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Profile Information

Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 56,511

Journal Archives

US growth in second quarter revised down to 2 percent

Source: The Hill

The U.S. economy grew 0.1 percentage points slower in the second quarter of 2019 than originally estimated, according to data released Thursday by the Commerce Department.

The department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) revised U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) growth between the period from April to June to 2 percent, 0.1 percentage points less than the initial estimate of 2.1 percent released in July.

Revisions to growth estimates occur throughout the year, and the BEA is set to release a final estimate of second-quarter growth in September. The latest revision is relatively small in magnitude but reinforces concerns that the strong U.S. economy is beginning to slow under the weight of global headwinds and President Trump's trade policies.

The U.S has enjoyed unemployment near historic lows, steady growth and rising wages throughout Trump’s term. But there are rising fears that the decadelong stretch of prosperity could end within a year amid a souring economic outlook.

While the U.S. economy has remained strong overall, business investment and manufacturing activity have seen sharp downturns amid the mounting costs of Trump’s trade battles with China and Europe. Economic retractions in the U.K. and Germany, slowing growth in China and an array of geopolitical flashpoints have also hurt the global economy.

Read more: https://thehill.com/policy/finance/459284-us-growth-in-second-quarter-revised-down-to-2-percent


As he campaigns for president, Joe Biden tells a moving but false war story

Washington Post

HANOVER, N.H. — Joe Biden painted a vivid scene for the 400 people packed into a college meeting hall. A four-star general had asked the then-vice president to travel to Kunar province in Afghanistan, a dangerous foray into “godforsaken country” to recognize the remarkable heroism of a Navy captain.


Except almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect. Based on interviews with more than a dozen U.S. troops, their commanders and Biden campaign officials, it appears as though the former vice president has jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story of bravery, compassion and regret that never happened.

Biden visited Kunar province in 2008 as a U.S. senator, not as vice president. The service member who performed the celebrated rescue that Biden described was a 20-year-old Army specialist, not a much older Navy captain. And that soldier, Kyle J. White, never had a Silver Star, or any other medal, pinned on him by Biden. At a White House ceremony six years after Biden’s visit, White stood at attention as President Barack Obama placed a Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, around his neck.

The upshot: In the space of three minutes, Biden got the time period, the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch and the rank of the recipient wrong, as well as his own role in the ceremony.

Editorial: Boris Johnson's suspension of parliament is an affront to democracy

Financial Times

Boris Johnson has detonated a bomb under the constitutional apparatus of the United Kingdom. The prime minister’s request to the Queen to suspend parliament for up to five weeks, ostensibly to prepare a new legislative programme, is without modern precedent. It is an intolerable attempt to silence parliament until it can no longer halt a disastrous crash-out by the UK from the EU on October 31. The seat of British democracy, long admired worldwide, is being denied a say on the most consequential decision facing the country in more than four decades. So, too, are the British people — in whose name Mr Johnson claims to be acting. It is time for parliamentarians to bring down his government in a no-confidence vote, paving the way for an election in which the people can express their will.

Britain’s representative government is an exercise in deliberative democracy which involves discussion, negotiation and inevitable compromises. It vests the power to take decisions on behalf of voters in MPs, and allows them to deliberate on matters of detail — and in the case of Brexit, the most complex demerger in postwar history, detail matters. As John Stuart Mill wrote of representative democracy: “Their part is to indicate wants, to be an organ for popular demands, and a place of adverse discussion for all opinions relating to public matters . . . and, to check by criticism, and eventually by withdrawing their support, those high public officers who really conduct the public business.”

History has shown that charlatans, demagogues and would-be dictators have little time for representative government. They seek ways around parliament before concluding it is an inconvenience. Mr Johnson may not be a tyrant, but he has set a dangerous precedent. He and the cabal around him who have chosen this revolutionary path should be careful what they wish for.

The prime minister’s protestations that he is doing nothing abnormal are as disingenuous as the claims plastered across the bus from which he fronted the Leave campaign in 2016. Proroguing parliament ahead of a Queen’s Speech is established procedure, but for one or two weeks, not five. A temporary recess during September’s party conferences is normal — though some parliamentary business continues even then. A brief prorogation could have been timed to coincide with conference season.

Men now avoid women at work - another sign we're being punished for #MeToo

The Guardian

It looks like Mike Pence is quite the trendsetter. The US vice-president famously refuses to have dinner alone with any woman who isn’t his wife – and now working men across corporate America appear to be following his lead.

A new study, due to be published in the journal Organizational Dynamics, has found that, following the #MeToo movement, men are significantly more reluctant to interact with their female colleagues. A few highlights from the research include:
• 27% of men avoid one-on-one meetings with female co-workers. Yep, that’s right, almost a third of men are terrified to be alone in a room with a woman.
• 21% of men said they would be reluctant to hire women for a job that would require close interaction (such as business travel).
• 19% of men would be reluctant to hire an attractive woman.

The data above was collected in early 2019 from workers across a wide range of industries. Researchers had asked the same questions (albeit to different people and with more of a focus on future expectations) in early 2018, just as #MeToo was in full swing, and depressingly, things appear to have got worse. In 2018, for example, 15% of men said they would be more reluctant to hire women for jobs that require close interpersonal interactions with women, compared to 21% in 2019.

I work for women. I supervise women. I have friends who are women. I've never "worried".

Democratic Candidates Jostle, and Gripe, as Debates Winnow the Field

New York Times

WASHINGTON — The suspense was high. The hour was late. The questions about the next Democratic debate were many: Ten candidates or 11? Two nights or one? One billionaire or none?

A debate qualifying process that was equal parts spectacle and grievance session ticked toward a midnight deadline on Wednesday with one thing certain: The Democratic presidential race is entering a new, field-culling phase. And the stage is about to feel smaller, even if not everyone will go quietly.

Low-polling candidates aware of the debate rules for months spent the otherwise sleepy pre-Labor Day week moaning about being left out of the next debate, on Sept. 12. The mid-tier candidates, assured of making that debate and the next one in October, began to look ahead anxiously to the winter debates. And the top-tier candidates prepared, finally, to all appear onstage together.

All of it adds up to the biggest winnowing moment so far of a 2020 presidential field that at one point featured two dozen candidates: the elimination of long-shot candidates who have crowded debate stages, competed for the attention of overwhelmed voters and clustered at forums and cattle calls across the country this summer.

Tulsi Gabbard runs her Iowa campaign with volunteers

Des Moines Register

Geoff and Kareen Silva are from Cornville, Arizona, but moved to Iowa and leased a home in Des Moines to volunteer for U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's presidential campaign.

Geoff Silva said he had been interested in Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii, for a long time, but they didn't have many chances to see her in Arizona. When Gabbard held an event in Las Vegas, Nevada, in May, the two drove five hours to see her, he said, and quickly offered to help the one volunteer staffing the event.

Afterwards, Gabbard invited them to lunch.

"During the conversation, Tulsi was talking about her need to have 'boots on the ground' in Iowa," Geoff Silva said. "I go, 'Well, heck, I'm not doing anything, I'd love to do that.'"


All of Gabbard's Iowa supporters working to raise her name awareness, find donors and host events in the first-in-the-nation caucus state are volunteers. Her campaign does not have any paid staff in Iowa, and would not answer whether they plan to hire campaign workers or compensate volunteers in positions typically occupied by full-time staff.

Just paid one of my periodic visits to JPR...

Apparently Warren is a capitalist Wall Street sellout, and Sanders has to make Gabbard his VP choice.

Tom Steyer's mega-millions debate gambit flops


Tom Steyer just lost a $16 million bet.

The Democratic hedge fund billionaire leapt into the presidential campaign late with a clear plan: use his mega-wealth to buy his way into the televised party debates, and then use that platform, and his unelected outsider persona, to challenge the front-runners. Steyer spent millions of dollars on TV ads to boost his poll numbers in early caucus and primary states and on digital ads to meet the donor requirements set by the Democratic National Committee.

But after Wednesday’s deadline, Steyer was one poll short of the four 2-percent showings he needed to make the stage, leaving him out of the September debate. He could still make the October stage with one more poll, but his failed fast-track bid to get into the next debate is a signal that Steyer’s young campaign is not gaining traction the way he hoped it would.

It’s the latest example of Steyer dumping tens of millions of his own dollars into an ambitious cause — including turning climate change into the key issue of the 2014 elections, impeaching President Donald Trump and, now, his own, late bid to make the presidential debates — and coming up short. Steyer has spent more than $230 million since 2014 on his own efforts to influence policy and elections, and has said he will pour at least $100 million into his campaign for president. That will give him a massive advantage over other low-polling campaigns — but as Steyer has learned, money can only do so much.

Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones to form an exploratory committee on Senate bid

Source: Courier-Journal

Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones is forming an exploratory committee for a potential U.S. Senate bid against Mitch McConnell in 2020.

Jones, a Democrat, told the Courier Journal he expects to come to a final decision on such a run after the election for statewide offices this November.

He said he will file the paperwork for the committee in the coming days, which allows him to raise money to conduct polling and research on a potential run but not engage in any overt campaign activities to ask for votes.

"I did want to move the ball forward because I am very interested in the race," said Jones, who has been considering a run for this seat since the beginning of the year. "And it's important for me to sort of take the next step."

Read more: https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/2019/08/29/democrat-matt-jones-forming-exploratory-committee-for-mitch-mcconnell-senate-2020/2149026001/

We already have Amy McGrath. From a funding perspective, I'm not thrilled at candidates having to burn my cash in a Primary fight.

We analyzed the schedules of every top 2020 Democrat. Here are the big takeaways.


Pete Buttigieg is holding the most fundraisers. Elizabeth Warren is headlining scores of town-hall style meetings — and snapping a record-number of selfies. And when Joe Biden isn’t raising money, he’s camping out in the early states trying to keep pace with the others.

In the months since the former vice president and front-runner launched his presidential campaign, he and Kamala Harris have had to make sacrifices others did not to accommodate their heavier reliance on big-dollar fundraising. Warren and Bernie Sanders, by comparison, are spending fewer days on the road, but getting more public face-time with voters than Biden and Harris. POLITICO tallied all of the public events and fleshed out the remainder of their calendars, including the private fundraisers — information being reported here for the first time.

The figures help sketch out a fuller picture of a primary campaign that most Americans only see flash before them on cable TV. Each candidate is approaching their days a bit differently: Warren focuses the majority of her events on medium to increasingly large-scale town halls. The Massachusetts senator stays for hours afterward to chat with attendees, answer a few brief questions and take pictures.
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