The Veterans of Foreign Wars says Trump minimized soldiers injuries from Iran attack

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, the nation's largest veterans group, is asking President Trump to apologize for minimizing the injuries of troops sustained in an attack from Iran on a U.S. base in Iraq.

Context: Iran attacked a U.S. base in Iraq after an American drone killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Trump had originally said U.S. soldiers didn't suffer any injuries, but the Pentagon confirmed on Friday that 34 soldiers suffered from traumatic brain injuries.

What they're saying:

"In light of today's announcement from the Defense Department that 34 U.S. service members suffered traumatic brain injuries [TBI] as a result of Iran's retaliatory strike and President Trump's remarks which minimized these troops’ injuries, the Veterans of Foreign Wars cannot stand idle on this matter." 
"TBI is a serious injury and one that cannot be taken lightly. TBI is known to cause depression, memory loss, severe headaches, dizziness and fatigue — all injuries that come with both short- and long-term effects." 
"The VFW expects an apology from the president to our service men and women for his misguided remarks. And, we ask that he and the White House join with us in our efforts to educate Americans of the dangers TBI has on these heroes as they protect our great nation in these trying times. Our warriors require our full support more than ever in this challenging environment."
William “Doc” Schmitz, VFW National Commander

The White House declined to comment.

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Sat, 25 Jan 2020 20:32:57 +0000

A surge in the "jobs of the future"

Data: Cognizant; Chart: Axios Visuals

The last quarter of 2019 saw a big jump in demand for a bundle of jobs that could dominate the future, per an index tracked by the IT services firm Cognizant.

Why it matters: "The notion that there's gonna be a jobs apocalypse has been with us for the last decade, but the data shows that's not coming to pass," says Rob Brown, VP of Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work.

The backdrop: For over a year, Cognizant has been tracking U.S. hiring for 50 jobs that it deems forward-looking, with statistics going back to 2016 pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics via Burning Glass, a jobs database.

But, but, but: There's still a dire lack of job training in the U.S. — a necessary step to prepare workers for the future of work.

Go deeper: Browse the jobs of the future

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 19:52:35 +0000

Socioeconomic mobility in U.S. is at its most sluggish in history

The American Dream’s promise of a better life if you work hard enough is fracturing.

The big picture: Socioeconomic mobility in the U.S. is at its most sluggish in history. Not only are fewer Americans living better than their parents, but there’s also a growing number of people doing worse than their parents.

By the numbers:

"Most parents expect that their kids will do better than them," says Xi Song, a professor at UPenn and one of the researchers. But now that happens for less than half of kids.

There's a stark racial gap when it comes to mobility, Stanford law professor Ralph Richard Banks writes in a New York Times op-ed.

And mobility depends on where you grow up, too.

The bottom line: Worsening income inequality paired with stagnant socioeconomic mobility is defining today's America. And these trends will impact everything from public health to how people vote in 2020.

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Sat, 25 Jan 2020 19:46:38 +0000

Israel's Benny Gantz accepts Trump's invitation for White House meeting

Benny Gantz, the leader of Israel's Blue and White party who is challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in upcoming elections, has accepted President Trump's invitation for a separate, one-on-one meeting at the White House on Monday.

What Gantz is saying: "There is a special long-standing bond between the United States and Israel, built on shared values and joint interests. The United States is Israel's closest ally and friend, and under President Trump's leadership, the alliance between Israel and the United States has grown stronger, deeper and more significant than ever."

How it works: Netanyahu announced he will meet Trump separately at the White House on Monday and Tuesday.

Context: Gantz previously considered turning down Trump's White House invitation when Vice President Pence stated that Gantz was invited on Netanyahu's recommendation.

The big picture: Little more than a month remains before Israel's elections on March 2. Had Gantz rejected Trump's offer, he could've risked alienating the Trump and being seen as a politician who couldn't handle the relationship with Israel's most important ally.

Go deeper: Gantz considers turning down Trump's White House invitation

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 19:17:24 +0000

While the U.S. plays tough, the rest of the world is showing that it needs China

DAVOS, Switzerland — The Trump administration is gearing up for a long-term confrontation with China, a rival viewed increasingly as an existential threat, but a week in Davos offers a stark reminder that the world is not prepared to line up behind it.

The big picture: There was a palpable sense of relief among the Davos crowd after the "phase one" trade deal reduced tensions between the U.S. and China.

Experts, executives and most world leaders agree: China is too big and advancing too fast to be forced out of the equation.

“It’s more of a Washington sentiment than it is a business sentiment,” Kelly Grier, U.S. chair and managing partner of Ernst & Young, says of hawkish claims that doing business in China crosses security and ethical boundaries.

But, but, but: “The bipartisan mobilization around this issue is a game-changer,” Tooze says. Even if Trump is only searching for short-term political advantage — he gushed about his friendship with Xi Jinping while in Davos — the Pentagon is not.

Heads of state now find themselves walking a tightrope between two giants.

What to watch: As the U.S. and China begin to disentangle parts of their economies, business leaders are looking for new friends and partners while hoping they can play in both the U.S. and Chinese markets as long as possible.

The bottom line: “We’re navigating a zone we’ve never been in before. It was all so much simpler during the Cold War," says Tooze.

Go deeper:

  1. How AI, surveillance and biometrics could converge in a tech arms race
  2. How tech leaders used Davos this year
  3. Davos leaders don't know how to deal with China's economic system
  4. A Davos conversation on maximizing happiness, not GDP

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 18:46:53 +0000

⚖️ Live updates: Trump's lawyers begin their presentation against impeachment

After three days of "why" came the "why not." President Trump's legal team took their turn before the Senate on Saturday to rebut Democrats' lengthy arguments for removing Trump from office.

Why it matters: Today's two-hour session was a first look at Trump's defense. The Trump team methodically tried to poke holes in the House impeachment managers' case, rather than going after the Bidens, as they previously suggested they will.


The mood in the chamber: Of the five Republicans who are being watched most closely as possible votes for witnesses, Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Cory Gardner were the most prolific note-takers.

Of the Democrats seeking the White House:

The other side: Democratic House impeachment managers marched 28,578 pages of impeachment trial and witness records to the Senate on Saturday morning.

Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) meet with reporters before Saturday's session of the Senate impeachment trial. Photo: David Nather.

What you need to know:

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Sat, 25 Jan 2020 17:14:30 +0000

France confirms 3 coronavirus cases

41 people have died from an outbreak of a coronavirus strain that originated in Wuhan, China, AP reports.

The latest: The respiratory illness has made its way to Europe, with France confirming three cases, Reuters reports. France's Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said Friday two patients are hospitalized in Paris. The other case is in the southwestern city of Bordeaux. They had returned from a trip that had a stop in Wuhan.

Two people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the illness — one in Washington and one in Illinois — the CDC announced on Friday. The agency said that it still considers the infection risk for people in the U.S. to be quite low.

By the numbers: Health officials confirmed earlier this week that the virus, which causes fever and respiratory symptoms, can be passed from person-to-person. The CDC began screening passengers at airports in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago.

What's happening: The number of confirmed cases in China has increased to nearly 1,300, according to China's National Health Commission.

The big picture: Several countries in the region are also experiencing cases, and North Korea is temporarily banning foreign tourists in response to the outbreak, according to Reuters.

What they're saying: The World Health Organization decided Thursday that it's "too early" to declare an international health emergency.

What's next: A possible live animal source is still being investigated in China. There is no specific treatment for the virus, though several antivirals and experimental vaccines are under investigation.

Go deeper: U.S. to begin airport screening for new China virus as concerns grow

Editor's note: This story has been updated with more recent developments.

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 14:15:54 +0000

Trump impeachment trial recap, day 4: Schiff closes

House managers appealed directly to senators to weigh their actions against the precedent they'll set on Congress’ ability to serve as a check on the president, as they wrapped up their three-day impeachment presentation.

Why it matters: Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) used his last chance to address senators directly and expertly pursued every argument made by Republicans, undercutting what Trump has said publicly, and what he anticipates Trump’s defense team will attempt to make over the next few days.

What's next: White House counsel Pat Cipollone will likely frame the Senate trial as a defining moment to set the precedent for executive privilege, especially on national security matters, a source familiar with his thinking told Axios' Alayna Treene and Jonathan Swan.

Details: Republicans will present their case starting at 10 a.m. ET and run through 1 p.m.

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Sat, 25 Jan 2020 14:10:16 +0000

Trump's impeachment hasn't changed public opinion or the 2020 race

Take a step back, and little has changed in the political landscape four months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched the inquiry against President Trump.

By the numbers: Trump's national approval numbers, public support for his removal and Joe Biden's place as the Democratic primary front-runner have held steady. Meanwhile, the GOP and Trump campaign are raising money off of impeachment.

What hasn't changed: The American public is still split over whether Trump should be removed, just as they were split over the launch of an impeachment inquiry in September.

Trump's approval numbers still hover around 42% — one of the lowest, but most consistent approval rating streaks of any recent president, according to FiveThirtyEight data.

Biden remains the 2020 Democratic candidate to beat in national polls, despite early concern that Trump's unsubstantiated allegations involving Biden's son and Ukraine would prove damaging.

What has changed: Most shifts since the impeachment process began seem to be in Trump's favor. Trump’s net approval numbers actually improved in 31 states between September and December, according to Morning Consult data.

The vast majority of Trump's TV ads have involved impeachment. Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee reportedly raised more than $150 million in just the last three months of 2019.

But some Democrats have seen an impact too. The Biden campaign says its average digital revenue per day more than doubled during impeachment compared to the weeks before.

“Impeachment continues to backfire on Democrats and fire up voters toward President Trump and the Republican movement."
RNC spokesperson Mandi Merritt in a statement to Axios

In the short term, impeachment has dominated the news for four months and seems to have gotten under Trump’s skin. Trump has tweeted or retweeted at least 367 times about impeachment since Sept. 24 — an average of three impeachment tweets per day.

The bottom line: The public — and the parties — are so dug in on Trump that even impeachment hasn't been a tipping point.

Go deeper: GOP monetizes impeachment as Dems try to change the subject

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 12:00:33 +0000

Lawyer alleges Giuliani associate recorded Trump comments on Ukrainian ambassador

The lawyer for Lev Parnas, a Rudy Giuliani associate, claims there is a recording of President Trump saying former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch should be fired, the Daily Beast reports.

The latest: Parnas said on Friday that he has turned the recording over to the House Intelligence Committee, per the New York Times — as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) led House Democrats in laying out the case for impeaching Trump before the Senate.

What they're saying: Parnas' lawyer Joseph Bondy told The Daily Beast that Parnas' former business partner, Igor Fruman, recorded the exchange. The two men were arrested in October on campaign finance charges. Bondy said the recording “is of high materiality to the impeachment inquiry," per the Times.

Worth noting: ABC News originally reported on Friday it reviewed the recording, which Axios has neither obtained nor reviewed.

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Sat, 25 Jan 2020 00:32:11 +0000

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Fri, 24 Jan 2020 23:32:01 +0000

Actress Rosie Perez corroborates Annabella Sciorra's testimony on Harvey Weinstein

Actress Rosie Perez testified at Harvey Weinstein's trial Friday, confirming that fellow screen star Annabella Sciorra told her in 1993 she was raped by the then-Hollywood mogul, AP reports.

The big picture: Sciorra recounted her sexual assault at the trial Thursday. Perez told the jury Sciorra called her multiple times about her experience and him harassing her.

Why it matters: Weinstein's lawyers argued Perez shouldn’t be allowed to testify, but Judge James Burke decided to allow it.

What to watch: Weinstein's case will continue before a jury of seven men and five women. He could face a life sentence if convicted.

Go deeper: Global #MeToo movement has resulted in 6 convictions, 5 charges of influential figures

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 22:21:39 +0000

Trump's Space Force gets a new, recognizable logo

The Trump administration's new Space Force logo looks a lot like another space visual: the Star Trek insignia.

Why it matters: The United States Space Force was signed into law at the end of 2019 after President Trump directed the Pentagon to form a new branch of the military dedicated to keeping U.S. assets in space safe.

After consultation with our Great Military Leaders, designers, and others, I am pleased to present the new logo for the United States Space Force, the Sixth Branch of our Magnificent Military! pic.twitter.com/TC8pT4yHFT

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2020

Between the lines: The Space Force logo is also a play on the Air Force Space Command's logo.

For those excitedly tweeting that Trump stole the Star Trek logo!!!!, the patch on the left was the existing Air Force Command logo.

The same one I wore as a Lieutenant in 2005. pic.twitter.com/mYb60YioBP

— John Noonan (@noonanjo) January 24, 2020

The big picture: Proponents of the Space Force say that the U.S. has fallen behind other nations that have put resources behind weaponizing space.

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 22:03:16 +0000

Clayton Christensen, father of "disruptive innovation," dies at 67

Clayton Christensen, best known for his 1997 business management book “The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail,” died of cancer treatment complications on Thursday at age 67, according to the Deseret News.

Why it matters: Christensen’s theory of “disruptive innovation” has influenced generations of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs seeking to upend entire industries, making the word “disruption” part of startup zeitgeist.

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 20:08:44 +0000

Trump administration threatens to cut California health care funding over abortion law

The Trump administration on Friday issued a "notice of violation" to California, threatening to cut the state's federal health care funding if it continues to require that insurance plans cover abortion.

The big picture: The Department of Health and Human Services said the requirement violates a law that bans the federal government from giving funding to states or other entities that discriminate against health care providers that object to providing abortions.

Between the lines: The announcement was timed to coincide with President Trump's speech before anti-abortion activists at the March for Life rally, per AP. Trump is the first sitting president to speak at the event.

What they're saying:

"No one in America should be forced to pay for or cover other people’s abortions [...] We are putting California on notice that it must stop forcing people of good will to subsidize the taking of human life, not only because it's the moral thing to do, but because it's the law."
Roger Severino, director of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights, in a news release
"Women's health should never be dangled as bait for the sake of political grandstanding. Today, Donald Trump is using the official levers of government to advance his political agenda. Sound familiar? In California, we will continue to protect our families' access to healthcare, including women’s constitutional right to abortion. Nothing changes."
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, in a news release

Go deeper ... Where abortion restrictions stand: The states that have passed laws

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 19:17:29 +0000

Israel's Benny Gantz considers turning down Trump's White House invite for peace plan meeting

Benny Gantz, the leader of Israel's Blue and White party and the main political opponent to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is considering turning down President Trump’s invitation to come to Washington next week to discuss the U.S. Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

The big picture: Blue and White officials tell me Gantz and his aides are concerned the invitation to Washington is a political trap orchestrated by Netanyahu a little more than a month before the country's elections on March 2.

The state of play: Gantz was upset by the Vice President Pence's statement Thursday that said the White House was acting according to Netanyahu's recommendations when it invited him to Washington, according to the officials.

Why it matters: Gantz is stuck between a rock and a hard place with his decision.

What he's saying: Gantz spoke today with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and told him that — although he generally supports the peace plan and will welcome it publicly once it is presented — he thinks the going to Washington on an uneven basis with Netanyahu could harm him in the elections.

What's next: Blue and White officials said they want to hear more details from the White House about the plan for the visit before they make a final decision.

Go deeper: Gantz changes course, calls on Trump to release Middle East peace plan

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 15:48:33 +0000

Goldman Sachs' baby step in the right direction on board diversity

Goldman Sachs announced Thursday that it won't help take European and North American companies public unless they have at least one "diverse" board director, effective July 1.

The big picture: In general, this is a positive development. Board diversity has been shown to improve company performance, per numerous academic studies, and far too many issuers continue to rely on bogus "pipeline" or meritocracy excuses for their boardroom homogeny.

What they're saying: Goldman CEO David Solomon said on TV yesterday that around 60 companies in the past two years have gone public with all-white, all-male boards. He didn't address the sexual orientation piece in there, and I'm unsure as to how Goldman plans to handle it.

Yes, but: Don't pat Goldman too hard on the back.

The state of play: This new policy will apply to both IPOs and direct listings in which Goldman is a participant (i.e., Goldman needn't be lead left manager). It's unclear if it also will apply to Goldman's private capital fundraising practice, or how the firm will handle Asia, Africa, and South American issuers.

The bottom line is that Goldman has done something virtuous, and also that it could have done something even better. Perhaps by not building a Wall Street coalition, it will cause rivals like Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan to raise the ante. If so, everyone wins.

Go deeper: 63% of directors say investors pay too much attention to corporate board gender diversity

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 15:07:19 +0000

Growth slowed for local economies virtually everywhere in the U.S.

Data: Yelp; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Growth slowed for local economies virtually everywhere in the U.S. last year, and is declining again at the start of this year as consumers pare back spending and business growth stalls.

What they're saying: So says business directory service Yelp, which used data from its more than 100 million users to track the number of businesses opening or closing and consumer demand.

What's happening: The Yelp Economic Average had its largest quarter-over-quarter decline in a year in Q4, "fueled by slumps in retail and services businesses."

Why it matters: "Yelp has information not only on millions of U.S. brick-and-mortar businesses but on the consumer demand expressed by the millions of consumers who view, review, and post photos of businesses on Yelp every day," the company said in a release accompanying the analysis.

Yes, but: Yelp's data does not track online shopping or purchases, which is an increasingly important segment of the U.S. and global economy.

The big picture: If Yelp's data is correct, it shows economic prospects are deteriorating for brick-and-mortar businesses of all kinds.

Watch this space: Large states and metropolitan areas like California, Texas, Florida, New York City, Chicago and Seattle saw some of the worst scores.

P.S. You can see Yelp's methodology for calculating the economic average here.

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Fri, 24 Jan 2020 13:04:42 +0000

Big Pharma's bottom line is leaving the world vulnerable to pandemics

Drug companies don't have much financial incentive to invest research and development dollars into new vaccines and antibiotics, leaving the world vulnerable to future pandemics.

Between the lines: The best-case scenario for these kinds of drugs is that they're lightly or never used. That doesn't sound very good to companies when their R&D dollars could alternatively go to diseases like cancer, which are much more likely to turn a sizable profit.

Driving the news: The coronavirus, obviously, and the fact that it's revealed once again how unprepared the world is for a global pandemic.

By the numbers: 20 drug companies spent more than $2 billion on R&D over the last year, but only four of them have major vaccine units, per Bloomberg Opinion. Some drug companies have also stepped away from antibiotic development.

Yes, but: Some drug companies are rushing to develop vaccines to protect against the new virus, WSJ reports.

Go deeper: Dwindling antibiotics undermine fight against drug-resistant infections, WHO warns

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 11:30:47 +0000

Climate change has become a lightning rod for businesses

Reproduced from High Lantern Group; Chart: Axios Visuals

Climate change has, quite suddenly, become a lightning rod for business and finance leaders around the world.

Driving the news: Climate generated the highest degree of public pressure on corporations by activists, policymakers and journalists last year, according to data analyzed by consultancy High Lantern Group and provided exclusively to Axios. The topic's mention rose 77% over 2018.

How it works: This is the survey's second year and includes analysis of more than six million tweets.

The big picture: The survey comes amid an intensifying backdrop. In recent months, the world's foremost economic institutions have advocated for policies cutting greenhouse gas emissions. This trend is driven by a confluence of factors, including more extreme weather and greater public pressure.

What they're saying: The BIS — known as the central bank for central banks — warned Monday in a research paper that climate change could cause "potentially extremely financially disruptive events that could be behind the next systemic financial crisis."

The intrigue: Finance and economics-focused groups have increasingly been pushing governments to implement carbon taxes, an approach championed last year by every living former chair of the Federal Reserve and dozens of former chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisers and Nobel Laureate economists.

But, but, but: All this rhetoric should be scrutinized carefully and often. Talking about supporting policies addressing climate change is quite different from actually doing something about it. Rhetoric often outpaces action on this topic, partly because it’s a slow-moving issue: Goals are made 10-30 years out.

What we're watching: What kinds of substantive action we will see — if we see any at all — in the coming months following these pronouncements made at Davos and elsewhere.

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 10:46:28 +0000

Page created: Sat, Jan 25, 2020 - 09:05 PM GMT