Wry & Dry

It was all going so well. Section 92. C-suite.

It was all going so well...

Sleepy Joe was beginning to sleep well again. Only a few more days until the Afghanistan withdrawal deadline (31 August). And then the global visibility of the humiliation of America would begin to be cloaked.

Err, hold the phone. This is the real world. The Taliban is a terrorist organisation. And within its bailiwick is a myriad of wannabe-headline-grabbing mini-terrorist cells. Much like Australian state premiers, these groups want to make their own arrangements.

And so it came to pass that Isis-K, a child of Islamic State from Iraq and now flourishing in Khorasan in eastern Afghanistan, wanted to show its biceps to the world. Wry & Dry's person man in Kabul says that the Taliban look soft alongside Isis-K. [1]

cartoon not cruel enough

All it took was a bomb last night to rain on Sleepy Joe's withdrawal parade. Twelve US soldiers are amongst at least 60 others to have died in an attack at Kabul airport.

Sleepy Joe gave the expected hairy chested presser: "Know this: We will not forgive, nor will we forget...we will hunt you down...." The lads in Khorasan will be laughing.

"Events, dear boy. Events." [2]

[1] In May 2020 the group attacked the maternity ward of Kabul's Dasht-e-Barchi hospital, killing 24 people, including two children. In May this year it attacked the Sayed Al-Shuhada school, killing some 90 people, most of whom were schoolgirls. A month later it killed ten humanitarian workers removing mines in Baghlan province, to the north of Kabul.
[2] Former UK PM Harold Macmillan, when asked what worried him the most.   

C-suite

It's hard to believe. But there is comedy in this covid world. Allow Wry & Dry take Readers away from the current malaises of Afghanistan, Sleepy Joe and state premier political hairy-chestedness from both sexes. To an emerging malaise: Clive Palmer's United Australia Party.

The well upholstered Clive (C1), Australia's answer to either Donald Trump or Screaming Lord Sutch [3], depending on your mood, has appointed the also well upholstered and former Liberal but now current independent MP Craig Kelly (C2) as his party's parliamentary leader.

As C2 is now the only federal parliamentarian of the UAP, he is leading himself. No easy task for a man of C2's IQ. To the point where he announced early in the week that he made UAP policy. This to the surprise of everybody, especially the Money. C1 said, no, laddie, he who pays the piper calls the tune. C2 went back to the sandpit.

This is a C-suite [4] with a difference. C1 and C2:

cartoon c1 and c2

Readers will recall that C2 gave himself the DCM from the Liberal Party in February because he knew that he would lose endorsement for the next election. And became an independent.

C2 now hopes that the blend of C1's cash and his own talent for publicity will rescue him from political oblivion. C2, prior to being elected in 2010, was effectively a furniture salesman for 30 years. As Wry & Dry has previously stated, he has since had a political life seeking headlines with views that suggest his previous employment position significantly over-stated his IQ. 

[3] Screaming Lord Sutch, also self-ennobled as 3rd Earl of Harrow, was an English musician and serial parliamentary candidate. He was the founder of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party and served as its leader from 1983 to 1999, during which time he stood in numerous parliamentary elections. He holds the record for contesting the most Parliamentary elections, standing in 39 elections from 1963 to 1997.
[4] C-suite is corporate jargon for the collective of senior executives whose titles commence with 'chief' e.g. Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, etc. 

Section 92

Readers who studied Constitutional Law will know of section 92 of Australia's Constitution. Probably the most famous section of the Constitution; it says that trade, commerce and intercourse between the states shall be absolutely free.

So, how can a state close its borders? Well, that most interesting businessman Clive Palmer (see above) took the WA government to the High Court for closing its borders, based on s. 92.  Their Honours decided that closing the border was okay as it was a necessary and proportionate response to covid. "There is no known vaccine... to mitigate the risks of severe medical outcomes or mortality..."

Well, the world is now very different. As Chris Merritt, V-P of the Rule of Law Institute of Australia, pointed out in today's Oz, with vaccine now freely available if states were to persist with closing their borders they would make a tempting target for a High Court challenge.

Will Clive have enough dosh left after funding C2 to again sue in the High Court? You betcha. Imagine the publicity and political kilometerage for the UAP ahead of next year's election.   

Sleepy Joe's one-term

Wry & Dry was reflecting on the morning after the morning after Sleepy Joe didn't take his pill. And his fit of "I know what I'm doing; it'll be all right on the night; besides, I'm fulfilling an election promise" is unravelling his hometown credibility faster than cotton wool in the paws of a kitten.

Y'see, it is entirely plausible that most of the American media loathed The Trumpster so much that they forgot to be more inquisitorial about Sleepy Joe. Their boosterism pushed him to get nominated. And the rest is history.

So is Sleepy Joe. The media that sold him in 2020 are now whispering that he's past it. That this has been obvious for some time is now forgotten in the depths of what The Trumpster accurately called The Swamp (the cake mix of the media, the Washington political elite and the Washington bureaucracy).  

The countdown has started towards an outcome that no-one, except Kamala and the Second Bloke, want: Kamala's moon shot at the presidency. So watch for increased visibility from someone who hitherto has been invisible.

cartoon call australia

Afghanistan: before and after Taliban

The venerable Financial Times has prepared a series of charts that Readers might find interesting.

Line chart of Births per woman showing The fertility rate has dropped

Line chart of % of all children* showing Secondary school enrolment has jumped

 

Line chart of Female enrolment in primary school (% of all girls*) showing Many more girls are receiving an education

Wry & Dry is still curious of those who say and write that the 20 years of non-Taliban rule were wasted. 

cartoon 20 years

Sure, the costs might have been more efficaciously managed. And more action could have been taken to address amazing levels of corruption. And more could have been spent on economic aid than military aid. And...  And...  And...

This might have been a winnable peace. But never 'nation building' in the short term. As Henry Kissinger wrote in a thoughtful piece in yesterday's Economist: "For Afghanistan has never been a modern state. Statehood presupposes a sense of common obligation and centralisation of authority. Afghan soil, rich in many elements, lacks these. Building a modern democratic state in Afghanistan where the government’s writ runs uniformly throughout the country implies a timeframe of many years, indeed decades; this cuts against the geographical and ethnoreligious essence of the country."

But the above charts, and many more that tell a similar story, show that progress has been made.

And now that the US has run away with its stars-and-striped-tail between its legs that progress will be lost. Pray for the women and girls of Afghanistan.

cartoon status of women

Lost in translation

Sleepy Joe might just match the Trumpster for not really knowing about what he is talking.

This week he referred to Afghans as 'Afghanis'. Afghani is the currency of Afghanistan.

This and other examples of Sleepy Joe's cognitive decline suggest that his presidency is going to be a reality medical show worth watching. A call to those Californian-based Netflix production specialists Princess Princess and Princess Harry might help monetise the downward spiral.  Perhaps a series called 'President Wants a Brain'.

Banks support more pornography

Never stand between a bank and a pot of money.

Wry & Dry has only just heard of a website called OnlyFans, which displays and sells amateur pornography to subscribers. The amateur photographers get paid per click, as it were.  OnlyFans commenced as recently as 2016, but is not to be seen listed on those buoyant lists of successful 'start-ups' that titivate envious readers of the financial pages ("If only I had invested...").  It has 130 million users and two million 'contributors'.

It seems that some of the explicit content has become, err, very explicit. And so, in a fit of purity, the website banned explicit content. To no-one's surprise the contributors were furious, losing income that averages $12,000 per contributor per month. 

But the real sads were cracked by the bankers and payout partners. They saw the pot of gold vanishing from their investment. And so they told to OnlyFans to reverse its ban.  OnlyFans complied. Explicit content is back.

cartoon obscene

But too late? OnlyFans may end up having no fans, as other websites have since stood up, as it were.

Inflation - but not of prices

In the UK 2020-21 school year some 58% of schooldays were lost. And in that year, as in the previous, there we no serious exams - assessments were internal.

But the resulting grades went up. Wry & Dry concludes that less schooling leads to better grades.  

Chart UK school results

There can be two hypotheses.

Firstly, mums parents doing 1-on-1 home-schooling are significantly more successful at teaching than teachers are in a classroom setting.

Secondly, the teacher-assessments that grades have been based on for the last two years are so unrealistic and so much less rigorous than exams as to be virtually meaningless. 

Perhaps a bit of each. Either way, UK teachers (overall) don't come out very well.

[5] Source: The Macro Strategy Partnership.

Fit for purpose

Readers may have noticed that Sleepy Joe has ordered six US domestic airlines to contribute a total of 18 planes to help with the evacuation of refugees from Afghanistan.

Wry & Dry notices that one of the airlines is United Airlines. And can think of no better airline in which to cram hundreds of refugees.   

Scottish self-identification

The wannabee first president of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has entered into a power sharing deal with the Scottish Greens.

It's all about Ms Nicola and her ambition. But it might be that she's forgotten her supporters. Her first announcement after signing the deal in blood was to delight the Greens.  And rush through legislation allowing Scots from the age of 16 to change their legal gender through 'self-identification', without clinical diagnosis or medical evidence. 

Aside from the fact that the average 16-year-old has trouble deciding what to wear to a formal and changes his/ her mind so how will he/she decide on an irreversible gender-change decision?

Wry & Dry is concerned about this concept of self-identification. What if the pilot that might someday drive the plane to take Wry & Dry somewhere, self-identifies as a pilot? But isn't one.

cartoon identification

Unclear on the concept 

Cambridge University's archaeology museum is to add a sign explaining the "whiteness" of sculpture plaster casts, as part of a new anti-racist strategy.

It's so thoughtful to explain to students attending Cambridge who don't know that:

1.  Plaster is white

2.  Because the museum’s 600 plaster casts of Roman and Greek statues are largely depictions of Romans and Greeks, the opportunities to highlight their diversity would be limited.

UK's trade envoy 

Baron Botham of Ravensworth is the UK's new trade envoy to Australia.

Who?

Some Readers might better know him as Ian Botham, the man who scored one of the great Test innings [6] and is arguably second only to Garfield Sobers as cricket's greatest all-rounder. Sobers was said to have touched the skirts of genius. And they weren't the only skirts he touched.   

In 1987 Botham was locked up in Perth for assaulting a fellow passenger on a flight to Perth. Dennis Lillee arrived with a six-pack (of beer) and bailed Botham. He was fined $400.  

Wry & Dry wonders if his criminal record will prohibit him from entering Australia in his new role.

[6] Coming in a 7/135 he scored 149 not out against Australia after England was forced to follow on.  Australia was left with a mere 130 to win, but fell 18 runs short. 

Socialist Alternative

Readers may have noticed that the Sydney conference of Socialist Alternative will now be online. 

Socialist Alternative is 'a revolutionary Marxist organisation', one of the principles of which is "Only the revolutionary overthrow of the existing order and the smashing of the capitalist state apparatus can defeat the capitalist class and permanently end its rule."

Wry & Dry wonders if if the use of Zoom, created by an American company worth squillions, for the online conference is a betrayal of SA's purity.

Refugees for export

President Lukashenko of Belarus has found a new way to poke the west in the eye: refugee export.

Belarus encourages and accepts refugees flying in from the Middle East. They are then transported by bus to the border with Poland and forced across at gunpoint.  Much of the Polish-Belarusian border is not demarcated.

There are 460 kilometres of border that the Polish government is rapidly barbed-wire fencing.

Mind you- Poland itself is not exactly friendly towards refugees or immigrants. It has a very right-wing government. 

Snippets from all over 

1. Bitcoin follies 

In less than two weeks, El Salvador will become the first country to adopt Bitcoin as a national currency. 

Wry & Dry comments: The country is broke.  It cannot print money, as it adopted the US dollar as its currency 20 years ago.  The government is hoping for... well, no-one knows, but the word 'miracle' comes to mind.

2. Lawyers rapped

Lawyers who spearheaded the legal campaign to overturn the US 2020 presidential election results have been hit with sanctions in the latest judicial rebuke. A US district judge ruled on Wednesday that several lawyers had carried out “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process”. 

Wry & Dry comments: In a variation of Spy v Spy, one of the chastised lawyers, Sidney Powell is herself being sued, for more than $1.3 billion, for her unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

3. Chips are down

Britain's car factories are producing their lowest number of vehicles since the Suez crisis in 1956. 

Wry & Dry comments: It's all about the shortage of microchips.  

4. Honeymoon over

According to a USA Today / Suffolk University Poll, President Biden’s approval rating has fallen to 41% vs 55% disapproval, so a net disapproval of 14%.

Wry & Dry comments: "Today, President Biden's overall approval has taken a turn for the worse due to his awful job performance rating on Afghanistan," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk Political Research Center. "His approval on immigration and the economy are also upside down. The only issue keeping him remotely in the game is his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, where he is barely at 50%."

5. Not great

Tesla CEO Elon Musk called the latest release of his company's experimental driver-assistance software, FSD Beta 9.2, "actually not great." 

Wry & Dry comments: 'FSD' (Full Self-Driving capability) is another acronym with which Readers will need to become familiar. 

And, to soothe your troubled mind...

Last words...

"Mr. Biden is slightly devoid of reality."

 - An unnamed UK government official, speaking of the President's Afghanistan tactics.

'Slightly'?  The Brits are excellent at understatements. 

 

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

 

Cheers

Anthony