Wry & Dry

"Events, dear boy. Events." Oscars: who cares. Halo or FOMO.

Events, dear boy.  Events.

Any midwife would advise that you cannot be in and out at the same time.  But that is what National Party Senator Llew O'Brien (Welsh-Irish?) from Queensland (where else) is trying to achieve.  He wants to be a member of the National Party but not sit in party meetings.  And then he accepted the nomination for Deputy Speaker of the House, against his party colleague, Damian Drum. 

The ALP gleefully voted for O'Brien, as did a few other National MPs (surely those who voted for Barnaby Joyce in last week's failed coup against leader Michael McCormack).  O'Brien now has a $40,000 p.a pay rise for his treachery.

This is sand pit politics by O'Brien and his band of tantrum-throwing colleagues.  It's out of Jimmy Morrison's control, as it's up to McCormack to control his ship of Gnats. But these children are, can you believe it, part of the government. 

Cartoon Morrison on a barnaby horse

 

And Jimmy's government is currently like a collective and wounded deer, staring at the headlights as the hunters reload.

Former UK Prime Minister Harold McMillan (and a pretty successful one at that) was once asked what was most likely to knock his government off course.  He replied, "Events, dear, boy.  Events." [1]

'Events' of the last three months have overtaken Jimmy.  Notwithstanding his massively talented front bench, especially in the economic portfolios, Wry & Dry ponders that Anthony Albanese can start measuring up the curtains in the Lodge [2].  

[1]  McMillan served as Prime Minister of the UK from 1957 to 1963.  Dubbed "Supermac", he was known for his pragmatism, wit and unflappability.  He was knocked off course by one big event, the Profumo Affair - a tabloid-media-delicious blend of sex and drugs in 1963 that more than anything brought down his government.
[2]  In 2019 Albanese separated from his wife of 30 years.  So he will have to do the measuring himself, which is no bad thing.

Needn't have bothered

All the trouble that I-Want-Four-More-Years-Trump went to in Ukraine were wasted.  Readers will recall that the aim of Ukraine-gate was to discredit Joe Biden's son so as to somehow damage Sleepy Joe's presidential election chances.

Well, that fiasco ended up with the ignominy of I-Want-Four-More-Years-Trump getting impeached.  Not a good line on the resume.

He needn't have bothered.  Sleepy Joe's performances in the campaign to get to be in the Campaign (aka know as the 'primaries') seem to have blown his chances out of the water.  He has finished 4th and 5th in the opening events and his campaign now appears mortally wounded.

Cartoon biden making money from ukraine

The seminal date is 'Super Tuesday' on 3 March, when 16 states that have 34% of delegates to the Democrat Convention are chosen.  That date doesn't forecast the winner, but narrows the field sharply.

PS:  Readers will note that Amy Klobuchar came in 3rd in the latest event, behind the ageing hippy Bernie Sanders and the telegenic Pete Buttigieg.  Wry & Dry is still rooting for Amy.

Diversity aplenty

If Democrat contender...is elected President of the Yoo Ess Ay in November

...Pete Buttigieg will be the first gay Maltese-American President;

...Amy Klobuchar will be the first female Slovenian-American President; 

...Michael Bloomberg will be the first Jewish-billionaire President;

...Bernie Sanders will be the first Jewish President  

If I-Want-Four-More-Years-Trump gets four more years in November he will be the first, err [fumbling here], comedian US President.

Cartoon trump ukraine comedian 

Oscars: who cares

Readers will know that the annual Hollywood pat-on-the-back awards for movies has become an exhibition of virtue signalling.  Winners are now unable to resist the television platform to project their personal virtue(s), be those virtues, as they see them, political, economic, social or environmental.

But the self-indulgence is so high that they haven't noticed that fewer and fewer Americans are watching.  Or care.

Chart Oscars 

Wry & Dry predicts that by 2025 the viewing audience will have reduced to close to zero. 

Cartoon oscars

Will the virtue signallers notice?   

Panzered

Germans like an orderly life.  Predictable, organised, respectful, etc.  Especially when it comes to politics.

So, after Chancellor Angela Merkel had held the top gig for 12 years, she announced that she would stand down in 2021 and anointed the alphabetically powerful Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (aka AKK), Minister of Defence and leader of Merkel's CDU party, as her successor.  Teutonic order would remain.

Err, not quite.  On Monday, AKK quit.  Members of AKK's party in the eastern state of Thuringia ignored her directions and last week voted with the AdF, the far-right party, to oust the state’s respected premier, Bodo Ramelow of the left-wing Die Linke party. 

Cartoon German Putsch

This is a massive boost for the AdF.  And has plunged Germany into a period of un-Germanic political uncertainty.  Readers will instantly see two issues.

Firstly, Merkel's plans for an orderly retirement and transition have been panzered.   

Secondly, and more importantly, there is now a clear fracturing on the conservative side of German politics into (a) pragmatic centrists and (b) ideological extreme right-wingers.  

Be careful for what you wish.  It was Merkel's decision in 2015 to allow some 1.3 million Middle Eastern refugees into Germany that boosted the rise of the AfD.   Wry & Dry has little doubt that some of that boost was xenophobic.  But senses also a Teutonic fear of social disorder and disruption. 

The trouble is, once in the thrall of the far right, it is hard to escape.  Many young ideological left-wingers sensibly become capitalists as they mature.  Not so those to the right of the soup spoon.

Tesla: halo or FOMO?

Readers will be aware that the share price of Tesla has risen almost vertically recently (Readers well acquainted with matters mathematical might not call tripling in value since October this year 'vertical'; Wry & Dry does).  Readers will also know that selling shares at a high price is a good idea.  So the company announced last night that it will sell some $2.3 billion of common stock (i.e. ordinary shares). 

Tesla desperately needs to resume investing in its growth - the company has starved capital expenditure in recent years to preserve cash.  The capital raising is timely, to say the least.

Investors still seem happy to ignore Tesla's want of profitability.  And keep pushing up its share price.  

There is a sort of halo around Tesla's share price.  Or is it a FOMO? [3]

[3] Fear Of Missing Out.  That is investors are piling into the stock for fear of missing out on easy profits.  It's a rookie error. 

Unclear on the concept

A friend went to an AFLW (Australian Football League - women's section) game last weekend.  He was accompanied by his partner.  An attendant searched her bag before entry (to ensure no carriage into the ground of alcohol, fireworks, flares, bombs, mortars, bazookas, APMs, etc). 

The attendant triumphantly found a bottle of Chanel 5 perfume.  My friend's partner was denied entry unless she disposed of the bottle.  The attendant, clearly without understanding either (a) the value of the item; or (b) that perhaps commonsense should prevail, was determined and insistent.  The rules said no glass could be carried into the ground.

Entry was denied.

Cartoon AFLW

Wry & Dry wonders if this is part of an AFL crackdown.  And should Mrs Wry & Dry when attending AFL games now decant her French perfume from its elegant glass bottle into a plastic container purchased from Target for the purpose.  Lest a zealous attendant deem her perfume glass bottle to be a weapon. 

Snippets from all over 

1.  Chinese plane passengers down 70%

The total number of passengers carried by Chinese airlines from the end of the lunar new year break on January 27 to February 12 was 10.2m, down 70 per cent compared with the same period a year ago, 

Wry & Dry comments:  Something to do with a virus, perhaps.  

2.  Italy: back in the news

Italian industrial output dived 2.7% in December on a month-on-month, seasonally-adjusted basis, following November’s flat reading and logging the sharpest contraction in almost two years.

Wry & Dry comments:  Germany first.  Now Italy.  Contagion?  You betcha.  The euro fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 2017.    

3.  Chinese espionage

The United States has charged four Chinese military officers with the hacking of major credit reporting agency Equifax in 2017 and making off with sensitive personal data on about 145 million Americans. 

Wry & Dry comments:  Chances of bringing the culprits to trial: zero.

4.  Bitcoin booms

The price of Bitcoin is now up 40% in 2020.

Wry & Dry comments: Sigh.

5.  Germany: risk of recession?

The manufacturing slump continues in Germany as industrial production fell by 3.5% M/M in December, a day after factory orders were shown to have declined at the fastest pace in more than a decade.

Wry & Dry comments:  Trade wars, climate change regulation, etc all on top of a political mess.  And don't mention...Brexit.

And, to soothe your troubled mind ...

Miscellany 

Last words ...

If Dems go on to nominate Sanders, the Russians will have to reconsider who to work for to best screw up the US. Sanders is just as polarizing as Trump AND he’ll ruin our economy and doesn’t care about our military. If I’m Russian, I go with Sanders this time around.”

 -  Lloyd Blankfein, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, in a tweet.

The man is right on all three counts. Tsar Vlad is rooting for Sanders.     

A lightly salted absurdity ...

Deepak, Wry & Dry's Uber driver ... 

...greeted Wry & Dry with a grunt as he thrust open the door.  There, to Wry & Dry's delight was Amulya in her car seat clutching her elephant in one hand and a container of fruit in the other.

“Hello Amulya and hello Sir Donald Trunk!” Wry & Dry cried, looking at the elephant, which appeared even more dilapidated than he did last time. Clearly Trunk’s time in office is taking its toll, thought Wry & Dry, as Amulya pressed a blueberry into the elephant’s padded but evidently hungry jaws.

Deepak yawned noisily. Amulya chuckled. “Daddy is very sleepy,” she said.

“Still enjoying that tea Deepak, that your mother-in-law bought for you in the Fijian market?” Wry & Dry called from the back seat.

“Sure, I’m sleeping like haven’t for years! She’s a good one, the Crocodile.”

Deepak forged on, “I’m a bit worried about Anjali though. She is taking too much on, all this pre-reading for university.” 

“Mummy is clever” piped up Amulya.

“That she is,” beamed Wry & Dry.

“But Daddy is…”

“A grape Amulya?” interjected Wry & Dry, selecting one from the plastic tub, in an attempt to avoid disaster. 

She took it in her chubby fingers and then waggled Sir Donald Trunk in Wry & Dry’s direction.

“Fruit for Trunk?” she asked.

“Sure,” said Wry & Dry, “as long as he remembers his manners.”  And handed the forlorn looking creature a piece of peach.

“No” Amulya exclaimed loudly. “Trunk does not like peaches” she retorted with a hard stare at Wry & Dry.

“No peaches for Sir Donald Trunk?” Wry & Dry inquired with curiosity.

“No peaches for Trunk, but Sanders loves peaches,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Sanders?” asked an even more curious Wry & Dry.

Amulya produced a bear with an unnerving grin, that was even shabbier than Sir Donald Trunk.

“His other name is Bernie” she said. “Mummy says Bernie loves peaches.”

“What else did Mummy say?” asked Wry & Dry.

“Mummy says if Trunk gets into any more trouble with the peaches then Bernie gets to sit where Daddy sits,” she said pointing to the driver’s seat triumphantly. “And Trunk goes to the sandpit forever,” she concluded.

“Sanders would like to be in at the wheel as it were, and as for the peaches…” Wry & Dry chuckled to myself.

Deepak interjected at that point.

“It’s Anjali, always talking of politics around Amulya. Telling her who’s who and what is what. And why can’t she stick to Australian politics anyway. It’s very bad for her. The child is getting politicised!” he cried, momentarily drifting from his stupor.

After a polite silence in which Deepak slipped back into inertness, Wry & Dry thought it safe to further Amulya’s education.

“It’s impeachment Amulya, can you say impeachment?” Wry & Dry asked.

“Impeachment,” Amulya said perfectly, then asked “are they sticky too?”

“Absolutely” said Wry & Dry.

He went on; “your mummy is right. Sir Donald Trunk would do best to stay away from sticky situations. Sanders may laugh for now, but he is a very very old bear. Four years at the wheel may be too much for an old bear like Sanders. “

Wry & Dry's rheumy eye caught the fine sight of two very long and suspiciously glossy legs sticking up from a bag on the floor. He reached over and pulled out a doll, with short dark hair.

“Amulya, meet Amy, Amy Klobuchar” Wry & Dry announced, enjoying himself thoroughly.

She looked wide eyed.

“No Mummy said that is Nancy.”

With that Wry & Dry laughed heartily.

“Of course, it’s Nancy, how could I be so presumptuous,” he said.

The car slowed to a halt and Wry & Dry picked up a piece of peach.

“I’ve always wondered what impeachment tasted like, and now I know, thanks Amulya!” he cried happily as he sauntered down the street, munching on the sweetest of peaches.

   -   from the quill of Mrs. Wry & Dry

 

Cheers

Anthony 

 

First Samuel client events calendar

EVENTS FOR 2020

First Samuel Chief Investment Officer Events

"Managing for a Low-Interest Rate Future"

Most events are at full capacity. 

Please call Jess on (03) 8610 9222 if you need to cancel or make other arrangements 

25th Feb – Chin Chin, Melbourne CBD

26th Feb - The Botanical, South Yarra

27th Feb – The Botanical, South Yarra
(Lunch & Dinner)

5th March – Stillwater, Dromana