was revealed that the police and local council turned a blind eye to the systematic rape of 1,000 minors over two decades because they feared being thought of as racist were they to target the perpetrators based on their ethnicity. It was political correctness gone mad. Now the scandal has broken out across the country, the courts are finally throwing the book at these criminals. Read the above link at your peril. It is utterly distressing. 1,000s of lives senselessly ruined because leaders were too gutless to stand up for principle. One does not have to be an extremist to be outraged at such cruelty going unpunished for so long.

Politically correct law makers or activist judges do not justify murdering 50 innocent men, women and children. Let us be perfectly clear on this point. However it is not hard to see how those on the fringes use such incidents to fuel their resentment.  Social media allows for such obscene behaviour to be normalised because of the echo chamber dynamic.

What do the statistics of extremism say?

According to the Australian Crime Institute, “understanding the precise nature and scale of the far-right in Australia is made difficult by a lack of empirical information and research. Gaining reliable data on the far-right is firstly complicated by debate over exactly what constitutes violence motivated by far-right ideology…Moreover, Australia does not have any formal monitoring systems for this form of violence, such as that of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ‘Hate Crime Statistics’ (something CM did earlier this month)

In America, Anti-Semitic hate crimes are around 5x the level of Anti-Islamic hate crimes which are around 1.5x Anti-Christian hate crimes. Overall hate crime is lower than two decades ago.

Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Interior (BfV) updated its fact book on the size of left and right wing groups and the rise of Salafists at home. To summarize:

In 2017, the BKA (Federal Criminal Police Office) registered 39,505 offences in the category of politically motivated crime, an increase of 20.4% over the 2014 figure, but 4.9% down on the 2016 number.

Right wing extremist party membership has risen from 22,600 in 2015 to 24,000 in 2017.

There were 1,054 (2016: 1,600) registered cases of violent criminal offences with a right-wing extremist background, a fall of 34.1%. The number of violent crimes directed at foreigners came in at 774 (2016: 1,190, the highest level since the current definition of politically motivated crime was introduced in 2001) down 34.9%. The number of violent crimes against actual or supposed left-wing extremists dropped by half 98 (2016: 250) remained about the same. Attempted homicides fell from 18 in 2016 to only four in 2017.

Left wing extremist party membership has risen from 26,700 in 2015 to 29,500 in 2017, +10.5%.

In 2017,  6,393 criminal offences were classified as left-wing politically motivated crimes with an extremist background (2016: 5,230), +22.2%, of which 1,648 were violent crimes (2016: 1,201), +37%. The number of violent criminal offences with a left-wing extremist background that were directed against the police and security authorities significantly increased 65.2% to 1,135 (2016: 687) exceeding even the level of 2015. The number of violent criminal offences against actual or supposed right-wing extremists halved to 264 (2016: 542).

Islamic Extremists

Salafist movements in Germany have risen from 8,350 in 2015 to 10,800 in 2017 with the BfV noting on the whole, that all Islamist following in 2017 amounted to approximately 25,810 individuals, up 1,400 on 2016. BfV did note

The threat situation has not at all eased. On the contrary: the shift towards a violence-oriented/terrorist spectrum has revealed a new dimension of the Islamist scene, which was also illustrated by the attacks carried out in Germany in 2016However, Salafism in Germany enjoys undiminished popularity. Its continuous attractiveness shows the importance of Salafism being subject to a debate in society as a whole and of intelligence collection carried out by the community of the German domestic intelligence services. This is even more significant as adherents of the jihadist tendency of Salafism not only reject the West – symbolised by the free democratic basic order – but also actively fight against it: either by travelling to so-called jihad areas or by mounting attacks in the West.”

In the area of politically motivated crime by foreigners, 1,617 offences with an extremist background were registered in 2017 (2015: 1,524), including 233 violent offences (2015: 235).  In 2016, there were two homicides and 13 attempted homicides by foreigners with an extremist background (2015: three).

A fall of 4.9% in total politically motivated crime is hardly something to celebrate when the number is 40,000 on an annualised. There are 6x as many politically motivated crimes in Germany than America with only 1/5th the population.

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If we take a step back, were suspect Tarrant’s atrocities any more reprehensible than Anders Breivik in Norway gunning down 69 unarmed teenagers on Uttoya island? Stephen Paddock murdering 58 concert goers in Las Vegas? Adam Lanza slaying dozens of small kids at Sandy Hook elementary? The gunmen inside the offices of Charlie Hebdo or the barbaric eviscerations inside the Bataclan? The truck drivers in Berlin, Nice, Stockholm or Barcelona mowing down 100s of innocent pedestrians? Where was the outrage in 2018 when a church was bombed by extremists in Indonesia killing 13 people? What about the Jonestown massacre in 1978 which claimed 908 souls? All of them are deeply sickening not only in total loss of life but the grotesque manner in which these heinous acts were carried out. 

No-one with a pulse can look at recent events without utter disbelief. When the suspect tells us the motivations behind the attack, we will see social media get uglier still. If we truly want to put an end to this type of disaster, we must open ourselves up to debate. Going on recent trends, we will continue to light up statues and point fingers instead of actively seeking to find solutions through reasoned discussion. When will we wake up from this nightmare of our own making and communicate?

In the meantime spare a thought for the victims and their families and allow them to grieve their losses in peace.

Why stop at kids just protesting climate change?

It’s election time. NSW opposition leader Michael Daley said he supports the climate strike by school kids as a democratic right. Given the kids are being brainwashed with only one side of the debate, perhaps the teachers might show them these two front covers from Time and debate why the scientists were wrong and could they be making the very same mistakes again?

Yet why stop at letting kids take a day off school to protest climate change? Why not strike over the rebuild of the Allianz Stadium? Perhaps demonstrate over the West Connex motorway? How about screaming inside Woolworths over milk prices paid to farmers? Why not protest The price of electricity? Anemic wage growth? Housing prices? Negative gearing? Offshore detention? Immigration?

Using kids as political pawns is disgraceful on every level. Parents and teachers who back this type of activism need to be schooled themselves in common sense. So weak must the arguments be to have to let kids do the bidding for them.

Perhaps teachers should look in the mirror and come up with answers to the sustained slump in our global PISA rankings for English, maths and science first before organizing excursions to support ideologies that don’t have any relation to the curriculum.

The reality is when kids from other nations blitz them in the real world in later life, those participation trophies will do little to assuage their anxiety much less make their lives happier in a climate that won’t have turned out anyway like they were force fed.

Slapping the FAA in the face

Since when did the POTUS become an expert on air safety? What is the point of the FAA if the occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue issues executive orders to ground planes the regulator has deemed airworthy?

The problem for the airlines is not so much the inconvenience of fleet reduction but the astronomical cost of storage. Planes are very brittle. It’s not like a car one puts on bricks in the garage when it won’t be used during the winter.

Planes require the fuel tanks to be full to prevent the risk of damage under the beating sun. The engines must be run everyday to prevent build up of foreign objects. The wheels must be rotated to prevent flat spotting the tyres. One plane sitting on a tarmac that an airline wants to return to service runs at $100,000/mth. Southwest has 31 and American 22. So between them $5m/mth will be wasted.

For Boeing, depending on how quickly this gets sorted, the supply chain which has lead times up to 9 months could create havoc with suppliers. With the 787 delays, things got so bad that some suppliers needed to be bailed out. It is unlikely to see a delay anywhere near the magnitude of the 787 but the disruption can have substantial side effects including lay offs.

Once again the planes are safe to fly without the AOA. It’s a 50 year old airframe with 1 billion hours under its belt. It’s a software issue. Adequate pilot training is all that is required to make it safe to fly.

Worst of all it’s a complete slap in the face for an organization with an exemplary record on air safety to be given a lesson by Trump. The FAA and NTSB take their roles incredibly seriously and the recommendations they have made after accidents has made flying today safer than ever. Bad call Mr President.

Boeing 737 MAX-8 piñatas

The loss of life through any accident is tragic. Make no mistake. Yet if aviation authorities (AA) across the world were truly worried about the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX-8 they’d have grounded it after accident #1 when they’d learnt about the faulty AOA sensor issue. They could have issued Boeing with an immediate action to fix it. They didn’t. Just let the FAA do its work and adopted its resolutions. Now it appears they’ve merely followed the followers. It is as if they’ve felt social media pressure to cover their behind so as not be the last AA do so. It’s irrational. Think of it as aviation piñatas. Bashing with a blindfold.

China was the first to ground the plane. The stunt was in part a trade related issue because the FAA airworthiness directive wasn’t just issued inside a cornflakes packet and as the strictest aviation authority should carry weight. The FAA has said the evidence is not broad enough to justify a ban.

Having been a former aerospace analyst, this is the first time in a very long time CM can remember that a virtual global ban was put on any aircraft type. When Qantas flight QF32 (an Airbus A380) had an uncontained engine failure which ruptured the wing tanks and severing hydraulics, the airlines grounded their own planes as a safety measure, not the authorities. Singapore Airlines suspended its A380 flights for one day before resuming operations.

When AA587 crashed in Queens after the tail and engines sheared off, Airbus A300s weren’t summarily grounded. When AF447 crashed into the ocean off Brazil, A330s weren’t grounded as a precaution.

The Boeing 737-400 series had inert fuel tank issues where near empty scenarios could cause the vapor to ignite in the centre tank and lead to a deadly explosion. Several did explode. Some in the air. Some on the tarmac. These planes weren’t grounded. World aviation authorities, like Australia, issued advisories on how to ensure it doesn’t happen. Not knee jerk copy thy neighbor responses.

The list of 787 airworthiness directives (from fire issues, wings, flight controls to landing gear) stands at 52. FIFTY TWO. Sure a 787 has not crashed yet but where have the authorities been trying to ground the type until it has no ailments at all? Do they need a crash to rally into action? Or do they look at the issue on its individual merits? The 737 can fly without this AOA safely, which is why the FAA still allows its operation.

This seems to be follow the pattern of board governance today. Aviation authorities reacting with emotion, not data. Seemingly acting for fear of a twitter backlash rather than applying common sense to a problem and shutting out noise. Are social media trolls experts on aviation matters? Yet another “it’s better to be morally right than factually so” argument it would seem.

Maybe the biggest qualification is whether airlines ground them because passenger refuse to board 737 MAX-8s where they’re allowed to operate. However most passengers don’t look at the “registration plate” affixed to the top of the front left hand door jam as they board to see what type of plane they’re on. They don’t look at the safety placard in the seat pocket. Most certainly don’t pay attention to the cabin attendants during the pre flight safety instruction.

By the way, flight AA293 from Miami to Washington DC is scheduled to land 11 minutes early today. It’s a MAX-8. Passengers in America are prepared to put their faith in the FAA not the whims of social media activism led policy to unnecessarily ban something to appear virtuous.

Boeing 737 MAX-8 – question the pilots not the plane

There is something to be said about the group think behind countries stepping up to ground the 737 MAX-8. Of course safety is of maximum importance. It always is. However had the FAA held the slightest inkling that switching off the Boeing 737 AOA would still cause crashes it would be grounded immediately. The FAA is comfortable that airlines that follow the updated airworthiness directive (AD) will not experience danger. So confident in that decision the AD called for a continuation.

If anything blanket groundings are more a slap in the face of pilots in questioning their skill to fly these planes without all of the gizmos. As a passenger you should question the airlines that ground as a reflection on the level of pilot training and confidence in them during a crisis situation.

It’s a bit like having your parking camera and sensors go on the blink. Is reversing into the car space with your left arm on the passenger seat looking over your shoulder impossible without these aids? No. Do you stop driving your car because you’re afraid you can’t park it? The problem is all of these aids are to a point dumbing down the ability to drive using feel. Perhaps we should demand The NHTSA grounds Tesla for the spate of autopilot accidents ending in death of drivers.

Would Boeing risk such massive corporate negligence by letting the planes still fly if they had the slightest doubt switching off the AOA would cause more crashes? This is not a Ford Pinto moment. It’s a serious flaw to be sure but the plane has got a clean bill of health without autopilot AOA. That’s why the FAA hasn’t grounded it.

Boeing assures customers it has a software upgrade to be released in coming weeks. There are 4,800 orders outstanding. The new Leap X engines are so much more efficient than the CFM-56 variant they replace. The secret sauce in the engines is made by NGS Advanced Fibers (50% owned by Nippon Carbon) in Japan. Airlines want them. Period. Efficiency helps them stay in business.

The Boeing 737 fleet has done around 1 billion flight hours combined. This is a 50 year old plane which has been modernized. Think of it like a Porsche 911. The basic shape is the same. The plane is airworthy. The software is faulty. As passengers we should pray that the pilots have the skills when the systems fail, not fail when the systems let them down.

Boeing 737 MAX-8 – FAA continues airworthiness directive

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a continued airworthiness directive (AD) notification for the Boeing 737 MAX-8 after the crash of flight ET302. Note there have been 15,342 ADs issued by the FAA. 46 have been issued in the last 60 days. While we probably don’t give it much thought when we board a flight, that’s how much scrutiny goes on behind the scenes.

As tragic as the preventable loss of life was, the FAA had issued training procedures on 7 November 2018 to overcome the angle of attack (AOA) problem post the Lion Air flight JT610 MAX-8 accident on 29 October 2018. Many airlines assured the FAA that their crews have been trained to handle the issue in case of malfunction.

Former NTSB member John Goglia noted that while many pilots have learned to fly aircraft with complex electronic aids, those in countries with less developed aviation industries have less experience flying without them.

The FAA views the MAX-8 as a safe aircraft provided the erroneous AOA data is dealt with correctly. Boeing will fix the problem to ensure the product’s reputation. To the FAA, if the AOA couldn’t be disabled then the aircraft would be grounded.

Note Boeing has 4,800 orders outstanding for the MAX type. Around 230 are in service. The aircraft is the most popular selling commercial jet plane worldwide.

It’s not the first time Boeing has had issues with the 737.

In 1991, the first of a series of rudder hard overs caused several crashes until one pilot managed to save his plane which suffered the same fault for investigators to understand the problem and rectify it.

As for air safety, US Census data points to an1 in 205,552 chance of dying in an aircraft vs. 1 in 4,050 dying as a cyclist, 1 in 1,086 risk of drowning and 1 in 102 in a car crash.

Dr Kerryn Phelps MP misdiagnoses the cancerous white patriarchy

Dr Kerryn Phelps AM MP posted the following graphic on Twitter to howl at the patriarchy on International Women’s Day (IWD). She posted these figures from a (pre-Channel 9) Sydney Morning Herald article from April 2018.  Most of the statistics above are inaccurate or misrepresented but when it comes to bashing middle aged white men, no-one dares questioning the accuracy when it comes to this demographic.

The basics.

1. Whites in Australia make up c.80% of the population. This is census data. No room for much conjecture.

2. Men make up 63% of all full time employment in 2018. In 2000 this was 75%. 13% of those aged 65 and over still participate in the workforce, 65% of those are men. This is down from 79% in 2000. By pure logic, if men were 75% of FT jobs two decades ago, stands to reason they’d have a higher chance of being in positions of seniority today.

3. We stick to the SMH’s definition of ”middle age’ of 40-60 which equates to 2.8mn white men, or 10.7% of the total population.

4. In the Australian Federal Parliament there are 150 lower house & 75 upper house seats. 225 positions up for grabs during election cycles (longer terms for senators). On Phelps’ SMH derived assumptions that means 160 of the seats are occupied by white middle aged males. 160 seats means that federal politics as a profession at present is only 0.0057% of their representative demographic. Phelps might reflect that 30 out of 75 senators are women, or 40% of the total. 60% are males. 17.5% of all Senators are white males over 60yo meaning only 32.5% of senators are middle aged white males.

30% of the House of Reps are women. Yet 17% of the white males in the lower house are aged over 60. So only 53% of our lower house is middle aged white male. Not 70%.

5. There are 2,185 stocks listed on the ASX. If 75% are run by middle aged white men then 1,638 companies fit Phelp’s parroted profile. 0.059% of the all middle aged white men run listed corporates. Although the average age of CEOs in Australia is around 54, or at the upper bound of the 40-60 cohort. Going back to point 2, the higher proportion of men in FT roles seems consistent with this. There should be no surprise.

6. There are 1,054 state and federal judges and magistrates in Australia. Of that, 63% are white men according to SMH. The actual figure is 62%, or 405. Close enough. So 669 members of the judiciary would fit the claim. To hit the top echelons of the judiciary requires long service. Even if we took the SMH at its word, 0.023% of the white middle aged male cohort would take those roles. Note 42% of judges on the High Court of Australia are women.

7. In our tertiary education system , APH notes only 21.6% of university academia in Australia were women in 1985. It rose to 39% in 2002 and is just over 50% today. Today tenured females at universities exceed tenured males. Over 50% of all associate lecturers and lecturers are women. Male senior professors make up 75% of the total. Their average age is well above 50. Senior professors are able to get a higher percentage of research grants because they are mainly in STEM fields.

8. There are 39 Vice Chancellor positions in Australia. 12 are currently held by females. 70% are males. 66% are held by white males. Phelps mistakenly thought that 85% were middle aged white males. In fact the article mentioned that 85% of Vice Chancellors were of Anglo-Celtic background. Still it sounds better if it attacks middle aged white males.

9. Phelps believes the claim that 80% of highest paying jobs are held by white middle aged males. Assuming that 85% of the population was white two decades ago and the Australian Government claims 90% of executive roles are full time roles with men a higher proportion of the workforce back then it should make for little surprise. It is representative.

Labour participation rate among males 15-64 is 82% vs 71.7% for females. Note in 1978 these figures were 85% and 50% respectively. The highest quintile of compensation was 48% of the total in 2017/2018. This quintile also paid 78.7% of total income tax. The top 10% of income earners paid 44.9% according to the ATO. The top 1% paid 16.9%. So the bottom 90% pay less than 56% of total income tax. Middle aged white men pay more tax.

10. Phelps the SMH article that says 80% of film directors and writers are white middle aged males. According to the Australian Directors Guild’s (ADG), ‘Gender Matters – women in the Australian screen industry‘ report, 21% of writers and 16% of feature films are directed by women. There is no “age” breakdown for either gender. 34% of documentaries since 1988 have been directed by women, 41% of producers and 37% writers. The in-house analysis by the ADG shows that teams with at least 50% female creative teams gets 58% of all funded projects. In 2017, the Australian Director’s Guild started a female scholarship mentor program.

In an industry that leans heavily to the ideological left, surely that is a self inflicted wound. In the arts and entertainment industry, the ability to source funds to make films is mostly based on a track record to convert that investment into box office revenue. The ability to write a movie script is based on the creativity of the author, regardless of gender. Page 8 of the report notes, “Anecdotal evidence indicates that women are far more likely than their male counterparts to underestimate and undersell their skills and abilities.” Supposedly this is caused by toxic masculinity?

Will striving for more politically correct measures improve things in the art & film world? America has been trying this path for quite some time now and the results have continued to drift lower and lower. More films but less revenue.

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Things have come a long way over the last 50 years. Yet some industries remain very skewed toward men, not because of some evil patriarchal conspiracy.

99.7% of bricklayers are men in Australia. 96.4% of truck drivers are men. 95% of miners are men. 93% of our fire fighters are men. 85% of our defence force is comprised of men. Isn’t this merely individual work choices rather than a deliberate plan to shun women in those industries?

Should there be a Royal Commission to find out why more women don’t want to be brickies, truckies, miners, firies, coppers or soldiers? Should we force quotas? That is what the ADF is now doing with disastrous results. The ADF missed its original gender targets so lowered them but missed by an even wider margin. The Air Force openly practices discrimination to such a degree that if the private sector adopted similar methods, the corporates would face harsh penalties and sanctions. Women in the ADF can achieve their service medal in half the time of men. Then they wonder why morale in the military is drifting lower every year. The irony is that almost 50% of women in the ADF surveyed think these affirmative action measures are meaningless.

On the flip side 98.7% of personal assistants are women98.4% of dental assistants are women94% of receptionists are women. 85.7% of special education teachers are women80% of cafe workers are female.  75.9% of nurses are female. Should we seek to redress the gender imbalance there? Men are 92% of the prison population in Australia? Should we equalize that?

Should we enforce quotas among politicians? Political parties place candidates who they think can win elections whatever their identity – gender, sexual proclivity or otherwise. If parties think women are the magic elixir to secure more terms in government, women will make up a growing proportion of the pre selection process. The patriarchy would be crazy not to run candidates that allow them to sustain their thirst for power.