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What We Read Today 28 December 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".).


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Topics today include:

  • As Populism Rose in 2016 So Did the Wealth of the Richest People

  • Republicans Will Have a Problem with Pushing American-Made Products

  • Trump Said the Job Market is Terrible and the Census Bureau Just Published Supporting Data

  • U.S. Oil IPOs Ready to Rise from the Dead

  • Exxon Mobile Set to Profit "Bigly" When Trump Ends Russian Sanctions

  • Kerry Defends U.S. UN Position on Israel

  • Are Calls for Trump Impeachment Really Useful?

  • Turkey, Russian and Iran Seek Syria Deal - U.S. Not Included

  • Turkey's President Says U.S.-Led Coalition Supports ISIS

  • As China Pivots Away from U.S. Trump Risks Fighting an Old War

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Oil IPOs Ready to Bloom Across the U.S. (Bloomberg)  Rising crude prices and a deregulatory push in Washington may spur as many as 40 companies to hold initial public offerings over the next two years, potentially tripling 2016’s activity, according to Maynard Holt, chief executive officer at Houston-based investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt & Co.  After a year in which explorers in the Permian shale basin straddling Texas and New Mexico dominated the business, interest in new oil-industry offerings is likely to spread wider. It could include pipeline operators and regions like the Bakken in North Dakota and Wyoming’s Powder River basin, Holt said in a telephone interview Wednesday. Mergers and acquisitions should pick up as well.  Graphic below shows oil IPOs from 2006 through 2016.

  • US Russia Relations: Rex Tillerson's ExxonMobil Could Restart Russia Operations If Trump Cancels Sanctions (International Business Times)  Oil giant ExxonMobil successful lobbied against a bill that would have made it difficult for President-elect Donald Trump to lift sanctions against Russia, Politico reported Sunday. The Texas-based corporation can now restart its billion-dollar program in the country if Trump decides to ease restrictions against Moscow.  The bill, called STAND for Ukraine Act, would have extended sanctions imposed against Russia by the Obama administration in 2014 — in response to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea — for five years, making it difficult for his successor to repeal the sanctions. The bill, which passed the House was introduced in the Senate on Dec. 9 with only Democratic cosponsors.  However, the Senate adjourned earlier this month without discussing the Russian sanctions making it easy for Trump to do away with the restrictions, should he choose to do so when he assumes office. Trump’s pick for secretary of State, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, is expected to play a key role in influencing Trump’s decision on the sanctions.

  • Can Trump Be Stopped? Petitions Call For Immediate Impeachment As Democrats Unify Against Cabinet Picks (International Business Times)  President-elect Donald Trump will officially become the president of the United States on Jan. 20, but he is facing a bevy of problems that could hinder his first 100 days in the White House, including thousands of petitions calling for his immediate impeachment, at least 70 lawsuits and growing unity in the Democratic party against several of his most controversial Cabinet nominations.  Econintersect:  Is there any way this can be rationalized as useful activity?




  • Turkey Pledges to Work for Syria Cease-Fire in Mediator Role (Bloomberg)  Turkey said it will facilitate contacts between Syria’s government and opposition groups in preparation for peace talks organized together with Russia and Iran that aim to reach a nationwide cease-fire as the first step to ending an almost six-year civil war.  The U.S. is not invited.  Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed in Moscow last week to seek a truce in Syria and hold peace talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, in a joint approach that sidelines the U.S. 

  • Erdogan says he has evidence US-led coalition has given support to Isis (Independent)  American-led forces have been working alongside Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad but have attempted to avoid helping Isis and other Islamist militant groups.  However, speaking on Tuesday in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Turkish president Erdogan said he believed the U.S. had given support to a variety of militant groups, including Isis Kurdish outfits YPG and PYD.  (Econintersect:  Erdogan seems to put the Kurdish forces, which Turkey opposes, seemingly more than ISIS, in the same category with ISIS, even though the two are heavily engaged against each other.)  The US State Department has rejected Mr Erogan's claim as “ludicrous”.  State Department spokesman Mark Toner there was no was basis for such an accusation.


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

  • As Populists Won 2016 Ballots, World’s Richest Made $237 Billion (Bloomberg)   In a year when populist voters reshaped power and politics across Europe and the U.S., the world’s wealthiest people are ending 2016 with $237 billion more than they had at the start.  Triggered by disappointing economic data from China at the beginning, the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union in the middle and the election of billionaire Donald Trump at the end, the biggest fortunes on the planet whipsawed through $4.8 trillion of daily net worth gains and losses during the year, rising 5.7 percent to $4.4 trillion by the close of trading Dec. 27, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

  • A Battle Over American-Made Products Is Looming and Republicans Are in the Middle of It Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism)  YS has contributed to GEI.  One would think that “Buying American” would be an uncontroversial idea. Think again.  See article at Alternet.

  • New Census Data Shows Why the Job Market is Still “Terrible” (as Trump said), but the Numbers Get Hushed up (Wolf Street)  Hat tip to Naked Capitalism.  Since 2011, the US economy created 14.6 million “nonfarm payrolls” as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics – whether or not they’re low-wage or less than full-time jobs. But for individuals, this job market, statistically speaking, looks almost as tough as it was during the Great Recession.  Obviously, a lot of people have found jobs, and some of them have found good jobs since then, and there are a ton of “job openings”.  But the Census Bureau just told us why the job market is still, to use Trump’s term, “terrible” when it released its population estimates for 2016, just before clocking out for the holidays.  According to this report: From the beginning of 2010 – in terms of jobs, the darkest days of the Great Recession – through December 2016, the US “resident population” (not counting overseas-stationed military personnel) grew by 16 million people.  But since the beginning of 2010 through November 2016, nonfarm payrolls grew by only 13.8 million.


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