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Comey testimony proves media can’t stop playing the man rather than the ball

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Comey admitted in his testimony that he was never pressured by Trump to end any investigations. Damn and blast. The media has done another collective Rachel Maddow “we’ve got his tax returns” backfire. So insistent on trying to seek revenge they forgot the old Chinese proverb, “before setting out on revenge, first dig two graves.” So eager are they to play the man they overlook basic check sheets to find balance. Trump may well be a loose cannon at times but the media is the pot still calling the kettle black.

While I long argued Trump would win the election I’ve been an advocate of trying to seek balance to the one sided argument against him. It doesn’t mean I think he is ideal.  I disagree with many (not all) things he has done and petty things (like his attitude to Merkel) are certainly not fitting the most powerful office in the world. Trump derangement syndrome is none-the-less real. The media attack dogs never seek to do moral equivalence with their beloved Obama over the same supposed crimes of leaking sensitive info or whatever. I do think Trump is Turnbull-esque in lacking judgement as well as constant cabinet reshuffles but the most twisted irony is that financial markets would seem to want him there using any wobble on the back of an impeachment scenario as an excuse rather than admit the hyper asset bubble blown for 8 years.

The mainstream media now preys on clickbait. Thinking the number of clicks, likes and shares are endorsements and can replace quality content (as much as they self appraise it’s high value added factual). In fact the revenue numbers of media outlets who continually rant  is telling. Fairfax in Australia has had two rounds of layoffs in the space of 12 months and The Guardian is openly begging for donations.

The media is surely going to keep launching salvo after salvo to try get him out of office. As stupid as they keep suggesting the ‘orange baffoon” is he keeps getting their measure. I issue a caution though. The deplorables that voted him in want him to get on with the job. With all these distractions the quest that they hope will get them under the “have not” hole is pushed further into the future. Getting an impeachment to stick and force a resignation is not high on a have not’s priority list. They need help as I argued at the time of the election. Whether Trump can provide it is a moot point but they voted for change and the “haves” ought to be careful how they indirectly impact the “have nots”

The screaming, carrying on and promoting blood sport may end up creating proper civil unrest. It’s simmering but the media as usual is oblivious to it all. In any event the last thing the world needs is instability in the world’s largest economy at this point in a peaking cycle.

Why Alan Joyce didn’t take one for the team

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While getting smacked in the face with a pie was uncalled for, the decision by Qantas CEO Alan Joyce to press charges against the perpetrator is over the top and actually harms the cause he chooses to enslave his own employees by. Had he chosen to laugh at it and make light of the situation he would have not only taken the moral high ground but showed he was above it. In the process show that those for it aren’t so brittle and fragile. Still Joyce couldn’t resist the opportunity to press charges when the only damage was done to his tailor’s heart! Jeremy Clarkson showed the right way how to deal with being pied. He could have turned it to a massive advantage which is now an own goal.

I’ve written before that I think his use of Qantas as a way to publicize marriage equality is dead wrong. One of his stunts was to get staff to wear ‘acceptance’ rings and distribute them to passengers as a way to promote it. I said it was wrong. I suppose were someone to politely decline to wear one they’d undoubtedly be branded homophobic, bigoted and summarily ostracized for such expressing such views. That they may indeed support gay marriage but not feel it important enough in their list of priorities (mortgages, job security, kid’s school, health etc) to do more. That is a conscious choice. Fail to wear the ring and perhaps your career takes a turn for the worse all because you don’t want to be forced to outwardly express your political views. Yet if you feel forced to wear one that makes you a slave.

Corporations should keep their political views to themselves. If Alan Joyce wants to go on a personally crusade to fight for the cause he can do it on his own time not on the shareholders clock. If CEOs feel so passionately about politics maybe they should come down from their multi-million dollar ivory towers and run for office for a fraction of the pay. Now that IS the best way to show you truly back the cause (of course assuming people would vote you into office).

Here I was thinking the Irish had a sense of hunour? In the case Mr Joyce you didn’t take one for the team! What a place he could have shown it – a speech on why leadership matters.

Comey canned

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Well the inevitable has happened. Trump fired FBI Director Comey. Some might say this is a Nixonian ‘Saturday night massacre’ when the president removed the special Watergate prosecutor, Archibald Cox, leading to the the resignation of Elliot Richardson, then Attorney General. Now for a can of worms. Note how Trump made the explicit remark in his termination letter to Comey that the FBI Director confirmed “three times” that he was not under investigation. That remark in and of itself will get the conspiracy theorists on overdrive.

PA Democrat Senator Bob Casey said,

“This is Nixonian. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein must immediately appoint a special counsel to continue the Trump/Russia investigation. On March 20th Director Comey said, ‘I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts…This investigation must be independent and thorough in order to uphold our nation’s system of justice.”

Prepare for the barrage of ‘Fake News’ claims for anyone wanting to force an independent investigation. You can see now that Trump will use the ‘three times’ to shut down the need to conduct it. If indeed nothing is wrong then he should gladly invite an independent investigation or release findings of the investigation to date. That way he clears his name. Doesn’t pass the sniff test. All this does is undermine confidence, something the world could do without.

Trudeau is literally a paper tiger

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I honestly can’t see how Trudeau can win the next election. Acting Opposition leader Rona Ambrose took great pleasure into cutting the PM down to size after he had his department make $1,900 worth life size cut outs of him to be placed in the Canadian Embassy in Washington and ten consulates in the United States. His answer was that he spends too much time in the House of Commons. Such is his vanity, even the Speaker of the House had a good chuckle. The Global Affairs department told civil servants to stop ordering them. Ontario MP John Brassard said,  “A life-size, two-dimensional cut-out is probably a perfect metaphor for everything that Justin Trudeau represents… You’ve got the shallow facade, and yet there’s very little in the way of depth or substance there.” 

Look up Rona Ambrose vs Justin Trudeau in question time and watch the bloodbath. She makes mincemeat out of the Canadian PM every time and exposes that behind the looks there is little substance and his poll numbers are reflecting that.

The McTurnbull Burger – 2017 budget that says ‘waistline be damned!’

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Remember the Big Mac jingo? “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles,  onions on a sesame seed bun?”  Well the 2017 budget From the Coalition might as well be called the super sized McTurnbull Burger. Two all thief parties, special porkies, levies, fees, spun on a $600bn dollar bomb. While the government needed to introduce a vegan budget of lentils, tofu and alfalfa to get the country’s nutrition properly sorted they’ve said waistline be damned. Morgan Spurlock couldn’t keep up with this super sized meal. As my wise sage Stu told me last week, “About as well-timed as Mining Super Profits tax – ding ding ding – top of the banking cycle just called by inept bureaucrats”

If people wanted a tax and spend party they’d have voted Labor. In a desperate attempt to supersize the meal they’ve made of the economy since Turnbull took office the debt ceiling will be raised. Wage growth has slowed for the past 5 years from 4% to under 2% according to the RBA. Throw higher Medicare on top why not?!. Cost of living is soaring. So let’s look at the extra calories they’ll inevitably load on the taxpayer.

1) Let’s tax the big 4 banks. That’ll work. What will they do as responsible shareholder owned organizations? Pass those costs straight on to the tapped out borrower where 1/3 mortgagees already under strain and 25% odd have less than a month of buffer savings. NAB already jacked interest only loans 50bps.

2) allowing retirees to park $300,000 tax free into super if they downsize their empty nest. Wow! So sell your $5mn waterfront property so you can park $300k tax free into superannuation. Can see those Mosmanites queue up to move to Punchbowl to retire. Hopefully the $1mn fibro former council shack the Punchbowl pensioner flips will mean they can move to a $500,000 demountable in Casula in order to free up the property market for the first home buyer who is getting stung with higher interest rates, .

3) Australia has a property bubble. The Reserve Bank has recently had an epiphany where they’re afraid to raise rates to crash the housing market and they can’t cut because they’ll fire it up more. Allowing creative superannuation deposit schemes (max $30,000 per person & $15k/year) to help with a deposit only doubles down on encouraging first home buyers to get levered up at the top of the market using a system designed to build a safety net for retirement. When governments start abusing sensible policies in ways it was never designed for then look out for trouble down the line. This doesn’t help first home buyers it just pushes up the hurdle to enter.

4) Australia’s credit rating is on the block. Australia’s main banks are 40% wholesale financed meaning they have to go out into the market unlike Japanese banks which are almost 100% funded by their depositors. Aussie banks could see a rise in their cost of funds which the RBA could do little to avoid. That will put a huge dent in the retail consumption figures.

5) speaking of credit cards. Have people noticed that average credit card limits have not budged in 7 years. If banks are confident in the ability of consumers to repay debt, they’d let out the limits to encourage them to splash out! Not so – see here for more details.

6) Infrastructure – I live in the land of big infrastructure. Jobs creation schemes which mostly never recover the costs – especially regional rail. The Sydney-Melbourne bullet train makes absolute sense. We only need look at the submarines to know that waste will be a reality.

7) small business – tax concessions of $20,000 not much to write home about. Small businesses thrive on a robust economy which is unlikely to occur given the backdrop. Once again this budget is based on rosy assumptions and you can bet your bottom dollar Australia won’t be back in surplus by 2021.

Some  media are talking of Turnbull & Morrison stealing the thunder of the Labor Party, providing a budget more akin to their platform. Sadly I disagree that this legitimizes Turnbull. It totally alienates his base, what is left of it. Tax the rich, give to the poor. Moreover voters see through the veneer. The stench of the Coalition is so on the nose that without ditching Turnbull they have no chance of keeping office. Labor is not much better and One Nation and other independents will hoover up disaffected voters by effectively letting the others dance around the petty identity political correctness nonsense.

In the end the McTurnbull Burger meal will look like the usual finished product which resembles nothing like the picture you see on the menu. A flattened combination of squished mush, soggy over-salted fries and a large Coke where the cup is 90% ice. Yep, the Coalition has spat between your buns too. This is a meal that won’t get voters queuing up for more. Well at least we know Turnbull remembers that smiles and selfies are free after all ‘he’s lovin’ it‘! After all virtue signaling is all that matters. All this to arrest some shoddy poll numbers which will unlikely last more than one week.

Good on Bill Shorten (for a change)

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For once I’m going to pat Bill Shorten on the back. I’m not a fan of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) or the current Turnbull Coalition to be honest but Shorten’s ad is harmless. What is it with the regressive left that has to mock those in the ad? Instantly it gets the identity politics treatment. Because they’re all white. Assuming they put some other ‘colours’ in the ad then the next level of identity would come into play. How many LGBT were used? Then if that had been checked off then how many religions were represented? You can’t win. What if those ‘whites’ in the ad are LGBT, Buddhists or Muslims? It would be a bigger outrage if one was a Jew! We don’t know but by pure deduction we see memes accusing him of the ‘White Australia Policy”. Bill Shorten is a dyed in the wool trade unionist but the only thing he really shares with former Prime Minister Billy Hughes is the name. When will society grow up? If we have to check off boxes to guarantee inclusion then we set off the exact triggers for victimology to run riot. Why can’t merit decide who gets selected? Pathetic.

Over 10.6 million Frogs want to jump out of the EU’s boiling pot

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While the media and the EU will no doubt be jumping for joy they’ll overlook the fact that over 1/3rd of the French who voted, or over 10.6 million, want to jump out of the EU’s boiling pot. Think about that number – over TEN POINT SIX MILLION.  Le Pen’s father only managed slightly better than 5mn or 17.8%. Macron won convincingly (Twitter follower growth ratio accurate again) although one can hardly call 1/3rd of a population backing a far-right nationalist something to celebrate.  It is a damning figure. Period.

The extent of the Le Pen gains should be viewed by the EU as a terrible omen. However many of the Brussels brigadiers have ignored it already as their tweets make painfully clear.

After losing 15 out of 15 referendums against it  the EU desperately needs reform. The Dutch election was still a strong win for Wilders and Rutte only saved seats by adopting a more anti-EU stance. The pro-EU Dutch leftists were slayed. The Swiss recently handed back their long standing invite to join the EU. The Austrians almost voted in the far right FPO and after Greens President van der Bellen recently said all women may be obliged to wear the hijab to show cultural sensitivity they may well think to do that next time. The right wing Sweden Democrats are well ahead in the polls looking to win the 2018 election. The Italians are on the way to vote in the eurosceptic M5S party as their referendum last year on parliamentary reform became a free kick to boot out the establishment. Hungary’s Orban has had enough of the EU’s directives on migrants. Greece is being forced to sell its assets in order to secure another bailout and submit to being a Brussels’ (Berlin?) protectorate despite the EU bending over backwards with the help of Goldman’s creative accountants to get the Greeks into the club. This will not end well as Greece has 37% poverty, 58% youth unemployment and a soaring suicide rate. Now almost 10.5mn French now think the EU is not working. Brexit anyone?

The problem with elections is that even though Macron will serve 5 years, over 1/3rd of his citizens are not happy with the state of terrorism, unemployment and the EU. If Macron doesn’t solve for these problems, Le Pen’s 2022 chances grow and she’s already calling for a radical overhaul of Front National.

The press was making Macron to be a tough negotiator on Brexit. Let’s not forget that the ranting Jean-Claude Juncker has had to be brought into line by Angela Merkel and Donald Tusk over his Brexit negotiations skills (or lack there of). EU lawyers have said the other day that the  €100bn Brexit bill has no legitimacy. The U.K. Local council elections should speak volumes of May’s mandate to pursue full strength hard Brexit.

Macron’s win buys the EU time. Nothing else. In fact the truest test of how petrified the EU truly is can be summed up like this. If they were supremely confident in their own legitimacy there would be no need for the constant self-reaffirmation and shouting from the roof tops about what a great place it is. If indeed it was so, democracy would endorse them every time. As it stands the self-praise would even make Barack Obama blush.