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posted on 15 May 2016

Early Headlines: Natural Resource Kleptocracies, Tesla Threat To EU Luxury Cars, Clinton's Top 5 VPs, US Debt Back To 1929 Level, Transgender Mafia Boss Murdered And More

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Early Bird Headlines 15 May 2015

Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.



  • Corrupt elites will fight hard to stop the dismantling of the looting machines from which they draw their vast wealth (The Independent) States that get all their revenues from selling their oil, gas and minerals could easily turn into kleptocracies where the majority stay poor. Can corruption be controlled by reform or is it so much the essential fuel sustaining political elites that it will only be ended - if it ends at all - by revolutionary change? The answer depends on the country. This is a very good discussion of distribution (or lack of distribution) of wealth from natural resources.

  • Why Tesla's Mass-Market Car Should Scare Mercedes and BMW (Bloomberg) Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche have long dominated the world's premium automotive ranks, making Germany home to some of the industry's most profitable car brands. But Tesla Motors, whose Model 3 electric car enticed 325,000 would-be buyers to put down $1,000 deposits during the week of its debut in April, threatens them in a way that Toyota's Lexus never did. While the Model 3's stats - 200 miles on a single charge, $35,000 starting price - align it with General Motors' midmarket Chevrolet Bolt, Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has said his most affordable car to date should be thought of as competing with luxury mainstays such as BMW's 3 Series or the Audi A4.


  • Report: Romney recruiting Kasich, Sasse for third-party option (The Hill) According to a Washington Post report, 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is trying to organize a third party ticket to defeat Donald Trump. Among those prospects are Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), one of Trump's most vocal Republican critics, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who suspended his presidential campaign in early May. Kasich's chief strategist John Weaver said the governor isn't interested in running an an independent.

  • Congress Is OK With Unrestrained War Powers For Donald Trump (The Huffington Post) Even Republicans who are a little worried about Trump are fine letting him take the reins of an undeclared war.

  • Hillary Clinton's top five vice presidential picks (The Hill) The five names discussed in this article: Tim Kane, former Governor and current U.S. Senator from Virginia; U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio); U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts); U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez; and Governor John Hickenlooper, Colorado.

  • Pennsylvania Township Legalizes Civil Disobedience (Portside) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. On 05 May, Grant Township Supervisors passed a first-in-the-nation law that legalizes direct action to stop frack wastewater injection wells within the Township. Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) has sued the Township to overturn a local democratically-enacted law that prohibits injection wells. If a court does not uphold the people's right to stop corporate activities threatening the well-being of the community, the ordinance codifies that, "any natural person may then enforce the rights and prohibitions of the charter through direct action." Further, the ordinance states that any nonviolent direct action to enforce their Charter is protected, "prohibit[ing] any private or public actor from bringing criminal charges or filing any civil or other criminal action against those participating in nonviolent direct action." Grant Township Supervisor Stacy Long explained:

"We're tired of being told by corporations and our so-called environmental regulatory agencies that we can't stop this injection well! This isn't a game. We're being threatened by a corporation with a history of permit violations, and that corporation wants to dump toxic frack wastewater into our Township."

  • Total US Debt Is Back To Its Great Depression Peak (Zero Hedge) Not only has the world not deleveraged at all since The Great Financial Crisis but has added some $60 trillion in debt since the crisis (a number which mostly thanks to China is about $5 trillion higher over the past year). The following chart from Citi shows the last century of US non-financial leverage in context. As of this moment, consolidated US non-fin debt/GDP is about 275%, or roughly where it was US when the great depression stuck.



  • Boris Johnson likens EU to Nazi superstate (The Guardian) The former London mayor makes incendiary comparison with Hitler's Germany. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Johnson said the past 2,000 years of European history had been dominated by doomed attempts to unify the continent under a single government to recreate the "golden age" of the Romans. "Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically. The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods."


Of 2,043 people surveyed at the beginning of May, 73 per cent thought there were 29 countries in the EU when in fact there are 28, while 61 per cent of people believed most UK laws are set by the EU, when in fact official figures put EU regulation at anywhere between 15 and 50 per cent of UK law, including laws "influenced" by Brussels. And 70 per cent of people were unaware the EU's official anthem is "Ode to Joy".

The poll also showed that while the majority of people were aware there was no EU army, 14 per cent believed there was, while 29 per cent did not realise UK citizens required a passport to get into other European countries.



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