Links 1/17/2020

Scientists Design Bacteria-Based Living Concrete Smithsonian

Banking’s Problem Child May Be Due Another Tantrum Bloomberg

Euro zone slowdown has bottomed but no big bounce in sight: Reuters poll Reuters

Big Brother Australia aims to ban cash spending Asia Times

Extreme mega-fires force rethink on fighting blazes FT

The solution to the plastic waste crisis? It isn’t recycling Guardian


EU’s funding for UK’s poorest areas ‘must be matched after Brexit’ Guardian. Lol no.

Harry and Meghan, and why members of the Royal Family can’t live in Canada Globe and Mail

Shares in French retailers sink following wave of strikes FT Finally some coverage.


Iran crisis: Tensions reach boiling point as Iraq defies US to sign Putin missile deal Express

Crisis & Critique: The Return of Guaido? Venezuelanalysis. Last year, two Presidents. This year, two Parliaments?

Founder of Blackwater mercenary group Erik Prince took secret Venezuela trip to talk mining with regime National Post

Colombia’s anti-government protests to resume on January 21 Colombia Reports

More military and police presence on Bolivian streets Prensa Latina. Cuba, but U.S. coverage is so miserable, what can I do?


Amazon not doing a favour by investing $1 billion: Piyush Goyal The Economic Tiimes

‘Post’ nudged to fall in line The Telegraph

Investors from UK to Japan keen on developing new Indonesian capital The Star


China’s Improving Economic Data Masks Deeper Problems NYT

Xi’s Wider Fight With U.S. Is Only Just Beginning After Trade Deal Bloomberg

Beijing sets sights on mighty Mekong as passage to South China Sea Agence France Presse

Short of Time: Julian Assange at the Westminster Magistrates Court Counterpunch

New Cold War

Putin’s new PM promises ‘real changes’ for Russians Agence France Presse

Vladimir Putin Prepares His Succession Gilbert Doctorow

Russian Federation Sitrep 16 January 2020 by Patrick Armstrong Sic Semper Tyrannis. Good round-up.

Trump Transition

Donald Trump nominates Federal Reserve critic to central bank’s board FT

Trump Attaches Severe Restrictions to Puerto Rico’s Long-Delayed Disaster Aid NYT



‘Impartial justice’: Can partisan senators serve as unbiased jurors in the Trump impeachment trial? USA Today. Federalist #65, worth reading in full:

A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself….

Where else than in the Senate could have been found a tribunal sufficiently dignified, or sufficiently independent? What other body would be likely to feel CONFIDENCE ENOUGH IN ITS OWN SITUATION, to preserve, unawed and uninfluenced, the necessary impartiality between an INDIVIDUAL accused, and the REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE, HIS ACCUSERS?

Caps in original.

About that oath of ‘impartiality’ senators just took WaPo

Pelosi impeachment manager is calling for McConnell’s recusal from Trump Senate trial Miami Herald

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Impeachment of the President Normally Requires a Crime

White House violated the law by freezing Ukraine aid, watchdog says Politico

McConnell Should Toss Out This Malicious Impeachment Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

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Pompeo stonewalls as evidence emerges of possible surveillance of ex-Ukraine ambassador CNN

Trump again denied knowing Lev Parnas. So Parnas’ lawyer posted more robust proof. The Week. My priors are that Parnas is just another Curveball; he certainly did come onstage at an convenient time. It was a sign that Benghazi had passed The Hairball Horizon™ when names that only somebody obsessing over the detail would know started appearing in headlines.

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Collins says she’s ‘likely’ to support calling witnesses for impeachment trial The Hill

John Roberts likely to play modest role in impeachment trial AP

Bad Timing for Jury Duty NYT. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet. Regardless of whether the trial is short or long, it’s hard for me to see how Pelosi handing controll of the election calendar over to Mitch McConnell was an act of strategic genius.

Establishment Pundits Go Nuts Over New Russian Hacking Conspiracy Caitlin Johnstone, Consortium News. This isn’t Parnas, it’s some other hairball.


Why Elizabeth Warren’s Social Media Is Flooded With Snake Emoji Wired

Death Threats Will Force Virginia Lawmaker To A Safe House During Pro-Gun Rally DCist

Health Care

Smart shopper (dk):

Read all the way to the end.

‘Alarming’ one in five deaths due to sepsis BBC (Re Silc). World-wide. See NC on sepsis here.

Decreasing human body temperature in the United States since the Industrial Revolution eLife. “[M]ean body temperature in men and women, after adjusting for age, height, weight and, in some models date and time of day, has decreased monotonically by 0.03°C per birth decade.”LL

Class Warfare

Change Agent: Gene Sharp’s Neoliberal Nonviolence, Part Two (JS). Part one.

Certain Unflattering Truths The Baffler

The happy emotions are not necessarily what they appear Aeon

Antidote du jour (via):

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.

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