LGBT

Way to go, Joe! If you vote for Trump, “you ain’t black”

Joe Biden just keeps the gaffes going.

On Friday morning the former VP said, that if black Americans are unsure whether to support him over Trump in the November 2020 election, “then you ain’t black.

Such is the scourge of identity politics within the ranks of the Democrats that Biden is not the only one to think that minorities aren’t entitled to individual thought. Democrat Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (of The Squad) infamously said during the Trump “shith*le country” saga,

We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice.

How quickly The Squad (AOC, Pressley, Tlaib and Omar) denounced America’s treatment of minorities when it was that very system that enabled them to attain public office at the highest level.

Essentially, they hold on to the tenet of telling constituents to shut up and conform to the stereotype of their minority status so it can be exploited. Funny how the supposedly racist Trump has done more for black Americans in economic and employment terms before the pandemic than any Democrat preceding him.

Biden, Pressley and other like them behave like the very racists they condemn.

Biden later apologized on a call with the Black Chamber of Commerce, “I should not have been so cavalier. I’ve never, never, ever taken the African-American community for granted…I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy.”

Already at the back of the discount rack

Former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull’s memoirs are already on sale less than a week after the hyped launch. Retailer Big W has cut the price from $55 to $29. Booktopia has cut prices too. And Dymocks. And QBD Books. And Amazon.

If Turnbull wanted to leave a legacy of a true statesman he honestly believes he is, he wouldn’t have resorted to documenting slanderous affairs between Tony Abbott and his senior staffer Peta Credlin or accused so many of his supposed close confidants of treachery that ultimately led to his downfall. Had he truly carried all of the hallmarks of the leader he aspired to be and trumpeted he was, the party would have united behind him and the inner factions would have displayed unwavering loyalty. Period. The fact that they didn’t is a reflection on him, not them.

Sadly it was all about Malcolm.

It was no longer called the Coalition which was founded in 1923. He rebranded it the ‘The Turnbull Coalition Team‘.

He was the only conservative party leader we can think of in any country who avoided conservative media platforms like the plague. Instead, he bathed in the adoration of the left-wing mainstream press including The Guardian and ABC where he got overwhelmingly favourable coverage.

A true leader should have been able to comfortably dismantle the flawed arguments held by lunatic ‘Murdoch’ media stooges to their faces and in the process defined the desirable qualities of strength and character to the public. He didn’t. Instead, Turnbull just blamed them for being mean to him.

The CEO of any business knows the top job carries awesome responsibilities before taking it on but are also aware that leadership defines them, especially during crises. Turnbull’s leadership style defined him. Dumped by his party twice for not showing it.

Turnbull lacked judgement. He signed a refugee deal with Obama, weeks before Trump was due to take office. Hardly a great way to start a relationship with an incoming president, made worse by making no preparation for his possible victory complicated by the need to call on former Aussie golf professional Greg Norman to get Trump’s number.

His defining legacy will perhaps turn out to be one of the biggest white elephants in Australian history – the now $250 billion submarine contract with the French. His thought bubble on giving income taxing powers from the federal government to the states before quickly walking back those comments. The Snowy Hydro 2.0 joke. Weighing in on the bushfire crisis to score shots on the man that took his job.

Turnbull had the assistance of his progeny to abuse his enemies on Twitter. FNF Media was even blocked by his son Alex, which we wear as a badge of honour.

In the success camp, Turnbull secured exemptions from US steel tariffs. He can also lay claim to the introduction of same-sex marriage legislation.  And saying no to the UNHCR which wanted to conduct a special investigation of Israel.

In closing, Turnbull’s TV interview on ABC’s 730 Report this week only added proof to why he no longer occupies The Lodge.

Cancel culture on centre court

It is hard to know where to start. A lack of professionalism? Bereft of understanding?What about a failure to ask the opinion of the very person John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova want the stadium renamed after?

FNF Media doesn’t much care for Margaret Court’s views on same sex marriage. They are her own. She has a right to hold those thoughts, no matter if others find them abhorrent. At 77yo, many of her generation probably have similar opinions. Doesn’t make it right or wrong. People should respect not everyone thinks alike. What have her views on same sex marriage got to do with tennis anyway?

Do the two former tennis champs think by staging a stunt that seeks to rename a stadium that currently honours Court’s sporting record will somehow cause her to yield on those views? Is that how society works now? Twist the arm of a septuagenerian until she squeals that she has conformed to the orthodoxy?

Let’s not forget that 38%, or 4.87m Aussies voted just like Margaret Court. Perhaps we should find out who they are and tell their neighbours. Inform their employers to ensure they are demoted, sacked and publicly humiliated.

The ultimate irony is that Evonne Goolagong Cawley said the following about Margaret Court in 2017,

“Margaret’s my hero…great player, wonderful champion and a true professional in every way.”

So McEnroe and Navratilova’s virtue signaling stunt backfired. Not only did the activists fail to gather the support of the very person they wanted to glorify in place of the one they wished to pillory, 2GB conducted a poll which found 91% of Aussies against changing the name. Double fault.

So much for two Americans trying to make a statement in Australia. Code violation – stupidity.

If FNF Media ran the network, the two would be sacked for hijacking expensive broadcast rights for personal political gain. It is an utter embarrassment to have them conduct themselves in a country they have no voting rights.

It takes some doing to be lectured by McEnroe, who personified disobeying the orthodoxy throughout his career. He cannot be serious!

Only recently, Navratilova was hung, drawn and quartered by radical LGBT activists for suggesting trans females competing in women’s sports was unfair. Court would no doubt agree with her on that score. So Navratilova better repudiate that commonality with the Aussie tennis great before smearing her on centre court if she wants to be consistent in her efforts to appear woke.

Identity politics is poison. Period.

Santa walks the plank of stupidity at the crayon point of the sustainability pirate

The comrades of the Democratic People’s Republic of Victoria never fail to come up with new ways of out-woking each other. A Melbourne kindergarten is determined to put Santa out of business and replace him with a sustainability pirate.

While we might sit back and laugh at this madness, those promulgating such curricula chip away bit by bit. This is just more evidence of the slippery slope of society. Where traditional values are cast aside to brainwash the innocent as you flag as possible. It’s not enough to do penis tucking and breast binding anymore in schools.

Perhaps while these kindy teachers are at it they should tell kids that Santa not only represents the white patriarchy, but operates his sleigh with a lack of gender diversity, that his obesity is caused by a heavily meat based diet and that he is cruel to animals. Not only that, he represents all of the evils of capitalism. Pushing people into senseless consumerism which ravages the planet.

They shouldn’t stop. Drum into kids the notion that their parents are liars to force the pretense of innocence of St Nick’s existence. Seriously, if the ice on the North Pole due to the climate emergency has melted how can he possibly be real?!

To take the other side of the coin, the pirate makes perfect sense as a replacement by the left. Lawless thieves stealing the most precious jewel of all – childhood innocence – at crayon point.

To be fair to Santa, the teachers should tell kids how pirates raped, boozed, killed and also traded slaves. Izzy Folau can help draft the Twitter post.

Do as we say, not as we do

Take that. Despite living with the irony that half of the members of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) fail to meet the very diversity quotas they expect ASX200 companies to hit, what a complete laughing stock to publicly tell conference organisers it won’t join unless there is a guarantee of gender balanced speaker participation. How about try to get the best diversity of thought for a speaking panel regardless of their identity? There won’t be a man in the audience who complains at a panel of superstar women speakers.

The ACSI demands are listed here. A default letter the ACSI uses is as follows.

“SAMPLE RESPONSE TO EVENT INVITATIONS

Thank you for your invitation to speak at [name of event]. ACSI has taken the Panel Pledge and will only participate in events which are gender diverse and inclusive. Before accepting your invitation, I’ll need some additional information to determine whether this event is consistent with our commitment.

Can you please confirm the following:

– Will there be a gender balance among speakers at this event?
– Will speaking roles be allocated equitably among genders?

If I agree to participate in this event, I reserve the right to withdraw later should I become aware there will not be a gender balance among speakers.

Thanks in advance for your support of our efforts to promote gender diversity.”

What if the ACSI was offered a chance to speak next to Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk for the third and final slot at an investor conference? Would ACSI turn it down to stick to its principlesb or be the first in line to take selfies to upload to Instagram?

Get woke, go broke.

South Park shuns PC in women’s sports

South Park has never won any prizes for political correctness which is why the formula continues to be so successful. This episode mocks the current obsession of accepting trans females in women’s professional sports.

N.B.it contains profanity.

To think poor old Martina Navratilova was eviscerated by activists for pointing out the obvious with respect to biological males playing female sports. Despite being such a positive role model for her community in the tennis world, the loony left can’t face biological facts.

The irresponsibility of socially responsible investing

United Nations Sustainable Development Logo

Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) has been heavily pushed by members of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) for a while now. Apart from cynically cashing in on the generally higher fees generated by these “woke” funds, the returns have been nothing much to write home about. As Milton Friedman once said, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.

If we look at YTD, 1 or 10-year performance all of the SRI portfolios as indicated by published performance (listed on their websites) of local ACSI members, they have “underperformed” the benchmark index. One outperformed in the 5-year category. Hardly anything to crow about. So as much as they might feel warm and fuzzy for turning these funds into virtue-signalling investment vehicles, the outcomes for the monies entrusted to them is far from ideal. While investors should bear ultimate responsibility for where they deploy retirement funds, do they realise how much money they are torching by believing in this nonsense?

So why do these funds try to bully top-performing companies to conform to their irrelevant ideals which on the face of it do not appear to be working? If one reads through the fine print, many superannuation administrators pat themselves on the back that they are aligning portfolios to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If one wants to champion best in class ethics, the UN is the last place anyone should look. Just look at the unethical scandal that occurred at UNAIDS. 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what these SDGs are – eliminating hunger, wiping out poverty, promoting gender equality, good health, clean water and sanitation, affordable clean energy etc. All wonderful things in and of themselves, but surely if the market agrees with them,  shouldn’t share prices reflect that?

Friedman spoke of free-market economics, “Well, first of all, tell me: Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus [including the UN]. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.

In Australia,  it would seem that many high performing companies, that aren’t ‘compliant as they should be‘, are being pressured to increase diversity, women on boards and all manner of meaningless benchmarks preached by the ACSI and its members.

Take the 30% Club which pushes to have 30% women on boards. While this started in the UK in 2010, it has spread across multiple jurisdictions including Australia. The 30% Club emphatically quotes from a McKinsey study,  “Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.” What this study doesn’t say is that the bottom quartile of companies maybe just poorly run, in spite of the genitalia of the board.

Don’t mistake the most important point to be made. If a board is best served by all women, you won’t hear a peep from investors if they can produce the best results. As soon as we start to try to enforce gender quotas, performance becomes predicated on chromosomes rather than capability. What next? Ensure fair representation of LGBT on boards? Religions? Races? Disabilities? Where does it stop when all that matters is ability that produces performance?

Take a look at the disaster that has befallen PG&E in recent times. In the interests of pandering to all these irrelevant SDGs, it can tell you the exact breakdown of the diversity of its workforce but can’t tell you the status of much of its infrastructure, some which have been directly responsible for the devastating wildfires in California. The company was forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Did diversity help shareholders? If one’s house is on fire, do we worry about identity? Or who has the skillsets to put out the blaze the fastest? QED.

Yet our woke investors keep pushing these trends. IFM Investors waxes lyrical about its climate change, 30% Club and carbon disclosure project. Good for it. It has a choice. It should live by the sword and die by it. If that is what it wishes to focus on why not allow the free market to; a) decide whether superannuation holders want to deploy funds in such a manner and b) let corporates decide if SRI is good for their businesses.

Yet, the latest push by these socialist fund administrators is to ensure that companies conform to the ‘Modern Slavery Act.’ Are these people for real? Who are they to try to enforce federal law? Talk about self-imposed authority. It is a safe bet that 99%+ corporates listed on the ASX behave are compliant in this regard because if not the punitive outcomes will be severe.

Moreover, if some of these funds own stocks like Tesla in their international portfolios, perhaps they might consider such a hip and trendy investment has an indirect connection to child-slave labour in DR Congo where 70% of the world’s cobalt is mined to go into the Li-ion batteries.

There is one absolute truth in finance. In good times, any mug CEO can be successful. It is only when markets turn sour that the “quality” of decent management is truly appreciated in how they successfully manage to mitigate risk in an ugly downturn. In a difficult market climate, only the fittest survive and if companies have strayed off the reservation to appeal to investors, it will soon become self-evident in the results.

As we stare at the precipice of a potentially deep global recession, the previous paragraph will be all that matters. Because those corporates too busy hitting diversity targets, installing genderless bathrooms and ensuring they have double-checked all employees have complied with Earth Hour will be slaughtered when markets take a pounding.

These SDG focused funds will soon see that they are part of one giant herd and as performance starts to suffer in this crowded trade, the stampede toward the exit will reveal just how irresponsible the push to ram through such irrelevant metrics at the very companies who caved in was.

As a contrarian investor, the best investments will be in exactly those companies that shun(ned) this foolhardy exercise and forged a path in the spirit of Milton Friedman. Afterall they understood what it really means to be “free to choose.” So back up the truck in tobacco, mining and fossil fuel stocks on any pullback. After all, mean reversion will see these stocks outperform if nothing else.

Don’t forget Harvey Norman (HVN). How could it be that the company is worth 4x the combined value of Myer and David Jones, the latter two businesses focused on pleasing the United Nations rather than customers?  Hmmm.

Isn’t that the ultimate ready reckoner for these SDG funds? The market is always right. If the performance of the funds deployed isn’t making the grade, don’t attempt to force the best of breed to comply to your self imposed standards. Embrace companies that follow their lead. Not the other way around. It begs the question, what on earth are people who should believe in free markets doing to thwart it functioning efficiently?

Perhaps investors have the clearest indication of socialist activism by the very requirement to join the club. “ACSI drives strong ESG performance in companies in which our members invest because ESG creates long-term value…We use our collective impact to influence companies and financial markets in the interests of our members as long-term investors…Commitment to these beliefs is a pre-requisite for membership of ACSI.

Never has it been a more sound decision to set up an SMSF.