Taiwan, Italy, Germany, YouTube, Michigan, Centibillionaires, Hermes

MRD July.png

What I am watching Today = March 20, 2019

Taiwan, Italy, Germany, YouTube, Michigan, Centibillionaires, Hermes


✔️ Taiwan president to visit US despite Chinese opposition

✔️ YouTube’s struggles to shut down video of the New Zealand shooting

✔️ Can Terry McAuliffe sell himself to leftward-leaning Democrats in 2020?

✔️ Disney-Fox deal is complete

✔️ Barclays unveiled as Women’s Super League sponsor in groundbreaking deal


Taiwan president to visit US despite Chinese opposition: FT reports, Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen will make a one-day stopover in the US next week in a move that underscores warming ties with the US despite criticism from China. Ms Tsai will travel to Hawaii during a week-long tour of three of Taiwan’s formal diplomatic allies in the Pacific, in a trip aimed at shoring up support in the face of pressure from Beijing which opposes recognition of the government in Taipei.

China to invite European diplomats to Xinjiang in new diplomatic push: Reuters reports, China will invite Beijing-based European diplomats to visit its far western region of Xinjiang, the foreign ministry told Reuters, furthering its outreach to fend off criticism about a de-radicalization program.

CNBC: Trade talks are in final stages, but there is still fear China may walk back concessions

USTR Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing the week of March 25 for high-level talks to try to hammer out a deal.

The US agriculture secretary is suggesting that China could treble its imports of US farm products under a deal.

WSJ: US chip makers fear trap in a trade deal with China

Proposed stepped-up purchases would give Beijing more control, semiconductor industry says.

US-China trade dispute likely to morph into technology war, says the president of the US-China Business Council: Speaking at Shorenstien APARC on March 11, US and Chinese trade negotiators remain engaged in intensive talks, although it is yet to be seen whether and when they can strike a final deal. But even if they are able to reach an agreement, in the confrontation between Washington and Beijing “the trade part is incidental: it’s a technology war, not a trade war,” said Ambassador Craig Allen, president of the US-China Business Council (USCBC).

Adam Minter: China’s electric cars hit some potholes: The government is doing everything it can to spur sales of new-energy vehicles. First, it should stop them from spontaneously combusting. 

European foreign policy: a new realism on China: The European Council will use a summit this week to focus once more on China — and decide whether it is time to get tough again. Mounting concerns over Chinese industrial policy, cybersecurity and trade wars have all combined to put Beijing firmly back on the European agenda. https://on.ft.com/2TXhzoj

Rattled by Beijing’s economic clout, the EU is finally trying to devise a tougher strategy.

Xi says China-Italy pact offers closer ties in strategic sectors: Bloomberg reports, Xi Jinping, brushing aside US and European concerns ahead of his visit to Rome, offered Italy a “global strategic partnership” stretching from building the new Silk Road together to boosting ties in sensitive sectors including telecoms and ports. Writing in daily Corriere della Sera, Xi invoked a “new era” in relations between China and Italy.

Germany to create fund to foil foreign takeovers after China moves: Reuters reports, Germany plans to pass legislation by the end of 2019 to create a state-owned fund that can protect key companies from takeovers by Chinese and other foreign firms, government sources said, in a marked shift from its "hands-off" approach to business.

UK is to start issuing official threat-level warnings for far-right terrorism, just as it does for jihadist and N. Ireland related groups.

UK unemployment rate dipped below 4% for the first time since the 1970s.

British government in chaos over Brexit delay: NYT reports, retreating in the face of a bitterly divided cabinet, Prime Minister Theresa May is now said to be requesting only a short extension in the process.

UK heads for cliff-edge showdown on Brexit: FT reports, May seeks short delay to EU divorce but Juncker warns no extension likely to be granted this week.

The Times: Theresa May pleads for delay to Brexit as EU stands firm

It is 1,000 days since the UK voted to leave the European Union, and the biggest question remains when will the country actually exit the union.

FT: EU hardens stance on Brexit delay as May’s cabinet splits over its demands

Barnier lays down conditions ahead of a summit where PM will seek an extension. 


Inside YouTube’s struggles to shut down video of the New Zealand shooting — and the humans who outsmarted its systems: WP reports, Pedro Domingos, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington, said that artificial intelligence is much less sophisticated than many people believe, and Silicon Valley companies often portray their systems as more powerful than they actually are as they compete for business. In fact, even the most advanced artificial intelligence systems still are fooled in ways that a human would easily detect.

Amazing these sites don't add a 30-second, 60-second delay when someone posts live video - I have to believe this will happen soon.

Also, once again, the sunshine of California warps SV computer engineers from seeing the possibility that social media can and will be used for evil.

Farmers Markets: The number of farmers markets in the US rose from 2,000 in 1994 to 8,600 markets in 2019.


Tracking Trump: Trump’s standing across America: On a daily basis, Morning Consult is surveying over 5,000 registered voters across the United States on President Trump. Below is the current data.

Since Trump took office:

His net approval in Michigan has decreased by 23 percentage points.

His net approval in Ohio has decreased by 19 percentage points.
His net approval in Pennsylvania has decreased by 17 percentage points.
His net approval in Wisconsin has decreased by 20 percentage points.

His net approval in Florida has decreased by 24 percentage points.

85% of GOP primary voters approve of Trump. 14% don't.

76% of GOP primary voters support Trump's nomination. 20% support another candidate.

Joe Biden tells supporters he plans 2020 bid - he'll announce in early April after the end of Q1 reporting.

Politico: World leaders tell Biden: We need you

"At the Munich Security Conference, Biden heard a repeated refrain, according to a conference attendee familiar with the conversations: The world needs you."

Can Terry McAuliffe sell himself to leftward-leaning Democrats in 2020? WP reports, the former Virginia governor once appeared to be well positioned for a White House run as a socially liberal, business-friendly Democrat. But now it’s unclear if there is room for McAuliffe in a party that seems to be pulling leftward.

BTW - The answer is no.

Candidates reach for the ticket to Democratic debates: 65,000 donors: WP reports, the new criteria have proved to be a boon to lesser-known candidates seeking a national stage and could create challenges for more-established politicians seeking to break away from the pack.


Google hit with a $1.7 billion fine over EU ad blocking: WSJ reports, the European Union fined Alphabet’s Google $1.7 billion for abusing the dominance of its search engine to block competitors in the niche market of selling text ads on the search results that appear on third-party websites. 

Disney closed its acquisition of the major entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox, combining some of Hollywood’s best-known studios, characters, and franchises to better compete against Netflix.

LAT: Disney-Fox deal is complete; CEO Bob Iger's big swing could change media industry

Ban on cashless stores: New Jersey Governor signs law making it the second state to ban cashless shops and restaurants, with some exceptions. The new law takes aim at Amazon Go and others. 

Peloton is being sued for using music without permission in its video fitness classes: The Verge reports, several members of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) have collectively filed a lawsuit against fitness startup Peloton today, seeking over $150 million in damages. The complaint, filed by Downtown Music Publishing, Ultra Music, and eight other publishing groups, says that Peloton has been using their musical works for years in its workout videos without proper licensing, resulting in income lost for songwriters.

Bayer shares slide after latest Roundup cancer ruling: Reuters reports, shares in Germany's Bayer's fell more than 12 percent on Wednesday after a second US jury ruled its Roundup weed killer caused cancer.


Centibillionaires: Bill Gates joins Jeff Bezos as the only two members of the $100 Billion Club. Gates’s fortune, now $100 billion on the nose, hasn’t reached such heights since the dot-com boom, when Bezos was only beginning his march up the world’s wealth rankings. The Amazon founder is now worth $145.6 billion.

Bloomberg tracks the fortunes of some 2,800 billionaires. Of those, 145 are worth at least $10 billion, making them decabillionaires. 

Hermes has become the latest fashion industry victim of men’s casual dress: Signaling weakness in its silk business as neckties lose their allure. Revenue from silk and textiles rose 3 percent in 2018, the slowest growth of the French luxury-goods maker’s business units. Chief Executive Officer Axel Dumas said Wednesday the company has been shifting production to adjust to men’s new preferences. “There’s a structural decline” in neckties, Dumas said on a call with reporters. “We have a lot of novelties coming. We’re launching more scarves for men.”


ESPN + UFC have orchestrated a knockout deal allowing the world-wide-leader to stream 12 UFC fights per year for the next 7 years.

WSJ: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels near record $430 million deal

I've never seen Mike Trout play baseball.

Barclays unveiled as Women’s Super League sponsor in groundbreaking deal: Guardian reports, the Football Association has unveiled Barclays as the first sponsor of the newly professional Women’s Super League in what has been described as a groundbreaking multimillion-pound deal. The Guardian understands it is worth more than £10m over the next three seasons. According to the analytics firm Nielsen, the sponsorship is a record for women’s sport in the UK. First the first time there will be prize money in WSL, with £500,000 divided according to league position each season.

It's important because it's getting the most attention....

Ross Rant March 2018.png

So 13 EU nations are supporting China's BRI, Britain can't sort out how to Brexit, and America is consumed with a scam where two C-list celebrities rigged the system to get their progeny into elite universities.

Seems right.

Currently, the US is all about personality trumping policy.

However, as a news story, this is Shakespearean.

This news demands we pay attention - it is simply hired-wired into the lizard brain cultural foundation of America.

It's no wonder the Feds led with Hollywood stars cheating the system and finding more support for children already given amazing support - this is the ultimate narrative and captures attention from the start.

For entrepreneurs and Hollywood stars who deal with sharks daily, the emotional ups and downs of performing, working, and living at the highest levels of America, they wanted a guaranteed process, they were taking no chances.

The pressure to buy academics and credentials in America is real. The idea that being in the right network and around the right alumni is reinforced daily in America.

So they turned to a college entrance professional with a secret sauce and “side door” process to help kids of the wealthy and powerful and connected into highly sought after universities.

This story will be with us for some time. This story is the ultimate narrative and will foster memes, pods, books, movies, and plays.

The charges will shake the high echelons of American academia.

Politicians on the campaign trail will weave this story into their campaign speeches reinforcing us vs. them and reminding voters of the advantages the ultra-rich enjoy in accessing the country’s best colleges.

Students will continue to feel intense competition where merit alone may not be enough to assure admission, even for students with perfect grade-point averages and stellar resumes, to the most sought after schools.

It's a heck of a story, but possibly not the most important story this week.

Your lizard brain is a heck of a news editor.

-- Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross specializes in thought leader strategy and management for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics. He is the founder of Brigadoon (thebrigadoon.com) and Caracal Global (caracal.global).

Theresa May, Meatless Mondays, Beto O'Rourke, Joe Biden, Zinedine Zidane

Theresa May, Meatless Mondays, Beto O'Rourke, Joe Biden, Zinedine Zidane

March 12, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 


✔️ Brexit vote looming, Theresa May secures EU help

✔️ New York City school menus go meatless on Mondays

✔️ Registered Republicans like Trump but want a GOP challenger

✔️ Boeing scrambles to contain fallout

✔️ Zinedine Zidane returns to coach Real Madrid


FT: May agrees revised Brexit deal with Juncker

‘Now is the time to come together,’ says PM, hoping new assurances will win over critics.

Theresa May urged MPs last night to unite and back an “improved Brexit deal” after securing changes that she said ensured Britain could not be trapped in the Irish backstop.

May secures concessions from EU on Brexit deal: WSJ reports, British Prime Minister Theresa May secured concessions from the European Union over her Brexit divorce deal, in a last-minute push to head off a large-scale defeat when the British Parliament votes on the agreement Tuesday.

Brexit vote looming, Theresa May secures EU help: NYT reports, the British prime minister flew to Strasbourg and won concessions on the “backstop” plan for the Irish border. Whether they are enough remains unclear.

The world's oldest alliance that is still in force: The alliance between England and Portugal was signed in 1373 and last activated in WWII.

Paris okays proposed French-German parliamentary assembly: DW reports, a combined German-French parliamentary assembly that will be able to propose joint but non-binding resolutions has been given the green light by France's National Assembly. Its first sitting is due on March 25 in Paris.

US warns Germany to drop Huawei or lose intel access: WSJ reports, the Trump administration has told Germany it would limit the intelligence it shares if Berlin allows Huawei to build Germany’s 5G mobile-internet infrastructure.

AFP: No date yet for Trump-Xi trade summit: White House

Nikkei: Japan to forgo inviting China's Xi asstate guest in June

Japan will likely ditch plans to invite Xi Jinping as a national guest in June out of consideration for Trump who is scheduled to visit the month before.

Fear of Trump walking on Xi haunts China as trade talks near end: Bloomberg reports, Trump and his aides have for weeks been pushing for Xi to agree to a meeting at Mar-a-Lago to finalize a deal as soon as this month to end a dispute that has cast a shadow over the global economy. Trump himself has said that it’s only when the two leaders meet that the final details can be ironed out. Chinese officials, however, have long been wary of putting Xi in a position where he might be embarrassed by an unpredictable Trump or forced into last-minute concessions.

China’s economy might be nearly a seventh smaller than reported: The Economist reports, a new paper, by Chang-Tai Hsieh of the University of Chicago and three co-authors from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, finds that industrial output and investment have been consistently embellished. As a result, they argue that China overstated real GDP growth by two percentage points on average every year from 2008 to 2016. Over time that adds up: official figures for 2016 would have exaggerated the size of the economy by 16%, or more than $1.5trn.

Mexico: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador insisted Monday the Mexican economy is strong as he completed 100 days in office, dismissing critics who warn a climate of uncertainty could weigh on growth.

"Fortunately, our economy is on the march. It's still growing slowly, but there's not the slightest sign of a recession, as our conservative opponents wish and as their economic analysts forecast, in bad faith."

FT: Blackouts raise political heat on Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro

Washington and Juan Guaidó, opposition leader, blame power cuts on beleaguered leader.

School and work canceled for the third day in Venezuela.

Pompeo accuses Cuba and Russia of propping up Venezuelan ruler: NYT reports, Pompeo’s comments came amid a devastating power outage that has plunged many of Venezuela’s most populous areas into darkness, spoiling food in a nation where little is available.

“When there is no electricity, thank the marvels of modern Cuban-led engineering,” Pompeo said in comments laced with sarcasm. “When there’s no water, thank the excellent hydrologists from Cuba. When there’s no food, thank the Cuban communist overlords.”

India votes: The world’s largest, most complicated democratic exercise: FT reports, this year’s electorate is 900m, around 10% higher than in 2014, and as many as 130m are first-time voters

OTD: In 1930 Gandhi started a 240-mile march to the sea in protest against the British monopoly on the sale of salt.

NATO chief invited to address US Congress amid tensions: AFP reports, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday extended a rare invitation to the head of NATO to address a joint meeting of Congress in early April to mark the alliance's 70th anniversary.

Washington is scheduled to host a NATO ministerial meeting on April 3 and 4.

Former Vice President Cheney challenges Pence on Trump’s foreign policy: WP reports, at a closed-door retreat hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, Cheney compared the president’s instincts to those of President Barack Obama.


New York City school menus go meatless on Mondays: WSJ reports, the NYC mayor says the policy will improve the health of children and the planet; food trade group says the move will limit low-income youngsters’ access to protein.

The nation’s largest school district follows others, such as Los Angeles, in offering only vegetarian dishes on Mondays, saying the move will help the environment by cutting greenhouse gases. 

Women finally get their own World Cup soccer style: NYT reports, for decades, women’s uniforms were just derivations of men’s. Now, taking specific design cues, like ponytail-friendly necklines, comes the good stuff

Nike revealed the new home and away uniforms for 14 out of 24 competing teams, and for the first time since the brand began working with the WWC tournament in 1995, each one of them was made specifically for the women’s teams, not as derivations or extensions of kits made for men.


Impeachment - not for Nancy: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she doesn’t support pursuing the impeachment of Trump.

NYT: Impeaching Trump is ‘not worth it,’ Nancy Pelosi says

WP: Nancy Pelosi on impeaching Trump: ‘He’s just not worth it’

In a wide-ranging interview, the country’s most powerful Democrat says Trump is unfit to be president — “ethically,” “intellectually” and “curiosity-wise” — but impeachment would be too divisive.

Once again, a brilliant political move by Nancy Pelosi - he strategy ensures two winning tactics to remove Trump from the White House.

New York attorney general opens investigation of Trump projects: NYT reports, the New York attorney general’s office late on Monday issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank for records relating to the financing of four major Trump Organization projects and a failed effort to buy the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League in 2014, according to a person briefed on the subpoenas.

DSM Register: Registered Republicans like Trump but 40 percent want a GOP challenger

Most registered Republicans think Trump is doing a good job, but they are split over whether another GOP candidate should challenge him for their party’s nomination in 2020.

Name the last president of the modern age seeking re-election to have a primary challenger who went onto win the general election?

You can't.

It's never happened.

Now the Dems care about Wisconsin: The Democratic Party has selected Milwaukee to hold its 2020 convention.

Reuters: Beto O'Rourke heading to Iowa, fueling speculation about White House bid

A trip to Iowa on Saturday, where the first votes in the nominating contest will be cast in February, suggests his entry into the race is imminent.

William McGurn: The case for Joe Biden: The former vice president could pose a formidable challenge to Trump—if Democrats let him.

He brings a Democratic ethos that he says was forged in blue-collar Scranton, PA.

Biden’s best hope is to campaign as someone who will restore civility to the White House.

The 2016 election was unusual in that the leading two presidential candidates each had unfavorable ratings north of 50%.

Joshua Spivak: Why Joe Biden would probably win the Democratic primary: If Biden enters the race, his chances of winning the nomination are strong. Most modern presidents retain popularity after they leave office, especially within their own party, and the vice president is often able to translate this popularity into a successful run.


NYT: Boeing scrambles to contain fallout from deadly Ethiopia crash

Similarities to a recent crash in Indonesia provoked concern among carriers, pilots, flight attendants and passengers.

More than a dozen airlines grounded the 737 Max 8, but the FAA said it did not have enough information to take action.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 jets typically make more than 8,500 flights per week.

The FAA has no plans to ground Boeing’s 737 MAX airliners following the deadly crash in Ethiopia. The FAA said the Boeing 737 Max 8 was airworthy but said it would mandate design changes to the aircraft from Boeing by April. Boeing confirmed the announcement and will deploy a software upgrade across the fleet “in the coming weeks.”

LAT: US airlines express confidence in Boeing’s 737 Max, despite calls for grounding

Barrick Gold, the world’s biggest gold miner, called off its nearly $18 billion offer for rival Newmont Mining after the two agreed to a Nevada joint venture.

Walmart toughens delivery demands for suppliers: WSJ reports, looking to cut inventory while meeting e-commerce demands, the retailer wants more of the goods it orders delivered on time and in full

Anta Sports Products, a minor leaguer outside of China, is buying the Finnish owner of athletic brands such as Wilson for 4.6 billion euros ($5.17 billion), looking to compete with Nike and Adidas in both home and away markets.

Apple invited media to a March 25 event at the Steve Jobs Theater on its campus in Cupertino, California, where it is expected to launch a television and video service.


Captain Marvel, the first Marvel superhero film with a female character in top billing, soared atop North American box offices in its debut weekend, with ticket sales of $153.4 million.


LAT: Oakland’s Athletics need a home. They may get one — and provide 6,000 more

The Oakland Athletics have offered to build 3,000 homes near a proposed waterfront ballpark and another 3,000 on the Coliseum site for a city desperately in need of housing.

CBS: Nick Foles signs as Lululemon men’s new elite ambassador

CNN: Zinedine Zidane returns to coach Real Madrid

Champions League - Round of 16: Leg 2 of 2

Manchester City vs Schalke 04 @ 4:00 pm ET (Aggregate: 3-2)
Juventus vs Atletico Madrid @ 4:00 pm ET (Aggregate: 0-2)

Bayern vs Liverpool - Wednesday @ 4:00 pm ET (Aggregate: 0-0)
Barcelona vs Lyon - Wednesday @ 4:00 pm ET (Aggregate: 0-0)

Champions League - Quarterfinals - Qualified teams:

Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur

The draw for the quarter-finals will be held on 15 March 2019.

The first legs will be played on 9 and 10 April, and the second legs will be played on 16 and 17 April 2019.

Leonardo da Vinci, SpaceX, Pennsylvania Democrats, David Beckham

Marc Ross Daily February (1).png

Leonardo da Vinci, SpaceX, Pennsylvania Democrats, David Beckham

Marc Ross Daily
March 4, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Marc Ross Daily  = News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics


✔️ US, China close in on trade deal

✔️ Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaidó plans return

✔️ Japan okays research using human cells in animals

✔️ House Democrats to probe claims of Trump obstruction

✔️ Glory Glory Man United? The paradox of profits without trophies


US, China close in on trade deal: WSJ reports, China and the US are close to completing a trade deal, though hurdles remain. Both countries could lift some tariffs imposed last year, and Beijing would agree to ease restrictions on American products.

A formal agreement could be reached at a summit between Trump and Xi, probably around March 27, after Xi finishes a trip to Italy and France.

The two sides continue to negotiate over issues involving Chinese industrial policy the US argues gives Chinese domestic firms an advantage, especially state-owned enterprises.

NYT: US and China near a trade deal to drop tariffs

The Trump administration is close to a trade deal with China that would roll back tariffs on both sides of the Pacific but may do little to achieve the substantive changes to China’s economy that the United States initially set out to win.

The agreement under discussion would expand markets for American financial services firms and farmers, in part by requiring that China buy large amounts of energy and farm goods, like liquid natural gas and soybeans.

Noah Smith: Trump should take aim at China’s joint-venture rule: The partnerships required to do business in the country are a cover for stealing US know-how. 

Huawei executive files suit over Canadian detention: WSJ reports, Meng Wanzhou claims her legal rights were violated when she was detained at Vancouver International Airport in December following an extradition arrest request from the US.

Nikkei: Five things to expect from China's top political meeting: Slowing growth and geopolitical tensions to dominate discussions at the National People's Congress.

China convened on Sunday its once-a-year meeting of the country's two top political bodies to set the nation's direction for the coming year.

The country's foremost political advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, kicked off the nearly two week-long meeting, preceding the National People's Congress on Tuesday.

Economic slowdown

Trade war with the US
Foreign policy

On Tuesday morning, Premier Li Keqiang’s work report will set targets for gross domestic product expansion, the fiscal balance, inflation and other factors. The domestic policy mix will be defined by the three so-called “critical battles,” launched in 2017, against pollution, financial risks, and poverty.

China's legislature will vote next week on a highly-anticipated bill that will bring "a fundamental change" for foreign investors in a move that could help ease US trade tensions.

Nikkei: China hails 2019 as a 'critical year' to realize Xi's goals

Nation's biggest political meetings of the year kicked off on Sunday.

China says it needs a ‘proper increase’ in defense spending: Bloomberg reports, Beijing said it would need to increase its military spending to protect itself.

Mark Helprin: The US is ceding the Pacific to China: While Washington’s focus is elsewhere, Beijing plays the long game—that means preparing for war.

South Korea to seize on world's first full 5G network: Nikkei reports, SK Group and KT lead the pack in new services like holographic streaming.

Philippine Navy looks to join rescue bid for Subic shipyard: Nikkei reports, admiral prefers South Korean or US bidders to preserve strategic facility

NYT: After India loses dogfight, questions arise about its ‘vintage’ military

An aerial clash last week with Pakistan was a rare test for the Indian military — and it left observers a bit dumbfounded.

As America strengthens ties with India to help counter China, critics say its military faces challenges, including aging hardware and low funding.

AFP: Modi and Imran bask after 'good' Kashmir crisis

Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaidó plans return: WSJ reports, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó said he plans to return to Venezuela on Monday in a move that directly confronts President Nicolás Maduro’s authority and could end with Mr. Guaidó in jail.

US considers emergency economic aid for Venezuela: FT reports, financial assistance would be dependent on Nicolás Maduro standing down.

Pressure on Kenny over Facebook lobby claims: The Times reports, Enda Kenny is being pressed to say whether he used Ireland’s presidency of the EU to lobby other member states on behalf of Facebook after “explosive” allegations about his alleged inappropriate relationship with the social media giant emerged over the weekend. 

Brexit bribe? UK PM May unveils $2.1 billion fund for Brexit-backing towns: Reuters reports, British Prime Minister Theresa May will on Monday set out plans for a 1.6 billion pound ($2.11 billion) fund to help to boost economic growth in Brexit-supporting communities with ministers denying it was a bribe to win support for her EU exit deal.

France to set new €500 million digital tax for 30 tech giants: DW reports, France's finance minister will bring forward legislation this week for a 3 percent tax on companies including Google and Facebook. Public anger about tax avoidance by digital giants has prompted the move.

AFP: Macron calls for French reconciliation with Italy

French President Emmanuel Macron has launched a call for reconciliation with Italy following a diplomatic spat between the neighbors that saw Paris briefly recall its ambassador.

Relations between the two countries have fractured due to repeated clashes between centrist Macron and Italy's populist coalition government.

France and Italy to celebrate Leonardo da Vinci's anniversary together: DW reports, France's president has invited his Italian counterpart to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the artist's death. Emmanuel Macron hopes the gesture will help end a diplomatic spat between the neighbors.

Washington restores status of EU mission to US: DW reports, the US has announced a reversal of last year's sudden downgrading of the European Union's diplomatic status. The EU delegation in Washington has been restored to member state from international organization.


SpaceX rocket with an unmanned crew capsule blasted off on Saturday for the International Space Station, in a key milestone for Elon Musk’s space company and NASA’s long-delayed goal to resume human spaceflight from US soil later this year.

Japan okays research using human cells in animals: AFP reports, Japan has given the green light to a controversial research process involving implanting animals with human stem cells that could eventually help grow human organs for transplant inside animal hosts.


House Democrats to probe claims of Trump obstruction: FT reports, the Judiciary committee chair says he will seek dozens of documents this week.

WP: House Judiciary chairman says he will launch probe of Trump’s ‘abuse of power’

On Monday the House Judiciary committee will issue demands for documents from more than 60 people and entities. The targets include the president’s son Donald Trump Jr and the chief finance officer of Trump’s business empire, Allen Weisselberg. Other possible targets are John Kelly, Trump’s former chief of staff, and former White House counsel Don McGahn.

Mueller's final report will ignite an epic war over disclosure: Bloomberg reports, there will be a struggle in Congress, on cable TV and social media and probably in the courts over how much must be disclosed from what will begin as a secret report to Attorney General William Barr. There also will be an epic political fight over whether the findings implicate President Donald Trump in wrongdoing that may even merit his impeachment, as some Democrats say, or clear him after a 21-month investigation that he and other Republicans call a “witch hunt.”

Trump’s emergency declaration hits a major roadblock in the Senate: LAT reports, Republican Sen. Rand Paul has reportedly become the fourth senator on his side of the aisle to commit to voting for a Democratic-backed resolution to rescind Trump’s emergency declaration.

OTD: In 1861 Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as American president for the first time.

WSJ: Trump’s job-approval rating ticks up, along with warning signs

Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll also finds Democratic primary voters looking for a nominee with aggressive policy ideas.

Trump’s job-approval rating, at 46%, is similar to those of Clinton and Obama at this point in their terms.

The poll also found the majority of Democratic primary voters are looking for a nominee with aggressive policy ideas.

Trump’s improved rating to an uptick in support from white men without a college degree.

Trump cumulatively leads a generic Democratic opponent, 46% to 40%, in four Midwestern states he carried in 2016—Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin—along with Pennsylvania, which borders the Midwest.

Trump trails a generic Democrat, 50% to 39%, in five Sunbelt states Democrats aim to flip in 2020: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas.

Pennsylvania Democrats wonder how far is too far left: NYT reports, some worry that Democrats’ momentum in the state could screech to a halt if the party’s eventual 2020 nominee strays far left.

Anne-Marie Slaughter: Today’s centrist candidates are not a cross-section of America: Those who espouse a new political middle ground are overwhelmingly affluent white men.

"Any effort to create a sustainable new coalition must reach across gender, race, ethnic, and generational lines. Otherwise “centrist independent” will become code for well-off white people who no longer feel comfortable in the Democratic party."

Death toll tops 20 after tornadoes hit Southeast: Storms swept through swaths of Alabama and Georgia; the most destruction appears to be in Lee County, Ala.


Vale chief steps down over deadly dam collapse in Brazil: FT reports, Fabio Schvartsman agrees to ‘temporary’ resignation under pressure from prosecutors.

HBO and Turner chiefs depart amid AT&T shake-up of WarnerMedia: FT reports, Richard Plepler and David Levy exits follow final approval for $80bn takeover.


Bloomberg: Spielberg says Netflix and theater films aren't equal for Oscars 


Glory Glory Man United? The paradox of profits without trophies: Can one of the world’s most profitable football clubs keep growing if it no longer wins the biggest competitions?https://on.ft.com/2EwqT90

LA Galaxy unveils a statue of David Beckham.

AFP: Neymar hints at joining Real Madrid

"I am glad I don't know."

Marc Ross Weekly February.png

"I am glad I don't know."

Marc Ross Weekly
March 3, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Marc Ross Weekly  = Emerging issues shaping commerce + culture


Not knowing is powerful:

I don't really know why Brigadoon Sundance works, and frankly, I am glad I don't know.

All that matters is a diverse group of curious subject matter experts for the seventh time decided to attend, participate, and engage in the Utah mountains.

Brigadoon Sundance is the rare gathering comprised of a cross-section of pros where sharing our diverse talents, having a conversation or three, exchanging insights, and driving creativity are at the top of the agenda.

I will have some more thoughts on the most recent Brigadoon Sundance gathering in next week's weekly email. 

I need to take a few more days to identify the topics, disucssions, and sessions which made the biggest impact on me.

For those that attend this year and those who have participated in the past, thank you - the gathering has made a lot of progress since Brigadoon's modest start in 2013.

In addition to the Sundance gatherings, over the last twelve months, Brigadoon has added a higher level of engagement called Professional, increased consulting services, hosted salon dinners in Annapolis, Detroit, and Cincinnati, launched book and coffee clubs, as well as introduced Brigadoon Radio.

I am humbled by your support and commitment to this idea of creating a platform where entrepreneurs and thought leaders can discuss emerging issues shaping commerce and culture.

In the meantime, please continue to let me know how we can better serve this community and what tools you need to further propel your talents.

Thought leader mindset - a quick fifteen:

I really enjoyed presenting the thought leader mindset at the opening whiteboard session.

In fact, it was the first time I took an active speaking role at any Brigadoon Sundance gathering and it was the first time I executed a flashcard presentation format.

I appreciate Brigadoon Sundance's friendly environment to experiment and try a new presentation format made up of 100 flashcards.

I was pleasantly surprised by the response but would welcome any additional feedback or comments.

To keep the energy flowing about steps you can take to foster a thought leader mindset - here are a quick fifteen to get you going:

  1. Tell > Sell

  2. The audience knows - you can't fake it

  3. What if it works?

  4. Know the business model

  5. There is no perfect time to start

  6. Busy is a decision

  7. Start at the end

  8. Do you want to be a queen or a queen maker?

  9. Form a habit

  10. Be a professional

  11. Surprise yourself

  12. Rational behavior is rare

  13. Be an expert in being curious

  14. SNL is live at 11:30 pm regardless if it is ready or not

  15. Cause > Campaign

If you want - you can send me your response to any of the tidbits listed above and I am happy to critique your answer.


Marc A. Ross specializes in thought leader communications and global public policy for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.


In a spin: Brexit spells trouble for UK vinyl industry: DW reports, for vinyl lovers the act of placing the needle on a record and anticipating the crackle before the first bars ring out is a sensory and sensual thrill. A no-deal Brexit could nip that in the (ear)bud. http://bit.ly/2ExZxiH

The importance of letting go of so-called dirty pain: Virginia Heffernan (Brigadoon Sundance 2017 Keynote Speaker) writes, annoyance is a maddeningly complex topic. We all lay claim to being annoyed so often that conversation seems to exist entirely to let us register how bugged we are. The office is too cold. Too humid. My coworker’s flip-flops slap against her soles. It’s gross. In Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us, Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman propose that an experience of annoyance implicates the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. http://bit.ly/2EsfOWr

Vivienne Ming: ‘The professional class is about to be blindsided by AI’: Ming creates algorithms that help companies select people more effectively. She has developed bots that trawl the web looking for high-tech programmers who may not even have a degree yet are doing great work. She’s also used AI to tally the “tax on being different”, calculating, for example, that in the technology sector, a Latino worker needs about six years’ more education than a white worker to be considered for the same job — something, given the cost of US tertiary education, that can amount to $500,000 or more. https://on.ft.com/2NRxQoo

Twist and shout: the Rubik’s cube: The Economist reports, there are those who can, with patience, navigate the 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible orientations to solve it. Then there are the professionals. They set speed records one-handed (6.88 seconds), or blindfolded (17.33), or only with their bare feet (20.57). The overall world record stands at just 4.22 seconds.http://bit.ly/2EwzgRQ

Ambidextrous: Seth Godin opines, anthropologists have found that we’re very motivated to divide into teams, and once on a team, we’ll work hard to degrade the other team. Over the smallest differences. For the smallest possible stakes. Even when we get no other benefit than thinking that we won something. We spend a lot of time sorting people into buckets. We label them in order to treat them differently and establish expectations for how they’ll respond. Mostly to figure out which team they’re on. http://bit.ly/2EsDDh5


Brigadoon Sundance 2020: February 23-25 | Sundance, Utah

Brigadoon is organizing its eighth gathering of entrepreneurs and thought leaders at Sundance Mountain Resort next winter. 

Participants will come from around the globe to exchange insights and drive creativity as well as discuss emerging issues shaping commerce and culture.

Brigadoon Sundance 2020 is moving to a formal invite-only model, but you may apply for an invitation today. 

Invites are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Apply for access here.


Commercial drones are taking off: Rescue operations, mapping or parcel delivery – there are many applications for commercial drones. Analysts at Tractica are projecting that drones and multicopters will be used at increasing rates in the professional sector. For the current year, they estimate the market volume to be 392,000 drones worth US$1.6 billion. Sales and revenue are set to multiply by 2025. North America is by far the largest market for commercial drones, followed by Asia and Europe.