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Sunday, 21 June 2015

Clinton Campaign Fundraises With Pro-TPP Lobby Firm As Congress Reschedules Trade Vote

Featured photo - Clinton Campaign Fundraises With Pro-TPP Lobby Firm As Congress Reschedules Trade Vote

While Hillary Clinton continues to hedge her position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the related issue of trade promotion authority, her campaign is partnering with a pro-TPP/TPA law and lobby firm to raise cash.

The House Rules Committee held an “emergency meeting” at 4:40 p.m. on Wednesday to plan how to move forward with TPA.

At 5:00 p.m., the Clinton campaign was holding a Washington, D.C. fundraiser with the McGuireWoods law firm’s PAC. According to lobby registration documents, the firm’s McGuireWoods Consulting subsidiary is lobbying on behalf of Smithfield Foods to help pass both the TPP and TPA.

Despite mounting pressure to take a position, Clinton has only provided non-commital answers regarding her stance on both TPP and TPA. On Sunday, at a rally in Iowa, Clinton said there should be better protections for American workers and called for the president to work with Democrats in Congress — hardly a clarifying statement. Earlier that day, her chief pollster dismissed a call from ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos to provide a clear stance on TPA, casting the issue as simply “Washington inside baseball.”

SUBOXONE: The Psych Drug Behind The Charleston Church Shooting?

Suboxone is a powerful psychoactive drug which is utilized in breaking heroin and narcotic pain reliever addictions.  Just like methadone*, suboxone has it downside risks and adverse side effects. It is a medication which contains two primary ingredients — buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a synthetic opiate; naloxone is drug that blocks feelings of euphoria.

*Methodone is such a dangerous drug that dedicated clinics were set up around the country because patients could not be trusted with more than one day’s dose at a time; hence, the daily visit to the methadone clinic. Methadone is actually more dangerous than all prescribed narcotic painkillers and can threaten a patient’s life with each dose. As a matter of fact, a methadone user doesn’t have to be addicted to methadone to die from it—the very first dose can kill, unlike both heroin and morphine. 

These two ingredients — buprenorphine and naloxone –work in tandem assisting the addicted drug user in their intention to break a very strong habit.  Like any drug that can successfully replace heroin, it is quite powerful and has some serious side effects. Just how does it work?

Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist. This means that, although buprenorphine is an opioid, and thus can produce typical opioid agonist effects and side effects such as euphoria and respiratory depression, its maximal effects are less than those of full agonists like heroin and methadone. At low doses buprenorphine produces sufficient agonist effect to enable opioid-addicted individuals to discontinue the misuse of opioids without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. [1]

As for adverse side effects, there are many and they can be severe. It has been reported that violent outbursts and aggressive acts of rage can be experienced while under the influence of Suboxone. There are other extreme and significant behavioral outcomes which can be exhibited by those who are under the influence of Suboxone which fit with the violent acts of the Charleston shooter.

Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof was a known drug user who was caught with the powerful mind-altering narcotic Suboxone when apprehended by police during an incident on Feb. 28.[2]

The bottom line here is that powerful psychoactive and/or psychotropic drugs can push young people into all sorts of highly anti-social and destructive behavior. The presence of these drugs is rarely, if ever, discussed in the mainstream media in the wake of events like Charleston. The focus is always on the usage of a gun(s), rather than the radically altered state of mind of the shooter.

The following article link contains a compilation of similar shootings and spells out a compelling narrative which seems to prove the direct influence of psychotropic drugs in these shocking episodes. It also points directly to the fundamental responsibility that ought to be shared by those pharmaceutical companies which manufacture and distribute these dangerous drug medications.

US Mass Shootings, 1982-2012: Data From Mother Jones’ Investigation

Suboxone is only one of many powerful pharma psych drugs which can trigger such a violent crime spree

Other drugs linked to mass killers have more often been geared toward treating mental illness. According to a data set of U.S. mass shootings from 1982-2012 prepared by Mother Jones magazine, of 62 mass shootings carried out by 64 shooters, the majority of the shooters (41) were noted to have signs of possible mental illness — the precise kinds of mental illnesses that psychotropic medications are prescribed for. [2]

This investigative study provides an indisputable body of scientific evidence which clearly points to a causal relationship between various psych drugs and extreme violence. What is particularly curious is why the government never addresses these quite obvious correlations. Instead, the authorities only speak to the utilization of a gun in the commission of the crimes.

Perhaps the time is now to shift attention to the dangerously mind-altering pharmaceutical drugs which regularly trigger this unacceptable conduct. The guns will always be there, just as knives will always be available. Therefore, only by addressing the root causes will this epidemic of shootings be brought to an end.


[1] buprenorphine.samhsa.gov

[2] WND.com


Pharmaceutical Drug Interactions: Creating A National Mental Health Crisis

Meanwhile, Greece Is Quietly Printing Billions Of Euros

Earlier today we showed why Greece is now literally living on borrowed time. The combined €2.9 billion in ELA cap increases ‘generously’ bestowed upon the flailing Greek banking sector by the ECB last week looks to have been barely enough to keep things from “ending very differently” (to quote Kathimerini) at the ATMs on Friday.

But perhaps more importantly from a big picture perspective, Greece may have already breached the upper limit of its borrowing base. JPM calculates Greek banks’ eligible collateral at €121 billion (€38 billion in EFSF bonds €8 billion in government securities, and €75 billion in “credit claims”). With Friday’s ELA increase, the country’s total borrowings (that’s OMO plus ELA) amount to some €125 bilion. Why would the ECB allow this? Because it knows the breach will be promptly limited or reversed on Monday, or there will be a deal.

So, it is literally “deal or no deal” time, because if JPM is correct and eligible collateral was either exhausted two weeks ago or, in the best case scenario, is right at the limit, capital controls will need to be put in place as early as Tuesday at which point the ATMs will officially stop dispensing freshly-minted euros which, incidentally, brings up an important point. As Barclays notes, during the same period over which Greek banks lost nearly €30 billion in deposits, banknotes in circulation jumped by some €13 billion. In short, because Greeks are increasingly prone to stuffing their euros in mattresses, a large proportion of the deposit flight has come in the form of hard currency withdrawals, meaning the Bank of Greece is forced to (literally) print billions in physical banknotes:

A large part of the deposit outflows is in the form of banknotes, whose usage has increased significantly since the end of last year (+44%). Indeed, out of a deposit outflow of €29bn (from the end of November 2014 to the end of April 2015), banknotes in circulation in Greece have increased by €13bn.

But hard currency printed in excess of NCB quotas (set by the ECB) represents a liability to the rest of Eurosystem and so must be added to Greece’s negative TARGET2 balance to determine the EMU’s total exposure to Greece:

The amount of banknotes in excess of the quota for Greece (about €27bn) represents a liability of the Central Bank of Greece to the Eurosystem in addition to the net liabilities related to transactions with the other Central Banks in the Eurosystem (Target 2 liabilities). As of the end of April, net liabilities related to the allocation of euro banknotes were €16.2bn and the Target 2 balance was negative by about €99bn. Therefore, the total exposure of the Eurosystem to Greece was around €115bn. This corresponds to the amount of borrowing of Eurosystem liquidity (OMOs + ELA), as shown in Figure 4. Taking the increase in the ELA ceiling as an indication of the deposit outflows/usage of banknotes and the increase in Eurosystem funding, such exposure might have increased to about €125bn currently, we calculate. 


Of course, given Germany’s massive TARGET2 credit with the ECB, a liability to the Eurosystem is, for all intents and purposes, a liability to Germany:

So we can add the quiet printing of some €13 billion in banknotes to the list of reasons why German FinMin Wolfgang Schaeuble, a growing number of German MPs, and, increasingly, the German people have run completely out of patience with Athens.

As for all the Athenians who have recently tapped the ATMs, check your euros. If the serial number starts with a “Y” that means it was printed by the Bank of Greece and you should probably hang on to it because you might soon be able to sell it at a premium to a museum.

“The Collateral Has Run Out” – JPM Warns ECB Will Use Greek “Nuclear Option” If No Monday Deal

In Athens on Friday, the ATM lines

began to form

in earnest.

(via Corriere)

Although estimates vary, Kathimerini, citing Greek banking officials, puts Friday’s deposit outflow at €1.7 billion. If true, that would mark a serious step up from the estimated €1.2 billion that left the banking system on Thursday and serves to underscore just how critical the ECB’s emergency decision to lift the ELA cap by €1.8 billion truly was. “Banks expressed relief following Frankfurt’s reaction, acknowledging that Friday could have ended very differently without a new cash injection,” the Greek daily said, adding that the ECB’s expectation of “a positive outcome in Monday’s meeting”, suggests ELA could be frozen if the stalemate remains after leaders convene the ad hoc summit. Bloomberg has more on the summit:

Dorothea Lambros stood outside an HSBC branch in central Athens on Friday afternoon, an envelope stuffed with cash in one hand and a 38,000 euro ($43,000) cashier’s check in the other.

She was a few minutes too late to make her deposit at the London-based bank. She was too scared to take her life-savings back to her Greek bank. She worried it wouldn’t survive the weekend.

“I don’t know what happens on Monday,” said Lambros, a 58-year-old government employee.

Nobody does. Every shifting deadline, every last-gasp effort has built up to this: a nation that went to sleep on Friday not knowing what Monday will bring. A deal, or more brinkmanship. Shuttered banks and empty cash machines, or a few more days of euros in their pockets and drachmas in their past – – and maybe their future.

For Greeks, the fear is that Monday will be deja vu, a return to a past not that distant. Before the euro replaced the drachma in 2002, the Greeks were already a European bĂȘte noire, their currency mostly trapped inside their nation, where cash was king and checks a novelty.

Everything comes together on Monday. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, back from a visit with Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, will spend his weekend coming up with a proposal to take to a Monday showdown with euro-area leaders.

A deal there is key. The bailout agreement that’s kept Greece from defaulting expires June 30. That’s the day Greece owes about 1.5 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund.

Without at least an understanding among the political chiefs, Greek banks will reach the limits of their available collateral for more ECB aid.

Indeed, JP Morgan suggests that the central bank may have already shown some leniency in terms of how it treats Greek collateral. Further, analyst Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou and team estimate, based on offshore money market flows, that some €6 billion left Greek banks last week.

If no agreement is struck on Monday evening that paves the way for further ELA hikes, the ECB may do exactly what we warned on Monday. That is, resort to the “nuclear option” which would, as JPM puts it, make capital controls are “almost inevitable.” Here’s more:

The escalation of the Greek crisis over the past week has caused an acceleration of Greek bank deposit outflows which in turn increased the likelihood of Greece introducing capital controls as soon as next week if Monday’s Eurozone leaders’ summit on Greece brings no deal. Indeed, our proxy of Greek bank deposit outflows, i.e. the purchases of offshore money market funds by Greek citizens is pointing to a material acceleration this week vs. the previous week.

The €147m invested into offshore money market funds during the first four days of this week is equivalent to €5bn of deposit outflows based on the relationship between the two metrics during April (during April, around €155m was invested in offshore money market funds, which was accompanied by deposit outflows of around €5bn). Assuming a similar outflow pace for Friday brings the estimated deposit outflow for the full week to €6bn. In the previous week (i.e. the week commencing June 8th) around €40m was invested into offshore money market funds, which is equivalent to around €1.6bn of deposit outflows. So this week’s deposit outflows almost quadrupled relative to the previous week. Month-to-date €8bn of deposits has likely left the Greek banking system on our estimates, following €5bn in May and €5bn in April. As a result, the level of household and corporate deposits currently stands at just above €120bn. 

As mentioned above this acceleration in the pace of deposit outflows is raising the chance that the Greek government will be forced to impose restrictions on the withdrawal of deposits if no deal is reached at the Eurozone summit on Monday. This is because Greek banks’ borrowing from the ECB has moved above the €121bn maximum we had previously estimated based on available collateral (€38bn using EFSF as collateral, €8bn using government securities as collateral & €75bn using credit claims as collateral). In particular, by assuming that Greek banks operate at c €1-2bn below the ELA limit as a buffer, we estimate that their current borrowing is €125bn. This is based on the ECB raising its ELA limit to €86bn on Friday this week from €84bn on Wednesday.  

Here is the punchline: when the ECB hiked Greek ELA by €1.8 bilion in its Friday emergency meeting (an amount that was promptly soaked up by the €1,7 billion in Greek bank runs on Friday), it may have done so in breach of the Greek “borrowing base” because, according to JPM, with total ECB borrowings of €125, this means that Greece is now €4 billion above its maximum eligible collateral. The ECB surely knows this, and has breached its own borrowing base calculation for one of two reasons: because it knows the breach will be promptly limited or reversed on Monday, or there will be a deal. In other words, Greece is now officially living on borrowed time:

This €125bn of borrowing from the ECB is €4bn above our estimated maximum borrowing of €121bn, suggesting that the ECB has already showed flexibility with respect to the collateral constraints Greek banks are facing. We argued before that the ECB has the flexibility to adjust haircuts to allow Greek banks to borrow more from the Bank of Greece for a given amount of collateral. It can also start accepting government guaranteed bank bonds as collateral despite the ECB having rejected these bonds before as a source of acceptable collateral. Greek banks have been rolling over government guaranteed bank paper since March. For example Greek banks rolled over €33bn of government guaranteed bank debt over the past three months. However, we doubt the ECB will ever accept large amounts of government guaranteed bank debt, effectively of what it considers as collateral made “out of thin air”. And if no agreement is reached on Monday, then the ECB will have little reason to show further flexibility and it will likely freeze its ELA limit on Greek banks. As a result capital controls will become almost inevitable after Monday. 

All of this is now moot: as we explained previously, for the Greek banks it is now game over (really, the culmination of a 5 year process whose outcome was clear to all involved) and the only question is what brings the Greek financial system down: whether it is a liquidity implosion as a result of a bank run which one fails to see how even a “last minute deal”, or capital controls for that matter, can halt, or a slow burning solvency hit as Greek non-performing loans are now greater than those of Cyrpus were at the time when the Cypriot capital controls were imposed. As Bloomberg calculated last week, just the NPL losses are big enough now to wipe out the Big 4 Greek banks tangible capital.

JPM, for now, focuses on the liquidity aspect:

The deposit outflows from Greek banks show how dramatic the reversal of Greece’s liquidity position has been over the past six months. The €8bn that left the Greek banking system month-to-date has brought the cumulative deposit withdrawal to €44bn since last December. This €44bn has more than reversed the €14bn that had entered the Greek banking system between June 2012 and November 2014 (Figure 2). The €117bn of deposits lost cumulatively since the end of 2009 has brought the bank deposit to GDP ratio for Greece to 66%. This is well below the Eurozone average of 94%.

And with more than three-quarters of the nearly €500 billion in outstanding foreign claims on Greece concentrated among foreign official institutions, any “contagion” will come will come not from the financial impact of Grexit, but from the psychological impact as the ECB’s countless lies of “political capital” and “irreversible union” crash like the European house of cards.

Would a Greek exit make the Eurozone look “healthier” as problem countries that do not obey rules are ousted? Or would markets rather question the ability of the Eurozone to cope with a bigger problem/country in the future if they cannot deal with a small problem/country such as Greece? Would a Greek exit make the Eurozone more stable by fostering more fiscal integration and debt mutualization over time? Or would the large losses from a Greek exit rather make creditor nations even more reluctant to proceed with much needed debt mutualization and fiscal transfers in the future? Would a Greece exit, and the punishment of Syriza as an unconventional political party, reduce the popularity of euroskeptic and unconventional political forces in Europe, as Greece becomes an example for other populations to avoid? Or would a Greek exit and the punishment of a country that refused to succumb to neverending austerity rather demonstrate the lack of flexibility, solidarity and cooperation giving more ground to euroskeptic parties across Europe?

Again we see that the entire world is now wise to the game the troika is playing. This isn’t about Greece, it’s about Spain and Italy or any other “bigger” problem countries whose voters elect “euroskeptic” politicians. As a reminder, if and when the Greek problem shifts to other PIIG nations, then it will be truly a time to panic:

So much as US-Russian relations are, to quote Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, “sacrificed on the altar of election campaigns”, so too are relations between Greece and its European “partners” sacrificed for political aims. In the end, the entire Greek tragicomedy comes back to the simple fact that a currency union with no fiscal union is no union at all and will likely be nearly impossible to sustain. We’ll leave you with the following quote from Alexandre Lamfalussy, BIS veteran, first President of the EMI (the ECB before the ECB existed), and the “Father of the Euro”:

“It would seem to me very strange if we did not insist on the need to make appropriate arrangements that would allow for the the gradual emergence and the full operation once the EMU is completed of a community-wide macroeconomic fiscal policy which would be the natural compliment to the common monetary policy of the community.”