Hedge Clippings | 25 August 2023
Wow! What a funny old week that was... but then again when one stands back from the headlines, it was more like a slow moving train wreck - or in the case of Yevgeny Prigozhin's presumed mid-air "mishap", more a question of "what took so long"? From what we can glean so far, and given that news out of Russia is curated to say the least, nothing is yet confirmed, other than the fact that a private jet crashed with the loss of all on board. Was Yevgeny among them, was he a target, or was it a way for him to "distance himself" from the long arms of his ex mate, the President? Sooner or later Putin, not widely known for forgiveness, would have found a way to extract his final revenge, either via poisoning Prigozhin's food (which would have been ironic considering he was reportedly once Putin's chef) or some other means.
If he was on the plane, it's difficult to have much sympathy. If he wasn't, the best advice would be to watch what you eat, and avoid tall buildings.
And then there's the case of Donald, once (and still) known as "President" Trump, facing up to Fulton County Jail to have his mug shot recorded for posterity, and no doubt a whole lot more, along with a dozen other of his co-conspirators. Once again Trump stole the show, having previously (according to some) tried to steal the 2020 US Presidential election, or according to him, having it stolen from him. Sounds more "banana republicanish" to us than Republican, but probably just symptomatic of where the world, or at least the US of A is heading. No doubt he'll garner even more applause and support from his followers, while (just like Prigozhin) it remains to be seen if he survives, or swaps his famous red tie for a more mundane uniform and a potential 641 years in the slammer.
Closer to home, even the government's chief media apologist the ABC was questioning the curious co-incidence of the PM's son winning the frequent flyer lottery, and ending up a member of the Qantas Chairman's Lounge. Soon to depart Qantas CEO Alan Joyce deflected questions on how that occurred, citing "privacy" concerns, while at the same time defending a full year profit of $2.47bn., and refusing to refund all or any of the close to $1billion in COVID-19 support the government handed out while he decimated the Qantas workforce. And while Qantas are enjoying record profits on the back of limited seat availability, Albo's transport minister refused to be drawn on the logic of refusing just 21 additional flights per week from Qatar Airways, citing Qantas as the "National Carrier" (actually a commercial and publicly listed company) as in the "national interest". Apparently, any benefits to the long suffering Australian traveling public don't come into the equation, maybe because Albo and co. either don't pay for their tickets, or fly on an RAF VIP aircraft.
Barring a complete fall out in the Chinese economy it looks as if Australia will avoid a major recession - unless of course Xi presses ahead with his stated intention of invading Taiwan. That would create a dilemma across the globe for governments, and businesses alike given the level of dependence on China as the world's manufacturer, and consumer. That might make Xi think twice, but in the meantime businesses are moving to reduce that dependence by moving or reducing their exposure. Either way, that's not going to assist China's current economic slowdown.
Finally, on a lighter note, we gather the Rolling Stones are quietly planning the release of a new album in September. Which brings us to the following image, or should that be the following question:
Whoever thought, back in the 60's, that Mick Jagger would still be around, let alone pumping out music?
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