Wry & Dry

The world is nervous. Brexit chicken. Rationality sedated. .

It's a short week in Melbourne.  The AFL Grand Final will be played on Saturday in Queensland - which is obviously why there is a public holiday in Victoria on Friday.  So, Wry & Dry comes to Readers a day early.  Enjoy!

I.   The world is nervous...

Wry & Dry senses a strange eeriness has descended upon the world.  Will Biden do a Greg Norman [1] or Trump a Lasse Viren [2]?

The bookies now have Biden easing and Trump firming.  The polls are showing that Biden's lead has narrowed.  Should Readers be worried?

Cartoon mt rushmore

Nuh.  Tax-What-Tax-Trump should pre-book an appointment at Centrelink (Washington DC office); see if Man With A Van is free and check out discounts available for Seniors.  Wry & Dry predicts Biden will win at least 375 Electoral College votes, Trump at most 163.   

This is not as land-slidish as seems.  And would rank below Willy Clinton's 1996 result of 379 votes, which itself ranked only 28th in the pantheon of victories.

The clear leader was Ronald Reagan in 1984, with 525 of 538 votes. [3]  

[1] Norman was 6 strokes ahead as the final round started in the 1996 Masters at Augusta.  And returned 78 in the final round to lose by five strokes. 
[2] Viren stumbled and fell in the Munich 1972 Olympic 10,000 metres final.  He got up and went to win in world record time. 
[3]  George Washington got 69 of 69 votes in 1788, and 132 of 132 in 1792.

II.  ...because... it's about the asteroid

Readers may remember televangelist Pat Robertson.  Well, he's now 90 years old.  And a clear example of "age shall not weary them".  On Tuesday he said that God told him that Tax-What-Tax-Trump will win the election.

But wait.  There's more!  He said that after five years an asteroid would destroy the Earth.  Well, if Tax-What-Tax-Trump wins the election, an asteroid might as well strike the Earth.

Cartoon asteroid

But, whew, either way, at least five more years of bacchanalian pleasure!

III.  Brexit chicken

Last week's Borisconi-enacted Brexit deadline ("We must have an agreement by 15 October") has come and gone.  But each side still wishes to negotiate.  Maybe.  It went swimmingly, and then glacial.  

Cartoon brexit glaciers

Wry & Dry sees the impasse coming down to negotiating tactics.  And has written to each side with the following advice:

EU's negotiating tactic: Make it look like the EU is backing down, to give Borisconi a victory.

UK's negotiating tactic: Make it look like the French have lost.   

Next?   

IV.  Rationality sedated

"Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money. After a heady experience of that kind, normally sensible people drift into behavior akin to that of Cinderella at the ball.

They know that overstaying the festivities - that is, continuing to speculate in companies that have gigantic valuations relative to the cash they are likely to generate in the future - will eventually bring on pumpkins and mice. But they nevertheless hate to miss a single minute of what is one helluva party.

Therefore, the giddy participants all plan to leave just seconds before midnight. There’s a problem, though: They are dancing in a room in which the clocks have no hands."

 - Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway's 2000 Annual Report.

Chart two up ASX

Just sayin'. 

V.  Rationality sedated - case study?

Readers may be aware that Ant Financial, China's largest payments company is soon to list on both the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges.  It will be the largest IPO on record, raising some $35 billion - surpassing Saudi Aramco's $29 billion last December.

Wry & Dry's man person in Hong Kong says that the company wants Ant Financial to complete its IPO before the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3, to avoid running into ensuing "choppy financial" markets.

But the choppiness possibility isn't a problem to Hong Kong investors: stockbrokers are offering investors to buy the stock with up to 20 times leverage.

See previous article.

VI.  What matters: a reminder

As the longest US presidential election campaign since the last longest US presidential campaign moves to its denouement. Readers have understandably forgotten what the average Joe and Jane thinks is important. 

Here's the scoop.

Table whats important

But, really, it doesn't matter.  Policy debate has been absent for many moons.  It's as simple as to whether or not voters like Tax-What-Tax-Trump.  The election has become a big Facebook like or dislike campaign.

Sigh.

VII.  D-10?

Wry & Dry always thought D-10 was an awesome Caterpillar tractor.  Well, yes, it is.  But it is also the name given to a new, UK-driven intra-country collective: the idea is a group of ten wealthy major democratic nations: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, UK and USA.  This is the G-7 plus Australia, India and South Korea.

This is an interesting move from 'wealthy & first world' to add 'democratic'.  Thereby adding an ideological filter which, by its definition, is exclusionary.    

Readers will notice the most serious issue: the D-10 would be dominated by right-hand-drive countries: Australia, India, Japan and UK; with a combined population of 1.6 billion.  The balance of cack-handed D-10 countries are a mere 627 million strong. How would the left-hand-drive countries on the D-10 respond?

Canada: "Because of global-warming we will soon abolish cars, so it doesn't matter".

France: "We want compensation: an extra vote".

Germany: "Panzers drive anywhere they want."

Italy: "We want compensation: a loan from the EU."

South Korea:  "Our cars will soon be able to levitate, so it doesn't matter.

USA:  "Aren't all cars left-hand-drive."   

Cartoon D 10

VIII.  Unclear on the concept

Readers may have noticed that last week it was announced that Gal Gadot, the Israeli star of Wonder Woman, had been cast as Cleopatra in a forthcoming film about the Egyptian queen.

Sameera Khan, a broadcast journalist tweeted: “Which Hollywood dumbass thought it would be a good idea to cast an Israeli actress as Cleopatra... instead of a stunning Arab actress like Nadine Njeim? And shame on you, Gal Gadot. Your country steals Arab land & you’re stealing their movie roles… smh [4].”

Err.  Hold the phone.  Readers will spot two errors (ignoring the anti-Semitism): (1) Cleopatra was not Arab; she was Greek; (2) the Arabic conquest and colonialisation of North Africa, including Egypt, did not even start until over 600 years after Cleopatra died.

Sadly, not only did Ms Khan show her ignorance and anti-Semitism, but she lit Twitter alight with hate-tweets.  Robust Readers may wish to visit: Click Here (nsfw).

[4]  smh = shake my head. 

IX. Stupid questions

Readers will recall Wry & Dry's comments last week on Amy Coney Barrett and her calmness at answering sometimes pointless questions from Senators of both sides.

Wry & Dry was rather taken by the below meme:

photo i have 7 children

X.  Europe turns red

It was in Marx & Engels' Communist Manifesto (1848) that the phrase "A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of communism" first appeared.  And both authors would be pleased that communist-red ink has now drenched the balance sheets of all countries in Europe.  Well, the eurozone.

Government budgets deficits have boomed.  The total will be about €1 trillion.  And that is just one year's deficit.   

Chart Red Europe

The previous peak in eurozone deficits was in 2010, when budget shortfalls rose to 6.6% of GDP.

XI.  Bookies' corner

Money is coming in for Tax-What-Tax-Trump:

Biden: $1.53  (last week: $1.40)

Trump: $2.60  ($2.80)

Source: Sportsbet.

Snippets from all over 

1.  Tesla delivers 

Tesla, an electric vehicle manufacturing company, delivered a fifth straight quarterly profit in the three months to the end of September 

Wry & Dry comments:  It also had revenue of $397m from the sale of regulatory zero-emission credits to other manufacturers.

2.  Cathay takes out razor

Cathay Pacific Airways will cut about 5,300 jobs based in Hong Kong and close its Cathay Dragon unit as part of a sweeping overhaul of the city’s flag carrier triggered by the halt in air travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wry & Dry comments:  Ouch.  The entire reduction of some 8,500 positions amounts to around 24% of Cathay’s headcount.  Expect a capital raising in which Emperor Xi's government takes a further indirect interest. 

3.  Netflix flickers

Netflix, the video streaming group, added only 2.2m subscribers from July to the end of September — well below the 16m and 10m subscribers it added in the first and second quarters, respectively. 

Wry & Dry comments:  The lockdown boost has ended.  

4.  Goldman cough up

Goldman Sachs has reached a long-awaited pact with the U.S. Justice Department to pay more than $2 billion for its role in Malaysia's 1MDB scandal

Wry & Dry comments:  In all, Goldman will pay roughly $5 billion once accords with Malaysia, the DOJ and other agencies are tallied together.  Mysteriously, Malaysia dropped criminal charges against the company in early September. 

5. China booms

The Chinese economy grew at 4.9% year-on-year in the September quarter.

Wry & Dry comments:  China is likely to be the sole major economy in the world to register positive growth this year.

And, to soothe your troubled mind ...

Miscellany 

Last words ...

"People are tired of listening to Fauci and these idiots.  Every day he goes on television, there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him . . . Fauci is a disaster.”

 -  Tax-what-Tax-Trump, speaking about Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US' leading infectious disease expert.

Wry & Dry guesses that Dr Fauci will not be getting a Christmas card from the White House.

A lightly salted absurdity ...

Sadly, Deepak, Wry & Dry's Uber driver ... 

...has quit his job.  In a text to Wry & Dry, he apologised, and said that Anjali and her family wanted to return to India.  He had no choice. [5] 

[5]  Mrs Wry & Dry has started her own business.  And can no longer devote the time she wishes to creatively add value.  Dhanyavaad. Aapake nae vyaapaar kee samrddhi ho sakatee hai!

 

Cheers

Anthony