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posted on 18 December 2016

Early Headlines: Trump: China Keep Drone, How Trump Could Unwind Enviro. Policies, Solutions To Debt Prob., Bombings In Turkey And Yemen, Iran Calls For Internat. Mtg On US Sanctions And More

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Early Bird Headlines 18 December 2016

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.



  • Trump: China should keep seized US drone (The Hill) President-elect Donald Trump said Saturday evening that China should keep the U.S. Navy drone that it seized, just hours after Chinese officials said they would return it to the U.S. “We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back," Trump tweeted. “[L]et them keep it!."


  • US Intel Vets Dispute Russia Hacking Claims (Consortium News) This is a memorandum from a group of retired intelligence community folks who have not been a party to any information about the email leakage/hacking. They express the opinion that it coudn't be hacking or the NSA would have a record of it.

  • Five ways Trump could unwind Obama's environmental policies (The Hill) Many of President Obama’s climate and environmental policies are unlikely to survive under President-elect Donald Trump. Trump railed against Obama’s record throughout the presidential campaign, promising to repeal regulations, increase fossil fuel production and more. Since so much of Obama’s record on the environment is built on regulations and executive actions, Trump can scale back or outright reverse much of it without action from Congress. Trump will be able to start executing many of the changes on his first day in office, while others will require a long regulatory process. Here are five of the major changes Trump is likely to bring:

  1. Allow more fossil fuel production

  2. Repeal regulations

  3. Stop international cooperation on climate

  4. Stop defending Obama’s regulations in court

  5. Weaken environmental enforcement

  • Debt Nation: The Problem, the Solutions (Epoch Times) Hat tip to Steve Keen. The world is drowning in debt - $152 trillion, or 225 percent of the world’s GDP, according to the International Monetary Fund. In the United States, total debt (including government and private) exceeds $62.5 trillion, or 334 percent of GDP, according to current Federal Reserve data. Historically, debt levels of this magnitude have never been paid back in real terms. They were reduced through default or inflation, with sometimes devastating results. This time around, however, creative economists say there are ways to reduce the debt burden without disrupting the economy too much. The problem is how to deal with private sector debt.

Click for larger image.

  • Who Lost The White House? (The Concourse) Hat tip to Joe Firestone. This is an immensely entertaining and insightful (also inciteful) rant from an author who didn't think much of the 2016 presidential campaign. Two excerpts (one is the beginning and the second the end of the essay):

After a long, ugly, and immensely stupid presidential election, a modest plurality of a little more than half of voting-age Americans voted to make a deeply loathed avatar of the despised political establishment the next President of the United States. Unfortunately, they were improperly geographically distributed, and so our next president is going to be a deeply loathed TV con man who flipped a few critical states by promising to reestablish national greatness through a vague program of populist economics and protectionism, who expertly played on rural and exurban resentments about someone else - black people, women, immigrants, whomever - getting a notionally better handout.

Vladimir Putin did not install Donald Trump in the White House. The New York Times editorial page did. The Washington Post editorial page did. The means-testers and meritocrats did. Hillary Clinton and her campaign did. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

  • The Defense Department is Running Out of Money Unless We Do Something (Joseph M. Firestone) Everyday you hear or read on some network or web site a claim that Social Security and Medicare are running out of money, followed by an appeal to raise taxes, or cut spending, or both to stop that from happening. But, why is it you almost never see or hear someone saying that the Defense Department is running out out of money, followed by a similar appeal to raise taxes or cut spending to pay for it? Joe continues:

The answer is obvious. It is that we expect to pay for defense spending, whatever its contribution to deficits every year with a new annual appropriation by Congress. There is little talk about running out of money for defense.

We just expect that Congress will appropriate what it believes is needed, and we understand that its defense appropriation mandates the Executive to spend the money appropriated. Why can’t we do the same thing with SS and Medicare?


  • Turkish bus attack: 13 off-duty soldiers killed by car bomb (BBC News) A suicide car bomb in central Turkey has killed 13 soldiers aboard a bus and wounded 56 more, officials say. The blast destroyed the bus carrying soldiers visiting a local market in the city of Kayseri. An army spokesman said civilians may also have been injured. No group has admitted carrying out the attack, but Turkish officials say it bears the hallmarks of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). It comes a week after 44 people were killed in a PKK attack in Istanbul.



  • Iran calls for meeting of nuclear deal powers over U.S. sanctions (Reuters) Iran has requested a meeting of a commission overseeing the implementation of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Iranian state media reported on Saturday, in response to what Tehran calls a U.S. violation of the agreement. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asked for the meeting in a letter to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Iran's official news agency IRNA said. The White House said on Thursday that a bill extending U.S. sanctions against Iran for 10 years will become law without President Barack Obama's signature, but added that it would not affect implementation of the international accord limiting Iran's nuclear program. In response to the U.S. sanctions move, Iran ordered its scientists on Tuesday to start developing systems for nuclear-powered marine vessels.


  • Putin claims return of islets' sovereignty unwritten in 1956 pact: Abe (The Mainichi) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed transferring to the Soviet Union the sovereignty of islets at the center of a territorial dispute is "not written" in an agreement struck between Japan and the Soviet Union. (Econintersect: Menaing it was understood but not stated?) Abe said in an interview with Japanese broadcaster Nippon Television after a two-day summit with Putin this week that the Russian president made the claim about the return of sovereignty being unwritten in the 1956 Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration. The comment is believed to have been made at the summit which was held in Japan on Thursday and Friday. The two leaders failed to narrow their differences over sovereignty of the isles during their talks. The declaration says Russia will hand over Shikotan and the Habomai group, two of four disputed islands controlled by Moscow but claimed by Tokyo, after conclusion of a post-World War II peace treaty with Japan. But the long-standing territorial row has prevented the two countries from sealing a peace pact. Japan claims the four islands were illegally seized by the Soviet Union after its surrender in the war in August 1945. Russia maintains the Soviet Union took the islands legitimately as a prize of war.


  • The World's Top Oil Market Is Starting to Lose Its Sheen (Bloomberg) One of the biggest engines soaking up the world’s oil is starting to sputter. Growth in crude imports by China, the second largest consumer after the U.S., will probably slow by more than 60 percent in 2017, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts including FGE and Energy Aspects Ltd. Private refiners that helped boost purchases to record levels are expected to be constrained by tighter licenses and increased scrutiny on their taxes. At the same time, the current space available for stockpiles may run out. This slowdown may be bigger than all the oil production cuts promised. And just when American shale productioon is starting to ramp up as well.


  • Nine die in Vancouver in 24 hours from fentanyl opioid overdose (BBC News) Nine people have died in Vancouver in the past 24 hours from an overdose of the painkiller fentanyl opioid, officials say. Mayor Gregor Robertson said these were "desperate times" for the Canadian city, adding that more deaths were expected.

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