Wry & Dry

Code Barnaby. Sleepy Joe's Big Build. Wry & Dry's got mail.

Code Barnaby

PM Jimmy Morrison has responded to an international committee [1] which announced a 'Code Red' about climate change. In a labyrinth of words, he effectively repeated that until he knows the cost of Net Zero [2] there is little point in signing up for it.

What is the cost of Net Zero?

a. The cost to We-The-Taxpayer;

b. The cost ascertained by the ABC;

c. The cost ascertained by an Australia-wide pub-test; or

d. Whatever Barnaby Joyce wants it to be.

Close, but no cigar. The correct answer is d. On Wednesday a Code Barnaby was issued by... Barnaby Joyce.  A Code Barnaby is a form of extortion: I'll agree with your plan only if you give me what I want.  

Cartoon barnaby covid

Trouble is, Barnaby doesn't know what he wants. He wants others to develop a plan. And then he will do an Oliver Twist [3], and ask for more.

For electoral success, PM Jimmy has to get Barnaby on board. Australia must be a Net Zero by the time China invades.

[1] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a United Nations body "to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to the understanding of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation". The IPCC does not undertake its own original research.
[2] Net Zero is the balance between greenhouse gases produced and greenhouse gases emitted.
[3] A character in a Charles Dickens' novel of the same name, who was sent to a 19th century work-house and, having had one bowl of gruel asks for more.

Sleepy Joe's Big Build

US President Sleepy Joe has put Chairman Dan's 'Big Build' to shame. Chairman Dan has been spending billions on putting Melbourne's existing railway tracks under or over existing roads, whether the roads are busy or not.

Sleepy Joe is going to spend a trillion US dollars on actually building railway tracks and roads. Readers who have been to the Yoo-Ess-Ay know that the world's wealthiest economy has the public transport infrastructure of Bangladesh (see more on Bangladesh, below). For example, in a country ranking of the most efficient train transport services, the Yoo-Ess-Ay comes below Azerbaijan [4].

Cartoon biden train

What is curious is that the Senate vote was 69 to 30 in a Senate that is 50/50 on a party basis. Clearly 19 Senators saw the benefit in massive cash to splash in their own electorates (states).  

Sleepy Joe's next task is to persuade enough Republicans to spend US$3.5 trillion on his anti-poverty and climate bill. Wry & Dry suggests there are two chances of that succeeding.

[4] Japan is #1, followed by Hong Kong, Switzerland, South Korea and Singapore. Australia is 27th. Source: WEF.   

Supportive

Cricket Australia has announced that it is 'fully supportive [5] of the ICC's bid for cricket to be part of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028." 

Err, at its last outing, on Monday, Australia's T20 [6] team was dismissed for a record low of 62 runs by Bangladesh. And lost by plenty. So, that's a 1-4 series loss to a cricketing minnow. It's a pity that Cricket Australia wasn't fully supportive of its own cricket team.

Cartoon wg grace

So, how would we go in cricket at the Olympic Games [7]? On form Australia would be vulnerable to losing to a pharmaceutical-laden team from Russia or a Taliban team from alphabetically powerful Afghanistan. 

Complicatingly, Readers will know that three leading international cricket teams - England, Ireland (made up of both bits) and West Indies - do not correspond to Olympic national teams. The West Indies has 12 Olympic nations. And cricketers from dependant territories Anguilla and Montserrat would be eligible for Great Britain, and those from Sint Maarten would represent the Netherlands.

[5] Perhaps it means "fully supports".  
[6] T20, a very short form game of cricket, designed for those with a very short attention span and for cricket's governing bodies which need the advertising revenue.
[7] Cricket was an event at just one Olympiad: Paris in 1900.  Only two teams competed: Great Britain (represented by the Devon & Wanderers Cricket Club) and France (made up of mostly ex-patriates). England won by 158 runs. The game was not even considered worthy of first-class status. 

The Six Billion Dollar Man

Readers will recall Anthony Albanese's lost Stephen Bradbury moment last week, when he announced a $300 gift to each of we-the-people who receive a covid vaccination. The cost? Some $6 billion.  

Cartoon vax bribe

We-the-taxpayers gave the thumbs down to the Six Billion Dollar Man:

Chart labors 300

Notwithstanding this drawback, The Six Billion Dollar Man might still have his Stephen Bradbury moment. Readers are probably wondering how PM Jimmy Morrison got the gig.

Wry & Dry's view is simple. Firstly, he is an accidental PM. Half the Liberal team didn't want Turnbull and half didn't want Dutton. So they compromised on a bloke who had the weaknesses of each and the strengths of neither. 

Secondly, he only had to defeat Willy Shorten.

So we-the-people are left with a leader who is currently giving a very good impression that he couldn't run a bath, much less a country.

Census

Wry & Dry dutifully completed the household's census online form this week. And he's not sure about what was the fuss?

The only surprise that the options under 'religions' didn't include "Barnabyism".

No light at the end of the tunnel

Readers from Melbourne know that the West Gate Tunnel was one of the Victorian government's signature Big Build projects. The $6.7 billion project was due for completion before the 2022 state election. What seemed like a clever deal with Transurban [8] at the time has turned to custard.

Transurban announced this week a $3.3 billion cost blow out and "no reliable timeframe for the tunnel's completion."

Cartoon dan hole in the ground

The problem is, on the surface, a two-year-old dispute between Transurban, its builders and the state government over toxic soil.

The government has said that We-The-Taxpayer will not pay extra.

Readers can be assured of two things. The cost blow-out will turn out to be much bigger than $3.3 billion. And We-The-Taxpayer will again foot most of the bill.  

[8] Transurban, the toll roads company, offered to chip in $4 billion of what was then a $5.5 billion project and build it. The deal was in exchange for a nominal $37.3 billion in road tolls over the next 25 years created by increasing all Transurban road tolls by 4.25% p.a. for a decade, whether the driver used the West Gate Tunnel or not.

Straight face

Wry & Dry noted a US stockbroker's summary stock recommendation on Tuesday, clearly written with a straight face pen:

"Victoria's Secret (NYSE:VSCO) jumped 20% after catching another bull rating from Wall Street. J.P. Morgan is constructive on the new standalone stock with an Overweight rating and December 2022 price target of $100.

The firm points to a compelling entry point on what it notes is the top player in the U.S."

It's tough being male

Just released final year of English secondary schooling results show the increasing attainment gap between girls and boys.

Chart boys v girls

Sigh. And that's just the start of the disadvantage.

The cost of decarbonising steel production

An industry expert on Tuesday reviewed the problem for the global steel industry of Net Zero: 

  • Steel production accounts for 7% of global carbon dioxide emissions
  • The steel industry is expected to cut global steel emissions of CO² from 3 billion tonnes in 2020 to 780 million by 2050
  • Demand for steel is expected to increase 23% to 2.3 billion tonnes, mostly driven by developing economies

Q.  How to do it?

A.  All of the below:

  1. Double scrap steel input
  2. Triple steel production 
  3. Use of direct reduced iron (which requires very high-grade iron ore feedstock)
  4. Capture and store 45% of residual carbon emissions.

Simple, isn't it?

We The Taxpayer

Readers would have noticed that a reporter for the ABC, Ms Louise Milligan, agreed to settle a defamation suit and to pay $79,000 plus legal costs to MP Andrew Laming.  

However, Wry & Dry is probably not alone in wondering why the ABC is picking up the tab for her private offence. 

Sigh.

Wry & Dry's got mail I

Monday's mail bag was a record of Olympian magnitude. Not only were there the entries into the Incongruity of Princess Princess' Home Office, but also many Readers wrote with comments about Wry & Dry's lockdown rant. See more, below.

But firstly, Wry & Dry was overwhelmed by Readers' suggestions as to what is wrong/ incongruous in the photo Princess Princess' home office. A bottle of vintage French champagne is on its way to Phillip from Malvern East. His entry is:

Princess desk

Wry & Dry's got mail II

Wry & Dry's comments about covid/ Chairman Dan/ lockdown caused a mix of discombobulation and agreement. Some excerpts:

  1. "I am disappointed at your conclusions.  You offer no alternative to lockdown."
  2. "Impeccable statistical logic."
  3. "Your comments about Dan are totally justified."
  4. "Whoever wrote that rubbish is naïve!!" (Ouch).

It behoves Wry & Dry to respond. He apologies for a serious tone.

Wry & Dry's first principle is that there is no point in living if all one does is try to avoid death.

The second is that Australians need to live with covid, not imagine that it can be eliminated.

The third is that if a state-wide lockdown is the first response in Victoria to a handful of localised cases then this is socialism in its purest form: equal misery for all.

In Australia the death rate where the deceased has covid at the time of death is 97.8%.  That doesn't mean the deceased died because of covid. Readers will be well aware of the presence of the five major co-morbidities associated with covid. Over 75% of covid-related deaths are of people aged 80+. Readers can do the maths. If under aged 80 any person who catches covid has at least a 99.5% chance of living. 

Wry & Dry is not saying that acquiring covid is comfortless. It may not be. Many people with covid don't have any symptoms, much less discomfort. However, some do, including those who suffer from 'Long Covid'.   

The sense of resisting broad lockdowns is not a mindless chant 'defend our freedom', as some wannabe Les Misérables on the barricades shout. It's a rational conclusion of looking at all of the evidence and data, including beyond the narrowness of epidemiology to broader health issues (especially mental), fiscal, philosophical and sociological. 

Cartoon prison cell 2

Broad lockdowns of an educated population with a decent health care system does more harm than good, as the data is beginning to show. But mark Wry & Dry's words: after Australia passes the agreed 80% vaccination target in each state, the first instance of a handful of covid cases in at least Victoria or Queensland will cause a lockdown. At least prior to the next state election.

Lockdown humour 

A man walks into a bar. 

Lucky bastard.

Snippets from all over 

1. US census

White Americans account for less than 60% of the US population for the first time on record, according to findings from the 2020 US census

Wry & Dry comments: But wait, there's more. The US population grew just 7.4% over the past decade, the lowest since the 1930s.

2. US inflation steadies

The rapid pace of US consumer price increases steadied at a 13-year high in July, to 5.4% from a year ago.

Wry & Dry comments: If ever there was the economists usual "on the one hand... on the other..." this is it. Is this inflation 'transitory' or more deeply rooted?

3. $600m cryptocurrency hack

Cross-chain protocol Poly Network was hacked for $611m, the largest DeFi (Decentralised Finance) hack to date. Assets that were stolen in the hack include $273m of Ethereum tokens, $253m of Binance Smart Chain tokens, and $85m in USCoin

Wry & Dry comments: And what about the thefts that are not disclosed?

4. Business confidence in freefall

The NAB business confidence index in Australia plunged to -8 in July 2021 from +11 in June and to below average, dragged down by widespread impacts of lockdowns. 

Wry & Dry comments: And it's going to get worse.

5. US unemployment falls

U.S. unemployment fell to 5.4% from 5.9%.

Wry & Dry comments: Happy days.

And, to soothe your troubled mind...

Last words...

“You can go choke on your sanctions."

    - Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus, referring to EU, US, and British sanctions against leading Belarusians, during an eight hour media conference.

Sexy Lexy has been President for 27 years, placing him 10th on the list of longest ruling national leaders. And amongst those being sanctioned is Mr Lukashenko's son, who heads the Belarusian National Olympic Committee. 

 

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

 

Cheers

Anthony