July 20, 2015

Greece looking better(ish), Iran, Hedge Fund vs. Samsung, Bill Cosby, Trumpism and Democracy 



“I like people who weren’t captured.” -Donald Trump



Greece: Driving Europeans Apart Since 2009

Things have started looking up for Greece ever since their parliament approved a set of reforms that would allow discussions for a third bailout (or since former finance minister Varoufakis resigned). On Friday, Germany also approved discussions for bailing out Greece despite objections by German Finance Minister Schauble. German Chancellor Angela Merkel finally admitted that she might give some relief… better late than never. Greek PM Alexis Tsipras reshuffled his cabinet, firing Energy Minister Lafazanis (a man who still calls St. Petersberg Leningrad) and signaling that Greece might have another election later this year. Last week’s debate prompted calls for further integration (Germany must be thrilled), including a Euro Government (more bureaucracy) and a shared treasury. Greek banks are open today, although the change is largely cosmetic. Severe restrictions on cash withdrawals persist (420 euros a week) and transfers abroad are still prohibited. However, it is seen as a step toward returning to normalcy.
 Pnut’s Dispatch from Athens

Iran: Bringing Enemies Together Since 1979

Just when you think you’ve figured out who likes whom in the Middle East, it ups and changes on you again. Over the weekend, King Salman of Saudi Arabia met with Khaled Meshaal, the political leader of Hamas. Why is this significant? Because the Saudi monarchy has historically been an avid opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood. To make matters worse, Hamas has been a long-standing client of Iran in the region (although that alliance was weakened when Hamas backed the Syrian rebels against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad). The move is seen as King Salaman’s attempt at rallying an anti-Iran coalition. If successful, it would put Israel (which has recently been playing nice with Saudi Arabia) on the same side of Hamas. This could either be a great opportunity to make peace based on common interests… or a disaster waiting to happen. To complicate matters further, ISIS attacked a number of Hamas operatives in Gaza. Confused? So are we…
 Pnut’s Nutshell on the Iran Deal


Battle Of Seoul: Elliot Takes On Samsung

Activist hedge fund Elliott Management lost a battle against Samsung in a South Korean court on Friday after a month-long battle with the South Korean family owned conglomerate (affectionally referred to as Chaebols). Elliott claimed that Samsung violated minority shareholder rights while selling one subsidiary to another subsidiary to gain control of a third subsidiary (this might be the only thing more confusing than the Middle East). Elliott, which had a share in the first subsidiary, wanted more money out of the deal. The Lee family, which owns Samsung, respectfully disagreed. The Lee family also controls 17 percent of South Korean GDP. This is not the first time Paul Singer, Elliott’s CEO, has taken on a powerful adversary. He gained a reputation as a “vulture investor” when he pushed Argentina into default (again) last year.       

Now Fact: Cosby Is Pretty Vile

In case you needed further confirmation that Bill Cosby is not such a standup guy, the New York Times obtained the comedian’s deposition from 2005 and 2006 after he was accused of sexual assault by Andrea Constand. In it, he admitted to pursuing extramarital affairs, obtaining prescriptions for Quaaludes to use in sexual encounter, using financial means to keep women he pursued quiet and ruthlessly hiding such information from his wife.

Informative Read: “Cosby in his Own Words”

#Pnut4Prez: Donald Trump Vs. John McCain

Trump is under fire again and this time from his own party. He was first at odds with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) after his slanderous remarks about Mexican immigrants. It got personal Saturday when Trump said of Senator John McCain (R-AZ), He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I prefer people who weren’t captured. During the Vietnam War, McCain was a prisoner of war for five years. Trump, on the other hand, managed to evade the Viet Cong by deferring enlistment. Now Trump has every Republican candidate calling for him to drop out, but he won’t back down.


North Korea Most Glorious Democracy

When you think democracy think no further than the hermit kingdom — run by a despot — otherwise known as North Korea. The little nation stunned the world with a glorious show of democratic participation in their election yesterday with a 99.7 percent participation rate (we wonder what happened to that 0.3 percent). The vote was held to elect mayors and governors. Candidates run unopposed and citizens are given the choice to vote yes or no for a candidate. Some 99 percent voted yes… enough said.

Fun Read: Kim Jung Il (father of the current leader) looking at things

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