#ethics

Before we rush to bash the bankers!

Bankers have worked hard to stay one rung above lawyers. Yet is anyone surprised? Before we embark on a “bash the banker” tirade, at what point do we cast aspersions on the regulators? If you leave a child unattended with a box of matches don’t be surprised if the house burns down.

None of this is new. Before the housing crisis engulfed America, a group of certified home appraisers raised the alarm in 2003 by signing a petition to present to Congress. They claimed many unqualified assessors were in cahoots with mortgage brokers to jack up property appraisals because of the higher fees that were attracted. What was done by the authorities? The square root of jack. So the $750,000 mortgage taken out was actually against a $500,000 property. $250,000 in negative equity before the new home owner moved in. Regulators could have clamped down but didn’t.

Charging dead people fees is of course a bit much and gouging advisory fees without actually offering service is poor form. However at what point does the customer bear some responsibility to accepting the status quo? Getting access to lower cost providers is/was always there but the opportunity costs were such that many just sucked it up. It wasn’t enough to devote time to when the half yearly check up came around.

CM was one of the ones that questioned the big bank superannuation advisor’s usury fees. So poor was the explanation that after minimal effort, a new advisor was found with fees cut in half and investment flexibility rising exponentially. We shouldn’t have been hanging out for a Royal Commission to whump the banks.

Indeed, should any laws have been broken then the perpetrators deserve to have the book thrown at them. If boards willingly accepted that certain divisions were deliberately acting in unethical ways then they deserve to be accountable.

Corporate governance is not helped by hiring a majority of independent directors. The US experience has shown that to be a failure. It is all about corporate culture. If boards have not been setting the highest standards why should we be surprised if the underlings follow suit. We only need look at the debacle that was Cricket Australia or the recent shenanigans at the ABC to see examples of a poorly run board leading to a culture beneath that ends up seeing staff “cheat” or making decisions that flagrantly contravene the charter.

Do we jail bankers for 25 years? Depending on the extent of actually “breaking the law” that maybe a deterrent. WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years based on nine counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and false regulatory filings to the tune of $11bn. Enron’s former CEO Jeffrey Skilling was convicted on 35 counts of fraud, insider trading and other crimes related to Enron and sentenced to 24 years prison and fined $45 million. Madoff 150 years, Stanford 110 years jail. This has not necessarily stopped corporate crime but it should throw a flag in the minds of those considering it. If the consequences are too soft then clearly the risks profile diminishes for the perpetrator.

Look at the advent of whistleblower laws in America. The SEC now encourages whistle-blowing by offering sizable monetary awards (10 to 30% of the monetary sanctions collected). Successful enforcement actions as a result of whistle- blowing has led to awards as high as US$30,000,000. As a result the SEC has seen a 10 fold increase in claims over the last few years. Would boards be more inclined to act ethically if whistleblowers were granted protections?

Plenty of ways to improve what has transpired but what the Royal Commission should make painfully clear is that consumers need to wise up and become more savvy about how they make choices. We can’t forever complain and wait for governments to rescue us when it is them in the first place not acting responsibly to ensure good behaviour.

The free market should be the first to benefit from filling this clear void. Tying up banks in more red tape and onerous regulation isn’t the way forward. All it will do is drive costs for compliance higher which will ultimately hit the consumer. The larger the institution, the easier such regulations will benefit their ability to squeeze the little guy!

Making the punishments for bad behaviour enforceable and putting the onus on boards to act ethically will make all winners.

Schick should do a toxic masculinity counter campaign

Gillette’s marketing department must be thrilled to get such decent click thru rates. Sadly they are running circa 10:1 negative on 2.4m views. Great lesson on why lecturing customers is never advisable. Were they eating Tide pods when they came up with the idea?

This virtue signaling stupidity only benefits Edgewell Personal Care (parent of Schick). On what planet did Gillette think this campaign would win fans? If CM was working for Edgewell, the advice to the company would be to do a toxic masculinity spoof counter campaign and watch it go so viral. Watch EPC’s share price ramp tonite.

It’s rare that a #1 player so carelessly throws away its clear advantage. The overwhelming majority of men can’t stand violence toward women.

As is so often the case with virtue signaling the target audience is usually such a tiny minority that one wonders why they bother to spurn the majority to placate them?!

The Katowice Kindergarten

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While Swedish 15-yo Greta Thunberg deserves absolutely no criticism for presenting in front of a COP24 audience for something she has been made to believe, the deliberate use of children to behave as political pawns is disgraceful, although hardly surprising from a body which has such dreadful ethics. Climate alarmism hit new lows when UN Secretary General Guterres and a collection of hand picked delegates fawned over Thunberg’s catchphrases like she was smarter than all of those there. Honestly if kids are so smart, why bother with pursuing tertiary education? Although the mainstream media might have had a point about the children being more mature than the adults.

Childishness seems to be a recurring theme at the COP24 summit. Whether it is the chanting and laughter brigades deployed to disrupt forums on coal or the “Fossil of the Day Awards” where the host brazenly shames representatives who don’t conform to the realpolitik of the climate alarmists, it is juvenile. There are even fossil fuel derived signs and a T-Rex suited sidekick to add to the childish antics of slagging off the Polish hosts for promoting clean coal.

There was touch of irony when the masked compere in a skeleton tuxedo lambasted Australia for having the hide to use its $100s of millions of carbon credits it earned from the Kyoto Protocol. So flimsy is the framework behind these self-coined “historic” agreements, that countries can get a bashing for adhering to the clauses agreed by the same body hosting the summit. Take that!

When will these stooges work out that shaming those that hold alternative views won’t win over the hearts and minds of those they haven’t convinced?  Why can’t they debate with reasoned arguments, facts and courteous common sense rather than tease those that disagree with them in the sandpit? Surely if the supposedly flaky arguments presented by skeptics are allowed to be heard without interruption, they’ll dig their own grave when asked to back up their own untruths? It is that simple. Ahh but to the cultural Marxists, there are no voices to be heard other than their own. A bit like the marching Maoist Chinese girls in The Last Emperor.

Let us be frank. The UN could not give two hoots for this girl other than what she can do to resurrect the fortunes of a conference that is dying in relevance. Think about it. In Copenhagen, 40,000 climate pilgrims showed up to COP-21. This was the summit where Al Gore mysteriously disappeared when it was shown his hockey stick prophecies were utter tripe. Katowice COP24 has managed 22,000 delegates and 7,331 observers. At least we can say there are far fewer hypocrites at this function shooting to maintain frequent flyer status.

COP summits are little more than a cash grab which is pretty obvious when looking at the delegates present. 42% of those at COP24 are from Africa lining up to receive millions in funding from guilt ridden Western nations. There is a reason why Guinea sent 409 delegates and Australia 30, even though the latter has twice the population of the former.

Although is there another reason why the political class is not listening to the kids? Thunberg is probably unaware many leaders of European nations have no progeny.

France’s Emmanuel Macron – no kids.
Germany’s Angela Merkel – no kids
UK PM Theresa May – no kids.
The Netherlands PM Mark Rutte – no kids.
Former Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni – no kids.
Swedish PM Kjell Stefan Löfven- no biological kids.
Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel – no kids.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz – no kids (although he’s only 32)
Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon – no kids.
EC President Jean-Claude Juncker – no kids.
Incidentally Japan’s PM Abe also has no children.

CM is a fervent supporter of children learning and becoming passionate about certain topics, on the proviso that teaching faculties are prepared to debate both sides of the story in earnest and allow critical evaluation. As evidenced by the 15,000 strong school student led climate strikes across Australia, the Department of Education & Training should be fast tracking spirit levels to schools around the country to ensure there is balance in the classroom.

Nike & Colin Kaepernick

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Ultimately consumers will vote with their feet (no pun intended) after Nike’s use of original kneeler Colin Kaepernick as its latest “Just do it.” campaign face. Arguing over who is right or wrong over this has become somewhat irrelevant. The kneeling debate is over 12 months old.

Nike is free to market how it chooses but must bear full responsibility for the firestorm it creates for itself. There is no doubt the social media impact will be huge and the marketing department might wax lyrical at the attention gained all it wants but the question is will the majority of it be positive? Virtue signaling for corporates is a dangerous game. More often than not it backfires.

CM has always held that corporations should stay out of politics because as much as they might profess a united face on certain issues, there is no way they speak on behalf of all those that work for them. The risk is creating an unfair working environment to those who do not wish to participate in the manner the corporate desires, even if they might privately agree. Coercing staff to openly tow the party line is tantamount to making them slaves if forced against their will for fear of repercussions in the workplace.

Don’t think for a second it doesn’t happen. Think of the same sex marriage (SSM) debate. If you had a rainbow flag screen saver you would have been cheered by the internal apparatchiks. Had you a “Vote NO for SSM” screen saver it is likely you would have been hauled in front of your manager and HR to explain your inappropriate workplace behaviour. The matter was a vote of democracy. What place is it for corporates to enforce one type of opinion on changes to the Marriage Act? Let’s not forget the results of the 2011 Census where 0.03% of the population identified with being husband and wife in a same sex relationship. Yes. 1,338 people only. All that fanfare for less than 1,400 people.

We are already seeing people in the US burn Nike products to protest the company’s move.

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In much the same vein as Democrat Party activists boycotting In-N-Out burgers for donating to the GOP, there is no real sense in die-hard NFL fans pushing to #boycottNike. What is the obsession with boycotts? Surely disgruntled fans can make up their own minds whether they’ll choose to buy Nike products or not. It is just more of the oppression obsession.

Nike will ultimately survive. The NFL has already seen ratings take a proper beating. The question is does this help? Probably not but Nike want to make a statement.

Knee jerk reactions where people burn football jerseys, season tickets, Superbowl pennants or Nike sneakers have become less and less about the subject protested about (Black Lives Matter) but more about people getting sick and tired of political correctness and social justice rammed down their throats on an almost daily basis. Even Buzz Aldrin is sick of the politically correct overtones in ‘First Man’ that went out of its way to delete scenes of an epic moment in America’s history – planting an American flag on the moon. Don’t forget Buzz punched a reporter who disparaged him in public. He said he is a “proud American

Sadly, many Americans feel their patriotism is under fire. That they should feel guilty for displaying Old Glory outside their homes. Maybe those loyal fans want to go and watch a NFL match to leave the financial, relationship, work, marital stresses behind. They pay money to unwind, not have political messaging paraded in front of them. Even if they think Black Lives Matter is a worthy cause, kneeling every match won’t make it sink in any deeper but dilute the message, as has been displayed by making Kaepernick the poster child.

Not all NRA members are cold blooded murderers. Those people that voted Republican in the last election aren’t all white supremacist, bigoted, racist Nazis any more than all those people that voted Democrat aren’t all whining, virtue signaling liberals.

Open debate is what is needed. Kicking people out of restaurants through open harassment, burning runners or boycotting businesses won’t fix a thing. Listening and debating the issues based on logical reason is the only way forward.  The only thing worth boycotting is the boycotters themselves. Sadly the lesson is unlikely to be learnt.

CNN’s tale of contradictory titles

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In the same article – CNN make the inference that this Colorado couple are “now fighting to keep her from being deported” yet after opening the article it is titled  “Colorado couple wins battle” What a disgracefully misleading piece which we’ll discover was all to do with obtaining sufficient documentation with respect to legal custody rather than racist immigration officials executing this administration’s draconian rule.

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The inference was to take a potshot at the Trump administration for being insensitive jackbooted alt-right nutjobs when the reality is that the laws and processes that would have been required to get the child’s adoption approved would apply to everyone.

In any event she was “approved” hence making the dramatics of attacking the system a total falsehood. She had initially been rejected because according to CNN:

In its August 8 denial, the immigration agency said the couple “failed to demonstrate” that they had “legal custody” of Angela for two years before filing the petition for citizenship, Angela Becerra said.

Who would honestly censure a government agency that wanted to prevent any risk of child trafficking by demanding such proof? So typical of the garbage reporting we face today and why CNN is suffering in the ratings war. Stop insulting people’s intelligence if you want credibility, which amazingly leads to ratings!

Stupid is as stupid does

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That’s one small backward step for man. One giant backward step for women. What a foreign concept that some women might be smarter than men? Surely pursuing best in class healthcare means striving to grade students based on merit. Not so in Japan. The Tokyo Medical University was found to have deliberately marked down women in entrance exams to limit their numbers.

The scandal broke during an investigation into the admission of a ministry official’s son, who essentially bought his way in. He was given 20 extra points after failing the exam multiple times so he could pass. What a proud moment to know one has to buy influence to make up for a lack of ability.

It has been revealed that the share of female doctors passing Japan’s national medical exam has remained at about 30% for the last two decades.

Sadly class actions don’t produce much other than a token slap on the wrist. Of course all Japanese women just want to marry, become housewives and raise kids for their salarymen husbands. None should have ambition other than to serve their men. No wonder maid cafes do so well in Japan  – the girls say, “yes, my master!” in order to allow men with inferiority complexes to have fantasies of being dominant.

Pathetically Priceless

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Double standards are a strong feature of the liberal elites and Hollywood. Instead of living up to the Chanber of Commerce’s view that it does not remove stars over public backlash by citing  historical landmark status., when it comes to Trump all bets are off. While Bill Cosby, a convicted rapist, keeps his Hollywood star, Trump’s disturbing treatment of women (locker room talk and allegations of paying porn stars) is deemed a more heinous crime. Liberal logic.

The response to Trump

The resolution on which the West Hollywood City Council voted urged the removal of Mr. Trump’s star “due to his disturbing treatment of women and other actions that do not meet the shared values of the City of West Hollywood, the region, state, and country.

The Washington Time reports, “Among other things, the council’s staff report cites Mr. Trump’s border-security policies [an Obama era policy], his stance on climate change [Paris is non binding and the biggest polluters are doing next to nothing], the Vladimir Putin summit [since when did the Hollywood City Council enforce foreign policy?], and policies on transgenderism.”  

In effect, the Council endorses vandalism and destruction of public property.  Why not burn down Trump Tower or run an excavator  over the pristine greens of Mar-a-lago?

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The Response to defacing of Bill Cosby’s star

In response, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce released a statement politely asking fans not to deface anyone’s stars, no matter how many rapes they may be accused of: “When people are unhappy with one of our honorees, we would hope that they would project their anger in more positive ways. 

Probably stands to reason for an industry that turned a blind eye to decades of  #MeToo antics because it self-served their careers would vote for someone that has outed them for the blatant hypocrites they are. Bill Cosby’s star will likely be defended with the fervor of the NYT backing Sarah Jeong. Why not replace Trump’s star for Jeong? Strike will the pick axe is hot!

It is just a star but symbolic of the radical left’s standards that it’s the side that matters, not the principle. We should be happy that the left champion victories like this. Ever more sanctimonious preaching of the highest moral standards to the masses who already have such low opinions of them most are suffering from vertigo – remember this?

Trump Derangement Syndrome is a national health crisis. Perhaps POTUS should direct billions to help fund a cure. Otherwise poor old taxpayers will need to fork out for even more property damage.