It's important because it's getting the most attention....

Ross Rant March 2018.png

So 13 EU nations are supporting China's BRI, Britain can't sort out how to Brexit, and America is consumed with a scam where two C-list celebrities rigged the system to get their progeny into elite universities.

Seems right.

Currently, the US is all about personality trumping policy.

However, as a news story, this is Shakespearean.

This news demands we pay attention - it is simply hired-wired into the lizard brain cultural foundation of America.

It's no wonder the Feds led with Hollywood stars cheating the system and finding more support for children already given amazing support - this is the ultimate narrative and captures attention from the start.

For entrepreneurs and Hollywood stars who deal with sharks daily, the emotional ups and downs of performing, working, and living at the highest levels of America, they wanted a guaranteed process, they were taking no chances.

The pressure to buy academics and credentials in America is real. The idea that being in the right network and around the right alumni is reinforced daily in America.

So they turned to a college entrance professional with a secret sauce and “side door” process to help kids of the wealthy and powerful and connected into highly sought after universities.

This story will be with us for some time. This story is the ultimate narrative and will foster memes, pods, books, movies, and plays.

The charges will shake the high echelons of American academia.

Politicians on the campaign trail will weave this story into their campaign speeches reinforcing us vs. them and reminding voters of the advantages the ultra-rich enjoy in accessing the country’s best colleges.

Students will continue to feel intense competition where merit alone may not be enough to assure admission, even for students with perfect grade-point averages and stellar resumes, to the most sought after schools.

It's a heck of a story, but possibly not the most important story this week.

Your lizard brain is a heck of a news editor.

-- Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross specializes in thought leader strategy and management for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics. He is the founder of Brigadoon (thebrigadoon.com) and Caracal Global (caracal.global).

Theresa May, Meatless Mondays, Beto O'Rourke, Joe Biden, Zinedine Zidane

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Theresa May, Meatless Mondays, Beto O'Rourke, Joe Biden, Zinedine Zidane

Caracal Global Daily
March 12, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Caracal Global Daily  = News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics


TOP FIVE

✔️ Brexit vote looming, Theresa May secures EU help

✔️ New York City school menus go meatless on Mondays

✔️ Registered Republicans like Trump but want a GOP challenger

✔️ Boeing scrambles to contain fallout

✔️ Zinedine Zidane returns to coach Real Madrid

GLOBALIZATION

FT: May agrees revised Brexit deal with Juncker

‘Now is the time to come together,’ says PM, hoping new assurances will win over critics.

Theresa May urged MPs last night to unite and back an “improved Brexit deal” after securing changes that she said ensured Britain could not be trapped in the Irish backstop.
 

May secures concessions from EU on Brexit deal: WSJ reports, British Prime Minister Theresa May secured concessions from the European Union over her Brexit divorce deal, in a last-minute push to head off a large-scale defeat when the British Parliament votes on the agreement Tuesday.

Brexit vote looming, Theresa May secures EU help: NYT reports, the British prime minister flew to Strasbourg and won concessions on the “backstop” plan for the Irish border. Whether they are enough remains unclear.

The world's oldest alliance that is still in force: The alliance between England and Portugal was signed in 1373 and last activated in WWII.

Paris okays proposed French-German parliamentary assembly: DW reports, a combined German-French parliamentary assembly that will be able to propose joint but non-binding resolutions has been given the green light by France's National Assembly. Its first sitting is due on March 25 in Paris.

US warns Germany to drop Huawei or lose intel access: WSJ reports, the Trump administration has told Germany it would limit the intelligence it shares if Berlin allows Huawei to build Germany’s 5G mobile-internet infrastructure.

AFP: No date yet for Trump-Xi trade summit: White House

Nikkei: Japan to forgo inviting China's Xi asstate guest in June


Japan will likely ditch plans to invite Xi Jinping as a national guest in June out of consideration for Trump who is scheduled to visit the month before.

Fear of Trump walking on Xi haunts China as trade talks near end: Bloomberg reports, Trump and his aides have for weeks been pushing for Xi to agree to a meeting at Mar-a-Lago to finalize a deal as soon as this month to end a dispute that has cast a shadow over the global economy. Trump himself has said that it’s only when the two leaders meet that the final details can be ironed out. Chinese officials, however, have long been wary of putting Xi in a position where he might be embarrassed by an unpredictable Trump or forced into last-minute concessions.

China’s economy might be nearly a seventh smaller than reported: The Economist reports, a new paper, by Chang-Tai Hsieh of the University of Chicago and three co-authors from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, finds that industrial output and investment have been consistently embellished. As a result, they argue that China overstated real GDP growth by two percentage points on average every year from 2008 to 2016. Over time that adds up: official figures for 2016 would have exaggerated the size of the economy by 16%, or more than $1.5trn.

Mexico: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador insisted Monday the Mexican economy is strong as he completed 100 days in office, dismissing critics who warn a climate of uncertainty could weigh on growth.

"Fortunately, our economy is on the march. It's still growing slowly, but there's not the slightest sign of a recession, as our conservative opponents wish and as their economic analysts forecast, in bad faith."

FT: Blackouts raise political heat on Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro

Washington and Juan Guaidó, opposition leader, blame power cuts on beleaguered leader.

School and work canceled for the third day in Venezuela.


Pompeo accuses Cuba and Russia of propping up Venezuelan ruler: NYT reports, Pompeo’s comments came amid a devastating power outage that has plunged many of Venezuela’s most populous areas into darkness, spoiling food in a nation where little is available.

“When there is no electricity, thank the marvels of modern Cuban-led engineering,” Pompeo said in comments laced with sarcasm. “When there’s no water, thank the excellent hydrologists from Cuba. When there’s no food, thank the Cuban communist overlords.”

India votes: The world’s largest, most complicated democratic exercise: FT reports, this year’s electorate is 900m, around 10% higher than in 2014, and as many as 130m are first-time voters

OTD: In 1930 Gandhi started a 240-mile march to the sea in protest against the British monopoly on the sale of salt.

NATO chief invited to address US Congress amid tensions: AFP reports, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday extended a rare invitation to the head of NATO to address a joint meeting of Congress in early April to mark the alliance's 70th anniversary.

Washington is scheduled to host a NATO ministerial meeting on April 3 and 4.

Former Vice President Cheney challenges Pence on Trump’s foreign policy: WP reports, at a closed-door retreat hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, Cheney compared the president’s instincts to those of President Barack Obama.

DISRUPTION

New York City school menus go meatless on Mondays: WSJ reports, the NYC mayor says the policy will improve the health of children and the planet; food trade group says the move will limit low-income youngsters’ access to protein.

The nation’s largest school district follows others, such as Los Angeles, in offering only vegetarian dishes on Mondays, saying the move will help the environment by cutting greenhouse gases. 

Women finally get their own World Cup soccer style: NYT reports, for decades, women’s uniforms were just derivations of men’s. Now, taking specific design cues, like ponytail-friendly necklines, comes the good stuff

Nike revealed the new home and away uniforms for 14 out of 24 competing teams, and for the first time since the brand began working with the WWC tournament in 1995, each one of them was made specifically for the women’s teams, not as derivations or extensions of kits made for men.

POLITICS

Impeachment - not for Nancy: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she doesn’t support pursuing the impeachment of Trump.

NYT: Impeaching Trump is ‘not worth it,’ Nancy Pelosi says

WP: Nancy Pelosi on impeaching Trump: ‘He’s just not worth it’

In a wide-ranging interview, the country’s most powerful Democrat says Trump is unfit to be president — “ethically,” “intellectually” and “curiosity-wise” — but impeachment would be too divisive.

Once again, a brilliant political move by Nancy Pelosi - he strategy ensures two winning tactics to remove Trump from the White House.


New York attorney general opens investigation of Trump projects: NYT reports, the New York attorney general’s office late on Monday issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank for records relating to the financing of four major Trump Organization projects and a failed effort to buy the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League in 2014, according to a person briefed on the subpoenas.

DSM Register: Registered Republicans like Trump but 40 percent want a GOP challenger

Most registered Republicans think Trump is doing a good job, but they are split over whether another GOP candidate should challenge him for their party’s nomination in 2020.

Name the last president of the modern age seeking re-election to have a primary challenger who went onto win the general election?

You can't.

It's never happened.

Now the Dems care about Wisconsin: The Democratic Party has selected Milwaukee to hold its 2020 convention.


Reuters: Beto O'Rourke heading to Iowa, fueling speculation about White House bid

A trip to Iowa on Saturday, where the first votes in the nominating contest will be cast in February, suggests his entry into the race is imminent.

William McGurn: The case for Joe Biden: The former vice president could pose a formidable challenge to Trump—if Democrats let him.

He brings a Democratic ethos that he says was forged in blue-collar Scranton, PA.

Biden’s best hope is to campaign as someone who will restore civility to the White House.

The 2016 election was unusual in that the leading two presidential candidates each had unfavorable ratings north of 50%.


Joshua Spivak: Why Joe Biden would probably win the Democratic primary: If Biden enters the race, his chances of winning the nomination are strong. Most modern presidents retain popularity after they leave office, especially within their own party, and the vice president is often able to translate this popularity into a successful run.

COMMERCE

NYT: Boeing scrambles to contain fallout from deadly Ethiopia crash

Similarities to a recent crash in Indonesia provoked concern among carriers, pilots, flight attendants and passengers.

More than a dozen airlines grounded the 737 Max 8, but the FAA said it did not have enough information to take action.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 jets typically make more than 8,500 flights per week.

The FAA has no plans to ground Boeing’s 737 MAX airliners following the deadly crash in Ethiopia. The FAA said the Boeing 737 Max 8 was airworthy but said it would mandate design changes to the aircraft from Boeing by April. Boeing confirmed the announcement and will deploy a software upgrade across the fleet “in the coming weeks.”


LAT: US airlines express confidence in Boeing’s 737 Max, despite calls for grounding

Barrick Gold, the world’s biggest gold miner, called off its nearly $18 billion offer for rival Newmont Mining after the two agreed to a Nevada joint venture.

Walmart toughens delivery demands for suppliers: WSJ reports, looking to cut inventory while meeting e-commerce demands, the retailer wants more of the goods it orders delivered on time and in full

Anta Sports Products, a minor leaguer outside of China, is buying the Finnish owner of athletic brands such as Wilson for 4.6 billion euros ($5.17 billion), looking to compete with Nike and Adidas in both home and away markets.

Apple invited media to a March 25 event at the Steve Jobs Theater on its campus in Cupertino, California, where it is expected to launch a television and video service.

CULTURE

Captain Marvel, the first Marvel superhero film with a female character in top billing, soared atop North American box offices in its debut weekend, with ticket sales of $153.4 million.

SPORT

LAT: Oakland’s Athletics need a home. They may get one — and provide 6,000 more

The Oakland Athletics have offered to build 3,000 homes near a proposed waterfront ballpark and another 3,000 on the Coliseum site for a city desperately in need of housing.

CBS: Nick Foles signs as Lululemon men’s new elite ambassador

CNN: Zinedine Zidane returns to coach Real Madrid

Champions League - Round of 16: Leg 2 of 2
:

Manchester City vs Schalke 04 @ 4:00 pm ET (Aggregate: 3-2)
Juventus vs Atletico Madrid @ 4:00 pm ET (Aggregate: 0-2)

Bayern vs Liverpool - Wednesday @ 4:00 pm ET (Aggregate: 0-0)
Barcelona vs Lyon - Wednesday @ 4:00 pm ET (Aggregate: 0-0)


Champions League - Quarterfinals - Qualified teams:

Ajax
Porto
Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur

The draw for the quarter-finals will be held on 15 March 2019.

The first legs will be played on 9 and 10 April, and the second legs will be played on 16 and 17 April 2019.

Huawei, Microplastic Pollution, Teleprompter Trump, Luxottica, NBA

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Huawei, Microplastic Pollution, Teleprompter Trump, Luxottica, NBA

Caracal Global Daily
March 7, 2019
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Caracal Global Daily  = News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics


TOP FIVE

✔️ China’s envoys guided by domestic rather than world politics

✔️ Engineered microbe may be key to producing plastic from plants

✔️ DNC said it will not allow Fox News to host any of its primary debates

✔️ Zuckerberg shifts Facebook’s mission from openness to privacy

✔️ LeBron James passes idol Michael Jordan on NBA’s all-time scoring list

GLOBALIZATION

Diplomatic outbursts mar Xi's plan to raise China on the world stage: Bloomberg reports, In the past few months, its envoy to Canada publicly accused his hosts of “white supremacy,” its ambassador in Sweden labeled the Swedish police “inhumane” and blasted the country’s “so-called freedom of expression,” and its chief emissary in South Africa said President Donald Trump’s policies were making the U.S. “the enemy of the whole world.” “I don’t think we are witnessing a pattern of misstatements and slips of the tongue," said Ryan Hass, a fellow at the Brookings Institution who previously oversaw China affairs at the U.S. National Security Council. “We seem to be watching China’s diplomats matching the mood of the moment in Beijing. Beijing rewards diplomats that are aggressive advocates of China’s views and scorns those that it perceives as overly timid.”

China’s envoys guided by domestic rather than world politics.

Rise in assertive diplomacy seen as product of ideology drive.


China GDP overstated by 12%, research says: FT reports, Beijing statisticians ‘do not have capacity’ to correct inflated local figures.

Huawei challenges US restrictions as unconstitutional: WSJ reports, Huawei Technologies filed a lawsuit challenging a law that restricts federal agencies from doing business with the Chinese company, the latest in a series of countermoves by the telecommunications giant.

Huawei sues US government in latest salvo of fight between Chinese firm and Washington: WP reports, the technology giant says a law that bans federal agencies from buying its telecommunications equipment is unfair.

AFP: Taiwan asks US for new fighter jets to defend against China

"We made the request to purchase (fighter jets) because China has been increasing its military strength and we are starting to have an imbalance of power in our air defence capabilities." -- Taiwan Deputy Defence Minister Shen Yi-ming

US sees rising Chinese military activity in South China Sea: Bloomberg reports, the US  has observed a rise in Chinese military activity in the South China Sea area over the last year, according to the top American military officer in the region. Admiral Philip Davidson, the commander of US Indo-Pacific Command, declined to quantify the increased activity -- nor would he say whether the number of US freedom of navigation patrols would increase or remain stable. He did, however, underscore the American resolve to remain engaged, describing the US as an “enduring Pacific power.”

How Theresa May keeps surviving profound historic losses: Push past defeat after defeat after defeat, keep calm, and carry on. https://bloom.bg/2TsLJ3G

Philip Stephens: After Brexit, Britain will be a rule-taker: The salutary parable of the noisy lawnmower and the chlorine-washed chicken. 

'Nearly a third' of British billionaires moved to tax havens: AFP reports, Nearly a third of Britain's billionaires have either moved or are relocating to tax havens, where some have broken UK law by bankrolling political parties, a major investigation. The Times newspaper published a series of reports detailing allegations of Britain's ultra-rich hiding billions of pounds from the UK Treasury in taxes over the past decade.

What Italy stands to gain by endorsing China’s Belt and Road: FT reports, Italy is preparing to become the first of the G7 group of industrialized nations to endorse China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Italy’s move, analysts said, should be seen in a broader context. Rome appears intent on winning goodwill from Beijing in the hope that bilateral commerce will flourish under the “BRI banner” even as Chinese investment into Europe as a whole is dropping sharply.

Russian war games in Scottish waters: The Times reports, a Russian frigate carrying a weapon that makes enemies vomit conducted “air defense and countersabotage exercises” in waters close to Scotland’s only air force base. A Royal Navy warship has been deployed to track the Russian naval task group that is thought to be journeying towards the Mediterranean. 

Maduro ‘spirits gold out of Venezuela’ to keep regime afloat: The Times reports, A series of mysterious flights from Caracas in recent days have raised suspicions that the Maduro regime is covertly moving tonnes of gold out of the country and selling it to traders in Africa and the Middle East. On March 1 a Boeing 777 belonging to the Russian discount airline Nordwind and which is thought to have had no passengers on board was tracked flying from Caracas to Kampala, the Ugandan capital. It stopped there for a few hours before continuing to Zanzibar, and then returning to Caracas.

Guardian: Venezuela orders German ambassador to leave

Nicolás Maduro’s administration accuses Daniel Kriener of ‘crass’ and ‘unlawful’ meddling in Venezuelan affairs.

Revealed: the rise and rise of populist rhetoric: Major study analyzing speeches of leaders from 40 countries over two decades shows surge in populism. http://bit.ly/2ToTpnc

DISRUPTION

Engineered microbe may be key to producing plastic from plants: Phys.org reports, with a few genetic tweaks, a type of soil bacteria with an appetite for hydrocarbons shows promise as a biological factory for converting a renewable—but frustratingly untapped—bounty into a replacement for ubiquitous plastics. Bioengineers in Japan have used PDC to make a variety of materials that would be useful for consumer products.

Microplastic pollution has contaminated American groundwater, the lakes, and rivers of the UK, the coast of Spain, the beaches of Singapore and the Yangtze River in China, studies from around the world have shown. While the health effects of the tiny plastic particles on humans are still undetermined, they have been shown to harm marine life – and to have been consumed by people in Europe, Japan, and Russia.

POLITICS

Michael Cohen directed his attorney last spring to inquire about the possibility of a presidential pardon.

Paul Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced today on tax and bank-fraud charges that could see the former Trump campaign chairman spend much of the rest of his life in prison.

Trump losing ground on top priorities, casts blame on others: WP reports, Trump’s recent setbacks on immigration, trade and North Korea are complicating his planned reelection message as a can-do president who is making historic progress.

Bloomberg: Trump wants a China deal and a stocks rally. He may not get both

"The reality is that trade friction could remain a fixture of American policy. Trump, the self-proclaimed “Tariff Man,” has drawn bipartisan support for his tough stance with China. Even Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has praised the president for using tariffs as a negotiating tool."

Teleprompter Trump: New research into Donald Trump’s speeches reveal why the president’s scripted brand of populism doesn’t come easy. http://bit.ly/2Tkpj4z

DNC chair cites network’s ‘inappropriate’ ties to Trump: Guardian reports, the Democratic party has said it will not allow Fox News to host any of its primary debates during the 2020 presidential campaign, after an exposé in the New Yorker that revealed the network’s deep ties to the Trump administration. The Democratic National Committee chair, Tom Perez, said the report cast doubt on Fox’s ability to hold a “fair and neutral” debate with Democrats. In response, Trump has threatened to block other networks from hosting the general election debates.

NYT: Biden’s candidacy plan is almost complete. Democrats are impatient.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. is preparing his 2020 kickoff, securing staff and alerting top Democrats that he plans to run.

One element is outstanding: full and final consent from the former vice president himself.


Eric Swalwell wants to be president, and why the heck not? LAT reports, the 38-year-old Democratic lawmaker from a nondescript slice of the East Bay hardly stands out in the abundant 2020 field. He is neither the first nor only millennial running, not the only Californian eyeing the White House and most certainly not the only member of Congress in search of a promotion.

Millennials are Democrats' strongest age group: The party is suffering from what Democratic strategist Doug Sosnik calls the "barbell effect."

Since 1828, only 3 Democratic presidents have been in their 60s when inaugurated — and none came close to Sanders, who would be 79 if elected in 2020.

NYT: The US trade deficit in goods broke a record. What was Trump’s role?

Most economists disagree with Trump’s view that the deficit is a sort of economic scorecard for which country is on top.

But as the deficit soars, Trump’s focus on it has resulted in a particular irony: By his own metric, the president’s trade policies are failing.


Trump's secretary of State tries a little diplomacy on Iowa farmers: LAT reports, “Some of you may not have heard of me before,” he said to laughter, then added: “I know Iowa is not a foreign country, in case some of you thought maybe I was a little confused.” Pompeo described his visit as partly a mission to inspire people in fly-over country to become future diplomats. What was clearly more important, however, was the more immediate and politically charged part of his mission: talking about trade and reassuring an agricultural sector battered by President Trump’s trade war with China that everything will, eventually, be OK.

WSJ - Editorial: Trade deficit freak out: The rising gap is the result of faster growth. There’s no need to panic. 

COMMERCE

Facebook is making a major bet that the future of social media will be in private messaging and small group chats.

Zuckerberg shifts Facebook’s mission from openness to privacy: FT reports, social network founder changes emphasis after data sharing scandals.

WSJ: Health Venture of Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan Has a Name: Haven

The venture isn’t meant to generate profits and will ‘reinvest any surplus back into our work’

How badly are we being ripped off on eyewear? Former industry execs tell all: LAT reports, consumer prices for frames and lenses are so astronomically high, with markups often approaching 1,000%. If you wear designer glasses, there’s a very good chance you’re wearing Luxottica frames. The company’s owned and licensed brands include Armani, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Oakley, Oliver Peoples, Persol, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ray-Ban, Tiffany, Valentino, Vogue and Versace. Along with LensCrafters, Luxottica also runs Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Sunglass Hut and Target Optical, as well as the insurer EyeMed Vision Care.

Hill City, part of Gap Inc., is expanding its original goal of designing clothing for active men on the go.

CULTURE

LAT: Mario Batali officially out at all 16 of his restaurants, including Mozzaplex in LA

The message from the Paris runways is simple: Buy a suit and get to work
: WP reports, the fall 2019 runway season ended with an artsy pile-up at Louis Vuitton and a reminder that this is not the time for daydreaming.

SPORT

Reuters: NBA to offer content across all Alibaba platforms in expanded deal

NBA China will create content for Alibaba users. Game highlights, classic games, and the new content - along with league merchandise - will be accessible to Alibaba’s nearly 700 million consumers across all its platforms.

LeBron James passes idol Michael Jordan on NBA’s all-time scoring list: WP reports, the Los Angeles Lakers forward will next take aim at the three players ahead of him on the scoring list: Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and all-time leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

AFP: Solskjaer makes Man Utd Champions League comeback kings again

"With this club, this is what we do. That's just Man United."

Champions League - Quarterfinals - Qualified teams:

Ajax
Porto
Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur

The draw for the quarter-finals will be held on 15 March 2019.

The first legs will be played on 9 and 10 April, and the second legs will be played on 16 and 17 April 2019.