Editorial Roundup: Excerpts from recent editorials

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad:

___

Dec. 13

AL.com on Alabama's Senate election:

Half a century after Alabamians of immense courage changed the course of history in the streets of Birmingham and Selma and Montgomery, the voice of justice once again rings out from the deep south — from the ballots of black Alabamians, of women, and of young people of all genders committed to moving our world forward.

Today, there is a movement that's ALIVE — a burning movement fueled by those who seek an America that says no more to sexual abuse of girls and women, of denial of the fundamental human rights of gay Americans, Muslims and immigrants, and of the continued systemic racism that plagues our nation.

While so many watchers from outside our borders scorned and jeered us through these last few months, Alabamians showed Tuesday what we are made of, and what we are still craving.

Indeed, there is a hunger for compassion and decency, and respect, and intelligence in American politics and in American culture that can no longer be suppressed.

Doug Jones's election is a moment of change, not only in Alabama, but for an America yearning for signs that these values matter in 2017.

Over the past several months, Jones has visited every corner of Alabama and worked hard to earn people's votes. He built a strong coalition of canvassers and phone bankers, deploying a strong get-out-the-vote operation such that Alabama Democrats haven't seen in decades. He was willing to speak to any Alabamian, no matter their income, their faith or their race. His victory speech showed his admirable desire and ability to embrace all Alabamians.

Jones's voter base represents the future of Alabama: an emerging coalition of black voters, LGBT activists, women and young voters. He won by offering these groups a vision that can help our state assert itself in the 21st century. We believe that he will be a strong ally for Senator Richard Shelby and state officials in attracting economic opportunities to Alabama. And we will hold him to his word that he will be a voice of compromise in an increasingly partisan Senate. In his acceptance speech, Jones called on the Senate to renew the Children's Health Insurance Program. We hope they will do so quickly, as many Alabama families depend on it. Republicans claim to care about children; killing this program belies it.

We hope that other Alabama's politicians will heed Jones's example. The last two years have seen far too many political scandals in our state. And as we saw from Moore's few campaign appearances, the Alabama Republican Party may be taking its voters for granted. We would all benefit from a better exchange of ideas, from politicians who court the broad center of the electorate rather than build a base that divides Alabama's people. Jones offered a new path for Alabama's leaders, Republican and Democrat. They should all walk it.

This kind of moving beyond party-before-principle was clearly in evidence from our Senior Senator Rep. Richard Shelby, who put country and state ahead of his party, urging fellow conservatives to write in another candidate rather than vote for Moore, and almost 23,000 voters did — a number slightly greater than Jones's margin of victory. This was one of Shelby's finest moments and we hope will long serve as a shining example to his congressional colleagues.

This election outcome is tremendous for Alabama. We believe Doug Jones will be a fine Senator and move us forward in myriad of ways. But Jones's victory does not mean our state is suddenly not the conservative bastion it has been (though even in the hardest-right elections, about a third or more Alabamians vote for more progressive candidates.) Jones understands this, and will seek to represent all Alabamians. That said, the state is changing — more urban, with a more diverse population, and those segments of the voting population carried the day for Jones. We are encouraged to see more young people engaged in our electoral and political processes, and urge both parties to find ways to continue this.

Finally, while factors affected many votes by individuals and groups who make up the 2 percent margin of victory in this election, it's certain that at least that many votes were cast for Jones by people who believed and wanted to support the brave women who spoke out about Moore's history of predatory behavior and harassment and abuse. We believe those women spoke the truth, finally revealing deeply held secrets, because they couldn't bear to see Roy Moore in the Senate and because — no matter their faith or their politics — they knew in their hearts that America (and her children) deserved better. We salute those women. We are grateful for this new future they are helping usher forward.

We look forward to the high road that Doug Jones will be traveling to Washington.

Online: http://www.al.com/

___

Dec. 12

USA Today on President Donald Trump:

With his latest tweet, clearly implying that a United States senator would trade sexual favors for campaign cash, President Trump has shown he is not fit for office. Rock bottom is no impediment for a president who can always find room for a new low.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday dismissed the president's smear as a misunderstanding because he used similar language about men. Of course, words used about men and women are different. When candidate Trump said a journalist was bleeding from her "wherever," he didn't mean her nose.

And as is the case with all of Trump's digital provocations, the president's words were deliberate. He pours the gasoline of sexist language and lights the match gleefully knowing how it will burst into flame in a country reeling from the #MeToo moment.

A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.

This isn't about the policy differences we have with all presidents or our disappointment in some of their decisions. Obama and Bush both failed in many ways. They broke promises and told untruths, but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt.

Donald Trump, the man, on the other hand, is uniquely awful. His sickening behavior is corrosive to the enterprise of a shared governance based on common values and the consent of the governed.

It should surprise no one how low he went with Gillibrand. When accused during the campaign of sexually harassing or molesting women in the past, Trump's response was to belittle the looks of his accusers. Last October, Trump suggested that he never would have groped Jessica Leeds on an airplane decades ago: "Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you." Trump mocked another accuser, former People reporter Natasha Stoynoff, "Check out her Facebook, you'll understand." Other celebrities and politicians have denied accusations, but none has stooped as low as suggesting that their accusers weren't attractive enough to be honored with their gropes.

If recent history is any guide, the unique awfulness of the Trump era in U.S. politics is only going to get worse. Trump's utter lack of morality, ethics and simple humanity has been underscored during his 11 months in office. Let us count the ways:

(asterisk)He is enthusiastically supporting Alabama's Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of pursuing — and in one case molesting and in another assaulting — teenagers as young as 14 when Moore was a county prosecutor in his 30s. On Tuesday, Trump summed up his willingness to support a man accused of criminal conduct: "Roy Moore will always vote with us."

(asterisk)Trump apparently is going for some sort of record for lying while in office. As of mid-November, he had made 1,628 misleading or false statements in 298 days in office. That's 5.5 false claims per day, according to a count kept by The Washington Post's fact-checkers.

(asterisk)Trump takes advantage of any occasion — even Monday's failed terrorist attack in New York — to stir racial, religious or ethnic strife. Congress "must end chain migration," he said Monday, because the terror suspect "entered our country through extended-family chain migration, which is incompatible with national security." So because one man — 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. who came from Bangladesh on a family immigrant visa in 2011 — is accused of attacking America, all immigrants brought to this country by family are suspect? Trump might have some credibility if his criticism of immigrants was solely about terrorists. It isn't. It makes no difference to him if an immigrant is a terrorist or a federal judge. He once smeared an Indiana-born judge whose parents emigrated from Mexico. It's all the same to this president.

(asterisk)A man who clearly wants to put his stamp on the government, Trump hasn't even done his job when it comes to filling key government positions that require Senate confirmation. As of last week, Trump had failed to nominate anyone for 60% of 1,200 key positions he can fill to keep the government running smoothly.

(asterisk)Trump has shown contempt for ethical strictures that have bound every president in recent memory. He has refused to release his tax returns, with the absurd excuse that it's because he is under audit. He has refused to put his multibillion dollar business interests in a blind trust and peddles the fiction that putting them in the hands of his sons does the same thing.

Not to mention calling white supremacists "very fine people," pardoning a lawless sheriff, firing a respected FBI director, and pushing the Justice Department to investigate his political foes.

It is a shock that only six Democratic senators are calling for our unstable president to resign.

The nation doesn't seek nor expect perfect presidents, and some have certainly been deeply flawed. But a president who shows such disrespect for the truth, for ethics, for the basic duties of the job and for decency toward others fails at the very essence of what has always made America great.

Online: https://www.usatoday.com/

___

Dec. 12

The Washington Post on polls about undocumented immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program:

Quick, name a major public policy issue on which overwhelming numbers of Americans are united. Stumped? (Granted, it's a short list.) Here's one answer: allowing "dreamers" — young undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children — to remain in the United States if they pass background checks, go to school and fulfill other basic requirements. In a dozen polls this fall, including one released Tuesday, respondents who favor permitting dreamers to stay in the United States generally outnumber those who would deport them by at least 3-to-1, and often by 4-to-1 or 5-to-1.

The support for dreamers is bipartisan, and it shows up clearly and almost identically in surveys conducted by Fox News and CNN, among other media outlets, including The Post. Despite that, an array of bills that would protect dreamers from deportation, either by granting them a form of legal status or by putting them on short- or long-term pathways to citizenship, remain stalled in Congress.

The legislative inertia is all the more stupefying given the fact that a clear majority of lawmakers in both chambers on Capitol Hill would vote today to grant dreamers legal status or a route to citizenship. Last week, 34 Republicans in the House of Representatives wrote to Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) endorsing a "permanent legislative solution" for the nearly 700,000 immigrants whose protection from deportation, granted by the Obama administration under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, will lapse starting in March owing to a decision by President Trump. That's more than enough GOP votes to ensure passage of a House bill to address the problem, given overwhelming Democratic support for such a move.

So far, though, Mr. Ryan seems to prefer a strategy of delay, deferral and dithering. He says he wants Congress to address the issue next year, free from the entanglements of other pressing year-end legislative business, including a spending package whose defeat would mean a government shutdown. But to many in Congress, his prescription sounds like a recipe for inaction — and, potentially, the deportation of thousands of dreamers as their DACA permits expire. In the Senate, that has led some Democrats to consider demanding a DACA fix as the price for their support on the spending bill — and avoiding a shutdown.

Why should it come to that? In the House, a bill introduced by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) and with 34 Republican co-sponsors would set dreamers on a 10-year pathway to citizenship. In the Senate, a measure with three Republican backers would set a 15-year timetable. Why not take a vote — now?

One answer is Mr. Trump, whose ever-shifting stance on extending protections for the dreamers has had a self-neutering effect. In January, citing his "big heart," he said they "shouldn't be very worried," and in September he urged Congress to act to protect them. More recently, under the influence of anti-immigration hard-liners such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House aide Stephen Miller, he has switched to demanding an array of border-security measures, including construction of a wall on the frontier with Mexico, that are deal-killers for Democrats.

The dreamers, it seems, should in fact be very worried by what is happening in Washington. Under the deadline set by Mr. Trump, nearly 1,000 dreamers will lose their protection from deportation each day beginning March 5. At that point, a cohort of youngsters raised in this country will stop being bargaining chips; they will become part of an unfolding American tragedy. Congress should act now to forestall that completely avoidable, and inexcusable, outcome.

Online: https://www.washingtonpost.com/

___

Dec. 12

The New York Times on the $450 million purchase of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" painting:

The big news in the art world the other day — and it was big — was the disclosure that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the young Saudi heir who's detained dozens of cousins and tycoons in an anti-corruption drive, was the mysterious buyer who paid a fortune for a distinctly non-Islamic Leonardo at an auction at Christie's in New York City last month. The man who placed the bid on the crown prince's behalf was a little-known cousin with a lot less money but a much longer name, Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud. There were companion reports that the painting would ultimately wind up in a museum in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates' capital and the new challenger for culture bragging rights on the Persian Gulf.

All this was sourced to American intelligence officials and other unnamed persons who know a lot about the art world. It seemed consistent with the crown prince's pattern of working through friends to make big purchases.

But hold on! Doubts have now arisen as to whether the crown prince was the true buyer, the man who actually shelled out $450.3 million for the painting, and for whom Prince Bader was a mere gofer. The Saudi Embassy in Washington said in a statement that the true buyer was the Ministry of Culture in Abu Dhabi, where the painting will hang in a newly opened branch of the Louvre, and that Prince Bader was, in fact, the ministry's agent.

So what really do we know? One, the buyer at auction was Prince Bader, a close friend and associate of the crown prince. No one disputes that. Two, the museum in Abu Dhabi is definitely expecting to hang the painting on its walls. The unanswered question is this: For whom or what entity was Prince Bader acting? Another question: Why would the Saudis move so quickly to say the crown prince was not the moneyman?

One possible answer is the optics — the anomaly of the crown prince doling out $450.3 million for a painting, no matter how rare or wonderful, when he has so publicly and dramatically dedicated the first six months of his heir-apparency to imposing austerity measures and rooting out corruption.

Then there's the fact that the painting's subject, Salvator Mundi — Jesus Christ as the savior of the world — would seem certain to antagonize religious authorities in a stern Muslim kingdom like Saudi Arabia. Jesus is recognized as a prophet in Islam, not as God, but Islam bars making images of prophets. Prince Mohammed has been trying to loosen the imposition of strict Islamic law in Saudi Arabia, but it is hard to imagine that this would be the way to go about it. Then, finally, is the curiosity of a Saudi heir doling out close to a half-billion dollars on a painting for a museum in a neighboring emirate.

The architecturally striking Louvre Abu Dhabi opened last month to great fanfare (it leased the name from the Paris Louvre for 30 years), hoping to challenge the longstanding pre-eminence on the gulf art scene of Qatar's Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. A bona fide Leonardo would be an indisputable prize — especially when it easily beat the record Doha had held for the most ever paid for a painting, roughly $300 million for a Gauguin. (It may be worth noting that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are currently locked in a vicious feud in which the United Arab Emirates supports the Saudis.)

So if one mystery has been solved — the identity of Prince Bader, agent extraordinaire — more have been raised. Was this a game of gulf one-upmanship, with more to follow? Can the royal wunderkind of Saudi Arabia square his spending with his reforms?

Online: https://www.nytimes.com/

___

Dec. 8

The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina on a former North Charleston police officer sentenced to prison for the shooting death a black man:

Justice was not swift, but it has been served.

On Dec. 8, U.S. District Judge David Norton sentenced former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager to 20 years in prison for the shooting death of Walter Scott, bringing to an end a painful chapter in the city's history.

Mr. Norton's decision came on the third day of testimony in a sentencing hearing after Mr. Slager pled guilty in May to federal civil rights charges. Mr. Slager shot Mr. Scott in the back five times in April 2015 as Mr. Scott was running away from police following a routine traffic stop.

Judge Norton had a wide range of sentencing options: Mr. Slager could have received a life sentence or he could have been set free.

It is frustrating that the case could not have been resolved in a state trial, which ended with a hung jury in December. Consequently, Mr. Slager, who is white, was sentenced under a federal civil rights violation of using excessive force to deprive Mr. Scott, a black man, of his rights under the law.

The underlying charge was second-degree murder, according to Judge Norton. The federal prison system does not have parole, meaning that Mr. Slager will have to serve his entire term, barring a successful appeal.

Mr. Slager's guilty plea and his sentence mark milestones in the ongoing effort to bring greater accountability to police departments and address racial disparities in policing both here in the Lowcountry and nationwide.

It is a particularly critical moment for North Charleston.

The city still struggles with violence — this year has been its deadliest on record — and a strong and effective police department is as important as ever. But the work of keeping North Charleston residents safe will rightly proceed with supportive oversight from citizens who have stepped up to serve on a police review board.

Ever since cellphone video evidence surfaced revealing that Mr. Slager shot Mr. Scott in the back as he was fleeing, the North Charleston Police Department and city officials, including Mayor Keith Summey, acted commendably in condemning Mr. Slager's actions and working to improve the city's law enforcement.

The city's swift and decisive action helped prevent the kind of unrest that has harmed other communities like Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore. North Charleston set an example that other cities dealing with officer-involved shootings would be wise to follow.

But most importantly, Mr. Slager's sentencing offers a chance for the Scott family and the North Charleston community as a whole to finally find closure after more than two years of heartbreak and waiting.

"He will never see me play high school football, never see me graduate," said Miles Scott, Mr. Scott's youngest son, during the hearing. "My heart is destroyed because the way my father went was wrong."

Mr. Scott's mother, Judy, also recounted her painful final conversation with Mr. Scott over the phone at the beginning of his encounter with the police. She forgave Mr. Slager. So did Mr. Scott's brother, Anthony.

Moving on after the loss of a loved one and neighbor is not easy, particularly under such tragic circumstances. And Mr. Slager's years in prison will not undo the pain he has caused.

But Mr. Scott's family and friends, along with the rest of the Charleston area, can go forward in recognition that, finally, justice has been served.

Online: http://www.postandcourier.com/

___

Dec. 13

China Daily on President Donald Trump announcing his administration is planning to send astronauts to the moon again:

Having faced a lot of flak recently, US President Donald Trump may have found some relief in the widespread support he received for the new space policy directive he signed on Monday.

Promising to "restore American leadership in space", he called on Americans to imagine the possibilities of "daring to dream big" when he announced that his administration is planning to send astronauts to the moon once again.

It's a smaller dream than his predecessor's, for whom the moon was always a case of been there, done that. But then it is the more pragmatic way to get to Mars.

For without sufficient funding or help from nations such as China, NASA will not be capable of making the next giant leap for mankind, as a report by the National Research Council bluntly pointed out.

All Trump's predecessors, from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, dreamed of ambitious space missions to boldly go where no man had gone before, only for each of them to see their grandiose visions fall by the wayside, mainly because of the mammoth costs involved and budget constraints.

Trump's business acumen may come in handy this time, as a White House statement said he will "create incentives" for private industry and cooperation with other nations is on the cards. There has already been talk of the United States and Russia collaborating on a lunar space station.

And it would certainly be a giant leap forward if the US could abandon its policy that bans NASA from engaging in bilateral agreements and coordination with China regarding space.

Although a latecomer to space, China has made tremendous progress. It is now on track to launch its first Mars probe around 2020 and build a space station around 2022.

While harking back to the times when the U.S. considered itself great having won the space race, Trump should bear in mind that times have changed. Investment in the space program will no doubt lead to increased job creation, innovation and military applications as the administration claims, but the U.S. should commit to the peaceful use of space and look to forge increased cooperation with other spacefaring countries.

For a future inspired by journeys of exploration and discovery among the stars has been a shared dream of humans since we first wondered about the heavens.

Online: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/

Related News

Body donations on the rise at US medical schools

Aug 17, 2016

Many U.S. medical schools are seeing a surge in the number people leaving their bodies to science

'Auction' of NSA tools sends security companies scrambling

Aug 18, 2016

The leak of what purports to be a National Security Agency tool kit as part of a surreal online auction has set the information security world atwitter

'Mr. Robot' mobile game launches as phony messaging app

Aug 17, 2016

A fake messaging app inspired by the USA Network hacker 'Mr. Robot' was released Tuesday for mobile devices

About The Next Discovery

The Next Discovery is equipped with recent Science & Tech news to impart knowledge to individuals awaiting the future.

Contact us: sales@tndiscovery.com