Links 6/1/2023

Gecko Grip: It’s Atomic (Really) (transcript) KQED

Where Is the U.S. Economy Headed? Follow the Money WSJ

Resilient US junk bond market baffles investors FT

US bank deposits fall $472 billion in Q1, largest drop in almost 40 years Anadolu Agency

Foreigners pull more money out of China in May Reuters (Re Silc).


Earth is ‘really quite sick now’ and in danger zone in nearly all ecological ways, study says AP. And then there’s Mount Everest:

Secret behind Amazonian ‘dark earth’ could help speed up forest restoration across the globe Frontiers Science Communications. “Dark earth” (terra preta) at NC here, here, and here.

What a 19th-Century Farmer’s Forgotten Notes Reveal About Growing Seasons Smithsonian

Antarctic alarm bells: observations reveal deep ocean currents are slowing earlier than predicted The Conversation


Coastal Town Brings Mass Litigation—and an ‘Existential Threat’—to Chemical Giants WSJ. More on PFAS at NC here, here, and here.


Mortality Among US Veterans Admitted to Community vs Veterans Health Administration Hospitals for COVID-19 JAMA. From the Abstract: “In a cohort of 64 856 VHA enrollees aged 65 years or older also enrolled in Medicare, admission to community hospitals was associated with higher risk-adjusted 30-day mortality during hospitalization for COVID-19 compared with VHA hospitals.”

The next pandemic: How Covid-19 has accelerated the emergence of super-bacteria El Pais. Something awful.

Preparing for the next pandemic will take a global commitment FT. “Only through global policy, with financial and legal commitments from governments and international bodies like the WHO, can we prevent and prepare for the next pandemic.” Fortunately, global institutions have a deep reservoir of trust on which to draw.


China faces a new Covid wave that could peak at 65 million cases a week NBC. “Like the U.S., China stopped providing weekly case updates this month, making it difficult to know the true extent of the current outbreak.” “‘Covid-zero enforcement was very interruptive to business,’ said Michael Hart, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, ‘and so we said again and again to the Chinese government, what companies need is stability, clarity, so they can plan.'” Strange to think that ruling classes in China and the US are converging ideologically, but here we are.

Intel inside? Chinese firm Powerleader’s ‘home-grown’ chip suspected of being a rebadged microprocessor from US giant, test results show South China Morning Post

US Defense Secretary Austin says China’s meeting snub unfortunate Reuters

Beijing rejects Taiwan presidential candidate’s ‘bizarre’ wish to have dinner and talk peace with Xi South China Morning Post

French Navy Chief Calls For European Navies To Increase Presence And Engagement In Key Waters Naval News

U.S. Investors Want More Exposure to Japan. Here’s What They Should Know Beforehand. Institutional Investor


UN Special Envoy to Myanmar to Step Down This Month The Diplomat

Top Chinese intelligence official visits Myanmar for ‘cooperation’ talks Channel News Asia

Russian Lower House Official Pledges Support for Myanmar Regime’s Planned Poll The Irrawaddy. Ugh.


Antibiotics pro Centrient runs afoul of FDA at Indian manufacturing plant Fierce Pharma. Not the only Indian pharma company, either.

European Disunion

Moldova gears up for European Political Community summit Deutsche Welle

Erdoğan pulls out of European summit Politico

Erdoğan’s Resilience New Left Review

Efforts to defuse Kosovo crisis intensify amid more protests France24

BRICS Seize Chance to Counter US With Expansion, Common Currency Bloomberg

New Not-So-Cold War

Is the Ukraine war reaching a turning point? (transcript) FT. Much fascinating detail, including the name of the “Russian Volunteer Corps” leader who invaded Belgorod: “White Rex” (!). He has, of course, a white nationalist clothing company.

Ukrainian counteroffensive has begun; expect breakthroughs by early June — military expert New Voice of Ukraine. From May 24.

White House: We are against strikes on Russian territory, but it’s up to Ukraine to decide Ukrainska Pravda

Misfiring Cannons, Rotted Tires Among US Army Gear Pulled for Ukraine, Watchdog Finds Defense One

British police detain journalist Kit Klarenberg, interrogate him about The Grayzone The Grayzone. Straight outta Kafka:

Biden Administration

Biden Labor Board Restores Right to Use Heated Language Labor Notes

The Supremes

Supreme Risk: An Interactive Guide to Rights the Supreme Court Could Take Away ProPublica

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Amazon’s Ring doorbell was used to spy on customers, FTC says in privacy case Guardian (Carla). Carla writes: “What a surprise. But this ridiculous fines routine has to stop. If a corporation is a person, throw the corporation in jail (their profits go to a charity — like for instance, reparations to African Americans and Indigenous People–for a year or whatever the jail term is. Or give ’em the death penalty: pull their corporate charter.”

Federal Judge Makes History in Holding That Border Searches of Cell Phones Require a Warrant EFF

Spook Country

Jim Comey’s Hip New Media Tour Matt Taibbi, Racket News. “If this had been a channel called WFBI, the interview wouldn’t have gone differently.” Worth a read, just to get Comey placed properly, if you have not already done so.

Digital Watch

A.I.-Generated Content Discovered on News Sites, Content Farms and Product Reviews NYT. I wonder what the R0 is for AI-generated bullshit in the content “ecosystem.” I’m guessing quite high.

Investors turn to AI-guided dealmaking to gain edge over rivals FT

The expanding AI hall of shame Politico

EU and US to prepare and push for global AI ‘code of conduct’ France24. A voluntary code of conduct.

Police State Watch

Atlanta Police Arrest Organizers of Bail Fund for Cop City Protesters The Intercept

NYPD Pursued Terrorism Charges For UES Jordan Neely Protesters Upper East Side Patch

Guillotine Watch

Sacklers Can Be Shielded From Opioid Liability, Appeals Court Rules NYT

Imperial Collapse Watch

Contractor said he warned of Davenport building collapse Quad City Times (Late Introvert). A good question:

Meanwhile, the landlord:

When a Building Falls Who Gets to Be Saved? Lyz Lenz, Men Yell at Me.

Class Warfare

Hundreds of Amazon workers walk out to protest return to office, climate Seattle Times

‘Studios Are Really Trying to Turn Writing Into Gig Work’ FAIR

Thousands of local hotel workers move closer to a strike: ‘Living in L.A. is no longer an option’ LA TImes

Billionaires and the Evolution of Overconfidence The Garden of Forking Paths

NASA talks UFOs with public ahead of final report on unidentified flying objects AP

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. lambert strether

      Bing is a search engine not a browser, so your question is unanswerable.

      On an iPad running iOS 16.5 it works in Safari, Firefox, Opera (a Chrome clone), and Edge (MS’s new browser).

      UPDATE It is fine on Safari, Chrome, and FireFox on the Mac, Ventura 13.1.

      I suggest you clear your cache and cookies and restart your browser.

    2. Samuel Conner

      I find that the Edge browser, which may be what you mean by “Bing”, sometimes does not work properly — links don’t respond when clicked on, for example. When that happens, I can generally recover functionality by simply rebooting the PC.

      1. Paul J-H

        The ” have you tried turning it off and on again” method (see IT Crowd, ep. 1)

        1. Mildred Montana

          Yeah, for unknown and un-notified reasons, Microsoft Edge recently hijacked my gmail account and entered it into my task bar. Without asking!

          And by the way, while I’m ranting about Microsoft, I don’t use its stupid email anymore. Why? Because it locked the three accounts had with it (one, one, one The reason? “Unusual activity.” With no explanation and no way to get back in.

          What the hell?! I hardly used them. The more accurate term would have been “unusual 𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘵𝘺”.

  1. griffen

    Amazon is a fudging parasitic corporation, and I mean that with all sincerity. I guess that doubles down on the use of terminology parasites and capitalist organization. They are much more than just a company seeking to profit.

    They don’t have to do this, but they continue to prove the maxim that absolute power corrupts. What a horrible company and it starts with Bezos. The fictional Weyland corporation has nothing on Amazon.

  2. upstater

    Kathy Hochul and Eric Adams are doing the same thing to upstate NY as Abbott and DeSantis are going to NYC:

    Hochul defends New York City migrant busing program: ‘It’s not always going to be perfect’ –

    More than 70,000 migrants have arrived in New York City since last spring, according to a city tally, as political upheaval in Venezuela and Nicaragua spills refugees into the U.S.

    Hochul said the migrants “have a right to seek asylum in this country based on what they’ve had to endure in their home countries.”

    “They simply want to have a chance to work and receive legal asylum,” she said.

    Considering what the US has been doing to places like Venezuela and Nicaragua (plus many others), maybe Kathy should be concerned with NOT creating migrants in the first place rather than shipping then further north?

    And they are intentionally and knowingly displacing US citizens from their housing at a Syracuse area hotel (and no doubt the dozen other counties Eric and Kathy are shluffing off Manhattan’s problems to):

    A nurse, parents and the sick fight to stay in a rundown hotel. It’s better than being homeless

    1. Pat

      I’m all for Hochul and Adams doing what Texas and Florida has done, but Abbot and DeSantis are smarter. Horchul and Adams are still trying to toe the Democratic line on migrants. They are hoping that NYers don’t recognize how empty it is. So they ship migrants throughout the state, and apparently haven’t realized that they are going to alienate Democratic voters in those areas which are already struggling and more Republican than NYC metropolitan area.

      What they should have done was start hiring buses to take the migrants to the White House, Blair House (and if Harris isn’t resident there her actual residence), the Capitol, and the residences of the majority and minority leaders of Congress. And they could make supportive sounds on migrants but state flatly that this is a federal issue and there need to be extensive federal programs and funding and without that they can house the migrants in the Capitol.

      It might have interfered with the debt limit kabuki though…(and with Hochul’s and Adams’ political futures if they embarrassed the Biden Harris administration.)

  3. The Rev Kev

    “What a 19th-Century Farmer’s Forgotten Notes Reveal About Growing Seasons”

    I have come across accounts before of people like Thomas Mikesell who note all sorts of records about the climate, weather patterns and the like and whose work is still relevant as shown by this article. Read about one guy who recorded decades of rainfall records west of Sydney long before there was a Bureau of Meteorology. So here I will honour Thomas Mikesell, citizen scientist-

    1. Roger Blakely

      My takeaways from the article were that 1) though rainfall is similar, birds and bees might arrive at the wrong time and 2) the growing season does not start earlier in the spring but ends later in the fall, which could lead to dry conditions, stress on the trees, and opportunities for pests.

    1. nycTerrierist

      awesome creatures indeed

      “Tyger Tyger burning bright,
      In the forests of the night:
      What immortal hand or eye,
      Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?”

      – W. Blake

  4. The Rev Kev

    “EU hopeful Moldova hosts European leaders in strategy summit”

    And because Moldovan President Maia Sandu is the head of a democracy, she has forbidden all demonstrations causing people to skirt that ban by wearing white t-shirts with the message in red print ‘Europe, if you support Maia Sandu, you also support: silencing the opposition by banning independent media; canceling free and fair elections; mass arrests targeting political opposition.’ Sandu’s Moldova should fit in well with those European values that we keep on hearing about if she gets that country into the EU.

    The fact that it is being held in a country bordering one where Russian troops are stationed tells you that they still have the Ukraine on their mind. But is this just a gab fest or will they be talking about topics like consolidating power in the EU or preparing for a post-counteroffensive Ukraine? Or maybe it is just an excuse for a booze-up as it is being held at a a wine estate after all.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Apparently, the Z-man joined the party in Moldova. His world tour continues; returning to Kiev doesn’t seem to be on the agenda.

  5. John

    Garbage on Everest: If you cannot clean up after yourself, you have no business even being there. But then if you are paying tens of thousands of dollars to be there, I imagine you are used to having others pick up after you. After all, why do we employ ‘them’ if not for that?

    1. Mildred Montana

      To conjoin your comment with the link about NASA’s investigation into UAPs (or, more sensibly, UFOs) I can only conclude that the occupants of them are indeed part of an advanced civilization. They come, they visit, and then they leave, taking their garbage with them.

      1. indices

        Kim Stanley Robinson has postulated that interstellar distances are simply too great unless faster than light speed travel is possible, which he doubts. Perhaps astral projection for interstellar travel
        Aliens possibly observing our solar system would certainly observe the great “white lantern” shining out from Earth, Antarctica, indicating the presence of (frozen) water, which apparently is a rare commodity in the universe.

        1. Mildred Montana

          The speed of light does indeed seem to present an insurmountable barrier to interstellar travel. The only work-around of that I’ve heard or read are “worm-holes” in space, something I don’t even pretend to understand. But then there’s so much we poor benighted humans don’t understand.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            I havent checked in with them lately, but a bunch of guys at the Johnson Space Center…led by a Dr White…were working on an Albacuerre Drive…which would be similar to Star Trek’s Warp Drive.
            limiting factor is the existence of “Exotic Matter”(Dilithium Crystals in the shows).
            a feature is it wouldnt necessarily break the Laws, as currently understood*…merely bend them.
            limited internet today, so cant send the links.

            (* we really know very little about the universe, when ya get right down to it…like what Gravity is, and reconciling gravity in the Standard Model(relativity, Einstein–decent model) and quantum gravity(woo-woo), and so on…just when we think we have a handle on it, something new turns up to toss our best models in the bin)

            1. Mildred Montana

              Well, what is the state of theoretical physics currently? Apparently 90%—less or more—of our universe has been found out to be composed of dark energy and dark matter. These two things are completely undiscoverable at the moment to theoretical physicists. So, to put it bluntly, 90% of the universe is unknown to the greatest of our minds.

              After much physics progress in the 20th century, back to square one, unless one buys into the mathematical sleights-of-hand of the string theorists. Lee Smolin doesn’t.

              Fifteen years ago he wrote a book called “The Trouble With Physics” which was an indictment of string theory and its reliance on mathematics without provability or predictability through experiment.

              We continue to stumble in the darkness and probably will for many millenia.

  6. Wæsfjord

    Re: FT piece

    It’s rather curious how the Ukraine talking points appear to be coordinated. The new one is that “Russia is really weak because a few drones and a suicide squad managed to cross the border.” The fact that there may be 1/4 million dead and disabled Ukrainians doesn’t matter. Victory is just around the corner, we just need X for the magic to start working. The western media are living in a strange cult. It reminds me of people I knew who got deep into research chemicals and disappeared into their own world. Interesting to see the FT romp on down the white rabbit hole.

    1. Typewriter Ribbon

      Objectively speaking, Muscovites must be surprised the S-400 did not protect them when drones flew 400 miles to strike the state-owned apartments of the elite. Belgorod at least intuitively knew the military was not there to protect them, being a mere waypoint. For centuries a peripheral Belgorod has been the victim of incursions; rarer is the marauder who can sling arrows at Moscow. A potential blitz is a problem: as a city, Moscow will contract either because of mass mobilization, long deferred, or failing that, informal evacuation. Imagine similar circumstances in DC.

      The above should be stunning because it suggests the Russian Army is failing to neutralize targets within operational ranges (as opposed to tactical or strategic), making the absence of Russian MLRS systems from the battlefield conspicuous. An explanation of which eludes the public discourse, but I speculate the Russian Army suspects emission of MLRS coordinates somewhere among the nodes outpacing the time required to execute snap orders. Better to hold units in reserve for a decisive moment, which is a non-starter because the political costs of one’s seat of government under (nominal) attack. Stunning.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        seems like i read the kind of drones were relatively short range, and thus came from a suburb or something.
        so dirty tricks, not some masterful riposte by Z.
        and, sad to say, Russian AD seems adequate to everything that’s been thrown at it…unless it sneaks up in the drive plume,lol.

        regardless, i look forward to it being over.
        and if that means the end of american hegemony and pseudoempire, all the better.

        1. Late Introvert

          My fervent hope is that the brain damaged DC crowd will manage to lose so bad that the back stage curtain falls down like Zappa predicted. Without launching nukes in a petulant frenzy.

    2. Ignacio

      Media in wartime has nothing to do with media in more confident times. They do what they believe is their duty. The FT sees itself as another player in the propaganda/narrative/news front. The FT is also in war with Russia.

    3. Kouros

      By this logic, the US is really weak since it suffered the 9/11 terrorist attack, one could argue…

  7. The Rev Kev

    “French Navy Chief Calls for European Navies to Increase Presence and Engagement in Key Waters”

    So Russia is in the end game with the Ukraine. Biden cannot risk having the Ukraine be an issue for the 2024 Presidential elections so will seek to pull the plug on the whole project so that it can be memory-holed, just like Afghanistan has been. And when that war is finally wrapped up, that is when the fun and games begin. Russia will seek payback to all those countries that sent military equipment and specialists to the Ukraine. Not to beat Russia mind but just to keep killing Russian soldiers. So naval wise, you are talking about the European navies having to watch the Baltic Sea, the Arctic waters, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. So France’s Navy’s Chief of Naval Staff comes out and says ‘You know what we need to do? We should totally send our navies to the other side of the planet where they will do the most good.’ The article talks about the Suez Canal, the Bab el-Mandab Straits, and the Straits of Hormuz but you just know that where they will really be sent is the Pacific to confront China.

    1. vao

      Suez Canal, Bab el-Mandeb, Hormuz Strait — all major shipping lanes for oil and LNG supertankers.

      Taking those declarations by NATO naval leaders seriously, we should then logically expect European navies to sail en masse towards the Strait of Malacca — and not necessarily head to the Taiwan Strait.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You’d think so but that NATO office that was opened recently is located in Tokyo, not in one of the Gulf States. The eventual plan might be that those European navy ships would be used to cut off China from oil from the Middle East in case war breaks out between China and the US.

        1. vao

          In practice, cutting off China from Middle Eastern oil means blocking the Malacca Strait, no?

          In which case the role of European navies fit in the pattern perfectly: Hormuz, Suez, Bab el-Mandeb — and then Malacca…
          Leaving the USA, Australia and Japan to confront China directly. Well, perhaps the Europeans will be in a somewhat better place, after all.

        2. John

          War with China will happen only if the brain dead and the neocons, but I repeat myself, instigate it.

        3. John k

          Imo eu blocking China from ME oil will not end well for eu. And eu needs ME oil and gas, too.

        4. Kouros

          If China is cut off the oil in the Middle East meaning the biggest buyer cannot buy from the Middle East providers, how long will it take for OPEC to put an embargo of oil on G7? It wouldn’t be the first time, would it? Actions have consequences…

        5. Jabura Basaidai

          seem to recall cutting Japan off from oil caused a little dust-up in Pearl Harbor a while back – these mo-fo’s can’t help themselves –

    2. tevhatch

      So France’s Navy’s Chief of Naval Staff comes out and says ‘You know what we need to do? We should up our game, we only get a seaside villa as a kickback for ordering ships. Those damn Yankee officers get them too, but also golf club memberships, corporate cinctures, stock options, and a personal assistant at their favorite off-shore bank. We can do better!’

  8. Nikkikat

    Thanks for the beautiful tigers this morning. Really awesome, could look at them forever.

  9. Carolinian

    Re The Intercept

    While the Atlanta Solidarity Fund has been a crucial resource for activists facing harsh repression for their involvement in Stop Cop City, the nonprofit predates the movement and has been providing bail funds, jail support, and assistance with legal representation for Atlanta activists since the 2020 Black liberation uprisings.

    This is really the nub, isn’t it–between those who think the 2020 anti-Trump riots (any such protests since then?) were liberation uprisings and those who think violent looting sprees are a rather tainted form of idealism. Here’s suggesting the 2020 smashing up of Atlanta’s downtown is exactly why there is an anti-riot training center being built and the provocation of reactionaries was the real point of those riots called “liberation.” Since both sides are playing a role it does encourage suspicion about what is really going on. Fear is a tool and while once the country was obsessed with Commies now, for some, it’s a fascist behind every bush. Biden even has a commission on it, no doubt hoping to ride fascism baiting to re-election.

    1. hk

      There is something analogous going on vis a vis pro-Trump riots, especially that from Jan, 2021, not just from pro Trumpers either.

      As far as I can tell, they should have a book thrown at them because they were rioting, not because they were part of some sinister conspiracy. But, eh, some people are obsessed with finding a conspiracy because, I wonder, they don’t believe rioting is not the crime, but having wrong beliefs is (with rioting simply providing an excuse to punish them–and conversely, rioting with the “right” beliefs should not be punished. This, if true, is wrong on so many levels.

    2. Cetra Ess

      There’s an important dimension to this story which is missing. During Occupy Wall Street there was a pattern seen across cities, it went like this:

      1) A committee of volunteers is set up for the purpose of collecting donations – since clearly people are wanting to donate.
      2) The first problem is that banks require not only two names on an account, but also address, identification, etc., so the question then becomes, whose? Who do you trust? And remember, nobody really knows anyone so it’s quite an act of faith. Likewise with names of people who are authorized to receive moneys from the account, since the funds need to be dispersed and distributed somehow, subgroups need to be able to receive funds for various supplies or activities.
      3) Some mysterious person X who volunteered to be on the committee, is authorized to receive funds, steals.
      4) Some mysterious person Y, who isn’t even on the committee, noisily and angrily demands an accounting of all funds, makes a huge spectacle of it.
      5) Committee does an accounting, discovers the theft, in the interest of transparency, announces it. Many news orgs then report it, hyperventilation ensues. It’s usually not even a significant amount.
      6) X and Y just as mysteriously disappear without a trace, never to be heard nor seen from again.

      At the time, the mysterious of X and Y fueled speculation they were plants. Later, the various Occupies compared notes and discovered the pattern across cities, further consolidating the belief.

      It’s the standard playbook for disrupting and besmirching the credibility of a movement. What’s different in this case is the police have charged them, therefore will need to profer evidence, which means they either have evidence, in which case how did they come by it, or if they don’t, then is this part of the playbook.

      1. Carolinian

        The current case doesn’t seem to have much to do with your example. Some detail from a story linked in Cooler comments last night.

        Warrants obtained by Channel 2 Action News accuse Kautz, Maclean and Patterson of “misleading contributed by using funds collected through ha State Registered 501c(3) Network for Strong Communities to fund the actions in part of Defend the Atlanta Forest (DTAF), a group classified by the United States Department of Homeland Security as Domestic Violence Extremists.”

        According to warrants, the Atlanta Solidarity Fund provided material support in the form of payments and reimbursements to members of DTAF through NFSC.

        The group is accused of using funds from the NFSC to purchase building and camping supplies, gasoline, signs, COVID tests and forest clean-up supplies.

        At one point, nearly $50,000 was moved from NFSC to Siskiyou Mutual Aid a day after NFSC was announced as a funding source during a court hearing.

        “SMA then returned the funds to NFSC, appearing to launder the funds,” warrants said.

        “Today’s arrests are the latest escalation in the state’s attacks on the right to protest,” organizers said. The group said they plan to demonstrate in front of the Dekalb County jail Thursday night.

        The case is being prosecuted by the Georgia Attorney General’s Office and the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office.

        In other words far from being a secret plot involving plants it’s more of an openly vindictive prosecution aimed at a group that goes back a couple of years and who did something that some might regard as a technical violation of the law. My takeaway: this is not just the Atlanta PD or even the Atlanta PD but the state government and Dekalb County–location of the disputed land–going after the protestors. The training center opponents claim there is some sort of general public uproar against what is being built and yet all of the relevant local and state governments don’t seem very restrained in their scorn for the would be monkey wrenchers. Someone should have informed the “forest defenders” that years back drastic eco terrorism laws were passed against the tree spikers and bulldozer torchers out West. So that’s the source of the “terrorism” talk. Keeping it nonviolent might have been better strategy.

  10. ChrisFromGA

    The story about Kit Klarenberg, when paired with the Intercept story on APD and the GBI arresting folks for the crime of donating money to a legal defense fund, paints a dark picture of the future. It seems we are losing freedom of the press and civil rights.

    Not holding my breath waiting for the DoJ to file charges against the APD for violating the civil rights of the Solidarity Fund organizers. Nor for the ACLU to do anything.

  11. digi_owl

    “Investors turn to AI-guided dealmaking to gain edge over rivals FT”

    The flash crash was just the prelude, apparently…

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Misfiring Cannons, Rotted Tires Among US Army Gear Pulled for Ukraine, Watchdog Finds”

    If the US military ever had to go to war again and needed their combat gear, they would be screwed. This stuff may be on way to the war to the Ukraine but it was actually meant for US troops and is one of seven locations of pre-positioned stockpiles around the world. This does explain one thing that I read today. The Ukrainians have been complaining that three-quarters of the US military vehicles have broken down which is causing chaos at the front. So what I am saying is that if the US had to go to war, this would be what would be happening to them. But I doubt that that contractor will be punished or denied any future contracts. It is just the way that thing are set up. Here is another version of this story-

    1. Paradan

      20 years in Iraq and Afghanistan have worn out all our vehicles. Our Navy is limping along also, too much forward presence and not enough maintenance and training (oh and a fresh coat of paint wouldn’t hurt either).

      1. The Rev Kev

        The US military has an annual budget of about $1.4 trillion and yet money can never be found for the basics like maintenance, proper training, etc. – the basic building blocks of any military. With a honey pot that large, it has attracted far too much corruption, scammers, crooks and politicians (or do I repeat myself?) that choke the life out of an effective military. Not just an American problem either as the war in the Ukraine has shown this to be true of most NATO countries.

        1. digi_owl

          And Pentagon do not even know if the spare parts for the F-35 that sub-contractors claim they have in stock actually exist…

          1. R.S.

            I instantly recall that similar problems with subcontractors were plaguing Eurofighters several years ago. Spare parts were outsourced to contractors, who outsourced the production to their contractors, who outsourced, turtles all the way down. When it came to replenishing the stock, it turned out that some of the manufacturers had quit the business, reoriented their production, etc, because markets.

        2. Mildred Montana

          The US military is one in name only. It relies almost exclusively on superior air and naval power and a staggering advantage in munitions (see: MIC) yet has been unable to win decisively any war against the weak opponents it has engaged since and including Vietnam.

          As any historian knows, wars are won on the ground by troops with rifles (barring of course a nuclear conflagration). But times are tough for the military, with fat recruits expecting McDonald’s food even in the most remote postings.

          It can therefore easily reduce its budget by putting them on a diet. MREs three times a day. A two-fer: money saved and an infantry of hungry mean fighting machines.*

          *I advocate the diet and the diet only.

          1. JBird4049

            IIRC, MREs are designed to provide all the calories needed for the infantry in heavy combat while carrying a full kit, or up to about ninety pounds. That is some serious energy needed. Something like five thousand calories or more. Daily. If the average soldier was put just on MREs, he would get bored of the food and gain some serious weight.

          2. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

            Actually, MREs are more expensive than mess-hall prepared “food.” I remember more than once coming to the end of a budget cycle and instead of the usual “pick up an MRI (yes, MRI*) with breakfast” having to go forth and serve hot lunch to various crews. Until the next budget cycle started and we could afford MRIs again.

            And MRIs were less expensive than MREs.

            *like a C-ration, but without the cigarettes.

    2. curlydan

      I like to ask people’s opinions on what country would win a war between China and the U.S.

      People still seem to think the U.S. would do well. I tell them that either China would crush us or, if the goal is to prevent a Chinese victory, the war would have to be nuclear (with no winner… just billions of losers).

      How can a country that can’t make things quickly or well possibly hold up against a larger country that has incredible manufacturing capabilities?

      1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

        Neither. For a definition of “win” that means “force the other side to comply with the victor’s wishes.”

        There would only be degrees of losers, as both would end up wrecked. China would recover more (but not fully) completely, the US would not recover and might well cease to exist entirely.

    3. Daniil Adamov

      I suspect it comes down to this: America has no conceivable good reason to go to war. It will not be fighting for its life against any external threat any time soon. Its elites know this and act accordingly, whatever they may say in public. If they were really worried about having to go to a real war with their system’s survival at stake, I am sure they would not have let things degenerate like this. But they have no skin in the game and so can neglect, bumble and loot to their hearts’ content.

  13. tegnost

    Is it just me, or does crude at 68ish and gas at the pump almost $5/gal seem off historically?

    1. ambrit

      From what I’ve read, prices for “energy” are “sticky.” Thus, they go up with the crude market prices fairly quickly, but go down much slower than crude prices. The difference in “going up’ and “going down” is a source of “windfall profits” for the corporations involved. As one wag i knew put it; “It’s well known that ‘Oil Floats.”

      1. digi_owl

        I suspect that applies for any “must have” consumables, because most do not have the time to shop around for the best price.

        1. ambrit

          In situations involving collusion and “combination,” such a “best price” is forestalled and only ‘manipulated’ prices are on offer. In other words, it is Con Games all the way down.

      1. tegnost

        as an example when crude was well over 100 in the run up to the (very temporary) collapse in 08, average price at the pump was 4.10/gal.

        I also recall how a headline like “tensions in nigeria” would spike prices. Now it’s all stable, kind of like how when one goes to buy beer, all the ipa’s are the same price.

  14. Mikel

    “EU and US to prepare and push for global AI ‘code of conduct’ France24

    In other words, they get a regulatory nod to volutarily decide whether to steal or not.

  15. Mikel

    “Amazon’s Ring doorbell was used to spy on customers, FTC says in privacy case” Guardian

    People have been complaining about this for years and Amazon is still telling people not to believe their lying eyes or ears. Gaslighting.

  16. Cetra Ess

    re: The expanding AI hall of shame

    Seriously, if THAT photo of smoke near the WH caused ANY concern at all, was believed to be true by anyone at all, this is a ridiculously gullible population. It doesn’t even look like the WH, at all, not even remotely – maybe if you’re not wearing your glasses and you see it as a white smudge. The problem isn’t AI, it’s the people who are incapable of questioning and critical thought.

  17. Bart Hansen

    That Propublica list on rights that are likely to be cancelled shows how serious was Biden’s failure to expand the court.

    As for not having the votes, there are many ways to force weak kneed Senators to fall in line, some which may cross the line.

  18. Lexx

    ‘Billionaires and the Evolution of Overconfidence’

    Watched ‘FUBAR’ on Netflix this week.* It was #1 and I was trying to figure out why, starting with the silly title. Was it because it starred Arnold Schwarzenegger? Surely not. Did he really not have anything better to do at age 75, after all he’d accomplished?! It was awful, badly written and acted, possibly the worst project he’s ever worked on and there’s been some real stinkers. I watched the credits roll and had a sneaking suspicion there will be a Season 2.

    When asked as ‘Mr.Universe’ what he thought about while working out, he replied now that he’d earned the first million, he was thinking about how to earn the second. He’s one of those people who can never get enough money, fame or attention. They don’t know how to fail; they can’t hear the word ‘no’.

    I saw in the news this morning that Danny Masterson has finally been convicted of raping two women. Bet he has major issues with being told ‘no’.

    1. GF

      We are watching it too. The first episode was pretty bad but subsequent episodes have improved markedly. There is plenty of satire and humor and we think the writing is better than 99% of the shows on Netflix. It is also Arnie’s first attempt at a series. The actress who plays his daughter is a very good one as are most of the supporting cast.. Every episode is better than the previous in our opinion. We do think they could have come up with a better title.

  19. juno mas

    RE: Dark Earth restoration

    It is important to recognize that tropical soils (Amazon) and temperate soils (US and Ukraine) have different characteristics. Dark earth supplements to tropical soil will make it more suitable to plant growth because it is adding available nutrients (especially, Phosphorus) to the soil medium.

    Tropical soils, due to substantial rainfall, are more acidic (low pH) and constrain the transportation of soil nutrients to a growing plant. Adding Dark Earth, as noted in the article, both increases the soil pH and adds important nutrients, along with organic matter that assists microbe populations and soil water absorbtion by plant roots. What’s not to like?

    Can it be done at scale?

    1. Scylla

      I know someone (a grower) who has put considerable research and experimentation into this. Charcoal is expensive to buy in the volumes needed- hard to make without specialized equipment (in large volumes). It is not fully understood how these soils work, and how the ingredients interact, and which additives are absolutely necessary for it to function (possibly every single one of them), and one ingredient that is cost prohibitive for everyone is – get this- broken and pulverized pottery/ceramics. Nobody is adding that in their imitative recipes, and it is being thought now that this plays an important role (according to my acquaintance). When human labor is cheap and the timescales are long, as they were in the Amazon basin, putting crushed ceramic into the soil on a large scale was possible, but it does not seem to be in the modern world.

  20. Late Introvert

    I had never clicked over to the Quad City Times before last night, but I was impressed.

    This from the Men Yell At Me post.

    At the news conference on Tuesday, Matson testily walked back claims the building was set to be destroyed imminently, sparring with Joe McCoy, a journalist at WQAD, the ABC-affiliate in the Quad Cities. McCoy pointed out that when the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed in 2021, authorities waited 10 days before demolishing it.

    Matson insisted that the plans to bring down the Davenport building were fluid. “I have the email where you say,” McCoy said.

    “I didn’t send it,” Matson responded.

    Of course he did.

    This is from the QC Times.

    Shaffer said Wold asked him to supply a quote for work on the nearby apartment building. When he did, he said, the bid was rejected because it was too high.

    “He wanted to cut the cost by cutting out the shoring and supporting of the building,” Shaffer said.

    Shoring is done to prop up a building when the structure is deemed unsafe, Shaffer explained. The bid for that work alone came in at about $50,000.

    “I said, ‘If we don’t do it this way exactly, I’m not putting my guys in there. Somebody is going to die,’ ” he said.

    According to Shaffer, Wold then shopped around for someone who would do the work for an acceptable price. City records reflect this.

    Bring on the lawsuits? Or just too many poors to bother with.

    Seems pretty damning.

    “(Wold) was calling us and asking for I-beams and stuff to support it. I looked at it and was like, ‘There’s no saving it at this point,’” he said.

    Friday, two days before the building collapsed, Shaffer said he went to the apartment building and told workers, “Get away. You’re going to die.”

    Sunday, at 3:30 p.m., less than two hours before it collapsed, he warned workers at the site of 324 Main St. that they needed to leave.

    “We were here working all day,” he said, referring to his work at the former Antonella’s location. “Literally, we were just waiting for the building to drop.”

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