Piers Morgan addresses our gutless fake president

This is the end of his article:

❝ These mass shootings have to stop, and the best way to start the process is to stop those committing them from being able to buy their tools of their terror.

So it’s time you grew a pair President Trump, stand up to the NRA and do what REALLY needs to be done.

❝ As you said today, you banned bump fire stock after the Las Vegas massacre.

Now you must go much further.

That means a ban on assault weapons, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and the introduction of mandatory background checks on all gun purchases.

❝ Do it now, or stand condemned as a coward.

And here’s the link to the beginning.

Iran Sanctions hasten the move to drop the “petrodollar”

❝ Painful sanctions on Iran have demonstrated the long reach of the U.S. Treasury, forcing much of the globe to fall in line and cut oil imports from Iran despite widespread disagreement over the policy. Yet, we are only in the first few chapters of what may ultimately be a long story that ends with the erosion of the power of the U.S. dollar.

The role of the greenback in the international financial system is the reason why the U.S. can prevent much of the world from buying oil from Iran. Oil is traded in dollars, and so much of international commerce is based in dollars. In fact, as much as 88 percent of all foreign exchange trades involve the greenback…

❝ The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said a few days ago in a speech that the euro should be elevated as a reserve currency in order to break European dependence on the U.S. dollar. Juncker noted that the EU paid for 80 percent of its energy imports in dollars even though only 2 percent of imports come from the U.S. “There’s no logic at all in paying energy imports in dollar not euro…”

Nothing new about imperial powers requiring their currency’s primacy. Take it all the way back to the Roman Empire. Now, folks are not only acting to upgrade two existing reserve currencies to replace the dollar in transactions involving little or no US presence – the Euro and Japan’s Yen – contractors along the dual routes of the Belt and Road Initiative from China to the Netherlands are beginning to pay their bills in China’s RMB, the Renminbi.

Certainly no tidal wave, the process has been considered inevitable by Foreign Exchange traders for a while. The world’s second largest economy is trading globally in a range of currencies; but, it makes as much sense to both sides of most deals to use the currency native to the vendor in the first place.

The backwards ideology of our fake president provides another small nudge in the direction of expanded currencies, reserve and otherwise.

Republicans shut down important healthcare resource — Big Pharma applauds

❝ America’s federal database of medical treatment guidelines—a resource for doctors, hospitals, and patients for more than two decades—will be dead on Tuesday (July 17). The National Guideline Clearinghouse website at Guidelines.gov was shut down by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, it said, because “Federal funding through AHRQ will no longer be available to support the NGC.”

❝ Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chair of the House Appropriations Committee until the beginning of last year, had targeted the agency for elimination even after doctors warned him not to kill Guidelines.gov. As TYT reported on Sunday, Rogers doubled the number of health-industry companies in which he invested last year…The White House also pitched killing the research agency…

❝ …Big healthcare companies have billions of dollars at stake in which guidelines consumers use. An estimated 200,000 visitors turned to Guidelines.gov each month. For decades, the federal guidelines have had something of a monopoly. As of Tuesday, that will no longer be the case.

NO lobby forks over more dollar$ to members of Congress than Big Pharma. Keeping the American drugs industry at a level of profits exceeding their take in any other country is worth every member of Congress they can buy.

Clinical trials tend to be positive when Docs get industry dollar$

When study investigators have financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, clinical trial results are more likely to turn up positive…

In a review of 190 papers on randomized controlled trials, taking money from industry was significantly associated with favorable trial results in a fully adjusted model…Salomeh Keyhani, MD, of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues reported online…

Their findings suggest bias in the evidence base, Keyhani said. Practicing clinicians “should be concerned enough to employ healthy skepticism while reviewing the results of any one trial,” she told MedPage Today.

❝ The paper makes the distinction between a study being funded by a drug company, and investigators who have financial relationships with those companies.

Researchers with financial relationships can influence the study results in less obvious ways, such as study design and analytic approach, but Keyhani noted that the current research is a “cross-sectional study so any interpretation of the findings should be made with caution.”…

Gasp! Who’da thunk it.

RTFA for methodology – and more.

China’s yuan surpasses euro as #2 currency in trade finance

yuan dollar euro

China’s yuan currency overtook the euro in October, becoming the second-most used currency in trade finance, global transaction services organization SWIFT said on Tuesday.

The market share of yuan usage in trade finance, or Letters of Credit and Collection, grew to 8.66 percent in October 2013. That improved from 1.89 percent in January 2012.

The yuan, also known as the renminbi, now ranks behind the U.S. dollar, which remains the leading currency with a share of 81.08 percent…

Yup. A long way to go to be competitive. Though, anyone who thinks the RMB will fall by the wayside anytime soon – is deluded.

The top five countries using the yuan for trade finance in October were China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and Australia, SWIFT said in a statement.

“The RMB is clearly a top currency for trade finance globally and even more so in Asia,” Franck de Praetere, SWIFT’s Asia Pacific head of payments and trade markets said…

The world’s second-largest economy is accelerating the pace of financial reform to promote its currency to international players beyond Hong Kong. China aims to lift the yuan’s global clout and reduce its reliance on the U.S. dollar.

Even though the dimwits in Congress still run their trick bag on the American public about Chinese currency being manipulated as cheap – to steal business – they know nothing about ForEx or global biz. It’s been a few years since the PBOC stopped pegging the RMB to the US dollar and it’s only gone in one direction since. Up, up. About a third of a percent, yesterday.

The Western moneyboys are jostling each other in the peloton to get to the front on converting yuan to euros and dollars – and vice versa. The Swiss and the Brits mostly in the lead. This month.

America’s Renminbi Fixation

For seven years, the United States has allowed its fixation on the renminbi’s exchange rate to deflect attention from far more important issues in its economic relationship with China. The upcoming Strategic and Economic Dialogue between the US and China is an excellent opportunity to examine – and rethink – America’s priorities.

Since 2005, the US Congress has repeatedly flirted with legislation aimed at defending hard-pressed American workers from the presumed threat of a cheap Chinese currency. Bipartisan support for such a measure surfaced when Senators Charles Schumer (a liberal Democrat from New York) and Lindsey Graham (a conservative Republican from South Carolina) introduced the first Chinese currency bill.

The argument for legislative action is tantalizingly simple: the US merchandise trade deficit has averaged a record 4.4% of GDP since 2005, with China accounting for fully 35% of the shortfall, supposedly owing to its currency manipulation. The Chinese, insists a broad coalition of politicians, business leaders, and academic economists, must revalue or face sanctions.

This reasoning resonates with the US public…

“Enough is enough,” President Barack Obama replied, when queried on the renminbi in the aftermath of his last meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao. Obama’s presumptive Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has promised to declare China guilty of currency manipulation the day he takes office.

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Appreciation in China’s currency unnoticed – especially by politicians

With little fanfare, China’s currency has appreciated significantly in the last year and a half, leading many economists to question whether the exchange rate is still the most important economic issue for the United States to press with China’s leaders.

The rise of the renminbi — up 12 percent since June 2010 on an inflation-adjusted basis and 40 percent since 2005 — has helped American companies by effectively reducing the cost of their products in China. In the last two years, American exports to China have risen sharply…

In his Oval Office meeting on Tuesday with Xi Jinping, China’s vice president and likely next leader, President Obama discussed the currency as one of the trade practices that concerned the United States. That meeting — and tough public comments by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. — continued a three-year campaign by the administration to convince Chinese leaders that a stronger currency is in their interest…

Administration officials and members of Congress have chosen not to emphasize the appreciation publicly, partly to keep pressure on China. Widespread discussion of the change could reduce support in Congress for a bill that would impose sanctions on Chinese imports to the United States and that Beijing strongly opposes…Passing legislation based on a lie doesn’t upset Congress or the White House at all.

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Trades reveal China and Russia shifting away from the dollar

Uh-oh… Swiss mega-bank UBS completed a survey of 80 central bank reserve managers that control about $8 trillion this week and more than half predicted the US dollar would be replaced as the world’s reserve by a “portfolio of currencies” sometime in the next 25 years.

That UBS even conducted a survey on the dollar’s validity represents a sea change in attitude…

“The results [of the survey],” according to The Financial Times, “are the latest sign of dissatisfaction with the dollar as a reserve currency, amid concerns over the U.S. government’s inability to rein in spending and the Federal Reserve’s huge expansion of its balance sheet…”

Russia and China are doing their part to accelerate the dollar’s demise. The two nations’ central banks have signed an agreement to conduct trade in rubles and yuan.

“This agreement,” says Russian Central Bank Deputy Chairman Viktor Melnikov, “allows for settlements through Russian and Chinese banks not only in the freely convertible currencies but also in the yuan and the ruble.” It builds on a handshake deal between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao…

“Dollar’s Reserve Currency Status at Risk Following Russia-China Deal,” reads a breathless headline on this story at oilprice.com.

“The headline is a bit overblown,” says our acquaintance, the veteran U.S. diplomat Chas Freeman, “but it – and the underlying story – is a step in the direction it posits.”

No one is surprised at the move. Well, maybe a few Republicans and a couple of Texans in the Oil Patch. Not any likelihood this time of Uncle Sugar invading China or Russia – or even Mexico – because trades are leaving the dollar the way Saddam Hussein was doing before Bush and Cheney found it convenient to invade Iraq.

Hu Jintao questions dollar dominance

The Chinese president has resisted US arguments about why China should let its currency strengthen, saying the dollar-based international currency system is a “product of the past”.

However, Hu Jintao admitted that it would take a long time to make China’s yuan (RMB) a world currency.

“China has made important contribution to the world economy in terms of total economic output and trade, and the RMB has played a role in the world economic development,” he told two US newspapers in a written interview ahead of his visit to the US next week. “But making the RMB an international currency will be a fairly long process…”

Hu said arguments that allowing the yuan to appreciate would curb inflation are too simplistic, adding that China is fighting inflation with a range of policies including interest-rate increases.

While inflation in China hit a 28-month high in November, Hu told the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post that prices were “on the whole moderate and controllable…We have the confidence, conditions and ability to stabilise the overall price level,” he said…

On other issues, Hu struck an upbeat tone about ties with the US. “We should abandon the zero-sum Cold War mentality,” he said and “respect each other’s choice of development path.”

The president suggested co-operation with the US in areas like new energy sources, clean energy, infrastructure development, aviation and space…

The Chinese leader, who is expected to step down as president and general secretary of China’s Communist Party in 2012, arrives on Wednesday in Washington for his first and last state visit.

I chose this article from Al Jazeera deliberately to offer folks a middle-of-the-road view from outside the United States and most Western yes-men. Certainly, the content of the interview isn’t altered; but, presentation is still linked to American domestic politics – and that includes foreign policy.

The Washington Post article is somewhat neutral. The NY Times reflects their policy of being as hawkish as any Cold Warrior when it comes to economic and commercial challenges to the United States.