Archive for May 29, 2014

Getting paid for doing nothing

Can I haz Göran Arvidson via Compfight

 

What a wonderful world, 60 000 Silicon Valley employees are to receive a share of a $325 million settlement of a class action lawsuit against Apple and Google, Intel and Adobe. The settlement still has to be approved by a federal judge.

Is it because the employees were unfairly dismissed? Discriminated against?

No, it is because the authorities allege that the high-tech  companies (and others named in a separate suit) colluded in an “anti-poaching” pact. They agreed not to try to lure each others top-level technology workers.

Note, they did not agree not to hire each others workers if the workers left one employer and applied for a position at another of his or her own accord.

So what is the problem?

In areas or industries with shortages of talent or skilled workers, it does not make sense to encourage an environment of widespread poaching from competitors. That leads to a merry-go-round of people continually hopping from employer to employer, reduced productivity and escalating costs.

Certainly not in the interests of customers and only of benefit to those employees looking for short-term gains, not building long-term careers.

While businesses will often try to entice key players, it has long been the practice in many industries not to embark on widespread poaching.

Now, if the award is finalised, employees on average will receive $4000 for doing absolutely nothing. That cost will be born by the customers and shareholders of those companies.

How many of those workers would have jumped to better paying jobs at one of the other employers in the group if there had been no pact? It is unlikely that it would have been a huge percentage.

As far as I am aware, there is no slave labour in the USA, no one is forced to work for Apple, Google or any other business. If you don’t like your employer’s conditions, policies, hiring practices or pay scales, go and find another job or start your own business.

Don’t hold out your hand and ask the government to make your employer and every one else pay you a bonus for what you think you might have been entitled to.

Sadly, another symptom of the times we live in. Too much interference by big government.

 

peter-wright

 

Why # won’t free Nigerian schoolgirls

 hashtag

 

Creative Commons License Dan Moyle via Compfight

A month ago, 300 schoolgirls were abducted by Islamic terrorists in Northern Nigeria. Their school was destroyed

The Nigerian government made almost no effort to find and release them.

For three weeks there was little reaction from world leaders, few comments in traditional or social media. A deafening silence from feminist groups and all those crusaders for “equal rights” who attack opponents of politically correct causes – same-sex marriage, for example, with such fervour.

More girls were abducted, some escaped and returned home. More attacks from Bakar Haram.

Videos of the girls, now in Islamic dress, were recorded with demands for captured terrorists to be freed in exchange for the girls release.

Angry and frustrated at the lack of response by the Nigerian government, families of the captured girls start protesting and demanding action.

Information released by external organisations suggests that the Nigerian government had been warned of an imminent attack on the school.

It is alleged that the warning was taken so seriously by some teachers that their own children were removed from the school.

Almost a month after the abduction, the outside world woke up and took action.

What did it do? Several nations sent token forces of “advisors” to help the Nigerian forces. Surveillance planes have been offered.

A new secret weapon was announced by the First Lady of the USA.

The hashtag.

Now we see the leaders of the former super powers and other countries, agonising over the fate of the schoolgirls.

What a pathetic spectacle.

I have great sympathy for the abducted girls and their families, but hashtag bearing First Ladies, tweets, placards and pontificating presidents are not going to get the girls back.

Only resolute action can do that.

 

That means capable, determined men on the ground with the skill and will to hunt the terrorists down and shoot them.

But there is no one to do it.

The Nigerian government has proved itself incapable of stopping Bakar Haram.

Western governments have no stomach for armed conflict in Africa.

Neighbouring African states have neither the ability nor interest to take on Bakar Haram.

The seeds of this abduction and much of the misery affecting the ordinary people in Africa were sown many decades ago. Not when Africa was colonised as liberals are so ready to suggest.

Africa was a violent and brutal continent centuries before the first Europeans arrived.

The real problems started after a few decades of explosive population growth thanks to the introduction of Western systems of hygiene, medical care, education and food production.

After introducing these systems, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, by the late 1950s and 1960s, the former colonial powers were abandoning their former colonies with indecent haste.

Leaving millions of people at the mercy of inept, corrupt and brutal dictators like Mobutu in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) and a succession of military officers installed in armed coups in Nigeria. Similar examples, ranging from madmen like Idi Amin of Uganda to inept social meddlers like Nyerere of Tanzania had equally devastating effects on most of the continent.

The only two countries to buck the trend, maintain law and order, grow their economies and increase living standards substantially, were South Africa and Rhodesia.

Why the difference? Because these were the only two countries on the continent to resist one-man-one-vote, retain efficient, relatively incorruptible governments. Effective administrative systems kept the economy expanding despite, sanctions, terrorist wars and for South Africa, floods of illegal immigrants escaping the harsh reality of life in independent Africa.

There was however a huge problem.

The government of the only two successful countries on the continent were exclusively white.

That was unacceptable to those  who had already ruined their own countries and to weak Western leaders more interested in appeasing murderous dictators than the well-being of millions of people of all races on the southern tip of the continent.

Rhodesia and the old efficient, viable, South Africa are gone, sacrificed on the altar of appeasement. Replaced by the corrupt and economic basket case of Zimbabwe and an ANC controlled South Africa heading down the same slope.

In the most recent version of violent transfer of power on the continent, it is Bakar Haram, and other terrorist groups, Islamic or not, taking advantage of ineffective governments to seize control of vast areas of Africa with their campaigns of terror.

Until the unfortunate residents of countries like Nigeria have governments that can govern effectively, the problem is not going away.

Now is the time for the West to get tough with those governments, cut off all aid, funding, assistance until the governments show some responsibility. Exercise the same rabid tenacity to stop African rulers squandering revenues or stashing funds in tax havens as the authorities do to law-abiding Western citizens taking advantage of legal loopholes.

Only then should material assistance to fight terrorism be given. Weapons and equipment sent now will almost certainly find their way into Bakar Haram’s arsenals to be used to capture more schoolgirls and kill thousands more innocent people.

That will be infinitely more effective than hashtags.

peter-wright

 

 

 

 

Aggravating racism by poking a stick in a festering sore.

Bandage it, don't  poke it with a stick

Bandage it, don’t poke it with a stick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why does North America have such an unhelpful and unhealthy attitude to racism?

The reaction to the comments by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Stirling’s comments goes beyond ludicrous.

His comments, if they were correctly quoted, were not the most sensible considering many of his team and fans are black. They may have upset many people, but on the long list of serious problems in the world today, no reasonable person can rate them near the top.

However, they were made in a private conversation. One that was not intended to be made public.

For a country that claims to be against racism and for freedom of speech, the escalation of this incident and the resulting punishment of Mr. Stirling borders on the insane.

As a victim of far more serious racism than a derogatory comment in a private conversation, I am appalled at both the hysteria that this incident has generated and the reverse discrimination visited on Mr. Stirling.

For the record, my father was murdered, my mother crippled for life.  Later, I was thrown in a police cell while my farm and all my assets were illegally taken from me by the Zimbabwe government. All because we were white. That is the sort of racism every one should be concerned about.

Do I blame all black people for that? Of course not.

The most irresponsible and malicious actors in this sad saga are the person who “leaked” the conversation to the media, the media channel that publicised it and all those in both public and private office who have used it to make themselves look good.

Here’s why:

It was a private conversation.

Who among us can honestly say that they have never made a derogatory comment about a group of people in a private conversation. I cannot and I don’t think many others can.

How many times do we hear criticism of Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, Liberals, Bankers, Oil executives, the Rich, the poor, the homeless, Southerners, Newfies, Italians, Germans, Russians or any other nationality?

What about criticism of religions, Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists? Or sports teams, the police, the military?

As a former white resident of Southern Africa, now living in North America, I frequently have to ignore allegations of my obviously “terrible attitude to, and treatment of, black people”.

I know that these comments are made from ignorance by people who have no idea of the real situation in my former countries and who have been subjected to anti South African and anti Rhodesian propaganda for most of their lives.

While I may not like the comments, I understand that people are as free to make them as I am to publish my opinions and Donald Stirling is to express his in a private conversation.

The comments were not illegal

At the time of writing there has been no indication that the comments broke any laws.

Donald Stirling is a wealthy man who may be quite happy to sell his team for the $600 to $700 million it is reported to be worth. It’s poetic justice that he will realise a huge profit on his original $12 million investment if he does sell the team.

It would be supremely ironic if he chose to disband the team, but I doubt if anybody would walk away from that sort of money.

Will he go on the counter attack and sue who ever he can? Again much as I would like to see it, I think the deck is stacked against him.

Unethical manipulation of an owners association

If the man has not committed a crime, it is entirely unethical for the NBA to exert pressure on the owners association to expel him. It is also wrong for him to be expelled from the association and banned for life while he legally owns a team.

This treatment establishes a dangerous precedent akin to Hitler’s persecution of the Jews in the 1930’s. Then it started with smashing shop windows. Now it’s by banning an owner from enjoying free use of his assets.

It establishes other dangerous precedents, underhand methods for sabotaging successful teams, alienating sponsors and supporters, crippling them financially.

It gives unsuccessful businesses the ability to raise charges of racism to unfairly eliminate competitors in the knowledge that even if the charges are completely unfounded, the media will ensure that damage is done.

Other than the reversed shirt incident, it does not appear that any team members have expressed their disapproval by walking away from the team. Their outrage is not sufficient to jeopardise lucrative contracts.

What would the NBA do if the team expressed solidarity with the owner and demanded that he continue as owner?

The USA trumpets the virtues of the free market system. The market should decide Donald Stirling’s fate, not the self-righteous advocates of totalitarianism that seek to control the thoughts and comments of a nation.

The end of free speech

It is an unacceptable use of thought and speech control, the same mob rule mentality that hounded Brendan Eich from his job a few weeks ago has struck another victim.

Who will be next, will it be you because you said something that a politician or someone in the media did not like?

Why this attitude is unhealthy

When a child comes to his or her mother with a minor scratch, she treats it with the appropriate amount of first aid and leaves it to nature and time to heal.

She does not poke it with a stick to make it much worse and then call the media to show the festering wound to the nation.

That’s what the over hyped reaction to incidents like this does, turn a minor scratch into a festering sore.

Like minor scratches, incidents like these should be left alone for time and nature to heal, not used to provoke racial tension and victimize people.

Why should incidents like this provoke such over-reaction? More hysteria than in some countries with histories of interracial conflict?

Is it lingering guilt over slavery? Or guilt over the almost total annihilation of the indigenous populations of North America and their reduction to powerless minorities? Or the success of the politically correct liberal left in dividing the moderate majority and stifling any opinion other than its own.

Be aware, you could be the next victim.

peter-wright

 

 

 

mage courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net