Wry & Dry

Bumper issue: US inflation: be afraid. Francospheric. Politics that don't matter. Keeping Sleepy Joe alive.

Wry & Dry returns after an impromptu break.  There is much news upon which to comment.  Hence, enjoy this a bumper issue. 

In the US: Be very afraid!  US inflation grew at 6.2% in the year to October - the highest since 1990.  Someone needs to shout into Sleepy Joe's hearing trumpet that pumping a few trillion dollars into the economy will cause prices to rise.

In the Francosphere: The cancelled submarine contract gave Macron de Gaulle the opportunity not to waste a crisis.  And he hasn't. 

In Victoria: The stench of we-the-taxpayer-funded political branch stacking and the now re-ignited 'red shirts' affair has engulfed Chairman Dan's fiefdom.  But despite all of the righteous outrage, it doesn't matter. 

In the US: Sleepy Joe's approval rating hits second worst (after the Trumpster).  But the problem is keeping him alive: the successor isn't prospective.

In Glasgow: Wry & Dry's idea of locking up the big four emitters (China, USA, India and Russia) until they agreed a Net Zero solution was ignored.  It was cut-and-colour (black)-the-hair week for Emperor Xi, and Tsar Vlad was too busy in front of the mirror, assessing the bulk of his pecs. 

In Belarus:  Marshall Lukashenko refines a method to irritate NATO and the EU: invite Iraqi and Afghani refugees to Belarus and then export them to Poland.  And threaten to cut off Europe's gas supply if anyone objects.

In Canberra: PM Jimmy Morrison's flexible beliefs confirm that his best career option should have been mayor of a small town in regional New South Wales.  Bigger-stage leadership seems a leadership bridge too far [1]. 

In the world of medicine: A most disturbing and international outbreak of RDS has occurred. 

And the answer to the last edition's leading question "Is Barnaby really smarter than he seems" has been answered.  No.  

[1]  A bridge too far was the description given to a Second World War plan for American and British paratroopers to seize a series of vital bridges along the main road to the Rhine river at Arnhem in Holland, whilst British ground troops sped up the road.  The operation failed, because the planners aimed for a bridge that was too far up the road.  And a small surprise called panzers.  The operation became a book and, inevitably, a movie, both named "A Bridge Too Far."

Inflation

Sleepy Joe always has that "What, me worry?" [2] look.  Even when he has nothing about which to be worried.  Well, this week's inflation news caused such a look to be justified.  Annual inflation in the US leapt to 6.2% (all items) and 4.6% (core inflation); each the highest since 1991.

Americans might forget where Afghanistan is, but as sure as eggs they will get grumpy if the cost of living further explodes.  The trouble is that Sleepy Joe is keen to keep putting the vodka in the economic punch bowl: his election initiatives are going to pump trillions into the economy without taking trillions out to pay for it.

Readers will know that when inflation goes up, so do interest rates.  Now, that's something about which Sleepy Joe should worry. As should investors. And home owners.   

[2] "What, me worry?" was the tag line of Alfred E. Neuman, the fictitious cover boy of American humour magazine Mad.

Francospheric

Macron de Gaulle's dummy spit at being slighted by both America and Australia has little to do with French submarines.  It's all about him:

(a) projecting himself as chivalrous medieval (i.e. French) knight, gallantly battling enemies (Australia and America) in the name of honour and virtue (French pride), even as his noble steed (a $90 billion submarine contract) is felled;

(b) trying to regain French pride after the humiliation of Brexit; and

(c) winning next year's election.

He engineered a fawning Kamala Harris (deputy to Sleepy Joe) to come to France for a four-day kiss-my-boots visit.  In a speech she gushingly said that, "France is America's oldest ally."  That is correct, as far as it goes.  France supported the rebelling American colonies against Britain in 1778.  Ms Harris might have observed that France supported America because it hated the British, not because of any affection towards America.

In spite of the US helping to save Frenchmen from speaking German twice in the 20th century and the US agreeing to Britain's request for France to have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, the only finger that France has lifted toward America has been a vertical one.  But that is a subject for another day.

Macron de Gaulle has humbled Sleepy Joe.

As for Australia, in front of global media and showing the manners of a Parisian waiter, he accused another country's leader of lying. Good grief, man grow up.  This is politics.  For what will the French next blame Australia?  

cartoon australian snow

And he engineered France's ambassador to Australia to give a speech the rudeness of which would have done credit to China's ambassador. 

In reality, Macron de Gaulle has not wasted a crisis.  He is delighted for the lost submarine contract - it has allowed him, cockerel like, to puff out his concave chest and gain immeasurable French pride.    

COP out

Any woman will tell any Reader that size doesn't matter.  Yet the organisers of the COP-26 Climate Change talk-fest thought otherwise.  What else could explain some 30,000 activists, do-gooders, rent-seekers, genuine thinkers, world leaders, wannabes and RDS sufferers converging for Scotland's biggest event since Robert the Bruce's lads slaughtered 11,000 Englishmen at Bannockburn in 1314.

The reality is that there are just seven people who can move the needle (to use a lazy Americanism) on climate change.  The leaders of China, USA, India and Russia (the big 4 polluters); Brazil and Indonesia (the big 2 rainforest destroyers); and any European leader except Macron de Gaulle.

And what value was added by the likes of Malcolm Turnbull (more of whom, below), Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder) and Leonardo DiCaprio, the egos of whom massively exceed their knowledge of climate.

Branch stacking - why the fuss?

It is amusing watching disgraced former Chairman Dan minister Adem Somyurek slowly unfolding the details of the operations of factions within the Labor Party.  And today's revelations that senior police intervened to prevent the arresting and charging of 16 Labor MPs in the 2014 'red shirts' affair. 

Yes, of course Readers are shocked!  Shocked! That such behaviour is going on.  Shocked?  Really? 

This is art and science to the Labor Party, worthy of medals and citations.  The Liberal Party's clumsy branch stacking emulators  (MPs Andrews and Sukkar) pale like a dim shadow on Collins Street on a bleak midwinter's day.

Let Wry & Dry give Readers the whisper.  This intra-party stuff doesn't matter.  Somyurek has been discredited and Chairman Dan's Teflon coating remains impenetrable.

What should matter to Readers is Chairman Dan's ambition for more power in the form of his pandemic law.  This extraordinary bill gives extraordinary powers to the government, without parliamentary oversight.  It's a cunning extension of the Emergency Powers Act (used to manage the government's response to covid), the effect of which ends on 15 December and of which Wry & Dry wrote some weeks ago.

cartoon police state

Only a serious hue and cry can defeat the bill in the Upper House.  There are three cross benchers whose support Chairman Dan needs.  Those of the Reason Party (formerly the Sex Party); Animal Justice Party and the Greens.  Imagine the worms on the hooks to get that trio into Dan's power boat.

All will be forgotten by the time of the next election.    

Staying alive

Readers will recall that unsung Jason Bourne film: The Bourne Legacy.  In it, the hero [3] takes blue and green pills to enhance his mental and physical attributes.  Wry & Dry was wondering were any left to be given to Sleepy Joe.  They the (American) people have assessed his declining mental condition and given him the second worst approval ratings (42.9%) ever for this period in office.  Only The Trumpster (37.9%) was worse.

cartoon biden fridge

Chart approval rating

Wry & Dry's worry is not that Biden is doing so badly.  It's that he's gotta take those green and blue pills (not those blue pills) to stay alive.  If he falls off this mortal coil, Kamala Harris gets the big gig.

The Veep's approval rating is 28%, even lower than the previous record of the 30% held by Dick Cheney.  So far, she has changed the character of the Veep's role from a genial non-job to a blend of Jezza Corbyn [4] ideologies and Keystone cops competence.

The Democrats are going to get walloped in 2022's mid-term elections.  So damage minimisation strategies should commence immediately: keep Sleepy Joe alive and keep Kamala locked up in France.   

[3]  CIA operative Aaron Cross, played by Jeremy Renner.
[4] Former leader of the UK Labour party, shellacked in the last election by Borisconi.

Freezing to death in no man's land 

Revenge is a dish best served cold.  Well, that is what Belarusian Marshall Lukashenko is doing.  The EU placed a whole lot of economic sanctions on him and Belarus for human rights' violations and last year's rigged elections.

Lukashenko contrived a cunning plan: attract Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees with tempting arrangements, and then push them into Poland (or Lithuania).  The Poles are not happy with the plan.  And are erecting a massive barbed wire fence.

The sad part in all of this is that the refugees are stuck between the fence and Belarusian police.  Nights are now below freezing.  Not that Lukashenko cares.  Wry & Dry's man person in Minsk reports that Tsar Vlad's people are behind the move.

Now Lukashenko has said that if further sanctions are applied, he will cut off gas supplies to Europe (a major pipeline of Russian gas crosses Belarus).  He won't.  But two things are certain:

Firstly, Tsar Vlad wants to keep Lukashenko in power so that Belarus remains a client state of Russia, whatever the cost.

Secondly, Russia will keep prodding and pushing the West wherever and whenever possible (e.g. via third counties). And until resistance is met. 

Mayor Morrison

Wry & Dry is now convinced that PM Jimmy Morrison is in the wrong job.  His geniality, energy, policy flexibility and boosterism would make him an ideal mayor of a small country town in regional New South Wales.   

Mayors rarely get to meet, speak to or negotiate with world leaders.  They rarely deal with state premiers.  They don't have to suffer stones thrown by former allies.  It's about collecting the garbage, mending the footpaths and selling the tourism opportunities.

Let Wry & Dry be direct.  Jimmy is an accidental PM.  He got the gig because (a) his colleagues could no longer bear the cant of self-righteousness from Croesus Turnbull, but didn't want to risk Peter Dutton; and (b) we-the-voter didn't want Willy Shorten picking our pockets.

He was the wrong man in the right place at the right time.

But he's not mayor of Smallville.  He is Our Prime Minister.  The job description of which is to win the next election.  Hence his bursting through the arrival hall doors like superman and straight into election mode.

Watch the campaign unfold.  Wednesday was Day #1.  And was all about electric cars and recharging booths across the outback.  The media focus was on his Damascene conversion [5] to the usefulness of EVs.  That focus missed the economic point: 1.7m EVs by 2030 would cause fuel excise to drop by $2 billion per annum.   Josh.  Josh!  Find me another $2 billion.  

cartoon sticks

Jimmy's only hope is that A Albanese continues to resemble The Man Who Never Was [6].  

[5]  A conversion that is surprising, dramatic and significant.  The conversion of Saul when he was on the road to Damascus was, according to the New Testament, the event that led him to cease persecuting early Christians and to become Paul the Apostle (i.e. a follower of Christ).  
[6]  The title of both a movie and a Goon show parody.  The movie was based on a true Second World War story of the British placing false military plans on a cadaver, placing it where it would be washed up and discovered by German spies in Spain.  The false military plans stated that the Allied Mediterranean invasion would be in Sardinia nd Greece (and not Sicily).  The ruse was so successful that the Germans still believed that Sardinia and Greece were the intended objectives weeks after the landings in Sicily had begun.  

RDS outbreak

It is so sad to see reports that Croesus Turnbull's RDS has returned. 

Making the most of the Glasgow climate change media scrum, he opined on Jimmy Morrison to anybody looking for a quote from a former PM: “He’s lied to me on many occasions,” Turnbull told journalists. “Scott has always had a reputation for telling lies.”

So, what is the point of such a comment?  To get attention, of course.  Plus a bit of revenge.  Wry & Dry recalls his words soon after he resigned from Planet Canberra: “I’m not going to be... running a commentary on my successor. I’m not going to be... seeking to undermine him..."  

This is so sad.  Wry & Dry cannot understand why the Glaswegian men-in-white coats didn't take him away.  His RDS condition is now so severe even his close friends in the Labor party must be worried.

Habits

Wry & Dry's man person in California hears that Princess Princess, née Meghan Markle, has been cold calling American politicians, urging them to support a policy of paid paternity leave. [7]

Maybe she wants a better deal for Princess Harry.  As she is fully committed to her promotional work of promoting herself, it's left to Hubby Harry to negotiate the nappies and wash the Wedgwood.  He must find it difficult to juggle his very, very busy business life with such domestic chores.

cartoon torment

And whilst Princess Princess' gold iPhone is clearly only dialling American numbers, Wry & Dry wonders if this might be the start of a global push.  Perhaps she aspires to be the Greta Thunberg of paternity leave.  And will soon commence a series of global conferences, to be called POP21.  Groan.

[7] Also reported in The New York Times.

Snippets from all over 

1. Unemployment up

Australia's unemployment rate increased to 5.2% in October.

Wry & Dry comments: No surprises there - it's a lockdown outworking thing.  

2. Tesla for trucks

Rivian, a US EV truck manufacturer, had its initial US public offering on Wednesday, with the market valuing the company at over $100 billion.  It sold its first vehicle, a pick-up (i.e. a ute) and the first EV pickup in the US, in October.

Wry & Dry comments: There is more to this than meets the eye.  Amazon has ordered 100,000 of Rivian's planned delivery trucks.  A $5 billion order is a useful start.  Plus the marketing line: "Well, if Amazon buy Rivian, it must be good."  Oh, by the way, Amazon owns 22.4% of Rivian. 

3. The death of the conglomerate

General Electric, once the world's largest company, is to be split into three companies: healthcare, energy and aviation.

Wry & Dry comments: Thus being the final nail in the coffin of conglomerate companies.  The business model of the sprawling web of GE companies agglomerated by Jack Welch failed in the GFC.  It's taken over a decade to clean up the mess.  By the way, comparisons with Berkshire Hathaway are odious, as it is mostly a passive investor.

4. S&P 500 records record highs

The S&P 500 has now closed at a record high 65 times this year, according to Howard Silverblatt, S&P analyst, the second-highest total in history. It has risen more than 25% since the start of the (calendar) year

Wry & Dry comments: What goes up...

5. Capital management by polling 

Tesla shares were under pressure after millions of Twitter users polled by chief executive Elon Musk concluded that he should sell 10% of his stake in the electric carmaker.

Wry & Dry comments They voted: sell.  That's over $20 billion of shares.  The share price fell 8%, but have recovered half of that as investors 'bought the dip'.

And, to soothe your troubled mind...

Last words...

“They are in an adolescent phase of their diplomacy, they have testosterone running everywhere..." 

 - Paul Keating, former PM, speaking at the National Press Club.  

Mr. Keating's speech was full of images and advice to everybody.  However, his excusing China's military, economic and human rights actions because it is 'diplomatically adolescent' is absurd.  Emperor Xi is a very mature person, well versed in the realpolitik of Chinese diplomacy. 

Keating's appeasement comments about Taiwan (reminiscent of Chamberlain and Czechoslovakia) and his negative comments about both Japan and India might suggest that he is on Emperor Xi's payroll. 

cartoon taiwan

PS A reminder that the opinions in Wry & Dry do not necessarily represent those of First Samuel, its employees or directors.

 

Cheers

Anthony