Investment

Brain dead anoint the brainwashed

The University of Mons in Belgium will anoint 16yo Greta Thunberg with an honorary doctorate in October this year. Will this trigger participation doctorates for all kids who sing the climate emergency tune?

It ranks up there with all of the justification that led to Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize 9 months into his presidency. Literally none. It is pure virtue signaling. It reflects on the university’s clear preference for closed debate.

What troubles CM is that the soon to be Dr Thunberg will be abused even more by those pushing the climate narrative. She is the perfect human shield to the divisive machine that lurks begins her. It is hard to criticize a movement when the face is a child.

She faces either nothing happening with the climate and being exposed as brainwashed. Or the policies she espouses will lead to such a miserable existence that life will be even more miserable that it is now.

This is not to criticize Thunberg per se. She is undoubtedly a very brave girl to face world leaders with a scripted message.

However there is something so Soviet about the way she is the face of the climate change movement, which is the effective trendy thing to be much like socialism was in the 1980s.

Thunberg is a great example of how schools are corrupting young minds. Whether climate change, gender fluidity or cross dressing days, these things have nothing to do with balanced education and critical thinking.

What a surprise to see Sweden’s PISA education scores falling in mathematics, science and reading. Scarily below Australia which has been on a long term decline too.

Naturally the media will overlook this and chant “progressivism” as the way of the future despite their own socialist rhetoric clearly point to “extinction”.

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!”

Apple to buy Tesla? Is Tim Cook on autopilot?

If Apple truly stumped up for Tesla that would make two companies that are complete novices at auto manufacturing. It would be the Apple Lisa of the auto world.

Worse for Apple it would signal that the world’s largest company is completely out of creative ideas and its existing product line up was truly approaching stall speed. It already is but and the lack of transparency only adds to doubts.

Rumours circulated that Apple considered a $240/share purchase back in 2013. 6 years ago Tesla was full of hope. Now the stock is full of hype. It has been a litany of disasters from fatal crashes, production hell all the way to complete wishful thinking on Level 5 autonomous driving which Israeli company Mobileye, a leader in the field, believes is decades off.

Let’s assume a $240 per share deal was done. Apple would pay around $40bn and assume another $12bn or so in debt.

The most dangerous strategy for highly successful companies is to throw spaghetti at a wall and hope some sticks. Tesla is by no means an overnight repair job. It needs the skills of Toyota to turn it around. Don’t forget Apple has no manufacturing expertise as its products are all built by 3rd parties. Toyota rescued Porsche several decades back and Lockheed Martin called in the production efficiency king to help build the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter better.

It reminds CM of the time Hoya bought Pentax back in 2007. Such was the earnings dilution against the incumbent high margin business, hunting for growth sent Hoya shares down 50% soon after the deal. Hoya was completely dominant in glass photomasks. Yet the $1bn merger of a 2’d tier camera/optics maker was thought of by the founder’s grandson as a total failure and divested many divisions.

Losses continue to mount at Tesla, senior management departures are a revolving door and demand is slowing. The recent cap raise sees investors well under water. The Maxwell Tech deal looks a dud for the management to accept an all share rather than an all share deal (if the tech is so leading edge).

If Apple truly wanted a car deal, it could buy an established maker like Fiat Chrysler with decades of production expertise and global reach for half the price. Not to mention a wide choice of vehicle styles to broaden the appeal to customers.

Although the history of car mergers, even between industry players, has led to some pretty disastrous outcomes. Daimler overpaid for Chrysler so badly that its shares cratered 80%. BMW bought Rover from Honda. Fail. Even Land Rover had to be sold by the Bavarians. Ford ended up selling most of its Premier Automotive Group stable – Aston, Lincoln, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. Just Lincoln remains.

Tech companies meddling in the automobile sector reveals a graveyard of sad stories. Korean analysts jumped for joy when Bosch sold out its stake in the Li-ion batteries JV SB Li-motive. How could a Korean tech company proclaim to have a better read on the global auto industry than Bosch, a supplier to the major auto makers for over 100 years? Panasonic is already kicking itself hrs over the Tesla deal and management is highly unimpressed with Musk after his disparaging remarks made about production.

Have investors ever wondered why Tesla has no mainstream suppliers? Many are obscure parts companies from Taiwan. More established auto suppliers have been burnt by experiments before and they’ll only sign up for makers who have much better prospects and track records.

If anyone thinks Apple buying Tesla makes sense they need their heads read. The last 6 years have detracted value. Pre-pubescent fund managers who have never seen a cycle might see the value of millennial nirvana but the damage to Apple would be considerable. Just because Apple has been so successful doesn’t mean it won’t make mistakes. Tesla would be a disaster. It is in the product creativity blackhole of following the path of Hoya. It would be better to flutter at a casino.

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!

Ding dong the switch is dead

Morgan Stanley has finally lowered its bearish scenario on Tesla from $97 to $10. CM wrote in October 2017 that the shares based on production of 500,000 vehicles was worth no more than $28 (refer to report page 5). That was based on rosy scenarios. Sadly CM thinks Tesla will be bought for a song by the Chinese. Maybe $4.20 a share instead of $420 “funding secured” levels.

The stock breached $200 yesterday for the first time since late 2016.

Morgan Stanley analyst, Adam Jonas, has still kept its base case scenario at $230 per share. His bull case is $391.

Where is the conviction? To drop a bear case target by 90% must surely mean the base case is far lower than presently assumed.

Jonas must assume the bear case is actually the base case. Sell side brokers love to hide behind scenario analysis to cop out having to get off the fence. His compliance department probably prevents him from realizing $10 is his true heart.

Tesla was always playing in a market that it had no prior experience. It is not to say the products didn’t have promise. The problem was the execution. Too much senior management turnover, missed targets, poor quality and too many Tweets from Musk.

The amount of bad press arising from a lack of service centers has driven customers to moan on social media at its amateur approach. The fragile dreams of being an early adopter are being shattered. Cash burn remains high and deliveries remain low. Some pundits think Tesla orders are under real pressure in 2Q 2019.

The recent all share deal with Maxwell Technologies has seen those holders -20% since the transaction a few weeks ago. CM argued how a company with such revolutionary technology could sell itself for all shares in a debt-ridden loss making like Tesla? If the technology was of real value PE funds would have snapped it up or at the very least made a bid in cash. That none was made speaks volumes about what was bought.

All of the arguments hold true in the above link, “Tesla – 30 reasons why Tesla will be a bug on a windshield

Tesla below $200 after a successful cap raise is not a good sign. It’s the faithful slowly tipping out. Await another imaginary Musk-inspired growth engine to be announced shortly to try prop up the stock price. Yet the momentum will continue to sink. The market is losing confidence in Musk. The 1Q results were diabolically bad.

Major holder T Rowe Price has stampeded out the door. The stock is too risky. Musk is a brilliant salesman but he has bitten off more than he can chew.

CM always thought that Toyota selling its Tesla stake was a major sign. Acknowledging that under the hood the company possessed no technology that Toyota didn’t already own.

Watch the free fall. The Tesla stock will be below $100 by the year end.

(CM does not hold Tesla stock)

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.