Weekend Digest: The Ambassador of ‘Trumpism,’ the show about nothing, and lying Santa edition

by Larry Brannan ([email protected]) 110 views 


On this week’s TV edition of Talk Business & Politics, which airs Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on KATV Channel 7 in Central Arkansas and in Northeast Arkansas on KAIT-NBC, Sundays at 10 a.m.:

First Term
Cong. French Hill is in studio to discuss his first term in the U.S. House. Immigration, the VA, the economy – what has Hill focused on in the last two years?

Talk Politics
The Russians are coming. Donald Trump makes more Cabinet picks. And party politics at the state capitol. Analysts Jessica DeLoach Sabin and John Burris join me to talk politics.

Inside the Numbers
We’ll go inside the numbers for three numbers that mattered the most this past week.

Tune in to Talk Business & Politics in Central Arkansas on KATV Channel 7, Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and in Northeast Arkansas on KAIT-NBC, Sundays at 10 a.m.

Coming in January 2017, Talk Business & Politics will air in Northwest Arkansas on KFSM Channel 5 at 10:30 a.m. following “Face the Nation.”

“Donald Trump and Janet Yellen will have a delicate balance to strike – the president-elect trying to promote growth and the Federal Reserve chair looking to make sure it is managed properly,” says CNBC.

There’s bound to be conflict.

“Already Trump, on the campaign trail a couple months before the election, accused Yellen of manipulating monetary policy to favor President Barack Obama and pave the way for Hillary Clinton, who nonetheless lost the election. For her part, Yellen has refused to be drawn into a public battle, rebuffing any and all efforts to get her to criticize Trump.”

Where they go from here, now that the Yellen Fed has approved a rate hike in the central bank’s first post-election meeting, will be something investors must watch closely.

More on this story at this link.

Marketplace posts, “Republicans have promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, basically since the day it was passed. The GOP will have the opportunity to do it on January 20th, with President-elect Donald Trump in the White House, Republicans in control of Congress and Representative Tom Price of Georgia replacing Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Affordable Care Act has been a key part of Secretary Burwell’s job over the past two and a half years that she has been in office.”

She talked with us about her work with the ACA, the incoming administration’s changes to the act, and the possible economic impact Trump’s presidency might have on the economy.

Read more here.

According to Harvard Business Review, “Consumer markets in the developing world are an enormous but still-untapped opportunity for companies seeking new sources of growth. Within that group is an even more overlooked opportunity: the rural consumer.”

By its sheer size, it has huge potential. Worldwide, there are 3.4 billion rural consumers and about 3 billion of them live in developing countries in Asia and Africa. They are not all poor; in many countries, a rural middle class is emerging or expanding. Technology is making it easier to connect with rural consumers in so-called media dark areas.

“The challenges – market development, product design, logistics, communication — deter many companies from even considering rural markets in developing countries. But some companies have what I call rural DNA – the ability to recognize the rural opportunity and to develop innovations to tap those markets along with their urban markets.”

One of the standouts was Unilever. Particularly in Asia, Unilever has pioneered a number of innovations that it has exported to other regions in its focus on addressing rural market opportunities.

Go inside this story to learn more about this company’s rural consumer strategy.

In a must read post from Fast Company, “The star of the recent film Floyd Norman: An Animated Life writes about an iconic entrepreneur on the 50th anniversary of his death.”

“When Walt Disney passed away 50 years ago, on December 15, 1966, the world of entertainment lost a visionary innovator who never seemed to run out of ideas. He began his career as a scruffy young filmmaker in Kansas City and in time he would migrate to Hollywood where he would confound his critics by building a creative empire.”

Even with his success, Disney regretted not having a college education. Yet, his business skills would soon be evident. A man of his time, Walt Disney had the scrappy determination of an American entrepreneur and totally believed success could be found through hard work and the sincere belief in a dream. However, even the business of magic is still business. A totally self-taught tycoon, he could easily have taught business-school graduates a thing or two. He knew his audience better than anyone. He never called them customers. They were his guests.

Click here for more on the business side of Walt Disney you may have never known.

U.S. News & World Report says, “The former House speaker (Newt Gingrich) has already embarked on his new role as Trump’s “senior planner,” even if it is not yet an official job with the incoming administration.”

At a recent regulatory forum, “The former House speaker was seated in the final plastic chair on the dais, next to seven other dark-suited experts plucked from think tanks, congressional committee staff and the American Forest & Paper Association. As one after another slumped over a podium and drawled on about how best to go about reimagining the byzantine sets of rules that guide the country’s most rudimentary functions, even the brainy Gingrich looked disinterested, shutting his eyes for noticeably lengthy periods during the forgettable presentations.”

“That is, until it was his turn to take the floor as the grand finale and pitch his new pet project: the selling of Trumpism.”

“I think the odds are better than even money that Nov. 8, 2016, was a watershed event,” Gingrich told the modest crowd assembled at the Covington Group on Wednesday morning without much modesty at all. “The basic radicalism of Trumpism is dramatically greater than Reagan was in 1980 or we were in 1994.”

“In a brief interview afterward, Gingrich told U.S. News he’s already been enlisted by the incoming Trump administration to perform his unofficial, but preferred, role of “senior planner.”

Click on this link for the complete story.

“Veteran Democratic operative Guy Cecil rattled off several tweets Tuesday offering hard advice for his party about how it can recover from the stunning loss of the 2016 campaign and the broader defeats the party has suffered downballot in recent years,” reports The Washington Post.

I reached out to Cecil to see whether he would expand beyond 140 characters in his diagnosis of what went wrong for his side — and how to fix it. He agreed.

Link here for a conversation about the fix.

“Like another famous American election scandal, it started with a break-in at the DNC. The first time, 44 years ago at the committee’s old offices in the Watergate complex, the burglars planted listening devices and jimmied a filing cabinet. This time, the burglary was conducted from afar, directed by the Kremlin, with spear-phishing emails and zeros and ones,” reports The New York Times.

An examination by The Times of the Russian operation – based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response – reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.

“The low-key approach of the FBI meant that Russian hackers could roam freely through the committee’s network for nearly seven months before top D.N.C. officials were alerted to the attack and hired cyberexperts to protect their systems. In the meantime, the hackers moved on to targets outside the D.N.C., including Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta, whose private email account was hacked months later.”

By last summer, Democrats watched in helpless fury as their private emails and confidential documents appeared online day after day – procured by Russian intelligence agents, posted on WikiLeaks and other websites, then eagerly reported on by the American media, including The Times. Mr. Trump gleefully cited many of the purloined emails on the campaign trail.

Many of Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides believe that the Russian assault had a profound impact on the election, while conceding that other factors – Mrs. Clinton’s weaknesses as a candidate; her private email server; the public statements of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, about her handling of classified information – were also important.

“While there’s no way to be certain of the ultimate impact of the hack, this much is clear: A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.”

For the complete read of this powerful story, follow this link.

Bloomberg posts, “If Russia really tried to throw the U.S. election to Donald Trump, what then? Did the hacking violate international law? And if so, what can the U.S. do to retaliate?

The short answer is that trying to change the outcome of another country’s election does violate a well-recognized principle of international law, and the U.S. would be legally justified in taking “proportionate countermeasures.” But, in a painful twist, the best precedent comes from a 1986 case the U.S. lost and never accepted.

Find out at this link.

Seinfeld, an American television classic, continues to make money.

According to Marketplace, “The television show Seinfeld helped define American culture in the 1990s. Author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong talks about her new book “Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything.”

Find out more here.

“Some of the world’s most prestigious and reputable news outlets took a moment this week to carry the heartwarming story of a Santa Claus actor who held a boy in his arms at the hospital before he died, offering him comforting words in the spirit of the Christmas season. Outlets covering the story included a veritable who’s who of the media world both in the US and across the world, including the Washington Post, BBC, CNN, NBC, Daily Mail, Japan Times, Today, People, Cosmopolitan, Mashable, BuzzFeed and many many more,” writes Forbes.

However, last night the Knoxville News Sentinel, the originator of the story, published a note from its editor warning that after further investigation it could not verify the substance and details of the story and was no longer standing by its contents. While stopping short of saying the story did not happen, the paper noted that each of the major hospitals in the area had confirmed that the events as described did not occur in their facility, casting doubt on key details of the account, even as the actor himself stood by his story.

“While in an ordinary week such a story might simply be written off as another possible viral hoax, what makes this series of events so remarkable is that they occurred in a week saturated with discussion of “fake news” and the need to do a better job of fact checking and verifying the information we consume. Indeed, several of the same outlets carrying the Santa Claus story have also run pieces this week and last arguing that citizens must turn to mainstream media to protect themselves against “fake news” because of the immense amount of verification and fact checking that journalists at these outlets do before reporting on a story.”

For more on this alarming turn of journalistic events, click on this link.

The American hero, who died last week, “was a fixture in LIFE Magazine throughout the Space Race era, as the U.S. strove to fulfill President John F. Kennedy’s promise to beat the Soviets to the Moon by the end of the 1960s.”

Take a look from Time, here.