Group Think

You won’t believe how California will help us save the planet this time!

At some point, Californians will end up with a list that tells them what they can do which will be shorter than what they can’t. The Democrat controlled state is banning those single use shampoo and body soap containers. The reason being that too much of this plastic waste ends up where it shouldn’t. So instead of encouraging more sensible disposal, let’s just ban it!

How ironic that at the World Economic Forum of all groups said with regards to plastic,

Many environmental activists are calling for a ban on plastics. However, the very properties that make plastic so dangerous – its durability and long lifespan – also make it a great asset. A material that will not die or be destroyed for five hundred years is valuable. We can reuse it almost endlessly. The problem is not plastic itself. The problem is using it irresponsibly….

…A material that can be constantly recycled is a great help to ecology and the economy, especially when the human population is growing rapidly and our lifestyle demands are increasing exponentially. The solution is not to ban plastic, but to ensure that it is used responsibly and recycled properly.”

Bingo!

Once again leftist governments think more regulation, rather than punishing irresponsibility is the answer.

Like all those who praised the banning of plastic shopping bags as being environmentally ‘woke’ when the facts reveal the opposite. Not to mention that we have to go aisle 7 to substitute the plastic shopping bags for plastic waste bin liners. Maybe our Sulo wheelie bins should be made of cardboard?

CM wrote,

In 2006 the UK Environment Agency did a study on the effectiveness of alternative packaging solutions to HDPE (conventional plastic bags) in terms of lowering environmental impact. It said,

The paper, LDPE, non-woven PP and cotton bags should be reused at least 3, 4, 11 and 131 times respectively to ensure that they have lower [impact] than conventional HDPE carrier bags that are not reused.”

So if conventional biodegradable plastic shopping bags are used to throw out garbage that means 6, 8, 22 and 262 days.

While we’re at it, do people realize that the majority of take away wax-lined coffee cups aren’t recycled even though you can feel good about yourself when disposing of it in the right bin? How many people elect to have their brew poured into a ceramic cup? Look next time – hardly any! 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.

All this ban has done has inconvenience people. 60% of mismanaged plastic waste was from East Asia (i.e. China), 11% from South Asia; 9% from sub-Saharan Africa; 8% from MENA; 7% from LatAm; 3% from Europe and 0.9% from North America.

Instead of accepting Americans are 5% of the population and 0.9% of mismanaged plastic waste globally, Californians, at 12% of the US population, would ceteris paribus, be responsible for 0.1% of mismanaged plastic waste! Banning hotel shampoo bottles might lower it to 0.099%?

Way to go California! Your genius knows no bounds! A word of advice. Probably better to focus on the $1 trillion plus unfunded liability in your state pension system.

One reason Boston Globe hasn’t won a Pulitzer since 2016

At what point do mainstream media outlets reach peak Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS)? When will editorial departments seek common sense? The Boston Globe pulled down an opinion article that suggested waiters tamper with Trump officials’ food. Apart from encouraging staff to breach food safety laws, they show themselves to be juvenile in the extreme. Journalistic integrity? Hardly.

If the liberal left media truly believe they represent mainstream America in moral and societal values, which all of the crazy Trump supporters need to follow, tampering with food is not a great benchmark.

If you want a laugh, take a look at the Boston Globe’s stated values! What a surprise it hasn’t won a Pulitzer since 2016!

The irony in “They’re all yours, Sanctuary Cities”

Will Trump’s tactics to expose the hypocrisy of sanctuary cities work? Democrats remain stubborn over funding border security. In his view, if sanctuary cities are all publicly open arms about accepting illegals then they should be happy to welcome busloads of them. The great irony of these virtue-signalling Democrat controlled cities is that they’re upset that this reality may dawn, although publicly stating they’ll be welcome. The greater irony is that a growing number of illegal immigrants are choosing to move OUT of sanctuary cities. In 2007, 7.7mn (63.1%) lived in the 20 largest metros to 6.5mn (60.7%) in 2016 according to Pew. During that time 1.5m illegal immigrants were deported (12.2mn ->10.7mn).

Despite one’s views of illegal immigration and the use of people as political pawns, ICE has just released its 2018 statistics. The numbers are staggering.

ICE’s 2018 annual report notes the following situation at the border:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) has continued to use resources as effectively and efficiently as possible to enforce the nation’s immigration laws.

In FY2018, ERO arrested 158,581 aliens, 90% of whom had criminal convictions (66%), pending criminal charges (21%), or previously issued final orders (3%). The overall arrest figure represents an 11% increase over FY2017.

  • 2015: 101,800
  • 2016: 110,104
  • 2017: 143,470
  • 2018: 158,581

The number of individuals detained by ERO is driven by enforcement actions taken by ICE and apprehensions made by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In FY2018, 396,448 people were initially booked into an ICE detention facility, an increase of 22.5% over FY2017.  Book-ins to detention resulting from CBP arrests increased by 32% over the previous year, illustrating a surge in illegal border crossings.

  • 2015: 307,342
  • 2016: 352,882
  • 2017: 323,591
  • 2018: 396,448

In FY2018, ERO removed 256,086 illegal aliens, reflecting an increase of 13% over FY2017. The majority of removals (57%) were convicted criminals. Additionally, 5,914 of the removed illegal aliens were classified as either known or suspected gang members or terrorists, which is a 9% increase over FY2017.

  • 2015: 235,413
  • 2016: 240,255
  • 2017: 226,119
  • 2018: 256,086

Here are some of the reasons for arrest – both criminal convictions and charges – for 2017 (2018):

  • Driving under the influence : 80,547 (80,730)
  • Dangerous drugs: 76,503 (76,585)
  • Immigration violation:  62,517 (63,166)
  • Assault: 48,454 (50,753)
  • Larceny: 20,356 (20,340)
  • Burglary: 12,836 (12,663)
  • Fraud: 12,398 (12,862)
  • Illegal weapon possession: 11,173 (11,766)
  • Sex offences: 6,664 (6,888)
  • Stolen Vehicles: 6,174 (6,261)
  • Forgery: 5,210 (5,158)
  • Homicide: 1,886 (2,028)
  • Kidnapping: 2,027 (2,085)
  • Prostitution racketeering: 1,572 (1,739)

Since the initial surge at the Southwest border (SWB) in FY2014, there has been a significant increase in the arrival of both family units (FMUAs) and unaccompanied alien children (UACs). In FY2018, approximately 50,000 UACs and 107,000 aliens processed as FMUAs were apprehended at the SWB by the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP). These numbers represent a marked increase from FY2017 when approximately 41,000 UACs and 75,000 FMUA were apprehended by USBP.

While USBP routinely turns FMUA apprehensions over to ICE for removal proceedings, ICE is severely limited by various laws and judicial actions from detaining family units through the completion of removal proceedings. For UAC apprehensions, DHS is responsible for the transfer of custody to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) within 72 hours, absent exceptional circumstances. HHS is similarly limited in their ability to detain UACs through the pendency of their removal proceedings. When these UACs are released by HHS or FMUA are released from DHS custody, they are placed onto the non-detained docket, which currently has more than 2,641,589 cases and results in decisions not being rendered for many years. Further, even when removal orders are issued, very few aliens from the non-detained docket comply with these orders and instead join an ever-growing list of 565,892 fugitive aliens.”

Switching to compassionate grounds, who wants to see screaming kids? No-one. Locked in cages? Even less. Separated? Well, there is a good reason for that. When even the likes of left-leaning HuffPo admitted in December 2014 that 80% of women and girls are sexually assaulted while trying to make it across the border there is a good reason to question the proof of identity of the supposed parents. Even if 90% of parent/children pairs are legit, what of the 10% that aren’t? Do ICE risk it? Australia had an experience of a mother from Nepal (a democracy not at war) who deliberately poured boiling water on her infant to expedite processing on the mainland. Are these the values of people we should provide refuge to? We should not forget that many people make the journey knowing ALL the risks that confront them yet still attempt it despite the warnings.

To emphasize the danger of lax screening,  multiple kids were found dead after being abandoned once across the border as their usefulness as a golden ticket on compassionate grounds was expended. If that isn’t some of the worst forms of child abuse then what is? Moreover, these people are hardly the type that decent Americans would want to embrace with open arms!

In Jan 2016 WaPo noted, “The Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, failed to do proper background checks of adults who claimed the children…several Guatemalan teens were found in a dilapidated trailer park near Marion, Ohio, where they were being held captive in squalid conditions by traffickers and forced to work“. So slave labour to repay human traffickers? Let’s encourage more to attempt the crossing?

Then ICE has the trouble of finding the parents/guardians (sponsors) already living (often) illegally to collect their unaccompanied children at pre-arranged court hearings. The media went into a frenzy saying that ICE had lost the records. The truth came out in Feb 2016 that,

“The head of ICE’s removal operations, Thomas Homan, told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that 7,643 immigrants who arrived as children were sent home between the 2012 and 2015 budget years…More than 171,000 children, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, were arrested at the border during that same time…The number of children caught crossing the border illegally spiked in 2014 [see impacts in NY Times graphic] and the Obama administration promised that those who were not eligible for protection in the United States would be swiftly sent home… And with an immigration court backlog of more than 474,000 pending cases, some cases can take years to move through the court system…

…about 40% of immigrants are no shows at court…Finding immigrant children with outstanding deportation orders is also complicated by the fact that they often are no longer at the addresses provided to the government.”We are out looking,” Homan said. “But they are hard to find. A lot of these folks who don’t show up in court, we don’t know where they’re at.”

The pictures of kids in concentration camp style cages were from 2014. Yet don’t let that get put in the way of a narrative to show the nationalist tendencies of the current administration.

While we can express outrage at the treatment of illegal immigrants at the border, the tougher laws have started to resonate with Ana Garcia Carias, wife of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who said, Stay in the country and let’s look for solutions to support you. She visited the border and said that she didn’t recommend her citizens go to the US undocumented.

In summary, Americans want their borders safe. Rasmussen Reports notes that most citizens do not want to abolish ICE. The polling firm noted,

only 25% of Likely U.S. Voters favour getting rid of ICE whose duties include border control. Fifty-five percent (55%) are opposed…Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Republicans and 53% of voters not affiliated with either major political party oppose getting rid of ICE. Democrats agree by a narrower 44% to 36% margin.”

AS CM always says, if people don’t like the laws, then move to change them. Trump’s tactics are unorthodox but will expose the hypocrisy of those that push forward the idea of protecting illegal immigrants.

Fauxahontas is polling 3rd in Massachusetts

Democratic 2020 presidential nomination hopeful Elizabeth Warren is polling 3rd in her home state of Massachusetts. So much for her attempts to run.

Perhaps being 1/1024th Native American and writing same on a Texas bar registration card might have something to do with it.

Trump looks more certain by the day to win 2020 if the Dems continue to show no strategy or policy other than to hate POTUS. Biden is toast, Warren doubtful and Harris looks flakey post Smollett.

Surely Hollywood celebrity Alec Baldwin’s pledge to win in 2020 only shows how hopeless their cause is. If Hollywood doubts the current crop, what hope have the Dems got in 2020? Wheel Hillary our again? Things are so bad even Obama is calling on party faithful to stop the circular firing squad. And they call Trump stupid!?

The fallacy of the 8 minute charge

ABB is claiming that it’s top of the line EV charger can juice 200kms in 8 minutes. Theoretically 100kms takes 4 minutes. It’s fast. However a Tesla Model S 100D has a theoretical full charge range of c. 540km. So to charge from empty using the top of the line ABB charger systems will still take 22 minutes, not 8. If an EV, fully loaded with fat people, luggage and the aircon set to maximum, is stuck in heavy city traffic (think of watching numerous video feeds on your iPhone), it’s theoretical range could drop like a stone. So if the same car only manages a real world 200km off a charge because of hideous traffic conditions the charge time is still 22 minutes for that 200km, not 8 minutes.

Full marks to ABB’s marketing department. But what it fails to take into account is the faster a battery is charged the quicker it’s quality deteriorates, meaning replacements would be required earlier and the global CO2 footprint goes up and poor Congolese children are sent to mine more cobalt.

Note the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute was commissioned by the Swedish Transport Administration and the Swedish Energy Agency to investigate lithium-ion batteries climate impact from a life cycle perspective.

The report showed that battery manufacturing leads to high emissions. For every kilowatt hour of storage capacity in the battery generated emissions of 150 to 200 kilos of carbon dioxide already in the factory. Regular EV batteries with 25–30 kWh of capacity will result in 5 metric tonnes CO2, which is equivalent to 50,000 km driving in a regular, fuel-efficient diesel vehicle.

If we use those Swedish metrics on the Tesla Type S 100D battery pack of 100kWh, the car has done 167,000km worth of CO2 before its left the factory. So that would mean 20 metric tons of CO2 per car without taking into account any charging from the grid which is largely fossil fuel derived in most countries.

A 2019 model year BMW 530d diesel emits 138g of C02/km. So it can travel 145,000km just to match a car with a 100kWh battery pack before it leaves the dealership floor.

Do we really want 50% sales in EVs if the metrics are this bad? Don’t forget car emissions continue to drop. Diesel emission standards today are 97% lower than Euro 1 levels set in 1992.

If current fast chargers cost $60,000 a pop, one imagines the super chargers from ABB will be in the vicinity of $80,000+. Multiply by the number of stations and chargers we’re well above $15bn in Australia if we match Norway’s statistics scaled to our market.

That’s the problem with green mathematics. They only look at selective statistics, not the whole. 99.8% of Australians seem to get the maths based on the fact EVs make up only 0.2% of total new car sales.

Scheer to Trudeau – “Get on with it”

Canadian Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer has told PM Justin Trudeau to “get on with it” with regards to threatening to sue over the SNC-Lavalin PMO scandal. Scheer has accused the PM of interfering with the investigation carried out by the Independent Prosecution Service.

Scheer said

“I stand by every single criticism I have made of Justin Trudeau’s behaviour in this scandal. If Trudeau intends to sue me, if he believes he has a case against me, he should get on with it…

…Why do I welcome Justin Trudeau’s lawsuit? 1) Because he will finally be forced to testify under oath. 2) He will not be able to shut down the proceedings like he has in Parliament. Canadians will finally get the answers they deserve.

In the latest April CBC poll, the Conservatives under Scheer are at 36.2% and Trudeau’s Liberals at 31.7%. In November, it was 31.3% and 37.7% respectively. A slight reversal in fortune.

Trudeau is a darling of the left. Sadly his legacy is a disaster. From telling Canadians that returning ISIS fighters could be rehabilitated by reciting poetry and haiku, to dressing up in local garb on a visit to India (to the point where Indian officials said most don’t wear such clothing), wearing Star Wars socks, introducing compelled speech legislation and meddling with the ethics committee over his holidays with Aga Khan, Trudeau has proved completely out of his depth. His speech in front of the UNGA exposed his unpopularity as did waving to an empty airfield.

The peoplekind of Canada surely have buyers remorse. Luckily a general election is not far away.

 

Profligacy paid for by wishful thinking

Lots of promises. Lots of grand assumptions. To be honest, best just ignore the minutiae. It’s a complete waste of time. The biggest question is, if the global economy, by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s own admission, is slowing down (just look at government bond yields flattening/gone negative) how on earth is Australia going to grow receipts from $485.2bn in 2018/19 to $566.9b in 2021/22? A 17% growth in tax revenue. Expenses will rise from $487bn to $559.9bn respectively. Give aways +15%. Best hope the world economy doesn’t tank. Expenses are locked in. Tax revenues aren’t.

Worse, these projections have all been massaged higher than the 2018-19 budget. What has changed to our overall net position in the last 12 months to gain such confidence? Climate alarmists would blush at the extent of the upward massaging of numbers. Did Treasury sit down after consuming 3 bottles of Absinthe to come up with these revisions? Think about it. How can we get an extra $5.9bn in tax receipts in 2021-22 when conditions are sure to be worsening?

This is NOT an old school Coalition budget by any measure. This is a crossing fingers, closing the eyes and hoping we muddle through budget. If the proverbial hits the fan, a monster deficit is assured. Take it to the bank.

We are technically at full employment. Unless we embark on mass migration (which we’re looking to cut) how will flat wage enduring Aussies and corporates contribute to a 17% rise in the Canberra coffers? Wishful thinking. The government targets around 23.9% of GDP for tax receipts and pats itself on the back for “the government’s average real spending growth is expected to be the lowest of any Commonwealth government in over 50 years.” Although that claim is dispelled by their own tables contained here.

Cutting taxes can create more tax revenue. Poland sliced its corporate taxes in half in 2004 and doubled revenue. However that was more a grey money grab than pure unadulterated tax policy spurring public revenue growth.

Giving away more money to the middle class through tax cuts and hand outs in the hope they spend more seems wishful thinking. The problem is if global growth hits a wall, we don’t have a Howard/Costello surplus to buffer the storm. No $38bn backstop in the war chest.

China, the US and EU are struggling. Things are so bad in the US that the Federal Reserve had to chicken out of any more rate rises because it would tank the economy. Our growth will stall if the world slows. Forget 28 straight years of continuous growth in Australia. The knock on effects will see unemployment surge, consumption fall off a cliff, housing prices crash and tax revenues slump. Forget a $7.1bn surplus. Think $20bn deficit because the promises are too grand and the tax receipts blindingly optimistic.

Of note in the 2019-20 budget is the expansion of the ATO’s tax grab from evil multinationals and HNW individuals who’ve avoided paying their fair share. That will result in a $3.612bn extr over the next 4 years. That against the $5.74bn tax cut for middle class Aussies over the same period. Spending up everywhere. Just not sure why the Treasury hasn’t pointed to where the extra revenue is coming from.

Take the assumptions of 2.75% GDP growth flat to 2020/21. Unrealistic. Treasury assumes the same labour force participation rate with unemployment remaining to 5% and wage growth of 3.25% in 2020/21, up from 2.1%. All looks so simple. Yet inflation is expected to grow to 2.5% meaning real wages will be flat.

Aussies, saddled under 180% debt to GDP, shouldn’t take any sense of comfort from this budget. What Frydenberg presented tonight was nothing more than a hope that the most rosy scenarios play out when thunder clouds are so obviously rolling in. It’s utterly irresponsible. Yet that’s today’s political class – spineless. They’re unprepared to tell Aussies that they have to be prepared to live with much less. Instead of asking us to tighten our belts, a whole load of freebies that can’t be paid for end in our laps so they can hold on to power for a bit longer.