Monthly Archives: August 2022

Average Earned Personal Income Grows in July 2022

Americans saw both their average nominal and inflation-adjusted income per capita rise for the first time since February in July 2022.

Political Calculations' initial estimate of the average per capita income of Americans in July 2022 is $34,400, a $330 (or nearly 1%) increase from June 2022's estimate of $34,030. The following chart tracking the average individual earned income during the Biden era shows the increase in both nominal and inflation-adjusted terms.

Average Individual Earned Income in the Biden Era, December 2020 - July 2022

In terms of constant July 2022 U.S. dollars, July 2022's average per capita income of $34,400 falls $502 below December 2021's peak of $34,902. By contrast, nominal average per capita income increased by $1,557 since the end of 2021. That difference means that all of the nominal gain in the average wage and salary income earned by Americans was entirely eroded by inflation during 2022.

We'll be looking at the latest update to the trends for median household income through July 2022 tomorrow.


U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Table 2.6. Personal Income and Its Disposition, Monthly, Personal Income and Outlays, Not Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly, Middle of Month. Population. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 26 August 2022. Accessed: 26 August 2022.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Table 2.6. Personal Income and Its Disposition, Monthly, Personal Income and Outlays, Not Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly, Middle of Month. Compensation of Employees, Received: Wage and Salary Disbursements. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 26 August 2022. Accessed: 26 August 2022.

U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers - (CPI-U), U.S. City Average, All Items, 1982-84=100. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 10 August 2022. Accessed: 10 August 2022.

Australian Politics 2022-08-31 07:42:00


Transgender righteousness becoming very oppressive

The rise of the gender affirmation industry and its relationship with children is one of the most important stories of our time.

Under the guise of science, we are being told that toddlers can know with certainty that they have been ‘born in the wrong bodies’.

Under the guise of healthcare, we are being told that it is harmful and cruel to do anything other than affirm a child’s belief that they are a different gender.

Under the guise of medicine, we are being told that it is perfectly fine to treat children with drugs that stunt their natural development.

And if you dare criticise any of this, you run the career-ending risk of being labelled transphobic and turned into a social pariah.

In reality, this remains an open social and medical debate that is being pursued across the West where gender affirmation enjoys far less community support than advertised.

Not in Victoria, however, where the Victorian Education Department’s LGBTQ Support Policy, available on its website, encourages teachers to assist minors to transition genders without parental approval, or even their knowledge.

There may be circumstances in which students wish or need to undertake gender transition without the consent of their parent/s (or carer/s), and/or without consulting medical practitioners.

If no agreement can be reached between the student and the parent/s regarding the student’s gender identity, or if the parent/s will not consent to the contents of a student support plan, it will be necessary for the school to consider whether the student is a mature minor.

If a student is considered a mature minor they can make decisions for themselves without parental consent and should be affirmed in their gender identity at school without a family representative/carer participating in formulating the school management plan.

There is to be no debate after the Victorian government made it a criminal offence – on threat of fines and/or jail time – to attempt to counsel a child out of transitioning genders.

Other Australian states are considering similar legislation.

This runs contrary to decades of accepted best-practice which treated gender dysphoria primarily with therapy, as most children grow out of these feelings.

The previous federal Liberal government watched as bureaucrats edited gendered language within Australian health services against the wishes of the general public. Even medicare forms referred to ‘birthing parents’ until outcry led the incoming Labor government to correct it.

It is very much a one-sided conversation in which the media runs a steady stream of pro-transgender stories, while typically ignoring any negative news, such as the tragic stories of de-transitioners seeking to sue for their lifelong injuries.

There was a good deal of media silence when the UK’s main gender clinic, Tavistock, was closed down with 1,000 families threatening to sue the NHS for harm done to their children.

Meanwhile, you are more likely to find trans puff pieces about teenage girls having double mastectomies.

It is the end result of a cultural shift that has seen the entertainment industry increase LGBTQ+ representation targeted at young audiences – from Buzz Lightyear’s gay kiss to a transgendered character in The Umbrella Academy.

Schools and local councils, particularly in America, continue to integrate Drag Queens into the lives of toddlers despite public backlash against what are traditionally adult performers in sexualised attire.

A doctor friend of mine who dared to suggest, in a very well-written and calm email, that his local council should not be promoting a sexualised all-ages drag show, received a curt response from his local member suggesting he was an ‘overly zealous’ religious ‘bigot’ whose ‘wrongheaded’ ideas were ‘harmful to society’.


Consider the dilemma Victorian parents face. If you complain that your children ought not be exposed to gender ideology, you will be labelled a bigot.

So you keep quiet.

If your child – having been exposed to gender ideology at school or at a community event – ends up momentarily confused during a time when kids are confused about lots of things related to their changing bodies, you will be criminalised if you fail to agree with them.

So you keep quiet.

Children are effectively at the mercy of schoolteachers, health professionals, and the state – instead of their parents. Many agree that this is fundamentally wrong.

It is also logically bizarre. Your child, who is not able to take a Panadol at school without parental permission, is assumed capable of making life-changing decisions that often result in permanent medical intervention and sterilisation.

Over the weekend, Libs of TikTok, a conservative social media account that highlights Woke progressive videos, released recordings of a conversation with staff at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington DC.

Libs of TikTok contacted the hospital as a parent asking if they would perform a ‘gender-affirming hysterectomy’ on a 16-year-old.

Both the hospital operator, who took the initial call, and a hospital staff member to whom the caller was subsequently transferred, confirmed that performing such an operation would not be a problem. Hospital staff said that such operations had been performed on children younger than 16.

On the recording you can hear the hospital operator ask:

‘How old is your patient?’

‘Sixteen,’ the caller says.

‘Okay,’ the operator replies. ‘Alright. So they’re in the clear.’

After confirming with a second person over the phone that a 16-year-old would be eligible for a gender-affirming hysterectomy, the caller asks whether it is a common procedure for that age.

‘Yes, we have all different type of age groups that comes in for that,’ the hospital worker responds.

‘For the hysterectomy?’ the caller asks.

‘Yes, ma’am,’ the employee says, adding later that she has ‘seen younger kids, younger than your child’s age’ undergo the surgery.

The recording went viral, and the outrage was palpable.

And the next day the story was picked up by the Washington Post under the title: Children’s hospital threatened after Libs of TikTok recording on trans hysterectomies.

It continued:

‘Children’s National Hospital has been inundated with threatening emails and phone calls after an influential right-wing Twitter account published a recording that falsely suggested the hospital is performing hysterectomies on transgender children, a hospital spokeswoman said. The torrent of harassment was accompanied by social media posts suggesting that Children’s be bombed and its doctors placed in a woodchipper.’

So the story was not that two hospital staff wrongly told a prospective patient that gender-affirming hysterectomies could be performed on a teenager. The story was that hospital staff had been threatened. Of course, the threatening behaviour is unacceptable, but that does not mean the core of the story should be overlooked either.

The people behind the recording were demonised as ‘right wing’. Later in the story they are called ‘activists’.

The Children’s National Hospital has since corrected the record and confirmed that, despite what its staff said, the surgery is not offered for anyone under 18.

This doesn’t change the scorn with which readers are treated if they raised their eyebrows at gender-affirming surgery on children – even if it is only in speculation.

In this case, the whistle-blowers were slurred as hateful rather than the hospital criticised for managing to make such a strange error about a serious procedure.

It was an error made by the hospital staff, not the reporter – and why did the staff make this error? Why did they hold the belief that surgery was available for young children? And why was their (now corrected) website in error stating that gender-affirming hysterectomies were available to patients ‘between the ages of 0-21’?

They are not the only American hospital to make this mistake, with a hospital in Boston also exposed by the Libs of TikTok. They also had to correct the record.

These are mistakes, but again, why are these patterns of mistakes being made in the field of gender affirmation and young children?

Society is still having a conversation about whether ‘medical care’, as classed by these hospitals, includes giving healthy young girls (at 18) hysterectomies.

I always thought The Washington Post’s adverting slogan – ‘Democracy dies in darkness’ – was meant to imply that the Post existed to shine a light into dark places.

There is a new darkness in our society, and that is the silencing of criticism when it comes to the future health of our children.

Australia doesn’t have a voice in this debate – that has been silenced by the legislation of our premiers – so we must wait to see if legal action in other countries is able to give those harmed by gender affirmation a voice.


Questions for the cult of climate hypocrisy

Ron Pike

In my recent article When truth is flummoxed by sophistry, hopefully I rationally and successfully established that not only is Climate Change a fraud, but that present government policy to fight Climate Change has failed.

As I highlight in that article, there is no dispute that CO2 concentrations have risen from around 280 parts per million to a present concentration of around four hundred parts per million in the last thirty years or so.

There is equally no dispute that this increase in CO2 has been advantageous, not prejudicial, to life on earth.

It is widely agreed that our planet is ‘greener’ and more productive than previously. Not only that, dreaded apocalyptic heating has not occurred despite these increases in CO2 concentrations.

So why, dear leaders, are you pursuing policy that cannot make any difference to a hyped problem that does not exist?

Why are you touting the obvious nonsense that ‘renewable energy’ sources can supply our power needs, and then extending the lie by claiming that this so-called ‘renewable power’ will be cheaper than our previous power sources? Do you expect those of us who are impacted by your productivity-killing efforts to applaud this policy madness?

Why are our leaders (in name only) insisting that the main source of their ‘renewable power’ should be the sun when it falls dark for around thirteen hours per day?

Where, dear leaders, do we get our power from when the sun does not shine? Could it be from our old coal-fired power stations? If so, how do you justify using solar at all? Why not just let the coal-fired power stations do what they have done so effectively for over one hundred and twenty years and produce cheap power twenty-four hours per day?

In summary, if the production of CO2 from burning fossil fuels is doing no harm to our planet, and given that most other countries are presently increasing CO2 emissions by building new coal-fired power plants (many using Australian coal), why are we destroying our previous advantage of abundant and cheap power? Why are you making it difficult for our businesses to compete with other nations who are using cheap power and gas, often supplied from Australia.

Surly, dear leaders, this is hypocrisy writ large… You are destroying Australian jobs, not creating them.

It is time for our leaders to answer these questions.

Why did we vote for you in the first place?

Why are you not acting in the interests of the Australian people?

Why can’t you accept truth and act accordingly?

Why should the people accept anything you have to say on this subject?

Why can’t you acknowledge that ‘privatisation’ of power production and distribution was not in the interests of the Australian people? It only benefited the numerous monopolies created; all now gouging Australian consumers.

Why indeed… Because every day you perpetrate more questions, but answers are nowhere to be found.


EV chargers to be deployed on power poles

Not exactly a great leap forward. Note that it takes a whole hour to get enough charge to drive 50km

A local tech company has won a grant to deploy 50 electric vehicle chargers on streetside power poles, overcoming one of the key obstacles to widespread EV adoption.

The scheme is similar to others that have been rolled out across Europe, the United States and Canada in the past three years. London has more than 1000 public lamp post chargers, ranging in capacity from 3kW to 50kW.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) – set up to fund investment in EV infrastructure – has awarded Intellihub $871,000 to install the 7.4kW chargers, which can add roughly 50km of charge every hour.

The company will install EV chargers on power poles across nine local government areas in New South Wales, connected directly to the overhead electricity supply.


AEMO warns of power 'gaps' in Australia's biggest grid within three years as coal exodus gathers pace

With a brainless claim that more "renewables" could fill the gap. How?

Electricity supplies are forecast to fall short of demand within three years across Australia's eastern grid, unless new renewable energy and transmission capacity is urgently brought online, according to an official report.

In its latest 10-year outlook for the national electricity market, to be released today, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) warns of reliability "gaps" affecting New South Wales from 2025 and Victoria, Queensland and South Australia by the end of the decade.

The warning from the government agency follows a period of turmoil in the market, which has been buffeted by soaring coal and gas prices fuelled by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and higher-than-usual demand.

Central to the upheaval has also been a spate of coal-fired plant outages, which at one stage in June affected a quarter of the fleet in the eastern states.

AEMO said those supply pressures were likely to get worse in the coming years as five coal plants closed, taking with them 14 per cent of the National Energy Market's total capacity.

Further complicating matters is an expected surge in demand amid efforts to electrify big chunks of the economy, such as the transport industry.

Race on for new capacity

AEMO chief executive Daniel Westerman said that unless replacement capacity could be built in time, demand was forecast to periodically outstrip supply by 2025.

First hit would be NSW, where major energy retailer Origin has announced plans to close Australia's single biggest power station, Eraring, in the same year.

But Mr Westerman noted the shortfalls were forecast to spread to Victoria from 2028, Queensland from 2029 and South Australia by the beginning of next decade.

"The report reiterates the urgency of progressing generation, storage and transmission developments to maintain a secure, reliable and affordable supply of electricity to homes and businesses," Mr Westerman said.

"Forecast reliability gaps have emerged across NEM regions due to considerable coal and gas plant closures, along with insufficient new generation capacity commitments needed to offset higher electricity use.

"Without further investments, this will reduce generation supply and challenge the transmission network's capability to meet reliability standards and power system security needs."

To help plug the gap left by exiting coal and gas-fired generation, AEMO has called for governments and industry to urgently get on with building new renewable energy projects.

The agency said the projects, with a combined capacity of 3.4 gigawatts, or enough to power more than two million homes, would be crucial to keeping the lights on.

'Paying through the nose'

What's more, AEMO said there were five high-voltage transmission lines that needed to "progress as quickly as possible" to ensure the new green power could be delivered to where it was needed.

The Australian Industry Group, which represents major manufacturers, said the report was aimed at holding "ministers' and industry's feet to the fire".

Tennant Reed, the group's climate and energy director, acknowledged AEMO tended to err on the side of caution given its responsibility for maintaining the security of the grid.

Mr Reed said the report did not take into account some projects that were likely to be up and running within its timeframe.

But he said the size and the urgency of the task to replace retiring coal capacity was undeniable. "We've got a lot of work to do to meet the existing timeframes," Mr Reed said.

"Ideally, we would be accelerating a lot of those timeframes because we are going to be paying through the nose for electricity and gas over the next few years because of the price of coal and natural gas in international markets.

"The faster we can make the transition to clean energy happen, the less of that Ukraine invasion premium we will be paying.

"But we have our work cut out for us just to deliver the existing timeframes, let alone to do the acceleration which would benefit us."




Visualizing Foreign and U.S. Ownership of U.S. Corporate Equities

How much of the total U.S. stock market owned by Americans and how much is owned by foreign interests?

We found 70 years worth of Federal Reserve data on the U.S. and foreign ownership of corporate equities answering that question, spanning the entire modern era for the U.S. stock market. Our first chart shows the value of those investments on a linear scale from 1 January 1952 through 1 January 2022.

Foreign and U.S. Ownership of U.S. Corporate Equities by Value, 1 January 1952 - 1 January 2022

Meanwhile, if you're a fan of logarithmic scale data, follow this link....

One thing that log-scale data cannot do well is visually communicate the relative share of foreign versus U.S. ownership. Our next chart focuses just on the share of ownership to reveal the share of the U.S. stock market owned by foreigners has increased from 1.7% in 1952 to 16.5% in 2022.

Foreign and U.S. Ownership of U.S. Corporate Equities by Share of Total, 1 January 1952 - 1 January 2022

The foreign-owned share of U.S. corporate equities peaked at 16.6% on 1 October 2021.


Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Rest of the World; U.S. Corporate Equities; Asset, Level. [Online Database]. Last Updated 9 June 2022.

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. All Sectors; U.S. Corporate Equities; Asset, Market Value Levels. [Online Database]. Last Updated 9 June 2022.

Australian Politics 2022-08-30 11:01:00


Home insurance dilemma

I live on the side of a hill in a generally elevated area so my exposure to flood risk is nil. So I was rather unhappy that my most recent annual insurance premium was around $2,000. So it is obvious that people in flood-prone areas must be much more heavily hit in order to insure their properties. And Australia has been having a lot of flooding recently

The actuaries have to be realistic. Premiums must reflect the probability of a successful claim. And in areas where natural hazards are great, that means that premiums have to be very large -- so large as to be unaffordable in unlucky cases.

There is no cure for it. The value of a house is large so any payour will be large. And a lot of large payouts could bankrupt the insurers. So they have to recover enough money to cover their claims. And that can mean sky-high premiums.

In the circumstances many people will go uninsured. They will have to cover their own risks however they can. And unless they are big savers when the expected adverse events happen, they will be without a home and penniless.

Governments can sometimes do something to help the most disastrously affected people. Some governments offer "buybacks" of flooded properties but the cost ensures that only a few people can be helped in that way.

The real solution is for people to stop setting up house in endangered areas. That would denude whole suburbs if it was widely done, however, so is likely to be done to only a small extent.

A small consolation is that the price of a home in a badly affected area will be significantly reduced but whether buying there is worth the gamble has to be an individual and personal decision.

One million households in Australia already face “extreme” levels of insurance stress and will bear the brunt of future premium hikes.

The report, prepared by analytics firm Finity Consulting and commissioned by the Actuaries Institute, examines the cost and affordability of home insurance this year and in 2050, in both a high-emissions and low-emissions future.

Previous estimates have found that by 2030, more than half a million homes would be “uninsurable” because of spiralling premiums.

This latest research is even more dire.

Vulnerable households – defined in the report as the one in ten households spending the largest share of income on insurance – currently pay an average of 7.4 weeks’ pre-tax income on their premiums.

This compares to an average of one week of income paid by the rest of the population.

“That it is already as much as 10 per cent of households, or 1 million households, that was surprising. I didn’t think it was that bad,” says Sharanjit Paddam, the report’s lead author.

Previous research into household insurance risks did not include income in their calculations, and may not accurately reflect what is affordable for different households.

This report defines “extreme affordability pressure” as more than four weeks’ pre-tax income – a threshold that aligns with other research on financial stress and vulnerable populations.

“This is not just a problem about the cost of insurance; it’s also a problem of people’s ability to pay,” says Mr Paddam, an actuary with Finity’s climate and ESG practice.

“So, if [other reports] are talking about 500,000 [uninsurable homes] by 2030, then we think that we’re already there.”

Every neighbourhood has vulnerable residents

While vulnerable households are concentrated in northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and northern New South Wales, the report emphasises that vulnerable households exist in every council area in Australia.

Some of the most vulnerable populations are in metropolitan or inner-city locations.

In the City of Melbourne, for example, one in five households is under extreme affordability pressure, while in the City of Adelaide, it’s one in 11.

In both these local government areas (LGAs), the annual insurance premium already costs some residents, including retirees, more than 20 weeks’ income, a nominal figure indicating they effectively have no income.

In the City of Sydney, where one in seven households is vulnerable, the median household in this group spends an average of 5.8 weeks’ income on the annual premium.

“People on low incomes are impacted first, worst and longest by extreme weather events … because they don’t have the same financial means to cope, adapt, and recover,” says Kellie Caught, Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) climate and energy program director.

On top of that, low-cost housing, including rental properties, tends to be in higher-risk areas, like flood or bushfire zones, and built to poorer standards.

This overlap between climate risk and socioeconomic disadvantage means the most vulnerable people are likely to live in the least resilient housing and in the riskiest areas. “Because that’s what they can afford,” Ms Caught says.

Half of households paying premiums of more than $2,000 earn less than $65,000, according to the report.

“Retirees, individuals over 60, and single adult households are very much in the vulnerable group,” Mr Paddam says.

They are also more likely to be single parents or living alone, women, renting, and to have low insurance literacy and low savings.

“The reality is that the people who are most impacted by natural disasters are often low socioeconomic status … and don’t have the capability to move or to pay to improve their homes,” says Actuaries Institute chief executive Elayne Grace.

And when catastrophe strikes, the financial and emotional toll can be unbearable, Ms Caught says.

It’s not just the task of rebuilding an uninsured home. Families are usually hit with pricier food, rent and other essentials as the area struggles to recover, while moving elsewhere often means leaving jobs, schools and support networks, she says.

“So you just have these compounding factors that have a significant impact on your ability to keep your head above the water …. I mean, there’s a breaking point, right?”


Police drop anti-lockdown incitement charge against Ballarat woman Zoe Buhler

A Ballarat woman who was charged with inciting others to breach a state lockdown has had her case thrown out of court.

Zoe Buhler was arrested in her Ballarat home in September 2020 while pregnant.

The mother-of-three livestreamed her arrest, showing police handcuffing her in a video that later went viral and sparked concerns from the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The arrest came after she created a protest event on social media, citing concerns about the impacts of lockdowns during the pandemic.

In the Ballarat Magistrates Court this morning, police prosecution applied to have the charge struck out, which was approved by Magistrate Mark Stratmann.

In a statement, Victoria Police said they withdrew the single charge following an assessment of the case, determining it was "not in the public interest to continue with the prosecution".

Ms Buhler, now 30 years old, said she was relieved but had "no regrets" outside the court this morning. "I think it's disgusting our rights and freedoms were taken away. I've pretty much felt that way the whole time," Ms Buhler said.

"I'll be considering my options going forward, especially with regards to being handcuffed while pregnant."

Ms Buhler said she believed she had been experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the legal costs of contesting the incitement charges had been a burden.

Costs will be agreed upon between the parties at a later date.

"There was money raised to help with the costs of lawyers," she added. "I don't even know how much [it was]. A ridiculous amount."

In March 2020, the Victorian Chief Health Officer and Commonwealth Health Minister were granted special powers to issue lockdowns, if necessary, to minimise the rate of transmission of COVID-19.

They have not enacted a lockdown in Victoria since October 2021.

"In the end justice will be served where it is needed. It's important to stand up for what is right," Ms Buhler said.

"I guess my message for Dan Andrews would be, I hope one day you'll have your day in court."

Since the start of the pandemic, 5,264 people in Victoria have lost their lives due to complications relating to COVID-19.


School bullies have weaponised a much-loved children’s book series to taunt and humiliate vulnerable students

Six months after social media users began turning the popular Little Miss and Mr Men book characters into fun memes, bullies have hijacked the trend for sinister purposes.

Dozens of TikTok accounts — each targeting a different school — have popped up, posting cruel versions of the memes, mocking individual students, before flashing an identifiable photo of their target.

The anonymous accounts, apparently created by students, use phrases such as “Little Miss Hated By Most”, “Little Miss Racist”, and “Little Miss Wears No Bra”, to denigrate their schoolmates.

Students in Victoria are joining in, including those at Sunbury College, Berwick College and Fountain Gate Secondary College.

Some students are using the viral trend to compliment their friends, with posts about Little Miss Perfect, Little Miss Best Style and Little Miss Really Kind Girl Who Deserves Better.

Others are derogatory, including Little Miss Thinks She’s Black, Doesn’t realise no one likes her, Fakes her pregnancies, Anorexic, Fat and Self Harm.

In one clip, Sunbury College students pose in front of their own Little Miss monikers flashing above their head, settling on the one that best suits them. Descriptions include Doormat, Banned on Uber, Attachment issues, Bad taste in men, Childhood trauma, Hits curbs and Avoiding my problems.

There are even male accounts such as “Little Mr Can’t get any Girls”.

In one post there are signs saying “Little Miss Self Harm” and the caption “@horrible little miss accounts, do you realise what your (sic) doing?”

One post said “my heart goes out to the people who get called ugly on the little miss school accounts.”

A spokesman for the Department of Education said Victorian schools “take strong action in relation to incidents of bullying, with disciplinary action for the perpetrators and full support for impacted students”.

“Social media providers have a critical role to play in preventing the publication of content that promotes bullying - and we are continuing to raise this issue with the platforms directly,” he said.

The online trolling trend can be revealed as new data shows cyberbullying reports are up 95 per cent for the first six months of this year. The figures, from the eSafety Commision, show 948 people reported being bullied online in the first half of 2022 compared to 485 in the first half of 2021. The data also reveals 1 in 5 children experience cyberbullying.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said she was aware of the Little Miss material and similar variations.

“Where once bullying stopped at the school gate, through technology it now follows children home and into their bedrooms, sometimes at all hours of the night,” she said.

“Content that demeans, belittles or objectifies anyone, particularly children, is never okay… young people may not realise how cruel, isolating and damaging this kind of online bullying content can be.”

Child psychologist Dr Kimberley O’Brien said the public nature of the Little Miss memes was a “lot more serious” than other types of bullying because “humiliation and ridicule are really powerful things”.

“The feeling of humiliation, there are not many things that compare to that,” she said.

Dr O’Brien said when teenagers felt they were being laughed at, they catastrophise the experience, often believing they could never recover.

“Humiliation has the power to make kids want to withdraw, hide and feel very anxious,” she said.

The resulting isolation can also increase the risk of suicide, she said.

Social Media expert Molly Speechley said while some oversight and restriction was appropriate, parents should focus on educating their children, and encouraging communication within the family.

“Checking behaviours can erode trust between parents and children… and may make teens less likely to come to parents when they do have an issue they cannot solve on their own,” she said.


The plague of the green elephants

Viv Forbes

Legend says that if you displeased the King of Siam, he would give you a white elephant. These rare and protected elephants were incredibly expensive to keep. So a ‘White Elephant’ came to mean a possession that is useless, troublesome, expensive to maintain, and difficult to dispose of – like a Sacred Cow, but much bigger.

Today the deluded rulers of the Western world are gifting us and future generations with plagues of Green Elephants – useless, expensive, and protected green rubbish.

The biggest green elephants in Australia are the five desalination plants built hurriedly around the same time climate catastrophist Tim Flannery forecast that burning hydrocarbons would create perpetual drought.

Climate botherers forgot about La Niña, with its cycles of rain and floods for Australia. These complex and expensive de-sal plants have largely sat idle.

The sun powers the greatest desalination plant on earth, all for free. If we had spent all that desalination money on dams we could have moderated La Niña flood damage, insulated against El Niño droughts, and provided naturally desalinated water for many towns and industries.

Australia was also conned into a war on hydrocarbons by American climate catastrophist, Al Gore, and his animated cartoon. This generated another epidemic of Green Elephants – solar panels, wind turbines, and spiderwebs of power lines that squander capital, uglify our landscapes, and destroy grasslands, forests, and bird life, as well as dismantling our once-cheap and reliable electricity supply. Future generations will be faced with the removal and disposal of these Green Monuments to Stupidity.

Another Green Elephant is being suckled in the Snowy Mountains – Snowy 2 Pumped Hydro. Its plant and transmission lines will cost $10 billion. More huge batteries are required to ‘solve’ the chronic intermittency of wind/solar energy.

More Green Elephants are being planned by hydrogen speculators. These net consumers of energy will guzzle huge quantities of fresh water to produce a dangerous explosive gas that cannot be used by motorists or industry without much research and new infrastructure. Some even dream of exporting our precious fresh water via hydrogen (nine tonnes of water for every tonne of hydrogen).

Perhaps the world’s biggest Green Elephant is being bred in Australia’s Northern Territory. This green folly would connect the world’s biggest collection of solar ‘farms’, wind turbines, and batteries to Singapore via the world’s longest under-sea extension cord across a deep submarine trench that is subject to many earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.

These disastrous Green adventures are driven by the UN Billionaires’ club and promoted endlessly by government media and education bureaucracies, and vocal vested interests.

This plague of Green Elephants will destroy our industries, our farms, and our access to cheap reliable fuels and electricity.

It is time for a Green Elephant Hunt




Fed Chair Sends S&P 500 Plummeting in 2022’s Tenth Lévy Flight Event

Fed Chair Jerome Powell spoke from the Federal Reserve's annual retreat Jackson Hole on Friday, 26 August 2022. In doing that, he succeeded in sending the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) on its tenth confirmed Lévy flight event of 2022, sending the index down 3.37% to close the week at 4,057.66.

Since it's the tenth Lévy flight event of the year, investors are getting a lot of exposure these high volalilty episodes. For readers who are new to the concept, here's what it means:

  • Lévy flights involve large changes in stock prices that occur more often than statistical analysis based on a normal distribution predicts.
  • These events coincide with investors shifting their forward-looking focus from one point of time in the future to another.
  • How much stock prices change during these events is tied to what the expectations are for dividend growth between these future points in time.

All of which are tied together in the dividend futures-based model we invented to forecast the future for the S&P 500. The alternative futures chart tracks the actual trajectory of the index against the levels it projects it would be for when investors focus their attention upon specific future quarters.

Alternative Futures - S&P 500 - 2022Q3 - Standard Model (m=-2.5 from 16 June 2021) - Snapshot on 26 Aug 2022

Going into the last trading week, the chart shows investors had been focused on the future quarter of 2023-Q1 in setting current day stock prices. Fed Chair Powell's Jackson Hole speech on Friday, 26 August 2022 however refocused their attention on 2022-Q3 by increasing the uncertainty they have for how much the Fed will change interest rates at its upcoming September meetings.

Our summary of the market-moving headlines of the trading week that was documents how that shift in the forward looking focus developed during the trading week.

Monday, 22 August 2022
Tuesday, 23 August 2022
Wednesday, 24 August 2022
Thursday, 25 August 2022
Friday, 26 August 2022

After Fed Chair Jerome Powell got done speaking on Friday, 26 August 2022, the CME Group's FedWatch Tool's projections of the Fed's future interest rate hikes registered big changes in investor expectations, confirming the Lévy flight event resulting from investors resetting their time horizon. Instead of a half point rate hike in September (2022-Q3), the probability of a three-quarter point hike rose over 50% as investors expectations changed for this quarter. Looking further forward in time, that hike would be followed by a half point rate hike in November (2022-Q4), after which, investors think the Fed will hold off on more rate hikes until February 2023 when they anticipate a quarter point rate hike. That will put the Fed's target for the Federal Funds Rate in the 3.75-4.00% range, which is where investors are now expecting the Fed's series of rate hikes will top out.

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow tool's forecast for real GDP growth in 2022-Q3 held steady at 1.6%, so we can rule out changes in the outlook for the U.S. economy as a significant contributing factor to what happened with stock prices during the week. What happened was caused by investors drawing in their focus from 2023-Q1 to 2022-Q3 in reaction to Powell's Jackson Hole remarks.