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What We Read Today 07 September 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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The rest of this post is available only the GEI Members.  Membership is FREE -  click here

Topics today include:

  • Absurdities from the 2016 Presidential Campaign

  • Don't Use Helicopter Money - Use Debt Jubilee

  • International Arbitration Courts Let Crime Off 'Easy'

  • The Global Income Elephant

  • U.S. Geography of Inequality

  • The Oil Crisis You Don't See Coming

  • Abandoned Resorts and Olympic Venues

  • Assange to 'Indict' Hillary Clinton

  • Is Donald Trump Pranking Us All?

  • Obama Nominates Muslim to Federal Court Bench

  • Lakota Sioux Take a Stand to Protect their Water Supply

  • ISM Non-manufacturing PMI at Lowest Level Since 2009

  • UK is Building a Wall

  • Ireland to Sue to Overturn Apple Tax Assessment

  • Japan's Philips Curve Problem

  • And More


  • People are almost completely ignoring a looming crisis for oil (Business Insider)  Quoting a report from HSBC, this article says that the oil glut will be over by next year and supply will become tight again.  HSBC estimates that oil demand will not peak until 2040, adding an additional 40 million barrels a day (mbd) to the current level of 95 million mbd.

  • Russia, Iran and Venezuela may ‘democratize’ by 2020: Research (CNBC)   The oil crash of 2014-2015 may trigger a wave of democratization in crude-exporting countries across the world, Renaissance Capital said on Tuesday.  The emerging market-focused investment bank based its analysis on the oil price collapse of 1985. It said this event helped trigger democratization in oil-exporting places including Mexico, Iran, Algeria and the former Soviet Union between 1988 and 1990.  "We wonder if the 2014-2015 oil price fall may provoke similar democratization in Russia, Iran and Venezuela in 2018-2020," Charles Robertson, chief economist at Renaissance Capital, said in a report on Tuesday.  He said the sample of countries was too small to provide a high degree of certainty on this scenario, but that investors should be "prepared for the unlikely to happen".

  • Abandoned Resorts (The Huffington Post, MSN News)  There are not just ancient ruins worth visiting, here is a slide show of 13 20th century resort ruins.

  • 4 Abandoned Olympic Venues That Once Were Spectacular (Daily Motion)  The four abandoned and decaying sites were built between 1936 and 2004.  And these are just the summer Olympic sites.  We'd like to see how some of the winter sites have fared.


The next two items are offered as examples of the garbage that is occupying the attention of all too many during the current presidential campaign. 

  • Obama Nominates Possible First Muslim-American Judge to Federal Court (NBC News)  Muslim-American groups are applauding President Barack Obama's nomination of a Washington lawyer to serve in U.S. District Court — a move that could make him the first ever Muslim-American federal judge, according to advocates.  If confirmed, Abid Riaz Qureshi would sit on the District of Columbia's federal bench, the White House announced Tuesday. Qureshi, who graduated Harvard Law School in 1997, is a partner in the D.C. office of Latham & Watkins LLP, specializing in healthcare fraud, securities violations, and cases involving the False Claims Act, according to a White House statement.  (Econontersect:  We are awaiting the protests about "Sharia Law".}  While Muslim Americans have filled roles as state judges, none have served at the federal trial or appellate levels, according to Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy organization.  Econintersect:  Many Americans may not be aware that two Muslims serve in the U.S. Congress:  Keith Ellison (Minnesota) and Andre Carson (Indiana).  Both are African American Democrats.

  • Showdown over oil pipeline becomes a national movement for Native Americans (The Washington Post, MSN News)  The simmering showdown here between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the company building the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline began as a legal battle.  It has turned into a movement.  Over the past few weeks, thousands of Native Americans representing tribes from all over the country have traveled to this central North Dakota reservation to camp in a nearby meadow and show solidarity with a tribe they believe is once again receiving a raw deal at the hands of commercial interests and the U.S. government.  Frank White Bull, a tribal council member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, was overcome with emotion as he looked out over the ocean of brightly colored tepees and tents that have popped up on this impromptu 80-acre campground.  The largest gathering of native Americans in more than 100 years, perhaps the largest since Custer's Last Stand on the Little Big Horn, is all about protecting the water source for the Standing Rock Sioux.  They object to the 500,000 barrels-a-day Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) passing under the Missouri  River just one mile upstream from their 8,000 resident reservation.  The river is their source of water and could be ruined by any small pipeline leak.  Should they be worried?  See the next article.  See also What's Happening in Standing Rock? (Outside).

"... when the Lakota invited relatives to pack their peace pipes and gather with them in solidarity, the (white) county sheriff thought they meant pipe bombs."



  • Calais migrants: Work to start on UK-funded wall (BBC News)   Dubbed the "Great Wall of Calais" by some media, the 4m (13ft) wall will run for 1km (0.6 miles) along both sides of the main road to Calais port to keep migrants from reaching traffic headed into the tunnel under the English Channel.  Work is expected to start this month, with the wall due to be finished by the end of the year.  Numerous fences have been built to protect the port, the Eurotunnel terminal and train tracks on the other side of Calais, and the BBC understands the wall will not replace any of those.  (Econintersect:  20th sentury walls were built to keep people in; 21st century to keep people out.)  See also Britain to start building anti-migrant wall in Calais (AFP, MSN News)


  • Ireland 'confident' of winning appeal against Apple tax ruling: PM (CNBC)   Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny told CNBC on Wednesday he is confident of winning the appeal against the European Commission's ruling on Apple's taxes.  The country's premier spoke to CNBC a week after the European Commission, the European Union's executive arm, ruled that Ireland had granted Apple undue tax benefits. This is illegal under EU rules and the commission ordered the Irish government to recover up to 13 billion euros ($14.6 billion) — plus interest — from Apple.  Ireland opposed the ruling on fears that it would jeopardize its policy of wooing foreign businesses to relocate there.  Ireland will appeal the ruling to provide "clarity and certainty", Kenny told CNBC in Dublin. Apple also plans to appeal.


  • Russian jet came within 10 feet of U.S. spy plane: U.S. officials (Reuters)  A Russian fighter jet carried out an "unsafe and unprofessional" intercept of a U.S. spy plane over the Black Sea and came within 10 feet (3.05 meters) of the American aircraft, two U.S. defense officials said on Wednesday.  The incident is likely to cause more tension between the United States and Russia, who are at odds over the Syrian civil war and Ukraine.  It lasted about 19 minutes and involved a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter and a U.S. Navy P-8 surveillance plane flying a regular patrol, said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity.  One official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said:

"They're up there for 12 hours and there are lots of interactions. But only one of the incidents was what the pilot determined was unsafe." 


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

  • Don't Trust Ben Bernanke On Helicopter Money (Steve Keen, Forbes)  SK has contributed to GEI.  Steve Keen offers what is basically a response to Ben Bernanke (What tools does the Fed have left? Part 3: Helicopter money).  His discussion of helicopter money is a very worthwhile read.  At the end he suggests that instead of offsetting too much debt with "debt-free" money, a more straightforward solution would be some sort of simple debt jubilee.

  • Inside an International Court of Money and Mystery (ProPublica)   A Dubai real estate mogul had a prison sentence disappear. Manufacturing executives in El Salvador dodged having to clean up a case of dangerous lead contamination. Two global financiers embezzled $300 million from an Indonesian bank but got off light.  Welcome to the world of international arbitration court. BuzzFeed reporter Chris Hamby spent 18 months penetrating the court and tracing its influence.  Econintersect:  This is why TPP and TPIP trade deal opponents are against those deals - they give up even more control of jurisprudence to international arbitration panels.

  • The most powerful chart of the last decade: Globalization as an Elephant (Twitter)  This chart shows the effect of massive income increases for lower and middle classes in the developing world with the decline of income growth for middle classes in the developed world.  This chart (by Branko Milanovic) has been called "the elephant in the world".


  • The Geography of U.S. Inequality (The New York Times)  The real hollowing out of the U.S. middle class has occurred in the 21st century, as demonstrated in the first graphic below.  But the differences are great from state to state as shown by selected states in the second graphic below.  (Graphics for each state are shown in the NYT article.)



  • Holding a football game at Bristol Motor Speedway looks like a terrible idea (For The Win)  Virginia Tech and Tennessee will play a college football game at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. The NASCAR venue underwent a massive transformation to turn its infield into a football field, and with an expected attendance of 150,000, it will be a spectacle.  Many of the attendees may need to bring a viewing screen to be able to see the game.

Click for larger view.

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