Joe Biden’s memory failed him back in 1988 too.
Joe Biden’s memory failed him back in 1988 too.
Coles supermarket has confessed, much like Woolworths last year, that it underpaid some staff members. Yet this has more to do with classifications in pay, rather than anything sinister on Coles’ part. Yet watch the media spin it into a nasty takedown of corporate greed. Politicians, including AG Christian Porter, were making capital out of it – pathetic.
In real terms, it is $20m over 6 years across 1% of its staff. The company made $31bn in revenue and $1.3bn EBIT in the last fiscal year. The unpaid salary amounts to 1.54% of EBIT or 0.06% of revenue. Or over 6 years, around 0.25% and 0.01% respectively. Things may be tough in retail, but we don’t believe for a second that Coles was acting unethically or intentionally.
Thanks to the SOTU, this chart from the St Louis Fed (FRED) gives us a great read across on how the Bottom 50%’s fortunes have fared over time.
Since the series began, FRED shows their aggregate wealth peaked in 2Q 1991 at $4.3 trillion. In Q1 2009, that net wealth plummetted 61% to $1.7 trillion. It sunk to a rock bottom of $300 billion in 2Q 2011, 93% down.
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. This might do some explaining as to why the “forgotten” wanted large scale change.
Under Trump, the latest net worth is back to $1.6 trillion. Still well off the highs of 3-decades ago, but one imagines if things keep improving out to November, then these people won’t want to risk their fortunes reversing again.
Of course, many will ponder the unfair wealth gap of the Top 1% at $34.5 trillion in the latest figures.
Democrats should be outraged that the ultra-wealthy have done much better under Obama with a 100% gain in net worth under his term vs the paltry 15.3% so far under Trump. Is this the real reason why Nancy Pelosi is so upset?
If you want to see how much members of Congress are worth please check out Roll Call. While some politicians come from inherited wealth, many on the public purse have managed to do pretty well on a paltry government salary.
There is no question there are/have been some disastrous male leaders in politics – in no particular order – The North Korean Kims, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Amin, Saddam, Juncker, Chamberlain, Rudd, Turnbull, Hoxha, Trudeau, Obama, Carter, Bush Jr, Yeltsin, Erdogan, Chavez, Maduro, Macron and so on. Many would be well within their rights to demand Trump be included too. It’s all subjective of course. The list above will undoubtedly trigger some complaint.
However does Lenny Kravitz honestly believe that genitalia is the key determinant for success in world leadership? Or is this a cynical virtue signaling hijack of a well publicized cause (International Women’s Day) which might help resurrect dwindling industry-wide revenue in a music streaming world? Then again Lenny has first hand experience in letting it all hang out to get media attention when his wardrobe failure exposed his Prince Albert in 2015.
Did Lenny forget Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was given a 12 year sentence for money laundering and corruption? Or former South Korean President Park Gyun-hye who was locked away for 24 years for her abuse of power, coercion and bribery? Former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko received a 7 years jail term for embezzlement. Elena Ceausescu was executed by the Romanian Armed Forces for heinous crimes against her people.
Let’s not go near the toxic trail of disaster left behind Hillary Clinton. Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s $93 trillion Green New Deal thought bubble the type of leadership the world is craving? Do we want the shoot from the hip without facts style of Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris or Maxine Waters? Or does Lenny think we should channel the moral high ground calibre of Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib to run international diplomacy?
This is not to cast aspersions on the huge number of successful and capable women that exist in world politics. Do we really think the following women want constituents to judge them on the basis of gender or hope they look to their track records first and foremost?
Exhibit A – former US Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. Sign CM up. She is intelligent, strong, articulate and just happens to be a woman. CM sincerely hopes she runs for POTUS. She’d be fantastic.
Exhibit B – Australian Senator Linda Reynolds. She gave an incredibly powerful speech about lived experience with respect to people smuggling. Principled and earnest. Just happens to be female.
Exhibit C – Former Canadian Interim Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose regularly tore strips off Justin Trudeau through reasoned logic and sensible argument. Just happens to have XX chromosomes.
Exhibit D – Australian Labor Party Senator Kimberley Kitching appears another impressive politician. CM shares little in the way of political ideology with her but once again she appears intelligent, measured and confident in her own skin.
We could go on and on.
On the other hand CM wonders what is this obsession with gender and identity taking a premium to merit and ability?
In the upcoming federal election in Australia the parties are chest-beating about their relative diversity. Parties preselect candidates on their ability to win seats. No point putting up women (or men for that matter) on the ticket on the basis of their gender if the talents won’t garner a tick at the polling booth.
Social media is likely to lavish praise on Lenny Kravitz for being so ‘woke’. Best check his ranking on iTunes next week to see if his little stunt paid real dividends thanks to a bump of “Always on the run” downloads.
Maybe our Lenny needs to play the Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin tune, “Sisters are doing it for themselves“, on a loop. They believed they could stand on their own two feet back in 1985. Far easier in 2019 to do so.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might be the New Democrat piñata for a band of Republican supporters but beware. While it is true she is weak on facts, how economics works and a whole other range of political topics, she has 1.9mn followers on Twitter, more than Nany Pelosi. If she gets the right sort of campaign team behind her she could become a serious threat to the GOP and incumbent Democrats alike.
She didn’t really have any dollars to fight her nomination on the NY Dem ticket but she booted the 14 year incumbent Joe Crowley and won the 2018 mid term with 80% of the vote. Hardly something achieved by a complete fool, wouldn’t you say?
Think about it. She’s a millennial. She’s deeply socialist, pro climate change and all the pet causes of her generation. The latest shrill surrounding her dancing while at college is frankly pathetic. Who cares?
CM was critical of those who bashed Republicans over a lack of intelligence. It was a key part of why people refrained from openly supporting Trump in the lead up to the 2016 election. The polls and mainstream media all pointed to a Clinton coronation and were rudely shocked when the opposite happened. The ballot box is all that matters. The irony of Paddy Power paying out those who bet on a Clinton win. That’s how badly so many got it wrong. They completely missed the mood.
Pelosi and Feinstein are 78 and 85 years old respectively. Ocasio-Cortez is not even 30. We can already see the incumbent Democrats become uncomfortable as the younger generation wants to take the party hard left. Ocasio-Cortez’s pulling power is evident. Media attention is never far away.
Don’t forget she turned on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand after her resounding nomination win saying, “Unsurprising, but disappointing that didn’t even bother to talk to nor consider me before endorsing…You‘d think a progressive leader would at least be interested in how a no-corporate money Bronx Latina triggered the 1st NY-14 primary in 14 years on prog issues.”
Republican supporters who troll her Twitter feeds only enhance her bidding. They lift her profile and if anything only cause more millennials to rush to her defence. Her retweets are up there with Trump who has 30x more followers. Don’t dismiss it. Trump’s rise to POTUS came from Democrats and mainstream media coverage that reported on pointless trivialities so far removed from what voters were screaming for.
If AO-C gets a good team behind her she will be a force to be reckoned with. As is so often the case with people so easily dismissed is that she becomes a sleeper. She can only improve how to come across more intelligently. She ticks plenty of identity boxes in a world that seems to place greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion.
She maybe new to the game but it will be interesting how the incumbent Democrats deal with her. Will they try to suppress her or mold her into a dynamo? Her storming of Pelosi’s office alongside environmental activists suggests that maybe the old guard Democrats try to keep a lid on her but sadly they lack time and adaption to new age technology on their side which Ocasio-Cortez has in spades.
Write her off at your peril.
Oh the irony. The mainstream media’s pin-up poster boy of globalization and its merits has slumped to a 26% popularity rating and rules a capitol in flames. Yet another dud prediction from those know-it-all scribes!
While journalists rarely miss a chance to embrace French President Macron for eviscerating Trump (47% popularity rating (NB Obama was 46% at the same point in his presidency)) for his refusal to sign the Paris Climate Accord, where is the admission that large swathes of French natives seem to agree with the elder statesman?
Let’s not kid ourselves. Setting fire to priceless art galleries, torching police cars and destroying national monuments like the Arc de Triomphe are hardly petty crime issues to be left to a moustache twiddling local police officer on a stroll though the neighborhood twirling a baton.
The press gladly slams Trump as a fool for his stance on global warming. Yet doesn’t Macron look the stupid one if his constituents are lashing out like this over his poorly thought out green schemes?
The irony is that total US emissions fell in 2017 and expected to be broadly flat for 2018. This despite not being tied to a global compact engineered by the biggest pack of self- serving, unelected demagogues on the planet – the U.N. Why are we listening to its environmental body, the IPCC, when it has been exposed numerous times for fraudulent misrepresentation of data and facts such that it has been forced to publicly retract such hysteria. Better to ask for forgiveness or hope the faithful will forget those hiccups, eh?
Why smash the US when those willing to be part of the Paris agreement – China and India – will crank up emissions to 2030 and beyond at much higher levels? The media stays deathly silent. Who are the real villains? Where is the outrage?
Embarrassing for Macron, even several of his first responders are also showing gross displeasure. A group of firefighters being honoured by a Macron official walked off parade in protest to the embarrassment of their captain. Some police removed riot helmets and lowered shields in front of the yellow vests. When a president loses control of state run security forces that is pretty grim.
When will the press admit they got Macron completely wrong? Popularity can only get one so far. Trudeau of Canada shows the same flaws. Utterly out of his depth. Virtue signaling works wonders for the press gallery but less for those that must bear the brunt of what bad policies ultimately create.
In summary, if the most hated political figure on the planet garners 90%+ negative news feeds, how is it a media darling can’t nudge much more than half his popularity? Who is the imbecile?
Army Times reports that 172 veterans are running for Congress in 2018. 104 of the 160 men are representing the GOP. 9 of the 12 women are representing the Democrats. One male is running as an independent in CA
So 65% of the veteran men are representing the GOP. 75% of the veteran women are representing the Democrats.
Their military service spans from the 1950s to Afghanistan/Iraq and includes time spent in the active-duty ranks, reserves as well as the Coast Guard.
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) should never be actively trying to recruit spent cartridges to serve. What is the purpose to train people that don’t wish to step in harm’s way? Yet our top brass is hell bent on diversity and equality targets. Let’s not get the message confused. Those who actively seek to defend our nation with dignity and bravery deserve our highest praise and support. As written yesterday, it is absolutely clear that the project, even by the ADF’s own data and reporting, is failing. Instead of admitting defeat, the armed forces leadership believes doubling down is preferable.
The Navy thought serving RAN seamen painting fingernails pink in order to push the ‘100 Days for Change’ campaign was more virtuous than spending to defend our nation. Make no mistake, China’s military is not pandering to politically correct posturing. They must have chuckled at this overt display of weakness. President Xi wants to make his country the dominant, God-fearing player in the region and as far as displaying weakness goes Australia may as well hand over the keys to the Lodge.
Speaking to people related to personnel in the Defence Department yesterday, the argument was that diversity is a good thing. When asked to defend the position the individual couldn’t come up with a credible answer. The strongest argument offered was that allow smoother integration into civilian life. Since when did it become a current employers role to help the transition of leavers? Surely the aim is to keep soldiers for the long term not support the 25% who are actively looking to quit.
CM posed a question back. Usain Bolt can run 100m faster than me. I’ve wanted to hold the 100m world record since I was a kid. In order to fulfil my subjective sense of self worth he should be forced to run 150m while I’m at 75m. It’s a stupid argument. Much like a heavyweight male boxer fighting a female heavyweight in the quest for equality. The man is likely win 100% of the time. Look at men identifying as women making such a mockery of women’s sports. Let’s openly accept that I’ll never beat Bolt and there is no point pretending it. If the ADF want to celebrate diversity, embrace the existence of biological and physiological differences. Stop this nonsense that “diversity is our strength” because outside of diversity of thought it doesn’t.
Therefore “if” men happen to be more qualified in terms of strength, endurance, fitness, accuracy or whatever metric that is chosen, why shouldn’t they be recruited over women? If women prove to be superior than men on the same metrics then they should be hired over the men they beat. As written yesterday, the ADF lowered the targets for women because they were too onerous in the hope the execution rate would be more easily achieved yet they missed by a wider margin. Instead of actively accepting fewer women are interested in a military career than men, males are actively discriminated against. Recruiters face demotion for not complying with big brother. In civilian life companies would be fined and face jail terms for operating similar structures. So much for equality!
It’s not rocket science. The military should never be a social experiment. Period. Our military leadership even wants to ban death symbols. Honestly if death symbols make our troops feel better morale then let them. What surprise that our diversity programs are sinking morale to record lows? Even a large slug of female military personnel don’t believe these programmes are effective yet we will push our Waterloo strategy.
CM is going to take a wild stab in the dark. War veterans or those in special forces must be rolling their eyes. Some SAS soldiers have confessed that in training, new cadets are able to raise a red card if they feel their instructor is being too harsh? Discipline is the most important part of a military. Following orders. Surely in the heat of battle a commander needs to be able to order troops to take a hill or position, not spend crucial minutes debating subordinates on the validity of the plan. If one is so easily triggered by members of the home team how effective could they possibly be in battle? Instead of waving a white flag why not waggle pink fingers to the enemy in the hopes they won’t be shot?
Time for the military to be handed back to professional soldiers not caught up in political correctness. If our enemies are “sons of bitches” best we become “total sons of bitches” rather than “fairies”.
It is a farce. In 2006, NATO Defence Ministers agreed to commit a minimum of 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to defence spending. This guideline, according to NATO, “principally serves as an indicator of a country’s political will to contribute to the Alliance’s common defence efforts.” In 2017, only 5 of the 28 members outside the US have met the 2% threshold – Greece, Estonia, UK, Romania & Poland in that order. Despite Greece’s economic problems elsewhere, it manages to honour the deal. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said “the majority [not all] of allies now have plans to do so by 2024.” 3 more are expected to hit the target in 2018. So for all the good will in the world, is POTUS wrong to call the other 19 members slackers that ride off the US taxpayer when so many of them are only likely to hit the target 18 years after ‘committing’ to it?
NATO commitment in 2017 can be seen as follows.
Although all credit to the Europeans and Canadians for getting away with it for so long. Previous US presidents have obviously not concerned themselves with getting a fair deal on mutually agreed commitments. Although in what world would American taxpayers be upset to see the rest of the team pick up the slack?
Naturally the media are getting mileage out of the insensitive bully attacking his supposed allies. In fact Stoltenberg said last month on record that, “burden sharing will be a key theme of our summit next month, and I expect all allies to continue their efforts.” He reiterated that to Trump yesterday.
To be brutally honest, how effective can a NATO force truly be if words aren’t put into action? What good is a promise if it is to be honored 18 years later. Imagine if that is the mindset should NATO be forced to act militarily. Would those meeting their obligations feel within their rights to have a bigger say in how NATO should work?
The problem with such a lack of commitment is that over the 12 years where 23 nations have not come close to meeting their obligations, the sum total of the actual defence capabilities suffers for the duration. The US is 67% of total NATO spend and the UK, France & Germany make up half of the remainder. Yet building a sustainable capability in defence does not come through half measures or poorly thought out procurement. What is missed on many is that over 70% of defence budgets are allocated to soldier pay, housing, healthcare, training and so forth. Procurement and RDT&E get funded out of the balance. Have a skirmish somewhere and yet more money is chewed out of buying new equipment for the sake of logistics (feeding 10,000 troops and servicing hardware in a foreign land). Then there is the subject of terribly managed procurement programs.
Take the French disaster that is the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle. Despite delays because of problems with a retrofit for radiation shields, the naval brass had to add 14 feet of deck because it realized that the E2-C Hawkeye surveillance planes it purchased couldn’t take off and land in its original build spec. Even now the flight deck is not long enough to conduct simultaneous launch and recovery operations. Even worse the blueprints for the CdG‘s propellers had been lost in a fire, which meant that the ship had to be refitted with hand-me down screws from carriers Foch and Clemenceau which meant her speed was cut from 27 knots to about 24 knots—which was unfortunate since her predecessors steamed at 32 knots. Speed to war zones is kind of important to gain a decisive edge. All of the spend to fix poorly thought out designs cuts from being able to procure other equipment and materiel. Scary to think Australia is buying 12 subs from the French! The problems are already revealing themselves despite not one boat having hit the dry dock.
History tells us many things of how NATO type organisations have failed in the past.The Peloponnesian Wars (431BC – 404BC) highlighted how things can change when allies do not keep up commitments and capabilities aren’t maintained.
Athens required her Delian League member states (consisting of city states mainly along the Ionian Sea) to pay tributes (phoros) to the treasury which was used to build and maintain the naval fleet led by Athens. Yet over time the member states relied too much on the wealth of Athens and over the course of the draining war and the costly campaign to Sicily, failed to honour the ever increasing demands to fund the league with the appropriate level of tributes which drove Athens into massive debt. Defence spending by the Athenians had been cut to around 30-60% of the average over the previous decade. The Delian League’s capabilities dwindled as a result and the Spartans, funded by Persia, took advantage of this and crushed it for good, in the very art of war that Athens was renowned for – the navy.
It is not hard to think of Trump feeling like a modern day Pericles. NATO is the Delian League and its projected enemies chip away all the while members dither over commitments, forcing the US to sustain the limited capability. Like the Athenians, the US has the most powerful navy in the world with a fleet bigger than the next 11 countries combined but even it has pared back the number of ships to less than 10% of what it had in WW2. Enhanced capability is one factor in cutting the surface fleet but even the US DoD realised that the conventionally powered US Kitty Hawk consumed 2% of the entire US military fuel bill annually so it was taken out of service to save money.
One can argue the $750 billion annual defence budget is plentiful but the US realises that power projection is an expensive business. Even Japan understands it can’t stay nestled in the bosom of US stationed forces forever without taking a proactive stance to defend itself. That is the same message to the 19 members NATO failing to pull their weight.
Saw Darkest Hour yesterday. Extremely well cast movie. Oldman plays Churchill impeccably well. Great storyline and is actually more relevant today than ever. The portrayal of Chamberlain after his disastrous run as PM is so indicative of the weak and feckless political class we have today across the Western democracies. Despite Chamberlain’s gross incompetence, out of power he still tries to undermine Churchill who ultimately roasts him alive. Well worth seeing. If only we had more Churchills today. As there are more than enough dictators to stand up against.
The only thing that spoilt the film was the health and safety ‘environmentally friendly film making’ rubbish during the credits and an advisory that Churchill smoking cigars like a chimney was only a portrayal and people should be aware of the health risks of tobacco. Yet more evidence of the PC culture that overwhelms every walk of life,