Morning Must Reads -- The menace of a nuclear Canada averted 

New York Times -- China Pledges to Work With U.S. on Iran Sanctions

The good news is that Canada has agreed to give up its nuclear program and will send the U.S. all of its enriched uranium. Sleep tight citizens of Buffalo. The Maple Menace is no more.

The announcement of Canada’s agreement was pretty typical for a nuclear summit that fits in very well with our times – it wants credit just for existing.

Witness the meeting with President Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao.

We have a number of ongoing sore spots with China: our debt, their human rights abuses, our exports, their currency manipulation, etc. But the big issue during the nuclear phase of the Obama presidency is whether China will support stringent sanctions on Iran.

Russia has already pooh-poohed the idea of a real trade blockade with Iran, but the president hopes that if Hu gets on board he may be able to rally Russian President Dimitry Medvedev to the cause.

Obama is treating Hu like a Pennsylvania Democratic primary voter, explaining that he is clinging to the old ways on Iran because of fear and disillusionment. China gets a lot of oil from Iran, so the president has promised to provide replacement barrels if Iran were to shut off the flow of crude in retaliation for sanctions. It’s strange enough to think of us shipping oil to China, but not as strange as believing that Hu is coddling Iran out of fear.

Chinia has long supported the destabilizing presence of Iran as a counterbalance to Western dominance in the Middle East. If Iran chilled out, China would be competing for energy and business on a yard tilted in favor of the U.S. and Europe. But who knows, after hearing Obama providing them oil, maybe the Chinese are ready to compete head to head in the region.

Writers David Sanger and Mark Landler explain:

“Still, the session had distinct echoes of former President George W. Bush’s three efforts to corral Chinese support for United Nations Security Council penalties intended to make it prohibitively expensive for Iranian leaders to enrich uranium and to refuse to answer the questions posed by international nuclear inspectors.

In those cases, former American officials said, the Chinese agreed to go along with efforts to address Iran’s nuclear ambitions but then used Security Council negotiating sessions to water down the resolutions that ultimately passed.”

 

Wall Street Journal -- White House Floats Diverse List for Court

In order to have Supreme Court hearings on the schedule he would like, President Obama to push back the announcement of a nominee for several more weeks.

The idea is to have hearings and the vote in the July doldrums in between recesses – July 12 to August 6 – as was the case with Justice Sonia Sotomayor – remember it was a month from Souter’s April 30 retirement to Sotomayor’s appointment.

In order to take the pressure off whichever member of the actual short list is the The One’s one and to score some points with different geographic and demographic constituencies, the White House is pumping up, not tamping down the speculation. The short list floated to writer Laura Meckler and reporters for other big dailies is really something of a long list – now including 10 members of all ideological stripes of the Left and from all different backgrounds.

Keep your eye on Elana Kagan, but enjoy the passing parade.

“Also among the eight names revealed by the White House was a potential nominee who served on a state court, former Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, the first female African-American chief justice in U.S. history. All the current Supreme Court justices formerly worked as federal appellate judges.

Officials said the White House was also considering Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow and two politicians: Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who was formerly governor of Arizona.”

 

New York Times -- Democrats Push to Require Corporate Campaign Disclosure

Democrats in Congress are pretty mad. They’re mad at the electorate for being so pig headed about health care. They’re mad at Republicans for being so obstructionist. They’re mad at Wall Street. But they’re maddest at the Supreme Court for taking the limits off third-party campaign spending.

Right now on the Hill, Senate Democrats are devising the law that will push the envelope of the new decision that struck down the McCain Feingold law as far as possible and still attract one Republican vote.

Writer Eric Lichtblau explains that the aim is to require lots and lots of disclosure inside ads so that the political commercials would have the same effect as the pharmaceutical ones – some vague promises followed by lots of terrifying-sounding side effects.

“One provision would require the chief executive of any company or group that is the main backer of a campaign advertisement to personally appear in television and radio spots to acknowledge the sponsorship, the officials said.”

 

Los Angeles Times -- Healthcare overhaul won't stop premium increases

Writer Noam Levey lays out the two possible scenarios for the response to rising health care premiums post-Obamacare: repeal or expansion.

Rates will continue to climb no matter what, but with the new law on the books, lots of insurers are trying to lock in higher rates now.

This will either cause voters to hit Democrats even harder this fall, heightening the possibility of a major rollback or it will cause voters to demand more regulation of insurance companies.

Levey rather imagines that Sen. Diane Feinstein’s plan for a federal board to set insurance rates may pick up steam after rates start to rise. That will happen only if Democrats hold losses down this fall.

He also suggests that the reason the plan wasn’t enacted was because of some procedural arcania, not because price controls lacked sufficient support in the Senate.

“Obama endorsed Feinstein's insurance proposal this year, including it in the healthcare blueprint he unveiled in February as Democrats were struggling to revive their proposals. But congressional rules prevented Democratic leaders from including the rate control provision in the final healthcare package.”

 

Wall Street Journal -- Labor's Stern Said to Be Resigning

One of President Obama’s most loyal backers, Andy Stern head of the service workers union SEIU, is retiring after the big win on health care. He will continue to advise the president on the deficit (!) and other matters, but it will also mean a period of unrest at the union, which has never gone through an upheaval since leaving the more established AFL-CIO four years ago.

Kris Maher has the details:

“Mr. Stern's departure would cause a major realignment of the balance of power within organized labor, from labor-management relations to Washington lobbying efforts. It's not clear when an official announcement of his resignation will come or when it would take effect.

He has been credited with making the 1.8 million member SEIU one of the fastest-growing and most politically powerful unions. It spent more than $65 million in 2008 to help elect Barack Obama and Democratic majorities in Congress.

A member of SEIU's executive board said he received a phone call from SEIU's second-highest-ranking officer, Anna Burger, asking for his support as she sought to succeed Mr. Stern.”

 

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About The Author

Chris Stirewalt

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Washington Examiner Political Editor Chris Stirewalt, who coordinates political coverage for the newspaper and ExaminerPolitics.com in addition to writing a twice-weekly column and
regular blog posts.

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