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Peter Navarro. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Top Trump administration economic adviser Peter Navarro made up an economist he has quoted regularly in his books named Ron Vara, Tom Bartlett writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"Those who know Navarro well, [Greg] Autry says, were fully aware that Ron Vara was a phony source who often popped up in his books. He said Vara was Navarro’s 'alter ego,' an 'everyman character' who dispenses cutesy business aphorisms as well as dire warnings about Chinese food."
  • Ron Vara happens to be an anagram of Navarro's last name.
  • That's just one of many interesting details about the character who Navarro once wrote placed short bets against the stocks of 2 nuclear power-reliant companies literally 2 days before the worst nuclear disaster in human history at Chernobyl.

There's more: Navarro similarly quoted Leslie LeBon when writing about the dangers of China, who a Google book search revealed is his wife.

Go deeper: Peter Navarro's radical transformation

Go deeper

UN poll: Most see climate change as global emergency amid pandemic

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (C) fronts a Fridays For Future protest at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm in September. Photo: Jonathan Nacksrtrand/AFP via Getty Images

64% of people from around the world say climate change is a global emergency, a United Nations poll published Wednesday finds.

Why it matters: It's biggest global survey on climate change ever conducted, with some 1.2 million participants from 50 countries — including the U.S. where 65% of those surveyed view climate change as an emergency.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.