Editorial Roundup: Excerpts from recent editorials

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad:


Oct. 11

The Dallas Morning News on GOP leaders who rebuke Trump:

Oh, this election. We'll remember it as the one that turned brother against brother, mother against daughter, father against son, friend against friend. What a bitterly divided nation.

And that's just the Republicans.

Even if you believe that Donald Trump stanched a gushing artery in the second debate, what of the constituency he has mostly dismissed? That would be the so-called establishment Republicans desperately trying to keep their presidential nominee from undermining their hopes of holding the Senate and House, if not their entire party.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a belated and reluctant Trump endorser, tried to split the difference Monday by telling his caucus that he would no longer defend nor campaign with Trump. But when pressed, he did not withdraw his endorsement.

Ryan's longtime friend and Wisconsin ally, Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus, steered the other way. Hours after Ryan's drama, Priebus told committee members that nothing had changed and the RNC was in full coordination with the Trump campaign, money included.

In two conference calls, two GOP leaders demonstrated how riven the party has become in the wake of Trump. Both recognize different realities, and only one can be right.

Priebus has offered his own occasional discomfort with the distasteful Trump campaign " including the vulgar, misogynistic "locker room" tape " but sought to reassure those Republicans standing with the nominee come what may. The only thing worse, they argue, would be a Hillary Clinton presidency. Any so-called Republicans unable to take on this fight are "cowards," as California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher so gently put it.

This is a significant segment of today's GOP. Trump won the nomination fair and square, with more than 13 million primary votes. He may be a walking gaffe machine incapable of going a week without talking his candidacy into the gutter, but he does have his fans.

Then there are those Republicans who put country ahead of party and refuse to back Trump. They are joined by later adopters who increasingly worry that his manifest ineptitude could sink the entire GOP ticket " or their own down-ballot race, in particular.

While he pulled up short, Ryan nevertheless reflects the dozens of Republican elected officials and other party stalwarts who say Trump is simply a bridge too far. A more courageous House speaker would have finished the thought. Perhaps he will at the next conflagration.

There should be no doubt where this newspaper stands. We have no interest in a Republican nominee for whom principle is negotiable nor in a party willing to trade principle in pursuit of electoral victory.

Clinton is the only serious candidate. Donald Trump is neither a conservative nor qualified to serve. Those who stand with him deserve his fate.

What Republicans do could determine the party's course long after one miserable election. Its demise would deprive Americans of real and needed choice " but if the GOP can't bring itself to cut ties with the most unqualified candidate in modern history, it deserves the wilderness, and for a very long time.




Oct. 7

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune on the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, winning the Nobel Peace Prize:

Unlike almost any previous award, the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 can be an ongoing, and not just reflective, part of a peace process.

That is if Colombians seize the global momentum created by the awarding of the prize to President Juan Manuel Santos.

New momentum is indeed needed after Sunday's surprise rejection of a referendum on a peace pact between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Colombians, having endured 52 years of war, undoubtedly want peace. But a narrow majority of voters in a low-turnout plebiscite apparently believed the deal was too lenient on FARC fighters, some of whom are accused of decades of kidnapping, extortion, bombings, forced recruitment, drug trafficking and other crimes.

Despite the vote, both FARC and the government have pledged to abide by the current cease-fire agreement. And Santos plans to push for an eventual agreement that FARC " and just as important, Colombians " will accept.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee recognized that the prize could help push all Colombians to complete the arduous peace process. "The committee hopes that the peace prize will give him (Santos) strength to succeed in his demanding task," said Kaci Kullman Five, the chairwoman of the committee said.

Whether the unique nature of this year's laureate presages a longer-term shift remains to be seen. "Most of the time the Peace Prize is awarded for accomplishments that have already been achieved," Joseph Underhill, an Augsburg College professor who is program director of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum told an editorial writer. "As a means to an end that everyone recognizes is widely sought in that country, this is something that can contribute to that process. It by no means should be taken as a refutation of the will of the people, but hopefully a tool to move to a solution that everyone wants under terms that are acceptable to a majority of Colombians."

That majority deserves a just, permanent end to a war that has killed more than 200,000 and displaced millions more. The new Nobel laureate should use the award's stature to renegotiate an end to the conflict that can respond to understandable objections from some Colombians.




Oct. 12

The Post and Courier of Charleston on President Obama's goal to send a manned spacecraft to Mars by 2030:

President Obama on Tuesday renewed the bold goal, first set by him in 2010, to send a manned spacecraft to Mars by the 2030s " "with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time."

The history-altering trip, if it happens, will be the result of an unprecedented public-private partnership between NASA and one or more commercial space ventures that have thrived under the Obama administration's approach to space travel.

In an article published by CNN on Tuesday, President Obama writes:

"Getting to Mars will require continued cooperation between government and private innovators, and we're already well on our way. Within the next two years, private companies will for the first time send astronauts to the International Space Station.

"The next step is to reach beyond the bounds of Earth's orbit. I'm excited to announce that we are working with our commercial partners to build new habitats that can sustain and transport astronauts on long-duration missions in deep space. These missions will teach us how humans can live far from Earth " something we'll need for the long journey to Mars."

Indeed, several companies have announced their plans to participate in the Mars adventure. Last week, Boeing CEO Denis Muilenburg declared: "I'm convinced the first person to step on Mars will arrive there riding a Boeing rocket."

Last month, Elon Musk, head of SpaceX, unveiled plans for planting a colony on Mars.

And Orbital ATK is building rockets for a Mars journey. So is Blue Origin, a space company owned by Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.

NASA recently issued a statement applauding "all those who want to take the next giant leap " and advance the journey to Mars."

It is awe-inspiring.

But in 2014 the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Science, issued a cautionary report calling for a clearer focus and substantial additional funding for the Mars project.

In the congressionally mandated study, it warned:

"Pronouncements by multiple presidents of bold new U.S. ventures to the Moon, to Mars, and to an asteroid in its native orbit ... have not been matched by the same commitment that accompanied President Kennedy's now fabled 1961 speech, namely, the substantial increase in NASA funding needed to make them happen. In the view of many observers, the human spaceflight program conducted by the U.S. government today has no strong direction and no firm timetable for accomplishments."

The sad reality is that NASA, like the Pentagon and all other functions of the federal government, is under congressional orders to cut spending in order to provide room for more growth in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

The Affordable Care Act, in effect another unsustainable entitlement program, adds to the fiscal challenge as the record national debt soars toward $20 trillion.

That ground-bound bottom line will increasingly hamper efforts to extend our space-travel reach.

So until Congress and a new president are ready to get the federal government's balance sheet in much better order, the American dream of putting people on Mars will remain stuck on the launching pad.




Oct. 11

The Los Angeles Times on Donald Trump's proposal on tax loopholes and health care:

During this ugly presidential campaign, Republican Donald Trump has shown enough about his character and temperament to prove himself unfit for the Oval Office. But on the issues facing this country, Trump has given voters little to go on, offering mainly bare policy outlines and vague generalities. Perhaps that's because his ideas are poorly thought out " or they don't work as advertised.

Take Sunday's presidential debate, for example. When asked how he would make the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, Trump said he would get rid of the "carried interest" loophole that lets some professional investors slash the taxes they pay on much of the income they earn from investing their clients' money. He conveniently failed to mention that under his plan, the same Wall Street fund managers who lose the loophole could wind up paying less in taxes, not more, because he would lower the top rate for businesses to 15 percent.

On health care, Trump pledged to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act and replace it with "something absolutely much less expensive." His prime tool for lowering costs, he said, would be to let insurers offer policies across state lines.

That's a change that Republicans have been touting for years, premised on the idea that an insurer in a state with light regulation could undercut the premiums of those in states with tougher rules. But Trump either overlooked or ignored that insurers can't offer policies in a new state unless they strike deals with the doctors, hospitals and other providers in every community they plan to sell coverage. And what they pay those providers is a key factor in premium rates. Importing lenient rules from low-cost states won't change that.

What dumping Obamacare in favor of lax state rules could do, though, is let insurers turn away applicants with pre-existing conditions, or charge them higher premiums. Trump doesn't talk about that either, probably because polls have shown strong public support for the 2010 law's ban on insurers cherry-picking their customers and gouging the older, less healthy ones they do serve.

That's not to say there aren't ways to reduce the cost of health insurance " it's just to note that allowing insurers to compete across state lines isn't one of them.

The details of policy matter, but Trump hasn't shown much interest in talking about them. Perhaps that's because the closer one looks at the plans he's actually proposing, the less they live up to his promises.




Oct. 11

The Washington Post on the NAACP opposing charter schools:

Before national board members of the NAACP gather in Cincinnati to decide whether to ratify a call for a moratorium on charter schools, they might want to do a little homework. We would suggest a field trip to the District, where they would see how a thriving community of charter schools has reshaped education by providing a diverse array of educational programs. That the beneficiaries of this rich choice are, in large part, children of color hopefully is not lost on an organization that is supposed to be looking out for the interests of minority people.

The some-60 members of the board are set to vote Oct. 15 on a resolution passed in July at the NAACP's national convention that roundly criticized charter schools and called for a nationwide moratorium on their growth. Among the alleged sins: draining needed resources from traditional public schools and fueling segregation. The resolution even went so far as to liken educators in the charter movement to predatory subprime-mortgage lenders that put low-income communities at risk.

Who exactly the NAACP, the nation's oldest civil rights organization, thinks it is speaking for immediately came into question as witnessed by the reaction of black leaders across the country who have been involved with " and know a little something about " charter schools. More than 160 of them sent a letter last month to the NAACP board saying the criticisms were based on "cherry-picked and debunked claims."

In truth, the leaders wrote in the Sept. 21 letter, "charter schools generally receive less per-pupil funding than traditional public schools" and often no resources for school and classroom facilities, but despite such hurdles are "helping students achieve at higher levels than traditional district schools." If the NAACP were to get its misguided wish for a moratorium, the people who would suffer lost opportunities would be African American students, many from low-income and working-class families.

To appreciate the importance of those educational opportunities, one need only look at the array of innovative programs that have developed in the District in the 20 years since charter schools were made possible. There is a two-generation program that educates adults and their prekindergarten-age children, a boarding school for students in foster care, an immersion high school offering three languages and an all-girls school. Set to open next year is a school focused on disconnected youths, 14- to 21-year-olds who are not working, not in school or at risk of dropping out. Instead of calling for limits, the NAACP should be pushing for new possibilities for students with unmet needs.

Cheering the call for a moratorium " and a similar resolution approved by the Movement for Black Lives " are the teachers unions that have waged a fierce battle against charters " and that have provided financial support for NAACP activities. It will be interesting to see if the NAACP acts in those interests or in the interests of the nearly 700,000 black families who send their children to public charter schools, and the tens of thousands more who are on waiting lists.




Oct. 12

The Telegraph on the Labour Party's suggestion that the US is as culpable as Russia in Syria

Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, raised an eyebrow or two in the Commons on Tuesday when he asked why the Stop the War coalition was not demonstrating outside the Russian embassy in London to protest at what is going on in Syria. Perhaps this was not the most diplomatic intervention, judging by Moscow's furious response; but it was an understandable and well-aimed jibe at the double standards of the Left.

Mr Johnson's point was helpfully reinforced by the Labour Party, whose official spokesman said if the Russian embassy was to be picketed then America's should be, too. This fatuous statement exposed the Stop the War movement for what it really is: a motley collection of unreconstructed far-Left agitators who seek to draw a moral equivalence between Russia's bombing of civilian targets in Aleppo and the West's efforts to help anti-Assad forces and bring aid to the beleaguered populace.

What many voters may not appreciate is that Jeremy Corbyn was a founder member of Stop the War, which is currently chaired by one of his advisers, Andrew Murray, a member of the Communist Party. Anti-Americanism is its driving ideology, to the point where it will overlook the most appalling crimes committed by other countries.

Even though Russia long ago dispensed with communism, the fact that it is supplanting America's waning influence in the Middle East gives Mr. Corbyn and his merry band cause to celebrate. The allegation that Western forces are carrying out similar atrocities to those of Russia in Aleppo is simply untrue. For it to be made by the party that aspires to be the government of the U.K. is breathtaking.



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

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