#corporategovernance

America’s cultural revolution and the long march back to equality

Within 48 hours of the confirmation of the electoral votes, unelected tech giants displayed once again how they can dictate terms to the democratically elected leader of the free world and his followers.

The First Amendment might as well have been written in invisible ink.

Now other platforms are following suit, laying the groundwork to ensure directly/indirectly there will be little effort to help unite the country by restricting/cancelling access to conservative sites.

Who is inciting who exactly?

Three quotes to reflect on before we begin:

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it

The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again,”

and

History is written by victors.

The left is in raptures over Trump’s expulsion from Twitter. Of course they have no issues with cancelling those who don’t share their ideological views. Yet if you question their rights to free speech, hell hath no fury. After all everything that parses their fingertips is good, clean and wholesome. If you say otherwise you’ll be cancelled. Got it?

Yes, the argument will be made that privately run social media companies have the right to police those who may damage site integrity and promote the collective safety of subscribers. Have they been asleep at the wheel for the last 4 years? Even terrorists have been allowed to tweet without sanction.

The problem is that the unelected and unqualified overseers making those determinations to suspend others have shown time and time again they back the side not the principle. OJ Simpson on justice anyone?

A great example is Twitter’s Head of Site Integrity, Yoel Roth (@yoyoel), an avid anti-Trumper. Several days after the 2016 election he proudly tweeted, “I’m just saying, we fly over those states that voted for a racist tangerine for a reason.” We should sleep soundly at night that he also referred to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as “a personality-free bag of farts.” Surely there is no risk of conservative bias with the integrity team at Twitter…sleep soundly!

Black conservative Candace Owens proved just how biased Twitter is when she was suspended for replacing the word ‘white’ with ‘black’ and ‘Jewish.’ She proved the point with respect to the incendiary tweets made by the NYT’s then latest recruit, Sarah Jeong. Never let racism get in the way of the decision making process!

Facebook recently threatened to de-platform conservative comedian JP Sears for satire.

Now, Google has decided to remove conservative forum, Parler, from its Android store presumably just because Trump has endorsed it. So will every single thing that he has supported be shutdown or targeted? Watch out Goya!

Will Apple join the cultural revolution? Are all Parler users foaming at the mouth Trump cultists? Or do some simply like to entertain a wider spectrum of opinions?

Is this merely targeted anti-competitive behaviour? A secondary boycott? Has Parler actually committed any crime? Has Google been unethically marshaling the content and traffic of another private company to form the determination that it needs to be publicly sacrificed? Would it help to appoint a Google overseer to sit on the board of Parler, like Chinese corporates are now forced to accommodate? Will Rumble be the next conservative site to be axed from Android?

Can’t the free market determine whether Parler has a right to exist rather than a select few politburo officials from Google?

We can be sure that if Parler wasn’t experiencing the explosive growth it has had to date, Google would not have seen a need to expunge the threat. Alas too many wanted to seek an alternative platform to exchange ideas. It’s day one, year zero. Black is white. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Got it?

One has to question the legal basis for allowing a hateful and venomous platform like Twitter to function on Google Android but an upstart alternative – which couldn’t hold a flame to the incumbent – needs to be taken out?

Is this the type of healing we’ve been promised by the incoming administration? Restore unity by sitting idly by and allowing the media to silence those that disagree with them?

What better way for Biden to stamp his leadership credentials on uniting a fractured nation than stating how important the 1st Amendment is for all Americans.

But why bother? The tech giants are firmly on his side. After the last 4 years, it is high time to make sure that a monster of their own creation never upsets the political apple cart ever again. We await the glowing support of the climate change agenda, Paris, WHO, discrimination-driven racial equity and the benefits of allowing a path to citizenship or 11 million illegal immigrants.

It does not matter that Trump recently tweeted a video to his followers to go home peacefully and respect law and order. That was deemed incendiary and subsequently blocked. Don’t believe your lying eyes because we will be told what we can and can’t consume. Obviously we aren’t capable of thinking for ourselves.

Clearly to Jack Dorsey’s mob, it was imperative to prevent any sensible commentary by Trump from seeing the light of day. We wouldn’t want anything to challenge the narrative. The tech giant had to ensure that he was portrayed in the worst possible light before cancellation. No right of reply. Voltaire would be rolling in his grave.

We don’t deny Trump has said many silly things over his term but compared to some of the bile that has never faced sanction, it is laughable.

We fear that such moves will only fan the flames of division.

It seems these platforms want to proactively create an atmosphere that allows for the incoming administration to clamp down even harder on supposed enemies of the state. What better way than to douse their opponents in high octane fuel while carelessly playing with matches?

We are always amazed that more haven’t seen the TED talk by a black musician, Daryl Davis, who befriended the KKK by simply ‘listening‘ to them. That was all it took to get so many to hand in their robes.

Note the word “listen.”

Sadly, social media platforms have long drowned out reasoned debate well before the commissars found the need to jail dissidents with sanctimonious edicts.

This is a dangerous precedent being set. By muzzling a country that is built on a constitution that enshrines free speech, it is playing with fire. We ain’t seen nothing yet. America will be decisively cut in two.

In closing we’ve long argued that Trump pulled the scab off the festering wound of deep seated division. He was the catalyst. Not the cause. With the incoming administration, failure to address the growing power of big tech will lead to more people taking the law into their own hands.

We don’t condone unlawful behaviour but will be the least bit surprised if those who feel the most marginalized think they’ve nothing to lose.

If we thought 2020 was a horrible year, 2021 could well destroy that myth but thanks to social media you’ll only be able to view the world through the rose tinted glasses of willfully dishonest propagandists.

The social media giants will do well to remember that “before setting out on revenge, first dig two graves.”

Still getting woke and going broke

The North Face corporate virtue signal reminded us of the catastrophic destruction of value ($8bn) that befell Gillette.

What an opportunity for another similar brand to fill the void and capitalize on reality with sensible counter campaigns such as this watch company.

Once again, it is always embarrassing when corporates pontificate on subjects they know little or nothing about apart from what their woke PR teams tell them makes for good global citizens.

Surely customers don’t need sanctimonious lectures from corporates who invariably have chequered histories themselves.

Perhaps the regulators should clamp down on corporate hypocrisy instead of their empty commitment to usher climate change abatement reporting. Never forget that the stats show fewer companies are actually reporting on climate change for all the fluffy videos playing in corporate lobbies.

Watch the hips not the lips.

The Red Face

Adam Anderson, CEO of Innovex, an oil & gas company, wanted to get his staff The North Face (TNF) down jackets with the company logo emblazoned on it for Christmas.

Unfortunately, the apparel maker rejected the request on the basis that fossil fuel companies, like Innovex, didn’t reflect TNF’s core values – the same standard it applies to porn and tobacco companies.

So Anderson returned fire in a 4 page letter here:

“The recreational activities they encourage are all ones that require hydrocarbons to make the products, to provide the means to get to whatever activity folks want to perform…It’s just so intertwined with everything that we do…

…The irony in this statement is your jackets are made from the oil and gas products the hardworking men and women of our industry produce. I think this stance by your company is counterproductive virtue signaling, and I would appreciate you re-considering this stance. We should be celebrating the benefits of what oil and gas do to enable the outdoors lifestyle your brands embrace. Without Oil and Gas there would be no market for nor ability to create the products your company sells…

…“Low-cost, reliable energy is critical to enable humans to flourish. Oil and natural gas are the two primary resources humanity can use to create low-cost and reliable energy. The work of my company and our industry more broadly enables humans to have a quality of life and life expectancy that were unfathomable only a century ago.”

The ultimate irony with all this woke corporate virtue signaling is that these social justice warriors often get shown up for a complete lack of understanding about the very subject the publicly protest about.

We met a staffer from an Aussie bank the other week who proudly boasted it was stopping lending to companies that haven’t committed to reduce emissions by a certain amount. The argument was that shareholders are demanding it. We retorted that a small select number of activist industry funds who often don’t meet the very requirements they try to enforce on others, are trying to promote the sale of SRI/ESG funds because of the higher fees they can get by appealing to investors who think they’re making a difference when in reality they aren’t.

We did a more conclusive study during a business school lecture. Three funds with three different results were presented in a chart over 10 years. The students didn’t know which fund was what but all selected the one with the highest returns. Naturally.

Before the different funds were revealed we asked whether people would invest in a socially responsible investment fund to feel better about themselves? When it was revealed the SRI fund had the worst performance and the best performing fund rejected such virtue signaling, all still wanted the highest return in retirement. Who knew?

Sinister Big tech’s intentional election meddling

Big tech is determined to tell users what they deem is suitable for consumption. The top screen grab is from Facebook. Head of Comms, Andy Stone, made it clear the social media giant would curtail the Biden conflict of interest news story under the guise of ‘fact checking.’

The NY Post article that surfaced overnight revealed emails from Hunter Biden’s PC which showed he was leveraging his then VP father’s relationship with Ukrainians execs.

Twitter went to an even more interesting approach to suggest the NY Post link was “unsafe” to prevent views.

What we do know from history is that the more efforts made to cover one’s tracks, the more one guarantees to raise awareness to those problems on a stratospheric level.

Ultimately, big tech firms were granted immunity from prosecution as they promised to be mere hosts of content without fear or favour. Now that they are using discretionary editing, they should lose their sanctuary status and be liable to prosecution for suppressing free speech.

These are deep-seated liberal activist platforms. As businesses they are free to exercise commercial decisions. However they don’t have a right to flaunt laws without real world consequences.

Today big tech crossed a line and outed themselves as interfering in the election.

Really, Telstra?

Is this really a time for a blue chip Australian corporation to make jokes about the health of the leader of the free world and his wife? At what point do we jettison basic human decency?

We highly doubt the board approved this but the PR team has got rocks in its head to push something so crass.

If Barack and Michelle Obama had caught COVID-19 there is no way in the world Telstra’s woke PR team would tweet something like this. It would be drenched in poetic well wishes, support and a sped t recovery.

If Trump was to succumb to coronavirus, would Telstra tweet, “karma is a bitch“?

What a disgrace. Let’s not forget that Telstra is the major telecommunications company for the Australian Defence Force which is joined at the hip with the US as an ally. The government should ditch them for another provider with attitudes like that.

Goodyear skids off hypocrisy highway

One Team? More internal corporate workplace training nonsense. Police Tribune reports that Goodyear Tire has introduced a “zero tolerance” policy which promotes “intolerance.”

The list of “Acceptable” included “Black Lives Matter” and “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride (LGBT).”

The list of “Unacceptable” included “Blue Lives Matter,” “All Lives Matter,” “MAGA Attire,” and “Political Affiliated Slogans or Materials.”

The employee who posted the photo of the slide said that it was part of the diversity training at Goodyear’s Topeka plant. It apparently originated in the company’s headquarters in Akron, Ohio.

Fascinating to see internal corporate diversity departments think equality is found through active discrimination and suppression of free speech.

Social media giants poked the wrong rabbit

Zero sympathy and 100% self-inflicted wound. Trump warned the media behemoths and they thumbed their noses at him.

Trump’s executive order on social media giants will now remove the sanctuary status and open up these platforms for lawsuits based on shutting down free speech.

Some snippets from that order:

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube wield immense, if not unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or do not see.

As President, I have made clear my commitment to free and open debate on the internet. Such debate is just as important online as it is in our universities, our town halls, and our homes.  It is essential to sustaining our democracy.”

“It is the policy of the United States to foster clear ground rules promoting free and open debate on the internet.  Prominent among the ground rules governing that debate is the immunity from liability created by section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act (section 230(c)).  47 U.S.C. 230(c).  It is the policy of the United States that the scope of that immunity should be clarified: the immunity should not extend beyond its text and purpose to provide protection for those who purport to provide users a forum for free and open speech, but in reality use their power over a vital means of communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints

….Section 230(c) was designed to address early court decisions holding that, if an online platform restricted access to some content posted by others, it would thereby become a “publisher” of all the content posted on its site for purposes of torts such as defamation.  As the title of section 230(c) makes clear, the provision provides limited liability “protection” to a provider of an interactive computer service (such as an online platform) that engages in “‘Good Samaritan’ blocking” of harmful content.  In particular, the Congress sought to provide protections for online platforms that attempted to protect minors from harmful content and intended to ensure that such providers would not be discouraged from taking down harmful material.

It is the policy of the United States that such a provider should properly lose the limited liability shield of subparagraph (c)(2)(A) and be exposed to liability like any traditional editor and publisher that is not an online provider.

One can only imagine the lawsuits that will come their way if they continue like this.

The media will no doubt smash Trump over this but isn’t free speech all about strongly disagreeing with others but defending their right to say it?!

In all fairness, if the social media platforms are as honest as they claim they’ll have absolutely nothing to worry about.

The things we do for ESG inclusion

You know, whenever we encounter racism, sexism or homophobia, the very first thing that pops into our head to lead that fight is Halliburton. The things companies will do to boost their ESG/SRI and CSR scores.

If Halliburton feels so strongly about it, perhaps they should cease all dealings with those Middle Eastern countries where homosexuality carries the death penalty. We are confident the shareholders will approve giving up 28% of revenue. Although to be fair, Halliburton did specify there is no place for it at Halliburton or America. Anywhere else must be acceptable.

The hypocrisy. What next? A commitment to go carbon neutral?

Alienating the audience for good

At what point in the WNBA decision making process did these woke social justice warriors ever factor in how walking off the court before the national anthem was played may have alienated their ultimate paymasters – the crowd?

Watching sports used to be all about being a distraction from the grind of life. To zone out for several hours watching professional sports stats entertain. No thoughts about work, horrible bosses or financial pain. Just fun.

Now the politics in sport have become a bigger feature than the game itself. Perhaps these teams should back themselves in their ability to read the tolerance levels of their fans and require they wear BLM adorned clothing as a condition of entry.

We will have absolutely zero sympathy if these sporting codes collapse or find themselves in severe financial distress as a consequence of capitulating to this insidious ideology and biting the hand that feeds them.

When political correctness alienates half your audience

It appears that A&E Network decided to can it’s popular ‘Live PD‘ program about cops busting criminals and serving the community because it didn’t want to be seen to glorify the law enforcement profession.

As Forbes noted,

According to data from Nielsen, A&E’s prime time viewership between June 11 and July 19 was 498,000 people. That number is 49% less than from this period last year and the key demographics of adults 18-49 and 25-54 declined 55% and 53%, respectively.

At times, Live PD and it’s derivatives made up 85% of eyeballs for A&E which reached audiences of up to 1.9m viewers.

Seems like a case of corporate suicide. Let’s kneel at the altar of political correctness even when the paymasters weren’t asking for it.