Tehran Starts the Countdown
Iran Will Break Terms of Nuclear Deal in 10 Days
Iran announced this morning that it will surpass its stockpile cap of enriched-uranium in 10 days unless “EVERYBODY STARTS BEING NICE TO ME, LIKE RIGHT NOW.”
The threat comes in response to U.S. accusations that Iran orchestrated multiple attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route off the coast of Iran.
For its part, Iran has denied any involvement in the attack and said if it wanted to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, they’d be singing about it from the rooftops.
“We are brave enough to take the responsibility of our own actions, shout it out loud with heads high up and accept its consequences too,” said Maj. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, auditioning for the role of himself in the musical adaptation of the Iran nuclear crisis.
Exceeding the limits of the stockpile cap would break one of the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. However, there is a clause that allows parties to unwind their participation in the deal if another party does so first (like, let’s just say, as a hypothetical example, if the U.S. pulled out of the deal on May 8, 2018).
I’m just going to keep stockpiling uranium and if we happen to go to war, it’s not my fault.
A spokesperson for Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, told reporters the country would be ramping up its production of enriched-uranium and would surpass the stockpile cap in 10 days.
“Today, the countdown starts from 10,” said Mr. Kamalvandi, who should know better than to talk about countdowns and nuclear weapons in a single breath.
Kamalvandi said Iran would reverse the action if Europe would provide relief from the sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.S. and help drag the country out of recession.
Meanwhile, back home, the administration is mulling over the possibility of a full-blown war with Iran.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he has intelligence that Iran’s military was responsible for the attack on the tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.
Pompeo says that President Trump does not want war in the Middle East (but it is definitely on the menu).
Pompeo told CBS News in an interview: “The United States is considering a full range of options. We are confident that we can take a set of actions that can restore deterrence which is our mission set.”
At time of writing, the president has yet to comment on Iran’s announcement. But this tweet about a month ago may give us some insight into what he’s thinking right now:
Remember the good old days when the administration used MySpace for threatening to wipe countries out of existence?
Facebook Drives Bitcoin to 13-Month High
Bitcoin shot up to a 13-month high this weekend, peaking at $9,391 per coin before paring off some of those gains in the selloff.
At time of writing, the favorite investment of Uber drivers and annoying nephews is nestled at about $9,200, representing a gain of 22% from this time last week and year-to-date gains of 150%.
This weekend’s price spike was driven by rumors of a new crypto designed by the keeper of drunk photos from 10 years ago, Facebook.
Reportedly, Mark Zuckerberg’s Privacy Violator will unveil its own crypto, known as GlobalCoin, tomorrow, with a launch scheduled for 2020.
Better names for Facebook’s crypto: FaceCoin. BookCoin. ZuckerCoin. LeakedAllYourDataToCambridgeAnalyticaCoin.
According to sources inside the industry, the project is backed by over a dozen companies and could rapidly accelerate the widespread adoption of crypto.
Spencer Bogart, General Partner at Blockchain Capital, says that Facebook’s GlobalCoin will ease the “biggest friction” for crypto adoption: actually converting your fiat currency (like the dollar) to a digital asset (bitcoin or other crypto).
Bitcoin has obliterated the top Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 stocks this year. And crypto pundits are predicting another jump in bitcoin’s price following Facebook’s announcement.
Hundreds of U.S. Companies Protest Tariffs
Hundreds of U.S. companies are descending on Washington for a three-day hearing on proposed tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods. (Along with three-days of overpriced parking and looking at giant white statues.)
A few companies, like the Rheem Manufacturing Co., are there to show their support for Trump’s trade war. But most folks are hiking to the capital to ask President Trump to not tax all their cool stuff.
Shoemaker New Balance voiced its support for President Trump’s tariffs back when it was levied on a whole bunch of things that didn’t affect them. But with this new round of tariffs, the dad-sized white sneaker is on the other foot.
New Balance’s factories are based in the U.S. But many of the individual components (like the shoe soles and other parts of the shoe I can’t remember the name of) are purchased from China and then assembled here.
According to New Balance, these tariffs will not only make the company’s shoes more expensive but force New Balance to reconsider investing in its U.S. factories (which sounds a little like a threat to little ole me).
In an online post before the hearing, New Balance Vice President Monica Gorman said the tariffs “will not just translate into higher costs, but jeopardize our ability to maintain production levels and continue investing in our domestic factories.”
Officials from Best Buy, Forever 21, and Hallmark Cards will all be present at the hearings to pitch their own visions of a tariff-induced retail apocalypse.
Last week, 661 U.S. companies sent a letter to President Trump asking him to drop his tariffs on Chinese parts and products. The letter — signed by retailers including Costco, Walmart, and Target — warned that the trade war would hurt the economy, jobs, and U.S. consumers.
One Last Thing
Biden leads Trump by 10 points in Fox News Poll… But It’s Far From Over
According to the latest Fox News poll, Joe Biden leads the 2020 race with a 10-point advantage over President Donald Trump.
Biden leads his closest rival Bernie Sanders by almost 20 points, with 32% of Democrat primary voters picking the former vice president as their No. 1 choice.
Sanders trails behind with just 13% of the vote, Warren with 9%, and Pete Buttigieg with 8%.
Biden comes first in almost all demographics, including woman, people of colour, and self-identified progressive democrats.
“Some on the left mock Biden as naive for suggesting he can bring Americans together, but primary voters prefer his steady style and unifying approach,” said Democrat pollster Chris Anderson on Fox News, who conducted the poll with Republican Daron Shaw. “A big question is whether another candidate can provide a viable alternative for voters who like Biden’s approach, but aren’t enthused with his candidacy.”
Biden topped Trump by 10 points in the poll. Sanders is predicted to win by 9 points. While Warren, Harris, and Buttigieg all beat Trump within the poll’s margin of error.
That might sound like bad news for Trump supporters. But don’t forget, Donald Trump was polling way worse back in 2016 (and if you recall, he actually won that one). And his campaign for reelection doesn’t officially start until tomorrow.
“Trump’s current position in the polls is far from ideal,” said Republican pollster Daron Shaw. “But he’s definitely in the game. His base is on board and he’ll have ample opportunity to frame the choice set moving forward while the Democrats battle for voter and media attention in the debates.”