Links 10/24/2022

The Thinking Man’s Guide to Hitting a Moose Outside

The White House says the U.S. is strong enough to avoid a recession but Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk think it’s already too late Fortune

A political backlash against monetary policy is looming FT. The deck: “Defenders of independent central banks must think about their democratic legitimacy.”

Op-Ed: The grocery chain wars prove that the modern supermarket model isn’t sustainable LA Times


Exceeding 1.5°C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points Science. From September, still germane. Handy map:

Emergent phases of ecological diversity and dynamics mapped in microcosms Science. “Using bacterial microcosms, we performed a direct test of theory predicting that simple community-level features dictate emergent behaviors of communities. As either the number of species or the strength of interactions increases, we show that microbial ecosystems transition between three distinct dynamical phases, from a stable equilibrium in which all species coexist to partial coexistence to emergence of persistent fluctuations in species abundances, in the order predicted by theory. Under fixed conditions, high biodiversity and fluctuations reinforce each other. Our results demonstrate predictable emergent patterns of diversity and dynamics in ecological communities.” Hmm.

Wait, why are there so few dead bugs on my windshield these days? WaPo. Late to the game…

Silent Forests: Post-Pandemic Wildlife Consumption Threatens Human and Forest Health Globe_

NYC Still Vulnerable to Hurricanes 10 Years After Sandy Bloomberg

You never miss your water….


A booster is your best shot now Eric Topol, Ground Truths. “At the rate BQ.1.1 is spreading, it will reach dominance (>50%) in the next month.”

What goes around (NL):

More on Walensky’s father, Edward Bersoff, here, here, here, and hagiography here (“The first seeds for the new venture came from the Navy intelligence community, where he had become firmly enmeshed”). Oh gawd, Walensky’s father was a spook. However, a cursory search turns up nothing on a family trust. Readers?


Chinese Markets Tumble as Xi’s Tightening Grip Alarms Investors Bloomberg and Hong Kong Stocks Dive After China Party Meeting WSJ but Chinese Stock Traders Told Not to Disrupt Market Around Communist Party Meeting WSJ. Market Mister was told not to sell for three weeks. Then Market Mister sold three weeks of selling in a day. Prices dropped. Oh, the humanity!

China’s chip imports shrank 13 per cent from January to September as US ratchets up pressure in tech war South China Morning Post

TSMC: the Taiwanese chipmaker caught up in the tech cold war FT

Hidden Harbors: China’s State-backed Shipping Industry CSIS

George Yeo, Singapore Cabinet member for 21 years (!):


Myanmar Is the Leading Edge of Digital Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia The Diplomat

Dear Old Blighty

Sunak will be terrible, and unless Labour changes tack he could win despite that Richard Murphy, Tax Research UK

European Disunion

Eurozone business activity slides faster than feared FT

Marco Pogo: Beer Party founder raises a glass to coming third in Austria’s presidential election Euronews

New Not-So-Cold War

Weapons Shortages Could Mean Hard Calls for Ukraine’s Allies AP

Ukraine War Day #241: Ukraine To Implement NATO Logistics Software Awful Avalanche

Regierung streicht mehrere Rüstungsprojekte im Sondervermögen für die Bundesweh Handelsblatt. I cannot get this to translate, but here is the gist from the not-specially-reliable Visegrád 24:

Lawmakers seek emergency powers for Pentagon’s Ukraine war contracting Defense News. “If the language becomes law, the Department of Defense would be allowed to make non-competitive awards to arms manufacturers for Ukraine-related contracts, an idea spearheaded in legislation from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.” Stoller: “Solid work everyone.”

* * *

Ukraine Latest: Russia Presses Warning of ‘Dirty Bomb’ by Kyiv Bloomberg

* * *

Who Blew Up the Nord Stream Pipelines? “Russia, Russia, Russia!” (excerpt) Matt Taibbi, TK News. From the closing paragraphs:

Trade routes, access to energy, and spheres of influence are the stuff that inspires world wars, and the fight over who would get to be the main supplier of European energy is a powerful casus belli. The United States has every right to lobby against the completion of a Russian-German pipeline. To an extent, it even makes some sense that our government would try to dissemble about who’d benefit from sabotage of the pipeline, after the fact.

However, national press going along with the transparent deception is a lot less forgivable. We’re headed toward a major war and not telling the population the reasons for it. New York Times writer David Sanger for instance knows better than to look into a CNN camera and say, hoping to be taken seriously, that it’s “hard to imagine others with a significant motive.” That such an experienced reporter would pretend he didn’t live through ten years of American politicians screeching demands to stop the pipeline tells you the extent to which government and media have merged. There’s no discernible difference now between the Sangers and Chuck Todds of the world and the craggy-faced retired CIA flacks the networks bring on as guests. The media performance on this one was and is as bad as it gets.

“As bad as it gets”? Let’s wait and see.

* * *

Where US and Ukrainian Aims Collide Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

Despite sanctions, Russian fuel is still selling — here’s who’s buying Vox. Fortune passes everywhere.

Bolsonaro’s Secret Budget: “The World’s Biggest Corruption Scheme” BrasilWire

The Caribbean

The last thing Haiti needs is a foreign military intervention Responsible Statecraft


Biden is ‘worried’ about Ukraine aid if Republicans win Congress Reuters. Pesky Republicans keep giving me reasons to vote for them.

How to Help People Vote in the 2022 Midterm Elections Pro Publica

Our Famously Free Press

Behind TikTok’s boom: A legion of traumatised, $10-a-day content moderators Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Do people learn about politics on social media? A meta-analysis of 76 studies Journal of Communication. From the Abstract: ” A preregistered meta-analysis of 76 studies (N = 442,136) reveals no evidence of any political learning on social media in observational studies, and statistically significant but substantively small increases in knowledge in experiments. These small-to-nonexistent knowledge g]ains are observed across social media platforms, types of knowledge, countries, and periods. Our findings suggest that the contribution of social media toward a more politically informed citizenry is minimal.”

As Russia wages disinfo war, Ukraine’s cyber chief calls for global anti-fake news fight The Register. I’ll bet they do.

The Bezzle

How Binance CEO and aides plotted to dodge regulators in U.S. and UK Reuters

Tornado Cash Is Not Free Speech. It’s a Golem Lawfare

Investment Scam Snares Confederacy-Themed Superhero Movie ‘Rebel’s Run’ The Wrap

Mastercard will help banks offer cryptocurrency trading CNBC

Denis Beau: Between mounting risks and financial innovation – the fintech ecosystem at a crossroads Bank of International Settlements


Pontifications: Two sentences described Boeing’s last two years Leeham News and Analysis

Everybody Talks About Made in America. But It Isn’t That Simple. WSJ

Supply Chain

Southern California’s Notorious Container Ship Backup Ends Hellenic Shipping News

Sports Desk

Watch: The Virat Kohli straight six off Haris Rauf that shattered Babar Azam’s hopes and left everyone mesmerised Hindustan Times

Zeitgeist Watch

I pay for things by swiping my hand after having bank card implant put under my skin The Sun

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Soul City: A Black dream killed just as it was coming true Scalawag

Imperial Collapse Watch


Guillotine Watch

Luxury: No signs of recession for the global rich The Week (Re Silc). Friends, there’s good news tonight!

Class Warfare

How Starbucks baristas spurred a new US labor movement The Hill

SSA union seeks $16.5B in emergency funding to rebuild depleted workforce Federal News Network

Pregnancy Is a War; Birth Is a Cease-Fire The Atlantic

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Sentimental Journey by Doris Day)

    The bookies say it’s over but the crying
    All of Europe’s destitute
    Our sanctions failed our industries are dying
    We’re frozen up so let’s reboot

    Ukraine is now America’s addiction
    They’ll send NATO to Taiwan
    They’ll profit from Europe’s crucifixion
    As Europe meets a big black swan

    ‘Biden — when he isn’t lost he’s hidin’
    Doesn’t matter ’cause he’s tied in
    To Hunter Biden’s crimes — that lost laptop
    Is our backstop’

    Factories aren’t making and aren’t earning
    Angry people fill the streets
    Berlin and Rome and Paris are all burning
    They need change not happy tweets

    <em(musical interlude)

    ‘Yemen! Let’s have NATO fight in Yemen!
    Hiding in the dunes like Fremen!
    To please the Saudi prince and keep him ours
    Not those other powers’

    Who the Haitch is running Foggy Bottom?
    Nukes do things you can’t repair
    Is suicide what Yale and Harvard taught ’em?
    Russia’s not a dancing bear . . .

    Russia’s not a dancing bear . . .

    Russia’s not a dancing bear . . .

    1. HotFlash

      Another NC Songbook hit! Thanks, A, for the words and the Doris Day reference; now I have a good tune to sing while I work. It’ll take me a bit to learn the new words : )

  2. hunkerdown

    re: Mastercard will help banks offer cryptocurrency trading CNBC

    Why not? Last week the CoinStar machine at Kroger offered me BTC.

    Throw up your hands
    Shoulders go slack
    Palm on the head
    Give it a whack

    Before you know
    You’re doing Picard’s Mistake

  3. zagonostra

    Who Blew Up the Nord Stream Pipelines? “Russia, Russia, Russia!” (excerpt) Matt Taibbi

    However, national press going along with the transparent deception is a lot less forgivable. We’re headed toward a major war and not telling the population the reasons for it

    So there is a gradation of lies implicit here. The national press sometimes can be forgiven for deceiving the American populace. The sentence is itself a deception. From Edward Bernays, Lippman, Harold Laswell, Edward S. Herman & Chomsky, Michael Parenti…we should know that this isn’t some “forgivable” sin of excess. The national press are just more in-your-face about it now. Less forgivable? Come on man!

    This reeks of “the Nobel Lie.” If the citizenry of a population has lost its ability or desire to know truth from falsehood, it won’t be long until they are no longer citizens but subjects. Once the ruling class determines policy the citizenry will, with gentle deception, be led them to the slaughter pen.

    1. hunkerdown

      Actually, it’s the Sveriges Riksbank Lie in Memory of Alfred Nobel. ;)

      Complex societies and Great Chains of Being are built from lies. Status is a lie. Property is (very often) a lie. Subordination and exaltation are lies. The vast majority of social relations are aimed at upholding lies. Morality is a lie. The state is a lie but the press knows not to say so too loudly. Values are lies. In fact, anything not a fact is a lie. We suckers more or less believe all of it so that we have reasons to get out of bed in the morning instead of questioning whether getting out of bed in the morning is the best use of our time and energy.

      Having dismissed what is unresolvable, Taibbi’s statement is true only when the missing predicate is supplied, the hidden reason he and those similarly situated would make such a claim: that societies need to be lied into being, and continuously lied into being against the entropic influences of reality intruding on myth, so that the hallucination remains constant and credible enough for one to suspend disbelief and be subordinated into the social calculus.

      So Taibbi likes this society where he gets to watch baseball and inflate the American Myth while other people dig the tubers. The tuber-diggers were not asked but probably do not have the same affection for the arrangement.

      To be flippant about the ancient PMC’s preciousness, good riddance to the citizens who have been stopping the “population” (slaves? in this Greek flashback wouldn’t it be slaves?) from overturning the order that takes labor for granted.

      1. zagonostra

        Values are lies. In fact, anything not a fact is a lie. We suckers more or less believe all of it so that we have reasons to get out of bed in the morning instead of questioning whether getting out of bed in the morning is the best use of our time and energy.

        Not sure you were serious with this statement. If you were, you should read some works by Bernard Longerman, better yet, one of his best interpreters, Brian Cronin, whose book Foundations of Philosophy: Lonergan’s Cognitional Theory and Epistemology points out that “within your own mind you discover the norms and sanctions to distinguish what is true from what is false.”

        Also “facts” are always “interpreted” and subject to falsehood as anything else, facts are acts of interpreted data (data etymologically means “givens”).

      2. Brian Wilder

        You are confusing “lies” with “fictions” — a category error. Taibbi may be as well — I am not sure. The fiction being propagated in the absence of verified facts about who blew holes in the pipelines implies Russia destroying their own pipelines is narratively plausible and ought to be treated as a real possibility, with implications for the moral nature of Russia as an actor. That is the propaganda prize here: seeding the popular mind with a moral image of Russia as deranged (and by the power of omission, the U.S. and allies in Poland as unworthy of suspicion).

        The power of disinformation and silence to suppress intelligent political analysis is being demonstrated. The talking part of politics that is not simply transactional is always a contest of narratives and we are seeing one of the ways that contest can be controlled.

    2. griffen

      So I’m clear on things, watching a portion of that video; all the best elite minds in the US and so forth think it was Russia. Conclusively and without question it was Russia. Good to know. Orwell would be duly impressed at the levels of truthiness in our modern reporting cycle.

      Listen all y’all, this is Sabotage!

        1. BeliTsari

          Apropos, this AND the “climate tipping points” article: Anybody ELSE, being totally wiped out by tech/oilgarch’s kleptocrats shorting, then CRUSHING all AGW-mitigating (mostly Asian, with lots of Chinese feed-stock) equities, that would’ve done so well under GND climate rectification, regenerative Ag, efficient & resilient infrastructure and simple market-driven adoption, right through Trump (accelerating during COVID cash, as homeowners installed PV, bought PHEV & efficient or smart gadgets, as Asian producers quickly rebounded after COVID mitigation?) It almost seems punitive, against us evil AGW fighting BernieBros?

          1. jsn

            Yep, it’s the end of empire going out of business sale smash and grab.

            I see a GOP Congress keeping it going for another 2 years.

            Now seems like the time for a 50 State 3rd party ballot access push to try to salvage some future.

        2. digi_owl

          Makes sense, as most of it is based a hop skip away from that old stalwart of Pentagon propaganda: Hollywood…

  4. trapped in Europe

    Translation (Google) of the Handelsblatt article:

    Berlin. The federal government is massively cutting the planned equipment offensive for the Bundeswehr . Many projects, especially for the naval and air forces, would have to be called off, the Handelsblatt learned from circles in industry and politics.

    The background to this is the rapid rise in inflation, which is making planned purchases more expensive. In addition, the Federal Court of Auditors complained that the projects listed in the business plan for the special fund exceeded the budget of 100 billion euros.

    “With many projects running for five to seven years, inflation in the dimension creates a serious financial problem,” said a person familiar with the proceedings. Among other things, a third tranche of the K130 corvette, new Eurofighters for electronic warfare, new frigates and new self-propelled howitzers, which should be ordered to replace the systems delivered to Ukraine, are at stake. There are talks between politicians and industry about these projects.

    The purchase of the F-35 fighter jet and the heavy transport helicopter Chinook are considered set. There is no turning back with the F-35, as the machine is indispensable for Germany’s nuclear participation, it said. In addition, talks with the US government about the purchase of the aircraft from the manufacturer Lockheed Martin have progressed.

    However, the planned number of 35 machines for the F-35 is apparently up for grabs. One reason is that the federal government calculated the purchase with a dollar exchange rate of 1.1 to the euro, said a member of the governing coalition. The strong dollar makes imports from the USA more expensive.

    The quantity of the second batch of the Puma infantry fighting vehicle, for which 304 million euros were estimated this year, is also being reduced every week, the coalition politician said. In addition to the inflation-related increase in purchase prices, there are growing interest expenses for the loan-financed special fund. The calculation here is seven instead of three billion euros.

    Representatives from the armaments industry complained that the budget of 100 billion euros was high but not enough. “To fulfill the wishes of the Bundeswehr , 200 billion euros are needed,” said a manager from the defense industry. In its report on the draft of the economic plan, the Federal Court of Auditors also criticized the fact that the planned total expenditure exceeded the financial framework of 100 billion euros.

    This is “inadmissible” because there is a risk that the Federal Ministry of Defense will later not be able to fully service the obligations it has entered into from the special fund. “Additional burdens for the federal budget would be the result,” says the report, which is available to the Handelsblatt.

    The guardians of a solid budget policy also criticize the fact that planned expenditure, for example for the F-35 fighter jet or the heavy transport helicopter, is not estimated individually in the economic plan, but is combined with other projects in the collective title “Dimension Air”. There is a risk that funds will be used for other projects and that the financing of the F-35 or the helicopter will not be secured in the end.

    In its statement to the Court of Auditors, the Federal Ministry of Defense writes that it is still revising the draft of the economic plan together with the Federal Ministry of Finance with a view to the final budget deliberations. There is no talk of cancellations of individual projects.

    1. US war on Germany

      This down-sizing has nothing to do with allocating necessary resources to other parts of society in need of money – e.g., in Germany every 5th child live in poverty – or peace-oriented activities or even managing a smaller purse.

      This is the US making sure that 1) they rob the tax payers by selling them the flying dustbin F-35 and 2) destruction of the German army guaranteeing that Germany cannot make the 35,000 head large US occupation force to leave even when the people will start to demand it.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that translation. I have been wondering how long it would until this started to happen. I mean NATO countries having to cut back on military expenditure due to deteriorating economic conditions. I doubt that any NATO country will be able to devote 2% of their GPD to their militaries no matter how much Washington screams at them to do so. Germany is losing it industries and companies which means a much smaller tax basis only matched by the increasing number of people that are being converted from tax-paying citizens to welfare-receiving citizens. And Germany may even want all the latest toys for their military but they have to concentrate on the basics first. Right now Germany has enough ammo for two days of war and that is it. Fini. Gone. And there are probably demands to send even pittance to the Ukraine. Scholz may run around saying stuff like ‘As the most populous country with the greatest economic power and as a country in the middle of the continent, our army must become the cornerstone of conventional defence in Europe, the best equipped force in Europe’ but he always full of s*** and he is now running into some hard numbers. For him, I predict that he will do a Mario Draghi and quite before things really go bad in Germany and walk away with what he will claim to be a clear conscience. And countries like Germany will sooner or later have to sort through the wreckage to see what is still salvageable from their economy.

      1. JohnA

        Plus Ursula von de Lying recently boasted about buying electricity from Ukraine, that would both help the EU energy shortage and give Ukraine much needed money to keep the war going. Now the Russians have destroyed much of the transmission and distribution network in Ukraine, the beggar in chief, Zelensky now says Ukraine can no longer export power to the EU and will need to import instead. But naturally, Ukraine cannot afford to pay the EU energy prices. That monthly promise of 1.5 bn euro from the EU to help Ukraine cover the bills, will have to be upped. At a time when the EU is falling apart and citizens unable to pay their own bills.
        We can but hope the covid vaccine corruption case against UvL vis a vis a conflict of interest with her husband’s business links, and deletion of all her SMS texts etc., can hasten the downfall of that incredibly stupid woman.

        1. divadab

          “We can but hope the covid vaccine corruption case against UvL vis a vis a conflict of interest with her husband’s business links, and deletion of all her SMS texts etc., can hasten the downfall of that incredibly stupid woman.”

          Let us hope. It’s my guess that she was kicked upstairs from her previous position as German defence chief where she was widely regarded as incompetent to the EU position where it was believed she could do less harm. Now the Eu is reaping the “benefits” of UvL’s “leadership” – I don’t believe her to be stupid, rather she is quite intelligent – she is just incompetent due to her personal character – brittle, unaccepting of criticism, impervious to opposing views, and unable to change once she has made a decision, however wrong. And arrogant, and easily manipulated by sycophants since she regards people who disagree with her as enemies. WHat a disaster.

          1. JohnA

            I dont doubt that UvL is quite intelligent, she certainly has plenty of academic qualifications. However, she does and says stupid things, and has a horrendous track record of incompetence. That is what I meant by her being stupid.

            1. vao

              Her academic qualifications include plagiarizing other works to write her PhD thesis.

              The University of Hanover nevertheless found the necessary justifications not to deprive her from the “Doctor” title.

              1. JBird4049

                Must be nice being part of in-group. A world where you not only cannot fail, you are promoted after each idiocy. Idiocies that would make me hide from my family.

                If I was merely *suspected* of plagiarism on a class paper or cheating on a test, the teacher would triple check my work and grill me. If it was proven that I cheated, I would fail the class at best and likely bounced out of the college.

            2. Bugs

              She’s from an aristocratic family and her father was behind all of her political “placements”. She’s an absolute fool and has spent her life failing upwards.

              Nicolas Sarkozy, in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche yesterday that got absolutely no play elsewhere, said that she’s gone far beyond her remit and that the Commission is an administrative body that has no business making policy for the member states.

              1. digi_owl

                Funny, that is exactly what the commission has been doing since long before the lady took office…

    3. Skip Intro

      Bundesweh is probably a typo. It means ‘Federal Pain’. The Bundeswehr, OTOH, is the Federal Defense – the German army. It may, or course not be an accident. There is so much sabotage going around over here, and intelligence community sources suggest this matches Putin’s M.O.

    4. David

      As far as I can see, this amounts to reality clearing its throat in the context of Scholz’s announcement of 100 billion Euros extra on defence. Naturally enough, the staffs of the Bundeswehr (the German armed forces) are trying to repair the gaping holes in their capability (the responsibility of VdL and others) by asking for the moon and hoping to get half of it. What the Court of Auditors seems to be saying is three things. Firstly, the equipment asked for is going to cost much more than 100 Billion Euros. This is what you’d expect, given that the Budeswehr needs some room for horse-trading. Second, that insofar as purchases have a dollar component, they are going to be more expensive with the fall of the Euro, so taking more of the budget. Third, if the money isn’t spent in a particular year, it could be used to subsidise other items in the main defence budget. All of this sounds perfectly reasonable.

      As for what to cut, the distinction will be between those things for which contracts have already been signed (like the F35s) and things like a “new howitzer” which at the moment are just aspirations. Contracts tend to be signed for tranches or blocks, so there would still be scope for reducing the number of F35 orders for aircraft not yet signed for.

  5. John Hacker

    Get your Christmas shopping done early. Shelves will empty fast, just in time to gouge consumers.

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘The #Mississippi River at record low levels in many areas. Here near #Tiptonville, TN people are walking and vehicles have been driving on dry river bed that would be totally under water in normal conditions.’

    This story has kinda spooked me a bit. The Mississippi is not a river that you associate with running dry. I mean that when it happens in the American SW you say well yeah, they have deserts and stuff there and it is kinda hot on average. But the Mississippi river lies to the east of the 100th Meridian and is supposed to have more fertile lands and good rainfall. You don’t expect the Mississippi river do an Aral sea.

    1. danpaco

      The Mississippi drainage basin is a huge area, almost 1/2 of the US with Tiptonville TN being downstream of 3 of the 4 major tributaries of the Mississippi. Its unbelievable!
      We had a very dry August and September in the NE, I guess it was even dryer in the north central US.

          1. Ignacio

            This, and add California dams. The state of dams in Spain is equally horrible. Very much below what were usual averages in recent past. It has been deteriorating very much during the last three years but 2022 is the worst on record. These droughts are more tipping points not signalled in the map above. It might be related in part with the collapse of the meridional Atlantic recirculation streams.

            1. The Rev Kev

              If the meridional Atlantic recirculation stream collapsed you would know about it fairly soon. Europe would suddenly have the same weather as Siberia, no joke.

              1. Ignacio

                To be clear nobody knows exactly how would it unravel. You might have partial collapse, changes in streams, not as clear cut as you signal. Quite unpredictable seems to me. Not that easy to predict any future.

                During the last three years we have had a very similar pattern in autumn: it feels like a prolongation of summer and the season of NW storms looks shorter.

                1. JBird4049

                  While I think it possible that this drought will continue until the Central Valley becomes an extension of Death Valley, what is also likely is that the rains will come back in a very big way. As others here have pointed out, there have been major flooding covering much of California and this between droughts. The climate is getting more extreme, which means not only droughts, but flooding as well.

                  If we had functional government, I would take a small bet that the extremes would be manageable, even if uncomfortable, but we don’t have functional government at any level.

          1. swangeese

            It’s been very dry here in Southeastern Louisiana this past month, but October is always a very dry month here. The only news of note is that a berm is being installed in the Mississippi River mouth to prevent salt water intrusion into public water intakes.

      1. Swigart Farms

        Lammes Creek is as low as I’ve ever seen it. The Little Miami is too low for regular canoe traffic. September was bone dry. Only a few inches of rain so far in October. Winter rye never came up. It’s been the dryest autumn I can remember.

    2. nippersdad

      I wonder how many developers saw all of that fresh new land and have sent in proposals to build low income housing on it. Nothing would surprise me less.

    3. Wukchumni

      My largest investment is in surface water, and having a 14,000+ foot backstop pretty much assures that all that translucent liquid we all so crave accumulates in the First National Snowbank of the Sierra Nevada and has to pass yours truly en route to a navel orange or almond down below on the fruited plain.

      The rivers here are still flowing albeit hardly with pretty much every drop coming from springs down under spread here and there which are still putting out.

      A favorite one is on Mineral King road on the left about 1/2 mile before the Atwell campground. It comes right out of the hillside next to the pavement, leaving a pool about 10 feet long and a few feet wide as it drains out being just an obvious capillary, whereas you have to look a little harder when afield. Takes about 10 seconds to fill a liter Nalgene bottle with the coldest delicious water, hmm good… no need to filter. It’s a player and puts out the same amount in the winter months.

      Another one 4 miles up the road and also on the left comes out of a pipe put in a crack in the rocks where the springs comes out of there eons ago and also had good cold water, but it went dry in mid May this year, after biting the dust in June the previous year. It would usually go dry in the fall in the past, so this spring obviously doesn’t have the staying power of the lower one nor the output.

      A new wrinkle this summer has been toxic algae blooms in the 5 rivers in the foothills (being modest, we only claim 3) with a don’t swim in it, don’t drink it, don’t boil it with the hopes of getting rid of the toaxicity-that won’t work, etc. Lotsa bad ju ju.

      The foothills are 800 to 2,000 feet in altitude, and late this summer the same edict was posted @ the ranger station in Mineral King to not consume the water @ Eagle Lake @ 10,000 feet as it has toxic algae blooms.

      We’ve poisoned our perch, time to pay the piper.

      1. Kouros

        What will you do when the snowpack is not forming in the winter, due to rain falling instead of snow? Start building micro-dams to retain some water in the little valleys?

        1. Wukchumni

          Most of the water that flows down on the western flanks of the southern Sierra is destined for Ag, who long ago sequestered the rights.

          Read about how JG Boswell pulled off owning the water rights to 5 rivers around these parts in The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the making of a Secret American Empire, by Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman.

          They’d be the ones in deep kimchi as they need the water in the summer growing months-not in January.

          I like my investment to have redundancy, so a river, a couple of spring fed creeks & a hard rock well, runs through it.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      Its happening in many places. China had a catastrophically bad year for hydro electric outputs due to low rainfall (Chinese dams tend to have relatively low storage levels).

    5. Glen

      The rains have finally returned to the PNW, but both the wife and I noticed while out and about that many trees seem to be dead with dead looking leaves rather than the more normal color change associated with fall.

      1. JBird4049

        I could look out the window before this year’s mini rain season and see the tips of large Redwoods turn brown. Something I had never read about or seen.

    6. scary gales

      Jeff Masters and Bob Hensen who put out ‘The Eye on The Storm’ via the Yale Climate Connections just sent out a longish piece focusing on the Mississippi. The summary, ‘Mississippi River record-low water levels ease slightly, but long-term forecast is dry’. Having grown up just across the River from Tiptonville it is a shocker. As someone else notes what we are seeing are most often in videos are shallow areas and sand bars but the main channel is majorly impacted and restricted to shallow draft and partially loaded barges. The River at Tiptonville is normally about a mile across. A satellite image in the link shows a long line of tows tied up. TVA has started special releases from Kentucky and Barkley Dams to assist in increasing flows while maintaining navigation capability on the Tennessee River system (TVA has also in the past buttoned up its system of dams to help reduce flooding on the lower Mississippi). I’ve seen no comment as to how much the releases will help.

  7. griffen

    Luxury brands are having a good time in the sun, despite the shadows from inflation and higher costing goods. Good on them, to the point that the Bezos is no longer the 2nd richest in all the land.

    Instead of let them eat cake, let them buy a Louis Vuitton? I caught a feature on CNBC last week, discussing a new “EV” release by Rolls Royce at a pricey +$400,000. Unreal.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Weapons Shortages Could Mean Hard Calls for Ukraine’s Allies”

    They can’t do it. The cupboard is almost bare. They have sent what they can and it is steadily being chewed up in combat. In fact, the situation is getting so bad that Antony Blinken is now flying around the world trying to get countries to give up their ex-Soviet military gear to send to the Ukraine for a promise of getting American military equipment. One day. Real soon now. Just as soon as we can make it. After we supply our own needs first. And those of our allies. Then we will get you that gear. But when Blinken tried that routine in Cyprus, they sent him away with a flea in his ear-

    1. digi_owl

      On that note, similar to how NATO ended up buying AKs for the Afghan “army” they were training they now have to do the same for the Ukrainians being fast tracked through boot camp in UK.

  9. petal

    So is that how Walensky got the job? Magically her not-so-stand-out resume rose to the top of the pile?
    And I am expressing Schadenfreude.
    Got major stink eye(who are we kidding, it was full-on stink face) twice from some woman on the bus this morning about my mask. Once when I got on, and then she did it again when she disembarked. Good times.

    1. semper loquitur

      I’m in mask-free New Jersey. Stopped in a pharmacy for something. Got side-eyes from some lady.

      Jersey Strong!

  10. Mikel

    “A political backlash against monetary policy is looming”

    “…But raising interest rates puts monetary policy at cross-purposes with fiscal policy priorities such as investing in the green transition or, indeed, in energy infrastructure that would itself remedy energy-induced inflation. Even if monetary considerations should take priority, such monetary dominance is undoubtedly something to be democratically debated, not technocratically imposed….”

    I’ve been critical about the Fed and Central Banks. But there is another side to the story.
    For years now interest rates were low (and by some accounts even now still at historical lows at under 5%!)The investing that was needed to sustain the country in hard times and hard times to come was not done. Instead, bubbles were blown to create fantasy finance asset prices and assorted financial priducts. And then again there was borrowing for what was ultimately unaffordable.
    What institutions and individuals did with the cheap money in the first place has as much to do with this predicament as the Central Banks.

  11. Carolinian

    Re “as bad as it gets”–some of us adopt the solution of not watching TV news at all. One could even argue that the fondness people like Sanger have for being on television is what has corrupted the print press as well. They are all dying for their fifteen minutes. Vanity thy name is journalism?

    This wasn’t true back in the early days of press chat where shows like Washington Week would feature the great Jack Nelson and other grizzled print veterans as a token of seriousness. This didn’t make them flawless truth tellers but at least they were bona fide newsies.

    1. Charger01

      Thomas Frank spoke about this phenomenon back in 2017 in an interview with Chuck Mertz about the media game that print journalists pursue. For the veterans of the genre, the game isn’t to rise to the WaPo or NY Times…its to join fellow journos on TV (and now podcasts) to bolster your exposure so that you’ll be asked to come back for more interviews. The money that can be made with televised opinions and debate outstrips annual salaries easily, making it a very attractive outcome. I think they discussed David Brooks and Thomas Friedman has icons of this game.

      1. Jeff H

        Glad to see other listeners to This is Hell on NC. Not at all surprising though. Some of the best long format interviews especially when focused on “news”. I unfortunately miss the “Nine Circles of Hell” takedown of nightly news.

    2. Bart Hansen

      What bothers me is that Sanger’s propaganda columns are usually protected from criticism by the NYT disabling comments. The same goes for most of the pieces on Ukraine at the Post and Times. For some time they have been stacking Ukraine columns with no comments allowed.

      1. semper loquitur

        Youtube presents photographs of current events, accompanied by some blurb, from The Telegraph. Lots of “Ukies prepare for march on Moscow!” type crap. When the Queen went to Hell, they almost broke the platform with their “coverage”. The comments sections are always closed.

    3. Lexx

      Matt was educated in the U.S.S.R. and got his first job there. You’d think he’d know better. But then he has lost his sense of humor and the perspective that went with it. Maybe he just finds corrupt banking funny.

      It can always get worse, Matt.

  12. Carolinian

    That’s an interesting LA Times about grocery stores and its description of the rise of Kroger could be an exact description of the rise of Walmart. However the editorial’s conclusion, that the Kroger merger will reduce competition in this most competitive of fields, ignores the fact that Walmart exists–even in Los Angeles–and that fresh competitors like Aldi and Lidl are revising the low cost formula with mini markets rather than supermarkets and that Walmart is now imitating them with its Walmart Marketplace format. We have one of those in my town and it absolutely killed the large grocery “shopping as entertainment” store across the street. Nobody would go to the crowded and often chaotic Walmart Marketplace for entertainment. You want to get out of there as soon as possible.

    In other words things have changed and bare bones survival stores are likely to be the new trend as the country’s prosperity sinks. The poor employees may be exploited and overworked but “customer centric” in such times is not to be sneezed at. People gotta eat.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The issue of competition in retail can be quite complex, as very often retailers have quite distinctive target customers. As an obvious point, people without easy access to cars are much more limited in the range of shops then can access. In reality, you need quite a few different operators to be sure there is ‘real’ competition as opposed to the facsimile of one. In the UK the market is largely dominated by the Big Four, although the German discounters have rapidly eaten into their quadropoly, if thats a word.

      There is also a level of local monopolisation – one thing I’ve observed in the UK and Ireland is that in an area with several different towns, the main operators often are attracted to one centre (perhaps the easiest to get to by car), and this can effectively kill retailing in the ‘losers’, with all sorts of associated social impacts, especially for the elderly who can be very dependent on the local shop.

      Add to that the use of ‘category killers’ in retail terminology – quite simply, big box retailers specifically using their power to destroy certain local sectors. If, for example, you wipe out local garden centres, then you drive more shoppers to your food aisles. You also get quite subtle price impacts. When I used to live in a UK city, the local Sainsburys (and upmarket retailer) aggressively cut the costs of its basics when a discounter moved in locally. It worked, the discounter lasted less than a year. Needless to say, the supplies of cheap bread and beans disappeared rapidly to be replaced with much more profitable lines. This is actually technically illegal in the UK, but very hard to prove. In Ireland, bans on low cost selling proved a little more successful.

      In Europe, the focus is generally more on land use policies to control retailers. Sometimes its limits on floorspace, others restrictions in categories. Or sometimes they simply ensure retailers pay a hefty price for connecting to local roads, which is a major leveller (so often, big box retailers are just coat tailing on public investment in road bypasses).

      But as you suggest, for every monopolist there is usually someone who can exploit a niche. Here in Ireland the two biggest domestic names have kept the big name operators at least to some extent at bay without always having to match discounts. One operator called Dunnes Stores is very efficient at subtly changing its format according to the local customer needs – it has two outlets near me and they are noticeably different in stocking and pricing, obviously focused on particular customers. Another one makes up for its less competitive pricing by appealing more to the Irish housewife than the major companies – they employ older female employees who are clearly encouraged to be chatty and helpful. Its annoying when stuck in the queue when the lady in front is having a grand chat with the checkout lady, but its also certainly nicer than the surly east Europeans employed by the German discounter, and it clearly works (my mother adored her local small supermarket, she loved the friendliness of the two brothers who managed it and the charming staff). I find it very noticeable how the major chains simply don’t seem to be able to react to local circumstances and needs. This is one reason why Walmart has fallen on its face when it has tried to establish itself in other countries. The same happened when Tesco did a big new launch in the US. Retailing is hard – its more than just price, there are lots of things you need to get right.

      1. Carolinian

        We’ve had an Aldi for maybe two decades in this Germany attached section of Dixie. Lidl is a latecomer and while it had a big surge there for awhile, my bet is on Aldi for the final stretch. They do clearly tell their multitasking employees to be friendly to the customers and as a small store it is much easier to shop which encourages a large elderly clientele from the senior housing nearby.

        And Aldi and stores like it are very much under the Walmart (or perhaps it’s Kroger) influence. Their pitch is totally about price and low fixed costs. Even the baskets require a temporary quarter. They’ve been ratcheting up prices like everyone else in the last few months but are still cheaper than true supermarket prices (but not cheaper than Walmart store brand prices).

        But for me at least it’s not so much about price as a small store I can shop quickly in, knowing where everything is, and decent quality for their in house brands (with some exceptions). Not everything capitalist is about “marketing.” Word of mouth works.

        1. katiebird

          We have done our shopping at Aldi for decades. In the early days when they had more limited offerings we had to buy fresh meat and veg and specialty items (spices, etc) at a regular grocery. But now we hardly ever have to go to a regular grocery store and when we do, the price difference is astonishing. … That said there are a few things we regularly get at Costco (liquid eggs, dried fruits, & cheese) because the price is enough lower to make it worthwhile.

      2. Laughingsong


        Tetrapoly, so both root words are Greek?

        And from the post below: “. . .lent you a few Anglo Irish Bankers.”

        Take our bankers . . .please! :-)

      3. Matt McClintock

        General retail theory tends to hold that a consumer is “unlocked” through some unique combination of Price, Product, and Place (The 3 P’s of Retail, which you can think of as the Retail version of Porter’s generic strategies). For example, having the lowest Price doesn’t necessarily work if either the Product is wrong or the Place is not convenient.

        You have referenced several Retail business models that have proven successful at various points in time with their inherent combination of these factors. For example, Category Killers such as Home Depot, Best Buy, and Toys R Us really came into their own during the 1980’s and primarily focused on Product (i.e. offering 100,000 SKUs of Toys in a town that previously only had one small toy shop that offered only 1,000 SKUs). Price didn’t matter as much because the consumer had no other options. Of course this business model was severely impacted by the Internet as now the consumer can find anything online. Price became an increasingly important factor because Product no longer was enough to compete. But it took a long time for these Retailers to adjust – Best Buy itself didn’t really focus on Price until about a decade ago.

        It’s a living breathing thing. Once everyone became competitive with Amazon on Price, then Amazon moved to compete more on Place (via Amazon Prime free delivery). Then every traditional retailer focused on building up their own digital businesses. Now everyone generally is competitive on that, so the recent trend seems to be shifting back to Product (via either exclusive deals or private label brands). Where we are in this cycle is often different across the various sub-categories of Retail.

        In the old days, a retailer could become a monopoly in any given town simply through real estate (Place – if I am only Toy store in town then you have to shop at me). Many towns just aren’t large enough to support more than one Toy store. The internet completely disrupted this feature.

        This is an oversimplification but: Product is hard to get right consistently (think “fashion cycles”). Place no longer matters because of the Internet. So the best way to grow today is Price. That requires scale. One of the CFO’s at an aforementioned retailer once predicted to me that the future of retail will just be 3-4 mega retailers. Home Depot isn’t just home improvement anymore…

        I don’t believe that though. We have gone through this moment many times before in history with the world’s largest (scale) retailer of Woolworth and Sears ultimately going bankrupt due to of a wave of disruption through either Product or Place.

    2. Carla

      In my Ohio “streetcar” suburb, we have enjoyed for decades the services of the last single-operator grocery store in our entire metropolitan area. The third generation owner was beloved by everyone but he needed to retire and had no one to take over. Fortunately, a small, local family-owned chain bought him out. We will very much miss our unique market, but are extremely grateful that the local chain has stepped up to save our store and maintain our access to fresh food.

      I live one block from the grocery, and a very pleasant walk of well under a mile from TWO public libraries (one to the east and the other to the west), an excellent independent bookstore, a full-service pharmacy, and at least a dozen restaurants (several with patios). There are also a multi-screen cinema and a live theatre neither of which, unfortunately, have we attended since the start of the pandemic. Oh, and I’m just a few blocks from two lovely city parks. It’s pretty great here!

  13. Mel

    “I pay for things by swiping my hand …”

    Somebody hacked the roller-towel dispenser in the public washroom and I lost $300,000.

    Also not wild about the app (which I’m sure I read about somewhere) where I swipe my own credit card on my own phone to make payments. If I forget and put them in the same pocket, or leave them together on the dresser, they can do deals without me.

      1. semper loquitur

        I used to do that briefly, for the ladies, over video. I was paid in Chinese food delivery. True story.

  14. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Congratulations to dear old Blighty. We got ourselves our first Goldman Sachs PM. As Thatcher said on the steps on Downing Street that Saturday evening when South Georgia was freed, “Just rejoice at that news!”

    For UK based readers and readers around the world with UK connections, don’t worry. We dodged a bullet. We could have had our first Deutsche Bank or Credit Suisse PM.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I do wonder if Sunak will come to regret withdrawing his Green Card. Not that this did Boris much harm.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Where US and Ukrainian Aims Collide”

    That’s easy to answer that. The Ukrainian aim is to get NATO in a shooting war with Russia so that after they are beaten, that not only will they get Crimea and the Donbass back but perhaps chunks of Russia as well as “compensation.” The US aim, as stated by several top US politicians, is to get the Ukrainians to fight to the last man so that they can use up Russian equipment and cause enormous Russian casualties that will cripple the Russian armed forces. I think that the term is ‘expendable assets.’ I hope that Taiwan is paying attention.

  16. Lexx

    ‘Pregnancy Is A War; Birth Is A Cease-Fire’

    “It makes me wonder how we got to 7 to 8 billion people on this planet.”

    I liked the grandma theory that says that if a tribe was successful enough in their hunting and foraging that childbearing women lived past menses, they could then work to help gather food for their daughters and offspring, insuring the survival of those generations perhaps to the age of producing the next generation. Photos containing multi-generations is still evidence of an evolutionary coup.

    Also, a lot of sex.

    1. MaryLand

      Sex is nature’s way of forcing us to continue the species. Some say nature tricks us this way.

      I like to tell my religious extended family that I am descended from a long line of people who had sex.

      1. Will

        Alternatively, parasites forced sexual reproduction (as opposed to asexual, ie, cloning) as a defensive adaptation by the host. Random mutations in offspring forces parasites to continually evolve to match a changing host environment.

        Just a random scientific theory I like to throw out there when conversations get a little dull.

  17. ChrisFromGA

    Re: bugs/windshields

    I wonder why they showed a graph of US data on total miles driven, when the data were collected by a scientist in Europe? That seems rather sloppy work.

    Not that it invalidates the thesis that the increase in the number of cars on the road could explain some of the reduced “splats” per windshield. But I suspect that Europe has not seen such a rebound in miles driven since the great recession of 08-09 as has the US.

    I believe that higher gas prices did discourage some driving in the US, along with WFH. This summer’s peak was lower than 2021, and over the past 4 years except for the big drop during 2020, we’ve been unable to set a higher peak. See:

  18. Wukchumni

    Just about 3 weeks to go in the race to see who will be the 8,000,000,000th of us on this good orb. It isn’t as if 7,999,999,999 or 8,000,000,001 is chopped liver… have a good life, losers.

    If a stupid baseball that represented the 62nd homer is Judge’d to be worth a couple million, what’s Mr. or Miss Lucky 8 Billionth fetch on the open market?

    All of the contestants are locked in a heated battle within inner space and I just felt a baby kick…

    …stay tuned

  19. russell1200

    Turkish oil exploration in Libya. There reward for backing the leader currently in charge.

    Turkey is being very aggressive, and on the upswing for the moment. They have their own perils to contend with for sure, but I put I would put my betting money on them before I would an MMS led Saudi Arabia.

    1. hunkerdown

      From the twits:

      NEW: DOJ reveals double agent sting operation against Chinese intelligence officers
      Attorney General Merrick Garland arrives at a press conference on June 13, 2022 in Washington, DC.
      DOJ reveals double agent sting operation against Chinese intelligence officers
      “This was an egregious attempt by PRC intelligence officers to shield a PRC-based company from accountability.”

      Shielding a foreign company from accountability is egregious now, is it? Lol, it’s THE reason the Western national security apparat exists. Come on, man.

  20. YuShan

    “A political backlash against monetary policy is looming”

    This stupid article is the perfect illustration why you definitely want an independent central bank. However, because the central bank isn’t under democratic control, it must have a very restricted mandate, like only low inflation and nothing else. The problem in the past decade was that central banks have conducted semi-fiscal policies such as bail outs, debt monetization, yield curve control, subsidizing corporations by buying their debt at negative yields (giving them unfair advantages relative to small competitors), etc. Even ESG stuff! These insane policies are what have got us into this mess.

    When central banks were monetizing debt, doing misguided “stimulus” and bailouts I heard nobody complaining. Now they are finally starting to do their task, politicians start moaning because they don’t get free money anymore to enrich their friends and buy votes. As I said: this is exactly why you want independent central banks with a very narrow mandate that excludes “free” money.

  21. YuShan

    “Op-Ed: The grocery chain wars prove that the modern supermarket model isn’t sustainable”

    To prevent (near) monopolies, I have often argued for progressive taxes based on market share. So if you grow very large (Amazon, wall mart, eBay, etc) you pay higher taxes than a small local shop. This makes it uneconomical to grow beyond a certain size. The same for the financial sector, to get rid of too-big-to-fail. We already do this for personal income tax, so why not for companies?

    I just mentioned eBay too. Their fees are ridiculous. But it is impossible for a new platform to emerge that can compete with them. A progressive tax would favor a new small competitor, until they grow very large too. It would create a much healthier climate and stimulate innovation.

        1. hunkerdown

          Election manipulation. We’re only hearing about them to raise the pathos level and make bourgeois government seem useful. Democrats have killed more for less.

          Never forget, this is the social order Fauci and the other PMCs wanted to preserve with their vax-only strategy.

          1. jrh

            You’re referencing a 120-year-old event.

            Some kids got killed yesterday. What does Fauci or his “social order” have to do with a thing?

            You’re undermining whatever point you want to make by shoehorning it into some Alex Jones-y shaped outrage.

  22. Lex

    A note on moose on the road, their eyes don’t reflect light like deer and other animals so when they step out onto the road they appear out of seemingly nowhere. Also, moose are weirdly stealthy for such a large animal, you can walk a few feet from one and not notice it.

    This summer I “saw” a semi hit a moose on a two lane highway (in a popular moose crossing stretch). It was oncoming and far enough away that I didn’t see the impact per se, but I did see the semi jump and bounce around and then spend much longer than I was comfortable with in my lane of oncoming traffic, and then I saw the moose laying across the southbound lane. As far as I know, a semi is about the only vehicle on the road that will survive a moose accident.

  23. marku52

    My local post office is closed. Hand written sign in the door says
    “We are sorry we cannot meet your postal needs today due to a lack of workforce.”

    Offered without comment.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, M.

      I don’t know where you are, but it’s common where I live, Buckinghamshire (England). The newsagent (Don’t know the US equivalent), chemist / pharmacy and even GP / MD practice, too.

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