5 THINGS MOST AMERICANS DON’T KNOW ABOUT THEIR COUNTRY AMERICA

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Imagine you have a brother and he’s an alcoholic. He has his moments, but you keep your distance from him. You don’t mind him for the occasional family gathering or holiday. You still love him. But you don’t want to be around him. This is how I lovingly describe my current relationship with the United States. The United States is my alcoholic brother. And although I will always love him, I don’t want to be near him at the moment.

I know that’s harsh, but I really feel my home country is not in a good place these days. That’s not a socioeconomic statement (although that’s on the decline as well), but rather a cultural one.

I realize it’s going to be impossible to write sentences like the ones above without coming across as a raging prick, so let me try to soften the blow to my American readers with an analogy:

You know when you move out of your parents’ house and live on your own, how you start hanging out with your friends’ families and you realize that actually, your family was a little screwed up? As it turns out, stuff you always assumed was normal your entire childhood was pretty weird and may have actually fucked you up a little bit. You know, dad thinking it was funny to wear a Santa Claus hat in his underwear every Christmas or the fact that you and your sister slept in the same bed until you were 22, or that your mother routinely cried over a bottle of wine while listening to Elton John.

The point is we don’t really get perspective on what’s close to us until we spend time away from it. Just like you didn’t realize the weird quirks and nuances of your family until you left and spent time with others, the same is true for country and culture. You often don’t see what’s messed up about your country and culture until you step outside of it.

And so even though this article is going to come across as fairly scathing, I want my American readers to know this: some of the stuff we do, some of the stuff that we always assumed was normal, it’s kind of screwed up. And that’s OK. Because that’s true with every culture. It’s just easier to spot it in others (e.g., the French) so we don’t always notice it in ourselves.

So as you read this article, know that I’m saying everything with tough love, the same tough love with which I’d sit down and lecture an alcoholic family member. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It doesn’t mean there aren’t some awesome things about you (BRO, THAT’S AWESOME!!!). And it doesn’t mean I’m some saint either because god knows I’m pretty screwed up (I’m American, after all). There are just a few things you need to hear. And as a friend, I’m going to tell them to you.

And to my foreign readers, get your necks ready, because this is going to be a nod-a-thon.

A Little “What The Hell Does This Guy Know?” Background: I’ve lived in half a dozen states in the US, primarily in the deep south and the northeast. I have visited 45 of the US’s 50 states. I also lived abroad for several years, primarily in South America and Asia (with various stints in Europe). I speak three languages. I’m married to a foreigner. So I feel like I have a good perspective on the US from both the inside and outside.

(Note: I realize all the things on this list are generalizations and I realize there are always exceptions. I get it. You don’t have to send 55 emails telling me that you and your best friend are exceptions. If you really get that offended from some guy’s blog post, you may want to double-check your life priorities.)

OK, we’re ready now. 10 things Americans don’t know about America.

1. FEW PEOPLE ARE IMPRESSED BY US

Unless you’re speaking with a real estate agent or a prostitute, chances are they’re not going to be excited that you’re American. It’s not some badge of honor we get to parade around. Yes, we had Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison, but unless you actually are Steve Jobs or Thomas Edison (which is unlikely), then most people around the world are simply not going to care. There are exceptions of course. And those exceptions are called English and Australian people. Whoopdie-fucking-doo.

As Americans, we’re brought up our entire lives being taught that we’re the best, we did everything first and that the rest of the world follows our lead. Not only is this not true, but people get irritated when you bring it to their country with you. So don’t.

2. FEW PEOPLE HATE US

Despite the occasional eye-rolling, and complete inability to understand why anyone would vote for George W. Bush (twice), people from other countries don’t hate us either. In fact — and I know this is a really sobering realization for us — most people in the world don’t really think about us or care about us. I know, that sounds absurd, especially with CNN and Fox News showing the same 20 angry Arab men on repeat for ten years straight. But unless we’re invading someone’s country or threatening to invade someone’s country (which is likely), then there’s a 99.99% chance they don’t care about us. Just like we rarely think about the people in Bolivia or Mongolia, most people don’t think about us much. They have jobs, kids, house payments — you know, those things called lives — to worry about. Kind of like us.

Americans tend to assume that the rest of the world either loves us or hates us (this is actually a good litmus test to tell if someone is conservative or liberal). The fact is, most people feel neither. Most people don’t think much about us.

Remember that immature girl in high school, how every little thing that happened to her meant that someone either hated her or was obsessed with her; who thought every teacher who ever gave her a bad grade was being totally unfair and everything good that happened to her was because of how amazing she was? Yeah, we’re that immature high school girl.

3. WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE REST OF THE WORLD

For all of our talk about being global leaders and how everyone follows us, we don’t seem to know much about our supposed “followers.” They often have completely different takes on history than we do. Here were some brain-stumpers for me: the Vietnamese were more concerned with independence (not us), Hitler was primarily defeated by the Soviet Union (not us), there is evidence that Native Americans were wiped out largely by disease and plague BEFORE Europeans arrived and not just after, and the American Revolution was partly “won” because the British invested more of their resources in fighting France (not us). Notice a running theme here?

(Hint: It’s not all about us. The world is more complicated.)

We did not invent democracy. We didn’t even invent modern democracy. There were parliamentary systems in England and other parts of Europe over a hundred years before we created a government. In a recent survey of young Americans, 63% could not find Iraq on a map (despite being at war with them), and 54% did not know Sudan was a country in Africa. Yet, somehow we’re positive that everyone else looks up to us.

Condescending Wonka

4. WE ARE POOR AT EXPRESSING GRATITUDE AND AFFECTION

There’s a saying about English-speakers. We say “Go fuck yourself,” when we really mean “I like you,” and we say “I like you,” when we really mean “Go fuck yourself.”

Outside of getting shit-housed drunk and screaming “I LOVE YOU, MAN!”, open displays of affection in American culture are tepid and rare. Latin and some European cultures describe us as “cold” and “passionless” and for good reason. In our social lives, we don’t say what we mean and we don’t mean what we say.

In our culture, appreciation and affection are implied rather than spoken outright. Two guy friends call each other names to reinforce their friendship; men and women tease and make fun of each other to imply interest. Feelings are almost never shared openly and freely. Consumer culture has cheapened our language of gratitude. Something like, “It’s so good to see you” is empty now because it’s expected and heard from everybody.

In dating, when I find a woman attractive, I almost always walk right up to her and tell her that a) I wanted to meet her, and b) she’s beautiful. In America, women usually get incredibly nervous and confused when I do this. They’ll make jokes to defuse the situation or sometimes ask me if I’m part of a TV show or something playing a prank. Even when they’re interested and go on dates with me, they get a bit disoriented when I’m so blunt with my interest. Whereas, in almost every other culture approaching women this way is met with a confident smile and a “Thank you.”

5. THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THE AVERAGE AMERICAN IS NOT THAT GREAT

Supposedly, Pablo Escobar once said, “I’m not a rich man; I’m a poor man with a lot of money.”

The United States is not a rich country, it’s a poor country with a lot of money. If you’re extremely talented or intelligent, the US is probably the best place in the world to live. The system is stacked heavily to allow people of talent and advantage to rise to the top quickly.

The problem with the US is that everyone thinks they are of talent and advantage. As John Steinbeck famously said, the problem with poor Americans is that “they don’t believe they’re poor, but rather temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” It’s this culture of self-delusion that allows America to continue to innovate and churn out new industry more than anyone else in the world. But this shared delusion also unfortunately keeps perpetuating large social inequalities and the quality of life for the average citizen lower than most other developed countries. It’s the price we pay to maintain our growth and economic dominance.

To me, being wealthy is having the freedom to maximize one’s life experiences. In those terms, despite the average American having more material wealth than citizens of most other countries (more cars, bigger houses, nicer televisions), their overall quality of life suffers in my opinion. American people on average work more hours with less vacation, spend more time commuting every day, and are saddled with over $10,000 of debt. That’s a lot of time spent working and buying crap and little time or disposable income for relationships, activities, or new experiences.

Bangkok City at night time, Hotel and resident area in the capital of Thailand

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U.S. Military Just Made A Bold Move To Stop The Caravan Going To America

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An illegal migrant caravan is on its way to the U.S. border.

It is full of criminals and gang members masquerading as asylum seekers.

And the military is aware of this, and just made a bold move to stop them.

The Caravan Is On The Move

Droves of illegal migrants are working their way across Mexico toward the United States.

The majority of them come from South American countries like Honduras.

Those countries are rampant with crime.

So the caravan is attempting to enter the U.S. to get away from that.

But one concern that many have is that the caravan includes many criminals.

President Trump has raised this concern on more than one occasion.

And when he does, fake news outlets like CNN call him a liar.

CNN seems to be the propaganda wing of the caravan.

Just as they provide cover for Democrats, they are covering for the illegal migrants.

Because the reality is that there are many criminals in the caravan.

Gang members, including ones from MS-13, are prevalent.

The left is trying desperately to dispute that.

But Trump knows the truth and is taking action.

The Military Makes Their Way To Stop The Caravan

Trump has U.S. troops on the ground ready to stop the caravan.

It has now ballooned to over 12,000 people, so it could get ugly.

But the future of the U.S. is at stake, so everything is on the table to stop them.

The first move that the military is doing is defensive.

They are creating hard obstacles to prevent the caravan from marching across the border.

So far, they are working with border patrol to place barbed wire along likely entry points.

This is a solid step towards preventing the caravan from getting in easily.

And it proves how serious Trump is about protecting the border.

Trump is even willing to go so far as to say that the military will open fire if attacked by the caravan.

Many are attacking him for saying that.

But it is common self-defense.

When tens of thousands of people are attacking, that force may be necessary.

Trump is one of the few people willing to say that.

A Wall Would Work Better To Stop The Caravan

While this is a good step, it doesn’t fix the problem permanently.

A wall on the Southern border is the ultimate fix.

But so far it hasn’t been started.

Trump is working to change that.

It is his main campaign promise after all.

But so far his efforts to build a wall have been blocked by both Democrats and weak-kneed Republicans.

Despite being a wildly popular issue among Republicans, he still has resistance.

It may be the biggest issue that led towards Trump being elected.

That’s because it makes sense, and voters like that somebody is actually using common sense.

Do you support building a wall on the Southern border?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Migrants In The Caravan Filed Lawsuit That Could End America

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The migrant caravan marching toward America is a serious threat.

But no one had any idea just how dangerous they really are.

Migrants in the caravan just filed one lawsuit that could end the country as you know it.

Migrants In Caravan Sue Donald Trump

Twelve Honduran migrants in the caravan – including six children – are suing Donald Trump by claiming he violated their Fifth Amendment rights.

They cite a 1993 opinion by Justice Scalia who stated, “it is well established that the Fifth Amendment entitles aliens to due process of law in a deportation proceeding.”

Mike Donovan, the lawyer who filed the suit, appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show to explain this absurd motion.

“They are claiming rights under the asylum provisions of our statutes that affords them due process rights under that law. We have due process under the law. This is a law that is specifically directed to them so of course, they have due process rights,” Donovan declared.

But Carlson shut him down with one cold, hard truth.

The migrants are not on U.S. soil.

Therefore, the Constitution does not apply to them.

“Let me just correct you as a non-lawyer. They do not possess those rights if they are in another country and not U.S. citizens. If they possess those rights, then, I don’t know, the entire country of Nigeria — pick a country that is poorer than the United States and say ‘we want to come there,’ president says you can’t come and all of a sudden eight hundred million people sue you for violating their constitutional rights for a country they’ve never been to?” Carlson told Donovan.

The Left’s Real End Game

Donald Trump wants to deny asylum to anyone entering the country illegally.

But the left not only wants to undercut Trump’s desire to secure the border, they want to do something even more sinister.

They want to file a series of cases to eventually create a right to illegally immigrate into America.

The left ran this playbook when the court imposed nationwide homosexual marriage in 2015.

First, they won the Lawrence v. Texas case that struck down Texas’s sodomy laws.

Then they won a second case in 2008 by overturning California’s Proposition 8—which amended the state Constitution that established marriage as one man and one woman.

Finally, in 2015, the left used these victories to eventually win the Obergefell v. Hodges case, which invented the right to homosexual marriage.

The left wants a repeat with illegal immigration.

If the court establishes a right to illegal immigration, many Americans fear the country will be lost forever.

Democrats would open the borders to millions of illegal immigrants.

Liberals would then ram amnesty into law and grant them voting rights.

That would allow the Democrats to win elections for a generation.

The consequences for America would be catastrophic.

We will keep you up to date on any new developments in this ongoing story.

Trump and Obama trade blows as midterm elections loom

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As the final countdown begins to Tuesday’s midterm elections, the contest is turning into a tale of two presidents. The current occupant of the White House is fighting to retain control over Congress. He is also locked in mortal combat with his immediate predecessor, who is battling to hold on to his legacy.

Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, and Barack Obama, the 44th, both took to the stump on Sunday. Their first rallies of the day were separated by 750 miles of interstate highway, but in content and vision they were lightyears apart.

Trump, addressing a crowd in Macon, Georgia, set out his now familiar dystopia of an America overrun with criminal aliens and radical socialists. He unleashed his firepower on Stacey Abrams, the Democrat seeking to become the first black woman governor of any state in the union.

“You put Stacey in there and you are going to get Georgia turn into Venezuela,” Trump said. “Stacey Abrams wants to turn your wonderful state into a giant sanctuary city for criminal aliens, putting innocent Georgia families at the mercy of hardened criminals and predators.”

Obama was in Gary, Indiana. He implied that the existential threat came from his successor himself. Though he did not mention Trump by name, he laid out a picture of today’s politics that was in its own way equally dystopian, led by a man who had no qualms about lying or about playing to people’s fears.

“What kind of politics do we want,” he asked Democrats in a state where Senator Joe Donnelly is struggling to be re-elected. “What we have not seen at least in my memory is where, right now, you’ve got politicians blatantly, repeatedly, baldly, shamelessly lying. Just making up stuff.”

As Obama spoke, his voice hoarse, he banged the podium with the passion of a politician who has seen his legacy unpicked in record time. From his signature Affordable Care Act – dubbed by Democrats with affection and Republicans with equal disdain as “Obamacare” – to his actions on climate change, immigration reform, income redistribution and the composition of the US supreme court, his achievements have been brutally assailed.

Obama ridiculed Trump’s focus in the final days of the campaign on the caravan of Central American asylum seekers making their perilous way to the US border. “Two weeks before the election they are telling us that the single greatest threat to America is a bunch of poor, impoverished, broken, hungry refugees 1,000 miles away.”

But he warned: “Sometimes these tactics of scaring people and making stuff up work.”

He painted the stakes at Tuesday’s election as no less than the future of democracy itself. “There have got to be consequences when people don’t tell the truth. When words stop meaning anything, when people can just lie with abandon, democracy can’t work. Nothing works… Society doesn’t work unless there are consequences.”

Despite their conflicting approaches, Trump and Obama shared one message: that the normally lacklustre and low-turnout midterms could not be more significant this time. As Obama put it: “America is at a crossroads. The character of our country is on the ballot.”

Here’s how Trump put the same idea: “This election will decide on whether we build on the extraordinary prospective we have created or whether we let the radical Democrats take a wrecking ball to our future.”

It seems their message is working, if the response of the electorate is an indication. Some 33 million votes have already been counted in early voting, vastly more than at this stage four years ago. Turnout is on track to be the largest in a midterm election for more than 50 years.

When polling stations open on America’s eastern seaboard at 6am on Tuesday, both main parties have much to win and lose. With all 435 seats of the House of Representatives up for grabs, the Democrats look well-placed to gain the 23 they need to take back control and put a spoke in the wheel of Trump’s ambitions.

A much tougher challenge faces the party in the Senate, where 26 Democratic seats are in play compared with only nine Republican.

The intensity of the fight,on display at the presidents’ dueling rallies, was reflected too on the Sunday political talk shows, which were dominated by disputes over race-baiting. Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told CNN’s State of the Union: “What you see in the closing argument is dog-whistle politics, appeals to racists, just the worst of America.”

The show’s host, Jake Tapper, engaged in a feisty to-and-fro with Perez’s Republican counterpart, Ronna McDaniel. He put to her a racially provocative attack ad made for the Trump campaign and shared on social media by the president last week, which accused Democrats of allowing into the US an undocumented migrant who murdered two police officers in California. In fact, Luis Bracamontes most recently entered the US during the administration of George W Bush, a Republican. The advert was widely condemned.

Tapper asked the RNC chair if she had any concerns about the flagrant inaccuracy of the ad as well as its blatant racist tone. She avoided replying directly, saying: “Regardless. We didn’t want [Bracamontes] in the country. He killed police. That’s not good.”

“Is that the Democrats’ fault?” Tapper pressed.

“It’s a systemic failure.”

When Tapper said that suggested both main parties were responsible, not just the Democrats, McDaniel replied: “Who’s the party saying, ‘Let’s fix it’? Who’s the party fixing all the problems?”

With so much riding on Tuesday night, Trump and Republican leadership have resorted to increasingly extreme language. A return to Democratic control of the House would allow liberals to block much of the president’s agenda, as well as to investigate him aggressively in committees wielding subpoena power.

In addition, 36 state governors are up for re-election and the Democrats hope to win back hundreds of seats in state legislatures.

Despite economic indicators that put unemployment at 3.7%, its lowest level in 49 years, and wage growth at its best since 2009, Trump has taken a big gamble in prioritizing his anti-immigration policies rather than a booming economy. On Friday at a rally in West Virginia, he said: “We have the greatest economy in the history of our country. But sometimes it’s not as exciting to talk about the economy.”

The president has promised in lurid terms anti-immigrant measures, from sending troops to the border with Mexico to making it harder to claim asylum and putting an end to so-called “birthright citizenship”, whereby anyone born in the US is automatically American. His incendiary talk has been matched by others in his administration.

On Saturday, agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue spoke in Lakeland, Florida. He was trying to buoy up the chances of Ron DeSantis becoming governor instead of an African American Democrat, Andrew Gillum. Even had the neck-and-neck race not involved a black candidate, Perdue’s words would have been explosive.

“Public policy matters,” he said. “Leadership matters. And that is why this election is so cotton-pickin’ important to the state of Florida. I hope you all don’t mess it up.”

Florida joined the US in 1845 as a slave state, with half its enslaved black population working on cotton and sugar plantations.

Barack Obama and Stacey Abrams wave to the crowd during a campaign rally at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
 Barack Obama and Stacey Abrams wave to the crowd during a campaign rally at Morehouse College in Atlanta. 

Race is also a big issue in Georgia. Abrams’ opponent, Brian Kemp, is in charge of overseeing elections as secretary of state. In that role he has been accused of attempting to prevent thousands of largely African American residents from voting.

Abrams was asked by CNN on Sunday what she thought about Perdue’s “cotton-pickin” comment. She said: “I think there is certainly a throwback element to the language coming out of the Republican party that is unfortunately disparaging to communities. It may be unintentional, but it signals a deeper misinformation about what Andrew Gillum can accomplish, what I can accomplish.”

As Trump set out from the White House for Georgia, he told reporters his recent spate of rallies, in which he has set out his dystopian view of a nation under siege from “invading” immigrants, had sparked a fire under the conservative base.

“There’s something very interesting that’s happening the level of fervor, the level of fever is very strong on the Republican side,” he said. “There’s a lot of energy out there. I think that the rallies have been the things that have caused this fervor to start. I have never seen such an enthusiastic Republican party.”

Polls continue to indicate that Democrats have a significant lead, though after the embarrassment to pollsters of 2016 any such figures must be handled with extreme caution. The last poll from the Wall Street Journal/NBC News showed the Democrats up by seven points in terms of who respondents wanted to control Congress.

Trump’s low approval rating – CNN puts it at 44% – continues to be a challenge. In 2010 Barack Obama had a rating of 46%. He lost 63 House seats.

Trump, Xi upbeat on trade after phone call; US targets more Chinese firms

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WASHINGTON/BEIJING – US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who spoke by telephone on Thursday, expressed optimism about resolving their trade dispute ahead of a high-stakes meeting at the end of November in Argentina.

But within hours of upbeat assessment, the US Justice Department took aim at another Chinese firm it accused of unfair practices, part of an across-the-board pressure campaign by the Trump administration targeting China.

Still, investors cheered the resumption of dialogue and a report that Trump was taking steps to resolve the tariff war, with shares in Asia hitting three-week highs on Friday and the dollar softening.

Trump said on Twitter that trade discussions with China were “moving along nicely,” and that he planned to meet Xi on the sidelines of a G20 summit, in Argentina, after the two had a “very good” phone discussion.

Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, later reported that Trump wants to reach a trade agreement with China at the G20 meeting and that after the call with Xi, he had asked officials to begin drafting possible terms.

The news agency said it was not clear if Trump was easing up on demands that China has resisted, and it cited one person as saying intellectual property theft was a sticking point on a possible deal.

In comments in state media, Xi said he hoped China and the United States would be able to promote a steady and healthy relationship, and that he was willing to meet Trump in Argentina.

“The two countries’ trade teams should strengthen contact and conduct consultations on issues of concern to both sides, and promote a plan that both can accept to reach a consensus on the China-US trade issue,” Xi said on CCTV state television.

Xi was quoted as saying after the call with Trump that they had hoped to expand trade cooperation.

Neither leader specified any details of possible progress in their first known direct discussion in several months.

Trump administration officials have said that trade talks with China cannot resume until it comes up with specific actions it is willing take to meet US demands for sweeping changes to policies on technology transfers, industrial subsidies and market access.

The two countries have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods and Trump has threatened to put tariffs on the remainder of China’s $500 billion-plus exports to the United States if the disputes cannot be resolved.

Jacob Parker, vice president of China operations at the US-China Business Council in Beijing, said there were plenty of challenges that would require significant negotiations in advance of a meeting between Trump and Xi to ensure success.

“What negotiations have lacked to date has been that (presidential) level of engagement. If President Trump makes an agreement with President Xi, there is nobody above them to overturn it,” he said.

“We’re optimistic this is a potential off-ramp of increasingly antagonistic trade tensions and hope it leads to a pause and new negotiations,” he said.

Tu Xinquan, a trade expert at Beijing’s University of International Business and Economics, said he was skeptical that the Trump administration was truly ready to deal, and that other factors, such as the mid-term congressional elections, could be driving statements from the administration.

“The best situation (from a Trump-Xi meeting) would be no further actions, temporarily. But the tariffs already imposed will not go away,” Tu said.

Intellectual property theft

Just after the upbeat readouts of the Trump-Xi call, the Justice Department announced the latest in a list of actions against what the Trump administration calls China’s cheating through intellectual property theft, unfair corporate subsidies and rules hampering US corporations in China.

A Justice Department indictment targeted two companies based in China and Taiwan and three individuals, saying they conspired to steal trade secrets from US semiconductor company Micron Technology Inc.

This week, prosecutors announced an indictment against 10 defendants, including two Chinese intelligence officers and other computer hackers and co-conspirators, who are all accused of breaking into American company computers to steal data on a turbo fan engine used in commercial jetliners.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China was probably Washington’s biggest long-term security challenge and the United States was engaged in a “multi-pronged effort … to convince China to behave like a normal nation on commerce” and respect international law.

But Trump struck a more affable tone on Twitter after the phone call with Xi.

“Just had a long and very good conversation with President Xi Jinping of China. We talked about many subjects, with a heavy emphasis on Trade,” Trump tweeted. “Those discussions are moving along nicely with meetings being scheduled at the G-20 in Argentina. Also had good discussion on North Korea!”

Earlier this week, Trump said he thought there would be “a great deal” with China on trade, but warned that he had billions of dollars worth of new tariffs ready to go if a deal did not materialize.

The United States has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, with duties on $200 billion of the total set to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent on Jan. 1, 2019.

China has responded with retaliatory duties on $110 billion worth of US goods.

Credit to: Reuters