Macro Links Oct 17th – “Half-Baked, Spurious Nationalism”
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MACRO LINKS TABLE OF CONTENTS (Click or Scroll Down)
- McCAIN, FALLEN TROOPS, PUERTO RICO
- NAFTA, TRADE TENSIONS
- CATALAN INDEPENDENCE PUSH
- NORTH KOREA
- BITCOIN, BLOCKCHAIN
- TRUMP AND THE REPUBLICANS
- TAX PLAN FEARS
- IRAQ-KURD CONFLICT
- TRUMP TOWER, MAR A LAGO, CABINET INTRIGUE
- WEINSTEIN COMPANY
- NETFLIX TOPS ESTIMATES
- RATES, LIQUIDITY, SYSTEMIC RISK, BALANCE SHEETS
- MACRO OP-EDS, INSIGHT, EVENTS AND TRENDS
- CENTRAL BANKS & MONETARY POLICY
- USA ECONOMY DATA, CITIES AND STATES
- GLOBAL ECONOMY DATA
- POSITIONING, INFLECTION, MARKET CALLS
- DEALS, MERGERS, IPOs, LBOs, RESTRUCTURINGS
- REAL ESTATE, HOUSING, REITS, COMMERCIAL
- HEDGE FUNDS, PRIVATE EQUITY, MONEY MGMT
- ENERGY CRUDE OIL, OIL SANDS, SHALE
- COMMODITIES BASE METALS, MATERIALS
- POLLUTION, CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT
- FRONTIER MARKETS
- CANADA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND
- BREXIT, SCOXIT, LONDON, UK ECONOMY
- ASIA PACIFIC
- GEOPOLITICS, CRIME, TERRORISM
- PRIVACY, HACKING, CYBERWAR, SURVEILLANCE STATE
- TRUMP WORLD
- SILICON VALLEY, UNICORNS, STARTUPS, VC
- CLOUD, IOT, SEMICONDUCTORS, ENTERPRISE / SAAS
- AUTOS, ELECTRIC, SELF-DRIVING
- AIRLINES, SHIPPERS, RAIL, TRANSPORTS
- AEROSPACE, MILITARY & DEFENSE
- SCIENCE, NATURE, PSYCHOLOGY
McCAIN, FALLEN TROOPS, PUERTO RICO
An emotional Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) launched a thinly veiled critique of President Trump’s global stewardship Monday night, using a notable award ceremony to condemn “people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”
“To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history,” McCain said in the speech.
President Trump’s assertion belied a long record of meetings his predecessor, Barack Obama, held with the families of killed service members, as well as calls and letters.
President Obama has visited the military hospital nearly two dozen times, trips that have affected him deeply and that have inspired the injured.
“This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner—and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers—is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office, and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this president should be ashamed, because they know better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.”
Three weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, people across the island, especially those in remote areas, are improvising ways to stay alive.
Puerto Rican families are draining savings accounts, running out of resources and healthcare professionals warn that deaths on the island will only increase.
Already, two planes loaded with supplies, including one with dozens of generators, had flown to the island, and Acacia employees had been dispatched there to help. Next, they planned to fill a cargo container, which would be sent by ship.
The work at Acacia is just one piece of New York’s vast official and unofficial response, as Hurricane Maria’s aftermath has, in many ways, both tested and underscored the bonds between the city and Puerto Rico.
NAFTA, TRADE TENSIONS
Mexico is steeling itself for the increasing possibility that the United States will pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, envisioning how the Mexican economy will adapt without the deal that has guided relations between the neighbors for a quarter-century.
Since President Trump’s election victory, Mexico has put negotiations for new or updated trade deals with other countries on a fast track, seeking markets for its exports and new suppliers. President Enrique Peña Nieto recently traveled to China to discuss trade, among other issues; Mexico is a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade accord.
Already new suppliers are emerging. In December, Argentina is expected to deliver 30,000 tons of wheat, its first sale ever to Mexico. Crisp Chilean apples have begun to appear on Mexico’s supermarket shelves, next to piles of apples from Washington State.
This far-flung peninsula in the North Atlantic seems an unlikely place for an international trade dispute. But an American company’s scuttled plans to build a quarry here have turned these quiet fishing grounds into a case study of the kind of thorny disputes that threaten to derail the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The ability of foreign companies to sue governments is one of the most contentious issues in the clash among the United States, Mexico and Canada over how to rework Nafta. The Trump administration views that section of Nafta as impinging on national sovereignty, saying it undermines government decision-making. The United States is pushing for dramatic changes in that provision that would roll back the ability of companies to bring cases under Nafta. Those changes are fiercely opposed by businesses, Mexico and — despite its loss to Bilcon — Canada.
European politicians treated Donald Trump’s new Iran policy as America going rogue. Europe’s businesses can’t afford to be so dismissive. Trump gave Congress 60 days to consider re-imposing curbs on Iran. Some of them could apply to businesses outside the U.S., potentially forcing them to choose between the American and Iranian markets.
“The bottom line for a company is, will it be able to make a profit without getting sued?’’ said Rouzbeh Parsi, director of the Sweden-based European Iran Research Group, which promotes cooperation between Europe and Iran.
Canadian jet-maker Bombardier announced Monday that it is selling a controlling stake in its 100- to 150-seat C-series jetliner to European manufacturer Airbus, just weeks after the Commerce Department moved to impose 300 percent tariffs on the plane. The companies also said they will expand the plane’s production to a new facility in Mobile, Ala., a move that could help it avoid the import duty.
Airbus SE agreed on Monday to buy a majority stake in Bombardier Inc’s CSeries jetliner program, grabbing control of a struggling competitor at the second attempt and giving the Canadian plane-and-train-maker an unexpected boost in its costly trade dispute with Boeing Co.
CATALAN INDEPENDENCE PUSH
A Spanish court ordered two powerful Catalan separatists to be detained late Monday, threatening a further escalation of the political crisis as both sides refused to budge in their high-stakes standoff over the region’s independence bid. Protests broke out in Catalonia’s capital Barcelona as news spread that Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez were being kept behind bars on sedition charges.
The Spanish government has given a new ultimatum to Catalonia’s separatist leader to clarify whether he was withdrawing his plan to declare independence from Spain, after a Monday morning deadline for the separatists to make their intentions clear came and went.
After a perplexing speech last Tuesday before Catalonia’s Parliament, Carles Puigdemont, the region’s leader, sent a letter to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asking to negotiate a solution but declining to clarify whether independence had been declared.
“Mr. Puigdemont has a serious problem, not only in terms of respecting legality but also respecting citizens who are asking for clarity,” Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, the deputy prime minister of Spain, said at a news conference in Madrid shortly after receiving Mr. Puigdemont’s letter.
A North Korean official told CNN the regime first wants to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of going “all the way to the East coast of the mainland U.S.” before engaging in diplomacy. North Korea isn’t ruling out diplomacy, but it wants to maximize its leverage before coming to the bargaining table.
“People get excited about things like new monetary standards. Remember bimetallism? It went into a fad, everyone was talking about it for a while. And then it faded.”
While Wall Street has had trouble minting a bitcoin exchange-traded fund, a closed-end fund based on the cryptocurrency may be just a year away. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a closed-end fund before a bitcoin ETF,” Cathie Wood, chief executive officer of ARK Investment Management, said. “I don’t think we’ll see an ETF within a year, but maybe within two years and with a lot of education.”
In a breakthrough for payments technology, IBM and a network of banks have begun using digital currency and blockchain software to move money across borders throughout the South Pacific. The significance of the news, which IBM announced on Monday, is that merchants and consumers will be able to send money to another country in near real-time, accelerating a payments process that typically takes days.
Investors have poured in excess of $3 billion into over 200 ICOs this year, according to data from Coinschedule.com. September was among the busiest months, bringing in almost $850 million alone in 37 offerings.
The largest U.S. bank is investing in the blockchain technology behind bitcoin, despite its CEO calling the digital currency a “fraud.” In September, JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said bitcoin is a “fraud” that “won’t end well.” Dimon added Friday that if people are “stupid enough to buy” bitcoin, they will pay the price for it.
JPMorgan Chase announced Monday the launch of a blockchain-based system that will “significantly reduce” the number of parties needed to verify global payments, thereby cutting transaction times “from weeks to hours.” Royal Bank of Canada and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group are JPMorgan’s partners in the project, called the Interbank Information Network.
CEO James Dimon recently trashed the digital currency bitcoin, but he likes the blockchain technology that underpins it. The nation’s largest bank rolled out a pilot program using the record-keeping technology.
TRUMP AND THE REPUBLICANS
When Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) described the White House as “an adult day-care center” on Twitter last week, he gave voice to a Trumpian truth: The president is often impulsive, mercurial and difficult to manage, leading those around him to find creative ways to channel his energies.
Some Trump aides spend a significant part of their time devising ways to rein in and control the impetuous president, angling to avoid outbursts that might work against him, according to interviews with 18 aides, confidants and outside advisers, most of whom insisted on anonymity to speak candidly.
“They have an on-the-record ‘Dear Leader’ culture, and an on-background ‘This-guy-is-a-joke’ culture,” said Tommy Vietor, who served as a spokesman for President Barack Obama. “I don’t understand how he can countenance both.”
President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony on Monday after months of bitter, private feuding that threatened to undermine their party’s legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.
“We have been friends for a long time,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. McConnell as the veteran lawmaker stood awkwardly to his left. “We are probably now, I think, as least as far as I’m concerned, closer than ever before.”
Working for Trump in itself requires a certain sort of spinelessness no matter who you are, considering he privileges absolute fealty above all else. So like anyone else who Trump has ever interacted with, Mike Pence has not been immune from his boss’s insults and wildly inappropriate jokes. As Mayer reports, Trump hasn’t been shy about mocking Pence’s strident anti-gay beliefs. During a conversation about gay rights, “Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, ‘Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!'”
On Thursday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at allowing people to band together to seek more affordable health insurance, a move some consider an attempt to cripple the Affordable Care Act.
It was the 49th executive order that Trump has signed since coming into office on January 20. The last president to sign that many executive orders through October 13 of his first year in office? Lyndon Johnson.
Why does it matter? Because Trump was a vociferous critic of then-President Barack Obama’s use of executive orders — casting them as a purposeful end-run of the legislative branch.
“Obama goes around signing executive orders,” Trump said in February 2016. “He can’t even get along with the Democrats. He goes around signing all these executive orders. It’s a basic disaster. You can’t do it.”
“We’re not getting the job done. And I’m not going to blame myself, I’ll be honest,” Trump said during short remarks in a Cabinet meeting. He then shifted away from “we” to “they.”
TAX PLAN FEARS
The tax overhaul plan being negotiated in Washington has the potential to virtually eliminate a break lawmakers once considered untouchable: the mortgage interest deduction.
While the mortgage deduction is kept in place, it might face irrelevance. That is because the tax plan also would almost double the standard deduction for individuals and couples, meaning only the highest earners would continue to itemize their deductions, and only a few of them would take the mortgage break. For most taxpayers, the standard deduction is likely to be the better option.
Trump declared his party “very unified,” described himself as “closer than ever before” with McConnell and said he would ask Bannon to cease his threatened “season of war” against Republican incumbents. Trump and Bannon have spoken in recent days, said someone familiar with the conversation. But the president’s former chief strategist hasn’t changed his outlook.
The expected absence of Thad Cochran, a Mississippi Republican, due to sickness has narrowed an already slim majority in the Senate, meaning the party can afford to lose only one more senator if they want to pass the budget resolution on Thursday. Corporate lobbyists were on Monday urging senators to swing behind the budget measure, with the US Chamber of Commerce telling lawmakers they needed to act on a “momentous” opportunity to reform the tax code.
Cochran, 79, hasn’t voted in the Senate since mid-September because of health problems, but he was expected to be back on Capitol Hill this week. His office said Monday that he had developed a urinary tract infection and has again delayed his return.
After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government carried out a military assault on Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation’s Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.
The deadly clashes pitted two crucial American allies against each other, with government forces seizing Kirkuk from Kurds who had intended to build a separate nation in the northern third of Iraq.
Two regional forces, the Iraqi military and the Kurdish peshmerga, armed and trained by the US are now at loggerheads. And with Arab-Kurdish tensions running high, there is the risk of an escalating conflict in a region that has just shaken off the last territorial footholds of Isis, a battle that saw Iraqi and Kurdish forces fight side by side.
The U.S. sought to stay on the sidelines as an all-out battle broke out between two of its closest ground partners in the campaign against Islamic State and raised concerns about a broader civil conflict erupting in Iraq.
TRUMP TOWER, MAR A LAGO, CABINET INTRIGUE
Browder told Business Insider on Monday that “the Veselnitskaya memo has exactly the same talking points as the Russian government’s position on the Magnitsky case.”
“That is the strongest indication to date that Veselnitskaya is an agent of the Russian government and not some independent operator as she claims,” he said.
Last month, the Trump administration said it could not comply with a court order to disclose the names of people who met with the president at Mar-a-Lago in part because they do “not maintain any system for keeping track” of them.
In response to a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, seeking to make the records public, Department of Justice lawyers insisted “the Secret Service does not maintain any ‘visitor logs’ at Mar-a-Lago.”
But seven Mar-a-Lago members and their guests told ProPublica that uniformed officers, who appear to be Secret Service, stand at the doors of the resort on weekends when the president is there, and hold lists of people approved for access.
Anne Weisman, CREW’s attorney on the case, said the visitor lists, whether they are compiled by Trump Organization employees or the federal government, are subject to the Freedom of Information Act and should be made public.
Between the November election and January inauguration, Ross quietly moved a chunk of assets into trusts for his family members, leaving more than $2 billion off of his financial disclosure report—and therefore out of the public eye.
His big real-estate deal has gone from bad to worse. Their attempts to raise funds have been rebuffed by everyone from the richest man in France, to Israeli insurance companies and banks, to South Korea’s sovereign-wealth fund, to China’s Anbang Insurance Group, but because, according to a new report from Bloomberg, even the family’s partner in the venture is actively trying to shut it down.
Facebook Inc. is looking to hire people who have national security clearances, a move the company thinks is necessary to prevent foreign powers from manipulating future elections through its social network, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Workers with such clearance can access information classified by the U.S. government. Facebook plans to use these people — and their ability to receive government information about potential threats — to search more proactively for questionable social media campaigns ahead of elections, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is sensitive. A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.
Job candidates like this are often former government and intelligence officials or contractors. The status can carry over to private-sector jobs, as long as the position still requires access to sensitive information. Previously granted clearances become inactive when intelligence workers leave government employment, but they can be reactivated on Facebook’s behalf, the person said.
The Weinstein Co. exec insists he had no idea about “the type of predator that he was” and is sickened by Harvey’s seeming lack of remorse. “I want him to get the justice that he deserves.”
The Weinstein Company said today that it will receive a rescue investment from Colony Capital, a private investment firm led by Trump confidant Tom Barrack. Colony also has entered into exclusive negotiations to buy some or all of The Weinstein Company’s assets.
NETFLIX TOPS ESTIMATES
Netflix Inc added more subscribers than expected around the world in the third quarter and projected growth in line with Wall Street forecasts, saying it had a head start on rivals as internet television explodes globally.
Netflix’s wagers on original programming and international expansion are paying off as the streaming service again posted strong subscriber growth amid an increasingly competitive streaming video market.
Netflix will spend between $7 billion and $8 billion on content in 2018, up from the roughly $6 billion it will spend this year, the streaming service said while announcing its third-quarter earnings on Monday.
Netflix added 5.3 million subscribers in the quarter, surpassing expectations, and had revenue of nearly $3 billion, a 30 percent increase from the same period last year. The company also saw its net income rise to $130 million, well over last year’s third quarter total of $52 million but short of the $143 million that Wall Street expected.
RATES, LIQUIDITY, SYSTEMIC RISK, BALANCE SHEETS
Whether it’s the threat of nuclear war, hurricanes, or Russian meddling, it seems nothing can unnerve investors bent on pushing the U.S. stock market higher and higher. Even Richard Thaler, who won a Nobel Prize last week for explaining how irrationality drives financial markets, said on Bloomberg Television he couldn’t understand why stocks keep going up now.
This year, the S&P 500 index has hit records on almost four dozen different occasions, with the single biggest drop from the latest record amounting to less than 3 percent. More than $3.2 trillion of market value has been added to U.S. equities, and volatility is at an all-time low.
“This is a multi-decade opportunity to buy volatility,” said Richard “Jerry” Haworth, who co-founded 36 South in 2001 and more than tripled investors’ money in the firm’s Black Swan Fund during the global financial crisis. 36 South launched its new product, called the Lesedi Fund, on Oct. 2, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News.
If Haworth is right, sanguine investors around the world could face a rude awakening. Indicators of expected swings in stocks, bonds and currencies have fallen toward multi-year lows, while valuations for just about every major risky asset class are climbing. That’s despite heightened uncertainty over U.S. economic policy and the prospect of war with nuclear-armed North Korea. Thaler highlighted the dissonance in a Bloomberg TV interview after winning the Nobel Prize in economics last week: “We seem to be living in the riskiest moment of our lives, and yet the stock market seems to be napping.”
The big question for long volatility managers is whether they can convince investors to embrace what has been a losing bet in recent years. Like insurance policies, the funds tend to act as a cash drain most of the time and only pay off when volatility spikes. With markets as calm as they are now, investing in a long-volatility strategy can feel like hiring someone to throw your money away.
China’s banks are still bingeing on short-term financing, defying analyst predictions that they would wean themselves off such debt as regulators intensify a crackdown on leverage.
Sales of negotiable certificates of deposit — a key funding source for medium and smaller banks — surged 49 percent from a year ago in the third quarter to a record 5.4 trillion yuan ($819 billion), according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While strategists had predicted in June that the NCD market would shrink, it turned out to be one of the few funding channels left as officials drained cash from the interbank market and asked lenders to strengthen risk controls.
MACRO OP-EDS, INSIGHT, EVENTS AND TRENDS
“The market in 1987 was relentless,” says Mr Cashin, director of floor operations for UBS Financial Services at NYSE, who began working on “the floor” as an assistant clerk in 1959, straight out of high school. “Unfortunately there are some similarities [to today]. It reminds me a bit of what we have seen this year.”
Market veterans like Mr Cashin have no shortage of Wall Street war stories, but little compares to the events of October 19 1987, when US stocks fell more than 20 per cent — their biggest-ever one-day crash — giving birth to an event known as “Black Monday”.
Yet with the 30th anniversary on Thursday, the comparisons with today’s market are more than just a curiosity. With US equities on an almost uninterrupted bull run for more than eight years, boosted by a flood of cheap money, the prospect of another nasty surprise lingers over the market.
“Right now, we tend to collect prices and assume that those are the only things that matter” to predict investor behavior, Lo says, whereas an ecologist would try to understand investors as a population—which means accounting for their animal instincts. Lo’s hypothesis says people act in their own self-interest but frequently make mistakes, figure out where they’ve erred, and change their behaviors. The broader system also adapts. These complex interactions contribute to our booms and busts.
Lo’s book-length exploration of the idea, Adaptive Markets, came out in February. Says Ben Golub, a founding partner at BlackRock Inc. and now co-head of the company’s risk and quantitative analysis group: “It makes you realize that at any time in the market, the people who are there are not there by accident.” Some people survived the last financial crisis and might be more risk-averse, and some people who’ve joined since might be more risk-tolerant. “The cautious guys survive for a while and then get pushed out by the more aggressive risk takers, who then get thrown out when the thing blows up in their faces,” Golub says. He’s made the book required reading for many BlackRock employees.
From his small town on the windswept grasslands of the Inner Mongolia region of China, Mr. Zhao, 27, scours the internet for calls to violence, fake news and pornography. He is one of a battalion of online “supervisors” whom Weibo, one of China’s biggest social media platforms, announced last month it would hire to help enforce China’s stringent limits on online content.
For years, the United States and others saw this sort of heavy-handed censorship as a sign of political vulnerability and a barrier to China’s economic development. But as countries in the West discuss potential internet restrictions and wring their hands over fake news, hacking and foreign meddling, some in China see a powerful affirmation of the country’s vision for the internet.
“This kind of thing would not happen here,” Mr. Zhao said of the controversy over Russia’s influence in the American presidential election last year.
Besides Communist Party loyalists, few would argue that China’s internet control serves as a model for democratic societies. China squelches online dissent and imprisons many of those who practice it. It blocks foreign news and information, including the website of The New York Times, and promotes homegrown technology companies while banning global services like Facebook and Twitter.
At the same time, China anticipated many of the questions now flummoxing governments from the United States to Germany to Indonesia. Where the Russians have turned the internet into a political weapon, China has used it as a shield.
In fact, when it comes to technology, China has prospered. It has a booming technology culture. Its internet companies rival Facebook and Amazon in heft. To other countries, China may offer an enticing top-down model that suggests that technology can thrive even under the government’s thumb.
Going into his second term, Mr. Xi finds relying on markets too risky and state capitalism a better model. When the Chinese leadership talks of reform today it doesn’t mean economic liberalization as it did in, say, the era of Deng Xiaoping. It means fine-tuning a government-led model.
One consequence of China’s renewed emphasis on central control is that more credit is flowing into state businesses that are less productive than private ones. China’s state capitalism is rife with inefficiencies. It steers investment into unneeded building projects and industries such as steel that already overproduce.
This leaves China to tackle major, festering problems the country faces, such as soaring debt levels and overbuilding, with little benefit of the market discipline free enterprise might supply.
Heavier state intervention ultimately threatens to squeeze out private enterprise, sap innovation from the economy and slow China’s rise into rich-country ranks, according to economists and analysts. Badly handled, China’s economy could end up mired in years of low growth, delaying the expected date sometime next decade of passing the U.S. economy in size.
Despite its economic drawbacks, the centralized approach works in favor of the Communist Party’s hold on power. The loser is the private sector, including Western multinationals operating in China.
As the bleakness of Britain’s Brexit dilemma becomes more apparent, so the search for scapegoats has begun. The Brexiters’ favourite target remains the EU itself. But the Leave campaign is now also rounding on the enemy within: the British people and institutions they accuse of undermining Brexit.
A full-scale Brexiter embrace of a culture war against the establishment would mean abandoning their fond hope that Britain will ultimately unite behind Brexit — and so frustrate the “knavish tricks” of the Europeans. Many Leavers long for Britain to rediscover the unity and national purpose that saw the country through the second world war. This “finest hour” fantasy was stirred this summer by the release of the film, Dunkirk, which prompted Allison Pearson, a star writer for the Daily Telegraph, to write a column entitled — “For Brexit to work we need Dunkirk spirit, not Naysaying Nellies”.
But the comparison between Brexit and the second world war is too obviously ridiculous to create the national unity that the Leavers long for. Just as Remainers have been disappointed by the stubborn refusal of Leave voters to change their minds; so the Brexiters have had to accept that roughly half the country still thinks Brexit is a mistake. Indeed last week, we discovered that this group probably includes Theresa May — with the prime minister refusing to say that she would now vote Leave, if there were another referendum.
Pence has taken care to appear extraordinarily loyal to Trump, so much so that Joel K. Goldstein, a historian and an expert on Vice-Presidents who teaches law at St. Louis University, refers to him as the “Sycophant-in-Chief.” But Pence has the political experience, the connections, the discipline, and the ideological mooring that Trump lacks. He also has a close relationship with the conservative billionaire donors who have captured the Republican Party’s agenda in recent years.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump characterized the Republican Party’s big spenders as “highly sophisticated killers” whose donations allowed them to control politicians. When he declared his candidacy, he claimed that, because of his real-estate fortune, he did not need support from “rich donors,” and he denounced super pacs, their depositories of unlimited campaign contributions, as “corrupt.” Pence’s political career, though, has been sponsored at almost every turn by the donors whom Trump has assailed. Pence is the inside man of the conservative money machine.
Frustrated with the pressure that public companies feel to beat quarterly results, a band of Silicon Valley outsiders are seeking to disrupt the stock exchange model with a structure that rewards investors who hold shares with greater voting power.
Its key feature: a system in which the voting power of shares increases the longer investors own them. Firms listed on the exchange would need to use such a structure, often called “tenure voting,” while abiding by numerous other rules, such as a ban on tying executive pay to the company’s short-term financial performance.
If the LTSE succeeds, it could offer a new incentive for privately held tech giants such as Airbnb Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. to go public, at a time when many market veterans and regulators fear the process of going public has lost its luster.
The two most conventional explanations for rising inequality and falling wages might both be correct. A perfect storm of robots and free trade — and some monopoly power to boot — could be shifting power from the proletariat to the capitalists. With all these factors at work, maybe the real puzzle is why workers aren’t doing even worse than they are.
Rather than a sudden lurch to the right, the victory of conservative and far-right parties in Austria’s elections Sunday was another reflection of the new normal in Europe, where anti-immigration populism and nationalism are challenging the European Union’s commitment to open borders for trade and immigration.
Ivan Krastev, a political scientist who works in Vienna and Sofia, Bulgaria, sees the migration crisis, which has hardly ended, as the main threat to the European Union. “The resistance of liberals to conceding any negative effects of migration has triggered the anti-establishment (and particularly anti-mainstream media) reaction that is convulsing political life,” he wrote in his recent book, “After Europe.”
“It isn’t just a faster computer of the kind that we’re used to. It’s a fundamentally new way of harnessing nature to do computations,” says Scott Aaronson, the head of the Quantum Information Center at the University of Texas at Austin. “People ask, ‘Well, is it a thousand times faster? Is it a million times faster?’ It all depends on the application. It could do things in a minute that we don’t know how to do classically in the age of the universe. For other types of tests, a quantum computer probably helps you only modestly or, in some cases, not at all.”
For nearly three decades, these machines were considered the stuff of science fiction. Just a few years ago, the consensus on a timeline to large-scale, reliable quantum computers was 20 years to never.
“Nobody is saying never anymore,” says Scott Totzke, the chief executive of Isara Corp., a Canadian firm developing encryption resistant to quantum computers, which threaten to crack current methods. “We are in the very, very early days, but we are well past the science-fiction point.”
Companies and universities around the world are racing to build these machines, and Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., appears to be in the lead. Early next year, Google’s quantum computer will face its acid test in the form of an obscure computational problem that would take a classical computer billions of years to complete. Success would mark “quantum supremacy,” the tipping point where a quantum computer accomplishes something previously impossible. It’s a milestone computer scientists say will mark a new era of computing, and the end of what you might call the classical age.
You’re aware America is under siege, fighting an opiod crisis that has exploded into a public-health emergency. You’ve heard of OxyContin, the pain medication to which countless patients have become addicted. But do you know that the company that makes Oxy and reaps the billions of dollars in profits it generates is owned by one secretive family?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, fifty-three thousand Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2016, more than the thirty-six thousand who died in car crashes in 2015 or the thirty-five thousand who died from gun violence that year. This past July, Donald Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, led by New Jersey governor Chris Christie, declared that opioids were killing roughly 142 Americans each day, a tally vividly described as “September 11th every three weeks.” The epidemic has also exacted a crushing financial toll: According to a study published by the American Public Health Association, using data from 2013—before the epidemic entered its current, more virulent phase—the total economic burden from opioid use stood at about $80 billion, adding together health costs, criminal-justice costs, and GDP loss from drug-dependent Americans leaving the workforce. Tobacco remains, by a significant multiple, the country’s most lethal product, responsible for some 480,000 deaths per year. But although billions have been made from tobacco, cars, and firearms, it’s not clear that any of those enterprises has generated a family fortune from a single product that approaches the Sacklers’ haul from OxyContin.
Even so, hardly anyone associates the Sackler name with their company’s lone blockbuster drug. “The Fords, Hewletts, Packards, Johnsons—all those families put their name on their product because they were proud,” said Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine who has written extensively about the opioid crisis. “The Sacklers have hidden their connection to their product. They don’t call it ‘Sackler Pharma.’ They don’t call their pills ‘Sackler pills.’ And when they’re questioned, they say, ‘Well, it’s a privately held firm, we’re a family, we like to keep our privacy, you understand.’ ”
By any assessment, the family’s leaders have pulled off three of the great marketing triumphs of the modern era: The first is selling OxyContin; the second is promoting the Sackler name; and the third is ensuring that, as far as the public is aware, the first and the second have nothing to do with one another.
CENTRAL BANKS & MONETARY POLICY
The U.K.’s first interest-rate increase in over a decade will take place at the BOE’s Nov. 2 meeting, according to 76 percent of those surveyed by Bloomberg, up from 22 percent of respondents in September. But the economists don’t see another hike until the first quarter of 2019, with a further 25 basis-point tightening coming later that year — beyond Governor Mark Carney’s scheduled departure date in June.
USA ECONOMY DATA, CITIES AND STATES
In a blow to commercial animal breeders and brokers, California pet stores will soon have to get their puppies, kittens and rabbits from shelters and rescue centers only. Individuals can still buy from private breeders. But beginning in January 2019, it will be illegal for stores to do so. Violators will face a fine of $500.
GLOBAL ECONOMY DATA
Exports of goods from the eurozone jumped in August, suggesting the euro’s appreciation against other currencies has yet to crimp economic growth. The eurozone economy has enjoyed a surprisingly strong 2017, with growth accelerating in the three months to June and becoming more broad based. That has fueled expectations that the European Central Bank will start to wind down its purchases of government bonds from January. Since that would slow the supply of new euros, the currency has strengthened against the U.S. dollar and the British pound over recent months.
A surge in Singapore exports proved short-lived as a plunge in electronics orders put the brakes on goods flows in the trade-reliant country. Non-oil domestic exports declined by 1.1 percent in September from a year earlier, the worst performance since December 2016, according to government data released Tuesday from International Enterprise Singapore.
POSITIONING, INFLECTION, MARKET CALLS
Just 10 of the MSCI’s 830 stocks accounted for 41 per cent of the index’s gains in the year to September. “You don’t see that every year, I’m very certain we haven’t seen that ever,” says Bhanu Baweja, EM strategist at UBS, who compiled the data.
“The tech sector, and within that a handful of companies in China, Korea and Taiwan have dominated the show,” he adds.
At the country level, the figures become more startling, with just two companies responsible for more than half the gains in each of Taiwan, South Korea and Indonesia this year, according to calculations by Credit Suisse. Even on the 149-stock, $1.5tn MSCI China index, which covers the Hong Kong market and US-listed Chinese companies, just two stocks — tech powerhouses Tencent and Alibaba — are responsible for 45 per cent of this year’s gains.
Short traders who once salivated in anticipation of the emerging-market equity rally’s demise have been left licking their wounds. Bears extinguished $736 million of short positions in just two days in the three main emerging-market exchange-traded funds, according to IHS Markit Ltd. Most of those wagers were acquired only last month as the MSCI stocks gauge posted its first monthly loss this year amid concern a stronger U.S. dollar would undermine risk appetite
DEALS, MERGERS, IPOs, LBOs, RESTRUCTURINGS
China is offering to buy up to 5 percent of Saudi Aramco directly, sources said, a move that could give Saudi Arabia the flexibility to consider various options for its plan to float the world’s biggest oil producer on the stock market.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said last year the kingdom was considering listing about 5 percent of Aramco in 2018 in a deal that could raise $100 billion, if the company is valued at about $2 trillion as hoped.
“The Chinese want to secure oil supplies,” one of the industry sources said. “They are willing to take the whole 5 percent, or even more, alone.”
Sears Holdings Corp on Monday said that Bruce Berkowitz, head of the company’s second-biggest investor, resigned from the board of directors less than two years after he sought a seat to help turn the struggling department store chain around, sending Sears stock down as much as 15 percent.
The Nordstrom family has suspended efforts to take the department-store chain private after struggling to raise enough financing for the leveraged buyout, in the latest sign of how much investors have soured on the retail industry.
REAL ESTATE, HOUSING, REITS, COMMERCIAL
The stockpile of unsold London homes under construction rose to a record as developers ramped up supply, despite a housing market that has been suppressed by higher taxes and economic uncertainty.
The number of properties being built or completed that have yet to find a buyer rose to 12,952 units from 12,601 at the end of last year, according to a report by Molior London seen by Bloomberg News. That’s the biggest surplus since the researcher began compiling the data in 2009. Based on current sales rates, it will take 1.3 years to clear the excess supply, the longest period since 2010, the report showed.
HEDGE FUNDS, PRIVATE EQUITY, MONEY MGMT
A Swiss hedge fund is poised to launch an activist campaign to break up Credit Suisse, tapping into investor impatience with the progress of the bank’s turnround under chief executive Tidjane Thiam.
RBR Capital Advisors, supported by Gaël de Boissard, a former Credit Suisse investment bank co-head, is set to unveil the plan later this week at the JPMorgan Robin Hood investor conference in New York, according to people briefed on it.
Bridgewater Associates, a hedge fund firm with $160 billion in assets under management, is in talks with Cambridge Associates about creating a dedicated investment fund to take in money from the consulting firm’s institutional clients, which include endowments and foundations, said two people familiar with those talks who are not authorized to speak publicly.
The arrangement under discussion with Cambridge would pool together investment dollars from the firm’s clients so the new fund could meet Bridgewater’s minimum requirements. The deal also would give Cambridge a better opportunity to negotiate lower fees and better terms with Bridgewater, which takes in most of its investment dollars directly from large institutional investors.
ENERGY CRUDE OIL, OIL SANDS, SHALE
Tensions over a Sept. 25 independence referendum in the semi-autonomous oil province have flared into open conflict between the federal authorities and the Kurdistan Regional Government. The KRG included the disputed oil-rich territory of Kirkuk in the vote, prompting clashes between troops from both sides and an Iraqi military thrust to seize oil facilities from Kurdish forces.
COMMODITIES BASE METALS, MATERIALS
The palladium price broke through the $1,000 mark on Monday for the first time since 2001, as a backlash against diesel cars in Europe buoys demand for a metal used in petrol-based vehicles.
Hurdling the $1,000 level took the palladium price further beyond its sister metal platinum, which is mostly used in diesel-based cars. The palladium price last month rose above platinum for the first time in almost two decades.
POLLUTION, CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT
California’s fires are far from out. They have killed at least 41 people and burned about 5,700 structures and over 213,000 acres since they exploded in force on Oct. 8 and 9 — record totals for a state that is used to wildfires. Thousands of firefighters are still at work fighting blazes and tens of thousands of people remain under mandatory evacuation from their homes, though fire officials have expressed cautious optimism about bringing the fires into containment.
But even as the smell of smoke still wafts through this area north of San Francisco, public health officials and environmental cleanup experts are starting to think about the next chapter of the disaster: the huge amount of debris and ash that will be left behind.
In whole neighborhoods here, a thick layer of ash paints the landscape a ghastly white. Wind can whip the ash into the air; rain, when it comes, could wash it into watersheds and streams or onto nearby properties that were not ravaged by fire.
And the process of cleaning it all up, which has not even begun, is very likely to bring its own thorny set of issues, in the costs, timetables and liability questions — all compounded by scale, in the thousands of properties that must be repaired and restored.
“In modern times this has got be an unprecedented event, and a major hazard for the public and for property owners,” said Dr. Alan Lockwood, a retired neurologist who has written widely about public health. He said an apt comparison might be the environmental cleanup after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York, as debris and dust swirled through Lower Manhattan.
An oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last week may be the largest in the U.S. since the 2010 blowout at BP Plc’s Macondo well that sank the Deepwater Horizon rig.
The Delta House floating production facility about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of Venice, Louisiana, released 7,950 to 9,350 barrels of oil from early Wednesday to Thursday morning, according to closely held operator LLOG Exploration Co. That would make it the largest spill in more than seven years, data from the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement show, even though it’s a fraction of the millions of barrels ejected in the 2010 incident.
The plague outbreak in Madagascar is continuing to spread at unprecedented rates, with 57 deaths and more than 680 cases. The latest figures are from October 12. An estimated 329 of these cases, and 25 deaths, were in the capital, Antananarivo.
While Silicon Valley is just beginning to confront decades of sexism and discrimination, female founders in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community say their segregated gender roles have an unintended benefit — encouraging growing ranks of women entrepreneurs. Recruiting more ultra-Orthodox into a technology industry suffering from a lack of skilled workers has become a national objective
CANADA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND
“We made a promise to middle class Canadians that we would lower their taxes and make sure everyone pays their fair share,” Morneau said. “We will be taking the next step towards greater tax fairness by addressing tax planning strategies that benefit the wealthiest, while fulfilling our commitment to lower the small business tax rate to 9 percent.”
BREXIT, SCOXIT, LONDON, UK ECONOMY
Theresa May is backing away from a Brussels showdown over Brexit this week after Angela Merkel warned her that the EU would not start discussing a transition deal with Britain until she put more money on the table.
The so-called brains behind Brexit who called Brexit Secretary David Davis “thick as mince” has taken a new stab at the Government for its alleged failings in leaving the EU.
Dominic Cummings told Prospect that Theresa May and Mr Davis “have provided a case study of grotesque uselessness” in the way they are dealing with the Brexit process. The mastermind behind Vote Leave added that negotiations were in a “dire state” and the UK is close to messing up the talks completely.
Mr Cummings, who recently deleted his Twitter account, also said it was “crazy” of Ms May to trigger Article 50 in March without preparing – before or after. “If there’s no deal, there will be significant problems that were completely avoidable,” he told the publication.
Mr Cummings, the former special advisor to Michael Gove, predicted there would be an “inevitable inquiry” into why Brexit occurred, and said that “schoolchildren will shake their heads in disbelief that such characters could have had leading roles in government”.
A number of councils in England are regularly buying one-way train tickets for homeless people out of their area, the Victoria Derbyshire show has found. Some spent more than £1,000 a year on fares and charity Homeless Link called the scale “worrying”.
The strategy can be used to reconnect rough sleepers with family, but one man said he was offered a ticket to a city he had never been to before. The government has said it is investing £550 million to tackle homelessness.
No free fruit in hotel rooms, no free hair cuts and no prawns on the menu – delegates at this week’s Communist Party Congress in China can expect austere treatment in keeping with President Xi Jinping’s pledge to crack down on corruption and extravagance.
For decades, the Chinese Communist Party has pushed a stiff regimen of ideological education on students, requiring tedious lessons on Marx and Mao and canned lectures on the virtues of patriotism and loyalty. Now, amid fears that the party is losing its grip on young minds, President Xi Jinping is reshaping political education across China’s more than 283,000 primary and secondary schools for a new era.
Textbooks are getting a larger dose of Communist Party lore, including glorified tales about the party’s fights against foreign invaders like Japan. Schools are adding courses on traditional medicine and Confucian thought to highlight China’s achievements as a civilization. The government is scaling back discussion of iconoclastic writers like Lu Xun, amid concerns that exposing students to social criticism may inspire disobedience.
In a stern directive issued last month, the party ordered schools to intensify efforts to promote “Chinese traditional and socialist culture” — a mix of party loyalty and patriotic pride in China’s past. Under this new formulation, the party is presented less as a vanguard of proletarian revolution and more as a force for reviving China and restoring it to its rightful place as a world power.
Mr Chen is the “most trusted of Xi’s protégés”, according to Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute. “I would expect that what Xi is trying to do is go get him all the way to the standing committee,” he added. “Its somewhat like Putin grooming Medvedev.”
President Donald Trump will meet Japanese Emperor Akihito when he visits Japan in November as part of an Asia trip that will also take him to China, Vietnam, South Korea and the Philippines. Mr Trump will meet the Japanese emperor on November 6 after seeing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to several sources, including a former US official and another person in Tokyo with knowledge of the plans.
Kobe Steel Ltd.’s investigations into faked product data will probably reveal the practice began more than 10 years ago, according to a company executive. As the steel-maker works to contain the fallout from the scandal, it briefed analysts that short-term liquidity isn’t an issue as it seeks to generate cash including via asset sales.
Hong Kong’s market for initial public offerings is heading for its worst year since 2012 as a combined $20 billion of megadeals are being pushed to next year.
“It’ll be very difficult for the Hong Kong IPO market to return to its heyday,” said Steven Leung, executive director at UOB Kay Hian (Hong Kong) Ltd. “The big Chinese companies that are viable for listing are already listed.”
GEOPOLITICS, CRIME, TERRORISM
A Maltese investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, who exposed the island nation’s links to offshore tax havens through the leaked Panama Papers was killed when a bomb exploded in her car, the prime minister said.
Sergeant Bergdahl left his Afghanistan post in 2009 and was held captive by the Taliban for about five years. He was released in 2014 in a prisoner swap.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but the government has blamed al Shabaab, the al-Qaeda-linked group that has been waging an insurgency in the country for more than a decade. The Islamist group has taken advantage of chaos in the Horn of Africa nation — which has lacked an effective central government since the 1991 overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre — to launch attacks in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya and Uganda.
One of Asia’s most-wanted terrorists was killed Monday in the southern city of Marawi, the Philippine authorities said, after thousands of government troops pushed over the weekend to reclaim the town from Islamist militants.
The terrorist who died, Isnilon Hapilon, was the leader of Abu Sayyaf, a militant group affiliated with the Islamic State that has held parts of Marawi since May. The police provided a photo of Mr. Hapilon’s body as proof of his death.
Turkey’s government says it will ask parliament to extend for a fifth time the state of emergency that was declared following last year’s failed military coup.
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Monday the state of emergency would be prolonged by a further three months to allow a “more effective” fight against the coup-plotters and what he called terrorist groups.
PRIVACY, HACKING, CYBERWAR, SURVEILLANCE STATE
The Supreme Court will decide whether prosecutors can force Microsoft to turn over emails held on a server in Ireland, and in another case, whether American Express violated antitrust laws.
A bug in the software used to connect the world’s wireless devices could give hackers a new way to snoop on Wi-Fi traffic, sending device manufacturers scrambling to release patches.
SILICON VALLEY, UNICORNS, STARTUPS, VC
The pet-care app is being criticized for losing dogs and fighting with customers—spooking potential investors.
Inspired by Uber, pet-care startups want to revolutionize an industry that has long relied on word-of-mouth referrals and lamp-post advertisements. The best known of these are Wag and Rover.com, which offers a broader assortment of services including boarding.
But Wag’s experience is a reminder that technological disruption rarely goes smoothly—especially when it involves a four-legged family member. Even as Wag and Rover compete for customers with easy-to-use apps and celebrity endorsements, they’re battling many of the same issues that have bedeviled other gig economy players: regulatory scrutiny, complaints about shoddy service provided by people they don’t directly employ, high marketing costs and heavy losses.
CLOUD, IOT, SEMICONDUCTORS, ENTERPRISE / SAAS
In the test, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 NR modem chipset achieved speeds of up to 1 gigabit, or 1,000 megabits, per second — several times faster than the 4G LTE wireless networks that are used by today’s smartphones.
AUTOS, ELECTRIC, SELF-DRIVING
GM plans to become the first company to test self-driving cars in New York City, a move aimed at asserting leadership in the race to develop autonomous cars and a potentially important step toward commercializing the technology.
AIRLINES, SHIPPERS, RAIL, TRANSPORTS
Continuing their emergence from hard economic times, some airlines have begun adding complimentary breakfast, lunch or dinner on some of their flights in the United States.
“Customers look at flight price and schedule,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, who until recently was chief executive of the online travel agent Expedia and is now chief executive of the ride-hailing company Uber. “Airlines want to get beyond that, so they are merchandising and adding things like Wi-Fi, free entertainment and meals.”
AEROSPACE, MILITARY & DEFENSE
Tiangong 1, which translates to “Heavenly Palace,” is China’s first space laboratory, launched in September 2011, serving as a prototype for a permanent space station that it aims to eventually build and launch. But six years after it first went into orbit, the 8½-ton laboratory is soon expected to meet a fiery and uncontrolled end, hurtling down to Earth and crashing somewhere — anywhere — on the planet.
In September 2016, Chinese officials confirmed that they had lost control of the space lab and that it would crash into Earth sometime in the latter half of 2017. In May, China told the United Nations that the lab would reenter Earth between October and April 2018.
Much of the space lab, which measures 34 feet in length, is expected to burn up during its reentry. But Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist from Harvard University, told the Guardian that pieces weighing up to 220 pounds could make it to the Earth’s surface.
The head of U.S. Air Force Space Command said he’s “completely committed” to launching future missions with recycled rockets like those championed by SpaceX’s Elon Musk as the military looks to drive down costs.
SCIENCE, NATURE, PSYCHOLOGY
Fish can get depressed, just like you, and that could make them a good model organism for studying depression in people.
Dr. Pittman likes working with fish, in part, because they are so obvious about their depression. He can reliably test the effectiveness of antidepressants with something called the “novel tank test.” A zebrafish gets dropped in a new tank. If after five minutes it is hanging out in the lower half, it’s depressed. If it’s swimming up top — its usual inclination when exploring a new environment — then it’s not.
Astronomers announced on Monday that they had seen and heard a pair of dead stars collide, giving them their first glimpse of the violent process by which most of the gold and silver in the universe was created.
The collision, known as a kilonova, rattled the galaxy in which it happened 130 million light-years from here in the southern constellation of Hydra, and sent fireworks across the universe. On Aug. 17, the event set off sensors in space and on Earth, as well as producing a loud chirp in antennas designed to study ripples in the cosmic fabric. It sent astronomers stampeding to their telescopes, in hopes of answering one of the long-sought mysteries of the universe.
Such explosions, astronomers have long suspected, produced many of the heavier elements in the universe, including precious metals like gold, silver and uranium. All the atoms in your wedding band, in the pharaoh’s treasures and the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and still threaten us all, so the story goes, have been formed in cosmic gong shows that reverberated across the heavens.
As the National Basketball Association’s 72nd season beckons, let’s briefly pause in admiration of the sauciest off-season in history. They all tried so hard — front-office deal makers, power-wielding stars, even the commissioner’s office. In nearly every corner of the N.B.A. universe, stubborn resistance to the supposedly inevitable ending June holds brought about heaps of change, change, change.
It had the feel of a coordinated leaguewide crusade, with team after team behaving as if it simply refused to hear the basketball know-it-alls saying, over and over for the past three months, that nothing can stop the Golden State Warriors from winning their third championship in four years.
A hotshot banker dumped his model girlfriend, and she got the ultimate revenge — by driving his precious Mercedes into the backyard pool, he said.
Russian-born model Kristina Kuchma was furious with Guy Gentile for breaking up with her during a dinner out near his Bahamas home, rather than fund her marketing business venture.
“Lier!” Kuchma, 24, texted Gentile in broken English on Saturday night after the dirty deed. “You told me you will help me to start a business! That were your words! Now you want to be an investor??? Well investor I have a surprise for you on a backyard, start with that investment idea first.”
Gentile, who was busted for an alleged Wall Street pump-and-dump scheme in 2007 but became an FBI informant to beat the charges, came home the next morning to find his Mercedes S400 hybrid in a chlorine grave.
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