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What We Read Today 22 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".).


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Topics today include:

  • Broken Velocity: Yellen’s Low Inflation Quandary (Hint: FHFA Home Price Index Growing At 6.62% YoY)

  • Science News and Information Today

  • Which states could win and lose from the new ObamaCare repeal bill

  • Why Muslims are the world’s fastest-growing religious group

  • McCain to vote no on ObamaCare repeal

  • Have no doubt, President Trump will wind up firing Robert Mueller

  • How Exxon Mobil May Soon Have Greater Sway over Science used in EPA Policies

  • Cops Delete FB Post of Massive ‘Weed’ Bust After the Internet Corrects Them

  • Islamophobic U.E. Megadonor Fuels German Far-Right Party with Viral Fake News

  • Bernie Sanders: Saudi Arabia Is “Not an Ally” and the US Should “Rethink” Its Approach to Iran

  • Bernie Sanders to Democrats: This is What a Radical Foreign Policy Looks Like

  • Saudi Arabia Cracks Down on Dissenting Clerics Amid Rumors of Crown Prince's Rise to Throne

  • US Troops Had No Idea How to Train Afghan Police, so They Used TV Show Cops

  • China Debt Story

  • People in the Philippines Still Favor U.S. Over China, but Gap Is Narrowing

  • Can renewable energy power a steel mill?

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


While the world’s population is projected to grow 32% in the coming decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 70% – from 1.8 billion in 2015 to nearly 3 billion in 2060. In 2015, Muslims made up 24.1% of the global population. Forty-five years later, they are expected to make up more than three-in-ten of the world’s people (31.1%).


  • McCain to vote no on ObamaCare repeal (The Hill)  Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Friday announced that he will vote against the latest proposal to repeal ObamaCare, potentially dooming the legislation and, with it, the GOP's last shot at passing a health-care overhaul this year.  McCain said in a statement, referring to the legislation spearheaded by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C) and Bill Cassidy (La.):

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried." 

The Saturday night massacre took place when that era’s special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, was ready to take action against the incumbent president.

Nixon told then-Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused and resigned.

Next in line was William Ruckelshaus, Richardson’s deputy attorney general. He refused and resigned, too.

Finally, Robert Bork, who was solicitor general and next in line, assumed the position of acting attorney general and did the dirty deed.

  • How Exxon Mobil May Soon Have Greater Sway over Science used in EPA Policies (The Intercept)  The published list of potential names for the Science Advisory Board and the EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee includes many industry representatives and consultants. The panels are typically composed primarily of independent academics and researchers charged with reviewing agency science and advising the Environmental Protection Agency on major policy decisions.

While industry has always had a voice on those panels, comments from the Trump administration and the potential new appointees suggest the balance may soon change in favor of greater power for regulated companies, particularly the oil and gas industries.

  • Cops Delete FB Post of Massive ‘Weed’ Bust After the Internet Corrects Them (Anti Media)  Last week, officers from Missouri’s Jasper Police Department celebrated a marijuana bust they deemed worth roughly $100,000. In a now-deleted Facebook post, they disclosed their satisfaction with their operation, which took ten cops and sheriff’s deputies and a National Guard helicopter to conduct.

But commenters were quick to point out an apparent flaw in the officers’ bust: it wasn’t cannabis they had seized, but hemp, they said. You can’t get high from smoking hemp, and the material can be used to create anything from clothing, soap, paper to sails, rope, fuel, and concrete, called “hempcrete.” It is both durable and sustainable.



  • Islamophobic U.E. Megadonor Fuels German Far-Right Party with Viral Fake News (The Intercept)   Election-watchers expected a flood of fake news and inflammatory social media aiding Alternative for Germany, known by its German initials, AfD, to come from Russia. But one of the major publishers of online content friendly to the far-right party is an American website financed in large part and lead by Jewish philanthropist Nina Rosenwald.  Rosenwald’s site, the Gatestone Institute, publishes a steady flow of inflammatory content about the German election, focused on stoking fears about immigrants and Muslims. In one of the most recent posts, the website warns of the construction of mosques in Germany and claims that Christianity is becoming “extinct.”

Saudi Arabia

Salman al-Odah, Awad al-Qarni, and Ali al-Omary were arrested with little explanation over the weekend, but activists suspect that their failure to follow MBS’s hawkish line on Qatar played a role in their imprisonment.

Human rights activists told the Wall Street Journal that Odah’s arrest came after he declined to come out in support of the Saudi government’s actions against Qatar.


In fact, curriculum was so non-existent for US trainers that they actually watched old episodes of Cops and NCIS to try to figure out the sort of things they should teach the police. Between that, and all the trainers being military personnel has left the Afghan National Police with an “identity crisis,” unclear if they’re a military force, or simply a police force trained by network television.

Sopko described the progress in the $70 million US training mission as “poor,” but expressed hope at least a somewhat better future, with signs of improving from what was a dismal decade and a half start.


Click for large image.


  • People in the Philippines Still Favor U.S. Over China, but Gap Is Narrowing (Pew Research Center)  Filipinos have positive views of the U.S. and China and their respective leaders, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping. They also approve of their own leader, President Rodrigo Duterte, and his war on drugs.  But China is narrowing the favorable opinion gap, not because the Middle Kingdom is gaining (except for perceived economic strength), but because America is slipping.


  • Can renewable energy power a steel mill? (  Despite Tony Abbott's assertion that it can't be done, the new owner of the Whyalla steel mill is teaming up with renewable provider, Zen Energy, and banking that renewable energy can provide clean power for steel production.


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

Inflation has been running low “recently”? Actually, “inflation” (defined as core personal consumption expenditure price growth YoY) has been below 2% since April 2012 and below 3% since July 1992. Notice that hourly wage growth for production and nonsupervisory employees has remained low as well, particularly since 2007.

  • Science News and Information Today (Pew Research Center)  A majority of Americans rely on general outlets for science news but more say specialty sources get the facts right about science.

  • Which states could win and lose from the new ObamaCare repeal bill (The Hill)  The bill redistributes money from high-spending Medicaid expansion states — like California — to states that rejected the Medicaid expansion — like Texas.  Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who already said he wouldn’t support the bill because it’s not a “full repeal,” puts it more bluntly:

“It just looks like the Republicans are taking the money from the Democrat states and giving it to the Republican states.”


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