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.
Japanese shares up more than 2% led by exporters (CNBC) Japanese shares jumped more than 2 percent on Wednesday as the yen weakened against a stronger dollar and recent surveys suggest global manufacturing sectors might be seeing a strong turnaround. Crude prices recovered from overnight losses in spite of continued dollar strength, with U.S. crude up 0.71% to $52.70 per barrel in Asian trade, and global benchmark Brent up 0.69% to $55.85. Oil prices dropped more than 2% on Tuesday in the U.S. as the dollar surged to a 14-year high. A stronger dollar may weigh on commodities, which are dollar-denominated, making it more expensive in other currencies.
The confusion over global warming is perpetuated by the encouragement of a bipolar dispute over the extent to which it is (a) a reality and (b) anthropogenic. Again to quote Dylan Jones:
“Both the proponents of anthropogenic global warming and skeptics are funded and controlled in their upper echelons by the same source. Both sides are kept in perpetual conflict and ignorance of this inconvenient truth. Big Oil and the Climate Mafia are one and the same. When they call each other liars they are just being honest. The aim is to impede the public awareness of a warming world and its true causes for as long as possible, transferring the guilt and the cost onto the unsuspecting masses whilst profiting from the consequences of a melting Arctic and worldwide crisis. As catastrophe and carbon taxation looms large, it’s important to recognize that as always, the costs of taxes levied on corporations are passed onto the poor. Wealth is de-distributed up the pyramid."
Can Trump Fix the Economy In 2017? (Paul Craig Roberts, The Unz Review) PCR has contributed to GEI. Roberts says that in the West junk information and junk judgment prevail:
The Western world and that part of the world that partakes of Western explanations live in a fictional world. We see this everywhere we look - in the alleged machinations of Russia to elect Donald Trump president of the US, in claims that Saddam Hussein and his (nonexistent) weapons of mass destruction were a threat to the United States (a mushroom cloud over American cities), that Assad of Syria used chemical weapons against his own people, that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, that a few Saudi Arabians outwitted the entirety of the US, EU, and Israeli intelligence services and delivered the greatest humiliation to the “world’s only superpower" in the history of mankind, that Russia invaded Ukraine and could at any moment invade the Baltics and Poland, that the US rate of unemployment is 4.6%, that China’s trade surplus with the US is due to Chinese currency manipulation, and so on and on.
House GOP Gives Staff Broader New Powers to Grill Witnesses (Bloomberg) A little-noticed provision approved Tuesday by the U.S. House dramatically expands the powers of committee staff to haul private citizens and government officials to Capitol Hill to be questioned under oath -- without any lawmakers present, in some cases. The Republican-authored change included in a House rules package marks what Democrats says is a disturbing trend of giving staff powers that have traditionally been reserved for members of Congress. Econintersect: Increasing the power of a police state? This is the congressional version of stop and frisk.
Senate turns toward ObamaCare repeal (The Hill) The Senate is turning toward a fight over repealing large parts of the Affordable Care Act, as Republicans move to fulfill a years-long campaign pledge. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), the chairman of the Budget Committee, filed a resolution that paves the way for repealing ObamaCare on Tuesday shortly after Congress started its work for the year. Lawmakers want to use "reconciliation" to repeal large swaths of the law this year. The procedural maneuver will allow the repeal effort to clear the upper chamber with 50 votes, bypassing a string of 60-vote procedural hurdles.
Overturning Bears Ears Is a Long Shot, But That Doesn't Mean Republicans Won't Try(Outside) The newest national monument has ardent supporters and detractors. The question is: How easy will it be for Trump to undo it? Environmentalists and Native American leaders heralded the protection of unique and sensitive areas as both monuments feature significant tribal artifacts. Opposing politicians exploded, calling Bears Ears the “midnight monument." Both sites have been highly contentious, with many conservatives in Utah and Nevada decrying the loss of access to resources like oil and gas. They claim that Obama's safeguarding of the lands using the Antiquities Act (which he has done 25 time - more than any other president) is a vast overreach of presidential power.
UK manufacturing growth unexpectedly hits 2-1/2-year high: PMI (Reuters, CNBC) British manufacturing growth climbed to a two-and-a-half-year high last month, fuelled by new orders from both home and abroad and adding to signs the economy ended 2016 strongly, a survey showed on Tuesday. The Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing ManagersIndex (PMI) rose to 56.1, the strongest reading since June 2014, from 53.6 in November. That exceeded all forecasts in a Reuters poll, which pointed to a decline to53.1.
The BOE attracted criticism for its handling of the EU vote, with some lawmakers claiming it presented a negatively biased view and even calling for Governor Mark Carney’s resignation. Policy makers were also accused of jeopardizing their inflation target with their post-referendum stimulus boost and of employing measures that heighten economic inequality.
Netanyahu said to warn of more anti-Israel UN activity (The Times of Israel) Hat tip to Sig Silber. It is reported that the Prime Minister has told cabinet the Security Council may push additional measures in days between Paris peace conference and end of Obama’s term. White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said last week that the US would veto any further UN action against Israel, after Washington abstained last month and allowed a resolution critical of West Bank settlement building to pass, drawing fury in Jerusalem at the US and the Security Council’s other 14 nations.
The End of Israel (The Unz Review) This author says that John Kerry’s speech of December 28th, 2016 is an eye-opening indictment of Israel. He concludes:
Backing Israel has only discredited and immiserated the US and its Christian allies, however, and that’s why they’re starting to wash their hands of this nightmare. Leaving office, Obama can finally afford to pipe up some truth. Coming in, Trump is prostrating himself most abjectly. He’s showing his true colors. To defend this deeply despised nation is to go against the world, truth, justice, common sense and America.
Another apartheid country, South Africa, had to remake itself after becoming delegitimized and universally condemned, so the end of Israel is within sight. Without this endless font of strife and mendacity, the world will be a much better place. Amen.
Iraq’s minorities need a province to call their own (The Conversation) In 2016, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the British Parliament, and the US Congress all formally recognised that IS has waged a genocidal campaign against Christians, Yezidis, and other minorities in Iraq and Syria. This resounding international recognition of ongoing genocide is momentous. Under the terms of the United Nations’ Genocide Convention, states must “undertake to prevent and to punish" genocide. Prevention could take substantial form in the creation of a protected province in the Nineveh Plains.
A Well-Kept Open Secret: Washington Is Behind India’s Brutal Demonetization Project (Global Research) Hat tips to Clifford Johnson and Roger Erickson. In early November, without warning, the Indian government declared the two largest denomination bills invalid, abolishing over 80 percent of circulating cash by value. Amidst all the commotion and outrage this caused, nobody seems to have taken note of the decisive role that Washington played in this. That is surprising, as Washington’s role has been disguised only very superficially. This article gives the details.
Japan December manufacturing activity expands at fastest pace in a year: PMI (Reuters) Japanese manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace in a year in December as orders picked up, a private survey showed on Wednesday, in an encouraging sign that the struggling economy may be regaining momentum. The Final Markit/Nikkei Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 52.4 in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, higher than a preliminary reading of 51.9 and a final 51.3 in November.
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