May 27, 2019

Axios AM

🇺🇸 Wishing you and yours a restful Memorial Day — with a solemn pause to thank those in the armed services who made it possible.

  • 📺 Trailer for Season 2 of "Axios on HBO," premiering at 6 p.m. ET/PT next Sunday.
  • 🏖️ Today's AM is a slim 1,158 words ... < 5 minutes! Enjoy the holiday.
1 big thing: The unseen, uncounted toll of America's wars

A tweet by the U.S. Army in the run-up to Memorial Day asked the simple question: "How has serving impacted you?"

The tweet drew more than 11,000 replies, some of which "paint a harrowing picture of the toll America's wars have taken on those who fought them," Agence France-Presse reports.

  • One tweet said deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, where many continue to serve, resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder "with chronic pain."
  • Another: "My dad came back from fighting in Iraq and was abusive, constantly angry, paranoid, and following that went through a lot of therapy but his mental and physical health are still off and he was definitely changed through all he had been through."
  • And another: "The 'Combat Cocktail': PTSD, severe depression, anxiety. Isolation. Suicide attempts. Never ending rage. It cost me my relationship with my eldest son and my grandson. It cost some of my men so much more."
  • And another: ""How did serving impact me? Ask my family."

The N.Y. Times points out that the call-out "provided what some felt was a rare platform to spotlight the darker consequences of military service for soldiers and their families":

  • "[T]weet after tweet described lifelong health complications, grief over loved ones lost, sexual assaults gone unpunished and struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

The Army said in follow-up tweets: "Your stories are real, they matter, and they may help others in similar situations."

  • "As we honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice this weekend by remembering their service, we are also mindful of the fact that we have to take care of those who came back home with scars we can’t see."

P.S. The Army's Twitter page reminds us: "All Gave Some ... Some Gave All."

2. Anti-establishment mood grips globe
Climate activists erected this sign outside the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday. (Photo: Francisco Seco/AP)

Election results from across Europe yesterday show that the world's old guard remains on the defensive in the Trump era, with both right and left abandoning mainstream parties for more emotionally exciting alternatives.

  • What's new: European Parliament elections (28 nations, 200 million voters) ended the domination of the center-right and center-left parties. Now, far-right, pro-business groups and environmentalists will be bigger forces. (AP)
  • On the right, nationalist groups saw strong gains, though not as decisive as some had forecast. Steve Bannon emailed me from Paris: "Earthquake!" Italy hard-liner Matteo Salvini bragged: "[T]he rules are changing in Europe."
  • On the left, a "Green wave" swept in environmentalist candidates in Germany, France and Ireland. Axios Science Editor Andrew Freedman tells me this was tied in large part to frustrations with climate policies that don't go far enough.
  • The twist is that the center held: Pro-EU parties retain control, but with new pressures and a changed landscape. Eurosceptic and far-right parties secured roughly a quarter of all seats in Parliament, per the Financial Times.

Why it matters: The democratic world is continuing to see pushback against insiders and traditional pols, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass told me: "My sense is this mood and movement has not crested."

  • And it's not just Europe and America: "In Turkey and China and Russia, we are seeing some pushback against their authoritarian leaders," said Haass, author of "A World in Disarray."
  • Haass called last night's results "very sad and worrying": "The European project, which began as an historic innovation, one that has been an important foundation of post-WW2 stability and prosperity, is now seen as the establishment and is widely rejected by the left and right alike in Europe."

The big picture ... Ian Bremmer of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media sees a more divided and polarized Europe, but still a pro-Europe Europe.

  • As in the U.S., institutions prove resilient and stable: Americans are plenty angry, but Trump isn’t about to break the United States.

Be smart: Trump advisers take this global mood as a bullish sign for his re-election in 2020. But American presidential campaigns command so much voter attention — and Trump is so Trump — that trends are relevant but not predictive.

3. Forecast models: Trump wins
President Trump is served a baked potato with butter in Tokyo, while dining with Melania Trump, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie Abe. (Photo: Kiyoshi Ota/Pool/Getty)

Steven Rattner, "car czar" and counselor to the Treasury secretary in the Obama administration, cites three different modelers in his N.Y. Times commentary, "Trump’s Formidable 2020 Tailwind."

Trump wins all three:

  • Ray Fair, a professor at Yale, "found that the growth rates of gross domestic product and inflation have been the two most important economic predictors — but he also found that incumbency was also an important determinant of presidential election outcomes."
  • "Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, has looked at 12 models, and Mr. Trump wins in all of them."
  • "Donald Luskin of Trend Macrolytics has reached the same conclusion in his examination of the Electoral College."

Go deeper.

President Donald meets today with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Akasaka Palace, the Japanese state guest house in Tokyo. (Photo: Eugene Hoshiko/Pool/AP)
4. Pic du jour
Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

A U.S. Marine perches in the back of a helicopter accompanying Marine One as President Trump flies over Tokyo.

5. "Lord of the Flies" on Everest
Climbers pose on one mountain of the 10 tons of trash the Nepal government is trying to collect from Mount Everest this season. (Photo: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images)

Mount Everest, which has had an unusually high 10 climbing deaths this season, is "a crowded, unruly scene reminiscent of 'Lord of the Flies' — at 29,000 feet," the N.Y. Times reports:

  • "Veteran climbers and industry leaders blame having too many people on the mountain, in general, and too many inexperienced climbers, in particular."
  • "Fly-by-night adventure companies are taking up untrained climbers who pose a risk to everyone on the mountain."
  • "And the Nepalese government, hungry for every climbing dollar it can get, has issued more permits than Everest can safely handle."

Another problem: "Climbers ... pushing and shoving to take selfies."

6. 1 🏈 thing
On Jan. 16, 1967, Bart Starr passes during Super Bowl I against the Kansas City Chiefs, at the L.A. Coliseum. Packers beat Chiefs, 35-10. (Photo: Los Angeles Times via AP)

Green Bay Packers legend Bart Starr, who died yesterday at 85, won more NFL titles than any quarterback not named Tom Brady, the N.Y. Times' Ben Hoffman writes:

  • "He ushered in the Super Bowl era with two championships for the Green Bay Packers. The most valuable player of Super Bowl I? Starr. Super Bowl II? Starr."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Starr's place in Packers lore is cemented by his role in [Vince] Lombardi’s 1960s Packers dynasty, ... the most successful seven-year stretch in NFL history."

  • "He is most famous for leading the legendary drive and scoring the touchdown on the iconic play in Packers history, the quarterback sneak against Dallas that won the Ice Bowl in 1967."

Why he mattered in life, from a family statement: "[H]is true legacy will always be the respectful manner in which he treated every person he met."

Why he mattered in football, from the N.Y. Times: "Starr, like Montana and Brady, was a star synonymous with winning in a way that went far beyond simple statistics."

  • "The modern era, which he and Baltimore’s Johnny Unitas helped usher in, led the N.F.L. on a path to being America’s richest and most popular sport."

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