American politicians try to pretend inflation is a national issue when it’s clearly tied to international trends. And as bad as it feels here, it’s a whole lot worse as you get closer to the person Americans should really be blaming: Putin. “When the price of bread rises, people feel it right away. The squeeze has been sharpest in countries nearest to the conflict zone, especially Hungary, where the cost of a basic loaf surged in September by 77 percent from a year ago, according to Eurostat. In Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia, bread prices are up over 30 percent.” And surprise, Hunter Biden’s laptop is not responsible for inflation. NYT (Gift Article): Bread Prices Skyrocket as Inflation Grips Europe. This wasn’t how we wanted to cut carbs.

+ “‘I reconnected a little bit with President Putin,’ Mr. Berlusconi could be heard saying on the audio published on the website of La Presse on Tuesday, in which he addresses a meeting of loyal Forza Italia party members, and some apparently not-so-loyal leakers. In the audio, he added that Mr. Putin had sent him 20 bottles of vodka ‘and a very kind letter’ for his 86th birthday last month. Mr. Berlusconi said he responded by sending bottles of Lambrusco wine and “an equally sweet letter.'” NYT: Berlusconi, Caught on Tape Gushing Over Putin, Heightens Anxiety About Italy. (This is a big story. Strongmen love strongmen and they are unifying across the globe. Russia, Middle East. Europe, and hell yes, America.)

+ Iran sent troops to Crimea to help Russia use Iranian-made drones.