Biden administration blames high food prices on high food prices

A crazy Catholic bishop, Cars are scarce, White House whoops, ESG bullshit

Hello Idiots! 

A few knuckleballs to take you into the weekend.

If someone sent you this email, they’re telling you to sign up. You can do that here:

#RELIGION

Choose your own adventure: exorcism by the Pope OR move in with your erotic, satanic novel-writing girlfriend?

That’s one hell of a hypothetical, one that became reality for (former) Catholic Bishop Xavier Noell a couple of weeks ago.1

So what’d he pick?

I mean, I get it. Xavier Novell is a guy that has been backed up for 52 years (omitting any involuntary emissions). Silvia Caballol is a 38-year-old divorcee who's so horny she’s written books about it.

Plus, she’s a psychologist who’s taken courses on sexology, so she’s a special kind of crazy:

It’s no wonder Novell chose the kinky, female Dan Brown 14 years his junior over “the expulsion or attempted expulsion of a supposed evil spirit from” his body.

Or did he?

Back in 2011 (when he was still a bishop), Novell was asked what he’d do if he ever fell in love, to which he replied:

“If one day I meet a woman who attracts me because of the way she is or the way she thinks or acts, and arouses in me a feeling of conjugal affection, of falling in love, I think that what I would have to do and what I would do would be not to see her anymore.”

- then Bishop Novell, 2011

So either Novell literally had a change of heart (which is understandable), or there’s more to the story…

Bingo.

The folks over at Vice say that the folks over in Spain say that there have been reports of Novell still being involved in gay conversion therapy.

You see, in 2019, Novell and a handful of other bishops were suspected of peddling the nonsense, which is a big no-no, even for the Vatican.

El Diario described his behavior then as “belligerent.”

Apparently, he was so weirdly into the stuff that he was scaring the pants off churchgoers and some members of the Catholic clergy thought he was possessed by a demon. That’s when the big dog — Pope Francis — asked Novell to let him exorcise that shit out of him.

Novell declined, and here we are.

TL;DR: The plot to Dan Brown’s next book.

#AUTO

You’ll need to back up the Brinks truck if you want to buy a car anytime soon.

Last month auto sales suffered their worst drop (excluding the pandemic) in over a decade. A persisting shortage in parts means companies have been pumping the breaks on production.

The semiconductor chip shortage that goes back nearly a year has been the biggest reason for the decline in auto inventories. Naturally, the prices for these chips have risen, taking the sticker prices on the cars at the dealerships with them.

Thanks to the law of supply & demand, the average price for a new car in July was $42,736 — 8% higher than one year ago.

According to the Germans, the semi shortage “may not just disappear” in 2022:

“Probably we will remain in shortages for the next months or even years because semiconductors are in high demand. The internet of things is growing and the capacity ramp-up will take time. It will be probably a bottleneck for the next months and years to come.”

- Herbert Diess, Volkswagen CEO

The heads of Daimler (read: Mercedes-Benz) and BMW concurred with Diess’ diagnosis.

TL;DR: Just call an Uber.

In other auto news — Ford poached Apple’s lead car executive. I can confidently say I did not see that coming.
Also — Volkswagen is rolling out technology that will let drivers pay for fuels and/or tolls automatically through their cars. JPMorgan just bought a majority stake in said payment business.
#AYFKM

The Biden administration blames high food prices on high food prices. Wait, what?

I don’t have much to say here besides AYFKM?

Besides, Twitter’s got it covered as usual:

TL;DR: If you disconnect from reality, you can be in line with whatever the f*ck you want.

#FINANCE

ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance to most. To many Wall Street banks and company executives, it stands for nothing.

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance is an evaluation of a firm’s collective conscientiousness for social and environmental factors. It is typically a score that is compiled from data collected surrounding specific metrics related to intangible assets within the enterprise.
- Wikipedia

The next time a company announces its commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, you might want to check to see if they have any sustainability-linked credit lines. Then check the terms.

What are sustainability-linked credit lines?

That’s just a fancy way to say a loan tied to ESG goals.

Examples of ESG goals:

  • Becoming carbon positive by 2030

  • Doubling funding by 2022 to organizations that help combat climate change

  • Transform the education of 10 million children

The existence of these targets implies that there are consequences for not meeting them. Conversely, that there are benefits unlocked for companies that do. Some sort of punishment and reward system.

But, as it turns out, there’s very little of either in the ESG loan business:

A Bloomberg analysis of over 70 sustainability-linked revolving credit lines and term loans arranged in the U.S. since 2018 shows that more than a quarter contain similar provisions: no penalty for falling short of stated goals, and only a minuscule discount if targets are met.

An example: American Campus Communities celebrated the signing of a $1B sustainability-linked credit line. They were able to boast to investors that they were taking ESG commitments seriously.

Hey everyone! Look how much good we’re doing!

In reality, the company faces zero extra costs should it fail to meet its targets.

On the flip side — if they do hit meet their goals, they’ll save a whopping 0.0001%!

This is all to say: for many, the only reason to secure an ESG loan is to say you secured an ESG loan.

TL;DR: Many ESG incentives are largely meaningless.


Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

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Everything is fine.

1

This is all alleged, as these things often are.