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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Sunday Sanity Break, 13 August 2017 - Bad boys

It is time for bad boys to be spanked. Biggest bad lad is the boss of North Korea. But there are Aussie businessmen to be dealt with, ...

President Kim Jong-un is the baddest lad, being 'disrespectful' to the USA and President Trump and continuing at pace to develop his plan to produce the ability to nuke the US, Japan, South Korea and even Australia. The Economist published several articles including 'Red lines and bad choices', an hypothetical account of how a war on the Korean peninsular could start and how it might might end. Scary stuff folks.

In conclusion: 'After four [nuclear bombs] had been dropped, North Korea’s war was over. Mr Kim and most of his high command had been vaporised in their bunkers, his missile force and nearly all his artillery had disappeared. Despite the use of relatively low-yield weapons, military casualties were in the hundreds of thousands. Over a million people were trying to leave Pyongyang, the capital, in case of further attack. With order breaking down and food supplies getting scarce, China found itself facing a humanitarian catastrophe on its border. It claimed that lethal radioactive material was being blown into Chinese cities by disrupted weather.

'Nobody knew how an appalled President Xi would respond. The shock sent stockmarkets across the world reeling, foreshadowing a global recession to come. Mr Trump, however, was undaunted. He tweeted: “Nuke attack on Seoul by evil Kim was BAD! Had no choice but to nuke him back. But thanks to my actions, America is safe again!" '

Read on here. (If not a subscriber you have the option of registering for 3 articles per issue.)

Far less scary, but in need of a tough response by regulators, are the games being played by the Commonwealth Bank in Australia. 'These people have form' a tough regulator might observe. There was proven misbehaviour by this bank's insurance company and by its financial planning staff. The latest allegation by the relevant regulator concerns use of its so-called 'intelligent terminals' to allow terror groups and ordinary criminals to launder vast sums of money and send it abroad.

It is said that ordinary staff issued many warnings but somehow they never reached the board or the CEO. At least we hope this is the case, because if the CEO and the board did know what was going on, but failed to act against it, the problem is far worse. Theoretical fines, considering the maximum possible fine given for each of over 50,000 examples of bad behaviour, would break the bank, so Mrs T has a useful suggestion. 'Fine the bank one third of the bank's equity'. This would dilute the value of existing shares, allow the government to receive a fair chunk of value when shares were sold in due course.

Henry would go further and require the government as shareholder to nominate one or more directors with proven ability to rein in out-of-control managers. Perhaps the Chair and the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee(s).

[Stop press: Today (14/8] is was announced that CBA CEO, Ian Narev, will step down by end fiscal 2018.]

Other bad boys in Australian business are managers of energy companies and (gasp) politicians who have failed to develop a national energy policy. As the lady brought here by the IPA said so well, 'How can a country like Australia, the world's greatest resource country, have such expensive energy? Lack of a national energy policy is a massive mistake.' Precisely, Messrs Frydenberg and Trumble.


Fiona Prior, presently in Madrid, explores the art history and politics of some of our most iconic artworks and institutions.

The sporting life


Wonderful to Sally Pearson become world champion in hurdles despite two years off due to severe injuries.

Sad to see Usain bolt retire after pulling a hammy when running last on the 4X100 metre relay, following his 'mere' bronze medal in his final 100 metre race. Despite the untidy end, Mr Bolt remains one of the greats of athletics.

We celebrated the sad passing of Betty Cuthbert during the week. Australia's golden girl, the only athlete to win Olympic gold in 100, 200 and 400 metre races, with 400 race separated by 8 years from the two shorter races.

This weekend Caaarlton! were narrowly defeated by West Coast. Similar to its feisty performance last week, the young Caaaarlton! team headed the opposition briefly in the final quarter and then had to settle on a narrow loss. All good for 2018 season.

Geelong defeated Richmond despite having two or three of its best players due to injury (Selwood) or suspension (Hawkins plus one). All good for the final series to come.

Rugby lost the WA Force and its President. Given its relatively good on-field performance, this must have been for financial reasons - those pesky local and international airline flights. Mr Joyce, here is your chance to become a Rugby sponsor by offering al rugby teams flying to or from Perth a cut price.

Image of the week

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