Prices are set at the margins – part 2

A 69 year old man wants to change his age to 49 to be able to trick younger women into dating him.

No, really.

Just when you thought an Irish bogtrotter with no known African relatives receiving a grant for “identifying as black” was insane, here comes the next marginal price-setting for the cultural Marxists;

A bunch of lawyers and at least one judge, presumably all funded by the generous Dutch taxpayers, are going to have to discuss this in a court of law. Intelligent, highly-qualified sane adult humans are going to stand up in court and argue for and against age being a social construct.

Stop laughing at the back, this is important stuff.

Bill’s Opinion

If gender and race are social constructs, why not age?

Indeed, why not species?

In fact, why not gravity? If we agree that gravity is a social construct and its oppressive requirement for us to stay permanently attached to the earth’s surface is a result of institutional patriarchal hierarchy, why can’t we sue the government for preventing us from swooping like the birds?

Alternatively, the future version of Edward Gibbon, when documenting the decline and fall of western civilisation, might point to moments such as these as being pivotal in the process of opening the gates to let the barbarians in and run amok.

Special pleading to commence in 5, 4, 3…..

Australia’s stellar run of property price inflation has come to an end.

The current decline is already the worst in modern history;

So what? Markets are cyclical, trees don’t grow to the sky, etc. The current decline comes after many years of incredible capital gains for those exposed to the asset class. These single digit percentage falls should be of no concern to anyone except those who speculatively bought in the last two or three years or who have taken on extreme levels of debt.

Everyone with a brain and access to standard economics textbooks should have been able to predict that, eventually, there would have been a correction, either minor and slow or major and quick. One way or another, the fact that the double digit percentage increases would not have continued forever should have been news to nobody, not least those paid large sums of money to navigate these markets.

Our old friend Brian “admire my signals of virtue at shareholder expense” Hartzer seems to have been slightly startled by reality, however;

Westpac’s profits flatline, which, to be fair, still means they’ve made a truckload. However, trends are important.

What’s also important is that throwaway line above; “the country’s biggest lender to landlords“.

Let’s pose a question here for Westpac shareholders –

Q. In a falling market, which categories of mortgage debt are least likely to perform well?

If you answered, “the most heavily-leveraged and properties that are not the primary residence of the mortgagee“, give yourself a pat on the back.

Elsewhere Stephen Koukoulas has smashed the glass to get at the emergency alarm button; The next rate move by the RBA should be down.

An RBA rate cut is not about housing – it’s about exports and investment

Many people misunderstand my concern about falling house prices and the coincident call for the Reserve Bank to cut official interest rates.

Well sure, but given that your call for rate cuts conveniently occurred at the point it became obvious these price falls weren’t a blip and, in fact, show many signs of being the new normal for the next year or two, allow us a few moments to consider quite how unbiased your views are.

As for this claim;

The house price declines in the current downturn are much what I was forecasting a year ago.

Are you sure about that? This interview from 14 months ago suggests otherwise;

He’s talking specifically about Sydney prices there. If by “flat” he meant negative 7.5%, then fair enough but that would seem a generous retrospective reading.

Other commentators with an even worse track record are pleading to higher authorities now too.

From the same article, our friend “Doctor” Andrew Wilson (he’s a doctor of property! No, really!) making a prediction so accurate that he got it almost exactly 100% wrong;

So much for a doctorate in property economics. Where was it from, the University of Baghdad, studying under Professor Comical Ali?

Based on that stunning example of incompetence in his core area of expertise, perhaps we might also be allowed to ponder the altruism behind his current pleading for rate cuts;

Economics-wise, that’s just all over the place. Explain please, how lowering rates improves savings rates, for example…..

Bill’s Opinion

Predictions are a fool’s errand on something as complex as an economic system.

We can, however, provide a conditional prediction here today of which we are extremely confident;

Should the decline in Australian property values continue, the current low whine of calls by vested interests to lower interest rates will become a defeating cacophony as they claim it’s in the best interests of the entire country, not just themselves as they are staring down the barrel of large paper, possibly soon to be realised, losses.

The pips will squeak.

Prices are set at the margins

A white theatre director, who describes himself as an “African born again”, has come under fire, after securing public funding intended to help ethnic minorities develop their stage careers.

Wait, what?

Anthony Lennon, 53, who was born in London and whose parents are Irish, won a place on a two year Arts Council funded scheme, after a leading black theatre company accepted his claim to be of “mixed heritage”.

He was one of four “theatre practitioners of colour”, to be awarded part of a £400,000 talent development grant.

But Mr Lennon has been accused of being a “racial imposter” after it emerged that despite changing his name to Taharka Ekundayo at one point, he is unquestionably white.

Okaaaaaay.

The company involved, Talawa, which is one of the country’s leading black theatre groups, last night defended its position, insisting Mr Lennon was an “exceptional” person for the role.

Exceptional? Well, there’s no doubt that’s an appropriate description, but perhaps not with the meaning intended.

In a statement, a Talawa spokesman said: “As an artist of mixed heritage he is not only eligible for the position, but his experience, work and achievements make him an exceptional person for the role.”

Mixed heritage? Like I am of mixed heritage? Which application form do I need to complete for my grant money?

Anthony Lennon (right)

He later wrote: “Some people call themselves a born-again Christian. Some people call me a born-again African. I prefer to call myself an African born again.”

He has also talked about going through the “struggles of a black actor”.

But he has at times also acknowledged his true ethnic heritage, telling a BBC documentary in 1990: “My parents are white, and so are their parents, and so are their parents, and so are their parents.”

Ok. So we’re talking Elizabeth Warren levels of ethnic heritage here, if at all.

Habeeb Akande, a writer on race issues, said: “Many of us are becoming sick and tired of racial imposters who are commodifying blackness for their own financial gain. You cannot wear the cloak of blackness when it suits you.”

Actually, it would seem one absolutely can “wear the cloak of blackness when it suits you” and get a slice of a £400k grant too.

Bill’s Opinion

Hilarity such as this can be expected while the “social constructionists” tie themselves in logical knots. If race, gender, sexuality, etc. are merely social constructs, there will be people on the margins who will find ways to benefit.

Anthony “Ali G” Lennon is actually remaining consistent to his world view; he genuinely believes he has some characteristics or history that qualifies him as an African. That being the case, why wouldn’t he feel qualified for a handout targeted to that demographic?

Of course, it’s not Lennon’s call. We have a societal duty to treat people suffering from mental illness with sympathy but not pander to their delusions. If a man presented himself to you claiming to be Icarus, you wouldn’t hand him a bag of feathers and a pot of glue then drive him to the nearest cliff.

There actually may be some historical explanation as to why someone with a background of several generations in Ireland might have dark skin; the legacy of the Spanish Armada. This might also explain the curious fact that “Juan” (pronounced “Ju-on”) is a common first name on the Isle of Man.

Nonetheless, our intersectional Bedlamites are going to be increasingly faced with such logical quandaries as Lennon while they try to legislate for something as difficult to define as race.

Perhaps the best response is to buy popcorn and enjoy the show.

See also, Shaun King and Rachel Dolezal.

Some competitions are not worth winning

It is unlikely Rebel Wilson has ever experienced winning anything athletic or academic during her school years.

She’s coming third in a competition nobody sane actually wants to win, however.

Bill’s Opinion

First ‘plus sized’ girl to lead a ‘Rom Com‘” isn’t exactly “first woman to sail solo around the world” or “first man on the moon”.

Let’s give her a participation award.

You may be an accessory to murder, m’lud

This makes sense at first glance, but is there a deeper truth being ignored?

An Australian Supreme Court Judge has released a violent Muslim criminal in order for him to emigrate to Lebanon.

Fair enough, eh? A nasty violent man rejects the core principles of western civilisation so requests permission to remove himself and move to a country whose values are more in line with his personal philosophy.

Justice Des Fagan further urged authorities to assist violent career criminal Mohamed Naaman to realise his dream of leaving the country to live in Lebanon as “it would appear to suit all parties”.

Quite right, Judge Des Fagan, let him go and good riddance.

But wait, what’s this?

It was claimed Naaman was preoccupied with Islamic State and once told a Queensland parole officer that he “would go to Syria and become a suicide bomber, then stated he was joking”.

Boom tish! As punchlines go, that’s better than anything in evidence on Saturday Night Live these days.

How did that go down with the esteemed judge?

“He has espoused his adherence to Islam over many years. He has shown himself to be an Islamic bigot, expressing contempt and hatred for anyone who does not accept the Koran, being the overwhelming majority of Australians,” Justice Fagan said.

And there’s this;

Forensic psychiatrist Kerri Eagle said Naaman, a long-term illicit drug user with signs of chronic paranoid schizophrenia, would be highly likely to keep committing violent crimes upon his release from custody.

Oh great. What does the judge think about that?

Justice Fagan agreed, saying: “The only mitigating consideration with respect to this bleak forecast is that the defendant’s past violence has not been of a high level and has not been premeditated.”

Oh, well that’s all right then; he’s not managed to make a bomb yet so he’s mostly harmless. Until that changes. Let’s hope it doesn’t.

The judge seems to need help with basic logic, though;

During the hearing, the court heard Naaman wanted to renounce his Australian citizenship and return to Lebanon, prompting Justice Fagan to ask why he shouldn’t be allowed to do so.

“If somebody wishes to immigrate from Australia … why wouldn’t the state wish to facilitate it if it’s possible?” he said.

Yeah, if he wants to go and we don’t want him here why can’t he be allowed to leave?

There is a reason and fortunately the prosecutor managed to articulate it;

Mr Agius said Australia had obligations to help prevent terrorist acts overseas.

“If he returns to Syria to fight the Syrian government and to kill infidels as he said he wishes to do, under Australian law that would be a serious terrorism offence,” he said.

Yeah, that.

Bill’s Opinion

Whilst no sane citizen of a western democracy would want to share a planet, let alone a country or city, with someone as mad and dangerous as Mohammed Naaman, there is a wider consideration here;

Namely, we are not the fucking recruitment department of Islamic State, shipping future terrorists over to Syria to be brutalised and trained to kill without remorse.

As Sam Harris says, we should judge these people by their words, we should listen when they tell us they want to kill us in the name of Islam and we ought to believe them.

As expensive as it will be for Mohammed to be walking around Brisbane on a curfew with a monitoring ankle bracelet or, better still, bored to tears reading the Koran cover to cover in jail, at least the police know where he is and what he’s doing.

If they wave goodbye to him at the airport, who knows what he’s going to get up to over the next few years? At best, he’ll be blown up by a drone before he’s done anything too heinous. However, other possibilities include furthering the murderous cause of Islamic State, attacking our allies or, worse, our troops or citizens in the region or coming back to a western country but now filled with significant training and even more motivation to do us harm.

Should any of those negative outcomes occur, the families of those hurt or killed would have a solid moral case to make against Judge Des Fagan.

Des Fagan, j’accuse.

Vegan humour failure

tautology (noun)

1 the saying of the same thing twice over in different words, generally considered to be a fault of style (e.g. they arrived one after the other in succession ).

This definition amuses me. Although not a tautology in itself, it is verbose. My preference is, “redundancy of words“.

Anyway, “vegan humour failure” is clearly tautologous.

Witness;

Vegan pitches rubbish idea, is rejected in a mildly funny way, then gets the guy fired.

BuzzFeed reported that Sitwell, the former editor of Waitrose Food magazine, made the statement in an email to freelance writer Selene Nelson, who had pitched a series on plant-based cooking.

In his response, Sitwell reportedly wrote to her, “How about a series on killing vegans, one by one. Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?”

Not the funniest rejection letter in history, granted, but it’s not without humour.

Of course, if he’d have realised that it was going to be read by the vicariously offended, rather than just the original recipient, he may have worded it slightly differently. “No thanks, this is not of interest to our readers“, probably would have sufficed.

Here’s an interesting statement;

Following an uproar, Sitwell, who is also a food critic on BBC’s “MasterChef,” apologised and said that he is resigning from his position at the magazine, which states it features “recipes and articles from the world’s best chefs and food writers.”

An “uproar”?

I must have missed the edition of the Oxford English Dictionary where the definition of “uproar” was amended to include “half a dozen Twitter users complaining“.

Bill’s Opinion

The correct response to the criticism should have been, “it was a joke, feel free to laugh or fuck off“.

Instead, William Sitwell made the fatal mistake of apologising. This only encourages the social media mob pile on until their target’s career has been destroyed. Better still, if their life has also been destroyed.

The rule of our age is simple; never apologise, never explain.

There is another axiom we have been reminded of too;

There are three questions one never needs to ask;

1. Are you from Texas/Yorkshire/Queen’sland?

2. Do you do CrossFit/BootCamp?

3. Are you vegan?

For those of you who may have been traumatised by the gratuitous mentions of vegans in today’s post, here’s a soothing picture of a delicious serving of Steak Tartare;

Academic rigour

The researchers at the University of New South Wales have released a study suggesting the marsupial “lion” died out as a result of climate change, not because of competition with humans.

After analysing the chemical structure of fossil teeth, the researchers concluded thylacoleo carnifex was a highly specialised apex predator, hunting primarily in forests and unlikely to be capable of competing in more open geography.

Therefore, they conclude, the climate change that impacted the Australian landscape significantly during the “lion’s” nearly 2 million year reign on the continent was responsible for its extinction, not the humans who just happened to have arrived about 15,000 years before its demise.

We’re not in a position to challenge the chemical analysis of the teeth, this isn’t a scientific blog after all. But there are some significant questions that jump out at us;

1. How big was the sample size used and how geographically diverse were the locations they were discovered?

The newsdesk report doesn’t say and the actual study isn’t available to us yet but I have a memory of a previous report about the “lion” that suggests around 65 individuals have been found to date (if anyone can correct this, please do so below).

2. What’s the time line of the known existence of the “lion” against ice ages and human arrival?

The marsupial was around for about 2 million years, dying out 35 to 40 thousand years ago.

There have been many glacial and interglacial periods during the current ice age (yes, we are currently in an ice age), during which the flora of Australia was significantly impacted.

Humans first arrived around 60 thousand years ago.

Coincidentally, the Australian megafauna mainly died out 15 thousand years after the humans arrived.

Bill’s Opinion

Prima facie, this looks like some solid scientific research followed by blatant propaganda and over-reach.

The analysis of the fossils is probably solid; the animals likely did live and hunt in forests.

Claiming that as the reason for their extinction because the climate started changing 350,000 years ago seems an extremely long bow to draw.

For example, why then did it take 305,000 years of climate change to kill them off, along with all of the other major fauna and, coincidently, this was just 15,000 years after a new apex predator had arrived replete with mechanical hunting advantages and “fire stick” land clearance techniques?

Occam’s Razor works on the principle that the answer that relies on the fewest assumptions is likely to be the correct one.

An assumption that humans arrived and out-competed with the previous apex predator beats the dual assumptions that they co-existed but the animals failed to evolve to gradually-changing conditions over several thousand years.

There’s another point in favour of the “humans killed them off” theory; researchers try to find a “climate change” hook to all their research because that’s where the money flows.

Only the truly selfless become parents

Anyone who’s raised children will understand that it’s a fairly ego-destroying process for significant periods of time. In the early years your sleep patterns are hugely disrupted, your social life hits a somewhat lower gear and holidays can sometimes involve almost as much work as relaxation. As for those days when one could jump on a plane for a last minute weekend city break to somewhere romantic like Rome or Manchester….. nah.

From a purely accounting point of view, the decision to become a parent is irrational. For most people, however, it’s a quite selfless act of altruism to bring a new life into the world, nurture it, keep it safe from harm and gradually let them gain increasing levels of independence.

Science has other plans for us, it seems. As we’ve seen recently, science now enables pathologically-single late middle-aged women to fly to third world countries, ignore the orphans languishing in state institutions, buy someone else’s fertilised eggs and give birth to a child with which they share no common genes.

Hopefully Manda is learning to be a little less self-centred by now, but we doubt it.

She has a lesbian equivalent in the USA, it would seem; same sex couple play pass the parcel with an embryo.

The question that remains unanswered throughout the article linked above is, why?

There are hints scattered around though, if one cares to search. For example;

Although they both hoped to one day have children, Bliss wanted a baby that was biologically hers but did not want to be pregnant.

Gosh, that’s a bit of a problem, eh? Speaking personally, I’d quite like to have a big night out drinking the finest wines known to humanity until sunrise, have a couple of hours shuteye and wake up with a clear head.

Same-sex female couples usually have children via a sperm donor with one woman carrying the baby and the other adopting it.
However, both Bliss and Ashleigh wanted to be involved.

Hmm, well, if it’s that important a solution must be found.

Bill’s Opinion

On a scale of selfishness, Bliss and Ashleigh are certainly not as extreme as our friend Manda who, but for the purchase of someone else’s baby, was one step away from buying cats.

It does seem somewhat self-centred nonetheless. And that’s ignoring the stupid first name the poor lad has been saddled with. Tssk, Texans, eh?

Let’s give the last word to their doctor, Cathy “howdy” Doody, who presumably said this without a hint of irony or sarcasm;

 Dr Doody believes Effortless Reciprocal IVF allows same-sex female couples to have a unique bond with their babies and makes for a more ‘natural’ pregnancy.

Royally projecting a strawman

37 year old first time soon-to-be mother, Meghan Windsor, has been suffering from first trimester sickness and has been taking things easy on her recent tour to the Antipodes.

This is the fault of duh patriarchy, apparently.

Here’s some evidence;

“People are complaining about the few engagements you missed”.

Go on, name one person who’s complained. You’ve strewn hyperlinks all over your column, it seems strange there isn’t one to any report of these multiple complainants.

“The woman formerly known as Meghan Markle will notice her identity transform”.

Okaaay. As in, “transform into a member of one of the most privileged and wealthy families in the world”? Excuse me if I’m late for the protest march demanding Meghan is released from the evil clutches of duh patriarchy.

Bill’s Opinion

We could spend the remainder of this post fisking Kasey Edwards’ couple of hundred words where she builds strawmen and complains about how unfair biology is but, really, what’s the point?

Instead, let’s just offer some musical commentary on Kasey’s views.

Take it away Jake;