10:43 GMT15 August 2020
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    Federal Agents Pull Out of Portland; House Digs Into Big Tech Firms; US Troops to Exit Germany

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    The US seems to be entering and exiting a lot of spaces, but one thing remains the same: the economy is still slumping. Where are these changes leaving Americans?

    Wyatt Reed, journalist and producer for Radio Sputnik's By Any Means Necessary, has been covering the latest tensions and protests between demonstrators and federal law enforcement officers. As many agents begin to leave Portland, Oregon, on Thursday, some will stay behind, vowing to protect the city's federal courthouse, a backdrop for much of the recent unrest.

    Chris Garaffa, web developer and technologist, gives an overview of the House of Representatives' Antitrust Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday involving leaders of four major US technology companies: Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook. The hearing began with a suggestion that these four companies are not only threats to competition, but to democracy. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai fielded questions about alleged anti-conservative bias, anti-conservative bias, anti-conservative bias - oh, and collecting too much data, using that data illegally and being too cozy with China.

    Mark Sleboda, international affairs and security analyst, talks about the US cutting back its troop deployments in Germany. Nearly 12,000 US troops will be pulled from the country, with some shifted around Europe, including sending some units to Belgium and Italy, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed. He said the change will begin within weeks, but overall, the shifts will take months or even years. What about the argument some German politicians have made, that this will cost German jobs and that German workers didn’t deserve this trouble? US Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) called the move a “grave error” and “a slap in the face at a friend and ally when we should instead be drawing closer in our mutual commitment to deter Russian and Chinese aggression.” Is the implication that China is now going to invade Germany?

    Steve Grumbine, founder and CEO of the nonprofits Real Progressives and Real Progress in Action, takes a look at the new US jobs report and breaks down the bleak economic forecast. The US GDP fell 9.5% during the second quarter of the year - and in the standard and annualized method of reporting quarterly data, that equals a 32.9%drop. That’s the biggest, swiftest drop since modern record-keeping began, with the only true comparisons in this country’s history being the Great Depression and the demobilization after World War II, both of which occurred before the advent of modern economic statistics. This drop, of course, was deliberately undertaken by shutting down the economy. But the fear seems to be that we didn’t shut down thoroughly enough or long enough, and so while we might have had, if we’d gotten lucky, a steep drop and then a steep and rapid recovery, it looks like we’re instead in for a long period of uncertainty in both health and economic terms, which doesn’t bode well for the recovery.

    Dr. Yolandra Hancock, medical director of the CRC Wellness Center and founder of Delta Health & Wellness Consulting, explains why Americans having fewer children isn't a good thing for the economy. A July 29 story in Bloomberg Businessweek focuses on the US birth rate and the current crisis, citing two studies showing that Americans are, in fact, not stuck at home fueling another baby boom, but much the opposite. A Guttmacher Institute survey of about 2,000 American women in late April and early May "found that 34% wanted to delay pregnancy or have fewer children as a result of the pandemic. That outweighed the 17% who said they wanted children sooner or more of them," Bloomberg reported. "In June the Brookings Institution released a study predicting the US is headed for 'a large, lasting baby bust.' Its researchers forecast there will be 300,000 to 500,000 fewer children born in the US in 2021 than there would have been absent the crisis, which amounts to a decrease of roughly 10% from 2019." Why is there a decline in births, and what is the impact on us all?

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    Tags:
    Economy, Racism, Germany, birth rate, Americans, house, Apple, Google, Facebook, Tech, congress, Portland
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