Monthly Archives: July 2019

Fight over fate of Ex-Im Bank translates into cash for lobbyists

Hensarling’s committee has authority over the Export-Import Bank, the 81-year old credit agency that underwrites loans to foreign entities to buy U.


S. exports, and the Texas Republican has been pushing to let the its charter expire, arguing it promotes “crony capitalism.” But doing away with Ex-Im, Dempsey says, would hurt the thousands of NAM companies that rely on Ex-Im loans to sell their products overseas.

“It was pretty obvious to us then that this was going to become the type of issue it has become,” said Dempsey, vice president of international economic affairs for NAM, which represents 14,000 manufacturing companies. “It’s long been important for the NAM but it’s really only been in the last few years that it’s become so controversial. We’ve really had to heighten the level of activity on it.”

The bank’s charter expires June 30, and determining its fate has been one of the most contentious congressional debates over the past year — and one that has sparked an intra-party battle between business-friendly and free-market Republicans.

It has also unleashed a flurry of lobbying, with trade groups trying to prove their mettle to members and independent firms raking in the cash as they join the fray, proving once again how much a new policy fight in Washington can be a boon for K Street.

Last year, NAM, which has long maintained its own in-house lobbying team, began adding more resources and manpower to save the bank while amping up lobbying spending to a nearly all-time high of $12.4 million in 2014 — a 63 percent jump compared to the previous year.

Among the beneficiaries of this increased spending are former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, a Democrat, and former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Haley Barbour, both the heads of top D.C. lobby firms, Gephardt Group and BGR Group, respectively. For their work on Ex-Im, Gephardt’s firm has earned $260,000 and Barbour’s firm has earned $350,000, according to lobbying records.

NAM also paired up with the Chamber of Commerce to create the coalition Exporters for Ex-Im, a group of 50 national, state and local business groups supporting the bank’s extension, in part to coordinate letter-writing campaigns to lawmakers and organize a fly-in. The coalition is represented by Hamilton Place Strategies, the advocacy firm run by former George W. Bush aide Tony Fratto, whose efforts include tweeting at lawmakers to support the bank.

Coalition members have published op-eds and produced YouTube videos warning of potential job losses if the bank is shut down, featuring voices as varied as the founder of a gourmet quiche shop in Freeport, New York, and the head of an airline hydraulics manufacturer in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. And the group has armed itself with statistics to make its case: In FY 2014, the bank supported 164,000 U.S. jobs and $27.4 billion in U.S. exports, and 90 percent of the bank’s transactions supported small businesses, NAM says.

“We’ve put a massive amount of effort into the Ex-Im Bank since last year,” Dempsey said. “It’s very much a priority for the NAM. This has been an all-of-organization type of effort.”

NAM is not alone.

Boeing, the bank’s biggest beneficiary, has 36 lobbyists on contract who spent at least part of their time lobbying on Ex-Im during the first quarter of 2015. They’re spread across six firms — Simmons & Russell Group, Washington2Advocates, CGCN, Monument Policy Group, S-3 Group and McBee Strategic — with each shop earning between $40,000 and $60,000 in fees for their efforts during the first three months of 2015, according to lobbying records.

The aerospace giant’s roster of lobbyists includes Kyle Simmons, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s former chief of staff; Sam Geduldig, former political director to John Boehner, R-Ohio, before he became House Speaker; and John Scofield, a former top Republican House Appropriations Committee aide. A Boeing spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.

Delta Airlines, the leading corporate voice opposing the bank’s reauthorization, has 17 lobbyists on retainer on the issue, spread across three firms: Elmendorf Ryan, Fierce Government Relations and Hoppe Strategies. Elmendorf Ryan earned $60,000 to lobby on Ex-Im and other issues for Delta during the first quarter of 2015. Fierce earned $80,000 during the same period. Hoppe was retained in February and has yet to report lobbying fees.

In some cases, retired lawmakers and their former aides who now earn their paychecks as lobbyists find themselves on opposite ends of the Ex-Im fight.

For instance, Democratic power broker Steve Elmendorf is squaring off with his old boss, Gephardt. And Republican lobbyist Kirk Blalock, of Fierce Government Relations, is going up against Barbour, for whom he worked at the RNC.

And the messaging strategy on both sides goes beyond traditional lobbying, bringing in paid advertising, grassroots advocacy and social media outreach.

Delta, which objects to the bank’s financing of wide-body Boeing jets to competing foreign carriers like Emirates, has deployed its pilots, flight attendants and other employees to bring their concerns to lawmakers. The airline has estimated that the bank has cost the U.S. airline industry up to 7,500 jobs and $684 million a year.

“Delta’s employees have been leading that effort,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement. “Pilots, flight attendants, customer service agents, ground employees and many others have made hundreds of visits with members of Congress over the past several years.”

The airline does not coordinate with the conservative groups that also want the bank put out of business, but for ideological not competitive reasons.

The Club for Growth, the Koch-backed Freedom Partners and Heritage Action, the advocacy arm of the Heritage Foundation, oppose the agency because they argue it is corporate welfare that distorts the marketplace, and point out that the biggest recipients of Ex-Im financing include Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar.

Those groups have not hired formal outside lobbyists, but are spending money in other ways: The Club for Growth this spring launched a $1 million advertising campaign against the bank, including a $250,000 TV ad in Florida that calls the agency “outrageous corporate giveaway.”

The ad campaign, which urges Republican members to vote against Ex-Im reauthorization, began airing in April in the congressional districts of Reps. Stephen Lee Fincher (Tenn.), Earl “Buddy” Carter (Ga.), Renee Ellmers (N.C.) and Bill Flores (Texas), and in May expanded to the districts of Rob Bishop (Utah), Bill Shuster (Pa.), David McKinley (W.Va.) and Chris Stewart (Utah).

Heritage Action, the advocacy arm of the Heritage Foundation, has only 10 paid staffers but is banking on its network of 10,000 “sentinels” — a mix of tea party elected officials, Republican activists and other conservatives — to get the word out. Heritage Action’s vice president of grassroots outreach Russ Vought, a former Hensarling aide, holds phone calls every Monday night with the network to brief them on updates.

“We have these folks in every congressional district across the country,” said Dan Holler, communications director for Heritage Action. “It’s a pretty wide reach. Our volunteer network, they text back and forth with members, or have a direct line of contact to a chief of staff in D.C.”

Holler said the grassroots model pre-dates the Ex-Im fight and it is now being put to good use.

“We’ve been doing pretty much the same things we’ve been doing since 2012 but with more urgency, given the deadline,” Holler said.

Trump slams McCain for being ‘captured’ in Vietnam; many in GOP quickly condemn him

AMES, Iowa — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump slammed Sen.


John McCain, R-Ariz., a decorated Vietnam War veteran, on Saturday by saying McCain was not a war hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese.

“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said. Sarcastically, Trump quipped, “He’s a war hero because he was captured.” Then, he added, “I like people that weren’t captured.”

Trump’s comments came during his appearance at the Family Leadership Summit, a daylong gathering of about 3,000 social conservative activists that is drawing nine other Republican presidential candidates.

A celebrity businessman and reality television star, Trump has surged to the top of polls in the GOP race, in part because of his inflammatory comments about undocumented immigrants from Mexico.

Republican leaders and other candidates have been careful in how they respond to his immigration remarks, but his condemnation of McCain opened the floodgates, drawing swift and sharp criticism from other Republicans.

Former Texas governor Rick Perry, himself a subject of recent attacks from Trump, said Trump was “unfit” to serve as president and should “immediately withdraw” from the race.

“Donald Trump should apologize immediately for attacking Senator McCain and all veterans who have protected and served our country,” Perry said in a statement. “As a veteran and an American, I respect Sen. McCain because he volunteered to serve his country. I cannot say the same of Mr. Trump. His comments have reached a new low in American politics. His attack on veterans make him unfit to be Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, and he should immediately withdraw from the race for President.”

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, also chimed in with a Twitter post calling or an end to such “slanderous attacks”:

Enough with the slanderous attacks. @SenJohnMcCain and all our veterans – particularly POWs have earned our respect and admiration.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, campaigning in Western Iowa, denounced Trump’s remarks and said McCain is “undoubtedly an American hero.” This is a change in tune for Walker, who on Friday refused to speak ill of Trump over his immigration comments.

“He needs to apologize to Senator McCain and all the other men and women who have worn the uniform,” Walker told reporters following a campaign stop in Sioux City. “It’s just a disgrace.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) posted on Twitter: “America’s POWs deserve much better than to have their service questioned by the offensive rantings of Donald Trump”

The Republican National Committee also criticized Trump and defended McCain.

“Senator McCain is an American hero because he served his country and sacrificed more than most can imagine. Period,” RNC Chief Strategist and Communications Director Sean Spicer said in a statement. “There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.”

Mitt Romney, who ran against McCain in the 2008 GOP primaries, also took to Twitter to defend him: “The difference between @SenJohnMcCain and @realDonaldTrump: Trump shot himself down. McCain and American veterans are true heroes.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., who has been perhaps the loudest defender of Trump’s remarks about immigrants and met privately with Trump a few days ago in New York, refused to condemn Trump over his comments about McCain.

Cruz said that he considers McCain a friend and “an American war hero” and that it is an honor to serve with him in the Senate. But he said he would not criticize another Republican candidate, including Trump.

“I recognize that folks in the press love to see Republican-on-Republican violence, so you want me to say something bad about Donald Trump or bad about John McCain or bad about anyone else,” Cruz told reporters here. “I’m not going to do it. John McCain is a friend of mine. I respect and admire him and he’s an American hero. And Donald Trump is a friend of mine.”

For the past few days, Trump has been publicly feuding with McCain, the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee. McCain said that Trump had drawn out “crazies” with his immigration-focused rally in Phoenix last weekend, and Trump responded by calling McCain a “dummy” for finishing at the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy.

Trump stepped up his criticism of McCain on Saturday in Ames. He said he had supported McCain’s 2008 campaign and claimed to have raised $1 million for him.

“He lost,” Trump said. “He let us down. I never liked him as much after that because I don’t like losers.”

In a combative, 18-minute news conference following his remarks here, Trump refused to apologize for his attack on McCain’s war service.

Trump said he considers prisoners of war to be heroes — although he called Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl an exception — but accused McCain of doing little to help veterans in the Senate.

“John McCain has not done enough for the veterans,” Trump told reporters. “The veterans in this country are suffering. The veterans in this country are treated as third-class citizens. John McCain talks a lot, but he doesn’t do anything.”

Trump grew agitated by repeated and sharp questioning from reporters, who were asking him to explain his earlier suggestion that McCain should not be considered a war hero because he had been captured.

“I like the people that don’t get captured, and I respect the people that do get captured,” Trump said.

But he did not answer the questions about McCain directly. He snapped at one persistent reporter, “Go back to being a pundit.”

Trump managed to avoid serving in the Vietnam war because of a series of draft deferments. Asked why he didn’t serve, Trump said, “I had student deferments and ultimately had a medical deferment because of my feet. I had a bone spur.” But Trump said he did not recall which foot was injured and instructed reporters to look up his records.

Trump added, “I was not a big fan of the Vietnam War. I wasn’t a protester, but the Vietnam War was a disaster for our country. What did we get out of the Vietnam War other than death? We got nothing.”

After meeting with the news media, Trump took to Twitter, where he did not back down from his criticism of McCain: “John McCain has failed miserably to fix the situation and to make it possible for Veterans to successfully manage their lives. … All he does is go on television is talk, talk, talk, but incapable of doing anything.”

Outside the political world, Trump was also being widely criticized.

Ann Mills-Griffiths, president of the National League of POW/MIA families, a nonprofit group that supports families of American troops held as prisoners of war and those missing in action, said that Trump’s comments were inappropriate.

“Sen. McCain was a prisoner of war who came home with honor but also continued to serve the nation and certainly the cause of America’s veterans returned and unreturned,” Mills-Griffiths said in an interview. “We all need to be grateful for those who did serve with honor.”

John Rowan, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America, said in an interview that the group is “assiduously non-partisan” and does not support candidates or comment on political rhetoric.

Rowan said only of Sen. McCain’s service in Vietnam, including his time as a prisoner of war, that “he served his country well.”

But Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, commented that Trump’s remarks were offensive to all veterans who have served overseas.

“Trump’s asinine comments about Senator McCain’s service are an insult to everyone who has ever worn the uniform — and to all Americans,” Rieckhoff said on Twitter. “Trump’s stupidity is especially egregious given the death of a Navy Petty Officer just this morning and the death of 4 Marines this week. An attack on one veteran’s service is an attack on us all.”

And John W. Stroud, national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, said: “For someone who never served a day in uniform to criticize the service and sacrifice of a combat-wounded veteran is despicable.”

Washington Post staff writers Jenna Johnson in Sioux City and T. Rees Shapiro in Washington contributed to this report.

Pope Francis arrives at U.N., plans visit to Ground Zero

In his first address to the U.


N. General Assembly, the pope touched on a litany of international issues, including nuclear proliferation, drug trafficking and slave labor. But he dwelled most on the need to preserve the world’s ecological system, warning that further damage perpetuates “today’s widespread and quietly growing culture of waste.”

“Any harm done to the environment, therefore, is harm done to humanity,” Pope Francis said in his native Spanish from the lectern inside the General Assembly, an audience of world leaders seated before him. “The misuse and destruction of the environment are also accompanied by a relentless process of exclusion. In effect, a selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged.”

“The poorest,” the pope said, “are those who suffer most from such offenses.”

Shortly before the pope began his address, Washington’s political class was distracted by news that House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, will resign at the end of October. The announcement came one day after the Catholic Boehner welcomed the pope to the U.S. Capitol. Before revealing his plans at a meeting of House Republicans, Boehner tweeted photographs of himself with Francis under the words: “What a day.”

As his first trip to the United States entered its fourth day, Pope Francis, the spiritual leader for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, visited places and embraced themes that allowed him to express commitment to people who are poor, dispossessed, and suffering.

His speech at the U.N. was the first in a series of stops scheduled Friday, the emotional apex of which is likely to be his visit just before noon to Ground Zero, the memorial in Lower Manhattan where nearly 3,000 people died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

By 7:30 a.m. Friday, about 200 people were on line outside a tickets-only entrance to the Ground Zero site, many of them relatives of people who were killed on 9-11.

Ariana Vigiano, 16, and her mother Maria Vigiano-Trapp, 50, were near the front after arriving early from their home on Long Island. Both said they were hoping the pope would fortify their faith in God, which was shaken after Ariana’s father, John, a New York City firefighter, was killed trying to rescue people from the World Trade Center.

“I’m still trying to get a little bit of closure,” she said. “I’m hoping he will say something that will really speak to me and help me feel really spiritual and try to get me in touch with my father.”

After a late-afternoon tour of a Catholic elementary school in East Harlem and a motorcade past sprawling crowds in Central Park, Pope Francis is to preside at a 6 p.m. Mass before 19,000 worshipers at Madison Square Garden.

Since his arrival Tuesday, the pope has addressed a number of weighty issues, expressing his support for immigrants, the need to combat climate change and his opposition to the death penalty. His speech before the United Nations, was no less substantial, providing him an opportunity to deliver to a worldwide audience his expansive views on the environment and economic and social issues.

On his first morning in New York, Pope Francis’s chauffeur-driven Fiat and motorcade pulled up to the U.N. on Manhattan’s East Side at around 8:20 a.m., where he was greeted by the body’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of South Korea.

Prior to addressing the General Assembly, the pope spoke to a gathering of United Nations staff, thanking them for their work on behalf of world peace and laying a wreath for those U.N. workers who have died in service.

At the conclusion of his remarks, he offered to pray for “you and your families” and asked that they “pray for me.”

“To non-believers, I ask you to wish me well,” he said, after which the audience erupted in laughter and applause.

The pope’s address to the General Assembly could influence the body as it prepares to approve a set of sustainable development goals that include ending world hunger and poverty and ensuring the availability of clean energy and water.

In his speech, the pope addressed the threat of war, saying an “urgent need” exists for a “complete prohibition” of nuclear weapons. He also said “hard evidence is not lacking of the negative effects of military and political interventions which are not coordinated between members of the international community.”

“While regretting to do so,” he said, “I must renew my repeated appeals regarding to the painful situation of the entire Middle East, North Africa and other African countries, where Christians, together with other cultural or ethnic groups, and even members of the majority religion who have no desire to be caught up in hatred and folly, have been forced to witness the destruction of their places of worship, their culture and religious heritage, their houses and property, and have faced the alternative either of fleeing or of paying for their adhesion to good and to peace by their own lives or by enslavement.”

The pope also touched on “another kind of conflict, which is not always so open,” a reference to drug trafficking that he said “is silently killing millions of people.”

“Drug trafficking is by its very nature accompanied by trafficking in persons, money laundering, the arms trade, child exploitation and other forms of corruption,” he said. “A corruption which has penetrated to different levels of social, political, military, artistic and religious life, and, in many cases, has given rise to a parallel structure which threatnese the credibility of our institutions.”

In his trip to the United States, a five-day tour that includes Washington, New York and Philadelphia, jubilant crowds have showered the 78-year-old spiritual leader with adoration as he has traveled between stops, some of which have highlighted his commitment to the poor and dispossessed.

Earlier this week, Pope Francis implored congressional leaders at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday to set aside bitter partisan differences to achieve progress on immigration reform. During a visit to the White House, the pope expressed support for President Obama’s campaign to tackle climate change.

When he visits the 9/11 memorial in lower Manhattan, the site where planes struck the twin towers 14 years ago, the pope is expected to meet with families of some of the victims who died in the attack.

The pope is to descend into the lower level of the Ground Zero museum, for a multi-religious ceremony organizers hope will promote tolerance at a time of religious violence and skepticism. The ceremony is to occur in the soaring Foundation Hall, against a World Trade Center retaining wall that survived the attacks.

The choice of the spot represents a “new urgency” for religious tolerance, said James Massa, a Brooklyn bishop who has been a national Catholic leader on interfaith work and who designed the ceremony.

“That’s the wall that holds back the Hudson River,” he said. “If that had fallen on 9/11, even greater chaos would have happened. It held. It’s the wall that holds back the chaos. I think these leaders with the pope are gathered, like the conscious of our time, that holds back the chaos of war and violence and hatred that afflict segments of humanity.”

The pope’s whirlwind day will conclude with the Mass at Madison Square Garden, the warmup for which will include performances by singers Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Hudson and Gloria Estefan.

On Saturday morning, Pope Francis is to travel to Philadelphia, where his stops will include the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City, Independence Hall and a correctional facility.

The pope flies back to Rome on Sunday.

Even a modest slowdown in China sacks the global commodities market

So profound was that growth that even the hint of a slowdown iscausing convulsions in the many countries that fed China’s rise.


The deceleration in Chinese investment and construction, though gradual, has come with a dramatic side effect: a vast lowering in the value of the raw materials that are mined or drilled from the earth. By one major measure, commodity prices across the globe are at their lowest point in a century. And the downturn — felt from financial capitals to Zambian mining towns — is likely to be far more lasting and consequential than the turbulence China triggered in the world’s financial markets last week.

The dive in the commodities market reflects the first time since China emerged as a production beast that the nation is pulling down, rather than buoying, the global economy. After a two-decade farm-to-city migration on a scale never seen before, a series of markers show that Chinese growth has lost steam. Its economy this year is forecast to expand 7 percent, off from sustained double-digit highs, and many analysts suspect real growth is lower than the Communist Party’s numbers suggest. Last year, coal consumption declined for the first time in 14 years. Companies are now trimming long-term demand projections.

“This period of incredible construction is flattening out,” said Yukon Hwang, a specialist in Chinese economic development at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Demand won’t ever be as robust as it was during this super-cycle.”

The sheer scale of China’s economy is so big that the nation still dominates the commodities market, consuming more than two-thirds of global iron ore, about half of its copper and nickel, one-eighth of its oil. But prices for those materials and energy sources have tanked amid the realization that China was building too fast — constructing little-used highways and entire suburbs of empty apartments — while many commodities producers were still scaling up.

The world is left with a commodities glut: As China’s appetite wanes, the rest of the developing world isn’t growing fast enough to pick up the slack.

In theory, a drop in commodities prices should provide a boost for developed, consumer-led countries — something that is already taking shape in the United States, where spending for everything from cars to homes is on the rise.

But in resource-rich countries, the pain of China’s slowdown is acute. Latin American nations are facing an end to years of easy commodities-led growth, helped by Chinese investment. Petro-states, such as Russia and Venezuela, are in crisis. The World Bank says sub-Saharan Africa, facing head winds from China’s situation, will grow less rapidly this year than projected — a step backward after a booming decade in one of the world’s poorest regions.

Many commodities experts say prices could remain low for several years and lead to massive cutbacks in jobs and investment. Rio de Janeiro-based Vale, the world’s largest producer of iron ore, has been racing to shutter mines and cut costs. The company, in tandem with a Japanese co-owner, recently sold the Isaac Plains coal mine, in Australia, only three years after the site was valued at more than $600 million.

The sale price: $1.

Above all, China’s rise was built by steel. And the experience of the past 20 years shows how Chinese demand could upend a sleepy commodity market on the way up while causing a price collapse and riling trade partners on the way back down.

On the way up? The Chinese steel industry transformed from one of the world’s largest (in 1995) to the largest eight times over. Chinese state-owned companies went on a massive overseas quest for iron ore, forcing the establishment of a daily market price. (Until the mid-2000s, the Japanese set annual prices in backroom negotiations with suppliers.) The value of iron ore spiked, sending mining companies on a hunt to expand — sometimes even into conflict zones. When the global recession hit, a Chinese government stimulus was filtered almost directly into the steel industry; producers didn’t flinch. In early 2011, the price for iron ore hit $180 per dry metric ton, up sixfold from 2005.

“Once-in-a-generation prices,” Jimmy Wilson, the president for iron ore at the Australian mining giant BHP Billiton, said in a presentation on the company’s Web site.

Economists say China always intended to “build ahead” — that is, to construct urban centers with the expectation that they would fill up with a fast-growing urban middle class. Over 20 years, some 300 million people — one quarter of the country — moved from the countryside to the city.

But even so, China overshot — something that was first apparent in 2011.

“That’s when you started seeing the ghost cities,” said Scott Kennedy, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

As a result, mining companies have a glut of ore on their hands. Iron ore prices have plummeted to about $50 per dry metric ton. BHP reported an 86 percent drop in net profit, to $1.9 billion, for its latest financial year. A recent survey of Australian mining companies showed that 80 percent plan to reduce jobs. Smaller companies are canceling projects and in danger of failure.

“We are in the early stages of a capital spending bust,” Morningstar, an investment and research firm, said last October in a lengthy report on iron ore.

Chinese leaders hope that if they slow down on construction, an inevitable wave of new urbanites will gradually fill up the apartments and buy cars for the highways. In the meantime, the excess buildup of steel is causing its own shock wave: Chinese companies are increasingly trying to export it.

By the estimate of U.S. industry officials, Chinese steelmakers can’t find domestic buyers for about half of what they produce. That alone amounts to about 400 million tons — what the United States would make in four years. In the first six months of the year, Chinese steel exports to the United States increased 25 percent, intensifying a trade dispute in which top American manufacturers accuse Beijing of dumping its supply in foreign markets at basement costs.

Chinese steelmakers face lower production costs because they are less constrained by environmental regulations at home and benefit from a series of government subsidies, Mario Longhi, the chief executive of Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel, said in an interview.

“They dump it in the rest of the world, and the United States is the most punished country in that context,” Longhi said.

U.S. Steel and four other major producers last month filed a complaint with the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission asking for tariffs against imports from China and several other countries.

In its own attempt to slash costs, U.S. Steel has cut jobs and idled mills from Texas to Ohio.

Longhi said that Chinese growth has “created a monster over time.”

Countries are typically hungriest for raw materials when they first industrialize; that’s what happened in the United States at the start of the 20th century and in Japan after World War II. China followed the same path, but, with 1.4 billion people, on an unprecedented scale.

China is not totally finished growing through government investment (and pouring concrete). It’s trying, for instance, to merge Beijing and surrounding cities into a connected megalopolis nearly the size of Utah.

But the nation’s leaders say the formula that drives growth needs to become more balanced and more dependent on consumers than on debt and investment. That requires a loosening of the government reins — another delicate process — in which dominant state-own enterprises would be privatized, with markets opened to foreign competitors.

“China’s future success, like its past accomplishments, will depend on continued implementation of necessary yet often difficult macro policies and reforms,” the International Monetary Fund said in a recent report on China.

Analysts say that China, as its per-capita income rises, will present an attractive market for an even broader range of companies. A growing middle class will want coffee, pork and refrigerators and demand better schools and hospitals.

“You have sector after sector where China is not done investing,” said Daniel Rosen, a Chinese economics analyst and partner at the Rhodium Group in New York.

Still, markets have historically struggled to anticipate when a fast-growing giant will hit a slower gear. That’s why, in the case of commodities, companies across dozens of nations overproduced and then were caught off guard when China decelerated. Analyst predictions made several years ago about future Chinese expansion already look overly rosy.

In a research paper published in October, former Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers and Harvard economist Lant Pritchett said forecasters rely too heavily on recent growth — rather than the long-term mean — in making predictions. Summers and Pritchett cautioned specifically about a drop-off in China, noting decades of unusually rapid expansion.

“China’s super-rapid growth has already lasted three times longer than a typical episode and is the longest ever recorded,” they wrote. “The ends of episodes tend to see full regression to the mean, abruptly.”

Rape threats, then no response: What it was like to be a woman on Twitter in 2014

Twitter’s policies on this type of thing are pretty clear.


The site has long forbidden its 284 million users from “targeted abuse” — the repeat, often one-sided sending of harassing or threatening messages to a particular user. And since a spate of ugly, high-profile harassment cases earlier this year, Twitter has vowed to enforce its policies more effectively — even promising, in a series of heralded changes made earlier this month, that a “safer Twitter” was on the horizon.

The issues of cyberbullying and harassment are, of course, nothing new; nor are they unique to Twitter and its users. But our awareness of these problems, and their wide-ranging social and psychological impact, is very recent.

Per an October study by the Pew Research Center, four in 10 Internet users have experienced online harassment, most of them through a social network. And despite the efforts of Del Harvey, Twitter’s secretive Head of Trust & Safety (and her attendant moderation team), Twitter remains one of the highest-profile — and most mainstream — social networks for harassment.

“Because of Twitter’s open nature — any user can send a message to any other user, in public — it’s especially vulnerable to mass harassment,” the tech writer Robinson Meyer explained.

In other words, Twitter’s progress on this issue is way more than an isolated case study; it is, instead, an early battleground, and a crucial weathervane that indicates if the war for a safe, inclusive social Web can be won.

I’ll be honest: I’ve followed this issue very closely, and not only because it’s part of my beat. Like virtually every woman with any kind of public Internet profile, I regularly receive threats, slurs and other typed invective in the course of doing my job. Sometimes they’re fairly benign: “get raped,” while definitely not the first thing you want to see on a Friday morning, doesn’t prompt a serious chat between me, my editor and building security.

But there have been other messages, too, messages that had me leaving work early, or consulting with The Washington Post’s lawyers, or calling my dad out of a business meeting in New York to explain what he and my mom should do if someone calls a bomb squad on them, as someone on Twitter promised.

It is very, very difficult to explain to a parent why people who don’t know you hate you so fiercely, all because of something you wrote on a blog. It is extra-difficult to explain that these people also hate them, my parents, by association.

“More of those Internet loonies?” my dad asked — which I guess approaches understanding.

But it also, alas, underestimates the importance of the issue — an importance that we, as a society, are still only beginning to recognize on a mass scale.

When Pacific Standard ran Amanda Hess’ seminal story on the online harassment of women last January, it was called the “civil rights issue of our time.” That’s not because women are “crybabies,” to quote a common argument, or because there exists some new, modern interest in “legislating feels.” It’s because many women, simply as a consequence of being women, face constant, systemic intimidation and aggression every time they sign online.

This year has only proved Hess’ thesis. In May, after a college student named Elliot Rodger killed six people in Isla Vista, California — and published a deranged, misogynistic manifesto to explain his spree — Twitter was rocked by waves of backlash, first from women sharing stories of sexual violence on the #YesAllWomen hashtag … and later by men disputing them, sometimes violently.

Less than three months later, following the death of comedian Robin Williams, his daughter, Zelda Williams, was driven off Twitter by a network of trolls who claimed she was somehow responsible for his suicide. (“Deleting this from my devices for a good long time, maybe forever,” she wrote. “Time will tell. Goodbye.”)

Even that incident would soon be upstaged by the antics of #Gamergate, a seething, vitriolic pseudo-movement that, within a span of months, used Twitter to drive at least three women in the gaming industry from their homes. Shortly thereafter, Monica Lewinsky joined Twitter as part of her campaign against cyberbullying — and she was met with a wall of, you guessed it, sexist cyberbullies.

Those, notably, are just the high-profile names — the big, extreme cases that made the news. Women tend not to talk about the the steady, inevitable trickle of lesser threats, the things that are “just wallpaper to me now,” as one feminist writer told The Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg in August. Few achieve the notoriety that Zelda Williams or Anita Sarkeesian or Monica Lewinsky do.

“Zelda has become this poster child,” Jennifer Pozner, the head of the advocacy group Women in Media and News, told The Post in August, “but what that overlooks is that Twitter, in particular, has become a place for abuse, and for women and people of color in particular. The company knows it and has done precious little.”

Is that true or fair to say of Twitter? I honestly couldn’t say, myself, which only confounds the issue further. A Twitter spokesman declined to comment specifically for this story; on previous occasions, the company has insisted that it does everything currently in its power to protect harassment victims — and that, in the future, it will do even more. (It’s telling, perhaps, that when Take Back the Tech slammed Twitter’s handling of women’s issues in September, “transparency around reporting redress” was one of the areas where Twitter needed to improve.)

The company did partner in November with the non-profit Women, Action and the Media on a project to research the harassment of women on Twitter and escalate their reports. Weeks later, in early December, Twitter announced some small changes to its abuse-reporting policies, including the ability to report on behalf of other users.

And yet, dozens of people have told me that they don’t even bother reporting abusive tweets anymore, because it seems to them, at least, that Twitter never takes action. Instead, they’re forced to turn outside the network: BlockTogether, a Web app that automatically hides messages from new or sparsely followed accounts, is an oft-invoked tool; others sign over their accounts to partners or friends until a particularly bad wave of abuse washes itself out.

I still report accounts, although my personal experience has also been uneven. I’ve become accustomed to seeing those automated form emails, always sweetly condescending, telling me that Twitter has ruled the account in question A-OK, or that the site would like me to “review (its) abusive behavior policy” and reply back that I have done so before they review my claims.

Last Friday, for instance, I reported four accounts — including the one that sent the aforementioned gem “get raped, (expletive)” — and got three matching, boilerplate rejections back.

“We understand that you might come across content on Twitter that you dislike or you find offensive,” the message reads, in part. “However, Twitter is a global platform that lets us participate in broader conversations and connect with people from many corners of the world.”


I am not naive on these issues: I understand that Twitter’s toeing a very difficult line, trying to provide a constructive, useful service to its users while also upholding the all-important virtues of free speech. Since both those things are critical to Twitter’s success, and since they often appear to act in opposition to each other, Twitter’s basically damned either way: Whatever it does, whoever it privileges, somebody will be unhappy. It’s really not an enviable position to be in.

And yet, there still seem to be so many holes Twitter could fill without controversy: There is still no way for victims to report multiple people at once; no way to stop an account, once suspended, from simply starting up again elsewhere; no way to prevent someone from making a whole bunch of fake accounts for the sole purpose of attacking someone else. Then there’s the issue of Twitter’s moderation team, which has reportedly not scaled at the same pace as the network. It’s telling, for instance, that important research around gender-based abuse was outsourced to Women, Action & the Media.

“I don’t think we should have to do this work,” a “frustrated” Jaclyn Friedman told the Atlantic in November. “It’s a scandal that a tiny, under-resourced nonprofit with two staff members is having to do free labor for them.”

Dewey writes The Post’s The Intersect web channel covering digital and Internet culture. 韩国半永久纹眉网,韩国半永久纹眉,washingtonpost韩国半永久纹眉会所,/news/the-intersect/