Our new-old U.S. Attorney + NAFTA’s importance + Roy Moore would be bad for the country

Our take


Sacramento lawyer McGregor Scott, chief federal prosecutor here during the Bush years, has experience and independence. In bringing him back as U.S. Attorney for California’s Eastern District, the president did something right.


Andrew Malcolm, McClatchyDC: President Donald Trump can indeed change and become presidential – but only during his foreign trips as United States commander-in-chief and leader of the free world. At home, it’s a different story, different president, different man.

Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post: Leigh Corfman and three other women decided that the voters of Alabama had a right to know about former Alabama Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore who, after winning the Republican primary, appeared to be headed for a U.S. Senate seat. Their reward for this public-spirited bravery? To be smeared as liars.

Jack Ohman checks out Judge Roy Moore’s latest defense in the Alabama U.S. Senate race. See that age is just a number here.

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California Forum

Erwin Chemerinsky: From student loans to university endowments to disincentives for states such as California with high school spending, what the Republican tax plan will do to students should make every American parent ashamed.


Tim Molina: If Democrats want to win control of Congress, they have to abandon the old, failed ways of reaching out in vain to Republican voters. Instead, they should engage our most marginalized and loyal voters, represent more than enough votes to turn the House blue. That mission starts in California, home to seven of the 23 most vulnerable GOP seats in the nation.

Eileen Appelbaum: CalPERS staff is asking the board this week to lower the bar on returns from private equity investments. It may make them look better, but will do nothing to assure that these investments earn adequate returns.

Take a number: 56 percent

President Donald Trump calls NAFTA the worst trade deal ever and has his negotiators trying to rewrite it to fit his “America First” philosophy. But a new poll shows that other than fellow Republicans, Americans don’t think the North American Free Trade Agreement is that bad. Overall, 56 percent of adults say the agreement is good for America and only 33 percent say it’s bad, according to the Pew Research Center survey released Monday.

While 54 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say NAFTA is a bad deal, hundreds of local and state business leaders urged Trump last month to update, but not kill the 23-year-old agreement. Farm groups are also mobilizing to preserve the pact, including the dairy industry in California.

The fate of NAFTA is crucial to California. The state’s top two export markets are Canada and Mexico. According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study, the agreement has added 575,000 jobs in California, the most of any state. Experts also say that by helping to boost the economy and living standards in Mexico, the deal has slowed the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S.

But Trump doesn’t let facts get in the way, so NAFTA is hanging by a thread as the fifth round of negotiations gets underway Wednesday in Mexico City. Foon Rhee, @foonrhee

Their take

Alabama Media Group, al.com: When choosing our representative before the rest of the world, character matters. As each day passes, more Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Lindsay Graham, Sen. Bill Cassidy, and many others, have stated Roy Moore simply cannot be a U.S. Senator. It’s time that he and his party read the writing on the wall: His candidacy is over. His true character has been revealed. It’s time for the GOP to remove its official support. And since he and his party can’t assure it, the voters of Alabama must.

Raleigh News & Observer: The “Roy Moore Story” is marching toward its final chapter, and Moore seems to be the last man standing, an embarrassment to the Republican Party. But perhaps Moore, the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate in a special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is simply beyond feeling shame.

Kansas City Star: A NAFTA country is your state’s top export market. Period. And it does not matter on which side of the state line you live. Mexico is Kansas’ No. 1 export market. Our southern neighbor brought the state $1.8 billion last year, followed by Canada at $1.7 billion, according to the International Trade Administration. In Missouri, Canada is tops at $5.2 billion in 2016, followed by Mexico at $2.5 billion. So President Donald Trump’s latest round of bellicose bleating about yanking the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement captures the rapt attention of local business leaders.

Los Angeles Times: Congress is currently deciding whether to let the National Security Agency continue to eavesdrop on the phone calls, emails and other electronic communications of foreigners located abroad. This foreign intelligence program – Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – expires at the end of the year. Defenders of Section 702, which Congress first approved in 2008, insist that it’s a vital tool in detecting and disrupting terrorist plots. Many civil liberties groups argue that the law needlessly undermines the privacy of Americans. It turns out that both statements are accurate.

San Jose Mercury News: Preliminary results are in on California’s grand experiment to reduce plastic bag litter along its majestic coastline and streams. Take a bow, California voters. It’s working. The early litter data from the Coastal Clean-up Day, held annually in September, shows that plastic bag litter had dropped by 72 percent when compared to 2010. Plastic bags now account for less than 1.5 percent of all litter, compared to nearly 10 percent in 2010.

Syndicates’ take

Dahleen Glanton, Chicago Tribune: Last week, during his first presidential visit to Beijing, Donald Trump showed the world just how much he craves the admiration of Chinese President Xi Jinping. And Xi played him like a fool. All it took to woo Trump was a photo op with performers of the Peking Opera and dinner at the Forbidden City.

Paul Krugman, New York Times: Both the Senate proposal and the similar proposal from House Republicans offer huge tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy, then try to limit the impacts of these tax cuts on the budget deficit by clawing back tax credits and exemptions that mainly benefit the middle class.

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: To start a domestically owned new business, whether it’s a big factory or a small store, Latin American and Caribbean countries require an average of 8.4 legal procedures, more than in any other world region.

Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer: President Trump and Jared Kushner appear to be relying on the Saudi crown prince to spearhead a Sunni Arab campaign that will roll back Shiite Iran’s expanding influence in the Mideast (and godfather a peace between the Palestinians and Israel). A look at the prince’s track record should have dampened their enthusiasm.

Heidi Stevens, Chicago Tribune: Comedian Louis C.K.’s response to the New York Times story, in which multiple women accuse the actor of masturbating in front of them, isn’t worth the ticker-tape parade some folks appear to be organizing.


“California got it right when it banned trophy hunting of mountain lions, but the recent story doesn’t underscore how valuable the policy has been in preventing needless cruelty.” Wayne Pacelle, The Humane Society of the United States, Washington, DC