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What We Read Today 11 September 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:

  • What is Circassia?

  • Where do Circassians Live Today?

  • Student Debt Can Erode Social Security Benefits

  • Fieldwork revises ice-free corridor hypothesis of human migration

  • Global Financialization

  • Irma:  What you need to know now

  • Tracking Irma - 11Sep2017- to Points North and West while Watching Jose

  • Lords of Misrule

  • Justice Kennedy’s Order Temporarily Leaves in Place Trump Travel Ban on Refugees

  • Republican attempt to deflect Trump-Russia probes could backfire: sources

  • Trump nominees have history of climate change denial, industry bias

  • The Sickness of American Healthcare

  • In Memory of Rick Rescorla

  • Russia urges U.S. to start finding way to resolve problems

  • Red Cross physiotherapist killed by patient in Afghanistan

  • Rohingya crisis: UN sees 'ethnic cleansing' in Myanmar

  • U.N. Security Council to vote on weakened North Korea sanctions bid

  • Venezuela accuses UN of lying over alleged rights abuses

  • Death toll from southern Mexico's big earthquake rises to 96

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Global Financialization (Lance Roberts, Twitter)  LR is a weekly contributor to GEIEconintersect:  What better evidence that the world has completely succumbed to financialization? Want to try to convince me this is coincidental?



  • The strength: Irma is now a tropical storm, with sustained winds of 60 mph.

  • Where is it now? It's moving into southern Georgia.

  • Where's it headed? See the chart below.

Click for large image.

  • Lords of Misrule (The Baffler)   Hat tip to Matthew C. Klein.  (Econintersect:  This is a must read.)  The following is extracted from the introduction.  In 1937 future SCOTUS justice Robert Jackson addressed the New York State Bar Association on the civic responsibilities of the legal profession.  He decried  the professionalization of the law and the resulting priority of financial over ethical considerations among lawyers which he argued had been toxic for American democracy.  This was echoed and updated nearly eight decades later by Jesse Eisinger in his book, The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives:

“Today’s Department of Justice has lost the will and indeed the ability to go after the highest-ranking corporate wrongdoers.”

The so-called administrative stay will probably be in place for only a short time, and the court is likely to issue a more considered ruling in a matter of days.

Had the Supreme Court not acted, an appeals court ruling lifting the ban on refugees would have gone into effect on Tuesday.

The reports contain no evidence that any aides to former Democratic President Barack Obama acted improperly, the sources said, but they do indicate some Trump associates may have violated an obscure 1799 law, the Logan Act, which prohibits unauthorized U.S. citizens from negotiating with a foreign government that has a dispute with the United States.

  • Trump nominees have history of climate change denial, industry bias (Reveal)  Last Tuesday, the White House nominated four men to key science-related posts at federal agencies. Included are Oklahoma Congressman James Bridenstine (who has no scientific background and denies that climate change is real) for NASA administrator, and Steven E. Winberg (who has worked in the coal and natural gas industry for four decades) for assistant secretary at the Department of Energy.  The nominations bring to 16 the number of people that Trump has tapped for science leadership roles at several dozen federal agencies.  Of the 16 nominees and appointees, seven have notable ties to the industries they would regulate or award federal research dollars.

  • The Sickness of American Healthcare (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting)  The recent collapse of Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) demonstrated that the GOP’s tireless obsessions—free market platitudes and tax cuts for the wealthy—contribute absolutely nothing to fixing the American healthcare system.  Unfortunately, that was the only thing made clear by media coverage of the healthcare debate.

Looking back, we are struck by the degree to which the media’s fixation on a narrative that mocks a small slice of American voters—pro-Trump voters who had new ACA coverage—deflected attention from the frustration of millions of American workers who have struggled with healthcare problems the ACA either failed to address or exacerbated.

The truth is our healthcare system is sick, and the Affordable Care Act has been little more than a bandage on a compound fracture. The ACA cut the rate of the uninsured to an all-time low, and limited the health insurance industry’s most outrageous consumer abuses, both important steps forward. At the same time, 29 million people remain uninsured, most of the non-elderly population who have employer-paid coverage are increasingly underinsured, and costs continue to soar at 200–400 percent of inflation.


  • Russia urges U.S. to start finding way to resolve problems (Reuters)  Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov urged U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon to stop destroying Russia-U.S. relations and to start finding a way to resolve their problems, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday.  A statement said after Ryabkov and Shannon met in Helsinki:

“We called for a stop to the destruction of Russia-U.S. relations and ... to start finding solutions to resolve problems that are mounting through no fault of ours.” 


  • Red Cross physiotherapist killed by patient in Afghanistan (BBC News)  A Spanish physiotherapist working at a Red Cross hospital in northern Afghanistan has been shot dead by a patient, the group says.  Lorena Enebral Perez, 38, was killed at the aid group's rehabilitation centre in the city of Mazar-e Sharif.  She was taken to the NATO military base hospital at Camp Marmal, but died of her injuries.  Two people have been arrested, including the 21-year-old shooter who police said was a "regular patient".


  • Rohingya crisis: UN sees 'ethnic cleansing' in Myanmar (BBC News)   The security operation targeting Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar "seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing", the UN human rights chief says.  Zeid Raad Al Hussein urged Myanmar to end the "cruel military operation" in Rakhine state.  More than 300,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since violence erupted there late last month.  The military says it is responding to attacks by Rohingya militants and denies it is targeting civilians.

North Korea


  • Venezuela accuses UN of lying over alleged rights abuses (BBC News)  Venezuela's Foreign Minister has accused the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of lying.  Jorge Arreaza was responding to a speech by UN human rights chief Zeid Raad Al Hussein warning of possible "crimes against humanity" in Venezuela.  Mr Zeid also said that there was "a very real danger that tensions will further escalate" in Venezuela.  More than 120 people have been killed in Venezuela since a wave of anti-government protests began on 1 April.


  • Death toll from southern Mexico's big earthquake rises to 96 (ABC News)  The death toll from Mexico's 8.1 magnitude earthquake rose to 96 on Monday as more fatalities were confirmed in the hard-hit southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.  The Foreign Relations Department said 95 people had died nationwide in Thursday's quake. Then Chiapas state civil defense director Luis Manuel Garcia Moreno said the number of deaths there had risen from 15 to 16.  Oaxaca Gov. Alejandro Murat said in a statement that the death toll in his state rose to 76, and officials have reported that four people died in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco.


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

Circassia (Adyghe: Адыгэ Хэку,[1] Russian: Черке́сия, Georgian: ჩერქეზეთი, Arabic: شيركاسيا‎‎, [2]TurkishÇerkesya) is a region in the North Caucasus and along the northeast shore of the Black Sea.[3] It is the ancestral homeland of the Circassian people.

  • Where do Circassians Live Today? (Wikipedia)  The Russo-Circassian War was the western phase of the Caucasus War during which Russia gained control of the free mountaineers of the Caucasus mountains (see first graphic below). The eastern phase was the Murid War. For background see Russian conquest of the Caucasus. There does not appear to be a proper history of this war in any language. The best in English are Richmond and Henze (see references).  The war was a series of battles and wars lasting over 100 years (1763-1864).  When Russia finally gained control of all Crcassia territory most of the Circassians were expelled to the Ottoman Empire (see second graphic below).  Today nearly 800,000 Circassians remain in their original territory and an indeterminate number (estimated between 1.5 and 6 million) live in Turkey.

  • Student Debt Can Erode Social Security Benefits (Financial Advisor)  Many people planning their retirement income do not know they can be on the hook for their children’s student loans if they co-signed for the loan.  Up to 15% of the total Social Security benefit can be deducted to repay a student loan from a parent, grandparent or anyone else who co-signed for the loan.  In addition, alimony and child support can be deducted in some states.  Federal mortgage payments are not deducted because the government agency has the property as collateral, but non-agency mortgage payments can be attached by lenders.  Retiring clients should also be reminded that in many cases income taxes can be charged on up to 85% of the Social Security benefit, depending on the client’s income and that includes all benefits lost via attachment, including the cost of Medicare Part B of about $109 a month which also is deducted for those enrolled in Medicare and receiving Social Security benefits.

  • Fieldwork revises ice-free corridor hypothesis of human migration (Earth)  Research based on the exposure ages of glacial rocks found in the Canadian ice-free corridor suggests a puzzling conclusion — that the open pathway closed several thousand years prior to 20,000 years ago and didn’t open again until between 13,000 and 12,000 years ago, well after the first Americans were in the Americas.  The findings, presented at last year’s Paleoamerican Odyssey conference, along with other recent findings, may leave researchers back “at square one,” with no conclusive evidence of when or how the first people arrived in North America.

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