Crime

Surely lightning can’t strike twice, RBA?

The video posted here is of then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson who steered the US financial system through the GFC. He is speaking to the Financial Services Committee in 2009. Perhaps the most important quote was the one that world central banks failed to heed –

Our next task is to address the problems in the financial system through a reform program that fixes our outdated financial regulatory structure and that provides strong measures to address other flaws and excesses.

Central banks across the globe honestly believe in fairytales to think they have learnt the lessons of 2008 or 2000 for that matter. Sadly they continue to use the only tool they possess – a hammer – which would be great if every problem they encountered was actually a nail.

When will people realise that had central banks practised prudent monetary policy over the past 20 years, they would possess the ammunition to be able to effectively steer the economy through Coronavirus? Everything the RBA and government are deploying is too little and too late. They never ran proper crisis scenarios and are now scrambling to cobble together an ill-contrived strategy wasting $10s of billions in the process all at our expense.

Central banks only have one role – to support markets with consistently sound monetary policy that creates confidence in the marketplace. Not run around like headless chooks and make knee-jerk responses and follow other central banks off a cliff like lemmings to disguise their own incompetency. The willful negligence displayed by our monetary authorities needs to be recognised. The RBA has got the economy trapped in a housing bubble of their own creation.

So when the RBA talks about, “Australia’s financial system is resilient and it is well placed to deal with the effects of the coronavirus” it couldn’t be further from the truth.

While it is true to say that Australia is relatively more healthy than other economies in terms of the percentage of GDP in national debt, the problem is we rely on the health of our foreign neighbours. 37.5% of our exports go to China. What is the first thing that will happen when our trading partners suffer economic weakness at home? Nations that exercise common sense will look to push domestic production and supply so as to boost their local economies. It is a natural process.

Sadly the RBA, APRA and ASIC have been too busy convincing us that climate change was a priority rather than getting businesses to focus on sensible commercially viable shareholder-friendly strategies. Some groups like the AMA have been encouraged to parade their climate alarmist virtues on breakfast TV.

Unfortunately, instead of focusing on fireproofing our establishments from ruthless cutthroat overseas competitors, our businesses and commerce chambers waste time on chasing equality and diversity targets instead of striving to just be the “best in class”.

Sure, we may have certain raw materials (that the lunatic Greens and Extinction Rebellion protestors will do their best to shut down) that China or other nations will rely on, our service sector weighted economy will be crushed. Almost $250bn, a fifth of our GDP, derives from exports.

Just look at Australian business investment as a % of GDP dwindle at 1994 lows. Mining, engineering, machinery and even building investment are nowhere.

That means our ridiculously high level of personal debt will become a problem. It stands at 180% of GDP as recorded by the RBA on p.7 of its Chart Pack. Most of this debt is linked to housing. Housing prices should crater should coronavirus not be solved in short order. Delinquencies will surge. Families that are funding a mortgage with two incomes may end up being forced to do in with one. Then we cut our gym memberships, Foxtel and stop buying coffee from our local cafe. It is the chain reaction we need to be wary of.

That will work wonders for banks with 60-70% mortgage exposure and precious little equity to offset any ructions in housing prices. If you thought Japan was bad after its bubble collapsed – you ain’t seen nothing yet. By the time this is over we could well see Australian banks begging for bailouts. Note that cutting interest rates further kills interest rate spreads and smacks the dollar which hikes the cost of wholesale funding which these banks heavily rely on.

Yet our RBA knows that it must choose the lesser of two evils. It needs to keep the bubble inflated at all costs because the blood that would come from bank failure is just not worth contemplating. Maybe if they had listened to Hank Paulson they might have been able to hold their heads high rather than showing off, the fool’s version of glory.

Milton Friedman once said,

The power to determine the quantity of money… is too important, too pervasive, to be exercised by a few people, however public-spirited, if there is any feasible alternative. There is no need for such arbitrary power… Any system which gives so much power and so much discretion to a few men, [so] that mistakes – excusable or not – can have such far-reaching effects, is a bad system. It is a bad system to believers in freedom just because it gives a few men such power without any effective check by the body politic – this is the key political argument against an independent central bank.

How right he was. When the economy tanks, await the RBA and government pointing fingers at each other when both failed to avert the coming crisis which had been so bleeding obvious for so long.

Batten down your hatches.

Blowing the whistle pays & why we need it in scientific fields

Image for Whistleblower Promo

We update the latest 2019 US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) data on whistleblowing. As we have noted previously, the number of people to come forward with allegations has exploded since the introduction of legislation to protest the whistleblower.

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Although the 2019 number is mildly down year on year, the sums paid out by the SEC approached $387 million, 26x the 2013 sum.

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Not all claims end up in a result but the payouts average well into the millions.

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We have long advocated a similar whistleblower system be introduced into the scientific community to ensure that taxpayers can adequately stop any fraudulent behaviour that may arise from data manipulation.

The entire Apollo project cost $200bn to implement and get a man on the moon. In climate science, we are allocating twice that amount every year into research. Do we honestly believe that there aren’t bad apples out there? Surely the best way to clean the marketplace is to make sure fraud is punished in so we can make more sensible investments based on more reliable data. At the moment, anything goes. The more alarmist, the more likely research grants will fall that way.

It seems to be working in finance and the sums in climate science seem no less trivial.

Brains immature until 25yo

The BBC notes that pressure is being placed on courts to refrain from jailing people under 25yo on the basis their brains are stil immature.

BBC reported, “The Scottish Sentencing Council, which produces guidelines for all courts, has launched a 12-week public consultation…

…They say a young person’s maturity should be taken into account when assessing their blameworthiness…

…Using 25 as a threshold would bring Scotland in line with Switzerland. In the Netherlands the age threshold is 23. In Germany it is 21…

…It follows research saying imbalances in brain development explain risk-taking and emotionally driven behaviour.

Do the same rules apply to the apocalyptic predictions of a brainwashed 17yo to save the planet? Is it emotional rather than rational?

Brad Pitt attacks GOP senators at Oscars

They told me I only have 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week…I’m thinking maybe Quentin does a movie about it — in the end, the adults do the right thing.”

Thanks Brad. If only the adults in Hollywood gave 45 seconds to stop the well known issues surrounding the Harvey Weinstein saga years before. These sorts of award ceremonies used to openly joke about Weinstein’s unethical antics.

Perhaps we should ponder why Adam Schiff didn’t call John Bolton as a witness during the Democrats own impeachment trial when they had the chance, especially after he blurted all over Twitter that he had the “backstory” evidence back on November 22nd, 2019.

The House voted 15th January 2020 to send articles to the Senate.

Open letter to Michael Mann

Dear Professor Mann,

I saw your performance on ABC Q&A last week.

Unfortunately, you may not have been aware that this is one of Australia’s worst media platforms for balanced debate or reasoned argument. The show has been raked over the coals (excuse the pun) countless times for its shockingly poor standards whether it be inviting radical feminists hurling profanity while openly calling for the murder of men, giving platforms to convicted terrorists or allowing tweets that suggested the then sitting prime minister enjoys anal sex. Without knowing its dismal editorial history, you can be forgiven for heaping praise on the show. Don’t worry, the program has made countless promises that it will do better in the future. We’re still waiting. Forewarned is forearmed.

You said you enjoy “taking climate deniers to task” but I believe it is this type of attitude that creates the very problems that get in the way of convincing them.

While you might have found it necessary to appropriate the aphorism that “you should keep an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out,” why didn’t you just educate Senator Molan with a list of specific hard data points instead of resorting to the one size fits all ‘consensus’ line? As much as his gaffe will be replayed on a loop, I sincerely doubt those words came out as he intended.

On the subject of consensus over the science being settled, why do we still have such poor governance practices in the scientific community?

Let’s face it. There have been many controversies that have come from climatologists based on fraudulent data or lax governance in the peer-review process. Unfortunately with next to no risk of repercussions for falsifying/homogenizing data or ‘you scratch my back, I scratch yours‘ endorsements, scientists can make outlandish claims at will with no lasting consequences.

Take this example.

A major scientific paper, which claimed to have found rapid warming in the oceans as a result of manmade global warming, was withdrawn after an amateur climate scientist found major errors in its statistical methodology.

The authors sheepishly said,

Shortly after publication, arising from comments from Nicholas Lewis, we realized that our reported uncertainties were underestimated owing to our treatment of certain systematic errors as random errors. In addition, we became aware of several smaller issues in our analysis of uncertainty. Although correcting these issues did not substantially change the central estimate of ocean warming, it led to a roughly fourfold increase in uncertainties, significantly weakening implications for an upward revision of ocean warming and climate sensitivity. Because of these weaker implications, the Nature editors asked for a Retraction, which we accept.”

It was pulled only because it was caught. Peer-reviewed? Have the people responsible for giving their blessing been struck off the list as gurus for future papers given the lazy approach to miss such basic errors? Surely to have the same names appear on future academic work risks diminishing potentially important content as sub-standard. There do not appear to be consistently high enough standards to ensure the studies are always top drawer, which they need to be if debt-ridden governments are to deploy more of our taxes effectively.

Nicholas Lewis said after the retraction that,

“This is just the latest example of climate scientists letting themselves down by using incorrect statistics. The climate field needs to get professional statisticians involved upfront if it is going to avoid this kind of embarrassment in future”.

At the very least, Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, said

Climatology is littered with examples of bad statistics, going back to the infamous Hockey Stick graph and beyond. Peer review is failing and it is falling to amateurs to find the errors. Scientists in the field should be embarrassed”.

It would be much better if people who possess high profiles in the scientific community such as yourself to become much more active in criticizing these shortcomings.

Put it this way. I, like many others, would like to get to the truth in climate science but because of the actions of a few bad apples, the rest of the value-added that might come from the majority of the scientific community gets diluted in the process. Fraudulent behaviour is reprehensible on any level in any industry. Yet the public have little scope to make these determinations of which science passes muster until it is exposed for failing to be up to standard. Yet they won’t roll over and accept ‘settled science’ given the levels of crony capitalism in the system.

If the climate activist movement wants to win over climate sceptics (not deniers) without shutting down the debate, start by cleaning house first. Advocate for scientific bodies to come down hard on cheaters amongst your own flock. They need to be exposed so that such works are discredited which has the added effect of improving the pool of best-in-class data and research. It would be helpful if the media helped spread the message that such bad behaviour will no longer be tolerated.

Countless people who have been non-compliant in the financial industry have faced harsh punishment in terms of fines and jail sentences. Companies have lost trading licenses and faced fines in the billions of dollars. I have yet to see any scientists face such risks when caught out for highly unethical behaviour.

Perhaps we could get far more sensible outcomes in convincing sceptics were the bad apples prosecuted. Furthermore, whistleblower protections would accelerate a cleanout of the dodgy scientists that game the system and ruin it for the rest. It has worked very successfully in your homeland with financial sector prosecutions up 16x since whistleblower laws were introduced in 2011. Better still, honest scientists have nothing to fear because such legislation acts as an insurance policy which protects their hard work.

That is how you’ll bring trust to the table.

I would be highly surprised if most scientists haven’t seen or heard of unethical practices conducted in the field of climate science.

You also mentioned that, “My view is the view of the world scientific community, every scientific institution in the world that’s weighed in on this matter – climate change is real, it’s human-caused, it’s already leading to disastrous impacts here in Australia and around the rest of the world. And it will get much worse if we don’t act.

Every institution? Even if we were to take this as gospel, it is highly likely that the majority have distinctly different takes on the ‘extent’ of human impacts made more disperse by varying timelines. Some no doubt say there are very minuscule impacts to others that paint more extreme scenarios. Therefore to imply there is one united view seems a bit far fetched. Despite the position of more conservative scientists, the only view that is pedalled appears to be the alarmist one.

We constantly hear noise from the media, egged on by alarmists, that extreme weather events are becoming more widespread. However, the UNIPCC’s March 2018 report on weather extremes (with respect to anthropogenic induced global warming) notes:

“…There is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale phenomena such as tornadoes and hail because of data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systemsin some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia. There is limited to medium evidence available to assess climate-driven observed changes in the magnitude and frequency of floods…low confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences..low confidence in projections of changes in extreme winds.. low confidence in projections of changes in monsoons…low confidence in wave height projections…overall low confidence because of inconsistent projections of drought changes…low confidence in projected future changes in dust storms…low confidence in projections of an anthropogenic effect on phenomena such as shallow landslides.”

Where is the scientific community’s transparency in pointing out that the probabilities and confidence levels about such ‘extreme weather’ claims remaining very low? Coming from a background in statistics, such low confidence levels smack more of ‘unsettled’ science. Yet the alarmists preach it as though the evidence is irrefutable when it statistically can not be. It gets worse.

Although the media never covered it, can you please explain why so many scientists trashed the IPCC for its governance practices? The public is constantly told that the UN IPCC climate bible is the gold standard which cannot be denied.

Did you see the UN Interacademy Council committee posted a questionnaire on its website and invited interested parties to respond to the processes at the IPCC? This is what they said;

some of the lead authors…are clearly not qualified to be lead authors.” (p.16)

There are far too many politically correct appointments, so that developing country scientists are appointed who have insufficient scientific competence to do anything useful. This is reasonable if it is regarded as a learning experience, but in my chapter…we had half of the [lead authors] who were not competent.” (p. 138)

The whole process…[is] flawed by an excessive concern for geographical balance. All decisions are political before being scientific.” (p. 554)

half of the authors are there for simply representing different parts of the world.” (p. 296)

Lest anyone think that people from less affluent countries were being unjustly stereotyped,

The team members from the developing countries (including myself) were made to feel welcome and accepted as part of the team. In reality, we were out of our intellectual depth as meaningful contributors to the process.” (p.330)

Are climate deniers, as you label them, justified in questioning the validity of the processes which are relied upon to allocate $100s of billions in taxpayer money if the scientists themselves see deep flaws? This survey wasn’t conducted by a fossil-fuel lobby group but the UN itself. This is the home team exposing its own inadequacy but the media is deathly silent.

The above survey is an utter embarrassment and I would be interested to hear your response to those claims. It is alarming to know that government policy is being based on such sub-standard procedures. It would be nice for scientific bodies to come out in unison to call out these problems to ensure that properly vetted governance practices are introduced and enforced. We all win if this happens.

You said on the Q&A program that, “If we act, if we bring our carbon emissions down by a factor of two within the next 10 years, which we can do if all partners work together, then we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”

Do you honestly believe if Australia brings emissions from 1.3% to 0.65% that will have the slightest impact when we know that China has openly stated that its emissions (now at c.30%) won’t stop growing till at least 2030? Furthermore, Australia’s population grew by 10% since 2013. Reducing emissions in half with a growing population will mean that even more drastic measures would be required.

China will be growing an Australia every week by 2030 from every two weeks today. If we hit your target, China will still be steaming ahead at two Australia’s per week. Unfortunately, the economic pain inflicted to reach such targets is simply too steep in reality. Renewables have a very poor record in Australia despite our world-leading commitment per capita in introducing green energy.

You make the criticism about the stance taken by the Murdoch media on climate change. By that measure, The Guardian is conspicuous for its constant alarmism where it openly admits to sensationalising language.

I sincerely hope you join me in ways to close the gap between alarmists and sceptics. We live in a cancel culture society. The more this is accepted, the harder both sides dig in their heels. The only way to effectively find common ground is to tidy up the procedures, governance and practices whereby poor behaviour is summarily punished and outed so that people on all sides can have trust that investment decisions made reflect fact, not fiction.

With a heavy heart, the EU’s recent declaration of a ‘Climate Emergency’ rejected revisions to the legislation which requested, “Recalls that climate change is one of the many challenges facing humanity and that all states and stakeholders worldwide must do their utmost to measure it scientifically so that policy, and especially spending, is based on observable facts and not on apocalyptic fearmongering or unreliable models; emphasises that there is no scientific consensus on what percentage of climate change is anthropogenic and what percentage is natural.”

Surely if we are to build a sensible united front, this is a shockingly poor start. Instead of taking sceptics to task, work to put their concerns to bed via cleaning up those that muddy the waters of those with a genuine message. Questioning bad behaviour doesn’t require an open mind. Ignoring it risks one’s brains falling out.

Yours sincerely,

M. Newman

 

When you next fill up, consider Shell

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Yet more Extinction Rebellion inspired lunacy. Do yourself a favour and consider filling up at a Shell service station next time you need petrol. In the latest Shell Must Fall post, the group boasts,

“As part of the SHELL MUST FALL Everywhere! *activeweek* international action week, people across Sweden have taken several Shell petrol stations offline through a set of targeted actions that made Shell unable to process payments at the pump.

Actions have been reported across several Swedish cities, including Lund, Örebro, Uppsala, and Malmö. A spokesperson issued the following statement:

“Every transaction that happens at these pumps delivers more profit to Shell and its shareholders. More profit at the expense of the Ogoni people in the Niger Delta, more profit at the expense of our air quality, more profit at the expense of the stability of our climate, our atmosphere.

We say enough is enough. Shell Must Fall!”

Given this mob wants a socialist agenda, they should reflect on Shell’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. This from the latest annual report:

…in 2018, we were recognised as one of the top three organisations in the Workplace Pride global lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexed (LGBTI) inclusive workplace benchmark and earned a 100% score in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index. In addition, the 2018 Hampton Alexander Review ranked Shell first out of the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 350 Oil & Gas Industry index companies and seventh out of the FTSE 100 Top 10 Best Performers. We actively monitor the representation of women and local nationals in senior leadership positions and have talent-development processes to support us in mitigating any biases and delivering a more diverse representation.”

Shell thinks the Niger Delta has a far different set of risks.

In our Nigerian operations, we face various risks and adverse conditions. These include: security issues surrounding the safety of our people, host communities and operations; sabotage and theft; our ability to enforce existing contractual rights; litigation; limited infrastructure; potential legislation that could increase our taxes or costs of operations; the effect of lower oil and gas prices on the government budget; and regional instability created by militant activities. Any of these risks or adverse conditions could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

Perhaps when they storm into the shareholders meeting in May 2020 that they swot up on the facts before causing the collapse of Shell.

XR now want to bankrupt Royal Dutch Shell

These pictures are of a Shell gasoline stand in Nijmegen, Holland.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) are now running a #ShellMustFall hashtag and campaign to trash Shell businesses with graffiti and bicycle locks on bowsers.

The sign reads, “Royal Dutch Shell, we will tax you, regulate you, split you up, socialize you, nationalize you, expropriate you, prosecute you and bankrupt you”

Has XR considered the livelihoods of the 82,000 employees at Shell?

No wonder the UK counter terrorism police wants to add these lunatics to the list.

XR claims to conduct non-violent civil disobedience but it’s actions are negatively impacting legitimate businesses from operating. Defacing private property is not peaceful. XR should be fined with the cost of policing and any lost revenues as a result of such selfish actions.

XR intends to disrupt the Shell shareholder meeting on May 19th.

This is not an expression of free speech but an intentional plan to intimidate. The longer governments let climate activists behave like this with little repercussions, the more emboldened they will become.