What I am watching today = June 3, 2019
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross
Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia
Trade Wars, London, Tiananmen, Google, Facebook, Baseball
✔️ Michael Bloomberg: Stop Trump on trade
✔️ China bolsters AI surveillance ahead of Tiananmen anniversary
✔️ Consumer firms are catering to single-person households
✔️ Tanzania bans plastic bags
✔️ Google has antitrust playbook ready
CNBC: Goldman Sachs is predicting an escalation of global trade wars
Goldman Sachs has revised up the possibility of sweeping auto tariffs being introduced this year to 40%, from 25% previously.
The bank raised the possibility of the US introducing a new 10% tariff on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese imports to 60%, from 40% previously.
Michael Bloomberg: Stop Trump on trade: Congress should rein in the president’s trade-policy powers before it’s too late.
Stephen Gandel: Trump’s trade war has cost investors up to $7 trillion: Stocks dropped 6.6% in May, and the damage goes back even further.
Trump trade tactics: China and Mexico both signaled a willingness to negotiate with Washington over escalating trade issues.
Trump's Huawei problem: Asia doesn't want US to kneecap China: Bloomberg reports, “What is at stake is the existing global order, that even if not perfect has ensured peace and progress these last 70 years,” Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen told the Shangri-La Dialogue. “It would be an egregious folly to throw this baby out with the bath water.” Fears are growing throughout Asia that a clash of superpowers will end up hurting smaller nations, many of which rely on exports to fuel the economic growth that provides jobs for millions of people. And while many Asian countries view the US as an essential check on China’s power, they are also wary that Trump is going too far in trying to halt its rise.
China bolsters AI surveillance ahead of Tiananmen anniversary: Nikkei reports, China is using surveillance tools installed with the latest artificial intelligence software in a bid to clamp down on anti-government activism around Tuesday's 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown. Questioning the one-party state's view that it responded appropriately to the student-led protests of 1989 is among the biggest taboos in China. Officials heighten scrutiny on anti-establishment elements every year around this time.
@SCMPNews: Journalists with Chinese state broadcaster CGTN in the US have been denied passes to cover Congress
Chinese warships cause surprise in Sydney Harbour: AFP reports, Australians enjoying a sunny winter morning were shocked by the sight of three Chinese warships steaming into Sydney Harbour Monday, forcing the prime minister to reassure jittery residents. Amid heightened concern about Beijing's growing clout and military muscle-flexing, the appearance of a Chinese flagged task group and around 700 sailors came as a surprise.
PM Morrison described the port call as a "reciprocal visit, because Australian naval vessels have visited China".
NYT: Trump administration considered tariffs on Australia
Trump's Mexico tariffs: Trump’s threatened tariffs on Mexico could affect as much as $360 billion in goods and would represent his biggest imposition to date of such duties on a US trading partner. The 5% tariffs, proposed to start on June 10, would apply to all imports from Mexico, hitting sectors that previously had little exposure to the administration’s aggressive trade initiatives, including importers of autos, crude oil and fruits, and vegetables.
Mexico's $8 billion refinery: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has officially launched the $8 billion construction of a controversial oil refinery that experts say is likely to blowout in cost.The huge project, inaugurated Sunday, aims to boost Mexico's struggling state oil company Pemex and provide economic stimulus to the country's impoverished south.
Canada has temporarily shut its embassy in Venezuela.
Trump across the pond: Trump opened a four-day swing through Britain and France, arriving in London earlier today where he promptly courted controversy by criticizing London’s mayor.
Tea with Prince Charles, talks with Prime Minister Theresa May, and a banquet with Queen Elizabeth are on Trump’s London agenda.
Trip sparks a debate among Tory leadership contenders over future relations with US.
Tory leadership candidates backed US calls to block Huawei from Britain’s communications network yesterday.
Boris Johnson, frontrunner to be Britain's next prime minister, promised on Monday to lead the country out of the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without an exit deal.
Consumer firms are catering to single-person households: Upending generations of family-focused marketing; smaller appliances, individual packaging, and giant toilet-paper rolls.
Today, 35.7 million Americans live alone, 28% of households. That is up from 13% of households in 1960 and 23% in 1980, according to the US Census Bureau.
A new trend of delivery-only, 'ghost restaurant' models is likely here to stay
Did America reach peak automobile in 2006? Vehicles per person increased by 18.2% from 1984 to 2006 (from 0.665 vehicles to 0.786 vehicles), then decreased by 5.3% by 2012 (to 0.744 vehicles), and then increased by 3.4% by 2017 (to 0.769 vehicles). Vehicles per person has been on a rebound since 2012, but it is still down from 2006 by 2.2%. In comparison, distance driven per person is down by 5.2% from its maximum.
At least 20 electric-centric versions of Detroit under construction in China as the nation goes all-in on a technology projected to sell in record numbers this year.
Tanzania bans plastic bags: Under new measures, anyone using plastic bags in Tanzania can be slapped with a fine, and those caught manufacturing the items can get jail time.
A ‘bridge’ to China, and her family’s business, in the Trump cabinet: NYT reports, Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary, has repeatedly used her connections in China to boost the profile of her family’s shipping company. Her proximity to Foremost Group has raised ethics questions, as the firm benefits from policies in China that are roiling the White House.
Kevin Hassett, the Chairman of Council of Economic Advisers, is departing the White House.
Toronto gives Obama an ‘MVP’ chant and a big standing ovation in Toronto at Game 2 of NBA Finals.
Trump and coal miners: Coal lost more ground last year and is expected to decline even more in 2019, according to the EIA, despite President Trump's promise to revive coal mining. EIA forecasts that the national share of electricity generation from coal will average 24 percent in 2019 and 22 percent in 2020, down from 27 percent in 2018. As recently as 2006, coal was nearly 50 percent of the nation's energy mix.
California in the spotlight as 2020 Democratic hopefuls flood the state: LAT reports, the state party convention in San Francisco drew 14 White House hopefuls, giving activists a rare chance to be courted.
Liberals go after Biden, trying to blunt his candidacy and a recent centrist surge among Democrats: WP reports, the former vice president’s standing hasn’t ebbed as some liberals hoped, so he and other moderates are now targeted in a fight for Democratic Party control.
@gregorykorte: Some news: I’ll be joining @Bloomberg News later this month as a reporter covering the 2020 presidential campaign. I’m so grateful for the amazing opportunities I’ve had in nine years at @USATODAY but I’m excited for this next chapter and can’t wait to get started.
Gregory Korte was the Brigadoon Sundance 2017 keynote speaker.
Brigadoon Workshop: Capturing Press Attention: On Thursday, June 27 make plans to attend Brigadoon Workshop | Capturing Press Attention = developing press contacts, speaking with the media, and creating content that is newsworthy. Book your spot - here.
Google said on Sunday it had resolved the network congestion in the eastern United States that affected services in Google Cloud, G Suite, and YouTube.
Bloomberg: Google has antitrust playbook ready for DOJ after EU challenges
Shira Ovide: Google should be afraid. Very afraid. A new round of antitrust questions can’t go well for the company. The culture has turned against tech since Google skated free in 2013.
British Airways resumes Pakistan flights after a 10-year absence.
Sephora has announced it will close all its US stores, distribution centers and corporate office for employee training after a racial profiling incident involving Grammy-nominated singer SZA.
David Fickling: Multinationals are the world’s bogeymen again: From FedEx to Huawei to Nissan, the atmosphere is turning chilly for cross-border companies and executives.
OTD: In 1946 the first bikini was displayed in Paris. Its creator was Louis Reard, a French designer.
FIFA Women's World Cup: The tournament starts in France this Friday.
Viewership for NBA playoffs are down 14% heading into the finals: Across 76 telecasts on ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV, this year’s playoffs are averaging 3.95 million viewers, compared to 4.61 million viewers over 78 games through the same point last year.
Tim Dahlberg: Baseball finds itself with a real numbers problem: Baseball is becoming hard to watch, and fans are registering their displeasure by staying home in increasing numbers.
Enjoy the ride + plan accordingly.