Oh, for a quiet week so that Wry & Dry can recline. But, no. Consider…
- Greta of Arc
- Twitter is not Telsa
- Albo was doing so well…
- Mid term
- Media speak
- Jungle Book
…and more. Enjoy Wry & Dry: a cynical and irreverent blend of politics, economics and life.
Greta of Arc
Greta Thunberg was doing so well. For a teenager, she had done a great job in alerting sceptics about the threat of climate change.
And then, when launching her new book this week, she decided to go the whole 9 yards. Her aim is now to overthrow “the whole capitalist system,” which, she says, “is responsible for imperialism, oppression, genocide… racist oppressive extractionism.”
Wry & Dry couldn’t help but notice Ms. Thunberg’s mobile phone, her sneakers, her jeans, her ability to fly to conferences paid by other people, etc. And pondered what economic system gave her such choice?
As with the victim who (temporarily) lost sponsorship for Netball Australia, Wry & Dry suspects advocates will leverage her comments to their own cause. Groups will emerge who will now use this energetic youngster for their own purposes.
Is there a new Joan of Arc on the horizon?1
Wry & Dry waits for the Netflix series. Oops, sorry, Netflix is a product of the capitalist system.
1 Joan of Arc is a patron saint of France, who, in the 15th century, when only aged 17, encouraged the wilting French army to victory over the English in the famous siege of Orléans in the Hundred Years War. She was later captured and burned at the stake by the English, at age 19, for heresy. There is little doubt that she has been made larger in death than in life. But it’s a great story, if only for the role of women in a then very testosterone world.
Twitter is not Tesla
Really, what is all the fuss about? A very successful engineering entrepreneur buys a decaying social media company.
Spot the difference between Tesla and Twitter. Actually, differences.
Tesla was a start-up. Musk had a clean sheet of paper and a great idea. He could bend the company to his dream. His key selling proposition was the science.
Twitter is aged. It has a legacy technology and legacy users. Musk cannot bend it to his will. Twitter’s key selling proposition is human interaction that its users have with each other. That is, the art of communication. Often very bad art, but still art. And its problems are political, not engineering.
This will take some time to play out. But the reality is that Musk overpaid for Twitter. And he borrowed over US$13 billion to buy the company. The annual interest bill will be over $1 billion. Twitter has less than $1 billion in cash flow – much less in dividends. In fact, it has never paid a dividend.
Twitter may very well stumble. Then Musk will be forced to sell his Tesla shares to repay his massive debt. Tesla stockholders will lose.
Albo was doing so well…
…and then he realised that the budget was not received as well as it might have been, because there was no action on either economic reform or budget repair.
So, this week he springs into action with… words.
“We can’t close our borders and wait it out [unlike the pandemic]: we have to reform our way through.”
“We are serious about budget repair.”
Wry and Dry awaits news of economic reform and budget repair. It might be a long wait.
Usually, US mid-term elections (i.e. halfway through the 4-year presidential term) are ignored outside of the US. Generally, the president’s party loses seats in Congress.
But this time, there are massive issues at play.
Firstly, Sleepy Joe’s party (Democrat) is likely to lose control of at least the House and possibly the Senate to Republicans. If Readers thought that Sleepy Joe already walked like a lame duck president and quacked like a lame duck president without actually being a lame duck president, they will soon find that he will be an actual lame duck president.
Secondly, the Trumpster has sponsored many Republican candidates, who, if elected, will fulfill their pledge of fealty to him. The end of the beginning of the end of democracy in the US will be complete.
Thirdly, the House Select Committee inquiry into the 6th January storming of the Capitol2 will be shutdown. It will then be up to the US Justice Department to have the courage to carry the baton.
Fourthly, the brutal hammer attack this week on the House Majority Leader’s husband by a right-wing nutter has not been condemned by senior Republicans, or even the Trumpster. This acquiescence to violence will get worse, whatever the election outcome.
Finally, the “election steal” cry will re-emerge from the rabbit hole of internet conspiracy theories. The candidates who campaigned on a platform of ‘electoral integrity’ will, if they lose, ape the Trumpster’s mantra. And bleat “we wuz robbed.”
2 Over 900 people have been arrested and charged with the storming. Of these 312 had pleaded guilty to misdemeanours (a lesser offence), 100 to felonies and another 26 had been found guilty at trial. It is expected than over 1,000 people will be charged. This includes the more serious charges of seditious conspiracy.
Five lions escaped their enclosure in Sydney’s Taronga Zoo after an “integrity issue with a containment fence.”
Integrity issue? Containment fence?
A farmer who lost cattle would say “the fence was broken.”
The RACV has issued critical advice to its members: ‘How to drive safely over a pothole.’
Phew. Just in time advice.
Next week will be an article on the use of the left-hand indicator.
Just when a sense of normality had returned to UK politics, and the average Brit could resume complaining about [insert a whinge here], along comes a Tory politician to return Westminster to the funny farm.
Former Cabinet Minister and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who presided over the UK’s inadequate response to covid and who himself broke his own lockdown rules, has accepted a fee of GBP400,000 to appear in what apparently is called a reality television show. The show, “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, is being filmed in a jungle setting somewhere in Queensland.
The Honourable Member’s offer to gift a part of the fee to a charity hasn’t soothed the fury. It would seem that most Brits wish him to choke on a diet of animal genitalia in the depths of the jungle and then slowly be eaten by patient but determined red ants.
Amongst many weird things about this, is that Hancock wilfully sat down and signed a contract to desert his UK constituency for an experiment in sadomasochism.
Imagine if an Australian politician went of reality television. Hang on…
Hong Kong desperately wants to get its mojo back. And its reputation as the Asian place to do business.
But Emperor Xi’s increasingly heavy size-12 black boot remains on its throat. It’s not only the security clampdown, but also the covid restrictions. And so, business and talented people are increasingly fleeing to Singapore.
To stem the flow, the gurus in Hong decided to have a “Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit” this week.
What could possibly go wrong?
“We’re back!” Hong Kong’s financial secretary Paul Chan gushed at the conference opening.
But Mr. Chan was not back at all. After catching covid on a trip, he was stuck in the Middle East because of Hong Kong’s covid restrictions. He gave his speech via video link.
Readers have to hand it to Chairman Dan. Tossing a $15m sponsorship lifeline to Netball Australia is a masterpiece of political acumen.
Victorians will get more out of the $15m offered by Visit Victoria than they will out of the $35 billion to be spend of the first part of the Suburban Rail Loop.
Watch out for other sporting begging bowls to be placed at the foot of Chairman Dan’s table.
And Netball Australia has changed its team moniker from the Diamonds to the Lockdowns.
There was much media early in the week on the results of the annual Naplan test results3.
Much was made of the outcome that boys’ literacy has fallen to the lowest level since national testing began, notwithstanding the effect of Covid disruptions. However, Wry & Dry was again dismayed at the results for Indigenous students:
Whilst is pleasing that literacy for Year 3 Indigenous students has improved markedly, the level for Year 9 students has remained about the same. Some 30% of Indigenous students reading ability is below the minimum standard.
So, how is Albo’s Voice going to solve this problem? Where in anything that any of The Voice advocates have written or said is there a suggestion or even a hint as how to improve this appalling situation?
3 NAPLAN is the National Assessment Program (sic) – Literacy and Numeracy, which annually tests Australian students in years 3, 5, 7, and 9.
The person accused of attacking the husband of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi participated in ‘nude activism,’ breathlessly said the Wall Street Journal.
Wry & Dry rushed to gather further information on this revelation. Was ‘nude activism’ a fitness trend, extending the good works of Jane Fonda and her ilk, but sans the Lulu Lemon?
Or perhaps a form of protest movement, the aim of which was attract attention to a cause, but with the inevitable result that the cause was overlooked. The ‘photo opportunity’ of naked men and women providing better coverage, as it were.
Or perhaps a blend of both, in a trend of modern art. Given the success of Cubism4, was this a trend toward Nudivism art. Would Readers be able to gaze in wonder at paintings of naked women and men undertaking various forms of activism activity?
Perhaps the Wall Street Journal should focus on fiscal activism.
4 An early-20th-century avant-garde art movement. In Cubist artwork, objects are analysed, broken up and reassembled in an abstracted form. Pablo Picasso, perhaps short of better ideas, invented Cubism in about 1907.
One of the problems with modern art is clearly directional. Which way is up?
Well, the curator of the Kunstsammling Museum in Dusseldorf saw the problem. She did her homework, and noticed that previous exhibits of a painting by Dutch abstract painter Piet Mondrian had exhibited one of his works upside down. That was for 77 years.
Wry & Dry cannot see the problem. It’s obvious which way is up…
… isn’t it?
Snippets from all over
1. Art – the real deal
A painting that had been dismissed as an imitator’s copy of a work by the Dutch old master Rembrandt has been discovered in the archives of a museum in the Hague. The oil sketch Raising Jesus on the Cross was a genuine painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, said an expert art curator. (The Times).
Wry & Dry comments: Nice to have something to take the mind away from interest rates, inflation, politicians and war.
2. Herr Scholz goes to Beijing
The German chancellor said the way his country deals with China ‘must change,’ amid a wave of criticism from German politicians in the run-up to his trip. (Le Monde)
Wry & Dry comments: He will spend only 11 hours in Beijing, enough time to take in the Summer Palace, the Forbidden city, Tiananmen Square and a trip to the Great Wall. And meet with Emperor Xi.
The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has launched an electric car company in an effort to take on Tesla and supercharge the kingdom’s automotive sector. (UK Telegraph)
Wry & Dry comments: The electricity to power the cars will come from burning oil.
Voters in Brazil on Sunday ousted President Jair Bolsonaro after just one term and elected the leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to replace him, a rebuke to Mr. Bolsonaro’s far-right movement and his divisive four years in office. (New York Times)
Wry & Dry comments: Bolsonaro was a Latin American Trumpster, but more so. He accelerated the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, exacerbated the covid pandemic and had a polarising style that sought to divide his country. He will say that the election was stolen from him.
5. Fleeing France
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron, in their first call since Mr. Sunak took office, agreed on greater cooperation to prevent migrant Channel crossings. (Le Monde).
Wry & Dry comments: This year 37,570 illegal immigrants have crossed La Manche from France to England in small boats. Could it be that the food is better in the UK than in France?
6. UK’s recession they had to have
The Bank of England has projected that if it increased interest rates to 5.25%, Britain would be plunged into the longest recession since the second world war — eight quarters of contraction — and inflation would fall to zero in three years’ time. (Financial Times)
Wry & Dry comments: That would be not as deep as 2008, but might last longer…
- The Bank of England raised interest rates by 0.75% points to 3%.
- The US Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.75% points to 4%.
- German inflation reached 11.6% in the year to October
- Hong Kong’s GDP fell 4.5% in the year to end September, much worse than the 0.8% expected.
- The Chief Teller of the RBA raised the target cash rate by 0.25% points to 2.85%.
- The Victorian government announced that it is set to have more debt that New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania combined, by FY-26.
And, to soothe your troubled mind…
“He just got deleted at the top of the straight.”
- Tommy Berry, the jockey riding Numerian in the Melbourne Cup.
The horse came 19th. But the jockey’s comment came 1st in the ranking of jockey excuses.
PS The comments in Wry & Dry do not necessarily reflect those of First Samuel, its Directors or Associates.