No Minister

Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

No Chips, no motion

A couple of weeks ago in The Veteran’s post on Taiwan, I included a graph showing the degree to which the world relies on Taiwan for silicon chips.

I also made the point that the world would likely not even be able to feed itself if there was a major, lengthy disruption to the production of silicon chips, given the degree to which tractors and other farm equipment depend on them to work nowadays.

Here’s the latest evidence, from The Truth About Cars:

Have you heard the one about the dead cars? No, not the ones we find in junkyards, but the ones that haven’t had life yet, thanks to the chip shortage.

These so-called “dead” cars are vehicles that have rolled off the assembly line, otherwise ready for sale, sitting in fields or on lots near the factories that produced them, just waiting for chips.

… that number is set to grow, as GM announced that plants in Indiana, Michigan, and Mexico that produce the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra will halt next week, thanks to, you guessed it, the chip shortage.

GM had so far avoided chip-related shutdowns by skipping some features, and by … building some trucks and adding the chips in later

Written by Tom Hunter

July 24, 2021 at 11:55 am

In the future everybody will be cancelled for 15 minutes

Even scientists with a great pedigree of credentials and research papers.

Like Robert Malone.

But when he began to speak up about the potential downsides of the mRNA-“spike protein” approach to vaccines, that was not acceptable to TPTB, even though it’s his field of expertise.

First he found podcasts involving him getting pulled from YouTube, and then even the supposed business-connecting site LinkedIn took their shot:

Malone pays for the premium version of LinkedIn for the biotech and government consulting business he runs, Just the News reports. That page remains intact, but its last post is three weeks old. 

“He was given no notice, no warnings” before he was removed on Tuesday, his wife Jill said. “He has a 10-15 year old account – has never even had a warning. 6,000 followers.”

“The historic record of what I have done, stated, figured out (and when) etc. over time is a key part of establishing my credibility and track record as a professional,” Robert Malone tweeted Wednesday. “And that has been erased completely and arbitrarily without warning or explanation.” 

Well at least he can still Tweet!

===========================

There was one piece of cancellation news that was funny. There’s an outfit called Right Wing Watch, which is dedicated to posting clips of conservatives saying things in an effort to get those conservatives de-platformed. Unfortunately they were a little too good at their job of pushing YouTube on those rules:

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

My, how schadenfreudialicious that is. Something, something reaping.… something something sowing

But now that they’ve been kicked off of YouTube, they can simply go start their own multi-billion dollar video platform, right? I mean, that’s what the Left has continually told conservatives who complain about censorship online.

I think they’ll be fine. Once YouTube realises the political and ideological mistake of taking out one of their own, RWW will be allowed back.

===========================

The same might also be true for actor Tom Hanks. Early in June, Tom decided to sheer his experience and feelings about racism in American by publishing an op ed in the New York Times entitled “You Should Learn the Truth About the Tulsa Race Massacre,”, in which he confessed that he’d never heard of this during his 1950’s/60’s Whitebread schooling. Hanks has been activist (a quiet one) and a donor to many Democrat Party candidates and causes over the years.

But none of that was good enough for one Eric Deggans’, who used his platform on none other than NPR (National Public Radio, basically the equivalent of the NZR’s National Program) to unload in response, “Tom Hanks Is A Non-Racist. It’s Time For Him To Be Anti-Racist”. Because you can never be good enough, especially in the eyes of a 55 year old Black man who specialises in “issues of race and social justice”:

“The toughest thing for some white Americans … is to admit how they were personally and specifically connected to the elevation of white culture over other cultures,

His work, so often focused on the achievements of virtuous white, male Americans, may have made it tougher for tales about atrocities such as Tulsa to find space.”

The revolution, like Saturn, devours its children.

Perhaps the best response to Deggan’s bullshit is this article from Frontpage by Danusha Goska. It’s lengthy but you should read it. She makes several important points but it was this one that struck me, based on her experience teaching and living in Africa and the reality of limited good:

An insight into why villagers resisted change, including change that might save their own lives, was provided by the fate of one villager, a man I knew personally. When development workers advised the locals on how to improve their agricultural output, he carefully applied every suggestion. His farm prospered and he enjoyed a much higher yield than any of his neighbors.

His neighbors burned his farm down. That’s limited good. This man, by increasing his yield, had monopolized all the good to be had in that village, and his action would result, his neighbors believed, in their farms doing poorly.

It applied to other things in the village too, even beauty. That’s what Deggan is actually putting forward for the US and other Western societies:

Deggans is back to that limited good, zero-sum worldview that insists, falsely, that one man’s success equates to the next man’s failure. If Tom Hanks has two cows, Eric Deggans can’t have any cows. If Hanks’ farm is doing well, Deggans’ farm will wither. If Hanks’ baby is attractive, Deggans’ baby must be ugly.

The “solutions” offered also amount to the same thing; burning the farm to the ground:

For Hanks to atone, he must lower himself, and elevate black people in the place he previously occupied. That’s being an anti-racist. That’s Ibram X. Kendi. That’s the “8 White Identities” chart that says that the only good white is a white who participates in the abolishment of whiteness. And it is a Maoist struggle session. Deggans calls for “Hanks and other stars to talk specifically about how their work has contributed to these problems and how they will change.” This is the self-accusation that occurred during Maoist struggle sessions. The less successful, fueled by their envy, publicly humiliate the more successful.

Goska also makes the point that should be obvious:

Deggans can read white people’s minds. White people all think alike. And Deggans can speak for them. Any similar set of statements by a white man about black people would be taboo.

===========================

Lastly, there are places where the reverse is happening, with opposition ideologues taking over their opponent’s world, as Daniel Greenfield points out:

When Sultan Doughan signed a hateful letter falsely claiming that Israel and Zionism were based on “Jewish Supremacy”, a term popularized by Neo-Nazi leader David Duke, that ugly rhetoric wouldn’t have attracted much attention in an antisemitic time… except for one thing.

Doughan is a Muslim postdoctoral associate at Boston University’s Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies.

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Nice work if you can bat it.

When I saw the following article the other day I vaguely recalled the name Bobby Bonilla.

Like many American baseball players he had played for a large number of teams in the course of a fifteen year career, but where I recalled him from was when he played for the Florida Marlins in 1997 as they won a World Series after existing for just five seasons.

That stuck in the throats of a lot of fans of other ball clubs who had won nothing in decades. But it was a one-off as the owner – Wayne Huizenga, who had made his billions from various startup companies, like Blockbuster Videos (and who remembers them now in the age of streaming) – had thrown huge amounts of cash around to grab every free-agent star he could to play just the one season.

Predictably enough, the following season saw them finish with the worst record in MLB; the greatest collapse by a World Series Champion in history.

Bonilla moved on to other clubs and retired in 2001, but aside from some good batting stats and a WS ring he also left behind another legacy, the date of July 1st that is commemorated each year by teeth-grinding fans of the New York Mets as Bobby Bonilla Day:

The calendar has turned to July 1, and that means one thing: It’s time for Mets fans everywhere to wish each other a Happy Bobby Bonilla Day! Why?

On Thursday, 58-year-old Bobby Bonilla will collect a check for $1,193,248.20 from the New York Mets, as he has and will every July 1 from 2011 through 2035.

The twenty cents is a nice touch.

Now you may assume that this is just the hangover from some long-ago contract, and you would be correct. But even after reading the details in that article and the Wiki I still don’t understand how this came to be:

In 2000, the Mets agreed to buy out the remaining $5.9 million on Bonilla’s contract.

However, instead of paying Bonilla the $5.9 million at the time, the Mets agreed to make annual payments of nearly $1.2 million for 25 years starting July 1, 2011, including a negotiated 8% interest.

I’ve done finance. I know about NPV calculations, and my calcs have him at $1.62 million per year, so perhaps he kindly agreed to a slight discount?

But I still don’t know why the Nets would turn $5.9 million into $1.2 million per year for twenty five years. Apparently the Mets had invested in Bernie Madoff’s schemes and although it does not say so I guess when those crashed, the team just could not lay their hands on $5.9 million in cash.

But still – this deal was the only alternative? For a season where he didn’t even play for them?

There are other such deals around and incredibly this guy is on the receiving end of one of those too:

Bobby Bonilla (again): A second deferred-contract plan with the Mets and Orioles pays him $500,000 a year for 25 years. Those payments began in 2004.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 7, 2021 at 4:46 pm

Posted in Business, Sport., USA

Tagged with

What’s The Difference Between Bankers…

…and wankers?

Wankers know what they’re doing.

Westpac sells NZ life insurance business

Westpac agrees to sell its NZ life insurance arm.Picture: NCA NewsWire / James Gourley

Westpac has signalled a gain on the sale of its New Zealand life insurance unit to Fidelity Life Assurance Company for $NZ400m ($373m), as it also weighs final bids for its larger Australian life division.

Westpac announced the sale in an ASX statement on Tuesday, highlighting it had also entered a 15-year distribution agreement with Fidelity for life insurance products to the bank’s customers. Completion of the deal remains subject to regulatory and other approvals and is expected by the end of 2021.

Thirty years ago I was a life broker in NZ when the banks muscled into the life business to make their fortunes. A wise old fellow told me then ‘They’ll fuck it up.’ And they did.

Bankers don’t understand insurance and insurers don’t understand banking.

That’s why you didn’t see insurance companies rushing into the banking business.

Written by adolffinkensen

July 6, 2021 at 2:59 pm

Posted in Australia, Business, New Zealand

Tagged with

American Billionaires go long on China

This doesn’t shock me of course, but it does sadden me that three men who owe almost everything they’ve got to the American system of capitalism and democracy could be so ignorant of that fact, to the extent that they don’t seem to care if it crashes.

In this case it’s three billionaires in particular, but given the circles they run in you can bet there’s plenty more where they came from.

Charlie Munger

First up is one Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman (net worth $US 2 billion):

The Chinese Communists did the right thing. They just called in Jack Ma and said, “You aren’t gonna do it, sonny.” 

He’s actually talking about Chinese billionaire and entreprenueur Jack Ma, a former schoolteacher who co-founded the gigantic Albaba e-commerce firm. To be fair, Munger does go on to say the following:

I don’t want the, all of the Chinese system, but I certainly would like to have the financial part of it in my own country.

Thank goodness for that much. However, this genius apparently cannot see that you don’t get to have one part of such a system without having the rest. Munger also doesn’t seem to have noticed that if the CCP can take out Jake Ma (net worth $US 50 billion) then they could take out Munger and company too were he to step into areas of disagreement with the CCP.

Michael Bloomberg

Then there’s Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of NYC and 2020 Democrat Presidential candidate (net worth $US 60 billion):

“The Communist Party wants to stay in power in China, and they listen to the public . . . Xi Jinping is not a dictator.”

If I recall my history correctly even Stalin listened to his critics and would occasionally follow their recommendations – while at the same time putting extra eyes on them, readying them for the counter-revolutionary trials if he felt like it.

Then there’s the richest of the three, Bill Gates ($US 150 billion) giving a thumbs up to China’s Covid-19 response:

“What China did is helping the rest of the world.”

“China did a lot of things right in the beginning,”

China must be over the moon about such things. Who needs the Peoples Liberation Army, Navy and Air Force, or even the Confucius Institutes to help “educate” American youth about China, when you’ve got people like this on your side.

To have the most effective critics of America placed not in Beijing but in America itself; in corporate boardrooms, campuses, newsrooms, Hollywood, Wall Street, and now even the Pentagon. That’s one hell of an achievement and the funny thing is that the Chinese really had very little to do with it.

But they certainly are taking advantage of it:

The opening salvo in this all-out campaign was fired at the U.S.-China summit in Alaska on March 19. The Chinese delegation, besides publicly humiliating the Biden administration, used the summit to accuse the U.S. of “deep-seated” racism. Chinese representatives referred to the propaganda put out by the BLM movement to accuse the U.S. of ‘slaughtering’ Black Americans.

The same day, China used the floor of the U.N. General Assembly to make similar claims. China’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Dai Bing accused the U.S of “deep-seated problems of racial discrimination, social injustice and police brutality.”

It’s no surprise that US Secretary of State Blinken sat silently through that Alaskan beating by the Chinese, for what response could he actually make to accusations that his own Democrat Party, indeed his own fucking President, had made about his own nation.

Many of the ideas adopted by the Alinsky-inspired New Left in the 60s and 70s came from the violent Cultural Revolution instigated by Mao Zedong in China between 1966-76. Thus ‘political correctness’ is not a woke concept developed by Western academics in Princeton or Harvard, but a notion rooted in the doctrine of Maoism. Today’s woke mob derives its intolerant instincts to ban ideas, cleanse the language, or purge its opponents from their ideology steeped on genocidal Marxism and Maoism.

Thus comes the full circle.

Still, throughout history, smart people have been notorious for making very dumb mistakes, for there is a difference between being smart and being wise. As the following Spectator article by Melissa Chen points out, the CCP may have recently moved too far and too fast:

But the party’s increasing insecurity about its grip on power led China to turn inward and ultimately, with the rise of Xi Jinping who purged corruption in the politburo to preserve loyalists and removed presidential term limits, it fell back to a personality cult not seen since Mao. Steadily in the last few years and particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic, China has turned the world against it by proving itself to be an irresponsible world actor.

After a century of existence, the CCP has made a strategic mistake and played its hand too early, revealing the game and the true nature of the party. How should we respond in the next century?

That last is a question the likes of Bloomberg and company have not even asked from the perspective of 2020/21. They’re still stuck in the early 2000’s with regard to China.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 6, 2021 at 2:30 pm

False advertising

It’s no secret that the big Democrat controlled cities of the USA have badly hurt themselves with their Chinese Lung Rot lockdown responses and allowing Burn Loot Murder and Antifa to have so much smashing, hitting, wrecking and arson fun in 2020.

Defunding police did not help either, nor siding with criminals against cops, which resulted in hundreds of early retirements, leaving these big city forces short-staffed even as some Democrats belatedly talk of restoring funding. But that’s a topic for another day.

As both pandemics wane these same cities now want to try and get back to normal, and that means advertising themselves. For cities like New York and Chicago, however badly damaged they were and remain, the advertising task is easier because they already have brand power.

But what if you’re a place like Portland? I say Portland, you say … ?

If the first thing you thought of was “rioting, beatings, killings and arson”, then congratulations! Your powers of observation are as acute as ever. And you’re not the only one. Others have noticed. That’s why tourism in Portland, Oregon, is in the toilet.

But if you’re an advertising agent you do what you always do; you embrace the reality and put the best spin on it that you can. Take it away, Travel Portland:

You just have to love these phrases that cover the (cough) reality they know the rest of the USA knows about:

Some of what you’ve heard about Portland is true.

Tell me the truth, baby.

We have some of the loudest voices on the West Coast. And yes, passion pushes the volume all the way up. We’ve always been like this. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Glitter. Turds. Rolling in.

This reads more like a recruiting poster for Antifa: “Come to Portland where setting federal courthouses and ICE buildings on fire and blinding police officers with lasers is so quirky and so…  Portland.”

They also had a YouTube advert with much the same drivel. They actually do address the riots at the 1:32 mark – and it’s an insult to locals who have to live with this crap.

Some of the locals on Reddit were not impressed:

Lifetime portlander here. Cute sentiment I guess, but I hate it. Because it’s bullshit.

Portland is pretty fucked up right now, for a lot of reasons. Putting on rose colored glasses and painting the city as progressive and quirky feels like a slap in the face to those who suffer as a result of this city’s problems.

It’s also extra weird to allude to the racial justice and police violence protests and then not mention it at all + kinda frame it as “lol we have passionate people here! on both sides!”

But I’m not surprised. Travel Portland’s job is to bring people with money into the city, not make the city better for Portlanders.

Oh well. If there are no riots there are always other sights in Portland. It is still the Whitest big city in the USA.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 5, 2021 at 11:16 am

Die MSM, Die – NZ edition

MUHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA.

I see that the NZ Herald no longer supplies its stats! What a surprise.

And although these are NZ figures and the following is from the USA I figure that’s not a problem given how much cut-and-paste the NZ MSM does from US sources like the Washington Post.

So, two reasons why these fuckers are going down (aside from advertising revenue hits courtesy of CraigsList and company).

First is a follow-up to the post I did the other day on Biden’s sad G7 tour to Europe, including his Angry Grandpa meltdown with a reporter’s question, and my usual jibe about how the whores of the US MSM would have covered it had it been Trump. I only had to wait one day and, as the following Tweet says, the perfect comparison arrived.

Second, is the way two different rallies were covered by these bastards in 2020, and it was the same with the BLM “protests” here in Auckland.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 2, 2021 at 12:16 pm

Posted in Business, MSM, New Zealand

Tagged with ,

Survival in changing times

The predecessor of this blog was named after the famous comedy character from the Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister TV series of the 1980’s, Sir Humphrey Appleby.

I was reminded of yet another aspect of him the other day when reading one of Chris Trotter’s latest missives, They Say We Want A Revolution – But Do We?.

The article is about both the proposals from the Climate Change Commission and the He Puapua report, but it was this part that caught my eye:

As a “free-marketeer” of no mean ability (the man has a PhD from the prestigious Wharton School of Business) Rod Carr could contemplate the installation of cash registers in public hospitals without flinching. 

I’d forgotten about that long-lost tidbit from Rod Carr, back when he looked like this:

Yep. Every inch the 1980’s/90’s Rogernome businessman on the make, expensive business suit and cool tie with the suitably modish beard – and free market ideology at the forefront of thinking.

Nowadays however it’s Climate Change at the forefront, likely combined with a bit of He Puapua and so…

From 1980’s business suit and tie to being a bearded git who resembles nothing so much as an Amish elder, but with a huge chunk of pounamu around his neck for added Aotearoan authenticity, Carr is testimony to Sir Humphrey’s philosophy:

“Bernard, I have served eleven governments in the past thirty years. If I had believed in all their policies, I would have been passionately committed to keeping out of the Common Market, and passionately committed to going into it. I would have been utterly convinced of the rightness of nationalising steel. And of de-nationalising it and re-nationalising it. On capital punishment, I’d have been a fervent retentionist and an ardent abolitionist. I would’ve been a Keynesian and a Friedmanite, a grammar school preserver and destroyer, a nationalisation freak and a privatisation maniac; but above all, I would have been a stark, staring, raving schizophrenic.”.

At least Sir Humphrey never grew a beard.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 28, 2021 at 9:35 am

Die MSM, Die – Corporate dismissal

Elon Musk has become that rare but frequent creature that occasionally appears in Western society – the Public Rich Person.

Which is to say that while becoming one of the richest men in the world he has a public persona as a result of the businesses he’s developed and his own personality, unlike many very rich people who keep their heads down.

The reason of course is that two of his businesses have not only been very successful but are regarded as paradigm changing, these being Tesla with electric cars and SpaceX with reusable rockets – plus his plans for their future.

So it was with much amusement that I saw this announcement a few weeks ago: Tesla Eliminates its PR Wing:

Essentially every staffer who used to work in Tesla’s PR office has either moved to a different position at the company or left altogether, according to electric vehicle industry blog Electrek, which said the move to disband the department was confirmed “at the highest level at Tesla.”

That leaves CEO Elon Musk as Tesla’s primary public communicator since the company hasn’t answered press inquiries in months anyway. Tesla has plenty of ways to get its story out without relying on the media, and that makes the media much less important — and much less powerful, primarily because it means they lose control of the narrative.

And it’s that power part that hurts the most, as Washington Post public editor Hamilton Nolan went on to howl about:

“We are living through a historic, technology-fueled shift in the balance of power between the media and its subjects. The subjects are winning…

Subjects? That is a clue to this asshole’s view of himself and his readers – otherwise known as citizens, and I’m glad they’re winning because the MSM sucks at their job. But let’s have a look at some of his other whinging: it’s fisking time.

==================================================

the powerful have realized they don’t need the Post .. one more glaring data point showing that powerful people no longer think they need the mainstream press,

Nobody needs the Washington Post, and it’s not just the rich and powerful who are increasingly ignoring you lying bastards.

[Tesla has] effectively formalized an informal policy of ignoring reporters. Though we should all be grateful for the chance to hear less about Tesla,

Ooooo!!!! POWER SNARK. Who needs Twitter when we can turn to the WaPo Public Editor for this sort of erudite swipe! This is also a perfect illustration of why everybody should follow Musk’s lead on ignoring you!

especially critical and ethical outlets like the Washington Post.

🤣🤣🤣🤣

This presents a problem.

For you.

The internet in general—and social media platforms in particular—have destroyed one of the media’s most important sources of power: being the only place that could offer access to an audience.

You no longer hold an absolute monopoly on information because nobody trusts you anymore – especially after 2020, even though it was bad before, and it’s your own damned fault. Public Trust.

When the full flowering of the social-media age turns even the most prestigious papers into just another mid-sized Facebook page struggling to catch up to the reach of Dan Bongino? 

It already has but you’re too stupid to realise it. And as for Bongino? Tucker Carlson? No, It’s PewDiePie (110 million YouTube subscribers) and others like him that you should be worried about if you’re looking into the future. You don’t know he exists. That’s ok; his youthful audience doesn’t know you exist – and if you think he’s just lightweight pap well, he reviewed Plato’s Republic.

As journalists, we all view this as a horrifying assault on the public’s right to know…

When we see things like the full-court-press silencing routine by the WaPo, along with virtually every other mainstream outlet, of the still-undisputed Hunter Biden stories published in the NY Post ahead of the 2020 election, that “right to know” claim rings hollow. Do the people have a “right to know” things in general? Or just the things you want them to know?

People have noticed it’s the latter, which is why almost every MSM institution is in such desperate straits. But I note that you don’t mention loss of revenue and other things that flow from being snubbed by the likes of Tesla. You and your mates will pursue the Master Ring of Narrative all the way into the lava of Mt Doom.

… and on our own status as brave defenders of the public good.

You’re high on your own farts. The only time the MSM is brave is when they’re fucking over someone who they think can’t fight back. Oh look, that teenager smiled wrong. We’d better ruin his life, at least until he sues us.

We need to take some [power] back, lest the rich and powerful run away from one of the last forces restraining them. Because journalism, particularly at the highest level, is about raw power.

Too late asshole. You were only ever powerful to the extent that the citizens trusted you, and that ship has sailed. Again: Public Trust.

Besides, that whole “power” thing tells me you attended far too many university courses on poststructuralist and postmodernist analysis of “power relationships”. But you were not supposed to be about power, you were supposed to be about finding and reporting the truth. In any case you’ve spent most of the last four decades mouth pleasuring one group of the powerful societal upper crust, peaking in 2020, although I’m sure you can and will suck harder with Biden/Harris.

Politicians and officials and business leaders don’t want to talk to the press, subjecting themselves to the possibility of being made to look bad; they do it because they have always felt they had no choice.

They felt that way because papers like the Post could offer the carrot of great exposure to those who needed it, but also, always, the stick of negative coverage to those who spurned it.

So you’re Tony Soprano standing in the door saying, “real nice life you’ve got there. Be a real shame if something bad happened to it”. Which is actually pretty accurate in that you don’t tell the truth but twist reality to conform with the narrative you’ve already written, and fucking over anybody you want with near total impunity – except the powerful ones that you’ve chosen and favour – like Joe Biden.

… you only get those interviews when your subject fears what will happen if they don’t do the interview. Today, that fear is disappearing. We all need to figure out what to do about that. 

Like Musk losing the fear. Excellent. Only bullies want people to live in fear. You corrupt losers shouldn’t be feared, you should be kicked in the balls on a regular basis, or at least mocked. But assuming you really want to be “figure out” how to be fair in deploying your fear maybe you could tell the truth and expose issues regardless of political affiliation. Again: Public Trust.

It is about bringing important people to heel, on behalf of the public.

This is where all that flexing about negative coverage and fear falls down. When it comes to those important people called politicians you’ve clearly chosen one side. The Democrats have no fear of you because they know you’ll cover for them, because you want the same societal things they’re pushing for. In the USA the only Democrats you bring to heel are the ones who have strayed off the range and who must be punished – or those who are no longer useful and can be safely disposed of, see Clinton, Bill, DeBlasio, Wilhelm.

There is nothing devious or ignoble about this; a powerful press, for all its flaws, is good for democracy, and tends to promote equality by holding the big shots in check.

Right now, you’re covering for a President with a lifetime history of racism, female fondling, dirty family deals, crap decisions in 50 years of government, and low-IQ stupidity wrapped in a thin-skinned defensiveness about it, all now compounded by rapidly advancing senility. You make excuses for him or simply refuse to cover that shit in precisely the way you wouldn’t if he were a Republican.

The Washington Post and its competitors—the elite level of national news…

🤣🤣🤣🤣

the places that have traditionally set the agenda are the most vulnerable to this shift.

For “agenda”, read “narrative”. Very telling. Your job is to report, not “set agendas”. Vulnerable? Two words for you again: Public Trust. You pissed it away and people will, like Musk, just use Big Tech instead, now that you’re no longer useful to them, or us.

[We] are the relatively small portion of the media that is able to command both access and editorial independence.

Watching these boot licking pricks talk about their “independence” while actual independent journalists routinely get deplatformed and demonetized is bile inducing.

All I know is that there is only one way the press maintains its power in society: By metaphorically putting the heads of powerful people on pikes.

Except we all know none of those heads will belong to useful Democrats. There’s plenty to pick from here but the latest is Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and his decades-long membership in an all-white, all-male private club in his state of Rhode Island, even as he bills himself as a progressive and prominent critic of “systemic racism”. Come on WaPo; if was a Republican you’d run this story for months on the front page and with the most evil conclusions about the man himself. But he’s a protected species for the WaPo; a person with a (D) after his name.

We all know who those severed heads on pikes will belong to. It’ll be Republicans or worse, ordinary people who got out of line with your narrative. The ordinary dude who questioned a democrat politician a little too sharply. The teenager who “smirked”.

Democracy dies in dumbness.

Yeah, yeah. Keep digging that grave. Make it long, wide and deep.

The question for the Post is: What are you gonna do about it?

Not us. You. Three words: learn to code.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 27, 2021 at 4:26 pm

A distorted economy

Two graphs that summarise where we are economically as a nation, and without even looking at the tourism numbers, which are bad enough on their own.

First up, real estate prices for residential properties.

Those increases, in one year, are staggering. In dollar terms they exceed any “help” that any government, even one as spendthrift as Labour, can give to young, first-time home owners.

The price to income multiplier increased during the “nine long years of neglect” of National from 5.05 to 6.08. Under Labours stewardship it’s now at 8.61.

It’s been common wisdom for twenty years now that Aucklanders were cashing up and heading to the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. But since when are retired Aucklanders or Wellingtonians cashing up their houses and moving to Gisborne (almost 50% increase) or for that matter the West Coast (33.6% increase). There will be specific reasons for this inflation but they all boil down to factors driving the basic economic law of demand exceeding supply.

In Auckland those factors have been population growth increasing faster than homes can be built – which in turn is based on government immigration decisions on the demand side vs. building regulations and costs, and even more so the land-banking of city planning causing huge lifts in the cost of land, far beyond the increase in house value itself.

But can those factors be driving demand exceeding supply across the whole nation this time? Immigration has been basically zero for the last year and while land-banking and city planning are a nation-wide supply restricting problem there have not been dramatic changes in those factors in the last year, and some areas have always been more relaxed than others. So what’s driving this recent nationwide inflation?

  • Government changes on investment deductibility and the increased time over which the bright-line test can be applied (basically a Capital Gains Tax) mean that investors are deciding now it’s not a great time to sell, reducing the number of listings (supply)
  • Sensitive people are feeling the breeze of general inflation and take positions to protect their own capital base by lifting those sales from the market, further tightening supply. Better to sit on the potential capital gains, increase the mortgage and use that money to buy a new boat. Notice the increase in prices for second-hand boats, caravans and motor homes.
  • Interest rates pushed down in 2020 as the classic mode of Keynesian response to a potential recession. That increases demand, at least for a while.

The government must be hoping that this is just a one-off and that once the housing market has adjusted to a post-Covid world, things will settle down. We should all hope for that but I see merely the results of a “critical mass” of factors that have finally come together at one point in time rather than individually affecting the market at different times. Even if this spike cools down, the ongoing house price increases will still be greater than we can cope with.

Then there’s this:

That’s Fonterra’s share price in the last three months. An awful drop from $5 per share to $2.82 that exceeds the percentage drop in 2018. That last was caused by financial problems at the company. Problems that, like the housing situation, had been bubbling away for years, but which hit critical mass that year.

Fonterra has since cleaned up many of those problems and was looking pretty healthy internally, with a good payout. So what’s happened?

Professor Keith Woodford is on the case as usual with two articles in May that discussed what might be coming.

You can read the details in those two articles . The summary comes to five points, the first two being around proposals only.

  1. Reduce farmer requirements to own shares, with them needing to hold one share for every four kg of Milksolids supplied, compared to the current one share for every kg of supply. That last is a hangover from Co-op days when the shares were a nominal $1 that never changed as farmers joined and exited co-ops.
  2. Shut down or cap one arm of its two-armed share investors world, the Shareholders Fund. This Fund and the related Trading Among Farmers (TAF) scheme allowed a two-way flow of “units” and shares between the Fund and the Farmer share trades, which kept the price of shares and units within a cent or two of each other and supplied vital pricing information to both farmer investors and external investors.
  3. The Fund allows non-farmers to buy shares and get a dividend but with no shareholder voting. While there was talk about enabling the company to raise capital this way without trying to get cash from cooperative members, the real reason was to remove the redemption risk as farmers exited the company. Under the old co-op model they would not have had the cash to pay them out. The Fund and TAF would shift the risk.
  4. The flaw was that the only way TAF could remove the redemption risk should Fonterra lose a major number of suppliers was by taking on a new risk of losing control of the company to non-farmer investors.
  5. The risk now is not from exiting farmers but from a substantial and ongoing reduction in production, perhaps in the order of 10% to 20%, primarily driven by future environmental regulations around herd sizes. That’s one rock. The other is that farmers still want to control the company.

While only proposals, they did suspend trading before the announcement and they have cut the link between farmer share trading and the external fund, showing the future to investors.

Those investors, the market, have reacted badly to all of this and although it would be easy to say that this is just frippery that ignores the now “healthy” internals of Fonterra, the fact is that share prices tell us what the market thinks of any company’s future.

Clearly Fonterra’s and perhaps the rest of the dairy industry’s future in NZ is not good. What that means exactly for the wider NZ economy is another question, but clearly for some environmental and economic extremists like No Right Turn the message is the same as for the Huntly power station and the fishing industry: Let It Die.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 19, 2021 at 12:24 pm