Saturday, October 21, 2023

Last Call For Climate Of Destruction, Con't

As 2023 continues to set global records for hottest temperatures, we're seeing more and more effects of climate change in the real world. For the second year in a row, the Alaskan Snow Crab season has been canceled because the crabs have starved to death in the warmer Arctic waters.
Billions of snow crabs have disappeared from the ocean around Alaska in recent years, and scientists now say they know why: Warmer ocean temperatures likely caused them to starve to death.

The finding comes just days after the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the snow crab harvest season was canceled for the second year in a row, citing the overwhelming number of crabs missing from the typically frigid, treacherous waters of the Bering Sea.

The study, published Thursday by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found a significant link between recent marine heat waves in the eastern Bering Sea and the sudden disappearance of the snow crabs that began showing up in surveys in 2021.

“When I received the 2021 data from the survey for the first time, my mind was just blown,” said Cody Szuwalski, lead author of the study and fishery biologist at NOAA. “Everybody was just kind of hoping and praying that that was an error in the survey and that next year you would see more crabs.”

“And then in 2022, it was more of a resignation that this is going to be a long road,” Szuwalski told CNN.

That year was the first the US snow crab fishery was closed in Alaska. Catchers have attributed to the population decline to overfishing, but “overfished” is a technical definition that triggers conservation measures, experts told CNN — it doesn’t actually explain the collapse.

“The big take home for me from the paper, and just the whole experience in general, is that historically, fishery scientists had been very worried about overfishing — this has been our white whale, and in a lot of places we really solved that with management,” Szuwalski said. “But climate change is really throwing a wrench into our plans, our models and our management systems.”

For the study, scientists analyzed what could have triggered the disappearance of the snow crabs beginning in 2020 and boiled it down to two categories: the snow crabs either moved or died.

Szuwalski said they looked north of the Bering Sea, west toward Russian waters and even into deeper levels of the oceans, and “ultimately concluded that it was unlikely that the crabs moved, and that the mortality event is probably a big driver.”
Folks, the crabs aren't coming back anytime soon. The oceans are only going to get warmer and more acidic. More species are going to get wiped out.
They found that warmer temperatures and population density were significantly linked to higher mortality rates among mature crabs.

The reason behind the mortality event: hungrier crabs.

Snow crabs are cold-water species and found overwhelmingly in areas where water temperatures are below 2 degrees Celsius, though they can function in waters up to 12 degrees Celsius, according to the study. Warmer ocean water likely wreaked havoc on the crabs’ metabolism and increased their caloric needs.

The amount of energy crabs needed from food in 2018 — the first year of a two-year marine heat wave in the region — may have been as much as quadrupled compared to the previous year, researchers found. But with the heat disrupting much of the Bering Sea’s food web, snow crabs had a hard time foraging for food and weren’t able to keep up with the caloric demand.
It's not going to get better. We're too far gone for that now. The time to take action was 30 years ago with the Kyoto Protocols. 

From here on out it's triage.

The Housing Crisis Is Back

I've been warning of another 2008-style housing sector crash for a while now, and it looks like we're getting close to the current bubble bursting and taking the economy with it.
Sales of previously owned homes dropped 2% in September from August to a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of 3.96 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales were 15.4% lower compared with September 2022.

This is the slowest sales pace since October 2010, during the Great Recession, when the market was in the midst of a foreclosure crisis. As a comparison, just two years ago, when mortgage rates hovered around 3%, home sales were running at a 6.6 million pace. The average rate on the 30-year fixed today is right around 8%, according to Mortgage News Daily.

“As has been the case throughout this year, limited inventory and low housing affordability continue to hamper home sales,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The Federal Reserve simply cannot keep raising interest rates in light of softening inflation and weakening job gains.”

There were 1.13 million homes for sale at the end of September, down more than 8% from a year ago. Inventory is now at a 3.4-month supply, which is slightly better than last year, but only because sales have dropped so much. Supply is based on the current sales pace.

Adding to higher mortgage rates, the median price of a home sold in September was $394,300, up 2.8% year over year. Roughly 26% of home sold above list price, due to the lack of supply which is resulting in bidding wars.

First-time buyers made up just 27% of sales. Historically, they make up about 40%.

While sales were lower across all price points, they fell the least on the higher end. That’s because there is more supply at the higher price points and because higher-end buyers can often use cash. Mortgage demand is now at the lowest level since 1995, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

All-cash sales made up 29% of all September transactions, up from 27% in August and up from 22% in September of last year.

“Although affordability is a headwind, the renewed upward energy that followed the Fed’s September projections might have prompted some shoppers to rush to the closing table, lest they face higher mortgage rates and even worse affordability in the months ahead. If so, this could mean a bigger lull in sales activity in the coming months,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for, in a release.
This all should feel very, very familiar to ZVTS readers, except it's not bundled mortgage tranches that's going to kill us, it's hedge funds and venture capitalists with hundreds of billions buying up every house in your county to keep prices artificially high by creating scarcity. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of games being played on Wall Street, but this time the Too Big To Fail recipients will be gigantic hedge funds and Silly Valley vampires.
When those prices stop going up at the Big Casino, a lot of wealth is going to vanish again. Maybe trillions this time.  It won't be "We don't know who owns this mortgage" but "We know exactly who owns it and if they don't get bailed out, the economy will collapse."

When you have almost a third of housing transactions being made in all cash, that's unsustainable. Eventually nobody's going to be able to afford the rent and the property goes fallow, and these hedge fund mega-landlords aren't going to be able to sell at all.
And if the housing bubble exploding doesn't crash the economy, well, the banks are running for the hills because Jerome Powell is almost certainly going to raise interest rates again until the economy breaks, and the way things are going in the US House, the federal government will augur in halfway through next month.

And then?


Orange Meltdown, Con't

At this point it really is a race to see which judge presiding over a Trump case will put him in the slammer for gag order violations first, and the judge in Trump's civil case is no longer playing around. Trump's going to have to come up with five grand.

Former President Donald Trump was fined $5,000 on Friday after his disparaging social media post about a key court staffer in his New York civil fraud trial lingered on his campaign website for weeks after the judge ordered it deleted.

Judge Arthur Engoron avoided holding Trump in contempt for now, but reserved the right to do so — and possibly even put the 2024 Republican front-runner in jail — if he again violates a limited gag order barring case participants from personal attacks on court staff.

Engoron said in a written ruling that he is “way beyond the ‘warning’ stage,” but that he was only fining Trump a nominal amount because this was a “first time violation” and Trump’s lawyers said the website’s retention of the post had been inadvertent.

“Make no mistake: future violations, whether intentional or unintentional, will subject the violator to far more severe sanctions, which may include steeper financial penalties, holding Donald Trump in contempt of court, and possibly imprisoning him,” Engoron wrote in a two-page order.
Again, Trump is daring a judge, any judge, to sanction him so he can scream that his trial is unfair, and influence his followers to take action, possibly precipitous and dangerous action. This is what he wants. He's going to fly through the air like a loutish orange Icarus until his wings melt, and when he crashes, he's going to try to blot out the sun.
But that has to be balanced against the real potential for violence. A Maryland judge was shot to death this week in his own driveway after awarding custody of the suspected gunman's children to the suspect's wife. We shoot judges in America, you see. Who would come gunning for Judge Engoron, or Judge Chutkin in Trump's January 6th case, if either one of them leveled real sanctions against Trump?
How many more warnings and chances will Trump end up getting in order to try to stave off a lethal response? 

Can America survive that? Can America survive putting Trump in jail at all?
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