Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Leaks that Pres. Trump plans to “decertify” the Iran nuclear deal
That action doesn’t kill the multilateral deal, but it does begin a process that could.
When Trump makes his formal decision about Iran’s behavior, as he is required to do periodically by law, the Congress will then have to decide whether to reimpose sanctions.
Comment: The issue is complicated because (1) the agreement is multilateral and most other signatories want to stay in, (2) Obama front-loaded nearly all the benefits for Iran, among the most incompetent negotiating moves ever, and (3) the agreement does not limit Iran’s deadly, malevolent action in other areas, including missile tests (another major shortcoming).
Obama, Susan Rice, and John Kerry thought that Iran’s financial windfall would make them a more responsible actor.
That magical thinking is best captured by a Yiddish phrase:
◆ More nasty weather headed our way: Tropical Storm Nate could cause flooding in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (NOLA.com)
It is expected to hit late Saturday night.
Comment: The Mississippi Gulf Coast has no protection, but New Orleans has wetlands to the south, which ought to afford some protection. Unfortunately, those wetlands–and the protection they afford–have shrunk dramatically over the past few decades, thanks to canals cut for pipelines and ships. The water moving through those cuts has changed the local ecology and harmed the wetlands.
◆ Harvey Weinstein, film mogul and, according to interviews in the NYT, perpetrator of serial sexual harassment against actresses and employees
The New York Times broke the story as an exclusive, with vivid details and on-the-record accusations (link here).
Now, all the other news outlets are on the case.
BuzzFeed reports that Weinstein, a major player in national Democratic politics, is relying on key Clinton and Obama aides to cope with the fallout. (link here)
Normally, Gloria Allred appears as a plaintiff’s lawyer in the harassment cases, beginning with a huge press conference.
But that doesn’t happen when the allegations are against a major Democrat. Actually, Gloria’s daughter, Lisa Bloom, is involved–working for Weinstein and, she says, trying to educate him that “times have changed.”
Allred offered a half-hearted comment, saying she “would have declined” because she never represents people accused of harassment, only alleged victims. She offered no criticism of Mr. Weinstein.
Comment: Expect gloating and finger pointing from Republicans, who are happy to gain a moment’s relief from their own scandal, an anti-abortion Congressman who is resigning after texts surfaced, urging his mistress to terminate her pregnancy.
◆ After Las Vegas, Republicans open to banning “bump stocks” used to convert semi-automatic rifles into fully-automatic ones (New York Times)
The NRA seems open to some regulation, as well.
Comment: Because passing a law would take time, many are urging the ATF to change its regulatory interpretation. That’s passing the buck–and evading what should be a Congressional and Presidential responsibility. We’ve gotten so used to passing everything by Presidential decree or bureaucratic regulations, even Republican congressmen want to avoid the normal, constitutional process for changing our laws.
◆ Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly (D) is facing a tough reelection in a Republican-leaning state. Now, he gotten more bad news: a non-partisan report rates him the least effective Democrat in the Senate (Indianapolis Star)
Even when Democrats were in the majority, he accomplished almost nothing, they say.
Comment: His prospective Republicans opponents were shocked, shock, and appalled. “Indiana needs….”
◆ Nobel Prizes
- Literature: Kuzuo Ishiguro, author of “Remains of the Day”
- Chemistry: 3 scientists who improved images of molecules
- Physics: 3 scientists who detected gravitational waves, confirming a prediction of Einstein’s
- Medicine: 3 scientists who discovered the genes regulating the body’s biological clock
One of the winners in Medicine, Jeffrey Hall (emeritus, Brandeis) said that he collaborated with a Brandeis colleague, Michael Roshbash, because they shared common interests in “sports, rock and roll, beautiful substances and stuff.” He quit science ten years ago, he said at the time, because his grant funding ran out, the grant-review process was corrupt and biased, and he was fed up with academia. (story here)
Comment: Looks like he was proven right about the bias.
The Peace Prize will be given Friday. If they can find an innocent child or a do-gooder organization, fine. Otherwise, they should remember that they gave one to Arafat. They might want to think about what’s happening in Myanmar, either, since the country is headed by another Peace Prize winner and is now driving Rohingya Muslims out of the country.