- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Recent editorials of statewide and national interest from New York’s newspapers:

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The Glen Falls Post-Star on the New York state Legislature’s 2018 session

June 23

We thought we made a good argument on May 6 why the state Senate should pass the Child Victims Act.

We pointed out the Assembly passed it 124-9, a recent poll showed 79 percent of citizens approved of the law and after 10 years of consideration, it seemed long overdue for the Senate to provide victims of sexual assault with some measure of justice.

We reminded our readers this issue should resonate in our own community, where victims of pedophile priests still resided.

As the Legislature closed up shop early Thursday morning, the state Senate never allowed it to come up for a vote.

The Assembly didn’t fare much better.

Just last week we argued that the Assembly needed to pass two common-sense measures to provide transparency to how the state does business to help fight corruption.

The two bills passed 62-0 and 60-2 in the state Senate, but the Assembly never let them out of committee.

We’re disgusted.

You should be, too.

Over the last two weeks, the Legislature accomplished very little. If the issue had a whiff of controversy, few talked about it and even fewer wanted to do anything about it.

Taxpayers deserve a refund for another failed session from the Legislature.

So what should we do?

We could advise all our readers to vote the incumbents out of office, but that is not in our best interests. Losing Republican control of the state Senate means upstate issues and funding gets short shrift.

We’ve decided we need a new governor.

We believe a governor who was concerned about the state would have engaged with the Legislature in the final days of the session to make a difference and get these important measures passed.

Gov. Cuomo did not do that.

When he should have been wheeling and dealing to get justice for sexual assault victims and more transparency for New York’s business practices, he was preoccupied with crafting a national reputation.

On the last day of the legislative session, Gov. Cuomo published an opinion piece in The New York Times on the Trump administration’s inhumane treatment of immigrant children.

Later that day, he appeared on CNN to explain the basis of a lawsuit New York was filing against the Trump administration.

On Tuesday, he appeared on CBS News recommending New York legalize recreational marijuana.

None of this was pending business in the Legislature.

And while we realize this is an election year, it would be nice if the governor was a little more focused on issues that make a difference, like the three bills we recently endorsed in this space.

We believe Gov. Cuomo can be a fierce, combative force for getting things done - when he wants to be.

That was not the case this past week and it has not been that way for some time.

Republican minority leader Brian Kolb told Karen DeWitt of WAMC-radio that the governor was distracted by his growing number of challengers in the governor’s race.

While that may be true, it appears the governor is really more focused on the presidency than on New York.

That is unacceptable.

The recent trial of Joseph Percoco and the ongoing Buffalo Billion trial show corruption ties too close to the governor for our taste.

We need a New York governor, not another presidential candidate.

And coincidentally, there just happens to be a governor’s election this year in which we can do something about it.

Online: https://bit.ly/2K8e8qZ

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The Wall Street Journal on President Donald Trump’s threats against Harley-Davidson

June 26

When it comes to misguided revenge, Sons of Anarchy has nothing on Donald Trump. The President’s own man-of-mayhem trade policies have forced Harley-Davidson to move some of its motorcycle production overseas. But Mr. Trump responded to this week’s announcement by menacing the company on Twitter Tuesday morning.

“A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country_never!” Mr. Trump raged. “Their employees and customers are already very angry at them. If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end - they surrendered, they quit! The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!” In another tweet, the President added, “Harley must know they won’t be able to sell back into U.S. without paying a big tax!”

Taxed if you do, taxed if you don’t. In retaliation for Mr. Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, the European Union raised tariffs on U.S-made motorcycles to 31% from 6% last week. The $2,200 price hike would be a deal-breaker for many would-be Harley bikers in Europe and would damage the company’s sales.

As motorcycle sales in the U.S. continue to decline, Harley knows it needs to reach a global market. So the company was left with two choices: Avoid the tariff by moving operations abroad, or pay the new EU tax, which will cost the company $90 million to $100 million each year. Keep in mind that Harley is already paying $15 million to $20 million more for manufacturing this year because of Mr. Trump’s tariffs on metal.

Harley chose to live to ride another day, but you can bet its executives didn’t make the decision to relocate lightly. Harley’s American ethic is a big part of its brand, and there was always the risk of Mr. Trump’s Twitter vigilantism.

Meanwhile, Harley is dealing with union backlash for opening a production plant in Thailand while closing one in Kansas City. Harley made that hard call after Mr. Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership last year, though that agreement would have reduced foreign tariffs on American-made motorcycles. Mr. Trump’s TPP decision made it harder for Harley to compete in the Asian market while still using U.S.-based steelworkers and machinists. Cause, meet effect.

We remember how Barack Obama railed against Anthem for raising insurance premiums when Democrats were distorting the health-care market. One might expect that Mr. Trump, supposedly savvier about business realities, would understand how corporations have to make tough choices to survive bad policies. Mr. Trump should rage against the man in the mirror who is the reason for Harley’s choices.

Online: https://on.wsj.com/2tEOIpO

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The New York Times on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Democratic primary victory over Rep. Joseph Crowley

June 27

Democratic voters in New York’s 14th Congressional District delivered a shock to the political system Tuesday night, rejecting the fourth-ranking member of the party’s House leadership, Representative Joseph Crowley, in favor of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former Bernie Sanders campaign organizer who has called for abolishing the nation’s immigration and customs enforcement agency.

In doing so, voters delivered a message to Democrats and Republicans across the country, and perhaps in Albany: The liberal base is fired up, showing up at the polls, and may be ignored only at great political risk.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s victory is a vivid sign of the changing of the guard. In addition to more liberal immigration laws, she ran on a platform calling for Medicare for all and a federal jobs guarantee. She also talked about the housing crisis in New York City, an issue that resonates deeply with many voters here. Her district, which runs through Queens and the Bronx, is majority-minority, but its leadership has yet to reflect those changes. That’s something Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was able to capitalize on fluently, casting herself as part of a new generation of young, unabashedly liberal Democrats unwilling to wait their turn any longer.

Many told Ms. Ocasio-Cortez she was crazy for challenging Mr. Crowley, a 10-term incumbent who had ambitions to succeed the House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California. As chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party, Mr. Crowley, 56, was a kingmaker in New York City politics. At his annual holiday party, city officials were expected to perform karaoke, singing and dancing on the stage to a song of Mr. Crowley’s choosing.

That power perhaps created a sense of hubris and complacency, the kind that no doubt contributed to Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump. In Mrs. Clinton’s case, it may have stopped her from campaigning harder in states like Wisconsin and Michigan, places where Mr. Trump eked out narrow victories. In Mr. Crowley’s case, it may have led him to become smug: The congressman had taken to skipping debates with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez in recent weeks, facing her only once.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s victory is also a reminder of the importance of boosting healthy competition in Democratic primaries, where voters are too often taken for granted, especially in solidly blue states like New York, leading to lethargic turnout and weaker candidates. And many newly motivated women and other activists around the country are challenging Republican incumbents whom others thought were unbeatable.

What remains to be seen, though, is whether Democratic leaders can embrace these newcomers or will see them as a threat. That may determine whether they are able to take back the House of Representatives in November.

Many voters are ready for something different. Politicians across the country should take note.

Online: https://nyti.ms/2yM7voP

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The Utica Observer-Dispatch on family separation at the U.S. border with Mexico

June 21

President Trump’s decision Wednesday to abruptly reverse course and halt the separation of parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border is testament to the public uproar that has raged here and around the world, stirring international outrage that included criticism from Pope Francis and other world leaders.

It clearly reinforces a benchmark of America: Even the President of the United States is not bigger than the people.

Opposition to Trump’s inhumane plan that separated migrant children from their mothers and fathers was off the charts. As a result, Trump signed an executive order Wednesday afternoon ending his administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that forced families to be separated at the border.

Trump had previously staunchly defended a pigheaded policy that has separated more than 2,000 children from their parents over the past five weeks after they crossed the border, the results of which are difficult to bear.

One audio recording recently captured the heartbreaking voices of small Spanish-speaking children crying out for their parents at a U.S. immigration facility in Brownsville, Texas.

“Papa! Papa!” one child was heard weeping in the audio that was provided to The Associated Press.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen earlier this week said she had not heard the audio but said children taken into custody by the government were being treated humanely.

Humanely? How does Nielsen define humanely? Giving them a fuzzy blanket and a bowl of Cocoa Puffs?

The world wasn’t buying it - and rightfully so. Images of young children in tears, housed in metal cages, set the international community on fire.

Late Wednesday morning, an administration official said Trump’s executive order would now keep families together in immigration detention centers.

There is no argument that we must solve the illegal immigration problem facing our country. But separating a child from his or her parents and justifying it by saying the children are being treated humanely is absolutely ludicrous. Such a half-baked policy is about as far removed from humane as you can get.

Establishing policies to thwart illegal immigration and protect the borders is one thing, but using children as pawns in this political dogfight is unconscionable. Some might credit Trump for bowing to the pressure, but the fact that this happened in the first place is a shameful blemish on the face of a nation that has long been known for compassion and humanity.

Online: https://bit.ly/2KrVV3Q

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The Gloversville Leader-Herald on recycling

June 25

The time for Americans to be honest about “recycling” may have arrived. Thank the Chinese for forcing us into a discussion we should have had years ago.

Millions of Americans separate materials such as paper and plastic from their garbage, placing the items in recycling bins. Then, homeowners either deliver the used material to recycling centers or wait to have it picked up.

By keeping non-biodegradable substances such as plastic out of landfills, most recyclers believe they are doing the environment a favor. Why just dump it when it can be reused?

Trouble is, much of it isn’t reused. It is dumped in landfills. That is why so many recycling programs lose money and have to be subsidized by customers or taxpayers in general.

Now, China has banned imports of plastic waste. About 45 percent of that material from throughout the world has gone to China for the past quarter-century.

Chinese recyclers have used some of the plastics. The rest goes to landfills, and the Chinese are tired of being the world’s dump.

Without China to accept shipments of plastics many Americans thought were destined to be processed for reuse, costs for many U.S. recycling programs will increase. More plastic will be dumped here.

There must be a better way to deal with plastic waste than to lie, in effect, about it being recycled. We Americans need to being thinking about that.

Online: https://bit.ly/2tvS8fs

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