Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Democracy Elections: German cities to trial free public transport to cut pollution

 "Goethe's appeal, like Pushkin's, does not travel well into English and in particular the sensibility of the English speaking world. Where Anthony Daniel's travel writing is always vivid moving, politically and existentially intense, Goethe's trip to Italy reads like the diary of a tourist to whom nothing interesting or out of the ordinary ever happens."

U.S. Democrats push $1 billion bill for election security Reuters (E. Mayer). E. Mayer: “Virtue-signalers gotta virtue-signal, and grifters gotta grift. And I love the fait-accompli narrative that pretends the Russian 2016 election hacking/influencing allegations are proven: ‘The measure followed warnings on Tuesday from U.S. intelligence officials that midterm races in November are likely to see renewed meddling from Russia and possibly other foreign adversaries.'” And naturally no mention of hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public. To be fair to all the stakeholders, you can’t create a self-licking ice cream cone with a solution that actually works.

 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern orders security agencies to look into case of burgled professor 

Labor's Chris Bowen: Paul Keating protégé and would-be treasurer ...

The War for Social Media: The Center is Trying to Diminish Diversity and Control Speech Benjamin Studebaker 

In various cultural and behavioral respects, emerging market consumers differ significantly from their counterparts of developed markets. They may thus derive consumption utility from different aspects of product meaning and functionality. Based on this premise, we investigate whether the economic rise of emerging markets may have begun to impact the typical “one-size-fits-all” design of many international product categories. Focusing on Hollywood films, and exploiting a recent relaxation of China’s foreign film importation policy, we provide evidence suggesting that these impacts may exist and be non-negligible. In particular, we show that the Chinese society’s aesthetic preference for lighter skin can be linked to the more frequent casting of pale-skinned stars in films targeting the Chinese market. Implications for the design of international products are drawn.

That is from a new paper: The further influence of China on Hollywood by Manuel Hermosilla, Fernanda Gutierrez-Navratil, and Juan Prieto-Rodriguez. 

Auburn Warriors rugby league to fold after Mehajer sponsorship woes

Smart cities” are stupid—no gadgets or apps will make tomorrow’s cities fundamentally better or more affordable 

Or of Goethe's death: "At the age of eighty-two, dying of a painful heart condition, Goethe’s last words were 'More light!' Probably his vision was dimming and he just wanted someone to open a window. But it is also Goethe’s last perfect metaphor: one final plea for illumination, from a writer who had spent all his life seeking it."

I did like Kirsch's assessment of Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
: "Indeed, so many scandalous things happen in the novel—from adultery and illegitimacy to arson, incest, and suicide—that it often feels more like a gothic parody than like an earnest Bildungsroman."

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Publishing has called for evidence from the trade as it seeks to maintain a “world-leading” publishing sector in the UK.

ATO crackdown: ‘May be fraud’

Bloody signs in the sky, 1531

The Guardian: ““Car nation” Germanyhas surprised neighbours with a radical proposal to reduce road traffic by making public transport free, as Berlin scrambles to meet EU air pollution targets and avoid big fines. The move comes just over two years after Volkswagen’s devastating “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal unleashed a wave of anger at the auto industry, a keystone of German prosperity. “We are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars,” three ministers including the environment minister, Barbara Hendricks, wrote to EU environment commissioner Karmenu Vella in the letter seen by AFP Tuesday. “Effectively fighting air pollution without any further unnecessary delays is of the highest priority for Germany,” the ministers added. The proposal will be tested by “the end of this year at the latest” in five cities across western Germany, including former capital Bonn and industrial cities Essen and Mannheim…”

BOB DEBUS. Restoring integrity in nature conservation. Part 2 of 2

There is a limit to what laws can achieve, but they are an essential part of any robust system of environmental governance. Environmental laws should effectively enable the protection, conservation, management and, where needed, restoration of our national heritage. The effectiveness of our environmental laws must be founded on the values of integrity, transparency and accountability, in both their formulation and enforcement. These laws must also be kept up to date, so that they continue to reflect our ever-changing environmental, social and political conditions. Our current laws fall short of these standards’Continue reading 

The Power of Three

I recently wrote an article in Cumbria Business on The Power of Three.  In today’s volatile, crazy, Trumpian world, all businesses are facing pressure – pressure coming at them from all angles, all directions – all the time.

Employees at every level of the Company are facing this pressure 24/7 at work, at home.

Pressure is expectation, scrutiny and consequence.

It is the curtain coming down, the shutters closing, the red mist rising.  It leads to tightening, anger, panic, choking and poor decision-making.  (Watch the US President for all five symptoms – sometimes all in one Tweet.)

Inspirational leaders realise that pressure is a privilege – it shows we are standing up and trying to accomplish and achieve.  They relish it because they know themselves and their instinctive reactions to pressure and have identified, practiced and ritualised simple techniques to absorb the pressure, and to use it – jiu-jitsu-like – to feed calmness, clarity and capability.  They keep a ‘Blue Head’, not a ‘Red Head’.  This is practiced throughout the All Blacks rugby organisation – players and coaches are taught to focus on Clear Thought.  Clear Talk.  Clear Action.

I’ve been a Manchester City supporter since my favourite player Colin Bell moved from Bury to the Cityzens in 1966.  And today the world’s best football coach, Pep Guardiola, has got the entire squad focused on relishing pressure, and thinking and acting clearly and cohesively as one.

Bad decisions at the highest levels of sport and business are not usually made through lack of knowledge or lack of skill.  They are made because of an inability to handle pressure at the pivotal moment.  In 2003, Clive Woodward and Brian Ashton called this TCUP – Thinking Correctly Under Pressure – and England’s 2003/2007 Rugby World Cup squads demonstrated their mastery of these principles time after time.

In Peak Performing teams and companies, people share the same Purpose, same Dream, same Focus and same Language.  In Pressure situations there is nothing as successful as The Power of Three.  A common language shared by all that delivers clarity in pressure situations.   If you have a direction you want to go in, if you can describe it succinctly and clearly, that’s the starting point.

In football, the pressure is at its highest when the opposition are in possession of the ball.  At Manchester City, Pep has coached the 5” rule.  When a City player loses the ball and the team is under pressure, everyone follows the same Power of Three mantra:
Succinct.  Clear.  In 5” – get that ball back.

In business, I used to measure all my leaders on their Business IQ – which I summarised using the Power of Three:
            Fail Fast
            Learn Fast
            Fix Fast.

Pilots when faced with a crisis in flight are all trained in the same disciplines:
First focus on keeping the plane airborne; second fly the plane in the right direction, third tell people where you’re flying the plane.
It’s a simple, practical process that has saved lives.  Its simplicity enables pilots to orient themselves and take the right steps in the right order.

Paramedics have their own Power of Three for first aid:
Assess the situation; adjust your approach to suit the situation, act accordingly. The process creates clarity and certainty without losing urgency.

The Power of Three gives us a structure we can absorb, remember and follow in a stepwise process to handle the pressure situation.  By harnessing this three point structure, mantras create a strong linguistic chain of events; they take you from chaos, through clarity and into action, automatically.

As the Maori tell us:
Look.  Listen.  Speak.

Via Ron Freidmann: “Stephen McGarry of AILFN publishes an updated book with chapters by 30+ legal market thought leaders covering many timely topics.” Ron’s KM chapter is here.

Boxing: 'Surreal' about to get real for Joseph Parker's promoter - NZ ...


ASIC boss: It's real money to real people 


Labor's Chris Bowen: Paul Keating protégé and would-be treasurer ...


Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen courts big business to remake Labor's ...


The ABC's censorship of Emma Alberici in response to pressure from Malcolm Turnbull comes at a time when the national broadcaster's mainstream media competitors are also increasingly failing to properly inform Australians.

Far from being, as alleged by the ABC, too opinionated, Alberici's piece (available here) is a collation of straightforward facts -- levels of profit versus wages growth in recent years, the fact that few companies pay 30% tax, the high level of investment despite our "uncompetitive" tax rate, the minimal role tax plays in business investment decisions, the comparative performance of investment and wages in Australia, and Canada, where company tax rates were reduced significantly, the decline of real wages in the UK where company taxes were also cut, the Congressional Budget Office analysis showing Australia's tax rate is relatively low compared internationally; the relatively negligible economic benefits identified in the government's own modelling, the fact that we're projected to remain in deficit for several years yet. Sure, there was a gratuitous targeting of the salary of Alan Joyce, but otherwise none of these facts are disputed. Indeed, they're well-known. Crikey wrote about the Canadian and British experiences, and the CBO report, eleven months ago, and no one said boo. I've repeatedly asked the Business Council of Australia to explain why wages growth in the UK and Canada so significantly underperformed wages growth in Australia despite their cuts to company tax, and the BCA has refused to respond. Likewise, it's noteworthy about the hysterical response to the article that no one disputed the facts. The Financial Review, which has led the attack on the ABC, today ran a piece it headlined "Our ABC perpetrates a tax fraud" that it claimed "debunked" Alberici's work. It was a strange "debunking" -- the piece skated over nearly all of the facts in Alberici's piece and dismissed them as "anecdotes" and "red herrings" that the authors are "not buying" because they're at odds with economic modelling. This is "fake news" territory, to insist that real-world evidence from other economies that have implemented the policy you're defending is merely "anecdote", while economic modelling -- based on ridiculous assumptions like our lack of debt, and full employment -- is a better guide to reality. Then again, the AFR was already deep into denial when it comes to tax cuts. There appears to be an editorial prohibition on any mention of the extraordinary level of share buybacks going on in the US fueled by Trump's tax cuts -- now running at more than twice the level they were a year ago. You'd think that the AFR, in seeking to make the investors who read it as well informed as possible, would regard the dramatic increase in share buybacks by some of the biggest companies in the world as newsworthy, but clearly not. The only "tax fraud" being perpetuated here is the one by the government, business and media cheerleaders like the AFR -- the broad daylight transfer of over $60 billion from taxpayers to the world's largest corporations under the verifiably false pretences that the money will be used to increase investment and wages. It's a quite brilliant fraud, too: corporations don't even have to hire an array of expensive tax lawyers like the Deloittes partner who wrote the AFR piece -- they just have to chip in some money to Liberal and National Party coffers and get the politicians to do the heavy lifting of reducing their tax burden.Fairfax, the owner of the AFR, of course can print whatever denialism it likes about the company tax cuts it will benefit from, should it ever achieve regular profitability again. As corporations, media companies can say what they like, and long may they do so, even if as a result Australians have less trust in our country's media than virtually any other people. The ABC is different. It is funded by taxpayers and is rightly held to much higher editorial standard than private media companies. That's why it is by far Australia's most trusted media outlet. But the decision to cave in to government pressure and censor one of its most senior journalists, coming just days after the extraordinary decision to hand back to the government a trove of cabinet documents without sharing them with its audience, will undermine that trust. The ABC is looking increasingly like a state, not a national, broadcaster.