#military

Cartoon of the Day

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If you’re easily triggered don’t join the military

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The Australian Defence Force (ADF) should never be actively trying to recruit spent cartridges to serve. What is the purpose to train people that don’t wish to step in harm’s way? Yet our top brass is hell bent on diversity and equality targets. Let’s not get the message confused. Those who actively seek to defend our nation with dignity and bravery deserve our highest praise and support. As written yesterday, it is absolutely clear that the project, even by the ADF’s own data and reporting, is failing. Instead of admitting defeat, the armed forces leadership believes doubling down is preferable.

The Navy thought serving RAN seamen painting fingernails pink in order to push the ‘100 Days for Change’ campaign was more virtuous than spending to defend our nation. Make no mistake, China’s military is not pandering to politically correct posturing. They must have chuckled at this overt display of weakness. President Xi wants to make his country the dominant, God-fearing player in the region and as far as displaying weakness goes Australia may as well hand over the keys to the Lodge.

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Speaking to people related to personnel in the Defence Department yesterday, the argument was that diversity is a good thing. When asked to defend the position the individual couldn’t come up with a credible answer. The strongest argument offered was that allow smoother integration into civilian life. Since when did it become a current employers role to help the transition of leavers? Surely the aim is to keep soldiers for the long term not support the 25% who are actively looking to quit.

CM posed a question back. Usain Bolt can run 100m faster than me. I’ve wanted to hold the 100m world record since I was a kid. In order to fulfil my subjective sense of self worth he should be forced to run 150m while I’m at 75m. It’s a stupid argument.  Much like a heavyweight male boxer fighting a female heavyweight in the quest for equality.  The man is likely win 100% of the time. Look at men identifying as women  making such a mockery of women’s sports. Let’s openly accept that I’ll never beat Bolt and there is no point pretending it. If the ADF want to celebrate diversity, embrace the existence of biological and  physiological differences. Stop this nonsense that “diversity is our strength”  because outside of diversity of thought it doesn’t.

Therefore “if” men happen to be more qualified in terms of strength, endurance, fitness, accuracy or whatever metric that is chosen, why shouldn’t they be recruited over women? If women prove to be superior than men on the same metrics then they should be hired over the men they beat.  As written yesterday, the ADF lowered the targets for women because they were too onerous in the hope the execution rate would be more easily achieved yet they missed by a wider margin. Instead of actively accepting fewer women are interested in a military career than men, males are actively discriminated against. Recruiters face demotion for not complying with big brother. In civilian life companies would be fined and face jail terms for operating similar structures. So much for equality!

It’s not rocket science. The military should never be a social experiment. Period. Our military leadership even wants to ban death symbols. Honestly if death symbols make our troops feel better morale then let them. What  surprise that our diversity programs are sinking morale to record lows? Even a large slug of female military  personnel don’t believe these programmes are effective yet we will push our Waterloo strategy.

CM is going to take a wild stab in the dark. War veterans or those in special forces must be rolling their eyes. Some SAS soldiers have confessed that in training, new cadets are able to raise a red card if they feel their instructor is being too harsh? Discipline is the most important part of a military. Following orders. Surely in the heat of battle a commander needs to be able to order troops to take a hill or position, not spend crucial minutes debating subordinates on the validity of the plan. If one is so easily triggered by members of the home team how effective could they possibly be in battle? Instead of waving a white flag why not waggle pink fingers to the enemy in the hopes they won’t be shot?

Time for the military to be handed back to professional soldiers not caught up in political correctness. If our enemies are “sons of bitches” best we become “total sons of bitches” rather than “fairies”.

Red card your superiors

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News in the U.K. that a corporal training troops  went way too far with his treatment of a particular female recruit. The U.K. top brass has expressed its horror and anger, threatening to court martial the offending trainer. Didn’t Colonel Jessup answer the question of ordering a Code Red as, “you’re damn right I did!

Regardless of gender, isn’t the point of drill sergeants one that ensures that discipline is literally beaten into fighting forces? Isn’t the point of meeting minimum basic standards all about creating an effective fighting force?

If the cadet in question burst into tears after being berated for wimpishly bayoneting the sandbag should we feel sympathy? One can be sure the said corporal probably screams obscenities at all the people put in his charge, regardless of gender, religion or race. While it might not sound savory, will an enemy cut the opposing army some slack if they see tears? Will they roll over? Drop their weapons for the sake of equality?

While a leaked video is embarrassing, CM sincerely hopes those that join the armed forces are more than prepared to follow orders and accept the harsh discipline that is expected  of a soldier. The military is no place for social experiments. Yet more and more the army is pushing diversity ahead of capability. At least when the body count surges we can proudly posthumously award the dead with equality medals. The armed forces should strive for ability above all regardless of gender, sexual orientation or skin colour.

Australian Army to ban death symbols

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This is an Australian Army helicopter patch. The new Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, who will step into the role in July reported soldiers will be banned from displaying “death symbology or iconography” including the pirate skull, crossbones, the punisher symbol, the Spartans or the grim reaper. Such symbols  are supposedly “at odds with the army’s values and the ethical force we seek to build and sustain“.

Surely a country wants its fighting forces to be effective. Period. The whole point of a military is possessing inequality on the battle field. That the enemy lives in fear of taking on our soldiers. If such patches make soldiers feel 10 foot tall then surely the morale boosting benefits outweigh getting in step with the times. As General Patton once said, “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”

The Australian Army is already moving down accelerated politically correct recruitment practices. Instead of pushing for those most qualified, emphasis is being placed on gender balance.

Recruiters at the ADF have been told they must hire women or face relocation if they don’t comply. The recruiters say there are no jobs available for men in the in the infantry as a rifleman or artilleryman. But these positions are marked as ‘recruit immediately’ if a female applies. If a 50kg woman is in the artillery, a 43.2kg M-107 shell is over 80% of her weight. An 80kg man would be lifting the same shells at around half of his weight. This is basic physiology.

The West Australian newspaper reported one recruiter who said, “This is political correctness gone mad. I don’t care if it is a man or a woman – I just want to get the best person for the job.”

The military is no place for social experiments. The same argument should be made about subs. A $50bn bribe for votes was made to ensure they’re manaufacturer in South Australia. Instead of aiming for the best possible equipment built in the most cost efficient manner  these subs won’t only be late but obsolete and potentially so over budget that the fleet will be compromised. At least we appeared to do the right thing.

Deplorably delicious ratings for connecting comedy with real life

Roseanne is back on screens after 21 years. It is all about struggling working class Americans.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, the two episodes averaged a 5.1 rating in the key demographic coming in at 18.1 million viewers, making it the “highest-rated regularly-scheduled scripted show of the last few seasons, as well as the highest-rated sitcom in recent memory”.

So much for Trump haters, given she is portrayed as a grandmother who shares medication with her husband to save money, has a black grandchild, a son back from deployment in Syria while his wife is still serving on tour in the military. Their mid 40s daughter Becky is a widowed restaurant worker looking to become a surrogate mother for $50,000, so she can pay off her credit cards, put a deposit down on a home and buy a car. Roseanne’s sister protests her support for Trump calling her a deplorable.

It is amazing what happens when media companies cater to their audiences. Just like the ballot box, the privacy of one’s TV set allows people to express their true feelings. Real life transcends. Reminds of the success of The Office resonating with so many in the workplace with respect to horrible bosses, office romances and company politics.

Lock’em up – Prisons in America – The facts

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The Nation reported that the number of privately run prisons is on the move under Trump. At the moment private prisons make up around 5% of the 2.3mn prison population at present. The US now spends $90bn every year to incarcerate these jailbirds or around $39,000 a head (similar to Japan). According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis we had a lull in expenditure on jails after the Lehman collapse. Indeed several states were releasing ‘lower’ risk criminals from prison in order to cut their deficits. This has driven the growth in private prisons.

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According to The Nation, “18 states spend more on incarceration than on higher education, and one study found that the total cost of incarceration, including social costs, adds up to $1 trillion. One point seven million children in the United States have a parent in prison, more than 70 million Americans (about one in three) have a criminal record, and those enormous impacts are suffered unequally: While African Americans are about 13 percent of the US population, they make up 37 percent of the male prison population.

The Nation highlights also that “these private prisons are important to understand and discuss because, while only about 8 percent of the current state prison population is housed in for-profit facilities, about 18 percent of those behind bars in the federal system are in these prisons, and over 60 percent of immigration-detention beds are operated by these corporations” the newspaper is overstating the performance of the stocks. While indeed the largest company, CoreCivic (CXV0 rallied off the election it has none-the-less returned to earth.

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Also earnings whether in revenue or profit terms actually peaked under Obama’s administration.

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While the numbers are horrific in themselves, incarceration in the US costs the equivalent of the Slovak Republic’s GDP.

On public safety alone the US is now spending $375bn p.a or the equivalent of Austria or just over half what the country outlays on defence. So combined the US spends $1 trillion per annum on ‘protection.

The Nation also notes, “The Trump administration appears to be focused on expanding the number of undocumented individuals who are detained behind bars in this country. For one, his administration requested more than $1.2 billion [in reality a 1.3% increase] in the 2018 federal budget to expand detention capacity to more than 48,000 beds a day. To put this into perspective: According to ICE, the current daily capacity ranges from about 31,000 to 41,000. And in April, the administration handed GEO group a $110 million contract to build and run a 1,000-bed detention center in Conroe, Texas. And, most recently, ICE issued “requests to identify,” which are basically pre-requests for proposals, from contractors who can house immigrant detainees in South Texas as well as in the interior of the country in places like Chicago, Detroit, and Salt Lake City.

As a reference the border wall is priced at around $10bn.

As an investment, perhaps the US private jails look a bit oversold with the hype immediately  post the election behind us. At 13x P/E for CVX perhaps a turnaround in its earnings potential is ahead of us and a discount to the market with minimal downside risks make it a proper bricks and mortar investment. The above forecasts look reasonably conservative.

Who will do the bidding to accommodate Mrs Clinton? Perhaps a premium will be warranted.

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Sweden brings back conscription

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It seems the Swedes are reintroducing conscription after ending it in 2010. After the Cold War ended Swedish defence spending fell from 2.5% of GDP in 1991 to a little over 1% today. At the same time the number of active soldiers has declined. The Defence Minister has called for 4,000 conscripts per annum for 2018 and 2019.

The Swedes see that Russia’s annexation of Crimea l, involvement in Ukraine and one would imagine other Baltic states in time, means they need to insure against potential threats. NATO’s future form is indeed looking uncertain with a Trump administration (whether one believes collusion with Russia or not) so such a scenario means that countries like Sweden may indeed look at individual insurance too. I won’t be surprised to see other European countries follow suit.

Afterall if the US indeed pulls back on a global policeman role, expect the likes of Russia and China to fill the vacuum. I don’t see it as a likelihood anytime soon but the geopolitical landscape in 2017 throws many curve balls. Starting with the French, Dutch, German and possibly Italian elections.