Wry & Dry

Full mail bag. The bats of Wuhan. He would say that...

Full mail bag

Wry & Dry's Monday mail bag burst as the tattooed and ear-ringed postie dropped it on floor, such was the volume of correspondence.  It would seem that last week's impartial comments about (a) PM Jimmy Morrison's lack of ticker; (b) Victoria's gold-standard - for want of a better word - tax increases; and (c) Hamas' malevolent desire to land rockets on a neighbour's lawn caused some discombobulation amongst Readers.

cartoon trolls

In the interests of pouring petrol on the fire [1] of Readers' inflamed angst, Wry & Dry crosses the journalistic Rubicon [2] and affirms his comments. 

[1] Whither this metaphor when petrol is replaced by electricity as the fuel for motor vehicles? 
[2] Another metaphor: Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon river (then the northern boundary of Italy) in 49 BC, thereby precipitating the Roman Civil War. He is said to have uttered the phrase alea iacta est as his army trudged across what is really a stream.  

Bats about Wuhan

Readers know that Emperor Xi's noxious campaign to economically strangle Australia's exports to China is simply revenge because our politicians reasonably asked for an inquiry into the source of the covid outbreak. Wry & Dry has often stated that it's simply because China has much to fear from a serious investigation.

Chinese officials said in early 2020 that the outbreak began at a Wuhan market, and they blamed illegal wildlife sales there. And that was the story that the world accepted. Now, the news is that in November 2019 three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology became seriously ill with symptoms consistent with what covid is now known to cause.  So, each of the three got their covid from a bat at the same time?

Really?

Wry & Dry's man in China, under deep cover, has attempted to join the Wuhan dots.   

photo wuhan

Wry & Dry's man in China was prevented from entry into Wuhan Institute of Virology

Although he was prevented from entering facility, he says that his research suggests there was leak of some sort in the lab. He relayed many encrypted facts to Wry & Dry, the most telling being a research paper from Botao Xiao, a molecular biomechanics researcher at South China University of Technology, concluding the virus "probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan."

cartoon wuhan happy hour

The telling point is that the paper was removed from a website soon after publication. But Wry & Dry has unearthed a copy which you can read here. 

If the lab leak theory was true it would cause much egg-on-face to Emperor Xi.  Not a good look for the Emperor. So, the CCP has done everything possible to block a credible investigation.  

And yesterday, President Biden has followed Wry & Dry's lead, and has ordered a intelligence inquiry into the origins of coronavirus.

This has a long way to run. And if the source of the pandemic is found to be from a lab leak, imagine the class action law cases. China may need to sell Darwin's Port back to us so as to raise the settlement funds.

Greensill spill

Some weeks ago, there was much ado about something. Greensill, a global invoice financing company, founded by a farmer from Bundaberg, collapsed. It owed some $5 billion to its creditors. Some of those are big enough and ugly enough to survive (e.g. Credit Suisse and Nomura).

But an Italian regional bank, Aigis Banca, a specialist lender to small and medium sized business, might have been ugly, but it wasn't big enough. The Bank of Italy gave it the DCM this week, with it being bought by a larger bank for the massive sum of one euro. But the bad debts still exist.

Why this is important is this is another Lego brick in the fragile Italian banking wall. There are two problems with Italian banks: 8% of their loans are in default and they hold about 20% of the government's debt.  However, the EU will never allow Italian banks to fail en masse, as the largest creditors of Italian banks are French banks. Far easier to kick the Italian banking problem down the road than to have oeuf sur visage Français.    

He would say that, wouldn't he

The Australian chief of Landbridge, the Port of Darwin’s Chinese owner, is warning the potential scrapping of its 99-year lease threatens to deter foreign investment, denouncing the treatment dished out to the company as the worst he has seen a multinational endure.

“In almost six years, I have yet to hear a single concern about Landbridge [3] operating the port that has merit.

He would say that, wouldn't he [4]. If the lease goes, so does his job.

cartoon landbridge

By the way, Chairman Dan sold the Port of Melbourne in 2016.  The winning consortium included a 20% interest held by China Investment Corp, China's sovereign wealth fund.

[3] The Chinese company that has a 99-year lease on the port.
[4] In the sensational UK Profumo scandal, a society prostitute, Mandy Rice-Davies was a witness in the trial of Stephen Ward. Whilst being cross-examined, James Burge, the defence counsel, pointed out that a Lord Astor denied an affair or even having met her, she dismissed this, giggling "Well he would, say that, wouldn't he?"  By 1979, this phrase had entered the third edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

Unclear on the concept

In a rare misstep, Jane Hume, Financial Services Minister in Jimmy Morrison's government, said last week that "crypto-currencies were an asset class and not a fad."

Without sending Readers to reach for the pack of No Doze, Wry & Dry notes:

Firstly, an asset class is made up of investments that, inter alia, generate cash flow.  Examples are stocks (dividends), bonds (interest) or property securities (distributions).  A cryptocurrency does not generate cash flow.

Secondly, the fact that 20% of Millennials and 15% of Gen Z own cryptocurrencies confirms in Wry & Dry's mind that they are a fad.  Much like flared jeans and whiskers of yesteryear.

cartoon bitcoin bounce

No, (ex) Prime Minister

Readers may not have been aware of a critical bye-election in New South Wales.  The incumbent National Party member had, among other transgressions, made arrangements, so to speak. with a, err, lady for an undisclosed sum. Apparently, the appointment was made with the use of a phone app designed for the purpose, and dialled from the benches in chamber. The agreed appointment was undertaken in the office of the member.

The MP concerned gave himself the DCM. Hence the need for bye-election. The Wry & Dry news is not that the Gnats comfortably held the Hunter Valley coal mining seat, to surprise of everybody (Labor's primary vote dropped to 21%). But that former PM, Croesus Turnbull actively campaigned against the coalition. His acolyte, Kirsty O'Connell, gained just 8.6% of the primary vote, well behind One Nation (12%), Shooter and Fishers (11.7%), Labor (20.7%) and the Gnats (30.4%).

Readers may recall that Croesus opposed Liberal David Sharma in his former seat of Wentworth. Sharma won.

No, (ex) Prime Minister. You cannot even successfully serve a cold dish of revenge.   

"Take me to Cuba. Err, no. To Minsk"

Readers may have read that a Ryanair [5] flight from Athens to Vilnius (Lithuania's capital) was 'hijacked' in midair by a Belarusian Mig29 fighter jet and forced to land in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. A bomb threat was the ruse for the hijacking.  

The real reason? On landing, a passenger Roman Protasevich, a self-exiled Belarusian, social media owner and anti-Belarusian-government agitator, was arrested and taken to jail.

The whole of Europe is furious. With the possible exception of that part of Europe occupied by Tsar Vlad. Belarusia's government, and its corrupt strongman, Alexander Lukashenko, is more-or-less a client-government of Tsar Vlad.

belarus

Readers will recall that Mr Lukashenko, who has ruled the ex-Soviet nation with an iron fist for 27 years, claimed victory in a rigged election in August last year.  Mr Protasevich was involved in organising protests. All of this clearly upset Mr Lukashenko. Wry & Dry now has no doubts on two matters.

Firstly, the EU, NATO, UN, etc will make sympathetic noises about the hijacking, but do nothing. Thus effecting appeasement.

Secondly, Mr Protasevich will probably be shot whilst trying to escape. Thus solving Mr Lukashenko's problem.

[5] Ryanair: an Irish ultra low-cost airline founded in 1984.

Chart of the week

The good folk at The Economist make it clear that we are now in more certain times.  

The data behind the chart is from 143 countries. Covid and President Trump's reign of error pushed the index to a record high. However, the cavalry arrived in the form of a covid vaccine and the banishment of Mr Trump to his keyhole in Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida. 

Chart uncertainty 

So, according to The Economist, now we live a world more certain than anytime since 2006.

Buy Wry & Dry doesn't feel the vibe (of certainty) [6]. The People's Socialist Public Service State of Victoria (the one with the Gold Standard contact tracing system) is once again in lockdown.

cartoon nothing to see

[6] "It's the vibe of the thing." Lawyer Dennis Denuto's (played by Tiriel Mora) plea to a Federal Court judge in the iconic Australian movie "The Castle'.  It was written in two weeks, shot in ten days and taken to rough cut in two weeks.

Snippets from all over 

1.  Amazon goes to Hollywood

Amazon, originally an online book retailer, purchased movie house MGM for a mere US$8.5 billion. It's all about adding scale to Amazon Prime.

Wry & Dry comments: Amazon Prime joins Disney Plus as the only realistic challengers to Netflix. James Bond and Rocky will accompany classics such as 12 Angry Men in Amazon's library.

2.  Big oil battered

Exxon had two activist environmentalists elected to its board; Chevron shareholders voted 61% to cut emissions from the end-use of its fuels; and a Dutch court ordered Shell to curb its carbon outflows by 45% by 2030 compared with 2019 levels.

Wry & Dry comments: The jury of public opinion is stirring.

3.  No more cold-call selling

Bank of America is prohibiting trainee brokers at its Merrill Lynch Wealth Management unit from making cold calls to push the latest hot stock.

Wry & Dry comments: Really? Just woken up to realise the difference between a fiduciary and a product salesman? 

4.  Biden's infrastructure plans reduced

The Biden administration has reduced the size of its infrastructure proposal to $1.7 trillion from $2.25 trillion. Funding for the package would remain the same - raising the tax rate on wealthy Americans and large companies. 

Wry & Dry comments: A trillion here.  A trillion there...

5.  Iron ore prices drop 

The price of iron ore fell sharply after China signalled it would focus on efforts to cool soaring prices, warning of “excessive speculation” as concerns grow over rising inflation.

Wry & Dry comments: The price of iron ore hit US$229 and is now US$192.

 chart iron ore

And, to soothe your troubled mind...

Last words...

She was a little younger than me, so it’s like the Romeo and Juliet story."

 -  Anthony Bouchard, 55, a Wyoming state senator who plans to oppose the Liz Cheney (Donald Trump's Republican nemesis) in a Federal Senate primary next year.  He was 18 when he impregnated a girl.  She was... 14.  

Firstly, Mr Bouchard doesn't know his Shakespeare.  Sure, Juliet was indeed 13, Romeo likely 15. But (a) legally, girls in Elizabethan England could marry as young as 12 with parental consent; and (b) it is clear from Act 3 Scene 2 that her wait for her 'maidenhead' to be taken will not occur prior to their demise.  Secondly, Mr Bouchard's Romeo and Juliet story is in fact 'statutory' rape.  And the girl committed suicide when she was 20.  

 

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

 

Cheers

Anthony