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Category Archives: My Opinion


TOTUS is correct the problem with gun issues is Mental Health, the problem is that the mental health issue is in the White house. With a waffling, race-baiting, prattling, misogynist incompetent at the helm of government, we have a mental health issue that requires attention. Corrective action: VOTE!!

Tom Toles Comic Strip for August 21, 2019

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The race is on for the Presidency ( soul) of the UNITED States. The current officeholder has been emboldened by the die-hard supporters at his rallies which have been nonstop since 2016.  The actual work of the office has been handled by his crew of miscreants whose sole objective is to interpret the ideas of a Conman who is not much more than a Carnival barker with an egomaniacal streak. The GOP has succumbed to the idea of staying in office at any cost while ignoring their own core policies of 10 plus years ago. This is not letting the Scamocrats off the hook as they have also moved in a direction that has not done that well for us either. It is time (and a half) past when we need to agree to disagree on where and what the government does in our names. Our sole objective needs to be electing more rational representatives who can look at the issues and make decisions that benefit ALL Americans without the skewing effects of big money and extreme groups of all sorts. Neither major political party currently has no real plans of action as a collective so cannot (or will not) legislate any worthwhile policies that move us forward instead of sideways and backward. It is well to remember that no matter who’s the President, it is Congress that makes and enacts legislation, approves cabinet members and Judges. If these choices are poor then the results are poor for us. Our lack of engagement is why we still have a core of neer do well legislators who do nothing or do even their nothingness wrong! We definitely need a better qualified or better-informed Resident in the Oval office but we need to start with Congress. Vote don’t mope!

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This should be no surprise after the initial crowd size lie generated about the inauguration crowd. MA

Marisa Iati, Morgan Krakow 13 hrs ago
Workers at a Royal Dutch Shell plant in Monaca, Pa., were forced to choose Tuesday between attending a speech by President Trump or forgoing overtime pay that their co-workers would earn.

© Susan Walsh/AP President Donald Trump gets a thumbs up from Samantha Polizotto on Aug. 13 during his speech in Monaca, Pa. Workers were paid overtime for attending the event. (Susan Walsh/AP)
Attendance was optional, but contract workers who chose not to stand in the crowd would not qualify for time-and-a-half pay when they arrived at work Friday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Several companies with thousands of unionized workers have contracts with Shell, one the world’s largest oil and gas companies.
Workers at the unfinished Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex had to arrive at 7 a.m., scan their ID cards and stand for hours until Trump’s speech began, the Post-Gazette reported.
“NO SCAN, NO PAY,” a supervisor for one of the contractors wrote to workers, according to the Post-Gazette.
The contractor’s memo also banned yelling, protesting or “anything viewed as resistance” at Trump’s speech, the Post-Gazette reported.
“An underlying theme of the event is to promote good will from the unions,” the document said, according to the Post-Gazette. “Your building trades leaders and jobs stewards have agreed to this.”
The Washington Post on Saturday was unable to immediately reach Shell or the plant’s unions for comment.
Trump has a long history of falsely claiming that liberal demonstrators have been paid to protest. When people angrily flooded the streets of some cities after Trump won the presidency, he accused them of being “professional protesters” who had been “incited by the media.” When women protested Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, he said they were “paid professionals.”
And when protests bubbled up at airports in 2017 in response to Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, he alleged that the demonstrators were “professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters.”
Trump’s speech on Tuesday felt at times like a campaign rally, The Washington Post previously reported. Between remarks about U.S. energy production, Trump urged the workers to support his reelection and complained about a laundry list of his perceived enemies: the media, the Democrats running for president and the Academy Awards.
About 5,000 workers attended the speech, according to Newsweek magazine.
Shell spokesman Ray Fisher told the Post-Gazette that workers at the plant have a 56-hour workweek, which includes 16 hours of overtime pay — so workers who showed up on Tuesday were paid for the week at a higher rate.
Another Shell spokesman, Curtis Smith, told Newsweek that workers who chose to skip the rally received “paid time off,” which does not count as hours worked and therefore does not trigger overtime pay. Trump’s speech was treated as a training that differed from other training sessions only in that it included “a guest speaker who happened to be the President,” Smith said. “We do these several times a year with various speakers,” Smith told Newsweek in a written statement. “The morning session (7-10 a.m.) included safety training and other work-related activities.”
Ken Broadbent, business manager for the union Steamfitters Local 449, told the Post-Gazette his workers respect Trump for his title, regardless of whether they liked or disliked him. Anyone who did not want to go to work on the day of Trump’s speech could skip it, Broadbent said.
“This is just what Shell wanted to do and we went along with it,” Broadbent told the Post-Gazette.

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I regret attempting to explain politics to single-minded people and sometimes failing

I regret  how naive some of us  Americans are when it comes to Race and politics

I regret not writing more to my representatives about issues I am concerned about -especially when they are doing a terrible job.

I regret not giving more to charities when I could have.

I regret  not extending kindness when I could

I regret not calling Bull shit when it was apparent

I regret not being a better grandparent or parent

I regret having regrets.

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The “brander in chief ” reminds me of a childhood friend who was able to name someone (“brand”) at a glance. This is a talent the resident of 1600 apparently has also. This “talent” is cute when one is young but dangerous when one is an adult. TOTUS has made it an art form as a way to avoid issues that he is uncomfortable with and does not know how to handle. This is not a good asset for a leader but since we really do not have one that point is moot. The followers of TOTUS are distracted by his loose lips manner of speaking while missing the bigger problems he has created. The elaborate signing of executive orders that undermine our country, the on the fly press conference and the multitude of tweets that have nothing to do with the actual job of the President are not what we need from a “leader”. The next President will have at least 2 years of mistakes local and abroad to correct. If voters do not adjust the balance of power in the Congress then we will still have to slog uphill as a country. TOTUS is no more than a bully who deflects rather than correct or address real issues. His total lack of any ability to understand his job beyond what his handlers tell him ( in words that he can understand) even if what they tell him is wrong but plays to his ego. His staff of miscreants are struggling mightily to keep him in the office so they can continue their errant ways and hopefully keep information that would or could incriminate all or most of them. This could very well be as stated by Benjamin Franklin: “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately”. My thinking is this bunch will rat one another out without hesitation. Assuring this outcome comes from everyone voting.

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It appears that avoidance is the normal of the current administration and Congress. TOTUS has now accused the Clintons of being in league with the late Jeffrey Epstein while diminishing his association with him. This President with the assistance of the GOP (most of them) has abdicated his position as President in favor of 24-7 campaigning and overnight Tweets which serve as press releases. It is well known and proven that lies serve in a place where the truth would work better are the basis of this Administration as was the case in his business dealings. TOTUS’s insertion in many things that have nothing to do with actual governing has lead us to a point of being laughed at in some parts of the world and ignored in others. His “leadership style” has unapologetically allowed the rise of the extremes in America, No. Korea, Russia, Iran and other bad actors who threaten us and our allies. Each day he takes another issue to keep his name in lights (as it were) while the neer do well Congress and his miscreant Cabinet members continue to pursue their personal agendas no matter the effect on the voters. While there are many supporters of this administration and the Congress, there are also many supporters of staged reality shows like J_ _ _ _Y S_ _ _ _ _ _ R  et al which does not suggest this is a way to govern. He Digresses!

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Is it possible that this allows TOTUS to escape again? Why is Barr involved beyond the previous little investigated “suspicious deaths” in that facility? MA

AARON KATERSKY, ELLA TORRES, and LUKE BARR

Good Morning America August 10, 2019
Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced millionaire who was facing federal sex trafficking charges, died by suicide early Saturday in his Lower Manhattan prison cell, law enforcement sources and the Bureau of Prisons confirmed to ABC News.
Epstein hanged himself, the sources said.
He was found unresponsive in his cell at Metropolitan Correctional Center around 6:30 a.m., the Bureau of Prisons said. He transported in cardiac arrest to New York Downtown Hospital at 6:39 a.m., according to sources.
(MORE: The rise and fall of Jeffrey Epstein: A timeline of the financier’s legal troubles)
Epstein, 66, was set to stand trial next year for allegedly sexually abusing dozens of girls in New York and Florida.
is death came less than three weeks after he was found unresponsive in his cell at the federal prison in Lower Manhattan, with marks on his neck that appeared to be self-inflicted, sources told ABC News. He was placed on suicide watch following the July 23 incident, but was not on suicide watch at the time of his death.
The FBI is investigating the incident, according to the Bureau of Prisons.
Epstein was arrested in July for alleged sex trafficking of girls at his Upper East Side mansion and his home in Palm Beach, Florida. Some of the charges date back to the early 2000s.
Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges. He faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
Following news of his death, his alleged victims condemned his suicide and what they described as a lack of justice for them and other accusers.
“I am extremely mad and hurt thinking he once again thought he was above us and took the easy way out … I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that’s really true,” Jena-Lisa Jones, 30, an alleged victim of Epstein when she was 14 in Florida, said in a statement. “God will have his judgement now.”
Jennifer Araoz, 32, who claimed that Epstein raped her when she was 14, called on authorities to “pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers.
“I am angry Jeffrey Epstein won’t have to face his survivors of his abuse in court. We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed the pain and trauma he caused so many people,” Araoz said.
Michelle Licata, an alleged Florida victim of Epstein when she was 16, said she didn’t want anyone to die.
“I just wanted him to be held accountable for his actions. Simple as that,” she said.
Law enforcement sources told ABC News the criminal case against Epstein will not end with his death. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan will continue to evaluate the evidence and hear from his accusers, the sources said.
A source familiar with the case told ABC News that Attorney General William Barr is “livid.” Barr said in a statement he was “appalled” at the news and the Inspector General is opening an investigation into Epstein’s death, in addition to the FBI’s investigation.
“Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” he said.
Politicians, too, demanded answers in the wake of Epstein’s suicide.
Lois Frankel, a Democratic congressman who represents Palm Beach, said his death “does not end the need for justice for his victims or the right of the public to know why a prolific child molester got a slap on the wrist instead of a long prison sentence.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., wrote on Twitter, “We need answers. Lots of them.”
His alleged crimes were thrown back into the spotlight amid renewed scrutiny of the plea deal Epstein reached with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami in 2007, led by then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta. A non-prosecution agreement allowed Epstein, a hedge-fund manager, to plead guilty to two state charges and avoid federal charges for an allegedly broad pattern of similar sexual misconduct. He would serve just 13 months of an 18-month sentence in county jail in Florida.
The alleged victims in that case told ABC News they were not made aware of the details of the plea agreement while it was being negotiated.
The deal is currently under review by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility. Acosta was serving as President Trump’s Labor Secretary amid the controversy over his role in the deal. He later resigned from that position.
On Friday, a federal appellate court in New York unsealed around 2,000 pages of documents from a now-settled civil defamation case between Virginia Roberts Giuffre, an alleged Epstein victim, and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime Epstein associate.
Giuffre accused Maxwell of recruiting her while she was working as a locker-room attendant at Mar-A-Lago in 2000 and bringing her to Epstein’s home for a massage. She claims that she eventually became a teen sex slave to Epstein, and a victim of sex trafficking, beginning at age 17, at the hands of both Epstein and Maxwell.
The newly-unsealed documents showed that Giuffre alleged that Epstein and Maxwell directed her to have sex with, among others: Prince Andrew; criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz; former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson; former Senator George Mitchell; a well-known prime minister, who she wouldn’t name; and a foreign man who was introduced to her as a “prince.”

Maxwell has consistently denied Giuffre’s claims.

“Ghislaine Maxwell did not participate in, facilitate, manage or otherwise conspire to commit sex trafficking” as alleged by Giuffre, her attorney wrote in a 2016 court filing.
Maxwell’s attorneys also contend in the newly unsealed court filings that Giuffre had “utterly failed” to substantiate her allegations that Maxwell facilitated her abuse. Giuffre’s claims about having been trafficked to other prominent men, Maxwell’s lawyers wrote, are “patently incredible.”
Mitchell called the allegations “false.”
“I have never met, spoken with or had any contact with Ms. Giuffre,” he said in a statement issued Friday. “In my contacts with Mr. Epstein I never observed or suspected any inappropriate conduct with underage girls. I only learned of his actions when they were reported in the media related to his prosecution in Florida. We have had no further contact.”

Richardson also denied Giuffre’s claims.
“These allegations and inferences are completely false. Governor Richardson has never even been contacted by any party regarding this lawsuit,” Maddy Mahony, a spokeswoman for Richardson, said in a statement. “To be clear, in Governor Richardson’s limited interactions with Mr. Epstein, he never saw him in the presence of young or underage girls. Governor Richardson has never been to Mr. Epstein’s residence in the Virgin Islands. Governor Richardson has never met Ms. Giuffre.”
Giuffre’s allegations were never tested in court because the case was settled prior to trial.
During a detention hearing in July, Epstein came face-to-face with two other accusers. Annie Farmer said she was 16 when Epstein had her sent to New Mexico where he was allegedly “inappropriate” with her. Courtney Wild told the judge she was 14 when Epstein allegedly sexually abused her in Palm Beach, Florida. Both women spoke in support of keeping Epstein locked up without bail.
Epstein appeared to watch them address the judge, but his face showed no emotion.
A federal judge later denied bail for Epstein, after deciding he was too great a flight risk to release from custody.
Epstein’s body will be taken to the city morgue and an autopsy will be conducted as soon as Sunday, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.
ABC News’ James Hill, Kaitlyn Folmer, Pierre Thomas and Kristin Shae Pisarcik contributed to this report

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The Nationalists who are pushing for immigration reform, sending people back to their country of origin seem to have forgotten that people of color were here (United States) before the Europeans arrived with diseases, firearms and the trampling of the rights of the indigenous people. If and when those injustices are addressed there can be no peace with the so-called “MAGA”, White Supremacists and indeed racist groups who essentially stole what is now America from the Native tribes who were here centuries before Europeans arrive and thrived before  Euro-trash brought diseases that decimated whole tribes. As far as the ” go back where you came from” trope, it can honestly be said that the Americans (nee indigenous peoples) have more right to demand that nonindigenous people return to their country of birth than TOTUS and his miscreant followers. If indeed everyone who ancestrally and by birth are from another country left, where would this nation be? So the question: “Whose Country is it- Really”?

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The administration’s attempts at beating China is also beating us. MA

By Yawen Chen and David Stanway 1 hr ago

Washington’s decision to ratchet up currency tensions on Monday would also “prevent a global economic and trade recovery,” the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said in the country’s first official response to the latest U.S. salvo in the two sides’ rapidly escalating trade war.
China “has not used and will not use the exchange rate as a tool to deal with trade disputes,” the PBOC said in a statement on its website.
“China advised the United States to rein in its horse before the precipice, and be aware of its errors, and turn back from the wrong path,” it said.
The U.S. currency accusation, which followed a sharp slide in the yuan on Monday, has driven an even bigger wedge between the world’s largest economies and crushed any lingering hopes for a quick resolution to their year-long trade war.
The dispute has already spread beyond tariffs to other areas such as technology, and analysts caution tit-for-tat measures could widen in scope and severity, weighing further on business confidence and global economic growth.
The U.S. Treasury Department said on Monday it had determined for the first time since 1994 that China was manipulating its currency, taking their trade dispute beyond tariffs.
The U.S. decision was driven purely by political motive to “vent its anger”, said Global Times, an influential Chinese tabloid published by the Ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily.
China “no longer expects goodwill from the United States”, Hu Xijin, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, tweeted on Tuesday.
The U.S. decision to label China a manipulator came less than three weeks after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the yuan’s value was in line with China’s economic fundamentals, while the U.S. dollar was overvalued by 6% to 12%.
The U.S law sets out three criteria for identifying manipulation among major trading partners: a material global current account surplus, a significant trade surplus with the United States, and persistent one-way intervention in foreign exchange markets.
CHINA’S RETALIATION OPTIONS
Chinese state media had warned that Beijing could use its dominant position as a rare earths exporter to the United States as leverage in the trade dispute. The materials are used in everything from military equipment to high-tech consumer electronics.
Shares in some of China’s rare earth-related firms surged on Tuesday amid speculation the sector could be the next front in the trade war.
Beijing could also step up pressure on U.S. companies operating in China, analysts say.
Beijing in June issued a travel advisory warning Chinese tourists about the risks of traveling to the United States, citing concerns about gun violence, robberies and thefts.
Air China said on Tuesday that it was suspending its flights on the Beijing-Honolulu route starting on Aug. 27, following a review of its network.
In a further sign of deteriorating ties, China’s commerce ministry announced overnight that its companies had stopped buying U.S. agricultural products in retaliation against Washington’s latest tariff threat.
“In the end, the United States will eat the fruit of its own labor,” the PBOC said.
FALLING YUAN
Chinese monetary authorities let the yuan fall past the closely watched 7 level on Monday so that markets could finally factor in concerns around the trade war and weakening economic growth, three people with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters on Monday.
The yuan has tumbled as much as 2.7% against the dollar over the past three days to 11-year lows after President Donald Trump’s sudden declaration last week that he will impose 10% tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese imports from Sept. 1.
But it appeared to steady on Tuesday amid signs that China’s central bank may be looking to stem the slide, which has sparked fears of a global currency war.
The offshore yuan fell to a record low of 7.1397 per dollar on Tuesday before clawing back losses after the central bank said it was selling yuan-denominated bills in Hong Kong, a move seen as curtailing short selling of the currency.
Onshore yuan also opened weaker before steadying, but remained below the 7 level. While the central bank set a slightly firmer-than-expected morning benchmark rate, it was still the weakest since May 2008.
The PBOC has insisted the value of its yuan is determined by the market, though it has maintained a firm grip on the currency and supported it when it neared sensitive levels over the past year.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. government will engage with the IMF to eliminate unfair competition from Beijing.
A IMF spokeswoman said the organization does not have any immediate comment.
After determining a country is a manipulator, the Treasury is required to demand special talks aimed at correcting an undervalued currency, with penalties such as exclusion from U.S. government procurement contracts.
“Naming China a currency manipulator could open the door for U.S. tariffs to eventually increase to more than 25% on Chinese goods,” according to a note from DBS Group Research.
(Reporting by Winni Zhou and David Stanway in SHANGHAI, and Cheng Leng and Yawen Chen in BEIJING, Andrea Shalal in WASHINGTON; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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The opinion below is an example of the administration’s ignorance of world finances. MA

Opinion: China just showed why Trump…

Jeff Spross 5 hrs ago
China opened up a new front in President Trump’s trade war on Monday, sending Wall Street into a tizzy. Basically, China’s central bank adjusted the value of its currency down to its lowest point in over a decade. Investors, fearing President Trump will respond with another tariff escalation, reacted by fleeing stocks for the safety of bonds and Treasuries — causing the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to fall 3 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively, by the end of the day. And they’re likely right. Yet it’s also the case that the low value of the renminbi versus the U.S. dollar really is a problem worth addressing.
So is there any way America can combat China’s currency machinations without a tariff war and the ensuing market panic? It turns out, there may be.
Right now, as we all know, Trump is relying on tariffs to carry out his trade war. The primary strategy here is to browbeat China into accepting various reforms. But thus far, China hasn’t been overly inclined to cooperate, and Trump’s tariff threats keep escalating: He’s already imposed 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese exports to the U.S. And last week, he threatened a 10 percent tariff on another $300 billion worth, which would basically make every last dollar of Chinese exports subject to U.S. duties.
The drop in China’s currency is a problem for this strategy because it largely neutralizes the pain of Trump’s tariffs. The whole idea behind the tariffs is to raise the cost of Chinese exports in the domestic American market, so that Americans buy less of them. But a fall in the value of China’s currency lowers the cost of those exports for Americans, thus offsetting the tariffs’ effect. Indeed, the People’s Bank of China explicitly said the new, lower value target was retaliation for the “unilateralism and trade protectionism measures and the imposition of increased tariffs on China.” Trump promptly took to Twitter to rage about “currency manipulation.”
The thing is, the Trump administration hasn’t come up with any responses other than to impose even more tariffs on Chinese exports to punish drops in the renminbi. Beyond simply repeating the same strategy and hoping for a different outcome, this perpetual upward ratchet of tariffs is precisely what freaks out the markets. Tariffs disrupt specific industries with specific supply chains, invite retaliatory tariffs that do the same, and generally cause a great deal of headaches for investors.
Beyond all that, Trump’s tariffs have also failed to rebalance the flow of trade between the U.S. and China — ostensibly the larger goal of the president’s economic confrontation with our neighbor to the east. Our trade deficit with China has actually increased since Trump’s trade war commenced.
Bottom line: the tariffs have brought a lot of pain for both sides while achieving little. Trump needs an alternative. And several are readily available.
When China’s central bank engineers a drop in its currency, what it’s doing in concrete terms is buying up financial assets denominated in U.S. dollars. That increases demand for the dollar, hiking its value relative to the renminbi. Bringing the two currencies back into a closer balance requires responding to those purchases in some fashion.
One option is to discourage the buying. For example, the U.S. government could impose a fee or tax on all foreign purchases of U.S. assets. Instead of slapping a tariff on Americans buying Chinese goods and services, we’d essentially slap a tariff on Chinese buyers purchasing U.S. financial instruments. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), for example, just put forward a bill that would give the Federal Reserve a new additional mandate to balance America’s trade flows with the world within five years. And the tool they give the Fed to do this is a new fee to be imposed on all foreign purchases of U.S. stocks and bonds and so forth — effectively making it more expensive for China to engage in this sort of manipulation.
Now, Wall Street would probably hate this idea. To a certain extent, wealthy investors don’t like any government efforts to intervene in trade flows because they just want to be left alone. But it should have minimal effects on the real economy. America is awash in cheap financial capital with or without Chinese investors.
Another option is to get even more surgical: America could buy up Chinese financial assets until the effect of their purchases of our assets are counterbalanced. In short, if China (or anyone else) raises the value of the U.S. dollar relative to their currency by creating demand for our assets, we can raise the value of their currency relative to ours by buying their assets, and neutralize the whole affair. Indeed, the easiest way to do this might be to take the same route Baldwin and Hawley did: Direct the Federal Reserve to bring our trade flows into balance by buying up financial assets denominated in China’s renminbi, or in the currency of any other country our trade flows are out of whack with due to these sorts of interventions.
This would be even less disruptive than charging a fee for foreign purchases of our assets. Investors here and around the world could still buy whatever they wanted without interference; the Fed would simply be participating in the global markets with more strategic intention. As for the real economy, business models and supply chains would simply adjust to changing currency rates, which — in our ostensible global free market for currency exchanges — they already do.
Finally, these aren’t just tools for prosecuting a trade war with China. They are tools for reforming America’s trade flows with the entire world. Estimates suggest the U.S. dollar needs to fall by anywhere from 6 percent to 30 percent to resolve our trade imbalances with the globe. Tariffs are, at best, a horribly indirect method of adjusting currency values, and they do a lot of collateral damage. There are better ways to cut to the heart of the matter.

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