Wry & Dry

Go on, impeach me. Borisconi kneecapped. Suicide note.

Short Wry & Dry

It's a short Wry & Dry this week, as it's a short week in the People's Socialist Workers' Republic of Victoria.  Friday is a holiday because Saturday is the final of the Australian Football League season, between the Richmond Tigers and the Greater Western Sydney Giants.  It's one of two holidays for sporting events in this state, the other involving animals of a different kind: a horse race in November. 

Cartoon AFL holiday

Wry & Dry soon expects Christian holidays (Christmas and Good Friday) in Victoria to be replaced with more secular but sporting holidays.  To ensure diversity and that no-one be offended, there might be one for the Australian Non-binary Tennis Open and one for animals, perhaps Possum Caging Day.

Wry & Dry will keep Readers informed.    

Taking real news of the front pages

Sigh.  

The decision by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to commence impeachment proceedings against Go-On-Impeach-Me-Trump for Ukraine-gate is most disturbing.

Go-On-Impeach-Me-Trump now has even more publicity than he could ever imagine.  And the media will milk this for every last column-centimetre.

The disturbing thing is that other more serious matters will no longer attract media attention.

Not only will precious memories of Jimmy Morrison (aka Sco-Mo, aka Australia's PM) watching the opening of a cardboard factory in Ohio be overlooked, but so too will precious photos of Miss Precious Princess herself, Meghan Markle, 'Princess of the United Kingdom' [1], on a they-the-taxpayer-funded public relations tour of not so dark parts of Africa.

[1]  As she erroneously, misleadingly but deliberately called herself on the birth certificate of her first-born. 

Go on, impeach me I

It is entirely understandable that Readers may be overwhelmed with the noise of 'impeachment', without a full understanding of what it all means.  So it behoves Wry & Dry to quill some points:

1.  'To impeach' means 'to charge'.  Being charged with an offence doesn't make the person charged guilty of the offence.

2.  The US House of Representatives is the only body that can impeach a person.

3.  If the House agrees to impeach a person (by a simple majority) then it is up to the Senate to conduct a trial.

4.  The Senate must agree by a two-thirds majority a motion to convict.

5.  Upon conviction by the Senate, the person defenestrated [2] is automatically ousted.  There is no avenue for appeal.

[2] Arguably one of the great and glorious onomatopoeias.  And even more so if applied to Trump, where an image of Trump defenestrated is him bent over double, clutching his well used genitalia in excruciating pain.  

Go on, impeach me II

The Democrats control the House and now that Speaker Pelosi has pushed the canoe into the fast moving river of the hysteria that has become US politics there is little chance of Go-On-Impeach-Me-Trump not being impeached.

The Republicans control the Senate and there is virtually no way that a two-thirds majority to convict will be obtained.  On the current Ukraine-gate, anyway.

Cartoon trump ukraine your call may be recorded

Go on, impeach me III

Given the facts as understood, Speaker Pelosi had nowhere else to go.  The fact that conviction is most unlikely doesn't really matter.  The aim is to get as much negative publicity on Go-On-Impeach-Me-Trump as possible.  To have the headlines screaming 'Trump impeached' might be a desirable objective.

But this process is not without perils for the Democrats.

1.  This fight will not really be in the House or Senate.  But in the public domain: the Court of Public Opinion.  Go-On-Impeach-Me-Trump will relish a battle on turf of which he is master.

2.  Excrement of some magnitude will be tossed about.  And some will land and stick on Joe Biden's son (part of Ukraine-gate), which won't help Sleepy Joe's presidential hopes.

3.  The last impeaching party (Republicans) found itself on the losing side in the subsequent presidential election (Bill Clinton won easily).

Thankfully the sound of leather on willow is not far away for Wry & Dry.

Go on, impeach me IV

And, Wry & Dry has been hard at work researching the investment outworkings of impeachment.  As Readers would expect.

Clinton: The S&P 500 fell as much as 4.9% on October 8, 1998, the day the House voted to begin impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, before trimming losses to end the day down 1.2%. 

By the time Clinton was acquitted by the Senate in February 1999, the index was up 28%.

Nixon:  Markets shrugged off an impeachment inquiry against President Nixon on February 6, 1974, but the S&P 500 fell around 30% until his resignation.

There were other forces at play, however, including Nixon's decision to suspend the gold standard and a recession following the oil shock of late 1973

Borisconi kneecapped

Readers may have read that the UK Supreme Court has given Borisconi a punch in the nose.

This is more of problem for Borisconi than impeachment is for Go-On-Impeach-Me-Trump.  Whilst it might be that the UK Supreme Court has continued its European-elite pathway of judicial activism...

Cartoon judges ghastly man boris

...the fact is that Borisconi is now master of a parliament over which he has little control. 

The Labour party doesn't want an election as it will be crushed.  But enough Tories don't support Borisconi enough over Brexit to give him freedom to negotiate with the best tactic, i.e., a No Deal.

Expect October to be shambolic.

Cartoon boris judges no plan B

Thankfully the sound of leather on willow is not far away for Wry & Dry.   

Meanwhile, in New York ...

Readers were probably wondering why Borisconi was stuck in New York this week, after attending the UN Climate Change Action Summit.  Wry & Dry has the scoop: in an attempt to save money for the British taxpayer he bought his airline ticket through Thomas Cook Travel.

Cartoon thomas cook

Thomas Cook was a Victorian era Baptist missionary, who started a business carrying temperance campaigners to teetotal rallies.  It grew until last Sunday to be the largest package tour operator on the globe.

On Sunday it was put into liquidation, owing its bankers vast sums.  W&D guesses that Thomas Cook was defeated by a blend of discount airlines and customers able to choose, bundle and book their own holidays.  It just failed to adapt.

But no-one told the customers that the business was going bust.  And so 600,000 were stuck overseas, including Borisconi.  In the proverbial barbed wire canoe without a paddle.  

Suicide note 

Readers will recall that the epithet "The longest suicide note in history" was used by a UK Labour party MP to describe his party's 1983 election manifesto.  That manifesto called for unilateral nuclear disarmament; higher personal taxation; abolition of the House of Lords; nationalisation of British Telecom, British Aerospace and others; and withdrawal from the what is now the EU (i.e Brexit). 

Labour lost the election to a Margaret Thatcher landslide.  It took Labour 15 years to abandon its extreme socialist policies and move to the centre.  Tony Blair then won a landslide victory in 1997.

But nothing in that suicide note compares to the policy adopted by UK Labour earlier this week at its annual conference.  That was to abolish all non-government schools and redistribute their properties and investments.  Readers might compare this to Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, where by he appropriated the income and assets of monasteries, priories, convents and friaries.  

An English medieval proverb said that if the Abbot of Glastonbury married the Abbess of Shaftesbury, the heir would have more land than the King of England.  (The proverb conveniently ignored the problem of an abbot marrying an abbess.  But, hey, even the Pope had a variety of would-be-mothers on hand to receive a special Papal blessing). 

There are some 2,500 non-government schools in the UK, that educate some 600,000 pupils. 

Wry & Dry muses that 2019 UK Labour might have effectively photocopied its 1983 suicide note.   

Cartoon corbyn 

Mr Morrison goes to ... Ohio

Wry & Dry thought it inevitable that PM Jimmy Morrison got a gig at the White House.  And then it got so much better, to then attend the opening of a cardboard factory in ... Ohio. Wow!

But Readers might remember that for all the gushing from the red-headed owner of the factory about Mr Morrison (and for that matter, about the President of the Yoo-Ess-Ay), that owner hosted an elite pre-election fund raising dinner for the somewhat more left-of-the-dessert fork Bill Shorten.  And then attended the Labor Party's post-election victory celebration.  Well, until it became clear that there would be no celebration.

So, as usual, Wry & Dry gives credit where credit is due.  Hats off to the red-headed cardboard factory owner.  This was coating-turning par excellence. 

Perhaps there will be a cardboard cut-out soon.  In a store near Readers...

Cartoon prat wind vane

Focusing on the big issues 

Sigh.  How thin skinned can an entire city be?

It seems that a sports commentator on SBS (a television station owned by we-the-the-people) said some nasty things about Adelaide whilst commentating: "Adelaide's a ****hole.  I found it incredibly dull and boring."

The aggrieved response from the folk of Adelaide was really podium finish stuff.  And would do credit to the Chinese government.  The premier of the state in which Adelaide sleeps, Steven Marshall, described her comments as "completely outrageous"  and demanded an apology.

It confirmed in Wry & Dry's mind that the city is in fact dull and boring: they have nothing else to do.

And why was an apology called for?  Or is city vilification now an offence, policed by the Human Rights Commission with all the zeal of the Stasi [3].

[3]  Stasi: the official state security service of the former German Democratic Republic.  It was one of the most repressive of secret police agencies.  One of its main tasks was spying on the population, mainly through a vast network of citizens turned informants, and fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures, including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents.  

Life in the weird lane

Wry & Dry is not familiar with an entertainment award called The Emmy.  Apparently it is a self-congratulatory series of awards made to folk in the American television industry.  And last week the annual Emmy awards were announced in a televised (naturally) ceremony.    

Twenty years ago, the televised event drew 20 million viewers.  Ten years ago, it drew 13.5 million viewers.  On Sunday about 7 million people watch the award ceremony.

Spot the trend

Wry & Dry is not good on extrapolation.  But it seems that advertising rights on Prime-time Emmys will be a bargain by 2029. 

Icarus [4]: WeWork flew too close to the sun 

Readers will have read about the impending IPO (Initial Public Offering or 'float) on the Nasdaq of WeWork.  WeWork is an American company that leases long-term office space in order to rent it to others in the short-term (it rents about 5% of Sydney's office space, for example).  This was going to be the mother of all IPOs, valuing the company at $50 billion.   

Last week the IPO was postponed.  With good reason.  And it's not just that in 2018 the company lost $1.6 billion on revenue of $1.8 billion.  An autopsy will probably show breathtaking executive malfeasance.  At least.

Work with Wry & Dry on this.  Because this is a lesson about the lesson of investors moving from (a) dividend stocks to (b) growth stocks and then to (c) promises of growth (i.e. "we are not yet making a profit, but we have a plan") stocks.  All in search of a pumped-up investment that they can later sell to a greater fool than themselves. 

WeWork dressed itself up as a tech company and tried to convince the world that it was a tech company.  And hence might justify its losses and ability to burn cash but have a 'plan to profitability'.  Err, no.  A tech company tends to have low growth costs and a network effect, which means the value of its product increases when more people use it.

Readers will know that WeWork is a real estate company.  And WeWork’s operating losses, what’s left after the costs to bring in revenue, are marching in lockstep with its growing revenue. That means that the more money WeWork makes, the more it loses. 

Wry & Dry's plan would be to have the opposite: shrinking losses as the company gains more revenue.

The big problem was to have a founder and CEO with a big ego.  Adam Neumann fitted the "Warning! Warning!" warning: beware of a young, charismatic visionary, with an outsized view of himself and a delusional view of the firm's role in society.  But news on Wednesday was that Neumann fell on his sword.  He flew too close to the son.

But too late.  In the previous three weeks WeWork's value dropped from $50 billion to $12 billion.  Ah, the Greater Fool theory in operation.

[4]   In Greek mythology, Icarus and his father attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. Icarus' father warns him first of complacency and then of hubris. Icarus ignored his father's instructions not to fly too close to the sun; when the wax in his wings melted he tumbled out of the sky and fell into the sea where he drowned.  Hence the idiom 'don't fly too close to the sun'.  This tragic theme is of failure at the hands of hubris.

Snippets from all over 

1.  Bitcoin plunges

The world's most popular crypto-currency fell yesterday to $7,944.33, hitting its lowest level since mid-June. 

Wry & Dry comments:  Yawn.   

2.  Speaking of court decisions

Europe's top court declared today that Google does not have to remove links to sensitive personal data worldwide, five years after a "right to be forgotten" ruling forced it to delete links to personal information on request. 

Wry & Dry comments:  The case "tested Europe's right to extend its laws beyond its borders and pitted privacy rights against free speech."  Err, no.  It pitted privacy rights against Google's desire to obtain, store and distribute private information.  

3.  737 Max update

Each country will make "its own decision" on when the Boeing 737 Max returns to service, according to FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, who has not yet set a timeline on when to allow the jets back in U.S. skies.  

Wry & Dry comments:  In early September, Boeing's CEO Dennis Muilenburg said that a "phased ungrounding" of the jets was a possibility.  Ungrounding?  Whaaaat?  Next, he will describe the two disastrous crashes as 'unflying'.  The reality is the planes were just plain unsafe.     

4.  Netflix: what goes up ...

Flirting with new record highs back in June, Netflix' share price entered negative territory for the year on Monday, erasing all of its 46% gain for the year at its peak. 

Wry & Dry comments:  Netflix has a P/E of 81.5.  See footnote [1] above re Icarus.  But in this case, it's the hubris of investors. 

5. Tesla's munificence 

Tesla's board of directors must stand trial to defend CEO Elon Musk's multibillion dollar pay package, according to a ruling from a Delaware judge, after a shareholder suit alleged corporate waste and unjust enrichment.  Tesla valued the package at $2.6 billion on its 2018 proxy statement, but if its market value ballooned, as the plan predicted, those stock awards could be worth nearly $56 billion.  The company - which has yet to post an annual profit - did not meet any of its performance milestones last year, so Musk received no compensation.

Wry & Dry comments:  Nice work, if you can get it.

And, to soothe your troubled mind ...

Miscellany 

Last words ...

"If you cannot sell your hysteria to adults, use children."

 -  Un-named delegate at the UN Climate Change Summit.

Readers can make of these things as they wish.

A lightly salted absurdity ...

Deepak, Wry & Dry's Uber driver ... 

... sent a text message, saying that he was on vacation.  He was not looking forward to a week of Australian football media-overkill, he said.  But he said he was researching the Fine Cotton racing scandal.

Cheers.  

Anthony 

 

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