Sorry seems to be the easiest word – part VI

Here we go again.

William of Ockham passim:

Anyone who has been involved in rearing human infants will understand that the word “sorry” is the coda to the process of reconciling a malevolent or negligent act, not the start.

It’s also totally meaningless for the word to be said by anyone other than the person who committed the act, unless it’s used in the context of sympathy (“I’m sorry that happened to you”) instead.

And, on “institutional apologies”:

In addition to the word “sorry”, these apologies have a significant commonality; they are ….. meaningless because the speaker was not responsible for the crime. In most cases, the speaker was not even born at the time of the crime.

Consider then, the Mayor of New Zealand’s apology for a plane crash which, unless “gestational guilt” has become a thing whilst we were busy going about our business, she can’t be held responsible for in any sensible way.

My grandmother used to reply when, as a child, I asked how old she was, “as old as my eyes and little older than my teeth“.

Let’s give a pass, therefore, to the possibility of La Adern’s remarkable dental pre-natal longevity being somehow responsible for the downing of flight NZ901 on November 28th, 1979 (9 months before she was born) but, let’s face it, that’s a theory unlikely to make it past any scientific peer review outside of California.

On behalf of the government and, by extension, the people of New Zealand, she apologised for the tragedy today.

Do your own research into this but please keep in mind the fact ALL civilian navigation in 1979 was undertaken using equipment which would have been instantly recognisable by Captain Cook’s crew.

Excuse my language, but sextants (no, autocorrect, I didn’t mean to type “sexy ants”).

40 years ago, a plane flying over Antarctica, at an altitude low enough for scenic views, using celestial navigation and only air pressure to judge altitude, crashed into a mountain when it started snowing.

Everyone in every position of responsibility in the organisations involved in both the flight and subsequent cover up are dead.

“We” are sorry.

Bill’s Opinion

There is a point beyond which, we should just move on.

The problem is one of incentives versus personal cost, however.

The personal gain to Jacinda Adern for saying “sorry” is not zero. Let’s say she gains one percentage point in the approval ratings.

That’s not the important side of the balance sheet. The cost to her is the square root of fuck all.

The cost is carried by the New Zealand taxpayer who is now up for the potentially-difficult to defend compensation claims.

As always, incentives matter.

William of Ockham passim, again:

In other news, on behalf of the whole of western Christendom, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the sacking of Constantinople in 1215. Hopefully we can all move on from here and find common ground.

The Manchurian Candidates for Australia

Australia’s least popular sociopathic narcissist (no, not you Eddie McGuire, sit down), Kevin Rudd, is back in the pages of the declining parish newsletter again, lecturing us on his favourite subject, himself China.

Before we get into the real subject of today’s blog post, perhaps we ought to point out that there is barely a sentence or paragraph in the article without “me”, “my” or “I” (he speaks Mandarin? Wow, that’s the first time we’ve heard that!).

Can anyone offer a suggestion as to why that might be?

Anyway, irrelevant-Rudd’s plea is that Australia doesn’t jaw jaw (to borrow Churchill’s phrase) but have a secret government strategy that is robust in the way the country intends to deal with China.

Here’s a question for Kevin. Given you’ve been out of office for nearly a decade (let’s not count the ridiculous 3 month “comeback tour”), how do you know there isn’t?

He goes on to suggest Australia should not be racist to China which, an unkind critic might suggest, sounds remarkably similar to the immediate post-kidnapping interviews with Patty Hearst.

He’s not the only ex-PM worried that Australia might upset the big northern neighbours, Paul Keating has recently been vocal on the subject too.

He said that Australia’s government and political system had failed in developing a China policy and that the “subtleties of foreign policy and the elasticity of diplomacy are being supplanted by the phobias of a group of security agencies”.

“Phobias”.

Real phobias are about “extreme or irrational fears”.

Given that there are multiple examples of Australian politics being influenced or subject to attempts to influence in recent years (Sam Dastyari, IT hack of parliament, possible defecting spy, possible attempt to install a puppet MP), at what point does a fear cease being irrational?

Bill’s Opinion

Anyone who believes Beijing’s approach to Australia will be ameliorated in any way for the better hasn’t been paying attention.

It is clear to anyone who wishes to look that China has increased the scale and intensity of domestic human rights abuses against groups such as the Uyghurs and Falun Gong. Depending on which reports one believes there are currently perhaps up to a million people internally-exiled in “re-education camps”.

What did the initial reporting of The Holocaust look like? Subdued.

Perhaps one can pass this off and look the other way because “it’s an internal matter”. So was Apartheid… until it wasn’t.

Then there’s the asymmetric trade deals where we get cheap shit and they steal our IP. Is that a great deal?

How about the opioid crisis in the USA? Remember, like surfing, blue jeans, rock and roll and HIV, what the Americans have, Australians get about five years later.

What is the dog that isn’t barking in all of this?

In all of the media coverage of the increasingly bad news relating to China and Australia’s relationship with the country the incredible economic leverage China has over Australia is never mentioned.

Seriously, it’s just not, is it?

Within about 3 to 6 months and without a shot being fired, China could put Australia into a deep recession which would perhaps take years to recover from.

When was the last time you heard the sentiment in the paragraph above ever expressed in the media?

Yet that’s the inference behind every claim for “calm rational heads” when dealing with China.

Perhaps appeasement is Australia’s only option, but there’s still some respect to be had by admitting to it.

The alternative is doubly-cowardly.

Vanished, like an old oak table

Queenie: Vanished, Lord Percy, not *varnished*.

Lord Percy Percy: Forgive me, my lady, but my uncle Bertram’s old oak table completely vanished. ‘Twas on the night of the great Stepney fire. And on that same terrible night, his house and all his other things completely vanished too. So did he, in fact. It was a most perplexing mystery.

Aaaaaand, Brian is gone.

Overnight news coverage like this probably didn’t help:

Here’s a thought; if your best line of defence is that you’re not as bad as one of the largest frauds of our generation or not as bad as the largest banking collapses in the modern era, you might be in trouble.

Seriously though, Wokepac has more change and comms consultants than Belgium has waffle makers and he still made gaffes like this.

Who was advising him and why didn’t they said, “Brian, just fucking work from home until the Board meeting”?

Bill’s Opinion

Introducing William of Ockham’s General Theory of Australia:

A small pond results in a masssive case of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

This is fine in a rising or stable market.

The moment negative consequences occur however, the enormous gulf between actual competence and perception is exposed.

Just the PR disaster of this sorry episode should be proof enough.

For me, a critical indicator you are dealing with someone who is subject to The General Theory of Australia are the shoes they are wearing.

No, hear me out…..

If you have a good inkling the person is earning, let’s say more than $250k a year, yet they are wearing rubber-soled shoes, likely bought at Kmart, rather than handmade Loakes or perhaps Cheney’s, then there’s a fair chance they’ve rose to that position without ever having to be tested in adversity.

That metric doesn’t work so well for females; I tend to judge the women by their choice of Friday casual clothes.

I don’t want a lot for Christmas….

This rubbish imposed itself on my Creepbook for Business feed this morning.

Imagine having the available free time to be concerned about questions such as this?

Let’s take a moment to go full ad hominem and check out our corresponent’s experience and qualifications to be advising us on CO2 per Christmas tree:

Ok, bold claims. What’s your background?

Theology, executive assistant and an entry level degree in ecology.

This is the calibre of person demanding we change our economy to save the world.

Okaaaay.

Bill’s Opinion

If I thought she’d listen, I would suggest to Olivia McGregor that her time and energy would be better spent donating money and/or time to the organisations who are doing the hard yards inoculating kids in war zones in order to get the number of worldwide cases of polio from about 100 a year to zero.

We’re so close. Imagine the massive human misery that’s been averted so far.

And in the meantime, if it bothers you that much, don’t bother having a Christmas tree this year, just draw one with crayons and stick it on the fucking wall.

Mitigating actions? Nej tak

That the normal rules of logic don’t apply to discussions of climate change seems obvious to any casual observer, but sometimes we can also snatch a glimpse at a possible agenda through the offered illogic.

Take, for example, this argument on how the New South Wales’ climate fund should be allocated.

The Berejiklian government’s Climate Change Fund has spent almost $50 million supporting work on raising the Warragamba dam wall – an outlay critics say is unrelated to the fund’s original purpose.

In the latest year, the fund spent $24.7 million on the Hawkesbury–Nepean Valley flood risk management, the centrepiece of which is the plan to lift the Warragamba Dam by 14 metres. That sum was up from $15.9 million in the previous year and $5.9 million for the 2016-17 year.

It seems to me that, if one believes anthropological climate change is a global existential threat, there are a finite range categories of response:

  1. Stop or reduce domestic pollution
  2. Stop or reduce pollution by other countries
  3. Find and implement alternate methods to generate energy
  4. Plan mitigating actions to reduce the impact of climate change

Of these, (1) and (4) seem most likely to achieve significant progress without unprecedented international cooperation. These are within the gift of a sovereign nation to deliver.

Some are not happy with mitigation as an approach, however:

“The money is being used more like a slush fund on tenuously linked projects rather than a strategic reserve to invest in a real plan to reduce the state’s carbon footprint and climate risk,” said Justin Field, an independent upper house MP.

Tenuously-linked?

What’s the fund’s purpose?

The fund was set up in 2007 with legislated purposes such as cutting greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change associated with water and energy use. It was also intended to spur energy and water savings.

Seems like mitigation is a goal.

Harry Burkitt, a campaign manager with environment group The Colong Foundation, said it was “an absurd argument that raising the Warragamba Dam wall would somehow mitigate the impacts of climate change”.

Given that the current drought in NSW and increased bush fires this year are blamed on climate change by those who are most vocal on the subject, it seems somewhat hypocritical to suggest we shouldn’t try to capture more water.

“The government’s own leaked reports have stated that nearly 7000 hectares of UNESCO listed forests would be drowned by the raised dam, meaning thousands of tonnes of carbon would enter the atmosphere if the project were to be approved,” Mr Burkitt said.

More statistics obfuscation there. What’s the denominator, over what period, estimated relative impact, etc.?

Bill’s Opinion

If you believe climate change is going to wreak havoc on the globe, killing many people and plunging more into poverty, yet you aren’t pushing for mitigating actions in addition to reduce pollution, consider the possibility you’re driving an ideological agenda, rather than a fact-based one.

Ask yourself two questions:
1. Why shouldn’t we be immediately implementing local mitigation, and
2. Why aren’t we talking about nuclear energy?

Brian’s bunker

Good friend of this organ, Brian Hartzer, CEO of Wokepac, hasn’t had the greatest of weeks.

It turns out that, while he was spending much of his working life making diversity hires, virtue signalling with drag queens and using shareholder value to project pretty coloured lights on the HQ for whatever victimhood day it happens to be, he took his eye off the less important part of his job description; running a bank.

Don’t worry, nothing bad happened, just a few illegal international money transfers in breach of the anti-laundering laws.

How many, you ask?

Oh, just 23 million.

Any issue in that number? Oh, only a load of payments likely used to facilitate sexual abuse of children in third world countries.

Nothing to see here then.

What’s really interesting though is how quickly Brian managed to recruit Prince Andrew’s PR manager.

Well, one assumes that’s what’s happened, otherwise how else can the press release be explained?

Bill’s Opinion

If facilitating extensive sexual abuse of children through professional incompetence isn’t a firing matter, I’m struggling to work out what is.

The most likely explanation is that the bank needs a little time to sort out the work visa for Brian’s replacement.

We can exclusively confirm that this will be none other than Prince Andrew who has fortunately suddenly become available for new work.

Compare and contrast

Same testimony, different takes:

Left wing.

Right wing.

Bill’s Opinion

Is it just me or is anyone else utterly bored by activism and opinion masquerading as “news”?

Perhaps it’s an unreliable memory, but I have a vague idea there was a time when journalists and editors genuinely aspired to report facts as objectively as they could in order to allow their readers to form their own opinions.

It seems to me that, as politics continues to bifurcate, the journalist class increasingly views the public as unable to form an accurate opinion. We therefore require our opinions to be ascribed to us.

Thanks.

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself.

Book ‘em Danno; First Degree Statistics Crime

Here’s a example of the modern malaise of innumeracy:

Drought hits Sydney

Whilst it’s clear there’s been a paucity of rainfall in the state of New South Wales, the article is riddled with unasked questions.

Sydneysiders are using higher than average amounts of water and face the prospect of four more years of restrictions and a hike in bills from next July if the drought does not break.

Higher than average.

Per person? Per household? In total and therefore compared to previous years?

Has the denominator changed, such as an increase in population, for example?

We aren’t told.

Instead, we have a late entry for the 2019 Stating the Bleeding Obvious Prize:

Although a typical household bill would be 2.5 per cent higher under the latest submission, customers could cut bills by saving water.

We do get a clue to the answers to the earlier questions though:

But despite a recent increase in usage, the Berejiklian government says Sydneysiders are using less water per person each day than they were during the Millennium drought.

Ok, that suggests a population increase has occurred. Funny the article doesn’t spell that out though.

That dreaded noun, “average”, makes yet another appearance:

It says rainfall across the catchments over the past two years was “below to very much below average” and the Bureau of Meteorology predicts a dryer and warmer than average summer.

Below to very much below.

Well, that clears things up for us….

Bill’s Opinion

Either the journalist writing this article is completely innumerate, not curious, blindly regurgitating a press release or trying to drive an agenda.

If the first explanation, perhaps they should read Factfulness.

The climate of crazy ideas

The former Australian rugby player, Israel Folau, is in the news again today (not really; he’s only in the Sydney Morning Herald).

Yesterday, he gave a sermon at his church where he suggested the recent bushfires in Australia were a direct result of the godlessness of the country’s population.

Of course, the ever-declining business masquerading as a news outlet has inferred because of this, Folau is a religious nutcase.

Picking on the religious beliefs of others is always a fun pastime, mainly due to the low cost to oneself; a religious belief, by its definition, is one that not capable of being disproven using the scientific method.

I must admit to having never entered the auspicious offices of The Sydney Morning Herald in Pyrmont, but if I did, I would be unsurprised to discover the following demographic boxes and beliefs ticked by the vast majority, if not all editorial employees;

  1. Politically left
  2. Accepting of the concept that the west is a toxic patriarchy
  3. Accepting of the concept that the west is systemically racist
  4. Accepting of the concept of gender fluidity
  5. The concept of Judeo-Christian values or worth is to be dismissed as morally-inferior
  6. Acceptance of every report issued by the IPCC as being accurate, including every prediction and solution

If you are or know someone who is employed in that department and don’t tick one or several of those statements, please do correct me below.

Bills Opinion

We all hold unprovable beliefs.

Sit on a bus or a train and look around you. Do you know even a fraction of the thoughts appearing in your fellow travellers’ minds?

Of course not.

Does it matter?

Not if they aren’t harming you in any way.

Israel Folau isn’t attempting to dip into my bank account, restrict my ability to heat/cool my home, drive a car or take overseas holidays.

Izzy can believe whatever utter garbage he wishes.