The best deals

I think the NYT Editorial sums up Trump on the Iran deal pretty well:

By reneging on the Iran nuclear deal, President Trump has said, he will be able to get an even better deal, one that would also control Iran’s ballistic missiles and its regional influence.

Sound familiar? It should. This is the same kind of gesture toward a better, smarter deal that Mr. Trump made when he pulled the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, the same sort of empty promise he made in saying he would supply plans for Middle East peace and better, cheaper, more accessible health care. So far, again and again, he has shown himself to be adept at destroying agreements — a relatively easy task for a president — and utterly lacking in the policy depth or strategic vision and patience to create new ones.

When it comes to the danger of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, there is no sign Iran or any of the other major powers in the existing and so far successful pact will simply fall into line with Mr. Trump’s notional new plan. More likely, his decision, announced on Tuesday, will allow Iran to resume a robust nuclear program, sour relations with close European allies, erode America’s credibility, lay conditions for a possible wider war in the Middle East and make it harder to reach a sound agreement with North Korea on its nuclear weapons program.

In other words, par for the course. This man who, apparently because of one book and a reality television show, has a reputation as a deal maker despite a skein of bankruptcies and lawsuits, has been piling up quite a record of scuttled agreements that he suggests “never, ever should have been made” and broken promises for a “better deal.”…

Mr. Trump often seems to be consumed with overturning the legacies of his predecessor, but few of the agreements so stoked his disdain as the Iran nuclear deal, Mr. Obama’s signature diplomatic achievement. Signed in 2015 by five major powers as well as the United States and Iran, it committed Iran to significantly curtailing its nuclear program in return for a lifting of sanctions.

International inspectors along with American and Israeli intelligence and security officials have repeatedly judged that Iran is abiding by its obligations. That doesn’t matter to Mr. Trump, allied with the anti-Iran hard-liners in his administration, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Saudi Arabia, who all seem to believe their problems with Iran can best be solved by driving out the regime through economic crisis or military action.


Democracy in Action

My son David was so excited to exercise his right to vote for the first time ever today in the NC primaries.  Just state legislative races and County Commission (though, surprisingly contentious), but nothing like voting in an actual democracy.

Also, looking ahead, we realized that Alex will be able to vote in 2020.  In many states, being declared “mentally incompetent,” as Alex will have to be to allow us to be his legal guardians once he is 18, prevents you from voting, but not in NC.  And, if there’s one thing we know about Alex’s politics is he hates Donald Trump, so we’ll be able to help him exercise that right in another 2 1/2 years.

Photo of the day

I really enjoy listening to the 60 Minutes podcast every week, but some of their stories are really pretty visual.  Glad I went back and checked out the page on the story featuring amazing wildlife photographer Thomas Mangelsen.  Just wow.




Hope for the Republican Party?

As you know, it is all to easy to find examples of Republican state legislators doing and saying really stupid and crazy things.  Sadly, especially here in North Carolina.  I’m so pleased to see that in three cases here in NC, some of the most extreme and embarrassing incumbents are receiving primary challenges because of that.  From the N&O:

Three of the North Carolina House’s most controversial Republicans are facing primary challenges for the first time in years — with opponents eager to highlight things like a statement about Adolf Hitler and a bill about secession.

Rep. Larry Pittman of Cabarrus County near Charlotte and two coastal lawmakers, Rep. Michael Speciale of Craven County and Rep. George Cleveland of Onslow County, have made headlines and sparked outrage, and they occasionally break with House leaders on legislation they don’t think is sufficiently conservative.

Tuesday’s election will be a popularity test for their brand of politics among the GOP faithful who participate in an off-year primary…

Their opponents, however, want to make sure voters don’t forget about the controversies, which they say makes their districts look bad.

“Some folks need to use their ears more and their mouth less, and he’s one of them,” Pittman challenger Michael Anderson said of his opponent. “I don’t think he represents us well at all. He seems to only care about guns and the Civil War and public hangings and Abraham Lincoln.”

Anderson, a professional photographer who’s new to politics, was referring to a Facebook post in which Pittman called President Abraham Lincoln a “tyrant” similar to Germany’s Adolf Hitler — as well as a 2012 email in which Pittman called for bringing back public hangings, including for doctors who perform abortions.

Pittman did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.

Pittman and Speciale have also floated the idea of arming teachers with guns, something their challengers strongly oppose.

The hope for the future of the country lies not in complete Democratic take-over, but in sanity re-taking the Republican party.  I’m sure I disagree with these challengers on 90% of issues, but that’s going to happen.  Hooray for them for at least trying to restore some basic decency and sanity to their party.  I don’t expect they’ll win against incumbents, but it sure would be heartening to see a strong showing.  Though, with today’s GOP primary voters, I don’t exactly have my hopes up.

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