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412 posts
  • Trump
  • Opinion
President Trump says undocumented immigrants should be summarily deported without judicial oversight. He's wrong.
President Trump says undocumented immigrants should be summarily deported without judicial oversight. He's wrong. (Olivier Douliery / TNS)

President Trump has persistently expressed admiration for the autocrats of the world – from Vladimir Putin, whose agents have been implicated in the murders of political rivals, to Roberto Duterte, whose government has engaged in summary executions of suspected drug users. He’s also assailed the U.S. courts, fired an F.B.I. director over an investigation that threatens his presidency, and found nice things to say about neo-Nazis and racists marching in Charlottesville, Va., last year – one of whom allegedly killed a female protester with his car.

So it’s probably expecting too much to hope that a president with dreams of autocracy would care about due process.

On Sunday morning, as Trump headed for yet another outing at one of his golf courses, he tweeted that immigrants in the U.S. illegally should not receive due process but be summarily deported – which would violate international law and treaties.

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  • Opinion
  • The Swamp
A business in Belle Glade, Fla.
A business in Belle Glade, Fla. (Washington Post)

While the country was distracted by President Trump’s sudden reversal on the policy of tearing apart immigrant families, the House of Representatives on Thursday quietly passed strict new work requirements for food stamps as part of a five-year farm bill.

The rules will do little more than stick it to poor families, since they won’t save much money. Hey Republicans, what do you have against poor families?

Trump said he “didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated” when he signed the order reversing family separations Thursday, but was all praise for the tough new food stamp work requirements in the farm bill. So, Mr. President, the government should keep families together, but it shouldn’t be so quick to help them put food on the table?

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  • Trump
  • Opinion
President Trump's shifting positions make him an erratic player both in Washington and on the world stage.
President Trump's shifting positions make him an erratic player both in Washington and on the world stage. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

He’s for it until he’s against it. He’s against it until he’s for it. And then he sometimes changes his mind again. Welcome to Donald Trump’s reign of confusion.

The president did it again Friday morning, tweeting:

  • Opinion
  • Rule of Law
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote that police needed a warrant to access cellphone data.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote that police needed a warrant to access cellphone data. (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

The Supreme Court on Friday handed down one of its most widely anticipated decisions of the term, holding that police must obtain a warrant based on probable cause before accessing a criminal suspect’s historical cellphone records. The decision involved Timothy Carpenter, who was convicted in a series of armed robberies based partly on cellphone-location data.

The court got it right, and privacy advocates have cause to celebrate.

Writing for the court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. recognized that time-stamped cellphone data “provides an intimate window into a person’s life, revealing not only his particular movements, but through them his familial, political, professional, reli­gious and sexual associations.”  

  • Opinion
  • The Golden State

It’s ridiculous that Kim Kardashian has been getting grief online for making her just-turned-5 daughter North’s naturally curly hair bone straight. The young girl (Kim K’s daughter with Kanye West, of course) was photographed, beaming, her long, shiny hair pulled tightly in a high ponytail.  But critics sounded the alarm on Twitter — “Leave her natural hair alone,” someone cried out.

And this wasn’t even Kardashian’s first hair controversy in recent days; she also got lambasted for wearing cornrow-like braids at the MTV Movie & TV Awards last weekend. So she’s either appropriating a black hairstyle for herself (she said it was a tribute to Bo Derek) or making her black daughter’s hair look white.

Kardashian defended her daughter’s hairstyle, saying it was done with nothing more damaging than a flat iron. “It was her birthday and all she wanted was to try to have her hair straightened,” Kardashian told the Hollywood Reporter, adding, “I’m not gonna let her straighten her hair all the time, but if she wants it that way two or three days a year, then that’s fine with me.”

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  • Opinion
  • The Swamp
First lady Melania Trump visits the Upbring New Hope Children Center in McAllen, Texas.
First lady Melania Trump visits the Upbring New Hope Children Center in McAllen, Texas. (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

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.

  • Opinion
  • The Swamp
EPA chief Scott Pruitt
EPA chief Scott Pruitt (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

If it wasn’t so serious, this stuff would be laughable.

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is up to his neck in ethics investigations and has been criticized even by some Republicans (though they don’t seem too upset) over his, shall we say, profligate ways.

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.”

  • Opinion
  • Rule of Law
Packages travel on a conveyor belt for sorting at the main post office in Omaha, Neb., on Dec. 14, 2017.
Packages travel on a conveyor belt for sorting at the main post office in Omaha, Neb., on Dec. 14, 2017. (Nati Harnik/Associated Press)

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.

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  • Opinion
  • Rule of Law
Advocates for legalization celebrated National Marijuana Day in this 2016 file photo. Lawmakers voted this week to legalize marijuana.
Advocates for legalization celebrated National Marijuana Day in this 2016 file photo. Lawmakers voted this week to legalize marijuana. (AFP/Getty Images)

Canada will soon become the first industrialized nation in the world to legalize marijuana. The Canadian Senate gave final approval to a legalization bill this week, although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delayed the effective date until Oct. 17 to give the provinces more time to prepare.

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?

  • Trump
  • Opinion
Protesters demonstrate June 18 at the Federal Building in Los Angeles against separating immigrant families.
Protesters demonstrate June 18 at the Federal Building in Los Angeles against separating immigrant families. (Mario Tama / Getty Images)

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.

Part of the order reads: