Substack Library


Russia Might Turn Into a Failed State

As I wrote on June 26, “Typically in Russia the penalty for dissent is death.” That’s how gangster organizations work, be they Soviet, Italian, or Putin-land. Prigozhin sowed and reaped.

Changing Fortunes

Reminder to readers, on Monday I raise prices. For those already subscribed, thank you, no change in price!

Thinking in Pictures

Edwin Lefevre’s 1923 Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is a cult classic and testimony to the perils of “watching the tape,” which is to say reading anything predictive into charts of financial markets. In truth, prices are determined by supply and demand, not pictures. And figuring out supply and demand takes a lot of work. That said, I still stare at charts before making investment decisions and below I share what the pictures look like to me today.


I am putting back on portfolio hedges because a series of developments suggest the effectiveness of the Fed’s tightening, combined with unattractive pricing and significant supply of US bonds may cause long end interest rates to rise further than I had thought and put downward pressure on stock prices.

Letter from Kyiv

Subscribers: I will hold a zoom tomorrow (Sunday, August 6) at 11 Am East Coast time if you have questions about this post or any other topic. Call details are behind the paywall.

The Journey

“How, how Cordelia? Mend your speech a little,

    The Biden Boom

    You can read about who I am here. If you like this writing, you will enjoy my books Master, Minion, and Raising a Thief. This is not investment advice. Investing is risky and sometimes painful. Paid subscribers: note the conference call details later on.

    The India Question

    “Chief among the forces affecting political folly is lust for power, named by Tacitus as ‘the most flagrant of all passions.’ Because it can only be satisfied by power over others, government is its favorite field of exercise. Business offers a kind of power, but only to the very successful at the very top, and without the domino and titles and red carpets and motorcycle escorts of public office.”

    Season #5 Podcast Finale

    The goal at the outset of our podcast was to answer a fundamental question—what lessons are people accumulating over the course of their life? These lessons differ from the ones we learn in school in that they are more grounded in gritty reality. For instance, exceptionally smart people (like former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara) can do very dumb things. That lesson was from Congressman Jim Himes regarding the US invasions of both Vietnam and Iraq.

    Optimism & Fear

    I woke up last night at around 1 am worried about an economic report (personal consumption expenditures, or PCE) that was published today at 830 am. Before PCE came out, on the early morning drive down to the rowing dock, I listened to gloom and doom Bloomberg radio chatter about “stubborn” inflation and more Fed tightening. Bill Dudley, the former head of the New York Fed, confidently declared this morning that “the US bond rout is far from over.”