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  • When John Legere Leaves, Say Goodbye to the Old T-Mobile

    When John Legere Leaves, Say Goodbye to the Old T-Mobile

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- I’m not sure which is the bigger question: What is T-Mobile US Inc. without John Legere? Or, who is John Legere without T-Mobile?“I own no other clothing,” Legere joked during a conference call Monday morning, after the wireless carrier announced that its magenta-festooned CEO will be stepping down soon. Legere’s last day will be April 30, capping a remarkably successful seven-year run during which he took T-Mobile from a distant last place among the top U.S. carriers and turned it into the fastest-growing member of the industry. He will be replaced by Mike Sievert, who is currently president and chief operating officer.Make no mistake, the CEO transition will usher in a new T-Mobile. That’s not because the visions of the two men are so different — they aren’t, and Legere has been grooming Sievert, 50, for quite some time. But T-Mobile is no longer the industry upstart, and Legere’s departure suggests that he feels his work there is almost done. The last step is to complete the acquisition of Sprint Corp., which is being held up by a group of state attorneys general rightly concerned about the potential harm the transaction may cause consumers.Legere, 61, made clear that he isn’t retiring — nor is he turning his “Slow Cooker Sunday” Facebook Live series into a full-time gig. While he said the rumors of him joining WeWork aren’t true, he has fielded a “tremendous amount” of interest from companies seeking the expertise he’s demonstrated at turning around a troubled business and generating broad enthusiasm for a brand. “I’ve got 30 or 40 years and five or six good acts left in me,” Legere, the class clown of corporate events, said on Monday’s call. When Legere joined T-Mobile in 2012, the brand was in disrepair and customers were fleeing. It looked as if the wireless carrier might never be able to catch up to Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T Inc. or Sprint. But Legere transformed T-Mobile into a self-marketing powerhouse, with he and the rest of the management team shamelessly adopting new looks as walking billboards for the company. And it worked. More important, investments in the network and novel moves to simplify customer bills altered T-Mobile’s perception from one of a budget operator of last resort to a company that’s driving industry innovation. That’s earned it customer loyalty, as evidenced by having the lowest rate of churn — or customer defections — among its peers. T-Mobile’s stock has also left the others in the dust:Over the years, Legere’s style has not only included a closet’s worth of Superman-esque T-shirts adorned with a giant letter T, but also sports coats, sneakers, a leather jacket, a chef’s hat, a sports jersey and anything that could be made hot pink or fit the company’s logo. He has 6.5 million Twitter followers — almost as many as Kris Jenner, the matriarch of the Kardashian family — and is known to respond directly to them, even occasionally dropping into calls to the customer service line. It was all part of his effort to shake up an industry that was going the way of cable-TV, with subscribers irritated by steep, overly complex monthly bills. “We saw an opportunity to disrupt a stupid, broken, arrogant industry,” a typically off-the-cuff Legere said on Monday’s call. “And T-Mobile is far from done,” he added. Though that may be for better or worse. Should the Sprint deal survive or avert the trial that’s set to begin Dec. 9, T-Mobile will gain newfound pricing power. Legere and Sievert have promised that the combined company won’t exploit this, saying that the combination instead allows them to “supercharge” what’s known as T-Mobile’s Un-carrier strategy. But the logic doesn’t quite follow. There’s little reason to believe a merger that facilitates higher prices and better profit margins wouldn’t result in exactly that, and the goodwill Legere has built up with regulators and consumers isn’t insurance enough against this scenario. Fierce competition between T-Mobile and Sprint the last few years is what benefited consumers and forced the industry to do things like offer unlimited data plans. If Sprint gets swallowed, the marketplace will be narrowed to just Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.(1)Sievert is a fine choice as CEO. But the reality is that the company he’s inheriting is different from the one Legere joined, and the days of T-Mobile’s incredible rapid growth will fade into the past, and there will be a natural shift to take advantage of its enhanced market power. So when Sievert said on Monday’s call that after the Sprint deal closes, “customers are going to the be winners,” I wouldn’t count on it. (1) Regulators have mandated that T-Mobile unload some assets to Dish Network Corp., helping set up the satellite-TV provider as a new entrant to the wireless market. But Dish is years and multiple billions of dollars away from becoming a formidable rival that can fill the hole Sprint will leave behind. It’s a weak concession that Legere was more than happy to accept.To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at tlachapelle@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at bewilliams@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Trump Weighs Testifying on Impeachment After Silencing His Aides

    Trump Weighs Testifying on Impeachment After Silencing His Aides

    (Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump said Monday that he’s “strongly considering” testifying in his own impeachment inquiry, responding in a tweet to a suggestion from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after again insulting her and congressional Democrats for pursuing his removal from office.Trump indicated that he thinks his testimony -- possibly in writing -- would be a way to resolve the inquiry and get Congress focused on issues he’d like to advance before his 2020 re-election campaign, including a new North American trade deal and drug prices.The president’s tweet contrasts with his defiant approach to the impeachment inquiry thus far. The White House has refused to provide access to documents and witnesses, creating a stand-off between the two branches of government and leaving current members of the administration stuck in the middle.Some, including the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, Alexander Vindman, have defied the order not to comply with congressional subpoenas. Others, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton and his deputy Charles Kupperman, have sued to force a court decision on whether they should testify.Read more of the latest updates from the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry/Trump’s suggestion, though, echoes his move during Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. After months of negotiation between his lawyers and Mueller, the president agreed only to answer a limited set of questions in writing.Pelosi said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that Trump “has every opportunity to present his case,” including by testifying under oath or submitting a written statement to impeachment investigators.Trump and many congressional Republicans have demanded public testimony by the anonymous whistle-blower who first raised alarms about the president’s effort to force the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rivals. Pelosi said she wouldn’t allow the person’s identity to be exposed.“I will make sure he does not intimidate the whistle-blower,” the California Democrat said. “This is really important, especially when it comes to intelligence, that someone who would be courageous enough to point out truth to power.”Several witnesses in the inquiry have corroborated the whistle-blower’s allegation that Trump sought to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy into investigating a company once connected to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. The effort was led by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.(Updates with White House blocking testimony in third and fourth paragraphs)To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Wayne in Washington at awayne3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at, Joshua Gallu, Larry LiebertFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Powell Meets Trump, Mnuchin to Discuss Economy in Rare Sit-Down

    Powell Meets Trump, Mnuchin to Discuss Economy in Rare Sit-Down

    (Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell met with President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Monday to discuss the economy, marking a second face-to-face sit-down this year amid relentless White House criticism of the U.S. central bank.Powell’s comments “were consistent with his remarks at his congressional hearings last week,” the Fed said in a statement released after the meeting at the White House, adding that the gathering was at the president’s invitation.The meeting comes amid a steady stream of criticism of the Fed by Trump as the president makes his economic record the center of his bid for re-election next year. His attacks, including an August tweet asking “Who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?,” referring to China’s president, have shattered a decades-long White House tradition of avoiding public comment on monetary policy out of respect for the Fed’s independence.Powell “did not discuss his expectations for monetary policy, except to stress that the path of policy will depend entirely on incoming information that bears on the outlook for the economy,” the Fed said.November 18, 2019 Trump subsequently tweeted that they’d had a “very good & cordial meeting” and had discussed a range of issues including “interest rates, negative interest, low inflation, easing, Dollar strength & its effect on manufacturing, trade with China, E.U. & others, etc.”The dollar dropped to a session low amid gains in the euro after the news hit that negative interest rates had been among their topics of conversation.Powell last week called the U.S. economy a “star” performer and voiced solid confidence that its record expansion will stay on track. He and other Fed officials have consistently said that European or Japan-style negative interest rates would not be appropriate in the U.S.The chairman’s remarks on the economy reinforced a sense that officials judge they have done enough to keep the economy on track after three rate cuts this year, and monetary policy is now on a prolonged hold as long as the outlook remains favorable.Trump has publicly raged against Powell and the Fed for many months, complaining about its rate increases during 2018 and continuing to pound the central bank this year even as it has cut rates to keep a record U.S. expansion on track, as the president seeks to deflect blame for slowing growth that many have pinned on his trade war with China.With less than a year until the 2020 vote, the world’s largest economy has been generally holding up this year on resilient consumption. Gross domestic product increased at a 1.9% annualized rate in the third quarter, though that was down from 2% in the second quarter and 3.1% in the opening three months of the year.Powell had dinner with Trump in February and the two have spoken since by telephone. Meetings between a president and Fed chief are rare but not unprecedented.These, though, come amid repeated public criticism by Trump that culminated late last year with Bloomberg reporting Dec. 21 that Trump had discussed firing the man he picked to lead the central bank.That direct threat to Fed independence -- an article of faith among investors in U.S. assets, contributed to already steep stock-market losses that turned the month into the worst December for U.S. equities since the Great Depression.In addition to public browbeating, the president also has the opportunity to pick people for the Fed’s policy-setting committee. He chose four of the five current members of the Fed’s Board of Governors in Washington and two vacancies remain open.However, despite announcing his intention to nominate several people for those jobs -- most recently in July when he named Trump supporter Judy Shelton and St. Louis Fed research chief Christopher Waller -- Trump has yet to actually nominate either.To contact the reporters on this story: Jeff Kearns in Washington at;Alister Bull in Washington at abull7@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Margaret Collins at, Vince GolleFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Pelosi says Trump is in ‘way over his head’ in the Oval Office

    Pelosi says Trump is in ‘way over his head’ in the Oval Office

    President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been waging a war of words, which has only worsened since the impeachment inquiry has begun. Pelosi addressed the president’s Twitter (TWTR)  attacks against Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, while she was testifying during the impeachment investigation on Friday.

  • Forbes named Kylie Jenner the youngest self-made billionaire ever — and the ‘self-made’ part has people talking

    Forbes named Kylie Jenner the youngest self-made billionaire ever — and the ‘self-made’ part has people talking

    Meet the world’s youngest selfie-made billionaire. Reality star and cosmetics queen Kylie Jenner, now 22, is probably the most recognizable (and controversial) newcomer in the Forbes magazine world billionaires issue revealed in March, when she was still 21. The social-media star’s fortune officially hit $1 billion earlier this year, several months after Forbes put her on the cover of its “richest self-made women” issue.

  • Bloomberg

    We Shouldn’t Strip U.S. Terrorists of Citizenship

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- U.S.-born Hoda Muthana should be in an American prison for joining Islamic State, the caliphate that terrorized, murdered and raped innocent civilians. Instead, she and her 2-year-old son are stuck in a refugee camp in Syria — because the U.S. government, relying on a technicality, has stripped her of her passport and told her that she and her son are not citizens. A federal judge has just held that government had the authority to do so.It’s hard to feel sympathy for Muthana. But the judge’s decisions, and the government’s before that, set a terrible precedent for others whom the government might try to strip of their citizenship in the future. A person who reasonably believes she was born a citizen, and has been issued a passport on that understanding by the government, should be treated as a citizen unless she has lied to get that passport in the first place.The backstory to the Muthana case starts with the fact that various European governments have been dealing with people who joined Islamic State by actively stripping them of their citizenship to stop them from coming home. Ordinarily, the U.S. government can’t do that. U.S. law doesn’t have provisions for taking away citizenship once it is conferred, except if it was obtained by fraud.But in apparent imitation of those European states, the Obama administration in 2016 decided to take away Muthana’s citizenship. She had a high public profile after BuzzFeed publicized her Twitter efforts to recruit for Islamic State.The way the Obama administration did it was to insist that Muthana had never been a citizen at all. She was born in the U.S., which is usually a guarantee of citizenship under the Constitution, but her father was a Yemeni diplomat at the United Nations. And under prevailing U.S. law, children of active diplomats don’t become citizens even when born in the U.S.Here’s where things get complicated. When Muthana was born, her father was no longer serving his diplomatic mission, but he hadn’t officially informed the U.S. government that he was no longer a diplomat. According to treaty-based rules, a diplomatic mission doesn’t end until the host government is told about it. So technically, the government maintained, Hoda didn’t become a citizen by birth.Yet the Muthana family didn’t know those technical rules, it would appear. Hoda seems to have believed herself to be a citizen her whole life. When her father became a U.S. citizen, he sought to naturalize his older children, recognizing that they weren’t citizens. He didn’t do that for Hoda, presumably because the family thought she was already a citizen by birth. Importantly, the U.S. government seemed to agree, issuing her the passport on which she traveled to join Islamic State.The federal judge considering the case ruled that he had to accept the U.S. government’s decision. That ruling is highly unfortunate. It fails to take account of the fact that Muthana genuinely and reasonably believed herself to be a citizen — and that the government effectively agreed by giving her a passport. In other words, she relied on her citizenship her whole life. If the government hadn’t been angry at her for joining Islamic State, she’d be considered a citizen still.You can lose naturalized citizenship if your citizenship application was false. But Muthana never applied to be naturalized. She never appears to have knowingly lied to get her citizenship; all along, she’s thought she was a natural-born citizen. That might have given the judge the tiny bit of legal leeway to find that her citizenship could not so easily be stripped.Of course, part of a judge’s job is to adhere to technical rules. But the law should recognize a legitimate reliance interest on U.S. citizenship for someone who doesn’t know every last technicality, and then travels outside the U.S. on a passport issued based on the theory that she is a citizen.Muthana is extremely unappealing as a claimant for citizenship. President Donald Trump has tweeted that she will be kept out of the country; it was the Obama administration that first canceled her passport. What’s more, she doesn’t seem to have paid any attention to the cancellation until the caliphate collapsed and she wanted to come home.Yet there’s an old legal maxim that says hard cases make bad law. The fact that Muthana is morally culpable shouldn’t distract us from the concern that her case will set a precedent. The next time a U.S. citizen abroad offends public sentiment, you can expect the government to start looking for ways to pull his or her citizenship. That prospect is worrying to say the least.And there’s her child to consider. If Hoda isn’t a citizen, neither is the toddler. And he, unlike his mother, is genuinely an innocent bystander in this train wreck of case.The blame here ultimately lies with the Obama administration, not the judge, who is trying to do his job and apply the law. But sometimes we need judges to step up and find legal means to do the right thing. This is one of those situations — not for Muthana, but for the rest of us.To contact the author of this story: Noah Feldman at nfeldman7@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Green Carmichael at sgreencarmic@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Feldman is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of law at Harvard University and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter. His books include “The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President.” For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Twitter (TWTR) Rolls Out Political Ads Policy Ahead of Ban

    Twitter (TWTR) Rolls Out Political Ads Policy Ahead of Ban

    Twitter (TWTR) announces global ban on promotion of political content and ads from political figures like candidates, political parties and government officials.

  • Bloomberg

    The West Needs to Measure Russian Election Meddling. Here’s How.

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- An article over the weekend in The Sunday Times says that a parliamentary report in the U.K. has concluded that it was impossible to quantify the impact of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 Brexit referendum. That largely matches research on the 2016 U.S. election by the eminent communications expert Kathleen Hall Jamieson, who has nevertheless argued that Russia played an important role in President Donald Trump’s victory.This doesn’t mean, however, that foreign propaganda’s impact couldn’t be measured quite precisely in the future — if, that is, anyone really wanted to quantify it.The U.K. Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee oversees the British intelligence services, and its report on Russian interference uncovered by The Sunday Times would be the rough equivalent of the U.S. intelligence community’s 2017 assessment of Russian activity in the run-up to the 2016 presidential contest. The British government, however, has refused to release the report before the parliamentary election scheduled for Dec. 12, and has been widely criticized for it, including by Hillary Clinton, the 2016 loser in the U.S. The critics wonder if the government is trying to protect information concerning wealthy donors to the pro-Brexit campaign and the ruling Conservative Party. The leak in The Sunday Times doesn’t reveal any new information on that matter, but it shows that the report tried to assess the influence of the Russian propaganda outlets RT and Sputnik. The Intelligence and Security Committee calculated that 260 anti-European Union articles published by the two outlets in the six months before the Brexit referendum were retweeted so widely that they could have been seen up to 134 million times, about three times the combined number of Twitter impressions generated by the two biggest pro-Brexit campaign groups, Vote Leave and did people who saw the material change their mind about how they should vote on Brexit, or did those who agreed with the anti-EU propaganda turn out in greater numbers than they would have done otherwise? Those are the billion-dollar questions for those trying to figure out whether Russia helped cause the Brexit mess or put Trump in the White House.Jamieson, the University of Pennsylvania professor for whom the study of media inputs into voting behavior is an academic specialty, made a valiant attempt to answer these questions in her 2018 book, “Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President: What We Don't, Can't, and Do Know.” The point Jamieson made in that work was that based on previous studies, the Russian trolls and hackers probably did affect the outcome, including by mobilizing potential Trump voters, discouraging liberal voters who weren’t keen on Clinton and shifting traditional media’s agenda in the final phase of the campaign.She also wrote, however, that quantifying the impact of the Russian activity was impossible in the absence of “real-time, rolling cross-sectional polling data tied to media messaging and exposure in each of the three decisive states,” Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Even with such real-time panels, she wrote, it would be hard to separate the effect of specific Russian propaganda efforts because of the difficulty of finding a control group not exposed to them. Jamieson recalled how she and her colleagues analyzed the impact of individual ads in the 2000 election by comparing data from battleground and non-battleground states. That was no longer possible in 2016:Because we lack a reliable way to locate either internet advertising and messaging or those exposed to it, and, in the case of media coverage of the hacked content, the entire nation was exposed to the resulting reporting, our 2000 model no longer works.None of these obstacles would be insurmountable, though, if dedicated researchers, or, indeed, governments, now that foreign interference — be it by Russia, Iran or the U.S. — is in everyone’s sights and considered to be an important threat to democracy. A representative panel of both voters and nonvoters would be needed, citizens who would be willing to allow their social-media feeds to be tracked. Given what researchers already know about the propaganda networks run by various states and contractors, it wouldn’t be difficult to document the spread of propaganda and the panel members’ exposure to it. Panelists could be polled at regular intervals to check how the content has affected them. By the end of the project, researchers wouldn’t even need to know how they voted — it would be enough to establish that they’d gone to the polls.Let’s face it: Thanks to social media, it’s much easier for governments and private influencers to deliver propaganda to any corner of the world, regardless of what restrictions are placed on political advertising. RT and Sputnik don’t need to buy ads to generate tens of millions of impressions. Before any vote that has a bearing on Russian interests — and that means most European and U.S. national elections, as well as many in Asia and Africa — the Russian propaganda machine is going to manufacture lots of authentic-looking content, which will be spread by both paid trolls and true believers. That means opportunities will arise to measure the effect of these influence operations. In fact, many such opportunities already have been missed: Elections have come and gone without a serious effort to figure out exactly how Russian internet-based meddling has affected results.In one recent analysis of 20 recent elections, Lucan Ahmad Way and Adam Casey of the University of Toronto wrote that “almost all cases of success by candidates whose policies dovetailed with Russian interference efforts can be explained by the actions of powerful domestic actors.” But separating the Russia effect from those actions would only be possible with the kind of real-time panels mentioned by Jamieson.A tantalizing example of the kind of results they could produce came in a paper published last year by Leonid Peisakhin and Arturas Rozenas of New York University. They analyzed the impact of Russian television broadcasts on voting in Ukrainian elections, relying both on data on where these broadcasts could be received in Ukraine and on polling. Peisakhin and Rozenas found that watching Russian TV mainly strengthened existing pro-Russian attitudes rather than altering beliefs — but by doing so, it also mobilized support for pro-Russian candidates and parties at the ballot box.Data-based research like this is what’s needed in Western societies to figure out the best responses to Russian propaganda and trolling. Do counter-propaganda efforts work? What would be effective in mobilizing voters who aren’t receptive to the Russian messages? Does it even make sense to push back against the Russian propaganda messaging, as an entire academic and media industry that has emerged since 2016 has maintained — or is the real impact of that messaging negligible? All these questions, bafflingly, remain unanswered three years after Trump’s victory and Brexit, and they can’t be answered on the basis of the limited data available about those two momentous events. What’s known about the suppressed U.K. report is further evidence of that.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


    [video]Snap Shares Up as Evan Spiegel Says Snapchat Fact-Checks Political Ads

    Shares of Snap , parent company of Snapchat, were rising Monday afternoon after Snap founder and CEO Evan Spiegel said his company fact-checks political advertisements. The stock was up 3.37% to 14.40 a share. "We subject all advertising on our platform to review, including political advertising," Spiegel told CNBC.

  • Bloomberg

    Inflation Inequality Creates Winners and Losers

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Do the poor suffer more from inflation than the rich? Recent reports to the contrary, the numbers are not complete enough to answer that question in a simple way. What’s clear is that diverging rates of price inflation are creating distinct winners and losers.Because the U.S. tech sector has advanced so much while many other parts of the economy have been relatively sluggish, the benefits from progress are now quite concentrated, though not in a way directly related to income. Rather, they accrue to people with a taste for a particular kind of novelty.Consider people who love to consume information, or, as I have labeled them, infovores. They can stay at home every night and read Wikipedia, scan Twitter, click on links, browse through Amazon reviews and search YouTube — all for free. Thirty years ago there was nothing comparable.Of course, most people don’t have those tastes. But for the minority who do, it is a new paradise of plenty. These infovores — a group that includes some academics, a lot of internet nerds and many journalists — have experienced radical deflation.Another set of major beneficiaries is people who enjoy writing for fun (as distinct from professional writers). They can write to their friends or groups of friends on WhatsApp and Facebook, all day long, also for free. You might also put “people who love to argue” in this same lucky category, though whether that translates into lasting enjoyment is a question that we could … argue about.Lovers of variety are another big winner. You can use eBay to find that obscure collectible, or browse Amazon’s vast inventory, or watch a lot of different TV programs, ranging from Spanish-language news to curling to cooking shows. In short, it is a wonderful time for those who love to browse and sample. Maybe you discover a favorite category or genre and form a deep aesthetic commitment, or maybe you just want to keep on surfing. Either way, the opportunities are unprecedented.As a side note, I belong to all of those groups: I am an infovore, I write for fun (and for other reasons) and love variety. So I have been a big winner from the last 20 years, in a disproportionate and unrepresentative way — quite apart from any changes to my income.So who might be worse off in this new American world?People who like to spend time with their friends across town are one set of losers. Traffic congestion is much worse, and so driving in Los Angeles or Washington has never been such a big burden. In-person socializing is therefore more costly. On the other hand, the chance that you have remained in touch with your very distant friends is higher, due to email and social media. Those who enjoy less frequent (but perhaps more intense?) visits are on the whole better off for that reason. It is easier than ever to go virtually anywhere in the world and have someone interesting to talk to.Another group of losers — facing super-high inflation rates — are the “cool” people who insist on living in America’s best and most advanced cities. Which might those be? New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco? You can debate that, but they have all grown much more expensive. Many smaller cities, such as Austin, Washington and Boston, are going the same route. Alternatively, if you have more of a taste for isolation or desolation, or a high tolerance for boredom, your pocketbook is not being squeezed so tightly.Medical care is another area that has created big losers and winners. If you suffer from a common malady that simply requires care and attention from the medical establishment, you may well be worse off. The price of medical care is much higher, insurance coverage is by no means guaranteed, and the system has been growing more bureaucratic and arguably more frustrating.If, on the other hand, you have some kind of “frontier” condition, requiring innovative technology or new pharmaceuticals, your chances have never been better.What is the common theme here? It is that those who love or need “the new” are often doing relatively well. Those who value the old standbys — the crosstown friend, the Manhattan brownstone, the uncomplicated visit to the local doctor to have a broken ankle set — are in a more dubious position.As a result, there is an incentive to cultivate a taste for novelty. It’s fun, to be sure, but maybe also a bit confusing and alienating. So when people feel that way, and express it in unexpected ways, perhaps we should not be altogether surprised.To contact the author of this story: Tyler Cowen at tcowen2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. His books include "Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero."For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Financial Times

    Hong Kong is Xi Jinping’s failure

    is a nightmare for Xi Jinping. China’s president has made the restoration of his country’s power and dignity the central theme of his presidency. Deploying them against the demonstrators could plunge Hong Kong into a long-term insurrection, similar to Belfast in the 1970s or Algiers in the 1950s.

  • Bloomberg

    Impeachment Probe Turns to Trump Ally at Heart of Ukraine Storm

    (Bloomberg) -- After weeks of Republican complaints that the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry relied on secondhand information, the centerpiece of this week’s public hearings is testimony from a man with a direct line to President Donald Trump.The political peril for Trump, who was dealt a series of setbacks last week, will be heightened as the House investigation accelerates with three days of public hearings starting Tuesday.No witness is more central than Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, a Trump donor and a confederate with Rudy Giuliani in back-channel diplomatic efforts for the president in Ukraine.Sondland, scheduled to testify Wednesday, has already amended his previous closed-door testimony once because of discrepancies with other witnesses. And now there will be new questions for him to answer about Trump’s pressure on the government in Kyiv to launch a probe entangling former Vice President Joe Biden and other political foes of the president.David Holmes, a member of the embassy staff in Kyiv, came forward last week to tell impeachment investigators that following a phone conversation between Sondland and Trump, the EU envoy told him the president “didn’t give a s--- about Ukraine” and that the president only cares about the “big stuff” that benefits him “like the Biden investigation” that Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, was promoting.Testimony from Tuesday through Thursday will come from a disparate cast of witnesses, some of whom could prove pivotal to the impeachment inquiry, including officials from the State Department, the White House national security teams, and Vice President Mike Pence’s office.The hearings follow a rough week for Trump. Three career diplomats offered accounts that portrayed him as fixated on squeezing a political favor from Ukraine. Meanwhile, one-time confidant Roger Stone was convicted of lying to Congress and new details emerged about a federal investigation of Giuliani. Trump has lashed out at some of the witnesses, which Democrats said amounted to witness intimidation. Through it all, however, Republican lawmakers stood firmly behind the president.Here’s a look at this week’s key witnesses:Gordon Sondland: Trump’s EnvoyHaving already amended his recollection of events, Sondland could prove unpredictable, for Trump and for Democrats.A wealthy hotel chain owner and major inauguration donor, Sondland was an outsider to the diplomatic corps when Trump nominated him as ambassador to the European Union.Democrats are certain to press him on Wednesday morning about his role as one of the “three amigos” who worked on the shadow Ukraine policy -- along with then-special Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker and Energy Secretary Rick Perry -- and especially his interactions with Trump.Republicans may attempt to undercut him by noting that he’s been inconsistent: first testifying he never thought there were any conditions on delivering aid to Ukraine and then revising that later.Democrats will focus on potential contradictions between his earlier testimony and statements by others. Sondland previously said he didn’t realize that Biden’s son, Hunter, was on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings and that a Trump demand for the company to be investigated might have political ramifications.“Everybody’s going to be trying to get their soundbite from Ambassador Sondland, and if it goes long enough, I think everyone is going to be able to declare victory,” said Representative Mark Meadows, a Republican who sat-in on Sondland’s closed-door testimony.Several other points are almost sure to come up: a May 23 meeting in which Trump urged him and Volker to talk to Giuliani about Ukraine; text messages he exchanged with acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, who expressed concern about the military aid being tied to a political favor; and a conversation he had with Perry after his initial testimony that he said was to refresh his memory.But the biggest issue will be his July 26 call with Trump, which was overheard by Holmes, political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv. According to a copy of his statement obtained by CNN, Holmes testified that during the call that he could hear Trump ask, “So, he’s going to do the investigations?” It was a reference to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Holmes said Sondland told him that when it comes to Ukraine, Trump only cared about investigations involving Biden.“Sondland is important,” said Representative Peter Welch of Vermont, a Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. “He was the ambassador for Trump in his effort to get Ukraine to do his dirty work on the Bidens.”Alexander Vindman: NSC SpecialistAs the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, Vindman is expected to speak Tuesday morning about several key moments he witnessed first-hand, including the April 21 and July 25 phone calls between Trump and Zelenskiy and a July 10 meeting in Washington with visiting Ukrainian officials.Vindman will also testify about his concerns over the shadow Ukraine policy, including his unsuccessful attempt to correct omissions in the July 25 call summary, a memo he wrote urging Trump to release the aid and his advice to Ukrainian officials that they steer clear of U.S. domestic politics to protect their bipartisan support.Vindman went to the NSC’s legal counsel with concerns about a July 10 meeting with Sondland, Perry, Volker, then-national security adviser John Bolton and Ukrainian officials. During the session, according to Vindman, Sondland demanded that Ukrainian leaders deliver “specific investigations” to secure a meeting between Zelenskiy and Trump.The NSC expert says he was told about that meeting directly by Sondland immediately afterward, and Sondland emphasized the importance of the Ukraine probes into the 2016 election, as well as Biden.Vindman said he told Sondland his statements were “inappropriate,” and that others believes so, too.A Soviet refugee and Purple Heart recipient, Vindman is another witness whose credibility will be hard to impugn, especially since attacks from conservative pundits on his Ukrainian background after his closed-door testimony in October backfired.Jennifer Williams: Pence AideA longtime State Department employee, Williams was on the July 25 phone call as an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence. She testifies Tuesday morning alongside Vindman, and over the weekend was the subject of a pre-emptive attack by the president describing her as a “Never Trumper.”In her closed-door testimony on Nov. 7, she said that she found some of discussion on a July 25 call between Trump and Zelenskiy to be “unusual and inappropriate.”Williams kept notes and told investigators the energy company was mentioned. “My notes did reflect that the word Burisma had come up in the call, that the president had mentioned Burisma,” she testified, her recall more in line with Vindman, than Morrison.She also said she felt “the mention of these specific investigations” into the Bidens and the 2016 election went to the president’s “personal political agenda, as opposed to a broader foreign policy objective of the United States.”Kurt Volker: Special EnvoyAppointed by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Volker is expected to undercut Trump’s claim that Biden pressed for a top Ukrainian prosecutor to be fired in order to protect his son. He testifies Tuesday afternoon.As one of the “three amigos” on Ukraine, Volker is also expected to testify that Trump told him to talk to Giuliani during a May 23 meeting and that Trump was obsessed with a conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.At the same time, Volker -- a witness who Republicans also requested -- has testified that he wasn’t aware of any link between an Oval Office visit for Zelenskiy and a promise to conduct the investigations Trump wanted. He’s said that he also did not see the delay in the U.S. security assistance as significant or unprecedented.Timothy Morrison: Russia SpecialistThe former top Russia adviser on the National Security Council, Morrison is the next official who listened to the July 25 phone call to testify. When he appears Tuesday afternoon, Republicans will likely home in on his past statement that he heard nothing illegal in the call. However he’s added that he was concerned about how it would look if leaked.Morrison also told House impeachment committees during closed door testimony on Oct. 31 that a memo of the call later released by the White House was “accurate and complete.”That contradicts testimony by Vindman, who said the summary left out some phrases, including a mention of Burisma Holdings, the energy company where Biden’s son served on the board.Morrison also has said that NSC lawyer John Eisenberg told him the transcript of that call was not intended to end up in a highly classified system. “It was a mistake,” Morrison said Eisenberg claimed.Democrats will focus on testimony from Morrison that Sondland told him how he had informed a high-ranking Ukrainian official on Sept. 1 that release of $400 million in the U.S. military aid was being linked to the investigations.Morrison testified behind closed doors that Sondland later claimed such a statement from Ukraine’s prosecutor general wouldn’t do, because Trump had told him “there was no quid pro quo, but President Zelenskiy had to do it and he should want to do it.” He added: “Sondland believed and at least related to me that the president was giving him instruction.”Officials also said Republicans could ask him questions -- as they did during his closed-door deposition -- about who may have talked and provided information to the whistle-blower whose complaint triggered the impeachment probe.Laura Cooper: Pentagon OfficialThe Pentagon’s top official on Russia and Ukraine, Cooper is expected to testify Wednesday afternoon about the delay in military aid and how Volker told her it was tied to a public statement of an investigation into the Bidens.She also is expected to say that Ukrainian officials were aware that the aid was being held up. A key defense offered by Trump’s allies is that Ukraine wasn’t aware of the hold up, which would undercut the contention that it was a quid pro quo. Republicans will likely press her on how she knows this.David Hale: Senior State Department OfficialThe third-ranking official at the State Department, Hale is expected to testify Wednesday afternoon about the agency’s internal response to the recall of ousted Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, especially its concerns about how any public defense of her might be received by Giuliani.His public testimony was also requested by Republicans. An official familiar with his previous closed-door testimony said it includes some differences in interpretations or recollections of events from other witnesses.Fiona Hill: Ex-NSC OfficialA former White House adviser on Russia, Hill is expected Thursday morning to discuss the views of her boss, former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who is seeking a court ruling on whether he can testify to Congress. Hill is expected to describe Bolton referring to the shadow Ukraine policy as a “drug deal” and Giuliani as a “hand grenade.”As someone who worked closely with Trump, she is expected to support several parts of the Democrats’ case, including the idea that military aid to Ukraine was tied to the Biden investigations, concern about Sondland and Giuliani and the president’s interest in a conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.She is also expected to tell a dramatic story about the July 10 meeting, in which Bolton sent her racing through the White House to stop Sondland from pressuring a group of visiting Ukrainians into investigating Biden.\--With assistance from Steven T. Dennis and Daniel Flatley.To contact the reporters on this story: Ryan Teague Beckwith in New York at;Billy House in Washington at bhouse5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kevin Whitelaw at, Joe SobczykFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Financial Times

    Former India prime minister blames Modi for economic slowdown

    Former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh has blamed a “climate of fear” for the country’s sharp economic slowdown, accusing Narendra Modi’s government of creating a “toxic” environment that has stifled business activity and growth. In a strongly worded comment piece in The Hindu newspaper on Monday, the normally reticent economist argued that “a perilous state of fear, distrust and lack of confidence” created by the government’s deep suspicion towards the business community was at the root of India’s sharp economic deceleration. in the third quarter, with the State Bank of India forecasting that GDP growth data for the period, due to be released on November 29, will be as weak as 4.2 per cent.

  • Financial Times

    Powell tells Trump policymaking will remain ‘non-political’

    The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jay Powell, told Donald Trump that the central bank would continue to make monetary policy in a “non-political” manner, in a meeting that followed months of criticism of Mr Powell by the US president. Mr Trump said he had a “very good & cordial” meeting with the Fed chair on Monday, while the Fed said that Mr Powell had stuck by his insistence that policy would be dictated by the twin goals of stable inflation and maximum employment. The meeting, which lasted for 30 minutes in the White House residence and was attended by Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, had not been not listed in the president’s official public schedule.

  • Financial Times

    Without Brexit, we would not know what Boris Johnson stands for

    This is good news for the UK prime minister and not merely because of his huge personal lead over Mr Corbyn, the Labour leader. For while Mr Johnson enjoys an opponent who is easy to define, his own political instincts are harder to pin down. Brexit has afforded Mr Johnson a definition he does not really possess.

  • Water Cannon Fails to Move Holed-Up Protesters

    Water Cannon Fails to Move Holed-Up Protesters

    (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong police fired tear gas and deployed a water cannon to try to clear a resistant band of protesters who occupied a university near the Tsim Sha Tsui district and blocked roads in the vicinity.Police launched round after round of tear gas and repeatedly sprayed a blue-dyed liquid toward the demonstrators holed up at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Streets surrounding the campus were littered with bricks and other obstacles to keep the police at bay. Protesters shielded themselves with umbrellas and lobbed petrol bombs as the overnight standoff stretched into Sunday afternoon.On Friday, a five-day face-off between protesters and police at Chinese University of Hong Kong ended as the activists evacuated their makeshift fortress. Earlier, vice chancellor Rocky Tuan made a fresh appeal for demonstrators, who had built barricades and taken over a number of buildings, to leave the campus.The city’s government is trying to step up measures to halt escalating violence in the financial center after a week that saw countless incidents of vandalism, angry clashes between opposing sides and two deaths linked to the conflict.Key developments:Government suspends schools for another dayPolice officer on leave after firing sponge grenade at mediaPLA soldiers help clean upCity’s second-highest-ranked leader promises measures to halt violenceTwo German citizens reportedly detained by policeHere’s the latest (all times local):Officer suffers arrow wound (2 p.m.)A police media-liaison officer was admitted to hospital after he suffered an arrow wound to his leg, police said in a statement. The officer was injured when protesters charged at police and used bricks, petrol bombs, and bows and arrows to attack them near Polytechnic University, according to the statement.Police deploy water cannons (1 p.m.)Police deployed a water cannon to try to drive protesters out of Polytechnic University. After officers repeatedly fired a blue-dyed liquid from the vehicle toward the protesters, the standoff continued as the sides watched one another from across the rubble-strewn intersection, normally a busy traffic crossing.Schools suspended (12:00 p.m.)All schools would remain suspended on Monday because of safety concerns, the Education Bureau said in a statement. While classes are halted, the premises must remain open for students who need to go to school, and staff need to be arranged to look after the children, it said.If the situation allows, classes will resume on Tuesday, the bureau said.Airport traffic (11 a.m.)Hong Kong International Airport handled 5.4 million passengers in October, 13% fewer than a year earlier, and saw 34,300 flight movements, down 6.1%, Airport Authority Hong Kong said in a statement. Cargo throughput dropped 5.5% to 428,000 tonnes, it said.Face-off continues (10 a.m.)Police and protesters faced off Sunday outside Polytechnic University where activists had taken refuge. The officers fired rounds of teargas to try to disperse the crowd, which appeared to be a couple of hundred people, but the demonstrators returned to their position at the main traffic intersection near the campus after the clouds of smoke thinned.The clashes started when protesters threw objects at people trying to clean up the area on Saturday. Riot police moved in and tried to disperse the demonstrators, who retreated into university property and then returned to fling firebombs toward police.Police officer put on leave (9:47 p.m.)Hong Kong police are investigating an incident where an officer fired a sponge grenade while asking reporters to leave the scene during clashes with protesters early on Saturday. The officer involved is currently on leave, according to a statement from the government.Various media reports said a riot police officer fired a 40mm react round at a Commercial Radio reporter. Police reiterated that they fully respect the freedom of the press.In a separate development, the police and protesters are clashing outside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University where petrol bombs and tear gas have been exchanged.City mops up (4 p.m.)Residents in Pokfulam and Kowloon Tong banded together to clear the blockaded streets, forming human chains to load skips of the bricks and rubble that covered the area. PLA soldiers in Kowloon Tong ferried buckets and wheelbarrows of debris off the roads before returning to their base in the district, RTHK reported.Chinese troops have been stationed in Hong Kong since the British handed the city back to China in 1997. But the city government has never requested deployment. In 2018, more than 400 soldiers helped clear fallen trees following Typhoon Mangkhut, the first time they had undertaken such a role.University occupation ends (3 a.m.)Protesters who occupied the CUHK campus for about a week have left the campus, according to a university spokesman. Police and workers cleared the streets early Saturday and all lanes were re-opened on Tolo Highway, which had been blocked by demonstrators.German Citizens Reportedly Detained by Police (2:31 a.m.)Two German citizens were detained by Hong Kong police amid the continuing protests, Deutsche Welle reported, citing an official at Germany’s foreign ministry. They are receiving assistance from the country’s consulate in Hong Kong, according to the report. Police in Hong Kong said two foreign men were detained during a demonstration in Tuen Mun, according to Reuters.Chinese University of Hong Kong Appeals To Protesters To End Siege (Sat. 12:27 a.m.)CUHK vice chancellor Rocky Tuan appealed to protesters to stop their siege of his campus, urging them in a letter to leave the university. The university had previously canceled classes for the remainder of the semester and asked students and staff to leave the premises. He said that if the university can’t clear out the protesters, it would have “no choice” but to ask the government to help resolve the situation.University heads call for all to ‘work together’ to bring peace (10:45 p.m.)Nine university presidents urged the government to take the lead in ending the political deadlock and restoring order as their campuses become “major political battlefields,” according to a joint statement.Demands that university disciplinary processes can fix the problem are “disconnected from reality” and the government’s response so far has not been effective, they said. “We call on all quarters of society to work together to bring peace and order back to Hong Kong.”City’s No. 2 vows more measures (6:07 p.m.)Matthew Cheung, the city’s chief secretary, promised “more decisive measures” to halt protest violence, including suspending civil servants who are arrested during demonstrations. Cheung -- joined by Civil Service Secretary Joshua Law, Transport Secretary Frank Chan, Education Secretary Kevin Yeung and Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Secretary Patrick Nip -- said departments would step up coordination.While Cheung declined to rule out further invocations of the city’s powerful Emergency Regulations Ordinance, he reaffirmed the city would hold District Council elections as planned Nov. 24.Overwhelming support for inquiry (4:45 p.m.)Some 80% of Hong Kong adults want the government to set up an independent commission of inquiry to examine the use of force by police throughout Hong Kong’s recent unrest, according to a new survey by Hong Kong Public Opinion Program. That’s up from 77% earlier this month.An inquiry is one of the five demands that protesters have been chanting about in marches throughout the city for months, but the government has so far ruled out any further political concessions.Hong Kong expects recession (4:30 p.m.)Hong Kong revised down its estimate for economic growth this year, with the government now forecasting the first annual contraction since the global financial crisis a decade ago. Gross domestic product will contract 1.3% in 2019 from the previous year, the government said Friday as it released final output calculations for the third quarter.The government said ending the city’s violent unrest is key to an economic recovery.Police classify death as murder (1:31 p.m.)Police upgraded their probe into the injury of a 70-year-old government worker to a murder investigation after the man died overnight. The man was struck in the head by an object during a scuffle Wednesday between protesters who had set up road blocks and others who were attempting to clear them.The man appeared to be filming in the direction of a group of black-clad protesters when one of them “deliberately threw” an object at him, Chan Tin-chu, senior superintendent for criminal investigations in New Territories North, told reporters at a briefing Friday. The victim didn’t participate in the argument or the attempt to clear the road blocks, Chan said.(Corrects story published on Nov. 17 to reflect the clashes happened outside Hong Kong Polytechnic University at 9:47p.m. on Nov. 16.)\--With assistance from Daniel Flatley and Jacob Gu.To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at;Natalie Lung in Hong Kong at;Moxy Ying in Hong Kong at yying13@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at, Stanley James, Nicholas ReynoldsFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Financial Times

    Managers must unclog staff diaries to let work flow free

    On a recent visit to the US, I heard from a senior consultant who likened work-life balance to interval training, interspersing her intense workouts with rest; a busy high-profile doctor who juggles teaching, research, travel, a start-up, patient care and a book project; a portfolio-careered non-executive director who packs his diary with multiple board meetings, philanthropic endeavours and speaking commitments; and executives unable to meet me at their California headquarters because they were on their way to New York or London — where I would be a few days later, even as they were hastening home. , as I wrote last year after Harvard Business Review published a study about how chief executives manage their time. The research showed that CEOs work an average 62.5-hour week and conduct business on nearly eight out of every 10 weekends.

  • Bloomberg

    Trump to Tour Apple’s Austin Manufacturing Plant on Wednesday

    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. President Donald Trump is scheduled to tour an Apple Inc. manufacturing plant in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday, the White House said Sunday.The president plans to visit the plant along with Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, according to a tweet by spokesman Judd Deere. The Austin American-Statesman newspaper reported that Trump will travel with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other administration officials.The company announced in September that its new Mac Pro computer will be assembled in Texas after it received exclusions from the Trump administration from tariffs on certain parts imported from China.The visit also comes at a time the U.S. and China are close to finalizing the first phase of a highly-anticipated trade deal.It’s not the first time Cook and Trump have spent time together. They’ve dined at the president’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, twice in the past two years, most recently in August. Cook also attended a state dinner hosted by Trump in 2018 for French President Emmanuel Macron.Trump said after the pair met in August that Cook made a “good case” about the difficulty in competing with South Korean rival Samsung Electronics Co. if Apple products are subject to import tariffs.A month later, the Trump administration announced it had agreed to Apple’s request for tariff waivers on 10 of 15 Chinese components -- a shift from a stance announced by Trump in July that the company’s requests would be denied and that it should make the parts in the U.S.After gaining the tariff relief, Apple announced it would assemble the new Mac Pro computer at the Austin plant, which has produced the previous Mac Pro since 2013. There had been reports the company planned to shift production to China.The Trump administration then said in September it denied Apple’s request for relief from 25% tariffs on other Mac Pro components, including optional wheels, a circuit board for managing input and output ports, power adapter, charging cable and a cooling system for the computer’s processor.The company is also seeking exclusions from Trump’s tariffs that went into effect Sept. 1 on the Apple Watch, iMac, parts for the iPhone and other components imported from China.Last month, Trump criticized Cook for a design change to the iPhone -- the loss of the home button.Apple’s presence in the Texas capital is the biggest after its headquarters in Cupertino, California, the Austin American-Statesman said, and the company has said it will invest $1 billion in Austin to build an office park capable of holding 15,000 additional employees.To contact the reporter on this story: Hailey Waller in New York at hwaller@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: James Ludden at, Ros Krasny, Mark NiquetteFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Financial Times

    Pelosi warns Trump over intimidation of Ukraine whistleblower

    Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the US House of Representatives, said she would “make sure” President Donald Trump does not “intimidate” the whistleblower who first sparked an impeachment inquiry as public hearings launch into their second week. Speaking on CBS, Ms Pelosi said Mr Trump was welcome to appear before the impeachment inquiry.

  • Financial Times

    Mistakes happen, it’s how we deal with them that matters

    It happened in Official Secrets, a film based on the true story of an explosive US intelligence memo that was leaked to Britain’s Observer newspaper on the eve of the 2003 Iraq war. The document revealed a plot to bug UN Security Council delegations and in one of the movie’s most riveting scenes, Observer journalists are celebrating their scoop when they discover something dreadful: people in the US think the memo is a fake. The version the paper had published was full of British spelling no American would use.

  • Financial Times

    US and South Korea postpone joint military exercise

    The US and South Korea have postponed a joint military exercise, in an effort to help diplomatic efforts aimed at convincing North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme. Speaking in Thailand on Sunday, Mark Esper, US defence secretary, said Washington and Seoul had decided to delay the joint air force exercise — known as the “Combined Flying Training Event” — that had been scheduled to start on Monday. The decision came just two days after Mr Esper and General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, met their counterparts in Seoul for consultations about shoring up the US-South Korea alliance and efforts to deal with North Korea.

  • AARP exec: ‘OK, millennials …. we’re the people that actually have the money’

    AARP exec: ‘OK, millennials …. we’re the people that actually have the money’

    Or so say critics after the senior vice president at AARP (formerly the Association of American Retired Persons) raised eyebrows of all ages after clapping back at the viral, dismissive response that many young adults have used toward their elders of late. “Our demo drives $7.1 trillion in annual economic activity each and every year.” What’s more, AARP The Magazine pulled in $142 million in 2017 from print advertisements, as well as $32 million in digital advertising, the Axios piece reported.

  • NRA slammed for touting strong gun sales moments before the initial reports of the Saugus High School shooting

    NRA slammed for touting strong gun sales moments before the initial reports of the Saugus High School shooting

    Just before 8 a.m. on Thursday, shots rang out at Saugus High in Southern California, in a school shooting that left two dead and several other students injured. The 16-year-old suspect, a student at the Santa Clarita school, is reportedly in critical condition from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

  • Bloomberg

    Real News: Hardly Anybody Shares Fake News

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Some people are fuming at Facebook for allowing unfiltered political ads, while others are fuming at Twitter for banning them. There’s lots of confusion and speculation, but what we know is that these social media companies have fundamentally changed how people exchange information. What we need to figure out is whether they also change how people spread disinformation — and if so, how to fix it. It's a question researchers are actively investigating.After “fake news” became the catchphrase of the 2016 election, experts in psychology, political science, computer science and networks stepped up research on disinformation, learning in more detail how it travels through social media and why some things stick in people’s heads.There’s a good reason not to ban political ads on social media: People in democratic societies should be able to see and hear from candidates directly, not just through interview and debate formats. Social media ads are relatively cheap, so less well-funded candidates can still make themselves heard. The fear is that politicians might lie, mislead and manipulate on social media in ways that were impossible in the days of television and newsprint.Some see a particular threat in the way Facebook allows advertisers to precisely target ads based on personal data. “Facebook profits partly by amplifying lies and selling dangerous targeting tools that allow political operatives to engage in a new level of information warfare,” writes former Facebook insider Yaël Eisenstat in the Washington Post.How dangerous is this information warfare? Experiments show that people can be misled easily and that wrong ideas tend to stick. USC psychologist Norbert Schwarz says people tend to believe messages for many reasons that have nothing to do with credibility. People are more likely to believe messages when they’re presented simply, in an easy-to-read font or spoken without an accent, and repeated often. People are also more easily influenced by messages they think their friends also believe.Stephan Lewandowsky, a psychologist at the University of Bristol, says the extremely fine-grained targeting abilities of social media might interfere with a free marketplace of ideas. Rather than making claims in ads that anyone is free to see, politicians might tailor messages to individual social media users. The propaganda might never even be seen by fact-checkers or opponents who might challenge it. “My main concern is that we’re replacing public debate with manipulation,” he says.There is still hope for democracy, however. There’s little evidence that targeted ads have the power to to change minds or votes, says Harvard law professor Yochai Benkler, co-author of the book “Network Propaganda.” Belief in targeted ads in general is more faith-based than evidence-based, he says. Advertisers assume the targeting causes people to buy things — though this is far from proven.In 2018, there was outrage when it came out that the company Cambridge Analytica claimed it could use the seemingly superficial tastes of consumers to delve deep into their psyches, gain personality information that even their friends didn’t know, and, in theory, use it to manipulate their voting behavior. But in researching a 2018 column on the phenomenon, I learned that the evidence is thin to nonexistent that Cambridge Analytica was able to glean meaningful information or manipulate voting behavior.Dr. Benkler says if he had access to enough Facebook data, he and other researchers could find out who saw which ads, and infer from other information if and how people voted. But it probably isn’t in Facebook’s interest to give out that kind of information. It might reveal that Facebook ads are suppressing voting, or that the ads don’t matter. Either way, it could look bad for the company.Dr. Benkler points to a recent paper in the journal Marketing Science, which shows it’s not clear whether an ad causes people to buy a particular product, or whether the people who are targeted are already more likely to buy. Other research papers report on the limited power of fake news on Facebook and Twitter. For example, one study  that looked at Twitter activity during the 2016 election concluded that 80% of fake news was shared by just 0.1% of users, making it a fringe activity.People tend to focus on new threats, Benkler says, when there are known masters of manipulation out there. The ads, fake news, and other so-called content on social media have been getting a lot of attention, but their impact still pales in comparison to that of old-fashioned platforms like cable news and radio. In research reported in his book, he and his co-authors trace stories using of certain words or phrases — like the child sex ring rumor or the conspiracy theories surrounding the Seth Rich murder — from their origins on small-scale blogs and fringe publications to Fox News and conservative talk radio, where they blew up.It’s true that there’s still a lot we don’t know about social media. But instead of giving Facebook more power — by encouraging it to police ads for misleading content — we should make rules to force the company to reveal its targeting practices.If someone sees a Trump ad because she went to church and stopped at the liquor store on the way home, she has the right to know it, says Benkler. And the more information Facebook and others provide, the better scientists can understand how much social media is shaping the free marketplace of ideas, and whether we should be focused on other, more substantial threats to democracy.To contact the author of this story: Faye Flam at fflam1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Green Carmichael at sgreencarmic@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Faye Flam is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. She has written for the Economist, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Psychology Today, Science and other publications. She has a degree in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Twitter cracks down on possible bot accounts and rolls out ban on political ads
    CBS News Videos

    Twitter cracks down on possible bot accounts and rolls out ban on political ads

    Twitter suspended multiple accounts that tweeted, "I hired Donald Trump to fire people like Yovanovitch," referring to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who testified last week in the impeachment inquiry hearings. Twitter says the message was being pushed by bots. CNET senoir producer Dan Patterson joined CBSN with more.