Drug addiction

Does kneeling lead to healing?

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Does kneeling lead to healing?

Around the world, we have seen images of law enforcement officers kneeling to protest police brutality in the wake of the inexcusable murder of George Floyd. It begs the question if the UK police officers in the picture above don’t practice brutality themselves, why are they kneeling for the actions of a small band of police officers in a different country? The same goes for the majority of honest cops in America who put their lives in harms way to protect and serve us.

At what point in society do we acknowledge such vacuous virtue signalling as anything other than an act of cowardice and an insult to the very people they claim to be apologizing to?

A bigger question might be why weren’t these British cops kneeling when police across the country were outed over the deliberate and documented 20-year cover-up of child grooming gangs on the grounds they didn’t want to be seen as racist by targeting the overwhelming majority of the known perpetrators – Asian (Pakistani) men?

We summarised the outcome of the Rotherham Inquiry here. It is shocking beyond belief and 19,000 of these identified white girls will never recover from the psychological scars. Their skin colour shouldn’t matter. It is what happens when identity politics clouds common sense. How could anyone condone arresting the fathers who were trying to break their underage girls out of rape dens? Because that is what happened. Minors were doused with gasoline and threatened with being set alight by their captors if they told anyone about what had happened.

Where were these same BLM-in-name-only protestors in the UK calling for justice for these poor girls when it became public knowledge? Are demonstrations merely determined by the most fashionable social justice issue du jour? Is systematic rape based on ethnicity on one’s own doorstep deemed less contentious than systematic racism in America?

Kneeling is nothing short of submitting to mob rule. Pure and simple. Furthermore, how does getting on one’s knees heal racial divide and conquer police brutality? We’ll get to that.

We were struck by a video of a Trump rally several years ago where the organizer invited the President of BLM New York up on stage to allow him to talk to those assembled. The outcome was not what the prevailing sentiment would have guessed before viewing the clip.

The problem with BLM is the way it seems to convey mixed messaging. BLM remains silent when so many blacks are dying in Chicago from gun violence not at the hands of police? When a 77yo former African American police captain in Louisville was shot and killed by rioters over a TV last week, BLM said nothing. It was too busy lashing out at white liberals abusing the #BlackLivesMatter Twitter hashtag to advertise their wokeness by putting black squares on the social media avatars.

And if cops truly felt so disgusted about George Floyd’s demise wouldn’t they have been better to strip off their blues, resign on the spot and trample on their badges to show how much the cause means to them?  It is hard to see the kneeling as anything more than a hollow gesture to rack up social woke points.

Why are they apologizing for things they haven’t done? If they have been privy to witnessing police brutality, did they speak up? Or were they ignored by politically-aligned police chiefs bent on seeking their next promotion by suppressing negative behavior under their watch to please city mayors?

That is not to say police officers don’t have a right to express themselves as private citizens but as public servants on the job they should not be succumbing to acts of appeasement.  They should be reprimanded for such displays of weakness. How can they keep public order by such acts of surrender? What message do they send to crowds?

Throughout history, kneeling has been a token of submission. The height of self-debasement. The term “die standing or live on your knees” derives from that.

Earlier in the week, we wrote of a YouTuber Smooth Sanchez who was claiming to represent Black Lives Matter (BLM). He was asking white women to get on their knees to admit their white privilege, apologize and pay reparations. Some complied. Some refused, only be taunted with vile abuse in the form of “racist“, “bigot” or “Neo-Nazi.

What is it with the idea that ordinary law-abiding citizens who happen to be white must atone for the sins of people they are not related to and weren’t alive at the time much of the oppression was committed? How will self-loathing whites kneeling and asking for forgiveness help black people in reality, especially if they haven’t done a thing? How do we stop racism if we constantly seek to define everything by it? Surely by making skin colour the basis by which we function as a society, then racism can’t be effectively stamped out.

In 2017 we wrote about four Ann Arbor councillors taking a knee during the national anthem ahead of session. Given these people were in a position to influence policy why didn’t they head down to the Ann Arbor Police Department and study the data about police brutality, the extent of the problem (if any) and what steps were put in place to mitigate it?

Ann Arbor is a city of 360,000. Crime versus the national average of cities it’s size revealed that burglary and motor vehicle theft were at rates at half the national average. Murder 1/5th. Robbery at less than half. Assault in line. Rape, marginally above.

Taken in isolation, Ann Arbor PD killed one African-American woman who attacked them with a knife in 2014. Since then a clean slate. If new measures to weed out bad apples were put in place, shouldn’t those councillors have promoted the successful program that they implemented instead of joining a chorus which threw its own law enforcement it sets the guidelines for under the bus?

Wouldn’t it be better to have city mayors incentivise police chiefs to proactively manage their officers in ways which would lead to the types of outcomes the public wants? We doubt the wimpy response of Ann Arbor politicians is an isolated event. That is the problem. Making a public statement to appear virtuos but fail to follow up with meaningful policy achieved what exactly? Their actions were as useless as draping one’s social media avatar with whatever cause is fashionable to show one is against the bleeding obvious.

The fish rots at the head. No amount of kneeling will fix problems unless the raw data is openly discussed and the brutal truth examined. The Minneapolis PD was subject to a federal review of procedures in 2015. The statistics revealed that few officers were fired or suspended for claims made against them. The majority were either reprimanded or given extra coaching. Yet MPD still continued to see complaints pile up. This appears to be a senior management issue.

Bad (insert profession) deserve to be weeded out of any organisation, especially where public order is at stake.

Pointing the finger at the majority of law-abiding citizens who aren’t racist will do absolutely nothing to solve this crisis. As Mark D Robinson said, the majority is “the first ones taxed, the last ones considered and the first ones punished.

Having whites declare their white privilege on their knees will solve nothing. It is actually an insult to blacks for whites to think that apologizing for things they haven’t done just to feel better about themselves rather than seek to find solutions through constructive free speech which acknowledges history. It is the same mentality as pushing gender politics. Do these same people think telling capable, educated, intelligent and ambitious women that they need special treatment?

Having whites kneel will not lift one single black person out of the oppression so many Democrat lawmakers highlight when it is decades of their policies that have perpetuated the problems in the first place. It is actually racist to push this kind of tribalism, as many of our narrative busing videos of everyday African Americans attests to. 

In closing, if we want to take stupidity to the next level, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti publicly said he wants to drastically cut the police budget in coming years. One can only assume that stifling the one body that can keep communities safe will only enforce the very stereotypes that the death of George Floyd was supposed to stop. 

Kneeling does not lead to healing. Lets not pretend that it does. Bold leadership that avoids political correctness and identity politics is required.

Trillion Dollar Baby?

What will it take to wake the media up to the fact that the way our government is spending it won’t be long before we are a $1 trillion net debt baby?.

Our current federal liabilities (p.121) stand at $1.002 trillion (which is pre COVID19). Have the media bothered to look at the state of the budget accounts? Or are they too busy lavishing praise on rescue packages which have a finite lifespan.

We pointed out yesterday that the “revenue” line could be decimated by the disruption – huge cuts should be anticipated in the collection of GST, income, company and excise taxes. Not to mention huge rebates to be paid to now unemployed workers. On an annualized basis the revenue line could get thumped 30-40% if this continues for 6 months.

So on the back of an envelope, it is not very hard to work out that with a current $511 billion revenue line looking to fall towards the early to mid $300 billion mark against a projected expense bill of $503 billion a deficit of $150bn will open up. Throw on c$150bn of COVID19 stimuli arriving by June 30th and we get a $300 billion budget deficit. Our net financial worth would grow from minus $518 billion to negative $818 billion.

Rolling into next year, it is ludicrous to think that hibernated businesses will have resumed as normal. This means that the following year’s tax revenue line will look as sick as the previous period. The government will be torn shredding the expense line as unemployment shoots higher so assuming minimal budget cuts, it could face another $200 billion deficit taking it north of $1 trillion net liabilities in a jiffy.

Let’s not forget what the states may face. Severely lower handouts from the federal government via GST receipts which will balloon deficits, a trend we’re already seeing.

The states currently rely on around 37-62% of their revenue from the federal government by way of grants. The balance comes through land/property taxes, motor vehicle registration, gambling and betting fees as well as insurance and environmental levies.

All of those revenues lines can dry up pretty quickly. 40% of state budgets are usually spent on staff. Take a look at these eye watering numbers.

NSW spends $34 billion on salaries across 327,000 employees.

Victoria spends $27 billion across 239,000 public servants.

Queensland uses 224,000 staff which costs $25 billion per annum.

WA’s state workforce is 143,000, costing $12.6 billion.

SA has 90,000 FT employees costing $8.5 billion.

Tasmania 27,000 setting taxpayers back $2.7 billion.

Just the states alone employ over 1.05 million people at a cost of $110 billion pa!! The territories will be relative rounding errors.

A lot of the states have healthy asset lines which are usually full of schools, hospitals, roads and land). These are highly illiquid.

Unfortunately, one of the golden rules often forgotten in accounting is that liabilities often remain immovable objects when asset values get crucified in economic downturns. When markets become illiquid, the value of government assets won’t come at prices marked in the books.

How well will flogging a few public hospitals go down politically to financially stressed constituents?? This is why gross debt is important.

The states have a combined $202 billion outstanding gross debt including leases.

Throw on another $150 billion for unfunded superannuation liabilities. Good luck hitting the “zero by 2035” targets some state have amidst imploding asset markets. It simply won’t happen. If only these liabilities were marked to market rather than suppressed by actuarial accounting. The WA budget paper (p.42) notes the 0.4% bump to the discount rate to lower the pension deficit figure. To be fair, they are far less outrageous than US state pension deficits.

How must the State Gov’t of Queensland be praying that Adani keeps plowing ahead? How Greyhound must regret terminating a contract to ferry construction workers to the mine? We doubt the incumbent government will have a climate change bent in the upcoming Oct 31 state election. See ya.

The trillion dollar federal debt ceiling seems like a formality especially as the chain reaction created by the states puts on more pressure for the federal government to inject rescue packages to prop up their reversal of fortune budgets. It is that trillion with a T headline that will get people’s attention.

In short, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Let shareholders burn

We buy shares because we expect to gain a return. We all know there are risks attached. As we wrote yesterday on Boeing, it has embarked on reckless buybacks which have compromised the balance sheet. The company has drawn down all of its $13.8bn in credit lines from banks overnight. It is panic stations. It was completely avoidable.

How ironic that companies which are among those that splurged $4.5 trillion on share buybacks just to chase short term management incentives will be the first lining up for taxpayer support to save them from negligent governance.

We say shareholders should suffer the downside of that investment choice. They had the power to remove officers from the companies they entrusted management to. If a company goes belly up, let other players in the market pick up the spoils for fire sale prices.

The Wolf Street correctly noted,

The Trump administration is putting together a rumored $850-billion stimulus package that will include taxpayer funded bailouts of Corporate America, according to leaks cited widely by the media. Trump in the press conference today singled out $50 billion in bailout funds for US airlines alone. A bailout of this type is designed to bail out shareholders and unsecured creditors. That’s all it is. The alternative would be a US chapter 11 bankruptcy procedure which would allow the company to operate, while it is being handed to the creditors, with shareholders getting wiped out.”

All this Trump package will do is encourage the same bad behaviour. We think this is nothing more than trebling down on the problems that hit us in 2008. But hey, it’s an election year!! Reckless.

As usual, the SEC has been asleep at the wheel. Same as in the lead up to 2008. This is what happens when regulators hire clueless lawyers who don’t have a clue about how markets operate. Therefore they miss crucial events.

As for shareholders – you earned it.

The only upside to this market volatility is that no one has talked about climate change for weeks! Probably because when people are about to lose their livelihoods, all of a sudden virtue signaling is worthless. That goes for diversity and inclusion too. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Trebling down on failed central bank policy. RBA will copy and start QE soon

So the US Fed has slashed rates 1% just now to 0-0.25%. $700bn in asset purchases has been allowed. Jolts like this have far more short term optical impact than mere drip feed cuts. However the two takeaways are:

1) economic impacts are unsurprisingly crippling the economy, hence the need to cut so hard. While the size of the cut is shock and awe, markets can still panic as to why such bold action was necessary. $700bn in asset purchases will try to contain that. Forget Fed tapering, QE is on its way. This is but the beginning of asset purchases. Congress needs to approve the purchase of equities but that may well come. Has worked wonders for the Bank of Japan – not.

2) cutting interest rates don’t necessarily end up doing much because people/companies invest because they see a cycle and the one ahead looks highly uncertain. So refinancing existing debt or easing the monthly burden will not lead to a powered up plan to consume especially if people are being told to self isolate.

There is little option (because of the poor policies to date) left but to double down again like a drunk at a casino table. Gold is one of the few safe havens left. Silver (poor man’s gold) will play catch up. We own both.

And for those that want to lash out at the failures of capitalism for its evils, note this is not anything remotely representing it. When the government and monetary authorities are blatantly interfering and preventing free and open trade to set market clearing prices, that is what creates the distortions and misallocation of capital that leads to economic disasters.

Take advantage of any pops to reduce exposures. We ain’t seen nothing yet. GFC2 will make the crash of 1929 look like a picnic. It won’t be long before the RBA starts to follow suit with zero rates and the journey of QE.

Stanford whackademic suffers chronic TDS

One would think dropping US$70,000pa on an education at Stanford University would provide ample opportunities to be taught by the best of the best.

Sadly, Stanford law Professor Pamela Karlan suffers from acute Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). She used the impeachment hearings to make a glib joke about President Trump’s son, Barron. She said, “The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.” She later apologized.

She also mentioned that she was so repulsed by Trump that she had to cross the road when walking past his hotel. One would hope she could act her age.

Yet the Democrats think Karlan represents the best-in-class to be a key witness to testify against Trump?

CM has no issue with her donating to the party of her choice (DNC) but her partisan bias is so blinding that she only undermined her own credibility to act in such a juvenile way.

When Democrat Party presidential nominees talk of wiping out student debt CM now sees the method in the madness. If Karlan is thought of as a top drawer university professor, she only proved how worthless getting a tertiary education is. CM would also ask for his money back. Whackademia at its finest.

Presumably…

…misandristic slogans will be OK in the People’s Democratic Republic of Victoria.

The bigger question is who will be the arbiter of what is deemed inappropriate or not? We can absolutely bet the farm that the people selected to enforce this being the least qualified in being able to administer it fairly.

No one should have an issue with holding appropriate standards for slogans on vehicles (e.g. no profanity/nudity) but is there a pressing need to have apparatchiks pushing agendas on what they deem appropriate for the rest of us? How many vehicles fall foul of these crimes?

One can be certain that if a car is adorned with slogans that crudely vilify white heterosexual Christian males it won’t be deregistered. Perhaps Victoria should change its number plate slogan to “Victoria – the re-education state.

Perhaps Victorian Premier Dan Andrews should spend more time reflecting on his injecting room policy where the CEO of the centre has been stood down after some staffers were caught dealing drugs to the addicts that use the facilities. Who’d a thunk?

Utterly clueless

Zion Lights, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion (XR), is shown up by Andrew Neil for what the movement is – completely devoid of any sensible and rational knowledge of the subject they purport to know back to front.

Even the most extreme alarmist claims are treated with a level of high confidence and certainty. Lights doesn’t even accept the premise that the idea of billions dying is that far fetched. She simply deferred to the delusions of the lunatic scientists (highly questionable) who clearly made up such bogus claims as if it was a mathematical guarantee. She even thought banning aviation for a 0.03 degree temp change would be worth it.

When Neil suggested that most homes in Britain are heated by gas and/or use it for cooking, the idea that the UK be carbon neutral by 2025 was a long shot. Lights replied, “we put a man on the moon before we had mobile phones and the internet.” Sadly, it took the US more than 6 years to achieve that. Never mind, XR will demand billions are poured into research that will have no impact on the planet.

With that level of logic, we should definitely accelerate the idea of letting XR run our government with citizen’s assemblies. Utterly clueless, just like those councils and governments calling climate emergencies.

Ford downgraded to junk

This week, Ford Motor Co’s credit rating was downgraded by Moody’s to junk. $84bn worth of debt now no longer investment grade. It will be the first of many Fortune 500s to fall foul to this reality. In 2008, there was around $800bn of BBB status credit. That number exceeds $3.186 trillion today.

CM has long argued that the credit cycle would be the undoing of the economy. For too long, corporates binged on easy money, caring little for credit ratings because the interest spreads between AAA and BBB were so negligible. The market ignored risk and companies went hell for leather issuing new debt to fu buybacks to artificially prop up weak earnings to give the illusion of growth.

Sadly this problem is likely to cause widespread sell offs by companies/investors which must stick to products (as woefully yielding as they may be) with an investment grade, exacerbating the problem of refinancing debt close to maturity. The thinking during easy credit times was simple – refinancing could be done with low interest rates because there was no alternative.

This is problematic for three reasons:

1) under the Obama era, much of the newly issued debt was short term meaning $8.4 trillion arrives for refinancing in the next 2.5 years, crowding out the corporate market.

2) more than 50% of US corporates are one notch above junk status. Refinancing will not be a simple affair.

3) more and more investment grade debt will be driven to zero or even negative yields as a result further exacerbating the problems for insurance companies and pension funds dealing with massive unfunded liabilities.

Last year, in relation to unfunded liabilities at US public pension funds, CM wrote,

California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) lost around 2% of its funds in 2015/16. The fund assumed an aggressive 7.5% return. Dr. Joe Nation of Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research thinks unfunded liabilities have surged to $150bn from $93bn in the last two years. He suggested the use of a more realistic 4% rate of return last year. At that rate, CalPERS had a market based unfunded liability of $412bn (or the equivalent of 2 years’ worth of California state revenue). At present Nation now thinks the number is just shy of $1 trillion using a 3.25% discount rate. He expects that the 2017 data for CalPERS will be out in a week or so which should give some interesting perspective as to how much deeper the pension hole is for Californian public servants.

N.B. California collects $232bn in state taxes annually in a $2.3 trillion economy (around the size of Italy).”

This is just California, which in the last 8 years has seen a 2.62-fold jump in the gap between liabilities and state total expenditures.

Unfunded liabilities per household. In California’s case, the 2017 figure is $122,121. In 2008 this figure was only $36,159. In 8 years the gap has ballooned 3.38x. Every single state in America with the exception of Arizona has seen a deterioration.

Switching to Illinois, we have a case study on what happens when pension funds go pear shaped.The Illinois Police Pension is rapidly approaching the point of being unable to service its pension members and a taxpayer bailout looks unlikely given the State of Illinois’ mulling bankruptcy.

Local Government Information Services (LGIS) writes, At the end of 2020, LGIS estimates that the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago will have less than $150 million in assets to pay $928 million promised to 14,133 retirees the following yearFund assets will fall from $3.2 billion at the end of 2015 to $1.4 billion at the end of 2018, $751 million at the end of 2019, and $143 million at the end of 2020, according to LGIS…LGIS analyzed 12 years of the fund’s mandated financial filings with the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI), which regulates public pension funds. It found that– without taxpayer subsidies and the ability to use active employee contributions to pay current retirees, a practice that is illegal in the private sector– the fund would have already run completely dry, in 2015…The Chicago police pension fund held $3.2 billion in assets in 2003. It shelled out $3.8 billion more in benefits to retired police officers than it generated in investment returns between 2003 and 2015…Over that span, the fund paid out $6.9 billion and earned $3.0 billion, paying an additional $134 million in fees to investment managers.”

Therefore Ford’s downgrade to junk will have the effect of repricing over a decade of misplaced central bank policy across all markets. The dominos are only beginning to fall. The market can absorb Ford’s downgrade but not if it has to deal with the panic of dozens like it.

CM has long been warning of GE. Despite being the world’s largest stock in 2000, it is 1/5 the size today, trades in negative equity, wasted $45bn on share buybacks in 2015/16 and were it be classified as junk would increase the pile of junk by 10% on its own. Broadcom and American Tower are other monsters ready to be hurled onto the ratings scrap heap.

Buy Gold. The US Fed will likely embark on QE. It requires an act of Congress to approve the purchase of equities but don’t be surprised if this becomes a reality when markets plunge.

This will be the reset of asset prices which has been long overdue thanks to almost two decades of manipulation by authorities. It has 1929 written all over it. Not 2008.

Which Doctors or Witch Doctors? AMA needs to remove its head from its own backside

Ideology and medicine shouldn’t mix. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has taken on the role of a tribal witch doctor. It is more worrying that the very people we are supposed to put our faith in on the operating table have such ridiculously unfounded views in a field that is off their patch. Moreover, its assessment is flatly wrong.

Have they got hard evidence to back the claims? Not even the cheerleaders among alarmists back their claims. Yet watch the media fall into line with this utter garbage.

Here are some of the AMA’s reasons below.

“Climate change will cause higher mortality and morbidity from heat stress.”

– The reality is that more people die from cold weather events than hot. According to a 2014 study by the CDC, approximately 1,300 deaths per year from 2006 to 2010 were coded as resulting from extreme cold exposure, and 670 deaths per year from extreme heat. FAIL.

“Climate change will cause injury and mortality from increasingly severe weather events.”

The ‘Uncertainties in Greenhouse Gas induced climate change report of 2000 notes, that,

“A causal and unequivocal link between mean surface temperature increase and the anthropogenic greenhouse gas increase has not yet been established. The most probable cause of the mean surface temperature increase is considered to be a combination of internally and externally forced natural variability and anthropogenic sources. Significant uncertainty still exists relating the total (direct plus indirect) radiative forcing by anthropogenic aerosols (e.g. sulfate, black carbon, dust etc.). Recent studies suggest that the negative total radiative forcing by anthropogenic aerosols may offset the positive forcing by the greenhouse gases. Precipitation trends in different regions of the world do not present conclusive evidence about the intensification of the hydrologic cycle of the atmospheric-ocean system. There is still uncertainty relating trends in storm (tropical as well as extratropical) frequency in different parts of the world. Available climate data do not show any increasing trend in extreme weather events (e.g. extreme precipitation, extreme drought thunderstorms, winter blizzards) in any part of the world.FAIL

“Climate change will cause increases in the transmission of vector-borne diseases.”

A 2016 NIH report titled,  ‘Climate change effects on airborne pathogenic bioaerosol concentrations: a scenario analysis‘ noted,

The single receptor results showed that modelled concentrations were modified (on average decreased) several percentage points on average as a result of climate change. In general, the variables wind speed and global radiation were of most importance, by influencing atmospheric particle dilution. An increase in global radiation (and temperature) enhances vertical atmospheric mixing and thus results in lower surface concentrations. An increase in wind speed enhances horizontal spread, and thus, the concentration at a receptor point at the plume axis (as in our study) decreases. From our spatial analysis, we concluded that distribution of the area at risk, however, changed: in some areas, the seasonal-averaged concentrations decreased (up to 20 %)

…Given the fact that most human infections occurred in spring, the 2009 concentrations were not exceptional...”

We concluded that for four out of five scenarios the concentrations generally decrease as a result of increased global radiation, temperature and increased wind speeds, whereas for one scenario the concentrations generally increase. Nevertheless, the differences between and especially within seasons are large. Since coincidence of emission and specific meteorological conditions largely determines the actual exposure, additional investigations are required to further quantify the change in predicted concentrations of airborne pathogenic bioaerosolsby taking into account pathogen inactivation and more detailed probability functions on precipitation, snow and large-scale circulation.” FAIL

“Climate change will cause food insecurity resulting from declines in agricultural outputs.”

The IPCC Synthesis Report (i.e. summary) states: “By 2020, in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%.”  This is properly referenced back to chapter 9.4 of WG2, which says:  “In other countries, additional risks that could be exacerbated by climate change include greater erosion, deficiencies in yields from rain-fed agriculture of up to 50% during the 2000-2020 period, and reductions in crop growth period” (Agoumi, 2003).

Agoumi study wasn’t a peer-reviewed document.

It is noteworthy that chapter 9.4 continued with “However, there is the possibility that adaptation could reduce these negative effects (Benhin, 2006)…not all changes in climate and climate variability will be negative, as agriculture and the growing seasons in certain areas (for example, parts of the Ethiopian highlands and parts of southern Africa such as Mozambique), may lengthen under climate change, due to a combination of increased temperature and rainfall changes (Thornton et al., 2006). Mild climate scenarios project further benefits across African croplands for irrigated and, especially, dryland farms.” 

The same goes for chocolate…

Half of the world’s chocolate is currently sourced from just two African countries: Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. According to the IPCC, rising temperatures and a relative reduction in rainfall could make it less suitable for cocoa production in the future. The research highlighted in the IPCC Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability report indicate that, under a “business as usual” scenario, those countries will experience a 3.8°F (2.1°C) increase in temperature by 2050 which could seriously impact cocoa production.

Claims that changes to the climate are also pushing cocoa-growing regions to higher altitudes in some parts of the world, which can make some crops unsustainable…production has more than doubled in the past 3 decades. FAIL

“Climate change will cause a higher incidence of mental ill-health.”

By opening its mouth the AMA would seemingly be assisting the business fortunes of psychologists. Perhaps the AMA should check into its own facilities.

Honestly, we must conclude that climate alarmism is in the final throes. With all these local councils declaring climate emergencies and now the AMA joining the RBA and APRA on climate activism, we should start to discount their opinions on their core subjects. Utterly pathetic.

Perhaps the AMA should demand that all of our hospitals are run off renewables with no baseload back up power. Gotta practice what it preaches!

Political shots fired. Media misses the target as usual

Never put it past the media or the political class to maximize tragedy for their own personal gain. It is truly sick. Beto O’Rourke blamed the shootings in El Paso and Dayton to Trump’s hatred being on a par with the Third Reich. Seriously? Congresswoman & ‘The Squad” member Rashid Tlaib lashed out at Ivanka Trump for expressing sorrow for the attacks by making attacks on her father’s “hate agenda and racism“, which is a touch ironic coming from an anti-Semite and a minority that has somehow overcome this imaginary racism and hatred to be elected to represent America on a national level. Do Trump’s “thoughts and prayers” solve anything? No.

Sadly even if Trump were to ban guns, the liberal left would give him zero credit for it. So what does he stand to gain? That isn’t an excuse to do nothing either. How is that within several hours of these shootings we have full dossiers on the perpetrators – political affiliation, tweets of racist rhetoric and photos from their childhood? How quickly acquaintances of perpetrators all knew these people were capable of massacres…

One shooter had tweeted support for Trump. The other was a registered Democrat. What does this actually prove? Do all 63m Trump voters and all 66m odd Hillary Clinton voters to a man and woman share a certain slice of DNA with these abhorrent individuals? Does skin colour actually matter? To shoot up a Walmart or other public area requires a special kind of lunacy. These two represent 0.00000154% of those voters in the 2016 election.

If so much information can be garnered within such a short time, why don’t regulators clamp down on checks so the system has a higher chance of catching potential loonies?

Unfortunately these shootings will be forgotten in a few weeks as per usual and Americans will get on with their daily lives. This is nothing but a political football. The reality is that the people most affected (the murdered & their families) are ranked last as debate gets stifled by politicians looking to maximize exposure from the tragedy. Remember you’re a racist, bigoted Nazi if you want to protect 2A. Not a very good starting point to solve a problem.

Yet the media can’t move away from the “if it bleeds it leads” narrative. It jumps on the finger pointing blame game to recover decimated rankings.

Yet what of the stats of gun crime in America?

There are 50,000 (mostly individual) gun stores in the US. 95% of firearm related murders are committed with handguns. Statistically America would be better off banning sales of pistols rather than AR-15s. Say automatic rifles are banned from today. What will change? Handgun murders will move closer to 100%. Good luck buying back 300m+ guns in America.

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, murders in US appear to be very concentrated: 54% of US counties (representing 11% of the population) in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of counties made up 51% of the murders, ironically in states with the strictest gun controls – Illinois, NY and California.

Yet America has had decades of periods where governments had majorities in both houses and nothing was done on gun control. We’ve experienced Orlando, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Parkland, Fort Hood, El Paso, Dayton, San Bernardino, Virginia Tech, Geneva County, Aurora…the list goes on.

Moves by sporting goods stores like Dick’s to ban AR sales and raise the age limit to 21yo looked sensible from the outside. However they had multiple massacres over decades to make that call. The current CEO has been in charge since 1984. Why the u-turn in his conscience? Indeed the company did temporarily suspend sales of ARs after Sandy Hook in 2012 but kept retailing them at the company’s Field & Stream outlets before selling them again at Dick’s. Inconsistent.

Recall the Parkland, Florida school shooting. At the time media outlets went all guns blazing on the National Rifle Association (NRA), CM warned that it most likely would cause a knee jerk reaction in the opposite direction. We speculated that the hike in membership fee likely reflected a surge in members. As tragic as the Parkland massacre was, CM said that ‘shaming’ NRA members en masse would only make them dig in deeper. As it turns out searches for NRA membership surged 4900% immediately after the tragedy. People are sick and tired of being bullied into feeling guilty about things they haven’t caused.

39,773 died from gun related death in America in 2018. The highest number in 20 years. Statistically speaking ‘massacres’ accounted for only 106 deaths in 2018 or 0.27% of the total. Yet media attention focuses on it.

To put it into perspective the total number of overdose deaths involving heroin from 2002 to 2015 jumped 6.2-fold in the US. Automobiles killed around 32,000 people last year or a little over 2x that of heroin overdoses. When adding non-methadone opioids (illicit fentanyl) overdose that number surged to 20,000, a 33% YoY jump on 2014 and 5.9x 2002. Why is it happening? The problem for many prescription painkiller users is that once their bottle ends, the addiction doesn’t stop meaning many switch to heroin to get the same ‘opioid’ hit.

We armchair politicians can sit back and shake our heads at America. Yet until there is a will of the people to change the laws, expect more massacres to happen. Name an American politician that is willing to repeal 2A as a cornerstone election campaign policy. There is your answer. Will the Democrat nominees raise their hands for the repeal of 2A? Safer to raise hands at free healthcare for illegal immigrants. 2A is toxic to touch. Sadly innocent people are dying for no reason.