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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) tumbled as much as 1,500 points yesterday and closed down an astonishing 1,175 points — a 4.6 percent loss. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500), a broader stock market index and generally better metric for measuring stock market performance, was also down by more than 4 percent. In percentage terms, these drops aren’t new records, but they’re certainly significant.

Does this presage an economic recession? What exactly, if anything, does the stock market tell us about economic performance? To answer this question, chart-it compared the S&P 500’s annual returns to U.S. real GDP annual growth from 1930 to 2017. We’ll use a dataset of annual S&P 500 returns from NYU Stern School of Business and a dataset of the U.S. real GDP growth rates from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. …


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Previously, chart-it observed that US coal consumption was in a multi-year decline but that US coal exports were up substantially. In this long overdue follow-up, we’ll review the state of US coal since 2014.

Let’s start by revisiting US coal consumption through September 2017 and exports through June 2017, the latest date for which information is available. Figure 1 below shows the change in US coal consumption and exports from 2001 on a trailing 12-month basis.

Figure 1. Change in US Coal Consumption and Exports Since 2001 (Trailing 12-Months, Million Short Tons)


(and at the expense of Syrian civilians)

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Yamal LNG is a massive Russian natural gas production and liquefaction project in the Arctic Circle.

We recently heard the UN Ambassadors from France, Italy, and Japan express their outrage at the renewed use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Oozing with indignation, the Ambassadors proclaimed to the live-streaming cameras that the blame for Assad’s barbarous actions lay squarely at Russia’s feet. They implored the Russian government to end its support for his regime: facilitation, they declared, is complicity.

What we did not hear was that these same three governments, just four months ago, engaged in their own facilitation of sorts. Long after Russia’s shameful actions in Ukraine and Syria and its meddling in US and European elections was well known, Italy, France, and Japan dodged the US sanctions regime by providing more than $1 billion of loans to Yamal LNG, a sanctioned megaproject that will generate billions of dollars for the Russian government. …


The case for actively defying a President.

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Government officials defied President Nixon, leading to his resignation a year later.

What is the appropriate means of expressing dissent against an order that might be legally defensible, but that is widely considered to be immoral?

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired by the Trump Administration last week after delivering a letter to top Department of Justice officials announcing that she would not defend the Administration’s controversial immigration executive order. …


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Tens of thousands of discarded life jackets are kept at the “life jacket graveyard” in northern Lesvos. Most of the Syrian refugees who arrived here are from Aleppo.

What is Aleppo?

Like the nation to which it belongs, Halab, the Arabic name for Aleppo, conjures images of a decaying old world metropolis, trapped in the shadow of bygone glory days. Under the unrelenting grip of a distinctively Arab dictator and the cruel legacy of colonialism, its name, its influence, and its story have faded into a forgotten corner of history. Its fate is not exceptional though — the Middle East is haunted by the ghosts of once imposing ancient cities, victims of the slow, drawn out decay of time and neglect or the sudden and complete destruction of war. …

About

M.A.

Half American, half Lebanese, half Syrian.

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