Brexit, US-China Trade, Reiwa, NATO, Toyota, Deserted Island

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What I am watching today = April 3, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

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


✔️ May courts opposition in bid to break Brexit impasse

✔️ US shopping center vacancies rise to eight-year high

✔️ Democrats need a candidate who speaks to Springsteen voters

✔️ P&G faces backlash over diaper, sanitary waste

✔️ Rolling Stone's 50 greatest grunge albums


Why thought leadership

Thought leadership is the spreading of an idea.

STOCK is the process for the spreading of an idea.






Thought leadership has the power to create new opportunities for commerce and culture.

What idea are you holding back?


May courts opposition in bid to break Brexit impasse: WSJ reports, Theresa May made an about-face by saying she would pursue a different Brexit deal with the opposition Labour Party, an approach that could keep the country more closely bound to the bloc than previously envisioned. 

May inflames Tory civil war with shift to softer Brexit: FT reports, PM seeks second EU delay to reach deal with Corbyn in blow to cabinet hardliners.

William Hague: When I took over, the Conservatives were in ruins. For the next leader, things could be even worse: For me, having become Tory leader after the election disaster of 1997, it has been impossible to read the newspapers of recent days without the haunting memories of those times coming back. So preoccupied had Conservatives become, in the mid-90s, with differences of opinion over Europe and calculations about who would be the next leader, that many of us failed to notice that the world outside our ranks was changing.

I worked on William Hague's 2001 campaign - an amazing experience coupled with an amazing defeat.

Robert Shrimsley: A government of national unity is another Brexit fantasy: There is no sign that either May or Corbyn is ready to make the compromises required.

Tom Frideman: The United Kingdom has gone mad: The problem with holding out for a perfect Brexit plan is that you can’t fix stupid.

627 million: Brexit has cost the United Kingdom an estimated $627 million in lost economic output per week since the 2016 referendum, according to Goldman Sachs.

Malaysia hits out at US and China behavior in trade war: FT reports, trade minister urges countries to ‘stop thinking of themselves’ as tension hits other countries.

US + China: Moody's says a global recession will be "highly likely" if there's no US-China trade deal within the next few months. Professor of government Minxin Pei warns of the worst recession in recent Chinese history. And Malaysia's trade minister, Darell Leiking, has urged the US and China to "stop thinking only of themselves" as their spat affects everyone.

Martin Wolf: The Chinese economy is stabilizing: FT reports, but significant doubts linger about President Xi Jinping’s commitment to private enterprise.

US and China draw closer to final trade agreement: FT reports, two sides haggle over implementation and enforcement issues as talks are set to resume.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will resume negotiations with his US counterparts in Washington today.

Simmering South China Sea heats up: AP reports, the US Navy amphibious assault ship Wasp arrived in Subic Bay, the Philippines, Saturday with its complement of Marines and F-35 Lightning II fighter jets in preparation for joint exercises with the Philippines. 

Woman arrested after entering Mar-a-Lago, allegedly with malware: WSJ reports, a woman carrying two Chinese passports was arrested and charged with unlawfully entering President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort with a thumb drive containing malware and lying to federal agents about her plans. 

Court documents say the woman told Secret Service agents that a Chinese friend instructed her to travel from Shanghai to President Trump's Florida resort and make contact with a member of his family.

The Secret Service said in a statement that "Mar-a-Lago Club’s management determines which members and guests are granted access to the property" -- not the Secret Service.

South Korea first to roll out 5G services, beating US and China: Reuters reports, South Korea will become the first country to commercially launch fifth-generation (5G) services on Friday as it rolls out the latest wireless technology with Samsung Electronics’ new 5G-enabled smartphone Galaxy S10.

Nikkei: China and US tied atop global 5G leaderboard

Study finds two powers hold edge despite South Korea's early rollout.

Current, former Pentagon leaders sound alarm on Chinese technology in 5G networks: WP reports, defense officials are concerned that future combat operations could be compromised through advanced wireless systems.

Japan Times: Reiwa is all about 'beautiful harmony' and has nothing to do with 'command'

74% happy with Reiwa as name for Japan's next era, with Abe Cabinet approval rate rising to 52.8%.

Microsoft to provide automatic updates to handle Japan era name change to Reiwa.

Xi Jinping + Japan: Xi is expected to visit Japan in July when the nation hosts the Group of 20 summit.
The 2019 G20 Osaka summit will be the fourteenth meeting of Group of Twenty. It will be held on 28–29 June 2019 in Osaka. It will be the first-ever G20 summit to be hosted in Japan.

94: A new report from the UN estimates that 94 percent of Venezuelans live in poverty today. Once South America's wealthiest country, Venezuela is experiencing one of the worst economic collapses ever recorded.

In Trump times, agreeing to disagree becomes norm at G7 meetings: Reuters reports, foreign ministers from the Group of Seven nations meet on Friday in France to prepare for the leaders' summit in August, but the absence of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underscores how tough agreeing common ground between allies has become.

AFP: Amid transatlantic discord, what's the point of the G7?

The United States is due to assume the G7 presidency in 2020.

The 45th G7 summit will be held on August 25–27, 2019, in Biarritz, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France. 

Germany, France to launch multilateralism alliance: DW reports, Germany's Heiko Maas and Jean-Yves Le Drian have unveiled plans for an "Alliance for Multilateralism." Canada, Japan and Australia have already shown interest in joining the German-Franco initiative.

NATO at 70: New initiatives to boost security in eastern Europe and the Black Sea are welcome but the alliance faces bigger challenges.

Today: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will address Congress today at 11:00 am ET.

OTD: In 1922 Joseph Stalin was appointed general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.


US shopping center vacancies rise to eight-year high: FT reports, increase comes on signs of faltering consumer spending and pressure from ecommerce.

58.4 percent market share for EVs in Norway: In March, fully electric cars made up nearly 60 percent of the new-car market in Norway, a world record. A recent increase in the electric sales coincided with deliveries of Tesla’s Model 3 and Audi’s e-tron. The country aims to end sales of all fossil-fuel vehicles by 2025.

David Perell: What did Gutenberg’s printing press actually change?

Book prices fell. The raw price of books fell by 2.4 percent a year for over a hundred years after Gutenberg.

In places where there was an increase in competition among printers, prices fell swiftly and dramatically. Competition works. When an additional printing firm entered a given city market, book prices there fell by 25%.


LAT: For a guy who’s not running, Joe Biden is having a tough campaign

Morning Consult Political Intelligence report:

Pete Buttigieg's net favorability has jumped up by 11 points since Morning Consult began tracking in early February - the biggest increase of any candidate.

Joe Biden continues to lead the pack of potential candidates with 33 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders at 25 percent, and Kamala Harris and Beto O'Rourke tied at 8 percent.

Eric Altman: The Democrats need a candidate who speaks to Springsteen voters: Who is the one that can win back Trump voters and Clinton-sitter-outers who feel forgotten by the Democrats? They’re the guys who worked the assembly line for decades but now get minimum wage at Walmart; the women feeding their families cold cuts for dinner and trying to make ends meet by selling vitamins from home; the manufacturing employees filled with xenophobic rage because the companies that used to employ them have moved their operations abroad.

Farm politics: Democrats see a chance to cut into Trump’s support across the rural Midwest as the White House’s trade policies exacerbate the strain on farmers stretched by low commodity prices and natural disasters, including major floods.

Trump’s takeover of the Republican party is almost complete: NYT reports, in every state important to the 2020 race, Trump and his lieutenants are in firm control of the Republican electoral machinery, and they are taking steps to extend and tighten their grip. It is, in every institutional sense, Trump’s party.

@axios: John Kasich has formed a center-right, Ohio-based group, Two Paths America, to promote solutions that he considers more positive than Trump and more modern than Ronald Reagan.

Trump leaves Washington reeling as he struggles with domestic agenda: WP reports, Republicans are trying to cope with the whiplash as the president rolls out new policies on health care and immigration.

Pot convictions: Prosecutors in LA and San Joaquin counties have announced plans to automatically clear about 54,000 marijuana-related convictions. Now that pot is legal in California, there’s a growing movement to offer a clean slate to those encumbered by their past. 

Uber spent $2m lobbying for NY congestion charge: FT reports, car-booking giant was biggest backer of campaign to levy tolls on vehicles entering Manhattan.


Slack plans to go public via direct listing on the NYSE in June or July.

WWE tumbled before closing up following a scathing John Oliver segment. Oliver’s popular HBO show, 'Last Week Tonight' dropped an absolutely punishing elbow from the top rope, criticizing Vince McMahon’s treatment of his talent. 

Television is mythology and mythology is strong.

WeWork's parent The We Company has announced Mexican architect Michel Rojkind of Rojkind Arquitectos as its new senior vice president of architecture. The We Company, which is a larger extension of WeWork, released news today that Michel Rojkind will head up the company's architecture initiatives. Rojkind will join Danish architect and BIG founder Bjarke Ingels, who was hired as WeWork's chief architect in May 2018.

WSJ: P&G faces backlash over diaper, sanitary waste

Nikkei: Foxconn shrinks Android arm and plots shift to automotive electronics

FIH Mobile's woes highlight troubles for second-tier smartphone makers.

Toyota to allow free access to 24,000 hybrid and electric vehicle tech patents to boost market: Japan Times, it remains uncertain whether the use of Toyota patents will be as widespread as the carmaker hopes, observers said.

GM, Ford, and Toyota join to advance self-driving testing, standards: Reuters reports, General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co, and Toyota Motor Corp said in a statement they were joining forces with automotive engineering group SAE International to establish autonomous vehicle “safety guiding principles to help inform standards development.


Productivity isn’t about time management. It’s about attention management. “Time management” is not a solution — it’s actually part of the problem. A better option is attention management: Prioritize the people and projects that matter, and it won’t matter how long anything takes. Attention management is the art of focusing on getting things done for the right reasons, in the right places and at the right moments.

Shared by a loyal reader from Washington, DC. Merci beaucoup.

WP: Rep. Jeff Flake spends a week alone on deserted island

From 2009.


Rolling Stone's 50 greatest grunge albums: From Mudhoney to Mother Love Bone and beyond — the finest releases from the maladjusted new breed that remade rock.

@TEDTalks: “There’s very good evidence that shows when you confront people with a ton of facts that contradict their worldview, it actually causes them to hold their existing beliefs more strongly.” 

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.