Trump touts ‘strongest economy in the world’ after disappointing jobs report

President Trump took to Twitter after the release of a disappointing jobs report on Friday to tout the strength of the U.S. economy.

Trump tweeted a quote attributed to Stuart Varney, who said on Fox & Friends there is no better time to be an American worker and that “we have the strongest economy in the world.” Trump added, “So true!”

“This is as good a time as I can remember to be an American Worker. We have the strongest economy in the world.” Stuart Varney @foxandfriends So true!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2019

This tweet followed the Labor Department’s report that just 20,000 U.S. jobs were added in February. This was significantly down from the 311,000 jobs that were added in January, and down from the 172,000 jobs that were expected to be added in February. It’s also the smallest increase since September 2017.

In a second tweet, Trump picked out the fact that women’s unemployment is down to 3.6 percent, concluding, “Things are looking good!”

Women’s unemployment rate is down to 3.6% – was 7.9% in January, 2011. Things are looking good!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2019

…read more

Source:: The Week – Business


Here’s how Facebook plans to take action against anti-vaccine content

By Reis Thebault | The Washington Post

In an effort to curb anti-vaccination conspiracy theories and misinformation, Facebook announced Thursday it will no longer recommend the offending pages and groups, and will block advertisements that include false content about vaccines. The company will also stop recommending anti-vaccination content on Instagram.

The tech giant rolled out its plan to combat anti-vaccine content after mounting public pressure culminated in a Capitol Hill hearing this week, when a Senate panel issued a dire warning about the public health danger that vaccine misinformation poses. There, 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger testified that his mother, an anti-vaccine evangelist, relies on Facebook or Facebook-linked sites for all of her information on the subject. And she’s certainly not alone.

In a blog post, Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management, said the company is “working to tackle vaccine misinformation on Facebook by reducing its distribution and providing people with authoritative information on the topic.”

“Leading global health organizations … have publicly identified verifiable vaccine hoaxes,” Bikert wrote. “If these vaccine hoaxes appear on Facebook, we will take action against them.”

Facebook also said it would be “exploring” ways to counter false content, whenever users do come across it, with “educational information” about vaccines.

Renee DiResta, who researches computational propaganda at the analysis firm New Knowledge and has closely followed the spread of deceptive health information since she started a pro-vaccine Facebook page in 2015, endorsed the company’s move on Twitter.

“I’m happy to see @Facebook’s thoughtful application of remove/reduce/inform to health misinformation,” she said. “It strikes a balance between expression and amplification.”

The changes in Facebook and Instagram recommendation systems, along with the company’s proposed fact offensive, may also ease the concerns of the growing number of researchers who have noted the fast spread of misinformation online and especially on social media.

The World Health Organization recently …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


In Frankfurt, foreshadowing a global slowdown

By David J. Lynch | The Washington Post

The European Central Bank on Thursday unveiled a new economic rescue package, citing a darkening outlook driven by a slowdown in China, fears that the United Kingdom will make a chaotic exit from the European Union and aftershocks from President Donald Trump’s tariff wars.

The mounting worries prompted the bank to cut its growth forecast for 2019 by nearly one-third to just above 1 percent. ECB President Mario Draghi also said he would maintain rock-bottom interest rates through the end of this year, several months longer than previously planned, and funnel more credit to banks in hopes of spurring business lending.

The move came less than three months after European authorities said the 19-nation euro zone economy no longer needed unusual help, capping more than a decadelong $3 trillion stimulus following the global financial crisis.

Thursday’s about-face sounded alarms about a global slowdown that caught officials off guard.

“It’s a highly significant move,” said Adam Tooze, a Columbia University historian and author of “Crashed,” a history of recent financial crises. “It’s a testament to the anemic quality of Europe’s recovery and the [failures] of the ECB that we’ve had to go through this roller coaster.”

For now, the United States remains an island of relative stability, though Federal Reserve officials in recent days have voiced concerns that the economic expansion could be fraying. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 200 points or nearly 1 percent on the European announcement.

Despite the accumulation of bad news, the global economy is still likely to grow this year. The bigger concern is that central banks like the ECB have little ammunition to fight a deeper downturn, whether triggered by events in Europe or elsewhere.

European interest rates are already negative, meaning that banks actually pay authorities in Frankfurt to hold their …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Elon Musk’s U.S. security clearance under review after ‘pot-smoking’ video went viral

It was only one toke on camera, but it may have been one toke over the line for federal authorities charged with maintaining national security.

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has “secret” level security clearance with the U.S. government, because his rocket company SpaceX is a federal contractor for launch of military spy satellites. But that clearance is now being evaluated in light of his behavior on The Joe Rogan Experience video podcast in September, according to a new report.

Rogan, a former stand-up comedian, pulled out a tobacco-leaf-wrapped “blunt” joint he said was filled with marijuana and tobacco. “You want some of it?” Rogan asked Musk during the live interview. “You probably can’t because stockholders, right?”

Musk replied, “I mean it’s legal, right?” then after Rogan said, “totally legal,” took the hit that’s reportedly gotten him in trouble with the feds. Smoking pot remains a criminal offense at the federal level. The video went viral on YouTube, with more than 400,000 views to date.

A few minutes after smoking the blunt, Musk began laughing and said, “I’m getting text messages from friends saying, “What the hell are you doing, smoking weed?” Musk, drinking whiskey from a glass, went on to say he “almost never” used pot and that it had no noticeable effect on him. He than added, “I don’t find that it is very good for productivity” and “I like to get things done.”

Now, the CEO has re-filed a form that requires any federal-government employee or contractor seeking security clearance to admit to any illegal drug use over the previous seven years, Bloomberg reported, citing an unnamed U.S. official. The Defense Security Service is evaluating Musk’s security clearance in a process called “adjudication,” according to Bloomberg.

“Typically during an adjudication a person keeps his or her security clearance but loses access to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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