- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

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April 22

The Newnan-Times Herald anticipates last weekend’s neo-Nazi rally:

Cooler heads prevail - they always do.

Ever since the National Socialist Movement announced their plans to hold a rally in Greenville Street Park this Saturday, not much else has dominated the local conversation.

The majority of this community abhors the message of the NSM and everything it stands for. When kept contained and isolated, it’s nothing more than a freak show - a spectacle of how far the lowest common denominator can dip in our country.

No matter how members spin their message, a swastika is a swastika. But when an opposing group like Antifa - short for anti-fascist - shows up, it succeeds at legitimizing the NSM and giving its members a visible target.

Antifa’s ideology is rooted in the assumption that the Nazi party would never have been able to come to power in Germany if people had more aggressively fought them in the streets in the 1920s and ‘30s, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

However, some historians theorize Nazi rallies were held where their enemies lived just to provoke them. That theory says more about our town than a couple of Confederate statues.

When anti-fascists attempted to disrupt the rallies, Nazi thugs retaliated and huge brawls erupted. Those violent confrontations with anti-fascists gave the Nazis a chance to paint themselves as the victims and, sure enough, many Germans eventually believed government control was needed to stop the lawless street fighting.

Nowadays, the left says the right starts the violence and the right says the left is responsible. They’re both known to start trouble, but if counter-protestors don’t show up looking for a fight or direct confrontation, it would be a non-issue. After all, what’s the sound of one hand clapping?

Antifa’s common refrain seems to be “zero tolerance for fascism in our community.”

However, this isn’t their community, nor is it their enemy’s - it’s ours.

When the cameras, flags and bullhorns are put away, they’re leaving our town. None of them holds any vested interest in our community, other than using it as a backdrop to disseminate their beliefs before moving on to the next stop on their tour of intolerance and discrimination.

There’s no point in debating who is the greater evil here. There’s no question fascism has no place in our society, ever.

We believe in equality among all people, freedom of speech and the right to assemble, so how and where will those qualities be displayed most effectively?

Most people who want to make Newnan a better place won’t be on Greenville Street that day. But some of our very finest will be there on the front lines to protect our town and the freedom of speech as guaranteed by the Constitution.

Others will be working at finding common ground among those they live and work with, either by having supported local businesses during Friday’s #NewnanStrong event, attending a rally at St. Smyrna Church during the protest, volunteering at a benefit for a local nonprofit, or participating in any of a number of other local events being held that day.

Those who want to fight fascism and build better relationships with people don’t do it by screaming into the faces of their enemies. They do it by making consistent strides toward improving their communities and investing their time and effort on a continual basis - not by spending one Saturday afternoon in the park.

We might not be able to control who shows up on any given weekend, but we can stick to our beliefs and consistently maintain our standards as a community.

We hope that “the sound of one hand clapping” is Newnan waving goodbye to all of the demonstrators.

Online: http://times-herald.com/

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April 24

Valdosta Daily Times on America and Georgia’s past with lynching:

We must learn from our sins.

America’s lynching past is a blight on our history that we should never forget.

We must learn from history.

The story of Mary Turner is among the most heinous atrocities in Georgia history.

The eight-month pregnant Mary Turner was hunted down, captured and strung up by her ankles near the Lowndes County-Brooks County line in South Georgia. An enraged mob of white men doused her with gasoline, burned her clothes and cut the baby from her womb.

Turner’s lynching - which happened a century ago - was beyond brutal.

The story makes us uncomfortable.

And it should.

Still, it is important that her story and the stories of countless others be told and retold.

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala., is intended to make sure the South and the nation never forgets her and thousands of other black Americans who were killed by lynch mobs in the decades after the Civil War.

About 800 six-foot steel monuments hang in the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice. They remind us of the brutality that ended in the death of about 4,400 people from 1877 to 1950.

The Equal Justice Initiative will open the privately funded, first-of-its-kind memorial in the United States to the public this Thursday along with an accompanying museum called the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration.

Thousands of lynchings took place mostly in the South. Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana had the highest number of lynchings. Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas and Louisiana had the highest statewide lynching rates, though some did occur in northern states.

This is a true American horror story.

While some lynching victims were accused of crimes, many were not, and the lynchings were conducted by murderous mobs, not the results of a trial, conviction and state execution.

Valdosta’s Lee Henderson made a powerful observation when he said, “Because just like descendants of the mob are still here, the descendants of the people who were lynched - they’re still here, too. And the pain lives in one’s psyche. How do you get rid of it? There has to be a reconciliation.”

Pretending like these horrific events never happened serves no purpose.

While lynchings are not taking place, we must ever be concerned about the bigotry, racism and hatred that swelled in the hearts of those violent mobs and ask ourselves how could people allow themselves to get to that place where they would commit such heinous acts.

Prejudice, racism and bigotry are not only about the horrible acts people commit, those things are also about what lies within us.

We wish the horrific chapter of American history had never happened.

It did.

We wish the National Memorial for Peace and Justice was not necessary.

It is.

Online: http://www.valdostadailytimes.com/

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April 18

The Savannah Morning News on the status of Georgia Ports amid a brewing trade war:

Six weeks on, the United States-China trade war remains one of words only.

Georgia’s ports, in the meantime, just keep moving record amounts of cargo.

The pending fallout from the Trump-Xi ego measuring contest is a popular subject of quiet conversations around the Savannah area. From board rooms to bar rooms and truck stops to church league backstops, Georgians have been fretting over tariffs and what they could mean for the state’s consistently growing, high-performing industry.

The answer is as complicated as the dock work the longshoremen and stevedores make look so easy.

The tariffed goods hit list seemingly grows by the day, a tiring tit-for-tat that, again, is more “Art of the Deal” bluster than cut-them-off-at-the-knees reality. President Donald Trump gets the benefit of the doubt on his negotiating tactics for now - after all, what choice do we have? - with the understanding there’s minimal risk of a trade war triggering a global recession.

The dispute aside, the potential ramifications for American ports are unsettling. Two West Coast ports, Los Angeles and Long Beach, handle half of all trade between the U.S. and China. According to data analysis firm IHS Markit, the tariffs put almost 7 percent of U.S. container trade with China at risk.

Here in Savannah, the threat is muted. Georgia is not among the top-10 states in terms of exports to China. However, Savannah is the fourth leading U.S. port in terms of U.S.-China trade based on the current lineup of targeted goods, according to IHS Markit statistics. The data firm projects tariffs would target 8 percent of the total number of goods moved through the Port of Savannah.

For the number crunchers out there, of the $128.6 billion worth of goods the U.S. Census Bureau says moved in and out of Georgia in 2017, nearly $5 billion was swapped with China. Eight percent of the China trade total of $4,843,080,479 equals more than $387 million.

So $387 million out of $128.6 billion - less than 1 percent - at a port that grew by 11 percent last year.

Port officials are monitoring the trade squabble but continue to focus energy on what they can control. Our elected officials at the statehouse, on Capitol Hill and the White House are tasked with shaping and influencing trade policy.

The ports exist to move cargo, and what may not come and go to China might just as easily be made up for by other trading partners. The serenity prayer might as well be a mantra in the GPA headquarters: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

Speaking of differences, the Georgia Ports Authority is leveraging its advantages over other ports in the name of growth. The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is bringing more of the super-freighters to the Port of Savannah. The Mason Mega Rail Terminal project, meanwhile, will allow 10,000-foot trains to be loaded and linked onsite, doubling the port’s rail capacity to 1 million container lifts per year.

These projects continue despite the sporadic tariff tirades emanating from Washington, D.C. and Beijing. The long-range target for the Port of Savannah’s capacity remains at 10 million containers per year, up from 6 million currently.

The hypothetical trade war between the U.S. and China could impact the local ports. But the extent of potential damage is likely limited. Worst-case scenario: the tariffs slow growth, but as GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch pointed out earlier this month, the “global economy is thriving and our volumes are following suit.”

A war of words won’t force a retreat in Georgia Ports’ success. The world is a small place yet is full of many trading partners. The ports will just keep moving all that cargo.

Online: http://www.savannahnow.com

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