Apr 29, 2019

Axios AM

🏈 Good Sunday morning. A little reality check for all of us: Last week's most-read N.Y. Times article was ... NFL draft analysis.

1 big thing: Online platforms accelerate hate
A peace pole is carried into an interfaith prayer and candlelight vigil at Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church after yesterday's attack. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Two appalling attacks, four days apart: The first in Northern California, and yesterday's in my native Southern California — less than 500 miles apart. One mowed down Muslims. One aimed at Jews on the last day of Passover.

  • The context: It was only six months ago that 11 Jewish worshipers were killed in the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

And of course, it's not just America: It was just six weeks ago that 50 Muslim worshipers in New Zealand were killed in terrorist attacks on two mosques.

  • This morning, Sri Lanka's Catholics celebrated mass in their homes via TV, as churches across the island nation closed down over fears of militant attacks, a week after Easter suicide bombings killed over 250 people, per AP.

Yesterday, worshipers in Poway, California, just north of San Diego, "were nearing the end of Passover, a sacred Jewish celebration steeped in ancient freedom, when a modern terror walked in the door," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports:

  • "A 60-year-old woman was killed when she jumped in front of the rabbi, whose hands were pierced by gunfire. An 8-year-old girl was hit with shrapnel in the face and leg," according to the L.A. Times.
  • The suspected gunman, 19, was arrested "after fleeing the synagogue amid a hail of bullets from a security guard," per the Union-Tribune.
  • "An anti-Semitic manifesto attributed to him was posted online claiming responsibility for the attack."

On Tuesday, in Sunnyvale, California, in Silicon Valley, a 34-year-old Army veteran of the war in Iraq intentionally careened his car through a crowded intersection, injuring eight pedestrians, per the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • The former sharpshooter "targeted the victims because he thought some of them were Muslim, police officials said."
  • The FBI has opened a federal hate crimes investigation.

The debate ahead ... The N.Y. Times' Charlie Warzel writes that online messages "from suspects in shootings at a California synagogue and a New Zealand mosque were similar":

"[I]t’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore how online hatred and message board screeds are bleeding into the physical world — and how social platforms can act as an accelerant for terroristic behavior.
The internet, it seems, has imprinted itself on modern hate crimes, giving its most unstable residents a theater for unspeakable acts — and an amplification system for an ideology of white supremacy that only recently was relegated to the shadows."

The latest from Poway.

2. D.C. convergence: Trump, Obama, Clintons, correspondents — oh my!
"The After Party," by NBC News, MSNBC and Comcast NBCUniversal, at the Italian Embassy (Photo: NBC News)

Last night, the political world had something for everyone:

  • The White House Correspondents' Association dinner was boycotted by President Trump, who made administration guests cancel at the last minute. In an effort by the association to make the dinner less Hollywood-y and more of a celebration of the First Amendment, the evening concluded with a historian rather than an entertainer. "Alexander Hamilton" author Ron Chernow drew applause when he said presidents have always have differences with the press, but that "they don't need to be steeped in venom."
  • President Trump counter-programmed with a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, laced with shots at the press. Sarah Sanders strode onstage to chants of "Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!" and said in an allusion to the WHCA dinner: "Last year this night I was at a slightly different event ... Not quite the best welcome." (N.Y. Times)
  • Less than three miles from the WHCA dinner — at the National Museum of African American History, at a gala that's part of a year-long celebration of the centennial of Nelson Mandela's birth — President Obama spoke about the power of young people to carry forward the legacy of South Africa's liberator.
  • And less than a mile from Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton spoke at DAR Constitution Hall as part of their arena tour, which has drawn 15,000 so far.

Video: Comedy Central's Jordan Klepper made this video ("Hillary Clinton Reads the Mueller Report"), as a set-up to last night's appearance by the Clintons.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at a pre-party (Allison Shelley for CBS News)
3. Market pros wonder if we're in a "melt-up"
Trader John Panin works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Richard Drew/AP)

What's new: You won't find it in the dictionary, but a "melt-up" is a term stock traders use for "a rapidly accelerating rally driven purely by sentiment, with high participation, volumes, and volatility," per Bloomberg.

  • "That is, market optimism has come untethered from fundamentals, and investors are chasing returns by jumping on an upward-moving bandwagon."
  • "[I]t’s all based on momentum and, in its later stages, fear of missing out."
  • "BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said he thought a melt-up was a possibility."

Why it matters: "The dot-com bubble in 1999 and 2000 is a classic example."

  • "Prices soared, and volumes crescendoed as investors rode the momentum, while growth in earnings fell way behind growth in share prices."
Bonus: Pic du jour
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Image

President Trump arrives last evening at his Make America Great Again rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

4. First look: Wall Street's "tremendous fear" about 2020

Sen. Kamala Harris. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Exclusive preview for Axios readers ... "Biden? Pete? Trump?! Wall Street Democrats are absolutely freaking out about their candidate pool," New York magazine's Gabe Debenedetti writes in a piece on "Intelligencer" [Updated]:

One night in early April, roughly 20 of the Democratic Party’s highest-profile donors from the financial industry sat down over dinner to discuss how exactly they were feeling about the 2020 presidential race. ...
Convened by two veterans of liberal fund-raising — investors Steven Rattner and Blair Effron — the group [shared] notes on the overflowing field of candidates. But coming to some kind of consensus ... was a far-fetched proposition. .
"There’s tremendous fear," said one banker who was there.
The candidates who had long cultivated relationships with Wall Street — such as Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand — were struggling to gain traction and had grown more hostile to finance as their party had, too.
Joe Biden ... had never, until a few months ago, maintained any meaningful relationship with Wall Street ...
Nearly everyone else in the field, the financiers felt, was being pulled leftward by Bernie Sanders ... and Elizabeth Warren ...
Kamala Harris was a favorite of many.

Go deeper.

5. Code words, fake names on pregnancy apps

After reporting on the ways some period- and pregnancy-tracking apps sell women's personal data to employers, WashPost's Drew Harwell received thoughts on the practice from over 100 women:

  • The women "often said they felt trapped by an unfair choice: They cared about privacy, but they also found the digital trackers too valuable to give up."
  • Their solution? "They used fake names, logged only scattered details and even fudged data to keep the tech companies and other potential snoops off their trail."

Why it matters: "Their stories highlighted one of the more nuanced ways people think about privacy in the modern Internet age."

  • "Many people are cautious about being exposed, misused or exploited — but they also love these apps for a reason, and they’re happy to fuzz the numbers until they feel they’re no longer at risk."
6. 1 spy thing

Screenshot: The CIA's Instagram account

The CIA, one of the rare government entities known for its social media savvy, is now on Instagram to give users another look into the secretive agency, Axios' Marisa Fernandez writes.

  • The new account is another online vehicle to "spark the curiosity of Instagram users" and find recruits, CIA press secretary Timothy Barrett said.
  • He noted that its first photo — captioned "I spy with my little eye..." — includes the original 1985 badge photo for CIA director Gina Haspel, as well as an open notebook with Arabic writing that reads: "Share what we can, protect what we must."

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