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What We Read Today 15 August 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:

  • Google Capable Not Only of Search, But Search and Destroy

  • ‘No Silver Bullet’ for Car Dealers Aiming at Awesome Reviews

  • Why is Greenland Burning?

  • Asian Immigrants Now Outnumber Hispanics

  • Analyzing ‘the homework gap’ among high school students

  • Key findings about U.S. immigrants

  • U.S. Oil Drillers Keep Pressure on OPEC With Record Shale Output

  • Oil & Gas HY bond issuance is on the rise again.

  • Trump Threat on Obamacare Would Boost Deficit by $194 Billion

  • Trump goes on retweet storm

  • Trump: 'Blame on both sides' for Charlottesville

  • FBI, DHS report warned of threat posed by white supremacists

  • Ex-KKK Leader David Duke Has Meltdown After Trump Condemns White Supremacists In Charlottesville

  • See the facts about the Charlottesville riot. You decide what they mean.

  • U.S. Default? Unlikely, But Bond Traders Are Taking No Chances

  • ECB Balance Sheet Continues to Grow

  • China’s debt levels continue to climb.

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • U.S. Oil Drillers Keep Pressure on OPEC With Record Shale Output (Bloomberg)   Oil output from major U.S. shale plays is poised to reach a fresh record next month, further complicating OPEC’s efforts to support prices.  The gain is being led by the oil-rich Permian basin of Texas and New Mexico, where production has risen steadily over the past two years. The Energy Information Administration projects Permian output to rise by 64,000 barrels in September, reaching a record of 2.6 million barrels a day.

The forecast comes just as Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the two biggest producers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries promised to strengthen their commitment to cutting production. Crude output in the U.S. meanwhile has climbed in nine of the last 10 months. Prices declined to a three-week low Monday as the growing U.S. output and signs of lower demand from China stoked concern that a global oversupply will linger.

  • Oil & Gas HY bond issuance is on the rise again. (The Daily Shot)  The rebound from oil price lows in 2016 has global financing of oil and gas exploration operations on the rise again, possiblyt to exceed 2014 levels by year end, which be a new all-time record.


  • Trump Threat on Obamacare Would Boost Deficit by $194 Billion (Bloomberg)   Health plan premiums for some in Obamacare will surge and the federal deficit will increase by almost $200 billion over a decade if President Donald Trump follows through on a threat to halt certain insurance subsidies under the law, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.  The Congressional Budget Office, which provides nonpartisan analysis of federal policy issues for lawmakers, provided the analysis following the Trump administration’s repeated threats to stop paying cost-sharing reduction subsidies under Obamacare. The payments go to insurers, and are used to help reduce out-of-pocket costs for poorer Americans in the program.

Stopping the payments would have several effects, the CBO said. Premiums for mid-level “silver” Obamacare plans would rise by 20 percent next year, and by about 25 percent in 2020, agency said. At the same time, the federal deficit would rise by $194 billion over the next decade -- because the government would subsidize those increased premiums.

  • Trump goes on retweet storm (USA Today)  President Trump started off Tuesday morning by retweeting a number of controversial images and sources – ranging from a known conspiracy theorist to an image depicting violence against the media.   

The retweet storm came as critics wondered why Trump's scripted statement denouncing white supremacists for their role in the violence in Charlottesville came 48 hours after his initial remarks chiding "many sides" were criticized as inadequate. 

Trump retweeted Jack Posobiec, an alt-right figure who pushed the Pizzagate and Seth Rich conspiracy theories, who questioned why there was no similar outrage over the violence in Chicago.

The president also retweeted the account @slandinsocal, who posted an image of a person holding a CNN sign being hit by a train, with the commentary, "Nothing can stop the #TrumpTrain!!" 

The White House said in a statement that this tweet was inadvertently posted and as soon it was noticed it was immediately deleted. The president has deleted tweets and retweets in the past.

  • Trump: 'Blame on both sides' for Charlottesville (The Hill)  President Trump on Tuesday said there is “blame on both sides” for the violent protests over the weekend in Charlottesville, remarks that are sure to inflame his critics and reignite debate over his hesitance to condemn white nationalists and racists.  Trump conducted an impromptu press conference at Trump Tower that was meant to focus on infrastructure, but he faced a barrage of questions from reporters about why he did not immediately condemn racist protesters and the KKK by name.

  • FBI, DHS report warned of threat posed by white supremacists (CBS News)  In a Joint Intelligence Bulletin, members of the intelligence community highlighted the growing threat posed by white supremacists and the rise of extremist violence in the United States, months before the violent clashes and subsequent deaths in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday. 

The bulletin, dated May 10, 2017, provided what the agencies described as "new insight into the targeting preferences of white supremacist extremists" and the current state of white supremacist-related violence in the country. The briefing, a joint effort by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), detailed their efforts to deter, prevent and disrupt potential terrorist attacks in the U.S.


“It’s amazing to see how the media is able to bully the President of the United States into going along with their FAKE NEWS narrative.”  

  • See the facts about the Charlottesville riot. You decide what they mean. (Fabius Maximus)  Summary: The Charlottesville riot at the “Unite the Right” event is trivial by most standards, but rich with insights into modern America. It is a milestone on a path to an ugly destination, which Left, Right, and Middle prefer not to see. Here are the facts. You decide their significance.  Econintersect:  This is a very insightful aggregation of the reporting about Charlottesville.

  • U.S. Default? Unlikely, But Bond Traders Are Taking No Chances (Bloomberg)   In many ways, the thought that the United States of America would default is utterly preposterous.  The nation has never repudiated its debt. The full faith and credit of the federal government has been a cornerstone of U.S. policy since the days of Alexander Hamilton. And no one really questions America’s ability to pay.  But in the age of Trump, Wall Street isn’t taking anything for granted.  Econintersect:  Why are interest rates depressed by debt ceiling worries?  If the debt ceiling is not raised, the U.S. Treasury will stop issuing Treasury bills.  These are needed by the global financial markets and if they become scarcer, the price will go up (the yields will fall). 


Click for larger image.


  • China’s debt levels continue to climb. (The Daily Shot)  Household debt and non-financial corporations continue to drive growth of debt in China.  Increased government debt is rising at a more subdued rate.

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

  • Google Capable Not Only of Search, But Search and Destroy (Wards Auto)  Search engine Google can perform search and destroy, at least when it comes to its treatment of car dealers getting bad reviews from consumers.  Dealers who get panned enough times find themselves in the digital equivalent of no-man’s land by appearing deep down on the search results. Showing up on page six or seven of a consumer search result is nearly tantamount to not showing up at all.

  • ‘No Silver Bullet’ for Car Dealers Aiming at Awesome Reviews (Wards Auto)  See preceding article.  When online dealership reviews started cropping up, they horrified many dealers. Some still bridle at the prospects of an unreasonable customer getting an open platform to air complaints that might otherwise carry little weight.  Yet, most dealership reviews are positive. Many of those that aren’t offer dealers a chance to spot an operational deficiency and address it, says Tucker.  The most effective strategy for getting more good reviews, according to this author, is to encourage personal relationships to customers by rewarding employees who get good custimer reviews.

  • Why is Greenland Burning? (VocativYouTube)  In Greenland, the land of ice and snow, a wildfire has consumed the western part of the country. But why?  
    Although ice covers 80 percent of the island, the wildfire in western Greenland has burned at least 3,000 acres. It's the latest wrinkle in a year that's seen a huge spike in fire activity throughout the country.  

Melting ice and rising temperatures don’t help, in addition to peat moss drying out. When the peat dries out, it helps fuel the smoldering fires, which is especially bad since the moss releases higher amounts of carbon dioxide.

Scientists aren’t directly pinning the fires on climate change just yet, but as ice melts, new threats could emerge across the Arctic.


  • Asian Immigrants Now Outnumber Hispanics (Pew Research Center)   About 1 million immigrants arrive in the U.S. each year. In 2015, the top country of origin for new immigrants coming into the U.S. was India, with 110,000 people, followed by Mexico (109,000), China (90,000) and Canada (35,000).

By race and ethnicity, more Asian immigrants than Hispanic immigrants have arrived in the U.S. each year since 2010. Immigration from Latin America slowed following the Great Recession, particularly from Mexico, which has seen net losses in U.S. immigration over the past few years.

  • Key findings about U.S. immigrants (Pew Research Center)  The U.S. has more immigrants than any other country in the world. Today, more than 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country, accounting for about one-fifth of the world’s migrants in 2015. The population of immigrants is also very diverse, with just about every country in the world represented among U.S. immigrants.

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