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.
Republicans warm up to Assange (The Hill) Republicans are making common cause with an old enemy: Julian Assange. In 2010, prominent figures in the GOP wanted the WikiLeaks founder jailed for releasing thousands of diplomatic cables leaked by former Pvt. Chelsea Manning. Onetime presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said the leak “put American lives at risk." Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said Assange had “blood on his hands" and should be “hunted down." Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) called for the Australian anti-secrecy activist to be tried under the Espionage Act and asked if WikiLeaks could be designated as a terrorist organization. Fast-forward to 2016, when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his supporters are extolling the release of thousands of emails stolen from Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s personal account.
A Rigged System? (Counter Punch) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. The U.S. electoral system has both structural and ideological features that guarantee the perpetuation of the rule of the 1%, according to this author. The very instruments that operationalize the electoral system, from voter registration to ballot access, are particularly susceptible to partisan manipulation, from gerrymandered districts to control by secretaries of state who, in many instances, are political operatives for one of the two major parties. On the latter point, recall the role of Katherine Harris, the Republican Secretary of State in Florida, during the run-up to the 2000 presidential election when nearly 100,000 mostly African-American voters were kicked off the registration rolls. (A matter conveniently overlooked by all those who continue to blame Ralph Nader for the debacle in Florida.) A Republican Secretary of State in Ohio also apparently tainted the 2004 presidential election results. However, Democratic Party operatives were notoriously manipulative in this year’s Presidential primary from Nevada to New York.
Foreign investors dump gilts over inflation fears (The Times) Investors dumped UK government bonds yesterday in one of the heaviest sell-offs since the Brexit vote as international demand for sterling assets declined rapidly. Overseas investors are becoming increasingly worried that inflation and a move by the Conservative government towards a “hard" Brexit will lead to a downgrade in the UK’s creditworthiness. The pound’s fall has also reduced expectations that the Bank of England will cut interest rates further this year. After a crisis in the currency markets, with sterling slumping by 18% against the dollar since the referendum, volatility is spreading to the government debt market.
Cameron ‘wasted £1bn on troubled families’ (The Times) The government’s £1.3 billion ($1.6 billion) scheme to help Britain’s most troubled families has had no measurable impact on cutting crime or changing their lives for the better, an official assessment reveals.
Irish leaders fear Brexit will bring economic disaster (The Guardian) The prospect of Brexit has already raised intractable questions about the border that runs across the island, and has vexed farmers who send half their beef to British dinner tables. The slump of sterling is squeezing Irish exporters and the future of Northern Ireland, which relies heavily on EU subsidies, is uncertain. Some forecasters fear that Ireland could be harder hit than Britain by the tumult.
This could well be a major turning point in the battle against IS. Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, has been under IS’s control since June 2014, when it became the group’s biggest prize yet. The group’s last major stronghold in Iraq, Mosul is one of the jewels in IS’s crown, and losing it would be a huge blow - especially after the group was routed from Dabiq, the Syrian town whose name graces the IS magazine. Fearing the worst, IS set oil refineries on fire to obstruct and delay the oncoming forces, while The Washington Postreports that the group has strategically decided to flee Mosul and regroup in Syria, moving from defensive to insurgency tactics. Such a move is facilitated by the strategy coming out of Baghdad, which has encircled Mosul but left a corridor to the West of the city where IS fighters (and supporters) can flee to Syria. This strategy seeks to move the IS problem out of Iraq and into Syria.
Why Britain cannot bank on India for post-Brexit business (The Conversation) As the UK woos India, India is playing to its own electorate and interests. Even on British soil, there is a politics of trade, business, and democracy - just not the UK’s, but its own. Britain would do well to not take India for granted for post-Brexit business.
Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC (The Hindu) There have been 29 ceasefire violations along the LoC (Line of Control) since the surgical strikes by the Indian army against militants who staged a deadly raid in Kashmir last month. Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked shelling and firing on Indian positions along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu’s Rajouri district on Tuesday. A Defense spokesman said the ceasefire violation by Pakistan started around 8:30 p.m. on Monday evening and continued till 1:30 pm on Tuesday. The Pakistani troops reportedly fired 82 mm mortar bombs, used small and automatic weapons on Indian posts in Laam Battalion area in Naushera. India returned the fire.
Brazil May Be About to Give Up its Financial Sovereingty (theminskys.org) Acting president of Brasil, Michel Temer and his cabinet, who have been working towards the implementation of austerity measures in Brazil since they came to power, have proposed a constitutional amendment that will severely limit Brazil’s flexibility in government spending. It would be the 93rd amendment to Brazil’s ‘young’ 1988 constitution. In short, the Constitutional Amendment Proposal 241* (PEC 241 in Portuguese), would create an artificial limit to government spending, which would become pegged to the previous year’s inflation. Econintersect: Could Brazil follow the path of Argentina which was one of the wealthiest countries in the world a century ago? See Wikipedia.
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