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What We Read Today 09 July 2016

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).


Every day most of this column ("What We Read Today") is available only to GEI members.

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Topics today include:

  • How to Eat Your Hiking Partner (Yes, It Is Macabre)

  • Next 34 Years in the Global Economy

  • Clinton's College Plan Flunks the Economics Test (and So Does the Columnist)

  • More about Where Machines Could Replace Humans

  • American Anger Boils Over - Has It Rent the Union Asunder?

  • Private and Public Sector Payrolls under Six Presidents

  • Sanders Wins Some Platform Fights, Loses Others

  • More Details on Hillary's E-Mails SNAFU

  • UK Labour Party Leadership Showdown

  • Can London Remain a Financial Capital after Brexit?

  • Serena Williams Wins Wimbleton, Ties Steffi Graf

  • German Trade Data Worse than Expected

  • Salvador Allende's Daughter Considers Presidential Bid in Chile

  • And More 

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • American anger boils over (The Hill)  An atmosphere of crisis is enveloping the U.S. after a traumatic week, leaving politicians, academic experts and private citizens searching for an explanation for the anger roiling the nation.  The atmosphere is so febrile that even some public figures who have themselves been accused of divisiveness in the past are emphasizing the need to seek common ground.  Political polarization is contributing to the divide.  A 2014 study by the Pew Research Center found a significant rise in political polarization over the previous two decades.

  • Public and Private Sector Payroll Jobs: Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama (Calculated Risk)

  • Clinton rolls out Sanders-like healthcare plan (The Hill)   Hillary Clinton formally adopted a more progressive stance on health care in a proposal released Saturday, as part of an effort to appease Bernie Sanders and his supporters.  The plan includes a so-called “public option” within ObamaCare, an allowance for people to enroll in Medicare at age 55, and increasing funding for community-based health centers by $40 billion over the next ten years.  Clinton emphasized her goal of eventually providing universal health care.

  • Sanders Team Loses Testy Fight on Trans-Pacific Pact at Platform Meeting (Bloomberg)  Bernie Sanders's delegates were thwarted Saturday in their attempt to push amendments blocking the Trans-Pacific Partnership, following a tense debate that pitted Sanders backers and the Democratic Party's left flank against Hillary Clinton’s supporters and President Barack Obama.   The vote came as delegates wrapped up two days of wrangling in Orlando, Florida, on the final draft of the 2016 platform, a non-binding and largely symbolic document which will be officially presented at the party's convention in Philadelphia later this month.   The Sanders campaign’s primary amendment, written by surrogate Jim Hightower, would have prevented the trade deal from ever coming to a vote in Congress. Hightower called the TPP a "little shop of corporate horrors".

  • Clinton says she relied on State staff for classification decisions (Reuters)   Hillary Clinton disputed a scathing assessment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that she was "extremely careless" with classified government secrets, saying on Friday she relied on the judgment of her subordinates at the U.S. State Department.  After maintaining for more than a year that she did not send or receive classified information through her unauthorized private email system, she acknowledged in a string of interviews on Friday she may have at least unwittingly done so, three days after the FBI concluded this happened at least 110 times.  Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said she "certainly did not believe" that she was handling classified information on her email system at the time, but emphasized that she followed the lead of her subordinates on whether information was classified.

  • Seven ways FBI contradicted Clinton’s email claims (The Hill)  The Justice Department this week exonerated Clinton of allegations that she mishandled classified information.  But in the process, FBI Director James Comey opened the door to new charges that she lied to Congress and the American public.  Republican lawmakers are promising to refer to the FBI potential misstatements that Clinton made under oath during an 11-hour testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. That referral could lead to a new investigation, once again putting Clinton under the glare of the Justice Department.  Her statements:

"I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email.”  

In fact, more than 2,000 emails now contain information considered classified, but most of that was upgraded after it was sent.  According to Comey, a total of 113 emails contained information that was classified at the time the messages were sent or received. Among those are eight threads containing 22 emails classified as top secret — the highest tier of classification.

“There was nothing marked classified on my emails, either sent or received.”

 After it became clear that a sizable portion of Clinton’s email traffic was classified, the former secretary of State has changed her story. 

Some information may have been classified, but none was marked as such, she said during the Benghazi Committee hearing, repeating a claim she has uttered frequently. 

But the reality is more complicated. 

At least three emails among the more than 30,000 reviewed by the FBI have included some markings indicating information was classified. 

“There were a small number of portion markings on, I think, three of the documents,” Comey testified this week. 

Those markings, however, were incomplete and according to the State Department made out of “human error.” 

“It was allowed, but it was not a good choice” 

Clinton has repeatedly described her email setup as permitted under the letter of the rules, though perhaps unwise. This quote came from the middle of her Benghazi Committee testimony. 

Both the State Department’s inspector general and the FBI disagree with that claim.

I provided the department … with all of my work-related emails, all that I had” 

Clinton has claimed repeatedly that all of her work-related messages were contained within the roughly 30,000 messages given to the State Department in 2014. Another batch of a similar size was purely personal, she has said, and those messages destroyed. 

This quote also came from the hearing in the Select Committee on Benghazi. 

The FBI managed to recover some of those deleted emails, through inboxes of her colleagues and from electronic breadcrumbs on decommissioned severs that Clinton used

According to Comey, “thousands” of those allegedly personal emails pertained to her work at the State Department. At least of them contained classified information. 

“I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two” 

This is another early claim of Clinton’s, given during her March 2015, press conference explaining why she used a private server out of convenience.

The rationale, she said at the time, was to use just her one BlackBerry device for all email traffic, instead of switching between multiple devices. 

But in fact, Clinton used “multiple devices” throughout her four years as the nation’s top diplomat, according to the head of the FBI chief. 

“The FBI has the server that was used during the tenure of my State Department service” 

The common understanding of Clinton’s setup is that she used a single server throughout all four years, as this quote during the Benghazi Committee hearing seems to assert. 

But the FBI said that she used “several” different machines, which were taken offline as they became outdated and replaced.

“There were no security breaches” 

It’s still unclear precisely what security mechanisms Clinton used to protect her servers from hackers. 

But her presidential campaign has repeatedly said that there is no evidence that the machine was hacked, as she stated in this quote from the 2015 press conference. 

The FBI was not able to uncover any evidence that hackers did break into her system. 

But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.


  • Labour faces split: Angela Eagle to challenge Jeremy Corbyn for leadership (The Telegraph)  The Labour Party is in “peril” and could split apart, its biggest union backer has warned, as Jeremy Corbyn battled to survive the deepest crisis of his leadership.  A senior MP, Angela Eagle, is mounting a campaign to oust Mr Corbyn and will launch a formal leadership challenge designed to remove him on Monday.

  • The British political landscape after the EU referendum (Edward Harrison, Credit Writedowns)  EH has contributed to GEI and John Lounsbury has been a contributor to Credit Writedowns.  This is an excellent summary of the political landscape in the coming months for the UK with detailed analysis of the Tory battle for PM between May and Leadsome.

  • Financial Tonic (The Economist)  There was a time when a mention of MiFID 2, a complex European regulation, elicited groans from financial types in the City of London. Since Britain voted to leave the European Union, however, it has become a source of hope. That is because a clause in the second iteration of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, to give it its full name, seems to provide financial firms outside the EU, as those in the City may soon be, with a means to provide services to customers inside it.  The provision in question allows financial firms from outside the EU to offer trading, brokerage and underwriting services to European institutional (but not retail) clients, as long as the regulatory regime where they are based is deemed “equivalent” to that of the EU. In theory, there should be no doubt about the equivalence of Britain’s laws, points out Jonathan Herbst of Norton Rose Fulbright, a law firm, as long as Britain continues to implement European rules until its exit. This suggests that for banks and brokerages based in London it should be business as usual.  However, the declaration of equivalence could be a political matter, so don't hold your breath.

  • Serena Williams beats Kerber in Wimbledon final to equal Graf record (The Guardian)   Serena Williams won her seventh Wimbledon title, achieved on Saturday thanks to a hard‑fought 7-5, 6-3 victory against Germany’s Angelique Kerber.  It was the American’s 22nd grand slam championship, putting her level with the open-era record held by the most famous German player of all, Steffi Graf. It is her ninth grand slam win since she turned 30 and, even with her 35th birthday just around the corner, Williams remains a remarkable force of nature that shows no sign of stopping.


  • German Trade Data Worse Than Expected (FX Street)  Germany posted a seasonally adjusted trade surplus of €22.1 billion in May, down from €24.1 billion in the previous month, as exports dropped -1.8% m/m, after rising just 0.1% m/m in April. Imports rose a modest 0.1% m/m after falling -0.3% m/m in the previous month. The three months accumulated trend rate still improved thanks to the strong April number, but the fall back in exports, coupled with weak production and orders data for May confirms concerns about a marked slowdown in growth in the second quarter of the year.


  • Daughter of Chile's Allende eyes presidential bid in 2017 (Reuters)   Isabel Allende, a ruling party senator in Chile and the daughter of deposed ex-president Salvador Allende, said she is considering running for president in next year's elections, a local newspaper reported on Saturday.  Allende's possible bid for the top job in Chile could pit her against ex-president Ricardo Lagos, another member of the socialist ruling party who has expressed interest in running.  Allende, whose father was ousted by former dictator Augusto Pinochet in a coup in 1973, said she has been leaning toward making a bid at the insistence of Chileans, according to local daily El Mercurio.

Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea

  • What will happen to global economics in the next 34 years (OUPblog)  In the last 50 years emerging economies have grown at a rate that is "truly astounding in the long-term historical context".  But growth has been uneven between countries and climate change concerns have come to the fore.  Here is the list of what will change by 2050:

  1. Demographics

  2. Urbanization

  3. Globalization of International Trade

  4. Globalization of Finance

  5. Emergence of a Massive Middle Class

  6. Competition for Finite Natural Resources

  7. Climate Change

  8. Technological Progress and Breakthroughs

  9. Historic Rise of Emerging Market Economies

  10. Emergence of Fundamentalism and Non-State Actors

  • Clinton's College Plan Flunks the Economics Test (Bloomberg)  Econintersect: Megan McCardle confuses the difference between spending and investing.  She also is confused about the difference between sovereign government deficits and private sector debts.  Finally, she is laboring under the assumption that government expenditures have to "be paid for".  Unfortunately, so is Hillary Clinton.  But, back to this article, Megan McCardle gets an even lower flunking grade in economics than Hillary.  Bottom line:  Bad economics starts with bad assumptions.

  • "Our Country is Better than That": Two Responses to Tragedy (The New Yorker)  The mass shooting of police officers in Dallas is ironic in that it occurred in a city that is leading the way in police behavior reform.  Writing about Dallas police chief David Brown: 

In his nearly six years running the department, which had a reputation for overly aggressive, and sometimes deadly, policing, Brown has proved to be a reformer, firing rogue cops for poor behavior, and making sure all officers got extra training in when to use lethal force. In a 2014 article about Brown’s reform efforts, Radley Balko, a Washington Post blogger who has written a book about the militarization of America’s police forces, commented, “One could quibble with the battles Brown has chosen, but he at least seems to be fighting on the right side.” In the past few years, the number of shootings involving the Dallas police has fallen significantly.

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