Retail, Politics and Hate

Today I found out that H&M is about to open a new store in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. Normally, I couldn’t care less – another retail giant opening yet another outlet, big deal. Well, this time, it is a big deal.

H&M Store Melbourne

H&M Store Melbourne

Or at least it was made into a big deal by Melbourne scumbags from the BDS movement. What’s their issue with a shop opening halfway across the world? Nothing really. Nothing except a blind hatred towards the state of Israel.

Now, if you ask the people (and I use the term “people” very loosely here) from BDS what their goal is, thy will tell you that it is to bring Israel to its knees, stop it from any activities in Judea and Samaria and by doing so advance creation of an independent state of Palestine.

Noble cause, right? No, not really. To me, a noble cause is the one that improves the lives of poor and oppressed. A noble cause is the one where you do all you can to make sure that your workers work and live in a humane, sustainable conditions.

So let’s look into it a little bit deeper.

H&M has stores in dozens of countries. Including in the Middle East, countries that might not necessarily be Israel’s friends. They have stores in Bahrain. They have stores in Jordan. They have stores in Kuwait. They have stores in Lebanon. Oman. Qatar. Saudi Arabia. United Arab Emirates. All these countries have benefited from having H&M stores in their shopping centers. All these countries recognize the importance of having a robust economy based on free trade and sound management. How many of them are going to close down H&M chains in their countries, just to piss Israel off? None.

This is what BDS supports

This is what BDS supports

So why is the BDS different? Is it because they care more about the plight of the Palestinian people than the Arab countries do? Hardly. If they did, they wouldn’t cause the closure of the SodaStream factory in Judea and subsequent loss of jobs for 500 Palestinians. If they did, they wouldn’t oppose $15 Billion gas deal between Israel and Jordan, a deal that is set to benefit people of Jordan immensely.  

But let’s go back to H&M for a moment. If anyone from BDS bothered to look at H&M website, they would find that the level of morality and justice advocated by this company is something that every  company in a world should try to imitate. They work hard to make sure that everyone who works for them is earning enough to live on. H&M philosophy – Everyone who’s employed by the fashion industry should earn enough to live on – whoever they are and wherever they work. To this end, H&M set a goal that all of workers should have improved pay structures for fair living wages in place by 2018. This will affect around 850,000 textile workers. They take care of workers conditions, they pay attention to things like sustainability and animal welfare. They use their influence to positively change people and countries they involved in.

But all of this means little to BDS. They rather see people lose their jobs, farmers unable to sell crops, than to allow a new shop in Jerusalem. I guess it’s hard to see the reason, to see unmistakable advantages to hundreds of thousands of people, when your head and your heart filled with hate.
All this reminds me of something Golda Meir once said: “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” Today, it can also be applied to BDS and all the other Israel haters.

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ASIC – a toothless tiger of financial industry

Last night I was looking for some light reading, so I’ve turned my attention to the Money Management website. On it, I found an article telling us that ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) purposefully does NOT take action against misleading advertising by Industry Super Funds.

Former Faceless Man, now in a running to become our next Prime Minister

Union cronie, wants to be our next Prime Minister

For anyone who just came back from extended travels throughout the Phoenix Cluster galaxy and might not be up to speed with things here on Earth, Industry Super Funds are effectively owned by the Unions and for all intents and purposes are untouchable.

According to ASIC’s own website, they “contribute to Australia’s economic reputation and wellbeing by ensuring that Australia’s financial markets are fair and transparent, supported by confident and informed investors and consumers.” Again, in their own words, one of their strategic priorities is “Ensuring fair, orderly and transparent markets”. They should add “unless it involves Trade Unions, in which case we tuck our tail between our legs and play dead”.Don’t get me wrong, ASIC isn’t just sitting idly on its hands. It jumps in and investigates and sets rulings and cancels licenses and banishes businesses….. Only last year they banned a finance broker from Lidcombe, NSW. They banned Commonwealth financial planning adviser for not providing a paperwork within specific timeframe. They banned adviser of the Magnitude Group. They banned insurance broker of Leedam Pty Ltd. The list goes on and on and on. Mostly ASIC came down really hard on small to medium size businesses.

real people are the victims

-thejournal.ie

Don’t get me wrong, ASIC isn’t just sitting idly on its hands. It jumps in and investigates and sets rulings and cancels licenses and banishes businesses….. Only last year they banned a finance broker from Lidcombe, NSW. They banned Commonwealth financial planning adviser for not providing a paperwork within specific timeframe. They banned adviser of the Magnitude Group. They banned insurance broker of Leedam Pty Ltd. The list goes on and on and on. Mostly ASIC came down really hard on small to medium size businesses.

 

I am the first to congratulate ASIC for cleaning the industry from the dodgy operators. I would congratulate them even more if they actually dared to face up to the real bullies of the industry.

Melbournians fallen victims of self-absorbed and disgruntled renegades with permanent chips on their shoulders

Another day, another industrial action by Melbourne’s Public Transport workers. Once again tens of thousands of people have been left stranded, inconvenienced, made hostages of the Unions.

Yarra Trams holding Melbournians hostage

Yarra Trams holding Melbournians hostage

Yesterday, for the fifth time in two weeks Melbournians fallen victims of self-absorbed and disgruntled renegades with permanent chips on their shoulders, otherwise known as Rail, Tram and Bus Union leadership.

Workers fighting for their rights and conditions is an important and necessary part of a democratic society.  Unless, of course, this fight becomes a nasty squabble and stops being a vehicle of progress.

 

 

So what do the Unions want?

They want 6% pay raise each year for three years (18% pay increase) for Yarra Tram and Metro employees. That’s on top of already generous pay increase they’ve negotiated in the last two Enterprise Agreements:

According to a report from 3AW tram and train drivers have received pay rises of 28 per cent in the past six years after negotiating two new EBAs since 2009.

What does the Metro Train management offer?

Another day, another industrial action

Another day, another industrial action

  • 13% pay raise over three years
  • Increased maternity leave from 12 to 14 weeks
  • Increased Carers leave from 1 week to 2 weeks
  • Up to 5 days of Bereavement leave
  • Trauma and Family violence leave
  • An option of when to take their five weeks annual leave

According to Yarra Trams, tram drivers, on average, currently take home $91,000, including penalties, bonuses and overtime. So we are not exactly talking about poverty-stricken segment of our society here.

 

It reminds me of when Telstra employees engaged in the rolling industrial strikes few years ago, after the Company and the Union failed to reach an agreement.

I’m sure you all remember it – tens of thousands of people lost their access to the internet, nobody could call their families overseas, people couldn’t withdraw cash from the ATMs and the entire police force went on leave, because no-one could call 000, remember? No? Because that’s not how it works when people taking industrial actions actually care about what they do and about their customers.

The problem is, the way I see it, that the Union bosses get joy from making life hard for businesses. They genuinely thrive on it, and are completely indifferent to the hardships their militant actions cause to country as a whole.

What’s even worse, they end up becoming a Labor Politicians and legislate to make it easier for their Union cronies to continue this vicious cycle!

People Who Live in Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones, or Is This The End of English Monarchy?

‘The Sun has sunk to a new low’, ‘British public reacts with fury after tabloid publishes 80-year-old pictures of the seven-year-old Queen and the Queen Mother being taught a Nazi salute’ – these are just some of the headlines following publication of the current Queen of England performing Nazi salute 80 years ago.

There is a lot of talk about banishing The Sun, and about restricting Murdock’s rights of entering the UK. While I understand the sentiment behind it, I disagree with the idea. UK is a free, democratic country. The Sun, while being an absolute rat rag, published a factually correct story.

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

Instead of calling for heads to roll and for banishing people and businesses, the English establishment should stop and think about what this really means to them.

The way I see it, a 7 years old girl had been brainwashed to become a Nazi sympathiser. Instead, she grew up to be a woman of good stature and a reasonable Queen. She had shown the strength of character befitting of a monarch. If anything, the English should see it as a feel-good story.

On another side of the divide, there are loud voices calling for the end of monarchy and for introduction of a republic.

This just makes me cringe. I wonder if these same individual protest all and any political and/or economic dealings with the US government, which was quiet happy to acknowledge the French Vichy government as the official government of France. The fact that it was Hitler’s little puppet didn’t seem to bother anyone in Washington.

In all fairness, France  and USA weren’t the only ones who openly (or secretly) embraced the Nazi regime. Russia had signed a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, aimed at carving up bits of Europe.

It Is also a well-known fact that Muslim Brotherhood’s leader Hassan al-Banna, was an ardent supporter of Nazi Germany, as was a Grand Mufti of Jerusalaem.

It wasn’t just the political and religious leaders who willingly cooperated with Nazis.

There was a lot of money to be made, and some big businesses couldn’t contain their greed.

Nazi Concentration Camp Tattoo

Nazi Concentration Camp Tattoo

That’s why I wonder how many of these same republicans that call to abandon the monarchy, simply because a 7 year old girl gave Nazi salute, are driving Fords? Henry Ford was Hitler’s close friend and the only American who received Nazi Germany’s highest honour – the Grand Cross of the German Eagle. Or how many of them use IBM equipment? Remember those infamous tattoos that Nazi victims were given upon entering concentration camps? They are the serial numbers that were fed into IBM’s accounting systems to insure efficiency.

The list of the companies who made their fortunes by cooperating with Nazis is quite long. Some of them made (or at least attempted to) make amends for their dark past, some are completely happy and comfortable with their history.

I guess what I’m saying is that before calling for the heads to roll, and for monarchs to be toppled, the instigators should have a good look at themselves and make sure they are not tainted.

I got my Crystal Ball out, and here are my 6 predictions for 2015

2015 is here, and looks like we are stuck with it for the foreseeable future. Some people like to look back and reminisce, but I prefer to look forward and get ready for what lies ahead.
So what is ahead? I don’t have a crystal ball, and I’m not particularly good at reading tea leaves – some people might say that I’m not particularly good at anything, but I think these people are just mean.
So I’ll have a go at coming up with the list of 6 predictions for the new year, and in a last blog of 2015 I’ll try see how many of my predictions were right.

unemployment

Unemployment to go up in 2015

1. Lets start with the sad and boring: Unemployment in Australia will hit 7.2%

2. With all the Wearables popping up, the time is almost right for this part of the market to explode…. Almost, but not quite. There won’t be any “out of this world” breakthrough in a next 12 months.

3. Speaking of “out of this world” – 2015 is set to be a year when we’ll see the advertising done in space, specifically; it will be placed on the Moon. Can’t wait to see the laser displays to rival the beauty of Aurora Borealis.

4. The sanctions on Russia will be relaxed, or removed completely. In part it will be due to the increased tensions between Turkey and Greece over the Mediterranean gas fields. (and yes, Russia will retain all the territories it “acquired” last year)

Parliament of Australia

Parliament of Australia

5. Closer to home – in September, it will be two interstate AFL teams battling in the Grand Final, but the Port wouldn’t have enough power when it’s needed most, and so it would be the Swans flying back to Sydney with the Cup.

6. Tony Abbot to lose his residence at The Lodge by 30th of April (this one is actually not my prediction, it’s a learned opinion of my friend-blogger Edward from The Mugwump Post )

 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

There is this Russian saying that goes something like this: The way you’ll start a New Year is the way you’ll finish it. To make sure that I finish 2015 on a high, I better start it right…

Cheers, everyone, Happy New Year!

Life Without Internet in 21st century? Surely Not!

The other day I overheard a conversation between two young people, both in their 20th. The girl was trying to understand the concept of Facebook, and the guy was trying (without much success) to explain it to her.

You've Got Mail

You’ve Got Mail

I immediately felt the need to bud in on their conversation, and started asking questions of my own. It turns out, that the girl not only has no idea about Facebook, she also doesn’t own a mobile phone, and she doesn’t have an internet connection at home either. I must’ve had a stupid expression on my face, when on my question “How do you pay your bills?” she answered “At the Post Office”.

I must point out here, that the girl is NOT some sort of backwards person, unable to grasp the technology. She is a lovely girl, competent in her job, uses computer and internet at work, knows how to use them, so it’s a matter of personal choice not succumbing to the extra pressure of being on-line and available at all times.

I kept coming back to this conversation for the rest of the day, and I become curious as to how many other people are out there, that do not have internet?

Apparently, quite a lot. According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, at the end of 2013 there was 12,397,000 internet subscribers, of which, amazingly, over 200,000 were still on Dial-Up connections.  It appears that we are not as technologically advanced as I’ve always thought. Australia is only ranked 25th in a world by internet penetration, having 82.3% of its population on-line.

Some users are still stuck with a snail pace of Dial-Up

Some users are still stuck with a snail pace of Dial-Up

The list of countries and their internet penetration makes for a very interesting read – there are some surprises there.

First, Falkland Islands are ranked Number 1, which must piss Iceland off big time, as that little bit of rock  in South Atlantic is pushing the little bit of rock in a North Atlantic into the Second spot. Our cousins from across the Tasman Sea are doing real good, managing to secure a spot in the top 10. But the biggest surprise for me was Nigeria – I was sure that with the millions of e-mails from millions of relatives of the dead people, all promising me the guaranteed way to get reach, Nigeria would be high up on the list. But no – it only comes at a lowly 128th spot. Those poor scammers must be working overtime, to be able to contact so many unsuspecting winners  🙂

 

 

 

Federal Budget, Retirement and Death

Over the past couple of weeks we all have been exposed to the proposed “tough love” budget that our Federal Government is attempting to pass through Parliament.

One of the things that will affect most of us – the retirement age is set to go up to 70 years. While it scares me to even think that I might have to be in a workforce for so long, there is something that scares me even more. It’s the thought that we will have significantly higher number of drivers in their mid to late sixties regularly navigating our roads.

Are you ready to retire?

Are you ready to retire?
Is the government ready for you to retire?

Why does it scare me? It’s simple, really. Older drivers are not as safe as the younger ones. They are accountable for one-third of all fatalities related to traffic accidents.

Now, before all the old-timers out there decide to collectively bash me up – statistics don’t lie. Of 247 fatalities in a 12 months to April 2014, 84 are from the age group of 60+.

The reality of it is, this number is set to go even higher. Today drivers over 60 years old are mostly drive out of peak hours, and mostly for recreational purposes. When they will have to drive to and from work, faced with bumper to bumper traffic, and an added pressure of getting there on time, how will they cope?

I wonder if the government is prepared to spend extra money paying unemployment to all the young people who will have to wait few extra years for the older generation to retire?

I wonder if the government is prepared to spend extra money paying for increased number if accidents on our roads?

But most of all, I wonder if it’s a ploy to force all those 70-year-olds to become just another road accident statistic, thus eliminating the need to pay them pension for another 10-20 years?

Getting old doesn’t look like a lot of fun right now…