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Libertarian Group Sues To Block Biden Student Loan Forgiveness

Libertarian Group Sues To Block Biden Student Loan Forgiveness A California libertarian group has sued the Biden administration over its plan to cancel student debt, calling it an illegal overreach which will end up taxing some Americans whose debt is forgiven. "Congress did not authorize the executive branch to unilaterally cancel student debt," said attorney Caleb Kruckenberg of the Pacific Legal Foundation, which filed the lawsuit - believed to be the first targeting Biden's plan, AP reports. The Sacramento-based legal advocacy group filed the suit in Indiana, which is one of several states that plans to tax those whose debt is canceled by Biden's plan. Kruckenberg says that it's illegal for the executive branch to create such policy "by press release, and without statutory authority." (Meanwhile, Biden is yanking student loan forgiveness for more than 750,000 borrowers who took federal government loans that were issued and managed by private lenders) The suit’s plaintiff is Frank Garrison, described as a public interest attorney who lives in Indiana and is employed by the libertarian group. Garrison is on track to get his student debt erased through a separate federal program for public servants. Although most borrowers will need to apply for Biden’s plan, Garrison and many others in that program will automatically get the relief because the Education Department has their income information on file. -AP Garrison, the plaintiff, says that Biden's plan would automatically cancel up to $20,000 of his debt, which would trigger an "immediate tax liability" owed to the state of Indiana. "Mr. Garrison and millions of others similarly situated in the six relevant states will receive no additional benefit from the cancellation — just a one-time additional penalty," read the suit. Other states which plan to debt forgiven debt under the Biden plan are; Arkansas, California, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina and Wisconsin, unless lawmakers act to change their current laws. When asked how people could opt out of the debt forgiveness, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who said 'anyone can opt-out' had no answers, after previously saying that roughly 8 million Americans would automatically receive the debt relief. "The bottom line is this — no one who does not want debt relief will have to get that debt relief," she said. The White House has called the lawsuit "baseless," suggesting that it's nothing more than political opponents who "are trying anything they can to stop this program that will provide needed relief to working families." Biden's plan will cancel $10,000 in federal student debt for those making $125,000 per year or less, and $250,000 per household. Pell Grant recipients are set to receive an additional $10,000 benefit.  Conservative groups have called Biden's plan legally questionable, and point out that the debt forgiveness unfairly cancels student debt at the expense of Americans who didn't attend college - or paid off their loans. The Biden administration has repeatedly argued that the plan is on solid legal ground. In its legal justification for debt cancellation, the Biden administration invoked the HEROES Act of 2003, which aimed to provide help to members of the military. The law gives the administration “sweeping authority” to reduce or eliminate student debt during a national emergency, the Justice Department said in an August legal opinion. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has said he has the legal authority to cancel debt for people who faced hardship during the pandemic. Cardona says Biden’s plan will ensure borrowers aren’t worse off after the pandemic than they were before. -AP "Nothing about loan cancellation is lawful or appropriate," reads the lawsuit. "In an end-run around Congress, the administration threatens to enact a profound and transformational policy that will have untold economic impacts." Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE18 min. ago Related News

Progressive "De-Prosecutors" Disrupt Criminal Justice System, Experts Say

Progressive 'De-Prosecutors' Disrupt Criminal Justice System, Experts Say Authored by Petr Svab via The Epoch Times, A new breed of local prosecutors has taken District Attorney offices around the country by storm in a coordinated campaign that is tearing at the foundations of American justice system. The ideology that underpins their agenda is antagonistic to the traditional conception of criminal justice and, if taken to its logical conclusion, demands its destruction, several experts told The Epoch Times. Such DAs have been variously called “rogue prosecutors,” “de-prosecutors,” or “Soros prosecutors,” based on the fact that progressive billionaire George Soros has prolifically funded their campaigns and support structures. They started to enter the scene around 2014 and have quickly become a major power block, controlling at least 75 DA offices with jurisdiction over one in every five Americans, including half of the country’s 50 most populous cities, according to research by Sean Kennedy, a criminal justice expert at the Maryland Public Policy Institute, a liberty-oriented think tank. “They believe that the criminal justice system is excessively punitive and racially biased and that it is irredeemable,” he said. “And so they’re trying to undermine it from the inside.” The “rogue prosecutor movement” traces its roots back to the “prison abolition movement,” according to Zack Smith, former federal prosecutor who’s been writing extensively on the phenomenon as a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. “There is actually a movement; it’s a Marxist movement that believes we should abolish prisons in the United States,” he said. “Many members of this movement … bought into the idea that our criminal justice system is systemically racist, that we have a problem with mass incarceration, we arrest too many people, incarcerate too many people. And so because of that, they want to lower prison population and they want to basically make many, many things that have traditionally been crimes either not be crimes or make the punishment for them very minor, like a speeding ticket, civil infraction.” Proponents of this idea, however, must have been aware that it would be very difficult to convince legislators to enshrine such a policy in law, Smith suspected. “What is very clever about what George Soros and others figured out is, rather than doing the hard work of getting the legislature to actually change the laws, decriminalize certain things, … they figured out they can elect District Attorneys to office,” he said. “And if the DA won’t prosecute crimes, they won’t seek sentencing enhancements. It doesn’t matter how many arrests the police make, the criminal won’t be held accountable.” The most common tactics of the DAs include establishing policies to not prosecute entire segments of crimes, such as theft under a certain threshold and non-violent offenses more broadly, as well as undercharge crimes to avoid mandatory minimum sentences. They also tend to avoid charges that would lead to “immigration consequences,” meaning serious charges that could trigger deportation of a criminal alien, according to Kennedy. “Victims are particularly ignored and disregarded by these offices,” he noted. Efforts of the DAs are sometimes amplified by state or local legislations that make it more difficult to put a criminal behind bars, such as by preventing judges from setting a bail. Fallout Implementation of the policies tends to coincide with increases in crime, though not necessarily across the board or right away. It appears it sometimes takes some time for criminals to learn the ropes of the new regime. Sooner or later, however, they start to take advantage of it, several experts have pointed out. “The message these individuals are receiving is that there’s not going to be any consequences for their actions. If they’re not going to be held on bail, if they’re not going to be prosecuted, then what’s the incentive for them not to keep repeating the same actions over and over and over again?” Smith said. The policies also tend to demoralize police, who may see their work as pointless if, upon arrest, the suspect is quickly back on the street. “Taking somebody to jail is a hassle because you have to get off your beat, get them in a car, take them down to booking, potentially spend hours filling out paperwork, all for what?” said Thomas Hogan, an adjunct fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute and former federal prosecutor. Some departments have simply ceased to arrest people for the crimes they know won’t be prosecuted anyway, he said. There are exceptions, though. In New York City, crime has increased but arrests have gone up too. That’s because the NYPD deals with five different DAs, one for each borough, according to Hogan. Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg falls into the Soros-backed ranks, but the other ones are not necessarily onboard with the de-incarceration agenda—or at least not to the same extent. Moreover, the NYPD is large and powerful enough that they “do their own thing,” Hogan said. “NYPD’s response was, ‘You make your decisions what you’re going to do after we arrest them, but we’re going to arrest them anyway,’” he said. To some extent, the influx of Soros-backed DAs has “caught pro-public safety organizations, individuals, and the public off guard,” Kennedy said. “These are very sleepy races. Prosecutor races are low-attention, low-spending, low-on-the-ballot affairs.” Soros, however, went in with duffle bags of money. “It’s just unprecedented the relative amount of money he gives,” Kennedy said. “Giving a million dollars to a local DA candidate, what has occurred here in Northern Virginia, and millions of dollars to Philadelphia and Chicago and New York and Los Angeles … that is unprecedented and almost unfathomable.” Over the past decade, Soros and groups he substantially funds dished out over $40 million in direct spending on DA campaigns, according to a June report by the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF), a Virginia-based nonprofit, which Kennedy co-authored (pdf). Before any formidable opposition could mobilize, Soros-backed candidates were sweeping up elections left and right. “He caught people off guard because nobody expected anyone to do that,” Kennedy said. ... Countering the progressive DAs is no easy task, according to Kennedy, who’s personally helping with one recall effort in Northern Virginia. “And a lot of the jurisdictions where these prosecutors won, they are very difficult to dislodge because they are liberals in big liberal cities where the Democratic primary is the only game in town and all you have to do is appeal to very liberal Democratic primary voters,” he said. “If you have a lot of money and strong ideology, convincing that narrow subset of voters that your policies are just or working, or [that you] just need more time or whatever, is very easy to do.” Indeed, a number of the Soros-backed DAs have easily sailed through reelections already, though they did so “before crime really got out of control,” Kennedy said. “We will see what happens in the next few years if crime stays elevated, especially in these jurisdictions, if the public gets sick and tired of it.” In recent years, though, there has been some successful resistance to the progressive DAs. In Suffolk County, Massachusetts, a more law-and-order-minded DA won against the Soros-backed candidate in the Democratic primary, de-facto guaranteeing her election. In Baltimore County, a “tough-on-crime” Democrat defeated a Soros-backed challenger, Kennedy said. In Little Rock, Arkansas, a Republican defeated the Soros-backed Democrat for the Pulaski County DA office. On the other hand, Soros-backed candidates won in Portland, Maine, and rebuffed a challenger in Burlington, Vermont, earlier this year. Still, Soros’s success rate has dropped significantly, according to Kennedy. “Finally, the tide is turning where these Soros prosecutors don’t just waltz into office every time they go on the ballot,” he said. “When there’s organized opposition—and a good candidate to be honest—to oppose the Soros prosecutor, then we’re seeing success.” Read more here... Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE18 min. ago Related News

Canada Has A Food Affordability Problem

Canada Has A Food Affordability Problem Authored by Sylvain Charlebois via The Epoch Times, Did you know that there is a global food security index? The well-known magazine The Economist has just published its 11th edition. The Global Food Security Index comprises a set of indices from more than 120 different countries. Since 2012, the index has been based on four main pillars: food access, safety, sustainable development, and affordability. The approach is quite comprehensive and robust. Index indicators include nutritional standards, urban absorptive capacity, food consumption as a percentage of household expenditure, food loss and waste, protein quality, agricultural import tariffs, dietary diversification, agricultural infrastructure, volatility of agricultural production, public spending on agricultural resource and development, corruption, risks to political stability, and even the sufficiency of supply. In short, anything goes. Finland ranks first this year, followed by Ireland and Norway. Canada is well-positioned compared to other countries around the world since we are ranked seventh globally, the same as last year. Not bad. The United States is 13th. In terms of food access—which measures agricultural production, farm capacities, and the risk of supply disruption—Canada ranks sixth, which is not too surprising. Despite our recent episodes of empty shelves and stockouts, Canada can boast about its food abundance. We produce a lot and are part of a fluid North American economy focused on cross-border trade, which allows for better food access. Another pillar focuses on sustainable development, the environment, and climate adaptability. This pillar assesses a country’s exposure to the impacts of climate change, its sensitivity to risks related to natural resources, food waste management, and how the country adapts to these risks. In this regard, Canada is ranked 29th, far behind Norway and Finland, who are first and second in this category. Food waste remains Canada’s Achilles’ heel, as we waste more than just about anyone else on the planet. But with higher food prices, more than 40 percent of Canadians, according to a recent study, are wasting less than they were 12 months ago. When it comes to food safety and quality, Canada ranks first in the world. Canada is ahead of everyone, even Denmark and the United States, both renowned for their proactive approaches to food safety. Food safety in Canada is perhaps the facet most underappreciated by consumers. Despite a few momentary failures and periodic reminders, sanitation practices in the country are exemplary. Canada has consistently ranked well for years, except perhaps when traceability is measured. We have a long way to go, but the industry and public safety regulators are performing relatively well. But the area where Canada’s performance is of some concern is food affordability. This measure is dedicated to consumers’ ability to purchase food, their vulnerability to price shocks, and the presence of programs and policies to support consumers when shocks occur. Canada fell one spot again this year and sits at 25th in the world. Australia, Singapore, and Holland top the list for affordability. Given the resources and food access we have, Canada should do better. Since July 2021, food inflation has always exceeded general inflation in the country, and everything is already costing more these days. Higher food prices at the grocery store over the past year have been difficult for many of us to accept. Canada needs a food autonomy policy, a more robust food processing sector, and better logistics domestically. And with winter coming and our dollar visibly weakening against the U.S. dollar, we could see significant price jumps again, especially in the produce and non-perishables sections. As wages stagnate and food prices rise, it’s hard to predict when Canada will do better in terms of affordability. Specific fiscal measures such as tax reductions to help consumers would be more than timely. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 20:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE18 min. ago Related News

"Globalists Are Marching Us Relentlessly Toward Nuclear Armageddon," Warns Former Senator

"Globalists Are Marching Us Relentlessly Toward Nuclear Armageddon," Warns Former Senator Fears of nuclear war are increasing across the West as Russia mobilizes hundreds of thousands of troops and declares annexation of parts of Ukraine. Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that Ukraine is applying for membership in NATO. These two developments could be the most significant escalation since the war's start.  Today's developments are a sobering reminder that nuclear war threats are mounting. Retired Virginia State Senator and retired Marine Col. Richard Black addressed members of the US Congress in an open letter on Tuesday about "globalists are marching us relentlessly toward this nuclear Armageddon." Black pointed out: There would have been no war had we not overthrown the democratically-elected government of Ukraine by violently ousting President Yanukovych in 2014. We promoted war by flooding Ukraine with massive arms shipments afterwards. The former senator said, "the US could have achieved peace by simply pressing Ukraine to implement the 2014 Minsk Peace Agreements which it had signed, establishing a clear framework for settling outstanding issues peacefully. Ukraine promised to implement the Minsk agreements, but chose instead to make war on the Donbass for the next seven years."  He said NATO could've sought peace but chose war instead.  NATO had ample opportunity for peace but deliberately chose war. The US realized that, with Russia's back to the wall, it would have no choice to but to attack. In 2007, US Ambassador to Russia William Burns pointedly warned that movement toward absorbing Ukraine into NATO might well trigger war between Ukraine and Russia. Nonetheless, the Obama administration overthrew the Ukrainian president and flooded in weapons, knowing that doing so would trigger war. Black said billionaire elites who have an interest in the region are making "war profits even if it means gambling the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the globe."  "Should we annihilate the world's population to intervene in a border war where the US has no vital national interest?" the former senator asked.  Black called for an immediate end to this war by making Ukraine a neutral, non-aligned state, "just as we did during the Cold War with Austria in 1955."  But it appears the former senator's plea to avoid further conflict went unheard after Zelensky's declared intent to apply for expedited NATO membership as President Putin proclaimed the annexation of 15% of Ukraine.  Based on Article 5, any acceptance of Ukraine into NATO would automatically trigger a Russia-West world war (WWIII).  In a speech Friday, Putin said the US created a "precedent" by using nuclear weapons against Japan during WW2.  Last week, Navy Admiral Charles A. Richard - currently serving as the US Strategic Command chief -- warned that "possible direct armed conflict with a nuclear-capable peer" could be ahead.  Here's the former senator's open letter to lawmakers on Capitol Hill: Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 20:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE18 min. ago Related News

Durham Prosecutes FBI Informants, While Protecting Their Handlers: Sperry

Durham Prosecutes FBI Informants, While Protecting Their Handlers: Sperry Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClear Investigations, Since being named special counsel in October 2020, John Durham has investigated or indicted several unscrupulous anti-Trump informants. But he has spared the FBI agents who handled them, raising suspicions he's letting investigators off the hook in his waning investigation of misconduct in the Russiagate probe. In recent court filings, Durham has portrayed the G-men as naive recipients of bad information, tricked into opening improper investigations targeting Donald Trump and obtaining invalid warrants to spy on one of his advisers. But as the cases against the informants have gone to trial, defense lawyers have revealed evidence that cuts against that narrative. FBI investigators look less like guileless victims and more like willing partners in the fraudulent schemes Durham has brought to light. Notwithstanding his reputation as a tough, intrepid prosecutor, Durham has made excuses for the misconduct of FBI agents, providing them a ready-made defense against any possible future prosecution, according to legal experts.  "Durham was supposed to clean up the FBI cesspool, but it doesn't look like he's going to be doing that," said Paul Kamenar, counsel to the National Legal and Policy Center, a Washington watchdog group. "He started with a bang and is ending with a whimper." In the latest example, critics point to a flurry of pretrial motions in Durham's case against former FBI informant Igor Danchenko, the primary source for the false claims regarding Trump and Russia advanced by the opposition research paid for by Hillary Clinton's campaign known as the Steele dossier. Next month, Danchenko faces charges he lied to FBI investigators multiple times about the sourcing of the information in the dossier, which the bureau used to secure wiretap warrants to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser. Relying on Danchenko's reporting, the FBI claimed that the adviser, Carter Page, was a Russian agent at the center of "a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation" between Trump and the Kremlin to steal the 2016 presidential election. Igor Danchenko, dossier fabulist: Trial upcoming. "The defendant was providing them with false information" as part of "a concerted effort to deceive the FBI," Durham alleged in a recent filing with the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., where the trial is scheduled to be held Oct. 11. Had agents known Danchenko made up the allegations, Durham asserted, they might have asked more questions about the dossier and not relied on it to swear out the ultra-invasive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to electronically monitor Page, a U.S. citizen who was never charged with a crime. But Danchenko's legal team points out that he turned over an email to the FBI during a January 2017 meeting with agents and analysts that indicated a key dossier subsource may have been fictionalized. Stuart Sears, one of Danchenko's attorneys, argued earlier this month in a motion to dismiss the charges that investigators "essentially ignored" any concerns they may have had about Danchenko's sourcing, because they continued to renew the FISA warrants based upon it. Therefore, he argued, any lies his client allegedly told them were inconsequential, making them un-prosecutable under federal statutes requiring such false statements to have a "material" impact on a federal proceeding. While Durham did not dispute the FBI's apparent complicity in the fraud, he waved it aside as immaterial to the case at hand. "The fact that the FBI apparently did not identify or address these inconsistencies is of no moment," he said in his filing. At the same time, Durham acknowledged agents allowed the fabrications to contaminate their wiretap warrants – noting they were "an important part of the FISA applications targeting Carter Page." But he stopped short of blaming the FBI, even for incompetence. According to Durham, the nation's premiere law enforcement agency was misled by a serial liar and con man. "He's painting it as though the FBI was duped when the FBI was more than willing to take the initiative and go after Trump," Kamenar said, adding that though Danchenko may have been a liar, he was a useful liar to FBI officials and others in the Justice Department who were pursuing Trump. The special prosecutor's indifference to the FBI's role in the scandal is more remarkable in light of what Danchenko admitted in his January 2017 interviews with the FBI. He told investigators that much of what he reported to Steele was "word-of-mouth and hearsay," while some was cooked up from "conversation that [he] had with friends over beers," according to a declassified FBI summary of the interviews, which took place over three days. He confessed the most salacious allegations were made in "jest." Still, the FBI continued to use Danchenko's claims of a "well-developed conspiracy of cooperation" between Russia and Trump to convince the FISA court to allow investigators to continue to surveil Page, whom the FBI accused of masterminding the conspiracy based on Danchenko's bogus rumors. Agents even swore in FISA court documents reviewed by RealClearInvestigations that Danchenko was "truthful and cooperative." Carter Page, junior Trump campaign aide: Spied on without justification. The combination of Danchenko reporting a "conspiracy" and the FBI vouching for his credibility persuaded the powerful FISA court to continue to authorize wiretapping Page as a suspected Russian agent for almost a year. In addition to collecting his emails and text messages in 2017, agents were able to sweep up all his prior communications with Trump officials from 2016. If the FBI were skeptical of Danchenko, it didn't show it. The next month, the bureau put him on its payroll as a confidential human source, or CHS, making him part of the bureau's untouchable "sources and methods" sanctum and thereby protecting him and any documents referencing him from congressional and other outside scrutiny. It made him a paid informant in spite of knowing Danchenko was a potential Russian spy threat who could be feeding federal agents disinformation. The FBI had previously opened a counterespionage probe of Danchenko from 2009 to 2011, and as his lawyers pointed out in a recent court filing, agents who were part of the case probing Trump/Russia ties, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, "were well aware of the prior counterintelligence investigation" when they were supposedly conned by their informant. "It stretches credibility to suggest that anything else would have caused the FBI to be more suspicious of Mr. Danchenko's statements and his potential role in spreading disinformation than the very fact that he was previously investigated for possibly engaging in espionage on behalf of Russia," Sears said. "Armed with that knowledge, however, the FBI nevertheless persisted" in using him as a source – while never informing the FISA court of the prior investigation. The FBI didn't terminate Danchenko until October 2020, the month after the Senate declassified documents revealing the FBI had investigated him as a Russian agent. It also happened to be the same month Durham was appointed special counsel. On Oct. 19, 2020, then-Attorney General Bill Barr tapped Durham "to investigate whether any federal official, employee, or any other person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence, or law-enforcement activities directed at the 2016 presidential campaigns, individuals associated with those campaigns, and individuals associated with the administration of President Donald J. Trump, including but not limited to Crossfire Hurricane and the investigation of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III."  So far, Durham has focused on the "any other person" part of his mandate. Federal officials and employees appear to be getting a pass. Kevin Clinesmith, FBI lawyer: Doctored exculpatory evidence. Though Durham prosecuted former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith in August 2020, when he was acting as a U.S. attorney, he did not initiate the case. Rather, it was referred to him by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who first exposed how Clinesmith had doctored exculpatory evidence in the Page warrant process. Even though Clinesmith admitted forging a CIA email to make it look like Page never helped the agency monitor Russia, when in fact he did and clearly wasn't acting as a Russian agent, Durham failed to put him behind bars. Clinesmith was sentenced to 12 months' probation and 400 hours of community service, which as RCI first reported, the registered Democrat satisfied by researching and editing articles for his favorite liberal weekly newspaper in Washington.  Kamenar said the Clinesmith case was a "bad omen" for how Durham would handle dirty FBI agents. He pointed out that the prosecutor could have charged Clinesmith with the more serious crime of altering a CIA document, but instead negotiated a deal letting him plead to the lesser offense of lying to a government agency, which Kamenar called "a garden variety process crime." And "now he's got his law license back." Clinesmith worked closely on the case with FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten, who was singled out by Horowitz in a 2019 report for cutting a number of corners in the dossier verification process and even allowing information he knew to be incorrect slip into the FISA affidavits and mislead the court. Auten met with Danchenko at the bureau's Washington field office and helped debrief him about the dossier in January 2017. And he wrote the official FBI summary of those meetings, which noted Danchenko "contradicted" himself several times. Auten learned firsthand that the information Danchenko passed to Steele was nothing more than bar gossip, and that his "network of subsources" was really just a circle of drinking buddies. Also at those meetings, the analyst received an Aug. 24, 2016, email revealing that Danchenko never actually communicated with Sergei Millian, the Belarusian-born American businessman whom he had identified as his main source of Trump/Russia connections – the all-important, albeit apocryphal, "Source E" and "Source D" of the dossier. It turns out Danchenko attributed the critical "conspiracy of cooperation" allegation the FBI cited as probable cause for all four FISA warrants to this made-up source, meaning the cornerstone evidence of suspected Trump-Russia espionage was also made up. What's more, Auten learned that though Danchenko was born in Russia, he was not based there and had no access to Kremlin insiders. On the contrary, he confirmed that Danchenko had been living in Washington and had previously worked for the Brookings Institution, a Democratic Party think tank whose president at the time was tied to Clinton. Yet Auten and his Crossfire team led the FISA court to believe Danchenko was "Russian-based" – and therefore presumably more credible. They used this same description in all four FISA affidavits, including the two renewals that followed the January 2017 meetings with Danchenko. Internal FBI emails from two months later revealed that Auten knew that using the term "Russian-based" was deceptive. While tasked with helping review Crossfire documents requested by Congress, including FISA applications, he worried about the description and whether it should be corrected. He discussed the matter with Clinesmith. But the falsehood reappeared in subsequent FISA applications. It was also in January 2017 that Danchenko revealed to Auten and his FBI handlers that one of his subsources was his childhood friend Olga Galkina, whom he said supplied him the rumor that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen traveled to Prague during the campaign to hatch a plot with Kremlin officials to hack Clinton campaign emails.  Michael Cohen, Trump lawyer: Baseless rumor victim. The FBI already knew from intelligence reports that Cohen had not, as the dossier claimed, traveled to Prague to conspire in the alleged Russian hacking of Democrats, or for any other reason. On Jan. 12, 2017, Auten and his Crossfire teammates received a CIA report that warned the Cohen rumor was likely part of a Russian disinformation campaign. The agency had discovered no such Prague meeting took place after querying foreign intelligence services, shooting a major hole in the dossier. The CIA report should have led the Crossfire team to treat any allegations sourced to Galkina with caution. But on the same day, the FBI got its FISA wiretap on Page renewed based on another groundless claim by Galkina – this one alleging the Trump aide secretly met with top Kremlin officials in Moscow to discuss removing U.S. sanctions. The falsehood showed up in two more FISA applications, which alleged "Russia's efforts to influence U.S. policy were likely being coordinated between the RIS [Russian Intelligence Services] and Page, and possibly others." Galkina also had a relationship with Charles Dolan, a Clinton adviser who figures prominently in the Danchenko case Durham is prosecuting. It turns out Dolan was one of the sources for the infamous "pee-tape" allegation about the Kremlin supposedly having blackmail evidence of Trump consorting with prostitutes at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow, which has been debunked as another dossier hoax. But according to Durham, Danchenko tried to conceal Dolan's role in the dossier from the FBI. The special prosecutor argued that the deception deprived FBI agents and analysts information that would have helped them evaluate "the credibility, reliability and veracity" of the dossier. He said if they had known Dolan was a source, they might have, among other things, sought emails Dolan and Danchenko exchanged exposing their Ritz-Carlton hoax.  "Had the defendant truthfully told the FBI that Dolan played a role in providing certain information for the Steele reports the FBI might well have interviewed and/or collected such emails from Dolan," Durham speculated. In addition, the prosecutor said, investigators might have learned of Dolan's "involvement in Democratic politics" and "potential bias as a source for the Steele reports." Except that they already knew about Dolan and his politics – as well as his involvement in the dossier. It's also likely they already had his emails. In another interview with Danchenko about his dossier sources, which took place June 15, 2017, FBI agents asked Danchenko if he knew Dolan and whether he was "contributing" to the Steele reports. Though Danchenko acknowledged he knew Dolan, he denied he was a source. Agents didn't ask any follow-up questions. (They also never sought to charge him with making false statements to federal agents.) How did the FBI know to ask about Dolan? Because he was well-known to the bureau's Russia counterintelligence agents as a businessman who frequently traveled to Moscow and met with Kremlin insiders. But more importantly, his friend Galkina was under FISA surveillance as a suspected Russian spy at the time, according to declassified records. The FBI was collecting not only Galkina's emails, but also those of Dolan and Danchenko, all of whom regularly communicated in 2016 – which suggests that at the time the FBI asked Danchenko about Dolan, it had access to those emails and was reviewing them. This may explain why, as defense lawyer Sears noted, "the FBI never asked Mr. Danchenko about emails or any other written communications with Dolan" – and why it never interviewed Dolan. While Durham acknowledged that the FBI knew about Dolan's troubling ties at the time and neglected to dig deeper, he said he's not bothered by the oversight. "The fact that the FBI was aware that Dolan maintained some of these relationships and failed to interview Dolan is of no moment," he maintained dismissively in a court filing. All that matters, he suggested, is that the FBI was lied to. One of those emails was particularly alarming. In an Aug. 19, 2016, email to Dolan, Danchenko made it clear he was compiling dirt on Trump and his advisers and sought any rumor, no matter how baseless and scurrilous. He solicited Dolan, specifically, for "any thought, rumor, allegation" on former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Such emails called into question the veracity of the whole dossier and further tainted the credibility of Danchenko's "network of subsources." But on June 29, 2017 – two weeks after the FBI asked about Dolan – the FBI renewed the FISA wiretap on Trump adviser Page based on, once again, the dubious dossier. From its wiretapping of Galkina, moreover, Auten and others at the FBI who sorted through such FISA collections would have seen communications showing her strong support for Hillary Clinton, and how Galkina was expecting political favors in exchange for spreading dirt on Trump. In an August 2016 email to a friend, Galkina expressed hopes that Dolan would help her score a State Department job if Clinton won election. It was a major red flag. But like all the others, the FBI blew right past it. Agents continued to vouch for Danchenko as "truthful" and his subsources as reliable, and continued to cite Galkina's fabrications in FISA renewals. Under FISA rules, the FBI had a duty to "immediately inform" the secret court of any misstatements or omissions, along with any "necessary corrections" of material facts sworn in affidavits for warrants. But the FBI failed to correct the record, even after it became obvious it had told the court falsehoods and hid exculpatory evidence. In August 2017, agents finally got around to interviewing Galkina, who confessed the dossier allegations attributed to her were "exaggerated," according to the Horowitz report.  Scammed by the Alfa Bank Scam? Last year, Durham also painted the FBI as a victim of the 2016 political machinations of two other anti-Trump informants – Michael Sussmann and Rodney Joffe, who conveyed to investigators false rumors about Trump allegedly setting up a secret hotline with the Kremlin through Russia-based Alfa Bank. Michael Sussmann, Clinton lawyer: Acquitted. Durham charged Sussmann, a Washington lawyer who represented the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, with lying to the FBI's top lawyer James Baker when he told him he was coming in with the tip – outlined in white papers and thumb drives – all on his own and not on behalf of Democrats and Clinton, whom he was billing for the Trump-Alfa "confidential project." "Sussmann's false statement misled the FBI general counsel and other FBI personnel concerning the political nature of his work and deprived the FBI of information that might have permitted it more fully to access and uncover the origins of the relevant data and technical analysis, including the identities and motivations of Sussmann's clients," Durham maintained in the indictment. But evidence emerged at the trial of Sussmann, who was acquitted, that bureau officials already knew the "political nature" of the tip and where the data came from, but withheld the information from field agents so they would continue investigating Trump through the election. For example, in a Sept. 22, 2016, email describing the "special project," an FBI official in Washington stated that "Counsel Baker provided [Supervisory Special Agent] Joe Pientka with 2 thumb drives and identified they were given to him by the DNC." "Everybody at the FBI actually thought the data came from a political party," Sussmann lawyer Sean Berkowitz argued, according to the trial transcript. "The (case) file is littered with references to the DNC." But Durham kept offering explanations for why FBI brass bit on the politically tainted tip, opening a full field investigation based on it.  "Had Sussmann truthfully disclosed that he was representing specific clients [the Clinton campaign], it might have prompted the FBI general counsel to ask Sussmann for the identity of such clients, which, in turn, might have prompted further questions," Durham argued. James Baker, top FBI lawyer: Close friend of Sussmann. "In addition, absent Sussmann's false statement, the FBI might have taken additional or more incremental steps before opening an investigation," he added. "The FBI also might have allocated its resources differently, or more efficiently, and uncovered more complete information about the reliability and provenance of the purported data at issue." Headquarters, however, did know the identity of the clients. Problem was, they blinded agents in Chicago, where a cyber unit was assigned to the case, to the fact that the source for the information was Sussmann and Joffe – a federal cyber-security contractor who was angling for a job in a Clinton administration. (A longtime FBI informant, Joffe was terminated last year after he was exposed as the ringleader of the Alfa Bank scam.) "You were not allowed to speak to either the source of the information, the author of the white paper, or the person who provided the source of the information and the data?" Berkowitz asked Chicago-based FBI agent Curtis Heide during the trial, according to transcripts. "Correct," Heide replied. Another Chicago investigator was led to believe the tip came into the bureau as a referral from the "U.S. Department of Justice." Rodney Joffe, cybersecurity contractor: "Remains a subject." Still, field agents were able to debunk it within two weeks. The FBI was not fooled by the hoax, yet nonetheless went along with it for the next four months. The case wasn't formally closed until Jan. 18, 2017, just two days before Trump was inaugurated. But then it was soon reopened after Clinton operatives again approached the FBI – as well as the CIA – with supposedly new evidence, which also proved false. "Comey and crew kept the hoax alive," former FBI counterintelligence lawyer Mark Wauck said, referring to then-FBI Director James Comey. They welcomed any predication that allowed them to open investigations on Trump, he added. Pientka testified that Comey was "fired up" about the tip, despite the fact nothing had been corroborated. Comey even held senior-level meetings on the Alfa investigation in his 7th floor office. (Pientka, who led the "close-hold" investigation from headquarters, also helped supervise the Crossfire Hurricane probe.) Ironically, no one knew better that Sussmann was a Democratic operative with an agenda than Baker – the official Durham claimed was the direct victim of the scam. Baker, a fellow Democrat, was a close friend of Sussmann, who had his own badge to get past security at the Hoover Building. Sussmann had Baker's personal cell number and Baker cleared his busy schedule to meet with him within hours of Sussmann calling to discuss his tip. Baker was well aware that Sussmann was representing the DNC, because Sussmann entered the building numerous times during the 2016 campaign to talk with top FBI officials about the alleged DNC hack by Russia. In fact, Sussmann had just visited headquarters with a delegation from the DNC on Aug. 12, 2016 – several weeks before he approached Baker with the bogus Alfa tip. They were there to pressure the FBI into concluding Russian intelligence was behind the "hacking" of DNC emails. "I understood he had been affiliated with the Democratic Party, but that he had come representing himself," Baker testified during the trial. Why didn't he tell investigators about Sussmann? "I didn't want to share his name because I didn't want to color the investigation," he said. "I didn't want to color it with politics." In his closing argument, Durham prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis told jurors the FBI's conduct was "not relevant." "Ladies and gentlemen, you've seen that the FBI didn't necessarily do everything right here. They missed opportunities. They made mistakes. They even kept information from themselves," he said. "That is not relevant to your evaluation of the defendant's lie." Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton complained Durham and his team have been acting more like apologists for the FBI than potential prosecutors of the FBI. "The FBI leadership knew full well the Clinton gang was behind the Alfa Bank-Russia smears of Trump," he said. "Durham tried to pretend (the) FBI was a victim (when) it was a co-conspirator." Wauck agreed. "The FBI-as-victim narrative was a bit of a legal fiction that Durham deployed for the purposes of the trial," he said. "The reality that emerged is that the FBI's top management was complicit in the Russia hoax that Sussmann was purveying." Folding Up His Tent Durham was first tasked with looking into the origins of the Russiagate probe in May 2019, before his formal appointment as special counsel in 2020. Trump and Republicans have expressed disappointment that after a total of more than three years of investigation, he has not prosecuted any top former FBI officials, including Comey and Andrew McCabe, who signed some of the FISA affidavits, or Peter Strzok, the biased leader of the Crossfire Hurricane probe who assured McCabe's lawyer in an August 2016 text that "we'll stop" Trump from becoming president. None has received a target letter. In recent months, McCabe and Strzok have gone on CNN, where they work as paid contributors, and smugly bashed Durham for running a "partisan" investigation, while at the same time gloating he's held the FBI up to be more of a victim than a culprit. "Comey and Strzok and McCabe have gotten a free ride out of all this," Kamenar said. James Comey, FBI director: Not prosecuted. Also, Durham went easy on Baker, another top FBI official, even after he held back key evidence from the special prosecutor before the Sussmann trial, a blatant lack of cooperation that may have cost Durham a conviction in the case. Comey's general counsel has received "favorable treatment," Wauck observed. Baker, who reviewed and OK'd the FISA applications, never told Durham about a damning text message he received from Sussmann on his cellphone. Durham had already indicted Sussmann for lying to Baker, and he could not use Sussmann's smoking-gun message – "I'm coming on my own – not on behalf of a client or company" – during the trial to convince jurors he was guilty of lying about representing the Clinton campaign. Legal analysts said it was slam-dunk evidence that would have sealed his case. Baker testified he didn't turn over the text to Durham because no one asked for it. He proved a reluctant witness on the stand against his old pal Sussmann.  Andrew McCabe, deputy director: Not prosecuted "I'm not out to get Michael and this is not my investigation. This is your investigation," he told DeFilippis during questioning. DeFilippis has since stepped down to take a job in the private sector. (Demonstrating the incestuous nature of the Beltway, Baker also happens to be an old friend of Bill Barr, who hired Durham. Barr hired Baker as his deputy when he ran Verizon's legal shop in 2008.) In another sign Durham has not lived up to his billing as an aggressive prosecutor, FBI Director Christopher Wray suggested in recent Senate testimony that Durham's team has not interviewed all of the Crossfire members still employed at the bureau. In lieu of face-to-face interviews, he said Durham's investigators have reviewed transcripts of interviews of the agents previously conducted by the Office of Professional Responsibility, the FBI's in-house disciplinary arm. Recent published reports say Durham is in the process of closing up shop and completing a final report on his findings by the end of the year. Republicans have promised to seize on the report if they win control of the House in November and take back the gavel to key oversight committees on the Hill, along with subpoena power. Peter Strzok, Crossfire Hurricane leader: Not prosecuted. Some former colleagues who have worked with Durham and are familiar with his inquiry blame COVID-19 for his relatively few prosecutions and lackluster record. They say pandemic-related shutdowns in 2020 and 2021 set back his investigation by limiting travel, interviews, and grand jury hearings. As a result, they say, the clock ran out on prosecuting a number of potential crimes. The last FISA warrant, which according to the court was illegally obtained, was approved June 29, 2017, which means the five-year federal statute of limitations for that crime expired months ago. Though Durham hinted in the Sussmann case about investigating a broader "conspiracy" or "joint venture," there are few signs pointing to such a massive undertaking. Bringing a "conspiracy to defraud the government" charge, naming multiple defendants, would require Durham adding staff and office space and beefing up his budget by millions of dollars, the former colleagues said. According to expenditure statements, Durham continues to operate on a shoestring budget with a skeletal staff compared with his predecessor Mueller's robust operation, which indicted 34 people. And one of the two grand juries Durham used to hear evidence has expired. It recently wrapped up work, apparently without handing down new indictments (though some could be under seal). "If Durham were building toward an overarching indictment alleging a corrupt conspiracy between the Clinton campaign and the FBI to deceive the court, he would not be charging people with lying to the FBI," former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy said. If there are any investigations still open after Durham retires, they could be handled by U.S. attorneys, the sources said. At least one of Durham's prosecutors works as a trial lawyer in the U.S. Attorney's Office in D.C. According to a court exhibit, Joffe "remains a subject" in the Sussmann-related investigation into alleged attempts by federal contractors to defraud the government with false claims about Trump and Russia. Joffe invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify after receiving a grand jury subpoena and has not cooperated with requests for documents. His lawyer did not return phone calls and emails. The Special Counsel's Office did not respond to requests for comment. The FBI declined comment for this article, but issued a statement last year saying it "has cooperated fully with Special Counsel Durham's review."  Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 21:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE18 min. ago Related News

Apple VP Of Procurement Fired After Joke About Fondling Breasts Goes Viral On TikTok

Apple VP Of Procurement Fired After Joke About Fondling Breasts Goes Viral On TikTok Apple's Vice President of Procurement, Tony Blevins, is out at the company after making a "crude comment about his profession" in a TikTok video that was published on September 5. Blevins joked that he fondles “big-breasted women” for a living in the video, Bloomberg reported this week. He had been approached by TikTok and Instagram creator Daniel Mac to participate in a series where owners of expensive cars are asked about what they do for a living.  He was stopped when parking his Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, a car worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars", the report says. When asked about what he does for a living, he responded: “I have rich cars, play golf and fondle big-breasted women, but I take weekends and major holidays off.” He also joked that he had a "hell of a dental plan". As Bloomberg noted, the line is an homage to the 1981 movie Arthur, where the main character describes his career by saying: “I race cars, play tennis and fondle women, but I have weekends off and I am my own boss.” The video was taken at a car show in Pebble Beach and it garnered more than 40,000 likes on Instagram and 1.3 million views on TikTok.  Blevins' actual job is striking deals between suppliers and partners for Apple. Recently, he helped navigate deals for the company with Globalstar, Qualcomm and Intel, the report notes. He is in charge of "driving down the costs" of the critical supplies Apple uses for its products.  The company conducted an internal investigation into his remarks and removed his team - including about 6 people who reported directly to him and several hundred others under them - from his command.  He had been at Apple for 22 years prior to being let go. He was part of a group of about 100 VPs at the company, and just one of about 30 executives, that report directly to either CEO Tim Cook or COO Jeff Williams. Williams ultimately made the call to let Blevins go, the report says, and he will oversee Blevins' team for the time being. In a statement, Blevins said: “I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my mistaken attempt at humor.” Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 18:02.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE2 hr. 33 min. ago Related News

Stagflation Is "Just The Beginning" For America"s Economic Crisis: Peter Navarro

Stagflation Is "Just The Beginning" For America's Economic Crisis: Peter Navarro Authored by Tom Ozimek and Joshua Philipp via The Epoch Times, Economist Peter Navarro, erstwhile adviser to former President Donald Trump, told Epoch TV’s “Crossroads” program in a recent interview that the current stagflationary downturn stalking the U.S. economy is “just the beginning” of America’s economic woes, and that Trump is the one who’s best poised to pull the country out of a dire slump. Navarro said in the interview that he believes the United States has fallen prey to the destructive force of stagflation—a toxic combination of high inflation and sluggish growth. “That’s what we’ve got now because of the fecklessness of Joe Biden, the Congress, the Federal Reserve, and this administration,” he said. There’s been fierce debate about what led to prices accelerating at their fastest pace in decades, eroding purchasing power, and squeezing American households. Some, including many members of the Biden administration, have mostly blamed supply-side constraints and external shocks like the war in Ukraine. Others, including many Republicans, have pointed the finger at unprecedented levels of fiscal and monetary spending. The inflationary wave that has swelled into a persistent cost-of-living crisis for many Americans was driven mostly by a stimulus-fueled demand surge, although supply-side bottlenecks made the problem worse, a team of economists concluded in a recent study. Soaring inflation, which Fed officials have admitted is far more persistent than they initially believed, has come alongside deteriorating economic conditions. The U.S. economy contracted for two consecutive quarters this year, according to updated figures released by the government on Sept. 29, which meets the rule-of-thumb definition for a recession. ‘This Is Just the Beginning’ Navarro argued in the interview that the United States is already experiencing stagflation—and that it’s going to get worse. “This is just beginning. This economic crisis is just beginning, and it’s going to be as bad or worse and as long as it was during the 1970s,” Navarro said. The dreaded toxic brew of high unemployment and high inflation plagued the U.S. economy for over a decade in the 1970s. America’s unemployment rate doubled to 9 percent between 1973 and 1975, while inflation peaked at around 14 percent in annual terms. Inflation didn’t fall substantially until the early 1980s, and only after the Federal Reserve jacked up interest rates to around 19 percent, leading to two back-to-back recessions in 1980 and 1981–82. In the interview, Navarro offered a lookback on the Trump administration’s economic policies and credited them with low unemployment and low inflation. “What we did was structural in nature, designed to increase the real wages of American workers, the productivity of American workers, the prosperity of the middle class,” Navarro said. “And we did that beautifully through structural elements, not just the traditional Republican tax cuts and lower regulatory burdens, but by securing the southern border, which prevents a flood of uneducated, low-income workers coming in,” he said. Navarro added that Trump’s policies on re-shoring manufacturing and bringing supply chains back to the United States helped boost wages for blue-collar Americans. The economist further argued that bringing back Trump-era policies is key to pulling the country out of stagflation. “I think the only one who fully understands how to get out of that is Donald Trump,” Navarro said. “I don’t see anybody else in the Republican Party who has that kind of sophistication.” His take on the trajectory of the U.S. economy dovetails with remarks made by other economists, who see darkening clouds on the horizon. ‘Stagflationary Debt Crisis’ Economist Nouriel Roubini, for example, who’s been dubbed “Dr. Doom” for his pessimistic, yet accurate, prediction of a financial market meltdown in 2007–08, told Bloomberg in a recent interview that he expects “a real hard landing” for the U.S. economy. Roubini also said he continues to believe that it’s “delusional” for analysts to expect a short and shallow recession, arguing instead that it will be long and severe. In an op-ed for Project Syndicate, he also warned of a looming “stagflationary debt crisis” with “some of the worst elements of both the 1970s and the 2008 crash” as public debt levels have become unsustainable and most of the fiscal ammunition already used. “Things will get much worse before they get better,” he predicted in the op-ed, adding that he believes the economic downturn will come alongside financial market turmoil. Billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller said at a recent investor summit in New York City that he’s worried that the economic downturn affecting United States could be worse than an “average garden variety” recession. At the same time, investor pessimism has hit levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2008–09. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 18:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE2 hr. 33 min. ago Related News

"Full-Fledged Ice Age": Semiconductor Companies Slash Output On Supply Glut

"Full-Fledged Ice Age": Semiconductor Companies Slash Output On Supply Glut Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chipmaker, provided more insight into the worsening slowdown for semiconductors and the bust in global PC markets.  Korea Economic Daily reported Samsung "lowered its semiconductor sales forecast for the second half of the year by more than 30%." The newspaper attributed slumping semiconductors demand "as the economy froze due to central bank rate hikes caused by global inflation."  The paper warned: "As the semiconductor industry has entered a full-fledged ice age, there are many forecasts in the industry that the recession will continue until the first half of next year when semiconductor inventories are eliminated."  Earlier this week, Samsung's Device Solutions division said they "lowered our sales guidance for the second half of this year (the company's internal forecast) by 32% from our April forecast." None of this should be a surprise as we recently outlined PC Demand Suffers' Steepest Decline In Years' As Chip Shortage Turns To Glut.  "Both DRAM and NAND flash suppliers and customers are holding too many semiconductor inventories," an official told Korea Economic Daily.  Another top semiconductor company, Japan's Kioxia Holdings Corp, announced it would slash wafer production starts by 30% next month, according to Bloomberg. "The deep cuts stem from weakening demand for computers and smartphones, and the wider semiconductor industry is likely to follow the trend. "Hard times are ahead for the industry, except for a few," said Kazunori Ito, an analyst with Morningstar.  These souring developments in the global semiconductor market come as the largest US manufacturer of memory chips, Micron, reported revenue that missed (despite a slight beat on EPS and margins), but it was the forecast that again was a total disaster.  Micron offered one of the most significant recession warnings so far from a large corporation: "results were impacted by rapidly weakening consumer demand and significant customer inventory adjustments across all end markets." It added that due to the sharp decline in near-term demand, it expects "supply growth to be above demand growth in calendar 2022." "Yes, we have a challenging market environment, but we're responding rapidly with actions ... fiscal 2023 is, of course, an unprecedented environment, but the long-term drivers are intact," Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said in an interview.  But it's just not memory chips. We pointed prices of graphics processing units (GPUs) have plunged to their lowest levels ever in China, and chip deflation was already washing ashore in the US.  The iShares Semiconductor ETF (SOXX) has fallen 40% since peaking in late 2021, and the weekly 200-day moving average is being tested.  Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported Apple ditched plans to increase iPhone production due to a lack of demand. Weeks ago, FedEx warned that the global economy is "going into a worldwide recession." If both the semi-industry and top shippers are warning about economic turmoil ahead, then it's probably time to start preparing for a possible recession in 2023. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve continues to hike into a slowdown aggressively -- this is a recipe for an epic policy error.  On the bright side, now, or at least in the months ahead, it might make sense to build a computer as it seems components, such as memory chips, GPUs, and CPUs, could be heavily discounted.  Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 18:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE2 hr. 33 min. ago Related News

Opioids At Work: Hidden Scourge Sapping The Economy

Opioids At Work: Hidden Scourge Sapping The Economy Authored by James Varney via RealClear Wire, Strung out on drugs half her life, Brandi Edwards, 29, said the longest she held a job before getting sober four years ago was “about two and a half months.” “I worked at an AT&T call center, a day-care center for a month, fast food places, but I had to take drugs to get out of bed in the morning and when I did show up, I wasn’t productive,” the West Virginia mother of three told RealClearInvestigations. “The first paycheck came along and I was out of there.” Fentanyl. Image 4 of 17. United States Drug Enforcement Administration In jail for the ninth time on drug-related charges, and separated from her children, Edwards had an awakening in “looking hard at what I’d lost.” Now clean for four years after rehab, she is married and back in her children’s lives with a home in Princeton, W. Va., and a steady job. But such success stories are too infrequent to offset the massive cost of the opioid epidemic to the American workforce. Only a couple of people in her former addict circle have returned to productive life, she says, while most are dead or incarcerated. That toll on labor, haunting America’s working present and future probably for years -- if not decades -- to come, is largely invisible and underreported because it is difficult to measure, according to physicians, counselors, economists, workers and public officials. But its staying power is suggested by other lasting national challenges, including the porous southern border -- a major conduit for smuggled, Chinese-made fentanyl -- and economic and social traumas set in motion by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to untold years of productivity lost from fatal overdoses, the nation’s labor participation rate has shrunk steadily since 2000. Precise correlation is elusive, but any graph of that decline would stand in sharp contrast to the rise of opioid addiction in the U.S. And while it is difficult to calculate just how much drug use has caused absenteeism, tardiness and stretches of disability, the connection is strong, as Brandi Edwards’ experience suggests. “We’ve been writing about this for years but it doesn’t seem to get a lot of traction,” said Dr. Gary Franklin, a research professor at the University of Washington who served as the medical director of the state’s Department of Labor and Industries. “People have not realized how much opioids contribute to disability and lost productivity, and I don’t know if anyone has been able to put a number on that.”  Headline figures on lives lost in the opioid epidemic have been fairly clear for years. In 2021, more than 107,000 people died from drug overdoses, a nearly 15% increase from the year before and more than double the grim tally recorded in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control. All told, overdose deaths are seven times higher than they were in 1999. Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which law enforcement has tracked from labs in China along trafficking routes through Mexico on the southern border, are now driving the overdose epidemic. The CDC attributed 69,000 overdose deaths to synthetic opioids in 2020, 82% of the nation's total that year. Heroin overdoses, meanwhile, went up 7% in 2020 to 13,000, according to CDC figures. That means synthetic opioids and heroin dwarf cocaine and methamphetamines, although totals for both of those have been rising for a decade and often cause overdose deaths in combination with opioids. The National Institutes of Health shows fewer than 5,000 people killed by cocaine alone and fewer than 10,000 by what it dubs "psychostimulants," which includes methamphetamines, in 2020.  Less precisely, economists since at least 2017 have pegged at over $1 trillion the epidemic’s annual dollar cost in terms of deaths, law enforcement and “lost productivity.”  But the amount attributable to deaths - $550 billion of the $1 trillion - is largely conjecture because it is derived from actuarial estimates for lost years; for example, the decades cut from what would have been a normal working life for someone who fatally overdoses at age 45. Then there is the less lethal side of the equation -- one that workers and employers grapple with daily. Roughly 8% of workplace fatalities in 2020 - 388 of 4,786 - were attributed to "unintentional overdose from nonmedical use of drugs," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the agency said it is unclear "how many of these deaths involved opioids specifically."  A post on a neighborhood social media platform asking about opioids’ dire impact in the workforce unleashes a barrage of firsthand horror stories. Homeowners speak of an inability to hire handymen, painters, landscape workers and the like. “If I’m lucky enough to have an employee that can pass a [urine analysis] the chances of them doing so after the first check is slim,” wrote a tree surgeon in suburban New Orleans. “Tree men get a terrible rap. People think we are all crazy, wild, no fear having, hard working dopeheads.” But he acknowledged some truth to the stories of workplace abuse of prescription opioids, mentioning laborers’ common habit of relying on increasingly higher-milligram dosages of pain pills like Percocet. Workers “didn’t wake up one day and say, ‘Hmmm, great day to go down a road that will cost me it all,’ " he wrote. "Then it’s inevitable. We get hurt. Usually pretty badly. So we start out getting a few .5 [mg] maybe 7.5. Later, as our careers go so does the pain, so do the amounts needed to consume to keep it at bay.” A National Safety Council study reported that more than 75% of U.S. employers have been affected by employees’ prescription drug use, according to congressional testimony, and the National Institutes of Health estimates some 3 million Americans, including workers, are addicted to opioids.  Edwards managed to break her addiction and return to the workforce with the help of Jobs & Hope, a statewide West Virginia placement initiative launched in 2019 that claims more than 1,500 success stories. But with a budget of $3.1 million it cannot handle all of the 200-250 addicts referred to it each month, said Deb Harris, the group’s lead transition agent.  Businesses have been largely receptive to such programs, but the state is still trying to regain its footing from the “flood of pills” that hit it early in the 21st century, according to Dr. Matthew Christiansen, director of West Virginia’s Office of Drug Control in the Department of Health and Human Services. “We don’t keep a running tally at the state level, but the numbers have probably stayed pretty consistent or maybe gotten a little bit worse because of an increase in overdose deaths due to fentanyl,” Christiansen said. The Centers for Disease Control does keep a tally, although it hasn’t publicly updated the grim numbers on its “opioid dashboard” since 2017. The figures from that year show that the biggest economic hit has come in the Appalachian states around the Ohio Valley and in New England, two regions where opioids and synthetics have torn a hole through the workforce. For example, West Virginia, long considered ground zero in the opioid epidemic, had the biggest annual per capita loss due to opioids at $7,247, according to the CDC figures that include overdose deaths. That tops Ohio, where the per capita cost in 2017 was $6,226, and New Hampshire at $5,953. Ohio saw the highest overall economic cost, at $72.58 billion, followed by Massachusetts at $36.91 billion, according to the CDC.  Fixing opioid disorder costs is complicated by the fact much of it is now driven by black-market synthetic drugs like fentanyl and thus can no longer be tracked through prescriptions. Nor is substance abuse a topic that workers - or many employers - are comfortable quantifying. All those involved in coping with the epidemic, however, peg the cost as staggering. “It’s difficult to measure these things but it’s likely a substantial part of the labor decline,” said Michael Betz, an economist at The Ohio State University who researches opioid disorder issues. “You’re piecing together different pieces of evidence, but when you look at the decline in labor participation rates and opioid disorder figures, they match up pretty similarly.” Franklin’s team did calculate the odds opioids influenced the disability bills Washington state taxpayers foot each year for roughly 100,000 workers, a relatively uncomplicated tally since Washington is one of four states with a centralized government system and not a private workers’ compensation insurance market. “We found that two prescriptions of opioids for more than 7 days in the first six weeks after an injury doubled the risk of a worker being on disability one year later,” he said. Answers to broader questions on opioids’ baleful economic impact, however, are scarce. “Productivity losses due to anything is an extremely complex analysis and is not routinely tracked,” Franklin said. To date, the nation's prime age labor workforce has not recovered to where it was at the beginning of 2020 and is now the lowest it has been in 45 years. The hit has been especially pronounced among older adults, according to the Government Accountability Office. Between 2015 and 2019, adults 50 years old or older "were an estimated 22 percent less likely to be in the labor force (either employed or actively seeking work),” a GAO report found. In addition, people in that age group "were an estimated 40 percent less likely to be employed; and employed older workers who misused opioids were twice as likely to have experienced periods of unemployment."  Once again, however, pinpointing the precise connection between opioids and lost productivity remained elusive, as "the data did not allow GAO to determine causality." Middle-aged white men have long comprised the single biggest group of annual overdose deaths, but between 2015 and 2020 the rate among black men skyrocketed to 54.1 per 100,000, topping white men’s 44.2 per 100,000, according to the Pew Research Center.  “Local economic conditions play some part in all this but they aren’t the key role; the main driver is the increase in supply,” Betz said. That leads some experts on the topic to conclude that opioids’ catastrophic hit to the United States’ workforce has been misconstrued. For a time, as deaths rose early on, particularly among middle-aged white men, and labor participation rates began their decline, the phrase “deaths of despair” took hold among some researchers. Under this theory, the opioid epidemic fed on declining economic prospects, particularly for middle-aged white men facing unemployment or shrinking incomes. But the “deaths of despair” theory reverses cause and effect, according to some physicians and people dealing with the fallout from opioids, including their more deadly synthetic cousin fentanyl. “We’ve debunked that,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, a faculty member at Brandeis University whose practice has specialized in opioid addiction. “Rather than economic conditions leading to overdose deaths it’s really the other way around - it’s not the economy driving them to death, it’s the opioid crisis affecting the economy.” Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE2 hr. 33 min. ago Related News

Watch: Yet Another Democrat Witness Claims Biological Men Can Have Pregnancies

Watch: Yet Another Democrat Witness Claims Biological Men Can Have Pregnancies.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE3 hr. 16 min. ago Related News

US Hits Chinese Firms With New Sanctions Over Iranian Oil

US Hits Chinese Firms With New Sanctions Over Iranian Oil The US has slapped new sanctions on Chinese firms related to Iran’s petrochemical and petroleum trade, after years of reports of Chinese tankers engaged in sanctions-busting activity, and at a moment that a finalized restored JCPOA nuclear deal has all but collapsed. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced punitive measures Thursday against two China-based companies, Zhonggu Storage and Transportation Co Ltd and WS Shipping Co Ltd, which stand accused of sanctions evasion. Via Tasnim The former has been identified as overseeing a commercial crude oil storage facility for Iranian products, and the latter operated a vessel which was caught 'illegally' transporting Iranian oil and fuel products. These companies were said to be involved in the "sale of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum products to end users in South and East Asia." And further according to the US Treasury readout, the actions target "Iranian brokers and several front companies in the UAE, Hong Kong, and India that have facilitated financial transfers and shipping of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products." "These entities have played a critical role in concealing the origin of the Iranian shipments and enabling two sanctioned Iranian brokers, Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (Triliance) and Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industry Commercial Co. (PGPICC), to transfer funds and ship Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals to buyers in Asia." While Iran has been subjected to crippling oil-export sanctions for the last several years, it hasn't stopped China, whose imports of Iranian oil have only increased by the month. Much of the buying comes from independent Chinese refiners (otherwise known as "teapots"), who, traders said have embraced Iran's cheaper crude as Brent prices soared globally amid the ongoing war in Ukraine and energy sanctions against Russia. The official position of China's foreign ministry has long been that normal business dealings between China and Iran should be respected. "China urges the US to lift the illegitimate unilateral sanctions as soon as possible," the ministry has long repeated in various statements. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 17:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE3 hr. 16 min. ago Related News

Memory Holed, Part II: The "Rigged" Election

Memory Holed, Part II: The "Rigged" Election Authored by Matt Taibbi and Matt Orfalea via TK News, Matt Orfalea’s follow-up video his “The Russians Hacked the Election” piece rescues for posterity another key piece of history likely to be suppressed: the fact that both Democrats and Republicans raised doubts about the legitimacy of the election process. This took place not only after 2016, but both before and after the 2020 vote. These campaigns were two sides of the same coin. Trump raised doubts about the reliability of mail-in votes, and admonished supporters ahead of time that a Trump loss should be understood as a fix. Meanwhile, Democrats and media figures — as well as a seemingly endless succession of named and unnamed intelligence sources — argued Russians were bent on corrupting the vote. Hillary Clinton went so far as to say Joe Biden shouldn’t concede “under any circumstances.” It was not just a Republican-versus-Democrat issue. Both before and during the 2020 Democratic primaries, voters were also told repeatedly that Vladimir Putin preferred Bernie Sanders and was planning to interfere on his behalf. Even GQ did a story: “Why Does Putin Love Bernie?” Sanders undermined his own campaign by giving these accusations weight, while Trump was criticized for pushing back against them. This video offers a crucial takeaway for anyone looking back to decipher what happened in 2020: both parties, and crucially our own intelligence authorities, worked hard to undermine election results in advance. And, they’re still doing it. Subscribe to TK News Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 17:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE3 hr. 16 min. ago Related News

"Just Kidding": Biden Yanks Student Loan Forgiveness From 770,000 Borrowers

"Just Kidding": Biden Yanks Student Loan Forgiveness From 770,000 Borrowers.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE4 hr. 49 min. ago Related News

We Will Now Find Out What Putin Does When It Is "Sovereign Russia" That Is Being Attacked

We Will Now Find Out What Putin Does When It Is "Sovereign Russia" That Is Being Attacked By Michael Every of Rabobank Really Trussing Up Yesterday saw stocks slump and key bond yields rise slightly, the US dollar remain on the back foot, and commodities --or at least oil-- fail to go anywhere. We also got some market-moving events and statements: we just haven’t seen the matching moves happen yet. Russia announced it will annex parts of Ukraine today. This will then introduce a global split between the likely small number of states that will recognise this decision, given the doors it opens to other contested borders being changed by force, and the entire western world, which will reject the move. Then we find out what Russia will do when it is “sovereign Russia” that is being attacked. Risk is unlikely to be on as a result, especially into a weekend. Far from unrelated, the EU saw major developments in its energy crisis. Even if the Twitterfication of it might have been unfairly reductive, how about: “EU official: President of the EU Council Michel believes the EU needs to tackle high gas prices and electricity prices; it’s up to the experts to figure out the details.” Such royal hand-waving unlinked to how reality works is how we got into this mess in the first place. But things were figured out. Not, as former BOE Governor Carney said of the UK, a needed rush for nuclear power. Rather, Germany --where inflation hit 10.9%, and the government warned the energy crisis is becoming a broader social crisis-- offered a EUR200bn “protective shield” to keep the price of electricity down. That means massive state subsidies and debts; for years; with no energy rationing in place; as the country starts to run dreaded twin deficits; and as the ECB raises rates. Those Europeans talking about Schadenfreude looking at the UK should be aware that while Nos. 10 and 11 are acting like the Mad Hatter and March Hare at the Tea Party, Europe is also living in Wünderland. In fact, it’s hard to make an argument that the EU is not risking becoming the UK with a lag. To hammer home the point, the ESRB regulators report the EU faces ‘severe risks’ to its financial system, with the Ukraine war possibly (only possibly?!) creating a combination of slow growth, falling prices, and market stress. I don’t think the dollar will be down, or the EUR up, for long. Of course, the same is true for GBP. More so when Pill yesterday claimed the BOE did not intervene in the Gilts market to push yields lower (as 30-years collapsed 106bp!), and will not do QE or Yield Curve Control; and neither will it fund the government, or MMT. The only logical function left is a bailout: except that is supposed to be on Bagehot terms: “Lend without limit, to solvent firms, against good collateral, at high rates.” I didn’t see that – did you? As if that was not enough UK “More Tea! More Tea!”, and as suggested earlier this week, PM Truss is now going to push for aggressive state spending cuts to show markets that she is serious about fiscal discipline. So, tax cuts for the rich remain and bankers’ bonuses are back, etc., but we will see huge real-terms declines in social spending across the board into a recession, and even on “geoliberalism” UK soft power like the BBC World Service. In the ultimate marketplace of ideas, democracy, Labour is now up between 17 and 33 points up in the polls, which would imply the Tories will be entirely wiped off the political map. Following the lead of using Macron as a verb in Russian (“Macronit” meaning to talk a lot and then do nothing useful), yesterday saw market chatter of how “to Truss” or to “Truss up” might be used in idiomatic English. (“They really Trussed that up, didn’t they?”) All I would add is that it also works with a Germanic “Truß” – with a lag.   Meanwhile, the Fed sent the message rates are going to keep rising regardless, even if we see a recession, that UK wobbles have as little to do with it as the UK claims its budget has to do with its wobbles, and whispers are that may include only a hairshirt “the discount window is available if you need it” Bagehot safety net ahead. This is revolutionary stuff for markets coddled with liquidity since Greenspan. Are they Trussing up too? Larry Summers, who is being mentioned so often it surely cannot be a coincidence, is saying he sees the present backdrop looking like August 2007. Some think August 2008. In either case, the PBOC is now leaning back towards bubbles again regardless, allowing nearly two dozen cities to lower mortgage rates for purchases of a primary property. The problem is that everyone can see that aside from a few hotspots, property is over-priced and over-supplied, and prices are going to fall anyway now the mania has faded – so why rush to buy? The other problem is that if the PBOC succeed, it means inflation for everyone else. The PMI reading of 50.1 today, up from 49.4, is neither here nor there, but the private Caixin PMI at 48.1 vs. 49.5 expected was there not here. As Mexico just hiked rates 75bp to 9.25%, Bloomberg also notes the RBA faces an uphill battle to not be as hawkish as everyone else. (And does not note “because housing.”) It quotes there are “some lingering issues around credibility and communication,” which reminds me of the quip from Gandhi: “What do you think of Western civilisation?” “I think it would be a good idea.” Of course, the BOJ is still doing its own sweet thing, boosting regular bond purchases this morning to try to cap upwards pressure on yields – which can only mean downwards pressure on JPY. I would write more, but it’s been a hell of a week for me personally, and I am too Trussed up to do so. End of the month, end of the quarter, end of our tethers. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 15:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE4 hr. 49 min. ago Related News

Pivot-Hope-Punisher Powell Leaves Q3 Global Market Bloodbath In His Wake

Pivot-Hope-Punisher Powell Leaves Q3 Global Market Bloodbath In His Wake What a week, month, quarter, year! Q3 saw the end of the beginning of the end of the fun and games and Powell peeing in the punchbowl at Jackson Hole went full Leeroy Jenkins on global markets... The S&P 500 Index is ending this quarter deep in the red (back below 3600), fully erasing an earlier 14% gain that occurred in July through mid-August. All the majors are back in bear market territory, but Small Caps and the Nasdaq are the ugliest horses in this glue factory... (Nasdaq is now below the June 16 lows) As Bloomberg notes, this will mark the first time since 1938 that the benchmark is closing a quarter with a negative return after earlier rising more than 10% and posting the biggest drawdown from a quarterly high in recent decades. The turnaround shows how much hawkish central banks and economic fears are weighing on risk assets, making any rally susceptible to a quick burnout. The S&P 500 has lost $10 trillion in market value... The global bond market is currently undergoing its worst drawdown ever... by along way! Source: Bloomberg While weakness spread across global bonds, it was the US Treasury market that led the way in September with the short-end up over 70bps in yield... Source: Bloomberg 'Fed Pivot' hopes were dashed mid-quarter, sending yields surging higher and the yield curve deeper into inversion... Source: Bloomberg As BofA's rates guru Marc Cabana warns: "Thin UST liquidity & limited demand may make the US market vulnerable to a market functioning breakdown, similar to UK.... Fed could follow BoE in event of extreme UST market functioning breakdown" Rate-hike expectations surged during the quarter, and at the same time, expectations for subsequent recession-saving rate-cuts languished... Source: Bloomberg And as yields rose - and rate-hike expectations soared -  stocks tumbled unable to find enough 'bad news' in macro to prompt more hype/hope of a pivot in September... But the quarterly performance for stocks shows the real swing around Powell's Jackson Hole speech... Source: Bloomberg This week saw all the majors trade lower (despite BoE saving the world midweek briefly) with a notable decoupling between Small Caps (outperforming) and the rest... European stocks were just as ugly in September with UK's FTSE suffering worst... Source: Bloomberg Q3 is the 3rd quarter in a row during which a 'balanced' stock/bond portfolio lost money (if it wasn't for July's gains, this would have been the worst quarter ever for a stock/bond portfolio) Source: Bloomberg The dollar rose for the 4th straight month (and 8th of the last 9) to its strongest since April 2002... Source: Bloomberg Interestingly, Russia's Ruble was the best performing currency (along with the Mexican Peso) while the rest of the world's fiat faded against the greenback... Source: Bloomberg Cryptos ended the quarter higher with Ripple and Ethereum outpeforming (bitcoin was the laggard)... Source: Bloomberg In commodity-land, the strong dollar weighed on everything with Bloomberg's Spot Commodity Index down for the 3rd month of the last 4 and back at its lowest since Jan 2022... Source: Bloomberg Crude and Copper were down hard in September amid global growth fears and hawkish monetary policy talk. Silver managed gains on the month, significantly outpeforming gold... Source: Bloomberg After dropping 13% and 9% respectively in July and August, Americans pump prices for gas were unchanged in September and are now up 10 days in a row... Source: Bloomberg Finally, we note that US financial conditions have tightened dramatically in the last quarter as Powell punched the 'pivot-hopers' in the face... “This week has told us a lot about the transitions going on,” said El-Erian, who is also president of Queens College, Cambridge and a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. “The next few weeks are going to be pretty volatile.” And for all those hoping for a pivot, El-Erian has a few short words: "be careful what you wish for..." “This pivot only happens if you have an economic accident or a financial accident. And the journey to an economic accident or a financial accident is a very painful journey.” Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 16:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE4 hr. 49 min. ago Related News

India, China, Brazil Abstain From UN Vote Condemning Russian Annexation

India, China, Brazil Abstain From UN Vote Condemning Russian Annexation.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE4 hr. 49 min. ago Related News

Nomura: When Does The Fed "Blink"?

Nomura: When Does The Fed "Blink"? The velocity of “things breaking” around the world (Yen, Yuan, Euro, Sterling, SONIA, Gilts, MBS, Lev Loan deals, the entirety of the UK LDI / Pension complex) is obviously a “neon swan” telling us that we are clearly now in the “market accident” stage from the tightening surge. And, as Nomura's Charlie McElligott notes, let’s be fair…all of these things are happening for completely rational reasons, particularly for the USD vs lack of viable global alternatives, as the US economy remains the “cleanest dirty shirt” by-far, while rest of world is running increasingly “incongruent” monetary vs fiscal policy on structural issues. Again, looking at the below generic UK / Europe type set-up, McElligott points out a laundry-list of messy inputs (h/t Jordan Rochester): Collapsing terms of trade / trade-deficits largely due to energy imports Manu / Industrial growth slowing due to high energy / input costs “Hiking into recession” with slower consumer being negatively impact by broad inflation (energy bills, food costs) AND shock-resets on mortgage rates "Demand CONSTRUCTION" policies which feed actually FEED consumption and inflation (energy caps, subsidies, fiscal stim / tax cuts) And again, all while those central banks are trying to “rage tighten” monetary policy with hot inflation - but against collapsing currencies thanks to the “USD Wrecking Ball”. And so, authorities are starting to agitate against growing market and economic calamity being caused by the impulse tightening of FCI and the USD Wrecking Ball - which is making the “macro trend trades” which have dictated all thematic performance in 2022 now increasingly open to reversal. So what will make the Fed "blink"? The Nomura strategist writes that, outside of trying to project outrageously unpredictable Inflation data, there are two scenarios: Job losses / Negative NFPs - currently, labor mkt tightness and wage growth at all-time highs gives Fed room to hit the economy HARDER, bc a hot jobs mkt gives you room to crunch it—so the Fed will keep hiking into postive NFP prints; but my view has continued to be that the first time you print a negative NFP, the market will immediately interpret it as a counter-intuitive “constructive” signal for Equities, because this allows for a Fed pivot back towards “dual mandate” (from current solo focus on inflation) which means they can “move the goalposts” - ESPECIALLY as “job losses” then becomes a political feature / issue Credit Market “freeze,” as Corp access to Capital Markets dries-up (note: this is NOT necessarily then about some absolute Spread level of say HY)—if FCI tightening and / or market Vol hits such an extent that BBBs can’t do debt deals…then the Fed will make a move; watching Lev Loans- and / or CLO- markets as most reasonable spots for an “issue” due to floating-rate nature of the products. Are we starting to see any signs of this anticipation of a Fed Pivot? Turning to tactical Equities / Vol - yesterday was the first day in four where we saw some normalization in the recent blast of Vol / Skew / Crash outperformance vs Spot Index,despite the seemingly big “down day”—with a resumption of fairly aggressive “monetization of downside” flows in Equities index / ETF options. And this segues nicely into today’s quarterly rebalance of the large client SPX Put Spread Collar, which tends to exhibit tremendous market impact on hype alone…but for many of the past year and a half’s rebal cycles, has indeed marked local market inflection points. Per the desk Put Spread Collar update: “The SPX Sept 30th 3020/3580/4005 Put Spread Collar (cust long the Sep 30th PM 3580/3020 Put Spreads vs. short the Sep 30th PM 4005 Calls) is expected to be rolled at some point today. The gamma on the SPX Sep 30th PM 3580 Put was ~$2.3B as of last night’s close, so dealers/market makers are broadly welcoming this morning’s de minimis move in futures. Based on last night’s closing level, the expectation is that the investor will roll into something like a a new SPX Dec 30th 2910/3460/3800 Put Spread Collar ~46,000x, which will create ~$16.8M of vega supply in that Dec 30th bucket (along with a fair amount of downside skew via that Dec 30th 2910 Put). The structure has ~$7B of net delta to sell as it currently stands on the MOC, though in the past we have seen this structure trade with a 1-day option (would sell a Sep 30th ITM call for example) so that the delta impact comes on the close as opposed to intra-day” McElligott's point is that with the recent “bid” to Vol / Skew that it is looking “rich” again (as an entry point then for it to fade from) - and yes, with a likelihood that the end of day Equities MOC imbalance could be a disasterously huge “$7B FOR SALE” print that frightens the mkt….i actually kinda think it sets up for a potential relief trade thereafter next week or even into / around Oct Op-Ex, because Dealers are getting a BUNCH of Vega and Gamma back, as well as picking up some big downside Skew…IF WE CAN AVOID A MELTDOWN TO THE 3580 STRIKE FIRST. I think all of this sets-up for a short-term tactical dynamic where Equities implied Vol could come off the recent squeeze higher and begin fading again next week, which then along with the reduced “Short Gamma” dynamic, but against so much “Negative $Delta”…could allow for Equities “relief” as iVol softens further with Dealers in a much “cleaner” place from an Options market perspective. Interestingly, the team at SpotGamma note a similar tactical dynamic as today's put expiration is enough to give equities a bump, and that could lead to a rapid decline in implied volatility. So, we have puts deltas coming off due to expiration, but also vanna. Shown below is the VIX which has hit recent highs – but note too the movement of the TDEX “Tail Risk” index. There was a sharp move in this metric over the last week which tells us that traders were buying deep out of the money puts. On a rally this stuff could get smoked, and could help generate a ~5% equity rally rather quickly. But SpotGamma warns, the macro risks in this environment are massive, an its the perfect environment for something to snap and lead to limit down style moves. This is why we favor playing rallies in call positions with fixed risk. Second, this view of a rally is based on positional analysis, nothing fundamental. Because we are in a put-heavy environment with high volatility rallies should be treated as very unstable and subject to rapid reversal. Think CPI crash, or even yesterdays reversal from 3940 Wed closing to 3910 Thursday lows. Those were 3-5% rallies which retraced in hours. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 14:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE6 hr. 17 min. ago Related News

Russia Is Flaring Less And Keeping Natural Gas In The Ground

Russia Is Flaring Less And Keeping Natural Gas In The Ground By Tsvetana Paraskova of OilPrice.com When the breakup between Russia and the European Union began earlier this year, one of the reasons for the severity of the EU’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was the assumption that Russia could not afford for its gas exports to drop. The assumption was an enduring one for oil and gas both. A number of analysts toured the media, arguing that if production at an oil or gas field is suspended, this field eventually risks becoming unproductive forever. While this is a valid argument overall, Gazprom appears to have found a way to avoid permanent loss of gas production, and it’s not flaring, either. In fact, flaring in Russia—a major “flarer”—is down. This is according to satellite data cited by a Bloomberg report on Gazprom’s production, which has declined substantially since the Ukraine invasion and the EU’s response to it. Total gas production is down by 473 million cubic meters daily since the start of the year, data showed, to a total of 838 million cubic meters daily, but flaring is also down, at least over the past month, by 28 percent from a year ago. And this, according to the analysts Bloomberg talked to, is because Gazprom is simply producing less. And it has been doing it for years. Because demand for natural gas is highly seasonal in nature, Gazprom has organized production at its biggest fields in such a way as to be able to increase or reduce it in relatively short order. “Due to the uneven consumption patterns, Gazprom has to change its production significantly on monthly basis every year,” Vyacheslav Kulagin, a department head at the Energy Research Institute in the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Bloomberg. “Gazprom’s several major upstream projects function like gas cylinders, where the tap is sometimes opened to the full, and sometimes significantly turned down.” This means that the risk of Gazprom losing production permanently may well be limited. However, it does not change the fact that most supply to Europe is now almost certainly permanently gone after the suspected sabotage of Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2. This decline in Russian gas imports may be in line with the European Union’s plans to wean itself off Russian gas fully, but it will mean a shortage while the weaning-off process is taking place. According to a report by Rystad Energy, European countries are in for a gas shortage from next year to 2025 if Russia stops all deliveries of gas to the continent. This would change in the second half of the decade thanks to more LNG imports, but over the short term, LNG would not be able to cover the lost Russian supply. European decision-makers seem to be aware of this and have started promoting demand reduction as an integral part of energy crisis plans. Earlier this year, the EU agreed on a Commission proposal for a 15-percent reduction in EU-wide gas demand this winter, but that was a voluntary cut. Now, cuts are on their way to being made mandatory, despite higher than usual gas-in-storage levels in most of the EU. Meanwhile, although exports of natural gas to Europe have been decimated, exports elsewhere made up for the lost market: Gazprom reported earlier this month that total exports outside the Commonwealth of Independent States were down by 37.4 percent in the first eight months of the year and production was down by 14.6 percent. Production flexibility appears to be a winning demand management tool for a commodity whose demand patterns are highly variable depending on the season. And it seems Gazprom is weathering the blow from losing most of the European market better than Europe would like to see. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 14:35.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE6 hr. 17 min. ago Related News

Thousands Stuck On Cruise Ships After Hurricane Shuttered Florida Ports

Thousands Stuck On Cruise Ships After Hurricane Shuttered Florida Ports.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE6 hr. 17 min. ago Related News

"Panic Seems To Be In The Air"

"Panic Seems To Be In The Air" By Ven Ram, Bloomberg Markets Live reporter and strategist After a Midsummer Night’s Dream in July, US stocks are convulsing all over again. With speaker after Fed speaker hammering home the message of higher rates, the reality of higher discount rates is weighing on sentiment. The Fed’s dot plot shows us that a pause from rate hikes may not come before the benchmark reaches 4.6%, but of course that’s not a guarantee. But is it all really down to just the Fed pushing rates higher? All that rate volatility stemming from the UK can have a bigger domino effect on assets as pension fund managers -- stung by the fiasco of policymakers unveiling fiscal stimulus at a time when inflation is already running rife and wrecking their P&L -- turning uber cautious with the other assets in their portfolio. Front and intermediate bond yields in the UK -- which don’t enjoy the Bank of England’s backstop in its current emergency operations -- are still climbing higher. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will reportedly hold emergency talks with the head of the Office of Budget Responsibility before being presented with a first draft of full forecasts from the fiscal watchdog next week. Still, it may make serve well to calibrate the sense of optimism that we have seen overnight in the pound. Amid all this, the Fed must be hoping that all this tumult doesn’t impinge on US financial markets. However, it’s perhaps not entirely a coincidence that US investors are parking record amounts of cash with the Fed. Panic seems to be in the air. As Larry Summers alluded on Thursday, when you mix extraordinary volatility with leverage and policy uncertainty, high underlying inflation and commodity uncertainty stemming from a war, firefighters shouldn’t take too many vacations. The Fed will doubtless be prepared for any spillover. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 15:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE6 hr. 17 min. ago Related News