Iran

The Eurasian Big Bang: How China & Russia Are Running Rings Around Washington

Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Islamabad, and New Delhi have been actively establishing interlocking security guarantees. They have been simultaneously calling the Atlanticist bluff when it comes to the endless drumbeat of attention given to the flimsy meme of Iran’s "nuclear weapons program."  And a few days before the Vienna nuclear negotiations finally culminated in an agreement, all of this came together at a twin BRICS/SCO summit in Ufa, Russia -- a place you’ve undoubtedly never heard of and a meeting that got next to no attention in the U.S.  And yet sooner or later, these developments will ensure that the War Party in Washington and assorted neocons (as well as neoliberalcons) already breathing hard over the Iran deal will sweat bullets as their narratives about how the world works crumble.

Frontrunning: July 24

  • Gunman kills two, wounds seven in Louisiana theater before killing himself (Reuters)
  • Health insurer Anthem to buy Cigna in $54.2 billion deal (Reuters)
  • Murder, Poisoning, Raids: It’s Election Season in Russia (BBG)
  • Lagarde Push for Greece Debt Relief Challenges Merkel (Bloomberg)
  • Fund Boss’s Gamble on Health Law Pays Off Big (WSJ)
  • Wall Street Cranks Up Its Outlook for Amazon After It Delivers Monster Earnings Report (BBG)
  • China's Richest Man Marks Push Into Hollywood With Jake Gyllenhaal Movie (BBG)
  • West Africa's alarming growth industry - meth (Reuters)

Frontrunning: July 23

  • Greek PM keeps lid on party rebellion to pass bailout vote (Reuters)
  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Remains Popular Despite Tough Bailout Deal (WSJ)
  • Beijing's stock rescue has $800 billion bark, small market bite (Reuters)
  • Capital exodus from China reaches $800bn as crisis deepens (Telegraph)
  • Why Investors Shy Away From China’s $6.4 Trillion Bond Market (WSJ)
  • Oil Rigs Left Idling Turn Caribbean Into Expensive Parking Lot (BBG)
  • Bank of America replaces CFO in management shake-up (Reuters)
  • The Financial Buzz? Pearson to sell Financial Times (Reuters)

A Middle-East Game Of Thrones

As President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran is compared to Richard Nixon’s opening to China, Bibi Netanyahu must know how Chiang Kai-shek felt as he watched his old friend Nixon toasting Mao in Peking. The Iran nuclear deal is not on the same geostrategic level. Yet both moves, seen as betrayals by old U.S. allies, were born of a cold assessment in Washington of a need to shift policy to reflect new threats and new opportunities. Several events contributed to the U.S. move toward Tehran.

Will The Oil Patch Bust Trigger Recession?

This seemingly inexhaustible credit line is now drying up, with severely negative consequences for oil producers with debt that's coming due. The row of dominoes swaying unsteadily in these stiff winds won't take much to topple.

Frontrunning: July 22

  • Stocks sour as Apple results leave bitter aftertaste (Reuters)
  • Awkward Alliance Running Germany Exposed by Greek Crisis (BBG)
  • Apple Faces Old Question of What’s Next After Record Profit (BBG)
  • Lawmakers, White House Explore Tax Revamp for U.S. Firms Overseas (WSJ)
  • Digital Misfits Link JPMorgan Hack to Pump-and-Dump Fraud (BBG)
  • More Debt Traders at Risk as European Banks Report Results (BBG)
  • Iran rejects sanctions extension beyond 10 years (Reuters)

Greek Prime Minister Asked Putin For $10 Billion To "Print Drachmas", Greek Media Reports

In what may be the biggest story of the year, if confirmed, Greek newspaper To Vima reports that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for 10 billion dollars in order to print drachmas. But the real shocker: on the night of the referendum, word came from Russia that Putin did not want to support Greece’s return to the drachma. After that, Tsipras had no choice left but to “surrender” to German Chancellor.

John Kerry "Very Disturbed" By Iran Vow To Defy American Policies

Surprise! Just days after the 'deal' to bring world peace a little closer amid much crowing by the Obama administration (ahead of Congress' 60-day decision process), Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Saturday vowed to defy American policies in a speech punctuated by chants of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel". As Reuters reports, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the speech was "if it is the policy, it's very disturbing, it's very troubling," seemingly surprised at the rhetoric.

Frontrunning: July 21

  • Gold claws back ground, European assets lose Greek tarnish (Reuters)
  • Greece's Euro Exit Back on the Agenda Next Year, Economists Say (BBG)
  • Greece submits bill needed to start rescue talks (Reuters)
  • Wall Street Lenders Growing Impatient With U.S. Shale Revolution (BBG)
  • Overtime Rules Send Bosses Scrambling (WSJ)
  • As Markets Swing, Beijing Steadies Yuan (WSJ)
  • Tennessee rampage suspect went to Qatar in 2014 (Reuters)
  • Kathryn Dominguez to Be Nominated for Fed Governor (WSJ)

Obama's Goals For Middle East Hinge On Putin

Even after a few weeks have passed, the unexpected visit of the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince to the St. Petersburg Economic Forum still has a lot of people scratching their heads. The news is full of widespread and contradictory theories, while questions abound. Why had the Saudis accepted an invitation from a country sanctioned by the U.S., its oldest and strongest ally? It is still a bit early for all the pieces to neatly fit together but now, after the dust has settled somewhat, a pattern seems to be emerging that may explain the situation.

Frontrunning: July 20

  • Gold Plunges to Lowest Since 2010 (BBG)
  • In Greek crisis, one big unhappy EU family (Reuters)
  • Greek Banks Reopen Their Doors (WSJ)
  • Greek reshuffle hints at autumn election (FT)
  • Angela Merkel signals conditions for Greek debt talks (FT)
  • Dollar hits three-month high on rate view, pans gold (Reuters)
  • History Shows Iran Could Surprise the Oil Market (BBG)
  • ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Will Cease Publishing Cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (Newsweek)

Concentrated Wealth + Widespread Stupidity = End Of Democracy

This is how democracy has died in America. The formula is simple: billionaires + their (and their many clergy’s) suckers = aristocracy. The result is, in any case, an aristocratic dictatorship, no sort of authentic democracy whatsoever. And, when even the Democratic candidate has gotten there by a string of lies and no substantive record on which voters can know that his assertions don’t match his real beliefs or commitments, the voters are trapped by the aristocracy: they’ve got nothing else to go on but the aristocracy’s lies, and the aristocratically owned ‘news’ media’s stenographic transmissions of their politicians’ lies to the public. The American Revolution (1765-83) overthrew Britain’s aristocracy here. But now, the American people need to overthrow America’s own aristocracy, or else simply accept fascism (rule by an aristocracy).