Caracal Insider Daily | January 10, 2017

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Middle East, Davos, Detroit, Ottawa, Alabama, Italy

Caracal Insider Daily
January 10, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia

Caracal Insider = Global Business News at the Intersection of Politics + Policy + Profits

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✔️ Pence plans to visit the Middle East from January 19-23

✔️ Trump plans to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos

✔️ Canada takes ‘Hug-an-American’ approach to saving NAFTA

✔️ Ford CEO Jim Hackett on the future of car ownership and driving

✔️ Formula E partners with Swiss technology giant ABB


Pence's Middle East tour: Pence plans to visit the Middle East from January 19-23, with stops in Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. 

UK's PM May to meet finance bosses to discuss Brexit: Reuters reports, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May will meet executives from major finance companies on Thursday to give them a clearer idea of what Britain's divorce from the European Union will mean for the industry, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Macron calls for big data strategy across Europe: FT reports, a larger market needed to compete with US and China, says French president.

Macron urges European unity to face rising China: AFP reports, French President Emmanuel Macron pleaded on Wednesday for European unity in the face of China's growing economic power as he wrapped up a visit to Beijing with several business deals. Macron, who has become the leading voice of the European Union, endorsed President Xi Jinping's massive $1 trillion program to revive ancient Silk Road trading routes during his three-day trip. But the French leader also warned Europeans to stay on guard to protect strategic sectors as China makes inroads through the project, known in Beijing as One Belt One Road, which seeks to build rail, maritime and road links from Asia to Europe and Africa.

Macron as the new leader of the free world - here's the case for this call

1. Brexit has galvanized greater security cooperation on the continent

2. Germany is focused inward as it struggles to form a new government

2. Trump’s “America First” foreign policy has opened up a leadership void internationally

Dollar diplomacy: China orders 184 Airbus A320 planes

Betting on the City: Spain’s Alantra Partners SA is considering moving its headquarters from Madrid to London in a bet the UK capital will remain the center of European business and finance even after Brexit.

We are seeing what happens when the US pulls 'back': Spiegel reports, in an interview, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel urges Germany to pay greater attention to the future of the EU. He warns that there are no vacuums in international politics and that when the U.S. withdraws, Russia or China step in. 

107: Germany’s ruling parties have been unable to form a coalition for 107 days, the longest period the country has gone without a government since its reunification in 1990.

Puigdemont seeks to lead Catalonia via Skype: FT reports, separatists agree to try to re-elect fugitive as a regional leader.

Czech government set to lose a confidence vote, but Babis' party likely to retain power: Reuters reports, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, battling allegations he illegally tapped European Union subsidies a decade ago, looked certain to lose a parliamentary confidence vote on Wednesday.

From king to kingmaker? Berlusconi’s baffling resurrection: AFP reports, despite a tax fraud conviction, a ban from public office and a long history of scandals, the 81-year-old tycoon is preparing for March's elections and navigating Italy’s labyrinthine politics like no other.

NYT: Trump plans to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos

WP: White House confirms Trump to attend Davos gathering, synonymous with wealth and power

Trump to attend Davos global gathering, the first US president to do so in nearly 20 years: WP reports, the Switzerland forum has long attracted some of the world’s wealthiest financiers, but it is also seen as a posh gathering of the economic elite. The event comes as President Trump faces crucial decisions about his international economic agenda.

@kaylatausche: CNBC confirms Pres. Trump will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos - an event once described by JPM CEO Jamie Dimon thusly: "Where billionaires tell millionaires what the middle class feels."

@marcaross: Trump on the campaign trail = Detroit is more important than Davos | Trump with a bruised ego = Davos is more important than Detroit

@marcaross: Who says globalism isn't cool?!?

Why is Trump going to Davos? Does he want to make his case again for "America First" before the world's elite or is this more wag the dog to placate his domestic base. I think it is the later. I can't see Trump saying anything different from his speech at the APEC CEO Summit last November. Also, going to a posh Swiss resort town and telling Bally wearing plutocrats they stink will play well in Macomb County.

Canada takes ‘Hug-an-American’ approach to saving NAFTA: WSJ reports, Ottawa is betting friends in business and state governments across the US will see the damage tearing up Nafta could do to supply chains and growth—and pressure the Trump administration to leave the trade pact alone.

Smart. For foreign governments and international business to succeed in this "America First" political climate, it is essential engagement and advocacy takes place beyond the Beltway.

India moved to relax restrictions on foreign investment in retail, airlines, and other industries. The new rule allows foreign airlines to buy up to 49 percent of Air India.

In China, facial recognition is sharp end of a drive for total surveillance: WP reports, facial recognition is the new hot tech topic in China. Banks, airports, hotels and even public toilets are all trying to verify people’s identities by analyzing their faces. But the police and security state have been the most enthusiastic about embracing this new technology. 

WSJ: With US aid cut, Pakistan drifts closer to China

In North Korea, hackers mine cryptocurrency abroad
: WSJ reports, a cybersecurity researcher has found malware that mines a type of cryptocurrency and routes the bounty to a North Korean university, showing how hackers in North Korea are targeting new assets as sanctions force Pyongyang to pursue alternative income streams. 


NYT: DACA program must stay in placef for now, judge says

DOH Dem conditions: Ed Royce becomes the 47th incumbent member not to seek re-election and the 32nd Republican.

‘Mitt-ism’ vs. ‘Trumpism’: Romney’s return to national stage flares GOP divide: WP reports, Mitt Romney’s probable bid for a Senate seat from Utah has prompted a sharp debate among Republicans over whether traditional political figures are still welcome as leaders of a party dominated by President Trump.

GOP anxious with Trump on trade: The Hill reports, Republican senators from farm states are stepping up pressure on President Trump ahead of a key round of trade negotiations scheduled later this month. These GOP lawmakers are growing increasingly worried that a break with trading partners could reverberate in the 2018 midterm elections. 

Trade and immigration test top business croup’s ties to Trump: Bloomberg reports, The US Chamber of Commerce found common cause in 2017 with President Donald Trump on tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks. This year the powerful conservative business group could part ways with the White House on two key issues: trade and immigration. On Wednesday, Thomas Donohue, the chamber’s president, is to deliver his annual address on American business, using it as a 2017 victory lap and as a call to strengthen growth.

Many Conservatives refer to the organization as the US Chamber of Compromise.

The decline of anti-Trumpism
NYT - David Brooks

"There’s a hierarchy of excellence in every sphere. There’s a huge difference between William F. Buckley and Sean Hannity, between the reporters at this newspaper and a rumor-spreader. Part of this struggle is to maintain those distinctions, not to contribute to their evisceration."

Bannon is out at Breitbart: For Bannon, he was never going to be more powerful and more successful outside the White House than inside. Once he turned in his hard pass he became like a thousand other political operatives in DC - looking for the next campaign, in need of benefactors, and tossed to the side because he doesn't have a job that ensures access and influence. Also, this is a great reminder of the constant of American politics - when you are staff, you are staff.


Google is going all out in promoting its voice-powered Google Assistant at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, including massive ads sporting the words "Hey Google."

Do you have a VA? Google, Amazon, and Samsung are adding their virtual assistants to ever more devices, including refrigerators.

Alexa gets behind the wheel: Amazon has introduced Alexa Onboard technology, which lets users access the voice assistant through their car's infotainment system.

Google Pay launched: It is a consolidation of all Google payment products, including Android Pay and Google Wallet.

The subliminal trick Netflix uses to get you to watch its movies and shows: You get a preview/trailer image that Netflix's algorithm thinks will entice you to watch, but the key is that the picture could change tomorrow as the system "learns" more about you and subscribers like you. For any given show, there might be a dozen possible images loaded, which are ranked according to "context."

GoPro hires JP Morgan to explore a sale.

Supercharger and a milkshake: Elon Musk says one of Tesla's Los Angeles-area Supercharger stations (near the 405) will feature a drive-in movie screen and a "rock restaurant" with waitresses and waiters serving on roller skates.

Motor Dixie: Toyota and Mazda are said to have picked Alabama for a $1.6 billion plant they plan to build.

WSJ: Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan: I 'regret' calling Bitcoin a fraud

Under Armour could be the next Reebok: WSJ reports, Under Armour, facing falling sales and a stock-price rout, could be heading down the path of struggling sportswear brand Reebok. “The Under Armour brand remains at risk,” said Sam Poser, an analyst at Susquehanna International, in a research note Tuesday downgrading his outlook on the stock. “Given poor brand distribution decisions, we believe [Under Armour] risks are becoming more like Reebok than Nike.”


Gene Munster on 3 reasons Amazon will buy Target this year

1. Offline sales will always be a big part of retail
2. They both pursue affluent consumers
3. Brick and mortar will get more advanced

Economics and the human instinct for storytelling
Chicago Booth Review

"Why do economists miss the stories behind many of our economic fluctuations? One reason is that economists have a toolkit, and the narrative hasn’t traditionally been in it. We view narrative as somebody else’s territory. We do simultaneous equations. We teach general equilibrium theory. That’s fine, but by the time we finish teaching those, we’re tired." 

Ford CEO Jim Hackett on the future of car ownership and driving: Fast Company reports, new CEO Jim Hackett is propelling the 115-year-old company into the future while respecting its celebrated past.

The world’s best female poker player joins the world’s biggest hedge fund: Bloomberg reports, Vanessa Selbst, the most successful woman ever in tournament poker, is working at Bridgewater Associates to learn another big-money grind: hedge funds. Selbst, who won $11.9 million in prizes over 12 years in the card game, joined the world’s largest hedge fund, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.


‘The Shape of Water’ by Guillermo del Toro received 12 BAFTA nominations.

Wonderful movie - probably the movie of the year. 


Brady behind the scenes and away from his team: NYT reports, Tom Brady gave a filmmaker unusual access to his private life. It is unclear how much Bill Belichick and the Patriots know about the project.

CNN: Formula E partners with Swiss technology giant ABB to 'write the future'

“ABB FIA Formula E Championship” brings pioneering technology leader ABB as title sponsor to the world’s first fully electric international FIA motorsport series.

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.