Friday, June 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Democracy survives amid chaos, failing presidency

This has been quite a chaotic week in Washington, but there is a silver lining. Despite a president who remains unfit for the office in every way and shows no sign of maturing, our system of government still works. The checks and balances are in good order despite the dysfunction in the White House. This remains a resilient democracy that is demonstrating that even under stress it cannot be broken by a failing, flailing presidency.

Consider what happened just this week:

• Thanks to the courage and independence of Arizona Sen. John McCain and two other Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, another desperate attempt to kill the Affordable Care Act was defeated by one vote early Friday in the Senate. It was a reckless move by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to try to pass a ridiculous, narrow repeal bill just to force negotiations with the House. President Donald Trump tweeted his displeasure shortly after 2 a.m., but perhaps finally there can be a bipartisan effort to improve access to affordable care rather than strip away coverage from millions of Americans.

• Trump abruptly tweeted that transgender troops would be banned from serving in the U.S. military, catching the Pentagon by surprise and contradicting his secretary of defense, who had told top officers to spend another few months weighing the issue. This would reverse years of more inclusive policies toward serving in the military, and it callously threw into limbo several thousand transgender troops who are serving now. Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did not move to kick anyone out of the military in response to Trump's tweets. He responsibly is awaiting more formal direction on an irresponsible policy change.

• After Senate investigators questioned the president's son-in-law as part of the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the election, the Senate overwhelmingly approved new financial sanctions on Russia and North Korea. It bars Trump from easing or ending the sanctions unless Congress agrees.

• Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one of Trump's early supporters, refused to resign despite Trump's efforts to goad him into quitting by publicly embarrassing him. The president is furious that Sessions appropriately recused himself from the Russia investigation, and he apparently wants to replace him with an attorney general who would fire the special counsel. Republican senators made it clear they would oppose such interference.

• A Boy Scouts official apologized for Trump's rambling, inappropriate speech to 40,000 Scouts. The president's new communications director went on a profane rant, and Trump forced out his chief of staff Friday. Russia cut the number of U.S. Embassy employees there, and North Korea fired a missile that landed within 230 miles of Japan.

Amid all of these threats domestic and foreign, America's democracy continues to survive. But thank goodness for the weekend — and let's hope for one with as few Trump tweets as possible.

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Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBIís handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but itís also suppression

The Supreme Courtís ruling last Monday to allow Ohioís purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they havenít voted, Ohioís purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18