Notre Dame, US-EU Trade Deal, Braveheart Myth, ‘Bernie or Bust’, Ajax

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What I am watching today = April 17, 2019

Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics


✔️ France vows to restore Notre Dame

✔️ The future's electric at the Shanghai Auto Show

✔️ ‘Bernie or Bust’ voters create predicament for Democrats in 2020

✔️ SpaceX is raising another $500 million in funding

✔️ Destination divorce parties are a new Las Vegas trend


Does trade cause politics or does politics cause trade?



After taxing rescue, France vows to restore Notre Dame; ‘Make it even more beautiful’: WSJ reports, after a frantic effort by firefighters to save Notre Dame Cathedral, President Emmanuel Macron pledged that France would rebuild one of its most cherished monuments within five years. France’s private sector promised to donate hundreds of millions of dollars to the restoration.

The Times: Backlash grows over Notre Dame donations

Yellow-vest anger at generosity of Macron’s “rich friends.”

Pentagon developing military options to deter Russian, Chinese influence in Venezuela: CNN reports, the deterrence options are being ordered following a White House meeting last week where national security adviser John Bolton told acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to develop ideas on the Venezuela crisis. 

OTD: In 1961 about 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles landed in the Bay of Pigs, Cuba.

USS Ross heads to the Black Sea as US and allies increase patrols: Stars & Stripes reports, the destroyer USS Ross entered the Black Sea on Sunday night, the fourth time this year the Navy has sent a warship to the region. 

That's a fine ship.

US-EU trade deal: EU Trade Commissioner Malmstrom has urged a trade deal with the US by 1 November. The EU wants a trade deal that covers industrial goods only. The French objected as EU rules state that trade deals can only be done with countries that have signed up to the Paris climate accord.

US handbags, shovels on $20 billion EU tariff list over Boeing: Reuters reports, handbags, tractors, shovels, and fish are part of an 11-page list of US imports worth $20 billion that the European Union on Wednesday said it could hit with tariffs in a transatlantic aircraft subsidy dispute.

Tusk ‘dreams’ of Brexit reversal: FT reports, the president of the European Council said he would not ‘give into fatalism’ about the Brexit process

Alex Massie: Brexiteers have fallen for Braveheart myth: Tory Leavers are making a big mistake if, like SNP activists, they think that appeals to nationalism will win the day.

FT: City of London cements dominance of renminbi trading

Average daily trading volumes of the Chinese currency in London reached £76.6 billion.

Xi loyalty app: China's state-run CCTV is hiring hundreds of people to ramp up a mobile app used to test Communist Party members’ loyalty to President Xi Jinping and the party. Dubbed “Study the Powerful Country,” the app has become a major topic of conversation among bureaucrats and party officials who are required to download it — with some spending hours racking up points.

China economic activity: China’s economic growth held to a 6.4% rate in the first three months of the year as factory production picked up significantly.

Few pros think this is a real number.

China’s economy stabilizes after Beijing opens the bank vaults: NYT reports, China’s economy stabilized in the first three months of the year, according to official figures released on Wednesday, after Beijing flooded the financial system with money in a whatever-it-takes approach to arrest a slowdown.

China goes all-in on home grown tech in push for nuclear dominance: Reuters reports, China plans to gamble on the bulk deployment of its untested “Hualong One” nuclear reactor, squeezing out foreign designs, as it resumes a long-delayed nuclear program aimed at meeting its clean energy goals, government and industry officials said.

Martin Wolf: China battles the US in the artificial intelligence arms race: What counts is implementation not innovation, and here the Chinese have big advantages.

Louise Lucas: US and China tech giants look increasingly similar: There is an inconvenient likeness between the main protagonists in both countries.

"It would be too much to suggest that US tech is taking a chapter or two from China’s playbook. But there is an increasingly inconvenient similarity between the main protagonists in the US and China."

FT: Australian university signs A$100m China deal despite concerns

Monash University, has signed a A$100m deal with China, despite the country’s decision to tighten foreign investment rules last year amid concerns over growing Chinese influence. The Monash deal, which will allow Chinese investors and local governments to commercialise its scientific breakthroughs.

Foxconn's Gou announces bid for Taiwan's presidency in 2020.

US and Japan agree to accelerate trade talks: FT reports, Lighthizer and Japan’s economy minister are set to meet again as early as next week.

Nikkei: Jokowi on track to win Indonesia presidential election: pollsters

Incumbent stops short of claiming victory; rival Prabowo says he won. 


The future's electric at the Shanghai Auto Show: Bloomberg reports, There’s electricity in the air at the China auto show in Shanghai this week, as the battery-car brigade rolls into town like never before. Established global makers and dozens of local startups are rushing to showcase electric-vehicle models in a push led by China, the world's largest car market. But there’s a dark side: While companies have plowed billions of dollars into development, projected EV sales may not be enough to keep the assembly lines moving, suggesting only a few companies will survive when the dust settles.

@web: Why Yeti is a strong lifestyle brand: 

- They chose a customer.
- They charge full price despite the half-price substitutes.
- You’ll find YETI stickers on laptops, trucks, boat windshields.
- It became a status symbol in just three years. 
- The products are excellent.


Trump fights back as he braces for Mueller report: FT reports, attorney-general to release redacted version of document into Russia election interference.

Trump vetoes resolution to end US participation in Yemen’s civil war: WP reports, the president called the measure “an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.” It had passed the House on a 247-to-175 vote and was approved by the Senate with the support of seven Republicans.

Trump cash: The Trump campaign and joint committees ended the first quarter with $48.9 million in the bank, more than three times as much as any of the potential challengers in a crowded Democratic field.

Morning Consult Political Intelligence: Tracking the 2020 Democratic primary

-- Buttigieg ticks up again: Now at 7% of the national vote, this marks his fourth straight week of growth.

-- Bernie Sanders holds a strong lead with young voters: 41% of18-29 year-old women and 39% of 18-29 year-old men support Sanders as their first choice.

-- If Biden doesn't run, Sanders has the most to gain: A projection based on second choice vote shows that Sanders would pick up 12 points if Biden opts not to run, enough to give him a 23 point first place lead.

Bloomberg: ‘Bernie or Bust’ voters create predicament for Democrats in 2020

Thomas B. Edsall: If Trump country soars, will the president glide to a second term? The rate of job growth in Republican-leaning regions is outstripping the rate in more Democratic areas.

Jonathan Bernstein: Is Trump's weakness an electoral advantage? The president has been largely unable to transform his ideas into policy. Conceivably, voters might be thankful.

Doyle McManus: Pete Buttigieg has everything except positions on major issues 


Consumers around the world are spending less on almost everything. Even booze. WP reports, Consumers around the world are likely to spend more cautiously in the coming months amid political and economic uncertainty, according to a new report that surveyed shoppers in 64 countries. Shoppers said they have cut back on clothing and entertainment costs in the past year, and have taken measures to save on gas and electricity, according to the Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey, conducted in collaboration with Nielsen. Consumers in Europe and Latin America are buying cheaper alcohol and groceries, while Asian shoppers are scaling back their annual vacations.

Andrea Felsted: L'Oreal shows the Lipstick Index lives in China: L’Oreal’s strong sales in Asia show that, even in China, demand for cosmetics can weather difficult economic conditions.

SpaceX funding: Elon Musk's SpaceX is raising another $500 million in funding, four months after raking in a similar amount. The new cash could help SpaceX speed up the development of its Starlink satellite Internet business, which is supposed to support the company's bottom line in the future.

10 years after its founding, SpaceX had 0% market share. 16 years after its founding, it had more than 50%. 

Uber's top five: Based on Uber’s S-1 filing, the company conceded that a full 24 percent of its business in 2018 was derived from just five cities: LA, New York, San Francisco, London, and São Paulo

Netflix added 30 million net new subscribers last year as it became the most popular television streaming service on the planet.

Nokia, the 1990s cellphone pioneer, wants to topple Huawei: WSJ reports, it is trying to expand in the U.S. and China at the same time, steering a path through a global technology showdown.

Apple and Qualcomm settle all disputes worldwide: NYT reports, for the past two years, Apple and Qualcomm have dueled on three continents over the division of billions of dollars of smartphone profits and even how much consumers pay for their phones. On Tuesday, just as a trial had begun in a federal courtroom in San Diego over a suit Apple had filed against Qualcomm, the two companies said they had essentially made up.

Nikkei: Apple and Qualcomm settle dispute, paving way for 5G iPhone

Intel pulls out of 5G smartphone chips as iPhone maker commits to rival.

Reuters: Apple in talks with potential suppliers of sensors for self-driving cars - sources


Bloomberg: Destination divorce parties are a new Las Vegas trend

Mending a broken heart with clubs, cabarets, and machine guns.

Cannes 2019: 20 films we hope will be at the film festival: Ahead of the official lineup announcement on Thursday, we’re banking on Quentin Tarantino, Terrence Malick, Kelly Reichardt and Leos Carax making the final cut.


The key to building a successful team: Researchers found that if a group has worked together effectively in the past, it can be more important than their individual skills.

“Shared success is a distinguishing factor above and beyond skill,” says Brian Uzzi, a co-author of the study and a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Shared success is a concept taken from psychology. The idea is that when groups experience success, individuals are better able to recall the event and articulate what went right or even what went wrong.

Champions League - Quarterfinals - 2nd Game:

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City (Aggregate 1-0) - Today @ 3:00 pm ET
Liverpool v Porto (Aggregate 2-0) - Today @ 3:00 pm ET

'Ajax, sensation of Europe': Dutch and Italian press react to Turin triumph: Guardian reports, the Dutch press exalted the long-awaited return of Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals but in Italy Juve were savaged.

Enjoy the ride + plan accordingly.


Marc Ross

Based in Washington, DC, I specialize in thought leader communications and global public policy for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

Clients hire me to ghostwrite, engage influencer networks, manage media relations, produce events, audit their communications infrastructure, consult on hiring, provide issue briefs and news generating talking points, as well as manage end to end communications projects where I assume a role of project leader and general contractor.

I work independently but provided access to a substantial global network of collaborators with expertise in websites, graphic design, audio, video, polling, data analytics, and research.

Using the latest tactics of an American political campaign with expertise shaped by being a practitioner of global business communications, I help clients tell their story and build trusted relationships with all necessary stakeholders.

Successful communications are all about STOCK = strategy, tactics, organization, consistency, and know-how.