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A woman checks prices at a supermarket in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. President Mauricio Macri announced economic relief for poor and working-class Argentines that include an increased minimum wage, reduced payroll taxes, a bonus for informal workers and a freeze in gasoline prices. The conservative leader said Wednesday he's acting in recognition of the "anger" Argentines expressed in Sunday's primary election, when Macri trailed his populist rival by 15 percentage points. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Cry for Argentina

Cry for Argentina. What else is there to do after a rout like this? “The main Argentine stock market plunged more than 30% on Monday, marking the second-biggest one day slump anywhere since 1950,” the financial network CNBC reported this week. “Meanwhile, the peso closed 15% weaker at 53.5 per U.S. dollar. The currency had been trading at 45.25 on Friday.”

FILE - In this June 29. 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump, left, meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. Trump is prioritizing China trade negotiations over defending the Hong Kong protesters. This contrasts with the stance normally taken by his White House predecessors, who would use such a flashpoint as a moment to espouse an American commitment to democratic values.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Trump’s troubles with the Asian axis

President Trump assures Americans regularly that he has a “great relationship” with an array of world figures, among them Xi Jinping of China and Kim Jong-un of North Korea. It’s comforting to hear. It would be more gratifying, though, to see these relationships bear fruit. Try as he might, the president has been stymied in his efforts to seal crucial deals with his Asian counterparts. Americans may be subject to creeping doubts, but there is no substitute for persistence.

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In a Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, file photo, Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams makes remarks during a press conference at the Abrams Headquarters in Atlanta. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)

The bug bites early

The Democrats did moderately well in the midterm elections, but not as well as they expected, and they lost the three big races they really wanted to win, the governorships in Florida and Georgia and the U.S. Senate seat in Texas. Winning any one of them would have been impressive, particularly given the generally conservative voting record of those states. Such a result would have cheered the Democratic base, and given momentum to the party for 2020. The Democratic media would have put that winner in the winners bracket in the presidential sweepstakes.

The missing collusion investigation

Friends don't let friends go to the clink. The conclusion that the nation is currently running on a dual justice system — a gentler, privileged system for Hillary Clinton and her cronies, and a harsh and unforgiving system for everyone else — is coming evident to everyone.

A sign on a building at the Google campus in Kirkland, Wash. is shown Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. Google employees in Kirkland and around the world briefly walked off the job Thursday in a protest against what they said is the tech company's mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Google deposes God (it thinks)

Omniscience has always been regarded as the sole province of God, but now Google thinks it's big enough to depose Him. Aping the Almighty is the hubris that inevitably carries a price. The technology giant that bestrides the world of information is under assault on numerous fronts for getting a little too abusive of free speech. But if Google and the other giants of Silicon Valley are going to be true to their vow to "do the right thing," they will need help.

Ameer Hassan of New York stops to sign the condolence book as the official portrait of former President George H.W. Bush is draped in black cloth at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, to mark his passing. Bush will lay in state at the Capitol building this week before being buried in Texas. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

George Herbert Walker Bush

They clearly don't make 'em like George H.W. Bush any more. There's no longer much of a market for presidents dedicated to decency, dignity, and unabashed service to God and country.

An Investor walks in front of stock trading boards at a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Share prices were mixed Friday in Asia ahead of the planned meeting by Presidents Donald Trump of the U.S. and Xi Jinping of China at the Group of 20 summit this weekend. (AP Photo/Yam G-Jun)

Misery in the midst of plenty

Donald Trump's economic optimism bemused the economists (and irritated Democrats) when he remarked during the 2016 presidential campaign that America would soon produce too much abundance. "We'll have so much prosperity you'll say it's too much."

In this photo taken in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., smiles as as new members of the House and veteran representatives gather behind closed doors to discuss their agenda when they become the majority in the 116th Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ** FILE **

Good news from the depths of darkness

Who knew a freshperson congressperson could so shake the foundations of the republic, and rattle the world beyond. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won a seat in the Bronx last month, sees her victory as "a watershed moment in world history akin to landing on the moon."

A new president in Mexico

It's not a good sign when a president's approval rating slips under water before he assumes the office. But that's the lot of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who will be sworn in Saturday as the new president of Mexico.

The G-20 pathway to plenty

The United States and China could someday be the ham and eggs, the peanut butter and jelly, of international commerce. Instead of complementing each other's innovative and industrial acumen, however, the two superpowers have fallen into a trade relationship that, like oil and water, is a recipe for economic indigestion. Only if China swallows its pride and endorses the U.S. appeal for fair trade at the Group of 20 summit beginning Friday in Buenos Aires can both nations come away from the table with success.

French President Emmanuel Macron leaves after delivering a speech on 'The presentation of the strategy for ecology transition', at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Tuesday, Nov. 27 2018. Macron said the government will find a way to delay tax increases on fuel during periods when world oil prices are rising. The move aims to reproduce the situation that has led to protests in recent days, some of which have become violent and even marred the famed Champs-Elysees avenue in central Paris. Behind reads: Change together. (Ian Langsdon, Pool via AP)

France's fuel-tax follies

The Earth travels its appointed course through the heavens without effort, but not much moves across its surface without oil. That fact is now painfully apparent in France, where the result of confiscatory environmental taxes has sparked a riotous citizen fury.

A migrant child playfully sticks out his tongue as others stand in line to receive food outside the Benito Juarez Sports Center serving as a temporary shelter for Central American migrants who traveled north in a caravan, in Tijuana, Mexico, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. The mayor of Tijuana has declared a humanitarian crisis in his border city and says that he has asked the United Nations for aid to deal with the approximately 5,000 Central American migrants who have arrived in the city. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Chaos on the border

A funny thing about caravans. They move. In the weeks before the midterm congressional elections, the Democrats and the media chastised President Trump for the attention he paid to the caravan of thousands of migrants moving steadily from Central America, through Mexico, toward the American border.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a signing ceremony for the Papua New Guinea Electrification Partnership at APEC Haus in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Changing Japan

Japan is about to take its most culture-altering step since Gen. Douglas MacArthur restructured Japanese society in the wake of World War II. With no apparent alternative to sustain the highly-skilled workforce that is the key to a successful economy, the Japanese are moving ahead with a scheme to import foreign workers, some of them to stay permanently.

In this Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, photo, visitors walk past a fort at Plymouth Plantation living history museum village, in Plymouth, Mass., where visitors can get a glimpse into the world of the 1627 Pilgrim village. Plymouth, where the Pilgrims came ashore in 1620, is gearing up for a 400th birthday, and everyone's invited, especially the native people whose ancestors wound up losing their land and their lives. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

No program for Thanksgiving

It's not easy for moderns to wrap their minds around the challenges of the first settlers when they sat down to the first Thanksgiving table, folded their hands and asked the Lord's blessings. The spirit of serving divine providence, of braving frightening forces of nature, of laboring with unwavering perseverance, is actually as rare as summer snow in any generation. If the sojourners of yore had been afforded the advantages of today's artificial intelligence in crunching the possibilities of success, odds are they would have stayed home. Smart machines may be, but an algorithm can't account for the invisible spark of human ambition.

Strange times in the House

Nancy Pelosi, that avatar "of San Francisco values," received a note of support from an unlikely ally the other day. She got a fan letter from Donald Trump. Against a backdrop of the gossip, some more informed than other, that she might not get enough votes in her caucus to regain the speakership, the president tweeted: "I can get Nancy Pelosi as many votes as she wants in order for her to be Speaker of the House. She deserves this victory, she has earned it. But there are those in her party who are trying to take her away. She will win!"

In this photo taken May 2018 and released by Yulong Snow Mountain Glacier and Environmental Observation Research Station on Oct. 18, 2018, the Baishui Glacier No.1 is visible next to a tourist viewing platform high in the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the southern province of Yunnan in China. Scientists say the glacier is one of the fastest melting glaciers in the world due to climate change and its relative proximity to the Equator. It has lost 60 percent of its mass and shrunk 250 meters since 1982. (Yulong Snow Mountain Glacier and Environmental Observation Research Station via AP)

Cold shoulder from the sun

When snow covers the ground even as autumn leaves flaunt their colors, it's a sign that winter is running ahead of schedule. There's no use griping about the weather. Everybody talks about the weather, Mark Twain observed, but nobody does anything about it. Humans keep a seasonal calendar and the world of nature has its own. And just when the savants of science think they've found the key to natural powers, unseen forces demonstrate that, like the lesson of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," their wisdom is mostly from Mickey Mouse.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, present details of the new sanctions on Iran, at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

War by other means

There's a fierce war going on out there, but it usually gets scarce attention because the weapons don't make much noise. It's a war of economics, and noise or not, it raises wide-ranging issues with America's European allies.

CNN's Jim Acosta walks into federal court in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, to attend a hearing on legal challenge against President Donald Trump's administration. Trump's administration contends it has "broad discretion" to regulate press access to the White House as it fends off a legal challenge from CNN and other outlets over the revocation of Acosta's "hard pass." (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Restoring trust in the press

Reporting the news is difficult and expensive. Grandstanding is more fun and everyone has an opinion. That's why reporters were once taught, often by a stern taskmaster, to leave opining to the columnists and the editorial page, and save their opinions for after work in the bar across the street. This particular affliction — grandstanding rather than reporting, advocacy rather than observing and distilling those observations before passing them on to press and tube, is the affliction of the modern media. And why not? Talking is cheaper than reporting.

The Capitol is seen in Washington, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, before Congress returns to work Tuesday for the first time following the midterm elections. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Managing change, preserving what's important

It's difficult to deny the ring of truth in certain platitudes. Heads nod in agreement with the wisdom of "change is the only constant in life," often attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus. But 23 centuries later, French journalist and critic Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr similarly nailed it again with his observation that "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Common sense is a convenient tool for sorting out life's inconsistencies and forming a suitable resolution. Some things change, but not everything, nor should it.

An Israeli security officer examines the damage of a chicken coop after it was hit by a rocket fired from southern Gaza Strip, Near the border with gaza southern Israel, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rushed back to Israel on Monday, hours after an Israeli army officer and seven Palestinians, including a local Hamas commander, were killed after an incursion by Israeli special forces into the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Coming awake again

The Israel-Arab peace effort is suddenly awake again. Whether this movement will redeem the Trump administration's promise "of a peace of the century" is another matter. But we'll soon see.

Miami-Dade Election Center supervisors recount the ballots and are already halfway through the recount total on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018.  (C.M. Guerrero/Miami Herald via AP)

Searching for the immaculate election

This sounds elemental, as it ought to be. Every legitimate voter — from new immigrant to descendant of the Mayflower voyager — is endowed with exactly the same electoral value, one vote and each voter entitled to cast it only once. Citizens one and all, they settle their differences on Election Day. Or so they think. Then cries and shrieks split the morning-after calm, pleading that the tally is unfinished, incorrect, illegitimate.