Wry & Dry

"Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac" Hidden war with China. Unclear.

The ultimate aphrodisiac 

Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State, [1] once said that "power is the ultimate aphrodisiac." It is clear to Wry & Dry that a few bureaucrats within the bowels of the Victorian government must be looking like Woody Allen as he was about to enter the Orgasmatron in the movie Sleeper.  Some bureaucrats now have the opportunity to exercise plenipotentiary power.  Well almost.

Cartoon sick people living

The classic example this week was that, under the State of Disaster powers that now govern we-the-prisoners, Victorians are able to walk, jog or cycle to their place to exercise (providing it was with 5,000 metres of their home, only once a day, for no more than one hour and only with one other person).  But not drive.

So, driving a car can lead to the spread of CV-19?  Wry & Dry checked with epidemiologists, virologists and astrologers.  The first two said, "no."  The third said she couldn't foresee a problem, but for $10 she would give Wry & Dry an accurate forecast.

Cartoon furtune teller

Yesterday, someone with a brain in the government decided that driving to exercise was okay.

Wry & Dry is waiting for Stage Five restrictions. State politicians will be restricted from speaking, writing, texting, videoing or otherwise communicating with any member of the public for any reason, whatsoever. 

[1] Henry Kissinger is an American politician, diplomat, and geopolitical consultant who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under Nixon and Ford. For his actions negotiating a ceasefire in Vietnam, Kissinger received the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize.  
A practitioner of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a prominent role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. During this period, he pioneered the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, orchestrated the opening of relations with the People's Republic of China, engaged in what became known as shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East to end the Yom Kippur War, and negotiated the Paris Peace Accords, ending American involvement in the Vietnam War.

Sleepy Joe's war on China 

It's not a fightin' war.  It's an environmental war.

To save Readers the trouble, Wry & Dry has ploughed through the $2 trillion clean energy policy of Wannabe President of the Yoo-Ess-Ay, Sleepy Joe Biden.  The headlines are all about the Paris Agreement, net-zero emissions by 2050 and net-zero emissions in the electricity generating sector by 2035.  That's all good stuff, especially the role of gas as a 'bridging energy-source' i.e. between coal and renewables.

Buried in the policy is a 'carbon border tax' (CBT).  

A CBT is a tax on carbon emissions attributed to imported goods that have not been carbon-taxed at source.  It gets technical, but, at its core, a CBT is both an environmental measure and a protectionist trade weapon. 

So, guess which country gets hurt the most?  Close, but no cigar.  It's China.  China’s continuing reliance on non-renewable energy to power its economy leaves it particularly vulnerable to a CBT.  China, never to be shy about expressing aggrievance, has protested loudly about CBT, wherever imposed. To date, this has been at the EU, where a CBT will be introduced.  Add the Yoo-Ess-Ay and Emperor Xi has a problem. 

By the way, readers may not know that there is already a House bill for a US carbon tax. It starts at US$15 a tonne and ratchets up $10 every year until CO2 emissions are almost eliminated. The money raised is rotated back into they-the-people’s pockets. The higher the carbon price, the bigger the cheque.  Unless the Democrats win the Senate, the bill is dead in the water. 

Wine wars

China's 'anti-dumping' [2] investigation and tariff threat to Australia's wine exports is faintly ridiculous.  No, it is completely ridiculous.  But that is not the issue.  It's all about retaliation for PM Jimmy Morrison calling for an independent enquiry into, simply, the source of CV-19. 

Cartoon xi wine

 

This anti-dumping investigation is another example of a dummy spit of risible reasoning. Threat to the Chinese wine industry indeed.  But it is Realpolitik.  Unfair?  Sure.  But, really, Australian commentators and editors; it's time to grow up.  This is reality.  

By the way, let Wry & Dry give Readers the scoop, there are some good quality Chinese wines.  Domaine Chandon has a massive winery in Ningxia, similar to the one it has in Melbourne's Yarra Valley.  Also from Ningxia is Helan Qingxue. The winery is renowned internationally for its Jia Bei Lan Grand Reserve 2009 (2009 Cabernet), which won the International Trophy at the Decanter World Wine Awards. 

However, allow Wry & Dry to give Readers the tip: never purchase a Chinese wine that is named Great Wall, Forbidden City, Chairman Mao or Emperor Xi.  It's rather like buying a wine called Kangaroo or Platypus.

[2] 'Dumping' is when goods are sold in another country at a price less than in the home country.

Unclear on the concept 

Virus-What-Virus-Trump has a short fuse.  Especially when irritated by a company that upsets his equilibrium, where he will tweet insults and call for Americans to boycott the company.  Examples include Apple, Harley Davidson and AT&T.  

The reasons for the boycotts range from disagreements over operating decisions such as factory relocations or product selection; leverage for government contract negotiations; and just general dislike. He’s never cared very much if the issues are in conflict with some of his own policies.

Or re-election chances.  

This week he called for the boycott of Goodyear Tire (sic) & Rubber Co, because he alleges the company banned his Make America Great Again hats (it didn't).  Two issues:

Firstly, Goodyear's largest competitors are Bridgestone (Japan), Continental (Germany) and Michelin (France).  So much for supporting American workers.

Cartoon goodyear

Secondly, Goodyear is based in Ohio, with 64,000 employees.  Ohio is termed a 'swing state' for the elections.  Since 1900, only two presidents have won an election without winning Ohio, F.D. Roosevelt and Kennedy.

Latest poll

Readers know that the US presidential election is not won by majority popular vote (as Hilary Clinton knows, she won 3 million more votes than Virus-What-Virus-Trump), it's won under an arcane system of 'electoral college' votes.  Each state gets a number of electoral college votes based on its population. In most states it's winner take all i.e. a state with 51% of the popular vote for, say, Sleepy Joe Biden will allocate 100% of its electoral college votes to Sleepy Joe.

Nationwide opinion polls (such as this week's showing Biden leading 49.9% to 42.3%) are irrelevant.  Psephologist Readers would be advised to review the below (courtesy of the Financial Times):

Chart us polls

China's long arm

Readers will remember some time ago that Wry & Dry wrote about over 300 Chinese fishing vessels scooping up their catch in protected waters around the Galapagos Islands. Well, the Ecuadorian navy has said this week that 149 of them have turned off their satellite identification systems.  It will be difficult for the 15 vessels of the Ecuadorian navy to successfully defend their seas. 

But Readers need not worry about the Chinese territorial incursions 13,000 kilometres away.  It's happening on our doorstep.  Just 529 kilometres ENE of Cape York, the Butuka Academy in Port Moresby has a photo of Chinese Emperor Xi Jinping over the front door.  The other flag in the school grounds is that of China.  The $28m school was a gift from China.  Readers may wish to see Click here.  Readers may then view the video that follows that one.  And the next.

Readers can join the dots.

How rude

Imagine that.  One day you obtain over 80% of the vote in an election.  The next, your formerly best supporters boo you from the stage and yell at you to 'Go away."

Well, this was the reception given last weekend to Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus.  Affectionately known as the 'last dictator in Europe', 'Lucky' was visiting a tractor factor when the once reliable loyal workers turned on him. 

Cartoon belarus

Lucky isn't going to take this lying down. He has tightened security, increased arrests, restricted the media.  The people are not happy.

This will end in tears.  Sadly, Wry & Dry suspects the tears will be of the people.  Russian tanks will not roll across the border; Tsar Vlad is too smart for that.  It will be because of the infiltration of Russian security forces into institutions in Belarus to help quell the unrest.

Tsar Vlad doesn't like trouble on his doorstep.

The importance of an articulate education minister 

Readers may not be aware that there has been a massive CV-19-driven educational farce in the UK.  Wry & Dry will cut to the chase: Borisconi is no longer very popular.  In fact, his massive election winning lead of nine months ago has been reduced to just 2 percentage points.

It's got to do with the final year secondary school exam results in England and how they were assessed in view of CV-19.  The Education Minister, a blend of Jim Hacker [1] and a parliamentary Frank Spencer [2], flip-flopped between using (a) teachers' predicted grades and (b) those calculated by an algorithm.  The former was in a chair when the music stopped.

Cartoon uk education

Readers will know that predicted grades have an outcome of 'grade inflation' by some schools (of 12.5% averaged across all schools).  But that fact doesn't matter, electorally. 

The Education Minister was never going to win.  There is nothing more powerful than aggrieved parents who feel that his/her child has somehow been educationally disadvantaged by a process that, whichever it ended up being, was both opaque and ensured that his/her child would not get into the preferred tertiary course.  Whether that might be the case or not.   

Weird, isn't it.  The demise of many people's grandparents because of government-caused negligence in an aged-care facility is an unfortunate statistical reality, and of limited electoral damage.  But seemingly mess-up exam results and the electoral outcome is determined for a year's number of school children plus their parents plus their still-living grandparents.

[1]  Of Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister fame.   
[2]  From the cringe-worthy Some Mothers Do Have 'Em television series.         

Snippets from all over 

1.  Former Trump aide arrested 

Steve Bannon, Donald Trump's 2016 campaign chief, was yesterday arrested. He was charged with fraud related to a crowd-funding campaign to build sections of wall on privately owned land along the US-Mexico border.

Wry & Dry comments:  Bannon is the sixth former Trump campaign aide to have been charged.  

2.  China fails trade target

Under the trade deal signed with the US earlier this year, China undertook to purchase an additional $200 billion of US goods and services.  To the end of June, China was well short of the year-to-date goal:

 Chart china imports

Wry & Dry comments:  China is now trying to rapidly catch up.  Chinese crude oil buyers have chartered about 19 tankers for September to send roughly 37 million barrels of oil to China - which will be a new record. 

3.  Wolf of Wall Street

The real Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, has signed up as an investment coach on RagingBull, a US stock trading platform that has drawn fire for its high pressure sales tactics.

Wry & Dry comments: Caveat Emptor.  RagingBull is not overseen by US securities regulators and is “neither licensed nor qualified to provide investment advice”, the company states on its website. Instead, a “team of experts” with no professional investment experience presents online training for annual subscriptions of up to $2,000.   

4.  Virgin Galactic - launch delay

Virgin Galactic, the space tourism brainchild of billionaire Richard Branson, has pushed the date of its maiden voyage into 2021 from later this year.

Wry & Dry comments:   About 700 customers have made prepayments on the $225,000 discounted flights.  The company spent ~$108m in H1.   

5.  China slows

Retail sales in China dropped for the seventh consecutive month, slipping 1.1% in July from a year ago, worse than a predicted 0.1% rise. 

Wry & Dry comments:  Industrial output advanced 4.8%, missing analyst forecasts for 5.1% growth, suggesting the recovery in the world's second-largest economy is still fragile.

And, to soothe your troubled mind ...

Miscellany 

Last words ...

“Alexei Navalny's poisoning again demonstrates that for Putin, assassination is policy - inside and outside of Russia.

 -  Gary Kasparov, Russian former chess grandmaster and world champion.

Alexei Navalny, Russian opposition figure, was hospitalised yesterday after a suspected poisoning.  Kasparov is widely seen in the West as a symbol of opposition to Tsar Putin.  He was barred from the most recent presidential ballot. 

A lightly salted absurdity ...

Deepak, Wry & Dry's Uber driver ... 

...was beaming as Wry & Dry hopped into the jalopy.

“Well, don’t you look like the cat who’s got the cream. Has your father-in-law faltered from his pedestal?” asked Wry & Dry.

“No, he has not fallen off the perch yet, but he might, as you say, be a little crest fallen,” laughed Deepak.

“Ah huh! I told you, Deepak; only a matter of time before the rooster would retrogress towards the ever-beckoning feather duster that we all fear! So, what happened?”

“It all started when the Feather-Duster decided to ‘advise’ Anjali about finances,” giggled Deepak.

“Dangerous, very dangerous,” said Wry & Dry.

“You see, Anjali has this thing for online shopping and there is a pretty constant stream of packages that arrive on the doorstep.  The Feather-Duster told her that she would never get rich if she kept wasting her money.”

“That’d go down well,” said Wry & Dry.

“Yes, it did rather, and she went..”

“Nutso!” finished Wry & Dry.

“Actually, it went more pear-shaped,” said a thoughtful Deepak.

“Really?”

“Yes, a very ripe pear too. Splat it went, and all over the Feather-Duster’s favourite Brioni trousers! Anyway, it was a brilliant throw,” added Deepak.

"Did Damshi pick a side between Anjali and the Feather-Duster?” Wry & Dry continued.

“It wasn’t Anjali who threw the pear!  It was our little one, Amulya! And what is more she was very, very rude. Damshi, came into the kitchen fussing and said, ‘what a pity, all over your favourite donkey coloured trousers, dear.’ Amulya took one look at the Feather-Duster’s trousers and cried ‘I don’t see a donkey but I can see a jhakaas!’”

“What! Genius, but she sounds a hand full…” laughed Wry &Dry.

“Well, it’s actually a Hindi word that means epic as well as, err, the other meaning. But I’m not sure that the Feather-Duster believes it.”

“Amulya sounds just like her grandmother,” laughed Wry & Dry as the car pulled to a halt.

“I’ll tell you the rest next week, but it’s all a bit tense in the hen house,” called Deepak as he drove off hurriedly in the direction of home.

Wry & Dry laughed and cried; “cluckety cluck” as he strode happily up the street.

   - From the quill of Mrs Wry & Dry.

 

Cheers

Anthony