Editorial Roundup: Excerpts from recent editorials

Excerpts from recent articles in the United States and abroad:


31 may

The New York Times on Donald Trump to work with the world leaders:

The tectonic plates of Europe are shifting, and President Trump is in the heart of this revolution. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany bluntly that, even on Sunday, when she said: “The time that we could rely completely on others — they are a little over,” and the result is that “we, Europeans, really have to take our destiny in our own hands.”

With that line, it became clear that the United States is no longer the reliable partner that her country and the rest of Europe had long depended. Since the second world War, the United States led the way in the construction of a new international order rooted in NATO and the European Union, as well as a belief in democracy and the free market. Great britain, France and Germany were for that effort, which for 70 years kept the peace, and delivered the prosperity of millions of people standing against the Soviet threat, helping end the Bosnian War and the fight against extremism in Afghanistan.

This trans-Atlantic partnership is still of vital importance. But how, and how well, it will function as the American leadership is declining, is unclear. Until now, no one talks about the dissolution of NATO; Europe still depends for its security on America’s nuclear and conventional arsenals. But Mrs Merkel’s remarks underscored a deep divide between Europe and the United States, which is a clear beneficiary of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, who longed for the alliance, Moscow’s Cold War opponent, to unravel.

Before Mr. Trump got his first meetings of the NATO and the Group of 7 last week that European leaders hope they could show him around on critical issues. That now seems to me a utopia. Mr. Trump doubled-down on his most devastating campaign of pulses by hectoring the other members of the length of what he called their inadequate level of defence spending, and by refusing to confirm that NATO is the cornerstone of the mutual defence commitment. He also broke with the allies on other issues. He offered a more conciliatory line on Russia, and refused, in spite of their entreaties, to clearly Paris agreement on climate change.

When he returned home, Mr. Trump stoked the fire more, complain in a tweet that Germany pays much less than they would have on NATO and the military. Very bad for the US. This will change.” His comments showed no appreciation for the way in which NATO operates, how angela Merkel is in fact pushing her country to spend more on defence — and, more generally, how comments like this insult as a reliable ally.

Europe’s dismay can only be deepened when the Congress seemed to applaud Mr. Trump. The republicans, once the proud stewards of national security, have shown that there is little concern about the way Mr. Trump treated members of NATO or the links between Mr. Trump’s assistants and Russia. In a statement, Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the senate committee for Foreign affairs, gushed about Mr. Trump ‘ s journey to Europe and the Middle East, saying that it “is executed to near perfection.”

These new tensions in the alliance comes at a bad time. Europe is battered by the Greek financial crisis, the rise of authoritarianism in Turkey, Hungary, and Poland, great Britain decides to withdraw from the European Union; and the flow of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.

Meanwhile, Mr Putin, always eager to see Russian influence extend, has exploited every weakness and crisis, together with elicitation of a few of his own. Russia invaded Ukraine and has intervened in the election campaign in the United States, France and Germany. Mr Putin has meddled in the Baltic States, grown extreme right-wing allies in Hungary and provoked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on NATO’s eastern flank. He is now editor-in-chief of Italy with a smart ambassador to Rome and the funding of anti-establishment parties.

There are some bright spots. Is that Mrs Merkel seems determined to play a leading role of the United States pulls back; a other is in France for the election of the President and Emmanuel Macron, who has demonstrated a willingness to work in collaboration with Mrs Merkel. The two don’t always eye-to-eye, but in Germany, France and Mr Macron is a good fit.

Mr Macron’s first foreign visit was to Berlin. And a few days later, he has to show that he is not afraid of taking responsibility. After the greeting from Mr. Trump, Mr. Macron acknowledged consciously keep their handshake comes to a political point: I’m not your patsy. He made a strong point when he is in Versailles with Mr. Putin, who had probably worked to the aid of his rival, the extreme-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. Mr. Macron, the Lord gave Putin full honors but did not mince words on Russia’s destructive role in the Syrian conflict, in Ukraine and in the spreading of false news. The message was one Europe must keep in the future: No problem can be solved without having to talk with Russia, but the differences with Moscow should not be swept under the rug.

For now, it seems like it is up to Mrs Merkel and Mr Macron to keep the alliance alive and relevant, at least until the Lord’s Trump wakes up to the need for the American leadership or to a different, wiser, chairman replaces him.



May 27,

The Chicago Tribune on gerrymandering on the way to the Supreme court of the V. S.:

About 30 percent of North Carolina’s voters are registered Republicans, but the GOP has 10 of the 13 seats in Congress. How did that happen?

The republicans, drew the electoral map, that’s how.

As lawmakers huddled to craft the current limits, state Rep. David Lewis suggested the goal should be to stack 10 districts to favor the Republicans, leaving three to the Democrats, “because I do not believe that it is possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats,” according to a report of the meeting.

Lewis did not bother to hide the naked partisanship that led mapmakers’ hands, and that is no wonder. Throughout the country, brutal gerrymandering has flourished as federal courts drew from the legal challenges of voters that have been deceived by these crooked cards.

In 2011, a panel of federal judges called Illinois’ newly drawn map “a blatant political move to increase the number of Democratic parliamentary seats,” and confirmed it anyway.

That masterful gerrymander Politically asked to declare that the House of representatives, Michael Madigan, the top Democrat, had “punched his ticket to the partisan hall of fame.” It mirrored the balance of the state of the congressional delegation from 11 Republicans and eight Democrats in 2011 to 12 Democrats and six Republicans in 2013. (Illinois lost a seat because of declining population.)

The courts have confirmed that the extremely partisan mapmaking is not in accordance with democratic principles — one man, one vote, you know? — but they have also recognized that redistricting is inherently political. The largest party can always be counted on to manipulate the cards to his advantage. When does it cross the line?

The US Supreme court has refused to cry, saying: it is up to the injured party to establish a constitutional standard that can be applied. The judges have never denied a card for too partisan. They will soon have a chance to do this.

On Monday, the judges threw out North Carolina’s map — not for being deceived Democrats, but because it cheated Afro-Americans. 1995 ruling declared that it is unconstitutional to sort voters in the districts on the basis of race, without a compelling reason, such as facilitating the representation of minorities under the federal Voting Rights Act. Since then, there are a number of cards failed the test.

Lewis, who we have come to think of North Carolina ‘ s Mike Madigan, had argued that the GOP map was acceptable, because it is a partisan gerrymander, not a race. True, the Republicans had secured their favor by the concentration of blacks in two districts, but mapmakers said that on the basis of the decisions on the mood of the history, not on the skin color. The Supreme court doesn’t buy it.

The tactic, known as “packing” minimizes the impact of the intended voters by using them in a few neighbourhoods as possible. The opposite is “cracking” — scattering them into many districts so that their votes never add enough to make a difference.

Both are employed ruthlessly for partisan advantage. And this fall, the Supreme court, with the metric it is questions to assess how hard a map is rigged to the favor of one party.

The judges have agreed to consider whether the Wisconsin State Assembly map is in conflict with the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause because it was drawn to neutralize the votes of the Democrats, by depriving them of representation.

The standard offered by a bipartisan group of voting lawyers is a simple mathematical calculations. It counts the number of votes that are “wasted”, or assigned to a ward where they could not affect the outcome of an election. A handful of Democrats carved into a Republican stronghold, for example, or the dismissed Republican pressure in a district where the half would have constituted a majority.

A card is drawn, without bias, would “waste”, about the same number of Republican and Democratic elections. The difference, or the “efficiency gap” is a measure for the partisan imbalance. The greater the gap, the harder it would be for mapmakers to convince a court that the lines were not drawn to disenfranchise the other party.

That makes sense to us. It is logical that the college of federal judges, whose decision is now before the Supreme court. We hope that the judges are impressed.

The current cards are based on the movements, as measured by the 2010 U. S. census — and here we are, still arguing about them in 2017. The Wisconsin case is an opportunity for the Supreme Court to take a stand against the partisan election rigging, before the 2020 census rolls around.



31 may

The Dallas Morning News on censor alt-right rally ‘:

The suffering city of Portland, oregon, could use a break from the ugly rhetoric and political extremism, of the kind of angry activism that too often begets violence. The community is in shock.

Last Friday, a violent man began to shout racial and religious insults at two young women, one of whom was wearing an Islamic headscarf, on board of a train. When three male passengers tried to intervene, the attacker pulled a knife, killing two men and injuring a third.

The killer turns out to be zero regret. During his arrest Tuesday on nine offences, including two murders, Jeremy Joseph Christian bellowed nonsense, himself a “patriot” and ranting about “death to the enemies of America.” The police documents show that shortly after his arrest, Christian bragged about the stitch-and expressed his hope that all three victims would die.

It is perhaps understandable that Mayor Ted Wheeler is dismayed at the plans for two public “alt-right” rallies take place in the next two weekends: a Sunday “Trump Free Speech” to collect and a June 10, anti-Muslim theme “March Against Sharia.” Christian had participated in a similar theme “freedom of expression” event last month.

Wheeler has asked that the organisers will voluntarily cancel their plans, which is reasonable. And he has demanded that the events be prohibited, that it is not.

In a drama that has played this week on Twitter, Wheeler called for the U.S. government to revoke or deny use permits for a federally owned downtown plaza near Portland City Hall, where the alt-right events planned.

A spokesman for the mayor said Tuesday that the aim is to prevent violence, not to shut down free speech.

But, intended or not, the disabling of the freedom of expression would be the result. The mayor has not the authority to stop these events, even if his motives are valid.

Dallas witness of a public meeting in the dilemma of his own last summer: After the devastating ambush murders of five police officers by a lone gunman during a downtown “Black Lives Matter” protest, police chief David Brown asked organisers to move, other marches are planned in the centre of the next weeks.

But the protesters followed through on their plans, and a small march was held without incident.

Brown, the protesters said no. Also Wheeler can ask for. He may have good reason to ask. But he can’t ban the events.

The American Civil Liberties Union is uncompromising in his view of the situation. In a statement addressing Wheeler’s comments, the ACLU of Oregon said: “The government may not revoke or refuse a licence on the basis of the position of the protesters. Period.”

Yes, nerves are frayed in Portland. The community is tired — and caution — overheated rhetoric.

But the judgements of the court are clear. Free speech, obnoxious and offensive as it can be and often is, is protected as an inviolable and fundamental right.

“If we allow the government to shut down free speech for some, we will all pay the price down the line,” the ACLU’s statement said.

Yes, we will. Free speech is not, as Wheeler mistakenly believe, is beside the point. It is the point, and it must be protected.



31 may

The Los Angeles Times to the possible consequences of President Trump to withdraw from the Paris of the agreement:

This is a campaign promise that President Trump should let it slide. According to news reports, Trump is on the verge of the announcement that, yes, he will withdraw from the United States of 2015 Paris climate agreement between nearly 200 nations. If that comes to pass, the move will only make it harder for the world to stand up against the worst consequences of the global warming that is already underway. The more sober and reality-based members of Trump’s inner circle need to redouble their efforts now turn on their boss.

Admittedly, it won’t really be a surprise if Trump reneges on the agreement. As a candidate, that he was plagued by the non-binding pact as a “bad thing” for the US. Still, White House assistants had said before He left for his recent nine-day foreign trip that he was keeping an open mind. That raised the hope that Trump recognizes the foolishness is in his rejection of the overwhelming consensus of climate scientists that human activity is dangerously rising temperatures.

If the latest reports are true, but he must not have listened to what every other leader in the G-7 summit in Sicily was saying. The withdrawal would be a worrying signal that the nationalists in his team have won over the realists, which means that the government is becoming more inwardly focused as the world is becoming more globally connected.

Trump already is pursuing a policy aimed at the expansion of the U.S. production of fossil fuels to achieve what he called “the American dominance of energy,” instead of mere “energy independence.” He proposed cutting the Environmental Protection Agency of the budget by 31% (the enforcement of the section alone would be cut by 40, appointed climate skeptic Scott Pruitt to dismantle — there, the agency, and has taken steps to end President Obama’s Clean energy Plan a framework for the mandatory states to the impact of substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. These steps will make it more difficult to meet the commitment Obama made in Paris to reduce US carbon output by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Trump also wants deep cuts in climate-change research, and would slash the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by 69%, a move that critics say would hamstring government investments in renewable energy research.

How Trump is going to drive the production of fossil fuel in the dominance of an energy sector increasingly shift to renewable energy sources is confusing. Oil companies themselves, planning for the day when the worldwide oil consumption begins to ebb and is replaced by the less harmful natural gas — an already profitable part of their overall business. But they are also expanding their portfolio of renewable energy sources. It is significant that the Ceo’s of Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and BP all have urged Trump to keep the V. S. in the agreement. New ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods wrote recently that “we are encouraged that the promises of last year’s Paris Agreement for the creation of an effective framework for all countries to address rising emissions; in fact, it is our company’s forecasts of carbon reduction consistent with the results of the Paris agreement obligations.”

But Trump thinks he knows better than the scientists or the energy sector. He has no expertise in, and showed little curiosity about the relationship between the emissions and the global temperature. Remember, his business background is in real estate, tv shows, and products of the brand. He has no scientific background, but hubristically clinging to his disbelief that the human activity on the global temperature is higher — he is notorious intended for climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese to undercut U.S. production.

The irony is that by the withdrawal of the agreement in Paris, Trump would give international climate leadership and the most of the advantages of a transition of the energy sector, the Chinese, who, together with India, is making a surprisingly strong gains in reducing emissions. It is remarkable that a president who put so much emphasis on the creation of jobs is so willing to help other countries to benefit from the financial income of the world leads to a better, cleaner energy future.

Trump’s position also flies in the face of public opinion — 71% of Americans believe that science, and 59% say that protecting the environment is more important than protecting jobs. The frustrating part of this is that even Obama’s goals are not enough if the world is to avoid the worst effects of the warming of the earth. The polar ice caps are already shrinking glaciers melt, sea levels to rise, storms have intensified, drought and precipitation to become stronger and more irregular as species are stressed, and trees that once flourished in places such as the Sierra Nevada are dying by the millions. The world needs to go in one direction, and Trump wants to the point of the United States in the wrong way. Strong science is influenced and made leadership — both national and international — are necessary if we are to keep the worst from happening. And in Trump, we don’t have that.



31 may

The Seattle Times on the new US education budget:

The proposed federal education budget for the next fiscal year flouts the values of our nation and also appears to be a threat for the Washington state education budget.

Only the numbers tell a surprising story: Program cuts of a total of 9 billion dollars from the Education Department of the $68 billion budget, and $1.4 billion for the school of your choice, including new money for the states, that respond to the vouchers. Families can use the vouchers to compensate for education at private schools.

The budget proposal would eliminate more than 20 education programs, which benefit children from low-income families and people with disabilities. The proposed cuts are an after-school program that serves mostly low-income students, money away from vocational and technical education, the cutting of the Special Olympics education programs, and a number of other programs. Many of these make up a small part of Washington’s education budget.

But the real danger in the Trump administration education budget is that it shows where President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would want to tax more and more to go in the future — to private schools, including religious institutions. The Washington state Constitution explicitly prohibits state dollars going to religious schools, so that Washington could not benefit from this program, even if the citizens thought it was a good idea, that it is not.

As witnesses before Congress last week, DeVos was asked if she would stop federal money is spent on a private school that discriminates against LGBT students. She said states should determine the rules about how school vouchers are used.

“This is not about parents making choices, this is about the use of federal dollars,” Rep. Katherine M. Clark, D-Massachusetts, said in a preamble to questions about vouchers.

Clark is correct. Federal dollars should not and can not be used to discriminate.

Just like the rest of the first Trumpet, administration of the budget, the education budget proposal is likely to be dead before the debate is over. The conference will be the national budget, and so the education priorities. The new education secretary asking lawmakers to give her the flexibility to make use of the federal dollars in an innovative way, just as Congress gave the previous education secretaries freedom to experiment with what money.

The problem is where she wants to do that, to experiment.



30 may

The Khaleej Times about the relations between the U.S. and Russia:

Germany feels the AMERICAN government under President Donald Trump ‘chatters too much and Russia is the beneficiary of his loose talk. How can the sharing of intelligence with an unreliable partner over the Atlantic ocean as it falls into Russian hands? Russian President Vladimir Putin would be only too pleased to use it against members of the EU and the block itself, the European leaders fear. It is a known fact that Trump’s personal ties with German Chancellor Angela Merkel are icy at best. They got off on a wrong start during Merkel’s visit to Washington early this year. A grumpy Trump even refused to shake the chancellor’s hand after the cold meeting. Trump ‘ s maintained that the European countries must pay their fair share for Nato’s maintenance. The U.S. can not only on foot, charges and security coverage of the continent is his argument.

Putin, meanwhile, seems to enjoy this split in the Western military alliance that was set up as a counter to communist expansion after the second world War. For Russia, this may be the payback for the West’s role in the collapse of the SOVIET union, East Germany and other Eastern European states. Germany united and the Soviet satellites became independent states. Political consequences began soon after the Soviet troops withdrawal from Afghanistan. The US-backed Mujahideen of the Soviet-military machine in the sand to bite in the late seventies and early eighties. Putin’s grand plan to take shape with a shaky Nato to make it easier for his European trip. Without the support of the US, the alliance lacks strategic firepower to take on Russia, which is still bragging about his conquest of the Crimea. The US under Barack Obama was firmly behind the Nato in 2014, but did nothing to intervene militarily. Under Trump, Nato has become weaker; the EU as an economic block will soon be weakened without Britain. Germany, however, is a striking country in these times of geopolitical and social unrest. Europe’s largest economy in the right direction, led by Merkel, which will give the bloc new direction. Trump, on the other hand, is fuelling suspicions by soft on Moscow. His tirades against Germany, the trade and the Nato-Russian interests first. In this scenario, Merkel has shown wisdom by finding new trading partners and military allies. The US on the grounds of Trump has a lot to explain. Twitter rantings by the president, only worse. What he needs is a lesson in history.


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