G20 Summit, Robots, Mueller, Democratic Debates, TikTok, Drone Racing League, Kimono

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What I am watching today = June 26, 2019

Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia

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G20 Summit, Robots, Mueller, Democratic Debates, TikTok, Drone Racing League, Kimono


✔️ Trump + Xi trade talks loom large over G20 meeting in Japan

✔️ Robots may displace 20 million manufacturing jobs by 2030

✔️ Dems secure testimony from ‘reluctant’ Mueller

✔️ Democratic debates to pit experience against lesser-knowns

✔️ TikTok reaches 1 billion downloads


Welcome to Debate-A-Palooza #1

It's here, the first Democrat presidential debate is tonight, just under 500 days before America decides who will be in the White House starting in 2021.

For the next two nights, ten Democrat hopefuls each night (20 total) will meet in heat and humidity of Miami for the first presidential primary debate.

Only 20?

Yes, four or five, maybe more, have been left on the sidelines.

In classic Democrat fashion, Steve Bullock, the sitting governor of very red-state Montana did not meet the showing of polling popularity or fundraising donors. He will be required to watch the spectacle from his television or more likely his tablet screen.

While the Yang Gang and a four-time New York Times number one bestseller under the 'Advice, How To, and Miscellaneous' category will both participate.

The line-ups for each night were decided by drawing straws in an effort to keep each evening in some form of balance.

Regardless, the first debate is being called the "children's table" since it has fewer heavyweights than the second.

Elizabeth Warren, the wonky technocrat Massachusetts senator, ascending in recent polls, will largely be on her own tonight.

With one of the boldest progressive policy agendas hatched beyond the walls of DC think-tanks, Warren is eroding Sanders’ standing as the favorite of the party’s hard to please left wing. Tonight gives Warren a chance to make further gains in what’s likely to be the most widely watched - certainly, the more most covered - campaign event so far.

In terms of popularity, Warren's closest competitor tonight is Beto O’Rourke.

The Texas J.Crew-friendly wunderkind needs to have a good evening - his Vanity Fair, Annie Leibovitz shot cover so far has been the only success he has enjoyed on the campaign trail.

Expect many questions on climate change, immigration, impeachment, tariffs, confrontation with Iran, and the behavior required of being POTUS.

Also, plan for many also-runnings to try desperately for a breakout and land meme-friendly zinger.

Biggest unknowns - will Trump inject himself into the show and will any of the candidates attack Biden even though he’s not onstage?

Plus don't forget Bowling Green State University graduate Representative Tim Ryan.


Marc A. Ross is an advisor and connector working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics. Ross specializes in helping entrepreneurs and thought leaders make better connections and better communications.


Reuters: Trump threatens 'obliteration,' Iran calls White House 'mentally retarded'

CNBC: Mnuchin: 'We were about 90% of the way' on China trade deal and there's a 'path to complete this'

It's been 90% for months and 0% forever.

Team Trump is pitching orange slices for everyone with this next meeting with Xi.

Pro-tip: Fundamental differences remain - from economic systems to 5G - over how global commerce will operate for the next 25-30 years.

CNBC: Stock futures jump after Mnuchin says 'there's a path' to complete trade deal

The US is willing to suspend the next round of tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports as both sides prepare to resume trade negotiations.

Guardian: Trump and Xi trade talks loom large over G20 meeting in Japan

The US and Chinese presidents are expected to discuss the year-long dispute, but experts say substantive agreement is unlikely.

Robert Zoellick: Trump’s impulsive China approach makes US vulnerable: Meeting at G20 unlike to resolve the complex conflict between Beijing and Washington.

Tom Donilon: Trump’s trade war is the wrong way to compete with China https://fam.ag/2ZMvvRs

"Focus on renewal, not protectionism"

Tom Friedman: Trump takes on China and Persia at once. What’s to worry about?

He’s imposed pain. Now, if he only had defined plans and goals.

China's LGBT population: $300 billion a year is the estimated size of China’s rainbow economy, based on state media reports. Gay dating app Blued recently voted Chengdu the gay capital of China, although the city has had this reputation for some time.

China Space Station (CSS) is slated to be fully operational: SpaceNews reports that “China is maintaining that the target for completion of the CSS is ‘around 2022.’”

SupChina: Where do the Democratic Candidates for President stand on China? http://bit.ly/2FA4p8C

"We have given each candidate a “Panda Hugger to Slugger” rating on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 suggests they do or would like to cozy up to the Chinese government, and a 5 means that they take absolutely every chance they get to bash the Chinese government (à la Marco Rubio)."

OTD: In 1959 Queen Elizabeth II and President Eisenhower formally opened the St Lawrence Seaway, which links the North American Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.

Bloomberg: Trump drags dollar to center stage at G20 as trade war heats up

Wall Street ponders risk US to intervene by selling dollars

Elizabeth Warren proposal shows dollar focus is bipartisan

FT: Mexico misses opportunity as López Obrador shuns G20 summit

President could have used meeting to forge global ties on issues such as poverty and migration.

Patching up: Mike Pompeo in Delhi: The Economist reports, on his way to the G20 summit in Japan, Mike Pompeo, the American secretary of state, arrived yesterday for a brief visit to Delhi. Pompeo will take part in conversations with the newly re-elected administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Simply by showing up at a frantic time Pompeo has achieved one goal: demonstrating the importance America places on its relationship with India.

AP: Big plastic user Japan fights waste ahead of G-20 summit

"Japan is the world’s No. 2 consumer of single-use plastic packaging per person — the United States is No. 1 — according to a 2018 U.N. Environment Program report. G-20 nations produce half the world’s plastic waste, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will chair the summit, has made fixing the problem a top initiative, both at the summit and in Japan."

Nikkei: New law in Thailand risks drawing an avalanche of plastic waste

Junta-era rules are business-friendly, but greens object to lax monitoring.

Reuters: Denmark becomes third Nordic country to form leftist government this year

"While the new left-leaning government is unlikely to fundamentally change Danish economic policy, Frederiksen, who at 41 becomes Denmark’s youngest prime minister, has promised to increase welfare spending after years of austerity."

Boris Johnson, political escape artist, lands in hot water. Again. NYT reports, the front-runner to become the British prime minister is frequently caught in gaffes, oversights, and outright lies. But that’s part of his appeal to voters.

A foreign mafia has come to Italy and further polarized the migration debate: WP reports, the Nigerian mafia has built Italy into a European hub, smuggling cocaine and heroin and trafficking women by the tens of thousands. As Italy’s politics swing to the right, the country is contending with a divisive question: Are long-held migration fears coming to fruition?

Ethiopia internet shutdown continues following a reported coup attempt. Ethiopia has been cut off from the internet for over 72 hours following a blackout which started Saturday evening amid reports of an attempted plot to unseat Amhara Regional State Government.

Africanews: Ethiopia failed coup: Fifth death, national mourning, mastermind killed


Robots may displace 20 million manufacturing jobs by 2030.

The Times: TV’s golden age is closing the chapter on novels

"Sales of physical fiction books fell by 9 percent in Britain last year, the sharpest drop of recent years, with rising sales of audiobooks and ebooks only partially offsetting the decline."

"Netflix, which has ten million British subscribers, has identified reading — alongside other activities such as dinner with friends and enjoying a glass of wine — as a direct competitor."


Politico: Dems secure testimony from ‘reluctant’ Mueller

July 17, 2019

This will be a joint hearing of Intel and Judiciary, so you'll have 60 lawmakers involved in this made-for-TV event. (There is some overlap between the two panels.)

Today: The first debates for the American presidential election candidates from the Democratic Party live from Miami starting at 9:00 pm ET. The debates will be available to watch on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo on both nights and will be available to stream for free on NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, and the NBC News app, as well as all Telemundo digital platforms.

South Flordia Sun-Sentinel: Presidential candidates flood into South Florida, beginning in the Everglades

WP: ‘Looking for fireworks’: How 2016 — and Trump — ushered in the era of the mega-debate

"The 2016 campaign ushered in the era of the mega-debate — a bigger field of candidates, a bigger slate of debates, bigger ratings, bigger stakes and a bigger need for a standout exchange. The events — always a political proving ground — have evolved into highly produced spectacles where an aggressive attack or memorable star turn can lift, or sideline, an Oval Office hopeful."

"Sixty seconds for answers, a television audience of millions and, for some candidates, a first chance to introduce themselves to voters."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s task is to harness the recent momentum surrounding her campaign to prove to voters that she has what it takes to defeat Trump.

Captain Chaos and Twitter: During the first debate, Trump will be on Air Force One on his way to the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The plane’s cable televisions are usually turned to Fox News, which is not hosting the debates. For the second debate, he will be beginning meetings at the G20.

First Democratic debates to pit experience against lesser-knowns: WSJ reports, the crowded Democratic presidential field converges on Miami for televised debates, giving millions of Americans their first chance to compare the candidates looking to unseat Trump.

When will the second debate take place? The second debate will be held in Detroit on July 30 and 31 and will be hosted by CNN.

AP-NORC Poll: Democrats most excited by experience in office: Democratic registered voters are yearning for experience in elected office. A whopping 73% cited that as a quality that would make them more excited about supporting a presidential candidate."

"Trump slump" hits big media: Axios reports, executives tell Axios that Trump fatigue is very real: Interest in political coverage overall is down, which is spurring investments in other beats, like technology and the global economy.

Liz Mair: Who is the Republican heir to Trump? Some ambitious politicians are setting themselves up to run in the 2024 election — or perhaps earlier. https://nyti.ms/2ZMctup

WP: On campaign trail, Trump and Biden clash over China as trade war deepens

Libra, we'd like a word: Regulators on both sides of the Atlantic are demanding more details on Facebook’s Libra, a cryptocurrency it announced last week. European central bankers fret that the entry of Facebook into the financial system could imperil it; yesterday America’s House Financial Services Committee scheduled a hearing in July, to follow another by the Senate, to scrutinize the project.

WSJ: Facebook says Libra can change the world. It needs to convince users.

Martin Wolf: Facebook enters dangerous waters with Libra


Brigadoon DC | Aperitivo

Thursday, June 27
5:30 - 7:30 pm
Woodward Table
1426 H Street, NW
Washington, DC

An aperitivo is often described as being similar to the American happy hour, but when it's a Brigadoon gathering, it’s much more than that.

This is a free to attend, cash bar gathering designed for meeting old friends and making new friends.

RSVP - here.


TikTok reaches 1 billion downloads.

Instagram is gearing up to become a new source of "window shopping" as it attempts to "connect the dots thoughtfully" among users, retailers and influencers, according to Instagram's head, Adam Mosseri, who said this effort would be more like a "five- to 10-year project." He also said new analytics measuring users' consumption patterns would also help better focus Instagram's advertising.

WWE + PP Sports have signed a new multi-year agreement that will keep WWE programming airing live in Mandarin in China.

Drone Racing League is raising $50 million.

The Esports Observer: Chinese island province of Hainan plans $145.6m esports development fund

Meal kits, Kombucha, and snacks for delivery: Convenience stores are getting a makeover: CNN reports, 7-Eleven's move, which is similar to Domino's beach delivery launch last year, is the latest sign of convenience chains reshaping their businesses for the digital era.

Pizza Hut's parent company Yum Brands! is bringing the red hut back for various promotions.

Bitcoin surge: The original virtual currency surged as much at 14% this morning, trading over $12,900 at one point before easing to $12,520 by 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time – still a $1,150 gain for the session.

Reuters: Bitcoin reaches 18-month high as Facebook's Libra spurs interest

FT: Nike pulls line of shoes from China over Instagram post

Limited-edition range by Japanese designer targeted after support for Hong Kong protests.

So "Dream Crazy" only takes place in the United States?

SFC: Apple buys self-driving car startup Drive.ai

Apple buys Drive.ai, showing its autonomous car project is still alive.
Apple will reportedly get “dozens” of Drive.ai engineers and product designers in the deal, along with the startup’s autonomous cars and other hard assets. But it’s likely that the main draw for Apple was the talent."


Brunch with Roxanne Varza: She’s the head of Station F, Paris’ startup mega campus — and the (non-French) face of French tech. But who, really, is Roxanne Varza? http://bit.ly/2ZLkpfu

Those puppy dog eyes you can’t resist? Thank evolution: Dogs have a muscle that lets them make a face to melt a human’s heart. https://nyti.ms/2ZU8Oel

LAT: Kim Kardashian just trademarked ‘Kimono.’ Let the backlash begin


OTD: In 1906 the first motor-racing grand prix took place on a 64-mile circuit near Le Mans, France.

Garcetti says LA will rake in $1 billion profit from 2028 Games: Reuters reports, the 2028 Summer Games will see host city Los Angeles record a profit of at least $1 billion, Mayor Eric Garcetti told a sports summit on Monday. Garcetti said utilizing the city's existing sports venues would keep costs down while ticket and sponsorship sales would top current projections to help Los Angeles avoid the pitfalls that have left some other host cities in debt.

Can lacrosse work as a professional sport? Katie Baker at The Ringer reports, Paul Rabil is proudly fluent in the languages of lacrosse, startup life, and therapy, and on a chilly January morning in Connecticut, he is speaking all three at once. Rabil sits at a table at NBC Sports headquarters, in a conference room named after the Torino Olympics, imploring about a dozen dudes-TV executives, content farmers, a fellow niche athlete, a consultant or two-to avoid operating "from a defensive position" now and in the future.

David Silva set for final season at Man City.

FIFA Women's World Cup = Final Eight (qualified)

United States


Thursday, June 27

Norway vs. England @3:00 pm ET

Friday, June 28

France vs. United States @ 3:00 pm ET

Saturday, June 29

Italy vs. Netherlands @ 9:00 am ET
Germany vs. Sweden @ 12:30 pm ET


Tuesday, July 2

Norway/England vs. USA/France @3:00 pm ET

Wednesday, July 3

Germany/Sweden vs. Italy/Netherlands @ 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.