Crowd Funding

Credit card with a carbon limit

Here is a credit card business model bound to fail. Johan Pihl, one of the founders of Doconomy, is launching a new credit card in collaboration with the UN Climate Change Secretariat and Mastercard. It cuts your ability to spend when you’ve hit your “carbon” limit, not your financial one.

To CM, the pricing is wrong. It should allow one to spend beyond their carbon limit and pay penalties on exceeding it straight into the UNIPCC’s coffers. Or perhaps we should ask all UN staffers to use it as a corporate credit card. If it lived up to its promises, most would have their carbon limit triggered when paying for flights to the next COP summit halfway around the globe. That would be a plus!

Pihl said, “we realized that putting a limit that blocks your ability to complete the transaction is radical…but it’s the clearest way to illustrate the severity of the situation we’re in

It is such a dopey idea. Presumably, if you wish to purchase something that you want and your Doconomy cuts you off, you’ll use another card to complete the transaction. The carbon footprint limit will initially be based off a random calculation tied to the industry aggregate. So it is wildly inaccurate from the get go.

Imagine if the consumer would pick up our app and actually look at their footprint and that’s the basis for whether they buy something or not,”

If history is a guide we can look to carbon offset schemes have failed. Aircraft carbon offsets may provide some idea as to how hard this card might be to sell.

In its 2017 Annual Report, Qantas boasts,

We have the world’s largest airline offset program and have now been carbon offsetting for over 10 years. In 2016/17, we reached three million tonnes offset.”

Carbon calculators tend to work on the assumption of 0.158kg CO2/passenger kilometre.

In the last 10 years Qantas has flown around 1 trillion revenue passenger kilometres. While the literature in the annual report denotes one passenger offsets every 53 seconds, the mathematical reality is simple – 2% of miles are carbon offset. So that means that 98% of people couldn’t care less.

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Another example was a cryptocurrency named LivingOffset, which tried to conduct an initial coin offering (ICO) 12 months ago.

LivingOffset notes on its web page,

Let’s say you buy a cup of coffee. You know that producing the coffee has created carbon emissions.  Now, you can offset that damage with a contribution that matches the value of the carbon cost, 5c for a cup of coffee…Your 5c contribution is matched with an equal corporate contribution.  Turning your 5c offset into 10c. Just think, if everyone having coffee did the same… how quickly we could start to make a real difference…All the contributions go to projects that have proven to have a positive impact on the environment by reducing carbon emissions. And, you can track and verify that your money is going exactly where it is meant to go.

To the best of CM’s knowledge, the ICO didn’t succeed and is currently priced at $0. That despite its lofty goals of 128% returns. Perhaps using Wikipedia as a source in the prospectus did not help matters.

CM is not sure about his readers, but to have the card reject a payment based on spurious mathematics would undoubtedly frustrate after a while.

Probably says much about MasterCard to sign up for this virtue signalling rubbish given it is lagging behind Visa. If they looked at Gillette, Colgate-Palmolive and other “woke” corporations, they would learn the value of sticking to their lane and allowing consumers to have the freedom to spend how they choose.

MasterCard 1Q 2019 report showed

Transaction Volume: 19.2 billion

Gross Dollar Value: $1.484 trillion

Cards in Circulation: 2.537 billion

Quarterly Revenue: $3.889 billion

Market Cap: $251 billion

Visa 2Q 2019 report revealed

Transaction Volume: 47.4 billion

Gross Dollar Value: $2.197 trillion

Cards in Circulation: 3.358 billion

Quarterly Revenue: $6.972 billion

Market Cap: $355 billion

2020 presidential election campaign funding not even close

So the fundraising for the 2020 residential election moves on in earnest in America. It seems Trump has received $30m in Q1 2019 alone. Bernie Sanders has collected $18m and Kamala Harris $12m since her bid to run in January 2019. Elizabeth Warren has $4m in the campaign kitty and Beto O’Rourke $9.4m.

For a man so hated, many seem willing to throw their cash in the ring to support his re-election bid. The Republican National Committee has raised another $46m. The large number of donations it received seem to be driven off the back of the outcome of the Mueller report which announced no crimes committed.

Could it be the deplorables, who apparently have no money, want to put Mr Trump back in charge in 2020? Or maybe a broader section of Americans are tired of the non-stop drone in the media and tuned out to Democrats who seem more interested in opposing Trump on everything rather than put forward a proper campaign based on alternative policies.

Facebook face plant?

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Facebook is the dark blue line. Its popularity has been waning. Some people are complaining (and others cheering) that Tommy Robinson has been banned from Facebook & Instagram (he had already been banned from Twitter in March 2018) after he exposed the BBC in his ‘Panodrama‘ documentary with his own undercover video  claiming allegations of threats, blackmail and intimidation to smear him. BBC News was clearly happy to report on the outcome today. Regardless of one’s view on the legitimacy of the life ban on Robinson, FB is a corporation that has the power to exercise its own guidelines, no matter how farcical some might judge them. There are countless examples of censor bias across multiple social media platforms. The managements admit as much.

The flip side for Facebook to ban him only makes him more desirable to his followers and increase their willingness to leave the platform.

If conservatives are becoming frustrated at the bias shown by Facebook, Twitter or any other social media forum why not set up a rival? If conservatives feel their voices are being suffocated by political correctness and the actions of arbitrary thought police why haven’t they set up a platform that will not silence what they covet?

Even if they have a very good case to argue against being silenced they have two options; stop using these social media players who they feel obstruct or build a fresh site which would surely see conservatives flock to it.

Fighting Facebook or Twitter to play fair has been proved worthless countless times (e.g. black conservative Candace Owens being suspended for replacing the word “whites” from Sarah Jeong’s tweets with other races). So it is a war that won’t be won.

The publishing of Google’s internal post-election debrief video shouldn’t have surprised anyone in the slightest either. All the outward appeals to the group’s impartiality were smashed by this leak. In a sense Google was the victim of the half-life nature of the very digital media feeds it seeks to control. Even worse it was all the senior management talking about what really goes on. Sunlight is truly the best disinfectant.

There is an opportunity to plug the gaping hole in social media – one that is willing to support all free speech and not shut out those that ideologically disagree with the apparatchiks in the censorship department. The question is why conservatives haven’t stopped complaining and moved to finance a rival? Or is there an inner fear that the authorities will become the judge and jury on what is considered free speech and shut the platform, not the individual…

COP24 – checking cash, corruption and cars

It should come as no surprise that the COP24 summit is a time to put the money where the mouth is. Look at the numbers of the delegates from Africa to stake their claim of the wealth redistribution. Guinea has sent the biggest delegation of 406 people. In 2016 the country received over $10.7mn in climate grants. DR Congo’s 237 delegates garnered $45 mn in aid for climate mitigation projects according to the OECD. The Ivory Coast received $114 million in 2016 for environmental aid. Indonesia got $250 million in climate related aid in the same year.  Poland can be forgiven being the host nation to be 3rd place. It receives zip, much like the US and Australia. The COP summits are nothing more than networking events to collect cash from virtue signaling Western governments.

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Putting that in context of the representation amongst all delegates to their representative population, Guinea is at 15.5x. America at 0.1x. Guinea is 86 people lighter than in 2017. The Ivory Coast had halved its delegates on the previous summit.

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One has to question how efficiently these millions given away get to be spent on the intent. Take a look at Transparency International’s global 2017 corruption index. 180 is the worst. 1 is the best. Note the correlation of delegates attending COP24 to those countries with a higher prevalence of corruption?

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There is a touch of irony that the transport recommendations to/from Katowice airport made by the UNFCCC are all diesel vehicles. Not an EV in sight. Surely there was an opportunity to team up with an EV maker to co–sponsor the event? Did the 7,331 observers going to the summit pick up on this? Why didn’t they take advantage of the virtual attendance technology that was available? Better to be there and enjoy the banquets and political graft.

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Live free and negotiate

Save James

As Tasmania looks to remove gender from birth certificates, take note of a 6yo boy named James who is facing chemical castration when he hits 8yo in America.

The father claims his son has always identified as a boy when with him and has testimony from others that proves his stance. He always chooses to dress as a boy when with his father.

Yet his mother has dressed him as a girl since the age of 3, calls him Luna, enrolled him as a girl at his local school and takes him to social transitioning therapy which the courts are requiring his father to pay. The bills will be extended to transgender surgery and sterilization drugs when he is of age.

The mother is seeking to remove custody from the father – who challenges her assertion – for child abuse in her divorce proceedings.

Walt Heyer, author of Trans Life Survivors and former transgender female, warned a misdiagnosis could ruin the boy’s life. Heyer claims he was secretly cross-dressed by this grandmother as a young boy. He went on to say

The diagnosis is critical, because labeling a child with gender dysphoria can trigger a series of physical and mental consequences for the child and has legal ramifications in the ongoing custody case. Get it wrong and the boy’s life is irrevocably harmed…[and] hinges purely on the diagnosis of gender dysphoria by a therapist who wraps herself in rainbow colors, affirms the diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and dismisses evidence to the contrary,”

Putting an acrimonious divorce to one side, should courts be determining the life of a 6yo kid based on a therapist’s diagnosis? Has the therapist got decades of scientifically backed research and proof to back her assertions? Or is this a case of confirmation bias? If we think about it, a therapist’s repeat business thrives more from confirmation than rejection of gender dysphoria. This is also a question of ethics.

Coming out as transgender is one thing. If the child reaches an age when they are biologically fully formed and can decide for themselves then they should be free to choose. There is no question everyone should have equal rights under the law but allowing parents the right to chemically castrate kids at age 8 before they can possibly understand the ramifications of those actions is criminal.

There is no 100% guarantee every child won’t switch back to identifying as their birth gender, but once the hormone sterilization begins the child has been permanently damaged. What will James’ mother say if she is wrong about him? “Mommy’s sorry”? Legally she bears no risk.

Let’s pray the right thing happens for James’ sake.

Ocasio-Cortez’s DC dilemma

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One would hope that newly elected Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would be quick on her feet when it comes to dazzling her colleagues. She is complaining she can’t afford a property in DC before her $172,500pa salary kicks in 3-4 months down the line.

She could do three things:

1) ask her multi million dollar gated mansion, rent-a-cop guarded Democratic colleagues to let her stay in one of the spare rooms. Obama has an $8.5mn 8-bedroom mansion in DC. Surely she won’t cramp them too much especially with Malia at college and Sasha likely to move out soon.

2) crowd fund for the 3 months which will likely win her millions  so she can buy a place of her own.

3) or in her own words to justify everything that costs money  – “you just pay for it”

How long will it take to learn from Chuck, Nancy, Maxine, Elizabeth and so on that some pigs are more equal than others? My guess isn’t very long. First world problems for someone with third world policies.

 

Musk to be investigated by SEC over tweets

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CM has always thought that Elon Musk is the ultimate salesman. CM has also wrote that the biggest risk to being a short seller was then”cult” status of the company. On any rational investment grounds the stock is ridiculously priced but as the old adage goes, “the market can stay irrational longer than you can remain solvent!

Tesla is a car company that is worth more than GM, Ford & FiatChrysler combined. One that trades at 5x Daimler in valuation terms, a luxury competitor that is in the sweet spot of its product line up and rudely profitable.

Back in June, Musk bought $35mn worth of shares in Tesla. The whole idea that someone is willing to fork out $75bn on a whim seems somewhat implausible. Is it safe to assume that all of 100s of lawyers, bankers and brokers would need a little bit of time to prepare the necessary documentation to cement such a ridiculous sum? Or is money now just so free and easy that a billionaire deploys a vault full of cash loaded full of Zero Halliburtons into a private jet after a few phone calls?

SEC enforcement attorneys had already been gathering general information about Tesla’s public statements on manufacturing goals and sales targets. Now SEC attorneys are investigating whether his tweets about securing funding were factual.

CM is not accusing Musk of insider trading albeit as a matter of course the SEC should investigate when he knew about his mega financier. One wonders how it is that we know so little about the buyer, the term sheet, the question of shareholder approval and how “secure” it is? Taking it private will remove the lens of quarterly reporting but it doesn’t remove the fact of how dreadfully the company is run or how amateur production is. Even if public scrutiny is removed, the problems of profitability don’t disappear and the need for funds, credit ratings etc if he taps public markets for debt capital remain.

If Musk pulls it all off and the company becomes a roaring success then CM will gladly eat a whole humble pie and openly admit it was wrong.

As to the SEC investigation let’s hope it has learnt the lessons of its bumbling incompetency over Bernie Madoff and doesn’t miss anything that might be bleeding obvious.