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What We Read Today 23 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:

  • Fifth GOP senator announces opposition to ObamaCare repeal bill

  • Trump's Tape Blunder Risks Fresh Legal Jeopardy in Russia Probe

  • The Lasting Damage of Trump's 'Tapes' Bluff

  • Press briefing crackdown worries Trump allies

  • More Than 100 Federal Agencies Fail to Report Hate Crimes to the FBI’s National Database

  • Poll: Voters grow weary of Russia probes

  • Harvard-Harris Poll May 2017:  Summary

  • Britain’s Financial Power Is Already Seeping Away

  • Britain’s smartest leader warned about open borders in 1968

  • Rivers of Blood speech

  • Turkish schools to stop teaching evolution, official says

  • Qatar given 10 days to meet 13 sweeping demands by Saudi Arabia

  • The Saudis get a new Crown Prince. Stratfor explains how this might rock the region

  • Canada offers places for addicts to shoot up safely. Can the US copy the model?

  • Brain-Invading Tapeworm That Eluded Doctors Spotted by New DNA Test

  • Is the Big Bang illogical?

  • Gold Miners Will Lead Gold Higher

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Fifth GOP senator announces opposition to ObamaCare repeal bill (The Hill)  Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) announced Friday that he is opposed to the Senate GOP's ObamaCare repeal bill in its current form, making him the fifth GOP senator to come out against the plan.  Appearing alongside Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R), who has been protective of ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion, Heller raised concerns about the bill's phaseout of the expansion.

Heller joins GOP Sens. Rand Paul(Ky.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mike Lee(Utah) and Ted Cruz (Texas) in opposing the current bill.

Those four conservative senators announced their opposition on Thursday, the day GOP leaders unveiled a draft of the healthcare plan.

  • Trump's Tape Blunder Risks Fresh Legal Jeopardy in Russia Probe (Bloomberg)  See also next article.  President Donald Trump’s admission that he never taped his conversations with ousted FBI Director James Comey risks exposing him to fresh legal jeopardy and weakens his credibility in the eyes of investigators probing ties between his associates and Russia.  With a tweet Thursday, Trump ended more than a month of suspense about whether he had, in fact, recorded his interactions with the FBI chief he fired on May 9, declaring that

“I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.” 

  • The Lasting Damage of Trump's 'Tapes' Bluff (The Atlantic)   This is a first for the Trump presidency: the first formal presidential retraction of a presidential untruth.   President Trump tweeted a warning to James Comey: The fired FBI director had better hope that no “tapes” existed that could contradict his account of what happened between the two men. Trump has now confessed that he had no basis for this warning. There were no such tapes, and the president knew it all along.  The tweet was intended to intimidate. It failed, spectacularly: Instead of silencing Comey, it set in motion the special counsel investigation that now haunts Donald Trump’s waking imagination.  But the failed intimidation does have important real world consequences:

First, it confirms America’s adversaries in their intensifying suspicion that the president’s tough words are hollow talk.

Trump showed the whole world that when he sweats, he panics. That’s a lesson that will be remembered by the planet’s bad actors for however long this president holds office.

  • Press briefing crackdown worries Trump allies (The Hill)  The press briefings have gone dark.  The briefings, regularly conducted four or five times a week in both the Obama administration and in the early weeks of the Trump administration, have been held far less frequently of late.  And when the White House does give a briefing now, it’s increasingly conducted off-camera.

The White House’s decision to conduct an increasing number of off-camera briefings could help the administration assert more control over its message, officials say.

But that drastic break with tradition has infuriated the press corps and split Trump’s allies, who believe the White House is missing out on an opportunity to directly reach the public without having his message filtered through a media they see as biased against him.

The lack of participation by federal law enforcement represents a significant and largely unknown flaw in the database, which is supposed to be the nation’s most comprehensive source of information on hate crimes. The database is maintained by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, which uses it to tabulate the number of alleged hate crimes occurring around the nation each year.

The FBI has identified at least 120 federal agencies that aren’t uploading information to the database, according to Amy Blasher, a unit chief at the CJIS division, an arm of the bureau that is overseeing the modernization of its information systems.

  • Poll: Voters grow weary of Russia probes (The Hill)  A majority of voters believe the Russia investigations are damaging to the country and are eager to see Congress shift its focus to healthcare, terrorism, national security, the economy, and jobs.  See also next article.

Those are the findings of the latest Harvard-Harris Poll survey, provided exclusively to The Hill, which paints a complicated picture of voters’ opinions about the numerous probes that have engulfed the White House.

Sixty-four percent of voters said the investigations into President Trump and Russia are hurting the country. Fifty-six percent of voters said it’s time for Congress and the media to move on to other issues, compared to 44 percent who said the focus should stay on Russia.







  • Turkish schools to stop teaching evolution, official says (The Guardian)   Evolution will no longer be taught in Turkish schools, a senior education official has said, in a move likely to raise the ire of the country’s secular opposition.  Alpaslan DurmuĊŸ, who chairs the board of education, said evolution was "debatable, controversial and too complicated for students".


The onerous list of demands includes stipulations that Doha close the broadcaster al-Jazeera, drastically scale back cooperation with Iran, remove Turkish troops from Qatar’s soil, end contact with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and submit to monthly external compliance checks. Qatar has been given 10 days to comply with the demands or face unspecified consequences.

Saudi Arabia

  • Today the Saudis got a new Crown Prince. Stratfor explains how this might rock the region (Fabius Maximus)  FM has contributed to GEI.  A report from Stratfor is presented which describes the forward looking nature of the new Saudi crown prince.  There may be internal pushback from within the royal family and conservative elemnts of the population inhibiting how far Crown Prince (and presuambly eventually King) Mohammed bin Salman can go:

change will come at a price. Any effort to push the boundaries of social reform in the kingdom risks ruffling the feathers of the conservative clerical establishment, which many in the royal family view as the foundation of the House of Saud’s legitimacy and support. Many Saudis are firm believers in the conservative social fabric of the country and could resent swift adjustments to social strictures. As a result, any reform must be undertaken carefully while gauging pushback from the public.


The dozens of studies carried out on the site have yielded further insights: Insite does not lead to increased drug use or crime but instead offers a unique means of building relationships while saving lives, preventing the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C and spurring more people into detox programs.

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

  • Brain-Invading Tapeworm That Eluded Doctors Spotted by New DNA Test (Scientific American)  Only the most common brain infections are covered by the 19 standard tests; 60% of brain infections go undiagnosed.  A new test identifies all the DNA and RNA found in a sample of cerebrospinal fluid.  This holds promise of identifying rare infections such as the tapeworm described in this article.

  • Is the Big Bang illogical? (Quora)  Depending on what assumptions are made it can be illogical.  For example, if the universe we have identified (we are existing in) constitutes all that exists, there are supportable arguments that the 'Big Bang' is illogical (although there are many challenges to those arguments).  If one assumes that there is something external to our universe (mutliverses) then most arguments of illogic are not tenable.

  • Gold Miners Will Lead Gold Higher (Seeking Alpha)

  • Failing to break through $1300/oz before the rate hike has sent gold prices scurrying back to $1250. However, the medium-term trend still looks strong.

  • Gold miners are starting to behave as they normally do in relation to spot. This signals strength in GLD.

  • Gold resisted a huge sell-off after a more hawkish than expected June rate hike. The bulls are not conceding to the bears.

  • Current account deficit widens, Treasury yield curve flattens, weakening the dollar, strengthening GLD.


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