Group Think

Shamebridge University

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It’s amazing how social justice warriors constantly find new things to protest. The victim industry is in full swing. While a lack of access to WiFi or a flat cell phone battery is as big a hardship as these Cambridge University union students have or probably ever will face, they deem Rememberance Day as something that glorifies war, not about respecting the dead and. Those who served with distinction.

It is amazing they have the intelligence to be at university to begin with given the inability to critically think about why the day is absolutely about trying to avoid such tragedy again. Maybe Jeremy Corbyn is right – free education is justified because it is obviously worth nothing if the simplest things have to be made so complex.

Going through the letters of a veteran who served in WW2 Lt Peterson wrote of the honour of the Anzac Day ceremony in Beersheba. In 1940. It was to pay respect to those who bravely served their country not those who were mildly burnt while serving a coffee at Starbucks.

Only last week the University of Manchester’s student union voted to say “applause” is not inclusive and can distress people. Jonathan Pie’s video on the oppression obsession speaks directly to the grievance industry which ends up serving no one.

If we’re so keen to stick to Paris should we feel guilty about nuclear power?

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Australia seems keen to stick to the Paris Accord. Despite knowing whatever we do on saving the planet through following the politics of Paris will result in no palpable change in world temperatures at considerable economic cost to overstretched taxpayers. If we seem so keen to do our bit for tokenism, why not copy so many signatories and build nuclear plants? After all if we don’t want to be censured for abandoning the accord should we feel any sense of guilt if we adopt the very same CO2 limiting measures of others? Safety in numbers – literally.

CM was privy to a meeting with a former US Navy officer who was speaking about how negative PR can create false narratives. Nuclear power was one of them. He argued that the US & Japan were losing the PR war hence technological leadership on civilian nuclear power. The likes of Toshiba-Westinghouse are now shrinking minnows whose dwindling order book looks like the victim of a sunset industry when in reality it has been terrible program management. However why should it?

Nuclear power is set to be 14% of global electricity generation by 2040 from 11% today. Emerging Asia get the practicalities of nuclear power. Affordable and sustainable baseload with virtually no emissions.

Of course the horrible outcomes of poorly managed nuclear plants has come at great financial cost as experienced most recently  with Fukushima but the safety record of nuclear power is astonishingly good. Quantum levels more people die in coal mine accidents every year than the combined deaths from radiation from Chernobyl or Fukushima meltdowns since either occurred.

The misplaced fear of Fukushima was so high at the time that Americans across the Pacific were stocking up on radiation masks and Geiger counters in preparation of impending irradiation. It seemed the further one got away from the reactor the more hysteric people became. Deaths in the US as a result of the Fukushima meltdown? Zero!

As it stands, the US has two nuclear plants under construction at present which are saddled with delays and costly overruns based on incompetent execution. The Chinese have twenty in the build phase. India 7. Korea and the UAE 4 each. Russia 3. Even Bangladesh & Pakistan have two in the pipeline using technologies outside of the US/Japan.

There are about 150 power reactors with a total gross capacity of about 160GWe on order with about 300 more proposed. Where are the former world leaders in power technology? Next to nowhere. Cowering in a corner and allowing themselves to be beaten up senseless over false statistics. Where is the PR reporting reality? It’s as if they’ve given up. Where is the media lambasting China, India and other nations for putting our lives at risk? That’s right – nowhere.

What probably escapes many people is that for all the negative news cycle around nuclear power and the thirst for renewable alternatives, many Americans are already surrounded by active nuclear plants. While they visit a zoo or the beach they are blissfully unaware that at all the naval ports dotted around the mainland (e.g. California, Connecticut, NY, Florida, DC, Texas, South Carolina etc) and islands (e.g. Hawaii, Japan) there are 100s of nuclear reactors sitting safely in close proximity to millions of civilians. Yet where is the outrage? Not a peep.

Shout from the hilltops at the efficiency of renewables all you want. Then explain why those with higher levels of renewables as baseload power end up with the highest incidents of blackouts and steepest prices.

South Australia is the case in point. Australia is home to the cheapest materials (gas, coal and uranium) to make affordable electricity but we have caved to the green madness and saddled ourselves with punitive power prices to meet goals based on unproven and often whistle blown manipulated science. If climate scientists were subject to the same punitive damages that players in the financial industry are then it is likely the “targets” leading to our ecological disaster would be pared back to such a degree we’d just keep calm and carry on. Yet because there is no risk of jail sentences the tax dollars get misappropriated, funding an industry whose survival and growth depends on fear. Talk about a lack of ethics.

Even worse we want to double down on this inefficient renewable technology (where claims are often made on 100% capacity rather than the 20% they truly operate on) despite having empirical evidence of its all too obvious shortcomings. Virtue signaling actions such as blowing up old coal fired power stations has ironically proven the stupidest of moves in that all the while demand hasn’t changed reductions in reliable baseload supply makes us vulnerable.

Throw on the desire to electrify the automobile  and we already know that existing base load won’t cope with the increased demands. Take a look at Britain as an example. Apart from the risks of losing massive fuel tax levies (around 5% of total government revenue) the power industry’s current projections of new electricity generation additions can’t meet the expected demand if we all plug our EV in overnight.

So Australia should quit worrying about what others think and act in its own best interests. Maybe Canberra needs a PR agency more than the nuclear industry does. High time to look at real data and sustainability.

 

Musk channels the Black Knight?

It has become apparent that the SEC & Musk had a deal which would see him removed from Tesla yet his lawyers have rejected it at the last minute because he’d rather fight the charges. One could argue in favour of his bravery to appeal against what looks to be a very open and shut case about breaching probably the most basic of errors in standard reporting to the exchange to ensure fairness.

Maybe he feels that he is only going to get a slap on the wrist? In the 63 odd charges laid out against individuals by the SEC for reporting violations in 2018, the average fine has been $75,000. Hardly a ripple to Musk’s net worth.

The bigger risk for Tesla shareholders if Musk loses in court against the SEC and is forced out (to be honest his board should demand it) will be losing a figurehead who at the very least has managed to make a company with no profits, monster debts and questionable actions worth more than Ford, FCA & GM combined. Betting against Musk has been a dangerous game. He may well be teflon coated but it remains questionable whether he can strap himself to his reusable rockets and escape the fraud charges.

Feinstein’s timing truly defending the rights of a sexual assault victim?

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There is absolutely nothing right about sexual harassment of any kind. CM wrote extensively here on the subject last year. CM also warned of the dangers of #MeToo turning into baseless witch hunts that could permanently stain the character of otherwise innocent people. CM contends that false claims should be equally punishable under the law to prevent false claims getting air.

Whether Supreme Court Justice-in waiting Brett Kavanaugh is guilty of harassment 36 years ago is nothing more than an allegation at this stage. All claims should be heard under the legal framework. However studying the timeline of events, there is a touch of convenience in Senator Diane Feinstein’s use of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation letter.

Kavanaugh’s announcement as SC nominee was made mid July, 2018. Ford documented her supposed harassment encounter in a letter to Feinstein two weeks later, dated July 30th. Yet it would appear Feinstein sat on this nugget til September in order to maximize its utility to prevent Kavanaugh’s confirmation if all other political stunts failed. With any luck she can drag an FBI investigation into the mid-terms (i.e. the real goal).

If Feinstein truly wanted to defend the rights of a supposed sexual harassment victim, surely she should have acted immediately? No doubt she would need a bit of time to discuss with lawyers to understand if this constituted substantial evidence but sexual harassment is a serious claim and crime. Surely the united forces within the Democratic Party could summon the resources to expedite the allegation and use its validity to block.

As the party of supposed social values, what better way to derail the candidate than to release a real claim ASAP after legal checks and balances, including meeting the openly Trump hating Democratic professor were completed. Provided the evidence was incontrovertible it would sell itself. Could it be that the evidence is so sketchy that Feinstein knew it only served as a stalling tactic, hence delaying it by 6 weeks? This says more about the moral compass of the Democrats than Ford.

It seems that Ford does not want to testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee until the FBI investigation. Yet the FBI will investigate what? The crime scene is 36 years old. Her recollection is vague at best. Interviewing people who were likely underage kids who were drunk at a party

Alas, as all of the stunts from Democrats, including Cory Booker admitting he may lose his position for leaking certain documents which turned out to support Kavanaugh not being racist, they pull out claims of sexual misconduct, in the hope it drags the confirmation beyond the Novemeber elections whereby a potential blue wave will potentially allow them to block Trump’s choice. Tactically a shrewd move, but utterly disgusting to true victims if proved untrue.

There is no reason to fault the Democrats wish to block a Republican choice for a vacant SCJ seat (which by the way was on the 2016 ballot given the subject was raised in the presidential debates because it was the first time since Eisenhower that an SCJ seat was empty at election time) on the basis of supposed conflicts in convictions and beliefs. No doubt the Republicans would do likewise. Yet citizens were given the chance to vote on a SC judge with their presidential choice. The names were all out there.

Unfortunately, to use a sexual assault allegation based on sketchy information given by the accuser who admits she doesn’t remember much 36 years ago is utterly reprehensible if the claims turn out to be false. There will be no surprise if the Dems get their goal achieved that Ford will quietly withdraw her claims.

Let’s be perfectly clear. If Kavanaugh is guilty of such a serious crime then he is unfit to serve on a SC bench. Should Ford’s claim turn out to be completely baseless then the Dems will reveal themselves as morally bankrupt to use such a tactic to besmirch someone’s reputation. The timing of the letter is convenient to say the least.

Is this the way forward? Everything that doesn’t stand on its merits or via democratic process will somehow be stopped by claims of sexual impropriety?

In this battle the only thing everyone should be united behind is that “justice” is properly served for the right reasons. Certainly not to dish up political character assassinations for convenience.

True victims tend to bottle trauma for substantial periods, usually decades. Yet rarely would they openly come out on a whim and chuck around claims which don’t help their own healing process.

Is Musk losing it?

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Is Tesla CEO Elon Musk losing it? More senior resignations from accounting and HR this week  reveal more cracks in the automaker. He emailed a journalist, calling him a “mother f*cker”. He went further to say he hoped the cave rescuer he called a “”pedo” sued him because a UK man who is single and spent so much time in Thailand must be a child rapist.

He rattled off he had “secured” funding of $420/share to go private and then all of a sudden he didn’t, prompting the SEC to investigate. He was then on radio with comedian Joe Rogan toking what is reportedly a mixture of tobacco and marijuana. Are these the actions of a man running a $50bn market cap company?

Clearly his board can’t control him.  With the shares collapsing and bond prices falling, refinancing will become problematic. Chief  Accounting Officer Dave Morton quit the company after revealing his concerns about the various obstacles Tesla faces.

Tesla’s Chief People Officer, Gabrielle Toledano, took leave in August and said she wouldn’t be returning to Tesla.

Musk has been a genius and visionary to get Tesla where it is today. Yet he is a direct victim of his own hubris. Sleeping under boxes with Tesla bankrupt written on them to living on the factory roof to rattling off about production hell while accusing families of drivers dead due to over reliance in a system he aggressively promoted.Tesla was technically asking for suppliers to refund a portion of the monies they were paid since 2016 to the EV maker so it could post a profit which is borderline accounting manipulation in an attempt to give the impression of an ongoing concern.

He also complained at the lack of support in the media despite being called out on this nonsense.

Musk’s compensation is also linked to a $650bn market cap, which is effectively saying to the market that his company will be worth more than Daimler, BMW, VW, GM, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Renault, Fiat-Chrysler, Ferrari and Porsche combined. Just read that last sentence again. Do investors honestly believe that Tesla which consistently misses and is going up against companies that have been in the game for decades, seen brutal cycles, invest multiples more in technology and forgotten more than they remembered will somehow all become slaves to a company which has no technological advantages whatsoever?

The Tesla story is on the ropes. Expect more mega-releases on new products to try to keep the dream alive and the disciples faithful. I guess ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’ worked for The Beatles…

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.

#MakeActivismGreatAgain

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There is a sense of irony that Democrat Party protesters still fail to get. Boycotting business doesn’t work very well. In fact the opposite could well be true. This is a picture from the front of In-N-Out burgers on Sept 2, the day after Democrat activists called for a boycott for the fast food chain donating $25,000 to the GOP in California. Why didn’t they protest and call for a boycott when the same burger chain donated $30,000 to the GOP in 2016 and again in 2017? Shouldn’t they be embarrassed for their inconsistency? Perhaps they could thank the burger chain for reducing the size of the donation? One thing is for sure Democrats need to make blue caps with ‘MAKE ACTIVISM GREAT AGAIN”

When people boycotted the NRA post the Florida school shooting, membership surged. It seems more Americans are growing tired of this constant harassment.

There is a pattern from boycotts. People can decide for themselves if they abhor such donations. They don’t require a bunch of idle pot smoking basement dwellers to yell at them and tell them how to spend their hard earned dollars.

Even in Australia, activists called for a boycott of supermarket chain Coles for reintroducing plastic bags to convenience customers. Despite studies by the UK Environment Agency which showed that man made reusable “eco bags” we’re told are so green would have to be used 286x to match the environmental footprint of the single use HDPE disposable shopping bags they replaced. If people dispose of rubbish in these same bags (using them twice) then the eco bags would be required to be used 572x to offset the environmental impact. Ironically if people can’t use such bags for their rubbish they’re forced to buy plastic bags off the shelf to do so meaning plastic consumption is neutral, not reduced.

As these activists conjure up new schemes to makes us feel bad they probably do so sipping a latte from Starbucks in a paper cup. The cost to recycle the 500 billion (and rising) coffee cups consumed annually is so astronomical (it is hard to separate the wax that stops the cup disintegrating because of the energy intensity involved to do so) that over 90% end up in landfill. No one talks about that 300 million tons of virgin paper used to make these cups! How many of us give it one thought when we need a shot of caffeine? Right?! Although Starbucks is trialing a 5p latte levy for those that elect to use a paper cup. In any event no protest.

Boycotting businesses seems to help their fortunes so keep up the good work! Perhaps they should work it into being a platform policy such is the unbridled success