- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:


Aug. 30

The Tennessean on Tennessee’s own Bill Hagerty’s appointment as ambassador to Japan and North Korea:

North Korea’s reckless and dangerous decision to launch a missile over northern Japan this week worsened an already simmering global threat.

This provocation to America’s great ally might just have been bravado by smug dictator Kim Jong Un, but these outrageous actions must not continue.

The United States is fortunate to have Tennessee’s own Bill Hagerty as the new ambassador to Japan, representing the Trump administration as well as America’s interests.

Although his background is in business and economic development, his focus is now clearly on national and global security and cooperation.

Hagerty laid out the seriousness of the global threats in remarks at a reception in his honor at the Japanese Consul General’s residence in Nashville on July 31.

On Wednesday President Donald Trump tweeted a message indicating his desire to end future talks: “The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!”

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis later told media that diplomatic solutions were not off the table. That is a good thing because Japan is not only important to overall U.S. interests, but also to Tennessee’s long-term prosperity.

Tennessee ranks first among states for most foreign-direct investment and the East Asian island tops the list, investing about $15 billion - nearly half of the total FDI the Volunteer State earns.

Tennessee’s exports to Japan total $2 billion, according to the Consulate General’s website.

In addition, 180 Japanese companies, large and small, like Nissan and Bridgestone, have headquarters and operations across the state and employ roughly 40,000 people.

The recent launch of a British Airways nonstop flight from Nashville to London had state and local officials speaking openly about seeking a nonstop flight to Tokyo from BNA in the future, a nod to the importance of the relationship.

Hagerty succeeds a line of distinguished public servants in the role of ambassador to Japan, like Caroline Kennedy, former Vice President Walter Mondale and the late Sen. Howard Baker, also of Tennessee.

The weeks and months to come will undoubtedly be very difficult and tense, but having as the U.S. Embassy’s leader a sober, thoughtful and committed person like Hagerty should give Americans confidence.

We wish him success and safety as he helps protect and advance the aims of peace, mutual prosperity and safety.

Online: https://www.tennessean.com/


Sept. 1

The Commercial Appeal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program:

They were brought to America as children with hopes, dreams and aspirations, but without proper government authorization.

They’ve grown up as Americans, worked hard and stayed out of trouble. For most, English is their first language and the United States is the only home they’ve ever known.

They’ve gone to school and church here, joined the Scouts and sports teams, learned to drive, earned college degrees, become police officers, teachers, doctors and parents, and stayed out of trouble.

Nine Republican state attorneys general with political hopes, dreams and aspirations of their own want to kick them out of the country.

That’s not the stated goal of their June letter to the Trump administration, threatening to sue the federal government unless it rescinds the Obama administration’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by Sept. 5.

That will be the devastating impact for about 787,000 “dreamers” - including about 2,000 in Memphis and about 8,000 across Tennessee. Ninety-seven percent of them are in school or in the workforce.

DACA grants “dreamers” permission to stay here, go to school and work. To qualify, applicants must have entered the U.S. before age 16, have lived here continuously since June 2007, and have committed no serious crimes.

“Our request does not ask the federal government to deport any alien currently covered by DACA,” Texas Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton told Fox News. “Rather, the request is to phase out these unlawful actions by not renewing or issuing any new DACA permits.”

As Will Rogers knew and said, “If you ever injected truth into politics you’d have no politics.”

As Paxton knows but didn’t say, DACA protections last for two years and can be renewed. If DACA is revoked, and 787,000 “dreamers” can’t get their protections renewed, they are at risk for deportation.

The Trump administration hasn’t been shy about arresting and deporting unauthorized immigrants.

Ironically, the Trump administration has approved about 200,000 new and renewal DACA requests this year. President Trump has called the dreamers “absolutely incredible kids” who deserve to stay. The White House said Trump will announce his decision Tuesday.

The 10 dreamkillers say their opposition is to Obama’s action, not to DACA per se. “The Executive Branch does not have the unilateral power to confer lawful presence and work authorization on unlawfully present aliens,” their letter stated.

On Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan suggested a solution. “I believe that this is something that Congress has to fix,” Ryan told a radio station.

Ryan urged Trump to preserve DACA and protect the “dreamers.” Said Ryan: “These are kids who know no other country. These are kids brought here by their parents, who have no other home, and I think we need to give people peace of mind.”

If President Trump doesn’t do that, Congress can and should.

Online: https://www.commercialappeal.com/


Sept. 3

Johnson City Press on making it easier to register to vote:

Election officials have implemented a new online voter registration system in Tennessee. State Secretary of State Tre Hargett told The (Nashville) Tennessean the new “system meets people where they already are: online.”

Online registration will use a voter’s driver’s license or state identification card with a photo already in the state’s records to verify the identity of the applicant.

The hope is that by putting voter registration online, more Tennesseans will register and vote in the next election. Other states that have implemented similar systems have reported slight increases in voter registration.

Even so, apathy is hard to overcome. No matter how easy states have made it to vote, studies show nearly half of eligible Americans still find excuses for staying away from the polls. Just 63 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in last year’s historic presidential election.

Tennesseans already have a number of easy options for registering to vote. One is to fill out a form when they renew their driver’s license. Another is to pick up a form at the public library.

You also can register to vote at the county clerk or register of deeds offices, as well as at many state offices. Before online registration, the quickest way to register to vote was to fill out a form at the local county election commission office.

You must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years or older and a resident of the state to qualify to vote. Tennesseans convicted of felonies are not eligible to vote unless they have had their full citizenship rights properly restored.

Regardless of how Tennesseans go about it, they must be registered 30 days before Election Day to be able to vote.

If the online voter registration process proves to be a success, state lawmakers should explore another online service that has proven to be very popular in some states. Election day registration allows voters to register to vote or update their registration information when they go to the polls.

Online: https://www.johnsoncitypress.com/

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