#detroit

Michigan Governor to make racially motivated 911 calls a hate crime

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives a coronavirus update from Lansing on Monday, April 6, 2020.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she wants to make racially motivated 911 calls hate crimes. It is already against the law to make false police or 911 calls. So why the need for such legislation?

Will that law apply if a white burglar breaks into the home of a person of colour? Will the coloured occupants be guilty of a hate crime if they call to say the white criminal is endangering their lives?

Or is this just a cynical ploy to ensure the recall petition (to oust Whitmer) – which requires 1,062,647 valid signatures in a 60-day window over the next 180 days to qualify for the statewide ballot – fails? Hmmm.

DC Mayor backs tribalism

BLM

Is this the new norm of political discourse? We believe that Trump has legitimized political trolling on social media and on occasions goes too far. However, one has to question those who continually assert they hold the moral high ground end up resorting to doing the same thing. All is fair in love and war?

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser took to using taxpayer funds to rename a section of 16th street in front of the White House, “Black Lives Matter Plaza” in what can only be described as a stunt to troll Trump. Should taxpayer funds be diverted to help boost politically aligned organisations?

Naturally, the Left is ecstatic. Yet another hijacking of the George Floyd movement.

Before fuelling her Trump Derangement Syndrome, perhaps the mayor might have reflected on the fact that the very police department that reports to her has killed 23 black people and 1 white person since 2013, by far the worst ratio compared to any American state. Why hasn’t Black Lives Matter smashed down her door to protest this abhorrent statistic?

Her own constituents took to Twitter to complain about Bowser’s political statement.

Murals are performative, budgets are not.

If you wants to show #BlackLivesMatter in DC, why don’t you respond to
@DMVBlackLives demands, which include #DefundMPD?

Instead, you’ve pitched a 3.3%, $18.5mm boost to police & $16mm CUT to housing

Is this how Americans want elected officials to behave? Do Americans want governments who are tight on cash, especially after months of being forced to stay at home (note Bowser’s Twitter handle still implores it) to splurge on political statements to troll someone they despise? DC public sector wage freezes are in effect, hiring is to be curtailed and building projects cut.

No doubt the tins of yellow paint and the labour wouldn’t have amounted to much more than a rounding error on the district’s budget, but it is the principle (or lack thereof).

The irony is that Trump has openly stated the death of George Floyd was a tragedy and immediately mobilized the FBI and DOJ to investigate and get to the bottom of it.

What does BLM stand for? It states that it work(s) vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people.

We wrote about the hypocrisy of BLM here and here.

Unfortunately, the manifesto didn’t spare Grant Napear, the longtime TV voice of the Sacramento Kings being fired for saying “all lives matter.

What Bowser is doing is perpetuating the very tribalism that she thinks she is fixing. Yet the trend isn’t limited to a political artwork. This mentality has already ended up in the school system.

The Rochester City School District in NY has already adopted Black Lives Matters materials in its curriculum suggesting that America is inherently racist. Whites are singled out for blame and learn this via a book entitled “White Rage” which is part of the reading materials for students.

Darien High School Principal Ellen Dunn sent an email to parents promising to increase the amount of race-conscious education in the curriculum by distributing documents from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). For context, the SPLC sacked its co-founder in March 2019. Soon after the president resigned amidst numerous claims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and racism within the organization failing at the very virtues it pretends to instil.

The 1619 Project, started by The New York Times Magazine, is now a mandatory part of the curriculum in state schools across Buffalo, Chicago, Newark and Washington. The 1619 Project documents 400 years of slavery. Its creator, Nikole Hannah-Jones, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine. However, four days ago she openly said that,

Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence.” 

Is that a mandatory lesson that parents want their kids to learn? If junior gets angry over an issue, kicking in the doors of the family car is an acceptable and reasoned response which should be forgiven?

Which brings us back to one of Black Lives Matter’s key demands – to defund the Minneapolis Police Department (and no doubt others too). Should Bowser also bow to those demands as her constituents argue? Afterall her deaths at the hands of the DC Police stats are the worst of all.

The Minneapolis City Council is seriously debating the topic of defunding the police. Council Member Steve Fletcher wrote that the police department was “irredeemably beyond reformand thatseveral of us on the council are working on finding out what it would take to disband the Minneapolis Police Department and start fresh with a community-oriented, nonviolent public safety and outreach capacity.

Which begs the question, what will citizens who are victims of crime do if the police force disappears? People will leave and exacerbate economic hardship.

In Jan 2017, we wrote a piece on what cutting funding (not defunding) police departments did to the City of Detroit. From a peak of 1.8mn people in the 1950s, the city has shrunk to around 1/3rd that level. It continues to fall in 2020. It is now 2/3rds of the population of 100 years ago.

Some 78,000 homes are unoccupied in the city, and in 2011 half of the occupiers of the city’s 305,000 properties paid no tax. The white population has shrunk from 90% of the city in the 1960s to less than 9%. The black community has grown from 4% to 83% over the same period although their population is falling in absolute terms. Violent crime in absolute terms exceeds that of New York.

7% of public parks have been permanently closed since 2008 and the police force has been cut by 40% in the last decade. Most police stations are closed 16 hours a day and response times are around one hour. The police were asking residents to call only in an emergency to prevent overloading the limited resources.

Brian Fallon, a former spokesman for the Justice Department under Obama’s former Attorney General Eric Holder tweeted, “Defund the Police.” Maybe Hillary Clinton’s security detail should be defunded too? Fallon is currently the executive director of Demand Justice, a progressive movement that strives to get liberal justices appointed to federal courts.

An online petition has been launched to defund the police across the country. It is supported by singer John Legend, hypocritical feminist soccer star Megan Rapinoe and Hollywood stars Natalie Portman and Jane Fonda, among others. We guess it is ok to take away everyone else’ security when one can afford their own armed rent-a-cop.

Is this the country Americans want? The left-wing of the Democratic Party and their radical supporters are literally painting their lunatic policies to the road for all of America to see. Defund the police? Use taxpayer funds to promote tribalism? Introduce school curriculums as early as elementary schools to indoctrinate kids about “white rage”? Keep it up.

For as much as many Americans struggle to put up with Trump for all of his antics, the left is hardly making a compelling argument as a viable alternative. Perhaps Mayor Bowser can paint #FuckTrump in rainbow colours out the front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue facing toward the Oval Office to seal the deal.

Bowser is doing the exact opposite of what she extols.

Detroit – from hero to zero and back?

detroit

Detroit used to be called Motor City given the 3 main auto makers activities there. From a peak of 1.8mn people in the 1950s the city has shrunk to 1/3rd that level. Detroit declared bankruptcy in 2013 making it the largest municipal bankruptcy in America. In 1960 it had the highest per capita income in the nation.Today, 40% of the city is now below the poverty line. Long term debt has ballooned to $20bn or more than $30,000 per resident.

Some 78,000 homes are unoccupied in the city, and in 2011 half of the occupiers of the city’s 305,000 properties paid no tax. The white population has shrunk from 90% of the city in the 1960s to less that 9%. The black community has grown from 4% to 83% over the same period although their population is falling in absolute terms. Violent crime in absolute terms exceeds that of New York.

40% of the street lights do not work, 67% of public parks have been permanently closed since 2008 and the police force has been cut by 40% in the last decade. Most police stations are closed 16 hours a day and response times are around one hour.

This isn’t an issue of gentrification. America’s Big 3 just had decades of making complete rubbish motor cars. Lay offs grew. American cars were ugly, poorly built and the Japanese had them licked on most points. On efficient dealer distribution, the Japanese perfected inventory management, production efficiency, reliability at affordable prices and even higher resale values. Ford, Chrysler and GM dealers became mom & pop stores shifting 20-30 cars per dealer per month with large inventories sitting on the lot. Incentives were required to get rid of dusty stock.

Toyota shifts 120 cars/dealer/month average. It’s inventories are kept to a minimum. It is a business. I remember Chrysler’s Belvedere plant was so inefficient it needed to run at 113% capacity just to break even. When Daimler bought Chrysler for a ridiculous sum of $40bn (including its $8bn pension surplus) they had no idea what they were getting into. Selling a Mercedes Benz is not even hard. People come to buy it because of brand. They sell themselves. Daimler couldn’t work out why all of Mercedes Benz’s profits went to fill the massive losses of Chrysler. What do you mean you have to pay customers to take them? BMW made the same mistake with Rover with its eventual sale  rendering then CEO Pitchitsreider to say “better an end in horror than horror  without end.”  Mercedes quality suffered and its divine franchise was in tatters.

Of late though, US car makers are building better designed cars. The Ford 500. Mustang and the upcoming Bronco.  It is amazing,. Make decent products that consumers want and you sell them. However it took bankruptcy and Chapter 11 to snap them to build for their customers. I recall a meeting where a Ford executive spoke at a conference. He spoke of how Americans like cheap super sized things to which a UK investor quipped ”so does that why you make the Ford Excursion with the precision of a Big Whopper?”

Industry Accounts of the Bureau of Economic Analysis cites that manufacturing share of employment has fallen from 25% or so in the 1960s to less than 9% today. As a share of GDP manufacturing has remained virtually unchanged at around 12%. That does suggest significant productivity gains over the last 50 years which makes sense with the advent of robotics and factory automation.

So Ford may have been encouraged to build cars back in the USA and save 700 jobs. It is minuscule in the grand scheme of things but more importantly the headlines are real and it is the ‘confidence’ it sends to broader businesses.

I am generally against the idea of subsidizing businesses. Necessity is the mother of invention. The Aussie car makers lived under the protection of massive import taxes for foreign brands. However it only encouraged complacency. Their products were not up to scratch and the foreign brands thrived for the product they were – desirable. Over time the tariffs were lowered and Aussie car makers got their product properly sorted. Less protection, not more helped them get competitive. Sadly they’d paid the price for too many years of mediocrity and now no car manufacturing remains at home.

Ultimately no matter how many jobs Trump can save from offshoring, American businesses must shape up but there is much merit in lowering taxes and incentivizing businesses to stay at home. After all countries like HK thrive thanks to lower taxes. Everyone thrives on lower taxes. People can bang on all they like about trickle down economics but don’t believe Ford’s decision to scrap a $1.6bn plant in Mexico was already on the books for termination. The project management for such scale isn’t done with a few phone calls and a stop over visit. It is years in the making and more corporates are realizing that calling Trump’s bluff is a bad idea.