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What We Read Today 06 February 2017

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:

  • Three Companies that would Get Hammered by Trump's Trade War with Mexico

  • Trump Claims Media is Covering Up Terror Attacks

  • Trump Says C&I Lending Stifled by Over-Regulation

  • Lenders Say There has been No Tightening of C&I Lending Standards

  • Republicans Killed an Energy Anti-Corruption Rule for No Good Reason, Advocates Say

  • Trump is Criticized for Comments About Putin

  • Russia Demands for Apology from Fox TV

  • Joe Firestone Discusses the Quandaries Facing Trump

  • Trump Moves to Undo Financial Regulation Prompting Sanders to Say the POTUS is 'A Fraud'

  • EU and Mexico Accelerate Trade Talks

  • Philippines 'Unfit for Mining'; Government Cuts Off 50% of World Nickel Production

  • China Could Be Big Winner from Trump Alienation of Mexico

  • Foreign Investment Saying Away from China

  • SEC Scrutiny Of Public Pension Advisers A Top Priority 

  • Income of 400 Wealthiest Americans 'Suffered' Downturn Following the 2008 Financial Crisis

  • Sellside Equity Research Being Cut - Will Be Little Missed

  • The Erin Brockovich of Eminent Domain

  • Our Changing Attitudes Toward Chimpanzees

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

U.S.

  • 3 companies that would get hammered by a Trump trade war with Mexico (Business Insider)  President Trump pushed forward the idea of a 20% tariff on goods imported from Mexico. Protectionism is generally anathema to Wall Street and the big business community, but seems to be a core component to Trump's economic policy. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said last Thursday that the president had discussed the border tax with Congressional allies and would soon put forth a proposal.  Here are 3 big losers, according to BI:

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill

  • Wal-Mart

  • Consolidated Brands

  • Trump claims media is covering up terror attacks, citing no evidence (CBS News, MSN News)  President Trump on Monday said that news outlets are covering up terrorist attacks without citing any evidence that supports that claim.  CBS asserts that there is no evidence that any media outlet is covering up terrorist attacks.  The president made the comment in a speech to U.S. service members at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida after receiving a briefing and eating lunch with troops.  He talked about how “radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland” as they did on 9/11, in the Boston bombings and in San Bernardino. He said it’s also happening “all over Europe” like in Paris and Nice.  Mr. Trump said:

“It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. In many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that.” 

ci.lending.1991.2017.feb.03 

  • Republicans killed an energy anti-corruption rule for no good reason, advocates say (CNBC)   The U.S. energy industry's core argument against an anti-corruption rule struck down by Congressional Republicans does not hold water, supporters of the regulation say.  The rule, which was originally introduced by former Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican, and Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, requires oil, gas and mining companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to disclose how much they pay to foreign governments.  The goal is to prevent foreign leaders from skimming off the payments that drillers and miners make to their countries. Such corruption, which enriches the politically connected but deprives regular people of their country's mineral wealth, is known as the "resource curse".  Last week, Republican lawmakers invoked the rarely used Congressional Review Act to kill the disclosure rule, which was created by an amendment to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulations.

  • Trump's comments about Putin spark more criticism (CBS NewsMSN News)  Mr. Trump’s latest comments about Putin caused a stir among fellow Republicans, when he essentially told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, in an interview broadcast Sunday, that there is no difference between Russia and the U.S., and appeared to excuse Putin’s crackdown on political opponents, journalists and human rights activists by implying the U.S. was no better. According to former acting and deputy director of the CIA Michael Morell, this:

“ ... suggests that he doesn’t have a good understanding of what Putin has done over a very long period of time,”

  • Trump administration quandaries (YouTube)  This interview of GEI contributor Joseph Firestone by Steve Grumbine of Real Progressives reviews the political pressures on Donald Trump as he begins his term as the 45th president of the U.S.  See also next article.

  • After Trump moves to undo financial regulations, Sanders calls him ‘a fraud’ (The Washington Post)  Former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday cast President Trump’s moves this week to undo financial regulations enacted following the 2008 financial crisis as a betrayal of his campaign promises to stand up against Wall Street.   Sanders (I-Vt.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union”:

“This guy is a fraud.  This guy ran for president of the United States saying, ‘I, Donald Trump, I’m going to take on Wall Street. These guys are getting away with murder.’ Then suddenly he appoints all these billionaires, his major financial adviser comes from Goldman Sachs, and now he’s going to dismantle legislation that protects consumers.”

EU

  • EU and Mexico agree to accelerate trade talks (trade.ec.europa.eu)  The European Union and Mexico will hold two additional negotiating rounds before the summer as part of an accelerated negotiation schedule for a new, reformed Free Trade Agreement.  Econintersect:  The rest of the world is warming up to closer ties with Mexico now that Donald Trump is signaling hostility toward its southern neighbor.  See also Mexico item inChina section, later, below.

Russia

  • Kremlin says it wants apology from Fox News over Putin comments (Reuters)  The Kremlin said on Monday it wanted an apology from Fox News over what it said were "unacceptable" comments one of the channel's presenters made about Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.  Fox News host Bill O'Reilly described Putin as "a killer" in the interview with Trump as he tried to press the U.S. president to explain more fully why he respected his Russian counterpart. O'Reilly did not say who he thought Putin had killed.  Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call:

"We consider such words from the Fox TV company to be unacceptable and insulting, and honestly speaking, we would prefer to get an apology from such a respected TV company." 

Philippines

  • Philippines 'unfit for mining' because of nation’s unique ecosystem: minister (Reuters)  The world nickel market has been thrown into turmoil because the Philippines mines more than 50% of the world's supply of Ni.   Philippine Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez will not reconsider her decision to shut down 23 of the country's 41 mines, saying the Southeast Asian nation is "unfit for mining".  Lopez last week ordered the mines permanently shut and suspended five others, shocking mineral producers that have vowed to overturn a ruling that they say will affect 1.2 million people.  The 63-year-old minister defended her decision, convinced of mining's destructive nature.  Lopez told Reuters on Monday in an interview at her office in Manila:

"Every time you put up an open pit and every time you put up a tailing pond you're putting our country at risk.  It's really unfair. I'll be so blatant to say the Philippines is unfit for mining. Because we're an island ecosystem with biodiversity and endemicity like no other."

China

  • Donald Trump is alienating Mexico — and the big winner could be China (CNBC)  President Donald Trump's tough stance against Mexico could make it easier for China to become the country's — and Latin America's — top trade partner.  On Jan. 27, Trump threatened to send U.S. troops into Mexico, accusing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto of not doing enough to "a bunch of bad hombres down there." He did not identify the hombres or why they are bad.  (See also article about Mexico underEU heading.)   According to Sean Miner, fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank (who noted that 80% of Mexican exports go to the U.S):

"The U.S. trade tensions with Mexico are putting the Mexican government on overdrive trying to find new export markets.  Recently, China and Mexico have become closer. Clearly this is a consequence of the rising tensions."

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

  • Our changing attitudes to chimpanzees (BBC News)   BBC revelations about the illegal trade in baby chimpanzees triggered an outpouring of emotion on social media about the cruelty suffered by these animals.  And this raises questions about how our attitudes to our closest relations in the natural world have changed.  Some people who contacted me volunteered to adopt Nemley Jr, the infant rescued from traffickers after the BBC investigation.  Many expressed outrage at the wealthy buyers in China, South East Asia and the Gulf states whose demand encourages poachers to go on raids in the jungles.  There has also been a new burst of fury at celebrities posing with chimps.  See also The secret trade in baby chimps.

  • SEC Scrutiny Of Public Pension Advisers A Top Priority (Forbes)  Hat tip to Roger Erickson.   The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced its Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations’ 2017 examination priorities. Public pension advisers will be in the crosshairs, the agency stated. That’s great news for public pension stakeholders, such as government workers who depend upon these plans for their retirement security and taxpayers who also contribute to them.  See next article for an example of the fraud existing in public pension funds.

  • Rhode Island Public Pension Reform: Wall Street’s License to Steal (ricouncil94.org) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. Gina Raimondo,the Rhode Island state treassurer in 2013 implicated in the fraud alleged in this report, is now governor of the of Rhode Island.  The alleged fraud has not been investigated of corrected by the state according to published informtion.

    Two years ago, Rhode Island's state pension fund fell victim to a Wall Street coup. It happened when Gina Raimondo, a venture capital manager with an uncertain investment track record of only a few years—a principal in a firm that had been hired by the state to manage a paltry $5 million in pension assets—got herself elected as the General Treasurer of the State of Rhode Island with the financial backing of out-of-state hedge fund managers. Raimondo’s new role endowed her with responsibility for overseeing the state’s entire $7 billion in pension assets. In short, the foxes (money managers) had taken over management of the henhouse (the pension). For Raimondo, a 42 year-old Rhode Island native, serving as state treasurer represents a major career boost. It also has presented her with an opportunity to enrich herself and her hedge fund backers at the expense of the state's pension fund, the public workers who are counting on it to finance their retirements and the taxpayers who could be stuck for millions, or billions, of dollars if it's mismanaged. 

  • Income Inequality (Inequality.org)  Look how the top 400 wealthy Americans "suffered" following the Great Financial Crisis of 2008:

In real life, Kelo’s legal fight against the seizure of her home for a private economic development project made it all the way to the Supreme Court, which, agonizingly, ruled against her by a 5-4 margin. By way of silver lining, however, the decision in Kelo v. New London (2005) galvanized property rights advocates across the country to pass new legal protections at the state level. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 42 states enacted legislation or passed ballot measures between 2005 and 2011 limiting eminent domain powers in response to the Kelo decision.

 


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