Environment

Why free speech matters, even for those accusing firefighters of wife beating

The Greens have proven exactly why free speech, they so detest, is so important. It is by this inalienable right that we get to see the true colours of people or movements. We don’t have to like what it is said. In this case the very party that gave a platform to the individual in question has now distanced itself.

During the bushfires, these unhinged lunatics within The Greens have spoken of the government as “borderline arsonists” and promoted domestic violence advocate, Sherele Moody, who said,”Women become extremely unsafe when, generally, the men return home from the fires and subject them to domestic violence.

So instead of heaping praise on the brave souls defending lives and property, often as volunteers, Moody accuses them of being wife beaters. By that logic, maybe some of the brave female fire fighters go home to beat their husbands because cataclysmic events cause domestic violence to peak. It is a ridiculous assertion.

Has Moody got the full facts?

Let’s explore the research. According to a UK study,

“Male victims  (39%) are over three times as likely than women (12%) not to tell anyone about the partner abuse they are suffering from. Only 10% of male victims will tell the police (26% women), only 23% will tell a person in an official position (43% women) and only 11% (23% women) will tell a health professional.

The number of women convicted of perpetrating domestic abuse has increased sevenfold since 2004/05. From 806 in 2004/05 to 5,641 in 2015/16…In 2015, 119,000 men reported to English and Welsh police forces stating they were a victim of domestic abuse. 22% of all victims who report to the police are male. In 2012, 73,524 men did…

Men don’t leave abusive relationships for various reasons – the top reasons being: concern about the children (89%), marriage for life (81%), love (71%), the fear of never seeing their children again (68%), a belief she will change (56%), not enough money(53%), nowhere to go (52%), embarrassment (52%), not wanting to take kids away from their mother (46%), threats that she will kill herself (28%) and fears she will kill him (24%). 

Of those that suffered from partner abuse in 2012/13, 29% of men and 23% of women suffered a physical injury, a higher proportion of men suffering severe bruising or bleeding (6%) and internal injuries or broken bones/teeth (2%) than women (4% and 1% respectively). 30% of men who suffer from partner abuse have emotional and mental problems (47% women). Only 27% of men sought medical advice whilst 73% of women did.

The percentage of gay or bi-sexual men (6.2%) who suffered partner abuse in 2008/09 is nearly double the number for heterosexual men (3.3%). Lesbian women (12.4%) as a percentage also suffered far more partner abuse compared to heterosexual women (4.3%).

The US National Intimate Partner Sexual Violence Survey (NIPSVS) conducted in 2010 showed that 25 million men had claimed they were victims of some form of sexual violence by an intimate partner or acquaintance. Heather Jo Flores wrote in The Independent with respect to disrespecting women, 

Men, it’s not our job to keep reminding you. Remind each other, and stop abusing. It’s as simple as that. Until men speak out against men who abuse, this will never stop. How about y’all post “I ignored it and I won’t anymore” instead? Because #hearyou doesn’t cut it. Just hearing us doesn’t cut it. Taking action, speaking out, and showing zero tolerance for abuse is the only way through. Silence enables. Be the change..So why do men need to have multiple victims come forward before anybody says a damn thing”

Flores went on to say, “Yes, I know men get abused too. Once in a lifetime, maybe a handful of times, in extreme situations. And they get abused by men, mostly. Just like us…I write this to ask: why are we still demanding that women out themselves as survivors, again and again and again, rather than demanding that men out themselves as abusers? Violence against women is a daily reality,.”

In the 12 month period conducted in the NIPSVS survey, 6.46mn women and 6.1mn men were victims of sexual violence by their partner, an acquaintance or stranger. 4.74mn women were victims of physical violence by men and 5.365mn men were victims of physical violence by women. Hardly a handful of times, nor at the hands of men.

1.555mn men claimed their intimate female partner hit them with fists or a hard object vs 1.289m women making the claim. 3.13mn men were slapped by their women vs 1.85mn women being slapped by men.

Awful stats on any measure. Still, it puts paid the notion that men are generally victims of other men once a blue moon. When it came to psychological intimidation around 20.5mn men were victims of it vs 16.5mn women.

The NIPSVS survey was conducted again in 2011 and revealed much the same trends.

Moody was foolish to say that people who sacrifice so much to save lives seek to balance their spiritual yin by bashing their partners. Anyone can see how silly her remarks were although the ABC is probably quietly kicking itself for not inviting her into the Q&A panel the other week with the rest of the radical feminists who want to kill rapists and burn things.

This is why free speech is important. Sometimes we need to get such people out in the open to undermine themselves. Her credibility is duly shot. This hopefully sends a message that the people who may seek to pick up Moody’s mantle look to use better balance when prosecuting a legitimate problem without having to smear those who are worthy of our deepest praise in the process.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

A link between bushfires and climate change?

CM, like everyone else, hopes the loss of life and damage is kept to a minimum by these bushfires. Sad that politicians leverage tragedy to push narratives that aren’t remotely close to the truth.

It doesn’t take too much time or effort to work out what causes fires. Greens Senator DiNatale only needed to refer to the Australian Institute for Criminology (AIC) which noted over a 5 year study period that half of all bushfires were deemed suspicious or deliberately lit. Another 35% were accidentally lit. So 85% were down to human factors, not climate. The statistics were based on data comprising on average 54,000 bush fires per annum.

The US Department of the Interior (DOI) noted that 90% of wildland fires are caused by humans, 49% of that being deliberate.  So there is consistency in bushfire data across nations.

The Rural Fire Service publishes its data on burn-offs. This is a fundamental part of containment. They update the status of bushfires here.

RFS.png

Unfortunately to The Greens, everything is linked to a climate emergency.

If DiNatale was truly compassionate about those suffering losses from these fires, perhaps he might just stick to reality and spend 10 minutes surfing the WA Government’s Bushfire Front (BFF) site which clearly states,

“Large wildfires are inevitable”

This statement is, to put it politely, bosh. Large wildfires can only occur when there is a combination, at the same time, of three things:

  1. an ignition source,

  2. severe fire weather and,

  3. a large contiguous accumulation of fuel. Remove any of these three and you cannot have a large wildfire (= megafire).

We obviously can’t control the weather, nor can we hope to eliminate all possible avenues of ignition. The only factor we can control is the large contiguous accumulations of fuel. Therefore, broadscale fuel reduction burning is the only defence we have against large wildfires. This will not prevent fires occurring, but it will ensure fires are less intense, are easier and safer to control and will do less damage.

Does it work? Yes it does, as has been shown many times, over many years, by the experience of Western Australian forest managers. The “proof of the pudding” is the incidence of large wildfires in Western Australian forests over the last 50 years. There were a number of very large fires in Western Australian forests from 1900 to 1960, but after the 1961 Dwellingup fire disaster, the wide-scale fuel reduction program carried out by the then Forests Department, ensured that the fuel accumulation was well controlled. The graph below demonstrates this very clearly. It was only after the burning program gradually fell away following a diversion of resources away from forest areas, that the area of wildfires began to climb again after about 1990.

As we know the Greens are not great fans of back burning.

“Prescribed burning causes untold ecological damage”

This is a common argument among academics and green activists, but in fact is just a speculation that fits their ideological stance. It is futile to call, as they do, for complete knowledge of every little impact of fire on every component of the biota.

There is also a section on how the aborigines managed fires. Presumably, skills learnt before settlers came…

Across the whole of Australia, the early settlers and explorers commented in letters and reports that the land looked like a park, with extensive open forests and woodlands, with grassy patches often seemingly arranged in a planned fashion. They also described how they observed aborigines frequently burning patches of bush and were impressed by their skill in handling fire to confine a burn to a set area.

Plenty of video evidence for DiNatale to access here.

Or there is a section written just for him on bushfires and climate change. Some pull quotes,

“Compared to slope, wind strength, fuel quantity and dryness, temperature is an insignificant driver of fire behaviour. Experienced firefighters do not fear a 40-degree day per se. This is because even on a hot day, a fire in one or two-year old fuel can be controlled; on the same day a fire in 20-year old fuels with high winds would usually be unstoppable.

“Carbon dioxide emitted in smoke from a mild-intensity burn is rapidly recaptured through photosynthesis by regenerating understorey plants and by increased tree growth so that the situation is carbon-neutral within 2-4 years of a burn. After this there is positive accumulation of CO2 in plants.”

The BFF supports a fire management system built upon mitigation and resilience. Relying on increased suppression forces and technology is not the answer. Fires in heavy, dry fuels in eucalypt forest on a windy day cannot be controlled, regardless of the fire-fighting resources and technology available.”

With respect to ignition sources, the AIC notes, “most arsonists are white male, mid-20s, patchy employment record, often above average intelligence, but poor academic achievement and poor social development skills…56% of convicted structural arsonists and 37% of bushfire arsonists in NSW had a prior conviction for a previous offence.

Perhaps we should look to the real causes instead of making assumptions based on narratives rather than facts.

CM will take climate change seriously when the 11,000 signatories do

Image result for mickey mouse climate

What do

Mouse, Micky
Professor
Micky Mouse Institute for the Blind
Namibia

Dumbledore, Albus
Headmaster
Hogwarts
United States of America (the)

Aardvark, Araminta
Professor of Zoology
University of Neasden
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)

have in common?

They are but three of the 11,000 signatories attached to the non-peer reviewed paper which the media made absolutely zero attempts to question the validity of. Typical drip-feed brainless and contemptable reporting. No wonder mainstream media ratings continue to flail.

Although one could argue that anyone could poison the signatory well (this link has been temporarily suspended). The site notes,

If you are a scientist from any scientific discipline [does that include criminology, psychology, anthropology, communication, history, law or any other social science?], we invite you to sign our Viewpoint article “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency” by Ripple et al. 2019, which is now in press with Bioscience Magazine. It is important that we get signatories from a wide variety of scientific disciplines. By signing, you will be included in the full list of scientists who have signed this article. Before signing, we ask that you view this short article by clicking the “Read the Article” tab below (the main text can be read in < 8 minutes), or read the condensed version directly below. When you click “sign the article” and add your name, you will be indicating that you generally agree with our article, helping get this message to world leaders. Note that signatories speak on their own behalf and not on behalf of their affiliated institutions.

This is akin to someone asking for likes or shares on social media feeds. It dilutes its validity by the very argument of thinking the quantity is superior to quality. After all, Einstein once said to someone who claimed he would get 100 scientists to debunk his thesis, “it only takes one to prove me wrong!

Even if one was to argue that wicked flat-earther climate sceptics added Mouse, Dumbledore and Aardvark, the reality is that the system’s lack of due process is self-evident. Furthermore, “generally agreeing” to an abridged version says more about the scientists who would put their name to such a paper without understanding the full contents. It is like people blindly signing a petition to stop rubbish bins being installed at a beach even though they are visiting interstate and unlikely to ever return. Sheep.

This is a common failing of the climate alarmist movement. Extinction Rebellion had many heavily green-leaning CEOs sign an open letter to The Times. It turned out most were affiliated with each other in one way or another and operated out of headquarters 100s of miles from the epicentre of the protests which disrupted local businesses which had to suffer the consequences of their selfishness. Hardly independent minds.

Harley Davidson sneaks in a 50% cut to future hoping no one would spot it

Harley-Davidson’s (HOG) Q3 results continued the poor run. Declining global unit sales and 30+ day delinquencies plus annualized loss experience are at 9-year highs. The company sneakily halved its outlook on plans to cultivate its rider base which further shows the management is clueless and running out of options. It smacks of desperation.

Shares bounced almost 10% on the numbers. The funny thing is that quarter after quarter, the earnings releases read like Groundhog Day. Of any positive news, international ended up slightly positive (+2.7% for Q3, -3.9% for 9M) but were was still below expectations). Japan was cited as a positive. Then again Japan sales are 40% below the peak and have been dwindling for 10 years. Australia was ok but EU weak.

Only two thing worth paying attention to in these results.

1) Targets

For the last few years, HOG has been banging on about how it will create 2 million “new” US riders into the Harley fold by 2027. Indeed CEO Matt Levatich was adamant on the conference call that “the team is laser-focused on building riders today and preparing us and our dealers to welcome a broader array of new riders moving forward.” Typical bluster.

Levatich must be using lasers from The Dollar Store given their accuracy to date.

In Q3, HOG has shifted that language to 4m total riders in the US by 2027. It currently stands at just over 3m. So that 2m new US rider target has effectively more than halved but no explanation for the change was given which proved CM’s hunch. It was snuck in. HOG management said “we’ve done the math“. CM would argue, “what, so you hadn’t done it properly beforehand?” This only reveals the ineptitude within management ranks. Instead of investigating where the problem is needless share buybacks are continuing at a heady clip. $112.5m for the quarter.

CM has written in the past sets of results,

HOG’s 2mn new riders in the US by 2027 seems an irrelevant target. 200,000 “new” riders per year by definition should not include existing customers. Management combine new and used sales using IHS Markit Motorcycles in Operation (MIO) data, not their own! That is fine if all are new Harley customers yet the brand has some of the highest loyalty rates of any maker period. Are we to believe that long term Harley owners didn’t upgrade?

Of the 138,000 new domestic US sales in 2018, the brand assumed 278,000 new riders to the family. It also cites that 50% of that were 18-34yo (implies poorer product mix), women (smaller capacity hence poorer product mix) or ethnically diverse (irrelevant) riders. So by definition at least 140,000 sales were used bikes. Harley used bike sales in America are around 2.5x new, or 350,000 units. So assuming half were new customer sales for new bikes, 60% of used sales must have been to ‘never owned a Harley’ customers. Seems high.”

Yet Levatich continued in the conference call by saying,

guiding all our efforts is deeper analysis and insights on why people engage, participate and disengage from riding. Our advanced analytics capabilities and rider migration database has evolved into a powerful asset and a wealth of information and inspiration for us.

But Mr Levatich, HOG unit sales and revenues have been in retreat for 5 years in a row. Sure, motorcycle markets are tough but it hasn’t affected other premium makers BMW Motorrad, KTM, Ducati and Triumph at the luxury end. HOG sounds a bit like the Australian Wallabies. Lots of positive talk despite overwhelmingly negative signals, results and glaring problems with the management structure. It is time to wake up. HOG is missing the simplest of things – product that customers want.

This is a company that continues to rely on its 116-yo divine franchise. Basing its future on what seems to be a marketing company puffing up fanciful predictions in the face of a dire outlook. The worst thing about it is that management is in denial.

2) Finance

HOG is the ultimate discretionary spending item. Doesn’t seem that they are spending at HOG. If anything, the financial services business shows current customers are struggling to pay their loans. An interesting anecdote from Polaris (PII) Q3 results overnight was the claim that its Indian brand (which competes directly with Harley) admitted,

North American consumer retail sales for Polaris Indian motorcycles decreased mid-teens percent during the third quarter of 2019 primarily due to the weak mid to heavy-weight two-wheel motorcycle industry that was down high-single digits percent and retail pressure from heavy competitive promotional spending.”

If HOG is cranking up the finance and promotional spending shouldn’t investors be wary of a further deterioration in the types of customers they are lending to? When CM covered HOG as an analyst 20 years ago, the then management told CM that Harley owners would forgo the mortgage before payments on the bike, such was the rock-solid nature of the finance arm.

No, HOG’s loan book is unlikely to bury it but the signals are such that it is having to resort to pushing so much harder to make sales. That is evidence of a soft backdrop which management is not being open and transparent enough about.

HOG fortunes are bound to get a lot worse before they get better. The hopes and dreams of the delayed electric LiveWire e-bike is too expensive to attract eco-mentalist millennials and completely unattractive to overweight bearded men covered in tattoos to desire. Harleys were always an escape tool. Products where owners could hide away in the man cave tinkering. That isn’t to say that Harley doesn’t need to innovate but at the moment it isn’t staying true to itself. That is why customers are disengaging.

Expect the 2020 numbers to follow the trend of the last 5 years. An utter disaster.

NB this piece does not constitute as investment advice. CM has no positions in HOG.

Teflon Trudeau

IMG_0098.JPG

At this stage, it seems that Canadian PM Justin Trudeau will form a minority government. Look forward to 4 more years of gaffes ahead. Having said that, the Conservatives need to take a long hard look in the mirror and realise they lost to a completely empty suit. That speaks volumes of their (lack of) popularity where it mattered. CM has said for a long time that Rona Ambrose was always the better choice to be the leader of the Conservatives. This was an own goal.

Trudeau had blackface, brown face, dressing like an Indian, using words like peoplekind, using two planes on the election campaign and the Trans Mountain pipeline debacle despite his climate emergency antics, found guilty of breaching ethics in the Aga Khan and SNC Lavalin scandals and even suggesting the use of haiku and poetry to assimilate returning ISIS fighters etc. against him but despite all that and more, it didn’t upset enough Canadians to sway their vote. All of this was on the ticket, much like Trump’s “grab ’em by the p#ssy” remarks. Say all you want about the morals or ethics of those that still voted for him despite all this. It is irrelevant. They did. Deal with it. For once Obama got a call right.

The Conservatives should have done far better but obviously failed to connect with the people. Scheer should step down as leader. Canada is obviously not that conservative despite a strong gain. Sadly, Scheer’s performances were quite poor in the final weeks when deflecting questions, especially related to hiring people that Trump used on his campaign. Just sounded disingenuous. Best to admit it and carry on. If there was a worry this would be discovered Scheer’s team shouldn’t have hired him.

No point in Conservatives wheeling out the old “we won the popular vote” excuse as the Democrats did in the 2016 US election as Trudeau has held onto power by the rules. In the end that is all that counts.

Still, Canadians, nor the Liberals should be cheering the outcome. Minority governments are poisonous. Australia’s 2010 election proved how disastrous compromise can be. As politicians look to serve their own interests, poor compromise is often made. Note that Singh’s NDP has been slaughtered so even as a coalition partner, he can’t wield so much power with such a poor outcome, so net-net Trudeau won’t face much of a different landscape.

On a positive note, by losing their majority, the Liberals will also lose a majority on parliamentary committees. This will mean far less ability to shut down investigations of scandals. A strengthened opposition may look into a deeper investigation on SNC-Lavalin but is that what Canadians want?

So with bitter disappointment, congratulations still go to Teflon Trudeau. CM believes it will be a case of buyer’s remorse in Canada. Conservatives have 4 more years to get their house in order. Much like Albanese is struggling with Labor’s platform in Australia, Conservatives need to wake up and smell the coffee.

It is worth assessing what has happened in Canada translating south of the border in next year’s US presidential election. Can people see how despite being cloaked in scandals, gaffes, blunders and many other flaws, Trudeau didn’t lose enough voters to cost him his job? That is why, despite the hateful media, Trump is set to romp home in 2020. Ultimately people care (and vote) about issues affecting them, not the morals or actions of those that hold power. Do people really think the Democrats are in with a shot with the current crowd of candidates? Trump has a Teflon coating too.

Lewis Hamilton’s life had no meaning

One’s heart must bleed for Lewis Hamilton. The soon to be 6x World F1 Champion said,

I want my life to mean something and honestly up until now my life’s had no meaning...” until he went vegan.

CM is finding it hard to reconcile how Lewis believes a life spent at the pinnacle of motorsport, flying around the world on a private jet (which he recently sold), galavanting with bikini-clad supermodels on luxury motor yachts and torturing Pirelli tyres as he gives joy rides in Mercedes AMG sports cars is somehow a life without meaning!? CM is sure many would gladly take his place.

Could his veganism be the problem for turning him into a limp-wristed Extinction Rebellion activist in the making? To think of how his fossil-fueled life has led to a monster carbon footprint…no doubt he has the means to calculate and pay the offsets…

As Jo Nova recently noted,

Meat is a good (as in “the only”) source of Cobalamin, known as vitamin B12, which your body uses to make the myelin sheath on nerves among other things (it’s the insulation on your personal electricity grid). The side effects of not getting enough include:

demyelinisation of peripheral nerves, the spinal cord, cranial nerves and the brain, resulting in nerve damage and neuropsychiatric abnormalities. Neurological symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, decreased sensation, difficulties walking, loss of bowel and bladder control, memory loss, dementia, depression, general weakness and psychosis. Unless detected and treated early, these symptoms can be irreversible.” — Zeuschner et al 2013″

Lewis understands the laws of small numbers in motor racing. 1/1000th of a second can be the difference between winning and coming second. He should take solace to know that animals make up 13% of the methane in the atmosphere. Methane is 722 parts per billion in the atmosphere. So animals – of which cows, sheep, pigs and chickens make a proportion of the total – are responsible for 0.000009386% of the atmosphere. Good luck beating that Lewis. Not even the Rolex timing device in F1 can measure a race with that small a margin.

Although, Lewis apparently wants to be a part of the solution.

That is the simplest thing to do. Quit the championship today dear boy! Forgo the sixth title even though it is one race from your grasp. That would be the ultimate gesture in finding a solution.

Naturally, he will continue on with his £40m per year Mercedes contract that expires end 2020. Perhaps he wants to beat Michael Schumacher’s record of 7 titles before he truly commits to a solution. Woke!

CM suggests he has a steak and just keeps on racing. F1 is such a boring sport now so having a clown on the grid can only add to its appeal. Alternatively, Lewis,  you could speak to the Mercedes F1 catering team manager to ensure that the fat-cat corporate clients and their mistresses can only dine on vegan offerings inside the entertainment chalet.

Too many chiefs, not enough indians

Minimum temperature outlook map

Did you know that 85.1% of the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) staff are classified as APS6 or higher? That means the overwhelming majority of people in BoM are classified as senior management with executive responsibilities within the public service. The APS website notes the following:

An APS Level 6 employee would generally be required to undertake work that is complex in nature, work under limited direction with the opportunity for reasonable autonomy and accountability. Employees at this level exercise both initiative and judgment in the interpretation of policy and in the application of practices and procedures.

Of the 1,671 staff, the BoM has 3 apprentices, 5 graduates, 1 APS level 1, 3 APS level 2, 61 APS level 3, 29 APS level 4 and 115 APS level 5. All data gleaned from the Annual Report 2017-18. Almost $180m in salaries are spent on them.

Is there a real need to have so much senior management, especially as the outputs have come under much scrutiny in recent years? The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has 50.8% of its staff in APS6 positions or above. It too is a data collector. Shouldn’t seniority numbers more closely align with the ABS at the BoM?

The Deptartment of Environment & Energy has 51% of its staff at APS level 6 and above. The Department of Finance 57.2%. DFAT 67%. The Department of Health 71%. Alarming that half of staff are in senior positions in many government agencies, but 85% for BoM?

Should we be surprised at the number of hiccups with measuring equipment when the BoM’s field offices have consolidated from 55 to 36 in the last 5 years? Should we applaud the consolidation as decisive leadership on cost containment or question larger sized field offices leading to suboptimal reporting outcomes and the propensity for making mistakes from remote stations?

JoNova notes a whole raft of incidents at the BoM. From using temperatures in Victoria to help adjust temps in Tasmania to installing thermometers atop hot tin roofing and bitumen. Homogenized data. The lot. It is frankly disgraceful.

Several highly dedicated amateur meteorologists are methodically going through the BOM’s weather stations. Approximately 18% of them do not meet the BOM’s own criteria for “best practice”. Not only that but the BOM’s electronic thermometers record the temperature every second. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) states that records must be continuously averaged over each running two minutes to cut out the risk of temperature “spikes”. However the BOM refuses to do this meaning that a thermometer at the edge of an airport, for example,  receives a three second spike from a taxiing aircraft, that becomes set as the maximum temperature for the day.

Remember the BoM went on the offensive claiming the hottest day ever until having to retreat with a tweet,

#SydneyHeat: Sorry, in our earlier checks we missed a 47.8 degrees C temperature recorded at an old #Richmond station (now closed) in 1939. 47.3 today still beats the previous #Penrith record.

Yes it was hot, but so eager to push their warming bias, that they fell foul to poor governance controls.

Of the 1,671 staff, only 55 are recorded as ‘research scientists.‘ While this number has grown in recent years, shouldn’t the BoM be investing in more people to ensure the data isn’t prone to so many errors?

For an organization that spends nearly $400m pa, shouldn’t things be reassessed? Shouldn’t the government look at how much bloat is in the BoM ranks? Don’t hold your breath at the new blood entering BoM. Trainees undertaking the Grad Dip in Meteorology is at a 10 year low.

Is a Royal Commission into our BoM not being conducted for fear of discrediting the practices of an organisation that must be revered by we mere peons for our temperature data?

With so many chiefs and not enough indians, is it any wonder that the BoM seems more about the politics of weather than the actual science?