Whilst enjoying your Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque…
At last, Morrison unites Australia
For the first time since Australia won the America’s Cup in 19831, Australia has been united. Former PM Scott Morrison has done it all by himself.
He has released information that, during the covid pandemic, he was not only Prime Minister of this sunburnt country2, but also of five other portfolios. This delusional megalomaniac is podium potential, a mystical marriage of Tsar Vlad and Walter Mitty.
Knowing Morrison as we now do, Wry & Dry is surprised that he didn’t take over the whole ministry. And seeing him as minister for Women’s Affairs would have been, well, a revelation. For women: mandatory head coverings and no work after marriage. Handmaidens in abundance.
The Governor-General was also lucky not to have Morrison take his job. Morrison then could have knighted himself.
Older Readers might recall that the first Whitlam ministry (1972) consisted of the Great Man himself and his loyal deputy, Lance Barnard.3 And Whitlam, being, well, Whitlam, made sure the world knew of the duumvirate. There was no secrecy.
1 The 1983 America’s Cup was a 12-metre yacht race which pitted the defending New York Yacht Club’s Liberty against the Royal Perth Yacht Club’s challenger, Australia II (financed by fiscal scoundrel Alan Bond). It was won by Australia II in the first successful challenge of the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year defence of the Cup. The longest winning streak in sporting history came to an end.
2 In one of the great errors that many school teachers make, Dorothy McKellar’s famous line “I love a sunburnt country…” is not the opening line of her famous poem My Country. It is the opening line of the second verse. The opening line speaks of England: “The love of fields and coppice…”
3 Whitlam had 13 portfolios and Barnard 15. It lasted 17 days, during which time the duumvirate made 40 significant decisions in its brief tenure, including the immediate release of all draft resisters, the return of the few troops that were left in Vietnam, the removal of sales tax on contraceptive pills and the recognition of Communist China and the derecognition of Taiwan.
Trump enemy loses pre-selection
In election parlance, the American equivalent of a ‘pre-selection’ is roughly a ‘primary’.
The importance of primaries has exponentially increased since the Trumpster decided that he wanted to be the king and queen maker of the USA.
Couple that with him being a very good hater with millions of dollars to support his chosen acolytes, and there’s trouble at mill.
The single person most hated by the Trumpster is Liz Cheney4, just one of eight Republican congress-people to vote for his impeachment. Ms. Cheney is also leading the House investigation into the 1/6 incident (i.e. 6 January storming of the Capitol i.e. US houses of parliament).
The Trumpster has not only been sticking pins into his Liz doll, but also enthusiastically abusing her at every opportunity. And encouraging others to do the same. He has sponsored an acolyte to challenge her for the primary that leads to the mid-term elections in November.
On Tuesday, the acolyte trounced Ms. Cheney in the primary for Wyoming. Ms. Cheney won the same primary two years ago with 73% of the vote.
Ms. Cheney stays in place until January, after the November mid-term elections. But, happily, she will continue to be a burr under the Trumpster’s saddle.
4 Ms. Cheney has impeccable right-wing and Republican credentials and was part of the Republican House leadership. Her father is Dick Cheney, former vice president to George W. Bush. She’s just as cantankerous.
Wry & Dry notes that the Tasmanian tiger could be back within a decade.
Colossal Biosciences, a US biotechnology company backed by the Winklevoss twins, has pledged to recreate the animal almost 90 years after it was declared extinct.
In an exciting follow-up, political parties all over have also engaged the company.
US Democrats wish to bring back Franklin Roosevelt; UK Conservatives to bring back Margaret Thatcher.
And the Liberal Party to bring back Jesus – clearly the only person who could possibly help them.
The rotten states – update
Victoria: Leader of the Opposition, Whatshisname, has announced arguably the most sensible policy to come from his side of politics: abolish the Suburban Rail Loop. Thereby having $34.5 billion to spend on other things.
Actually, it’s more than that. The Victorian independent Parliamentary Budget Office yesterday stated that the project will now cost $125 billion! Readers will recall that the SRL was announced three months before the 2018 election with only four people knowing about it and with Infrastructure Victoria not recommending it or even being consulted.
New South Wales: It’s not only the Liberal government that is rotten. Labor’s now-ex front bencher Walt Secord’s 11-year career serving whomever’s interest suited him is in the balance. He’s been accused of serious bullying offences. Readers might be interested to read that Mr. Secord was elected in 2011 to succeed now jailed MP Eddie Obeid. He was previously chief of staff to Kristina Keneally, which completes the circle.
Western Australia: Update: the Liberal Party still has only two members of state parliament.
Queensland: A Brisbane Greens councillor, Jonathan Sriranganathan, has encouraged people to squat in empty homes and highlighted possible squatting streets.
Tasmania: Still discussing the big issues: e.g. who will pay for the new football stadium.
“I only took a ‘few’ documents”
The Trumpster claimed that he had taken only a ‘few’ documents from the White House. That’s okay, of course. One highly classified document of the US’ defence plans for Taiwan wouldn’t really matter, of course.
But, clearly to the Trumpster, size does matter. He claimed that his actions were okay because former president O’Bama had taken 33 million documents from the White House.
Wry & Dry’s Fact Checker Person has been at work. Not to see if size matters. But to see exactly what O’Bama did.
Not surprisingly, there are no surprises. Last weekend, the National Archives and Records Administration stated that it took possession of all of O’Bama’s presidential records when he left office in 2017. And that it moved about 30 million unclassified pages of them to a NARA facility. O’Bama’s classified presidential records are also stored, in a separate NARA facility. O’Bama took nothing.
The bigger issue now is, how many documents did Scott Morrison take with him when he got the DCM? There are those for being Prime Minister. And then all those documents for being Treasurer, Minister for Health, Finance Minister, Minister for Home Affairs, and Minister for Industry Science, Energy & Resources.
Budget Truck Rentals did well that week.
Photo of the week
Wry & Dry’s person in California took the below photo of two in-line skaters, who clearly did not want to be noticed.
Is that Julie Bishop on the left?5 And Malcolm Turnbull on the right?
5 Ssshhh. Actually, it’s Margot Robbie, playing Barbie, with Ken on her left.
Unclear on the concept
A pregnant teenager from Florida may be forced to give birth after a court found that she had not shown herself “sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy”.
She petitioned a court for exemption from a state law that requires children under the age of 18 to gain parental consent if they wish to have an abortion.
She is an orphan.
China’s housing market crisis
Emperor Xi has got more problems than Taiwan. China’s housing market is at its worst since 2009.
The downturn reflects the millions of unfinished homes and apartments, that developers and investors are scrambling to manage.
And the housing crisis flows downhill to suppliers.
Before the recent downturn, China consumed about 65% of the world’s iron ore and metallurgical coal (i.e. used in steelmaking, compared to thermal coal, used in power generation) and about 40% of the world’s copper. Lower demand means lower prices. Especially for exporters. Hmm.
Readers might consider two other statistics: Chinese consumer spending and crude oil processing are each running at less than 90% of pre-pandemic levels.
Wry & Dry couldn’t make this up
An Albuquerque (USA) woman inserted her mobile phone inside her vagina. It was only retrieved after surgery, some 96 hours after the incident. What did she next do?
a. Re-connect her land line phone;
b. Change phone plans to get a better deal;
c. Sell the movie rights to Netflix; or
d. Lawyer up, and sue Samsung.
Close, but no cigar. Salma Briant, 39, lawyered up. And is suing Samsung for $1.8 million for medical costs and severe psychological distress.
Quite right, too. There is no where on the instructions accompanying a Samsung phone that says “do not insert this device into your vagina.”
Geography: mobile phones
In an entirely predictable event, the government of the Solomon Islands has signed a $100m deal with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to build more than 100 mobile phone towers.
The country will take out a loan from a Chinese state-owned bank to finance the deal. The government said that the project will generate sufficient revenue to repay the loan and all interest.
KPMG, a large accounting services firm, said that the project will generate losses of over $140m.
Watch out for when the loan goes pear-shaped. And suddenly China has control of, to pull a facility out of the air, Solomon Islands’ major port.
Habits: Unpatriotic and patriotic
A woman was arrested and interrogated for five hours by police in China for wearing a Japanese kimono while queuing for lunch.
She was being “unpatriotic” the police told her. Emperor
Mao Xi really has got it all worked out. Readers can draw their own conclusions.
Meanwhile, across the border in Tsar Vlad’s Tsardom, Tsar Vlad has called on the mothers of the Motherland to be super-mothers. And have at least 10 children. It seems like he’s planning for more troops in 18 years’ time.
He announced the carrot of a one-off payment of one million roubles (A$23,500) to the super-mums after their tenth child reaches its first birthday6.
The fertile woman will also receive Mother Heroine gold medals decorated with the Russian flag and the country’s coat of arms. Be excited!
This replicates one of Uncle Joe Stalin’s more successful policies, to replace the tens of millions of Russians who died in the Great Patriotic War.7 Which worked. Some 400,000 Russian women received the accolade of “Mother Heroine” – but no cash – until it ended in 1991.
Why is it so? Well, Russia’s state statistical service said that the number of people living in Russia had fallen by 380,000 between January and June. Wry & Dry suggests that this is an underestimate. It’s not just those who have died as part of living in Russia or dying in Ukraine as a part of Tsar Vlad’s plan, but those who have fled (to mostly Georgia or Turkey).
This is on top of a population thinning fertility rate of 1.8 (2.1 is the replacement rate). As it is unlikely that people are massing to migrate to Tsar Vlad’s Tsardom, Russia is doomed to have an increasingly declining population.
6 Providing that the other nine are still alive.
7 In Russia also known as the 1941-45 War. Tsar Vlad has explicitly stated that Russia/ Soviet Union wasn’t otherwise involved in the Second World War, although Stalin rolled his tanks across Poland in concert with Hitler in September 1939 and soon afterwards invaded Finland. Similar to Tsar Vlad’s “military operation” in Ukraine.
This week is the first anniversary of the fall of Kabul to the Taliban.
It is possible that Sleepy Joe’s greatest foreign policy blunder later gave him resolve to stand firmer against Tsar Vlad’s invasion of Ukraine. And to galvanise western Europe’s leaders into action.
But Wry & Dry wonders why it is that politicians continue to see a shred of Pollyanna in every autocrat and think that their skill and negotiations will bring the Pollyanna to the surface? And then it’s too late.
Former US president B. O’Bama was the most recent leader to walk on the highway paved with good intentions. Only for (a) Syria’s president to casually step over O’Bama’s ‘line in the sand’ and use nerve gas on rebels, and go unpunished; (b) Tsar Vlad to annex Crimea and be chastised with a feather duster; and (c) Emperor Xi to turn other peoples’ atolls in the South China Sea into military bases and for O’Bama to say it was only a small matter.
Certainly, America’s failure in Afghanistan commenced before Sleepy Joe’s Pollyanna policy. But he compounded a bad situation and made it so much worse. At the extreme risk of ignoring the now shocking plight of women and girls, the Taliban’s failure to meet their agreed obligation to prevent the harbour of terrorists fulfills the criteria of Pollyanna policy.
The lads from Al-Qaeda have parked their machinegun-laden utes with impunity all over Afghanistan. It will now take a generation to put the toothpaste back into the tube.
Snippets from all over
1. Taiwan and trade
The Biden administration said on Wednesday that it would begin formal trade negotiations with Taiwan this fall, after several weeks of rising tensions over the island democracy that China claims as its own. (New York Times)
Wry & Dry comments: No response, yet, from Emperor Xi.
2. Morrison makes UK headlines
“That’s not my job” was uttered so often by Scott Morrison in his final months as Australia’s prime minister that the phrase became a running joke. As it turns out, he had far more jobs than voters, parliament, or indeed some of his own cabinet realised. (Financial Times editorial board)
Wry & Dry comments: It’s a refreshing editorial from a decent newspaper. The short story: the “pandemic provided the perfect fig leaf for strongmen in more authoritarian systems to amass power.” It didn’t actually say that Morrison was a strongman, which will doubtless upset him.
3. Liz v Rishi
Liz Truss retains an apparently unassailable lead in the contest to be the [UK’s] next prime minister, with a poll showing her 32 points ahead of Rishi Sunak among Conservative Party members. (The Times)
Wry & Dry comments: Will UK’s fourth PM in six years be a woman?
4. Apple iTimeclock
Apple [the mobile phone, etc company) has launched its latest attempt to bring staff in Silicon Valley back to the office, informing them that they must return for three days a week from next month. (The Times)
Wry & Dry comments: This is an opportunity to test the upcoming Apple iTimeclock. Wry & Dry has exclusively obtained a photo of the new device:
5. Son of Concorde
The world’s biggest airline (American Airlines) has announced a deal to buy a fleet of new high-tech jets dubbed the “son of Concorde”, setting up the return of supersonic transatlantic flights by the end of the decade. (Telegraph)
Wry & Dry comments: The planes will be powered by a flux capacitor.
- Turkey has reduced interest rates by 1% point, despite inflation at over 80%.
- Australian unemployment fell to 3.4% in July, the lowest since 1974.
- Australian private sector wage growth hit 3.8% in the June quarter.
- The UK economy shrank by 0.6% in June, half the 1.2% drop forecast by economists.
- The IMF says China will grow at 3.3% this year, down from China’s target of 5.5%.
- Inflation in the UK hit 10.1% in the year to July, ahead of forecasts of 9.8%.
And, to soothe your troubled mind…
“There has never been a time like this where law enforcement has been used to break into the house of a former president of the United States.”
- Donald Trump, former president of the US, after saying it was time to “turn down the temperature”.
So, the FBI visiting his home in the company of two of his lawyers is a ‘break-in’?
PS The comments in Wry & Dry do not necessarily reflect those of First Samuel, its Directors or Associates.