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What We Read Today 09 June 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".).


Every day most of this column ("What We Read Today") is available only to GEI members.

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Topics today include:

  • Donald Trump lawyers to file complaint against 'leaker' James Comey

  • Trump Claims 'Complete Vindication' by Source of 'So Many False Statements and Lies'

  • Trump Says He'd Testify That Comey Lied About Loyalty Demand

  • Greatest Danger to U.S.

  • Trump Discovers Article 5 After Disastrous NATO Visit

  • DUP leader Arlene Foster vows to bring stability to UK with Conservatives

  • UK election 2017: full results

  • Trump Says He Backed Saudi-Led Diplomatic Isolation of Qatar

  • China's chart of Doom

  • U.S. Households Just Added $2.35 Trillion in Wealth in the First Quarter (U.S. Households Just Added $2.35 Trillion in Wealth in the First Quarter

  • Wealth Paradox Not Effect

  • Why MMT is evil

  • Inbred Neanderthals Left Humans with a Genetic Burden

  • 3,000-Year-Old Copper Mask Found in Argentina Challenges Ideas of South American Metalwork Development

  • Incredible Plans to Revive Submerged Ancient Thracian Capital

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world



  • Trump Says He'd Testify That Comey Lied About Loyalty Demand (Bloomberg)  President Donald Trump said fired FBI Director James Comey lied in his Senate testimony and that he would be willing to testify under oath that he didn’t demand a pledge of personal loyalty from Comey.  Trump said Comey’s testimony on Thursday showed he hadn’t colluded with the Russian government to rig the 2016 election or obstructed a federal investigation into the meddling.


  • Trump Discovers Article 5 After Disastrous NATO Visit (Foreign Policy)  Thisn article says that Trump’s public performance in Brussels was a disaster and that behind closed doors, it was even worse.  At long last, President Donald Trump has endorsed NATO’s bedrock collective defense clause, Article 5, in a press conference today (Friday, 09 June). “Absolutely I’d be committed to Article 5,” he said Friday in response to a question from a journalist, speaking beside Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the White House. It gives nervous NATO allies something they’ve yearned for since he came to office in January after disparaging the alliance and openly praising its top geopolitical foe, Russia.  But it may not be enough to patch things over with his NATO allies after his disastrous visit last month to Brussels.


Foster said in Belfast on Friday afternoon that she was entering discussions with May over the details of any arrangement that would prop up a minority government.

Foster said the election in Northern Ireland, which saw 10 DUP MPs, including two new ones, elected to the Commons, was a “great result” for the union.

  • UK election 2017: full results (The Guardian)  The final general election results from the UK’s 650 constituencies are in. Theresa May’s gamble has failed; the Conservatives have lost their parliamentary majority and have turned to the DUP (Democratic Union Party of Northern Ireland) to support them in forming a new government.  See preceding article.


  • Incredible Plans to Revive Submerged Ancient Thracian Capital (Ancient Origins)  An ambitious project has been trying to capture funds to resurface the ancient Thracian capital of Seuthopolis. Currently the site is underwater in modern day Bulgaria, however hopes are that it will one day be a high-profile tourist destination.  The “ Seuthopolis Project ” has been trying to gain attention (and money) to bring what it says is “the only uncovered and preserved Thracian city of this scope” back to light for some years now. (Thrace is a geographical and historical area in southeast Europe, now split between Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to the north, the Aegean Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the east. Wikipedia)  Seuthopolis sits under nearly 20 meters of water in an artificial lake.  The proposal:

The lead architect would like to wall off the ancient city, which measures about 12.5 acres, with what has been described as a “huge circular dike that'll be 420 m [1377.95 ft.] in diameter and 20m [65.62 ft.] high.”  [Computer generated image below.]


  • Trump Says He Backed Saudi-Led Diplomatic Isolation of Qatar (Bloomberg)  President Donald Trump said he backed a Saudi Arabia-led movement to isolate Qatar over its funding of extremist groups, once again sending conflicting signals about the U.S. stance in a dispute between American allies in the Gulf region.  Trump spoke little more than an hour after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered a more conciliatory statement urging the Saudi-led coalition to ease its “blockade” of Qatar. He said that the cutoff is hindering the fight against Islamic State and provoking food shortages.


Click for large image.

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

  • 3,000-Year-Old Copper Mask Found in Argentina Challenges Ideas of South American Metalwork Development (Ancient Origins)  Archaeologists that recently discovered an ancient, rectangular copper mask in the southern Andes in Argentina claim the discovery challenges the dominant theory that South American metalworking originated in Peru. According to their estimations, the mask is about 3,000 years old and thus it is considered to be one of the oldest human-made metal objects in the history of South America.

  • Inbred Neanderthals Left Humans with a Genetic Burden (Ancient Origins)  The Neanderthal genome included harmful mutations that made the hominids around 40% less reproductively fit than modern humans, according to estimates published in the latest issue of the journal  Genetics. Non-African humans inherited some of this genetic burden when they interbred with Neanderthals, though much of it has been lost over time. The results suggest that these harmful gene variants continue to reduce the fitness of some populations today. The study also has implications for management of endangered species.

  • Why MMT is evil (The Truth about Money)  Econontersect:  We cannot succinctly summarize this emotional presentation so you'll have to click through and develop your own summary.  Below is one of the graphics:

  • U.S. Households Just Added $2.35 Trillion in Wealth in the First Quarter (U.S. Households Just Added $2.35 Trillion in Wealth in the First Quarter (Bloomberg)  An increase in U.S. household wealth in the first quarter shows higher financial-asset and property values are driving an improvement in consumer finances, figures from the Federal Reserve in Washington showed Thursday.  Household wealth has grown, boosted mostly by a 5.5 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index last quarter and house price appreciation that matched the biggest year-over-year increase since 2014. That, along with a strong job market, is underpinning consumers’ ability to continue spending and will contribute to the economic expansion. The report also showed companies had $2.21 trillion in liquid assets, giving them the means to boost investment.  Other details:

  • Household debt increased at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter

  • Mortgage borrowing advanced at a 3 percent pace; other forms of consumer credit, including auto and student loans, climbed at a 5 percent rate, the slowest since 2013

  • Total non-financial debt grew at a 1.4 percent annual pace

  • Federal government obligations declined 3.3 percent, state and local government debt fell at a 3.5 percent pace, while business borrowing increased 6.2 percent

  • Wealth Paradox Not Effect (Alhambra Investments)  Hat tip to The Wall Street Examiner.  This article points out that the so-called "wealth effect" is getting less and less "effective".  US Household Net Worth rose to a record $94.8 trillion in Q1 2017. According to the Federal Reserve’s Financial Accounts of the United States (Z1), aggregate paper wealth rose by more than 8% year-over-year mostly as the stock market shook off the effects of “global turmoil.” It was the best rate of expansion since the second quarter of 2014 just prior to this “rising dollar” interruption.

At such a high level, though, the ratio of net worth to spending has skyrocketed. That means the so-called wealth effect doesn’t appear to have any effect whatsoever. In Q1 1995, Household Net Worth was a quaint $27.3 trillion compared to $7.6 trillion in (nominal) Final Sales to Domestic Purchasers. That’s a ratio of $3.60 in “wealth” for every $1 in (nominal) spending. The latest estimates now suggest $4.85 in “wealth” for every $1 in (nominal) spending.


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