Saudi Arabia

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

Israel & Saudi cooperation a surprise to Bloomberg News

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Bloomberg has written a puff piece wrapped in surprise on how the Saudi’s are likely to seek Israeli approval for a bridge which crosses from a new city Neom to Africa. There is one reason and one alone – Israel has a naval base at the Port of Eilat (in blue) at the southern tip of the country. If the height of the bridge is too low and surface naval ships can’t pass then the navy would be boxed in. Almost like ships in the Black Sea. So of course the Saudis won’t do it single handedly.

As much as people might think the Saudis hate Israel, they acknowledge the security Israel buys them vis-a-vis defending against a mutual enemy in the form of the Iranians who are active on SA’s southern border with Yemen. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard has been active in Yemen, Syria, Gaza, Lebanon and Iraq in recent decades supplying weapons and training. So sometimes mutual benefits (peace between the two countries) outweighs trying to  pull a fast one on them. It is likely the US State Department might send a friendly reminder of what is at stake geopolitically. In actual fact this discussion has been ongoing for a long time.

Sexual and domestic violence against males – the statistics

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It is perhaps unsurprising to see some women come out and blame men for their ‘silence culture’ in the aftermath of the Weinstein saga. Indeed it was some of the sisters who chose to stay silent while they collected the trappings of stardom as others suffered. If we were to believe the Me Too crusade we would think that only men commit sex crimes, right? The US National Intimate Partner Sexual Violence Survey (NIPSVS) conducted in 2010 showed that 25 million men and 53 million men had claimed they were victims of some form of sexual violence by an intimate partner or acquaintance. Both figures are shocking to be sure but the statements in a rather one-sided piece from Heather Jo Flores in The Independent with respect to Me Too.  were of particular interest:

Men, it’s not our job to keep reminding you. Remind each other, and stop abusing. It’s as simple as that. Until men speak out against men who abuse, this will never stop. How about y’all post “I ignored it and I won’t anymore” instead? Because #hearyou doesn’t cut it. Just hearing us doesn’t cut it. Taking action, speaking out, and showing zero tolerance for abuse is the only way through. Silence enables. Be the change..So why do men need to have multiple victims come forward before anybody says a damn thing”

If Flores opened her eyes she might see that we are exactly as she claims we are not.  For much of the utter rubbish men may brag about amongst themselves (e.g.bro-culture), talking up how they conducted street justice is never one of them. Take a look at the multiple social experiments on domestic violence which show random men stepping up to defend women they have never met who look to be in trouble. That is taking action. Immediate. No looking the other way. They are hardwired to protect her. It is instinctive. In the reverse, no one defended the male being attacked in the same video. If anything males smirked, some feeling sorry for him, others joining in but not stepping in the way. Where were the girls that leapt into action to protect the defenseless male? Yes, nowhere. The pot calling the kettle black?

A study conducted by the IDF showed mixed battalions had far higher casualty rates than segregated ones because the enemy would deliberately target the women knowing the men would be men and do extraordinarily risky things in harms way to protect the women. It was not that the female soldiers were any less effective in combat. These weren’t random acts of stupidity but a sense of moral duty not found in training manuals. Indeed it is men being men.

Many of us are told from our tender years that we must never hit women. To open doors, walk behind women going up escalators in case they fall, to walk on the kerbside to prevent women from potentially being drenched by a passing car hitting a puddle. In Japan one would be amazed at the reactions of surprise if one suggests women exit the elevator before men. There is a look of “are you crazy?” Followed by a polite smile and bow. We certainly feel a strong bond to defend. Is it any wonder men are 93% of war casualties?

Flores goes on to say, “Yes, I know men get abused too. Once in a lifetime, maybe a handful of times, in extreme situations. And they get abused by men, mostly. Just like us..I write this to ask: why are we still demanding that women out themselves as survivors, again and again and again, rather than demanding that men out themselves as abusers? Violence against women is a daily reality,.”

In the 12 month period conducted in the NIPSVS survey 6.46mn women and 6.1mn men were victims of sexual violence by their partner, an acquaintance or stranger. 4.74mn women were victims of physical violence by men and 5.365mn men were victims of phyiscal violence by women. Hardly a handful of times, nor at the hands of men.

1.555mn men claimed their intimate female partner hit them with fists or a hard object vs 1.289m women claiming the reverse. 3.13mn men were slapped by their women vs 1.85mn in the reverse. Awful stats on any measure. Still it puts paid the notion that men are generally victims of other men once a blue moon. When it came to psychological intimidation around 20.5mn men were victims of it vs 16.5mn women.

The NIPSVS survey was conducted again in 2011 and revealed much the same trends.

If men must out themselves as abusers, perhaps female abusers should do likewise and male survivors should speak out just as women do.

According to a UK study,

“Male victims  (39%) are over three times as likely than women (12%) not to tell anyone about the partner abuse they are suffering from. Only 10% of male victims will tell the police (26% women), only 23% will tell a person in an official position (43% women) and only 11% (23% women) will tell a health professional.

The number of women convicted of perpetrating domestic abuse has increased seven fold since 2004/05. From 806 in 2004/05 to 5,641 in 2015/16…In 2015, 119,000 men reported to English and Welsh police forces stating they were a victim of domestic abuse. 22% of all victims who report to the police are male. In 2012, 73,524 men did…

Men don’t leave abusive relationships for various reasons – the top reasons being: concern about the children (89%), marriage for life (81%), love (71%), the fear of never seeing their children again (68%), a belief she will change (56%), not enough money(53%), nowhere to go (52%), embarrassment (52%), not wanting to take kids away from their mother (46%), threats that she will kill herself (28%) and fears she will kill him (24%). 

Of those that suffered from partner abuse in 2012/13, 29% of men and 23% of women suffered a physical injury, a higher proportion of men suffering severe bruising or bleeding (6%) and internal injuries or broken bones/teeth (2%) than women (4% and 1% respectively). 30% of men who suffer partner abuse have emotional and mental problems (47% women). Only 27% of men sought medical advice whilst 73% of women did.

The percentage of gay or bi-sexual men (6.2%) who suffered partner abuse in 2008/09 is nearly double the number for heterosexual men (3.3%). Lesbian women (12.4%) as a percentage also suffered far more partner abuse compared to heterosexual women (4.3%).

Ms Flores then goes on to say,

Don’t forget that, for 500 years in Europe (and still in many many countries) a woman saying “no” was punishable by death, legally. Show me one example of a man being legally executed for saying no to sex, and I’ll consider changing my position.

While men may not be at risk of being executed for refusing sex, find one Anglo, Asian or European country where women can be. Answer is none. It is only in certain cultures that practice female genital mutilation among other arcane laws that would seek to do so. A sect which feminists, who have no qualms shaming Western society, often choose to turn a blind eye to. It is hardly a credible argument that connects her belief that male silence and ignorance of female abuse is somehow linked to a claim of something that happened half a millennia ago.

None of this points to pleasant reading. Sadly it is this prevalence to continually point fingers at men for not doing enough. Unfortunately it is sometimes these same feminists who are busy trying to change ‘men’ so they stop being men. That somehow we should feel ashamed for being men. That we should take responsibility for every wrong doing conducted by a small minority and be brow beaten for not being the very men you are trying to force us not to be. Ms Flores you can’t have it both ways.

How well do you know your pronouns, bigot?

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How well do you know your gender pronouns? To be honest I was unaware of what they were. I had to look them up. After all laws in some parts of the world will make it a criminal and jailable offense to knowingly call someone by the wrong pronoun. Will the government be posting gender pronoun indoctrination reference sheets to all citizens? Will we have Gender Police roaming the streets like the Saudi religious police who enforce blasphemy laws?  How will governments be able to write to citizens using “Dear Sir/Madam”? Unless they add another page making sure all other variants are included. The above table is but a fraction of the number of pronouns there are.

Google’s banner when searching for ‘gender pronouns’  list – gender neutral, 4chan, they, non, non-binary, agend, personal, respect gender, different, LGBT, table English, neopronouns, inclusive, special snowflake, muh, non conforming, genderque, more than two and so on. Vanderbilt University for instance has wall plaques for staff which denote their preferred ‘pronouns’. At what point did people’s sense of self esteem become so fragile that governments are prepared to fall for it and introduce made up language and make laws to enforce it? Learning the times table was hard enough. Honestly, are people expected to learn Ne, Ve, Ey, Ze, Zie or Xe and all the variations? How psychologically weak must someone be to protest at being incorrectly referred to?

Yet this is the world we are creating. Gender fluid schools, cross dressing, penis tucking and chest binding for primary school students…the list goes on. Boys in Victoria will be allowed to wear uniform dresses to school. The same Victorian government is proposing that medical staff at schools be given the right to dispense drugs such as the contraceptive pill to girls as young as 11 without parental consent. Ottawa has introduced a law – Bill 89 – which gives the state the right to dispossess parents of their children who question their child’s identity.

All the while we are told identity politics is all about ‘inclusiveness.’ How can one have inclusiveness if these minority groups wish to remain openly and proudly exclusive? If we were truly striving for inclusivity then race, religion, gender identity, sexual preference and so on would not be barriers to anything. Why do governments even need to  consider changing public documents? What if you don’t identify as male or female and fly into a country where the customs entry card only lists M or F? Are they right to refuse entry or if they arbitrarily note you as male when you identify as something else? Will you protest at the customs official’s ignorance?

Progressive? Most people probably couldn’t care less what some people identify as. Next time I fly Qantas I am going to identify as an 11yo 4th gender African Wahhabi with dwarfism so I can fly at 50% off and see how far I get. Who are they to deny me? To get what I am on about listen to this interview on this very subject of ‘identity’ and the lunatic aruments made. Anyone who disagrees must by definition be a racist, sexist bigot and prosecuted. Sadly in the real world I have the worst identikit imaginable. I check all the wrong boxes which makes me the suitable target for all of this irrelevant nonsense.

Still to those that must identify with a different pronoun ask yourself – how incomplete is your life to feel that this will some how give you some sense of recognition you were lacking when referred to as he or she? Perhaps I should congratulate you in being able to get authorities to buy into this politically correct rubbish.

Follow the market on North Korea

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Follow the market. Financial markets are the ultimate arbiter of risk. What we have here is the 5yr Republic of Korea CDS which gives a rough guideline of how risk is being priced over time. Clearly unchartered waters at the time of GFC saw Korean risk leap to 700bps. The death of Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il saw around 240bps on the clock and Kim Jong-Un’s first nuclear weapons test saw a slight nudge over 100bps before sliding back to a standard 50bps range. Since Trump sent a carrier battle group and China issued an ultimatum (the ‘bottom line’) the rate has popped to 58.7 from 50-odd earlier in the week. It will be no surprise to see the fear factor rise in coming days but the odds are now on for China to take charge and work to install a pro-Beijing puppet which can be sold as a way to dismantle the nuclear threat and remain China’s protectorate. Kim Jong-Un may be offered a Rimowa of cash and an Idi Amin style exile in Saudi Arabia as a way to saving his hide because he has no alternatives and backing down in the face of the current situation will bring his power into question. China wants North Korea to survive for its political aims. For now markets are not panicking. Gold drifting higher and Korean won softening but it is hardly showing fear at this stage.

Staring at the dictator

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I read an FT article today and questioned why I paid $300 for a subscription. The author, most certainly Jewish, wrote about how we should remember our recent history when it comes to Trump. As someone descending from the same faith I find the moral equivalence irrational and irresponsible. It all stems back to the victimhood culture which is at the very root of what divides. When President Trump simply enacted the identical policy of vetting seven countries selected by President Obama the outrage showed the height of double standards. Is it a pleasant topic? No. Still had Obama done it how they would have cheered his bravery and leadership. Almost 60% of Americans polled by Rasmussen approved of Trump’s vetting process. Period.Yet media reports nothing but tired narrative.

During the election campaign, the majority of group thinkers totally dismissed Trump as a credible candidate. He was very open about his policies and made no politically correct overtones. He was crass, brutal and direct. No mincing of words. In the three debates he made exactly the same statements. The public was well forewarned. Had people who were gravely concerned of a Hitler-esque dictator potentially ruining their lives taken their own constitutional rights responsibly they could have easily got to a polling booth and voted to guarantee Hillary Clinton romped home. They didn’t. They have themselves to blame. Instead they ranted about the popular vote which is irrelevant because everybody knows it is decided by the electoral college system. Then they tried to force a recount and when that failed they tried to coerce those in charge of the voting in the electoral college to see reason and vote against their constituents wishes. However not once did they accept that they were 100% responsible for their own fate. What arrogance to try to force some sort of intellectual superiority over these bigoted white fools. However these supposed white bigoted fools were not swayed by propaganda. At the very least they were getting sick and tired of the liberal left constantly throwing barbs at them. If you call someone an idiot to their face long enough they will shut down and reply to your inability to listen at the ballot box. You are still not listening though.

To turn the argument on its head, had these same people not fallen for the type of propaganda concocted by their own biased mainstream media and understood the underlying issues really affecting heartland America they may have paid attention to Trump’s spot on the money analysis. Instead they stuck to the narrative churned out by the White House echo chamber that the great chief Obama helped put 15 million ( a dubious figure) back to work post the ‘Great Recession’ ignoring the fact that he also added 10 million (+33%) more Americans to the poverty lines. Was it all his fault? No. Did he have obstruction in Congress? To a degree. However we must not forget that Obama was responsible for passing more pieces and pages of regulation than any president in history. Obama also used executive orders with regularity. Suffice to say had his ‘legacy’ been so pitch perfect, the same bigoted white voters that twice put him in power had the opportunity of continuing it in the form of Hillary Clinton who offered the status quo. However among the 48 million Americans now on food stamps a growing number realized Obama was a failed experiment. He highlighted that career politicians were no different regardless of partisan politics. That under his leadership, America became even more divided. Even the hard line Farrakhan launched an explosive speech about how Obama had totally let down his people. Yet there was Obama at an African-American black tie dinner reprimanding the audience that if they didn’t vote for Hillary they’d insult his legacy. When I heard that the first thing that came to mind was the fact he was insulting them for it was indeed they in large part who supported him in the first place. A debt of gratitude might have been far more appropriate.

I’ll be the first to admit that President Trump is unconventional which at the same time can be unsettling for many. However he has done nothing but enact upon very publicly announced election promises in very short order. Yet, the victimology goes on. The irresponsible mainstream media that has learnt nothing went out of their way to paint an ‘anti-Muslim’ narrative which was not written in the executive order had many even bothered to properly read the document. Trump the Nazi they protested. However if people actually knew their history, the Nazis made best efforts to stop Jews, Gypsies and Roma from ‘exiting’ not ‘entering’. Think of the Warsaw ghetto in the1940s. The Final Solution was much to do with concentrating these populations in order to commit mass genocide. I have visited Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Bergen Belsen, Theresienstadt, Treblinka, Majdanek, Sobibor, Auschwitz-Birkenau and I’ve read extensively on that period because my own family escaped Poland in 1931 to flee anti-Semitic sentiment. I have wept at the photo of 5yo Renia Kohn (pictured below) who was exterminated at Birkenau. I have tried for over a decade to trace the genealogy of my great grand-mother whose surname, Immergluck, is the same as two of the survivors of Schindler’s List. They came from the same town in Poland. So many records were destroyed given 90% of Polish Jews were murdered so it is personal, make no mistake. Making links to dictatorship and oppression is something that I take great interest in refuting without proper evidence.

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It is a deep sense of wanting to understand my own history. I have even read Mein Kampf cover to cover to get inside what drove Hitler’s megalomania. Trump has nothing of the mindset although the disrespectful media is now running a narrative that his hair growth tonic has mental disorder as a side effect. Seriously, people wish to read such ridiculous click bait? How can people put any faith in anything published by WaPo, NY Times and CNN with any level of authority especially given the abysmal track record in the lead up to the election.

Here is the bigger problem. The ones complaining of a dictatorship are the ones creating this toxic environment. For publicly beating up people who wear Trump hats. Even if these people are on the fringe. Why do these people wear masks? Own your protest because hiding behind a mask means you actually know you are doing wrong. Burning flags? Why do they destroy Starbucks stores when the CEO is on their side of victim based identity politics? Isn’t that an own goal? The problem with the liberal regressive left is that they have no capacity to listen. If you do not fit their narrative you are a bigot, racist or white trash. They seldom if ever open themselves up to alternative views.

To make that point, Nancy Pelosi exposed the pathetic level of the agenda at the time of the immigration executive order. She was caught on a hot-mic saying to a Democrat congressman Andre Carson “tell them you are a Muslim. Tell them you are a Muslim.” Had Carson thought personally as a Muslim that it was relevant to the discussion and his personal grief, surely he would have raised it unsolicited. That Pelosi had to goad him proves how hard regressives have to push an agenda which is the reason why Trump is in office. A growing number of Americans have got tired of identity politics. They want jobs and a sustainable future not spend countless hours debating transgender bathrooms, non-gender military titles and being forced to surrender their culture to somehow attain some sense of state-sponsored acceptance. If we keep pushing the “poor me” line on every issue we’ll get nowhere.

It is the growing numbers of impoverished that want their country turned around. They fear that open borders and boundless refugee intakes cut those odds. It is NOT racist or bigoted. The responsibility of any sovereign nation is to look after its citizens first. Period. If Canada wants to talk about “diversity is our strength” then all power to them. Yet the day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’d take anyone rejected in the US into Canada, a lone-wolf shot up a mosque in Quebec. The media’s first hook – Trump supporter, the insinuation that he was a fair representation of the majority not the minority. Disgusting. What a smear. He isn’t even American so he is not legally allowed to vote (are you listening sanctuary cities?) so whether he likes Trump or Le Pen is completely irrelevant. I think Trudeau is the epitome of identity politics but he was democratically voted in by Canadians and I am happy to accept that fact. My opinion of Trudeau is irrelevant.

However when Trump berated my Prime Minister Turnbull, my opinion does matter. I believe Trump was correct. When our Obama fawning selfie obsessed Turnbull decided to cut a deal on refugees with him a week after Trump won the election that was plain stupid. He knew full well that Trump would never have allowed it under normal circumstances so undermining a future leader with the self belief he’d carry the weight of world opinion was poor judgement.

Additionally Obama’s last months in office highlighted his true colours. Things he could have easily achieved in his 8 years in office were rushed through in some kind of bucket list to stifle Trump. How unpatriotic. I doubt George W Bush tried in his last days to stuff Obama. What did Obama do? Did the deal with Turnbull, threw Israel under a bus and signed a check for $211mn dollars for Palestine. While you can argue he still was the president at the time, there is no excuse for laying landmines in the White House lawn to humiliate your successor. I was always taught that how you leave a job is far more important than how you join. I believe his legacy is a mere fraction of what he is praised for but his last days were built on spite, Watching him on comedy TV programs during the election campaign showed his total arrogance, patting himself on the back at every turn. His loss was not just because Clinton had been selected by the DNC as the chosen one, it was a repudiation of his failures to restore America.

Some people are complaining at Trump’s heavy handed treatment of Attorney General Sally Yates. What she did was insubordination. It is irrelevant what her political views were. Trump was not breaking laws. Her job is to follow the boss says on a legal basis not inject her personal feelings. Sacking her was 100% correct. If he’d broken the law then I’d be sympathetic. As he wasn’t she got served. Had she defied Obama we wouldn’t have heard the end of it. Such is the nature of identity politics that the side matters more than the principle.

The same goes for public websites and Twitter feeds sponsored by the tax-payer. The employees of these government agencies may hold personal opinions that conflict with the President but it is not a violation of free-speech for him to ban them venting on taxpayer funded media. If you think it is then I implore you to send a company wide email telling your boss that his policies are stupid and see how long your last. Insubordination and free speech are different,

Back to the immigration ban. Celebrities and protesters ganged up on Uber for offering a freeze on surge pricing to help their customers alleviate the stress of delays at JFK. Instead of allowing a company to exercise sensible commercial business practice, protesters and celebrities (who most likely ride in private limos) launched a #deleteuber campaign. For what? A company chooses not to get involved in your affairs and you choose to punish them. How regressive is that. Such is the level of hatred and bloody-mindedness, Uber’s CEO has stepped down from Trump’s business council. Even evangelical Elon Musk who is on the same board has had a wave of customers cancel Tesla Model 3 orders because they object to him serving his country. Instead of regressives looking at such an appointment as a way to perhaps bring Trump to a more even keel, they put so much pressure on Uber’s CEO that he resigned for the sake of his stakeholders. How conditional are liberals for love of country? Ask yourself who is causing division?  Companies can’t act commercially for fear of being attacked? Sorry who is behaving in a fascist fashion? What about 1st in SEO CEO’s brash statement of asking his staff divulge whether they voted for Trump and to resign if they did, not to mention demanding the same from their customers. What has voting preference have to do with ability? Nothing yet the regressive left prove their intolerance.

Then the same type of people light fires and beat people unconscious for wanting to listen to a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, They call an outwardly gay white man with a black boyfriend a white supremacist, Get real. He is a provocateur for sure but he does often make lucid points worth making albeit done in a poison tongue fashion. Yet because he doesn’t tow the victimology playbook he is vilified as a hate-preacher. Hello?

So while I read reams of social media posts about Trump and co’s Nazism I say take a long deep look at reality and stop the over-dramatization. It isn’t just Trump. Brits got tired of the incompetence of the EU and feared a future of having to kowtow to a supranational body of unelected officials. Brits weren’t racist or bigoted. They sent a message that politicians need to wake up and take care of problems at home before searching for noble misguided causes to cover up domestic issues.The guy and girl on Main St aren’t stupid. They’re hurting and tired of having rosy stats thrown in their face when they’re living harsh reality all the while those who espouse stats are chewing on $100 steaks.

The regressives must wake up and understand the very people they proclaim to protect aren’t listening anymore. They are tired of hand outs and freebies. They are sick of protests and the inconveniences caused by it. They want a future again. They want to live in a manner which doesn’t cause panic at the end of the month when the overdraft arrives. Make America Great Again wasn’t a catchy slogan but a deep down desire for a growing number of Americans to feel proud of their nation once again. So grow up and stop your victim culture at every turn. Judge Trump on his merits. Stop dividing your country and actually see what Trump is trying to do. The guy is a billionaire. Saying he is just pandering to his billionaire mates is a lame attack. Look at Clinton or Obama and their advisories had stacks of Wall Streeters. Look how many Dems voted against cheaper drugs coming from Canada because they had their snouts in Big Pharma’s trough.

I honestly think for all the bravado and noise behind Trump the biggest flattery to his ego would be to succeed in turning his country around. Nothing would give his Twitter fingers more joy than to succeed legitimately and have his fellow country men and women actually credit him with it, You’ll never get that from the mainstream media but be prepared for a second term if his health holds out. Of course the media will tell you its impossible but why put stock in their predictions when they have such a terrible track record on understanding voters. By the way your protests and demonstrations are actually pissing off the very people you think you’re representing and your dictatorial style is exactly what you accuse Trump of. On second thoughts don’t look at yourselves in the mirror. Your inability to change is exactly why he’ll win a second term. Keep up the good work! You’ve earned it!

What is the top worry for each country?

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An interesting table. Some would have you believe that saving the planet is the number one worry on everyone’s mind. However like so many polls taken when the economy is in the dumps people naturally retreat to saving themselves. Nothing even peacenik Canada is scared of Mother Nature. Unemployment is the #1 concern for Candians according to an Ipsos report from Nov 2016 the same as Spain & Italy  (youth unemployment at 58% and 56% respectively), Saudi Arabia, France, and Australia. Poverty tops the worry list in Japan, Germany, Russia and Belgium. South Americans (Peru, Mexico, Argentina) are most worried about crime with peace loving Swedes clearly sharing  the opposite view of their socialist government’s progressive policies. Korea unsurprisingly worries about corruption as does India. As Brexit proved, Brits are worried about immigration control. Americans are concerned about terrorism. The Chinese aren’t worried about climate change but threats to the environment aka pollution. In fact no country listed climate change.

Hang on? Australia? Unemployment? Well actually it makes perfect sense. A recent ME Bank survey in Australia found only 46 per cent of households were able to save each month. Just 32 per cent could raise $3000 in an emergency and 50 per cent aren’t confident of meeting their obligations if unemployed for three months.

In Japan, poverty is a concern and rightly so. As I wrote in my crime series last year, this law abiding country has huge problems. Maybe from very low rates but the relevance is great. Retirees make up 1/3rd of all crime and the government has expanded prison capacity 50% top house all the elderly inmates who are creating another headache – the Ministry of Justice needs to go cap in hand for extra budget to cover the soaring health costs behind bars to look after its guarded nursing homes. Domestic violence is soaring as is child abuse. The Japanese National Police Agency had to create a new category for DV caused by divorced couples living under the same roof because economic hardship prevents them living separately.

Even Germany has a poverty problem despite what Angela Merkel would have you believe,. Yes, the low unemployment masks the fact that her party has doubled the size of the public service top 18% of the entire workforce since 2006.

America cities terrorism as the biggest threat but a Jan 2017 IPSOS poll showed “overall, 58% of Americans believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction, with Republicans (61%) and Democrats (56%) having a fair amount of pessimism. More Independents (67%) believe that the country is off on the wrong track. The economy remains at the top of the list of the most serious problem facing the United States, at 19%. ” Environment is way down the list at 5%. Yes, this is pretty much a carbon copy of the poll I saw at the time of GFC and the tech bubble collapse in 2000. When times are tough people aren’t worries about saving the planet but saving themselves.

The peace loving open minded multi-cultural Swedes are most concerned by its populace. I wrote last month that “the Sweden Democrats seem to be resonating with a public that is fed up with the establishment. Their conservative views are made pretty plain in the campaign posters which cover train stations etc. I have to say full marks for not withholding punches about who is behind the ‘mess’. Sweden’s long standing liberal views on immigration have backfired. In 1975 it opened its borders to actively chase multiculturalism. In recent months though Sweden has asked its neighbours to take refugees off their hands which provoked a response from Denmark’s Immigration Minister, “’The Swedes put themselves in this situation. They have pursued a very lenient immigration policy for years and they are to blame for the swamp they are in.”

Left wing politician Barbro Sörman tweeted the difference with migrants commiting rape is that Swedish men culturally should know better. She tweeted “The Swedish men who rape do it despite the growing gender equality. They make an active choice. It’s worse…” When contacted by a local newspaper for clarification she replied, “Take a picture of Sweden as an equal society, where all are nurtured in equality. Then you can say that if you are brought up in it, you make an active choice to not be equal, rather than if you are brought up in a society that is not equal”

Malmo has been a city often pointed to as a proxy for failed integration in Sweden. Deputy Police Commissioner Mats Karlsson said in response to multiple explosions that occur in the city on a regular basis, “Our dilemma is that we can never guarantee anything for sure. Evidently there are individuals who have hand grenades and they often resort to violence over things that may seem very banal to you or I – a conflict over an ex-girlfriend or a little brother wanting to outperform his big brother…It’s bad enough when they use guns, because they’ve got such poor aim, but grenades are really worrying. They have a 360-degree reach.”

However what ever country you live in, such polls give an underlying view and I would suggest on balance that the majority of governments are not listening once again highlighting the natural lurch to conservative parties who want to broach the mess socialist policies have exacerbated since 2008.