Oct 28, 2018

Axios AM

Mike Allen

⚡ Breaking: "Synagogue shooting victims ranged in age from 54 to 97 and included brothers and a husband, wife." (AP)

1 big thing: Hate, at scale
Aaron Jackendoff/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

This was a week of bombs, shootings — and blame.

  • "72 hours in America: Three hate-filled crimes. Three hate-filled suspects," CNN writes: "Wednesday, a white man with a history of violence shot and killed two African-Americans ... at a Kentucky Kroger store following a failed attempt to barge into a black church."
  • "After mail bombs were being sent to people who'd been criticized by the President, a suspect was arrested ... who had railed against Democrats and minorities with hate-filled messages online."
  • Yesterday morning, "a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people attending Jewish services."

What all three have in common: hate.

The latest ... "More than 3,000 people from the Pittsburgh community turned out ... for an interfaith candlelight vigil of Hebrew and English songs and hymns," per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

  • The dead at the Squirrel Hill synagogue include eight men and three women.
  • "We believe this is the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States," the Anti-Defamation League said.
  • "After Robert Bowers was wounded in a gun battle with Pittsburgh SWAT officers and was receiving medical treatment, he said 'he wanted all Jews to die and also that they (Jews) were committing genocide to his people,'" the Post-Gazette reported, citing a charging document.
  • Bowers, 46, from a nearby suburb, was charged with 11 counts of homicide.

David Shribman, executive editor of the Post-Gazette, describes Squirrel Hill as home to a dozen synagogues:

  • "[F]or more than a century and a half [it has been] not only the spiritual center of Pittsburgh Judaism but also a vital landmark in the history of Jews in America — along with New York’s Lower East Side and Boston’s Blue Hill Avenue, one of the vital centers of Jewish identity since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution."

The context ... Anti-Semitism on the rise: The ADL reported in February that "the number of anti-Semitic incidents [1,986] was nearly 60 percent higher in 2017 than 2016, the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking incident data in the 1970s."

  • "Every part of the country was affected, with an incident reported in all 50 states for the first time in at least a decade."
  • ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt: "These incidents came at a time when we saw a rising climate of incivility, the emboldening of hate groups and widening divisions in society."

The last word ... David Axelrod said to Wolf Blitzer on CNN last night:

  • "We should ... pause here to honor these people by reflecting on where we are as a country."
2. 🌊 9 days to midterms

In the campaign's final days, "Democratic campaigns and outside groups are on track to substantially outspend Republicans," the N.Y. Times' Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns report:

  • "Democrats are set to spend $143 million on television advertising in House races, compared with $86 million for Republicans, according to one analysis by a Democratic strategist tracking media buys."
  • "Democratic super PACs and other outside groups are poised to outspend their Republican counterparts by a wide margin, erasing an advantage Republicans planned on having."
  • Why it matters: "[M]uch of the Republican spending is aimed less at securing a majority than at limiting the breadth of a Democratic takeover as the field of competition grows well beyond 40 seats."

P.S. "Some of Mr. Trump’s lowest moments in past polls have come as he has struggled to serve in the traditional presidential role of national healer," the N.Y. Times' Matt Flegenheimer and Patrick Healy point out.

3. Satellite photos reveal wrath of one of Earth's strongest storms
The eye of Super Typhoon Yutu swallowed the tiny island of Tinian on Wednesday. (NOAA/CIMSS)

Super Typhoon Yutu struck the Northern Mariana Islands on Oct. 24, packing maximum sustained winds of 180 miles per hour and gusts higher than 200 mph, Axios science editor Andrew Freedman writes.

  • This made it the most intense storm to strike U.S. soil since at least 1935, and one of the strongest storms ever measured on Earth.
  • At one point, the eye of Super Typhoon Yutu completely engulfed Tinian. Meteorologists are combing through the debris for clues as to how high the winds actually got, since no anemometer survived the onslaught.

The big picture: Before and after satellite photos taken by DigitalGlobe's WorldView-3 satellite provide a first look at the devastation.

4. Pic du jour
Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James shows up in San Antonio last night, for a game against the Spurs, wearing a hat for Beto O'Rourke, the popular Democratic Senate candidate in Texas.

5. World's worst humanitarian crisis
A Yemeni child suffering from malnutrition receives care at a treatment center in Yemen on Thursday. (Essa Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images)

The N.Y. Times today publishes arresting photos of children in Yemen who are wasting away from hunger ... "The Tragedy of Saudi Arabia's War ... The Saudi-led war in Yemen has pushed millions to the brink of starvation" (Story by Declan Walsh; photos by Tyler Hicks):

  • "[I]n recent weeks the economic collapse has gathered pace at alarming speed, causing top United Nations officials to revise their predictions of famine."
  • "Eight million Yemenis already depend on emergency food aid to survive, ... a figure that could soon rise to 14 million, or half Yemen’s population."

N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Ali Al-Hajaji, a father in the town of Hajjah in Yemen, who has lost one son to starvation and fears losing a second, not because of a lack of food in the area but because prices are rising so fast in the war-torn country that he cannot afford to buy food:

  • "I can barely buy a piece of stale bread. That’s why my children are dying before my eyes."

The Times explains ... "Why We Are Publishing Haunting Photos of Emaciated Yemeni Children ... The images we have published out of Yemen may be as unsettling as anything we have used before":

  • "This is our job as journalists: to bear witness, to give voice to those who are otherwise abandoned, victimized and forgotten. And our correspondents and photographers will go to great lengths, often putting themselves in harm’s way, to do so."
6. 1 fun thing

"House of Cards" popular view of Americans in China, Russia, Iran ... "A cynical drama about conniving politicians acted as a poisonous piece of soft power," by Reid Standish, a journalist based in Helsinki, on cover of WashPost Outlook:

  • "Putin is a fan of 'House of Cards,' the Netflix drama about contemptuous, conniving, murderous politicians that will return for its sixth and final season on Nov. 2. In his book 'All the Kremlin’s Men,' Russian journalist Mikhail Zygar says that Putin has recommended the show to officials as a way to better understand the United States and that it 'affirmed his belief that Western politicians are all cynical scoundrels.'"
  • "To Americans, 'House of Cards' is a soap opera told through a dark portrayal of U.S. politics; its depiction of the quest for unfettered power by Frank Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey) and his wife, Claire (played by Robin Wright), has both reflected and reinforced the rising public perception that Washington is corrupt and selfish."

Why it matters: Abroad, it "has found success among audiences that know little about American democracy and may, like Putin, already subscribe to a warped idea about how its machinery works."

  • "In places like those, the show is a poisonous piece of soft power that validates toxic conspiracy theories and the anti-American propaganda of U.S. rivals like Russia, China and even Iran, all of which have avid viewers of the show."
Mike Allen