Iran, AI, App Store, Roundup Weedkiller, Cannes Film Festival, Dutch Grand Prix

Marc Ross Daily May.png

What I am watching today = May 14, 2019

Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Iran, AI, App Store, Roundup Weedkiller, Cannes Film Festival, Dutch Grand Prix


✔️ White House reviews military plans against Iran - sending up to 120,000 troops

✔️ Can AI help solve the climate crisis?

✔️ US Supreme Court rules against Apple in App Store case

✔️ Juror tells Roundup Weedkiller lawyer to ‘get up and drink it’

✔️ Today: The Cannes Film Festival opens


On Wednesday, May 15, I am joining a RANE Network webinar to discuss the challenges for ratifications of USMCA and the implications for business in US, Canada, and Mexico.

Full details below:

USMCA: A Closer Look at the “New NAFTA” and Implications for Companies

May 15, 2019 
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

The US International Trade Commission recently released its analysis of the new North American free trade pact, revealing that the pact would modestly boost the US economy, but may curb production of vehicles and limit consumer’s choice in cars.

Despite the deal being signed in back in November, all three countries still need to ratify the agreement, which we are still unsure will happen.

In this webinar, experts from the RANE Network take a closer look at the new NAFTA, the key hurdles for ratification, and the implications for the US, Canada, and Mexico.


James Bosworth - Founder, Hxagon

Robert A. Rogowsky, Ph.D - Program Chair and Professor of the International Trade and Economic Diplomacy (ITED) program at Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Marc A. Ross - Founder, Caracal Global

DeNeige Watson - Executive Director, Risk Desk, RANE

Register here:


White House reviews military plans against Iran, in echoes of Iraq War: NYT reports, the plans envision sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack U.S. forces or accelerate nuclear weapons work, officials said. They were updated at the insistence of hard-liners led by John R. Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser.

To counter China, Pentagon wants to create patriotic investors: Defense News reports, faced with Chinese tactics of creating private equity firms and investing in American technologies, the Pentagon is preparing a new tool, one it hopes will lead domestic investors to increase spending in companies vital for the defense-industrial base. 

US jittery about Chinese subs in Arctic: Asia Times reports, the Pentagon is worried that it may see more submarines deployed by the People’s Liberation Army further afield, such as in the Arctic Ocean, as China’s bold military presence in waters on the top of the world may hinder the US nuclear deterrence. 

LAT: As trade war escalates, Chinese remember ‘national humiliation’

NYT: Trade dispute between US and China deepens as Beijing retaliates

China hits back at US claim it reneged on trade talks
: FT reports, Beijing says Washington changed terms on deal to buy more goods midway through discussions.

Bloomberg: China vows ‘people’s war’ as trade fight takes nationalist turn

Trump said that he feels talks with China “are going to be very successful” as he confirmed he will meet President Xi Jingping at next month’s G-20 summit. 

LAT: Escalating US-China trade war roils markets as Trump promises aid to farmers

“There will be price hikes at Target, Costco, Home Depot and Walmart. The importers are going to pass on some or all of the tariff to the consumer and that will become much more readily apparent and harder to mask.” -- Nelson Dong, a partner with Dorsey & Whitney in Seattle

When Hurun published its first ranking of China’s wealthiest people in 1999, it found just 50 with assets above $6m. The list now features nearly 2,000 individuals worth more than $300m — the tip of China’s sprawling private sector. 

Private Chinese companies account for 90 percent of exports and Washington’s decision to impose tariffs on Chinese exports has unnerved the country’s equity markets, further eroding private businesses’ ability to raise money.

John Authers: China may have miscalculated Trump’s weak spot: By raising tariffs, the White House puts pressure on China to stimulate its economy, which will lead to a recovery in US share prices.

Support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe surged after the country’s first imperial abdication and accession in two centuries.

Okinawa-based US Marines may start moving to Guam in October 2024: TJT reports, the current plan will relocate approximately 5,000 Marines, of whom about 1,700 will be permanently based on Guam and the remainder rotated every half year.

You’ll split the party, top Tories warn May: The Times reports, PM Theresa May will sacrifice the “loyal middle” of her party if she strikes a deal with Labour to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU, a group of former cabinet ministers and senior Tories has warned.

'A customs union is both bad policy and bad politics'

How a last-minute change of heart foiled a secret plot to oust Venezuela’s leader: For weeks, the country’s spy chief, its chief justice and a Miami businessman tried to seal a high-stakes deal to remove President Nicolás Maduro. This is what went wrong.

US-Russia: Trump says he wants to meet with Vladimir Putin but Russia’s still waiting for an invitation, according to the Kremlin. While the US president announced Monday that he’ll meet the Russian leader at the Group of 20 Summit in Japan next month, that’s not Russia’s understanding

Hal Brands: If NATO expansion was a mistake, why hasn’t Putin invaded? So-called foreign-policy realists are wrong to say enlarging NATO caused Russian aggression.

Paul Krugman: Killing the Pax Americana: Trump’s trade war is about more than economics.

"For trade policy isn’t just about economics. It’s also about democracy and peace."


Henry Kissinger: How the enlightenment ends: Philosophically, intellectually—in every way—human society is unprepared for the rise of artificial intelligence.

Can artificial intelligence in the energy sector help solve the climate crisis? Artificial intelligence conjures fears of job loss and privacy concerns — not to mention sci-fi dystopias. But machine learning can also help us save energy and make renewables better.


FT: US Supreme Court rules against Apple in App Store case

Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh joins liberal justices to allow iPhone owners to sue.

Apple’s loss in Supreme Court sends shockwaves through Silicon Valley: WP reports, the loss could expose the tech industry to heightened antitrust oversight, threatening a slew of new lawsuits and other legal salvos.

Liz Cheney faces a dilemma and the GOP wonders: How high can she go? WP reports, the daughter of former Republican vice president Richard B. Cheney is pondering if she should keep climbing the House leadership ladder or seek a Senate seat — and a brighter national spotlight.

Timothy L. O'Brien: Don’t go searching for strategy in Trump’s tariffs: His nascent trade war with China is a reminder that some things for the president are always personal.

Bloomberg: Trump’s tariffs start to look like goal and not tool for talks

"In tweets and other public utterances in recent days Trump has repeatedly hailed his tariffs, claiming they have helped power US economic growth and repeated over and over again that other countries such as China pay the bill, a view even his own economic advisers are uncomfortable defending."

WSJ - Editorial: The cost of China tariffs: Border taxes are an economic loss, as markets are saying.

Trump's trade agenda on the verge of imploding: Politico reports, Trump is heading toward his 2020 reelection campaign with virtually nothing to show for his big trade promises — except for angry farmers and a jittery stock market. A long-sought deal with China appears to be falling apart this week, exposing businesses on both sides of the Pacific to more tariffs and steep losses for farmers. His new pact with Canada and Mexico is facing significant opposition in Congress even from Republicans, who are demanding that he lift steel and aluminum tariffs before they'll vote on it. Deals with the European Union, Japan, and Great Britain are also stalled by politics here and abroad.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who is running for reelection next year, said he backs the president’s China strategy as long as it ends quickly and well.

Michigan farmers say ‘nobody wins’ in Trump’s trade war with China

Trump’s overall trade and tariffs policies reduced US income by $6.9 billion over 11 months last year, according to new research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Princeton University, and Columbia University.

Bloomberg: Biden’s NAFTA vote is a liability in the Rust Belt

His record on trade could make him a target for both the left and right.

Catherine Rampell: Democrats should be shouting Trump’s trade failures from the rooftops

"Democrats have been muted or mealy-mouthed in their criticism. Perhaps this is because, when it comes to trade policy, most of them don’t have a leg to stand on."

"pandering to the tiny minority of protectionists is short-sighted, particularly if doing so hurts the economy in the medium term and US alliances in the long term."

Bernie Sanders struggles to maintain outsider status: WSJ reports, the candidate has drawn support from outside groups with few restrictions and undisclosed donors. Meanwhile, his liberal policies, such as Medicare for All, have been embraced by many Democratic rivals, making it a challenge to set himself apart.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock enters 2020 Democratic race.


The Post and Courier: ‘The safe choice:’ Biden widens SC lead in 2020 Democratic presidential primary

The Post and Courier-Change Research Poll:

Joe Biden — 46%
Bernie Sanders — 15%
Kamala Harris — 10%
Pete Buttigieg — 8%
Elizabeth Warren — 8%
Cory Booker — 4%
Beto O’Rourke — 2%
Andrew Yang — 2%
Stacey Abrams — 1%
Amy Klobuchar — 1%
Marianne Williamson — 1%
Michael Bennet — 0%
Julián Castro — 0%
John Delaney — 0%
Tulsi Gabbard — 0%
Kirsten Gillibrand — 0%
John Hickenlooper — 0%
Jay Inslee — 0% 
Tim Ryan — 0%
Eric Swalwell — 0%

Update: Caracal Global = 2020 Presidential Candidates by Tier


Marriott International’s new platform, Marriott Homes and Villas, was announced in late April and recently went live. It’s offering vacation home rentals in more than 100 markets worldwide, including the Charleston area and Hilton Head Island. 

Bayer shares resumed their monthslong fall after the company was hit by a more-than $2 billion jury award over its Roundup herbicide.

Bloomberg: Juror tells Roundup Weedkiller lawyer to ‘get up and drink it’

Walmart will offer free next-day delivery to more US homes.

FT: Canadian rugby team launches range of cannabis-derived products

Toronto Wolfpack will market branded gels and creams that claim to relieve pain and stress.

Bloomberg: Uber blame game focuses on Morgan Stanley after shares drop

The 18% drop in two days has raised questions about the bank's performance.

WhatsApp attacked by advanced spyware via missed calls: DW reports, a missed call on WhatsApp was enough to infect some of the app users' phones with advanced spying software, the messaging platform has said. The malicious program was reportedly developed by Israel's NSO group.


HBD: Sofia Coppola, film director, and screenwriter, Lost in Translation (2003), 48

Goodbye Veep: the nastiest, sweariest, funniest show on TV is over: Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ political antiheroine has shared her last insult, leaving and behind an audaciously meanspirited comedy that will stand the test of time.

Fox’s “Empire” will end after the coming sixth season. 

Today: The Cannes Film Festival opens.

Measles: The US measles outbreak is now 839 cases across 23 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sixty-six of 75 new cases last week occurred in New York.


LAT: Proposed Angels ballpark in Long Beach could cost more than $1 billion

US Soccer has extended its partnership with TicketMaster as the organization’s official ticketing provider, with plans to leverage TicketMaster’s new biometrics capabilities.

The Dutch Grand Prix will return next season at Zandvoort after a 35-year absence, Formula One organizers announced on Tuesday. A deal to stage the race at the historic seaside resort circuit near Amsterdam has been signed for at least three years.

The Ohio State University has enough players in the NFL to make up an entire 53-man roster.

In search of an edge, elite basketball prospects are repeating a grade — in middle school

"Reclassing has become prominent in the hypercompetitive DC-area basketball scene, with some estimating that half of all Division I-bound men’s basketball players reclassed in middle school or younger. Of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference’s eight first-team players this past season, five — all of whom are projected to play for major college basketball programs — have reclassed."

Has MLS expansion come at the expense of the league's established teams? The league is spreading its reach across North America. But some believe MLS and its owners have forgotten about clubs who helped build the league in the first place.

“We certainly believe that the Crew has received less attention from the league than other newer, shinier teams,” says David Miller of Save the Crew, the grassroots organisation that rallied to stop the Columbus Crew from being moved to Austin. “For example, this season our home matches occur heavily in the early part of the season, when you often have to wear full winter coats to games. You’re not going to incentivise random drop-in attendance when the temperature is approaching freezing.” 

Roma's 'beating heart' De Rossi moving on after 18 years: AFP reports, captain Daniele De Rossi will bring the curtain down on his 18-year career with Roma at the end of the season, the Serie A side announced on Tuesday. The 35-year-old former World Cup winning midfielder will play his final game at home against Parma on May 26, but will not be retiring from professional football.

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.