FROM Thomas Schweich
Afghanistan's Poppy Quagmire Opium from Afghanistan is responsible for 90% of the world's heroin. It's the cash crop that's enabling resurgence of the fundamentalist Taliban. But the State Department's former coordinator for counter-narcotics says that the Karzai government, supported by the US, depends on opium , too. He claims that Karzai is protecting the drug trade to assure his re-election next year. Is growing opium poppies the only way poverty-stricken farmers can make a living, or is that a myth perpetrated to cover up incompetence and corruption? Does aerial spraying pose a greater threat to the Taliban or the Karzai administration?
House Republicans release their Obamacare replacement As two House committees take up "repeal and replacement" of "Obamacare," there may be life left in the Affordable Care Act after all. Even Republicans are divided, and proposed changes won't make good on President Trump's promise to provide "health insurance for everybody."
The airline electronics ban and what it means President Trump's Department of Homeland Security has banned all electronic devices larger than cell phones on some foreign airlines flying direct to the US. It's causing confusion as well as inconvenience. Is the motive really just increased security?
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."