France

Netflix cancelations surge to 8x average after Cuties backlash

It appears that Netflix cancellations have surged to 8x the average monthly levels according to Variety.

Who knew that brazenly dedicating bandwidth to the sexualising of children in Cuties might backfire? When will woke corporates work out that alienating customers reflects bad governance?

FNF Media will never call for the direct boycotting of anything including #CancelNetflix . Cancel culture is not in our remit. We trust our readers to be able to make those personal decisions by themselves based on the content.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Would you do this to your employer and expect to remain there?

These messages from black, queer and trans activist Munroe Bergdorf have done the rounds of late. Note L’Oreal has NOT made these comments.

Munroe Bergdorf, who has been a consultant on the UK diversity and inclusion advisory board of L’Oréal Paris since June 2020, wrote these comments back in 2017, when she was signed as a model for the cosmetic giant’s diversity campaign. L’Oreal sacked her for these comments.

Perhaps more surprising after being sacked, Bergdorf exclaimed, “It puzzles me that my views are considered out of touch and extreme…it is horrible and awful to think that people hate me.

One has to question why L’Oreal has chosen to use her services again? After all, on June 1 she said,

You dropped me from a campaign in 2017 and threw me to the wolves for speaking out about racism and white supremacy. With no duty of care, without a second thought…I had to fend for myself being torn apart by the world’s press because YOU didn’t want to talk about racism. You do NOT get to do this. This is NOT okay, not even in the slightest.”

But fear not,

While what happened three years ago was extremely traumatic for me personally and professionally, sitting on a board to provide a voice and a champion for black, trans and queer voices in the beauty industry is important for me…It feels good to finally have closure on this matter and I look forward to new beginnings with the L’Oreal team.

FNF Media wonders what the response would be for any normal employee to sound off at their place of work and not face some sort of sanction? As Thomas Sowell said,

Civil rights used to be about treating everyone the same. But today, some people are so used to special treatment that equal treatment is considered discrimination.

Macron invites moral hazard

President Macron of France wants to suspend all utility and rent payments for 30 days. So what if Coronavirus lasts 6-9 months? Will landlords get special treatment from the banks to suspend loan payments on those properties forced into providing free rent?What about banks who have to pay for staff with reduced income because loan payments are frozen? Who pays? The very people the government is trying to help.

How long can a country subsidize employers and employees? What will happen when those French citizens who end up 6mths in arrears on rent? Should we expect that they have prudently set aside those payments to hand over as a lump sum to their generous landlords? Will the tenants claim that they had to spend it on other things and ask for the government to pay on their behalf? Of course they will.

These are the first steps to guaranteeing moral hazard. This misguided altruism will backfire big time. The vicious circle will mean the people he tried to help will end up in a worse place after it. Higher taxes, fewer jobs and more handouts with money that has been borrowed or printed.

What next? Bail out restaurants, bars and cafes that are affected by shutdowns?

We are staring at a Great Depression. No one likes to talk about it but we can’t just expect economies to shutdown for 2 months or more and then go back to business as usual once the whole pandemic has been defeated like nothing ever happened.

Take the example of a cafe. Most coffee shops buy in muffins and pastries. So if the coffee shop must cease trading for a while, it will tell its bakery to halt deliveries. Same for the coffee bean makers. And the coffee cup suppliers. They’ll tell their raw materials providers to stop until further notice. And so on and so on. The cafe will temporarily lay off staff. As will the baker, bean supplier and others.

Some staff or owners may have mortgages. Many won’t be able to meet monthly payments. They could default. Their homes could be repossessed by the banks which will then be faced with marking to market the value of the property on their loan books which could technically wipe out all their thin equity. Then the banks will be forced to ask for a bail out. Housing prices implode. Australia, are you listening?

Then home owners struggling to make payments cut back on non essentials. Out go gym memberships and cable TV subscriptions. Buying a latte becomes a luxury.

We are all going to have to realize we will have little choice but to click the big fat RESET button if the economy is to recover properly and soundly. It will be painful and bring out the worst in people but experience is a hard teacher. We’ll get the test first and the lesson afterwards.

And for Australia, which has experienced 28 years of non stop growth, the shock will be exacerbated because of so much complacency.

In a nutshell we all need to relearn the word “personal responsibility“. Governments are only doing everything in their power to remove us having to be accountable for anything.

Wouldn’t hire you in a pink fit with that attitude

You have got to hand it to the next generation. Before they’ve been hired, many are already dictating terms to prospective employers.

Despite not proving they’re worth one euro cent of value to a company they are already showing their incapacity to think creatively or show a basic modicum of balanced thought, innovation much less display respect to their future bosses.

What company would openly want to hire graduates who think they know more than the companies they might work for? With so much knowledge, FNF Media is surprised these kids don’t demand a position on the board.

It is wonderful that the self entitled generation have such big tickets on themselves. A Student Manifesto says:

We want to take advantage of our power as students by turning to employers that abide by the demands set out in this manifesto. We affirm that it is possible to live decently without drowning into either overconsumption or utter destitution; that the economic system must be aware of its dependence on environment in order to be sustainable; and that solving environmental issues is key to reducing inequalities and conflict risks.

According to EU Observer,

Over the past 15 months, more than 32,000 students or recent graduates have signed the manifesto, mostly – but not only – in France.

What if the company manufactures envelopes and stationery? Will it violate the manifesto? France has a robust industrial sector. Will Alstom, Thales and Renault be forced to hire inferior graduates? Maybe they’ll need to invest more in AI.

When we boil it all down to gravy we can be dead certain that these kids will demand more regulation to make up for the brainwashing drummed into them by leftist institutions who have not prepared them for the real world.

China and other nations not beholden to these ideological gimmicks must relish the thought that Europe is becoming so hard core with respect to stifling innovation that they’ll be able to snap up distressed assets in France on the cheap. Talk about a future of self inflicted wounds.

What do you think protestors called kindy kids in a nativity play?

One has to wonder what possessed 50 loony leftists to protest a kindergarten nativity play in France and call the kids, “fascists“? One would imagine the kids were frightened by their actions. What bravery to intimidate young children? Grubs.

French newspaper, La Depeche reported the protestors screamed that they were “anti capitalists” and forced the play to be abandoned. One would have thought they knew Jesus Christ wasn’t part of the bourgeoisie.

Another sad day on the world of cancel culture.

This can only end in tears

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As Sweden’s economy slows to the worst economic growth rate in 5 years under a negative interest rate policy, one would think the Swedish Central Bank (Riksbank) would be seeking to prudently manage its asset book on the basis of appropriate risk/reward as opposed to lecturing Australia and Canada on their respective carbon footprints. What we are witnessing is yet another discrete move by authorities to manipulate markets based on fantasy rather than fact.  The hypocrisy is extreme as we shall discover.

While the Riksbank should have complete freedom in how it wishes to deploy capital, we should view this is a pathetic sop to the cabal at the European Central Bank (ECB). Since when did central bankers become experts on climate change? The RBA is no better. Deputy Governor, Guy Debelle, gave a speech in March 2019 on the risks posed by climate change which based prophecies on the data accident-prone IPCC and Bureau of Meteorology. Why not seek balance? Easier to fold to group think so as not to be outed as a pariah. Utterly gutless. Our own APRA is also pushing this ridiculous agenda on climate change reporting. It is willful negligence.

While it is true that on a per capita basis, Australia and Canada’s emissions are higher than the global average, why doesn’t the Riksbank give us credit for lowering that amount 11.4% since 2000? Even Canada has reduced its carbon emissions by 7.3% over the last 18 years. Admittedly Sweden’s emissions per capita have fallen 21.9% according to the IEA. Greta will be happy.

Why hasn’t the Riksbank taken China or India to task for their 169.9% or 94.7% growth in CO2 emissions respectively? There are plenty of oil-producing nations – Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman that have worse per capita outcomes than Australia or Canada. Do these countries get special dispensation from the wrath of the Riksbank? Clearly.

The US has pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord. If the US has marginally lower emissions per capita (15.74t/CO2-e) than Australia (16.45t/CO2-e), isn’t a double standard to write,

The conditions for active climate consideration are slightly better in our work with the foreign exchange reserves. To ensure that the foreign exchange reserves fulfil their purpose, they need to consist of assets that can be rapidly converted to money even when the markets are not functioning properly. Our assessment is that the foreign exchange reserves best correspond to this need if they consist of 75 per cent US government bonds, 20 per cent German and 5 per cent British, Danish and Norwegian government bonds.

Essentially Riksbank commitment to climate change is conditional. The US which is responsible for 13.8% of global emissions can be 75% of holdings. Australia at 1.3% can’t. No doubt sacrificing Queensland Treasury Corp, WA Treasury Corp and Albertan bonds from a Riksbank balance sheet perspective will have little impact on the total. In short, it looks to be pure tokenism. The Riksbank has invested around 8% of its foreign exchange reserves in Australian and Canadian central and federal government bonds. So perhaps at the moment, it is nothing but substitution from state to federal. Why not punish NSW TCorp for being part of a state that has 85%+ coal-fired power generation?

At the very least the Riksbank admits its own hypocrisy.

The Riksbank needs to develop its work on how to take climate change into consideration in asset management. For instance, we need a broader and deeper analysis of the issuers’ climate footprint. At the same time, one must remember that the foreign exchange reserves are unavoidably dominated by US and German government bonds. The Riksbank’s contribution to a better development of the climate will, therefore, remain small. This is entirely natural. The important decisions on how climate change should be counteracted in Sweden are political and should be taken by the government and the Riksdag (parliament).

Still, what hope have we got when Benoît Cœuré, member of the Executive Board of the ECB, lecturing those on “Scaling up Green Finance: The Role of Central Banks.” He noted,

2018 has seen one of the hottest summers in Europe since weather records began. Increasing weather extremes, rising sea levels and the Arctic melting are now clearly visible consequences of human-induced warming. Climate change is not a theory. It is a fact.

Reading more of this report only confirms the commitment of the ECB to follow the UN’s lead and deliberately look to misallocate capital based on unfounded claims of falling crop yields and rising prices (the opposite is occurring) and rising hurricane and drought activity (claims that even the IPCC has admitted there is little or no evidence by climate change). Sweden is merely being a well-behaved schoolboy.

Cœuré made the explicit claim, “The ECB, together with other national central banks of the Eurosystem, is actively supporting the European Commission’s sustainable finance agenda.

CM thinks the biggest problem with this “agenda” is that it risks even further misallocation of capital within global markets already drowning in poorly directed investment. It isn’t hard to see what is going on here. It is nothing short of deliberate market manipulation by trying to increase the cost of funding to conventional energy using farcical concocted “climate risks” to regulate them out of existence.

Cœuré made this clear in his speech,

once markets and credit risk agencies price climate risks properly, the amount of collateralised borrowing counterparties can obtain from the ECB will be adjusted accordingly.

What do you know? On cue, Seeking Alpha notes,

Cutting €2bn of yearly investments, the European Union will stop funding oil, natural gas and coal projects at the end of 2021 as it aims to become the first climate-neutral continent.

All CM will say is best of luck with this decision. Just watch how this kneeling at the altar of the pagan god of climate change will completely ruin the EU economy. The long term ramifications are already being felt. The EU can’t escape the fact that 118mn of its citizens (up from 78m in 2007) are below the poverty line. That is 22% of the population. So why then does Cœuré mention, in spite of such alarming poverty, that taking actions (that will likely increase unemployment) will be helped by “migration [which] has contributed to dampening wage growth…in recent years, thereby further complicating our efforts to bring inflation back to levels closer to 2%.

Closer to home, the National Australia Bank (NAB) has joined in the groupthink by looking to phase out lending to thermal coal companies by 2035. The $760 million exposure will be cut in half by 2028. If climate change is such a huge issue why not look to end it ASAP? This is terrible governance.

Why not assess thermal coal companies on the merits of the industry’s future rather than have the acting-CEO Philip Chronican make a limp-wristed excuse that it is merely getting in line with the government commitment to Paris? If lending to thermal coal is good for shareholders in 2036, who cares what our emissions targets are (which continue to fall per capita)? Maybe this is industry and regulator working hand-in-hand?

The market has always been the best weighing mechanism for risk. Unfortunately, for the last two decades, global central bank policy has gone out of its way to prevent the market from clearing. Now it seems that the authorities are taking actions that look like collusion to bully the ratings agencies into marking down legitimate businesses that are being punished for heresy.

This will ironically only make them even better investments down the track when reality dawns, just as CM pointed out with anti-ESG stocks. Just expect the entry points to these stocks to be exceedingly cheap. Buy what the market hates. It looks as though the bureaucrats are set to make fossil fuel companies penny stocks.

Greta and her mates look to sue carbon polluters, wait for it…

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…on the grounds they are violating their rights as children! No surprises that the UN is buying into this BS and seeking to twist climate change into a children’s rights issue.

It is quite difficult to imagine what crimes steel makers or coal miners have committed in actual law. Never mind realities.

Interestingly the suit is being filed against five countries – Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey. It seeks to compel those nations to forge binding emissions reductions targets. Why not an Australia or America? Or have the adults guiding these children just selected soft targets because even they know suing others will achieve nothing.

Sadly for these kids they need to recognize that lawsuits can drag on for years and years, hardly the sort of rebellion that will expedite the type of action they demand.

Never have adults in a room been more needed to invite rational debate. At the moment it’s a disruptive classroom and these petulant kids need time in school detention and forced to write “I must learn respect”

CM recommends they learn economics quick smart. No point suing Argentina. Its default risk is so high that there would be precious little to pay out. Best just sue Germany and France where most of Argentina’s sovereign debt owners come from.

Banker Buster?

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Before the GFC in 2008, bank shares across the globe were flying. Financial engineering promised a new paradigm of wealth creation and abundant profitability. They were unstoppable.

However 12 years later, many banks look mere shadows of their former selves. We are told by our political class to believe that our economies are robust and that a low-interest rate environment will keep things tickety-boo indefinitely. After all the wheels of the economy have always been greased by the financial sector.

If that were true, why does Europe’s largest economy have two of its major banks more than 90% off the peak? Commerz has shrunk so far that it has been thrown out of the DAX. Surely, Japan’s banks should be prospering under Abenomics so why are the shares between 65% and 80% below 2007 levels?

Ahh, but take a look at those Aussie beauties! How is it they have bucked the global trend? How can Commonwealth Bank be worth 6x Deutsche Bank?

Although we shouldn’t look at the Aussie banks with rose-tinted glasses they have mortgage debt up to the eyeballs. Mortgages to total loans exceed 62% in Australia. The next is daylight, followed by Norway at 40%. Japanese banks, before the bubble collapsed, were in the 40% range. CM wrote a comparo here. There is a real risk that these Aussie banks will require bailouts if the housing market craps out. It carries so many similarities to Japan and when anyone ever mentions stress tests – start running for the hills.

If you own Aussie banks in your superannuation portfolio, it is high time you dumped them. Franked dividends might be an ample reason to hold them, but things in finance turn on a dime and this time Australia doesn’t have a China to rescue us like it did in 2008-09. More details contained in the link in the paragraph above.

In closing, Milton Friedman said it best with respect to the ability of central banks to control outcomes,

“… we are in danger of assigning to monetary policy a larger role than it can perform, in danger of asking it to accomplish tasks that it cannot achieve, and as a result, in danger of preventing it from making the contribution that it is capable of making.

 

Despite all the problems at the gates of Elysee Palace, Macron torches 10 Downing St instead

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As the German 6th Army marched on Paris on June 14th, 1940 civil servants of Britain and France drafted a proposal for a Franco-British Union in the ensuing 48 hours. It wasn’t to be a mere military pact but essentially merging two countries. The document stated clearly,

At this most fateful moment in the history of the modern world, the Governments of the United Kingdom and the French Republic make this declaration of indissoluble union and unyielding resolution in their common defence of justice and freedom against subjection to a system which reduces mankind to a life of robots and slaves.

Churchill was surprised by the eagerness of the French. Charles de Gaulle embraced the idea of wanting immediate execution. However, the French quickly became disillusioned and disappointed when the British were pulling troops from Dunkirk. The deal collapsed.

Then PM Paul Reynaud wrote in his memoirs that, “Those who rose in indignation at the idea of union with our ally were the same individuals who were getting ready to bow and scrape to Hitler.

So it was a No Deal outcome. The British accepted it.

The British didn’t give up and abandon the French but vowed to liberate them regardless of failing to reach a ‘mutual’ deal. Surviving the Battle of Britain, the Blitz and U-boats destroying merchant shipping, the British, with allied help, played an instrumental role in defeating Hitler. We can soundly argue that Britain had little choice but to do as she did, but the liberation of France was a welcome by-product, not lost on the French in August 1944.

The sacrifices made by Great Britain to drive out those evil occupiers are not lost on the British either. So to have Macron issue an ultimatum is ignoring history. Perhaps Macron should ask his wife, who grew up soon after the war, about French attitudes of the time – how they deeply appreciated and embraced Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

However, all credit must be given to French President Emmanuel Macron for conveniently forgetting the past and embracing double standards to try to railroad and back the very foreign democracy – that essentially assured he was able to attain the position he has – into a corner. That is the EU operating to type.

As CM has mentioned multiple times, the negative impacts on the UK economy are effectively zero if common sense between nations prevails.

Looking at the latest trade stats between the EU and Britain it is simple. EU members make up 7 of the Top 10 British export markets accounting for 37.4% of all trade. Top 10 accounts for 65.9% of trade. Trump accounts for £54.9bn vs £36.5bn from Merkel.

On the Import side, the UK matters much more to the likes of Germany £68bn. The Dutch at £42bn and France at £28bn.

In short of the UK ‘s Top 10 importing nations, 8 are EU members. The Top 10 account for 65.7% of the total. Those 8 EU nations make up 48.1% of all British imports. 7.13% of Germany’s exports end up in Blighty. One might argue that 10% of UK exports ending up in Germany is reason enough to back down. Yet why would either seek to make their position worse off? Germany is the UK’s #1 importer and Germany is the #2 destination for British exports. For Germany, the UK ranks #11 importer and #3 export nation.

Will Angela Merkel really work to ruin a trading relationship with the UK where the trade surplus alone is worth 1% of German GDP? Especially as the German economy is contracting?

Macron has once again revealed the EU’s utter contempt for sovereign state democracy. Ironic coming from a man who has seen his popularity collapse at home. If he can’t fix the will of those very constituents he represents at his own doorstep (yellow vest protests haven’t ended), what place does he have soiling the doormat at 10 Downing St? It reads like Aesop’s “Dog in the Manger.

In closing, wasn’t the whole point of establishing the EU to prevent tyranny from ever happening again?