Editorial Roundup: Excerpts from recent editorials

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad:


Sept. 6

The China Daily on China at the G20 Summit:

The ceremonies, handshakes, meetings and speeches, banquets and performances of this year's G20 Summit have now come to an end.

In fact, they ended on Monday after the leaders of the world's 20 major economies met in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, and a long list of agreements were signed.

But these were not the be-all and end-all of the 2016 G20, as it is likely to have a lasting legacy in international relations, with China leaving its stamp on the G20 as a mechanism to coordinate future actions by the world's leading economies.

China's contribution to the 2016 G20 has been significant in two ways.

First, China has demonstrated unswerving commitment to globalization, more specifically to defending free trade and cross-border investment and business cooperation, despite the fact that it can no longer easily increase its own exports by relying on low-cost labor, and that many processing operations formerly based in China have relocated elsewhere.

Amid growing calls for protectionism worldwide, pessimism about the future, and fear of sharing opportunities with foreigners, China understands that it must set an example by working with other countries to defend the existing global market system.

Just as President Xi Jinping told the delegates at the Business 20, a sideline session of the G20 Summit, on Saturday, rather than overturning the existing system, what China wants is to expand the global market system, to make it include more nations, more workers and more entrepreneurs.

China has also cautioned against attempts to seek self-protection, and politically defined small-circle games, since they tend to rewrite the rules for the global system and worsen the problems plaguing the world economy. On Sunday, Xi again called on the G20 members to continue to promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment.

Second, China's contribution has also been significant in the way the G20's agenda has been aligned with the long-term goals and programs set out by the United Nations. China has contributed substantial content to affect this, including its efforts to nurture cooperation among the emerging market economies and inviting more leaders from developing nations to participate in the G20 process, as well as the proposal for a common e-commerce platform for small and medium-sized enterprises across the world.

To brave the rough waters of the world economy and start a new journey for future global growth, the G20 should not only help the world coordinate efforts to deal with emergencies, as was its original purpose following the onset of the global financial crisis, it should also focus on long-term governance. It should address both the symptoms and root causes of the world's economic problems with real actions, so as to spread opportunities where there are few or none.

In anti-globalization, anger and divisiveness hold sway. Globalization, on the other hand, requires people from different countries to exchange views, compare notes and learn from one another.

However, the G20 members can do more than just talk. They can generate more trade and cross-border investment deals, showcase more innovations, provide more services, and extend help to more poor people and under-developed nations. In the process, the G20 can become more important by finding "a direction and a course for the world economy with a strategic vision", as Xi has urged. In this way it can help realize people's common aspirations for sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.




Sept. 6

The Washington Post on impeaching the IRS director:

Congress returned from its summer break to what may be a brief but contentious pre-election legislative spell. Among the likely arguments: whether Congress should radically change its relationship with the executive branch and hobble the government in the process.

For months, a group of hard-line conservative lawmakers has been pressing to impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, in an effort that may soon come to a head. The context for the campaign against Mr. Koskinen is the continuing GOP obsession with the way the IRS reviewed nonprofit groups' tax-exempt status, following reports that conservative groups were disproportionately scrutinized. The initial reports turned out not to reflect much of a scandal, which was more about bureaucratic obliviousness than purposeful anti-conservative activity.

In any case, Mr. Koskinen was not leading the agency when the non-scandal took place " so lawmakers on a scandal hunt have attacked how he handled the aftermath. They point out that some agency emails were deleted after they were supposed to be saved. No matter that an inspector general investigation found no purposeful wrongdoing. Mr. Koskinen's tormentors fume that he should have told them about the missing emails earlier. The IRS commissioner, they say, offered untruthful testimony before Congress about the matter. Mr. Koskinen has a reasonable response: He did not immediately know the nature or the extent of the gap in the email record, and when he did, he demanded that the agency attempt to recover all it could. Though Mr. Koskinen's pursuers imply that the IRS commissioner has lied to them, they have little evidence indicating this to be the case.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to censure Mr. Koskinen in June. The evidence did not warrant even that step. Since then, House conservatives have pushed impeachment. Such a move would be unprecedented. Congress has impeached only one Cabinet member ever, in 1876. Lawmakers have never impeached an executive branch official below the Cabinet rank. Rep.?Jason Chaffetz, a leading anti-Koskinen crusader, thinks this record of partisan restraint is a problem. Impeachment, he told us in June, "should be a much more common occurrence."

Wrong. The Founders designed federal impeachment procedures to be used sparingly, erecting barriers to removing executive officers that did not exist in the English system, Michael J. Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor, told the House Judiciary Committee in June. They also purposely avoided allowing impeachment in cases of mere "maladministration," raising the bar to the much more serious "high crimes and misdemeanors" standard. "The Founders did not want high-ranking officials in the executive or judicial branches to be subject to impeachment for their mistakes in office," Mr. Gerhardt testified.

The cumbersome and partisan Senate confirmation process has made it hard enough to fully staff the highest realms of government with competent people. Never-ending, partisan impeachment proceedings against executive officers would make it even harder to keep the essential mechanics of government working. The result would be more bureaucratic bungling, not less.




Sept. 5

The Los Angeles Times on the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

The U.S. labor movement may have the Republican-led Congress to thank for its biggest victory this year. But it would be a short-term triumph, and one not necessarily in the best interests of American workers.

That would be the defeat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the free-trade deal that the Obama administration negotiated with 11 other nations on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. Organized labor and their Democratic allies in Congress vehemently oppose the agreement, arguing that it would cause more jobs to flee the U.S. in favor of lower-wage (and less union-friendly) trading partners.

The top Republican in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, appeared to hammer the final nail into the TPP coffin last month when he told a breakfast gathering of the Kentucky Farm Bureau that the trade pact "will not be acted on this year." McConnell said the TPP can still be "massaged" by the next administration if it can drum up bipartisan support in Congress, eliding the fact that any changes would have to be negotiated with 11 other nations " and that both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump have called the pact a bad deal and have pledged to kill it if elected president.

With time running out in President Obama's term, it looks like five years of delicate negotiations may be rendered moot by the toxic politics of the 2016 elections. That's a shame, because whatever flaws the TPP has, it is still in the country's best interests in the near term, and in U.S. workers' best interests in the long term.

Opponents of the deal have focused on the failings of the 22-year old North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals, whose effects on the U.S. economy have been decidedly mixed. U.S. manufacturing jobs in particular have contracted since China was admitted to the World Trade Organization in 2001, cutting tariffs and helping to speed China's rise as an exporting superpower.

But that transformation was happening anyway, powered by technologies that are shrinking the effective distance between countries and globalizing manufacturing supply chains. The question for policymakers isn't how to reverse the irreversible. It's how to steer globalization toward a set of rules that open markets, raise global standards of living and allow companies in the United States, with its comparatively high wages and regulatory costs, to thrive.

That's the point of the TPP. In exchange for opening the markets wider in highly developed countries such as the United States and Japan, the agreement requires less developed nations such as Vietnam and Malaysia to set higher standards for wages and hours, worker safety and environmental protection, while also mandating more freedom to do business online and more respect for patents, trademarks and copyrights.

Some critics contend that the deal does not set the standards high enough, or that it will be too hard to enforce. Those are valid concerns; the United States hasn't been aggressive enough about enforcement in the past. Nor has it done a good job helping U.S. workers and communities adapt to the changes wrought by globalization. Meanwhile, other critics say the standards are too high, particularly when it comes to patents on prescription drugs, potentially threatening the supply of affordable medicines in poor countries. But protecting U.S. drug patents overseas wouldn't necessarily cut off that supply; instead, it would give patent holders more say in who the supplier will be.

Another point of the pact is to give Pacific Rim nations more access to markets in Japan and the West so they won't be so dependent on China, which has been actively negotiating bilateral free-trade deals of its own. Unlike the U.S., China isn't pushing its trading partners to adopt minimum-wage laws or cut back on pollution. Letting China define the trading rules for globalized commerce would in no way be good for U.S. workers.

Abandoning the TPP now would be a huge blow to U.S. influence in Asia. That point was made clear by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who said in a recent visit to Washington, "For America's friends and partners, ratifying TPP is a litmus test of your credibility and seriousness of purpose."

The long-term effect of free-trade deals such as the TPP is to spread prosperity and growth, which means more initially to the less developed world than to the United States. Yet, by improving wages and working conditions around the world, they eventually reduce the pressure on U.S. companies to slash their workforce or offshore their manufacturing. Although that's a slow process, it is happening. The TPP would move that process forward, setting higher and more enforceable standards than previous free-trade deals. Rather than punting on TPP, Congress should give Obama's signature trade deal a chance to pass before he leaves office.




Sept. 6

The Dallas Morning News on Donald Trump's politics:

What does it mean to be a Republican?

For generations, the answer had been clear: A belief in individual liberty. Free markets. Strong national defense.

But what does it mean to be a Republican today? With Donald Trump as the party's new standard-bearer, it's impossible to say.

Even before Trump's name reached the top of the GOP presidential ticket, the party was pulled in different directions. Many Republicans held fast to the good-governing principles of the past, while a growing wing of the party yanked hard from the right to force a conscripted definition of conservatism.

Inexplicably, the presidential candidate who emerged from that ideological tug of war was the one who thumbed his nose at conservative orthodoxy altogether. Trump is " or has been " at odds with nearly every GOP ideal this newspaper holds dear.

Donald Trump is no Republican and certainly no conservative.

Individual liberty? Trump has displayed an authoritarian streak that should horrify limited-government advocates. This impulsive, unbridled New York real estate billionaire and reality-TV star wants to deport people who were born in the U.S. and don't meet his standard for loyalty. He has proposed banning all Muslims from entering the country, even those escaping Islamist rule, and won't rule out creating a database of Muslims already living here.

His open admiration of Russia's Vladimir Putin is alarming.

Free markets? Economic conservatism? Ronald Reagan once said that "protectionism is destructionism." Trump, on the other hand, has called the Trans-Pacific Partnership "a rape of our country."

Businesses who invest overseas, he says, should pay a hefty fine on imports. (We'll leave aside for a moment his hypocrisy in pretending that investing in hotels abroad, as he does, is somehow different from a manufacturer investing in foreign car factories.) His protectionism would likely force the U.S. into trade wars, increase the deficit and sink the U.S. economy back into a recession.

Trump's idea of fiscal conservatism is reducing expenses by financing mountains of soul-crushing debt.

Strong national defense? Trump pledges to make our military "so big, so powerful, so strong that nobody " absolutely nobody " is going to mess with us." But what does he want to do with that military? He says he supports killing the families of Muslim terrorists and allowing interrogation methods "a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding." And if the military balks at obeying such orders? "If I say do it, they're gonna do it," he says.

His isolationist prescriptions put sound bites over sound policy: Invite the Russians into our elections. Bomb the Middle East into dust. Withdraw from NATO.

It's not easy to offer a shorthand list of such tenets, since Trump flips from one side to the other, issue after issue, sometimes within a single news cycle. Regardless, his ideas are so far from Republicanism that they have spawned a new description: Trumpism.

We have no interest in a Republican nominee for whom all principles are negotiable, nor in a Republican Party that is willing to trade away principle for pursuit of electoral victory.

Trump doesn't reflect Republican ideals of the past; we are certain he shouldn't reflect the GOP of the future.

Donald Trump is not qualified to serve as president and does not deserve your vote.




Sept. 6

The Chicago Tribune on Fox News' recent settlement with Gretchen Carlson:

The era of sexual harassment against women in the workplace did not end Tuesday. But the resolution of former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit provides a high-profile warning to the powerful and predatory: Don't be so certain you'll be able to brush off an accusation or slink away with your reputation intact in exchange for writing a check.

That message is the big news in Carlson's settlement of her suit against dethroned TV titan Roger Ailes. Yes, the Fox News chairman, who played a role in propagating the modern conservative movement, was ousted from his position, as he should have been. And, yes, Carlson got a huge check to end the litigation: a reported $20 million. But what we also hope resonates is the public apology Carlson received, which cited her talent and professionalism, and then acknowledged that at Fox exemplary ability didn't guarantee equal treatment. Carlson still got harassed by the boss.

What parent company 21st Century Fox wrote:

"During her tenure at Fox News, Gretchen exhibited the highest standards of journalism and professionalism. She developed a loyal audience and was a daily source of information for many Americans. We are proud that she was part of the Fox News team. We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve."

The statement provided no details, not even Ailes' name, another shortcoming typical of the way corporations historically have confronted these allegations. They'd prefer to take minimal action to end a crisis than rip off the bandage and examine cultural rot. Frequently, settlements of these types avoid apologies or acknowledgment of wrongdoing. Which is why Fox's apology stands out: This is a major media organization with profound influence on the country's political and cultural climate " and it acknowledges wrongdoing. Fox said Carlson, like other women at the network, deserved to be treated with respect and dignity. She just wasn't.

Much of what we know comes from the lawsuit Carlson filed against Ailes. Carlson alleged that when she complained to Ailes about the hostile and sexist atmosphere on the set of the show "Fox & Friends," Ailes called her a "man hater" and advised her to "get along with the boys." In his own polluted mind, that advice to "get along" apparently involved Ailes. Carlson alleged in the suit that he ogled her and said at one point, "I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you'd be good and better and I'd be good and better." In retaliation against Carlson for her complaints, the suit alleges, Ailes took away important interview assignments and reduced her airtime.

That Carlson dared to file a lawsuit at all may be the most significant step toward stopping workplace harassment. Her decision to take on a powerful boss led to complaints by other female employees at Fox of Ailes' predatory behavior, which he has denied. Carlson thanked "all the brave women" who came forward to tell their own stories or supported her. There were reports Tuesday, attributed to unnamed sources, that at least two other female employees reached settlements with Fox. Those settlements reportedly followed statements the women made to a New York law firm investigating the accusations against Ailes. If there is more action the network needs to take, we hope Fox does it.

What actions would guarantee that all employees are treated equally, and that sexual harassment in particular won't be tolerated? There are none. But time " the passing of new generations into authority " helps because ultimately that's how cultures change. Short of that, it's important to see that offenders are held accountable and that bad behavior, especially by powerful figures, is loudly and publicly rebuked.




Sept. 7

The Boston Globe on Donald Trump's donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi:

Donald Trump insists he did nothing wrong by failing to disclose his foundation's $25,000 donation to a political group linked to Florida's attorney general, Pam Bondi. After all, he says, he paid a $2,500 fine in an effort to put the matter to rest. "A minor issue," Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told NBC.

That's disingenuous spin of the first order. It's also illegal. The Donald J. Trump Foundation, which is organized under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code, clearly violated its tax-exempt status by making the contribution " a fact brought to light in March by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. But this is more than an accounting error. There's a whiff of scandal that demands full attention from voters who might otherwise be trying to make their post-Labor Day peace with the fact that Trump is now the Republican standard-bearer.

It seems more than coincidental that the donation from the foundation was made on Sept. 17, 2013, four days after reports emerged that Bondi's office was mulling an investigation of fraud charges against Trump University. Bondi never pressed ahead with any probe, and endorsed Trump's candidacy. Campaigning in Ohio on Monday, Trump said: "I've just known Pam Bondi for years. I have a lot of respect for her. Never spoke to her about that at all." In June, however, Bondi's spokesperson told the Associated Press that she personally solicited the political contribution around the time her office deliberated joining the fraud investigation. So which is it?

Trump has slammed Hillary Clinton about potential conflicts of interest involving Clinton Foundation donors when she was secretary of state. And this page has called on Clinton to shut down the foundation if she is elected. But there is no indication that Clinton has misreported donations or made illegal political contributions.

Besides, Trump's explanation defies belief: Presumably, a real estate tycoon running on his business acumen understands the tax code. And the Huffington Post reported that Trump held a fund-raiser in 2014 for Bondi, after she had decided not to investigate.

With less than nine weeks left until election day, it's time to sort the signal from the noise. Questions surrounding the non-investigation of Trump University and the donation to Bondi's campaign are damaging to her reputation as attorney general, the chief law enforcement official in Florida. She owes her constituents a more thorough explanation. And the episode may finally prove to voters that Trump, who claims to be a brash outsider, is not above a crass political payoff.



This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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