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What We Read Today 09 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:

  • Tribes Launch Legal Challenge as Dakota Pipeline Work Resumes

  • Kelly Ann Conway Counseled on Public Endorsement of Ivanka Trump Brand

  • Trump falsely accuses senator of misrepresenting Gorsuch criticism

  • American Women are also Seeing Declining Labor Force Participation

  • Economists Misread Impact of Brexit

  • Germany has Squeezed its Workers

  • Trump Is Dead Wrong On German 'Currency Manipulation'

  • After Flawed Raid, Yemen Forbids U.S. Ground Missions

  • Venezuelan Officials Sold Passports to Terrorists

  • NAFTA Destroyed Some Mexican Farm Areas

  • Why Did Hunter-gatherer Group in Europe Unexpectedly Disappear After the Last Ice Age?

  • See VW's Future Factory

  • Five protest poets all demonstrators should read

  • DOL Wins Fiduciary Rule Case in Texas

  • Trump brings the crisis in journalism to a flashpoint

  • How research can lead to some extraordinary (and very unlikely) discoveries

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Why Did Hunter-gatherer Group in Europe Unexpectedly Disappear After the Last Ice Age? (Ancient Origins) A recent study has shown that a group of hunter-gatherers had survived the last Ice Age while living in the modern location of Europe, only to unexpectedly disappear about 14,500 years ago.  The current study found that the mitochondrial DNA of three of the individuals, who correspond to modern France and Belgium and lived before the Last Glacial Maximum (the coldest period in the last Ice Age), were from haplogroup M, which had been associated with central and east Asian people of that time and more recently.  The study indicates that there were more widespread populations of DNA families than had been thought previously.  The question remains: why did haplogroup M suddenly die out in Europe and continue in Asia?  


The financial crisis and ensuing banking bailouts ensured private profits while socializing losses. Trump is bringing the same logic to the table, socializing costs associated with pollution—and not counting them—while privatizing profits from the pipelines. Sure, there will be some tax revenue associated with the pipeline, an estimated $56 million annually in state and local divided between four states, but that pales in comparison to the $4.6 billion in annual burden. The economics don’t add up, but let us be clear—the economics shouldn’t necessarily come first. People should have a right to clean water and respect of their ancestral lands.

  • White House: Kellyanne Conway 'Counseled' on Endorsement of Ivanka Trump Brand (ABC News)   Multiple legal experts and former White House officials say Kellyanne Conway's endorsement on TV of the Ivanka Trump brand violated ethics rules governing executive branch employees.  Responding to the barrage of criticism, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that Conway "has been counseled" regarding her remarks.  Conway, a counselor to the president, made the remarks on Fox News on Thursday morning, responding to the recent decision by Nordstrom to remove Ivanka Trump items from its shelves.  Conway said:

"This is just a wonderful line. I own some of it, I fully — I'm going to give a free commercial here.  Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online."

  • Trump falsely accuses senator of misrepresenting Gorsuch criticism (CNN)  President Donald Trump falsely accused a Democratic senator Thursday of misrepresenting his Supreme Court nominee's words, according to several familiar with the incident.  Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Wednesday that Judge Neil Gorsuch, Trump's nominee, told him he found Trump's attack on a federal judge on Twitter "disheartening" and "demoralizing".  Within a half-hour, Gorsuch spokesman Ron Bonjean, who was tapped by the White House to head communications for Gorsuch, confirmed that the nominee, Gorsuch, used those words in his meeting with Blumenthal. Several other senators, including Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, later relayed similar accounts of Gorsuch forcefully criticizing Trump's public attacks on the judiciary branch.

  • America’s ‘jobs for the boys’ is just half the employment story (Financial Times)   America’s unemployment rate may be close to the lowest in a decade at 4.8%, but for the new president this is “fake news”. The official jobless rate is “the biggest joke there is in this country”, Donald Trump said on the campaign trail. “The unemployment rate is probably 20%.”  He has a point. The unemployment rate is not wrong, but it does not tell us much about the festering crisis of worklessness in America. For that, you need to look at the rising share of people in their prime years (between 25 and 54) who are neither working nor looking for work: a figure that now stands — as it happens — at about 20%.  In this century the U.S. stands alone for employment by women, with a smaller percentage in the labor force than in 2000.



What matters is perception. And the perception in the Trump Administration is that Europe – and by extension Germany – has a weak currency. The fact that Germany just overtook the Chinese as the country with the largest trade surplus in the entire world is seen as prima facie evidence that the Germans are exploiting the euro to win trade. We’re talking about an enormous 8.6% current account surplus – $297 billion. The Germans can say this is as a result of market forces all they want. Trump is going to see the trade surplus as resulting from a directed and unfair policy.


Grisly photographs of children apparently killed in the crossfire of a 50-minute firefight during the raid caused outrage in Yemen. A member of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, Chief Petty Officer William Owens, was also killed in the operation.

While the White House continues to insist that the attack was a “success” — a characterization it repeated on Tuesday — the suspension of commando operations is a setback for Mr. Trump, who has made it clear he plans to take a far more aggressive approach against Islamic militants.



  • Mexican farmer's daughter: NAFTA destroyed us (CNN)  With NAFTA cheap American corn came pouring in from the border, it had a devastating effect on farmers in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. local farmers couldn't compete and many had to give up and move to the United States to find work, saving up money to send home to support their families.

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

Campaign 2016 and the advent of Trump have brought the crisis in journalism to the front pages. Fake news, conflicts with the president, calls for advocacy journalism, loss of the public’s trust — together these are forcing journalists to reconsider the craft and their business. Failure to find solutions will mean a new information regime for America.


  • DOL Wins Fiduciary Rule Case in Texas (ThinkAdvisor)    Texas federal trial Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn ruled in favor of the Labor Department Wednesday in the case brought by nine plaintiffs against Labor’s fiduciary rule.  Lynn had promised a ruling by Friday. The nine plaintiffs, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the Financial Services Institute, sued the DOL over its fiduciary rule in a Texas court.  The nine plaintiffs in the Texas case are represented by former Labor Department solicitor Eugene Scalia, who’s now a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Washington office and a son of deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  In a joint statement, the co-plaintiffs stated:

"We continue to believe that the Department of Labor exceeded its authority, and we will pursue all of our available options to see that this rule is rescinded."

  • Five protest poets all demonstrators should read (The Conversation)  Five poets from rappers to those creating traditional verse demonstrate that the pen is mightier than the sword.  A poem by Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet is one of those cited by the author here.  His poem about a child killed by the A-Bomb in Hiroshima is well-known in English as the song 'I Come and Stand at Every Door' sung in Turkish (with English subtitles) below. 

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