#socialmedia

After Life

Ricky Gervais has gone back to his tried and tested formula in After Life. Saw all 6 episodes of the first series last night. He is one of the few comedians that can transcend humour into real life. His dead pan performance was so life like. It is utterly believable. Typically British too.

No spoiler alerts, but unlike Derek, this is the best bits of The Office & Extras. Hidden within his comedies is one key takeaway. The Office was all about the horrible boss we all know who is completely out of touch. Extras was a complete slaying of the sycophantic behaviour of celebrities. In After Life he takes a monster swipe at the mainstream media.

It cuts deep. You won’t be disappointed.

Attempts to abort “Unplanned” fail

Unplanned is a pro-life movie which has stormed the rankings in American cinemas in its first week despite a limited number of theatres showing it. The plot is set around the real life story of a woman, Abby Johnson, who ran a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. She had a crisis of conscience after seeing a 13 week old termination for herself. She is now a pro-life activist.

Note that NY and other states will allow mothers to terminate babies up until immediately before delivery if they do decide. NYC even lit up monuments to celebrate the passing of the legislation.

Regardless of one’s views on a “woman’s right to choose“, seeing a movie that has no gratuitous nudity, course language, sex scenes or graphic violence shouldn’t cause consternation much less carry a R-rating. How can a 16yo girl can get an abortion without parental consent but needs an adult to see the Unplanned movie? Shouldn’t an open mind on the industry be a good thing for people to see and judge for themselves?

Twitter tried to explain away attempts to thwart the popularity of the film by claiming “glitches” in the system caused followers to be automatically unfollowed. It stands at over 310,000 followers now.

Let’s familiarize ourselves with abortion.

ABORTION STATS

c.700,000 fetuses are terminated in America each year. Down from 1.4 million in 1990. Hardly stats to cheer about. Of course the arguments for a woman’s right to choose will always be thrown at pro-lifers. Yet allowing termination until birth?

Eurostat statistics on abortion reveal that Germany, France, UK, Spain and Italy alone terminate a combined 760,000 fetuses per annum. Across the EU-28 there are 1.25mn terminations. Without getting into a debate on abortion rights, the pure statistical number points to 20.4% of fetuses never make it out of the womb alive.

According to the Guttmacher Institute some 56 million abortions occur annually. Every. Single. Year. Think that WWII saw 50 million deaths in 6 years of conflict with wide spread use of lethal weapons. So abortions kill at a far higher rate than global conflict. 

Take a look at the following photos if you’re game and ask yourself whether abortion is something to celebrate? Once again, this piece isn’t a cry to exert control over women’s rights rather question society and its approach to taking more individual responsibility. 

Or are we mistaken to think that the real reason NY lit up these monuments was to lament for all of the fetuses with heartbeats that never had a say in the very legislation that killed them the day of delivery? Maybe NYC should ban the film outright as it doesn’t fit the pro-choice narrative? Some states have passed laws allowing abortion to late stage pregnancy. Other states have introduced heartbeat bills preventing termination if a heartbeat is detected.

CM is not taking sides on democratic processes. Rather wondering why a film of this nature carries such fear and loathing? If abortion is nothing but a simple process why bother trying to derail a simple movie? Well that is an obvious answer. It’s way more popular than the apparatchiks want us to believe.

ABC Staff Engagement Survey – less than 50% engaged

The Morrison government is promising $44m in extra funding for the ABC for “enhanced news gathering” over 3 years. When will the Coalition realize that this treat will not make the ABC show any leniency in the lead up to the federal election? Did they even bother reading the ABC Staff Engagement Survey buried on page 94 of the 2017/18 Annual Report? Less than half are engaged.

The ABC conducted its second Corporation-wide employee engagement survey in late 2017. The previous survey was conducted in November 2015, with outcomes reported in the 2016 Annual Report.

The overall employee engagement score from the 2017 survey was 46%, down six points from the 2015 results. 6% down!!!!

This moved the ABC from the median to the bottom quartile when benchmarked with other Australian and New Zealand organisations. Bottom quartile!!!

Employees expressed the need for improvement in several areas, including:

• that the ABC Leadership Team needs to be more visible, accessible and communicate more openly.

that the ABC needs to do a better job of managing poor performance. Even the staff want to move duds on. A commercial spirit among the staff?

• that employees want to know what action is being taken to address feedback received in the survey.

The ABC management (no longer with us) conducted sessions on the back of the survey.

Three key priorities were identified from these sessions:

1. The way in which the ABC recruits, contracts, inducts, develops and manages its people needs a huge amount of work. Inefficiency!!!

2. More communication is needed between teams – employees want to know what other teams are doing, and want less top-down, hierarchical communication. Bureaucracy!!!

3. Many of the ABC’s processes, tools and technology don’t work effectively for its people. Obsolescence!!!

So instead of giving the ABC more money, perhaps an efficiency drive driven by a change manager could achieve the same outcomes desired by the market for far less cost. This reads like an organization that has too much fat.

To that effect, the annual report also noted:

Bureaucracy Stop was launched in March 2018 with the aim of creating a working environment with less bureaucracy and red tape. The program wrapped three months later with 147 ideas on simplification of processes, 55 of which were resolved by the end of the financial year. Where a simplification solution wasn’t available in response to an idea, an explanation was provided as to why that process needed to remain.

What were the dollar savings for these 55 improvements?

Maybe the government should say to ABC management for every dollar saved, the ABC keeps 50c? For a broadcaster with over $1.1bn in funding, 10% of savings would mean they keep c.$60m. Morrison’s $44mn is easily covered.

Digging a bit deeper into the stats of the ABC reveals a big need for overhaul. Comparing 2017/18 and 2015/16 we see that TV audience reach for metro fell from 55.2% to 49.7% and regional slumped from 60.3% to 54.0%. If we go back to 2007/8 the figures were 60.1% and 62.4% respectively. For the 2017/18 period, the ABC targets a 50% reach. Hardly a stretch.

Since 2008, the average salary of ABC’s staff has risen 18% from $86,908 to $105,219. Total staff numbers have risen from 4499 to 4939. Therefore salaries as a percentage of the ABC revenues have risen from 37.1% of the budget to 50%. The ABC’s ability to generate sales from content has fallen from A$140mn in 2015/16 to A$46mn last fiscal year.

The multicultural SBS has seen its budget grow from A$259mn in 2008 to A$412mn in 2017. SBS staff numbers have grown from 844 to 1,466 over the same period with average salaries rising from A$82,689 to A$88,267 or 7.2%. Which begs the question why is the SBS able to operate at 31% of the budget in salaries while the ABC is at 50%? Surely the ABC’s economies of scale should work in its favour? Clearly not.

Australia’s largest commercial terrestrial station, Nine Network, has 3,100 employees against revenues of $1.237bn. So to put that into context, Nine can generate c. A$400,000 per employee whereas the ABC generates A$238,168 in tax dollars per employee. In a sense the ABC could be shut down, and each employee paid $108,000 in redundancy costs annually for two years simply by selling off the land, buildings and infrastructure. The SBS generates A$281,000 in tax dollars per employee. The ABC will argue it deserves $400,000/employee revenues rather than a 46% headcount reduction to be on equal terms with the efficiency in the private sector.

Stop throwing more money at the problem and get an aggressive MD who will make a real difference. Pay him/her millions to save $100s of millions. The taxpayer deserves no less. So do over half the 5,000 employees at the ABC who are dissatisfied with the very organization which is so terribly run.

Watch out for the growing totalitarian technocracy

ZeroHedge (ZH) has been temporarily banned in Australia and New Zealand by telecom companies to “protect consumers”. ZH is a regular staple for CM. As written with respect to the Facebook ban of last week, ZH is hardly a site which encourages race baiting or inflammatory journalism.

So on what authority do these telecom providers we pay monthly rates to have a say on what we consume? CM is sure there is some fine print backing this move but it is a very worrying sign when corporates arbitrarily start enforcing their own sense of morality on the public. Welcome to the new world of arbitrary censorship. Who are they to judge what is deemed safe? Have they canvassed customers to see if they’re happy to cede control to corporate boardrooms?

They already have tabs on who actually downloaded the horrific Christchurch video? Surely a better gauge on how society is decaying or recovering by getting facts of such trends rather than threatening people with 10 year jail terms. Do people grow a conscience when told they maybe thrown behind bars?

Perhaps if we could confirm more people wanted to watch the full 17 minutes of this latest atrocity it might provide insights on how our value standards in the community have shifted. Is this driven by the increase in broken homes over time? Violent video games? Lenient judiciaries? The advent of sites like Tinder which seek to promote promiscuity?What is it? Slapping on tougher laws that don’t address the problem won’t solve anything other than feed more resentment. We should be careful what we wish for.

The overwhelming majority of us probably have no stomach to watch the NZ gore. So in some respects such people face no direct impact from the heavy hand but who is to say that in the future they won’t if the censors narrow the definition of what is deemed acceptable to them? We the public clearly have no say in the matter.

Maybe underground printed media will make a resurgence? Or will the state seize dissenters and lock them up in concentration camps for re-education. Conspiracy theory? It might sound far fetched now, but if we stay silent we should not be surprised when more freedoms get curtailed. Remember that comedian Count Dankula faced a 12 month jail term for posting a YouTube video teaching his girlfriend’s dog to do a Nazi salute. Poor humour perhaps but hardly an act which was designed to incite hate speech. Welcome to 2019.

Why?

What often surprises CM is the need to openly show one’s abhorrence to the now 50 people senselessly murdered in Christchurch. On the contrary, if one didn’t find the events appalling that would say something in itself. There is nothing ‘woke’ about publicly showing one is against what happened. Of course the overwhelming majority of us are. Yet moral preening does nothing to help stem the flow of such terror. Neither does capitalizing on tragedies such as this to pit division via unhinged political activism.

Social media has been whipped into a frenzy since the cold blooded crime. Ad hominem attacks against the usual culprits for being complicit does little to help the grieving process. There must be no words to understand their pain. So why resort to cheap shots and big noting on Twitter? Survivors and families of the dead will hardly find solace by reading the bile of ignorant apparatchiks making a bad situation palpably worse.

CM has often questioned the purpose of lighting up monuments and splashing avatars with national flags of where those atrocities occurred. Does anyone in their right mind think that would-be-perpetrators pay the slightest mind to such appeals? Might as well keep the lights on. Because unless proper action is taken, nothing will change. Instead of stifling debate, we need to engage in it. Tackle the issues burning the fabric of our society.  Social and mainstream media continue to push false narratives, making people even more afraid to speak their minds. Some countries like Canada have laws that jail those that dare to.

If we accept the vast majority of people in the world are decent no matter what their background, why is it activists expect certain groups to self-flagellate when such events occur? The background of the victims or the villains should be irrelevant. It is despicable beyond belief to murder innocent unarmed people whatever their race, skin colour, religious beliefs or sexual proclivity. No one should question this. Yet tougher and tougher legislation restricting freedoms ends up being the by-product. Unfortunately newly introduced laws end up causing the opposite of intended effect. It only emboldens these extremists to go deeper underground. It exacerbates resentment.

We have to ask ourselves why? It seems most of the political class is asleep at the wheel given the trend of rising nationalism, especially throughout Europe. Instead of having deep transparent discussion addressing the problems and issues driving these movements, our leaders think it prudent to bury their heads in the sand. Hiding behind the spineless guise of political correctness, they legislate against certain groups with ever harsher penalties in ways which seem only to underpin the popularity of those that seek to defend them. If the political elite think believe they understand the will of the people they are woefully out of their depth at selling messages of unity. For if they understood the layman, populist parties would remain on the outer.

Think about it. Alternative for Deutschland, Sweden Democrats, The Dutch Freedom Party, Lega in Italy, the Freedom Party in Austria, Vlaams-Belang in Belgium, Order & Justice in Lithuania, Law & Justice Party in Poland, Fidesz in Hungary, True Finns, Front National in France…the list goes on. From fringe parties (or not even in existence) a decade ago to Top 3 in many cases. Have more Europeans become racist bigots in the last decade by chance or do they feel their lot changing for the worse?

Take a look at the poverty statistics across Europe. There were 78mn living below the poverty line in 2007. At last count, Eurostat noted that number was 118mn  (23.5% of the European population). In the Europe 2020 strategy, the plan is to reduce that by 20 million. Fat chance.  37.5mn (7.5%) are living in severe material deprivation (SMD) , up from 32mn in 2007. 40 million extra Europeans are suffering in poverty in a little over a decade. No wonder these nationalist parties have gained traction. It is easy to whip up a disaffected mob by claiming their futures are being undercut by mass migration. Whether the arguments are sound or not is frankly irrelevant. People want their lives back. Seeing the inaction among incumbent parties, many are willing to chance those that supposedly feel their pain. Macron still faces yellow vest protests for four consecutive months. Is it any wonder nationalist Marine Le Pen polls higher than the young President?

Perhaps we should question the authorities in playing their part in firing up the discontented. After reading 200+ pages of the Rotherham Inquiry into grooming gangs, it was revealed that the police and local council turned a blind eye to the systematic rape of 1,000 minors over two decades because they feared being thought of as racist were they to target the perpetrators based on their ethnicity. It was political correctness gone mad. Now the scandal has broken out across the country, the courts are finally throwing the book at these criminals. Read the above link at your peril. It is utterly distressing. 1,000s of lives senselessly ruined because leaders were too gutless to stand up for principle. One does not have to be an extremist to be outraged at such cruelty going unpunished for so long.

Politically correct law makers or activist judges do not justify murdering 50 innocent men, women and children. Let us be perfectly clear on this point. However it is not hard to see how those on the fringes use such incidents to fuel their resentment.  Social media allows for such obscene behaviour to be normalised because of the echo chamber dynamic.

What do the statistics of extremism say?

According to the Australian Crime Institute, “understanding the precise nature and scale of the far-right in Australia is made difficult by a lack of empirical information and research. Gaining reliable data on the far-right is firstly complicated by debate over exactly what constitutes violence motivated by far-right ideology…Moreover, Australia does not have any formal monitoring systems for this form of violence, such as that of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ‘Hate Crime Statistics’ (something CM did earlier this month)

In America, Anti-Semitic hate crimes are around 5x the level of Anti-Islamic hate crimes which are around 1.5x Anti-Christian hate crimes. Overall hate crime is lower than two decades ago.

Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Interior (BfV) updated its fact book on the size of left and right wing groups and the rise of Salafists at home. To summarize:

In 2017, the BKA (Federal Criminal Police Office) registered 39,505 offences in the category of politically motivated crime, an increase of 20.4% over the 2014 figure, but 4.9% down on the 2016 number.

Right wing extremist party membership has risen from 22,600 in 2015 to 24,000 in 2017.

There were 1,054 (2016: 1,600) registered cases of violent criminal offences with a right-wing extremist background, a fall of 34.1%. The number of violent crimes directed at foreigners came in at 774 (2016: 1,190, the highest level since the current definition of politically motivated crime was introduced in 2001) down 34.9%. The number of violent crimes against actual or supposed left-wing extremists dropped by half 98 (2016: 250) remained about the same. Attempted homicides fell from 18 in 2016 to only four in 2017.

Left wing extremist party membership has risen from 26,700 in 2015 to 29,500 in 2017, +10.5%.

In 2017,  6,393 criminal offences were classified as left-wing politically motivated crimes with an extremist background (2016: 5,230), +22.2%, of which 1,648 were violent crimes (2016: 1,201), +37%. The number of violent criminal offences with a left-wing extremist background that were directed against the police and security authorities significantly increased 65.2% to 1,135 (2016: 687) exceeding even the level of 2015. The number of violent criminal offences against actual or supposed right-wing extremists halved to 264 (2016: 542).

Islamic Extremists

Salafist movements in Germany have risen from 8,350 in 2015 to 10,800 in 2017 with the BfV noting on the whole, that all Islamist following in 2017 amounted to approximately 25,810 individuals, up 1,400 on 2016. BfV did note

The threat situation has not at all eased. On the contrary: the shift towards a violence-oriented/terrorist spectrum has revealed a new dimension of the Islamist scene, which was also illustrated by the attacks carried out in Germany in 2016However, Salafism in Germany enjoys undiminished popularity. Its continuous attractiveness shows the importance of Salafism being subject to a debate in society as a whole and of intelligence collection carried out by the community of the German domestic intelligence services. This is even more significant as adherents of the jihadist tendency of Salafism not only reject the West – symbolised by the free democratic basic order – but also actively fight against it: either by travelling to so-called jihad areas or by mounting attacks in the West.”

In the area of politically motivated crime by foreigners, 1,617 offences with an extremist background were registered in 2017 (2015: 1,524), including 233 violent offences (2015: 235).  In 2016, there were two homicides and 13 attempted homicides by foreigners with an extremist background (2015: three).

A fall of 4.9% in total politically motivated crime is hardly something to celebrate when the number is 40,000 on an annualised. There are 6x as many politically motivated crimes in Germany than America with only 1/5th the population.

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If we take a step back, were suspect Tarrant’s atrocities any more reprehensible than Anders Breivik in Norway gunning down 69 unarmed teenagers on Uttoya island? Stephen Paddock murdering 58 concert goers in Las Vegas? Adam Lanza slaying dozens of small kids at Sandy Hook elementary? The gunmen inside the offices of Charlie Hebdo or the barbaric eviscerations inside the Bataclan? The truck drivers in Berlin, Nice, Stockholm or Barcelona mowing down 100s of innocent pedestrians? Where was the outrage in 2018 when a church was bombed by extremists in Indonesia killing 13 people? What about the Jonestown massacre in 1978 which claimed 908 souls? All of them are deeply sickening not only in total loss of life but the grotesque manner in which these heinous acts were carried out. 

No-one with a pulse can look at recent events without utter disbelief. When the suspect tells us the motivations behind the attack, we will see social media get uglier still. If we truly want to put an end to this type of disaster, we must open ourselves up to debate. Going on recent trends, we will continue to light up statues and point fingers instead of actively seeking to find solutions through reasoned discussion. When will we wake up from this nightmare of our own making and communicate?

In the meantime spare a thought for the victims and their families and allow them to grieve their losses in peace.

ZeroHedge ban – nothing helps publicity like scarcity

ZeroHedge

ZeroHedge (ZH) has been banned from Facebook. ZH has the occasional spicy article but it is hardly a purveyor of information that could be remotely deemed hate speech or attacking ‘community standards’. It is punchy journalism. The good thing is that ZH already has quite a good following from readers who access the website directly. The irony of these arbitrary bans is that it only makes sites like ZH even more attractive. Nothing helps publicity like scarcity.

In the last few years, privacy and other issues have plagued the social media giant. By all accounts, users are moving away from the platform. ZH reported

More than 17 million young Americans have abandoned Facebook over the last two years after a series of data privacy scandals damaged public trust in the social media platform… to the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behavior in America conducted by Edison Research, Facebook users between 12-34 years-old are now flocking to Facebook sister site Instagram, reports the Daily Mail

…Older people over the age of 55, meanwhile, increased their Facebook usage – marginally offsetting the drop in younger users for a net loss of 15 million users over the last two years

The longer term problem for social media is that kowtowing to a wafer thin number of activists who complain (no matter how much Facebook might align ideologically), means that those who are sick of being told what is deemed acceptable for them will just grow tired and leave. The irony in all of this is listening to a minority will ultimately drive the majority to a place which provides a marketplace that offers personal choice on what is deemed acceptable.

Twitter bias – who’d of thunk?

Judge for yourself on whether Twitter targets particular groups. Think Sarah Jeong faced no Twitter ban for calling to #CancelWhitePeople whereas black conservative Candace Owens got a suspension for changing Jeong’s words from “white” to “Jewish” and “black”.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg openly admitted in a congressional testimony that Silicon Valley was littered with people from the far left. Think of poor old #WalkAway activist Brendan Straka , the articulate, openly gay hairdresser who was suspended for 30 days for highlighting he’d appear on the then banned InfoWars. Not for posting a video.  Just that he’d appear.

The publishing of Google’s internal post-election debrief video shouldn’t have surprised anyone in the slightest. All the outer appeals to the group’s impartiality were smashed by this leaked video. In a sense Google was the victim of the half-life nature of the very digital media feeds it seeks to control. Even worse it was all the senior management talking about what really goes on behind closed doors.

Sunlight is truly the best disinfectant.