First Lady Melania Trump paid a visit to McAllen, Texas, on Thursday to make an “unannounced” visit to the migrant children detained at Upbring New Hope Children’s Center.
In a short speech, the first lady thanked staff for their “compassion and ... kindness.”
Her obvious damage control efforts came as the Washington Post reported that the U.S. Border Patrol no longer will follow the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of bringing federal criminal charges against all migrant parents caught illegally crossing the border with their children. If true, this would be a major departure from Wednesday’s executive order, which decreed that instead of forcibly separating migrant children from their parents, kids instead would be detained alongside them.
Now the Intercept reports, based on records released under the Freedom of Information Act, that Pruitt has spent more than $4.6 million in federal tax dollars on his own security — including more than $2,700 on “tactical pants” and “tactical polos.”
Attention, online shoppers: The Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday letting states force online retailers to collect sales taxes will not raise your tax bill. It will merely make it considerably harder for you to avoid paying it.
Overturning two previous decisions, a divided court in South Dakota vs. Wayfair, et al. held that South Dakota could require online retailers to collect sales taxes from South Dakota shoppers even if the retailers had no offices or employees there. This “physical presence” requirement established by those prior rulings amounted to “a judicially created tax shelter” for companies that sold online, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court’s majority.
That’s not a great analogy, actually — it wasn’t a tax shelter for online retailers because they weren’t the ones who owed taxes. A retailer’s role is simply to collect the taxes owed by their customers.
This is a watershed moment in the effort to end the unpopular and unjust war on marijuana. The U.S., which may finally be inching toward ending its own failed effort at prohibition, should be watching carefully to see what our neighbor to the north does and doesn’t do well.
For example, what’s the right age to allow people to buy and use marijuana?
President Trump was right to end his inhumane policy of separating children from parents charged with the misdemeanor crime of crossing the border without permission, but his executive order seems to contain the seeds for an even broader attempt to detain whole families as they go through deportation hearings.
It’s hard to find a more powerful lobbying group in Sacramento than the telecom companies, and on Wednesday they flexed their muscles again.
The Assembly Committee on Communications and Conveyance quickly carved several giant loopholes in a Senate-passed net neutrality bill, allowing broadband internet service providers to (among other things) charge websites and services fees to reach the ISPs’ customers, exempt their own content from the data caps applied to rival services, and throttle entire classes of applications in the name of network management.
The amended measure (SB 822 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco) still offers broad protections for net neutrality, barring ISPs from blocking, slowing or prioritizing for a fee any lawful data on their networks. It also includes a general rule against ISPs unreasonably interfering with the ability of consumers to use the websites and services they prefer, or the ability of sites and services to reach their customers.
The nation should be thankful that President Trump finally came to his senses and ended the inhumane and traumatizing practice of separating children from their immigrant parents who illegally enter the United States.
Facing an extraordinary backlash not just from Democrats but from Republicans, every living former first lady (including his own wife), United Nations human rights officials, Willie Nelson, Pope Francis and many, many others who reacted in dismay to photos and videos of crying children corralled in metal cages, Trump probably had little choice.
But his solution — detaining entire families together while the adults face, in most cases, misdemeanor charges of illegal entry — raises enormously troubling problems of its own. Innocent children do not belong in jails or detention centers, as a 20-year-old federal consent decree acknowledges.
If there’s a small silver lining to be found in the cloud that descended over Washington with the Trump inauguration, it might be that placing billionaires and unprincipled people in positions of power has exposed weaknesses in federal ethics rules.
Politico reported Tuesday on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s role in a proposed development project funded by the chairman of Halliburton in Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish, Montana.
The Trump administration on Tuesday released the details of its latest effort to cut some Americans’ insurance premiums — and undermine Obamacare in the process. The surprise is that, unlike every other initiative from this crew, it may well help some people obtain real coverage at a lower price. What’s not surprising is that the move will make the state Obamacare exchanges more expensive and less stable than they are today.
The final rule released by the Labor Department would open up association health plans — the sorts of coverage offered by local chambers of commerce, trade groups, professional associations and the like — to more employers and self-employed individuals. The idea is to give a wider range of small businesses’ employees and sole proprietors an alternative to the state Obamacare exchanges and local insurance markets.
Because these plans would be governed by the same federal laws that regulate the benefits large employers offer their workers (such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), they would have many of the same protections that Obamacare extended to the non-group market. Most significantly, the plans could not deny coverage or charge higher premiums based on preexisting conditions.
There’s a certain irony to this: While President Trump was commenting yet again about walling off the border with Mexico, authorities were discovering pangas — small Mexican fishing boats — beached in Orange County by, police believe, migrants evading border controls.
So build a wall and people will just find a way around it. Or over it. Or under it.