Links 1/8/2021

Patient readers, we understand you miss comments (and each other). We do, too. We will be turning comments back on in the near future, but — and this is an important “but” — with site policy changes that will maintain the NC comments at the high level to which we have all become accustomed. –lambert

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Scientists observe live cells responding to magnetic fields for first time New Atlas

How hardy crocodiles outlasted dinosaurs and survived extinction NY Post

Pack of private equity bidders circle £400m KPMG restructuring arm Sky News

Chances are rising for a US economic reset FT

Capitol Seizure

Trump greeted with cheers as he calls in to Republican National Committee meeting WaPo

Impeachment resolution:

How does the 25th Amendment work, and can it be used to remove Trump from office after US Capitol attack? The Conversation

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Michelle Obama Reflects On “Wreckage” at the U.S. Capitol: “I Hurt for Our Country” The Oprah Magazine. With full statement.

George W. Bush laments ‘reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election’ The Hill. From the guy selected President by Antonin Scalia in Bush v. Gore. Gimme a break.

CEOs’ Swift Rebukes of the Capitol Riots Speak to Their Elevated Roles in Society Morning Consult

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Violence in the Capitol, Dangers in the Aftermath Glenn Greenwald. Interestingly, liberals seem to have a new category: “Property of non-symbolic importance.” That is the sort of property it’s OK to destroy. The conservative mirror image: Public property is OK destroy; private property is not.) On civil liberties, a thread:

Define the Capitol seizure as terrorism, and counter-terrorism as a solution is what we’re going to get.

1 big thing: American chaos, Chinese order Felix Salmon, Axios. “The chaos that unfolded on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon is a sign that the U.S. can’t even run an orderly transition of power, let alone project its soft power internationally.”

The spectacle of our imperial oligarchy thrashing against itself Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon

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Who were the Capitol insurrectionists? FT

Decoding the flags and banners seen at the Capitol Hill insurrection Quartz (Re Silc).

Capitol Rioters Planned for Weeks in Plain Sight. The Police Weren’t Ready. Pro Publica

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US Capitol Police chief to resign after Wednesday’s riots CNN

Why Was the U.S. Capitol So Easy to Breach? and Visualizing a Riot: Where Today’s Attacks on the Capitol Played Out Curbed. A thread on the Capitol Police:

I think you can be agnostic on whether “cops opened the barrier” and also note the extreme discrepancy between how this protest has been handled and how others have been. Digital evidence….

Essential workers:

Note the unmasked cop.


Could new COVID variants undermine vaccines? Labs scramble to find out Nature

1 in 100,000 had severe reactions to Pfizer vaccine: US study Agence France Presse

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Opening of Large Institutions of Higher Education and County-Level COVID-19 Incidence — United States, July 6–September 17, 2020 (PDF) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC. “Among counties with large colleges and universities (university counties) included in the analysis, remote-instruction university counties (22) experienced a 17.9% decline in mean COVID-19 incidence during the 21 days before through 21 days after the start of classes (from 17.9 to 14.7 cases per 100,000), and in-person instruction university counties (79) experienced a 56.2% increase in COVID-19 incidence, from 15.3 to 23.9 cases per 100,000. Counties without large colleges and universities (nonuniversity counties) (3,009) experienced a 5.9% decline in COVID-19 incidence, from 15.3 to 14.4 cases per 100,000.”

Open Schools, Covid-19, and Child and Teacher Morbidity in Sweden NEJM. “Despite Sweden’s having kept schools and preschools open, we found a low incidence of severe Covid-19 among schoolchildren and children of preschool age during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Among the 1.95 million children who were 1 to 16 years of age, 15 children had Covid-19, MIS-C, or both conditions and were admitted to an ICU, which is equal to 1 child in 130,000.”

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Along with vaccine rollouts, the U.S. needs a National Hi-Fi Mask Initiative STAT

Pandemic restrictions follow state lines. The spreading virus doesn’t. High Country News

Sweden’s distinctive Covid strategy nears an end as lockdown proposed FT


Coronavirus: Chinese urged not to make ‘unnecessary’ trips home for Lunar New Year South China Morning Post

China’s state media and pro-Beijing figures delight in comparing US Capitol unrest with 2019 storming of Hong Kong legislature Hong Kong Free Press

National security law: Hong Kong rounds up 53 pro-democracy activists BBC

China Unveils Rules for National Carbon-Trading Scheme Sixth Tone

China cancels Democratic Republic of Congo loans as it joins belt and road South China Morning Post. $28 million?!

Ghana army moves to quell parliament clash ahead of swearing-in Agence France Presse


250 million farmers in India are taking a stand against the government as part of the biggest protest in history. Here’s why the US and the world should pay attention. Business Insider. From last week, still germane.

Farmers Protest Live News: Eighth round of talks between farm unions and Centre underway at Vigyan Bhawan Financial Express

Owning digital plans to 3D-print guns without licence to be made a crime after new Bill passed Channel News Asia. Singapore.

New Cold War

2020: Stable Trends in an Unstable World Valdai Discussion Club

How Trump ‘Appeased’ Russia Moon of Alabama

The Biden Transition and U.S. Competition with China and Russia: The Crisis-Driven Need to Change U.S. Strategy Center for International and Strategic Studies


Why UK pledge to become ‘Saudi Arabia’ of wind power rings hollow UK

Antisemitism definition is undermining free speech Guardian

Biden Transition

Raimondo selected for Biden’s Commerce secretary Politico. Pension-gutter, venture capitalist, private equity goon… She’s perfect!

Why Progressives Should Care About The Commerce Secretary Revolving Door Project

Biden chooses Boston Mayor Walsh as Labor secretary Politico

What Joe Biden can learn from Ulysses S. Grant The Week

Trump Transition

The Trump Administration Officials Who Resigned Over Capitol Violence NYT. Chao, DeVos, Mulvaney, Pottinger, Costello, Goodspeed, Grisham (FLOTUS), Niceta (FLOTUS), Matthews.

Ajit Pai is distancing himself from President Trump Protocol

Treasury launches $25B coronavirus rental assistance program The Hill. 200,000 people.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Episode 35 – The Gods Must Be F*cking With Us (podcast) Thomas Frank, Bad Faith (JS). Good to see Thomas Frank back in the arena.

Now do RussiaGate:

Intelligence Community

CIA rebrands to encourage diversity but identity of logo designer remains top secret dezeen (Re Silc). So awesome:

Our Famously Free Press

Now It Can Be Told: How Neil Sheehan Got the Pentagon Papers NYT

Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing agrees to pay $244 million penalty to settle criminal fraud charges over 737 MAX Dominic Gates and Lewis Kamb, Seattle Times. The headline figure is over $2 billion, lol:

Of that amount, only $243.6 million, less than 10%, is a fine paid to the U.S. government for the criminal conduct, ‘which reflects a fine at the low end’ of the sentencing guidelines, the court agreement states. The rest includes an additional $500 million Boeing commits to pay in compensation to the families of the 346 people who died in two crashes of the MAX. However, 70% of the $2.5 billion cited in the settlement, or $1.77 billion, is compensation to Boeing’s airline customers that the company has already agreed to pay. (Indeed, that’s just a fraction of what it has agreed to pay them.)

Alternative headline: “Crooked National Champion Executives Skate Away Clean: No Jail Time.” The whole article is very good; read for more horrid details.

Guillotine Watch

London Luxury Home Buyers Now Need Somewhere to Park Their Jets Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Beggar thy neighbour Ann Pettifor, TLS. Review of Trade Wars Are Class Wars.

More employers are starting to offer student loan repayment assistance Yahoo Finance. Indentured servitude with a layer of indirection…

Denmark launches children’s TV show about man with giant penis Guardian

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.