Morning Bits

Another Republican. “Lisa Murkowski endorsed the right of gay couples to marry on Tuesday, joining Rob Portman and Mark Kirk as the third Republican senator to do so.” If you count all the Republicans who want to leave it to the states, the number is much higher.

Income tax forms
(Bloomberg)

Another foreign policy debacle in the making. “President Obama’s plan to further cut the U.S. nuclear arsenal comes at a dangerous time.  The President sees his plan as the next step in someday achieving his dream of a ‘world without nuclear weapons.’  But the world has a vote, too, and even if Russia is open to further nuclear cuts—something which remains unclear at this point—other nations do not appear to share Obama’s aspiration.”

Another irate ally. “Afghan President Hamid Karzai suspended talks with the U.S. about a long-term American military presence and pulled his envoys from planned peace negotiations with the Taliban on Wednesday, protesting the unexpectedly high-profile opening of a Taliban office in Qatar a day earlier.”

Another reason to stop calling him a “moderate”: “Iranian President-elect Hassan Rowhani was on the special Iranian government committee that plotted the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, according to an indictment by the Argentine government prosecutor investigating the case. The AMIA bombing is considered the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentina’s history, killing 85 and wounding hundreds more.”

Another sign the magic is gone. President Obama’s Berlin audience in 2008 was 200,000, you may recall. Not in 2013: “Barack Obama returned to Berlin today, almost five years to the day from when he delivered his famous ‘Victory Column’ speech that cemented his reputation as an international rockstar . . . . And instead of opening up the speech to the whole city, Obama spoke in front only about 5,000-6,000 spectators, all of them invited guests.”

Another absurdity from the Internal Revenue Service. “The IRS is doling out $70 million in bonuses despite guidance from President Obama’s budget office to hold back on all discretionary awards. The IRS says it is legally obligated to provide the bonuses under a collective bargaining agreement with employees, but the decision is drawing criticism from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who argues government cut-backs under the sequester were supposed to stop such bonuses.”

Another bit of “smart diplomacy”? Obama’s remarks in Belfast “came off as an attack on Catholic education, a sore issue in Northern Ireland. Education remains deeply divided in the region, with the children of Catholics mainly attending Catholic schools and the children of Protestant families mainly attending government-run schools.”

Another conservative labor economist vouches for immigration reform. Diana Furchtgott-Roth writes:  “It is difficult for economists to measure changes in productivity two years into the future, and estimates 20 years out should be treated with great caution. But CBO’s judgment that immigration will cause beneficial macroeconomic changes bolsters those who favor the bill, and might sway the minds of some uncertain politicians.”

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.
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Jennifer Rubin | June 19, 2013