July 01, 2015

50 Shades of Grexit, Putin and the Mafia, SCOTUS on speed, EU Selfies and The Donald gets dumped 

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IN A NUTSHELL: MUST READ 50 Shades Of Grexit The Greek crisis has so many cliffhangers it’s like a George R.R. Martin novel (Game of Thrones guy). There were so many rumors flying about yesterday that we had to wait until Angela Merkel (German Chancellor) and Alexis Tsipras (Greek PM) went to sleep so the dust could settle and we could write this (we didn’t sleep). Greece officially defaulted to the IMF today (although bizarrely it doesn’t count as an official default unless a country fails to pay back private creditors). Even so defaulting to the IMF is as embarrassing as your card being declined on a first date, so Tsipras and EU Commission President Juncker have been making last minute “attempts” to get an 11th hour deal in place and avoid a default. After several hours of rumors, Angela Merkel eventually came out and let everyone know that she isn’t to be bothered about this until after Greece votes on Sunday (aka “go sit in your room, and think about what you did”). The Greek government released the referendum ballot that controversially put “no” (to the bailout, i.e. the EU) first (as if voters are so dumb). This follows a long history of dubious tricks to fool voters in referendums. Meanwhile, “yes” voters came out strong in Syntagma square in Athens to make their case to stay in the euro. The Heavens did not seem convinced as it rained throughout the protest. GOOD READ: The Daily Pnut’s very own handy guide to help you make sense of the crisis
Putin: ‘I Promise I Didn’t Know That All My Friends Were In The Mafia’
As a great man once said, Russia will continue to be very funny until “suddenly it won’t be…at all.” In keeping with Putin’s honest and transparent presidency (ranking 136 on the transparency scale out of 175 total countries), Spanish prosecutors alleged that allies close to Putin during his time as deputy mayor of St. Petersburg helped the Russian mafia family known as the Tambovs set up shop in Spain in the ’90s. The 488-page complaint filed by local prosecutors alleged that there had been “clear penetration” of government officials in Russia by mafia members operating out of Spain. Vladislav Reznik, now a senior member of Putin-aligned United Russia Party, faces charges of giving the alleged Russian Mafia don, Gennady Petrov, government positions in exchange for some of the mafia’a assets. This comes at the same time as the hunting, swimming flying, wrestling, tough-guy president hit an all time high 89 percent approval rating on home turf. Go figure…   GOOD BOOK: How the largest US Investor in Russia, Bill Browder, became an international fugitive after uncovering corruption in Putin’s government.
NUTS AND BOLTS: SHOULD READ Keep It Simple, Stupid: SCOTUS Rulings Recap
The Supreme Court had a big week, deciding on some pretty significant rulings. It was a good week for the LGBTQ community and universal healthcare enthusiasts, but a bad one for death row inmates and the environment.
European Union Hard At Work Ignoring Greek Crisis 
While EU policy makers couldn’t agree on how to prevent Eurogeddon and save Greece (and themselves) from imminent economic collapse, they did make a breakthrough on an incredibly important matter: cell phone roaming charges. By 2017 Europeans will be able to travel freely within Europe making phone calls and sending selfies without worrying about their cell phone bills as roaming charges will be completely phased out. The move brings them closer to an “ever closer union,” something that makes the UK highly uncomfortable

Jokes On You, Mr. Trump… This Time ‘You’re Fired!’
It’s been a pretty rough ride for The Donald since he announced his Republican presidential bid nearly two weeks ago. He kicked off his campaign by making derogatory statements about Mexico and Mexican immigrants residing in the US, calling those who come across the US-Mexican border drug dealers and rapists. Now the jokes on him, because this time The Apprentice star is the one who’s fired… and deservedly so. NBCUniversal announced that it’s officially “ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.” This means that both his annual Miss USA and Miss Universe beauty pageants will no longer air on NBC and that The Apprentice is officially kaput. The only negative is that we might not get to see the golden Donald-Do as often. But seriously though, good luck on the campaign trail… 
Stephen Colbert Trolling Donald Trump
CORRECTION: Yesterday, we said that Greece was one of two nations (the other being Zambia) to have defaulted on the IMF. That isn’t true. We found this list of countries that defaulted on the IMF. As of this email, there are four countries in arrears with the IMF: Zimbabwe, Sudan, Somalia and Greece.
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