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The Supreme Court moved to limit states’ ability to seize private property involved in a crime, saying the forfeitures are subject to protection against excessive fines. “The protection against excessive fines guards against abuses of government’s punitive or criminal law-enforcement authority. This safeguard, we hold, is fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty, with deep roots in our history and tradition,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the court’s opinion. ABC
VOA VIEW: A warranted change.
A University of California, Santa Cruz student was indicted on federal charges. A University of California, Santa Cruz student was indicted on federal charges Tuesday, accused of developing an app to sell meth, cocaine and other illegal drugs. Collin Howard, 18, was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Jose, California, on drug distribution and possession charges for allegedly creating the Banana Plug app, authorities said. ABC
The PM says "time is of the essence" as she stresses the need for legally-binding Brexit changes in Brussels. Theresa May has said progress has been made in talks about changes to the Brexit deal that could win MPs' backing but admitted "time is of the essence". The PM met the EU's Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels to discuss legally-binding guarantees over the Irish border. BBC


The "luxury" foldable-screened phone can run up to three apps at once when opened up into tablet mode. Samsung has unveiled a foldable smartphone - the Galaxy Fold - alongside a 5G Galaxy S10 handset and three other Galaxy S10 mobiles. The Fold will go on sale in just over two months time, earlier than many expected. The Galaxy S10 5G features the firm's biggest-ever non-folding phone display and promises faster data speeds when networks become available. BBC
More than 40 airplanes per day have been grounded for maintenance issues since last Tuesday. Southwest Airlines, the nation's third-largest carrier, is struggling with a surge in planes being taken out of service for maintenance. The airline blames the mechanics union, but the union claims it's a matter of safety. Photos obtained exclusively by CBS News show what mechanics describe as landing gear tires so worn that Southwest had to pull a 737 out of service on Tuesday. CBS
Refund amounts can change on a weekly — or daily — basis. Some Americans have been shocked to see smaller tax refunds this year than they earned a year ago. But as tax season nears the end of its third week, refund amounts are actually up. Treasury data shows that refunds are tracking slightly higher than they were during the same time last year, according to research from Morgan Stanley. The average refund amount was down 8.7 percent for the week ending on February 8. CNBC
VOA VIEW: There was a real tax break.
In the decade after the trade, Deutsche Bank managers delayed the recognition of losses on the trade, sparking an internal debate among executives and the bank's auditor, the newspaper reported. Embattled German lender Deutsche Bank lost $1.6 billion on a single bond trade that involved insurance from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, according to The Wall Street Journal. The bank bought a $7.8 billion portfolio of municipal bonds in 2007, according to the report. Deutsche Bank bought default protection on the bonds from Berkshire the following year, paying $140 million in the transaction. . CNBC
VOA VIEW: There was a real tax break.
White House officials have begun to have preliminary discussions about replacing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats amid concerns that President Donald Trump may soon dismiss him, two senior administration officials told CNN, despite the President's public denial he's considering the move. CNN
VOA VIEW: Fake news.
Billionaire Tom Steyer is leading a campaign to push high-profile House Democrats, including House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), to investigate the actions of the Trump administration and begin impeachment hearings. CNN
VOA VIEW: More liberal propaganda.


The early days of the 2020 presidential primary have shown the Democratic Party is in flux and having a robust debate about what its future will look like. And while that debate is centered on progressive policies like "Medicare-for-all," the Green New Deal and how much to tax the rich, it's being fueled by shifting demographics within the party. CNN
VOA VIEW: Dems are becoming more radical.
A Muslim civil rights group called for a congressional investigation Wednesday after its lawsuit revealed that the U.S. government has shared its terrorist watchlist with more than 1,400 private entities, including hospitals and universities. FOX News
VOA VIEW: America must be protected.
House Democrats will file a resolution Friday aimed at blocking the national emergency declaration that President Donald Trump has issued to help finance his wall along the Southwest border, teeing up a clash over billions of dollars, immigration policy and the Constitution's separation of powers. Though the effort seems almost certain to ultimately fall short — perhaps to a Trump veto — the votes will let Democrats take a defiant stance against Trump that is sure to please liberal voters. They will also put some Republicans from swing districts and states in a difficult spot. FOX News
VOA VIEW: Dems will lose.
Bregman is the Dutch historian who became a global sensation after an appearance at this year’s Davos summit, where he accused attending billionaires of ignoring taxation. Now he has created another viral moment in an extremely uncomfortable interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson.Bregman so riled Carson with his accusations of hypocrisy, critiques of Fox’s conservative agenda, and attacks on Donald Trump that the TV host called him a “moron” and angrily told him: “Go fuck yourself.” Guardian
VOA VIEW: Good for Carlson.

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Former president spoke alongside Steph Curry in Oakland for two-day event put on by the Obama FoundationOn Tuesday, hundreds of young men from across the US filed into an auditorium in Oakland, California, ready to be inspired at the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) event.“For those of you who don’t know me, I am Michelle’s husband, Barack,” Obama quipped to the cheering crowd at MBK Rising!, a two-day event promoting mentoring programs for young men and boys of color. Guardian
VOA VIEW: Obama is an idiot.
The congratulatory note to a regime that seeks the destruction of the Jewish state and the United States of America has raised eyebrows and unleashed criticism on social media. Jerusalem Post
VOA VIEW: Germans are looking very bad.
"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett is being classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by Chicago police for filing a false report stating he was attacked in a hate crime, a police spokesman said on Twitter on Wednesday. Reuters
VOA VIEW: Smollett should go to jail for faking the attack.


U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser said on Wednesday that Venezuela's U.N. military attache has formally recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president, increasing pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Reuters
President Donald Trump said he told the State Department not to allow an Alabama woman who moved to Syria to join the Islamic State to return. UPI
VOA VIEW: Good - she made her bed.
The number of hate groups in the United States increased for the fourth year in a row in 2018 with a 7 percent jump, the Southern Poverty Law Center said. UPI

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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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February 20, 2019

     O'Rourke is an idiot.  After three terms in Congress and an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate, El Paso Democrat Beto O'Rourke has made clear his view that immigrants should be welcomed as "human beings" and that "walls end lives."  No walls keep Americans safe and bud guys out.                       

    Now, signaling that he may soon announce a 2020 White House run, O'Rourke is putting a finer point on his immigration agenda, releasing a 10-point plan that calls for citizenship for both "Dreamers" and their parents, as well as for "millions more" who now live in the U.S. illegally.  Insanity,  rewarding those who benefited and  the parents who broke the immigration laws, 

     O'Rourke, long criticized for a lack of specifics in an otherwise sunny vision of cross-border relations, appears to be doubling down on the formulation he offered in a television interview last week in response to President Donald Trump's pro-wall rally in El Paso.

     Not only does the 46-year-old El Paso native oppose new wall construction, he would like to see an end to the physical barriers that already divide his home town from neighboring Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.