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ON TWITTER, A BUNCH OF LEFTIES ARE BLAMING BUSH FOR DESTABILIZING THE MIDDLE EAST, WHICH PROBABLY MEANS BATTLESPACE PREP FOR STILL MORE TERRIBLE NEWS. So remember, as late as 2010, the Obama Administration was bragging about how stable and successful Iraq was. And, of course, when Bush left office Syria, Yemen, Libya, Egypt were all stable. But they’ll blame Bush as long as they can get away with it, because it’s better than admitting that Obama has been an absolute disaster in foreign policy.

But, you know, the problem for them is that Obama has been an absolute disaster in foreign policy.

THE LONGER-TERM CONSEQUENCES OF MAKING “RACIST” THE EQUIVALENT OF “ENEMY OF THE REGIME” ARE LIKELY TO BE POOR: David French: Feds Play the Race Card to Crush Parents’ Revolt Against Common Core. If they keep this up, people may come to feel that racism isn’t so bad.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the Obama Administration if its reflexive accusations of racism weren’t also just a cover for its staggering ineptitude: “The federal government is flexing its muscles to protect an allegedly state-run program. Liberals are treating other liberals like they’re racist. Even the teachers’ unions are calling Common Core’s rollout ‘botched’ and walking back their ‘once-enthusiastic’ support for the program. It looks like the education technocracy is every bit as ineffective as the rest of our national technocracies.”

A TORTUROUS WASTE OF TIME:   Apparently, banning torture — even in one’s constitution — doesn’t do much to reduce the incidence of torture.  A recent study conducted by a couple of law professors concludes that they “do not find any evidence that constitutional torture prohibitions have reduced rates of torture in a statistically significant or substantively meaningful way.”  The authors find that 84% of national constitutions prohibit torture, and yet “countries without constitutional torture bans have actually engaged in less torture” over the 1990-2010 time period studied.

The definition of “torture” itself is highly subjective.  The UN Convention on Torture, for example, defines it as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person”.  But putting that definitional problem aside, torture may well work in some situations, yielding information that could not otherwise be obtained.  Robert Jervis, examining the Senate Intelligence Committee’s controversial report on the CIA’s interrogation program, put it this way in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs:

In judging the torture’s effectiveness, the majority report looks for direct connections between the intelligence derived from the torture and its benefits to national security. But the minority and CIA rebuttals are right to urge a broader view. For one thing, analysts needed a great deal of information about al Qaeda before they could make sense of any one source. By the majority report’s standard, the torture was not effective if it merely contributed to a general understanding of al Qaeda, rather than leading directly to the foiling of a terrorist plot or the capture of an 
al Qaeda member. Yet crucial insights often result from indirect links. It might have been, as the majority report argues, that breaks in many cases came from prisoner interrogations that did not involve torture. But in some cases, interrogators asked those detainees questions because of intelligence that came from others who were tortured. And although the majority report lends little weight to information that simply confirmed other intelligence, such findings can prove invaluable, since tips from individual sources are rarely sufficient to merit action on their own. In essence, the report and the rebuttals talk past each other on this point: the Democrats dismiss evidence of a type that the Republicans and the CIA (rightfully) consider central.

This past week, Amnesty Intenational issued a new report, complaining that the Obama Administration has “done nothing” after the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report, and urging DOJ to prosecute CIA and other U.S. officials involved.

Even if one agrees that what the CIA did, post 9/11 was “torture,” the truth remains that in some situations, the risk of not using such techniques may well exceed societal benefits of refraining from their use.  As liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz has put it, “No President would want to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent citizens if he could have prevented these deaths by authorizing the use of nonlethal torture against a guilty terrorist.”

Indeed, there is a logical reason why constitutional prohibitions on torture don’t reduce its use:  We may ban torture, to make ourselves “feel” better.  But given its amorphous definition and potential to save thousands of innocent lives, it will continue to be used in extraordinary situations.  So there is a legitimate question as to whether it is desirable, from the perspective of the rule of law, to ban something society knows (and indeed expects) will be disregarded in the most difficult situations.   And polls show Americans overwhelmingly believe torture is appropriate in such situations.

MICHAEL WALSH: The World Barack Obama and Eric Holder Have Made: Baltimore, 2015. “You voted for it, America. And now you’re going to get it, good and hard.”

DEATH BY A THOUSAND LAWSUITS?:   The death penalty may be dying a slow death, by litigation.  The Republican-controlled unicameral Nebraska legislature voted 30-13 (with 17 Republican “yes” votes) to repeal that state’s death penalty. The reasons for lost Republican support are varied:  the inefficiency (and cost) of years of litigation to carry the penalty out; perceived incongruity with pro-life beliefs; fear of wrongful executions; and a shortage of drugs needed to carry out executions.

The drug shortage is the biggest culprit.  The death penalty in most states is carried out by a lethal injection of a three-drug “cocktail”:  (1) an anesthetic (to prevent pain); (2) a paralytic (to paralyze); and (3) potassium chloride (which stops the heart). But in early 2011, U.S. drugmaker Hospira announced it would no longer manufacture sodium thiopental, the primary anesthetic used in the lethal injection cocktail.

Hospira’s exit from the market left States scrambling for a substitute, including purchases of the drug from foreign markets. When death penalty lawyers complained that States lacked legal authority to import sodium thiopental from foreign countries, the Obama Administration seized State stockpiles of the drug, claiming its possession violated federal law.  States then turned to pentobarbital, manufactured by Danish drug company Lundbeck.  But by summer 2011, Lundbeck, too, announced it was denying distribution of the drug to U.S. prisons.

The State of Oklahoma has turned to midazolam hydrochloride as a substitute anesthetic, though it hasn’t specifically been approved by the FDA as such.  It is widely used off-label, however, for anxiety and sedation.  On Thursday, the Supreme Court will hear an Eighth Amendment challenge, Glossip v. Gross, to Oklahoma’s use of midazolam, which claims that its use constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” because midazolam isn’t foolproof at inducing unconsciousness.

The Supreme Court has never struck down a specific death penalty method as unconstitutional.  Indeed, in 2008, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a four-drug lethal injection cocktail in Baze v. Rees.  The Court suggested, however, that a state may violate the ban on cruel and unusual punishment if it continues to use a lethal injection method, without sufficient justification, in the face of superior alternative procedures.  In the Glossip case pending before the Court, therefore, Oklahoma asserts–in an excellent brief authored by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and well-known constitutional lawyer David Rivkin– that the inmate must carry the burden of proving that there are, indeed, superior alternative anesthetics available. They assert:

This Court requires Petitioners to demonstrate the availability of a constitutional alternative method of execution for good reason. Capital punishment is constitutional, and this Court has made clear that States must have a means of carrying it out, even if some pain results as an inescapable consequence of execution. Accordingly, challenges to a method of execution must demonstrate that there exists a feasible alternative method that will result in substantially less pain. Otherwise, a petitioner’s challenge would constitute a challenge to the death penalty itself – an issue foreclosed by the Constitution.

In the event that the Supreme Court uses Glossip to reopen the constitutionality of lethal injection, States are now bringing back older methods of execution including nitrogen gas, the electric chair and firing squad.

States’ adopting a variety of methods is probably the best way to ensure that the death penalty can survive these liberal/progressive “lawfare” tactics.

UPDATE:  Midazolam’s use for anxiety and sedation is “on label,” but its use for maintenance of general anesthesia is off-label.  It should be noted, however, that off-label uses of all FDA-approved drugs is perfectly legal and indeed, common.

ROGER KIMBALL: Jihad In Catalonia: Police raid Spanish Jihad cell, arrest 11, break up plot to bomb builidings and behead random victims. “While Barack Obama is busy telling Americans that Islam is ‘woven into the fabric’ of America since its founding, police in Spain have just arrested eleven members of a jihadist cell that, woven into the fabric of Spain, was plotting to bring ISIS-style beheadings to a western city near you. As Soeren Kern notes in an important and depressing post at the Gatestone Institute web site, police have accused the cell of planning to bomb various public and private buildings in and around Barcelona and of—this is especially nice—plotting to kidnap and behead a random person. I’m not sure that the Muslim presence in Spain has gotten the attention it deserves here, but as Kern points Catalonia not only has the largest Muslim population in Spain, it also has the largest concentration of radical Islamists in Europe.”

My biggest worry is that this might provide talking points that will stoke an anti-Islamic backlash in the West.

SUPREME ETHICS:  Democrats on the Hill, led by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), are once again pushing legislation that would impose a code of ethics upon the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court itself has repeatedly rejected the idea of adopting such an ethics code, including the current Roberts Court.  Members of the Court do voluntarily agree, however, to follow the same rules as other federal judges on honoraria, gifts, and outside income.

There is a Judicial Code of Conduct for United States Judges– which binds all federal judges except the U.S. Supreme Court–which requires recusal in certain instances of bias and prohibits federal judges from engaging in various acts that may create an appearance of partiality, including engaging in political activities. So why doesn’t this Judicial Code of Conduct also apply to Supreme Court Justices?  Because the Supreme Court is the only court that is constitutionally required to exist, with all lower federal courts existing only insofar as Congress wishes to establish them.  The lower federal courts, therefore, are “creatures” of Congress, established and controlled by it.  Congress’ ability to impose a code of conduct upon judges it creates is thus clear, as a legal matter.

But the Supreme Court is not created by Congress; it has independent constitutional existence.  While Congress has power to regulate the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, give Senatorial advice and consent to Supreme Court nominations, impeach Justices, control the Supreme Court’s budget and even to enact legislation defining the number of Justices that sit on the Court, it otherwise lacks a clear textual authority to regulate the way the Court adjudicates cases.  The Court’s historic position is that because it isn’t created by Congress, Congress cannot impose a code of ethics upon it; doing so would violate separation of powers.

While having the Supreme Court abide by a Code of Ethics sounds good at first blush, the question isn’t really whether it should have such a code, but whether Congress should be able to impose one upon a co-equal branch of government.  And the reasons cited for congressional enactment of such a code focus exclusively on supposed unethical behavior by conservative Justices.  For example, Justice Clarence Thomas failed to report his spouse’s income from conservative groups, necessitating several years of revised disclosure forms.  Justices Antonin Scalia and Thomas have attended events at the National Lawyers’ Convention of the Federalist Society.

But of course, liberal Justices have engaged in the exact same behavior.  Justice Ginsburg has lent her name and given speeches to the NOW Legal fund and recently made comments about same-sex marriage cases that clearly indicate her prejudgment on the issue. Justice Elena Kagan refused to recuse herself from the recent Obamacare subsidy case, King v. Burwell, even though she served as the U.S. Solicitor General and was intimately involved in the defense of the law. And like Ginsburg, Kagan’s comments and officiating at a same-sex marriage ceremony have called for her recusal from the same-sex marriage cases now pending before the Court.  Justice Breyer has faced his own calls for recusal, based on potential financial conflicts.

The point is that while it may be a good idea for the Supreme Court voluntarily to adopt ethics rules for itself (which it de facto seems already to have done), I am highly skeptical about Congress imposing them, and the political mischief that could ensue.  Indeed, liberals/progressives are already overtly attempting to bully the Court, calling for term limits (which, btw, would require a constitutional amendment), and generally calling for “reforms” of a Court they think is too conservative (and likely to stay that way for some time).

My hunch is that congressionally-imposed SCOTUS ethics rules would only further politicize the Court, which would not be good for the rule of law.

UNRAVELING: Liberal Common Cause demands Clinton Foundation, Hillary audit.

The financial issues plaguing Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign have become too much even for liberal groups, and now Common Cause is calling for an independent audit of donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Amid suggestions that foreign governments donated to the foundation in hopes of getting special treatment from President Obama’s State Department when Clinton was his top diplomat, the group on Friday said a “thorough review” is needed.

The Clintons’ spin yesterday — that this was all a dastardly “conservative” smear — is looking even weaker.

SPACE TELESCOPES ARE EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: Most powerful space telescope ever to launch in 2018.

As the Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 25 years in space this week, NASA and its international partners are building an even more powerful tool to look deeper into the universe than ever before.

The James Webb Space Telescope will be 100 times more potent than Hubble, and will launch in 2018 on a mission to give astronomers an unprecedented glimpse at the first galaxies that formed in the early universe.

“JWST will be able to see back to about 200 million years after the Big Bang,” NASA said on its website.

It described the telescope as a “powerful time machine with infrared vision that will peer back over 13.5 billion years to see the first stars and galaxies forming out of the darkness of the early universe.”

The project has drawn scrutiny from lawmakers for its ballooning costs—now at about $8.8 billion, far higher than the initial estimate of $3.5 billion.

But NASA has promised to keep the next-generation telescope on track for its October 2018 launch.

Meh. Compared to ObamaCare, that’s not much of a cost overrun.

MONKEYING AROUND:  You can’t make this stuff up, folks.  A New York state judge, Barbara Jaffe, has ordered a hearing in May to determine if two chimpanzees, Hercules and Leo,  owned by Stony Brook University, are being “unlawfully detained.” The lawsuit has been filed on the chimps’ behalf by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), a group formed to establish the legal rights of nonhumans through litigation, “beginning with some of the most cognitively complex animals on earth, including chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins, and whales.”

The NhRP initially convinced Jaffe that Hercules and Leo were entitled to habeas corpus– the first time any U.S. court has granted such a right to a nonhuman. A few hours later, Jaffe apparently became aware of the fact that non-humans are not entitled to habeas (guess she forgot that basic legal principle?), and issued an order for Stony Brook to “show cause” for “detaining” Hercules and Leo–which is bad enough, as it imposes a burden upon the owner of an animal to explain to a judge why an animal is being “detained.”  I would hate to think that some radical leftist neighbor could haul me into court to “show cause” as to why I am “detaining” my dog, Thomas Jefferson.

And indeed, this nightmare scenario is already unfolding.  A similar habeas corpus petition was brought in NY state courts in December on behalf of a 26 year-old chimpanzee named Tommy, owned as a pet by a couple who kept Tommy in a cage– an understandable “detention,” for a potentially dangerous animal, as illustrated by the tragic recent case of Travis the chimpanzee.   An appellate court rejected the extension of habeas corpus to Tommy, reasoning:

Needless to say, unlike human beings, chimpanzees cannot bear any legal duties, submit to societal responsibilities or be held legally accountable for their actions. In our view, it is this incapability to bear any legal responsibilities and societal duties that renders it inappropriate to confer upon chimpanzees the legal rights – such as the fundamental right to liberty protected by the writ of habeas corpus – that have been afforded to human beings.

The amazing thing about this rationale is that it implies that if some animals could bear a legal duty, submit to societal responsibilities, or be held accountable for their actions (any one of which could conceivably be imposed via enactment of statutes declaring such), the court would be willing to entertain the proposition that a pet–or any other “detained” nonhuman– could be granted corresponding legal rights equal with humans.  Why even open the door to that possibility?

A similar legal “opening” came from another New York state judge, who in January denied a habeas corpus petition filed by NhRP on behalf of Kiko the chimpanzee, reasoning as follows:

Here, petitioner does not seek Kiko’s immediate release, nor does petitioner allege that Kiko’s continued detention is unlawful. Rather, petitioner seeks to have Kiko placed in a different facility that petitioner deems more appropriate. Consequently, even assuming, arguendo, that we agreed with petitioner that Kiko should be deemed a person for the purpose of this application, and further assuming, arguendo, that petitioner has standing to commence this proceeding on behalf of Kiko, this matter is governed by the line of cases standing for the proposition that habeas corpus does not lie where a petitioner seeks only to change the conditions of confinement rather than the confinement itself.

Ugh.  The judge didn’t say he would have granted a habeas petition challenging Kiko’s confinement per se, but he also didn’t shut the door on that possibility.

I like animals as much as anyone, but they aren’t human.  This doesn’t mean, of course, that our legal regime should tolerate any animal abuse. Indeed, counsel for Tommy’s habeas petition stated that the goal of the lawsuit was not to challenge the conditions of Tommy’s confinement (there was no allegation that he was being abused, which would have triggered protection under state animal cruelty law), but  “to obtain recognition for a single right: the right to not be imprisoned against one’s will” because “Tommy is the equivalent of a human child.”

This argument is gaining ground around the globe.  In December, an Argentine court recently granted a habeas corpus petition and ordered the release of an orangutan being “detained” in a zoo.  Even Obama’s regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, has argued stridently that animals should have legal standing to sue.

Do these radical left-wing animal rights activists stop to think about what the world would look like if they succeed?  They actually argue that since corporations and other business entities have legal rights, “other nonhumans” should, too.  Um, I hate to break it to these bozos, but corporations and other business entities are merely legal mechanisms by which HUMANS join together for purposes of efficiently carrying on a business.

If animals have human rights, it’s not merely that you and I might find ourselves sued by Fido or Mittens, who no longer wish to be “detained” as our pets or in our zoos.  Much of this country’s medical research would shut down, as preclinical trials on animals is necessary for approval of human drugs and invaluable for numerous other medical research.  What is it about radical leftists that their tree-hugging, whale-loving concern for life doesn’t extend to humans?

UPDATE:  Today’s Wall Street Journal has an excellent oped extolling the human benefits from animal testing, including recent progress on Ebola and brain tumors.

SHOULDN’T HE HAVE FACED UP TO REALITY SIX YEARS AGO? Obama faces up to the grim reality of drone strikes.

THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME IN THE AGE OF OBAMA: “When I first saw the story making the rounds about ROTC cadets being forced to march in women’s shoes I thought it was a hoax.”

ROLL CALL: Vitter’s Obamacare Probe Continues With Subpoena Vote.

Sen. David Vitter’s crusade against government contributions to congressional health care plans continues this week with a vote to subpoena documents from the D.C. government, but he may have some dissenters in the Republican ranks.

The Louisiana Republican is the chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, and he has used his perch to investigate congressional enrollment in the District of Columbia’s small-business exchange, which allowed for a government contribution to congressional health care plans. But his investigation has some members questioning whether this is an issue for his committee.

“I’m not even confident it’s within the jurisdiction of the committee, so I still have serious questions about it,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., told CQ Roll Call Wednesday. “I have two concerns: whether we have jurisdiction and whether that’s the proper role of this committee.”

Ayotte is one of 10 Republicans and nine Democrats on the committee who will vote Thursday on whether to subpoena the D.C. Health Benefit and Exchange Authority for un-redacted congressional applications to the small-business exchange. A recent taxpayer lawsuit obtained the applications, showing that the House and Senate claimed to have fewer than 50 employees and were also classified as “state/local government,” but the names of the House and Senate employees who verified the applications were redacted.

In February, Vitter asked House and Senate administrators to reveal which employees signed the applications, but administrators did not supply the information. So after months of unanswered requests — and an appeal to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, for help — Vitter is making a last-ditch effort to force DCHBEA to comply by issuing a subpoena.

But to do so, Vitter either needs the support of ranking member Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., or from the majority of committee members. Shaheen confirmed Wednesday she is a “no,” so Vitter will likely need all the panel’s Republicans to support him.

Not sure why they wouldn’t go along here.

WELL, THIS BESPEAKS A SERIOUSNESS ABOUT SECURITY: Facing Threat In Congress, Pentagon Races To Resettle Guantanamo Inmates.

Facing a potential showdown with Congress, the Pentagon is racing to move dozens of detainees out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in coming months before lawmakers can block future transfers and derail President Obama’s plan to shutter the U.S. military prison.

As a first step, officials plan to send up to 10 prisoners overseas, possibly in June. In all, the Pentagon hopes that 57 inmates who are approved for transfer will be resettled by the end of 2015. That would require “large muscle movements” by at least two countries, which officials hope will each agree to take in 10 to 20 Yemeni detainees, who cannot be repatriated because of security conditions in their war-torn homeland.

“I am aware of the clock ticking,” a defense official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning. “It’s going to take high-level leadership, and it’s going to take some big asks to some countries.”

The issue of what to do with those remaining detainees on trial in military commissions or who are deemed too dangerous to release also looms over a White House that is facing the end of Obama’s second term in 2017.

This has been handled with Obama’s usual skill and tact.

JUSTIN KATZ: Clarity in the Obama Era (How Reasonable People Let It Happen). “One silver lining of living during the Obama Era is that we get to witness something that many of us found inexplicable when we learned about it in school: How a civilized country can be brought to the heel of ideologues and thugs. It’s always seemed a bizarre mystery why a large majority of reasonable people would let things that are so patently wrong, so clearly corrosive of everything we value, go on… and expand.”

KIRSTEN POWERS TO OBAMA: Stop hectoring Christians and start protecting them.

THERE’S A CULTURE OF SECRECY BECAUSE THERE’S A LOT TO HIDE: Insiders Detail Culture of Secrecy at California’s Obamacare Exchange.

PUNCH EPA BACK TWICE AS HARD:  The Obama Administration’s EPA has recently discovered, buried in obscure language (section 111(d)) of the Clean Air Act, that it has authority to demand drastic reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants.  The net effect of its demands would be the shut-down of many of the nation’s coal-fired electricity plants, which are by far the most common and cost-effective means of generating our nation’s growing electricity needs.  The Obama Administration’s goal of shutting down coal-fired plants is no secret, and the EPA Administrator has admitted that its proposed rule is not designed to reduce pollution, but in fact to kill America’s coal sector by “investing” in the Administration’s favored “renewable” energy sources, such as its disastrous solar energy “investment” in Solyndra.

As part of EPA’s 111(d) rule–set to be finalized this summer– the EPA is bullying States to completely alter existing plant-to-plug energy regulation, which will not only shut down most of nation’s coal-fired plants, but require dependency on much less reliable forms of electricity generation, including solar, natural gas and nuclear– at a cost of between $41 to 73 billion per year.

Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, the director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority urges States to refuse compliance with EPA’s unreasonable, expensive, and dangerous demands:

While the short-term effects may be painful, the long-term consequences of submitting to this federal power grab are far worse.

For one, compliant states will enter into a “Mother may I?” relationship with the federal government. Not only will the initial SIP require the EPA’s blessing, so will any future modifications. This gives the EPA de facto veto power over any proposed state energy regulations, thus centralizing all energy decisions in Washington.

Compliance also would absolve the federal government of accountability once the disasters of this regulation begin to unfold. The regulation is designed so states will share blame with the EPA when electricity rates skyrocket. If federal regulators want to raise Americans’ electricity bills by thousands of dollars each year, they can do that. State lawmakers would be wise to let them walk that road alone.

The more states that refuse to give in to the EPA’s demands, the more likely it is that the agency will be forced to hold back the most burdensome elements of its Clean Power Plan. This could mean anything from nonenforcement to amending provisions of the regulation to mitigate their impact.

Amen.  States should simply refuse to play ball with the EPA, and force the Obama Administration to own all of the cost increases, reliability decreases (brownouts; blackouts) that their “climate change” agenda will create.  It’s a dangerous game of chicken, admittedly, but sometimes you have to stare a bully in the eye.  Chief Justice John Roberts put it in the Obamacare decision, NFIB v. Sebelius, “The States are separate and independent sovereigns.  Sometimes they have to act like it.”   Refusing to cave into the Obama Administration’s outrageous Clean Air Act demands is a good way to start.

RELATED:  In addition to the possibility of refusing to implement EPA’s 111(d) rule, several States have filed lawsuits (with more expected to come) in an attempt to stop the madness before it can become reality.  Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has stacked the D.C. Circuit with liberals/progressives (and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid employed the “nuclear option” and abolished the filibuster rule in order to make this happen).  So any legal success will likely have to come from a lawsuit filed outside the D.C. Circuit.

SHE’S INHERITED OBAMA’S MIDAS TOUCH: Thanks, Hillary: Chipotle Sales Plummet. “Less than a week after Hillary Clinton stiffed the servers at a Chipotle, the company admitted they didn’t hit their first quarter numbers. Forbes magazine is concerned that the lackluster performance might indicate a slowdown for the vibrant burrito sector of the American economy.”

WAPO: Trade War Heating Up Among Democrats. “Hillary Rodham Clinton and other top Democrats began feuding over President Obama’s trade initiative Tuesday as his bid for a major late-term win began tearing at the party’s unity and threatened to expose old divisions ahead of the 2016 presidential election.” It’s a bad deal, and we’d be better off if it died.

SOCIAL-JUSTICE-WARRIOR HAZING: Army Cadets on Campus Forced to Wear Red High Heels and Raise Awareness of Debunked ‘Rape Culture.’

Those who did their homework in 2008 knew that when Barack Obama was elected, all aspects of American society would suffer unprecedented levels of left-wing lunacy, but did anyone think it would come to this?

Patriotic young cadets — America’s future warrior — pressured to walk around in bright red high heels on campus — against their will – or face retribution.

I don’t even know what to say.

I do, but since this is a family blog I’ll leave it at this: Punch back twice as hard.

KIRSTEN POWERS: Christians thrown overboard left to drown by Obama: Obama only mentions Christians to lecture them, rather than defend them from persecution. Well, that’s certainly true.

OF UNICORNS & INCOME INEQUALITY:   “Income inequality” is fast becoming the unicorn of the 2016 presidential campaign– a mythical creature that has captured the hearts and minds of the political left and a good number of independents.

Hillary Clinton has signaled it’s going to be the centerpiece of her presidential bid.  She recently complained about CEO pay being “300 times what the average worker makes.” But the more accurate figure is that the average CEO makes only about four times the wages of the average worker (not 300).  And let’s face it, folks:  The average business owner/CEO often invests personal funds, mortgages personal assets, and puts in hours far in excess of the “average” worker.

Liberals/progressives tout income inequality as “America’s biggest problem.”  Self-described socialist-democrat Rep. Bernie Sanders (who caucuses, unsurprisingly, with the Democrats) is pushing Hillary even further left, threatening to challenge her and asserting that his campaign would be built around an argument for “fundamental changes in the way we do business in the United States of America in terms of income inequality.”

The problem with all of this is that there is zero evidence that higher incomes for the top X percent of Americans causes a rise in poverty rates.  If the rich get richer, in other words, the poor don’t get poorer.  Indeed, the population of America’s poor has remained steady at 15% since the advent of the “Great Society” programs.  The “war on poverty” is an income-sucking hamster wheel, getting us nowhere.

The income inequality “problem,” is merely a Marxist cry for income redistribution– i.e., theft of the earnings of one segment of society (mostly middle income) to subsidize another segment of society that wants a slice of someone else’s pie.  But the top 20% of income earners in the U.S. already pay 84% of all income taxes.  The bottom fifth pays zero– and, in fact, gets a 2.2% income bonus, paid for by the rest of society.  So any arguments about the rich not paying their “fair share” for the costs of our swollen government are ludicrous.

What we need is re-invigoration of the belief in the American dream–that any child can, with hard work and intelligence, improve his lot and achieve greatness.  And the data supports that this is still true.  One would think that someone with President Obama’s biography would have ardently touted this optimistic truth.   Off all the current GOP presidential candidates, Marco Rubio seems, at the moment, to embrace this optimism the most.  I hope they all do, eventually.

unicorn

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Pew: Gun rights top gun control in major public opinion shift. “Exactly two years after President Obama’s bid for gun control following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting died in Congress, a new poll has discovered a huge shift in public opinion to backing Second Amendment gun rights and away from controlling gun ownership. The reason: Americans now believe having a gun is the best way to protect against crime, 63 percent to 30 percent.” Well, the gun-control folks were hoping that Sandy Hook would change everything. And it did. . . .

TONI MORRISON: “I want to see a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back.” Get a grip, you old hater.

You know, I was reading some piece of historical fiction or other where physicians were talking about curing the plague by putting a dead rat over the buboes to draw the poisons to the surface. Barack Obama is our dead rat. Since he has occupied the White House, all manner of poisons — already there, but not visible — have been drawn to the surface. Toni Morrison is just the latest example. Though, if she weren’t a bitter racist, she’d know about stories like this one.

UPDATE: Ed Driscoll remembers when lefties were swearing off the rhetoric of violence. Yeah, that didn’t last long. It never does with them.

OBAMA’S NATIONAL SECURITY DREAM TEAM:  . . . is more like a nightmare.  Scott Johnson over at Powerline catalogs the top Obama security advisors, and reading it, one can’t help but feel like Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

It reminds me of a scrawny JV team (with DOD Secretary Ashton Carter as the only promising prospect), which is ironic, considering that President Obama referred to ISIS as an al Qaeda JV.

SO THIS IS BASICALLY STATE-SANCTIONED HAZING: The Footwear Cadets Were Allegedly Forced to Wear During Political Event March Has Sparked an Uproar. As the commenters note, this was just an effort to humiliate men in the service of PC ideology.

UPDATE: From the comments:

The Canadian Army is deploying to the Ukraine.

The US Army is wearing high heels.

Yikes.

Hopey-changey. And admit it, if in 2012 I’d said, re-elect Obama and you’ll see American fighting men forced to march in red high heels, you’d have thought I was over the top crazy, wouldn’t you? But then, there were a lot of real predictions about Obama’s presidency that seemed crazy and paranoid, but that have also turned out to be true. . . .

BECAUSE DEATH IS SO FUNNY (OR BECAUSE THE DEAD DON’T VOTE?):   An op-ed in today’s Washington Post argues that it’s okay for health care professionals to make fun of dying patients.  And while I confess to chuckling at some of the euphemisms for death (e.g., “circling the drain”), overall I find such attitudes crass.  But in typical liberal/progressive style, the author tries to assure us that there are some limits:    “That’s not to excuse all humor by health-care professionals. For example, mocking disabilities and using racial, ethnic or other cruel epithets go too far.”

Okay, so let me get this straight:  It’s okay to make fun of the dying, but not their ethnicity or race.  Because racism and stuff.   Plus, cynically, dead people can’t vote Democrat, so they are fair game for off-color humor.  Well, wait a minute, that’s not quite true.

UPDATE:  As a viewer points out, apparently such macabre humor is completely unacceptable, however, when it emanates from conservatives, as the tea party candidate for U.S. Senate in Kansas (unsuccessfully challenging Pat Roberts), Dr. Milton Wolf,  found out.   As an added bonus, our informed reader notes that Dr. Wolf is a distant cousin of none other that President Obama.

HUNTING THE WHITE MALE VOTER:  Democrats are beginning to reap the electoral effects of the hatred and divisiveness they’ve sown.  White, male voters are increasingly abandoning the Democrat party, which has shown disinterest in their concerns about economic opportunity and national security, preferring instead to focus on balkanizing Americans with the “war on women,” paranoia about/hostility toward police, and global warming climate change.

Good luck, Democrats.  With op-eds like this one from Charles Blow at the New York Times, I think you’ve got a lot of introspection and attitude readjustment to undertake before you will convince any Americans who define themselves as just “American” rather than “hyphen-American” to vote Democrat.  Blow’s attitude is typical:  Shut up and take it, white men.  You’re increasingly irrelevant, we think you are “privileged,” angry closet racists (talk about projection) and we don’t care about you.  Message received.

RELATED:  Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb has suggested he may challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democrat nomination because he thinks her campaign isn’t capable of wooing white male voters.  His perspective is almost quaint.  The post-Obama Democrat party is incapable, at present, of realizing the damage it has done and reforming its “divide and conquer” strategy.

HMM: FBI agent testifies in Paula Broadwell cyberstalking case. “The FBI special agent who brought the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell cyberstalking case to the attention of law enforcement recently testified that the FBI handled the case under political pressure because of the 2012 presidential election, ‘marginalizing’ and making crude insinuations about the victim in the case, Jill Kelley, whom they cast as ‘some femme fatale.’ . . . Though the Kelleys were the victims of the original cyberstalking case, as the Petraeus scandal exploded in the public, Jill Kelley’s name was dragged through the mud by unnamed Obama administration and law enforcement officials and many in the media painted her in a particularly unflattering light, the subject of the Kelley’s lawsuit.”

GYROCOPTER STUNT SHOWS GOVERNMENT INCOMPETENCE:   When a left-wing, postal civil servant nut-job lands a gyrocopter on the Capitol Hill lawn to publicize the supposed need for campaign finance reform (i.e., to oppose Citizens United and free speech under the First Amendment), it seems pretty clear that D.C.–and the country in general–isn’t being adequately secured.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz is demanding a Secret Service briefing.

It’s good to have a hearing–especially about national security matters–but it seems to me that the Secret Service scandals under Obama’s watch are indicative of a larger theme of government incompetence/rulebreaking, and excessive liberal/progressive tolerance thereof, from the VA scandal to the DEA sex parties to the GSA Las Vegas parties to the EPA porn addict.

Congress would be better advised amending the Civil Service Act of 1978 to make it easier to fire incompetent employees and vigorously enforcing existing security measures, such as the Air Defense Identification Zone, rather than holding a bunch of dog-and-pony show hearings.  It’s the toleration of lawbreaking and bad behavior that sends a signal that the U.S. government will look the other way.

This liberal attitude toward lawbreakers also helps embolden Iran and other bad actors around the globe.

IN THE DOG-EAT-DOG OBAMA ECONOMY, PEOPLE WILL TRY ANYTHING TO SURVIVE: Workers Seeking Productivity in a Pill Are Abusing A.D.H.D. Drugs.

Reliable data to quantify how many American workers misuse stimulants does not exist, several experts said.

But in interviews, dozens of people in a wide spectrum of professions said they and co-workers misused stimulants like Adderall, Vyvanse and Concerta to improve work performance. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs or access to the medication.

Doctors and medical ethicists expressed concern for misusers’ health, as stimulants can cause anxiety, addiction and hallucinations when taken in high doses. But they also worried about added pressure in the workplace — where the use by some pressures more to join the trend.

“You’d see addiction in students, but it was pretty rare to see it in an adult,” said Dr. Kimberly Dennis, the medical director of Timberline Knolls, a substance-abuse treatment facility for women outside Chicago.

“We are definitely seeing more than one year ago, more than two years ago, especially in the age range of 25 to 45,” she said.

Elizabeth, a Long Island native in her late 20s, said that to not take Adderall while competitors did would be like playing tennis with a wood racket.

Well, there you have it.

HEY, WAPO, YOU SPELLED “DEMOCRATS GRATUITUOUSLY INJECT RACE INTO DEBATE” WRONG: Race creeps into debate over stalled nomination for attorney general. Remember, she’s actually being held up over an abortion controversy.

That said, I think from now on we should only have white males in positions of authority, because they’re the only ones who can’t play the race/gender card whenever any criticism comes up. America, as the Obama experiment has demonstrated, isn’t ready for diversity in government yet.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE:  President Obama’s labor-dominated NLRB agrees to hear a petition by Columbia grad students who seek the right to unionize.  The grad students want to join the United Auto Workers (that’s not a typo) because they claim they’re being treated like serfs by universities who understand that there is a glut of Ph.D.s and that most grad students will never score permanent, tenure-track positions.According to today’s Wall Street Journal editorial:

The universities argue that unionization would make the nature of their relationship with students adversarial. They too have a case. Most of America’s top universities aren’t unionized. So the schools have valid concern about elevating union interests over academic merit. Meanwhile, NYU is a rare private university that has voluntarily recognized a grad-student union.

But none of this lets academe off the hook. For one thing, the universities contribute to a glut of Ph.D.s by admitting students who take out loans (some 40% of the $1 trillion in student debt is for graduate school) even when they know few will ever work as full professors. By admitting them into graduate programs, the schools in effect are producing for themselves a low-paid work force.

“To put it crudely, they are hiring their own serfs,” says Richard Vedder, an Ohio University economist who runs the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. He says it’s “as much a moral issue as an economic one.” A university truly devoted to the well-being of its students would be more honest to grad students about the dismal job prospects for Ph.D.s—and more candid to undergrads about their actual instructors.

Unionization isn’t the best solution for grad students or universities. Mr. Vedder has a better idea when he suggests that universities accept some responsibility for defaults on student loans or pick up some of the tab for students who can’t find jobs after graduation.

Of course the real solution is to shut down the bulk of these duplicative, unneeded Ph.D. programs, eliminate the supply glut, and let these students put their talents to work in another field.  Unionizing grad students only kicks the can down the road, giving them more money while they’re in school, with no improvement in their prospects for long-term employment.  More importantly, unionization will further raise the cost of tuition for everyone.

DEROY MURDOCK: The Unbearable Lightness Of Obama’s Anti-Terror Policies.

TOM MAGUIRE: Armenians Died, Obama Lied. “Interesting – so many more questions for the press to not ask Obama or especially Hillary. For the record, Candidate Hillary in 2008 matched Barack in the empty promises area, then backed her boss as Secretary of State.”

OBAMA’S IRAQ POLICY IS GOING SWIMMINGLY: Thousands of Iraqis flee as Islamic State makes gains in Sunni heartland.

JOHN BOLTON: Obama’s Iran deal greatest ‘appeasement’ in history.

Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton on Friday bashed President Obama as having putting a nuclear arms deal with Iran above America’s safety.

Bolton, who is considering a run for the White House in 2016, blasted Obama’s negotiations with Tehran as “feckless” and “weak.”
“President Obama is engaging in what I believe is the greatest display of appeasement from a president in history,” Bolton told listeners at the New Hampshire Republican Party’s “First in the Nation” leadership summit in Nashua.

“The Obama administration has taken a position weaker than the U.N. Security Council.”

Appalling.

POLITICO: Hillary Clinton’s Real Opponent: Barack Obama. “No retiring president below 50 percent job approval nationally has passed the White House to his party’s nominee in the 75 years of the polling era. Obama’s approval rating, as of this writing, is around 45 percent (give or take), and his disapproval is about 50 percent.”

MARIJUANA DEBATE HEATS UP:  After an extensive 5-day fact-finding hearing,  a federal judge in California yesterday ruled that it is not “irrational”–and thus does not offend the Constitution– for marijuana to be classified as a Schedule I drug (no legal uses) under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  It is a blow to pro-marijuana advocates, who’ve had remarkable success in getting pot approved for medicinal use, and–in four states–even recreational useMany legal experts anticipated that the judge, an Obama appointee, would take a “bold stand” and rule that marijuana cannot be completely banned under Schedule I. She suggested (showing remarkable restraint for an Obama appointee) that, as an unelected federal judge, it was not her place to effect such a substantial national policy change.

President Obama (technically, the Attorney General) could, consistent with the CSA, reschedule marijuana by executive order.  But for some reason, on this issue, the President has thus far refused to get out his infamous pen and phone, stating recently that he thinks Congress should amend the CSA to reschedule marijuana instead.

And in perhaps the ultimate irony, the Supreme Court ruled in its 2005 decision, Gonzales v. Raich, that individuals who used medical marijuana pursuant to state compassionate use laws were not entitled to a constitutional exemption from the CSA, as the CSA is the supreme law of the land.

Based on Gonzales, in late December, Oklahoma and Nebraska filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court against Colorado, asserting that Colorado’s legalization of recreational pot has forced such neighboring States to bear the brunt of increased criminal activity, such as transportation of pot into their jurisdictions, where pot remains illegal under State law.  The interesting legal questions posed by the Oklahoma/Nebraska suit is whether state pot legalization conflicts with the CSA and is thus preempted, and if relatedly, whether the executive branch has a constitutional obligation to enforce the CSA’s prohibition in such states.  Some argue yes; some argue no.

STEPHEN GREEN: Does the GOP Need a Republican Obama to Beat Hillary?

THE HILL: Obama immigration orders face major test in federal court.

President Obama’s executive actions on immigration will be tested on Friday when a federal appeals court considers whether to lift an order blocking the actions to allow millions of immigrants without legal status to remain in the United States.

Lawyers from the federal government and 26 states opposed to Obama’s immigration policies will make oral arguments in front of a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, the most conservative circuit in the country.

The administration is seeking an emergency stay lifting a Texas judge’s order freezing Obama’s November executive actions, which could provide deportation relief and work permits to as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants.

Supporters of Obama’s programs are hopeful the court’s recent dismissal of a separate lawsuit against the immigration programs are a sign the judges will be on their side.

The panel may take days or weeks to decide on the government’s motion.

If it lifts U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen’s preliminary injunction, the Obama administration could begin implementing its programs. If it does not, Obama’s actions will remain in limbo.

The atmosphere surrounding the hearing is expected to be charged. More than 150 people plan to demonstrate outside the courthouse, including immigrants eligible for relief under Obama’s programs, according to immigrant-rights groups.

Well, the Obama crowd managed to intimidate John Roberts, so it’s worth a try with Judge Hanen, I guess.

LIFE IN THE OBAMA ERA: Ramadi could fall as ISIS militants lay siege, Iraqi official warns.

FINALLY, A CHAMPION FOR ORDINARY FOLK AND A CRUSADER AGAINST POLITICAL CORRUPTION!:   . . . which is (more than ironically) what Hillary Clinton is billing herself as.  In her recent Iowa appearance, Clinton revealed these two themes as the basis upon which she’s shaping 2016 presidential bid.

She complained that chief executives make too much money, and of the horror that has befallen politics after the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United–which stands for the unremarkable position that groups of people organized in a business (e.g., corporations)  or association (e.g., unions or neighborhood associations) form still have a First Amendment right to free speech.

All of this is coming from a woman whose persona is defined by whose massive political fundraising, multiple ethical lapses, and laughable claims of poverty.  I would call Clinton a hypocrite, but somehow this word fails to capture fully the Orwellian nature of her behavior.  How do Democrat voters let her get away with such obvious doublethink? In the Words of Orwell, in the novel 1984:

In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird.

Ignorance is strength, I guess.

RELATED:  Liberal/progressive groups are urging President Obama to issue an executive order to require government contractors to disclose their donor lists, in direct contravention to the Supreme Court’s decision in NAACP v. Alabama (1958), which held that compelled disclosure of the NAACP’s membership lists was unconstitutional because it created a chilling effect on the First Amendment right to free association.  And we know what liberals/progressives like to do when they find out the names of conservative donors, and it ain’t pretty.

This is all part of the liberal/progressive campaign against so-called “dark money,” which is an incredibly misleading phrase (there’s Orwell again) that refers to political spending by outside groups (i.e., not the political parties or candidates themselves).  An FEC rule requiring broader disclosure was tossed out of court in November, with the federal judge calling the FEC’s attempt “arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law.”

So much for liberals/progressives belief in “privacy” or “free speech”– that stuff doesn’t apply to other people.

JUST IGNORE ‘EM!:   What is it about progressives that makes them think it is good for society to ignore the rule of law?  The latest iteration comes in the form of explicit calls to ignore the Supreme Court whenever it rules the “wrong” (i.e., non-progressive) way.

Because the Supreme Court isn’t presently dominated by progressives and none of the 5 current, right-of-center Justices are likely to retire before the end of the Obama Administration, progressives are now trying to create acceptability for the idea of “ignoring” the Court.  A recent New York Times op-ed by William Baude, for example, asserted that if the Court’s King v. Burwell opinion ultimately denies Obamacare subsidies to individuals states without state-run health insurance exchanges, the Obama Administration should only enforce the decision against the 4 named plaintiffs in the case.

For everyone else, Baude suggests that the Administration pretend that the law hasn’t technically been decided.  The justification for such lawlessness?:  “If the administration believes that a Supreme Court loss would be egregious and disastrous, it ought to consider taking the political heat to limit it.”   Oh, okay– that makes sense.  If the President thinks the Supreme Court’s interpretation of a law is “egregious and disastrous,” he should just ignore it for everyone but the named plaintiffs who brought the suit.

Apparently, Baude is channeling the progressive mindset.  A Feb. 2015 Rasmussen poll revealed that only 35% of Democrats disagreed when asked: “Should the president have the right to ignore federal court rulings if they are standing in the way of actions he feels are important for the country?”  81% of Republicans and 67% of voters not affiliated with either major party disagreed– an astounding difference of 32 to 46 percentage points from the Democrat perspective.

 

RELATED:  The Obama Administration has been notoriously disrespectful of courts, having been threatened with contempt for perjury in the ongoing lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obama’s immigration executive orders and actually held the Department of Interior in contempt for its behavior ignoring the court’s preliminary injunction in a offshore drilling case.

And let’s not forget that President Obama’s own remarks bullying the Supreme Court prior to its big summer 201 Obamacare decision, NFIB v. Sebelius, triggered a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to order a DOJ lawyer to provide an explanation– of at least 3 pages, single-spaced– articulating the DOJ’s position on the propriety of judicial review of the constitutionality of laws.  Holder provided the letter– only 2 1/2 pages long, defiantly enough–and used wishy-washy language that only minimally acknowledged judicial review and lectured the court on its limited role.

CONGRESS VERSUS THE IRANIAN PARLIAMENT:  . . . and the Iranian Parliament seems to win.  Today, the Nuclear Committee of the Iranian Parliament issued a strange “factsheet” on the nuclear deal, which seems to contradict virtually every material aspect of the P5+1 Geneva Agreement, as conveyed by the Obama Administration.  In particular, the factsheet states that Iran agrees to only a 5-year deal (not 10-year); will be allowed to continue enriching uranium to 20% (weapons grade) if “needed”; won’t agree to shut down the Arak Heavy Water Reactor (which supplies plutonium necessary for bomb-making); and of course all Iranian sanctions must be terminated immediately, and in one single step.

Would Iran like fries with that agreement?

Meanwhile, back in the Bat Cave… the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday unanimously passed a toothless Corker-Menendez bill that appears to have a veto-proof majority.  After veto-proof congressional approval became inevitable, President Obama magnanimously said he wouldn’t bother to veto the bill.

Under the revised Corker-Menendez, Congress would only have 30 days to reject the Iranian deal; if it fails to do anything (which would not be surprising), the deal goes into effect, with the tacit approval of Congress.  And Congress also caved on the terrorism language of the bill, which used to require the President to certify, every 90 days, that Iran was not supporting terrorism against Americans (or the sanctions could be re-imposed).  That is now gone, an apparently disposable byproduct of garnering Democrat votes.

Wow– way to go, Congress.  You are negotiating away your constitutional prerogative to lift the sanctions you imposed via statute (and/or for 2/3 Senate ratification of treaties), in return for a mere 30-day window of consideration of a deal that the Iranians are already saying they won’t abide by.  This is what happens when a President successfully bullies Article I– Congress eventually gets the courage to feign a modicum of self-respect, but is so afraid that the President will “go around” them anyway (as he is wont to do) that it ends up giving the President its lunch money.

PROBABLY NOT WITH HILLARY AND OBAMA IN CHARGE: The U.S./Russian Diplomatic Debacle: Could It Have Been Otherwise?

Did the West bungle its relations with Russia after the Cold War? Was there a better way? This debate, now a quarter of a century old, will doubtless be with us for decades. The sides don’t seem to change much, nor do their arguments. Those who opposed the enlargement of NATO in the 1990s treat the war in Ukraine as proof that they were right all along. It was madness, they say, to challenge a core Russian security interest. Enlargement’s supporters, of course, claim vindication just as vehemently. For them, Putin’s aggression shows the wisdom of bringing new members into the alliance. Including Ukraine, they suggest, might have avoided the current crisis altogether.

While they differ in their policy prescriptions, these two sides converge on one point: their view of Russia. Great powers don’t change much, they tell us. Habits of domination are not easily unlearned. So expect a future full of potential trouble, and think carefully in advance about how to avoid it.

Centuries of conflict confirm such maxims.

Well, that was before we had Smart DiplomacyTM so naturally there’s nothing to learn from history.

POLITICS: DNC uses celebrity women with collective net worth of $331 million to attack GOP on #EqualPay.

Should’ve used female staffers from the Obama White House. And Hillary’s office . . .

PERHAPS HE’LL WEAR HIS MOM JEANS: Obama journeys to the land of mommy bloggers. Not all of them are buying his spiel, though:

But Lena Gott, a blogger based in Wake Forest who is participating in the town hall, said her experience working as an accountant has made her skeptical of calls for equal pay. Gott, who is now the stay-at-home mother of three young children, said business owners may have to lower some workers’ salaries if they have to bring them in line with those of other employees.

“You can’t just come up w an extra, magical $20,000 for workers,” Gott said. “You have to make it fit within your budget.”

Magically cost-free policy is an Obama trademark.

USA TODAY: Obama, make good on Armenia: Pope Francis stands brave against Turkey. Why can’t America follow suit?

On April 24, 1915, in the midst of World War I, the Ottoman Empire began systematically massacring its Christian Armenian subjects. At Sunday’s Mass in Rome, Pope Francis described the massacres as “the first genocide of the 20th century.” Turkey, which emerged from the rubble of the defeated Ottoman Empire and has long fiercely denied that a genocide took place, angrily recalled its ambassador to the Vatican. “The pope’s statement, which is out of touch with both historical facts and legal truths, is simply unacceptable,” tweeted Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Will President Obama follow Pope Francis’ lead?

Contrary to the foreign minister’s tweet, there is a solid factual and legal foundation for calling the massacres a genocide, defined as killing or other acts intended to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

Yeah, I think Obama sees Erdogan as more of a peer than he does Pope Francis.

WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ CONGRESS: How the IRS repeatedly rewrites Obamacare tax credit provisions.

HMM: House Dems jump to support new Iran bill.

House Democratic leaders are quickly jumping on board legislation empowering Congress to review an emerging nuclear deal with Iran.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) endorsed the Senate bill on Tuesday, shortly after it passed unanimously through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had rejected an earlier version of the Senate proposal, said she’s also open to supporting it.

“They certainly produced a bill that would be more palatable to our members,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. “Most of us don’t think that any legislation is necessary or should be there, [but] from what I’ve seen so far, it’s pretty innocuous.”

Hoyer’s endorsement was more full-throated.

“I believe that Congress has a responsibility to review any final agreement with Iran, and this bill will achieve that goal — setting up a carefully-constructed review period to ensure that a deal meets expectations and prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” he said in a statement.

Pelosi had come out in staunch opposition to an initial version of the Senate bill, sponsored by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). Echoing President Obama, she’d warned that the legislation could undermine the ongoing talks over Iran’s nuclear program as negotiators face a June 30 deadline for finalizing a deal.

The new Senate bill, a compromise hashed out between Corker and Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, shortens the timeline of Congress’s review of the deal, from 60 to 30 days, and empowers Congress with a vote of approval.

Obama had threatened to veto the initial Corker bill, but White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that the president would sign the Corker-Cardin compromise.

Hmm.

WHAT’S THE REAL DEAL WITH CORKER-MENENDEZ?  Is it a congressional cop out, because it cedes  Senatorial power to ratify treaties  (by 2/3 supermajority)? Or is the treaty power irrelevant, because the bill merely modifies the President’s authority, under existing statutes, to waive Iranian sanctions, thus requiring only majority approval by both houses (and possibly 2/3 of both houses, in the event of a presidential veto)?

And if Congress can somehow get Corker-Menendez enacted, would it bind the President, or would he be free to ignore it, claiming his own, independent Article II authority to negotiate “executive agreements” with other nations?

My own opinion, FWIW, is that any modification of statutorily-imposed sanctions on Iran (and there are many) would require amendment to those statutes, which is what Corker-Menendez seeks to accomplish.  I am deeply concerned, however, that Obama will veto Corker-Menendez, Congress won’t have the votes to override, and Obama will (once again) act unilaterally, claiming broadly worded waiver provisions in existing statutes give him the authority to lift sanctions in his discretion.   He will then support a UN Security Council resolution lifting sanctions (with little to no verification regime).  Once this is done, the US will have little practical ability to back out, as Iran will have the “blessing” and cover of the world community/international law.

No one could stop the President under this scenario, btw, unless courts are willing to recognize congressional standing to sue the President when he fails to faithfully execute Congress’s statutes.

Or maybe, as this (idiotic) political science professor asserts, Corker-Menendez is “counterproductive to foreign policy success”? Well, geez, why have a Congress at all if they’re always standing in the way of presidential desires? We might as well just adjourn Congress permanently.  It’s so, like, 1787.

DANIEL MITCHELL: More Statist Propaganda from the Taxpayer-Funded OECD. “How else would you describe a bureaucracy that consorts and cooperates with leftist groups like Occupy Wall Street and the AFL-CIO and routinely published propaganda in favor of Obama’s agenda on issues such as global warming, government-run healthcare, so-called stimulus, and class-warfare taxation. And never forget that American taxpayers finance the biggest chunk of this bureaucracy’s budget. Adding insult to injury, the bureaucrats at the OECD get tax-free salaries, which makes their relentless support for higher taxes on the rest of us even more obnoxious.”

THE PRESS: DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES. New Host of Face the Nation Advised Obama in 2013 to ‘Destroy the GOP.’

RICHARD EPSTEIN: Iran And The Bomb: The Social Consequences Of Obama’s Withdrawal.

JAMES TARANTO CALLS HIM “PRESIDENT ASTERISK” FOR A REASON: Did the IRS Tea Party allegations help Obama win re-election?

YEAH, PRETTY MUCH: The Obama Administration Sows Injustice in Campus Rape Cases.

SALENA ZITO: Zito: Magnanimity in victory marked Civil War’s end. “President Obama, who has held the presidency throughout this four-year commemorative cycle, has not visited any of the Civil War anniversary events nor remarked about their passing — although he did issue an email proclamation in April 2011 that marked the beginning of the remembrance.” Magnanimity is not one of his hallmarks.

REALLY? BECAUSE IT LOOKS TO ME LIKE HE’S BEEN HITTING IT PRETTY . . . OH, WAIT: Roll Call: Obama Still Taking It Slow On Marijuana.

YA THINK? In Campus Rape Tribunals, Some Men See Injustice.

Mr. McLeod, 24 years old, is suing Duke for his diploma, arguing the university unjustly made him an example to show a get-tough approach. “I believe that I’m wrongfully accused,” he says. “I believe that it was an unfair process and I believe I had something I earned taken away from me.”

His case is part of a broad and rapid change in how U.S. colleges and universities deal with sexual-assault allegations. Campuses have rewritten policies to lower the burden of proof for finding a student culpable of assault, increasing penalties—sometimes recommending expulsion. In the process, schools find themselves in legal minefields as they try to balance the rights of accuser and accused.

Mr. McLeod’s suit is one of more than 30 that men have brought against U.S. campuses since January 2014 alleging due-process violations in sexual-assault cases, says A Voice for Male Students, an advocacy group. . . .

In the past five months, court filings show, St. Joseph’s University, Amherst College and Swarthmore College have reached sealed settlements with former students who were accused of sexual misconduct and sued in federal court. The Education Department says it doesn’t track how many accused students have brought Title IX complaints.

A judge in Mr. McLeod’s case last year granted an injunction preventing Duke from categorizing him as expelled, saying Mr. McLeod “demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits” of his arguments at a trial now scheduled for February 2016.

Mr. McLeod has a pending Wall Street job offer that requires a diploma, according to his suit. An Australian citizen, he now attends the University of Sydney to complete his degree. “I didn’t want to speak out, I just wanted my degree,” he says. “I loved Duke.”

The woman who accused Mr. McLeod didn’t respond to email inquiries. Duke says her advocate at the Duke Women’s Center, who helped represent her before the disciplinary panel, declines to comment. . . .

“I find it staggering, absolutely staggering, that these parallel judicial systems have been built up in universities,” the elder Mr. McLeod says. “They have considerable power to destroy a person’s life.”

A judge in January allowed the younger Mr. McLeod to add defendants, including the psychologist who conducted his and other Duke Title IX sexual-misconduct investigations—and whom North Carolina later barred from such investigations, citing evidence she wasn’t properly licensed. The psychologist didn’t respond to inquiries.

It’s a debacle. Thanks, Obama.

WHEN SOUND BITES BACKFIRE: Global warming didn’t give Malia asthma: President’s smoking more likely to cause daughter’s health problem than climate change.

President Obama blames global warming for his daughter’s asthma. Today that’s politically useful spin, but the science says something different. If you’re looking for a culprit, it just might be Malia’s dad. . . .

Whether there is a link between asthma and global warming, Malia herself hasn’t really experienced much. The high school junior was born in 1998, when temperatures spiked. By some measurements, the world hasn’t warmed significantly since then.

Which brings us back to her father and his Marlboros. The president, who quit smoking years ago, has long kept his tobacco use out of doors. That’s a common-sense tactic for folks who have trouble quitting. But sometimes, science can show that common sense has less sense than you think.

Research funded by the National Institutes of Health has shown that smoking outside doesn’t totally protect children from secondhand smoke. Even when smoking is done outside, nicotine in infants’ hair is five times higher for babies with outside smoking parents than non-smoking parents. Smoking-related chemicals in infants’ urine is seven times higher. Other studies have found similar results.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “tobacco smoke is one of the most common asthma triggers,” and “if you have asthma, it’s important that you avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.”

No father wants to feel that his habits might hurt his children. But sometimes you have to look in the mirror to find the guilty party, not search the stratosphere for a hidden culprit.

Ouch.

DAVID RIVKIN & ELIZABETH PRICE FOLEY: Gay Rights, Religious Freedom and the Law: There is a better route to protections than the battle in Indiana.

There is no federal law prohibiting private discrimination based on sexual orientation. An executive order by President Obama in 2014 bans such discrimination only for federal workers and contractors. About 20 states and some municipalities prohibit sexual-orientation discrimination in workplaces and public accommodations. But the majority of states still don’t proscribe discrimination based on sexual orientation, though discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity or national origin is banned.

The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities and signed by President Clinton in 1993. It represented a backlash against the Supreme Court’s 1990 decision in Employment Division v. Smith. That decision held that the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause doesn’t allow a religious exemption from laws of general applicability—e.g., compulsory military service, or prohibitions on drug use or animal cruelty—even if those laws substantially burden religious exercise.

The federal RFRA law supplanted Smith, declaring that the government could substantially burden religious exercise only upon proving a “compelling” government interest for doing so, and using only the “least restrictive means” of furthering that interest. The Supreme Court, for example, recently affirmed that the federal RFRA allowed Hobby Lobby, a corporation closely held by religious owners, to refuse participation in ObamaCare’s contraceptive mandate, which would have required the company to provide contraceptives that may destroy an already-fertilized egg.

Because the federal RFRA applies only to federal actions, 20 states have passed their own religious-freedom laws designed to provide the same protection against state-imposed religious burdens. Another 11 states have implemented similar protections through court decisions, based on state constitutions.

So why have the latest religious-freedom laws been so controversial? RFRA has become a political focal point for pent-up anger over the paucity of legal protections against LGBT discrimination. A specific controversy is over the application of such laws to lawsuits between private parties.

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OBAMA’S PRECURSOR: Deval Patrick: “A terrible manager who left a disaster behind.”

DEROY MURDOCK: With Anti-Semitism on the March, Jewish Republicans Welcome Senator Ron Johnson to New York.

From the horrific expansion of the Islamic State to an impending U.S.-Iranian deal that will do little to quash the ayatollahs’ atomic ambitions, Jews the world over have mounting reasons to worry. Obama’s ongoing, kindergarten-like tantrum over the re-election of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hardly reassuring. All of this may explain why American Jews increasingly are leaning toward the Republican party and its policies that unapologetically defend Israel and hammer radical Islamic terrorism. In contrast, Obama gives the Jewish state the back of his hand and refers vaguely to “violent extremists” rather than specifically to the Muslim zealots who gleefully kill Jews, Christians, and virtually anything that moves and is not militantly Islamic. (As demolished antiquities from Afghanistan to Mosul can attest, these fanatics even destroy inanimate objects.) A recent Gallup poll found that Jewish support for the Democratic party has fallen from 71 percent in 2008 to 61 percent in January. Pew Research indicates that 68 percent of Jews surveyed backed the Democrats in 2012, compared to 61 percent today.

Honestly, given Obama’s record, it’s amazing that the Democrats are in double-digit territory.

REMINDER: In 2009, Barack Obama “Joked” About Siccing The IRS On His Enemies.

SO, SORT OF A METAPHOR FOR THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY, THEN: Valet hits wrong pedal, destroys Ferrari 599 GTO.

TO BE FAIR, SO DID IRAN: Scott Walker bests Obama on Iran.

ADAM GARFINKLE: Politics As Bloodsport: The troubling remark everyone missed in Tom Friedman’s interview with President Obama—and some ruminations on the sad state of American political discourse.

Our public discourse, even over matters that used to be and still should be above partisan politics, has become increasingly less rational, less responsible, and less civil. For every veteran Bush-hater out there we have now an equal and opposite Obama-hater. Some personal experiences, if I may, to illustrate the point.

It has become embedded in “common knowledge” on the Left in the United States, and certainly abroad, that the Bush Administration generally, and Colin Powell in particular in his February 2003 speech to the UN Security Council, knowingly lied about weapons of mass destruction stockpiles in Iraq. It is simply beyond discussion that Administration principals actually worried about that subject; it was all allegedly mere pretext. I have even had people look me in the eye and declare that there is no difference, morally or otherwise, between knowingly lying and simply being mistaken about some point of fact. Such is the underwhelming capacity for moral logic among true Bush haters.

Obama haters are equally certain that the President actually despises his own country and its history, and a certain subset of haters is as certain that he hates Israel and Jews and has conspired from the start to do irreparable harm to Israeli security and well-being. Thus all that the President said about Israel in the Friedman interview, and by implication his explicit acknowledgement of the anti-Semitism of the Iranian leadership, has to be out and out duplicitous to such haters. He is indeed lying through his teeth, they are sure.

Hmm.

DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES UPSET AT INSUFFICIENT KOWTOWING: Media pile on Rand Paul after aggressive response to NBC’s Savannah Guthrie.

They’re your enemies. Treat ‘em like Obama treats Fox News. And you have to laugh at this: “Rand Paul thinks he knows how to be a journalist better than you do.”

Here’s a hint: He does. Because it’s not that hard to be a better journalist than Savannah Guthrie, and most of her peers. The truth is, they’re not very good at what they do, but so long as they function as Democratic operatives with bylines, they don’t have to be. And that’s the real problem.

UPDATE: Republican strategists — and FOX producers — should probably click through and read the comments here. . . .

IT’S LOOKING INCREASINGLY AS IF NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN MIGHT REPRESENT A BEST-CASE SCENARIO: “Let us hope that Mr. Obama does not become the Neville Chamberlain of our time.”

AUSTIN BAY: Obama’s Iran Understanding: The Verifiable Facts. “Obama’s “historic understanding” has the sad woof and warp of so many of his administration’s domestic and international policy efforts: glowing, inspirational, dramatic rhetoric disguising episodic, hodge-podge, ill-considered, poorly planned and often hastily organized operations. . . . Obama has an enormous trust problem; the man does not keep his word. But his obedient, word-mongering national media corps consistently fails to call him on this grand malfeasance. So what can be verified regarding Iran? Here is a verifiable fact: Iran already possesses long-range ballistic missiles.”

WELL, THERE’S ALWAYS WOODROW WILSON: Cheney calls Obama ‘worst president’ on foreign policy. But we’ve had the chance to observe most of the fallout from Wilson’s debacles. Obama’s is still unfolding. But Cheney goes on: “I vacillate between the various theories I’ve heard, but you know, if you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on our allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing.”

Ouch. Also, pretty much true.

NOT EVERYONE IS AS HAPPY TO BE LIED TO AS THE WASHINGTON PRESS CORPS: Federal judge slams Obama lawyers in immigration case. “A federal judge has issued a scathing rebuke to lawyers for the Obama administration in a case involving the president’s unilateral immigration action. In an order issued Tuesday night, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who had put a temporary hold on the action, not only refused to lift the hold — he also came very near to accusing administration lawyers of flat-out lying to him.”

THE HILL: Senate Dems waver on Iran bill.

The White House is trying to bottle up bipartisan legislation that would give Congress 60 days to review a final Iran nuclear deal.

The pushback may be having an effect — Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, is now undecided about the legislation after Republicans had touted him as a supporter.

Coons is worried Republicans might use the bill as a political weapon, something the White House has warned about.

“He’s reviewing and making a decision on how he’ll vote next week. He is focused on creating a responsible structure for congressional oversight. He is concerned about the bill becoming a partisan vehicle,” said Sean Coit, Coons’s spokesman.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, another Democrat floated as a likely vote to override a veto of the Corker-Menendez bill, softened his stance on Tuesday. A spokesman said it’s “TBD” if Warner will vote for the bill or support a veto override.

“Let’s first see what happens during [the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s] markup next week,” the aide said.

Claiming Coons and Warner as likely allies, the supporters of the Iran legislation believe they have 66 votes, one short of the threshold needed to override a veto from President Obama.

With the bill close to a tipping point, the White House is leaning on Democrats to withhold support.

Well, I’m sure the Menendez indictment sent a signal.

HOW THEY THINK IN THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: Laurence Tribe considered “a traitor” for advocacy in climate change case.

ROLL CALL: Democrats File Court Brief Backing Obama Immigration Orders.

A group of 181 Democratic members of the House weighed in on the legal fight over immigration on Monday, telling an appeals court that the executive branch has the authority to make the policy changes that President Barack Obama announced in November.

In an amicus brief, the lawmakers said the enforcement of immigration laws and the deferral of certain deportations are squarely within the discretion of the president — a central part of the legal dispute now at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. The brief adds that the White House is often better positioned than Congress to determine how to adjust to laws like immigration.

Remember their names.

ROGER SIMON: Munich, Anyone? Obama’s Iran Agreement in Translation.

FUNNY, THE POLITICAL CLASS SEEMS TO FEEL VERY MUCH THE OTHER WAY: Poll: Yes to more aggressive deportations, no to welfare, citizenship for kids of illegals. “Despite President Obama’s efforts to cool the nation’s views on illegal immigrants storming over the U.S.-Mexico border, Americans have reached a new level of anger over the issue, with most demanding a more aggressive deportation policy — and reversal of a law that grants citizenship to kids of illegals born in the U.S. A new Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday also finds Americans questioning spending tax dollars on government aid provided to illegal immigrants. A huge 83 percent said that anybody should be required to prove that they are ‘legally allowed’ to be in the country before receiving local, state or federal government services.”

TWEET OF THE DAY: We still know more about a rape that never happened at UVA than Obama’s college years.

NOT EXACTLY A SHOCKER: Fraternity pursuing legal action against Rolling Stone. “The fraternity at the center of a now-discredited Rolling Stone rape article says the story was defamatory and reckless and they are pursuing legal action against the magazine. Phi Kappa Psi said Monday in a statement that the article was viewed by millions, led to members being ostracized and there was vandalism of the fraternity house. The fraternity’s statement came as the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism released a report, saying the magazine’s shortcomings ‘encompassed reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking.’”

But note the pro-Obama spin from the AP at the end: “Nonetheless, the article heightened scrutiny of campus sexual assaults amid a campaign by President Barack Obama. The University of Virginia had already been on the Department of Education’s list of 55 colleges under investigation for their handling of sex assault violations.”

Note that the CJR report shows that “activist” Emily Renda, who served at both the White House and the UVA President’s office, was the instigator here. Instead of giving this the “nonetheless” treatment, how about asking some tough questions? You know, journalism?

AT LEAST THEY WEREN’T INVESTIGATING SCOTT WALKER’S SWEATER PURCHASES: Fact-Checking The Fact Checkers: Politico Stumbles In Its Super-Sleuthing. It’s like they’re still trying to protect Jonathan Gruber.

CONSEQUENCES ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: No firings at Rolling Stone over flawed story, ‘A Rape on Campus.’ By “flawed,” they mean “false and dishonest.” Hey, it’s not like anyone criticized the Obama girls’ outfits.

ARCHIBISHOP OF CANTERBURY SPEAKS ON PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS: I like the part about resisting persecution, but the “without violence” bit is a pipe dream.

Meanwhile, British political leaders speak out. Did Obama say anything today? Did I miss it?

REJECTED: European leaders never thought they’d miss George W. Bush.

Recent headlines chronicling the breakdown in U.S.-Israeli affairs and the personal loathing between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have overshadowed the continuing ructions in Washington’s relations with its traditional allies in Europe.

Josh Rogin at Bloomberg View has reported that Mr. Obama delivered what can only be regarded as an extraordinary slight to Jens Stoltenberg, who became the head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization six months ago. Obama is one of the few Western leaders who has not yet met with Stoltenberg and in fact deliberately passed up an opportunity to see him last week when Stoltenberg was in Washington. Rogin noted that the NATO chief was finally able to secure a last-minute meeting with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, but that Stoltenberg requested a meeting with Obama well in advance of the visit but never heard back from the White House.

The upshot is that Obama missed a good opportunity to demonstrate NATO solidarity in the face of Moscow’s on-going depredations against Ukraine. As Rogin concluded, “the message Russian President Vladimir Putin will take away is that the White House-NATO relationship is rocky, and he will be right.” Moreover, given that Stoltenberg is a two-time prime minister of Norway, a meeting would have sent a useful message to Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Denmark that are facing increased Russian provocations (here, here and here).

Mr. Obama’s disinterest in America’s European allies is a long-standing story, however. In September 2009, as part of his “reset” of relations with Moscow, he abruptly shelved plans to deploy ballistic missile defenses in eastern Europe that Poland and the Czech Republic had signed on to at considerable political risk. As a Washington Post assessment notes, administration officials “failed to give a heads-up to the Poles and the Czechs, making it appear like a diplomatic snub at their expense.” Characterizing the U.S. consultation process, a senior national security official in Warsaw lamented that “we heard through the media.”

Obama then skipped out on a November 2009 meeting with European Union leaders at the White House, conspicuously assigning the hosting duties to Vice President Joe Biden. Reports (examples here, here and here) were soon circulating that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy – the latter being the most pro-American leader in Paris in decades – felt they were being ignored.

Well. . . .

bush-miss-me-yet

European leaders, with few exceptions, quite deliberately undermined Bush and promoted Obama. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

IT’S BEEN “SWOONING” ALL ALONG. THEY JUST KEEP PROPPING IT UP. IT’S THE WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S ECONOMY: Obama economy swoons again.

In an ominous sign for the U.S. economy, one of the few bright spots in early 2015 was revised away in Friday’s jobs report.

Now, signs point to a risk of commerce slowing and growth stagnating throughout the year, a year that President Obama and others hoped would be the long-awaited breakout for the still-damaged U.S. economy.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. added only 126,000 jobs in March, the fewest in 15 months. Even worse, it marked down its estimates for the past two months, meaning that job gains averaged less than 200,000 for the first three months of the year — well below the relatively strong 260,000 rate for 2014 and close to the average for 2013.

Friday’s report brought the jobs numbers into alignment with a number of other disappointing or outright negative economic data points from recent weeks, including falling retail sales, slowing manufacturing activity and weak industrial production.

“Bad luck.”

BUT IF YOU ASK ABOUT OBAMA’S COLLEGE TRANSCRIPTS, YOU’RE RACIST: PolitFact fact-checks Scott Walker’s claim that he bought a sweater for $1 at Kohl’s.

WELL, OF COURSE SHE WOULD BE: Thatcher Expert: The Iron Lady Would Be ‘Appalled’ By Obama. And so is anyone who is paying attention today.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Obama’s Justice Department Charges Menendez … But Not Reid.

“BAD LUCK:” Politico: Cloudy economy rains on Barack Obama’s parade. As the president touts improvement, jobs growth suddenly turns sluggish. “The disappointing March jobs report, which also showed the size of the labor force shrinking, suggests that Obama’s fears of a stalling economy may already be coming true. And that’s an issue not just for a lame duck incumbent looking to juice weak approval numbers. It could also seriously complicate matters for Obama’s would-be successor, Hillary Clinton, who could wind up squaring off against a GOP opponent promising — fairly or not —an end to the desultory growth rates of the Obama years.”

In truth, job growth has been lousy since he took office, and that’s been largely because of lousy policies. So it would hardly be “unfair” to promise change with different policies.

CHANGE: Taking Obama’s signal, Democrats turn on Israel, now see Mexico as a better ally.

WELL, AT LEAST IT WASN’T SOMEONE WITH A HEART ATTACK: Baby born along I-65 during presidential visit gridlock.

A baby boy was born along Interstate 65 North during the closure for President Barack Obama’s visit Thursday.

According to MetroSafe, the call came in to dispatch at 5:13 p.m.

The mother was stuck in traffic on Interstate 65 North at Fern Valley Road.

Traffic in the area was at a standstill at the time to allow the president’s motorcade to travel from the airport to downtown Louisville.

A nurse who was also stuck in traffic helped the mother through the delivery with the assistance of dispatchers.

Everything came out all right.

WASHINGTON POST: Obama’s Iran Deal Falls Well Short Of His Own Goals.