Midas reveals his secret

There are just so many unscrupulous shysters out there trying to part you from your hard-earned cash. Recall my new best friend’s attempt to sign me up to spend $15,000 on how to be an “influencer”?

After frenetically removing from my life anyone who shares content from the likes of Brigette, Oleg and their insipid facsimiles, I thought it was safe to go back on to the interweb.

But no, every website, youtube channel and browser window I open has this orthodontically-perfect, jug-eared goon smiling at me and boasting about how he doesn’t need to work any more because, something, something, something…. selling on Amazon.

Image result for adam hudson

Call me a cynical old bastard if you will, but nothing screams “liar” to me more than watching a person work night and day to tell me they don’t need to work.

In fact, in his own words on his own website, Adam tells you quite how unlikely it is you will get rich by attending one of his courses or even following the instructions to the letter. This legal disclaimer is somewhat obscured, completely accidentally I’m sure, by a clash of font and background colours:

EARNINGS DISCLAIMER

Any reports of earnings published by Reliable Education are provided to a reasonable level of accuracy. However, reported results may differ slightly from actual results for various reasons, including returns & refunds, foreign exchange rate fluctuations, and brevity of communication. 
There is NO GUARANTEE that undertaking the same activities or employing the same techniques, ideas, strategies or initiatives published by Reliable Education will produce the same results for you.
From time to time, Reliable Education will publish results, testimonials, case studies and success stories relating to those who have employed the techniques and strategies published by Reliable Education. These outcomes are exceptional results which do not apply to an average user of the information published by Reliable Education. There is NO GUARANTEE that any user of those techniques and strategies will achieve similar results.
There is NO GUARANTEE that any reported past success (relating to Adam Hudson, Reliable Education, or any user of Reliable Education’s published information) can or will be repeated in the future.
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What is incredible is the fact that Adam has been ploughing this particular self-help snakeoil furrow since at least 2004, as this retro page on the Sydney Morning Herald’s website shows.

Bill’s Opinion

Just the slightest research on a search engine teaches any curious entrepreneur everything they need to know about a) Adam’s “success”, and b) quite how genuine he is about wanting to help others copy it for themselves.

When pondering the question “why does Adam want to teach me how to be an Amazon millionaire?”, I wonder how many of his course attendees reach the conclusion, “because it doesn’t really work for him, but selling courses to the gullible does”.

If you ever find yourself at the poker table wondering which player is the sucker, consider the possibility it is you.

To a woman with a hammer

….the whole world looks like a nail.

For those who haven’t been exposed to the views and, such that it is, the career, of Caroline Criado-Perez before it might be worth a quick read of her Wikipedia page or a similar biography to form a view on her motivation. I won’t lead the witness by offering an opinion at this stage.

Caroline has written a book, Invisible Women, in which she details the myriad ways the world we find ourselves living in has been designed, not for women, but for men.

In an interview with Wired, she lays out some of the more egregious examples.

If we assumed she started the interview with the worst example, we will be unsurprised to learn it is in the serious area of medical treatment. Apparently, medical research has been traditionally performed on males far more frequently than females.

Around that same time I also found out that we don’t tend to involve female humans or animals or cells in medical trials, and the result of that is women have less effective treatment and more side effects.

I don’t have access to the data to confirm the underlying assertion of that paragraph but, for the purposes of today’s blog post, I don’t need to. I will accept it as fact; medical research has been performed far more frequently on males.

The question leaping to the front of curious minds then is, why?

Perhaps there are three categories of answer to that question;

  1. Mendacity by the medical profession including, one assumes, the many female research professionals, and/or
  2. Negligent or sloppy thinking by the researchers, and/or
  3. Some other more defensible reason.

We can all agree that, if category (1) and (2) were the most significant reasons medical research was carried out on males rather than females, there is a major scientific issue to be resolved.

However, before we start condemning as bad actors the thousands of medical researchers responsible for the huge positive health advances we have all benefited from over the last hundred years or so, let’s check whether there might not be some significant reasons behind Caroline’s discovery.

Without thinking too hard or long on the subject, I can think of the following possible reasons why males featured more frequently in medical research;

  1. From its commencement as a subject of study, medical research was performed on the cadavers of executed prisoners. Throughout human history, men have been executed at an incredibly greater rate than women. It’s still true today in countries where the death penalty exists, as this hilarious HuffPo article confirms (hilarious because it’s desperately trying to say women are less likely to be executed because of duh patriarchy).
  2. It’s an uncomfortable fact but we currently benefit from the findings of medical research of coerced and involuntary subjects. This includes prisoners who have agreed to the research but also awful and torturous research such as that on victims of the Holocaust. In the case of prisoners, as with the cadavers of executed prisoners, the demographics skew massively towards men.
  3. Until the 1960s, women could not control their menstruation cycle and had less reliable pregnancy testing facilities than today. They were therefore at far greater risk of being unknowingly pregnant during the early stages after conception. Unless the medical research is to be specifically on the effects on unborn children, many women would be excluded from participating.

Bill’s Opinion

Let’s assume Caroline is a good faith actor. She’s made a wonderful career from finding reasons to suggest women are victims in almost every aspect of modern life, generally to the benefit of men. 

Incentives matter though. There is currently very little reason for Caroline to search for logical and sensible reasons for the outcomes she documents but, instead, leaps to the far easier conclusion of duh patriarchy.

As Upton Sinclair famously put it;

It is difficult to get a man woman to understand something, when his her salary depends on his her not understanding it.

Finally, just to confirm to us that the issues Caroline raises are grave and important, let her describe the awful problems women have experienced, by design, in the area of technology:

The category of smartphones is a massive bugbear of mine because I actually got RSI [repetitive strain injury] from an iPhone 6. And I now am stuck with an iPhone SE which I can’t upgrade. The only small phone they had, they discontinued, and it’s the only one that fits my hand. It’s incredibly frustrating. And then later when [Apple] introduced Siri, you could use it to find a viagra supplier but not an abortion clinic. So there’s all sorts of examples like that, where there’s not as much thought being put into, you know—female customers exist.

Caroline Criado-Perez truly is our generation’s Rosa Parks or Emily Davidson.

Cultural appropriate shun

The American author, Lionel Shriver, is in Australia this month. Last time she was here there was a bit of a kerfuffle when she spoke about “cultural appropriation” at a writers’ festival and finished off the speech by popping a jaunty Mexican sombrero on her head. All the right people were offended and made a fuss, including a woman who seems to have made a career out of telling Australians and Britons how terrible they are, despite the awkward personal dichotomy of her revealed vs expressed preference of living there rather than her place of birth, Sudan.

“Cultural appropriation” is an interesting compound noun and one which prompts vicarious offence in some and extreme annoyance or amusement in others. We can find a definition on the internets that suggests the following:

Cultural appropriation, at times also phrased cultural misappropriation, is the adoption of elements of one culture by members of another culture. This can be controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from disadvantaged minority cultures.

In other words, it’s another branch of critical theory or cultural Marxism. How can we be sure? The emphasis on power. The second sentence in the definition tries to explain why the first sentence is problematic and reverts to an argument of power imbalance.

Without that qualifying sentence, most reasonable and sane people would never consider there was anything sinister about their enjoyment of tea as a refreshing beverage, cooking a spaghetti bolognaise for dinner or using duvets as bedding whilst wearing pyjamas.

A Google Ngram search shows cultural appropriation is a very modern sin:

There is amusement to be had when engaging those issuing accusations of cultural appropriation, however; ask them to describe the margins. By which we mean, a situation where one person uses a useful cultural invention of others and what would be considered over the line and cultural appropriation. Much hilarity often ensues.

Let’s show a worked example:

Bill is a white Englishman who very much enjoys Indian food (but we repeat ourselves). Not content with enjoying the cuisine in his local restaurant, he holidays in India and attends a cookery course to learn how to expertly blend the spices and other ingredients. Back home in London, he hosts a dinner party for some friends where he delights them with his newly acquired knowledge.

At risk of building a strawman, one suspects the cultural Marxists would suggest he’s innocent up until the point he invites the other gammons round to eat his culturally appropriated food.

The problems with this arise following just the slightest scratching of the surface.

Problem #1 – 80% of all “Indian” restaurants in Britain are no such thing. They are Bangladeshi.

Problem #2 – Several of the main ingredients of Indian cuisine only arrived with the Europeans. Chillies, potatoes, tomatoes and cauliflower, for example.

The burning question then is surely, which culture is Bill appropriating?

Bangladeshi? Perhaps, but maybe only those ex-pats who set up restaurants in Britain.

Indian? Perhaps, but if the cuisine they taught him is the Anglo-Bangladeshi version, maybe they are guilty of some cultural appropriation too.

South American? The cultivation of chillies, potatoes and tomatoes was initiated in South America but by which South Americans? Not necessarily the ones whose descendants are currently living there.

It’s a bit tricky, isn’t it?

 

Bill’s Opinion

It’s almost as if the people who suggest cultural appropriation is a sin are bullies who use a claim of vicarious offence as their justification (more on this in a later post).

Perhaps they are mistakenly or even deliberately missing the incredible amount of good work cultural appropriation has done for you, me, them and everyone around us? My suspicion is that they have fallen into the mental trap of zero sum thinking. That is, they believe there is a finite supply of something, in this case “cultural good”, and therefore feel it is their duty to protect those who they perceive as being without power from having their ration stolen.

Of course, this is the racism and bigotry of low expectations. The people who are having their culture “appropriated” have no qualms about taking the best bits of everyone else’s culture such as effective medicine, power generation, water sanitation, iPhones, Game of Thrones streaming, etc. and they really don’t give a shit if someone in another country is cooking a strange facsimile of the food they eat.

Returning to the Sydney Morning Herald report on Lionel Shriver’s visit, it’s interesting to note the article finishes with an explanation that Lionel wasn’t the original first name she was given by her parents, and that she changed it when she was 15. I have a couple of questions on that;

  1. How is it relevant to the news item, and
  2. Did you just “deadname” Ms. Shriver?

The battle of Tor’s

The Liverpool Echo is one of my favourite sources of comedy. This is not because the stereotype of the city of Liverpool, England being populated by hilarious pranksters and jokers is at all correct. In fact, as Stewart Lee once pointed out, Liverpool is a place unique in its ability to confuse cloying sentimentality for humour.

No, the amusement and delight is found in reading news articles targeted at people who are united in their ability to find victim status in the most unusual and innocuous situations. There must be a disproportionate number of florists and shops selling black arm bands in Liverpool than any other location.

Today’s chuckle can be had at the expense of “Tor” Smith, a “transgender person” who is stoically and quietly struggling through their mental health issues erm body dysphoria as categorised in DSM-5 erm transgenderism.

There is much to comment on in the article but we’ll focus on just two main points, for the sake of brevity.

Firstly, the mangling and wrestling of the English language by Kate McMullin, Senior General News Reporter; clearly, it has been explained to her that pronouns are a critical part of Tor’s gender identity and, therefore, Kate has thrown the usual grammatical rules out of the window and performed a search/replace on every “her” and “she” in the article, replacing these perfectly functional pronouns with they/their.

Secondly, because this is Liverpool, we are somehow meant to feel sympathy for Tor because zhe has broken a rib trying to strap down zher breasts.

Bill’s Opinion

As we’ve stated before, when we read articles about transgender people in the media, the first and easiest clue to what is going on is the picture. It turns out, instincts learned over millions of years of evolution are pretty hard to fool on matters as basic and fundamental to genetic survival as reproduction.

Ok, so Tor is a girl with mental health issues.

Here’s a question Tor may never get round to asking zherself; if you were born 15 years earlier, what’s the chances you’d have been satisfied with being lesbian?

As for broken ribs. Nothing screams “perfectly sane and reasonable” as physically abusing yourself and then claiming victim status.

Don’t meth with the Indonesians

An Australian has been arrested in Indonesia after illegal drugs were found on board his yacht.

His boat was searched by authorities, who allegedly found 0.006g of methamphetamine, News Corp Australia reported.

Wait, what? How much?

0.006 grams.

It’s not a typo, that quantity is repeated again in the body of the news report.

For context, a single grain of sand weighs about double that, at around 0.011 grams.

There was a similar case in 2008, of a Briton jailed for four years in Dubai for having a microscopic amount of cannabis on the sole of his shoe.

Bill’s Opinion

Two things can be correct at the same time; on the one hand, when visiting foreign countries, we should respect their laws.

On the other hand, we can point at cases such as this as further evidence that our 800+ year culture and tradition of Common Law is superior to all other systems tried so far. Cultural relativism is a fallacy and is to be rejected.

Why? De minimis non curat lex…..

Yeah, nah

I’m sure this has been stated elsewhere but we will plagiarise and repeat here….

William of Ockham’s First Law of Headlines.

Any headline ending with a question mark is always correctly answered, “No”.

Bill’s Opinion

Unfortunately, England’s chances of winning The Ashes this year look more fucked than a Manila whore the weekend a US Navy aircraft carrier arrived.

O’Sullivan’s Law

All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.

This “law” was first defined in 1989. Thirty years later it seems far more prescient than anyone at the time might have imagined.

For example, this would be funny if it were satire:

181 CEOs of major corporations redefine the purpose of a company. No, really they did.

While we’re in a mood for favourite quotations, here’s good one from G. K. Chesterton:

….let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.

Back to our social justice warrior CEOs. One wonders whether the concept of Chesterton’s Fence ever crossed their minds when they happily redefined the purpose of privately-owned companies, given the almost 400-year history behind such things?

I once briefly worked for a large banking and finance company and read with interest an interview with the CEO where he claimed to be “driving innovation in the insurance industry”. It’s a pretty hubristic and arrogant claim to be a “disrupter” of a centuries-old business model where risk remedies are described on paper, exchanged for money and then re-issued to multiple parties to distribute potential impact. It’s not quite as simple a business idea as “bake bread, sell bread”, but it’s not far off.

Of course, he wasn’t driving innovation at all; the company had simply launched a flaky and quite rubbish mobile phone app and meanwhile he’d taken his focus off the core business in all his excitement. He was unemployed within a year of that interview after a particularly damning set of end-of year accounts.

So, our coalition of the woke have decided their shareholders aren’t their first priority, eh? Well, let’s hope they’ve employed a good speech-writer for the next shareholder’s meeting, as things might become a little warm, particularly if the annual report isn’t stellar.

Bill’s Opinion

It’s great that the 181 CEOs have helpfully signalled to the market that they care less about shareholder value than being “good corporate citizens”, however that nebulous statement is defined.

Perhaps we might continue to invest our pension funds into their company stock, perhaps we might not, but our decision is more informed now than it was prior to their virtue signalling press release.

In related news, Brian Hartzer is rapidly completing his application form to join The Business Roundtable.

King Merdeus

…everything he touches turns to shit.

There is a pattern that can be observed occasionally and, as long as you’re not exposed to the consequences, can be quite amusing once you’ve seen it.

Firstly, a British example:

Many years ago, a chap by the name of Derek Wanless was the Chief Executive of Natwest Bank for 7 years during the 1990s. At the commencement of his stewardship, Natwest was one of the four largest “high street” (i.e. retail) banks and was a solid performer, taking customer deposits and issuing mortgages.

Wanless’ entire experience, from leaving school, was in the retail sector, having come up through the ranks of the branches. So, he put this expertise gained in just one sub-sector of banking to another, opening up an investment arm and taking the bank into the USA (a market already awash with investment banking services, one presumes).

Guess what happened next?

Huge losses for Natwest which resulted in his defenestration by the board…with just a 7 figure payout to comfort him. Not long after, the bank was bought in a hostile and hugely embarrassing takeover by a far smaller rival, the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Hot on the heels of this success, he was asked by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer (i.e. the UK’s Treasurer), Gordon Brown, to review the National Health Service. Ponder that for a moment; his previous experience was, to put it as kindly as possible, to destroy a profitable bank and drive it into the arms of a smaller rival so, obviously, he would have been the perfect candidate to look at the profligate and failing health service. To be fair to Wanless, this wasn’t Gordon Brown’s first or indeed last major failure of judgement, have a look at his record on the UK’s gold reserves to understand what a disaster his tenure was.

Finally, Wanless made a return to banking as an executive director to Northern Rock, overseeing the first UK retail bank to experience a bank run since the Great Depression.

Wanless died 5 years later, fortunately without having accepted any further positions in public life.

What’s the point I’m trying to make here? That Wanless was in “The Club”.

It’s a club you and I aren’t allowed to join. The rules of The Club are varied and changeable, but one rule remains constant; once you’re in The Club, there are very few occasions when consequences will ever catch up with you.

There are many examples of the Australian chapter of the The Club but today’s goes by the name of Peter Beattie.

I first learned of Peter during the 2013 Federal Election when he was parachuted into a seat by another member of The Club, Kevin Rudd. Some basic research unearths a disaster zone of a curriculum vitae, not unlike that of Derek Wanless. From a child protection scandal to a health service crisis, through to tying his colours to the mast of a desperate narcissist’s attempt to remain politically-relevant in the federal election, Peter has an enviable track record of mediocrity.

He also seems to either edit his own Wikipedia entry or have a sycophant do it on his behalf. We really must chuckle at the unintentional irony of a statement such as, “As was his style, Beattie faced the crisis head on”, which is then followed by a list of all the ministers who fell on their swords while he survived. As befitting a full member of The Club, the buck stopped just short of Beattie.

The latest chapter in the Peter Beattie show is a forthcoming defenestration from his role as Chairman of Australia’s Rugby League sporting code. The details of his golden parachute have yet to be disclosed but nobody would be surprised to learn of another 7 figure payout as a reward for mediocrity. After all, he’s in The Club.

Bill’s Opinion

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I don’t really believe The Club exists.

It is far more likely that, once you’re in the circle of people who appoint and are appointed to senior positions on company boards and in government, as long as you can glad-hand the right people and you don’t wipe your snot on your shirt sleeves, you’re in The Club.

Why? You might be completely incompetent and a total narcissist but you’re a known, albeit a bit useless, quantity. Nobody is going to take a risk on someone they don’t know, are they?

Like China in your hand

History doesn’t repeat itself but often rhymes…..

Here’s a little potted history lesson for those who are too young to remember:


Once upon a time, there was a large superpower that was, in many ways, the antithesis of what the western democracies stood for, or at least claimed to stand for. The west claimed to stand for values such as the rule of law, property rights, freedom of speech, restricted government powers, open and free elections, free men to be judged in a court of law by their peers, non-coerced contracts, etc.

The west and this superpower weren’t at a state of official war but interaction, particularly trade, was extremely limited. A company in the UK, for example, could import or export goods with this hostile superpower and its representatives could travel to and from its territory but there were caveats and restrictions to this.

At a minimum, the traveller would have a safety briefing. In some cases, the security services might give a briefing and require a post-trip debriefing to glean valuable information.

At the extreme, travellers might be wise to follow an informal form of “Moscow Rules”, even if they weren’t spooks themselves.

Why? Because the hostile superpower was a) hostile, and b) open in its disregard for those values we listed in the paragraph above. If you are visiting a country with a total disregard for the rights of the individual, you’d be a fool to wander around blithely assuming you weren’t always in danger.

That country was Russia and its associated satellite states, of course.

In 2019, we have exponentially more trade with a country that shows a similar disregard for the rule of law, property rights, etc., yet we hop on flights to Shanghai and Beijing without a second thought as to the personal, corporate or national risk we are taking. Why? Because, for most cases, we have not had reason to think they are hostile.

Sure, we know they have “re-education camps” where they have sent thousands of their own citizens in internal exile. Yes, we see the increasing use of “social credit” to bully their citizens into silence and conformity. We watch with interest as man-made islands are created in the South China Sea to secure and expand the country’s maritime territories. We witness the implementation of the One Belt and Road trading route with land purchases and infrastructure. We see huge areas of Africa being bought by Chinese government corporations. We point at strange sights such as Chinese Police-branded cars driving around the streets of Australian cities. Finally, this year we can watch on live-streaming feeds, the protests by residents of Hong Kong against changes to the legal system being met with increasingly authoritarian means, in direct violation of the international treaty promising not to do so.


The evidence is compelling that, whatever you might call the Chinese state; Communist, “post-Communist”, mercantilist, or some other suitable noun, it is far from being a free society as a citizen of a western democracy would know the term.

And yet…. corporations and governments have increased the level of trade and interaction on our behalf with the Chinese state without seemingly any commensurate increase in vigilance or precautions.

Why might that be?

Why might a country, say, Australia, be unwilling to publicly criticise any one of the nefarious activities (and more) described above, particularly in the case of clear hostile activities on Australian soil?

Bill’s Opinion

Much is written about cultural differences and how people in the west should treat other cultures respectfully. The classic is example revolves around the concept of Asian cultures setting a higher value on “face” than we in the west might.


Here’s an idea; that is a truly racist attitude. Why? Because the Chinese are an intelligent people with personal and national “agency”. They can observe our culture as much as we observe theirs. In fact, they do, and they choose to still act the way they do.

Pretending the Chinese leaders are delicate flowers whose feelings might be hurt if we publicly and regularly told them to rein in their activities and act in accordance with international law is the ultimate in weakness.

And that’s another cultural observation; the Chinese don’t respect weakness.

Why would we, therefore, constantly offer this as our response?

Of course, the elephant in the room for Australia is the economic master/servant relationship. China could ruin Australia’s economy for a generation simply by deliberately reducing the Chinese GDP by one or two percentage points and pivoting to African countries to satisfy its demand for minerals and resources. In fact, the land grabs in Africa are presumably part of a strategy to reduce reliance on pesky western economies and their annoying conversations about human rights.

Perhaps it won’t be long before our one reason for not standing up (diplomatically, I’m not suggesting warfare) to China is removed by China anyway?


At which point, we will be simply a weak parody of Neville Chamberlain.