Emperor Akihito, Juan Guaido, George Washington, Jürgen Klopp, Ayrton Senna

MRD July.png

April 30, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

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


✔️ Japan’s Emperor Akihito abdicates throne as son is set to ascend

✔️ Starbucks, Dunkin race against bans, taxes on disposable cups

✔️ OTD: In 1789 George Washington was inaugurated as the first POTUS

✔️ Vodafone found hidden backdoors in Huawei equipment

✔️ Jürgen Klopp: From the German second division to Liverpool manager


Brigadoon Radio: Episode 11: Why Brigadoon works

I spoke with Brendan Kownacki about the idea of Brigadoon and shared my thoughts on curating multi-day gatherings at Sundance, Utah since 2013.

From the start, my vision for Brigadoon has been focused on connecting subject matter experts at a venue tucked in a magical canyon in the Utah mountains. 

As I begin work on the eighth Brigadoon Sundance gathering, this simple concept has proven to be rewarding for attendees and for me as the organizer.

The episode was recorded Pinehaven House at Sundance Mountain Resort during Brigadoon Sundance 2019.

You can watch the session - here.


ISIS leader Baghdadi makes first video appearance in 5 years, emphasizes group’s global reach.

Bolton: Trump wants solo, not multi-party talks with North Korea: AP reports, the US has little interest in joining other countries in a multi-nation effort to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Sunday. 

US-Japan trade deal? Trump said he wants to sign a trade deal with Japan by the time he visits next month but officials are still working on what’s actually going to be in the agreement.

Trump is traveling to Japan at the end of May to meet the newly crowned emperor. 

Trump is also expected to go to Japan for the G-20 summit in Osaka on June 28-29.

The administration is looking to get a quick initial deal with Japan and then work out something more comprehensive at a later date.

WSJ: Japan’s Emperor Akihito abdicates throne as son is set to ascend

It was the first abdication by a Japanese emperor in more than 200 years.

Nikkei: Mongolia is Japan's new frontier in the search for IT talent

Romania and Myanmar are also among the hunting grounds for tech specialists.

Xi urges youth to 'love' the Communist Party: AFP reports,  Xi Jinping urged China's youth on Tuesday to be loyal to the Communist Party as he sought to whip up patriotic sentiment in a nationalist speech marking the centennial of a student protest. Xi delivered his hour-long plea at the Great Hall of the People to commemorate the May Fourth Movement, a landmark protest against colonialism and imperialism that rocked China in 1919.

FT: China renegotiated $50bn in loans to developing countries

Study challenges ‘debt-trap’ narrative surrounding Beijing’s lending.

SCMP: US and China will have many more battles to fight when the trade war ends

Negotiators are focused on resolving a long-running tariff dispute but the conflict between Washington and Beijing extends far beyond sales of soybeans and aluminum.

Technology, politics, ideology and even the military are all areas where tensions could bubble over, analysts say.

Xi mulling June visit to US: Xi Jinping could travel to the United States as soon as June to sign a deal with Trump face to face. “June is an option but it could be later,” a source told SCMP’s Zhou Xin. The trip may “either be a grand state visit or a relatively low-key working visit.”

Singapore's industrial production looks awful.

China and US square off in Taiwan's presidential race: Nikkei reports, feted in Washington, Tsai faces threat from Beijing -- and within her own party.

Indonesia unveils $33bn plan to move capital: FT reports, the proposal comes two weeks after elections but lacks details on location and schedule.

The government was examining three cities away from the archipelago’s main island of Java as possible alternatives, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday, without naming them.

Nikkei: Indonesia to move capital out of Jakarta to jump-start economy

Government eyes alleviating pain of serious traffic jams with relocation off Java.

Matthew d’Ancona: Nigel Farage is fuelled by the betrayal myth. And Brexit is only the start. His rhetoric was always that the elite would thwart the will of the people, enabling a new movement to rise up amid the anger.

Robert Shrimsley: Conservatives are drawing the wrong lesson from the Brexit party: Brexit is no longer a policy — it is a religion and selection is by faith alone.

Michael Auslin: Donald Trump can deliver Britain a post-Brexit trade boost: A trilateral deal between the US, UK and Japan would counter fears of isolation.

David Seymour: The time is ripe for a new partnership between the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand: The free movement of people, ideas, information and capital has made both nations more prosperous. The two countries share a belief in equality, secularism and multiculturalism. We have a common law legal system and a Westminster parliamentary democracy that share common heritage.

The Times: Ditch Huawei or we may stop sharing intelligence, US warns

Italian wage growth is slowing.

Sweden's household loan growth hit the lowest level since 2013.

Spanish election reflects Europe’s widening political fragmentation: WSJ reports, incumbent Socialists finish first, but forming a governing coalition could prove tricky, in latest example of upstarts’ gains at traditional parties’ expense.

No party won more than 30% of the vote in Spain on Sunday.

The main opposition conservative People’s Party took less than 17%, the worst showing in its 30-year history.

Venezuela’s Juan Guaido leads military uprising: AP reports, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó took to the streets Tuesday with detained activist Leopoldo Lopez and a small contingent of heavily armed soldiers in a military uprising. "This is the moment of all Venezuelans, those in uniform and those who aren't," said Lopez in his first public appearance since being detained in 2014 for leading anti-government protests. "Everyone should come to the streets, in peace."

AFP: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido claims support of ‘brave soldiers’ as govt denounces ‘coup attempt’

Venezuelan opposition leader Guaidó appears to stage military-backed challenge to Maduro
: WP reports, Juan Guaidó issued a video with troops in which he urged other soldiers to join an operation meant to force President Nicolás Maduro from power.

Venezuelans in exile fear they may never be able to return: WSJ reports, those who fled South America’s worst humanitarian crisis are losing hope as President Maduro clings to power and conditions worsen at home; ‘I’m resigned to stay where we are.’

Around 3.4 million residents have left Venezuela.

Argentina's central bank took further action to stabilize the peso.

The price of a cup of coffee with milk in Venezuela (a measure of inflation) continues to rise exponentially.

Pew: Many across the globe are dissatisfied with how democracy is working

Discontent is tied to concerns about the economy, individual rights, and out-of-touch elites.

The link between views of the economy and assessments of democratic performance is strong. In 24 of 27 countries surveyed, people who say the national economy is in bad shape are more likely than those who say it is in good shape to be dissatisfied with the way democracy is working. In the other three countries surveyed, so few people say the economy is good that this relationship cannot be analyzed.


Starbucks, Dunkin race against bans, taxes on disposable cups: Bloomberg reports, inspired by plastic bag bans, jurisdictions have set their sights on a much bigger target: the to-go coffee cup

"There are some big structural changes in manufacturing. The world will make relatively fewer things in the future as digitization replaces goods with services." -- Paul Donovan @ UBS

Bloomberg: Teens say they don't vape, they Juul, making e-cigarette use hard to track

For the first time, public health officials will ask about Juul by name in an annual youth tobacco survey.


OTD: In 1789 George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States.

Rod Rosenstein to resign effective May 11: WP reports, the deputy attorney general, who oversaw special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of President Trump and Russia, will step down after a tumultuous two years on the job.

Sue me, sue you: Trump, three of his children and his real-estate businesses filed a federal lawsuit to block Deutsche Bank and Capital One from complying with congressional subpoenas for documents 

Most Americans say they won’t vote for Trump next year — but will they vote at all? WP reports, a poll shows most Americans don’t really like Trump. But that won’t be enough to secure a victory for Democrats.

WP: Frustrations with economic and political system, and how Americans' weigh Trump's agenda ahead of 2020 election

- A clear majority of Americans, including large shares of Democratic and independent voters and a significant slice of Republicans, think the economy mainly benefits people already in power.

- About 8 in 10 Democrats and more than 6 in 10 independents say the country’s economic system gives an advantage to those already in power, while nearly a third of Republicans share that view.

- The survey finds that 42 percent of registered voters say Trump’s handling of the economy makes them more likely to vote for him in 2020, while 32 percent say it makes them less likely to support him.

Democrat Stacey Abrams of Georgia says she will not run for a US Senate seat in 2020.

Kamala Harris has hired Jim Margolis, one of the Democratic Party’s most accomplished admakers, as her media adviser.

Biden starts his campaign with pitch to working class: FT reports, the Democratic presidential hopeful for 2020 lays out his credentials for beating Donald Trump.

“Democrats see Biden as wobbly 2020 front-runner”

I see a Biden - Harris 2020 ticket.

Morning Consult Poll: Biden posts 6-point bump among likely Democratic voters amid campaign launch

Biden 36%
Sanders 22%
Warren 9%
Buttigieg 8%
Harris 7%
O'Rourke 5%
Booker 3%
Klobuchar 2%
Yang 2%

- Former VP has a 14-point lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders, his biggest yet

- 36% of likely Democratic primary voters said Biden was their first-choice candidate for president, his best Morning Consult showing in 2019.

- Biden’s increased his first-choice share with women, especially with black women, among whom he leads the current primary field with 47% support.

- 76% of Democratic primary voters view him favorably, while 14% view him unfavorably.  

Maryland takes step toward capping drug prices: WSJ reports, governor is poised to sign bill creating panel to review expensive prescription drugs and limit what agencies will pay for them.


Amazon posts first jobs for HQ2, says operations will begin in area in June: WP reports, the company is leasing temporary space in Crystal City for new employees. Two Amazon vice presidents also are moving to the area from Seattle.

FanDuel Group will be the first US sports betting operator to offer live-sports broadcasts alongside odds on its website and mobile app, part of an expanded partnership with Swiss data and media giant Sportradar AG.

Boeing said certain safety alerts on its now-grounded 737 MAX jets didn’t operate as airlines would have anticipated because of a previously undisclosed slip-up on its part.

Foxconn tore up a small town to build a big factory—then retreated: WSJ reports, the iPhone maker got fat incentives to build a $10 billion LCD plant that largely hasn’t materialized on land where Mount Pleasant, Wis., razed homes and crops.

When the time is right, I suspect to see this empty heavily subsidized plant to appear in direct mail attacking Trump's failed economic policies.

Netflix continues to rapidly expand its presence in Hollywood, signing two more leases in the neighborhood and furthering its position as one of the biggest office tenants in Los Angeles.

Vodafone found hidden backdoors in Huawei equipment: Bloomberg reports, while the carrier says the issues found in 2011 and 2012 were resolved at the time, the revelation may further damage the reputation of a Chinese powerhouse.

Tim Culpan: The West finally has its Huawei smoking gun: WSJ reports, it may not be enough to sway those who are already convinced of the Chinese company’s innocence.


John Singleton, ‘Boyz N the Hood’ director, is dead at 51: NYT reports, his first film, which he began shooting when he was in his early 20s, earned an Oscar nomination for best director — the first for an African-American.

LAT: Filmmaker John Singleton dies; ‘Boyz n the Hood’ was his own personal LA story

The 1991 film, nominated for two Academy Awards, pulled John Singleton into the company of emerging black moviemakers such as Spike Lee, Mario Van Peebles and Matty Rich. Relevant and thoughtful, Singleton remained prolific over the decades.


Ayrton Senna: 25 years since F1 lost its flawed, fascinating hero: Richard Williams writes, this week sees the 25th anniversary of the Imola accident that took the Brazilian’s life and had a devastating impact not just on his millions of fans but on grand prix racing as a whole.

Jürgen Klopp: From the German second division to Liverpool manager: DW reports, it's been a long journey for Jürgen Klopp - from a second-division player to Liverpool manager. He failed at the final hurdle in the Champions League last season, now he faces Barcelona in the semifinals.

'In Klopp we trust'

Champions League - Final Four:

Tottenham v Ajax: 30 April + 8 May
Barcelona v Liverpool: 1 + 7 May

All matches at 3:00 pm ET

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.