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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Obama’s War On White House Women: We’d be closer to pay equity if Democrats would stop cheating their own female staffers. “If I were the GOP, I’d start running attack ads in these legislators’ home states, quoting President Obama and asking why these Democrats hate women. It just might work — and it would certainly drive home a useful lesson about bogus statistics. Which President Obama — who is now even attacking unequal dry cleaning bills — could use.”

HEADLINES FOR THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: Marc Ambinder: If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?

Well, the ground he’s treading has been treaded on by me before. See also this video.

But isn’t it funny that this is happening under a President who recently mocked Mitt Romney for a 1980s approach?

FRUITS OF THE #DROPDROPBOX CAMPAIGN: UC Irvine Should Immediately Rescind Its Invitation to 2014 Commencement Speaker (and War Criminal) Barack Obama. “Unmanned drone strikes have increased rapidly under the Obama administration, killing at least 2,400 people over the last five years. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that as many as 951 civilians, including 200 children, have been killed by Obama drone strikes in Pakistan alone. Obama has authorized the assassination of multiple U.S. citizens via drone strike.”

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Obama’s War On White House Women: We’d be closer to pay equity if Democrats would stop cheating their own female staffers. “If I were the GOP, I’d start running attack ads in these legislators’ home states, quoting President Obama and asking why these Democrats hate women. It just might work — and it would certainly drive home a useful lesson about bogus statistics. Which President Obama — who is now even attacking unequal dry cleaning bills — could use.”

JAMES TARANTO: Meet the New Boss: Sebelius steps down, and ObamaCare supporters pretend to rejoice.

We observed in October that a new HHS nominee’s confirmation hearings would subject ObamaCare to political scrutiny, which Democrats were understandably anxious to avoid. That’s still true. “There are going to be some troublemakers who use the confirmation of the next person charged with overseeing Obamacare to raise hell, much as they did last fall, about the law,” writes Scott.

The way we’d have put it is that critics will use the hearings to raise questions about ObamaCare. To stigmatize opposition lawmakers as “troublemakers” raising “hell” is reminiscent of the old Soviet Union, where dissent was labeled “hooliganism,” a term that has come back into vogue in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Meanwhile, Ezra Klein hails the success of the Five Year Plan: “Obamacare has won. And that’s why Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius can resign.” If Sebelius had quit during what Klein calls the “catastrophic launch”–see what we mean?–it would have been a sign of White House “panic” and “made it harder to save the law,” Klein argues.

It’s surely true that the immediate political risk of Sebelius’s resignation is considerably less now than it would have been then. In October it might have emboldened vulnerable Senate Democrats to abandon ObamaCare or at least press for serious legislative fixes. It’s late for that now. By maintaining party unity this long, Obama probably bought enough time to assure that Congress won’t threaten what is invariably called his “signature legislative achievement” this year.

Can blotting your copybook count as a “signature?”

A TAX DAY REMINDER: In 2009, Barack Obama “Joked” About Auditing His Enemies.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Obama’s War On White House Women: We’d be closer to pay equity if Democrats would stop cheating their own female staffers. “If I were the GOP, I’d start running attack ads in these legislators’ home states, quoting President Obama and asking why these Democrats hate women. It just might work — and it would certainly drive home a useful lesson about bogus statistics. Which President Obama — who is now even attacking unequal dry cleaning bills — could use.”

BATTLESPACE PREP: Don’t Worry About Hillary’s Health — She’s Got A Great Doctor!

There’s even a bit of subtle Obama-distancing: “As close as he is to Mrs. Clinton, Dr. Hyman has not collaborated with the current first lady. He said Michelle Obama has been overly influenced by the food industry on her ‘Let’s Move!’ initiative to combat childhood obesity.”

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: How Obama’s Justice Department Selectively Blocks Mergers By Republican CEOs.

HOPEY-CHANGEY: Sharyl Attkisson: “Chilling effect” from Obama administration on journalists. “Attkisson told Kurtz that political considerations were at play, but the bigger issue is the ‘chilling effect’ of the Obama administration on journalists, but also ‘corporate interest’ pressure as well, which don’t tend to balance themselves out but add together. Kurtz wondered aloud whether her growing reputation as a ‘conservative’ journalist wasn’t an attempt to discredit Attkisson, and she agrees. When she went after the Bush administration, Attkisson noted, no one was calling her a ‘progressive’ journalist — and her CBS bosses were delighted to run those stories.”

The political/corporate synergy of the Obama Administration is its greatest danger, and doesn’t get enough attention for precisely that reason.

WE MIGHT AS WELL REPEAL THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND GO TO A SPOILS SYSTEM; THEY’VE BEEN POLITICIZED ALREADY: Complaint suggests HUD may have inappropriately promoted Obamacare. “Political priorities do not authorize agencies or the White House to violate appropriations law by taking agencies off of their congressionally mandated tasks.”

NO. NEXT QUESTION? The Hill: Is Obama Enforcing The Law?

Republicans are ratcheting up accusations that President Obama is playing fast and loose with enforcing federal statutes.

On issues ranging from marijuana legalization and criminal sentencing to healthcare and immigration, the president’s lieutenants have taken actions that critics say violate his constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

The administration has sought to deflect the criticism, claiming not only that the president has acted within his power, but that an obstructive Congress has left him no other choice.

In testimony Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Obama’s top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Eric Holder, claimed “a vast amount” of prosecutorial discretion in how the Justice Department enforces federal laws.

“I do think that the policy pronouncements that I’ve made in the recent months are consistent with the law and also are consistent with good law enforcement,” Holder said.

The remarks drew fresh criticism from those who say it reveals a flawed legal view that has served as the basis for executive overstep.

“The testimony reflected the near absolute view the administration has toward its powers,” said Jonathan Turley, a liberal-minded George Washington University law professor who said he voted for Obama and generally agrees with administration’s policy positions.

“I do not agree that prosecutorial discretion supports the full range of unilateral actions that the administration has taken in these areas,” Turley said.

In Congress, a growing chorus of GOP lawmakers charge the administration with creating federal policy via memo, blowing statutory deadlines and even showing a willingness to ignore laws entirely.

If he were a Republican, the press would be screaming for impeachment. And he’s acting badly enough that, even though he’s a black Democrat, they’re beginning to take some small notice.

SALENA ZITO: Dems’ Latest False Wedge Issue.

Barack Obama has divided this country since the beginning of his presidency. He has not been transformative; instead, he has indulged one special-interest group after another — women in this case, but also blacks, young people, the lesbian-gay-transgender community and Hispanics in earlier instances.

He has governed by sliced-and-diced division, fear, secrecy and resentment, all accented with toothless executive orders used as political weapons.

This is definitely not the transparent and compassionate administration that he promised.

Maybe this is what happens when you over-promise, or maybe this is who Barack Obama is.

Well, there’s not much evidence to the contrary.

DIVORCE, BELTWAY STYLE: The Democratic breakup that exposes Washington’s rotten core.

The documents, which you can read below, did not become available to the rest of us until yesterday. They tell stories not only of a May-December romance gone sour, but of how obscene wealth can be amassed through rent-seeking and influence-peddling in Washington D.C., and of the hoary means by which the princelings of the capital and their consorts maintain and grow that wealth. They tell stories not only of an ugly divorce, but of the power of lobbying, of how one family maneuvered to the center of the nation’s dominant political party, of the transactional relationships, gargantuan self-regard, and empty posturing that insulates, asbestos-like, the D.C. bubble.

That the broken couple now uses the tools of their trade—the phone-call to a friend, the selective leaking of documents, the hiring of attorneys, the launch of a public-relations campaign—against one another is more than ironic. It is fitting. Tony and Heather Podesta reached the pinnacle of wealth and influence in Barack Obama’s Washington. Now they, like he, are in eclipse. . . .

Corporations give to Democratic politicians, avoiding the scrutiny of liberal attack dogs in the media and nonprofit sectors, and enjoying the ego boost that comes with being on the “right side of history.” Then those corporations hire the Podestas to get them out of the Rube Goldberg traps the Democrats have enacted into law. John’s innovation was to establish a corporate-funded think tank where the burdensome policies would be concocted, and whose staff would go on to man the regulatory agencies that put their wool-headed ideas into practice. And to whom do the corporations turn when they find themselves on the receiving end of all this uplift, all this do-goodery, all this progress, hope, and change? Why, to the man in the red Prada loafers, and to his flamboyantly patterned wife.

Read the whole thing.

THE NEGATIVE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING.

“We’re far more inclined to embrace positive information about our own investments than negative information. We often turn that off,” says Tali Sharot, author of “The Optimism Bias: A Tour of Our Irrationally Positive Brain.”

What if the “power of positive thinking” is simply a numbing drumbeat that reinforces the positivity delusion, leading us to make blockheaded business and investment decisions?

So, kind of like the media coverage of the Obama Administration. Plus, a shocking phrase to read in the WaPo: “Old-style American Calvinism, while not a load of laughs, has a lot to do with American wealth and development.”

HANS VAN SPAKOVSKY: For Attorney General Eric Holder, Justice is for Democrats only.

A veteran Justice Department lawyer says that Attorney General Eric Holder has politicized the department in a way he hadn’t seen before. In short, “Holder is the worst person to hold the position of attorney general since the disgraced John Mitchell.”

Now in his sixth year as attorney general, Holder has increasingly tilted the department in an ideological direction. It’s one thing to emphasize President Obama’s legal priorities. It’s quite another to decide not to enforce certain federal laws — such as the ban on marijuana — or urge state attorney generals to refuse to defend local laws on same-sex marriage. Legal changes are achieved through legislation, not through a sudden whim not to enforce them. No other attorney general has acted in this manner.

Holder clearly believes he has the inherent power to politicize his department. When House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte asked him last week whether he believed there were any limits to the administration’s prosecutorial discretion. “There is a vast amount of discretion that a president has — and more specifically that an attorney general has,” Holder responded.

But courts have frequently disagreed with Holder’s interpretations of the law.

Yes, and if the right had the lawfare/legal infrastructure that the left does, that would happen more often. It’s a major lack. Donors and policy entrepreneurs take note.

OF COURSE IT DOES. ALL WORKABLE ALTERNATIVES MUST BE DESTROYED: ObamaCare Threatens The Promise Of Concierge Medicine.

CHECK OUT PRESIDENT OBAMA’S EXPRESSION as he gives Kathleen Sebelius a goodbye hug.

YEAH, WELL, CONSIDERING WHO WE ELECTED AS HER BOSS, MAYBE NOT: Nick Gillespie: We Deserved Better Than Kathleen Sebelius.

Her widely acknowledged incompetence in overseeing the implementation of a major new program is one of the reasons why record numbers of Americans think the government has too much power and have low and declining levels of trust in government to do the right thing. Whether you’re liberal, conservative, or libertarian, that’s not a good thing.

Last fall, when Healthcare.gov went live and crashed again and again, Sebelius’s response was not to take responsibility or explain why the job was botched so badly but to plead for slack from customers. “Hopefully [website users will] give us the same slack they give Apple…. If there’s not quite the operational excellence right away, we’ll continue to press for that,” she told the press. “Apple, you know, has a few more resources than we have to roll out technology, and a few more people who’ve been working on the system for a while, and no one is calling on Apple to not sell devices for a year or to, you know, get out of the business because the whole thing is a failure.”

That reaction helped to explain why HHS botched the job so badly to begin with. The government spent upwards of $677 million on the design and implementation of Healthcare.gov, so Sebelius’s claim wasn’t just misleading but strikingly out of touch with reality. The fact is that if Apple put out rotten products year after year without changing things, they would be out of business, as the rotting hulks of once-giant bankrupted companies can attest. That President Obama parroted the same line didn’t help matters.

No, but it was entirely predictable. And the difference is that we’re free to choose other products if Apple screws up. We have no similar choice regarding governments.

Related: ‘Scared Senate Democrats Demanded Sebelius’ Head.’

AS I’VE NOTED BEFORE, lately the Dems seem extremely concerned about holding their base together. Christian Adams: Obama Lies about Voter Fraud and DOJ Investigations Before Paranoid Audience.

WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING? Vermont’s Single-Payer Dream Is Taxpayer Nightmare. “This should be instructive for those who hope — or fear — that Obamacare has all been an elaborate preliminary to a nationwide single-payer system. It isn’t. The politics are impossible, and even if they weren’t, the financing would be unthinkable.”

DO TELL: ‘A New Level of Secrecy and Control’: Jill Abramson on the Obama White House. Lots of unfavorable comparisons to Nixon.

JUST AS ALL CRITICISM OF BARACK OBAMA HAS TO BE RACIST, ALL CRITICISM OF HILLARY WILL BE DEEMED SEXIST: Media Matters writer cries sexism over column critical of Hillary Clinton. That’s how you have to play it, when your candidate can’t withstand normal criticism.

WELL, WOULDN’T YOU? Kerry Pouts. “In a real sense the world view of the left — our enemies are just confused future friends who need to be told how their interests can really align with ours — is coming apart at the seams. The irony is that the Obama officials have fancied themselves as ‘realists.’”

ANOTHER #WARONWOMEN CRISIS FOR OBAMA TO ADDRESS: Does Facebook Make Women Feel Bad About Their Bodies? I blame the Republicans. And the Koch Brothers!

MORE OF THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY,” I GUESS: Top U.S. Diplomats Planted Anti-Israel Stories In Lead-Up To Peace Talk Collapse. Gee, I wonder why Israel doesn’t trust the Obama Administration’s guarantees?

OBAMA’S LATEST #WARONWOMEN FRONT: Dry Cleaning Bills. While Obama focuses on these important issues, the weakling Putin is consigned to devouring Ukraine.

SHE WILL NOT BE MISSED: Kathleen Sebelius Resigns After ObamaCare Debacle.

ANDREW KLAVAN: ObamaCare: Lies, Or Crap? A perfect capstone to Sebelius’s tenure.

IT’S ALWAYS A DOUBLE STANDARD WITH THESE PEOPLE: White House of selfie-loving Obama now frowns on others’ selfies.

LIFE IN OBAMA’S POST-RACIAL AMERICA: Video: Illinois Democrat dismisses GOP colleague as “half” a black person.

OUR POLITICIZED, WEAPONIZED BUREAUCRACY: Key Lawyer in DOJ Office Charging Dinesh D’Souza is Obama Campaign Donor. “David Kennedy is the designated District Election Officer in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York. According to Federal Election Commission records, Kennedy is also a campaign contributor to Barack Obama as well as to John Kerry. Kennedy has also contributed to state campaigns, including New York Democrat Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. . . . Not only is DEO Kennedy a Obama campaign contributor, he also has a reputation as a proud and vocal liberal, not afraid to boast about his ideological worldview.”

A PARTISAN POLITICAL OPERATION, WHOSE POWER TO TAX IS THE POWER TO DESTROY: The Hill: Watchdog finds IRS employees promoted Obama in 2012. “Internal Revenue Service employees encouraged taxpayers to vote for President Obama during his 2012 reelection campaign and disparaged Republicans, a federal ethics watchdog said Wednesday.”

JAMES TARANTO: ObamaCare’s Missing 3.2 Million: A mixed verdict from the Rand Corp.

The Rand study suggests that ObamaCare’s greatest incentive effect–a function of both the mandate tax and the unattractiveness of individual plans–is to nudge employees to opt in to workplace plans. As for the incentives on employers, they go in both directions. But the law’s main disincentive for ESI–the so-called Cadillac tax on expensive plans–doesn’t take effect until 2018.

As for the individual marketplace, its viability is questionable even if the administration’s overall enrollment figures turn out not to be wildly inflated. Because of price controls–a k a the ban on considering “pre-existing conditions” and limits on accounting for age in setting premiums–the exchanges depend on enrolling a substantial proportion of young, healthy people paying inflated premiums.

Preliminary data showed early enrollments skewing much older than the administration had hoped. And while no data are collected on enrollees’ health status, a new study shows, as the New York Times reports, that “people who signed up early for insurance through the new marketplaces were more likely to be prescribed drugs to treat pain, depression and H.I.V.”

Not a good demographic to insure.

OUCH: Two New Studies Raise Red Flags On ObamaCare. “Before we get to these studies, though, we should recognize why we need outside organizations to validate White House claims in the first place. The Department of Health and Human Services still has no way to quantify important data about those consumers signing up for health insurance through state and federal exchanges. More than six months after the initial rollout of Obamacare — and four years after the ACA’s passage — the systems designed by HHS still cannot determine basic and critical information about enrollments such as whether a premium payment has been made. Without a premium payment, a sign-up in the web portal does not mean coverage has been extended.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Yes, the Obama SEC was colluding with banks on CDO prosecutions. “Now that this information is public, the SEC should apologize to all of us for its behavior, and promise not to collude with Wall Street again.” Er, at the very least.

SHOCKER: More Puzzling Obamacare Numbers.

In fact, we know that at least one midpoint is quite far from the truth, because there is no way to reconcile the 3.9 million people it says bought exchange policies with the Barack Obama administration’s official data showing that 7.3 million had selected exchange plans by the end of March. Even if we factor in the three days the survey missed — which saw a titanic surge in enrollments — and even if we assume that only 80 percent of the people who selected a plan have actually paid for it, 3.9 million is too small. Well before data collection ended, the administration had already announced that plan signups had hit 6 million. Even with attrition of 20 percent, that should still have yielded 4.8 million marketplace policies in the RAND study. And indeed, 4.8 million is within its margin of error, though at the very high end.

My working hypothesis is that the White House is lying. Because, you know, of experience.

ASHE SCHOW: Democrats Are Losing Ground In The War On Women.

It appears Democrat attempts to use Equal Pay Day as an opportunity to knock Republicans as waging a “war on women” totally fell flat.

For years, President Obama and Democrats have been trotting out the “77 cent” figure to claim that women earn less than men, even in the 21st century. And any conservatives who pointed out that the figure was highly misleading were called anti-women or liars.

But it turns out that much of the media didn’t buy into the Left’s claims. Because, as you might expect, the “77 cent” figure is, in fact, misleading. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker gave Obama two Pinocchios for the claim. For years, the Post had given Obama one Pinocchio for the statistic, but since Obama refuses to stop using the number, a second Pinocchio was awarded. The Post considered giving three Pinocchios.

The bigger problem for Obama and Democrats, as the Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson pointed out, is that the White House couldn’t escape reports that women were paid less in the West Wing.

Using the same average, across-the-board accounting used to arrive at the 77 cent figure, women in Obama’s White House make 88 cents to the dollar that men make. And while White House press secretary thinks that’s fine because it’s higher than the national average. But it’s less than the D.C. average.

CBS and CNN also pointed out the White House wage-gap hypocrisy.

The White House further shot itself in the foot by releasing an infographic about the wage gap that featured two cartoon women dressed straight out of “Mad Men.”

Jay Carney’s no Don Draper.

POLITICAL OPERATIVES: Dallas IRS Office Plastered With Pro-Obama Stickers, Screensavers. “In another case, a worker at the tax agency’s customer help line urged taxpayers ‘to re-elect President Obama in 2012 by repeatedly reciting a chant based on the spelling of his last name,’ the Office of Special Counsel said in a statement. . . . Another IRS employee in Kentucky has agreed to serve a 14-day suspension for blasting Republicans in a conversation with a taxpayer. ‘They’re going to take women back 40 years,’ the IRS employee said in a conversation that was recorded. The employee also said that ‘if you vote for a Republican, the rich are going to get richer and the poor are going to get poorer.’”

#SEXISTOBAMA: Washington Post: Is This What The White House Thinks Women Wear To Work?

THE REVENGE OF GEOPOLITICS: Is the Neo-Isolationist Moment Already Over?

As the domestic political debate over these crises heats up, we are seeing a classic American pattern in action. America’s success abroad breeds stupidity and hubris in U.S. foreign policy. This hubris and stupidity leads to bad choices and magical thinking. We begin to believe, for example, that the world can become safer and more democratic even as we scale back our involvement. These bad choices and bad ideas then lead to huge global challenges. Those challenges ultimately spark smarter, more purposeful American engagement, usually after we’ve tried a few unsuccessful gambits first. That engagement finally leads to American success, which leads back again to American stupidity and hubris. And so on.

Contrary to Jeffersonian legends, what drove increasing American engagement over the 20th century wasn’t the missionary itch of the Wilsonians, or corporatist, Hamiltonian plots to build spooky New World Orders to Bilderberger specifications. It was the reality that when Americans got foreign policy wrong or ignored the outside world, the consequences were so severe that we were continually forced back into the “game” of world politics. What Seib is gesturing to is the reappearance of this reality. A mix of poor foreign policy choices—under President Bush as well as President Obama—added to the consequences of a tentative American pivot away from global engagement have led to a sharp deterioration in the world situation. Accordingly there will be more momentum behind broader U.S. international involvement as global security continues to get worse.

Things have only begun to unravel, and there’s no evidence that the Obama/Kerry/Powers team is up to the problems.

SCOTT JOHNSON: Obama’s War On Science And Gullible Women. “Obama knows his line is a fallacy, yet he can’t resist. It is useful to him. It helps him take advantage of women who don’t know better for his own narrow partisan political purposes.”

WAPO FACT CHECKER SAYS WHITE HOUSE PAY IS MORE UNEQUAL THAN AVERAGE FOR WASHINGTON, DC: “Carney noted that the White House wage gap was narrower than the national average, but the White House actually lags the District average calculated by the BLS: 95 cents.”

THE OBAMA ERA JUST GETS WORSE: Brace yourself: The bacon shortage is coming.

Just in case, I’m stocking up!

RICHARD FERNANDEZ ON THE ANTI-TECH PROTESTS AND THE CULTURE THEY REPRESENT: Vanishing Point.

Oddly enough people reach the pinnacle of society these days being activists, polemicists, digital figures, gurus, tech evangelists, civil rights leaders, First Ladies and talk show hosts. So you have to sympathize with the Occupy People who think that, having tried to do all that, they ought to be somebodies.

Welcome to the world of forced perspective; where Eich can get pilloried for voting the wrong way on Proposition 8 and Kevin Rose can get picketed for being able to buy stuff from the people who are picketing him. It lifts the lid on a strange world. A place where Vladimir Putin, al-Qaeda, and or asteroids from space don’t exist except as things that George Bush should have taken care of; it gives a glimpse into a universe where gas drilling is just a bad word and the armed forces a job where crazy people earn a living whenever they’re not driving pickup trucks; it provides a peek into a tableau where people actually think food comes from the store and gas comes from the gas pump and money to house everyone in the woods will come from Google’s $3 billion in spare change.

Brother can you spare a tera-dime?

And yet for some reason the glimpse is not reassuring. One could just turn the page and dismiss these as scenes from a freak show, except in the characters in this exhibition are on the stage of an industry with the power of life or death over our privacy; except for the vague fear that this is how America wandered into the Obama era in the first place.

Indeed. When the societal immune system is weakened, all sorts of opportunistic infections can appear.

LOOK FOR CANCER, AND FIND IT. All this new skepticism about testing and early detection may be right, but I’m a bit suspicious that the entire medical establishment did an about-face on the subject the instant ObamaCare passed.

HEH: White House Says Wage Gender Gap Stats Are Misleading…When Applied to the White House. “It’s good that Carney acknowledges this as far as the White House is concerned, because the Obama administration and many others are quick to gloss over nuance like this when talking about the wage gap in general. We frequently hear that American women make only 77 cents for every dollar men make, but this is based on data that fails to account for women’s work histories and life choices. It aggregates the earnings of women in all positions and compares this average against the earnings of all men.”

GALLUP: ObamaCare’s Net Impact: Roughly 3.6 million more uninsured since Bush administration.

MICHELLE FIELDS INTERVIEWS ROGER SIMON: Silence of the Liberals: Obama’s Failures Are Making Liberals Very Nervous.

JAMES TARANTO: ‘Shut Up’ Is No Argument: The illiberal left lacks confidence in its ideas.

“The debate over repealing this law is over,” President Obama declared last Tuesday in reference to ObamaCare. April Fool! By the end of the week some of Obama’s most loyal media supporters were proving him wrong–by repeating his arguments.

“Is there any accountability in American politics for being completely wrong?” demanded the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne in his Thursday column. “Is there any cost to those who say things that turn out not to be true and then, when their fabrications or false predictions are exposed, calmly move on to concocting new claims as if they had never made the old ones?”

It won’t surprise you to learn that Dionne did not demand accountability from Obama and the other politicians who sold ObamaCare on the fraudulent promise “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” Rather, he asserted that the administration’s claim of having “hit its original goal . . . of signing up more than 7 million people through its insurance exchanges” was a definitive refutation of any notion that ObamaCare is “doomed.”

What about insurance cancellations, narrow networks, high deductibles, blown deadlines, work disincentives, adverse selection and the law’s continuing political unpopularity? Dionne dispenses with all these problems in one sentence: “To be sure, the law could still face other problems, blah, blah, blah.”

The next day it was former Enron adviser Paul Krugman’s turn.

He’s well practiced at telling people to shut up.

Related: Joel Kotkin: The spread of ‘debate is over’ syndrome: On climate and other issues, many in academia, media, government insist their viewpoint is unassailable and won’t tolerate dissent. They’re insecure about their ability to persuade, but more confident of their ability to coerce.

FUNNY, I DIDN’T KNOW BREITBART WAS PART OF THE GOP: Dems blast Breitbart over Pelosi image. Two points: (1) Did doing this kind of stuff to Palin or Bush hurt the Dems? As Obama reminds us, he won. (2) I saw a lot of pearl-clutching on Twitter on the ground that this image “demeans a woman.” And I agree that portraying Miley Cyrus as Nancy Pelosi is demeaning to Miley Cyrus. Breitbart California should apologize to Miley at once.

WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING? Gallup survey suggests sign-ups under ObamaCare not as high as White House says.

RICHARD SAMUELSON: The ObamaCare Penalty As Dhimmi Tax.

ADAM SHARP VISITS COMIC CON TO SEE IF everyone is signed up for ObamaCare. Lou Ferrigno is not amused.

I SAW THE HEADLINE AND THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO START PAYING WOMEN AT THE WHITE HOUSE THE SAME AS MEN. BUT NO. Obama moving again on equal pay.

WELL, TO BE FAIR, PEOPLE HAD TO “EVOLVE” OVER THE HITLER/STALIN PACT, TOO. AND THEN UNEVOLVE! “I do think it’s a bit ridiculous that there was a year when everyone was supposed to ‘evolve’ on the subject. Obama said he’d evolved, and so everyone was supposed to be evolved alongside him.”

CARL CANNON: Mr. President, I have news for you.

When a president campaigns for his sweeping new law while claiming repeatedly that it won’t impact those who already have health insurance—and this turns out to be utterly false—that is news.

When the same president repeatedly assures voters who already have insurance that they can keep their doctors—and wins re-election while stressing this fallacious claim—that is news.

When it turns out that the federal government, despite a three-year rollout, isn’t competent enough to provide the service it is making people purchase – yes, that is news. If it keeps happening in the future, sorry, Mr. President, that is news.

When the president states that 7.1 million Americans signed up via the government-run health care exchanges because of his own selfless efforts and those of his allies—but his administration claims it has no idea how many of those people enrolled because their private sector plans were canceled—that is news.

When respected third party organizations estimate that between two-thirds and three-fourths of those who bought the government plan did so because their previous plan was canceled due to the Affordable Care Act—that is also news.

Anecdotal evidence is cited by advocates on both sides of Obamacare, and when those anecdotes are true, they are certainly relevant to the conversation. So when the president relates the accounts of Americans who consider this law a godsend, that shouldn’t be taken lightly. But those testimonials flow both ways. Obama took no questions from the press in the Rose Garden, despite modern journalism being a two-way conversation. And one veteran White House correspondent, RealClearPolitics’ Alexis Simendinger, received a terse tweet in response to her story about the president’s event.

“Yet I’m one of those signups and I think the law is terrible,” it read. “Cancelled. Premium up. Deductible up. Lost access to doctor.”

And, yes, that is news, too.

Indeed it is.

I’D RATHER SEE NEITHER A BUSH NOR A CLINTON ON THE TICKET IN 2016. But since we’re talking about Jeb Bush, let me say that his only chance is if W’s presidency looks retrospectively like a golden age. From a jobs-and-income standpoint it already does, and as Obama piles up foreign policy debacle after foreign policy debacle, it may look like a golden age from that standpoint too. So he’s got that. . . .

MICHAEL BARONE: Millennials’ Path of Least Resistance:

Today the Millennials, write the Pew analysts, are “relatively unattached to organized politics and religion,” and significantly more unattached than the age cohorts (Generation Xers, Baby Boomers, Silent Generation) that came before.

Politically, 50 percent of Milennials classify themselves as Independents rather than Democrats or Republicans, compared to about 36 percent of their elders.

Millennials largely voted for Barack Obama — 66 percent in 2008 and 60 percent in 2012. But only 49 percent approve of his performance now, just a bit more than among Xers and Boomers. Only 34 percent of white Millennials rate Obama’s performance positively.

Most Millennials say they believe in God, but it’s a smaller majority than among older age groups, and only 36 percent say they see themselves as “a religious person,” versus nearly 60 percent of their elders. Some 29 percent of Millennials are religiously unaffiliated. They’re evidently moving away from their parents’ religion but not moving toward one of their own.

One reason may be that people tend to join churches when they marry and have children — and Millennials, so far, aren’t doing much of either. Only 26 percent of Millennials age 18 to 32 are married, far lower than other generations were at their age (Xers 36 percent, Boomers 48 percent, Silents 65 percent).

Millennials aren’t entirely rejecting parenthood, but 47 percent of births to Millennial women are outside of marriage. Even so, about 60 percent of Millennials, like their elders, say that having more children raised by a single parent is bad for society.

Unlike Tocqueville’s Americans, and unlike the generations just before them, Millennials seem to be avoiding marriage, church and political affiliation, and to lack a sense of social trust. Only 19 percent say that generally speaking most people can be trusted, compared to 31 percent to 40 percent among older generations.

This is in line with Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam’s thesis that social trust is declining in America.

So is that just sort of happening? Or are things being pushed in that direction?

YEAH, WELL, NOT SO MUCH, ACTUALLY: Glenn Beck: “Mitch McConnell Is As Big Of A Danger To This Country As Barack Obama Is.” Not a huge fan of McConnell, but this is (almost) of a piece with the NRSC stuff I was criticizing earlier. Maybe, at this point, the firing squad shouldn’t be formed in a circle? Just sayin’. . .

IN THE MAIL: From Joe R. Lansdale, Cold in July.

Also, today only: Up to 45% off top-rated Strategy Board Games. I forget who I saw tweeting it, but we’d be in better shape if Obama had spent some time playing Diplomacy — or even Risk — in his misspent youth.

JAMES TARANTO: Justice Thomas Was Right: Citizens United And The Defenestration of Brendan Eich.

Brendan Eich was struck by OkCupid’s arrow, but that doesn’t mean he’s in love.

As the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross noted the other day, OkCupid, a dating website, urged its users to boycott Mozilla’s Firefox browser on the ground that “Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples.” Eich’s offense was to donate $1,000 in 2008 to the campaign of California’s Proposition 8, a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that has since been nullified by federal courts. There has been no claim that Eich, an executive of Mozilla Corp. since its founding in 2005, discriminated against gay employees.

Ross had some fun with the hypocrisy of two of OkCupid’s co-founders, Sam Yagan and Christian Rudder. He searched the federal campaign-contribution database and found that Yagan gave to two candidates who opposed same-sex marriage: $500 to then-Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah, a Republican, in 2004; and $500 to then-Sen. Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Rudder donated $1,000 to Obama’s re-election effort, but that contribution came in September 2012, a few months after the president reversed his position. . . .

Eich’s support for Proposition 8 became public knowledge because of a California law requiring disclosure of personal information–name, address, occupation and employer’s name–of anybody who gives $100 or more to a campaign for or against a ballot initiative. The secretary of state’s office is required to post this information online, and, as HotAir.com’s “AllahPundit” notes, the Los Angeles Times made it available on its site as an easily searchable database.

So I guess it’s fair for people on the right to go after donors to lefty causes? Without mercy.

Related: Purge The 7 Million: The Purity of the Volk must be restored. “According to Wikipedia, 7,001,084 people voted for Prop 8. Why do any of those people still have jobs? Shouldn’t they all be forced to resign? And why should they have the privilege of living in California at all? I say round them up and move them someplace where they won’t do any harm.”

One reason why rich white guys like Eich are being targeted so viciously is that the many black churches who supported Proposition 8 — and, indeed, put it over the top — are out-of-bounds for criticism.

UPDATE: Uh oh: 60% of Intel employees who donated in Prop 8 debate supported banning gay marriage. “Exit question: When do we get a list of Silicon Valley donors to Obama’s campaign circa 2008, when he was still formally against [same-sex] marriage? True, he didn’t support Prop 8 or other attempts to legally ban SSM (a strong signal at the time that his stated view was a lie), but the whole point of the equal protection argument against traditional marriage laws is that you can’t reserve ‘marriage’ for straights without implicitly slapping a second-class-citizen stigma on gays. Obama was willing to do that, at least rhetorically. Let’s have the names.”

Purge them all!!!!!!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mozilla set a new company record today for online customer dissatisfaction.

The comments on their feedback page seem uniformly negative at the moment.

LIFE IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: ONE LAW FOR THE RICH, ANOTHER FOR THE REST. Beau Biden DEFENDS the judge who only gave a du Pont heir probation after admitting to sexually assaulting his three-year-old daughter. “Beau Biden has defended the judge who decided to let an heir to the du Pont family agree to a plea deal after being charged with sexually abusing his young daughter. Biden, the Vice President’s son who is in his second term as Delaware Attorney General, wrote a letter supporting Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden and her decision to allow Robert H. Richards IV to admit to fourth degree rape and register as a sex offender but not serve any time.”

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: The General Motors Scandal May Be Worse Than You Think: Does anyone believe the Obama administration took as hard a look at GM as it did Toyota?

In February 2010, the Obama administration’s transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, told America, without a shred of evidence, that Toyota automobiles were dangerous to drive. LaHood offered the remarks in front of the House subcommittee that was investigating reports of unintended-acceleration crashes. “My advice is, if anybody owns one of these vehicles, stop driving it,” he said, sending the company’s stock into a nose dive.

Even at the time, LaHood’s comments were reckless at best. Assailing the competition reeks of political opportunism and cronyism. It also illustrates one of the unavoidable predicaments of the state’s owning a corporation in a competitive marketplace. And when we put LaHood’s comment into perspective today, it’s actually a lot worse. The Obama administration not only had the power and ideological motive to damage the largely nonunionized competition but also was busy propping up a company that was causing preventable deaths.

Also propping up the UAW.

Before plowing billions of tax dollars into saving the United Automobile Workers, did the car czar or any other Obama officials take extra care to review DOT records to ensure that taxpayers would not be funding the preventable deaths of American citizens? Would DOT and Holder exhibit the same zealousness for safety with GM as they did when it came to Toyota?

In the midst of the bailout debate and subsequent “turnaround,” news of a cover-up and major recall would have been a political disaster.

So it’s difficult to understand why this isn’t a huge scandal. If every obtuse utterance by an obscure Republican congressman gets the media juices flowing, surely the possibility of this kind of negligence is worth a look. Can anyone with access to the administration ask some of these questions? Because if you take credit for “saving” a company (actually, an “industry,” as no one would have ever driven again if Obama hadn’t saved the day), you also get credit for “saving” the real-life unscrupulous version of the company.

“I placed my bet on the American worker,” Obama told union workers in 2012. “And I’ll make that bet any day of the week. And now, three years later, that bet is paying off.”

Betting $80 billion of someone else’s money to prop up sympathetic labor unions isn’t exactly fraught with political risk. Unless it turns out that your administration is less concerned about the safety defects of the company you own than it is about the company you dislike. That would be corruption.

And that’s what we’ve got.

I’D LIKE TO ASK STEVE RATTNER SOME QUESTIONS: The 4 Questions GM Needs to Answer About the Recall.

Related: What did the Treasury Dept. Know About GM’s Problems and When did they Know it? “Here’s the chart of GM’s stock for the last six months. Did the Treasury Department get lucky with it sales or is the government guilty of insider trading? Is GM guilty of securities fraud for not mentioning the switch defect in their IPO prospectus? Did the Treasury Department know about the switch defect and still let GM go public without the proper disclosures?” I’m not expecting much from Obama’s SEC, but I wonder if we could see private suits? If Obama were a Republican, such suits would be certain.

THIS SOUNDS PRETTY SHADY. AND THUS BELIEVABLE, WITH THIS CROWD. HHS “Started” Individual Obamacare Applications Prior To Deadline, Obtained Personal Info From States.

MARCO RUBIO: Let’s face it, Spanish-language TV is in the tank for ObamaCare. And the Democrats in general.

PEGGY NOONAN: A Catastrophe Like No Other: The president tries to put a good face on ObamaCare.

Support it or not, you cannot look at ObamaCare and call it anything but a huge, historic mess. It is also utterly unique in the annals of American lawmaking and government administration.

Its biggest proponent in Congress, the Democratic speaker of the House, literally said—blithely, mindlessly, but in a way forthcomingly—that we have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it. It is a cliché to note this. But really, Nancy Pelosi’s statement was a historic admission that she was fighting hard for something she herself didn’t understand, but she had every confidence regulators and bureaucratic interpreters would tell her in time what she’d done. This is how we make laws now.

Her comments alarmed congressional Republicans but inspired Democrats, who for the next three years would carry on like blithering idiots making believe they’d read the bill and understood its implications. They were later taken aback by complaints from their constituents. The White House, on the other hand, seems to have understood what the bill would do, and lied in a way so specific it showed they knew exactly what to spin and how. “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan, period.” “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period.” That of course was the president, misrepresenting the facts of his signature legislative effort. That was historic, too. If you liked your doctor, your plan, your network, your coverage, your deductible you could not keep it. Your existing policy had to pass muster with the administration, which would fight to the death to ensure that 60-year-old women have pediatric dental coverage.

ObamaCare is a debacle, wrapped in a catastrophe, shrouded in a disaster. And fathered by lies.

GLEICHSCHALTUNG! Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich forced to resign for supporting traditional marriage laws. To be clear, for holding, in 2009, the view of gay marriage that Barack Obama held, instead of the view that Dick Cheney held.

As someone who was publicly supporting gay marriage even before Dick Cheney, I find this degree of bullying and blacklisting repellent. I’m beginning to think that the only thing the left found wrong with the 1950s blacklists was that they were aimed at . . . the left. And so I find myself in agreement with Andrew Sullivan:

Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.

Yeah, pretty much. Disgraceful.

REASON/RUPE POLL: Right Track 30%, Wrong Track 60%. Obama Approve/Disapprove 43/51. Plus, people think that 70% of politicians use their power to help friends, hurt enemies. And 70% people think that abuse of power is worse than extramarital affairs or illegal drug use. Obamacare favorable/unfavorable is 36/53.

Plus, note this question:

Which of the following do you think is a more serious problem?

• Special interest groups spending private money on campaigns to elect the politicians they favor 30%

• Elected officials enacting policies and spending taxpayer money that benefit
the special interests they favor……….. 63%

Interesting. And 63% of respondents rate Obama about the same (32%) or worse than (31%) George W. Bush on foreign policy.

THE GOVERNMENT WANTS TO PROTECT YOU: Report: EPA tested deadly pollutants on humans to push Obama admin’s agenda.

The agency conducted tests on people with health issues and the elderly, exposing them to high levels of potentially lethal pollutants, without disclosing the risks of cancer and death, according to a newly released government report.

These experiments exposed people, including those with asthma and heart problems, to dangerously high levels of toxic pollutants, including diesel fumes, reads a EPA inspector general report obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The EPA also exposed people with health issues to levels of pollutants up to 50 times greater than the agency says is safe for humans. . . .

According to the IG’s report, “only one of five studies’ consent forms provided the subject with information on the upper range of the pollutant” they would be exposed to, but even more alarming is that only “two of five alerted study subjects to the risk of death for older individuals with cardiovascular disease.”

Three of the studies exposed people to high levels of PM and two of the studies exposed people to high levels of diesel exhaust and ozone. Diesel exhaust contains 40 toxic air contaminants, including 19 that are known carcinogens.

Related: EPA Conducted Pollution Experiments On Children.

In February of 2013, JunkScience.com reported that the EPA gave USC money in the mid 2000’s to find out whether diesel exhaust could “induce reproducible gene expression” in children. From a USC grant in the EPA extramural research grants database, the original December 14, 2012 document showed diesel exposures to children. What now sits on that database is a strongly edited description of the diesel tests on the children. Part of the the experiment’s goal was to examine how particulate matter affects “Asthma in Susceptible Children.”

Junk Science made a Freedom of Information Act request to the EPA to explain the deletion and alteration of its database of the documentation regarding diesel experiments on children. The EPA’s response to JunkScience was that the deletion was due to a technical mishap.

There seem to be a lot of those where questionable practices are concerned.

JAMES TARANTO: ‘The Debate . . . Is Over:’ Is it mission accomplished for ObamaCare?

“This is President Obama’s Mission Accomplished moment,” Sen. John Cornyn of Texas tells Time.com. “Jimmy Fallon Mocks ObamaCare’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ Charade,” according to a Breitbart.com headline. While the host of “The Tonight Show” didn’t say “mission accomplished” in last night’s monologue, he was scathingly sarcastic about the White House’s declaration of victory. On Monday Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin observed: “It is entirely possible that we will look back on today’s deadline and administration celebrations about enrollment as Obama’s version of George W. Bush’s infamous ‘mission accomplished’ moment after Iraq.”

Much as this columnist enjoys blaming things on George W. Bush, we feel obliged to note that he did not say “mission accomplished” during that May 1, 2003, speech. Quite the opposite. He asserted, referring to the broader war on terror: “Our mission continues.” The mission to which the infamous banner referred was the deployment from which the USS Abraham Lincoln, aboard which the then-president delivered the speech, had just returned.

But Bush did open his speech with what turned out to be a premature declaration of victory: “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” Obama’s speech yesterday included a similar assertion of triumph, albeit against the president’s adversaries, not the country’s: “The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.”

More than a few Obama critics have taken offense at his declaration that “the debate . . . is over.” To them he sounded like a dictator commanding his subjects to cease dissent. But Obama is not a dictator, and few of his critics are likely to heed his implicit demand. What’s more, it’s difficult to imagine the likes of Mark Begich, Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor successfully deploying the debate-is-over gambit in their re-election campaigns. Our guess is that the debate over whether the debate over ObamaCare is over will be over on Nov. 5.

It is telling, though, how often these people want to end debate. I like this translation, though: “The debate about a law I made sure won’t be fully implemented until I left office, is over!” Heh.

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Seven unanswered questions about Obamacare.

JAMES TARANTO: Yes, We Can — Wait: Want medical insurance? Get in line.

But it was the line photos that we found arresting. And it’s clear McGuinness was advancing a White House line. Press secretary Jay Carney opened his daily briefing yesterday with the following gasconade: “As you can see by the lines around the country this weekend, we are seeing a surge in enrollment.”

The first thing we thought of when we saw the pictures was the photos we’ve recently seen on Twitter of Venezuelans waiting in bread lines. Waiting in line to purchase necessities is a characteristic not of a prosperous free society but of command economies under repressive regimes. Closer to home, one doubts even the Transportation Security Administration would be so tone-deaf as to advertise long airport lines as an indication it’s doing a great job.

So what in the world could the White House have been thinking? Here’s a guess: They look at the ObamaCare lines and think not of communist subjects queuing up for bread or toilet paper, or Americans for driver’s licenses, but something more like the lines of consumers eager to be the first to get the new iPhone or the latest Harry Potter book. Affluent people often wait in line for things about which they have a particular enthusiasm–or for special experiences, like an amusement park ride, concert or meal at a favorite restaurant.

One obvious difference is that whereas the iPhone and Harry Potter queuers are eager to get the new thing first, the ObamaCare ones are presumably anxious not to miss the deadline (even if it’s not rigorously enforced). ObamaCare lines might have been impressive if they’d begun to form in the last days of September. At the end of open enrollment, the White House boast is akin to the IRS’s citing a “surge” in filing of tax returns two weeks from now as evidence that the income tax system is popular and well designed.

Well, as Chief Justice Roberts informed us, ObamaCare is a tax.

THEY’RE ACTING TERRIBLY BECAUSE THEY’RE TERRIBLE PEOPLE: Compassion: Anti-Obamacare cancer patient smeared by Harry Reid now receiving death wishes from liberals. “Indeed, unleashing left-wing wrath on ordinary people for the sin of speaking out must be a pretty effective method of stifling dissent — which is precisely what Reid wants.”

WAPO: Here’s Why It Doesn’t Matter If 7 Million Signed Up For ObamaCare:

Of course, we still need to learn how many paid their premiums to complete enrollment. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday said it’s anywhere between 80 and 90 percent, so official enrollment (and not just signups) could be anywhere between 5.7 million to 6.4 million. Those numbers would still likely rise over the next few months for those who can sign up later because of hardships or changes in life circumstances.

Other things we don’t know yet: How many of the previously uninsured signed up for private plans or Medicaid? How many people skipped the exchanges and signed up directly with insurers? How well did insurers predict their mix of enrollees in 2014? Will people actually like the coverage they now have?

How many people who signed up did so because they lost better insurance because of ObamaCare mandates?

UPDATE: Shikha Dalmia: Don’t Pop The Cork For ObamaCare: Untangle the administration’s enrollment numbers to see how overstated they are. “So, to recap: ‘Obamacare’ has extended coverage to a far smaller portion of the uninsured than expected, caused millions of others to lose coverage, raised out-of-pocket costs for many middle-income consumers, diminished patient choice of doctors and hospitals and exposed Americans to future premium hikes. This is why Americans are not popping the cork. Nor should the administration.”

NO. NEXT QUESTION? IRS Targeting: Is the Obama Administration Conducting a Serious Investigation?

PRESIDENT GOLDMAN SACHS: Obama subsidizes private jets for high-flyers abroad.

THAT’S NOT A JAB. IT’S MARCHING ORDERS. Obama jabs press: Future HealthCare.gov outages ‘won’t be news.’

MICHAEL BARONE: Why is Obama administration blocking Detroit River bridge? ” One possible reason: to propitiate Matty Maroun, the Michigan billionaire who owns the Ambassador Bridge and profits handsomely from tolls and concessions. He has financed Michigan ballot propositions designed to stop funding the new bridge, to which he remains strongly opposed. Or perhaps the Obama administration is indulging in a fit of pique against the government of Canada, which keeps pressing for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which has been pending now for five years (longer than the time from Pearl Harbor to the surrender of Germany in 1945). Or maybe the administration is just letting this project fall through the cracks through sheer incompetence or inertia.”

SO, KINDA LIKE THE OBAMACARE NUMBERS, THEN? Senate Report Says CIA Repeatedly Lied About The Fact That Its Torture Efforts Were Useless In Finding Bin Laden.

REMINDER: In 2009, Barack Obama “Joked” About Auditing His Enemies.

JAMES TARANTO: Laboratories of What? The clichés of ObamaCare coverage.

Ironically, before ObamaCare the medical-insurance industry functioned very much according to Brandeis’s “laboratories of democracy” model. “Thanks to the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which was passed in 1945, each of the fifty states has the exclusive power to license health insurance within a state’s own borders even if, in doing so, a state directly burdens interstate commerce by shutting out-of-state insurers out of the market,” as Steven Calabresi explained in a 2013 article for the University of Cincinnati Law Review.

“The McCarran-Ferguson Act purports to allow state governmental discrimination against inter-state commerce that would otherwise violate the Dormant Commerce Clause,” Calabresi argues, referring to the doctrine that states may not regulate interstate commerce. “It is this statute that has created the state health care oligopolies and monopolies and which is the cause of all our health care woes.”

But while McCarran-Ferguson deprived consumers of the benefits of competition across state lines, it did allow states considerable leeway to experiment. Some enacted coverage mandates; others didn’t. Some imposed “community rating”–a ban on charging higher premiums to policyholders with pre-existing conditions–and some repealed that requirement when it proved uneconomical. Massachusetts established an individual mandate, which most critics concede was (in contrast with the federal version) a constitutionally permissible exercise of state police power.

ObamaCare left the state-based regulatory scheme in place while overlaying upon it a panoply of new federal mandates. One of the few policy choices states have–to opt in or out of the Medicaid expansion–was not even part of the law until the high court found, also in NFIB v. Sebelius, that Congress had exceeded its powers in threatening to cut off existing Medicaid funding to states that did not go along.

So what we have with ObamaCare is the worst of both worlds: state monopolies without the flexibility to innovate.

Too bad nobody read it before they passed it so we could find out what was in it.

THE HILL: Aide: Obama Still Has Faith In Secret Service Despite Latest Incident.

WELL, IT ALREADY APPEARS TO BE BEYOND REPAIR: Is ObamaCare Beyond Repeal?

If it were impossible to ever cut off an expensive entitlement that goes to the middle class, TennCare would never have been cut.

True, but Tennessee is more civilized and sensible than many places.

TRADITIONAL ACADEMIA IS ONE OF OBAMA’S BIGGEST SOURCES OF SUPPORT AND DONATIONS. ONLINE EDUCATION IS A COMPETITOR: Department of Education Throws Up A Roadblock to Online Education. “The Department of Education is revisiting a fight it lost in 2012: to make states authorize every distance education provider that enrolls students within their borders. Ever since a federal judge struck down this requirement on procedural grounds, states have been able to exempt online programs from the authorization process as long as it’s accredited somewhere else.”

SMART DIPLOMACY: Is Obama pivot to Asia on hold? Watch what China does as Putin keeps attention pinned to Ukraine.

IS THE FIX IN? The Political Party Elites have Spoken: It’s Bush vs. Clinton in 2016.

I have no objections to Jeb Bush running for President. He obviously has a wide appeal as a potential candidate. With a Mexican wife, and as a man who speaks fluent Spanish, he would be able to increase the Hispanic vote in the GOP column. On the other hand, many in the Republican base find his position on immigration untenable, and would fight him tooth and nail during primary season. He is also a serious advocate of education reform. His support of the Common Core, however, will also find many who are in the conservative ranks objecting, since they fear that the Core represents educational centralism and having the government ram federal standards down their throats.

What I do object to is that Bush is already being heralded as the obvious candidate, the man to whom the big money must and will flow. As The Washington Post reports, “Many of the Republican Party’s most powerful insiders and financiers have begun a behind-the-scenes campaign to draft former Florida governor Jeb Bush into the 2016 presidential race, courting him and his intimates and starting talks on fundraising strategy.” . . .

What ever happened to letting members of the Republican Party choose their own candidate freely, and holding a convention in which delegates actually could make their own choice for the nominee? Evidently, that moment has already passed, and the folks who gave us McCain and Romney have already made up their minds.

Again, I do not necessarily agree with the arguments against a Bush run, but those arguments will be made, and the threat always is lurking in the wings that some conservatives, finding that their favored candidate is not likely to get the nod, will begin to talk about running a “real conservative” on an independent line in 2016. And such an act would siphon off just the right amount of votes to put Hillary Clinton in office.

Yep. A couple of thoughts. First, Christie was damaged goods before Bridgegate; he was never going to get the nomination. Second, do the people who think there’s a lot of demand out there for Jeb Bush talk to any, you know, actual voters? Because I’m not seeing it. . . .

Related: Paul Mirengoff: Jeb Bush in 2016? No thank you. “For me, Bush’s position on immigration, or at least some incarnations of it, is a deal breaker. If the Republican message in 2016 is going to be pro-illegal immigrant, maybe the attractive young Rubio should be the messenger. I hope the Republicans find a better standard bearer than both.” Only if they want their voters to show up at the polls.

Also: Steven Hayward: Jeb Bush? Not Sure This Is A Good Idea. “I believe Bush was a good governor of Florida and in the abstract would make a good president (though Obama has set the bar so low right now that anyone looks good), but can it really be a good thing for the nation to contemplate the specter of a Bush-Clinton race in 2012?”

IT’S LIKE THE WHOLE THING IS SOME KIND OF DEMOCRATIC VOTER FRAUD SETUP: Local couple upset after receiving pre-marked voter registration card from Covered California.

A local couple called 10News concerned after they received an envelope from the state’s Obamacare website, Covered California. Inside was a letter discussing voter registration and a registration card pre-marked with an “x” in the box next to Democratic Party.

The couple – who did not want their identity revealed – received the letter and voter registration card from their health insurance provider Covered California, the state-run agency that implements President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

They have lived in La Mesa for years and they have always been registered to vote Republican. Now, they are perplexed as to how the voter registration card pre-marked Democrat ended up in their mailbox.

Shut the whole thing down under RICO.

USA TODAY: Obama promised his administration would be transparent, but recent events suggest otherwise. Ya think?

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: Which Side Are You On? If you don’t care whether Republicans win, care that Democrats lose.

Even if you think that Romney is a squishy RINO Massachusetts technocrat with a secret crush on Obamacare, you have to be on the wrong side of the border between ideologically hardcore and ideologically blinded to conclude that spending four years fighting against the very worst imaginable tendencies of a Romney administration would have been anything other than wine and roses compared with spending four years fighting against the very worst tendencies of an Obama administration, especially when the president is in the position of never having to face another election.

You can tell yourself a just-so story about how the guy you liked who couldn’t beat Romney in the GOP primary would have beaten the mom jeans off of Obama in the general, and maybe you’re right, but it didn’t happen that way. (And maybe you don’t like that the so-called establishment supported Romney. Guess what? You can support candidates, too!) Likewise, if all the senators that conservatives admire weren’t already running for president, one of them might make a majority leader that you’d prefer to McConnell. And Paul Ryan probably would be a more inspiring speaker than Boehner is. Fine, fine, and fine. But that isn’t where we were, and it isn’t where we are.

The question wasn’t “Mitt Romney — yes or no?” It was: “Mitt Romney — compared with what?”

Compared with this.

Read the whole thing.

IT’S ONLY A “WAR ON WOMEN” IF YOU CAN BLAME REPUBLICANS: Obama refuses to raise human rights issues with Saudis.

JAMES TARANTO: Ezekiel’s Prophecy: If he’s right, ObamaCare’s biggest disruptions are yet to come.

Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm’s elder brother, is a physician who helped design ObamaCare and has been one of its most intense champions. So you may be surprised to learn that in his new book, “Reinventing American Health Care,” he predicts that tens of millions more Americans will lose their medical plans in the coming decade.

In its “You’re the Boss” small-business blog, the New York Times quotes his prediction that by 2025, “fewer than 20 percent of workers in the private sector will receive traditional employer-sponsored health insurance.” As of March 2013 such benefits were available to 85% of full-time private-sector workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If Emanuel is right–and especially if, as he implies, ObamaCare was designed to produce such an outcome–the president’s repeated pledge that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” was a far more widespread fraud than has yet been realized.

It’s fraud all the way down.

ROLL CALL: FBI Agent ‘Severely Disciplined’ for Misconduct in Ted Stevens Case, Director Says.

FBI Director James Comey told a Senate subcommittee Thursday that an agent faced discipline for conduct related to the investigation of late Sen. Ted Stevens.

Comey was ready for a line of questioning from Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski about the FBI’s conduct in the probe of her former Alaska colleague. Murkowski asked for an update from 2012 on allegations made by FBI whistleblower Special Agent Chad Joy about inappropriate conduct by a fellow agent.

“I did learn about this in the last week and get briefed in detail. The Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) inside FBI did investigate in response and identified an agent who had engaged in improper conduct there, and the agent was severely disciplined,” Comey said. “The discipline has been imposed.”

Comey was sworn-in as FBI director last September, succeeding longtime director Robert S. Mueller. Mueller previously faced questioning at the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce-Justice-Science about the Stevens case from both Murkowski and then-Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

While Comey did not identify the agent disciplined by name, details of Joy’s complaint went public in 2009. Joy made a series of allegations of impropriety against FBI Special Agent Mary Beth Kepner, outlined in a report from the Anchorage Daily News.

But the bogus charges against Stevens swung the election, producing just enough votes to pass ObamaCare. What punishment is enough for that?

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: U.S. Investigates Brothers From Ecuador Who Donated $90,000 to Obama.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Charlotte Mayor Allegedly Boasted About His Obama Connection While Accepting Bribes. “Democratic Charlotte, N.C. Mayor Patrick Cannon allegedly promised he would use a meeting with President Barack Obama to press for streetcar project funding that was a major concern for someone who gave him multiple bribes, according to federal court documents.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Secret Service incident in Netherlands was on heels of car wreck during Obama’s Miami trip. “As the U.S. Secret Service arrived in the Netherlands last weekend for a presidential trip, managers were already on high alert to avoid any further em­barrassing incidents involving agents. The agency’s director had admonished supervisors after two counter-sniper officers suspected of drinking were involved in a March 7 car accident during a presidential visit to Miami, according to several people with knowledge of the incident. The driver passed a field sobriety test and was not arrested.”