The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. getty images 1173916029

    Saudi Oil Attacks Stir Fears of US-Iran Conflict

    Following Houthi-claimed attacks this weekend on Saudi oil facilities, which sent crude prices soaring, President Donald Trump said he’s “locked and loaded” with a potential response. But while U.S. intelligence assessments have bolstered speculation that Iran was behind the attacks, Trump stopped short of naming the Islamic Republic — saying he’d wait for word from Saudi Arabia before proceeding. Tehran has dismissed suggestions that it’s to blame.

    Could this mean war? While it’s not the first time Trump has threatened military retaliation, analysts say his rhetoric has rarely led to follow-up action.

  2. oxycodone opioid pills shutterstock 562612936

    Purdue Pharma Files for Bankruptcy Protection

    Struggling under the weight of more than 2,000 lawsuits over its role in fueling America’s opioid crisis, the OxyContin manufacturer finally filed for bankruptcy Sunday night. But while the move is aimed at freeing financial resources to resolve those cases, it’s unclear whether it will be enough: Not all states have signed on to a tentative settlement reached last week, ensuring that tense legal battles will continue. The company is also under scrutiny by the Justice Department.

    Is Purdue alone? Actually, it’s not even the first to declare bankruptcy: Fellow drugmaker Insys Therapeutics did that in June, while Mallinckrodt reached a settlement with two counties in opioid-ravaged Ohio earlier this month.

  3. auto industry factory assembly line shutterstock 54472

    General Motors Workers Strike After Union Talks Break Down

    “We don’t take this lightly.” With those words from United Auto Workers Vice President Terry Dittes, 49,000 GM employees joined a nationwide strike yesterday after the Detroit carmaker failed to reach a deal with the powerful union. UAW’s first national strike since 2007 is aimed at boosting wages and securing better health care, though GM — which pocketed $8.1 billion last year — said it had “presented a strong offer.”

    How much could this strike cost? During the 2007 walkout, GM lost $600 million, but it’s not the only one that’ll suffer: Supply and manufacturing workers that depend on auto assemblers could also take a hit.

    Read OZY’s Flashback on the New York City teachers strike of 1968.

  4. shutterstock 1164774136

    Brett Kavanaugh Back in Spotlight Over Sexual Assault Claims

    One year after the Supreme Court justice’s confirmation was marred by high-profile allegations of sexual assault, Kavanaugh is once again under fire. In a new book, a pair of New York Times reporters say they uncovered fresh corroboration of an account by the judge’s second accuser. They also say the FBI failed to investigate claims of an alleged third incident. Leading Democratic candidates for president are now calling for Kavanaugh’s impeachment.

    Could that actually happen? While the Democrats have the power to launch impeachment proceedings in the House, a trial would probably fail in the Republican-controlled Senate.

  5. Also Important…

    Exit polls in Tunisia suggest two political outsiders may advance to the second round of the country’s presidential elections. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to tell European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker today that his country won’t delay Brexit. And Nazi satire Jojo Rabbit won an award yesterday at the Toronto International Film Festival that’s considered to be a key predictor for the Oscars.

    #OZYfact: Greenland’s ice cap lost a net mass of 197 billion metric tons in July 2019. Read more on OZY.

    OZY is hiring! We’re looking for an analytical and globally minded reporter to sniff out today’s most important stories in science, technology and health. Check out our jobs page and read the description here.


  1. Shutterstock 1099824407

    New York Bans Flavored E-Cigarettes

    With vaping increasingly blamed for respiratory illnesses and even deaths, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared an emergency executive action Sunday prohibiting the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes. The ban targets manufacturers Cuomo says are “intentionally and recklessly targeting young people” with fruit and candy flavors. Undercover operations will also make sure retailers comply with the minimum age to purchase nicotine products, which will increase from 18 to 21 in November.

    What’s going on elsewhere? The Trump administration is pursuing a nationwide ban on flavored e-cigarettes, while the American Lung Association criticized Cuomo’s decision to exempt menthol-flavored products from the prohibition.

  2. facebook libra shutterstock 1429149551

    Central Banks to Grill Facebook Over Cryptocurrency Plans

    Executives representing Libra, the social network’s proposed “stablecoin” cryptocurrency, are expected to sit down with officials from 26 central banks today in Switzerland. Bankers are seeking information on the currency’s “scope and design,” while Facebook says it welcomes the chance to demonstrate how the new system could democratize banking.

    What should the tech giant expect? Besides tough questions, it could also face certain demands, given calls from Germany and France to block Libra in the European Union altogether.

    Read this OZY op-ed about why countries are saying no to Libra.

  3. twitter shutterstock 1088850443

    Who’s Behind the Taliban’s Twitter Propaganda?

    Zabihullah Mujahid is one of the most important cogs in the Taliban’s propaganda machine — but it’s not even clear if he’s real, OZY reports. Mujahid, who claims to be a dad in his 40s, says he’s on the ground in Afghanistan, where the militant group has vowed to make President Trump “regret” canceling peace talks. But he’s been geotagged in Pakistan, and sometimes even Ohio, making analysts suspect his online presence is actually a team of Taliban operatives in a media center in Pakistan.

    Why the shady identity? Experts say it’s a strategy employed by the Taliban since the 1980s, aimed at fostering a sense of legitimacy by communicating with Western journalists.

  4. ric ocasek

    New Wave Icon Ric Ocasek Dead at 75

    The Cars singer and guitarist died at home in his Manhattan townhouse Sunday, though the cause of death has not yet been released. Ocasek co-founded the legendary band, whose 1978 debut album featured hits such as Just What I Needed, My Best Friend’s Girl and Good Times Roll. The Baltimore native is survived by six sons, including two from his almost 30-year marriage to supermodel Paulina Porizkova.

    What’s his legacy? Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, The Cars were described as “hook-savvy with the perfect combo of new wave and classic rock” — which is why Ocasek remains a towering influence in music.

    Don’t miss this OZY piece on Greenland’s first rock stars.

  5. nflshutterstock 205708939

    Report: Antonio Brown’s Accuser to Meet With NFL

    Britney Taylor, the ex-trainer who’s suing the New England Patriots wide receiver, will reportedly meet with league investigators today over her claims that Brown assaulted and raped her. Other sources say Brown, who suited up last night, rejected a settlement worth more than $2 million. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could place him on the exempt list if investigators find Taylor’s allegations to be persuasive.

    What does being “exempt” mean? While Brown would sit out of games and team practices, he’d still be paid his salary in full — but would miss a crucial opportunity to leave a mark on the team.