Brexit: UK businesses at most gloomy since referendum – Deloitte

Eight out of 10 finance leaders expect long-term environment to be worse

British businesses are the most gloomy they have been about Brexit since the 2016 referendum, with eight out of 10 finance leaders expecting the long-term business environment to be worse as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

The accountancy group Deloitte has warned that worries over the long-term impact of Brexit are mounting, with more than half of finance bosses expecting to rein in recruitment and spending.

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China Could Turn Taiwan Into The Next Lebanon: State Media Warns

Via AlMasdarNews.com

China has issued another firm warning to Taiwan amid the ongoing turmoil between the two east Asian nations.

According to the Chinese publication The Global Times, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has many options on the table, including the possibility of turning Taiwan into another Lebanon.

Chinese Air Force, via AMN

“The PLA has many choices, including crossing the ‘middle line,’ flying over the Taiwan island and even turn Taiwan into a Lebanon-like situation,” the newspaper said. “These choices don’t necessarily lead to war. They are enough to force Taiwan authorities to readjust their radical policies.”

The “Lebanon-like situation” is a reference to the fourteen-year-long (1975-1989) civil war in which the small Levantine country became a battleground for foreign entities like Israel, Syria, and the Palestine Liberation Organization(PLO).

Israel ultimately used Lebanon to fight their proxy war against the Palestine Liberation Organization, while also curbing Syria’s influence from the southern part of the country.

“Washington is choosing the wrong place, time and opponent to flex its muscle in Taiwan Straits,” warned Global Times. If the U.S. military stations forces in Taiwan, China will attack, the article said. If the U.S. sells advanced fighters like the F-16V to Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army will respond.

Meanwhile, the National Interest reported that this warning came in response to U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton complaints about Chinese J-11 fighter jets crossing the middle line of the Taiwan Strait.

“It marked the first time in almost twenty years that Chinese aircraft have done this, with Taiwanese fighters scrambling to intercept them,” the National Interest added.

Frankenstein Designer Kids: What You Don’t Know About Gender-Transitioning Will Blow Your Mind

Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Puberty-blocking drugs, mastectomies, vaginal surgery and fake penises – all with zero chance of reversal – these are just some of the radical experimental methods being used on children. The madness must stop.

Imagine that you are the parent of a five-year-old boy who innocently informs you one day that he is a girl. Of course, the natural reaction would be to laugh, not phone up the nearest gender transitioning clinic. You have no idea how your little boy came to believe such a thing; possibly it was through something he heard at the daycare center, or maybe a program he saw on television. In any case, he insists that he ‘identifies’ as a female.

Eventually, possibly at the encouragement of your local school, you pay a visit to a physician. You hope this medical professional will be able to provide you and your child with some sound counseling to clear up his confusion. Prepare yourself to be disappointed. Your doctor will be forced, according to state and medical dictate, to follow the professional guidelines known as ‘affirmative care.’ It sounds nice and harmless, doesn’t it? In fact, the program could be best described as nothing short of diabolical.

The Medical Harms of Hormonal and Surgical Interventions for Gender Dysphoric Children

Following the ‘affirmative care’ approach, the doctor is required to follow the child’s lead, not vice-versa, as many people believe the doctor-patient relationship in this particular case would best work. In other words, if the child tells the doctor that he believes he is a girl, the doctor must comply with that ‘reality’ no matter what biology tells him or her to be the case. But this is just the beginning of the madness.

As the child’s parent, you will be encouraged to start referring to your son as your ‘daughter,’ and even permit him to choose a feminine name, as well as matching clothes. Teachers will be instructed to let your son use the girl’s bathroom while at school. The question of the social stigma attached to such a lifestyle change, complete with bullying, is rarely brought into the equation. Therapists will seldom discuss with the parents the social implications of such a mental and physical change; indeed, many will insist the changes are ‘reversible’ should the child one day have a change of heart. If only things were that easy.

Let’s pause for a moment and ask what should be the most obvious question, especially among medical professionals: ‘Is it not terribly naive to support the fleeting belief of a child, who still believes in Santa Claus, that he/she is the opposite sex? Isn’t there a very high possibility that the child is just confused and the thought will pass? Moreover, why did we never hear about such episodes just 10 years ago, yet today we are led to believe it is some sort of epidemic?’ Instead of working with the child and his newfound identity from such an obvious approach, in the majority of cases the child will be placed on the fast-track to gender transitioning. This is where the horror story begins.

One parent, ‘Elaine,’ a member of the advocacy group Kelsey Coalition whose daughter underwent “life-altering medical interventions,” came to understand that the transition is immensely harmful to the future health and well-being of her child.

“Once the teenage years begin, affirmative care means giving young people cross-sex hormones,” Elaine said during a panel discussion organized by the Heritage Foundation.

Girls as young as twelve are prescribed testosterone for lifetime usage, while boys are given estrogen. These are serious hormonal treatments that impact brain development, cardiovascular health and may increase the risk of cancer.”

This leads us to the operating table, where adolescents, lacking the mental maturity necessary to make such a huge life-altering choice, are exposed to the knife of irreversible surgical manipulation. Double mastectomies on girls, for example, as well as the fashioning of false penises derived from flesh borrowed from other parts of the body, are just some of the unprecedented procedures now available.

Elaine mentioned the high-profile story of one Jazz Jennings, who was diagnosed with ‘gender dysphoria’ and raised as a girl since the age of five. He was treated with hormones at the age of eleven, and at the age of 17, Jazz underwent surgery to remove his penis and create a simulated vagina out of his stomach lining.

“After surgery, Jazz’s wounds began separating and a blood blister began to form. An emergency surgery was performed. According to Jazz’s doctor, ‘As I was getting her on the bed, I heard something go ‘pop.’ When I looked, the whole thing has split open.’”

Elaine called the case of Jazz a “medical experiment on a child” that “has been playing out on television for the past 12 years.” It should be noted that a similar drama-packed scenario captivated the nation with the high-profile, made-for-television sexual transition of Caitlyn Jenner, born Bruce Jenner, the former Olympic gold medalist, who was quite possibly the greatest American athlete of all time.

The obvious question is ‘how many impressionable children, many experiencing their own bodily changes in the form of puberty, were persuaded to decide in favor of gender transitioning (something that a child could have only heard about from some external media or source, unless the parents engage in such odd discussion topics at the dinner table) after watching these celebrity persona?’ By now, few people would doubt the powerful influence that TV celebrities have over people, and especially adolescents. In fact, that is the entire notion behind the idea of a ‘positive role model.’ I am not sure Caitlin Jenner would qualify for such a part.

According to Michael Laidlaw, M.D., these children, who are experiencing what the medical community has dubbed ‘gender dysphoria,’ will move beyond their condition either naturally or with the assistance of a therapist. Meanwhile, according to Laidlaw, citing studies, many of the girls and boys who display symptoms have neuro-psychiatric conditions and autism.

“Social media and YouTube, things like that, binge-watching YouTube videos of transitioners seem to be playing a role…as well as contagion” in popularizing the idea among the masses.

The movement is predicated upon the modern liberal idea of ‘gender identity,’ which has been defined as a “person’s core internal sense of their own gender,” regardless as to what the biological facts of their sex prove.

Dr. Laidlaw presented perhaps the best case against parents and their children rushing to the conclusion that their children need puberty blockers, for example, or extreme doses of hormones, when he discussed what happens when a person is diagnosed with cancer.

“If a child or somebody you knew had cancer, would you want pathology results, would you want imaging to prove [the condition] before you give harmful chemotherapeutics,” he asked. Yet we are allowing children and adolescents to undergo irreversible chemical and surgical procedures without being able to see any evidence that shows the presence of ‘the opposite sex’ in the patient.

In other words, the medical community is monkey-wrenching with not only Mother Nature, but with the lives of children, with radical and irreversible experiments that have not been proven to promote the happiness and wellbeing of those on the receiving (or subtracting) end.

“We are giving very harmful therapies on the basis of no objective diagnosis,” Dr. Laidlaw said.

Laidlaw was forced to repeat what has been widely known for millennia.

“There are only two sexes,” he said.

“Sex is identified at birth, nobody assigns it. Doctors don’t arbitrarily assign this person to be a boy and this person to be a girl. We all know how to identify it.

“I would say ‘ask your grandmother who doesn’t read the scientific journals, and they will tell you exactly how to identify boys from girls.’”

Why The Death Of ‘King Dollar’ Would Benefit American Workers

Though the Saudis have denied it, reports last month that the Kingdom was privately threatening to ditch the dollar as the currency of choice for its oil trade have helped reignite speculation that the greenback could soon lose its reserve currency status, as a few financial luminaries have warned.

Though many mainstream financial analysts categorically dismiss the idea that the dollar’s dominance is in any way under threat, reports about the threats to the petrodollar have prompted many to question how exactly, does the average American benefit from the dollar’s reserve currency status, and would the greenback’s fall from grace have a negative, or positive, impact on the livelihood of the averagee American worker?

Well, economist Steve Keen has a few theories about what might happen if the dollar stops being the vessel via which a large plurality of global trade is conducted. And he shared his views with Erik Townsend during this week’s episode of MacroVoices.

Keen

When most people think about the risks associated with the dollar losing its reserve status, runaway inflation probably ranks high on the list. But Keen believes these risks are probably overblown,for several reasons. First, importers often hedge out foreign exchange risk between two and five years out. And even once the dollar’s weakness starts to bite, company’s will often simply absorb some of the margin pressure to maintain market share. While prices might move marginally higher, Keen doubts the outcome would destabilize large swaths of the US economy, as the reserve alarmists have warned.

The real impact would be felt by Americans wanting to travel overseas, who would see their purchasing power collapse as the costs of traveling abroad skyrocket.

Erik: Now, most of the products that you see at Walmart in the United States are imported from China. It seems to me that, if this were to occur and there was a marked devaluation of the US dollar versus other currencies, that would result in a massive inflation shock in the real economy in the US because we don’t have the manufacturing capacity to make widgets in the United States. That’s all gone offshore, to the detriment, perhaps, of the American worker.

But we don’t have that capacity. So if, all of a sudden, we have to pay much higher prices in dollars in order to generate the same price in yuan or yen or whatever for the imported goods, doesn’t that result in a really big inflation shock inside the US?

Steve: It can. Inflation shocks, you have to look at them in a proper empirical context.

And most economists simply assume any currency devaluation will lead to an equivalent inflation spike in the country that is devaluing.

What actually happens quite frequently is firms will try to – first of all, you have long-term contracts determining prices that are often set out two to five years in advance, particularly for industrial goods.

But mainly we have importers putting a markup on their imports for their profit level. They are willing to cut their markup to hang onto market share to some extent. So you don’t see a 100% pass-through of that sort of thing. You might see 30% pass-through. So if you had a 10-15-20% devaluation in the economy in the American dollar, then you could see, yes, a 5 or 7 maybe – I wouldn’t say going beyond 10% – spike in the inflation rate.

But, yes, you could see that spike occurring. And it would also – obviously cramp the style of any Americans wanting to go on overseas holidays. So there would definitely be a decrease in the American living standards. And it would bring home to people, too, the extent to which you have been deindustrialized and relied upon this exorbitant privilege to get over it. If the exorbitant privilege goes, then you wear the full consequences of being deindustrialized in the last 25 years.

Similarly, worries that a weaker dollar would cause interest rates in the US to skyrocket are also overblown, Keen believes. Just look at Japan: Interest rates have been mired near zero for 15 years now, regardless of what’s been happening with the yen. Because it’s not the external market that sets interest rates in the US – that’s now the Federal Reserve’s job.

Steve: So I can see it as giving America quite a severe jolt. But it won’t be something which causes interest rates to go sky-high. They will still be held in a band by the Federal Reserve. You might see rises in corporate rates and so on, but not large rises in the rates on American government debt.

Circling back to the inspiration for this topic, Townsend asked Keen if he really believes the Saudis seriously considering ditching the dollar, or if these leaks are merely idle threats. Keen believes it’s the latter, given how dependent the Saudis are on American support in the form of both supplying arms and purchasing oil. The real risk for the dollar lies in Europe and China. Europe’s search for an alternative to SWIFT, which was inspired by Trump’s decision to ditch the Iran deal, was a major catalyst for this.

As Trump’s belligerence toward America’s enemies and allies has made the dollar’s reserve status “intolerable” for many, Keen believes there’s a “one in three” chance that the dollar loses its reserve status within ten years.

Erik: Steve, let’s come to the current risks that the US dollar faces in terms of maintaining its reserve currency status and talk about how real they are. Is this talk from Saudi Arabia just saber-rattling? Or are they really serious about ditching the dollar? Likewise, we had another comment last week from, I believe it was a former undersecretary of the UN, calling for a global currency to replace the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Are these things really at risk of actually happening?

Or is this just talk?

Steve: I think it’s at risk of happening. I don’t think the Saudis are going to go through with it though, because they’re incredibly intimately tied up with American military power and it would just be too dangerous for them to do that. But I know China and Russia and, to some extent, Europe are talking about it because they are sick of the extent to which this is being used as a bullying tool by America. Particularly – just one recent example – the decision not to let Iran use the SWIFT system for international payments.

That could never have happened if the American dollar wasn’t the reserve currency. And you get American imposing its political will on the rest of the world using the fact that it’s the reserve currency. And of course that’s become intolerable under Trump. So I think the odds are, let’s say, one in three of a serious breakdown in that in the next 10 years.

That’s not to say that this couldn’t be stopped, but the more the US tries to impose its will on the rest of the world, the more likely other world powers will rebel.

But it could also be prevented. It’s one of these things – it doesn’t have the weight of financial numbers behind it like I could see with the credit crunch back in 2008 to say a crisis is inevitable.

But, certainly, there will be strains on the system and the American dominance can’t be guaranteed. And the more America now tries to assert that dominance, the more likely it is to encourage one of those alternatives to be developed.

As history has proven time and time again, no reserve currency reigns forever…

Currency

…So, With America’s allies and enemies looking for ways to mitigate their reliance on the dollar, what, ultimately, would be the impact if the world decides to ditch the greenback?

While the decline in demand would probably cause the dollar to weaken, that could benefit the American working class. Given that President Trump’s confrontation approach to diplomacy has caused this process to accelerate, as Europe, Russia and China have repeatedly, this is one way in which what Keen describes as Trump’s leveraging America’s reserve-currency status as a “thug’s tool” (by threatening sanctions against its enemies), could circuitously benefit the working class Americans who make up a large portion of his base.

Obviously, it’s going to mean a reduction in demand for American dollars on foreign exchange markets, which must mean a fall in the price over time. And it will be complicated by the usual spot and hedge markets and so on. But, yes, seeing a fall in the value of the dollar, unless America’s financial sector could no longer use the fact that it was American to have the power it has over financial institutions elsewhere in the world, so that the scale of the financial sector would be pulled back, your manufacturing sector would be more competitive. But, as you know, you don’t have the industrial pattern you used to have.

You’ve still got some outstanding corporations and outstanding technological capability. But you don’t have that machine tool background. The skilled workers that used to exist there aren’t there anymore. So there would be a serious shock to America with more expensive goods to be imported from overseas and a slow shift towards having a local manufacturing capability, making up for the damage of the last 25 years.

I can see a lot of social conflict out of that as well, but a positive for the American working class, who really have been done over in the last quarter century. And that’s partly the reason why Trump has come about. And, ironically, Trump is part of the reason why this might come to an end, given how much he’s used his bombast and the American reserve currency status as a thug’s tool in foreign relations rather than an intelligent person’s tool.

In summary, although every reserve currency in history has lost its status as its economic dominance has faded, the US might be the first to lose that status because of an organized rebellion that it helped provoke via its willingness to use sanctions and other tools as a weapon for punishing its adversaries and rewarding its friends.

Listen to the full interview below: