But first . . .
. . . for those following Support.com, here was the basic case someone else made for buying it at $2.60 earlier this month . . . not unlike the cases I made for it at $2.37 here and at $2.16 here. It closed at $2.79 Friday, a couple of days after issuing its latest financials. Revenue for the quarter was up and expenses trimmed; cash stood at $49.2 million — $2.63 a share — with no debt. So you get the business itself more or less for free (the $2.79 you pay, versus its $2.63 in cash); and if the still relatively new, smart and motivated management is able to keep building the business, it’s not hard to imagine SPRT at $5 in a year or two. (As always: only with money you can truly afford to lose.)
Also . . .
. . . did you see Fareed Zakaria last Sunday? Even before the truly frightening appointment of John Bolton?
If confirmed as Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo will arrive at a department that has been battered by proposed budget cuts, hollowed out by resignations and vacancies, and neutered by President Trump’s impulsive and personal decision-making style. But Pompeo’s most immediate challenge will not be rebuilding the department or restoring morale. It will be dealing with an acute foreign policy crisis that is largely of the president’s own making, regarding the Iran nuclear deal.
Pompeo will have to tackle a genuine foreign challenge soon. President Trump has agreed to meet with Kim Jong-un before the end of May. This could be a promising development; yet before Trump even sits down with Kim to discuss a nuclear deal, the administration will have to discuss how to handle the preexisting deal with Tehran.
From the outset, Mike Pompeo has cheered Trump in his hard-line posturing toward Iran. Trump has announced that America will no longer abide by the Iran nuclear pact unless European leaders agree to fix the deal’s “disastrous flaws.” They seemed unwilling to endorse more than cosmetic changes and Iran for its part has flatly refused to renegotiate.
All this means that by May 12th, the United States is set to pull out of the Iran accord, which could lead Iran to do the same thing and restart its nuclear program. And this would be happening at the very same time as the summit with North Korea when the United States will surely be trying to convince North Korea of the benefits of signing a similar agreement.
Recall that Iran did not have nuclear weapons, only a program that could have led to them. Still, the deal required the Iranians to scale back significant aspects of their program, dismantling 13,000 centrifuges, giving up 98 percent of their enriched uranium and effectively shutting down their plutonium reactor at Iraq.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has cameras and inspectors in Iran at every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle from mines to labs to enrichment facilities. The IAEA attests that Tehran has in fact abided by its end of the deal. Even Mike Pompeo himself has conceded as much.
The Iran deal is not perfect, but it has stabilized a dangerous and spiraling situation in the Middle East. Were the deal to unravel, an already similar region would get much hotter. In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Salman, recently affirmed that his kingdom would go nuclear if Iran did.
The tragedy here is that this is an entirely self-inflicted crisis. There was already enough instability in the world that the administration did not need to create more. Pompeo should recognize that his job as Secretary of State will be to solve problems not produce them, and that he should preserve the Iran agreement and spend his time on North Korea.
Pompeo should take a page from his boss’ book. Trump has reversed course on issue after issue, often with little explanation. [Pompeo should, as well.]
Putin and the Kremlin are winning, destabilizing democracy here and in Europe.
China is winning, as — by exiting the Transpacific Partnership that would have lowered tariffs on our exports — we ceded economic leadership to them. And as — by gutting our State Department and abjuring the Paris Climate Accords — we’ve created a vacuum they aggressively fill.
Corrupt, murderous autocrats are winning, as they are the only world leaders Trump admires.
Vulgarity and bigotry are winning, as hate groups — peopled by “some very fine people” — grow bolder.
So — finally — with that cheery preamble . . .
. . . Six decades of Republican overreach and corrosive causes have . . . led to the rise of Donald Trump and a foreign policy run by John Bolton, an economy guided by Larry Kudlow and a legal team led by conspiracy theorist Joseph DiGenova.
. . . Trump’s third national security adviser in 14 months [Bolton] has called for the preemptive bombing of North Korea and Iran, while defending his role in the worst U.S. foreign policy disaster since Vietnam. Of the United States’ military misadventure in Iraq, Bolton pleads innocence on all counts while shamelessly calling Barack Obama’s 2011 decision to bring U.S. troops home “the worst decision” made in that debacle.
In the foreword to the seventh edition of “The Conservative Mind,” [Russell] Kirk predicted with precision the rise of political players such as Bolton and Trump and foresaw a time when the United States would “fall into the hands of merciless ideologues or squalid oligarchs.” . . .
This was the predictable outcome of my Republican Party aligning its interests with the most cynical political operators of our time. The Atwaters, Manaforts, Gingriches and Roves leveraged a weaponized media culture that reduced politics to a secularized religion and consolidated political power and material wealth in the hands of its richest donors.
Yes, the Soviet Union is in the dustbin of history, Osama bin Laden is dead and ISIS is — at least temporarily — on its heels. But the inner chaos Kirk warned of so many years ago runs rampant in a country dominated by the bloated presence of a man who embraces dictators, vilifies the free press, corrupts religious leaders, absolves white supremacists, degrades women and continues a life’s work defined by little more than the amoral pursuit of material wealth.
Remarkably, order could be pulled from this culturally calamitous crisis if just two GOP senators had the moral courage to deprive Donald Trump of a ruling majority until he agreed to bring to heel his most destructive instincts. But even after a week of high-profile firings, attacks on Robert S. Mueller III and perplexing plaudits for Vladimir Putin, ideology continues to best idealism while American conservatism becomes even more detached from its philosophical foundations and fails yet again to confront the greatest challenges of our times.
Right? Why can’t Ben Sasse and Jeff Flake — or Susan Collins and John McCain — or Lindsey Graham — not put country ahead of party?
Will they do so in time?
How about tomorrow? Tomorrow would be good.
Today would be better.
Quote of the Day
To the BELOVED REPUBLIC under whose equal laws I am made the peer of any man, although denied political equality by my native land, I dedicate this book with an intensity of gratitude and admiration which the native-born citizen can neither feel nor understand.~Dedication to Andrew Carnegie's Triumphant Democracy (Scribner's, 1886)
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