Group Think

Why is Merkel pushing for a coalition when a caliphate is for the taking?

Why is Merkel bothering trying to form a fragile coalition when she can submit to a caliphate? To be honest seeing this video of a German state run children’s TV channel with two white, blonde Germans submitting to Islam doesn’t surprise. Such is the growing level of indoctrination to make up for the cataclysmic failure of Merkel’s misguided altruism that the state doesn’t even bother to hide it anymore. Is it any wonder that the AfD is 14% of the vote? People are increasingly growing tired of the political correctness yet the authorities in Germany are ever more willing to charge citizens for what the state deems as ‘hate speech’. Politically motivated violence is up 30%YoY in the last two years.

To try to brainwash young kids to accept a growing Muslim population is one thing, getting them to submit to it is outrageous. How naive is the left to think that this is in anyway normal or going to wash with large parts of the population? If they believe in preaching tolerance to young kids why aren’t they looking to form an alliance with a Saudi TV station to help kids In Riyadh to submit to Jesus Christ? For the left spineless submission and shared misery are seen as a virtue. Their Marxist view is that acceptance can be won by denying the national identity.

Promoting tolerance is one thing. Indoctrinating it is another. Germans are a socially conscious people but there comes a time when they feel that their generosity is being taken for granted. When that support requires them to make adjustments to the ways they have practiced culture, dress or community for centuries they have a right to a proper explanation rather than face the threat of the courts.

Go back several years when we witnessed the aftermath of the Cologne sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve. The police and press were muzzled. However after the incident could no longer be concealed, the Mayor of Cologne came out and openly asked women to dress more appropriately to avoid being harassed. Think through the logic. German citizens (more specifically females) must take extra precautions around the very people billions in taxpayer euros are going to support, moreover save them from their desperate plight? Of course not all refugees are responsible for the 64% jump in foreign crime reported by the Interior Ministry (BfV).

Ask why as of June 2016, there were 402,301 small arms carry permits in the National Weapons Register according to the BfV, some 50% higher than that recorded in June 2015? A coincidence that more Germans are feeling ill at ease with Merkel’s social experiment?

While every effort should be made to accomodate those fleeing from persecution and war zones, propaganda videos to brainwash innocent children like this only accentuate the depth of the problem faced by Germany.

Such is Merkel’s folly the EU confirms that 80% of these seeking asylum are economic refugees so much so that she is now pushing a scheme dubbed “Your country. Your future. Now!” which will run until February this year. Individual migrants can receive up to €1,000 if they voluntarily return home, while families can receive up to €3,000 to do the same. The assistance is meant to help reintegrate rejected asylum seekers in their home countries. The refugees, which were unsuccessful in their applications, could also get subsidized housing for a year—to help pay rent, home renovations, or get basic equipment for a kitchen or a bathroom.

Await the excuses that will come out assuring Germans that the children’s TV program was merely a drama and not to be taken as a mainstream view. Common sense will tell us that this is not the last time we will see such media pushed on the local population to force diversity to cover for dreadfully planned policy failure.

Let’s await the June 2017 small arms carry permits statistics to see whether the people are in tune with the view of the state.

What is more egregious than receiving $800,000?

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The $650,000 of that sum paid to the lawyers of a transgender student, Ms. (Mr) Ashton Whitaker, who claimed discrimination against the school which prevented her from using the male bathrooms and calling her the incorrect pronoun. She also added that she suffered from anxiety, depression, migraines and other health problems related to dehydration because she had tried to avoid restroom trips by drinking less water.

Whitaker said, “The idea of using the girls restroom was humiliating and there was no way I could do it…If I were to use the gender-neutral restrooms, I would also stand out from everyone else with a big label on me that said ‘transgender.”

Doesn’t that quote sort of say it all? Whitaker wants the school to accept her as a male yet the idea of using gender neutral restrooms would label her as transgender! Indeed if she is asking the school teachers to call her male pronouns and to be allowed to use the male toilets isn’t she labeling herself in front of her class? Wouldn’t male students who saw her use their bathrooms already know it was because she was transgender?

However this court victory only opens the floodgates to more victim based ambulance chasing. For lawyers it becomes a field day. The days of “have you been injured at work?” will be replaced by “have you had your feelings hurt?” At $650k a pop that is easy money for lawyers.

Should all schools be forced to change curriculums, indoctrinate other students, parents and teachers as well as go to considerable expense to accomodate people like Whitaker? Should parents who wish their kids to study in schools that aren’t caught up in this nonsense be free to send their kids to boys or girls only education without the state determining bathroom policy? Don’t they have just as much right to demand that as a transgender student from demanding the opposite? Yet the ruling is moving toward a scenario where parents who do not accept this be labeled bigots and persecuted for holding conservative views.

Let’s think about this. For girls who ‘identify’ as boys or vice versa why must we be dictated to by law to ‘pretend’ to accept them for what they subjectively (not biologically) feel themselves to be, assuming we know in the first place? California has laws that can jail one for using the wrong pronoun. This is the slippery slope.

Perhaps the solution – if the demand is high enough –  is transgender only schools where people like Whitaker can study, be called whatever pronoun that makes them happy and pee in the bathroom of their choice. They can have their own sanctuary. Why should the students (and parents) of the school that paid the $800,000 settlement suffer from a cutback in educational tools, teachers or other facilities because of a student’s hurt feelings? $800,000 would buy a lot of ‘useful’ equipment for furthering education.

To give a great example of how weak the liberal argument is for the slippery slope of caving in to transgender in schools and general life look at this interview of Tucker Carlson and DNC senior advisor Zac Petkanas. It is frighteningly naive.

Today’s ‘civil rights’ movement is all about removing them from the majority. No one is arguing that transgender people don’t deserve equal status (they have it). It is only because they demand special treatment which once again throws into the fore the problem with institutionalising policy which creates the very opposite to what ‘diversity’ crowd proclaim they promote. Honestly what has gender, race or sexual preference have to do with ‘performance’ in the schoolyard or workplace? Yet increasingly we are asked to provide it to prospective employers who fear being persecuted if they don’t get the ‘balance’ right.

Regime overthrow in Iran? Don’t get too excited (yet)

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The US State Department seems to be openly welcoming the outbreak of spontaneous demonstrations in Iran selling it as the early steps of regime change. In fact it is more likely to help President Rouhani force economic changes he has been prevented from making due to deep seated corruption within the regime itself. Rouhani has tried to make economic changes for years to boost the economy but the regime has kept monopoly power over multiple industries which has impeded his ability to do it.

The Iranian banking system holds 10s of billions of dollars in non-performing loans which is weighing down the economy and undermining the potential for private-sector-led recovery. Given the increasing vulnerability of Iran’s financial system, the government urgently needs to restructure and recapitalize the banks. Iranian banks were weakened by a sluggish economy caused by the sanctions, state interference in lending decisions and lax regulations causing excessive competition with unlicensed financial institutions.

The country’s recovery could well slow since Trump has raised the possibility that sanctions could be reimposed or new sanctions introduced. It should come as no surprise that this has deterred many banks and other foreign companies from operating in Iran.

The Iranian government directly owns and operates hundreds of state-owned enterprises (SoE) and indirectly controls many companies in the private sector. Inflation (9%), price controls (e.g. milk, energy) designed to tame it and rising unemployment (12.4%) are really behind the protests than a direct call to overthrow the Islamic Republic. Still don’t rule out the US State Department rubbing its hands with glee to try to throw a spanner in the works. Easier done by crushing its economy by redeploying sanctions given the financial system is in such a precarious position.

We shouldn’t ignore the timing of the assasination of former Yemeni President Saleh in the last month. His death now gives Saudi Arabia more will to take heavier action against the Iran backed Houthi in Yemen. Now that Saudi Arabia has recently cleaned house with the arrests of royal family members to tighten the inner circle, it almost seems the stars are aligning for the ante to be upped on Iran.

While much has escaped the mainstream media, at the narrow Bab al-Mandeb Strait separating Yemen and Djibouti/Eritrea, multiple US, Saudi and Emirati warships have been attacked by Houthi rebel forces. In January 2017 a Saudi al-Madinah frigate was sunk in the strait. An Emirati HSV-2 swift naval craft was also put out of action in late 2015. Cargo ships (10% of global trade) make their way up the Red Sea via the Bab al-Mandeb Strait to the Suez Canal, could suffer if tensions rise here.

While many are distracted by the decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem as an unnecessary ‘in-the-face’ action, most Gulf States want Israel on their side to help them defend against and ultimately defeat Iran. It is only 7 months ago that the Saudis pushed to expel Qatar from the GCC for keeping cosy relations with Iran and supporting Hamas and the Houthi in Yemen. The South Pars/North Dome Gas Condensate field – the world’s largest natural gas field –  is jointly owned by Iran and Qatar which means divided loyalties between the GCC and Tehran.

Get ready for lots of fake news. Something tells CM that there is something more sinister at play.

Time to “put” some eggs in this basket!

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In the everything bubble it is hard to find exposure to ‘relatively’ cheap things. Just a quick glance at the S&P500 index derivatives market one can see that ‘Put’ options (i.e. buying a put option gives the owner the right to sell at a particular strike price) prices are scraping the bottom of the barrel. While the above 2450 strike price (expires on 19 Jan 2018) seems a stretch for an S&P 500 Index showing 2662 (8.7% higher than the above put option) listening to outgoing Fed Chair Janet Yellen in the December FOMC press conference tells us that group think is alive and kicking. At least she admitted that,

The stock market has gone up a great deal this year…asset valuations are elevated….We see ratios in the high end of historical ranges…but Economists are not great at knowing what the right valuations are…we don’t have a terrific track record

Whatever the ultimate timing is of the impending pullback in asset bubbles, the downside will be extra ugly, especially now with so much market behaviour driven by robots with algorithms that have not been thoroughly tested in bear markets.  Time to own some longer dated put options me thinks. #MPGA (Make puts great again)

Stepping out of the echo chamber

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The Huff Post shows what can happen when a journalist steps out of the echo chamber and reflects on the realities. CM has often said that the liberal mainstream media is its own worst enemy creating narratives when there isn’t one with regards to POTUS. He knows how important he is for their ratings yet they end up taking his bait every time. It is not a question of what one thinks of the president or his policies rather the best way to defeat him is to ignore him. Yet if more mainstream media stepped out of the echo chamber and rationally and deeply analyzed what is going on rather than point to proving he paid a lot of tax or having a meltdown on whether he called KJU  “Rocket man” then the people they wish to sway might actually start  listening.

Regardless of one’s view on the matter, the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was attacked as the work of an unhinged madman when indeed history proved Bill Clinton, W Bush and Obama all said exactly the same thing. Trump is just actioning  it. Had the mainstream media reported the facts the other presidents showed the same point of view then maybe, just maybe the audience would grow on the merits of balanced journalism. By screaming at the sky and writing the same tired stories that don’t go into any detail is it any wonder even the Huff Post is compelled to write, ‘Sadly, Trump is winning’.

So let’s see whether Huff Post readers pillory Earl Ofari Hutchinson for writing such a piece that doesn’t pander to what they want to hear but challenge their thinking. One would logically think that there is more than enough content to show him up for what they believe him to be even when looked at objectively with context and perspective. CM wrote that his behaviour at the Navaho award ceremony was completely unnecessary. Indeed the Navaho marines present said he’ll be a great president. Regardless, Trump was stupid to attack Elizabeth Warren with a Pocahontas jibe. It lacked class and took away the real meaning of honouring men who not only risked their lives against the enemy but their own side. If these Navaho were at risk of being captured their own soldiers were ordered to kill them.

Which presents an interesting juxtaposition- do the liberals surrender ratings, potential personal remuneration in order to bring him down by starving the very media attention Trump craves or do the remain the very media whores seeking their own fame and glory?

Yemen – Saleh’s death is the dangerous slice in the Iran & Saudi sandwich

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Even before the Arab Spring, CM (in a previous life) wrote that Yemen was a trouble spot. It’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh (Sunni) has died of natural causes – he was assassinated in a spate of tribal violence in the capital Sana’a yesterday. No stranger to being an oppressive tyrant during his rule, after being ousted in the Arab Spring he was in recent years working with the Houthi tribe (Shi’ite) to regain power before switching back to a US backed Saudi-friendly deal maker. He proved that power is more important than religious sect. However the Houthi weren’t prepared to suffer a turncoat who betrayed them so Saleh was duly dealt with.

Why is Saleh’s death important? What it now does is give Saudi Arabia more will to take more decisive action against the Iran backed Houthi. It is no surprise that Saudi Arabia has cleaned house with the arrests of  royal family members to tighten the inner circle. It smells like the early stages of broader tit-for-tat skirmishes before all out conflict ensues. Yemen is often argued as a proxy war between the two.

While many are distracted by the US Embassy to Jerusalem as an unnecessary ‘in-the-face” action, it is a very firm line in the sand to where the US cards already lie. No big surprises. For now most Gulf States want Israel on their side to help them defend against and ultimately defeat Iran.

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At the narrow Bab al-Mandeb Strait separating Yemen and Djibouti/Eritrea, cargo ships make their way up the Red Sea to the Suez Canal, could become a major choke point. This year multiple US, Saudi and Emirati warships have been attacked by Houthi rebel forces. In January 2017 a  Saudi al-Madinah frigate was sunk in the strait. An Emirati HSV-2 swift naval craft was also put out of action in late 2015.

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Safe access to the strait is crucial at present because of Egypt’s reliance on imported LNG to maintain stable electricity supply. One LNG tanker heads to Egypt each weeknight through the canal. Just under 10% of global trade goes through it as well. Any blockage or restricted access would force ships to sail the long way around the Horn of Africa adding another 40% to the journey. This would have significant impacts on shipping and trade. Markets aren’t factoring anything at this stage.

The problem with naval conflict is that Yemen is backed by Iran which in turn is one of Russia’s best clients. Iran possesses the SS-N-22 Sunburn missile which is a supersonic anti-ship missile which even the US has no answer for. In recent years this has been upgraded to the Super Sunburn (P-270) which is even more lethal. It is a ramjet which travels at Mach-3 meaning if fired inside a 100km range then the target is likely to be toast (video here). It can be launched from a ship, submarine or land.

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Iran could blame a whole host of tribes (Sunni or Shia) sick of being under the jackboot of effective Saudi control/influence for an attack.

On December 2, Israeli jets bombed an Iranian military weapons base in Syria. Israel has warned Iran it won’t tolerate any military presence on Syrian soil. We shouldn’t forget that China has also deployed its special forces to Syria to help Assad. Clearly the Chinese see a good opportunity to clean up some of the spoils in the region. China is always happy to help out nations that are under sanction. It adds more mess into the geopolitical sphere.

While the GCC has stepped up its air attacks on Yemen post the death of Saleh, he was the only one that has been able to unite the country. Indeed it is possible that the secession of the south becomes an issue. At the time of reunification of North and South Yemen in 1990 many in the south felt their northern neighbors were pillaging too much of their oil reserve wealth. Even their private land was appropriated and spread among the Sana’a elite. Now that Saleh has gone, and Yemen fragmented again, we may see old scores settled. The Southern Movement (loyal to exiled President Hadi) in Yemen wants to take back what was stolen from them. So Saleh’s death may open a vacuum of more instability.

Iran would relish the opportunity of a fractured Yemen to further build its influence. Bab al-Mandeb may become a flashpoint to fight the proxy war. It is extremely messy, creates proper disruption and pushes Saudi Arabia and Iran closer to conflict.

Which ever way you cut it, diplomacy in the Middle East (what little there is) looks set to worsen. In a sense we are dealing with two large clients of Russia (Iran) and America (SA). Now China is siding with Russian interests by using it as a test run of its military muscle. China isn’t committing anything major but it wants to be at the negotiating table when it all goes pear shaped.

It smells very similar to the lead up to the Arab Spring. More turmoil and complacent markets which are not quite absorbing the realities of “local problems” spreading to another neighborhood. Sure we’ve seen many leaders overthrown in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and so on in the last uprising but the pressure on Saudi is mounting hence the recent crackdown internally.

The other dark horse is Erdogan in Turkey. He is facing a corruption probe over money laundering to help Iran evade sanctions and he seems keen to externalise his problems so he can shut down the local threat. He is threatening to cut off ties with Israel if the US relocates the embassy but for a man with clear ambitions to revive the Ottoman Empire that fell less than 100 years ago that is a mere formality in the future.

The flashpoint remains Yemen. It has the perfect storm of a pawn in a global game of chess. While it whiffs of local tribes seeking revenge there are too many willing to help them achieve their aims which only plays to the broader ructions throughout the rest of the Middle East. Last week Houthi rebels launched a missile attack against the UAE nuclear power plant under construction. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely

Well done Senator Leyonhjelm for inviting Milo to Parliament

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Full marks to Senator David Leyonhjelm for inviting Milo Yiannopolous to Parliament House. Despite the Greens Party leader Senator Richard Di Natale doing his best to ban him as a hate preacher, bigot, racist etc etc Milo had a pretty full audience. It is not whether one agrees with what he says but it is important to let any ideas out in the marketplace of free speech and debate the issues rather than shut them down. Indeed one would hope that Di Natale has such a strong case he could pin the Armani suited Milo’s arguments in person. That’s the thing. If Di Natale is convincing enough people will back his views on the sheer weight of  merit.

As an Australian citizen (even from afar) I watch the painful political correctness in the West that seems to turn a blind eye to almost anything that even remotely runs up against an identikit. We mustn’t offend this group or that group.

To be honest, as an example our government, in its quest to prevent on the fringe Islamophobia actually creates the environment for a worse time for Muslims. The majority of Muslims probably don’t care if we celebrate Christmas with trees in Martin Place but our political class decide to strip the tree of its significance in order to pander to something that just isn’t relevant. “Merry Christmas” is replaced with “Seasons Greetings.” In turn, some think that Muslims are behind it which means governments push for “hate speech laws” to cover up for their own stupidity and short-sightedness. Celebrate Australian traditions. Just like Aborigines seeking umbrage over statues of Cook and Phillip – the overwhelming majority don’t care but our politicians are all too busy trying to cater to another minority whose arguments and grievances are usually trivial to say the least.

Even the lunatic torch and swastika flag bearers in Charlottesville should be able to protest. Sunlight (torchlight) is the best disinfectant. Let these people go on parade for all to see. One can see for themselves they have no platform. The KKK (the former militia of the Democratic Party) has dwindled from 4mn members to less than 6,000. Out of a population of 330mn people they represent less than 0.02% of the population.

Probably some of the best footage of ‘like minds thanks to open platforms’ came when a BLM protest was given time on a stage at a Trump supporters event. BLM were told you’ve got several minutes and if you don’t like it then tough!

Still some in the political class feel the need to introduce all manner of laws to cover up their own weakness. At least some voices in parliament are not afraid to speak out and defend free speech. So credit to Senator Leyonhjelm for encouraging Milo to talk to our lawmakers.

It is not whether one thinks Milo is palatable (although a sellout tour in Australia is indicative) it is that he has a view. We don’t have to agree with it but again the left who try to shut him down will find far more backers of their cause if they combat him with concise and constructive arguments based on facts and truths. Said with authority and authenticity and watchMilo’s support wane. Indeed shutting him down actually helps Milo sell more tickets so it ends up being an own goal.

It really makes me want to join the political class in Australia to shore up the tide that is flowing toward feeble policy, further inaction and muzzling what they’re too gutless to admit. I want peace and harmony as much as the next person but it doesn’t come about by silencing dissenting voices. Embracing those voices is a tenet of democracy. Perhaps if the country was being run competently then people like Milo would be a footnote rather than front page.