Chip shortage excuse is getting old

Whether sales are rising or falling, automakers from the U.S. to China have found a catchall explanation: the global chip shortage. For the laggards, the excuse is getting old.

In the U.S., a shortfall of semiconductors has forced manufacturers to shift from making more cars to better ones. These vehicles are selling at a swift pace and have boosted margins. Sales are rising, too, albeit showing signs of slowing as inventories run low. Volkswagen AG reported its best first-half performance in the U.S. in almost half a century, while at General Motors Co., the figure increased by almost 40% over the same period…

The divergence in performance shows that some companies were able to rise to the challenges of the pandemic by remaining nimble and managing production effectively — traits that will become even more critical amid the transition to electric vehicles. Their competitors, still blaming crimped performance on the shortage, should be worried…

It’s hard to say when the chip shortage will abate. One thing is clear: The companies further along in readjusting to post-Covid life are likely to be the ones that can navigate the twists and turns on the road to next-generation cars. Those still blaming chips will likely be doing so for a while.

RTFA. Interesting to see who’s nimble, quick at switching available chips to models in greatest demand – or the manufacturers want to grow in market share.

Afghanistan can’t wait for the U.S. to get out of the way — to let in China and Pakistan

As the U.S. exits Afghanistan, Beijing is preparing to swoop into the war-torn country and fill the vacuum left by the departed U.S. and NATO troops.

China is poised to make an exclusive entry into post-U.S. Afghanistan with its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source close to government officials in Afghanistan told The Daily Beast that Kabul authorities are growing more intensively engaged with China on an extension of the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — the flagship project of BRI, which involves the construction of highways, railways and energy pipelines between Pakistan and China — to Afghanistan…

In other words: The Afghan government, behind the scenes, is welcoming China immediately after saying goodbye to America.

Yup. All part of an obviously subversive plot. Here’s Uncle Sugar finishing decades of superb foreign policy – stationing tens of thousands of American troops in yet one more small nation to show off the benefits of American democracy [and military hardware]. We’re going out the door. Meanwhile, the “subversive” Chinese and their Pakistani allies in the Belt-and-Road Initiative are actually going to build highways, railways and energy pipelines – making the country a key link in East/West infrastructure. And profits.

How sly.

Who monitors the guys making rules?


Cardinal Becciu — Pope Francis

A Vatican judge has ordered 10 people, including an Italian cardinal, to stand trial for alleged financial crimes.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu has become the highest-ranked cleric in the Vatican to be indicted over charges that include embezzlement and abuse of office

The 73-year-old cardinal, who denies wrongdoing, was forced to resign last September, but retains his title.

The charges relate to a multi-million-dollar property purchase with Church funds in London…

Cardinal Becciu was a close aide to Pope Francis and previously had a key job in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, which manages the Church’s donations.

No doubt he will receive a just and speedy trial. If for no other reason than to sort the embarrassment. To the Vatican. To everyone.