Wednesday, September 28, 2022

"The Death of Germany, and Europe"

 

That's how Michael Yon views the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines near Germany a few days ago.  He doesn't pull his punches.


At this point in history, to destroy the possibility of re-opening Nord Stream 1 (NS1), and opening NS2, all but assures massive famines and detailed destruction of European economy that normally only will be seen in war.

Nothing short of nuclear war will destroy a nation more completely, more intergenerationally, than turning off the energy followed by famine. Famines burn through the souls of nations. Just read five random books on famine.

Germany’s deal with the devil was a deal with themselves. Accepting the cheap Russian gas like cocaine straight to the bloodstream. To be sure, there were extreme benefits to manufacturing using cheaper, easier energy. Such as in the automotive industry.

You may notice some leaders now blame Russian for addicting Germany, as if Russia were a drug dealer and the pipelines are Russian needles into the arms of German children. But in fact Russia also wanted to sell gas to earn money. And Russia did NOT want to shut NS1, and frequently encouraged Germany to open NS2.

But the United States warned Germany many times — including Trump’s clear warnings — about Russian dependency. The Germans laughed at Trump. Video of The Laughing will go down in history.

It strongly appears United States has destroyed NS1 and NS2. Facts remain uncertain but Biden and his crew of thugs made clear on multiple occasions that something would happen at least to NS2. If only so much effort were applied to interrupting the fentanyl crossing America’s southern border and stopping the invasion that Americans will be forced to stop themselves.

Biden likewise made an open threat against Americans that he is willing to use F-15s on Americans. You likely have seen the not-subtle video.

Germany will freeze this winter. The hunger games will begin in 2023. By winter 2023-24, Germans and others will be freezing and very hungry, and possibly already into actual famine. And by winter 2024-25, profound famine almost certainly will ravage at least parts of Europe. Long flash to bang, but that bang is coming.

Germans and their multi-kulti invaders will devour the Black Forest and roast long-pig over their cuckoo clocks.

Keep eyes on Norwegian flows. An interruption of Norwegian flows would be another chest shot for Europe.

After the attacks on NS1 and NS2, all infrastructure is on the table. EMP strikes in space could lead to quick famine across North America. Undersea cables.

USA is extremely vulnerable. Rail strikes alone could contribute to near-term famine in United States.


There's more at the link.

I haven't commented on the Nord Stream sabotage until now, because I've been trying to get more information about the strikes.  It certainly looks as if undersea drones made the strikes, either by blowing themselves up next to the pipeline, or (more likely, IMHO, because it leaves no wreckage that can be recovered, analyzed, and used as evidence) dropping demolition charges on or next to the pipeline, then returning to base before they exploded.  There are several nations in the area, including Germany, France and the UK, that could do something like that;  but none of them are likely suspects.  It's not a capability they routinely exercise.  The USA, on the other hand, has meddled with undersea pipelines and cables for decades (literally), going way back to Cold War days, and at least some of its nuclear submarines are equipped to make such an attack.  Russia can say the same, but why would it attack its own pipelines, and threaten its own potential export earnings through them?

For that matter, the explosives might already have been in place.  Back in June, it was reported that the US Navy was conducting underwater operations in the Baltic Sea, off the island of Bornholm - where the explosions took place.


In support of BALTOPS, U.S. Navy 6th Fleet partnered with U.S. Navy research and warfare centers to bring the latest advancements in unmanned underwater vehicle mine hunting technology to the Baltic Sea to demonstrate the vehicle’s effectiveness in operational scenarios.

Experimentation was conducted off the coast of Bornholm, Denmark, with participants from Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport, and Mine Warfare Readiness and Effectiveness Measuring all under the direction of U.S. 6th Fleet Task Force 68. 

BALTOPS is an ideal location for conducting mine hunting experimentation due to the region’s unique environmental conductions such as low salinity and varying bottom types. It is also critical to evaluate emerging mine hunting UUV technology in the Baltic due to its applicability with allied and partner nations. This year experimentation was focused on UUV navigation, teaming operations, and improvements in acoustic communications all while collecting critical environmental data sets to advance the automatic target recognition algorithms for mine detection.  

“In prior BALTOPS we demonstrated advanced capabilities to detect, reacquire and collect images of mine contacts, and transfer those images in near real-time to operators through the use of a specialized Office of Naval Research UUV,” said Anthony Constable, Office of Naval Research science advisor to U.S. 6th Fleet. “This year, through the work of NIWC Pacific and NUWC Newport, we are showing that this capability can be integrated into programs of record by executing complex multi-vehicle UUV missions with modified U.S. Navy fleet assets.” 

An additional critical objective was to continue to increase the communication range and data transfer capability to give the operators more flexibility in mine hunting operations. Advancements in communication technology, demonstrated this year, have shown a significant improvement in operating ranges over currently used systems. This provides additional standoff flexibility to the U.S. Navy in conducting safe mine hunting operations. 

BALTOPS also provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. research, development and acquisition communities to exercise the current and emerging UUV technology in real-world operational environments.


Again, more at the link.

What better cover could have been provided for reconnoitering the Nord Stream pipelines prior to an attack, and even perhaps placing explosives to be detonated whenever convenient?

On the basis of probability, there's a great big red arrow pointing at the USA over these attacks.  Whether or not it can be proved is basically irrelevant at this point:  it's what people are going to assume.  After all, cui bono?  Who benefits?  A German economy starved of energy, and now without the capability of turning on its Russian gas supply again for at least a year, is economically in a catastrophic situation.  The same can be said of Europe as a whole.  The Nord Stream pipelines didn't only supply Germany.  That means the threat of industrial collapse in Europe is now very, very real, particularly as politicians have already put commerce and industry on notice that if it comes to a choice between keeping production going, and keeping their citizens warm in a freezing European winter, production will go to the wall.  All of those considerations mean that US manufacturing and production suddenly occupy a vastly more important position in Europe's economy.  They might literally stand between Europe and starvation.

Meanwhile, of course, Russia is left with a rather more clear-cut situation.  It can no longer wield "energy blackmail" as a tool against Western Europe;  so it can turn to the military option in the certainty that it doesn't have any other worthwhile (i.e. potentially winning) policy choices.  If I were Ukraine, I'd be looking to my lines of retreat right now.  I think we're about to see Russia apply brutal, slogging siege warfare tactics, regardless of the cost, and I suspect Ukraine's days are numbered.  If Russia leaves anything of Ukraine, it'll be an inland rump state, shorn of access to the Black Sea and deprived of its industrial base.  Russia will likely do that because it dare not lose this war.  If it does, Putin's rule will be over, and the nation as a whole will accelerate its ongoing collapse, demographically, economically and culturally.  Putin needs a focus for his people, and the war will provide it.

What China will do in the meanwhile is anybody's guess.  As I've said before, I suspect Taiwan can't last long.  While the rest of the world is distracted over Europe, China will make its move.  If it succeeds, there goes the world's biggest source of microchips and the technology associated with them;  and if Taiwan succeeds in destroying its fabrication and research plants before China can occupy them, that means a decade when every nation on earth will face a desperate shortage of them.  That, in turn, means that our "smart" weapons and machinery and vehicles and appliances will suddenly be a whole lot less smart.

Those three explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines - and whoever carried them out - will be responsible for all that.

Sadly, the times in which we live have just become a whole lot more interesting . . .

Peter


Vehicle sales as a bellwether for the economy

 

E. M. Smith has some cogent thoughts on the matter.


Two different car traders saying cars are not selling at auction. This is bad ... The implication here is that recent interest rate rises along with price inflation and job loss has folks just not buying cars, so dealers are not buying them, even at wholesale auction, and that means banks are going to have a lot of “inventory” on their books when they would rather have the “bad loan losses” gone and be re-lending the money. But they aren’t. All around not good.

First it is cars. Then it is houses. Then it is businesses. Then the economy augers in.

. . .

Fuel costs are rising incredibly as the Gang Green Policies put reserves out of reach of production.

The Fed has been punting interest rates up at a crazy rate. What is it, 3 x 3/4% in a row (in a market where 2 x 0.25% is prone to apoplexy)?

Ford, GM, and others have announced going 100% EV (so why in hell would anyone invest in oil production and refining with a 30 year payback, and why would a dealer buy used petroleum cars for resale? Also why would folks with gas or Diesel trucks trade them in for unobtainium EV trucks?)

Bottom line is that a great shock is being pushed into the car / transport business and The People are not buying it (or the cars); so the sector (and with it the economy writ large) is shuddering to a halt.

. . .

But that the banks are not selling distressed assets (priced too high at auction), and the market is not clearing for used / repo cars… well that argues strongly for “collapse in early stages”. Watch for falling real estate prices, contracting GDP, and overall monetary decline in value in keeping with the Real inflation Rate (not the nominal government numbers). Eventually real estate will go back up in value, but only after the price bubble collapses and the market clears. Usually about a year to 18 months.

That folks are letting go of their cars is bad enough; but that brokers are not buying the inventory at prices that the banks loaned on; well that’s very bad as is indicates the Bank Loan Desks are already compressed and it will only get worse as higher interest rates and Government Mandates put them further under water. This will ripple back upstream to the car makers, their employees, and more. At a slightly slower and slightly delayed timing, the same thing ought to show up in the housing market. I’m already seeing “For Sale” signs staying up a long time on local houses; where 6 months ago they were selling the same day they were listed.

Hang onto your hats, it’s going to be a bumpy ride and the roller coaster is just pulling out of the station.


There's more at the link.

Remember our discussion last week of producer price inflation in Germany?  It contained this graphic (clickit to biggit):



That last bit, the very steep rise in PPI, is presently running at well over 40% year-on-year;  and the PPI is upstream of the consumer price index (CPI), which is going to be hit even harder.  If - I should say, when - Germany's economy collapses, it takes the European Union with it.  That also removes most of our major trading partners from the board, so the US economy will tank soon thereafter, even without considering internal issues such as inflation and supply chain problems.

Folks, this is actually happening right in front of our eyes.  It's no longer hypothetical;  it's no longer purely theoretical.  It's going down.  Now.  Mr. Smith's remarks merely provide a different perspective on a reality that can no longer be denied.

As John Donne said about death and dying:


Send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.


He might as well have been talking about the US and global economies at this point.

I hope and pray all my readers have taken the opportunity, and had the wherewithal, to prepare as best they can for what's coming.  None of us are going to find it easy to weather the economic storm;  but "forewarned is forearmed", and if we've applied ourselves, we should by now be as ready for it as we can be.  That won't make it easier to survive, but we'll be better off, and have a better chance of doing so, than those who shrugged off all warnings and carried on as if they didn't have a care in the world.  They're about to find out how wrong they were.

Peter


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

True dat

 

Yes, a good hurricane (if that isn't a misnomer) highlights the folly of electric-only vehicles as just about nothing else can.



I doubt there'll be enough charging stations along evacuation routes to do much good.  Also, good luck finding a way to recharge your vehicle after the storm has passed, when the power's out and the generators in the area are all powering homes and businesses.  I suspect asking a homeowner to stop powering her A/C for a few hours, leaving her kids hot, bothered and fractious while you charge your car, might get an... interesting... response.

Peter


Sounds like the Italians have picked themselves a worthwhile leader

 

I don't normally follow Italian politics very closely, but I've watched the recent election campaign there with real astonishment.  To have the President of the European Commission publicly and unashamedly threaten the Italian electorate with "consequences" if they elect the "wrong" government . . . that's mind-boggling.  So much for democracy!  Thankfully, Italian voters appear to have given her the finger by voting for a change in direction for their country, with conservative candidates and policies gaining support.  Nevertheless, that vote has brought out all the left-wing and progressive pundits, warning of "far-right-wing" and "fascist" and even "Nazi" policies that are sure to doom Italy.  Frankly, I think they're full of it.

Here's the probable next Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, briefly describing her outlook on life and her political philosophy.




Darned if I find anything objectionable in that!  Besides, anybody who quotes G. K. Chesterton is likely to have her head screwed on the right way.  One can't help but approve.

Tucker Carlson points out that the negative reactions to her electoral victory are coming from those who believe that the will of the people should not count at all - that "experts", and the politically correct, and unelected bureaucrats, should make all the decisions.




Meloni is one of the very few politicians who ... is willing to say the obvious, the truth, out loud and as a result of that, because she's been willing to say what everybody actually knows, last night, her party, called Brothers of Italy, won an overwhelming victory in Italy. They took both majorities in the houses of parliament. 

By Italian standards, in fact by American standards, this is a revolution, but unlike most revolutions, the person at the front of it can actually explain what she's about. She can articulate it in a way people understand. She's smart.

. . .

She's as serious as the moment we are currently living through. "Our rights are under attack," she said, "The sovereignty of our nation is under attack" and critically "the prosperity and well-being of our families is under attack" and that's true. That's why it's resonant, because it's real and not just in Italy. It's true here. American families are facing the very same onslaught from the very same poisonous ideologies. The difference is that in this country, it's rarely acknowledged except on the fringes. Meloni's not on the fringes. She's the new prime minister of Italy. She will be and she's saying it out loud. 

Contrast that to what's happening in the United States. House Republicans just spelled out what they're running on. It's a document called "The Commitment to America." It's fine. Probably not much in it, you disagree with it. Have you heard of it? No, you probably haven't. You probably haven't read it. Nobody really cares. Why? Because there's nothing real in it. There's not a single word in that document about the attacks on the American family that you see every day. That's at the center of most people's concerns. How are my kids? Will they have a life that resembles mine? 

. . .

If you want to establish totalitarian control over a country, of course you have to destroy the family first, because nobody with deep family loyalty, the one thing every person should have, no one who has that will ever pledge absolute obedience to a politician. Why would you?

So, if you want absolute obedience, you have to sever family ties and that's why state schools brainwash your children with values that you despise and then instruct your children to turn you in as a thought criminal if you object. That's happening. It's not your imagination and it's happening for a reason. Wokeness is not just a political ideology. It's not just something annoying that emerged on college campuses that we can ignore. It's a state religion that supplants actual religion, which is also being destroyed. There's a reason the strip bars and the liquor stores and the weed dispensary stayed open under COVID, but the churches didn't.

If you can't draw the connection between those dots, you're missing it, but Meloni didn't miss it. She understands it perfectly. Watch.  

MELONI: Only a few months ago, European Union bureaucrats brought a document hundreds of pages long, telling us that in order to be inclusive, we had to exclude all references to Christmas. Jesus, Mary and all Christian names were to be removed from all official communication. Will we surrender in front of this? No, we will not. We will fight it. We will find it standing tall.

So, they hate your family, they hate your religion, and you don't actually have to put up with it because it's a democracy, and you're supposed to be in charge, you being the population. That's a radical message? God, family, country. That's not radical. It's hard to imagine a more wholesome message, a more pro-human platform. Fascists don't believe in God because God is a rival to their power.  

Of course, this is a person publicly professing faith in God. That's so scary, but it is so scary. It's so scary to the people running and benefiting from our current system and why is that? She's not the first person to say this. People have said it before, but she's just been rewarded for saying it. That's the point. The population likes it. This is what they actually want. They're not that worried about global warming. They don't want open borders. They think the woke stuff is absurd. They want to see what they think. And now it's obvious because she just won and so even in this country, the people running and benefiting from a deeply corrupt and doomed system are hysterical.


There's more at the link.  As always with Tucker Carlson, it's worth reading in full.

Can we find, and elect, a similarly level-headed leader in this country?  I honestly don't know.  I respect Donald Trump for breaking open the can of worms that we've come to call the "Deep State", and exposing it to public view;  but he's also an egotist and a very, very polarizing and divisive figure.  The Deep State and progressive politicians blocked many of his initiatives, and would redouble their efforts if he were re-elected.  I'd prefer another candidate (and hopefully a younger one - we have enough geriatric politicians already!)  Governor Desantis of Florida sounds interesting, but whether he has the national appeal needed to succeed on a broader stage is debatable.  Are there other alternatives?  Possibly, but I don't see anyone standing out so clearly as Mr. Trump or Mr. Desantis.

Of course, there's also the question whether any viably conservative candidate can overcome the shenanigans that we saw in the 2020 elections.  I don't expect that to change.  After all, if it worked so well for progressives and the Deep State before, why should they change the playbook now?

Peter


Yikes!

 

This graphic popped up on MeWe yesterday evening.  I can't link directly to the post concerned.  Clickit to biggit.



The original poster didn't provide a source link, or any further details about where the data had come from.  It's pretty scary, isn't it?

I'd love to know how accurate those figures are.  Certainly, the numbers for Oklahoma City and Pittsburg seem suspiciously low.  Can anyone who knows the property market well, across the country, tell us whether they're real or made-up?  Is there a better source for correct information, and if so, can you provide a link to it in Comments?  I'll be grateful for any help out there.

On the face of it, if that's what housing costs have done over a mere two-year span (OK, call it two and a half years if you're counting from January 2020), it's no wonder people can no longer afford a mortgage.  Even at the old, lower interest rates, that's a big cost to swallow.  At 6% or higher, it becomes almost impossible.

I'm glad I'm not in the property market right now . . .



Peter


Monday, September 26, 2022

Remembering Africa's worst maritime tragedy

 

Twenty years ago today, on September 26, 2002, the Senegalese ferry Le Joola sank with the loss of an estimated 1,863 lives.  That means it cost more lives than the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.  Only 64 survivors were found.



That makes it the second-worst non-military maritime disaster in history, surpassed only by the sinking of the Philippine ferry Doña Paz in 1987.

The BBC made a documentary about the Le Joola disaster.  This seems like a fitting occasion to link to it, in remembrance of those who died.




May their sins be forgiven them, and may their souls rest in peace.

Peter


What will it take to make us us cleanse our society of this filth?

 

The sheer, naked, in-your-face evil of the pedophile cult in our society is now so blatant, so commonplace, that many people simply yawn and say, "Well, there's nothing we can do about it".  That's a cop-out.  We have to do something about it, or see more and more of our children sucked into the maw of Moloch and sacrificed on the altars of perversity and ruthless exploitation.

Just look at what we've seen over the past few days.  Click either of the links below at your own risk - they're sickening.  Both include video clips.

And yet, nobody in the mainstream media, and no mainstream politician, has spoken out against such catastrophic abuse of children.

Rod Dreher calls it "the gender ideology end game".


This is it. This is the end game of these queer theorists and gender ideologues: the sexualization of children. It was always going to end up here. This is what all these drag queen story hours mean, and these "family-friendly drag shows". It's all about sexualizing children and grooming them to become prey for pedophiles -- sorry, "Minor-Attracted Persons."

Did they even go this far in Weimar Germany?

How much more of this are we prepared to tolerate?

. . .

A lot of the stuff that's totally mainstream now we were told would never happen here -- and that people who warned that it was coming were nothing but a bunch of Religious Right bigots trying to scare people into failing to recognize that #LoveWins.

If we as a society will not defend our children from these sickos, we don't deserve to survive.


There's more at the link, and I agree with every word.

Many of us can't do much about the existence of such evil.  We can only do our best to prevent our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren being exposed to it.  However, some of us may live in areas that are less far sunk in moral filth, and are, shall we say, more conducive to direct action.

  • What if some of us were to confront the venues advertising, or supporting, or hosting such nauseating displays of filth, and demand that they stop?
  • What if they were warned that if they didn't stop, there would be consequences?
  • What if those consequences actually happened, instead of merely being threatened?
  • What if local individuals pushing for such evil to be allowed were to be told that the damage they were doing to our kids would no longer be allowed?
  • What if they were given a simple choice - stop what you're doing, or face the consequences?
  • And what if there were actual, hard, real-world consequences?

Obviously, I can't recommend taking the law into our own hands.  That would make me criminally liable, along with the perpetrators.  Nevertheless, if someone were to take the law into their own hands in those and other ways, I'd be the first to applaud, and offer practical support as well, to the extent possible.  I may be old and stove-up, but there's still a lot I can do to help.

And if nobody else will act?  If nobody else will defend our children against this clear and present danger?  Well, then, I guess it's up to me, and people like me, to do anything and everything in our power.  I'll let H. L. Mencken say it for me, metaphorically speaking (of course):



In this case, and in our society, that time is long overdue, I'd say.




Peter


Memes that made me laugh 127

 

Gathered around the Internet over the past week.  Click any image for a larger view.











Sunday, September 25, 2022

Sunday morning music

 

Time for some musical laughter.  How many of you know of the educational franchise "Horrible Histories"?  It's designed to teach history in a fun, enjoyable way;  and one of the techniques it uses is to write songs about the era under discussion.  They're usually off-beat, funny, and sometimes in-your-face politically incorrect.

Here's a brief selection from their extensive repertoire.  Let's begin with the Vikings in a two-fer.  First, the "savage" version.




Then there are the more politically correct, Simon-and-Garfunkel-style Vikings (no, really!).




Having got that ghastly vision out of our minds, how about King Henry VII of England?




And to conclude our historical survey, here's Blackbeard the pirate, in a rendition that might have pleased Gilbert and Sullivan.




There are plenty more songs from Horrible Histories on their YouTube channel.  Enjoy!

Peter


Saturday, September 24, 2022

Saturday Snippet: Notes on Inflation

 

We've heard from investment guru John Mauldin in these pages on several previous occasions.  He's one of the few economic commentators whom I read regularly.  He's able to summarize critical issues into a few paragraphs, and make sense of interlocking factors affecting the economic world we live in.

In his latest weekly newsletter, titled "Notes on Inflation", he makes several very important observations about events and circumstances that may change our economic outlook for a very long time.  I won't steal his thunder by mentioning all of them:  instead, I urge you to click over to his place and read them for yourself.  I'll simply excerpt his notes on current consumer prices and "shrinkflation".


Price inflation is an individualized experience based on your spending patterns. It is increasingly difficult to escape completely, though. Almost every category of living costs is rising to some degree. You can see it in these charts from my friend Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab. (Click the image for a larger view.)



The food component of CPI just posted its biggest annual jump since 1979.

Last week I talked about rent increases driving service prices higher. That’s not the only problem. Services ex-rent are growing even faster.

These other services carry less weight in the CPI formula, so their impact is smaller. As we’ll see, though, they add up, particularly for those with chronic health conditions. Treatment services are expensive and getting more so.


Shrinkflation

Most businesses hate raising prices. At some point they have no other choice, but it’s nerve-wracking because they don’t know how customers will respond. So, they find all manner of ways to camouflage what they’re doing, hoping no one will notice they are paying more.

Anas Alhajji recently posted some examples of “shrinkflation,” when companies keep prices the same but reduce the quantity sold.

  • Folgers container: 51 ounces to 43.5
  • Nescafe Azera Americano coffee: 100 grams to 90
  • Kleenex: 65 tissues to 60
  • Walmart Paper Towels: 168 sheets per roll to 120
  • Crest 3D White Radiant Mint toothpaste: 4.1 to 3.8 ounces
  • Dorito's: 9.75 ounces to 9.25
  • Most “Party Size” Chips: 18 to 15.5 ounces
  • Chobani Flips yogurts: 5.3 ounces to 4.5
  • Burger King chicken nuggets: 10 to 8
  • Bounty Triples: 165 sheets to 147
  • Tillamook ice cream: 56 ounces to 48
  • Hefty's mega pack: 90 bags to 80
  • Earth's Best Organic Sunny Day: 8 bars per box to 7
  • Vim dish soap (India): 155 grams to 135
  • Cottonelle Ultra Clean Care toilet paper: 340 sheets per roll to 312
  • Pantene Pro-V Curl Perfection conditioner: 12 ounces to 10.4
  • Royal Canin's cans of cat food: 5.9 ounces to 5.1
  • Angel Soft: 425 sheets per roll to 320

I can’t verify all those but I’ve seen similar examples. Caffeine Free Diet Coke is now in 10-ounce cans instead of 12-ounce. Some of this shrinkflation amounts to 20%‒25% price increases in terms of the amount you get for your money.

These changes don’t fool CPI, which adjusts for quantities. They fool many customers, though, which could have a long-term cost when people see what happened and lose trust in the brand.


There's much more at the link, including natural gas shortages in New England and the Northeast, European manufacturing moving here to the USA because of energy shortages there, and other important factors.  Highly recommended reading.  For ongoing, interesting perspectives on economics, finance and investing, you might want to consider subscribing to Mr. Mauldin's free weekly "Thoughts from the Frontline" newsletter, from which this morning's snippet has been drawn.  I find it very useful.

I'd like to make two observations on the excerpt above.

  1. Note the embedded graphic.  The price of fuel affects literally every other category in the CPI, because everything has to be manufactured and/or moved, and that takes energy.  This affects many consumer choices, and not just short-term, either.  For example, one may decide to buy a house closer to work to reduce commuting expenses and/or use public transport, which in turn affects property prices in many areas.  Many elements of the CPI have not yet fully factored in a much higher fuel price, so their current rate of increase may move higher (perhaps much higher) over time as that filters through to the rest of the economy.  We saw that in Germany just this week, remember?  There's nothing to stop it happening here too.
  2. Note the effect of "shrinkflation" on product prices.  As Mr. Mauldin points out, "Some of this shrinkflation amounts to 20%‒25% price increases in terms of the amount you get for your money".  I've had several people complain that my rule of thumb to measure inflation (namely, to multiply the official CPI figure by 3.5 to get the true rate of inflation) is grossly exaggerated.  Unfortunately, it's not.  CPI measurements are supposed to take shrinkflation into account when calculating their numbers, but in many cases that has not filtered through to the analysts doing the figuring.  However, when you add the effect of shrinkflation to the increase in a product's price per quantity (ounces, pounds, gallons, liters, whatever), that 3.5 multiplier suddenly looks far more reasonable, doesn't it?  It's as much a contributor to the effects of inflation on our personal pocket-books and wallets as anything else, yet most people simply ignore it.  That's a dangerous error.
My wife and I continue to experience at least a 30% annualized overall rate of inflation in the things we buy for our household.  Everyone's personal rate of inflation will differ to some extent, because we all buy things that we want and will use, and don't buy those we won't.  Nevertheless, I'll be very surprised if most people aren't currently experiencing a 25%-35% personal rate of inflation.  Go add up your shopping bills, compare them to those of a year ago, and decide for yourselves.

Finally, if you think the current drought is making US agricultural products more expensive and in shorter supply, spare a thought for the folks in China, who look to be having it even worse than we are.  There are two video clips at the link that are pretty eye-opening.  Think of what shortages on that scale, in the two largest economies in the world, are likely to do to international inflation.  It's scary.

Peter