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Editorial Roundup: Excerpts from recent editorials

Wednesday - 7/31/2013, 4:58pm  ET

The Associated Press

Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad:

July 29

The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune on truth riles up Venezuela

Facing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a few days ago, Samantha Power, President Barack Obama's nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, surely didn't expect to stir up the proverbial hornet's nest.

Power told the committee that as America's U.N. envoy, she believed in "contesting" what she described as a "crackdown on civil society being carried out in countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela."

That was truthful, if not exactly an exercise in delicate diplomacy, and it enraged Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, the hand-picked successor of the late Hugo Chavez, the flamboyantly anti-American socialist. ...

He demanded an apology.

Maduro, a former bus driver who was elected in April after Chavez succumbed to cancer, had called for improved relations with Washington. In June his foreign minister, Elias Jaua, met Secretary of State John Kerry, who described their meeting as the "beginning of a good, respectful relationship."

Jaua announced that his government had sent a letter of protest to the American embassy in Caracas. ...

The United States needn't overreact to Maduro's bravado, but it needn't apologize for Power's accurate characterization of Venezuela.

We suspect all this will fade away. Despite the ill will generated by Chavez, the United States remains a critical trading partner for Venezuela. And the United States is a major importer of Venezuela's major export, oil.

Maduro's tough talk probably is no more than that. In any event, such threats shouldn't keep American diplomats from calling out oppressive regimes, however thin-skinned they may be.

Online:

http://www.tampatrib.com

___

July 30

The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle on less talk, more action for President Obama:

President Barack Obama loves to show off his basketball prowess now and then. His favorite move on the court: the pivot.

The Wall Street Journal wrote this past week that "President Obama made his fourth or fifth, or maybe it's the seventh or eighth, pivot to the economy." By another reporter's count, the president has pivoted to supposedly make the economy a priority 19 times now.

That's a lot of talk with very little action. If it's really a priority, why must the topic be pivoted to so much?

What it all means to you is that this president is more concerned with using the sputtering economy as a talking point to occasionally change the subject. And to somehow blame Republicans for his record.

In short, Barack Obama has seen his track record, and he's not going to take it anymore!

Obama claimed in his latest pivot to the economy that he wants to work with Republicans to get things going. But skipping out of Washington to make empty campaign-style, beat-opponents-over-the-head speeches won't get the job done on jobs.

President, for goodness' sake, you are term-limited; stop campaigning and start governing! Meet with Congress and find some common ground on the economy. ....

Obamacare is a proven job killer, and the worst of it hasn't even been implemented. How can it not be a job killer? It disincentivizes business growth and having full-time workers, and is raising the costs of health insurance drastically. It's so ominous that Obama had to delay full implementation of it until 2015 -- and even his hard-left union friends are sending up warning flares about "Obamacare's" potential to destroy the middle class.

Obama's much-vaunted "economic" speech was more about how to distribute the pie, rather than how to grow it for everyone. ...

Being an inveterate sports fan, you would think the president would appreciate the beauty of a system based on merit and individual ability, achievement and reward.

Why is a meritocracy in sports a good thing, but not elsewhere?

Online:

http://chronicle.augusta.com

___

July 30

New York Times on Al Qaeda in Iraq scores big:

Jailbreaks are common in Iraq, but the brazen assaults on the prisons at Abu Ghraib and Taji last week are in a class by themselves. The attacks freed perhaps as many as 800 militants, who are now sought by Interpol as a "major threat" to global security. The attacks showed the fearsome and growing strength of Al Qaeda in Iraq, seemingly on the decline only a few years ago. They also raised new questions about the effectiveness of Iraq's authoritarian prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, as well as the stability of Iraq itself.

Al Qaeda in Iraq, an affiliate of Al Qaeda, waged a virulent insurgency that brought the country to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007, then suffered major defeats at the hands of Iraqi tribal groups and American troops. It has since rebounded and is believed largely responsible for a surge in daily bombings that have killed an estimated 700 people this month alone.

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