Free Speech

Whistleblowing against fraud up 16x

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In May 2011 the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) introduced a new whistleblower program under Section 92 of the Dodd-Frank Act. This was partly in response to its much publicised failure to investigate the US$50bn Bernard L. Madoff Ponzi scheme despite being made aware of it multiple times by a whistle-blower, Mr Harry Markopolos, since 2000.

Markopolos wrote in his November 7, 2005 submission to the SEC,

“Scenario # 2 (Highly likely) Madoff Securities is the world’s largest Ponzi Scheme. In this case, there is no SEC reward payment due the whistle-blower so basically, I’m turning this case in because it’s the right thing to do. Far better that the SEC is proactive in shutting down a Ponzi Scheme of this size rather than reactive.”

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 whistleblowing have led to awards as high as US$50,000,000. As a result, the SEC has seen a 16 fold increase in claims over the last few years. The following charts are from the SEC.

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The SEC 2018 Whistleblowing Annual Report noted, “from program inception to end of Fiscal Year 2018, the SEC awarded over $326 million to 59 individuals.

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On March 19, 2018, the Commission announced two of its largest-ever whistleblower awards, with two individuals sharing a nearly $50 million joint award and another whistleblower receiving more than $33 million.

As CM has been saying since whistleblower protections were enacted, those willing to speak out have surged. One can’t come out with false claims. Unsubstantiated claims are not paid.

As mentioned in the previous post, CM believes that climate scientists need an SEC-style watchdog to prosecute fraudulent claims which cost taxpayers billions in the misappropriated allocation of funds. If they do not commit fraud, they face no risks. To date, no scientists have been jailed or fined for data manipulation. By bearing no financial risk or threat of jail time, climate scientists are free to do as they please.

If Extinction Rebellion or any other alarmist group want us to declare “climate emergencies” they should have no problem submitting to a regulatory framework that ensures confidence in the data to drive the debate and allocate resources. CM guesses that they would howl in protest because after all emotion is more important that data. Torn asunder their antics would be undone by reality.

Can we please get some adults in the room?

Here is a picture from the angelic pig-tailed climate strike goddess Greta Thunberg’s Twitter feed calling for another global school strike. The climate change activists are really at the point of maximum desperation. Kids are now being weaponized to fight climate change because the supposed adults in the room have done such a woeful prosecuting the case to the heretic non-believers.

It is hard to speak to those who dismiss one as a knuckle dragger from the start. What is lost on alarmists is that skeptics merely wish to be presented with facts and figures not sanctimonious finger wagging. In 99.9% of cases, when politely asking to be provided with facts, it ultimately leads to ad hominem attacks. “Your kids will thank you for it” is an argument often used as a condescending way to end a debate before it has even started. Others resort to saying skepticism comes from regrading quack websites resourced by the fossil fuel lobbyists, When CM asks alarmists about whether they have concerns over the multiple cases of fraud committed by scientists from the very (often government) bodies they spruik, not one has voiced issues with their ethics. At that point they have lost CM.

If alarmists can’t admit the fraud committed from their own side, it shows that they are utterly indoctrinated. 1+1=3. Fraud is fraud. CM has often argued that climate scientists face absolutely zero repercussions for peddling falsehoods. None. Think of the penalties handled out to the financial sector. There has been much malfeasance committed in the last few decades that have resulted in humungous penalties.

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 got 150 years for his $65bn Ponzi scheme, Allen Stanford received 110 years jail for his $7bn fraud.

Yet when the scientific community commits fraudulent offences, they’re not even brought to trial. Nothing. Even worse the alarmists are only too happy to wheel out the very same scientists who have made dud predictions and push them as experts in their field.

How are billions in taxpayer funds that bail out Wall St any different from billions of taxpayer funded adventures into redundant climate change white elephants based of manipulated scientific claims any different?

CM reckons that if climate scientists faced steep fines and penalties for committing data fraud we would quickly work out we had way more than 12 years to live. Why not provide an amnesty period for scientists to come clean on any manipulation without facing any prosecution? After the date they would face stiff treatment. That is the only way to kill this industry at the source.

If scientists were forced to come clean with the truth, we would find that all of the grossly inaccurate models predicting gloom and doom were shown up for what they really were. Empty rhetoric.

Maybe the secret to solving the climate emergency is child’s play after all? Make the rules of malfeasance so transparent that even a 5 year old can understand.

If we look at the whistleblowing rules introduced by the SEC in 2011, it offered the whistleblower 10-30% of the monies saved through fraud as a reward. Surprise, surprise whistleblowing claims have shot up 16-fold since the rule’s introduction. In 2011 only 334 claims were made. In 2012, 3,001 were made. In 2014, 3,620. In 2018 it was 5,282. A total of $168mn was paid out to 13 individual whistleblowers.

Given so many scientists are probably aware of the manipulation that lies within the ranks, they have far more opportunity to dob in their crooked colleagues and collect a massive pay day.

No need for #ClimateEmergency. As the Australian Democrats used to say as an election slogan, “keep the bastards honest!”

Your ABC – shocking inefficiency created by demotivated staff

While it might seem like another beat up on the ABC, we need to take a long hard look at how it operates. How is it TVNZ can operate as a self funded government entity which collects a currency adjusted 1/4 the ABC’s revenue on 1/8th staff? How many people actually understand their ABC?

Salary increases and budget increases have a 90.34% R-squared correlation meaning that budget increases tend to lead to paying higher salaries.

While some may talk about “good” content, sadly ABC’s ratings have slid considerably for over a decade in regional and metro areas. TVNZ’s have risen. So hard core left has the ABC shifted that it has created a narrower audience. The MD openly stated that if Australians wanted to protect the ABC they shouldn’t vote LNP. So much for respecting its charter which bans political bias.

TVNZ must cater to the free market for advertising dollars therefore content must meet the audience needs. It’s simple. ABC should follow suit.

Throwing more money at the ABC has not solved ratings problems. One guesses that diverting more tax dollars at kids programs that disparage white privilege, comedy shows that openly call conservative politicians “c*nts” during by-elections and producers that allows indigenous comedians to defecate on a white woman probably has a very narrow audience. Content IS the problem.

Look at The Guardian as case in point of journalism that fails to address market needs. It is free and in recent years gone cap in hand for donations because its user base aren’t prepared to stump up cash to support it. Do we need a public broadcaster to subsidize views of the left? The Guardian is simply competing in the “same” area as the ABC. ABC starves The Guardian of oxygen because we as taxpayers fully fund it. The ABC crowds out left leaning media.

Look no further than CNN. It has doubled, even trebled down on its unhinged bias. The ratings have plummeted. Fox on the other hand has risen. Whether one likes the content of Fox is irrelevant. Advertisers go there because the reach is self evident.

Moan all you want about Murdoch. His users pay and the ratings are up. Don’t shoot him if his product sells. Try self reflection. The Sydney Morning Herald tried to tell users its product was worth subscribing to. Unfortunately it ignored slumping readership and ended up being acquired by Nine Network. If you don’t cater to your audience, they won’t support you.

Staff levels at the ABC have never been higher. Ratings never been lower. Lifting the budget hasn’t caused any change. Cutting dollars will cause much needed restructuring. It is like feeding a dying patient with more morphine hoping to numb the pain. Unfortunately the body grows resistance to that. ABC staff feel this.

In the 2018 annual report, the ABC staff survey revealed engagement is at 46%, 6% below the previous survey. This puts in the bottom quartile of all ANZ businesses. #Reform desperately needed.

ABC staff complained that management doesn’t do enough to get rid of under-performers. Another clear signal that state-sponsored mediocrity is tolerated.

The culture of the organization won’t be turned around by management unless it is given a reality check of being rapidly withdrawn from the taxpayer teat. That way the c.70% of staff dedicated to content can finally listen to what the broader public want to consume rather than the echo chamber they live in. By the way, those who love the ABC needn’t worry. The limited number of good programs will stay if the audiences demand them. The unhinged radical left programming can be cut with little loss to anyone with a modicum of intelligence.

Saving the planet starts after her maiden speech.

Many of the 1,000+ Zali Army apparently want to hear Zali Steggall make her maiden speech in parliament. Instead of streaming it, plans are being made to put them on coaches to make the 300km to Canberra and back. So much for the 60% emissions reductions targets. Perhaps she’ll start the clock after the buses arrive back in Sydney. Do as I say, not as I do!

ALP, first find a purpose before you choose your next leader

On what planet does Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen honestly believe he is a viable candidate for the ALP leadership? Of course the Coalition welcome such an appointment as they’ll be guaranteed another 3 years in government. Does Bowen believe that the electorate will grant what he calls a “blank canvas” and give him a fair go? Like any good retail store, the best assets are put on display where people can see them first. If the repudiated policies of the election just finished were the best he had to offer, what hope has he got ‘connecting’ with the base? Will this be the “these were the policies I wanted but Bill Shorten didn’t let me run them” campaign? If that were so Bowen stands for nothing so will fall for anything,

Bowen co-led the most dreadful campaign. Telling hope owners to forget if their houses slipped into negative equity and throwing two fingers up at self-funded retirees telling them if they didn’t like it not to vote for Labor. At least that message cut through.

Tanya Plibersek withdrew her nomination stating she “wasn’t ready”. Is that what a deputy for 6 years does when her boss vacates the top job? She clearly sees the next 3 years as toxic. So her loyalty to party is limited to her own ambitions of taking the top job once other members of the team have become political cadavers. CM spotted her pre-election in Hermes in Sydney so she is most definitely a champagne socialist.

Anthony “Albo” Albanese is the true Labor man who has never been given a title shot. He too is of the left, but he is eminently likable. He is a down to earth battler. However will his party see him as one to lead them back out of political oblivion? The hard left has been the problem.

Then that leaves Jim Chalmers. He is young. Served as an advisor to Rudd. He was pretty ordinary on Q&A last night. He won’t prosecute like Albo can.

The ALP first has to find a purpose before it selects a leader. If it does it the other way around it will only foul up the works and elevate the chaos this unlosable election has already brought upon them. To make a rash choice and then in-fight over policy direction will turn them into a carbon copy of the US Democrats

The lesson was loud. The electorate rejected radical climate change policy, punishing pensioners, identity politics, class warfare and the politics of envy. That Chris Bowen thinks he can lead the party back from the pits of despair with that legacy behind him means he is more delusional than Malcolm Turnbull.

It is worth remembering that experience is a hard teacher. You get the test first and the lesson afterwards.

Who’d of thunk?

This is what happens when feminist activism hits the work place. It has the opposite of intended effect. Leanin.org has found in a survey it conducted that since the #MeToo movement took hold, 60% of male managers said they are now uncomfortable interacting with women at work – up 32% from 2018. Workplace interactions that men have become nervous about include mentoring, socializing and having one-on-one meetings with women.

Senior men who were also surveyed were 9x more likely to hesitate to travel with a woman and 6x less likely to have a work dinner with women.

Lean In’s founder and Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandburg said,

The problem is that even before this, women – and especially women of color – do not get the same amount of mentoring as men, which means we’re not getting an equal seat at the table, and, you know, it’s not enough to not harass us. You need to not ignore us either.

Men are not ignoring you. Sadly when men can (and have) lose (lost) careers for unsubstantiated claims against them by women forgive them if they feel intimidated.

Who could have predicted this? Now it is men’s fault for not reading feminist minds on how they must act. Sandberg has an answer for that too,

If there’s a man out there who doesn’t want to have a work dinner with a woman, my message is simple: Don’t have one with a man. Group lunches for everyone. Make it explicit, make it thoughtful, make it equal…Men need to step up. We need to redefine what it means to be a good guy at work.”

Welcome to 2019. At least one thing hasn’t changed. Men are to blame for everything.

When will these activists realize that politicizing the work space dampens cooperation and kills off ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit.

Actually, vote on the political emergency

No surprise to see The Guardian parrot on about a climate emergency. The editorial completely misses out on the political emergency we face. The economic climate is a massive issue facing Australia. When Bill Shorten tells us that he “will change the nation forever” we shouldn’t view that positively. It is probably the honest thing he has said. Labor’s policy suite is the worst possible collection one could assemble to tackle what economic headwinds lie ahead. Our complacency is deeply disconcerting.

First let’s debunk the climate noise in The Guardian.

The math on the climate emergency is simple. Australia contributes 0.0000156% of global carbon emissions. No matter what we do our impact is zip. If we sell it as 560 million tonnes it sounds huge but the percentage term is all that is relevant. Even Dr Finkel, our climate science guru, agrees. What that number means is that Australia could emit 65,000x what it does now in order to get to a 1% global impact. So even if our emissions rise at a diminishing rate with the population, they remain minuscule.

Bill Shorten often tells us the cost of doing nothing on climate change is immeasurable. He’s right, only in that “it is too insignificant” should be the words he’s searching for.

Perhaps the saddest part of the Guardian editorial was to say that the Green New Deal proposed by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was gaining traction in the US. It has been such a catastrophic failure that she lost an unsolicited vote on the Senate floor 57-0 because Democrats were too embarrassed to show up and support it. Nancy Pelosi dismissed it as a “green dream.” At $97 trillion to implement, no wonder AOC says feelings are more important than facts.

With the 12-year time limit to act before we reach the moving feast known as the tipping point, it gets confusing for climate sceptics. Extinction Rebellion wants things done in only 6 years. The UK House of Commons still can’t get a Brexit deal done inside 3 years but can act instantaneously to call a “climate emergency” after meeting a brainwashed teenager from Sweden. It speaks volumes of the desperation and lack of execution to have to search for political distractions like this.

The ultimate irony in the recent celebration of no coal-fired power in the UK for one week was fossil fuel power substituted all of it – 93% to be exact. Despite the energy market operator telling Brits that zero carbon emissions were possible by 2025 (40% of the current generation capacity is fossil fuel), it forgot that 85% of British homes heat with gas. Presumably, they’d need to pop on down to Dixon’s or Curry’s to buy new electric heaters which would then rely on a grid which will junk 40% of its reliable power…good luck sorting that out without sending prices sky high. Why become beholden to other countries to provide the back-up? It is irrational.

Are people aware that the German electricity regulator noted that 330,000 households (not people) were living in energy poverty? At 2 people per household, that is 1% of the population having their electricity supply cut off because they can’t afford to pay it. That’s what expensive renewables do. If the 330,000 could elect cheap electricity to warm their homes or go without for the sake of the climate, which would they choose? 100% cheap, reliable power. Yet Shorten’s plan can only push more into climate poverty which currently stands at 42,000 homes. This is before the economy has started to tank!

If one looks across Europe, it is no surprise to see the countries with the highest level of fossil fuel power generation (Hungary, Lithuania & Bulgaria) have the lowest electricity prices. Those with more renewables (Denmark, Germany & Belgium), the highest. That is Australia’s experience too. South Australia and Victoria have already revealed their awful track record with going renewable. Why did Coca-Cola and other industries move out of SA after decades? They couldn’t make money with such an unreliable

Ahh, but we must protect our children and grandchildren’s futures. So low have the left’s tactics sunk that using kids as human shields in the fight for climate change wards off conservatives calling out the truth because it is not cool to bully brainwashed kids. We should close all our universities. As the father of two teenagers, CM knows they know everything already so there is little requirement for tertiary education!

The Guardian mentioned, “But in Australia, the Coalition appears deaf to the rising clamour from the electorate [on climate change].” Really?

CM has often held that human consumption patterns dictate true feelings about climate change. Climate alarmist Independent candidate Zali Steggall drives a large SUV and has no solar panels on her roof! Her battleground in the wealthy seat of Warringah is probably 70%+ SUV so slapping a Zali bumper sticker does nothing but add to the hypocrisy.

Why do we ignore IATA forecasts that project air travel will double by 2030? Qantas has the largest carbon offset program in the world yet only 2% elect to pay the self-imposed tax. Isn’t that telling? That is the problem. So many climate alarmists expect others to do the heavy lifting.

SUVs make up 43% of all new car sales in Australia. In 2007 it was 19%. Hardly the activity of a population fretting about rising sea levels. In Warringah, waterfront property sales remain buoyant and any bank that feared waves lapping the rooves of Burran Avenue would not take such portfolio risk, much less an insurance company.

Shorten’s EV plan is such a dud that there is a reason he can’t cost it. Following Norway is great in theory but the costs of installing EV infrastructure is prohibitively expensive. It will be NBN Mark II. Will we spend millions to trench 480V connectors along the Stuart Highway?

Norway state enterprise, Enova, said it would install fast chargers every 50km of 7,500km worth of main road/highway. Australia has 234,820km of highways/main roads. Fast chargers at every 50km like the Norwegians would require a minimum of 4,700 charging stations across Australia. Norway commits to a minimum of 2 fast chargers and 2 standard chargers per station.

The problem is our plan for 570,000 cars per annum is 10x the number of EVs sold in Norway, requiring 10x the infrastructure. That would cost closer to $14bn, or the equivalent of half the education budget.

The Guardian griped that “Scott Morrison’s dismissive response to a UN report finding that the world is sleepwalking towards an extinction crisis, and his parliamentary stunt of fondling a lump of coal”

Well, he might doubt the UN which has been embroiled in more scandals related to climate change than can be counted. Most won’t be aware that an internal UN survey revealed the dismay of unqualified people being asked for input for the sake of diversity and inclusion as opposed to choosing those with proper scientific qualifications. The UN has climbed down from most of its alarmist predictions, often citing no or little confidence of the original scare.

Yet this election is truly about the cost of living, not climate or immigration. The biggest emergency is to prepare for the numbers we can properly set policy against.

We have household debt at a record 180% of GDP. We have had 27 years of untrammelled economic growth. Unfortunately, we have traded ourselves into a position of too much complacency. Our major 4 banks are headed for a lot of trouble. Forget meaningless stress tests. APRA is too busy twiddling its thumbs over climate change compliance. While the Royal Commission may reign in loose lending, a slowing global economy with multiple asset bubbles including houses will come crumbling down. These banks rely 40% on wholesale markets to fund growth. A sharp slowdown will mean a weaker dollar which will only exacerbate the problem.

We have yet to see bond markets price risk correctly. Our banks are horribly exposed. They have too little equity and a mortgage debt problem that dwarfs Japan in the late 1980s. Part/whole nationalization is a reality. The leverage is worse than US banks at the time of the Lehman collapse.

We have yet to see 10% unemployment rates. We managed to escape GFC with a peak of 6% but this time we don’t have a buoyant China to rescue us. Consumers are tapped out and any upward pressure on rates (to account for risk) will pop the housing bubble. Not to worry, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen assures people not to panic if their home falls into negative equity! This is the level of economic nous on the catastrophe that awaits. It is insanely out of touch.

Are our politicians aware that the US has to refinance US$8.4 trillion in US Treasuries in the next 3 years? That amount of money will crowd out a corporate bond market which has more than 50% of companies rated BBB or less. This will be compounded by the sharp rise in inventories we are witnessing on top of the sharp slowdown in trade (that isn’t just related to the trade war) which is at GFC lows. The 3.2% US economic growth last quarter was dominated by “intellectual property”, not consumption or durable goods.

China car sales have been on a steep double-digit decline trajectory for the last 9 months. China smartphone shipments dwindle at 6 year lows. In just the first four months of 2019, Chinese companies defaulted on $5.8 billion of domestic bonds, c.3.4x the total for the same period of 2018. The pace is over triple that of 2016.

Europe is in the dumps. Germany has had some of the worst industrial production numbers since 2008. German GDP is set to hit 0.5% for 2019. France 1.25% and Italy 0.25%. Note that in 2007, there were 78mn Europeans living in poverty. In the following decade, it hit 118mn or 23.5% of the population.

Global bellwether Parker Hannifin, which is one of the best lead indicators of global industrial growth, reported weaker orders and a soft outlook which suggests the outlook for global growth is not promising.

This election on Saturday is a choice between the lesser of two evils. The LNP has hardly made a strong case for reelection given the shambolic leadership changes. Take it to the bank that neither will be able to achieve surpluses with the backdrop we are headed into. Yet when it comes to economic stewardship, it is clear Labor are out of their depth in this election. Costings are wildly inaccurate but they are based on optimistic growth scenarios that simply don’t exist. We cannot tax our way to prosperity when global growth dives.

Hiking taxes, robbing self-managed super fund retirees and slamming the property market might play well with the classes of envy but they will be the biggest victims of any slowdown. Australia has run out of runway to keep economic growth on a positive footing.

We will do well to learn from our arrogance which has spurned foreign investment like Adani. We miscalculate the damage done to the national brand. Adani has been 8 years in the making. We have tied the deal up in so much onerous red tape, that we have done nothing more than treating our foreign investors with contempt. Those memories will not be forgotten.

There will come a point in years to come where we end up begging for foreigners to invest at home but we will only have ourselves to blame.

The editorial closes with,

However you choose to exercise your democratic decision-making on Saturday, please consider your candidate’s position on climate and the rapidly shrinking timeframe for action. We have endured mindless scare campaigns and half-baked policy for too many decades. We don’t have three more years to waste.

This is the only sensible quote in the entire article. The time for action is rapidly shrinking. However, that only applies to the political and economic climate. One can be absolutely sure that when the slowdown hits, saving the planet will be furthest removed from Aussie voters’ minds.