The 11 Ghastly Things I Got out of NSO Group’s iPhone Hack

You have nothing left to hide. NSO Group is so secretive it doesn’t even have a website. The malware company was founded in 2010 in Israel with $1.6 million in seed money. Its ‘most recently-known owner’ – as Forbes put it – is private equity firm Francisco Partners in San Francisco which acquired a majority stake in 2014 for $120 million and then tried to sell that stake in November 2015 for $1 billion, ‘people familiar with the matter’ told Reuters at the time.
Reuters also said that the company ‘has since changed its name several times, most recently calling itself ‘Q.”
I have not found any evidence that the sale actually happened. At the time, the valuations of unicorns were routinely taken out the back and slashed.
The company makes and sells surveillance malware called Pegasus that governments around the world, or anyone able to buy it and willing to pay the steep price, can use to target a specific user’s iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, or Symbian device.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ September 4, 2016.

Hugh Hendry Recalls His “Great Monster P&L Trade” That “Murdered” His Counterparty

We’ve heard plenty of fund managers blame the macro environment and the lack of a definitive economic trend for the drought in returns over recent years, but in his latest blast, famed – or perhaps infamous – contrarian Hugh Hendry hold his hands up, admitting his shortcomings and his own losses.
“I fear that our community has overloaded on top of the trend a normative value judgment about how the world is being organized by monetary authorities,” Hendry told Hugh H in an exclusive interview published on Friday. ‘And the view is rather prejudicial: [our community] doesn’t like it. And I posted a letter saying, we’re dying on the year and we do not blame monetary policy.’
Hendry adds that there have been some outstanding trends in the last few years which he and other major players have missed out on, such as the CNH float in China, which went from 2009 to the first quarter of 2014. ‘An immense trade, which no-one participated in’ Hendry said. He’s also reinvigorated by the ‘intellectual car crash’ that was the Brexit vote, which allowed a reassignment of probabilities for questioning the euro, in what Hendry is calling an immensely interesting time for macro.
Speaking at length in an another discussion with Real Vision TV and Raoul Pal, Hendry said Brexit really offers the chance to escape the confined trajectory contributing to the perceived malaise in the sector over the past four years. The probability of the euro state reneging with 28 members was one thing, with strong forces holding them together, he said, but now there are 27 it’s quite another.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 3, 2016.

The Week in Review: September 3, 2016

September 2nd is Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Hans! Brexit continues to look better and better. Not only has the British economy not collapsed, as was predicted by mainstream economic oracles, but the EU’s own actions continue to destroy the myth that it was primarily a free trade zone and not simply about political power. As Louis Rouanet wrote following the EU’s action against Apple this week:
It has now become clear that in many ways the European Union is a cartel of high-tax governments whose goal is to restrain tax competition. The EU’s supposedly free – this is, regulated – trade policy is none other than an excuse to homogenize the tax and regulatory regimes of the nation-states.
Of course, as Jeff Deist noted, the episode also highlights the hypocrisy of progressives, such as Apple CEO Tim Cook:
It’s a bit rich to hear Apple CEO Tim Cook suddenly become concerned over the ‘sovereignty of EU member states.’ Cook, after all, is an outspoken progressive who presumably favors the kind of activist international tax and regulatory bodies exemplified by EU bureaucrats.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on September 3, 2016.

John Maynard Keynes’ “General Theory” Eighty Years Later

Authored by Antonius Aquinas,
To the economic and political detriment of the Western world and those economies beyond which have adopted its precepts, 2016 marks the eightieth anniversary of the publication of one of, if not, the most influential economics books ever penned, John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. Sadly, even to this day, despite its thorough refutation by lights such as Henry Hazlitt and other eminent scholars, The General Theory, which spawned ‘Keynesianism’ and its later variants, remains supreme in academics, financial markets, and public policy.
Despite its outlandish theoretical flaws and nonsensical economic jargon and the catastrophic empirical evidence of its failure to prevent financial downturns or ‘stimulate’ sustainable growth, Keynesianism remains the ruling paradigm of economic thought.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 3, 2016.

ECB Board Member Lashes Out At Central Banking: Ignore “Mathematical Models”, Focus On Reality

At first (literally the day the Fed announced QE1) it was just “tinfoil fringe blogs” who predicted the failure of the central bank’s attempt to boost the economy by printing money, instead warning that all the Fed would do is unleash an unprecedented income and wealth divide that may culminate in civil war and hyperinflation. Then, gradually, analysts, pundits and even the mainstream press admitted the truth, i.e., that tin-foilers were right all along, until recently even the Fed’s own mouthpiece, Jon Hilsenrath, one day before the Jackson Hole meeting wrote that “Years of Fed Missteps Fueled Disillusion With the Economy and Washington“, an article which set the stage for the pivot to the US issuance of much more debt, because apparently $9 trillion in new debt under Obama is not considered enough “fiscal stimulus.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 3, 2016.

AN INVITATION TO MEET ME IN LONDON AT THE INFINITE MAN SUMMIT

As you may have noticed about me over the years, I’m not just all about the markets, finance, economics and politics.
During the last six years since writing the daily blog at The Dollar Vigilante I’ve gone through all manner of personal and spiritual growth and struggles. Highs and lows. Successes and failures.
While I love what we do at The Dollar Vigilante, the greater goal, for both myself and hopefully of help to you also, is something much greater.
To discover the meaning of life. To discover our purpose. To try to find truth through all the lies. And, at the very least, live the best life we can.
This has led me down paths that most have not taken. Aside from traveling nearly the entire world I’ve explored ayahuasca, iboga, kambo and many other substances in this quest.

This post was published at Dollar Vigilante on SEPTEMBER 3, 2016.

The Chinese Are Buying Gold, Selling Treasuries – Should You?

Submitted by Chris Hamilton via Econimica blog,
China has run a $4 trillion trade surplus with the US since 2000. So, no shock China is the largest single holder of US Treasury debt (outside of the Federal Reserve) and has accumulated nearly a trillion dollars in US Treasury debt since ’00. In total, China now holds $1.24 trillion in US Treasury bonds.
Despite China continuing to run perpetually larger trade surplus’ with the US, China ceased accumulating Treasury debt (net) in July of 2011 (coincident with the US debt ceiling debate…and the peak in Gold prices) and has been net selling US Treasury debt since.
Since July 2011, China has collected $2.2 trillion in US trade surplus dollars and recycled none of them (net) into US Treasury debt. This after China recycled 50% of it’s trade surplus into US Treasury’s over the previous 11 years. So what has China been buying with all those dollars since 2011? Among other things, buying an awful lot of gold. Perhaps as much as a trillion dollars worth since July 2011…and on this ongoing gold buying, perhaps 5,000 tons but even potentially in excess of 10,000 tons, gold prices have fallen by a third!?! Conversely, on the buyers strike in Treasury’s, yields fell by a third?!?
Typically when buyers disappear and new flow continues and existing stock is at record levels, prices fall and yields rise to entice new buyers. However, in the case of US Treasury bonds, we are to believe that domestic sources of buying (US pensions, insurers, banks, etc.) have taken over buying since year end 2014. Buying Treasury assets yielding far below domestics needed rates of return (essentially laddering into 0.5% to 2.5% yielding assets vs. 7.5% plan payouts)? Where did these domestic sources get the $1 trillion without selling other asset classes?

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 3, 2016.

The High Yield Bond Market Has Never Been This Decoupled From Reality

In March we explained how ‘this credit cycle was different’ as recovery rates of defaulted debt had plunged to record lows.
JPM’s Peter Acciavatti noted…
Recovery rates in 2016 are extremely low… for high-yield bonds, the recovery rate YTD is 10.3% (10.5% senior secured and 0.5% senior subordinate), which is well below the 25-year annual average of 41.4%. Final recovery rates in 2015 for high-yield bonds were 25.2%, compared with recoveries of 48.1%, 52.7%, 53.2%, 48.6%, and 41.0% in full-years 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010, respectively. Notably, average recoveries for Energy and Metals/Mining bonds were 18.3% and 20.0%, respectively, which weighed down overall high-yield recovery rates. Excluding the troubled commodity sectors, high-yield recoveries were a more respectable 46.1% (32.1% Ex-Energy only). As for loans, recovery rates for first-lien loans thus far in 2016 are 24.5%, compared with their 18-year annual average of 67.2%. Final 2015 1st lien recoveries were 48.2%, while average recoveries for Energy and Metals/Mining 1st lien loans were 44.1% and 38.4%, respectively.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 3, 2016.

There Are 9.93 Million More Government Workers Than Manufacturing Workers

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Confounded Interest. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
The August jobs report was filled with some interest factoids, like there are now 9.93 million government workers than there are manufacturing workers.

That is a ratio of 1.81 government workers for every manufacturing worker.
Such was not always the case. But a variety of factors such as labor cost differentials, EPA regulations and taxes had led to manufacturing jobs to be sent overseas.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Anthony B. Sanders ‘ September 2, 2016.

Why A Crisis Is Coming – Four Simple Charts Explaining Everything

Submitted by Eugen von Bhm-Bawerk of Bawerk.net
The great ‘science’ of economics once discovered an empirical relationship between GDP and unemployment that has been dubbed Okun’s Law. It simply states that the unemployment rate rises as GDP contracts, or vice versa, as production shrinks less people will be employed. It is not exactly rocket science.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 3, 2016.

Silver update…Stay Sober

Time to revisit the ‘play toy of the funds’, aka, silver.
On Thursday of this past week, silver managed to claw its way back above its downtrending 10 day moving average, a positive sign. However, ahead of an often unpredictable payrolls report, most traders are not going to get aggressive preferring instead to wait for the report and the reaction before committing precious capital.
The reaction to the report was one of bullishness as the market pushed further away from the 10 day hitting the 50 day before retreating off of that level.

Notice that the push through the 10 day and more importantly, the ability to clear the first resistance hurdle near $19.30 flipped the ADX/DMI into generating a buy signal.
I am watching closely how the metal handles this 50 day moving average which coincides quite nicely with the next level of overhead resistance near the $19.50-$19.55 zone.

This post was published at Trader Dan on September 3, 2016.

Gold And Silver – Fiat ‘Dollar’ Says Gold And Silver Will Struggle

We are taking another look at the globalist-owned Federal Reserve and their totally fiat Federal Reserve Note, more commonly and inaccurately referenced as the ‘dollar,’ which it is not and never was. The fact that people in the United States continue to believe that the ‘dollar’ is real and the Federal Reserve is a part of the US government speaks to how successfully the total Ponzi scheme perpetrated by the elites over the last century plus has fooled almost everyone.
Today, cash is barely 5% of ‘money’ in circulation, and the bankers want to do away with even that paltry source in order to fully gain control over the financial lives of all citizens. The fact that this information still needs to be explained relates to the futility of the public ever wakening to the reality of how all Americans have been, and continue to be fleeced by the elites who control every aspect of how the United States functions, including the bought and paid for politicians, starting with the corporate federal president on down.
Our take on the precious metals charts strongly suggests that gold and silver may work higher, over time, but it will be labored and not without intense effort to overcome the unlimited ability of the Federal Reserve [controlled entirely by the elites] to create an infinite supply of debt that poses as ‘money.’

This post was published at Edge Trader Plus on September 3, 2016.

Hey Bartender! August Jobs Report Shows Only 151K Jobs Added, Hourly Earnings Fall To 2.4% YoY

Yet another Hey Bartender! jobs report.
The August jobs report likely sealed the fate of a Fed rate hike … until after the Presidential election in November.
Only 151K jobs were added in August, a real comedown after a revised 275K report in July.
Average hourly earnings YoY fell from a revised 2.7% rate in July to 2.4% in August. Average hourly earnings YoY still remain LOWER than anytime during The Great Recession. Well done, Washington DC!

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Anthony B. Sanders ‘ September 2, 2016.

The Smell Test

You have got to be kidding me.
The FBI released it’s (heavily-redacted) report yesterday on Hillary’s email server and their investigation. Let me just point out a few things; you can read the whole shebang if you wish (I did); agent notes are usually quite dry, and this was no exception.
Incidentally, if you ever talk or work with these guys this is the sort of “memorialization” to expect them to take; it looks right up the middle of the line in that regard, so leave the conspiracy theories at home.
First, we’re supposed to believe that Hillary required no fewer than eight mobile devices during her tenure as Secretary of State. I don’t know what sort of garbage that is, but they were all BlackBerries, and I will note for the record that BlackBerry makes one of the more-solid pieces of hardware out there when it comes to mobile technology. I still have two Z10s — one of which I keep in my car as an emergency backup phone — that work fine; I had one that blew up due to a manufacturing defect out of warranty (heat sink paste improperly applied) and a second that my kid legitimately got salty water into and shorted it out. My kid, who is far rougher than I am on mobile devices, has had two phones in the last four years, one of which (a Z30) she’s still using. Hillary was SoS for four years and during this time we’re supposed to believe that she destroyed a phone on an average of once every six months.
I make extremely heavy use of my mobile devices and I’ve yet to have one fail in under 2 years. In addition the BlackBerry series that Hillary was using has replaceable batteries, which is the most-common failure (the battery gets weak and thus the runtime gets too short for your preference.) It defies credibility to believe that she had eight sequentially defective units during a four year period, or that she managed to wear them out.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2016-09-03.

ECRI Weekly Leading Index at Multi-Year Highs

Today’s release of the publicly available data from ECRI (Economic Cycle Research Institute) puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 138.4, up 0.4 from the previous week. Year-over-year the four-week moving average of the indicator is now at 5.20%, up from 4.65% the previous week and its highest since September 2013. The WLI Growth indicator is now at 8.1.
“Amid Structural Lowflation, World Exports Decline”
ECRI’s latest feature article details the current state of global export volume. Since the recession, world trade has been in decline with YoY global export volume slipping back below zero. Read the full article here.
The ECRI Indicator Year-over-Year
Below is a chart of ECRI’s smoothed year-over-year percent change since 2000 of their weekly leading index. The latest level is above where it was at the start of the last recession.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 09/02/2016.

Welcome To The Third World, Part 19: Health Care Systems Break Down

The most obvious difference between ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ countries is that the former provide health care for most or all of their lucky citizens. At least they used to:
Obese patients and smokers banned from routine surgery in ‘most severe ever’ rationing in the UK
(Telegraph) – Obese people will be routinely refused operations across the NHS, health service bosses have warned, after one authority said it would limit procedures on an unprecedented scale. Hospital leaders in North Yorkshire said that patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above – as well as smokers – will be barred from most surgery for up to a year amid increasingly desperate measures to plug a funding black hole. The restrictions will apply to standard hip and knee operations.
The decision, described by the Royal College of Surgeons as the ‘most severe the modern NHS has ever seen’, led to warnings that other trusts will soon be forced to follow suit and rationing will become the norm if the current funding crisis continues.
Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers, which represents acute care, ambulance and community services, said: ‘I think we are going to see more and more decisions like this.
‘It’s the only way providers are going to be able to balance their books, and in a way you have to applaud their honesty. You can see why they’re doing this – the service is bursting at the seams.’
The announcement is the latest in a series of setbacks for patients who are facing rolling strikes by junior doctors that threaten to cripple the health service as winter approaches.

This post was published at DollarCollapse on SEPTEMBER 3, 2016.

3/9/16: Fintech, Banking and Dinosaurs with Wings

Here is an interesting study from McKinsey on fintech role in facilitating banking sector adjustments to technological evolution and changes in consumer demand for banking services:
The key here is that fintech is viewed by McKinsey as a core driver for changes in risk management. And the banks responses to fintech challenge are telling. Per McKinsey: ‘More recently, banks have begun to capture efficiency gains in the SME and commercial-banking segments by digitizing key steps of credit processes, such as the automation of credit decision engines.’

This post was published at True Economics on Saturday, September 3, 2016.