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What We Read Today 26 August 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:

  • Religion in American Politics

  • Negative Income Tax vs. Universal Basic Income

  • Electricity Glut in the U.S.

  • How to Modify or Replace Obamacare

  • Why Donald Trump Will Win

  • Why Donald Trump is Sabotaging His Campaign

  • Assange Promises 'October Surprise' from Wikileaks

  • Two Fed Hikes in Play This Year

  • Eric Trump Simply Makes Things Up

  • Burkini Ban Suspended by French Court

  • Italy Death Toll Rises to 281

  • Turkey Plans No Quick Exit from Syria

  • Why Putin is So Dangerous (Has Nothing to do with Military Might)

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • We must replace Obamacare with a moral, workable system (MarketWatch)  This column argues that a single payer health plan (which hes says Clinton would propose) is the wrong direction for health insurance to go.  (Econintersect:  We agree that single payer is not the way to go for health insurance.  We would say it is the way to go for health care. We would suggest it is time to separate basic health care from insurance.  All routine healthcare, including minor surgeries, are ubiquitous for most of the population during their lifetime.  Major injuries, surgeries and illnesses are more selective and suitable for coverage by insurance.  We suggest that insurance be used for "insurable events" (high cost, not commonly occurring) and that universal heath care be provided for everyday concerns.

  • Donald Trump Is Going To Be Elected (The Huffington Post)  (Econintersect:  See also 5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win (Michael Moore).)  This column suggests that television broadcasting indicates who will be the next president:

Donald Trump is going to be elected president.

The American people voted for him a long time ago.

They voted for him when The History Channel went from showing documentaries about the Second World War to “Pawn Stars” and “Swamp People.”

They voted for him when The Discovery Channel went from showing “Lost Treasures of the Yangtze Valley” to “Naked and Afraid.”

They voted for him when The Learning Channel moved from something you could learn from to “My 600-lb Life.”

They voted for him when CBS went from airing “Harvest of Shame” to airing “Big Brother.”

Donald Trump never actually wanted to be President of the United States. I know this for a fact. I’m not going to say how I know it. I’m not saying that Trump and I shared the same agent or lawyer or stylist or, if we did, that that would have anything to do with anything. And I’m certainly not saying that I ever overheard anything at those agencies or in the hallways of NBC or anywhere else. But there are certain people reading this right now, they know who they are, and they know that every word in the following paragraphs actually happened.

Trump was unhappy with his deal as host and star of his hit NBC show, “The Apprentice” (and “The Celebrity Apprentice”). Simply put, he wanted more money. He had floated the idea before of possibly running for president in the hopes that the attention from that would make his negotiating position stronger. But he knew, as the self-proclaimed king of the dealmakers, that saying you’re going to do something is bupkus — DOING it is what makes the bastards sit up and pay attention.

In back-to-back interviews with Fox News, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange criticized the U.S. media for "incredible politicization" in its coverage of the presidential election, and vowed there are more shoes to drop before the Nov. 8 vote.

Assange appeared Friday morning on "Fox & Friends," where he said "significant" information would be published on the site regarding Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but did not specify what it would be.

In back-to-back interviews with Fox News, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange criticized the U.S. media for "incredible politicization" in its coverage of the presidential election, and vowed there are more shoes to drop before the Nov. 8 vote.


  • ‘Burkini’ ban at public beaches suspended by French court (MarketWatch)  France’s highest administrative court on Friday suspended a local ban on wearing head-to-foot burkini swimsuits, setting a precedent in a highly charged national debate over Muslim clothing and French identity.  The Conseil d’Etat suspended a municipal order instituting a burkini ban in Villeneuve-Loubet, a small town on the French Riviera between Nice and Cannes, after an appeal from rights groups. Judges ruled that the mayor’s order violated fundamental freedoms.  Some 64% of 1,001 people polled by the French opinion research firm Ifop from Aug. 22 to 24 were opposed to allowing burkinis at public beaches.  Econintersect:  What happens when a medical study reports that burkinis protect against skin cancer?


  • Italy quake death toll hits 281, state funeral planned (Reuters)  Hopes of finding more survivors from Italy's powerful earthquake faded on Friday, with the death toll rising to 281 and the rescue operation in some of the stricken areas called off.  Three days after the quake struck the mountainous heart of the country, sniffer dogs and emergency crews continued to scour the town of Amatrice, which was leveled in the disaster, but there was no sign of life beneath the debris.  "Only a miracle can bring our friends back alive from the rubble, but we are still digging because many are missing," town mayor Sergio Pirozzi told reporters.  In nearby villages, such as Pescara del Tronto, rescuers pulled out after all the inhabitants had been accounted for.


  • Turkey signals no quick end to Syria incursion as truck bomb kills police (Reuters)  Turkish forces will remain in Syria for as long as it takes to cleanse the border of Islamic State and other militants, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday, after a truck bombing by Kurdish insurgents killed at least 11 police officers.  The suicide attack at a police headquarters in a province bordering Syria and Iraq came two days after Turkey launched its first major military incursion into Syria, an operation meant to drive Islamic State out of the border area and stop Kurdish militias from seizing ground in their wake.


How much of a threat is Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin? Russia’s military power and aggressive actions are undoubtedly serious, but the danger is actually even greater.

Putin is leading the charge against the liberating values of the Western Enlightenment that have in the past brought so much progress to humanity. If his fascist vision of the future triumphs — as it might because it is spreading — a darkness will befall the world.

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

  • Why Religion Rules American Politics (The Huffington Post)  Religion is important for American politics because religion is important for Americans. Yet, there are factors in American political life that amplify the role of religion in a way that is not seen in other developed countries.  For a developed country, the U.S. is extraordinarily high on religion. Thus 65% of Americans say that religion is important in their daily lives compared to just 17% of Swedes, 19% of Danes, and 24% of Japanese.  Econintersect:  Next week Frank Li will have an article about religion in American politics.

  • Negative Income Tax (NIT) and Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) (Scott Santens)  This discussion looks at the social impacts of the two ideas.  Several scenarios are discusses as case studies.  Here is the introduction to the essay:

A negative income tax (NIT) and an unconditional basic income (UBI) are two ways of achieving a basic income guarantee (BIG). One gives a varying amount of money according to income, and the other gives the same amount to all and taxes different amounts back. However, among basic income supporters, some of us prefer UBI and some of us prefer NIT even despite the potential for their outcomes to be identical.

Why, you might ask?

A NIT is like giving someone $50 and asking for nothing back, and a UBI is like giving someone $100 and asking for $50 from their next paycheck. Both result in the person getting an extra $50. The question of which is better depends on the details involved and how the person feels about them.

  • Longtime Bond of Power and Gas Frays Amid Generation Glut (Bloomberg)  Oil glut, now electricity glut. The historical tie between U.S. natural gas and power is unraveling amid a glut of electricity generation.  The price of 2017 gas in the Northeast, home to the nation’s biggest reservoir of shale gas, has jumped 26% since the beginning of March as an inventory surplus shrinks, based on a Bloomberg fair value commodity curve. Power prices in the East have gained only about 2%.

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