Personal freedom is eroding: China is rapidly moving backwards to the old days/old ways of Mao Zedong. Personal freedom is being eroded at a remarkable rate, which will have profound effects on companies wishing to do business with the nation. Companies will be required to abide by the same rules as individuals. For those companies bold enough to choose China as a place to do business, intellectual property will immediately fall victim. Those companies already in China fight that battle daily and, in most cases, lose. Short- to medium-term, corporations will have to think long and hard about whether the costs of doing business with China outweigh the benefits. China is an economic juggernaut, but is not as unified as it would outwardly appear, which is one of the reasons that the country is adopting oppressive practices. Asia is a very big place. There are several options for doing business with a host of alternative nations, which may prove more amenable to open and honest business deals. The new reality is that Chairman Mao had nothing over the new Chairman Xi Jinping. That should cause every business to take pause. Read more HERE and HERE

ENVIRONMENT

Starfish decimation: Described by scientists as the biggest disease epidemic ever observed in wild marine animals, Seastar Wasting Syndrome has killed millions of starfish along the Pacific Coast from Mexico to Alaska over the past six years. Affecting 20 species, the disease causes the seastars’ limbs to fall off before their bodies disintegrate into liquid. READ MORE

Appeals court cancels approval for controversial pesticide: A U.S. appeals court ruled on Thursday that federal regulators erred in allowing an insecticide developed by Dow AgroSciences onto the market, canceling its approval and giving environmentalists a major victory. The ruling is significant for commercial beekeepers and others who say a dramatic decline in bee colonies needed to pollinate key food crops is tied to widespread use of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. READ MORE

BORDER SECURITY

Two legislators seek to have Mexican cartels classified as terrorists: This bears watching. A declaration of Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations would be a game changer, giving the U.S. government (including the military) options to pursue the cartels in ways that are currently not available. Mexico is teetering toward failure, and a failed state on our southern border would be catastrophic for national security.  Corruption is rampant on the southern side of the border, and increasingly on the northern side as well. Read more HERE, HERE and HERE

The New Cold War: Winter is coming, and with it the New Cold War. This new reality will last well beyond our lifetimes. Although the quarter century following the old Cold War was the most peaceful in modern history; three powers—Russia, China, and Iran—have launched active efforts to revise security arrangements in their respective regions during the last three years. This new world requires a new American foreign policy. READ MORE