Oct 31, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🎃⚾ Happy Halloween, and congrats to the world champion Washington Nationals, who won a wild seventh game of the World Series, 6-2, beating the Astros in Houston.

  • Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,392 words ... 5 minutes to read.
1 big thing: Today's health problems are tomorrow's health crises
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Data: CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The health troubles we're seeing now — especially among young people — will continue to strain the system for years and even decades to come, Axios health care editor Sam Baker writes.

  • Why it matters: Rising obesity rates now will translate into rising rates of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The costs of the opioid crisis will continue to mount even after the acute crisis ends. And all of this will strain what’s already the most expensive health care system in the world.

By the numbers: 18% of American kids are now obese, according to new CDC data. So are roughly 40% of adults. And it's projected to get worse.

  • That helps explain why diabetes rates are also rising, and why roughly 30% of adults have high blood pressure.

The big picture: More obese children means there will be more adults down the road with chronic conditions like diabetes — which can’t be cured, only managed — and these diseases in turn increase the risk of further complications, such as kidney disease and stroke.

  • Diabetes roughly doubles your lifetime health care bills, according to the CDC, and costs the U.S. a total of $245 billion per year.
  • As the price of insulin continues to skyrocket, the disease only gets harder for patients to manage, if they can afford treatment at all.

We’re only beginning to see the full costs of the opioid crisis, even though it has raged for years.

  • A White House report this week pegged the cost of the epidemic at a staggering $696 billion last year alone, including the cost of productivity lost to addiction.
  • The tide has only barely begun to turn on overall overdose deaths — they still numbered around 68,000 last year.

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2. ⚖️ How the parties see impeachment
President Trump walks out of the White House on Monday. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

With a near party-line vote on impeachment rules expected in the House between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. today, Democrats are confident, while Republicans are focusing on swing states to shore up support, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.

  • The mid-morning vote is scheduled in the middle of testimony by Tim Morrison, a National Security Council official who has decided to leave the administration "to pursue other opportunities."

Why it matters: Democrats say the vote will accelerate the inquiry, and will give them more tools to conduct their investigation. 

  • Democrats are going for a jackpot by asking former Trump national security adviser John Bolton to appear behind closed doors next week.
  • A source close to Bolton tells Axios' Margaret Talev that Bolton won’t testify unless compelled — via subpoena.
  • But if Bolton is compelled, look out: He knows a lot, and won’t be demure or hold back.

The Trump re-election campaign is looking at impeachment largely through the lens of the swing states the president needs to win in 2020.

  • Aides cite polls showing that his support has held in battlegrounds.
  • "Once you get outside Washington, D.C.," a Trump campaign official said, "the issue of impeaching a duly elected president plays a lot differently."

The campaign says it plans a massive, data-driven ground game, to hold Democrats in tough districts "accountable for their positions on impeachment."

  • A N.Y. Times Upshot/Siena College poll released yesterday found a majority of voters in each of six battleground states (Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) oppose impeaching and removing Trump.
  • The campaign says those findings reflect its internal polling.
3. Pentagon releases Delta Force clip

via U.S. Central Command Twitter

In declassified Pentagon video of the daring, two-hour raid targeting ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, U.S. forces take "small arms fire from multiple locations as their helicopters approached the compound," CNN reports.

  • "Video from an overhead drone also shows the commandos approaching Baghdadi's compound [above] and aerial strikes carried out by U.S. F-15 fighter jets and MQ-9 Reaper Drones to blow up the site once it was cleared."

Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, said at a briefing:

  • "Baghdadi's remains were buried at sea in accordance with the law of armed conflict within 24 hours of his death."

🐶 President Trump tweets that the military working dog injured in the raid "will be leaving the Middle East for the White House sometime next week!"

  • Trump appeared to declassify the dog's name: Conan.

For the second time, Trump posted a fake image of him putting a medal around the dog's neck.

  • Ben Shapiro's The Daily Wire created the image by taking an AP photo of a real medal presentation by Trump, and replacing the human recipient with Conan.
4. World-class Nats
Nats lefty pitcher Patrick Corbin gets air after throwing three scoreless innings in relief. Photo: David J. Phillip/AP

"With one more comeback win, at the end of a comeback season for the ages, the Nationals were World Series champions," writes the Washington Post's Dave Sheinin from Houston in a victory lap for the history books.

  • "[T]heir chances of winning the World Series on May 24, when they were 19-31, were 1.5 percent."

"The fight lasted as long as it possibly could, through the final date on the baseball calendar. Washington had waited 95 years for another World Series champion. But the wait is over."

5. Twitter casts itself as the anti-Facebook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Twitter's move to ban political ads is the latest of several moves by the platform to position itself as an antidote to what critics see as Facebook's missteps and ethical lapses, Axios' Sara Fischer and Ina Fried write.

  • Why it matters: The free speech banner Facebook is waving used to be shared by most of the big social media companies.
  • But amid the backlash toward Facebook for its role in spreading misinformation, rivals are distancing themselves — and are using the moment to frame their free speech principles as better suited to the era of social media.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said yesterday in a series of tweets that the tech giant will no longer accept political or advocacy advertising of any kind.

  • Dorsey said Twitter acknowledges that a tech platform's ability to distribute ads in a highly targeted manner, and with easily tested and customizable messaging, is different from broadcast TV — where networks are required by law to run ads from political candidates, regardless of accuracy.
  • Facebook has doubled down on its message that running politicians' ads containing lies is little different from running them on broadcast networks.

Between the lines: Political ads don't make up a significant revenue stream for Twitter, so this was an easier decision than it would be f0r Facebook.

  • Twitter's CFO Ned Segal said Twitter made less than $3 million in political ad revenue during the 2018 midterms. Facebook says that less than 5% of its ad revenue comes from political and issue ads.

What to watch: Some argue Twitter's decision will hurt less-known candidates and groups that can't afford to buy expensive political ads on radio and TV.

  • Twitter has a hard time enforcing its rules around hate speech, harassment and other areas. So drawing a line around political ads could prove tough.

The bottom line: This is a big step for Twitter, and it may put pressure on other digital platforms to follow suit.

6. "100% in my corner"
Courtesy TIME

On his confidence that President Trump won’t turn on him, Rudy Giuliani tells TIME: "He's 100% in my corner and loyal to me as I am to him."

  • On continuing his consulting for foreign clients while at the same time representing Trump: "Of course I don’t mix the two things."
7. Boeing docs show employee concerns
During a House hearing with Boeing executives yesterday, people hold photos of those lost in the two 737 Max crashes. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The House Transportation Committee "presented startling new evidence from internal Boeing documents showing that, before the first crash in 2018, some company engineers had discovered that a failure in a new flight-control system could be 'potentially catastrophic,'" The Seattle Times reports.

  • Why it matters: "With the new evidence displayed on slides in front of [CEO Dennis] Muilenburg, the hearing turned into a relentless critique of Boeing’s management and its culture."
8. "Popular protests rattle Arab leaders"
In Beirut, a supporter of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who resigned Tuesday, burns garbage containers on a main road. Photo: Bilal Hussein/AP

Demonstrators across the Arab world "are using lessons from the Arab Spring, maintaining a focus on reforms and trying to avoid the pitfalls that turned hopeful uprisings in Syria, Libya and Yemen into civil wars," writes the Wall Street Journal's Dion Nissenbaum (subscription).

  • How it's different: "While the Arab Spring was largely defined by efforts to topple authoritarian rulers who used fear and intimidation to retain their grip on power, the continuing protests in Lebanon and Iraq are focused on demands for an end to endemic political corruption that has eroded confidence in their elected leaders."
9. "What's next? No more veal?"

"The New York City Council overwhelmingly passed legislation [yesterday] that will ban the sale of foie gras in the city, one of the country’s largest markets, beginning in 2022," reports the N.Y. Times.

10. 1 haunt thing

"House Dems decorated their Longworth office as the Senate legislative graveyard," Alex Thomas tweets (hat tip Ina Fried):

And, for Republicans ...

Courtesy N.Y. Post
Mike Allen

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