Quick Takes: Step Two on Iran Is a Bit Hazy

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* David Drezner points out that, with Trump, there is no plan B on Iran, other than that it’s “not plan A.”

As Nicholas Miller pointed out at The Monkey Cage: “Three factors made the 2015 concessions possible: an uptick in Iranian nuclear provocations, a powerful multilateral coalition to stop those and domestic receptivity in Iran. None of those conditions exists now.”

Here Plan B begins to bear more than a passing resemblance to the Underpants Gnomes Theory of Profit. Step 1 is terminating the Iran deal. Step 3 is Iran complying with all U.S. demands. Step 2? Step 2 is a wee bit hazy.

For those of you who (like me) aren’t South Park fanatics, here’s the Underpants Gnomes Theory of Profit.

* Casey Michel adds an interesting twist to the story about Columbus Nova, the investment company linked to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg that was feeding money into Michael Cohen’s slush fund.

Columbus Nova also spent 2016 and 2017 registering a number of websites aimed at young white supremacists, or members of the so-called “alt-right.”

Among the URLs registered were domains like Alt-Right.co, Altrights.co, Alternate-rt.com, and Alt-rite.com. Some of the domains, like Alt-Right.com and Altrights.co, were registered in late August 2016 — just a few months before the American election — while others, like Alt-rite.com, were created in August 2017.

There’s no evidence any material ever existed on the sites, and all of them return an error message.

* On those three prisoners North Korea is releasing, get back to me when Trump catches up.

* James Hohmann brings us the five overshadowed stories that spotlight Trump’s domestic priorities.

Often obscured under the avalanche of news and the clouds of intrigue, President Trump and his appointees continue to systematically deconstruct the administrative state. Five stories that published on Monday highlight policy shifts that may adversely impact the lives of an untold number of immigrants, minorities and children — as well as people who have health insurance and take out loans.

1. Separating immigrant parents from their children
2. Rolling back anti-segregation rules at HUD
3. Clawing back funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program
4. The repeal of the individual mandate is contributing to rising premiums for sick people
5. Gutting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

* Here’s some better news:

A coalition of pro-immigration Republicans, many facing tough reelection battles, are bucking House GOP leaders to try to force a last-minute vote to let undocumented immigrants brought here as children regain their legal status.

The group, led by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), initiated a discharge petition to force a House vote on a bill to reauthorize the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Trump attempted to end last year and is currently in limbo given ongoing court challenges…

He is joined on the bill by 14 other Republicans — leaving the petition just 10 votes shy of triggering a free-for-all of voting on the House floor (assuming all Democrats support it, as expected).

* Finally, here’s my newly adopted version of the Serenity Prayer for the Trump era:

To join me, you’ll have to supply your own coffee. But here’s some music for the “accepting” part.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.