Only the federal government can grant amnesty. But cities and counties can effectively opt to stop deportations—and increasingly, they are.
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Hating Beyoncé unites all Americans! Or so it seemed last week, anyway. From the right, Fox pundit Bill O’Reilly used a segment of his show to express shock at Beyoncé’s video “Partition,” in which she presents herself having sex in a limo with her husband while name-dropping Monica Lewinsky. From the left, feminist scholar bell hooks, speaking on a panel at The New School in New York City, took issue with Beyoncé’s Time magazine cover, in which the singer posed in her underwear.
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Joe Biden’s prospective presidential candidacy is in danger of becoming a joke. Every week, some new Democratic bigwig pledges himself to Hillary Clinton. Pro-Hillary groups have already assembled to fend off hostile campaign press. At last weekend’s White House Correspondents Dinner, President Obama added to the air of inevitability by teasing Fox News, “You’ll miss me when I’m gone. It’ll be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.”
If there’s any suspense left about the Democratic primary in 2016, it largely revolves around whether an economic populist will challenge Clinton from the left. The prospect of Elizabeth Warren entering the race tantalizes many liberals. But since Biden’s not an anti-Wall Street crusader, his potential candidacy sparks barely any interest at all. That’s too bad. While a Warren candidacy would spark one valuable debate inside the Democratic Party—about government’s role in the economy—a Biden candidacy would spark another: about America’s role in the world.
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The president has commissioned yet another study of lethal injections. He’d be better off lobbying the Supreme Court and Congress to make changes.
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While the world’s attention has been riveted on Ukraine and what move an emboldened Vladimir Putin will make next, diverse threats to democracy have intensified on other fronts as well. The story is not new. According to Freedom House, 2013 was the eighth consecutive year in which more countries experienced declines in political rights or civil liberties than improvements. Since 2005, democracy has ceased its decades-long expansion, leveling off at about 60 percent of all independent states. And since the military coup in Pakistan in 1999, the rate of democratic breakdowns has accelerated, with about one in every five democracies failing.
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Is state surveillance a legitimate defense of our freedoms? The question was put to Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA, during a debate Friday evening in Toronto. Alan Dershowitz joined him to argue the affirmative. Glenn Greenwald and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian argued against the resolution.
Going in, I expected to disagree with Hayden, who presided over the NSA’s illegal program of warrantless wiretapping in the years after the September 11 attacks. But I want to emphatically agree with the very first remarks he made in the debate.
“State surveillance is a legitimate defense of our freedoms,” he said, restating the resolution. “Well, we all know the answer to that. It depends. And it depends on facts.”
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On Wednesday, a Senate filibuster blocked President Obama’s proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10. Then on Thursday, Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle announced a business-labor deal to raise the city minimum wage to $15.
Procedurally, these two things had nothing to do with each other. Substantively, Seattle’s action is a direct result of the Senate’s inaction—and it portends the acceleration of two trends in public policy today: a growing willingness to reckon with radical inequality and wage stagnation, and the emergence of networked localism as a strategy for political action.
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The bitter ideological battles of our era obscure the fact that “liberals and conservatives largely agree on the boundless nature of presidential responsibility.” So argues Gene Healy, whose 2008 book The Cult of the Presidency remains an underappreciated gem. “Neither Left nor Right sees the president as the Framers saw him: a constitutionally constrained chief executive with important, but limited, responsibilities,” he explained. “Today, for conservatives as well as liberals, it is the president’s job to protect us from harm, to grow the economy, spread American ideals abroad, and even to heal spiritual malaise.”
Congressional coverage focuses on whether the presidential agenda is advanced or thwarted.
Why? The effects of this attitude ought to bother liberals, conservatives, and libertarians alike.
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Even if the Republican is sincere in his outreach to the poor, his spending plan would hurt the neediest Americans by cutting the programs on which they rely.
Read more. [Image: Yuri Gripas/Reuters]