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What We Read Today 27 March 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:

  • How Fake News Spreads

  • Diverging U.S. GDP Forecasts

  • If All the World Population Lived in One City

  • There is No Stopping Globalization

  • Global Government Bond Rally Continues

  • How Trump Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the (Climate) Bomb

  • Yes, Democrats Won a Big Health Care Battle, But the Health Care War Is Far From Over

  • Fading Trump rally threatened by rare contraction of US credit 

  • The New Religious Left

  • In Republicans’ views of a border wall, proximity to Mexico matters

  • EU's chief negotiator admits Europe will face 'severe consequences' from hard Brexit

  • Theresa May Cut Short Nicola Sturgeon's Attempt to Talk About a Scottish Referendum

  • Trump son-in-law met with U.S. sanctioned Russian bank; will testify

  • China Debt Remains an Emerging Markets Outlier

  • Positive GDP Outlook for First Quarter in Canada

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • There’s No Stopping Globalization (The Dismal Optimist)  Investment strategist and money manager Peter T. Treadway explains why globalization may face only temporary headwinds:

Globalization is a product of accelerating technology and in turn a contributor to accelerating technology. Short of a major war or a big meteorite hitting the earth, it can’t be stopped. Technology, according to futurologist Ray Kurzweil among others, is accelerating at an accelerating rate and is part of an unstoppable evolutionary process. I think Kurzweil has offered a pretty good description of reality.

The “bad” Trump, reinforced by his Rasputin-like economic nationalist advisors Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro, is promising to stand Canute-like in the face of an ever more powerful technology-driven tide of human evolution. In the short run, the more successful he is at implementing his announced anti-globalization goals, the more he will hurt the US and world economies. In the long run, Trump will be gone and technology and globalization will continue to accelerate.

Click for larger image.


President Donald Trump is poised to eviscerate his predecessor’s legacy on climate change with executive actions as early as this week, even though the world is throwing up increasingly alarming signs of dangerous warning and key parts of the administration keep flagging climate change as a key national security challenge.

Trump will reportedly instruct Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt to scrap and redo a landmark batch of regulations known as the Clean Power Plan, a hallmark initiative of former President Barack Obama that would have helped curb U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases. According to the New York Times, which obtained a draft document of the order, Trump will also outline ways to block or cripple “about a half dozen” other climate-related executive orders from the previous administration.

This was not a real effort to repeal ACA. It was a ham-handed first attempt that will cause some humiliation, but it doesn’t mean Republicans won’t get their collective heads out of their you-know-what and try again.

  • Fading Trump rally threatened by rare contraction of US credit (The Telegraph)  Hat tip to Patrick Watson.  Credit strategists are increasingly disturbed by a sudden and rare contraction of US bank lending, fearing a synchronised slowdown in the U.S. and China this year that could catch euphoric markets badly off guard.  Data from the US Federal Reserve shows that the $2 trillion market for commercial and industrial (C&I) loans peaked in December. The sector has weakened abruptly as lenders tighten credit, especially for non-residential property. Over the last three months it has dropped at a rate of 5.4% on annual basis, a pace of decline not seen since December 2008.  See first graphic below.  The deterioration in the broader $9 trillion market for loans and leases has been less dramatic but it too is shrinking, falling at a 1.6% rate on a three-month basis.  See second graphic below.

  • 'Religious left' emerging as U.S. political force in Trump era (Reuters)  Since President Donald Trump's election, monthly lectures on social justice at the 600-seat Gothic chapel of New York's Union Theological Seminary have been filled to capacity with crowds three times what they usually draw.  In January, the 181-year-old Upper Manhattan graduate school, whose architecture evokes London's Westminster Abbey, turned away about 1,000 people from a lecture on mass incarceration. In the nine years that Reverend Serene Jones has served as its president, she has never seen such crowds.  She said:

"The election of Trump has been a clarion call to progressives in the Protestant and Catholic churches in America to move out of a place of primarily professing progressive policies to really taking action." 



  • Europe will face 'severe consequences' from hard Brexit, EU's chief negotiator admits (The Telegraph)  The European Union and the UK will face "severe consequences" if Britain leaves without a deal, Europe's chief Brexit negotiator has admitted.  Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has said repeatedly that "no deal" is better than a "bad deal" and said that the UK is prepared to walk away from the EU if necessary. On Wednesday she will trigger Article 50 and begin the formal process of leaving the union.  Michel Barnier, writing in the Financial Times, said he wants an "orderly withdrawal" and hopes for an "ambitious free trade agreement" after Brexit.


The Prime Minister is understood to have dictated terms during their meeting in a Glasgow hotel, running down the clock by talking about Article 50 and a policing exercise before Ms Sturgeon tried to grab her chance at the end of their talk.

But sources made it clear that there was no "substantive" discussion of a referendum because Mrs May had already reiterated her position that "now is not the time".





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

  • 60 Minutes” tracks how fake news spreads (The Hill)  Automated bots create the illusion of popularity for "news stories" that are simple fabrications.  This is done for various reasons, but the two most common are profit and political.  The following is a "60 Minutes" segment reporting on the spreading processes for fake news:


Click for large image.

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