Wry & Dry

Wuhan Dan. GST increase? Really? Hong Kong: the new Dunkirk?

Wuhan Dan I

It's simple really.  

Readers might imagine that Projects R Us Ltd, a large company listed on the ASX, was running a massive project in Melbourne.  And then messed it up so badly that lives were lost, hundreds of supplier companies shuttered, thousands of people lost their jobs, thousands of children's education affected and the mental health of thousands were adversely affected.

Would the CEO tearfully give a Sixty Minutes interview, expressing an abject and unreserved apology for his company's catastrophic management and announce that he was giving himself the DCM?  Maybe.

Would supplier companies be queuing up at Slater & Gordon's [1] door seeking to sue Projects R Us?  You betcha.

Would the Secretary of the ACTU giving a media conference calling for industrial action against Projects R Us' other work sites?  Probably.

Would demonstrators be on the streets also demanding action against Projects R Us.  You betcha.

[1]  Litigation lawyers. 

Wuhan Dan II

Actually, it's not that simple.

Cartoon High rise Andrews

Wuhan Dan and his stagecoach of incompetent political passengers are down to the axles.  And blaming everybody but themselves. However, you cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube.  

Wuhan Dan's head on a plate, as it were, as satisfying as it would be, would rob the state of any semblance of leadership.  The reality is that state politics, all sides, is as barren of talent as reality television.  Readers may not like Wuhan Dan's politics, but he stands way above others in the state parliament for leadership.  

Also, whilst Wuhan Dan must shoulder responsibility, Wry & Dry suspects that he has been rolled by his Cabinet.  Hence the socialisation of the lock-down.  Good grief, why else lock-down the people and businesses of, for example, Hastings, because of a Covid cluster 100 kilometres away?  

Wry & Dry's solution.  Wait until the pandemic is over.  And then give the thousands of Salomes their wishes.   

Wuhan Dan III

It is now clear that the tide has gone out, and not only on political competence. 

Families of 9 or more in tiny three bedroom apartments, sharing laundry facilities.  Really?  This is 2020, not Dickensian London.  High rise public housing designed in the 1950s is now a high rise petri dish.  If it wasn't CV-19, there would have been another bug, eventually. 

You couldn't design a better way to institutionalise extreme health risks. And inter-generational poverty.

Media interest I

In chasing the sordid Epstein affair, what is the main interest of the tabloid media?

a.  Concern for the 14-year-old girls that Epstein abused;

b.  Concern for how much tax Epstein avoided paying;

c.  Who was seen photographed with Epstein; or

d.  How much dirt is there on Ghislaine Maxwell and Prince Andrew?

Close.  But no cigar.  The correct answer is d.  The world awaits Prince Andrew's next media interview.  

Cartoon prince andrew

Media interest II

Next Tuesday the National Archives will release correspondence between former Governor General Sir John Kerr and Buckingham Palace in the period leading to the sacking of the Whitlam government in 1975.

Younger Readers may be surprised at the media coverage this event will attract. 

We must do China's bidding

In response to Jimmy Morrison's suspension of Australia's extradition treaty with Hong Kong and offering a path to citizenship for students from Hong Kong, the Chinese Embassy quite rightly responded in a firm but fair manner.

"We urge the Australian side to immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs..." 

Yes, Australia's cyber-attacks against China must cease.  We must stop paying and grooming Chinese politicians in Beijing to do Australia's will.  And cease infiltrating Chinese university campuses.  And stop the Leather-Belt and Pot-Holed Road initiative in Chinese provinces.

Cartoon hong kong

GST increase?  Really?

Readers will have seen some media about a cove in the NSW government having commissioned a report on federal state finances reform.  

Of course, the aim of the report was to get the federal government to increase or broaden the GST so as to give the states more money to allegedly undertake state-based tax reform.  Whenever Readers hear the words 'state-based tax reform' it essentially means the states abolishing stamp duty on land transfers and replacing the lost revenue with dosh from an uncomplaining source.

(Wuhan Dan might have had this at the back of his mind as he courted the Communist Party of China as a sugar daddy).

This noble tax reform objective fooled nobody, except members of the media looking for copy.  

Cartoon GST

The reality is:

1.  No federal government is going to take what would be massive political pain to provide revenue for the states.

2.  The compensation payments that would need to be to be made to 'losers' from a higher or broadened GST would chew up some 50% of the gain.

3.  The dolts on the cross-bench in the Senate would demand massive bribes financial incentives to their states (Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia) that would strip legitimacy from the overall plan. 

Wry & Dry suggests the caravan move on [2].

[2]  "Dogs bark, but the caravan moves on." An ancient Arabic proverb.

Hong Kong: the new Dunkirk. 

Some Readers will recall how a fleet of over 800 naval, fishing and pleasure boats [3] evacuated 338,226 soldiers from the beach of Dunkirk in 1940, as Hitler's armies encircled the trapped troops. 

Readers will also be aware that Jimmy Morrison has offered 10,000 Hong Kong students currently studying in Australia a path to citizenship.  This is in response to China's imposition of Chinese security laws on Hong Kong.  Borisconi has offered a bigger hand: a pathway to UK citizenship for 3.3 million residents of Hong Kong.  

Borisconi's move is a Godsend (Borisconi would like that analogy) to Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong's flag carrier (if there is such a thing anymore).  Cathay is going broke for many reasons.  But imagine its business boost if it had to fly 3.3 million fleeing Hong Kongers to the UK?

Cathay has 36 A350s and 51 B777s, providing about 25,000 seats.  Assuming 4 flights per hour and 3 flights per plane each week (allowing for returning from London), Cathay would be fully booked for 9 months to complete the task.  Think of the profits.  And the evacuation would be complete.

Mind you, having emptied Hong Kong of its citizens, that would be the end of Cathay.  But the modern day Dunkirk would have occurred.

There's a movie in this...

[3] The reality is that most of the evacuations were undertaken by 39 Royal Navy destroyers and four Royal Canadian Navy destroyers.   

Tesla: up 200% this calendar year

Readers will be aware that the share price of Tesla, an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer has risen over 200% since 1 January this year.  And is up 488% in the last 12 months.

What's going on?

Wry & Dry will provide the answer by comparing Tesla to Toyota, the car company that Tesla recently eclipsed as the largest on the planet (market capitalisation basis).  On almost every valuation metric (e.g. P/E; price/sales; price/book; yield; price/ cash flow; etc) Tesla is a dog compared to Toyota.  And Toyota makes a massive profit: $21 billion in 2019.  Tesla made a loss of $862m.

It's now all about sentiment.  Or FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).  There is no way that any analyst can sensibly ascribe a share price of $1,400 to Tesla.  Yes, it is selling everything it can make.  And yes, it has the EV future locked up for the foreseeable future. And, yes, its model Y is arguably going to be the best car in the world.

But at some time Tesla's stock price needs to revert to something related to expected profit.   

Trump on the couch.  Ouch.

Virus-What-Virus-Trump has a niece, Mary Trump.  She is also a psychologist.  She has just written a book about her uncle: Too Much and Never Enough.

Readers might be interested in some of her comments:

“Donald Trump’s pathologies are so complex and his behaviours so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neuropsychological tests that he’ll never sit for.”

(V-W-V-Trump has described himself as a “very stable genius”).

“His ability to control unfavourable situations by lying, spinning, and obfuscating has diminished to the point of impotence in the midst of the tragedies we are currently facing.”    

Ouch.

Libya: the forgotten war

Readers may have forgotten about Libya. 

Cartoon Libya

This oil rich country, once ruled by the murderous dictator Gaddafi [3], is in the mire of a civil war.  Nothing unusual about that in these sorts of places.  Except that this a proxy war.

On the one side is the Government of National Accord, based in Tripoli, recognised by the UN and militarily backed by Turkey, with some funding from Qatar.  The GNA has as its base Islamist militia, especially of the Muslim Brotherhood.

On the other side are the Tobruk-based rebels, backed by Syria, Russia, the UAE and Egypt.  

Turkey is supporting the GNA in exchange for it developing oil and gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean.

The UAE and Egypt are supporting the rebels because of their hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Russia is supporting the rebels because it wants to train its military and to test weapons. As it did in Syria.

[3] Muammar Gaddafi, better known as Colonel Gaddafi, was a Libyan revolutionary and politician who staged a coup in 1969 and took control of the country.  He was deposed and killed in 2011, thus leaving a power vacuum. 

Unclear on the concept

Prince Harry and wife Duchess Meghan apparently gave an online presentation in which they urged viewers 'to confront inequality'.  And to 'right the wrongs of the past'.

Cartoon Harry reunion 2

Hmm.  Possibly not a good idea to weigh in on white privilege when living in an $18 million mansion on the Beverly Ridge Estate in Los Angeles.

But it is quite a diverse community, with a lot of non-white people watering the gardens and cleaning the pools.

Cheap at the servo

Those Readers who can still afford to drive a car will have noticed that petrol prices have fallen to a record low.  The current average cost of $1.02 a litre is the lowest, adjusted for inflation, since monitoring records began in May 1991.    

Bell ringing

The co-founders of stock market darling Afterpay sold $250m of their shares this week.  The company, arguably the most expensive loss-making company in the world, had a share price of $8.90 on 23 March.  This morning, its share price was $74.86.

Did Wry & Dry hear a bell ringing?

Snippets from all over 

1.  Our Lady

Yesterday, France decided that the restoration of Notre-Dame after a devastating fire last year will stick closely to the cathedral’s original design, rejecting proposals to add a modern architectural flourish to the destroyed spire.

Wry & Dry comments:  Some relief from all the bad news.

2.  Brooks Brothers broke

Brooks Brothers, the preppy American clothing chain has filed for bankruptcy.  The 202-year-old retailer has dressed 41 of 45 US presidents, from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama.

Wry & Dry comments:  Donald Trump's suits are made by Sacks R Us.

3.  Unchanged

The Reserve Bank decided on Tuesday to keep interest rates unchanged

Wry & Dry comments:  Surprising no-one.

4.  Hard Brexit

On Wednesday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told German Chancellor Angela Merkel he is prepared to leave the EU without a trade deal if no compromise can be reached over disputes like fishing rights and the influence of European courts on British legislation.  

Wry & Dry comments:  A reminder: a Hard Brexit would mean that the U.K. would leave the bloc with the same terms as Australia - no comprehensive trade deal, following default WTO rules and specific agreements for certain goods.

5.  Buffett's back

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway made its largest acquisition in more than four years. The conglomerate is buying Dominion Energy's Gas Transmission & Storage segment for $9.7 billion in cash.

Wry & Dry comments:  The purchase is of more than 12,000 kilometres of natural gas storage and transmission pipelines and about 900 billion cubic feet of gas storage.

And, to soothe your troubled mind ...

Miscellany 

Last words ...

Two hundred years ago, a great jurist of our Court established that no citizen, not even the President, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding. We reaffirm that principle today."

 -  US Supreme Court, ruling that President Trump's financial records can be examined by prosecutors in New York.

Those wanting to see President Donald Trump's tax returns before the November presidential election shouldn't hold their breath. The case goes back to lower courts to process.

A lightly salted absurdity ...

Deepak, Wry & Dry's Uber driver ... 

...sighed when Wry & Dry hopped into the jalopy.

“Great week, Deepak?” inquired Wry & Dry doubtfully.

“Up and down,” he answered.

“Did Anjali buy the panzer?” Wry & Dry asked, referring to the large, over-priced, off-road vehicle that was the hot topic of his last conversation with Deepak.

“Yes and no,” said Deepak gloomily.

“Bit hard to miss, those panzers,” Wry & Dry unhelpfully pointed out.

“Well, yes, she is now in possession of a large, green panzer, but no, she didn’t buy it exactly.”

“Don’t tell me Anjali has a Sugar Daddy?” stirred Wry & Dry, wiggling with glee in the backseat.

“Not in the way you’re thinking, but yes, it would seem “Daddy” did buy her the latest Audi Q7 so that Anjali can be kept in the custom of her biological pedigree. Apparently, all I’m good for is my old and shabby, jalopy!” Deepak said.

“Besmirched, perhaps? Oh, never mind, there is always someone worse off, and in your case the Sugar-Daddy is a real Daddy as opposed to a real Sugar-Daddy which would be far more complicated,” bumbled Wry & Dry as he groped the depths of his ventromedial prefrontal cortex for the file labelled “comforting words for embattled men.”

“That’s true, this Daddy is the real deal, which is a relief of sorts. And the panzer has come in handy with all the kids, Bunnings and the like, until of course the little incident…”

“A scuffle of sorts?” asked Wry & Dry.

“A parking skirmish, it was only a small scrape but Anjali was furious. I tried to squeeze the jalopy in beside the panzer, but there wasn’t room in our garage.”

“Sigh, so the panzer is sleeping alone and the jalopy is in the proverbial dog-house?”

“No, it wouldn’t fit,” Deepak said incredulously, “she made me put the jalopy in the street! I’m supposedly banned from the panzer, but I thought I’d make it all up to her…a little surprise, that kind of thing, usually works.”

“So, what did you do?” asked Wry & Dry.

“Anjali always runs the thing down to near empty, which is, I must say, Mr. Wry & Dry a very annoying trait.”

“I’ll say, and…” pressed Wry & Dry.

“I filled it up with petrol, cost a fortune but she will be so pleased when she discovers it, and I will get privileges for sure… of a kind.” Deepak said grinning.

“Very thoughtful, you do mean diesel though,” asked a thoughtful Wry & Dry having recently read the SUV reviews in the Sunday Soviet. 

“Of course not, everyone knows these panzer type vehicles are, how would you say, petrol guzzlers!”

“Well, mostly, except the Audi Q7 is not actually available in a petrol model.”

There was an eerie silence from the front seat followed by a strange sound which escaped Deepak’s throat, which suggested he was temporarily pharyngeally overwhelmed.

This was followed by the familiar lamentation; “Anjali will kill me…”

“Well, yes there is always that… but I am curious, how did you get back from the petrol station to the garage?”

“The petrol station is on the corner and the panzer spluttered a bit, but I thought I was in the wrong gear…a technical glitch, “Deepak said.

Just then Deepak’s phone burst into life.

“Anjali?”

“No, its Damshi here, dear.

“Yes, mother-in-law” he answered meekly.

“It would seem we have a whisker of a problem, Deepak.”

“Yes, mother-in-law.”

“In the space of less than 24 hours you have managed to assault and poison Anjali’s panzer. How do you plead?”

“Guilty,” Deepak said in a mournful voice.

“As I thought, well then there is only one thing to do….”

With that the jalopy came to a sad halt.

“It’s best you get out, Mr Wry & Dry," Deepak said, turning sadly.  "If you hear what Damshi is about to say, then…”

“I could be an accomplice!” said Wry & Dry grinning but knowing it was time to unbuckle his seat belt and go.

“I’ll be all ears next week, Deepak.”

“I’m sure you will” cried Damshi as Wry & Dry closed his door.

 

To be continued…

 

From the quill of Mrs Wry & Dry.

 

Cheers

Anthony