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What We Read Today 02 November 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:

  • The Internet is Multiplying Misinformation (If the Truth Will Set You Free, the Internet Makes You a Prisoner)

  • Welcome to the Counterfeit Economy

  • Major Corporations Practice Deceit and Fraud

  • Petrobas is Running on Empty

  • Looking at Gold Cycles

  • U.S. Crude Inventories Surge, Along with OPEC Production

  • Shifting Voter Groups and Demographics in Latest Presidential Polls

  • Trump University Plaintiffs Want to Admit Campaign Statements in the Trial

  • All that Comes with the California Proposition to Legalize Pot

  • How a Drug Maker Thwarted Control of OxyContin as Addiction Epidemic Started

  • Drug Pricing Debate Summary in Tweets

  • Details Of IS Rule in Mosul

  • Philippines' Duterte Rails at U.S. Monkeys

  • The Mexican Peso is Getting Trumped Again

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Why crude oil stockpiles surged this week — and why they may keep rising (CNBC)  The latest data may be from the U.S. but the impact is global and has bearish overtones when combined with the latest OPEC data.  U.S. crude oil in storage rose by the largest amount on record on Wednesday, and analysts are looking overseas for answers.  This increase comes as OPEC production has hit a new high.  The stunning 14.4 million barrel weekly increase was underscored by a rise in crude imports of 2 million barrels a day. Traders scrutinize the weekly data from the world's biggest oil consumer, because falling stockpiles will play a big part in balancing the market and boosting depressed crude prices following a prolonged supply glut.  The jump in imports is partly seasonal. Refineries are once again taking in crude following the post-summer maintenance period. 




  • Trump's campaign should be fair game in Trump University trial: lawyers (Reuters)   Statements Donald Trump has made during his presidential run should generally be admissible in an upcoming civil trial over alleged fraud at his Trump University venture, lawyers for the plaintiffs said in a court filing late on Tuesday.  Some of the statements by the Republican nominee may be helpful to jurors as they try to determine Trump's credibility, the lawyers wrote, calling his credibility a central issue.  Students at Trump University have sued in a federal court in San Diego, claiming they were defrauded by its real estate seminars. A trial is set to begin on Nov. 28.  Last month, Trump's attorneys said evidence and statements from the election campaign should be barred from the trial because they could unfairly prejudice the jury. Their request would include allegations of sexual misconduct, which Trump has denied during the campaign.

  • Here's what occurs if Californians legalize recreational pot (Associated Press)  Econintersect:  All of the following would happen and prices would come down as well.  Says a lot about how much money has been wasted during the War on Drugs.  Didn't we learn all this with Prohibition in the 1920's?

Proposition 64 would legalize the recreational use of marijuana starting Jan. 1, 2018. The ballot measure is 62 pages long and aims to regulate the entire cannabis industry, from seeds to pipe. Here are highlights:

— Permits adults who are at least 21 years old to possess up one ounce of marijuana buds and eight grams of concentrate.

— Permits adults who are at least 21 years old to grow up to six marijuana plants.

— Requires licensing for growing and selling marijuana.

— Imposes a 15 percent tax on retail sales. Also taxes farmers $9.25 for every ounce of bud sold in addition to $2.75 per ounce of leaves.

— Allows cities and counties to impose their own regulations and taxes on recreational marijuana.

— Cities and counties are also free to ban recreational marijuana businesses within their borders.

— Provides funds to develop driving-while-impaired guidelines

— All taxes collected are placed in the California Marijuana Tax Fund, which the state Legislative Analyst estimated could reach $1 billion annually.

— Creates packaging, labeling and advertising standards.

— Changes state marijuana crimes and penalties

The warning signs of what would become a deadly opioid epidemic emerged in early 2001. That’s when officials of the state employee health plan in West Virginia noticed a surge in deaths attributed to oxycodone, the active ingredient in the painkiller OxyContin.

They quickly decided to do something about it: OxyContin prescriptions would require prior authorization. It was a way to ensure that only people who genuinely needed the painkiller could get it and that people abusing opioids could not.

But an investigation by STAT has found that Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, thwarted the state’s plan by paying a middleman, known as a pharmacy benefits manager, to prevent insurers from limiting prescriptions of  the drug.

The financial quid pro quo between the painkiller maker and the pharmacy benefits manager, Merck Medco, came to light in West Virginia court records unsealed by a state judge at the request of STAT, and in interviews with people familiar with the arrangement.


  • Mosul under Islamic State: hardship, terror and swift 'justice' (Reuters)  Escapees from Mosul recount horrors they faced.  For example, whenever members of Islamic State's Mosul vice squad found a woman without gloves, they would pull out a pair of pliers and squeeze hard on the skin of the woman.  Another penalty was women would be whipped for not wearing gloves.  Corporal punishments were enforced for other attire regulations for women and for the failure of men to grow beards of prescribed lengths.


  • Philippines' Duterte rails at U.S. 'monkeys' for halting gun sale (Reuters)  Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte chided the United States on Wednesday for halting the planned sale of 26,000 rifles to his country, calling those behind the decision "fools" and "monkeys" and indicating he might turn to Russia and China instead.  Duterte's tirades against the former colonial power are routine during his speeches and he said on Wednesday he once believed in Washington, but had since lost respect for what is the Philippines' biggest ally.  The U.S. State Department halted the sale of the assault rifles to the Philippine police after staff from U.S. Senator Ben Cardin's office said he would oppose it, Senate aides told Reuters on Monday.  Aides said Cardin, the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was reluctant for the United States to provide the weapons given concern about human rights violations in the Philippines during Duterte's bloody, four-month-old war on drugs.


  • The Mexican peso is getting Trumped again as polls swing (CNBC)   The Mexican peso has become the proxy for U.S. presidential election sentiment this year, and the trend was holding true on Wednesday.  In the last three months, the peso has swung back and forth between record lows against the U.S. dollar and intermittent rebounds as Donald Trump has risen and fallen in election opinion polls. The Mexican currency is falling again this week as Trump's perceived odds of winning are nearing highs, according to

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

  • How the Internet Is Loosening Our Grip on the Truth (The New York Times) The internet has become a major source of information pollution.  Millions of fallacious "news" presentations are made daily, spreading misinformation far wider than was the case in the 20th century and before.  It is Econintersect's observation that many blatantly false presentations are widely believed.  See also the next article.  The author of this article states:

For years, technologists and other utopians have argued that online news would be a boon to democracy. That has not been the case.

More than a decade ago, as a young reporter covering the intersection of technology and politics, I noticed the opposite. The internet was filled with 9/11 truthers, and partisans who believed against all evidence that George W. Bush stole the 2004 election from John Kerry, or that Barack Obama was a foreign-born Muslim. (He was born in Hawaii and is a practicing Christian.)

  • Welcome to the Counterfeit Economy (Mauldin Economics)  Our friend Patrick Watson has a new newsletter "Connecting the Dots" being published by Mauldin Economics - and this is the first issue.  Patrick details some of the cases of fallacious information (fraud) promoted by major corporations.  In this issue he discusses deceptions by Target, Amazon and Volkswagen.

  • This oil giant has nothing left in the tank: Technician (CNBC)  Brazil's Petrobras has soared this year, but one technician thinks the oil giant's run is about to end.  On a weekly chart of Petrobras, Rich Ross of Evercore ISI drew what he saw as a "well-defined downtrend" that shows the semipublic Brazilian oil company falling for the past eight years.  Also troubling, according to Ross, is that the relative strength indicator (RSI), which essentially measures how overbought a stock is, has reached highs unseen since October 2007 before Petrobras came crashing down.

  • Gold Cycles In Every Time Frame (Seeking Alpha)  The author is a gold trader and has no specific bias in his trading actions, having been both long and short gold recently.  This article has 11 interesting charts, 3 of which are shown below.  The first chart is the author's projection for gold based on his Elliott Wave Theory Analysis.  The second shows an interesting correlation between the Yen and gold.  The third shows the complicated relationship between treasury bonds and gold.  Note the divergence between bond prices and gold in October.

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