In today’s news bowl I found the Senate bargain with the White House on the Iran nuclear deal, a debate on whether Democrats need a contested 2016 primary, and a Bobonut. (More)

I’m a big fan of negotiation, even if humans do it wrong. It’s not your fault. You don’t have tails and that makes it harder to communicate. Oh sure, one wildlife ‘expert’ says squirrel communication is simple:

All the vocalizations and tail movements you see among squirrels around food sources boil down to pretty much one sentiment: “Get away, this food is mine!” Squirrels do say other things, such as, “Get out of here, this land is mine” and “Don’t even think about trying to keep me off that birdfeeder, because it’s mine.” It’s like a two-year-old’s credo: “What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine, what you came in with is mine, if I want it it’s mine, if I don’t want it it’s mine….”

He makes us sound like Republicans. Grumble. Let’s look at the real thing:

As you can see, my cousin Phyrry is enjoying dinner. About 35 seconds into the video, she sees another squirrel. “Yes, they put out fresh nuts,” she signals. After a few seconds, she adds “Hold on, I’m almost finished.” Then she climbs up on the nut box, says “Okay, Bon appétit!” and hops away into the tree.

If she were saying “Mine mine mine mine,” why would she hop away? With ‘experts’ like that, who needs David Brooks? But I’m getting ahead of myself….

The point is, I understand why President Obama agreed with Senate leaders on a plan to review the Iran nuclear deal:

The White House relented on Tuesday and said President Obama would sign a compromise bill giving Congress a voice on the proposed nuclear accord with Iran as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in rare unanimous agreement, moved the legislation to the full Senate for a vote.

An unusual alliance of Republican opponents of the nuclear deal and some of Mr. Obama’s strongest Democratic supporters demanded a congressional role as international negotiators work to turn this month’s nuclear framework into a final deal by June 30. White House officials insisted they extracted crucial last-minute concessions. Republicans – and many Democrats – said the president simply got overrun.

Humans really should get tails. The Reuters lead was only slightly less who-got-the-nut-ish:

U.S. President Barack Obama conceded on Tuesday that Congress will have the power to review a nuclear deal with Iran, reluctantly giving in to pressure from Republicans and some in his own party after they crafted a rare compromise demanding a say.

The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, Jennifer Bendery, and Jessica Schulberg offer a less provocative opening:

A tentative deal has been reached by senators on a bill to apply congressional oversight to a nuclear deal with Iran. And early signals from the White House suggest the president will drop his veto threat and sign the measure.

They also outline the amended bill:

  • The bill would require the president to submit the final agreement to Congress.
  • Congress will have up to 52 days to review the final agreement. During that time, the president is prohibited from waiving the congressional sanctions during the review period.
  • The 52-day review period is broken down as follows: There is an initial review period of 30 days to review and vote on sanctions relief. An additional 12 days are automatically added if Congress passes a bill and sends it to the president, and an additional 10 days on top of that if the president vetoes the legislation.
  • If the final deal is submitted late, after July 9, the review period reverts to 60 days.
  • The president is required to certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is complying with the terms of the final agreement.
  • It also requires the president to make a series of detailed reports to Congress on a range of issues, including Iran’s nuclear program, its ballistic missiles work, and its support for terrorism globally, particularly against Americans and our allies. With this information, Congress will be able to determine the appropriate response in the event of Iran sponsoring an act of terrorism against Americans.

The last point is a huge concession. Republicans want to expand the scope of the P5+1 deal – an already-delicate negotiation on Iran’s nuclear program – to include everything else Republicans want from Iran. That would scuttle any hope of a deal and might give neoconservatives what they really want: leverage to force President Obama into launching a catastrophic war with Iran.

Despite their pie-in-the-sky rhetoric about limited air strikes, Republicans know a full-on invasion is the only way to guarantee Iran will never become a nuclear power. They also know that would be a Iraq-like quagmire, and they want to be able to hang that on President Obama and Hillary Clinton next November.

Speaking of Hillary Clinton, Slate’s Alec MacGillis wants to go back to 2008:

The reconciliation of Obama’s following with the presumptive 2016 Democratic nominee has been the great underexamined story on the Democratic side of the ledger heading into an election year. One simply cannot overstate how much ill will there was between the two camps in 2007 and 2008 – that historic, down-to-the-wire primary standoff was based not in policy contrasts (good luck recalling the differences in their health plans) but in a deeply personal clash about the meaning and methods of progressive politics.

He recounts the 2008 arguments and largely dismisses everything that happened since, writing:

The result is a sort of collective amnesia among Obama supporters when it comes to their former estimation of Clinton – a reluctance to reckon fully with their aversion to her then and what has come of it since. This amnesia may seem harmless now, but one can’t help but wonder if it might come back to haunt Democrats in the general election if it is not confronted more fully before then. Democrats, including Obama’s diehard 2008 backers, may now seem willing to accept Clinton with a shrug or even a hug, and let bygones be bygones. But will that acceptance hold once they start seeing her out on the trail again – giving the stump speeches they found so dreadfully dull in contrast to those of their chosen guy in 2008, giving such hyper-cautious answers in debates, coming off as stumbling and disingenuous in her efforts to align herself with the mood of the moment? Better for Democrats to reckon with that prospect now than in the heat of the 2016 campaign, when they might suddenly find themselves feeling as unenthusiastic about her as they did about another Democrat running to succeed a two-term president with a stronger claim to the party’s emotional core.

What. Ever. It’s entirely possible to both believe President Obama was the best candidate in 2008 and also that Hillary Clinton is the best candidate in 2016. And as the New York Times’ Nate Cohn explains, a bitter primary fight will not help Democrats win the White House next year:

Mrs. Clinton has a good chance of fending off these charges with a unified Democratic Party. Republicans won’t attack her for being overly hawkish on national security, and Democrats won’t countenance a Republican like Jeb Bush or Scott Walker attacking Mrs. Clinton on her ties to Wall Street. Controversies about the Clintons – like over the Clinton Foundation or her email account – are far less likely to take hold if Democrats defend her.

But without a unified party, she could face recurring and resonant attacks on all of those issues. Though it probably wouldn’t be as bad as what Mr. Romney faced, it could also be worse. After a year of being characterized as a Wall Street hack, or a warmonger with low-grade corruption issues, Mrs. Clinton could face a Ralph Nader-like third-party challenge, which generally becomes likelier after a party has held the White House for consecutive terms.

And she’s running a more populist, progressive campaign than anyone expected:

Hillary Clinton launched her presidential campaign here Tuesday with aggressive attacks on the financial system as she offered broad strokes of her case for running at her first formal event.

“I think it’s fair to say that if you look across the country, the deck is stacked in favor of those already at the top,” she said at a roundtable in an auto tech lab at Kirkwood Community College. “There’s something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the American worker … There’s something wrong when American workers keep getting more productive … but that productivity is not matched in their paychecks.”

And, the former secretary of state continued, “there’s something wrong when hedge fund managers pay less in taxes than nurses or the truckers I saw on I-80” while driving from New York to Iowa over the past two days.

It’s not 2008, and pretending eight years haven’t changed both Clinton and the Democratic Party is the worst kind of nostalgia: longing for The Bad Old Days.

And nostalgia brings us to the Bobonut, who laments the loss of privacy that will come from police body cameras:

All these concentric circles of privacy depend on some level of shrouding. They depend on some level of secrecy and awareness of the distinction between the inner privileged space and the outer exposed space. They depend on the understanding that what happens between us stays between us.

Cop-cams chip away at that. The cameras will undermine communal bonds. Putting a camera on someone is a sign that you don’t trust him, or he doesn’t trust you. When a police officer is wearing a camera, the contact between an officer and a civilian is less likely to be like intimate friendship and more likely to be oppositional and transactional. Putting a camera on an officer means she is less likely to cut you some slack, less likely to not write that ticket, or to bend the regulations a little as a sign of mutual care.

Putting a camera on the police officer means that authority resides less in the wisdom and integrity of the officer and more in the videotape. During a trial, if a crime isn’t captured on the tape, it will be presumed to never have happened.

David Brooks apparently longs for a halcyon era of Officer Friendly protecting contented families and close-knit communities. How very white of him.

And no, I’m not “dragging race into it.” Race was always there, in pervasive and often officially-sanctioned patterns of oppression. For far too long, abuses were shrouded by a fan dance of cops willing to lie and white Americans eager to accept those lies. White Americans had “privacy.” Communities of color had “stop and frisk” and “driving while black.”

I buried the Bobonut at the end of this because that’s what squirrels do with nuts that are too bitter to eat. May it rot in peace.


Good day and good nuts