A Step in the Right Direction

But it remains woefully insufficient, and further changes need to be pushed—apparently from outside—and those additional changes need to happen quickly.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Thursday it will overhaul its in-house tribunal following months of escalating legal challenges and criticism of its increased use of its own judges.

Under the new rules, defendants will get more time to prepare: up to eight months, instead of the SEC’s “rocket docket” of pacing that suits the agency, regardless of the time actually needed to prepare. Defendants also will be able, for the first time, to get sworn testimony as part of their defense preparation.

Values and Mottoes

The Freedom from Religion Foundation is at it again.

It seems the Childress, TX, Chief of Police has committed the evil crime of putting the nation’s motto, In God We Trust, on the town’s police cars.

This is some sort of affront to constitutionally mandated freedom of religion, according to the FRFF—whose name gives away the game: freedom from religion, not freedom of religion. I suppose the US as a whole is an affront to freedom, what with that motto, and all.

Gary Parsons, Lee County, VA, sheriff, who did the same thing with his department’s cars, is on the right track.

Undoing a Unilateral “Presidency”

Lahnee Chen closed his Monday Wall Street Journal op-ed of a similar title with this:

By revoking Mr Obama’s executive actions, and beginning the arduous task of identifying and addressing his many other unilateral moves, the next president wouldn’t have to jettison the entire Obama legacy.

But our next President should.

On the next president’s first day in office, the president could simply issue an executive order revoking all of his predecessor’s executive actions, except those necessary for national security or the basic functioning of government. This includes Mr Obama’s executive orders, but also a flood of presidential memorandums and directives, as well as informal guidance and orders from federal agencies, that he has used to reshape federal policy.

Another Example of Central Government Intrusion

…into the States’ internal affairs. This one is via The New York Times and a piece Matt Apuzzo has there [emphasis added].

Burlington, WA, was a small city fighting what seemed like a local lawsuit. Three poor people said that their public lawyers were too overworked to adequately represent them in municipal court cases. The dispute went mostly unnoticed for two years, until the Obama administration became involved.

Unannounced, the Justice Department filed documents in the case and told the [Federal] judge that he had broad authority to demand changes in Burlington and nearby Mount Vernon. The judge quickly agreed and ordered the cities to hire a new public defense supervisor. He also said he would monitor their legal aid program for three years.

Russian Disingenuosity

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blamed the Ukrainian government Monday for an uptick in violence in eastern Ukraine, saying Kiev’s forces were apparently preparing for a fresh offensive, as Ukraine blamed Russia-backed separatists for the escalation.

Never mind that, were it true that Ukraine is readying an offensive, it would only be true because the Ukrainian government has a right—a duty—to drive the Russian troops from Ukrainian soil and to bring the “separatists” to justice.

Another Misunderstanding

This one is by Patrick O’Connor in Wall Street Journal Washington Wire piece.

Senator and Presidential candidate (R, FL) spoke to the Foreign Policy Initiative in New York City last Friday, and he decried President Barack Obama’s nuclear weapons “deal” with Iran and Obama’s decision to resume ties with Cuba and reopen an embassy there.

Mr Rubio outlined those positions in a Friday speech in New York hosted by the Foreign Policy Initiative, further casting himself as the candidate most eager to reignite tensions with two longtime adversaries.

Party Apparatchik

…PRC style. The truth police are there to help.

China’s government will set up cybersecurity police units at major Internet companies, in Beijing’s latest move to tighten control over the country’s online forums.


China’s Ministry of Public Security didn’t say which companies will have the new police units.

The modern version of Партийных аппаратчиков.

An Acceptable Conclusion

Pavlo Klimkin, Ukrainian Foreign Minister acknowledged over the weekend that Russian forces are in control of his country’s oblasts, Donetsk and Luhansk.

He also said that it’s time for Russia begin

“real negotiations” about a cease-fire and stabilization in Ukraine’s war-torn east which will require fair elections that are intentionally monitored.

He’s right. But that would require Vladimir Putin first to stop lying about Russia’s behavior toward Ukraine. In the end, too, an acceptable conclusion to Russia’s invasion, IMNSHO, would be Russian withdrawal from eastern Ukraine and the end of their occupation of Crimea.

Obama Gets One Right

Edward Snowden will likely remain hiding in Russia for some time, with Washington officials and most Americans offering no leniency or forgiveness for him notoriously stealing classified information and jeopardizing U.S. national security.

President Barack Obama, through his Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, said this about that:

Mr Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work…to protect it[.]

And then he tossed a petition to pardon this…scofflaw, the petition a product of a two year effort to let Snowden skate, into the round file.

School Choice and Unions

There’s a contradiction in terms.

In January parents filed a petition to convert Palm Lane Elementary in Anaheim into a charter under California’s 2010 parent-trigger law, which allows a majority of parents in any failing school to force changes.

Naturally, the school’s district officials and teachers union demurred. Never mind that

Palm Lane had made the state Department of Education’s list of underperforming schools since 2003. Fewer than 40% of students scored proficient in English in 2013. About 85% are Hispanic, and most are low-income.

(Where is the Obama DoJ and disparate impact? Oh, wait…).