Month: October 2020

  • It’s wise for opponents to give Trump some credit

    first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionApple’s announcement last Wednesday that it will repatriate most of the estimated $274 billion that it holds in offshore earnings is great news for the United States. The failure to understand this meant a failure to appreciate the depth of American discontent.It helps explain how Hillary Clinton lost her unlosable election to a man whose central claim to office was that he understood business.More recently, Democrats have convinced themselves that Trump is merely the beneficiary of Obama’s economic legacy.But how can the critics who previously assured us that Trump’s election would cause certain calamity now explain that he’s nothing but a lucky bystander to forces beyond his control?Had the economy tumbled over the past year his critics would surely have blamed him. It’s ill grace to deny him all credit when it’s doing so well.The truth is that it’s hard to account exactly for why the economy does well or poorly from one year to the next.But it’s also true that the president has been nothing if not aggressive in his efforts to remove regulations, cut taxes and promote American businesses (not least his own), and animal spirits on Wall Street have responded accordingly. Uncle Sam will get a one-time $38 billion tax payment.The company promises to add 20,000 jobs to its U.S. workforce, a 24 percent increase, and build a new campus.Another $5 billion will go toward a fund for advanced manufacturing in America.C’mon. What’s with the long face?In December this column warned that hysterical opposition to the Republican tax bill was a fool’s game for Democrats that could only help President Donald Trump. Yes, there were things to dislike in the legislation, from both a liberal and a conservative perspective.But it was not the moral and fiscal apocalypse its critics claimed. Also true is that Americans will generally give credit for a good economy to whichever president presides over it.Yet one gets a distinct sense that Trump’s relentless critics would rather bury the Apple news or look for the cloud within the silver lining.This is not a good look. If making confident but lousy predictions is one form of political malpractice, wanting things to fail is another.The same goes for the government shutdown. Democrats placed a large bet that it’s a political showdown they could win.But what they are mainly doing is wrecking their chances of retaking the House or Senate by appearing to put the interests of DACA’s immigrant “Dreamers” ahead of the rest of America.How that helps Dreamers, Democrats, Americans or anyone other than the president and maybe California Sen. Kamala Harris is anyone’s guess. “The global financial destruction that will happen under President Trump has already begun.”That was a headline in London’s Independent newspaper on Nov. 9, 2016. Those whom the gods will mock, first they make pompous economic forecasters.It’s worth thinking carefully about why Trump’s critics have been so wrong about the economy, and of the damage their hubris does to the anti-Trump case.Democrats entered the 2016 election cycle on what they thought was the back of a strong economy.It wasn’t.Barack Obama presided over the weakest expansion in postwar history.The economy grew by 15.5 percent from the second quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2016. During the (slightly longer) Reagan boom of 1982-90, it grew by more than 38 percent. And its central achievement — a dramatic cut in corporate rates to 21 percent from 35 percent — was an economic no-brainer that many Democrats, including President Barack Obama, had supported (albeit less steeply) just a few years ago.Apple will not be the only multinational that will soon bring back gigantic profits to take advantage of new low repatriation rates.Microsoft holds $146 billion in overseas earnings, Pfizer $178 billion, General Electric $82 billion, Alphabet $78 billion, and Cisco $71 billion, according to estimates from the Zion Research Group.The total stash is about $3 trillion — by one measure nearly three times what it was just a decade ago.Assume that just half of that money comes home to the United States.It’s still the equivalent of Canada’s entire gross domestic product.Not too shabby, especially considering all the hyperbolic predictions of economic doom that went with Trump’s election. Donald Trump is a profoundly defective person who nearly every morning does grave political self-harm with no assistance from his opponents.But he is also president, and normal Americans — that is, those who hold the outcome of the next election in their hands — do not want him to fail.They want statesmanship, not schadenfreude.Wouldn’t it be smart of all of Trump’s opponents to show they are superior to him in the former?And wouldn’t a good way of doing that be to abjure the latter, even if it sometimes means giving him some credit?Bret Stephens is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times.More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

  • Limit use of AR-15s to shooting ranges

    first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Why are AR-15s available for sale? Because some people want to have fun. Deer hunters don’t use them. Rabbit hunters don’t use them. Bird hunters don’t use them. Only people-hunters use them outside of shooting ranges. They’re available for sale just so these few people can have some fun.I’m not against fun. I’m against stupidity and senseless slaughter. Fun-seekers should be able to buy this type of weapon with the following conditions: The weapon is to be delivered by the seller to a licensed shooting range. The security of the weapon is the responsibility of the range owner. The owner of the weapon can have all the fun he wants at the range. If he moves, the range owner must transfer the weapon to another licensed range.This way, even wackos can own assault weapons without infringing on Second Amendment rights or endangering the public.Firearm sellers who profit from the commerce of these weapons must be required to document each transaction with both fingerprints and pictures and be responsible for transfer to licensed ranges.I suggest that doing something beats doing nothing. We have been great at doing nothing.Frank ElflandCharlton More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Police: Schenectady woman tried to take car in Clifton Park hours after arrest, release in prior the…EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

  • Letters to the Editor for Sunday, Dec. 8

    first_imgWhat makes Stefanik such a role model?I was interested to read the Nov. 22 letter from Meg Messitt (“Rep. Stefanik serves as an inspiration”), noting her uncritical admiration of her congressional representative, Elise Stefanik.Let me say at the outset it is pleasing to hear of high school students being politically aware; I believe America would be a better place if more of her generation were thus involved.What is surprising is her enthusiastic endorsement of Ms. Stefanik, whose most recent distinguishing trademark is her obsequious defense of her president, whose transgressions with respect to his self-serving dealings with Ukraine have been clearly revealed in the impeachment hearings.It is appropriate for young people to have role models; my question for Ms. Messitt is:Why Elise Stefanik? Does she imagine America would be a better place with another Stefanik?Or would young people be better advised to model themselves on someone like, say, Fiona Hill, whose intellect, skill and love of and dedication to her adopted country shone through in her testimony, which the Republican representatives were wise (for once) to not even challenge.Michael BishopScotiaSome don’t fit into definition of moralityBeing moral is not about obeying a list of rules, whether the list contains 10 rules or 20,000 rules.Being a moral adult means incorporating into the balance of your decision making the effect on, and the feelings of, others.The foundation of morality is nurtured empathy.To be totally without empathy for your fellow man is to be a sociopath.This is modern psychological thinking, but it is not new. Consider the 17th century admonition of John Donne about “tolling bells.”Also consider this 13th century verse from the Persian poet Saadi Shiraz:All men and women are to each other the limbs of a single frame/ since all at first from the same essence came./ When time afflicts a limb with bane,/ the other limbs at rest cannot remain./ You, who will not feel another’s’ pain, you forfeit the right to be called human.Hmm… Bring anyone to mind?Bill MacTiernanSchenectadyCartoon mocking police wasn’t funnyI could not believe your sense of humor when your cartoon showed a state policeman offering to tear up a ticket if the motorist paid him off.My grandson happens to be a New York state trooper.The hours are long, like a lot of jobs, but he and they don’t know what he’ll face when he goes to work. Is your job like that?We really need out troopers in this day and age. Don’t you agree?I haven’t met anyone who says he or she wants to do it, have you?I saw a film of the training. It was awful.How would you like pepper spray in your face? My grandson had to do that to a man once.He’d kicked my grandson in the mouth.I’m trying to stay on the straight and narrow.Eunice KilmerJohnstownMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionTreatment plant not worthy of its award I read the story in the Nov. 29 Gazette’s Your Niskayuna about the town of Niskayuna Wastewater Treatment Facility winning a local award and was aghast.While I am all for a better facility, this effort was far from award worthy.Those who give this award must not have visited the facility or the surrounding Mohawk River State Park and homes to smell the foul air.Nor did they consider that the state Department of Environmental Conservation hasn’t issued its final permits for the project, the negative impacts of over 20 daily passes of large trucks along the border of the park, or the massive cost overruns.I guess it doesn’t take much to win this award.Jeffrey MeyersNiskayunalast_img read more

  • Hemingway improves offer to bondholders

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  • Residential: Sign of the Tyne

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  • Zara hits Glasgow

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  • MEPC lines up stake in Victoria House refurbishment

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  • …while REStQ loses out in City deal

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  • Canary Wharf shares hit again

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  • ‘Severe’ hospital bed shortage at China virus epicentre: Officials

    first_imgAuthorities in China warned Wednesday they faced a severe shortage of hospital beds and equipment needed to treat a growing number of patients stricken by the new coronavirus, as cities far from the epicentre tightened their defences.Central Hubei province reported 3,156 new infections, its biggest single-day jump in the outbreak that has spiralled into a global health emergency with cases reported in over 20 countries.Among those new cases was a newborn, diagnosed just 30 hours after being born. Global concerns have risen after the World Health Organization declared an international health emergency last week.The WHO called for $675 million (613 million euros) in donations for a plan to fight the novel coronavirus, mainly through investment in countries considered particularly “at risk”.The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged to commit up to $100 million.New cases emerged abroad, with 10 people testing positive for the virus on a cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan with thousands on board.Also in Japan, the chief executive of the Tokyo Olympics set for later this year admitted organisers were “extremely worried” about how the virus could affect the Summer Games, but the International Olympic Committee urged calm.Italy announced that passengers from every international flight would be scanned for fevers, while Vietnam joined a growing list of countries banning arrivals from China.Hong Kong, which reported its first coronavirus death this week, said anyone arriving from the mainland will face a mandatory two-week quarantine from Saturday.- ‘Don’t go out!’ -In Hangzhou, some 175 kilometres (110 miles) southwest of Shanghai, fences blocked streets near the headquarters of Chinese tech giant Alibaba — one of the world’s most valuable companies — as a fighter jet circled overhead.The building appeared to be shut down, while deliverymen moved in and out of nearby fenced-in residential areas to drop off groceries. Many people were also seen going out.The firm is based in one of three Hangzhou districts subject to new restrictions that allow only one person per household to go outside every two days to buy necessities.”Please don’t go out, don’t go out, don’t go out!” blared a message on a loudspeaker urging people to wear masks, wash their hands regularly and report any people who are from Hubei — reflecting a common fear that people from the province might infect others.At least three other cities in Zhejiang province — Taizhou, Wenzhou and parts of Ningbo — have imposed the same measures, affecting 18 million people.In the central city of Zhumadian, authorities said one person would be allowed to leave each household only every five days.Residents of the city of seven million were also offered cash rewards for informing on people who came from neighbouring Hubei province.Authorities in Beijing said restaurants could no longer accept reservations for parties from Wednesday. Jitters The disease is believed to have emerged in December in a Wuhan market that sold wild animals, and spread rapidly as people travelled for the Lunar New Year holiday in January.The Ministry of Public Security said “political security” was the “top priority” in confronting the epidemic. “We should take strict precautions against and crack down on all kinds of disruptive activities by hostile forces,” security minister Zhao Kezhi said in a briefing.The statement came days after the top leadership admitted “shortcomings” in its handling of the outbreak — local authorities in Hubei have been criticised for initially downplaying the situation.The death toll has steadily increased, rising to 490 in China on Wednesday.But officials have noted that the death rate, at around two percent, is well below the mortality rate of SARS, which killed some 800 people in 2002-2003.Two fatalities have been reported outside the mainland, in Hong Kong and the Philippines.Several governments have imposed travel restrictions while major airlines have suspended flights to and from China.United and American Airlines said Wednesday they have added Hong Kong to their China flight suspensions.Thousands of Chinese tourists risked being stranded in Bali after the Indonesian government suspended flights to and from mainland China.China has reacted angrily against travel bans, noting that the WHO does not advise imposing them.It has accused the US of spreading “panic” in its response to the coronavirus, including its ban on Chinese travellers, and on Wednesday, it took another swipe at Washington.”Panic is more deadly and contagious than any virus,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press briefing.Topics : Despite authorities building a hospital from scratch and converting public buildings to accommodate thousands of extra patients, there was still a “severe” lack of beds, said Hu Lishan, an official in Wuhan, the quarantined city where the virus first appeared — and where doctors are now overwhelmed with cases.There was also a shortage of “equipment and materials,” he told reporters, adding that officials were looking to convert other hotels and schools in the city into treatment centres. As the number of confirmed infections nationwide exceeded 24,000, a growing number of cities have imposed a range of restrictions far from Hubei, as authorities battle to contain the virus that has killed nearly 500 people.Millions of people, from the eastern industrial heartlands to near the northern border with Russia, have been ordered to stay indoors as authorities battle to curb the outbreak. last_img read more