Daily Digest 11/19 – Alaskan Homeless Services Face Uncertain Future, The Worst Is Over For Oil Markets

 

Economy

The Changing Of The Overlords (Sparky1)

The country that Iran assumed influence over had been shattered by decades of war, military occupation, terrorism, and economic sanctions. Iraq is still struggling with the legacy of years of sectarian bloodshed, the emergence of violent jihadi groups, and widespread corruption unleashed by the U.S. invasion and occupation. In the face of this national tragedy, some citizens express nostalgia for the authoritarian stability of Saddam’s regime. Navigating this chaotic situation is no easy task for any foreign power.

A Spy Complex Revealed (tmn)

Many of the cables describe real-life espionage capers that feel torn from the pages of a spy thriller. Meetings are arranged in dark alleyways and shopping malls or under the cover of a hunting excursion or a birthday party. Informants lurk at the Baghdad airport, snapping pictures of American soldiers and keeping tabs on coalition military flights. Agents drive meandering routes to meetings to evade surveillance. Sources are plied with gifts of pistachios, cologne, and saffron. Iraqi officials, if necessary, are offered bribes. The archive even contains expense reports from intelligence ministry officers in Iraq, including one totaling 87.5 euros spent on gifts for a Kurdish commander.

Pompeo announces reversal of longstanding US policy on Israeli settlements (TS)

The announcement, which breaks with international law and consensus, is the latest in a string of hardline, pro-Israeli moves that are likely to inflame tensions between the Trump administration and Palestinians and widen the divide between the Trump administration and traditional US allies in Europe.

“After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate… the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” Pompeo said, citing President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 assessment that the settlements were not “inherently illegal.”

Bid by Netanyahu’s rival to form a new Israeli government enters final, fraught stretch (TS)

Gantz has until midnight Wednesday to announce a government, then secure enough support in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, to approve the new configuration.

If not, Israel will enter politically uncharted territory, with even the keenest of political observers saying they have no idea what might happen next — though most are betting it will set Israel on the path to a third national election in less than a year.

10 Lithium Stocks to Buy Despite the Market’s Irrationality (Thomas R.)

Let’s not forget that China has a massive stockpile of lithium. Furthermore, they regard the commodity as “white petroleum,” and are actively seeking to dominate its supply chain. Although opinions vary on this dynamic, in my view, that’s net bullish for lithium stocks due to the tech industry’s ever-rising demand.

Inside Purdue Pharma’s Media Playbook: How It Planted the Opioid “Anti-Story” (jdargis)

“When you scratch the surface of someone who is addicted to painkillers, you usually find a seasoned drug abuser with a previous habit involving pills, alcohol, heroin or cocaine,” Satel wrote. “Contrary to media portrayals, the typical OxyContin addict does not start out as a pain patient who fell unwittingly into a drug habit.”

Homeless services in Alaska face uncertain future as state cuts back (tmn)

In a vast state that dwarfs California in size and where freezing to death is a very real threat, Alaska faces unique challenges in tackling homelessness. In its few cities, more commonplace homelessness problems are exacerbated by the weather and a lack of statewide infrastructure. But with sweeping budget cuts made this summer across the board by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, resources for homeless services have been stretched even thinner. This summer, shelters in Anchorage had to close during the day, putting mothers out on the streets with their children at 8 a.m., with operators having to make the tough decision of who could stay and who had to leave.

Does Trump Have a Bunch of ‘Losers’ to Thank for a Growing Economy? (belmontl)

Despite improvements in wind and photovoltaic devices, and a decline in their manufacturing costs, our use of oil and gas continues to increase, although at a slower rate. Oil and natural gas in the U.S. are roughly half as expensive today as in Europe or Asia, or in the U.S. during the Obama years. Today, as in 1972, it is often as cheap to make things in America as elsewhere, even though our labor is more expensive. Trump’s timing from this perspective was excellent.

The Worst Is Over For Oil Markets (Michael S.)

Take India, for example. The “weak picture for the manufacturing and industrial” sectors of the Indian economy continue, JBC Energy said in a note on Monday, which have hit diesel sales. “The 120,000 b/d (7%) y-o-y contraction was greater than even the demonetization-driven downside from January 2017,” JBC Energy said. “With bitumen sales also low, it appears activity in Indian manufacturing and construction is waning.”

Brazil Amazon deforestation soars to 11-year high under Bolsonaro (Sparky1)

Environmentalists and nongovernmental organizations placed the blame squarely on the government, saying that Bolsonaro’s strong pro-development rhetoric and policies to weaken environmental enforcement are behind the rise in illegal activity.

“The Bolsonaro government is responsible for every inch of forest destroyed. This government today is the worst enemy of the Amazon,” said Marcio Astrini, public policy coordinator for Greenpeace, in a statement.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 11/18/19

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