2020 presidential race could weigh on FANG stocks

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The 2020 presidential race could weigh on ‘FANG’ stocks as Democrats attack big tech

As 2020 presidential campaigns accelerate, the dominance of Silicon Valley technology companies is likely to remain a key issue for Democratic candidates, Bank of America analyst Justin Post said in a note to investors on Monday.

“Campaign focus on FANG regulation [is] likely here to stay,” Post said.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren last week unveiled a plan to break up the biggest tech companies if she is elected president. The Massachusetts Democrat is especially focused on four of Wall Street’s beloved “FAANG” stocks: Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google-parent Alphabet. The group also includes Netflix.

“The giant tech companies right now are eating up little, tiny businesses, start-ups – and competing unfairly,” Warren told CBS on Sunday.

“We’ve got to break these guys apart,” Warren added. “It’s like in baseball: You can be the umpire or you can own one of the teams, but you don’t get to be the umpire and own the teams.”

Post analyzed the “breakup scenarios” for Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook, which Warren referred to repeatedly in her criticism. While forced spinoffs may largely help the former two tech giants, Post thinks Facebook is the most at risk to seriously losing shareholder value.

Bank of America sees “a partial breakup of Alphabet (including spin of YouTube or Waymo)” as possibly “value enhancing.” With the broad reach of each of Alphabet’s business units, as separate entities, each brand “has enough scale to capture vast advertiser interest,” Post added.

Similarly for Amazon, Post said a breakup “would be somewhat neutral for the stock,” as investors in Jeff Bezos’ empire “are generally comfortable” with how much Amazon’s businesses would be worth on their own.

Breaking up Facebook “could be most concerning for investors,” Post said. He found that if Facebook’s Instagram and WhatsApp platforms were separated, they “would likely compete directly with Facebook for usage and advertisers, raising concerns on increased competition.”

That overlap in Facebook’s businesses is a key reason Warren believes they should be separated.

“They bought the competition and now they’re sucking the data out of the competition,” Warren said.

While Bank of America did not include Apple in its breakup analysis, Warren confirmed to CNBC that she intends to break up the iPhone maker. In her interview with CBS, Warren argued that she is not against markets, which she said “produce a lot of good,” but instead thinks “markets have to have rules.”

“It is not capitalism to have one giant that comes in and dominates, a monopolist that dominates a market,” Warren said.

Warren said recent talks with technology venture capital firms revealed that the places where Amazon, Facebook and Google compete are known as “kill zones” to entrepreneurs.

“They call it the kill zone because they don’t want to fund businesses in that space because they know Amazon will eat them up, Facebook will eat them up, Google will eat them up,” Warren said.

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Married priests, female deacons: Catholic Church mulls landmark changes | P.M. News

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Pope Francis: Catholic Church mulls 2 big changes on married priests and female deacons

An assembly of Roman Catholic bishops from the Amazon on Saturday proposed that married men in the remote area be allowed to be ordained priests, which could lead to a landmark change in the Church’s centuries-old discipline of celibacy.

The proposal, made in a final document from a three-week assembly, known as a synod, passed by 128 votes in favour to 41 against.

Pope Francis will consider it, along with many other proposals on issues including the environment and the role of women, in a future document of his own, known as an Apostolic Exhortation.

Separately, when he closed the synod’s final working session earlier on Saturday, Francis announced that he would reconvene a commission to study the history of women deacons in the early centuries of the Catholic Church, responding to calls by women that they be allowed to take up the role today.

But the issue of a married priesthood for the Amazon region was by far the most contentious item in the 120-paragraph final document.

The proposal calls for married men who are already deacons in the Church, have a stable family relationship, and are proven leaders in their communities to be ordained as priests.

It said the ordination to the priesthood would have to be preceded by an “adequate formation”.

This solution to the shortage of priests, backed by many South American bishops, would allow Catholics in isolated areas to attend Mass and receive the sacraments more regularly.

At least 85% of Amazon villages cannot attend Mass every week and some cannot do so for years.

Conservatives oppose the change, fearing it would be a slippery slope leading to a married priesthood throughout the 1.3 billion member Church.

They fear that if one part of the Church was allowed to ordain married men as an exception, there would be nothing to stop other areas with a shortage of priests doing the same, even in developed countries.

A CBS News poll last year said nearly 70% of American Catholics favour letting priests marry.

Conservatives are also opposed to women deacons, saying the deaconate is linked with the male priesthood.

Many deacons in the Church around the world today are married men.

Deacons, like priests, are ordained ministers. They may not celebrate Mass, but they may preach, teach in the name of the Church, baptize and conduct wedding, wake and funeral services and even run a parish with the permission of a bishop.

In his closing comments to the synod, Francis said: “We still have not grasped the significance of women in the Church.”

Scholars have debated the precise role of women deacons in the early Church.

Some say they ministered only to other women, such as at immersion rites at baptism and to inspect the bodies of women in cases where Christian men were accused of domestic violence and brought before Church tribunals.

Others believe women deacons in the early Church were fully ordained and on a par with the male deacons at the time. The Church did away with female deacons altogether in later centuries.

A commission that handed its report to the pope this year was inconclusive. Francis, who ends the synod ceremoniously with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday, gave no details on when the new commission would start its work.

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Hillary Clinton Blasts Pompeo, Giuliani for Aiding Trumps Alleged Crimes

Hillary and Chelsea Clinton made a rare joint late-night appearance on The Late Show Monday evening to promote their new Book of Gutsy Women, which takes a historical look at women who helped change the world for the better. But of course, host Stephen Colbert couldnt help but get the former secretary of states reaction to the latest developments in the Trump whistleblower scandal.

Moments before the Clintons joined Colbert on stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, The Wall Street Journal reported that current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was listening in on President Trumps phone call with the Ukrainian leader that has now prompted a formal impeachment inquirydespite the fact that he previously pleaded ignorance about the whistleblower complaint.

How many times when you were secretary of state did you have to say to Obama, You cant extort foreign countries to get dirt on your political enemies? Colbert asked, prompting a belly laugh from Clinton.

Yeah, that never happened, she replied, shaking her head. She added that the secretary of states job in that moment is to make sure he knows, number one, what the president is going to say on those calls, implying that the Trump administration may not be as prepared for talks with foreign leaders as the previous White House was.

But because youve got a president who doesnt listen to anybody and doesnt follow instructions whatsoever, Clinton said, Im not sure they havent just given up on trying to give him any sort of preparation.

From there, Clinton pushed back on the Republican defenders of the president who are claiming the charges against him are hearsay. As she put it, It was an admission from the White House! I mean, the transcript of the phone call was put out by the White House. And the whistleblower has a depth of understanding that needs to be taken seriously about what happened.

I think if the secretary of state was on the call as is now being reported, he should have been one of the very first people to say, Wait a minute, weve got to clean this up. You cant let that stand, she added. But we dont know what he did.

As for Rudy Giuliani, who has been reportedly running what amounts to a shadow State Department on behalf of Trump, Clinton said, That would be a big problem if it had happened under Obama.

Presidents often useas do secretaries of statethey might use an envoy or a special adviser to deliver a message, she said. But again, it is supposed to be carefully thought through. And from what weve seen on television, carefully thinking through is not one of Rudys strong points.

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Trump says he wants to meet whistleblower: ‘I deserve to meet my accuser’

acting Director

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Sunday escalated his rebuke of the anonymous whistleblower at the center of the mounting Ukraine controversy after House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry against him, asserting that he deserves to “meet my accuser.”

“His lies were made in perhaps the most blatant and sinister manner ever seen in the great Chamber. He wrote down and read terrible things, then said it was from the mouth of the President of the United States. I want Schiff questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason,” Trump said.
CBS
Lawyers for the whistleblower sent a letter to the acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire on Saturday outlining “serious” safety concerns for their client as Trump continues to take aim at the person.
    “The purpose of this letter is to formally notify you of serious concerns we have regarding our client’s personal safety,” the letter says, adding that recent comments by Trump are reason for “heightened” concern.
    “The events of the past week have heightened our concerns that our client’s identity will be disclosed publicly and that, as a result, our client will be put in harm’s way.”
    The letter also thanks Maguire’s office for “support thus far to activate appropriate resources to ensure their safety.” While the whistleblower’s attorneys wouldn’t elaborate on what those resources are, they strenuously denied their client is under federal protection as reported Sunday by CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
    Mark Zaid, one of the whistleblower’s lawyers, said in a statement given to CNN, “60 Minutes completely misinterpreted the contents of our letter.” He had was not available for comment about Trump’s Sunday tweets. The television program tweeted late Sunday that “60 Minutes stands by its sources and reporting on the whistleblower.”
    Trump’s tweets come days after the release of the whistleblower complaint that alleges Trump abused his official powers “to solicit interference” from Ukraine in the upcoming 2020 election, and that the White House took steps to cover it up. Trump has denied any wrongdoing. A rough transcript released by the White House shows Trump repeatedly pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, his potential 2020 political rival, and his son, Hunter Biden.
    There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden.
    Congress
    Even before the whistleblower complaint was made available to lawmakers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared Trump had betrayed his oath of office and announced this past week she was opening a formal impeachment inquiry into the President.
    Trump on Sunday also echoed his previous attacks on the whistleblower and promised “Big Consequences” for anyone who assisted in providing the person information.
    Joseph Maguire
    “I want to meet not only my accuser, who presented SECOND & THIRD HAND INFORMATION, but also the person who illegally gave this information, which was largely incorrect, to the ‘Whistleblower,'” he said. “Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President? Big Consequences!”
    Trump said last week that whoever provided the whistleblower with information about his call with Zelensky is “close to a spy,” and said that in the old days spies were dealt with differently. The comment prompted three House chairmen — including Schiff — to call on the President to stop attacking the whistleblower.
    spy
      “The President’s comments today constitute reprehensible witness intimidation and an attempt to obstruct Congress’ impeachment inquiry. We condemn the President’s attacks, and we invite our Republican counterparts to do the same because Congress must do all it can to protect this whistleblower, and all whistleblowers,” they said. “Threats of violence from the leader of our country have a chilling effect on the entire whistleblower process, with grave consequences for our democracy and national security.”
      This story has been updated.

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      A year later, what Khashoggi’s murder says about Trump’s close ally

      (CNN)A year ago, Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi writer, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain paperwork so he could marry his Turkish fiance, who was waiting for him outside the building. He was never seen again.

      A contributor to the Washington Post, Khashoggi, aged 59, was a critic of the Saudi regime and was living in self-imposed exile in the United States. He was murdered inside the Istanbul consulate on October 2, 2018, by a team that was dispatched from Saudi Arabia, among them associates of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman — known as MBS — the then-32-year-old de facto ruler of the country.
      The Saudis (and MBS himself) have consistently denied that bin Salman had any direct role in Khashoggi’s murder and instead have ascribed it to a rogue operation by overzealous subordinates. They charged 11 of them, five of whom face a possible death penalty, although given the opaque nature of the Saudi legal system little is clear about the yet unresolved case.
        In November 2018, the CIA concluded — with “high confidence” according to the Washington Post — that bin Salman had ordered the murder of Khashoggi.
        Khashoggi’s murder brought into sharp focus concerns about the judgment of the young prince that had percolated for years. MBS had variously entered an ongoing war in Yemen that, according to the UN, had precipitated the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet; he had blockaded the gas-rich state of Qatar, a close American ally and the site of the most important US military base in the Middle East. Domestically, MBS had also imprisoned a host of clerics, dissidents and businessmen.

          Trump: ‘I’m extremely angry’ about Khashoggi killing

        At first it looked like Trump might distance himself from MBS. Less than two weeks after Khashoggi’s murder on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” President Donald Trump promised “severe punishment” for the Saudis if it was proven that they had murdered Khashoggi. Khashoggi, after all, was both a legal resident of the United States and a journalist who was contributing regularly to a major American media institution.
        A month later, Trump backpedaled, citing putative massive American arms sales to the Saudis. Trump told reporters, “…it’s ‘America First’ for me. It’s all about ‘America First.’ We’re not going to give up hundreds of billions of dollars in orders, and let Russia, China, and everybody else have them … military equipment and other things from Russia and China. … I’m not going to destroy the economy for our country by being foolish with Saudi Arabia.”
        Until Khashoggi’s murder, it was possible to emphasize the positive case for bin Salman, to argue that he was genuinely reforming Saudi Arabia’s society and economy. He had clipped the wings of the feared religious police in the kingdom and had given women greater freedoms, such as the right to drive and a larger role in the workplace.
        Bin Salman encouraged concerts and movie theaters in a society that had long banned both and he also started to end the rigid gender separation in the kingdom by, for instance, allowing women to attend sports events.
        He also promised a magical moment in the Middle East when the Arab states could deliver a peace deal with the Palestinians, while he was liberating his people from the stultifying yoke of Sunni Wahhabism that had nurtured so many of the 9/11 plotters. For many years, Washington had puzzled over whether Saudi Arabia was more of an arsonist or a firefighter when it came to the propagation of militant Islam. Bin Salman appeared to be a firefighter.

          Wolf Blitzer presses senator over meeting with world leader

        MBS also has a somewhat plausible plan for diversifying the heavily oil-dependent Saudi economy known as Vision 2030, to be financed in part by the sale of parts of the oil giant Aramco, which may be the world’s most valuable corporation with a market value that the Saudis hope is two trillion dollars.
        In March 2018, MBS even visited Hollywood and Silicon Valley, where he ditched his Arab robes in favor of a suit and where he was feted as a reformer by film stars and tech industry heavyweights.
        But after Khashoggi’s murder, the positive case for Mohammed bin Salman was largely submerged in the West, where he was increasingly viewed as an impetuous autocrat. In 2015, he had authorized the disastrous and ongoing war in neighboring Yemen, in which tens of thousands of civilians have been killed. He had also effectively kidnapped the Lebanese Prime Minister, a dual Lebanese-Saudi citizen, when he was on a trip to Saudi Arabia. And MBS led the blockade of his country’s neighbor, gas-rich Qatar, which continues to this day.
        In addition to his arrests of prominent clerics and dissidents, Bin Salman, in a palace coup, supplanted his cousin Mohamed bin Nayef as crown prince in 2017. Famously, MBS also imprisoned 200 rich Saudis at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh and had relieved them of more than $100 billion because of their purported corruption.
        Now Bin Salman faces what may be his most difficult foreign policy challenge yet: What to do about the drone and missile attacks earlier this month against the crown jewel of Saudi Arabia’s economy, the Aramco Abqaiq oil facility, an attack the crown prince and the Trump administration have plausibly blamed Iran for. The Iranians have denied involvement in the attacks
        This attack is particularly problematic for MBS, as he is also Saudi minister of defense and he has presided over a massive arms buildup, yet was not able to defend the kingdom against the missile and drone barrage that took down half of Saudi’s oil capacity, at least temporarily.

          Post-Khashoggi murder, why should U.S. believe anything Saudi Arabia has to say?

        The Iranian attack also poses a quandary for President Trump, who doesn’t want the United States to get embroiled in another war in the Middle East, even though he has embraced MBS as a close ally.
        On Sunday, CBS’s “60 Minutes” aired an interview with bin Salman in which he said that he hoped that Saudi Arabia could reach a “political and peaceful solution” with Iran.
          One can only hope that MBS and Trump don’t launch a war against Iran, which has a large army, significant proxy forces around the Middle East and sophisticated ballistic missile systems. However, it’s hard to imagine them not responding at all since the Iranians have shown they can now attack with impunity a key node of the world’s energy markets.
          Mohammed bin Salman may be able to preside over the murder of a dissident journalist in Turkey with relative ease, but there is little in his conduct of foreign policy hitherto to suggest that he will skillfully deal with the Iranians.

          Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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          Cokie Roberts, famed journalist and political commentator, dies at 75

          Roberts spent decades at ABC News, wrote books and never became cynical, colleagues say: When I think of politics, I think of Cokie Roberts

          ABC

          Cokie Roberts, the daughter of politicians who grew up to cover the family business in Washington for ABC News and NPR over several decades, died on Tuesday in Washington of complications from breast cancer. She was 75.

          ABC broke into network programming to announce her death and pay tribute.

          Roberts was the daughter of Hale Boggs, a former House majority leader from Louisiana, and Lindy Boggs, who succeeded her husband in Congress. Roberts worked in radio and at CBS News and PBS before joining ABC News in 1988.

          She was a congressional reporter and analyst who co-anchored the Sunday political show This Week with Sam Donaldson from 1996 to 2002.

          Roberts, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, kept working nearly to the end. She appeared on This Week in August, drawing enough concern about her evident weight loss that she released a statement saying I am doing fine and was looking forward to covering next years election.

          She co-wrote a political column for many years with her husband of 53 years, Steven, who survives her. They had two children.

          Roberts wrote books, focusing on the role of women in history. She wrote two with her husband, one about interfaith families and From This Day Forward, an account of their marriage.

          Current ABC News political reporter Jonathan Karl recalled being in awe of Roberts when he first started working at the network.

          When I think of politics, I think of Cokie Roberts, he said.

          Her colleagues said she never became cynical or lost her love for politics. She did force NPR to clarify her role as a commentator when she wrote a column in 2016 calling on the rational wing of the Republican party to reject Donald Trump as their presidential candidate.

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