Obama

What happened when Baltimore went soft on crime

Arrests chg

In April 2015, a black man by the name of Freddie Gray died from injuries sustained in a police van. His death sparked outrage and riots in Baltimore. The 6 officers (3 black, 3 white) who faced trial for his death were either acquitted or had the charges dropped.

According to Larry Elder, despite claims that the city was suffering from systemic racism at the time of his death, the mayor of Baltimore City was black, the AG was black, the police chief was black, his deputy was black, the majority of the command centre was black and the city council members were predominantly black and all Democrat. We shouldn’t forget that the US president was also black.

As a result of the riots that followed Gray’s death, the Baltimore City Police Department (BCPD) went soft on crime. Police actions fell off a cliff. Arrests had been declining for years but decelerated even quicker post-2015.

From 2014 to 2017, dispatch records show the number of field interviews fell 70%. Suspected narcotics offences reported by police fell 30%. The number of people BCPD reported seeing with outstanding warrants dropped by half.  The acting police commissioner admitted, “In all candour, officers are not as aggressive as they once were, pre-2015. It’s just that fact.

Rape surged.

Rapes

Homicides exploded. In 2017, Baltimore hit its highest per-capita murder rate ever. It was double Chicago’s rate and in absolute numbers higher than New York, a city 14 times as populous.

Homicides

An informal survey of 15% of BCPD officers taken by the council showed that officers were afraid to make arrests in the aftermath. A third of those surveyed had served in BCPD for over 20 years.

40% said they felt “inadequately trained

43% said they do not feel “comfortable making self-initiated arrests

68% said they do not feel “city leadership supports law enforcement.”

74% said they “feel restricted by the consent decree,”

78% said they felt the department had “lowered hiring standards.

One officer responded, “Morale won’t rise until the Department and its officers receive consistent public support from the Mayor, City Council and State’s Attorney. No one is asking that corruption be tolerated. What we are asking is that when we investigate crimes and make arrests or issue citations that our elected leaders support us when we encounter resistance.

Another mentioned, “We don’t have enough people in my unit. The volume of cases we have is absurd given our manpower. It leads to mistakes, and inadequate follow up investigations which lead to sloppy prosecutions. None of which is for lack of trying.

A shortage of funds? The budget for the BCPD has grown from $455 million in FY2015 to $536 million for FY2020, begging the question of why arrests and prosecution of crime haven’t matched the increased spending?

When analysing the breakdown of the BCPD budget, composition matters. Police patrolling will decline from $253 million in 2015 to $202 million in the 2020 budget. The number of police allocated to patrol will fall from 1,851 to 1,363 during the same period. Administration expenses will jump from $44 million to $94 million. Crime investigation will rise from $52 million to $53 million off from the low of $35 million in 2019.

Just as we saw with our study on fire services around Australia at the time of the bushfires, more money doesn’t always lead to better outcomes if those custodians don’t have the skills to sensibly allocate those extra dollars.

Like many government bureaus or departments, it doesn’t appear to be a question of just throwing more money at policing but far better stewardship of funds, a more defined focus of mission and a council that supports law enforcement by cutting red tape which leads to the types of outcomes that benefit the community at large.

Woke policing doesn’t work. Baltimore is proof.

Cure for insomnia?

Depending on one’s political affiliation there are two ways to look at this pile of books displayed at Target in Westfield Chatwsood, Australia:

1) a conservative’s cure for insomnia

2) a socialist starter kit

NB for our American subscribers, former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull was what you would classify as a RINO (Republican in Name Only). He ran our Liberal Party (which is conservative) although his policy positions were all liberal as you would view the term.

You might remember Turnbull as being the first foreign dignatory to be slapped by Trump for signing a duplicitous deal over refugees with President Obama weeks before his second term ended.

Police Brutality data in the US

Deaths by Police by Year

Police brutality has reared its ugly head after the completely unnecessary death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police. We don’t need to add anything to this unjustified action. It spoke for itself. It is fair to say that the overwhelming majority of Americans have been united behind the need to end such injustice with a bipartisan spirit. The optics of Floyd’s murder were terrible. Unfortunately, the mainstream media (MSM) wasted no time taking advantage of feeding their political narratives.

Looting stores, trashing police cruisers, torching police stations and throwing bricks through store windows is ‘rioting’, yet the media has been all too happy to label it ‘protesting’. Many protestors were peaceful but they just don’t make for TV and ratings. If it bleeds, it leads.

Journalistic integrity has been even more absent than usual. Statements released by the police in cities affected have revealed that most of those arrested/identified for criminal acts such as theft, destruction of property or arson have been from out of town/state and from every racial background imaginable. Many rioters have filmed their own crimes and posted them on social media. One hopes that the police track them, find them and jail them. Not for misdemeanours but proper crimes befitting their brazen actions.

Hollywood celebrities Steve Carrell, Janelle Monae, Seth Rogen, Ben Schwartz and Halsey all donated to a Minnesota Freedom Fund to help bail out rioters. That ought to tell us something. Afterall they are unaffected behind gated mansions but only too happy to lecture the rest of us on societal morals. There is no room to morally preen in the midst of a tragedy.

It has been despicable to see protests meant to honour the memory of an innocent black man and raise awareness of deaths at the hands of the police take a backseat to partisan politics and media clickbait.

Death by Police

Twitter wasted no time calling out President Trump for “glorifying violence” with his poorly conveyed “when the looting starts, shooting starts” tweet. The MSM wasted no time in pointing out Trump has been behind all of the racial division over the past 3.5 years despite the fact that deaths at the hands of law enforcement have remained relatively stagnant since 2013 as shown in the first chart.

Race-based hate crime over the past two decades has more than halved. In the last two decades, the FBI reports that anti-black hate crime has fallen from 0.0131% to 0.0046% of their representative population.

Since Trump took office, crime rates have fallen across the board. The FBI reports the following statistics.

US Crime

Why isn’t crime exploding through the roof if there is so much division and hatred across America? Could it be thanks to the economic prosperity in his term in office?

In January 2020 a poll taken by Gallup showed that race relations had improved to 36% under Trump from the 22% at the end of Obama’s second term. Yet the media is obsessed with painting Trump out to be the key instigator in fanning racism. Of course, it would have to be in order for a media obsessed with one mission –  removing him from office.

To them, Trump has enabled the unforgivable actions of the individual law enforcement officer in question, Derek Chauvin. It fits their headlines. The Daily Beast ran with,

Race-Baiter Donald Trump Is America’s THUG-in-Chief – The president routinely endorses and encourages police brutality, vilifies non-violent protesters of color, and spits out racist views.’

Let’s deal with the facts about police brutality.

Around 7,700 people have been killed by police across America between Jan 1, 2013 and Dec 31, 2019.  That is an average of 1,100 per annum. An unfortunate statistic by any measure.

71% of those that were killed were reported as having possessed a weapon at the time of death. 14% were unarmed (including possession of a toy gun, BB gun or air rifle). 8.5% of cases were unclear. 74% of those with a weapon had a lethal firearm.  22% had sharp implements (e.g. swords, knives, machetes) and the balance had blunt objects (e.g. baseball bats, pipes, clubs). 

On the flip side, no one mentions those police officers that die in the line of duty. Between Jan 1, 2013,and Dec 31, 2019, 327 have died from gunfire or assault by an assailant. Many more have succumbed to accidents in carrying out their jobs. Out of a law enforcement population of around 688,000 across America that is a death rate by an assault of 0.0077% per annum.

Deaths by Police per Million

As a percentage of the representative population, black Americans have been killed by police at a higher rate than most other races. This is a fact. With the exception of 5 states – Montana, New Hampshire, North & South Dakota and Wyoming.

Over the last seven years, Utah has the highest rate of black deaths per head of population at 0.0045%, 9x that of other races over that period. Annualising that figure comes to 0.0006%. That is to say, 99.9994% of blacks in Utah are unlikely to die at the gunpoint of a police officer. To put that into perspective, a black individual would have a 280x higher chance of dying of Parkinson’s disease than from a police officer in Utah. A police officer has a 13x higher likelihood of dying than a black person in Utah as a percentage of their respective representative populations.

Black Deaths by Police by Year

In absolute numbers, the Chicago Police Department has been responsible for the deaths of 56 black Americans in the last 7 years. Note that the big cities in America have been responsible for 39% of all black deaths at the hands of the police.

We colour coded the party affiliation of the city mayors (Democrat (blue), Republican (red), Independent (green). This is for illustrative purposes only.

We wish to make it clear that we don’t think party affiliation drives individual police officer behaviour. It should be noted that city mayors have control over the conduct of the police force including the appointment of police chiefs. So political positions to a degree would have a bearing on the way police operate in terms of targets and functions at the margin. Perhaps this is why Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told Trump “F U” due to his criticism of mayors around the country not being able to quell rioter in their cities.

Former Minnesota Police Department (MPD) officer Derek Chauvin had 17 misconduct complaints against him over his two-decade career. Despite charges of using derogatory language and one case of killing someone he was wrestling with, Chauvin only received letters of reprimand.

Were policy procedures to blame? The MPD was subject to a federal review of procedures in 2015. The statistics revealed that few officers were fired or suspended for claims against them. The majority were either reprimanded or given extra coaching. Yet MPD still continued to see complaints pile up.

Democrats tend to run more populous cities (e.g. NY, Chicago, Los Angeles) which have higher levels of absolute income disparity and poverty, even if not reflected in relative terms.

White Deaths by Police by Year

Phoenix PD has killed 40 whites since 2013.  3,385 whites have died from the gun barrel of the police, 84% of them outside of the big cities.

Per 10000

Columbus Division of Police has the highest rate among big cities at 40.8 deaths per 10,000 arrests, or 0.408%, 4x the big cities average. Los Angeles PD which has the highest rate of actual deaths at the hands of police had a death-to-arrest rate of 0.179%. Put simply, on average there is a 99.9% survival rate for those arrested in a big city.

Deaths by Gender

Males represent nearly 95% of all deaths at the hands of police. Women just over 5%. Transgender and unknown make up 0.25%.

Men

Of that white males comprise 43% of deaths by police with black males 26% and Hispanic males at 18%. As a percentage of the representative population, black males are dying at twice the rate of their population cohort and around 3x that of whites. Hispanic males dying in line with their population cohort.

women

When it comes to female deaths at the hands of the police, whites make up 57% of the total vs 18% black and 13% Hispanic. Still skewed against blacks relative to their representative populations.

In summary

Before this tragedy, crime rates had been falling precipitously. Race relations had been improving and hate crimes are well below long term rates. Yet the media would have us believe that things have never been worse and that the police are unhinged thugs looking to kill. Things are not perfect but change doesn’t happen overnight. Even when America unites to stand against this crime, fringe elements do their best to use the incident to tear it down for their own agendas.

Perhaps we should show that there are more people out there that want an end to the misinformation of the division. How disappointing for so many police who don’t want their diligent work besmirched by fake news surrounding the actions of a tiny minority within their ranks.

The mainstream media is truly the enemy of the people.

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.

Forget what Trump says. Just pay attention to the restless natives

Investor: Peasants Will Be Out With Pitchforks if We Don't Start ...

Unless Joe Biden runs with Michelle Obama as his VP, we still think Trump gets reelected in an electoral college and popular landslide. Yes, we can hear many laughing out loud. We are used to it as we were when we said he would win back in 2015. For all of the same reasons, only amplified. People are tired of the status quo.

Up until the time of the State of the Union speech in February this year, it felt like his second coronation was a formality. Nancy Pelosi knew it when she tore up his speech. Has coronavirus really changed all that?

The prevailing sentiment perpetuated by the mainstream media is that Trump’s catastrophic bungling of coronavirus will kill off any chance he has of winning 2020. To think that Joe Biden is the mouth-watering alternative despite having served under a president whose policies were repudiated in 2016 by the electoral college.

FNF Media thinks that Americans are pragmatic people when push comes to shove and that American exceptionalism is a good thing. They want the dream. They don’t live to be stuck in poverty assessed welfare. Sure, we non-citizens can scoff at their right to bear arms or hosting World Series which exclude other nations but ultimately we don’t get a say. That is a matter for them. If they don’t like it, it is up to them to change their government to fix things. Trump would never have been elected were it not for decades of failed administrations who didn’t deliver that gave birth to him.

Despite all of Trump’s often ridiculous bluster during the coronavirus outbreak, none of it was out of character for the last 3.5 years. The mainstream media has beamed more deranged coverage than ever. People have become numb to the constant drone that they hate him, especially when he trolls them with their own hypocrisy. Let’s be clear, were the likes of CNN truly resonating with the masses, the ratings would reflect people attuned with the rhetoric. This is simply not happening. In fact, the opposite.

Sadly during this crisis, Americans have seen the utterly shameless exploitation of their livelihoods by the ugliest partisan politics seen during any crisis of this scale. They see straight through the pork barrelling. Do liberal-leaning citizens honestly believe that gender diversity on boards and airline emissions regulations are ‘must have’ pieces of legislation in order to pass a $2.2 trillion rescue package designed to protect them? Do they believe a $250 billion supplemented boost to small businesses to support the income of workers should be held back until more identity politics driven data collection is fast-tracked? When people see Nancy Pelosi parading her $24,000 refrigerators filled with $13 a pint ice cream punnets on late-night TV they aren’t amused. 

Is it any wonder so many more Americans are taking to the streets to protests the lockdowns imposed by the states’ governors? As we pointed out in the COVID19 data, those infected and those who tragically met their fate from this deadly virus are relatively minuscule. More and more Americans are seeing this. Very few of us know anyone who has caught it outside of a few celebrities and the UK PM. This is why social distancing is fraying nerves in American households. They can’t easily quantify what is going on using their own experiences.

If anything, these protests point out that Americans are still happy to play the risk/reward ratio if their economic security can be maintained. America hasn’t fluked being 25% of the global economy on 5% of the world’s population for nothing. They would chance contracting coronavirus if that meant being able to feed their families.

Which brings us to China. Trump’s political and media enemies may have cuddled up to China since he took office, but the shambolic WHO response to this crisis and the misinformation emanating from the communist propaganda apparatus will rile 22 million who are on the unemployment queue. More and more Americans can see through an Ethiopian Marxist WHO chief appointed by a Portuguese socialist both serving the communist dictatorship with a president for life.

This activity is red meat to Trump’s base and he knows it. He doesn’t need to say anything. It is becoming self-evident.

Suspending funding for WHO was the right thing to do. WHO is a failing bureaucracy in desperate need of reform. What is the point of funding a body that is supposed to have independence enshrined in its charter when in reality it runs strict political agendas geared to the whims of its ideological brothers in Beijing?

How many leaders of other countries are throwing up two fingers at China in the face of all the revelations about when they knew and how they covered it up? Macron? Merkel? Trudeau? Crickets.

Trump is almost alone in publicly smashing China’s complicity in all of this. Governments around the world may be staying mute over China’s deceit but we can be assured this is not lost on the peons. They have had enough of staying at home. They are sick of facing oppressive sanctions imposed by those they voted in.

The media can sell this as xenophobia or any other form of identity politics but the fact is Trump’s 2016 campaign warned of China. He spoke of bringing jobs back. He spoke of being screwed over on trade with China. He was right.

We all know many Americans are hurting. They want prosperity returned. While the media conflates his term as merely sorting out his billionaire 1%ers, the reality is he has helped the Bottom 50% by a much larger margin. They will know this lived experience, which in politics will ultimately be the most important factor. Trump’s bluster won’t matter. His record up until coronavirus kicked off will.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (FRED) reported the net worth of the bottom half of the population was $1,070,183mn at the start of 2017. As of the third quarter of 2019, it was 1,668,034mn. That’s an increase of 55.86%. The Top 1%, had $29,955,829mn. In 3Q 2019, it was $34,533,370mn, or 15.3%. Under Obama, net worth for the Bottom 50% declined from $1.7 trillion in 1Q 2009 to $1.1 trillion, down 35% over his two terms. Democrats should be outraged that the ultra-wealthy did much better under Obama with a 100% gain in net worth under his term vs the paltry 15.3% so far under Trump.  Source: FRED Top 1% and Bottom 50%.

This might explain why the “forgotten” wanted large scale change and will continue to support those who can facilitate it.

All coronavirus has done is exposed the despicable bile of partisan politics. Witnessing a concerted effort to remove Trump in the midst of an untold financial tsunami will not sit well with people. This isn’t about partisanship. They will want someone that can deliver. If it comes with all of Trump’s vulgarity then so be it. After all, a man that can win an election with ‘p*ssy grabbing’ on the ticket can produce miracles.

So there is Trump’s election strategy in a nutshell – “China, China, China!”

Good luck with Joe Biden telling Americans that President Xi has America’s best interests at heart! How can he say this when his former boss was not greeted with red carpet, a mobile stairway or a welcoming committee of important dignitaries on his final state visit to China?

Forget the polls. Forget the media spin. Coronavirus has hit the raw nerve of patriotism and the one person who is accused of constantly lying will be the only one speaking the truth. Americans are at a crisis point. Best not question their loyalty to Old Glory.

We may hate the idea of a new cold war but that is up to Americans to decide. We are at their mercy. Ultimately it is best to have a strong America given China’s soft power expansion.

The one fatal flaw experts forget when seeking to mimic #Abenomics style endurance

Pain

Over three decades ago, the Japanese introduced a TV programme titled, ‘Za Gaman‘ which stood for ‘endurance‘. It gathered a whole bunch of male university students who were challenged with barbaric events which tested their ability to endure pain because the producer thought these kids were too soft and self-entitled. Games included being chained to a truck and dragged along a gravel road with only one’s bare buttocks. Another was to be suspended upside down in an Egyptian desert where men with magnifying glasses trained the sun’s beam on their nipples while burning hot sand was tossed on them. The winner was the one who could last the longest.

Since the Japanese bubble collapsed in the early 1990s, a plethora of think tanks and central banks have run scenario analyses on how to avoid the pitfalls of a protracted period of deflation and low growth that plagued Japan’s lost decades. They think they could do far better. We disagree.

There is one absolutely fatal flaw with all arguments made by the West. The Japanese are conditioned in shared suffering. Of course, it comes with a large slice of reluctance but when presented with the alternatives the government knew ‘gaman’ would be accepted by the nation. It was right.

We like to think of Japan, not as capitalism with warts but socialism with beauty spots. Having lived there for twenty years we have to commend such commitment to social adhesion. It is a large part of the fabric of Japanese culture which is steeped in mutual respect. If the West had one lesson to learn from Japan it would be this. Unfortunately, greed, individualism and self-entitlement will be our Achilles’ heels.

It is worth noting that even Japan has its limits. At a grassroots level, we are witnessing the accelerated fraying of that social kimono. Here are 10 facts taken from our ‘Crime in Japan‘ series – ‘Geriatric Jailbirds‘, ‘Breakup of the Nuclear Family‘ and the ‘Fraud, Drugs, Murders, Yakuza and the Police‘ which point to that old adage that ‘all is not what it seems!

  1. Those aged over 65yo comprise 40% of all shoplifting in Japan and represent the highest cohort in Japanese prisons.
  2. 40% of the elderly in prison have committed the same crime 6x or more. They are breaking into prison to get adequate shelter, food and healthcare.
  3. Such has been the influx in elderly felons that the Ministry of Justice has expanded prison capacity 50% and directed more healthcare resources to cope with the surge in ageing inmates.
  4. To make way for more elderly inmates more yakuza gangsters have been released early.
  5. 25% of all weddings in Japan are shotgun.
  6. Child abuse cases in Japan have skyrocketed 25x in the last 20 years.
  7. Single-parent households comprise 25% of the total up from 15% in 1990.
  8. Domestic violence claims have quadrupled since 2005. The police have had to introduce a new category of DV that is for divorced couples living under the same roof (due to economic circumstances).
  9. The tenet of lifetime employment is breaking down leading to a trebling of labour disputes being recorded as bullying or harassment.
  10. In 2007, the government changed the law entitling wives to up to half of their husband’s pension leading to a surge in divorces.

These pressures were occurring well before the introduction of Abenomics – the three arrow strategy of PM Shinzo Abe – 1) aggressive monetary policy, 2) fiscal consolidation and 3) structural reform.

Since 2013, Abenomics seemed to be working. Economic growth picked up nicely and even inflation seemed like it might hit a sustainable trajectory. Luckily, Japan had the benefit of a debt-fueled global economy to tow it along. This is something the West and Japan will not have the luxury of when the coronavirus economic shutdown ends.

However, Japan’s ageing society is having an impact on the social contract, especially in the regional areas. We wrote a piece in February 2017, titled ‘Make Japan Great Again‘ where we analysed the mass exodus from the regions to the big cities in order to escape the rapidly deteriorating economic prospects in the countryside.

Almost 25 years ago, the Japanese government embarked on a program known as
‘shichosongappei’ (市町村合併)which loosely translates as mergers of cities and towns. The total number of towns halved in that period so local governments could consolidate services, schools and local hospitals. Not dissimilar to a business downsizing during a recession.

While the population growth of some Western economies might look promising versus Japan, we are kidding ourselves to think we can copy and paste what Nippon accomplished when we have relatively little social cohesion. What worked for them won’t necessarily apply with our more mercenary approach to economic systems, financial risk and social values.

Sure, we can embark on a path that racks up huge debts. We can buy up distressed debt and repackage it as investment grade but there is a terminal velocity with this approach.

The Bank of Japan is a canary in the coalmine. It has bought 58% of all ETFs outstanding which makes up 25% of the market. This is unsustainable. The BoJ is now a top 10 shareholder of over half of all listed stocks on the index. At what point will investors be able to adequately price risk when the BoJ sits like a lead balloon on the shareholder registry of Mitsui Bussan or Panasonic?

Will Boeing investors start to question their investment when the US Fed (we think it eventually gets approval to buy stocks) becomes the largest shareholder via the back door? Is the cradle of capitalism prepared to accept quasi state-owned enterprises? Are we to blindly sit back and just accept this fate despite this reduction in liquidity?

This is what 7 years of Abenomics has brought us. The BoJ already has in excess of 100% of GDP in assets on its balance sheet, up from c.20% when the first arrow was fired. We shouldn’t forget that there have been discussions to buy all ¥1,000 trillion of outstanding Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) and convert them into zero-coupon perpetual bonds with a mild administration fee to legitimise the asset. Will global markets take nicely to erasing 2 years worth of GDP with a printing press?

Who will determine the value of those assets when the BoJ or any other central bank for that matter is both the buyer and seller. If the private sector was caught in this scale of market manipulation they’d be fined billions and the perpetrators would end up serving long jail sentences.

Can we honestly accept continual debt financing of our own budget deficit? Japan has a ¥100 trillion national budget. ¥60 trillion is funded by taxes. The remainder of ¥40 trillion (US$400 billion) is debt-financed every single year. Can we accept the RBA printing off whatever we need every year to close the deficit for decade upon decade?

In a nutshell, we can be assured that central banks and treasuries around the world will be dusting off the old reports of how to escape the malaise we are in. Our view is that they will fail.

What will start off as a promising execution of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), rational economics will dictate that the gap between the haves and the have nots will grow even wider. Someone will miss out. Governments will act like novice plate spinners with all of the expected consequences.

In our opinion, the world will change in ways most are not prepared for. We think the power of populism has only started. National interests will be all that matters. Political correctness will cease. Identity politics will die. All the average punter will care about is whether they can feed their family. Nothing else will matter. Climate change will be a footnote in history as evidenced by the apparition that was Greta Thunberg who had to tell the world she caught COVID19 even though she was never tested.

Moving forward, our political class will no longer be able to duck and weave. Only those that are prepared to tell it like it is will survive going forward. The constituents won’t settle for anything else. Treat them as mugs and face the consequences, just like we saw with Boris Johnson’s landslide to push through Brexit.

The upcoming 2020 presidential election will shake America to its foundations. Do voters want to go back to the safety of a known quantity that didn’t deliver for decades under previous administrations and elect Biden or still chance Project Molotov Cocktail with Trump?

What we know for sure is that Trump would never have seen the light of day had decades of previous administrations competently managed the economy. COVID19 may ultimately work in Trump’s favour because his record, as we fact-checked at the time of SOTU, was making a considerable difference.

Whatever the result, prepare to gaman!

 

CNN complains about lack of diversity on Coronavirus team

Only CNN could find outrage in the team looking to combat the Coronavirus. Apparently diversity is more important than ability in a crisis.

CNN political writer Brandon Tensley quipped,

Who are these experts?…They’re largely the same sorts of white men (and a couple women on the sidelines) who’ve dominated the Trump administration from the very beginning...[comparing it to Obama’s handling of the Ebola virus in 2014] Neither was it so abysmal in terms of gender diversity. (Of course, to contextualize, Obama’s administration, on the whole, was far more diverse than Trump’s.).”

Commentator Dave Rubin retorted,

Sir, I’ve discovered the cure to the Coronovirius! We can create an intitiode and spread it worldwide within 12 hours.”

“Bob, we’ve told you repeatedly if you aren’t a non-binary latinx disabled lesbian you’re not allowed to talk.

Welcome to 2020. Where finding a cure ASAP takes a backseat to diversity. Liberal logic.

One imagines that the Chinese authorities have a similar lack of diversity on their team to combat the Coronavirus.

Obama vs Trump – Gallup Poll

Gallup has released the following poll which compares America at the end of the Obama-Biden second term to the Trump-Pence presidency to date.

Under Trump-Pence, the economy is better (+22 points), the country is more secure against terrorism (+18), the military is stronger (+15), the streets are safer (+9 points).

Race relations advanced 14 points, from 22% at the end of the Obama administration to 36% this month. Blacks and other minorities are recorded 9 points better off under Trump than Obama.

Decreased satisfaction vs Obama for the Trump team was as follows:

Abortion -7%

Immigration -6%

Environment -6%

All in all, the net satisfaction of the 27 categories saw the highest number since 2005.

As all politicians know, “it’s the economy, stupid!

The survey was conducted across 1,014 people. How representative of 330 million? What needs to be pointed out is that the survey is consistent in the number polled over the years. The numbers are so strong that some might question whether there was a large Republican bias.

If the poll is remotely accurate, the Democrats must question how they tackle the mood over the coming 10 months given the impeachment saga and a field of disjointed candidates.

Analysing 37 anti-Trump Psychiatrists for glaring bias

On July 7, 2019, a video did the rounds on social media referring to a book titled, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,which contained the updated findings of 37 psychiatrists and mental health experts, led by Dr Bandy X. Lu, a forensic psychiatrist from Yale School of Medicine.  It followed on from a previous work published in October 2017, where only 26 other psychiatrists had joined forces with Lu at the time. 

Social media lapped up Dr. Lu’s claim that she was the President of the World Mental Health Coalition (WMHC).  If one throws ‘world‘ in a title it sounds more impressive, doesn’t it? Although Americans often struggle with the word “world”. For decades Americans hosted a baseball event called the “World Series” where no other nations played.

Still, we felt compelled to check how gargantuan the WMHC is to properly measure its global status. For reference, the American Psychiatric Association has c. 38,000 members. We could be easily led to believe the WMHC had multiples of that. Sadly not. It has a total of 37. Yes, thirty-seven. Given the World Psychiatric Association represents 200,000 members worldwide, we can get a fair idea of how much ‘pull’ WMHC hasn’t.

Turns out WHMC is an “all-volunteer organization, and donations are used for direct educational activities, to strengthen the fabric of society as we better our collective mental health.” with the following donation manifesto:

“We:

1. provide consultation to government bodies upon request;
2. organize public forums for discussion and education; and
3. alert, protect, and educate the public when when we see signs of imminent or lasting danger within the body politic or in its leaders.” [although there is a typo they might wish to address which we have highlighted for them]

Perhaps the most telling part of the bias in the updated version can be found in the Amazon summary of the latest book,

The prestigious mental health experts who have contributed to the revised and updated version of ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump’ argue that their moral and civic “duty to warn” supersedes professional neutrality.

You don’t say? If these psychiatrists ever testify in court (as they proudly claim they often do), any attorney defending the accused should just dredge out this summary to prove they aren’t impartial by their own admission.

Lu proved once again that Trump Derangement Syndrome lives and breathes within the walls of elite tertiary institutions of America, just like Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan who admitted she crossed the road to avoid walking in front of a Trump building during her impeachment testimony. This is the level of maturity one gets for a $70,000pa education.

The WMHC has no qualms publishing a question from a town hall which included an “…historic number of leading psychiatrists in our country felt the imperative to publish such a book because of their unprecedented fears about a President with such severe mental problems…”

Historic being 37…If 500 law professors can get their act together on co-signing a letter on articles of impeachment, surely the psychiatric community can achieve a higher watermark. May we suggest they take a leaf out of the 11,000 scientists who signed a letter on climate change which Mickey Mouse, Albus Dumbledore or Araminta Aardvark were among the co-signatories.

Back to the video. Lu’s opening statement was that Trump “failed every criterion for rational and reality-based decision-making capacity.”

Reading in a robotic style off an autocue, Dr. Lu said that Trump is unfit to be president based on the wealth of data gleaned from the 448-page Mueller Report (released to the public on April 18, 2019). So between April 18th to July 7th, the WMHC has absorbed all 448-pages with a thorough and impartial eye.

Forget that the Mueller said under oath that the report “did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated” with Russia.

Dr Lu said, “first and foremost, we want to remove Mr Trump’s access to nuclear weapons and war-making powers…we could offer many more, but given the urgency, we decided to focus on the two most important.”

Since when did 37 psychologists become experts in foreign policy?  In more than 1,000 days in office, no country has come close to being nuked by Trump. Unlike his predecessor, foreign powers realise he is not messing about. Cross a red line and there are consequences. Period. Are psychiatrists confusing unorthodoxy with mental illness?

Did the WMHC predict that Iran would end its retaliation so soon? It is a bit silly to believe that they won’t continue the 4-decade proxy war.

However CNN (which is in thorough need of psychiatric assessment alongside WaPo. NYT and other mainstream media outlets) indulged us with, “Iran’s strikes seem intended to avoid US deaths. Here’s why that might be the case.” Wow. That is a pretty darned expensive way to fire shots across a bow. We guess once in possession of Obama’s gift of billions, Iranian generals can afford the luxury of expending multiple $100,000 missiles instead of $1,000 shells.

Maybe the WMHC can tell us why CNN believes those thoughtful leaders of the Iranian regime were compassionate enough to spare the lives of an enemy they swear death to. Who knew?

Lu makes the audacious claim that, “Our work is not about Mr Trump who may not be a danger as a private citizen, but about protecting society against the powers of the presidency in a person who has not demonstrated the ability to handle them.

If the work isn’t about Trump, why does the WMHC have a section that also targets this administration’s border protection policies? It released a statement on refugees which said the following,

We write as mental health professionals who are deeply concerned about the psychological harm our nation’s current immigration practices inflict on asylum seekers, immigrant communities, and our society…We are alarmed that recent changes in executive policy and personnel show increasing cruelty with intent to inflict as much pain as the law allows.”

It is a safe assumption to think that the WMHC members aren’t staunch Republicans. Never mind that Obama first introduced kids in cages separation laws at the border, something confessed by the mainstream media late last year. Who needs facts on the psychiatrist’s couch?

Presumably, the next iteration of the book will suggest that the 63m that voted for Trump are equally in need of having their voting rights repealed for their inability to handle their democratic rights.

Lu proudly states she has testified in court cases with respect to forensic psychiatry but in this case feels that interviewing the subject is not important. She read out from the screen,

As the evidence was overwhelming, and since outside perspectives are more important in a functional exam than a personal interview, we did not feel we needed one…the wealth and quality of the report’s content made this possible…in fact we had more and better data under sworn testimony than we have ever had in our usual practice.

Psychiatrists are banned by law from diagnosing patients without examining them although Lu thinks this step is unnecessary to make a determination that he is unfit. Hmmm.

Also, we are not interested in a diagnosis of the president because he is not our patient.

Lu said her group offered the president to undergo an examination if he believed himself fit. His office acknowledged receipt of the request. Like any sane human being, a polite “p*ss off” was the only appropriate reply to a bunch of sanctimonious intellectuals who think they know better than all of us.

Force in numbers (even as tiny as 37) signing consensus-based documents like this are the latest weapons used by liberals. Albert Einstein once said to a scientist who claimed he’d get 100 scientists to prove him wrong replied, “it only takes one!

Of course, we can already hear the defenders of the WMHC ring loud on the basis of their academic credentials.

However, we hold a different view. Just because one holds qualifications in a particular field from a reputable institution, doesn’t mean they don’t carry biases or conflicts of interest. Schools with brand names often escape rigorous scrutiny because they are so revered and citing them is seen as adding credibility to one’s own arguments.

In 2015 a claim was made against Harvard for not disclosing financial conflicts of interest. A press release entitled ‘Clean air and health benefits of clean power plan hinge on key policy decisions’ constituted a gushing praise of a commentary entitled ‘US power plant carbon standards and clean air and health co-benefits’ by Charles T. Driscoll, Jonathan J. Buonocore, Jonathan I. Levy, Kathleen F. Lambert, Dallas Burtraw, Stephen B. Reid, Habibollah Fakhraei & Joel Schwartz, published on May 4, 2015, in Nature Climate Change.

The claim (a letter to the Dean) suggested that

“two of the co-authors of the commentary, Buonocore and Schwartz, are researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Your press release quotes Buonocore thus: “If EPA sets strong carbon standards, we can expect large public health benefits from cleaner air almost immediately after the standards are implemented.” Indeed, the commentary and the press release constitute little more than thinly-disguised partisan political advocacy for costly proposed EPA regulations supported by the “Democrat” administration but opposed by the Republicans. Harvard has apparently elected to adopt a narrowly partisan, anti-scientific stance…The commentary concludes with the words “Competing financial interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests”. Yet its co-authors have received these grants from the EPA: Driscoll $3,654,609; Levy $9,514,391; Burtraw $1,991,346; and Schwartz (Harvard) $31,176,575. The total is not far shy of $50 million…Would the School please explain why its press release described the commentary in Nature Climate Change by co-authors including these lavishly-funded four as “the first independent, peer-reviewed paper of its kind”? Would the School please explain why Mr Schwartz, a participant in projects grant-funded by the EPA in excess of $31 million, failed to disclose this material financial conflict of interest in the commentary? Would the School please explain the double standard by which Harvard institutions have joined a chorus of public condemnation of Dr Soon, a climate sceptic, for having failed to disclose a conflict of interest that he did not, in fact, possess, while not only indulging Mr Schwartz, a climate-extremist when he fails to declare a direct and substantial conflict of interest but also stating that the commentary he co-authored was “independent”?”

We don’t accuse the WMHC of committing crimes but we think this example shows that we shouldn’t blindly accept the findings from academics without heavier scrutiny.

Certainly, in the case of these 37 psychiatrists, even a deplorable uneducated Trump supporter can see through the heavy coats of bias and condescending rhetoric. The ultimate irony is these people have such confidence in their own intellectual superiority that they reckoned one would look under the hood.

Maybe when 200,000 global psychiatrists ascribe to the same view as WMHC, we may be inclined to lend more credibility to the suggestions of Trump being unfit for a role. At the moment the WMHC appears to be mentally unsuited to uphold the very high standards of the wonderful work done by the rest of the mental health community.

They needn’t worry. It is likely that more than 63 million Americans will make that determination in November 2020 on whether he is still fit to serve.

Liberals apologise to Iran

Brittany M Hughes unloads both barrels on liberal celebrities who apologized to Iran on behalf of America over the assassination of Qassem Soleimani.